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  • 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.
  • 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.

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October 9 2011 1 09 /10 /October /2011 22:59

4092 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe Barons of Castelnau de Bretenoux fortified this site, at the meeting place of several valleys, as early as the 13th century.  Around the strong keep, there grew up during the Hundred Years’ War a huge fortress with a fortified curtain wall.  The castle was embellished in the 17th century by the last of the Castelnaus with the addition of large windows, richly decorated salons and a balcony of honor.  4097 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4098 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4102 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4105 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4106 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatSadly, the castle was abandoned in the 18th century and suffered depredations at the time of the Revolution.  In 1851 it caught fire but was carefully restored between 1896 and 1932 when it took on a new lease of life after being purchased by Jean Mouliérat, a tenor at the Opéra-Comique de Paris.  4095 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4107 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe ground plan is that of an irregular triangle flanked by three round towers partially projecting from each side.  Three parallel curtain walls still defend the approaches.  4089 Loubressac4157 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatAlong the ramparts there are far reaching view of the Cère and Dordogne valleys to the north; of Turenne castle set against the horizon to the northwest; and of Loubressac castle and the Autoire valley to the south.  4117 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4118 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4119 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4124 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe oldest part of the complex is a tall square tower and seigniorial residence known as the auditoire made of red ironstone.  The interiors are remarkable for Jean Mouliérat’s enormous art collection.  The collection is disseminated across seven rooms on the first floor of the château and reflects the grand art collections of the 19th century.  It shows Mouliérat’s eclectic passion for objets d′art, furniture, glass, stone and religious carvings.  Before his death in 1932, he donated the château to the State under one condition: that the art collection should remain in its original arrangements.  4120 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4109 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4152 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe guided tour of the apartments begins along the eastern wing of the château.  Here Mouliérat laid out a sculpture garden, set out between plants.  For conservation reasons, part of this collection is now presented underneath the arcaded portico, the grand salle and the petite salle.   4154 La grande salle, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudThe great hall houses 13th to 17th century sculptures of various origins and an early Middle Age sarcophagus slab placed on a panel covering an old well.  4153 Déploration du Christ, Château de Castelnau-BretenouIn the small room, a former bakery, there are the 12th century capitals from the old Romanesque church in Sainte-Croix-du-Mont in the Gironde department and two 16th century capitals with Corinthian leaf patterns.  A late 15th century Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, a Languedoc sculpture influenced by Flemish art and of outstanding quality, still has some traces of color.  4121 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4115 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4122 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4116 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4123 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatBeneath the gallery, there are two remarkable 12th century illustrated capitals from the old church at Sainte-Croix-du-Mont; the Resurrection of Christ and the Betrayal by Judas on the Mount of Olives, and a 15th century Archangel Michael flanked by recumbent statues.  4112 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4114 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatAfter entering the antechamber, there is a large collection of cupboards and armoires to admire from the 15th to 18th century.  4126 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4125 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe beautifully painted, stained glass roundels in the windows represent the Archangel Michael as well as a 17th century marriage.  4128 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4130 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BreteCrossing through the vaulted 13th century keep, one enters the bedchamber of Mouliérat’s wife.  It has a richly decorated fireplace that was acquired by the tenor from a nearby mansion at Tauriac in the Dordogne.  4129 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4127 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BreteThe room features a Gothic style chest, a table decorated with columns, a canopied four poster bed (16th century), linen closets with diamond point décor, Spanish chairs with high leather backs (17th century), an early 18th century Aubusson tapestry and a wooden statue of the Virgin and Child from the 16th century.  4133Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4136 Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BretJean Mouliérat’s bedroom has a splendid combination of antique furniture and objets d′art.  It is filled with Gothic and Renaissance style furniture: chests, chairs and tables as well as an 18th century sofa.  Many 16th and 17th century paintings adorn the walls in particular a portrait of Henri IV and the philosopher Michel de Montaigne.  4134 Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BretThroughout the room are statues of exceptional quality: Sainte Anne, Saint Sebastian and Sainte Catherine of Alexandra, Flemish altarpieces (1480 – 1530) and next to the mantelpiece, statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint John from a 16th century crucifixion piece.  4138 Salle de porcelaine et d'étain, Château de Castelnau4137 Salle de porcelaine et d'étain, Château de CastelnauThe tin and porcelain room is decked out with 18th century furniture, an Abubusson tapestry, ceramics and a Dutch chandelier.  4139 Salle de Luynes, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prud4140 Salle de Luynes, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudInside the Salon de Luynes there is a richly painted ceiling and window frame decorated with gold leaf from the 17th century.  The 15th century mantelpiece displays the coat of arms of the Castelnau and Calmont-d’Olt families.  The Flemish tapestry of the late 17th century shows the goddess of hunting, Diana and the two giant sons of Neptune.  Along the walls are Gothic church stalls and a small 16th century table carrying a liquor box.  4143 Salon Louis XIV, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prud4144 Salon Louis XIV, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudIn the Louis XIV Salon, the ceilings, mantelpiece, painted wall panels and Versailles parquet flooring are remainders of the rich decoration of 1660 – 1670.  The room also houses photos and objects that relate to Jean Mouliérat’s life, his success at the Opéra-Comique de Paris and his subsequent purchase of the castle.  Flemish tapestries from 1605 depict stories of the goddess Diana.  Along with 17th and early 18th century chairs and sofas, there is a unique turned-leg table in the Louis XIII style.  4145 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe final part of the guided tour takes the visitor to the most lavish room of them all called the Oratory.  It was originally the former guard’s chamber above the castle’s entrance gate, equipped with its own drawbridge.  It served as Mouliérat’s dining room until 1930 and is filled with religious art.  4151 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4148 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4150 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThere is a Spanish 15th century altarpiece showing the crucifixion, a polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child from the Limousin region (13th century), another 15th century Virgin and Child statue from Bohemia and a 15th century stained glass window depicting the crucifixion acquired by Mouliérat from the Cathedral of Quimper in Brittany.  4149 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatOn the opposite wall is another 15th century stained glass window of angels composing music.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 8 2011 7 08 /10 /October /2011 22:55

