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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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April 17 2012 3 17 /04 /April /2012 11:07

Part of my English-guided tour of Old Lyon included stops at the Primatiale Saint-Jean, Place Saint-Paul, Musée des beaux-arts and l'église Saint-Nizier.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7184/7086756915_697ca49c34_b.jpgIn the center of the square in front of Saint-Jean Cathedral is a fountain with four basins topped by a small open-work pavilion containing a sculpture of Christ’s baptism.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7074/7086757259_81683b5ab3_b.jpgTo the east of the square is the Cathedral of Saint-Jean and the choir school also known as the Menécanterie.  It is directly to the right of the west front and is the oldest part of the existing building dating from about the 12th century.  The front of the building is decorated with a blind story topped by red-brick encrustations, colonnettes and niches containing statues of human figures.  Despite altarations, it has retained its Romanesque appearance.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5196/6940689126_09b8daa4b5_b.jpgAs for the Cathedral of Saint-Jean, it is a Gothic building erected to complete a Romanesque apse.  On the exterior the most notable features are the four towers, two on the west front and two over the arms of the transept.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7255/6940688324_dba15fef8d_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7071/7086758035_31afcf9c71_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5339/7086759281_309e29c064_b.jpgThe façade is partly made up of blocks from ancient Roman monuments.  It is also designed with over 300 medallions which tell different episodes from the Old and New Testaments.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7261/6940689616_237e69f7bd_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5467/7086760479_842a655422_b.jpgIn the 16th century, the Baron of Adrets, a Calvinist, destroyed all the statues of the saints in the niches of the façade and beheaded all of the angels of the three portals.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7243/7086760219_339ebb9164_b.jpgInside, the church is quite famous for its astronomical clock which shows the date, the positions of the Moon, the Sun and Earth and the rising of stars above Lyon.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7268/7086759737_7ba2cca252_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7194/7086760791_7fb8f3ee90_b.jpgOriginally from the 14th century, it was remodeled several times.  Above the clock, a series of controllers are set in motion several times a day.  There are animals and a scene depicting the Annunciation.  In 1245 and 1274 the cathedral was the setting for the two Councils of Lyon.  In the following century it was chosen for the consecration of Pope John XXII.  In 1600 Henri IV married Marie de’ Medici here.  More recently, in 1943, the Sixth Grand Pardon was celebrated here.  The event is celebrated approximately once every century, when Corpus Christi coincides, on June 24th, with the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, to whom the church is dedicated.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7089/7086755033_677007ebfe_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5115/6940685042_fe84fed4d1_b.jpgThe chapel of the Bourbons (the name of the archbishop who ordered its construction), late Gothic, was built between the late 15th and early 16th century.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7072/6940685230_9b510c49d6_b.jpgNearby, next to the Place St-Paul is one of the oldest churches in Lyon, the Church of Saint-Paul.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5280/6940684834_6662335387_b.jpgThe octagonal shaped lantern tower has been classified as a historical monument since 1920 and was recently renovated in 2002.  Sadly, it was not open to the public when I went to visit.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7138/6940685914_5c3c4c6522_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5465/7086754779_1892752cd2_b.jpgAbove the door is the tympanum depicting Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7107/7086767931_2d9aa39e79_b.jpgTradition has it that the present Église St-Nizier, much of which dates from the 15th century, was built on the site of Lyon’s first church.  On the outside, the nave is supported by double flying butresses which can be seen clearly from rue de la Fromagerie.  The spires on the belltowers are one of the outstanding features of the Lyon urban landscape.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7102/7086767623_7c0ed3ed67_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5346/7086765781_83a06f8623_b.jpgThe interior is very dark and nearly impossible to take photos in.  I managed to get these pictures of the nave vaulting and the altar.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7216/7086755991_b518339490_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5315/7086756181_b940c8bee3_b.jpgThe Musée des beaux-arts ranks among the finest musuems in France.  From the Place des Terreaux, enter the gardens in the former cloisters, where galleries are surmounted by terraces.  Tall loggias crown the corner pavilions on the south side.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5079/7086757437_5a09e836f8_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7067/7086758499_d6d10c68f5_b.jpgThe statues in the garden include The Shadow by Rodin and Carpeaux at Work by Bourdelle.  The museum’s splendid collections, carefully displayed, have been further enriched by the donation of 35 famous Impressionist and modern paintings from Jacqueline Delubac’s private collection.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5330/7086756669_fcc76b27cf_b.jpgThe Fine Arts Gallery presents an exceptional overview of art through the centuries, throughout the world.  Its collections are organized into five separate departments: paintings, sculpture, antiquities, objets d’art and medals.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5447/7086758977_e0d721efc2_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5465/7086758275_3a998fa115_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7122/6940687308_fca8b0bfa9_b.jpgMy two-day pass that I purchased from the Lyon tourist office allowed me to visit the museum as many times as I liked.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 15 2012 1 15 /04 /April /2012 17:08

