The day of the Foire Grasse in Lunéville is the opportunity to walk in streets without cars around. Arriving at one corner, we noticed an old building made with red sandstone (grès des Vosges), and at about 12 feet high on the corner, there was a sculpture.
We saw the barrels and bundles tied with ropes straight away. Then we saw a church, another one (maybe), the head of an Indian man. There were too many details not to be interested.
After checking for some information, we now know that this house is called la Maison du Marchand (the Merchant's House). It was built in the 18th century and the first owner could be a merchant bringing spices and exotic food to the court of King Stanislas at the castle.
The sculpture shows the goods (barrels and bundles), but also that several countries have been visited (the church, the mosque - with a crescent at the top -, and the head of an Indian man with a hat made of feathers). On the other side of the corner, which I forgot to take a picture of, there are a village, a river and the bow of a ship. All this explaining again about the trips of the merchant.
One more time it was worth walking and looking up.
As usual we went to Lunéville this morning to enjoy the Foire Grasse day, the 598th fair ! We are so used to it that I noticed straight away which stallholders were not present : the one who offers the most impressive choice of dried sausages, the ones selling pigs feet, and a few others. They may have gone to Le Val d'Ajol in the Vosges mountains where there was also a fair today.
The man who sells products to shine shoes was not at the same place, but as talkative as the other years. He was not far from the one selling perfumes and the other one selling nail varnish. There were a lot of people selling clothes. The farmer from the Vosges still proposed his vegetables (potatoes - some blue ones -, lettuce, Jerusalem artichokes) and onions to plant or to eat. The butcher was selling black sausage and there was a long queue to buy it as last years. And, as it was cold, people were buying hot drinks (wine or coffee) but also some pâtés lorrains hot and ready to be eaten.
We met several friends and colleagues, had a pleasant chat and did our shopping at the end of the visit : honey (fir tree and woods, - no, it is not the same), dried sausages (seven sorts !), cheese (marvelous but a bit expensive I must say), pretzels (the big ones) and chocolate-coated marshmallow treats (a big box, wow !). I admired the bread but didn't buy any, next year maybe.
The weather in Lorraine is improving, temperatures are not as low but it is still freezing in the morning. So when I went outside today I was not surprised to see the frozen windscreen of my car, but I didn't expect to discover these shapes.
This is a bit uncommon. I thought it looked like wrought-iron work or plants on the glass. I remember the same sort of thing on the window of my bedroom when I was a child. From under the eiderdown I could see it and knew it was really cold outside.
After admiring the ice, I had to get rid of it and the surprise was not as good. I started the engine and wanted to use the usual ice scraper to do the job. I even waited and cleaned the side windows. But, after ten minutes at least, I didn't manage to cut into one square inch of this ice. I decided to use the last option, the one I try to avoid : de-icer spray. Quickly used, quickly done.
The ten coming days should be warmer so I won't have to do this again. And, if we are lucky, spring days will follow.
I don't always go to the basilica of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port as a tourist, sometimes I have to go there for sad events or happy ones. Today it was cold in this big building, and even more outside because of the wind. When we were free to go, we went to the tourist office nearby and I discovered it (the tourist office) is going to close next week ! Bad news. We walked back to our car by going through the basilica and I decided to take pictures of the organs to write this article.
As we were sitting and waiting one hour earlier, I noticed the details of the instrument. I had never seen the wooden statue of saint Nicolas standing in the middle of the organs before, same for the angel playing the trumpet at the top. And I had also missed the eagle, representing saint John, under the organs. Sometimes I simply wonder what I really see there as each time I go I discover something else. Is the place changing between my visits ?
Being back home, I looked for information about the organs. This instrument is the fifth one in the basilica, it was built in the 1990s, but the buffet (the wooden part) was built in 1848 by Joseph Cuvillier. There are 3673 pipes ! The bottom of the organs is 7 meters (nearly 23 feet) above the basilica floor.
The sound is quite strong, better than the former organs. It plays a pleasant music, and sometimes with other instruments like hunting horns.
I couldn't help comparing the size of the organs of Saint-Nicolas-de-Port and Vézelise. The later was beautiful but much smaller (and much older).
The light inside was really good and the sun was shining outside. A very cold but sunny day, a good day to appreciate the architecture and details of the basilica.