I Have Returned From France!

After having landed in France with a dead laptop and nearly non-working smartphone apps, I have returned to the states and have begun publishing my extended ‘Director’s Cuts’ at Daveno Travels.

I visited five cities although I did not follow through in visiting the outlying areas.

In Nantes I rode a mechanical elephant and a three story carousel, and watched a heron fly at Les Machines. I visited the Duchess Ann Castle, the Jules Verne Museum and a working print shop. I didn’t make it to the Apocalypse Tapestry in Angers, and I had hoped to pay homage at the tombs of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine but failed to make that mark as well. My endeavors to follow in Eleanor’s footsteps would fail until I reached Saintes.

In La Rochelle I climbed the three towers that guard this 12th century port, and visited the New World Museum which was very illuminating. I also took time out to film “Les Meduses” at the Aquarium, and filmed some of my favorites at the Automaton Museum, which are all on my YouTube channel.

In Niort I found the castle built by Henry II and his son Richard the Lionheart, as well as some cathedrals. The highlight of that city was the Mazette! a 19th century chateau with a history of its very own.

In Saintes I toured Gallo-Roman ruins including the amphitheatre, the Arch of Germanicus, and an archaeology museum. I lodged at the Abbaye aux Dames, where Eleanor of Aquitaine also lived for a short time when she was between husbands (the Kings of France and England), although I would not discover that until I started translating visitor guides this week. I also lodged for a night at La Porte Rouge, run by a recycled textile artist who sells her stuff in the States…what are the odds!

My final stop was Carcassonne, a 14th century fortified city and a UNESCO Heritage site, whose cathedral has some of the most beautiful glass I have yet seen. I walked around the fortification twice – once along its battlements and again on the path that lays between its inner and outer walls. I took a few strolls around the Bastide St. Louis, which is the 18th-20th century section of the city, and toured their famous Midi Canal by boat.

My flights ultimately made their connections, although two were boarding as the plane I was on was pulling up to the terminal. The trains mostly ran on time and remain my favorite mode of transportation in Europe. I didn’t bring home a lot of inspiration for new textile projects, though I now have a burning desire to learn to read French…

My Director’s Cuts publish nightly at 6:30 PM at my travel website. A couple of articles with textile-related content will extend onto this website in the coming weeks.

I have a lot of photos to sort and even more writing to do. Stay tuned : )

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