Art

While looking around Old Town Scottsdale I found some interesting art, mostly part of a fancy art gallery I think.

I spied what I thought was a regular saguaro and went to get a photo with the pretty yellow flowers in front of it when I realized that it was made of metal.

Then I saw this group of metal sculptures.

The sculpted metal lady sported turqouise jewlry which I thought was cool.

Another metal sagauro, light post and a planter with cactus all artfully displayed.

Isn’t this great?  Nature is an artist too.

I think this was the entrance to parking at the gallery which I didn’t get the name of.

The Unexplored

We have a friend who was on a group tour composed of French tourists somewhere in the Middle East. Our friend was talking to a couple and asked them where in France they lived and they told her Paris and a place on the Atlantic Coast near La Rochelle that she wouldn’t have heard of and she said, “It wouldn’t be Chatelaillon, would it?” They were really shocked because she was right. She sent us their names and contact information and we met and have had several meals with them. The husband is especially interesting. He has worked all over the world and has lots of fascinating stories. He and his wife explore this area when they are here much more than we have. He is always telling us of interesting places to visit around here. One of these was a quarry, called la Pierre de Crazannes, near a village called Crazannes less than an hour from our place. People have been getting stone from here for centuries. It is especially popular because it is pure limestone without fossils in it which is what those doing sculptures want and many builders. Since the advent of cement in 1948 the quarry shut down but they have a little museum there and take you on a tour to see it all. It was very fascinating.

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When you drive up into the parking lot there are a bunch of huge sculpted statues which are done by resident artists. We saw them chiseling away while there.

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The entrance to the trail leading to the quarry.

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A look at some of the huge blocks of stone left. They did it the old fashioned way, chisel groves in the shape they wanted, put in dry wedges, put linen on top and pour on water. As the wedges expanded, the stone would fall out of its place in the wall, be put on a wagon pulled by six oxen where the stone would be moved to the nearby Charentes River. It was hard labor and the average age expectancy was 52 years. Boys started working there when they were nine moving rubble and were doing work by the time they were 16. It paid more than farming. Also, many men went blind working on the white limestone in the sun for years.

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The workers could only go down 18 meters as water was reached being near the river. It was a very tropical place as you can see-ferns all over the place.
We went for lunch to a nearby city called St Jean d’Angely where there was a church on the Camino de Santiago, the path followed by pilgrims walking through France to Spain.

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Here is what is left of an old abbey.

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Inside the church that is there now. Such a pretty floor.

la Defense

I don’t get up to la Defense very often. It’s a long way for one thing, at the very end of metro line 1, and it’s sort of barren to me in many ways. There are tons of buildings and people but it still has an empty feeling. Maurice’s dentist is here and he makes the trek to see him.

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The Grande Arch, which lines up exactly with the Arch de Triumph a long way down the way. I went up in it once and couldn’t believe that you didn’t get a jaw dropping view. What were they thinking?

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There are all sorts of art there including this giant thumb.

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Statue, as you can see.

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Pretty.

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One of the many tall buildings there. It’s a huge business center. In fact, Maurice once had an office here when he worked for IBM.

The Cluny Museum

I joined Lisa the other day for a visit to the Cluny Museum. We wanted to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries which were now housed in a renovated space. But first, I want to show you what else is in the museum.

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Outside, on the street, is an ancient door with what was once a bell pull, the head of a dog.

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First you enter the courtyard. It is of 16th century design and was built by Jacques d’Amboise, Abbot of Cluny. The cobblestone Cour d’Honneur contains flamboyant Gothic building wings with seashell motifs popular at that time. There are gargoyles and turreted walls with dormer windows.

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There is lovely architecture everywhere you look.

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Loved this sundial.

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Inside the museum you will find this heads which were discovered in a garden in the 1970’s. There were once the heads of statues of the Judean Kings on front of Notre Dame which were cut off during the Revolution even though they had nothing to do with France.

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The Abbey was built on top of Roman Baths which date back to 200 AD. Incredible.

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There are some lovely sculptures of wood.

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Many of them have traces of paint on them.

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This was a sculpture of Christ. I just found the “laugh lines” incredible.