• The Baguette
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • Querqueville Normandy



April 2014
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Wednesday 16 april 2014 3 16 /04 /Apr /2014 17:07

171 Caudebec-en-Caux207 Caudebec-en-Caux

Caudebec-en-Caux is a pleasant town settled around the Seine where the Ste-Gertrude Valley runs into the river. It was here that I stopped on my way to Jumièges where I had booked a room at a chambre d'hôte called Au Temps des Cerises. I wasn’t planning on stopping but I needed to do some shopping to get some stuff for dinner since I didn’t want to go out to some restaurant. I’m so glad I stayed for a while and took a walking tour of the town. The Quai Guilbaud along the river is a popular place for a stroll and offers wonderful views of tour boats and barges passing by as well as the Pont Bretonne. Because there are so few bridges over the Seine in this part of Normandy and because the river winds its way like a serpent throughout the countryside, it can be difficult to get from one point to another. A good example of this is the Pont de Bretonne in Caudebec-en-Caux which was built in the 1970s to relieve the amount of traffic taking the numerous ferries along the river. There are still quite a few ferries and one day in particular, I took a ferry that cut my distance from 50km to only 15km. 201b Les anciennes prisonsOne of the first interesting old buildings in town was the Old Prison which dates from the 14th century. 203 Maison des Templiers, Caudebec-en-Caux205 Maison des Templiers, Caudebec-en-CauxCloser to the center of town is the Maison des Templiers (12th and 13th centuries), called “Templar” perhaps because it served as a Protestant temple during the Reformation. It escaped destruction in 1940 probably because of its stone structure—one of the few houses of its kind from medieval Normandy. When an American threatened to buy the building and rebuilt it stone by stone in the United Sates, a local association saved the building and created the Museum Biochet-Bréchot which now houses items of local history and archaeology. 201 Caudebec-en-Caux201a La tour d'HarfleurSadly, much of Caudebec-en-Caux lost its ancient fortifications in 1378 however some portions of the old walls still exist like the Tour d’Harfleur and the Tour des Fascines. 197a Caudebec-en-Caux197 Caudebec-en-CauxThere are several half-timber houses in the town as well which give an idea of what Caudebec must have looked like during the Middle Ages. 196 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux195 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux193 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe chief architectural interest of the town lies in its Flamboyant church, Église Notre-Dame which was constructed during the 15th and the early 16th centuries. Henri IV once described it as “the most beautiful chapel in the kingdom.” It is certainly that—the belfry is 53 meters tall and its upper part is surmounted by a stone crown spire. The west façade is pierced by three doorways which portray 333 different characters from the Bible and by a remarkable rose window surrounded by small statues. 186 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxInside, there is no transept and the nave is quite narrow. 185 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe 17th century baptismal font is decorated with intricately carved panels. 187 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe great organ is from the 16th century and has 3,345 pewter pipes. 180 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux178 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe Chapelle du St-Sépulcre at the rear of the church has a set of large stone statues (16th century) including a recumbent Christ which were originally from the Jumièges Abbey. 189 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe Chapelle de la Vierge, or Lady Chapel is famous for its keystone which weighs over seven tonnes. 192 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux181 Église Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-CauxThe most impressive parts of the entire place are the stained glass windows which date from the 15th and 16th centuries.

By The Baguette - Community: All Things French
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Wednesday 16 april 2014 3 16 /04 /Apr /2014 14:05

163 Théâtre gallo-romain de Lillebonne159 Théâtre gallo-romain de Lillebonne

It’s hard not to get upset sometimes by the unusual opening and closing times of some places in France but it seems to be more common with me when I travel because things that I really want to see are more often than not always closed. It’s so frustrating. Case in point is the Roman amphitheatre in Lillebonne. I already knew that it was undergoing some excavations and that it had only recently been reopened to the public but what I couldn’t find out from the internet were the opening and closing times. Wouldn’t you know it; I arrived just five minutes after they had closed the gates. 164 Théâtre gallo-romain de LillebonneI guess it wasn’t a really big deal since most of the amphitheatre can be easily seen from the road in front of the municipal museum. It was built in the first and second century and the central arena follows the usual plan of amphitheatres in northwest Gaul, where all kinds of spectacles were held (mythological scenes, gladiator fights, performing animals, hunts with small game). 165 Théâtre gallo-romain de LillebonneThe crowd watched from the cave, a series of stands probably made of wood. In the nearby park are the remains of a fortress rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries by William the Conqueror who assembled his barons here before invading England. 168 LillebonneOnce again, entry to this was closed.

By The Baguette - Community: Castle church fortification
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Wednesday 16 april 2014 3 16 /04 /Apr /2014 13:03

005 Colza

The weather was spectacular this last weekend that I decided to take a trip to the region around Haute Normandie known as the Seine Maritime. After making several stops to get pictures of the fields covered in rape flowers, or colza as it is known in France, I made my first stop in the delightful city near the Channel known as Fécamp. 009 FécampIt is a fishing port as well as a center for pleasure boats. According to its late medieval founding legend, the trunk of a fig tree (ficus) carrying the Precious Blood of Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea was washed ashore on the riverbank at Fécamp in the 1st century. Immediately, a fountain of holy blood gushed from the site; the relic attracted many medieval pilgrims, enhancing the reputation of the city. 022 Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp025 Palais Bénédictine, FécampFécamp is also known for its Palais Bénédictine where the Bénédictine liqueur is made. The building, designed by Camille Albert in the late 19th century is a mixture of neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance styles. Inside is a museum that displays a large collection of objets d’art as well as rooms adorned in chestnut and oak. 030 Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp033 Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp036 Palais Bénédictine, FécampThe most interesting parts of the building are the displays of objects and documents relating to the history of making Bénédictine liqueur as well as the visitor’s center with guided tours that show how the liqueur is made. After visiting the souvenir shop, we decided to take a hike along the sailors’ footpath (la sente aux matelots) to the top of the hill called Cote de la Vierge and leads to a park known as Cap Fagnet which overlooks the town. 042 La chapelle Notre Dame du Salut, Fécamp045 La chapelle Notre Dame du Salut, FécampAt the end of the hike one is greeted by the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Salut crowned with a golden statue of the Virgin who looks out over the sea. It was originally built in the eleventh century as a chapel where pilgrims from northern France could come to honor the “Precious Blood of Christ.” 047 La chapelle Notre Dame du Salut, FécampIt escaped destruction during the Revolution and found another religious vocation in the nineteenth century when the fishermen of Fécamp made the chapel the goal of their pilgrimages before leaving on trips to Newfoundland via the same path I climbed known as la sente aux matelots. 066 La sente aux matelots, FécampSome of the steps leading up to the chapel are adorned with religious images carved by sailors many years ago. Inside is a memorial with candles, ex-votos and flowers to all those lost at sea. 053a Semaphore, FécampAnother fixture atop the hill is the Sémaphore built in 1808 to help boats navigate to shore. 057 Les Blockhaus du Cap Fagnet, Fécamp059 Les Blockhaus du Cap Fagnet, Fécamp058 Les Blockhaus du Cap Fagnet, FécampDuring World War II, the Germans built several large bunkers and gun turrets along the alabaster coastline which can still be seen. 050 La sente aux matelots, Fécamp061 Côte d'AlbâtreThese white cliffs stretch as far as the eye can see to Étretat on one side and Dieppe on the other. 110 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp105 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampIn the city down below are many old houses as well as churches that conjure up Fécamp’s medieval history including the Abbaye de la Trinité founded in 658. The cathedral is one of the longest in France at 127 meters, equal to that of Notre-Dame in Paris. The façade of the abbey features the statues of Richard I and Richard II. 157 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp151 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampAbove the transept crossing rises the square lantern tower designed in the typical Norman style. 145 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp126 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp129 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampInside the south transept is a beautiful 15th century sculpture known as the Dormition of the Virgin. To the right is the Angel’s Footprint. In 943, when the reconstructed church was being consecrated, it is said that an angel appeared and left his footprint on the stone. 130 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp140 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampThere are several recumbent effigies and tombs within the church as well including those of the two benefactors of the abbey, Richard I (943 – 996), grandson of Rollon, a Viking chief and beside him, his son Richard II (996 – 1026). 133 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampThe high altar was rebuilt in the mid-eighteenth century with a lavish canopy of gilded wood and pillars of red marble. 132 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp135 Abbaye de la Trinité de Fécamp138 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampThe side chapels around the church are all enclosed with stone walls which are intricately decorated and altars that are ornately carved. One interesting feature of the church is the astronomical and tidal clock which dates from 1667 and is still in good working order. 148 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampIt is one of the first clocks of its kind to display two needles to indicate the hours and minutes as well as the phases of the moon and tidal forces of Fécamp. 141 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampBehind the high altar facing the chapel to Our Lady is the tabernacle containing the relic of the Precious Blood of Jesus. 155 Abbaye de la Trinité de FécampThe fine organ above the western portal was installed in 1746. 071 Maison des Moines insoumis, FécampAcross from the abbey is the home of the monks from the seventeenth century, known as Maison des Moines insoumis. 107 Palais Ducal, FécampAnother interesting residence is the Ducal Palace which was originally built in the 10th century on the site of an ancient nunnery destroyed by the Vikings. At the end of the 12 century, Henri II Plantagenet, the husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine, came to Fécamp to assert his rights over Normandy. He built the enormous fortified bastion on top of the ancient ramparts which can still be seen today. It was eventually dismantled and the castle was integrated into the monastic property around the abbey. 103 Muraille des Ducs, FécampThis is a long section of wall known as the Dukes’ Wall which is a vestige of the defensive wall of the palace and the Abbey erected in the 11th century. 078 La tour de la Maîtrise, FécampThis is La tour de la Maîtrise or Choir School Tower. It is part of the ancient exterior fortifications whose defences were composed of alternating round and square towers. It rises to two floors and in the Middle Ages it housed the famous Fécamp music school that provided the abbey with instrumental and vocal music. It is said that the choir’s repertoire was so extensive that it could be sung for ten years without ever repeating the same piece twice. 082 Quartier des Hallettes, FécampA walk through the old town takes you past many old houses which were originally workshops and homes of artisans and shopkeepers attracted to this area by the continual flow of pilgrims who visited the abbey. 091 l'ancien Hôpital de FécampNearby is the old hospital with a chapel built over a stream. Another very small building in the area is known as the Chapelle du Précieux-Sang and although it is not recognized by the local Catholic Community, in the garden adjoining the chapel is a spring whose waters are supposed to cure eczema. 093 Chapelle du Précieux-Sang, FécampAccording to some 19th century documents, owners of this garden charged patients for a few ounces of the holy water. One of the nicest surprises that Fécamp had to offer was le petit parc, a small green oasis located amidst all the buildings in the newer part of town. 051 La sente aux matelots, Fécamp117 Le petit parc de Fécamp111 Le petit parc de FécampInside, is the memorial to fisherman lost at sea erected for the “Thousand Years of Normandy” celebrations in 1911. It draws inspiration from the figure heads of Viking ships. 113 Monument des marins disparus en mer à Fécamp114 Monument des marins disparus en mer à FécampIn all, Fécamp was a great place to spend the morning.

