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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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June 27 2014 6 27 /06 /June /2014 09:05

142

The Azeville German Coastal Battery is just north of Sainte-Mère-Eglise near the small town of Azeville about 10 km from Utah Beach. It is one of the first constructions of the Atlantic Wall in France by the Todt Organization of the Third Reich. 137Built in 1941, it established the presence of the German army along the coast of La Manche. It used a camouflage painted stone to blend in with village houses. 123134135It included two bunkers of type H650 and another two with type H671, each housing a French Schneider 105 mm gun from the First World War. These guns were powerful but had less of a range than those of the neighboring battery at Crisbecq. 081082086Over 300 meters of underground galleries linked the various shelters, bunkers and defense posts. Located so far inland that it did not have a direct view of the sea, it had to rely on shooting directions from the battery at Crisbecq. 089090093092A garrison of 170 men served and defended this battery commanded by Commander Treiber and Captain Kattnig. The majority of men bivouacked near the battery, while the officers were accommodated in the village. In 1943 the guns received a prominent visitor when Erwin Rommel inspected the building site. After his visit work began to expand the installation and the guns that were previously placed in open positions were now built into concrete pillboxes, even though the Germans did not believe that the coast in front of the battery was under threat of invasion. 091095106Because the calibre of the four guns was only 105 mm, when the Allies landed on the nearby Utah Beach on 6th June 1944 (D-day) they were firing at maximum range and accuracy was therefore not optimal. Despite this, the Germans managed to keep the Americans on Utah under fire for two days, preventing further advances. 107116On 9th June the 170 soldiers at the Crisbecq battery surrendered and a massive bombardment of Azeville by Allied warships started. Eventually the battery was attacked by U.S. troops equipped with flame throwers. 117122The garrison surrendered and the fight for Azeville was over. 111Standing inside one of the gun casemates, where the gun is long gone, you can look out of the narrow opening towards the coast. 110At the back wall, down at floor level, is a sizable hole in the concrete wall. 112115Walking through the door, into the ammunition room behind, the hole on the other size is a bit bigger and there is a large gouge in the concrete floor. Apparently this is one of the rounds that came from the SS Nevada. 150153157Nearby is the Crisbecq Battery, the largest coastal artillery battery on Utah-Beach, with its 21 pillboxes linked by over a kilometre of trenches covering a total area of 4 hectares. 159161164I didn’t pay to visit the entire site but maybe I’ll go back some other day. Meanwhile, there is a plethora of information about it at this site along with some very interesting photos.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cotentin
June 22 2014 1 22 /06 /June /2014 09:15

033

Yesterday was such a beautiful day that I decided to go hiking. Looked online for a destination and decided on a short ramble in and around the small town of Fresville. 002My first stop was the Eglise Saint-Martin with its 12th century Romanesque nave. The choir and transept are gothic and date from the 14th and 15th centuries. The bell tower was built in the 14th century. 026003Outside, along the apsidal wall is a bas-relief entitled La Charité de Saint-Martin. 008Upon entering, one first sees the baptismal font to the right and then, looking up, admires the beautiful wood ceiling and its crossbeams. 009010Just above the modern main altar is a “poutre de gloire” or rood beam from the 18th century with a 17th century crucifixion. 012The secondary chapel to the left is dedicated to Saint-Sebastien. 014The high altar from the 18th century has four columns separating the two statues of Saint-Sulpice and Saint-John the Baptist from a niche which holds a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 017To the right is another transept chapel dedicated to the Virgin. The aisle has two beautiful stained glass windows from the glassmakers at La Maison Bazin-Latteux de Mesnil-Saint-Firmin in the Oise. 019018These date from 1877 and were donated to the church by members of the parish. In the Middle Ages, most abbeys and bishoprics had not one church but many associated sanctuaries, serving distinct purposes. In the Cotentin, this phenomenon is well illustrated by two religious buildings barely ten meters apart in Fresville. 004Just next to the church of Saint-Martin is the Chapelle Sainte-Sulpice from the 16th century. It was not open when I was there so I have no idea what it looks like inside. 030031The area around Fresville is dotted with several old manor houses and large stone farm buildings—many of which have been restored and are privately owned or rented out as bed and breakfasts or holiday getaways. 034037This one is a private residence called the Manoir de Tamerville. 041Across the street is another beautiful home called Le Hesnay. 047Perhaps the grandest of them all is the Manoir de Grainville which is now a chambre d’hôtes. The walk takes you through fields of corn, grain and grasses as well as many cow pastures all located within the low-lying marshlands known as the marais. 052053Also along the road is a small memorial to the men of the 505th US Parachute Infantry Regiment who were gunned down by Nazi soldiers during the D-Day landings. The ashes of one of the soldiers, William H. Tucker are placed here. He passed away in 2008.  063055These trees make up the allée des saules which is a dirt road lined with old willows. 058060A short distance off the path lays the river Merderet which winds through the countryside. 057The hiking details don't tell you about some of the other things to see in the area.  For example, it was by chance that I could see the Manoir de Vauville while hiking--unfortunately, the path does not take you near it.  075076073So I decided to visit using my car.  It too is a bed and breakfast catering to people visiting Utah Beach or Sainte-Mère-Église.  The hiking tour eventually brings you back into the town. You can find details HERE.

066069070

These are just some more photos of the lovely stone houses in and around Fresville. Many of them were adorned with US and French flags--just a way of showing you how much French people respect the sacrifice of the American soldiers who fought in Normandy.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cotentin
June 3 2014 3 03 /06 /June /2014 13:36

Some members of my family (my aunt and uncle, cousin and mother and father) came to visit last month and we had some wonderful times visiting places in France, Belgium and Germany.  Now that they are gone, I miss them very much.  Here's a look at some of the places we visited.  Can you believe we did so much in just one month ?

036031Monet's gardens at Giverny...

020The church in Querqueville...

041Nez de Jobourg in La Hague...

062089The gardens in Vauville...

021Our first visit the the Château des Ravalet in Tourlaville... (that's my aunt and uncle on the left) 

055The lighthouse in Gatteville...

091094A trip to Barfleur for oysters...

108Stopped in Montfarville to see Guillaume Fouace's church paintings...

120Tour Vauban in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue...

214151Emmanuel Liais Gardens and Museum in Cherbourg...

239Shopping at Babou...

300295Boat tour around Cherbourg harbor and its forts...

008Went to the Abbey in Lessay...

078A castle surrounded by a moat in Pirou...

177Coutances Cathedral...

189We ate lots of crêpes (not stinkin' pancakes!)

252Abbey ruins at Hambye...

070Spent a rainy afternoon at la Cite de la Mer...

008Manoir Dur-Écu, near Urville-Nacqueville... 

039Walked around the grounds of Château de Martinvast...

108We went to Bricquebec...

118We went to Barneville-Cartaret on a very cold and windy day...

201172Took a tour of the Moulin à Vent du Cotentin at Fierville-les-Mines...

224Shopped at La Maison du Biscuit in Sortosville-en-Beaumont...

016Went to Bayeux...

010Saw the Bayeux Tapestry...

050Went to Omaha Beach...

090100The very windy day at La Pointe-du-Hoc...

126Quick stop at the German cemetery at La Cambe...

134132145A stroll along Utah Beach...

161The church with its parachutist at Sainte-Mère-Église...

012Mass at my church in Querqueville...

022>And a trip to my other church in Urville-Nacqueville...

030A visit to the Liberation Museum on top of Montagne du Roule...

079080A closer look at the Goury lighthouse...

090Port Racine, the smallest port in France...

176An excellent day spent at Mont-Saint-Michel...

001Our second trip to Château des Ravalet in Tourlaville...

034037An afternoon in Cherbourg and an Umbrella's of Cherbourg photo op...

053Sunset at Querqueville plage...

106Amiens Cathedral...

225Saint-Quentin Hôtel de Ville...

011 - CopyTook the train from Cherbourg to Paris...

032 - CopyOpéra Garnier

044 - CopyLouvre Museum

257Notre-Dame

100 - CopyArc de Triomphe

105 - CopyThe Eiffel Tower

285Napoleon's tomb at the Hôtel des Invalides

402354A day at Versailles...

480Moulin Rouge

504Basilica of Sacré Cœur in Montmartre

545535All the important paintings in the Musée d'Orsay...

560Viewed the glass dome at les Galeries Lafayette...

262266Bastogne War Museum...

358Mardasson War Memorial

385443571488Trier

641Car ferry over the Rhine River...

651690 - Copy677 - CopySeveral days at the Park Hotel in Rüdesheim am Rhein with trips to Bacharach and the world's largest outdoor cuckoo clock...

820 - CopyRainy morning at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz...

858 - Copy860 - CopyMainz Cathedral

885 - Copy888915Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett in Rüdesheim

967The church in the rock at Idar-Oberstein...

970Ebernburg Castle in Bad Münster

771The bridge houses in Bad Kreuznach

10171074104410301028Rhine River Cruise in the Germania

12231188The Abbey of Hildegard von Bingen

1249Explored the Rheingau Wine Museum in Brömserburg Castle, the oldest castle along the Rhine.

114711571164Niederwalddenkmal high above Rüdesheim with stunning views over the Rhine...

131913041356The Cathedral of Worms and the Martin Luther Monument

13801388The great Romanesque Cathedral of Speyer...

153115171487145814601478Douaumont Ossuary in Verdun as well as the Douaumont Fort...

15901620162916571674Reims Cathedral as well as the Basilica of St-Remi...

Finally, all good things must come to an end.  In Paris, my family did one final packing of their luggage and everyone said their goodbyes at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  168716921693Bon Voyage !

 






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Published by The Baguette - in Happy Things
May 1 2014 5 01 /05 /May /2014 12:15

P1010006 Huelgoat

Huelgoat is popular with tourists and holidaymakers due to its impressive natural setting among the vestiges of the ancient forest that once covered inland Brittany. The village lies on a lake created between the 16th and 18th centuries to supply water to local silver-lead mines by means of a 3 km (1.9 mi) leat or canal. A number of geological and prehistoric curiosities can be found by following trails in and around the village and forest. P1010004 HuelgoatOne starts the hike from the Moulin du Chaos just in front of the bridge covered in flowers. The Moulin was built in 1339 and is a national monument. P1010002 HuelgoatAmong the formations nearby are: Le Chaos de Rochers, the Chaos of Rocks, is a jumble of hundreds of large boulders below the dammed lake, into which the river vanishes. The walk among the rocks is quite impressive and it makes you wonder how all those large boulders got where they did. It is something of a local legend as many believe that they were put there by the wizard Merlin during the time of King Arthur. Others believe they were put there by fairies. P1010018 HuelgoatP1010012 HuelgoatP1010015 HuelgoatLa Roche Tremblante or Trembling Rock, is the most popular of the rocks along the trail. It is a 137-tonne boulder that is pivoted in such a way that it can be made to rock by a person pushing against one point. As you can see, I tried it and I was amazed at how little effort it took to make the large boulder move back and forth (ever so slightly)—I doubt that anyone could ever move it from its current position unless they used mechanical means.

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
May 1 2014 5 01 /05 /May /2014 11:52

P1000975 Roc'h TrevezelP1000979 Roc'h Trevezel

After spending nearly the entire day exploring the enclos paroissiaux of Brittany, I took a break from the granite churches, the ossuary’s and ornamented Calvaries that were all starting to look the same. P1000976 Roc'h TrevezelP1000980 Roc'h TrevezelP1000982 Roc'h TrevezelI took a short detour that led me to the Roc’h Trévezel which is the second highest peak of the Breton part of the Armorican Massif in the Monts d'Arrée. Just like the Ménez Kador, it reaches 384 metres (1,260 ft) in altitude. After a short climb through ferns, bracken and heather, one reaches the top where there are stunning views over the region including the St-Michel Reservoir in the south. P1000983 Roc'h TrevezelP1000986 Roc'h TrevezelP1000988 Roc'h TrevezelThere were a lot of people scrambling for a place to stand along the “dragon’s backbone” in order to take photos of the surrounding moorland. On the way down, I was surprised to see several men trying to bike up the narrow path. It seems that this is a popular biking stage during the Paris-Brest-Paris route.

P1000984 Roc'h TrevezelP1000991 Roc'h TrevezelP1000994 Roc'h TrevezelP1000996 Roc'h TrevezelP1000998 Roc'h TrevezelP1010001 Roc'h Trevezel

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
May 1 2014 5 01 /05 /May /2014 09:57

P1000960 Sizun

The triumphal arch of the enclos paroissial in Sizun dates from 1585 – 1588. Its central part is surmounted by a Calvary and a walkway where priests could celebrate Mass in the open air. A stone stairway gave access to the upper gallery but it was removed during the widening of the adjacent road. P1000964 SizunThe ossuary chapel (1585) has a façade decorated with caryatid statues and the Twelve Apostles. Above the doorway are the arms of the Rohan family which bears two inscriptions: Memento Mori -"Souviens-toi qu'il faut mourir" (Remember that you will die), and "Vous nos enfants qui par ici passés, souvenez-vous que nous sommes trépassés" (You, our children who pass through here, remember that we are dead). P1000974 SizunOne of the strange sculptures on the roof depicts a mermaid carrying traces of seaweed. P1000971 SizunThe ossuary chapel is now a small museum featuring Breton arts and crafts which includes local costumes, furniture and embroidery—before leaving Sizin, I left some kind words in the visitor book. P1000963 SizunThe churchyard, which once was the cemetery, now has a monument to those who died during both World Wars. From this angle one can see the sacristy which is octagonal in shape and has an upturned-keel roof covered in slate. P1000973 SizunAlthough there is no grand Calvary in the center of the close, there is a unique grouping of statues depicting the Descent from the Cross. P1000961 SizunThe église Saint-Suliau was restored in 2010-2011 and dates from 16th and 18th centuries. Its bell tower is 56 meters high and has two dates inscribed on its base of 1728 and 1735. P1000966 SizunThe interior of the church is simply stunning to behold due to its ornately carved altars and its wood pulpit created in 1784.  The main altar was built in the 17th century by a sculptor from Landerneau named Maurice Le Roux. P1000968 SizunAbove the tabernacle is a painting depicting the Ascension of Jesus which is bordered by two polychrome statues in niches of Notre-Dame and Saint-Suliau. It is surrounded by two more altars built on the same model. The one on the left contains a painting of Saint Augustine with the angel and the one on the right depicts the Christ’s baptism. P1000967 SizunThe organ was created by Thomas Dallam, son of organ builder Robert Dallam (1602-1665) who designed many instruments for churches in Finistère. The organ was restored in the 18th century and was painted a dark brown in the 19th century. It has now been restored to reveal its original polychrome designs. Within the transept, religious items such as vestments and silverware are on display. There are also several glass cabinets with processional banners inside. P1000970 SizunThe alter of the Holy Rosary has two twisted columns that frame a painting of the death of a faithful person in the presence of Dom Michel le Nobletz, a famous Breton missionary from the 17th century. The altar has statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on either side as well as a statue of Saint Joseph at the top. P1000969 SizunThe granite baptismal font is dated 1679. It is surmounted by a canopy supported by eight columns, four plain and four ornamented.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 30 2014 4 30 /04 /April /2014 12:27

P1000937 La MartyreP1000942 La MartyreP1000939 La Martyre

I can’t tell you how glad I was to finally reach La Martyre. It meant that I could sit down on a park bench near the church and eat my lunch. I was so hungry. After eating, I was able to take my time and really enjoy visiting the parish close, the oldest in the Léon region. P1000959 La MartyreP1000958 La MartyreIt opens onto a triumphal arch with a Flamboyant balustrade walkway and a small Calvary that dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. P1000957 La MartyreP1000954 La MartyreThe south porch is of kersanton stone and depicts several scenes from the life of Christ. Another notable scene above the entrance of the church is that of the Nativity. P1000953 La MartyreIt is rare because it shows the Virgin lying down and breast feeding--it has since been chipped away and mauled by a parish priest who thought it was not appropriate. P1000955 La MartyreP1000943 La MartyreThe ossuary is from 1619 and above the water font is the image of a man, Death, brandishing a skull and crossbones with the quote : "la mort, le jugement, l'enfer glacé, quand l'homme y songe, il doit trembler : fol est, si par mégarde son esprit ne voit qu'il faut mourir" (If one is not careful, one will not see that they must die). The church is dedicated to Saint Solomon and has a beautiful porch on the south side which dates from 1450-1455 and celebrates the Nativity (in the arches, you can see scenes from Christ’s childhood). P1000944 La MartyreP1000945 La MartyreThe entrance of the main porch also has statues of the twelve Apostles--something that is quite popular with Breton churches, it seems. The bell tower dates from the 13th and 14th century. P1000948 La MartyreInside there is some stunning woodwork and some fragments of 16th century stained glass. P1000950 La MartyreThe canopy of the baptismal font is the work of Jean Le Moing (1635) and bears the inscription of the artist. The altar was executed in 1706 and is the work of Alain Castel. There are however much older works such as this altarpiece from the 15th century dedicated to Saint John and Saint Paul. P1000952 La MartyreThe center painting depicts angels cleansing the souls of those in Purgatory. The crucifixion of the central window is the work of Jost de Negker dated 1535. Stained glass of the north aisle depict the Dormition of the Holy Virgin, the Last Judgement and the Tree of Jesse all dating from 1562.P1000951 La Martyre

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 30 2014 4 30 /04 /April /2014 10:21

P1000932 Landerneau

Landerneau is a small town in the Cornouaille along the Elorn River and is famous for its two churches as well as the Pont de Rohan. The Pont de Rohan was built in the 16th century. P1000923 LanderneauIt is lined with picturesque houses with overhanging upper storeys, one of the last inhabited European bridges. You can see that many of them are covered in slate. P1000924 LanderneauWhen I crossed it, I planned on finding a sandwich shop where I could buy my lunch--I was extremely hungry. Sadly, there were only sit-down restaurants and they were no longer receiving people for lunch since it was already past 2PM. Another restaurant was just serving fries and kebab dishes which I didn't really want. Instead of giving in to my hunger, I ended up getting frustrated and not buying anything. On an empty stomach, I quickly explored the town. P1000935 LanderneauP1000922 LanderneauP1000928 LanderneauOn the right bank of the river are many old houses such as the maison de la sénéchaussée built with stone from Logonna in 1664. The lower level now serves as the tourist office (closed when I was there). P1000926 LanderneauP1000927 LanderneauThe église de Saint-Thomas Becket de Canterbury is a 16th century church with a belfry porch with three superimposed balconies. Right next door is the ossuary chapel erected as an annex to the church in 1635. Back across the bridge, is the église St-Houardon with a beautiful granite porch from 1604. P1000931 LanderneauFeeling starved half to death, I was so glad to come upon a large bakery while driving out of town. I stopped and bought some sandwiches and drinks that I planned on eating when I reached my next destination for the day, the parish close of La Martyre.

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
April 29 2014 3 29 /04 /April /2014 14:31

P1000899 La Roche-MauriceP1000900 La Roche-Maurice

The first known mention of le château de la Roche dates from 1263. It was one of the residences of the vicomtes de Léon until 1363, when that family line became extinct. The fortress occupied a central position on a hill overlooking Elorn valley and allowed the lords to direct their fiefdoms and important parishes. The gallows stood opposite the castle on a hill on the right bank of the Elorn. Le château de la Roche became the possession of the family of Rohan in 1363 through the marriage of Jeanne de Léon with Jean de Rohan The castle had residents habitually until the 15th century but in 1421 the Rohans left and the castle became dilapidated. From 1678 to 1694 it was transformed into a prison. P1000901 La Roche-MauriceIn the 18th and 19th century, the castle served as a stone quarry and was mostly demolished. Many houses of the village and perhaps the present church were built with these stones. P1000921 La Roche-MauriceThe 16th century parish church has a fine parish close featuring three crosses of Christ and the two thieves at the main entrance. P1000903 La Roche-MauriceP1000905 La Roche-MauriceP1000906 La Roche-MauriceThe ossuary dates from 1640 and is one of the largest in Brittany. The door of the main façade is topped by a triangular pediment under which is written the inscription from 1639: "Rappelle-toi mon jugement, tel aussi sera le tien : à mon tour aujourd'hui, à ton tour demain." (Remember my judgment, as yours will be the same: my turn today, your turn tomorrow.). Above the outside font, Ankou (Death) is shown armed with an arrow, threatening small figures framed in medallions representing all social classes: a peasant, a woman, a lawer, a bishop, St-Yves, a pauper and a rich man. He proclaims “Je vous tue tous” (Death comes to all). Above the door of the south gable is another Latin inscription dated 1640: "Souviens-toi, homme que tu n'es que poussière." (Remember man that thou art but dust."). An elegant, twin-galleried belfry crowns the building. P1000908 La Roche-MauriceThe south porch is delicately carved with bunches of grapes and statuettes of saints. P1000911 La Roche-MauriceP1000915 La Roche-MauriceP1000913 La Roche-MauriceP1000919 La Roche-MauriceInside there is an oak Renaissance rood screen (jubé) from the 16th century decorated on the side facing the nave with twelve polychrome statues carved in the round, including nine Apostles and three Popes, and on the chancel side with low-relief sculptures of saints venerated in Brittany. On one end are the statues of Saint Anne and Mary. The entire rood screen is held aloft with by two stone columns and an abundance of fantastic and grotesque creatures. P1000914 La Roche-MauriceAlso of interest is the panelled ceiling adorned with angels and coats of arms, carved purlins and beams. P1000916 La Roche-MauriceBehind the main altar is a large stained glass window from 1539 that illustrates the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ. To the right of the main altar is a niche devoted to Saint Yves, the patron saint of Brittany, lawyers and abandoned children.P1000918 La Roche-Maurice

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 29 2014 3 29 /04 /April /2014 12:44

P1000896 Bodilis

The parish close of Bodilis is from the 16th century and is proceeded by a Flamboyant bell tower (1570) which rests on four arches. P1000895 BodilisIt is the last of its kind to be built in the area. Another interesting facet of this church is the fact that it still retains its cemetery around the close. While walking around the church, it is easy to admire the architecture and the different stages of construction. For example, the choir and nave were begun in 1567 while the latest portion of the building, the sacristy was built in 1682. P1000897 BodilisIt is interesting for polygonal shape and its upturned keel style roof as well as its buttresses which are adorned with shell niches surmounted with lanterns and funeral urns. The porch from 1601 is one of the most comprehensive and most original in the region. P1000883 BodilisP1000884 BodilisOf note are the fluted columns and semi-circular arches with statues of the Virgin and the Angel Gabriel one either side forming the Annunciation. P1000886 BodilisP1000887 BodilisIn the gallery of the porch are statues of the twelve Apostles. P1000888 BodilisThe interior is ornate and boasts five altars as well as a large collection of decorative beams that run along the wood panelled barrel vaulting. The hexagonal baptismal font is from the 16th century and carved from kersantite stone and attributed to Roland Doré. P1000892 BodilisThe figures are polychrome and depict Matthew, Mark, the Eternal Father holding Christ in his arms, Saint John, Saint Gregory the Great, Saint Peter and Saint Ambrose of Milan. I wasn’t able to take a photo of every single object, nor did I want to but I can certainly attest to the beauty of this churches interior—for example, above the southern portal is this 16th century Descent from the Cross which features nine characters dressed in Renaissance fashions.P1000893 Bodilis

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage