The Faces of France: Provence

The Faces of France: Provence

On an earlier trip to Paris, my husband Mark (Marc Henri when we are in France…) said to me, “After awhile, I felt like I was just a giant eyeball, an eyeball on two legs, just trying to take everything in…

I have long been fascinated by the multitude of incredible carvings gracing walls, doors, window frames, and all manner of architectural details, constructs and aspects…and especially, the carving of faces, grimacing, glaring, laughing, smiling and  otherwise gazing sternly, mischievously or fondly, out to the populous.  here are some from beautiful Provence…in the South of France.

High up on the chapel dome of Forcalquier Cathedral.

In Forcalquier, above an imposing wooden door.

Above a door  in Aix-en-Provence between two famous figures carved into the stone surround.

Fountain in Aix-en-Provence

Note the small carved figure below the laughing face resting in stoney foliage in Avignon.

I imagine these creatures, seen above doors in Avignon, as having fabled, pagan origins…they look like Pan or one of his relatives.

The patricians of Avignon? Kings and Queens? Whoever they are, these male and female visages preside over Avignon‘s doors and windows with aplomb.

Do these mysterious carvings and images hint at at Europe’s pagan past? Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses? Mythology? The royalty of France?  Whatever  and whoever they are, they never cease to intrigue, fascinate, and amaze.

Next up,  “des animaux”, the fantastical beasts, creatures, gargoyles and imaginary beings that haunt cathedrals, fountains, statuary and even the tapestries of France.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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