John and Valérie had stayed in France for six months and decided to leave a little earlier than planned. Their journey takes them first to a lunch at Verteuil-sur-Charente where Valérie discovers the Chateau wherein Eleanor of Aquitaine had lived as a child. The Chateau is related to the La Rochefoucauld family. Valérie and John visit another chateau on the Charente, and meet with the Duchess. Their journey then takes them to Fontevraud Abbey where the tombs of Henry II, Eleanor and Richard the Lionheart are laid. Their next stop is Paris, where they pray at Chartres Cathedral and meet with friends made through the website.
Towards the end of our planned 6 month stay in France we decided to leave 2 weeks earlier and visit England – John’s birthplace. I was still having trouble thinking clearly after my Fall and later nearly dying on June 11th, 2015. It had opened up a huge memory of past lives as royals and the early Crusades.
We have returned to Australia now for 2 months and I am only just settling down to writing again, and feeling my self – it has taken that long to let go all of that past life, emotional extremely difficult time.
John has experienced the same.
Before leaving France, we were invited to spend a last lunch outing with a visit with our lovely French girlfriends who had shown us many special places in the Charente area – places not generally known to tourists. The day out was to be a surprise. It was only about a 45 minute drive and we found ourselves at a place named Verteuil-sur-Charente.
The restaurant was a mill house – situated between two streams of water from the Charente river, with the sound of the mill wheel chugging away in one side of the stream of water and the aroma of freshly ground bread flour.
A pretty side street leading to the Mill House Restaurant
in Verteuil-sur-Charente and just below the chateau
The scene right beside where you sit at the Mill House
the aroma of freshly baked bread wafted over us at the Mill House
A fun lunch with good friends at the Mill House Resturant
John & Valérie in front of the Chateau where Eleanor of Aquitane’s mother lived.
We had such a happy time together and later we visited a little shop selling lots of historical artefacts. The shopkeeper told us the Castle was where Eleanor of Aquitane’s mother had lived.
Now: in all historical records I have read it is said, that it is not known where Eleanor was born … we knew straight away that this was where she was born. And that the joy we were feeling and the familiarity of this lovely place was where Eleanor had been often as a child and later brought her own children to visit. Hence the reason John was feeling so joyful also.
An addendum to this story. While I was preparing this article I decided to find out more about the Chateau at Verteuil-sur-Charente. You can read about the Chateau on Wikipedia. What is interesting is the discovery of an 11th century chapel in excellent condition, after World War II. So it is a most ancient castle, repaired many times.
What has caught my eye is it has always been connected to the La Rochefoucauld family. Eleanor’s mother was a Rochefoucauld. A few months earlier we had visited a chateau at the village of La Rochefoucauld – the chateau we can see now is very similar in design to the Chateau at Verteuil-sur-Charente.
Our son is taking the photo – we were invited to have a private afternoon tea with the charming Duchess.
This is another Chateau owned by La Rochefoucauld family for 1200 years.
It is in a Village of the same name. The Charente River runs alongside of it.
John and I, along with our son (who was visiting us at the time) were invited to have an intimate afternoon tea at the castle with the Duchess. (The Duke has now died) I think this delightful lady recognised something within us although past-lives were never mentioned.
We had decided to make it a 3 day journey north to Paris, where we had arranged to leave our hosts car and from there to travel by Eurostar train to England.
Our first overnight stop was to return to Poitiers yet again. John always felt some anger when visiting the city and yet as one of the Princes of Aquitane in the past he had lived there. His mother Eleanor had lived there in the chateau that was now known as the Palais de Justice; it is not far from the church (similar to Civray) and also the Cathedral that Eleanor and Henry II were married.
We then travelled to the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud where Henry II was buried, and Richard 1st (coeur de lion) was buried.
Tombs of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitane in Fontevraud Abbey;
Eleanor had spent the last 5 years of her life as a nun there and was also buried alongside the two men.
Hence the sacred book in her hands
Tombs of Richard I (The Lionheart) of England and Isabella of Angoulême in Fontevraud Abbey
We travelled on, feeling mixed emotions still. We were trying to find the main highway to Chartres but our GPS had a mind of its own and we realised we were actually travelling the pilgrim’s way through many tiny villages and narrow streets.
Here is one of the ubiquitous Blue Shells at crossroads on the Way of the Santiago de Compostela. There were many giant wooden crosses on the wayside of country cross-roads in the middle of nowhere. (Regret not taking a photo of one.)
As soon as we acknowledged it was Holy spirit sending us this way, we both said we would give penance once we reached the mighty Cathedral at Chartres – then suddenly we were on the highway and only 50 miles from Paris.
Chartres Cathedral, the west facade
We found the huge Cathedral magnificent but a little spoilt for us as there was scaffolding and noisy maintenance being carried on both inside and out. We couldn’t see the magnificent portal clearly because of ladders and tarpaulins.
The royal portal of Chartres Cathedral
However, we managed to find a quiet place to offer gratitude and thankfulness for healing and forgiveness.
We were treated to a wondrous “Light show” named Chartres en Lumieres that evening – hundreds of visitors were out watching the fascinating images being played with coloured light on a certain number of buildings.
Next morning we travelled to Paris. John was driving and our GPS took us the shortest way but it led us straight through the famous traffic that exists in Paris. I told John he needed a medal – he didn’t lose his cool once.
On our last evening in Paris we were visited by beautiful, like-minded French/Parisian people who had read about my work on the website. A joyful meeting indeed.
Visiting friends made through the website
We were then left for London and the UK, on the Eurostar: