January 18, 2019

Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy!

So I am back to familiar territory in the region of Ile de France! and department 78 of the Yvelines!! Well ,I have written a lot on the city of Poissy in my blog but glancing over it seems was all very general . I need to start remedying that now.

I like to start by telling you a bit more of the Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy. First of all, very easy to get to from Paris on the RER A line and once there go out station turn right and walk up the street ,you will see the big Gothic Church in front of you! Never time it ,but should be less than 10 minutes walking. This will be a long post sorry, but the place merits it, and I even cut a lot, so its the best possible condensed post I can do. Enjoy it, it is very nice indeed.

Notre-Dame Collegiale Church  is a parish Catholic Church located in Poissy, department no 78, Yvelines,of the Ïle de France region. It was founded by King Robert the Pious around 1016, but from the 11C church, only the western steeple-porch survives. Indeed, the Collegiate Church was rebuilt from the beginning of the 12C, in particular between 1130 and 1160, in the late Romanesque style, and later in the primitive Gothic style, which manifests itself in the eastern parts. The future king Louis IX (Saint Louis) was baptized, a few days after his birth in Poissy, on April 25, 1214. This event is the celebrity of the Church, and the baptismal fonts of that time are still preserved there. Although it has undergone numerous transformations and restorations since its construction in the 12C, this Church is not only the richest monument of the city’s heritage, but also remains one of the few witnesses to the development of Romanesque art and its transition to Gothic art. The Church bears the name of Collegiale because it housed a college of canons until the French revolution. It was the object of several restoration campaigns in the 19C, notably by Viollet-le-Duc.

poissy

poissy

A bit of history I like

The Church may be a successor to a first Merovingian cult Site, of which they  have found numerous fragments of stone cutters, capitals and bases at 60 cm below the paving. However, the base seems rather Roman, but the base could actually go back to the 7C. The Church had in any case been founded by King Robert the Pious around 1016.  Few episodes of the history of the Collegiate Church are known, the most important of which is the baptism of St. Louis, a few days after his birth on April 25, 1214, in Poissy. The baptismal fonts used at this Christening took the status of a relic after the canonization of Saint Louis in 1297. They have always been respected, but the numerous samplings of fragments to provide relics necessitated a profound restoration in 1630, an occasion to which they were brought back to the Saint-Louis Chapel, where they see themselves behind a grid. Saint-Louis never forgot the Church where he had been baptized, and founded a Mass for the birthday of his parents in 1238, then a Chapel in 1250. The first priest was installed , it was Mathurin Giquerel, Doctor of Theology of the Sorbonne, a dignified and virtuous man of Breton origin. The chapter experienced only an important reform during its long existence, and continued until the French revolution. Under the whole of the old regime (royals) , Poissy was the seat of the archdeaconry of the Pincers’ of the Diocese of Chartres, and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame its spiritual center. The Church was reportedly burned during the Hundred Years ‘ War, and was partly rebuilt and enlarged in the late 15C and 16C. During the second War of Religion, in 1567, the Church was ravaged by the Huguenots, and to escape, inhabitants were forced to take refuge in the attic for more than two weeks. Some changes have been made to the classical period, but little is left. On the eve of the French revolution, the chapter was abolished and the Church soon closed to worship, and the Church of the Saint-Louis Priory  became the only parish Church in the city, except during the prohibition of worship under the reign of terror in the French revolution. With the Concordat (ending the terrors of the French revolution) of 1801, Poissy was integrated into the new diocese of Versailles, corresponding to the old department of Seine-et-Oise (now Yvelines mostly).

Poissy

poissy

A bit brief on the construction of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame. It is irregularly oriented towards the southwest on the side of the façade, the Church consists mainly of a central vessel of six long bar spans, accompanied by aisles and Chapels or other annexes; Of a five-pans apse; there is the  ambulatory; a square-planar axis Chapel dating from the 1860’s; and two Chapels oriented flanking the first and last span of the ambulatory, each with a straight span and an apse in the hemicycle. The nave is preceded by one of the two steeples, the ground floor of which was initially an open porch on three sides. Two stair turrets flank the bell tower, one to the north and one to the south. The Chapel of the Baptismal font occupies the angle between the steeple and the north side, and like all the spans of this aisle, it is flanked by a Chapel on the north side. This row of seven Chapels does not form a second aisle, because all the bays are enclosed. The rest of the Church is hunched over with simple warheads. A second steeple rises above the last span of the nave.

A bit more longer description of the interior of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame.  The nave is particularly heterogeneous. After the Hundred Years War, at the end of the 15C  and early 16C, the only changes were the  north elevation, except the sixth span. This reshuffle uses the flamboyant Gothic style. The second reshuffle occurred around the middle of the 16C, and concerns the first three bays on the south side, as well as the vaults of the first three bays. But everything that seems to date from the beginning of the 12C and displays the Romanesque style, is in reality in very large part the result of the reconstruction. The Organ tribune, which appears to be very archaic, and the 12C reconstruction is characterized by an elevation on three levels, with the floor of the large arcades, the triforium floor and the upper windows. The large arcades, the triforium, the triforium bays, the high windows, the double arches and the warheads are in full hanger. The vault keys are not decorated and show a small aperture. Apart from certain details, the nave of the Collegiate Church can be brought closer to the other large Romanesque Churches of the region built at the beginning of the vaulting of warheads styles.

The north side with its row of Chapels represents the most homogeneous part of the Church, but apart from the supports of the large arcades, all dates from the end of the 15C and the beginning of the 16C. The chapels of the fourth and fifth spans are particularly distinguished by Baroque woodwork of great quality.  The last three spans of the south aisle are the last ones that still exhibit, at least in large part, their 12C provisions. The sacristy had been abandoned in the 18C and arranged in the Chapel facing south of the apse, but its location is the original.  The choir or chorus is oriented in the direction of the sun rising on August 15 (Assomption), is not in the axis of the nave. This is a very common observation that can be made in most Churches built successively at the site of an older church. Although in the case of a collegiate church and therefore of an ecclesiastical chapel where the liturgy involved a whole college of canons, the choir is small and is reduced to the apse. In the absence of a transept whose crusader often houses the high altar, it must be assumed that the last two bays of the nave were originally attached to the liturgical choir, and separated from the rest of the nave by a grate. The apse has two roughly straight sections and a bedside in the hemicycle, composed of only three pans. Thus, the apse communicates with the ambulatory by five large arcades.

The ambulatory represents, the most interesting part of the Church. This applies to the arrangement of the exterior walls, for the vaulting of original edges and for the very particular plane. It has no radiant Chapels, but primitively an alternation between square Chapels, including the first and last completed by an apse in the hemicycle, and walls facing the outside. The north-facing Chapel had been rebuilt in the flamboyant period with a prism-ribbed vault. The apsidal of the Chapel is in large part authentic. Quite spacious, it has a decoration consistent with that of the ambulatory. The vault of warheads is four-pointed, and the profile seems authentic: it is the same as in the apse, namely a net between two torus. The south-facing chapel, dedicated to St. Louis, has never been altered, and its plan is quite regular. As for the axe Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, it was once an admirable construction of the second half of the 13C or the beginning of the 14C, in a radiant style reminiscent of the Sainte-Chapelle (Paris). Destroyed everything in the 1860’s, the demolition of the Chapel is regrettable, especially since it was not detrimental to the homogeneity of the Church, and that its state would have allowed a restoration, still envisaged by the Viollet -le-Duc in 1844. The present Chapel is inspired by the apsidials, but larger, with five pans and three windows.

The oldest capitals are naturally found in the base of the western steeple, which dates back to the late 11C, especially on the east side. In the nave, there are curiously more recent capitals under the fifth and sixth largest arcade in the north. It can be dated from the beginning of the 12C, while the construction of the nave progressed from west to east, and the last spans were only started around 1130. At the back of the façade, at the beginning of the big arcades of the South, appears the first marquee of a second type, evoking, as also the bedside in the big lines. In the apse, the only capitals that were not redone in the 19C are those to the east of the sixth pile of the north, as well as those of the four free columns of the apse roundabout. The sculpture of their large baskets is remarkable, and they are decorated with two registers of ribbed leaves, palmettos of a large drawing, long rods linked two by two in the center or under the angles of the stone cutter. The design and composition are of great originality, and the style is of uncommon vigor. The bay capitals of the central steeple are also remarkable.

The tribune Organ was commissioned in 1903. Its instrumental part was made by Charles Mutin, successor of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll. Its Gothic buffet was designed by the architect of historical monuments, Camille Formigé, who had been responsible for the last restoration campaign of the Church between 1884 and 1896. The columns of stone supporting the tribune were carved by Geoffroy.

And why not a bit more on the exterior of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame de Poissy.  The western steeple, originally a steeple-porch, is one of the oldest steeples in the region among those of a certain size. The steeple is square and flanked by two orthogonal buttresses at each angle, which are strictly vertical and punctuated by the same drip present on the walls. Between two buttresses, the salient angles of the steeple remain free, which is not common. The ground floor only has small rectangular openings, and the first floor is also very discreet, with a unique rectangular window off the west side. The second floor is located at the same level as the upper windows of the nave, and originally had two rectangular bays, regularly spread over the three free sides. To the north and south, they are partly clogged by the two stair turrets.

poissy

A nave with three levels of elevation requires buttresses, which were not yet developed at the end of the Romanesque period, and appear only in the mid-12C. To the north, the wall of the nave ends with a frieze of foliage similar to that found inside, under a cornice formed by a succession of prismatic moldings. In the south, the first three bays were given a new cornice in the classical period. On the outside, the authenticity of the various elements is therefore not more assured than inside, and this also applies to the flamboyant architecture of the chapels of the north aisle and the sacristy in front of the last two bays of the south aisle. At the top, God the Father (beheaded during the French revolution) emerges from a cloud holding a globe in one hand. Rays of light descend from all sides, and reach a vase with two handles, from which a long leafy stem that carries three fleurs de Lys springs. A dove in the middle of the rays illustrates the Holy Spirit, and the rays themselves are the grace of God that he sends from the top of heaven. The flower that is the recipient is an allegory of purity and virginity, and symbolizes the Virgin Mary. The ensemble is therefore a symbolic representation of the Annunciation

The second Louis XII-style portal is wider and has two doors in a basket cove separated from a thomas whose jagged foliage and flamboyant-style monsters, overlapped already on the lower legs of the underside, at pilasters Italianate announcing the first Renaissance. Three niches with statues flank the doors, and still sheltered the Virgin and two angels in 1805. They were repainted same  year, but have disappeared since. The central steeple is, without a doubt, the most beautiful element of Poissy’s architecture.  Its north face was uplifted this time with respect for the authenticity of the monument, as between 1844 and 1850 during the restoration of the large arcades. The octagonal stump of the bell tower is pierced with a single undecorated, North and south window, which inwardly opens under a broken discharge arch. Between two modillions, a palmettos décor in bas-relief appears. Two seats above open the bays of the belfry floor. They are in the full hanger and number of two on the faces facing the cardinal points. The other faces are narrower and leave room for only one bay. The choir, the style is allegedly that of the 13C. As for the oriented Chapels, the windows of the square span were initially placed at the same height as the windows of the Apsidials, they had only one buttress instead of two, and the angles of the buttresses were not filled with balusters.

poissy

Some of the nice things to notice at the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame at best me think other than the Baptismal font of Saint Louis are:

The stone Altar adorned with eight characters under arches lobed and hooks, 94 cm high and 245 cm wide, dating from the first half of the 14C and apparently coming from the church Priorale Saint-Louis. The group carved in limestone representing the burial, also known as Holy Sepulchre, 140 cm high and 180 cm wide, mentioned for the first time in 1522.  The group carved in polychrome walnut wood representing the education of the Virgin by St. Anne, high of 137 cm and dating from the near end 15C to 16C. The stone statue of St. John the Baptist, 186 cm high and dating from the 14C, the stone statue of St. Barbara, 140 cm high and dating from the first half of the 16C; the tower on the left is its attribute, the palm in her left hand is the symbol of the Martyrs. The stone statue of Isabelle of France, daughter of St. Louis, high of 130 cm and dating from around 1300, comes from the rood of the Church of the Priory Saint-Louis de Poissy. The stone statue of St. Peter , high of 160 cm and probably dating from the 17C. The stone statue of Saint Louis teenager, high of 170 cm, dating from 1932. It bears the coat of arms of the city of Poissy.  The painted wooden statue of the Virgin, 130 cm high and probably dating from the first quarter of the 16C, was distorted by a smooth polychrome that makes it seem like a statue of the 19C, but the stylistic closeness with the statue of St. Barbara indicates the actual age of the statue, which remains to be confirmed during a restoration. The stone statue of the Ecce Homo or Christ with links, high of 185 cm and dating from the 17C. The statue of the Virgin and the Seated Child called Notre-Dame de Poissy, inspired by the seal of the Collegiate chapter, work of Manuela, her real name Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Duchess of Uzès, high of 140 cm and dating from 1892. The stone statuette of a praying, perhaps a donor, with a inscription of dedication in Latin, high of 50 cm and dating from 1553. Most of the burial slabs were sealed in the Western Wall. Most of the paintings are hung in the Chapels, and poorly visible in these dark spaces.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

City of Poissy on the Church in French

Tourist office of Poissy on the Church in French

Tourist office dept 78 Yvelines on the Church at Poissy in French

Note the sites above are in French, nowdays easily translated for a fuller enjoyment and more information. This is a nice Notre Dame Collegiale Church and the area around it is very nice and more things to see in Poissy.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

Schoolboys in France, our take!

So on a cold night in the Morbihan Breton, I like to be a bit nostalgic of my previous home in France. This is my 16th year living here and 19th as citizen of France. Basically, broken down evenly now between the Yvelines 78 (ïle de France), and the Morbihan 56 (Bretagne).

One subject dear to me and the family I have not touch in my blog yet, and its about time, is the question of schooling for the kids. I have 3 boys now young men. When I first had the idea from my dear late wife Martine (French native of Meaux ,Seine-et-Marne 77, ïle de France), the first thing we thought was the schooling for the boys. Back in the previous old home of Florida there were in A rated schools by the School system there so we wanted to stay the same in France.

We went out and spoked with the French family on the schooling and was a bit surprise of the strict ruling as compare to what we knew. Also, the easy school days as they are no substitute teachers here, and kids are sent home. The homework was constant every day! In all subjects!

We found out it was true. We ,also, got in touch with the American community in Paris which is numerous and we are acquainted. They refered us to the AAWE organisation or tha Association of American Women in Europe. They published a book detailing the differences and equalities of the US and French educational systems that was invaluable. https://www.aaweparis.org/

The landing was easy ,soft and we found out our boys were getting good notes from the start. Due in fact for the training at home with the mother, an import/export custom agent who was very good of grammar , an important subject in French schools.

We got in and found out the schools ;free public schools were better in the smaller towns in Yvelines. I do not want to give away all the addresses but will put some pictures here of younger days.

verneuil sur seine

The schooling in towns like Verneuil-sur-Seine on the college John Zay was super and the staff always gave us compliments of our boys. It was a nice trip for them fully enjoyed with the bus and train as it is usual here. It gives you freedom. Here all 3 boys came together the college is like a middle school back in the USA; they spent all here in France. http://www.clg-zay-verneuil.ac-versailles.fr/spip.php?rubrique127

les mureaux

Then, came the Lycée or high school Blanche de Castille in the nearer town of Le Chesnay It was fantastic! We really enjoy it and the nearby Bel Air complex with many friends meeting on the park, and a miniature statue of the Eiffel tower! The bus system was the same as the one in Versailles so very convenient and the boys love it. https://www.blanche-de-castille.fr/infos-pratiques

le chesnay

versailles

Then came big decisions. The university system here as compare to the USA is very weak, but practically free. The ones we saw near us were about 500 euros per year! Most of the best jobs are had in the Grande Ecoles and they are like Ivy league schools ,very expensive. I had experience with universities and my skills were home grown , not too positive about universities; I think they are just business. My opinion of course.

Therefore, I told my boys to choose: univ or special technical schools that provide a skill and a job. They chose the later one.

My boys were split with my twins going into specialized schools in gardening:building: plumbing, and wood work which gave them job experiences . France does not have a system of funnelling the students into jobs so the youth unemployment is very high unofficially at 25% .The yound spent a lot of time in interim, training jobs for long periods and unemployment until finally with lots of work experience they can land a permanent job. They are now on the right track and getting paid for it.

auray

My oldest boy, went to commercial business school , very good CFA Affida at La Verriére 78 Yvelines. Here he got his commerce training as he wanted to go into Sales and did had the chance to work at the Chateau de Versailles and the gift stores across from the rive gauche train station in Versailles. Moving over to Bretagne, he went to the IBEP Vannes. Now getting his driving license and search for a permanent job in the meantime he gets support income from the mission locale who puts him into training program by working alongside local businesses for more time on the job and training for eventually getting a permanent job. The CFA Affida: https://www.affida.fr/nos-2-centres/cfa-affida-la-verriere-yvelines-78

The IBEP Vannes:  http://www.ibepformation.fr/fr/centre-formation-bretagne

la verriere

versailles

The life here is nice and friendly but the will to excel is a bit behind. If you have experience then coming will be no problems I found mine before arriving for a big CAC 40 company in management and have not stopped.   For the young, its an uphill battle.

crach

le roc saint andre

So this is nothing compare to what we get here ,however, as free persons, we know the job market in France is not the best and needs a lot of improvements. Maybe the yellow vests (jilets jaunes) can do something about it!

