Levroux, France

While visiting my sister in France we decided to visit the town of Levroux (Google's translation) after seeing a photo of it's awesome Porte de Champagne in The Most Beautiful Villages of the Loire. We'll start with some of my photos of this historic medieval gateway. This first one is an artistic rendering of a photo I took. Rue Gabatum runs through it. Um, it runs through the gateway, not through my photo.
And here is another view, looking up. This gate is one of seven fortified gates built around the city at the command of King Charles VII in 1436. It is the only one remaining. The village itself dates back to 600 BCE!
Looking directly up at the center of the gate...
...and to the left, built into the tower, is the doorway to a home. It seems to be a side door of the house, as seen in this vintage postcard.
Behind the Porte de Champagne is Rue Emile Zola, a cobbled road.
And this is the back side of the Porte de Champagne. If we backed up a little and turned to the right, we'd see Rue Emile Zola.
Also behind the gate, on the other side of Rue Emile Zola, were some houses. A charming French gentleman called out to us, and he proudly told us all about the history of the Porte de Champagne. Even my sister, who majored in French in college and who was mistaken for a native speaker of the language when she first visited France after college, could not understand much of what he said. After his explanations, she asked him if I could take his photo, and he happily obliged.
But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves. This is where our visit to Levroux actually began. We knew we were there when we turned a corner and saw this half-timbered house.
This is a detail of the carvings over the doorway.
Our first stop was on the right side of the Collegiate Church of Saint Sylvain, in this little area with a bench where we had a picnic. "The Shepherd Lying-down" sculpture is by Ernest Nivet (1871-1848). He was a native of Levroux and a pupil of Rodin.

The side door of the church faces the picnic area. Notice how worn the threshold of the left door is!

Detail of faces carved above the door. Quite an interesting assortment!

As the others finished their lunches, I walked around the immediate area and took a few pictures, such as this manhole cover...

...and these geraniums in a window.

Before we went inside the church I took some photos of the front.

Here's a closeup of the window, a modern clock, and the gargoyles...

 ...and a closer look at the door. Notice again, the worn threshold of the left doorway.

Before we enter the church, let's take a peep through the keyhole!

We're in! Many of the churches we visited had chairs rather than pews.

All the golden light comes from the stained glass windows.

Over to the right is a baptismal font. Not just to the right here, to the right inside the church, too! (I'm such an awesome tour guide!)

And in the upwards direction is the lovely ceiling. (Hmmmm... do I like this better then my own popcorn ceiling at home? YES!!! Sigh, they don't make 'em like they used to!)

Up front there are some interesting carvings on the chairs for the monks. Well, actually, they aren't chairs, they're more like little shelves the monks could kind of leaning sit on and still look like they were standing up. This is the view from behind a side wall of one of the rows of chairs.

This is the front face of one of the sit-upon shelves. Carved in the middle ages, these misericords symbolized virtues and vices.

The carved top, as seen from above, with writing carved into it, including the date 1742.

And over to the left... again, not just the left on this page, the left side of the church, too... is a statue of Mary and Jesus. Mary looks rather dismayed. Perhaps all the cobwebs are making her feel a bit neglected...

...or maybe it's her view of these candles, with only one burning.

If she'd only look up, she'd see the lovely organ pipes!

I love this little scene, inside one of the side doors.

And these lovely little heart-shaped locks.

These guys were in another side area. I'm not sure who they are, but my guess is the one in the center, holding the goblet, is Jesus, and the other four are the authors of the New Testament gospels. (The farthest guy also bears a resemblance to Confucius.)

Now we're back outside. While the others rested in the car, I took a quick walk for a couple of blocks around the church. I saw this lovely red door.

Another house with red doors and windows. Or maybe the door above is behind the plant in this photo. I'll just have to go back and check!!

Then there was this house with vines covering much of the roof.

One of my favorites is this bicycle in a doorway. And with that thought, we'll ride away...till next time! Hope you enjoyed this medieval journey!

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