Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NIORT



The sales are on in France. Second markdown already. See, it`s a bit more structured,or should I say restricted here in France. Sales do not happen every Saturday. Just twice a year. And then every one goes shopping. 
Winners stresses me out, so for sure Victoria was on her own. But she would not go to Niort by herself, I had to drive. 
 I took the opportunity to explore this city in the south of the Deux Sevres department a bit beyond the shops.

While the peripherie is ringed with power centers a la America, the historic part of Niort is what`s exciting to see. A famous Dungeon, churches, great architecture and quite simply the heart and soul of an old town.  When you look at old buildings that are a bit rundown, you can`t help but wonder about it`s century old stories, what happened, who lived there, what business was on the ground floor 150 years ago.

Dominating the view from almost every angle is the church of Saint Andre, elevated above the town.
Having seen my fair share of churches (it`s part of life in Austria), this one was a very nice surprise. The stained glass windows, old frescoes, oil paintings, wood carved monuments, all of them a testament to the talent employed by our pals in the catholic church.

The covered market hall, right next to the famous dungeon, a generous pedestrian zone which begins/ends at Place de la Breche. Which is undergoing some massive renovation and the end result this summer is nothing short of world class. All parking has been moved underground, the square will be greened with 350 trees, dozens of inviting Cafes and Bistros.

Niort is well worth a visit if you come down to the area.




NIORT WITH 11TH CENTURY CHURCH OF ST. ANDRE

DESTROYED AND REBUILT IN THE 16TH CENTURY

STUNNING STAINED GLASS WINDOWS

AND MODERN

FRESCOES

GILT SIDE ALTAR

(NEO) GOTHIC


COVERED MARKET


WOULD MAKE A NICE FOUNTAIN IN YOUR YARD

CAFES ALONG PLACE DE LA BRÉCHE

COVERED SHOPPING ARCADES

FINE ZONES PIETONNES

ARCHITECTURE

IF YOU LIKE A PLACE IN WINTER, YOU`LL LOVE IT IN SUMMER

 NOT THE BUSINESS IT USED TO BE

 NOT SURE WHAT, BUT COOL GRAFFITI NEVER THE LESS.

AN ACTUAL ENTRANCE TO A HOME

H0TEL DE VILLE

THE DUNGEON



6 comments:

Ken Broadhurst said...

Now I want to go see Niort. I don't believe I've ever been there. But then I've never been to La Rochelle either...

H.Peter said...

I am trying to figure out, without going into deep, detailed history, if each French city has it's own charm, or if you've seen one, you've seen them all, applies?

In parts of course I can answer this question myself, Angouleme, our future bigger town in proximity, is very very different than Niort.

Ken Broadhurst said...

All the French towns in a certain size category have many features in common, but some have survived more intact than others or have unique features or monuments. I would like to see them all...

H.Peter said...

That would be a lot of travelling Mr. Ken.
Fun never the less.

Frank Healey said...

I came to Niort last year on a home exchange from Canada. I totally fell in love with the city. So we bought a small apartment and now spending the summer in Niort. Not only beautiful but very walk able, excellent food and climate.

Franc.

H.Peter said...

I great choice Frank. Plenty to do, plenty to see. Not far from the beaches. You did good!

I got some St. C Connections BTW, used to work for a Beamsville Co.