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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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November 6 2012 3 06 /11 /November /2012 10:14

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8147889169_4c7a28855f_b.jpgBordeaux, built almost 100 km upriver at the first bridging point of the Garonne River, is one of the most important ports in Europe.  The city boasts a wealth of Classical architecture, which contrasts with the small store houses lining the narrow cobbled streets of some districts.  Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2007 Bordeaux has more than 350 classified buildings and buildings listed as Historic Monuments, including three religious World Heritage sites since 1998 as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.  I spent three days in Bordeaux in early May and only now have I gotten around to posting my photos.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8185/8147954740_b5ea601e61_b.jpgMy walking tour of the city began at the Pont de pierre, or "Stone Bridge" in English.  It connects the left bank of the Garonne River to the right bank quartier de la Bastide.  The first bridge over the Garonne at Bordeaux, it was planned and designed during the First French Empire, under the orders of Napoleon I, but its construction took place during the Bourbon Restoration, from 1819 to 1822.  It has seventeen arches (the same number as letters in the name Napoleon Bonaparte) and served as the only bridge crossing the river into Bordeaux until the construction of the Pont Saint-Jean in 1965.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8147934465_81ee090f37_b.jpgLa porte des Salinières is the first landmark after crossing the Pont de pierre.  Sometimes called the Porte de Bourgogne, it marks the official entrance to the town on the old road leading to Paris and was classified as a Historical Monument in 1921.  It was constructed between 1750 and 1755, by architect André Portier under the supervision of the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel.   http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8194/8147933951_bfe351217f_b.jpgPorte Cailhau stands on the Place du Palais which faces the river.  It was once the main entrance into the city and built on the site of an ancient gate east of the Palais de l’Ombrière and completed in 1495.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8328/8147887987_0dd08194a9_b.jpgThe triumphal arch derives its name either from the Cailhau family, who were members of the Bordeaux nobility, or from the “cailloux” (pebbles) that washed up around its base by the Garonne River.  It is dedicated to Charles VIII, who won the Battle of Fornovo against the Italians in 1495.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8147966500_bf131af5a4_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8147932859_c7300f0d02_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8189/8147932329_325521680f_b.jpgFurther on is the Place de la Bourse.  Named after the Stock Exchange (la bourse), this magnificent square was formerly called Place Royale and was the work of the father and son architects Jacques Jules and Jacques-Ange Gabriel.  On the northern side is the Stock Exchange itself.  On the southern side is the Former Hotel des Fermes (tax assessors) housing the National Customs Museum.  The Three Graces Fountain stands in the middle of the square.  The facades and the variety of their sculpted decoration combine to form one of the best architectural examples of the Louis XV style.  One of the most beautiful designs across from the square is the largest mirror of water in the world.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8147964846_f655ff88af_b.jpgThe Place des Quinconces is one of the largest city squares in Europe (approximately 126,000 m²).  The principal monument was erected between 1894 and 1902 in memory of the Girondists who fell victim to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8468/8147964408_b24971735c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8326/8147930723_97d364ed54_b.jpgIt is composed of a large pedestal framed with two basins, decorated with bronze horses and troops, and surmounted by a large column with a statue on top that represents the spirit of liberty.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8161015497_29a12dec05_b.jpgBetween the Esplanade and the waterfront stand two rostral columns (ship figureheads), decorated with figures representing Commerce and Navigation.  During the 18th century, the city was no longer considered to be solely for living and commerce, it was also expected to offer a quality of life for its inhabitants.  It was for this reason that in 1746, the Intendant Tourny decided to create what is today the Jardin Publique on a site that was previously invaded by weeds.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8147930167_068ec69c06_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8147962448_f4232cd88c_b.jpgIt offers a large number of promenades for meetings, a natural history museum and this beautiful exhibition hall.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8332/8147959400_25d3284aa2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8147925013_ed44bcaf7e_b.jpgBasilique Saint-Seurin is a minor Basilica within the Place des Martyrs de la Résistance.  It was founded in 6th century and is classified as historical monuments since 1840.  It is also UNESCO World Heritage site since 1998 because it lies on one of the paths leading to Santiago de Compostela.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8147961770_1b994390f5_b.jpgInside is the altar to St-Fort which pays tribute to the first bishop of Bordeaux during the 4th century and whose crypt lies beneath the church.  Pilgrims came to his crypt to venerate his relics during the Middle Ages.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8191/8147961142_db5ce78800_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8147927561_88411a4833_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8335/8147926957_3bec826cfd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8329/8147957360_e9f275c756_b.jpgThe basilica has retained many masterpieces of different periods, including the magnificently carved Romanesque capitals of the west porch.  They date from the 11th century and depict animal motifs as well as Biblical scenes.  Bordeaux is mostly known for its wonderful old buildings but those interested in more modern architecture will find that the city does not disappoint.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8049/8147908177_006c4f2acc_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8147908741_2905e46243_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8147923541_b02380bd24_b.jpgIt has several interesting buildings located outside of the Old City including the Court of Justice located next to a 14th century tower of the Hâ fortress as well as this building found next to the Mériadec shopping center.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8147955320_fe2a1e9952_b.jpgÉglise Saint-Bruno is a Baroque style church which dates from 1611. Its façade is divided into three separate parts and is composed of six pilasters Corinthians.  Above the door, in a niche, you can see a statue of a Madonna and child.  The church was the first in Bordeaux to be built in the Baroque style and is located just in front of the cemetery of the Chartreuse, the oldest and largest cemetery in Bordeaux.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8048/8147922973_87f6bd85ea_b.jpgThere is a good view of its clock tower from the World War I Memorial right beside the church.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8465/8147954256_8da7493d84_b.jpgThis beautiful building located along the Quai de Paludate is the Château Descas and actually hides an old copper factory which lies behind it.  Over the years, it has served as an upscale restaurant, a hotel as well as a discotheque.  It is currently under a great deal of disrepair and the city council is hoping to find someone who is willing to restore it at the price of over 5 million Euros !  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8147953146_730cd90cfd_b.jpgAbbatiale Sainte-Croix is a former Benedictine monastery which was founded here in the 7th century.  The current building was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and was considerably restored during the 19th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147950418_0330b7559b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8147918099_1451bd9b5a_b.jpgIt has a Romanesque west front typical of the Saintonge region along the Atlantic coast.  Architect, Paul Abadie added a symmetrical bell tower to the left of the façade during restorations in the 19th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8193/8147920697_f2f4d4e9a0_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8054/8147919513_1df08d22fa_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8147951712_b3668a706c_b.jpgThe arches of the blind windows surrounding the main doorway are decorated with interesting carvings depicting Greed and Lust.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8147945986_8b6f058af4_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8471/8147947892_3a086d755e_b.jpgNearby, in the Place de la Victoire is the Porte d’Aquitaine and its imposing 18th century triumphal arch surmounted by a triangular pediment bearing the royal arms of Bordeaux. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8196/8147946436_b62f43dd70_b.jpgJust in front of it are an obelisk and a turtle.  They were placed here in 2005 to replace the old clock tower that once marked the center of the square.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8191/8147916957_2caf87b5b8_b.jpgThe column, square and twisted, is equipped with two false doors in bronze, and is full of references to wine and the vine.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8192/8147916363_f5120840fc_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8465/8147947190_6ac35c77cf_b.jpgIt was designed by the Czech sculptor Ivan Theimer.  The giant tortoise brings a playful touch to the décor.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147945446_23c34525e3_b.jpgThis is the Chapelle St-Joseph which was built in 1671.  It closed its doors in 1970 and was renovated extensively in 1996-7.  Since 1999 it has served as an Orthodox church under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Romania.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8327/8147943774_59a9e3e5bb_b.jpgBuilt on the site of a 7th century chapel, l’église Saint-Eulalie once marked the southwest corner of Bordeaux’s medieval ramparts. The current church underwent many redesigns, but one can still admire the portal of the north wall which dates from the 15th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8054/8147944336_1289d58287_b.jpgThe western façade was completely redesigned in the 20th century.  A porch built by Alexandre Poitevin in 1828 served as the entrance to the church whose nave was extended and the main façade rebuilt in 1903 by architect Magne.  