Another week of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This week’s topic is “waiting” and Tina wrote a few paragraphs to explain her idea.
Here is my story:
Back in the 1980s when I had my first car I persuaded my younger brother to go with me to France for a photo trip along the river Loire and visiting all the famous chateaus. For the end of that trip, a visit to medieval town Mt. St. Michel was planned. Mt. St. Michel is built on an island near the coast between Brittany and Normandy. At that time I had my first job and a car. My younger brother was still at school but he was able to speak french. So, without him, I wouldn’t be able to travel to France. At that time, the French were considered to only speak French and nothing else. I don’t know the reason anymore, why we canceled that trip. But, later I was sure of never seeing Mt St. Michel.
In January 2009 I joined a group of photographers. Each first Saturday of a month we’re meeting for photography trips in our area. Although we’re living distributed over nearly half of our state, we’re able to meet. The organization and planning are done via the internet.
Over time some friendships grew among some of us. We even organized some trips to locations a bit further away and for quite longer durations than one afternoon a month. In 2011 we used a public holiday (a Thursday) for a trip to Brittany. While planning the week, I came up with my long-time dream of visiting Mt. St. Michel. I even was able to persuade the others, despite the quite long distance from our vacation home at the Côte d’Emeraude. We were traveling with 2 private cars. Unfortunately, two of us were unable to start with the other on the same day and stay the full week. Instead, they started on Wednesday after work and arrived late that evening, while we others already had 4 days of driving around and seeing some parts of that area, including Rennes.
When they arrived, they told us about the fantastic sky at sunset and that they were near Mt. St. Michel when the sky turned red for sunset. So, they decided to take a photo stop at Mt. St. Michel 😢 I felt terrible when they told us about this. Mt. St. Michel was so near to me and the chance for canceling the planned visit was increasing rapidly. But, the previews on their camera displays made the other eager to want to go to Mt. St. Michel, too. Tides are turning 😀
Finally, the next day we headed to Saint-Malo first and later that day to Mt. St. Michel. Walking up the hill was a fantastic experience. I felt like thrown back in the medieval age. Unfortunately, the town was very, very crowded.
In the end, I was able to get this image (and a few more – but I love this one most). I have printed it and it’s hanging in our living room. At the same time, the others were in a pop-up theatre attending the opera Madame Butterfly right at the foot of the hill. When we arrived they were persuaded by a sales agent to use that night for a once-in-a-lifetime experience watching the Puccini opera in an open-air opera near that centuries-old town. I refused to accomplish them. My plan was very different and you know, why. 😀
It was kind of hard, to find a spot where the pop-up theater won’t ruin my image.
But, I found one 😀
You see, I had to wait about 25 years to see this iconic town.
This image is from my first trip to Etrétat in March/April 2012.
This window had a diameter of approximately 1,50m and was cut in the chalk cliff. A small path led to this place. We’re about 80m above the sea and no fence is between me and the sea. The ground you can see in the im image is the floor I’m standing on. I’m approximately half a meter away from the edge. What a strange feeling!
When I was in this place again in August 2015, only a few remains were visible. Lots of chalk were already eroded.
Now we are in Fécamp. A small town with a quite big and interesting harbour. The slideshow has some images taken along the cliff and a few from the harbour. From a photographers perspective, the town itself is not so interesting. but, there are a few restaurants with a fantastic view over the ocean.
Come here in the late afternoon and enjoy the lights in the harbour. You can also watch the fishermen bringing their catch home.
From Étretat you can walk along the cliffs either north or south. When walking south, you’ll reach the estuary of the river Seine and Le Havre.
In northern direction, you can get to Yport or Fécamp. It’s a very nice path along the cliff. The ocean to your left and farmlands to your right. You can get on the track easily from the promenade of Étretat. On both sides of the beach, there are paths and stairs to reach the top of the cliff.
It’s about 9 km from Étretat to Yport and another 9 km from Yport to Fécamp.
A warning: have an eye for the edge of the cliff. The path is often very near to the edge of the cliff. So, you might come in danger of falling down, when the soil under the grass is rinsed or eroded. A chalk cliff is very soft and gives room to wind and rain very easy.
Another product you can buy in Étretat is goat cheese. Despite the goat ranch is only a few hundreds of meter away from the center of the village, I didn’t found their cheese on the local market. But, I found it in a few local stores and even in the local supermarket, a member of a huge chain – what a surprise.
