mardi, octobre 05, 2010

les journee du patrimoine

This post has been a while coming! It's just been busy around here but the weekend of September 18/19 was so fantastic I didn't want this post to never see the light of day :)

My Dad and Anne came to visit the week before and sadly they left just before these "heritage days" as I guess you would call them, because I know they would have loved all of the activities as much as I did! Plus all the visits were free! We did a couple of tours last year.

First stop on Saturday was a guided tour of the stacks in Valognes. They only open once a year or for specially organized guided tours (but you have to be part of a school to get access to those ones). The librarian was really nice and very interesting. She explained the history of the library and it's collection (larger collection of medieval books than that of the Univeristy library in Caen!) Apparently one of the members of the bibilical school in the 17th century was an avid book collector and donated his collection to the church and should the school be closed to the city of Valognes. They have an extensive collection of pre-printpress books, all orginal maniscripts including quite a few illuminated ones.
It was unbelievable just to stand there, put on gloves and turn the pages! Fantastic!
Next, on Sunday Mystery Guest and I went to a few other locations. First stop was the castle in Bricquebec and had a guided tour of the castle.
We even got to go inside the tour and climb all the way to the top! That was fantastic especially since the inside of the tour is totally empty, the original flooring was wooden and has rotted away and not restored. You do really need to be on a specially guided tour to get the inside view. The guide told us some great tidbits on the history of the castle and live back then... for example, you know when you go to a museum and the beds are teeny tiny? "'Cause they were so small back then"? Actually people would sleep sitting up!! Only the dead lie down so the beds didn't need to be very long anyway!
The view from the top of the castle. Inside the castle in another building was a small museum with Norman life. One of the documents cracked me up... I don't know why but back in the day when using a printing press there was no difference between the printed letter "s" and the letter "f".... Case and point:
Je fouffigné.... LOL
Afterwards we trundled down to Saint Sauveur which has an equally cool castle as well as a museum for one of its well known writers (had never heard of him before moving here). I had wanted to see the museum but never wanted to pay the hefty entry fee. I'm glad I didn't pay! The museum is great, its really modern, lots to read and see and well organized. The only problem is that if you don't know who this guy is or the books he wrote it really isn't that interesting.
The bar across the street is named for one of his novels:

We finished up the day again with a guided tour of the castle in Saint Sauveur, again with a view from the top tour!
As well as a guided tour of the local abbey which had an amazing history of its own. There had stood an abbey in this city since the 10th century (when it was in the castle grounds) and on this location since the 11th or 12th century. When the abbey was abanndoned it fell into ruins and even was pillaged for the stones through the 18th century when a nun decided to restore the church to its former glory and add the adjoining building.
Again the guide was fabulous and really explained the history in amazing detail.
It was a long day but we go to see so much and it really makes you realize just how much history is within a 15km drive from the house... I love it!

Aucun commentaire: