P1070625A château wouldn’t be a château without some towers and turrets. Once I started looking, I found them everywhere, and not just on châteaux.

 

Turrets are little towers that start on an upper floor, usually tacked onto a corner. Towers go all the way to the ground. Turrets offered a good vantage point for archers defending their castle.P1070483

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Crenellated wall, to boot!

Today turrets are just charming, except on McMansions (I saw a great example–which is to say it was abominable–in a subdivision in Béziers, but my shots didn’t turn out). Yes, there are McMansions in France. Even subdivisions, which are called lotissements.

It’s quite popular among McMansions here to stick a tower, for the master bedroom and bath, in the middle of an otherwise banal suburban house. P1070593beziers river

 

 

P1060556Happily, there are plenty of real châteaux all over the place, as well as more modest buildings that have odd towers tacked on. Why are those OK while the ones on McMansions are tacky? Maybe it’s snobbism, but it seems like the McMansions are just trying too hard to be special, and failing miserably. Kind of like wearing a sequined T-shirt with sweatpants–the sequins aren’t enough to make it dressy. And with clothes or houses, outer appearances can be good or bad but it’s what’s inside that really counts.P1070403P1060674P1060618

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The shape of that window! Like a sleepy eye. You can tell I’ve been collecting these photos for some time. It’s very green and hot here now.

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P1070623It still takes my breath away to go down some ordinary street here in Carcassonne and catch a glimpse of la Cité:P1060621P1060639

 

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20 thoughts on “Turrets and Towers

  1. The one with the “sleepy eye” is wonderful, as is la Cité. We are considering Carcassonne as our next home (we’ve been in Charente for 5 years) but I keep hearing about the ever-present wind. Does it exist and if so, do you mind it? We’ve been to Agde a number of times over 16 years and find the wind quite variable, but rumor has it that it’s windier to the west.

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    1. It IS windy, but contrary to the rumor, it is less windy inland than on the Mediterranean coast. Yesterday and the day before were nearly without wind–very unusual, and it felt suffocating. Today the wind came back and we welcomed it. You can tell by where the wind farms are built–quite a few around here, on the peaks of mountains, but many more along the coast. There are often wind warnings on the highways there, which just don’t happen around here.

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  2. Whenever I see a turret I think of fairy tales. Is there a princess locked up inside??. We stayed in a small hotel once in a room in the turret. The fact that you could look in different directions was a bonus. I felt like a princess, in a good way…..

    Ali

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  3. My Rapunzel complex is well documented on my own blog. I would let down my long hair in any of those towers and would even allow myself such a moment in one of the turrets. The modern affectations are not to my taste and of course those that expatriate to countries tend to be in love with the real thing, the old and historic. For those that grew up here, it is often a question of less romantic notions and the desire for easier and cheaper to run modern properties that leads them to the lotissements. The adornments are a simple question of individualising a little, I would venture. And I will never buy one. Thank you for another very well researched post. And mostly thank you for satisfying if only fleetingly my restless ache to Rapunzelate!

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  4. These turrets and towers are impressive, stately, fanciful. They possess a certain romance. And the one with the sleepy eye reminds me of a gnome’s hat!

    Your mention of McMansions in France saddens me. Somehow I thought or hoped better taste would prevail…

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  5. Family friends live in a little village outside Carca (maybe yours, or one near it?) and we’ve been to a few events at La Cité, including the wedding of one of the daughters. You’re right about it catching your breath! Reminds me very fondly of the year I studied abroad in Aix, where just about every countryside run (and even the upper floors at the hospital!) had stunning glimpses of Mont Sainte-Victoire. It never got old.
    Your blog is an absolute pleasure to read, for reasons francophile and not. Thank you for sharing your words with the world.

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