31 March 2023

L'église Saint-Symphorien d'Azay le Rideau

After lunch on that day in March 2017, we took a little tour of the church in Azay-le-Rideau, l'eglise Saint-Symphorien. There's been a church on this site since the 6th century. It was restored by the monks of the Abbaye de Cormery in the 11th century, and then enlarged in the 12th. It was further modified in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The old stained-glass windows in the church were destroyed during the Second World War. They were replaced in 1955 with modern windows under the direction of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts working with the artist and master-glazier Max Ingrand.

30 March 2023

Azay-le-Rideau in March 2017

It was in March of 2017 that we drove over to Azay-le-Rideau (famous château) to have lunch before driving on to Chinon (another famous château) to meet Natasha the Sheltie for the first time. We walked around Azay to find a restaurant, and I took these photos. We chose the restaurant in the photo to the left because we liked the menu. It wasn't warm enough to eat outside. The food was good.

29 March 2023

Après la neige, le soleil

Just more snow photos today. I took these on my birthday in March 2006. We had been here for nearly three years, and we were getting used to the weather here. We had snow in 2004 and 2005. We weren't used to it, even though Walt grew up in Albany, NY, and I spent 5 years back in the 1970s in Champaign-Urbana, IL. We had also lived for four years in Washington DC. Still, the snow here was exciting because it was beautiful, and because we didn't have to go out in it except for walks in the vineyard with the dog.

28 March 2023

March snow

I took these pictures earlier in March than the ones I posted yesterday. This was early March 2006. It snowed on March 4, the day before my birthday. Back then, we seemed to have a few snowy days every winter. I don't know exactly when that changed, but it's been a while now since we've had a good snowstorm.

The first two photos above show the view off our front deck and a view of our neighbors' house and yard across the street on that March 4 nine years ago. The photo on the right shows the linden tree in the back yard that had so many gendarmes on it in yesterday's post.

The last two photos below show our back yard and the path that runs through it to the back gate on that snowy March day. The last one is a photo of our dog Collette, who was already 14 years old. She would die a couple of weeks later after suffering a severe stroke. She had been with us since July 1992, when we rescued her from an animal shelter in California.

27 March 2023

Mars 2013 (2)

This is what our back yard looks like in mid- to late March. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves, but the "grass" (native plants, really) stay green. New growth is appearing, as with the sedum plants just above. It's springtime, though snow can't be ruled out.

All around the yard, and especially under the linden tree (le tilleul [tee-YULL] near the house and visible above left), these little red and black insects called gendarmes appear en masse. They feed on plant matter and sometimes on other insects or larvae. We seldom see any of them in the house. As far as I can tell, they don't fly. Here's where you can read more about them, in English or en français. They are called "firebugs" in England, I think, and they have been reported to exist in small numbers in the Americas. I don't think I had ever seen one before coming to live here in Saint-Aignan.
Sometimes it's just fun to take pictures...

26 March 2023

Mars 2013 (1)

These are two photos of the church in the village where, officially, we live. Actually, our house is three kilometers (two miles) from this church and also three kilometers from the church and château in Saint-Aignan. Our village or commune has a population of nearly 1,200. There was a church here as early as the first century A.D. It was a wooden structure and was burned down by invading Berrichons (people from the Berry region just east of Saint-Aignan) in the sixth century. According to legend, relics of saint Martin de Tours, who died in the year 397, were kept in the church and miraculously survived the fire. (Relics are the remains of a deceased person.) The church was rebuilt using local limestone a milluneum ago, in the 10th and 11th centuries.

I took these two photos in March 2013 — ten years ago.

25 March 2023

Mars 2015 (5)

This is the Tour Saint-Jacques in Paris. You can read about it in English or in French on Wikiwand if you want encyclopedic information about it. Many of you might have noticed that this blog is not an encyclopedia. Anyway, see this link to some of my other blog posts about and photos of the Saint-Jacques tower.

24 March 2023

Mars 2015 (4)

Just one picture today. It's big enough to count as several pictures, though. This is the Paris landmark called the Colonne de Juillet, which stands on the Place de la Bastille — the spot where the famous Bastille prison stood until the 1789 Revolution Française. The column was built about 50 years after the revolution, in the 19th century.

23 March 2023

Mars 2015 (3)

In March 2015, I went to North Carolina. I'm not sure why I went. It was just time. A few days after my arrival, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lived for three more years, and I traveled to N.C. again later in 2015 as well as four more times before she died in 2018. I went there once more in 2019. And that was the last time. Now I'm really starting to wonder if I'll be able to go there again. I hope I will be able to.

One of the parts of such travel that I always enjoyed was the time I spent in Paris on my way to the U.S. Another was the actual time I got to spend in N.C. I never enjoyed flying on jet planes, even though I've flown across the Atlantic Ocean about 90 times in my life. That 45 or so round-trips, starting in 1969. That would be 50 years of flying back and forth.

I wrote about my trips from Saint-Aignan via Paris to N.C. in this March 2015 blog post. I had walked from the train station to the Marais neighborhood on the Right Bank because I wanted to have lunch over there. The restaurant I had chosen turned out to be closed. I found another one, though. That's it in the two photos below.

22 March 2023

Mars 2015 (2)

Pictures from March 2015. The big photo shows Bert the 17-year-old black cat. He still prowls and hunts. Yesterday he brought us two mice. The back yard is his domain at this time of the year. I guess I should have cleaned the window before I took this picture of him. The other photos show plants as they look in March here in Saint-Aignan. And other life forms. What's that old riddle? Why did the earthworm cross the road?

21 March 2023

Mars 2008 (3)

Just photos today. These are more from early March, 2008.

20 March 2023

Mars 2015 (1)

Having some difficulties with Blogger this morning. The software has crashed two times
as I've been trying to put a post together. These photos are all from March 2015.

  Sunrise                        Sunset

Châteauvieux, a wine village five miles from our house

  The back gate . . . . . . . . . . .  and beyond