Archive for January 23rd, 2019

January 23, 2019

A bit deep France, see Monein!

i like to take you off the beaten path of my belle France Lots of popular places ,just heard the news France received 90 million visitors in 2018 huge ,awesome for a country of 67M people! No 1 in the world in visitors again! However, there are so many spaces seldom visited for x reasons that I like to show you.

One of this towns and areas is Monein. Monein  is in the department 64 of the Pyrénées Atlantique in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.  The best way for me to get there is on the A64 highway (Toulouse-Bayonne); Exit 9 Artix at 11 km.  Monein counted a secular abbey from the 12C, a vassal of the viscounty of Béarn. King Henry IV dubbed Monein ,the Paris of Béarn!!!  The Church of Saint-Girons dates from the 15C and 16C. It is the largest Gothic church in the  Béarn. It houses a frame built in the heart of Oak, 50 meters long and 18 meters in height, in the form of a double hull of an overturned vessel. or, also , have interesting ruins of castle and citadel up at pont saint louis very nice rustique natural setting, you can climb from the bottom parking lot thru the river and up the ruins into the high city and the Cathedral. Nice.  Here was the old bishophery from the 6C and from the 10C a  baptistry dedicated to Saint-John-the Baptist.  Later a repenting soldier built a chapel , “Loup-Fort”,where it was dedicated to Saint Mary.

I like to tell you a bit more on the Church of Saint Girons.

The dimensions of the new church would be proportional to the richness of the village; The Church of Saint-Girons measures more than 61 meters long, 16 meters wide and 31 meters high. It is larger than the two cathedrals of the Béarn region!!. The construction began in 1464 and ended in 1530. For 70 years, the inhabitants financed the work through numerous taxes and built the building with their own hands. But the realization of the remarkable structure of the imposing Church of Saint-Girons was entrusted, from 1464, to the Cagots, to these men who, despite their extraordinary know-how, lived completely excluded from society.

Monein

The Queen of Navarre, Jeanne of Albret, transformed the church into a Protestant temple in the stripping of her furniture and threatened to destroy it in the face of the hostility of the population, which remained Catholic. It was nevertheless spared and returned to the Catholic cult when it was restored by the Edict of Integration of Béarn promulgated by King Louis XIII of France (who was still at that time also Louis I of Navarre). The Church was once again furnished and still retains baroque furniture, including a large altarpiece and 17C with a Toulouse organ.  The Church of Saint-Girons was restored at the end of the 20C and until the beginning of the 21C, and its framing is today a tourist attraction highlighted by an animation of sound and light.

Monein

Monein

Its originality lies in its exceptional frame, entirely in the heart of oak, which comes in the form of a double hull of unsymmetrical inverted ship. This frame of more than 50 meters long can be visited after the ascent of 72 steps under the huge slate roof. Unique work in France by its seniority, its virtuosity and its tremendous dimensions. Particularly ,the famous double-sloped roof concealing a real treasure . In the heart of oak needed, the cutting of a thousand trees of which 70% of the original wood would be preserved. The whole is supported by an astonishing superposition of St. Andrew’s Cross, aligned vertically on top of each other until the height of the Church. The whole is brought to light by a sound and light. The porch houses a Renaissance-style portal. Inside, you will notice the altarpiece of the 18C and the organ of the 17C. A Church of  over 300 years,  a rare and masterful ensemble to visit.

Monein

Monein

Monein

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Monein on heritage

Tourist office of the heart of Bearn on heritage of Monein

Friends of St Girons and the organ, concerts

A very nice Church not expecting to see the beauty here really.  A wonderful area of the old Béarn region of France with many beauties to see. I hope you like this entry on the Church of St Girons at Monein.

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

 

 

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January 23, 2019

Pauillac, the ultimate!

So now that I am in the neighborhood on my memories of my belle France let me take you to my citadel! Needless to say written several posts on the wines of the Médoc (not just Bordeaux but more specific area). If read my previous posts than you know i love wines, diploma in wine knowledge from France and Spain and worked in the business selling and in store sales, distribution etc. I do work now for a multinational which a branch deals with distribution and exportation of French wines.

Pauillac is it for me. If fact, still on the books for possible retirement near in the Médoc. Needless to say I have tasted wines from many regions of the world and visited them, and also of France. However, do not know how to explain it, Pauillac is it. Period. I like to tell you a bit more on the town and relation to the wine and things to see in general. Hopefully, you too will get on the red boat of Pauillac ::)

Pauillac is located in the Gironde dept 33 in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The town is located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary (river) in the Médoc, 50 km north of Bordeaux. The traces of Pauillac go back to the prehistory, but it was in the 18C, with the expansion of the trade in vineyards and fishing, that the city took the look that we know today.

In 1777, the Marquis de La Fayette sailed out of Pauillac on the shores of the Gironde to join the Americas, to rescue the American people during the American War of Independence. A bronze stele representing his ship La Victoire (victory)   is also erected on the edge of the city harbor on the esplanade de La Fayette. On the stele can be read in translation: “From here on March 25, 1777, embarked Marie Joseph Paul Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, with the hope of joining the Americas”.

pauillac

The vineyard of Pauillac Grand Cru of the vineyard of the Médoc stretches on nearly 1 100 hectares (my favorite wine in the whole world and the best of course!) .The town has no less than 37 wine domains including 18 Grands crus classés en 1855. My favorite bottles in black.These are: Premiers crus: Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild (my fav and direct).   Second crus: Château Pichon-Longueville, and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Fourth cru ; Château Duhart-Milon. Fifth crus: Château Pontet-Canet, Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Lynch-Moussas, Château d’Armailhac, Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Château Pédesclaux, Château Clerc Milon, and Château Croizet-Bages.

pauillac

pauillac

The official vineyard territory goes on in the left bank of the Gironde river. It extends over the towns of Pauillac and encroaches on those of Cissac-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien-Beychevelle and Saint-Sauveur . The grape varieties recommended for the appellation are Cabernet Franc , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot , Carménère and Petit Verdot.

The Pauillac is a red wine of ageing values. It presents a dark purple color, almost black with purplish shades when it is young. After a few years, even decades for the best, their tint softens towards the ruby with amber shades. The nose of a Pauillac is a highly concentrated and complex wine. Scents of red fruits such as blackcurrant, blackberry, plum.etc. Spicy such as vanilla, pepper, menthol, liquorice etc. , and woody such as cedar, grilled, toasted.etc. dominate. At the taste, the wine proves very robust. The ubiquitousness of tannins requires perfect maturity. If this were not the case, the mouth would be dried up and the bitterness would cover the aromas. With age, the tannins soften while supporting the aromatic power of the wine for a long time. The wine is balanced,  powerful and robust, it is also fine and delicate at the aromatic level.

Things to see, in some other than the wine domains of course!

The parish Church of St. Martin at place Maréchal Foch, its western façade is surmounted by an immense pediment. The Château Mouton Rothschild and its museum that exhibits wine-related objects from all civilizations. Chateau Pichon Longueville Countess de Lalande; the Orangerie of the castle is home to a remarkable private collection of old glasses and glasses from Venice, Bohemia and French and English glasses from the 17C to 19C. This collection comprises more than 700 pieces assembled by May-Éliane de Lencquesaing. The cave of Artigues, built by Anne-Françoise Averous in 1897 as a miniature replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, and overlooked by the statue of the Virgin. To allow the pilgrims to drink the water of Lourdes, she exchanged, with the chaplain of Lourdes, a cask of her wine from Château de Haut-Bages against a keg filled with water of Lourdes. And do not forget if little on time to stop by the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac a gift store, wine boutique with all the properties of the region at same prices.

pauillac

pauillac

Let me give several webpages to help you plan your trip here which is a must. These are

Official tourist office Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac

Tourist office of Pauillac on heritage

Tourist office of Pauillac on its wines

Tourist office of dept 33 Gironde

Tourist office of Bordeaux on Pauillac wines

Tourist office of the Médoc on wines of Pauillac

An unofficial site, Caruso 33,  that I have enjoyed for many years full of good information on anything in the Médoc and of course Pauillac. In French of course. Unofficial site Caruso 33 on Pauillac

Hope you do indeed come to visit this area and Pauillac, even if not into wines, many sites of historical value, boat rides from the Gironde to the mainland even ferries, and of course the beaches! Enjoy it as we did,do and will again.

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

 

 

 

January 23, 2019

Lacanau Océan and the Médoc!

On a very cold last Sunday 4C feeling like 0C sunny no rain in my neck of the woods of Morbihan why not tell you a bit on a more sunny nice weather area we love so much and spent many summers there. This is a bit of a mix bag for me as can combine the best wine and the world with beautiful beaches.

I will be telling you a bit more (as several posts in my blog already) on the Médoc; yes this area many call it Bordeaux for its wines but is not Bordeaux adminstrately as it is a peninsula away from the city and full of gorgeous mansions of wine chateau fame . However, most do not know that  a bit to the west of this river of Reds is the wonderful Atlantic ocean and its gorgeous beaches of the Médoc peninsula. Let me bring you to one we love Lacanau-Océan, the beach resort and Lacanau Ville the city proper.

