Archive for October, 2018

October 31, 2018

Legion of Honor Museum, Paris!

And as the week goes on, and the wintery weather continues chez nous but even worse in the south of France, I like to bring you back into the capital city, the eternal Paris.

There are no words to describe the city, why bothered , millions have try and there is always something new.  And , there is always something old seldom seen or off the beaten path of Paris. This is the case of the Musée National de la Legion d’Honneur et des ordres de chevalerie, something like the National Museum of the legion of honor and the orders of chivalry.

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I have to admit, never thought of coming here until my oldest son got a training job on his restaurant degree at the House of Polytechnicians (Maison des Polytechniciens) nearby (often call the X) , and even after trips to the Musée d’Orsay never had ventured here before. Well so much to see even if living here ,there is always more and more, more lots more to see. The webpage of the X for the curious is here:  Maison des Polytechniciens

The National Museum of the Legion of Honour and orders of Chivalry , a national Museum of Art and History dedicated to the orders of chivalry and merit, decorations and medals, both French and foreign. It is located in the Hotel de Salm in the 7éme arrondissement of Paris, right across from the Orsay Museum.

The museum was created on the initiative of General Dubail, Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, and financed by an open subscription among the legionaries and military medalists, whose success was particularly keen in the United States. It was inaugurated in 1925. The initial nucleus of the collections, composed of the Grand Chancellery Fund, of National Museum deposits, have been added, over time, to numerous donations of collectors , but also donations made by foreign States in order to complete the existing collections , finally prestigious purchases and items.

The museum occupies a modern wing built between 1922 and 1925 on the site of the former stables of the Hotel de Salm, overlooking the forecourt of the Musée d’Orsay. The museum presents its permanent collections on several levels, in thematic areas dedicated to: the history of the palace and the creation of the museum, the chivalrous and religious orders, the French royal orders,  the Legion of Honor, Imperial orders and memories of the first Empire, foreign orders, and  the French orders, decorations and medals of 1789 to the present day.

It is to this day, the only museum dedicated to the Phaleristics ( an auxiliary science of history which studies orders, fraternities, and award items such as medals and other decorations). The museum regularly organizes large-scale exhibitions, as well as exhibits of interest in orders, decorations and medals.

The Society of Friends of the National Museum of the Legion of Honor and orders of Chivalry was founded in 1970. More info here:  https://www.amis-musee-legiondhonneur.fr/

The Association of Ancient Hereditary Honors (AHH), is a non profit association created in 1967 that brings together in a friendly circle families of which at least three consecutive generations were received in the Order of the Legion of Honor. More info here:  http://www.honneurshereditaires.net/

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and more information to have are

official legion of honor museum

Tourist office of Paris on the legion of honor museum

And one very much on the museum and all over France, Napoleon official family webpage today on the museum of the legion of honor: Napoleon organisation on the legion of honor museum

There you go another nice spot to visit while in Paris, and it should be given more recognition indeed, and more it is so close to the Orsay museum , it should be a 1-2 punch.

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

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October 30, 2018

Some news from France CXCXVII

So here I am on a sunny cool day in my Morbihan Breton only 12C sunny no rains nothing else to report, great! We are fully into the end of October and Halloween waiting be scary be nice and trick or treat ok!

Let me give you the latest from my sources on what is happening in my belle France ,and gorgeous Paris! Oh yes Paris is at 11C  but cloudy !

Oh for some is trouble. The white one has arrived!!! Nearly 950 people were stranded in the night from Monday to Tuesday on the roads of Haute-Loire where a brutal snowy episode fell, while 195 000 homes were still without electricity in France this Tuesday morning. The main regions affected are the Auvergne ,Rhône Alpes, the Centre Val de Loire and the center of the Limousin, according to electricity provider Enedis. According to the weather report in France this Tuesday morning, 17 departments are still concerned with the orange alert and the current snowy episode. It is the Ain, the Allier, the Ardennes, the Aube, the Cher, the Corrèze, of the Côte-d’Or, the Creuse, the Loire, the Haute-Loire, the Loiret, the Seine et Marne, the Marne, the Haute-Marne, the Nièvre, the Puy-de-Dôme, the Saône-et-Loire and the Yonne. !! Not me ::)

View from the outside, the large house located at 32, rue de Toul, in the 12éme arrondissement of Paris, is hardly distinguished from the other buildings erected in the quarter at the beginning of the 20C. However, above the doorbell, to the left of a black gate, a small plaque today takes on a historical value: “SON-RE Pierre Henry“. Fifteen months after the composer’s death (July 5, 2017, at the age of 89 years), it is still the only indication of the place which was both his home and his studio (“Son-RE” meaning “sound and electro-acoustic research”). On October 31,(tomorrow) Isabelle Warner, widow of Pierre Henry  will return the keys to the house rented since 1971. Then the building will probably be demolished to make room for a building. Again Paris trivia is gone. More on Pierre Henry: https://www.discogs.com/artist/7209-Pierre-Henry

And more, a masterpiece of the Renaissance, the Fountain of the Innocents (1éme), just a few steps from the canopy, is hard to see. Sculpted in 1540 by Jean Goujon, the silhouettes of the naiads with the veiled body that dance between the Corinthian pilasters are gradually crumbling. Not to mention the marble basins, hopelessly empty and more and more chipped… At the city/town hall, it is announced that it has launched in early October a study which will be made by the end of the year to obtain a precise state of the restoration needs of the fountain and an estimate of the cost of the operation. Still Paris fall behind their monuments! Here is the fountain: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73158/Fontaine-des-Innocents

This winter, fashion is checkered. On cashmere, mohair or silk… For the winter season, small or large-tile motifs are printed on dresses, cardigans, jackets and other ponchos.Be ready winter is coming and fashion Paris gets the best out.

The Niflette is a Halloween bake good, originally from Provins, the iconic pastry of All Saints (Nov1)in the medieval city will be honored as it should be on November 11th. In the Middle Ages and to the feast of All Saints. The niflettes would then have been distributed to the orphans at the exit of the cemeteries, Niflette finding its origin in the Latin injunction “do not flounder!”, that is, do not “weep”. It is a puff pastry with a custard in the center. It is found nature or scented with the orange blossom.flavor. tourist office here:  https://www.provins.net/

The old refectory of the abbey of Royaumont will be the scene of a unique spectacle on November 24th. This one, free of charge, will cover the history of the Scottish ladies, these women doctors, surgeons or nurses from across the channel, who led alone during WWI a military hospital in the walls of the abbey. From December 1914 to February 1919, they will be a total of 477 ladies from Royaumont to take care of nearly 10 861 wounded, including 8 752 soldiers. The abbey here: https://www.royaumont.com/en/home

Show on November 24th at 18h Free. Registration at email:  plume.poesie8@gmail.com. A call for donations is being made for the funding of this unique representation here:  www.helloasso.com/associations/plume-poesie

Astrophysicists, historians, neuroscientists, artists…etc. The inaugural lesson is the entry ritual of any new teacher at the Collège de France. A large oral as free as protocol as the image of this institution born under François I. In the 5éme arrondissement of Paris, to attend the inaugural lesson of Amos Gitai, the new holder of the annual chair of artistic creation of the Collège de France. He is the first filmmaker to occupy it. Before him, the composers Pascal Dusapin and Philippe Manoury, the plastic artist Anselm Kiefer or the writer Alain Mabanckou have succeeded.  On the stage of the Grand Amphitheatre Marguerite de Navarre, they are allowed in to the Speaker’s office. According to tradition, it is in this small room adjoining the amphitheatre that the applicant patiently, surrounded by professors of the Collège de France entered and make their presentation of acceptance to the Collége de France. More on the Collége de France here: https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/fr-about-college/index.htm

Within the framework of the centenary of the Armistice, (end of WWI) a large exhibition of panels made by the photographer Philippe Abergel, will be installed on the facades of the Napoleon Barracks, at the corner of Rue de Rivoli and Rue de Lobau. You will be able to discover the daily life of the little hair guys (youngs soldiers for WWI) or Poilus in French. An exhibition of Centenary objects in a Polaroid format. The opportunity to take another look at the poilus, with the idea that behind these small craft creations, this cache of knowledge how to do. 14-18 Monument to the Fallen of the Great War Hôtel de Ville Paris, until December 15 2018. More here:   : http://memorial14-18.paris.fr/memorial/

In collaboration with Sandra Reignoux, the music library of Paris offers you an unprecedented exhibition of about fifty drawings by visionary artist Daniel Johnston. Drawings collected by Sandra Reignoux during a correspondence from 1999 to 2003. Arts Factory will also be joining the exhibition to present you other works to the graphic universe, where you can attend concerts and film projections. A high-color program. Last Night Daniel Johnston saved my life.  Music Library of Paris 8, Porte St Eustache until November 8th, from 12h to 19H: more info here:   https://www.paris.fr/equipements/mediatheque-musicale-de-paris-mmp-2883

Something buzzting with excitement here is the spread of this guy in social media and even the News on FR2 this morning. A star is born. His name is Salif Gueye, aka Salif la Source. This street dancer, unknown a few days ago, literally ignited social networks. His video of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk at Beaubourg made the buzz. An American career seems to be drawing for this Parisian. This is our feel good portrait of the week. At the age of 22, the hip-hop dance was even knighteded by American basketball player Lebron James and actor Dwayne Johnson. This real Michael Jackson fan seems to be the new incarnation of the King of Moonwalk. He repeated the dance steps of the thriller singer, Fred Astaire, James Brown and many others, with a relentless and correctness that touched the fans of MJ and the others. Originilally fromf Dakar and who grew up in Epinay-sur-Seine in the dept  93 Seine-Saint-Denis. Ten hours of dance a day: it can be said, dance is the whole life of this young man who sees far the dancer of Beaubourg should fly soon to the United States!.

At the time of the 20th anniversary of the World pasta Day, it goes back to the origins of a must: pasta with carbonara. This is called “Carbonara” because there is so much pepper that looks like coal! It is probable that at first we put all this pepper to mask the taste of the rancid deli. Carbonara is a dish born in Rome it is quite recent, a priori of the 1940’s, when the Americans were still in Rome. They say that in their equipment they had freeze-dried eggs and old bacon that they sold to the Romans. And the Romans had pasta. Here is a dish prepared with the help of Tommaso Melilli, Italian chef and culinary columnist for Slate.

Preparation time: 15 min, Cooking time: 15 min, Ingredients for 2 persons: 200 g hard wheat pasta, spaghetti or linguine (preferably Italian brand), 2 beautiful slices of guanciale (cheek of dried pork), 1 egg and 2 yolks, 60 g of Pecorino Romano , Pepper from the mill.  Cut the guanciale into pieces and melt it in a frying pan, cold start and dry. Reserve the pieces and the melted fat separately. In a casserole, beat the eggs, add 6 to 7 rounds of Pepper mill, the finely grated pecorino. Whisk all the way until you get a creamy consistency. Gradually add the fat of  warmed guanciale. Then, cook the pasta al dente (Reserve 1 glass of cooking water). In the frying pan on very soft fire, pour the pasta, the sauce, the pieces of guanciale, add a few spoonful of cooking water and mix quickly and vigorously to get the Mantecatura (link between the pasta). It has to go very fast, and it heats very little, so the egg is just starting to coagulate. Serve immediately, possibly adding some more pepper. Ciao Italia! Oh a dish we eat here too often and my boys love it!!!

Here is a find; nestles a small pearl in terms of Savoyard or Burgundian fondue, since 1987. Quality/price ratio, it is not better elsewhere because the formula at 16€  gives the fondue, the meat (for the Burgundian), the croutons of bread (for the Savoyard), and the fresh salad and homemade potatoes at will. Yes, at will. There’s no way we’re going to get enough. In addition to the lunch time, the glass of wine and the coffee are offered! . At Heureux comme Alexandre 13, rue du Pot de fer. More info here: Heureux Comme Alexandre resto

And for the history in me, here is a nice one to end the post

“No sir it’s a revolution!” This sentence, pronounced in the bedroom of king Louis XVI in Versailles on the night of 14 July 1789, remained engraved in history. But we know less the person who pronounced it… François Alexandre-Frédéric de La Rochefoucauld, Duke of  Liancourt. Born in La Roche-Guyon, he will spend his childhood there and regularly attend. But it was his cousin Louis-Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld who officially lived there. François, in particular, owns the Château de Liancourt (Oise dept 60 only the common areas exit today), and its magnificent park. To cultivate the majority of this historical garden, in particular to experience the techniques that he observed during his trips abroad. The castle itself will be replaced by factories dedicated especially to the work of wool. This is the career of this astonishing man who is currently retraced in the halls of the Château de la Roche-Guyon. On this famous night, as anger rumbles outside, he is the one who takes charge of waking up Louis XVI, and answering him when he naively asks him if it is a “revolt”. The Duke of Liancourt was then Grand Master of the King’s wardrobe and under his responsibility more than 200 persons. Of course, if he has won such a title, it is because François de la Rochefoucauld is a convinced monarchist. But his political opinions are not summed up in this… François de La Rochefoucauld is also the founder of the l’école d’Arts et Métiers (School of Arts and Crafts) and will participate in the creation of the Caisse d’épargne, (savings bank), always in the logic of helping the poorest population to progress. These are all facets of this resolutely modern man who are presented at the Château de La Roche-Guyon. A castle, which still belongs today to its descendants. “No Sir, it is a revolution! The lives of the duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt”, until November 25, from 10h. to 17h. daily, admission: 7.80€. More info here as the castle is closed but the show is on: Chateau de la Roche Guyon

The city of La Roche Guyon on the castle: The castle at the city of La Roche Guyon webpage

And there you go another things to do in my belle France, and even outside Paris! And for the disclaimer, these are only my favorites from the lot; there is a lot more going on!

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

 

 

 

 

 

October 30, 2018

The Churches of Auray!

And on a very cold Sunday , we have 7C and sunny of course…. I take you to a Sunday event, talk about Churches. In France we have thousands, and Brittany leads the way been one of the most if not the most traditional region of France. I happened to have inititally lived here in Auray a historical town of many nations and with plenty of Churches. Some main pictures as others are spread all over previous posts.

I have written many posts on Auray and bits on them, but believe a full post on just the Churches is merité n’est pas? So,therefore, here they are , the Churches of Auray! Oh yes of course in the Morbihan dept 56!!! mine!!! I moved but only by 12 km ::)

Auray well again needless to tell you I used to lived here when initially moved from Versailles ,Yvelines 78 to Brittany. The town is surrounded by the towns of Crac’h to the south and west, Brech to the north, and Pluneret to the east. It is crossed by a small coastal river, the Auray river, which leads into the Gulf of Morbihan. The port of Saint-Goustan is at the bottom of the valley, east of the river. The port of Saint-Goustan is at the origin of the city. It is located on the Auray river, at the most upstream point that can reach the sea ships with the help of the tide. It received high seas vessels until the 19C. It is also a port of Cargo active in the direction of Spain and Great Britain. Its decline as a trading port with the arrival of the railway in 1862. Today it is a marina and a stopover of the tourist circuit of the tour of the Gulf of Morbihan

In the 1950’s, the national road N165 Vannes-Lorient bypasses the center of Auray by the north. In 1989, the construction of the Kerplouz viaduct on the N 165 (voie express) in 4 lanes above the Auray river downstream of Saint-Goustan removes the agglomeration of transit traffic. The train station of Auray is located more than two km north of the city center. This is the station that I take and Vannes  all  my trips to Paris via TGV.

I was going on the history but done that before in other posts so briefly here: Auray is a place name, originating from a Breton name of a person, mentioned for the first time in 1069, Alrae, then in 1168 Alrai, in Breton An Alré.

What Churches are in Auray? well several and will start with the main one.

The Church of St Gildas owes its name to a 12C priory which depends on the Benedictine abbey of the Rhuys Peninsula. It was conceived at the site of the old priory of which combines medieval and baroque styles. The work started in 1623 ,it bears the date of 1636 on the three gables and was consecrated in 1641 ,but is only completed in 1663. The steeple of the three-story square tower was however only completed in 1701, and rebuilt in 1832. The Church is built saddle an elongated plan, with non-protruding transept. The nave consists of three aisles. The western facade consists of a three-level steeple tower surmounted by an octagonal lantern. The south façade is remarkable for its Renaissance-style porch, with three levels with twin columns on the first two levels and a triangular pediment in which the saint’s niche is located. The nave has a level of large arcades resting on columns that rise up to the coffered vault whose double arches are resting on carved bases. The aisles are vaulted in cradle, separated by double arches. The crossing of the transept also receives a vouûte with a cross-box of warheads. The flat choir, vaulted also with caissons, is adorned with a large altarpiece. It dominates the whole city, and will serve as a model in the region.   This Church is a sober building, except for the two porches of Renaissance and Baroque style. Inside you can admire a recently restored 16C Christ-recumbent. The imposing altarpiece of the high altar is in Levallois style and dates from 1657.   The vault is adorned with painted boxes and at the bottom, in the Tribune, the organ of Waltrin dates from 1761.   The whole dates from the 17C 18C, 19C and Baroque style .Located at Place Gabriel Deshayes.

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The Chapelle du Saint-Esprit (Holy Spirit). 13C, it is the last vestige of the commandery of the Order of the Holy Spirit of Montpellier. In the 14C, this convent and hospitable house of the Holy Spirit at Auray would have become one of the principals of France, with, under its authority, some fifty foundations. In 1762, Pope Clement XIII abolished the order of the Holy Spirit. The city installed the headquarters of the General Hospital, then, in 1790, a military hospital. At the beginning of the 19C, what remained of the buildings was transformed into a permanent barracks. Important works transformed the chapel as seen before the restoration of 1990-1994. It will take the name of Duguesclin Barracks. The present restitution allows this building to regain its original volumes: a single vessel with five bays and a flat bedside ; an unusual silhouette in Brittany. It is a site of many cultural presentation exhibits etc today. Located at Place du Four Mollet.

Tourist office of Morbihan on Holy Spirit Chapel

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Chapelle du Père Éternel (Chapel of the Eternal Father). This Chapel is the last testimony of the convent built from 1644 to welcome the Franciscan sisters. They arrive at Auray in the early 17C to hold a girls’ school. Hunted in 1792 during the French Revolution, the convent and thus the Chapel are abandoned and serve different uses. These monuments retook their original function in 1807 with the arrival of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis. The Chapel contains beautiful 18C carved panelling and stalls. Located at Rue du Pére Eternel.

Tourist office of Morbihan on Eternal Father Chapel

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The Chapelle Sainte-Hélène , built in the 15C is one of the oldest monuments in the city of Auray. It is known in the course of history under four names: Chapel of Notre-Dame, name under which she was blessed; Chapel of the hospital, in reference to the hotel Dieu which it served; Chapel of the Augustines, name from the hospital nuns in charge of the sick; and Chapelle Sainte-Hélène, name given by the locals to their Chapel. This Chapel contains beautiful 18C carved stalls from the Chartreuse de Brec’h, a 19C altarpiece and woodwork. Open all year round ; Daily from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 17h30, except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. It holds a Pardon on August 21st at 18h each year. Located at Rue Georges Clemenceau.

Tourist office of Morbihan on St Helene Chapel

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Ancient Chapel of the Congregation of men at auray. Its full name is Chapel of the Brothers of the Congregation of Men of the Immaculate Conception . It’s dated from 1672. Only the front is original. Pious craftsmen gathered there to pray to the Virgin. Before going out, observe the Tribune and its central panel. You will see the Rapture of Saint Paul , a work performed around 1672-1678 by Antoine de Bray a Parisian decorator who adorned several halls of the parliament of Brittany in Rennes. Today it welcomes the tourist office, at rue du Lait.

Tourist office of Auray

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One of my favorites because of the historical context that it was built and personnage. Charles of Blois was the son of Marguerite de Valois, sister of the king of France Philip VI, great-granddaughter, therefore, of Saint Louis, who had just been placed on the altars. His father, Guy de Châtillon, Count of Blois, was as good a Christian as brave Knight. The old chronicles point out that everything was serious, almost severe in his castle; One could have believed in a monastery rather than in the abode of a lord.

On the conflicts of the War of Succession of Brittany, the quarrels got first to an arbirtration by the king of France. King Philip VI convened his parliament in an extraordinary assembly. In July 1341, the ecclesiastical and secular peers were gathered in the united commission, presided over by the bishops of Noyon and Langres, who travelled to Brittany to study the customs of the country on the spot. The final judgment, after hearing counsel for both parties, was rendered on September 7, 1341. The right of representation was law in Brittany, Jeanne de Penthièvre, daughter of the elder brother of Jean III, inherited from her uncle by him, Charles of Blois was Duke of Brittany!!! The opposing Jean de Montfort did not wish to submit to this sentence, and the war was declared and lasted for more than twenty years!. The death in combat at the Battle of Auray of Charles de Blois ended it. On December 14, 1904, Pope Pius X solemnly recognized that the cult of blessed Charles of Blois had been maintained throughout the centuries. He was beatified then.

The église Charles de Blois  begun to be built in 1929, and consecrated in 1939. Built according to a centered plan, the Church consists of a first vessel that opens onto a wider square space where the cult takes place. The wrong side is adjacent to the west.   Access to the Church is done in the east. It is a gabled façade adorned with Lombard strips. It consists of a portal in full hanger topped with a rose, and has to its left a small steeple. The main steeple is to the west of the building, it is a Cornish steeple. The roof of the building is polygonal on its central part and double slope for the remainder. The side walls are pierced with berries. The district of the train station quickly populated at the beginning of the 20C, a Church became necessary. Léon Chevassu, rector of the parish, decides to built it with private donations. And it is done very nice you can see from the train station of Auray. Located at Place Léon Chevassu.

Auray

Another nice one I go often for visits is the Church of Saint-Sauveur located in the Saint-Goustan district of Auray. The Church, whose origin dates back to the 15C (c 1469), was largely destroyed by a fire in 1886. Rebuilt, the Church retains the original portal only. The carved wooden furniture, including the pulpit with a statue of St. Goustan, and the closing of the choir sculpted by Joseph Jegouza in 1929, can be admired. See the model under glass of a boat that received the special prize of the jury category “Ex-Voto” at the national competition of the heritage of the Côtes de France in 1996. Although the Church is under the term of Saint-Sauveur, the district is under the protection of Saint-Goustan, the patron of sailors and fishermen. Saint Goustan was born in Cornwall in 974. Kidnapped by pirates at 18 years old, wounded, he is abandoned on the island of Houat (Gulf of Morbihan) where he owes life only to Providence which provides him with fish which he uses sparingly and which each day reconstitutes (hence his legend and his representation with a fish) and the cures of St Felix, who will convert him to Christianity. He became a monk in 1025, and founded a priory on the island of Hoëdic. He rests with his friars monks in the abbey of Saint Gildas de Rhuys.

