Friday, November 13, 2009

Prince des poètes et poète des princes...

These photos were taken in October at La Possonnière, the birthplace of 16th century French poet Pierre de Ronsard. My good friend Bette and I were finally able to visit this Renaissance manor house near Couture-sur-Loir (Loir-et-Cher) after trying and failing for various reasons over the course of several years. It was well worth the wait! Our guided tour of the house and grounds was brilliantly conducted by Valérie Heuze-Martel, the author of a great book about La Possonnière (Bette and I now have autographed copies!).

"Pierre de Ronsard" Rose

South facade of the manor house

Stair turret and "skylight"

Coat of arms "parlantes" - "ronces ardentes" (blazing brambles) = ronce-ard = Ronsard

View of the east wing (some rooms of which may have served the needs of those making a pilgrimage to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle) built into the hillside

Coats of arms of Loys de Ronsard (the poet's father) and possibly those of Claude (his older brother)

The monumental fireplace covered with carvings of the arms of France, fleurs de lys, the coat of arms of the Ronsard family, their motto (NON FALUNT FUTURA MERE[n]TE[m], loosely translated as "the future belongs to those who rise early"), their arms "parlantes" (ronces ardentes), and assorted related coats of arms and tracery.

The garden is relatively new, created in 2003 by rosarian André Eve, and recounts the history of the rose with various planting beds moving back in time to the rosa gallica officinalis, the rosa damascena, and the rosa x alba, whose ancestors all date at least to the 13th century and the Crusades.

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