Vieux (OLD)

Today’s guest post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale

We’ve been back from France for just short of a month, and I’ve been trying to come up with a post that would encompass the entire trip. No small trick, as the journey had three very distinct segments: being tourists in Paris, memorial ceremonies for my uncle in a village in Brittany, and a Viking River Cruise in Provence.

What I fell in love with was how OLD everything was, everywhere we went. In Paris, I loved walking in the Left Bank down mazes of cobblestoned alleys (called streets) that have been around for centuries.

The Sorbonne University has been there since the 12th century.

My favorite Museum was the Cluny, officially known as the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Middle Age) – Thermes et hôtel de Cluny, part of which was built around 3rd century Roman baths.

The building that housed our air.bnb flat on Rue Lecruirot (south Montparnasse area) was built in 1893.

The Paris Metro has been around since summer of 1900.

In the village of St. Pere en Retz, we got to stay in a 150 year old manor house, and our suite was a former kitchen that has become a B&B.

In Provence we spent time in Avignon, the center of which is a walled city.  And the countryside sported farmhouses and wineries.

I can’t wait to go back.

What’s the oldest building you’ve seen or been in?

61 thoughts on “Vieux (OLD)”

  1. I do hope you will write sbout the other elements of the trip, Barb.

    Like you, I am drawn to the “old”.

    Oldest building ever for me is the Aachen (Charlemagne) Cathedral – ground-breaking 796. There were Roman aqueducts there too. So much I saw in Germany was possibly old and you could just walk up and touch it.

    Oldest building in the States was the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, built in 1610. No car so did not get to the much older Anisazi sites there.

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      1. You cannot miss it, Barb. In fact, you may have already been there. It is right on the Plaza. Look to your right when exiting the Cathedral.

        As a midwesterner, I was truly amazed at the age of things in Santa Fe. We really did not learn learn about that in high school US history. We should have.

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  2. Good morning. The Roman theatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria might be the oldest structure that I have viewed. I read that it was constructed in the first or second century AD. I saw that theatre when I visited Bulgaria as an agricultural volunteer under a program funded by our government. Bulgaria is changing it’s agriculture back to a private enterprise system. During the time that Bulgaria was under Russian control, farmers lost their farms which were converted into collective farms.

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      1. Bulgaria has a history of being occupied by other countries including the Romans. I am sure there are Roman structures, such as the Roman baths in England, that are found in many parts of Europe.

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        1. Stonehenge and hAdrians wall are old English sites that are cool but no walls so not a building but take you bake to realize folks that long ago hung here.
          You run into walls over in Europe they find when that are digging out to put in a new building. They find some 1000 year old wall and he excavate it put a historical sign on it and build a building over the top of it wit the wall preserved below
          Interesting and taken for granted over there

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        2. And Stonehenge! I guess I should have thought a little harder about all the old places I’ve been before I weighed in. Been here too – I love my job!

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        3. Trier – near Luxembourg – is believed to be the oldest town in Germany. There are many very well preserved ruins from the days of the Roman empire. Porta Nigra, the city gate, is remarkable. There are also an amphitheater, several Roman baths and a couple of churches from the 12th century and an ancient bridge that dates back to the 2nd century AD.

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  3. nice photos bir, makes you want to go back doesnt it?
    i have stayed in some old buildings in europe and in china but what often surprises me is the people in them and the lack of affection they have for the vintage surroundings. old is great to look at but the rooms are too small the ceilins too short. the internet cant get through the stone walls and the plumbing is an after the fact additions so its odd. maybe i ask theses questions aor talk too much to the kerson in charge of maintanence
    in the cotswalds i stayed in a beautiful thatched roof home with the front room fireplace that to; up one whole wall. the soup pot was on and it was cozy as could be. the old lady running it was able to recite all the historical background but daid everyone always wanted a bigger bedroom and they simply didnt make them that way then the bed took up the whole room with a spot for your suitcase outsdie the door so everyone ended up in the front room and she was expected to keep them company. in verona i stayed inside the walled city in and old hotel that had ambiance but the phone system didnt have the ability to do wake up calls and i missed my apppointments because of it. in china the old stuff is maintained by the state and historical buildigs are fun to tour, i always wanted to see the great wall but business beckned. i did get to paly st andrews the worlds oldest golf course.and i cant remember the age of those building that are the cliff dwellings in the four corners area of he anastasi indians. cool regardless.
    enjoy the close of the perfect weather in minnesota. the areas oldest residents have popped back up and everything changes. the misquitoes are here. at cards on the deck last night the two guys who the misquities search out were swatting. so its begun.

