I’ve just spent three days wandering around French towns with my friend Elizabeth; we met up in Paris (here she is sprinting ahead of me for the Gare du Nord train station, something we did more than once)

and went to the little town of Blois, on the Loire River.

Joan of Arc assembled her army in Blois before they marched to lift the siege of Orleans. The cathedral at Blois juts right above the roofs of the houses; you can see it almost everywhere you go,

and we spent most of one afternoon walking around and soaking up the atmosphere. It’s so much easier to write about a place once you’ve been there.

The next day we rented bikes and rode out to see the chateau at Chambord–a Renaissance estate built like a toy castle, in gigantic scale.

Chambord is surrounded by its own village and an enormous protected woodland. In which, apparently, Americans on bikes should beware. This is a warning sign I’d never seen before…

The last laugh was mine; I had marinated wild boar for lunch. It tastes like venison. (Thought I was going to say chicken, didn’t you?)

The next morning we took the train to Rouen, closer to the coast. Rouen has one of the most glorious cathedrals in France; here it is early in the morning, with sea mist all around it.

Rouen also has a Hundred Years’ War connection; Joan of Arc was convicted of witchcraft here and burned in the town square. This was not the end of fire for Rouen; the city was almost decimated by bombing in World War II (the old square at the center of town is almost all that survives of ancient Rouen).

More soon; I reached Oxford by train tonight and intend to spend the next few days writing and walking, one of C. S. Lewis’s recommended combinations. His favorite day, he once remarked, would be one in which he wrote all morning–“If a cup of tea could be brought to one at about eleven, so much the better,” he added–and then walked for three hours in the afternoon. I’ll give this a try and let you know shortly how it goes…

Showing 7 comments
  • Jeannette

    Wow. It looks just like Monet!

    I’ve done some work on the court of Burgundy; am enjoying seeing those parts of France.

    *and am very jealous*! 🙂

  • Lori

    Unbelievably beautiful, both the pictures and the thoughts connected.

  • Jill, The Crib Chick

    Jealous…does not even begin to describe it, lol.

  • Charlie

    Yeah … the problem with writing and walking is that my lines always drop diagonally when I get to the right side of the page. Good luck with that.

    If you go to the Bird & Baby, raise a pint for the office. (“This, my friend, is a pint.” “It comes in pints?”)

  • Amy in MD

    Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful photos! Enjoy every minute!!

  • Heather in WI

    Wow! Thanks for the beautiful pictures! I am completely jealous. 😉

  • Colleen in NS

    We had a couple from our church here on Sunday night, who are originally from England. They met each other at Oxford University in the 60s, and they told us (we had a group here) stories about life at Oxford – it was fascinating. One thing the woman said that she loved doing while she was there was walking around, knowing that she was walking in the same areas as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Glad you’re having a fun time – it’s fun to read about and see the pictures.


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