la ville aux cent clochers
Published: July 20, 2018
Poitiers has often been called "the city of a hundred bell towers", and today we had ample opportunities to see why! From the Baptistère Saint Jean (built around 360 AD, and reputed to be the oldest Christian building in the west) to the Cathédrale Saint Pierre (which took over 200 years to build: from 1160 to 1379!) to a church that has become part of a shopping center, we saw it all. We learned all about Roman and Gothic architecture, les contreforts et les voûtes, le nef et le transept, les ex-voto...our heads were spinning after a whirlwind tour of the architectural riches of Poitiers! We also got the chance to learn about some of the people who influenced Poitiers' history: from Sainte Radegonde (patron saint of Poitiers, and one of the first queens of France) to Aliénor d'Aquitaine (queen of France and England, mother of Richard Coeur de Lion, and builder of Europe's two biggest dance halls!). We even caught a glimpse of Jeanne d'Arc, who met with religious authorities in Poitiers before heading off to war.
It was a busy day: lots of walking, lots of churches, lots of learning, and only a quick stop for crêpes et croques and a ride on le carousel. Fortunately, we have the next four days with our host families to relax (who can say j'ai besoin d'une petite sieste?). Blog posts will resume on Wednesday, once we've come back together and had a chance to share stories of our adventures.