Thursday, December 31, 2015

la Saint-Sylvestre 2016

Happy New Year to all!

Since there are no fireworks in Amboise on this day, I had to borrow this shot from this year's 14 juillet (National holiday on the anniversary of the storming of the bastille).  Frankly, the weather today feels more like July 14th than December 31st.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

a year-end view of the Loire

A view from the château d'Amboise over the Loire, the Ile d'Or, and the bridge Général Leclerc.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

a peaceful afternoon

After all the holiday bustle, lights, and festivities, it was nice to take a quiet walk around the Ile d'Or the other day.  There have been several swans lingering around the island for awhile and I hope they are taking up permanent residence there.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

a Christmas to crow about

The rooster is a symbol of French national pride.  And there is much to be proud about this year.  The holiday feasts of friends and family are legendary.  We were truly honored to be invited to our neighbor's home yesterday to share one such traditional Christmas dinner.  After an appertif we started on the first course of foie gras.  For the next course we savored shrimp, smoked salmon, and oysters (on the half-shell).  The "main" course was venison in a red wine sauce, potato timbale, and Waldorf salad (how did that get in there?!  I wonder who brought that?). Next an array of cheeses was presented before the desserts. Afterwards, we lingered over coffee.  Did I mention a different wine was served with each course?  This all rolled out leisurely over four hours so I never felt like I had overeaten. It was a remarkable day of fine dining, conversation, and new and renewed connections.  And nationally, it was a day to be proud of a reining peace through the dedicated work of all the organizations here that defend against internal and external threats.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas to all !

The gallery at château Chenonceau this year is stunning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

rose bonbon

This luscious treat is one of the many fabulous creations on display in château Chenonceau this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

the winter solstice

The solstice arrived in France early this morning.  I wanted to capture the location of the sun at sunrise (8:42 am) so I stuck my camera out of a skylight on our top level.  Much to my great surprise, the clouds cooperated perfectly on this occasion to provide a wonderful start to the shortest daylight hours of the year.  (Here, that is of course.  My Australian friends will have their longest day.)

Monday, December 21, 2015

the Christmas bazaar

In the cave (tunnel) beneath the château d'Amboise, there is a wonderful display of local hand-made crafts just in time for Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

a royal Christmas

Every year château Chenonceau decorates in a grand and royal style. Even the Sun King (Louis XIV) seems to be looking on in approval.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

sailors' delight

This sunset on the Loire is the bookend to Thursday's post and the rhyme "Red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky at morning, sailors take warning".  Today, I am indeed delighted to be in good health.  Bon weekend à tout le monde.

Friday, December 18, 2015

the countdown begins

One week to go and the anticipation builds.  Here's a snap from château Chenonceau to help get you in the mood.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

sailors take warning

This sunrise view from our our home's top level reminds me of the old saying "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning...".  It's appropriate today because I want to issue a little warning to all my friends of a certain age.  Last week I had a routine stress test (running on a treadmill while connected to an EKG machine) in order to be certified for a foot race.  A "little anomaly" was detected and I went immediately to my cardiologist.  To make a very long story short, after a echo-cardiogram, a CT scan, two angioplasties, and two stents, I'm as good as new in just a week.  I was lucky that the two 50% blocked arteries were found so early before real damage was done.  So even if you have no symptoms, as I didn't, I say have a conversation with your doctor or cardiologist about any symptoms, your family's heart history, and your cholesterol.  Clear sailing everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

digging deep

OK so it's not really all that deep... and it's not really a recent photo but from several years ago after an unusual Amboise snowfall.  But I hope it does help you get in the mood for the holidays.  And it does reflect my having to dig deep into my archives for today's photo as I have not been able to capture fresh ones recently.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

stars in the skies, stars on the sidewalk

Every year Amboise has holiday icons spray-painted on the sidewalks.  The "paint" is very thick and contains lots of reflective glitter-like particles so they really sparkle under the evening night lights.

Monday, December 14, 2015

on the road again

I'm on the road again, by railroad that is.  But at least I'm on the right track.  This snap at the Amboise station is a good example of the weather here lately.  But fortunately it's pretty much back to normal for this time of year.

I've been away from Amboise for most of the last week and so again I must apologize to all my City Daily Photo bloggers for being such a poor commentator.  But I'll be home soon.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

waiting for Christmas

This magnificent specimen at the Amboise train station looks like he is all ready for the decorations.  Alas, as far as I know, that's not likely to happen.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

les bougies

These candles are projected onto one of the towers of the château d'Amboise facing the Place Debré.  I'm pretty sure they did this in honor of my wife's birthday anniversary today.

