Monday, 30 September 2013

Retro metro...

On Saturday my tired feet - and line 11 of Paris's metro system, took me to my favourite station 'Arts et Metiers' which was revamped back in 1994,to a design by Belgian comic artist François Schuite in conjunction with the nearby museum of the same name...inspirational.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Church on Sunday...Basilica Saint Denis

As I am in Paris today, my church is the Basilica of St Denis, actually located in St Denis (today a suburb of Paris) which is said to be first structure built in Gothic style - who says? good old wikipedia of course.

The basilica of today dates from the middle of the 12th century when an earlier 8th century church was rebuilt by one Abbot Suger - a very influential figure during this time in France's history. The Basilica of St Denis is the burial place of most French kings from the 10th to the 18th century - giving it more kudos than even Notre Dame, which gets much greater visitor numbers.

Part of the reason for this might be the 45 min metro ride from the centre of Paris...but I can assure you its worth it.

Although most of the stained glass is 19th century it doesn't lessen the effect... 


Although entry to the basilica is free you have to pay to visit the choir and crypt.

The crypt contains the original location of the tomb of Saint Denis- the patron saint of France. 

Plus the 'The Bourbon Grave' which claims to contain the remains of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Some fine pillar detail from within the crypt.

It's within the choir that you find the tombs and effigies of many of the royal families of France for a period of around 1000 years, from Clovis and Charlemagne to Henri II, Catherine Medici, Louis XIV, as well as Louis XVI and are some examples.

Fascinating place...well worth a visit...thought they may have claimed to have recovered Joan's ashes (now that would have taken a bit of sorting out) but she doesn't get a look in!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

A walk in the park...

I have spent the last couple of days tramping the streets of this fine city that is Paris...trying to see the non-tourist side of a city that once you get to know well I'm sure you must come to realise you do not know it at all - so many surprises and contradictions. For all the glamour and the 'beautiful people' (and their are many) their is the ugly and the destitute.

I am here for the purposes of research (for of course and as Pauline is off plodding (no doubt) the streets of Krakow with 'the girls' I have only myself and my feet to consider.

One of the joys of Paris is its green spaces and although Pauline and I have visited many there were still more to discover. Yesterday I made my way down to southern edge of the 15th arrondissement to visit 'Parc Georges Brassens' named after the legendary French singer who's music I've come to know since moving over here.The park is on the site of a former abattoir that is close to the home(s) where Monsieur Brassens lived.

It is a tranquil place...

...where I chose to eat lunch.

With the added bonus of some background classical guitar from a fellow visitor to the park...great.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Station cafe...

We were in the 'Le Train Blue' at Gare de Lyon in Paris on Wednesday while doing a 'walk about'.

It is one of those places you should visit...if just to sample its opulence...even though it is 'tres cher'*.

For some reason or other most people tend to walk around with their noses in the air...very posh...

...or maybe its just effect of the ceiling !

*Not for us though - we obviously had our invisible coats on,or didn't look posh enough, as after being shown to a table by one of the three 'meeters and greeters' at the door we were ignored for too long and witnessed people arriving after us being attended to. Although we were assured by a waiter that he would be arriver bientôt it never happened so we left.Perhaps one of the three at the door should have been helping.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Cutting and wall flowers...

Pauline's efforts in the garden have again rewarded us with cutting flowers for our rental houses for most of the season. which is a big saving as here in France they can be tres cher...

...and the gardeners in Abilly have again come up trumps with their wall display - this is how they were looking just the other day. They obviously have a good team as the villages displays are always great - you should also check out their display as you come of the Descartes/Barrou road - I'm always admiring and driving past before I think to snap it.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Views over the Loire...

With this fine spell of weather we are having I dragged Pauline back up to the river Loire to its confluence with the river Vienne as I wanted to cross the Loire and capture both Chateau Montsoreau  and the village of Candes-Saint-Martin from north of the river.

We crossed the Loire river to on the metal bridge to the west of Montsoreau...

...and at the other side got our first view of Montsoreau itself.

My zooms not great but here's the chateau a bit closer.

Then it was further along the river and down to 'Le Port'...

...for the view over to Candes-Saint-Martin...

and its church.

Here is the 'calendar' shot. 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Church on Sunday...Bridoré

Our Patrimoine visits of last weekend obvioosly had to include the churches of the places we visited, yhese will feature over next couple of weeks.First Saint roch's in  Bridoré.

 The church of Saint Roch in Bridoré you see today is what remains after the destruction of the nave and transepts in the 18th century.

A new simple facade was added to seal up what was left of the church.

Once through the doors  you feel glad that they did rescue what was left...

The altar sits in an apse which is adorned by frescoes under a fine vaulted ceiling.

Here are some of surviving stained glass windows.

There is a 16th century statue of Saint Roche inside the church that was recovered from the graveyard where it had been buried for some time.When you look at this it appears at first that his legs have been carved differently...

but on closer inspection you will see that first,on the left, is the hand of a child offering the saint a drink of water but the rest of him is missing and on the right you can see two legs of a dog again with the body missing,so it did not survive unscathed. 

Not-so-secret door.

There is a 16th century 'relief' depicting the 'vision of Saint Hubert'...

and 'stations of the cross'.

There is a baptismal font with some recovered stonework...

...not sure what this depicted.

There is a trapdoor on the floor leading to an empty crypt that was apparently ransacked at the same time as the nave was destroyed.

Where's Joan...sadly not featured here.

Walking around the exterior of the church it becomes much more obvious that it is only part of what was a larger building.

In this picture you can see the revealed stonework that would have linked the now lost transept to the main body of the church. 

There is also a fine example of the building method displayed .

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