Archive for January 27th, 2018

January 27, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LVIIII

I go for a break and tell you about my area once again. The weather has been well typical Breton, grey , humid, rainy and cold these last few days. I have taken it easy sticking around the house and nearby lately too. Must be the Winter doldrums…

Some things to see in my neck of the woods are

The single hulls an be seen in broad daylight at the Spi Ouest-France Regatta. A real treat for anyone who loves a regatta. The greatest skippers come back year after year to take part in what is now the largest gathering of yachts in Europe. 400 yachts line up hull to hull at the starting line. A favourite haunt of barons, the regatta, which takes place in Quiberon bay, is nevertheless open to junior classes and one design mono-hulls. So from March 29 to April 2 come over to La Trinité-sur-Mer, where the Spi Ouest-France Regatta has been guaranteeing sailing enthusiasts a truly unmissable experience since 1978. More in French here from the area newspaper Ouest France;  https://www.ouest-france.fr/spi/preparez-vous-5506080

Festival of Brittany in May 2018 , many sites in Brittany. A whole raft of activities and events will take place across Brittany with festivities running for 4 days. More than 300 events will showcase Breton culture from the most traditional of customs to the latest youth trends as they embrace their Breton roots. Expect concerts, exhibitions, walks, traditional dance, street entertainment, workshops and markets. And of course, an introduction to Breton gastronomy is a given wherever you go! The exact days in May for 2018 is not up yet it will be soon here:  http://www.fetedelabretagne.bzh/#presentation

Jazz en Ville, Vannes will be again held in July 2018. From 14h to one in the morning, there’s only one rule in town – wander round, explore and travel through the land of jazz! When Vannes opens its floodgates in summer, the ramparts of the old town are stormed by jazz and blues legends who get everyone’s feet tapping to the sound of trumpets, drums and clarinets. Even if jazz has taken over the city and on February 24 there will Jazz night in town or La Nuit Jazz en VIlle. More here: http://www.festivaljazzenville.fr/accueil/

During July 13-14 2018 you have back the historical days in Vannes or Fêtes Historiques. For three days, Vannes brings its rich history to life. Take a stroll in the rampart gardens or the streets of the old town, visit the blacksmith’s forge or the coin-makers’ workshop, admire the falconry displays and the artillery demonstrations, or just enjoy a taste of medieval cuisine. And the magic doesn’t end there, for as night falls you can join in the local open-air dance, or bal populaire, and be amazed as the fire-eaters take to the streets. But it’s also a great time to visit Vannes. With around 272 listed buildings, this town hides a wealth of history behind its ancient castle walls. More in French here: http://www.vannes-bretagne-sud.bzh/fetes-historiques-de-vannes#.WmyyVa7ibIU

On our biggest island the Festival Lyrique en Mer in Belle île en Mer takes place in 2018 from July 25 to August 17 . Every summer, Belle-Île-en-Mer acts as the perfect backdrop for the Lyrique en Mer festival, dedicated to some of the world’s greatest opera composers. Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, Rossini…And don’t miss the sacred music concerts or the cocktail-concerts, where you can have a drink and a chat with artists after the show. Over the years the festival has welcomed international singers from some of the world’s most highly regarded opera houses, including the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Paris Opera, La Scala in Milan and London’s Covent Garden. Don Giovanni, Carmen, Madame Butterfly and the Barber of Seville have already been performed here. This has to be a dream holiday for any opera-lover. More here in French:  http://festival-belle-ile.com/

And on August 3-12 2018 you have the wonderful not to be missed Festival InterCeltique in Lorient. All about the Bretons. Every year it’s the same song and dance! Since 1971, this festival has really got it in the bag-ad, for every year it’s bombard-ed with over 700,000 visitors coming to listen to the Celtic sounds of the bombards and the bagad. Just like the Pied Piper, this inter-Celtic parade mesmerizes the crowd, assembled here to celebrate an inter-Celtic night at the Moustoir stadium or in the fishing port, to the sound of the Scottish and Spanish bagpipes that fill the air. Around 200 events and shows and 5000 performers on the bill. More info here: http://www.festival-interceltique.com/

Every year too on August 15 in Vannes we celebrate the Arvor Festival held here since 1928. Celebrating Breton folklore by electing the Queen of Arvor and her ladies in waiting as well as a host of activities dedicated to traditional Breton culture. During 3 days everyone enjoys Exhibitions, Bagadou shows (traditional pipe bands), traditional feasts or festival call Fest-Noz and fancy dress parades as well as concerts and introductions to Breton dancing. All going on by the ramparts of Vannes. Keep an eye here for the 2018 exact dates: http://www.fetes-arvor.org/

