Strasbourg is one of the “Capitals” of Europe, every year the European Parliament packs up from Brussels and heads for Strasbourg, which is also the home of the European Court of Human Rights.  I suppose it is appropriate, being on the border between France and Germany, and having changed hands several times in the past two centuries.  We visited in 2001.  I found these slides going through my archives.   Continue reading Strasbourg

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

Modernist Marc Chagall, cubist Jacques Villon, and tachist Roger Bissière are all there, mixed with art from the Gothic, Renaissance and Romantic periods.  It’s the play of light on the works that I find so fascinating.  They are the stained glass windows in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Metz.  Gothic does away with the need for structural walls, allowing artists to work in walls of glass.  The cathedral soars with light coming through colored glass, creating shadows and shafts.   Outside the light plays against the exposed structural members, the flying buttresses.  At night the outside is floodlit to stunning effect. Pictures from … Continue reading St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

“A Mighty Fortress” The fortified churches of Thierache, France.

In Eastern France there are several war related “roads” to follow, the “road of the fortified towns,” “The road of the battlefields” linking battlefields of the two world wars, and “The road of the military cemeteries.” Wars happened here with alarming regularity.   The road I found most fascinating was the “The Road of the Fortified Churches” celebrating about 65 churches (God’s castles someone called them) built in the Thierache region for the protection of the civilian population.  These towns sat on the border between Champagne and Picardy near Flanders.  They could not afford to wall themselves.  Many did not have … Continue reading “A Mighty Fortress” The fortified churches of Thierache, France.