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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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June 22 2011 4 22 /06 /June /2011 05:00

2226 Le Logis Renaissance et la forteresse médiévale, MonLegend has it that Montrésor owes its name to a lizard—one coming out from a grotto in the hill covered in gold.  Legend or not, this medieval town is one of the many pleasant treasures to be visited throughout the Touraine.  The rocky peak was in the 10th century the property of the treasurer of the chapter house of Tours Cathedral.  2210 Indrois et la forteresse médiévale, MontrésorAs early as 1005, Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou ordered his captain “Roger le Petit Diable” to build a powerful fortress here.  Later, it was to be the property of families with illustrious names as Chauvigny in the 12th century, Palluau in the 13th century and particularly Bueil in the 14th century.  In 1493 the estates around Montrésor became the property of Imbert de Bastarnay (Diane de Poitier’s grandfather and counsellor to Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I successively).  It was he who built the Renaissance château within the feudal grounds.  2205 Indrois, Le Château de Montrésor2208a Indrois, Le Château de MontrésorThe main wing remains overlooking the River Indrois.  Perhaps the best way to view the château, fortress and collegiate church is along the banks of the Indrois with its scenic walking paths that wind along the river’s edge, offering magnificent views.  2207 Indrois, Le Château de MontrésorThe château was restored and refurbished in the 19th century by the Polish Count Xavier Branicki, whose descendants still live here.  2202 Le pont du jardinier, MontrésorThis metallic footbridge called the le pont du Jardinier was installed around 1870 as part of Count Branicki’s project to join the courtyard of the château to the park below.  After the count’s death, his beautiful and expensive project was never realized.  2203 Le pont du jardinier, MontrésorThe bridge was manufactured at the famous Eiffel Works in Paris.  It creates a link between the château’s gardens on each side of the river.  2212 Le lavoir, Indrois, MontrésorPrivate or public, small or large, there used to be no less than ten washhouses spread along the riverside of Montrésor.  The first washhouse was created here at the beginning of the 20th century.  Later, around 1948, the current washhouse was built.  Working in the washhouse was hard work but it was also a convivial meeting place and ideal for catching up with the latest village gossip.  2217 Le Bief et le déversoir, Indrois, MontrésorAn overflow weir blocks the Indrois River and diverts part of its flow to the millrace.  It allows it to overflow thus ensuring that the water is kept at a constant level.  When crossing the footbridge at the foot of the weir, if the water is not too high, one can see the foundations of a much older weir in V-form.  2219 Le Bélier Hydraulique, MontrésorThe circular building along the millrace is called Le Bélier Hydraulique.  2218 Le Bélier Hydraulique, Montrésor copyA small sign explains its invention by the Montgolfier brothers, its history and use within the château’s estates.  It was installed around 1876.  2223 La halle des cardeuxWalking through the small, medieval village, one finds buildings of great character, such as the 16th century Chancellor’s House and the Halle des Cardeux covered market (1700), which now serves as a permanent arts and exhibition center.  2224 Mairie de MontrésorThe Mairie dates from 1581 and is decorated with Renaissance dormers and an échauguette tower at one corner.  2220 Une maison à colombage2221 Église Saint-RochAt the foot of the ancient fortress is the 15th century half-timbered maison à colombage as well as the remains of the ancient church of St-Roch, now someone’s home.  2214 La collégiale St Jean Baptiste, Montrésor2215a La collégiale St Jean Baptiste, Montrésor2215b La collégiale St Jean Baptiste, MontrésorImbert de Bastarnay erected the Collégiale St-Jean Baptiste to shelter his family’s burial vault.  He died in 1523 at the age of 85 and the church was completed around 1541.  2215c La collégiale St Jean Baptiste, MontrésorIt is quite a gem and houses a 17th century Annunciation by Philippe de Champaigne.  An elegant pointed steeple about 35 meters high surmounts the building, which is 34 meters long.  2215 La collégiale St Jean Baptiste, MontrésorIn bad condition during the 19th century, due to a lack of money, the town council had a small steeple constructed but it took a gift from Count Xavier Branicki in 1875 to see the steeple spire rebuilt with neo-Gothic wood panelling.  During the restoration in the 20th century the wood panelling was removed in favor of slate facing. 

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June 21 2011 3 21 /06 /June /2011 04:39

2100 Logis royal et Jardin publique, LochesLoches was first mentioned in the 6th century by the historian Gregory of Tours, who described the founding of a priory by Ursus the Hermit (Saint-Ours).  It was not until circa 900 A.D., however, that the town really became established, under the ownership of the Counts of Anjou (soon to be kings of England) turned Loches into an impregnable fortified town.  2154 Donjon, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, LochesWith Fulk Nerra’s keep, Richard the Lionheart’s and King John’s almond-shaped towers and Henry II Plantagenet’s walls which protected the entire rocky promontory, Loches was a veritable military fortress.  King Philippe Auguste of France nevertheless captured the town in 1205.  His successor, St-Louis, bought the town back in 1249 and, from then until the French Revolution, Loches was a royal town administered directly by royal governors.  2130 Logis royal, Fort Saint Ours, LochesFrom the 14th century to the beginning of the 16th century, a number of French kings stayed in Loches (Charles VII, Louis XI and François I) hence the building of a comfortable residence known as the Royal Apartments.  Gradually, the town expanded at the foot of the promontory, protected by a new wall.  2106 La Tour St-Antoine et Jardin publique, LochesTwo of the gates from this wall have survived.  News of the town’s prosperity began to spread, thanks to its significant position along the trade route between Paris and Spain.  A Town Hall, belfry and luxury mansions were built in the lower town during the 16th century.  In 1968, the remarkably well-preserved old town center was listed as a conservation area.  Since 2000, Loches has been part of the national network of Towns and Areas of Artistic and Historic Interest.  2102 Logis royal et Jardin publique, LochesThere is a breathtaking view of the Royal Apartments from the public gardens.  They were built in two stages, between the end of the 14th and the end of the 15th centuries.  2105 Logis royal et Jardin publique, LochesThe oldest section, on the south side, has four turrets that are more decorative than military.  The second section, built a century later and extending out from the north side was designed in the Flamboyant Gothic style.  2109 La porte des Cordeliers, LochesThe Franciscans Gate is the most recent of the four gates that once protected the lower town.  Built in 1498, it includes a number of decorative features.  2110 La porte des Cordeliers, LochesIt was named after the Franciscan friary nearby.  The flour mill is a reminder of early 19th century industry.  2111 Le moulin, LochesIt stands on the site of the old communal flour mill and it housed a spinning mill and bed linen factory until 1900.  In 1902, it was turned into a flour mill.  Then in 2004, it was turned into serviced apartments.  2112 La Tour St-Antoine, Loches2113 La Tour St-Antoine, LochesSaint-Antoine’s Tower is both a bell tower and a belfry, built between 1529 and 1575 during the Renaissance period.  It was used to call people to religious ceremonies in the old Church of Saint-Ours (no longer in existence) and was part of the everyday life of the town, symbolising its power and independence.  This is the only belfry in the Tours area.  2114 Alfred de Vigny Centre, LochesThe Alfred de Vigny Centre or former Savings Bank was built in a neo-Gothic style and inaugurated in 1910.  2115 Alfred de Vigny Centre, Loches2116 Alfred de Vigny Centre, LochesTwo low reliefs decorate the pediments, one of an allegory of savings and thrift (a woman darning clothes) and the other showing a woman putting a coin in a piggy bank.  2118 Alfred de Vigny Centre, Loches2117 Alfred de Vigny Centre, LochesEngraved on each of the wings of the building are sayings designed to glorify the act of saving.  2119 Palais de Justice, 1866-Gustave Guérin, LochesThe Law Courts were built in 1866 by Gustave Guérin and is one of the most significant Second Empire buildings in Loches.  Four busts of famous lawyers decorate the façade.  In the pediment above the entrance is a carving of the goddess Athena, protector of the State who guaranteed the fairness of laws.  2120 L'Eglise Saint-Antoine, 1862, LochesSaint-Antoine’s Church (currently undergoing extensive restoration and renovation) was laid out in 1862 in the former Ursuline convent.  This building provided the town with a parish church, a daughter church of Saint-Ours.  2122 La porte Picois, Loches2123 La porte Picois, LochesThe Picois Gate is the second defensive gate in the lower town to have survived to the present day.  It is more military in style than the Franciscans Gate.  2124 La porte Picois, LochesIt includes a Renaissance niche added when the Town Hall was built.  In 1519, François I gave permission for the townspeople to buy this Town Hall.  Renaissance in style, it has one of the earliest straight open newel staircases of the period.  2126 Hôtel de Ville et la porte Picois, LochesOn two dormer windows are illustrations of François I crowned salamander and Loche’s coat-of-arms, symbols of royal and municipal power respectively.  The building has served the same purpose for the past 500 years.  2127 La Chancellerie, Loches2128 La Chancellerie, LochesThis mansion, incorrectly known as the Chancellery, was built in the 15th century then altered and extended in the 16th and 17th centuries.  2127a La Chancellerie, Loches2127b La Chancellerie, LochesThe façade, built in 1551, was inspired by the works of Michelangelo and is decorated with an antique frieze and columns with capitals that are typical of the Second Renaissance period.  2132 Les remparts, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, Loches2129 Fort Saint Ours, Loches2138 Entrance towers beneath Logis Royal, LochesFort Saint-Ours: The first residential district at the foot of the castle, protected by a 12th century wall.  Fort Saint-Ours forms the arc of a circle below the Royal Apartments.  The district was home to leading members of the town’s society, who built luxury homes here in the 15th and 16th centuries.  2131 Caponnier, LochesIt was in 1569, during the Wars of Religion, that this casemate (called a caponnier) was built, half underground at the bottom of the moat.  In the days of artillery fire, the caponnier was an inexpensive way of updating the town walls and protecting the bottom of ditches.  Built out of the tufa rock, this is one of three caponniers built in this part of the fortress.  2133 Almond-shaped towers, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, LochesLocated on the south attacking side of the fortress, the three almond-shaped towers were built between the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, a period of conflict between the King of France (Philippe Auguste) and the King of England who had possession of Loches (Richard the Lionheart then King John).  The shape of the towers made them more stable, deflected any stones and limited dead angles, thereby ensuring more effective defence.  