Open House Weekend – Eltham Lodge

Eltham Lodge is a Grade I listed building dating from the 17C and situated in South East London which I visited during Open House Weekend in London. Continue reading

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Autumn in Greenwich Park

Caster Oil Plant

Caster Oil Plant

Continue reading

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Autumn in Greenwich Park

Late Summer, or early Autumn – the season has definitely changed.

Montbretia seeds

Montbretia seeds

Paeony leaves

Paeony leaves

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Travel in France – Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau

The Château of Azay-le-Rideau was built between 1528 and 1527 on the site of the mediaeval castle of Ridel d’Azay, a knight in the King’s service. The fortress was built to protect the road from Tours to Chinon. This original building was burned down in 1418 during the Hundred Years’ War. It was Gilles Berthelot, Treasurer-General to the King, who acquired the site in 1518 and began building the current Château. The property changed hands over the years until 1905 when it was acquired by the State and is now a National Monument.

Chateau of Azay le Rideau

Chateau of Azay le Rideau

The Château is on an island in the Indre River, which was diverted to create a moat around the building.

Chateau of Azay le Rideau

 Inside the Chateau it was cool, and there are many beautiful details. The most striking feature is the Grand Central Staircase, the Escalier d’Honneur. 

The construction of the roof is amazing.

Inside the roof

Inside the roof

Chateau of Azay le Rideau

 

You may be interested in
The Chateau
Photographs of the decorations on the building
A brief history

 

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Travel in France – Issoudun to Ouistreham

On the final day of Travel in France we travelled from Issoudun to Ouistreham, with visits to the Chateaux of Villandry and Azay-le-Rideau along the way. The overnight ferry returned us to the UK. Continue reading

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Travel in France – Issoudun

Issoudun has a long history, with evidence of settlement since at least 2000 BC. By the Middle Ages it was the second largest town in the Berry and one of the stages on the Pilgrim Route from Vézelay to Santiago. It was the end of a long day and the light was fading, but I did my best!

The Church of St Cyr was started in the 15C and completed in the 19C

The Church of St Cyr, Issoudun

The Church of St Cyr, Issoudun

The Church of St Cyr, Issoudun

The Church of St Cyr, Issoudun

The Belfry used to be the main entrance into the fortress and still lead into the old, fortified part of the town. In WWI the tower was used as a prison. In the 12C Issoudun was on the borders of English Plantagenet territory and the Kingdom of France and often under attack. The Tour Blanche is a donjon from the 12C, built by Richard the Lionheart.

La Tour Blanche

The Hotel de Ville opposite La Tour Blanche dates from 1731, with a modern addition and an installation of mirrors.

The boules pitch next to the walls and La Tour Blanches

The boules pitch next to the walls and La Tour Blanche

Theols River, Issoudun

Theols River, Issoudun

 

You may be interested in
Photographs of Issoudun
A brief history of Issoudun

 

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Travel in France – St Hippolyte du Fort to Issoudun

Day 25 of Travel in France and we began the long drive north.

Packed up

Packed up

Our route was over the Causse de Larzac, the Millau Bridge, and up the motorway. There were several traffic jams, and we diverted briefly along the Lot for a coffee stop. But it was a long drive and it was good to finally reach Issoudun.

Millau Bridge

Millau Bridge

Traffic jam

The first traffic jam

The Lot

The Lot

Bridge

Bridge alongside the Lot

The Aubergne

The Auvergne – coffee stop

The plains around Issoudun

The plains around Issoudun

 

 

 

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Travel in France – The Chateau of Villandry

The Chateau of Villandry was completed in 1536, the last of the great castles built in the Loire Valley. The chateau was owned by Jean le Breton, the Finance Minister for François I. In 1906 the chateau was bought by Joachim Carvallo who was responsible for the restoration of the buildings and particularly the Renaissance gardens. The chateau remains in family ownership. Continue reading

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Travel in France – the Vidourle

The Vidourle rises in the hills around St Roman de Codières and flows into the sea near Le Grau du Roi. The river  flows underground at times, and is prone to violent floods, vidourlades, after heavy rain, particularly in the autumn. It is c.85k in length.

The Vidourle in St Hippolyte du Fort

The Vidourle in St Hippolyte du Fort, 2008

The river near St Hippo in 2008, and then three days later at the same spot.

The Vidourle

The same spot, a few days later

The Vidourle

The same spot, a few days later

At Sauve part of the river flows under the town, bursting out from a hole to join the main river at a Mill. In 2008 it was in full flow for a few days, but usually there is just a ‘hole’. Sauve is a remarkable town, with a very ancient history.

The Vidourles bursting out from under the town, 2008

The same place at another time

The Vidourle in Sauve in 2008

The Vidourle in Sauve in 2008

Sauve - le pont vieux

Sauve – the 11C Pont Vieux at ‘normal’ times

Quissac is situated at the crossing of two important roads – Nîmes to the Larzac, and Montpellier to Alés – and the name is Roman in origin, Quintiacum or the domaine of Quintius. The town is badly affected by a Vidourlade. 

Vidourlade in Quissac (Wikipedia)

Vidourlade in Quissac (Wikipedia)

The Vidourle at Quissac

The Vidourle at Quissac

Sommiereon the Vidourle River, has ancient origins, and is subject to regular flooding.

Sommieres, the Vidourle and the Roman Bridge

Sommieres, the Vidourle and the Roman Bridge

Vidourlade in Sommieres in 2002

Vidourlade in Sommieres in 2002 (Wikipedia)

Sommieres in  2002

Sommieres in 2002

 

You may be interested in
Sommieres in 2002, photograph from here
The Vidourle under Sauve, 2010, caught on YouTube
The Vidourle at Marsillargues, 2009, YouTube
The Vidourle and Vidourlades, book with fascinating photographs of Sommieres
The Vidourlade of 30 October 2010
A vidourlade in Quissac

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The gite at Le Pouget, near St Hippolyte du Fort

In the Cevennes we stayed in a comfortable gîte in the hamlet of Le Pouget, just four miles outside St Hippolyte du Fort. 

Early morning at the gite, Le Pouget

Swimming pool

The setting is wonderful, overlooking the valley of the Vidourle, and even on the occasional misty day it is beautiful, quiet, peaceful.

View from the gite View from the gite

A misty day

Evenings at the gîte can be magical.

It is easy to imagine that time has stood still here.

The valley of the Vidourle

To hire La Calade contact
Béatrice Quénet : 04 66 77 29 06

 

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