Tuesday, 17 January 2012
January 17th 2012 Rennes le Chateau. Day of the blue apples.
We have a Canadian guest staying at the Hothouse. He is fascinated by certain aspects of the Rennes le Chateau legend.
It was a stunningly clear blue-sky day today, so we went up to the famous site to see the blue apples appearing in the church. They did so, most obligingly, sneaking along the wall as the sun moved around casting its light through the stained glass panes. Not sure what the fuss was about, and why apples? could as well have been gentically perfect tomatoes, or tennis balls. Very lovely colour however. See photo.
There was a big crowd, all French except us, I think; mostly soberly attired in grey and black except one guy dressed in a camouflaged cape, smoking a cigar. Cathar, without a doubt.
We duly inspected the grotto with its offerings of an old conker, three screws and a sweet wrapper, then the tour of the house and museum. I last went to Rennes about six years ago, money has obviously been spent; the museum is much improved and there has been good renovation of the tower and garden area.
Father Sauniere obviously had a wonderful time throwing his money about, not surprising that people got a little suspicious. Formal garden, booklined cosy 'occasional' tower folly, stunning wrought iron orangery (my favourite bit), etc. Here is a picture of Father S, preserved in wax in his parlour. Presumably when the court orders had started coming in, judging by his expression. Actually he looks like one of the trumpet players in the main carnaval band. . . must check out the family history there.
The most interesting feature of the church is definately the wooden 'don't do any of this' sign - no Rolling Stones, no dogs if they are interbred with rabbits, no fast food outlets, and no cameras if you are using flash. But you can go to the loo in the font.
We avoided the shop - even though it was lovely and warm - and its display of nick-nacks, such as silver nativity scenes in small padded boxes in the shape of ladybirds?? and headed off down the hill, in search of further mystery.