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 2013 – Out and about in Saulieu

We had a little trip to Saulieu, one of its famous sons is the sculptor Francois Pompon.

The local estate agent had made a brave show in their window…

…we had lunch at this lovely cafe, which is run by a lady from South Cave, near Hull (where my Dad’s cousin Jo lived for many years).

Luckily, it wasn’t Accordion Night!

I spotted this little chap outside the cathedral…

…the Pompon Museum is next door.

I was able to commune with this polar bear.

We spotted this rather fancy cinema…

…interesting grafitti…

…and great door furniture.

Florence – Incidental2

Every street corner seemed to have a shrine with a little light outside it. This was in the lobby of a building.

I was really pleased to find this beautiful stone mason’s sign.

Even happier to find them at work repairing pieces for the Duomo, as their predecessors had done down the years.

This dragon seemed rather jolly!

You may recognise this chap from outside a Burford antique shop! Here the tradition is that if you rub his nose and put money in the fountain you’ll come back to Florence. As you can see from his burnished nose – plenty of people have done (including me!).

The detailing was lovely, I was especially taken with this frog.

The great flood if 1966 is still green in memory. here is a plaque from the hallway of the building our flat was in

We were a long way from the Arno – and this was a long way up the wall!
I was really pleased by the light and shadow in this pic. I think I want to have a serious play with shadows sometime soon. Maybe I’ll get out my old SLC and run a few films of black and white now that the sun is high enough to cast some real shadows again.