Feeling A Little Over-Wrought?

When I was looking for inspiration for this week’s Thursday Doors post, I found myself revisiting photos from the few days we spent in Rouen, France.

Rouen is an ancient city with a long storied background, including the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. I could easily have spent weeks exploring here, and in the few days we had available, we barely scratched the surface of all the history this wonderful old city had to share.

Today I take you to one of Rouen’s eight museums that is open to the public for free – Musée Le Secq des Tournelles.

It contains a large collection of pre-industrial wrought iron, housed in a former 16th century church. The museum is named after its founder Jean-Louis-Henri Le Secq Destournelles (1818–1882).

This is not a black & white photo.

When Gilles first revealed that this museum was on his must-see list, I confess that I rolled my eyes. Of Rouen’s eight free museums, wrought iron wouldn’t have made my top seven choices. In fact I was very tempted to let him go off on his own to see this one, but caved at the last minute.

The surprise was mine. Gilles had to practically drag me out of there.

When we first walked in, I found it visually overwhelming with ‘frilly’ pieces of black iron hanging everywhere.

I wasn’t interested in ironworks so I spent my time simply admiring the old grand church, grateful that this wonderful piece of architectural history had been saved from the wrecking ball.

The stone work was in desperate need of cleaning, but its beautiful bones still shone through the accumulation of grime over the centuries.

Doors behind doors – a common feature found in French churches.
What’s this? A trap door within a trap door? … in a church?

But then I started to notice some of the individual details of certain pieces of iron.

This would make a lovely coat of arms. It already has my initials on it … and a crown. A crown would be very nice.

The next thing I knew, I was hooked and making a second pass through the building to see what I had missed.

Who knew? More doors! … and lids, locks, scissors, saws, and other oddities of various types.

A bird cage?

I can’t believe I’m actually going to say it, but he was right and I was wrong.

If you ever find yourself in Rouen, the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles really does make for an interesting stop.

This post has been brought to you by Thursday Doors and a generous helping of humble pie.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

93 comments

  1. Joanne, I love the photo of the Great Hall with all the wrought iron pieces hanging on the walls. We lived in Charleston, South Carolina for a year, and I developed an appreciation for wrought iron, which was very popular on rich folks’ houses in 18th Century Charleston. And even though they’re sometimes missing from must-see lists, I love these old museums that have interesting collections of bits and bobs. I know somewhere in the background is a creative curator at work. ~James

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    • I’m starting to discover the same thing about smaller, lesser known museums. They are often eclectic and usually very interesting.

      I’m actually not a museum fan – especially the big museums that draw large crowds. I think I may have unexpectedly found my niche 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Joanne, I am glad you clarified the photo that is not black and white. This came as a surprise to me. Interesting how you may have let Gillies go on his own. My husband and I have separated on some of our site-seeing and afterwards I have regretted this. Thank goodness we both usually take photos. Frilly and black iron are not words I would expect in the same sentence. The grime adds character. Interesting how you noticed the initials, Joanne. A very interesting post!

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    • Thanks, Erica. Glad you enjoyed it.

      I can’t think of a situation where Gilles and I have gone to do different things while on vacation … at least those occasions that didn’t involve a race 😏

      Gilles doesn’t like to do things on his own so the fact he was willing to go off without me suggested it was really important to him. That’s why I went … and I’m glad I did 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel your frustration. I remember, years ago, when my family and I ran around Paris, trying to take in as much as we could in only one day.

    I have to say, “Wow!” The museum looks incredible and the doors as well. Great door on the floor! 🙂

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  4. Can you imagine that sometimes, well occasionally, our husbands are right and we are wrong? I love when something I assume will be a negative turns into a fabulous experience. A Cinderella adventure so to speak. Now the question is what is under the trap door?

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  5. What a fabulous museum! I have to admit that many times I have reluctantly gone to a museum only to find it full of fascinating items and information. I’m pretty sure I would have felt the same about this one… I’m so glad you went, and shared it with us.

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    • Clearly the man who started this was fascinated with the artistry of these pieces and started collecting them. Eventually his collection took on a life of its own. It really was quite fascinating … once I started to actually look at it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a nice surprise! I’m glad you decided to go and share your beautiful photos with us. I love Rouen. So many French towns to explore, so little time.

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  7. I don’t think this would have been high on my list either. But I’m glad that you went! It looks like a cool museum. What a wonderful surprise! 🙂

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  8. This stuff is right up my alley so you would have had to drag me out of there too. And putting it in an old church; isn’t that just the icing on the cake?! That trap door within a trap door – yes!
    Thanks for sharing this. I’m definitely adding it to my must-see list if I ever get to Rouen.

