Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

French Flanders – epilogue


It was well over 4 p.m. when we left the little museum that immortalizes the lives of Henri ‘le douanier’ and Albert ‘le fraudeur’. The afternoon was still young and there were three other places on our to-see-list: the waffle museum, the brewery and the church of Sainghin-en-Melantois, the village were I had booked two rooms for the night.

The museum and the brewery being situated West of Lille, we all agreed that it would be wiser to hit the road and drive straight to Sainghin, East of the metropolis. Soon commuters would start leaving their offices after a day’s work and the roads would become very busy, with traffic jams lasting till late in the evening. The waffle museum and the brewery would have to wait till our next visit to the region.

We reached Sainghin at about 4.30 p.m. and parked the cars in front of the restaurant where we wanted to have a light dinner later that night. We took a quick look at the menu card that hang by the door and peeked through the windows to see what the interior was like. There was no one about, but liking what we saw, we decided to ring the restaurant later to book a table.

The Saint Nicolas church was right across the street. It was a massive, bright white building. In spite of its classic style, it looked very recent. We would soon learn why. When we walked in, the sun was shining through one of the beautiful stained glass windows, projecting the colours on one of the lateral walls. This was just amazing! It was as if a modern artist had splashed a multitude of coloured specks on a bright white canvas.

Being a keen photographer, our friend J.L. was fascinated by this phenomenon and he shot several pictures of it. So did I, but once again my little hobby camera wasn’t quite up to the challenge. But just to give you an idea … here’s my ‘best shot'.

Everything was spic and span and it looked as if the church was brand new. A commemorative plaque near the entrance taught us that the original church, dating from the 18th century, had been largely destroyed by a ravaging fire in the sixties. It had been rebuilt in the early seventies, which explained its pristine look.

After leaving the church, we savoured a glass of ‘Grain d’or’ (golden grain), another local beer, in a nearby bar. It was nice, but not as good as the Hommelbier or the Bière du Douanier that we had earlier that day.

After arriving at the B&B, we retired to our rooms to relax for a while after what had been a very busy day. We rendezvoused at 7.30 p.m. to walk to the earlier mentioned restaurant called ‘Les Saveurs d’hier et d’aujourd’hui’. Although it was rather chilly outside, it was a very pleasant walk. The dark village streets were deserted. In many houses the lights were on and when we glanced in, we could see people sitting cosily around the dining table or lounging in armchairs watching TV.



Thib said...

Sunlight through church stained glass windows is always magic! ... and a perfect subject for great photos ;-)

ladybird said...

Hi Thib, Nice to read you again.
I agree, light through stained glass windows is fabulous. I'm looking forward to see the photos our friend J.L. made of this beautiful scene, as they will be a 100 times better than mine. Martine

chm said...

Very interesting series. I learned a few things. I can only repeat, keep up the good work! Job well done!

ladybird said...

chm, Thank you. It was fun writing about our mini-trip to Northern France ... that way, I lived it twice:) Martine