Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Flowers – 5

Continuing the series, here are more flowers I spotted while walking around the medieval village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois deep within in the Burgundy country of France.

When I see a sight like this – something very pretty adorning what was once a military fortification, it always drives me crazy! I incessantly wonder when and how something militaristic was transformed into something nice, and whether the transformation came suddenly or rather just little by little. A good example is my blog post entitled From war to peace.

Doubs Cows

There’s a very famous French saying, and in fact it is so famous the the young French schoolchildren memorize this from a very early age: Vous ne pouvez pas prendre une mauvaise photo d’une bonne vache.

I caught made this snap while driving deep, deep within the Doubs countryside of France:

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Flowers – 4

Continuing the series, here are more flowers I spotted while walking around the medieval village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois deep within in the Burgundy country of France.

I took this snap early in the morning, literally laying on my stomach on the ground. I probably would not have tried that later in the day with more people around, or they might mistake me for a real photographer!

Breathtaking Bourgogne gate

The Burgundy countryside of Bourgogne in France is an incredible, is an amazing, incredible place. You’ll find many dozens of kilometers of walls of stone, like this one:

Since there isn’t a lot of square stones laying around on the ground, it really begs the question of the absolutely tremendous effort it took to quarry the stone and transport it to create the walls.

The incredible dinosaurs of Charbonnières-les-Sapins

The tiny village of Charbonnières-les-Sapins is nestled so deep within the Doubs department of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of France that it is likely no tourists have ever been here – or ever will.

But if you do make it here, which itself would be an amazing feat, you still have a long, long way to go. For deep, deep within the forests adjacent to Charbonnières-les-Sapins lies a truly incredible park, La Parc Prehistorique, filled with dinosaurs!

But let’s please get one thing straight: these are not real dinosaurs!  The real dinosaurs died out a long, long time ago. These are just models of dinosaurs.

OK, now that you know these are not real dinosaurs, you can really enjoy the park, because they’ve gone to incredible lengths to show what it would be like if there really were real dinosaurs in the forest.

Some of the models are quite good, such as this one:

Most of the models really make dinosaurs seem real, by portraying them as they might have been in life – this enormous giant below is scratching his back:

But some of them are a bit more cheesy:

There may be a big question that pops into your mind: why a dinosaur park here? As I’ve highlighted several times in my blog, the mountains of this region are the Jura mountains, the namesake of the Jurassic period. Even today there are zillions of fossils just laying around and waiting to be discovered by paleontologists brave enough to venture this deeply into France.

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Flowers – 3

Continuing the series, here are more flowers I spotted while walking around the medieval village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois deep within in the Burgundy country of France. These flowers were high in the village overlooking the Bourgogne countryside.

For me it is a deeply emotional scene, with the flower on the right looking longingly at the French countryside, somehow wishing it could go down there but not being able to.

I’m actually not a very big fan of flowers per se – but I am trying to understand the in’s and out’s of the aperture setting on my little point-and-shoot camera, which makes the foreground image very sharp, but the background very blurry. I’ve had the camera for around two years now, and it was always on my to-do list to figure it out!

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois Flowers – 1

Continuing the series, I took this snap while walking around the medieval village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois deep within in the Burgundy country of France.

I haven’t used it much until now, but I am experimenting with the aperture settings on my little point-and-shoot camera, so that the foreground is in sharp focus, but the background is blurry. So far I am finding it a bit difficult to get the “right amount of blurriness” – too much or too little and it can be distracting, and on the tiny display screen it’s quite difficult for me to see the finished results.

Château de Châteauneuf-en-Auxois – 1

France is an amazing place. Small by US terms, nevertheless there are very distinct regions with their own cultural and architectural flair. Recently I spent some time exploring the countrysides of Bourgogne region, home to the famous Burgundy wines, when I accidentally stumbled across this site on the hilltop village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois:

It was originally a castle built in the 1100’s but then was turned into a luxury chateau for an ultra-affluent family that started the Chateauneuf title in the 1400’s.

Gordes from below

In a separate blog post I’ve shown the medieval French village Gordes from above, and here it is looking up from below:

I never re-touch or edit my photographs in any way, except a bit of cropping – so I’m always pleased when I capture magnificent blue skies like this that get pale near the horizon.  (That’s not a polarization effect, just the usual “blue sky” effect coupled with a progressively deeper slice of atmosphere as you get near the horizon: more air = more scattering.)

Village in Provence

I seem to keep coming back to Provence, year after year, because I just haven’t yet had my fill. You can take leisurely drives anywhere and encounter stunning sights like this village, whose name I never even stopped to record:

I took this magnificent snap around Christmas time. It was a nice 20C in Provence while Switzerland was dark and covered with snow.

Château de Tarascon

I love touring around France in out-of-the-way places that tourists have never visited or likely never will. And the most amazing thing about Southern France is that even the tiniest towns have magnificent relics. Far from any place you’ll see tourists sit two villages on opposite sides of the Rhone River, Beaucaire and Tarascon.

And you can’t find anything more “castley” than this, the Château de Tarascon:

Getting a narcissistic stork to finally eat a bit of ham

The storks that like to hang out at the Alsatian highway rest areas in Eastern France must surely be narcissists, because they let humans get quite close and watch them, but they always refuse to eat just about anything you might toss out. In fact, they sort of parade around with a certain stork-arrogance, strutting about in their very arrogant stork-like way but otherwise ignoring the humans altogether.

Until now!

Although this snap doesn’t capture it, I fed this stork a piece of ham (Schinken) I found, and he scarfed it down.

I don’t have a bad feeling because I think he already set his sights on the ham before I got there.

FAKE: Porte Jaune Unstretched

I was pretty impressed with this view of the Porte Jaune building in the downtown area of the Alsacian village of Mulhouse:

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

Rhein Crane

Continuing the series, I took this snap but did not have much time to linger around. So it’s definitely on my bucket list to go back one day and and try to understand the purpose of this pipe: does it onload or offload – or perhaps both? And does it deal with liquids or compressed gases – or perhaps both?

I only know that for the brief moment I was visiting, it was standing at lazy attention, like a lone and tired sentinel guarding a post that no one ever visited.

FAKE: Water Tower

I was pretty impressed with this impression of an antique water tower – used for filling steam trains – and it reminded of some of the work of M.C. Escher, who was known for hanging objects in empty space.

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

Two views of the amazing Iron Man in Mulhouse

A common sight for visitors to the Alsacian village of Mulhouse, it’s always been completely unclear to me: is he wiping oily sweat from his brow, screening the sunlight out of his eyes, straining to see a friend at a long distance, or just sitting in contemplation?

It could be exactly that ambiguity of emotions that the artist was trying to convey.

And that’s exactly the problem with art!  It could be the artist was going for just one of these emotions, but missed the mark and now left us all wondering!

FAKE: Umbrella pines

I was pretty impressed by this modified snap of some umbrella trees in Provence:

Just for the record: the photos I post are never in any way retouched or enhanced or changed – except for cropping.

But in this series of blog posts entitled FAKE I publish some rather interesting images I have enhanced in some way.

French influence – or just a good idea?

Saigon is a frustrating place for me in many ways. Knowing the French history, as I walk through Saigon my eyes are drawn towards French-looking things, and I ask myself whether they are coincidences – such as a coffee shop with a French name, named so only because it sounds posh, as this example shows with two such French-named coffee shops next to each other:

or truly part of the French legacy (such as the system of Arondissments used to district the city).

Here is a case in point:

As I’ve written about before, French traffic signals are some of the best design traffic signals in the world. Is this just coincidence, or a vestige of the French legacy? Here is a similarly looking traffic signal in France,