Mizette is an entertaining lady with a life that spread across Europe: strong, determined, Dutch, past owner of a modeling agency with an energetic creativity once stifled in Franco‘s Madrid

Now she manages the last remaining hand loom factory at Reguengos de Monsaraz and entertains Joseph in expectation of winning a contract for his fabric covered boots


Her cloths are made by established techniques; patterns and colours from the Alentejo
Generous with her time she happily takes schools, excursions, friends and family round her workshop


The workshop, in part worn out but nonetheless efficient, produces traditional and stylish blankets, throws and clothing
Looms clatter away under the lofty roof of traditional pine trunks and timber boards
The cavernous shed a former olive mill

Her shop, fifteen minutes away, is in Monsaraz
A perfection, separated from the real world
A tourist mirage high on an outcrop separating Portugal and Spain


During summer the population grows
But during Christmas week the fog hangs heavy around the village and after dark the life sized maniquíes emerge eerily from the mist
They’re scenes from the Nativity and the figures, faceless with heads of straw, outnumber nighttime occupants
Monsaraz’s workers have gone home, locked the city gates and leave tourists to sleep


Everyone is enchanted by Monsaraz; castle, bullring, church, city walls, chapels and fortified gates
Attractive, charming but distant from normal life
Every visit I leave wanting to stay, it’s the seduction of Monsaraz; the allure of beauty, warmth and comfort, but unfortunately I’d quickly become disillusioned with its perfection

photography and text by Tim Harris
This entry was published on May 5, 2016 at 8:30 pm. It’s filed under Portugal, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Monsaraz

  1. Wonderful photos of Monsaraz!


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