Lyon, Festival of Light; The Chameleon Cathedral

The French city of Lyon is literally lit up every December for the Festival of Light. The entire city becomes a kaleidoscope of colourful light displays. Almost every street or open space appears to have it’s own illuminated show almost vying for the most vibrant display of hues. The tradition stretches back to 1643 when residents would light candles on …

Angoulême Cartoon Museum; The Home of Comic Genius

The news that the oldest comic in Britain, the Dandy has published the final printed edition today was probably greeted with whimsical nostalgia by many throughout these islands. I have to admit it was not my favourite comic, but principal characters such as Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat were still major personalities of growing up. Due to decreased circulation, …

Rochefort, France – Visiting Hermione; an old friend

It’s been 12 months since I visited Rochefort, where reconstruction of the frigate Hermione is happening. A great deal has happened to both of us in this time and seeing her again was one of the highlights of the trip to Poitou-Charentes. She is now floating; a few months ago she sailed the short distance from her dry dock on …

Postcards from Angoulême; French Comic Strip City

The Poitou-Charentes region of France is dotted with great little towns and villages, even the cities have a small town feel. Exploring is enjoyable, there often seems a surprise on every corner and Angoulême is not an exception. Built on a plateau the medieval city has some impressive Romanesque architecture including the Ville d’Angoulême provides panoramic views of the city …

Reconstructing L’Hermione – Building a Dream

There are some projects that when first encountered appear extremely impressive, but when the details become apparent it is difficult to imagine anybody even conceiving it. The construction of the Hermione in the attractive coastal town of Rochefort is one such endeavour. The original Hermione was constructed in just eleven months in 1779. One year later she famously transported the …

Île de Ré – French Pleasure Island

There are some places ideally suited to taking at a slow pace, idly wandering around the sites whether they are small picturesque villages, stunning harbours and beaches, vineyards or even lighthouses. The island of Île de Ré in French Charente–Maritime has all this and more. Île de Ré appears to be from a different era, narrow winding streets lined with pretty …

The French Pyrénées, Animal Sanctuary – Photo Essay

I have not always been a great fan of zoos, too many of them had a bad track record for looking after the animals in their care. This situation has fortunately changed in recent times, many have become an animal sanctuary with an effective captive breeding programme and some may even become the last refuge of certain endangered species. The Parc …