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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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July 25 2014 6 25 /07 /July /2014 16:02

024 Amblie (Les Planches)

I went on another wonderful hike last weekend around Amblie in the Calvados Department. The walk has the special name of “randonnée sur les pas des carriers et des meuniers” (which means walking in the footsteps of the quarry-workers and millers) and is tied with the rich history of this area’s occupants. 002 Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The hike begins from the picnic area in Pierrepont, a small community that belongs to the larger Lantheuil and follows the small river called La Thue. 006 Pierrepont (Lantheuil)007 Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The waterway opens up a bit to create two large ponds shaded by towering willow trees, probably created in the 18th century by the owners of the nearby château. The Château de Pierrepont, built in the 18th century, was the home of the family of Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecœur, famous for his “Letters from an American Farmer” (1792). 010 Château de Pierrepont, Pierrepont (Lantheuil)011 Château de Pierrepont, Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The book was also the first literary success by an American author in Europe and turned Crèvecœur into a celebrated figure. The architecture of the château is typical of the Enlightenment with respect to its symmetry and rectangular pediment as well as the main portal area which is has three openings, as was customary in the 18th century. The farm, the grange and the pressoir portions of the property can be rented out as holiday homes. 013 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)014 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)Not far away is the Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont which dates from the 11th century. 015 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The south wall still bears eight typical Romanesque corbels, affixed to a checkerboard frieze. 016 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The lintel of one of the bay windows is decorated with animals that seem to be biting their tails. 022 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)The west portal serves as the main entrance to the nave and is also Romanesque in style. The bell gable is from the 17th century and separates the nave from the choir. A single bell cast in 1868 replaces the two original bells. 019 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)A sundial is set on a flat buttress on the southern side of the church, receives maximum sun throughout the day. 021 Église de la Sainte-Trinité de Pierrepont (Lantheuil)In the churchyard stands a Pieta cast created by J. Sanson in 1869. After leaving the church, I realized that I was going the wrong way and following the trail in a backwards manner. I quickly turned around and went back to my starting point where I found my way again. The trail took me through several fields, some of which were lined with red poppies. 025 Amblie (Les Planches)It was a bit of a treat to be able to taste a little of the local produce as I walked. 027 Amblie (Les Planches)In one field I tried some fava beans, also known as fèves—they were almost ripe and ready to be harvested. 030 Amblie (Les Planches)031 Amblie (Les Planches)There were many wheat and grain fields as well. I took some grains and rubbed away the chaff just so I could taste the seeds. 028 Amblie (Les Planches)029 Amblie (Les Planches)I’ve no idea what this grain is supposed to be—it was perfectly cut and set out in straight rows to dry. 033 Amblie (Les Planches)Many parts of the trail were lined with cherry trees with the sweetest, ripest fruit you can imagine. I just reached up and grabbed a handful to snack on while I walked. It’s a shame I can’t get these in the grocery store—the ones in Leclerc have no taste at all. 035 Amblie (Les Planches)037 Amblie (Les Planches)038 Amblie (Les Planches)039 Amblie (Les Planches)In Amblie Les Planches I was supposed to see the château but it was on private property and behind a stone wall so all I could see was the main gate, the side buildings and the facade behind a large tree.  040 Colombiers-sur-Seulles041 Colombiers-sur-SeullesEventually, I arrived in Colombiers-sur-Seulles where I crossed the River Thue once again in order to visit the Église Saint-Vigor. Unfortunately, it was closed. 051 L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-SeullesIt is dedicated to Saint-Vigor, and evangelist and Bishop of Bayeux during the 6th century. The construction of the church dates back to the late 11th century but has been heavily restored during the 19th. The bell tower however dates from the middle of the 12th century and rests aside from the northern wall near the choir. It is one of the finest examples of Romanesqeue architecture in Calvados. 047 L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-SeullesThe bas-relief above the main door depicts the story of Saint-Vigor and how he imprisoned the dragon who was terrorizing the people of Cerisy. He tied his stole around the neck of the dragon and brought him to submission. The victory of Catholicism over paganism ? Strangely enough, he didn’t kill the dragon. He instead instructs his young companion, Theudimier to lead the dragon away to the sea. 048 L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-Seulles049 L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-Seulles049a L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-SeullesCorbels on either side of the church are faces of animals or human grotesques.

049b L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-Seulles050 L'église Saint-Vigor, Colombiers-sur-Seulles

There is even one making an obscene gesture by bending over and showing his anus ! What's that all about !  043 Colombiers-sur-SeullesNear the church is a lavoir, a public place for doing washing, which was built in 1864.  054 Four à pain, Colombiers-sur-SeullesAn 18th century baker's oven was found during renovation work in 1996.  It was restored thanks to the town council.  It must have been in operation during the time of the seigneurs (lords) of Colombiers.  In feudal times, the baker's oven was one of the installations owned by the seigneur, which inhabitants of the lord's domain could use in return for a due.  055 La ferme de la dîme, Colombiers-sur-SeullesThe tithe farm known as the ferme de la dîme, was a dependency of the domain of Colombiers-sur-Seulles.  The farm and its buildings span the 17th and 18th centuries but were heavily modified during the 19th and 20th.  It is along the rue du Bout du Bas which could be renamed to Thread Street in memory of the numerous lace-makers who used to live there.  Lace-making had been a common source of additional income since the Middle Ages.  059 Château d'Amblie060 Château d'AmblieThe château de la famille Archard de Bonvouloir is the most impressive of the fine homes one sees along the hike.  062 Château d'Amblie -- église

It was built in the late 17th century and is surrounded by a large park and even has its own chapel.  The building features a central pavillion topped by a triangular pediment flanked by another building on the right.   It belongs to the descendants of one of the companions of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. During World War II the house served as a camp to the thousands of victims and wounded from the bombed out city of Caen.065 Amblie, CalvadosFinally, I reached the town of Amblie proper which is one of those distinguished quaint towns located along the Thue River known for its old mills.

064 Amblie, CalvadosThe mills no longer work today and their wheels are all missing but they are really something to see nonetheless. 067 Amblie, CalvadosMost of them have been transformed into homes. The large houses are built from Caen limestone which is a sort of self-cleaning stone keeping everything looking new and bright. 066 Mairie d'Amblie, CalvadosJust past the town hall (and past several more beautiful stone homes and old farms) are the stairs leading up to the Église Saint-Pierre. 068 Église Saint-Pierre d'Amblie071 Église Saint-Pierre d'AmblieUnfortunately it wasn't open but that's okay, I took the time to just sit down and rest for a while underneath the shade of the cedar tree. The western façade is from the thirteenth century and appears to be the oldest part of the chruch remaining. 072 Église Saint-Pierre d'Amblie

In the 19th century a bell tower replaced a 16th century pinnacle which established an arch separating the choir from the nave. 075 Amblie, Calvados076 Amblie, Calvados078 Lavoir au bord de la Thue, Lavoir au bord de la Thue080 Moulin au bord de la Thue, AmblieIt was one of the nicest walks I've been on in a long time. The last part of the walk takes you past some trees ripe with plums. Once again, I couldn't help but reach up and help myslef !

084 Amblie, Calvados086 Amblie, Calvados

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July 25 2014 6 25 /07 /July /2014 04:29

P1150781 Pegasus Bridge, Bénouville

Something different ... Last summer, just before the 69th anniversary of the D-Day landings, I took a trip to Bénouville along the Caen Canal just so I could visit Pegasus Bridge. P1150779 Pegasus Bridge, BénouvilleThe bridge, which crosses the canal, was built in 1934 but was replaced in 1994. If you've ever seen the film The Longest Day, you'll remember the taking of this bridge was part of a major objective of Operation Deadstick where a glider-borne unit of the British 6th Airborne Division, commanded by Major John Howard, was to land, take the bridge intact and "hold until relieved." P1150791 Pegasus Bridge, BénouvilleThe successful taking of the bridge played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the invasion. The original Pegasus Bridge now resides in the grounds of the Pegasus Museum. After its replacement, Pegasus Bridge was left on waste ground until it was sold to the museum for the symbolic price of one Franc. P1150777 Café Gondrée, BénouvilleAcross the street is the famous Café Gondrée, the first French house to be liberated during D-Day. P1150788 Pegasus Bridge, BénouvilleP1150786 Pegasus Bridge, BénouvilleOn the other side of the bridge is the memorial to Major John Howard.

P1150799 Pegasus Bridge, Bénouville

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November 4 2009 4 04 /11 /November /2009 09:34





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October 28 2009 4 28 /10 /October /2009 10:29


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September 30 2009 4 30 /09 /September /2009 09:37

The surrounding district of Saint-Jean in Caen was badly bombed during World War II.  Most of l'église Saint-Jean had to be rebuilt but, fortunately, it was possible to restore it.

The fine Flamboyant Gothic building was begun in the 14th century, and repaired in the 15th century.  The bell tower, of which the base and first story are 14th century, was inspired by the tower of nearby church, St-Pierre, but owing to the instability of the marshy ground which had already caused some subsidence, the spire and the belfry were never built, nor was the central tower.  The lower courses of the second story were capped with a dome.
In the interior the same subsidence is visible in the pillars.  The vast nave has a remarkable Flamboyant triforium and a highly ornate cylindrical lantern tower over the transept crossing.



The highly venerated statue of Notre-Dame-de-Protection dates from the 17th century.

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