But, from the beginning 🙂
On top of the cliff (landwards from the part called Les falaises d’Etretat) you can find a goat ranch. You can visit the ranch. They have visiting hours for the farm itself and they have a shop with some interesting products made from goat milk: ice cream, chocolate, pralines and of course their cheese. I’d recommend have a walk to the farm, taste some of their products and walk bat to the village. You can easily make a round trip by walking up to the barm by following the roads and then head to the coast to follow the cliffs back to the village.
I like the pralines and the cheese. It’s a kind of cream cheese sized like a flattened tennis ball. You can get it at an age of 3 days, 1 week or 3 weeks. The older the cheese is, the more solid it is because it loosens moisture. I liked the 3 day old most. The older the stronger. 🙂
I already wrote some posts on french farmers markets and how different they are compared to ours here in Germany. So, I included only a short gallery without writing much about it.
In Étretat the market does not only have stands for vegetables and fruits. You can also buy different kinds of cheese, meat, sausages, soap and even clothing.
A place, usually used as a parking ground, in the center of the village is used for the market on friday mornings. It’s always interesting to see all the products and even taste some of them.
So, simply enjoy the gallery below. 🙂 – please be patient, wordpress needs some time to load the gallery :(, I don’t know , why
As proposed last week, I have another post on Claude Monet for you. From 1883 he lived in Giverny, a village of about 500 citizens. In 1890 he bought the house, he used to live in during the last 7 years. He lived in that house ’til he died in 1926.
The house still exist and is a museum, now. You can visit the house and the gardens surrounding the house. Huge parking grounds are prepared to have enough room for many, many visitors. The entrance fee is quite high. But, to maintain such a big garden costs a significant amount of money. You can also visit the house. Many paintings are hanging on the walls. But, don’t expect an art museum here. The rooms are still equipped with the past owners furnitures. So you can get an idea of the circumstances Claude Monet used to live. The exposed paintings are from several different creation periods. Certainly, you can see paintings created in the garden around the house, too.
When we arrived, we found a free parking slot very easy. Parking is free and the parking grounds are well signposted. We found is very easy, although it’s a bit remote. On the feeder road several busses full of tourists met us halfway, so we expected a very crowded place (we were there in the middle of the French summer holiday period). Fortunately I bought our tickets in advance online, so we were entitled to enter the property by a side entrance only for bus tours and people with pre-bought tickets. This side entrance is a little bit hidden and we have had to look for it. We knew about the side entrance from the fine prints on the tickets. There was a significant queue in front of the cash box. But inside the garden it was ok. Only the house was too crowded for me. Thus I fled back in the garden very quickly. My wife and my daughter stayed inside much longer.
You can also find a huge gift shop. Here you can buy calendars, postcards, books, DVDs and many, many different tiny things decorated with images by Monet or related to him or his art style. The gift shop is also accessible from the street without the need for a ticket. From inside the garden you have to leave by crossing the gift shop.
Although the garden is big and has a lot of different gardening styles, you’d probable need only about 2 hours to watch it. It was nice to have visited the garden, but I won’t go there for a second time.
Around the house, there are several art galleries, cafés and even flower shops trying to attract people coming for visiting the house and garden of Claude Monet.
In the 1870s there was a revolution in painting in France. Claude Monet, a french painter (1840-1926) came to Honfleur, a very small town in Normandy. He came to Honfleur for an exhibition and for painting, where his style of painting impressed the visitors very much. A newspaper editor took the name of one of his paintings “Impression, soleil levant” (Impression, Sunrise), to name his review of that exhibition: “L’Exposition des Impressionnistes”. He has not the only painter working in this style, that was faced harsh opposition from the conventional art community in France.
Impressionist painting characteristics include relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles. (from wikipedia)
Claude Monet liked to paint in Normandy, especially in Le Havre, Honfleur and Étretat. He loved the special light here at the sea.
Two of his paintings of the natural monuments of Étretat are set up as weatherproof reproduction copies at the beach of Étretat. They stand in the locations, where Claude Monet has stood to create these painting.
I like this idea to bring the art back to its origin.
In my last posts I wrote about the Alabaster Coast in a more general style. I wrote about the materials and so on from a ‘technical’ point of view. But, because of these facts, the coast became interesting for many, many visitors. People are interested in seeing the natural monuments created by erosion. So, many, many tourists come to the coast every year.
