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Archive for January, 2019

The final trek of the Red Line took us to a public garden: Jardin des Arenes which was created over the 1st Century Amphitheater of Vesunna in 1875. 

Map of the Red Line

 The Amphitheater could seat 18,000 people and its façades were 3 times higher than the houses that surround it today.  

In the 4thCentury the Amphitheater was incorporated within the High Wall with the openings being walled up and towers built to reinforce it.  Around 1150 the Count of Périgord had his castle built here.  Today there are still signs of the Amphitheater circling the garden and play areas.  The floor of the Amphitheater lies 21 feet below (see above).  The castle was destroyed in the early 1400’s.

Unfortunately, we did not have time to explore the final point of interest: the first Cathedral of Périgueux:  Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité.  We wanted to head into the city center (next post) and explore there as well as see the new Cathedral.  Périgueux is a city that we plan to return to.  Not only is there more to see but it is also close to other towns that have their own stories to tell.

Domes of Église Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité

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The Château Barrière was built in the 12th century on top of the lower part of a 4th century tower and wall.  Later a second noble man’s home was built beside it.  This wall/castle was burned down during the 1577 French Wars of Religion.  Some of the upper floors were restored, though, in the early 20th century and used by the Historical and Archeological Society of Périgord.

small6026 copysmall_wallmap6096small6119It’s a beautiful example of medieval architecture that can be enjoyed from across the railroad tracks at the Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum and then following the Red Line and crossing a bridge one can walk around the ruins and enjoy finding both Roman and Medieval carvings.

Always a cat or two

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In 1959 a Roman home, Domus de Vésone, was discovered during a construction project near the Tour de Vésone.  This home is from the 1st century A.D. and was perhaps an official palace.   The Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum was built over it and opened in 2003.  Wooden walkways allow visitors to stroll thru what was once a grand home of ancient luxury and beautiful gardens.  Glass displays show common everyday items such as weaving tools, medical supplies, toiletries, etc.   It had a central heating system that ran hot air under the floors of the home called hypocaust and a central garden with a fountain.

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The entrance is on the left side where there is also what seems to be a rectangular pool.

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View of the central garden from above.

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View from below showing the gallery floors above.

Top: garden. Middle: dining room Bottom: looking down on the bath.

This is an excellent museum for understanding the workmanship and ingenuity of a Roman home…Yes…a rather wealthy Roman home.

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Périgueux (pare-ee-go) has been an important settlement since 200 B.C. when the Gaul tribe Petrocorii established their capital, Vesunna, there along the banks of the Isle River.  The site was sacred for its spring.

When the Romans came in 16 B.C. they took over the area and created a city of their own.  Vesunna became City of the Petrocorii that over time changed into Périgueux and Périgord.  The City included a forum, basilica, amphitheater, arena, aqueduct, temples and mansions.  Since the 3rd century A.D. invasions of the Barbarians and later in 418 A.D. the Visigoths, the city was reduced to ruins.  Some of the old Roman buildings were used as supplies for new buildings while others ended up buried and almost forgotten.  From this a new city arose.  Today one can discover the glory of the past as well as enjoy a beautiful, vibrant city.

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Roman wall uncovered in a neighborhood.small6114

A wall made up of various pieces from Roman buildings.

TOUR DE VÉSONE:

Along the railroad tracks is a park where the Tour de Vésone (Tower of Vésone) can be seen.  This 2nd century Roman temple was dedicated to the goddess Tutela Vesunna, a Celtic goddess of prosperity, abundance and good fortune.  In her images she carries  a cornucopia.  For the Romans she is the goddess of luck and good fortune.

The tower is all that is left or at least revealed of a larger complex.  This tower was the Cella or heart of the temple where only the priests could enter.  The interior was once covered in marble.

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The temple of Tutela Vesunna.  The center is the tower.

 

 

The Tour de Vésone from different sides and angles.

Playing around for effects:

When I was in the Gallo-Roman Museum that is located in the same park as the Tour de Vésone there was an old etching of the Tour that showed it with different colored stripes.  So I decided to try and enhance these colors thru photoshop and filters.  Here’s what I came out with:

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1. Original photograph.

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2. Photo with saturated color.

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3. #2 converted into Black & White

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4. #2 with filters.  I used Nik Collection: Nostalgic 2

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5. Black & White version of #4

Photography is my first love.  I fought digital photography for awhile, had a difficult time wrapping my mind into it.  When I finally did I jumped in head first and have been amazed by how creative one can become.  I use a lot of layers and play with the filters that are available imagining how I want it to look until it does.  I shoot in RAW or ARW where I end up with more options to play with.  Depending on the use of my photo depends on how much I play with the effects.  For the blog I do as little as possible with effects so the photo is as natural as possible…Photo Journalism.  For my artist side there are no limits.

Note:  We arrived to Périgueux by train from Bordeaux.  Not far from the Gare (train station) there is a tour trail marked by a red line.  This will lead you to several points of interest.  Afterwards one can go up the hill to the center of the Medieval section of the town were the Cathedral Saint Front is located.  For Pilgrims there is a small chapel with a statue of Santiago.

 

Websites:

Travelfranceonline.com

Hearthfirehandworks.com

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