Archive for May 24th, 2018

May 24, 2018

How about those upscale beaches, La Baule!

Let me tell you about another place very popular with locals but seldom visited from abroad. The thing is you need a car, but is all worth it. This is just south of me and if talking about a beach town why not do it when its 27C or 80F outside and sunny.

Let me tell you about upscale La Baule-Escoublac just south of me here. I have a previous blog post on it and here it is for you: My blog post on La Baule

La Baule-Escoublac is in the dept 44 of Loire Atlantique in the region of Pays de la Loire and part of the coastal Atlantique on the love coast between Le Pouliguen and Pornichet. There was a village of Escoublac from the 10C and twice rebuilt and replace in the 15C and then the 18C. Early in the 19C, investors came here seeking the potential of the bay of Pouliguen and create balls of sand and filled in to create a beach town of 8 km long so La Baule was born. And call La Baule-Escoublac, since 1962 even if can be call Escoublac-La Baule as well. La Baule is integrated into these dunes in the form of stairs that favors massive sand hills or dunes one is 55 meters high, one of the highest in France.

La Baule, for short, is 12 km from Saint Nazaire and 50 km from Vannes (my capital city) and 62 km from Nantes . It is served by the road D213 also known as the blue route or the Route Bleue  ,this road connects Les Moutiers en Retz to Guérande and is a major road on the coastal area of the dept 44 Loire Atlantique. It ends on the extreme west of the road D171; the town is also by passed by the D92 connecting the streets of avenues Maréchal-De-Lattre-de-Tassigny, Bois-d’Amour, l’Étoile, and avenue du Rhuys, allowing to reach Le Pouliguen to Pornichet via the center of La Baule ,and allows reaching the train station. The avenue Charles-De-Gaulle and avenue Lajarrige, are perpendicular to the roads D213 and D92, also, the main shopping streets in La Baule.

La Baule-Escoublac has two train stations one is the La Baule-Escoublac located at La Baule and the other is La Baule les Pins to the east of the town. The line Saint Nazaire to Le Croisic and onwards to Tours takes the local train transport and then there is a TGV service Paris Nantes Le Croisic that takes you to Paris in about 3 hours.

The beach is it here, and often call the most beautiful beach of Europe ! Surrounded by the districts of La Baule-les-Pins, La Baule-Centre and Casino-Benoît. From east to west or from Pornichet to Pouliguen you have the beaches of plage de la Grand Jument ,then the plage de la Petit Jument, at Pornichet and the plage de la Baule and after the plage Benoit; there is a foreshore of sand that has great quantity of shells. You can see the island or ile des Evens at 4 km from the beach which a coral island just a bit higher than the sea and has a beach of white sand in a sort of triangle shape. Here is my favorite beach webpage Plage.tv on la Baule beach. La Baule Beach

La Baule

La Baule beach

In 1787, there was a huge storm that damage the littoral and the salt sea marshes west of Escoublac as a consequence the parliament of Brittany ordered a dam of 400 meters long to contained the sea waves, finally finished in 1788 keeps apart the sandy marshes or balls from the dune in the south and still in the 21C serves as support for the avenue de Lattre –de- Tassigny in Pouliguen.  You have three levels of  architecture here, first the grand hotels or mansions, then the villas or castles and then the building and urban houses . You have hotels such as Hotel Mauspha from 1886, and then the Hotel de l’Institut Verneuil in 1896 that becomes the Hotel Royal in 1902 and the Hotel Castel Marie Louise in the belle époque style, the Tennis club build in 1925  as well as the Hotel Hermitage a anglo Norman palace hotel. The villas of  neo gothic and medieval inspiration such as the villa Ker Vary in 1896 , villa des Halles in 1912, and villa Pax. From 1920 the style is Anglo Norman, Basque, and Landais and from the 20C has different styles such as Art Nouveau, Art Déco, rationalism, Expressionists, Futurism, postmodernism, modernism international and from the 21C favoring the environment with natural products. The buildings are  the Le Bellevue Building,  7 floors done in 1928 and then the  Le Constellation (1959), the  Panorama ,and the Les Héliades (1960), and the  Spendid (1962). The  Santa Clara , aka the La Vague on the limits with Pornichet from 1979.

