Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sampler Chateau

Bavent, France.  Glimpsing this elaborately patterned house as we drove by en route to our nearby hotel, my immediate impression was there was something quite Disneyesque about it.  The next morning we returned to investigate further.  Walking from the parking lot, the closer we got, the more enchanted we became.

The clay-rich Bavent area had attracted many small potters since at least the 15th Century.  This firm, Poterie du Mesnil de Bavent, established in 1842, specialized in decorative roof finials, roof ridge tiles and various flat tiles. The house was built in the mid-1800s to showcase the pottery's capabilities and products.

The pottery's roof finial modules come in just about every size, color and shape.  You can mix the elements to create the perfect roof decoration.  Dominique, the owner, whose artist-mother saved the pottery in 1987, said the correct size for a roof finial is 10% of the height of the building.

We saw parts of the inside of the house as decorators were preparing the house for a wedding.

At the back of the property, baa-ing black sheep, colorful chickens, a dove, a goat on a bench and peacocks entertained us.

I love the textures and patterns on the walls and roof of this barn... well as the more ornate designs on this small shed.

Remember I though the house had a Disney quality about it?  We heard a story while we were in Normandy that the Disney family name was originally d'Isigny ("from Isigny," a nearby canton in the Normandy region of France) that was misspelled when Walt Disney's ancestors moved to the USA.  It's easy to see how Uncle Walt could have found inspiration from such a fantasy place.

For more information on the Poterie du Mesnil de Bavent, visit their website HERE.  It's only in French as of this writing but you can translate it with Google Translate.


  1. Terrific find, and you have documented the highlights of this wonderful place. Beautifully done.

  2. Glad you like the place. We spent much longer there than we anticipated. So Jeff, are you ready to buy one of those fancy French finials to put atop your roof?

    1. Don't think the "architecture" of my house would be right for fancy finials. It would clash with my satellite dish. Beside, I fear my roof would be too harsh an environment for something so fragile looking. We have wind and hail storms, and dozens of squirrels running around up there. Were you thinking of sending me one?

      We found a house in San Antonio, TX which is the outlet for a tile company. That house is covered with sample tiles both inside and outside, but it isn't nearly as grand as this place.

    2. Would be interested in the San Antonio house link if you know of one. Jeff, this morning I was going to add this pottery company's link to my blog roll under "Design Sites I Like" and a link to your blog under "Photography." However, I managed to wipe out the entire section of design sites and cannot recover it. May wait a few days to try to add yours...don't want to make another fatal error...just wanted to let you know my intention. If you have any wisdom about recovering the lost blog roll section, I'm all ears.

    3. Recovery of your lost blog roll might depend on what computer you are using. Mac computers have something called "Time Machine" allowing you to go back. PC computers require special file retrieval software which can be used if no other file has been written on the disk space. I'm afraid this is not much help.

      I'll look for a link to the San Antonio tile house.

    4. Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, my Mac is temporarily disconnected to my backup hard drive as I'm traveling. Guess I'm going to have to depend on my memory to re-create it. Yikes!