Posts Tagged ‘Franche-Comté’

Many of you know I was in France for three weeks visiting my s-i-l and b-i-l. During that time, it rained almost every single day. 😦 That was not so much fun for all the walks with the dogs that we took each day, but the area was (and still is) in desperate need of rain, being about three months behind on moisture. Consequently, we (mostly) welcomed the rain.

The forest floor is covered with leaves, from any number of prior seasons. They aren’t crackling because of the rain, but they can be treacherous, so be careful when we get to the steep parts.

This is my favorite find of the day. If the water level were normal, there would be water running down that trough, which would help the little men inside do their work.

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I’m not sure if Jo’s walking today, but we’re on a mission to find good food no matter what.  Tighten your seat belts because we have to drive to our walk today at col du Mont de Fourche…unless you’d like to cycle to the top of a pass once part of the Tour de France.  Or you can give this big boy bike a try.

Usually our walks end with a tasty bite.  We’re going to turn that around: start and end with a walk and focus on the food in between.  Be a rebel with us!

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Sometimes our drives in France begin with a destination in mind.  Others are voyages of discovery, as we load the dogs and head of in a general direction to see what we can find.  On this day, we headed for the hills.  Any time our drives include mountains/hills, my soul rejoices.  🙂

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While the dogs ran around and had a drink, I drank in the view.

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With everyone back inside, we were off, but not for long.  Shortly after, we spotted a discovery, a little chapel, and veered into the parking area for a look.  Dogs get to stay inside for this one.  Worshipers have to come from some distance, but what a view!

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We’ve taken a number of Monday walks in the towns of the Franche-Comté, but much of my time is spent in the country, either walking or driving through it, so I invite you to come with me today to the country.

Most mornings we take the dogs out for a walk, but we have to be careful, as September is hunting season.  We head out early, careful to only go where there are no parked vehicles.  If we hear dogs baying, we head back or away from the sound.

This morning it’s foggy.

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We walk through the forest to a secret place where my s-i-l has discovered a trove of holly.  She’ll come back to gather some for Christmas.  The red berries are bright and cheerful in the grey morning.

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For Jo’s Monday walk today, let’s visit one of the chapels my s-i-l and I discovered and explored during my last visit.  This one stood atop a small hill right next to the road and after passing it a number of times, we pulled over on the way home and climbed the steep path with weeds on either side to be greeted by this view.

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There were no doors, only the attractive, padlocked gates.

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I suppose if you live in France, the architecture doesn’t seem as interesting as it does to me, a visitor from a place where older homes might have been built within the last century.  Of course styles are distinctly different as well.  As a member of Thursday Doors, I find that I have to remember to include photos that aren’t just doors.  🙂  But I managed to do it (although I won’t tell you how many doors photos I have.  You’ll have to tune in on Thursdays to see them.)

This house with its blue accents and gate and beautiful balconies caught my eye immediately.  (Why “caught my eye” when you hopefully have two?  Just wondering.)

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By crossing the street, I could peek into the sort-of-secret-garden.  Despite the drought, it looks pretty good to me.

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When you say you’re going to France people tend to think “Paris”, but I go to the Franche-Comté in eastern France, not far from Switzerland and Germany. I also go to the country and a lovely place it is, as you can see.  Right now, much of Europe is in the grip of drought, so we saw lots of brown and lakes much lower than usual.  There’s been only one cutting of hay, which will cause winter to be a difficult time for farmers with livestock as well as for growing other crops.

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Although my s-i-l and b-i-l live in the country, it’s not far to the city, albeit a city of only about 8,000.  Luxeuil-les-Bains (les Bains meaning “the baths”), has been a hot spot (so to speak) for many years, as far back as Celtic and Roman times, when people came to relax and heal in the thermal baths. In 590, St. Columban founded the Abbey of Luxeuil.  St. Columban (remember that name as you’ll be reading more about him over the next few weeks) was an Irish monk who, during the 500’s A.D., traveled extensively in France and, eventually, into Italy.  Luxeuil was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, raping, pillaging, and destroying being popular pastimes in those days.  Saracens, Normans, Magyars, and Muslims as well as several other groups all took part in these exciting activities.

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In 2014, my husband and I went to France to visit his sister and her husband and to see a stage of the Tour de France.  His sister, a marvelous tour guide, drove us all around the Franche-Comté, including a visit to Château d’Oricourt, a feudal motte.  Motte isn’t a misspelling of “moat” and although a bit similar in effect, it “is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.”  (Wikipedia)

After the Revolution, the town of Oricourt wanted to get rid of the fortifications and fill in the ditches, saying they were symbols of feudalism.  (Sound familiar??)  Thankfully for those of us interested in the past, the authorities declined this request (and hopefully they were far enough from Paris that no heads rolled) and the castle is now privately owned, but open to the public, and a national monument.

Where there are castles, there must be doors of one sort or another.  Let’s take a look.

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Many villages in France have wonderful floral decorations and there’s even a designation for those with the most attractive displays.  But sometimes you find beautiful flowers tucked into corners or off to the side.  I saw these in Mélisey as we walked back to our parking spot after yet another wonderful lunch at Chez Mimi.  What a glorious sight!

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If you’d like to read more about the towns awarded the Ville Fleurie designation, go to France This Way by clicking here.  The author says:

The ‘towns and villages in bloom’ award (ville fleurie) is given to French places that make a special effort to create a pleasant natural environment for both residents and visitors by focussing on plants, flowers and open areas within the town.

Even if a town doesn’t have this designation, you’ll find plenty of flowers and arrangements in many places and of course, you can always keep checking on my blog.  🙂