Three years ago, on a trip to Portugal, I met a lady who used to work in a news agency as the chief international editor. A year after I met her again while in England and Scotland. We had a loose conversation about making photos on sightseeing trips. She told me (quite bluntly, probably used to criticize the young and inexperienced) that it was not essential to make overall views unless I wanted to make a reportage. That what counts these are the impressions. Although I still keep a habit of documenting the whole trip, I try to have in mind her words and to be blunt, I enjoy it.
Below some photo impressions from the French Beauvais (located around 70 km North of Paris).
Beauvais has a long and rich history dating back to the Roman era, when it was known as Caesaromagus. During the Middle Ages, Beauvais was an important center of the woolen textile industry and the seat of a powerful bishopric.
One of the most notable events in Beauvais’ history was the building of the Saint-Pierre Cathedral in the 13th century. The cathedral was designed to be the largest in France, with a height of 153 meters. However, due to structural problems and financial difficulties, only the choir and transept were completed, leaving the cathedral with a distinctive and unusual appearance.
During the Hundred Years’ War between France and England in the 14th and 15th centuries, Beauvais suffered greatly. The city was sacked several times and much of its architecture and infrastructure was destroyed. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Beauvais experienced a period of relative peace and prosperity, during which time many of its most impressive buildings were constructed, including the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and the Galerie Nationale de la Tapisserie.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Beauvais Beauvais became an important center of the textile industry once again, specializing in the production of fine tapestries and carpets. The city also played a significant role in the French Revolution, with many of its citizens actively participating in the revolutionary movement.
During the World War II Beauvais was subjected to bombing raids by Allied forces, particularly in the lead-up to the Normandy landings in June 1944. Many buildings, including the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, had suffered damage during the war and required extensive repairs. The historical city of Beauvais is big and to some extent reconstructed after World War II bombings. But some parts are preserved as they used to be hundreds of years ago.
A view onto the enormous Gothic cathedral seen from a street with well-preserved old buildings. Buildings constructed of half-timbered walls are typical for this part of Europe. It is one of my favorite pictures from last year’s trip to France.
A wall of one of the houses in the street on the photo above. The half-timbered walls are filled in a very decorative way. The style is rather unusual.
Half-timbered houses are a type of building construction that were common in Europe during the medieval period. These buildings are characterized by their wooden frames, which are filled in with materials such as brick, stone, or plaster. The wooden frame is visible on the exterior of the building, creating a distinctive pattern of exposed timbers. Many half-timbered houses are still standing today and are considered a valuable part of Europe’s architectural heritage.
And yet another one, less decorative but typical for this part of France.
Jeanne Hachette (the lady with an ax) – a local female hero. A statue that can be seen in the main square of the city.
Jeanne Hachette, also known as Jeanne Fourquet, was a French heroine who lived in the 15th century. She was born in Beauvais and is best known for her heroic defense of her city against foreign invaders. In 1472, the city of Beauvais was under attack by the troops of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The invading army had breached the city walls and was advancing toward the center of town. Jeanne, who was a resident of Beauvais, picked up a pike and rallied the women of the town to defend their homes and families. According to legend, Jeanne rallied the townspeople by shouting “Aux armes, citoyennes!” (“To arms, citizenesses!”) and led a charge against the invading army. She is said to have killed one of the enemy soldiers with her own hands, and her bravery inspired the people of Beauvais to fight back and ultimately drive the invaders out of the city.
Still of old half-timbered houses in the quarter around the cathedral. On both photos, it is the same house but seen from the opposite perspectives.
The cathedral from the front side.
Inside the Gothic cathedral – the extraordinary stained glass work. The window is Gothic style, quite different from the one on the picture below that represents the Roman style of architecture.
The Beauvais Cathedral, although an awe-inspiring one was never really finished. What is interesting – it is neighboring the elder Roman church that was never incorporated into the cathedral. The photo shows a window typical of the Roman style of architecture.
XVI century carpentry supporting a roof of a building, formerly a Grand Hall, today converted into a museum.
The Old Grand Hall (la Vieille Halle) in Beauvais is a historic building that dates back to the 12th century. Originally built as a covered market, the Old Grand Hall was a hub of commerce and trade during the medieval period. It was used for buying and selling a wide range of goods, including textiles, food, and livestock. Over the years, the building has undergone several renovations and modifications. In the 16th century, a new roof was added. The roof carpentry of the Old Grand Hall in Beauvais is considered a masterpiece of medieval timber framing. It is a complex network of wooden beams and trusses that support the building’s roof and create its distinctive shape. It is made up of a series of intersecting gables, each with its own pitched roof. The large wooden trusses that span the length of the building. These trusses are supported by wooden pillars and braces, which help to distribute the weight of the roof evenly. Today, the roof carpentry is carefully maintained and preserved to ensure its continued longevity.