Archive for January 29th, 2018

January 29, 2018

The region of Normandie ,now back to its origins!

And as I am on a roll on this Monday with lots of work the rest of the week me think why not get all these new regions a new life afterall many still used the old names ::) Right now let’s talk about Normandie or Normandy , land of the Normans or north men .

Normandie is old and really into the history of France especially at the world stage. The Normandy we know was founded in Neustrie by Rollon, dukedom of Normandy occupies from 911AD the valley of the Seine later Bessin, pays d’Auge, and Hiémois in 924AD, the Contentin, Avranchin, islands of the Manche in 933AD. By 1066, duke William the Conqueror even took on England and conquered it to become king. A century and a half later in 1204, king of France Philippe Auguste invades the dukedom and conquered it into the Royal domain of France with the exception of the islands of Jersey and Guernesey still British.  The rest becomes provinces of France until 1790. By 1956, Normandy is divided in two sharing the new of high or Haute Normandie and low or Basse Normandie.  Now they are back to the origins as one whole Normandie in the new territorial administration of France.

The local language is Norman still spoken in the pays de Caux and the Cotentinn peninsula . The region is now divided into the departments of Calvados, Eure,  Manche,  Orne,  and Seine-Maritime. The region capital and main city is Rouen.

Normandie tourisme site in French for the new region is here:

and the region webpage in French is here:

The train transport is in one webpage here TER Sncf of Normandie

train and bus info is also on the region page in French  as well as the tourist webpage below:

Unesco world heritage sites are at  Le Havre, Mont Saint Michel and Bay;   and working big  on making the Normandy landing beaches  1944 on the list as well.  This is what really should be in Unesco. One of the highlights of western world fight for freedom.

Main tourist cities are: Le Havre, Rouen,Caen,Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Évreux,Dieppe,Alençon, Vernon, Lisieux, Saint-Lô,Fécamp ,Flers,Argentan,Bayeux,Granville, Honfleur, Giverny,Deauville, and Etretat.

I have a sentimental attachment to this region. Not only because of the Normandy invasion for freedom , or the beauty and sights of the region; but for my mother. My late mom love this area and she was always ready to come here and did several times with me since early days ,she was especially fond of Honfleur, a city of artists and gorgeous streets of yesteryear, but mostly because there is a tradition on the Festival of the fisherman or Fête des Marins, where the Virgin is taken out from St Catherine Church and walk on the streets , put in a small boat and out to sea; a bishop blessed the boats with her in honor of all those fallen here or privately families decided to bury at sea. It is a spot way out into the sea from the harbor which we have taken on pleasure boats that follow the parade. My mother is buried at sea here taken out on the Notre Dame lifeboat of the SNSM volunteer organization that saves folks at sea and take care of the lifeguards on the beaches; special place for me and now my father we walked into the Notre Dame Church on the hill of grace or côte de Grace with a big Cross of Christ overlooking the harbor and hold Mass on this day of the festival as well. It is done since 1861 here and the next one is from Saturday May 19 to Monday May 21 2018. More on it here in French:

And the story on the Notre Dame Church on the hill of grace in English here:

nd a picture to showcase my father at the hill of grace on Normandy and Honfleur. Enjoy Normandy it is for all of us. Cheers!!

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January 29, 2018

The new region of France: Hauts de France!

Now this one is moving up north , where we do have family and comes not just for sightseeing but as citizen here, and probably why the few photos of sights. It is different and wonderful at the same time. Looking forward to have it more publicize as it deserves more from the millions who visit France every year (about 85M).  Of course, I am talking about the Hauts de France.

Another controversy in the name as most folks determine that hauts just means highs and nothing to do with the region per se. However ,once again in the rush to change the landscape of France the council of States voted for the name.

The region is the fusion of the old régions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie. The region is comprise of five deparments such as the Aisne, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, and the Somme. It is with the île de France  on the south, the Normandie on the west, the Grand Est on the east. They have a long frontier with Belgium on the northeast and the Mer du Nord on the northwest.

A map of the region is on their official regional site here:

The biggest city here is Lille and other than the official French, the region speaks local dialects/languages  such as the ch’ti, picard, and flemish. The region until the 18C was named into several provinces such in Picardie around Amiens, Saint-Quentin, Boulogne-sur-mer, and Calais, Flandres around Lille and Dunkerque and the Artois with Arras, Lens, and Béthune. While the Île de France region was really into Beauvais and Laon.

Unesco world heritage sites here are:

Notre Dame Cathedral of Amiens; part of the route of St James or Santiago were the Saint Jacques le Majeur Church and the Saint Jean Baptiste Church ofFolleville; St Jacques Church of Compiegne ; The belltowers of the Nord, Pas-de-Calais, and the Somme; the citadelle of Arras,part of the circuit of Vauban fortifications; the mining basin of the Nord Pas de Calais on 109 sites including Churches and monuments; and the Notre Dame of the immaculate conception basilica of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The designation of cities of Art and History in France is taken serious by these cities; and the Hauts de France has plenty such as  Arras (Pas-de-Calais) Beauvais (Oise) Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) Cambrai (Nord) Chantilly (Oise) Laon (Aisne) Lille (Nord) Noyon (Oise) Roubaix (Nord) Saint-Quentin (Aisne) Valenciennes (Nord) , and Soissons (Aisne).

As well as the Champagne area of the Aisne such as in Chateau Thierry!

On the transport site, it is a region awaiting consolidation as well but some of the majors are:

TER trains in the region

transport somme 80

transport nord 59

oise 60

aisne 02

pas de calais Oscar network 62

tourist info from the regional page in French.

Enjoy the posts and the region of Hauts de France.  Cheers!!

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January 29, 2018

The region of the Grand Est!

This is another new region of France, we call it Grand Est . it took some time to get it as the folks were not too happy to change the name especially the Alsace. Finally, the gov’t won and the name was voted by the council of States .

The official regional webpage is here in French:

And the site tourist information in French is here:

Grand Est  is the old regions of Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne-Ardennes . In turn this new region comprises the departments of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges, Ardennes, Marne, Haute-Marne, Aube ,and the Meuse.

Great network of transportation  that will soon merge  into one for the whole region. Still working on merging all into one but the main ones are:

All transports

the transfrontaliers, nearby countries

the train TER grand est

link grand est sncf

the Lorraine


several on bus

The biggest city is Strasbourg, here the city host the European Parliament as well as the mediator European who controls the UE. Also, it’s the seat of the Council of Europe of which is attach the European Court of Human Rights as well as the pharma European organism. Here , also ,you have the IT system network of Schengen.

The region frontiers are with four countries Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland. In the region ,other than the official French language, you can also hear German, Alsacien, Francine Lorrain, Lorrain Romanesque(Welche), and Champenois

Some of the wonderful Unesco world heritage sites here are:

At Nancy, the areas around the Place Stanislas, Place de la Carriére, Place de’Alliance. The Grande île or big island in Strasbourg ; at Reims the Notre Dame Cathedral, Basilica of Saint Remi, and the Episcopal palace of  Tau. On the road to St James (Santiago) you have the Basilica of Notre Dame at L’Epine and the Notre Dame en Vaux Church in Châlons-en-Champagne; fortifications of Vauban such as the Citadelle of Longwy and Citadelle of Neuf-Brisach;  the mountain sides of the houses and cellars of Champagne; the architectural work of Le Corbusier, the manufacture Claude et Duval at Saint-Dié-des-Vosges.

Enjoy the Grand Est, far East of France where history of nations intertwined with the modern Europe in France.

Happy Monday, me on a roll lol!!! Cheers!!!

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