Roanne, France
"Oldtimer," originally a working barge in The Netherlands transporting grain, was built in 1927 and converted to a live aboard barge in the 1990's. The barge is 16 meters and the style of barge is called a Steilsteven. We are the second owners and have owned the ship since October 2005. We are Americans from Colorado who with our Tibetan Terrier "Tulah" now live in France and "Oldtimer" is our home.

Monday, July 11, 2011

France is a country in which religion has deep roots. The country was founded and built around monasteries, churches, chapels, basilicas and many monuments with religious orientation. Each village has a church - some in excellent condition cared for by the towns people and some which are barely standing and are severly neglected. Although the primary religion is Catholic the Catholic Church in Rome no longer supports most of the churches. The number of priests has diminished so much that Mass is said usually in only one of the churches of the region. Often a priest may travel during a month from church to church. Each church and chapel is unique and quite lovely.

We met our friends Mary and Jim in Anzy le Duc for lunch . This really tiny village has a very lovely church and monastery as well as a wonderful place for lunch. We rode our bikes from Artaix and met Mary and Jim who drove from Paray la Monial. A delicious lunch.

The Church at Semur en Brionais.

The old door of a Church at Semur en Brionais.

On the way home from our bike ride to Anzy le Duc we discovered this small chapel set in the woods. It was called the Chapel of Notre Dame. It is obviously well cared for by someone and they have trustingly left it open for all visitors to enter. Another very wonderful French tradition.

The Chapel of Notre Dame.

We have seen so many beautiful churches. Often it is the smallest structure which is the most beautiful and elegant. Many of the churches date back to 900AD. They have sometimes been added on to and repaired numerous times but are still standing. When we are riding through the countryside it is often the Church spire which lets us know we are nearing the next village.