303 Gouffre de PadiracHollowed out of the limestone mass of the Gramat Causse by a subterranean river, the great chasm of Padirac, famous throughout Europe, is thought of as one of the greatest interesting geological sights of France.  Be sure to check out their website for additional information and some wonderful graphics.  Sadly, I have few photos of the interior as no photography whatsoever is allowed.  Still, I did sneak two or three good pictures without my flash when the guide wasn’t paying attention.  301 Gouffre de Padirac302 Gouffre de PadiracTwo lifts and some staircases lead from the visitor’s center into the chasm, which is 32 meters in diameter and a staggering 75 meters deep, to the cone of rubble below from the original caving-in of the roof centuries ago.  306 Gouffre de Padirac307 Gouffre de Padirac304 Gouffre de PadiracFrom the bottom one looks up in awe at the Eye of God—a little corner of sky at the mouth of the hole.  The walls are covered in vegetation while moisture leeching downward drips on ones head.  During the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of Religion, the chasm served as a refuge for people living in the area.  It wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that a violent flooding of the river opened up the bottom of the chasm and the underground caverns.  The speleologist, Édouard-Alfred Martel, was the first to discover the passage in 1892.  Padirac was opened for the first time to tourists in 1898.  308 Gouffre de PadiracFrom the cone of rubble there is a staircase leading to the underground river, 103 meters below ground level.  At the bottom, a two-kilometer journey begins, 500 meters on foot and another 400 meters by boat.  A flotilla of flat-bottom boats offers an enchanting journey over the astonishingly clear waters.  309 Gouffre de Padirac311 Gouffre de PadiracA narrow passage between high walls links the underground lake and the chambers to be visited next.  In the salle des grands gours is a series of pools separated by natural limestone dams, dividing the river and the lake into basins; beyond that is a cascading 6-meter waterfall.  The most impressive part of the tour is the salle du grand dôme, which reaches 91 meters high into the cavern.  313 Gouffre de PadiracThe viewpoint, built halfway up, enables visitors to look below in wonder at the rock formations and the flows of calcite decorating the walls.  There is also another lake named Supérieur which is fed only by water infiltrating the soil and falling from the roof.  312 Gouffre de PadiracSurprisingly, this lake is actually 20 meters above the subterranean river.  Again, there are a lot of stairs so if you have a problem with that, this excursion is not for you.  Upon ones return along the underground river, a tour guide takes a photo of your boat.  310 padiracI didn’t think it was worth 15 Euros to purchase a photograph with a bunch of other tourists I didn’t know, so here is one taken in the 1960s—not much has changed—only eleven people per boat.  305 Gouffre de PadiracTo exit the cave, either take the stairs like I did or for those not eager for the exercise, use the elevator.

