3700 – Baptistery and Cathedral in Fréjus

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Dec 062016
 

The cloister was more important to us than the church, and because the tourist office, our entrance to the cloister, closed at noon, we started there and visited the church later.

Well, it was slightly anticlimactic. The baptistery, the oldest part of the church, originates from the fifth century, but you can only look into it through a scratched and smeared glass window. I’ve tried my best in post-processing, but you can only do so much to a bad image 🙂

The other thing is the church. It looks like an odd mix of architectural styles and misplaced furniture. By all means, this is one of the most ugly churches that I’ve ever visited.

I’ve spared you the baroque parts of the church, and to be honest, I’ve not even taken an image of them.

There’s one exception though. The church has two beautiful modern stained glass windows. They are not enough to save the ensemble, but at least they take away some of the pain.

3699 – An Unexpected Cloister in Fréjus II

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Dec 052016
 

In earlier times I would have had bought a guide to the region, or more likely a few. I’m mostly interested in art, history and architecture, and the quality of guides varying.

Today I always start with a look into Wikipedia, and in order to be independent of Internet connections, I also have an offline copy of the German Wikipedia on my phone.

Basically the quality of that information is comparable to everything that a good tourist guide of the Provence would have revealed about a town like Fréjus. It told me that there is a cathedral, and it also told me about a cloister. I love cloisters, therefore we had to see it.

It’s a two story cloister. It’s not a big one, but it is extremely beautiful.

What makes a cloister beautiful? Well, twin columns are always nice, and of course much depends on the nature of the patio. This one has a lovely well, white gravel and a few small trees.

Fréjus is not a tourist center. We spent maybe 20 minutes in the cloister and for the whole time we were completely alone. That’s one of the benefits of visiting places off the beaten path.

One of the beautiful details was the wooden roof of the lower part of the cloister. It’s not completely uncommon, but most of the time you have gothic or romanesque vaults.

Originally the cloister was connected to the church, but that door is closed now. You reach thr cloister through the tourist office, just like we’ve seen it in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.

3698 – An Unexpected Cloister in Fréjus I

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Dec 042016
 

Fréjus had not been on my radar. If you had asked me where that place is, I would have said it’s in the French Alps, just across the border from Torino, Italy. Which is also correct, because the mountain pass pass leading from Torino to France is called Col du Fréjus, and that’s the name that I had in mind.

It’s always irritating when two places have the same name. I don’t know the origin of the name of the mountain pass, but the city in Provence derives its name from Forum Julii. It’s one of the cities founded by Julius Caesar. From there, linguistically, it’s a long way to Fréjus, but that’s what 2000 years do to names.

It’s not a particularly interesting city, not a must-see in Provence, but it was one of the places where we could reach the sea. Cannes, half an hour on the highway to the east, would have been the next access to the Mediterranean, but we didn’t want to drive that far. We just wanted to drive an hour or two along the coast and probably sip a drink somewhere. Therefore Fréjus was it.