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Le Tour 2004 - A Virtual Cultural Trip

 
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 05:07 pm
For all you Brits and Walter, here's a unbelievable deal you can't pass up. http://dir.travelzoo.com/Air.asp?intCategory=12&id=155292
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 07:56 pm
Walter, Walter, this is a delicious tour.

I saw for a second that fbaezer has started a tour, in perhaps Peru... but then got busy and lost it. Will be back with a link if I find it...
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jul, 2004 09:15 pm
Walter

I'm really enjoying your tour.

I've seen a bit of France, but only a few of these places. I'm gaining some ideas, in case I get there next year.

Thank you for taking the time and the trouble.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2004 02:24 pm
Friday, July 16th

Stage 12
Castelsarrasin > La Mongie


Castelsarrasin
http://www.webscapades.com/france/barge/castelsarrasin.jpg
Nestling on the borders of Gascogne and Quercy, halfway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Castelsarrasin is a place where people pass through and meet. It is both industrial and agricultural, as it is home to big companies in its business areas and also helps to development traditional local products. With the Garonne and Tarn rivers, and the Canal des Deux Mers crossing through it, the town is a destination for rural tourism. The homeland of the singer Pierre Perret and the great journalist Gaston Bénac, founder of the Grand Prix des Nations, it welcomes the Tour de France for the second time in three years.
[Sorry to say, but there isn't much more in Castelsarrasin than the start of the Tour.]
www.ville-castelsarrasin.fr/


La Mongie
http://www.guara-canyoning.com/images/saint-lary_la-mongie.JPG
La Mongie, the ultimate Pyrenees ski resort, welcomes you to the "domaine du Tourmalet". This resort is the place for sport enthusiasts, and will satisfy even the most demanding of them. The Pic du Midi in Bigorre boasts the highest astronomical museum in Europe, at 2,877m altitude, and offers downhill ski mountaineering. Also the gateway to the mythical "col du Tourmalet", La Mongie is the departure point for many summer hiking trips. http://www.gites-france-65.com/minisite/lalaurence/images/ALENTO1.jpg
A few kilometres away, the administrative commune of Bagnères-de-Bigorre invites you to Aquensis, to take the waters at its new spa.

http://www.bagneresdebigorre-lamongie.com/
http://www.bareges.com/menu.htm
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2004 02:38 pm
Not far away from Castelsarrasin, we find

Moissac

There is nothing very memorable about the modern town of MOISSAC , 30km northwest of Montauban, largely because of the terrible damage done by the flood of March 1930, when the Tarn, swollen by a sudden thaw in the Massif Central, burst its banks, destroying 617 houses and killing 120 people.

Luckily, the one thing that makes Moissac a household name in the history of art survived: the cloister and porch of the abbey church of St-Pierre , a masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture and the model for hundreds of churches and buildings elsewhere. Indeed, the fact that it has survived countless wars, including siege and sack by Simon de Montfort in 1212 during the crusade against the Cathars, is something of a miracle. During the Revolution it was used as a gunpowder factory and billet for soldiers, who damaged many of the sculptures. In the 1830s it only escaped demolition to make way for the Bordeaux-Toulouse train line by a whisker.

Legend has it that Clovis the Frank first founded a monastery here, though it seems more probable that its origins belong to the seventh century, which saw the foundation of so many monasteries throughout Aquitaine. The first Romanesque church on the site was consecrated in 1063 and enlarged in the following century. The famous south porch , with its magnificent tympanum and curious wavy door jambs and pillars, dates from this second phase of building. It depicts Christ in Majesty, right hand raised in benediction, the book in his hand, surrounded by the evangelists and the elders of the Apocalypse as described by St John in the Book of Revelation. It is a display whose influence, assimilated with varying degrees of success, can be seen in the work of artists who decorated the porches of countless churches across the south of France. There is more fine carving in the capitals inside the porch, and the interior of the church, which was remodelled in the fifteenth century, is interesting too, especially for some of the wood and stone statuary it contains.




