France August 2015 – Bourbon-Lancy

I do like a medieval town. In this case Bourbon-Lancy.

It’s a spa town

…visited by Cardinal Richleieu amongst others…

…I don’t think this is him.

I loved this creature…

…this fountain.

‘In wine there is truth, in water there is health’. I prefer the words of my Tante Anna ‘wine is for drinking, water is for washing in’.

This peaceful garden is where the priory was.

Medieval art…

 …modern art…

…and photography.

I’d LOVE to know the story behind this – Wolf Street.

France 2013(2) – Laon

Rather than just bombing up the motorway back to Calais, we broke our journey in Laon, which was the Carolingian capital of France.

The main part of the town was bombed to bits during WWII…

…but the medieval centre on top of the hill came out mostly unscathed.

The present cathedral dates from 12th and early 13th centuries, and is absolutely stunning.

The stonemasons became so fond of the oxen who carried the stone, that they added them to the tower.

There are also lots of other fun details…

…but the interior is absolutely breathtaking.

The lantern under the tower is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen…

…the stained glass is stunning.

The font dates from the 8th or 9th century…

…and has the  most amazing patterns and heads.

I loved the remains of this painting. Imagine what the cathedral must have looked like when it was all painted.

This panel shows the Visitation, the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother when they are both pregnant. When John senses Jesus presence, he leaps in the womb. I’m also very moved by this story.

I really don’t have the words…

…or the pictures…

…to convey how beautiful it is.

What a fantastic name for an eatery!

I’m sure we’ll be back.

Burgundy 2008 – Auxerre

We had a number of reasons why we wanted to visit Auxerre:

  1. It’s somewhere that Grandpa and Rowan used to visit and really loved.
  2. After my recent visit to South Leigh, I’m mad keen on wall paintings, and Auxerre has some of the oldest in France.
  3. It has a cathedral AND an abbey (in the picture above).
  4. In the past we’ve always taken the wrong turning out of Auxerre, and we felt we had something to prove :-).

The limestone carvings outside the cathedral are beautifully intricate…

…the ceiling is breathtaking…

…and the wall paintings that remain seem to glow.

In the 11th century crypt there is a painting of Christ on a white horse. No flash photography was allowed down there and it was hard to get a clear picture – so I just urge you to go and see it.

In the crypt of the abbey are the oldest frescoes in France – circa 850. It was a real privilege to be able to see them.

It was nice just to wander around the backstreets…

…catching up with the odd saint…

…and revelling in the old buildings.

I was rather taken aback by this! It turned out to be a gift from the people of Redditch – to celebrate 40 years of being twin towns. Now, I admit I’ve never been to Redditch, but I can’t help feeling that they have the best of the deal!