What a wonderful town is La Charite. The origin of the towns name is in its reputation for charitable works, but there is much more to this town and it is now the French equivalent of Hay On Wye on the Welsh borders. (Hay-on-Wye, often abbreviated to just “Hay”, is a small market town and community in Powys, Wales, adjacent to the English border. Often described as “the town of books”), there are moves to twin the two towns and that would give a much needed boost to La Charite .
The town is full of book and word references but on Sunday there was a special book festival day with the streets of the old town blocked off and book stools lining the main part of the old town.
On many walls there are literary references as you walk around the town one confronts you at almost every turn.
Easy one ‘flowers are the words of love.’
A little trickier, ‘Both the shortest and the oldest words, yes and no, are those that require the most reflection’ Profound or what and Teresa adding to the words with her own reflection.
This is on the window of the chocolate shop ‘the pleasure of tasting is inseparable from the pleasure of words’, make your own mind up!
We are actually moored at La Chappelle across the Loire from La Charite, about 2 kilometres form the main town. La Chappelle is small with a population of only 500 people and is a agricultural community. One noticeable feature is an ancient oak tree some 500 years old and 10 meters in circumference.
The suggestion is that Joan d'arc slept under the tree before attempting to take the town of La Charite and that during the night a 'freedom fighter' from the town sneaked up and stole her one and only canon, thus making her attack futile. I am still trying to arrange a suitable date for the dry dock either back at Decize or elsewhere so until that is sorted we will hang around here or nearby and get some boat jobs done.
This post was written by Terry Barrett
Photographs by Tes