The new bell tower is 54 meters tall and has been rebuilt twice (in 1612 and 1803) because it had been struck so many times by lightning.  Saint-Eulalie’s current appearance is the result of its reconstruction in 1863-1864 by the architect Gustave Alaux.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8147912103_a3cf6cea6c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8327/8147943232_35a1b3ea47_b.jpgAcross the street is the façade of Hôpital St-André along the rue Jean Burguet as well as the Palais de Justice which was built to designs by the architect Adolphe Thiac between 1836 and 1846.   http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8052/8147942114_416bdc3c91_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8147936274_a35fb108c8_b.jpgLa cathédrale Saint-André with its famous tower stands in the middle of place Pey-Berland, which is flanked by the city’s most important museums, the Centre Jean-Moulin and the Musée des Beaux-Arts.  On the first Sunday of every month, the town center is closed to traffic and admission to museums is free.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8147906929_55a45d4d5b_b.jpgAnother building located on place Pey-Berland is the Palais Rohan, a former bishop’s palace built in the 18th century for Archbishop Ferdinand Maximilian de Mériadek, Prince of Rohan.  The building marks the introduction of Neoclassicism to France.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8147924716_71066391c8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8147937386_1bde048a95_b.jpgThe cathedral, dedicated to Saint Andrew, is the most impressive of all the religious buildings in Bordeaux.  The 11th-12th century nave was altered in the 13th century and again in the 15th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8328/8147887431_26a21621c0_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147918916_cf3b628238_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8185/8147917502_64aaae8d69_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8466/8147918242_d0048108c4_b.jpgThe nave is quite impressive with dimensions:  124 mlong, 18 m wide in the transept, 23 m high in the nave and 29 m in the choir.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147919640_d63f861a15_b.jpgThe Renaissance style organ has undergone countless restorations and has been replaced several times since 1427.  The Gothic chancel and the transept were rebuilt in the 14th and 15th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8147907543_524fcc31b2_b.jpgLater, when the roof of the nave threatened to collapse, the building was strengthened by buttresses and flying buttresses, added at irregular intervals.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8349/8157622838_0cda634484_b.jpgThis is the Porte Royale.  It is a 13th century entrance to the right of the north transept portal and is renowned for its sculptures, inspired by the outstanding statuary adorning Notre-Dame in Paris.  Most remarkable are the Twelve Apostles in the entrance bay and, on the tympanum, the Last Judgement.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8464/8147906409_0421e53a1f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8194/8147938648_4fb350ffb5_b.jpgThe 14th century sculptures of the north transept portal are the most prominent part of the cathedral exterior. This portal has an elaborate design starting with a statuary arcade at the top, a large petaled rose in a square next below, then 3 lancet windows and two tiers of trefoil openings until the arcades of angels, apostles and prophets are reached.  All are set between two spired towers.  The tympanum has a Last Supper on the lintel with an Ascension and Christ Triumphant above.  Both jambs have sets of three clergymen.  On the trumeau is St.-Martial.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8147935020_fccbf7f317_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8324/8147902725_2fd707b3d7_b.jpgThe south transept doorway to the cathedral is below a pediment pierced by an oculus and three rose windows.  The upper part, embellished with trefoil arcades, also boasts an elegant rose window set within a square.  The west front, destroyed in the 18th century and then rebuilt, remains unadorned.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8187/8147936810_fd12e77957_b.jpgThe tower was built in the 15th century on the orders of Archbishop Pey-Berland.  It has always stood separate from the main body of the cathedral, beyond the east end.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8045/8147901325_31dfa9f87a_b.jpgThe steeple, shortened by a hurricane in the 18th century, now supports a statue of Notre-Dame d’Aquitaine, installed in the 19th century and restored in 2002.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8147900215_771d4ceb56_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8336/8147900667_b6164a0451_b.jpgÉglise Saint-Paul-Saint-François-Xavier was built between 1661 and 1673 by Jesuits who settled in Bordeaux toward the end of the 16th century.   The architecture is typical of the Baroque style of the Counter-Reformation.  45 meters in length and 19 meters wide, it features several shallow but wide side chapels similar to this one dedicated to Saint Joseph:  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8147932526_025f6af53a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8147931906_7fcb963a10_b.jpgThe high altar is of later construction, built between 1741 and 1748 by sculptor Guillaume Coustou (son) and Pierre Vernet. The high altar represents the apotheosis of Saint-François-Xavier.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8147898185_b465de1504_b.jpgThe 15th century arched gateway (Porte de la Grosse-Cloche), with its three round turrets and conical roofs, is another source of local pride.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8464/8147897521_ae8a46a53d_b.jpgThe clocks date from 1592 (inside) and 1772 (outside); the bell was cast in 1775.  The gateway stands at the site of an older structure, Porte St-Éloi, which was one of the entrances to the 13th century walled town.  When it existed, this belfry rang out the news that the grape harvest was to begin.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8147896775_59b9a3d6a2_b.jpgThe 12th century Gothic church of Saint-Éloi still rests beside the great clock tower.  It was closed in the 1980 and quickly became run down.  Since 2002 it has been occupied by a traditionalist Catholic association who celebrate Mass using the Tridentine Rite.  It is currently undergoing a massive restoration.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8045/8147929326_db28758ff2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8147928724_e1dd7d5d84_b.jpgWithin the place St-Projet is this 14th century cross which is all that is left of an ancient cemetery that was once located on this spot.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8326/8147921624_dcc48779cc_b.jpgÉglise Saint-Pierre has been located on this site since the 6th century.  The building was greatly reconstructed in 1882 but its western facade still maintains some of its 14th century charm.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8048/8147895187_80be896b9f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8147927618_01b56680ec_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8045/8147927134_390569f8e6_b.jpgThe Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is one of the oldest wooden frame opera houses in Europe not to have burnt or required rebuilding.   Inaugurated on 17 April 1780 the theatre was conceived as a temple of the Arts and Light, with a neo-classical facade endowed with a portico of 12 Corinthian style colossal columns which support an entablature on which stand 12 statues that represent the nine Muses and three goddesses (Juno, Venus and Minerva).  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8147925946_24728c0fc5_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7108/8157961595_0f86788ca5_b.jpgÉglise Notre Dame was formerly a Domincan chapel. It was built between 1684 and 1707 by the engineer Michel Duplessy. Its façade is in typical Baroque style. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8481/8161013971_fc1b5f2ea0_b.jpgLa porte Dijeaux was one of the monumental entrances to the city of Bordeaux in the 18th century. Built between 1748 and 1753 its name is connected with that of Jupiter whose temple stood on this location during Gallo-Roman times. The name comes from the deformation of the Gascon "De Jòu" (Jupiter).  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8333/8147889921_4365126c51_b.jpgNearby is the Cours de l'Intendance, the main street for high-fashion and luxury goods stores.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147923400_fb925d4607_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8147891199_7a17a43fe5_b.jpgOne afternoon I ate my lunch in a rather nice restaurant here.  I wish I could remember the name--all I remember is that the food was delicious !  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8147916486_fe7e58c8c9_b.jpgThe construction of the Basilique St-Michel began in 1350 and lasted for two centuries, during which time the original design was much modified.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8147915204_7e910ede9a_b.jpgDated to c 1460 the alabaster carvings below this altar to Our Lady are attributed to Nottingham craftsmen who specialised in working in alabaster.  They represent the Joys of the Virgin. Much of it is missing but a few panels still show the original workmanship and have been carefully restored recently.  The originals were discovered, hidden behind wooden panelling in 1840.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7254/8161045770_9981528806_b.jpgOne panel in particular shows the Ressurection of Christ while the Soldiers Sleep.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8206/8161010841_52f890d40d_b.jpgThe organ buffet in Louis XV style was built from 1762 to 1765 and has been restored on several occasions, particularly in 1865 by Joseph Merklin and again in 2011 by Bernard Hurvy, Olivier Robert and Stéphane Robert.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8325/8147883029_80111ae307_b.jpgThe arches and the tympanum above the main door are blackened from heavy pollution.  There are plans to clean the walls like they have already with other buildings in Bordeaux.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8469/8147880839_8a0a93b33f_b.jpgCarving on the tympanum over the southern door illustrates the legend of the appearance of St-Michael to the Bishop of Siponto on Mount Gargano in Italy, where the archangel saved a bull stuck in a cave from a hunter's arrow.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8192/8147880139_25f69ef366_b.jpgSome windows have beautifully carved corbels.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8147884041_8ebfba4f14_b.jpgThe people of Bordeaux are justly proud of this late 15th century hexagonal Gothic belfry, which stands apart from the basilica.  At 114 meters tall it is the highest tower in all of southern France. 