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
October 7 2011 6 07 /10 /October /2011 22:59

034 Les grottes de LacaveNear the valley of the Dordogne as it makes a deep cut through the Gramat Causse, a series of caves was discovered in 1902 by Armand Viré, a student of the geographer and speleologist Édouard-Alfred Martel, at the foot of the cliffs beside the river.  Just before entering the cave, be sure to admire the Château de Belcastel nearby.  028 Château de Belcastel, Lacave031 Château de Belcastel, LacaveConstructed in 930 by Adhémar des Echelles, Vicomte of Turenne, only the eastern part of the main wing, the tower keep and the small chapel date from the Middle Ages; most of the other buildings were rebuilt later.  032 Les grottes de Lacave035 Les grottes de LacaveIn order to reach the enormous caverns of Lacave, one must first take a train ride through a tunnel that was blasted through the hillside to provide easier access to the caves.  It extends for 450 meters and gradually rises about 50 meters.   036 Les grottes de LacaveAfter exiting the train, one reaches the galleries which extend for 1.6 km on foot.  If you don’t like stairs, this excursion is not for you.  039 Les grottes de Lacave042 Les grottes de Lacave045 Les grottes de LacaveInside, the galleries divide into two sections: concretions and stalactites prevail in the first; in the second, underground rivers run in between natural limestone dams (gours) and flood out into placid lakes.  057 Les grottes de LacaveIn the Salle des Merveilles, the stalactites are lit using a black-light.  In the eerie darkness, the tips of the stalactites gave the impression of being surrounded by fireflies.  047 Les grottes de Lacave054 Les grottes de Lacave058 Les grottes de LacaveNormal lighting is used to enhance the reflections of the concretions in the still waters of the lakes.  Flash photography is not allowed but I managed to get some nice photos using the timer on my camera.  044 Les grottes de LacaveBe sure to wear a jacket or sweater as the temperature inside never reaches beyond the constant 14 °C / 57 °F.

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
October 6 2011 5 06 /10 /October /2011 22:59

004 Dordogne, Le BastitBefore arriving at les grottes de Lacave, I made a quick stop along the Dordogne via the small village of Bastit.  The river itself is quite calm and the region famous for its good food and wines.  002 Dordogne, Le BastitThose seeking excellent accommodations in the area need look no further than le Château du Bastit.  006 Le Château du BastitIt is built on a hill overlooking the Dordogne with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.  The castle, which dates from the 14th and 15th centuries was completely restored in 2004 and now serves as a private château with four bedrooms and enclosed grounds along with a private swimming pool.  010 Château de la Treyne, LacaveIf you are looking for even nicer accommodations, try Château de la Treyne.  011 Château de la Treyne, LacaveIt is also perched on a cliff and overlooks the east bank of the Dordogne while the other side a vast 120-hectare French garden groomed with roses, box shrubs and parterres with fountains.  014 Château de la Treyne, Lacave020 Château de la Treyne, Lacave022 Château de la Treyne, LacaveBuilt in the 14th century it was burned to the ground by the Catholics during the Wars of Religion.  The château was rebuilt in the 17th century and has been well cared for ever since.  024 Château de la Treyne, Lacave025 Château de la Treyne, LacaveThe current owners, since 1982, are natives of Aveyron and work hard to keep the chateau alive throughout the year with cultural events, concerts and exhibitions held in the private chapel016 Château de la Treyne, Lacave019 Château de la Treyne, Lacave017 Château de la Treyne, Lacave018 Château de la Treyne, Lacave 

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
October 6 2011 5 06 /10 /October /2011 09:09

