The Four Cardinal Virtue on Francois II's Tomb
Tombs of the powerful could be elaborately carved. That of Francois II is surrounded by four female figures representing the 4 Cardinal Virtues each holding symbolic instruments of their powers. 1) Prudence has 2 faces, the old man at the back of her head representing the past and the looking glass she holds,the future. 2) Justice is crowned and holds a sword. 3) Temperance holds a bridle of control and a clock for steadiness. 4) Strength is killing a snake (dragon)(not shown).
St. Peter's Cathedral: Enter the Narthex
The Narthex of the Cathedrral lies between the two towers at the West end, before the nave and below the organ loft. It receives the three portals. The central portal has a graceful bowed arch above it. On each side of this doorare statuesof the patron martyrs of Nantes, Sts. Rogatian and Donatian. To the South is a canopied niche with 15C sculpted saints. On the right is a 15C stone stairwell.
Blogging in the Loire valley
"Le petit dejeuner"
I got up early the first morning- wanted plenty of time to enjoy my petit dejuner cette matin. No rushing or skipping American style: I was going to savour my food like a real French girl. I heard they don’t get fat, and there must be something to the way they do it. C’est tres bon. The morning sun made the clouds out my window pink & gold. On my way downstairs I watched a black cat cross a cobblestone courtyard out the 4th floor window. I opened the window to take his picture (too late) and he saw me- incredibly, he started to climb a car and got up on his hind legs to acknowledge me more fully. Even the cats are polite here! I wish I would have gotten his picture.
Breakfast was served on a tray by the hotel woman- a large croissant, half baguette, yogurt, fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 kinds of butter, 2 kinds of sugar, a selection of jams, and cafe ole. The milk was warm, the coffee was strong, and I was in heaven. How do they not get fat??
"On the train to Orleans"
The train was easy- getting to the car (who would’ve thought?) was the hardest part. The train was right on time out of Nantes, a bit late into Orleans. The announcements were clear & understandable, the timetable in the station directed me exactly to the right track. Since I went early, I wasn’t worried about missing it, but I was worried that I wouldn’t find the right track. An unfounded worry- everything was well marked, with the exception of first class. The outside of the train cars appeared to be marked, but inside was another story. I just kept walking until the interior of the cars changed- less seats across, some with tables. Voila. I had intended to glue myself to the window and watch the Loire go by, but I was exhausted- so I fell sound asleep. I did see some towns, but not many.
Sancerre is absolutely beautiful: a tiny, provincial town with winding cobblestone streets on a hill (thank god I didn’t get that stick) with little shops and restaurants tucked around blind corners. The streets almost look too little to drive on, but drive on them they do, as the tiny little cars (my C3 Citroen included) zip on by you as you plod along.
I went straight to the tourist office when I got my bag moved in- I wanted to try and secure some maps and information. Not much luck- other than a cool postcard, the maps are pretty vague and they give you a long list of vineyards, but not much good directional material. I found the maps that I got from la Maison Francaise back in New York the most helpful, and forget about the rental car place having anything useful.
Sancerre is charming- it’s like a child peeking around from behind a tree just begging to have her picture taken.