A Road Trip

I have been posting on Paris for about three weeks without actually being there. We came to our beach place before the bad flooding occured in Paris and we just returned from the wedding of the daughter of Maurice’s cousin. It was in Lyon and we drove there making a few stops along the way for a total of ten days. Our first stop was the city of Clermont-Ferrand which is the headquarters for Michlein tires and once all of the tires were made there too. It is a posperous university city.

image
Our hotel was next to this huge open square.

image
A beautiful shop.

image
The city is near a huge ancient volcano area and many of the buildings here, including the church, are made of black lava stone.

image
We climbed the 350 steps up the church tower to get a look at the view.

image
It turns out that this city was also on the Camino for pilgrimage to Spain. This church had a black Madona, which is significant and rare in the Catholic church. I tried to get a closeup but it was too small and the crypt where it was was too dark. It’s at the top of that gold triangle less than a foot high.

Eten and Drinken

Utrecht (Netherlands) has a really interesting food scene and we did some eating and drinking there.

IMG_8574
My son took us down this tunnel to the canal to a place called Humphrey’s.

IMG_8578
It used to be a storage facility for unloading boats from the canal. This place was huge and the rooms went on and on. They were all painted red full of red glass chandeliers.

IMG_8580
This room had a little movie going on the wall.

IMG_8583
Another room.

IMG_8595
Here was another place we passed that evening.

IMG_8600
We ended up at this bar which doesn’t look that unordinary but inside:

IMG_8601
you find that it was once a church.

IMG_8608
I took this photo from up above where the organ was.

Ars-en-Ré

Ars is the name of a village not visited as much as the other villages in Île de Ré but it is charming. It was once very prosperous and has some really lovely buildings left from that time.

image
The church there with the unusual steeple to guide sailors.

image
The church there has this enormous piece of needle work of Île de Ré.

image
Loved this bike in front of a hotel.

image
We went into this very nice hotel, the Hotel le Sénéchal, and it looked like a great place. Another lobby that I liked.

image
Fresh pink flowers in front of a red chair in the garden.

image
Behind the scenes-sheets to iron and fold.

Beautiful City

I’m so glad we live near beautiful la Rochelle. It’s always a pleasure to go there for any reason and walk the narrow streets, marvel at the architecture, or gaze at the unique harbor, the entrance having a tower on either side. Sometimes we go by car which is a 20 minute drive, sometimes the little local train taking 10 minutes or there is a bus which makes many stops and winds around here and there before finally arriving in the heart of la Rochelle. The last time I took the bus I was seated with a few other people just enjoying the view when two classes of children boarded. There were probably 40 of them. They sat in the available seats and some sat on the floor on the side in the standing area. They were so noisy and full of energy and happiness at their excursion and fun to watch but, oh how nice when they got off. After a day in la Rochelle I boarded the bus again to go home and would you believe that the very same group of kids got on the bus again? What are the chances?

copy
Buildings like this are on just about every corner.

copy5
Here’s the entrance to the lovely harbor.

copy2
I went into a church to find the sun shining through the stained glass window. Now that summer is just about gone, the sun has come out after days of clouds and the temperatures are rising. This often happens in France in September.

copy3
There was a little niche in the church with a small statue of Saint Rita and it was surrounded by little folded pieces of paper with prayers written on them. I’ve seen books laid out before for prayers and requests to Saints or Mary, but never this. I thought it was sweet.

copy4
There’s a really great market in la Rochelle too. This building is part of the covered section. There were all sorts of little cafés and bars in the area too. I think I’ll go there for a change next time we need to shop.

copy6
I met up with family for lunch and liked the umbrellas reflected in my friend’s sunglasses.

Les Baux-the lower village

I am in Texas where I met my newest grandson, Benjamin James, weighing in at 8 pounds 8 ounces. My daughter had to have a c-section but both are doing well.

Emily, my guest blogger, visits les Baux.

The lower village of Les Baux actually requires a rather steep climb, and it’s the lucky person who’s there at a quiet time of year and is able to drive and park almost at the entrance gate. It’s a vibrant, small, medieval town which depends entirely on tourism and is filled with many shops and cafes, most found along a narrow cobblestone street with one or two short side streets and the square, Place St. Vincent.

triptofrance2007109.jpg

The remains of this Renaissance window once was a Protestant chapel and may have been where Huguenots worshiped. Carved into the window you can see the words, Post tenebras lux – “After the shadow comes the light.”

triptofrance2007128.jpg

I can’t remember exactly what this tower was but I like the bird gargoyles around the top. It may be a campanile, the lantern of the dead, on one side of the church.

triptofrance2007129.jpg

The Eglise St. Vincent is a 12th century church partially carved out of bedrock. It houses the town’s traditional Provencal processional chariot.

triptofrance2007136.jpg

In old Provence it was the tradition on Christmas Eve to put a newborn lamb in a cart, symbolizing the newborn Christ child. The cart, surrounded by candles, was then pulled in a processional through town to the church for the celebration at midnight of the Christmas mass. This still is done in Les Baux.

triptofrance2007130.jpg

Adjacent to the main church is the Chapel of Penitents Blancs. Its frescoes of the Nativity, painted by local artist Yves Bryer in 1974, “prove” the local legend that Jesus was born in Les Baux. Notice in the Nativity scene the background of the Alpilles, and at the top – seen in the second photograph – medieval men watching in wonder. In the next fresco, the shepherds watch their sheep by night and stare in amazement at the wondrous star. The last photo is the fresco over the front alter in the little chapel. Probably this legend began because the lords of Les Baux claimed to be descendants of the Magi king, Balthazar. However, it also may have been simply a device for the medieval church to make local people feel closer to biblical stories.

triptofrance2007131.jpg

triptofrance2007133.jpg

Sideroads of Europe