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
November 2 2012 6 02 /11 /November /2012 11:14

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8468/8147790279_a49cd8363e_b.jpgThe neo-Gothic-style château was built by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc at the request of Antoine d'Abbadie d'Arrrast, between 1864 and 1879.  Antoine d’Abbadie, member of the Academy of Sciences, was an astronomer, explorer, anthropologist and linguist who dreamed of a castle observatory built in the Gothic style where his passions for Asian, African and Christian cultures could mingle.  Abbadie’s travels throughout the world especially Ethiopia and Egypt influenced much of the interior decoration of the château.  Sadly, this is one destination where photos of the interior are strictly forbidden.  That’s a shame because the inside of the château is so beautiful.  Some photos can be found HERE.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8147789785_df8e13f24a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8147789131_7e0c5dd3fb_b.jpgThe château consists of four main parts: the library, the observatory, the chapel and finally, living quarters.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8147820428_8403602d71_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8334/8147786271_06d8aa284c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8189/8147786743_33a3f84f67_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8193/8147785509_e3d84028bc_b.jpgCarved from local limestone, the crocodiles which fiercely protect the entrance to the château are symbolic of Abbadie’s voyage to Abyssinia.  Other emblematic and symbolic animals represented throughout the architecture and are a part of the 19th century taste for Orientalism include: elephants, monkeys, snakes, dogs, birds and snails as well as the occasional gargoyle.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8147788633_ce86487539_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8147787973_917d46bcdb_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8054/8147785893_a9342e3134_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8051/8147785111_ae8fedc818_b.jpgBattlements, towers and keep make the building look like a medieval castle.  Abbadie, a passionate astronomer, built an observatory in his castle.  It is the last room created at the end of the construction of the castle in 1879.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8465/8147787713_9be6e97510_b.jpgIn his will, Abbadie asked that scientific research continue in his observatory and that a priest provide religious services for the villagers.  In 1897, with the death of Antoine d'Abbadie, the château was bequeathed to the Academy of Sciences, who continued to use the observatory until 1975 and now maintain the residence as a historical monument and tourist site.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8147821480_27017a9ac8_b.jpgThe park is adorned with palm trees and the landscape enjoys views on the ocean, the beautiful Corniche Basque and La Rhune.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8147784663_9a5a104a76_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8147318202_50359b5ecd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8147283161_2bbb3455e3_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
October 4 2012 5 04 /10 /October /2012 12:55

