May 19, 2019

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXX!

So for a change and keep up with the news in my town, yes do not know why not too many people writes about their town? We seems to go into an ever lasting vacation dream where we are far from home and forget about where we do most of our daily life. Not me, not my family.

We had enjoyed every place we had lived, averaging a home every 5 years or so there has been many, hard to keep up now lol!! But we try at least in FB we can go the page of the town or the school we went to and keep up with the news and many old friends some have not seen in 35 years!!! But we try.

Coming to France (and already French) to live permanently in Aug 2003 took us luckily to lived in some awesome town such as Versailles! But, also some much smaller off the beaten path towns like Pluvigner, where surprise to us we have been already 6 years in the house we are in now  a photo peek ::)


This is backdoor Breton woods, real living à la Française, nothing fancy like the famous tourist towns, and I admit, when in Versailles sometimes it got well uptight when you do your errands surrounded by curious foreigners. Here we get an occassional English or German passing by and we have two English families in town, one still works married to a French lady (Leeds) and the other couple are both English and retired (Sheffield).

Then, we have a kebab resto Star Kebab, which is of Turkish family as the only immigrants in town outside of the beforementioned. And of course, we are Americans, and me of Spanish/Cuban descend! My dear late wife Martine was the Frenchie that got us to love this country a lot to call it our own now. A nice mixture for our world!

So, the latest venture to eat out in town was to one my sons and dear late wife had already been and alwas talk about the gentle owners and very friendly who gives away a sweet call lokum (turkish delights), I finally try it. The Star Kebab in pl St Michel walking distance from our house was nice, the service of the couple was as told, the locum was given, and the food very nicely best price and good, kebab or grilled meats, a Middle Eastern variation that in Europe first started in Berlin ,Germany with doner kebab in the 1970’s created by Turkish immigrants. I am told it is on the same ballpark of the Gyros Greek, the Tacos in Mexico, and the Wraps in the USA. Anyway, here was lamb meat with vegetables including tomatoes, and french fries , the bread was Turkish origin and the drink was a Belgian blonde Leffe beer, also Heineken, and Desperados! all for 9.50€ per person nice for Dad!



The traditions here are firm Celtic-Breton, with lots of Fez Noz or breton festival and Celtic music, the panels and even mayor’s office is translated into Breton and French. On our 14 july celebration for our National Day (old Bastille day) we had Celtic dances, and a badag band singing celtic songs, and of course plenty of galettes, crêpes, and Breton beers!

Next May 31st, June 1st we have a Fez Noz here at the Salle Marie-Josèphe Le Borgne , Rue Maréchal Leclerc. The local groups Les Fréres Mahévas, Rozenn Talec/Yannig Noguet, Triorezed, and War-Sav will perfom.  The organizer page is in FB here: Fez Noz Pluvigner organiser webpage

For the traditional cooking we go to the Créperie le Vorlen where  Jean-Noël Barranger owner (done tour of France in restaurants but native of Meaux as my dear late wife)  does wonders in the restaurant . Located at the entrance of the ring road, D768  the restaurant is the corner with the rue de la gare and route d’Auray. The recipe of Lili Kerzerho always a la carte with Rost er Forn (wood oven roasted pig portions with bake potatoes and herbs) an institution. The first and third weekends of each month, on site or to take away. We are at home here; more on the resto creperie here:



Another favorite is the Crêperie du Château at the Château Rimaison almost across the street from the above and directly across our favorite bakery pastry shop now under new owner YD Boulangerie , 9 rue de la Gare. The crêperie is located at 7, route de Landaul the side entrance on D102 facing rue de la Gare . At the Château Rimaison in the middle of palms and nice stones , with a big veranda to really enjoy the pleasure of the moment. Isabelle (the one we have more contact native of Vannes and 5 children! ) and  Yann, her companion in the Crêperie du Château had participated in the contest on the TV French chain TFI of the « L’addition s’il vous plaît » or sort of the note or bill please! The Crêperie webpage is here: La Crêperie du Château


Ok for the bakery Boulangerie YD as above with new owners Yann and Deborah. Yann bake bread until mid-afternoon so guarantee freshness.  Some novelties appeared new with sourdough bread and a relaxing chestnut bread. Soon it will be the apple slipper stuffed with salted butter caramel pastry. The specialty of Deborah,the pastry section is all homemade and only works with local products. This is the case of Plougastel’s eggs or strawberries. No webpage but contact is at Tel. +33 (0)2 97 50 93 08. I need to get a new picture with the new owners front which is white while the previous owner had a golden yellow front.

Of course , these are our providers and eat out in town so hightly recommended if passing by and of course welcome chez pedmar10!

We have our friendly hair salon for domestic animals where our boy Rex gets his haircut and nail clipping etc the friencly Tou Beau Tou Propre at pl Saint Michel in city center Pluvigner. Of course, they have a presentation in FB here: FB page of tou beau tou propre


If traveling with domestic animals I highly recommend our clinic where we take care of Rex vaccines etc. The Clinique Vétérinaire du Chêne at route de Brandivy off the road D768 (route d’Auray) across from Lidl supermarket. And the friendly dr Carole M is always attentive to our boy Rex! Clinique vétérinaire du chêne


And for us we do the Pharmacie de la Place at Pl du Marché city center and walking distance from us as most. They have a friendly staff and always very pointing on details of the medications especially for my Dad which is on diabetes treatment under control! Pharmacie de la Place, Pluvigner


We go to other restos in towns such Scampi pizzeria, and Baccatella creperie and also the bakeries in old city center but these are once in a while when the above are more contants. The doctor, eye store, dentist all are in city center walking distance too. The closest big supermarket is a Super U which is at 1,1 km from home or about 0.7 mi which here is walking distance! but we seldom go to it unless to gas up the car. The big hypermarkets at Auray and Vannes wins over. The eye doctor is in Auray 18 km away or about 11 miles. The ones in Vannes are at 24 km or about 15 miles as well as the other main stores like FNAC or Micromania or Carrefour Vannes.

The main roads here are the D768 or D779 with connections to the D16, D101,D102, and on the national highways N165 , N166, and N24. All easily reach from my town whether south to the beaches or north into the in lands of Brittany. Paris is about 471 km or 292 miles or 5 hours with Tolls Or as we do 465 km or about 288 miles or 6h30 traject with no tolls! These tolls or taxes can add up 29,50€ each way!

And Sunday is to relax, use FB the blog, keep up with the family, phone calls, and do some TV with tonight Sully the story of the pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson river between NY and NJ USA! Or the Treasures of Europe with stories on the old Czechoslovakia, Moravia and Bohemia, the Czech Republic is full of landscapes, villages and castles and has nothing to envy other Central European countries. I agree ::)  And me waiting for the promise barbecue from my sons lol!!

Enjoy your Sunday and have a great week ahead, here Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 26 next Sunday it won’t be here ,we lost our mothers. However, happy Mother’s Day in advance to all those celebrating, cherish them they are irreplaceable and awesomely good!

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






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May 19, 2019

Campénéac, Beignon, and Billio in the Morbihan!

And here I continue taking you so some off the beaten paths towns of my beautiful Morbihan, in lovely Brittany, and in my belle France. The quantity as well as quality still amazes me after 16 years living in France almost 20 as French! Let me go ahead and get right to the story ,hope you enjoy it as we do. Oh yes these are on the towns of Campénéac, Beignon, and Billio!

In the heart of the Massif Armorican, Campénéac is located 9 km of Ploërmel, approximately between Vannes and Rennes, not far from the forest of Brocéliande. Here the Gallo is spoken, a Romanesque language (unlike Breton which is a Celtic language). The town was a Gallo-Roman fundus and can therefore be considered as a primitive parish. It is quoted as a parish as early as the 9C; The parish of Campénéac once depended on the Diocese of Saint-Malo. Campénéac is the birthplace of Armelle Nicolas, known as the good Armelle, a servant whose piety, charity and mystical ecstasy aroused a cult that lasted in Brittany until at least the beginning of the 20C.

The Church of the Nativity-of-the-Most-Holy Virgin or Church of Notre-Dame is Campénéac (in French . église de la Nativité-de-la-Très-Sainte-Vierge) .The present church was rebuilt from 1851 to 1860 at the site of the old church. The western porch, the pillars and arches of the primitive Church, as well as some carved stones were reused.


