30 March 2008

More views of Vendôme

The south bank of the Loir at Vendôme is a high bluff or escarpment that is known locally as La Montagne. And on top are the ruins of a medieval château. From the promenade at the top of the escarpment you get nice views out over the city.

View of the Abbaye de La Trinité from the Montagne

The most striking feature of the Vendôme skyline is the tall steeple of the Abbaye de la Trinité, which was founded in the year 1040 by a community of Benedictines. There had been Celtic and then Gallo-Roman settlements on the site for centuries, but the town really grew up around this abbey over the past 1000 years.

L'Abbaye de la Trinité at Vendôme

In the 11th century, Geoffroy Martel, Count of Anjou, returning from a crusade to the Holy Land, brought back a drop of liquid from Constantinople that was claimed was a tear Jesus had shed on the tomb of Lazarus. For centuries, pilgrims made the trek to Vendôme to see the « Sainte Larme » — the Holy Tear — especially those who need a cure for diseases of the eye.

La Tour Saint-Martin at Vendôme

In the Renaissance, a great church was built on the central Place Saint-Martin, not far from the Abbey. The church was demolished in the 19th century, but the bell tower remains as one of the town's main landmarks.

Les Halles, the covered marketplace, at Vendôme

For centuries, Vendôme was a county, presided over by a count. In the Renaissance François Ier elevated the county to a dukedom, and later Henri de Navarre became the Duc de Vendôme before he converted to Catholicism at the end of the 1500s and became the French king called Henri IV.

A branch of the Loir River at Vendôme

The Place Vendôme in Paris, where the Ritz Hotel, several expensive jewelry stores, and the French Ministry of Justice are located, was named that because Henri IV's son, the Duke of Vendôme, built a mansion there in the 1600s.

This is a stitched-together panorama of Vendôme from
pictures I took up on La Montagne.

1 comment:

Claudia in Toronto said...

Very interesting photos and story. I could have used "une Sainte Larme" this week for eye surgery (cataract) that did not succeed. So disappointing and painful.