Archive for December 30th, 2018

December 30, 2018

The roads of my belle France,visiting family!

So we are arriving at the end of 2018 , I am glad is over, not a good year for me, as you know, still vivid memories of my dear late wife Martine. I drove this week to her mom house, the grandmother of my boys and the rest of aunts and cousins in Seine et Marne. It was a memorable trip of many nice good souvenirs that will be with me forever.

As I will have this trip and one post on my beloved Versailles,  I have decided to brake it down in sections. This one of course is my driving  love the roads and my car is my second home. So therefore, here are some pictures of my round trip this week, a personal one!

On the way there I took the old fashion road , the one from Paris took first to meet my wife; now coming from Brittany it was the N165 to the N166 to past Rennes and then the A84 to the exit at Fougéres to get on the N12 all the way to Versailles by the N186 , did a brief tour of my beloved city in my old neighborhood , had a walk with my dog Rex, and then kept going on the D985 by Villa d’Avray all the way thru my old job hunt at Suresnes crossing the Pont de Suresnes into the allée de longchamp in the Bois de Bolougne, to the boulevard Périphérique into the Porte Maillot and follow the BP all the way to the Porte de Pantin to take the old reliable and slow N3 .


The N3 or nationale 3 is going thru every town next to Paris and every red light you can imagine but it is the old road I took to meet my later wife in 1990! We used to come by the Porte de Pantin, parked by the Church St Germain in Pantin, free parking and take there the metro into Paris at the Eglise de Pantin line 5! taking us to Gare de l’Est station and sometimes taking the train back to Meaux in Seine et Marne her native town.  This was the old days, now I would not recommend novice or tourists to take this road or traject.


This N3 takes you right into Meaux and and then the town sightseeing to rearch my inlaws in the tiny village of Chambry right by the Battle of the Marne WWI area and the wonderful Museum of the Great War next to the territory of the USA in the Monument Américain.  I reach the town by the country side on a great field of wheat !!!




The trip with the stops for my father who is on diabetes medication at 83 and my dog Rex pit stops plus our eating and sightseeing a trip that normaly took 6 hrs this time we did 10 hrs of car driving all by yours truly and I love it!!! Glad always to see the family ,more of those stories later , stay tune.

The way back was easier the modern way. I left the village on the A140 to connect with the A4 past Disneyland Paris (which is in Seine et Marne dept  77 ::)). I went straight into the BP=boulevard périphérique of Paris , easy (dont read all those scary cats transport books) , I continue into the A86 towards Versailles and this will bring you right into the N12 back to Fougéres, and then the A84 to Rennes and then N166 to Vannes and the N165 to our home easy 6h30 hrs even stopping for lunch and walks of Rex!


So, therefore some road pictures into my memory bank here at wordpress which is running up!!! Again ,thanks for reading , and more for liking it and Happy New Year 2019 and best wishes or as we say here Bonne Année et meilleurs voeux!!!

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


December 30, 2018

Church of Saint Symphorien, Versailles!

And I have to tell you more of my beloved Versailles! The city did a study where 98% of visitors only come to the castle/museum, what a pity!! You are missing out on a Royal and de facto capital of France with numerous things to see of great value. I wll try to bring you into these off the beaten path jewels.

I like to tell you a bit more on the Church of St Symphorien in the district of Montreuil , just north of me following the same line on the avenue Saint Cloud and Avenue de Paris up. See Versailles at its best!

The village of Montreuil was only attached to Versailles in 1787. So it developed a little out of the way and kept the charm of a village, massaged around the Church of Saint Symphorien. The early example of neoclassical architecture. It was in this district that, under king Louis XIV, the Italian musicians who were assigned to the castle Chapel settled. Visit their home, which now houses the Compagnonnique Union Museum (see my previous post on them). Its proximity to the Château also brought Montreuil to be chosen by some of the great ladies of the court in the 18C for the installation of beautiful resorts, like the estate of Madame Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI, whose park you will enjoy! (again see previous post on her).

The Church of Saint Symphorien is on a square at the end of bd Lesseps, and at the intersection of rue Saint-Charles, rue de Montreuil and rue d’Artois . The square of the church gives a place of the same name as the church, the place Saint Symphorien. This is in the district of Montreuil a royal neighborhood of which the construction was done between 1764 and 1770. There are wonderful paintings and the next to is a colourful commercial street rue de Montreuil leading to Avenue des Etats Unis full of shops, bistros, very lively at nights.



The Church is a south-facing building with an elongated plan ending with a semicircular apse surmounted by a steeple. The west and east sides are grafted into a chapel. The nave is three aisles and seven bays. The style is Neo-Classical and 18C. The nave is vaulted in cradle. Colonnades separate the central nave from the aisles. The cradle vault is decorated with a coffered ceiling. The arch in the end of the apse is adorned with a fresco by Demachy. The total length of St Symphorien is 52 meters by its bell steeple rises to 30 meters.


