Pages

Follow by Email

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A 4th century Roman swimming-pool

 

The house at Boussans
 
I got back from France at the weekend, worn out by eight days of fun. Well, I suppose it was fun. I mean hiking in the Pyrenees, walking in the foothills of said mountains, and larking about in a heated outdoor pool with my grandchildren. Exhausting. And fabulous.

The house, pictured above, was magnificent – although the low doorways, built for little stunted Gallic types several hundred years ago, resulted in my cracking my head with monotonous regularity. While we were tucked away in the woods and fields we were only a few miles from Aurignac, a village with restaurants, caf├ęs, bakers and butchers.

Aurignac
 
It was only a few minutes’ drive away, but we generally preferred to take a back-pack and walk the two to three miles along a path that snaked through the woods, pausing en route to pinch a few ripe cherries here and there.

Other times we explored the narrow lanes, on one occasion following a sign that directed us to a ‘Piscine Gallo-Romane’, and another sign referring us to a guide who lived at a large old farmhouse. We knocked at the door. An old, bent lady answered. She explained that she could not guide us, being too frail these days, but if we paid her 3 euros (between us, not each) we could show ourselves around. She further explained that the site had been discovered some fifty years ago when her son, then aged 11, dug up some pink mortar and pieces of marble. Further excavation revealed this:

 
Along with the actual pool were the remains of the hypocaust, the hot room, tepid room and cold room - and a reminder to pay your fee!


 
So, that's the good stuff done with for now. I have already spent two days compiling questions for my smuggler-black-marketeer friend and will be writing his story from early next week.