Thursday, June 30, 2016

Colmar Street Scenes

Today was a long train-travel day, from Colmar to Strasbourg to Offenberg to Berlin. No opportunity for photography (except a bit in the evening after dinner in Berlin), so I'm presenting some photos of people on the streets of Colmar. This is pretty much what the streets Looked like: teenagers, families, workers, tourists, shoppers, photographers, bicyclists, musicians ... working, eating, walking hither and yon, or just relaxing against ancient, colorful walls.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Four Places in Colmar

This is our last day in the old and colorful town of Colmar, in the Alsace region of France. We visited four of the most notable sites. Fortunately the town is compact, so all were within easy walking distance.

The Market Hall:



Hungry travelers

Auguste Bartholdi Museum. Bartholdi designed the Statue of Liberty, and was a very prolific sculptor generally:

The house where Voltaire lived for some months in 1753. It's not clear whether the blackened wood is the result of a fire or just aging:

Musee Unterlinden: An attractive museum housed in two neighboring old buildings—a convent and a fire house—that were connected and renovated according to the designs of the architects Herzog and de Meuron (who also remodeled the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis).

A stairwell

Adoration of the Magi - a carving as large and detailed as a painting

In a pleasant modern gallery

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Colmar is an intensely picturesque town, due to its age (Middle Ages, Renaissance, up to the present), impressive architecture, and thoughtful preservation. Today, the lively sky and vivid light added to the effect. In addition, the people (tourists and natives) on the streets enlivened the scene.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chinon to Colmar

Early this morning we drove our rental car from Chinon to St. Pierre des Corps, took the fast (up to 308 km/h) train to Strasbourg, and then a normal train to Colmar, an old and picturesque town in Alsace where we'll be until Thursday. Here are some photos from the day.

Waiting for the train to Strasbourg

Colmar street lined with colorful, half-timbered houses

Colmar is often called "Little Venice", because of the canals of the River Lauch that run through it. The windows and other decorations on the red house are trompe l'oeil.

Flowers on the railing of our outdoor restaurant, over reflections in the canal

Feral black cat hunting for birds in a garden near the restaurant

Watching the evening scene. Blue shirt, blue shutters

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chenonceau and Leonardo

Two Loire Valley chateaux today, about an hour drive east from Chinon: the Chateau de Chenonceau near the small village of Chenonceaux, and the Chateau du Clos Lucé in Amboise. Both are notable, but for quite different reasons. Chenonceau is one of most famous chateaux in France, because of its size, its location spanning the River Cher, its ornate elegance; and also because, for part of its long history, it was the source of contention between King Henry II's queen and his mistress. (See Wikipedia).

View from a formal garden along the river

Upper half of the elegantly carved entry door, with ceiling arches in the background

Fireplace in the kitchen, which has the biggest collection of copper pots we've ever seen

Bed of the mistress, Diane of Poitiers

Roses in one of the many spectacular flower arrangements in Chenonceau

The Chateau du Clos Lucé is notable because Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life there (1516–1518) as the guest of Francis I, who gave him the small chateau, connected to the royal Chateau d'Amboise, as recognition of his stature as an artist and his utility as a military engineer. The exhibits in Clos Lucé largely focus on his inventions, but reproductions of the three paintings he brought to France from Italy are also prominently displayed.

Two views of a reconstruction of Leonardo's workroom

A holographic video, showing Leonardo discussing the Mona Lisa with a friend

Children playing with a life-size model of Leonardo's design for a tank, in the garden of Clos Lucé

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chinon: Wine and Castle

Chinon (the region) is one of the important, though less well known, wine-growing appellations in France. We toured one of the wineries, Domaine de Noiré, this morning. It's a favorite of the B&B in which we are staying.

The guide showing us the clay vessels in which some of the wine is aged. 
(Most is aged in stainless steel)

Guide pouring samples of the excellent rosé

In late morning we walked up the steep hill behind Chinon (the city) to visit the Chateau of Chinon, A view from the path down to the town showed this colorful plot of wildflowers alongside one of the very old buildings.

The round Fort du Cordray in the chateau complex guards the bridge agross the Vienne River 
which runs through Chinon.

A view from the Fort du Cordray shows the royal flags and the vineyards so important to Chinon.

A view in the opposite direction shows the roofs of the old city along the Vienne.

On exhibit in the chateau is a room in which the Queen's stylish clothing and furs were made. 
On the table is a facsimile of her crown.

Carved on one of the old buildings in Chinon, this mysterious creature.