Saturday, April 07, 2007

Royan To Cognac

The city of Royan seen as we approached on the ferry. The funky concrete building on the left is the church of Notre Dame.

We arrived in Royan, a small city of about 17,000 Royannais, and went immediately to see it's landmark church. The reinforced concrete church was built in the late 1950s. It's a pretty imposing thing from the outside, and very impressive inside. The city was more or less destroyed during the second world war and has been rebuilt in the modern style of the 50s and 60s.

L'église Notre-Dame in Royan.

The curious thing about Royan's church was that it was designed by French architect Guillaume Gillet, who just happened to be the husband of one of our instructors at the Alliance Française. So there was a connection - a bit of a stretch, but a connection nonetheless.

Here I am mugging it up on the ruins of the roman amphitheater near Saintes.

I don't have any photos of the interior because I had put the wrong speed film in my camera just prior to getting there. Now, these trips, as fun as they look, aren't all sugar and spice. Ken and I must have been cranky that morning because I remember we had a doosie of an argument about how I could possibly have put the wrong speed film in the camera. Or something like that... We made up later.

Children playing in the streets of Cognac. Their parents must have been inside drinking.

From Royan we headed inland to Saintes, where I think the only thing we saw were the ruins of the local Roman amphitheater. After stopping to climb around a bit, we were off to Cognac, where we took a tour of one of the big producers' facilities. I think it was Martell. The tour was informative and we got to taste some cognac. I think I've said previously that I love the stuff.

Vials of Cognac from various years lined up against the wall chez Martell. Cognac is almost always a blend of vintages aimed at producing a consistent, recognizable taste from year to year.

I have no recollection of where we had lunch that day (maybe Ken will), but after Cognac we pretty much made a bee-line to Poitiers for the night. We were nearing the end of our time and needed to head back toward Paris.


  1. I stayed in Royan a few years back with my daughters. I think the town's population increases something like twenty-fold during high tourist season. We were there at Toussaint and really enjoyed it. I somehow missed the church, though.

  2. Again, isn't digital photography wonderful? No need to worry about that roll of the wrong type of film. Just turn a dial or press some buttons and the settings are just as you want them.

    No memory of lunch that day. Maybe it was a picnic somewhere.

  3. Your picnics always look great. When I was a kid, I used to get lost in picture of people picnicing on the Apian Way. This was in a cookbook that we had. One day, I will have a picnic on the Apian Way, I would tell myself.

    I still want to do that.

  4. Betty, that sounds nice. We didn't see too much of the place. Maybe we'll get back there before too long.

    mp, do you have a spot picked out yet for your Appian Way meal ? I'm sure you'll get there one day.


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