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It would be a mistake to believe that the Châteaux on the Loire offer a certain unity in style and appearance.
Published by Francois Hagnere 91 months ago in France | +26 votes | 16 comments
The 14th century saw the end of the tranquility in the region of Thierache. The Hundred Years War ravaged the plain and Flanders made some lethal incursions into Picardy. After the soldiers, came bands of robbers, deserters and rebels who took advantage of the disorder to seize castles and hold travellers to ransom. So the villages turned their churches into strongholds.
Published by Francois Hagnere 68 months ago in France | +21 votes | 6 comments
Atop a hill, the silhouette of Laon cathedral with its extraordinary towers, can be seen from very far. It had a great influence on many other churches.
Published by Francois Hagnere 94 months ago in France | +20 votes | 9 comments
Souvigny is one of the finest examples of architecture and sculpture adapted by regional styles; the choir with its ambulatory and the rectangular end-chapel recall the ground-plan of Issoire in Auvergne, while the capitals ordorned with basket-work patterns reflect the proximity of Berry in the north. The church was a stopping point on the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela, and has been altered several times by the Dukes of Bourbon who introduced the Gothic to the heart of France. The r...
Published by Francois Hagnere 66 months ago in France | +18 votes | 6 comments
If you approach Corsica from the sea, its charm starts to work even before you set foot on its shores. The salty, seaweed tang of the open sea gives way to the offshore breeze bearing with it a unique combination of fragrant perfumes that is typically Corsican: a mixture of aloe-wood and juniper, cistus and asphodel, eucalyptus and lentisk, lavender and myrtle.
Published by Francois Hagnere 67 months ago in France | +18 votes | 6 comments
The French Riviera is Provence's glittering showcase, but it is only one aspect of this sun-drenched region. Between the Riviera and the Rhône delta there is another Provence, less cosmopolitan and less hectic than the coast but just as beautiful and more deeply rooted in the soil. In the arrière-pays, in Summer, the scent of lavender wafts gently over the fields on gusts of warm wind. The calanques between Marseille and Cassis bite deep into the white cliffs and then extend inland in the ...
Published by Francois Hagnere 67 months ago in France | +18 votes | 6 comments
In Bourbon-Lancy old medieval sectors and new areas match in a vision to harmonize the useful and the pleasant.
Published by Francois Hagnere 91 months ago in France | +18 votes | 14 comments
Many influences played a part in the Romanesque Art of Brittany, particularly those from its near neighbours Poitou and Normandy. The great Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys, built in yellow granite on the ambulatory plan, derives from the Loire Region; its panelled nave is lit directly by high windows. The extremely enigmatic rotunda of Lanleff still baffles archaelogists who try to see in its plan some Druidic temple to the Sun.
Published by Francois Hagnere 64 months ago in France | +17 votes | 3 comments
The existing church was built in the 11th century. The long nave, with its nine bays, and the radiating chapels tell of the success of this Benedictine monastery. Saint-Savin Church is full of bold architectural innovations, but it is best known for housing the most complete collection of Romanesque paintings in France. The great art historian, Henri Focillon, called it: "The Sistine Chapel of the Poitou".
Published by Francois Hagnere 67 months ago in France | +17 votes | 3 comments
The builders of Saint-Sernin wanted to rival the Benedictines of Cluny when they erected the vast basilica of Toulouse. All the resources available to a pilgrimage church were brought into play: ambulatory with radiating chapels, transepts with small apses, and above the crossing, a huge five-storey tower. In the Gothic period, an octagonal spire completed it. There is no doubt that with Conques, it represented the apotheosis of this kind of pilgrimage basilica, barely inferior to Compostela its...
Published by Francois Hagnere 65 months ago in France | +16 votes | 8 comments
Arles is a truly exceptional town not only by virtue of its setting but through its history, its monuments of various periods and its atmosphere. Its many Roman remains include public baths, temples, a theatre, one of the most celebrated cemeteries of the Roman period, the Alyscamps (Elysii Campi), and a stone amphitheatre today regularly used in the summer for bullfights. The Musée de l'Arles Antique opened in 1995 is a real must-see.
Published by Francois Hagnere 67 months ago in France | +16 votes | 8 comments
Charleville-Mézières is an original and novating example of 17th century town planning compared with the other creations of the time. It is not a city straight as a bowstring with a symmetrical grid plan, nor a fortress-city. Six squares defined six sectors: The Place Ducale in the centre with on the West side, the palace and on the other three sides, the pavilions we can still see today. The famous poet Arthur Rimbaud was born here, a visit to his museum is a must.
Published by Francois Hagnere 69 months ago in France | +16 votes | 13 comments
The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Foy in Conques was built from 1040 by Abbot Oldoric on the location where Dadon founded his hermitage in 819. The Christ in Majesty of the tympanum is famous and the Treasure Room contains magnificent Carolingian pieces, namely the precious reliquary-statue of Saint-Foy. The Abbey was listed a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1998.
Published by Francois Hagnere 68 months ago in France | +15 votes | 3 comments
Discover the beauty of this French coast that does deserve its name. The Coast of Beauty also has a number of small beaches, some, beaten by the violent breakers of the Atlantic Ocean, others well sheltered and surrounded by forests. The historic cities, such as La Rochelle, Rochefort or Brouage and the famous Ile d'Oléron and Ile de Ré are a must-see.
Published by Francois Hagnere 68 months ago in France | +15 votes | 4 comments
Since the nineteenth-century, the Church of Paray-le-Monial has been a pilgrimage centre for the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in memory of the visions of an eighteenth-century nun, Sister Marguerite-Marie Alacoque. Inside the church, light plays on a dizzy assembly of columns and barrel vaults, bringing life to the stone; an unobtrusive twist underlines the curves like a garland. All the architectural knowledge of the Romanesque age was brought into play in the magnificent ambulatory of Paray-le-Monia...
Published by Francois Hagnere 66 months ago in France | +14 votes | 3 comments
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