Tag Archives: stone buildings

Breathtaking Brittany — Multiple Posts Coming Up!

We’re on the road in Brittany right now — taking a much needed holiday. I’ll have a whole series of posts from Dinan and Morlaix and the Finistere and Quimper. From ancient towns filled with half-timbered or stone buildings to pre-historic standing stones to gothic cathedrals — this part of France is simply stunning.

Just a tease or two — so shhhh — come back soon!

Rooftop Jumble in the historic city of Quimper in the Finistere Brittany, France.

Side entry of the Cathedral in Quimper, Brittany, France.

Standing stones near Camaret-sur-Mer

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The Medieval Abbey of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives in Normandy

There is no way to miss this impressive abbey from anywhere within the small town of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives. And it is easily visible as you drive across the Calvados countryside, too. It’s quite wonderful to be living a mere ten minutes away from a place like this.

Founded in 1011 by Countess Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror — the abbey has undergone a variety of extensions and renovations over the subsequent centuries and those renovations continue right into the present day. Here’s a small photo essay of this truly gorgeous abbey.

A glimpse of the medieval abbey towers of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives can be seen all throughout the town and from several miles/kilometres away as you drive across the landscape of Calvados in Normandy, France. Founded in 1011 by Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror, the abbey has been enlarged, rebuilt, or renovated several times over the following centuries.

A glimpse of the medieval abbey towers of Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives can be seen all throughout the town and from several miles/kilometres away as you drive across the landscape of Calvados in Normandy, France. Founded in 1011 by Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror, the abbey has been enlarged, rebuilt, or renovated several times over the following centuries.

Exterior view of stained glass-filled chapels at the Abbey in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Exterior view of stained glass-filled chapels at the Abbey in Saint-Pierre-sur-Dives.

Chapel containing the grave of Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror and founder of the abbey in 1011.

Chapel containing the grave of Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror and founder of the abbey in 1011.

The gravestone of Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror and founder of the abbey in 1011.

The gravestone of Lesceline, the aunt of William the Conqueror and founder of the abbey in 1011.

The main altar area of the abbey.

The main altar area of the abbey.

A side aisle in the abbey.

A side aisle in the abbey.

A rather curious set of stairs to nowhere.

A rather curious set of stairs to nowhere.

Abbey interior.

Abbey interior.

Lovely angles and arches.

Lovely angles and arches.

A drawing of the original layout -- much of which on the outer perimeter facing the gardens is being restored at present.

A drawing of the original layout — much of which on the outer perimeter facing the gardens is being restored at present.

These are the buildings along the outer part of the Abbey complex -- the ones that are facing the gardens in the illustration above. The French government sold these buildings off after the Revolution and they have gradually been repurchased. Some of them are in perilous condition and are being properly renovated now.

These are the buildings along the outer part of the Abbey complex — the ones that are facing the gardens in the illustration above. The French government sold these buildings off after the Revolution and they have gradually been repurchased. Some of them are in perilous condition and are being properly renovated now.

Simple chairs against a lovely metalwork enclosure near the main altar.

Simple chairs against a lovely metalwork enclosure near the main altar.

The ever-present candles.

The ever-present candles.

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Photo Of The Day: Up The Stairs & Into The Fog

There are days in Normandy when the weather is less than sunny and bright and the fog rolls off the ocean into the seacoast towns.

Today’s picture of the day in black and white is a simple shot — up a set of stairs that are clad in the same cobblestone as the streets below and into the bright but strange light of the fog.

Enjoy!

 

Up the stairs in Granville, a historic seaside town in Normandy, and into the fog at the top of the stairs.

Up the stairs in Granville, a historic seaside town in Normandy, and into the fog beyond. B&W


 

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Photo Essay: Meandering Through Montmartre in Paris

There are more sides to Montmartre, the district that sits high atop the Paris landscape, than the crowds at Sacre Couer. This photo essay will show you some of the lovely or funny things that we saw as we walked around.

 

Art Nouveau building on Rue Lamarck in Paris, France


 

Bright pink boulangerie (bakery) in the Montmartre district of Paris, France


 

Montmartre cafe at dusk


 

Cafe interior in Montmartre


 

Stairway passages through the hilltops of Montmartre


 

Colourful chairs & tables at a sidewalk cafe in the Montmartre district of Paris, France


 

Nun in full habit (which is rather unusual nowadays) walking down Rue Lamarck in Montmartre, Paris, France


 

Cartoon advertisement in the window of a plumbing & heating shop in the Montmartre district of Paris, France


 

Spectacles (events) kiosk in the Montmartre district of Paris, France


 

 

 

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Photos of Beauty In Stone & Iron Atop Montmartre

You know that the skies are colourless when practically every exterior photo that you take looks as if it’s in black and white — but it isn’t. These three pictures from the exterior of the Basilica of Sacre Couer atop Montmartre in Paris are a perfect example.

It is an extraordinarily ornate building and visually quite interesting.

 

Gargoyle on the exterior facade of Sacre Couer in Paris, France


 

Ornate ironwork on the exterior of Sacre Couer in Paris, France


 

The ornate domes of Sacre Couer in Paris, France


 

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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.

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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!

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