France is really a weird country, women freeze their kids and get a slap on wrist, men rob, kill and get suspended sentences, a welfare check and a free apartment. But when an honest student wants to film his city and making an beautiful video, he gets arrested and sentences to pay 70 000 euros in damages. Strange country but I guess drones must remain the privilege of spying government. Shame on this justice.
A French teenager is in rubble. (Barney Rubble … trouble!)
Nans Thomas, an 18-year-old from the Northern French town of Nancy, recently filmed a video of his stunning hometown by attaching a GoPro camera to a small drone. The video captures spires, churches and plazas that make the historic city so beautiful, and it has racked up more than 400,000 views on Vimeo and about 70,000 on YouTube. But the way Thomas shot the film — just say no to drones? — has left him in a big old legal mess.
So French pate (pronounced pâtay) is going into space and yet I can’t bring any with me when I go to the States… wonder who decided what when and where. Good thing for the Henaff company from French Brittany. Bon appetit guys.
Metz was already in existence long before Cesar’s troops arrived there, with a lucrative business going in the South as well as in the West. Tacitus called it ” Diuoduri Mediomatricorum id oppidum est” Divodurum is the stronghold of the Mediomatriques. No I didn’t write Matrix and Neo wasn’t there. Or was he? Anyhow, the place had natural protections and it was normal for Celts then Roman to choose it for their residence. Some fortifications Gallic and Roman are still visible in private home basements if you’re lucky enough to know the residence’s owner. With the Mosel River on one side and the Seille it’s almost like an island.
It didn’t take Romans to long to bring their lifestyle with them and soon enough they built a palestre, which is some sort of privately owned gymnasium without a running track. It was built in the IV century. Archeologists believe it was part of larger Thermal site also. Roman construction is easily recognizable as they mixed bricks and carved stones. The picture on the left might just be showing one of them.
In the VII century, Christians took the remnant of the palestre and the thermes (hot bath) to built a church. It is the oldest remaining Romanesque style church in the country. It was first occupied by Benedictine monks (which in old French is Nonnains the masculine form of nonnes, nuns. Later it became a monastery for women. A chancel was built, to separate the nave from the nef from the choir. He is visible in the Metz museum today.
During the invasion attempt by Charles Quint in 1552, Francois de Guise who was Duke of Lorraine had it partially destroyed to protect the city. The renovation that is visible today started in 1970. Right after the attempt by Charles Quint, the French decided to create military stronghold in Metz. At that time the chapel became a ammunition warehouse until it was given up by the military in 1946.
Like many historical buildings, this one was closed when I got there so I couldn’t see the inside. Apparently it is only open for concerts. Since I’m not the music kind of guy, I won’t be able to look at the inside for awhile. Below is a floor plan of the inside.
The Basilica Saint Pierre aux Nonnains is the oldest Romanesque building in France
Metz, perfectly tended gardens attend visitors from all over the world. Not exactly a tourist trap unfortunately you can only see what the power that be wants you to see. Beautiful fall days are rare occurrences in Lorraine so when the sun start timidly to show up, I take my camera and go to strange places. The Octagonal Templar chapel is just such a thing. Located near the Arsenal built in the city by the Military in the middle of the XIX century next to the place de la Republique she is one of the few remaining intact, or almost.
Templars came to Metz fairly late by comparison to France and England. One could ask why I wrote “by comparaison to France”. Well Metz wasn’t really in France at the time. It was a free chartered city subject on paper to the Holy German Empire. So Templars arrived there in 1133. When one knows Portugal donated land and castles as early as 1126, two years before the creation of that special knighthood it is fairly late.
Doors to the chapel are low by modern standards, maybe 1.75 meter in height (5 feet 9 inches), which might indicate knights weren’t very tall at all. The construction most likely started in the XIII century when Templars moved to this part of town. Perhaps because the cathedral was being built near by and since they likely pay for the most part of the construction they wanted to watch over the work they were paying for? I will get to construction funding later when I will post on the Metz cathedral.
There is one question: why did they built it in a Romanesque style? Thickness of the wall and small size windows are indicators but what was the reason for building in Romanesque style when a third of mile away the Metz cathedral was build by Gothic construction working guild. Keystone visible inside suggest however a hint of Gothic architecture but keystone is the design of the ceiling. We know Templars always kept a secret entrance in all their places. Secret passages have been found in Commanderies and Granges all over in Marne and Champagne. Could it be the Chapel was build with massive walls to hide such a passage?
There are no carving or any display like in “civilian” places, except for this five leaves clover on one post that didn’t bring any luck to the Templars and a fading carving of Templar Maltese cross above the main entrance. Unfortunately this place like many others that could be of interest to a lot of searchers is closed to the public and I found closed doors. I checked with a very kind policeman on a parking near by and he mention the place open once a year during the “Journee du Patrimoine”. Which means that once a year you get to visit one or two places perhaps three if you’re lucky.
Some say the Chapel went to the Knight Hospitalier, yet for some reason I doubt it. First the Hospitalier would have erased the Maltese cross on top of the main entrance like in all other places they took over. Furthermore, not far from the Chapel, Teutonic knights had a hospital. In Metz Templars were never arrested so perhaps Teutonic knight inherited the place and it is why we may be able to see it today.
