Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Fontevraud Abbey Fall 2018

Gentle Freinds, one of the places I was really excited to see this year was Fontveraud Abbey. It was a resting place for both Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II.  Eleanor, one of the great personalities from history.... and was in succession... Queen of France, she got an annulment of the marriage from Louis VII after not given birth to any sons...,  then after Marrying Henry, Duke of Normandy she became  Duchess of Normandy and became a double Duchess..... then Queen of England when Henry ascended the throne of England.  She had been Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right since she was 12 or 13 at the death of her father.  She was one of the most powerful and wealthiest women in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. 

A movie I would highly recommend seeing is "The Lion in Winter." It's a 1968 film about Eleanor and Henry, played by Katherine Hepburn and  Peter O'Toole, and shows the power play between them during the later part of their marriage. It is supposed to have taken place at Chinon, it was filmed in Ireland and Wales.

Here's a tad bit more about this great Queen... Eleanor had been incarcerated by Henry II for years, but, She had the final laugh as she outlived Henry II, and then saw her son Richard I ascend the throne of England. One of the first things Richard did as King was to release his mother from prison... she eventually outlived Richard and most of her 10 children... she saw her son John ascend the throne of England.  She spent her last years at the Abbey and died here in 1204 at the age of 82
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Back to the Abbey...  we found parking and started walking down to the Abbey and passed this great small church, 

... Eglise Saint -Michel, built in 1170, and paid for partially by Henry II and Eleanor, it was expanded in both in 15th and 17th centuries....the wooden porch was added later...

... as you can see the stonework was mauled to add the porch...

... looking down the nave...


... this gilded wooden alter comes from the Abbey and was erected in 1621

... I would also suspect that this altar in a side chapel come from the abbey, both were moved here when the Abbey became a prison...

... one of the reliquaries saved by the nuns in 1793 and placed here for safe keeping... 
on to the Abbey...
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... a bird's eye view of Fontevraud Abbey I swiped so you can see just how big this place is...

... the west facade of the church...

... I'm not sure but I would think this is the Abbess's house or a house of someone important since it abuts the church.  It is now used by those working here as offices, 
the front garden was dry but well planted...

... as a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site, the entire Abbey is under restoration and you can see all the work being done... like these capitols at the front ...


... from the front door looking down the nave towards the choir and ambulatory...

Effigies of Henry II, 1133-1189 and Eleanor of Aquitaine - 1122-1204

... the Abbey was originally the site of the graves of King Henry II, Queen Eleanor, their son Richard I, their daughter Joan, their grandson Raymond VII of Toulouse and Isabella of Angouleme, wife of Henry and Eleanor's son King John.  However, there is no remaining corporal presence of Henry, Eleanor or the others on the site.  These remains were probably destroyed during the French Revolution.  Only the four effigies in the center of the nave are left in situ...and worth seeing...

Effigies of Richard the Lion-Hearted 1157-1199 and Isabella d'Angouleme 1186-1246
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... another shot of Eleanor holding a bible and wearing jewelry...

.... I really wanted to see these effigies, they are so important to the early Plantagenets and English history!!
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.... the ambulatory and choir...


...when this building became a prison in the early 19th century, the frescos were all whitewashed recently some of them have been uncovered...this fresco is of Raymond of Toulouse 1197-1249 and was near his burial spot in the abbey...

... lots of the decorative elements have survived and been restored...

... St. Mary's Cloister...



... the Chapterhouse is an open space with frescos and a ton of decorative stonework....rebuilt in the 16th century... a Chapterhouse was used for six things... 1 - daily reading of the word, 2- the culpa, public confession of faults against the rule, 3 - reading the obits, 4-the Mandatum ceremony ( foot washing), 5- part of the funeral ceremonies, 6-the way of the cross....

... inside the Chapterhouse... the frescos are scenes from the passion of Christ...

...in what was once the Treasure Room (emptied during the Revolution) is now a small museum with some interesting artifacts, including some portraits of past Abbesses'

Marie-Magdelaine-Gabrielle de Rochechouart de Mortemart, 32nd Abbesse 1676-1704 - O/C

... this painting is of the last Abbess, Julie d'Antin 1765-1797.  More than seven centuries of monastic life came to an end, government commissioners arrived at the Abbey in order to make an inventory of their possessions.  The Abbey was plundered of all its wealth and the property and buildings sold off as national property - the monks left in early 1792 and the community of nuns dispersed... on September 25, 1792, the 36th and last abbess Julie d'Antin left the Abbey fleeing to Paris whereas a 

The Infirmary

St Benedicts Chaple

... the Gallery/Cloister leading to the...

... huge Refectory...


... another view of St Mary's Cloister...

... there were some lovely late summer rose topiaries scattered all over the grounds...

.... these fat pink roses smelled wonderful and perfumed the area...

... this is the oven that is attached to the kitchen... all the turrets are chimnies...

... which we didn't see as it is a major restoration site at the moment...

... of course, we went underground into the cellars of the Abbess... these galleries and cellars cover several hundred meters.  The stone extracted to create them was used to construct buildings.  These cellars where made during the early 18th century.  By 1738 the Abbey boasted 3 seperate huge cellars.  Wine is considered sacred and is mentioned in over 400 citationas in the Bible linked to vines and wines.  Along with bread, wine is the key staple present at every meal.
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After all that touring, we headed back to the town square for some lunch...
... and this cute little Restaurant next to the Town Hall of Fontveraud...

... isn't this a great Town Hall...


... we'd been eating so much that I opted for a light lunch of Quiche and salat...and a delicious glass of wine!!  After lunch, we walked around the village...

... all the houses had tiny little front gardens with flowering vines... 
even with the lack of rain, things were just lovely...


... then we came upon a well that had a memorial plaque about the assassination Bernard Triquier by the Germans in June 1944...


... and on the way back to the car we walked past what started out to be a WWI memorial but over the years has become a memorial to those from Fontveraud that have fallen in any war or conflict ...



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There you sports fans, a wonderful village to visit with a ton of History to explore!!  
More to come...

Take care,
edgar

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Little Stitchin'

Gentle Friends, "Smith Sampler" is coming along and here's a really craptastic photo of where it stands at the moment...

... I took this on the late side and the lighting was bad so the color is waaaay off.  I was unable to get them closer to what they really look like, sorry.  But, you get the idea and am now moving along to the next section.
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There you go sports fans, thanks for stopping by do stop again!!

Take care,
edgar

A Little Stitchin'

 Gentle Friends, stitching away on the lovely Miss Quertier... and loving it to pieces!!  Here's a snaperoo... ... since I am not doing ...