I’m currently on a writing retreat, working from Dublin and doubling down on my extensive to-write list. I worked straight through two weekends here because my flat here is so peaceful and sunny. Now, I’m taking a day off for good behavior and pausing to post photos.
Here’s a glimpse of two sunny weeks Aongus and I spent in the South of France this past September. Ours was an outdoor adventure full of cycling, river rafting, kayaking, hiking, and swimming. We thoroughly enjoyed the dramatic coastline, the historic coastal cities and remote hill towns, the Gorges du Verdon, and the Cliniques near Cassis.
I’m sharing these pics to give inspiration for your next travel adventure–and ours, too!
Saint-Paul de Vence
Rougon and La Palud-sur-Verdon
Moustier St. Marie
Le Pont Julien
La Croix-Valmer & Ramatuelle
Vieux Nice, Mèdecin, and the Port of Nice
Promenade des Anglais and Ponchettes Beach
Farewell, for now, Nice!
There’s so much I still haven’t shown you–like photos from our June trip to Carcassonne, France. This town was restored to it’s medieval glory by the very famous architect, Viollet-le-Duc in the mid 1800s. His work was going on just before the American Civil War.
The place is in tip-top condition. It reflects Viollet-le-Duc’s best guess as to the walled city’s use and detailing many moons before. He did quite a bit of forensic analysis in this project! According to Wikipedia:
Carcassone was founded by the Visigoths in the fifth century, though the Romans had fortified the settlement earlier. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.
A visit to Carcassone in 2013.
A great walled town
Crossing the moat…
Entering the town…
…through a thick wall.
With it’s slender streets…
…and small plazas.
A stunning Gothic church…
…with lacy stained glass windows…
…a beautiful old pipe organ…
…and ample ambiance.
Its exterior laced with gargoyles.
An interesting caryatide.
A plan of the town.
A space between the exterior walls.
Down the hill and across the river… sits the new portion of Carcassone…
…canopies provide hints leading you in the direction of the new town…
…with its gridded street organization.
…and newer plazas…
…full of festivity…
While back in the old town…
…you can enter the most fortified area…
…to see the story of…
….how architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc…
…renovated the city in the mid 1800s.
Here’s the small inner courtyard…
…as viewed by Dave.
Info about the entrance….
…wtih drawings to show how…
…the gate operated.
This explains the wooden overhangs….
…shown here in drawing.
They were used to protect…
…soliders fighting along the walls.
A panorama of the large courtyard.
Art in the museum of stonework.
A courtyard of Carcassone….
…and one of it’s best known delicacies, for sale by the jar.
The town is especially beautiful…
It is dramatically lit…
…though the sun stays up late in the summer.
I’d forgotten how much I love Toulon, France. It’s a naval town, and the sister city of Norfolk, Virginia, where I live in the States.
The little plazas–scattered throughout Toulon–are amazing. Full of character and life. And, they are so close together that you’re never more than half a block from a lively public space.
Our Hampton University architecture program has worked with officials and urban planners in Toulon each summer since 2010 to develop design strategies for revitalizing the city using architecture and urban design.
This year’s HU students in the plaza in front of the opera house, on the way to an event.
Reception hosted by the Sister Cities organization in Toulon.
A sketch I made this year of a pedestrian friendly street in Toulon. We got to see inside an apartment on this street in 2010.
This refection photo from Toulon was part of my recent exhibition.
I’d never been to Uzes, France even though some of my Hampton University architecture students had. Uzes is home of the famous urbanist, Leon Krier, though we didn’t get to meet him there this year. We often use his book, The Architecture of Community, in my Urban Theory class.
Visiting Uzes made for a wonderful day of learning and exploring. I even wrapped with two decent sketches of my own.
Arriving in Uzes, Mason sent us off…
…into the market…
…and lunch on our own.
Then to work–sketching…
…and discovering details of the town.
Learning to sketch from Ray Gindroz…
…a famous architect and urban designer.
One of my sketches in progress.
A courtyard of Uzes.
A street in Uzes.
A small little plaza along a street in Uzes.
My sketch of the market square, after the market finished.
The trees make this plaza very pleasant.
Nimes is a beautiful town in southern France that is chock full of Roman artifacts. It’s where I met the Hampton University architecture students, mid-way through their study abroad program in France. I typically organize one of these trips each summer. This year, Prof. Mason Andrews had the whole cohort of third-year architecture students on the trip to France–some years we offer two different trips.
The new plaza outside Nimes’ train station
The organizers of the 2013 Hampton University architecture trip to France: Mason Andrews, Ray Gindroz, and Dave Chance.
A church in Nimes.
The Roman arena in Nimes.
An arch at the Place Marche.
The Masion Caree… freshly renovated.
Dave and his cafe gourmand.
A modern housing complex outside the historic center.
Today I am so thankful for so many different things.
Dave is one I am ever so thankful to have in my life. He’s turning 40 this Saturday, and I’m sad to be missing it. Here’s a little tribute to the love of my life.
Dava and Shannon in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. Once upon a time.
Dave and “baby” David, November 2012.
Shannon, Dave and Heather, Christmas 2011.
Dave in Bayeux, France.
Dave documenting WWII sites in Normandy, France.
Dave at the Eiffel Tower.
Dave documenting doors.
Reflecting Shannon and Dave.
Dave with his French espresso.
Dave and Shannon on Lourmarin, France.
Dave and Shannon.
Dave in southern France, 2012.