La place Bellecour is a large square in Lyon.  In fact, it is the largest pedestrian square in Europe and makes a great starting point for visiting any part of Lyon.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5458/6930073118_20104441bf_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7103/6930073518_c90179b85e_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5114/7076151009_e9b39d6581_b.jpgThe town’s tourist office is located here and lies between La Saône and Le Rhône, forming the focal center of the city.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7181/7076154231_c431aae5af_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7275/7076157477_0e2d646016_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5035/6930081266_86dc8a1480_b.jpgIn the center of the square, there is an equestrian statue of Louis XIV, made by François-Frédéric Lemot.  It is accompanied, at the base, by two allegorical statues of La Saône and Le Rhône, created by brothers Nicolas and Guillaume Costou in 1720.  Only meters away is the Place Antonin-Poncet designed by landscaper Michel Bourne in 1990.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5118/7076151775_e0699a6b18_b.jpgOn the Place Antonin-Poncet, there is the bell tower from the old Hôpital de la Charité.  The original hospital, built in 1622 by Martellange, was destroyed in 1934.  The bell tower is all that remains.  As one walks from la place Bellecour along the rue de la République, one eventually reaches another famous square in the north of the Presqu'île called the Place des Terreaux surrounded by cafés, restaurants, luxury shops, department stores, banks, government buildings, and cultural institutions.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5034/6930073918_9e155766f4_b.jpgPerhaps the most famous of these is the Hôtel de Ville built between 1645 and 1651 by Simon Maupin and, following a fire in 1674, the building was restored and modified, including its facade, by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and his pupil Robert de Cotte.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5443/7076151529_e56218f3ea_b.jpgOn the south side of the square is the Musée des Beaux-Arts and in the middle of the square is an allegorical fountain called 'Char triomphant de la Garonne', made by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and inaugurated in 1891.  It was originally made for the city of Bordeaux and represents the Garonne River and its four tributaries jumping into the ocean, all of which are symbolized by a woman leading a Quadriga chariot pulled by four horses.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7176/7076153007_08496e653c_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7057/7083473445_c9dd69f9e2_b.jpgAlso not far from the Place des Terreaux is the Hôtel-Dieu, a functioning hospital since 1454 as well as the Opéra National de Lyon. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5113/7076153529_f28744ab5d_b.jpgThe original opera house was re-designed by the distinguished French architect, Jean Nouvel between 1985 and 1993 and is named after him.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7178/6930081760_be06f188cf_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7205/6930078424_573b6cfe11_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/6930078908_b63f98d67e_b.jpgA highlight of any trip to Lyon is to see the town lit up at night.  Another experience that everyone should try is to visit an authentic bouchon, a type of restaurant that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork.  The atmosphere is delightful with tables for two to four set close to one another.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7106/6930079920_f0a28b5639_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7132/7076152563_5ceb6456cb_b.jpgDuring the evening of my first night in Lyon, I ate an extraordinary meal at a local bouchon called “Le Mercière”.  The pictures above and below are of the table setting and food that I had which included an amuse bouche of white beans, lentils, pork pâté, and potato salad served with bread and butter.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/6930077586_0b79c86860_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7071/6930080314_e135daa91b_b.jpgI also drank a nice bottle of red wine from 2009—a Brouilly Beaujolais.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5155/6930082064_e069531423_b.jpgOf course, I didn’t eat alone.  My friend had the “fond d’artichaut and foie gras mère Brazier” as his first course.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5329/6930079208_c4f0599f53_b.jpgHis second course was “pied de porc désossé et farci, sauce au Porto, purée ‘maison’ aux graton lyonnais”.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7273/7076155925_5736783f22_b.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5155/6930080644_03847b0b47_b.jpgAs for me, I had the “petit saucisson chaud lyonnais avec pommes vapeur” for my first course and the “quenelle de brochet avec sauce Nantua et épinards frais” for the second course.  Afterward we had a cheese course which consisted of “fromage blanc à la crème” and “cervelle de canut”.  For dessert we had “le gâteau Lyonnais” and “salade d’ananas à la menthe fraîche”.  It was all so delicious but I must admit it was somewhat costly.  I didn’t treat myself to such culinary delights the rest of the time I was in Lyon but instead chose to purchase sandwiches and bottled water when I was hungry or thirsty.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7276/6930074374_e64a5d5374_b.jpgThe Palais de la Bourse is another beautiful building I saw while I was in Lyon.  Designed by architect René Dardel, it was built between 1856 and 1860.  The building was inaugurated by Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie on 25 August 1860.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
April 14 2012 7 14 /04 /April /2012 10:08

Another interesting monument that overlooks the city of Lyon is the Tour métallique de Fourvière (lovingly referred to as the Eiffel Tower of Lyon by the locals) built between 1892 and 1894.   http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7123/6929915340_b3c3c92809_c.jpgLocal councilmen who wanted to build a secular monument to counterbalance the nearby basilica funded its construction.  During the 1914 World’s Fair, it had a restaurant and an elevator capable of taking 22 people up to the summit. Although used as an observation tower until November 1, 1953, nowadays it serves as a television tower and is not accessible to the public. At 372 meters, it is the highest point in Lyon.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
February 22 2012 4 22 /02 /February /2012 15:29

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7043/6920463829_844175c76f_b.jpgI went to the town of Pontivy over the weekend with some friends of mine.  We had such a wonderful time visiting the town as well as the Breton countryside.  Pontivy is the old capital of the Rohan family and gets its name from a 7th century monk named St-Ivy who built a bridge (pont) over the River Blavet.  Walking around the old town, one of the first places we visited was the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Joie located in the medieval town center.  The original church, dedicated to St-Ivy was totally rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries.  West of the building is the big square church tower, dated by an inscription between the two doors “1533”, and whose spire was rebuilt in the 19th century.  Before the 19th century restorations, the building, in the form of a Latin cross, was composed of a four-bay nave with side aisles, a transept and a chancel with a flat chevet.  Only the square of the transept was vaulted with diagonal ribs.  In 1866, the whole church was vaulted and the chancel was flanked by side aisles to extend the existing ones.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7197/6920387731_2a6998ca4e_b.jpgThe church was consecrated to Our Lady of Joy in 1696 in acknowledgement of the intervention of the Virgin Mary to stop a plague epidemic.  The votive statue is made out of one single piece of oak wood leafed in gold.  Pope Jean XXIII consecrated the church into a basilica in 1959.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7202/6920466397_00bd5b3eb8_b.jpgThe crafted altarpiece of the high altar was erected in 1782 around the notion of “family”: divine, with the Holy Trinity (in the center the Child Jesus, surmounted by a dove, standing for the Holy Spirit, is pointing to God the Father above), holy human family with Mary and Joseph surrounding Him, and His grandparents, Anne and Joachim, testifying to His roots in the Old Testament; and in the upper register, the Christian family with St-Peter and St-Paul, who founded the Church, St-Ivy in the center, representing the local Church surrounded with the donors, the duke and duchess of Rohan in medallion.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7206/6774281122_18db8b2bef_b.jpgIn 1790, towns in Brittany and Anjou united in their struggle against the enemies of the Revolution.  They became known as the “federates” and it was on this altar that they signed their act of union.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7204/6774357902_a926843c19_b.jpgThere are a great number of statues placed throughout the church which come from the Récollets convent that was burned in 1795.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7051/6774355666_2acffcc4a3_b.jpgAlong the aisles are two plaster gisants.  One has been smashed to pieces while the other is in pretty good condition and rests in a niche of the wall.  I am assuming it is a likeness of the duchess of Rohan.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6774360956_0a285038b0_b.jpgThe organ dates from 1836 and was created by famous organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7191/6920389871_143379a9b1_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7206/6920391941_17c1560ee4_b.jpgThe stained glass windows are the work of E. Laumonnier, from Vannes and date back to the 19th century.  This was my favorite window.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7042/6774353550_295c1abe48_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7178/6774362782_739e8a536d_b.jpgThe stained glass tells the story of Christ’s Passion, Resurrection and Ascension and is meant to be read from bottom to top and from left to right.  The nine small windows at the top of the arch depict symbols of Christ’s Passion known as the “Arma Christi”.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7052/6774271094_9bab1c3716_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7210/6774279004_edc51ecc7b_b.jpgIn the square beside the church are a reflecting pool and a monument  to the Breton-Angevin Federation  Mounted on a pedestal decorated with bas-reliefs and inscriptions, this monumental column commemorates the decision taken in January and February 1790 by towns in Brittany and Anjou to unite in their struggle against the enemies of the Revolution.  The monument was erected between 1890 and 1892, based on plans drawn up by the architects Edouard and Jules Deperthes.  The shaft of the column was originally decorated with a bronze figure depicting the spirit of liberty.  This feature was destroyed in 1938 when the monument was attacked by members of the “Gwenn ha Du”, the Breton independence movement.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7064/6920397603_1c405d476e_b.jpgFurther down the road is the most popular destination in Pontivy, the Château des Rohan built by Jean II de Rohan during the 15th and 16th centuries.  The façade is flanked by two large machicolated towers with pepper-pot roofs, all that remains of the four towers of the perimeter wall.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7184/6774284672_035ef33c17_b.jpgThe walls are 20 meters high and surrounded completely by a moat which never held water.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7053/6774290566_0c6e2311f3_b.jpgAs one continues to walk around the castle, notice the tall stone gabled windows decorated with gargoyles, http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7062/6920401551_892497dc0a_b.jpgthe outdoor fountain and lavoir, http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7067/6774288326_70cfa784be_b.jpgthe exterior of the ducal chapel and finally the entrance which used to have a drawbridge.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7045/6774292792_169161398f_b.jpgAbove the door is the family crest.  Sadly, the castle was not open when I was there so I could not visit the interior.  The castle is classified as a historical monument and still belongs to the Duke of Rohan who allows the town of Pontivy to use the structure as a tourist attraction.  Other places of interest in town are the old half-timbered and corbelled houses of the 16th and 17th centuries.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7061/6920411569_b5b3af989c_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/6774298562_6f27c9f725_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7205/6920443889_62a138fd2d_b.jpgOne in particular is named la maison des Trois Piliers (the house with three pillars) located at place du Martrat.  It is the only porched house remaining in Morbihan and bears the hallmark of the second half of the 16th century.  Numerous in Brittany at that time, the porched houses sheltered a boutique on the ground floor and the porch enabled trade to be carried on undercover, whatever the weather.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7057/6920446405_3181dbfdfb_b.jpgTheir disappearance is mainly due to the demand for modernization and a reduced fire risk, which characterized the urbanization of the 18th century: the numerous plans drawn up at the time for realignment and widening of roads carried the fatal blow to such architecture.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7185/6920441797_8e6deb7ae1_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7194/6774294988_8c75970457_b.jpgJust across the street from place du Martrat is the Hôtel de Roscoët, a house with a corbelled turret.  The home is also characterized by its pavilion roof with dormer windows.  On the façade, a cartouche with the inscription reads : "Subtilus Iani Roscoet et Jaq Bourdin Colig et Amico 1578" (At the expense of Jean Roscoët and Jacques Bourdain his colleague and friend 1578).  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7189/6920426027_2663c1a421_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/6920431201_a63188ae2e_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7068/6774313562_7124d112b0_b.jpgOther interesting stone and half-timbered buildings can be found along the rue du Fil.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7056/6920417527_b678f97bbf_b.jpgWalking along the banks of the River Blavet one can see the old hospital.  There has been a hospital in Pontivy since the middle of the 12th century.  According to tradition, it was founded by the Viscount of Rohan, but its exact location is unknown.  The oldest written reference dates from the middle of the 16th century.  Gradually enlarged and restored over the course of time, the current buildings still have two external vestiges from the start of the 18th century: the Carhaix Gate, originally independent from the hospital buildings, and the chapel, credited to the architect Ollivier Delourme.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7199/6920419287_bc201cee7f_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7191/6920421395_9b893aba84_b.jpgAnother unique feature along the river is the remains of the Nantes to Brest Canal.  In 1806, Napoleon I decided to have a canal built between the two ports for strategic reasons.  The sea being under English control, the canal would make the Breton naval dockyards and the center of Brittany less isolated.  They started digging the canal in 1811 and it was completed in 1842.  It boosted the local economy with the transportation of imported goods such as spices, wine, fertilizer, lime and sand from the Loire and also exporting wood, cereals, potatoes, etc.  However in 1923, the building of a dam at Guerlédan was a severe blow to the canal trade and in the 1970s this activity came to a halt.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7182/6920423577_e04e21dfa0_b.jpgTrade has now been replaced by leisure boating.  The Hilvern channel (rigole d’Hilvern), 63 km long was completed in 1836 and still joins the canal between Pontivy and Rohan.  It used to supply the canal with water.  The 71 km long canal runs through three smaller districts of the Pays de Rohan.  There are more than 100 locks, twelve of which are submerged under the water of the Guerlédan dam.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7192/6920415397_8761c45ea9_b.jpgDon’t forget to stop by the unique Chapel of St-Ivy located between the river and place Anne-de-Bretagne.  Tradition claims that it is here that the Breton monk Ivy, founder of the town, had his first oratory built at the end of the 7th century.  Dating from 1770, the current chapel replaced a 17th century oratory which had fallen into ruins.  Inside the original feature of this chapel is the split-level gallery, which allowed a privileged few to attend services without mixing with the crowd.  It was completely restored between 1984 and 1989.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7201/6920439813_41d98c72fd_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7207/6920438149_eed7a381be_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7045/6774317930_64e451b7bc_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7178/6920436217_c41ae2bb7a_b.jpgOn Saturday and Sunday morning, my friends and I warmed ourselves up after strolling the town by drinking tea, eating cake and tasting the traditional Breton pastry called Kouign-amann at the Patisserie Cartron on 16 Rue Nationale.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7068/6920434729_9e28965d3e_b.jpgThe Kouign-amann was delicious but it was made of butter and caramelized sugar—much too heavy for my taste.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/6920448609_54d0ace522_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7201/6774335606_a9d17e5951_b.jpgOn Saturday night we treated ourselves to a delicious meal of traditional Breton galette and crêpe from a popular crêperie called La Petite Bretonne at number 20 rue du Fil.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/6920452915_ba22aafc44_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7177/6774340420_78d803ff1c_b.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7180/6920460995_c3a34db4e7_b.jpgWe all had something different as you can see.  Our host was very kind and spoke English and French.  At one time he burst into song and regaled us with stories from the days he used to be a captain aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean.  I recommend anyone visiting Pontivy to consider eating here as the price was moderate and the atmosphere comfortable and quiet.  Thank you Pierrot for your kindness!http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7196/6774342986_77f9242096_b.jpg  

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
November 5 2011 7 05 /11 /November /2011 09:24

137a AVF, Château d'Omonville à DennevilleOn m'a demandé de ne pas publier les photos du Château d'Omonville à Denneville sur mon blog, car c'est une résidence privée. Si vous voulez voir mes photos, s'il vous plaît envoyez votre adresse email à thomashugues007@yahoo.com et je vous enverrai un lien temporaire pour les photos. 

I was asked not to post my photos of the Château d’Omonville in Denneville on my blog because it is a private residence.  However, if you wish to see the photos, please send your email address to me, thomashugues007@yahoo.com and I will send you a temporary link to the photos. 

Cette demeure dont la partie la plus ancienne est du XVIème siècle est édifiée au centre d'une cour d'honneur entourée de douves en eau et présente à l'arrière un jardin à la française.  Au XIXème siècle, les bâtiments de services ou communs furent reconstruits en arc de cercle sur un terre-plein dominant légèrement la cour du château.  Ouvert toute l’année sur réservation uniquement :

Château d'Omonville

3 rue d'Omonville

50580 Denneville

tel. 02 33 47 97 29 

This beautiful château whose oldest part dates from the 16th century is built on a square courtyard surrounded by a moat. 
In the rear is a small French garden and orchard.  In the 19th century, the large service buildings were rebuilt and now overlook the main courtyard.  The château is open all year by reservation only and the tour of the property covers only the exterior.  Contact the owner at the telephone number above for more information.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
November 2 2011 4 02 /11 /November /2011 15:28

After visiting the windmills at Besneville, our AVF group headed to the small town of Saint-Lô-d'Ourville where we were to have lunch at the restaurant "Au p'tit creux".  Before that, we had quite a surprise when we were given a guided tour of the parish church.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6112/6298608090_b97cca0619_b.jpgThis church owes its patronage to Saint-Lô, the fifth bishop of Coutances during the 6th century.  Tradition says that when he was only 16 years old, he was appointed bishop by the people when they all cried out in unison, “Lô évêque ! Lô évêque !”  They did not say, “Vox populi, vox Dei” meaning (the voice of the people is the voice of God).  Therefore, an election took place in the year 525 and he held the post of Bishop of Coutances for nearly 40 years.  The origin of this parish church dates from the 11th century, but the construction that we see today dates from the 14th and 15th centuries.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6098/6298611712_815a83c53f_b.jpgThe tower, with its gabled roof, is from the second half of 15th century while the rest of the building has been redesigned over the centuries.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6102/6305727722_59bebea797_b.jpgThe window above the altar came from the late 16th century, the Gothic arch of the entrance to the choir was enlarged and the rood beam above the sanctuary dates from the second half of the 18th century.  Long missing and forgotten, it was found in the attic of the sacristy in 1952 and in 1959 it was returned to its place between the chancel and the nave.  The crucifix attached to the rood beam is probably from the 16th century.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6110/6298610252_11040a830c_b.jpgThe main altar and its reredos come from the 17th century and refer to two scenes from the life of Saint-Lô: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6231/6304866173_475e569e41_b.jpgto the left, his ordination, http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6220/6305391472_58b6b67993_b.jpgto the right, the miracle of the bishop healing the eyes of a blind woman.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6119/6298607362_5521cfba3a_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6060/6298085869_64f1518e8a_b.jpgStatues of Saint-Lô and Saint John the Baptist can be found above the altar as well.  The nave, the choir and part of the transept belong to a period of transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6019/6298611102_4c3ce6b6b5_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6235/6298612942_4c854fe1b6_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6211/6298085341_4cd0b440ef_b.jpgThe chapel to the left of the nave has an exquisite limestone baptismal font and a stone statue of Saint-Sébastien.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6054/6298608998_83a86aacf9_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6222/6298617228_568f3b6841_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6214/6298084897_01372a36b9_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6041/6298081963_dbfbbeac5e_b.jpgIn 1572, the arch of the entrance to the choir was enlarged and expanded to create the Chapel of the Virgin.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6060/6298081601_385b8fe9bc_b.jpgThis beautiful stained glass window dedicated to Notre-Dame-des-Compagnes can be found in the Virgin’s Chapel.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6220/6298080075_89de10f1a6_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6229/6298608484_b52d2160c9_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6034/6298084447_aa679dd4d8_b.jpgThere are also a number of fine statues here as well such as a small wood statue of Mary Magdalen from the 15th century as well as some older statues of Saint-Maur and Sainte-Barbe.  To the left of the transept is a statue to the Blessed Thomas Hélye.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6041/6298083939_42bf9a395b_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6104/6298606856_68e0e0f4e9_b.jpgTo the right of the transept is a 14th century polychrome stone statue of the Virgin and Child.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6046/6298609514_51b6844c84_b.jpgThe organ, built in 1852 by the Bataille brothers, organ builders from Saint-Nicolas-de-Pierrepont, was restored in 1912.  Heavily damaged during the events of 1944 it was restored again in 1956.  This time it was equipped with an electric blower.  The presence of such an organ in a modest parish church is exceptional.  Inventories of organs in la Manche totals 78 with most of them being in religious buildings of large towns.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6101/6298617748_b658913b8a_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6217/6298618668_4cb7c9a72e_b.jpgAnyway, after the guided tour of the church, we all headed across the street to the restaurant "Au p'tit creux" where we had lunch together.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6046/6298087433_11c0b27646_b.jpgI had the roasted chicken with green beans while others had steak and fries.  I have to say that for only 21 EUROS, the trip was well worth it and I am anxious to go on another excursion with AVF.http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6094/6298083497_4db1a4daca_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 31 2011 2 31 /10 /October /2011 08:57

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6058/6291187495_c102629e08_b.jpgLe Mont de Besneville is a hill 116 meters above sea level offering a breathtaking panorama of the countryside and the coast.  This was the second stop on the trip I took with the AVF Cherbourg group on October 9th.  There is a road leading to the summit and several footpaths for those hiking to the top.  In the midst of the heather and gorse, le mont has the distinction of being topped by three old windmills.  Two of the three mills have been transformed.  A large Calvary surmounts the largest.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6092/6291159921_9d64f7aa1d_b.jpgInside there is a quaint little chapel with an oratory, which was blessed on August 13, 1950 by Monsignor Guyot, bishop of Coutances and Avranches from 1950 to 1966.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6235/6291682772_c2cfa1a178_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6226/6291167957_1ce215ca37_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6099/6291690460_cffb83f67a_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6097/6291202387_492c695f96_b.jpgThe chapel was created by local parishioners who wished to express their gratitude to God for protecting them during the liberation of June 1944.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6217/6291190439_2f94553757_b.jpgSeveral meters away a viewing platform with an orientation table was built on top of another mill.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6227/6291713210_7c9edd2b9d_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6041/6291715592_0585102686_b.jpgIt is easily accessed by a staircase with an iron railing inside the mill.  Here, the visitor is offered a fantastic view of the countryside, the coast with glimpses of the Channel Islands as well as the Ouve Valley.  http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6049/6291178863_fff50481e0_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6047/6291181973_6ab6b0b505_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6047/6291184831_22754969eb_b.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6091/6291202739_55bc28c147_b.jpgThe third windmill is in ruins and its interior is covered with vines.  I thought it was pretty cool that I took the same image that was captured practically a century ago on this postcard.  On sunny days, the sunsets viewed from this hill are said to be marvellous.  Sadly for me, it was a cold and windy day—no chance to catch a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  I hope to visit again someday.http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6228/6291197589_68ff6ceddf_b.jpg

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 27 2011 5 27 /10 /October /2011 13:38

035 Portilhon et Còth de BaretjaStarting from Bagnères-de-Luchon heading east is the famous Col du Portillon, a high mountain pass in the Pyrenees that connects Luchon to the town of Bossòst in the Val d'Aran of Spain.  The climb from Luchon is 10.2 km long while the climb from Bossòst is 8.6 km—quite a gruelling ride for any cyclist.  The Col du Portillon was first used in the Tour de France in 1957, and since then it has been featured 18 times, most recently in 2006, when the leader over the summit was David de la Fuente.  From the summit, one has spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.  Down below is the valley itself with small villages with churches and chapels dating as far back as the 11th century.  The information I had about each town was practically nil except for a map with one or two sentences describing all there is to see.  I’m not going to go into any history lessons with this post—just some simple explanations of what I saw and where I visited.  For more information on each site, click on the highlighted words.  I provided links to a site with some fairly decent information.  037 Chapelle de Sant Blas, Les, Val d'Aran038 Chapelle de Sant Blas, Les, Val d'AranMy first stop was the small village of Les.  While I was there, I walked the quiet streets until I came to the local church.  Although it was very nice inside, I thought that I was visiting the Chapelle de Sant Blas.  As it turned out, it was just the village church.  039 Chapelle de Sant Blas, Les, Val d'Aran copyInside, there was an old alter reredos above a glass display case with small statues of venerated saints.  040 Chapelle de Sant Blas, Les, Val d'AranBehind the main altar were statues of St-Joseph, St-John the Baptist and Santa Lucía.  I missed altogether the 12th century chapel.  043 Hermitage, Les, Val d'AranWalking down the main road, I eventually came to a small chapel which I can only assume is one of many hermitages found in this region.  058a Bossòst, Val d'Aran058b Bossòst, Val d'Aran052 Église d’Era Mair de Diu dera Purificacion, Bossòst053 Église d’Era Mair de Diu dera Purificacion, Bossòst055 Église d’Era Mair de Diu dera Purificacion, BossòstThe next stop was the town of Bossòst with its stunning mountain chalets and its 12th century Romanesque church called Église d’Era Mair de Diu dera Purificacion.  In addition, Bossòst is surrounded by seven Romanesque chapels that, according to its inhabitants, were built to protect the village from the plague.  059 Chapelle de Sant Joan Crisotòm, Bossòst, Val d'Aran061 Chapelle de Sant Joan Crisotòm, Bossòst, Val d'AranOne of these that I visited was named Chapelle de Sant Joan Crisotòm.  (I am using the spellings given on the French tourist map which you can find here as a PDF file.)  My third stop was the oldest village in the Val d’Aran, Vilamòs.  075 Çò de Joanchiquet, Vilamòs, Val d’Aran073 Lavoir, Çò de Joanchiquet, Vilamòs, Val d’AranIt is known for its museum where one can see what life in the Val d’Aran was like during the 18th century.  The museum, called the Çò de Joanchiquet, has a covered limestone lavoir which dates from 1832.  065 Église de Santa Maria, Vilamòs, Val d’Aran066 Église de Santa Maria, Vilamòs, Val d’Aran067 Église de Santa Maria, Vilamòs, Val d’Aran069 Église de Santa Maria, Vilamòs, Val d’AranThe church of Santa María de Vilamòs dates as far back as the 11th century while the main door dates from 1816.  Interestingly, the belfry of the church and that of the church of Bossòst, are the only two Romanesque belfries conserved in the Aran Valley.  078 Vilamòs, Val d’AranHalfway down the road, I had to get out of the car and get this photo of the Maladeta mountain range—the day was just too nice to pass it up.  My next stop was the capital city, Vielha.  080 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’Aran088 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’Aran081 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranThe church of Sant Miquèu dates from the 13th century and has a 16th century octagonal bell tower.  082 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’Aran copyInside is a sculpture of Christ called the Crist de Mijaran and was once part of a larger ensemble piece now destroyed.  084 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranTo the right of the main altar are the baptismal font and a beautiful organ.  Of course, the most treasured part of the church and something not to be missed are the Gothic and Baroque paintings on some of the arches.  They depict the following: 085 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranJesus is scourged and a crown of thorns is placed on His head, 085a Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranJesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with the sleeping apostles Peter, John and James.  An angel of God presents Him with the cup of poison (mankind’s sins).  To the right is the apocryphal Veronica as she wipes Jesus’ face with her veil, 086 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranChrist resurrected and to the right, the crowning of Mary, 086a Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranThe Magnificat, when Mary is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth and beside it the Nativity of the Lord, 087 Église de Sant Miquèu, Vielha, Val d’AranThe Last Supper.  089 Musèu dera Val d'Aran, Vielha090 Çò de Rodès, Vielha, Val d’AranAmong other things to see in Vielha are the museum of local history and the stately home Ço de Rodes which serves as a wool museum.  Before leaving, I stopped at a grocery store and bought things to make sandwiches for lunch.  That's when I headed to the next stop on my journey, the church of Sant Martin de Tours in Gausac.  094 Église de Sant Martin de Tours, Gausac, Val d’Aran093 Église de Sant Martin de Tours, Gausac, Val d’Aran092 Église de Sant Martin de Tours, Gausac, Val d’AranUnder the shade of its octagonal tower, I ate my sandwich and then explored the interior which houses a beautiful 12th century baptismal font.  After lunch it was off to my next destination, the town of Escunhau with its 11th century Church of Sant Pèir.  097Église de Sant Pèir, Escunhau, Val d’Aran101 Église de Sant Pèir, Escunhau, Val d’AranIts bell tower was added between the 17th and 18th centuries.  100Église de Sant Pèir, Escunhau, Val d’AranThe tympanum above the door has a sculpted figure of Christ.  I was unable to see the interior since it was closed.  As it turns out, many churches in the area are closed when it is not peak season.  The tourist map that I was using recommended that one visit the oldest home in the Val d’Aran called the Çò de Perejoan, built in 1393.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  There were no signs in the town and so I missed it completely.  I hate that.  The next to last stop was the town of Arties and its 12th century Church of Santa Maria.  104 Église de Santa Maria, Arties, Val d’Aran105 Église de Santa Maria, Arties, Val d’AranIt has a five-story belfry with a pyramidal roof and dates from the 13th and 14th centuries.  106 Église de Santa Maria, Arties, Val d’AranBeside the church is a 16th century tower called the Çò de Portola which was part of an old manor house.  108 Casa Paulet, Arties, Val d'Aran109 Casa Paulet, Arties, Val d'Aran copy110 Casa Paulet, Arties, Val d'AranAlso from the 16th century is the Casa Paulet which possesses several large mullioned windows with interesting Renaissance sculptures.  107 Arties, Val d’Aran110a Arties, Val d'AranThis town, just like many of the others I saw in the Val d’Aran had beautiful chalets as well as traditional homes decorated with garlands of corn.  The last place I saw was the old mill in the town of Salardú.  It is no longer used but it has been restored and is open for tourists during the peak season.  111 Mòla de Salardú, Val d’Aran112 Mòla de Salardú, Val d’AranAll I got to see were the original hydraulic mechanisms underneath the mill that were once powered by the Garonne River which runs around the town.  114 Salardú, Val d’AranThe bridge which connects the town with the mill is of modern construction.  I wanted to see more of the region but it was getting late; and you should try driving for 20 kilometers on roads full of hairpin turns throughout the mountains.  I felt it was time to call it quits and head back to Bagnères-de-Luchon.  My advice to anyone wishing to visit this region is plan on spending more than just one day to see everything.  It looks small and reasonable on a map but trust me, there is a whole lot to see and do.  Hopefully, I can go back someday.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 26 2011 4 26 /10 /October /2011 09:32