086 Château de HautefortOne of my favorite films is Ever After (À tout jamais in French) starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston.  The settings, the music, the costumes, the acting and especially the modern retelling of the Cinderella story have stayed with me these many years.  It wasn’t until recently I learned that much of the principal photography took place in the Dordogne region of Périgord.  The scene where Prince Henry plays tennis with another courtier takes place at the Château de Fénelon while many of the other castle scenes were shot at the Château de Hautefort.  087 Château de Hautefort135 Château de Hautefort136 Château de HautefortTwo years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Fénelon and this summer I had to opportunity to visit Hautefort.  It was a fairy tale treat walking the same courtyards, French and English gardens, and elegantly decorated rooms that could be seen in the film.  Forgive me if I say this was, by far, one of the most beautiful châteaux in the region as it is unlike any other with their medieval-style architecture.  103 Château de Hautefort099 Château de Hautefort108 Château de HautefortChâteau de Hautefort seems more like a château brought straight from the Loire region with its harmonious combination of architectural styles—Renaissance and Classical—which contributes to the building’s original and elegant appearance.  It is indeed a fine example of stately 17th century Périgord.  During the 16th and 17th centuries two architects, neither of whom were native to the Périgord region, Nicolas Rambourg (Lorraine) and Jacques Maigret (Parisian) transformed the defensive aspects of the château in keeping with the popular architectural forms found mostly in the Loire region.  140 Château de Hautefort139 Château de Hautefort133 Château de Hautefort138 Château de HautefortA former medieval château existed here in its place, with a keep, drawbridge and several towers.  123 Château de HautefortToday, the Tour de Bretagne is the only relic left of the former construction.  It dates back to the end of the 14th century or the beginning of the 15th century.  The cupola was added in 1678.  Here, the roof structure is on display to the public.  107 Château de HautefortThe beams are made from oak and chestnut.  On November 29, 1836, the famous Eugène Le Roy was born in this tower.  His parents resided here working as domestics for the owners: the Baron and Baroness of Damas.  He is most famous for his novel Jacques Le Croquant which has been made into a television movie, film and even a comic book for children.  134 Château de HautefortDuring the 9th century, the fortress belonged to the powerful viscounts of Limoges and then, to the Lords of Born who fought over its possession in the 12th century.  The most memorable was Bertran de Born, who became a famous troubadour.  It wasn’t until the late 17th century that Maigret brought symmetry to the château by building a second wing (the chapel wing) with a tower to mirror the Tour de Bretagne.  Between the two towers, a terrace was set up to give a clear view of valley and woodlands to the south.  109Château de HautefortFrom the courtyard, one overlooks part of the French gardens planted in the early 20th century by Baron Henri de Bastard and his wife who bought the château and decided to restore it.  095 Château de HautefortAs its restoration neared completion in 1968, a huge fire swept through the main building.  With support from villagers living down below, national televised fundraisers, state funding and a huge volunteer force of specialized workers, the château was completely restored.  Before passing away in 1999, the Baroness de Bastard bequeathed the château and its grounds to a foundation established especially for its future preservation.  130 Château de Hautefort132 Château de Hautefort111 Château de HautefortThe terraces of the château are laid out as French-style gardens, planted with flowers and box shrubs forming geometric patterns and offering views of the surrounding countryside.  There is even a covered path along the left of the front courtyard.  088 Château de Hautefort118 Château de Hautefort116 Château de Hautefort119 Château de Hautefort120 Château de HautefortOn the east terrace, a box hedge is planted in the form of a gushing fountain, a symbol of Baroness de Bastard’s dream of building a fountain in this spot.  Inside the château, the apartments have been carefully restored and are on view.  089 Château de Hautefort090 Château de Hautefort091 Château de HautefortOn the first floor one can visit the grand fireplace room, master bedroom, drawing room, study and a ladies bedroom.  092 Château de Hautefort093 Château de HautefortThe drawing room is decorated with Louis XVI period furniture, which includes one couch and eight armchairs covered in Beauvais tapestry.  094 Château de HautefortThe décor of this particular room, thought to be that of Marie d’Hautefort, dates from the middle of the 17th century.  The walls are covered with an indigo and bright red Le Manach fabric.  096 Château de HautefortOn the ground floor is the dining room.  The 17th century panelling that had survived the fire of 1968 was reinstalled during the renovations.  It features trompe l’œil panels decorated with cartouches framing small landscapes.  104 Château de HautefortUnderneath the chateau is an underground network of tunnels leading to the former kitchen, as well as several storage rooms and serving areas, which are found underneath the present chapel.  097 Chapelle, Château de HautefortThe Baron of Damas installed the altar in the chapel during the early 19th century while its copula was painted in trompe l’œil so that it would appear to be a coffered dome.  It center is crowned with the symbol of the Holy Trinity.126 Château de Hautefort

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
October 2 2011 1 02 /10 /October /2011 11:56

