France 1979

Copyright Photos © Ruud Leeuw

A campingtrip took us to France in the summer of 1979.
The photo shows the Roman Amphitheatre of Saintes. While I compiled this webpage in 2009, I found photos which has the floor of the amphitheatre flooded, like a pond. Other photos showed dry sand. Obviously, we found it in 1979 when most restoration had yet to be made.
In Roman times, the town was called Mediolanum Santonum. It was founded in about 20 BC. Some estimations show that Saintes had about 15,000 inhabitants in those days, and that its borders were almost the same as today.
It seems that this amphitheatre dates from the 1st century.

Besides taking in 'culture', we enjoyed some leisurely camping as well. We had lovely weather, but found the camp facilities often limited because september was the end of their camping season. We also found the French distinctly unfriendly towards us, tired of the tourists perhaps.
I drove a Saab 99 in those days, my luxury days...

A castle, a ruine in fact, somewhere en route.

France Pont Valentré is a fortified bridge near Cahors; it dates from the 14th century.

France Young ones... 30 years between taking this photo and compiling this webpage!


Rocamadour sits in a beautiful setting in a gorge above a tributary of the River Dordogne. It is built against a rock and is famous for its historical monuments and its sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which for centuries has attracted pilgrims from every country, among them kings, bishops, and nobles. Mainly tourists now, I guess. We were a bit late in the day, having spent time in the caves of Lacave.


The castle of Chenonceau was one of several we visited, this one was one of the most beautiful in my opinion. It is located in the Loire Valley.
A first 'edition' was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher, sometime before its first mention in writing in the 11th century. The original 2nd edition manor was torched in 1411 to punish owner Jean Marques for an act of sedition. He rebuilt a castle and fortified mill on the site in the 1430s. The existing castle was completely destroyed and an entirely new residence was built between 1515 and 1521.
Henry II (1547) offered the château as a gift to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who became fervently attached to the château along the river. She would have the arched bridge constructed, joining the château to its opposite bank. She then oversaw the planting of extensive flower and vegetable gardens along with a variety of fruit trees. Set along the banks of the river, but buttressed from flooding by stone terraces, the exquisite gardens were laid out in four triangles.
[More on Wikipedia]

In 2015 we made an extensive revisit to Chenonceau, MY 2015 REPORT

Paris 1980

An extended weekend in Paris (France) turned into a bit of disappointment: I lost part of a filter system for my camera and almost all of my photos were lost because of coloured spots in the film emulsion.
These two photos were taken during a visit at some local castle, don't remember where exactly.



Created: 12-Jul-2009