Friday, November 14, 2008

Roof Lines

These are images of the Abbey at Fontevraud, near Chinon in the Loire Valley. The place is well worth a visit if you're in that area. It's quite a distance from us, though (about 2 hours by car), so we don't get over there often.

Pointy, sloping roofs.

Fontevraud might be best known as the final resting place of King Henry II Plantagenet, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and one of their sons, Richard the Lionhearted. I think that, at least, parts of their bodies are buried there. When Henry was King of England, he spent a lot of time at Chinon. If you've seen the film "Lion in Winter," Chinon is where it takes place.

Sweeping, curvy roofs, with columns and arches.

The abbey church itself, originally built in the twelfth century, has been spectacularly restored, as has the entire complex. The cloister is magnificent. There is so much to see.

For now, I'll tease you with some of the exteriors.


  1. Richard the Lionheart has 3 tombs (which is a bit greedy, really). Fontevraud is where his body is buried, there is a tomb in Rouen where they buried his heart, and a tomb at Charroux containing his brain.

    Probably an exemplar of spreading yourself a bit thin!

  2. LOL @ Simon!
    Fontevraud is really worth the trip! Very impressive. And, as I recall, a nice cafe across the street!

  3. Walt

    warm weather here too - up to 14C but raining ( good time to go and catch the James Bond movie tonight).

    Some snow and -2C on Sunday and Monday.

  4. Fontevraud has a great free-standing, medieval kitchen. Also, the clean, modern design of the reconstructed cathedral is nice in contrast to the ruins it is built upon.

  5. Fantastic photos, I love the perspective. You get such a good sense of the intricacy of the designs.

  6. We've got a warm trend here too. We're supposed to hit 97°F today. Lovely!

  7. chm... 97°!?!? wow!

    Walt, I love the angles on that top photo. I'm looking forward to more of the inside! This is another of my very favorite culture topics: Eleanor of Aquitaine and the whole Capet and Plantagenet thing and the connection to William the Conqueror on the one side, and down to Louis IX on the other (who is, of course, St. Louis!). This is a major unit that I do with my classes. They see the movie, and they do research, and they learn medieval vocab, and I have a web page for it, and all that. I love showing them how the designs all over Ste. Chapelle (fleurs de lys and castles) are all related to Louis IX's Capet and Castille lineage back up to Eleanor and to Louis VII! I love it!

    And... I've never been to Fontevraud! I must go!

  8. I doubt that the abbey church was in ruins. Since it has been a prison from the early nineteenth century to the mid 1960's, it was probably in bad shape, but not in ruins. The restoration began at the beginning of the twentieth century and was continued after the abbey was vacated.
    Jean Genêt had been a prisoner there, and he tells about it in "Le miracle de la Rose".

  9. simon, I knew he wasn't all there...

    cheryl, it was a fun visit!

    beaver, it won't get that cold here.

    peter, the kitchen is very interesting with all those ovens and chimneys.

    susan, merci!

    chm, now you're just rubbing it in! Ah, desert life.

    judy, yes, you should go. Have you been to Chinon?


Tell me what you think!