The Great Debate  or Grand Débat is on in France at the mayor’s office level and creating lots of suggestions in a truly democratic way where the citizens participate. The online site is to be functional by January 21st so they said. https://granddebat.fr/

Hope it gives you another look on France from a worldly person and experiences on both sides of the pond! I lived 31 years in the USA between NJ and FL!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

Some news from France CCXVI

And I am back on my regular news coverage of France , my take, my opinion, my tastes. Today is sunny!!! temp 6C or about 45F no rain of course just lovely in my beautiful Morbihan breton 56. In eternal Paris is about the same at 43F as well as in my beloved Versailles.

Let me tell you the latest news on my belle France.

There are three weeks of filming in Paris for the production of Roman Polanski’s film, “J’Accuse or I Accuse”, a feature film devoted to the Dreyfus affair with the principal actors Jean-Dujardin and Louis Garrel. The shooting started last November 26th to end on March 7, 2019 for allow a release in early December 2019. The Church of Saint-Germain L’ Auxerrois, was in the spotlight. Inside, while a huge luminous veil occupies the top of the church, an ambient mist creates an atmosphere of the end of the 19C. J’ accuse, the tribune of Emile Zola, denouncing one of the largest anti-Semitic cases in France, starring Louis Garrel in the role of Captain Dreyfus, accused of espionage. Jean-Dujardin is Colonel Marie-Georges Picquart, head of counter-espionage, who will eventually discover that the evidence against Dreyfus was false. More here in Allôcine: http://www.allocine.fr/film/fichefilm_gen_cfilm=229982.html

In this period of Epiphany (I am a bit late sorry), the galette de Rois is in the spotlight on all the displays of our bakeries. This winter pastry, more commonly known as Parisienne, makes the happiness of the 7 to 77 years old. Glazed, caramelized or creamy, these artisans of the capital revisit in their own way this traditional dessert, of the New Year. At Douceurs et Traditions, 85, rue Saint-Dominique, 7éme, Metro La Tour-Maubourg. At Karamel Paris, 67, rue Saint-Dominique ,7éme, Metro La Tour-Maubourg.  And  Un Glace à Paris, 15, rue Saint Croix de la Bretonnerie , 4éme, Metro Hôtel de Ville.

Webpages for above pâtisseries :

https://www.yelp.com/biz/nelly-julien-douceurs-et-traditions-paris

https://karamelparis.com/

http://uneglaceaparis.fr/web/

Beans and patties of kings are the inseparable of the pastry. Celebrating the 500th anniversary of Château de Chambord ( dept Loir-et-Cher), slips in his patties, beans with the effigies of historical figures, such as François I and Louis XIV, who contributed to the fame of the castle. Gluttony, the beans of the houses Hugo and Victor ,7éme and Karamel Paris, 7éme celebrate the desserts with unpublished pieces. More sporting, the 11 winning and red beans of the boutique Un Glace à Paris 4éme, will make you meet Emmanuel Petit, world Champion 98 and Emmanuel Ryon, best worker of France, to celebrate together the Epiphany. The wine of course will be white, and sweet enough to embrace the sweetness of the dessert. A semi-dry Champagne; or a muted Muscat ,whose fermentation was brutally halted by adding pure alcohol are in order.

A story of France and the people that belongs as French. 1954,the cold envelops France, at Saint-Denis, Smaïl, a worker, is sleeping outside, at minus 13 °C, on the site where he works. A few steps away from the location of the future Stade de France, where 44 years later, his son, help gave the football World Cup for France in 1998; his son Zinedine Zidane. Histoire d’Une Nation or Stories of a nation,will be projected this Thursday evening today 20h15  at the cinema L’Ecran  in Saint-Denis. This series in four episodes was aired in September and October last on France 2 TV. It interweaves the little stories and the great, drawing the portrait of a France that was built, sometimes in pain, according to successive waves of immigration, from 1870 to 2005. This suburb, where the generations of immigrants from Spain, Italy, Algerians, Malians mingled, inevitably fed the work. The film also gives the floor to immigrants and children of immigrants from Marseille, Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand… There is a common history, a French history that has not been told. And from this point of view, the Seine-Saint-Denis is not atypical, Free entrance.More here in French: https://www.lecranstdenis.org/evenements/on-en-parle-histoire-dune-nation/

During the night of 12 or 13 October 1973, five wooden sculptures dating from the 16C and 18C were stolen. Only Sainte-Anne and the Virgin could be found. Forty-six years after being stolen from Houdan, a statue representing St. Anne and the Virgin will return to her place in  the Church of St. James (St Jacques) the Major of Houdan. The statue of Sainte-Anne and the Virgin, with a height of 94 cm in polychrome wood, was to be auctioned  last December 8th by a sales hall which has a street-corner in Heidelberg (Germany) for a starting price of 6 000€. Luckily it was found before the sale by Eurojust an European service tracking these stolen goods. In a similar story, a statue of St. Christopher in Wood, stolen from the church of Cergy-Village in Cergy (Val-d’oise 95) in November 1973, resurfaced last October. The work was spotted in Frankfurt (Germany) when it was to be sold. Be aware of what you buy in these markets in Europe.

A WWII bomb was discovered on the site of the future Tramway line 13. The bomb discovered in St Cyr l’Ecole, right next to the train station. It’s an English bomb dating back to WWII, weighing 500 pounds or about 250 kg and 115 kg of explosives, this bomb, in the event of an explosion, could cause a crater 4 meters wide and 3 meters deep by projecting splinters within a radius of 300 meters. This kind of discoveries remains rather common in this area.More from the agglo area here in French: https://www.versaillesgrandparc.fr/actualites/toute-lactualite/details/article/operation-de-deminage-a-sai/

A chemical transformation, more accurately, carried out by micro-organisms, bacteria, yeast or mold on the sugar in the absence of oxygen. And now it gives us the three pillars of French gastronomy: bread, cheese and wine. Moreover, two of them (hint: not the cheese) symbolize the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The fermentation holds the divine. When it is controlled by the human hand, fermentation gives a more complex taste to the food and keeps it longer. It’s useful. Enjoy it the tip.More in French from the La Revue du Vin de France: https://www.larvf.com/,fermentation-definition-dictionnaire-du-vin-vocabulaire-lexique,10355,4025490.asp

In the opinion of professional buyers like designers, Paris offers this season the most beautiful stage for the fashion of men. The American, British and Japanese labels feast on the public. Fashion Weeks, from last Tuesday night, first day of parades in the city.  56 shows (10 more compared to the previous edition) , and 26 presentations, 15 nationalities are on the program until  this coming Sunday evening, making once again (and even more than ever) Paris the great capital of men’s fashion; definitively, Paris is a springboard to fame and fashion for the youngest but especially for the most adventurous. The LVMH brand is set up under the dome of the Opéra Garnier; where the men’s fashion has never paraded. The company eco-friendly Lime will make available to the small world of fashion, a fleet of electric scooters, in partnership with Paris Fashion Week. More here in French on the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode: https://fhcm.paris/fr/paris-fashion-week-fr/calendrier-des-defiles/?session=session_1539768337

The first 12 cars sold in France are indeed produced by one of the two French car groups,no surprise very local mindset. The top 3 is made up of the Renault Clio, followed by the Peugeot 208 and the compact SUV Peugeot 3008. In fourth position , the first model of the Citroën C3. Next comes the entry-level model of the low-cost Dacia manufacturer, the Sandero. In sixth place is the Renault  Captur, followed by  the Peugeot 2008 and the compact 308. Dacia Duster in 9th, Renault Twingo ,10th, Renault Megane ,11th and Citroën C3 Aircross 12th. The first foreign car on the list is German. This is the Volkswagen Polo, which is followed by a Japanese: the Toyota Yaris produced in France in Valenciennes! . Follow again by locals Peugeot 5008 and the Renault Kadjar. A second Volkswagen, the Golf, slips to 17th place, been the most sold car in Europe, and due for a generation change this year. The 18th place is occupied by the Opel Corsa which will also change generation this year. It will be developed on the platform of DS3 Crossback and Peugeot 208, Opel being passed into the lap of PSA. In the penultimate position is the small Fiat 500. The Ford Fiesta manages to climb to 20th place.Of course, I am a Ford lover, but not the Fiesta, mine  done in Saarbruken and Valencia!  According to the French Automobile Manufacturers Assoc or CCFA: https://ccfa.fr/

My Ford dealer has invited me to a party this coming Saturday with food and drinks and maybe can get another deal from my salesperson lol!! Always out you never know…Stay tune ::)

The company Novaxia is planning to reallocate the phantom metro station Croix Rouge into a culinary space. Located in the 6éme arrondissement, the station will be transformed into a Halle halfway between an underground market and a restaurant with a cocktail bar on long quays of 75 meters. Another project is the Le Chai subaquatique or the underwater cellar; here not only can you have a drink (or two) but you can dive! Led by Winereef , the project includes a diving pit, a food market and urban agriculture garden. Réservoirs de Passy 16éme arrondissement. These and more new to paris at Reinventer Paris webpage : http://www.reinventer.paris/fr/resultats/

Do not recall if told you before but a classic is coming nearer me at Montparnasse (my entry point to Paris for the last few years).