By The Baguette - Community: Share Worldwide
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Tuesday 15 april 2014 2 15 /04 /Apr /2014 08:56

116 Mont Castre

Staying caught up with this blog is more difficult than you think. I’ve got so many photos of places I’ve visited recently that it is difficult to post everything. Still, I’m trying. A few weeks ago we had some wonderful weather and I took a short hiking trip near Lithaire along the path which winds around Mont Castre. During the 19th century, this place was the site of a stone quarry. Those mining operations ceased after the Second World War and all that remains is this large body of water in the middle of the rock. While walking, there are several panels which explain the history of the area as well as providing information about the local flora and fauna. 117 Mont Castre 119 Mont CastreAt the top of Mont Castre there are stunning views over the countryside including the town of Lithaire which saw a lot of fighting in June 1944 during the battle of the hedgerows. Also near the top of the hill are the remains of a megalithic site that has been dated to be around 5000 years old. 124 Mont Castre128 Mont Castre127 Mont CastreThe site is actually a gallery grave in the form of a megalithic tomb. Two parallel walls of stone slabs were erected to form a corridor and covered with a line of capstones. The rectangular tomb was covered with a barrow or a cairn. 133 Mont Castre134 Mont Castre136 Mont Castre141 Mont Castre142 Mont CastreNearby are the remains of a more interesting ruin called the “Vieux Château.” In 56 BC, during the Gallic war against the Romans, the Gallic people, ruled by the warrior Viridorix, were beaten by the legions of Julius Caesar led by Quintus Sabinus Titurius. 145 Mont CastreThe area has maintained its name as "Caesar's camp." Farther down the hill are the remains of the old 11th century church known as Église St-Thomas after Thomas Becket.

147 Église en ruines Saint-Thomas de Lithaire149 Église en ruines Saint-Thomas de Lithaire

150 Église en ruines Saint-Thomas de Lithaire

By The Baguette - Community: Castle church fortification
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