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|Georges Buisson reflects on the church at Nohant|
There are picture-perfect places that are just right, set in the collective memory which deserve not to be disturbed. The hamlet of Nohant, so many times depicted, painted and photographed is one of those.
Everything sits in harmony here: a few old houses, a humble church, its square once planted with dark-leaved elms, since replaced with elegant lime trees, the chateau’s entrance, as George Sand’s house is known here, with its wrought iron gate.
From the red ochre roof tiles to the beige grey render of the walls, the sand of the footpaths and the softness of the roses that flower in the spring, everything in Nohant is a peaceful harmony of colour. It all contributes to make this heritage haven a unique place frozen in time that stands firmly in the hearts of many.
Standing in the centre of this idyllic setting, the Saint Anne church faces George Sand’s house and appears to send it glances of complicity and affection.
We are all aware of the special place George Sand’s adopted village and its church had in her heart although she often denounced the arrogance of religion in much of her work. To her the church was first and foremost a symbol of belonging to the local area even if the area was as tiny as the hamlet of Nohant. The church built in its centre was, and still is, its heart. We are reminded of the importance of the Anne, the Patron Saint of the village, each summer as she is still celebrated at midsummer and was, in the days of George Sand, the opportunity for a family to take part in the festivities held in her honour. Eugene Delacroix, George Sand’s artist friend, depicted Saint Anne on a canvas made from one of the writer’s corsets. This painting was faithfully and painstakingly copied by Maurice Sand, his pupil, and it would be wonderful to see it hung one day in the little church, freed from the damage inflicted by time. This is our dream!
This sweet little church, so anchored in our collective memory, certainly deserves it. Together with the house, it keeps the memory of bygone days when Nohant welcomed two different worlds that lived in harmony, where the Parisian spirit complemented the peasant spirit of this rich province, where classical music was inspired by popular music.
Nohant could not be without its church, which is testament to the knowledge and talent of its master masons so dear to George Sand, just as it could not be without the beautiful house the writer left us for eternity.