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Inside Saint-Julien de Brioude

Brace yourselves for a few church-y posts. I probably spent between five and ten minutes inside the church, so this is not an in-depth photo study, nor do I have any idea of the history or significance of what I was looking at most of the time. But no matter. It was pretty. Looking up the central aisle of the nave toward the altar. That's a tour group seated around their guide. We didn't get even one drop of the rain that was predicted to fall all day on Tuesday. I was frustrated because I put...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay, Julien de Brioude


Tasha Tuesday

As Tasha and I walked around the church in Brioude, I was snapping photos. I had my special belt on that lets me attach Tasha's leash to my waist, leaving my hands free for the camera. The leash is retractable, so she has some freedom of movement, but I can "reel her in" at any time to keep her close. I see you! Monday turned out to be a nice day. I took advantage of the 10h00 to 12h00 window to run the lawnmower outside the yard (noise is restricted on Sundays and holidays to those two hours)...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, Brioude, Puy-en-velay


The back side

The view from behind the church of Saint-Julien de Brioude gives visitors a better idea of the whole building thanks to a wide plaza. While Ken looked around inside the church, Tasha and I took a walk around back. I was surprised when the narrow medieval streets opened out onto this space. Jesus hangs out behind the church. There were plenty of people around because the Saturday open-air market was nearby, but I still managed to get a photo with no people in it. After a few minutes we walked b...
Tags: Travel, Holidays, Jesus, Noël, Ken, WCS, Tasha, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay, Julien de Brioude


Basilique Saint-Julien de Brioude

This is a more or less romanesque style church built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. It's about an hour north of Le Puy-en-Velay where we stayed for a week last month. Ken read that the church was worth seeing, so we stopped in Brioude on the way home to have a look. Saint-Julien's western facade and bell tower. That day, a Saturday, turned out to be market day in Brioude. We found a parking spot on the main street through town and started following the people who were going to market, ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


A last look at Arlempdes

This is the view of the tiny town of Arlempdes from the walkway that leads up to the castle ruins. You can see the back side of the church's clocher-mur (bell tower wall) in the center. There was very little activity in town -- we saw one guy doing some work outside the town's café/restaurant and the arrival of a fuel-oil delivery truck. Arlempdes in March, almost a ghost town. I think it's more animated in summer. The dermatologist visit went well. I had one kératose (keratosis, a pre-cancero...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Chateaux, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay, Arlempdes


The wall

From what we could see, most of what remains of the château at Arlempdes are the exterior walls. There are various foundation elements visible, and the restored chapel is the only real building standing. Of course the place was closed for the winter season when we visited but, as I've said before, we weren't counting on going in because we had the dog with us. Castle walls in Arlempdes. It's busy weekend for us here at home. We're both getting haircuts (mine was yesterday), I have an appointme...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Chateaux, Puy-en-velay, Arlempdes


Just a door

It's not fancy. It's just a simple door on a house in Arlempdes. It does have a pretty big knocker. The bell is pretty cool, too. A door knocker in French is un heurtoir (from the verb heurter, to hit) or, according to Wikipedia, un marteau de porte (a door hammer). I learn something new every day. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, Wikipedia, WCS, Puy-en-velay, Arlempdes


Église Saint-Pierre in Arlempdes

Back to the Auvergne! This is the church of Saint-Pierre in the small town of Arlempdes which, if you remember, is home to the first château on the Loire River. It was built in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and updated in the sixteenth. The overall style is romanesque. The facade of the church of Saint-Pierre seen through a portal in the city's ancient wall. The church's bell tower is built as a clocher à peigne or clocher-mur, a flat, vertical wall with openings that contain bells. I'...
Tags: Travel, Pierre, WCS, Loire River, Saint Pierre, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay, Arlempdes


Notre Dame de Paris

By now everyone, or nearly everyone, has heard or seen reports of the fire that destroyed the roof and spire of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Ken and I watched it live on television last evening, mesmerized by the spectacle, sickened by the horror, and emotionally exhausted by the near loss of one of the most famous and familiar of the monuments in a city we've both come to love. An April river cruise in 2018, a view of the cathedral from the east. Those firefighters did hard battle ag...
Tags: Travel, France, Paris, Notre Dame, Ken, WCS, Left Bank, Notre Dame de Paris, Cathedrals And Churches


On with the show

Now that our freeze threat is over -- it's warmer this morning than it was over the weekend and there are no smudge pots or hay bales lit outside our house -- we can get back to photos from our trip to Le Puy-en-Velay in the Auvergne. This is Arlempdes, a small hill town and ruined castle very close to the headwaters of the Loire. The castle walls blend into the rock and are hard to see. They're just above and to the right of the church's bell tower. They say that Arlempdes is the first châtea...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Beaufort, Chateaux, le Puy, Puy-en-velay


Of smudge pots and hay bales

This morning I woke up to the flickering light of smudge pots burning in the vineyard parcels to our north. The growers were up early to light them. On Saturday morning, another grower was out to the west burning bales of hay on the northern slopes of his parcels. The smoke was blowing over the vines when I walked Tasha just after sunrise. Smoldering hay bales produce smoke out in the western parcels. That grower told me that he measured -1ºC (about 30ºF) in his parcels. He didn't want to take...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Tasha, The Vineyard


Christo I'm not

But I did wrap the fig tree. Because we're under the threat of a freeze this weekend, I decided to try to protect our fragile fig by wrapping it in gardener's fabric. This is the third time I have used the fabric on the fig, but it's the first time that I built a "cage" with wooden stakes to hold it. The tree was much easier to wrap this time. The fabric is wrapped around stakes that I pounded into the ground, then "secured" across the top and side with clothespins. We've had this fig tree for...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants


Oh snow!

This photo is not here but in the mountains south of Le Puy-en-Velay, taken more than a month ago. We found many of these little patches of snow on our excursions, laying low in shady places. Most of winter's snow was already gone, except on the higher peaks, which were quite white. Snow still hanging on in a roadside ditch near Arlempdes. We are not expecting any snow, but the low temperatures forecast for this weekend are at or below freezing. That's not good news for the grape growers; the ...
Tags: Travel, Weather, Ken, WCS, Puy-en-velay, Arlempdes


The upper Loire

As you know, Ken, Tasha, and I spent the first week of March near the Auvergne city of Le Puy-en-Velay. Not far from there, a little to the south, is the source of the Loire, France's longest river. The Loire is small and swift near its mountain origins, and very different from the section that flows through our region farther north. The Loire river cuts deep valleys in the Massif Central, France's central mountain range. The Loire we know is broad and calm and rolls along through gently slopi...
Tags: Travel, France, Atlantic, Auvergne, WCS, Loire Valley, Loire, Chateaux, le Puy, Goudet, Ken Tasha, Puy-en-velay, Loire France, Massif Central France


Signs of the times

More and more rural towns are trying to save energy and reduce light pollution by turning off street lighting rather than leaving it on all through the night. This town, Goudet, in the Auvergne is one of them. The top sign says that public lighting will be turned off in winter between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, and in summer between 1:00 am and sunrise. Central Goudet is down in its valley on the Loire River. The church tower has a colorful conical tile roof. The second sign says that the town is a...
Tags: Travel, France, Signs, Auvergne, WCS, Loire River, Goudet, Puy-en-velay


Forteresse de Polignac

Just outside of Le Puy-en-Velay, atop another volcanic butte, is the medieval fortress of Polignac. Construction began on the château fort in the eleventh century. By the seventeenth century it had been abandoned, then used as a quarry for stone to build the neighboring towns. The forteresse de Polignac seen from a hillside in Le Puy-en-Velay. In the early nineteenth century, a descendant of the family that once owned the castle bought it back and began a restoration. Since then, archeologic...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Bert, Chateaux, Tasha, le Puy, Puy-en-velay, Velay, Polignac Construction


Église Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe

The small town of Aiguilhe, just north of the center of Le Puy-en-Velay, is built around an ancient volcanic cone that has been exposed by millions of years of erosion. On top of the cone is a church named for Saint Michel. The church has been there in one form or another since the first century. The church of Saint Michel in Aiguilhe, seen from a parking lot in Le Puy. The name Aiguilhe is a local term for a pointed summit, resembling a needle. The modern French word for needle is aiguille, p...
Tags: Travel, French Language, WCS, Michel, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay, Aiguilhe


A couple more

Here are views of a couple of the buildings near the cathedral in Le Puy. The first is a medieval tower, but I don't really know anything about it and my extensive lame research didn't turn up much. A nicely maintained tower. The second is a street shot of the colorful tile roofs on a church behind the cathedral. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that it's part of a larger institution called le Grand Séminaire Accueil Saint-Georges. It's a religious institution that welcomes and lodges pilgrims ...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Notre-Dame de France

This cast iron statue dominates the city of Le Puy-en-Velay. It stands on the top of a basalt cone, the core of an ancient volcano. I read that it was made from melted canons captured during the battle of Sébastopol during the Crimean War in the mid nineteenth century. A view of the statue from one of the streets near the cathedral. On our walk around the cathedral, which sits below the statue, we were looking for the cloister. As it turns out, visiting the cloister requires an entry fee, and ...
Tags: Travel, Sebastopol, WCS, le Puy, Puy-en-velay, Notre Dame de France


Les portes

Here are a few of the doors I saw when we walked around the cathedral in Le Puy. I was impressed by the fancy iron work that adorned some of them. Which would you choose? Door Number One? The "freeze" we were expecting didn't happen, and it looks like everything made it without damage. The threat of a freeze or frost still exists. Officially, the risk of frost ends in mid May. Conventional wisdom says not to plant seedlings out until then. There's also a saying: En avril, ne te découvre pas d'...
Tags: Travel, US, Ken, WCS, le Puy, Whatnot, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Le dôme