It’s the Bouillon, the real, the only, the first in the matter.At the bottom of a small courtyard, the Bouillon Chartier captivated by its beauty preserved since 1896. Here is all the traditional French cuisine that is in the spotlight with low prices that make the house proud. And this, the group Joulie (owner of the Bouillon Chartier) understood it well, since a second  Bouillon  will open its doors at 59, boulevard de Montparnasse. More here: https://www.bouillon-chartier.com/fr/

The Le Chalet des îles on an island in the Bois de Boulogne, is since its creation under Napoleon III,  been a high-level spot for meetings. In the evening for  the social evenings and the day to sink into one of those armchairs by the fireside. As a country house that you would never want to leave, you can stay for hours to enjoy the quiet, yet so close to Paris. Le Chalet des ïles; 14, Chemin de Ceinture du Lac Inférieur 16éme arrondissement, open very day from noon to 22h30.  Webpage here: http://chalet-des-iles.com/en

We are painting you think of period furniture, grand piano and monumental chimney. You want some more? At the bar of the hotel Aubusson you can spend the evening enjoying the Jazz concerts (from Wednesday to Saturday evening) sipping a whisky by the fire. For the workers (or the most connected) the WiFi is free. Café Laurent, 33, rue Dauphine 6éme arrondissement, open daily from 12h to Midnight. Webpage here:  http://www.hoteldaubusson.com/en/cafe-laurent.html

On a non tourist news, I close out this news bulletin,  but me think worth telling you.  On Saturday 12 January at 9h (9am), a violent explosion caused by a gas leak erupted in the Boulangerie Hubert at rue de Trévise in the 9éme arrondissement of Paris. Since then, the city Hall of Paris has indicated that 6 Parisian buildings are at risk of collapse. Nine buildings are temporarily banned from occupancy, six of which threaten to collapse. The city of Paris remains fully mobilized in support of the victims. At the request of the mayor of Paris, they will all benefit from an accompaniment in their rehousing. They will also do everything they could to facilitate their efforts, particularly with regard to insurance. The commitment is clear: they will be at their side in this very difficult moment and we will not leave anyone without accommodation solution, City of Paris, the eternal city. A tribute was given this Thursday to Simon Cartannaz and Nathanael Josselin, the two firefighters killed in the explosion of the rue de Trévise in Paris. The Barracks Champerret,(HQ of firefighers brigades of Paris)  in the 17éme arrondissement of  Sergeant Simon Cartannaz and Corporal Nathanael Josselin had a farewell emotional tribute to these under 30 men who risk all to save, according to police more than 20 lives here. RIP

http://www.pompiersparis.fr/fr/news/interventions/deces-du-caporal-chef-simon-cartannaz-et-du-sapeur-de-premiere-classe-nathanael-josselin

Enjoy your visit to our eternal Paris  you are in good hands here. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

One personal touch ,Au Trappiste!

So on a cold wintery day in my neck of the Breton woods I like to come back to Paris again as I am lucky to do. If new to the blog, well worked for almost 10 years in Paris(75) while living in Versailles(78)…I now, live in the Morbihan (56) near Vannes, in Brittany for the last 8 years.

I used to hang out a lot in the city and written several pieces on shopping, eating, and drinking there. However, I sometimes become inspired or nostalgic about some spots very personal. I have been here to eat, drink, meet collegues and friends and participate in group organisations in Paris for many years at least since 2004. So let me tell you a bit more on the Au Trappiste. Too many to choose from in Paris but we all have our favorite even if just visiting.

First ,a bit on the history I like on this corner of Paris.

The rue Saint-Denis, located in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements of Paris, is one of the oldest streets of Paris. Its axis is drawn from the 1C by the Romans, and it was the triumphant way of the Royals entrance in the capital. It is 1334 meters long, and was named because it is the road that leads directly from the Pont au Change bridge to the city of Saint-Denis, where is located the Basilica St Denis, necropolis of the kings of France.. This old road of Saint-Denis, was really named in honor of Saint Denis , who came from Italy around 250 or 270 A.D. with six companions to evangelize France. He was said to have been the first bishop of Paris (Lutèce), the Apostle of Gauls.

The street is line up parallel to the boulevard of Sébastopol and the rue Saint-Martin, and is part of the 1éme arrondissement or district in the quartier or neighborhood of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, for the part between the Avenue Victoria and the Rue de Rivoli, neighborhood of Les Halles for the part between the rue de Rivoli and the rue Étienne-Marcel and from the 2éme arrondissement, rue Étienne-Marcel in the Bonne-Nouvelle neighborhood of bd Saint-Denis. During the French revolution, it was called Rue de Franciade.

The brewery bar is closer to Place du Châtelet to the Seine river.  Au Trappiste, 4 rue Saint Denis, open from 11h to 02h Monday thru Sunday and from 11h to 04h on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you are in Belgium with the monks; lots of good beer, simple good portions of food, moules or mussels and fries,and grill sausages. The first or ground floor is more noisy ,the second or upper floor more calm and better views!of Chatelet. no web but its just by the metro exit and rue de Rivoli. Best way is the metro ,the RER is too crowded to get here. OF course, I came by car and lovely parking at Châtelet too. One of my showcase hangouts in Paris. You , also, can get here on RER B and RER D Châtelet-Les Halles, as well as Metro lines 1 ,4, 7, 11, and 14 and your nice above ground bus line 21,70,72,4,74,75,and 85 stop Châtelet.

Paris

Dedicated mainly to Belgian beers, the Au Trappiste, of course offers many beverages from all over the world. No less than 120 bottled beers (including the majority of Trappist beers that are brewed in the world) and twenty drafts beers. Rare beers are found here too. On the plate side, they work on classic but well made dishes such as choucroutte (saukraut), french fries, steaks, burgers, croque monsieurs (ham and cheese sandwiches), mussels,sausages, etc.

paris

dear memories of Au Trappiste with my dear late wife Martine my mamie blue!

The brewery bar resto Au Trappiste is on the south end of the street (near the river Seine) and is one of the most attractive beer bars in the city. There is breezy outdoor seating during the warm months of the year and beautiful light wooden decor inside with matching beams, walls, and tables. It has a nice clean modern yet traditional decor and has to be one of the best French styled bars for beer in Paris. The place is alive all day, until late at night, and a room in the upper floor allows to organize private events. Which I have been too ::)

Paris

Some of my favorite webpages found bottom of my main page in my blog roll give you plenty of more on the Au Trappiste.

Yelp on Au Trappiste Paris

The Fork on Au Trappiste Paris

Hope it helps your tracking here, lovely place, great service and great views from upper tfloor. Not to mention simple classic dishes with great selection of beers. Love it, at Au Trappiste, and many memories here.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

January 16, 2019

Tower of London, yes of course ,London!

So lets shift gear and head over the neighbor to the other side, hopefull will stay close. I have been here several times, more on business than pleasure and we all love it. I guess we do not mind big cities… This is London, and one of the best for us has been the Tower of London.

I have written bits on it before in my blog, will just tell you a bit more here on the Tower of London. First, my business trips are done by airplane but the personal trips were done by car and it is super , love to drive in big cities too even on the wrong side of the road lol!

We came and ask around and was told to go the corner of Lillie rd and Seagraves rd where there was an Avis rental car park but for a fee they let you park, well it was word of mouth and it works, we parked there twice more and at half prices ,recall 16£ per day cash.  This is close to West Brompton tube Southern line You might want to check it out.  Althought, we stayed in apartment closer to Earls Court easy walking distance to get back home. The London inner ring road (beltway of London) with the local routes A406 and A205 (mine) and the motorways M25 getting around the city best to the city center of Inner London Oh yes to find your way driving, this is a tool I use rather nicely, good driving skills are needed London TrafficLondon Traffic helps your way around London

london

london

london

Let me tell you about our favorite sightseeing in London. Tower of London; wonderful places of history old and new. Visit the White Tower, and the Crown jewels section for sure.

The Tower of London is a historic fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames in London next to the tower bridge. The tower is located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets east of the City of London in a space called Tower Hill. Its construction began towards the end of the year 1066 as part of the Norman conquest of England. The White Tower, which gave its name to the entire castle, was built on the order of William the Conqueror in 1078. It also served as Grand Palace and Royal residence. As a whole, the tower is a complex composed of several buildings surrounded by two concentric defensive walls and a moat.

A brief description if I may try it…

The tower consists of three ramparts. The inner rampart protects the white tower and represents the first phase of the castle’s construction. The intermediate rampart which encircled it to the north, east and West was built during the reign of King Richard I to ensure the security of the Kingdom during the reign of king Henry III, the castle was strengthened and extended, with among other things the construction of the Wakefield tower, the Lantern tower and a curtain wall surmounted by nine towers and surrounded by moats. Finally, a third rampart was built under king Edward I. The king only rarely stayed at the castle. A prison is installed there as well as a division of the Hotel Royal of the Treasury. The fortress is also used to store important goods and documents.

london

The White Tower is a dungeon, which was often the strongest structure of a medieval castle and the one that housed the dwellings of the Lord, in this case the king and his representatives. The White tower was also, by its strength, its majesty and its grandiose dwellings, the dungeon by excellence. As one of the largest dungeons in Christendom the White Tower has been described as the most complete 11C palace in Europe. The White Tower, without taking into account its corner towers, measures 36 × 32 meters at its base and rises to a height of 27 meters at the level of the south rampart. The building initially consisted of three floors: a basement, an entry level and a higher level. The entrance, as was the norm in the Norman dungeons, was above ground level. It was located on the south side and was equipped with a wooden staircase that could be removed in the event of an attack. The tower is mainly built with stone from Kent even though local mudstone was also used. From the stone of Caen was imported from the north of France to form details on the coating of the tower but much of it was replaced by Portland Stone in the 17-18C. Since most of the windows in the tower were enlarged in the 18C, there are only two originals, albeit restored on the south side.

london

london

The crypt of the Saint John Chapel occupied the southeast corner and was accessible only from the Oriental room. The upper level housed a large hall in the west and a residential room in the east, both initially open on the roof and surrounded by a gallery built in the wall, as well as the St John’s Chapel in the southeast. A fourth level was added in the 15C as is the current roof.

london

The inner rampart delineates an area just south of the White Tower and extends to what was the shore of the Thames river. The construction of the Wakefield and Lanthorn Towers, located at the corners of the inner rampart along the Thams river began around 1220 a door located near the Wakefield Tower allowed private access to the King’s apartments. The intermediate rampart was created during the reign of king Richard the Lion Heart when a clod was dug to the west of the inner rampart which allowed to double the size of the castle. The main entrance to the intermediate rampart would have been a body of guards probably in the west wall in what is presently the Beauchamp tower; The Beauchamp tower built in the 13C marked the first use on a large scale of the brick in Britain since the departure of the Romans in the 5C. The Beauchamp Tower is one of the thirteen towers located on the rampart.

london

The Salt Tower initially gave on the Thames river. Archers settled there to protect the tower and castle. The Broken Arrow Tower takes its name from the spear-iron symbol stamped on the property belonging to the King. From 1669 to 1841, the tower houses the Crown jewels. It was then known as the Jewel Tower. A third rampart was built under king Edward I. A bastion called Legge’s Mount was built at the north-west corner of the castle and a second bastion, Brass Mount, was later added to the northeast corner.   As a result of the addition of this new enclosure, the former main entrance to the Tower of London was blocked and a new entrance was created at the southwest corner of the outer rampart. In this rampart, it was built the St Thomas Tower between 1275 and 1279; subsequently called Traitors’s Gate, it replaced the bloody Tower as access door from the Thames river. From 1560, the Royal Mint was installed in a building backed by the exterior wall near the Salt Tower. Between 1348 and 1355, a second access gate on the river, the Cradle Tower, was added to the east of the St Thomas ‘ Tower for the exclusive use of the King.

A bit of history I like

After his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, and vassal to the king of France spent the remainder of the year fortifying key positions to secure his power. Between 1066 and 1087 , William establishes 36 castles   as well as his subordinates. William sent an avant-garde to prepare his entry into the city, to celebrate his victory and to found a castle; The fortification which eventually became the Tower of London was built on the southeast corner of the ancient Roman walls of the city and were used to serve as prefabricated bases; In addition the Thames river provided an additional defense to the south. Almost all the first Norman castles were built of wood but at the end of the 11C some of them, including the Tower of London, were renovated with stone. The work on the White Tower, which gave it its name, would have started in 1078 but the exact date is uncertain. The Norman conquest of London was manifested not only in the form of a new ruling class but also in the way the city was structured. The land was confiscated and redistributed between the Normans. The castle probably retained its form established from 1100 until the reign of king Richard I ,the Lion Heart. It was enlarged under the impulse of William Longchamp, Lord Chancellor of Richard I and the man who was in charge of England when the king was on a crusade. In the 13C , the Kings Henry III and Edward I   enlarge the castle, the present form of which has hardly evolved since. From 1238, the castle was enlarged to the east, north and north-west.

The majority of the end of the 15C was marked by the war of the two Roses, which pitted the houses of Lancaster and Yorkshire; two contenders to the throne of England. The beginning of the Tudor period marked the decline of the Tower of London as a royal residence.   From 1547, the Tower of London was only used as a royal residence when its historical and political symbolism was deemed useful; For example, Edward VI, Marie I, and Élisabeth I stayed briefly before their coronation

Although much of the prison’s reputation was exaggerated, the 16-17C marked the culmination of the tower as a center of internment, and many religious and political opponents were detained there. Among the people executed at the tower are Anne Boleyn. So when Walter Raleigh was held in the tower, his cell was modified to accommodate his family whose son was born there in 1605. The executions were usually carried out at tower Hill rather than in the Tower of London itself and 112 people were there executed in over 400 years. Before the 20C, there were seven executions carried out within the castle in the Green Tower. This was reserved for prisoners whose public execution was deemed to be dangerous.

The tradition of harboring the crown jewels in the tower probably dates back to the reign of king Henry III. In 1649, during the first English revolution, the contents of the Jewel House were emptied of the royal properties. The metal objects were sent to the mint to be melted and reused, and the crowns were completely broken and disfigured. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the only elements of the Coronation regalia were a 12C spoon and three ceremonial swords. The other objects had to be recreated. In 1669, the Jewel House was demolished and the crown jewels were moved to the Martin tower where they were exposed to the public.   Crown jewels are currently preserved in the Waterloo Barracks of the tower.

During WWI, eleven men were tried behind the walls and executed by a firing squad for espionage. During WWII, the tower was again used to detain prisoners of war. One of them was Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s representative, but only for four days in 1941. He was the last prisoner of state to be imprisoned , and the last execution in the tower was that of the German spy Josef Jakobs shot on 14 August 1941. The executions during the two world wars took place in a small field of shooting practice located near the exterior rampart which was demolished in 1969

The Tower of London had become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country in 1984, the London subway station Tower Hill (Mark Lane before 1967) was opened north of the tower, bringing tourists and locals more closer to the Tower of London . The Tower is managed by a Recognized Association of Public Utility, the Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no assistance from the Government or the Crown and is funded by donations and admissions.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official management organisation of the Tower of London

Tourist office of London on the Tower of London

There you go a wonderful spot to start your London sightseeing  ,why not go for the main ones first and this is tops. Tower of London for all of London thereafter! Hope you enjoy the tour.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 16, 2019

The Nord: Le Quesnoy and Mauberge!

And continuing my saga of the Nord or north of my belle France I take you closer to family and times expent there for years since 1990. As usually the case with places so familiar and personal , photos are minimum. Need to come back for them lol!!!

On this particular Sunday, I like to take you to visit two nice cities along the Franco-Belgian border, that is Le Quesnoy and Mauberge in the department 59 of the Nord, in the region of Hauts de France.

I have written on them a bit before such as from this writing:  We stay in the way Nord to see two small towns ,Mauberge with its wall fortifications going back to 1676, the museum les Corps de Garde, and the nice places to eat with good beers of the north. We have Le Quesnoy,it has fortified ramparts, they are 12 km of walls in line around a fortified wall intact of 3,5 km in circle with an ingenious systems of wells.  A belltower or Beffroi of 48 carillons,and a Hotel de Ville city govt building from 1700, and a most vivid a memorial to New Zealanders who fought here in WWI ,and now Le Quesnoy is forever linked to the city of Cambridge in New Zealand. A vivid nice memorial for all to see and not forget.

And I go on with some update wonderful information to help you visit these wonderful frontier towns.

Maubeuge is a town in the Nord department 59 in Hauts-de-France region. The Franco-Belgian border is only 7 km north of the city. The province passes to the House of Austria from 1478 to 1513, and to the House of Spain from 1513 to 1678. Maubeuge was definitively attached to France by the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678, ratified by King Louis XIV a few days later, and by the King of Spain Carlos II , a few days further on.

A bit of history I like

During the French revolution in 1793, the siege was placed before the city by the Austrians of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg. A few months later it was the Battle of the Sambre, in 1794, which took over Maubeuge, and ended with the victory of the revolutionaries, thus securing the conquest of Belgium.

Following the defeat of the Napoleonic armies in Leipzig in October 1813, the coalition forces invaded France. The stronghold of Maubeuge resisted victoriously in 1814 to the attacks of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar troops. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s troops prepared here for the nearby Battle of Waterloo. Three days after this defeat, on June 21, 1815, Maubeuge was besieged by 12 000 Prussians and had to surrender. Following three years of occupation by the Prussian and then Russian troops.

In 1678, the signing of the Treaty of Nijmegen ended the war in the United Provinces. This treaty allows France to fill a fortified border in the north of its territory. This line of fortifications is almost identical to our current border with Belgium (from Dunkirk to Givet). The ensemble imagined for Maubeuge is composed of a line of ramparts of a height of ten meters flanked by seven bastions in Roll-ons. To close the space between two bastions, a half-moon belt is added (completely surrounded by ditches). The construction of this ensemble lasted from 1679 to 1685 in the north, on the place Vauban, leaning against the wall the Porte de Mons, a stone work surmounted by attics as of the Mansart style. Built in 1682 with materials of local origin two buildings from the military heritage have survived; the powder shop located near the rue de la Croix exhibits a vaulted room covered with a thick earth mount. The Arsenal built between 1678 and 1689 develops a long silhouette on three levels (103 meters long by 12 meters wide). This building is part of the barracks planned at the time to house the troops of the garrison.

In WWI will re-test the city until finally liberated by the British on 9 November 1918. WWII, on the other hand, had a disastrous effect on the city destroying the heart of Maubeuge at more than 90%. On September 2, 1944, the city was liberated from the Nazis occupier by the American’ 3rd Armoured Division known as SpearHead , led by Gen Maurice Rose.

The town other than fortications has a nice Zoo , to visit is worth the detour.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to nice Mauberge are

City of Mauberge on heritage

Tourist office of Mauberge on heritage

Offical Zoo of Mauberge

Info, contact on the tourist office are Tél  +33 (0) 3 27 62 11 93, and email tourisme.maubeuge@gmail.com

Tourist office of the region Avesnois on things to see

Moving right along to Le Quesnoy,  also a town in the Nord department 59 in the Hauts-de-France region. It has kept intact its characteristic ramparts which show the evolution of the art of Defence of the 17C (the so-called Spanish era) at the beginning of the 20C passing by the famous Vauban who changed its appearance. Belgium is 10 km away!

The border town undergoes a siege by the Austrian army of Cobourg and falls in 1793 it was retaken in 1794 by the troops of Schérer after a severe siege under a downpour rain.The news of the capture of the city is transmitted in a few hours by the telegraph Chappe, a world premiere, to the Committee of Parisian Public Salvation which welcomes it.

le quesnoy

le quesnoy

The city taken in 1914 by the German troops suffered a severe occupation during four years, that after a difficult approach by the Valley of the Ecaillon, the city was liberated in 1918 by a New Zealand Division. In 1923, the New Zealand monument was inaugurated. The Mayor Daniel Vincent welcomes Marshal Joffre, Lord Milner (one of the English signatories to the Treaty of Versailles) and Sir Allen, representative of New Zealand. The communal cemetery of the Quesnoy and its extension host 189 war graves of the Commonwealth War Graves Soldier’s Commission who died in November 1918, of which 49 are New Zealanders.

le quesnoy

A bit of history I like

The city was under Hainaut, Burgundian, and Spanish occupation and or control .Before the end of the Fronde in 1654, the city is taken by the Royal French Army of Turenne. The city that had never been French became it for the great pleasure of the court. The young king Louis XIV receives the city as a gift of his coronation.

In WWII, once defeated the Algerian Tirailleurs Battalion, which defended Jolimetz with a few tanks in support after the Nazis’ breakthrough through the defences of the Sambre, the 5th Panzer stood in front of the ramparts of the Quesnoy on 18 May 1940 towards the end of In the afternoon. The Nazis of the 5th Panzer, who are preparing a new attack with tanks and heavy artillery, propose to the defenders to give their surrender, which they accept in the afternoon.

Some webpages here to help you plan your trip are

City of Le Quesnoy on heritage

Tourist office of Le Quesnoy on heritage

Tourist office of the Avesnois on Le Quesnoy

Hope it helps come over to this wonderful northern region of France, unique and different but still the my belle France. Mauberge and Le Quesnoy are those town that are full of history and architecture but seldom gets recognition by the visitors. Hope it helps you discovered them

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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January 15, 2019

Cambrai, the Nord in Hauts de France!

And continuing this brief tour of Northern France dear to me I take you again to my family civic duty town of Cambrai, in the Nord department 59 of the Hauts de France region. This is a town very often by passed by visitors.

I have told you before that my dear late wife Martine oldest brother lives not far from here in a smaller town and all their adminitrative duties are done here in Cambrai .So naturally, when visiting the bro, we were taken here way back in 1990. We have several times afterward even if not a real tourist town. Cambrai is nice and has a nice history to it.

I like to tell you a bit more on Cambrai and hopefully you take the drive or train to see it. It is nice as in my belle France! To recap from my previous post

Lets go over to Cambrai, where my family goes to have their regional govt needs.  Obviously no hotels and little restos as it is close to home, so the places to see are the Cathédrale Notre Dame, built 1696-1702. a classic example of the Louis XV architecture and an icon Notre Dame de Grâce from 1492 still venerated ,it is at Place Jean Paul II. The Chapelle des Jésuites, built 1678-1694. Considered one of the best jewels of the baroque art form in France, it is at Place du Saint Sépulcre. The Citadelle built by emperor Charles V in 1543 ,it is at blvd Paul Bezin.Chateau de Selles ar rue Selles, one of the best kept example of the Middle Ages. The must Musée Militaire de Cambrai, retracing the history of the 1st infantry regiment of France fighting in from 1870, WWI,and WWII. It is the oldest regiment in France and in Christianity!!! it is at Cour de la Manutention, Rue des Capucins. By ave de la Victoire you can still the see the entrance gate to the city from Paris or the Porte de Paris, built around 1339 ,it was last renovated in 1904. Not really a sight but a mouthful are the two culinary institutions in town known for ages of all sorts, these are the Chocolaterie Diot, at  189 avenue Georges Nuttin near the commerce park of  ZC de Cora,where there is also a supermarket Cora. then you have what my kids grew up on the candies of Cambrai better known as the Bétise de Cambrai ,they are part of the culinary inventory of France and official candy of parc Asterix near Paris. There are located as you enter the city from Paris, at the industrial park ZI and you can order it here or at any store in Cambrai or the nord or even in Paris.

Here is a webpage in French with a nice video on how the candy mistakes of Cambrai are done ; bétise= mistake in the creation of this jewel of French gastronomy. Living heritage of France site on the Bétise de Cambrai candy

cambrai

And a bit more on Cambrai, lovely to visit I say!

Cambrai is a town part of the  Habsburg  in the 16C, and rediscovered the kingdom of France in the 17C.  Strongly destroyed during WWII  due to the air raids, the town rebuilt itself in the aftermath, revealing today a pleasant face to the tourists. Although a large part of the heritage has disappeared over the centuries, the town of Cambrai still has interesting sights to discover during the time of a stay on site.

A bit of history I like

At the beginning of the Merovingian period, Cambrai became the seat of a vast bishopric extending across the right bank of the Escaut river  and the center of a small ecclesiastical principality which depended on the Holy Roman Empire until annexation to France in 1678.  This came about due to the Treaty of Nijmegen signed on 10 August 1678 , where Spain abandons Cambrai, and the town is definitively annexed by France. Here the famous bishop Fénelon, nicknamed the Swan of Cambrai, was the most illustrious of the archbishops.

The city suffers from the French revolution in 1796, the cathedral, marvel of the Netherlands, is sold in 1796 to a merchant who leaves only the tower. Deprived of support, it collapsed in 1809 during the French Revolution all the religious buildings of the city were sold as national property and destroyed , including the old Cathedral. Only four Churches, transformed into an attic, a hospital, a temple of reason or in prison, are spared. The Cathedral of Notre Dame Grace, completed in 1703 in the classical style of the time, replaced after the revolution of 1789 the admirable Gothic cathedral of the 12C, of which there is no traces on the present place Fénelon.

