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Sep 142014
 

Being here long-term and adapting to French culture doesn’t preclude our being tourists – far from it. It is obvious that we are foreigners [étrangers] as we practically run down the street at our normal speed, passing most of the locals who stroll at a bit more leisurely pace. As we stride along our eyes are constantly looking about at all the new sights that present themselves to us everywhere we look; even on streets that we have walked multiple times before. Like watching a good film for the second or third time, you see things that you didn’t see before.

And we smile. We have been told before (in Italy) that Americans smile … a lot. While that may be true, it’s because we are in wonderment of the surroundings. The architecture, the flowers, the food, the styles, the sounds, the language, the way of life is all so different, yet is a fascinating blend of the modern and the ancient that we find intriguing. So we smile.

Evidently we are capable of blending in a little. Some people have made the mistake of approaching us to ask directions or something similar only to quickly realize that we are of little help when I say “Désolé, je ne parle pas français” [Sorry, I don’t speak French].

Anyway, we had to do the tourist thing and journey to Fougères, to visit the Château de Fougères (literally, Castle of Ferns), one of the best preserved fortified medieval castles in Europe. Begun in the 10th century as a wooden fort at a location protected by high palisades on a rocky outcrop in a basin of the River Nançon, it wasn’t until two centuries later that the massive fortress emerged as a formidable stronghold.

The town is a “Ville Fleuri” or Flower City with floral displays and beautiful gardens. The belfry, high atop the city was built in 1397, and gave ordinary people access to timekeeping, previously the preserve of the church and nobility.

The day was beautiful, and after the hour bus ride we were ready to walk. After stopping at the tourist information office for a map, we wandered the town. Since there is an upper town and a lower town, we climbed and descended hundreds of steps throughout the day. The fortress itself was magnificent, with its 13 surviving towers and keeps which we also climbed. All told we logged about 20 km (12 miles) throughout the day, and by the time we returned home we, again, slept the sleep of weary travelers.

  14 Responses to “A Day in Fougères”

  1. I kept thinking about Escher drawings and prints, great images!

  2. C’est magnifique. En ce qui concerne les indications, ‘left’ est gauche et ‘right’ est à droite. 🙂

  3. Wow what a beautiful place to have experienced. Awesome pictures. Happy to hear you are doing well and enjoying the experiences around you. Stay well. Fae

  4. Fabulous!

  5. Amazed I didn’t see any Hobbits in the castle!!

    • Hobbits don’t live in castles, but we found a structure that obviously belongs to some kind of forest people whilst on a long walk in the woods yesterday. It will appear in a post in a few days.

  6. Enjoying the trip immensely, if from afar!

  7. Wow, fabulous pictures. I feel like I was there with you.

  8. So much to see. And, best of all, you have time to do it!

  9. Arrow slit. Who knew?

  10. I am so enjoying “our” tour abroad! 🙂

  11. The Castle is spectacular! It’s hard to imagine the actual length of time and number of people it took to build such a structure.
    We just returned from kayaking at Caladesi Island and strolling the streets of old town Dunedin in celebration of our 40th anniversary this weekend. Where has the time gone!

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