Every photographer loves the golden hour, that special time between dusk and dark. Sunsets can be spectacular, unusual and surreal. Since I just got back from Page Arizona to photograph the natural beauty of the area, including of course Horseshoe Bend at sunset, I have decided to collect a few of my favorite sunsets from around the world. Not all sunsets depend on color to make them spectacular, although Horseshoe Bend might be the exception. Often it is the subtle interplay of light and dark, the delicate colors rather than flashy vibrance and it is always about that soft light that fills our senses as the embers of the day play out.
The history museum tells the story of Saint-Malo and its famous residents. It is located in the keep and tower of Saint-Malo’s castle. Back in 1838, the town of Saint-Malo decided to create a collection of portraits of prominent townspeople, to include Jacques Cartier, Duguay-Trouin, Mahé de La Bourdonnais, Maupertuis (famous mathematician), Chateaubriand, Surcouf, and Lamennais (priest and philosopher). The original 19th century museum was destroyed in 1944 during the struggle to liberate the town, and the present collection, numbering over 8,500 items, is themed around the maritime history of Saint-Malo and the surrounding area, including deep-sea cod fishing in the seas of Newfoundland, maritime trade, maritime warfare featuring colorful corsair characters such as Duguay-Trouin and Surcouf, long-haul sea voyages, and ship building. I have already posted images from the museum concerning Chateaubriand and Jaques Cartier in my posts Saint Malo and Jacques Cartier, look there for these subjects.
Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) was the first French Explorer to explore the New World. He explored what is now Canada and set the stage for the great explorer and navigator Samuel de Champlain to begin colonization of Canada. Cartier was the first European to discover and create a map for the St. Lawrence River. In 1838, the painter François Riss received an order by the city of St Malo to produce a portrait of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557). It was reproduced in 1846 by the painter Louis-Félix Amiel in Quebec City. The original painting of the imagined Cartier by Riss was destroyed in a fire at the old town hall in 1944. This version is one of many replicas of the lost work. It was executed in 1895 by the librarian of the city of Saint-Malo, Auguste Lemoine (1850-1908) for the the city of Paramé and now hangs in the St Malo civic history museum. There are no known contemporary portraits of Cartier.
During the day that we spent in Saint Malo, we ate a little of this and that, I didn't take many pictures. The Kouign Amann seen above is one of my absolute favorites. It is a little like a creme puff but crispy and more airy (and often no filling). It is a round flakey cake, made with bread dough containing layers of butter (lots of butter) and sugar folded in, similar in fashion to puff pastry albeit with fewer layers and more flakey. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it) and the sugar caramelizes. The name derives from the Breton words for cake (“kouign”) and butter (“amann”). We must have eaten at least a half a dozen of this light and flaky cake. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the place that sells them, but if you go, you will recognize the sign and the line waiting to buy.
Once the feared base of pirates (corsairs), heavily fortified against Norman (or English) attack, today's Saint-Malo is one of the top tourist draws in Brittany. The citadel, also known as the Old Town or intramuros (“within the walls”), was originally built on a rocky island at the mouth of the Rance estuary. This strategic position allowed control of both the sea and any trade heading into the interior of Brittany, helping to shape the stormy and often dark history of the city.
The star of the show is the walled city (intramuros), largely destroyed in the second world war it has been painstakingly reconstructed. The modern towns of Parame and Saint-Servan lie outside the walls. During the day everyone hits the beaches and at night they come to the intramuros to eat and party until late in the night. They have free concerts every night just to the right of the picture, artists doing sketches and lots of little stores, restaurants and bars.