Sunday, April 08, 2007

Back To Paris

I remember that after we left Cognac, we drove through a pretty amazing thunderstorm on the way to Poitiers. The sky darkened to nearly black out in the distance while the sun shone where we were, and we saw some amazing rainbows. I tried to photograph one, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped.

A rainbow ends in a green field somewhere in the Charentes.

Poitiers, a city of about 86,000 Poitevains, was a blur. We were just there overnight and we got back on the road pretty early the next day. From there we drove due east to Le Blanc and on the way drove through a small town on the Gartempe river called Saint-Savin.

Sheep graze in the valley of the Gartempe river.

As the legend goes, Savin and his brother escaped from a Macedonian prison in the 5th century - they were in jail for refusing to worship idols - and headed to Gaul (France). Their executioners tracked them down and caught up with them on the banks of the Gartempe where they were beheaded. The priests buried Savin on a hill near the town that now bears his name.

The romanesque abbey church at St.-Savin.

St.-Savin is small (about 1,000 St.-Savinois) town, but it has a huge 11th century romanesque abbey church. We knew about it because we have a framed poster of it in our house. Ken got the poster when he worked as grad student instructor in the French department at the University of Illinois many years earlier. So, having seen the abbey church in the poster, we wanted to see it in person.

Who can resist a photo of the Château de Chambord ? We certainly didn't know in 1989 that we'd end up living down the road from this place.

At Le Blanc we turned north to Chatillon-sur-Indre. We entered the Loire Valley region and headed toward the Chateau de Chambord just to drive by - we had both been there before. It was on this leg of the trip that we innocently drove through Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, the place we now call home.

The nuclear power plant at St.-Laurent on the Loire river. On a clear day, when I'm up in the vineyard behind our house, I can sometimes see the steam rising up from this plant's cooling towers off in the distance (about 50 km from here).

From Chambord we crossed the Loire at Beaugency, where we stopped for lunch. I remember lunch being good; we ate in a small restaurant near the center of town. Alas, no photos. After lunch we drove north to Chartres, but the weather had again turned lousy (not enough good light for photos) so we took a quick look inside the cathedral and headed up through Rambouillet and Versailles and on into Paris.

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