The old and the new.

I think the ‘old’ in France is one of the things that fascinates us the most. Buildings that’s been standing for hundreds of years and people just use it as if it is the ordinary thing. Old, old stone houses with TV antennas and satellite dishes installed on the roof. That makes me smile.
When I visited the château in Auvers sur Oise the first time I was quite disappointed. They use it for a display about impressionism. I didn’t know that and couldn’t believe how they have just changed the inside! You can’t see any of the original architecture. I have to admit that their impressionism museum is very good, but still. Danie’s remark on my disappointment in the french was that they have so many old buildings, if they loose one, what does it matter? : )

A while back we went to see the French finals of the robotics competition. This ‘new thing’ was held in a town with a history dating back to the ninth century! This town is also very close to Le Mans where they of course have the all new car races. : )

Here in la Ferté-Bernard the Saint Julian gate takes you to the old center village. This was part of the fortifications built between 1470 and 1480… with the water canal flowing around it.

…a little man in an old carved doorway next to a little man advertising a new bakery.

…the very old town center where everyday life happens…

…and almost always a beautiful old cathedral.

and then there was the robotics competition… well that was a complete different story. You can imagine that with all the teams from universities… definitely nothing old or old-fashioned. : )

with lights, music and crazy mascots…

and loud team supporters making mexican waves…

and of course the ‘new’ little robots doing their tricks : )

So, I wonder what the Henry’s and the Louis’ (who still had numbers behind their names) would say when they see what their buildings are used for today? : )

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Being a tourist

For the last three weeks me and my mother visited quite a lot of places around here, like real tourists.

I thought that maybe I should just summarize what we have seen, a post per trip might fill the blog!

We walked around Pontoise with the beautiful Cathedral of Saint-Maclou.

Many impressionists also painted in Pontoise. The Tavet museum exhibits the work of some of them and then there is the Camille Pissaro museum, which actually does not have even one of Pissaro’s works. : ) They do have paintings that was done by his two sons, Lucien and George. The exhibition in the Pisarro museum are all paintings of Pontoise and that was nice, to see paintings done more than a 100 years ago and then as you walk through the town, you can recognize the streets and buildings they painted.

Pontoise, the Tavet and Pisarro museum… 

There are enough churches to see in Paris. We went to Saint-Chapelle, the small church with the beautiful windows and of course we saw the Sacre Coeur and the Notre Dame.

Saint-Chapelle…

We had crepes, croissants, Croque-Monsieurs and coffee… One day Danie met us for coffee. That was after we gave up standing in the queue to visit the Orsay museum, which we worked out would be more than a few hours. Well, we have learned that you never ask for a small coffee, as that is really small. So, when the lady asked us if we wanted medium coffees we said yes!

…and we definitely didn’t get small coffees!

a misty day in Paris… 

We found the padlocks on the pont des Arts. A sign of undying love for the two people in love, who locks it to the bridge and throw the keys in the Seine… and some men were ‘blowing’ huge bubbles…

From seeing Monet’s waterlilies in the Orangerie museum, through the Tuileries gardens, passed the Louvre, along the Seine, passed the Notre Dame we finished this walk at the Cluny museum to see the beautiful, old, large woven tapestries.

I did a post about Monet’s garden in Giverny before. Then it was summer, but this time we could visit it in spring. Also special with spring flowers and very nice to see the tulips.

… its definitely not all we saw, only a glimpse, but I didn’t want to bore you with the 2000+ photo’s that we took between the two of us. : )
…maybe the city of Rouen still deserves a post on its own.

Le Mont Saint-Michel

I just read that someone calls it the fairy-tale island of Mont Saint-Michel. You could describe it as that. This was a special place to visit. A four hour drive from us, but worth it for sure. I borrowed this photograph from their official tourism website…

at high tide… 

The road connecting it to the mainland used to be covered at high tide, but with modernization, probably for tourists, you can now reach the island at all times. When we were there it was low tide.

looking down from the abbey…

We couldn’t wait for the tide to come in that day, but they say it is quite spectacular to see. The sea pulls back about 15km, then the tide comes in at 1m per second!

mont Saint-Michel…

then walking through little alleys and up lots of stairs…
 

inside the monastery…

Today its a tourist destination with 3 million visitors each year, so of course there are shops and places to eat…

and we finished our visit with crêpes and caramel sauce at the well-known la mère Poulard…

a last look back as we drove away…