Monday, 20 February 2012

The Nympheum...

We went over to see our friends Jim and Pauline at Le Grand Pressigny yesterday and took advantage of the lovely, spring-like weather to go for a walk (more of this tomorrow).

Among the things Jim pointed out to us was the Nympheum, which is set within the walled park of Le Grand Pressigny's chateau.

Sadly the building had been left to deteriorate until it was little more than a ruin. Emergency work began five or six years ago in an attempt to save this important architectural feature.

As the above photo shows, the initial work has not been altogether sympathetic to the building but in fairness it was an emergency measure!

Originally "nympheum" referred to a natural grotto dedicated to a water nymph. In later times they became part of the itinery of walking round the chateau park - a refreshing place to rest in the shade. Due to the bucolic nature of the surroundings they became a favourite place for amorous encounters.....

The Nympheum has yet to be accurately dated but research suggests it is reasonable to assume it was constructed at the beginning of the second half of the sixteenth century. The family arms belonging to the Savoie-Villars are on the keystone of the cupola and the medallions on the facade. The last heir to the family sold the domain in 1627. It is one of the earliest sites of this type to have been partly excavated in the Centre region.  

Excavations at the site have revealed a complex water system which is fully explained here and evidence of this can be seen outside the Nympheum

The Nympheum was one of many fascinating points of interest on a really enjoyable walk!


Susan said...

I knew of this place's existance, but have never visited. That report you link to is fascinating. Must get round to seeing the remains themselves.

Tim said...

Pauline and I have never been either! Disgrace, I know.... but we've always found our time limited... and haven't done the walks around here.... yet. Your doorstep is often the last place you visit [ROSPA}... no, seriously, it is often people from outside an area who seem to either know, or discover, information about your home territory.
Lovely post... and now we must [f##d]MAKE time to visit.
And I agree with Susan about the archeology report... just saved a copy for later distractions!!

Jean said...

We walk Lulu past the Nympheum twice a day and I have just realised I have never posted about it - very remiss of me !!

Susan and Tim, if you are around when we are chez nous, do call in for a cuppa and we'll walk to the Nympheum with you.