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8178/8053200401_0387ed07e9_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8317/8053200255_9616baab0d_b.jpgAfter another beautiful day at sea, we reached our final destination, Venice, Italy where we stayed for three days at a bed and breakfast along the Grand Canal near Rialto Bridge.  Venice was truly stunning !  I was amazed at how much I was able to see in so short a time.  Using the water taxi to get everywhere, I was able to visit several islands in the lagoon including Murano which is famous for its glass-making.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8454/8053206272_d8213239a8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8053200003_2c25631ce4_b.jpgThis was the view from our terrace at the bed and breakfast.  It's the Ca' d'Oro or Palazzo Santa Sofia along the Grand Canal.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8042/8053206024_3649f842e2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8179/8053205882_7d72fd0c4e_b.jpgThis is a photo of the Rialto Bed and Breakfast where we stayed.  Our terrace was at the top of the smaller building.  We had a nice suite on the top floor of the B&B with access to a kitchen and sitting room.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8053199587_f4fc7f0b22_b.jpgRestaurant prices along the Grand Canal were outrageous !  The first meal we had in Venice was a lunch consisting of two plates of pasta, one salad and two small glasses of wine.   Total price: Euro 65,00 !!!  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8171/8053199451_f67e9da3bc_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8053205348_624e63a638_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8460/8053205218_5c45c26c2e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8462/8053198967_3f7a8c0dca_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8035/8053198833_44f35d34b2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8178/8053204818_c4905ccc8a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8458/8053198565_2c91ac9a12_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8171/8053198421_bb6ef6f1c3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8451/8053204438_56656af684_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8462/8053198159_b0ea1c96a5_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8310/8053198025_24f949f41a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8176/8053204056_95fa128c37_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8178/8053197771_8fabfb7813_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8176/8053197619_5baf55842f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8174/8053197463_ffaf7491bf_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8449/8053203464_0de6594273_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8029/8053203294_1ed5afac7a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8177/8053203152_226a623308_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8053196825_1dcca7de23_b.jpgThe only part of Venice that was truly OVER-crowded was the Plaza San Marco.  Thousands and thousands of tourists were in the square waiting in lines to get into the Ducal Palace and the Basilica.  I didn't understand why everyone was standing on raised platforms in front of the Basilica.  Later on, I spoke to a German tourist who told me that the platforms are there to keep tourists' feet dry when the tide comes in.  Although we didn't experiece any flooding while we were in the plaza, we did see water covering many walkways along the Grand Canal and near the lagoon.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8182/8053196689_043c86a01f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8035/8053196553_a25bda9807_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8179/8053196425_010c537f4f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8315/8053196301_04c65c3061_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8452/8053196153_248965cbc8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8451/8053202210_9efcf5ab75_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8182/8053202106_30f53847f8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8459/8053195765_d3697f4ddd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8458/8053195639_9cac02cf17_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/8053195483_374fb844ce_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8042/8053195373_7e64261edb_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8450/8053195201_f60838cd86_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8452/8053195099_b49583d717_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8461/8053194997_675630e1c6_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8311/8053194865_4a420e1624_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8314/8053200886_a0555bc461_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8173/8053194607_bfb549a86d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8321/8053200576_2655d1dcfa_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8455/8053200472_c93a507116_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8451/8053194201_a9f9cd8696_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8053200238_575ba269db_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8314/8053200078_3534efe6e0_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8040/8053193789_65f5ffe9ac_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
October 4 2012 5 04 /10 /October /2012 12:34

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8039/8053210190_c193ae7b59_b.jpgAnother beautiful day at sea before arrival in the fortified city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8311/8053204083_31db4bc56a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8178/8053204005_9e60d9f403_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8041/8053209946_908e1409e7_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/8053209792_8afb48666c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8458/8053209688_176eca8361_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8037/8053203571_1bf1a7ffa4_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8455/8053203451_506f71a362_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8316/8053203307_0a0853590e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8178/8053203159_f4520a75dd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8451/8053203013_9e2e18f24d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8452/8053208886_5375f553d9_b.jpgDubrovnik, Croatia  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8035/8053208740_50e7ce3261_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8316/8053208582_7674cdcbe6_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8316/8053202465_7d7f7ff548_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8172/8053202281_8feefde9b1_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/8053202087_33daef8afc_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/8053201933_c4401d27e6_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8030/8053201783_f1d07d587a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8035/8053201615_56e0455bbf_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8314/8053207608_03f1160216_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8033/8053201379_a5af257061_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8317/8053201181_eb44f0731c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8453/8053201015_f1aa8d5159_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8031/8053200827_bcfa306007_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8177/8053206662_a2190524d6_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8317/8053200661_4539950820_b.jpgDubrovnik, Croatia

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
April 16 2012 2 16 /04 /April /2012 14:11

Since I was in Lyon for four days, I purchased a two-day pass that allowed me to use the public transportation system and access to all the museums at any time.  It was so convenient not having to worry about ticket prices.  Lyon, which is listed as a Town of Art and History, offers different tours conducted by guide-lecturers approved by the Ministry of Culture and Communication.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5446/6937415768_da3f3efbd1_b.jpgWith that in mind, I purchased tickets for an English-speaking tour of Vieux Lyon with a very knowledgable guide named Jérôme.  The first tour was on Saturday morning and took a group of about 25 of us throughout the old quarter.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7063/6937417660_a4241778ba_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7123/7083493361_f8a54f661e_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7070/6937417896_42be81d1b0_b.jpgOne of the main features of the old town is the numerous passages or alleyways known as traboules (from the Latin  transambulare meaning “walking through”) especially between rue St-Jean, rue des Trois-Maries and quai Romain-Rolland, rue St-Georges and quai Fulchiron.  Since there was not enough space to build an extensive network of streets, these passageways, all perpendicular to the Saône, were built to link the buildings together.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/7083490227_70b72ea8b0_b.jpgThe first one I visited was the 16th century Hôtel de la Chamererie which was built for the cleric responsible for overseeing the cloisters of St-Jean Cathedral.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7266/7083489755_91fbb8688e_b.jpgThe arcading in the galleries of the Maison des Avocats is supported on massive columns and the outbuildings have a pink roughcast.  Seen from the rue Bombarde, the house represents a fine example of 16th century Italian style arcitecture.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7266/7083489135_f24df0e96b_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7183/7083489473_f0cfe1dd87_b.jpgFurther along the rue Juiverie is where during the late 14th century the Jews were expelled by wealthy Italian bankers who replaced many homes with luxurious mansions in the Renaissance style.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7176/7083490005_60d9b994d9_b.jpgAt number 22 is the Maison Baronat, which has a corbelled corner turret overlooking the Montée du Change.  Another impressive sight are all of the montées, or rises, which consist of winding flights of steps or steeply sloping streets that climb the Fourvière hill, providing superb views down over the old town.  This one below is called the Montée du Change and was nowhere nearly as steep as Montee du Garillan (224 steps) or Montee des Chazeaux (228 steps).  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7079/6937416002_fc14bfea8a_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7064/7083492251_a8a292e2a7_b.jpgThe Hôtel Paterin, also known as the Henri IV house has a staircase in the courtyard with three tiers of arches, one above the other, supported by massive columns.  It is quite impressive.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7179/7083491163_7e308a563f_b.jpgThe courtyard in the Hôtel Bullioud contains the famous gallery designed by Philibert Delorme, a gem of French Renaissance arcitecture.  It was built in 1536 on his return from Rome.  Of the hundreds of traboules, it is impossible to write about each one.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7197/6937417198_0b8ccd7ec5_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7114/7083492965_4d1ba4a165_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7050/7083491455_483c3308bd_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6937414428_6a9f33ea8c_b.jpgMy favorite was located within the courtyard of the Musée Gadagne which is the largest Renaissance building in the old town.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7208/6937416628_ce4c140271_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/7083492795_82bf719c0c_b.jpgThe rue de Bœuf owes its name to the statue of an ox (or more precisely a bull) at the corner of place Neuve-St-Jean, a work attributed to M. Hendricy.  Nearby is the Maison du Crible at number 16 and dates from the 17th century.  It has an ornate doorway with bosses and ringed columns topped by a pediment decorated with a small carving of the Adoration of the Magi.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7228/6937414812_05f5eca27e_b.jpgThe alleyway with ogival vaulting supported on carved corbels leads to an inner courtyard in which the elegant round tower, with staggered openings, owes its name, Tour Rose to the color of its roughcast.