Bagnères-de-Luchon is a lively spa town lying in a beautiful setting amidst the Pyrénées.  It is the busiest and most fashionable cure resort in the region, and also a tourist and winter sports center with a wide choice of ski runs, climbs and excursions.  111057 Superbagnères111053 Superbagnères111056 Superbagnères111058 Superbagnères111050a SuperbagnèresIn the winter, the town serves as a base for skiers attracted by the slopes at Superbagnères, the resort’s high altitude annex.  Luchon’s first inhabitants arrived 4,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age.  However, it was not until the Romans arrived that it was developed into an outpost which they called Ilixio after the goddess of waters, Ilixon.  It was during this time that thermal swimming pools were dug.  Legend has it that a Roman soldier with lesions on his arm discovered the healing properties of the thermal waters when he dipped his arm into a spring and soon after found his skin to be cured.  111213c Bagnères-de-LuchonLuchon’s fame arrived in 1759 when Baron Antoine Mégret d’Étigny, the Royal Steward of Gascony, Béarn and Navarre decided that the area should be restored.  By 1762, a carriage road linked Luchon to Montréjeau in the north.  111216 Bagnères-de-LuchonThe splendid avenue, which now bears Étigny’s name, was officially inaugurated and planted with rows of lime trees which still stand today.  D’Étigny then replaced the original common pool with nine double troughs made of wood, each with a removable cover which had a hole for the bathers’ heads.  This was a substantial improvement, though those taking the waters still had to undress in the open air, screened only by a board fence.  D’Étigny was also the first person to think of appointing a regular doctor to a thermal spa.  The next step was to advertise the town.  He persuaded the governor of the province Maréchal Duc de Richelieu, to take a cure.  The duke, enchanted by the Roman ruins, was delighted.  He extolled the merits of the spa back at the palace in Versailles and returned for a second cure.  From then on, the town’s success was assured and soon became well known amongst the rich who came to town to take the waters.111219 Hôtel de Ville, Bagnères-de-Luchon111217 Bagnères-de-Luchon  111016 Bagnères-de-Luchon111017 Bagnères-de-LuchonMuch of Luchon’s rich and beautiful architecture grew during this period, under Napoleon III.  Luxurious villas, required by high society visitors were built and gave the town its elegant character.  As you can see, some of them are quite grand while others are simply marvellous wood chalets.  111220 Bagnères-de-LuchonThe mansion at number 18, built in the 18th century now houses the tourist office and local museum.  111022 Casino, Bagnères-de-LuchonIn 1880 the Casino was built to add additional pleasures for visitors to discover.  111026 François I et Marguerite, Bagnères-de-Luchon111025 La fatalité, Bagnères-de-Luchon111020 Le baiser à la source, Bagnères-de-Luchon111215 Cain et Abel, Bagnères-de-LuchonSeveral parks designed with fountains, ponds and statuary can be found throughout the town.  Life in Luchon centers around les allées d’Étigny and the main avenue leading to the baths.  111203a Bagnères-de-Luchon111203 Bagnères-de-Luchon111209 Bagnères-de-Luchon111210 Bagnères-de-Luchon111213 Bagnères-de-LuchonThe grand entrance to the baths, known as the “Chambert Thermal Baths” was built in 1848. 111213b Bagnères-de-Luchon111213a Bagnères-de-LuchonThe “Pavillion Impérial” was built in 1954 and the “Vaporarium,” unique in Europe was completed in 1970.  In front of the Chambert Thermal Baths is a statue of d’Étigny.  111201a Hôtel d’Étigny, Bagnères-de-LuchonI stayed at Hotel d’Étigny which was just across the street from the thermal baths.  111059a Superbagnères111059b Superbagnères111051 Superbagnères111059 Superbagnères111063 Superbagnères111065 SuperbagnèresSki enthusiasts started coming to the area by 1911 when the construction of the Grand Hotel and the Cremaillère leading up to Superbagnères had begun.  111041 Téléporté de Luchon à Superbagnères111047 Téléporté de Luchon à Superbagnères111045 Téléporté de Luchon à SuperbagnèresIn 1993, the Cremaillère was replaced by cable cars.  The cable cars now take people to the top of the mountain to an altitude of 1,800 meters.  On the morning that I decided to take the cable car to the top, the mountains and the town were occasionally covered in clouds.  How fortunate I was that there was no rain.  The views were still spectacular from the top of the mountain.  111067 SuperbagnèresIn the months when there is no snow, farmers let their cows wander the green slopes.  111035 Les halles, Bagnères-de-LuchonIn town, the weekly market was taking place in La Halle built in 1896.  It is decorated with charming ceramic decorations of all sorts of food.  111031 Bagnères-de-LuchonThese three men are dressed in their traditional costumes as mountain guides.  In French they belong to a group of mountain guides that has existed since the early 18th century.  Their role was to carry or aid people wishing to go on excursions through forests and lakes in the region.  The right to wear the costume is passed down from father to son.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 21 2011 6 21 /10 /October /2011 14:41

11183Col du TourmaletPeople familiar with the Tour de France will know that the most famous climb during the race is through the mountain pass called the Col du Tourmalet.  11185 Panorama, Col du TourmaletMore than any other pass, it has been included in the race the most number of times since 1910 when the Tour de France introduced stages winding through the Pyrénées.  At 2,115 meters above sea level, it is the highest road in the Central Pyrénées.  From east to west, the length of the road is 36.2 kilometers long and quite a challenge for any cyclist.  11184 Col du Tourmalet copy - CopyFortunately, this is as close as I got to using a bicycle on the mountain!  11178 Col du Tourmalet11181 Col du Tourmalet11182 Col du TourmaletThe views from either side of the summit are amazing.  During my visit, the clouds came in and out creating a sea of white cotton amidst the jagged peaks.  11180 Col du TourmaletBesides the wonderful view, there also is a memorial to Octave Lapize, the first rider to ever cross the Col du Tourmalet in 1910.  Since then, professionals and amateurs alike conquer the Col du Tourmalet each day.

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