Friday, April 12, 2019

Images of Poitou and the Pays Mellois


French Village Diaries des Racines et des Ailes Pays Mellois
Poitiers, one of the largest French cities in the Middle Ages

Des Racines et Des Ailes du Poitou aux Iles des Charentes. 

French TV doesn’t seem to have many fans in the English-speaking community here. We all know we should watch it, for cultural, current affairs and language reasons, but there are many reasons not to. With games shows, dubbed US series and lots of films, following in French isn’t easy and when you are tired at the end of the day, a bit of relaxing, watching something familiar, in English, without having to think, is often what is needed. I get that.

A recent programme on French TV that I did watch and enjoy was Des Racines et Des Ailes du Poitou aux Iles des Charentes, set in our local area. Des Racines et Des Ailes (the roots and the wings) is a long-running French series where each episode highlights a particular area of France, focusing both on the history (the roots) and stunning aerial photography (the wings).
 
French Village Diaries des Racines et des Ailes Pays Mellois
Parthenay
At two hours, it was a rather long programme, but as we flew over the chateaux and medieval forts (our area was once a boundary to be defended between French-ruled France and English-ruled France), took a tour of Aliénor of Aquitaine’s 12thCentury Poitiers and got a close-up look at artisan life on the Atlantic islands of our region, this programme had it all and time flew by.
 
French Village Diaries des Racines et des Ailes Pays Mellois
Ile de Ré
I learned more about the Protestant history of the Pays Mellois, where worshipers had to meet in secret, but it was their presence in the area that resulted in the small town of Celles-sur-Belle becoming home to a huge Abbey and church; a statement piece to showcase Catholicism. I also discovered sea turtles are common in our Atlantic waters and those who are unfortunate to be washed up on the beaches (they can be around 40 years old and weigh almost 60kgs) are cared for in a sanctuary attached to the aquarium in La Rochelle, before being released off the Ile de Ré. Plus, now I know more about the history of Poitiers, I need to make a return visit as my list of sights to see has grown.

If you get the chance to watch any episodes of this series, with a bit of French I’m sure you will learn a lot, and even without the language, the scenery will make it worth your while.

Pays Mellois

French Village Diaries des Racines et des Ailes Pays Mellois
Méli our local mascot
Our local tourist office has also produced a new series of short promotional videos about the Pays Mellois, the first of which you can watch below, and I’ll leave the link on the blog sidebar for future views. In it you will meet Méli, our local (goat) mascot, who loves to share this special area almost as much as I do.



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