Gorgeous day today! I walked out to the Prieuré de Saint-Cosme in La Riche Soleil, one town over (although it's really one continuous built-up area). This is a mostly-ruined priory that was founded in 1092. The oldest bits still standing (the ruined church essentially) date from the late 11th century. It is mostly famous because the poet Pierre de Ronsard lived and died there in the 16th century. He was dug up and reburied in the 1930s. It was occupied until the 18th century, but dissolved decades before the French Revolution, I think because of a lack of recruits or money or both. Sold off after the Revolution, it was used as a quarry and the site of market gardens, finally bought up again in the 1920s, when restoration and excavations began, then suffered bombing in WWII because it's right next to a railway line. So quite the turbulent past for what s now (or was today at any rate) a very peaceful place. I did see a handful of other people wandering around, but I was almost always by myself inside the buildings etc. (So was able to take self-timer photos without shame). Nice gardens, I suppose they might be even better in spring. Anyway, nice day out.
Saw this sign on the way to the priory, cracked me up. Just the way Johnny is written all jauntily and then you get the STAB. I wish my name were Johnny Stab...
A Zao Wou-ki vase - Zao Wou-ki (a Chinese artist who has lived in France for a long time) was commissioned to do new stained-glass windows for the refectory (the apparently unremarkable originals having been destroyed in WWII), and in honour of this there's currently an exhibition of other of works. He paints as well, apparently, but it was mostly porcelain stuff. Very reminiscent of Jackson Pollock and Kandinsky (not this vase so much, but other pieces), with an Asian air to it - I like.
Some of the stained glass windows
A view of the ruined church
Ronsard bears an unfortunate resemblance to the devil, although I'm not sure that would have hindered his ecclesiastical career as much as his habit of writing volume after volume of romantic poetry to different women
Ronsard's bones were discovered in 1933 and 'scientifically' (from the looks of this photo) identified as his
Inside the refectory
Me in front of the church
Moi among the ruins
In the hostelry, now a small Ronsard library. Gotta love how the inside of my elbows are clearly a different colour from the rest of me (it's a real tan, but obviously those bits get no sun!)
In front of the ruined church
Inside the church - new handbag btw
The cut flower garden
View of one of the gardens from inside the prior's lodge
The ruined 11th century church