Saturday, 24 March 2012

I think, therefore I blog...

On Thursday Pauline and I were invited to the 'La Maison Musee Rene Descartes', Rene Descartes' house in the town of the same name (it used to be La Haye) here in Touraine. The invitation, we understand, was sent out to all the'local' gite owners of which only a handful turned up, sadly. There were however plenty of helpful tourisme people there to guide/answer questions and they swelled the numbers up to around 20. We were given a tour of the famous philosopher's house which is less of a house and more of a collection of exhibition rooms. The man is famous for his thoughts and the words in which he expressed them. Our guide through the house explained that a previous criticism of the museum was, like a lot of others here in France, the lack of translations. French museums for the people of France is commendable but if they are to truly embrace their hugely important tourism industry they have to consider' the visitor' Here this has been addressed with leaflets in English with, I understand, more languages to follow. They have also been given 5 (yes only 5) audio guides in French/English.

I cannot show you any photographs of inside the museum as this was not allowed - for whatever reason - there were no ancient artefacts or delicate materials to be affected by a flash bulb - I actually wished there had been. I think the 'selling' of the great man is a difficult thing from a tourist point of view. I would personally have liked to have seen a little more of the conditions he grew up in - and out of - as it might prove inspirational to people who do not think there is a way out of mediocrity. Philosophy students and the 'thinkers' of the world will no doubt love this place but even with the English translations the enthusiastic staff have a real job on their hands to get people through the door. We wish them well!
You can read a good 'bio' of him here

 Here is an extract from the English version of their brochure:
'The articulation of the philosophers thought'

 "The route opens up to an area bathed in light. On a huge tray,a genuine puzzle,several apples present each concept of the Cartesian method.It enables the articulation of Cartesian thought to be explained in a way that it is accessible to all. Method,doubt,"I think, therefore I am", soul and body metaphysics  and physics and passions are all themes explained by means of simple,attractive representations intended to initiate visitors into the basis of this philosophy which is known world-wide."

Now if that doesn't make you want to visit...

As a group we were lead down the town's rose garden where one day a 'Descartes rose' which is currently being cultivated will be displayed.

Not at its best at this time of year

Here it is in summer.

One of the custodians of the gardens 'Bernard' answered questions and presented some facts (and figures) on here and the rest of the gardens. 

The work he and his fellow gardeners put into these gardens is there for all to see during the summer months.

Here is one of our favourite displays in the garden - it's the spilt wine barrel

We had a had a lovely morning with lovely people in a lovely town.

Coincidentally a cat had a view on the great man here yesterday. 


  1. Thank you for noticing my comment.

    1. No problem thought it was a purrfect for my post.

  2. The cat missed this one...
    An accident with the wine
    Taken on the Intermarche roundabout at Descartes...
    I drink, therefore I AM drunk... Ricard Descartes [1598-1690] The younger, but better preserved, brother... or should that be... "pickled on pastis!"??

  3. Nicole, from Les Limornieres, went to a tourism conference last year and was quite dismayed to hear it announced that, locally, they seem to think that all their 'tourisme' comes from within a 2 hour drive radius...
    so they target that market...
    it just doesn't make good business sense to be so restrictive.