Friday, December 11, 2015

the land ship

These round, porthole-like windows remind me of a cruise ship at sea. I have seen many individual windows like these in a home, but not five in the same house.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


This spillway on the river Cher is downstream for château Chenonceau. This river flows into the larger Loire river west of Amboise.  This shot was taken about a month ago when there were still some leaves on the trees.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

reaching for the sky

We still have some beautiful skies in spite of the drop in temperatures.

Monday, December 7, 2015

look out!

Now here's a warning you don't see every day.  I snapped this shot on a recent bike ride on the pavement of a back road through the forest of Amboise.  The triangular shape (as well as the exclamation point!) is a warning of a dangerous situation upcoming. I'm wondering if there are also little warnings on the side of the road for the frogs that have a car in the triangle.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

let the games begin

The holiday decorations are up in Amboise and here is a taste of what's to come.  The lampposts now have colored glass and sparkling lights are everywhere.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

a fiery December sunset

I'm running a bit late today, but the good news is that I just caught this very brief, yet intense sunset.  Don't touch the screen, these pixels haven't yet dried.

Friday, December 4, 2015

awash in peace

I don't know how it could be any more peaceful than this...  a classic cottage amidst rolling fields like ocean swells.  Have a peaceful weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

the towering factory

I've published several shots recently of this old factory.  I love the steel work in it.  And for good reason.  It was designed by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition of 1900 and installed in the Bois de Vincennes (one of the two great wooded parks) in Paris.  Its vast open space served as a hanger for dirigibles on display.  After the exposition, it was dismantled and taken by train to Amboise to be used in a metal fabrication business.  In 1940, it was converted to auto manufacturing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

it was a foggy morning

It was indeed a foggy morning during last Friday's market.  On my way home, I snapped this fellow walking along the levee towards the market.  He looks rather cold... and maybe even lonely in this misty scene.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

CDP Theme Day for December - "shop window"

The first of every month is Theme day for the worldwide bloggers of City Daily Photo, and today's theme is "shop window".  My contribution to this cause is the window of the landmark chocolate shop and tea salon Bigot on the town's main square, Place Debré.  To see how the other bloggers interpreted the theme, click here.

Monday, November 30, 2015

a little bit of Africa in Amboise

Amboise is a twin city with Fana, Mali and a delegation arrived from there recently to renew ties and friendships.  On Saturday the 21st, they presented a remarkable demonstration of their traditional dancing and drumming on Place Debré..  The amazing aspect was that several of the dancers were on stilts over five feet tall (1.6 meters).  Alas, the festivities were in sharp contrast to the horrible events in their home country of the previous day, where some twenty people were killed in the capital city of Bamako. Another senseless attack that demonstrates that France, Mali, and really all countries are linked by their vulnerability to terrorism.  One could not have detected any distress, however, among the dancers here as the show was filled with great rhythms, enthusiasm, and joy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

deep in the woods

On a bike ride several weeks ago, I passed through sections of the forest of Amboise.  You may remember one of the entrances that I posted earlier. Well, pedaling deep into another section I came upon this mostly wooden structure in the area where there are two "twin" lakes.  There is no indication as to what is its purpose, but it seems more like a barn than a house.  In any case, I found the rough wooden facade to be unusual and interesting.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

spotlight on Chenonceau

You may remember the "Rorchach test" post, well this shot was made just after by pivoting to my right.  It was the perfect autumn light on the face of this magical castle, château Chenonceau.  And it was just a bike ride away.

Friday, November 27, 2015


While I did not interrupt the performance to ask, I can only assume this puppeteer is rendering homage to cellist Pablo Casals.  It was a charming performance seen upon entering a recent Sunday market in Amboise.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

For all my friends who celebrate Thanksgiving, may you have a safe, peaceful, and abundant holiday.   Well, I wish that for everyone else too as there is much to be thankful for in every country whether it's a holiday or not.  And would that you have a kitchen like the one at château Chenonceau.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

let there be autumn light

I couldn't resist one final autumn leaf shot even though they're mostly retired and it really feels like winter here now.  These twin street lamps are classics here but what I really like is the supporting pole.  I always see a transparent-headed strongman holding them up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

looking sheepish

The English expression "looking sheepish" means to look embarrassed for having done something wrong or maybe foolish.   In other words, the way I look after trying to say something clever in French and then seeing the reaction on my French friends faces. But what did these guys do?

Monday, November 23, 2015

la fête du Touraine Primeur

We had the Touraine Primeur* festival here on Saturday in spite of the unusual all day rain.  This was the first time that I had tasted the local version of the celebrated Beaujolais nouveau idea;  that is to say, quickly bottled wine from some of this autumn's harvest for immediate consumption (most wine is aged a least a bit).  There were a number of interesting events including wine tastings, a Renaissance style procession down rue Nationale, and a simulated grape harvest.  For the latter, a temporary vineyard was constructed on the town's main square (Place Debré) with fresh grapes attached to real, yet dormant (or dead?), vines.  The kids were encouraged to harvest the grapes, and then with the aid of the local high school of agriculture and wine, the grapes were pressed in a hydraulic wine press on the spot.  You gotta love a town that has a high school for viticulture.

Touraine is the area surrounding the city of Tours that is famous for its wine, goat cheese, and châteaux.  It is also known as the "Garden of France".  Primeur means freshly picked.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

another glorious market day and another milestone

It's been three weeks since I took this Sunday market photo.  At today's market, the trees are looking pretty bare. But here they are at their autumnal peak, glowing with the back-light of the low morning sun.  A wonderful last hurrah.

On a more personal note, this blog has reached another milestone, better to be called a kilometer-stone, as this is the 1000th post since it began in February of 2013.  I really never thought I would see this day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

blowin' smoke

I know you're thinking there was some fancy PhotoShopping done on this cloud, but this is truly as I captured it.  When I noticed the unusual oblong cloud hovering behind the château, all I had to do was move around on the sidewalk until I got it to line up with the tower et voilà.  The bright red banner and the oblivious tourist were also happy coincidences for this composition.

Friday, November 20, 2015

the "other" bridge

The Général Leclerc bridge consists of two segments that connect the left and right banks of the Loire via the Isle d'Or.  Most of the photos I have posted are the left bank segment in front of the château.  However, recent cleaning out of an overgrown area underneath the right bank bridge has allowed me to get this new perspective on that segment.  As you can see, the water level is still pretty low as those "footers' (the flat concrete areas under the piers) are underwater in wetter times.  It would be theoretically possible to walk across the Loire here, but it would be way too dangerous to try as the currents are quite strong.

By the way, "left" and "right" banks of a river are relative to travelling downstream.  And they're not just in Paris!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I was amazed to see this brilliant green field on a bike ride just two weeks ago, especially when everywhere else the colors were rapidly fading to brown.  I also liked its nice lesson in perspective,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

into the woods

While the forest of Amboise is expansive and largely private, one can still walk (or cycle) many of the trails that criss cross it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

time to get in gear

This past weekend was sad and difficult to comprehend.  It would seem we are perhaps in a new era in France, but time will tell.  For me, I'm going to turn off the non-stop TV coverage and get on with life.  Today's photo was taken at the same old factory of last Friday's post.  This factory made sheet metal parts for a French automobile, the Facel Vega.  (In no way to be confused with the Chevrolet Vega of many years later!)  Manufacturing of the autos ceased in 1964, but a small metal-working business still occupies the site.  Shown are some of the old machines that remain as testament to the old auto making business.  And they graciously posed for portraits.

Monday, November 16, 2015

a peaceful scene

I found this shuttered window and the unusual brick design above to be a most-needed peaceful scene today.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

early morning at the train station

I took an early morning train on Thursday to meetup with friends visiting Paris from the States (fortunately, they were able to tour the city and depart before the horrible events of Friday night).  While waiting for the train in Amboise, I took advantage of the chance to shoot the rarely empty train station platforms.  I suppose this shot reflects the mood in Paris now, but soon the light will return.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

the light at the end of the street

First of all, I want to thank everyone who sent messages of concern after the terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday.  We only got the news when we woke up this morning at home in Amboise.  France is in a state of shock.

This photo was taken a few days ago as the sun was rising and casting a golden glow on the trees at the end of our street.  On this sad morning, may it be a sign of hope for the dawn of the day when there are no longer threats of such attacks.

Friday, November 13, 2015

the iron gate

I love this gate at the entrance to an old factory in Amboise.  A recent sunny day provided the perfect backdrop for its portrait.