Thursday, February 28, 2013

night scenes series - the stop light

Late at night, in the winter, in Amboise, there just isn't much traffic to control.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bridge series - view from the château

At last, a glimmer of sunlight after all those snowy and foggy photos in February.  Here is a little panorama of the le Pont Leclerc and the Loire as seen from the château.  As before, if you want to see this in a larger format, click on the image.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bridge series - streetlights in the fog

Yet another foggy view in February...this time looking across the bridge as the streetlights dissolve into the fog bank.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bridge series - nighttime over the Loire

The original bridge over the Loire at Amboise was blown up by local residents in an effort to slow the advance of the German army after the fall of Paris in 1940.  Jacques-Philpipe Leclerc was a French resistance general of the second World War who served in North Africa, and later, following the D-Day landings, his Second Armored division is credited with the liberation of Paris in 1944.   Here is a nighttime view of the rebuilt bridge named in his honor after the war.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bridge series - le pied du pont

Don't be surprised if you find this photo a little disorienting...that is intentional.  It was taken from the bridge looking straight down onto the base (or "foot of the bridge", the translated title of the post today) of one of the piers supporting the bridge.  The semi-circular base is surrounded by a mix of rocks, wild and frozen plants, and the Loire itself.  If you look closely you can see some bird tracks in the snow.  Speaking of which, I will try to make this the last of the snow pics for this season !

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bridge series - Pont Leclerc in the fog

I think panoramas are not terribly well suited for Blogger because the image height is so limited by the width.  But I'm posting this anyway in the hopes you'll look at it in a larger format by first clicking on the image,  then maximizing your browser window ("ESC" to return).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow series - marchons, marchons

In spite of the snow, these hardy locals marched undeterred to the Sunday market.  These folks may have been disappointed to find that there were only a handful of brave vendors who showed up.  I'm just happy they chose to bring their red umbrella to this otherwise monochrome scene.

Please excuse the intended "franglais" pun (that is, changing the meaning of the French verb "marcher", to walk or to march, to mean "to go to the market" in "le marché").  I know I am violating the "if you have to explain it" rule, but I'm looking for dispensation since it is "franglais".   Also apologies to the French National anthem.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow series - hôtel Belle-Vue

The web site for the Belle-Vue hôtel says it is more than two centuries old.  It is strategically located at the end of le Pont LeClerc and is seen by tourists coming into town over that bridge.  It's currently being renovated and hopefully it'll be ready for the tourists when it reopens the end of February.  In the background is the château on high, and in the foreground is a classic style lamp post of Amboise (which you might recognize in my ADP header above).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow series - a tree veil

I believe this is some sort of willow tree as we know them in the US.  Stripped of its leaves in February, and in the snow, it takes on what I believe is an interesting veiled appearance.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snow series - snow shadows

I hope everyone is not too tired of Winter and snow to see a series of snow photos in Amboise.  As I posted earlier, snow is not all that common here, but when it does, it offers a lot of photo opportunities that otherwise would not be available...and so I must take advantage of that.  So please bear with me...after this series I'll start the slow transition to Spring when the Loire Valley really blossoms.

Monday, February 18, 2013

chapel series - in the snow

On the afternoon of the day after the big snow storm (see post "January snow" on 3 February), the clouds vanished and a brilliant sun lit up the town's snow-cover.  Here you may be able to see the deer antlers on the steeple.  Yes, really, antlers.  This is because the chapel has several hunting-theme touches to it (but that's a long told another time).  I liked this angle of view because of the snow-capped wall that leads you to the portal.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

chapel series - stained stone

The sunlight streaming through a stained glass window and landing on this interior wall framing, to me, looked like a "stained stone window".  The stained glass windows depict scenes from the life of king Louis IX (in the 13th century) who is  more commonly referred to as Saint Louis.  Also in the chapel is a very modest memorial to DaVinci around his final resting place.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chapel series - the portal

La chapelle Saint-Hubert was built in the 1490's during the reign of  king Charles VIII.  The portal was carved in the Gothic style in the local stone, tuffeau (see the post "November in the cave" on 13 February).  I'd say it's not in bad shape after half a millennium given the fragility of the stone (more on this in a later post).  The chapel served as the oratory for the queen, Anne, Duchess of Brittany.  Of course in Amboise she is known as Anne de Bretagne.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chapel series - view from Place Debré

OK.  The introduction is over and now begins the more "seasonally correct" posts.  Here is a more complete view of the chapel where Leonardo DaVinci is interred (chapelle Saint-Hubert); the first (partial) view was in the "April sunrise" post on 6 February.  This stairway leads to the entrance to the château grounds that overlook the Place Michel Debré.  More photos in this chapel series to follow.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - December Snow

This snow picture was taken from the château in the direction of our house.  On the upper left is the church Saint Denis which dates from the 12th century.  Hiding in the fog at upper right is the Loire.

I've come full circle now with my "calendar series" of photos with the intention of introducing Amboise with some of my favorite photos.  If you're new to this blog and are viewing posts backwards in time then you'll find the next eleven posts fill out the calendar.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - November in the Cave

What Americans call the wine cellar (cave) has an interesting history  in the Amboise area.  The area is rich in white limestone (tuffeau) which has been extensively mined to build many of the châteaux and other local structures.  The caves left behind became popular as homes (these are called troglodyte homes; expect a future post on this topic) and for storing wine by commercial vintners.  The caves ability to maintain a moderate and constant temperature year-round are what make them so desirable.  This vintner's cave on the outskirts of Amboise is one of my favorites for selling quality wines at reasonable prices.  A trademark of Loire valley wines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - October Sunset

Sunsets reflecting in the Loire can be spectacular.  It helps when the birds cooperate as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - August Ballooning

Hot air ballooning is really popular in our evidenced by this snap where I managed to catch eight balloons (montgolfières) at once around sunset.  This day the light winds were perfect for a slow passage over the bridge in front of the château.  Alas, it is not a cheap ride...but surely unforgettable.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - July Sunflowers

Europe is a huge consumer of sunflower oil (huile de tournesol).  Thus there are fields that seem to extend to the horizons all around the region.  It's a cyclist's dream to ride the bike trails surrounded by these beauties.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - June at the Pagoda

This pagoda and the pool in front of it are about all that remains of the château at Chanteloup.  Built in 1775 the pagoda is still structurally sound enough that tourists are permitted to climb the stairs to the top.  It is not for the faint of heart however.  Le Pagode de Chanteloup is on the outskirts of Amboise and is a nice park for families to spend their Sunday afternoons, climbing the pagoda, picnicking, rowing around in the boats, and playing with a variety of old-fashioned and hands-on games for kids.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - May Cycling

Cycling is a huge tourist attraction for the Loire river valley.  And why not?  There is an ever-expanding network of bike trails, a driving public that actually is respectful of cyclists, dozens of château to which to pedal, vineyards and wine tasting options too many to count, and so much flatness !  In the Spring the roads and paths are embellished by waves of wild poppies (coquelicots).  On this bike path they nicely framed a field of wheat.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - April Sunrise

I actually managed to take this photo from the skylight of our house early one morning.  The center silhouette is the château.  The thin spire to the right is a chapel where Leonardo da Vinci is entombed (Chapelle Saint-Hubert).  It's an interesting quirk of history that he spent his last years in Amboise at the invitation of François I.  His home, Clos Lucé, has been beautifully restored including a museum with models of many of his inventions.  And there are full scale models on the grounds that are designed to educate as well as amuse the kids.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - March marché

Here's a scene from the Sunday market.  The bird vendor has every imaginable type of chicken, rooster, goose, and other birds I can't even recognize.  It's great fun for the kids, as well as, well, all concerned.  (OK so maybe not so much for the birds.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - February Fog

While snow is unusual to Amboise, the fog is not.  Being on the Loire leads to lots of it.  This photo is where the Friday and Sunday marchés are held.  The Sunday market is the biggest in the area and attracts thousands.  I'll post a photo of the market in action soon.  The thin green line is about the only thing that betrays that this is not a black and white photo.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Calendar Series Introduction - January Snow !

I was told by neighbors that this snow last year was the most seen in Amboise in 30 years.  It was about 4 inches / 10 cm.  It pretty much shut down the town for a day.  This photo was taken of Place Michel Debré from the château above.  This is the main square where tourists relax at the outdoor cafés (in warmer months of course) after a strenuous day of sightseeing, cycling, or vineyard hopping.  Amboise is decidedly a tourist town.  Which means we have a lot of nice dining and shopping choices.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Welcome to Amboise Daily Photo

I am going to begin my blog by posting a representative photo for each month of the year over the next twelve days with some of my favorite shots. This "calendar series" will provide an overview of Amboise and why I love it so much.

This inaugural post includes two icons of Amboise architecture:  the château which was the home to kings of France during the 15th and 16th centuries, and the bridge General LeClerc of World War II fame.  The château sits on high ground above the center of town and the Loire river and thus is the first thing tourists see on entering over the bridge.

And speaking of icons, I also want to express my thanks to the CDP master, Eric Tenin, for inspiring me to do this blog, for helping me to adapt to French technology, and for being my friend !