Browsing All posts tagged under »France«

Montrichard: Val de Loire

Nov 10, 2018 by

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Looming over the town of MonTrichard (the T is sounded) is the impressive donjon which has dominated the countryside for miles around for the last thousand years. We assumed ‘donjon’ meant dungeon, a prison down in the bowels of the earth but no, the French use dungeon too. Donjon means the exact opposite, architecturally speaking. It’s what we call a Keep, a large tower built in fortified residences, a place of last resort should the rest of the castle fall.

Romorantin

Oct 6, 2018 by

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The best part of writing a book is the research. It takes you on a journey of discovery to places you would never have heard of and therefore would never have seen. A good case in point is Romorantin in France. Researching for Leonardo da Vinci: The Amboise Connection I found out that once upon […]

The Duke of Windsor and Château Candé

Sep 2, 2018 by

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Château Candé is one of the unexpected delights of the Loire Valley, especially for English tourists because this is where they lost their King to love. This is where Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom he gave up everything, his Crown, his country, his family, his very identity of who he was […]

Beauval Zoo (2-3) Why We Must Not Shut The Zoo Gates.

Jul 16, 2017 by

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In March 2017, the journalist Ian Birrell wrote a piece for the ‘i’ newspaper: Why We Must Shut the Zoo Gates. It’s his view, he’s entitled, but one he might change if he went to Beauval Zoo in France, a beautiful seventy acre park for animals which humans are allowed to share. Mr Birrell asked […]

Gare de Tours France

Jul 5, 2017 by

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The Gare de Tours is quite simply wonderful. It was built between 1896 and 1898 during what is now known nostalgically as La Belle Époque, a time of peace and prosperity when France was the cultural centre of the world.

Loches.

May 6, 2017 by

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The Loire Valley has many common or garden châteaux but Loches is a Royal Château which means it was owned and lived in by French Royalty. One of the most important, historically speaking, in France, it still has the feel of what it was, a mighty fortress.

French Gems at The British Museum

Feb 1, 2017 by

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Fans of all things French (well, maybe not all) we trotted off to the British Museum to see the Exhibition French Portrait Drawings from Clouet to Courbet. The publicity promised it would be full of gems from the Museum’s collection and did not disappoint (France must be gnashing its teeth). Added Bonus: Because the Museum owns copyright we were allowed to take photographs. A rare treat.