Archive for August 29th, 2018

August 29, 2018

The Machines of the Island at Nantes!

So visiting our favorite big city of the west we come to Nantes often. The city is just about 1h30 from me on the expressway road N165 and it is the airport that I used now for all my trips as well even using the train station there! It has many wonderful things to see and it should be noted.

I have written several posts on Nantes but like to tell you about a unique thing to do there. By the way, the city is in departement 44 Loire-Atlantique in the region of Pays de la Loire.  Here is an overall blog post on Nantes mentioning the Machines of the Island briefly: Nantes in Brittany!

And now on this marvelous modern to do thing in an old city of the west of France. It is a great family gathering  and a nice contrast to the old section of the city.

Les Machines de l’île or The Machines of the island are a space of exhibition and animation located in Nantes on the ïle de Nantes (island of Nantes), in the parc des Chantiers (boat yards), at the site of an abandoned shipyards. They were inaugurated in 2007. The Machines of the island are located at the crossroads of the Worlds inventions of Jules Verne, the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci and the industrial history of Nantes.

NAntes

Nantes

In the context of the urban renewal of the island of Nantes, Nantes Métropole is convinced by the idea of François Delarozière, creator of certain machines of spectacle of the Royal company of luxury and artistic director of the association “La Machine”, and of Pierre Orefice of the associations Manaüs , and decided to develop on the island a tourist project:   The Machines of the island initially include the Great Elephant, a prototype branch of the Heron Tree, the Carousel of the Marine worlds, and a children’s carousel, the Andrea’s merry-go-round. The number of machines is intended to increase as the creations progress.

NAntes

NAntes

The Machines of the island are built in the former shipyards of the Dubigeon located in the Yards park. In one of the naves, the workshop is the place of creation of the Machine, Association of Manufacturers and creators of living spectacle. On more than 3 000 m2, engineers, technicians, boilers, welders, sculptors and carpenters work on structures and materials.   From two terraces at 7.5 meters in height, the public can observe the creators of machines in full activity in their world of wood and steel.

NAntes

Nantes

Nantes

The Great Elephant is located in the naves and is inaugurated in 2007. It is made of wood (carved) and steel and weighs 48.4 tons. Measuring 12 meters in height for 8 meters in width, it can accommodate 52 passengers (initially 50) per trip. On board, the visitor discovers a panorama of Trentemoult in the place de Commerce. It has a vision of the mechanism and every vibration of the elephant is felt. To the elephant is associated an aerial footbridge installed near the naves that allows the descent of the passengers “go” and the ascent of the passengers “return”. Since the opening of the Carousel of the Marine Worlds in 2012, the descent of the Elephant, to the go, is done on a special platform on this carousel, as well as the ascent for the return to the gallery of machines.

Nantes

The Carousel of the Marine Worlds is a 25-meers-high giant carousel, populated by 36 movable elements representing marine creatures on three levels: seabed, abyss, sea and boats the mobile elements made since the opening of the site are exposed In the machine gallery and in the workshop.

Nantes

Nantes

From sketch to machine in operation, to manufacturing in the workshop, it is the whole process of creation that is presented to visitors in the Gallery of Machines. The visitors are invited by the machinists to take orders from the animals of the great depths which, since 2012, populate the Carousel of the Marine worlds. The Gallery of machines houses a whole bestiary of machines. During the visit, the gallery is animated by the machinists who explain the history and operation of these strange worlds. Mini-spectacle creatures from five to ten minutes. Sketches, models and films relate all the construction.

Nantes

The Heron tree, will be a steel tree of 50 meters in diameter and 35 meters high (45 up to the head of the herons in flight), topped by two herons. Visitors will be able to travel from branch to branch of astonishing hanging gardens and embark under the wings of the herons. The municipality concludes that the Heron tree would not be realized during the current mandate which ends in 2020, for budgetary reasons on the one hand, and by the absence of land to accommodate the work in good economic conditions, Urban and landscape on the other hand (the urban park projected to the west of the island of Nantes, capable of hosting the structure, will not be arranged before 2023 The latest is that it will be opened by 2022: more here: https://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/en/the-project/the-arbre-aux-herons/

NAntes

The site is accessible by public transport of the agglomeration Nantes: tramway line 1 station Chantiers Navals and Chronobus line C5 stop Prairie au Duc. Plenty of parkings just past the entrance to the Machines on street or underground.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Nantes on the Machines

City of Nantes on the Machines

The Machines of Nantes official webpage

La Machine association creators of them

There you go a nice family gathering in modern Nantes all along the Loire river! Very nice

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

 

 

August 29, 2018

The wines Nantaise or Muscadet or Poiron Dabin!

Ok let’s talk wine again! If you have been reading my blog you know my love for wines went back to my first sip from my maternal grandmother at age 8! It’s a tradition in our house ever since and into marriage and family life it continues. Today with so much to do and see in my belle France sometimes we skip trips to the wineries ;however, in my vacation time we took it to see one not far from Nantes in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 region of Pays de la Loire.

the vineyards here are the home of the Melon de Bourgogne or simply melon and gives a minerally flavored white wine known as the Muscadet or higher up we have the Muscadet Sévre et Maine sur lie. However, there are other wines  as the AOP region (Appellation d’Origine Protegée by EU standards that in France is same as AOC appellation d’origine controllée) can be broken down into parcels outside the appellation where the growers can choose other grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir , etc. These of course are not AOP wines but just as good indeed if looking at the right producer=winemaker.

 

Let me tell you briefly about this region and wine appellation first, before we go into the property visited.

The region is located in the departments of the Loire-Atlantique (44), the Vendée (85) and the Maine-et-Loire (49). A single IGP (Iindication Géographique Protégée more at EU level) wine appellation, the Val de Loire.   The vines are planted on shale, granitic and silty soils. The main grape varieties that make up the vineyard are for red wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Négrette. For white wine, Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin and Sauvignon.  The list of wine region within this AOC are Coteaux Ancenis, fiefs Vendéens, large Plant of the country Nantes, Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, nutmegt cotes de Grandlieu, Muscadet Sévre and Maine.

More reading to do and learning as we all do is to read these webpages that enhance anybody vision and appreciation for these wines.

Tourist office of Nantes: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/vineyard

Tourist office of the region Pays de la Loire : https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/Loire-Valley-wine-routes

Info webpage of the winegrowers of the Nantes region: http://www.lesvignesdenantes.com/association-les-vignes-de-nantes/

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 has more info in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/theme/vignoble/

Hope you get to know these wonderful wines of the Nantaise, old Brittany you know ::)

The property we visited was that of Poiron Dabin in near town of Chateau Thebaud village of Chantegrolle. Why this property? Well we like to go to places already spoken with the owner either by telephone , email, or in fairs , city tastings promotions etc. Once I realized the property has potential to like it , the personality, the winemakers, and the wines, then we proceed to a formal visit to the property itself. We came to know Poiron Dabin by attending the wine event Village Vignerons in Guérande a while back (see that post); and by speaking with Cynthia and JP we realized these were real wine aficionados who love to tell their trade and wines to all; the wines that follow 3 of them were very good and a great price/quality ratio.

Chateaud thebaud

Once past that stage, we proceed in making reservation for a visit to the property. This we did last Monday August 27th. We arrived by 10h30 as agreed and all was ready with a nice welcome tasting of four bottles from sparklers to pinot noir wines. We proceeded to given a booklet map and go walking in the vineyards!!! This was fun we did about 3 kms or 1.8 miles of vineyards of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Melon de Bourgogne, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc fields and fields about 70 hectares or 173 acres!

Chateaud Thebaud

The best was that on several posts along the route you needed to find the bottle! lol! This was great you find the bottle , you drink it, (we carry cups, corkscrew, etc all provided for). The walk seems like heavens as we seriously search for more posts with wine bottles !!! It was a huge field with a horse farm in the middle of it all, but we were able to find 6 out of 8 bottles; not bad for amateur walkers in the sun at 25C or 77F.

Oh yes the walk is divided into two parts one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a break for lunch .Oooh did I said Lunch ! wow this was superbe, on our way back we call to let the organizer of the walk know we are close by and she had already all prepared. A huge picnic basket full of cheeses, small tomatoes, cold cuts including pate de champagne delicious ,and baguette breads as well as fruit yogurt like strawberry, framboise etc and of course accompany by the house wines from Pinot Noir, to Muscadet ,Chardonnay and a sparkler brut rose as well ,ending with Maxwell House coffee, bread and butter or tea!!  This trip is explained further in only French here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/fr/oenotourisme/activites-sur-place/

 

 

chateau thebaud

You are ready all of this plus the tasting, and the supplies of the walk for 30€ per person , we thought this was a still and will surely be back in Fall. English and Spanish is spoken too ! The property webpage is here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/en/home/

They can ,also, propose a tour in a local river flat bottom boat and wine tastings. This is La Divette option, you can inquire in the property contact email here:  contact@poiron-dabin.com

The property of Poiron Dabin produces about 600K bottles per year and were ready to start harvest for 2018 in a couple weeks! They do Melon de BourgogneChardonnayPinot GrisPinot Noir, Fié GrisCôt Malbec, and Berligou, a historical red variety from Britanny ( great red a gift of the duke of Burgundy to his cousin the duke of Brittany in 1460!), petit Manseng and rich Gewurztraminer.

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

As what we did after tastings all these wonderful wines well we purchase of course. About two cases of wines lol! We do drink in moderation ::)

Our lot included Berligou, sparkler on the traditional method (ie champagne) 2016, Berligou marché de Bretagne 2016 red, Perle de Seduction mousseux demi sec sparkler and The Pinot Gris Rosé Val de Loire et voilà we are taking care of rather nicely.

In all, it was a wonderful day in the vineyards as usual in my belle France or rather beautiful Loire Valley, in the coastal Pays de la Loire (not to be confused with the castle known Centre-Val de Loire region more inland). Enjoy the post and En Vino Veritas

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 29, 2018

Honfleur: Lieutenance et Mont Joli!

SO here I am again at you on my special Honfleur. Well if you read my blog, you know it is very special. I promise this will be the last entry for a while on the city ::) As you know , Honfleur is the department 14 of Calvados in the region of Normandy on the coast. The river Seine that flows divides into a bay with Le Havre on the other side and two wonderful bridges Normandie and Tancarville. Enough said , I love it here and wish could visited more ,even if do come often ::)

I get to tell you a bit about two small places, one is very popular in the middle of it all, and the other perhaps more spectacular you need to climb a hilly street and another village part of Honfleur to then see down and amazing sights! I will be telling you about the Lieutenance and Mont Joli.

One previous blog post I chose that tells a bit about them is here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/02/25/honfleur-seamen-paintersand-normandy/

Always with some history I like to start the post!

Keeper of the old basin, the lieutenancy (or Steward or Lieutenance in French) is the last bastion of the medieval Honfleur, the last vestige of the ramparts, dismantled at the end of the 17C by order of Colbert. The Lieutenancy is one of the flagship buildings of Honfleur. Last vestige of the fortifications of Honfleur, the building was the housing of the King’s lieutenant. The King’s lieutenant was the ruler’s representative in a region. The king’s lieutenants were subordinate to the governors and Lieutenant-generals, representing the king in a province. The number of King’s lieutenants per province could vary according to the size of the province.

Two buildings are to be distinguished in the lieutenancy: the bedrock, made of stone, built around a corridor, is what remains of the enclosure. Above, the brick and stone buildings, built in the 17C, sheltered the apartments of the king’s Lieutenant (hence the name lieutenancy). The very first ramparts of the town of Honfleur were erected in the 13C, around the so-called enclosure. Around 1350, Charles V built a veritable fortress surrounding a harbor-like stranding harbor, as well as the city. Beyond extend the suburbs. The enclosure consisted of powerful walls. Two gates opened on the outside: the Porte de Rouen to the south-east of the city and the Porte de Caen to the north-west, in other words the lieutenancy. The most westerly part of the gates has been rebuilt, the present façade dating from the 16C. It is surmounted by a niche, which contains a statue of the Virgin, Notre Dame du Port (Our Lady of the Port), and flanked by two graceful turrets in corbelled, decorated with the weapons of the city.

Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur

honfleur

A plaque in memory of Samuel de Champlain, a navigator who explored Canada and founded the city of Québec from Honfleur in 1608, is affixed to the south facade of the building.

Guided tours, two or three times a year (a request to the tourist office) provided by city approved guides, will show in particular two recent discoveries on the construction site: The old Round Road and a échiffre(en?), a vestige of an old military device. Wonderful to look at every time coming into town and walking around it is sublime very nice area by the Vieux Bassin or old basin.

A webpage to help you plan your trip here is http://www.ville-honfleur.com/decouvrir-honfleur/honfleur-terre-de-patrimoines/la-lieutenance/

Mont joli is a beautiful hill, yes right up by the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Grâce (see previous post) and with indeed beautiful views below. It’s a stop to gaze and wonder and dream on in Honfleur.

Located on the heights of Honfleur and a few steps from the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace, in Equemauville, Mont Joli is a magnificent viewpoint which deserves a small detour. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire city, below, with its typical Norman-architecture houses, as well as the remarkable Tancarville Bridge, built in the mid-1950’s. The Normandy Bridge and the mouth of the Seine river. From the hill, a nice little road goes down to Honfleur and you can thus return to the city on foot via a pleasant walk. Well it is steep hilly not my cup of tea so I have not done this but is available!

Honfleur

Honfleur Honfleur

One webpage to help you plan your trip here a bit more is http://www.honfleur-tourism.co.uk/discover/surrounded-by-nature/cote-de-grace/

In all you got the high and the lows of Honfleur, you can see the water’s edge and the medieval looking inner harbor and the sights from above with far away views that at night are just well awesome.

Hope you enjoy the trip to Honfleur, and make you come here and tell me more about my special town in Calvados, Normandy. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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