The vault fresco are as far as the shades of clothing are concerned, red is the color of sacrifice, the blue, that of the sky and the white, the symbol of purity. In the fresco, Saint-Symphorien is on the right, Sainte Geneviève on the left. The Resurrection of Christ painting was behind the altar until the French revolution. In the 19C, when the apse was painted, it was placed in a lateral chapel.


The main façade is advanced by an antique portico, enhanced by stair steps, with a pediment decorated with a clock. The side walls are pierced by eight rectangular bays. A second entry is on the north end. It is surrounded by two columns and a triangular pediment. It is also topped by a square steeple, pierced by a bay and decorated with a clock. The roof is double-sloped.

A bit of history I like

The history of the Church of St. Symphorien begins in the early 6C when a first building is built at the corner of current rue St. Symphorien and rue de l’école des postes. A second church would have succeeded it and then the Célestins monks of Paris, owners of the land, had a third sanctuary rebuilt in 1472. A project to expand the old Church is signed by the King dated September 15, 1754. But it is finally a new Church that is built. On January 1, 1787, the new Church of Montreuil became the third parish of Versailles. The aisles are adorned with great paintings from the 17C and 18C. Note that there is no stained glass in the church of St. Symphorien. With the French revolution, the Church of St. Symphorien was desecrated, the vases stolen, the furniture scattered. Then the building was closed. The cult of reason was not celebrated there. With the Concordat of July 1801 the Church found its status as an official place of worship.

A bit of current history on the separation of State and Church very vividly lived here. This is from the archives of Versailles , translation by yours truly.

At the end of the law of 9 December 1905, the priests were no longer paid and the State became the owner of the Church property which remained at the disposal of the clergy, but without any legal title. When the officials of the Republic came to compile an inventory of the property of the Church of Saint Symphorien, on February 8, 1906, there was an insurrection. Here are the facts.

The priest is informed that the inventory has to start from 8h to 14h . By 11h, merchants closed their shop, the population began to massage around the Church. Fearing incidents, the security forces take a stand (gendarmerie, Genie, Dragons) to block access to the building. A violent brawl erupts with punches, cane and chair. There are some slight casualties. Demonstrators manage to return to the Church where the defence is organized. The small front door is only open, it is blocked by a barrage of chairs. The double central door remains closed. At 14h, everyone is there: the priest and the Council of the factory, the prefect and an inspector of the fields. The troop is ordered to roll back the demonstrators. They take that order for provocation. Cries of anger in the crowd, young men hold the horses of the constables, notables are arrested. With difficulty, the police come to the end of the dam of chairs that blocks the door . The Prefect enters the Church with the estate agent. Chairs are thrown from the organ gallery. The prefect is hit in the head. He orders to clean the tribune and leave to be bandaged. The gendarmes enter the nave by protecting themselves with chairs. A shower of projectiles falls on them. The door of the staircase leading to the Tribune is driven by an axe. The troop rushes, clears the crowded staircase, and then pushes the top door. Finally six defenders are arrested, including a Vicar. An official protest is read to the domain officer who recognizes that the inventory is impossible in this mess. The prisoners, gathered at the rue Saint-Pierre prison, immediately appear in a hearing of flagrant offences. The convictions, including that of the prelate, will be severe. Postscript: things never change in my belle France!

Hope you enjoy the ride and do visit this wonderful Church. There is one webpage from the official Church in French here: Official parish Church of Saint Symphorien

oh yes the ride well there is little on it the walk is about 22-25 minutes from the Chateau de Versailles a wonderful walk full of French history. Best to come out left on place d’Armes by the horse statue of Louis XIV, continue walking left until the Avenue de Saint Cloud, take a right here and continue walking on it. You will pass the famous Lycée Hoche on your left keep walking to the round traffic circle ,this is Place Alexandre Ier; bear right and on the 3rd street turn right this is rue de Montreuil; this street takes you straight into place Saint Symphorien , look right and the Church is facing you!

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





December 30, 2018

The ladies of Versailles, Adelaide and Victoire!

And I continue with my saga of Versailles. My beloved old home in the Yvelines dept 78 of the region of ïle de France. As said, the castle not been the only thing to see here, it is imposing of a must visit. You need time to see it and better yet understanded all but 3 days should be it;one day is cutting it short. In my opinion of course.

If you have read my blog, you know that in my rumbling mumbling of words I love history. I am living in the right country of Western civilisation. Versailles has the most as it is the de facto capital of France by the constitution because history matters even more than governments. While telling you of this history, I am always  intrigue by the Royal families and their experiences and histories especially after the French revolution. This is my take on telling you a bit more on two remarkable ladies that history did not serve them well after all.

I like to tell you a bit apart on the lives of Mrs or Madame Victoire and Marie-Adelaide ;whose rooms you can see in the Castle museum of Versailles.

