Monday, May 18, 2009

FRANCE: COLLIOURE


Collioure is situated in the very south of France, 26 km from the Spanish border. Its small Catalan harbor is sheltered by a quiet bay where the chain or the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean Sea. The exceptionally sunny climate and the north wind “Tramontane” makes Collioure a unique place where well-being and Catalan "art de vivre" have their origins. You can count on having a splendid swim at one of the small coves and several sand and pebble beaches.


Collioure is a seaside village with a special charm, full of medieval reminiscences and a really nice look to the last detail, cheerful and colorful. It's a fairy-tale village, really idyllic. As Henri Matisse said: "In France there is no sky as blue as the one in Collioure...I just have to close the shutters of my room and I have all the colors of the Mediterranean before me."

From the year 981, the Counts of Roussillon and the Kings of Majorca began to fortify Collioure, which became the summer residence of the Kings of Majorca between 1276 and 1344.

CollioureThe creek of Collioure dies near the marina, beside the Royal Castle


Collioure
Another picture of the previous creek. The day was hot and the sun shone strongly in Collioure

Marina of Collioure
The marina of Collioure, small and located under the protection of the Royal Castle. In another era, Collioure was a strategic point along the Catalan coast and that's why it owns an important network of fortifications

Collioure
We were lucky to find a small orchestra on the street that gave an added joy to this colorful village. The music flooded the atmosphere of Collioure a festive air pervaded the whole village

Royal Castle in Collioure
From the year 981, the Counts of Roussillon and the Kings of Majorca began to fortify Collioure, which became the summer residence of the Kings of Majorca between 1276 and 1344. The Royal Castle you can see in this picture was one of the main elements of this fortification

Collioure church of Our Lady of Angels
Collioure church of Our Lady of Angels has the foundations in constant contact with the Mediterranean Sea. The bell tower, built during the Middle Ages, was also the lighthouse of the harbour

Royal Castle of Collioure
The Royal Castle of Collioure is the masterpiece of the defense device. Chiefly conditioned by the Counts of Roussillon and the kings of Aragon between 1276 and 1344, it was the headquarters of the court of the Kings of Majorca

Royal Castle and beach of Collioure
The sunny day encouraged some bathers to approach the nearest beach to the Royal Castle of Collioure

Church and the Royal Castle of Collioure
The bell tower of the church and the Royal Castle of Collioure from one of the piers of the village

Old town of CollioureThe narow streets of the old town of Collioure are colorful and very lively, always full of people walking

Old town of Collioure
Another street of Collioure where you can see the colorful façades and how narrow these streets are

Royal Castle and church of Collioure
From the entrance to the Royal Castle you can enjoy a nice view of the church and one of the beaches of Collioure. The stone walls give a very attractive medieval look to this village


Small playground on the promenade of CollioureSmall playground on the promenade of Collioure


Royal Castle and malecon of Collioure
The view of the Royal Castle from this promenade, with the malecon of Collioure and the bell tower of the church in the background, was one of the best views in this charming small village

Royal Castle and malecon of CollioureBeautiful view of the Royal Castle and the church of Collioure 


Collioure cemetery
In Collioure cemetery rests eternally Antonio Machado, the great Spanish poet and prominent member of the generation of 98

Antonio Machado's grave in Collioure
Letters and dedications come mostly from their country of origin accompany the eternal journey of Antonio Machado from Collioure to heaven

Overview of Collioure
Collioure is a small seaside village fully facing the Mediterranean Sea, protected on either side by two hills. It became a strategic point along the Catalan coast and therefore it has an extensive network of fortifcacions, as you can see in the upper right of the image

Small park in Collioure
This tree gave a pleasant shade in a small park with magnificent views of the harbor and the church of Collioure

Sunset on the Church of Collioure
The sunset on the Church of Collioure, flanked by two breakwaters from a slightly elevated place




Some months later, also in 2009, I spent some days in Paris. You can see some pictures of these days in Paris clicking on the links below:



Besides, in France I have visited the following beautiful places I strongly recommend:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

FRANCE: COLLIOURE, ELNE AND PERPIGNAN


In the spring of 2009 we spent a nice week at Carcassonne and the Pays Cathare. We also wanted to visit Collioure, a charming seaside village near the border with Catalonia. But the day we were going to go to Collioure was a very rainy day and we had to give up. So a few weeks later we went back to France to visit Collioure, Elne and Perpignan.


Therefore I will show you in this post some pictures of the following villages and towns:





Collioure




Royal Castle in Collioure
From the year 981, the Counts of Roussillon and the Kings of Majorca began to fortify Collioure, which became the summer residence of the Kings of Majorca between 1276 and 1344. The Royal Castle you can see in this picture was one of the main elements of this fortification


Collioure church of Our Lady of Angels
Collioure church of Our Lady of Angels has the foundations in constant contact with the Mediterranean Sea. The bell tower, built during the Middle Ages, was also the lighthouse of the harbour


Beach of Collioure
The Royal Castle of Collioure is the masterpiece of the defense device. Chiefly conditioned by the Counts of Roussillon and the kings of Aragon between 1276 and 1344, it was the headquarters of the court of the Kings of Majorca


Church and the Royal Castle of Collioure
The bell tower of the church and the Royal Castle of Collioure from one of the piers of the village


Old town of CollioureAnother street of Collioure where you can see the colorful façades and how narrow these streets are


Royal Castle and church of Collioure
From the entrance to the Royal Castle you can enjoy a nice view of the church and one of the beaches of Collioure. The stone walls give a very attractive medieval look to this village



Royal Castle and malecon of Collioure
The view of the Royal Castle from this promenade, with the malecon of Collioure and the bell tower of the church in the background, was one of the best views in this charming small village


Antonio Machado's grave in Collioure
Letters and dedications come mostly from their country of origin accompany the eternal journey of Antonio Machado from Collioure to heaven



Overview of Collioure
Collioure is a small seaside village fully facing the Mediterranean Sea, protected on either side by two hills. It became a strategic point along the Catalan coast and therefore it has an extensive network of fortifcacions, as you can see in the upper right of the image


Elne




Cathedral of Elne
Cathedral of Elne


Cathedral of Elne
Bell tower of the cathedral of Elne, built in romanesque style


Elne in France
View of Elne from its old town



Old town of Elne
Street in the old town of Elne



Old town of Elne
Nice place of the old town of Elne


Perpinyà (Perpignan)




La Bassa in Perpignan
La Bassa in Perpinyà (Perpignan)




La Bassa in Perpignan
La Bassa in Perpinyà (Perpignan), this time walking to the old town



Le Quai Vauban in Perpignan
Le Quai Vauban in Perpignan



Le Castellet in Perpignan
Le Castellet in Perpignan



Castle of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan
Castle of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan


City Hall of Perpignan
City Hall of Perpignan


City Hall of Perpignan
Sculpture in the hall of the city hall of Perpignan




Some months later, also in 2009, I spent some days in Paris. You can see some pictures of these days in Paris clicking on the links below:



- Paris



Sunday, May 3, 2009

DA VINCI CODE (Dan Brown)

Robert Langdon, un professor de simbologia religiosa de la Universitat de Harvard que és de visita a París, rep una trucada inquietant a mitjanit a l'hotel. Un vell curador del Louvre ha estat assassinat i s'ha trobat una xifra misteriosa al costat del cadàver. Langdon, assistit per una brillant cirptògrafa francesa, Sophie Neveu, intenta treure l'entrellat d'aquest misteri i descobreix amb estupor tota una sèrie de pistes amagades en les obres de Da Vinci. El misteri es complica quan Langdon descobreix que el vell curador del Louvre pertanyia a una societat secreta de la qual també havien format part Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo i el mateix Da Vinci.



Portada del llibre El codi Da Vinci, de l'escriptor Dan Brown


¿Quin és el secret millor guardat de l'església catòlica?¿Per què faria l'impossible per evitar que aquest secret es desvelés?¿S'amaga darrera aquesta veritat al somriure de la Mona Lisa? Un apasionant joc de claus amagades, de sorprenents revelacions, d'endevinalles ingenioses, de veritats, de mentides, de realitats històriques, de mites, de símbols, misteris i suposicions a una trama plena d'aconteixements inesperats. Una trama narrada a un ritme vertiginós que condueix el lector pels carrers i monuments de Paris i Londres fins el secret més celosament guardat de l'inici de la nostra era.

Dan Brown ens ofereix amb El Codi Da Vinci una intrépida i suggerent trama, on ens convida a començar amb el protagonista una esgotadora carrera per descubrir aquest secret.


Opinió Personal


Al meu entendre, i aquesta és una visió molt personal, el Codi Da Vinci és un homenatge a la dona, un intent de fer aflorar les injustícies que han hagut de patir. També constitueix una reivindicació de que la dona mereix tornar a ocupar a la societat l'important paper que tenia abans de que l'esglèsia la discriminara profundament.

Encara que l'autor és acusat de cometre errors històrics, jo considero que, malgrat això, la trama està molt treballada, plena d'incertesa i de reptes per als protagonistes, d'enigmes i suspens. Una novel·la que proporciona una bona dosi d'entreteniment amb un final que, personalment, vaig trobar bonic i emotiu.


A continuació podeu veure fotos de Paris relacionades amb el principi de la trama del llibre.

Place Vendôme








Arc du Carrousel





Musée du Louvre et Pyramide





La Joconde






Pyramide Inversée






Les mêmes lieux a la lumière du jour












Saint Sulpice












Finalment, a continuació pots veure una llista amb altres llibres interessants que he llegit: