Today, as promised in my article on the most beautiful Instagram spotsI'll take you on a tour Les Ormeson the doorstep of the Poitou and Touraine regions. I chose this small commune of 1700 inhabitants because its heritage could make many large towns green with envy.

So, to make the most of its many riches, I enlisted the services of another of Grand Châtellerault's ambassadors. A guide who knows everything there is to know about the history of her village, and who had many surprises in store for me...

The ambassador's reception

Catherine Puglia arranged to meet me in front of the town hall. Like me, she loves showing people around her region. While I work online on this blog, Ms Puglia prefers human contact and guided tours...

Or for those around them as part of the Tourist Office Ambassadors programmeor via its Talents Ormois association. 
Born in Châtellerault, this former psychologist has lived in Les Ormes since 2005. As a child, she used to come here every summer to spend holidays with her family. Back in the 60s, she accompanied her grandmother on her holidays to Les Ormes. at the castle to visit the Countess d'Argenson. Now, it's the village as a whole that the active retiree takes pleasure in revealing to the general public.

Association Talents Ormois: 06 60 85 71 49

Stage 1. The town hall, its park and the fairground

The guided tour starts at the town hall. Here I am in front of a beautiful bourgeois house dating from 1871, built of Chauvigny limestone and tuffeau. Since moving into the house in 1995, the elected representatives have worked hard to maintain and embellish the one-and-a-half hectare park.

Mrs Puglia is committed to the project and explains that in total " 27 rare species or remarkable trees punctuate the walk ". A cork oak and a medicinal lime tree stand alongside a recently planted araucaria and Gingko Biloba. There are educational panels to help you identify them, and even to recognise their leaves by touch, thanks to relief illustrations.

Opposite the municipal building is the Place du Champ de Foire. Until 1950, a large market was held here every month, as in Lencloître.

Stage 2. The church and covered market

From the fairground, we take the rue de l'église. After a few minutes' walk, we arrive at the covered market, which has been listed as a Historic Monument since 1934. Catherine Puglia tells me that the history of Les Ormes is closely linked to the castle and its owners.

So the Pussort brothers made the land into a barony, with the right to a market hall and a court. In those days, minor offences punishable by fines or chores were dealt with once a week at the covered market, while women sold their farmyard animals there once a month on fair days. Now children and scooters have reclaimed the area. Meanwhile, the parents are chatting away on a bench with an uninterrupted view of the church of Saint-Martin and Sainte-Marguerite, the two patron saints of the parish.

It was Martin Pussort, builder of the château and Colbert's uncle, who commissioned the first church in 1655. The heart of this influential adviser to the King still rests in the vault beneath the main altar. " Around 1890, the beadle fell from the bell tower and killed himself.Catherine Puglia tells me. This accident made it clear that the monument's solidity was no longer satisfactory. That's why, in 1896, the present church was built.

I have to admit that I fell in love with its neo-Byzantine style. This round bell tower, resting on an octagonal base supported by a square tower, completely threw off the inhabitants of the time. Inside, the stained glass windows, statues, pulpit and old paintings are well worth a visit.

Stage 3. The turret, the wash-house, the Vienne river

Below the church, I can see the river. To make matters worse, the Vienne flows through the commune. The banks are charming. Catherine tells me that the turret at the corner, standing like an exclamation mark, belongs to the château.

The adjoining wash-house is a natural fit, as a spring gushes out there all the time. In days gone by, the ladies used to wash their clothes there with their rakes, while exchanging village news.

I recommend this waterside spot and invite you to take advantage of the picnic tables provided. A bucolic break guaranteed!

Stage 4. Villa Caroline

We set off again via the little rue de Pierre d'Argenson, where we found the most secret stopover on the route. Catherine had surprised me by contacting the owner of Villa Caroline and asking him to open his doors to us.

Over a delicious chocolate cake from the pâtisserie RaveauFabrice Audy tells us the story of this house, which has been in his family for 70 years.

As a tribute to his mother, Mr Audy named it Villa Caroline. Originally, it was called Villa Marie-Louise, after the mistress of Rodolphe Salis. The creator of the Chat Noir, the famous Parisian cabaretHe had this house built in 1890 for the dancer with whom he was madly in love. Inside, everything is dedicated to the young woman, right down to the ceilings!

I still marvel at the stained glass windows and doors. " In a nod to the Château des Ormes, where Voltaire stayed, the stained glass window in the dining room depicts Rabelais. Like Rodolphe Salis, the two men were part of the French tradition of free spirit. "Fabrice tells me.

The architect was none other than Henri Deglane, who designed the nave of the Grand Palais.

From the street, you can admire this Belle Époque villa and the majestic cedar tree in the garden.

Stage 5. La Poste aux Chevaux

After this beautiful gift, we rejoin the Route Nationale 10 (D910), which runs through Les Ormes. Lined with remarkable buildings - such as the old gendarmerie (at number 37) and the pharmacy opposite - it leads to a historic monument hidden behind a magnificent carriage entrance.

When the latter opens, I discover a quadrilateral measuring 70 metres on each side, around a courtyard centred by a vast foot bath. Welcome to La Poste aux Chevaux ! Following the typical layout of the period, it comprises stables, a drinking trough, a tack room, a postilion room (for the carriage drivers) and buildings for housing and accommodation.

Mr De Logivière, a descendant of the last postmaster, tells me that this stopover on the Spanish route was created by the Count of Argenson in 1764. The Postmaster General, who was also a minister under Louis XV, used his influence to divert the Paris-Bordeaux route so that it would pass through his village. " This official royal service included the carriage of mail and travellers by stagecoach. At each coaching inn, the horses were changed before moving on to the next inn, usually 16 km away. Then the postilions brought the horses back once they had rested. In 1851, the train arrived in Poitiers and the coaching inns gradually disappeared. "

When the latter opens, I discover a quadrilateral measuring 70 metres on each side, around a courtyard centred by a vast foot bath. Welcome to La Poste aux Chevaux ! Following the typical layout of the period, it comprises stables, a drinking trough, a tack room, a postilion room (for the carriage drivers) and buildings for housing and accommodation.

Mr De Logivière, a descendant of the last postmaster, tells me that this stopover on the Spanish route was created by the Count of Argenson in 1764. The Postmaster General, who was also a minister under Louis XV, used his influence to divert the Paris-Bordeaux route so that it would pass through his village. " This official royal service included the carriage of mail and travellers by stagecoach. At each coaching inn, the horses were changed before moving on to the next inn, usually 16 km away. Then the postilions brought the horses back once they had rested. In 1851, the train arrived in Poitiers and the coaching inns gradually disappeared. "

Stages 6 and 7. To be continued...

I'll be continuing my tour of Orléans next week on the blog, during the European Heritage Days... Spoiler alert: we'll be talking about a sheepfold and a château!

Click here to find out more the second episode on Les Ormes!

Themes

Was this content helpful?

Save

Share this content