Thursday, February 6, 2014

French Landscape and Gardens

 I have to mention the landscape and gardening aspect of our visit.  I was most impressed by the actual working gardens at many of the sights.  One of the first places we visited in Toulouse was a former abbey turned museum.  The courtyard was a garden.  Lovely! 
 We were told to travel to Cracassone to visit a medieval castle from the 1300s.  They had gardens galore.
 The castle courtyard had very old and impressive trees.
 There was another garden round the bend.
 We took another day trip to Albi to the North.  We went to a former abbey turned museum (hmmm, detecting a pattern?) and fell in love with the stairs leading to the entry.  Flower beds all the way to the front door.
 We snuck round the back and followed the path leading to the garden proper.
 It was magnificent.
 There was a walkway covered in grape and wisteria vines.  I can imagine how beautiful this would be in the summertime.
 More sculpted gardens.
 I loved this medallion.
 Just another spectacular view.
 Near the end of our trip, we stayed in Arles and took day trips from there.  We drove up to St. Remy and stopped at this former abbey.  The country is more wild in the region of Provence.  This is where Van Gough did much of his painting.  He loved the wildness of the landscape.  This is the overlook from the top of the abbey.
 I just loved this old tree.  It overlooks the ancient cemetery.
Another view of the French countryside.  We loved driving and seeing vineyards and pasture.  There were olive trees in abundance as well as villages along the way.  The land was spectacular and just reminded me of God's hand in our lives, and that the earth is so beautiful because of his love for us, and that we, as His children have the capacity to add to that beauty.  I'm just glad I got to enjoy it.

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