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   Background MIDI music: "C'est L'Aviron" from THE GREAT CANADIAN TUNEBOOK, Sequenced by Barry Taylor, Victoria, BC, Canada

CHAMBORD, the largest and most extravagant of the Loire chateaux... and architecturally controversial. Commissioned by Francois I, the Sun King as his little "hunting lodge". Designed by Italian Domenico de Cortona as Italian Renaissance but built by French masons as French medieval architecture.  Chateau de Chambord

Rosemary and I had spent the winter planning this 'Grande Tour de France' and finally, it was April and we were off to Paris. Our itinerary was Avignon, La Rochelle, Quimper, the Loire Valley and Paris. So on arriving in Paris, we headed for the Gare de Lyons and took the 'Train de Grande Vitesse (TGV)' to Avignon where we spent a week touring the Provençale countryside and... we danced on the Pont d'Avignon!

Then, it was on to the west coast to La Rochelle for a few days mainly to visit the port and waterfront area. As we walked around the port area and looked at the same towers and harbor that Jehan and Perrine saw when they came to Larochelle to leave for the New World, I felt a special connection to my ancestral grandfather and grandmother and their brave fellow pioneers.

Afterwards, we continued northwest to the picturesque province of Brittany for a few days in the Quimper area and then turned eastward to the magical middle Loire valley with those spectacular chateau's and the Terriot ancestral homeland.

Chenonceaux... without a doubt the most magnificent castle on the Loire. CHENONCEAUX, an exquisitely  beautiful chateau on the Loire... it reflects the River Cher which flows into the Loire at Tours. The chateau's most characteristic feature, the set of arches spanning the River Cher was built by Diane de Poitiers (mistress of King Henry II) after the chateau was begun in 1515. Catherine de Medicis (wife of Henry II) completed the castle...  after she evicted Diane.
What a historic site... and such beauty! This is the place of origin of England's Plantagenet dynasty... these grounds were the object of the Hundred Years' War. A war ended by Saint Joan of Arc, a young maiden barely twenty years old. Two English Kings: King Henry II and King Richard, the Lion Hearted are buried here at the Abbey of Fontevraud just south of the Loire and a short drive from Martaizé.

Not far from Fontevraud to the east is Chinon and its castle on the Vienne River which dates to the Roman times. Chinon is where Jeanne D'Arc paused to consult with her King after her victory at Orleans. It is now the site of a very interesting museum on Joan of Arc in the castle's Tour de L'Horloge. The castle at Chinon unfortunately is mostly in ruins due largely to Cardinal Richelieu's pillaging around 1630 to create his own 'chateau' in present-day Richelieu.

TOUR THE MIDDLE LOIRE:  Within 100km of Martaisé are the following points to visit: Aulnay (probable home of Jehan Terriau's mother and father), La Chaussee (Maison de l'Acadie), Frontevraud (Burial place in the Abbey of King Richard, the Lion-Hearted and King Henry II), Richelieu (built by Cardinal Richelieu in 1630), Chinon (castle-fort which houses the Tour de l'Horloge, St Joan of Arc Museum), several castles including Chenonceaux, Chambord, and Cheverny (working castle built in 1604; continues to be used by a descendant who uses it as a hunting lodge... must see!), Les Eaux Melles in Roiffe (birthplace of Izacc de Razilly who along with Charles de Menou d'Aulnay, led the first group of 300 Frenchmen to La Heve, Acadia.
It was from Chinon that Joan of Arc traveled to Poitiers for three weeks of questioning by the Church. Her journey in 1431 to Poitiers with her loyal soldiers took her by La Chassée where Jehan Terriot's parents are thought to have lived. This was 170 years before Jehan  was born in Martaizé. It must have been an exciting treat for Jehan's ancestors to see first-hand the Maid of Orleans!
Map from 'The Real Guide: FRANCE', by Kate Baillie and Tim Salmon, Prentice-Hall, 1992.
Traveling south towards Poitiers from Fontevraud to the city of Loudun situated on a hill, there are two very noticeable features in the skyline: one, a stone belfry and the other, a square tower from the 11th century which set the character of the town. Our Acadian ancestors, Jehan and Perrine Terriot and their relatives and other ancestors came to the fairs and festivals of this city from the other parts of the region. At that time, Loudun was an important fortress whose gateway still exists today. Rich in history, Loudun once knew the likes of important figures like Theophraste Renaudat, the founder of the French press in 1632. When Isaac de Razilly and his crew of 300 'select men' departed for Acadia, Renaudot reported this news in his newspaper 'The Gazette'.

Continuing towards Poitiers from Loudun, is the Seigneurie d'Aulnay which includes Martaizé. Martaizé today, is a small farming village with a friendly Pastor leading his Catholic parish. The village is mindful of its role in Acadian history. It is a part of 'la ligne Acadienne'... a line which identifies the area as the ancestral origins of Acadia.

There is a well-maintained museum closeby in La Chaussee called 'La Maison de L'Acadie'. At the time of our visit, the museum was under the care of Monsieur Gigon who took time to give personal tours to any returning Acadians.

The displays are informative and have been carefully prepared. As we walked around in La Chaussee, I couldn't help but think about the departure of the first Acadians. As written by G. Massignon and M. Caillebeau, a number of carts gathered in front of the little church of La Chaussée loaded with the farmers, their families and their few belongings. They awaited Monsieur Le Curé's blessing and fond farewells from their friends. Vincent Landry, the Notaire, was there amid the crowd. Then Martin Le Godelier, Lord of the village, solemnly lead the expedition away as they slowly started their five-day trip to La Rochelle and their eventual destination in the New World.

There are several other sites in the area which are important to Acadian history. Isaac de Razilly was born in the village of Roiffé8between Fontevraud and Loudun. He led the first group of 300 Frenchmen to Acadia in 1632 along with Charles de Menou Seigneur D'Aulnay. D'Aulnay knew alot about farming and his mother owned the fiefdom which included La Chaussee, Aulnay and Martaizé.

Terriot's still live in Martaizé although the spelling convention in France for the name seems to be either Terriot or Therriot. The flat farm lands which stretch out around the village from horizon to horizon, are rich and well-manicured. Change comes slowly in these small French villages. They are mindful of their long history. So, I suspect that except for the obvious modern conveniences and construction, this little village has not changed much since Jehan and Perrine left here for La Rochelle and beyond.

We kept a journal during our tour. So, click on the Terriot crest to check out our entries for those 4-5 days that we spent in the Middle Loire area.

THE HUNTING DOGS OF CHEVERNY; Cheverny... a chateau built in the early 1600's. It continues today to be inhabited by the descendants of the original owner but is also open to the public... so one might call this a 'working chateau'?  Compared to Chenonceaux, it is a relatively modest castle, however it is a gem in many other respects: the grounds are superb... a great spot to bring a picnic lunch, and the inside is loaded with history, beautiful antiques and a very friendly staff. The Hunting Dogs of Cheverny