OMG. I thought we were done with the pigeons. I did think I heard them a day or two ago but when I looked out, saw nothing. Today I am standing in the kitchen, doing a bit of cleaning and sorting before the Big Return. And one flies right up to my kitchen window ledge (it’s big). I slammed my hand against the window and it almost lost its balance as it turned to retreat. I am lucky I didn’t break the window! So quickly I found and loaded the water pistol and carefully opened the window and shot. But I think it had already left its hiding place. The pistol will remain loaded on the counter.
It’s been a whirlwind… Reims last week, Lille on Saturday and yesterday, Monday, Amiens. And tomorrow Metz. Why those towns? I have been to Reims and Amiens many times. Reims is where French kings were crowned. And it has the Smiling Angel. And MY Smiling Angel. I say that because the cathedral is famous for this statue near one of the portals. The first time I went there, the entire left side was covered with scaffolding for cleaning. So I looked at the rest of the statues and found one I thought adorable. Spiritual. Happy. Full of joy. Smiling! The next time I went, the scaffolding was still there but now they had put the art on it. In France, when they clean buildings (routine every 10 to 20 years) they do a wonderful job of having a design or photo on the netting of the scaffolding. It’s something. You might not see the real building but you still get an idea of what it looks like.
Except. In this case at Reims, they had one sculpture around the scaffolding door with a big sign: Smiling Angel of Reims. Um. No..Well. OK. That’s THEIR Smiling Angel. I am sticking with mine, a door away. Hmph. BTW it is pronounced RANZ. Except if you are English and spell it Rheims and say Reams….
The scaffolding is gone now, years later. And it is a beautiful place. I am always shocked when I see the postcards of the destruction wrought by bombing in WW1. So much was rebuilt through the donations of John D Rockefeller. His name graces the street leading to the cathedral.
Amiens is the highest cathedral in the world. It amazes the eye. And the light let in by the huge windows is glorious. Doesn’t hurt to have a labyrinth in the nave. Walkable. Unlike Chartres which is now closed for the season (the labyrinth not the church). Of course I walked it. Beauvais claims the highest choir in the world. But since the rest of that cathedral collapsed – twice – it can’t be compared to Amiens.
Amiens is also the hometown of the French president. I bought a macaron at the chocolatier shop: Jean Trogneaux. Famous and popular. And also the family business of the president’s wife, Brigitte. And of course there was a Marche de Noel. I am becoming oh heck I am a connoisseur of these markets. And I see many of the same vendors at each so there is a big business to hire temporary help to have booths all over France. And the French Canadians are at them all! Two products: Maple syrup and red plaid lumberjack shirts/jackets.
Vin chaud. One of my favs of the Marches…. Hot red mulled/spiced wine. I find a cup as soon as I can and wander up and down sipping. Tastes great when it’s chilly outside.
Lille is in the northeast. It hosts a famous beaux arts museum – largest collection outside the Louvre in France I have been told. And a hospice de la comtesse. The Hospice was disappointing after having visited the Hospice in Beaune two years ago.
And the La Piscine museum in nearby Roubaix. I know Roubaix from the days with my ex who was the ultimate cyclist. There is a famous bike race Paris Roubaix. Over cobblestones. I took the metro out to Roubaix to the see the museum. Check it out here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Piscine_Museum It was a real public swimming pool in great art deco style that was ultimately closed and then turned into a museum. Cleverly done – the mosaic edges of the pool are still visible. There is a narrow pool down the center. Mahogany wood everywhere. Hmmm. Is it mahogany? Not sure but that is what I spontaneously thought. Visit there and tell me if I am wrong. No, tell me if I am right – let’s be positive about this.
Lille kept me walking – over 9 miles that day. 6 in Reims. And 7 in Amiens. No wonder I want a rest day.