Tuesday, 2 November 2010

ABC Wednesday - Ploërmel

For this weeks ABC its a short trip to Ploërmel, a small town near the Paimpont Forest in France under whose trees, says the legend, lived Merlin the Magician, sorcerer to King Arthur. The Citroen car has a little bit of magic, it is dressed up for someone's special day.  I always think of the French Police detective Maigret who in the television series seemed to spend a lot of time driving around Paris in this type of Citroen, when he was not smoking his pipe .
 First Day Cover from the 6 Heroes of French Detective Fiction series of stamps
Georges Simenon wrote many novels and short stories about Commissaire Maigret which are an established part of the French detective genre the 'Policier'.  I appear to be getting off the point, so lets return to the church
in the Place d'Armi on an overcast day, the main entrance is round the cover to the left so no peeking at the wedding while dining at the Cafe de la Tour in the square, you have to wait for them to pass when driving away.

Taking a short promenade to a hidden corner of Ploërmel through a narrow passage arriving at
the courtyard of what used to be the Community of Brothers building is a French treasure in a glass case
the astronomical clock and orrery showing the movement of the planets.  You can just make out the orrery in this picture inside the little  building on the right with all the different sized planets, slowly turning.  Built by Brother Bernardin (Gabriel Morin) who made it to help in his lessons. He was not a clockmaker but made the 197 parts, cut the cog teeth by hand and most importantly worked out the long calculations needed to accurately measure the movements of the planets.  He constructed the clock and orrery between 1850-1855 and it functioned inside the building until it was dismantled in 1874 and packed away in boxes, Brother Bernardin would not see it working again in his lifetime.  At one point it was nearly sold for the scrap value of the metal but happily it was eventually refurbished and installed in this little building.
The clock chimes
on the quarter hour, the 10 dials show the position of the sun, stars, phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac. There is a steady stream of a mini united nations of people coming to look as this wonder of invention, press the button for your language of choice and all is explained.

Ploërmel is a pleasant place for a perambulation with interesting 
 buildings, streets and shops
although  I have a  penchant for taking the back routes.
Time for a sit down in the Salon de Thé, write the postcards home and pop them in the
 post box. 

For prodigious posts on other words beginning with the letter P visit the ABC Wednesday meme here.


Sylvia K said...

What a fascinating, delightful post for the P Day, Joy! I enjoyed reading this so very much. I love France, have spent some time there, but never as much as I wanted to. Your photos are fantastic! I loved it all! Hope your week is going well! Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the countless memories, as I watched nearly every episode of him. Looks like a place from a different, peaceful epoche.

Please have a good Wednesday.

daily athens

Paula Scott said...

Whoa! You seem to have a particular penchant for "p's"! Many of which I wouldn't attempt to pronounce!
Amazing post.

photowannabe said...

Fascinating post with the atomic clock and the lovely church. The Citron care is just beautiful.

Roger Owen Green said...

Very nice town, and GREAT alliteration!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

jabblog said...

Fascinating post and most informative, as ever. I'm glad the orrery was restored and I really like the old Citroen. Ah, Monsieur Maigret - what a wonderful series.

Anonymous said...

I love all the tidbits I picked up in your post. This post makes me want to visit every place you've mentioned.

ABC Wednesday Team

Beverley Baird said...

There is something special about the buildings in France. Your photos are wonderful! Would love to visit those places!

Jay said...

*Applause*!!! Well done! I really like this post. :)

I too have a penchant for the back ways. It's fascinating to see how the ordinary people live or lived, as opposed to the public face of the town. The architecture in France looks wonderful .. can you believe that although it's our nearest truly 'foreign' country, I have never been there?