Let me tell you about Montfort l’Amaury!!!

So here we go on the other beloved department of mine,78, Yvelines; west of Paris. Well, it is not just Versailles folks… Read my blog.

There is a small quaint little known town call Montfort l’Amaury, that has a saying in French history and my roots. Only 45 km from Paris,what are you waiting for?

First, a bit on the town’s tourist page in French here: http://www.ville-montfort-l-amaury.fr/-Decouvrir-Montfort-l-Amaury-

Ok so you don’t have a car ,no problems here. There is a train station at Montfort l’Amaury-Méré just 4 km from town on an easy taxi ride. Here it is on the SNCF Transilien official site: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/montfort-l-amaury-mere-8739389

Several roads here of course, my treat. The best ones are the D76 to the train station, and the N12 direction Thoiry and else, I come to Versailles/Paris on it from Brittany free tolls!, and the N10 from to nd onwards to the A10 and Bordeaux, Spain.

A bit of history I like. Montfort-l’Amaury took the name of Amaury Ist, the first count of Montfort. King Robert II (972-1031) ordered the castle built in 996 on the hill of Montfort. The town was the seat of the Montfort family from the 11C with Guillaume de Hainaut. His son Amaury Ist (1028-1053), had the ramparts built which you can still see some of it. The lordship of Montfort-l’Amaury was created in favor of the sons of Simon IV (1165-1218). During the war of 100 years the castle was destroyed by the English. Quite old isn’t it.

Well it gets better. The count of Montfort was linked to the Duchy of Brittany ! following the marriage of Yolande de Montfort with duke Arthur II of Brittany in 1292. During the war of succession in Brittany (1341-1364), the Monfort allied themselves with the English and won at the famous battle near me now at Auray (1364). From then on and during two centuries the town was in Brittany; the Montfort became dukes of Brittany. The county was included in the crown of France in 1547 once the treaty making Brittany part of France in 1532 took effect. Anne de Bretagne, duchess of Brittany and Countess of Montfort was a benefactrice here. king Henri II, son of François Ier and Claude de France,(daughter of Anne de Bretagne,and queen of France by marriage with king Charles VIII and later too king Louis XII).

So what can you see here; well, the old Castle ruins are now only visible with a donjon tower built in the 12C call the tour d’Anne-de-Bretagne that was ordered built by herself. The wonderful impressive by its size and the size of the town is St Peter’s Church from the 15C and 16C ordered rebuilt by Anne de Bretagne in 1491, at the place of the old medieval church of the 11C ordered built by Count Amaury Ier de Montfort. If you are into these sort of things ,there is a cemetary from the 15C and 16C surrounded by galleries looking like a cloister serving as charniers for the inhumanisation of corps taken from the old cemetary by the Church; nice looking cloister entrance. The house or maison de Maurice Ravel(composer), call the Belvédère,from the 20C at the foot of the ruins of the castle and its donjon. Maurice Ravel lived here from 1921 until his death in 1937. The house was preserved by his younger brother. Finally it is bequested to the museums of France , and open to the public in 1973. The ramparts from the 11C and 12C that still have some intact and the gate or porte Bardoul, a prison in the 13C , as well as many wooden houses all around the narrow streets of the town. You can see especially the house where Victor Hugo stayed several times and compose the famous “Ode aux ruines” as a memory of the town. This was the house of poet Adolphe de Saint-Valry in rue de la Treille, where since 1825 Victor Hugo visited in the company of his wife.

Montfort l'Aumary

You can, visit the gardens of the Chateau de Groussay near town, as explain in the region of Ile de France tourist page, but not been here. Here is the site in English: http://en.visitparisregion.com/attractions-paris/parks-outdoors/le-parc-du-chateau-de-groussay-324457.html

The department Yvelines tourist page in French: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/visite-decouverte-yvelines/visiter-montfort-l-amaury

However, there is one more detail that I mentioned on my blog post on the town here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/30/monfort-lamaury-an-old-county-of-france/

And I can expand now on the history. José-Maria de Heredia, was born in 1842 and died in 1905; he was a writer, poet, teacher and born in Cuba under Spanish colonial rule , as his mother was French, he became French in 1893. His work made him one of the master of the Parnassian movement and the author of Les Trophées, (the trophies) published in 1893 that included 118 sonnets retracing the history of the world like the Conquerors or the coral recifs; as well as four long poems.

He was born at La Fortuna, not far from Santiago de Cuba the plantation coffee farm ,and send to France at age 9 to further his studies in the Lycée Saint-Vincent of Senlis (Oise 60)where he studied until his diploma in 1859, been a brilliant student and very much appreciated. He returns to Cuba and spent a year in Havana in order to try for this law degree and it is at this time that writes his first poems in French.

He return to France in 1861 with his mother already widow. He enrolled the same year at the Law school of Paris. From 1862-1865 he takes courses in the école National des Chartes, where he excelled for his serious work and good manners. He began to be more motivated for the literature than Law and continue to compose poems in particular with sonnets; the family fortune managed by his mother, allows him live well.He was part of a group of literary intellectuals like the La Bruyére conference and become influential member of the Parnassienne school. In 1863, he met Leconte de Lisle and help at contemporary Parnasse while making friends such as Sully Prudhomme, Catulle Mendés and Anatole France.

In 1884, Guy de Maupassant dedicates the new novel Garçon a Bok! The Les Trophées, making call to designer and animated experts dedicated to Leconte de Lisle, is given accolades and crown winner by the French Academy or Académie Française. He was already distinguished by the Académie for his translation of the true history of the conquest of the new Spain or L’Histoire véridique de la conquête de la Nouvelle Espagne du capitaine Bernal Díaz del Castillo! . He translate as well the story of the sister marine Catalina de Erauso and collaborated in the magazine of two worlds, time newspaper and debates or Revue des Deux Mondes, au Temps et au Journal des débats. He is elected to the French Academy or l’Académie française on February 22 1894 on the seat of Charles de Mazade, or No 79. While the tsars traveled to Paris in 1896 he compose the poem Salut à l’Empereur. Member of the dictionary commission or Commission du dictionnaire, he becomes in 1901, conservator of the Arsenal library or conservateur de la bibliothèque de l’Arsenal. As Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Pierre Louÿs and others, he belongs to the league of the French motherland or Ligue de la patrie française, and the Ligue anti dreyfusard moderates.

In 1902, he founded with Sully Prudhomme and Léon Dierx, the society of French poets. Heredia and his wife that in 1901 and 1902, had passed their summer vacations in Montfort-l’Amaury, decided in 1903 to change town and chose to lived with friends at  the Château de Bourdonné, near Houdan (today own by the sister of Charles Aznavour the French singer and open on heritage days but you can walk in the gardens other times) . More on the castle here: https://www.tourisme-pays-houdanais.fr/ent/discover/built-heritage/castles-and-farms.html

Montfort l'Aumary

lived here house of jose maria de heredia 1 rue de la moutiére, Montfort l’Aumary there is a plaque

By September of 1903 he is victim of a digestive hemorrhage ,that the local doctor has difficulties in stop it. He goes into a diet but even with that a second hemorrhage comes in August of 1904. He died in his Château de Bourdonné on the night of October 2 1905 followed by a third hemorrhage. As he had visited the basilica of bonsecours near Rouen with his friend Flaubert he decided to buy a plot as was moved by the statue of Jeanne d’Arc and the Basilica; and later buried his mother here, naturally he is buried here too at the cemetery of Bonsecours , just outside Rouen in dept 76 ,Seine-iMaritime. More on French here: https://www.tombes-sepultures.com/crbst_878.html

From his marriage in 1867 to Louise Despaigne, he had three daughters:
Hélène (1871-1953), married Maurice Maindron, then René Doumic.
Marie (1875-1963), married Henri de Régnier. She was the mistress of Pierre Louÿs and wrote under the pseudonym of Gérard d’Houville. She had a son ,Pierre de Régnier, dit Tigre (tiger), natural son of Pierre Louÿs,who was also his godfather.
Louise (1878-1930), married Pierre Louÿs, too fast and divorce, then married Auguste Gilbert de Voisins.

There is a monument to José-Maria de Heredia done by Victor Ségoffin (1867-1925) at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris.

More on this Cuban-French at the French Academy here:
http://www.academie-francaise.fr/les-immortels/jose-maria-de-heredia?fauteuil=4&election=22-02-1894

His unofficial biography is here: http://www.josemaria-heredia.com/intro.htm

And all his poems are here: http://poesie.webnet.fr/lesgrandsclassiques/poemes/jose_maria_de_heredia/index.html

Hope you have enjoy this wonderful ride into the French soul, and the countryside of the Yvelines dept 78, there is a lot more in France. Happy travels! Cheers!!!

 

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