For the first three days of our visit, we stayed in Tennessus Castle – a marvel of restoration and faithful maintenance.
It is about 7 km from the town of Parthenay. I had honed in on this area for the castle, but also because it was a good resting point before we tackled Puy du Fou – which needed to be at the beginning of our trip because of seasonal considerations, and the fact that this past weekend was the last of their big nighttime show. But it turned out that Parthenay itself is a lovely little town with much too offer – more to see there than we did. We did manage a visit to the historic quarter, marked by remnants of the town wall, guard towers and such, and the entrance named after St. Jacques, in honor of the pilgrims who passed through here, as it sits on one of the historic routes of the pilgrimage.
An Englishman stopped me, as he heard me talking, and joked that we had come a long way. For his part, he and his wife had retired to Parthenay, and were escorting her parents around on a visit. He inquired if the boys were on holiday (and we do get double takes and curious looks as we walk about during the school day), and I said I educate them at home (thinking “HAHAHAHAHAHAH! EDUCATE!) ..and he said, delighted and surprised, “Well, so did we!”
Not in France, where it is rather difficult, legally (people do it, but it’s a challenge), but in England.
“After all,” he said, “They’re our children, aren’t they?”