(I have added a new link about the life of General Lasalle at the bottom of this article)
When you enter the castle in Lunéville through the main gate you can't miss it : the statue of General Antoine Charles Louis de Lasalle.
He was born in Metz in Moselle and was a hero of the Napoleonic Wars. He was quoted as saying that "a respectable hussar should not expect to live beyond the age of 30". In fact he was killed in action on the 6th of July 1809 at Wagram, aged 34. His name is engraved on a pillar of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
As Lunéville has got so many links with cavalry, it is not surprising a statue of General Lasalle was chosen to be right in the middle of the castle courtyard. These links were not so obvious a few years ago as cavalry regiments have moved away, but they are now revived thanks to events organized in and around the castle as the carriage show last summer.
I thought that the statue of a horse rearing meant the rider was killed in action. That is what happened to General Lasalle. But my belief is only a legend it seems as some statues don't follow the rules.
Last Sunday we went to Jarville-devant-Nancy, only 20 minutes away from home, to visit the Musée de l'Histoire du Fer (Museum of the History of Iron). We didn't know what to expect exactly and it was a good surprise.
First, on the ground floor, there was an exhibition about Jean Prouvé, the architect and designer, with explanations about the buildings and pieces of furniture he created with metal. He was the son of Victor Prouvé, the painter, sculptor and engraver of Art Nouveau.
Then, we went up to the first floor to discover an exhibition about Leonardo Da Vinci and Jean Errard, about what they have built and created in a similar way. This is one part of the work about Renaissance in Nancy. This exhibition was so successful that it is prolonged till March.
And we walked on the three levels of the museum starting from iron during medieval times (armours, swords, ...) to nowadays (machines). The creation and use of iron are numerous. There are so many things made with iron. The examples shown in the museum are of very good quality and some are unusual. My husband was really interested by machines and models of steelworks, blast furnace. I preferred the objects of the house (stoves, old irons, vases).
So a good afternoon to repeat when temporary exhibitions change. And a proof it is not necessary to go far away to have a good time.
I nearly forgot, outside, in the yard of the museum, there is a small part of the Eiffel Tower spiral staircase. Metal again.
Winter time is nearly finished and, in fact, we haven't had any winter yet apart from one day with snow in Lorraine.
We hear about all the disasters in Europe, in Brittany, in the South of France and also in Great-Britain but each time Lorraine hasn't been concerned. Here we more or less feel it is spring time. Temperatures are now between 10°C (50° F) and 14° C (57° F). Plants are blooming or at least showing buds.
When I stopped on the way back home yesterday to take this picture, I even saw a daisy ! at least three weeks earlier than usual.
The view to Lunéville and the Vosges mountains was beautiful but the wind was quite cold. A lot of people hope nights will stay cold to avoid plants growing too quickly and suffering from a late frost. We all cross our fingers. Mirabelle flowers are fragile and we'd like to get some fruit this year.
If we are lucky, snow will stay in the mountains and other places in Lorraine will enjoy an early spring. Wait and see.
At the moment there is an exhibition in Lunéville castle. Andrzej Georgiew and Jakub Pajewski, two Polish photographers, have brought their pictures. They have called it Lumière obscure (Dark light).
These are mainly portraits, black and white and a few sepia. All these faces stare at you. You can see all details, dark or pale eyes, thin or thick hair, wrinkles. Most people have kept a serious face and this makes you look at them even more. The work of these two men is clear, organized, they have captured the look of everybody.
The choice of Polish photographers was made as the link between Poland and Lorraine is obvious. Since the arrival of Stanislas (or Stanislaw), former king of Poland and new duke of Lorraine, this country and our region have kept a continuous connection.
If I compare these pictures with the pictures exhibitions I have seen earlier in Lunéville, this one is not so relaxing and asking more knowledge about photography. But it is pleasant to see black and white pictures. And now more space is open for this sort of exhibitions so you have time to really enjoy it and discover more about the artists who are invited.
I have always known the remedy (for adults) : "If you have got a bad cold, have a grog !" My grand-father used to have hot water and dark rum, a grog, when he didn't feel well, before going to bed. Later we added sugar to the drink, then lemon juice. Nowadays sugar is sometimes replaced by honey. My husband has told me that in his family they had a grog made with hot milk instead of hot water. As a child, I loved the smell of it.
A few days ago when I mentioned grog to my American cousin, I wondered where this name came from. And I discovered the beverage was created by British Vice Admiral E. Vernon, nicknamed Old Grog, in the 18th century. The word "grog" would come from the grogram coat he used to wear. He decided to give sailors the mixture of water and rum first to make water drinkable, then to avoid sailors drinking pure rum and being drunk.
Lorraine is about five hours away from the nearest sea. Are we sailors without knowing it ?
When I heard about bad weather on the American Atlantic coast and saw the small jar (on the picture) in the pharmacy, I thought it would be a good idea to advise my American friends to have a grog. It is the first time I see a preparation for grog. It's made with cinnamon, ginger, honey, lemon juice and... eucalyptus oil !!! No rum in it !!! Clearly, it is called grog but it is not a grog ! The old traditional grog smells much better.