December 11, 2019

Vannes a culinary escapee!!

Ok so after a swing in the Paris area, and visiting new and old places, well back to my tranquil surrounding of my lovely Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh . I am convince now after so many years that big cities are nice to visit and small cities are nice to live lol!

I had my opportunities over the years to live in the world’s best cities in or next to them including Paris but been back here is like a peaceful remainder life can be simpler and better. I am back in my small town and going out for treats in my capital city of Vannes.

We have been here before, with family and collegues and I decided to take my Dad and go here again, talking about Le Tarmac restaurant, bar, brewery, etc by the canal in Le Port of Vannes.


They are on the left bank or rive gauche of the canal at 25 Rue Ferdinand le Dressay no webpage but tel no +33 (0) 2 97 47 58 27. They open from 11h to 1h serving lunch, dinner, coffees and drinks. Of course, they do have a Facebook page:  Facebook page of Le Tarmac of Vannes


Very friendly and delicious tapas and beers like the Le Tarmac house brand! Also, upstairs is very cosy and romantic with views over the boats in the canal marina. This time we went to the back next to the inner terrace and the plane propeller! comes with the name tarmac = Taxiway and parking planes in an airport.. ok



This time we had pizzas pilote ( goat cheese bacon , oregano, tomato and honey), fish and chips, steak and fries with salads, hot dogs with beef and cheese, plenty of beer cañas or small glasses and expresso coffee all for under 19€!! La vie est belle in the countryside of my lovely Morbihan!!!


SO I am back in town, be aware or be square lol! and may the season be merrier and happier for all of you dear readers. Merry Christmas , Joyeüx Noêl , Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal!!!!

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


December 10, 2019

Fairytale Chantilly!!!

Indeed one of favorite castles in France, and friends of the castle as well. WE love it, and been coming here since 1990 and then almost every year! This is Chantilly , a lot more than the cream lol! I have written before as most common in my belle France, last back on March 19 2019! You got it is a beautiful property indeed.

I have done a lot history before as I like it, but let me tell you a bit more with new photos ok. And thanks for reading my posts/blog!!! Chantilly is in the département 60 of the Oise, in the region of Hauts-de-France at the center of the forest of Chantilly, in the valley of the Nonette. Historically, it is part of the old region of Valois. Chantilly is located about 38 km north of Paris.


It is formally known as the Domaine de Chantilly built slowly since the Middle Ages by different owners such as Anne de Montmorency, and the Bourbon Condé such as the Grand Condé cousin of Louis XIV and Henri d’Orléans, duke of Aumale before by will given for custody to the Institut de France as long as is kept without changes and open to the public. Awesome gesture! Anne de Montmorency was constable of France  under king François I . It passes to the Condé who ask André le Nôtre the great gardener of France to do the gardens with permission from Louis XIV at the same time as was doing Versailles! Finally, it was the Duke of Aumale the last Condé and fifth child of Louis-Philippe last French king who re built the castle from the ruins of the French revolution.



The Domaine de Chantilly, has a grandiose entrance coming from parking P1 is a great view. There is wrough iron grill door where you pay your admission, combine 17€ plus 5€ for the parking.  You then see in front of you the equestrian statue of Anne de Montmorency and to the left the Castle. Further left of the castle back you have the English garden from the 19C, here you have the Île d’Amour or love island the pont des Grands Hommes (bridge of notable men) ,the temple of Venus, and further towards the stables you have the Jeu de Paume for temporary expositions and the Fontaines de Beauvais. Straight back down the monumental stairs and the water fountain, you have the garden of Le Nôtre from the 17C with an unique system of water irrigation still going strong today. To the right as you come up to the equestrian statue of Montmorency you see the Petit Parc or small park with below it the Maison de Sylvie from the 17-18C. There are enclosure of kangaroos, and honey combs . Across the canal separating the petit parc you have the Anglo-Chinese garden of the 18C with the Hameau now a dining experience, and Children playground. Way back if you walk you will see the Grande Cascade or big waterfall. Again a wonderful place to be !

Tragic events here are by François Vatel (who claims the cream of Chantilly), howver, he was the organiser of the 3 days of feast to celebrate the accords between the Grand Condé and the cousin of this king Louis XIV in 1671. The Holy Friday day of the feast and last day of it, the order of fish never arrives, touch by this incident he takes his own life upon the arrival of the invitées.

Again, Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé with heir to his fortune after the execution of his son the duke of Enghien in 1804 by Napoléon Ier bequest his properties in 1830 to his nephew and godson of Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, fifth child of king of the French Louis-Philippe.

The castle interiors are done with the Grands Appartement (big apartments) of the Princes of Condé, and place of living in the 17C and 18C, galeries de peintures, cabinet d’arts graphiques, cabinet des livres, and private apartments of the duke of Aumale. There is a museum with the collection of the duke of Aumale that after spending 23 years in exile in England amazes a huge collection of works of arts , upon returning to France he creates the Musée Condé and today is considered the first French museum of old paintings meaning before 1850 after the Louvre. To note, the Louvre is a collection of State and items taken from other private castles in France, including Versailles. The Chantilly museum is all private ownership of the Duke of Aumale.

There is also , a huge library that was the biggest of its time with almost 9000 works including 1500 manuscripts; you can see the huge piece of the Les Trés Riche Heures du duc de Berry in facsimile format.

In all a splendid castle very nicely done and kept with lots of architecture and history nuisance too big for a blog post. I enjoy the Domaine de Chantilly and hopefully you will do too once visited.

The main webpage of the property is at Official Domaine de Chantilly in English

Tourist office of Chantilly on the Domaine: Official tourist office of Chantilly on the Domaine in English

The tourist office of the Oise dept 60 in French: TOurist office of dept 60, the Oise on Chantilly


There you go folks another wonder of my belle France waiting to be visited and now during Christmas time it is completely decorated for it! Enjoy Chantilly as we do

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


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December 9, 2019

The Great Stables and Museum of the Horse , Chantilly of course!

So in rounding up my latest visit to Chantilly, I take you to the Grandes Ecuries et Musée du Cheval or the Great Stables and the Museum of the Horse. A huge building of historical and architectural proportion worth seeing alone. However, if you add the two stables and museum then it becomes a must visit while in France , me think.

Let me tell you a bit on it just a bit ok, there is always plenty of things to do here. For info , I have come with the family and also on business conferences that have been held in the Grande Ecuries!

The Museum of the Horse is a museum and an equestrian show room located in the Great Stables of  the Domaine de Chantilly in the dept 60 of the Oise, and region of Hauts-de-France.


It was opened to the public in 1982 to house the Living Museum of the Horse which was completely renovated in 2013. This museum intended for all audiences, tells through more than 200 objects and works of art the importance of the relationship between man and horse since the beginning of civilizations and offers “live” equestrian animations, educational presentations and shows.

