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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

45.777222, 3.087025

Sun. 16 [16 April 1893] Up early and out and about Nevers. Charming medieval town. Cathedral half Romanesque half 14th cent. with a curious flamboyant doorway on the S side where the marble was treated like butter and all the mouldings slipped in and out of one another. Saw the charming turreted chateau of the Dukes of Nevers and wondered whether Nivernais had lived here often. Walked about the quay and up to a bewitching double archway where the city wall used to be - grey stone, high pointed red roofs and white lilacs growing where stone vanished turrets sprang. French building is the most delicious thing. A cypress looked over the wall by the little outer gate. Ah cypress tree! Your brothers that I know live eastward. Drove about and saw a Romanesque church quite untouched inside and all of one period. Very curious and beautiful. Left Nevers at 2. Pretty and pleasant journey along the wide Loire valley and into the Allier valley. Reached Clermont Ferrand at 6. Very curious little town built on the top of a tufa hill; speckly[?] volcanic country all round and bare vinyards [sic] up the hill sides. Walked out to the cathedral wh I thought looked ugly outside built of sombre colourless stone and very simple in workmanship. But inside the place gave one a great impression - beautiful 14th century clustered shafts springing to an immense height and supporting a dim roof high high above us. All very dark but very sobering[?] and wonderful. We then went to a little Romanesque church with a lovely square tower Notre Dame du Pont. Under its shadow Peter the Hermit is said to have preached. Very interesting and simple decoration outside the asp[?] and about the tower, flat surfaces set with coloured granites, but all the decoration concentrates round the windows in cornices and stringing courses - there are flat spaces of wall those builders don't know how to deal with. Walked down to the mineral spring, where a kind lady let me pick some of her wisteria; then up to our hotel, dinner and bed.

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