Auray

 

On the other side of the street stands the Notre-Dame de Lourdes Chapel of 1878, closed, given a certain fragility. The construction of the Chapel Notre-Dame de Lourdes takes place from the winter of 1874-1875 and probably continues until 1878 (vintage of stained glass) or 1879 (the blessing by the Bishop taking place in November 1879). Victim of a fire in 1886, the structural disorders, visibly still today, are recorded as early as the 1930’s at least. In a Gothic style is currently being restored and it is closed to the public since July 1998. A repair of the roof took place in 1990 and some of the stained glass windows were rehabilitated. The Friends of the work of Saint-Joseph, located in Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère) are trying to raise funds to complete the restoration. More contact info here:  Association Friends of St Joseph

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Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip in addition to asking me are

City of Auray on heritage walks

Tourist office of Brittany on Saint Goustan district

There you go, a hugely historical city for USA and Canada as well. A gorgeous old upper city center and a magnificent district of St Goustan in the lower city! Direct trains from Montparnasse Paris , superb! Enjoy it, this is Auray.

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

 

October 29, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVIIII

And here I am on a cloudy cold Autumn day in the Morbihan Breton and thinking of my Spain, and of course , cannot be too far from it. Already plans to go back!!!

There is always something going on in Spain and their tourism is climbing so much already on the steps of France, the all time no 1 leader according to the UN-WTO. And this is even with the political haggling of usual Spain; if not they will be no 1 long ago.

I like to give you the latest info according to me hehehe! well…..

Valencia is a good choice to take children to gain knowledge. In the City of Arts and Sciences, known for its iconic architecture, children can find a section dedicated to them in which specialized monitors will teach them small scientific concepts in a fun way. The museum also organises the ‘ science on stage ‘ workshops, which children can sign up for. More info: https://www.cac.es/en/home.html

There stands out the Chocolate Museum, in Barcelona where activities are organized for children between 0 and 7 years ranging from the experimentation with chocolate for the little ones until the blind tastings so that the older ones learn to distinguish the aromas of this product and to differentiate between variants of the same. It also offers workshops for the whole family where you can learn how to make chocolate lollipops. More info: http://www.museuxocolata.cat/?lang=en

Almeria has been chosen this past Wednesday as the Spanish Capital of gastronomy in 2019 after its candidacy was left alone in the struggle organized by the Spanish Federation of Hospitality and the Spanish Federation of Journalists and Writers of tourism. More info at Foods and Wines from Spain(official): https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/whats-new/news/new-detail/almeria-spanish-capital-gastronomy.html

Some picturesques towns to visit in my beloved Spain off the beaten track a bit,suggestions ok.

Cadaqués, Girona . Located in the Cape of Creus-Alto Empordà, this fishing village is one of the most beautiful in Catalonia and the easternmost of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1998 it was declared a Natural park. Its peculiar beauty made Salvador Dalí choose it as a summer residence and his house-museum is the most visited of the town. Its white houses in front of small coves, its steep alleys and its walk to the lighthouse of Cala Nans are its hallmarks. http://www.visitcadaques.org/?lang=uk&sec=

Laguardia, Álava . From the top of a hill and surrounded by a great wall, this medieval-rooted town is the capital of the Rioja Alavesa, on the left bank of the river Ebro. In its old town, considered one of the most beautiful in the Basque Country, highlights its Plaza Mayor arcaded and its Paseo del Collado, which borders the place with the extensive vineyards appropriating of the landscape. I recommend the night visit to the bodegas Solar de Samaniego, converted into the wine cathedral with the impressive murals of the Australian Guido van Helten. https://laguardia-alava.com/index.php/en/

Lastres, Asturias. Located on the top of a cliff over the Cantabrian Sea, this seaside town is one of the most visited in Asturias, especially since it was recorded there the TV series Doctor Mateo (for Spanish viewers). Its urban center, declared a historic complex, leads you to a maze of narrow cobbled streets leading up to the 18C Church of Santa Maria de Sábada. https://en.desdeasturias.com/la-villa-marinera-de-lastres/

La Alberca, Salamanca. It was the first town in Spain to be declared a National Historic site in 1940. Its facades, full of colors and flowers, are very popular. This town, integrated in the region of the Sierra de France, is also famous for its cobbled streets and its characteristic arcades. The villa was already constituted in the 13C and associated with the crown. http://www.laalberca.com/GB/index.php#

Villanueva de los Infantes, Ciudad Real.  This village of La Mancha, where Francisco de Quevedo died, and whose streets also crossed Lope de Vega and Miguel de Cervantes, was declared a National Historic site in 1974 by the archaeological sites found there, belonging to the Copper Age and the Bronze Age. Highlights the monumental ensemble around its main square built in the 17C and the more than 250 shields that look on its facades. http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/villanueva-de-los-infantes-13531/descripcion/

Chinchon, Madrid. Perhaps the most picturesque town in Madrid with a medieval square that still preserves its typical 15C houses, with its wooden balconies and arcades and where it was proclaimed King Felipe V in 1706. It’s Castillo de los Condes (Counts) is a must visit, as well as the purchase of anise, garlic, oil and wine. http://www.ciudad-chinchon.com/turismo/en/conoce-chinchon/lugares-interes/edificios-historico-artisticos.php

Aínsa, Huesca declared  National Historic site complex since 1965, this villa located in the Hautes-Pyrenees of Huesca is one of the places that frequent more tourists. It stands out its medieval old town and its stone houses, arranged in a staggered way.(see writing below)

Morella, Castellón .This town, guarded by an enormous military fortress of almost two kilometers and located at 1,000 meters of altitude, possesses sixteen towers and an impressive castle. It has witnessed battles of El Cid Campeador or the war of succession. His undisputed beauty has made it a World heritage site. http://en.morellaturistica.com/

And let me take you into the wonderful Pyrénées from where I drive all the time north south ,west east sublime. One of the entrances to the Pyrenees is located in the municipality of Aínsa-Sobrarbe this year has been chosen as the capital of rural tourism in Spain. It is the first municipality in Aragon in number of rural houses (37) and places to stay (262). The Unesco World Geopark of Sobrarbe-Pyrenees, which has a heritage with more than one hundred geological interest sites. Therefore Escaparural.com,(I rent from it very much recommended) the digital platform dedicated to the promotion of rural accommodation, had chosen it rural capital. The webpage for rentals is here: https://www.escapadarural.com/que-hacer/ainsa

The peculiarities of the old town of the village of Aínsa. Each street has a history to tell, since, in the antiquity, each one stood out for hosting the houses of certain social classes. For example, in the Calle Santa Cruz lived the people who belonged to the lower, like artisans and laborers, whereas in the Calle  Mayor, or Calle Gonzalo I, emphasized the buildings of the nobility. It does not matter which of the two streets you walk, as both lead to the Plaza Mayor and the castle. From the Torre del Homenaje (tower of the homage)  of the fortress to the main entrance, passing through the parish Church of Santa Maria, famous for its crypt and the belfry with spectacular views to the nearby places. Also the old Town treasures a Jewish bath discovered 400 years ago. Also you have to visit the ecomuseum of the Pireneica Fauna. It is not a common cultural space, but an interpretation center open 11 months a year dedicated to the animal world of the Pyrenees. In it it is possible to admire birds of prey incapable of living in freedom for having received  physical damage. From a real owl to a toed eagle, through a kind of bearded vulture. The latter is the only  Osteófaga Bird of the world, i.e. capable of ingesting bones. You can admire from 200 to 400 birds that come down from the mountains when they leave for food, fed twice a week in winter and three in summer. In addition, all those who become partners can enter three times a year in two enclose glass booths to take pictures of the vultures.

Another indispensable museum is the Traditional Crafts and Arts museum, a private collection, preserved in an old manor house, which houses more than 1,500 pieces from the 19-20C. From pottery and ceramic objects to blacksmiths ‘ instruments, such as curious pica-shaped horseshoes, through woodworking tools, knitting utensils and a kitchen of the period with fireplace included.  A few kms from Aínsa, the Latorrecilla rises beyond its architectural peculiarities, there is another reason why it is worth going there: the bees. The beekeeper Paco Parra and his family, in addition to selling artisanal honey, have devised my friends bees, a classroom of nature where they perform guided tours dedicated to the life of drones, worker bees and queen.

Lleida’s AVE train station is just over an hour’s drive from Aínsa. You can also reach Zaragoza or Huesca and then drive. On the website of the city/town hall of Aínsa : www.villadeainsa.com.

More on local tourism from the municipality Ainsa Sobrarbe here: Tourist office of Ainsa Sobrarbe on heritage

Moving down to my fav region of Spain other than Madrid you have a beauty many times visited and worth the detour.

In the province of Cuenca, in the heart of the Quijote route and an hour and a half drive from Madrid, Belmonte stands out for the unique beauty of its urban center, its stately buildings and its important monumental patrimony, one of the richest in the area , which has earned it the title of good of Cultural interest town. It includes its most recognized enclaves, which crown the two hills that surrounds the beautiful walled village of La Mancha: The Collegiate Church of San Bartolomé and the Castle of Belmonte , both buildings of the 15C. The castle, built in 1465 in the Cerro de San Cristóbal on a previous fortress, by order of Don Juan Pacheco, first Marquis of Villena and authorized by King Enrique IV of Castilla. Privately owned (descendants of the Empress of the French Eugenia wife of Napoleon III), the enclave has become a tourist destination thanks to its exhibitions, museums, theme park, historical recreation days, medieval battles and dramatised sessions, which transport the public to bygone times.

In Gothic-Mudejar style, the castle is a national monument, with a star-shaped structure around the courtyard (plaza de Armas). It was the refuge of Juana la Beltraneja at the end of the 15C, prison of the Napoleonic troops during the War of Independence (1808), residence of the Empress of France Eugenia de Montijo (1857), Convent of the Dominicans (1885) and prison during the Civil War ( 1936).

As the Sun falls, the castle becomes a frightening place and what better time to check it out than the Halloween weekend. Those interested in touring their halls and darker corners can do so from 1 to 3 November (from 20h to 01h.), dates in which the spectacle of terror will take place call Virus. More info here: http://castillodebelmonte.com/en/virus-halloween-2018/

For about 45 minutes, the public, distributed in groups of no more than 14 persons will go through the different areas of the fortress in which they have unpleasant encounters. Attendees will also participate in the story, know first-hand some of the characters who inhabited the castle centuries ago and have to follow the instructions that will indicate them during the tour. The dungeons, torture rooms and the most gloomy corners of the castle will be the scenarios of this event, not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart problems or under 12 years. More info at the Castle site here: http://castillodebelmonte.com

To complete the tour, it is obligatory to take a walk around the newly opened theme park Trebuchet Park, located at the foothills of the fortress and inside its walls. The enclosure houses 40 real-size, perfectly operational siege machines, rebuilt with the utmost historical rigor based on existing documentation. The sample explains the importance of such weapons during the Middle Ages, in which the sieges were much more numerous than the open-field battles. More info :http://castillodebelmonte.com/en/trebuchet-park/

Of this neo-tasca, put with modesty but with luminosity in a small side of Calle Edgar Neville ,for those who have not yet learned the new street, is the old Calle General Moscardó, have opted for the fixed menus, changing every day according to market.

They serve as total surprises that the diner will see arriving at your table without prior description, and only with a question about possible allergies. This fashion, which certainly saves work and avoids wasting time, can be somewhat irritating, or at least puzzling, for the traditional customer who prefers to study a menu card and choose between their offerings. But the surprise menu is here to stay, and you have to get used to it. Ignorance of what you are going to eat turns the choice of a wine into a Russian roulette game. White, red, sparkling? Light, powerful? The portions are small, and on occasion the Iberian ham found it even less. But the good level of each dish leads you to accept it in good measure, in addition, announce until December 2018  an interesting promotion for its second anniversary: a 30% reduction on the bill. It’s going to be something to take advantage of…!!!

Something to taste different in Madrid. Lúbora, Calle Edgar Neville, 39  .Webpage: http://www.lubora.com/

And finish with the arts , sublime romantic, wonderful for the senses in my Madrid.

