Archive for August 22nd, 2018

August 22, 2018

Another jewel of the Loire, Château de Goulaine!

And so I do not forget things, always forgetful on these things, need to write down views to remember: we went on our little overnight road warrior trip in the Loire Nantaise. My son grab a brochure from the last place we were, Vignobles Marchais (see previous post), and saw a castle knowing that I loveeee Castles!!! So it was close by and we headed for it.

This is the wonderful Chateau de Goulaine. Of course, heard about it, and even passed by it several times but as I have said before, so much to see and it seems time and money is never enough. My belle France is amazing and each day it grows on you.

chateau de goulaine

The Château de Goulaine is located in the town of Haute-Goulaine in the immediate vicinity of the marshes of Goulaine, in the department 44 Loire-Atlantique and in the region of Pays de la Loire. Built on the marches of Brittany, this castle once separated the Duchy of Brittany from the Kingdom of France. It is also the last of the castles of the Loire, going from east to west. Built of Tufa Stone. It dates from the end of the Middle Ages, early Renaissance. It still has vestiges of its ancient fortified past.

chateau de goulaine chateau de goulaine chateau de goulaine

A bit of history I like

The castle has been the home of the Goulaine family for more than a thousand years. Today, thirty generations have already succeeded in the castle that are open to the public’s visit. In the 12C, when the Duchy of Brittany became independent, the first Goulaine, Jean de Goulaine, then captain of the city of Nantes, fortified the property, which is still nowadays surrounded by marshes to protect itself from the attacks of the Normans. The Goulaine were a family of ancient nobility, already quoted in the 7th Crusade of 1248. In the 12C, king Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England (Plantagenêt) gave both their arms (the lily flower and leopard) to the Goulaine family.   During the Wars of Religion, the Goulaine’s fought in the ranks of the Catholic League. Gabriel de Goulaine ,joined king Henri IV, and later obtained in 1621 from king Louis XIII the erection in Marquisate of his Lordship of Goulaine.

The family of Goulaine remains owner of the estate without interruption until 1788, when it is sold to a shipowner and wife of Dutch origin. This sale helps to prevent the destruction of the castle during the French revolution. In 1858, the estate was bought by a member of the family of Goulaine, who kept it because of his family redemption in 1960 by the Marquis Robert de Goulaine thanks to the fortune of his mother, born of Argenson.

And even wine history too ,but of course , we are in the Loire!

Although it is not clear when the vineyard of the property started the commercial production of wine, rather than a wine simply dedicated to family consumption, the vintage during which the property of the Château de Goulaine began to produce wine is In fact the oldest wine-growing firm still in activiity; this is probably the third oldest commercial company in the world, and this family business is considered to be the oldest in Europe. The Castle estate is one of the last castles of the Loire to still to produce wine.

Inside you see wonderful rooms richly decorated and well preserved from the Red room or Salon Rouge  17C, to the big room or Grand Salon 16C, the kitchen 15C,  curiosity room or cabinet des curiosités, The bedroom or chamber of king Louis XIV style, French gardens  the tour des Archives, and cour du Grand logis inner courtyard, are all magnificent.

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Some amenities of modern nature indeed very nice.  It has a nice tearoom, shop and sale of wines from the collection “Marquis de Goulaine”. As well as biscuits and accessories of LU . Located at the entrance, the boutique and the tearoom are available free of charge on the castle’s opening hours. Free Parking without street crossing at 100 meters from the entrance of the castle. Of Course, the sites above in in French provides more information. Admission is 9€. There is a back section by the gardens where they rent rooms for part of the year for about 110€ per night including breakfast inquire at the castle webpage.

chateau de goulaine

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the castle part are

Rental rooms chambre d’hôtes :

Official Castle of Goulaine webpage:

Castle Hours and admission info in English :

The Castle site in English on history:

Wine tasting and tour from the vignobles of Nantes association:

The Nantes tourist office in English:

But wait a minute, this is not all. Is that is enough, you have a wonderful beautiful castle and great wines and even rental rooms; however, they have more , a museum of LU ,the famous French biscuit company!

