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  • 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.
  • 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.


July 20 2010 3 20 /07 /July /2010 08:46

185b Château fort de PirouPirou’s fortified castle is in fact a motte castrale (or castle mound) erected on an island and surrounded by ramparts preventing any possible extension.  The castle’s architecture is similar to Crusader architecture with alternating turrets and guerites.  Construction dates from the 11th to 14th century.  The current moat was surrounded by two further moats which no longer exist.  185c Château fort de Pirou186 Château fort de Pirou187b Château fort de PirouIn order to enter the castle, five defensive gates need to be crossed.  After being received at the fourth gate, visitors walked a relatively long walk around the castle and through the fifth gate before reaching the basse-cour, or lower courtyard.  170 Château fort de Pirou171 Portes défensives, Château fort de Pirou176 Cinquème porte, Château fort de Pirou176c Reception, Château fort de PirouThe lower courtyard is bordered to the left by the outbuildings.  These include the bakery dating back to the late 18th century, the cider press building, then Saint Laurent’s chapel, followed by a vast hall referred to as the salle des plaids and finally, on the way back, the wagon shed and the domestic servants’ living quarters.  180c Bakery, Château fort de Pirou183 Bakery, Château fort de Pirou184a Cider Press, Château fort de PirouThe chapel was rebuilt in 1649 by Louise du Bois, the Marchioness of Pirou, shortly after the death of her husband Charles du Bois.  188b Chapelle St-Laurent, Château fort de Pirou191 Chapelle St-Laurent, Château fort de Pirou188c Salle des Plaids, Château fort de PirouInside, the chapel is furnished with various statues in terracotta and polychrome wood.  Behind the 15th century altar is a painting of the Last Supper from the Italian school dating from the late 16th century.  On either side are the statues of Saint John the Baptist and Saint Laurent (both from the 15th century).  Adjacent to the chapel is the salle des plaids which was originally the justice room within which Pirou’s lords dealt with disputes and received taxes.  The room was transformed into a stable in the 17th century and later into a cowshed.  Today the room has been totally restored and now houses the Pirou tapestry.  Access to the castle is via a two-arched stone bridge crossing the narrowest stretch of the moat.  213a Old Lodge, Château fort de Pirou213 Old Lodge, Château fort de Pirou197 New Lodge, Château fort de Pirou198 Square Tower, Château fort de Pirou205 Turret, Château fort de Pirou220 Château fort de PirouVisitors then arrive in the castle’s interior courtyard, where they can distinguish two remaining and distinct lodges, built against the castle walls.  One of them, the old lodge, to the east was built under Henry IV.  The second building, the new lodge to the south, was built in 1708.  There are exceptional views of Pirou’s dunes near the sea from the wall-walk accessed by climbing a flight of stairs against the eastern wall.204 Turret, Château fort de Pirou  202a Ramparts, Château fort de PirouThe wall-walk also provides visitors better views of the lower courtyard and its outbuildings.202b Ramparts, Château fort de Pirou 

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Published by The Baguette - in Basse-Normandie
July 13 2010 3 13 /07 /July /2010 09:44

032 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer copy026 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer copyThe sizeable ruins of Lucerne Abbey stand in an isolated spot in the pleasantly green Thar Valley.  The abbey was founded in 1143 by two Premonstratensian monks following a donation by Hasculfe de Subligny, the great nephew of William the Conqueror.  It was not before 1164 that construction started.  The abbey is in a fine parkland setting.  After the French Revolution, the abbey was almost completely destroyed and its buildings dismantled so that the stone could be used to build roads and even a house located in Granville.  In 1959, Abbot Marcel Lelégard purchased the church and its grounds and began restoration work which continues to this day.  035 Façade de l’église abbatiale, franchir le portail r037 Façade de l’église abbatiale, franchir le portail rThe Romanesque doorway in the 12th façade is decorated with flat heads on the archivolts.  The Cistercian-style nave consists of seven bays.  The six arches of the north side, which collapsed in the 19th century, were reconstructed using the south side as a model.  038 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer041a La nef, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer041 Début de la nef, transept et chœur restaurés, Abbaye042 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer copy045 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremera copyThe transept crossing supports a late 12th century Gothic square bell tower, pierced on each side with narrow lancets.  During my visit, it was completely covered in scaffolding for restoration purposes.  040 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer, l'orgue, 1514 copyThe south transept houses a fine 18th century organ with 33 stops.  058 Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerAll that remains of the cloisters is the north western angle.  There is currently a project to rebuild the cloister gallery, which was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century.   The arcades of the northwest corner and the entrance to the chapter house are still standing.  In the southwest corner, near the door to the old refectory (entirely rebuilt), is a 12th century lavatorium with four beautiful little Romanesque arcades.  056 Cellier, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerUnderneath the refectory are the cellars which are partially buried in the ground.  054 Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerThe refectory, three quarters of which were destroyed, was rebuilt from 1989 to 1995 with support from the French Department of Historical Monuments.  Before restoration all that remained were the first two windows.  Following the same outline as Mont-Saint-Michel, but in a slightly more Romanesque style, the refectory is a succession of identical windows, on both its north and south sides.  062 Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer065 Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer064 Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerTo the north, two thirds of these windows have been walled, in order to reinforce the building to ensure outside support for the cloister gallery roof.  068a Réfectoire, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerThe roof framework, in the form of an overturned hull, has been restored following the 15th century carpentry design, fortunately preserved in the west monastic building.  110 cubic meters of oak were required for its construction.  052 Bâtiment conventuel, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerThe west monastic building was the only building which remained completely intact in 1959.  Originally, it housed the lay brothers.  In the 15th century, after the decimation of the brothers, caused by the 14th century black plague epidemic, the building was used as a barn.  To the east, two corridors offered access to five rooms on the first floor to accommodate passing guests or visitors to the order, then nine further loft cells for the novices and servants.  078a Aqueduc de l'abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerSouth in the park are the remains of an aqueduct built in 1803 to provide water for the spinning mill set up in the abbey precincts.   079 Porte Est, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerThe east gate was rebuilt during the 18th century, very probably on the same site as the original medieval gate, at the edge of the forest.  It comprises a perron with double revolution staircase and a wrought iron grid maintained by two blue Carolles granite pillars.  092 Logis abbatial, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerOverlooking a stretch of water is the fine Classical façade of the abbot’s lodging.  It was built from 1719 onwards.  089b Moulin, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerAcross the ornamental pond is the abbey’s old mill, together with its small bridge.  It was extended with the addition of a right-angled wing in 1866, using stone from the east monastic building.  031 Porterie, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'OutremerTemporary exhibitions are now held in the rooms above the 12th century to 15th century gatehouse (Almonry Gate), which is also the location of the ticket desk and souvenir shop.  034 Colombier, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer034a Colombier, Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer copyThe way back to the porter’s lodge passes the old tithe barn and the dovecote, a huge round tower with 1,500 pigeon holes accommodating up to 3,000 pigeons.  Sadly, during my visit, the exterior of this building was also covered in scaffolding for restoration purposes. 

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
July 10 2010 7 10 /07 /July /2010 10:08

160 La forêt de Saint SeverOur friends at Normandy Inn gave us some good advice when it came to exploring the area around Montbray and Vire during our visit last week.  If you seek a pleasant hiking opportunity, look no further than la forêt de Saint-Sever.  The national forest covers an area of 1,555 hectares and stretches across the southern territory of the commune of Saint-Sever-Calvados and is managed by l’office national des forêts (ONF).  141 La forêt de Saint SeverNearly half of the forest was destroyed during the huge European windstorms of Lothar and Martin in December 1999.  The 200 km per hour winds felled many of the old conifers.  A replanting effort was undertaken and much of the forest was restored with deciduous oak, beech, chestnut, Douglas fir and silver fir trees.  159 La forêt de Saint SeverUndergrowth flora consists of wild blueberries, foxglove and bracken fern.  142 La forêt de Saint Sever143 La forêt de Saint Sever144 La forêt de Saint Sever147 La forêt de Saint Sever148 La forêt de Saint SeverAlong the marked paths are small signs describing local flora.  I found this to be a lot of fun as I looked out for each species on our hike.  The forest is also a home to deer, wild boars, foxes and badgers.  There are numerous hiking trails for walkers some of which lead to le lac du Gast in the southern boundary of the forest.  149 La forêt de Saint Sever, Lac du Gast150 La forêt de Saint Sever, Lac du Gast152 La forêt de Saint Sever, Lac du GastIt is a heaven for birdwatchers as it serves as a sanctuary for migratory birds, mallard ducks, Pochards, teal ducks, moor hens, herons, reed buntings, snipes and coots.  156 La forêt de Saint Sever, Lac du GastAt the edge of the lake we found hundreds of small frogs.  Just look at how small they are compared to my fingers !  162 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint Sever163 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint SeverThere is a small picnic area near la chapelle de l'Ermitage.  In the 1214, hermits made a clearing in the forest and built a small monastery.  Monks following the Rule of Camaldoleses lived there until the French Revolution.  164 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint Sever166 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint Sever168 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint SeverIn 1984 a group of Carmelite nuns from Avranches founded a community devoted to St-Joseph and the monastery reopened.  The public are welcome to attend daily offices and to experience the contemplative life.

138 Chapelle de l'hermitage, La forêt de Saint Sever 

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Published by The Baguette - in Calvados
July 6 2010 3 06 /07 /July /2010 08:13

I recently came across some old postcards of Querqueville at the braderie in Cherbourg, Saturday July 2nd.  I thought it would be unique to show some past and present photos so we can compare the changes that have occurred over time.  It's amazing how much still exists from the pre-war era.


Rue de la plage...

Rue de la plage, Querqueville 2Rue de la plage, Querqueville


Monument aux Morts de Querqueville...

Monument aux Morts de Querqueville, Carte postaleMonument aux Morts de Querqueville


Église et Chapelle Saint-Germain...

Église et Chapelle Saint-Germain, Querqueville

Église et Chapelle Saint-Germain, Querqueville 1 Querqueville 1900

 Querqueville 2010

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Published by The Baguette - in Querqueville
July 4 2010 1 04 /07 /July /2010 07:57

023 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer

025 Abbaye de La Lucerne-d'Outremer


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Published by The Baguette - in Happy Things
June 18 2010 6 18 /06 /June /2010 17:10

Danse Macabre

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Published by The Baguette - in Cherbourg
June 9 2010 4 09 /06 /June /2010 06:59

1 La salamandre terrestre Salamandra salamandraAs a child, I never played in ditches or along the sides of ponds. There were always too many mosquitoes and things that felt icky.  Yesterday, look what came creeping into my small garden.  How fascinating and strange to see a salamander so far from its natural habitat.  Afterall, the closest body of water near my home is the sea and that would be too salty for this little creature to survive in; the deciduous woodlands are too far up the street for it to have crawled all the way to visit me.  I have a feeling it was probably picked up by a bird and dropped on my patio once it realized the salamander excretes a toxic poison that keeps predators from eating it.  Despite my best efforts, I was only able to take a few good snapshots before picking him up and taking him across the street to my neighbor’s yard which is much bigger.  Perhaps he’ll have a better chance of survival in her garden.

2 La salamandre terrestre Salamandra salamandra

3 La salamandre terrestre Salamandra salamandra

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
June 5 2010 7 05 /06 /June /2010 09:30




Find more information about learning to sail at their website : ASSUN.COM



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Published by The Baguette - in Sea
May 22 2010 7 22 /05 /May /2010 13:22

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 013This year commemorates the 66th year since the Normandy Landings on the 6th of June 1944, D-Day.  Thousands of men and women gave their lives in the liberation of Northern France.  Their graves are the permanent and visible symbol of their heroic devotion and their sacrifice in the common cause of humanity.

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 001American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 002American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-2If you have never visited the cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, my first article can be found by clicking HERE. 

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-3American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-4American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer Visit-copy-1Also, there is a new Visitor's Center which welcomes you and tells the story of the 9,387 Americans buried in the 176 acre cemetery.  The new Visitor's Center also provides an unbiased retrospective of one of the greatest military achievements of all time.  The "Hall of Sacrifice" is quite memorable. 

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 006American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 005American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer007American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 008American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 009American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 010American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 016American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 016aAmerican Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 017American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 017bAfterward, walk through the cemetery remembering to maintain silence and respect.  Walk down to Omaha Beach, see the graves, say a prayer and remember these brave men and women who helped to free the world from Nazi oppression.

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 019

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 024American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 021American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 025

American Cemetery Normandy Colleville-sur-mer 026

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Published by The Baguette - in Basse-Normandie
May 22 2010 7 22 /05 /May /2010 12:24

044 La Cambe NormandieDuring the Allied invasion of Normandy, the United States Army Graves Registration Service established two large cemeteries with fallen American and German soldiers near the village La Cambe, about eight kilometers east of Isigny-sur-Mer.  After 1945, the United States relocated its dead to the newly laid out graveyard of Colleville-sur-Mer, and moved the fallen German soldiers from there to La Cambe.  Thus there arose from the two cemeteries formerly occupied by Americans and Germans the separate cemeteries we know today.  See my earlier post about Colleville-sur-Mer HERE. 

045 La Cambe NormandieThe fallen German soldiers lay at the end of the war in the departments of La Manche, l’Orne and Le Calvados in some 1,400 townships.  In 1956, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfäsorge (German War Graves Commission) began bringing together the dead in six graveyards in Normandy.  The others are :


Champigny-St-André : 19,809 dead

St-Désir-de-Lisieux : 3,735 dead

Marigny : 11,169 dead

Orglandes : 10,152 dead

Mont-de-Huisnes : 11,956 dead


046 La Cambe NormandieAt the time, La Cambe was already the largest German cemetery with over 8,000 dead.  Today, 21,222 fallen German soldiers are laid to rest here making La Cambe the largest of the German cemeteries.

050 La Cambe NormandieThe extension and lying out of the grounds made necessary a renewal of the surrounding bank.  An international youth camp of young people from many nations accomplished this work in 1958.  047 La Cambe NormandieThe volunteers also worked on building up the almost six meter high tumulus, which has taken in 207 unknown dead and 89 who are known by name yet placed in a “Kameradengrab” (mass grave).  On its peak stands a mighty basalt lava cross with two side figures.

048 La Cambe NormandieThe cemetery was inaugurated on the 21st September 1961.  The site is dotted with trees and Maltese crosses arranged in groups of five.  The German dead are buried two or more underneath small cross-shaped slabs (nearly flush with the short grass).

051 La Cambe Normandie

049 La Cambe Normandie

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Published by The Baguette - in Calvados