To the South of Vendée...

Our destination this morning is the Royal Abbey of Nieul-sur-l'Autise.  First and foremost, this is a marvelous place to see and understand the Romanesque art that prepared the terrain for the Gothic works that amazed us in Paris.  Second, this is the supposed birth-place of possibly the most influential person of the Middle Ages - Duchess Eleanore of Aquitaine.  I say "Duchess" despite the fact that she was Queen both of France and of England.  Perhaps more than any other, she represented the spirit of her times.  She participated in two crusades, one with her husband Louis VII, king of France, and then, after a divorce and marriage to Henri II Plantagenêt, with her son Richard the Lion-Hearted.  Many know her for the music and poetry she patronized.  Most of all, we see today the architecture she and her entourage left for eternity.  In her youth her realms built in the Romanesque style.  In her maturity, none of us can forget the Gothic cathedrals she and hers left for us to admire.
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This page last updated on 6/1/2004 8:14:44 PM.