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

074 La Tour, Avignonet-LauragaisOn my way south to the Comminges region, I spent some time with good friends who live in a beautiful town just outside of Toulouse called Avignonet-Lauragais.  The town is visible from the highway due to the large windmills that generate electricity by harnessing the Autan winds from the southeast.  That same highway winds through the ancient “Via Tolosana,” that connects the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.  032 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisWhat drew my attention was the lovely church of Notre-Dame-des-Miracles built in the 16th century and stands out for many kilometers along the plains of the Haute-Garonne.  The main crop of the region is wheat but during the 15th and 16th centuries it was the production of pastels and indigo that brought the region its wealth.  046 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisPerhaps its major claim to fame is the historical massacre of eleven Roman Catholic Inquisitors on May 28, 1242 at the hands of hereticical Cathars and some complicit residents of Avignonet.  As the story goes, Catholic inquisitors, Guillaume Arnaud and Étienne de Saint-Thibéry held power in the town.  This did not sit well with Pierre-Roger de Mirepoix, a prominent member of the Cathar faith.  Therefore, he ordered a small group of his men to go to Avignonet and break the necks of the Inquisitors.  014 Avignonet-LauragaisThe troops were greeted during the middle of the night by the complicit castle provost, Raymond Alfaro and the castle bailiff who allowed them to enter.  The soldiers surprised the inquisitors while they slept and then hacked them to death with axes, knives and spears.  This event was just one of the few which eventually led to the siege at Montségur in March of 1244 where over 220 men, women and children were set on fire for refusing to denounce their Cathar beliefs.  Another result of the murders was the defection of many Catholics in the region to the Cathar faith.  Residents of Avignonet were punished for 40 years, forbidden to pray in public, forbidden participation in Catholic ceremonies such as baptism and communion and, to make matters worse, their church was closed.  045 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais co043 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisAs for the bodies of the murdered inquisitors, they were transported to Toulouse and buried.  By 1643 their tomb was moved to the Cathedral of St-Étienne which can still be seen today.  The people felt the punishment and suffered greatly through this long “spiritual winter.”  Finally, when the end of their penance was proclaimed, no sooner did they open the doors of their church the tower bells began to ring all day and all night by themselves.  This was seen as a miracle and immediately attributed to the Virgin Mary.  At that same time, a statue of the Virgin appeared at the steps of the church.  Thus began the devotion of Our Lady of Miracles which continues to this day and draws thousands of pilgrims on her feast day, the first Tuesday of June.  039 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisThe devotion of Our Lady actually has roots pre-dating the Middle Ages when the population held a strong devotion to Notre-Dame de Gaulège, the first name given to the church in Avignonet.  The written source for the devotion to Our Lady of Miracles was formalized in the papal bull of Pope Paul III, dated January 4, 1537, and is still kept within the sacristy of the church.  It says that a plenary indulgence will be granted to all faithful who pray in the church of Avignonet on the first Tuesday of June.  The inquisitors who were killed in Avignonet were later considered Catholic martyrs and subject to canonization.  In the past few centuries, several attempts to elevate them to sainthood have failed.  However, on September 6, 1866 the Sacred Congregation of Rites and Blessed Pope Pius IX granted and confirmed the public worship of the eleven victims of the Cathar heresy.  Avignonet’s Gothic-style church is rich in artistic and architectural treasures.  The construction of the present building began around 1385, lasted over a century and was dedicated February 22, 1512.  It is located on the site of a Romanesque church destroyed in 1355 when the Black Prince rode through town.  Restored several times, most recently in 1966, the church retains its Gothic character.  The exterior architecture deserves ones attention for several reasons.  035 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisThe bell tower is undoubtedly the most remarkable, standing 42 meters high and its square base decorated with blind arches.  It is surmounted then by two polygonal stories and finally a 10-meter spire.  033 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisThe tympanum of the side entrance has been restored and is decorated with a scene in which the Virgin Mary is the central character.  The beautiful capitals adorning the columns to the left and right remained in their original state, although very eroded in places.  063 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais065 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisThe chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles is in front of this side door.  The present statue of the Virgin is unfortunately not the original which was stolen during the attack of the Huguenots in 1578.  Several statues that replaced the original were also stolen in the 17th century, in 1905 and again in 1975.  061a Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais066 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisAnother chapel beside that of Our Lady is just as ornate and covered with angels assisting with the Assumption of the Virgin.  The choir is the oldest part of the building.  067 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais068 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisThe altar and the altarpiece created in the Baroque style have replaced the originals destroyed by the Huguenots in the 16th century.  It is of carved wood and gilded in gold leaf with red, marble columns separating sections.  As an ensemble, it has been classified as a historical monument since January 17, 1966.  070 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais co071 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais coTo the left and right of the altar are statues of the Virgin Mary’s parents, Ste-Anne and St-Joachim.  The baptismal font at the back of the church has a stone base which has a wooden cover decorated with the crest and monogram of Christ in Gothic characters.  A 21st century restoration has just finished and the results are simply amazing, especially the intricate painting of columns and vaults throughout the church.  056 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais057 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais058 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais059 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-Lauragais060 Église Notre-Dame-des-Miracles, Avignonet-LauragaisToday, the rich heritage of Avignonet’s past can be traced through its ancient ramparts, its old château with pepper-pot tower, its ancient tower and its beautiful church.  013 Bâtiments, Avignonet-Lauragais015 Château, Avignonet-LauragaisThroughout the 12th and 17th centuries, limestone ramparts and towers heavily fortified the town.  079 La Tour, Avignonet-LauragaisThe remains of one of these towers, dating from 1610, can be found near the recently rebuilt ramparts at the southern foot of the town.  It is conical in shape and originally served as a reinforcement tower beside the Cers gate which protected a drawbridge that led into the city.  076 La Tour, Avignonet-Lauragais075 La Tour, Avignonet-Lauragais078 Simon de Montfort, La Tour, Avignonet-LauragaisIn 1850 the statue of a crusader was placed on the wall beside the tower and is thought to be that of Simon de Montfort, a prominent leader during the Albigensian Crusade between 1209 and 1229.  A water reservoir and public fountain were built here in 1893.  During the French Revolution, a famous highway bandit named Michel de Paulo was jailed here where he eventually died. 

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 9 2011 1 09 /10 /October /2011 22:59

4092 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe Barons of Castelnau de Bretenoux fortified this site, at the meeting place of several valleys, as early as the 13th century.  Around the strong keep, there grew up during the Hundred Years’ War a huge fortress with a fortified curtain wall.  The castle was embellished in the 17th century by the last of the Castelnaus with the addition of large windows, richly decorated salons and a balcony of honor.  4097 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4098 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4102 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4105 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4106 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatSadly, the castle was abandoned in the 18th century and suffered depredations at the time of the Revolution.  In 1851 it caught fire but was carefully restored between 1896 and 1932 when it took on a new lease of life after being purchased by Jean Mouliérat, a tenor at the Opéra-Comique de Paris.  4095 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4107 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe ground plan is that of an irregular triangle flanked by three round towers partially projecting from each side.  Three parallel curtain walls still defend the approaches.  4089 Loubressac4157 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatAlong the ramparts there are far reaching view of the Cère and Dordogne valleys to the north; of Turenne castle set against the horizon to the northwest; and of Loubressac castle and the Autoire valley to the south.  4117 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4118 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4119 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4124 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe oldest part of the complex is a tall square tower and seigniorial residence known as the auditoire made of red ironstone.  The interiors are remarkable for Jean Mouliérat’s enormous art collection.  The collection is disseminated across seven rooms on the first floor of the château and reflects the grand art collections of the 19th century.  It shows Mouliérat’s eclectic passion for objets d′art, furniture, glass, stone and religious carvings.  Before his death in 1932, he donated the château to the State under one condition: that the art collection should remain in its original arrangements.  4120 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4109 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4152 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe guided tour of the apartments begins along the eastern wing of the château.  Here Mouliérat laid out a sculpture garden, set out between plants.  For conservation reasons, part of this collection is now presented underneath the arcaded portico, the grand salle and the petite salle.   4154 La grande salle, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudThe great hall houses 13th to 17th century sculptures of various origins and an early Middle Age sarcophagus slab placed on a panel covering an old well.  4153 Déploration du Christ, Château de Castelnau-BretenouIn the small room, a former bakery, there are the 12th century capitals from the old Romanesque church in Sainte-Croix-du-Mont in the Gironde department and two 16th century capitals with Corinthian leaf patterns.  A late 15th century Lamentation Over the Dead Christ, a Languedoc sculpture influenced by Flemish art and of outstanding quality, still has some traces of color.  4121 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4115 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4122 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4116 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4123 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatBeneath the gallery, there are two remarkable 12th century illustrated capitals from the old church at Sainte-Croix-du-Mont; the Resurrection of Christ and the Betrayal by Judas on the Mount of Olives, and a 15th century Archangel Michael flanked by recumbent statues.  4112 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4114 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatAfter entering the antechamber, there is a large collection of cupboards and armoires to admire from the 15th to 18th century.  4126 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4125 Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe beautifully painted, stained glass roundels in the windows represent the Archangel Michael as well as a 17th century marriage.  4128 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4130 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BreteCrossing through the vaulted 13th century keep, one enters the bedchamber of Mouliérat’s wife.  It has a richly decorated fireplace that was acquired by the tenor from a nearby mansion at Tauriac in the Dordogne.  4129 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4127 Chambre de Mme Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BreteThe room features a Gothic style chest, a table decorated with columns, a canopied four poster bed (16th century), linen closets with diamond point décor, Spanish chairs with high leather backs (17th century), an early 18th century Aubusson tapestry and a wooden statue of the Virgin and Child from the 16th century.  4133Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-Brete4136 Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BretJean Mouliérat’s bedroom has a splendid combination of antique furniture and objets d′art.  It is filled with Gothic and Renaissance style furniture: chests, chairs and tables as well as an 18th century sofa.  Many 16th and 17th century paintings adorn the walls in particular a portrait of Henri IV and the philosopher Michel de Montaigne.  4134 Chambre de Jean Mouliérat, Château de Castelnau-BretThroughout the room are statues of exceptional quality: Sainte Anne, Saint Sebastian and Sainte Catherine of Alexandra, Flemish altarpieces (1480 – 1530) and next to the mantelpiece, statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint John from a 16th century crucifixion piece.  4138 Salle de porcelaine et d'étain, Château de Castelnau4137 Salle de porcelaine et d'étain, Château de CastelnauThe tin and porcelain room is decked out with 18th century furniture, an Abubusson tapestry, ceramics and a Dutch chandelier.  4139 Salle de Luynes, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prud4140 Salle de Luynes, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudInside the Salon de Luynes there is a richly painted ceiling and window frame decorated with gold leaf from the 17th century.  The 15th century mantelpiece displays the coat of arms of the Castelnau and Calmont-d’Olt families.  The Flemish tapestry of the late 17th century shows the goddess of hunting, Diana and the two giant sons of Neptune.  Along the walls are Gothic church stalls and a small 16th century table carrying a liquor box.  4143 Salon Louis XIV, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prud4144 Salon Louis XIV, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudIn the Louis XIV Salon, the ceilings, mantelpiece, painted wall panels and Versailles parquet flooring are remainders of the rich decoration of 1660 – 1670.  The room also houses photos and objects that relate to Jean Mouliérat’s life, his success at the Opéra-Comique de Paris and his subsequent purchase of the castle.  Flemish tapestries from 1605 depict stories of the goddess Diana.  Along with 17th and early 18th century chairs and sofas, there is a unique turned-leg table in the Louis XIII style.  4145 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThe final part of the guided tour takes the visitor to the most lavish room of them all called the Oratory.  It was originally the former guard’s chamber above the castle’s entrance gate, equipped with its own drawbridge.  It served as Mouliérat’s dining room until 1930 and is filled with religious art.  4151 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4148 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, Prudhomat4150 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatThere is a Spanish 15th century altarpiece showing the crucifixion, a polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child from the Limousin region (13th century), another 15th century Virgin and Child statue from Bohemia and a 15th century stained glass window depicting the crucifixion acquired by Mouliérat from the Cathedral of Quimper in Brittany.  4149 Oratoire, Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux, PrudhomatOn the opposite wall is another 15th century stained glass window of angels composing music.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
September 29 2011 5 29 /09 /September /2011 05:35

001 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxAlthough I’ve visited many sites in and around Périgord in the past, this was the first time I went to Périgueux.  It is an ancient town situated in the fertile valley of the River Isle.  Its long history can be traced in its urban architecture and two distinctive districts, each of which is marked by the domes of its church: the Gallo-Roman district, overlooked by St-Etienne’s tiled roof, and the Renaissance district, with the Byzantine silhouette of the present Cathédrale St-Front bristling with pinnacles.  I followed the walking guide given to me by the tourist office and I found it to be quite informative and easy to use.  005 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxMy morning started with the Gallo Roman itinerary.   The Vesunna Temple was constructed in the second century A.D..  All that remains at the present time is the “cella”, the sacred part where only the priests could enter to worship the Celtic goddess “Tutela Vesunna” who was later adopted by the Romans and associated with water worship.  002 Temple de Vésone, PérigueuxTwenty-seven meters high and twenty meters in diameter, this tower was surrounded by a colonnaded ambulatory allowing the faithful to move in procession bringing their offerings.  Access was by a massive staircase to the east where the breach in the wall can now be seen.  A legend tells of a curse cast by Saint Front to bring down this pagan temple.  In fact the building served as a stone quarry up until the 19th century when the protection of historical monuments was established.  007 Vésunna Musée Gallo-Romain, PérigueuxIn the very heart of the old town is the Gallo-Roman Vesunna Museum designed by the architect Jean Nouvel.  The museum houses the remains of an opulent Gallo-Roman residence within its foundations.  006 Vésunna Musée Gallo-Romain, PérigueuxVisitors walk on elevated ramps that allow for a birds-eye view of different buildings.  010 Château Barrière, Périgueux011 Château Barrière, PérigueuxThe Château Barrière was constructed in the 12th century and was embellished during the Renaissance with a staircase tower, a doorway in the Gothic style and mullioned windows.  Burnt down during the Wars of Religion in 1575, it has never been restored.  For many years, the site served as an open-air theatre.  013 Porte Normande, Citadelle gallo-romaine de Vésone, PéDuring the 3rd century, after the Barbarian invasions, the city of Vesunna had a defensive wall constructed.  One of the gateways in the defensive wall, erected during the Late Roman Empire, is called the Porte Normande.  The story behind the name is that the gate is supposed to have played a part in the defence of the city against the Vikings who came up the River Isle in the 9th century.  012 Citadelle gallo-romaine de Vésone, PérigueuxThe Gallo-Roman defensive wall served as the foundations for medieval buildings such as the Maison Romane built in the 12th century.  018 Jardin des Arènes, Périgueux015 Amphithéâtre de Périgueux017 Amphithéâtre de PérigueuxLes Arènes is a public park which occupies the space where the arena once stood.  Built in the first century, this amphitheatre, one of the largest in Gaul, had a capacity for 20,000 people.  During the Middle Ages it was adapted to a stronghold, then became a 17th century convent and finally was developed into a public garden in the 19th century.  019 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux024 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, PérigueuxÉglise St-Etienne de la Cité was the first Périgueux cathedral until 1577 when the Protestant forces destroyed two of its cupolas and the bell tower.  During the Fronde uprisings in the 17th century, the building was used as a cavalry training center and consequently yielded its status as cathedral to St-Front.  023 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux020 Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, Périgueux021 Dates de Pâques 1163-1253, Église Saint-Étienne-de-l022 Dates de Pâques 1163-1253, Église Saint-Étienne-de-lThe West Cupola (11th century) follows the pure Romanesque tradition.  There are several things to see inside that are of interest such as the tomb of Bishop Jean d’Asside, a 17th century altarpiece in oak and walnut built for the seminary, a 17th century organ by Carrouges, and finally, a perpetual calendar marking the dates of Easter from 1163 to 1253.  After lunch in the jokily named restaurant, Hercule Poireau, I headed back toward the tourist office to begin the walk around the Renaissance part of town which begins with the Tour Mataguerre.  026 Tour Mataguerre, PérigueuxIt is the last bastion of the medieval surrounding wall that formerly consisted of 28 towers and 12 gates.  The machicolations, cruciform archery slits and cannon ports bear witness to the embattled 15th century.  Walking toward the cathedral along rue de la Bride and rue Séguier one comes across the Place de Navarre and Hôtel de La Douze.  028 Hôtel de La Douze, PérigueuxThis is a 15th century fortified private residence that reminds us of the wealth of the merchants who lived here during the reign of Louis XI.  One of the rare examples of non-military architecture from the 12th century is to be found along rue des Farges at the House of the Ladies of Faith.  030 Couvent des Dames de la Foi, 4 rue des Farges, PérigueThe building was turned into a convent during the 17th and 18th centuries, dedicated to converting young Protestants into proper Catholics.  The constable of France, Bernard du Guesclin, was said to have stayed here during the Hundred Years’ War on his way to ridding Chancelade of the English occupying forces.  031 Taillefer Passage, Périgueux032 Taillefer Passage, PérigueuxWalking up the steps along the Taillefer Passage leads one to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and the Gilles Lagrange residence.  033 Hôtel Gilles Lagrange et bâtiments, Périgueux034 Hôtel de ville de PérigueuxThe residence dates from the 15th to 17th centuries and was occupied during the troubled times of the Fronde uprisings.  The tragic writer Lagrange Chancel, a pupil of Racine, once occupied the present town hall to the right.  036 Place St-Silain, PérigueuxBeyond the covered market, is Place St-Silain where the winter truffle market is held.  A large 19th century fountain marks the center.  037 Maison du Patissier, Périgueux039 Maison du Patissier, PérigueuxThe Maison du Pâtissier (14th century) beside the St-Louis Square, has a fine Renaissance door (16th century) crowned by a shell, symbol of pilgrimage.  During the 19th century, this building was the residence of a well-known pâtissier who made the famous Périgueux pâté de foie gras.  042 Place de la Vertu, Périgueux043 Hôtel de Fayolle, Périgueux044 rue de l'Abreuvoir, Périgueux045 rue de l'Abreuvoir, PérigueuxBefore heading through the winding rue de l'Abreuvoir, I stopped to admire the Hôtel de Fayolle, a 17th century mansion overlooking the river.  Rue de l’Abreuvoir comes from the Occitan word for crow.  This narrow passage was used in the filming of Jacquou le Croquant in 1967.  046 Maison des Consuls, PérigueuxAn elegant group of three dwellings facing the river are commonly referred to as Maison des Consuls but are actually the Hôtel de Lur, Maison Brogliodie and Maison Lambert.  One can see them easily from the bridge.  048 rue Sainte-Marthe, PérigueuxNearby, along the rue Sainte-Marthe is a remarkable half-timbered house, the remains of an old mill.  051 Saint-Front Residence, Périgueux052 Saint-Front Residence, Périgueux053 Saint-Front Residence, PérigueuxAlong rue de la Constitution is the Hôtel de Gamanson, also called Logis St-Front.  It consists of two 15th century wings set at right angles, linked by a staircase tower, flanked by a corbelled turret and perforated by mullioned windows.  In the courtyard is a 17th century fountain and well which is sheltered by a Moorish dome.  Within the Galerie Daumesnil is a network of courtyards and small squares linked by alleyways.  054 Daumesnil Passage, PérigueuxThe buildings, which were grafted on over the centuries, have been demolished, creating open spaces and revealing the fine 15th, 16th and 17th century façades.  055 Maison Estignard, Périgueux056 Maison Estignard, Périgueux057 Maison Estignard, PérigueuxAt number 5, rue Limogeanne is a former medieval dwelling called the Maison Estignard.  The courtyard contains an impressive doorway with a super-imposed tympanum carved with the salamander, cherished symbol of François I, King of France.  The interior contains a superb fan-shaped spiral staircase.  060 Jardin de Thouin, PérigueuxJust across the Cloister Square is the Jardin de Thouin with its canons dating from the Wars of Religion.  It presents a fine view over the River Isle and an excellent view of the Cathédrale Saint-Front.  060b Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux060c Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux060d Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux079 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxClassified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, the cathedral is an important stage on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle which follows the Vézelay route.  066 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxIts Greek cross ground plan, similar to St-Mark’s in Venice, is the basis for the five cupolas constructed over the center of the cross and its own arms.  The architect Paul Abadie restored the building in the 19th century and used it as a model for the construction of the Sacré Cœur church in Montmartre, Paris.  061 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe 12th century bell tower separates the former Roman Church from the Byzantine-inspired Basilica.  067 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe stained glass windows in the eastern nave are dedicated to the history of St-Front.  The chandeliers were hung in Notre-Dame in Paris in 1853 in honor of Napoleon III’s wedding.  063 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux068 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe central altar was installed in 1968 underneath the middle dome.  Behind it is the 17th century altarpiece.  Carved in the baroque style, it originates from the college of the Jesuits of Périgueux.  It is a celebration of the Virgin Mary, from the Annunciation to the Assumption.  At the top is Christ waiting for His mother, holding the crown he will lay on her head.  065 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxThe great organ made by Joseph Merklin, was set on the western platform in 1875.  It was restored by Pascal Quoiron and opened in 1998,  The case is made up of 3000 pipes.  075 Monseigneur Georges-Massonnais,Cathédrale Saint-Front,Underneath the southern dome is the cenotaph of Monseigneur Georges-Massonnais, bishop of Périgueux.  He, along with architect Paul Abadie, was responsible for the restoration of the cathedral between 1852 and 1901.  078a Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux076 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux078b Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux077 Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux078 Cathédrale Saint-Front, PérigueuxJust outside the entrance are the cloisters.  Its architecture is half Roman and half Gothic.  The top cone of the old bell tower can be seen in the center.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
September 19 2011 2 19 /09 /September /2011 07:58

022b Jardin des Barbiers026 Jardin des Barbiers025 Jardin des Barbiers024 Jardin des Barbiers

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
May 11 2011 4 11 /05 /May /2011 07:07

052 La statue duP'tit Quinquin, Lille048 La statue duP'tit Quinquin, LilleDors, min p'tit quinquin,
Min p'tit pouchin, min gros rojin
Te m'fras du chagrin
Si te n'dors point ch'qu'à d'main.051 La statue duP'tit Quinquin, Lille

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November 30 2010 3 30 /11 /November /2010 07:40

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
November 11 2010 5 11 /11 /November /2010 09:47

026 LestreArmistice Day is a national holiday in France and Belgium.  It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."  Armistice Day (called “onze novembre” by the French) is one the most important military celebrations in France, since it was a major French victory and the French paid a heavy price in blood to achieve it.  080 L'église Sainte-Pétronille de La PernelleThe First World War was considered in France as the "Great Patriotic War".  Almost all French villages feature memorials dedicated to those fallen during the conflict.  007 QuinevilleJust as the red poppy is the symbolic emblem throughout the United Kingdom for those who fell during World War I, in France le bleuet de France is the flower of choice.bleuet3

bleuet2

bleuet1

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
October 16 2010 7 16 /10 /October /2010 08:41

077 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgIn 1145, the Empress Matilda (1102-1167), daughter of Henry I of England and granddaughter of William the Conqueror, asked for an abbey dedicated to the Virgin to be built here.  088 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgLegend has it that, she was traveling from England to France when her ship began to flounder during a terrible storm.  She implored the Virgin to save her, vowing to erect a church wherever the ship landed safely.  Sighting the coast, the captain of the ship reportedly told the queen, “Chante Reine, voici la terre!” (Queen sing, here is the earth!).  089 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgConsequently, this area of land earned the name of Chantereyne which it is still called to this day.  However, this story is not present in any chronicle of the time.  According to local historian, Robert Lerouvillois, the name Chantereyne refers to the many frogs that croaked in the marshy area.  083 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgThe abbey was consecrated in 1181, fourteen years after Matilda's death and was named the “Abbey of the Vow.”  Her son, Henry II (1133-1189), henceforth King of England and Duke of Normandy, continued the work undertaken by his mother.  082 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgIn 1532 the religious head of the abbey was replaced by a secular figure which began a period of decadence.  The abbey could not maintain itself with a diminished income and gradually fell into ruin.  In 1758, after the last English raid, the town authorities decided to change Cherbourg into a naval port, thus requiring the annexation of the abbey’s lands.  080 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgBy 1774 religious life at the abbey ceased to exist.  From 1793 to 1866, the buildings were transformed into a hospital and eventually a military barracks.  Until the dawn of the 20th century, the navy used the abbey as a store.  The abbey has suffered many misfortunes.  It was attacked several times during the Hundred Years War as well as being heavily damaged by the Germans during World War II.  087 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgListed as a historic monument since 1913, the site is currently under restoration. A number of archaeological finds were made there in 1994, in particular an exceptional gravestone for a priest from Querqueville named Guillaume Argène de Rai dating from 1280.  A detailed survey of the site can be found here as a PDF file091 L'abbaye Notre-Dame du Vœu, CherbourgThe abbey is open by appointment only except during the summer months of July and August when it is open on Sundays at 14h30.

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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
March 5 2010 6 05 /03 /March /2010 17:18

Dominique Demé 002e

L'église St-Martin belonged to the medieval Abbaye du Voeu of Cherbourg.Dominique Demé 002d

It is a Romanesque church with a unique octagonal bell tower.  Construction began in the 12th century.  After this time the church went through many changes.  In the 16 century the tower was modified and the nave was extended.  The façade was built in the 18th century and during the 19th and 20th century repairs and major renovations were made.  An old sundial adorns part of the exterior.  Obviously, St-Martin is most known for its bell tower that dominates the view with its eight sides, gabled roof and small Romanesque window.  The church is surrounded by its graveyard.
Dominique Demé 002cDominique Demé 017The Latin cross plan is not regular because the transept is not symmetrical.  The entrance to the church is very simple and does not include a tympanum.

041042024Around the exterior of the apse, placed at regular intervals under a ledge for support, are elaborately, carved stone corbels.  They are typically Norman and are stylized with heads of humans, animals, imaginary beasts and other motifs.  One of them is actually a sign from the Zodiac.  Can you guess which one ?

Dominique Demé 002fDominique Demé 018014016021020023022One of the oldest sculptures within the church is the bas-relief of the Last Supper which dates from the 12th century.  Others include capitals in the choir.  One is decorated with birds, another head with long, pointed ears and another of a man with a ribbon in his mouth.

032037033Dominique Demé 002bBeautiful stained glass windows patterened after stalks of wheat made in Chartres in the 1780s bring light into the choir.
029
030Other sculptures by artist Armand Freret can be seen in the side chapels.  In the north chapel is a Madonna and Child and in the south chapel St-Sebastian.  These both date from the 19th century.Dominique Demé 025

Dominique Demé 028Dominique Demé 001Dominique Demé 001aDominique Demé 024
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Published by The Baguette - in Cultural Heritage
January 23 2010 7 23 /01 /January /2010 10:11

057 Château de GratotFor five centuries, following the marriage of Jeanne de Gratot to Guillaume d’Argouges, the château belonged to the Argouges family.  In 1439 Jean d’Argouges sold the port of Granville to the English, thus giving them control of Mont-St-Michel.  This sale brought dishonor on the Argouges family but in the following century they redeemed the family name through appropriate marriages and proved their loyalty to the King of France.

027 Château de Gratot029 Château de GratotA small three-arched bridge over the moat leads to the entrance gatehouse and then the inner courtyard.  On either side are the bare walls of the service buildings; to the west are the ruins of a square corner tower.  Within the courtyard from the left to right are the 18th century pavilion and the 17th century main building, flanked by the Round Tower, and the Fairy’s Tower with the North Tower to the rear.

031 Château de Gratot037 Château de Gratot

Maison seigneuriale

 

Two flights of steps lead up to the entrance of the now roofless former living quarters.  The ground floor was lit by tall windows and the upper floor by dormers. 

044 Château de Gratot

052 Château de GratotThe ronde

 

This early 15th century round tower is quite medieval in appearance.  The narrowing of the staircase as it moved upwards was devised to hinder an attack as only one person could pass at a time. At the top of the tower is a guards' room where remnants of medieval wall paintings may still be seen. The entrance to the basement is at the foot of this tower.

061 Château de Gratot

Caves

 

Stout piers support the groined vaulting of these fine cellars.  The masonry is composed of stones placed edgewise.  The late 15th century tower, now called the Fairy’s tower, is reinforced by a powerful buttress.  It is octagonal at the base but becomes square at the top and is crowned by a saddleback roof.  The wall head is decorated with gargoyles and a balustrade. 

034 Château de Gratot068 Château de Gratot

Tour d’angle

 

This corner tower, the only part of the medieval castle that remains, probably dates from the late 13th or the early 14th century; the door has been walled up.

049 Château de GratotOutbuildings

 

One of the rooms in these 16th century outbuildings hosts an exhibition on the château, its construction and ongoing restoration.
059 Château de Gratot
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