Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Speaking of Saint Emillion....

Set in the Burgundy area of France, St. Emillion is a lovely small town drenched in wine history. The vineyards surrounding it made for a lovely panorama as we wound our way up the hill. As said before, our time was limited and we still had a long drive ahead, so we did not allow ourselves the pleasure of wine tasting although the possibility presented itself everywhere we turned. We did stop for lunch and it would have been a pleasure had it not been for the fierce winds that swept over the summit where St. Emillion is perched. We were too preoccupied with keeping linens and glasses on the table to really appreciate the food. Even so, the view was quite beautiful and a second more lengthy visit is in our future, if only to taste the wine varietal that was named after this little gem of a village.

As one might expect the architecture was charming with quite a few churches for a town of this size. There were many steep lanes with some requiring hand rails. Maybe cobbles in this setting are actually a help rather than a hindrance to walking, especially if one can imagine streets like these during rain storms. If nothing more, they did provide rusticity and the visual texture of them adds a nice element and more depth to a photograph.

The church photographed above seemed like many other religious buildings one sees during their travels, with one exception. It was fascinating to see the primitive drawing scrawled on one of the stone walls. Although it appeared to be a dragon, I can't help but wonder if it was a Medieval depiction of Satan.

The cloisters of this same church were pleasant to walk along on a hot day since they were cool and shaded, probably as the architect had intended. I especially loved the lacy filigree of the window frames pictured above, but still am puzzled by their placement against a solid wall. Could they have been intended as replacements if the others in the church should fail?

As we made our way out of the village we passed another church, or what was left of one. While traveling through France and seeing ruins such as this it's easy to wonder what life must have been like in these bucolic places during either of the world wars.