2135 La Porte Royale, Loches2136 La Porte Royale, LochesThe 13th century Royal Gate, which was altered in the 15th century, is the only entrance to the fortress.  It has all the necessary systems of defence i.e. drawbridge, machicolations, arrow slits and a gun platform.  The Lansyer House is quite ugly and really not worth looking at unless you are following the guide provided by the tourist office.  2139 Emmanuel Lansyer House, LochesApparently, Emmanuel Lansyer was a landscape artist (you would NEVER guess by looking at his yard!) who studied under Viollet-le-Duc then under Courbet.  In 1893, he bequeathed his family home and collections to the Town Council so that they could form the basis of a museum.  It is now one of the Musées de France.  2141 Collégiale Saint-Ours, LochesThe former Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame (now the Church of St-Ours) was founded in the 10th century but built in the 11th and extended in the 12th.  2144 Collégiale Saint-Ours, Loches2143 Collégiale Saint-Ours, Loches2144 Collégiale Saint-Ours, Loches - CopyIt has two outstanding features—its 12th century carved polychrome doorway and its two pyramid-shaped domes above the nave.  2146 Collégiale Saint-Ours, Loches2147 Tombeau Agnes Sorel, Collégiale Saint-Ours, LochesIt contains the tomb of Agnès Sorel, King Charles VII’s official mistress.  During the Middle Ages, the church stood in a canonial district where there was also a well-known school; after the Revolution, it became a parish church.  2152 Donjon, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, LochesThe Keep, or Donjon, was built by Fulk Nerra, 4th Count of Anjou, between 1010 and 1035.  This is one of Europe’s oldest surviving keeps.  The building material used, the quality of the construction and its height (36 meters) make this an outstanding building for its time.  2149 Donjon, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, LochesAround the main tower, numerous other buildings were erected to increase the system of defence between the 11th and 15th centuries.  2150 Donjon, 1010-1035 Foulques Nera, LochesIt was then used as a State prison and, later, as a county jail until 1926.  In fact, the continued use of the buildings has been one of the factors that ensured their good state of repair.2107 Logis royal et Jardin publique, Loches

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June 20 2011 2 20 /06 /June /2011 05:00

1699 Jardin d'inspiration médiévale, Château de LangeaisLouis XI built the Château de Langeais from 1465 to 1469 as a stronghold along the road from Nantes, the route most likely to be taken by an invading army from Brittany.  1710 (A) Anne de Bretagne et (K-Karolus) Charles VIII, ChâThis threat vanished after the marriage of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany was celebrated in the château in 1491.  1692 Le pont-levis, Château de LangeaisThe château was built in one go, a rare event.  It has not been altered since, also a rarity.  It is one of the most interesting in the Loire Valley, owing to the patient efforts of Jacques Siegfried, the last owner, who refurnished it in the style of the 15th century and who bequeathed it to the Institut de France upon his death.  1777 Château de Langeais1694 Le pont-levis, Château de Langeais1706 Château de Langeais copy1707 Château de LangeaisOn the town side, it resembles a feudal fortress with its high walls, round towers, a crenellated and machicolated sentry walk and a drawbridge spanning the moat.  1716 Tapestry Room, Château de LangeaisThe apartments inside are of exceptional quality and convey an accurate picture of aristocratic life in the 15th century.  The salons and bedrooms are decked out with more than 30 tapestries from the 15th to 16th centuries.  1711 Salle du banquet, Château de LangeaisThe guardroom, converted into a dining room has a monumental chimneypiece, the hood of which represents a castle with battlements manned by small figures.  1708On the first floor, in the Crucifixion room, there is an early four-poster bed and a 17th century panel from Brussels.  1709 (A) Anne de Bretagne et (K-Karolus) Charles VIII, Châ1712 La Chambre de Retrait , Château de LangeaisOn the second floor, in Charles VIII’s bedchamber stands a curious 17th century clock with only one hand as well as two 16th century tapestries.  The great hall has a chestnut timber roof in the form of a ships hull.  The room was completely dark (as were most rooms in the château) and I could not get a good photograph.  Besides, there were a lot of school children there on a fieldtrip and they did not make picture taking very easy.  1713 Cabinet d'art sacré, Châsse reliquaire, XIIIe sièclOne small room is called the Sacred Collections Room and contains a reliquary of an unknown saint from the 13th century.  1714 Cabinet d'art sacré, Saint Jean XVIIe siècle ViergeInside glass cabinets are other sacred objects including a statue of Saint-John the Evangelist (16th century) and another statue of the Virgin and Child from 1460.  1715 Cabinet d'art sacré, Saint Bernardin de Sienne, SaintThe unique painting is from the Spanish School and depicts Saint-Bernardin-de-Sienne, Sainte-Catherine-d'Alexandrie and Saint-Louis-d'Anjou.  1704 Pont suspendu sur la Loire, Langeais1695 Jardin d'inspiration médiévale, Château de Langeais1700 Jardin d'inspiration médiévale, Château de LangeaisBehind the château is a park with exceptional views of the Loire.  It is here that Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou built a donjon, or castle keep, in Langeais in 994.  1701 Donjon de Foulques Nerra, 994, Château de Langeais1696 Jardin d'inspiration médiévale, Château de Langeais1697 Jardin d'inspiration médiévale, Château de LangeaisThe ruins are thought to be the oldest surviving in France.  From here he attacked Tours held by his rival, the Comte de Blois.  Within the walls of the towering donjon Fulk Nerra made his residence.  Its lofty bulk still looms over the latter château’s courtyard.  1702 Donjon de Foulques Nerra, 994, Château de LangeaisSince 2008, one has access to the windows of this old fortress and can discover how it was built, thanks to the genuine reconstruction of the scaffolding as it was used in 994.  1780 Église paroissiale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, LangeaisL'église Saint-Jean-Baptiste was founded by Saint-Martin in the 4th century.  It has undergone many restorations in its history.  The choir and the apse date from the 11th century and the bell tower and porch of the church date from the 12th century.  The steeple was built around 1450 but it has been damaged and rebuilt on several occasions due to bad weather.  Under the crypt is an alter dating from the 10th century that depicts a scene of the founding of the church by Saint-Martin.  1782 Église paroissiale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, LangeaisAccording to the reading material provided by the tourist office, a restoration in 1865 by architect Aymard Verdier caused irreparable damage to the interior of the church.

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June 17 2011 6 17 /06 /June /2011 05:00

1529 Château de VillandryVillandry was one of the last great Renaissance châteaux to be built on the Loire; it has unusual features for Touraine, like rectangular pavilions (instead of round towers) as well as the layout of the esplanade and its moat.  1500 Renaissance Château de Villandry, 15361501 Renaissance Château de Villandry, 1536Villandry’s international fame comes not so much from its château but from its gardens, which are among the most fascinating in France.  1502 Courtyard, Renaissance Château de Villandry, 15361516a Château de VillandryNothing remains of the early fortress except the keep, a square tower incorporated in the present structure which was built in the 16th century by Jean Le Breton, Secretary of State to François I.  In 1754, the Marquis de Castellane, who came from a noble Provencal family, purchased the château and had it redesigned to meet 18th-century standards of comfort.  In 1906, the château was bought by Joachim Carvallo, the great-grandfather of the present owner.  1516b Château de VillandryHe created 16th-century-style gardens that were in perfect harmony with the architecture of the chateau.  Each room enjoys its own unique view, particularly of the gardens.  1503 Le salon, Château de VillandryThe drawing room and study are from the 18th century.  The armchairs and wing chairs are upholstered in silk from a factory in Tours that still produces numerous silks.  The various photos set on the furniture, as well as the room’s size underline the fact that Villandry is first and foremost a comfortably-sized, family residence.  1504 Le cabinet de travail, Château de VillandryThe study, located on the ground floor of the keep, was Joachim Carvallo’s preferred work area.  In particular, it was here that he would draw up his plans for the vegetable garden.  1509a top of the keep, Château de VillandryThe keep is the oldest part of the château, dating back to the 12th century.  On July 4, 1189, the Paix des Colombières was signed in this medieval fortress by England’s Henry II, acknowledging his defeat by France’s King Philip Augustus.  1505a La salle à manger, Château de VillandryThe Marquis de Castellance redesigned the dining room in the 18th century style; Louis XV panelling replaced the old tapestries, while parquet replaced the marble flooring.  The windows give particularly lovely views of the ornamental gardens, designed as veritable open-air drawing rooms.1514 Jardin et Château de Villandry  1505 La salle à manger, Château de VillandryThe salmon pink walls and fountain hint at the Provencal origins of the Marquis.  In 1939, this room was listed as a historic monument.  1505b La cuisine, Château de VillandryThe kitchen is the château’s only rustic room, with its terra-cotta floor tiles, large fireplace and exposed masonry.  It contains all the elements of an old kitchen: oak table, copper pots and pans and a roasting spit.  1505bs Grand Staircase, Château de VillandryThe grand staircase, built of limestone, was constructed by the Marquis de Castellane to replace the octagonal staircase in the courtyard.  The Marquis’ interlacing initials can be seen in the forged iron railings, typical for the 18th century.  This staircase was also listed as a historic monument in 1934.  1505c Prince Jerone's Bedchamber, Château de VillandryThe first floor bedrooms were traditionally reserved for the head of the household and for his guests.  Today, they have been renovated and rearranged, but their dimensions and distribution in the western wing of the château date from the 18th century and are faithful to the Marquis de Castellane’s original designs.  1505d Prince Jerone's Bedchamber, Château de VillandryThe first brightly colored room was that of Prince Jérôme.  Napoleon’s youngest brother was the owner of Villandry for several years during the Empire period.  This room’s furniture and design, therefore, is in the Empire style: mahogany furniture, red watered silks, trompe-l’œil and military drapes and lances.  1506 Moat Bedroom, Château de VillandryAlso designed in the 18th century, the moat bedroom was used by Joachim Carvallo’s wife, Ann Coleman.  There are paintings of three of the couple’s six children on display around the room.  They are the work of their friend, the famous Vendéen artist Milcendeau.  1507 Le salon oriental, Château de VillandryThe ceiling in the oriental drawing room comes from the Maqueda ducal palace, built in the 15th century in Toledo.  In the corners of this prestigious residence were four drawing rooms, each with its own coffered cupola of polychrome wood and gilding.  The palace was dismantled in 1905 and Joachim Carvallo brought one of the ceilings back to Villandry, while the other three cupolas are currently housed by prestigious, international museums.  1508 Le salon oriental, Château de VillandryIt took a full year to reassemble this ceiling from the 3,600 separate pieces.  Built in the Mudéjar style by Moorish craftsmen for their Spanish patrons, the ceiling combines decorative elements from both Christian and Moorish art: Franciscan cords, scallop shells, floral designs and royal coats of arms all intermingle with tracery, gilding and arabesques.  1508b Les chambres des enfants, Château de Villandry1508a Les chambres des enfants, Château de VillandryOn the second floor, the two moderately sized rooms on the right are the children’s bedrooms.  On display in the room are small toys and old books, along with embroidered clothing and a cradle.  1513 Jardin et Château de VillandryThe tower keep affords a bird’s eye view of the gardens, as well as a magnificent panoramic view of the valley through which the Cher and the Loire rivers flow on their parallel courses for almost fifteen kilometres.  The landscape is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  1509 La galerie d'exposition en bois de châtaigner, ChâteBefore leaving the château, visit the temporary exhibition gallery and admire the lovely chestnut framework which makes up the roof.  Outside, along the terrace one has a perfect view of the ornamental garden.  1512 Jardin et Château de Villandry1523 Château de VillandryHalf of the garden is dedicated to love with squares of box shrubs creating four distinctive flowerbeds symbolic of tender love, passionate love, fickle love and tragic love.  1515a Jardin et Château de VillandryOn the left, in the center, you can easily recognize the Maltese cross, with the Languedoc cross to its right, and the Basque cross on the left.  1515 Jardin et Château de VillandryFinally, along the moat there are stylized representations of “fleurs de lys.”  On the other side of the canal is the “second room,” also planted with box shrub, evoking the symbolism of music.  1516 Château de VillandryAt the end of the terrace one comes to the 18th century Pavillion de l’Audience.  Above the ornamental garden at the southern tip of the domain, is the water garden.  1517 Château de VillandryOf classical inspiration, it is centered around a large pond in the form of a Louis XV mirror, and is surrounded by a cloister of lime trees.  It is a perfect place for rest and meditation.  1522 Château de VillandryThe most recent of the gardens, the sun garden is an exotic place, made up of three green areas.  The cloud room is planted with blue and white shrubs and perennials.  1518 Château de VillandryThe sun room, with its oranges and yellows, shines around fountain in the shape of a star.  Finally, there is the children’s room which serves as a play area under the peaceful shade of the apple trees.  1524 Château de Villandry1510 Jardin et Château de VillandryBetween the kitchen garden and the church is the herb garden.  This is the traditional garden of the Middle Ages devoted to aromatic, cooking and medicinal herbs.  1511 Château de VillandryBetween the château and the village is the Renaissance kitchen garden, made up of nine squares of equal size but with different geometric patterns in each.  1528 Château de VillandryThese squares are planted with vegetables of alternating colors (the blue of the leeks, the red of the cabbages and beetroot, the jade green of the carrot tops) to create the illusion of a multi-colored chessboard.1519 Château de Villandry

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June 16 2011 5 16 /06 /June /2011 04:52

1407 Place François Sicard, Musée des Beaux-Arts, AncienThe Musée des Beaux-Arts is housed in the former bishop's palace built in the 17th and 18th centuries near the Cathédrale St-Gatien.  1409 Cedre du Liban, Place François Sicard, Musée des BeaA magnificent Lebanon cedar planted by Napoleon in 1804 adorns the courtyard of the museum.  Work on the cathedral started in the mid-13th century and was completed in the 16th century.  Certainly took long enough.   With over three centuries of building, St-Gatien’s demonstrates various styles from French Gothic, Flamboyant and Renaissance.  1411 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursThe first traces of the Renaissance are visible in the tops of the towers.  Despite the mixture of styles the soaring west front is quite harmonious.  The foundations of the towers are Gallo-Roman but the rich Flamboyant decoration was added in the 15th century.  The buttresses, which rise to the base of the belfries, were decorated at the same time period with niches and hook-shaped pinnacles known as crockets.  1412 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursAn elegant lantern dome in the early Renaissance style surmounts the upper section of the 15th century north tower.  1416 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours1415 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours1414 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursThe chancel of the cathedral is one of the most beautiful works of the 13th century and is reminiscent of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris with its stained-glass windows dating from the same century.  1417 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursThe rose windows in the transept are 14th century; the south window is slightly diamond shaped and the north one is divided by a supporting rib—below this is the organ, which was built by Barnabé Delanoue in the 16th century and donated by Archbishop Martin de Beaune.  1419 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursAmong the many remarkable windows the visitor can admire are those depicting events in the life of St-Martin including this one where he is exorcising a demon from a man’s mouth.  1421 St-Martin expels a demon, Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de1422 L'Adoration des mages, Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de TouAnother window depicts the Magi presenting the baby Jesus with gifts.  1420 Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de ToursA small chapel, which opens into the south transept, contains the tomb of the children of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany—an elegant work by the school of Michel Colombe (16th century), placed on a base by Jerome de Fiesole.  If the scaffolding is down and the renovations are completed, don’t forget to visit La Psalette just beside the cathedral.  This elegant Gothic-Renaissance building and cloister once housed the canons and choir, hence the name La Psalette—the place where psalms were sung.  1424 Half-timbered houses, Tours1443 Place des Halles, ToursAfter visiting the cathedral, one should visit the old town.  The vast restoration work begun in 1970 around Place Plumereau, have brought the old quarter back to life.  1431 Place Plumereau, Tours1432 Place du Grand marchéThe Place Plumereau is a picturesque and animated square.  Once the hat market, it is lined with fine 15th century timber-framed houses alternating with stone facades.  1433 Place St-Pierre-le-Puellier, Tours1434 rue Briçonnet, ToursTo the north of the square a vaulted passageway opens on to the attractive little Place St-Pierre-le-Puellier, with its pleasant gardens.  1435 Escalier à pans de bois du 15ème siècle, Place St-PNot far away is another building with an elegant staircase tower.  1429 rue du Grand marché, Tours1428 rue du Grand marché1427 Rue du Grand marché, ToursThe rue du Grand-Marché is one of the most interesting streets in old Tours, with a great number of half-timbered facades embellished with bricks or slates.  1425 Half-timbered houses, rue Colbert, Tours1423 no 11 rue Constantine, ToursPerhaps the most charming street is the rue Briçonnet which is bordered by houses showing a rich variety of local styles.  1436 Maison de Tristan l'Hermite, Tours1438 Maison de Tristan l'Hermite, Tours1437 Maison de Tristan l'Hermite, ToursMaison de Tristan for example is a remarkable stone and brick construction with a late-15th century pierced gable.  At the Place de Châteauneuf is a fine view of the Tour Charlemagne and the remains of the Ancienne Basilique St-Martin, built in the 11th and 13th centuries over the tomb of the Bishop of Tours after the Vikings had destroyed the 5th century sanctuary.  1441 Logis des ducs de Touraine, ToursOpposite, the 14th century ducal residence, Logis des ducs de Touraine, houses a center for military servicemen.  1445b Tour de l'Horloge, ToursFurther along the rue des Halles stands the Tour de l’Horloge, a clock tower marking the façade of the basilica which was crowned with a dome in the 19th century.  1449b Calvaire La charité de Saint-Martin de ToursAt this time it is quite fascinating to look at the map to see what changes have been made over the centuries to the Basilique St-Martin.  1447 Basilique Saint-Martin de Tours copySaint-Martin, bishop of Tours, died in 397 and was buried in an early Christian cemetery.  His successor, Saint-Brice, had a chapel built over the tomb.  A remarkable basilica was built by Bishop Perpetuus (458-488) and consecrated on July 4, 471.  A fire totally destroyed the castrum sancti Martini in 994.  The treasurer Hervé de Buzançais decided upon the construction of a new church, work which lasted from 1003 to 1014.  1448 Basilique Saint-Martin de Tours1449 Basilique Saint-Martin de ToursNumerous fires struck the basilica, which was repaired, transformed and rebuilt between 1096 and 1175.  From 1175-1180, the church vaults were rebuilt, probably in the Plantagenet style.  1452 Basilique Saint-Martin de ToursIn the 13th century, a double ambulatory chancel was added in the style of the Cathedral of Bourges.  During the 14th and 15th centuries, work proceeded on the interior of the church (chapel installations, etc…).  The Huguenots pillaged the edifice in 1562.  During the Revolution, it was turned into stables.  1455 Basilique Saint-Martin de ToursIn 1797, the vaults collapsed.  Partially ruined, the edifice was demolished and in 1802 the Prefet Pommereul undertook the housing development around the actual Rue des Halles.  1460 Tour Charlemagne, Tours1459 Tour Charlemagne, ToursAll that remains today, to have an idea of the scale and dimensions of the original building, are the Tour de l’Horloge and the Tour Charlemagne.  1456 Crypte, Basilique Saint-Martin de ToursThe site of the tomb of Saint-Martin is preserved in the crypt of the basilica built in the 19th century and designed by Victor Laloux in a neo-Byzantine style.  It was dedicated July 4, 1925.  The markings visible on the rue des Halles correspond to the positions of the nave and transept columns of the original building.  1430 Hôtel Goüin, ToursWalking back to the rue du Commerce be careful not to miss the Hôtel Gouïn.  This mansion, a fine example of living accommodation during the Renaissance, is one of the most interesting of its kind in Tours.  It was burnt out in June 1940 but the south façade, with its finely sculpted Renaissance ornamental foliage, and the north façade, with its fine staircase tower, were spared.  It is now the Museum of Archaeology for the Touraine region.  1444 Place du Grand Marché, ToursThis part of old Tours is known as the St-Julien district where the Église St-Julien still stands despite its many misfortunes throughout the ages.  1464 L'église Saint-Julien de ToursIt rests on the foundations of a former Benedictine abbey from the 6th century and over the centuries there has been successive destruction and rebuilding of the church.  In 853 the abbey was destroyed by the Normans only to be rebuilt in the 10th century.  1467 L'église Saint-Julien de ToursIn 1044 the forces of Geoffrey III of Anjou heavily damaged it.  Again, it was rebuilt and consecrated in 1083.  Then, in 1224 a storm caused the nave to collapse.  It was again rebuilt and continues to maintain its 13th century form.  1466 L'église Saint-Julien de ToursTime has not done this church any favors!  During the Revolution it was sold and used as a stable.  During the Second World War parts of the church were ravaged but the damage repaired.  1465 L'église Saint-Julien de ToursIn 2004, a stone arch from the nave caused the closure of the building.  It is not possible to enjoy the stained glass windows by Max Ingrand until the church opens its doors once again.  As of 2011, there are plans in to completely restore and restructure the church and the Place Anatole France nearby.  1468 Pont Wilson, La Loire, Tours1470 Quai du Pont Neuf, La Loire, Tours1471 Pont Wilson, La Loire, ToursPart of this restoration will include the area just along the Loire where there is a great view of the Pont Wilson, or stone bridge, crossing the river.  It is was inaugurated in 1918 and given the name Woodrow Wilson in honor of the President of the United States from 1912 to 1920.  1463 Le Château de ToursA tree-lined walk beside the Loire affords a nice view of the ancient Château de Tours.  1462 Le Château de ToursThe Tour de Guise, with machicolations and a pepper-pot roof, was part of the 11th century fortress; the tower owes its name to the young Charles, Duke of Guise who was imprisoned in the castle after the assassination of his father.  The building currently serves as a contemporary art museum.1461 Le Château de Tours

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1400 La gare de Tours et Place du Général-LeclercLa gare de Tours was built between 1896 and 1898 under the direction of the Touraine architect Victor Laloux.  1401 La gare de Tours et Place du Général-LeclercFour statues dominate the façade—two were created by Jean-Antoine Injalbert (allegories of Bordeaux and Toulouse), while the other two were created by Jean-Baptiste Hugues (allegories of Limoges and Nantes).  The green space located at the front of the train station has a strange fountain resembling the hull of an overturned ship.  1402 Place du Général-Leclerc, Tours - CopyThis park, belonging to the Centre international de congrès or Le Vinci, was constructed two years after the death of its designer in 1991, landscape artist Yves Brunier.  Not far from the train station, along Boulevard Heurteloup is La Place Jean Jaurès.  The two large buildings here are the Palais de Justice and the Hôtel de Ville which was also designed by Victor Laloux between 1896 and 1904.  1478 Hôtel de Ville, ToursThe monumental building was intended to reflect the virtues of republican and municipal authorities and is evocative of Parisian design.  The interior and exterior designs accounted for more than a quarter of its building costs.  On the front of the façade are the four Atlanteans sculpted by François Sicard and to the left and right of the clock are two Caryatids representing day and night sculpted by Joseph-Émile Carlier.  The tow reclining figures on the left represent the rivers La Loire and Le Cher and were sculpted by Jean-Antoine Injalbert.  The two wings of the building are decorated.  The western wing represents Courage and Strength designed by Jean-Baptiste Hugues and the eastern wing, Education and Vigilance designed by Alphonse Shoemaker.  The remaining décor is credited to Henri Varenne who alone cost the city 334,000 francs.  1477 Palais de Justice, ToursOpposite the Hotel de Ville is the Neoclassical Palais de Justice done in white stone and built between 1840 and 1843 by Charles and his son Jean Jacquemin.  Walking toward the Loire one passes the Place des Halles where local residents and merchants wanted this modern sculpture Le Monstre.  1445 Place du Grand Marché, ToursWith this piece, the artist Xavier Veilhan wished to renew the old tradition of erecting monumental statuary.  Personally, I think it seems a bit out of place in this beautiful old town known for its timber-framed houses, old churches, cobblestone streets and Renaissance architecture.  Walking along the Loire one eventually comes to the American SOS Fountain.  1474 American Service of Supply Monument and Fountain, TourThis fountain was constructed by the United States government in grateful recognition of the achievements during World War I of more than 640,000 members of the Services of Supply, whose work behind the battle lines made possible the brilliant accomplishments of the armies in the field.  During the Great War, the American Services of Supply were responsible for providing a constant supply of men, equipment and ammunition for the two-million-man American Expeditionary Force (AEF) fighting in Europe.  The four figures on the monument represent the four principal divisions of the SOS organization: Administration, Procurement, Construction and Distribution.1476 American Service of Supply Monument and Fountain, Tour
 
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The Église paroissiale Notre-Dame in Montbazon was built between 1851 and 1862 under the direction of Gustave Guérin.  1381 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonTwo artists named Jules Benard and Alexandre Ripault painted all of the décor including the spacious barrel-vaulted nave and its walls in 1863 in the Romanesque style.  1381a Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonHenri Grandin was the master painter and painted all of the faces to the figures that Benard and Ripault created.  1389 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, Montbazon1388 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonThe décor is done in stencil rather than fresco with scenes and depictions of saints in feigned / trompe-l'œil niches.  Grandin also painted the religious statues and Stations of the Cross.  1387 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonThis sort of design reflects the popularity of the second half of the 19th century for painted decoration.  As of 2003 all paintings have been restored and look fantastic!  It was something I did not expect to see in an unassuming small-town church.  I was fascinated by the amount of detail in nearly every square inch.  1386 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonFulfilling the wishes of Montbazon’s curé, Abbé Chauvin (1848 – 1890), the principal illustrations for the church are based on feasts held during the liturgical year, Church dogma and popular devotions of the parish.  These included the Mysteries of the Trinity, the feasts of the Virgin, Sacred Heart, Christmas, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.  1384 Église paroissiale Notre-Dame, MontbazonThe windows above the altar depict the important events in the life of Mary: the Annunciation, the Nativity, Christ’s Crucifixion, the Assumption and, at the top, the crowning of Mary Queen of Heaven.  The window on the left is Mary with the Infant Child and the window on the right is John the Baptist.  They come from a painted glass factory in Tours and were created by Julien Léopold Lobin in 1848.

