La Gaignonnière, Perche, France

The three Gagnon (Gaignon) brothers Mathurin, Pierre and Jean, who came to New France in the 1630s came from the region of Perche, in northern France, specifically from the area around La Ventrouze and Tourouvre.  Their grandfather (and the earliest discovered Gagnon ancestor), Barnabé, is recorded as having bought a farm on 28 Dec 1565 in the forest of Perche, between Tourouvre and Ventrouze, from Gervais Roger and Marion Aubert. Barnabé reportedly also ran an inn at the same spot.

This place was known as La Gagnonnière. For a map of the region, click here: Map of Tourouvre, La Ventrouze, La Gagnonnière.

When I was working in France in 1980, I visited that area, and took pictures of what was left of La Gagnonnière, which are reproduced below.  Since that time, the group of buildings has reportedly been bought and fixed up as a summer home by people from Paris. More recent photos (1998) can be seen here.

Here is a description of the place from a publication from 1974 (referring to a map that is reproduced here).  It is referring to a tour of the entire region, referencing the map.

"On le commencera ... au carrefour des N.12 et D.918, ou carrefour Sainte Anne, où se trouvait un oratoire à sainte Anne récemment déplacé vers l'aire de repos plus bas sur la N.12.  A partir de l'hôtel Sainte-Anne (côté Est), on joindra la Gagnonnière (Gag) en descendant le petit chemin partant de la chemin à gauche (chemin de terre) qui conduit à la Gagnonnière (Gag).  Les maisons sont toutes anciennes, certaines ont été aménagées en résidences secondaires, d'autres sont presqu'en ruines la plus ancienne devrait être reconstruite prochainement: le chemin creux tendant vers Tourouvre (à droite en arrivant dans le village) n'a pas changé depuis trois siècles, c'est toujours l'ancien lieu des Gagnon, mais il n'y a plus de Gagnon!" "You begin ... at the crossroads of the N.12 and D.918 highways, or the Sainte-Anne crossroad, where there was a shrine to Saint Anne, which was recently moved to the rest area further down on highway N.12.  Leaving the Saint Anne hotel (on the East side), you arrive at La Gagnonnière (represented on the map as "Gag") by going down the little road which leaves the road on the left (dirt road), which goes to La Gagnonnière.  The houses are all ancient, some of them have been converted into second homes, others are almost in ruins, the oldest of which is supposed to soon be reconstructed.  The low road towards Tourouvre (on the right when you arrive at the village) has not changed in three centuries, it's still the old Gagnon place, but there are no longer any Gagnons!"
Source: Cahiers Percherons, numéro spécial: "Le Perche des Canadiens," by Pierre Montagne (Associations des amis du Perche, Perche-Canada et Québec-Perche, 1978)

La Gagnonnière, August 1980. (click on images for enlarged views)



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Last revised 2 May 2007