Poullignac - Home for the last 9 years

Let me take you to the historic village of Poullignac, where some of the old folks still speak 'patois', which I find extremely difficult to understand.

In fact I probably only understand every 5th word.

I will explain later where the term 'patois' comes from.

I have spent 9 happy years here in this lovely village. We arrived here in 2001 and there were about 95 people living here. This number has not changed very much as some people leave and new ones arrive.

When we arrived there was one English family of 4 living here in Poullignac and now they are 6 Families, which is a total of 15 people, plus me the only German.

We are very lucky here to have an absolute brilliant Mayoress. She is very approachable and does a lot for the whole village.

When we arrived she was already the Mayoress and one evening she invited us for a drink to our Salle des Fetes (Community Hall) and half of the village was there to welcome us to Poullignac.

I have to say it surprised us but it was lovely and from then on we really felt at home here.

Every year on the 11th November we always have a beautiful remembrance service at a war monument, which is right beside the church.

Our Mayoress gives a speech and sometimes somebody else will add something or we sing the french national anthem. It's all done very nice.

And afterwards of course, in the spirit of the french, we all go for a drink to our Salle des Fetes and a 4 course lunch with plenty of great french wine.

It all wraps up by about 6o'clock, unless you can take more drink!!!!!

As you realise Poullignac is not very big and we have no shops here at all.

The nearest village is Deviat, which is about 3.5 km away, but there you are able to buy bread and other essentials, plus you can have a drink in the Bar and post a letter at the same time. Not too bad is it?

But Poullignac is a very historic village and has one of the oldest churches here in the South-West-France. It is a Romanesque Church called Saint-Martin built from the end of the 11th century to the beginning of the 12th. It was classified as a historic monument in 1987.

The apse was replaced in the 12th century with the current barrel vault choir.

The brick vault in the nave dates from 1844. There are murals painted in the choir, and traces of paintings in the rest of the church.

Poullignac Church

View of Poullignac Church

In fact, while I am writing this our church is getting renovated. The renovations started last year and all should be finished in another 2 years.

Poullignac Church

Close up of Poullignac Church

The church is not used very much. Once a year at the end of June we have a Patois Festival here and the Church is used for a morning service then, which is always very busy.

In July 2008 we had our son Sacha baptised in our church and it was absolutely lovely with all the village turning out for an english/french service.

Inside Poullignac Church

Inside the Church

We are very close to several historic villages. Most notable is Aubeterre, a village of immense charm with it's 12th century monolithic church carved into the solid rock face of the surrounding cliffs.

Or how about Angouleme, which is a walled town of quite immense proportions and it is the regional capital. It's old town is filled with boutiques, bars and excellent restaurants.

Definitely worth going to see.

And here is a quick explanation of the 'Patois' as promised.

Patois is any language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics. Class distinctions are embedded in the term, drawn between those who speak patois and those who speak the standard or dominant language used in literature and public speaking, i.e., the "acrolect".

In France and other Francophone countries, patois has been used to describe non-Parisian French and so-called regional languages such as Breton, Occitan, and Franco-Provençal, since 1643.

The word assumes the view of such languages as being backward, countrified, and unlettered, thus is considered by speakers of those languages as offensive when used by outsiders.

This word entered the English language from the original French in 1643.

It is believed to be derived from the French patoier, which means “to paw or handle clumsily,” in a reference to the fact that a patois can sound very rough and imperfect.

The French originally used the term to refer to native dialects, and later to regional French dialects such as the French spoken in parts of Canada, differentiating “patois” from the French spoken in France.

The language sense may arise from the notion of a clumsy manner of speaking.

Many languages have a large number of dialects, and some speakers consider certain dialects to be more pure than others.

For example, American English and British English have diverged quite significantly since the 1600s, and some people consider British English to be the “pure” form of English, dismissing American English as a mere patois.

In fact, evidence suggests that American English more closely resembles the English of the 1600s than British English.

Speakers of either American English or British English would probably consider pidgin English to be a patois, however, because pidgin is so markedly alien to their ears.

Patois is not firmly defined in linguistics, and the definition sometimes depends on where one stands and how one speaks.

In all cases, the implication is usually that the language is simpler than its parent language, and that the patois is a clumsy imitation of the original.

Furthermore, a patois often integrates foreign words, reflecting a meeting of cultures.

Speakers of a patois may have marked accents or ways of speaking which seem strange to others, especially in cases where the meanings of words evolve to refer to new concepts.

That was the quick explanation for you to get to know 'patois'.

I hope you enjoyed your trip to Poullignac and maybe we will see you here sometime in the summer.

If you are looking for accommodation, why not check out 'La Petite Maison'. You will find it right in the heart of Poullignac.

Whatever you are doing this summer or any other time, have a fun time..............