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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

red vines

The grape vines are going out in a blaze of glory.  They were good soldiers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

la fête de l'Armistice 2015

Today in France, the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I is remembered with a national holiday.  Ceremonies are conducted throughout the country.  The war's cease fire began at 11:00 am on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  Lest we forget the price we pay for aggression and war.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

the quartet

These four cormorants seemed to be enjoying the warm weather yesterday while peacefully perched on a half-submerged log in the Loire.  Or maybe they're discussing forming a rowing team (as from a distance from my screen, my wife thought that was what she was seeing).

Monday, November 9, 2015

la maison art nouveau - the embellished window

I love this house designed in an art nouveau style in central Amboise.  Here is the front door that I posted awhile back.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

reflecting on my bike ride

It felt a bit like summer yesterday as the high temperature was around 25°C / 77°F.  Of course it still looked like autumn with the last leaves hanging on for dear life. It's supposed to be another warm and sunny day today but after being a bit over-exuberant yesterday, I don't think the tired legs can go again.  Anyway, this shot was taken across the Cher river from château Chenonceau (about halfway around my biking loop).  Anyone out there into Rorchach testing?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

flowing water

After seeing some of my recent shots, you might think that the Loire has completely dried up.  But that is far from the case although it remains quite low.  I thought this reflection of one of the piers of the bridge Leclerc made a nice abstraction in the waters flowing underneath.

Friday, November 6, 2015

lunar landing

Or not.  Of course, this was taken on one of those areas that is only accessible when the level of the Loire is really low (as it is now).  In any case, I couldn't pass up the chance to take this selfie... along with the bike.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

the morning portrait

In the States, birds similar to this are chickadees.  This one posed for just a few moments on our neighbors' wall before disappearing into the morning mist.  With limited light and without my telephoto lens handy, the resolution of this photo is not very high and thus the "soft focus" appearance.  Anyway, I think it resulted in a somewhat painterly portrait.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

the side street

The street, actually it's more of a pedestrian alley, is near the main square of Amboise, Place Debré. The building at the end is under renovation and I'm looking forward to seeing it finished.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

long shadows

It seems the sun is retreating rapidly these days.  The days are shorter and shorter and the shadows are getting longer and longer.  This sandy field is another example of how much the Loire has also retreated. In wetter times, this would be underwater while the treed area to the right would be an island.

Monday, November 2, 2015

the long view

We've had some perfect weather here recently.  I took the opportunity yesterday to ride the bike across the bridge to this downstream vantage point.  With more rain than we've had in awhile, this little puddle in the foreground would be more recognizable as part of the grand Loire river.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Theme Day for November - "Ephemeral"

The first of every month is Theme Day for the bloggers of City Daily Photo.  You can see here how November's theme "ephemeral" was interpreted by them.  My post is this rather unusual effect of the sun filtered behind high clouds.  It only lasted a few minutes so I was lucky to catch it.