FRANCE
«MAY 2015»

Photos © Ruud Leeuw



France 2015
In May 2015 the holiday destination focussed on France. I am not a great fan of the French, I always run into frustrations and irritating inefficiencies, but it was a result of deduction and there are worse, much worse problems...
We intended to visit several of the 'Loire Châteaux' but we had a few other things thrown in for good measure.

I hope you enjoy my take on the usual and not so usual which we met on the way.

France 2015
Heading for Honfleur in Normandy we crossed the river Somme and decided to pay hommage to the fallen in WWI.

France 2015
I misinterpreted a sign on the highway, advertising 'history of Albert airport', concluding an aviation museum
could be there. Took the turn, decided to check it out, but it was just a deserted local regional airport.
At a roundabout in the commercial area of the airport I noticed this Airbus 380 forward fuselage, no
idea if it served any real purpose or has been made purposely to sit there as a gigantic garden ornament.
I did collect some worthy aviation material, but they are on a seperate page: Propliners @France 2015

Honfleur
Honfleur. I have dedicated a seperate page for my photos taken in this small historic seaside town.
HONFLEUR


Next we spent two nights in Rennes:
Rennes
Of our stay in Rennes I also made a seperate webpage:
RENNES


 

France 2015
This was driving through Pont-Aven, but it was typical for most of the small towns and villages we drove to. Deserted.
Even on nice sunny days we saw closed up houses, seldom someone walking a dog or tending a garden. Depressing.

Paul Gauguin museum
Well, they do have culture here in Pont-Aven, but looked gruesome and closed. We kept on driving.

 

 

France 2015
In the final stages of driving to Fontevraud for our stay in the Loire valley, we came across this castle and church.
But found it closed.

France 2015
Pity I could not find a website with a history in English on Château de Martigné-Briand (in French).


But the next one really made up for it! For at Montreuil-Bellay we walked into a Medieval re-enactment!

France 2015
Food, artisans and trades were displayed in market style.

Monteruil-Bellay
Now this was nice! Medieval punishment, the-how-and-the-why explained and displayed! Pity I lost some in translation.

Monteruil-Bellay
Even royalty lost their heads, but here the fair maiden was sent on her way with a mere reprimand. Good!

Monteruil-Bellay

Monteruil-Bellay
Time to visit Château de Montreuil-Bellay, see my Page One - Loire Châteaux

 

 

After a very nice visit to Château de Montreuil-Bellay we decided we could do with one more: Saumur Castle.
France 2015
Only last year we had visited France too, on the trail of the Plantagenets.
And the Plantagenets would feature in this trip too. The name was taken from this shrubbery .
The name Plantagenet was originally spelled Plante Genest or Plantegenest and later Plauntegenet or Plantaginet.
Old Aquitanian Gods and Goddesses had the names of plants and animals. This predated the name Plantapilosa
of a famous ninth-century Aquitanian duke. The traditional explanation, dating back to 1605, for the Plantagenet
name is that Geoffrey Plante Genest wore a sprig of broom (the planta genista) in his bonnet. (More..)

Saumur Castle
You will find more images of Saumur Castle on Page One - Loire Châteaux


Fontevraud B&B
The nicest of stays we had at the Chez Teresa B&B in Fontevraud! We had a seperate dining room all to ourselves
and our hosts, Teresa & Tony, were the most pleasant of people. And yes, they were British!

Fontevraud l'Abbaye
We had a nice walk through the woods to see Fontevraud Abbey from a different angle.
Actually, we had visited this abbey in 2014, for the Planatgenet history, SEE MY 2014 REPORT

Fontevraud l'Abbaye
Last year the entrance to Fontevraud l'Abbaye was still wrapped in building materials, now all done.

Fontevraud
Fontevraud is an excellent base to visit the Loire castles from, it has lodgings, restaurants and of course the Abbey.


Next castle to visit was Château de Langeais, quite different from the previous two.

Chateau de Langeais
You'll see this castle-palace as the last of three on my Page ONE - Loire Châteaux


France 2015
I noticed a sign for an abbey and took the exit, then recognized the area we had visited last year but found the
library closed then. Unfortunately it was again! The statue is in honour of Francois Rabelais (1494-1553).
So we had a look at the church, only to find it closed too. So different from England.
France 2015

We drove on, only to find that the sign was not about that church we'd just seen!
xx
The Abbey of Seuilly had become 'a Maison de Pays', offering products and arts from the region.

Abbey of Seuilly

Abbey of Seuilly - Maison de Pays
Perhaps this was what I liked most of this visit: some excellent landscape photography of the region.


Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
Château de Brézé is the first castle reported on my page Page TWO - Loire Châteaux
It depicts the winemaking industry there and the caves that are found in the region.


 

Chateau de Montroseau
The next 'Chateau' on our list was Montroseau and yet again a very different visit: focussing on Loire river trade.
It is the second castle visit on my Page TWO - Loire Châteaux


Chateau de Villandry
The visit to Château de Villandry is special because of the impressive gardens but the castle is of interest too:
last one on Page TWO - Loire Châteaux


 

 

 

We take a break from the castle-palaces and visited a World War II monument:
Oradour-sur-Glane, WW2 monument

Oradour-sur-Glane, WW2 monument
The tragedy that happened here can be read on my page ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE



France 2015
We had a nice stay in (almost) 'royal' surroundings , at 'Le Domaine de Panissac'.
Le Domaine de Panissac
Our stay here had a few drawbacks but the surroundings were fantastic.


Poitier Cathedral
On our way up north again, we had another visit on The Plantagenet Trail: Poitier's Cathedral.

Poitier Cathedral
Poiters Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Poitiers) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Poitiers, France.
It is the seat of the Archbishop of Poitiers. Its construction began in 1162 by Henry II of England and
Eleanor of Aquitaine (hence the Plantagenet link for us!) on the ruins of a Roman basilica, and work was well
advanced by the end of the 12th century. It is the largest medieval monument in the city of Poitiers.

Poitiers Cathedral
It is built in the Romanesque and Early Gothic styles, the latter predominating. Not quite my taste of things.

Poitiers Cathedral
On the night of 25 December 1681 the organ was destroyed by fire. It was not until 1770-78 that a campaign
was launched to build a replacement. François-Henri Clicquot, at that time the leading organ-builder in France,
was appointed to undertake the work, but died in Pentecost 1790 before completing the work.
His son, Claude-François Clicquot, finished the job, handing it over for presentation in March 1791.
(Wikipedia)

On our way up north again, we had another visit on The Plantagenet Trail: Poitier's Cathedral

On our way up north again, we had another visit on The Plantagenet Trail: Poitier's Cathedral
"peace bro'!"


 

 

 


France isn't suited for roadtrips such as to my liking. Businesses are often in towns and gasstations are
not on all major roads, nor are restaurants. And even then it is often for a full meal, while I would want something
light and quick. And coffee. This 'Pat à Pain' was much to my liking, there may be hope for the French!
Pat-a-pain
Fortunately for us it wasn't tuesday as a note on the door said they were forbidden by law to sell bread items
on tuesdays... While most of their products seem to consist of bread and cake things!?! Oh, the French...

France 2015
Now isn't this nice?!


Back in the Loire valley, this time our lodging were in Montrichard.

Montrichard
Deserted streets in Montrichard and I am sure it wasn't later than 19:00 or so. Not a party town.

Montrichard
Montrichard Castle. We could not find an entrance, but I admit we arrived after closing hours. We gave this one a miss.

Montrichard
There was a nice church, Chapelle d'Effiat, in Montrichard and it was open!

Montrichard
The historic center in Montrichard is small and this one was the only remarkable house I noticed.

Montrichard
The view from our hotel, overlooking the river Cher and a lovely rainbow; two rainbows even.


There is a very famous castle on that same river Cher: Chenonceau!

Chenonceau
It is the most visited castle in France except for the royal castle in Versailles.

France 2015
You will see that in spite of the crowds I made a satisfying report!
It is the first report on my page Page THREE - Loire Châteaux


Loches
If you don't want a full meal in these restaurants in France, you have to resort to pancakes and crêpes. Oh well..

Next visit was to the town of Loches, inspite of the label 'Royal Town of Loches' I wanted to visit a real medieval
castle, complete with keep and defense works.. After having some trouble finding a place to park our car
we had trouble finding the castle. But that was because all the signposts were marked 'Royal
Town' instead of 'Castle' and we had no idea. First we came to a church.

Loches
Loches (the Roman Leucae) grew up around a monastery founded about 500 by St. Ours and belonged to the Counts of Anjou from 886 until 1205. In the latter year it was seized from King John of England (Plantagenet!)
by Philip Augustus, and from the middle of the 13th century until after the time of Charles IX of France
the castle was a residence of the kings of France, apart for a brief interlude in 1424.

Loches
Not in the best of condition and in need of some restoration.


Note the damage done by damp and moist up there.

Loches
The church of St. Ours dates from the tenth century to the twelfth century; among its distinguishing features
are the huge stone pyramids surmounting the nave and the beautiful carving of the west door.
It contains the tomb of Agnès Sorel. (Wikipedia)

Loches

We did find the castle (only to find there were even two castles!)
Loches castle

Loches castle

Loches castle
You will find my report on this visit on Page THREE - Loire Châteaux

 

 

 

France 2015
On the day of our departure home we did one more castle: Beauregard Castle.

Beauregard Castle

Beauregard Castle
The prime interest of this castle is this gallery of famous rulers.

Beauregard Castle
You'll see more on this visit on my page Page THREE - Loire Châteaux

Beauregard Castle

Beauregard Castle
One more stroll though royal woodlands, back to our car. Time to head for home!