18 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 26)

Here area a few more photos of the interior of the Eglise Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Montrésor. The church was built between 1519 and 1541, during what has come to be known as the French Renaissance.

The "Stations of the Cross" — a series of works depicting Jesus on the day of his crucifixion — in the Montrésor church are in the style of the one on the left. The legend below the sculpture here says "Jesus stripped of his clothes."

The middle window behind the altar is an example of early Renaissance stained glass, according to what I've read. I posted a close-up of part of the window a few days ago. The style of the church itself is late Gothic, with Renaissance elements. Very few churches were built in the Touraine region in the 1500s, according to the Wikipedia article about this one.

The elaborate carvings on the wooden choir stalls date back to the Renaissance too. Like many churches, the one in Montrésor suffered major damage during the French revolution in the 1790s.

In the mid- to late 19th century the church was restored, as many churches were, when France became interested in its great historical monuments. Luckily, even though big parts of the church at Montrésor were dismantled and damaged, many of the elements you see here ended up stored in the church building and could be put back in place. The Polish aristocrat named Branicki who acquired the château in those years also financed much of the church restoration.

17 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 25)

Chateau sights... Remember that piano that my friend Laurie played... the one in the château that was played by Chopin in Paris before the piano was brought to the Loire Valley? On another trip to Montrésor, I went inside and there was another château visitor playing it.

And here's another picture of the exterior of the building that shows can give you some perspective on the size of the place because there's a man in the photo walking on the path toward the main gate.

And a video grab that shows how the château dominates the houses in the oldest part of the village. Remember, there are about 300 houses in the village.

Finally, a religion-themed photo for a Sunday. This is a painting that hangs on a wall in the château, not the church.

We have a big week coming up. Walt's birthday is on Thursday. We have a dîner d'anniversaire to shop for and to cook. On Friday, an old friend arrives from England. She used to live here but moved back the the U.K. a few years ago. We'll be really happy to see her again. Then, of course, Christmas is a week from tomorrow. Walt went to the market in Saint-Aignan and ordered a turkey, which I will go pick up next Saturday and cook on Christmas morning. Gobble gobble. Weather forecasts say the holiday season will be chilly but dry this year.

16 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 24)

Four or five more houses... The first photo shows a couple of them that sit under the tall towers of the medieval fortifications. Not really reassuring for the occupants, I imagine.

The house below looks intriguing. I'd love to see the inside. I wonder if the top floor is just one room.

Nice flowers in window boxes below. I'm not sure I understand where the front door is.

And you might recognize the house below. It's the biggest house in the village, sans aucun doute.

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We had a surprise "hailstorm" yesterday afternoon. Ice pellets fell fast enough to over the glass top of the greenhouse and dot the Velux roof windows, but the ice melted pretty fast because the temperature was well above freezing.

15 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 23)

The Polish aristocrat who acquired the château at Montrésor in the mid-19th century possessed, according to the French Wikipedia article about him, une immense fortune. He collected a lot of fine artwork to decorate the château and its gardens.

One of the most striking pieces is an enormous marble sculpture of "The Fallen Archangel" by an Italian artist named Constantino Corti.

In French, I've seen this work called « L'Archange déchu » but also simply « L'Ange déchu ». The fallen archangel is Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan), no? The sculpture was installed at Montrésor in the late 1860s, just a few years before the death of Corti (1823-1873).

The Polish owner of the château was Xavier Branicki. He was a hunter, philanthropist, art collector, financier... and the major of Montrésor from 1860 to 1870.

14 December 2017

Montrésor (nº 22)

Details and the big view... Going back through all these photos, I've come to appreciate the beauty of Montrésor more than I ever did before. Actually, four of these photos could have been taken anywhere in Touraine, the Blois area, or the neighboring Berry province. Montrésor has a lot of pretty places to compete with — including Saint-Aignan and Montrichard.

April 2006

April 2006          

Sept. 2012          

May 2006

May 2006

Except for the picture of the cat, I took all these photos in Montrésor on pretty spring days in 2006. The cat encounter on a village street took place in 2012, and the animal's green eyes and green collar on the gray background of its fur mimics the splashes of color — shutters, windows, doors, plants, flowers — on gray backgrounds you frequently see in French villages and towns.