[continued from previous post “Walking About”]
This timeworn front door caught my fancy as I turned from Rue Saint-Saloine into Rue Saint-Vivien. It’s not ancient, maybe from the 1940th, and it hasn’t been well maintained, but I think it shows that the original owner gave some extra effort to beautify his or her home. I felt the same about this duplex, which certainly needs a lot of loving care, but the large windows with stone trim, the slightly arched doorways and the decorative brickwork show pride in workmanship and finish even in such a modest home.
Walking along, we approach this ‘Engpass’ this narrowing down to one lane in the street just ahead of the local butcher shop, which apparently is receiving a delivery just now.
Behind that big tree on the right, you’ll find the church of Saint-Vivien, which gives the neighborhood its name. But we’re walking in the opposite direction, toward the main drag, otherwise known as Cours National, our High Street, as the English call it, or simply the main road bisecting the town in a more or less E to W direction. The Quartier Vivien lies to the north of Cours National, our neighborhood, Quartier Saint-Pierre to the south.
Before we continue toward Cours National, let’s do a déjà vue all over again, ok? When I walked up Rue Saint-Vivien a couple of days later, the whole street was blocked by a moving van with a trailer. A couple of guys were busy unloading someone’s household goods via an external elevator into the house right next to the butcher. The van had to park in the street since there was nowhere else to go. In such a case, the town issues a permit that allows the movers to divert traffic and do their job in peace. Similar to our parking permit along Quai de la République, when we moved in a little over a year ago. Nobody complains, it’s part of daily life in an old town with narrow, twisty streets.
Squeezing by the van, soon some features along Cours National come into view, just as we’re passing by this ever so charming old home.
The rounded stone corners, the rich ornamentation, the secret garden, it must have been quite an important family, who lived in such an extravagant home! Another family, a contemporary family, may have turned a top floor apartment in the corner house on the opposite side of the street into another hidden gem. I’m just guessing, of course, but when I looked way up, attracted by the green cone on the roof, possibly a lightning rod, I realised that I could see a skylight through one of the little attic windows. It appears that the attic and top floor may have been combined and converted into a spacious loft. I’d love to see what they’ve done with the inside of that old cut stone building.
Coming back down to street level, I had to remove the offending beer can in front of the pretty cellar grate.
A few more steps and we’re ready to cross Cours National.
The deer and I will say good night now. Part Three of our walk through Saintes will be ready soon.
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