A fading Maltese cross, fading history, fading story behind closed doors. The memory of common men eroded by the passage of time.
I had never heard of the Castle until recently. When the site “Patrimoine de Lorraine” posted an add for a conference on the history of Metz’s fortification, I called for information and coming Sunday I went. To my surprise the castle wasn’t far from where I live, measly 15 miles. An old man was waiting by the door to collect money. To my great surprise I found the remnant of a fortified structure with quite of history. The first time the name Tichemont appeared was in 1055 on a “Cartulaire” a charter showing the gift of the land to a Martin de Tichemont by Henri abbe of Gorze, a town located near Metz.
The main entrance shows how the dungeon must have been at the time of the original construction. The entrance bridge have replaced drawbridge. The construction started in the middle of the XIII century ordered by the Comte (Count) de Bar (the family lost the Duc title in 1033 only to retrieve in 1354). Although not visible in the pictures I took there are still a poterne (secret door) and a machicoulation (a opening by which stones and other things could be thrown at the enemy).
Entering the court yard and on the right is what the French call the “orangerie” a place where they would place fruits and vegetables to remain in a cool dark place for the winter. During the last month of WW2, the orangerie was used by US Air Force as a movie theater while the pilots lived i the castle.
But I learned the most interesting part at the end of the conference which by the way was really fascinating. After multiple sales the Castle ended in the hand of a certain Robert des Armoises who married Claude de Lys which was better known at the time as Jeanne la Pucelle. They lived in this castle for a while until the moved to Metz, to finally settle in Jaulny. I will go back for a better look but if you beat me to it, call this number of a appointment:
Château de Tichemont
6 Hameau de Tichémont
Tel : 03 82 33 02 96
Last time I checked the second amendment of the French constitution of 1958 did indeed allowed free speech but with socialists, freedom of speech comes with a twist: you’re a always entirely free to agree with them but it stops there.
Yesterday was Veterans day, something called “Armistice day” in France. Of course hollandus ineptum attempted to gather few supporters but then found out he was SOL. Most people only booed him and for this got arrested. The funny part is (when I say funny I mean it in manner of speech since it isn’t funny at all) real criminals are not going to prison in France anymore, unless their sentences are more than 5 years. So they are free to continue to aggress innocent victims (unless of course they thrown in jail for protesting the current government).
French cops arrested around 70 people, Aljazeera reports, after they booed president Francois Hollande as his motorcade drove up the Champs-Elysees to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
It November 11th so for a guy like me who had ancestors invested in every single war since at least Napoleon, it was just normal I try to spend to day in a place of remembrance. I decided to go to Romagne sous Montfaucon. It was a dreary drive, fog not allowing more than a 50 yards visibility and of course a speed way below the speed limit. It was cold on top of it with frost on the car’s windows before departure. Sixty miles a 45 miles an hour is really boring but in the wonderful world of Victor Hugo I had decided to leave at Dawn. “Tomorrow, at dawn, at the hour when the countryside whitens,
will set out. You see, II know that you wait for me.
I will go by the forest, I will go by the mountain.
I can no longer remain far from you.”
When I arrived at the cemetery fog was still there, just like if Nature try to show its sorrow for the 14 246 kids who gave their life in the name of Freedom, a freedom somehow no one could care less about anymore, at least in various government around the world.
The sun could hardly brake the fog over the graves when the ceremony was about to begin. Only few people attended, very few of them being French. Some of them were from England, some from Germany, Belgium and some from the Netherlands. The Mayor of Romagne was present so was a captain of Gendarmerie. As special note I would like to indicate that Gendarmerie, although mostly involved in French national police matters are in fact still military personnel. A Navy Captain was dispatched by the US Embassy to give the speech. A Navy Captain? In the middle of the Argonne were not sailor set foot, at least for that battle? Good grief Charlie Brown. A pilot I could understand, you know flying a Sopwith Camel? But who can comprehend the mind of a civil servant who send the guy there. He read one of the letters send by some soldier to his family in the States. I didn’t understand his name, the Cap becoming more and more emotional as he read it (also I’m deaf as rock so sue me)(I wasn’t allow hear protection while teaching recruits the use of 50 cal machine guns as anti-aircraft tools).
The ceremony lasted about 20 minutes, so I left. On my way home I stopped by the town of Montfaucon where another ceremony was already in progress. Now call me silly but I did find extremely distasteful. In fact the town of Montfaucon was liberated twice by US troops, the first time during WW1 but also during WW2 when General Patton passed through town. No flags no hyms, just a Sherman tank vaguely attempting to remind the citizen of town who died for their freedom. I have to admit, in some other towns, I was impressed by the tiny flag some citizen planted in flower pots.As I finish writing I served myself a glass of Bourbon, some Four Roses and I propose a toast to all those men who died for liberating France. Here’s to you guys.
