31 January 2024

Farmers closing in on Paris and Rungis

I'm probably overdoing it with the wintertime sunrise and sunset pictures. That said, here are a few more. These are the kind of outdoor pictures I can take in the winter months because usually it's either too gray and gloomy or too frigid outdoors for photography. I often take sunrise photos out of our kitchen window.

As for the farmers, the news this morning is declaring the standoff with government authorities une impasse — a stalemate. The farmers and their tractors are moving toward Paris, which the government has asked them not to do. They are also making noise about blockading the gigantic food market at Rungis, just south of the city. Rungis is the largest fresh foods market in the world, says French Wikipédia. Almost all the food we consume comes from there. It's still dark here. We'll see what daylight brings. This is all great theater...

30 January 2024

Farmers on the move... slowly

I don't know if these links will work in the U.S., but I'll post them anyway. Everything in France right now is about the country's farmers protesting government agricultural policies by driving their tractors and harvesters on the main roads (autoroutes) around Paris and other major cities to tie up traffic. Here's a link to an article and video in English on the France 24 news channel.

I went to the supermarket yesterday morning and got caught up in a demonstration by farmers driving their tractors across the bridge from Saint-Aignan over to Noyers-sur-Cher, where there's a big traffic circle and an Intermarché store. There were a dozen or more gendarmes around the traffic circle and there 20 to 30 farmers driving their tractors across the bridge to slow down car traffic and express their anger about reforms and new laws the government has imposed on them. Here's a link to a report and video in French on France 24.

You'd probably prefer not to be behind one of these slow-moving engins (a generic term for farm equipment in France) on a main highway, or have one coming at you on a narrow bridge or country lane.

Here's an excerpt from an article published this morning in our regional newspaper:

...des centaines d’agriculteurs barrent depuis lundi huit grands axes autoroutiers desservant Paris, pour continuer à mettre la pression sur le gouvernement de Gabriel Attal. Sur certains points de blocage, les agriculteurs se sont organisés pour tenir jusqu’à jeudi, avec tours de garde et renforts prévus mardi.

Tout autour de Paris, la circulation est fortement perturbée avec des portions fermées à quelques dizaines de kilomètres de la capitale, selon le site Sytadin. Paris elle-même n’est pas bloquée, ni le marché vital de Rungis (Val-de-Marne) et les aéroports parisiens.

Le gouvernement laisse faire et encadre les manifestants, mais veut empêcher que les tracteurs n’entrent dans «Paris et les grandes villes
», le ministre de l'Intérieur Gérald Darmanin demandant de la «modération» à ses troupes.

Le reste de la France, lui aussi, connaît des barrages et manifestations, comme à Lyon. Une source policière a compté plus de 3.000 agriculteurs mobilisés lundi dans tout le pays, avec près de 2.000 engins. Un tiers est dans le Sud-Ouest.

29 January 2024

In and around the Rénaudière "hamlet"

Have there been reports of the current French farmers' strikes and protests in the U.S.? The protesters' plan for today is to block all the major roads (autoroutes) that lead into Paris and to the gigantic wholesale food market south of the city, called Rungis. I think I'll have to go to the supermarket this morning to see if fruit, vegetables, and meat products are still for sale. The farmers are trying to force the government to lower taxes on diesel fuel used in farm equipment. They say they can't make a decent living under the the current regulations. Out here in the country everything is calm, but around Paris and other big cities things are pretty messy.

Above are some more pictures I have taken in Januaries past.The first picture shows our house as it looked in 2008. The second shows our Blois neighbors' country house. It's been empty for a month or so now. The pheasant in the third photo turned up in our back yard one day. We've had another one in the yard several times this winter. Finally, there's the dirt road through the vineyard with our house in the distance, and of a couple of sunrises.

28 January 2024

In and around the Renaudière vineyard in January 2008

Our outdoor thermometer says that the temperature here is just barely above 35ºF right now. This weekend, however, the days have been bright and the afternoons mild. Yesterday afternoon, I didn't need to put on a heavy coat to go out walking with Natasha. I just threw on a fleece jacket (une vest polaire) and headed out. This morning, I'll need my heavy coat again, and a hat and gloves.  Still, since January 1, we've had eleven days with twenty minutes or less of sunshine. On eight of those days, there was no sunshine at all. On the other hand, we've also had eleven days with no rain.

27 January 2024

26 janvier 2008

A frosty morning in the Renaudière vineyard — I think it was freezing fog.

26 January 2024

31 janvier 2006 entre 8h00 et 8h30

Sunrise pictures taken in the Renaudière vineyard outside Saint-Aignan (Loir-et-Cher)

25 January 2024

Off the beaten path in January

The village of Orbigny is just seven or eight miles southwest of Saint-Aignan. It's only six miles from the Zooparc de Beauval, which is now the most popular tourist destination in the Centre-Val de Loire region of France — a bigger attraction than any of the Loire Valley châteaux, with a million visitors a year. I wonder how long the Orbigny area will remain so agricultural and rural. The countryside out there is beautiful.

As you can see below, Orbigny has its own Renaissance château. It's the privately owned Château de l'Estang.
The Château de l'Estang is not open to the public except for a few special events in summer, as far as I know.

A few years ago, there was a hail storm in Orbigny that damaged the roof of the village church, which is dedicated to saint Vincent. It was being repaired when I took these photos in late January 2006. According to the town's Wikipédia article, the population has decreased from 1,400 in the late 1800s to just more than a thousand 50 years ago, and just more 700 now.

24 January 2024

Azay-le-Rideau : ce n'est qu'un au revoir

This is a set of more or less random photos that I took in 2017 at Azay-le-Rideau. The man in the black boots is a portrait inside the château. I have yet been able to identify it more completely. The view of the château with a section of wall taken out... well, I don't even know where I took that one. Inside the château? On a street in the town?

The stained glass window on the right is the work of an artist named Jacques Grüber, who was one of Max Ingrand's mentors and teachers.

The statue of Joan of Arc (below left) was obviously inside the St. Symphorien church. And Au Bon Vin de Touraine(below right) is a restaurant in the town. I think its specialty these days is pizza.

23 January 2024

Azay-le-Rideau : un vitrail de Max Ingrand

During the second world war, quite a few of the stained glass windows at the Église Saint-Symphorien in Azay were destroyed. Some of them were replaced in 1955, including this one by the maître-verrier (master glazier) named Max Ingrand. The scene depicted is the crowning of the Virgin Mary. It's a very large window.

22 January 2024

L'Église St-Symphorien d'Azay-le-Rideau

The Michelin green guidebook calls St-Symphorien cette curieuse église du 11e siècle, aggrandie au siècle suivant puis au 16e siècle. It continues: ..sur la partie droite de la façade à pignons [on voit] des élément de l'église primitif du 5e et 6e siècles...

21 January 2024

Une promenade...

...dans les rues d'Azay-le-Rideau en mars 2017.


We were on our way to Chinon to see a breeder of Shetland sheepdogs to see if we could get one from her. We did: Natasha. We didn't bring her home until May, after she was weaned, vaccinated, and registered. By the way, we had lunch that day at the restaurant called La Salamandre (photos above), which seems to have gone belly-up during the covid pandemic and has been replaced by a much more upscale restaurant called L'Épine (The Thorn). A new place to try...

20 January 2024

Azay-le-Rideau views and reflections

I mean reflections on calm waters, not thoughts. The top three photos here are ones I took in October 2000. The last one is what we saw when we went back in 2017. Scaffolding and tarps. We decided to walk around in the village instead of going into the château or onto the grounds. We found a place to have lunch and then continued our drive to Chinon, where Tasha was waiting for us to come and take her home.