From 1846 created by Jean-Romain Lefévre and Pauline-Isabelle Utile: so the LU in the last names.   Actually started the cookies in 1848. After WWII the son made a turn to the USA and was inspired by the taste and manufactured of cookies there something he used to continue excellence on the LU. Actress Sarah Bernhardt said “I find nothing better than a little LU… oh if two little LU.”

chateau de goulaine

chateau de goulaine chateau de goulaine

Since 1999, the Château de Goulaine welcomes in its former stables, the artistic and advertising collection of the famous brand of biscuits Nantes LU. In these 500 m2, more than 600 objects of furniture of the old shop of Rue Boileau in Nantes, is presented with rare objects, such as advertisements or the original painting of the little schoolboy dating from 1897. You can also discover the very interesting history of the creation of this entity of Nantes The museum is house in the former 18C stables of the Castle of Goulaine.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and enhance your experience are

The museum of LU in English here:

The official story of LU official webpage here:

So there you have , another jewel in the Loire or France ,and only a couple hours from me. So much to choose, where do I continue!!! Enjoy it as much as we do.

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


August 22, 2018

Vignobles Marchais!

Well why be so creative with a name when the name says it all. Wines of the Marchais family of Thouaré sur Loire. We look them up in a previous wine fair in Guérande (see that post) and decided their ideas were worth a follow up on site. Great experience, recommended to all wine lovers. Part of our little vacations trying to continue life aftet the loss of my dear wife Martine.





First, Thouaré sur Loire is in the department 44 Loire Atlantique south of me in the region of Pays de la Loire. Historically part of Brittany … and only 10 km from Nantes. And about 2 hrs by car from my house. What is to see here well there is a nice Church of Saint Vincent, and the castles of  Picauderie built in 1773, that of Thouaré from the 10C but profoundly restored in the 19C and finally the closest we saw was the Hilliére overlooking the Loire river in the Neo Classical style. Built in the 14C with a beautiful Chapel of the Virgin that was taken from the Chapel of Auray.





However, what we came to see here was wines of the Loire, muscadet  Sévre et Marne sur lie, the very best of its field,and the only vineyards in the limits of the town. This is a family effort started in 1947 by the father and today continue with the son Philippe and older brother and the help of all the family and some local and far winegrowers who have invested in a beautiful cellars and property.  We were helped directly by Cynthia a very nice helpful lady. The propery vignobles Marchais.



The idea here is to come in and stay one night in a huge wine barrel made lodging with bedding, another barrel acts as a bathroom and showers and more bathrooms are allowed inside the cellar house. We spent the night and it was a fantastic experience ,and recommended by all. We arrived the night before, and got a lesson in winemaking of the local grapes such as the melon de bourgogne (for the muscadet) but also pinot gris and the fact that they can do other grapes not from the AOC/AOP such as Chardonnay. The presentation included discussion on the stone ground composition on the three areas they own vineyards and how it is grown. They have about 30 hectares in total and exports about 200K bottles including the partners growers some family members from other parts of France.


We are welcome with tasting of 3-4 bottles in the cellar house ,and from there shown our bedroom a wine barrel made into a bedroom.  We did good and ample space. The next day we had a wonderful breakfast served on a picnic area of the cellars with plenty of pain au chocolat, croissants, orange juice, coffee, jellies, baguette ,butter, and water. We then did our purchases in the store ,not obligatory but we love these wines. Especially the sparklers rosé and white perles lutines and the parasol rose from old grapes before phylloxera call the 54 dating from the 1800’s.  The welcome was perfect and again this is what France is all about come direct to the grower and feel the bounties of the land and the history of the regions. They do events, and even picnics, tents, a warm up cooking area for onsite meals for groups , etc and business conference rooms on site. The food chosen is paired with the wines recommended or your own. The webpage in English  is here:  Vignobles Marchais




They have a Bar à Vin open Tuesdays to Fridays from 17h to 20h and Saturdays 16h to 19h. This works as a bar where you can come in and try the different wines offered by the glass. The region and best bottles in my opinion are Thouaré sur Loire on the Muscadet Côteaux de la Loire with vignobles de Thouaré , and coteaux d’Ancenis Malvoisie. The area of Loroux-Bottereau on the Muscadets-Sèvre-et-Maine with the Perle Lutines noir and blanc ,Rosé parasol parapluie , and the star the Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé. Also, the Mauves-sur-Loire area with the Domaine du Blois Blot ,and Champtoceaux.


