Nicolas Pelletier's Footsteps in Gallardon
William H. Peltier III
1090 Latham Dr.
Watkinsville, Ga 70677
(Note: Click on the photos for more detail)
After many years of genealogical research on my Peltier lineage in North America, I reached the final connection to Nicolas Pelletier, who emigrated from Gallardon, France in 1636 to Quebec City, Canada.
(Click here to go to Nicolas' biography on this site - click on your browser's Back button to return to the visit.)
Thoughts of visiting Gallardon ran through my mind for the last several years, until March 3, 1999, when my wife Dorothy and I headed for France. A trade-off for choosing the month of March for traveling was of course low cost airfare and reduced cost for hotel rooms and a rental car in exchange for rapidly changing weather conditions. Well the latter prevailed most of the trip! During our first five days in Paris we had to wear the heaviest clothes we had with us plus our raingear. Getting from hotel to tourist sights and returning we resorted to taxis and buses. Since I had been to Paris before, I acted as the tour guide for my wife. On our first evening in France we had dinner with Odile and Michel Guyot and following dinner Monsieur Guyot gave us a driving tour of Paris at night. This was really a great treat. We saw some beautiful sights all lit up with the lights of Paris. I had been in contact with their son, Xavier, through the internet for over a year. He was a tremendous help to us in planning our visit and helping us in so many ways to get prepared for our trip. We could not have done without Xavier's help and suggestions. As a result our trip went very smoothly. He and his wife, Veronique, had us over to their Orleans apartment for dinner while we were staying in Gallardon. Before dinner Xavier gave us a grand tour of the city of Orleans, which we enjoyed very much. Xavier is deeply involved in French genealogy and for those that are interested, his web site is as follows: www.geneaguide.org.
On Sunday, March 7th, we picked up our rental car from Orly airport and headed to Gallardon. (We recommend that you rent your car through your travel agent before leaving for France.) The choice of Sunday and picking up the car from Orly was predetermined as to avoid the famous Paris traffic. It is so easy to catch a bus out to the airport and it even makes a great sightseeing trip by bus through Paris. We were pleasantly surprised to find the roads excellent to drive on and well marked (my wife may disagree). We drove on Interstate equivalent roads from Orly airport south on A-10 then on A-11 toward Chartres. After an easy hour we arrived in the hamlet of Jonvilliers which is located about 6 km from Gallardon. I had found a wonderful Bed & Breakfast through the internet called Chateau de Jonvilliers located in the hamlet. For the next four nights we made the Chateau our base of operation. From it we were able to meander around the countryside including such places as Gallardon, Ramboulet, Chartres and as far as Orleans
Click on the picture above for a pictoral visit to the Chateau
Gallardon (click here
for map) is about 68 kilometers from Paris and 18 kilometers from Chartres. It is located on the banks of the river Voise. It is a quaint village with its history dating back to the 11th century. The countryside around Gallardon is very agricultural with vast fields of row crops almost up to the village limits. An aerial view of the village shows two important points of interest, the church of St. Peter and St. Paul and the Tower of Gallardon. Many of the streets of Gallardon are typically narrow and provide an easy walking tour around the old part of the village.
Click on the picture above for a pictoral visit to Gallardon
The exterior of the City Hall hasn't changed much since the early 1900s. Even the road and park in front of the City Hall seemed to be unchanged. We had a pleasant meeting with the Mayor of Gallardon, Monsieur Guy Beaufils, and several of his staff. The Mayor asked Mademoiselle Perry to assist us in our genealogy research on Nicolas Pelletier and his ancestors. She was a terrific help to us, bringing us the old records, and patiently interpreting the records for us. We marveled at how well we were treated and we found everyone being very friendly wherever we traveled.
Click on the picture above for a pictoral visit to Gallardon's City Hall
In the aerial photo of Gallardon, you can see one of the village's attractions called the Tower of Gallardon. It is within an easy walk from the Church.
Click here to visit the Tower and see another view of Gallardon's Tower
Another village attraction, the timber-frame house represented an extremely early type of housing. This house was within sight of the Place de l'Eglise where the entrance to the church is located.
Click here to visit the Half-timbered House - photo courtesy of Xavier Guyot
The focal point of the village is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Built progressively from the 11th to 13th century, it still serves the Catholic community.
Click here to visit the Church of St-Peter and St.Paul
While traveling around the area we encountered some unexpected surprises that are worthy of inclusion in our trip report. Our first surprise was getting caught in the middle of a typical farm protest against the French government. Funny when we became part of the farm protest, I felt right at home since I was raised on a farm in Michigan. Guess you can never get the farm out of the boy! We became part of a rolling tractor brigade on the major road going into Chartres. Later we discovered that the tractor brigade was a typical way for Frenchmen to protect against their government. The tractors end up surrounding the local seat of government and after delivering their protest to the proper officials everyone goes home. Really makes a terrific traffic jam coming and going and not fun getting stuck in it. We don't know what they were protesting this day. Our host at the Chateau de Jonvilliers told us that these farm protests are quite common and due mainly to the effects of joining the European Common Market and the French farmers disagreement with many EC decisions which they feel go against their livelihood.
Tractorcade - Click here to see other unexpected surprises