A French Diary!

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As I slowly download my camera – I’ll share with you a diary of country France ….. starting at the very beginning ?!!

StCenerileGerei is an incredibly pretty village in a lovely wooded setting on a bend in the River Sarthe in the heart of southern Normandy – we were truly spoilt, friend and French local – Artist Muriel Buthier-Chartrain had set her heart on taking us to visit some of the places she loves most around her home in Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais – France – this little town was the first stop!

We set off with her to discover what is well off the beaten track – a lunch to die for and introductions to special friends and Gallery spaces …. (all this to come later) ……!! ?

Let me take you on a stroll through this incredible little Village of StCenerileGerei!

We parked just across the other side of this river – and wandered along the boundaries of century old fences and plantings.

So climbing the steep roads up from the river into the Village of St-Ceneri-le-Gerei we were fascinated by the age and imagined the people who may have walked up this road before us!!

Heading up the hill into the historical centre of the village there is a main town square and an 11th century church. The church is in a simple roman style, the main decorative element being the arches in the clock tower, and contains some very high quality frescoes painted in the 12th and 14th century. In part, the frescoes are in such good condition because they were plastered over in the 17th century, only to be rediscovered 200 years later.

Transfixed by the moss and amazing history we both relax and marvel!

at the textures and shapes!

From the Church looking down on the Village – the sense of proportion and peace is quite spectacular!

and climbing back down – the beauty of the hill in retrospect!!

Back past the gates and magnolia trees – hedges and insects that feel safe in this heritage space!

Old Gates and Magnolia
Magnolia ….stunning!!


If you choose you can Canoeing along the Sarthe river through and near Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerie this apparently is a popular local activity. You can also walk to the summit of the Mont de Avaloirs – although only at an altitude of just over 400 metres, it is the highest point in the region and has far-reaching views.

Great memories – thanks to Muriel and Gilles – our tour guides for the day!!

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