La PedreraBarcelona

Barcelona page: the architecture of Antoni Gaudì and other catalan architects.

Palm HouseSteamKew Gardens

Kew Gardens’ glasshouses page: including the Palm House, a marvellous and beautiful place.
Its form is extremely pure and balanced, and being inside among the palm trees and the steam is a very pleasant moment.


Paris page: Paris and its vicinity buildings, from the Louvre pyramid, to Hector Guimard’s subway entrance, including Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, the Menier chocolate factory in Noisiel and some more.


St Georges swimming pool St Georges swimming pool in Rennes

The St Georges swimming pool in Rennes, is a little jewel from the beginning of the 20th century. The mosaics and enamel of the brick facade are a preamble to the superb mosaic of the pool itself, which inspired the “Dive!” theme I made for this site.

Enamel fountainOther buildings from this period include the halles centrales building, a covered market which walls are decorated with enamel tiles and fountains.

Les HorizonsLes Horizons Les Horizons in Rennes

Les Horizons is a 30 storey high-rise from the architect Maillols, built in Rennes in 1970, from prefab elements on a concrete core.

Les HorizonsLes Horizons It also used to be my home (see the sunsets I caught from my window, and the parking lot under the snow). You can also get high angle or ground angle shots. The geometry of the facade is full of curves and shadows.

Les Horizons by nightLes Horizons by night in the mistLes Horizons by night By night, lights in the flats create oval shapes on the facade, the yellow public lighting goes well with vegetation, and the shape of the building is cut against the sky, or is lost in the mist.

Here’s also its almost namesake The Horizon, from the architect Harry Seidler, built in 1998 in Sydney.

Fougères castleFougères

Fougères, about 50 km northeast of Rennes, features an impressive castle, its oldest parts dating back from the 12th century, it is positioned in an interesting way, below the highest point of the city.

Coigny towerHallay tower Its steep walls, built on a rocky outcrop, enclose various courts, and are built between a dozen various towers. The Hallay tower is at the entrance, close to the heavily transformed Coigny tower and its weather-worn doorway.

PosternGobelin towerMélusine tower At the far end of the castle, the Mélusine tower is impressive and hides a dungeon. With the Gobelin tower, they used to protect the now-levelled keep. There’s also a very-well defended entrance on this northern side of the castle.

MoatsRaoul tower The most recent towers, the Surienne tower and Raoul tower, complete the list. Moats also surround the castle, and a water mill is sheltered inside.


Nave of the abbey of HambyeChevet of the abbey of HambyeHambye abbey

Hambye abbey, south west of Normandy, is in ruins. The choir of the church is opened on vegetation and the sky, as the building has been used as a quarry at some point.

Palm tree of the abbey of Hambye The remaining stones are colonized by vegetation, your gaze can go through the church and its empty windows, among the columns towards the outside, or look up through the flying buttresses.

Other parts of the abbey remain, a commons building where an opening frames a garden, and a meeting hall featuring a palm tree (not of the vegetation kind) pillar. There’s only one other such palm tree in France, in the Jacobins church in Toulouse.

Castle of Ducey facadeDucey castle

Ducey castle, home of the Montgomery family, has been unearthed from the remnants of an old distillery plant. It features three materials, and has a huge entrance staircase. The scars of when it was partially destroyed remain.

Stained-glass lightStaircase railing Inside the entrance, a huge staircase unfolds, bathed in soft light, and covered by a timber frame.
Inside, the stained-glass project colours on the walls.
The attic is all wood and stone, and a rusty boiler has been left in the basement.

La Lucerne d’Outremer

Facade of the abbeyPorch of the abbey The La Lucerne d’Outremer abbey is not very far from the one in Hambye. It has been under renovation since the 60s and its church includes a roman porch on its facade.

Ex-votoOrganKnob of a wooden door A wooden door opens on the nave. The transept includes an organ on one side, an ex–voto ship hanging down from the ribbed vault on the other.

RefectoryCloisterRefectoryRefectory The cloister is between the church and the refectory, a very beautifully lit room situated above a vaulted cellar.

RefectoryRefectory At one end of the refectory, a wooden staircase allows to climb and admire the wooden vault.

Lodging The abbey has been transformed in a textile mill after the French Revolution, an aqueduct was built to bring water in. An abbatial lodging from the 18th century overlooks a pond.

DovecoteDovecoteDovecote There is also a mossy stone post, and a big dovecote with hollowed-out walls, which opens on the sky through a circular hole.

Stained glassSculptureBayeux cathedral

This gothic cathedral is situated in Normandy, in the same city as the famous tapestry.

The porch and facades are sculpted with patterns and figures.
Inside, the white stained-glass windows let light in, flooding the intricate architecture.


In Avranches, the cathedral features gargoyles, some animal-looking, other closer to human shapes.

Citeacute; de la MerCiteacute; de la MerCherbourg

The city of Cherbourg has turned its transatlantic wharf, a building where people boarded ocean liners into a sea-focused exhibition center. This concrete and brick building is nicely lit by a semi-translucent vault.

Pays de Loire


I’ve lived in Nantes for 2 years, and apart from misty mornings on the Loire

Passage PommerayeCastle Among all the fine buildings in Nantes, I’ve selected the Passage Pommeraye, a glass-covered mall, linking two streets through staircases.

There’s also the castle of the Dukes of Brittany, its entry tower, side doors, and moats, and the Loire door.

FacadeReservoir The old facades of Nantes feature sculpted faces, be it gods, people, animals, or… devils?

A drinking water reservoir, La Contrie. It consists in a series of vaulted corridors cut by vaulted openings, so it resembles a church. A thin layer of water remains.

CathedralSillon de Bretagne Nantes cathedral emerges above the surrounding houses.
North of the city, the Sillon de Bretagne also emerges above the landscape, with its striped blue and white facades, its emergency staircases and its wing zigzagging through a park. As opposed to Les Horizons, this high-rise is far from downtown, and the only one of its kind in its neighbourhood.

ClissonClisson tannery

The owners must be happy people… A superb restoration of what looks like a tannery building in Clisson, southeast of Nantes.
This little city is worth a look, with a lot of Italian influence in the architecture of the church and of a country palace where exhibitions are held.

Train stationSaint-Nazaire train station

The Saint-Nazaire train station abandoned in the mist.

Mon plaisir pavilionChallain castleChallain castleChallain-la-Poterie

Between Rennes and Angers, Challain castle is a fairy tale castle, built in the 19th century, with a nice park and a small pavilion.

Staircase lightingCastle staircase In the two-level entrance of the castle, an inside staircase with a sculpted stone structure is lit by a sky dome.

King’s bedroomLiving roomDining room The dining room is huge. On the ground floor, there is also a smoking-room, a library, a bedroom and other rooms containing stuffed animals.

KitchenCorridorChapel In one of the towers is a superb chapel with a sculpted and gold-plated ceiling. The basement is distributed along a ribbed-vault corridor and includes a very cosy kitchen.

FrameworkBedroomBedrooms are located on the first floor, and under the roof is a huge wooden framework.

You can visit the castle or be a guest for a magical night there.



Chauvigny, near Poitiers, is a small city where the traces of 5 successive castles remain on a hilltop.
While one has only its foundations left, others keep only sections of walls, making a landscape for medieval fantasies, with exhibitions of live raptor and carrion birds.


In Niort downtown, a street has been refurbished to lessen car traffic, and the separation between walkway and street is made of bronze dragons.

Pont transbordeurPont transbordeurRochefort

The last transporter bridge in France, which I discovered at sunset, is in Rochefort.



Another gothic cathedral started in 1220, very high under its vaults, with a detail of a rose-window, and a close view of the flying buttresses.
Vegetation mingles with gargoyles above the city.

Lit-up cathedral facadeLit-up cathedral porchLit-up cathedral sculptures In the summer and at Christmas, the cathedral is lit-up. Projections on its facade recreate the original colours of the sculptures. A whole little colorful people climbs up the porches.

Tour Perret Another important building in Amiens, the Perret tower, a housing tower from the architect Perret. It was an innovation as far as material was concerned, but it was fairly typical of reconstruction architecture.