Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Welcome to Normandy.

Where there are always raindrops on the flowers and leaves.

Where the skies are grey but many old stones are to be found, for instance in Bellême.

Such a pretty, nasty-tempered swan... you wouldn't think just looking at it...

A little further on, Nogent-Le Rotrou with its medieval castle (too bad their pics are so tiny). Well, at least the keep and some of the walls were medieval. The entrance towers are young, dating back to the 1500s.

An arrow slit. And here I was searching for some really scientific word for the little arrow window in the fortifications. It's actually called an arrow slit, it seems. Seems you'd have to be a pretty damn good shot to actually hit anything.

The keep.

The height of technology and hygiene at the time. A lavatory. People would go into a room at the top of the circled bit, there was a hole in the floor and they'd crouch there and do their business along the side of the wall, which might explain the state of the stone right there). Major ewwww. The middle ages might sound all romantic and shit, but all things considered I much prefer to live today.

Good thing she didn't use that particular lav. Ain't she cute though this Norman cow?

Now, let's leave Normandy (bye cow!) for Meaux, city of mustard (you have your Dijon, but you also have the old style Meaux mustard). I love these exposed timbers.

The cathedral is pretty much the only thing so see in Meaux though - St. Etienne. The side entrance

After Meaux, Fontainbleau and its palace. Nice enough place, but lordy is it overdone. Too bad they focus so much on how the royalty lived. I'd have loved to see the kitchens, servant quarters and have information on, for instance how many loaves of bread were baked each day, how many chickens were consumed, how many people fed, how many people were needed to keep the damn thing running...

This is the corridor the king had constructed for his own use to go from his private apartments to the public area of the palace. Eventually others than him were allowed to use it. Nice of him.

The library.

The empress Josephine's bedroom

The council chambers if I remember right.

Napoleon's bedroom. That's a teeny tiny bed he slept in.

Outside the palace.

The horseshoe staircase where Napoleon made his speech before leaving for exile.

And finally, the last lunch, the next day was back to Montreal, work, and thankfully, the World Cup.



secret agent woman said...

Yes, the architecture was gorgeous. But the Middle Ages have never seemed romantic to me. Such a cruel, ignorant time. (At least in the Western world - the Middle East was in a period of Enlightenment then.)You're right about the cute cow, though.

Anonymous said...

These series of pictures have really impressed upon me the DIRE NEED to visit France immediately. For if I don't I'm sure I will perish for my lack of what is obviously superior beauty.

geewits said...

These pictures are wonderful. Can you imagine what sort of tomes were originally in that library? I think I would have been so awestruck by everything, I would have forgotten to take pictures. I'm glad you didn't!

Jocelyn said...

These are crazy delicious. Yes, the Middle Ages were all about shit...that picture is terrif.

Deep sigh of contentment over that journey.

Anonymous said...

Who said the middle ages were romantic? Not me. Also, I think Napoleon's bed is so tiny because they used to sleep sitting up. And finally, every swan I've ever met has been evil. They look so elegant and peaceful floating around their little lakes -- but get them on dry land and man they're nasty and dangerous. I am NOT fond of swans.

Jazz said...

SAW - For some reason lots of people see it as romantic - you know courtly love, minstrels etc. Me? Not so much. If it's the height of technology to defecate down a wall, there's nothing romantic about it.

Rachel - Damn, if you're that close to death I'll send you a plane ticket!

Geewits - Funny enough it turns out a good proportion of the pics I took were ceilings. Horrifically overdone ceilings. What I found most awesome (in the real sense), was the incredible talent of the artisans who did all the sculpting and painting and furniture making...

Joce - I can't wait to see pics of your travels in Turkey next year you lucky lucky girl. One day I will make it to Turkey.

XUP - Course he was tiny too. But why would you sleep sitting up? As for the swans, they are evil mofos.

Dumdad said...

Excellent pix. I love Normandy; actually, I love most parts of France I'v been too. Food's good in Normandy - all that cider as well.

Arrow slits: I thought there should be a technical term for that but there isn't apparently.

Gaelyn said...

Love all the architecture, but doesn't mean I'd want to live there. Think I'll hang on to my mediocre conveniences.

Guillaume said...

I love those pics. I want to see that medieval castle. I don't see enough of them. Brittany is so eerie and atmospheric, I can't wait to go back there.

Joanie Hoffman said...

There you are again! The face that launched a blogging post!
Thanks for the pictures, I can never see enough of other people's photos.
Happy days,
p.s. does anyone live in Belleme or were they all at work?

Anonymous said...

Napoleon slept in a teeny-tiny bed because he was a teeny-tiny guy. Wonderful pictures my lovely friend.

Suldog said...

The Middle Ages were filthy, disgusting, ignorant times. Other than that, romantic as hell. Great shots! Oh, and Happy Canada Day (belated)!

Warty Mammal said...

You're awakening my travel urge again. Such wonderful photos!