Friday, 6 November 2015

After Troyes

Our next stop after Troyes was Villeneuve l'Archeveque.  The Americans would call it a one-horse town, but I'm not sure I would rate it that highly.  Perhaps a pony, or maybe a badger.  As far as I could tell, nothing much has happened there, except, a bit less than 800 years ago, King Louis IX, known as the Saint Louis, recieved a crown of thorns there.  I'm sure there must be a perfectly sound explanation.

There is, however a rather good hotel/restautant, built into an old mill, and that's where we stayed.  The Auberge des Vieux Moulins Banaux is on the Vanne river, and used to be a mighty mill.  It had two huge independent water wheels, feeding power into two buildings, one each side of the river. The wheels are in ruin, and unlikely to be turning at any time in the near future, unfortunately, but they stand as an impressive statement of the energy to be had.

The descriptive banaux refers to the banalités, which were the laws under which the peasants were expected to get their grain milled at the lord's mill, (and to pay for it).

We tested the marketing of Champagne there, since you could get a glass of sparkling Burgundy white, and a glass of Champagne from the aperatif menu.  They were of similar quality and both refreshing, but the Champagne was twice the price of the Burgundy.

I like water features, so I was enchanted by the place, I took a long, quiet walk upstream as far as I could, disturbing a heron on the way, until a fence blocked my progress, .

The restaurant makes a feature of the mill mechanism, and you can get a feel for the power it handled, from the size of the cogs.  It drove up to 4 millwheels on this one side of the river, but the current owner didn't know if they would all go at once.


the fly in the web said...

I do like that mill....

CherryPie said...

This looks like a charming place to stay. I am sure I would feel quite comfortable there.

It is a shame the waterwheels are not in working order they would add to the attraction of the place :-)

Mark In Mayenne said...

Yes - even if the wheels aren't doing anything useful, just to have them turning would add interest.

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