Old Photos of Chateau de Courtomer
(Our photos come to us from Gilles, who grew up at Chateau de Courtomer. They show his class in 1962 and 1963.)
Not to be missed!
Until July 8, 2018, an exhibition on the old school of Courtomer takes place in the village.
The original school house was built in the 1750s, well before school became compulsory and publicly funded in the late 19th century. In theory, education in France was obligatory as early as the 1600s. And the seigneurs of Courtomer had actually established a local school in medieval times.
Louis XIV, the Sun King, a determined reformer, published his Education Ordonnance in 1698. It required parents to send their children to "petites écoles" -- little schools -- where they would learn to read, write and count. An interesting tidbit is that reading and writing were taught separately -- it was not unusual for a Frenchman of those days to understand how to read and count, without being able to do more than sign his name.
Schools were established by the Catholic Church and local families.
The old school at Courtomer was intact as late as 2010. It had a hand-hewn spiral staircase, much like the ones made for the farmhouse, the "fleuriste" next to the Orangerie, and the "petite maison" of the stables at Chateau de Courtomer.
The spiral staircase as well as most of the original interior detail was torn out as part of the building's renovation into meeting rooms for the Mairie of Courtomer.