The great stables were built between 1719 and 1740 at the request of the seventh prince of Conde, Louis Henri de Bourbon who, according to legend, thought to be reincarnated as a horse and wanted stables worthy of his rank. The stables were home to 240 horses and 500 dogs in different packs for the daily hunts that took place throughout the year.


The museum was totally closed at the beginning of 2009 for renovation work. The large dome of the stables was reopened in 2009 after the installation of new stands and the extension of the central track.  A complete overhaul of the other rooms of the museum took place and all the rooms reopened on the 16th June 2013.

The collections come from the Condé museum’s reserves or from private collections, notably those of the Aga Khan. They testify to the different uses of the horse and the aesthetic forms appreciated throughout the world.  The Museum of the Horse tackles several themes: the history of the domestication of the horse, the different races of horses in the world or the evolution of the forms of harnessing through the centuries. A room is thus dedicated to the tools invented by the man to control his mount.


A collection of Bohemian glass vases engraved from the mid-19C illustrates the representation of the horse in art and more specifically in the decorative arts. Bibliophilia is also present with a set of ancient books related to the horse. The horse races, which are the hallmark of Chantilly since 1834, are represented in two rooms of the museum, a video allows to discover the evolution of the position of the jockeys throughout the ages. Finally, a set of carousel animals is exhibited in the museum, with several carved wooden horses. In the West housing, two horse-drawn carriages are on display: the Empress’s carriage and the Duke of Bourbon’s sedan.

The Grandes Écuries are home to some forty horses, donkeys and ponies who regularly take part in demonstrations of dressage in the quarry outside the museum as well as shows that take place under the 28-meter dome transformed into an equestrian venue. Today, the horses of the Grandes Ecuries are essentially Iberian, Pure breed Spanish Andalucians and Portuguese Lusitano. They usually arrive at the museum at the age of four or five, and after two to three years of training, from lower to high school, they gradually enter the track. First in educational presentations, then in shows.


Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Domaine de Chantilly on the Great Stables

Tourist office of Chantilly on Equestrian shows

Tourist office of dept 60 Oise on the great stables museum

Further these Great Stables were converted into barracks during the French revolution  and took again life after 1815. The real big push in constrution took place in 1847 thanks to the Orléans’ family. Today, the official brochure tells us that there are 8 jockeys, 26 horses, 8 poneys, and 3 donkeys. 1040 irons fit in per year and 40 kg of manure per horse and per day! 6 kg of hay, 6 liters of pellets, and 50 liters of water per horse per day. Also, does more than 150 spectacles per year and equestrians shows every day.


The building is divided into the Cour des Chenils or kennel court that allowed division of dogs by pedegree, the Dôme or cupola where the spectacles are held since the 18C and today the jockeys on equestrians shows. The Cour des Remises or discount court at a time served as guard of the wagons of the princes and caleches, and was completely renovated in 2011!! And I was there yes!!!

The museum of the horse has 15 rooms in the Cour des Remises des Grandes Ecuries. Rooms 1 to 3 host the visitor and introduce you to the art of the horse. Rooms 4 to 9 show the domestication of the horse all over the world and the work they do in our lives. Room 9 shows the hunting horse. The last of the visit starts with room 10 showing the leisure activities with the horse and equestrian sporting events. The big room 13 shows the horse and the artists of our times to the carrousels of the little ones, kids. Once living the museum see on the West nave hippomobiles of the 19C preserve in France such as the Caléche of the Empresses and the wagon of the duke of Bourbon guarded at the Condé museum.


Finally, on the way out had my meal of the day and came back as usually do the the Pizzeria Ristorante Napoli at 5 avenue du général leclerc or road D1016 not far from the hippodrome de Chantilly. This we have been before and for memories sake decided alone to come back to it. Never disappointed excellent Italian restaurant . The welcome is like family warm and very funny really all is good to put simply a nice lunch/dinner meal inside dining room with views of the road. I just had my Chorizo pizza , haa of course!! with a 1/4 bottle of Médoc house red and expresso coffee for 21 euros. Nice. no web for info Tel +33 (0) 3 44 57 40 09. Buon appetito!!!



And there you go a one two dandy on your way out see wonderful history of a beautiful animal and great food in royally Chantilly! My belle France is amazing indeed! Hope you enjoy it too

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

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December 9, 2019

The racecourse at Chantilly!

Ok so now I am going on an old tradition in my family especially my mother’s side, horse racing. I have been to many in NJ and Fl USA as well as Madrid, Spain. Needless, to say I have been to the ones in France , several of them. However, no where is more real and precious than on the home of the horse, Chantilly! For info, been here once and still do not know well the racetrack.

Nevertheless  I was in town and did some walking around the racecourse or hippodrome and decided to take some pictures for the post. Hope you enjoy the Hippodrome de Chantilly


The Hippodrome de Chantilly (Racecourse) was inaugurated in 1834. It is located on the edge of a forest near the Château de Chantilly and covers 65 hectares. This is where the Jockey Club Award for males and females has been held since 1836, and since 1843 the Prix de Diane for females. These two events are flat races. There are about 42 race days a year , it can change with the year. The racecourse is the property of the Institut de France (owner of the whole domaine), but the racecourse is managed by France Galop for the maintenance of the tracks and the days of races. Room management and leasing of commercial space are managed by the Foundation for the Safeguarding and Development of the Domaine de Chantilly of the Aga Khan.


After the first race dating from 1834, the route of the current tracks dates from 1879. These are originally all grass and are 25 to 30 meters wide. The finishing line is 600 meters uphill with 10 meters in altitude over the last 800 meters which makes it particularly selective. You might be ablet to tell (not me) a large track (or Jockey Club track) of 2,400 meters (finish line 600 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill over the last 800 meters, course from 1600 to 4800 meters), A straight line of 1 200 meters (1,000 to 1,200 meters course), a track average of 2,150 meters (finish line 550 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill, course 1,600 to 2,600 meters), A round track, 1,400 meters course at 2,400 meters a 1,900 meter fiber-sand track (finish line of 550 meters and width of 20 meters), the first laid out on one of the Paris racecourses, in autumn 2011. There exists in total 13 possible starting points.


The Hippodrome de Chantilly racecourse can currently accommodate 30,000 spectators, including 2,300 in the stands seated. To replace the first temporary stands built in 1835, the Duke of Aumale, owner of the land, built two new Anglo-Norman style stands in 1847. These were rebuilt in 1881. The weighing building was built in 1891. The tribune of the committee, former tribune of the prince, is rebuilt in 1911.

Several courses are held here, but the two main ones are the Prix du Jockey in June, 2100 meters for the horses of 3 yrs old and the Prix de Diane also in june, of 2100 meters for the fillies of 3 yrs both races considered top Group 1. The tracks are used to train racehorses every Tuesday. There is 2,000 gallops per year for 800 horses. Jumping de Chantilly: two jumping competition meetings held each year on the racecourse: the Grand National in April the International Jump Competition (CSI) five stars in July. In 2010, Chantilly joined the Global Champions Tour and earned its fifth star, becoming the 2nd CSI of France with Cannes. For this occasion, a 150 m by 100 m fiber grass track is permanently installed in the center of the race tracks, west of the racecourse. It also serves the ground regularly for spot kite practice.

Some of the webpages to help you visit here are

Official domaine de Chantilly on the racecourse

Tourist office of Chantilly on the racecourse

Tourist office of dept 60 Oise on the racecourse

And there you go another way to come and enjoy Chantilly, a real passionate place for horses, you like horses? you will be royally welcome in Chantilly. Enjoy the hippodrome de Chantilly!

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





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December 8, 2019

Basilica Saint Denis !!!

Ok so here i am again, this one i have been but many years ago even when was visiting France back in 1990!! wow! Now since living here since 2003 never had been back…until now. It is one of those places you hear about but always been on the wrong side of the road never dare pass by it. It has happened and it has been very nice indeed.

To say will tell you a bit about the Basilica of Saint Denis  will be deceiving, there is so much to tell about and so much history into that a book rather than a blog post would be needed. I am hoping to give you a glimpse and some photos that will make you as I decide to come to visit. In my humble opinion, it is one of the must sites to visit in France.

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The Basilique de Saint-Denis basilica is a Gothic church located in the center of the city of Saint-Denis, 5 km north of Paris in the department 93 of Seine-Saint-Denis in the Ile-de-France region. Originally founded as an abbey, it has the status of cathedral of the diocese of Saint-Denis since 1966. The abbey church was called “basilica” from the Merovingian period . It stands on the site of a Gallo-Roman cemetery, the burial place of St. Denis martyred around 250. The transept of the abbey church, of exceptional magnitude, was intended to accommodate the royal tombs. It is thus the necropolis of the kings of France since the Robertians and Capetians direct, even if several Merovingian then Carolingian kings had chosen to rest there before them.

In 1793, following the desecration of the tombs of the Basilica of St. Denis,during the French revolution, the revolutionaries threw the ashes of forty-two kings, thirty-two queens, sixty-three princes, ten servants of the kingdom, as well as thirty abbots and various religious, between beds of limestone, in mass graves of the old monks’ cemetery then located north of the basilica. Part of the treasure of the basilica is transformed into money. As for the recumbent, masterpieces of funerary art dating back to the early Middle Ages for older, they are largely deteriorated. That of Charles V the Wise lost his scepter, and that of his wife Jeanne de Bourbon has meanwhile disappeared!!!

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In 1805, Napoleon I fixed the new destiny of the building: symbol of the continuity of the monarchical power, it must become the memorial of the four dynasties that reigned over France. On February 20, 1805, he asked to be informed of the state of the abbey and two days later that the Ministry of the Interior proceeds to its restoration! On January 19, 1817, Louis XVIII brought back the remains of his predecessors, recovered in the pits, in the crypt of the basilica, where they are gathered ,because the limestone prevented their identification in an ossuary sealed by marble slabs on which are the names of the buried royals. Under the Second Empire, Napoleon III decided that the basilica of Saint-Denis would house his burial place, that of his wife and his successors, unlike the other princes of the imperial family to whom the crypt of the Saint-Augustin church would be affected. This new imperial vault is not the one envisaged by Napoleon I, the old chapel of Hilduin which Louis XVIII made a royal vault. In 1859, he had Eugène Viollet-le-Duc develop a new imperial vault located west of the previous one, under the high altar. This very large underground chapel was demolished in 1952.

st denis basilica louis xvi and marie antoinette closerup nov19

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The coronations at the Basilica Saint Denis were   of: Anne of Brittany, February 8, 1492, crowned and crowned Queen of France at Saint-Denis, she is the first queen crowned in this basilica and sacred; Mary of England, November 5, 1514; Claude of France, May 10, 1517; Eleanor of Austria, March 5, 1531; Catherine de Medici, June 10, 1549; Elizabeth of Austria, March 25, 1571; and Marie de Medici, May 13, 1610, last sacred queen in Saint-Denis.

The sun radiates from its rays the stones of the nave, symbolizing the passage from natural light to immaterial, “divine” light. The north side of the basilica with the Porte de Valois gate, that is to say the gate of the north arm of the transept. In the 13C, we insert in the facade of the transept a portal which, given its sculptures, dates from 1160. The facade of the basilica with its three portals and its unique tower. The north tower disappeared in 1846. The novelty for the time was the central rosette on the facade and the layout of the three carved portals. The Tympanum of the central portal with Christ surrounded by the twelve Apostles. The Tympanum of the 12C,was ransacked at the French revolution, restored in the 19C. Saint Denis and his companions, Rustique and Eleuthère, are led to the torture after having communicated the hands of Christ himself. Historians see Suger’s desire to impose a tympanum dedicated to a hagiography of Saint Denis. Despite the mutilations and restorations of the 19C, it retains most of his original sculpture of Suger’s era. The portal devoted to Saint Denis marks once again the desire of Suger to make recognize the role of this martyr as protector of royalty. To impose St. Denis as the “special patron” of the kingdom, it was said at that time, was also to proclaim the sacred character of the kings of France.

Need to give credit when credit is rightfully due. Born around 1081, of modest origin, Suger was placed at the age of ten at the abbey of Saint-Denis. It was there that he met the future Louis VI le Gros , son of Philippe I. Beginning his life as a monk, he was soon noticed by his gift to plead the good causes and his art of administrator. Often sent to Rome, it was while returning from an embassy in Italy, in 1122, that he learned of his election at the head of the abbey of Saint-Denis. Returning to Rome for the Lateran Council, he visited the principal sanctuaries of the southern regions. And was deeply marked. His future task as a builder, patron and statesman will be imbued with his Italian apprenticeship: Benevento, Salerno, Bari and above all Monte Cassino. Returning to Saint-Denis, he undertook to rebuild his church, which had become too small. The means of financing were ensured by a rigorous and all-round management of the properties of the abbey. His new church will embody his theological and artistic vision of the world, reinforced by his contacts with Hugues de Saint-Victor, a renowned Parisian master of thought who gave great importance to the mechanical arts and conceived of art as a spiritual support. To believe, one must see and be impressed by the beauty of the holy things. So we build the people and we work for peace. Hence the basic idea of the ambulatory to circulate around rich reliquaries, all immersed in an intense light, earthly expression of the divine light. It was at this time that he began to write his Life of Louis le Gros and a History of Louis VII. Suger is also a statesman. He works alongside his friend, Louis VI until the death of the latter in 1137. He returns a few years later to the court to serve Louis VII le Jeune or the Younger. Its purpose is omnipresent: to establish its church as protector of the kingship and to closely imbricate the Church and the kingdom of France. In 1145, Louis VII went on a crusade. Suger is invested with a high mission: to manage the kingdom in the absence of the sovereign. His task will last two and a half years; he will perform it magnificently: royal treasure provided, sending subsidies to the king, repairing the castles, rebellion of the great mate, peace and security assured. Shortly after the return of the king and despite the failure of the second crusade, Suger is declared “Father of the Fatherland”. On the internal level, Louis VII wants to separate from Eleanor of Aquitaine and declare war on Henry II Plantagenet. Suger dissuades him. In 1150, Abbot Suger reached the age of seventy. Sick, he went into agony in December and died in January 1151. The following year, Louis VII divorced ,losing Aquitaine at the same time , and attacked Henri II. The work of Abbot Suger is immense. In keeping with religious architecture, it was he who instilled the initial momentum, the constructive idea, the artistic principle that underpin and encompass the whole history of Gothic cathedrals in Europe and everywhere as elsewhere in the world.

The Basilica Saint-Denis is a cathedral apart from the French religious architectural heritage. This by the will of a man: Father Suger. The energy and religious ideals of this exceptional prelate, who was also a statesman, knew how to transform a Romanesque church into a Gothic monument (enlarged in the 13C). Named abbot of the rich abbey in 1122, he managed to raise sufficient funds to reinvent the religious architecture of his time by applying a simple principle: Faith by Beauty. To believe, the people must admire, so see. To see, it will circulate in an ambulatory where relics have been exposed in beautiful reliquaries. Hence the demand for space and light. The stained windows necessarily very beautiful will complete the task by bringing to the illiterates the religious teaching and the rules of moral edification. The Gothic spirit was born. The Carolingian church of the abbey is enlarged around 1135. First the facade, then the bedside. Suger exposes his project to the king, but decides not to touch the Carolingian nave. A simple sanctuary was not enough: Father Suger played his friendships with King Louis VI le Gros (the Fat), then with his son, Louis VII, to make his abbey a royal necropolis. He succeeded: Saint-Denis is rich with more than seventy marble statues which make his fame. Suger also fought to make it the official place of the coronation of the kings of France. On this point, he was taken aback by the cathedral of Reims.

A bit of a description, small apport:

The seven radiant chapels of Saint-Denis bring two novelties compared to Romanesque art: they are almost contiguous and of little depth. Suger’s goal was to enlarge the space and better penetrate the light. To this end, they have only two stained glass probably because there is no room for a third). Even though the chapels look narrower on each other, the space effect is successful. Many buildings of the first Gothic age will take over this system of chapel with two stained glass windows.

Historically, it was the abbot Suger  one of the great instigators of the basilica of Saint-Denis, who gave the definitive formulation of the Tree: a Jesse lying from which a tree comes out whose climbing branches carry the prophets (as spiritual ancestors) and kings (as carnal ancestors) of Jesus. This is why the Jesse Tree of Saint Denis Basilica is of paramount importance in the history of stained glass. This formulation will serve as a model in France and England throughout the Middle Ages.

For his abbey, Father Suger had a grandiose and personal stained glass project done by the best artists and master glassmakers in the region. In his book Liber of rebus in administratione sua gestis, he spreads himself in praiseful qualifiers to describe the role of the light that enters the sanctuary through the stained glass windows. However, in his writings, he expressly quotes only three of them: the Tree of Jesse, the Allegories of St. Paul and the Life of Moses. The allegories are taken from the epistles of St. Paul. It is interesting to note that the abbey took Paul for his spiritual father following the confusion , perhaps voluntary between Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris and real patron of the abbey, and Denys the Areopagyte, disciple direct from the Apostle Paul.

The glass roof of Saint-Denis has suffered a lot in the course of history. Many of Suger’s windows from the 12C were renovated in the 13C. The large windows are also from the 13C. Unfortunately, the entire glass roof of the 13C disappeared during the French revolution in 1794-1795. In 1799, the windows of the ambulatory took the path of the Museum of French Monuments, part was broken en route, another sold. In 1816, after the closure of the Museum, what was recovered and returned to the abbey. Clearly, the entire glass roof of the basilica was redone in the 19C, with the exception of a few elements in the windows of the ambulatory which, they come exclusively from the time of Suger. These stained glass windows are easy to locate: their brilliance is far from being as brilliant as those of the 19C juxtaposed with them.

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The 19C canopy obeys a Royal and Dionysian iconography. In the choir,the life of Saint Denis; in the triforium of the nave: the life of the popes; finally, in the high windows: the life of the kings and queens of France. There is also a large glass roof in the transept with the visit of Louis XVIII to the abbey and a double glass roof, the funeral of Louis XVIII and the dedication of the funeral chapel under Charles X These stained glass windows are of very high quality. In Saint-Denis, the wish of Suger – flood the church with light and always respected.

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Even if the stalls of the Basilica of Saint-Denis do not belong to the history of the basilica. They come from the chapel of the castle of Gaillon, Normandy and date back to the 16C. It is an order of Cardinal Georges d’Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen. Viollet-le-Duc made the decision to install them in Saint-Denis in the 19C. The scenes illustrate episodes from the Life of Jesus, the Virgin and martyrs. It is a very beautiful work of marquetry.

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Finally, and foremost we have the necropolis of kings and queens of France! Just gorgeous.

At the beginning of its history, the necropolis of Saint-Denis is nothing more than a cemetery that one chose, in his testament, to be buried alongside Saint Denis and his companions, Rustique and Eleuthère, all three renowned martyrs of the Church. According to historians, Queen Arnegonde was the only person of royal blood to choose Saint-Denis , and in a personal capacity. In fact, the Merovingian kings preferred to be buried in a place where they had some attachment to their habitual residence, a palace they appreciated or a religious establishment of which they were founder or benefactor. Thus royal tombs were found in Poitiers, Soissons, Metz or Arras, and, of course, also in Paris. Dagobert died in 639, chose Saint-Denis, but because there were ties to it as he was simply the benefactor of the abbey! With the nascent Carolingian dynasty, the choice of Saint-Denis is imposed on Charles Martel and Pépin le Bref (Pepin was anointed there in 754). Followed Charles the Bald and five members of his family. It is up to the Capetians to have the necropolis of the abbey recognized as the obligatory resting place of the kings of France. There are two explanations for this: on the one hand, to repeat the Carolingian tradition is to affirm its legitimacy; on the other hand, some of the first Capetian kings were simply lauded abbots of Saint-Denis. It will be buried there: Eudes and Hugues Capet, Robert the Pious and Henry I. Not to mention that the energy of Suger, in the 12C, made of this habit a real law. When Philippe I chose Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, in 1108, and Louis VII le Jeune, in 1180, the Cistercian abbey of Saint-Port de Barbeau that he had founded, the monks of Saint-Denis reacted with an outcry . Nevertheless, the link between the abbey and the crown was strengthened as Louis VI le Gros recognized it as a right of spoils;it was now considered the official guardian of the symbolic objects of royalty, the Regalia. The principle of the abbey as a royal necropolis was now respected. With the exception of Louis XI, Louis XVI and Louis XVII, all the French kings from Louis VII to Louis XVIII were buried in Saint-Denis. (Louis VII was buried in Barbeau, but in 1817, Louis XVIII brought his body back to Saint-Denis.) Today the necropolis has more than 70 recumbent and tombs. It is a unique place in Europe. Indeed it is for all to see!!!

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your must visit here are

Official Basilica of Saint Denis in English

Official tourist office of Dept 93 Seine Saint Denis on the Basilica in English

There a huge job but i hope I caught the important points to make this a must to visit while in France.The Basilique de Saint Denis is awesome!! Gorgeous and architecturally :historically an absolute must. Enjoy it

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



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December 8, 2019

The Hôtel de Ville de Saint Denis!

Ok so coming here for the big one I stuck around to do some walks in daytime on a nice Saturday mid day. This is Saint Denis in dept 93 Seine Saint Denis north of Paris. Come here for the Basilica of course,but do walk around and you will see the real beat of life in France away from the glamour.

Let me tell you a bit on the city of Saint Denis and its Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall!

st denis

Saint-Denis is a city bordering Paris, located on the north in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, No 93 which it is sub-prefecture, in the region of Île-de-France. It is the most populated department, ahead of Montreuil, and the 3rd in the region of Ile-de-France after Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt in the Hauts-de-Seine (92). Saint-Denis, still known as a bastion of the French Communist Party, is to date the most populated city, and one of only two cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants, with Montreuil, to be led by a communist mayor!

st denis

Saint-Denis borders the cities of Paris, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, Île-Saint-Denis, Epinay-sur-Seine, Villetaneuse, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Stains, La Courneuve and Aubervilliers. The city is served by the A1 highway or autoroute du nord   which connects it to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and the A86, as well as by the boulevard périphérique around Paris.

At the beginning of the 20C, the city was a knot of tramway lines that connected the city to its neighbors of Épinay-sur-Seine and Enghien – Trinité, Pierrefitte, Stains, Aubervilliers, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Saint-Ouen -sur-Seine and Paris .These lines were all removed before 1938. The city is now served by several major lines of transport including again the tramways , metro RER etc.

st denis

Between the re-designed Porte de Paris gate and the Basilica, the Legion-d’Honneur Park adjoins the gardens and outbuildings of the Legion of Honor’s Education House, which occupies the buildings of the old abbey. Dominated by the Basilica of Saint-Denis, flanked by the garden Pierre de Montreuil, the old center has several remarkable monuments such as this imposing city/town hall, Church of Saint-Denis-de-l’Estrée, royal abbey, porch of the former convent of the Ursulines , former convent of the Carmelites (Museum of Saint-Denis), former headquarters of the newspaper L’Humanité, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, etc.

At the crossroads of rue Gabriel-Péri and the rue de la Boulangerie, the café “Au Pavillon” was already known five centuries ago to be a hunting lodge of kings of France who took a break. Henri IV had his bachelor apartment on rue de la Boulangerie where he was preparing the speeches he was going to deliver at the Basilica. Home to the biggest market of the Île-de-France on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning (see previous post), the most centenary market hall   reopened at the end of 2006, after renovation. It now has a rainwater recovery system, used for post-market cleaning, and solar panels for lighting. The city center has been pedestrianized since March 11, 2005. The Basilique de Saint-Denis metro station is in remote correspondence with the T1 tramway, close to a major urban hypermarket.

At the beginning of the 7C, Dagobert rebuilt the oratory and the priory built by Saint Genevieve in 475, and created a fair which became in the 12C, the fair of Landy; from the Middle Ages, merchants came from all over Europe and Byzantium; the fair was inaugurated each year by the rector of the University of Paris who came there in great ceremony The church was rebuilt by Suger, who became abbot of Saint-Denis in 1122, advisor to Louis VI, and ruled in the absence of Louis VII, gone to the Holy Land. It was he who, the first time, handed to a king of France the banner, which became famous under the name of its banner.

Louis XI rebuilt almost entirely the sanctuary, the transepts and the nave at his own expense. The ancient tombs were rebuilt in the transept and choir of the abbey church, which for centuries was an object of admiration for visitors. This monastery, so to speak national, has always been in the same veneration since Louis IX.

In 1806, Napoleon I, by a decree, consecrated the old church to the burial of the emperors, there instituted a retreat for the bishops over 60 years, and a house of education for the daughters of the legionaries.

Taken by the enemy in 1814, Saint-Denis was one of the first to declare himself in favor of the Bourbons. In 1815, the city gave the same marks of love to the son of his former benefactors. In 1817, Louis XVIII ordered that the remains of kings, removed from the tombs in 1793, be reinstated there. In 1852, Napoleon III gathered the cure of Saint-Denis in the chapter of the basilica. The church, as a whole, dates from the 12-13C, but since 1858 the sanctuary has returned to its original state. On August 27, 1944, General Leclerc’s troops entered the city for its liberation.

The city of Saint Denis more on its history in French: City of Saint Denis on its history

The tourist office for Seine Saint Denis 93 in English: Tourist office of dept 93 Seine Saint Denis

Hope you enjoy the tour,if in town for the Basilica which is a must , then why not take a walk around the Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall of Saint Denis. Enjoy it

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


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December 7, 2019

The Halles , covered market of St Denis!

Ok so now let’s take you out from Paris on the beltway around it, working class neighborhoods not seldom seen by visitors but with goodies to boot. Mind you not the kind of place you would come at night, but daytime it is an eye opener in French life.

Let me tell you a bit on the Halles or covered market of Saint Denis, dept 93 or Seine-Saint-Denis, in the ïle de France region, and just outside Paris.

st denis

This is a very colorful market with food from all over the world and people crowds buying all these goodies. It’s a place to really come into the working class daily French life and get to know the country a bit more. Again, for the intellectual curious is a must on daytime.

The Marché de centre ville or Downtown Market is open Tuesday from 8h to 12h30, Friday from 8h to 13h, Sunday from 8h to 13h30. On the place Jean Jaurès, you have items for the person (clothing etc) and the house. In the covered Halles and around it, you have about 70 food stalls from all over the world.

This is the largest market in Ile-de-France,region with a total of 450 merchants. On the weekend, up to 60,000 people can pass under the imposing halles of Eiffel style, built in the early 20C. The first traces of trade at this place dating back to the 7C, the Fair of Landy.

st denis

A bit of history I like

In 1229-1230, carpenters built a new hall; the old ones are covered and a wall is erected between the two halls. In 1231, the intension was to build the halles of Saint-Denis. In 1444, Charles VII reestablished the Fair of Landy inside the borough of Saint-Denis where are two large grains of covered halles. The monks had done a fair job of the said halles and make several lodges by the place de la Panthiére to lodge and receive the merchants and their merchandises. In 1556, Henry II authorizes the religious to build halles, lodges, benches and in 1567, the four gates of the corn market were mentioned, and in 1571 part of the Landy and Saint-Denis fairs took place in the adjoining markets of Beauvais (also known as wheat) and Rouen. along the rue du Pilori, they both open in the place Panetière and behind on the courtyard.The old halles are removed around 1854 and replaced by four metal halles on the market square, the current place Jean-Jaurès.

