3 unusual details that you could miss when visiting Talmont sur Gironde

Have you decided to come and visit the pearl of the Gironde estuary? I give you here 3 unusual details that you could miss in Talmont sur Gironde when scouting around without a guide....

Let's go, look up and observe these unusual details along the narrow streets of the picturesque village of Talmont sur Gironde!

1. THE STONE CANNONBALLS OF TALMONT

The village of Talmont occupies a key position at the entrance to the estuary. The English king Edward I bought the place in 1283 to build a fortified town. Some of its walls are still visible, but the White Tower that once dominated the river was ruined in the 16th century. An act dated from 1342 tells about the expenses made by the seneschal of Saintonge to buy stones, wood, nails and leather to repair the walls, the range of the trebuchets: trebuchet is part of the medieval artillery pieces, kind of catapult. It is a siege device that was used in the Middle Ages to destroy masonry walls or to throw projectiles over fortifications. The trebuchet was a war machine that threw stones, and was used to trip the walls! (Trébucher in french : if need to know more, can click here)

In 1972, a study of the project to bury the electricity grid uncovered many stone balls, some of which are kept at the Talmont Museum, some others stil displayed in the streets of the village (Have a glance to pillars at the entrance of the cimetery).

2018 10 30 boulets pierre Talmont

 

2018 10 30 Talmont cadran solaire

2. SUNDIALS IN TALMONT

It is not uncommon to notice a number of sundials along the streets of Talmont. Some are visible on the facades of the houses and others are directly sculpted. They are inspired by the one carved on a column in the apse of the church; it dates back to 1586. According to the local legend, the dial was installed by the monks to indicate the time,as the bell of the church has been melted by order of the Count of Talmont, following a revolt by the inhabitants.

 

 

 3 . THE RUE DE L'AMIENOIS IN TALMONT

What could be Amiénois? On June 10, 1940, the cargo ship "Amiénois", just returned to civilian service after being requisitioned to participate in the Norwegian campaign, left the port of Le Havre because of the Nazis offensive. Hastily loaded with spirits, military uniforms but also and above all a brand new battery of guns, the ship stopped at the port of Le Verdon, before cruising upstream the Gironde. But when arrived in Pauillac at the end of the day, the crew was denied the authorization to land the artillery pieces, as the dock was not considered solid enough to support their weight. As a result, the ship left for Bordeaux, where it arrived the next day. The imminence of defeat and total disorganization leads to a succession of contradictory orders. The crew refused to leave France, so they were interned and replaced by a military crew. After leaving the port of Bordeaux, the ship was scuttled at Talmont. The ship was carrying the latest generation of anti-aircraft machine guns that should not fall into enemy hands! In 1942 and 1943, the occupier tried in vain to recover the artillery pieces.

After the war, the masts emerging from the water served as shelter for birds, before the wreckage suffered several storms. Although located outside the main shipping channel, its potentially dangerous nature for boaters and fishermen necessitated the installation of a beacon so that it would not endanger ship traffic in the Gironde estuary.

Navigation Map close to Talmont and wreck of Amienois cargo

 2018 10 30 Talmont Gironde Plaque Edouard 1st Amienois

And if you would like to know more, I am at your disposal to organize guided tours along the Gironde estuary

I still have many anecdotes to share with you about our beautiful estuary and its secrets, as I recently did with Tim and Mike,
two enthusiastic English-speaking bloggers who love the region.
Click here to read Tim's article, Invisible Bordeaux on his day in the Gironde estuary

Click here to check out the guest blogging post on Bordeaux Expats website