Moving to France
A new beginning for Rhae & Keith Elliott
Life in France
Fourteen kilometers south east of Argenton-sur-Creuse, the village of Gargilesse, with it's charming brown tiled roofed houses packed around the Chateau and the Roman Church, hides in the hollow of the river from which it takes it's name. The Gargilesse river joins the river Creuse that flows through a savagely beautiful, deep gorge in the Limousin region of Central France.
The author George Sand was among the many famous people to fall under the charm of the village. Born in Paris to a father of aristocratic lineage (a grandaughter of Maurice, comte de Saxe and a distant relative of Louis XVI) and a commoner mother, Sand was raised for much of her childhood by her grandmother at the family estate, Nohant, in the French region of Berry, a setting later used in many of her novels. In 1822, she married Baron M. Casimir Dudevant (1795–1871), and they had two children, Maurice (1823–1889) and Solange (1828–1899). In 1835 Sand and her husband legally separated, which prompted Sand's lifelong search for true liberty and independence.
Her first published novel, Rose et Blanche (1831) was written in collaboration with Jules Sandeau, from whom she allegedly took her pen name, Sand. Her reputation was questioned when she began sporting menswear in public---the clothes being far sturdier and less expensive than a noble woman's dress. This male "disguise" also enabled Sand to circulate more freely about Paris and gave her increased access to venues that might have been denied to a woman of her social standing. This was an exceptional practice for the 19th century, where social codes — especially in the upper class — were of the highest importance. As a consequence Sand lost many of the privileges attached to being a Baroness. There were widespread but unconfirmed rumors of a lesbian affair. She had a very torrid love affair with a much younger man during the time she stayed in Gargilesse when writing some of her novels. She also lived with Chopin but left him shortly before he died from tuberculosis
For several centuries many writers, craftsmen, contemporary and impressionist painters came to the area to take refuge, work and create.
The spendid isolation and the spectacularly diverse secenery of the Berry and Limousine regions has been the ideal situation for painters, sculptors and writers to get their inspiration.
Gargilesse is a village where time seems to have stopped, out of reach of history. There is a fantastic monthly market and many quaint shops to browse through antiques, books, clothes and gifts.