Archive for May, 2014

May 30, 2014

More of Hennebont by the Blavet!

The fortified city of Hennebont is revisited again, last post on July 21,2012. So after the recent flooding from rainstorms in the area, decided it was time to come back. Did I say come back, well just 24 kms from my home is like been in the neighborhood and not crossing the street ::)

So much to see I am overwhelmed. For starters , the tourist info on Hennebont is http://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/decouvrez-le-territoire/commune.cfm?region=Hennebont

and you can always check the region tourist org is at http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-brittany/heritage/Hennebont

The city is all by the river Blavet, that is beautiful when calm but devastating when flooded. All is surrounded by the ramparts of the old fortified town, and the castle now museum. And of course climbing the ramparts is the best way to see the city and the river below.

We found this time crossing the river Blavet on the new bridge (2009) on the other side an old Church Saint Caradec, The story goes tha the parish dates from the 13C, created by Henri of Hennebont to satisfy the population living in the old town around the Castle, seat of Kemenet-HeboeThe Church was elevated in 1732, entirely rebuilt in 1777 and redesigned in 1895. In 1901, the latest restructuring added aisles to the chorus and the vaults. Inside, rarely accessible because it is closed for at least 10 years, we would see an ex-votos painted wood and a polychrome wooden statue of saint Isidore, dating from the 18CA yew dating from the 17C stands in the cemetery adjacent to the Church.

It has great eating places but today we headed back to Vannes for shopping and then home for eating. Just another little escapade enjoying my four day weekend of Ascension in France. Cheers and have a great weekend y’all.

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May 29, 2014

Lisbon antigua and beautiful

I took a trip to Lisbon right after the 10th Champions of Real Madrid of Spain, and its Portuguese stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe ,and Coentrao. It was a short trip but full of souvenirs and good company.

Lisbon deserves more visits, and getting to know it, it is an exciting city full of life and happy friendly folks always willing to help ,directions, food choices, and just have a good time there.

My last writing on my blog dates from december 14,2012. time to catch up. The tourist office is at http://www.visitlisboa.com/Home_UK.aspx?lang=en-GB

My trip took me first to Nantes airport, then Paris CDG and finally Lisbon on AF;same return flight taken. The airports of Nantes and Paris CDG are very familiar to me after so many trips thru them. Lisbon was easy two terminals , came in and on terminal 1. Coming in took a taxi as was very late, has to haggle with the taxi driver who wanted 20€, told him my maximum was 15€ and he finally accepted. Figure the ride was for about 10-12 euros, so ok for 15 late at night almost midnight. You have to be sure the meter is on or don’t get in the car, otherwise be prepare to haggle easy for me as speak Portuguese. The airport of LIsbon site is http://www.ana.pt/en-US/Aeroportos/lisboa/Lisboa/Pages/HomeLisboa.aspx

On the way back ,I took the metro at Picoas line amarela(yellow) to Saldanha, here took the line Vermelho (red) to the airport all in about 40 minutes. all for a machine ticket of 1,90€ (including charge of rechargeable card of 0,50c). A great bargain indeed.  The metro ,also, has the azul or blue line and the verde or green line, and its easy in English here http://www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/

While in the city I stayed at the wonderful modern, clean and perfect location Hotel Exe Parque Lisboa , at Largo Andaluz 13, near metro stops Picoas , Marques de Pompal or Parque. webpage here  http://www.exelisboaparque.com/EN/hotel.html

The rooms were spacious, bath too, the views on the 2fl a bit obstructed by the nearby buildings but for the location, services can be beaten. right off the marque de Pompal monument and the superb avenida Libertade. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. I will no doubt have no problems staying there again.

From the hotel I took my walks in the evenings all over the vast avenida da libertade from the monument at plaça marques de pompal all the way to plaça Dom Pedro IV, where I even past a branch of the famous Parisien resto Brasserie FLO. Beautiful fountains stores and the great plaça restauradores with beautiful buildings all around it.

Before long it was time to eat,and I was told about a restaurant there at plaça de restauradores call Pinoquio (like the famous character Pinocchio), this is seafood of Portugal at its best. The service was impeccable friendly,and the food sublime. it started to rain but no bother I was in heaven. I order my usual beers and then the dish was Feijoada de marisco. This is magnificent casserole of shrimp, lobsters,clams, and white beans stew, just fab and of course enough for one person ,really it could be ordered for two. Its a great dish I will try to imitate at home, so the recipe in Portuguese is here, http://www.petiscos.com/receita.php?recid=439&catid=8

Like, I said, it was raining light, and I decided to face it and walk back seeing all the sights and smells of avenida da Libertade. During the daytime we went to the Tivoli forum shopping a deluxe shopping center right on the avenida da libertade, and we had lunch in the food court there, where a vast cafeteria serves different kinds of fast food, we try the beef people counter with a goat cheese hamburger with limonade. http://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-shops/tivoli-forum.html

And I came home not before setting my sights on returning either in October wiht me or in summer with the family; will see, it is tempting LIsbon is catchy, maybe I have the city at heart by now. Cheers and enjoy the weekend I have a four day Holiday in France ::)

Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon

 

 

May 25, 2014

Real Madrid 10th Champions!!! The greatest!!!

well indeed with all the travel I have overlook a bit my passion of football/soccer, just notice my last entry on the subject was back on July 28, 2013!

The team this year had a marvelous season , if they missed the LIga of Spain finishing third , it was the first with a new coach and new philosophy. It all we have won the most LIgas in history with 32. Atlético de Madrid won the Liga this year for the 10th time with a team playing together for as much as four years.

However, in the Spanish King’s cup, we won again beating archrivals Barcelona (second in the Liga) 1X2 with the winning goal from Welsh international Gareth Bale. It was our 19th King’s Cup in history.