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
April 13 2012 6 13 /04 /April /2012 12:46

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7118/6926782276_8cb3dfe97a.jpgI’m back !  After several weeks without posting, I finally have something to write about.  Last weekend was Easter and I spent it in the beautiful French city of Lyon.  In the next few weeks I will try posting some of the photos that I took.  Meanwhile, here is an overview of one of my first stops in the city, the Roman ruins atop the Fourvière and the Croix-Rousse districts.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7073/7072860309_9ae7e4dc0a.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5315/7072861035_b9162462e7.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5192/6926787400_5ed4ed7618.jpgThe théâtre antique of Lyon was built into the hill of Le Fourvière overlooking Lyon and was built in two stages.  The first stage was around 15 B.C. under the emperor Caesar Augustus and the second stage took place under the reign of Caesar Hadrian during the early 2nd century A.D.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5325/7072859015_102efa16bb.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5152/7072858143_749cd537ff.jpgAt that time, an extra series of steps was added to the top of the structure increasing its diameter 108 meters and increasing the seating capacity to over 10,000 people.  Next to the théâtre antique is a smaller structure called the Odéon.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7270/7072862749_d6b8dbb6b1.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5200/6926784762_20b4d658de.jpgBuilt between the end of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., the Odéon antique de Lyon is only one of its kind in Gaul, outside that of Vienne.  It is a smaller space than its neighbor the théâtre antique and was used for music performances and rhetoric.  Like the larger théâtre, a large wall behind the stage originally enclosed it.  The Odéon accommodated about 3,000 spectators, who occupied two tiers of seating.  The upper level has now completely disappeared.  To improve acoustics, archaeologists believe that it was partly covered by a roof supported by a timber framework.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5330/6926788244_d2b0f3503b.jpgFinally, built into the hill of the Croix-Rousse district is the amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules (for the regions of Lyon, Aquitaine and Belgium).  Built in 12 B.C. and enlarged around 120 A.D. under the reign of Caesar Hadrian, this amphiteater seated up to 20,000 people.  This is where, near to the federal sanctuary and temple of Rome and of Augustus, the representatives of the sixty-four nations of the three Gauls would meet every year.  It is also here that in 177 the first Christian martyrs were tortured and executed.  Blandine the slave, Attalus the nobleman and Alexander the doctor from Phrygia were among those whom Marcus Aurelius ordered to be tortured unless they renounced their faith.  Ninety-year-old Pothinus, an early bishop, was beaten to death, while Blandine, whom the lions spared, died refusing to swear allegiance to idols.  Their torn bodies were exposed to the public before being burned and their ashes thrown into the Rhône.

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Published by The Baguette - in Architecture
October 28 2011 6 28 /10 /October /2011 15:37

4127 Tour de la Chaîne et Tour St-Nicolas, La Rochelle4118 Vieux Port, La RochelleBy sea and by land, La Rochelle has many monuments related to its defense.  The best known are the medieval towers of the Old Port which guard the entrance to the harbor and make it world famous.  Of these, the Tour Saint-Nicolas, the Tour de la Chaîne and the Tour de la Lanterne are all that remain of the 14th century medieval defense system destroyed by Richelieu in 1628 during the Siege of the city.  4124 Tour St-Nicolas, La RochelleBuilt in the 14th century, the Saint Nicolas Tower is a true stately keep.  Concentrated on the sea, this military building symbolised the power and wealth of La Rochelle.  With a height of 42 meters, its architecture is dependant on a maze of steps and corridors built into the depth of the walls.  4122 Tour de la Chaîne, La RochelleAlong with the Chain Tower, it protected the town’s sea front for centuries as a defensive mechanism.  The Chain Tower was constructed between 1382 and 1390 and from it, a long iron chain was joined to the Saint Nicolas Tower to prevent ships from entering the harbor.  4122a Tour de la Chaîne, La RochellePreserved at the foot of the tower lies the actual chain from which the tower took its name.  4121 Tour de la Lanterne, La RochelleAt a height of 55 meters, the Lantern Tower consists of two parts.  Its base is a cylinder 25 meters high and over 15 meters in diameter.  It is topped by an octagonal spire with four of the eight sides pierced with trefoil windows in the Flamboyant style.  Inside the tower, there are messages and graffiti carved into the stones by English, Spanish or Dutch sailors who were imprisoned here between the 17th and 19th centuries.  It is sometimes referred to as the Four Sergeants Tower after four young French soldiers who were accused during the Bourbon Restoration of trying to overthrow the monarchy.  They were kept in this tower before being transported to Paris and guillotined in 1822.  4119 Vieux Port, La RochelleA more recent monument erected in 2009 in front of the ancient towers is in honor of Michel Crépeau, a minister, deputy and mayor of La Rochelle between 1971 and 1999.  4132 Grosse Horloge, La RochelleAnother landmark near the Old Port is the Grosse-Horloge, originally a gate of the walled city of the 12th century La Rochelle.  In the 13th century it was named La Porte du Parrot because it gave access to the suburb of that name.  4131 Grosse Horloge, La RochelleThe gateway was originally pierced with two bays, one large to allow access for carts and wagons while the other much smaller to allow pedestrian access.  In 1672, the two bays were combined into one to facilitate traffic.  In 1478, an octagonal bell tower topped the gateway but this was changed again in 1746 when the top was demolished to make way for the current construction with a Louis XV tower flanked by statues with scientific and military attributes.  Today it remains one of the main crossing points between the docks and the old town.  4134 Eugène Fromentin, La RochelleNearby is the memorial to one of the city’s favorite sons, Eugène Fromentin, the famous painter and author.  As one roams the narrow streets, ALL OF WHICH are polluted with dog poop and the reeking odor of stale urine, don’t forget to admire the 13th century arcades.  4107 Les Arcades de la Rochelle4108 Les Arcades de la Rochelle4109 Les Arcades de la RochelleThey still have some half-timbered houses built above them that date as far back as the 15th century.  The arcades themselves were once used by merchants to display their goods.    4140 Maison Nicolas Vanette, La RochelleOther points of interest in this beautiful city of fetid smells include the House of Nicolas Venette, a physician who wrote not only many medical and biology books but also a rather risqué “Table of Conjugal Love.”  The house was built in the early 17th century for a Spaniard, Martin Bartox, who was an ex-Trinitarian monk turned dean of the Royal College of La Rochelle.  4141 Maison Nicolas Vanette, La RochelleIt is decorated with gargoyles and busts of physicians of ancient times.  The Revolutionary leader Jacques-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, a member of the Committee of Public Safety, lived here also.   4136 Palais de Justice, La RochelleAnother building to see is the Palais de Justice which was built between 1783 and 1789.  The façade has Corinthian columns and borders with crests and coats of arms.  4137 Stock Exchange, La Rochelle4139 Stock Exchange, La RochelleBeside it is the Stock Exchange with its cloistered courtyard and peristyle walkway built between 1760 and 1785.  4135 Musée Rochelais d’Histoire Protestante, La RochelleThe old Protestant Temple from the 16th century now serves as a museum.  It houses a collection of various objects on the history of Protestantism in La Rochelle and the Aunis and Saintonge provinces: manuscripts and ancient books, engravings, maps, portraits, medals and rare pieces like ceramics from the workshop of Bernard Palissy.  The library contains a collection of Bibles in all languages published in the 19th century.  4110 Le chien, rue Chaudrier, La RochelleAt the entrance to the street, rue Chaudrier is a corner watchtower covered with a dome roof.  A small pug dog is enthroned at the top.  The image belongs to that of the mayor Pineau (1563) who lived here.  4145 L'Oratoire, La RochelleThe small Gothic side entrance is all that remains of the early church of Sainte-Marguerite-de-l’Ordre-de-Premontrés.  Rebuilt in the 16th century, it was successively a Catholic then a Protestant place of worship as well as a hospital or arsenal when needed.  During the 1620s, the Oratorians, a newly created congregation, settled here but were driven away by the Protestants at the beginning of the Siege of 1627 – 1628.  On All Saints’ Day 1628, Cardinal Bishop Richelieu in the presence of King Louis XIII held the first Mass celebrating the reconquest of La Rochelle by the Catholics in this chapel.  Important alterations gave the oratory its present appearance in the 18th century.  The convent of the oratory, confiscated during the French Revolution, was returned to the city by Napoleon in 1811, it became county property a few years later and then city property again in 1851.  It was the city’s earliest movie theatre in 1909 and is now used for conferences and concerts.  4111 Hôtel de Ville, La RochelleThe City Hall of La Rochelle (which has no control over the overwhelming putrid stench of dog poop and rancid stink of urine that pervades every street of the town) is composed of a main building in the Renaissance style protected by a Gothic style wall with battlements and towers built in the late 15th century.  4112 Hôtel de Ville, La RochelleThe façade is decorated with the arms of La Rochelle and Henry IV.  It also has many gargoyles, statues and carvings--many of which are covered in scaffolding due to renovations.  4114 Hôtel de Ville, La RochelleThe main gate opens onto a fortress courtyard marked by the influence of the Renaissance and Antiquity, with a monumental staircase, a bell tower and dome occupied by a statue of Henry IV in porcelain enamel.  4115 Hôtel de Ville, La RochelleOn the ground floor is a gallery consisting of nine arches on eight pillars and two pilasters with the monograms of Henry IV and his second wife, Marie de Médicis.  4117 Hôtel de Ville, La RochelleOn top of the gallery are four niches framed by Corinthian columns and statues symbolizing the cardinal virtues.  4100 Cathédrale St-Louis, La RochelleLa Cathédrale St-Louis, built in La Rochelle from 1742, remained unfinished for many years due to a lack of funds, yet it was still open for worship in 1784.  Before this cathedral existed there was La Cathédrale St-Barthélemy-du-Grand-Temple built in the early 17th century.  On February 9, 1687 a bonfire lit on the square to celebrate Louis XIV recovery from an illness spread to the church burning it to the ground.  All that remains of the original church is the bell tower.  4103 Cathédrale St-Louis, La RochelleOn June 18, 1742, the foundation stone of the present cathedral was blessed and on June 27, 1784, in the presence of the clergy and all civilians and military forces of the city, the Bishop of Uzés blessed the building.  The remainder of the construction was taken up in 1849 and finished in 1857 during the Second Empire, the two towers originally planned were never built.  It was classified a historic monument on 30 October 1906.   The cathedral has a very stripped façade, decorated with two orders of Doric and Tuscan columns, topped by a triangular pediment flanked by wings.  The interior is also very plain except for the dome which is decorated with paintings by William Bouguereau.  4104 Clocher St-Barthélemy, La RochelleThe Gothic bell tower of St-Bartholomew is attached to the apse of the cathedral.  4144 Hôtel d’Hugues Pontard dit Maison Henri II, La Roc4142 Hôtel d’Hugues Pontard dit Maison Henri II, La RocThis house is known as La Maison Henri II et Diane de Poitiers due to the fact it is styled in the manner of Henri II Renaissance architecture.  It was built in 1555 for Hugues Pontard, a local prosecutor and consists of two buildings of different heights connected by a gallery on two floors.  4143 Hôtel d’Hugues Pontard dit Maison Henri II, La RocOn the death of its owner from the plague in 1565, the house went to his son François who became they mayor of La Rochelle at age 27.  In the 17th century, the house became an inn named “l’Etang”.  In 1695 it became the Office of Finance.  On April 19, 1894, the city acquired the house and adjoining land belonging to the family Véron and created a savings bank.  Finally, in 1975, it became the home to the Society of Archaeology and History of Aunis.  The courtyard features a lovely garden.  4130 Église St-Sauveur, La RochelleThe Gothic style church of St-Sauveur was first built in 1157 along with the old church of St-Bartholomew.  A fire destroyed it in 1419 and the reconstruction was completed in 1492.  The only remains of the Gothic part of the church are the bell tower and fragments imbedded in the portal.  St-Sauveur altar, La RochelleIn 1568, this magnificent building was demolished by the Protestants to reinforce the walls of the city.  The bell tower was retained for military purposes and served as a lookout tower or platform for canons.  The main doorway collapsed in 1573 and from 1650 to 1669 was once again rebuilt only to be destroyed by the fire of 1705.  It was again rebuilt in the 18th century which transformed the roof and nave.  St-Sauveur, La RochelleDuring the Revolution, it became a facility to store food for the Navy.  It did not open again for worship until 1802.  Since then, the church fell into a state of disrepair and had to be closed in 1995 due to stones falling from the arches and cracked pillars.  St-Sauveur Organ, La RochelleA new roof was installed, the bell tower and the organ underwent repair until the church was officially reopened in 2008.  The Botanical Gardens have a long history dating back to the 16th century.  4150 Jardin des plantes, La RochelleAfter the siege of 1628, the area was entrusted to the Jesuits who bought it in 1629 and built a chapel on the grounds.  The chapel, the only remains of the Jesuit college was restored between 1843 and 1858.  Today it still serves the function of a school and museum.  As for the Botanical Gardens, they too were created by the Jesuits and opened to the public in the 1800s with a variety of plants from the Americas.  4149 Jardin des plantes, La RochelleA feature of the garden is a statue of mythical figures Hero and Leander.  Not far from the gardens is the oldest church in La Rochelle, Notre-Dame-de-Cougnes, which can trace its history as far back as 1149.  4148 Église de Notre-Dame, La RochelleIn 1568 it was practically destroyed by the Protestants who used the stones to reinforce the walls of the city.  All that was left were some arches, a few pillars and the remains of a staircase.  In 1653 the ruins were incorporated into the new construction which was finished in 1665.  An arcade was added in 1713 to enlarge the nave and provide more room for parishioners.  During the Revolution, the church was closed and became a stable.  Worship was once again reintroduced to the parish in 1802.  Today, the building is used to host concerts and exhibitions.  The old cemetery was turned into a parking lot.

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October 18 2011 3 18 /10 /October /2011 15:02

    9080f Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreThe Basilica of Saint-Just Valcabrère is a Romanesque building from the 11th and 12th centuries and is known as one of the ancient stops for pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago, a World Heritage Site.  One kilometer east of Notre-Dame de Saint-Bertrand de Comminges, the basilica is mentioned for the first time in the Book of Miracles of Vital, the biographer of St-Bertrand, suggesting that it has been occupied since the Roman era.  9079c Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreThe current basilica was consecrated in 1200 by Bishop of St. Vital Bertrand's lawyer, suggesting occupation since Roman times.  There is evidence from excavations that the site was occupied as early as the 4th century.  9084 Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreRemains of ancient sarcophagi can be found around the structure as well as in the cemetery.  The current basilica was consecrated in 1200 by Bishop Raymond-Arnaud de Labarthe.  Access to the basilica is done by first entering the cemetery, whose entrance gate, from the 13th century, was listed as a Historical Monument in 1926.  9079a Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreStones from the Roman city of Lugdunum Convenarum were used in its construction.  Bas-reliefs, columns and capitals from the Roman period were reused throughout the basilica.  9080g Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080h Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreThe portal is surmounted by a tympanum of Christ seated with his right hand raised in blessing while the left hand holding the word of God.  He is surrounded by the four Evangelists Mark, John, Matthew and Luke.  In turn, they are surmounted by two angels.  9080i Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080k Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080l Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreOn each side of the portal are columns carved in the images of Saint-Étienne, Saint-Just Saint-Pasteur as well as Sainte-Hélène while the capitals above are carved with stories that tell of their martyrdom.  9080j Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080n Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080m Basilique St-Just de Valcabrère9080o Basilique St-Just de ValcabrèreThe image of Sainte- Hélène is of particular interest as she is responsible for bringing a relic of the true cross back to France.  At one time, the basilica had a piece of the true cross for veneration by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostlla.  Sadly, I arrived while the basilica was closed and I was unable to take any pictures of the interior.

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October 13 2011 5 13 /10 /October /2011 10:15

005 Château de la Malartrie, La Roque-Gageac004 La Roque-Gageac008 La Roque-GageacThe village of La Roque-Gageac, huddled against a cliff which drops vertically to the River Dordogne, occupies a wonderful site—one of the finest in this part of the valley, in which Domme, Castelnaud and Beynac-et-Cazenac are all within a few kilometres of each other.  013 La Roque-Gageac006 La Roque-GageacIt is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France.  Attractive little streets run tightly along the rocky bluff.  018a Église Notre-Dame de La Roque-Gageac019 Église Notre-Dame de La Roque-Gageac020 Église Notre-Dame de La Roque-Gageac021 Église Notre-Dame de La Roque-Gageac022 Église Notre-Dame de La Roque-Gageac030 La Roque-Gageac, DordogneThe courtyard to the small church affords the visitor with a lovely view of the river below.  014 Château de Tarde, La Roque-Gageac032 Château de Tarde, La Roque-GageacFurther on is the Manoir de Tarde.  Two pointed gabled buildings, with mullioned windows, stand next to a round tower.  This charming manor house is associated with the Tarde family, whose most famous member was canon Jean Tarde, a 16th century humanist, historian, cartographer, astronomer and mathematician.  036a La Roque-Gageac035 La Roque-GageacThe remains of the residence of the Bishops of Sarlat from the Hundred Years’ War can be seen nearby with its round tower and ivy covered façade.  002 Château de la Malartrie, La Roque-GageacThe large Château de la Malartrie at the edge of town dates back to the 12th century.  At that time it served as a leper hospital and has been since transformed several times.  By the end of the 19th century the Count de Saint-Aulaire, Ambassador of France in the UK and a member of the French / US Cincinnati Society, an institution whose objective is to promote and perpetuate friendship between the French and American people, transformed the château as it stands today in its Renaissance style.  003 Château de la Malartrie, La Roque-GageacHis family rents out the château at the starting price of 4,000 Euros a week for twelve persons!  Extras such as a cook, housekeeper or babysitter will increase the cost as well as the time of year you wish to stay.  009 Un fort troglodytique, La Roque-Gageac010 Un fort troglodytique, La Roque-GageacHigh above the town are the remains of the impregnable troglodytic fort built in the 12th century and reinforced in the 17th century before being dismanteled in the 18th century.037 La Roque-Gageac

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October 12 2011 4 12 /10 /October /2011 09:43

3061 Château de PuymartinThe original château was built in the 13th century and looked down upon a village that has since disappeared.  The Hundred Years’ War left Puymartin in ruins with its fortifications, doors and roof destroyed.  In 1450, the family of Radulphe de Saint-Clar settled in and rebuilt the place.  During the Wars of Religion, Raymond de Saint-Clar, became the leader of the Catholics in this region of Périgord.  Under his guidance, he managed to organize soldiers and repulse the Protestants from Sarlat.  In the 17th century there was a long inheritance struggle between Jean de Saint-Clar and his sister Suzanne.  After 40 years of fighting and legal actions, his sister finally won control of the château.  Her son was the owner for a while and then his nephew François de Carbonnier inherited Puymartin.  In 1790 the situation in Périgord began to deteriorate due to the Revolution and Francois de Carbonnier was sent to jail.  When he was released, he left Puymartin and went to Bordeaux and Paris.  Because he had special certificates showing that he had not left the country, he was later able to recover the château but by then Puymartin had lost most of its lands.  During the 19th century the château became the property of Marc de Carbonnier who had it entirely restored by Léo Drouyn (a pupil of Viollet-le-Duc).  His only daughter inherited the château and then her son, Henri de Montbron until his death in 2002.  It is still a private home.  The interiors of the château are perhaps the best I’ve ever seen and would explain why this place is classified as a French Historical Monument.  Nevertheless, photographs are absolutely forbidden inside.  3038 Château de PuymartinI would like to make it perfectly clear to anyone who visits the château that once the tour begins, you can forget going to the restroom.  Once you’re inside, it will be an hour and a half before you can leave the group and use the single WC beside the courtyard that is for tourists.  I must also say that although my tour guide was very knowledgeable, he was exceptionally ANNOYING!  He tried frightening us with loud noises, slamming doors, raising his voice unnecessarily and generally being a complete and total fool.  I wish I could remember his name so that you can avoid him as well when you visit.  Oh well…  Other than that, it was one of my favorite châteaux in the region.  3032 Château de Puymartin3039 Château de Puymartin3041 Château de PuymartinThe visit begins with the small chapel.  It dates from the 16th century and was restored during the 19th.  Inside there are two stone polychrome statues, discovered in old ditches of the château during the restoration.  The first is a 15th century Pietà and the second a 16th century Saint-Sacerdos.  Along the wall are the Stations of the Cross in Limoges enamel dating from the 18th century.  In the 19th century extension there is an interesting detail in the stained glass window:  the head is not of that of Saint Mark but of the Marquis Marc de Carbonnier de Roffignac de Marzac, who was responsible for the château’s restoration.  He is the ancestor of the owners of today, the family Montbron.  Interestingly, the chapel is used once a year for a private Mass on August 15th for the Feast of the Assumption.  3055 Château de PuymartinLeaving the chapel, one will notice a coat of arms on the doors—a cross, a crescent moon and a star.  This has been the coat of arms of the Carbonnier since the time of the Crusades.  3056 Château de PuymartinA lovely 17th century stairway leads visitors to la cour de Saint-Louis.  It gets its name from the statue placed here in the 19th century by the owner who was both Catholic and Royalist.  3058 Château de PuymartinThe statue rests above a Renaissance doorway between mullioned windows.  The private section of the château is on the left and is occupied all year long by the owners.  There are five rooms on three floors and were constructed in the 15th century on top of the 13th century foundations.  3063 Château de PuymartinThe castle’s keep was greatly reshaped by Léo Drouyn during the 19th century renovations.  The part of the château that tourists can visit but are forbidden to photograph begins at the south tower with its magnificent spiral staircase constructed in the 15th century.  3057 Château de Puymartin3052i Château de PuymartinIn order to visit each room, one must go up or down this spiral staircase.  The first stop is la chambre d’honneur with its four-poster bed, painted ceiling beams and 18th century Aubusson tapestries.  3052j Château de PuymartinAbove the chimney mantle, there is a painting dating from 1671 of Danaë showered in golden rain by Zeus who thus impregnated her with Perseus.  Originally, she was painted naked but in the 19th century, the shocking work was given clothes.  The position of her hand was modified and a crucifix added.  It makes her seem more like a repentant Mary Magdalene.  Beside the window is painting of a female representing Truth—she too was given clothes to cover her private parts.  3052h Château de Puymartin3052g Château de Puymartin3052f Château de PuymartinAttached to this room as a smaller room that is perhaps the most treasured one of them all.  It is completely painted and since it is so rare to find such a room like this in France, it is listed as a historical treasure.  Descriptive scenes were painted in black and white and fixed on the oak wood panels with the help of egg whites.  The floor is likewise made of oak.  It was originally intended to be a place of meditation but later on was used as a children’s room.  3052b Château de Puymartin3052c Château de PuymartinLa grande salle is also known as the tapestries room.  The tapestries were made in Flanders in the 17th century and evoke images from the story of Troy with images from Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey.  They have been adapted to fit the size and shape of the walls of the room and are originally from the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire.  They show some slight wear and tear from being rolled up for a very long time during the 19th century.  3052k Château de Puymartin3052e Château de PuymartinThe ceiling in the room, painted in the French manner is from the 17th century while the deep-set 16th century chimney is beautifully decorated with painted panelling depicting mythological characters such as Aphrodite, Eros, Dionysus, Ares, Chronos and Hephaestus.  The family’s acquisition of furniture for each room over the centuries has been exceptional and in good taste.  Unlike many châteaux that have eclectic mismatched styles of furniture, the furniture at Puymartin is harmonious and fits in perfectly with each room.  Upstairs is the former guard’s room.  It used to be the main part of the building and joined the 15th century tower to the 13th century northern tower.  The chimney inside has been blocked up and the room is now used for exhibition purposes.  3050 Château de PuymartinJust beside it is a small white plastered room with one, small iron-barred window.  The room was used as a prison for Thérèse de Saint-Clar whose ghost is now referred to as la Dame Blanche.  As the story goes, her husband found her in the arms of another man when he returned from war.  The jealous husband killed the lover and the unhappy lady was imprisoned here for 15 years.  She was given food through a trap door in the ceiling and the small chimney warmed her on cold nights.  When she died, her body was placed in the wall beside the doorway.  3049 Château de PuymartinSince then, a legend has developed about a White Lady who walks around the chateau at midnight from time to time—even the owners swear to her existence.  After climbing 93 narrow steps visitors are allowed to visit the attic where the timberwork and lauze roof can be seen.  This may sound boring but I was quite amazed since the weight of the lauzes can vary from 900 kg for each square meter at the bottom to 500 kg in the middle and 250 kg for each square meter at the top.  All of the stones are placed on top of the others without cement or mortar.  This roofing technique is very expensive and cost over 700 Euros for each square meter.  3052d Château de Puymartin3053 Château de Puymartin3054 Château de PuymartinThe final part of the tour is at the bottom of the spiral staircase in la salle basse.  It serves as a kind of museum for the château filled with portraits of the family, Louis XIII furniture, Flemish tapestries and handsome floor tiles.3060 Château de Puymartin

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