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    1. Maybe part of my love for the old stuff has to do with my love of a time before wake-up calls and you went outside when you wanted more space.

      And there was enough free-range outside it couldn’t all be owned.

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    2. You’re right, sometimes the old and the new don’t mesh so well (no internet through stone walls…). We tried to travel w/o a phone, but did end up buying a cheapie French trak phone in Avignon. It’s strange to be sitting in an Internet Cafe in the midst of this ancient city.

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  4. I find it so interesting that cities seem to get higher up as time passes. I don’t mean the height of the buildings but the height of the land. At Pointe a Calliere, the archeological museum in the old port in Montreal, the foundations of the first buildings of the city must be 5-10 feet lower than they are now, I guess we fill in and build up as we go. The first cemetery in Montreal dates back to 1643.

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  5. Not sure which city, Carcassonne or Castelnaudry, in southern France. One is an ancient walled city that was built somewhere around the birth of Jesus, so its about 2000 yrs old.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  6. I second mig’s hope that you’ll write in more detail about each aspect of your trip, BiR. This is just enough to whet our appetite.

    As you can probably appreciate, I was taken by the exact opposite when I arrived in the US, viz. how nothing here seemed to have been around for very long. Of course, old is a relative term. The house I live in was built in 1889 – so among the older homes on St. Paul’s West Side. If memory serves, Linda’s house is a few years older.

    I grew up surrounded by old buildings, many of them 400 years old or older, and some of them still in use today. Tim is right, the rooms are small, the ceilings low, and oftentimes you have to duck to get through a doorway. But I love those old half-timber houses with thatched roofs that are scattered throughout Denmark.

    I’m not really sure what the oldest building, ruin or man-made structure I have seen is. When something’s a couple thousand years old, a few hundred years more or less fail to register with me. What does come through, though, is how incredibly creative people have always been.

    The Anasazi cliff dwellings are amazing. It boggles this old mind to think of what living in them must have been like.

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  7. I’ll come back after writing my daily letter to my friend. For now I want to note how nice the photos are. Good work, BiR. Yesterday’s post was really fun, also featuring many fine photos.

    I have new hopes that we can sustain this thing, more or less, without Dale working like an indentured printer’s devil.

    Yesterday was one of the nicest days of my life. Today I am trying to recover from having spent twelve straight hours with my incredible grandson.

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  8. Akhersus Fortress in Oslo is likely the oldest building I have been in – goes back to the 13th century. I did get to some of the very old cliff dwellings in Arizona, but don’t remember the age (probably older than Akhersus). Both equally impressive in very different ways. Seoul had some fabulous older architecture slammed right up next to the new stuff – which is startling on several levels, not least of which is that some of that is fallout from the Korean conflict, many of the old buildings were bombed out or destroyed. In that context it’s kind of amazing that any of the old imperial architecture is still around. Oldest place with evidence of human habitation (not a building) is likely the Jeffers Petroglyphs in SW Minnesota which are thousands of years old and really really awesome.

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    1. Oh – and I did see a chunk of Hadrian’s wall when visiting a friend in Newcastle. Lots of old stuff in London, but Hadrian’s wall was neat.

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    2. The petroglyphs are on our list for this summer. The plan is to get our teeth well into Minnesota and family history.

      Seems like everyone else is going abroad this summer, so we may have to get across the border into Canada, just to say we did :).

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      1. The petroglyphs are among my grandchildrens’ favorite places. They are at first rather underwhelming but they grow on a person. Might want to study the site and attend some events, which is what my family all like.
        The brewery in New Ulm is sort of fun, on your way.
        Thunder Bay is fun, been there so many times. Old Fort William Historical Site is worth a drive, although Winnipeg has much more stuff. Pretty city Winnipeg

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        1. What Clyde says about the petroglyphs is true – be sure to check out everything in the Visitor’s Center and take the guided tour!