Legend of the transgression, icon of the modernity, precursor in the naturalness and declaration of its bisexuality, the Reina del  Art Deco (art deco queen) Tamara de Lempicka is the protagonist of the new exhibition of Arthemisia, that will be seen in the Palacio Gaviria until the next  February 24 2019. 200 works, from more than 40 private collections, museums and lenders reveal, in this first retrospective dedicated to Lempicka in Madrid, an unknown dimension of the creator, besides, of course, to illustrate magnificently her artistic trajectory. The work of Tamara de Lempicka, a journey that reveals the aesthetics of the 1920s, the geometry of Cubism, elements inherited from Futurism and a powerful influence of the Bauhaus coexist in the exhibition with photographs (with Dalí, with Otto Preminger…), Lamps, furniture, vases, screens… and other Art Deco objects, and with dresses, hats and delicate shoes (designs by Salvatore Ferragano), proposes an immersion in the environment in which she developed her art as a the painter. Where:  Palacio de Gaviria, Calle Arenal , 9. More info here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/tamara-lempicka-gaviria-palace

There you go for my Spain, worth a detour I say lol! Spain , everything under the sun.

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

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October 29, 2018

The traditions of Brittany, Locronan!

So now let’s tackle a serious tourism and heritage subject in my old beautiful Brittany. Tradition with the Bretons is very strong even now, and the legacies of the past are well maintained with their language pushing and the religious beliefs, here strong. One town stands of many on this example.

I like to talk to you today about Locronan in the Finistére dept 29 of Brittany. A town full of traditions and beautiful architecture not to mention history. Enough for me to love it. Taken the expressway N165 (no tolls) you go to exit D770 and then take the panels saying Locronan on the D39 then D63 to Locronan.

Locronan  is a town in the department 29 of Finistére in the region of Brittany.  The important architectural heritage of Locronan, preserved very early, allowed the village to be a member of the network of Small Cities of Character. Locronan is also today gratified of the label of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Around the church, the roofs of the village are works of art. From its Belle Epoque, the village has preserved a centrally paved square adorned with a well, the vast Church of St. Ronan, and Renaissance houses in granite.

Most Beautiful Villages of France on Locronan

Small Towns of Character in France on Locronan

The Montagne de Locronan (Menez Lokorn in Breton) with its 289 meters of altitude is one of the highest points of the Black Mountain massif characterized by outcroppings of granite on an axis starting from the Pointe de Raz and going up to Lizio near the moors of Lanvaux.  The place of Plas Ar Horn, at the top of the Priory Mountain, which is backed by Locronan, offers a splendid panorama of the Porzay Plain, the Ménez-Hom and the Bay of Douarnenez as a whole.  Its name means “the consecrated place (of the Hermitage) of Saint Ronan”, lok meaning consecrated place in Breton. The ancient archives sometimes call Locronan, Saint-René-du-Bois .

The town  of Locronan is 15 km west of Quimper and 5 km from the sea (Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Douarnenez, Kervel beach  which is part of the commune of Plonévez-Porzay). It is about 110 km from my house.

A bit of history I like

In Roman times, Locronan was at the crossroads of two Roman routes, one coming from Quimper and heading towards the peninsula of Crozon, the other heading towards Douarnenez. Saint Ronan later installed his hermitage (at the site of the present chapel of the Pénity, adjacent in the southern part of the Church of Saint-Ronan), which explains the Christianisation of the town. The main square of Locronan is located at the crossroads of two Roman roads as above.

The existence of a church is attested from 1031 because on this date the count of Cornouaille Alain Canhiart donated the Church of Saint-Ronan to the Abbey of St. Croix of Quimperlé following his victory as he would have implored the rescue from Saint Ronan and won against the Duke Alain III of Brittany and known as the “Battle of Ronan” . Later, the Counts of Cornouaille carried a great devotion to Saint Ronan.

The region was Christianized in the 5C  by Saint Ronan, an Irish hermit. The contemporary oral tradition wants Saint Ronan to travel every day in penance to the circuit of the petite Troménie, and every Sunday that of the Grand Tromérie. The city of Locronan forever keeps track of its passage since we now name it Locronan, the locus (space) of Ronan.  In St. Ronan’s Church, the statue represents him with mitre and lacrosse as a roving abbot or bishop. This is a famous town here, only about 800 inhabitants but famous for its Grande Tromédie (second sunday of July) a religious and historical procession of 12 kms.

As early as the 14C, hemp flourished almost everywhere in the Locronan region. From this production is born an industry of windsurfing, the sails of Locronan would have thus equipped the Invincible Spanish Armada and Shakespeare cites it even in “Coriolanus” (act II, Scene I). It was at this time of prosperity, halted a time by the destructions linked to the Wars of the League (Locronan was looted in 1594 by the Spanish troops, then successively by the war captains  of which belongs  most of the architectural treasures of the granite mansions of the Place de l’église  and the surrounding streets and, of course, the Church of St. Ronan and the small Chapel of the Pénity adjoining it and housing the lying of the Saint (15-16C). Since 1914, there were no more hemp sails artisans in Locronan.

The square, endowed in its center of the old town’s  well, long only source of drinking water of the town, takes its full dimension every second Sunday of July during the Troménies, but even more every six years during the Grande Troménie (next in 2019). The square is lined with 14 granite houses that make up a remarkable architectural ensemble, testifying to the richness of the canvas merchants and other notable people who built them in the 17-18C, including the canvas office and the Hotel de la Compagnie des Indies. The current  rue Moal was the old rue des Tisserants(weavers).

Locronan is famous for its troménies: The Grand Troménie, a procession that is held around the limits of an ancient sacral space, which has become a Leigh (Tro Leigh, now  “Troménie “), every six years (next in 2019). Between two Grand Troménies takes place annually la Petite Troménie, the 2nd Sunday of July.

72 soldiers from Locronan died for France, including 48 during  WWI, 17 during WWII, and 7 during the other conflicts of the 20C.

Things to see, the first one is a must!

The Church of St. Ronan, (15C), and its Chapel of the Pénity where is the tomb of Saint Ronan. The Church was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the gifts of the Dukes of Brittany Jean V, Pierre II and François II. It is erected at the site of the Chapel of the Priory depending on the abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé. Its arrow, struck three times, was finally demolished in 1808. The Church is 43 meters long. The width of the building increases in the last spans of the southern collateral. The big Western Tower, which has lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is noticed inside. The Tomb of Saint Ronan is in the Chapel of the Pénity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII appended to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Pénity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only the western one, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of Kersanton, supported by six angels carrying coats of arms; Two angels stand by his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The recumbent of the Saint shoves with his left hand his butt in the mouth of a monster and he blesses with his right hand. It is huge in treasures, from statues of saints, St Barbe,Ste Marguerite, saint Herbot,Saint Maurice,Saint Fiacre,St Therese de Lisieux,Saint Yves, saint Apolline, etc etc, all over, an altar in golden sculpture ,the tomb of St Ronan, the Chair done at Quimper, and a nativity scene just for the season, was great.

locronan

locronan

La Place de l’église with its well In curbstone, destroyed in 1932 by a bus, but rebuilt since . The buildings of the Place de l’église date from the 17C and 18C, with the facades of bluish grey granite. The Hôtel Gauthier 16-17C at Place de l’église city center. The camp des Salles ( halls), referred to as Goarem-ar-Salud an ancienne Carolingian camp.

locronan

The Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle (15-16-18C), dedicated to Saint Eutrope. The stained glass windows were made in 1985 according to drawings by the painter Alfred Manesser. The Chapel also houses numerous stone statues, including those of the Virgin Mother, the Holy Trinity and a descent of the Cross. Nearby, the Calvary and the fountain, offered by a canvas merchant named Conan, date from 1698. This chapel is mentioned in the Testament of Jean Le Moine of 1439. It constitutes the fifth station of the route of the Grande Troménie.

locronan

The Museum of Art and History, created in 1934, presents the great moments of the history of Locronan on the ground floor (1st Fl US) and a hundred paintings and drawings representing the Finistère on the first floor (2 FL US), as well as the earthenwares of Quimper. On the ground floor, you can discover a real weaving workshop (stage of the Route des canvases de Bretagne). A loom of the 18C is presented there as well as many tools necessary for the textile work of hemp and flax. In the 16C, this was what made the wealth of Locronan. In this space, we also discover the secret of making Breton costumes and the exhibition of some traditional costumes. As for the first floor, almost a hundred paintings  are exhibited alongside some costumes of the Porzay. The paintings represent the attachment of some men to this city and thus constitute the testimony of an artistic life in Brittany at the beginning of the 20C. By the men who frequented it but also its history and its architecture, the Museum of Locronan is an exceptional site to discover.

The Mountain of Locronan, (Menez Lokorn), have exceptional views, and the vitality of the legend of St. Ronan, the undeniable historical interest of the secular tradition of the Troménie, and more. It is a hill located on the towns of Locronan, Quéménéven and Plogonnec, with an altitude of 289 meters, offering  panoramic views  on the Bay of Douarnenez, the Cap de la Chévre and the Ménez-Hom. It houses the Chapel Ar Zonj, dedicated to Saint Ronan, and the chair of Saint Ronan, both constituting stages of the Troménie. Its north face is surrounded  by the bois du duc (duke forest)  while its southern slope is laid out in hedgerow.

Some webpages in addition to my previous post to help you plan your trip here and it should be a must especially at Christmas time.

City of Locronan at Christmas market

Tourist office of Locronan

Tourist office of Finistére on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

And there you go , well arm now come and see this beauty you won’t regretted, for sure. And, remember as always, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 28, 2018

Never enough of Vannes!!!

Ok so this weekend was quiet in my front, just cold is setting in we had wind chill of 1C this afternoon and now it is 6C, cold and will continue like this next week. We have November coming with lots of dates including the 100 of World War One or the Great War with lots of celebrations. Me by end of month will be in Asia, more of this then.

The trip was mostly of errands but most were in the capital city of Vannes, in the Morbihan Breton dept 56. I work ,also, not far from city center in the countryside in a castle ruins of 1504 ::) HQ now.

The day Saturday went on as usual with a regular trip to EasyCash so my boys can sell some of their old stuff from books, dvd, cd, video games etc, the cash collected there they turn it into new games at Micromania all in Vannes.

We continue into our wonderful Saturday morning market in old town Vannes mainly done around the place du poids public and place des Lices. We loaded on cheeses of different types, and fruits fresh and dry as well including some mangos from Brazil! And believe for the first time took some photos of what happened after the market close;;;;

vannes

As we had time and parked on the streets of a side road near Le Port harbor marina we did our usual walk around the old town  ,always lovely to do.

vannes

vannes

vannes

While walking we got hungry so we decided to re visit an old favorite. It used to be called Cat Way when came into the area and later change to Le Gambetta. Well nice folks, but the service was slow beyond regular French time, and the food well the pizzas were not well cook on the edges. I did better ordering fish soup and a nems greens salad. All wash down with Heineken and Affligem beers, finishing with the popular cafe gourmand (coffee and small varied cakes); all came out to 25.50€ per person.  The resto brasserie is here on Yelp one of my recomm in my blogroll bottom of my front page. Yelp on Le Gambetta Vannes

vannes

vannes

We did some additional walks and decided to get some good chow at La Trinitaine store in Place des Lices, grabbing traditional Breton fish soup, and tuna terrines for a late night munch.  This is our favorite Breton tradition goodies store here. More info: La Trinitaine Vannes

vannes

The port area is always very nice and lively with good ambiance here so we took additional walks around Le  Port harbor marina.