When Gerard de Sede published his book “The Accursed Treasure of Rennes le Chateau” in 1968 (Le Tresor Maudit), he didn’t know how far the story would be taken and that worldwide people would learn about some obscure part of French history. And like everyone after him he imagined a nonexistent culture of French kings and French dynasty. There was nothing of a sort in the land that is now called France at the time. And as far as treasures are concerned, each tribe carried her own treasure, the Visigoth tribe probably carrying the biggest one, the result of centuries of Roman pillaging taken during the sack of Rome on August 24th 410 by Alaric the elected king. Did they take the Menorah? No will knows as this treasure has never been found. Did Sauniere found it? Although it not the purpose of this post to talk about it, I don’t think so as Sauniere’s revenues weren’t steady. Had he found the treasure, his ego would have made him spend even more than he did.
The hexagon (as France is often called now by journalists and politicians) was just an amalgam of small tribal territories which were called Austrasia, Neustria, Alleman Burgonde Wisigoth etc.. Therefore it is to go on limb to pretend there was a French dynasty . Most inhabitants of the land didn’t even know which tribes they belong to. They were serfs, or freemen and women who, unless born within the military cast tried as hard as possible to survive only knowing they had to pay the taxman when he showed up.
Baigent Leigh and Lincoln continued with the misconception, which was passed through the general public when Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” became a big screen success. No one bothered to actually study the Franks (I mentioned in another post how Merovingians were a dynasty and the people were called Franks). For the most part they were all pagan except in cities where Christians pushed their religion forward manu-military, not hesitating one second to kill those who resisted. If so then why would being the heir of Jesus Christ would be important to the population? The photo on the right was taken at the Merovingian Necropolis in Audun le Tiche and it is accepted as being the head of the God Mercury, the God of wealth which was also worshiped by the Gall0-Roman population as the Celtic God Lugh master of craftsmanship. So how could Merovingian and Visigoth could be associated?
Visigoth were not a Germanic tribe unlike the Franks (yeah French people are actually of German descent). They came most likely from the North part of Europe. They weren’t Christian. In fact they were often accused of heresy. They were Arians (See Arius and his view on Christianity). For the Visigoth Jesus Christ was just a man therefore for them also the divine origins were meaningless. So were does this conspiracy originates? I will continue to look into it.
Living in the boondocks has its advantages. There isn’t much to do but at least, one can enjoy good food from the garden. After finishing the preserve, I took the time to make few pies. Why turn on the oven for one when you can make three or four. OK I only have three molds so I made three of them.. I friend was going to show with her kid so I made sure they were perfect.
One of the best pie pan I had is prolly the oldest one, an old blackened tin pan and it’s the one I took for the pictures. Puff pastry dough is the best. Once cooked it crispy and fluffy. It’s difficult to find in the US already made, but in France every supermarket has them rolled up in a sheet of baking paper (as seen on the first picture next to the pan) which makes it easier to use, just unroll, cut the excess paper (it really looks better) push the dough nicely against the bottom, more so by the corner of the pan, pinch it at the top to make look good . Unfortunately this is one thing I wont be able to show. I have only one hand working well and it requires two strong arms to make that at home. I took the liberty to find a web page which shows how here. As you can see, the rolling pin is not really my thing anymore. Thank goodness I’m single.
I like the taste of fruit on my pie and mirabelles are rather tiny once the pit is removed so I placed two layers of them on the crust, then sprinkled a little sugar. Not that those fruits need extra sweetness, not at all. In fact they are rather juicy and make the bottom of the crust soggy. In this case with very thin slices of butter added sugar and juice will caramelize lightly and keep the dough flaky and crispy even the next day. Bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in a convection oven, a little longer in a regular oven.
My friend did seem to enjoy it so I gave her one with a jar of preserve to boot. Has anyone made coffee or tea? Enjoy.
Once the fruits had ripped enough on the window sill, I had to clean and remove the pits out of it. So the best way is to find the most comfy chair in the house, three bowls and a good sharp knife and arm yourself with patience as it is a very tedious work:
One bowl for the whole fruits
One bowl for the pits
One bowl for the pitted fruit
I did that in front of the TV, listening to a movie more on the dvd player (there is really nothing good on French TV outside reruns of McGyver and there were none at the time, the rest being brainwashing socialist programming) than watching it. Did I mention a very sharp pairing knife? I cleaned about 100 kilos of fruit that day and the tip of my fingers were pruned like after staying in a bathtub too long. I used about 10 kilos of those for making preserve. I love making it, it’s a great gift to give around for Christmas to people who aren’t really close.
I place the fruits in a big copper pan, under medium heat added 4 kilos of sugar and 2 ounces of pectin. The fruits were very sweet this year so I didn’t want it to be to sugary. The pectin just helps with gelify (I don’t know if it is a real word) and shorten the cooking time. During the cooking I used an old potato masher to speed up the process and lower again the overall cooking time. After cooking it for 6 hours and while still simmering in the pot, I filled some jars and turned them over so they would “pasteurize themselves” without the pasteurization process.
Making preserve reminded me of an anecdote going back many years. I had just introduced my future ex-wife to mother. When she saw the jar on the table she asked in fairly good French: Est-ce que vous faites vos propres preservatifs” which translate to “Do you make your own condoms”. En Français…