Château de Chaumont – Part 2

The is the second post in my series of posts about Chateau de Chaumont.  The first post focused on the outside of the chateau, and this post features photographs from the stables.

The stables at Chateau de Chaumont were designed by Paul-Ernest Sanson and were built in 1877.  At the time, they were the most modern stables in all of Europe; to me, they even looked modern for today’s standards — they were also beautiful.  The stables were divided into multiple sections — there were stalls for “half-blood” horses (carriage horses), saddle horses (full-blood horses), and ponies.  There was also a small, indoor riding arena where horses could be worked on lunge lines.  The Chateau de Chaumont website has a ton of information on the stables.

This is what the stables look like from the outside, as you approach them from the chateau.

The round “thing” to the right of the photograph below is the indoor arena.

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Château de Chaumont – Part 1

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After we finished up at Château de Chenonceau, we headed over to Château de Chaumont.  At Château de Chaumont, we bought tickets for both the chateau and the International Garden Festival (which is adjacent to the chateau).

Château de Chaumont is located in Chaumont-sur-Loire, a small commune in France’s Loire Valley.  According to Wikipedia, the chateau was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois.  In 1560, the chateau was acquired by Catherine de Medici.  When her husband, Henry II died, Catherine made her husband’s mistress, Diane de Portiers, give her Chateau de Chenonceau in exchange Chateau de Chaumont.  In 1840 the French Ministry of Culture classified Chaumont as a historical monument.  Marie-Charlotte Say purchased the chateau in 1875.  She restored the chateau and planted gardens, and her husband commissioned the stables.  The donated Chateau de Chaumont to the French government in 1938.

I’m planning on creating several posts with photographs from Chateau de Chaumont.  This post will feature photographs from the outside of the chateau.  A second post will feature photographs of the chateau’s beautiful stables.  A third post will feature photographs from the International Garden Festival (that one may actually require two posts).

The buildings that we passed as we made our way to the chateau were lovely!  This building, covered in beautiful, red and white roses, caught my eye.

The grounds around the chateau were beautifully landscaped.  I was particularly excited to see these entirely white foxglove.  I planted one foxglove in my garden a few years ago, and it did well that year, but it never came back.

The photograph below was taken just outside of the chateau — you can see part of the chateau on the left-side of the picture.

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Bayeux

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We stayed at the Churchill Hotel in Bayeux while we were in Normandy.  It was the hotel that Winston Churchill stayed in when he was in Bayeux.  Bayeux was the first city to be liberated on D-Day (by Great Britain), so today it looks much like it would have looked during WWII.  The population of Bayeux is ~13,000, so it’s a decent sized town.  Bayeux was founded during 1 B.C. as a Gallo-Roman settlement named Augustodurom, in honor of Emperor Augustus.  I wasn’t a fan of the food in Paris; however, I did enjoy the food in Bayuex.  I ate a traditional Norman chicken dish, Poulet Vallée d’Auge, at two different restaurants in Bayeux.

There is one iconic building missing from this blog post — the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Bayeux.  Photographs of Bayeux’ beautiful cathedral can be seen in this blog post.

The Churchill Hotel is on the left of this photograph.  The grocery store, Carrefour, where we purchased our picnic groceries is adjacent to the hotel.


Rue Saint-Jean

Rue des Teinturiers


I apologize for including so many pictures of the waterwheel.  I had seen pictures of it online prior to our trip to France, so I was hoping to come across it while we were in Bayeux.  It ended up being on the way from our hotel to the municipal parking lot where we parked our car, so we didn’t even have to search for it.  Each of these photos is a little different, so I wasn’t able to narrow it down any further.

L’Aure & Waterwheel via Place aux Pommes

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Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial – Part 2

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This is a continuation of my previous post about the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial.  The first post focused on the memorial, and this post focuses on the cemetery.

There are a total of 9,387 Americans buried in the Normandy American Cemetery.  Of those, 307 people are unidentified.  The cemetery covers 172 acres.  France gave the United States a perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery (free of charge and taxes), over which the American flag flies.

I felt so many different emotions as we wandered through the cemetery — sadness for the lives lost, anger, awe at the amount of love and appreciation still being poured out by the people visiting the cemetery, and ultimately admiration at the selflessness of all of the Allies who fought during WWII.  It definitely made me proud to see so many American flags flying in a foreign country.

“That road to V-E Day was hard and long, and traveled by weary and valiant men. And history will always record where that road began. It began here, with the first footprints on the beaches of Normandy.” – President George W. Bush


We were lucky enough to visit the cemetery on the day before Memorial Day, so I’m unsure whether or not this large quantity of flower arrangements is there daily or if this was something special because of Memorial Day.

Flower Arrangements


Arthur Porche
Louisiana

In Remembrance

Boyd C. Yount
South Carolina

A Comrade in Arms Known but to God

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Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial – Part 1

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Our France roadtrip included a couple of days in the Normandy region.  The one place that I HAD to visit while we were in Normandy was the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.  I wanted to go there for so many different reasons — to pay my respects, to see in person the cemetery I’d seen so often in pictures, to be able to put the horrific loss of lives into perspective, to see if the people of Normandy remember the sacrifices made for their freedom…

Our first stop when we got to the cemetery was the visitors center.  The visitors center contains many exhibits — we easily could have spent more time looking at all of the exhibits.  My favorite part of the visitors center was the video (you can watch it here), that included stories about 5 or so men who are buried in the Normandy American Cemetery.  One part of the video in particular stuck in my mind — a young bride was adamant that her husband’s body be brought home to the U.S..  Her husband’s brother was being interviewed, and he remembered telling her that she should let him be buried in Normandy because, “he earned that patch of land.”  After the video was over we walked down to Omaha Beach and then walked back up to the cemetery to walk among the graves of our American heroes.

One thing that I learned in Normandy without a doubt is that they still remember the sacrifices…and to me, that makes the loss of life a little easier to swallow.  We saw flowers and small, wooden crosses with paper poppies on them frequently during our time in Normandy.  It really touched me to see so many visual symbols of their appreciation.

I wish that there were some way that all Americans could visit Normandy, but I know that just isn’t possible.  I hope that my photographs help give everyone a better picture of the cemetery and help to remember all of the members of the greatest generation lost during WWII.

I had a really difficult time narrowing down which photographs to include in this post, so I decided that it would be best to split this into two posts.  This one will focus on the memorial and a subsequent post will focus on the cemetery.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower Quote

The French phrase book shown below was also in a photograph of two American soldiers hanging in the hallway on the second floor of Churchill Hotel in Bayeux.  Being the curious bookworm that I am, I wanted to see the inside of one of these books.  I ended up buying one on eBay.  A war-time language phrasebook is quite different from a phrasebook intended for travelers.  In addition to normal phrase book contents, this WWII phrase book also contains sections on reconnaissance, landing a plane, weapons and ammunition, and tools and supplies.

Military-Issued WWII French Phrase Book

General Omar N. Bradley Quote

Flags of the Allies

“In proud remembrance of the achievements of her sons and in humble tribute to their sacrifices this memorial has been erected by the United States of America”

The garden walls, below, (The Walls of the Missing) contain the names of men who are missing in action.  In some instances, there are bronze buttons next to the names.  The buttons indicate the few men whose remains have been found.  The walls contain the names of 1,557 men.

E pluribus unum

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Monochrome Monday – Brussels, Belgium

In addition to “wildlife Wednesday” posts (my first one featured pronghorns), I’m also planning to make “monochrome Monday” posts which will feature my favorite black and white photographs (thanks to the suggestion of a fellow Redditor).

During our first trip to Brussels we stayed at the Novotel Brussels Centre Tour Noire.  The location is decent, and it’s more reasonably priced than other hotels in Brussels — we’d stay there again in a heartbeat.  The hotel was adjacent to the Church of St. Catherine (Sint-Katelijnekerk), and we had a great view of the church from our hotel room window.  The Ferris wheel that is visible in the background was part of the Brussels Christmas Market.  We were able to ride the Ferris wheel a couple of days later.  Though the Brussels Christmas Market can’t compete with German Christmas Markets, we did enjoy ourselves — especially the ice skating, crepes, and Ferris wheel!

In my opinion, this makes a good black and white photograph because there are both black and white objects in the photo, as well as different shades of gray between black and white.  The lack of color gives both the church and the Ferris wheel an eerie feeling that just isn’t there with the colored version of the photograph.

Eglise de Sainte CatherineSint-Katelijnekerk & Ferris Wheel – Brussels, Belgium
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Eglise de Sainte CatherineSint-Katelijnekerk & Ferris Wheel – Brussels, Belgium
color

Amboise, France

Amboise is a small town in central France through which the Loire River flows.  We spent two nights at Chateau de Pray, just outside of Amboise, during the road-trip portion of our May 2015 trip to France.  We chose to stay in Amboise because it was a centrally located neat the chateaus that we chose to see while visiting the Loire Valley (Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau de Chambord, and Chateau de Chaumont).  Amboise is home to both Chateau de Amboise and Château du Clos Lucé (once home to Leonardo da Vinci), though we did not have time to visit either of them.  If we had had one more day in Amboise, these two would have been on the top of our to-do list.

We spent our days visiting chateaus.  The chateaus all closed fairly early in the evenings, so that left our evenings open to wander around Amboise.  Amboise was a charming city — so peaceful compared to Paris.  One note of warning — the small roads are charming for walking on and looking at, but they were definitely not fun to drive on (at least not for these two Americans)! 🙂

Hot air balloon rides are a common attraction in the Loire Valley; however, we read that the wind is unreliable and hot air balloon rides are frequently cancelled (and rarely refunded).  We opted not to risk losing money, but it looks like we would have been okay.  Regardless, it was fun to see such a cute hot air balloon floating over Amboise.

The restaurant below, L’Epicerie, was one of the highest rated restaurants in Amboise.  We were disappointed that it wasn’t open while we were there.

A cave home!  Troglodyte homes are fairly common in the Loire Valley.  We came across this one while walking to Clos Lucé.

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