Sights of Verdun
Favorite thing: walking this historical beaten city with painful remainder of an evil world, now it is festive happy and full of life; the history is all around a reminder of never forget.
The Tour Chaussée was offered to the city by un rich bourgeois, Jean Wautrec,it was one of 3 monumentals gates of the ramparts or Grand Rempart. In 1690, while doing work on the fortifications done by Vauban, a door replace the current gate and one of the towers was rebuilt after fallen. In 1755, the tower was given to the State that made it a military prison until 1860.
The meuse river and the name of the departement is all in the city. I leave some photos and the tourist office link
The cathédrale Notre-Dame de Verdun is the episcopal seat of the diocese of Verdun. The current Cathedral dates back to the year 990 AD. The cloister is 87 meters long and includes three galleries built in the 16C, gothic flamboyan style. You can see several slabs romanesques. The official webpage is http://www.cathedrale-verdun.com.fr/
Fondest memory: walking along the banks of the river Meuse in city center VerdunRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: a wonderful city to walk and we did always a lot of walking here. During the Christmas market when we visited they are spread all over the city in different squares so walking is great then.
The better weather allows you to move better of course, and see the architecture close at hands. It has a magnificent arrays of French, Lorraine and German influences over the years blending quite nicely.
There is a colorful and architecturally appealing tour or tower just at the end of the train station by Place Mazelle just across it.
The house is the former city hall while the German annexation period,now its a cultural center.
and the wonderful shopper's paradise of the arsenal area with the churchof st Pierre aux Nonnains at the other end.
Fondest memory: just walking by Arsenal is great and the train station area superbe.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
A malevolent tree? (2)
Favorite thing: Should I dare a translation...?
That’s indirect, through a (bad) French one, since I don’t speak German…:
Who’s riding so late, by night and wind ?
A father and his child
In his arms he holds him tight
Keeps him warm and protects him
Why are you fearfully hiding your face my son?
Father, don’t you see the Alder King?
The Alder King with his crown and train?
It’s only a mist trail, my son
Come, dear child, let us go together
I’ll play nice games with you
So many flowers adorn the banks of the river
So many golden clothes has my mother
Father, father don’t you hear
What the Alder King whispers?
Be quiet, stay quiet, my son
In the dead leaves the wind shivers
Come with me, beautiful boy, don’t you want?
My daughters will take good care of you
They are leading the nightly dance
They will cradle you and sing and dance for you
Father, father, don’t you see now
The Alder King’s daughters dancing in the shadow?
My son, my son, I can see well
The old willows look so grey to your eyes
I love you, your nice body attracts me
And if you don’t consent, I’ll force you
Father, father, he now touches me
The Alder King hurt me
Full of fear, the father urges his mount
Clasps in his arms the moaning child
Reaches home with trouble and effort
In his arms, the child was dead.
So many things in this poem…
Great anyway !
Fondest memory: The picture shows the strange fruits of the alder. They look like tiny pine cones.Related to:
A malevolent tree?
Favorite thing: Scientific name: Alnus glutinosa.
English: Alder tree.
French: Aulne, Vergne.
German: Schwarze Erle.
Dutch: Zwarte Els.
Belongs to the family of the BETULACEAE. Marshes, river banks.
The alder tree is quite a nice small one yet it has a bad reputation?
Frequents disreputable places such as marshlands or peat bogs. Humid places full of legends, evil mists, frogs, newts and water grass-snakes?
More: when you cut it, its wood becomes red like blood... Exposed flesh.
For the ancient Greeks, it was the ?Tree of the Dead?, inhabited by Cronos, Zeus? father and a famous children-eater...
For the Gauls, it was one of the 7 trees of the ?Holy Coppice? together with birch, willow, oak, holly, hazel and apple tree. Alder was symbolizing 2 opposite elements: fire and water?
A wizard using a wand made of its wood was supposed to raise the dead to life?
His wood was used for piling (London Bridge and Rialto at Venice), making pipes, clogs and? gibbets.
Fondest memory: The most famous legend about alder comes from J-W. Goethe? and what seems to be a mistranslation made by his friend J-G. Von Herder of an old Danish song called ?The daughter of the Elf King?. Herder translated Alder King (?Ellerkonge?) for Elf King (?Elverkonge?)? Nobody?s perfect?and anyway, the result was so good!
Here is the famous ?Erlk?nig? (Alders? King or ?Le Roi des Aulnes?), by Goethe (sorry for the inopportune "?". Just as if only English language exists!):
"Wer reitet so sp?t durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind,
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er fasst ihn sicher, er h?lt ihn warm.
Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?
Siehst, Vater, du den Erlk?nig nicht,
Der Erlk?nig mit Kron und Schweif?
Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.
Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Gar sch?ne Spiele spiel ich mit dir,
Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,
Meine Mutter hat manch g?lden Gewand.
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und h?rst du nicht,
Was Erlk?nig mir leise verspricht?
Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind,
In d?rren Bl?ttern s?uselt der Wind.
Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehen?
Meine T?chter sollten warten schon,
Meine T?chter f?hren den n?chtlichen Reihen,
Sie wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein. (bis)
Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlk?nigs T?chter am d?stern Ort?
Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau,
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.
Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine sch?ne Gestalt,
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt.
Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fasst er mich an!
Erlk?nig hat mir ein Leids getan!
Dem Vater grauset's, er reitet geschwind,
Er h?lt in Armen das ?chzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit M?h und Not,
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot."Related to:
Favorite thing: Scientific name: Aquilegia vulgaris.
German: Gemeine Akelei
Belongs to the family of the RANUNCULACEAE. Grows in meadows and edges.
The French name, Ancolie, rhymes with melancholy. Such a name combined with such a sophisticated appearance necessarily make a flower loved by artists…
Definitely too, a plant linked to mind. Sad or sick mind.
In the “language of flowers”, columbine symbolizes madness.
And the traditional hat worn by the court jester (“le fou du roi”) represents its flower…
It’s true that columbine’s flower really has a crazy shape, with its petals wearing a kind of long bent tube called spur and full of nectar. A bar for flies and all kind of insects.
Maybe it’s name “aquilegia” comes from the shape of this spur... like an eagle’s claws (in Latin, eagle is “aquila”)…
The claws of madness?
Fondest memory: Medieval miniaturists (especially Jean Fouquet) represented it on many "Books of Hours"…
Master glassmakers from Nancy like Daum and Gallé (end XIXth century) copied its shape…
And always poets: Christine De Pisan (1363-1431), Ronsard (1524-1585), Chateaubriand (1768-1848), Apollinaire (1881-1918)…
Listen to Christine de Pisan:
"Je vous vens la fleur d’ancolie.
- Je suis en grant mélancolie,
Amies, que ne m’aiez changée ;
Car vous m’avez trop estrangée.
Dittes m’en le voir, sanz ruser,
Sanz plus me faire en vain muser..."
No needs to translate... Only the music of ancient French words.
It belongs to a written form of game that used to be played at the Courts of Charles VI (1368-1422) and Charles VII (1403-1461). It consisted in saying a word to one person of the audience. This person had to immediately improvise a poem concerning this word…
Very delicate games played by powerful men and women while the people was starving and dying by atrocities of the Hundred Years War.
Let’s jump over centuries… Beginning of XXth century, Guillaume Apollinaire wrote this poem in “Alcools” :
L’anémone et l’ancolie
Ont poussé dans le jardin
Où dort la mélancolie
Entre l’amour et le dédain
Il y vient aussi nos ombres
Que la nuit dissipera
Le soleil qui les rend sombres
Avec elles disparaîtra
Les déités des eaux vives
Laissent couler leurs cheveux
Passe il faut que tu poursuives
Cette belle ombre que tu veux"
Rough translation :
Anemone and columbine
Have grown in the garden
Where the melancholy sleeps
Between love and disdain
There also come our shadows
That night will disperse
The sun that makes them dark
Will disappear with them
Deities of fresh waters
Let their hair flow
Pass by you must chase
This nice shadow you desireRelated to:
Favorite thing: Scientific name: Vinca. Two species: the big one (Vinca major) and the small one (Vinca minor).
English: Lesser and larger periwinkles.
French: Petite et grande pervenches.
German: Kleines and grosses Immergrün.
Dutch: Maagdenpalm and grote maagdelpalm.
Family of the APOCYNACEAE. Forests and bushes. Simple green glossy leaves. Creeping on the ground.
In former times, bunches of periwinkles were offered to young girls of good reputation when they got married… or put on their graves after they died. Symbol of fidelity.
When I was a child, my grand-mother used to tell me not to grope around in bushes where periwinkles grow : they are supposed to live together with vipers.
This dictum “de bonne femme” probably has a phonetic origin: the similarity between the two French words “viPERE” and “PERvenche”.
Nevertheles, Pline the Old wrote that periwinkles were good against snakebites… perhaps only because the plant is crawling on the ground like a serpent.
Fondest memory: For Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU (1712-1778), the sight of periwinkles was always evocating « les Charmettes », a place close to Chambéry where he used to live from 1729 to 1742.
He always considered this period of his life as the best one, when he was living beside Mme DE WARENS, a woman he was calling “Maman”: his real mother died in his childbirth.
He wrote about periwinkles:
“Nothing really tempts me anymore in future; only returns towards passed times can still touch me and these returns, so deep and true at the time I’m talking about, often make me happy despite my misfortune. I’ll give only one example of these memories, that can show their strength and truthfulness. The very first day when we went and spent the night at les Charmettes, “Maman” was in a sedan chair and I was following her by walking. The path climbs, she was rather heavy and, lest the bearers would be tired, she wished to continue by walking half the way up. While we were walking, she saw something blue in the hedge and said: “Here are some periwinkles still in flowers.” I never saw a periwinkle before, I did not bend down to look at it and my sight is too short to distinguish plants growing on the ground. I simply glanced at it and almost thirty years have passed before I saw a periwinkle again or paid attention to it. In 1764, while I was at Cressier with my friend M. DU PEYROU, we were walking up a small mountain on the top of which there is a beautiful outside parlour rightly called “Belle Vue”. At this time, I had already begun botanising a little. While climbing and watching in bushes, I suddenly let out a joyful cry: “Ah, here is the periwinkle”; and it actually was. DU PEYROU noticed the transport but he did not know the reason…”Related to:
I've been there last November and it is a charming little place to stay. They have parking...more
I was originally going to stay on the outskirts of Metz since we were using it as a base to see...more
"Marie-Elise Et Claude Pech, Haudainville", Verdun, 55100, France
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
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