More stairs you see!

While visiting castles throughout France, you must not be faint of heart or faint of fitness!  This we have noticed and nowhere more so than while at Fougeres a couple of days ago.

Fougeres map

I was delighted to spot poppies blooming in the church garden when we first arrived as they are one of my favourite flowers and always remind me of Canada.

poppies

But, oh yes, stairs…..that’s what this post is about. Here we go then

Fougeres Castle

Fougeres Castle

view from where we parked. Ready, set, go.

stairs 9

Lots and lots of stairs, some narrow

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some better lit than others.

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Not only are there lots of stairs there! And everywhere we travel, but they are almost always made of stone which, as you know, has no give or cushion whatsoever.  So why climb? Well, perhaps it is for the view

Fougere Castle Tower

Fougere Castle Tower

Of course, while climbing

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one must remember to stop and admire the view from inside the tower

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I often think of the effort it took to build a place like this, stone by stone, by stone

stairs 10

Some still so smooth and even hundreds of years later and some less even

stairs 6

In the midst of all that stone, there is life still. I marvel at how little soil a plant needs to flourish.

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How difficult and harsh life was a thousand years ago. How much protection was needed not only from the elements but from those who would come and take by force all that you owned.

stairs 11

So castles were built to protect the land and then, over time, a village grew outside the castle walls

Can you spot the road?

Can you spot the road?

Still today we long for protection, not so much from enemies but often to feel safe and nurtured in our own place.  These steps, which we did not climb, form part of the excavations of the center square of the castle – the square is the place where life happened.

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We finished the day with a stop at the botanical gardens in Avranche where we spotted this beautiful view of Mont St Michel, 14 kilometers away.

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Two things stand like stone
Kindness in another’s trouble
Courage in your own.

Adam Lindsay Gordon