Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a complex world

On the eve of a new year.  While the road appears to be simple, the complexity of the machinery to take us down that road is astonishing.

This was taken at sunset at the train station in Amboise.

Monday, December 30, 2013

flood depth indicator

At various points on the levee that protects Amboise from a flooding Loire river, there are stair-steps so that one can have access to the river.  On this one, there is a flood depth indicator going right down the middle of the steps.  I believe the last time the Loire exceeded the height of the levee was in 1856 (a few year's after our house was built).  It's my understanding that the waters are pretty much under control now and it's unlikely we'll ever see that happen again.  The highest level (by far) that I've seen it is 3 meters (roughly 10 feet).  See this earlier post.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Place Debré in December

The main square of Amboise is Place Debré and is located at the feet of the château.  The incline you see is the ramp up to the entrance.  Even without their leaves, the trees still provide lots of interest to a view of the square.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


OK, I don't really know what this is but somebody threw it over the levee towards the Loire where it landed in the weeds.  My guess would be that it's some sort of plastic container for fresh fruit. Whatever it is, it has been flattened out and now coated with the morning frost.  Would that all trash were so photogenic.

Friday, December 27, 2013

the purple shutters

I really like the color and the overall symmetry of this window and its shutters that I snapped in downtown Amboise.  That little dark "shield" just to the right is a marker indicating how high it is above sea level.  These are subtly place all over town.  I suppose it has something to do with flood planning, but that is just a guess.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

brouillard sur la place du marché

Market place.  Fog.   Everyone who follows this blog should know the drill by now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas dinner

Merry Christmas everyone !  I'm sure your Christmas dinner will be just like this dinner table on display at Château Chaumont nearby to Amboise.  Here is a wider view:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas eve

These are the holiday lights on rue Diderot.  It's a pedestrian alley off of rue Nationale near Place Débré. I hope everyone is with family tonight.

Monday, December 23, 2013

kids' delight in the lights

It was such fun to capture these kids playing among the Christmas trees on Place Débré.  In the background, in blue, is the Chapelle Hubert on the high grounds of the château.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

the chocolate shop at Christmas

You may remember the 100 year old chocolate shop from a previous post.  It looks even more inviting on this cold December night with all of the holiday lights.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

more light projections on Place Debré

This galactic light projection on the wall of the château was really quite amazing.  To get an idea, enlarge this as large as possible on your monitor and turn off all the lights !

Friday, December 20, 2013

this is not Las Vegas

For a very traditional town, I was rather surprised to see this new holiday light extravaganza installed in one of the small squares in Amboise.  With strings of lights on the trees in the background, I think it looks like an electric water fountain (maybe that was the intention?).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the bell tower decked out in holiday lights

Here is a shot of the bell tower all dressed up for the Christmas holidays.  You can compare it to a recent post here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

rue Victor Hugo

Rue Victor Hugo leads from Place Débré in Amboise center, up the hill to Clos Lucé, the final home of Leonardo Da Vinci.  Normally, one can see the château d'Amboise in the background but this day it was lost in the mist.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

a splash of light

Walking by the Loire recently, I caught the light from the low sun (behind me) being reflected off of the windows of the homes on the Ile d'Or and then reflected again off of the river.  I wish it was possible to capture the brightness of the light.

Monday, December 16, 2013

recycled dreams

I spied these old dolls in a shop on rue Nationale.  I do hope these classic treasures find their way under the Christmas trees in Amboise.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

light projections on Place Débré

Light projections seem to be all the rage these days.  They really do provide some drama to broad swaths of building fronts.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

le batiment sur la place du marché

This old building is located in the big parking lot where the Friday and Sunday markets are held.  I don't know what was its original use.  Now it seems to be just used for storage of maintenance equipment.  It's been recently cleaned up on the outside though... new roof and graffiti removed (at least for the moment).  Anyway, it looked timeless on this foggy December day.

Many thanks to my friend Anne who helped me get the title grammatically correct today !

Friday, December 13, 2013

decorating the sidewalk

This shot was taken straight down onto the sidewalk in Amboise.  Every Christmas season, the town spray paints different holiday designs throughout the main pedestrian (i.e., shopping) streets.  The paint contains some sort of sparkly substance that when the light hits it, it sort of shimmers.  So I took this at night with my flash on to try to capure that best.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

le lustre

This fanciful light fixture hangs in a local restaurant.  Interestingly, they have installed Plexiglas onto the ceiling so that you see the reflection of the lights above.

Initially, I was going to use the English title "the chandalier".   However, the word chandalier in French means candlestick.  Lest any of my French friends think I don't know that this is not a candlestick, I went with the French word for hanging light fixture, "le lustre".  Actually, if I had just titled it "lustre", I could have it both ways because lustre in English (that's the British spelling; luster is the American spelling) means reflected light!  Raise your hand if I lost you here.

In any case, this post is dedicated to my bouncing bride who is celebrating her birthday today, and thus a photo that sorta kinda resembles candles on a birthday cake.  Bon anniversaire, mon amour !

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

the factory

This old abandoned factory is just across the Loire from greater downtown Amboise.  The bottom level is being used for storage, but otherwise this old building is no longer used (that I can see).  I admit I love these old buildings with their pipes, conveyors, and loading chutes. It looks to me like an art deco era design, but I really don't know.  I would love to know the history of this site.

I was lucky to catch this scene on a cold and windy day in November.  But at least the sun was out in full before a huge front moved in that afternoon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh Oh ...

... we're off to the States today to visit friends and family!  So apologies in advance to my CDP blogger friends if I don't make as many comments as usual this month.  The trips home are often quite full.  However, I have queued up my own photos in advance, so there will still be a new snap every day here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

le manoir Saint Thomas et la chapelle Saint Hubert

The Manoir Saint Thomas is an elegant hotel in the heart of Amboise.  I snapped this view through their entry gates in late November with a glorious sun and the Chapelle Saint Hubert in the background.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

le château dans le brouillard

OK we're into that season where the Loire produces lots of fog.  And since I love fog pictures, you can expect there will be more to come !

Saturday, December 7, 2013

le clocher

This photo of the bell tower was taken in late November while the mums were still in bloom and hanging from the windows.  The tower straddles the rue Nationale which is the main pedestrian shopping street.  (Pay no attention to the space alien on the right.  Just another tourist.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

le portail

This is dedicated to my friend Joan who visited us awhile back in Amboise.  After seeing this arched entry gate on the street leading to Clos Lucé, she went back home to Maryland and painted a fantastic interpretation of it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Always take your camera to the Post Office

The other day I went to the Post Office (LaPoste as it is called here), and something told me to take my camera with me.  Well, as I'm coming out, what do I find but a "parade" of horse and buggies.  Actually, it had more of an appearance of folks learning how to drive the buggies.  In any case, as it is said in the States (thanks to an old credit card commercial), "don't leave home without it".

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

the geranium

Here's another snap from our terrace at the end of November.  The geraniums (seems like it should be gerania, but I digress) in our flower pots are still going great guns.  I'm sure my Francophone friends will be puzzled by that expression since it makes no sense whatsoever, but basically it means going extremely well.

I would like to dedicate this post to the memory of my dad who was born 99 years ago on this day.  He loved to grow exotic flowers in his greenhouse and he equally loved to take pictures of them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the party is over

To augment my earlier post where I claimed "C'est parti" (which means "it's started" in French) for the beginning of winter, I must say now "the party is over" for the season for this cherry tree next to the fountain Max Ernst.  Just a week ago it looked like this:

Monday, December 2, 2013

the meyer lemon tree

I guess we can't complain too much about the weather in Amboise when it's the end of November and we still have meyer lemons and blooms.  Although it is a race to see whether they turn yellow or freeze first !  (Actually we won't let them freeze, so not to worry.)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"looking out"... over the Loire

Today, as is every first of the month, is theme day for the City Daily Photo bloggers.  This month's theme is "looking out".  This fellow is atop the levee next to the Loire where there is always an opportunity to reflect on the day and maybe spy a heron or an egret or a cormoran.  You may see how the other bloggers interpreted this month's theme "looking out" by clicking here.

The iron fence in the foreground is to keep pedestrians from falling over the edge (toward the camera) to the street below.  That's another street between the fence and the levee.  I thought this pic needed some explaining as I didn't want you to think there was this tiny many standing on a fence in order to see over the wall.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Eglise St. Denis at night

Here is a November night shot of the local Catholic church.  For going on 900 years old, it's looking pretty good.  You might remember this church from this earlier post taken in the daylight and in the spring.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving and the table of bounty

No this is not my Thanksgiving table, unfortunately, but one at château Chononceau.  But this is the image I'll hold in my mind on this Thanksgiving day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

up my alley

This alley leads up to the entrance of the music school in Amboise.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Charcuterie St Hubert

Alas, the charcuterie (pork butcher shop) St Hubert no longer exists on the Place Debré, but its former shop sign still remains.  I don't know if the building owner finds the old sign as charming as I do, or just has never gotten around to taking it down.  (I'm guessing and hoping the former.)  In front of the building, one can view the chapel St Hubert where Leonardo da Vinci is (supposedly) interred.

Monday, November 25, 2013

bike path by the Loire

It was an early November day when I took this snap of the bike path just west of Amboise.  It's one of my favorite stretches as it comes very close to the Loire.  There are lots of dedicated bike paths in the Loire valley and more seem to be added every year.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

you think the sun is low now ?

We're a month before the winter solstice, yet the shadow cast by this little gargoyle on the château at Amboise is already quite extraordinary (at 11:30am).  I think most folks would be surprised to learn that the latitude of Amboise is above that of the state of Maine in the US.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

not the Sydney Opera House

In fact, this is greater downtown Amboise.  But these gabled roofs did make me think of a similar image.

Friday, November 22, 2013

chococate chaud à Bigot

It really felt like winter in Amboise today.  Cold, windy, rainy, you know the drill.  What else could we do but go to the local chocolate shop (chocolatière Bigot) and have a cup of hot chocolate?  Inside it was warm and cozy and the chocolate was hot and rich.  While enjoying this wonderful respite, I snapped a picture of one of their wall sconces whose shadows I thought were mesmerizing.

I cannot let this day pass without acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  For my generation of Americans, this was one of the most monumental days of our youth.  JFK came to France (and other destinations in Europe) during his university years (1937) and I suspect that this trip had a lasting impact on his world view and policies.  Would that all Americans make a voyage beyond their borders to comprehend other cultures and the world at large.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

first frost

Amboise had its first frost of the year Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning I found this pile of fallen autumn leaves next to the Loire.  C'est partie! as they say here (it's started, that would be the winter weather).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the lookout

This lookout, or keep (or donjon en français) is at the corner of the grounds of the château at Amboise and overlooks the Loire.  First of all, I liked the three tourists I captured enjoying the view (they actually seemed to relish that I was taking their portraits).  Secondly, I am intrigued by the door that appears to lead to nowhere (but down!).

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

la bicyclette abndonnée

I encountered this poor bicycle on the banks of the Loire not far from our home.  It raises so many questions.  It looks reasonably new, yet it clearly has been left out in the elements a long time, causing all that rust.  Why was it abandoned?  Was it stolen and discarded?  Is there a creepier story yet untold?

Monday, November 18, 2013

a windy château

As you can see from the banner on the right that the winds were quite impressive here a couple of weeks ago.  In spite of that, the clouds and the sun made for a nice photo op.  This is of course the château in Amboise.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

le moineau domestique - the house sparrow

The sparrows show up every morning in force thanks to my neighbor who feeds them. I was happy to get this gal (I think this is a female as the male has a black "bib") to pose for a nice portrait.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

the ginko tree

I have always loved ginkos for their leaf shape and their brilliant golden color in the fall.  Here's a tree that looks out over the Loire and appears to be very content with that.  

Unfortunately, I was not able to capture it in full sun during its peak.

Friday, November 15, 2013

la tempête de grêle - the hail storm

It was pretty exciting this afternoon in Amboise.  A hail storm blasted through what was beforehand a nice sunny day, leaving a thick covering of hail stones and providing the not so usual thunder and lightning.   Here you see the hail stone "pearls" on top of a few recently fallen leaves.  Is there any doubt that winter is on its way ?!