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    • Maybe it’s a man/woman thing because it definitely didn’t push any buttons for me – until I got there. The old church perked me up considerably when we got there!!

      I’m not exactly a museum person to begin with. I tend to bore pretty quickly but there are always the exceptions!

      Liked by 1 person

    • If you love wrought iron, THIS is the place to go. Once I got into it, I became quite fascinated with the detail. Wowzer.

      I’ve seen trap doors in many old buildings – especially homes – but never in a church. That’s what struck me as so unusual. Then to notice the door within the door … that was the icing!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What an extraordinary place, Joanne, a veritable smorgasbord for the eyes. I kept thinking how heavy all that must be on the walls. They’re stone, but still…
    I’m glad you went through a second time. Hugs on the wing.

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    • Good point, Teagan. I hadn’t considered all that weight. I was just struck by the craftsmanship in making some of that detail. There was one piece I wish I had been able to photograph well … it was a massive spiral staircase.

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    • Rouen was one of those quiet delights we discovered unexpectedly. French tourism is so dominated by Paris and yet, as you know, there are these other wonderful jewels in the country. As I poke more into French history, I’m discovering Rouen has been a major character for centuries.

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  10. My son-in-law made himself a forge so he could practise ironmongery. He’s not at this level but I know that he and my daughter would spend hours drooling over some of this wrought iron. Fabulous photos! 🙂 🙂

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    • Wow! That’s quite the undertaking. These ancient skills would die without people like your son-in-law to keep them alive.
      If someone like me can be smitten browsing through this museum, I’m confident your son-in-law would be absolutely spellbound!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How fun to have your initial sin that coat of arms – hahah
    and the lock on that chest (two photos down from the JS crest) is HUGE and strong looking
    reminds me that we have had to secure certain items for a very long time –
    I once saw an antique tea box that had a big ol’ lock on it – guess people would steal other people’s tea at one point.

    and because you yielded and stay da little open – the gift of enjoying this was earned
    🙂 nice reward

    Liked by 1 person

  12. HI, Joanne – I would have passed on a Wrought Iron Museum.I’m so glad that you didn’t — and that you kindly took us all there with you. Incredibly stunning photos!
    BTW – Giles must loving having “you were right”, in writing, very publicly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not exactly a museum person. My attention span isn’t the greatest and I get bored pretty quickly, so really enjoying a place is a bit of a novelty 🙂

      I’m sure this church was white stone once upon a time. Now it’s black with grime. It gives it a rather sinister horror movie kind of atmosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh yes, that little wreath and coat of arms with your initials is lovely! I think the last one is a book stand non? A nice place to hold the family Bible?

    That lock and hinge are something aren’t they on the trunk? WOW!

    I think I would have had the very same reaction to both the going and the leaving! What an interesting place with beautiful pieces of ironwork. Who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That coat of arms is just about perfect and yes, I thought it was a book stand also – likely for a Bible.

      Once I started to focus on the details, I realized how many really interesting things there were in this museum. I know I just scratched the surface. Each one was a work of art.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m with Gilles (and your recently converted self), I love wrought iron. They would be ushering me out of there at closing time. You certaily managed to find some interesting doors – that trap door is amazing – but I’m glad you made a second pass, Joanne.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. WOW I would love this place Joanne, beautiful images. I like your title and the play on words also 🙂
    PS I have to admit when I first read the title I thought it said Feeling a little bit over weight and thought the post was going to be about me, LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh, Joanne–all the frilly iron work is so pretty! This entire place is gorgeous. Don’t you love finding ‘treasure’ like this? So sorry Gilles was right, though…… Sidebar: Theo in your Instagram photo is so cute! How can people not love little cat faces?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was not impressed about going to this museum but I had dragged Gilles to enough places on my must-see list that I felt he was due.
      Once I got into it though, I was fascinated.

      I agree with you about cat faces. I’m such a sucker for kitty faces and Theo of course has me wrapped around his paw 😻

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly it, Su. It’s happened more than a few times that I’ve turned my nose up at going somewhere only to be delighted by it afterwards. An open mind is a wonderful thing 🙂

      If I ever decide to design a coat-of-arms for myself, I will have to ‘borrow’ a few elements from this one 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m the same; I think it’s partly that there are so many things vying for our attention.
        I love the idea of designing a coat of arms. I think mine would involve a Kiwi and a camera, with crossed chef’s knife and wooden spoon — on the Leslie tartan — and a motto along the lines of “ooh, breakfast”, or perhaps “semper tempus enim gusto” which apparently means “always time for a snack”

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        • Wow – that does sound just like you! … at least the you I know from your blog 🙂

          I love the idea of having a totem pole, but
          since I’m kind of all over the place, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with the defining features.

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