Posts Tagged ‘France’

A wall lizard

August 15, 2016

These photos, taken in April 2008, was near Camon in the south of France. It was a warm spring day and the lizards were out.


It needs a bit of a zoom.


This is a wall lizard – the commonest lizard in France. It is probably a male. At home, in the south of England I do see lizards of the kind we call common. It was a delight to see these creatures in France.


What charming animals they are.

A moped

August 14, 2016

The year is 1974 and the location is Brittany in France. It was the first time I had been to visit our Gallic friends and neighbours and I enjoyed seeing how similar they were to us, yet with many differences to enjoy. In visiting Brittany I probably ought to compare with the west of Ireland rather than the more prosperous south of England. The lifestyle I saw in the parts of Brittany visited was certainly more akin to the west of Ireland.

But youngsters and older people were allowed to ride mopeds which to my eyes were of a fairly primitive kind and here is one from 1974 – forty two years ago.


This little beast is little more than a bicycle relying on pedal power. But that strange front carrier holds a little motor which I believe spins a wheel which rubs against the front wheel of the bike driving it along. It was a simple system which certainly allowed a peddler to let the engine take the strain. I can’t imagine it did much good to the front tyre which must have worn out quickly.

The brake levers seem to be mounted the opposite way round to our UK bikes – but I say ‘vive la difference’.

We can also see that the car behind has the once compulsory (in France) yellow headlamp. Then bike is not equipped with luxuries like lamps.

Interesting – and I never did see anything just like it in the UK.

Quimper Market

August 10, 2016

One of the things you don’t always notice in real time is that ways of life change – people move on. Looking back at older photographs can bring these things to the front.

Yet having said that, I can’t be sure things have moved on. Maybe there are still people selling a few odds and ends at market stalls out in Brittany in France. For it was at Quimper and back in 1974, that I took this photo.


This chap looked so typically Gallic with his beret. I just had to take a snap of him with his box of apples and splendid blooms. I find it hard to imagine that anyone would take such a small collection to a market stall now. Actually, I’d love to be wrong. It would be good to think this less grand scale style of life continued.

I think, though, I captured a little bit of an old France which has gone. This is being written after the awful carnage in Nice – no doubt always a far cry from Brittany, but who can say we live in a better world now?


March 10, 2016

All the English Wikipedia site says of this French place is Ouchamps is a commune in the Loir-et-Cher department of central France.

There’s more, as you might expect, on the French version of Wikipedia but it clearly is not a place on the main tourist trail. Wed got there in 2002 when we were being proper tourists, looking at the Loire Valley and even a couple of the famed chateaux. I note that the day we saw Ouchamps we also visited the well-known Chateau de Chenonceau.

But when I look through my photos from that day it is this one of Ouchamps which catches my eye.

Sheer beauty for me!

Sheer beauty for me!

This was in the March of 2002 and some early spring green is appearing on some of the trees whilst the tall thin trees (poplars?) still display winter gauntness. And to set off the scene there is a charming little barn.

To me this is real France – more so than the castles and grand homes found nearby. This is clearly a building needed by a toiling worker who tills the soil. Just lovely.

Finally, I can’t resist translating Ouchamps to ‘where field’. Somehow that sums up the picture.


La Tour Penchée

February 21, 2016

Having found that 1996 letter that formed the bulk of yesterday’s blog I spent a while looking at photos from 1996 and realised it had been a significant year for us.

It was the year my dad died. That was a blow for me as I rated him as my best friend – not just a dad. I still miss him and quite often, still, photos I take have him in mind.

But 1996 was also the year when post children life began. Not that children had left home by then. Indeed, daughter was but 16. But she was old enough to be left and, we felt, sensible enough too.

Our son was a university student at Canterbury and we realised we had the opportunity to take him and fit in a quick trip to France – just the two of us. And we first did this in October of that year. It wasn’t the first time I had taken a car abroad but it was still a real adventure for us.

Amongst photos I took – colour print film at that time – was this one.


This is close to Oye Plage – about 11 kilometres east of Calais and along the coast. Back in 1996 I captioned it ‘war time relic?’. I had no internet then to look things up on.