http://perso.club-internet.fr/cloguy/vueaerien.jpg

The capitals in the colister at Moissac are one of the most complete sets of Romanesque capitals extant. They have been the subject of many scholarly studies.

http://vrcoll.fa.pitt.edu/medart/image/France/Moissac/cloister/General-views/mb418mos.JPG
http://vrcoll.fa.pitt.edu/medart/image/France/Moissac/cloister/General-views/mx414mos.jpg

The great tympanums (the space above the lintel of a door that is enclosed by the doorway arch) are an extreme beautiful example, how medieval churches symbolize some of the most profound Christian doctrines concerning the ends of human life and man's relations with the divine.

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/romanesque/moissac01.jpg
http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/arch/romanesque/moissac2.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2004 03:00 pm
An more or less anecdotical aside:

the Tour passes the small village of St. Nicolas-de-la-Grave (Tarn-et-Garonne).

Here, on March 5, 1658 Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac was born:
[img]http://www.stnicolasdelag.online.fr/musee/images/panneau_maison00.gif[/IMG]
We first take note of Cadillac (then simply known as Antoine de Laumet) at Port Royal, 1683. The DCB simply states that he "landed in Acadia as an obscure immigrant and settled in Port-Royal." From a reading of Webster's account one would get the impression that Cadillac might have come over as a member of the French military forces to take a position in the French garrison.2 I believe this to be unlikely in view of his considerable freedom to do what he liked.3 Initially, I am sure that Cadillac would have impressed the local officials as an energetic young man who might be of considerable service to the small struggling colony.

Soon, at Port Royal, Cadillac was to meet the privateer, François Guyon4. Guyon knew a good hand when he saw one and recruited the young Cadillac to sail with him on his numerous forays down the New England coast. Guyon took a shine to Cadillac and showed him the ways of the sea and taught him the art of navigation. François Guyon, as we see elsewhere, while often calling in and out of Port Royal, did not live in Acadia, but in Quebec. At the end of the sailing season Guyon would travel back to his home village at Beauport. And, at least in one season, Guyon was to bring his young protege back to Beauport with him. It was during one of these seasonal visits that Cadillac was to meet, and, in 1687, to marry Guyon's niece, Marie-Thérèse Guyon.

Likely through the offices of the Guyon family, Cadillac was to secure a seigneury (a grant of land) on the Douaguek River (Union River, State of Maine); and, he and Marie-Thérèse relocated back to Acadia. It would not appear that Cadillac was too keen on cutting out a living in the wilderness; he was soon developing trading connections at his familiar stomping grounds at Port Royal.5 Cadillac's trading activities were soon to get him in to difficulties with the authorities at Port Royal. Meneval was to write of Cadillac in one of his dispatches: "This Cadillac is the most uncooperative person in the world, is a scatter-brain who has been driven out of France for who knows what crimes."6

Sir William Phips, in 1690, brought ruin to Acadia. There was not much left for the Acadian inhabitants to do but to pick up the pieces and set to work again; to rebuild and to re-establish themselves on the land, yet again. Cadillac, with his trading connections severed, thought it easier, however, to pull up stakes and move. He left Acadia, and, from what I can see he was never to return.

Cadillac went to Quebec, sought out Frontenac and thereafter made his most lasting impressions on the historical record. Between the years 1694-97 Cadillac was the commandant at Michilimackinac. In 1701, he built Fort Pontchartrain (thus he founded Detroit), a fort which he was to command for several years. In 1707, he led a force against the Miamis and brought them to terms. In 1713, he took up his position as the governor of Louisiana. In 1717, Cadillac returned to France there to take up his position as the Governor of Castel Sarassin, in Gascony, his native province. Cadillac died in Gascony on October 16th, 1730.

Boastful, ingenious, glib, boisterous, arrogant, quarrelsome, and "one of the worst scoundrels ever to set foot in New France", Cadillac is one of the most memorable characters to be found in early Canadian history. He was unquestionably just the kind of person that was required in the successful French efforts to sink its taps deep into the western frontier and to effectively deal with the people to be found there



http://www.stnicolasdelag.online.fr/musee/images_auto/Art60el.jpg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jul, 2004 06:35 pm
The cadillac drawing reminds me of the Isadora Duncan travail with her scarf...

I loved seeing those capitals, Walter, haven't seen any quite like those.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 01:35 pm
Saturday, July 17th

Stage 13
Lannemezan > Plateau de Beille


http://tour.ard.de/tour2004/tdf/etappen/etappe_13/img/serpentinen_pyr_dpa_300.jpg

Lannemazan
A plateau at the foot of the highest peaks of the Pyrenees, Lannemezan provides the most direct access to Spain through the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel. Halfway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the town enjoys a privileged position appreciated by the chemical and electro-metallurgy companies who have set up here and created a dynamic network of small and medium-sized companies. Lannemezan offers a very sought-after quality of life, bolstered by the implementation of an environmental charter and supported by a variety of tourism, cultural and sporting sites with an abundance of association activities. Lannemezan, the balcony of the Pyrenees, with a love of rugby, is a town where life is sweet.


http://www.immo09.com/images/r2054.JPG


Plateau de Beille

http://auzatvicdessos.free.fr/Images/PLBEIL7.jpg

The Plateau de Beille is an exceptional site with its Pyrenean fauna, traditional human activities, splendid scenery… With the GR.10 and flagged pathways crossing through it, the Plateau is the ideal place to discover the mountains of Ariege, Gascony cows, Tarascon sheep, mountain fruits… here farming is both modern and sustainable! Beille is the place of choice for winter sports, with skating, snowshoeing and sledging available in a secured, purpose-built area with 65 kilometres of track, at between 1,800 and 2,100m altitude. The Plateau de Beille is the number one winter sports location in the Pyrenees, a destination not to be missed.






www.vallees-ax.com

www.plateau-de-beille.com

www.lespyrenees.net
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 02:13 pm
The Pyrennees:
http://www.france-hotel-guide.com/images2/pyrenees.jpg
A mountain chain of southwestern Europe, the Pyrenees stretch 270 miles (430 kilometers) from the Mediterranean Sea on the east to the Bay of Biscay on the west. With an average height of about 5,300 feet (1,615 meters), they form a high wall between France and Spain. The tiny principality of Andorra lies between some of the peaks. Covering an area of about 2,000 square miles (5,200 square kilometers), the range has a maximum width of about 100 miles (160 kilometers) at its center.
http://gourmet.sympatico.ca/relais/france/sud-ouest/pyrenees-2.jpg
The Pyrenees are generally formed of slate, limestone, sandstone, and granite. The central Pyrenees are about 9,000 feet (2,740 meters) high and are permanently snowcapped; they include the highest point, Pico de Aneto, at 11,168 feet (3,404 meters), on the Spanish border. Glacial formations, such as hanging valleys, cirques, and lakes, are in abundance. The valleys between the mountains have long and severe winters. Rainfall is higher in the north and west where ocean winds bring rain. Here the mountain slopes are covered with forests. The south and east are drier and tend to have less vegetation cover. Dense forests of fir, beech, pine, and oak cover the central and western sections. The Ebro in Spain and the Garonne and Adour in France are the major rivers.

The western Pyrenees are more industrialized than the eastern section. The inhabitants of both regions are largely farmers and livestock raisers who pasture cattle, sheep, and goats on high meadows. Seasonal grazing of beef cattle is the chief occupation in the valleys. Corn, potatoes, fruits, and forage crops are grown in the western valleys while olives, grapes, and cereals are produced in the eastern valleys. Cobalt, silver, coal, zinc, lead, iron, and magnesium are mined, and marble is quarried. Mining, however, is scattered and of little economic significance. Roads go through tunnels in the central Pyrenees, and the principal railroads follow seacoasts around the eastern and western ends of the range.