The Daughters of Louis XV bear the title of “Madame”. The four cadets, Victoire, Sophie, Thérèse and Louise, were thus placed at the abbey of Fontevraud, while the elders, Louise-Elisabeth, Anne-Henriette, Marie-Louise and Marie-Adelaide, remained alongside the king. Separated, the influence of the ladies was limited.

Victoire Louise Marie Thérèse de France, called Madame Fourth then Madame Victoire in 1745, was born in Versailles on May 11, 1733 , baptised at Versailles on 27 April 1737, died in Trieste, Italy on June 7, 1799, was one of the eight daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska.  With her younger sisters, Victoire de France was raised from 1738 by the nuns of the abbey of Fontevrault, The Queen of the Abbeys she was called. Madame Fourth received baptism in 1745, at the same time as her sisters, and was now called Victoire (victory). Victoire learned as her brother and sisters to play various musical instruments.

During the French Revolution, she and Madame Adelaide were left with the ten children that Louis XV had with the Queen. The two princesses, opposed to the anti-Christian politics of the revolutionary assembly, left France in February 1791, not without having suffered some affronts on their way of exile. They only were lucky and thanks of their salvation because of the intervention of Mirabeau in the revolutioinary assembly. They took refuge in Italy. First in Turin, where their niece Clotilde, wife of the Prince of Piedmont and then in Rome, protected by Pope Pius VI who hosted them at the Palais Farnese. Upon the arrival of the French troops, they joined Naples, where a sister of Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Caroline of Austria, was the ruler, very little delighted to see them. The two old ladies had to flee again in 1798 and crossed the Adriatic on an oil boat.



Madame Victoire was extinguished the first, in Trieste, of breast cancer, on June 7, 1799. Adelaide only survived her for eight months. Their bodies were repatriated to France under king Louis XVIII, another of their nephews, and were buried in the abbey-Basilica of Saint-Denis, the tomb of the Royal family. A novel by Frédéric Lenormand, Les Princesses Vagabondes (the Vagabond Princesses ) of 1998, describes the escape of the ladies to Italy from 1791 and until their death. In her biography Mesdames de France (Ladies of France), Bruno Cortequisse honors the daughters of Louis XV and describes their existence full of emptiness.

Marie Adelaide of France, called Madame Adelaide, then from 1752, Madame, fourth daughter and sixth child of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska, was born on 23 March 1732 in Versailles, baptised at Versailles on 27 April 1737, and died on 27 February 1800 in Trieste, Italy. Madame Adelaide rooms were the former bedroom of Madame de Pompadour ,where she died in 1764.

Sent to complete their education at the Abbey of Fontevraud, Madame Adelaide succeeded in softening her father and remained in Versailles, where she was raised with her two eldest sisters Madame Elisabeth (who married as early as 1739 the infant Philip of Spain) and Madame Henriette. The three girls lived there in the shadow of their brother the Dauphin Louis. Louis XV, who loved her very much, was amused to name her Madame Rag because of her taste for housework. Endowed with a lively character, she knew how to impose herself as a true head of the family with her sisters. Only the young lady Louise, who entered Carmel in 1770, escaped her ascendancy.




On the death of the Dauphin in 1765 and then of the Dauphine in 1767, Madame Adelaide had been the custodian of their papers, as well as an instruction destined for the future king. This document was opened two days after the death of the King, on May 12, 1774, in a small family council, in the presence of the new king Louis XVI. He designated three possible premiers minister Maurepas, d’Aiguillon and Machault . At the dawn of the French revolution, no one remained alive as children of Louis XV and the Queen as Madame Adelaide and her sister Victoire.

The two princesses had to leave Versailles and prefer to settle in Bellevue, near Meudon , on a Castle offered by their nephew Louis XVI rather than at the Tuileries.

The laws against the Church prompted them to flee France to join Italy on February 20, 1791. Their departure aroused some emotion and they were arrested and detained for a few days in Arnay-le-Duc. Mirabeau defended them before the assembly. Mocking the assembly which had deliberated for hours on the fate of the two ladies who preferred to hear Mass in Rome rather than at Versailles, the Tribunal obtained that the princesses could enter the Savoy whose heir had married their niece Clotilde de France. They arrived in Rome on April 16, 1791, where they met from the day after their arrival in a private audience, Pope Pius VI. However, Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power and his conquests forced them to flee even further, first to Naples in 1796, then to Corfu in 1799 and finally to Trieste, where Madame Victoire soon died, Madame Adelaide passed away a few months later, On 18 Februray 1800, at the age of 68 years.

Some further reading can be done in the below webpages

Officia Chateau de Versailles on the ladies

Official Chateau de Versailles on the daughters of Louis XV

Official Chateau de Versailles on the placement of the apartments of the daughters of Louis XV

Hope you enjoy the brief introduction and allows for your curiosity to take flight and learn more of these fascinating characters of our history.  All of course, in royal Versailles, where else!

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


%d bloggers like this: