Monday, 30 August 2010

Chapelle St Amans

The isolated chapel of St Amans
The tiny chapel of St Amans sits 680m high on the hills above Lunas. The site commands extensive views of the Escandorgue, the Orb valley and south to the Mediterranean. The chapel appears ageless but was, in fact, completed in about 1870. The site has had religious significance for much longer. There was a hermitage here in the late VII century, one of five hermitages around Lodève mentioned in a papal bull of 884AD. The exterior is quite plain with a large porch and a round apse. A simple cross adorns the roof above the door. Inside, the apse is painted blue with a polychrome statue of St Amans on the simple altar. You can see more photos and read about other chapels on my chapels website.
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Thorn Apple

Fruit and flowers of Thorn Apple
Many Thorn Apple (Datura stramonium) plants have appeared this year on disturbed ground in the Forêt des Écrivains-Combattants. This robust, annual plant is highly poisonous being a member of the Solanaceae which includes the Nightshades, Mandrake and Henbane along with the Tomato and Potato!
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Friday, 27 August 2010

River Agout, Cambon

River Agout, near Cambon
I went for a walk with Button, our dog, this morning. We passed through Pont d'Agout near Cambon. This is a photo of the river from the bridge.
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Monument, Forêt des Écrivains-Combattants

La Croix de Guerre monument
This monument is in the shape of La Croix de Guerre, the highest military award in France. It was built in 1931 by the sculptor Moreau-Vauthier to commemorate the writers that took up arms in defence of their country during the 1914-1918 war. It is at the main clearing in the forest which is also dedicated to the war poets and writers. An inscription on an information board nearby reads: "Tous ont ecrit de leur sang une page de courage et de gloire après avoir, par leur plume, participé en renom spirituel de leur pays pour lequel ils sont morts." which translates (roughly) as "All have written with their blood a page of courage and glory after having, with their pen, participated in the noble spirit of their country for which they have died."
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bread Oven

Bread oven near Fraïsse-sur-Agout
Communal bread oven (Four Banal) near Fraïsse-sur-Agout. Button is checking that no-one has left anything to eat inside!
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Madale from La Caissenole

Madale village
La Caissenole is the name of the highest point of the hill upon which stands the Forêt des Écrivains-combattants. This view, looking north, shows the village of Madale on the side of the Gorge de Madale. The forested hills of the Espinouse lie beyond.
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Copper Demoiselle

Female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx hæmorrhoidalis)
Several male and female Copper Demoiselles were active next to the River Orb near Bédarieux this morning. The male has a coppery red body colour, which is where the species gets its name.
(Canon EOS450D, Tamron SP90mm macro, 1/800s @ f/7.1, ISO 400)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Clermont l'Hérault market

Crowds at the market
The Wednesday morning market was at its busiest today. The market at Clermont l'Hérault is the best in the region and always attracts crowds, but mid-August is also the peak of the holiday season - so the crowds double! It's still a great place to visit.
(Panasonic Lumix TZ10)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Old Railway Viaduct, Bédarieux

Railway Viaduct, Bédarieux
The 37 arches of the old railway viaduct at Bédarieux make an imposing sight. The viaduct is 713m long and 20.5m high at its highest point. The railway was built in the 1850s to transport minerals from the mines in the area to Béziers in the south and Millau in the north. This line was closed in the early 20th century and later replaced with another which follows a slightly less demanding route.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 21.0mm, 1/1000s @ f/5.6)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Praying Mantis

Hello, nice to (m)eat you!
A close-up portrait of a female Praying Mantis in our garden.
(Canon EOS450D, Tamron SP90mm, 1/400s @ f/5.6 ISO 1600)

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Le Château Bas, Boussagues

Le Château Bas, Boussagues
This 12th century fortified château was built about 1150 for the Seigneurs de Boussagues. It fell into disrepair in the 1300s and was restored in the 16th century when the North tower and North wing were added. Abandoned again, it was bought and restoration began in th early 20th century. Recent restoration work has been carried out by our friends Maggie and Nigel who live here. You can find more about the château and the village on their website.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17.0mm, 1/500s @ f/5.6)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Le Château Haut, Boussagues

The Donjon of the Château Haut at Boussagues
This massive building was the upper castle in Boussagues. It was constructed as a defence position in the 12th Century. It is not open to the public and I believe is in use as a private dwelling.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 23mm, 1/1600s @ f/5.6)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Chapelle du Trinité, Boussagues

Ruins of the Chapel of the Trinity at Boussagues
Only the shell now remains of the 13th century Chapelle du Trinité. It would have been an imposing building situated above the village of Boussagues but it was never completed. It was being built because Boussagues had a population of 3000, believe it or not, and it needed another Church. The Black Death came and wiped most of them out and it was not needed.. Nowadays, the modern cemetary is situated in the grounds of the ruined chapel.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 17mm, 1/160s @ f/8.0)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Maison Bailli, Boussagues

Maison Bailli
This attractive 16th century house in Boussagues was the residence of the Bailiff or Mayor of the town. Rumour has it that it was later used as a home by the painter Toulouse-Lautrec! The tower is topped by a pigeonnier or pigeon loft. In the 15th century pigeons were used as a means of communication by the aristocracy (as well as for food!)
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 23mm, 1/250s @ f/8.0)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Boussagues

The ancient fortified village of Boussagues
Boussages, in the commune of La-Tour-sur-Orb, is an ancient fortified village dating from at least the 9th century. This view shows some of the historic buildings. Number 1 is the Donjon of the Château Haut (12th century), 2 is the Château Bas (12th century, the home of friends of mine), 3 is a superb 16th century mansion "Maison Bailli", 4 is the medieval prison and 5 is the ruins of the 13th century Chapel of the Trinity and the current cemetery. Further photos of this interesting village to follow later.
(Canon EOS450D, Sigma 17-70mm @ 44mm, 1/60s @ f/11)
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