The coastal front  has  200 to 800 meters wide with 6 km long  and includes the sea front area and the neighborhoods of villas . the sea front has a band of 30-80 meters wide by 5 km long . The city center of La Baule has a market, and the avenues of Général-de-Gaulle and Maréchal-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny, the city hall, the train/bus station and the post office. The neighborhood of the beach plage Benoît is on the west of city center and reach the port of La Baule-Escoublac – Le Pouliguen.  The great hotels such as Hermitage Barriere, Royal Thalasso, Castel Marie-Louise, and the Majestic are all here as well as the Casino and the congress center Atlantia.

A bit of history on this beach town is that in June 1917 the coastal air protection squadron 484 known as La Baule-Escaublac was stationed here . The Casino was change into a military hospital . In WWII, the Nazis arrived in June 1940 and infantry division takes permanent residency , the aerodrome was taken as well ; however, the fight is minimal and not much notice.  The city was liberated 3 days after the surrended of the Nazis . The only other major event and much in vogue today by some fanatics, was that here in August 13 , 1940, Lluis Companys, the Catalan Nationalist and President of the Generalitat de Catalunya was arrested by the Gestapo here. He was interrogated in Paris and later transfer to Spain, eventually killed by firing squad in Barcelona on October 15 1940 .

Things to see other than the above beaches are

The lighthouse of Banche or phare de la Banche, the British military cemetery of Escoublac-la-Baule  at avenue de la Ville-Halgand keeping in peace 325 tombs of which 74 are still not identify, and Three Polish soldiers. Many of these soldiers were navy posted on the Lancastria that sank here in 1940 and soldiers that participated in the landing of the port of Saint Nazaire in 1942 on the operation called opération Chariot. There is the Church of  Saint-Pierre d’Escoublac  opened in 1786, at Escoublac, with a medieval style tower. Notre Dame Church built from 1931 to 1935 in the city center of neo roman style, with stained glass in the choir to the Virgin Mary; the Saint Theresa Church built from 1928 and rebuilt in 1972 . You have the Saint Anne Chapel built from 1880 to  1886 and extended by two nave in 1903. The town of La Baule-Escoublac ,also belongs to the regional natural park of the Briére or parc naturel regional de Briére. More on the park here in French: Parc Naturel Régional de la Briére

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this lovely upscale beach town are

La Baule city tourist page in English : http://www.labaule.fr/en/visits-and-discovery

Tourist office of La Baule : http://en.labaule-guerande.com/la-baule-et-la-baie.html

The department 44 Loire Atlantique tourism in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/selection/quoi-faire-a-la-baule/

Pays de la Loire region tourist office in English: https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/suggestions/la%20baule

Hope it help and time to get some splash around, this is wonderful, the parking if early can be had just on the main boulevard de l’Océan at plage de La Baule. Now all they need is you and me and all. Remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!

 

 

May 24, 2018

This is Cergy in Val d’Oise by the Oise river!!!!!

Ok so this is May, no rain and pure sun all around me, too bad still need to work, as the beaches are glorious nowdays. It is 25C or 77F folks, come over to my belle France.

So in my travels as I was saying, I have been to many places, and most never written on it. They are not on the tourist trail and nowhere in any travel book, but they are worth it for the real local experience and some facts about France to enrich your understanding of why France is the most visited country in the world, 85M latest figures. And no, it is not always Paris….

I like to talk a bit today about Cergy.   This is Cergy in the department 95 of Val-d’Oise in the région of Île-de-France.

Cergy is located on the right bank of the Oise river on the limits south of the park of the Vexin français at about 28 km from Paris. It is the principal city in the metro area of  Cergy-Pontoise. It is cross by the autoroute A15 towards Paris or Rouen, and cut on the La Francilienne N104 towards CDG airport, Versailles on the N186 etc.  The A15  ends at sortie or exit 9 in the district of Grand Centre between the wonderful and favorite shopping center of the  Trois-Fontaines the plains of  Saint-Martinin in Pontoise. However, the road continues without interruptions as the N14 and later the D14  by sortie or exit 13, and continues on as the scenic route to Rouen in Normandy; very nice indeed. The wonderful boulevard du Port takes you to Pontoise and Cergy-Village  as well as the very nice Port-Cergy; the D915 takes you as far as Dieppe in Normandy.  For public transports, Cergy is in zone 5 at the end of the line RER A ending at Cergy-le-Haut  and passing by Cergy-Préfecture  and Cergy-Saint-Christophe (my first job site was here in France !). The train stations of Cergy-Préfecture and Cergy-le-Haut have exchange poles to take you to several towns and bus depot such as well the intercity long distance buses even to CDG  Paris airport. The local public transport site is call STIVO,the network of the metropolitan area of Cergy-Pontoise.

My dear late wife, Martine ,  used to work for many years at CDG Roissy in cargo area for DHL Global Forwarding and she came by bus changing here at Cergy. The bus was the 95-18, now reading about it, no longer does the run!! Better than the trains! Just in case you need deliveries ! https://www.logistics.dhl/fr-fr/home/nos-divisions/expediteur-mondial.html

The shopping center or centre commercial les 4 Fontaines were a favorite for the grocery shopping at Auchan, the car rental Hertz, FNAC, Armand Thiery fashions,and the micromania games store. More here: https://www.3fontaines.com/

Being part of a new city or nouvelle villes of France , the history is surprisingly very short.  A bit of history I like; tells you a bit that the current town of Cergy is the union of several villages. Cergy  was first called Cergiacum in 1069 and Sergy in 1731,then other villages were Gency called Gentiacum in 1072, Menandon called Monlandon in 1135, Les Veaurois called Vaulx-Rouez in 1528, Le Brûloir, Ham  was annexed to Eragny sur Oise in 1687, then back to Cergy after the French revolution, and finally, Les Clobilles.

Things to see at Cergy

Saint Christophe Church at rue de Neuville, as Cergy was elevated to a parish in 1120, the monks of the priery of the abbey of Saint Denis built the first Church in the Roman style that today left only the belltower until the second level (3rd US) , the transept, and some chapters. From early 18C, the gothic choir was done to replace the roman one. This choir with the collateral chapels represent the principal elements of the Church today. The lateral Chapels of the organ and the sacristy were added in the 14C. The fortified gate and old tower of the priory next to the Church ,the current building was a modest construction in 1120 by Louis the Fat something like a lodging farm . Today, only is left the fortified tower and a pigeon tower; the south gate entrance to the Church once closed has recently been open and renovated . The pierre-Fouret also known as the menhir de Gency is a megalith stone in the village of Gency, rue de Vauréal,in the garden of the a retirement home today.

The major things to see here are the Axe majeur, in the district of the  Axe Majeur/Horloge done in a sculptural and garden style monuments from 1980. By 1985 ,Ricardo Bofill did a semicircular space around the original point of the Axe. It has great views of Paris; very relaxing place we came here often.

Cergy

Axe Majeur towards Paris

The other is the Port Cergy on the Oise river marina with yachts and nice contemporary housing and gardens given to the canals. A great entertainment place came here often for lunch or happy hour/after work/apéro ride bys as on the Old English Pub!  A bit more here on the dept tourist page:The Old English Pub

It has a nice pleasure boat marina. More on the port in French here: Port de Cergy

Another nice one is the Château de Gency  located on the road D922 near the village of Gency dominating the Oise river descending from one side of the road to the road chemin de halage with apple trees and cow pastures. The park has 5 hectares of space on a miniature Buttes-Chaumont of Paris look done during the Second Empire period. The place full of history was built in 1860, today the castle of  Gency  is a place for receptions. More here in French: Chateau de Gency

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and why not it is just a train ride from Paris.

City of Cergy on tourism in French: http://www.cergy.fr/notre-ville/lieux-cles/culture-patrimoine/lieux-remarquables/

Tourism Cergy in English: http://www.ot-cergypontoise.fr/Decouvrir/Sites-majeurs/Axe-majeur

Val d’Oise dept 95 tourist page in English: http://www.valdoise-tourisme.com/diffusio/en/to-see-and-to-do/culture/cergy/axe-majeur_TFO106499520181.php?tfo[gC]=|MoCulturePatrimoine|CulturePatrimoine|ComPlusAlpha||-TT|&tfo[page]=15#.WwUo-O6FPIU

Ile de France tourist page: http://en.visitparisregion.com/

The axe majeur of Cergy : https://www.axe-majeur.fr/menu-axe-majeur.html

There you have it something new in my blog that should have been on it long ago. Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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