Archive for March 6th, 2018

March 6, 2018

The little jewels of the Morbihan

Ok so we had a nice day today a bit rainy ,sun in and out but nice cool. My search for my puppy is down to two oooff! it is difficult to find a puppy here and not pay the exhorbitant prices of the breeders lol!  And ready for the big football .soccer game tonight . Anyway let’s get to the blog

I like to tell you about the Morbihan and the little jewels that abound here. I have written on practically all of Brittany and still lot to go, but these are small posts that sometimes gets lost in my blog already about 1250 posts!!! Thank you. This post will be long, sorry. I warn you.

I live in the Morbihan dept 56 region of Brittany. The name is taken from the Gulf of Morbihan that pretty much matches the kingdom becoming county ,and bailiff of Broêrec and even before that of the original inhabitant the Vénétes (that gave the name to the city of Vannes) . It is the only department in France that is not French in name but the local Breton language. It is petite mer in French or small sea ; the meaning told several times in my blog is Mor=sea and Bihan=small. The political seat of government is base in Vannes, home of the prefecture.

The department as we know it was created after the French revolution in March 1790, and given the territory that extended on the old lands of the diocese of Vannes founded in the 5C (with some small parts north, east, and west taken away) in the far out of Cornouaille, south of the bishop of Saint Brieuc ,southwest of the bishop of Saint Malo, and northwest of the bishop of Nantes.
The departments after the French revolution were given names to help erase the past identities of Angevin, Corsican, Alsacians, and Bretons, etc. and bring them to the French only identity. The names were chosen by rivers, seas, mountains and geographical locations. Here it was thought to give it the name of the southern coast or Côtes du sud, instead of the other dept name northern coast or Côtes-du-Nord (today actually name Côtes d’Armor 22). However, the presence of many small gulfs already called mor bihan by the inhabitants at Gâvres, and south of Vannes,finally was chosen for the geographical symbolism.

During the French revolution several battalions were formed and the 1st and 2nd. Battalion of volunteers took part in the Haitian revolution and participated in the battle of Cap-français,Haiti. The Morbihan was part in 1919 of the V economic region or Region of Nantes with several others and the tourist region of Brittany with the current departments. This was further confirmed as belonging to Brittany the dept Morbihan 56, Finistére 29, Ille et Vilaine 35, and Côte d’Armor 22 in a series of administrative acts in 1941 (done by traitor gen Pétain and contested by Bretons today), 1944, 1956-1972, and 1988.

The Morbihan has two languages other than French ; these are the Breton,on the western part and the Gallo on the eastern part. It is spoken at last count by all levels in about 700K. The route signs and streets are done in French and Breton or Gallo in the area of language coverage. So therefore, where I work Vannes is Gwened and where I live Pluvigner is Pleuwigner.

The biggest forests are north of the department such as Paimpont, Lanouée, and Quénécan etc, and n the center such as the lands of Lanvaux , very near me especially the Domaniales de Camors,,and Floranges. The highest point is at the northeast in Gourin,and the mount or mont Saint-Joseph at 297 meters in the black mountain range or Montagnes Noires. The coastal line including the islands is of 800 km , while the distance at sight between the Laita and Vilaine rivers representing the east and west frontiers of the department is only about 150 km. The Gulf of Morbihan has about 42 isles and two forming towns such as île d’Arz and île aux Moines.

Outside the Gulf or in the big sea or Mor Braz in Breton you have four inhabited islands such as south east of the bay of Quiberon : Houat ;Hoëdic ; and Belle-Île-en-Mer (the biggest Breton island with 8 560 hectares) ; and facing Lorient you have the île de Groix. All gorgeous to be visited.

 

The biggest cities are Lorient, Vannes, Auray ,Pontivy,and Hennebont but even with urban areas do not passed 200K inhabitant such as Lorient. Tourism, fishing, canned goods and agro are big here.

Some of the best museums are the prehistory museum or musée de préhistoire of Carnac with a rich collection of prehistoric in the world ! The museum of archeology and history or musée d’histoire et d’archéologie of Vannes,in the Château-Gaillard, old castle of the 15C tracing the history of archeological research in the Morbihan from the 19C ; the museum of passions and wings or musée Des Passions et des Ailes of Baden, dedicated to the history of aviator Joseph Le Brix. The ecomuseum or écomusée of Saint-Dégan in the town of Brec’h tracing the agrarian society customs in the Morbihan. The cartepole museum at Baud with over 60K postcards; the Breton resistance WWII museum.at Saint-Marcel, the cider museum or Musée du cidre in the town of Hézo,on the presqu’île de Rhuys on which you can see the entire process of making cider, taste and buy it. And the famous museum of sailings or the Cité de la voile Éric Tabarly also the old submarine base and a the old submarine Flore S645 from WWII at Lorient.

 

Some of the other things to see is the great celtic festival or the Festival interceltique of Lorient.Each year since 1971, he brings together in early August the very best of Celtic groups all over the world. The other festivity I like is the Jazz Festival or the Festival Jazz in Vannes. Also, big with the sea we have the Gulf week or the Semaine du Golfe. Since 1990 we tell you all you need to know about the seas, boats etc and it will be back in 2019 around the week fallen on the Ascension. The festival is done in several cities along the coast such as Arradon, Arzon, Auray, Baden, Crac’h, Île-d’Arz, Île-aux-Moines, Larmor-Baden, Le Bono, Le Hézo, Locmariaquer, Plougoumelen, Saint-Armel, Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys, Sarzeau, Séné, and Vannes.

Gastronomy wise we have one item that is recognized all over the world. It all begain with the crusades in the 12C to Asia ,when they realise the rose flowers became lost in sight, while keeping a secret of the black wheat. The crusaders begain to import them in Europe but realize quickly that to harvest them was not easy. The production was too low, until they started to search for better cultivation conditions, that was Brittany. The Breton Galette of black wheat is now a success for its variety of toppings in the great Breton cuisine. The cider, the salted butter, the caramel, the beer, and the sweets are world renown as well.

Some links of tourist information to help you plan your visit, and of course, ask me ::)

Tourism morbihan
http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover

tourism history by govt Morbihan
http://www.morbihan.fr/departement-du-morbihan/histoire-et-geographie/presentation-du-morbihan/decouvrez-le-morbihan/

Region of Brittany tourism on morbihan
http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf

Ok ,so where are the little jewels! Well I have written before on my blog posts. they will be following  at the end. Ok

The town of Bignan has a gorgeous castle the ,Château de Kerguéhennec,called by many the Breton Versailles!! (oof a lot to say), it is from the 18C and now houses today a wonderful contemporary art center , cultural and meetings center in lush gardens and a Café.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/10/20/domaine-de-kerguehennecmorbihan/

Etel, a sardines port by 1850 , later a tuna port par excellence by the 1930’s. You see here the lifesavers boaters station with its old lifesaver boat Patron Émile Daniel. The sandy sea barrier of Etel, the Church Notre Dame des Flots built in 1850, and the Chateau de la Garenne, now the seat of Cross Étel (marine security).There is a wonderful museum of tuna fisherman or the musée des thoniers d’Étel.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/10/17/etelthe-ria-of-morbihan-and-tuna-trawlers/

Erdeven, beautiful beach or plage de Kerouriec and still reminders of the WWII with bunkers even in the water now like the one at Roche-Sèche. The windmill of Narbon, built in 1805; the Church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul; here it was recognized the founders of the town the lords Keravéon , and was totally rebuilt i the 18C. The Chapel of the true cross or Chapelle de la Vraie-Croix built in the 16C aka the Chapelle de la Congrégation or call by the Bretons the Chapelle de Langroës.

Ploemel, and its Church of Saint André from the 19C and great country shopping as well as the Chapelle de Locmaria 16C with the stone tomb of Pierre Broerec of the 14C, and the Chapelle de Recouvrance of the 16C with mural paintings showing the passion of Christ..

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/04/23/coastal-morbihanploemelerdeven-and-etel/

Port Louis is a nice town with a huge fortress here, there is a small nice beach next to the fort. You can see here the Citadelle de Port-Louis (fortress),the tower or tour du Bastion, the fortifications all around it, Church of Notre Dame de-l’Assomption, and the park or parc à boulets. However, all is worth coming to see inside the fortress the museum of the Company of the Indies or musée de la Compagnie des Indes, and the museum of the marines or Musée national de la Marine de Port-Louis.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/10/18/port-louis-and-the-indies/

Crac’h with its Church of Saint-Thuriau from 1809, Locmariaquer with the Church of Notre-Dame de Kerdro , roman style built in the 11C and 12C, the wonderful port and the megaliths stones ,especially the Grand menhir brittle of Er Grah; the biggest in the world with about 20 meters cut up in four pieces. We go to the nearby Saint Philibert with its wonderful beaches of the plage de Kernevest, and plage de Men er Bellec; also, the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Flux-et-du-Reflux,from the 17C, sea point with beautiful views of the ocean such as Pointe de Keryondre, Pointe de Men-er-Bellec, and menhir or old stones part of the Breton celtic traditions. Lamor Baden with the historical Breton stone of the Cairn de Gavrinis located on the island or Île de Gavrinis getting there by boat from the port or cale de Pen Lannic; also, the island or Île de Berder, only on low tide with nice walk trails along the water.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/07/16/a-taste-of-crachlocmariaquerand-st-philibert/

Last ,but not least, the beautiful sailing harbor of La Trinité sur Mer;other than again many stone menhir sites as in all of the Morbihan, you have here the bridge over the harbor ; the pont de Kerisper connecting Saint-Philibert by getting around the riviera of Crac’h. Originally this was metal bridge created by Gustave Eiffel ! and opened in 1901.It was destroyed in 1944 by the Nazis and rebuilt between 1956-1958 in the form of an arch and 203 meters long! with gorgeous views.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/07/05/la-trinite-sur-mer-pleasure-boaters-paradise/

I told you would be long, but so are the choices in the Morbihan, and these are just a handful ok just a handful of beauties we have around the small sea oops petite mer oh nooo, morbihan. Enjoy your week, happy travels and Cheers!

March 6, 2018

The odd couple, Chatou and Chaussy, read on!!!

On a nice sunny week always with the rain just about there and which sometimes falls, I like to tell you about a tale of two places in my belle France. One that should be famous, a bit; the other is not too much known but it should.

Like the title says, Chatou and Chaussy are both with the C but world’s apart. Chatou is the impressionists, and Chaussy is noble and countryside. I like to bring you back to these two in my blog.

I like to put my previous blog post on these odd couples! https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/03/chatou-and-chaussy-paint-and-nature-idf/

Chatou is in my old department 78 Yvelines in the region of Ïle de France,just 10 km west of Paris bordering the Seine river.

The main roads here are along avenue du Maréchal Foch , A86 by the Seine ,and then the D186 (old N186) passing by Le Vessinet and Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Also, the D321 that connects Carriéres-sur-Seine to Croissy-sur-Seine. The town is service by the RER A at the Gare de Chatou connecting with Paris.

A bit of history I like. The place exists since the gallo-roman times, and from the 6C there was a village here. After many hand changes and lordship it came to the end of the 19C , its most famous claim. The Impressionist painters and then the Fauvism were interested in the town. These were especially André Derain ,  a native, and Auguste Renoir come regularly to the Maison Fournaise where he painted one of the painting most famous in the world;  Déjeuner des Canotiers or the lunch of boaters.

Information on Chatou :

City of Chatou: http://chatou.fr/Mes-loisirs/Parcs-squares-et-aires-de-jeux

The tourist office of the pays des Impressionistes :  http://www.pays-des-impressionnistes.fr/

There is a  great flea market festival of things going on for 96 Edition this coming weekend and every year. The Foire de  Chatou, more info here: http://www.foiredechatou.com/

Notre Dame Church at 4, place Sainte-Marie) , a roman style Church in chalk stone from the 13C built on the spot of an older Church built in wood in the 11C. The before mentioned Maison Fournaise, a restaurant from the middle of the 19C where the Impressionists used to gathered and boating in the river took place. Many Artists/painters visited such as Augustt Renoir, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Berthe Morisot, Edouard Manet, and Guy de Moupassant etc. Today it is a museum. more of it here: http://www.musee-fournaise.com/www_musee_en

Let us move west alone the A15 direction Rouen to get to Chaussy!

The Domaine de Villarceaux  is a territory of 800 hectares including several structures such as two castles, golf course, welcome house and lodgings in an old sheep stable, a farm and a forest section. I have come here often even for the farm sale in a medieval setting and this is the part I like to tell you more.

There are two castles, at the lower level there is one from the 13C and on the mound above there is another from the 18C, both in a 70 hectares enclosed park.  It has a garden des simples (medicinal), a jardin Renaissance, and several basins of water. All of this is at Chaussy a country town right in the parc du Vexin Français in the dept 95 of Val d’Oise, 65 km northwest of Paris. The lower level Castle houses the loves of Louis de Mornay, Marquis de Villarceaux and Ninon de Lenclos, and the other higher level castle of the Louis XV style. Both are fed with basins and canals feeding 32 sources of water.

A bit of history I like:

The lower castle began in the 11C to 12C with a small chalet in wood, near where king Louis VII ordered built a Benedictine preury for women. The lordship of Villarceaux  appears a century later, and the original chalet now gives way to a real Castle in the 15C , integrated to the defensive line protecting the kingdom during the war of 100 years (vs English). During the 17C , Françoise d’Aubigné, future Madame de Maintenon stayed here after the death of her first husband , the poet Paul Scarron on the invitation of the friends of Montchevreuil, cousins of the marquis. In the castle, there is a grand painting of her naked without her permission , the marquis de Montchevreuil had it on his side with traits of love arm with an arrow. This painting made the rounds at the times for its showing very avant garde. It is display in the dining room of the upper level Castle,  This castle built between 1755-1759 was built for Charles-Jean-Baptiste du Tillet de La Bussière, marquis de Villarceaux. It is one of the last one and most beautiful of the buildings in the Louis XV style of architecture. You can see on the property the manoir de Ninon where on the interior with grotesques paintings on the ceiling from the 16C and wooden portraits from the 17C  in the room of the paintings of the ladies or salon des Potraits des Dames from the 16C and 17C; you can see the nice tower or tour Saint-Nicolas, the terrasse des simples (medicinal terraces), water gardens, Big lake, farthingale,  ground level of the high castle, and the exteriors of the commons from the 16C. Also, the Chapel or Chapelle des Saints Michel et Antoine, from the 17C ,located by the grand entrance gate. Just very nice and worth a detour.

Chaussy

Upper Castle Villarceaux

The site for the Domaine de Villarceaux is here: http://villarceaux.iledefrance.fr/

The site of Chaussy in the Parc Naturel de Vexin Français, where I used to go shopping in the farms especially for the rabbit terrine, the park is here: http://www.pnr-vexin-francais.fr/fr/le-parc/territoire/communes/bdd/commune/23

Unfortunately as all good it is out of business the Lapin Compote at Commeny as many things here 3 generations of farmers and 15 years of the Lapin Compote are not longer, but It certainly remained the souvenir of coming in family here as a postmortem here is their site still available online. https://ferme-du-lapin-compote.blog4ever.com/

Commeny

lapin compote boutique my father.

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