Tag Archives: history

A stop in Tournon-sur-Rhone

Our walking tour in Tournon-sur-Rhone included the old city, with the high walls, and a walk across the bridge for a wine tasting and a stop at a chocolate shop.

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Part of the walls around the Old City

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Many buildings throughout the parts of France I have visited have these nooks with statues, often of Mary or a patron saint of the town.
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A door in the Old City
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Pedestrian bridge across the Rhone, leading to the vineyards.

Travels from Lyon

After a few days in Lyon, my two friends and I boarded an Amawaterways river boat to begin our cruise south on the Rhone River to Avignon. But before we left Lyon, we took a tour of Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse–an indoor market where the specialities of Lyon are found in abundance.

We tasted cheeses and meats (always with wine) and then dessert.

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Cheese tasting at the Market
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Macarons in many colors

We also took a walk along the river to the point where the Rhone and Saone Rivers meet. Along the way, we passed some interesting buildings.

Lyon is a city with a great deal of history and also innovative architecture.

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ONLY LYON at the confluence of the two rivers

A visit to Lyon, France

Last spring, I spent three weeks touring France, and Lyon was my favorite city (sorry, Paris). I decided to visit Lyon again in the fall and just spent another week there. The City still enchants me. Here are a few photos:

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A florist shop in the Old Ciity

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A fruit and veggie market next to the florist shop

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Doors of Lyon’s Old City

More pics from Mackinac Island

One of the things that makes Mackinac Island unique is that there are no cars on the Island, so transportation is via foot, bike or horse.

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Horse-drawn taxi
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Bikes line the streets

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Mackinac Island was an important part of the early fur trade but during the 19th century developed into a summer vacation destination. The Victorian houses and horse-drawn carriages are a step back in time.

We stayed at the Bayview B&B, built in 1891 and maintaining the charm of that era.

The Mackinac Bridge is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world. It connects the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan and can be seen from Mackinac Island. There are no bridges to the Island, though; the Island is reached by ferry from either Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula or St. Ignace in the Upper.

Art outside museums

Throughout my travels in France, I visited several art museums, and I also noticed art in some unexpected places. The main street in Barbizon, for example, featured mosaic reproductions of works by artists who lived and woked in Barbizon in the 19th century.

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Honfleur sits along the northern end of the Seine River and this outdoor wall art is representative of the nautical feel of the town.

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In Angers, this artistic garden in what had been the moat around the castle drew my attention.

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This mural in Lyon covered an entire building.

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I was in Lyon during Holy Week and came upon these Stations of the Cross. The juxtaposition of this modern interpretation of the Passion of Jesus on the ancient pillars was striking.

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In a holy place

When I walked into the Notre Dame Cathedral at Bayeux, France, two things happened.

First, I had a felt sense of the prayers that had been offered there over the years (the Cathedral was built in the 11th century), as if I was part of the communion of saints—I was joining my prayers to all the people who had prayed in this space over the centuries. Their prayers hung in the air, filling the vast space; I could almost hear their shouts of gratitude and cries of anguish. I walked into that communion of saints, and I prayed in gratitude for the opportunity to be there, to be part of this community of faith.

I was reminded of the tapestries in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and imagined a parade of people from the past, heads bowed in prayer.

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One of the Communion of Saints tapestries in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California
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Tapestries line the interior of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

(The Cathedral at Bayeux also has a tapestry, which depicts the adventures of William the Conqueror in 1066 and is now housed in a museum near the Cathedral.)

The second thing that happened when I walked into the Cathedral was a memory of a mystical vision I had almost forty years ago.

In the vision, I was in an old church like this one (I had been in Spain a few years earlier and had visited several churches like the one in Bayeux—stone walls, floors and pillars and no permanent pews or fabric to soften the church interior).

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Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral, Bayeux, France

When I had the vision, though, I was praying in the convent chapel at my parish in Pennsylvania.

In the vision, I saw myself lying prostrate on the floor of a medieval cathedral. I could feel how hard the stone was against my body and how cold it felt against my arms. Then, the floor began to shift and rise up, becoming a hand that was lifting me up, and I knew it was the hand of God. God said to me, “I will hold you.”

It was soon after that vision that I moved to a l’Arche community, and I thought of that vision many times during my time in l’Arche and how God held me.

Today is the feast of St. Norbert, an 11th century French priest who was known for his deep faith. The writing in the Liturgy of the Hours, says, “He spent many hours in contemplation of the divine mysteries and fearlessly spread the spiritual insights which were the fruit of his meditation.”

I wondered about the spiritual insights of my meditation, and then I remembered my vision. God will hold me.

God did hold me during my time in l’Arche, and I came away from that experience with a deep awareness of God’s care for me. Living in l’Arche was the most challenging thing I had ever done and also the most fruitful—I learned so much about myself.

The vision was a gift, a promise from God that I would be held. Almost forty years later, the vision still consoles me.

Whimsical France

My back yard garden is dotted with bits of whimsy–yard art and wind chimes tucked in among the flowers–so imagine my joy at discovering bits of whimsy during my travels around France. Here is a sampling.

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It is not uncommon to see animals on roof tops–here are two cats in Honfleur.
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Blue snail in Bayeux

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A person beneath an umbrella in a fountain in Bayeux.

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Giant-sized gardening tools in LeMans

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Blue gorilla in the Beau Arts Gardens in Angers

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Church gate in Albi

Extra touches

This was the first time I traveled with Overseas Advendure Travel (O.A.T.) and hopefully not my last. O.A.T. specializes in small groups and solo-travelers; we were eight people for our main tour (three more had planned to come but covid changed their plans), and I did not have to pay a “solo-supplement” to have my own room. Some other pluses were that we stayed in each location for several nights, giving me time to get to know a place a bit and also setting a comfortable travel pace. We did day trips and also participated in a number of activities that added interest to the trip.

In Barbizon, I took a sculpture class with Melanie Quentin.

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My artistic talents are somewhat limited; but it was great fun working with clay. I have a new appreciation for sculptors.

Bayeux is known for lace-making. We visited the Museum of Fine Arts and then I took a lace-making class with Cécile Roquier at the Lace Conservatory.

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Hand-made lace using bobbins. It took me a little bit of practice to learn the process of criss-crossing the bobbins to make a pattern.
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The project I worked on. The process is slow (perhaps because I was new); I added maybe six rows to this piece.
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Madame Roquier made these lace hearts and is selling them to raise money to support Ukrainian refugees.

From Carcassone (where we stayed inside the walled city), we ventured out to Chateau Auzias. We walked through the vineyard and learned about the pruning process. Then we toured the Cave, where the wine is made, and then we had the opportunity to mix our own red blend.

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Anastasia getting ready for our wine blending class.

At Maison Fleuret in Paris, we took a macaron-making class . Let me just say that making macarons is as much science as baking, and I have a new appreciation for all that goes into making them.

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The finished product!

Touring with O.A.T. was fun and educational. I am still on a “travel high” even though I have been home more than a month.