Although, there are some more interesting places, I’m focusing here on the part of the coast around Étretat.
When standing on the beach in Étretat you can find several monuments. I start on the right. Here we have “La Falaise d’Amont”, it’s the smallest of the three gates. On your left, we have “L’Arche et l’Aiguille”, the big arch and the rock needle behind. Further left, not visible from the beach itself, we have the huge gate “La Manneporte”. In the gallery below, you can find one image with a person standing inside La Manneporte. See, how tiny she is 🙂
When climbing up the cliff to you left, you’ll come the a group of rock needles in the cliff, the “Chambre des Demoiselles” (room of the virgins). Their story is like this: three virgins were kidnaped and locked in a cave because they refused to marry him. After three days and nights muted in the cave, an old woman saw three angel-like apparitions ascending to the sky.
Another monument is accessible from the beach, a huge natural cave. Although, the entrance of the cave is below the water at flood time, the cave has natural emergency places to wait for low-tide and come back to Étretat safely.
The Côte d’Albâtre (literally the Alabaster Coast) is part of the French coast of the English Channel. It takes its name from the white hue of its high chalk cliffs, which stretch for over 120 km, dominating most of the coastline. It is part of the same geological system as the White Cliffs of Dover on the other side of the English Channel.
The cliffs consist primarily of white chalk and flintstones. They are between 75 and 105m high. Below, you can find many, many round washed and polished stones, once embedded in the chalk, but now forming the beaches, because of wind and water have eroded the chalk. So, the remaining flintstones form the beaches.
The Côte d’Albâtre was a favourite subject of Impressionist painters, including Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and was frequented by composers associated with sea such as Claude Debussy and Albert Roussel. Other artists who painted the coastline include Gustave Courbet and Eugène Boudin.
I told you about my trip to Étretat last year. Now, it’s time to show you some more images and tell you, why it’s worth a visit.
Étretat is a small town near Le Havre in Normandy in France. There are a lot of different things to discover in Normandy. Some of them are already here in my blog from past trips. Just use the tag “normandie” to find them 🙂
This little series is dedicated to the village and the direct surroundings. For an introduction, I’d recommend to read my previous post on Étretat first.
Despite its small amount of inhabitants, you can find all necessary shops in Étretat, like butcher, 3 bakeries, fish shop, a supermarket, post office, pharmacy, banks and a hairdresser (many some more, but I don’t remember) and some gift shops as well as different kinds of restaurants. On Fridays there is a farmers market in the middle of the village so give you access to some more products. A nice place to stay, when retired.
Now, enjoy a trip through the town and imagine the slight smell of the near ocean. 🙂 The gallery below has 40 images – enjoy!
For this week, I picked an image taken last summer in France. At the end of a storm, the sun promised to come back. It’s my contribution to the Monochrome Madness Challenge organized by Leanne Cole, a photographer based in Melbourne, Australia.
Here you can see the waves rolling on the beach at the end of a storm and the iconic rocks of Etretat to the left. These chalk cliffs are part of the Alabaster Coast in the Normandy. I’m standing on a small platform about 3 or 4 meters above the beach, where I was able to overlook the scene way better, than from the beach itself (although the beach is quite steep down to the waterline).
This image of the fantastic Alabaster coast in Normandy, France, is my contributions for this weeks Monochrome Madness organized by the Australian photographer Leanne Cole. Each week you can find many fantastic monochrome images at her site.
Back to France for this week’s Monochrome Madness hold by Leanne Cole.
You know, I came back from my vacation in Étretat, Normandy, the week before last. I really love the iconic cliffs here. They were cut out of the clay rocks by rain, frost, wind and the ocean waves.
This image was taken at a beautiful warm afternoon with only very mild wind. So, I got these nice reflections in the tide pond. It’s not a real pond. There are many rocks in the water. They are keeping the waves away from the pond. Unfortunately, when the water is away, the bigger pieces of rock rise out of the water and disturb the reflections, while the waves disturb the reflections while the water level is higher. (and: you won’t reach this place while high tide).
In Normany you have very big differences between low tide and high tide. In Étretat the difference is about 6 m, further south (around Mont Saint Michel) it’s even about 9 m. That’s the dark band at the bottom of the bright rocks.
This is my photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.