A Travellerspoint blog

France

ST. MALO, BRITTANY, FRANCE

Walled city walk-around

semi-overcast 63 °F

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St. Malo is in Brittany on the northern coast of France, heavily fortified by the tall granite walls which surround it. Walking around them, we marveled at their construction and saw the harbor, the surrounding islands, and the birds who dwell there. The walls are about 20-25 feet wide!! and extend for a mile and a half circuit. They were built in the 12th century, reinforced/rebuilt in the 17th century and are still standing despite fierce bombing in WWII. The Allied bombs destroyed most of the city and much of the cathedral (except for the pulpit!) but the ramparts stood firm.
The cathedral is dark and the photos don't do it justice, because it is a beautiful and unusual and moving place. The choir is many feet beyond and below the high altar. That altar is starkly modern and anchored by heavy bronze carvings of the Gospellers (angel, lion, ox, eagle). Bill is standing by an early (12th C) baptismal font; the prior photo is of a 17th C double font, the small basin for the water, the larger one for the candidate.
Finally, we went shopping for exquisite treats from Brittany and then stopped for a lunch of crepes.

Posted by HopeEakins 14:07 Archived in France Comments (0)

BORDEAUX THE BEAUTIFUL

On the town

sunny 67 °F

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Did we tell you that we are in love with Bordeaux? Not only the kind that comes in a glass but the fine city where we are docked for three days. And what a berth! The first photo is taken from our veranda. When the door is open, we hear children playing and dogs barking in the park beside the river, and occasionally a parent bringing a toddler close to the boat - one dad teaching his son the word "bateau." The parks are stunning and the almost silent tram lines glide across the streets with grass between their wheels. We made our way to the Cathedral (what else?) and were astounded by its size and fine condition, but ..... Can you see the faces on the Bishops at the door? They look a little dazed or at least overcome by the altar wine. The pulpit is far back in the nave, close to the organ and BEHIND all those chairs you see. I guess this really IS "preaching to the choir." Next we visited the Decorative Arts Museum, a small collection in an 18th century town house. The collection is billed as 17th-19th century furniture and decorative objects, and it is, but odd modern pieces have been added, confusing at least two visitors.
We loved Bordeaux, and it seems that Bordeaux loved us. The dock was lined with folks waving and calling to us as we departed.

Posted by HopeEakins 10:09 Archived in France Comments (1)

BORDEAUX, FRANCE

oooh, la, la

sunny 70 °F

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Bordeaux is sooooo beautiful and elegant and friendly. The boulevards are grand and the streets are lined with gracious buildings. The public gardens are stunning. There is not a speck of litter on the ground. Tall chestnut trees are covered with pink blossoms that float down on our feet. AND we are docked right in the center of this city. More tomorrow when we will explore. Today we had a delicious lunch at a bistro on the river. Bill ordered salmon; I had French pizza - the French may have gotten the idea of pizza from "next door" but they have certainly enhanced it nicely! Then we were off to Sauternes and a vineyard there. The vines are beginning to sprout; the barrels were beautiful - but the vineyard had been bought by the owner of Lalique crystal and gussied it up. The little shop selling winesmells of Lalique candles; the aging room has a crystal barrel (Lalique, of course) that is front and center and may NOT be touched. Worst was the chapel. That would be the room in the last photo with bottles lined up on the altar. "Is this used as a chapel?" I asked. "For religious services??" Answer: it is a consecrated space used as a wedding venue. I hope they take the bottles off the altar during the ceremonies.

Posted by HopeEakins 16:48 Archived in France Comments (0)

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