Tourism is a growing industry. A large number of visitors are attracted by hot springs, winter sports, hunting, sight-seeing, and fishing facilities. There are several resort towns. The region's hydroelectric potential, timber resources, and winter and nature park facilities have not yet been fully utilized.

The first scientific explorations of the Pyrenees were made in 1582, but the first topographical and geologic maps were not made until the 19th century. The Pyrenees have played a significant role in the histories of Spain and France as well as Europe.

http://i.timeinc.net/TFK/media/specials/graphics/030410_gp_france/sightseeing/pyrenees.jpg



In the Pyrenees mountains, the Magdalenians, the last hunters of prehistoric times, have lived off a vast territory for six millenium and produced a remarkable portable art. This civilization without writing is illustrated by 450 artefacts : tools, hunting weapons, works of art on bone, ivory, cervidae antler and stone, discovered during archaeological excavations. The topics of this art essentially involve the great wild fauna consisting in horses, bisons, ibex, stags, reindeers and sometimes man himself is represented as a masked or a caricaturised figure.

http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/app/img/diap_j.jpg
HORSES
Tête de cheval hennissant
Origin : Mas-d'Azil cave, Ariège
Full-round sculpture from a reindeer antler
Musée des Antiquités nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
© photo RMN - Loïc Hamon



http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/app/img/diap_d.jpg
BISONS
Engraved bison heads
Origin : La Vache cave, Ariège
Engraved on a rib
Musée des Antiquités nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
© photo RMN - Loïc Hamon


http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/app/img/man47257.jpg
IBEX
Carved ibex
Origin : Mas-d'Azil cave, Ariège
Carved in a sperm whale tooth
Musée des Antiquités nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye
© photo RMN - Loïc Hamon


0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jul, 2004 02:45 pm
My favourite place in the Pyrennes is ... - well, there are some very nice spots up the mountains, small villages, little towns - hard to decide, which I should choose to present now and here.

However, since I favour sea ressorts, follow me please to a part of this region, the Tour doesn't cover this years: the Gulf of Biscay, and here:

http://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_1.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_2.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_3.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_4.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_5.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_6.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_7.jpghttp://www.saintjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/pict/panom_8.jpg

town on Bay of Biscay, Pyrénées-Atlantiques département, Aquitaine région, southern France. It lies on the right bank of the Nivelle River, near the Spanish frontier.

The town's restored 13th-century Church of St. John the Baptist, in which Louis XIV was married to Marie-Thérèse of Austria in 1660, has a single nave in Basque style surrounded by galleries. With its numerous good hotels, casino, promenade, and extensive sands, the town is a fashionable summer and winter resort. It also has a picturesque fishing port with an ancient maritime tradition. Its vessels were the first (1520) to fish off Newfoundland. It is today the most important French tuna-fishing port.


http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/english/culture/images/Eglise1.jpgA short walk from the port, "Karrika handi", the great street, leads you to the church of Saint Jean-Baptiste.
The oldest part dates from the 15th century.

This is where the marriage of Louis XIV and the Infanta Marie Thérèse was celebrated.
The building still retains traces of this event::
the doorway through which the royal couple passed is now walled up.

http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/english/culture/images/sjb-1.jpg
In the interior, the church is made up of a single nave topped by three floors of magnificent wooden galleries.
The most remarkeble room is undoubtedly the large rererdos dating from the 17th century. This is without question the finest and most stiking example in the entire Basque Country.
Ten steps lead up to it, enclosed by a balustrade in wrought iron, in black and gold. Above it, rising right up to the vaults, are a profusion of gleaming statues. Under the vault is positioned a commemorative boat bearing the arms of the Empress Eugénie, offered in memory of a narrowly avoided shipwreck in the bay.

