I love this!
Almost all of the houses in our street have these plaques on their outside walls. They all have names. There’s even a La Roseraie!
When we moved here, we weren’t aware of a name, but on one garden exploration I found this dirty and broken plaque under a hedge.
I propped it up in the garden and didn’t imagine I would ever find the missing corner piece but yesterday… as I was digging out some weeds my spade hit something and it was the piece. Filthy dirty and a bit chipped, but it fit!
So, I cleaned it up as best I could and repaired it as best I could (I don’t expect a casting call from The Repair Shop anytime soon) and here it is.
I suspect it was removed when the front gate was electrified some years ago.
I did a bit of research about the name too.
Carmen isn’t a French word, it’s Spanish – specifically relating to a type of house in the Grenada region. Those houses are described as having multilevel gardens with vines, trees, food and beautiful plants growing. The are often high up with magnificent views.
That pretty much sums up our house.
Carmen also means a song or a poem… and digging deeper there’s a strong ‘troubadour’ link, a moorish history and a lot of ancient language links between this part of France and Spain.
So I wonder when these houses were built whether they were named after their new owners or the characteristics of the house?
Did the names get selected when the houses were built? All the plaques are identical but the houses are very very different so was there a traveling plaque maker who just had a really good week of sales when he did door to door in this street?
Anyway. The plaque is on display in the garden. Villa Carmen is a poets house with a huge garden full of plants and produce… and really great views.
The grapevine and fruit trees are doing their own thing, we have vast beds of fennel, sage, rosemary and bay. I’m working on the kitchen garden as we speak… but it’s been a long time since I wrote a poem… perhaps I need to start doing them again?
Watch this space.