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The Follies of Saint-Palais-sur-Mer

I turned, and we walked the short distance back to Carthowen’s overblown mansion, it’s grotesque kitsch borrowed from the styles of a hundred different worlds.
He halted suddenly when he saw Cilla and the hapless Carthowen, tethered by his neck ring to the rear of the saddle.
I laughed. “Don’t be afraid of her. She is here to protect you and take you home, so climb aboard.”
I waited until he was in the saddle, then climbed up after him, and whispered softly to Cilla. “Sbwriel yn Anwylyd, er ei fod yn rhoi drosedd i syllu arnynt.”
She turned her head to face the house and drew breath.

When she had finished, all that was left of Carthowen’s monstrous folly was a pile of incandescent rubble, and his anguished whimpering behind me.
I made no comment as we lifted into the air.


(From ‘Closed Circle’ by the author)

It isn’t very often that I come across a house that I don’t like. Most appear aesthetically pleasing, some outstandingly attractive. The remainder are generally banal, even boring, but not usually causing me offense.

There is the odd building though, that sets off a physical wrinkling in my nose, a psychological jangling of broken bells in my head. Fortunately, I’ve found it easy to turn my head and look elsewhere, maybe at a more pleasing specimen. But what if you find yourself in a road, where every house looks like a badly reconstructed dog’s breakfast? Where do you look? What do you do now?
Well it did happen – some time ago, on a holiday in Vaux-sur-Mer. And I did do something – I took photographs of some of the hideous monstrosities as my girlfriend and I progressed down the road.

Now, several years later, I’m busy re-visiting photos, with a view to making these available for friends on the website, and I came across them.

This part of the French coastline, just north of Royan is a popular getaway for thousands of Frenchmen, amongst the richest of whom, have built themselves weekend homes.
Some of these homes draw on, and blend favourably with, the local building styles, and are both attractive and easy on the eye. Some of them sadly, are not, and reflect a tasteless and uninformed collage of styles ranging from la belle epoch to the present day, from almost every country in Europe, all rolled-up in one house. The result is ghastly, so bad that it’s completely hilarious.

Saint-Palais-Sur-Mer

Saint-Palais-Sur-Mer

I’ve embedded a Shockwave viewer to the photos below, or you can open the album on my photo-gallery page here: http://cullercoats.joebrown.org.uk/#57.0
http://cullercoats.joebrown.org.uk/#57

Finally, I would like to add that there are two gorgeous beaches here, lots to see, plenty good food to be had, a lively market and very friendly people – a lovely place for a holiday in fact. (so the weekend Frenchmen have got something right)
For a look at the more pleasant aspects of this area you might care to look at other photos I took there: http://cullercoats.joebrown.org.uk/#5.0

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