Tag Archives: Chateau

Slivers of History On The Side Of The Road in France

You forget sometimes, you really do. Living pretty well anywhere in Europe means that you are always immersed in history. But it still puts a smile on your face when you are out having a drive through the countryside and you see something like this — the medieval Château de Quéribus — built in 1200 and considered to be the last of the Cathar strongholds.

 

Road sign for the Cathar stronghold Chateau de Queribus in the Aude region of the Midi-Pyrenees in France


 

Perched atop the highest point for miles around, the Cathar stronghold Chateau de Queribus in the Aude region of the Midi-Pyrenees in France


 

We aren’t certain if we will be going back in the late Spring for a visit once the chateau is re-opened for the tourist season. But I wanted to share this little glimpse of the fascinating and ever-present history that is a part of life in France.

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Photo Of The Day: Overgrown Beauty in France

It would have been rather easy to stroll by this vine and weed-filled corner of a chateau, but lingering in the tangle of greenery were these lovely ruins. The Chateau-de-Fougeres is a massive fortified chateau, but within its walls are various less noticed places that have not been reconstructed.
 

Covered with vines and weeds, this section of ruins resides within the walls of the otherwise very tidy medieval fortress Chateau de Fougeres in Brittany, France.


 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

A Frolic Through Foix — Part 2

Resuming the visit to Foix that we began yesterday…

Taking a break from the brilliant sun and heat, we ducked inside the abbey church of St. Volusien. In contrast to the elaborately decorated stone churches with gilded interiors that we have visited in other parts of France, this particular structure was quietly and simply elegant. For this reason, I have chosen to present the photo essay in black and white.
 

St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Interior of St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Side chapel in St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Massive organ perched above the entry to St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Row of deep windows in the stone walls of St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

War memorial plaque just inside the abbey church of St. Volusien in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Clock on the belltower of St. Volusien abbey church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

The bell tower of the St. Volusien Abbey Church in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
One tiny note for people who are ‘sensitive’ to spirit movement, there were a few places inside the church that were quite active. I laughingly thought of calling this post “Spot The Ghost” — so that’s a wee hint for you. Whenever my camera is aimed at a stationary target and nothing visible is moving but it struggles to focus in ample light, I have learned to expect surprises when I see the pictures afterward. These things have happened to me all of my life, so no, outside of the sudden plunge in temperature whilst the spirit moves by, it never rattles me.

After a tasty plat-du-jour lunch in an outdoor cafe, we headed back to St. Girons, vowing to return one afternoon for a visit to the Chateau de Foix itself and museum inside.

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

A Frolic Through Foix

A medieval hilltop chateau with ‘fairytale’ towers? Check. Picturesque and twisty cobbled streets? Check. Ancient abbey church? Check.
 

Chateau overlooking the town of Foix in the Midi-Pyrenees in the South of France


 
Welcome to Foix — a beautiful and historic town in the Midi-Pyrenees of France. It’s a small and truly lovely place for a day out and it is easily traversed on foot.
 

Medieval chateau overlooking the town of Foix in the Midi-Pyrenees in the South of France


 
Beseiged repeatedly during the 13th Century, the medieval town of Foix was built in part on the earlier foundations of the hilltop Roman fortifications.
 

Top floor ornamentation flanking windows in a historic building in Foix, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 

Foix building ornamentation close-up


 

Burgundy Citroen parked in the medieval town of Foix in the South of France


 

Views of the Chateau de Foix, looming over the town of Foix in the South of France, can be seen through many of the streets and passageways of the town.


 

In tomorrow’s post, part 2 of A Frolic Through Foix, we pay a visit to the medieval abbey church of St. Volusien.

Hope you have enjoyed this taste of Foix!

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Cozy on a Cold Day in France

I won’t lie — it took awhile to get the hot water flowing through the radiators efficiently — especially since the source of the hot water was the water jacket attached to the fireplace woodburner. Also, the nature of stone houses means that they might stay wonderfully cool in summer, but they are a bit of a challenge to get warm and KEEP warm in the winter. Constantly tending the fire is essential.

But here we are, almost 20 hours after our very late arrival back in France last night following a ferry trip across the English Channel — and we’ve enjoyed the most restorative day in front of the crackling flames with cheese and pate and a bottle of red wine.
 

Fireplace in our French gite.


 

We’re here to do another restoration and redecoration project in this marvelous corner of Normandy. The 5 bedroom gite we are staying in is one of two at the back of a historic but crumbling chateau. I’ll discuss that in greater depth in a future post.
 

Sitting room in the large gite


 
We’ve just finished a wonderful roast chicken dinner and are enjoying our quiet day of total rest. I’ll be back in a few days to document more of our adventures in France, so make sure to come back for more!

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Photos Of The Day: Play Of Light And Shadow

A play of light and shadow is always guaranteed to please my artist’s eye — and here are two recent views of light streaming through the windows of the the 17th Century Chateau Montgommery in Ducey, a town in Normandy in northern France.

 

Ancient crumbling corrider of Chateau Montgommery with sunlight streaming in.

 

Light streaming through Chateau Montgommery window.

 

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.

Photo Of The Day: Living In The Past

There were no smiles as they passed us and all four of them concentrated deeply on the task at hand. They took themselves quite seriously, these local Frenchmen of a 20-something age.

Garbed in pseudo-medieval clothing, faces dabbed with fake blood, and carrying handmade arrows, they positioned themselves outside of the somber gray walls of the fortified castle in Fougeres in Brittany. Again and again they shot those arrows into the sky and then shouted unintelligible phrases whilst one of their companions filmed it all on a tiny hand-held movie camera.

If you look carefully you can see that the man on the left has just shot a blue-fringed arrow into the air above his head.

 

Archers outside the walls of the fortified medieval chateau at Fougeres in Britanny, northern France

 

They could have been actors or they could have been what they call in the USA re-enactors — well organised groups of enthusiasts of a particular time period who spend large amounts of free time re-enacting past events. Then again, they could have simply been four local lads who longed to live in a time long gone which is easily summoned up by the atmosphere of this fortress-chateau.

COPYRIGHT
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
All rights reserved.