To have dinner, we ask for recommendation but unfortanely the resto was closed for personal reasons, and searching for others were closed as we left the tastings late ::) So i pull my old reliable, a Novotel four star hotel in nearby town of Carquefou. And we call from the car, made the reservation on the run and voilà they were open ,of course. A delicious file mignon steak with mashed potatoes for me with abricot in peanut butter and vanilla ice cream dessert and a bottle of Alsace Pinot Noir red from the Klipfer family for a change of pace, all for 25€ per person. More on the hotel restaurant Novotel here: Novotel Carquefou




They have many other offers even a day in the vineyards and wine tastings. Very much into the wine and big investment to satisfy all comers; all are welcome, and again, I really do not write much about properties we go but on some we make an exception for the value/quality ratio and the warm welcome. Enjoy it.

The tourist page in English of the Vineyards of Nantes or Nantaise region is here: Tourist office Vignoble de Nantes

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

August 22, 2018

Cathedral of Saint Louis, La Rochelle!

Back at you with a dandy by the Atlantic ocean.  I passed by this town lots of time on my ways south, but never stopped in. Then, my oldest son got a training as part of his chef studies that happened to be at La Rochelle! Voilà, we need to come to see where he had been and came back with nice stories and pictures. So we headed for La Rochelle and it was a blast, we love it another destination found in our belle France. Like there is no end lol!!!

La Rochelle is in Charente-Maritime dept 17 in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine and is an ocean harbor. I have written before on the town, let me give those touristic post for reference: The seafarer La Rochelle

night time La Rochelle

Now let me tell you a bit more on this wonderful Cathedral of Saint Louis of La Roc

St. Louis Cathedral of La Rochelle was built from 1742 on an initiative of the Cardinal of Fleury and the Bishop, Augustin Roch de Menou de Charnizay, it remained unfinished for lack of financial means, but was still open to worship in 1784.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle

La Rochelle

The nobles of the area donated land called the Champ de Guillaume de Syré, located between the gate of the Petit-Comte (west entrance of the rue Aufrédy) and the old Port of the castle ( Place de Verdun) to build a Church under the invocation of Saint-Barthelemy.  The church was erected in parish by the Bishop of Saintes, Mgr Ponce de Pons, in 1217.

La Rochelle

In 1429, king Charles VII accepted the title of founder of the chapter here. In 1542, king François I attended Mass in the company of the princes and bishops, before going around the city.  In 1558, David, chaplain of the King and Queen of Navarre visiting La Rochelle, preaches in the pulpit of St. Bartholomew, the first, the dogmas of the Reformation.  In the victory of 1628, king Louis XIII dispossessed the Protestants of the Great Temple. The king vowed to make the defeated city an episcopal seat whose Great Temple was to become the Cathedral. In this expectation, the king confided to the parishioners of St. Bartholomew the guard of the Great Temple which became Saint Barthelemy of the Great Temple. The king’s vow was realized in 1648, when the Pope transferred the episcopal seat of Maillezais to La Rochelle. In the year 1666, the chapter of the ancient Abbey of Maillezais, by order of the pope, resolved to settle in the city and at the Grand Temple, which became cathedral in 1648. In 1668, the construction of a new Church is undertaken at the site of  old Church destroyed during the wars of religion, which was completed 10 years later.  In 1678, the first Mass was celebrated in the rebuilt Church . In  1756, it was  baptized here Billaud-Varenne, and François de Beauharnais.  During the French revolution in 1793, the Church Saint-Barthélemy was made into a cereal market . It later became a place for concerts and finally in 1797, it was sold and demolished.

The first Cathedral was the Church of Saint-Barthelemy-du-Grand-Temple. This building is the former Great Temple of the Reformed Church built on the Place du Château, current Place de Verdun, between 1600 and 1603. After the destruction of the Great Temple and the inability to transform St. Barthelemy’s Church into a Cathedral, projects were studied to erect a new Church, but budgetary considerations and the priority given at the end of the 17C to the emergence of a new enclosure for the city did not permit the launch of the site.  In 1742, the first stone of the new Cathedral is blessed.  After further funds constraints the work resumed in 1773. By 1784, in the presence of the clergy and all the civil and military personalities of the city, Mgr de Crussol of Uzès consecrated the Cathedral.

At the dawn of the French Revolution, the Cathedral was built to the second span of the present choir, beyond which a wall separates the new Cathedral of St. Barthelemy’s. In 1801, a decree of the first Consul, at the request of the Department, authorizes the municipality to make use of the Cathedral, twice a year, for the holding of the fairs however on October 3, 1802, the Cathedral is returned to the cult. The construction of the Cathedral is taken from 1849 to 1857, the Cathedral is completed with the exception of the two towers and exterior sculpted decorations. The Cathedral, having taken the bell tower from the last parish of  Saint Barthelemy,  was placed under the prayers of Saint-Louis and Saint-Barthélemy. By chance of the calendar, their respective feasts are on August 24th for Saint-Barthélemy and on August 25th for St. Louis.

Some of the architecture and historical Chapels are to follow

The bell tower of Saint-Barthélemy is Gothic in style and adjoins the bedside of the Cathedral. During the reconstruction of St Barthelemy’s Church in the 14C – 15C, the steeple was built on the southwest corner of the building. This construction is attributed to the generosity of King Charles VII, named founder of the chapter of the Church in 1429. The summit is accessed by wooden staircases, the stone screws and the high vault having been demolished in 1651.. The bell tower contains the three bells of the Cathedral: Marie-Ursula  from 1818, Louise from 1818, and  Louise-Marie-Aimé from 1887.

The Chapel of the Virgin has a cupola dome adorned with a homogeneous pictorial ensemble consisting of 6 paintings depicting the scenes of the life of the Virgin surrounding the painting of the Assumption dated 1875. The other paintings represent the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the flight to Egypt; the swooning of the Virgin; and the Virgin of Pity.  Each portrait consists of two contiguous copper plates . The Chapel of the Sailors(Marins) , the paintings come from the  Church of Saint-Jean-du-Perot, the former fishermen’s Church. This Church was located in the Saint-Jean-du-Perot district of La Rochelle, a district delimited by the tour de la chaine (chain tower) and the  tour de Lanterne (lantern tower)  to the south and the Rue Leoncé Vieljeux. It was one of the five historical parishes of the city all the paintings and ex-votos are grouped in a Chapel of the cathedral, which became the Chapel of the Sailors. Most of these works represent shipwrecked ships, while the Virgin intercedes to save their crews.

La Rochelle

The Saphir, presenting a slave ship, recalls the participation of the port of La Rochelle in the slave trade. The ex-voto shows the ship Rochelais Sapphire immobilized for lack of wind between the coast of Guinea and that of Santo Domingo, threatening to famine the crew and the slaves. The painter represented several black slaves begging Christ. The main shipowner of the ship, Giraudeau, was Protestant and it is likely that Captain Rossal was also; this could explain the choice of Christ as intercessor in the place of the Virgin. The painting had to be painted in 1741 or shortly thereafter by an unknown artist.

The stained glass windows were created in the 19C by three different workshops. Previously, the berries were simply furnished with white diamond-cut glasses and placed with lead fasteners. The existing stained glass windows were set up between 1872 and 1892.

La Rochelle

The Great Organ at  the present Tribune corresponds to the project and plans of Brossard, dating from 1835. It is destined to receive the first organ of the Cathedral.  The organ is built in 1867 by the manufacture Merklin-Schütze and has been preserved almost intact until today. In 1869, the factors built a new buffet, the former of John Abbey not proving finally reusable for the new instrument. The Great Organ of the Cathedral allows to interpret the music of the 19C.

The Choir Organ is located in the first right-hand span of the choir. It is a work carried out in 1860-1861 by the Maison Merklin-Schütze in Paris. It consists of a Second Empire style buffet in oak with a central side of 13 pipes framed by 2 turrets themselves flanked by 2 small silent platforms. It has a vegetable decor on its turrets and above the cornice. The pipes are in tin.

There you have a grand old Cathedral Saint Louis by the harbor town of La Rochelle. Wonderful indeed. And to get to know it more, here are some webpages to help you plan your trip.

Parish site of La Rochelle on the Cathedral in French :

Tourist site on the old region Poitou and the Cathedral :

Tourist office of La Rochelle :

Charente Maritime dept 17 tourist office :

region nouvelle aquitaine on La Rochelle :

You have it all now to see this beauty, and hope you do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!







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