 

vannes

vannes

 

vannes

Once done , we headed home to do our groceries just past the expressway N165 into our favorite hypermarket of E Leclerc. This is huge and practically you can buy all here, althought we prefered to only get the grocery basics and leave the food for especialized stores that offers the best of France and the world.

vannes

Of course, coming home to our town, we could not past by without the omnipresent baguette bread in our favorite bakery Boulangerie Delumeau at rue de la Gare to get our Breizh breads, done with traditional Breton flours and a two point ends!

pluvigner

And, then we can say we were loaded for the weekend. Unfortunately my team Real Madrid had a lousy game and were beaten badly by the unname but we can’t win them all to continue be the best in history! Tonight there is the Classic football/soccer match with Marseille vs PSG=Paris St Germain from Marseille Velodrome stadium. 21h French time.

And that is all for now , will continue update on the beauties of my Brittany in the comig days. You all have a wonderful Sunday and best of next week. Enjoy the pictures!!!

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

October 28, 2018

The painters at Pont Aven!

I like to take you on a foggy day as I write in my Brittany to a famous place, and a picturesque beautiful place we like a lot. This is in next door neighbor Finistére dept 29 and the city very much along the history of painters in France. For a little town, I think it has more punch than even Paris on an even scale. This is of course, Pont Aven. It is only 66 km from my house or about 41 miles.

Pont-Aven is dubbed “the city of Painters” as many painters including Gauguin have stayed there. And so beautiful a must to visit near me ::) On the N165 expressway!

The town of Pont-Aven is close to the Atlantic coast, bordered on the east by the Aven river. The small town of Pont-Aven is located at the edge of this river, where it widens into an estuary that forms an ria, where the last bridge before the sea is located on this coastal river. They are at the origin of the saying: “Pont-Aven, renowned city, 14 mills, 15 houses” of the Breton Aven which means river, river of Pont-Aven, in Breton Pont-Aën and one of the sources is located near the village of Pen-Aven

pont aven

Pont-Aven, came from the dismemberment of the parish of the primitive armory of Melgven. Pont-Aven, which depended on the bishopric of Cornouaille, was a simple truce of Nizon until the French revolution, part of its territory depending on the parish of Riec-sur-Belon. This town is quoted on the occasion of the revolt of the Bonnet Rouges (Red Caps,against the taxes demanded by the King) which occurred in Brittany in 1675. In 1844, Pont-Aven is described as a “seaside village, picturesquely situated on a sea side, with a port where ships abound from 50 to 70 tons.” In the second half of the 19C Pont-Aven welcomed its first tourists.

From 1830 at least, artists represented Pont-Aven as shown by paintings and lithographs of the time, but facilitated by the opening of the railway line to Quimper in 1863, the true discovery of Pont-Aven by the artistic world date from 1864: In July of that year, a young American painter, Henry Bacon travels diligently between Concarneau and Quimperlé where he travels to take the train and the stagecoach stops at Pont-Aven which he discovers by chance. He is seduced by this village. Anyone would even today!

Henry Bacon, back in Paris, talks to his artist friends, including Robert Wylie, who arrives at Pont-Aven in 1865 (he stayed there until 1876), quickly joined by other young American artists from Philadelphia such as Charles Way, Earl Shinn, Howard Roberts, Benjamin Champney, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Moses Wright, and English painters such as Lewis and Carraway. Jean-Léon Gérôme, who teaches at the Paris School of Fine Arts, encourages his students to go to Pont-Aven in the summer and many young painters follow his advice in the following fifteen years; among them were Frenchmen such as William Bouguereau, Louis-Nicolas Cabat, Léon Germain Pelouse, Sébastien Charles Giraud, Paul Sébillot, Maxime Lalanne, etc., but also foreigners such as the Dutchman Herman van den Anker, the Irish Auguste Nicolas Burke, the Canadian Paul Peel, etc. All these artists are attracted by the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the low cost of living. They stayed at the hotel des Voyageurs, held from 1871 by Julia Guillou, the Hotel du Lion d’Or, at the pension Gloanec, or even at the Manoir de Lezaven.  By the summer of 1866, a dozen artists, most American or English, were present at Pont-Aven, including Henry Mosler, William Lamb Picknell, Thomas Alexander Harrison, Clement Nye Swift, and Frederick Arthur Bridgman.

Around 1880, a second wave of artists frequented Pont-Aven, which became the “new Barbizon”, there are some forty English or American landscapers, or painters from northern Europe such as the Danes Marie Luplau and Emilie Mundt, the Finns Amélie Lundhal and Helene Schjerfbeck, etc. as well as French painters such as Alexandre Dephony, Marius Gourdault from 1879, Gabriel-Charles Deney, etc.

The arrival in this “little cheap hole”(Pont Aven), on the advice of Jobbé-Duval, during the summer 1886 of Paul Gauguin, who resided at the pension Gloanec, then of Émile Bernard . Émile Bernard then painted “Bretons in the Green Meadow”, a painting that lays the groundwork for the synthetism that Gauguin explores in his turn the same year in the vision after the Sermon (Jacob’s struggle with the Angel). The name “Synthetism” was later given by Armand Jobbé-Duval who became leader of this artistic current which was to be called later the school of Pont-Aven, in which a whole colony of artists-painters such as Paul Sérusier (to whom Paul Gauguin gives in September 1888 the famous lesson of painting known as the Wood of love which is also the origin of the group of Nabis), Charles Filiger (who resides in Pouldu), Émile Schuffenecker, Meyer de Haan, Charles Laval, Rodel O’Conor, Robert Bevan, Armand Seguin, Wladyslaw Ślewiński, Jan Verkade, Mogens Ballin, Henri Delavallée, Ernest Ponthier de Chamaillard, Émile Jourdan, Gustave Love, Maxime Maufra, Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, Flavien-Louis Parkes, etc.  After a stay in Arles, Paul Gauguin returned in April 1889 to Pont-Aven staying at the Manoir de Lezaven where he painted notably “The Yellow Christ, the Green Christ” and “the Beautiful Angèl”, before going to stay from the summer of 1889 at the Auberge de Marie Henry at Pouldu where he  was joined by Paul Sérusier, Meyer de Haan, and then in 1890 by Wladyslaw Ślewiński, Henry Moret, Maxime Maufra and Émile Dezaunay.  After a stay in Tahiti between April 1891 and August 1892, Paul Gauguin returned to France and returned to Pont-Aven in April 1894, staying again at the pension Gloanec, accompanied by his companion Annah the Javanese, alongside Alfred Jarry, but he left definitively France in July 1895 for the Marquesas Islands.

A third wave of artists frequent Pont-Aven in the Belle Epoque and the Inter-war: Among them, Adolphe Beaufrére, Jean Émile Labourer, Henri Hayden, Nicolas Tarkhoff, Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Charles Wislin, Ernest Correlleau, Maurice Asselin, Fernand Danner, Maurice-Marie-Léonce Savin, Léon Germain Pelouse, Geoffrey Nelson, Andre Even, Mary Piriou, etc. Several of them (Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Ernest Corelleau, Maurice Asselin, Pierre Vaillant, Fernand Danner) worked in the same workshop at the Manoir de Lezaven. Foreign painters as well as the Australian Mortimer Menpes stayed a while at Pont-Aven at that time.

And some history on the lodgings of Pont Aven:

Julia Guillou  nicknamed “Mademoiselle Julia ” buys in 1873 the Hotel des Voyageurs, located on the Grand Place, which belonged to the Feutray family, and where she had been working since 1870 as a hotel mistress. Since 1865, this hotel welcomed American artists such as Clément Swift. Renamed Hotel Julia, many painters stayed there later as Robert Wylie, Thomas Alexander Harrison, etc. Its success is such that in 1881 Julia was able to build an annex, the Villa Julia (which now houses the Museum of Fine Arts of Pont-Aven). The less fortunate artists settled at the Pension Gloanec, located near the bridge over the Aven river  and built in the 1860’s and frequented by painters who lead a free life of artists without worrying about conventions. The Hotel du Lion d’Or, which belonged to the Linthillac family, was also frequented; It was replaced in 1892 by the hotel Gloanec built by Marie-Jeanne Gloanec nicknamed “La Mère Gloanec”(mother Gloanec) in the same location. La Mére Gloanec  welcomes Gauguin again. In 1904 Mademoiselle Julia  opened in Port Manec’h an establishment with breathtaking sea views on the mouths of the Aven and Belon rivers. The third celebrity was Angélique Marie Satre nicknamed “La Belle Angèle ” which was immortalized in her Inn by Paul Gauguin in 1889. The portrait currently sits at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris marked in capital letters on the canvas  “La BELLE ANGÈLE “.

The Monument to the Fallen of Pont-Aven, built in 1921 bears the names of 101 soldiers killed for France during  WWI.

In 1920, Julia Corelleau, née Louédec, opened the Hotel de la Poste and hosted numerous painters during the Inter-war period  like Paul Sérusier, Maurice de Vlaminck, Émile Bernard, Maurice Asselin, Pierre-Eugène Clairin, Pierre Vaillant, etc. and writers such as Pierre Mac Orlan, André Salmon, Roland Dorgelès, Paul Fort, Xavier Grall, Georges Perros, Max Jacob, etc.. Her husband Ernest Corelleau  was also a painter who acquired a certain notoriety.

The Monument to the Fallen of Pont-Aven bears the names of 29 people who died for France during WWII. Daniel Lomenech, a Breton native of Pont-Aven, engaged in the Free French naval Forces. He made about 30 trips with the boat N 51 on behalf of the English Secret Service, collaborating notably with Commander David Birkin, the father of Jane Birkin.

Nowadays, the town of Pont Aven is mostly tourism. In summer, when the tourist season is in full swing, many shopping malls open their doors. The painters exhibited their works there.

Things to see

Le Musée des beaux-arts  or Pont-Aven Museum of Fine Arts ( a very must to see) has been open since 1985. He has led a major acquisitions campaign from the outset and currently has a fund of 4 500 pieces, ranging from Pont-Aven School to contemporary art. It has been renovated to occupy  2 000 m2, spread over 7 floors. If anything here is the painters and this museum is a must;and the walk around the town, just magical with so much history and picturesque architecture all around you, magical. The museum official site is here: Fine Arts Museum of Pont Aven

pont aven

pont aven

The Church of St. Joseph was rebuilt in the late 19C in a neo-Gothic style. In the city center you can admire some old houses at rue des Meuniéres or place Delavallée. The oldest dates from the 15C. The Moulin du Grand Poulguin (transformed into a restaurant), the Moulin de Rosmadec (renowned gourmet restaurant), the Moulin David (painted by Gauguin) are all very nice to see and eat in ! Let’s add the flour mill le Dérout, still operating and testifying of the past Millers of the city. On the hillsides, above the harbor, you can admire villas dating from the late 19C and early 20C.At the right bank, on the hillside of Keremperchec, mention the farm of the same name, a beautiful set of 18C cottages recently restored (presence of a monumental well dated 1788), inaccessible to the public. Left bank, on the hillside of Saint-Guénolé, you can admire the two villas of the singer Theodore Botrel, built successively (Castel-Brizeux and Kerbotrel). The Manoir de Lezaven, privately owned, has long been popular with artists, some have been housed there. It belonged to Étienne Manac’h, Ambassador of France in China from 1969 to 1975.

pont aven

pont aven

And for a nice souvenir biscuits and gift giving typical of this town go to the Traou Mad here: Traou Mad biscuits of Pont Aven

pont aven

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my previous posts are

City of Pont Aven on painters

City of Pont Aven on the fine arts museum

Tourist office of Finistére on Pont Aven

Tourist office of Brittany on Pont Aven

Again a nice little town of Pont Aven very picturesques and architecturally nice with lots of good food and great walks along the Aven river. We love it!

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

October 27, 2018

Unbelievable Pleyben!

And continuing with my showcase of my region, I come to something espectacular and historical religious etc you name it. Actually, I came here for the chocolates florentines but end up been amazed by the parish enclosure. This is Pleyben, Finistére dept 29 of Brittany. This is their story as told by me!

Pleyben is between Mont d’Arrée and montagne Noir , Pleyben is limited to the north by the Douffine river which separates it from Lopérec river and to the south by the Aulne river on meanders that separates Pleyben from Gouézec and Lothey. The town  is part of the regional Natural Park of Armorique.. Pleyben was one of the primitive parishes of the ancient armory in the 6C and first known as Plebs Yben ( “Bourg of Yben”),  which would be a more or less a mythical saint Breton known under the names of Saint Yben or Saint Ethbin, the name being sometimes transcribed in the High Middle Ages under the variants Pleizben or Pleiben . Its Breton name is Pleiben

Pleyben is at the crossroads of the road N 164, fitted out in the expressway, which is the axis of the central Brittany Rennes-Châteaulin via Loudéac and Carhaix and the road, Morlaix-Quimper. The town is located 27 km northeast of Quimper. The best way for me is by car, taken the free expressway N165, get off on exit Chateaulin/Pleyben after the first roundabout take direction Pleyben on the N164 straight into ave Charles de Gaulle in city center Pleyben, you come upon the Calvaire

This ancient stronghold was inhabited as early as the 11C, certainly, the 9C perhaps, by the powerful feudal family of the Trésiguidy, probably of French origin, the name  Tréséguidy can probably be translated as The House of Sigwin, Sigwin in German meaning  victorious.  At the beginning of the 18C the village of Pleyben was considerable and was inhabited by bourgeois and by a large quantity of craftsmen of all professions and trades. In 1771, archives prove that the Marquis de La Fayette possessed  lands of the Lun and Kerguillé in Pleyben

The construction, begun in 1806 and completed in 1833, then the commissioning of the Nantes-Brest Canal led to a significant economic boom, facilitating, for example, the export of slates by barges. The slates, brought by the canal to Port-Launay, were exported not only to Brittany, but to all the coasts of the Manche  and to Dunkirk. On  August 8, 1896, the President of the Republic Félix Faure coming from Carhaix where he had arrived by train, takes a car escorted by the cavalcade of the blue jacket guards made of naive embroidery and made a short stop of 20 minutes at Pleyben before continuing to Châteaulin where he takes the train in the direction of Quimper as part of a trip to Brittany. This was the only visit of a French head of state in the history of Pleyben.

The monument to the Fallen of Pleyben bears the names of 318 inhabitants of the town who died for France during the wars of the 20C: 290 during  WWI, 21 during WWII, 5 during the War of Indochina and 2 during the war of Algeria.

pleyben

The Maquis de Penarpont (Pen-AR-Pont)-Beuzit-Keralliou set up operations between 12 October 1943 and 25 October 1944, an FTP hiding  was set up between the locks of  Guillec and Penarpont (the Penarpont lock is located on the Aulne, on the edge of the towns of Pleyben and Lothey).   In retaliation, on 6 August 1944, 15 people were shot in the village of Quimerc’h by the Nazis. A memorial is located at the Penarpont lock.

Things to see and marvel!

The typical religious ensemble is made up of four elements, all associated. The cementary, the church, the calvary,and the ossuary . These are surrounded by a wall in stones with a portal or opening of great dimensions. The construction here dates from the 16C to 17C ,and it was completed in the year 1690 by joining the sacristy to a monumental gate called the gate of the dead or  ” porte de la mort “.  The wall around it the complex signify the separation of the living world from the dead, and serve to stop strays animals  to entered the sacred grounds.

The parish enclosure of Pleyben brings together the Church of Saint-Germain, the monumental Calvary, the Ossuary and the Arc de Triomphe . This is one of the Seven wonders of Brittany, and you should see them all, this one is special been to it several times. Magical place! And I only give the basics, these is huge!

Pleyben

The Church of Saint-Germain, whose construction began in 1530, was consecrated in 1583 “to honner of God, Notre-Dame, Saint Germain and St. Catherine” as an inscription says. However, a building prior to the 16C is attested by the archives. The transepts date from 1564 if one relies on a inscription in Gothic letters located at the ´ entrance of the south arm near the door of the sacristy (1719). The windows as well as the South Gate date from 1583 as appears to prove an inscription and a date on the wall of the south aisle. The construction of the porch tower began in 1588, with the date on top of the door key. Interrupted during the wars of the League, the work resumed only  in 1633 to finish in 1642. The Saint-Germain Church is of late Gothic Breton style. The Church has two steeples: the large steeple above the south porch is a Renaissance tower topped by a lantern dome, and another in Cornish style. The bedside is of Beaumanoir style. The main stained glass, dating from the end of the 16C, represents the Passion of Christ. In the interior, the nave is a lambric vault of the 16C with sculpture walls of mythological or sacre personages so about 62 persons and  et 116 keys. It house a Grand Organ from 1688.

Pleyben

The Cross of Salt (Croas an holen) is located almost in the middle of the placître.

The monumental Calvary placed in front of the Church is the most massive of all Brittany. Its Kersanton stone construction took place in three campaigns. It started with the Church in 1555. In 1650, three additional scenes were ordered ;the Calvary was then moved in 1738 from about 30 meters to the south, to facilitate the´ access to the Church. It used to be attached to the porch. The base of Calvary is built in the form of Tetra pylon buttressed at angles. Indeed, it consists of four large piles supporting an inner vault, under which one penetrates by four arches in full hanger. It is of granite stone. It shows on its four sides high reliefs on two levels: a frieze and 28 sculpted groups overcoming the Calvary the whole relate  the Passion of Christ. The reading begins at the southwest corner by the lower frieze in the opposite direction of the of a watch. It continues on the second level by the southeast corner, then the ´ angle, the north side, the crosses (south side), the south side, the east side and finally the west side of the Calvary.

pleyben

The Ossuary, dating from the 16C (c. 1560), is of flamboyant Gothic architecture. It is one of the oldest in Brittany. The façade is adorned with twin berries surmounted by curly and flower-hugging braces that rest on honeycomb balusters. The bones of the departed were piled up to make room in the cemetery. Dubbed  ,the Chapel of the Departed, it was dedicated to St. Jude and S,aint Simon. Restored in 1733, date inscribed on the building, it was used from 1736, as the Chapel of the Departed or mortuary, then,at a time, a school, this was the case for example in 1838 and even of post office in 1850. It now serves as a museum and houses, among others, a statue of the breastfeeding virgin dating from the third quarter of the 16C which was found in 1988 during works near the church. She represents a crowned virgin, in the nude, bearing the child Jesus; It is not excluded that it was buried because of its perceived too realistic aspect at the time.

pleyben

Finally, the sacristy seen from outside or inside is one of the most beautiful of the ensemble ,and can go back to its construction in the period  1680-1690. It has a quadripode configuration, and the central dome and chapters ionics ressort a real showcase of the new French renaissance  in the parochial ensemble of buildings.

The Arc de Triomphe or “Triumphal gate” (in Breton Porz ar Maro) is a monumental gate dated 1725 and nicknamed “Gate of Death” because it supplement  by the wall of the enclosure surrounding the cemetery, it separated the world from the dead from the world of the living. The monumental arch is in full hanger with a niche on each of its faces. On the east side, one can admire a virgin of pity or a framed Pietà of two angels, and on the west side, a Holy Trinity whose Holy Spirit has vanished. The bow is surmounted by  a cross that presents on its east face, a Christ on the Cross, and on its western face, a Virgin of Pity.

pleyben

Other things to see that I like here are

The new chapel or Chapel of the Congregation: founded by the lords of the  Boissière, probably by the end of the 17C by the confrérie de la Congrégation , its first mention goes back to the year 1700, but the present chapel dates from 1889; It is located in the parvis parking area just to the right of the Parish enclosure. It was recently enriched with a remarkable fresco called “from the Apocalypse”. It is ,also, known as the Chapelle Neuve  or new chapel as its recontruction was done in 1889, and its last one was done again in 1994. It is a place today for meetings, gatherings and communions of the catechism Catholic.

The Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Lannélec, former Chapel of the Truce of Trefnescop, dates from the 15C (an inscription bears the date of 1490). In the form of Tau, its nave has four bays and aisles and two chapels complete it. The carved panels of the altarpiece of the altar represent the Annunciation, the Sleep (Death of the Virgin) and the Assumption. The chapel houses statues of the breastfeeding Virgin Mother, Saint Barbara, Saint Corentin, Saint Germain, Saint Andrew, Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Sorrows, etc. The sacristy dates from 1741 and the spire of the bell tower from 1883

The Chapel of the Trinity  from the 17C is in the form of a Latin cross, originally built in the 16C for the Lords of Pennault , but restored in 1675 and 1726, it has a unique vessel illuminated to the south by a door in full hanger, as well as through a window. It has several statues including one of Saint Michael, one of St. Catherine of Alexandria, one of Saint Charles Borromeo, one of St. Anne reading a scroll of the Holy Scriptures, and a statuary group in kersantite stone representing the Holy Trinity. In his placître remains only the cask of its Calvary, with at its foot a Pietà

The Chapel of the Madeleine late 16C already mentioned in 1500 and then dependent on the seigneury of Quillien (also called Treffléau), the Chapel, in the form of a Latin cross, has known since several restorations, in particular in 1731 and 1858. Her ordeal dates back to the end of the 19C. Its soil is covered with very large schist slabs. A fountain is embedded in its facade. It has a statue, as well as a stained glass window, representing Saint Mary Magdalene. The Arms of the lords of Quillien are represented on a window, as well as their motto in Breton: Tevel ha gober (Shut Up and act).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to my previous blog posts are

City of Pleyben on heritage

Tourist office of Finistére on the parish enclosure Pleyben

Tourist office of Brittany on Pleyben

oops I forgot to include a site mentioning the principal Calvaries of Brittany, this page is on Pleyben: The 7 Calvaries of Brittany on Pleyben

Now go and see this, it is worth the ride even walking to it. This is Pleyben, enclosed parish, heaven on earth.

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

ps just notice, this is my 1700 post!!! wow!! I can’t believe! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 26, 2018

Way up north to Roscoff!

Cruising right along in my lovely Brittany and the day now turning sunny and cool just fine for Autumn. Temps chez moi are 54F! ok so let me bring you further north , to the northern coast of Finistére , and the city of Roscoff.

This was a curiosity trip as heard so much of my English friends coming by there that I decided to take the trek up north to see. Of course, another delightful trip in my lovely Brittany. I am about 164 km from home cutting inland D769 Morlaix and then D58 to Roscoff.

It will be a bit long mainly because I love the history of it and all, why visit if not dwell into the history of the place. And of course fully describe.

Roscoff  is in dept 29 of Finistère and in the region of Brittany. It was a former haven of Corsairs and then smugglers, from where the johnnies sell their pink onions. It is a small seaside town that has preserved its architectural heritage from the 16-17C. Its deep-water port, served by Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, which has its headquarters, provides ferry connections with the British Isles and Spain. The Breton name of the town is Rosko and Roscoff comes from the Breton Ros meaning promontory, and from Goff which means blacksmith the name of Roscoff could therefore be translated into French by the Hill of the blacksmith.

Its foreshore, swept by tides with a tidal of up to 10.40 meters, houses a biological diversity specific to two ecosystems of border algae whose study, in 1872, is the origin of the first legislation  pole of research and teaching in Marine biology, the biological Station of Roscoff. Wanted for its iodized spray and the softness of a climate maintained by a sea current that varies only between 8 °c and 18 °c, Roscoff is also a stay of aftercare which saw the birth of the concept of Thalassotherapy Center in 1899, the Institut Rochcroum, and proposes , in addition to a private care and rehabilitation facility, the Kerléna Clinic, a reference Héliomarin hospital founded in 1900, the Center of Perharidy.

