Today I’m Marie Kondo-ing my blog… so to speak: I’m posting something that sparked joy in my week.
…and it was all because of a Bible Study.
Late Leaving Angers
On Mondays, I’m typically done teaching around 4:30 p.m. Since there’s a lot of construction and a gazillion students trying to get out the one little ‘not-under-construction’ feeder road that leads to our school as well as a half a dozen others… I typically wait & read for 30-45 minutes, giving time for the traffic to clear. (Better that than 30-45mins inching toward the main road.)
This past Monday was different again. A family that attends our church, but lives in Angers, hasn’t been able to get to church the past several weeks and asked if I could come do a Bible study before leaving town. It was a joy to do so.
‘Mr. Angers’ grew up in church, but ‘Mrs Angers’ did not… she’s still very much in the discovery stage. Anyway… it was wonderful to spend the extra time with them and we’ll be heading over for the next few weeks.
That visit, however, made for an even later departure from Angers than normal. I only got away around 8:30 p.m. Darkness was already falling as I drove out of the city.
The upside to the late drive though, is that by the time I got to Montreuil-Bellay (not quite 1/2-way home), it was dark and I decided to stop for a few pictures of the castle that sits atop a knoll over the Thouet River.
I came into town from the north-west and took the photo above from the Pont Napoléon (the Napoleon Bridge). On the left, you see the collegiate church (located inside the castle walls), on the right, the oldest part of the castle, and the lights reflecting in the Thouet down below.
Here are two of the gates that allow you access to parts of the castle grounds.
First… the gate down at the river’s edge. Passage through here takes you to parts of the winery where they process and store the wine derived from the 16 hectares of vineyards within a short distance from the castle.
The second gate is the one that takes you to the collegiate church, on the top of the hill and also built right into the walls that surround the castle.
The castle crests a knoll overlooking the Thouet, but on the village side of the castle, a dry moat surrounds the main structure of the castle. The bridge in this picture takes you through the gate pictured above and directly into the collegiate church.
I thought it was a cool picture… seeing the light through the arches of the bridge below, in contrast to the lights on the towers of the castle entrance above.
Over the Wall
Although I’ve toured the castle before (I’ll do a separate post about that later this week), this time… everything was only seen from outside the castle walls.
The top picture depicts the inhabited portion of the castle, looking from the town-side, and the second is taken from down below (river side) looking up at the walls and one of the 13 fortified towers built into the walls.
From Down Below
I parked the car and wandered on foot for a little bit. At that time of night, the streets were empty and just about everyone was inside… the nights are getting cooler.
One thing I’ve always loved about photographing old stone buildings in France, at night, is the characteristic warm glow. Many of theses buildings are made with Tuffeau, soft, yellow-ish limestone.
I walk back up the hill where the car is parked right beside La Barbacane restaurant.
Things are tough for restaurants in France. Social distancing means fewer clients while overhead and employment costs remain pretty much the same. Normally at 10 p.m. restaurants would still be teeming with people (the French eat late), but not tonight. They were already closed and not a client in sight.
A Marie Kondo Moment
Little 20-minute stops like this are real Marie Kondo moments for me… they spark joy and break up an otherwise long & somewhat monotonous drive.
I drive within sight of probably a half dozen castles on my drive to Angers – not all are as imposing as this one and some are quite small… but they’re castles nonetheless.
As if it wasn’t enough, to spend time with folks hungry to talk about God’s word, on a Monday afternoon, I also had a chance to stroll through Montreuil-Bellay by night!
Have a really wonderful day and
thanks for stopping by to see what we’re up to.
You’re right, Mike. It is beautiful!! What a difference though. Restaurants here are packed even late at night!
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