The Church Church of the Nativity-of-the-Most-Holy Virgin has three bays, separated by cylindrical columns in granite. The oak pulpit of the second half of the 19C is 7 meters high. The tank of the pulpit has the particularity of being supported by a kneeling demon. It is dominated by a statue of the Archangel Michael terracing the dragon. The lampshade supports four Angels symbolizing the four evangelists. Another peculiarity is that the access to the pulpit is made by a double staircase. The Church has an exhibition of the Holy Face dating from the second half of the 19C. High of 2.60 meters, it is turned wood, carved, polychrome. The Holy Face is exposed to the center, it is surrounded by the instruments of the Passion. At the top, the thorn wreath, right the pincers and hammer, down the nails and left the whip.


Other places to visit are Château de Trécesson, 15C. Abbey of Joy-Notre-Dame (or Notre-Dame-de-La-Joie), founded  in the 20C. Chapel of Saint John of Campénéac. Château de La Touche-Larcher. Mound of Tiot (Tumulus burial stone).

On the link to follow go to pdf file “Le patrimoine de Campénéac” for things to see in French :  City of Campeneac on things to see in Broceliande

Tourist office of Brittany on Broceliande things to see

The map of Broceliande good for Campénéac and Beignon below is here: Tourist office of Broceliande and the map of things to see

Beignon is a town in the southwest of the Paimpont forest, right up the alley of previous mentioned town. The parish of Beignon exists from the 8C. The lordship of Beignon was probably given to the Bishop of Saint-Malo by the sires of Gaël, ancestors of the Lords of Montfort, so that the prelate would establish his summer residence (more precisely in Saint-Malo-de-Beignon). Other historians bring back this donation to the year 866 where reined the King of Brittany Solomon.

St. Peter’s Church  burned in 1483, it was rebuilt in the 15-16C. It was covered in 1539. Ransacked during the French revolution, it was rebuilt or restored in the early 19C. It is a Latin cross-shaped building with two aisles, the covers of which are perpendicular to that of the nave. The large arcades in third-point are based on simple batteries. You can admire its magnificent 16C stained glass windows depicting the tree of Jesse and the life of St-Peter as well as its carved sandpits on the frame . The decoration of the portals and windows is Flamboyant. The north gate is dated 1689 to the top of the gable and carries an Episcopal crest.

On the exterior, the St. Peter’s Church presents on each side a succession of decorated acute gables. A square bell tower, with a more recent slate spire, rises on the western portal. The sandpits of the Choir represent scenes of the life of St. Peter, explained by inscriptions in Gothic character. The Church has many elements from the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin, including the altar, statues and the processional cross. The scenes of the passion and the life of Saint Peter of the glass mistress date from circa 1540. The stained glass of the choir presents the arms of Mgr François Bohier, Bishop of Saint-Malo between 1535 and 1567. The canopy of the Tree of Jesse, located in the north arm of the transept, dates from 1540 and presents the crest of Mgr François Bohier, Bishop of Saint-Malo. These two stained glass windows were restored in the middle of the 19C by 1855-1859. In the sacristy there is a beautiful chalice, whose chiseled foot is of the 15C, as well as a processional cross ,silver plated on wood  of the 16C.



Other places to visit are:  The birthplace of Father Gabriel Deshayes and the museum dedicated to him. He is a French priest known for his commitment to teaching, especially to the deaf. Superior of the congregations of the Montfortian and Daughters of Wisdom, second founder of the Brothers of Saint-Gabriel and founder of the Sisters of the Christian instruction of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois, of the Brothers of the Christian instruction of Ploërmel and of the Brothers farmers of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Tourist office of Beignon Gate to Broceliande on Religious things to see

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on the Church

Billio is also a town in the Morbihan Dept 56 but a bit away from the other , a change of pace. It is a  small territory, limited to the north by Guéhenno, to the west by Saint-Jean-Brévelay, to the south by Plumelec, and to the east by Cruguel. The city center is only 7 km from Saint-Jean-Brévelay, 24 from Ploërmel, and 28 from Vannes.

The history make us believe that Billio owes its origin to a small monastery, because its name was formerly Moustoir-Billiou. This establishment, perhaps ruined by the Normans, could be replaced by a small parish, at the end of the 10C or the beginning of the 11C. This parish appears to have been made at the expense of Guéhenno, and to have been put on the principle under the patronage of Saint Corentin, Bishop of Quimper. Billio appears as a separate parish in the titles of the chapter in 1387 and 1422; but before the end of the 15C it was united with Cruguel.

The Notre-Dame Church  built from 1471-1860. This church was erected to replace an ancient church dedicated to Saint Corentin and whose structure was decorated in the 17C. From this old church, there remains a carved stone giving the date of 1553. The oldest parts date from 1471. The present Church is built in 1860. The stained glass of the Virgin, dates from the 20C  representing  the Virgin surrounded by cherubs. One can admire a chalice in vermeil from the e18C  to the arms of the family of Lantivy, and two processional crosses, of the 18C also, one of them in silver.


City of Billio and Notre Dame Church

There you another wonderful ride thru the nice off the beaten paths towns of my Morbihan. We love the rides and do so every weekend, with so much to write I am always behind lol! Bear with me and you too can have an unique visit to unique places on the off the beaten path trails of my beautiful Morbihan, lovely Brittany and belle France.

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



May 18, 2019

Some news from Bretagne, XXVI

Do need to go back to my old series that I have overlook lately as busy at work and home. However, did some series on France. I will like to tell you things of my Brittany and especially as much as possible of my Morbihan dept 56. Again, this is Bretagne or we local (adopted) call it Breizh. And I live in the only department or province or state of France not in the French language! Mor=sea bihan=small so in French would have been Petite Mer or in English Small Sea, but in Breton sounds even better Morbihan!

Ok so I am doing some writings on the towns of Brittany and especially lately on the Morbihan. However, do you know what is going on around this neck of the woods? Well , plenty coming up and I would tell you here ahead of time for your planning pleasures!

Festival Les Indisciplinées. Enter the autumn to the rhythm of music… The “Les Indisciplinées” festival, dedicated to contemporary music, offers an event rich in surprises, discoveries, emotions and conviviality. See you in November 2019 for the 14th edition.

20ème édition of the Marathon, Duo de l’Hermine et Foulées du Golfe.  On Sunday OCtober 29 2019; this one some of my collegues participate and do well.  The Vannes Marathon now has one of the most beautiful running circuits in the world thanks to its route which follows the coastal paths of the Gulf of Morbihan: the most beautiful bay in the world ! Vannes offers running enthusiasts the opportunity to complete the legendary 42.195 km marathon event. Over the years, the Vannes Marathon has become an essential meeting place for all runners in France. Our mythical event confirms its ranking in the top 10 of French marathons! More here:

Semi-Marathon Auray Vannes. The big sporting event of the new school year!  Don’t miss the big sporting event of the new school year: the 45th edition of the Auray-Vannes international half-marathon. The start of the half-marathon (21,100 km) will take place at 13h in Auray. The 12th edition of the “10 km d’Arradon” will be launched at 12h15. The arrivals of the races are made on the athletics track of the Kercado stadium in Vannes. More info here:

Le Mille Sabords du Crouesty Golfe du Morbihan. See you from 31 to 3 November 2019 for our 35th edition by  Rue du Vice Amiral d’Harcourt – Port Crouesty ,56640 Arzon. The  1st boat show for second-hand boats. At Mille Sabords, you have 1000 and one opportunity to sell or buy your boat. Whether you are a windsurfer or a prestigious sailboat, a fisherman or a speedboat, discover more than 1000 models of all sizes and styles and enjoy the many activities on the theme of the sea. Good for the whole family. Free admission from 9h30 to 19h. More info here:

Catagolfe 31st edition. See you at the end of October 2019.  The Gulf of Morbihan, our magnificent playground, is still as magical as ever, combining technical passages, strong wall currents and counter-currents, wind accelerations and island related devents, not to mention the beauty and variety of sites that are available to us in quieter moments. Since the first edition in 1988, in the last century, boats and sailors have evolved and so has the Catagolfe.  We now have a specific class “flying boats”, a DIAM 24 class. While keeping its sporting and competitive side at a high level since the title of French Raid Champion will be awarded in class C1, the Catagolfe will seduce you with its friendly side. The ground team is currently developing the final touch to the festivities program. At Pointe d’Arradon 56610 Arradon next to Vannes, stay tune in webpage for more info here:

Trophée des multicoques or  Multihull trophy; The event will take place from 28 to 31 August in La Trinité-sur-Mer and is open to the Ultimes, ex Orma, multi 50 ‘, multi 2000, Diam’s 24 and Dragon fly. All will be in Quiberon Bay . At Môle Loïc Caradec 56470 La Trinité Sur Mer. More info here :

Festival de la Voile 2019  or Sailboats Festival. Every weekend on August 15th, the “Festival de la Voile” is a great opportunity to celebrate on the water, but also on land. This year will be no exception. And to respect the tradition, once again, ïle-aux-Moines has wrapped itself in multicoloured sails during three beautiful days of intensive regattas. Free of charge. At Le Port 56780 Ïle aux Moines. More info here:

Les Fêtes d’Arvor. A large gathering in Vannes dedicated to Breton cultureThe Fêtes d’Arvor, organised by the Festivities Committee, thrills the streets of Vannes on the weekend of 15 August. Shows, exhibitions, bagadoù concerts, fest-noz, parades in costumes… participate in this great gathering dedicated to Breton culture. The highlights of this event are the election of the Queen of Arvor and her dolphins as well as the sumptuous fireworks display on August 15 on the ramparts of Vannes, which closes these three days of celebrations. All over city center/downtown Vannes. More info here:

Festival Interceltique Lorient. A wonderful event indeed. Rendez-vous for the 49th edition from 2 to 11 August 2019 will be the year of Galicia (Spain). The world’s largest meeting of Celtic cultures: a festival of research, creation and encounters, open to the world. Since its creation 49 years ago, the Lorient Interceltic Festival has been promoting intercelticism: a common identity based on the diversity of cultures. Today, it has become one of the largest festivals in the world and every year a country concerned with Celtic culture is invited as a guest of honour. 50,000 artists, 260 events,  shows from tradition to rock and jazz. Ten days and ten nights of culture and celebrations with all the Celtic nations. At Rue Pierre Guergadic 56100 Lorient. More info here:

Festival Belle Ile On Air. The only event of contemporary music in Belle Ile en Mer. The Vauban citadel will vibrate to the rhythm of contemporary music. “Belle Ile On Air” is the only island event of contemporary music and is sold out every year since its creation. The festival will celebrate its 12th anniversary in 2019! It takes place in the magical setting of the Bois du Génie in Le Palais, and offers an eclectic programme. Two evenings of concerts and an afternoon of fun activities, always to music.   The objective of this festival is to surprise and introduce artists still little known to the general public, by not limiting itself to any musical style. Rising stars from the French or international scene will be present in Belle-Ile: from Afrobeat to Techno, from Hip Hop to Funk. At Bois du génie 56360 Le Palais (main town on the island). More info here:

Festival “Au pont du rock” The oldest summer festival in Brittany!. See you on August 2 and 3, 2019. It is in the small town of Malestroit (lovely look it up in my blog) that the oldest summer music festival in Brittany takes place every year at the end of July. It is part of the Breton cultural landscape as a major event in musical culture. From the alternative rock wave of the early days, to the rock of today, the Pont du Rock is an independent, open and free spirit mixing great names and young discoveries. More info here: https://www.aupontdu!

Grand Pardon de Sainte-Anne d’Auray. The largest religious pilgrimage in Brittany, and one of the top 3 in all of France.  The story of Sainte-Anne d’Auray (see my several posts on it in my blog) began in the 17C, with the apparitions of Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus, to Yves Nicolazic, the village’s pious ploughman. At the time, Sainte-Anne d’Auray was a hamlet called Ker Anna, the “village of Anne” in Breton. During an apparition, she asked him to rebuild the chapel dedicated to her in the 6C. The news spread throughout Brittany and pilgrims set off for Sainte-Anne d’Auray, giving birth to the largest pilgrimage in the region. In the 19C, the crowds were so large that the chapel became too small. To remedy this, the basilica was built between 1865 and 1872. Since then, every 26 July, the village has welcomed thousands of pilgrims for the Great Forgiveness: a unifying moment for all Christians and all Bretons, of which Sainte-Anne is the patron Saint. At  Rue de Vannes 56400 Sainte Anne d’Auray. More info here:

Les Musicales du Golfe or the Gulf musical festival, from 7/27/2019 to 8/11/2019. 8 concerts in 8 different locations punctuate the 2019 edition. Sarzeau, Vannes, Saint-Avé, Theix, Arzon, Surzur, Baden, Plougoumelen, as well as Vannes Agglo and the Morbihan County Council invite you to this musical celebration. More info here

Festival Jazz en Ville at Vannes The summer event not to be missed! Indeed very nice and great sites all over the city. The Jazz En Ville festival will return from July 22 to 27, 2019, for the 4th consecutive year! During one week, the city of Vannes invites you to free concerts, meetings with musicians, workshops/conferences, activities for audiences of all ages, concerts in the city’s clubs… Access to the animations and concerts is free of charge. At   Jardin de Limur,  56000 Vannes. More info here:

Grand Large U-Ship Tour de L’Ïle de Groix, off the city of Lorient, On 7/13/2019 . It is THE friendly regatta from mid-July to mid-July in Lorient: a fishing competition on Saturday morning with aperitif on the magnificent white sandy beach in Groix; the Tour de Groix open to ALL boats, and of course, great moments of conviviality and beautiful encounters during the crew dinner, the awards ceremony and the closing drink.At Lorient maritime terminal to the island. More info here:

Detour d’Art, something unique for all lover of history and architecture like me,do this.  Like an open-air museum, the Auray area has 1001 chapels, each one more beautiful than the next! For its 13th edition, Détour d’Art invites visitors to discover this exceptional religious heritage, at the crossroads of Breton art, history and legends! From July to mid-September, the chapels of the Auray area open their doors and exhibit their architectural masterpieces to the general public. Statues, sculptures, paintings: each religious monument contains treasures that bear witness to the religious fervour of Brittany and the know-how of its craftsmen. Chapel from the 13C to the 20C, in Romanesque or Gothic style, from the most modest to the one classified as a Historic Monument… The route runs through the open countryside and small villages such as Brec’h, which reveals the secrets of the Saint-Quirin Chapel, Notre-Dame de la Route and the Chartreuse. As a family, young and old alike will be able to discover the 4 Keys of Time, through a game of puzzles and observation, so that the visits become a huge playground! As for the artists, they will be rocked by the Celtic, Baroque or classical tunes played during the chapels in concerts, or will devote themselves to one of the many artistic workshops Croc’ta Chapelle: drawings, sculptures, pottery…More at the my local area tourist office at 20 rue du Lait, 56400 Auray. More info here:

Escales Photos : Festival du Mor Braz. Escales Photos is the only cultural event that exhibits large format photography on 6 municipalities along the Morbihan coast. we look forward to seeing you for this 7th edition from June 15th to October 31stPresent in Locmariaquer, La Trinité-sur-Mer, Plouharnel, Le Palais, Houat and Hoëdic, Escales Photos tells the story of the history, wealth and particularities of its territory and its inhabitants in the form of photographic reports hung on the walls of the houses. For the past 5 years, from mid-June to the end of October, 20 archival or commissioned photographic reports have been presented in large format. Breton, French and foreign photographers came to look at the realities of this piece of land bordered by the Gulf of Morbihan to the east and the Quiberon peninsula to the west. Every year, a beautiful place is given to photography of the past with subjects steeped in poetic humanism.   Escales Photos opens the doors of Mor Braz  (how Breton call the Big sea ) to you, so have a good trip! Free admission. 56340 Plouharnel. More info here:

Salon Littéraire Livr’à Vannes. The 12th edition of Livr’ à Vannes/Levr’e Gwened, will be held in the magnificent site of the Remparts gardens in the heart of the city of Vannes from 14 to 16 June 2019. The first generalist literary fair in Brittany is organised by the City of Vannes in partnership with the five Vannes booksellers, with famous names associated with the history of this fair, sponsored since its inception by Yann Queffelec and Irène Frain. Quality and free of charge are the main features of this major literary event, which offers an exceptional line-up of nearly 150 authors, heads of posters (Marc Lévy, Colum Mc Cann, Katherine Pancol for example in 2017), authors of Breton literature, children’s literature, but also comic strip authors and “Young Adult”, which are becoming more and more numerous. You will have the opportunity to meet the authors, participate in the many round tables and conferences during these three days. Not to be missed is the presentation of the Prix de la Ville de Vannes, the highlight of the exhibition.   So many special moments await visitors to Livr’à Vannes who are real readers, and connoisseurs. Livr’à Vannes also has a real role to play with the Vannes schoolchildren, in connection with the work of the teachers and the four media libraries of the City, with the organisation of a school day during each edition . See you in Vannes in June 2019! At Jardin des remparts 56000 Vannes. More info here:

Morbihan Paddle Trophée Ouest France. . Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June in the Gulf of Morbihan and in the Auray river. The 6th Edition of the Morbihan paddle trophy west-France in the Gulf of Morbihan. Rates: elite 50€, raiders and recreation 40€ and 25€ young (under 15 years). More info here:

La Semaine du Golfe du Morbihan . From 5/27/2019 TO 6/2/2019 An international maritime event, a cultural and popular celebration in the magical setting of the Morbihan . Large gathering of traditional boats in the Gulf of Morbihan, every 2 years, on Ascension Day. “Gulf Week” is the major maritime event for crews of classic and traditional yachting. More than a thousand traditional and classic boats divided into coherent and identifiable fleets, which sail every day and vary their calls between ports and anchorages. The result: a “bursting” maritime festival that animates the entire Gulf of Morbihan. It is the particular geography and physical specificities of this  “small sea” with its islands and islets, the narrow gully that separates and protects it from the high seas, the tidal spills, the lapping, the currents and counter-currents that determine and punctuate the entire nautical programme of the event. The Grande Parade, which closes each edition and will turn the great channel into the setting for a grandiose maritime show. This year the guests of honor are: Venetia and Norway.  Main point at Le Port, Vannes. More info here:

Grand Prix du Crouesty. From 6/7/2019 TO 6/10/2019. Organised by the Yacht Club du Crouesty – Arzon, the Grand Prix du Crouesty is the essential sailing competition that closes the Atlantic Trophy and the Brittany Championship every Whitsunday weekend. The races are visible from all the panoramic viewpoints of the Bay of Quiberon. Rue du Vice Amiral d’Harcourt – Port du Crouesty Capitainerie du Crouesty 56640 Arzon. More info here:

Fête de la Bretagne or Festival of Brittany. Come and experience the Breton spirit from May 17 to 26! 2019. Driven by the pleasure of gathering, celebrating and discovering the region and its talents, the Fête de la Bretagne is a unique family event that brings together several hundred thousand people each year, from Brittany, France and around the world. Through an eclectic but accessible programme, these 10 days of celebration offer you a concentration of Breton singularities, around creation, sharing and above all conviviality. And in order to be open to as many people as possible, many of the programming events are free. Around Vannes; more info here:

L’art dans les chapelles or the Art of the Chapels.  Like a painting by a master placed in the heart of the Pontivy area, “L’art dans les chapelles” presents works by twenty contemporary artists every summer in outstanding religious buildings. The theme for this, the 25th year, is art and sharing. From 8 July to 18 September, twenty contemporary artists are exhibiting their works in 15-16C chapels in Pontivy. With its combination of protected countryside and cultural heritage, “L’Art dans les Chapelles” is a hymn to contemporary creation. At each halt, a guide welcomes visitors and tells them the story of the chapels and the works. At 6 quai Plessis 56300 Pontivy. More info here:

Des peintres entre terre et mer – Du Faouët à Concarneau  or of painters between sea and land from Faouët to Concarneau. Up To 10/6/2019. The diversity of Brittany, a land of inspiration for many artists in the 19-20C, is still unknown to this day by many of us. Through this exhibition, you will discover the interest shown by some painters both inland and along the coast. The proposed trip from Faouët to Concarneau will be marked by several stops passing through Scaër and Rosporden, or Bannalec and Pont-Aven, but also through Quimperlé before going along the south coast and reaching the city of Ville-Close (Concarneau).  The exhibition will highlight the artists’ artistic and ethnographic view of these people of the sea and land and their world through the seascapes and rural landscapes, as well as the scenes of collective life, animated on festive and market days, or the more intimate scenes of life in the marine and peasant interiors, not to mention the work of their daily lives. Bringing together numerous works from public and private collections, this presentation will also include several paintings from the Faouët Museum’s permanent collection and will be accompanied by a richly documented and illustrated catalogue. 1 rue de Quimper Musée 56320 Le Faouët. More info here:

Expositions du printemps au Domaine de Kerguéhennec.  (see my previous post on the domaine)Or Spring expositions at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec up to 6/2/2019.  The artistic programme of the Domaine de Kerguéhennec focuses on the dialogue between art, architecture and landscape. The link between heritage and creation is at the heart of the cultural project. The artistic and cultural programme takes into account the variety of exhibition spaces and invites visitors to move around the different areas of the estate: the open space of the former stables, ideal for the display of monumental works and installations; the enclosed and intimate space of the sheepfold, for the Tal Coat collection; the quality of the volumes and light of the rooms on the first floor of the château, which encourages visitors to stroll and discover painting. The Domaine offers, simultaneously, two or three exhibitions of contemporary art, monographic and thematic. Two housing workshops are available for artists in residence. Six artists are welcomed each year. The works produced in this context are then presented at the Domaine or in other venues in the department. 56500 Bignan. More info here:

And last but not least;  Côtes & Nature. More than 250 free nature outings. Up to 12/31/2019. The Morbihan Department has more than 3,500 hectares of sensitive natural areas, sites that are characterized by remarkable fauna and flora. These are fragile sites, which the Department preserves, studies and maintains. “Coasts & Nature” is the opportunity to come and observe this remarkable natural heritage more closely! More info here:

There you go folks, now cannot tell me I didn’t told you so! Plenty to do in the countryside of my beautiful Morbihan and lovely Brittany in my belle France, a movable feast on its own! Enjoy them if you can, they are all worth it and recommended by yours truly.

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








May 18, 2019

Colpo and Elven in the Morbihan!

Moving right along in my beautiful Morbihan, let me continue telling you of the wonders near me that needs to be known more and hopefully visited. The two towns will be on this posts are in opposite ends of the department. One is nearer Vannes and my job at the town of Elven, and the other is near my home at imperial Colpo. Let me tell you a bit on these for now and hope you enjoy it as we do.

Niece and goddaughter of Emperor Napoleon I, Princess Napoleon Elisa Baciocchi at the instigation of the Emperor Napoleon III, in 1857, made a trip to Brittany and acquired the following year a vast estate of 300 hectares, covered in large part by heathlands and populated by beggars. She built a residence in Korn-er-Houët and decided to make Colpo a new administrative and religious constituency from territories taken from Saint Jean Brévelay, Bignan and Grand-Champ. Pushing the objections and oppositions, she obtained, in 1864, the creation of a new town and in 1866, that of a new parish. She financed the construction of a city/town hall, a church, a presbytery, a school, a rescue house, several dwellings, thus making a village appear on a avenue planted with lime trees. In the center stood a column receiving a statue of the emperor. And starting in june 1866, the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, finishing it in December 1867. Princess Baciocchi died on 3 February 1869 in Colpo, where her funeral was celebrated with the utmost solemnity. After a temporary burial, her body was deposited, on February 3, 1870, in a tomb that occupies a chapel of the Church where she used to attend the Mass.

The Church of Notre Dame de L’Assomption is dedicated to the Assumption of Notre Dame. Her high silhouette closes the prospect, at the bottom of the avenue. In front of the nave stands the steeple-porch, at the bottom of which the gate fits into a triangular gable fore body supported by twin columns of dark granite with white stone marquee. Three concentric are resting on the legs, and in the tympanum, a Madonna and Child, wrapped in a mandolin, receives the worship of two Angels kneeling. Laterally, two small engaged turrets contain the baptistery and the other a staircase. Higher up, the tower rises in two stages: that of the clock and that of the belfry, confined with corner columns and pierced by high arched windows. The polygonal arrow is in the middle of four pinnacles, loaded with narrow openings under gable and holes of four-leaf bays. Long arched stained glass windows are in the five bays of the nave, while in the north and south, large, semicircular berries illuminate the protruding wings of the transept. The choir extends, at a lower level, into a five-sided apse whose windows, each topped with a small triangular gable, draw a half-crown. Only the stained glass windows of the middle of the apse are depicted by a crucifixion and images of St. Charles Borromée and St. Augustine. The baptismal basin is adorned with roses and near the main gate, there is a rich, polychrome marble cowl.

The most original piece of furniture is the mausoleum of the Princess Baciocchi who fills a southern chapel. It is a powerful granite cenotaph, shaped like a pyramid trunk, sitting on a rectangular base adorned with antefixes at the top angles. On the anterior side there is an eagle with half-stretched wings and a drapery topped by the Imperial Crown and tied with ribbons, on which the Princess’s lozenge crest is read.

Its remains lie at the foot of the western wall of the chapel where the wall carries a marble cross with the inscription “HIS Ego sum resurrectia and Vita ” (I am the resurrection and the life). The window still displays her arms. This monument is perhaps the last reflection of the imperial power and glory that would sink into the disaster of 1870. Also the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption remains dear to the Napoleonic remembrance and received, in 1976, the visit of the Prince and Princess Napoleon (heirs future Napoleon V).



City of Colpo on its history and heritage

City of Colpo on its Napoleonic heritage

Tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on Colpo

On the route of the Dukes of Brittany, Elven has a magnificent testimony of medieval history: its fortress of Largoët, elevated from the 13C to the 16C, in a beautiful wooded setting. Residence of the Lords of Largoët, it was inhabited by Duke Jean IV de Rieux, guardian of the Duchess Anne of Brittany. Its tumultuous past, particularly during the War of the Succession of Brittany and its abandonment from the 17C, however, partially led to ruin. Nevertheless, you will be surprised by its monumental octagonal dungeon   15C, forty four metres high. It’s the highest in France! Its walls could reach up to 11 meters thick. In addition there is also a beautiful round tower of the same time. The curtains and the remains of the Châtelet complement this remarkable ensemble.


The Church of Saint-Alban, of Elven is dedicated to Alban de Verulamium, the patron Saint of the city. The Normans destroyed by fire the first wooden church. In 1121, a Romanesque church was rebuilt, again destroyed by a fire in 1525. A church of Gothic style was elevated, of which only today the Romanesque Choir remains. In 1536 is built a neo-Gothic nave and then, in 1642, a bell tower. In the 19C, the work suffering from the time was renovated, the nave and the transept were rebuilt. The bell tower is completed in 1877 and the Church will be consecrated in 1879.


The new modern Church of Saint Alban having kept the apse of the old building. Inside, very ornate sandpits with leaves and figures. Two floors of sculptures in high reliefs separated by a moulding. On the lower floor, chimeras supporting ecus; foliage with human heads; garlands of foliage and fruit; birds. On the upper floor, and advancing like on a balcony, curly hair Angels seen from the front and half-body, holding unarmoured ecus; various characters, half-body, in Renaissance costumes, in various attitudes, forming as a gallery of French Renaissance portraits. The Church of St. Alban, rebuilt in the 17C and 19C.


City of Elven on religious heritage

And there you go two more town with nice things to see for a weekend getaway. Need to tell you we suplly our house Breton ciders from a traditional cidrerie in Colpo not far from us, welcome to try when stopping by ::)

You have Colpo and Elven in the Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Brittany and my belle France. Enjoy the visit and reading. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


May 18, 2019

Damgan, and Ploemel of Morbihan!

And after a brieft detour, back to my trail of Brittany! The third most visited region of the most visited country in the world, France! Let me take you to the coast again in my lovely Morbihan dept 56.

I will again pick two towns with lovely beaches and give you the other side of the coins on its prettiest monuments I like. These are the coastal towns of Damgan, and Ploemel.

Damgan is mentioned for the first time with Kervoyal and Pénerf in an act of 1261. This is a donation by Barthélémy of Questembert to the Abbey of Priéres. From the 15C to the 18C, the sailors of the Pénerf River were specialised in trade. During the 16C, Pénerf was the fourth Breton port with a wine, wheat and salt trade. The 18C is that of the Salt farms that disappear from the river at the beginning of the 20C. Damgan was erected in the town in 1820. In fact, in 1820, Damgan, Kervoyal and Pénerf detached themselves from Ambon to create the new parish of Damgan.

It is also part of the 12 communes of the agglomeration Arc Sud Bretagne and the district of Vannes.   After having been for a long time an important place of transit of goods with the port of Pénerf, the town becomes in the first half of the 20C a seaside resort and finds in the tourist activity a new economic breath. Damgan is a peninsula located between the peninsula of Rhuys and the estuary of the Vilaine river. To the west, the Pénerf river marks the boundary of the town, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the town of Ambon to the north and to the east. Damgan has almost 8 km of beach, including the great Damgan beach, (Grand Plage) and the Kervoyal beach. Great beaches indeed.

The Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle built between 1840-1844, in Neo-Romanesque style and built on the site of an ancient chapel dedicated to Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle and dating from the 17C. The latter had become a parish church in 1820. It has a square topped with a granite bell tower. It is in the shape of a Latin cross. Significant work was carried out in 1954 to consolidate parts of the church that threatened to collapse.



Tourist office of Damgan on passing a day there

City of Damgan on tourist office

Too bad the town is very much into the beaches and less info on the heritage monuments at Damgan.

The town of Ploemel comes from Breton meaning “parish of the Chief “. It is also called a “village with ten chapels”, in fact 11 of which 6 were destroyed. The parish church is built parallel to the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Recouvrance(see below). It is at Rue Pen en Tour, in Ploemel. The St André Church was built in 1836 with the stones of St Goal and St Michel Chapels in lieu of the former 17C church, which was severely damaged during the French revolution. The Church is shaped like a Latin cross, extended to the east by a sacristy. The nave of a ship comprises 4 bays, with a belltower-porch which dates only from 1847. The altarpiece-wood dates from the 19C. The central painting, which represents a Resurrection done in 1859, has recently been restored in 2006. It is overcome by a depiction of the eternal Father, and the lateral niches are home to statues of St. Andrew and St. Isidore.  The north side altar is dedicated to St Sebastian and shows a picture of his martyrdom. The stained glass windows are modern and the organ was only installed in 1965.

City of Ploemel on the Church of St Andre



La Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Recouvrance was built circa 1560-1563. From a rectangular plan, it was built in the town of Ploemel in the middle of the 16C .On the western sprocket stands a square turret with a slate-finished bell tower, completed in 1563. The exterior decoration, still flamboyant, with its doors in basket-loop inscribed in braces between pilasters with pinnacles, is very rich, especially in the western portal and at the bedside, whose window contains some fragments of older stained glass windows. The western gate dated from the 1560’s in a basket-handle is decorated with a brace that supports two figures, a dog and a man with the man having the head between his legs. A bench of exterior stone, accompanied by a thick moulted headband, makes the tour of the building. The Chapel is covered with a frame with crocodile heads, with inscription on the sand pits. In the choir are a pool and a Eucharistic wardrobe with flamboyant decoration. The murals date from the 17C.

Ploemel Chap ND de la Recouvrance front

Placed under the term of Notre-Dame de Recouvrance, this Sanctuary is dedicated to sailors. The chapel was a place of pilgrimage for mothers and women of sailors without news of their absent. On the day of forgiveness, the custom wanted them to throw pieces of bread into the fountain. If the bread flowed, the sailor and his boat were lost. In the 1980’s, mural paintings of the 16-17C were discovered beneath the layers of lime. The most recent illustrate scenes of Christ’s passion. As part of the Detour d’Art you can inquire at the Tourist Office of Auray or the City /town Hall of Ploëmel to know the days and opening hours. Presence of a professional guide, at opening hours is a must. More info at official site here: Detour d’Art

City of Ploemel on the Chapelle


And now you have another nice ride along pretty coastal beach towns and interesting monuments to visit as well, fun for the whole family. This is Damgan and Ploemel in my lovely Morbihan

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



May 17, 2019

Church of Sainte Catherine, Honfleur!

Ok so coming in to my latest rounds in my beloved city of Honfleur, in the Calvados dept 14 of the region of Normandy. I have written so much on this city in my blog over the years, and even sometimes repeated but to me its all worth it. If you have read my blog…

Coming to see once again the Church of Sainte Catherine by the old basin or port of Honfleur is always gratifying. It offers a unique architectural experience and loving history of the locals, hard earned traditions and just a positive feeling all around it.  I hope I can show this one and you too can come and experience it. My belle France has an ever lasting inventory of gems some known ,most not, but all exquisite.


The Sainte-Catherine Church has the particularity, very rare in France, to be built essentially of wood. The Church is located near the old basin (Vieux Bassin) , just behind the Quai Sainte-Catherine. It is the largest Church built in wood with a bell-tower separated from it in France. This choice of material is due to the lack of resources of the inhabitants of the time. But with a drawback, the local Honfleurais were able to make it an asset. With their knowledge of shipbuilding, they built the Church, with two separate naves, in the manner of a ship, with the help of wood from the forest of Touques. The result is breathtaking. Not to be missed.


The Church is dedicated to Ste. Catherine of Alexandria as recalled by a wooden sculpture above the porch of the bell-tower separated from the two naves. She is depicted wearing a wheel and a sword. The first nave (the one on the left) is the oldest part of the building, dating back to the second half of the 15C, built after the hundred years war. It was built on the model of a market hall, where shipbuilding elements were used, giving the appearance of a overturned boat hull. Then, the bell tower was erected at a good distance from the nave, to prevent the parishioners present in the church from being burned in the event of a fire. In the 16C, a second nave was added to the right of the previous one, the vault of which conformed to the wooden vaults of the modest Gothic churches. It therefore has a more rounded shape and a structural layout, unrelated to the structure of a ship. In addition, the two naves are lengthwise by two additional spans. In addition, they are framed by the same length aisles, also wooden vaulted. It is the largest Church built in wood with a bell-tower separated from it in  France.



The Ste Catherine Church is partially covered with chestnut-wood shingles, which are called dialectally shingles and thus constitute weatherboarding The neo-Norman porch was built on the model of those of the rural churches of Normandy at the beginning of the 20C and replaces a monumental portal in neo-classical  style in the previous century and which can be seen depicted on some canvases of Jongkind or Boudin. The southern portal is Renaissance style.


Note the classical organ from the parish of Saint Vincent de Rouen and the Renaissance balcony adorned with musicians. 19C stained glass Windows decorate the window of the choir to the east. The Church of Sainte Catherine  is devoid of transept and the aisles of chapels that are only materialized by recent statues of Holy characters including the indigenous Saint Marcouf and St. Teresa of Lisieux.



A sight to behold and a must to see while in Honfleur, enough said; plenty written all over my blog. Hope you can see and enjoy it as we do. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Honfleur on the Church

Tourist office of dept 14 Calvados on the Church

Tourist office of Normandy on the Church

And there you go another gem I said, a must to see ,I said. Enough said me think , now its up to you. Enjoy Honfleur , my beloved dear city in Calvados in Normandy in my belle France. Until my next round on Honfleur!

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

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May 17, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXX

And back at you as the weather turns and France reawakens ,even if a bit cloudy we have a nice 16C  or about 62F in my neck of the woods and Paris has 64F and sunnier! I have to tell you more because France always has more. So my latest favorites of the many are to follow below.

This American of Chinese origin has made many monuments around the world. In 1983, he won the Pritzker Prize, the “Nobel of Architecture”. The architect Leoh Ming Pei, renowned in France for being at the origin of the Louvre pyramid, inaugurated in 1989. He has died at the age of 102 years. He is the son of the American artist, born in China in 1917, who announced the news to the New York Times. Some of his work were the Dallas City Hall, Cleveland’s Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame or the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. He, also built the East façade of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., more recently, he was also asked by Qatar to designl the Islamic Art Museum in Doha. RIP

Just after the fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the amount of donations, fueled in particular by the announcements of the great fortunes and companies of our country, was valued at one billion euros. But for the time being, this astronomical sum is far from being reached. According to our own count (Le Parisien newspaper) of the four collecting agencies selected by the State, 71 million euros have, to date, been casted on the half-billion that was directly promised to them. In detail, the Heritage Foundation is still awaiting the payment of 170 million euros, the Fondation Notre-Dame 300 million euros, the Fondation de France 20 million euros and the Center for National Monuments, 1 million euros.  Firstly because we do not know the budget necessary for the reconstruction, the expertise is coming to begin. Secondly,because most of the donations have not yet materialize.  Agreements will be signed between the Associations and the families Pinault and Arnault, who respectively promised 100 and 200 million euros. Payments will be made as the project progresses, many communities, which have not yet unlocked the promised appropriations, should do so in the coming weeks. Some mayors have still made a backhand retreat facing the sling of administrations preferring to give a boost to the the local buildings threatening ruin. From Le Parisien newspaper . Notre Dame Cathedral webpage here:

At the Church of St. Paul and St Louis  4éme, the three large 17C stained glass windows that frame the altar of the Virgin were removed this week., and transported for restoration to the workshops in Tusson (Charente). So, the two large bays on both sides of the statue as well as the oculus of the upper part, protected by a kind of Plexiglas, let pass a white light that will illuminate the choir until September when the stained glass windows will be restored. As the Church has 49 stained glass windows and the donations allow to renovate two to three a year, the whole work will take about fifteen years. The first two were restored in the Choir Chapel in 2018. The Church parish is here:

175 patronyms will be added on the wall of the names of the 76 000 Jews deported from France. 1 823 names, 1 097 first name and 1 498 dates of birth will also be changed. Fourteen years after its inauguration by President Jacques Chirac and Simone Veil, herself a survivor of Auschwitz, the wall of the names of the 76 000 Jews deported from France (including 11 400 children), erected in the courtyard of the Holocaust Memorial (4éme), will be fully demolished and replaced by a new one, also with stones from Jerusalem . The construction site began at the beginning of the past week and will be completed by January 27  2020 for the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Soviet army in the Auschwitz camp. Formed from the archives of the Gestapo anti-Jewish service recovered in August 1944, the lists of the names of men, women and children sent to the death camps were not free of errors: some for example, could be arrested under false patronyms (alais names of resistance or Frenchized…) .That’s why the spelling of 1 823 names and 1 097 first name is going to be changed. 1 498 dates of birth will be added or modified, and 175 names of deportees found through departmental archives or family intervention will be added. The Memorial of the Shoah  is at 17, rue Geoffroy l’Asnier , 4éme. Open every day, except Saturday, from 10h to 18h, until 22h on Thursdays. Free admission. More info here :

The elected folks  of the depts Yvelines 78, Hauts-de-Seine 92 ,and Val-d’Oise 95, as well as those of Calvados 14, Eure 27, and Seine-Maritime 76  are determined to put the Seine on the front of the  tourist scene. Of the 350 km separating Le Havre from Paris, there are only twenty-five Seine river stops. The reception and the information to the tourists must be improved thanks to the trails and, why not, local guides. The banks of the Seine must be animated, brought to light as is the case in the Hauts-de-Seine. The river must also become useful again. In Mantes-la-Jolie, the barge of the Boucanier offers an original concept of floating restaurant popular especially in summer ( I attest to that very nice ambiance). In Bennecourt, a little further downstream, a lover of the Seine had the good idea to launch a floating cottage. This water camper can be rented by individuals or promoters.  In Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, the Seine is put forward every year by perpetuating the national pardon of the batellerie, (river boat building, a nice place indeed with a museum) a ceremony that is both commemorative and religious. Not to mention the Guinguettes that return to the taste of the day or the Seine docks made to pedestrians, as has been the case in Sartrouville since the beginning of the May’19. More info on the Fluvial Seine on the magazine Fluvial webpage here:

Info on tourism in the  Seine estuary in French:

In the evening, come to the castle for a Cine-Bal. The TAM dance company will initially offer a playlist of music films. Then a dozen film-danced sequences will be broadcasted on a giant screen. On the Parvis of the City/Town Hall, farandole of associations this coming Saturday from 14h,  and spring market on Saturday from 10h to 22h, and Sunday from 10h to 18h. At the Castle, night of the museums Saturday from 20h to midnight. Free, more information at tel +33 (0) and  City of Champs-sur-Marne (77) page here:

In it find a pdf file in French with all activities and a map!

Pierre-Paul Heckly’s collections auctioned this coming weekend by an auctioneer from Fontainebleau, Seine-et-Marne dept 77. Pierre-Paul Heckly was an architect and navigator located in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines dept 78). He died in 2018, and left behind a real Ali Baba Cave. Tens of thousands of objects, fruits of 60 years of discoveries, according to his multiple passions; bronzes, paintings, prints, crystal, silverware, furniture., etc. In the House, not a square cm or inch that does not carry or support a work. Upstairs, erotic drawings, a collection on the theme of marine anchors, an empire bed or the collection of almanacs Vermot (some dating back to the 1920’s). Close to these pieces of choice, drawings of unknown artists and trinkets caught in flea markets or souvenir shops, like this showcase that is brimming with objects on the theme of the scallops, of a perfect bad taste. But also hundreds of boxes of sardines, full and carefully listed. Or dozens of meters of shelves filled with glasses and beer mugs from all over the world. the most striking collection remains that of advertising lighters, it has 28 000 in its collection. The incredible collection of Pierre-Paul Heckly, is on sale Saturday and Sunday May 18-19  at the Auctions House Osenat  located at 9-11, rue Royale,Fontainebleau. Information and registration via the website .

Last night, according to reports in the Le Parisien newspaper ,  the final project of the renovation of the Gare du Nord was unveiled. A green roof, sports fields, bicycle parking…Its new face totally amazing!  For the busiest train station in Europe. The work of the big work will  end in 2022, without consequences on the movement of trains. A second stage will begin in March 2023 for the upper floors and the impressive 11 000 m2 park. The ambitious idea of making the Gare du Nord the showcase of the French art of living (mais ouii). The giant rooftop terrace of 7700 m2 originally planned for 11 000 m2, and its lawns and garden.  Also, apart from children’s games, you can find rest areas, different cafés and many benches for a chilling moment. The rooftop terrace will also offer a range of equipment for sportsmen, at affordable prices: Padel (small tennis), basketball courts, as well as a trail of 1 km long and 50 m of elevation where to spend in the open air after a large day. 2000 bike places will be available in the secure parking lot, it will even have the possibility to have it repaired, to drop the equipment in lockers or to take a shower after a long journey. A space of 45 000 m2 will offer many shops, cafés and restaurants but also local shops and a range of surprising services such as a medical practice, a co-working space or a library. The project includes a lounge area with a waiting zone for Thalys travelers as well as a more extensive duty free area for Eurostar travelers. Official Gare du Nord SNCF:

A simple local guide to the Gare du Nord in French:

From 1960 to 1980, musical currents crossed the channel, transforming Paris and London into multicultural capitals. The “Paris-London exhibition: Music migrations 1962-1989” at the Museum of the History of Immigration  proposes to explore the music that has moved the previous generation. One learns how several generations of immigrants, in these two former colonial powers, have seized the music to make their rights heard, claiming their place in public space and contributing to the transformations from the economic and cultural times of both countries. Shows, performances, concerts, screenings and encounters will enrich this magnificent Expo. You will be transported by pieces of reggae-punk, ska, R&B, Rachid Taha punk, electro-rap, rock Etc. Palais de la Porte Dorée,  Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration,  293, avenue Daumesnil 12éme Paris. More info here:

Now let’s finish with a bang and dance away in the nights of Paris for the young at heart.

It is not a grocery store but a bar located in the 11éme arrondissement. L’Alimentation Générale or L’ali-gé  for the intimate locals. It’s a rather chill atmosphere: you can have a drink with your buddies in the early evening and then sweat until the end of the night to the sound of concerts and DJ sets. At 64, rue Jean-Pierre-Timbaud 11éme Metro Parmentier, Couronnes, or Goncourt.  Open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 19h to 02h, and Fridays and Saturdays from 19h  to 05h!.More info here:

A real institution in the Belleville neighborhood, the Café Chéri (e) changes at the very end of the weekend. Exit the regulars who come to take their coffee, from 22h to 02h, the DJ’s raise the temperature of this room to the red neon: electro, rock or even jazz, the Café Chéri (e) always makes you happy. 44, Boulevard de la Villette,19éme. Metro Belleville. Open every day from noon to 02h. More info here:

Located a few steps from the Grands Boulevards, the B58 is a bar that wants to mingle culture and fiesta. Expos, stags evenings, the bar has the reputation of being a festive place where you drink well, and not too expensive! The small plus: the B58 can be privatized. At 58, rue richer ,9éme. From Tuesday to Saturday from 18H to 02h . More info here:

The party animal that is in you must definitely test the Favela Chic. Known to locals, this tropical-like bar will make you dance until the end of the night! You can even enjoy in the first part of the evening of friendly concerts. At 18, rue du Faubourg-du-Temple ,11éme. Metro République. Open from 19h30 to 02h  from Tuesday to Thursday and until 04h30 on Fridays and Saturdays. A real ambiance assure! More info in their Facebook page here :

Located right in the heart of the Villette, this property is completely hybrid. A la folie its a restaurant, bar, guinguette and club, this is the kind of spot where you can spend a whole day. Outside, deckchairs to chilled  and inside a bar quite sympathetic to the colorful and urban décor of Parc de la Villette, 26, Avenue Corentin-Cariou 19éme Metro Corentin Cariou. Open Monday to Thursday from 12h to midnight and until 02h on weekends. More info here:

You who have a bad image of the neighborhood  of Saint-Michel and its tourist bars(indeed), be attentive and do not miss the Le Cavern Club. Not only because its prices are unbeatable in view of the neighborhood  with 3,50€ cocktails during Happy Hour! (mais ouii), but also because the music is cool. And the little thing in addition: a hidden staircase that leads to a huge vaulted cellar with a second bar. In terms of music, Electro-House enthusiasts should be delighted.  At 21, rue Dauphine, 6éme. Métro Saint-Michel. Open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 18h to 02h, and until 06h on weekends. More info here:.

And they you go be ready for the end of Spring and Summer in France sublime, this is the best time to be here except maybe October and December.  Enjoy it fully as we do. France is a movable feast!.

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



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May 17, 2019

The Lieutenance of Honfleur!

To continue the saga of my beloved city of Honfleur , and its many sights and views of glory , I now take you to the a emblematic building of the city, this is the Lieutenance. And as the name implies it was the home of the Lieutenant of the King!

You cannot come to Honfleur without seeing it visited it and enjoyed it all by the old basin or vieux basin or port. Glorious basking in Honfleur, the city of seamen. I like to tell you a bit more on it as did bits and pieces in my previous posts.

The Lieutenance or lieutenancy of Honfleur is located near the old basin. Last vestige of the fortifications of Honfleur, the building was the dwelling of the King’s Lieutenant. In 1662, the lieutenancy is one of the two gates of Honfleur. Called the Porte de Caen, it will be one of the only accesses from 1682 after the destruction of the Porte de Rouen in 1682. From 1684, the building officially took the name Lieutenance after the creation of the King’s lieutenant’s apartments. of the old basin, the lieutenancy is the last bastion of the medieval Honfleur, last vestige of the ramparts, dismantled at the end of the 17C by order of Colbert. The lieutenancy, as we see it nowadays, is the result of many renovations over the centuries.



Two buildings are to be distinguished in the lieutenancy, first the basement, made of stone, built around a corridor, is what remains of the enclosure. Above, the brick and stone buildings, built in the 17C, housed the apartments of the King’s Lieutenant from which it got its name. The very first ramparts of the city of Honfleur were erected in the 13C, around the so-called paddock. Around 1350, Charles V built a veritable fortress surrounding a harbour stranding haven, as well as the city. Beyond the outskirts lie the suburbs. The enclosure consisted of powerful walls. Two doors opened on the outside: the Porte de Rouen gate and the Porte de Caen , in other words the lieutenancy. The most westerly part of the gate was redone, the present façade dating from the 16C.



in front of the lieutenancy stood the Tour Carre or square tower. As in La Rochelle, chains stretched between these two towers closed the entrance to the port. The square tower was demolished in 1808. The presence of a building is attested as early as the 11C, a time when Honfleur was not yet fortified. It was profoundly reengineered between the 16-17C. Drowned in the middle of the fortifications, this city gate dates from the beginning of the 18C. Following a donation of Queen Anne of Austria, the gate receives in 1643 a niche with a statue of the Virgin, Notre Dame du Port it will be partially destroyed at the end of the 18C, it would regain its place in 1863. And the SNSM boat of many memories of mine bears the name of the Virgin.


A plaque in memory of Samuel de Champlain, Navigator who explored Canada and founded the city of Quebec from Honfleur in 1608, is affixed to the sSouth façade of the Lieutenance building.

Some webpages as usual for more information to follow

City of Honfleur n the Lieutenance

Tourist office of Honfleur on the LIeutenance

And there you go another gem in my beloved Honfleur, the world comes to it and we do each time in the city; the Lieutenance , remember the name as in lieutenant. Enjoy it

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






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May 16, 2019

Côte de Grâce at Equemauville!

Most folks or I would dare say all who come to this part of Normandy think they are in Honfleur when visiting this place. Actually it is in the town of Equemauville high on the hill. Or the Hill or Plateau of Grace in Equemauville up the road from the vieux bassin or old basin of Honfleur. It is a special place for us and have been coming here since 1992. Oh yes this is still the Calvados dept 14 of the region of Normandy.

The plateau is magical with what you have here as well as the wonderful views over the valley and statuaire of the Seine river. The Notre Dame Chapel, the Mont Joli, the Cross, the pavillion , and the views are superb! Of course, I have written plenty on them but never enough for this magical place.

Equemauville was born in 1023 when the Viking Scamel failed the booty. It baptized the plateau above the beach Scamelvilla. This plateau was a Gallic camp, and a Roman camp as well. They even found carved stones dating from the Paleolithic era..

The plateau of Grace offers a complete panorama on the Normandy coast. Here is what the magical and secret Côte de Grâce offers you! From Honfleur, visitors will join the city of Equemauville, in the heart of the plateau de Grâce. Relaxing walk and rewarding discovery for visitors who will visit an ancient Sanctuary of the region: the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce or Chapel of Our Lady of Grace. It was founded by Richard II, Duke of Normandy in 1023 to fulfill a vow made during a storm in which he had almost perish. The current Chapel was built between 1600 and 1615 by the bourgeois and sailors of Honfleur. The Chapel is a place of recollection for many pilgrims and also and above all a space of hope according to the legend and worship of Notre Dame. Many faithful come to deposit for centuries offerings such as statuettes, plaques and model boats in gratitude to God. Their numbers today is impressive. The place coveted and visited by famous personnages such as Pierre Berthelot, king Louis XIII Napoléon Bonaparte, and Thérèse of Lisieux. The Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce is today for the plenitude that reigns there. On the outside you can see the bells of pilgrimages.




Right in front of the Notre Dame De Grâce Chapel you have a Fisherman prayer chapel where a priest makes Mass on special ocassions such as when the Festival of Marines or Fête des Marins which we have attended in previous years. There is, also, an impressive Christ Cross overlooking the city of Honfleur below and the bay across is Le Havre.



Mont Joli is a magnificent viewpoint which deserves a small detour. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire city, below, with its typical Norman-architecture houses, as well as the remarkable Tancarville Bridge, built in the mid-1950’s. The Normandy Bridgeand the mouth of the Seine river. As well as the city of Le Havre and its ports. From the hill, a nice little road goes down to Honfleur and you can thus return to the city on foot via a pleasant walk. Well it is steep hilly not my cup of tea so I have not done this but is available!


Another interesting building here is the Louis-Philippe Pavilion, it is a charming house where King Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie took refuge after the revolution of 1848 , known as the February revolution, (the third French revolution! )while waiting to take the boat to go into exile in England. It seems I always missed the picture on this one right next to the entrance to Mont Joli!

It is a pieceful place with great views nice walks if you dare on hilly terrain, but nice. The place was great for our dog Rex as well! Hope you enjoy this special part of Equemauville (as in Honfleur ::))

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Honfleur on cote de grace

Tourist office of dept 14 Calvados on the chapel

Tourist office of Normandy on the chapel

There you go another wonderful spot in Honfleur and surrounding hills. A wonderful family trip, very educational on the history of the region, Normandy and France. Hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.

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

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May 16, 2019

The SNSM at Honfleur!

Ok so this should be hard but need to post it and keep as memory of always in my family. if you read my blog you have come to notice we are DNA of island folks both in America and Europe, and we love the sea. I was born with the sea as my patio and have lived near or on it all my life with the exception of the time in Madrid… Honfleur is special for me in more ways than tourism.

With the first anniversay of my dear late wife Martine passing due to cancer, I like to once again take the task to write something about it as she loved coming here too. And the boat rides were a must of course. A lot better than on a lifeboat as I had to do twice. Anyway, this is the story of the SNSM or Société National de Sauvetages en Mer or something like the National Society of Rescues at Sea.


First class rescue (vedette) star SNS 131 Notre-Dame-du-Port is the boat at Honfleur. Very emotional for me to pass by it as it took the ashes of my mother and wife out to sea burial in 2007 and 2018. Of course, I am a donor since 2007, and the folks at the station of Honfleur are great folks all volunteers ex fisherman, marines, navy etc who does an admirable jobs protecting lives and helping those in deuil. Chapeau!!!

SNSM station at Honfleur

Sea tides at Honfleur page


These boats are first-class Star (vedettes) (V1) are unsinkable and self-right able, allowing it to sail away from the coasts and under extreme conditions. It has an average of 2 diesel engines of 330 HP allowing it to reach the speed of 25 knots. They have length in meters: from 13.3 to 16; Width in meters: from 4 to 4.6; Draught in meters: from 1.15 to 1.35; Displacements in tons: from 12 to 20;; Knot speed: 15 to 26;; Motor power in CH: from 225 to 500; The star V1 costs about 800 000 € for a lifespan of 30 years. This lifetime allows this investment to be recover in the long term.


Today, the SNSM has 41 all-weather canoes (CTT), 31 1st class vedettes (V1), 69 2nd class (V2), 4 3rd class (V3), 400 pneumatic, 60 semi-rigid and Jet Ski. In 2018, were delivered a new generation V1 NG for Bandol and Nouméa. The new all-weather canoes recently emerged for the Ile de Sein, Les Sables D’Olonne and Sète. Part of the fleet will be renewed in the coming years because of the end of life of a part of the canoes and the vedettes.


The SNSM rescue boats are located on 218 stations along the metropolitan and overseas coasts and operate under the authority and at the request of the regional operational surveillance and rescue centres (CROSS) which in France are the centers of emergency coordination at sea and which depend on the direction of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

A bit of history I like

A British-majority aristocratic committee established the first rescue company in Boulogne-sur-Mer, under the name “Human Society of the Shipwrecks”. Then, were created the human societies of Dunkerque, Calais, Rouen and Bayonne in 1834, of Dieppe in 1839, and finally Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1841. The beginning of centralization was only apparent in France in 1865, when the Central Shipwreck Rescue Society (SCSN) was founded under the chairmanship of Admiral de Genouilly. As a result of the WWII, everything was to be rebuilt, with most of the shelters and nautical means of the SCSN and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB) being destroyed. The two companies with similar goals can no longer meet the needs of the entire French coastline, particularly because of the developing sea crafts and nautical recreation. The SNSM was born in 1967 of the merger of the Central Shipwrecked Rescue Society (SCSN) and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB), a union raised by Admiral Maurice Amman, former maritime prefect of the 2nd region in Brest, which will become the President of the new company.

The SNSM has three types of activities, the offshore rescue, the training of seasonal lifeguards and the prevention of nautical hazards. In the phocean city of Marseille the vedettes of the 1st class V1 NG La Bonne Mère de Marseille (the good mother of Marseille) SNS 152 is armed by soldiers of the battalion of Marines-firefighters of Marseille and not by volunteers like all the other French and overseas stations. Given the size of the city, it was impossible to rally a crew of volunteer rescuers to sail within the 15-minute period ,which is the target for the average time limit for the overall SNSM.

Official webpage of the SNSM

There you go a nice history , a wonderful job, and I love them. You too can visit them and they will show you their boats on many events program throughout the year. And of course, if you can donate, as these folks are all volunteers doing a human heck of a job me think. Another plus for Honfleur!

Like May 25 2019 they will be in Paris region ! At the Parc Nautique de l’îlle de Monsieur, 4 rue de Saint-Cloud, 92310 Sèvres, dept 92 Hauts-de-Seine. From 10h to 18h or 10 AM – 6 PM. Very near Pont de St Cloud with metro and tramway connections from Paris center. They will have Boat tours,  -Demonstration of rescue with the different means available on the beaches,  -Introduction to “save gestures” with their monitors, and Barbecue on site. All hosted by the ïle de France region station, here: SNSM ïle de France contact page

The SNSM organise on 28 and 29 June the Mille SNSM (thousand snsm) national collection days, in Paris then in the rest of France, in metropolis and overseas: two days of mobilization and festivities to pay tribute to the 8000 volunteers of the SNSM.  The inaugural operations “all at sea” and “all in the Seine”, which were very welcome last year, had made it possible to consolidate the place of the SNSM (national society for rescue at sea) in the general public.

The event will take place first in Paris on Friday 28th June, on the occasion of a demonstration on the Seine, the Mille SNSM paddle trophy. This stand-up paddle race will bring together hundreds of participants on the water , rescuers and public alike , and aboard the Paquebot liner. The Armada, escorted by jet-skis and semi-rigid fleet of the SNSM, will parade in the heart of Paris, between the Port des Saints-Pères (6éme) and theJavel Haut (15éme), at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

This orange wave on the Seine will herald a large-scale open house operation organized the following day, Saturday, June 18, in 246 stations and CFI of the SNSM, specially equipped for the occasion of digital donation kiosks where the volunteers of the Association will invite visitors to dive into the world of rescuers at sea: guided tours of canoes or vedettes boats, demonstrations of rescue, initiations of first aid, exercises of Heli-stamping or even outings at sea, with a two-fold goal: raising awareness and fundraising.

More info in French on le Figaro Nautism and picture from last year’s event in Paris here: Le Figaro Nautisme on the Mille SNSM in Paris

There you go enjoy it as we do ,and can’t for it in my area. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




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