Archive for February 1st, 2019

February 1, 2019

Church of St John the Baptist of Grenelle in Paris!

So here we arrive at another cold day in winter, and forecast calls for colder days ahead, but no snow, and that is fine with me! Rather nice in the distance but not chez vous! Now is about 7C and cloudy.

I will talk about something off the beaten path in Paris if you can believe it. I was asked once in a travel forum now extinct from someone who had visited Paris 20 times according to him, and ask me for any places in Paris with no tourists!!! Haa well for a city that is No 1 in the World with more than 32 million visitors according to the WTO-UN statistics this is hard to do. Sure there are places less seen but never, do not believe it. And you know me about Paris already!

I came here to meet a group of friends that decided to come to the place Etienne Pernet in the 15éme arrondissement for some drinks at the resto chain of Charlie Birdy( now there is going up an Au Bureau bistro there). While walking around before the meeting I came upon this buildind took some photos and decided to learn about it. It is indeed a nice story on a surely off the beaten path of my eternal Paris.

So let me tell you a bit more on something just little touch in my previous posts; the Church of Saint John the Baptist of Grenelle, 15éme arrondissement or district of Paris!

The Church of Saint-John the Baptist of Grenelle is in the 15éme arrondissement of Paris. The steeple above the Church, of medieval neo-Gothic style, contrasts with the ancient inspiration of the rest of the Church and gives it its singular allure. The Church is located at the end of the Rue du Commerce, and  corner with the Rue des Entrepreneurs at 23, place Étienne-Pernet. Closest Metro Commerce or Félix Faure line 8.


At the beginning of the 19C, the Church that preceded was the Church of St. Lambert proving to be too small in view of the increase in the population in the neighbourhood. A new place of worship was built nearby between 1828 and 1831. It was Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Grenelle. It was located in the plain of Grenelle and the donor of the land was named Léonard-Jean-Baptiste, hence the dedication of the Church. It is in the heart of the new village of Grenelle. The first stone was laid in 1827 by “Mademoiselle”, granddaughter of King Charles X.


The Church of St John the Baptist of Grenelle or l’église Saint Jean  Baptiste de Grenelle is adorned with four murals: in the transept, the vault of the crusader and the arch of the axial chapel. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to admire them in good conditions because the interior is dark: All the windows have pretty opaque yellow stained glass, done in 1930. The yellow colour, which spreads in the nave, is the symbol of the resurrection. The lack of light obscures the painting of the vault, and almost completely the two paintings of the transept.

The architecture of the Church of St John the Baptist is reminiscent of the Roman basilicas, with a nave chanted with arches in full hanger, circular pillars surmounted by a rather fine stone tailor. The cradle vault is pierced with glasses. Finally, one will notice the protruding cornice which surrounds the Church and which clearly separates the two levels of the elevation, thus breaking the height view. Stained-glass windows with a strong opaque yellow allow little light to pass through. The façade is opened by a full-hanger gate topped by a statue-shaped niche and a triangular pediment. A square-plane steeple topped by an arrow is placed above this façade on the top of the roof. The side walls are pierced with windows in full size.


The murals paintings were started in 1928, during the expansion of the église Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Grenelle, the embellishment of the Church were given to do by the painter Henri Nozais. It used oil painting supported by a thick waterproof coating for the decorations of the dome, choir and transept. These paintings illustrate episodes of the Life of John the Baptist: The mystical lamb, the birth of John the Baptist, his preaching, his ascent to heaven and, finally, Salome bringing to his mother the leader of the precursor. These paintings date from the years 1928 and 1930. The Church is on two levels of elevation with large arcades and high windows, and is covered with a semicircular vault resting on columns with Doric marquees.   The Church is raised on a Crypt, the present Saint-Etienne Chapel.

