Archive for August 19th, 2018

August 19, 2018

17th Edition Saint Christophe old vehicles show at Bignan

Ok so busy day today lol!! This is the third of a series today on the town of Bignan.  Sunday is usually calm and family time here. However, I am on vacation finding places to go and things to do without too much preparation as I am in no mood to do that. Therefore, I saw the 17th edition of Saint Christophe old Vehicles show at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Bignan and off we went.

This event is done every year and this time organize by the Avrbignan association. Its Sunday so what the heck get out of the house we did and glad we did it. The association site of old antique vehicles is here in French: http://avrbignan.fr/

 

We love cars so been to several of them here and elsewhere. Even in my town there are every year. The freedom of the road is unequal and never replace. Put your pedal to the metal and rock!!! Of course, always with moderation, we are even going down to 80 KPH rules in France on one way lane department roads like the one today on the D767 ! OF course ,even if the death on the road increase again…of course is not speed but they get plenty of money from it last read the government racks in more than 700M € in fines!!!

Bignan

So let’s get to the old slow cars (even if new they went faster than today).

The 17 edition of the Saint Christophe was one of the zillions of events held at the domaine nowadays. It was an all day affairs even if we only stay for the antique old cars display show at 14h. The cars left from Baud to Bignan, there a Mass in the tent at Kerguehennec by 11h then lunch at 12h30 for 11€ including ham, cold cuts, fries ,cheese, fruit tarts and coffee. By 14h the exhibition of the vehicles were shown all parked behind the stables out to the left of the Castle. By 16h30 there were prizes given to the best show and at 19h another dinner 10€ without drinks but kir Breton offered for free, live music by Kelt ha Breizh, celtic Breton songs of course.

Bignan

Again, the webpage for the Domaine (and Castle) of Kerguéhennec is here: http://www.kerguehennec.fr/le-domaine

The site is in French , so I put the above webpage on the page of agenda and cultural events coming up on it. Hope it helps. http://www.kerguehennec.fr/actualite-agenda

There you go a nice old fashion old car show nearby on a beautiful surroundings, perfect Sunday. Hope you enjoy it too

And remember, happy travels, good health, and  many cheers to all!!!

August 19, 2018

Domaine de Kerguéhennec at Bignan!

As mentioned in my previous post, Sunday is usually calm and family time here. However, I am on vacation finding places to go and things to do without too much preparation as I am in no mood to do that. Therefore, I saw the 17th edition of Saint Christophe old Vehicles show at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Bignan and off we went. I will post the Domaine here and the car event on another separate post ok.

 

On the Domaine which is gorgeous and worthy of the title the Versailles of Brittany (smaller of course), I have written a piece before. It is now a center for contemporary arts spread all over the property as well and a great area for picnics and just family outings.  Here is my previous post on it

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

Now a bit more on the domaine.

The Château de Kerguéhennec, (Domaine for the whole , the Castle is in the middle of the property) nicknamed the Versailles Breton, is an 18C castle located in Bignan in the Morbihan 56.. It is about 20 km north of Vannes, in the direction of Pontivy, the castle of Kerguéhennec was built in 1710 for two wealthy Swiss financiers from St. Gallen but settled in Paris, the Hogguer brothers, shareholders of the company of the India.

Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan

Thereafter, it goes thru a period of inheritance of different families such as in 1732, acquired as a land of agricultural and forestry by Guy-Auguste de Rohan , Count of Chabot, famous for having ordered taken prisoner Voltaire, who did not reside there. His son, Louis-Antoine de Rohan-Chabot , duke of Rohan, was to be separated shortly after the French Revolution. The estate was acquired in 1802 by the Count Louis Henri de Janzé , then, sold by his grand-son Count Louis Albert Henri de Janzé in 1872, then by Paul-Henri de Lanjuinais, the 3rd Earl of Lanjuinais, deputy and President of the General Council of Morbihan, his cousin, who then lavishly restored it.  It is also , Count Lanjuinais who made the park of 170 hectares The surroundings of the castle are treated with a French style gardens , while the north of the estate is arranged in the English style. It also houses an arboretum.

Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan

Bignan

The estate will then pass by inheritance to Marie Louise Marguerite Lanjuinais, daughter of Paul Henri Lanjuinais and wife of Arthur Espivent de La Villeboisnet. Finally, the eldest daughter of the latter, Elisabeth Anne Marie Espivent de la Villesboisnet, became Countess Pierre Humières in 1933, who will inherit it herself by way of In division in 1943. It is she who on January 19, 1972 will sell the Château and Domaine de Kerguéhennec to the Department of Morbihan.

In 1986, an open-air sculpture garden was built in the park. In 1988, a contemporary art center was installed in the castle’s dependencies. The estate also houses a cultural meeting center that hosts musicians and composers in residence. Always something going on here.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official webpage of Kerguéhennec: http://www.kerguehennec.fr/le-domaine

Tourist office of Brittany in English: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/destination-broceliande/unmissable-sites/the-kerguehennec-estate

Tourist office Morbihan : http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/bignan/domaine-de-kerguehennec/tabid/8474/offreid/6f807b8a-bf32-4dea-bf50-fbff64d0bdb8

Central Morbihan tourist office : https://www.centre-morbihan-tourisme.bzh/bouger/en-famille/13-le-domaine-de-kerguehennec-a-bignan.html

Golfe du Morbihan tourist page : https://www.golfedumorbihan.bzh/bignan/domaine-de-kerguehennec/tabid/703/offreid/6f807b8a-bf32-4dea-bf50-fbff64d0bdb8

Another nice outing in my neck of the woods all wonderful, beautiful and the weather helps a lot. The beaches are still full of visitors and locals alike. And tomorrow is Monday wow what are we going to do??? Yikes!!!

Enjoy the photos which will be many, so will do another post for the cars event with plenty of more photos in the next post. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 19, 2018

Little Bignan in the Morbihan Breton!

Well, normally Sundays are quiet days around here and we follow too. However, this is Summer vacation times and we are always finding places to go and do. there was a big event at the Domaine de Kerguehennec (see next post) ,and we decided to go there and passed by the town of Bignan.

I have written briefly on the town in previous posts of the Some News from the Morbihan series but never a one shot post on it. Well today it their day in my blog. This is Bignan fierce Breton.

One of those previous blog post that I talked a bit on Bignan is here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/01/30/my-travels-in-the-morbihan-xii/

Now let’s get with the new story.

Bignan is located in the Morbihan department 56 of Brittany. The castle of Kerguéhennec (more on this next post), sometimes dubbed the “Versailles Breton”, is one of the most visited places on the town. The town rests on the moors of Lanvaux (forest). Bignan is located between the towns of Locminé and Saint-Jean-Brévelay., and is only half an hour from the main cities of Morbihan: Vannes, at  25 minutes , Lorient 30 mins, and Pontivy 20 mins aprox. I am about 25 minutes from it. The best way for visitors is to come from Rennes take the N24 to exit with the D181 road direction Bignan city center, there panels will tell you the different sights to see. From Vannes take the D767 direction Locminé to the D115 at Colpo and then the D150 to Bignan. There is no train /bus stations. Of course, I took the back roads even the D1 and D16 in the country.

Bignan Bignan

The bit of history I like is short for a village town simply Bignan was a very active center of Chouannerie from 1794 by the action of Pierre Guillemot, called “The King of Bignan”, Lieutenant of General Georges Cadoudal. All leading figures in the fight against the French revolution and re establishment of the monarchy in France but especially in Brittany. The castle of Kerguéhennec, sometimes nicknamed the “Versailles Breton”, served as a warehouse for the Chouans to subtract the crops from the law of requisition of grains applied by the Republican administration.

Things to see

Château de Beaulieu ,19C, covered alley and dolmen of Kergonfalz, the fountain of Saint Eloi, A Cross in city center from the 16C, and the Cross of Treuliec from the 17C, the Chapel of Sainte Noyale and fountain of Sainte Nolwenn, the farm of Pierre Guillemot at Kerdel commune of Bignan. The most famous of it all the Domaine de Kerguehennec now a center of contemporary arts in the Castle of the 18C , a park and arboretum with great picnic areas. 42 calvaries in and around the town from simple Cross to Monumental in size. In a couple there is an inscription I translate as , “The stone will be used, the Cross will stay, and the sons of Bignan will not surrender” (evidence of the fierce resistance to the French revolution and its reign of terror.