The church of Saint Jean-Baptiste has remarkable accoustics and is the setting for concerts and events during which one can admire the excellence of its fine organ case dating from the 17th century.

http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/english/culture/images/maisonlouis1bis.jpgIn the place Louis XIV stands the "Maison Louis XIV", so-called since the king stayed there from 8 May to 15 June 1660. The square is certainly the liveliest part of the town, with its restaurants and, in the high season, its painters. In summer concerts are staged here and dances followed by the spectacular "toro de fuego".

To the right of the "Maison Louis XIV " is the mairie (or town hall), Herriko Etxea. In past centiries, this was the privileged witness to dramas and splendours that form part of the rich tapestry of our local history. A relic of this royal period when Saint-Jean-de-Luz became the "Petit Paris" ('Little Paris'), a replica of the statue of Louis XIV by Girardon greets you at the bottom of the staircase with its wrought iron railing.

http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/english/culture/images/ciboure2bis.jpgThe old houses of the port of Ciboure are reflected in the waters of both the Nivelle and the Port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

It is in one of these houses whose volute gable is of an unexpected Flemish style of the 17th century that the composer Maurice RAVEL was born on 7 March 1875.
Behind this house the church of l'Église Saint-Vincent rises with its un-buttressed walls and octogonal tower with three superimposed roofs, giving it a fortress-like appearance.
http://www.kunstderfuge.com/mid/ravel_miroirs_3_(c)oguri.mid



http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/english/
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 12:48 pm
Sunday, July 18th

Stage 14
Carcassonne > Nîmes



Since it's the only time in 2004 that the Tour is close to Mediterraneen Sea, here's a map of today's stage
http://tour.ard.de/tour2004/tdf/karte/img/E14_405x304.jpg

Carcassonne

http://tour.ard.de/tour2004/tdf/etappen/etappe_14/img/carc_cite_dpa_360.jpg

town, capital of Aude département, Languedoc-Roussillon region, southwestern France, southeast of Toulouse, near the eastward bend of the Aude River, which divides the city into two towns, the Ville Basse and the Cité. The Cité has the finest remains of medieval fortifications in Europe.

On the summit of an isolated hill rearing abruptly on the Aude's right bank, the site of the Cité was occupied as early as the 5th century BC by the Iberians, then by Gallo-Romans. The inner rampart was built in AD 485, when Euric I was king of the Visigoths. Clovis failed to take it in 508, though Muslim invaders succeeded in 728, as did Pippin III the Short in 752.

http://www.kindredspirit.co.uk/blackmadonna/balckmadonagraphics/itinpics/carcassonne.jpg

The viscounts of Carcassonne and Béziers built the Basilique Saint-Nazaire (1096-1150), and about 1125 the Château Comtal was incorporated into the Visigothic rampart. In 1247, as a consequence of the Albigensian Wars, the viscounts' possessions were confiscated by the French crown. Great artworks were then undertaken. The cathedral's Romanesque transept and choir were replaced by Gothic structures (the Romanesque nave remains). The stained glass is from the 14th to the 16th century. The outer ramparts, also turreted, towered, and crenellated, were built during the reign of Louis IX and continued by his son Philip III, who also added to the inner walls the beautiful Porte (gate) Narbonnaise. The Porte, the only entry into the Cité by road, is guarded by two towers with projecting beaks and a double barbican that forced assailants to expose an undefended flank.

