Long Meg & Castlerigg

I’m kicking off 2018 with a visit to some slightly bizarre locations. Long Meg and her Daughters, and Castlerigg are two fairly well-known stone circles in Cumbria, and can be found near Little Salkeld and Keswick respectively.

Brougham Castle

Head out to the outskirts of Penrith and you’ll find Brougham Castle, a medieval castle based on the site of the Roman fort of Brocavum. Very shortly after the land was acquired by Robert de Vieuxpoint in 1214, the castle was built to defend England from the Scots, and also at times from other members of the English nobility. The River Eamont which runs beside the castle used to mark the border between England and Scotland, before the boundary was moved further north by William Rufus in 1092.

Revisiting the Tour Eiffel

A little while ago, I posted a handful of photos from a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. When my friend, Amy, visited me in France, this was one of her ‘must-do’ attractions, and when my sister came, this was on her list too!

So I took my camera up again, but this time with my telephoto lens! With this lens, I could really get close to the ground, despite being 300 metres in the air. It was quite a strange sensation to be honest. I did a lot of people-watching.

Château de Vincennes

Set all the way out on the eastern side of Paris, the Château de Vincennes was used as a royal residence since the 12th century. Given its historical significance in France, I couldn’t say no to going – so my dear friend, Connie (who has featured on other posts, and also has her own blog) and I took a little trip to check it out!

Construction began on the keep at the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War, and was finally completed circa 1370 under Charles V. The protective walls and nine towers were also built around this time, surrounding the keep and the manor.

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An extra protective measure surrounding the castle is the moat, which was, at one time, filled with water.

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Also on the site, and the first place Connie and I went into, was Sainte-Chapelle. It was modelled on the church of the same name on the Île de la Cité in the middle of Paris, and was founded by Charles V in 1379. At the moment however, the exterior, and part of the interior, is covered in a ridiculous amount of scaffolding. Fantastic. I did try to get a few shots without the steel monstrosity, but it was harder than expected.

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One part of the church that wasn’t touched by scaffolding (on the inside at least) was the rose window above the entrance. There were so many great colours in it, and fortunately there’s a staircase that takes you up onto a balcony directly below said window, allowing for dramatic angles to be captured.

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Unfortunately, works are scheduled to continue throughout the next year, and probably beyond given the apparent lack of activity on the site when we were there. So, to conclude, there is little chance of a quick update sans scaffolding.

Either way, Connie and I then meandered our way over to the keep, which is probably the main attraction on the site.

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Through some of the troubled periods in the 16th and 17th centuries, the monarchs of France would take refuge behind the walls of the castle. Louis XIV also added to the castle before moving permanently to his palace in Versailles, which meant that Vincennes lost its ‘royal residence’ status.

The square tower in the centre of the ‘keep complex’ has six floors, which all have the same layout, and stands at 50m tall.

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Around the square tower, you’ll find a terrace which was used by the kings to walk around the keep and view the site, and further afield. Now, the city of Paris has developed and the landscapes are a far cry from those of the past.

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Inside the keep, in one of the turret rooms, there was a small chapel, which was used solely by the king. The walls have been so well preserved, there is still some paintwork visible.

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But what I really loved though, were the views through the windows in the treasury room. The glass was slightly stained in a variety of colours which provided great natural filters for the view outside.

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After our trip to the castle, we wandered through the town of Vincennes, which is well worth a trip if you’re at a loss of things to do in Paris (which probably won’t happen!) It’s a great place, with open spaces, and right on the edge of the Bois de Vincennes. The forest (bois) is huge, and is home to many different attractions. On a sunny, Summer day I’ll have to return and take in the greenery.

Top of the Tower

When my friend came to visit me in France, I used it as an excuse to do more of the tourist stuff again, despite being a resident here. This ‘stuff’ included finally taking a trip up to the very top of the Eiffel Tower. It was built for the World’s Fair in 1889 and stands at 324m tall, and I went to (nearly) the top!

Sunny days in the Jardin

I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned how much I love the Jardin du Luxembourg on a sunny day, and here I’m having a bit of a throwback to my visit in autumn, when the trees were burning and the sun was out. When I stopped by I stumbled upon a brass band playing in the bandstand playing a mixture of classical pieces and movie soundtracks.