Saturday, January 20, 2018

20/01/2018 Taking a look at Saint-Etienne Cathedral in Auxerre on the drive back from the UK at the end of December 2017

Maximum temperature 12C, minimum 4C.  As I type this, it is very windy and pouring with rain outside; this weather is forecast to continue for another week!   Westerly winds; 30 km/h with up to 71 km/h gusts.  Very unpleasant to say the least of it!
Auxerre is built on the west bank of the Yonne river, which is a tributary of the Seine and is 292 km (181 miles) long.

Taking a look at some of the boats; this one is a floating restaurant. You can see the bridge across the Yonne in the background.

Standing by the river, looking up at the town with  a view of Saint-Etienne Cathedral behind on the left.

We walked up the hill to the cathedral, but because there are so many buildings around it, this was the best closer view I could get.  The cathedral is Roman Catholic and built between the years 1213 and 1233 in Gothic style  over an 11th century crypt.

The grand entrance into the building.....

and a closer look at the amazingly detailed carvings over the doorway!

Looking upwards from the doorway, showing a gargoyle, which probably 
acts as a rainwater spout.

The spectacular nave.

and looking up at the beautiful vaulted ceiling.

Looking up at the stained glass windows

More stained glass, in beautiful colours.

as above.

The following morning, before we left to drive home, we took photos of the town from the other side of the Yonne river; these are really the best photos of all - so more of Auxerre to come.

While the weather remains as it is I will not be going anywhere to take photos and the camera remains in its travel bag as it has done all of January so far!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

17/01/2018 More photos from our return drive from the UK 29 December.

Today's maximum  9C, minimum  5C.  14 mm rain measured.  Total rain this month so far 116 mm; it just keeps raining!!  Wind speed 20 km/h with 43 km/h gusts NW wind.

With the continuing wet weather and still not feeling 100%, I am sorry not to have picked up my camera this year, other than for one single sunset.  I will be taking time out at this rate, until spring decides to arrive.  These are all past photos as stated above.

After our walk around Arras (see previous post), we headed for our next destination of Auxerre.  When we planned this return trip home, we had not taken into account that we would both not be feeling well, and that the weather would be so wet!  We had expected cold, but not damp as well.
Our route from Arras to Auxerre.  I have written about Reims and Troyes in past posts


I was surprised how many wind turbines there were to be seen in this area; as most of you know, they are my pet hate!


We went through some pretty horrible weather!


I saw this church in the distance while driving by Villeneuve-au-Chemin.  I was interested, when I looked it up, to discover that placed on the top of the spire is a 7 metre high statue of the Virgin, which you can just see in this photo.  The church is named Saint Joseph Chapel of the Angels and was built in 1864-1891 by Father Carbot; he was Abbot of the town at the time.  It used to be a stop over for pilgrims.


We arrived too early to book into our hotel, so took a short walk around Auxerre.  Some of the beautiful old houses of the town...


As above. There were few people around, due to the weather!


As above.


We were the surprised to find this small square of old houses, complete with a British red telephone box ....


All was explained in this sign!  Auxerre is twinned with Redditch, a town in Worcestershire in the UK.  Presumably the phone box was a gift.


More old houses close to the abbey.


The Abbey of Saint Germain which was founded by Queen Clotilde in the 5th century.  It was closed while we were there, but they do have guided tours.


The bell tower in the front of the abbey.  In 1811, the Romanesque bays that connected the bell tower to the choir were destroyed, so the spire is now isolated.


The old military hospital.

A few more photos were taken the next morning as we were leaving which will follow in another post.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

14/01/2018 Looking around Arras 29 Dec 2017

Today's maximum temperature 11C, minimum 3C.  1mm or rain measured.  20 km/h cold South West winds. 

We walked around the town of Arras in the morning, having stayed there overnight.  Probably in our state of health the promenade was not a good idea, but we were trying to stick to our plan of exploring a new place!  It was cold, damp and windy!
Place des Heros.  Fifty two buildings in the square are listed as historical monuments!

At one end is the town hall, a grand building where the tourist board occupy the bottom floor - note the person here walking against the wind trying to keep their hat on!

At the back of the town hall is the 75 metre high bell tower of Arras which overlooks the Place des Héros. Its construction started in 1463 and ended only in 1554 under the supervision of Jacques Le Caron. Later, the bell tower was enlarged twice, in 1572 and in 1658. Almost destroyed entirely during  World War One, the bell tower was rebuilt more soberly under the plans of Pierre Paquet between 1924 and 1932.

In Northern France and Belgium, the tradition of giants goes back as far as the 16th century.  The 19th century saw the figure of the giant brought back to prominence.  The giants of Arras  are market gardeners from Achicourt, a local village . These characters, Colas and Jacqueline (above) have existed in song since 1812. It's hard to judge heights from these photos, but I would guess they are about 4 metres (13 feet) high!

Two more giants.The small black squares are vision panels, so the person carrying them in a parade can see where they are going!

War Memorial

'Europe' by  Pierre Mazeline (1632-1708).  This is a copy; the original is at the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris.

Just looking up!

La Grignoterie - snack and sandwich shop.

Lastly, the Christmas market which was of course closed early in the morning when we walked around!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

11/01/2018 Driving back on 28 December. 2017

Today's maximum temperature 10C, minimum 3C.  Rain still on and off I have not checked Nigel's records.  All the rivers and lands are flooded so I am told - I have not been out of the house!
Morning of the 28th December 2017 leaving Devizes in the UK.  Apologies for the dirty windscreen!...

as above.

Arrival at customs in Folkestone, if there is a slow queue we find it and we did again!

Thirty minute delay as a car had broken down on the Chunnel train!!! We ended up travelling in a truck train instead of the double storey car one.

Passing the mining basin at Nord-Pas de Calais, a World Heritage site.
Remarkable as a landscape shaped over three centuries of coal extraction from the 1700s to the 1900s

A drive by sunset just before reaching Arras.

Arras by night walking to the restaurant for dinner...

Not great shots as all hand held...

As above.

We walked around part of the town the following morning, not feeling well even then, so there will be some photos from the town in daylight. The problem is now with my fuzzy head I am not sure what building is what!!

I will not be posting daily as I still do not feel up to it but getting there slowly.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

09/01/2018 Trying to get back to normal.......

Maximum temperature 9C, minimum 4C.  Since 01/01/2018 we have had 80 mm rain.  It just keeps raining!

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has commented, and those who have sent me emails worrying if I was OK. To answer the latter, I still do not feel anywhere well, and the continual coughing is making me very short on sleep.  I am not a nice person to know when very tired!!

I did though pick up the camera last night (first photo of 2018!) to take a photo from the back door, at least you know I am still in land of the living - just!!  Not sure when I will be back blogging properly, but hopefully fairly soon.
Photos taken just a few minutes apart.


Promise I will get back to commenting as soon as I feel up to it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

03/01/2018 Feeling pretty awful.

Just to let you know that I am still recovering from the trip to the UK,  I have barely left my bed since we arrived back in France, 30 December 2017.  I finally saw the Dr yesterday morning, (his first day back at work after the holiday) and I am now on antibiotics and some very special cough mixture that seems to be hitting all the right places!

I did take photos in the car on the way home, but have not picked up the camera since.  Think you will enjoy them when I finally get to downloading them. 

Belated Happy New Year to you all and I hope that 2018 will be a healthy and wealthy one for us all.

See you soon.     À bientot.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

27/12/2017 Last day in Devizes, heading home over 3 days tomorrow. Stopping at Arras and Auxerre en route.

Minimum 6C, Maximum 0C.  We had snow and ice this morning but it has mostly cleared this evening.
Snow and ice this morning, but it quite soon cleared after causing lots of havoc all over the country.

The Three Crowns in Devizes for lunch today...

as above,,,

The wall inside.

It is a Wadworth's pub, and yes both Nigel and I had a 6X.

FIL and I had ham egg and chips - excellent....

Nigel had a beef burger.

The old army barracks - now flats.

 The former toll-house at the top of Dunkirk hill .


Loving having your comments but I will only get back to replying when we get home in January 😊