Archive for December 26th, 2017

December 26, 2017

The South Morbihan:Noyal Muzillac, Muzillac ,and Ambon.

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Today was a cloudy sunless rainy day but we the road warriors set out to see some areas that seldom do or just passing in the south of our department of the Morbihan Breton or No 56. It is ,also, a special day for the adults as me and my wife celebrates today 27 years of marriage !!! It has been fun ::)

these are not going to show on the tourist main page, or even secondary; these are inland Bretons lands, the very best way to see and get to know the country. We love to travel here.

As usual we set out from our home on the D768 road and pass by a quaint campint car area with a camping site, we had friends stay here when they came by the barrels (too many) and they found it right. This is the Camping la Clé de Prés just outside our town limits. For those coming by camping is simple basic stop on the way to the famous beaches south of us. More info here: https://www.camping-la-cle-des-pres.com/

We then took the N165 direction Nantes and continue until exit/sortie Muzillac no 20. A good site to find out the exits and what they have on them in the whole of the Nationale 165 is here: http://www.stationaute.com/highway/n165

And we arrived first at Noyal Muzillac, parked by the Church. This town saw the birth of Julien Daniélo ,the secretary of Chateaubriand. It has a Maison du Patrimoine or house of heritage from 1602 ,and today serve souvenirs and ice cream etc to all in season, winter is closed. The Chapelle de Bengué dating from the 17C ,the sacristy is from 1798, destroyed during the French revolution it was rebuilt in 1817. There is a fountain St Martin done in 1839 , and across the street a laundry or lavoirs from about the same period. The house at 6 rue de la Poste with stone blazon’s of noble houses from the 16-17C. The town has several houses some dating back to 1532 in renaissance style showing the wealth of the town from times afar. The town is name “Communes du Patrimoine Rural de Bretagne” OR towns of rural heritage of Brittany preserving the essential traditions of this region.

The main point here at least for me is the Church of Saint Martin,done and or renovated from the 11C to the 20C. Several of its stones are from Romanesque and Gothic periods. Several polychrome statues of Saints, 3 portraits from the 17C in the choir and nerf as well as one done in 1819 in the south Chapel. The most impressive a Nativity scene covering the entire town that lit ups on a touch of a button, really nicely done and a pleasure to see.I am sure it was just for the season to be merrier…

A more detail look at this town is on the area tourist page in French : https://www.tourisme-arc-sud-bretagne.com/Decouvrir/Bourgs-hameaux-de-caractere
And the city page of Noyal Muzillac here: http://www.noyal-muzillac.fr/Tourisme/default.aspx

We finally visit this town lol!!! To get here we needed to past by one we have already visit, plainly Muzillac. . From the same tourist office above and from the city page of Muzillac in French info here:http://www.muzillac.fr/category/decouvrir/histoire/les-circuits-patrimoine/

Famous town because in June 1815 a battle of Pen Mur the local farmers or Chouans fought the Imperial army and beat them with the help of 400 high schools students from Vannes. The two main things to see here are the Old Convent of the Ursulines done in 1678; later under the French revolution in 1792 to get them out of their convent and send them to Vannes. The convent was sold as national property (confiscated); in 1982 they were purchased by the city and made a cultural center that opened in 1990. And the Church Sainte Thérése done after fire took away the older one in 1934 in a Latin Cross style, and neo roman architecture. It has crosses, portraits and calices from the 17C onward, and a nice Nativity scene in the right front corner.

Further from the parish bishop place translate into English at best as such: After a fire in 1929 that destroyed the bell tower of the old Romanesque Church of Bourg-Pol, a new one was built in 1934 closer to city center. It was dedicated to Ste Teresa de Lisieux even if the parish keeps St Pol de Léon as patron Saint. We can see inside a statue of the Virgin in exotic wood, and another of St Joseph (in oak wood). The one on St Joseph is an auto portrait of the sculptor. The stained glass windows represent the life and spirituality of Ste Teresa. The Church is inspired in the Romanesque architecture of the old one and in art deco of the year 1925. In French here: https://messes.info/lieu/56/muzillac/eglise

We saw the weather turns worse but we continue our cruising along the waters of the Gulf of Morbihan into the town of Ambon, here we saw a nice picturesque Crêperie restaurant typical of the Bretons and decided to stop in for late lunch. Briefly ,the town has of course a Church Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte is the name. Here the basement is from the 9C! most is built in the 12C with some 15C and 17C renovations. After some excavations done it was found a choir and a transept were updates of a Roman temple of the 3C, a paleochretian sanctuary of the 6C showing a façade and a Roman nerf, sculpture chapters and altar from the 17C. The Church as enlarged with the addition of a sacristy from 1636-1649.

The tourist info is on the same Bretagne arc sud as above site for all. The city mayor’s office in French is here: http://www.ambon.fr/index.php?module=Contenus&tid=2&category=113&filter=pub_category^sub^113

And now the créperie Le Fournil, so much good things here you are bound never to make a mistake. They are feature in the dept tourist office and their site is under construction but believe me they are alive and kicking and very very good local stuff. Their official site is here :http://www.creperielefournil.fr/

We were warmly welcome and sitted right away. We had front window seating facing the Church. We started with 100 Cl of Cider Brut Nicol from nearby Surzur, this is more than a bottle (75)::) We then ordered our galettes. I had a duo of bacon and Emmental cheese; others had complete bacon with soft eggs, super complete, montagnarde, twice. Then we had desserts, and I had the coupe antillaise with rum raisins ice cream and caramel sauce. WE left as it is for 17.2€ per person. Delicious and a nice find, we will be back.

We reach home again by the N165 but in addition to rain, we saw a big traffic jam ahead and went around the N166 by way of the D135, N779 to D16 and home safe and sound and rested.

Now more time to celebrate at home the 27 ::) !!!

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December 26, 2017

A Royal town in the Yvelines, Saint Germain en Laye

For some reason, must be nostalgic Christmas night and memories float in my mind I remember Saint Germain en Laye. It is a town link easily on the N186 to my beloved Versailles where I lived and taking advantage of the location wandered to all these wonderful towns of France in the Yvelines dept 78 region of the ïle de France.

Saint Germain en Laye is a Royal town not only because it hosted and or was visited by Kings but the one Sun King Louis XIV was born here! It is also only 19 km from Paris Notre Dame Cathedral with just an elevation of 193 meters. A forest that covers 3/4 of its city limits territory! Where the kings used to hunt too. Also, a cinematic city with already 15 films done here over the years.

A town that saw the birth of  (year following name) :Henri II, 1518; Marguerite de France, Queen Margot, 1553 ; Jeanne d’Albret, (mother of Henri IV and great figure of the Reformist era) ,1528;Charles IX , 1550 ; Louis de Buade count de Frontenac,( Governor of New France (Canada)),1622; King Louis XIV, 1638 ; Philippe de France, duke of Orléans,1640 ; Philippe de France, duke of Anjou, (oldest son of Louis XIV), 1660; Marie-Louise  of England , (daughter of king James II of England exile in the city and buried at the Church of St Germain across from castle), 1692;  Claude Debussy ,1862 ; Edouard Bourdet, 1887;  Jehan Alain, 1911 ;  Christian Fouchet, 1911,(ambassador and previous minister and follower of the first hour of Gen de Gaulle); José Artur, 1927; Michel Pericard (1929-1999), (previous mayor of Saint-Germain- en-Laye (1977-1999),deputy of the Yvelines  (1978-1999) , and Vice President of the National Assembly of France (1997-1999); Jean-Edern Hallier, 1936;  and Pierre Douglas, 1941…

A town that saw the passing of figures such as (year of death following name) : Louis XIII,1643 ; James II king of England, 1701; The knight  Ramsay  1743 ; François de Beauharnais, (father in law of Joséphine), 1800 ; prince de Polignac, 1847 ; Adolphe Thiers, President of the IIIe Républic, 1877; the Poet Catulle Mendès, 1909 ; Henri Cochet, Tennis champion 6 times winner of the Davis Cup, 1987; Suzanne Chantal, roman writer, 1994.

And who have passed by in the city, some of the famous are : Molière, alias Jean-Baptiste Poquelin; Mozart for a day in 1778 ; Benjamin Franklin also in 1778; Alexandre Dumas father and son. The father wrote  “Les Trois mousquetaires” and “Le Comte de Monte Cristo” in the city while commander of the national guard in town as well as directs the theater.  The son wrote  “La Dame aux camélias” in the city. The musician Claude Debussy, and the painter Maurice Denis , that has a museum in the city as well. And of course, many many others too numerous to mention.

The city has been cited as the house of the famous or maisons des illustres by the ministry of Culture of France, UNICEF city child friendly, two leave branches  Ville Nature for the natural protection, three flowers Ville Fleurie for the protection and decoration of its trees/flowers; Accueil Vélo for the best host on cyclists from the tourist organizations, and the Les Rubans de Patrimoine or ribbons of heritage for its preservation of the heritage sites in the city.

It’s history goes way back in the history of the French kingdom and is very rich starting with king Louis VI le fat in 1124 building a residency, and Saint Louis a Chapel ,and Charles V both are made rebuilt/renovated. Henri III has a New Castle (château-neuf)  built in 1556, and does many other improvements such as the gardens; many things done here such as the marriage of François I in 1514,birth of Henri III in 1519, jurist dual or coup of Jarnac in 1547, proclamation of the edict of 1563 by Charles X that fix January 1st the beginning of the year for all of France, signature in 1570 of the peace of  Saint-Germain to end the wars of religions, birth of Louis-Dieudonné, future king Louis XIV in 1638.  Baptism of the Grand dauphin, marriage of Mademoiselle de Blois and prince de Conti (whose palace is today the city hall of Versailles !),  Concerts of Lulli and Quinault, comedy showing by Molière. The  Château-Vieux  becomes the center of European politics with the exile of king James II of England, king of Scotland until his death in 1701. Louis XVI ordered the passing of the water of the town in 1777 ,and gives the Château-Neuf  to his brother , the Count of Artois future king Charles X.

After the Revolution, Consul, Empire, Restoration, and Monarch of July the town goes thru its ups and downs. The castle is converted into a prison (Rouget de Lisle was a prisoner here he who wrote the Marseillaise), a hospital, horse cavalry school, military headquarter, and later military prison. The opening of the first railroad line in 1837 linking the city with Paris gives a new breath of air to the city. The visit of Queen Victoria of England for a pilgrimage to the tomb of James II in 1895 allows in the mind of Napoléon III to create the museum of antiquities in 1867 (still there in the castle). The peace with Austria is signed in St Germain en Laye in 1919 dismantling the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Nazi high command and other army services take possession of the castle as HQ of Nazi forces from Holland to Biarritz during WWII. Finally, the city is liberated in August 1944.

After the end of WWII the OTAN makes the high command in Europe called SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) led by Eisenhower chose to be installed between the towns nearby of  Louveciennes and Marly-le-Roi. Living quarters for the military was built in Saint Germain en Laye on the location of the current village of Village d’Hennemont; where their children went to the school of SHAPE, today still going on as the Lycée international.

THe king Louis XIV has renovated the castle especially the apartments by the Architect Louis le Vau and the gardens by André le Nôtre. Before Versailles, even thus later the king moves there. King Louis XV wanting a Church bigger than the current one there ordered the constrution with the first stone laid in 1766 of the Church of Saint Germain with the finished in 1827. The house of the education of the children of the legion d’honneur is done in 1811. The castle is totally renovated with a new look by orders of Napoléon III in 1863 as we see it today.  The museum of Antiquities , gallo and celtic arts is open to the public in 1867.

The city tourist office in English is here: https://www.saintgermainenlaye-tourisme.fr/en

And the city of Saint Germain en Laye where the information above was translated is here in French: https://www.saintgermainenlaye.fr/140/decouvrir-la-ville.htm

You should not missed the Theater Alexandre Dumas as it was the inspiration of Dumas father who eventually saw the light of the theater, more here in French: http://www.tad-saintgermainenlaye.fr/

And to let your imagination run wild , here is the Château Vieux (old castle) site now is the Archeology museum info here in English: http://en.musee-archeologienationale.fr/

And info in English on the Church of Saint Germain is here:  https://www.saintgermainenlaye-tourisme.fr/en/places-must-see/eglise-saint-germain-633123

And of course the market here at the place du marché  Neuf is very good and with over 700 shops in city center you are in for a treat; I know used to come here very often, and always a pleasure. Here is info in English on the market: https://www.saintgermainenlaye-tourisme.fr/en/activites-et-loisirs-english/les-marches-de-saint-germain-1055791

Enjoy Saint Germain en Laye, plenty to read above,and if questions for details let me know gladly will help out. Enjoy the Holidays and Happy New Year to all! Cheers.

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