Day Three: Le Mans

DISCLAIMER: I am not editing my posts until I return home from France. Read at your own peril.

So far I have been told by several people that Le Mans has some type of car track. Ok.  I arrived in La Mans because I could not wait to see the medieval part of the city.  Unlike many European cities, the medieval section has not been redefined to meet the needs of tourists.  The houses are lived in by “regular” people and apart from a few restaurants, one can walk through the narrow and empty streets and imagine he/she has fallen back through time.  In was in this town that Henry II was born to Empress Matilda. Matilda, born to Henry I, was sent from England to the Holy Roman Empire, to marry the Emperor at the age of 12; he was at least twenty years older than she was.  Once he died and she remained childless, she was recalled home by her father in order to marry again, this time to Count Geoffrey of Anjou. Since Matilda’s brother died in a ship wreck, it was accepted that her future son (Henry II) would become king. (Remember the civil war I mentioned in a previous post? Henry won.)

Raven and I first visited the Cathedral St. Julian.  Henry II’s father Geoffrey is buried here.  Although the church had been standing for a few centuries, a huge fire caused damage and the church as you see it began construction in 1142.

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Click HERE to see some shaky footage of the cathedral.

After leaving the cathedral, Raven and I walked through the Cite Plantagenet and explored the homes of present day “normal” people in La Mans.  Some of the homes date back to the 1200’s and some have been “recently” renovated or added as late as the 1500’s.  The interiors all have modern day plumbing and electricity but those wood beams…

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I want to walk down those steps to my apartment!

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Some narrow sidewalks!

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Click HERE to see some footage of the medieval city.

I decided that I needed to stop choking on my jealousy so Raven and I ate a fantastic little restaurant. We ate so much that walking was difficult.  Raven declared, “in my twenty-one years of life, that was the best meal I have ever had!”  We were so full I was debating walking down the to the water’s edge where, I was told, you could find a wall built by the Romans about 1,700 years ago.  I am so glad we decided to walk off our gluttony.

What astounded me was the fact that the walls made by the Romans (the patterned stonework) to keep out invaders now had homes built on top of them!  I am still astounded that people can say, in casual conversation, “I live on a Roman wall!”  My poor daughter was, I am sure, laughing or growing frustrated with me because I would not leave the subject alone. “Raven, that wall was built by the ROMANS!  How do people even function?!? Do they even care?”

I truly was devastated when we had to walk back to car and drive away.  I was plotting a way to move here; not being able to speak French or have a career did not seem to be a factor at the time. But… on to Chinon!

I leave you with these dainty flowers growing on the side of a busy roadway.

 

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