Thursday, July 30, 2009

Le Présidial

When we bought our house near St.-Aignan in 2003, the woman from whom we bought it left us all manner of papers and files about the house, the town, and the surrounding area. Among the stuff were a couple booklets about the history of St.-Aignan, published in the mid 1980s. It is from these booklets that I'm getting some information about what's in these photos.

The rue du Four and the roof of the présidial, 2009.

This brings me to this picture of a rather impressive slate rooftop right in the middle town. It's nearly in ruins, which is too bad, given that it's visible from the market square. I took the photo on our way to the café, le Lapin Blanc, which is on the rue du Four (Oven Street). The street is so named because it was the site of St.-Aignan's public ovens, very near the markets in the center of town.

Eighteenth century engraving of the rue du Four and présidial.
(Mairie de St.-Aignan, 1985)

One of the booklets includes an engraving of this very view dating from the eighteenth century. It notes that the building was a présidial, some kind of official place where local matters of law (the king's law) were decided. There's no other information about the building that I can find.


  1. After the "Bernardines", who's going to put this dilapidated building on fire?

  2. Walt, I say that you start a petition to save this building!
    I know, "plus facile à dire qu'à faire"...

  3. What a wonderful pairing! Is that old building owned by the town? I will gladly send a contribution to your preservation fund. Let us know when you get it set up. :-)

  4. Oh, great post with the two images together. I love those skinny, windy streets. I only just learned this past year of there having been public ovens for use in France back in the previous centuries. Was it from you? It might have been from Ina Caro's book. Or another. It's an interesting factoid!


  5. It's great to see the photo and the engraving and note how very little has changed (except the signs of aging and a little modernization--a skylight for a dormer?). It's a shame to see an old building like that rotting, especially when it's so close to other buildings. You'd think the neighbors would want it preserved--or at least repaired.

  6. One wonders why it was allowed to fall into such disrepair.

  7. chm, no one, I hope. This building is in the middle of town and a fire would be disastrous!

    isabelle, I don't know that I'm up to it!

    bill, I don't know who owns the building. I wonder...

    judy, I don't think it was from me.

    ginny, I was amazed at how little has changed, too.

    starman, probably just bad economics.


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