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        2. Not sure the time/money continuum will allow the trip to Winnepeg, much as I would like to go.

          Thanks for the tips on the petroglyph site. We like to read ahead too.

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        3. My addition to the notes about visiting the petroglyphs: don’t go when the sun is straight up in the sky. You will see the glyphs better when the sun is lower in the sky. The guide we had advised hanging out until late afternoon – his advice was quite sound.

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  9. Like mig the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. I was AT the Casa Grande ruins in Cleveland, AZ. Not much of a building left, so I cannot say I was IN the Casa Grande. Never been to Europe.
    Thanks for this Barbara. So happy you had this trip. Must be more meat on the bone from this trip.

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  10. Tower of London was probably the oldest.

    I grew up in and was married (première fois (first time)) in a Congregational church in Farmington, Connecticut. The church was founded in 1652 and the current “meetinghouse” was build in 1777.
    Sort of like PJ, when I moved to Minnesota, I was amazed at how new everything was. Imagine not even being a state until 1858!

    BiR – lovely pictures! Did l’on y danse sur le pont D’Avignon?

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  11. Morning all. Gosh, I had to look a couple of things up to figure what was older. My first guess had been the Library at Ephesus, but then Wes mentioned Pantheon – turns out they are about the same age. But then Chris mentioned Carcasonne – turned out that it’s seriously old. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited all three!

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      1. WikiP says the area occupied since the Neolithic w/ the actual spot of the current fortress being occupied since 6500 BC. (The actual buildings there aren’t that old, but I’m not going to be fussy.)

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  12. My daily walk in the dog park used to take me down a stairway built to allow men to create Fort Snelling. There is very little in Minnesota that dates earlier than 1820 (although there are a few mounds that nobody knows much about). Three centuries isn’t a long time except in Minnesota.

    The oldest place I’ve visited in the US is New Orleans. And that is just four centuries old.

    In the UK we visited some Roman sites that were built about 500 AD, but they’re just rubble walls. Stonehenge is just a pile of rocks, which is old but not really a building. What felt older to me were pubs and cathedrals from the twelfth century. Canterbury, built in the seventh century, seemed mighty old. The George and Vulture pub in London has low ceilings because people were so short. The stone steps in old areas of London have deep dished out areas from nine centuries of foot traffic. One of the most beautiful old places I’ve visited is Eilean Donan Castle, which dates to 734 AD.

    The Brits have a different sensibility about old things. Buildings have names that they were given several hundred years ago. At a 14th century farmhouse where we stayed overnight, the current owners talked about one of the areas as “the Badger Field.” It has been called that since a badger was spotted there in the 1400s.

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  13. I’ve never been outside the U.S., and haven’t traveled very much here either. I suppose the oldest buildings I’ve been in were in DC, but I couldn’t cite any specifics.

    The Transportation Museum at the Jackson Street Roundhouse has some train cars from bygone times that are pretty fascinating to walk through. When you are used to cars and buses made of metal and plastic and vinyl, the ornate carved wood in the old rail cars seems startlingly out of place. And everything feels small – narrow doorways and low ceilings, almost like a child’s playhouse.

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    1. We have not been there in years, but having a small house myself, I’ve always appreciated the efficency of the Pullman car there.

      Feel the same way about the Little Log House in Hastings. When I imagine my house on the Island, it looks a lot like that.

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        1. Are North Dakotans allowed to cast aspersions on Iowa? 😉

          Actually, the historically inappropriate rail stock I rode when I was a toddler was probably due to WW II. Because of the war, railroads dragged all kinds of obsolete equipment out of mothballs and put it back in use. Shortages of gas and tires were also why my little home town collected garbage with a horse-drawn wagon instead of a dump truck. They had used a motorized truck before the war, but went back to horses when some things became scarce.

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  14. I’ve been in this “old building” for 62 years. Urban renewal is about to be enacted with a 61 year old “building.”

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    1. Four buildings less than ten years old have been torn down in Mankato in the last few months, not franchise buildings, but failed businesses of solid construction torn down to put up franchises.

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  15. I haven’t traveled enough to be in any buildings that are very old. However, I have seen the Witch Tree, which is very old for a tree.

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