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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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January 10 2013 5 10 /01 /January /2013 09:18

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8497/8341862604_19da17a1c6_b.jpgBear with me and I’ll soon have all my photos uploaded to the blog.  I heard that some people were having problems viewing all of the photos.  That is because you may not have access to Flickr where I store the photos.  I can’t do anything about that.  Another problem could be that I post way too many photos per page and this takes forever to load on some computers.  I’ve decided to make smaller postings with no more than 25 photos.  I hope this helps.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8076/8367217014_1a91f0c635_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8341835004_1709f437ec_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8354/8341836330_a80f593997_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8499/8340774299_0a683e5fae_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8501/8341832878_b605825c52_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8217/8340773179_f8197810f9_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8341848356_c89e7cb711_b.jpgPerhaps the most romantic district in Strasbourg is La Petite France which was once the neighborhood for fisherman, tanners and millers.  The pretty medieval, half-timbered houses of the district date from the 16th and 17th centuries.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8341835506_b7e75126bc_b.jpgThe Tanner’s House is one of these houses romantically built on the water’s edge. It was the former headquarters of the city’s tanner’s guild and today houses a restaurant.   http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8072/8341836726_b26c6a029f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8341863140_77f477b4b0_b.jpgWalking along the River Ill, there are also a lot of nice timber framed houses and including this one.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8216/8341863480_f9acec5a5f_b.jpgIt is the Lycée international des Pontonniers and was built in 1902.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8500/8341861674_847b795e6f_b.jpgThese are some houses in the Place du Marché Gayot which is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city as it is closed to traffic and has a lot of nice restaurants where one can sit outside and eat on a nice day.   http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8216/8341862090_98d8d902a7_b.jpgAnother nice place to visit that is somewhat hidden by its modern façade is the Cour du Corbeau.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8352/8341847814_169750a011_b.jpgA crow perched on the corner of the frontage marks the spot.  After the Maison Kammerzell, the Cour du Corbeau is the finest set of Renaissance architecture in the city and dates from the 17th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8501/8340788287_91d5373d0e_b.jpgIts history is unique.  For three centuries the “Crow Court” served as a postal relay and hotel.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8075/8341846358_cc9a7fca4f_b.jpgAmongst its guests were Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, Joseph the Second, Emperor of Austria, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Alexandre Dumas.  From 1852 to 1982 it housed a glass business.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8341846864_ace427e13a_b.jpgDuring this period its activity slowly died away and led to its total abandon.  From 1982 to 2007 the court was completely renovated to its former splendor and its former vocation, since it now houses a prestigious four-star hotel.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8221/8341844856_739077951b_b.jpgThe Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait is another charming square lined with old houses that are typically Alsatian.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8494/8340785183_7d0cd02c4f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8073/8341843040_0ee409582f_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8077/8340763373_c999da1f0d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8352/8340763985_092734fdd9_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8221/8340764395_7572cfacb1_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
December 14 2012 6 14 /12 /December /2012 09:50

    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8082/8268734661_352713d1c2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8479/8269812534_c9ae65e87f_b.jpgSome friends of mine decided to visit for a few days in July and I took them to visit several parts of the region including Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Normandy. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8342/8268745931_4ed5379526_b.jpgAlthough the sky was dark and threatened to rain, it quickly cleared up and we left early in the morning for St-Helier aboard the ferry Victor Hugo from Carteret. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8354/8268745717_6c4d181ddd_b.jpgThe sea was very choppy and nearly half of the passengers were seasick filling the vessel with that pungent, unmistakable odor of vomit for well over an hour. It was truly disgusting. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8487/8269811784_aff941d3d7_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8065/8268745071_2bdd6b558d_b.jpgNot far from the ferry terminal in St-Helier is the 14-meter tall Jubilee Needle which was commissioned for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8361/8269810706_0b19e095ab_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8497/8269810466_2d3d9816b5_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8479/8268743697_1077f799cd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8355/8269809904_2f49ff6f12_b.jpgThe Central Market, on Beresford Street is an indoor market which opened in 1882 and is popular with tourists and locals. It features Victorian architecture including cast iron structures, and an ornamental fountain. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8346/8268736117_376e9b40a1_b.jpgThe market comprises stalls selling flowers, fruit, and vegetables, as well as small shops and cafés. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8269808806_491b9678c7_b.jpgAcross the street is the Beresford Fish Market. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8269811332_4aa0917421_b.jpgNot far from here we stopped and had a traditional English breakfast. It was delicious but most certainly UNHEALTHY ! I’m glad I don’t have to eat this way all the time. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8348/8269809700_f14ca60453_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8490/8268737127_545821dc2e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8344/8268742987_eb65f31e63_b.jpgSt-Helier has many interesting buildings including its town hall known as La salle paroissiale de Saint-Hélier. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8478/8269808362_e19317c934_b.jpgThis statue of George II in the Royal Square is the zero milestone from which all distances in Jersey are measured. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8494/8269808032_66242d7dfa_b.jpgThere is a sundial on the wall of Piquet House on the square which is set to "Jersey time," eight minutes different to Greenwich Mean Time. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8498/8269809126_4750f592fe_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8063/8268736691_cb454c9333_b.jpgThis statue of a crapaud (toad) in St-Helier represents the traditional nickname for Jersey people. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8496/8268800635_f680e0f83c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8078/8268735713_4b549776e8_b.jpgIn 1855 an obelisk was constructed in Broad Street to commemorate the reformer Pierre Le Sueur, five times elected Constable of St- Helier. The monument was restored in 2005 and the fountains restored to working order. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8481/8269807664_d46092348e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8360/8269806610_125c5e6f7e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8479/8269806312_9608ae4c2a_b.jpgLater in the day we took a bus tour which followed along the coastline past the small harbor of La Rocque through small seaside villages and parishes until reaching the St. Catherine Breakwater and café. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8219/8269807446_08de67a64c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8080/8269807212_d49a1b6192_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8206/8269807030_12dd4c560e_b.jpgAt low tide, there is an opportunity to explore vast stretches of beach and unusual rock formations. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8199/8268740321_d0c186cfc5_b.jpgOther interesting constructions along the coastline are the 31 Conway towers. Their construction started in the late 18th century, when the island was under constant threat of attack by the French. Only three years after approval was given in 1778 for the construction of the towers, Jersey was indeed invaded, leading to the Battle of Jersey on January 6, 1781. Ironically one of the first towers had already been built close to where the French landed, but failed to detect the arrival of the invading troops. And although the construction program continued after the Battle, not a single shot was to be fired in anger from any of them.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8492/8268738223_6d17ae5762_b.jpg http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8502/8269806066_43d8aa078c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8211/8269805808_1c3df5f65e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8487/8269805514_9aceb5c952_b.jpgMont Orgueil Castle, atop a granite cliff which looks over the seaside town of Gorey, was the island’s first major defence and was built at the beginning of the 13th century. It was abandoned for many years when advances in warfare and the use of cannons rendered it vulnerable to attack. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8339/8268734989_b625dfa02d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8059/8268738503_e1ed01dd88_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8494/8268738705_c7179d96d1_b.jpgThe tourist bus took us all the way to the Catherine Breakwater where we stopped for about thirty minutes at the nearby cafe in order to use the restroom, buy some souvenirs and eat an ice cream cone.  On the way back into St-Helier, we went through a number of parishes and saw several churches.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8084/8268737911_576c88b295_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8076/8269804050_7d59a1a166_b.jpgUnfortunately, the bus did not stop so we could go inside and I had to be satisfied with a handful of shots taken from the moving bus.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8363/8269800968_d074d65040_b.jpgIn 1997, the world’s largest steam clock the Ariadne by Gordon Young was inaugurated into the Guinness Book of World Records. Modelled on a traditional 19th century paddle steamer, the clock stands on a landscaped area on St Helier’s North Quay. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8477/8268736865_f549eac88c_b.jpgNear the new tourist office is the "Jersey Girl" sculpture by Rowan Gillespie, commissioned by Harcourt Developments for Liberty Wharf development inaugurated in 2010.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8478/8269803048_677bc14f5d_b.jpgFort Regent, which overlooks the city is now used as a sports and leisure complex.  At the base of the hill is the Maritime Museum.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
November 2 2012 6 02 /11 /November /2012 15:25

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8196/8147836596_2631eb1882_b.jpgThe Petit train de la Rhune is a cog railway at the western end of the Pyrenees.  It links the Col de Saint-Ignace, some 10 km to the east of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, to the summit of the La Rhune Mountain.  Located opposite the station of the cog train is a chapel dedicated to Saint Ignatius.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8147834876_0cfb340ce0_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8147801269_25f813c3de_b.jpgThis beautiful chapel with white walls and red roof tiles and red window frames is traditional Basque style.  Inside, one can see a beautiful wooden ceiling painted in blue and grey.  On a dark wooden altar rests a polychrome wooden statue of St. Ignatius.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8472/8147836110_9d880257a4_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8147835556_149b4e5296_b.jpgI was fortunate to arrive just before the train began operations for the day.  I got a great position in line and managed to take the first trip to the summit.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8045/8147800793_7c0e84ab88_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8147831046_1c8cb800c3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8466/8147830120_bcfb8a43de_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8465/8147796533_269af7f595_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8328/8147796143_4831347c27_b.jpgAlthough the summit lies on the border between France and Spain, the railway lies entirely within the French departement of Pyrénées-Atlantiques.  The idea of building a railway to the summit of La Rhune was first proposed in 1908, and a law passed in 1912 entrusted the construction and operation to the département.  Work started on the construction of the line in 1912, but was suspended during World War I.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8147799799_89be3777e1_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8468/8147799243_bb8742b4d9_b.jpgThe line opened on June 30, 1924.  In a referendum in 1978, the population of the nearby village of Sare rejected a proposal to build a road to the summit of the Rhune, thus enabling the railway to survive.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8334/8147800193_c49deccfd3_b.jpgThe railway line is 4.2 km long and goes to the mountain station at 905 meters above sea level.  At a rate of about 9 km per hour, it takes the train approximately 35 minutes to reach the top.  