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1374 Le donjon de Montbazon, 991 ADIn 991, the Benedictine monks of Cormery complained to Hugues Capet, the King of France, that Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou (17 years old and Earl of Anjou in 987), was building a fort on their land in Montbazon.  Despite their annoyance, the King did not interfere as Montbazon served as a strategic point over the Indre.  1390 L'Indre, Montbazon1391 L'Indre, MontbazonFrom 994 the fortress was the site of fierce battles between Fulk Nerra and the powerful Counts of Blois.  The construction of a fortress around the previous fort at the end of the 10th century ensured control over the entire Touraine.  In 997, the donjon and fortress went to Fulk Nerra’s adversaries and he had to wait nearly 40 years before could resume power a few years before his death in 1040.  1371 Le donjon de Montbazon, 991 ADA huge expansion with construction of towers around the entrance and walls continued in 1175 under the orders of Henry II.  The buildings were made with the rough stone extracted directly from the limestone plateau supporting the donjon.  At the same time, this made it possible to simultaneously create a defensive ravine.  In the early 13th century King Philip Augustus of France took the fortress from Henry II.  In the 16th century it became a duchy under the control of Louis VII de Rohan, the first Duke of Montbazon.  1372 Le donjon de Montbazon, 991 ADIn 1425, a second castle was built opposite the old donjon.  This new castle was demolished without a second thought in 1746 and its remains used to build a road to Spain (now the N10).  The donjon itself has escaped destruction because it was inhabited until 1725 but its steps and one small tower collapsed in 1791.  By then, the municipality had authorized the destruction of the entire site.  In 1797 the wall of the donjon was hit by lightning that caused a large crack in its side, still visible today.  Soon, the building was relegated to the simple role of warehouse and its summit disfigured between 1823 and 1852 by the Chappe telegraph installation.  1376 Le donjon de Montbazon, 991 ADIn 1860, the site was purchased by a patron of the arts and the donjon restored by 1866.  At that time the Empress Eugenie, wife to Napoleon III, had a 9.5-meter-high, 8-ton bronze statue of the Virgin Mary and Child installed at the top.  1370 Le donjon de Montbazon, 991 ADAll that remains are the statue, the donjon and some protective walls from the 15th century.  After years of neglect, in 2000 a restoration project of the donjon was launched with a private initiative.  Today the work of consolidation and repair are coming to an end, allowing tourists to enter and experience the medieval fort.  1393 L'Indre, Montbazon1392 L'Indre, MontbazonThe bridge over the Indre was completed in 1758 according to plans by the engineer of roads and bridges, Matthieu Bayeux.  The Hôtel de Ville which rests at the foot of the plateau and directly beside the parish church dates from 1836.1378 Hôtel de Ville, Montbazon

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1363 Château de ChampchevrierAfter visiting Château du Lude, I thought we’d stop at Château de Champchevrier since it was on the way to Tours.  Upon arrival, I found out that it wasn’t going to open for another two weeks.  Oh well.  At least I was able to get some photos of the exterior before driving on.  1362 Château de ChampchevrierLocated at the heart of a wooded area in which wolves roamed for many years Château de Champchevrier is an immense royal hunting lodge. 1361 Château de ChampchevrierIts name comes from the Latin Campus Caprarius which means "field of the goatherd.”  1364 Château de Champchevrier1366 Château de ChampchevrierThe château, surrounded by a late-17th century moat, stands on the site of an old stronghold, which played a defensive role in the area for many centuries.  The present building, dating from the 16th century, was modified in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The same family has occupied it since 1728.1365 Château de Champchevrier1367 Château de Champchevrier 

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