Thursday, 30 October 2014

Ladies in Waiting

This is Claudette in front and Célestine behind, waiting their turn to be seen by the Traction doctor a couple of weeks ago.
Loire Valley Nature: A new entry has been added for Tortoise Bugs Eurygaster spp.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Painted Church Ceiling

We've written in full about the wall paintings in the church at Lignières en Touraine before, but I liked this photo Simon took of part of the ceiling the other day and thought it would be nice to post about the church again. These two strips show Adam and Eve and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden above, and the parable of the rich man and the poor man below. They date from the 12th century.
Fungi Foray: The Association de Botanique et de Mycologie de Sainte Maure de Touraine has organised a fungi outing to the Forest of Loches for Sunday 2 November. Meet at the Pyramide de Saint Quentin (on the D31 road to Bléré, between Saint Quentin and Loches) at 2.00 pm. The fungi gathered will be displayed and identified in the carpark after the outing.
Loire Valley Nature: A new entry for Ceps Boletaceae has been added.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Palace of Poitiers

The Palace of Poitiers has its origins in a 3rd century Gallo-Roman building, but after the fall of the Roman Empire it became the seat of the Counts of Poitiers and the Dukes of Aquitaine. The original building was destroyed and a new one built in the 11th century. In 1104 the Maubergeon Tower was added.

However, the complex was badly damaged by Henry Earl of Lancaster (John of Gaunt's father-in-law) in 1348, during the Hundred Years War. What you now see from the outside is a late 14th - early 15th century building, dating from Jean I Duc de Berry's restoration in the Flamboyant Gothic style, with additional chimneys and huge glazed ogival windows.
The statues which adorn the unfinished Maubegeon Tower represent 16 of Jean de Berry's courtiers. Sadly they are in extremely poor condition and are encased in nets to prevent bits falling on passers by.
Today, this is the back of the complex. The front is masked by a monumental 19th century Doric portico and steps up to the entrance. The building now serves as the courthouse, so it has gone from being the palace of the Dukes of Aquitaine to the palais de justice.
We've never managed to get inside, even though it is theoretically open to the public. We never seem to be there during the hours they allow visitors in, and the public can also be excluded depending on what is happening in the law courts.
Behind the 15th century facade above lies a 13th century hall known as the salle des pas perdus ('the room of the lost footsteps') on account of its great size, which meant that the sound of footsteps disappeared into the vast space. Originally it was a dining room, built by Eleanor of Aquitaine when she ruled here.
Loire Valley Nature: A new entry for Tar Spot Rhytisma acerinum fungi has been added.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Forest in the Autumn

An étang in the Forest of Preuilly, taken last Friday.
For more about our walk in the forest, see Colin and Elizabeth's blog The Story of Our Life In and Around Braye sous Faye.
Loire Valley Nature: A new entry has been added for Soapwort Saponaria officinalis.
A new entry has been added for Spindle Euonymus europaeus.
A photo has been added to the entry for the flower longhorn beetle Stictoleptura cordigera.