The gate of Paris (late 14C), of  Notre Dame (17C) and the towers of the towers of  Sottes (or Saint-Fiacre), of Caudron (first half of 15C), and des Arquets (16C) are the remains of the medieval ramparts.  Occupied and partially destroyed by the German army during WWI, Cambrai saw at its doors in 1917 the battle where the tanks were used for the first time used massively. The WWII, finally the first American tanks entered the city on September 2. 1944 , and thereafter the town followed a reconstruction program. A picture below of the oldies I was able to find in place Aristide Briand in city center Cambrai!circa 2006!!! ok ok just wanted to mention Cambrai !!!!

cambrai pedro and kids centre ville place aristide briand jun02

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Cambrai on heritage

Tourist office of Cambrai on heritage in English

There a bit more as promise, hope it helps you come on over and see some nice architecture of the north of France, is different promise. Cambrai has many examples.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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January 15, 2019

Arras ,the Pas-de-Calais!

And on my wandering road warrior trips in my belle France, I have come to the Pas de Calais department 62 in the region of Hauts de France. First, it was for no reason at all than visiting family not far, and then, we came back for visits and even Christmas market.

I like to tell you a bit more on Arras, a very moving historical city to many with vivid history of WWI especially. I like this time to concentrate on the Place des Héros and the Grand Place (Heroes square and Big square respectively).

I have written on Arras in general before in my blog, just to recap.

We come to Arras. We go here often ,even for the Christmas market. A wonderful town  to walk and see. We all come here for the Beffroi or belltower, a must in the city to climb it. built from 1453-1554, it was a lookout point in WWI with its 75 meters high ( 249 ft)  towards 3 kms to the east where the front was. admission was 2.80€ and it is UNESCO. You can see the Boves or the underground tunnels, it house 24 000 British soldiers during  WWI, and can be seen for a modest admission of less than 6€. The Musée des Beaux-Arts or fine arts can be seen for less than 5€.  It is at 22 ruer Paul Doumer,  housed in a wonderful  building of the monastic architecture of the 18C that is the abbey of Saint-Vaast, it has a medieval collection, school of Arras paintings, and porcelains in its gorgeous room or salle des Mays. Come see the Carriére Wellington, chalk caves where soldiers hid during WWI, and started from the offensive of 1917 with 24K British soldiers, admission was less than 7€, and then you have the Citadelle ,built 1667-1672 by Vauban, known as the unused beauty as Arras never had a siege after its contruction, it has a Chapel on the side, the oldest religious building in Arras. It is by Blvd Gen de Gaulle. Here you have one of the best Christmas markets in France( Marché de Nôel) by the Grand Place , and certainly the best in the North,and the Saturday morning market at Place des Héros.

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arras

arras

my fam is walking ahead ::) Place des Héros Arras

 

And just to put up  a bit more on these two wonderful streets of historical Arras

The Place des Héros is a beautiful square in Arras . The place of Heroes was built from 1463 to 1554 and will be enlarged two times in 1572 and 1658. Under the Belfry, the city/town Hall.lined with a splendid strengthened canvas over 50 meters long and tracing the life of the Arrageois in the 16C, it is also covered with magnificent carved woodwork that adorn the Hall of Honor. A place to visit, the belfry not only houses the tourist office but also allows you to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city it protects.  The Petite Place or small square takes the name of Place des Héros in 1945, in connection with the resistance fighters of the town of WWII having been shot here.

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The Rue de la Taillerie connects it to the Grand Place. The square is big which is characterized by a completely mineral aspect that is found in many cities of the old Netherlands. The origin of the Grand-Place of Arras is not certain. This is the historic and main square of the city. The square is surrounded by 155 houses marked by the influence of the Flemish Baroque style in a classic 17C French architecture. Like the place of the heroes, the Flemish influence is visible notably by the voluted gables overlooking the square, as well as the arcades at the front of the houses; the arcades are supported by 345 pillars. Arras’s Christmas Market takes place on the Grand Place from the end of November to the end of December.

arras

arras

The square includes the communal Beffroi or belfry as well as the city/town hall.. Like the Grand Place, the Flemish influence is visible in particular by the volute gables overlooking the square, as well as the arcades in front of the houses. The houses of Grand’Place and Place des Héros have two underground passages. During the bombardments of 1944, they were used as a shelter and as a medical center. This giant network of underground passages (called Boves) has been made open to visitors since 1982.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Arras on heritage

Tourist office of Arras on heritage

dept tourist office on Arras and fine arts museum abbey

Again is a magical town of history recent, and well worth the detour. We stop by on our way to visit family each time we can. Hope you enjoy the ride to Arras.

And remember , happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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January 14, 2019

Basilica of Saint Remi, Reims!

And I take you a sacre Royal place of my belle France. Yes no matter what, history and roots are deep here, sometimes they make you change with difficulty but the history and architecture is enormous. I have here often, been the place with my dear late wife Martine and sisters used to worked the vineyards to help pay studies etc. They took me early in 1990 ,and then some.

I like to tell you about the Basilica of Saint Remi, enormous, gorgeous, awesome a must to visit. And it is at Reims, department 51 of the Marne, in the region of Grand Est.

The Basilica of St. Remi after the Cathedral, which it equals almost in size, it is 122 meters long (403 ft) , the Basilica of Saint-Remi is the most famous Church of Reims. It was a long time attached to an important abbey, the Abbaye Saint-Remi de Reims. Saint-Remi dates from the 11-13C and 15C.

Reims

A bit of history I like

This Basilica Church contains the relics of Bishop Saint Remi, who baptized Clovis, King of the Franks, on Christmas Day of a year between 496 and 506, perhaps in 499 of the Incarnation, after the Battle of Tolbiac. However, the tradition holds the year 496, celebrated by the coming of Pope John Paul II in 1996 to celebrate the 1 500 years of the baptism of France.

In 533, Remi, Bishop of Reims, wished to be buried in the Chapel dedicated to Saint Christophe, which was located 2 km from the Cathedral. Very quickly this Chapel Saint-Christophe becomes a place of pilgrimage. People flocking, religious   folks to keep the body of the holy man. The primitive chapel is enlarged to the dimensions of a Church, where the body is transferred in 533, the day that became, the Saint-Remi.

reims

At about 760, Abbé Jean Turpin (Turpin in the song of Roland) founded the Abbey of Saint-Remi and settled there a Benedictine religious community that remained there until the French revolution. The basilica was consecrated by Pope Leo IX in 1049, during the Council of Reims between 1118 and 1151, the sanctuary and the monastic choir was decorated and was preserved until the French revolution. It has been done a mosaic pavement in the choir of the monks, which occupied the last four bays of the nave, and in the cross of the transept. The pavement surrounded and highlighted funerary slabs of important characters, buried in the church since the time   Carolingians.

At the beginning of the 16C, raised the flamboyant window gate to the south arm of the transept. The congregation of Saint-Maur, which reformed the abbey from 1627 and reclaimed many residential buildings, came back from the novices, built the Renaissance colonnade, which closed the choir.

The Basilica Saint Remi  escape the demolitions of the revolutionary turmoil, but the interior is desecrated and ransacked. Invaluable interior furniture disappears like the holy light bulb destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1793, when the Benedictines are expelled from their monastery. After the French revolution, it became a parish church for the southern districts.. The gilded bronze shrine enclosed in the mausoleum is made on the occasion of the 14th centenary of the baptism of Clovis, in 1896. The “Crown of Light”, symbol of the celestial Jerusalem and whose ninety-six candles evoke the life of Saint Rémi, is redone.

The Basilica St Remi adopts the plan of the basilica. The nave and the transepts, Romanesque in style, are the oldest, while the facade of the south transept is the most recent. The choir and the apse date back to the 12-13C. The monuments of value that were in the church in the past were looted during the French revolution; The tomb of the Saint is a 19C revival. However, there are still 12C stained glass windows in the apse and the tapestries exhibited in the museum in the old Abbey. The Basilica of St. Remi and the adjoining Benedictine abbey of the 18C (museum Saint-Remi, Gallo-Roman collections in particular).

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It was only in 2000 that the basilica was once again endowed with a great organ. It is integrated into the south aisle at the tenth span. It is also exceptional by the height of its pipes, 6.5 meters integrated in a buffet of 11.5 meters. A commemorative plaque affixed in the southern collateral nave reminds us that three kings of the Franks were sacred in this Basilica: Charles III the Simple in 893, Robert I in 922, and Lothaire in 954.. Among the royal and ecclesial personalities buried in the basilica, we can note the Kings Carolingian Louis IV and Lothaire who were the subject of description at the time of their destruction under the French revolution.