073Château de LaunaguetOn September 10th I attended a typical French wedding here in the small town of Launaguet just outside of Toulouse.  This was my first opportunity to see what a civil ceremony looks like for couples wishing to tie the knot in France.  It’s actually quite short and simple—it also mandatory before a couple can be married in a religious institution (if they so wish).  The mayor of the town greets the couple, says a few opening remarks and then states a number of facts such as the names, dates of birth, occupations, and addresses of the bride and groom as well as those of their respected families.  Afterward, they sign a legal document where the couples must promise to not only love one another, but also pay their taxes and to make large financial decisions together.  There was no religious ceremony afterward—only a nice reception held at the salle des fêtes because, like many weddings these days, divorced couples cannot get married in the church.  My friends exchanged rings and signed legal documents.  050 Château de LaunaguetThe venue for the ceremony is almost always the town hall or hôtel de ville.  Some towns are not as fortunate to have a building as nice as this one in Launaguet.  The present château is listed as a historical monument and was built in 1845 on the ruins of a mansion that burned in 1805.  Jasques-Henry Dufay, Baron de Launaguet and Prefect of Montauban purchased the estate in 1843.  An architect based in Launaguet, named Auguste Virebent, then restored the château.  It wasn’t until September 1991 that the city council purchased the building and undertook the task of restoration.  It was then listed as a historical monument on February 11, 1993.  051 Château de LaunaguetDespite appearances, the building is actually made of red stone and plastered to look like limestone.  The window frames and doors, balconies and turrets were decorated in moulded clay using a flamboyant Gothic style: grape leaves, kale, thistle and the monogram of the owner.  052 Château de Launaguet055 Château de Launaguet056 Château de LaunaguetThe two windows at each end of the ground floor of the north façade are painted trompe l'œil.  The second floor bay windows are adorned with Gothic openwork balustrades.  071Château de LaunaguetOn the south façade, the windows are framed with exposed brick while only the three central doors are decorated like those of the north façade.  Unfortunately, I did not get any photographs of the sumptuous interior which was entirely designed by Auguste Virebent, furniture included.  The Marriage Hall is also known as the Gothic room and occupies the entire width of the building’s center.  The walls are covered with Gothic tracery.  The flat caisson ceiling has the coat of arms of the owner in the middle while a fireplace and a decorative niche face one another on the either side of the room.  It is still furnished with custom-made sofas and chairs.074Château de Launaguet

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
September 29 2011 5 29 /09 /September /2011 05:35