Roscoff occupies the point of the promontory which closes to the west the Bay of Morlaix has 14 kilometers of coastline with several beaches of very fine white sand. Access by land is made from Saint-Pol by a single road, the D58  or Santec, to the south West, by a small coastal road. Roscoff is 98 nautical miles, 182 km from Plymouth, 210 km from Rennes and 562 from Paris. It takes 6 hours by ferry, about 15 hours sailing (but 2 days in opposite winds), to reach Plymouth. The airport of Morlaix is about 30 km. The SNCF railway station of Roscoff, terminus of the line of Morlaix in Roscoff, via Saint-Pol-de-Léon, is served by trains TER Bretagne which allow a correspondence with the TGV in Morlaix. Sea shuttles between Roscoff and the Isle of Batz; Ferries to and from Plymouth and Cork from the port of Bloscon; The air link is via the Brest-Guipavas airport. The Vieux port (old Port) is a port of stranding and a pier for tourism to the island of Batz. At the beginning of the 20C it replaced the old Port of the 16C, which is itself today only a simple Promenade quay. The port of Bloscon is a deep water port passenger traffic by ferries to Great Britain (Plymouth) and Ireland (Cork). The fishing port  has 300 places of which 280 on calm water and 20 berths. The new marina of Roscoff, in deep water, offers 625 berths for all types of boats including 50 sites reserved for visitors.  In front of Roscoff, beyond a double channel, the Great Kan and the Little Kan separated by the rock of Perroc’h, and animated by strong currents, is located the island-of-Batz distance of 550 meters. Roscoff is served by road by the D 58 which is 4 lanes  of Morlaix (where this road joins the N12) to Saint-Pol-de-Léon and the D 788 from Brest via Lesneven.

Roscoff

Roscoff is included in the Special Protection Zone Natura 2000 of the Bay of Morlaix and borders the natural area of ecological, fauna and floristic interest of the Penzé estuary. The exceptional biological diversity of Roscoff, consisting of more than three thousand animal species, is linked to its maritime interface and its geographical singularities (tide, climate, marine currents, cloudiness, geodesy, etc.) that overlap Two algae ecosystems, one Nordic and one Mediterranean.

A bit of history I like

The gradual siltation in the Middle Ages of the port of Pempoul, at the foot of the capital of the bishopric-county, obliges the ships to land on the other side of the peninsula, at the place known as Roscoff located on the eastern beach of Laber, called today Rosko Goz (old Roscoff in Breton). The current Pointe du Vil is a cul-de-sac where the route of Saint-Pol-de-Léon is called at the 17C rue  Ker da Laez, now rue Albert de Mun.  This road comes to what will become the Rue du Cap, current rue Édouard-Corbières, along the coast towards Perharidy, ex-cap Ederi or Pointe Ederi , which is called pen ederi or pen ar ederi. The location of the bifurcation is then occupied by an inn, at the site of the current Hotel de France today lodging of the biological Station of Roscoff. The place Croaz Vaz, (the island of Batz, cross) which will give its name to the fort built by Vauban three and a half centuries later. As attested by a charter of 1323.

During the war of the Succession of Brittany in 1363, fourteen years after the start of the Black Plague, the fort of Bloscon, to the northeast of the present old port, taken by the English, is taken over by Guesclin. From 1374 to 1387, the port of Rosco himself was burned several times by the governor of Brest, Richard Fitzalan, whom Richard II chose to support the Montfortian party.  In 1455, the Duke Pierre de Montfort, endorsing a state of facts generated by this hundred-year naval war, orders that the nobles  of a new  Breton law giving rise to a shipowners ‘ capitalism that led to the economic development of Saint-Malo and Morlaix and the latter’s port, Roscoff.

In 1500, the new Roscoff was built  700 meters further north of Roscoff Goz where some wells were used to discharge freshwater vessels. In 1595, the Duke of Mercœur, claiming Baillistre militarily allied with the Spaniards against the king for five years, reinstated by letters patent the trade with Bilbao and Seville, the main outlets. Roscoff also served as a refuge for several English Catholic families fleeing the persecutions begun during the reign of Elizabeth. Roscoff was also from the 16C, with Morlaix and Paimpol, one of the first ports to be armed with cod fishing on the banks of Newfoundland and then on the coast of Iceland. Salted cod was sold in France and especially in Spain; as Brittany was not subject to the taxes, the fishermen of Picardy and Normandy came to Roscoff to supply salt with good account.

Roscoff

The fall of Nicolas Fouquet (by king Louis XIV) marks the beginning of the economic and political destruction of the province under the absolutist reign of the Duke of Chaulnes. Louis XIV’s policy and the protectionist measures of Charles II closed the English and Hanseatic markets. Roscoff became the first port of smuggling with the British Isles for almost three centuries. In 1694, Vauban signed the plans of the transformation executed by the Renaudière, from the fort of Bloscon into a large battery of 13  cannons closed by a drawbridge. The Bloscon fort becomes the seat of the captaincy of Saint-Pol-de-Léon which extends from Ploujean to Cleder and whose centerpiece is the Chateau de Taureau.

In 1790, Roscoff was unilaterally incorporated into the autonomous municipality of Saint-Pol-de-Léon. Under the French revolutionary government, from September 1792 to May 1793, then during the first half of 1794, Roscoff became a deportation center. The Directoire closes all the places of worship again and returns the two remaining priests of the parish to hiding.

The liberal phase of the Second Empire then, with much more magnitude, the Third Republic sees Roscoff, whose budget of the years 1870 has more than doubled in forty years, equipping itself with new infrastructure and entering modernity in stages. At the beginning of the 20C, the port of Roscoff experienced significant traffic thanks, in particular, to the Transchannel links. Many of the coasters and long hauls regularly stop there. The flotilla was composed mostly of specialized fishing nets and ropes (or bottom lines).

The monument to the Fallen of Roscoff bears the names of 159 sailors and soldiers who died for France during WWI. The monument to the Fallen of Roscoff bears the names of 41 people who died for France during WWII. On 18 April 1943, the Nazis decided to destroy some parts of the Fort du Bloscon, built by Vauban, to build seven blockhouses, fourteen firing bunkers and a few other concrete works, all welcoming a battery of sixty men. In early January 1944, it was through this element of the Atlantic Wall that Erwin Rommel began his inspection tour to Plérin.

In August 1969, the pedestrian jetty, allowing the embarkation for Batz island at low tide, was inaugurated after two years of work. The tourist shuttle fleets are developing. In 1972, the first car-ferry connection with England took place, at the deep water port of Bloscon, whose work had begun two years earlier.

roscoff

roscoff

Things to see

Le Pardon (forgiveness/repent). The third Monday in July, after the ten-hour mass, takes place the Pardoun Sant Barba (forgiveness of Santa Barbara). The procession, along the itinerary inside the city, lasts from fourteen hours to vêpres. The disguise is that of the high Leon, for women, as for men, black, that an embroidered shawl sometimes comes to brighten. Women’s headdress is the Chikolodenn. The oldest of the four hymns of forgiveness is Sant Barba e Rosko. The house of Johnnies allows tourists to take an interest in the history of these onion merchants who crossed the channel to sell their products from the mid-19C.

Dolmen of Kerfissiec. Lech de Reuniou says Croaz Covec (Croix Riffleshell), near Keravel (south west of the town). It is a narrow stele, a sort of miniature menhir carved to serve in the manner of a cippe, similar to many others in the Leon, dating from the Iron Age, or at the earliest the 7C B.C., reused to make the base of a much more recent Calvary. Nearby, three hundred meters from the place-dit Leslec’h  stood a triple walkway covered dynamited in 1942 in favor of the Nazis by the owner of the field which was encumbered.  Calvary of Roscogoz, in granite and Kersanton, dates from the end of the 14C or the beginning of the 15C.

Church of Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz. The square is enclosed by a wall in which is incised a ossuary of the early 17C and a funeral chapel. Altarpiece of Alabaster exposed in a chapel specially arranged in 1634 in the south transept of Notre Dame. Of the 15, these are 7 high reliefs brought back from Nottingham that represent the Passion.

Roscoff

Hotel Le Skinny, 22 rue de Amiral-Réveillère, complemented by two wings in the 17C. The staircase turret at the back seems to have remained of the 16C. The strong house (fort like), built in the 16C by the Christian Corsair the Pappe  attacked in 1592 by Anne de Sanzay de la Magnane, Captain interested in the Holy Union of Morlaix.

The manor of Kerestat, next to the chapel of Bonne-Nouvelle, erected by the Kergouvelen family, continue in 1630 of a shipowner, James of Portenoire, then of the military governor of Brittany, the Earl of Marbeuf.  The house called “of Mary Stuart” where Monseigneur de Chavigné, Bishop-Count of Leon, would have welcomed the future queen of France on her landing.

The Château de Laber built in 1890 on a plot of 50 hectares. The owner widowed in 1901, died in 1902, madly in pain as a result of the drowning of her adopted son in the dike lock in 1900, leaving the castle to public Assistance, which granted  it for 99 yrs to the Center Helio-Marin in 1920.

The lighthouse, 24 meters high, was built in 1934 to replace a red lantern that dated from 1884 and was located at the end of the mole. Its two-meters diameter lantern illuminates by occultation twelve seconds on two areas of a white fire up to 15 nautical miles thanks to a fixed optic by Henry-Lepaute . The exotic and botanical Garden of Roscoff, 3 500 exotic species ranked by continent on 16 000 m2 landscaped on the Bay of Morlaix

Some webpages as usual to help you plan your trip to Roscoff and it must, rather nice if you are into architecture, history ,and the sea like me.

City of Roscoff on heritage

Tourist office of Roscoff

Tourist office of Finistére on Roscoff

Tourist office of Brittany on Roscoff

And there you go, all set and just need the go. Nice place in my Brittany, the 3rd most visited region of the most visited country in the world, France!

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

October 26, 2018

More wine news from France!

And once again I gather some efforts to write about one of my favorite hobbies yet seldom write on it. This is wines of course, if you read my blog you know about my qualifications and experiences so rather than repeat let me tell you the latest wine news from France! Simply the best ::) End of discussion!

Well is the 2018 harvest coming along? From my ins to the wine growing region near me in the Loire the 2018 should be very good and now from the experts of my fav Bordeaux it is confirmed. Bordeaux had another great vintage in 2018 – at least, those who managed to ward off the mildew did.

Jean-Basile Roland of Château Rauzan-Ségla says, “it was impossible to run from plot to plot because of the configuration of our plots. But we reduced the impact. It could have been worse. We did a drastic crop reduction in August, and we have lower volume, but we’re very, very happy with the quality and with our selection in the vineyard.

In Pessac-Léognan,Château Malartic-Lagraviére, not organic but with some organic and biodynamic plots, had little damage. “They’re small plots, two and four hectares,” says Jean-Jacques Bonnie.

At Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste in Pauillac, Emmeline Borie says “we had no mildew. Somebody came looking for it, and found just one berry in the vineyard with mildew.”

Philippe Casteja of the Domaines of Borie-Manoux says that for some people, “le pont” caused problems. The pont is the bridge to “le weekend”, taking it easy on Fridays, in other words. “There would be three days dry, then three days rain. If you were not very careful and on the spot, you had problems. It’s a matter of the politics in each estate.”

But the good news is that the wines in the vats are looking good.  Sauternes is still being picked, and the botrytis is spreading nicely. There was some evaporation of water from the grapes before the botrytis set in, reports Fabrice Dubordieu of Château Doisy-Daëne, and hail hit parts of Sauternes but not Barsac; he’s expecting a good year.

At Domaine de Chevalier, M. Bernard likes the look of his Cabernet Sauvignon, “It was the driest September for the last 60 years”, he says. “To say so early that this will be one of the best vintages in Bordeaux; but we are sure. Sometimes we have some doubt, but this year we are quite sure.” Generally the quantity is good, too, he says, in spite of the worst that mildew and hail could do.

at Château Rauzan-Ségla, M Roland says “the Merlot is splendid, and the Petit Verdot amazing; the first Cabernet Sauvignon from the vats is quite impressive.” M Borie of Château Grand Puy Lacoste adds that “the quality of ’18 is crazy”.

And you know who these names are don’t you!

A surprise, do not like it but it is doing great marketing and coming up very nicely here in France, especially those that shop in supermarket for wine, which I don’t.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte: Today, the Union of Cooperatives located in Chouilly (Marne) Associates 4 500 winegrowers for a surface of 2 100 hectares and 10.4 million of bottles produced. Which puts the mark, in terms of volume, just behind Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

Today, 40% of our volumes are destined for the international market. They would like to achieve parity with the French market, i.e. 6 million bottles sold in France and 6 million elsewhere, and that’s within five years.  They have great margins of progress in the United States, where they are imported and distributed by the group Ste Michelle. They benefit from its network. In addition, they have signed a three-year partnership with the Canadian company Cirque du Soleil last May. We are now their official supplier in the US and Canada.

They are already the preferred brand of the French, as confirmed by several studies carried out by the Nielsen group.

And the complexities of Burgundy continues.

Nothing so surprising about these Cistercian lands overlooking the three villages of Aloxe-Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand-Vergelesses, in Côte-d’Or. The 66 hectares planted with ash trees, beech, oak and chestnut trees culminate at 388 meters and style one of the most famous wine-growing hills in the world, whose flanks include 167 hectares of vineyards classified as Grands Crus, from which are derived Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Corton and Corton-Charlemagne appellations.

Among the many owners, the Maison Louis Latour alone has about twenty hectares, a continent on the scale of Burgundy. Aubert de Villaine, also co-owner of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Vosne-Romanée, has invested heavily in recent years, with three parcels and a closing contract, for a total of about 6 hectares. The Burgundian family Méo-Camuzet is also present today in Corton, like the Freys who bought the château of Corton-Andre, renamed Corton C, Patrick Landanger of the Domaine Pousse d’Or and others. Thus, 20% of the Corton-Charlemagne appellation has changed hands over the last twenty years.

The Hill’s wine rating is at its highest, and the price of the land rises to heaven. In a generation, the value of the land has quintupled, however, compared to the Côte de Nuits, almost untouchable, the hill of Corton proves to be an excellent quality-price ratio for investors. This situation makes the premises very sensitive to new transactions that are emerging.

Like the climate, the territory becomes a quasi-philosophical concept when the Burgundians take ownership of it. Burgundy is a very fragmented region. Subjects of biodiversity cannot be apprehended in any other way than collectively. The environment needs to be managed in common. That is how they have been able to fight land erosion. This is also how they distributed to everyone honey plants and reimplanted hives

In other words, some accuse the Latour and Villaine of wanting to freeze the hill of Corton for the benefit of the historic owners who “play the Rent”. Burgundy cannot be frozen because it is an economic entity that lives, makes wine and sells it. The idea is not to freeze, but to evolve within the framework of a tradition. Of course, they are not going to evolve from a geographical point of view because they are stuck between the Morvan and the Saône plain. But they are progressing in the know-how, in technological knowledge, in Biodynamics.   ”

The hill of Corton in figures: 1 000 hectares of which 550 ha of Vine and 167 ha of Grands Crus in the name of Corton and Corton-Charlemagne.   3 communes Aloxe-Corton, Pernand-Vergelesses and Ladoix-Serrigny share the hill. 2015 year of the inscription of Corton Hill on the Unesco heritage list.

Well not really wine news but indirectly it is, the tourist business in France. Record revenues on tourism for France 2018 it will  be more than the record in 2014 of 54B euros. According to the Bank of France (Banque de France). For the 12 months running ending Aug 2018 France had already 56,8B euros. All the main 6 country visitors had an increase in revenues with the British on top with 1,9B and then the Belgians Japan is in 10th place just behind China. The USA is in 4th place without telling the amount. On the contrary, French vacationing outside total 39,5B euros as a whole worldwide.

Among the great villages of the Côte de Nuits, Morey-Saint-Denis is undoubtedly the most unknown or even the most misunderstood of the wine aficionados. The story explains much of this disaffection: until the 1960’s, the wines of Morey-Saint-Denis were bought by the traders of Côte de Nuit and Beaune to assemble them with wines of Chambolle-Musigny or Gevrey-Chambertin, better known and easier to market.

Another significant element, the absence in the village of Morey-Saint-Denis of large historical family property, pioneer of bottling at the Morey-Saint-Denis estates has taken on its neighbors a delay of notoriety that the town still behind .

All of these considerations deserve to be reviewed. Modest in area with 133.53 hectares of vines, the name of Morey-Saint-Denis is not lacking in advantages thanks to five Grands crus: Clos de Tart, Clos de la Roche, (which has added its names to that of the town), Clos des Lambrays, and Bonnes-Mares, mainly located on Chambolle-Musigny, but a small part of it is included in Morey-Saint-Denis. These five Grands Crus pass through the town, from the south to the north, glorious succession of exceptional terroirs in the middle of the hill.Therefore, try them more and you will be delighted.

The French vineyards  will produce even more than expected, confirming  2018 as a good vintage, with a production up 27% compared to the catastrophic harvest of 2017, according to figures revised by the Ministry of Agriculture. With an estimate of 46.7 million hectolitres (against an estimate of 46.1 million at the end of August), the services of Agreste, the department’s statistical body, even consider that production 2018 should be 6% higher than the five year average ,as told to the Press by the specialist wine Council of FranceAgriMer. The Department’s Services have revised the estimates upwards from the sunshine and have also better estimated the losses related to downy mildew and drought, there have been strong attacks of downy mildew, with very heterogeneous consequences.

If vineyards such as Champagne or Burgundy-Beaujolais seem to be able to count on remarkable yields (respectively + 39% and + 20% compared to the average of previous years), the basins of Languedoc-Roussillon (-2%), Southeast (-11%) and Corsica (-5%) have, as announced in the first estimates, all experienced a setback compared to the average of the last five years.

In Bordeaux, although some areas have been severely affected by hail and downy mildew, harvesters have regained normal production levels, an increase of 9% from the average including the nightmarish harvest of 2017. On the stock side and in particular the VCI (individual complementary volumes), intended to help producers in the bad years, customs have unsurprisingly unveiled figures in sharp decline,  a fairly logical evolution compared to the disappointing harvest of 2017 , the most modest of the post-war. In the aggregate, stocks destined for trade and production, at 47.8 million hectolitres, fall by 11%. The VCI’s fell by almost 70%, but will skyrocket in some vineyards after this year’s beautiful harvest. They were able to support French exports, which remained in volume (+ 1.6% to 14,680,000 hectolitres) from August 2017 to July 2018 and even experienced a sustained increase in value to + 6.3%, reaching record turnover over the period of 9.35 billion euros!

The  bio-driving of Château Lafon-Rochet has stopped. They made the decision in February of this year according to Basile Tesseron, head of the property at Saint-Estèphe since 2007, operates a turn at 180 degrees for the 41 hectares of the family estate. The bio is not sustainable in Bordeaux today according to him. Copper treatments leave residues in soils that do not disappear, the multiplication of passages leads to over-consumption of fuel for machine gears that wear out much faster, which generates a grey energy, explains him. We must take into account the globality of the elements and find other solutions, such as accept the mushrooms we are fighting today and a certain rate of harvest loss. This is the price to pay to leave a sustainable world to our children.

The city of Dijon, a stage privileged by many Chinese tourists travelling between Paris and Geneva, aims to become a destination in its own right for these wealthy visitors, betting on its gastronomy and the famous wines of Burgundy. The entry door of the route of the Grands Crus of Burgundy, Dijon put on the Chinese tourists. The city benefits from a double inscription by UNESCO, for the “gastronomic meals of the French” and for its “climates” (name given to the terroirs in Burgundy). It will inaugurate in 2020 an international city of gastronomy.

In Dijon in 2017, Chinese visitors represented the first foreign nationality and totaled almost 95,000 hotel nights out of a total of 3.4 million accounted for by INSEE (French govt. statistical office) throughout the French territory. The capital of Burgundy receives some 2 million tourists a year and is ranked ninth city of France in the number of hotel nights for international visitors. This summer they have had a 20% increase in Asian tourism including Chinese in Dijon , and these visitors are increasingly a high-end clientele, seeking cultural offers and authentic experiences related to gastronomy and wine.

A promotional program designed to conquer a high-end Chinese clientele, through the strengthening of links with Chinese tourism professionals as well as campaigns on social networks. The young generation of Chinese travelers  are looking for different experiences. They also spend more and more on gastronomy and wines, and less in luxury brands and shopping. Some 2.2 million Chinese tourists are expected in 2018 in France. Their attendance had jumped 19% last year, after a gap following the terror attacks of 2015. The average Chinese spending basket per stay (excluding transport) is evaluated by the Banque de France (Bank of France) at 1,647 euros per visitor.

The Reds look beautiful in silky tannins, aromatic whites and drinkable, the  2018 vintage is something to delight the winegrowers of the northern Rhone Valley even if they had to juggle the spring rains and the Summer heatwave. In 2018, the winegrowers of the North Rhone are happy  with volumes on whites and phenolic maturity arrived faster with fine balances. It cannot be denied that the situation was difficult until the beginning of June with the rains that caused a high pressure of downy mildew but contained thanks to the always vented and airy hillsides. The risks are of course stronger in bio, hence the importance of preventive treatments. The beautiful weather on the changes climats and until the harvest was particularly pleasant for the cellar as well as for the harvesters. It’s a dream vintage that allowed them to choose the right moment for each parcel without the need for arbitration, which rarely happens. This will not necessarily be a very long-guarded wine, but it will take at least 15 years.

On the Reds, they climbed to 13.5-15 ° on some vats, which had not happened since more than 20 years except in 2003. The acidity is low but not catastrophic with silky tannins and no aromas burned as in 2003. The big harvest allowed to avoid overconcentration and to keep the typicality on blackcurrants, gooseberry and fresh fruits with a nice finesse of tannins even if this year it will still have a southern style. Finally, the vine, especially when it is not totally weeded, is resistant to excessive heat, which would not have been the case 10-15 years ago.

The harvest took place from August 28 to September 22  without discontinuing and under an intense sun and homogeneity of maturity, on all the northern appellations, has forced to harvest all at once, the Crozes-Hermitage but also the Côte-Rôti, the Saint Joseph and the Hermitage. Of course, it was the viogniers on Condrieu and the marsannes that were the priority. The parcels of La Landonne in the  Côte-Rôti, and Les Bessards in Hermitage were picked on the same day of Sept 13th with a very good maturity and natural degrees of around  14 °. Everywhere, the acidity is weak, but not a major concern. On the occasion of the first tastings, the quality of this vintage 2018 is remarkable with a tannic frame at the same time dense and velvety and a beautiful sucrose.

One example from one of my fav producer over the years.  Christelle Accosta, technical director and Clément Bartyschi, cellarmaster of Maison Chapoutier:

“We accumulate the beautiful vintages since 2015 and 2018 will be very pretty despite a complicated and intense start of the season to fight against the fungal pressure. But we passed through downy mildew, except for a few small impacts on St. Péray. The plots in altitude of Cornas and Côte Rôti will give exceptional qualities and more homogeneous, which is not always the case contrary to the always regular Hermitage. Saint Joseph should produce full maturity wines with pretty balances. For Crozes-Hermitage, it was necessary to know how to harvest at the right time especially in the plain where the degrees are quickly rising after the rains of September. It will be a beautiful year at Syrah with wines flourished with pretty silky tannins and without hardness.”

There you go from the world of wines and yours truly with the cooperation of my LRVDF magazine, and official government sources as above.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as En Vino Veritas!

 

 

 

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