A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week: Ant group and fintech come of age, economic disparities after covid-19 (09:30) the US election in miniature (17:00).
Set on the Atlantic west coast just north of Cabo da Roca is a little gem of a beach – Praia da Ursa. Unspoilt and wild, this little beach is often cited as one of the most beautiful in the area. The name of the beach comes from the “Rocha da Ursa” (bear rock) one of two huge sea stacks at the northern end of the beach. It is said that the rock resembles a bear with its cub, although I can’t quite see this myself!
This beach is a little off the beaten track and access is difficult to say the least. It involves a bit of a scrabble down a steep sided valley with plenty of loose rocks under foot. Maybe this is why Praia da Ursa is one of the area’s unofficial naturist beaches.
The castle, part of the Rochefoucauld family fiefdom for a thousand years is concealed from the visitor’s eye. Passed the automatic entrance gates, a long tree-lined bridle path with park and woods on one side and outbuildings on the other, turns towards the end to reveal the impressive façade. The estate stretches the length of the village or perhaps the reverse.
“He who lives without madness is not as wise as he thinks”, one of François-de-la-Rochefoucauld’s maxims.
Ground floor: The entrance archway with its mosaic floor tiles leads, on one side, to a small lounge that opens into a through dining room featuring a beautiful coffered ceiling and kitchen that was moved up to this floor in 19th century. Behind the dining room is one of the four staircases and a small bedroom and ensuite bathroom.
First floor: Two more intimate lounges are to be found on the ground floor for a cosier family atmosphere. Four bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, two of which have their private toilet and a fifth one with a shower room. Two of the bedrooms are very formal, full of history and decorative features: they have seen visitors such as Charles Quint in 16th century and Queen Mum in 20th century.
The library: Originally, a renaissance gallery linked the castle to the library and chapel. The library had always been part of an ensemble. It is located in the centre, built on the site of a former watchtower and features a vaulted ceiling.
The main courtyard: An ornamental pond is fed by water from the river thanks to a clever system bringing water up to a tank on the library roof and from where it is then poured. Under part of the main courtyard, there are large vaults, built together in 15th century with the consent of King Charles VII, with an additional defensive wall, after helping the La Rochefoucauld to reconquer their castle.
Monocle’s editor in chief, Tyler Brûlé, discusses the weekend’s top news with guests Rob Cox, Chandra Kurt and Eemeli Isoaho. Plus: a word from our editors and correspondents in London and Bangkok, and a check-in with Rainer Nowak, editor in chief of Austria’s ‘Die Presse’ newspaper.
Fort Parker State Park is a Texas state park near Mexia and to Limestone County seat Groesbeck, Texas. The city of Mexia and three local landowners donated the land creating the park in 1935.