When Roussillon province was annexed to France in 1659, Carcassonne ceased to be a frontier fortress and was left to decay. In 1844 the architect and medievalist Viollet-le-Duc began reconstruction of the cathedral and the ramparts, work which continued until the 1960s. The Cité has about 1,000 inhabitants in its narrow, winding streets.

http://www.relaxinfranceonline.com/languedoc/11015c.jpg

The Ville Basse was founded in 1240 when rebellious citizens of the Cité were banished beyond the walls. It was burned by Edward the Black Prince in 1355 when he failed to take the citadel. The church of Saint-Vincent and the cathedral of Saint-Michel, both 13th century, survive. Ville Basse is the business centre of modern Carcassonne. There is some light manufacture, but Carcassonne lives mainly on tourism.


http://www.carcassonne.org/

www.carcassonne-tourisme.com

http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wulfric/varia/photos-fr/languedoc_tournesols2.jpg

Nîmes

http://tour.ard.de/tour2004/tdf/etappen/etappe_14/img/Arenea_Lilian-Martorell_180.jpg

city, capital of Gard département, Languedoc-Roussillon region, southern France, south-southwest of Lyon. Situated at the foot of some barren hills called the Monts Garrigues to the north and west of the city, Nîmes stands in a vine-planted plain extending south and east.

Named after Nemausus, the genie of a sacred fountain, Nîmes was the capital of a Gaulish tribe that submitted to Rome in 121 BC. The emperor Augustus founded a new city there and gave it privileges that rapidly brought it prosperity. In the 5th century Nîmes was plundered by the Vandals (a Germanic people) and the Visigoths (a westerly division of the Teutonic peoples known as the Goths). It was later occupied by the Saracens (Arabs), who were driven out in 737.

http://www.aqzq61.dsl.pipex.com/photos/FRANCE/nimes.jpg

In the 10th century the city passed to the counts of Toulouse, and it was joined to the French crown in 1229. At the time of the Reformation, it became largely Protestant and suffered from persecution after the revocation in 1685 of the Edict of Nantes, which had accorded a measure of religious liberty to Protestants in 1598. Damaged in 1815 during the fighting between royalists and Bonapartists, Nîmes became prosperous once more with the coming of the railways later in the 19th century.

http://www.blueridgephotographs.com/nimes.JPG

In Roman times one of the richest towns of Gaul, the city is famous for its many Roman remains, which are mostly in an excellent state of preservation. The vast amphitheatre, probably built in the 1st century AD to seat 24,000, is an ellipse (440 by 330 ft [135 by 100 m]), standing 69 ft (21 m) high. From outside it presents the aspect of a double row of 60 arches surmounted by an attic. It was built of large stones from a nearby quarry, put together without mortar. Originally intended for gladiatorial shows, chariot races, and naval spectacles, it was used as a fortress in the 5th century by the Visigoths. In the Middle Ages, houses, and even a church, were built inside it. Cleared of buildings in 1809, it is now used for bullfights. Despite this checkered history, it is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in existence. The famous Maison Carée (1st century AD), a rectangular temple 82 ft (25 m) long by 40 ft (12 m) wide, dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, adopted sons of the first Roman emperor Augustus, is one of the most beautiful monuments built by the Romans in Gaul, and certainly the best preserved. Like the amphitheatre, the building has had varied uses (town hall, private house, stable, and church) through the ages. It now houses a collection of Roman sculptures. The Tour Magne, atop a hill just outside the city, is the oldest Roman building, 92 ft high, but probably originally higher. Its original function is not known, but it was incorporated into the Roman wall in 16 BC.

Near the Tour Magne is a reservoir from which the water carried by the great Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard, was distributed throughout the town. The pleasant Jardin de la Fontaine, situated on the edge of the city, was designed in 1745. The fountain and the canals that flow through it are partly Roman. The Archeological Museum, which is housed in a former Jesuit college, has a fine collection of Roman objects, as well as some Iron Age artifacts.

http://deroburla.free.fr/Images/nimes.JPG

The city's population grew considerably after 1960, from both rural immigration and immigrants from North Africa, especially Algeria. The traditional manufacture of textiles and clothing still flourishes. New industries include shoe manufacturing, food processing (canned fruit, brandy), and the manufacturing of electrical and agricultural equipment. Nîmes is also an important market town, notably for wine. The city is an important crossroads for rail transportation, particularly of commercial traffic such as meats.

www.nimes.fr

www.ot-nimes.fr
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 01:13 pm
Today, the Tour follows partly
http://tour.ard.de/tour2004/tdf/etappen/etappe_14/img/canal_du_midi_dpa_360.jpg

the Canal du Midi, a work of art in its own right, with locks and acqueducts dating back to the 17th Century. It cuts through majestic mountains and peaceful villages. Travelling by boat it undoubtedly the best way to explore the Languedoc, combined with discovery by foot fo unforgettable landscapes and historic sites.

But we will have a look at

Béziers

http://www.saveurs.sympatico.ca/ency-voy/france/sud/beziers.jpg

city, Hérault département, Languedoc-Roussillon région, southern France, 9 miles (14 km) from the Mediterranean Sea, on a hilly site overlooking the Orb River where it is intersected by the Canal of the Midi, southwest of Montpellier. There are remains of an arena from the Roman colony Beterrae. In the 12th century it was a stronghold of the viscounts of Carcassonne. In 1209 Simon de Montfort, sent by the pope to extirpate the Catharist heresy of good and evil as creators of the next world and this one, massacred the inhabitants; and the Roman-Gothic Church of La Madeleine was a scene of great bloodshed. The city walls, rebuilt in 1289, were destroyed in 1632. The former Cathedral of Saint-Nazaire, dominating the old town, is a typical ecclesiastical fortification of the 13th-14th centuries. The street named for Paul Riquet, who built the Canal of the Midi, separates the old town (west) from the modern.

http://perso.netpratique.fr/michel.martin47/geographie/documents/images/beziers4.jpghttp://perso.netpratique.fr/michel.martin47/geographie/documents/images/snazair1.jpg

Béziers distills alcohol and makes artificial fertilizers and spray chemicals for the vineyards. The city is an important railway junction and has a major service facility for the French national railway system. Its principal trade has been in the vin ordinaire of Languedoc, notably Muscat, said to have been introduced by the Romans, but this has diminished owing to the centralization of the wine industry in Montpellier.

http://perso.netpratique.fr/michel.martin47/geographie/documents/images/beziers1.jpg

http://www.ville-beziers.fr/

http://www.webfrance.fr/horizon/images/vins.jpg http://beziers.net/vins.htm
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 01:41 pm
Walter, what was that vehicle on top of the bridge over the Canal du Midi? This whole area along the Languedoc coast seems beautiful. I like that photo of Beziers, it catches a particularly winsome aspect of the city across the bridge.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 01:50 pm
Well, osso, it's the canal on a bridge over a river, with a canal ship on the canal. (I'm not sure, where exactly that photo is taken.)

http://perso.netpratique.fr/michel.martin47/geographie/documents/images/canal0.jpg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 02:06 pm
So that flat boat like thing is a boat? and that bridge top is part of the canal, as in a lock? (I know, I'm too ignorant..)

The Canal du Midi
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 02:13 pm
Canal boats usually are such flat, since bridges are not so high over canals.

And, yes, that bridge is part of the canal.


[Really interesting: not far from my place, the Weser river and the "Mittel-Country-Canal" are crossing:http://www.schullandheim-weser.de/bueckeburg/images/wasserkreuz.jpg

(That pic shows two pleasure boats.)]
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 02:16 pm
Ah, that's fantastic!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 02:16 pm
sorry, duplicate post
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 02:17 pm
Oh, and there's an [actually: two] "elevator"[s] for the ships, to go from the river to the canal and vice vers:http://www.schullandheim-weser.de/bueckeburg/images/schachtschleuse.jpg
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jul, 2004 03:18 pm
Let me add a link for fbaezer's Copa Americana thread - he is doing a virtual tour along with some game by game commentary on the America's Cup in Soccer; it's wonderful.

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=28265
0 Replies
 
 

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