This is the octagonal dome, or lantern, of the cathedral in Le Puy-en-Velay. It's built over the choir, where the transept crosses the main axis of the nave. The purpose of a cathedral's lantern is to bring light down into the building, usually over the altar, hence the name. Looking south toward the cathedral and its dome. When we left the cathedral (the way we came in), we walked around it in the streets on its southern side. Since the cathedral is built on a hill, we were well below the flo...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Le clocher

This is the bell tower at the cathedral of Notre-Dame du Puy. It's unusual in that it's not integral to the cathedral itself, and it was built at the rear of the building rather than at the west entrance. From what I've read, the tower is 56 meters (about 184 feet) high, with seven levels. There are four bells installed at the top of the tower. The cathedral's bell tower rises high above the surrounding buildings. Our weather is cooler and wetter than it was a couple of days ago. We may have a...
Tags: Travel, Notre Dame, WCS, Garden Flowers Plants, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


As organs go

It's not the biggest organ in the world, or in Europe, or in France. Not by a long shot. I looked up the list of the world's biggest pipe organs, and this one was nowhere to be found. Not surprising, but I had to check. Its intricately carved buffet (the wooden casing that holds the pipes and other organ components), however, was declared a national historical monument in 1862. So, size apparently doesn't matter. The organ in Notre-Dame-de-l'Annonciation du Puy-en-Velay was last restored in 19...
Tags: Travel, Europe, France, Notre Dame, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Inside the cathedral

Ken finished his quick look inside the cathedral of Le Puy-en-Velay and it was my turn. It's a big place, but without the soaring volumes of a gothic cathedral. The massive dark stone gives it a heavy feel, almost bulky. Still, there was enough light from the stained glass windows that I could snap a few photos inside. The nave, looking toward the altar. I did a quick walk around the nef (nave) and up to the autel (altar) and chœur (choir) before heading back out to meet up with Ken and Tasha....
Tags: Travel, France, Walter, Ken, WCS, Tasha, le Puy, Cathedrals And Churches, Maude Findlay, Puy-en-velay


Arches

While I waited on the cathedral's porch, I looked up and saw that I was being watched by gremlins. In this case, the gremlin looks like a sheep. The column capitals are beautifully carved and some of the arches are adorned with colorful paintings of what are probably saints. The dark volcanic stone is prominent throughout the cathedral. Saturday was a beautiful day here at home. I got the deck power-washed and ready for summer. The table and chairs are set up for sitting and the grill is uncov...
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Up to the cathedral

Once we made it up the hill to the cathedral, we faced two steep staircases to reach the entrance. A little more effort and we were on the porch looking westward. The west front of the cathedral in Le Puy-en-Velay. The front doors of the cathedral were locked, and the stair to the cloister was gated shut. I waited on the porch with Tasha while Ken went around the south side looking for an entrance. Looking westward from the cathedral's porch. He found the entrance near the transept and went ...
Tags: Travel, Ken, WCS, Tasha, le Puy, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay


Old lace

Le Puy-en-Velay is famous for three products: la lentille verte (green lentils), la verveine (verbena liqueur), and la dentelle (lace). The city's situation as a major stop on the pilgrimage route(s) to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle helped to spread its reputation and products around France and the rest of Europe. A lace shop in the center of Le Puy. Looks like they've had a problem with the door. I got some major (for me) work done in the back yard on Thursday. One section of the "lawn" grows ...
Tags: Travel, Europe, France, WCS, le Puy, SAINT JACQUES DE COMPOSTELLE, Puy-en-velay


Narrow

Some streets in Le Puy-en-Velay are narrow. Very narrow. This one is called la rue traversière des Tables. I think that probably means something like The Tables Street Transverse, a street that intersects the rue des Tables and creates a short cut to another street. La rue traversière des Tables connects the rue des Tables and the rue Adhemard de Monteil. I only know of the usage of "transverse" in English from New York City. There are four streets that cross Central Park from Fifth Avenue to ...
Tags: Travel, New York City, Fifth Avenue, Central Park, WCS, Central Park West, Le Puy en Velay, Puy-en-velay


Glimpses

While we walked through the maze that is the old center of Le Puy, little views opened up here and there out over the larger town. That's because the old center is built on the side of a hill. Streets wind up and around the hill toward the cathedral offering pedestrians little slivers of the view below. The newer "ville basse" (lower city) is built at the foot of the older "ville haute" (upper city). Mmm, pizza! And yes, there are still cars in the old center. Most of the streets are single la...
Tags: Travel, WCS, le Puy, Puy-en-velay


Making our way up

The first goal of our morning walk in Le Puy (besides parking the car) was to get to the cathedral. The path was pretty clear from the map and soon we were staring up at the west front of the building. The romanesque cathedral was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. We still had a climb ahead but it wasn't too difficult. We took our time, and took photos along the way. [Author: wcs]
Tags: Travel, WCS, Cathedrals And Churches, Puy-en-velay