The one, I  will tell you a bit more is the Church of St Peter and St Paul .The Church is located at the Place de la Chouannerie  in city center of Bignan. It was built in the 18C to replace a roman Church in ruins. The first stone is laid in 1787. Interrupted during the French revolution and the exile of Abbé Nemati, (who refuse to submit to constitution of the French Republic) , the work resumed in 1801.  Abbé Pierre Nemati was buried there when he died in 1804. New bells were melted for the Church and received  them in 1807. The steeple is built between 1824 and 1857.

Bignan Bignan Bignan

The Church is built of stones, according to the Classical  style,  and a Latin Cross.  The bell tower to which the arrow is missing, is built to the east, on the narthex side. Square pillars separate the nave from the aisles.  The high altar, which dates from the 18C , supports a Christ in the Cross surrounded by the statues of St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist, an angel hanging from above. The original canopy still overlooks this altar. A stained glass window, dated from 1625, represents the interrogation of Yves Nicolazic (on the apparitions of Saint Anne see posts on Sainte Anne d’Auray ) by the Bishop of Vannes that same year.

The city /town hall of Bignan in French has a lot more on the monuments and history here: http://www.mairie-bignan.fr/decouverte/patrimoine

I will do a separate post for it and an event there today, but the webpage for the main tourist attraction here is here: http://www.kerguehennec.fr/

A bit of detour and fall right into a very true history of France ,in just a small town in the Morbihan Breton, love it as a history buffs or lover or enthusiast or just plain history nuts.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

August 19, 2018

Chateau Museum of Pau!

And I bring to a place our family gathered for many years, first on my dear late wife Martine’s side for the Tour de France, and later us just even staying there as a base to see more of the region. This is Pau, in dept 64 Pyrénées-Atlantique in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.  Wonderful Pau is only  about 200 km from Bordeaux and Toulouse and 250 km from Zaragoza in Aragon,Spain. We have come by car always so know they have a train station quite nice and an airport nearby; the roads are super and we have taken them all such as the A64 La Pyrénéenne, A65 autoroute de Gascogne, N117 and N134 and as well the great beltway of Pau the D817 with lots of speed radars so check the sites to avoid them ::)

I have written several post on it, I leave you with my favorite post …on Pau. Wonderful Pau

In the city center of Pau, in old Béarn, there is the old Castle of Pau (and museum too), famous for having seen the birth of the king of France and Navarre, Henri IV. It is accessed by the Pont de Nemours. Its position allows to control the passage on the Gave de Pau (river canyon) located further south below.  The Castle estate is made up of a park, stretching westward along the gave, and by the buildings themselves, located on the east side, whose interior houses a museum. The east entrance of the Castle overlooks the Boulevard des Pyrénées which connects the castle to Beaumont Park!

Begun by the Viscounts of Béarn in the 11C, and in particular by Centulle le Vieux, the castle was gradually built throughout the Middle Ages. It is above all a military work of a typical castle, built at the top of the small hill that dominates the Gave delimited by the ravine of Hédas. In the 12C and 13C, successive dynasties of the Viscounts of Béarn built three towers at this fortress, which were named Mazères, Billère and Montaüser.

Gaston III de Foix-Béarn, better known as Gaston Fébus. This warlord, in a delicate situation since, by his possessions, under the rule of the enemy kingdoms of France and England, makes the Béarn, a united and autonomous region. He developed a network of strongholds in order to defend this territory. The Château de Pau was thus strongly transformed in order to become a imprenable citadel. Fébus built the Brick dungeon, which was thirty-three meters high, and engraved the inscription: “Febus Me Fe” (“Febus Me Fit”, in Béarn language). It also makes the Tour de la Monnaie and the south wing of the castle.

In the Renaissance, the installation of the Court of Navarre in 1512 significantly altered the appearance of the castle. Of fortress It was initially, it becomes a residence of pleasure. Henri Albret resides there accompanied by his wife Marguerite of Angoulême, sister of king François I, and better known as Marguerite of Navarre, author of the Heptahedron. The two sovereigns are at the origin of the development of a terrace in the south as well as the courtyard of honor, the construction of the staircase of honor in place of the old kitchens, the installation of the new kitchens in the north wing and the development of the gardens. The future king Henri IV was born at the château on December 13, 1553. The fame of this king, cradled as a child in a preciously preserved turtle shell, gives the castle, which saw it neither grow nor die and where it made no embellishment, a particular taste.

After the illustrious passage of the future King Henry IV and the death of his grandparents, no ruler will reside in Pau until the 19C. The castle was entrusted to the care of the Gramont family, and was thus maintained, but its ceremonial furniture was gradually removed and a large part of its estate was amputated under the constant pressure of the sprawling city. As to preserved it from demolition under the French Revolution, the castle arrives in a pitiful state when Louis-Philippe decides to fully restore it (same idea for Versailles). He therefore had the idea of restoring from 1838 the castle of the one who reconciled Catholics and Protestants to make it a royal residence, but it will not reside there however. The exterior of the castle is also strongly remodelled with the addition of a mock tower to the West (Louis-Philippe tower) by symmetry to the Mazères tower, the transformation of the fore-guard into a chapel and the destruction of the old fortified corridor. Louis-Philippe, renovator of the Castle as he was of Versailles, exiled in 1848 in England where he died two years later, could never stay in this place.

The restorations of the château stopped in 1848 are taken over in 1852. In 1859, we start the demolition of the East building, then we build the portico. The two medallions representing Henri of Albret and Marguerite de Valois placed above at the same time the construction of the buildings connecting the portico to the Montaüser tower. They restored the chapel, reinforces the staircase of honor, takes over the facade of the wing of the middle (aile du midi), establishes a library in the living room Bernadotte to install the six thousand books bought in 1867 by Napoleon III to the former mayor of Pau. The castle received the visit of Napoleon III but also those, more numerous, of the Empress Eugénie during her multiple cures in the southwest. In 1868, it was the Queen of Spain, on the run, Isabel II and her suite, who lodged at the castle. The Third Republic made the castle a presidential residence before becoming, in 1926, the National museum that it remained and which houses the works preserved since the time of Henri IV and especially during the restoration operated by Louis-Philippe. Indeed as in Versailles, a wonderful castle museum to be seen a must..

Let me tell you about the architecture, which is very rich, will be brief.

The main entrance takes place on the side of the city, by a bridge of bricks and stones built during the reign of king Louis XV, to replace the medieval drawbridge. A three-arch portico was built between 1859 and 1864 in the Renaissance style. Cour d’honneur , the courtyard of the castle has an original form, punctuated with sculptures and medallions at the doors and windows.

Pau

Pau

Towers of the Castle:

The Gaston-Fébus tower in the southeast, also called the dungeon. The latter was completed by Fébus in the 14C, it was built almost entirely in brick on a height of 33 meters. It had like the other towers, a slate blanket that was removed after a storm in 1820. In the part currently facing the Parliament of Navarre, the President of the States of Béarn proclaimed the name of each newly elected sovereign. The tower served as a prison until 1822.

The Mazères and Louis-Philippe Towers at the West End,start with the Mazères Tower is the oldest of the castle since it dates from the 11C while that of Louis-Philippe Tower was built in the middle of the 19C to echo in its twin tower. The two Towers measure each 22.5 meters. The Mazères tower refers to the village of Mazères-Lezons, on the other side of the Gave de Pau.

The  Montaüser tower to the north, the tower was devoid of stairs to its origin in the 12C. The garrison was, thus, tasked to mount the tower with ladders which were withdrawn after climbing. This tower was once a well to forget in which the criminals were locked up.

The Billère Tower in the north-west of the castle refers to the village of Billère in which the good king Henri IV was fed in the Lassensàa house. This tower measures 30 meters high, counting the attic, it was built in the 12C

The Napoleon III Tower, this one was carried out at the end of the 19C under the orders of the emperor in front of the Gaston-Fébus tower. It ends the castle at its northeast end.

Pau Pau

Pau Pau Pau

Blessed in 1843 by the Bishop of Bayonne, the present Chapel was set up in 1840 in the old drawbridge door built in the early 16C. It was located in a small room on the first floor of the south wing of the castle

Pau

Three walls surrounded the castle in order to protect it from the external aggressions constitutes an advanced defense for the castle. It was built by Fébus below the castle in the south, and was used to watch over the Gave de Pau, the Pyrenees and Spain in the distance.

In the 16C, the family of Albret created an exceptional set of gardens and parks around the castle the kings of Navarre thus develop a warren, an orchard, a chesnut grove, a vine, a small and a large park (named lower-level and high-level) the Haute-Plante (high level) is transformed into a public place (present Place de Verdun) as well as a cemetery. The lower level is, in part, preserved and the gardens become accessible to the public in the mid-19C. The lower level now occupies 23 hectares in the heart of the city with parks and gardens, as well as a forest. The present place Gramont occupies the other part of the original lower level.

Pau Pau PAu Pau Pau

Let go inside shall we, again briefly.

The Salle des cent couverts (room of the hundred utensils) has vast proportions allowing to accommodate a rich tapestry décor and a huge table of oak and fir in the large living room The Grand Salon or large reception room of the castle created with the present waiting lounge a large room in the castle where the court (assembly of nobles and clergy) of the Béarn was gathered in the Middle Ages. From the end of the 15C it became the throne room of the kings of Navarre. The coffered ceiling sees the golden figures of the fine gold of Henri IV’s grandparents

Chambre du roi or King’s bedroom,that actually was to be born King Henry IV was probably in the present family lounge on the lower floor. The Turtle shell, the first cradle of the future sovereign, is a central element of the legend of the good King Henri IV. Since the 18C, the latter has been the object of a cult in Béarn, it is solemnly worn during processions in the streets of the city. During the French revolution, a local collector, Mr de Beauregard, decided to substitute the turtle shell with a similar turtle shell that he possessed. He was helped in his company by the concierge Lamaignère on the night of April 30, 1793. The very next day the false shell was burned in the public place. Fortunately the real shell was finally made it in 1814 to king Louis XVIII, many testimonies confirmed the identity of the legendary Cradle.

Apartments of the Empress originally built for the wife of Louis-Philippe, Queen Marie-Amélie, these apartments were finally occupied by the Empress Eugénie. These apartments include a boudoir, a bedroom, a bathroom, a wardrobe, a maid’s room and a dressing room. The empress came many times in the castle of Pau during her travels between Biarritz and the spa resorts of the Pyrenees .

 Family Lounge, this piece was conceived in the 19C in order to be a meeting place for the relatives of the sovereign, family and friends in particular.

The staircase of honor, or grand staircase, serves all the great apartments of the castle. It was made at the beginning of the 16C by the grandparents of Henri IV. It is a Renaissance-style realization, close to the staircases of the castles of Bury ,and Azay-le-Rideau. Marguerite of Angoulême and Henri Albret signed the staircase of their initials H and M throughout the building. Two large vases of red porphyry adorn the bearings, these are gifts made by the King of Sweden Charles XIV Jean, born in Pau, to Louis-Philippe.

The Château de Pau concentrates one of the most important collections of tapestries outside of Paris. It gathers 96 pieces, coming from 17 different draperies, but mainly woven by the Gobelins in Paris. Several main themes are covered by this collection: The hunting scenes, the works of the fields, the noble leisure’s of the 16C, the Royal  parties and, of course, the life of Henri IV. It was only from 1860 that two paintings by Charles-Gustave Housez  and Eugène Giraud on Henri IV were installed in the family lounge, judged too austere.

Pau

Some of the webpages to help you plan your visit to this wonderful castle are

Official Castle webpage : https://en.chateau-pau.fr/

Tourist office of dept 64 on the castle : http://pratique.tourisme64.com/patrimoine-culturel/pau/musee-national-et-domaine-du-chateau-de-pau/PCUAQU064FS0004W.html

Tourist office of Pau Pyrenees: https://www.pau-pyrenees.com/home/notre-patrimoine/une-touche-de-culture/musee-national-du-chateau-de-pau

Nice info in English on the Chateau de Pau: http://www.chateau-pau.com/english/index.htm

There you go another gem of my belle France so many right, yes! And as a base, Pau is great even going into Spain! Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: