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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.


September 3 2009 5 03 /09 /September /2009 09:01

The Church of Our Lady of Urville-Nacqueville is the other church I attend on Sundays.  Mass is held here every other week.  The Latin prayer above the doors calls for Christian unity, “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you.”

It was built in 1958 to replace the churches that were destroyed during the Liberation of 1944.  Architect, François Champart created an unusually large porch to greet visitors with an exterior baptismal font reminding us of rebirth—the cleansing of our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  The font is God’s invitation, “All you who are thirsty, come to the water.”  It is right that the holy water of baptism is the first sacred matter that we encounter as be enter into the church.  The water is the price of our admission.  Our baptism, whether as an adult or an infant, symbolically recalls how we have been forever marked as belonging to Christ.

The engraved door of the tabernacle represents the sacrifice of Abraham.  The red lamp indicates that the tabernacle contains the Blessed Sacrament—the Real Presence of Jesus Christ.

The stained glass throughout the church is modern in style.  The fish is a common Christian symbol used since the early days of the Christian Church.
The statue of the Virgin is the work of sculptor, Ferdinand Parpan.

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Published by The Baguette - in Catholocism
September 3 2009 5 03 /09 /September /2009 07:30

Some people think this building is ugly.  Personally, I like the overlapping angles of the roof.  What do you think?  The workers from the Arsenal Militaire, where submarines are constructed, come here for lunch.

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
September 2 2009 4 02 /09 /September /2009 13:12

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Published by The Baguette - in Nature
September 1 2009 3 01 /09 /September /2009 07:23

Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter.  His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. They are widely taught in schools in France and frequently appear in French language textbooks throughout the world. 
One of Prévert's poems, "Les Feuilles mortes" (Autumn Leaves), was set to music and sung by prominent 20th century French vocalists including Yves Montand and Édith Piaf. 
Prévert wrote a number of screenplays for the film director Marcel Carné including Les Enfants du paradis (The Children of Paradise, 1945), often considered one of the greatest films of all time.  His home in Omonville-la-Petite which he bought in 1970 is now a museum and garden. 
After his death in 1977, he was buried in the local cemetery next to the Church of St-Martin.

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Published by The Baguette - in La Hague
September 1 2009 3 01 /09 /September /2009 06:36

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Published by The Baguette - in Querqueville
August 31 2009 2 31 /08 /August /2009 14:52

The La Hague site is a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant of AREVA on the French Cotentin Peninsula that currently has nearly half of the world's light water reactor spent nuclear fuel reprocessing capacity. It has a capacity of about 1700 tons per year.  The La Hague site treats spent nuclear fuel from France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. It processed 1100 tons in 2008. The non-renewable waste is eventually sent back to the user nation, as established under international law. Recovered plutonium from spent fuel of French reactors is sent to Marcoule where MOX fuel (a mixture of uranium and plutonium) is fabricated.

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Published by The Baguette - in La Hague
August 31 2009 2 31 /08 /August /2009 14:40

ANDRA (Agence National pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs), has the task of storing above ground "low- and intermediate-activity" and "short-life" radioactive material. The site currently contains 527,000 cubic meters of radioactive material and has been closed since 1994.  It is in its second surveillance phase that will last approximately 50 to 100 years.

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Published by The Baguette - in La Hague
August 30 2009 1 30 /08 /August /2009 10:11

L'église Notre-Dame de Querqueville is where I attend Mass on Sundays.  Sometimes it is held in another church in Urville-Nacqueville which isn't as old and has more of a modern flair to it than Notre-Dame.  Notice how from this vantage point at the top of the hill one can see all of Querqueville.  In the distance is the rade de Cherbourg and digue de Querqueville.  Beside the main church is the 12th century Chapelle Saint-Germaine.

Excavations have revealed that the present chapel was built on older foundations dating back as far as the 9th century.  Querqueville’s name comes from the Nordic word “Kerk,” meaning “church” and that of “Villa” (Frankish name) meaning “field.”  It can be deduced from evidence of an ancient necropolis around the old foundations that on this site a religious building of sorts existed even as early as the 7th or 8th century. 

Inside the church of Notre-Dame above the altar is the image of the virgin rising to Heaven during the assumption.

The church is noted for it's beautiful stained glass windows that cast a rainbow of colors throughout the nave on sunny days. 

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Published by The Baguette - in Querqueville
August 30 2009 1 30 /08 /August /2009 08:57

Fort Chavagnac was built from 1854 to 1869 about 2 km northwest of Cherbourg.  Along with several other forts and a long harbor wall, Fort Chavagnac defended France's northern naval base at Cherbourg. It has a triangular edifice with rounded edges, designed to cross fire with the western battery on the end of the harbor wall.  Swiveling armored dugouts were added to the fort during World War II, and a stone parapet and a breakwater were also added for strength.  Like all the main forts that make up the rade, it was concreted at the end of the 19th century and electricity was installed.  The fort is now in ruins, and can only be admired from the sea. 
Nearby, the digue de Querqueville was built from 1889 to 1896 using numerous blocks of granite from quarries located in Flammanville and Dielette.  Weather permitting, the walk on the 1.2 km digue can give the impression of walking water.  During World War II, the digue was the terminus for Operation Pluto, which provided France with pipelines of petrol from the UK.  Without this important base of operations, the American allies would have had no way of supplying troops with those things (tanks, ammunition, fuel, etc…) needed to push the German army back to Berlin.

On stormy days, especially during the Equinox tides, strong winds help create waves that slam against the digue creating enormous showers of sea-spray.  Fortunately, all boats harbored within the rade de Cherbourg are protected from Normandy’s frequent stormy weather.

Fortunate enough to live near Querqueville beach, I have the opportunity to see ships great and small enter Cherbourg.  In the summer season (July and August) the beach is crowded with people.  Still, there can be cold weather, chilling winds and tides that keep folks away during these months.  However, I like taking long, quiet walks along "la plage" any time of the year.

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Published by The Baguette - in Querqueville
August 27 2009 5 27 /08 /August /2009 10:17

Here’s a photo of the Digue de Querqueville. It is part of the Rade de Cherbourg, the largest man-made harbor in the world.   Unfortunately, the forts around different places along the rade have been ravaged by time, sea water and man. 

I went on a trip last week on a boat to see the forts for myself.  Although they are in terrible condition, they are nonetheless impressive up close and personal.  I was watching Fort Boyard the other night and I thought, “wouldn’t it be awesome if they were to fix up one of the forts here in Cherbourg and make a television show?”  That would be awesome.

Some forts like this one on the L'île Pelée are simply spectacular and need repairs in order to make it worthy of a proper tourist destination--something Cherbourg simply lacks other than having La Cité de la Mer. 

For those of you who don't know what La Cité de la Mer looks like, here's another picture.  It used to serve as the old Transatlantic Railway Terminal.  Toward the end of World War II the Germans blew-up the building and its iconic 70m tall bell tower.  Now, mostly refurbished and saved from demolition it serves as a museum for all things dealing with the sea.  It has its own huge aquarium and is home to the first French nuclear submarine, Le Redoutable.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cherbourg