April 28-30 2018 in Port en Drô Yacht Club in Carnac, you have Eurocat, the great party for the catamaran aficionado into the May 1st holiday celebrations for 3 days of tests around the island of île de Houat! It is the must event for the sport with all series included such as C1, C3, C4, F18 , and  Flying Boat. More here:  http://www.yccarnac.com/Eurocat.html

We have utmost religious event in all of Brittany with the great penitence of Saint Anne in Sainte-Anne d’Auray. (see my post on this in my blog).  The story of Sainte-Anne d’Auray started in  the 17C when the appereance of the Sainte Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, and grandmother of Jesus was shown here to a poor farmer  Yves Nicolazic (house still standing) . During one appearance she ask to rebuilt a Chapel that was dedicated to her in the 6C ; the news is spread to all of Brittany and the pilgrimages begins towards  Sainte-Anne d’Auray, given birth to one of the biggest pilgrimage dates in the region, which by the 19C was so big , the Chapel is too small. The Basilica of Sainte Anne wad then built between  1865-1872. Every July 26, there are thousands here for the Grand Pardon, a great moment for all Catholics and Bretons for which  Sainte-Anne is their patron Saint. More here: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/?langue=en

The Festival Au Pont du Rock is held every year this time August 3 2018 in Malestroit, the oldest summer music festival in Brittany. All the latest trend in rock are showcase here with an independent free spirit and free ambiance. More here: http://www.aupontdurock.com/

And there you have some planning to do coming over heeeere ::) Well I just had a peaceful day today so only went out to the SPA de Lorient in Larmor-Plage as we are thinking and gathering information on adopting a dog!!! Not an easy decision as the ones we saw are old we kinda feld for one 10 years old but this is too much to bring home we think. So the search continues…. if curious the site is here: http://www.spa-lorient.com/index.php

We in between, had our lunch at a nice find or sort of finally there. This restaurant just open on an old bar that was not working and sold to a couple that now lives across the street in the village of Corn er Hoët town of Brech not far from us. We passed by it all the time but you know here we have so much to see….the local bus driver that took our kids to from school ,once crossed with us and recommended it but again we were busy with others….well finally we went in today. The restaurant is the Au Coq en Pâte, 20 route de Corn Er Hoët, Brech. We had different dishes and all very good quality price ratio,with a friendly talkative host/owners. I had the crusty wrap in Andouille Breton the local sausage from pork, green salad as entrée and then had the main dish on parmentier de haddock and codfish all wash down with a nice provence Rosé 50cl garafe and expresso coffee. 22.50€ per person good in the woods. More and with pictures below : http://www.aucoqenpate.fr/

Brech Brech Brech Brech Brech Brech Brech

Enjoy your Saturday wherever you are, happy travels and Cheers!!!

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January 27, 2018

Chateau de Chenonceau, ladies please!

I am rapid firing at you because its a pity some of these wonderful castles are not showcase more in my blog. These are posts from the vault of 2011 bringing them back to life.

The next one is the Chateau de Chenonceau in the town of Chenonceaux….

I always come by car here, so taking the A10 from Paris and getting out in the Blois or Amboise exit you will see panels to get to the castle. By train from Paris Montparnasse to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (outside Tours) by TGV train and then a local TER from Tours to Chenonceau in less than 2 hours complete trip.

Again for clarity,the official tourist site for the castle is here: https://www.chenonceau.com/en/

Chenonceaux is the town in the department of Indre et Loire in the region of Centre Val de Loire . The difference in the name from town to castle is due to a Mme Dupin that during the French revolution wanted to differentiate the two so saving the castle from ruins so say many.

You have basically five women who are attached to the castle and with their bedrooms, the one I like the most is of the room of Louise de Lorraine , really amazing with a creepy decor to show her mourning for the passing of King Henri III her husband. She lived here her last years with black walls with several mortuaries attributes. See the room picture below.

The outside is equally impressive with gardens. The circular laberynh, the rosary flowering in the garden or Jardin de Diane de Poitiers, the flowery lawns of the garden or jardin de Catherine de Médicis; the flower garden à la française are wonderful to walk.

And to see other structures next to these gardens such as the Galerie des attelages or gallery of horse teams and it’s collection of hippo cars dating from the 18C to early 19C. The gallery of domes or the Galerie des Dômes that preserves the souvenirs of the military hospital that was setup at Chenonceau during the First World War.

For lodgings ,eating out, activities to do, the local tourist office in English has plenty and reliable here: https://www.tourismaroundchenonceaux.com/index.php/accommodations/

Enjoy the ladies of Chenonceau, happy reading for the weekend. Cheers!
Chenonceau chateau room of Louise de Lorraine jun08

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January 27, 2018

Bordeaux, wines? nahh beaches!!!

Lacanau Ocean Ok I am on a roll, grey rainy, humid, cool 6C not fun to go out although we plan something later in the afternoon. Right now is memory lane and reminiscent of the wonderful place I posted on my blog going back to 2011!

Bordeaux has a mythical name to it, for most it means the best wine in the world and rightfully so, I agree. Extensive (all my life) work in the wine industry from bartender to management and diploma of France and Spain on wine connoisseurs level, even right now worked for a big multinational with wine distribution division.

However, what most visitors do not know, is that the Bordeaux, especially the best wine areas of the Médoc are also,home to some of the best beaches in France, and the summer hangout of my family especially when younger ages.

Of course, plenty of wine info there and some beach. These towns we have zigzag for many years with the kids and beach activities that are second to none in France. These are Lacanau-Océan,Carcans-Maubisson, Hourtin,especially, but also Le Verdun-sur-Mer, Soulac-sur-Mer ,and Montalivet.

The place for beaches in France with info on each is plagetv here: http://en.plages.tv/beaches/b-gironde

The special Médoc tourism page in French has more on them: http://medoc-tourisme.com/fr/incontournables/les-plages-a-linfini/

The one we prefer of all is Lacanau-Océan and even thus is in French, you can give yourselves a good idea from the pictures to know this is really good beach town: https://lacanauocean.com/fr/lacanau-plage.htm

Here we have done house rental and camping park rental. The house is fine but for ambiance and group activities the camping are best. Our all time favorite camping is the 5 star Camping Yelloh! village Les Grands Pins just 300 meters from the beach at North side or plage nord. The house was Villa “Gré des flots” more expensive and like I said more isolated even if in city center. WE like more the camping.

The house Gré des flots is here: https://www.sejour-lacanau.com/room/villa-gre-des-flots/

The camping site is here;https://www.lesgrandspins.com/en/

This camping is tops you can walk to the city center and the beaches and plenty of family activities inside! As well as cheaper for a family than the house.

The beaches at Lacanau-Océan are 16 km long or about 10 miles and are three south, central, and north (sud, central, nord).

From the city center you go down steps into the sand for the plage Centrale or central beach, and very close to all shops restos bars etc. So,therefore ,the most crowded part. The others are reach on foot from city center too but on neighborhood more residentials. So you still close to all amenities but less crowded. The plage Super Sud or south has a huge parking for 2000 cars/autos with pines shades, need to cross a dune of sand on wooden trails with a spectacular view over the beach; been the more open nature beach. The plage nord or north beach is the one we access from the camping and is so wide and wild and much less crowded as the part of the camping made it private beach. This is super tranquility and good ambiance with the camping folks.
More on the city page here in French:http://www.mairie-lacanau.fr/decouvrir/presentation/507-lacanau-ocean.html

Enjoy the fact that on the ocean side you have wonderful beaches and on the river side you have the best wines in the world, the center is full of pine trees landscape and farms you have the real France at your fingertips or wheelstip. Plublic transport is available even bus from Bordeaux to Pauillac but here the car is king. For the daring ones, here are the buses : http://www.mairie-lacanau.fr/decouvrir/32-transport.html#c2280

By car from Bordeaux you have several alternatives depending on which beach you are going to . Driving by car go into the Bordeaux beltway A630 direction Le Lac take exit 8 on the road D215 direction Sainte Hélène, here take the road D6 Route de Lacanau direction lacanau and then past the lake lacanau-ocean, after the traffic circle of the Casino of Lacanau bear right into the next road Pénetrante later boulevard Franchet until the entrance to the Camping well posted.

Hope it helps enjoy some beach family time in the Médoc, and maybe a tour of the Chateaux of Bordeaux/Médoc! Cheers

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January 27, 2018

Saint Jean de Luz and the King!

Here is Saturday and again reminiscent of my older post in my blog, bring them back to life. France is a huge reservoir of gorgeous sites that will probably my lifetime won’t be enough to see it all. However, I am on the right track ::)

The one post on Saint Jean de Luz is one example of it. Here is the old post from 2011: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/06/saint-jean-de-luz-the-french-basque-town/

You have lots of interesting fact there and photos. The city has plenty of history even recent from the exit of the Polish army in 1940 escaping from here and all the way back to ancient times. It has long been a feud between France and Spain around here. And of course, wonderful beaches. I just will like to expand on the King’s presence there that is link to two countries dear to me.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz found it’s best hour when after the treaty of the Pyrénées on November 7 1659 , sealing the peace between France and Spain by negotiations of Cardinal Mazarin, and marking the borders of the two countries until these days ; king Louis XIV came here to married Maria Teresa of Austria , infanta of Spain (daughter of the king of Spain, Felipe IV)on June 9 1660. The door of the church of St John the Baptist or Saint-Jean-Baptiste, from which the royal couple went out was closed 3 years after the wedding, even if the sign on the door tells of the closing immediately after the wedding according to French history school book.

Her 6 children died early except one, but the grandson Felipe V born at Versailles later became King of Spain in 1700, and it is the Bourbon dynasty still running in Spain today. Felipe V ,also built La Granja de San Ildefonso , near Segovia, to look as a miniature Versailles as a reminder of his birth and time there.

There is a lot written on the house that King Louix XIV stayed while waiting for the wedding, the old house of Lohobiague-Enea or commonly call Maison Louis XIV more on it here in English: http://www.maison-louis-xiv.fr/lohobiague-enea,110,en.html?PHPSESSID=1sbn2ulc12pj3pklall59o3hq6

However, much less on the Infanta… She stayed at the house or Maison de l’Infante-Joanoenia ,located at 1 rue de l’Infanta in town. Built in 1640 by Joannot de Haraneder,a rich boat builder of noble titles given by king Louis XIII for his services in the siege of La Rochelle. The Infanta lived here while the marriage ceremonies were going on in June 1660. The house ,also hosted king Felipe V of Spain and his brothers in 1701, as well as emperor Napoleon III and the emperatrice Eugénie in 1854. She of course Spanish Montijo from Belmonte Castilla La Mancha where I have visited the castle still in descendants hands and open to the public.

You can visit the bedroom of the Infanta, the anteroom of the great hall with a decoration of the 17C, the monumental chimney in sculpture stones, heads of angels, richly sculpture beams decorated with mythical figures, fabolous monsters, exotic fruits and celestial constellations. The oratory along this grand hall has a great view over the harbor or Port et la Rhune. More on this house in French here : http://www.stjeandeluz-paysbasque.com/il_etait_une_fois/maison_infante.php

For clarity and help here is the tourist office of Saint Jean de Luz in English: http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/en/

Enjoy it the pays basque, the basques of France. Have a great day, Cheers.
ah a personal touch,photo of me and the boys in front of the house of the Infanta.
st jean de luz Pedro remi xavier front of maison infanta

January 27, 2018

Chaumont sur Loire, the castle by the Loire!

Of course, where else would you find so many castles and so many beautiful ones than if not in the Valley of the Kings, now this is the region of Centre-Val de Loire; not to be confused with the other with castles too Pays de la Loire.

I like to post my old story on the castle of Chaumont sur Loire here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/12/26/chaumont-sur-loirethe-castle-one-more-in-the-loire/

Again for clarity, the official site for the castle is here: http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr/en/home

Chaumont sur Loire is in department 41 Loir et Cher (which are also two rivers tributaries of the Loire. Nicely located between Amboise and Blois.Only 185 km from Paris or about 115 miles.

Some of the activities going on here in addition to offering a wonderful view over the royal river =Loire, the castle and its 32 ha of space includes stables from the 19C one of the most avant garde in Europe, a landscape park/garden and the Festival International des Jardins (international gardens festival from April to November. More on the Festival here: http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr/en/international-garden-festival

It is, also, a center of Arts and Nature, with contemporary artists and expositions of the best photographers . During the high season it showcase the garden of lights or «Jardins de Lumière» with an invitation of a nocturnal walk to discover the festival of gardens; there is a nice restaurant in the castle with an inventive cuisine.

I do my runs by car here so if coming from Paris the best is the A10 direction Bordeaux, and come out in exit or sortie 17 Blois then direction Tours. By train you go out of the Paris gare d’Austerlitz direction to arrive at gare d’Onzain / Chaumont-sur-Loire.

The city has information on the castle,activites, eat outs and coming to it in French here: http://www.chaumontsurloire.fr/le-chateau.html

a very nice castle in a nice area to drive by, bicycles are fine here too, see the Loire à Vélo organization here: http://www.cycling-loire.com/sights-itinerary/chateaux-loire/domaine-chaumont-sur-loire

Enjoy it and see you again over the weekend lots of old reliables that need to bring back to life such as Chaumont. Happy weekend, Cheers!
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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