Lacanau is located in the Gironde dept. 33, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The town of Lacanau, crossed by the 45th parallel north, is thus situated at an equal distance from the North Pole and the Earth’s equator (about 5 000 km). Lacanau is located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Médoc, west of the Dept of Gironde, 42 km north-west of Bordeaux. The Ocean coast of Médoc offers a line of more than 100 km of beaches made of fine sand.

There are three natural areas: the beach and the dune cord Côte d’Argent or Silver Coast; the Landes Forest (Landes du Médoc), which, unlike the rest of Gascony Landes, is not the result of the intensive afforestation of the 19C; and the lake of Lacanau, one of the great Landes Lakes.

lacanau ocean

lacanau ocean

lacanau ocean

The town is composed of several zones: Lacanau-Ville, consisting of the village. Lacanau-Océan, (the one we always stayed here) area on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A seaside resort, it appeared at the beginning of the 20C. Sketched during the period between the two wars, it developed in the years 1960-1970, as part of the development of the Aquitaine coast. Lacanau-Océan is separated from Lacanau-Ville by the road D6 and 13 km and the lake of Lacanau-Lac, composed of several hamlets such as Talaris, Le Moutchic, le Tedey, Longarisse, La Grande Escoure, and Carreye.

We always come here by car unless a once in a while business trip to Bordeaux but not into the Médoc, there only by car. However, Lacanau is served by several bus lines of the TransGironde bus network such as line 702, which departs from the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station; line 611, which joins the Lége-Cap-Ferret; line 714 connecting Lacanau-Océan to Lacanau-Ville; line 715 which connects Lacanau-Océan to Cussac-Fort-Médoc; and the 716 line that connects Lacanau-Océan to Macau.

Villas popped up from the sands and were completed for the most part in 1906-1907: The Primavera, the villa of the founder of the resort, Pierre Ortal, unfortunately destroyed at the end of the 1970’s. In its place, was elevated a modern construction, which is not the ugliest among those built in those years, but it is only a meagre consolation. The Chalet Bonnamy (the current hôtel de la Côte d’Argent), and the Villa les Mouettes   of the Princeteau family, all three having been the first built on the Boulevard de la Plage. At the same time, Villa les Genêts and hôtel Marian (current Hotel Australien). On the current street allées Ortal,the beautiful site of Jean Émile Faugère the most beautiful residence of the station that the descendants of this man invest still in summer and Villa PH alias Plaisance . During WWI, American soldiers set up a seaplane base and a flight school at Moutchic, which will then become a sanatorium and then a medical-school center.

Things to see are plenty but will highlight in black my favorites ok

The beaches of the city of Lacanau have been awarded the Blue Flag label (pavillon bleu) are are superbe. The intersection of the 45th parallel north and the 1st meridian west of Greenwich is located on the territory of the commune !. The Lac de Lacanau for boating enthusiasts. Lacanau has two churches, the Church of Saint Vincent located in Lacanau-Ville, of the 18CC, and the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Flôts in Lacanau-Océan, of the 20C. Monument to the American Fallen in WWI at Moutchic, on which are registered the names of nine American seaplane pilots from the base of the Moutchic. Monument in homage to Pierre Ortal c 1906, founder of the resort. Villa Plaisance, today’s city town hall annex of Lacanau-Océan, and designed in 1906 and bequested to the local govt in 1994.   Villa Beau Site c.1906, Villa Cerberé ,c. 1907, Villa Les Mouettes c.1906, Villa Yora c. 1909, Villa Les Dunes c. 1913, Villa Chante-Mer, Villa Stella, Villa La Vague, Villa les Iris, Villa M’Arena, neo-Basque style, Villa Clair Bois, Villa Fleur du Lac, Villa Thaïs, and several others.

lacanau ocean

lacanau

lacanau ocean

This is a great area off the beaten path to many visitors especially from elsewhere as it does attract several Europeans, especially British, German, Dutch, and Belgians.  I will give you several webpages to cover most or everything you need to know here and of course ask me ::)

City of Lacanau on heritage

Tourist office of the Médoc on Lacanau

Tourist office of dept 33 Gironde on Lacanau

Tourist office of Medoc region on things to see in English

Favorite site on beaches Plages TV on Lacanau beaches

Site on Lacanau surfing world center of surfing

Two unofficial ones that have been with me for years can’t recall maybe using them since 2004.

Tourist info on Lacanau Ocean

Caruso 33 all info on the Medoc and here on Lacanau

This is it wonderful Lacanau area, many nice memories of family vacations there that will endure for life and hoping you can try them too and enjoy them as we did and will again.

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

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