001 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxAlthough I’ve visited many sites in and around Périgord in the past, this was the first time I went to Périgueux.  It is an ancient town situated in the fertile valley of the River Isle.  Its long history can be traced in its urban architecture and two distinctive districts, each of which is marked by the domes of its church: the Gallo-Roman district, overlooked by St-Etienne’s tiled roof, and the Renaissance district, with the Byzantine silhouette of the present Cathédrale St-Front bristling with pinnacles.  I followed the walking guide given to me by the tourist office and I found it to be quite informative and easy to use.  005 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxMy morning started with the Gallo Roman itinerary.   The Vesunna Temple was constructed in the second century A.D..  All that remains at the present time is the “cella”, the sacred part where only the priests could enter to worship the Celtic goddess “Tutela Vesunna” who was later adopted by the Romans and associated with water worship.  002 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxTwenty-seven meters high and twenty meters in diameter, this tower was surrounded by a colonnaded ambulatory allowing the faithful to move in procession bringing their offerings.  Access was by a massive staircase to the east where the breach in the wall can now be seen.  A legend tells of a curse cast by Saint Front to bring down this pagan temple.  In fact the building served as a stone quarry up until the 19th century when the protection of historical monuments was established.  007 Vésunna Musée Gallo-Romain, PérigueuxIn the very heart of the old town is the Gallo-Roman Vesunna Museum designed by the architect Jean Nouvel.  The museum houses the remains of an opulent Gallo-Roman residence within its foundations.  006 Vésunna Musée Gallo-Romain, PérigueuxVisitors walk on elevated ramps that allow for a birds-eye view of different buildings.  010 Château Barrière, Périgueux011 Château Barrière, PérigueuxThe Château Barrière was constructed in the 12th century and was embellished during the Renaissance with a staircase tower, a doorway in the Gothic style and mullioned windows.  Burnt down during the Wars of Religion in 1575, it has never been restored.  For many years, the site served as an open-air theatre.  013 Porte Normande, Citadelle gallo-romaine de Vésone, PéDuring the 3rd century, after the Barbarian invasions, the city of Vesunna had a defensive wall constructed.  One of the gateways in the defensive wall, erected during the Late Roman Empire, is called the Porte Normande.  The story behind the name is that the gate is supposed to have played a part in the defence of the city against the Vikings who came up the River Isle in the 9th century.  012 Citadelle gallo-romaine de Vésone, PérigueuxThe Gallo-Roman defensive wall served as the foundations for medieval buildings such as the Maison Romane built in the 12th century.  018 Jardin des Arènes, Périgueux015 Amphithéâtre de Périgueux017 Amphithéâtre de PérigueuxLes Arènes is a public park which occupies the space where the arena once stood.  Built in the first century, this amphitheatre, one of the largest in Gaul, had a capacity for 20,000 people.  During the Middle Ages it was adapted to a stronghold, then became a 17th century convent and finally was developed into a public garden in the 19th century.  019 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux024 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, PérigueuxÉglise St-Etienne de la Cité was the first Périgueux cathedral until 1577 when the Protestant forces destroyed two of its cupolas and the bell tower.  During the Fronde uprisings in the 17th century, the building was used as a cavalry training center and consequently yielded its status as cathedral to St-Front.  023 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux020 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux021 Dates de Pâques 1163-1253, Église Saint-Étienne-de-l022 Dates de Pâques 1163-1253, Église Saint-Étienne-de-lThe West Cupola (11th century) follows the pure Romanesque tradition.  There are several things to see inside that are of interest such as the tomb of Bishop Jean d’Asside, a 17th century altarpiece in oak and walnut built for the seminary, a 17th century organ by Carrouges, and finally, a perpetual calendar marking the dates of Easter from 1163 to 1253.  After lunch in the jokily named restaurant, Hercule Poireau, I headed back toward the tourist office to begin the walk around the Renaissance part of town which begins with the Tour Mataguerre.  026 Tour Mataguerre, PérigueuxIt is the last bastion of the medieval surrounding wall that formerly consisted of 28 towers and 12 gates.  The machicolations, cruciform archery slits and cannon ports bear witness to the embattled 15th century.  Walking toward the cathedral along rue de la Bride and rue Séguier one comes across the Place de Navarre and Hôtel de La Douze.  028 Hôtel de La Douze, PérigueuxThis is a 15th century fortified private residence that reminds us of the wealth of the merchants who lived here during the reign of Louis XI.  One of the rare examples of non-military architecture from the 12th century is to be found along rue des Farges at the House of the Ladies of Faith.  030 Couvent des Dames de la Foi, 4 rue des Farges, PérigueThe building was turned into a convent during the 17th and 18th centuries, dedicated to converting young Protestants into proper Catholics.  The constable of France, Bernard du Guesclin, was said to have stayed here during the Hundred Years’ War on his way to ridding Chancelade of the English occupying forces.  031 Taillefer Passage, Périgueux032 Taillefer Passage, PérigueuxWalking up the steps along the Taillefer Passage leads one to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and the Gilles Lagrange residence.  033 Hôtel Gilles Lagrange et bâtiments, Périgueux034 Hôtel de ville de PérigueuxThe residence dates from the 15th to 17th centuries and was occupied during the troubled times of the Fronde uprisings.  The tragic writer Lagrange Chancel, a pupil of Racine, once occupied the present town hall to the right.  036 Place St-Silain, PérigueuxBeyond the covered market, is Place St-Silain where the winter truffle market is held.  A large 19th century fountain marks the center.  037 Maison du Patissier, Périgueux039 Maison du Patissier, PérigueuxThe Maison du Pâtissier (14th century) beside the St-Louis Square, has a fine Renaissance door (16th century) crowned by a shell, symbol of pilgrimage.  During the 19th century, this building was the residence of a well-known pâtissier who made the famous Périgueux pâté de foie gras.  042 Place de la Vertu, Périgueux043 Hôtel de Fayolle, Périgueux044 rue de l'Abreuvoir, Périgueux045 rue de l'Abreuvoir, PérigueuxBefore heading through the winding rue de l'Abreuvoir, I stopped to admire the Hôtel de Fayolle, a 17th century mansion overlooking the river.  Rue de l’Abreuvoir comes from the Occitan word for crow.  This narrow passage was used in the filming of Jacquou le Croquant in 1967.  046 Maison des Consuls, PérigueuxAn elegant group of three dwellings facing the river are commonly referred to as Maison des Consuls but are actually the Hôtel de Lur, Maison Brogliodie and Maison Lambert.  One can see them easily from the bridge.  048 rue Sainte-Marthe, PérigueuxNearby, along the rue Sainte-Marthe is a remarkable half-timbered house, the remains of an old mill.  051 Saint-Front Residence, Périgueux052 Saint-Front Residence, Périgueux053 Saint-Front Residence, PérigueuxAlong rue de la Constitution is the Hôtel de Gamanson, also called Logis St-Front.  It consists of two 15th century wings set at right angles, linked by a staircase tower, flanked by a corbelled turret and perforated by mullioned windows.  In the courtyard is a 17th century fountain and well which is sheltered by a Moorish dome.  Within the Galerie Daumesnil is a network of courtyards and small squares linked by alleyways.  054 Daumesnil Passage, PérigueuxThe buildings, which were grafted on over the centuries, have been demolished, creating open spaces and revealing the fine 15th, 16th and 17th century façades.  055 Maison Estignard, Périgueux056 Maison Estignard, Périgueux057 Maison Estignard, PérigueuxAt number 5, rue Limogeanne is a former medieval dwelling called the Maison Estignard.  The courtyard contains an impressive doorway with a super-imposed tympanum carved with the salamander, cherished symbol of François I, King of France.  The interior contains a superb fan-shaped spiral staircase.  060 Jardin de Thouin, PérigueuxJust across the Cloister Square is the Jardin de Thouin with its canons dating from the Wars of Religion.  It presents a fine view over the River Isle and an excellent view of the Cathédrale Saint-Front.  060b Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux060c Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux060d Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux079 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxClassified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, the cathedral is an important stage on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle which follows the Vézelay route.  066 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxIts Greek cross ground plan, similar to St-Mark’s in Venice, is the basis for the five cupolas constructed over the center of the cross and its own arms.  The architect Paul Abadie restored the building in the 19th century and used it as a model for the construction of the Sacré Cœur church in Montmartre, Paris.  061 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe 12th century bell tower separates the former Roman Church from the Byzantine-inspired Basilica.  067 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe stained glass windows in the eastern nave are dedicated to the history of St-Front.  The chandeliers were hung in Notre-Dame in Paris in 1853 in honor of Napoleon III’s wedding.  063 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux068 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe central altar was installed in 1968 underneath the middle dome.  Behind it is the 17th century altarpiece.  Carved in the baroque style, it originates from the college of the Jesuits of Périgueux.  It is a celebration of the Virgin Mary, from the Annunciation to the Assumption.  At the top is Christ waiting for His mother, holding the crown he will lay on her head.  065 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe great organ made by Joseph Merklin, was set on the western platform in 1875.  It was restored by Pascal Quoiron and opened in 1998,  The case is made up of 3000 pipes.  075 Monseigneur Georges-Massonnais,Cathédrale Saint-Front,Underneath the southern dome is the cenotaph of Monseigneur Georges-Massonnais, bishop of Périgueux.  He, along with architect Paul Abadie, was responsible for the restoration of the cathedral between 1852 and 1901.  078a Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux076 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux078b Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux077 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux078 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxJust outside the entrance are the cloisters.  Its architecture is half Roman and half Gothic.  The top cone of the old bell tower can be seen in the center.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
September 19 2011 2 19 /09 /September /2011 07:58

022b Jardin des Barbiers026 Jardin des Barbiers025 Jardin des Barbiers024 Jardin des Barbiers

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
September 17 2011 7 17 /09 /September /2011 06:13

004 Jardin des Barbiers002 Jardin des BarbiersAfternoon on a Hill

I will be the gladdest thing

Under the sun!

I will touch a hundred flowers

And not pick one.

--Edna St. Vincent Millay001 Jardin des Barbiers003 Jardin des Barbiers005 Jardin des Barbiers

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Published by The Baguette - in Happy Things
September 13 2011 3 13 /09 /September /2011 11:07

036 Le parc Monceau030 Le parc Monceau029 Le parc Monceau028 Le parc MonceauThank you to the person who kindly offered to take my photo in front of the pyramid.034 Le parc Monceau  032 Le parc Monceau031 Le parc MonceauWhat a lovely day in the park.

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Published by The Baguette - in Happy Things