Medieval Venelle in Lauzun, France

Soupy Tuesdays bring together friends and fowl

What do pigeons and turkeys have in common? You eat them.

Last month, Lauzun neighbours George and Ros were kind enough to stage my hosts Sue and Ian’s Canadian thanksgiving in France in their back yard. Sue and Ian served turkey and once they’d left for Morocco, I was blessed with ten very meaty turkey bones.

I made a big batch of turkey-and-leek soup and asked George and Ros if they’d be willing to host me if I brought some soup over? The next Tuesday we shared soup, wine, and stories as they filled me in on the village’s perks, quirks, and history.

George and Ros of Lauzun, France.
George and Ros of Lauzun, France.

Since then, we’ve met every week for “Soupy Tuesday” and I learn a little more each time. For example, George and Ros told me that families kept pigeons in pigeonniers (dovecotes) adjoining their houses. They kept them for their meat and eggs, and they’d blend the pigeon dung with straw to insulate the walls.

George and Ros live on a tiny, pebbled laneway called a venelle. Across the venelle another neighbour, Ursula, is renovating a property that had a bicycle shop at the front and a pigeonnier at the back. George offered to take me there for a tour.

Pigeonnier structure with a dove roosting tower.
On the venelle, George says hello to Martin, who is renovating Ursula’s pigeonnier into a studio. Note the roosting tower where pigeons would fly in and out. Lauzun, France.

Inside the pigeonnier, another neighbour, Martin, was helping Ursula by finishing the windows and walls. He’d added a new frame within the existing timbers and stabilized the walls with new blocks. He grinned that he would not be using the dung-and-straw mixture to insulate the walls of the soon-to-be studio.

Martin frames in a window to the pigeonnier.
Martin frames in a window to a pigeonnier in Lauzun, France.
Building blocks stabilize a centuries' old pigeonnier
Building blocks stabilize a centuries’ old pigeonnier in Lauzun, France.

Ursula joined us and guided us to the kitchen where the original sink was outdoors so it could drain into the adjoining carreyrou (walkway).

Outdoor household sink in Lauzun, France.
Outdoor household sink in Lauzun, France.

Inside, she showed us a second-floor bedroom that was in its original condition, and then a bedroom that had been renovated.

George and I left Ursula and Martin to their work, and George explained the difference between a venelle and the carreyrou in this Medieval village.

“The venelle is wide enough to pull a wagon through, and the carreyrou is just wide enough to walk along.”

George and I said our good-byes and I agreed to meet him and Ros again next Tuesday. I had a couple of squash to get creative with, so I figured I’d make a golden, curried soup as a remedy to the cool, December evening.

George in walking in narrow carreyrouin Lauzun, France.
George walks in the narrow carreyrou between two homes in Lauzun, France.

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Writer, rider, traveller.

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