amazing video…..from around the world

17 06 2012




Saumer

18 03 2012

Chateau Saumer

Chateau Saumer was another accidental find. Built on the high ground in the town of Saumer overlooking the Loire Valley, the remnants of the original castle walls can be spotted in the town below. When we visited the castle was under renovations and hence large sections were off-limits, but it was interesting to see the walls undergoing a “before and after” process. As with many of these castles, the initial approach is up a staircase that was originally a drawbridge. Saumer is built on a square, and there is a spacious courtyard in the centre of the building. The large underground kitchens / dungeons were open for inspection.

What appears to be an Orangerie (a building into which fruit trees such as oranges were moved to protect them from frosts and snows in winter) has been transformed into a restaurant and gift shop.

More information on the castle and the town can be found here.

a fairy-tale castle

overlooking the town of Saumer and the River Loire, in the Loire Valley

overlooking the town of Saumer and the River Loire, in the Loire Valley

the church next to chateau Saumer

from under the drawbridge


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
An unknown Chateau
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived
Pretty pictures en France





Château Langeais

18 03 2012

We happened upon this castle – and it really is more a castle than a château – by happy accident. It is situated in the midst of the town of Langeais on the River Loire. Built of a dark grey stone it has sheer walls and high towers – truly a medieval-looking castle to keep invaders at bay.

The castle is now restored for tourists and features life-size tableaux made up of mannequins depicting important scenes in history that occurred on the site, such as the marriage of Anne of Brittany to King Charles VIII. Like many of the restored châteaux, the original elaborate tiles are on the floor, the patterned wallpapers are exquisite and the original furniture and tapestries are gorgeous. Unlike some of the royal châteaux, there is less gilding, marble and ostentation and more beautifully carved wood, stone and generally the detail is in the fixtures such as the furniture and tapestries rather than in the actual structure. Having said that, there is also detail carved into the stone door frames, the edges of the roof and around the windows.

If you happen to visit it, of note is an excellent chocolatier across the road from the entrance.

one of the many original paintings

feasting table set in front of a stone fireplace

gothic furniture and elaborate tapestries - the tapestries kept the rooms slightly warmer through blocking drafts and providing a level of insulation to the stone walls

elaborate patterned tiles on the floor

view of the town from the castle courtyard (presumably the original castle walls would have blocked this view)

the only remaining part of original "keep"

my continuing obsession with the geometry of spiral staircases

view over the town from the top

view over the town from the top

view over the town from the top

view over the town from the top - the chocolatier is under one of the red striped awnings

view over the town from the top

view over the town from the top

view over the town from the top

door into the internal courtyard

Across the road from the castle - not the chocolatier, but a boucherie (butchery)


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
An unknown Chateau
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived
Pretty pictures en France





Another mystery château

12 03 2012

view of the château from the driveway

On a personal note, I am amazed that I have managed to remember the names of most of the many châteaux, villages and other sites we visited in our recent trip to France, particularly given that…

a) I didn’t write the names down
b) some of them were places we just came across and stopped, so they weren’t planned visits
c) some of our photographs were accidentally deleted by a small child, so some of the place-markers may have been deleted.

However, my memory has failed me on this one.

What I think I know……

In my photographs, this set of photographs comes immediately after Château de Jumilhac and immediately before
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac

The château was set up on a hill with the carpark at the bottom of the hill.

It was quite large and had very large dungeon/kitchens underneath.

There was an historic chapel that was a part of the main structure of the château .

Is that enough to go on? I am sure someone will know the name of this château – if you know the answer, please put the name in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, enjoy!

the approach to the château, featuring what used to be a drawbridge and a dry moat below

What to do with a dry moat? (viewed from the drawbridge)

in the dry moat

the chapel

elaborate gardens viewed from the château

elaborate gardens viewed from the château

corridors between the rooms and sections of the château were open to the elements. But I love the geometric perfection of the smooth stone arches.

gardens viewed from the château

view from the château

view from the château


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
An unknown Chateau
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived
Pretty pictures en France





Troglodyte village of Rochemenier

11 03 2012

Rochemenier is a tiny above-ground village in central France but it has an amazing tourist attraction in the centre of the village. Until 1920, some of the rural-dwellers of this village lived underground in caves. Troglodyte living – literally meaning cave-dwellers – occurs all over the world (notably in Coober Pedy in South Australia, where, to escape the heat, much of the town is built into underground caves).

The caves at Rochemenier are not quite so modern as the dwellings in Coober Pedy, but they show a functioning farm and several houses which formed the cave-dwelling community, including communal halls, wine-making presses and enclosures for the animals. Photographs on display show large families in full 18th century dress, weddings and other community gatherings. They might have lived in caves but their lives were probably not so different from other rural folk at the time.

The dwellings and halls were built into caves in the walls of a very large pit in the ground. Various holes and openings allowed light in and smoke out while protecting inhabitants from the worst of the elements. The paths and open spaces between the dwellings were open to the sky. The front of the houses were built across with stone, leaving doors and windows (the latter were glazed), but the inner rooms had rough-hewn walls of stone, where the caves had been extended and cut back into the rock.

The caves have been restored and are open for tourists to visit. A quiz for children is available at the front counter, with a prize for children who complete the questions. In the photographs above and below, ground level is usually at the top of the picture (they were taken from the bottom of the pit within the village). Surrounding the caves on the ground level was an orchard which belonged to the original form, and the village of Rochemenier.

The website for Rochemenier ishere.


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
An unknown Chateau
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived
Pretty pictures en France





Pretty pictures en France

23 02 2012

Amboise

As well as the many sites we visited, there were some photos that, while not fitting into any particular story, are gorgeous. So here are a few!

near Ferriers en Brie

Chartres

Brest

near the village of Lascaux


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style
Where Da Vinci lived





Where Da Vinci lived

23 02 2012

Da Vinci spent his last few years in the picturesque town of Amboise, where he was provided with a house and gardens by his patron. This property is now preserved as a tourist attraction providing interesting insights into the many and varied inventions of Da Vinci – and a copy of the Mona Lisa!

The house is set in a large well-kept gardens. While the house itself is furnished much as Da Vinci would have known it, the basement area is full of replicas of some of his inventions – some which were not made in his day, but built from his drawings. Notably a large number of these are weapons of some sort – more accurate long-range cannons, machine gun, etc. Presumably this was at least in part due to who his funders and patrons were at the time, and the type of inventions they required of him.

The gardens feature a number of large working models of other inventions which are sturdy enough for children to play and experiment with, as well as some posters of his diagrams of anatomy.

Da Vinci was trained or self-taught in many areas of endeavour – anatomy, botany, engineering, art, geometry. In an era where we are encouraged to specialise in one area of study from mid-secondary school, he is a salient lesson in following your interests, and the intersection of many fields of endeavour.

screw-based helicopter

replica tank made up as a children's roundabout

screw pump for raising water

wheel for lifting heavy objects

poster displays of Da Vinci's anatomical drawings

two layered bridge to combat the plague (waste went across lower level, people on upper level)

working kitchen garden


Want more photos of France? Here are a few more….
Arrival in Paris
Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
The troglodytes of Maison Fort de Reignac
Fontainebleau – Versailles without the queues
Chartres
La Seine
Theme Parks, French Style