Day 3 – Wednesday 5th August
After breakfast we joined up with Anne and Andrew set off to visit the nearby village of Asnières. A very pretty village whose Church of St Hillaire contains a collection of exceptional wall paintings from the 12th and 16th centuries.
The village seemed to be a beacon for artists painting the beautiful scenes from the bridge.
After purchasing some provisions from the village shops we headed to Solemnes famous for its Abbé and had a picnic lunch by the river with the Abbé in the background. It was fascinating to see the monks about their work driving tractors, painting gates and fences.
Returning to the village Doug Liz and I joined Commander John on his launch and cruised a mile or two up river to another water mill – the wide gently flowing river is beautiful and we passed a number of fisherman and assorted pleasure craft cruising the river.
We then all returned to Solemnes to partake in Vespers in the Abbé – a unique event as it was all sung in Gregorian chant by the monks of the Abbey. On returning to Parce we stopped off for a quick drink with Anne and Andrew’s host family before meeting up for a drink with Archie and Rosemary (an English couple living in the village who had first suggested Raglan as a potential twin village).
In the evening we had decided to take our host families out for a meal and dined at the Auberge d’Acacia just outside the village. The mayor explained than he had not been to the Auberge for a couple of years – the last time he had been it had been run by and English couple and the food was awful. Now with new French owners the meal was excellent and we tucked into an excellent al fresco three course meal (worthy of any of Monmouthshire’s top restaurants). We then all retired to Jacques and Anne-Marie’s for a farewell drink of interesting liqueurs squirreled away in his cave.