Monday, 28 October 2013

La Rochelle - Part 2

I do apologise; it is over a month since I wrote Part 1 of this trip!  The fruit and vegetables in the garden have kept me very busy and there were literally hundreds of photos of the excursion for me to  review and edit. The wonders of digital photography, I guess!! Part 3 will be more of this day trip and Part 4 will be a visit to the island port of Saint Martin de Ré.  I have not even started looking at those photos yet!!! 

This post documents our day trip to the region called the Marais Poitevin, otherwise known as "Venise Verte" (Green Venice), a beautiful coastal wetland area of reclaimed land, marshes, rivers and canals occupying 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres), making it the second largest wetland in France - after the Camargue in southern France.  Most of it is within an easy hour's drive to the north east of La Rochelle. 

To keep the number of photos to manageable proportions, this is only part of our second day there;so there is more to come!  
Clever French engineering! Above and below - this is how they deal with canals at different levels meeting at right angles; they pass one canal under another!! Useful technology when you have a countryside full of waterways going in all directions!


 Eglise Notre Dame in Courcon, a small town in the area. This church site dates back to Roman times and the current structure was started in 1091 as a fortified place of worship which could be defended against the Normans (they did get around!). But it was later in history, during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), that the church played a military role, having its walls raised and thickened, and a secure room was added at high level above the nave. The Roman style tower holds a church bell weighing 450 kilogrammes (1000 pounds)!
The church roof, on the point of falling in, was replaced in 1814 and much other repair work was done 100 years ago to reinstate crumbling stonework.

The stained glass, above and below was replaced in the 19th century.

Translating from the helpful brochure left in the church for the edification of visitors :- The window above the altar, pictures below, contains 4 panels representing (L to R) 
(1). Saint William, died in 812 and canonised in 1066
(2). Sainte Joan of Arc 1412-1431 , French martyr canonised in 1920.
(3). Saint Louis, a 13th century French king canonised in 1297 and
(4). Saint Bernard, a 12th century Cistercian abbot canonised in 1174.



We stopped for lunch at a creperie in Arçais, another small town in the area, where we ate and enjoyed this beautiful view. As the area is very flat, it attracts lots of cycle tourists (like the one in the picture!) who are drawn to the leisurely rides and spectacular scenery.
The Church of St Guy at Damvix, not far away, was built between 1849 and 1864. The tower was added in 1879.   It features a series of windows designed in 1962 and made by the master glass-maker Gouffault of Orleans. These windows are  scenes from the Bible, from the Creation to the Last Judgement.


The Church has three naves separated by square columns, supporting a coffered ceiling of painted wooden slats; currently being restored, as you can see below. I have noted before that the French now take pride in their churches and in keeping them maintained!




I took a fancy to this "gypsy" caravan belowThe occupants didn't look like tourists, so this must be their everyday transport!
We also visited a bird park at Sainte Hilaire-la-Palud, which had an amazing collection of water birds.
 I took many bird photos and I have put them all on a separate page for easy viewing.  See HERE


50 comments:

  1. Thanks for including us on your day trip to Green Venise. I would like to go on a barge trip on one of those many waterways in that region. A barge trip is on my bucket list. Have a great week.

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    1. Hi Michel we have often said about going on a barge trip but never got any further. N is 6 foot 4 ins tall and with the height, we wonder just how many bruises he may end with up on his head! Hope you have a good week as well Diane

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  2. Most enjoyable and educational. I'm so glad you took us along...

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    1. Thanks Rosaria glad you enjoyed the trip with us. Have a good week. Diane

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  3. The Marais Poitevin seems such a lovely area, but I've never had the opportunity to linger there for more than an hour or two. I love the idea of cycling around the area, if only I could prevent myself from falling off or bumping into things. I must be the world's worst cyclist.

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    1. Phil we would have taken our bikes with us but N has been having treatment for his knee so it was a no no sadly. We probably got to see a wider range of area though in the car but maybe not as interesting. Buy yourself a 3 wheeler that may help :-) Take care diane.

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  4. It's a lovely area, isn't it and such super photographs.
    I don't know if they still use things like punts to transport crops and even cows on the smaller waterways; we saw the latter several years ago, a cow standing placidly while a chap punted his boat along.

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    1. Fly it is very pretty and I would have enjoyed more time there but.... Sorry I have not been visiting, the fruit and vegetable take up so much time, and yesterday when I thought I would catch up with some other blogs our internet was on a very serious go slow.

      Hope this finds you well, gather you have just had a trip to hospital. Hope your husband is also doing well, all the very best to you both Diane

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  5. Love the stone and glass work. Seeing a canal above a canal is rather different. I WANT that gypsy wagon!

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    1. Ha ha Gaelyn as soon as I saw that wagon I thought of you and you have proved me right saying you want it. What a wonderful way to travel slowly around stopping at each and every place. Have a good week, internet seems to be better today though it is never very fast. May have been the weather!! Diane

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  6. Again, you take me where I've never been before. It is a magnificent church and the town is gorgeous. Hope YOur gardening is going well. Putting the garden to bed is always a bit sad.

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    1. Deana I would loved to have spent more time in the area it is quite beautiful but..... maybe we will return one day. We do not really put the garden to bed completely as there is always winter veggies to be planted despite the fact we will be away for December. Keep well Diane

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  7. What an interesting post! Lovely pictures. The gypsy caravan is like those we see in our French village of Aynac. They are actually hired out by tourists for their summer holidays!

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    1. Maybe we will head your way and hire a caravan and horse, sounds to me like a great way to see the countryside without the energy of cycling :-) Have a good day. Diane

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  8. A fantastic post Diane!
    You made me feel I was there with you!
    You would make a perfect guide to those sites and I bet you will soon know more about them than most people living in the area!
    And great pis pics too!
    I'd love to see Merganser ducks!
    Cheers, keep well!