But now I know it is called La Tour Penchée or the leaning tower. It is a wartime relic.  The tower was built by the Germans to look like a church tower in the hope that allied airman would bomb that rather than the town a few miles south. Apparently, at the end of the war an attempt was made to blow up the tower. The attempt failed in its purpose and just left it leaning at about 20o. And there it still is.

It’s nearly 20 years on, but good to know what that building was for!

The end of the line

January 25, 2016

My title is a much used phrase, but in this photo it looks to be the total truth.


I seem to have the sun precisely behind me. That’s my shadow pointing at the end of a railway line, in the middle of nowhere.

This was on April 4th 2007 and it was in Normandy in France. We were staying in a bed and breakfast place at Miquetot not far from Fécamp and this railway was within a mile of our bed and breakfast spot. We were on our way to Le Havre with the intention of visiting the wonderful Malraux gallery there, but my eyes were drawn to an attractive little valley.


We went for a wander and came across this railway which actually, had been covered for a short distance only to make life easier for wheeled traffic needing to cross it. At the time I wrote that the line was heading for Fécamp.

As a person brought up in the south of England, I have a liking for the gentle rounded scenery of that area and, indeed, of the north of France. The presence of a closed railway line was something of an added bonus.

Fécamp, by the Way still has a train station and good service, but obviously not on this line.

The arena at Nîmes

October 27, 2015

We have plenty of classy Roman remains in this country but the Arena at Nîmes is something a bit special. It is a Roman Amphitheatre rather like the Coliseum in Rome.

We were there in 2006 and of course I have a ticket.

Not the most exciting ticket in the world so let’s look at some photos of the place. First of all from the outside.


Ah yes! An area was being ‘redynamised’.

Inside, it has new(ish) wooden seats. Performances are put on there.


It’s a sizable stadium.


From the top you get views over Nîmes.


What I couldn’t quite get was a view of the whole site. Well of course not as I was in it.


I copied an aerial view from a postcard.


That was a good visit – well worth the entrance price as seen on the ticket.



The Jura

August 7, 2015

I recently came across one of my very early bits of website, dating back to the year 2000. So how is this as a simple introduction to…

The Jura

Wonderful limestone scenery. Spectacular waterfalls. Amazing gorges. Fabulous flora. That’s the Jura!

First of all, the gentle Jura near Geruge


A spectacular waterfall – Le Grand Saut


The gorge at Pont du Diable


And a martigan lily near the top of Cret Pela



Gascony Cattle

April 21, 2015

Time for a train

No, I’m not talking about a train time nor even a timetable although I could recall table 28 in the Southern Region timetable of the early 1960s which covered services between London and the Sussex coast. For me that timetable was a totally straight forward affair but looking back with the benefit of a bit of age and (I hope) just a tad of wisdom, I can imagine it was an utter nightmare for most people.

But no, I just feel it is quite some time since I saw any kind of train on my blog and I decided it was time for one and here it is.


People vaguely in the know will recognise that this is no English train. This is in France and behind the train we see snow capped Pyrenees mountains so we are not that far from Spain. I have this photo captioned simply as ‘near Momtgaillard’.

Noe I know absolutely nothing about French trains but I will point out that this train is what gets called articulated. The three carriages have just four sets of wheels. And with that I’ll let the train pass and return to what I was doing at the time in April 2008. That was photographing cows.


These handsome beasts are Gascony cattle. They looked at me, looking at them.


They didn’t think much of me. They were off.


The real reason for departrure followed behind them. They clearly didn’t fancy the bull.



March 18, 2015

This is a lovely village in France. We have visited more than once but these photos date from 2002.


The A marker shows where Gerberoy is. Yes, it’s in the North of France. That’s about 55 kilometres from Rouen, 70 from Dieppe and  50 from Amien.

Gerberoy is quiet and beautiful with all sorts to see.


A street and a gateway arch.

Some kind of lookout tower.


Or maybe, it is a garden feature.



Interesting tile work.

I have recorded this as a chapel. I have to say it doesn’t look much like one.


And finally, the blue house.


What a delightful village.