Archive for January, 2019

We only spent a part of day in Périgeuex (for our first trip). After walking the Red Line Tour we ended our day walking thru the typically narrow and windy streets of the medieval city towards the Cathedral of Saint-Front.  In 1998 it was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it is an important site for El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.  (see previous blogs on El Camino 2017)   The Cathedral is impressive, built in the shape of a Greek cross with domes—a lot of domes.  There is much to discover in this beautiful Cathedral.  One item that struck me as interesting as I first walked inside were the chandeliers.  They are beautiful but don’t seem to fit…yet… they do.  They once hung in Paris’ Notre Dame for Napoleon’s wedding.  They add an incredible elegance to the open space.  The space goes fro stone to beautiful art.  It allows the eyes, mind, and soul time to take it in.  It adds a calmness to the heart.

On the left of the entrance as one walks inside is a small chapel called Confessions.  This is where the simple wood statue of Santiago is.    

 ¡Buen Camino!

The shop above with the corner door is called Maison Tenant (now a men’s clothing store). It has an interesting entry with the door opening at an upward angle.  There is an inscription on the lintel: “Remember we all have to die one day.  He who enjoys speaking ill of those who are absent, let him know that this house is forbidden to him.  The greatest glory comes from displeasing the wicked.  This house, built in 1518 with the blessing of the Almighty.”   

Cathedral Saint-Front

Old chapel called Confessions dedicated to Santiago

Périgueux is definitely a town that needs more exploring as well as the countryside around it. We will be back!

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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.


View of the central garden from above.


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.


Roman wall uncovered in a neighborhood.small6114

A wall made up of various pieces from Roman buildings.


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.


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:


1. Original photograph.


2. Photo with saturated color.


3. #2 converted into Black & White


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


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.





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