They are on the parvis in front of the famous Basilica, you go around the Hôtel de Ville or  city /town hall building and on the other side you will see the Halles. Great parking Basilica for me here! Right underground above is the Centre Commercial St Denis or shopping center, more modern. Info in French here: Shopping center Basilique in St Denis

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the covered market or Halles are

City of Saint Denis on the Halles

Tourist office dept 93 Seine Saint Denis on the Halles

And there you go a nice walk into working class France and a wonderful vibrant market where prices will be a  pleasant surprise to all. Enjoy the Halles of Saint Denis

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

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December 7, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCIII

Ok so once a year at least we need to tell you about the strikes or gréves in my belle France. The world gets nervous of seeing this traditional events as dangerous. And if you are not IN they can be dangerous. The various embassies such as the USA will send you emails warning you not to approach them and stay away from Paris especially. The world medias gets a field day of news…etc etc etc.

However, these are in the backbone grain of every French person as the culmination of a democratic right to express yourselves. Literally its democracy at its best , even if annoying to the locals and visitors who have a few days to enjoy themselves here and find them difficult to believe what they go thru.  Again, its just the French, Vive la différence!!!

For now and the next few days expect chaos on the transports but bear in mind, this is only in Paris and some major city in France, back in my country living of Brittany, we hardly notice lol!!! Life is as usual and we start buying our Christmas gifts!

For now these are some excerpts from the French media on the strikes

The movement against pension reform seems set to last, at least several days. As a result, unions are organizing to ensure the financial “survival” of the movement, while a second day of events is announced this coming Tuesday, five days after the first. The most classic solution: the strike banks. Some unions have historically set aside a portion of membership dues, and the common pot is then redistributed among strikers according to their needs. Therefore, most will be paid nothing is free oh là là là.

The SNCF has called yesterday Friday ,the Ile de France region to avoid commuter trains on Monday, the fifth day of the transport strike, the expected affluence can make the stations dangerous.

The strong mobilization this past Thursday led to a drop in activity of the order of “30% in stores,” according to the Trade Alliance and up to 50% in Paris, – 60% in the city centers of Strasbourg or Marseille, according to data provided by Procos (Federation for the Promotion of Specialized Trade). The continuation of the strike is also a concern for the hotel and restaurant industry, which saw, for the night of  last Thursday, bookings in Paris and Ile-de-France fall “from 30 to 40%, with twice as many cancellations” according to a spokesman for the National Group of Independents (GNI-Synhorcat)n the main union. Fashion stores have seen their turnover fall by around 4 to 5%.

Several highways are blocked this Saturday (today) by truckers protesting against the increase of 2 cents of taxes on diesel fuel provided for in the draft budget law for 2020. These events, which affect eleven regions, are organized at the call of the the European Road Hauliers Organization (OTRE), the third organization in the sector. The actions take the form of filter dams or snail operations.

The transport network in Ile-de-France will be disrupted on this coming Saturday and Sunday, and will remain so on Monday.  The RATP is planning extremely disrupted traffic for today Saturday, December 7: commuting is less numerous at weekends, the RATP will concentrate its efforts on the afternoon to ensure a minimum service, between 13h and 18h, for Metro and RER.  Metro lines 1 and 14 will normally run all day. Buses and trams will run all day with a reduced offer. As for Sunday, the traffic will be extremely small. Metro lines 1, 14 and Orlyval will run all day. SNCF announces a service that “will remain highly disturbed” and recommends to travelers who can cancel or postpone their travel. The RATP also provides “a very disturbed service for Monday, December 9.

The forecasts are valid for the day of Saturday. For Sunday, the information will be given Saturday at 17h.

Line 1 and 14: Normal traffic all day.

Line 4 and 7: 1 train every 5 minutes only between 13h and 18h, several stations closed.

Line 9: 1 train every 4 minutes between Nation and Mairie de Montreuil between  13h and 18h

Line 3: 1 train every 5 minutes between Pont de Levallois and Havre-Caumartin.

Line 8: 1 train every 5 minutes between Créteil Pointe du Lac and Reuilly-Diderot.

Closed Metro lines: 2, 3a, 5, 6, 7a, 10, 11, 12, 13.

On Saturday in the RATP zone, the RER trains will only run between 13h and 18h.  The train stations will be closed outside these hours. Sunday, traffic will be almost zero. Forecasts will be given Saturday at 17h.

RER A: 3 trains per hour between 012h and 18h on the Cergy branch. Interconnection is ensured in Nanterre Prefecture.

RER B: North: 1 train out of 3 during the day. More trains from 22h. The interconnection is suspended at Gare du Nord. The station Sevran-Livry is not served (works ongoing).

RER C: 2 trains per hour from 7h to 9h and 16h to 19h from Paris-Austerlitz to Brétigny. The other branches are not served.

RER D: North: 1 train per hour on the Paris-Villiers-le-Bel branch. South: 1 train per hour on the Paris Gare de Lyon – Juvisy branch morning and evening and 1 train per hour on the Paris Gare de Lyon-Melun branch from 6h30am to 21h. The interconnection is suspended between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon.

RER E: No train on the Haussmann Chelles branch and on the Paris East-Tournan branch, only the Paris-Gretz link is provided, without stopping until Rosny-Bois-Perrier.

Tramways: For Saturday:

T1: on average one tramway out of two

T2, T6, T8: on average 4 trams on 5 all day.

T3a, T5: on average 3 trams out of 4 all day.

T3b: on average 2 trams out of 3.

T7: on average 1 tramway out of 3.

T4 (SNCF): 12-minute frequency from 6h30 to 10h then from 16h to 20h.

T11 (SNCF): 1 tram every 15 minutes from 6h30am to 9h15.

For Sunday

T1, T7: on average one tramway out of two.

T2, T6, T8: on average 4 trams on 5 all day.

T5: an average of 3 trams out of 4 all day long.

T3a, T3b: on average 2 out of 3 trams.

T4 (SNCF): 12-minute frequency from 6h30 to 10h then from 16h to 20h.

T11 (SNCF): 1 tram every 15 minutes from 6h30 to 9h15.

On Saturday, four out of 10 buses will run on average across the RATP network; Sunday, about 50% of the traffic will be insured.

Transilien Saturday and Sunday

Line H: 1 train per hour morning and evening on the branches Paris-Ermont-Montigny (works thus bus until Pontoise) and Paris-Montsoult-Ermont. The link Creil-Persan-Valmondois-Pontoise is provided by bus.

Line J: 1 train per hour from 6h to 9h and from 12h to  20h30 on Paris Saint-Lazare-Argenteuil (omnibus). 1 train per hour Paris St. Lazare-Poissy-Mantes from 7h to 21h and Paris Saint-Lazare-Conflans (6h to 20h).

Line K: No traffic is guaranteed from Paris-Nord. Only Crépy-Mitry-Claye and Crépy-Roissy relations are insured by bus.

Line L: 1 train out of 3 on Paris Saint-Lazare branches – Versailles and Paris Saint-Lazare – Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche. The Paris Saint-Lazare-Cergy branch is not served.

Line N: 1 train out of 10 between Paris Montparnasse and Rambouillet from 5h35 to 11h and from 16h to 23h35.

Line P: 1 train per hour on the Paris-Chelles Meaux route from 8h to 18h30: the Paris-Chelles link is direct. All stops are then served to Meaux.

Line R: no traffic. 3 A / R TER on the axis Bois-le-Roi / Montereau

Line U: no traffic.

So therefore, a big mess indeed ,have fun stay tune to your schedule transports needs and have alternative plans available.  There is a French site to tell you all about it C’est la Gréve, its the strike, here: C’est la Gréve on the strikes in French

The main region Ïle de France, transports Transilien has a page in English but the French has more info. Here is the English page: Official Transilien transport in English on the strike

Official Paris transport RATP on the strike in English

SNCF info on the strike in English

Paris airports on the strike: Aeroports de Paris on the Strike in English

The French site Paris struggles has plenty on the strikes now and coming days. Paris Luttes or struggles in French on the strikes

Hope it helps for the local and visitors alike. Me just come over to friendly Brittany there is no strike I just did my shopping today in Vannes by car all is working normal , traffic is fluid, la vie est belle dans l’ouest!!! Salut!! Joyeûx Noël!!


Further update on this madness that keep us entertain over the weekend and now it seems longer. Again be prepare with alternative routes if coming to France this month.

While the executive plans on the content of the pension reform and the possible acts of appeasement that Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will announced next Wednesday afternoon, during a speech at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), Emmanuel Macron will invite several of his ministers to the Élysée presidential palace this Sunday evening at 19h30, for a working meeting. In particular, according to our sources, the Prime Minister will be with Agnès Buzyn (Health), Jean-Paul Delevoye (Retirement), Gérald Darmanin (Budget) and Bruno Le Maire (Economy). They always do the same , react from the action of the people instead of doing what the people needs.

Strong of the success last Thursday of the mobilization against the reform of the pensions (806.000 demonstrators in all France, according to the Ministry of the Interior, and 1,5 million according to the Unions), the trade unions opposed to the reform call the French to be mobilized again on Tuesday December 10th. Objective: to try to bend the government and entail the outright withdrawal of the reform that Édouard Philippe plans to unveil next Wednesday.

Monday, December 9 ,the number of trains in ïle de France region will not accommodate the usual number of customers: max 4 trains / hour on some RER instead of 20 trains / h. The affluence in the stations will be very dangerous. SNCF asks those who can to cancel their trips.

International traffic will also be very disturbed: no Lyria, SVI and Ellipsos will circulate this weekend. One Eurostar out of two, two out of three Thalys and one Paris-Stuttgart are maintained. One TGV of 6 will circulate on average throughout France this weekend, according to a spokesman for the SNCF. The company Air France indicates accordingly that it will ensure the totality of its program of flights. However, disturbances and delays are nevertheless possible, warned the DGAC (general civil air transport directory).

The roads however, are doing better all clear tonite and should be ok until next Tuesday when the second round of demonstration happened. The site for the Paris region or Ïle de France Sytadin is here: Official Paris region traffic IDF

Ok just something positive of all this that will continue this week. In April 2020, will open on the emblematic site of the Samaritaine in Paris 1éme, a large store of 20,000 square meters and a new palace. And they are recruiting, from now on, to all positions. Yes this is the site of the old emblematic Samaritaine dept store that we love so much and visit many times.

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

December 7, 2019

Again St Eustache Church, Paris of course!

And here I am again getting down on old walking path and familiar monuments again. Paris is awesome and exhuberating to visit even from a local point of view and I have millions of visitors to agree. Paris is a moveable feast! Paris est un fête!!!

Well on a more serene visit I came back to the Church of St Eustache, such a nice building in a nice vibrant area amazing to be there. It has been there before long ago. I wrote a bit on its history before back in July 5 2018 in my blog. This is an update with new photos!



Briefly as not to repeat myself , in the 13C there was a chapel dedicated to Saint Agnes. Became with the use, Saint-Eustache. Too small, it is replaced in the 16C by a vast building of one hundred meters long, flamboyant Gothic style. Architectural plans and principles follow those of Notre-Dame de Paris. The first stone was laid in 1532, but the church was not really finished until 1640. The Church of Saint Eustache contains a large number of 19C murals and some magnificent works of art such as paintings and sculptures, like the statue of the Virgin and Child of Pigalle, one of the most beautiful of Paris.

The visitor entering the Church of St Eustache is immediately seized by the height of the vaults at 33 meters, and the imposing vertical masses that permeate the entire church. The Flamboyant Gothic finds itself at the level of the vaults of warheads, embellished with liernes, tiercerons and ubiquitous pendulous keys. The Renaissance style is expressed in the juxtaposition of the ancient orders, the pillars which are flanked by pilasters, the semicircular arches and, of course, in the abundant decoration on the capitals see the seraphs, baskets of flowers, etc.



The Church of Saint-Eustache has a very large glass roof on three levels of elevation. The church is so high that the first level of the elevation is itself divided into two sub-levels, materialized by a double row of stained glass windows. Few stained glass windows are historiated or with floral motifs. Most are in white glass. If you add the large double door of the south cross, still open to illuminate the transept , Saint-Eustache is a very bright church. As the choir is in the east and there is no building in the south, the sun, in good weather, radiates all the nave of its rays during the whole day.


Colbert was the church warden of the Saint-Eustache Church. His mausoleum is considered a major work in the statuary of the 17C. The artist used bronze and white and black marble. Colbert, seized in the attitude of a praying man, is dressed in his cloak of commander of the order of the Holy Spirit. To the left of the sarcophagus, Fidelity, chiseled in ; on the right, Piety or Abundance .


The organs of Saint-Eustache Church are among the largest in France. Dated at Ducroquet in 1854, they were restored by the Dutch Van Den Heuvel in 1989. The wood carving of the buffet on a Victor Baltard carton is pure splendor. The beauty of the characters and the rose in the background create a scenic enchantment to be enjoyed with a pair of binoculars. And very popular musicals in Paris indeed.


Something i like to give you is some webpages to help you plan and handy. The official parish of St Eustache is here in French: Official Parish of St Eustache Church

The Paris tourist office on St Eustache Church in English: Tourist office of Paris on St Eustache Church

And as many buildings are undergoing renovations in France,and many in Paris this did not escape St Eustache Church; it was done in 2018. You can read in French at the city of Paris webpage here: City of Paris on renovations in St Eustache Church

There you go another jewel in my eternal Paris, the most beautiful city in the world! And in my belle France indeed, welcome to us. The St Eustache Church is one dandy you should not miss coming here, its one of my favorites over the years.

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



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December 6, 2019

And St Merri Church in Paris!

Ok so I told you how much I have walked all over Paris and that I worked in it for almost 10 years while living just next door at Versailles! Well, I have, also told you that there is so many things to see here that you will need a lifetime. Ok so this is one monument I have never been inside! Passed by it as it is in a popular area, had my pints but never occur to me to go inside until now.

There is always time to indulge in Paris and there is always new things to see (old things new to me lol!). So let me tell you a bit on the Church of Saint Merri in Paris!


The Saint-Merri Church is located near the Centre Georges-Pompidou (see previous post) at the intersection of rue Saint-Martin and rue de la Verrerie  by No 76) in the 4éme arrondissement of Paris. The name Saint-Merri comes from the abbot St. Mederic, who died in the year 700, canonized and renamed Saint Merri by contraction. The remains of this Saint still rest in the crypt of the church!


A bit of history I like

Tradition has it that Médéric, abbot of the abbey of Saint-Martin d’Autun, came to live as a hermit in a hut near the oratory Saint-Pierre-des-Bois which stood at this place. He died in 700 and was buried there and the oratory was transformed into a chapel under the name of Saint-Pierre-des-Bois Chapel or more simply Saint-Pierre Chapel.

In 884, the bishop of Paris exhumed the body , and put in a shrine the remains of Saint-Médéric, which will become Saint-Merri, now considered as relics. It is at this time that Saint-Médéric is chosen to become the patron Saint of the rive droite or right bank of Paris, and the chapel then taking the name of Saint-Médéric Chapel or Chapel Saint-Merri.  Around 1010, the bishop of Paris, donated it to the chapter of Notre-Dame. Becoming collegiate, it is then served by a community of seven canons from the chapter. In 1200, the church built in its place is erected in parish under the name of Saint-Merri. It is thus one of the four daughters of Notre Dame, and the last remaining one today.

The current Church of St Merri was built between 1515 and 1612. The crypt, the nave, and the aisles date from 1515-1520, the arms and the cross of the transept from 1526-1530, the choir and the apse were completed in 1552, while the work ended in 1612, when the bell tower is raised one floor. The  18C is for the church an era of reshuffle , when the rood screen of 1558 is destroyed in 1709, rework the choir whose arched bows are bent and covered as the pillars of a marble veneer and stucco. The floor is covered with a marble pavement, the furniture is renewed and the stained glass windows are partly replaced by white glass.  Closed in 1793 because of the French revolution, the Church of Saint Merri becomes a saltpetre factory. From 1797 to 1801, theophilanthropes made it the “Temple of Commerce”.  The church ended up being returned to Catholic worship in 1803.

The Church of Saint Merri is entirely flamboyant Gothic, with no trace of Renaissance architecture. Its layout evokes that of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. It was administered by seven canons of the cathedral and was nicknamed Notre Dame le petit or little Notre Dame.  The west facade, flamboyant Gothic style, is covered with canopies, arches, canopies, foliage friezes and fantastic animals, especially on the side door frames. A little further up is a slender, narrow campanile whose wooden top contains a very old bell dating back to 1311, which would probably be the oldest in Paris. The main portal is pierced by three ogival doors surmounted by crossettes and jewels.


The windows of the upper windows of the first spans of the nave dating from the early 16C retrace the life of Saint Nicolas de Myre, Saint Francis of Assisi, Sainte Madeleine and Sainte Agnes.  The side windows of the choir ,16C, illustrate the History of the Patriarch Joseph and the Apostolate of Saint Peter. Those of the apse, with in the center the Resurrection of Christ. Two stained glass windows of the 16C, enclosed to the left of the altar of the Virgin, depicting Saint Martin giving his coat to a poor man, a Pieta and Saint Eloi.


The nave with five spans and ogive vault was completed in 1520. The transept was completed in 1526. The right arm is confined by two screws of Saint-Gilles. The choir, completed in 1552, its length is substantially the same as the nave. The Chapel of the communion was built in 1743 , it consists of three square bays symbolizing the real world, lit by three oval lanterns, with arches separated by Corinthian pilasters. The openwork cupolas symbolize the celestial vault. The square bell tower having been endowed with a third floor in 1612, has found since the fire of 1871 its height of origin of two floors. On the left, you can see an octagonal turret decorated with arcatures, surmounted by a campanile sheltering the oldest bell of Paris c. 1331. The crypt, completed in 1515 under the fifth chapel on the left of the nave, houses since 1884 the shrine containing the relics of Saint Merri. Dating from the 16C, the presbytery of Saint-Merri was remodeled in 1731.


The decorative elements of the current Church of Saint Merri are inspired by themes honored after the Council of Trent and during the spiritual renewal of the 17C. Saint-Merri Church has a large collection of paintings from the 17C to the 19C.  The organ with five turrets was built from 1647 to 1650. The turret buffet was made in 1647. Two angels with bird bodies support the large side turrets. The wooden stand is work of 1755, and it is supported by four fluted wooden pillars surmounted by Ionic capitals. A frieze of reeds and ears, a lion mask and two fire pots complete the carved decoration. The instrument was expanded by François-Henri Clicquot in 1779, then transformed from 1855 to 1857 by Cavaillé-Coll and in 1947 by Victor Gonzalez . There is Choir organ or Organ Merklin from 1880. The wooden pulpit dates from 1753. The former baptismal font with the arms of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany. In all a nice Church.



There is still quite a bit of work going on, and a vast renovation project has been years in the making, read probably all finish by 2021. However, it is still open. More in the city of Paris webpage in French here: City of Paris on renovation work of St Merri Church

An anecdote worth noticing. The Baphomet, that is to say for some the Devil, for others the idol possibly venerated by the Templars whose main house was very close to Saint-Merri, or finally simply the occitanization of Mahomet. This little devil, being horned half man and half woman with bat wings, evokes the publications of Eliphas Levi (born Alphonse-Louis Constant). It belongs to the occult iconography of the 19C, inspired by ancient figures found in the Templars. This unusual presence is reported by Claude Seignolle in his collection of short stories La Nuit des Halles, Umberto Eco in his novel The Pendulum of Foucault as well as by the writers Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne in their novel The Seventh Templar (page 429). Like the entire main facade, it was restored during the work done in 2013-2014. Nice

The official webpage of the parish of St Merri is here in French: Parish of Saint Merri

So there you go a masterpiece church often overlook and totally bypassed by yours truly until now. Paris is always amazing and so is my belle France. Now, enjoy the Church of Saint Merri in Paris

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

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