Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Tides of Brittany

They are the most extreme in Europe. This is the harbor at Cancale at high tide. (Please click.)

And at low tide.

Another part of the harbor at the two extremes.

This is the harbor at Roscoff at high tide.

And at low tide.

This is where we noticed that the owners of boats with keels do a clever thing. They attach poles to keep them from falling on their sides.

Here are some closer looks.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


During our car trip through Brittany, we were driving down from some low mountains and out of a patch of rain when we hit the town of Pleyben and saw this. We immediately parked and walked back to take some pictures. (Please click.)

The dark sky made it look extra dramatic but it was pretty dramatic on its own.

We found out later that it was an excellent example of a parish close, a type of religious architecture unique to Brittany.

The sculptural part of the structure is a calvaire (Calvary) which depicts the crucifixion but also other scenes from Christ's life.

Although it was made in the 16th century it seems very medieval.

The Bretons are a Celtic people with their own language (although it's not widely spoken today) and their own religious traditions.

As we were photographing the calvaire the sky was lightening up.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Mulberry Harbors

The first place that Madame Le Chef and I stayed at in Normandy was a five minute drive from the French seaside town of Arromanche. This town was one of two locations where the British established temporary harbors during the 1944 Normandy landings. The harbors were built in England and towed across the channel. They were called Mulberry Harbors. The other harbor was set up at Omaha Beach but was destroyed in an intense storm on June 19, 1944. The same storm damaged the Mulberry harbor at Arromanche but it was repaired and continued to function till it was no longer needed. Part of it is still there like an abstract monument to the war.

These pictures were taken on a rainy day.


This is a replica of the road ways that ran between the larger supports. This is part of a small but very informative museum on the harbors.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Le Mont-St-Michel Part 2

The street that ascends from the town gate to the abbey atop the hill is like a vertical Fisherman's Wharf without (thank god) the sea lions. It's nothing but souvenirs and snacks and we didn't take any pictures of it. The abbey on the other hand is a completely worthwhile goal. (Please click.)

The view of Le Mont in the distance is one of its delights and the other is the view from on top of it.

These are the vehicular and the pedestrian causeways that snake their ways out from the mainland. They're still under construction.

The sands around Le Mont attract plenty of visitors who have presumably checked the tide tables.

If you look closely you can see some visitors in this image also.

The abbey has it's own delights, like a garden sheltered from the perpetual wind.

Also a light filled refectory.

But the visitors concentrate on taking pictures of the view.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Le Mont-St-Michel Part 1

For us, Mont-St-Michel had it's strongest impact as a vision in the distance. We first glimpsed it across a field next to the road. It looked like an immense statue on the horizon. (Please click.)

That evening, it was visible over the marshy pastures across the road from our motel.

When we finally took a bus out the causeway to see it, it revealed itself to be a 17th century French town. It was not as magical up close.

We preferred the distant vision. I'm not sure what the sheep thought.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Found Art

Many apologies to my faithful readers. After not posting for a couple of weeks, we went off to France where all the hotels and B&Bs claim to have WiFi (pronounced "weefee" in French) but don't in actuality. We're finally back home and the bureau is once again open for business.

We paid a return visit to Père Lachaise cemetery where I recorded this tableau. I don't know if the young woman was doing this on purpose or just cooling her neck. Please click.

This is the front view of the soldier. The inscription says, "Remember, France!" From the uniform, he must be from the lost 1870 war.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

San Francisco Mélange

A truly odd trimming job is revealed by the afternoon shadows.

This mural is in the parking lot of Flax, San Francisco's best art supply store. The store must find another location by the end of 2015 when construction will start on some apartments. Decades of tight limits on building permits have left a huge demand for housing.


This is the above-ground footprint of the work on the subway to Chinatown. Two blocks of Stockton are shut down.

I have no idea who this is but he's at the heart of the Mission.

Time for some political art.

This last takes me back to my salad days but it's better done than its 60s' equivalent.