Monday, June 30, 2014


Here are a couple of pictures from Le Bistrot d'Antoine.

Friday, June 27, 2014


We had a very nice dinner at Le Bistrot d'Antoine in Peronne. This is one of the desserts we had.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Then we visited the town of Péronne. It is a little county town which has a rich historical and cultural heritage. On a hill, dominating the Somme river and its lakes, Péronne was a well-fortified place during the early Middle Ages. The ramparts were built in the 9th century. All that remains today of the ancient fortress is the Porte de Bretagne. Few towns have been as involved in the history of France, few towns so often devastated, as Péronne. Burned and pillaged in the time of the Normans; gravely damaged during the time of the Spanish occupation; devastated by the Germans in 1870; totally destroyed in 1917; bombarded and burned in May 1940 by the German airforce.
  • King Charles the Simple, prisoner of Rudolph, Duke of Burgundy died here, a captive in the dungeons, in 929. He was buried in the abbey.
  • In the 12th century, Philippe II built the towers of the château, surrounded by ditches, with a portcullis to defend the main gate.
  • In 1468, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy forced a treaty from Louis XI, who was held prisoner in the castle. Much land was ceded, but eventually won back by Louis.
  • In 1536, Charles Quint unsuccessfully besieged the town. Catherine of Poix, also known as “Marie Fouré" led the defence of the town, throwing a Spaniard off the top of the wall.
  • On 14 September 1641, Louis XIII and Honore II, Prince of Monaco signed a treaty at Péronne, placing the principality of Monaco under the protection of France.
The saying on this image translates to The town that ignores defeat

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Here is the interior of the main cathedral - remember this was built in the 13th Century.

Monday, June 23, 2014



A short history of the Abbey of Vaucelles - This Cistercian abbey, which is a listed building is situated in the Haut-Escaut Valley, in the Rue des Vignes district, 10 kms from Cambrai and 24 kms from Saint-Quentin. It is the most prestigious historical building in the North of France. The Vaucelles Abbey as it can be seen today remains an exceptional construction, not so much because of its dimensions but also because of the quality of the renovation and its cultural influence. It was a long and daily struggle to get there -  Vaucelles is a love story. It had been a ruin, and before that it had been turned into a weaving factory and then a farm.
You can take a historical tour, starting with the involvment of the Cistercian monks and moving on to the years of renovation that is owed to Alain and Marie-Maxellende Lagoutte and the Friends of the Vaucelles Abbey association. The Vaucelles Abbey was truly Cistercian in the sense that it was built in the heart of the Haut-Escaut Valley. The foundation stone was laid by Saint-Bernard in August 1132, which made the abbey a daughter of Clairvaux, the 13th abbey founded by that Father of the Church. Notre-Dame de Vaucelles was erected on an estate given up by Hugues d'Oisy, Lord of Crèvecoeur s/ Escaut and it took several decades for it to be completed. In the 13th century the Abbey had the biggest Cistercian church in Europe – bigger than Notre-Dame de Paris. Today the altar, made of Carrare marble can be seen in the Saint-Géry church in Cambrai and some of the books that had been assembled in the Library can be found at the Cambrai library.
This week I will present some of my images of this historical abbey.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Will close out this week with this fun flower picture.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


From the abbey's garden - I have never seen chives looking this good or big.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014


One historical place that we visited was the Abbey of Vaucelles. Situated in the Haut-Escaut valley the abbey was founded in the 12th Century by saint Bernard. It is one of the most prestigious historical monuments of Northern France. Today, only remnants of this great foundation: the Abbey Library of the 18th century, the cloister 12th century building, which includes the monks' room (scriptorium), the oratory, the largest Cistercian chapter house in Europe, the sacred way, the chapel and the pantry. This week I will be showcasing some of the flowers in bloom around the abbey.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Every meal on Le Panache was a gastronomical delight. It always started with an artistically set table.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Heading south into France we had more rain and fields of rapeseed were in bloom. The plant known as "rape," from a Latin word for "turnip," is a domesticated crop in the widely cultivated Brassicaceae family (also known as the mustard family, the cabbage family, or the cruciferous vegetables). Although the word has disturbing connotations today, during World War II people thought nothing of referring to "rapeseed," and the oil from those seeds was used for industrial purposes.

The real problem with the name "rapeseed oil" is that the oil was so toxic that the FDA banned it for human consumption in 1956. So when Canadian growers bred a new variety of rapeseed in the 1970s with a lower content of the toxic erucic acid, they decided they needed a new name for it.

The term canola was coined from "Canadian oil, low acid" to convince consumers that this oil was safe to eat. And while "canola" was originally a registered trademark, the term became so widely known that the trademark was eventually abandoned, and "canola" became the default term in many countries for any low-erucic rapeseed oil.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambrésis had a nice view overlooking the grounds.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Here are two sculptures in front of the Matisse Museum in Le Cateau-Cambresis, France.