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Gargilesse - Creuse's river Valley

Le village de Gargilesse dans le Berry (Indre) 

    Very close to Argenton sur Creuse (15km) and near the Eguzon lake, the village of Gargilesse, deserves a detour. This is particularly true because you'll need only 1h15mn by car from l'Ecole Buissonniere.
    Indeed, this village unites several interesting features:

    > Gargilesse, one of the " most beautiful villages of France"
    > Gargilesse and George Sand
    > Gargilesse's castle

    Gargilesse, one of the " most beautiful villages in France "

    Tourist sites are sometimes given pompous designations or labels which leave you quite dissatisfied and make you wonder why such a site was given such a name? This is not the case for Gargilesse, and we can in fact congratulate the organization which delivers the classification of " the most beautiful villages of France " for the quality of its selection criteria.

    Yes, Gargilesse is a very beautiful village.
    First, thanks to its geographical situation, nestling in the hollow of a small valley following the river of the same name, just before it joins the ... Creuse ! Once more ! Definitely, this Creuse valley abounds in attractions!
    The natural setting of the village is identical to those we evoked with respect to L'Ecole de Crozant, as it is one of those sites so appreciated by landscape painters. When they were not painting or drawing on la Grande Creuse, la Petite Creuse or  la Sédelle, they certainly were down by la Gargilesse !
    So, take time to stroll along this charming river and along the Creuse banks.

    Secondly, thanks to its serene atmosphere full of history:
    Serene because Gargilesse also deserves to be qualified as an "artists village" which has conduite many painters, musicians and craftsmen who have chosen to live and to create there.

Bords de Creuse à Gargilesse 

Le château de Gargilesse au pays de George Sand 

Paysage aux environs de Gargilesse 

Maisons de Gargilesse, un des plus beaux villages de France 

L'église de Gargilesse dans l'Indre 

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    Their presence contributes to a pleasant impression of nonchalant rhythm, a little out of time...
    With respect to shaping of history, let us cite the harmonious architecture of these old houses gathered around a castle which was formerly the site of a Gallo-Roman castrum, of a romanesque- byzantine church of the XII and XIIIth centuries and the refuge-house of George Sand.
    The Eglise Notre-Dame has one of the most beautiful sets of capitals in Berry as well as a statue of the Virgin in polychrome wood dating from the XIIth century which is the oldest of  the Indre.

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    Gargilesse and George Sand

    At the age of fifty three , George Sand, writer at the height of her literary fame, but weary of her lady's manor life in Nohant, too famous, surrounded  by parasitic and uninteresting society people, dreamed of retirement, of a haven of peace, in a word, of a place "to settle".
    It would be in Gargilesse. She settled there in 1857 with Alexandre Manceau, a young engraver less wellknown than her previous lovers, Musset, Chopin or Jules Sandeau, but who followed her by love after Maurice, her own son, had him thrown out of Nohant.

    In fact, the house of George Sand in Gargilesse, this small doll's house with two rooms, joined with other houses in the middle of the village, is mainly a love gift from Alexandre.

    Very quickly, Gargilesse proved to be a paradise for George Sand and the beauty of nature, the simplicity of the contact with country people and the pleasure of a healthy life (walks, butterfly catching, trout fishing, gathering...) did not cease to inspire her.
    "Les notes de voyages à Gargilesse" recall, all along the thread of the pages, the happiness that this small village of Berry gave to the writer.

    But this happiness was not to be to the detriment of her writing work , on the contrary: between 1857 and 1862, she wrote practically thirteen novels, two volumes of essays and three plays.
    Her work "Elle et Lui" (1859) recounting her adventure with Alfred de Musset, was written in 25 days, that is to say 620 pages!

    The house of Gargilese has been the property of the commune since 1959. Thanks to the restoration by her grand-daughter, Aurore, this place is, today, a museum which admirably testifies, through furniture and familiar objects which belonged to the writer, to the simplicity of life that George Sand, as famous as she was, aspired to.
    Information and visits: Tel.: 02 54 47 84 14

    The Gargilesse's castle

    The site has probably existed since some remote time but it's known history begins in the VIIIth century, when Les Comtes de Gargilesse built a fortified castle there.
    Here are some dates as reference marks:

    - XIIth century : Hugues de Naillac becomes Lord of Gargilesse and illustrates himself by leading a crusade to the Holy Land. He brings back a statue of a byzantine Virgin for which he has the Romanesque chapel next to the castle built.
    - 1389 : after the Hundred's Year War, the Naillac, through lack of direct successors, lose the property of the castle which falls by will to Jean de Prie and then to the family of Châteauneuf.
    - 1518 : Antoinette, lady of Châteauneuf brings Gargilesse in dowry to her husband, Jean de Rochefort.
    - beginning of the XVIIth century : Charlotte de Rochefort sells the building to René du Bost du Breuil. These are the arms which are reproduced on the lintel of the entrance gate. The castle is besieged, destroyed by fire and dismantled by a detachment of the Turenne's armies.
    - 1750 : the castle is rebuilt in the shape of a manor of the time by Olympe de Chevigny, the wife of Louis Charles du Bost du Breuil. From the old feudal masonry remains only the postern and some buttresses. The square tower of the XVIIth century, also preserved, was at the beginning, the vault of the Lords of Gargilesse.
    - from 1960 to 1986, the husband of the Countess of Danne, last owner, leaves the building neglected. It will be saved from total ruin by a couple of private citizens.

    In 1998, Annick Thevenin, painter impassioned of old stones, repurchase the castle to carry on its restoration and to create an Art gallery to give a new life to the monument.
    Exhibitions of very great quality unfold from April to September and you will be able to admire there works of painting, sculpture, art glasswork, ceramics...

    Information, Tel.: 02 54 47 76 16
    We recommend that you visit the site

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Administration : Béatrice Quernec - ecolebuissonniere@netcourrier.com
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