The Choir of the Church of Saint-John the Baptist of Grenelle has an apse, illuminated by artificial light,that lets you see the two of Henri Nozais’s mural paintings, dated 1928:   There are the medallion on stained glass of Saint John, in the Choir ; the medallion of Saint Leo , and the medallion of the Holy Bishop all from 1930. The marble altar in accordance with tradition, this altar was executed with fragments of an ancient altar of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris. The   medallion of a stained glass of the choir also from 1930 of the parents of Saint Teresa of the Child-Jesus one reads above the medallion the quotation: “We get of Christ just as much as we hope”. The modern organ is from 1988, and was renovated last in 2003-04.

There are no tourist spots for it so will tell you a bit on the parish Church site and the mayor’s office of the 15éme arrondissement of Paris.

Official Catholic parish site for Saint John Baptist of Grenelle

Mayor’s office of Paris 15éme district on Religious monuments

Mayor’s office 15éme district on origins of the district in French

There you for the lovers of things to see in Paris off the beaten path, Church of St John the Baptist of Grenelle,and  lovely area to walk. I had even a get together with a group from Australia from the travel forum VT now defunct at the nearby Café du Commerce! And show them around the area including passing by this Church. Enjoy my eternal Paris and it can be yours too!

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

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February 1, 2019

Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie, Noirmoutier!

And back at you on wonderful island of Noirmoutier on the west coast of France not far from Nantes and south of my present home. It is still nice weather here at 12C cloudy no rain no snow lovely!!! And I like to tell you about some serious tourism that can be done in Europe and here in my belle France plenty.

This is a place still remembering events of 1790’s France and the French revolution which as all revolutions are bloody and abusive in her hate for power.  The French Republic started out no different. I like to tell you a bit about the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie in the city of Noirmoutier-en-L’ïle!

Noirmoutier-en-l’ïle, commonly known as Noirmoutier, is a town in the Noirmoutier island in the Vendée department 85 in the Pays de la Loire region. In old Poitou.

You can see the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Piétie or commonly call the Chapel of the Martyrs at Rue des Martyrs. Among the souvenirs of the wars of Vendée on the island of Noirmoutier, here is one, very discreet, which commemorates a terrible massacre of Vendéens prisoners committed in January 1794. It is also known as Notre Dame de la Pietie Chapel or Our Lady of Pity. Built in 1950 on the outskirts of the city, this little white Chapel marks the place where the revolutionary Republicans shot nearly 2,000 Vendéen prisoners after their taken over of the island on January 3, 1794.

Noirmoutier en ile

This place witness the massacred nearly 2000 prisoners of the Vendéen armies, despite a promise of life saved that had been given to them. A large number of prisoners were then confined to the Church of Saint-Philbert (see previous post) . On the morning of January 4, their Republican revolutionary jailers told them they’re going to be released, then get them out in groups of sixty by telling them that they’re going to hand over passports and civics cards. First, they were led under escort to the place d’Armes, facing the castle, the Vendéens took on the left the rue de Banzeau, and a few hundred meters to the right, an alley, current  Rue des Martyrs, which leads to the place called “le Vache ” (cow) where the local people (Noirmoutiens)  used to dump the garbage in the city. Unclothed and stripped of their last possessions, the groups of prisoners are aligned one after the other and shot at close range. The number of victims is not exactly known for the simple reason that they were executed without questioning or judgement with little trace of paperwork.

A first monument, the Croix de la massacre, was raised here on September 7, 1902 by Abbé Jaud. The present Chapel of the Martyrs was built later in 1950 by Abbé Raimond. The Vendéen memoires that took over to nurture this moving place of remembrance where some relics of those who perished here, such as bones and rosaries, are resting. Under the soil rests in dusts of about 3000 victims including 20 priests, 12 nuns, 730 men, 508 women and 96 small children. A cannon ball fallen on the crest of the wall and still in balance perched, is the only surviving witness of the barbarism of this unsung episode of the Wars of the Vendée.

Noirmoutier en ile

The renovation of the Chapel was launched by Abbé Chatry in 2015. Abbé Cieutat continued this project. The Chapel was blessed on April 4, 2018, allowing the presence of the Holy Sacrament in the tabernacle of the altar.  And therefore officially known as the Chapel of our Lady of Pity. Do not hesitate to stop there to pray. The Chapel is open every day from 9h to 19h, from April to early November.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and more info on this episode are

Private site on the Vendée and Chouans history of the West and the Chapel in French

City of Noirmoutier en l’ile on heritage

City of Noirmoutier en l’ile tourist office contacts

Tourist office of the Vendée dept 85 on Noirmoutier things to see in English

There you a real off the beaten path story that is worth remembering for all humanity sake, and my dear French are not spare. A moving little place to see while basking in the sunshine activities of the Noirmoutier island of the Vendée.

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


February 1, 2019

Church of Saint-Philbert ,Ïle de Noirmoutier!

And I take you to the islands!! on the West coast of my belle France again. Here all is wonderful and peaceful, and other things to see besides the beaches! This is just south of me along the coast! And today finally we had nice weather even if cloudy but 7C or about 44F! nice in the west!

I like to take you to the ïle de Noirmoutier, in the dept of the Vendée 85 (old Poitou area) in Pays de la Loire region and to show a bit more of the Church of Saint Philbert.

Noirmoutier en ile

The island of Noirmoutier  or ïle de Noirmoutier is a French island in the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of the Vendée dept85 . It is separated from the mainland by the Strait or gully of Fromentine, wide from 700 to 800 meters, and  connected  to the mainland  by the Passage du Gois (or Goâ), 4 km long and practicable passage at low sea. A bridge further north has also been connecting the island to the mainland since 1971.

The Church of St Philibert, which is the former Benedictine abbey, is in its present state dates from  the 12C, 14C and 19C, but it is built on a crypt that must be that of the primitive Church and go back to the end of the 7C or 8C. It contains a sarcophagus of Saint Philibert, which passes to be the tomb of the Saint, but which is in reality only a modern restoration. Beautiful 14C rectangular dungeon, flanked by turret-shaped buttresses. This dungeon had to be built by the lord of the island, on the location of the Castle raised in the 9C by the monks to defend against the Vikings.

Noirmoutier en ile

Who was Saint Philbert? ,well a brief description: he was abbot of Jumièges in Normandy, then of Noirmoutier in the Vendée. He had left the court of King Dagobert to make himself a monk at first to Rebais  in the French Brie area (77 Seine et Marne). Later he founded a monastery in Jumièges near Rouen in Normandy. When he learned that Ebroïn, the mayor of the palace, had murdered Saint Léger of Autun, he went to reproach his crime to the mayor of Neustria. Ebroïn instructed Saint Ouen to make it disappear. The Bishop of Rouen obeyed, made him imprisoned, but the captivity was gentle and lasted little, for Ebroïn was assassinated in his turn. Saint Philibert thanked Saint Ouen for his hospitality, assured him of his perfect friendship and took the way to the monastery of Noirmoutier. During the Norman invasions, his relics were transported to Tournus in Burgundy, where a magnificent abbey was built.(still there).

A bit of history I like on the Church

The Church of Saint-Philbert rises on the site of an abbey founded by Philibert de Tournus in 677AD.  It was plundered by the Saracens at the beginning of the 8C, then burned down by the Normans in 846AD. It was then rebuilt at the end of the 11C on a primitive Chapel, which is the present Crypt, but only the Choir and the main nave remains. From the end of the 14C to the 17C ,the left and right naves were raised, and it was consecrated in 1849.

The bell tower is neo-Romanesque it was built in 1875 to replace the old steeple which had been destroyed by a fire in 1848. Inside you can admire a model of a frigate, made by an artisan watchmaker of the village in 1802 for Auguste Jacobsen.

The Crypt is located under the Choir, it hosted the body of Saint Philbert between 690 and 836, when it was transferred to Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, then to Tournus in Burgundy, where the monks had fled after the Norman invasions in 875. A shrine on the altar contains some relics of the Saint transferred in 1863 date on which this Crypt was restored.The Merovingian Crypt where Saint Philbert rested is what remains of the abbey destroyed by the Normans. Indeed the abbey which extended over the location of the church and the castle was never raised in its walls after the monks fled the occupation of the Vikings who had made the island their base behind their raids on the Loire. Only a priory was restored which became the Church we know today.

The windows of the nave tell us of Saint Philbert and the ancient Abbey, the castle, the arms of the abbey and on the other side four stages and foundations of Philibert: Jumièges, Saint Philibert of Grandlieu, Cunault and Tournus.  The altarpiece of the Holy Mary is the oldest altarpiece of the Church, and the most lavishly decorated. You can admire the garlands of roses and sun carved in stone. The altarpiece of the altar St. Anne was built in 1711.

Noirmoutier en ile

The best info is from the tourist office, webpage here: Tourist office of the Ile de Noirmoutier on the Church of Saint Philibert

Parish Church of Saint Philbert

Hope you enjoy the story, the island is very nice just close by Nantes and the passage of Goa in low tide is sublime experience, written on it in previous posts. For now enjoy the history and architecture of the Saint Philbert Church in the Ïle de Noirmoutier!

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

February 1, 2019

Church of Ste. Croix, Nantes!

So winding down my latest stop in one of my favorite cities of my belle France,out in the west is Nantes. And this wonderful place has history and architecture while remaining off the beaten path even with relation to a Jules Verne. Of course, still in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region.

I like to tell you a bit more about the Church of Sainte Croix.

The Church of Ste. Croix of Nantes built in the 17C in the classical style and then modified in the 19C. The Church is located in the district of Bouffay, of which it is the parish Church since 1138.  The south side of the Church is along the Holy Cross passage. The parish register, on the date of February 8, 1828, bears the transcript of Jules Verne’s birth and baptism certificate.


A bit of history I like

The origin of the building is uncertain, but as early as the 11C the Benedictines of Marmoutier (city of Tours) had a priory whose Chapel Saint-Martin was located at the present site of the Church’s choir. At the time Chapel was used for the Château du Bouffay which was adjoined it.  The actual construction of the present Church begins in the 17C. From 1669 to 1685, the nave is built in the flamboyant ogival style. The bedside was then made up of three altars leaning against a flat wall. The façade, overlooking Place Sainte-Croix, is adorned in the purest classical style, with columns and ancient pediments. During the reign of terror in the French revolution, the Church was used as a prison. In 1839, the Choir was carried out in the flamboyant style, like the nave.


In 1860, the façade of a campanile and the old belfry of the city is surmounted. The belfry initially covered the  tower of Bouffay, in a polygonal form, built in 1664 and destroyed in 1848, located at the intersection of the rue de Bouffay and rue de Belle-Image, itself the only vestige of the ancient castle of Bouffay.  Henceforth, the ensemble consists of the clock of the old belfry topped by a lantern that houses the bell, called La Bouffay done in 1663 and weighing 8 096 Kg. The lantern is decorated with an allegorical round of angels ringing the trumpet.

The altar of the right nave is the only surviving altar of the 17C. The Louis XV-style pulpit is made of solid mahogany and a wrought iron ramp. The stalls date back to the 18C. The master altar, in white marble and gilded wood, was consecrated in 1844. The Sainte-Table, in white marble, is dated 1903.


The original organ, dated 1853, was restored and modified several times since, the last intervention dating from 1979.  The windows of the Choir were destroyed during the bombardment of  WWII, and remade in 1947. There is anice stained window of the Tribune, dated 1872, which represents the triumph of the Cross.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and more info on the Church of Ste Croix are

City of Nantes on the Church of Sainte Croix in French

Tourist office of Nantes on the passage Sainte Croix in English

Tourist office of Greater Nantes on the belltower in French

Official Catholic site on the Church of Sainte Croix in French

And there you have another jewel in my belle France; as said France is wholly a movable feast! And the Sainte Croix Church in Nantes is one small contribution to it. Enjoy it!

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


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