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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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September 20 2010 2 20 /09 /September /2010 15:07

067 Château de TocquevilleThe Château de Tocqueville was originally a manor house constructed over three different periods during the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries.  While retaining its smooth appearance, the architectural diversity gives the château its particular charm.  It is most famous for being the home of Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 – 1859), famous intellectual, sociologist and politician.  049 Alexis de TocquevilleWhen he saw it for the first time in 1833, he was immediately charmed by its feeling of serenity.  In 1836, after the death of his mother, he inherited the property.  It became the place where he and his wife Marie found tranquility and inspiration and where he worked on his books, including The Old Regime and the Revolution and his most famous work, Democracy in America.  079a Château de Tocqueville080 Château de TocquevilleThe château is still a private residence safeguarded by the current Countess de Tocqueville and rarely open to the public.  However, the grounds of the château are open during the Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days) which took place last weekend (18 – 19 September).  In the 16th century, the property consisted of a large Norman house flanked by two round towers. A third tower which served as a pigeonnier (dovecote) stood at the extreme edge of the courtyard and was accessible through a porch.  In 1840, the porch was moved stone by stone in order to create more space for the courtyard.  068 Château de TocquevilleAlready in the 16th century, the house was considered a noble house, as indicated by the band that encircles the stone dovecote.  In those days only noble landowners could maintain dovecotes on their property.  068b Château de TocquevilleInside the dovecote, there are 2500 boulins (boxes where pigeons could rest).  In 1661, the manor became the property of the Clérel family through an alliance with the local Rampan family.  By becoming the owners of Tocqueville, they took the name of the fief.  Since that time, the château has belonged to the Tocqueville family and has never come up for sale.  078 Château de TocquevilleThroughout the 18th century, the Tocqueville family created allies through marriages with large families close to the royal court.  This improved their financial position and permitted the conversion of the manor into a château. The current façade was added and the southern wing was extended.  075 Château de TocquevilleThe château was made complete with the construction of the guardhouse and commons.  During the French Revolutionary period, there was no major impact on the property except for the destruction of the dovecote’s roof, symbol of nobility, and the black blurring of the word "king" in the literature of the library.  066 Château de TocquevilleIn the 19th century, Alexis de Tocqueville wanted to build an English garden, which was fashionable at the time.  He knocked down fences and the surrounding the groves and converted the space by adding a large pond to the front of the château.  079 Château de TocquevilleFinally, in 1896 Count Christian de Tocqueville added Renaissance inspiration to the chateau by building the square addition to the southern wing.  In 1954, a fire devastated the château.  The family decided to rebuild everything in the original style and the chateau was brought back to life.  089 Château de TocquevilleThe words carved in granite above the main door are in Latin: HOSPES INGREDERE BONI VULTUS ADERUNT which roughly translates to “All guests who enter are welcomed”.  090 Château de TocquevilleThe roof was clad in schist from Tourlaville and the pointing done in lime mortar, typical for many homes in the Val de Saire.  056 Château de Tocqueville057 Château de Tocqueville062 Château de Tocqueville084 Château de TocquevilleOne enters the property through a tree­-lined avenue and arched gateway.  After that, one must take a right through the commons which has its own bake house, garden with apple press and a large festival hall used to exhibit works based on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville.  083 Château de TocquevilleAs a guest visiting the château I was welcomed by young children who were “selling flowers for free.”  They were charming!  050 L'église Saint-Laurent, Tocqueville050a L'église Saint-Laurent, Tocqueville101 L'église Saint-Laurent, TocquevilleL’église St-Laurent in the village is a fine building from the early 18th century.  It is designed as a nave flanked by an aisle.  The portal and the three lancet windows are in the Gothic style.  A big chapel opening in the choir was constructed in the 15th century by the Hennot family, lords of Tocqueville.  In 1895, the church bell tower was heightened and finished with a double-pitched roof.  The only object scheduled as a historic monument is a painting of the sacrifice of Abraham from the 17th century.  Also of interest are a wooden lectern, 18th century fonts and two 15th century statues (vierge à l’enfant et Ste-Marthe).  052 L'église Saint-Laurent, TocquevilleSince people were beginning to file in for a wedding, I was only able to take one photo of the altar before I left.

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Published by The Baguette - in Le Val de Saire
September 20 2010 2 20 /09 /September /2010 07:57

September 18 and 19 was the 27th Journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days) and the theme this year was “Great Men and Women Who Helped Make History”.  Places that are not usually open to the public are open during these two days.  Many of them include spectacular mansions, gardens, churches, castles and museums.  Although most of these places have been classified as historical monuments, there are a great many in need of restoration.  014 Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vast014a Parc du château de la Germonière, Le VastOne of these was the Château de la Germonière in Le Vast.  Vast comes from the latin word “vastum” meaning uncultivated, wasteland or even deserted.  That is not the case in this instance, where it can also mean woody.  Le Vast is the only town in France to bear this name although there are many towns in the region that share components of it—Hardinvast, Martinvast, Sottevast, Tollevast, Brillevast, Pépinvast, Vasteville—to name several.  These towns belonged to the forest of Brix which extended up to what is now Quettehou.  018 Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vast021 Les Cascades, Parc du château de la Germonière, Le VaThe river of La Saire meanders through the picturesque towns and the surrounding countryside toward the sea.  The area was once famous for its 37 mills most of which were used to make flour.  However, there were several others in the region including three oil presses and two which were used in the manufacture of cotton thread and fabric.  At their peak, the mills provided work for over 600 people in the region.  The cotton and thread mill in Le Vast was established in 1795 by Philippe Fentenilliat.  In 1886 a fire destroyed the mill and it was never rebuilt.  014b Les Cascades, Parc du château de la Germonière, Le VLes Cascades du Vast are all that remain from this period and provides a tranquil scene for those discovering the surrounding park and château.  007b Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vastt007c Parc du château de la Germonière, Le VastThe château was originally the Fentenilliat home built in 1803.  In 1894 the architect Alfred Trollier rehabilitated the area by adding two side wings to the residence creating a château from the once bourgeois cottage.  006c Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vast006d Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vast006e Parc du château de la Germonière, Le Vast006f Parc du château de la Germonière, Le VastHe also tailored the surrounding lands to create an attractive park setting around les cascades.  The name Louis Rangeard de La Germonière is attached to the château and park because he once lived here and was the town’s mayor before he died in 1887.  Here's a photo of the local Mairie:033 Mairie du VastMost people who visit Le Vast come to see the cascades which aren’t all that spectacular but are certainly enjoyable in the midst of the tranquil park.  Even famous artists have come to Le Vast to find inspiration such as Maurice Pigeon, Jac Lem and Robert Leboucher.  047 L'église Notre Dame du Vast040 L'église Notre Dame du Vast037a L'église Notre Dame du Vast045 L'église Notre Dame du VastThe magnificent Église Notre-Dame dates from the 14th century and has a stained glass window above the altar that dates as far back as the 15th century.043 L'église Notre Dame du Vast044 L'église Notre Dame du Vast

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July 29 2010 5 29 /07 /July /2010 20:17

069 Allée couverte sépulture mégalithique de La ForgeNear the hamlet of La Forge, just outside of Bretteville-en-Saire is an ancient megalithic gravesite known as the Allée Couverte, or “covered alley” which is over 4,000 years old.  Its length is roughly 17 meters and is composed of stones weighing several tons each.  There are seven table stones which cover the site that range from 1.80 m to 2.8 m in length and 40 to 60 cm thick; one is granite while the others are of local stone.  How they got there is still a mystery.  072 Allée couverte sépulture mégalithique de La ForgeAccording to legend, they were made by fairies who used them as homes while others say dwarves kept their treasures buried there.  An excavation carried out in the seventies found that the area was actually used as a burial spot for many centuries although human remains were not found.  It is likely that the acidity of the soil left no trace of human bones.  073 Allée couverte sépulture mégalithique de La Forge074 Allée couverte sépulture mégalithique de La Forge076 Allée couverte sépulture mégalithique de La ForgeUnder several layers of soil many human artifacts were found including carved flints, scraps of pottery, a drinking goblet and a beautiful axe of polished stone.  It is classified as a Historical Monument.

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October 31 2009 7 31 /10 /October /2009 06:19

The lighthouse at Cap Lévi was built facing the Biéroc reef and serves as a sea-mark during the day and allows vessels to navigate the coast at night.  Its contemporary look dates from 1949. At 37m above sea level, it is visible from a distance of 40 kilometers. Its flashing red light, produced by a lamp of 1,500 watts, radiates a beam of light every five seconds.

 

It replaces an older, 29-meter, square lighthouse from the 19th century. Built mainly with granite from the Fermanville quarry, it was closer to the coast than the current lighthouse.  Unfortunately, the Germans dynamited it in June 1944. 

 

The navy used the semaphore up until a few years ago but it no longer serves a purpose. 


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October 1 2009 5 01 /10 /October /2009 06:03
COCORICO COCORICO COCORICO
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Published by The Baguette - in Le Val de Saire