|Dovecote at Fontenay Les Briis
|Dovecote at Saint Aubin Farm
We found our first two dovecotes quite by accident. Despite our best efforts to head straight out of Charles de Gaulle Airport, we took a wrong turn almost immediately, and set off toward Lyon. Just as we figured out how to head west instead of south and got onto the right road, we found that the road we needed was closed, and were diverted onto a detour. At first it also went toward Lyon, where we felt we were destined to go, however, not being completely acquiescent to fate, we took a small road toward the west and drove through the village of Fontenay les Briis, where we spotted a lovely round dovecote from the road, and stopped to take its picture.
While I am not certain that this was a dovecote, because of its rather slender width compared to height, it does appear to have the standard type rat courses built into the wall, which is never seen on windmills. It is possible that this tower served several purposes with the lower floors being used for other domestic uses. Perhaps others that read these pages may be more familiar with the dovecotes we mention and will be able to provide more detailed information. As mentioned, I speak no French, so was not able to introduce myself to the owner and inquire about more details.
Greatly cheered by finding such a nice dovecote, we bravely continued west on small roads through a pretty forested landscape and several small villages. We stopped for coffee at Les Mesnuls, on the D191, and bought bread and pastries at the boulangerie. We had a small picnic of the pastries on the wall of the manor. If you are anywhere near this village, go to the boulangerie. It is well worth a visit just for the pastries.
We then headed off again, and just as we reached the N12, a major road to the west, we spotted our second dovecote, at a farm called Saint Aubin. At this point, we decided that having gotten lost was a very good thing. This dovecote is of stone rubble, with brick courses and corbelling below the slate roof. Unfortunately, it also has a power line stapled to it. It must have been dual purpose. The second floor door, now closed, would have been used to access the dovecote while the ground floor door provided separate access for another purpose.