When I was visiting my friend at her house in Saumur, France, she asked if I was interested in seeing her friend’s trog cave house. I had no clue what she was talking about, but of course, said yes, I was very interested! A house that’s a cave? This I had to see. Here’s an article that will give a little more info and flavor to the following pictures.
She drove from Saumur to Montsoreau, which wasn’t a far drive. We arrived at her friend’s house and walked up the little hill to be greeted by this.
We then went inside this part of the house. See, he has a bunch of smaller caves set into a mountain. Some other homes have one huge cave that they renovate to make into separate rooms and whatnot. With his, you have to go in one cave, go out and go to the other.
Amazing right? Well, here’s a funny thing I never thought about — caves are damp. I guess some are damper than others. But, I used the bathroom in one of the caves (yes, they have electricity and running water), and the toilet paper and towel were damp! Ew!
When I was in Paris, I saw a number of bridges that had these padlocks on them. I’d heard a little bit about it before I left. That these were ‘love locks’ and also read that a couple of American ex-pats were against the new tradition. But, what they failed to explain was how cool they look. And what a neat thing it is. Almost every touristy rip-off store has padlocks for sale and will loan you a marker (sharpie type) to write on it, but only after you buy the lock.
I didn’t know until I returned to the States that the French authorities took down most of the padlocks on the Pont des Arts because the bridge was collapsing. Good to know AFTER I had walked across it. There weren’t any signs or anything!
Here are a couple of pics of the Pont Neuf love locks. Followed by the ones on the Pont de L’Archeveche. And one that I put on there. Hey, when in Rome, or er, France, right? I had to, it was just too tempting!
And there was a couple having their wedding pictures taken in front of the locks. In my writerly mind, I thought, maybe he or she had put a lock on there and this wedding was the result of that wish.
I also wanted to know where this idea of love locks even came from, so I wikipedia’d it, of course. Don’t we all learn everything from that site? Well, here is their proclamation of the basis of the love locks:
The history of love padlocks dates back at least 100 years to a melancholic Serbian tale of World War I, with an attribution for the bridge Most Ljubavi (lit. the Bridge of Love) in spa town of Vrnjačka Banja. A local schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other Relja went to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, Relja and Nada broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that devastating blow, and after some time she died due to heartbreak from her unfortunate love. As young women from Vrnjačka Banja wanted to protect their own loves, they started writing down their names, with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and affixing them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet.
Yes, I’m writing to you from the city of lights. Or at least, I think that’s how they refer to it, isn’t it? First huge warning – if you travel to a European country in the summer months, be prepared for lines. It seems the entire world has read Rick Steve’s travel guides, much to my chagrin. And I’ve passed people spouting off his knowledge as they tour. That being said, you can still enjoy the heck out of your journey, just don’t feel tied to seeing everything he tells you is worth while. In fact, venture off the beaten trail! Try new resaturants! Some might be pricey, some might be terrible, but it’s all part of the experience!
First stop when I arrived here on Saturday morning, after leaving my bags at the hotel and shoving food in my mouth was the above. The Tour Eiffel. It’s really an amazing site. It basically says, you are in Paris. Pinch yourself, then gaze upon my steel beauty. It’s always so interesting that this hunk of metal has become so synomous with the city since when it was first built, all Parisians hated it.
No matter. On to other fun pursuits!
Shopping of course! The first department store, I believe, was Galeries Lafayette. It’s actually one store, but it has two buildings. It’s like being in Saks or Bloomingdales to me. Gorgeous stuff, but a little on the pricey end. You should also go to the top of the building to get a beautiful view of the city. It also gives a great view of the Tour Eiffel as well. That way, if you can’t get a ticket to ride to the top of the Tour Eiffel, you can still get a great view AND have the monument in the picture. Here’s one I took from the roof.
Here are a few more from inside the store. It’s worth it, even if you’re not into shopping, for the architecture. For real! Enjoy lovelies! And I’ll post more when I find another free wifi station!