Archive for April 8th, 2017

April 8, 2017

Some news from France, CL

So still things to tell you about Noirmoutier and even more in Brittany, but need to tell you and update on things happening in my belle France. Today we had the best day so far with temps that went up to 25C or 77F in my part of the world ,and I was by dept 29 Finistére in Brittany region.

OF course , the roads are beginning to be pack and accidents too, one big on the N165 towards Quimper, the car was just squeeze in like an accordion poor folks inside do not think they made it. Then ,driving another big truck just did a zig zag evasion maneuver to avoid two idiots standing in the middle of a expressway!!! I went right along nicely thank you.

What we have is first from the world of horses, wonderful shows we have.

First, my beloved Versailles, where in the stables built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart for the Royal Academy in 1830 Bàrtabas has done wonders; this is the Grand Ecuries.  From here it has spread tremendously to Chantilly and Saumur. Anécdote, the French proclaim the birth of their equestrian prowess on 1593 when the publication of “Cavalarice François” by Salomon de La Broue. The National school of horseriding has a library with 21600 documents of which 17400 are numerise or microfiche.

What’s the agenda!

At Saumur, “Le Printemps des écuyers” by the Cadre Noir de Saumur and their camargue horses April 21-23.  Also, on the Grand Manége, shows on May 26-28, July 28-29, and September 16-17. More here:

At Versailles, “La Voie de l’écuyer” Saturdays at 18H, Sundays at 15h, Wednesday April 12 and Monday April 17 at 15h; Also, the Matinales each Sunday at 10h and 12h; and the Jumping International from May 5-7 2017. More info here:

At Chantilly, “Métamorphoses” on Saturdays,Sundays, and Thursdays until early November 2017. More here:

Not to forget the wonderful  museum of the horse or Musée du Cheval open 10h to 18H. More info here:

At the castle of Monte Cristo, open in 1847 by 600 guests in what was the home of Dumas for four years, exposed here the cartoons or BD of Patrick de Jacquelot a collection to deliver a message tot he father of the 3 Musketeers and the Cound of Monte Cristo, continues without him…More on the cartoons here:

Exhibition until June 10th from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h; price 5-7€, for info contact +33 (0) 1 39 16 49 49 and here:

We continue with the “Triumph of the waters:La Fête at Saint-Cloud”  from 1775-1780 by Jean Honoré Fragonard. In the basin fountain a large water jet of 30 meters ( about 100 feet) by simple gravity shoots water in abundance always the pride of the Monsieur , brother of the King to the grand displeasure of King Louis XIV as it was lacking at Versailles. The great show at the Orleans park overlooking the Seine river  to the great spring in the Grand Cascade built by Le Pautre in 1660. Domaine de Saint Cloud, 92210, open daily from sunrise to sunset. More here:

The spirit of the herbaria: the treasure of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1708). This is the botanist physician had bequesthed to King Louis XIV his Herbarium a wonderful book with hundreds of new plants gleaned during his travels even to the Levant. The former garden of the King to therapeutic vocation became in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History. The tree planted by Buffon in 1785 was the Lebanon Cedar brought from the East to England by Bernard de Jussieu in 1734, the Robinia planted by his son around 1630 and the Sephora from China by missionaries in the 19C. Further, the School of Botanical Garden  and the Alpine garden with 2000 species of altitude, the tropical greenhouse, the laberinth, the beautiful central axis and the combed lawns, the menagerie or petting zoo…All in the Jardin des Plantes more here:

The Herbarium is here in French:

See the wonderful  “Bed of Daisies” (1893) by Gustave Caillebotte. the painter creates his first paintings in the gardens of the Yerres, the property of his father a wealthy Parisian purchased in 1860. 11 hectares or about 27 acres on English garden full of winding alleys, vegetable garden, enclosed by walls, a Casino, resort to the house of Palladian colonnades, and the river Yerres flowing at the side.  Walk in time of Caillebotte in a garden of delightful pictorial evocation. You can get here by RER D from Gare de Lyon in Paris,direction Melun, stop at Yerres walk 10 minutes or take Bus F; more here:

The “Water Lilies” (1916-1919) by  Claude Monet. In 1893, he finished his flower garden and acquired the path of Roy that borders his property of the Clos Normand, where he installed a small pond while curves of bamboo, and iris spaned by a Japanese bridge shaded in wisteria. At the heart the foliage of the King, with floating red, pink, yellow, water lilies. You have a water landscape, game materials, color and glare light, the water at the Giverny garden is lived through the eyes of the artist as a series of fleeting impressions. More at Fondation Claude Monet,

The Castle and the Park of Méréville” (built c. 1790),done by  Hubert Robert Bellanger to the Marquis of Laborde a wealthy sponsor and big fan. The former feudal moat, the building overlooks a valley where the rivers winds down along amazing mills, Chinese bridge, and temple of piety, recall the son of the Marquis lost at sea with La Perouse. Created over the suspended tracks of Bellanger, bridges of stone and caves to sensational waters and on the hill a Trajan column watching over the park. Ultimate fantasy of a world dazzle by the death of the Marquis de Laborde guillotined in 1794; Méréville is an extraordinary dream. See the tourist office of Etampes for guided visits to the Méréville park.  More in French here:

So see, plenty to enjoy my belle France; indeed it’s a movable feast as a whole! Enjoy your weekend; Cheers!

April 8, 2017

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part V

And my Noirmoutier saga continues with the WWII bunkers on the beach there. This is part 5 or V of the saga so need to catch up with the previous ones for the whole story.

By January 19 1944, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is named inspector of fortifications and all the grand harbors of the Atlantic are raise to fortresses that will need to withstand until the last block.

After 70 years the bunkers or blockhouses here are brought to new by an association formed to protect them for posterity. The association is the Atlantic Wall Memory (AWM). Info here: Place René Ganachaud (mayor’s office) 85680 La Guérinière. Tel +33 (0) 2 51 39 56 85 or email :

The info from the tourist office in English here:—visites-de-blockhaus

These are in the town of La Guériniére and along the Cantine beach or plage de la Cantine with children playground and plenty of bike paths and car parking for free.

Here you will find about 7 (I think I counted 7) blockhouses coming from batteries Sa 114a along boulevard de l’Océan in La Guériniére. One of the blockhouses the 669’s has a small museum on the local history of fishing; the Maison des Anciens Marins or the house of retired fisherman and wartime pictures . Finding the 627 with plates on rare to see but the bunker has them. The battery was named after the battleship “Tirpitz”.

Another bunker has a Maison des Ecluses et Pêche Traditionnelle still in use or the House of levies and traditional fishing.  There are four building behind the bunkers acting as a double defense line and they look like bunkers to me too ::)

Once you are in the town of La Guériniére you follow the signs for the bonkers until you reach the boulevard de l’Océan one way turning right and find your parking. This is the Cantine beach and the after the children playground in a still grassy area facing the beach you see the big blockhouses rising before you one after the other.  They are all near the sand or beach, and then behind are other buildings some semi submerge in the land on the other side of a narrow road. There are panels to explain what they are.

It is a mood time to reflect on the times then and what we have now and to protect the balance without injustices as happened before.  It is a must for all to come and see them and especially our young adults so they learn the lessons of history head on.

Enjoy the photos and have a great time as we did in Noirmoutier island or Noirmoutier-en-île. Cheers.

La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére La Guériniére


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