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The Narrat Water Mill

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In Charente Maritime, on its border with the department of Charente, lies the small village of Saint Maigrin - a village with a history going back to the time of Charlemagne.

Le Moulin de Narrat – The Narrat Water Mill.

There are many mills, both wind and water, in the region. The small river Tatre runs past the village and in the 16th century a water mill was constructed at Narrat, on the edge of the village. It ground both wheat grains for bread, and walnuts to provide oil.

Saint Maigrin is too far north for olives to ripen, and the Romans planted walnut trees throughout the region to provide a source for oil. Like most medieval villages there was a fish pond, in this case, it was the mill reservoir fitted with special gratings to serve as a fish keep.

The mill truly provided the five loaves and the five fishes! In the early 1900s the water mill was even adapted to turn a generator to provide that “new fangled” electricity for the village.

Gabriel Magne was a local lad who set up a successful construction business near Arcachon, and at his retirement, like many French people, he returned to his ‘pays’, the countryside of his birth.

Seeing the ruins of the old water mill up for sale, he purchased them, and set about a complete five year restoration of the mill and outbuildings.

To record the heritage and history, he turned the mill into a working museum. Gabriel Magne is such a perfectionist that the authenticity of his restoration has won him many plaudits, plus a coveted award from the Fondation Patrimoine – the Heritage Foundation

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For a calm and relaxing holiday amidst the beauty of the Charentais countryside, the mill house offers Bed & Breakfast with five beautifully furnished rooms. Additionally, there is a self-contained suite in the outbuildings alongside the mill.

The quality of the accommodation and service has won three stars from the “Meublé de Tourisme” (Tourist Apartments) organisation

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The mill is managed by the hosts who provide a warm welcome to look after your every need, and can give first hand information about what and where to visit throughout the region. In addition to an excellent breakfast to start the day, evening meals offering regional dishes with vegetables from the mill kitchen garden can be arranged.

Scan through the photographs on this website, and you will see the quality and beauty of this calm mill restoration. You can almost smell the flowers!

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