The big one came in the top European competition the Champions’s Cup. We had to start winning against teams like Juventus of Italy a former winner, and on our way to the final beat teams like the last two Champions winners, Borussia Dormund and Bayern Munich by big scores. This was to be our 10th Champions, the most of any team by far.

We reach the final against the Cinderella team this year, Atlético de Madrid. Playing for their second final in their history (againts 13 for us) they have done an excellent year wining the Spanish LIga and knocking off Barcelona in the Liga and the Champions semifinals. The momentum was on their side.

However, this is the CHAMPIONS, and the history, class, of Real Madrid came thru. After controlling the first part of the game and only falling behind by an unusual mistake of goalie Iker Casillas coming out too early to clear a ball, giving Godin, the Atlético defender the goal ,they came back roaring.

First, the papa Sergio Ramos, another central defender came thru in time to tie the game on a brilliant header. 1X1 after the regular time of 90 minutes plus 5 minutes referee addition for wasting time in stop, injuries, etc, normal in a football.soccer game.

The extra time started what seems to be a game header for deciding on penalty kicks. two 15 minutes half to decide or go into penalties.

This is where the class, shirt, history of this team came out . Coach Carlo Ancelotti of Italy make some good changes bringing in marcelo and Isco, and the team took off with extra lung capacity. They were all over pressuring constantly until the inevitable came in.

In the 110th minutes came in the Welsh stallion Gareth Bale again to score, what turn out to be the decisive goal of victory. the team was running still like the first minute and the Atlético was broken hardly could run. then came the expected, Marcelo scoring in the 118th minute ,one for Brazil. The 10th was ours no matter what we were in total control.

And ,if not enough, Cristiano Ronaldo score on a penalty kick, after a foul by Godin, the scorer for Atlético and after protesting, was send off from the field by the referee. The Atlético was humbling, could not run anymore, and CR7 score in the 123rd minutes the final 4X1 score. Cristiano Ronald has now a record 17 goals in a Champions, of all history, one for Portugal.

The team came back to Madrid in addition to all of us who followed on the TV and bars all over the world, there were 80000 fans watching on a giant screen in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. The celebration continues from there down to Cibeles fountain, the symbol of Madrid and Real Madrid in Alcala street (my street living there and to note also played for the team alavin division to start a dream that grows with time!!).

The celebration continues until past 6AM with an estimâted over 500 000 fans filling the Streets where Madrid became a one city huge party. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS were sung by all, and indeed we are the best ever ever that played this sport. Hala Madrid!!!

Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid Real Madrid

May 17, 2014

Vannes, capital of the Morbihan, Brittany

This is our capital city ,Vannes, home of the préfecture du Morbihan, and Gateway to the Gulf of Morbihan, a world on its own of goodies.

today it was 20C and we took a ride around town, nothing big, just a ride from our country home to the big city in our area. I work in Vannes but coming for a visit is always special.

Time to see the market or marché by place des lices and surrounding Streets,get me a bottle or two at Nicolas, some goodies at la Huche aux Pains bakery, coming home and having a nice lunch at a favorite family resto Les Trois Soleils in Plescop on the road D779 direction Grand Champ.

The tourist webpage is here for the city, http://en.tourisme-vannes.com/

And here for the département or region of Morbihan, http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/

and some sites of interests, such as the gulf of Morbihan in French, http://www.golfedumorbihan.fr/

talk about the gardens of the Morbihan, with a map in French, http://www.apjb.org/fr/carte-des-parcs-et-jardins.html

The rural heritage sites/towns of Brittany, where there are 9 towns in the Morbihan, http://www.cprb.org/

In French, but all abou the taste and recipes of Brittany, for the food lover in all of us, we take many recipes from here; http://www.goutsdouest.fr/goutsdouest/actualites/

Again in FRench, but a site of paysan country homes for rent, living in the country, simply the best, you can hire them for your vacations too, http://www.accueil-paysan-bretagne.com/accueil_paysan_bretagne.php?eType=gite&rub=193&y=1

The coups de cœur or favorites in the Morbihan but also all of Brittany in French ,with links to many sights to see and visit, http://www.coupsdecoeurmorbihan.com/index.php

In French , the canals and river boating of Brittany, http://www.canaux-bretons.net/presentation-1.htm

an organisation , Tables et Saveurs de Bretagne, that puts together about 44 properties well chosen of the best in restaurant offering in Brittany, simply sublime; http://www.tablesetsaveursdebretagne.com/

And some photos on the architecture especially rich here as the city is intact no effect on wars. Enjoy it. Have a great weekend.

Plescop Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

 

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May 15, 2014

Barcelona revisited!

Well here it is, one more time passing by Barcelona, Spain. With all what is going on it was an eyeopener to come back here since 2011. For the tourist here is their webpage,  that you can see in English.  http://www.barcelonaturisme.com

I did my usual flight pattern from Nantes to Paris CDG to then Barcelona prats airport; nice modern airport in the outskirts actually in the town of El Prat de Llobregat . webpage here http://www.barcelona-airport.com/

I head it out listening to friends who ask me to try the public transport as I am always there by taxi. Well took the Aérobus from the airport to Plaça de Espanya, purchase the round trip for 10,20€ payable to the bus driver. webpage http://www.aerobusbcn.com/index.php/en.html

From here I went over to the metro line 3 to get to my hotel near Maria Cristina stop. The metro was sweaty very hot day and it shows, I thought I was going to be on a fast diet from the sweat. However, it is clean nice ride for a Sunday! The organism that handles the metro or bus is TMB, webpage at http://www.tmb.cat/en/home

I ,then ,walk to my hotel the Princesa Sofia (old Intercontinental hotel) ,now this was great. A heaven to come to every day and see the city in style. webpage http://www.princesasofia.com/en/index.jsp

I took a room in the 3rd floor, nice clean, good views of the front entrance and Ave Diagonal, just what the doctor ordered when you arrive from going around this public transportation trip! There is a nice pool, and Biergarten bar for a cold beer when needed. Also,a Spa and gym that is nice but little time to use it. The breakfast were great and plentyful, and the restaurant nice and friendly staff.

While there , did not wanted to eat at a hotel restaurant thus, so we had a discussion with the concierge, and finally decided to go to the La Fonda del Port, http://www.lafondadelport.com/  ;which of course is at the harbor of Barcelona, and plenty of seafood and tapas. We had a great time there. However, we finish early and not about to end the night, so we went to the Casino de Barcelona, for a look at slots machines that I did go last back in Atlantic City ,New Jersey ,USA!!! The casino is nearby at the Port Olympic, but we took a taxi to get here for about 15 euros. Webpage here http://www.casino-barcelona.com/en/

We went around checking out all the machines, and table games, the restaurant /bar in lower level, and finally went out into our night searching for more thrills and events;;;;; walking around it we cave in to a wonderful place where you go down a stair of tall wooden men like Egyptian or Indian statues into the lower floor , tables and couch awaits you ,where you can take off your shoes and go into a sofa style bedding/table awaits for your drinks and be merry life full ahead, massages available extra.

We stumbled into the Carpe Diem Lounge Club describe above or the CDLC, a wonderful place Worth coming back for it. Portos away and classy beautiful sights and looks. http://www.cdlcbarcelona.com/carpe-diem-lounge-club

We came very late of course, but had a great time and a nice hotel bed to rest on. Next day we set out into town again, this time we walk past Gran Via de Carles III then the Rambla Brasil and turning into Carrer Sants we end up in a nice Basque restaurant call Txalaparta. This is like been back in basque country with great Basque cider and Navarra wine of Monjardin red with a wonderful tuna steak with red peppers and a nice crema catalana dessert.  The resto name is a Basque music instrument that after making cider, the same board was used to pressed the apples later was to call the neighbors. Then, a celebration was held and txalaparta played cheerfully, while cider was drunk. This place had no music but it was definitely nice and loud, good food and plenty of good cheers. webpage http://www.restaurantetxalaparta.com/

In between time was allowed to walk around Montjuic plenty of wonderful buildings and great people watching. At my return, took the same metro line 3 to plaça Espanya and there in a middle bay took the aérobus to the airport at Prats. My flight was great to Paris CDG on AF of course,and then on to Nantes, where my car was waiting at P2 and the ride home arriving by midnight. Another nice short trip but full of memories and old and new friends.

Barcelona will be revisited again if all stays the same. Cheers

Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona Barcelona

May 14, 2014

Some news from France LXXXVI

 

Well here I am back and another glorious passing by Paris so time to write about some things going on in la Belle France.

First of all, a lot of people here  ask me where to stay in they go to Havana, well, traditional places are the Saratoga at paseo del Prado, ,the neo classical facade goes back to the 19C, enjoying fame from the 1930’s. The best room faces parque de la Fraternidad or fraternity park. http://www.hotel-saratoga.com  ; and of course for a drink go to the famous and now back Sloppy Joe’s , the original  at  the  corner of Zulueta and Animas Streets, now open at  Calle Empedrado 207. It goes back to the 30’s and back on top again with a bar 66 feet long or 20 meters! IT was closed in 1959 and since reopen, some of the famous visitors were Ramon Jacinto Herrera “Ray Tico”, John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Ignacio Jacinto Villa y Fernandez “Bola de Nieves”, Mario Moreno “Cantinflas”, Jose Antonio Mendez “The King”, and many other personalities of the time. Just for my French friends.

Coming back home, do you know this year is the 100th anniversary of the Hôtel Negresco  in Nice: the history of France is there.6000 works of arts spread over 117 rooms. See it at 37 promenade des anglais, NIce, http://www.hotel-negresco-nice.com

You can come and relieve history at the Invalides with a video call La nuit aux Invalides, showing the historical past of post 1914 and liberation of Paris of 1944. You can see until May 25th at the Cour d’Honneur de l’Hôtel National des Invalides, see more at http://www.lanuitauxinvalides.fr

Chantal Thomass, the lingerie queen of France will have the design of the coca cola light can in 2014. I try it at the salon Air France at CDG!!!

Have you seen the la librarie boutique du Petit Palais, in the pavillion north of the museum, a collection of works from its collections, very nice at ave Winston Churchill. http://www.petitpalais.fr  it is closed on Mondays.

Another wonderful property recently opened and commented on previous posts is the Le Carreau du Temple, 4 rue Eugéne-Spuller,  a metallic space of 6500 m2 now open with a main gallery of 70 000 square feet, closed on Sundays and more info here http://www.carreaudutemple.eu

Go to the new chic place in La Jeune Rue  around the Streets of rue Volta, rue du Vert-Bois, rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth on Paris 3éme arrondissement, beauty and good living abound, with top designer, chefs and grower producers, about 20 shops and a cinema are Under construction, see more at http://www.lajeunerue.com

Classy hotel from my friends in the business, hôtel Bourgogne & Montana, 3 rue de Bourgogne, 7éme. the building is from 1791 and Inside found deco with photos from Eugéne Atget, see more at http://www.bourgogne-montana.com and how about dinner in a train wagon in Paris!!! right out of the Orient Express at 1 rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, 5éme;  the chef from the institut du monde arabe is doing some wonderful créations until July 31th dinner serve from 19H, menu Anatolie 120€  see more at http://www.yannick-alleno.com

Have a taste of our wonderful Lille famous Meert now in Paris at 3 rue Jacques-Callot, 6éme, closed Mondays the great waffles from 2,50€ a piece see more at http://www.lagaufremeert.fr

Have you ever ask me for an outlet store in France, we have been to those from McArthur Glen all over even the one in Luxembourg, great shopping, my kids were grown on clothing from them! http://www.McArthurGlen.fr  ; and if you want to know , the very first one we visited was at Roubaix as we have family in the Nord-59!

Further ,some good books on Paris, do we have books on Paris, you bet, some friends have built a Library on them lol!!! in French , Cafés,Restaurants, & Salons de thé de la belle époque à Paris, by Evelyne Saêz, et Jean-Yves Grégoire,editions Ouest-France, 13,50€

if you do not know where to start, or no time to read my blog, then get on the Paris Walks recommended by the Paris tourist office and done for English speaking visitors, , like to see the 108 Wallace fountains in Paris! from the first one in 1872 by donation of Sir Richard Wallace at boulevard de la Villette. see more at http://www.paris-walks.com

Some of the public transport ideas in the works in the Paris region are long and varied to create a grand Paris express project. the line 14 of the metro will be extended from Saint Lazare to Mairie de St-Ouen by 2017. A line 15 from Pont de Sévres to Noisy-Champs in 2020. Line 16 from Saint Denis-Pleyel linking with Noisy-Champs in 2023. Line 17 from Le Bourget RER to Triangle de Gonesse and line 11 from Saint Denis Pleyel passing by Rosny Bois Perrier to Noisy Champs by 2025. Line 14 extension  from Villejuif IGR to Aéroport Orly, and line 18 from Orly to Massy and beyond by 2027. Line 18 extension from Orly to CEA Saint Aubin and onwards to Versailles Chantiers by 2030! More in English here http://www.societedugrandparis.fr/le-reseau

You need a Wi Fi service in Paris , and who wouldn’t nowdays, lol!!! well the city of Paris has it with a map in French but easy to read, http://www.paris.fr/pratique/paris-wi-fi/localisation-des-points-wi-fi/rub_7799_stand_29274_port_17981

Do you know in 2013 83 million people visit France, tops in the world, yes I know we can’t please everybody but been first since Un WTO studies since 1949 is awesome. and of course 27 million past by Paris with 17 million foreigners! top top top!!! And we will increase the number of Greeters!  and here we are, http://www.francegreeters.fr/?lang=en

And don’t forget the next tennis event Roland Garros is from May 25 to June 8 at Paris, http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/index.html?promo=LANGUAGE ; a new retractable roof is coming soon

do you know what is Mouzaîa? in Paris? well is heaven on the city, by the Buttes Chaumont, a Paris countryside ride. It is also called the quartier d’Amérique or  Americas district. IN the 19éme arrondissement or district of Paris. You can even have a nice drink at the Le Café Parisien, 2 place danube-et-danube.http://www.cityvox.fr/bars-et-cafes_paris/cafe-parisien_5082/Profil-Lieu . The name comes from a hill in the north of Algeria where in 1839-1840 combats were held between French and Algerian during the conquest of Algeria by France. You can eat here at La Table de Botzaris, 10 rue du Général Brunet, http://www.latabledebotzaris.fr/

For something romantic in Paris, try the Vedettes du Pont Neuf boat rides on the Seine.  Square du Vert Galant, metro pont neuf or châtelet. They wll have concerts in the Seine 25 and 26 June 2014.violin cruise or croisiére en violon from 18H and romantic cruise ro croisiére romantique from 20h, apéro offert ride last about 1h30,  see and read more at http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com

Of course not all is Paris;one of favorite visits traveling all over France is at the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée in Marseille. see it at http://www.mucem.org

In my beloved Versailles, the Grandes Eaux Nocturnes de Versailles come back from June 23 to September 13 2014.starting at 21h (9pm).  see more at http://www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/en/spectacles/2014/fountains-shows-versailles

The Fondation Claude Monet at Giverny is now open until November 1st ,this is where the great Claude Monet lived from 1883 to 1926. You see the restored rooms where he lived, collection of Japanese prints, the famous gardens of Monet, see more at http://fondation-monet.com/en/

Some tipbits, Paris takes its name from the Gallic tribe the Parisii. The Bastille was a fortress protecting the east of Paris. The grands boulevards in the rive droite follows the route of the wall of Charles V; in January 21 1793 king Louis XVI said goodbye to Marie-Antoinette for the last time from the Temple tower since destroyed. The winged statue on top of the Bastille means the Genius of a nation since 1840. IN 1852 ,Aristide Boucicaut founded the Bon Marché department store in Paris. At the Palais Royal some of the folks who lived there were Colette and Jean Cocteau. The tour Eiffel and Trocadéro have in common that both were built for a world exposition. And this is France, and Paris, and all. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 9, 2014

My Travels in the Morbihan, part XIII

well today was much better, nice sunny weather, and we took off again. We find very difficult to stay home even if in the area we need to go out. We had to do groceries, food shopping, and decided to do on the way back home and take a ride to new areas of my wonderful Morbihan. The tourist office for the department is at http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/

and a tourist site for this particular area in French at Bretagne Arc  Sud here ,http://www.tourisme-arc-sud-bretagne.com/

We set out on the N165 towards Nantes, and stop by the D20 at Muzillac, also the D153 will work. Here we went past a wonderful shopping place for potteries, flowers,plants, home decoration just marvelous of the family Bloino. Ets Bloino  follow it direction Muzillac and then turn left at the second traffic circle. You see it from the road, and we will be back as we are preparting our patio/garden areas; http://bloino.com/

The place was surrounded by other businesses and we check out many from shoes stores to grocery store to bakeries. right at the Ets Bloino business park. 3 Zone d’Activité du Parc, 56190 Muzillac. It is a pleasant town that impress us very much. We went past the chapelle Saint Antoine de Penesclus just before hitting city center, and the story is that the Chapel along the street of the Penesclus, breton term meaning “the tip of the lock”.  It is written its existance since 1580, but it was moved and rebuilt in 1885 to allow the widening of the route de Vannes to Nantes. The 2 statues of Knights on the facade above the entrance would be Templar and date to the 15C. On the flat chevet of the choir Sainte Apoline and Saint Anthony statues surround the small statue of St. EloiThe modern stained glass of Eric Jégat (end 2003) symbolically recount episodes of the life of Sainte Apoline and Saint Antoine, who lived in Egypt and saved a pig.

We had the opportunity to visit the market or marché day in Muzillac, this is a big market covering all of the city center. Food and clothing are found from 8h to 13H30 Fridays all year long. In summer it can attain 150 merchants! It is at place du Marché, Place Saint Julien, Place du Vieux Couvent, grande rue, and allée Raymond Le Duigou.  The city heritage can be found here in French, http://www.muzillac.fr/2011/08/11/circuits-patrimoine-a-decouvrir/#more-182

Finally, we were hungry, and on our way out of Muzillac on the road D20 we found this artisan bakery, boulangerie/pâtisserie/chocolatier of Gaël Artisan at 57 Rue Armorique, we had our formule for lunch for 6,90€ includes a delicious big tuna sandwich with baguette, Nutella chocolate delight in a glass, Orangina soda. Very inexpensive and great on the run. In fact we have seen them before in Vannes and they do have an outlet there, great! http://www.patisseriegael.com/

We moved on to the town of Ambon,right along on the road D20 , a popular one for those going to the beaches of this area. We past by an old Church still Under renovation, église Saint-Cyr-Sainte-Julitte; it is a very old religious site maybe going back to the 3-4C!, some of the architectural description is to follow; the western façade is typical of Romanesque Breton. On the north side of the church, at the level of the second and third bays of nave, opens a porch from the 15C. Under the porch is located in arc full-handlebar paired access which may have existed as early as Roman  period. The South aisle of the nave retains the trace of primitive period, narrow, arched full-arch, which has been modified subsequently.Inside , the nave, preening, has five spans contacting the aisles by a sequence of arcades full-arches resting on massive square pillars.  In the end of the 14C or during the 15C, thchoir is completely modified. It is, then,  transforms it into flat chevet with two side chapels.  The North Chapel of the choir (Chapel of the Rosary) is enlarged, it bears the date of 1636-37. Ten years later about was built between the North arm of the transept and porch, the chapel of our Lady of mercy. The South aisle of the nave is then remade, it lowers its roof by masking the Romanesque bays of the nave. 1636 in 1649, it also realigns the lower parts of the nave, the façade, the south wall and the Bell Tower. In the 19C a new sacristy is done adjacent to the South Chapel. The city mayor’s office is at http://www.ambon.fr/module-Contenus-viewpub-tid-2-pid-66.html

We continue our journe South to the sea taken road D140 to Damgan, here we drove along narrow Streets and we stop to see the Church of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle.  It was during the first half of the 16C the construction of the chapel dedicated to Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, patron saint of travellers and sailors, begins. Originally, it had the shape of a barn because it had no steeple and soil was clay. Over the years, the building fell into ruins. It was in 1841 that a text refers to the need to rebuild a church. The chapel was demolished and in June 15, 1843 on the Fête de Dieu is the blessing of the foundation stone of the new Church of Damgan. The Morbihan tourist site has some on it, as well,not the town; http://www.morbihan.com/eglise-notre-dame-de-bonne-nouvelle/damgan/tabid/7430/offreid/7d3ddb81-0fd6-44f4-a210-021d2b9dd987/detail-visites.aspx

Going all the way to the beach area of Penerf; we hit the beach, and port of it. This is a pebbles beach but long and nice promenade pedestrian all around it , free parking just across. You have the Church of Saint Pierre, right across from the harbor . Its construction dates back to the 17C , first mentioned in 1580, and probably replaces an older church. The place was already inhabited since long and formed an own entity. It is extended by the addition of a chapel dedicated to the Virgin and revamped belfry. The North and South wings are added in 1853 and 1848 then the Church was restored in the 19C . Simple rectangular building, its Western gable served chalk as building material  in the 15C  and 16C.  During the creation of the parish of Damgan in 1820, before being common in 1824, heavily populated Pénerf strives to become parish. The Chapelle St Pierre was erected as a branch without ceasing to belong to the parish of Damgan, August 2, 1843.

There is a bureau du port or harbormaster, with boat ramp and old canon guarding as souvenir of 1759 when two ships fought and came ashore here.And a wonderful part to do foot fishing in low tides and go for the cultivation of oysters, panels tell you to behave. Way at the end on a dusty sand trail that I dare to go to take a closer look at the Tour des Anglais or English tower of historical significance, here is my findings on it. The Fire Tower built between 1442 and 1450, (ancestors of light houses), it’s  is the oldest “fire Tower” standing in its original architecture on the French Atlantic coast! The Tour was both Watchtower and beacon: she pointed out the entrance to the Pénerf River and allowed to watch the arrival of enemy privateers: boats of Jersey, Spain and England. A brief description is as follows , it is a cylindrical tower 15 meters high, built in coated rubble, on a pan base approximately 8.20 meters in diameter at the base and 1.70 meter in height, consisting of paired, restored and joined stones in 1978 protected by a built in grand Chase, a trunk of 3.80meters  high cone base and a top three levels 9.20 meters high. One meter thick walls are built in ‘stone of the coast’ with the exception of the two deadly round of granite Ashlar. A high parapet of  1 meter supported by Corbels granite based machicolations in console. The Tower, situated about 100 meters  from the banks, is one of the few remains of the defence of the coasts of the region. Worth a detour. Damgan, mayor’s office with some historical sights is in French here, http://www.damgan.fr/decouvrir-damgan/patrimoine

Done our round as said, we came back to do our groceries right in Muzillac ,and get it over with in one shot.Now relax for the rest of today and tomorrow as Sunday is travel day to Barcelona,Spain. Cheers and have a great weekend.

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May 8, 2014

My Travels in the Morbihan , part XII

Today was and is a rainy day ,nothing new in my Bretagne.  Its a Holiday for jour de la Victoire in WWII in the European theater. I have a pont or bridge off from work tomorrow too! So a nice four day weekend with the family. However, Sunday is off to Barcelona on business conference back Tuesday night.

So took advantage of the time I have to wandered my way to my country of the Morbihan dept 56, if you are late in reading my posts, here is the département 56 Morbihan tourist site; http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/

We left late by 11h after a nice sleep and big breakfast in our salle de séjour or living room of 32 M2.(335 ft2). We then took off on the D16 towards Locminé to hook up with the N24 to Guillac on the D129 to Quily, and then to Le Roc Saint-André, and then to la Chapelle Caro before coming home. A nice ride for a relaxing there where most was closed for the Holiday.

The town of Guillac is very old and some foundations are there even before the Romans time. It is part of the Gallo language even if Breton had been spoken there then. It was part of the war of Succession of Bretagne, and battle was held here in 1351. A big economic boom when the river Oust was canalise into the Canal Nantes-Brest. The Church of Saint Bertin is an integral part of the history,  built in the first half of the 16C, the parish church was placed under the patronage of Saint Bertin. built in medium and small  style, it consisted originally of a single nave and a side chapel to the North with ogival flamboyant mullioned windows. There was placed the high altar from the community of Saint Jean des Prés Génovéfains (currently, altar of the Sacred Heart in the side south chapel). A single steeple was placed in the middle of the nave. The Church was then gradually expanded to acquire the current form; 1751: construction of a sacristy behind the north side chapel; 1849-1850: construction of the couch at the bottom of the nave;  1860-1861: construction of the choir and the South side chapel;  1879: construction of a second sacristy to the South of the chancel.  During the construction of the choir, the great canopy, formed of 16 panels representing the Ste Famille St Bertin and the 12 Apostles, was completely redone. In the North Chapel, stained glass (1888) represents St Sosthène and Ste Hermine, and, at the top of the nave (1873), right side represents St Louis and St Yves. All the other stained glass windows date from 1999. They are the work of the workshop the Nézet of Le Bono and symbolize the evangelization of all the men of all nations.  Above the altar of la Ste Vierge (North side chapel), the table of “gift of the Rosary” is an oil on canvas dating from the 17C.  There is a nice monument aux morts or monument to the fallen of WWI dating from 1924. The town mayor’s side, http://www.guillac.fr/

We continue on to Quily on the road D174 , pure country and wonderful ride; big town of 342 inhabitants, where the main item is the Church of Saint Nicodéme. The Church was originally built as the Church of Notre Dame des Neiges (our lady of snow) but since 1802 it is that of Saint Nicodéme. Done in Latin Cross style. As I said very small country town no mayor’s office just an outpost 1, rue de l’Église, 56800 Quily.

We went on with our ride to the town of Le Roc Saint-André. This is right passing of the great expanse of the river Oust and a nice section of the Canal Nantes-Brest on a wonderful Pont or bridge with great views.  In the 18C , the Duke of  d’Aiguillon, commander in chief of the region starts the renovation of the routes of Brittany. Around 1760, he decides to replace the wooden bridge over the irver Oust at the level of the castle of  Crévy, with a beautiful stone bridge of 13 arches next to the old. The pont or bridge is renovated in the 19C to allow the navigation of the Canal de Nantes à Brest.  You ,also, will find a nice Church of Saint André, done in 1901-1903. This church, built under the leadership of Abbot Pirio and following the plans of architect Arthur Regnault, replaces a former treviale of the 16C Church, shaved in 1901, due to aging. The altarpiece is the work of André Le Dréan. The Chair and the high altar are the work of Treguoet and Plédran. The paintings of Saint-Benoît and Saint Romuald, painted by Lhermitais and dated 1738, come from monastery of camaldolese of Roga de Saint Gognard.

We had a drink at the bar Tabac La Chaumiére right in town, at 6 rue Nationale, that also, serves galettes/crêpes as a créperie. Open midday Tuesdays to Sundays and the evenings on Fridays to Sundays. There is a grocery store next door too Halles Dis!

And we went into the outskirst of town to see the Le Manoir de la Touche  Carné, the Manoir reflects well what life was segneuriale around 1450. It is built by  the House of Carné, then moves into the hands of the family of Rogiers in 1638, and then in the 19C to that of the  Du Breuil De Pontbriand. On the ground floor of the main building is a large room for the exercise of the right of high justice. a function that recalls the name of a nearby field said the “Moor of justice”. Upstairs, reserved for privacy, is divided into two parts with each home. The high rooms in the attic, disappeared in the 17C.  The house or manoir is done as a square with stair polygonal tower polygonal  plan towards the northeast corner on the front facade; It was amputated a wing in return; another wing including pantry and upstairs bedroom is adjacent to the West. A second main building, attached to the left is an add-on of the end of the 15C or the beginning of the 16C. The Court is closed to the North by a farm built in the 15C a barn of the 19C. There is a nice old Breton oven right outside.  You can have a guided visit with appointment at tel +33 (0) 2 97 74 73 13 (M. Lefèvre), it is free. The town mayor’s office is here, http://www.ville-roc-saint-andre.fr/modules/contenu/contenu_rub_1_article_1.html

We continue on the road D766A towards La Chapelle-Caro, it takes its name from the family of the Chapelle. This is a break-up of the original parish of PloërmelShe was nicknamed the lower-Chapel or La Chapelle-sous-Ploërmel’After having belonged to the great Lordship of Porhoët, La Chapelle-Caro enters the ducal domain in 1168. La Chapelle Caro is elevated to Viscount in 1576, into  County in the 17C, and held the lordship of Crévy in 1630The fief of La Chapelle, parish of La Chapelle-sous-Ploërmel, was held chronologically  as the Lord, by the  La Chapelle, and  Rosmadec, by marriage, February 19, 1505, at the Château de Blois, Jean III de Rosmadec and Jeanne de La Chapelleas a County, by the  Rosmadec, erection, in 1576This parish took the name of “La Chapelle Caro” in the 20C  due to its proximity with Caro. Teh mayor’s office site is here http://lachapellecaro.fr/

However, as much as the name the interesting thing to see here is the Church of Notre Dame, built in 1868 to replace a former treviale Church and parish from the 17C, reworked in 1711. The present Church is in the shape of a Latin cross. A square Tower is located at the bottom of the nave. The stained glass windows are post1870. The Church houses a statue of saint Fiacre (16tC). A beautiful 16C (1500-1550) processional cross, silver plated on soul of wood, is kept in the sacristy; The façade of the Church was restored in the year 2007 as well as stained glass Windows.

In addition to the tourist office given at the start, this region has agglomeration of small towns with tourist information as well; you can ask for information on any of the towns above here http://www.ccvol.com/accueil_ccvol/pied_de_page/contacts

Enjoy the ride, into my country of Brittany. And may you enjoy a wonderful weekend as well. Cheers

 Guillac  Guillac  Guillac La Chapelle Caro La Chapelle Caro La Chapelle Caro La Chapelle Caro Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Le Roc Saint-André Quily Quily

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May 3, 2014

Going north to Saint Brieuc

Another nice beautiful day in Brittany and again went out in search of new places in my new region of Brittany. I left early and went to spent the day in Saint Brieuc. Here is their tourist office link ,http://www.baiedesaintbrieuc.com/

The city is in departément 22 or Côte d’Armor . The founder is a monk name Brieuc, in about 580, from the current Wales, by 848 the first bishopry is founded. It seems that the Breton was spoken here for the most part of the population until about 1200. Afterward,the Gallo took over around the city, and finally French with the economic utility of it.
In 1592 the first battle for Brittany was done here in the place Saint Michel. Côtes-du-Nord was the old name until 1990 when it was changed to Côte d’Armor. There was a big battle here after the French revolution with republican forces and the local rebels chouans. August 6 1944 the town was liberated by American troops Under Gen Patton.

There are buildings of nice architectural lookup such as the Lycée Ernest Renan, offering even courses in tourism. It has a beautiful exterior architecture and a chapel with high belltower in the Saint Michel district. You have the college Anatole le Braz,another wonderful architecture building with a nice chapel and it was here that the local résidents were put in prison during the Nazy occupation. The complex of government buildings is impressive.  Around place Général de Gaulle, you have the préfecture or departamental government, then the Conseil Régional de Côte d’Armor which is the regional government, and then the Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office (we were there while a wedding was going on!!). The city webpage ,http://www.saint-brieuc.fr/Adresses-utiles.3762.0.html?&L=mrpeugmo

There is a good bus transport system as we witness buses coming and going all day, especially around the Les Champs stop. And the train of course. We came by car easy on the D768 direction Pontivy and then Saint Brieuc ,easy in about 1h30. You have parking in city center at Charner, Poulain Corbion,saint Benoit,les Champs,Raoul Poupard,Gouêdic, and Promenades. WE park for free by rue des promenades one way street as it was Holiday weekend. zone rouge or red. You can get a disc from the mayor’s office or tourism office for parking for longer periods, as Zone Blue or bleue  the first 30 min is free,then zone rouge or red, you can park for 2 hours for 1.20€ , maximum of 2h. and on zone yellow or jaune , you can park for a day at 0.80€, limited to max of 7h. Of course this is street parking , in the garages you can park longer and pay more.

There is plan to do the line TEO east to west of St Brieuc for 2020! 8 kms of lines with  21 stations ,and  2 parkings relais with 200 places at  Plaines Villes (west) ,and Chaptal (east) !  The current bus system is TUB main office at place Du Guesclin near bus terminal; open from Mondays to Fridays  8h30-12h30 and 13h30-18h00, Saturdays from 8h30-12h30 and 13h30-17h30; while in july and august closed the Saturdays afternoons. info ahead of times email batinfotub@baie-darmor-transports.com; webpage at http://www.tubinfo.fr/

For the trains, see this official SNCF site, http://www.gares-en-mouvement.com/en/frsbk/votre-gare/

We had our treats at the caramels breton and cookies place of the Biscuiterie Saint Brieuc, next to the old Church of Saint François.rue Saint François and Saint Guillaume. exactly at 58 rue Saint Guillaume, webpage here, http://www.biscuiteriedesaintbrieuc.net/presentation.aspx#magasins

We took some chocolates a ballotin and some assorted pastries such as equinox and paris-brest ones at La Duchesse de Rohan, 2 Rue Saint-Gouéno, an institution in town since 1936. open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 13h and 15h to 19h15, webpage http://www.laduchessederohan.fr/

We had a quick lunch a la baguette late at the nice institution of Maison Diener (founded in 1947) , boulangerie/pâtisserie by the boutique des champs 11 rue St François, formule of bacon goat cheese sandwich, nice pain au chocolat and coca cola for 5,50€ can’t beat on the run and eaten right on the corner of the shopping center Les Champs! people watching par excellence… the webpage http://www.maison-diener.com/

My boys got their game and mangas at Japanim, similar store in our area and they can’t missed it. Here at 15 rue de Rohan, some info on these stores and for lovers of Japanese mangas figurines, tapes etc is tops according to my 3 Young men… http://www.manga-news.com/index.php/librairie/Japanim-Saint-Brieuc2

We went into the shopping center Les Champs,right in city center and near the the great bus depot of Les Champs, at Rue Sainte Barbe , here you find the leading stores in malls in France,and we got some stuff at New Yorker store, here is the webpage , nice and modern stuff, cool!  http://www.les-champs.fr/infos-pratiques

and while walking the inner Streets the boys always on top in France got their stuff at Lacoste and Hugo Boss stores. webpages here, http://www.lacoste.com/stores/  and  http://coordonnees.com/hugo-boss-griff-habilleur-distrib-saint-brieuc.html

Nice passing by the parc des promenades, before heading to the main Church here, Cathédrale Saint Etienne or Saint Stephen, its an old Church, rough and old construction tell you is built like a rock, not too much of ornaments but nice niche chapels Inside. This is from the area tourist office in English, http://www.baiedesaintbrieuc.co.uk/discover/culture/heritage-and-museums/121355-cathedrale-saint-etienne

and from the city in French,http://www.saint-brieuc.fr/Le-patrimoine-briochin.748.0.html  it seems these places can describe it better, the curious will find it is Norman style construction in Brittany. You can see by the Cathedral the Halles covered and outdoor arcades Inside full of produce shoppers,and on market days the outside gets full. They are at place du Martray.

We came back easily again little traffic and got some more breads and goodies for the rest of the weekend hold fort at home. May is nice we are having the same long weekends for the May 8-11 and the May 29-June 1 periods!!! Cheers and enjoy yours wherever you are on Earth.

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May 2, 2014

Vannes is Morbihan, one more time.

I had my day off today thanks to the Labor day bridge in France. So decided to go back as a visitor to our capital city ,Vannes. I have not been back here since January 25 2014 according to my blog statistics. Of course, I work in the city so visit everyday but not with the family.

Vannes is unique that been with only about 60K people, capital of the departément 56, Morbihan, IS the city of the region. All is here,anything just like any big city in France. The tourist office again is here ,http://en.tourisme-vannes.com/

Of course, we could not come here without stopping by the Cathédrale Saint Pierre, and basilica minor of the Roman Catholic Church, guarding the remains since 1419 of Father Vicente Ferrier who evangilise the area coming from Valencia Spain.Now Saint Vincent Ferrier. You can even see a small statue of him in a window square against the walls of a house in the square or place Valencia. See the photos for the wonderful chapels and nave Inside including the one where St Vincent rests. The official site in French here, http://cathedrale-vannes.cef.fr/index.php/patrimoine/la-cathedrale

We indulge ourselves in a nice small cup of chocolate fraisier of Alain Chartier chocolates, at pl des lices, only 4,30€   ,more in webpage ,http://www.alainchartier.fr/

we marvel of the Château Gaillard, now the museum of Archeology and history of Vannes, wonderful old place all around is historical old, intact. Here is more about it,and on other historical places of Vannes from the city page in English, http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/discoveringvannes/history-and-heritage/discovering-the-heritage-of-vannes/

Another must,to walk along the ramparts, old castle in ruins, and the wonderful towers like tour Connetable and Prison, and Joliette.The moats and laundry or lavoirs of old, all beautifully done in spring fever, see those wonderful gardens of the Garenne and so well cut.photos to follow and more on link above.

Go Inside the covered market or marché couvert at pl des lices, and see the wonderful produce, fish, meats, veggies, fruits, honeys, cheeses, you name it from local produce the best to you ,real French, what I came here for!!!! dynamite. More here in the city page in English! http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/living-invannes/practical-information/les-halles-des-lices-covered-market/

See the history before you as Vannes is the birthplace of Saint Emilion, yes , you got it the hermit that gave fame to a wine and a town in the Gironde down South!!! See it at the Courtine de la tour Joliette. See walk enjoy this wonderful town, full of shops over 700 of them all over the old city you find all,and nice, exhuberant old and nice nice. Walk the short street of rue de la Bienfaisance, at No 3 before 1791 lived 3 duchesses of Brittany!!!! Isabeau d’Ecosse (Isabella of Scotland, Duchesse of Brittany), Françoise d’Amboise, and Catherine de Luxembourg.

Last but not least, we had to eat. So having been with friends to these joint, decided to bring the family this time. Saint-Exupéry is a brasserie/créperie at 14 rue des Halles, old area, nice buildings and shops all around you,and you can come in with terrace as we did by 8 Rue des Orfévres sitting in a nice square. Here we had the menu du jour for 11,20€ includes plat and dessert and drink but we had beer Affligem so opted out of the house wine. 3,30€ for the beer. galette of cheese, tomato ratatouille, and bacon; dessert was a crêpe framboise, and we added coffee for 1,60€ each. Service was fast and friendly , glad to find multilingual folks living in the area! the webpage is here http://www.brasserie-stexupery.com/default.aspx

Now we are expecting a nice sunny weekend, let’s see what in store for us, we are last minute travelers so we will decide tonite before going to bed as early or maybe tomorrow morning lol!!! Cheers and have a great Weekend.

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