The River Rance at Plaisance

The River Rance at Plaisance

The River Rance flows in a wide, shallow loop around the village of Plaisance, as if the village were a head asleep in the crook of an arm. We went down to the river, one afternoon; the day had been hot and Tom and Gabriel were in in a flash. Stones, fish, and deep tranquil [...]

L’Eglise Romane St Martin at Plaisance

L’Eglise Romane St Martin at Plaisance

The 12th century L'Eglise Romane St Martin dominates not only the small village of Plaisance in Aveyron but the surrounding valleys. No matter from where you approach the village, it seems, there is the squat Norman tower atop its hillside, holding dominion. We visited on a bright, sunny day - blue skies, green hillsides - [...]

The River Tarn, at Albi

The River Tarn, at Albi

Two views of the River Tarn at Albi, taken from the walled garden of the Berbie Palace, home and fortress of the Bishops of Albi and a stone's throw from the massive brick edifice of Albi Cathedral. The challenge here, for the travel photographer, was twofold - to find a pleasing composition which could combine [...]

The Two Personae of Albi Cathedral

The Two Personae of Albi Cathedral

Cathedral or fortress? Albi Cathedral - or as it is also known, the Cathedrale Saint Cecile, or the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia - is both of these. The largest brick building in the world, the smooth pinkish exterior is monolithic, forbidding, rising sheer in an impregnable mass from the streets of Albi. But step [...]

Plaisance, from the road to Coupiac

Plaisance, from the road to Coupiac

My son's in-laws, the Thompsons, give 'Plaisance' as their address in France, but actually they live a few kilometres outside the village, on a narrow road that hugs the hillside above a lovely valley. The village itself sits astride a three-way junction, which might create the impression that it is quite large, but in reality [...]

Where sheep do graze, Aveyron

Where sheep do graze, Aveyron

Aveyron is Rocquefort country, the country where Lacaune sheep crowd together, grazing, on the steepest of green-clad hillsides. We saw these in the valley far below, from the road out of Plaisance, as we made our way to the plateau above en route to Albi. As you will see, I have processed one of these [...]

Ambialet – two views, in colour

Ambialet – two views, in colour

I made a choice, in my previous post, to present 'Bathers, Ambialet' in black-and-white: the colour version was attractive - all greens and browns and ripples of light - but at one level, just a pretty picture, whereas the monochrome image, I felt, was more ambiguous, more resonant, and graphically stronger. These pictures of Ambialet, [...]

Bathers, Ambialet

Bathers, Ambialet

We walked across the bridge, at Ambialet, another of those beautiful little villages in Aveyron, France, to have lunch with the Thompson's. The weather was hot, the sunlight was blinding, and in the river Tarn, below, these women were bathing. Click on the image to enlarge