Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


The view from the second floor of the Château de Compiègne was spectacular.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The Château de Compiègne is a French chateau, that we visited. It was  a royal residence built for Louis XV and restored by Napoleon. It was full of priceless history and art. Here are two royal bedchambers.

Monday, August 25, 2014


I saw this in a gallery window but she won't fit in my suitcase.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Another great church that I visited was the church of St. Anthony in Compiègne. It was founded in 1199 and depended heavily on the abbey of Saint-Corneille. It was heavily damaged during the Hundred Years War but it presents itself as a fairly homogeneous Gothic structure. What I loved about this church were the magnificent stained glass windows. I am showing two of them that depict Joan of Arc.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Another town that I visited was Compiègne. Joan of Arc was captured near this spot on 23 May 1430.  She was later handed over to the English, and then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges.  After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Here is a view out of the barge window as we travel south along the Canal du Nord.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I will show just one more World War I location. This is the clearing of the armistice. The Armistice that brought to an end the greatest war in history, was signed on November 11, 1918, on this exact spot in the forest of Compiegne. The clearing did not exist at that time and the full-grown trees were so thick that aerial observation was impossible. The two railway tracks that ran across here were part of a gunnery rail system branching off from Rethondes station a mile away and could be used for heavy gun platforms. The train bringing the German plenipotentiaries from Tergnier, where they had boarded it after driving from La Capelle, arrived at day-break on November 8 for the encounter. The train standing on the other track was used by Marshal Foch as his mobile headquarters behind the front line. The quiet seclusion of the forest seemed more suitable for such an occasion than his General Headquarters. The clearing was laid out and inaugurated in 1922 and between 1927 and June 1940 the carriage was housed in its own museum building. On the same site, as in 1918, the carriage was used by the German and French delegates who met to sign the armistice of June 22, 1940 which marked the end of the Campaign of France. Restoration of the clearing, the monuments and museum was undertaken at the end of the Second World War (1939-1945) to establish a permanent commemoration of this significant historic site.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Yes I am back from my latest travels so I can now continue posting pictures from my trip to Europe (last year). 

The First World War began 100 year ago. It involved many nationalities and lasted until 11 November 1918. In 1916 the Australian Army entered the Western Front with a force of 180,000 Men. 46,000 of the 60,000 Australians killed in the war died on the Western Front. From a population of just 4.5 million people 313,000 volunteered to serve during the war and 65% of these people became casualties. The relationships formed during the war by France and Belgium with Australia flourish today with cultural, educational and economic exchanges. The friendship extended by local people to visiting Australians is indicative of the fellowship forged in the old battlefields, a fellowship, born of the mutual striving and sacrifice of these nations at that formative time.

I visited the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme which is pictured here. It is a major war memorial to 72,195 men who died in the Battles of the Somme between 1915 and 1918 with no known grave. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is the largest British battle memorial in the world. On the stone piers are engraved the names of over 72,000 men who were lost in the Somme battles between July 1915 and March 1918. Over 90% of these soldiers died in the first Battle of the Somme between 1 July and 18 November 1916.