Thursday, May 10, 2007

Where's the trip? (Day 2b)

Back to Aigues-Mortes and the Tour de Constance.

This was probably the least planned part of our trip. No, wait. Going to the beach the next day was also not well planned. This is how it usually goes for us, anyway.

This is a shot on our way up the street, heading towards the tower. There are little businesses and homes all along the way. It's hard to picture, and I have more shots coming up, but imagine a 13th century wall surrounding a little "modern" town. I say "modern" because everyone has indoor plumbing and electricity and cars etc. but they're still living in houses that are much older than they are.

This was my favorite doorway. It was a little bed and breakfast place. (Something to think about when you go!) I loved the colors especially, but the whole effect was very appealing to me.

Here's a picture of the wall next to the tower.

And here is a picture of me changing J's diaper. (I had to put that in.) As an aside, when we got home and saw the pictures, I asked Mr. French why he took a picture of me changing a diaper. He said it just seemed apropos. It was probably some guard's post hundreds of years ago and here we are changing a diaper.

I also loved this little restaurant and we didn't even eat there. It didn't open until later anyway. I just like the shutters and the tables and chairs and the little potted trees...I said to Mr. F that I wondered if we could recreate this in our next place. He said, "Would you really want that many tables? Seems like too many." Uh, yeah.

The boy's running into the tower over the bridge that goes over a green moat!

This is the ceiling in the first "room".

This will give you a better idea of what you're really looking at. The second room housed the women Huguenot prisoners. Notice how thick the walls are! In the center of each level's floor is a round opening. Now, it is securely covered with a plexi-glass-like covering, but on the second floor there was a large stone that seemed like it could fit over it. I'm not exactly sure what it was used for. At the very bottom of the tower you can see a much smaller room with only one opening. It was at one time (I forget the year) used as a "dungeon" for some soldiers someone wanted to get rid of. They found the bones later.

Here's a model picture of the walled city.

This is the small tower on the very top of the tower which is completely open to the elements.
As you can see...

Nice. More great pictures for the "newsletter".

Great view though.

This looks like some sort of miniature town, doesn't it? I can't believe people get to live in a medieval village. In. Real. Life.

Another view, just to the right of the last one.

We don't have a panoramic option on our camera, but we've still giving you the panoramic view! Free!

Then it's down the long winding stairs to the second room. (We took the elevator up to the top first.)

J looking down at the beautiful green water below. This was actually first used as a prison for men (not originally-in the very beginning it was just used as a fortress and housed artillery and whatever else fortresses are used for. It was used as a prison for the Huguenots around 300 years later in the 1690s.) but when all 38 or so of them escaped after spending months cutting through one iron rod and then climbing down with a rope made from clothing and swimming through the beautiful green moat. (I don't know if it was green back then though.) So their reward was to make it into a women's only prison. Then they either killed or enslaved the men on galley ships.

A view of one of the windows. There was a fire place in the room, but the windows were just covered in iron bars, so the wind whipped through. The day we visited was a fairly nice day with sunshine, but the wind was cool and we could really feel it standing in there.

Some of the signs, relaying the dates and history.

A record of the last remaining prisoners, but by no means all of them. The most famous prisoner was the young 19 year old Marie Durand. It is said that when she was brought here she breathed hope into the many that had already been in for years. She was a newlywed of a few months when she and her husband were arrested. Her father had been arrested a few months prior and she never saw him or her husband again. She stayed in this prison for 38 years. Almost her whole life. A most remarkable story of faith and perseverance.

She is the one who carved this: R E G I S T E R in the stone. It means RESIST!

But we just couldn't resist this:

C'est Bon!


JoyfulJessica said...

Great pictures! That was really interesting about the Huguenots. I'm glad you guys got to see all of that. The beach pictures were really beautiful too!

And I was just thinking the other day, "where's that diaper changing picture we were promised?" ;-)

Swimming with frogs said...

Yeah, I know you guys would have enjoyed seeing the museum and tower. I don't even know a tenth of what Andrew knows about the Huguenots but I thought it was very interesting. I've also read a lot since then.

R. Andrew said...

"Don't know much about the French I took..."

What an awesome trip! Great pictures and great commentary -- c'est fantastique!