A jewel and nothing else, a must see in Reims. And some webpages to help you plan your visit here

City of Reims on the St Remi Basilica

Tourist office of Reims on the Basilica

Catholic diocese of Reims on culture and organ music

Museum of St Remi in Reims

There you go , nothing more to say ,you need to come here. Reims is great, and not to forget this is Champagne country! Cheers

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!

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January 14, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen!

And I come back to Rouen, I told you, one of my favorite cities in my belle France! It used to be my weekend trip away from the capital area , less so now from Brittany. The city of Rouen has many jewels to easily spent over a couple days, and all worth it. Again, Rouen is in the Seine Maritime dept 76 of the region of Normandy.

Let me tell you a bit, well maybe more than a bit on the Notre Dame Cathedral of Rouen! Enjoy the brief tour! and briefer photos lol!!!

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, officially Cathedral Primatiale Assumption of Rouen. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Rouen, the capital of the Ecclesiastical region of Normandy. The Archbishop of Rouen with the title of Primate of Normandy, his cathedral has the rank of Primatiale.

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It is a Gothic architecture construction whose first stones go back to the High Middle Ages. It has the peculiarity, rare in France, to preserve its Archbishop Palace and the surrounding adjoining buildings dating from the same period. The wooden arrow covered in Renaissance style lead that crowned was destroyed by a fire ignited by lightning in 1822. It is now surmounted by a cast iron boom, built from 1825 to 1876, which rises to 151 meters. The Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen is the highest in France and was the highest building in the world at the time of its completion in 1876, and will remain until 1880, it is also the Cathedral which, by the width of its western facade of 61.60 meters , holds the record of France. It is known worldwide, notably through the 28 paintings of the series of Cathedrals of Rouen, painted by Claude Monet.

A lot of history I like

A sermon by Bishop Victrice dated about 395-396AD implies the presence of a Cathedral in the city and evokes the construction of a nearby Basilica.  In the 5C, these two basilicas were brought together by galleries.  In the 10C, after the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911, Rouen became the capital of the young Duchy of Normandy, the chief Viking Rollon would have received the baptism in 912 (under the first name Robert) in the primitive basilica. Necropolis of the first dynasty of the Dukes of Normandy, the Cathedral (the first Carolingian edifice) was enlarged only under the reign of Richard I, the latter dying in 996.  Around 1237, the Cathedral seems to be completed.  The work on the western façade resumed from 1370, to end at 1450. It was then that a series of arches were built and filled with more than 60 statues.

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Also completed the Saint-Romain tower by making a high floor, covered with an axe roof with curved slate panels, from 1468 to 1478. It housed nine bells, which were added in 1467 by Marie D’Estouteville and in 1470, La Guillaume. The presence of these numerous bells gave the nickname of the “Tower of the Eleven Bells”. From 1477 to 1479, it completely resumed the Canon Bookstore (Chapter library) and built the “booksellers’ Staircase”, which allowed access from the Cathedral’s transept in 1479.  Begins at the end of 1485 a tower south of the façade, the Tour du Beurre, finishes in 1506.

The Choir is endowed with a new master altar, delivered in 1734. The yellow copper fencing that surrounded the choir since 1526 is replaced by gilded copper grates. The 13C Rood is replaced in 1775 by a classic marble rood. During the French Revolution, the Cathedral became the Temple of Reason. The bells are broken and the Georges of Amboise melted. The revolution kept the Cathedral proper by using the Chapel of the Virgin as a hay loft, while the rest of the building served as a concert hall. It regained the Cathedral status in 1796

The definitive restoration of the Arrow has a project, which started in 2016 and is to be completed in 2022, is divided into 7 slices. This operation includes the restoration of cast iron structure and decor elements, restoration of the Corten steel structure, reinforcement before final Solution The repair of the assembly permits between the two structures, the protection of the Arrow by painting of the structure in Corten in grey or light green and cast elements in grey green according to the original hue, the copper cover of the slab of the stool at the foot of the arrow and a highlighting by the lighting of the whole .

Some main things to see

The courtyard or Place de la Cathédrale is located in the center of the Gallo-Roman castrum of the 4C, at the crossroads of the Cardo (current Rue des Carmes) and the Decumanus (axis of the rue de Gros-Horloge

The North tower or Saint-Romain Tower, which is the oldest part of the façade 12C, first Gothic. Another level in flamboyant Gothic style was added and endowed with a roof in frame called axe. Most likely, this tower was isolated from the Cathedral and served as a defensive tower before being integrated into the façade of the Cathedral

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The Butter Tower or tour du Beurre or south tower is much more recent since it dates from the beginning of the 16C. The first stone is laid in 1485. The huge bell of the tower is melted in 1501, it takes the name of its patron, Georges of Amboise.  The tour de la beurre inspired the construction of a famous Chicago building, the Tribune Tower, in 1923-1925.

The western facade the rhythm of the facade is given by the four turrets and their perforated arrows, centered on the axis of the portal Notre-Dame .The main porch is the last gothic element adjoining the Cathedral.

The portal Saint-Jean in the north is the only tympan that is intact.  The tympan is divided into two parts, represents events of the lives of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. The upper part represents the mysterious passage of St. John the Evangelist. The lower register, from left to right, tells the feast of Herod, the dance of Salome and the decollation of Saint John the Baptist. Between the broken arch and the discharge arch, in the upper tympan of the gate, is the baptism of Christ in the center and the details of the life of Saint John in Chinese shadows. This decoration technique, very original, is a motif of cutting stone, on the background of Fleur de Lys, originally gilded.

The portal Notre-Dame , the floor of the portal consists of a first large gable cutting a gallery, the large rose in retreat and a second gallery called  Viri Galilei

The portal Saint-Étienne is unrecognizable on the portal of the same name in the south. Its tympan is divided into two parts: a Christ in Majesty in a mandorla that welcomes faithful and pilgrims because he was not mutilated by the Protestants, and under the stoning of St. Stephen. The configuration of the tympan such as the glorious Christ in the skies, surrounded by angels, on the upper part, and St Stephen stoned by his executioners in the presence of Saul,  illustrates the story of the Martyr of Saint Stephen

The portal Saint-Siméon is built in the 13C on the 8th span of the southern collateral the portals of the transept: the portal of booksellers like that of the Calende, is surmounted by a bow in third-point to vaulted carved above which a gable detaches from the clear glass. The Rose is surmounted by a large gable

The lantern tower and its arrow the chevet or bedside at the end of the Cathedral is the Chapel of the Virgin. Its broken arched windows are capped with gables including between the pinnacles overcoming the foothills

The Chapels of the north aisle are: Saint-Mellon, Sainte-Agathe ,Saint-Jean-de-la-Nef, Saint-Sever, Saint-Julien ,Saint-Eloi ,Chapelle des fonts Saint-Nicolas ,and Sainte-Anne

The Chapels of the south aisle are: Saint-Étienne-la-Grande-Eglise in the tour du beurre, Saint-Eustache, Saint-Léonard ,Saint-Pierre called the builder ,Sainte-Colombe called Eucharistic Wheat,  Sainte-Catherine,  portal of the Masons, also known as the Saint-Siméon Portal, Sainte-Marguerite, and the Chapel of the Little Saint-Romain.

The transept has four chapels, all oriented, one at the angles and the other in a apsidiole ,these are: Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Pitié , Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Chapelle Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc, and Chapelle Saint-Joseph.

The Choir, slightly stalker to the north, has five straight bays and an apse in a five-part hemicycle. It rises on three levels. On either side of the Choir are stalls, which include sculpted mercies illustrating the Bible and secular subjects. It opens on three radiant chapels separated by a large window. The ambulatory gives access from the south to the north to the Saint-André/Saint-Barthelemy Chapel de la Revestiére, the Chapel of the Virgin and the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul chapel. Like the transept, arches run in the basement and have a passage at the base of the bays that retain the 13C stained glass. The ambulatory houses tombs with recumbents, each with an epitaph, from the south to the north. that of Rollon (a 19C copy) is empty. That of Richard the Lion Heart contained his heart, whose reliquary of lead is preserved with the treasure of the Cathedral; That of Henri the Younger, elder brother of Richard the Lion Heart. That of William I of Normandy, son of Rollon.. Access to the crypt is from the Chapel of Saint Jeanne D’Arc, in the south brace.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Cathedral of Rouen

City of Rouen on the Cathedral

Tourist office of Rouen on the Cathedral

Tourist office of Seine Maritime dept 76 on the Cathedral

Tourist office of region of Normandy on the Cathedral

There you go now you have it all to come and enjoy the city of Rouen ,and the Notre Dame Cathedral both awesome! Hope you have enjoy the reading and do ride over !

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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