Chasing Normandy’s Medieval and Jacques Garcia’s Baroque

A day in Normandy for me means visiting my favorite Baroque folies, and seeing my dear friend, the fiery shepherdess Constanze.  On this particular beautiful Norman day in July, Constanze became the tour guide for my traveling companion and I.  Constanze knows all to well when I visit exactly what my intentions are…to see as many chateau and other French heritage sites as possible.  That is of course how we met…two years prior I was on a precise chase to find the folies she is the guardian of.  If it wasn’t for her, my dream of seeing the little Chateau de Morsan would never have been.

 

We started our tour in the countryside at Morsan, then made our way to the medieval commune of Le Bec-Hellouin to see the Bec Abbey, which dates to the 11th century.   During the Anglo-Norman 12th century, Bec Abbey was once a very influential abbey.  It became a ruin during the French Revolution (like most French places of dignity and heritage) and didn’t see a revival until the 20th century when Olivetan monks resettled it and made renovations.  Today it is known for it’s works in Anglicanism and the beautiful pottery produced by the monks that call Bec Abbey home.

Morsan France

Le Bec-Hellouin France

Tour Saint-Nicolas Bec Abbey

Bec Abbey France

Bec Abbey France

Tour Saint-Nicolas Bec Abbey

Bec Abbey France

Bec Abbey Church

Bec Abbey Church

Bec Abbey

From Bec Abbey we made our way to Château du Champ-de-Batailleand into my favorite era in time, the Baroque.  I’ve known about Château du Champ de Bataille for sometime.  It’s been on the list of chateaux to chase for years.  I’ve heard stories of it’s larger than life famous French interior designer owner, Jacques Garcia, from his contemporaries that are quite amusing, so naturally the idea of finally experiencing his realm was quite exciting.  Château du Champ de Bataille is of course private, so the inside and it’s exquisite antique furnishings are off-limits to photographs, so there are none to show.  There were times I was very tempted, but didn’t want to risk the confiscation of my Canon.  I can say that as an admirer of Versailles and my dearest Marie Antoinette, there are furnishings that in my opinion should be donated back to their place of origin.  I completely understand they have been collected and acquired by legal means, and if placed in the situation of letting go of one of Marie Antoinette’s pieces of furniture, I might think differently…

A detailed tour of the garden was not possible, as we arrived an hour before closing.  A tour of the chateau was the priority as the gardens are contemporary in their creation and not from time period.  Nonetheless they looked equally charming.

To understand what I’m talking about, follow this link:  http://quintessenceblog.com/jacques-garcias-champ-de-bataille/    The author of this blog was allowed to photograph the exquisite collection.

 Château du Champ-de-Bataille

 Château du Champ-de-Bataille

 Château du Champ-de-Bataille

 Château du Champ-de-Bataille

 Château du Champ-de-Bataille

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And this is where the chase comes to a close… until the next one.