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    1. Noushka we so loved the bird park. On entering it all seemed a bit strange with chickens and goats around the place, but we soon realised that all the waterways at the back were full of some incredible birds. I would be happy to take another visit there. Keep well Diane

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  9. AS usual we are just amongst your many avid readers hidden away amongst the many comments but Sue and I are amongst your fans.
    Lovely pics that just make us yern for our trip back next year.

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment you two, we are looking forward to meeting up with you next year. Nigel will be replying to your email. Have a good day Diane

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  10. I love the photos of the stained glass! They are stunning. Another great post Diane.

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    1. Pam there are some beautiful church windows in France. Have a good week Diane

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  11. Lovely photos of La Rochelle, especially the interiors of the churches. I love the simplicity of French churches, and these were the best.

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    1. Thanks Vera, I also love the churches here and many of them are so, so old. Keep well Diane

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  12. You always take such fabulous pictures of churches and cathedrals! I feel almost as if I'm seeing these places with you. The intersecting canals are very interesting, too. It is amazing what people dreamed up before "modern" equipment was available.

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    1. Marjie we were intrigued by the canal crossing, and amazing feat. Hope all well with you Diane

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  13. Quality posts are always worth waiting for, great virtual visit thankyou. I am linking to you today from my new FB page. :)

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    1. Linda thanks very much saw it there just now. Glad you enjoyed this post. Take care and keep well, I think of you often. Diane

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  14. By the way did you know Google Followers is still working, I notice it does not appear on your blog any more?

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    1. Linda it is still on my blog here!! Very odd, maybe you use another program. It certainly shows up on both Firefox and Google Chrome on my computer! Diane

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  15. I always enjoy your tours of France. Love the gypsy caravan...a fun way to get around.

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    1. Thank you, we also loved the caravan, I would be quit happy to trundle around France in that. Have a good weekend Diane

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  16. Oh that looks so much fun and your photos are fabulous!

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    1. Thanks Denise, it is a lovely spot. Keep well Diane

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  17. Your words and wonderful photography make me feel like returning to France, Diane. I used to visit two or three times a year, but haven't been for about eight years now!

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    1. It sounds like eight years too long to me Richard :-) Have a good week and look after those Little Owls. Diane

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  18. This is a beautiful church, love those stain glasses.

    PS. Your blog is infected with malware from revolver Maps. Details below. You might want to check it out.
    Infection Blocked
    URL: http://jb.revolvermaps.com/r.js
    Infection: URL:Mal

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    1. Rose please check this again as my antivirus picked it up days ago and I deleted the revolving map. It is odd that the same map is on My life Before Charente and there does not so far seem to be a problem there! Have a good week. Diane

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  19. Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I'm more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I've added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

    Best Cccam Server

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    1. Hi there and thanks very much for your comments. Afraid videos are out of the question but not out of choice. We live in the country and we have a very slow internet connection. I am unable to watch any videos that other people put on their blogs and YouTube is impossible. Therefore it is impossible for me to put videos on my blog; not only would they take a life time to download, but I would not even be able to look at them after and check if they were OK. C'est la vie I am afraid.
      I apologise that my posts have got further and further apart, I have so much to put into them but time has become more and more difficult. I am posting as often as I can, but I feel at the moment this whole year which has given me so much is just not going to print. I hope that I can catch up and post more often but it does not look like it will happen in the near future. Before retirement I went to work and had time, now I do not go to work but time is at a minimum!! I am happy that you have enjoyed my post despite there being no video and I will be happy to see you return. Have a good week Diane

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  20. Is it not funny how retired people have less time than 'working' people ? Hard to believe and hard to explain ! Thanks for your visit ! It is always so much appreciated

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    1. It is very strange but there is just no spare time in our lives now where before we fitted so much in including work. I do not get it all! Keep well. Diane

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  21. Great photos, Diane! The church is gorgeous with the beautiful stained glass and all. And the gypsy wagon is pretty cool. What a way to get around. I see your comment above and so agree. I have no idea how I got everything done when I worked every day, and time just seems to get away from me now with so much to do.

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    1. Thanks so much Pam. It is strange isn't it that we have less time now we are retired, does not make sense but we all seem to be the same. I would love to go on holiday in that gypsy wagon, it looks like fun. Keep well Diane

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  22. a lovely post Diane and amazing pictures like always:)

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    1. Thanks Gloria, I always appreciate your comments. Keep well Diane.

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  23. always enjoy your tour photos. must be fun riding on that caravan! have a good week, diane !

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    1. Lena I have to agree that caravan looks like a great way to have a quiet holiday. Have a good week Diane.

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  24. Hi Diane .. what lovely shots .. and clever engineering with the canals. I can't believe how far the Romans, Normans and Vikings travelled ... no doubt many others of our ancestors too.

    I love the repairs that are being carried out - the glass work, and the ceiling ... so fascinating to see ... and oh what a bicycle tour in the sunshine would do to my morale .. not sure my butt could sit on it for too long!

    La Rochelle is very tempting to visit ... a girl-friend many years ago in Ireland was going to set up with a gypsy home like that one .. she never did sadly .. but we enjoyed using it as an extra room when I was staying there.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary I hope that you are feeling better. It amazes me the engineering feats of the old days without the equipment that we now have, and it all lasted so much better than things which are built today!!

      We would have loved to have taken our bikes but we have done little cycling this year. Nigel has been having treatment for a wonky knee and I have not had enough time.

      I would love one of those caravans, yes even as a spare room it would look pretty in the garden :-)

      Take it easy and hope all is on the mend Diane

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  25. I am always a fan of stained glasses in old churches@!

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