Trains consist of a four-wheeled electric locomotive that pushes two coaches up the mountain, and leads them back down again.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8147798581_180c27676a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8336/8147800411_ccffffc43b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8185/8147798909_031fe909ca_b.jpgFrom the summit there are extraordinary views over the Bay of Biscay on one side, the Forest of the Landes, the Basque Pyrénées and, southwards, the Bidossoa Valley.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8335/8147831320_e9093db3a3_b.jpgJust in front of the relay tower is a monument recalling the Empress Eugénie’s ascent in 1852.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8045/8147797455_f8e8d370b8_b.jpgAfter I came down from the mountain, it was time for lunch and I decided to eat nearby in the pretty mountain village of Ascain.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8147828596_4a1b08943a_b.jpgIt is characterized by its pelota court, traditional Basque houses and its 17th century church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8147795791_bb0613b020_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8194/8147828300_0234a191f8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8193/8147827092_0053b95053_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8147794279_4c78cb04d2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8147794617_f18865222a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8466/8147826300_2c89bcc485_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8147825830_5479c06069_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8196/8147826654_b799d8d6c3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8471/8147825540_b850bacca6_b.jpgIt has three tiered galleries inside, an organ and a spectacular altar on raised stiars.  Along the walls of the church are several wooden statues in polychrome as well as the remains of a 17th century crucifix.  The exterior of the church is preceded by a massive belfry-porch.  In front of L'Atelier Gourmand, the restaurant where I ate is the traditional pelota court.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8147722813_bbca0dc02b_b.jpgPelota refers to any number of traditional Basque ball games that are played by hand or with a racket against a wall.  For lunch, I had the boudin noir with rice and my friend had the ratatouille.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8147824820_139884eb60_b.jpgFor dessert, we both had a Basque cheese called Ossau-iraty served with cherry preserves.  Yummy ! http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8147825084_2ae7d38a72_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8147824348_b4a1e5c85b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8147790935_ff0b753147_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
November 1 2012 5 01 /11 /November /2012 12:03

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8051/8112555066_3689ef6450_b.jpgThe seaside resort of Arcachon is built on a lagoon and is quite famous for its oyster farms.  For decades the town’s winter resort was the favorite haunt of celebrities from Alexandre Dumas to Jean Cocteau and Marilyn Monroe.  In 1841, a new branch line extended the railway from Bordeaux to La Teste, a favourite bathing place for holiday makers from the big city.  In 1845, a deep-water landing stage was constructed five kilometres north of La Teste and the two towns were linked by a road across the salt marshes.  Villas were subsequently built along the road, and Arcachon was born.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8112559360_36550c04aa_b.jpgIn 1852, the Pereire brothers, Émile and Isaac, founded a railway company, Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi, and took over the Bordeaux-La Teste line which they extended to Arcachon.  At the beginning of the 1860s, they purchased forest land from the State.  To make the line profitable, they started building facilities to attract clients—a beautiful railway station, a Chinese-style dining room, a luxury hotel, a Moorish casino and several mansions.  The plans for the first buildings were mainly the work of Paul Régnault assisted by the young Gustave Eiffel.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8112557474_d6a27bdc47_b.jpgAlready a summer resort popular for sea bathing, the town also became a winter resort in 1866, attracting tuberculosis patients.  It was not until after 1935 that Arcachon became a popular seaside and tourist resort as well as a health resort.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8112547835_8fd53cdbb2_b.jpgThe Summer Resort and the pleasant promenade shaded by slender tamarix trees overlooks Arcachon’s fine, sandy beaches.  It stretches along the seafront between Jetée de la Chapelle and Jetée d’Eyrac, attracting tourists to its terrace cafés and sumptuous villas.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8189/8112545415_e009f1fa8b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8334/8112555268_8be592732c_b.jpgA nice place to have a lunch of moules frites our homemade paella is the Restaurant Le Cap along the Jetée Moulleau with its exceptional views overlooking the lagoon.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8332/8112557688_4ee5002b79_b.jpgOne of the most elegant buildings along the shoreline is the neo-Renaissance Château Deganne, which also houses the famous Casino.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8335/8141578901_2984d4288f_b.jpgAnother Arcachon landmark is the Croix des Marins which was erected on this site in 1722.  It blew down during a storm and was replaced in 1855 along the jetty.  The jetty offers a general view of the resort and the lagoon.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8049/8112548595_cea6aa18ca_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8112558570_94dd7873d7_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8044/8112548905_db99cbe94a_b.jpgThe Winter Resort, further inland and more sheltered from the sea breezes, is a quiet, pine-shaded area whose broad avenues are lined with handsome late 19th century and early 20th century villas.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8324/8112552640_d222863ea6_b.jpgAnother beautiful building in Arcachon is the recently renovated Hôtel de Ville which was built under the direction of Julien Dmokowsky in 1858.  The green expanse of the Parc Mauresque lying above the town center makes it Arcachon’s most peaceful district.  The park offers an excellent view of the town and the Arcachon lagoon especially from the top of the Observatoire Sainte-Cécile.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8325/8112556452_54bb493a5b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8141599509_4dba10ee47_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8185/8112547379_e98b8e8df8_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8052/8112556182_2791ac94f2_b.jpgThis metal-framed observatory by Gustave Eiffel can be reached by a metal footbridge over allée Pasteur.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8329/8112556986_90529c6922_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8047/8141610732_59bc850437_b.jpgThe Église Notre Dame is a 19th century church which includes the Chapelle des Marins, adorned with numerous model boats which were given in thanksgiving for ships that were rescued from danger at sea.  One of the most interesting things that I witnessed while in Arcachon was the annual commemoration of the end of World War II in Europe.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8112549671_6f7029ee4c_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8054/8112558844_619068943e_b.jpgThe ceremony took place in front of the monument to the dead of Arcachon, erected in 1922 by the sculptor Alexandre Maspoli.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8144232105_ac71459175_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8192/8112543683_e2d5fffe07_b.jpgI stayed the night in Arcachon at the Residence l’Aquarium which was actually a large apartment with three large rooms including a kitchen and living room.  It was quite elegant and I would highly recommend it as a place to stay for a week or so during the summer.  Nearby in the neighborhood of Moulleau is the church of Notre-Dame des Passes.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8052/8112555868_2c33466471_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8141592700_1ac174734d_b.jpgThis church was once the chapel of a Dominican convent built in 1863 in the Greek Orthodox style by architect Michel-Louis Garros.  Inside, to the right of the altar is a 19th century statue called La Vierge de l'Avent, one of only three statues in France depicting the Virgin Mary pregnant with child.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8330/8112555576_3d9278e6b8_b.jpg  

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 31 2012 4 31 /10 /October /2012 14:08

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8112612722_ac4f0b396e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8112619112_9c116b0cb1_b.jpgSt-Jean-de-Luz, the most Basque of the towns lying north of the Spanish border, offers many wonderful attractions including its picturesque fishing port, sandy beaches, the church of St-Jean-Baptiste, Maison Louis XIV and the imposing Maison de l'Infante (aka Maison Joanoenea). With whaling a thing of the past, local fishermen nowadays rely on hauls of sardines, anchovies and especially tuna fish for their livelihood. The Maison de l'Infante seems to be guarding the boats in the harbor. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8326/8112606599_ce2f472d18_b.jpgThis elegant building in the Louis XIII style, constructed of brick and stone with Italian-style galleries overlooking the port, belonged to the rich Haraneder family. The Infanta of Spain, Maria Theresa stayed here with her future mother-in-law, Anne of Austria before her marriage to Louis XIV. This outstanding historical event connected with St-Jean-de-Luz was provided for in the Treaty of the Pyrénées which was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain and required the monarch to marry the Infanta of Spain. Maria Theresa was forced to renounce her claim to the Spanish throne, in return for a monetary settlement as part of her dowry. Louis XIII arrived in St-Jean-de-Luz on May 8, 1660 and was lodged, together with the royal retinue, in the house which was built and owned by ship-owner Lohobiague in 1643. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8332/8112616478_25a88a4dd6_b.jpgThe house, which now serves as the town hall, is an imposing building beside the port, with the façade facing the town distinguished by corbelled turrets at the corners. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8051/8112606909_1c14907271_b.jpgThe south-facing, arcaded gallery offers splendid views of the Basque Pyrénées. The wedding between the two royals took place in the église St-Jean-Baptiste. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8044/8112603737_d1ebd38125_b.jpgIt is the largest and most famous of all the Basque churches in France. It was founded in the 15th century and was being enlarged at the time of Louis XIV's wedding. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8112615038_7388497f0a_b.jpgThe bricked-up doorway through which the royal couple left can be seen just inside the main entrance on the south side. Externally, the architecture is sober, even severe, with high walls and small windows. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8044/8112604055_962d708219_b.jpgA vaulted passageway tunnels beneath the massive tower. A fine wrought-iron stairway leads to the galleries. The sumptuous, largely 17th century interior presents a striking contrast to the church's exterior. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8193/8112615292_ba1640cc80_b.jpgThree tiers of oak galleries, (five on the end wall) surround the broad, single nave; these, traditionally, are reserved for men. The vaulted roof above the nave is lined with remarkable painted panels. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8044/8112606005_831bc9ac40_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8112605661_f835d6e208_b.jpgThe dazzling old altarpiece dates from 1670. Amid the columns and entablatures that divide it into three levels, shallow niches hold statues of the Apostles, angels and local saints. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8112615534_0e218005d0_b.jpgThe grand organ carved out of chestnut dates from 1659 and was created by master organ builder Brunel Gérard. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8191/8112603493_c0de349995_b.jpgAlong the promenade which follows the curve of the beach are spectacular Basque-style homes and buildings. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8112613162_9f365f8d1b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8471/8112613456_2157367352_b.jpgCiboure is, like its neighbor, St-Jean-de-Luz a pretty town with many buildings in the traditional Basque style. The 16th century église Saint-Vincent de Ciboure has an octagonal tower, Basque galleries and a Baroque altarpiece. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8112608719_cd9580a09e_b.jpgCiboure's growth during the early 1500s led to the construction of the church in 1575. The building was extended in 1696 by the addition of an apse, two side chapels and bell tower. The octagonal bell tower dating from the 16th century is the most significant aspect of its architecture. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8112618512_d389450cab_b.jpgThe reasons for choosing this form are unknown but this original tower is unlike any other in the Basque Country. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8043/8112618270_fc11feeed3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8474/8112617904_92de37de30_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8112617626_b9ae307fe3_b.jpgThe interior dates from the 17th century and has a magnificent Baroque altarpiece, many wall paintings and the three rows of wooden balconies which are a common feature of Basque churches. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8472/8112617322_620ceed389_b.jpgAn inscription above the baptismal font recounts that composer Maurice Ravel was baptized in this church on March 13, 1875. During the Revolution, the building was used as a military hospital and had to be restored in the 19th century. The main entrance, dating from 1579, is a monumental entrance with Renaissance arches and fluted columns with Ionic capitals. The main square in front of the church is dominated by a stone cross placed there in 1760. This square once served as a cemetery until the cholera epidemic of 1856. It is now paved with old tombstones, the oldest dating back to the early 17th century. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8112619400_b2801619dd_b.jpgBeside the port which is shared with its neighbor city of St-Jean-de-Luz is the house where Maurice Ravel was born in 1875. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8147823750_f8bf242775_b.jpgIn the 16th century, Henri IV wanted build a fortress to protect Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the surrounding cities from Spanish invasions. Conflicts of interest between the municipalities delayed the project until Louis XIII finally got things under way with Fort Socoa.  It is interesting to note that the Spanish invaded Saint-Jean-de-Luz during the construction of the fort in 1636.  They then continued the work, renaming the citadel "Fort of Castile."  However, they were driven back a year later and the work was finally completed by the French under the direction of Vauban who also improved access to the fort and built a seawall to further protect the harbor.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 27 2012 7 27 /10 /October /2012 12:50
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8112623104_58b19ced3b_b.jpgBiarritz lies on the border of the Basque Country and is the most fashionable and most frequented seaside resort in southwest France. At the beginning of the 19th century, Biarritz was but a small, whale-fishing harbor. The people of Bayonne, when they started coming here to enjoy the sea, made the 5 km journey on donkeys or mules. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8188/8112612519_4cda8f8944_b.jpgThen Spanish nobility from the far side of the border discovered its charms, and from 1838 onwards, the Countess of Montijo and her daughter Eugénie came each year. When Eugénie became Empress of France she persuaded her husband, Napoleon III, to accompany her on the annual visit to the Basque coast and he too became captivated by the area. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8049/8112622824_d60823d428_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8046/8112621366_7529c601bb_b.jpgBiarritz owes much of its charm to its elegant promenades which follow the contours of the cliffs, over the rocks and along the tree main beaches, which have become an international meeting place for surfers and ordinary sun bathers alike. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8044/8112622270_0e27a1617b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8112611605_47d5366333_b.jpgThe Grande Plage is the largest and most fashionable of Biarritz's beaches. In former times, only the most daring of bathers would swim here, which led to its nickname of Plage des Fous (Madman's Beach). http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8112623344_e4b6d9be8d_b.jpgAt one end of the beach is le phare de la pointe Saint-Martin, a lighthouse that was built in 1834 and one of the most recognizable structures of the Bay of Biscay. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8112613597_8d24b80ca5_b.jpgThere are many wonderful villas in Biarritz which were built in the eclectic style of the 1850s. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8112620752_0feae0defd_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8046/8112621066_4b9b206d63_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8112620494_f4ff7d74aa_b.jpgThe Rocher de la Vierge, crowned with a statue of the Virgin Mary, is Biarritz's main landmark. It is surrounded by reefs and joined to the shore by a footbridge, made impassable in rough weather by the breaking waves. It was Napoleon III who had the idea of hollowing out the rock and linking it to the cliff by a wooden bridge. This has since been replaced by a metal one built by Gustave Eiffel. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8193/8112611941_8743499957_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8333/8112610235_9f74e0c556_b.jpgL'église Sainte-Eugénie was built between 1898 and 1903 and named after the Empress Eugénie. It dominates the hillside which overlooks the fishing port. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8475/8112609907_ce838d33c3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8194/8112619688_e26e782e31_b.jpgThe stained glass windows were designed by Luc-Olivier Merson and installed in 1903. The Russian Orthodox church was built in 1892, the year of the alliance between France and Russia. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8112614197_9cbbcd81f3_b.jpgIt used to be frequented by Russians who spent their holidays in Biarritz, many of whom were famous. Sadly, it was closed when I was there but I read that the interior is decorated with icons from St-Petersburg. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8112614517_6663086911_b.jpgNearby is La Villa Eugénie, which was the scene of Napoleon III's love affair with the Empress Eugénie and became the majestic Hôtel du Palais in 1893. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8476/8112613899_caa22fe556_b.jpgIt is a five star hotel with over 150 rooms and stunning views over the Grande Plage.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8112624846_dfbe6c4ee7_b.jpg
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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 27 2012 7 27 /10 /October /2012 07:03

It’s been quite awhile since my last posting but I thought I would finally get around to posting the photos I took in weeks prior to walking the Camino de Santiago.  Before my start in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, I visited several places along the Atlantic coast including Bordeaux, Bayonne, Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz, all lively and picturesque towns located within the famous Basque region.  On May 8th I was in Bayonne.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8112622257_44e083d99b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8189/8112625110_584f1a6c81_b.jpgThe River Nive divides Bayonne into Grand Bayonne and Petit Bayonne, with five bridges between the two, both quarters still backed by Vauban's walls.  We parked our car across the river near the Church of Saint Andrew.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8467/8112632510_668292e207_b.jpgL'église St-André is actually a 19th century construction and is the result of a donation made by a Bayonne resident to the city in order to finance its construction.  Its appearance is influenced by the Gothic style in use during the 13th century.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8470/8112622001_ae738ce94e_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8112625368_5ef866e84d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8189/8112615663_797d2e3364_b.jpgThe houses lining the Nive are examples of Basque architecture, with half-timbering and shutters in the national colors of red and green.  The busy Place de la Liberté is a square at the western end of Pont Mayou, the bridge which crosses the River Neve at the northern end of the old town.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8050/8112621727_33ec0af5a8_b.jpgThe town hall, the local administrative offices and the theatre, all under the same roof, stand at one end of the square.  The town’s motto nunquam polluta (never spoiled) is engraved on the marble paving in front of the National Theater.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8191/8112621451_06857fd47d_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8112631170_60b6525e56_b.jpgThis is one of the typical, narrow streets in the district of Grand Bayonne with the twin towers of Cathédrale Sainte-Marie in the distance.  The charming pedestrian precinct is lined with low arcades, beneath which famous pastry shops and confectioners tempt passers-by with mouth watering displays of chocolates.  The art of chocolate making was brought to Bayonne in the 17th century by Jews whose ancestors had been banished from Spain and Portugal.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8473/8112630942_ef6a47bdb9_b.jpgThe Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Bayonne was previously occupied by a Romanesque cathedral that was destroyed by two fires in 1258 and 1310.  Construction of the present cathedral began in the 13th century and was completed at the beginning of the 17th, except for the two spires which were not finished until the 19th century.  The structure has been much restored and refurbished, notably by Émile Boeswillwald, architect to the French government in the 19th century, and a pupil of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8464/8112630054_22c8ee4331_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8332/8112620683_c58bce1b13_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8469/8112630360_e49963e512_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8112619921_ecc0c24fea_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8326/8112628642_07eccb0536_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8187/8112619381_b1530555e2_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8186/8112629530_8d1b68cb9b_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8327/8112618489_d1e560ef1a_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8331/8112628092_eb8dda82d3_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8183/8112628926_96c1edfeac_b.jpgThe cathedral is noted for its charming cloisters which are decorated with a number of funerary monuments.  The cathedral stands on the Pilgrimage Way of Santiago de Compostela.  A 13th century sculpted knocker, known as the sanctuary ring, is fixed to the north door, leading to the transept.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8112617927_388088ecf0_b.jpgAny fugitive criminal who seized the knocker was assured the sanctuary within the church.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8054/8112627508_84c38b9442_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8048/8112617341_fab0eefdb1_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8055/8112616973_d74cac17aa_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8463/8112616649_c487a46ced_b.jpgA beautiful walk is assured along the ramparts of the city which extend from the 16th century Chateau Vieux (Old Castle) to the Porte d’Espagna.  For lunch, we ate at a charming restaurant in the center of town where we had the plât du jour of ham cutlets and cooked wheat.  It was delicious but way too much food for me.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8053/8112626302_b995631614_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8468/8112625974_5d0c8a4059_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 20 2012 6 20 /04 /April /2012 16:53

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5336/7086761537_aec64b99ed_b.jpgLooking out from my hotel window I could see one of Lyon’s most famous landmarks, the LCL-Tour Part Dieu, affectinaltly known as “Le Crayon” (the pencil), by most locals and tourists.  It was the first skyscraper to be built in Lyon in 1977.  It currently stands as the ninth-tallest building in France.  Before checking out of the hotel, I decided to leave my bags with reception and stroll around perhaps one of the most beautiful green spaces I’ve ever seen, the Parc de la Tête d'Or.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7101/6950140250_a64cae8a0c_b.jpgThis magnificent park is Lyon’s main “breathing space” at 290 acres.  The name of the English-style gardens derives from local folklore, which claims that a golden head of Christ is buried here.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5329/7096205943_c56ea1e5f7_b.jpgHuge wrought-iron gates known as the Porte des Enfants du Rhône mark the entrance.  The park was originally planned for during the 18th century but was not built until 1856.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5240/6950136568_f3f85cdfeb_b.jpgThe prefect Claude-Marius Vaïsse entrusted the task to Joseph-Gustave Bonnet, the city’s chief engineer.  He was responsible for creating a nature area, intended to be healthier than the lowly “guinguettes” along the waterfront and to give the bourgeoisie a place to parade their carriages and finery, in imitation of the Bois de Boulogne outside of Paris.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7189/6950138188_180f01beee_b.jpgThe Swiss landscape designers Eugene and Denis Bulher spent five years trying to tame the swampy terrain and built a dam creating a huge lake with an island in the middle known as Swan Island.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7127/7096215109_1977827b4b_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5239/6950142892_934ff5eef8_b.jpgAlthough not finished, the park opened in 1857 to the public, but the great greenhouse, the chalet restaurant, the dairy farm and the zoo were not completed until 1862.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5315/7096208577_f990ea76c2_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7062/6950139020_e68b23b920_b.jpgToday, the Parc de la Tête d'Or has four rose gardens and a botanical garden with 15,000 listed plants.  The zoo has about 1000 animals, including 300 farm animals, 700 wild animals (250 mammals, 300 birds, 80 reptiles, 70 fish) the most popular being the Atlas lion.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5442/7096209555_b406131f28_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7079/7096210641_3307be9a22_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/7096208257_fd3be65967_b.jpgPersonally, I liked the flamingo pond, the monkey cages and the turtle sanctuary.  There are several monuments placed throughout the park including the Espace droits de l'homme in the northern part of the park.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7085/6950140922_8e7ff4f0de_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7193/6950137988_da9a7fd7fc_b.jpgMonoliths erected around the site contain the text of the famous statement.  Another, more recent monument is the sculpture Ensemble pour la Paix et la Justice, made up of bronze and stone.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5199/6950139394_dea523ffc3_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7127/7096211471_dfabe76a58_b.jpgIt was created in 1996 by Xavier de la Fraissinette to commemorate the meeting of the G7.  The most elegant part of the park in my opinion was the botanical gardens with its greenhouses.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5192/7096213045_f885ef6091_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5325/6950142502_1e48df6edf_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7125/6950143306_8a56c3b189_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5443/6950141272_ef7117ca44_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7100/7096214581_80973bbbe3_b.jpgThey enclose a total of 6,500 m² in area, and include a central pavilion for tropical plants including camellias over a hundred years old; a greenhouse-aquarium with Amazonian water lilies; a Dutch greenhouse containing carnivorous plants; small greenhouses with orchids; and small cold greenhouses with azaleas and cacti.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7049/6950141912_fdb829b983_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7256/7096212461_65dd666da6_b.jpgA statue of Bernard de Jussieu, the botanist who in 1759 arranged and classified the plants in the royal garden of the Trianon at the Palace of Versailles guards the entrance to the large greenhouses.  With time to spare I decided to visit another of Lyon’s wonderful churches.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7225/6950134454_194c5fe266_b.jpgLocated in the in the Presqu'île district, the Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay started out as a Benedictine priory in 859.  The abbey church was built at the end of the 11th century, consecrated in 1107 and dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours by Pope Pascal II.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7250/7096207023_b8012714fb_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5329/7096206257_02cd20b543_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7137/7096207687_0d7e62a74b_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5321/6950137078_830b822e8a_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5152/7096206523_c2caac8698_b.jpgIt is one of the rare Romanesque churches still extant in Lyon. The basilica at Ainay contains several architectural styles: the chapel of Saint Blandina is pre-Romanesque; the principal structure is Romanesque; the chapel of Saint Michael is Gothic; and the overall restoration and enlargement of the 19th century is Romanesque Revival.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/7096205605_dcd3fe6fb2_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7210/6950135876_03c3dd882e_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5155/6950136330_d1e45571c9_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 20 2012 6 20 /04 /April /2012 15:23

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7126/6950146230_9756034647_b.jpgPurchasing a City Pass allowed us to have unlimited access to all forms of city transportation, granted us entry into nearly all of the museums, join any guided tour sponsored by the tourist office and even allowed us to take a boat cruise along the Saône.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7135/6950147664_2e2cd867b9_b.jpgOur guide told us all about the old buildings that we could see from the ship, including the new home of the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts along the quay St-Vincent within the walls of an 18th century convent.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7258/7096215795_0a167d5dd7_b.jpgConfiscated during the French Revolution, it became a granary and eventually a factory for the French military where food rations were packaged.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7101/6950145974_3ccb370fcc_b.jpgFurther along the river is the Grenier d'abondance built between 1722 and 1728 as a storage area for corn and other grains.  Eventually it became a military barracks and arsenal for the Gendarmerie nationale until 1987.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5463/7096218195_c91bf0ef33_b.jpgThe Fort of Saint-John is located right beside the Grenier d’abondance and was originally built as a stronghold against the walls of the Croix-Rousse district in the early 16th century to protect the inhabitants from the Swiss.  It was finally completed in the early 18th century but converted into a regional pharmacy for the Army Health Service in 1932.  In 1984 the Army Veterinary Service occupied it.  Since its renovation in 2001, it has been the home to the École nationale des Contrôleurs du Trésor Public.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5441/6950145430_f2154872d0_b.jpgThe boat turned around once it reached l'île Barbe, an island in the middle of the river.  An abbey was founded on this island in the 5th century and was the first monastic establishment in Lyon and one of the oldest in Gaul.  Charlemagne endowed it with a fine library.  Sadly, it was plundered several times in 676, 725 and 945.  In the 9th century it adopted the rule of Saint-Benedict and gradually gained power before being devastated and burnt down in 1562 by Protestant troops.  Today, only the ruins of the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame remain.  Private residences populate the rest of the island.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7089/6950147926_9068b2873a_b.jpgIt has a public park accessible by crossing one of the oldest suspension bridges in Lyon built in 1827.  After our wonderful boat ride, we went to the Musée des Automates.  The museum is devoted to the art of automatons with seven rooms and over 20 animated scenes for visitors to enjoy.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5112/7096217493_39e502b674_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7235/7096222783_2eeee3918a_b.jpgOne of the first scenes pays homage to Laurent Mourguet, the creator of Lyon’s famous puppet, Guignol.  His friend Gnafron, his wife Madelon and the policeman are common characters in a Guignol puppet show.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7110/6950145122_3489f43c72_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7091/6950148884_79d29a865d_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5333/7096219931_9686937a39_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5461/7096222055_d76972d89a_b.jpgThe next room has several scenes that pay tribute to the painter Jean-Francois Millet who knew so perfectly how to express the hard work of French farmers.  The background paintings are copies of Millet masterpieces with working automatons placed in front.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5151/6950148542_52bb8292af_b.jpgThe next room is dedicated entirely to Victor Hugo’s famous novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.  Quasimodo is the only automaton in the whole museum with moving eyes.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5443/7096220157_d0b885a866_b.jpgAfter that comes the depiction of a small village in Provence described so well by Alphonse Daudet in his writing Lettres de mon Moulin.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7201/7096221687_5fbe19232c_b.jpgRoom number five is a tribute to Joseph-Marie Jacquard, mechanic and inventor in 1800 of the first automated device for the silk weaving loom.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5279/7096221043_087bdb96c9_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7230/7096220457_26f0e809bd_b.jpgThe scenes depict life in the Croix-Rousse district with its silk workers busy at their trade.  Other rooms depict scenes from Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Zorro, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Magic Flute and finally a scene paying homage to Renaissance writer François Rabelais http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7191/7096220759_56faee2b91_b.jpgwith a scene from his most famous work, Gargantua and Pantagruel, about a giant who must be fed by a huge staff of kitchen workers who hustle and bustle about making all sorts of dishes.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/6950150790_2200c46de4_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 18 2012 4 18 /04 /April /2012 10:47

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7257/6940690886_7641f2096c_b.jpgThe second English-speaking tour of Lyon that I took was of the Croix-Rousse district.  It was here that the silk industry in France really took off.  It was silk which, in the 16th century, made Lyon a major industrial city; until then most of the silk fabrics in France had been imported from Italy.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7101/6940696744_997cc58638_b.jpgTwo main figures dominate the history of this new industry.  In 1536 Étienne Turquet, a man from Piedmont in Italy, offered to bring to Lyon silk and velvet weavers from Genoa and set up a factory.  François I, who was anxious to stem the flow of money out of the country as a result of purchases of foreign silks, accepted his offer.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7103/6940696530_a09c2cf543_b.jpg  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5468/7086760981_e4ac89f835_b.jpgIn 1804 Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented a loom which, by using a system of punched cards, enabled a single worker to do the work of six.  A statue of the man can be seen at Place de la Croix-Rousse where we began our tour. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7202/7086761779_5c6686f3e7_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5040/7086762625_f13d12f332_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7099/7086764703_a694ac87c7_b.jpgThe Croix-Rousse district is filled with characteristic house-workshops—the upper floors contained the looms on which the workers wove the silk provided by the manufacturer.  In 1875 a revolution occurred in the silk industry; the introduction of mechanical looms and the change of fashion away from figured fabrics and brocades quickly reduced the silk-workers to abject poverty.  Only a few looms continued to exist in Lyon, capable of producing special fabrics at exorbitant prices.  Ordinary silks were made by workers in rural areas where labor was less expensive.  Today natural silk imported from Italy or Japan now represents only a minute proportion of the quantities of fabric processed here. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7267/7086765209_b5d1ca2033_b.jpg http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5469/7086764927_2bf4532696_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7086/7086765567_1334d4f464_b.jpgIt is subject to extremely meticulous care and attention in the silk workers center, Maison des Canuts as well as L'Atelier de Soierie.  It was at L’Atelier de Soierie Vivante that we got a first hand account of the silk screening process as well as the manufacture of figured or watered silks.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7098/6940693484_1e4aa7f134_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7242/7086763513_b23aecc9c2_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7118/6940691852_6d5b1c697b_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5316/6940691626_4c4e5517c4_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7189/6940695936_9c375ce5cc_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7204/6940695706_725a9e4aa7_b.jpgThis association was founded in 1993 to protect and promote the heritage of the Croix-Rousse silk working industry.  The district still has all the character and flavor of a small village community.  The invention of new looms by Jacquard, led the “canuts” or silk workers to abandon the low cottages in the St-Jean district and move to larger ausere buildings with wide windows that let in the light.  In the 19th century the streets echoed with the rattle of the hand looms operated by some 30,000 silk workers.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5275/7086763775_ff4f19366e_b.jpgThe traboules in La Croix-Rousse follow the lie of the land and include a large number of steps.  They were used to move bolts of silk about the district without any risk of damage from inclement weather.  In 1831 and again in 1834, they were the scene of bloody uprisings when the silk workers waved black flags symbolising poverty and bearing the famous motto: “Life through work or death through conflict.”  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7177/6940692500_1f54aaeffd_b.jpgOne famous traboule  is the found at the Cour des Voraces with its imposing flight of steps.  In the 19th century it was the meeting place of a silk workers’ guild known as the Les Voraces (“The Ravenous”).  Another very important building in Lyon is the Condition Publique des Soies (Public Silk Packing Works).  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7082/7086764417_3575b802d5_b.jpgIt has a porch in which the upper arch is decorated with a majestic lion’s head and mulberry leaves (the food of the silkworm).  The building now houses a cultural and social center but it was on these premises during the 19th century that the hygrometric packing of silk cloth was monitored since, due to the fact that silk can absorb up to 15% of its weight in water, checks had to be made to ensure that the weight of the fabric actually complied with official norms.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5035/6940692852_87d2e60933_b.jpgAlong the wall of its façade is a memorial to Louis Pasteur who in the 1860s was asked to help to investigate a serious disease that was ruining the silk industry in southern France.  He isolated the bacteria causing the sickness and then taught the silk farmers how to cultivate their silk worms under healthy conditions and keep them disease free.  Sadly by this time, the silk industry in France was in tatters and never fully recovered.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7135/6940696158_2c941ca260_b.jpgNearby the Silk Packing Works is the 17th and 18th century church of St-Polycarpe.  From here there is a passage that leads up a flight of steps to Place Chardonnet, on which stands a monument erected in memory of Count Hilaire de Chardonnet (1843 – 1924), the inventor of artificial silk.http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5455/7086764195_f4976f6245_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage