Archive for March, 2019

March 31, 2019

Île de Ré and Saint Martin de Ré!

So lets bring you back out to the coast and even beyond to an island off the mainland of France. Lovely place it reminds me of my favorite islands in a time far away now, but always nice to come back to the roots. island boy,beach bum you name it the thrills are huge! I have written on it in a general sense before in my blog.

However, as usual running with so much to see feel that I need to detail the most important monuments to see according to me lol! This is lovely ïle de Ré or Re island and the main capital city is Saint Martin de Ré. 

Brief introduction to the ïle de Ré:

The Île de Ré is the fourth largest island of metropolitan France, behind Corsica, the island of Oléron and Belle-Ile island (Morbihan 56!) It is located in the dept 17 of the Charente-Maritime in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. The historic center of the island is Saint-Martin-de-Ré, which forms with the neighboring town of La Flotte the urban unit of the Flotte. The island of Ré is separated from the mainland by the Pertuis Breton and is located north of the islands of Aix, Oléron, Madame and Nôle, and the forts Boyard, d’Enet and Louvois located in the Pertuis of Antioch to the South. Since 1988, it is connected to the mainland by the Pont de Île de Ré or island of Re bridge. Touristic wise, the island is nicknamed “Ré la Blanche” or Re the White one because of the characteristic hue of its traditional houses.

We move on to the inner city of Saint Martin de Ré ,visiting the Church of Saint Martin, with gothic ruins from Normans invasions  in the middle of the high city to be seen from the harbor. Today the oldest part dates from the 15C  on the walls on both sides of the high towers in ruins.  The belltower has a square tower and has three bells.

saint martin de re

saint martin de re

The parish Church of Saint-Martin in Saint-Martin-de-Ré still stands in Gothic ruins in the heart of the city. Raved repeatedly by the conflicts, it was eventually rebuilt more modestly in the 17-18C, reusing what remained of the Gothic edifice.

The origins of the city and the Church of Saint Martin are poorly known, although the fact that the two were destroyed by the Normans is quite probable. It is known however with certainty that in the 11C, the parish was given in the Puy-en-Velay chapter by the Count of Poitou. The canons will retain the parish until the 16C. However, there remains no vestige of the 11C Romanesque church. However this church was to be ruined less than a century later. The island of Ré, predominantly Protestant, was put to sack by the latter in 1586 during their disputes over the territory against the Catholics. The Church collapses in large part: only the base of the walls of the nave and the lateral chapels and the high walls of the transept, preserved because of their military importance, have been fortified.

saint martin de re

In the 17C the cult was able to resume in the devastated the Church  of Saint Martin after the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants. In 1629, the reconstruction work that was said to begin lasted for several years. But the Church was again ravaged in 1696 during the bombardment of the stronghold of Saint-Martin-de-Ré by a fleet consisting of English and Dutch ships. On the first day of the year 1774 the Bell Tower collapses, dragging with it a part of the vaults. It was then decided to rebuild the building by reversing the orientation of the choir: steeple to the East, chorus now to the West. At the French revolution, the cult is momentarily closed. The Bell Tower now serves as a panoramic terrace on the city and its surroundings.

saint martin de re

The oldest parts date from the 15C, these are the walls of the two cross-crosses of the transept, still in elevation, with a path of round and endowed with their portals to the mutilated statuary. There are also the chapels of the present Choir ,and those of the South side of the medieval church. One can also see a window of flamboyant style and today obstructed gutted on the North wall. The steeple formed by a square Tower is now visitable and contains three imposing bells: Marie Thérèse (the largest ring ); Charles Catherine , and Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine , the smallest one.

saint martin de re

Chapel in memory of priests killed by the French revolution

The parish of Ile de Re on the Church in French

Tourist office of the Ile de Re on the Church

The Citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a military work built from 1690 to protect the island of Ré. It is one of the main historical monuments of the city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. In 1873 it was transformed into a depot for the regrouping of prisoners destined to be sent to the Bagnes and was for 65 years (from 1873 to 1938), the only point of grouping of convicts to forced labour, before their departure, by boat (the Loire, or La Martinière), towards the prison of French Guyana or the prison of New Caledonia.

saint martin de re

A first Citadel was built in 1625 which was destroyed in 1628. It was rebuilt by Vauban and François Ferry from 1681 until the end of the 17C, following the siege of La Rochelle. It protects La Rochelle and Rochefort from the English invasions. In the 18C, access bridges were rebuilt. In the 20C, buildings were built for prisoners.

saint martin de re

The Citadel served many years as a gathering place for the convicts who were leaving for the Bagnes of New Caledonia and Guyana. It was then transformed into a penitentiary, a Central House still active. The visit of the ramparts west side of the city and on the entire waterfront is possible with the porte de La Flotte, currently Porte Thoiras . And the Porte de la Couarde, currently the Porte de  Campani.

saint martin de re

With 485 places, the penitentiary of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is the most important Central House in France, and the prison administration, the main employer of the island . In 1958, the Thoiras barracks of the Penitentiary Center was reserved for Algerian prisoners. It is a case, undoubtedly unique in France and Europe, of a prison located in the heart of a renowned tourist area, in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and of which a part of the infrastructures is classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO!

saint martin de re

Tourist office of Ile de Re on the citadel

Official site of Vauban fortifications on the Citadel of Saint Martin de Re

There you go something to get you over the island, car is king and the ride over the bridge is awesome. Once in the towns walking is best. Again for public transports see the tourist office here: Tourist office on public transports in the Ile de Re

Hope you have enjoy the post and thank you again for stopping by. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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March 31, 2019

Garden of Oranges or Giardino degli Aranci or Parco Savello or Savello Park, of course, Rome!

Ok so this was a dandy I need to tell you more about it, almost forgot from my vault of over 50K photos, yes! As I told you, we go to a city by plane car or train and then we walk all over , staying above ground. In my opinion, the best way to see a city and its monuments. No different in Italy and especially Rome

As we walk we came to a high point with great views of the city and a nice story. So with different names but in English, Garden of Oranges or Savello Park and in Italian Giardino degli Aranci or Parco Savello. This is my bit of history on it, enjoy as we did

The Garden of Oranges is the name used in Rome to describe the Savello Park. It has a surface area of 7,800 square meters and is located on the Aventin Hill. The Park is famous for offering an excellent view of the city. The garden, as it is today, was designed in 1932. It has been designed to offer the public access to the view on the other side of the Hill, creating a new viewpoint, to be added to the viewpoints already existing in Rome, such as the Pincio and the Janiculum.

rome

We were actually in Trastevere and decided to walk towards the Tiber river crossed it a the ponte sublicio going along the river and saw these huge building above us which was actually the Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino or the Saint Sabine basilica and right next to it is the parco Savello!

A bit of history I like

The garden of oranges, whose name comes from the many orange trees that grow there, stretches over the area of the ancient fortress built near the Basilica of Santa Sabina by the Savelli family between 1285 and 1287. It was built on an ancient castle built by the Crescentii family in the 10C. The garden is bordered by a wall that surrounds the Castle Savelli and other remains of the castle are still visible. The castle was later given to the order of the Dominicans of Santa Sabina, which transformed it into a monastery, and the small park, in vegetable garden. According to legend, St. Dominic gave the garden his first orange tree, after transporting a shaft from Spain. The legend also tells that Catherine of Siena picked the oranges from this tree, and made candied fruits, which she gave to Pope Urbain VI

The garden is very symmetrical, with a central avenue aligned with perspective, later named in honor of actor Nino Manfredi. The central square is named after another Roman actor, Fiorenzo Fiorentini, who for several years had led the summer theatrical season in the Park.

The fountain at the entrance is composed of two separate rooms: an antique Roman bath basin, and a monumental marble mask. This mask was originally backed by a fountain built in 1593 for a cattle market (Campo Vaccino) in the center of Rome. The mask has a long history. After the dismantling, in 1816, the fountain of Campo Vaccino, it was recovered and then in 1827 used to decorate a fountain erected on the right bank of the Tiber river. This fountain was demolished in 1890, and the sculpture was kept in a municipal depot before being moved to its current location.

Indeed the views of Rome are splendid and worth the detour in your travel plans to Rome! Roma! Italy, Italia! Enjoy it

rome

The Roman tourist office has a bit more on it here: Tourist office of Rome on Parco Savello

One of the nicest walk you can do in Rome with plenty of architecture, garden and history all around you. Ciao Roma!

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

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March 31, 2019

St Peter’s Cathedral ,Vannes!

Well I was back in Vannes this Saturday and behold  always wonderful, see my previous post just for a taste and search my blog for many others on wonderful medieval intact Vannes. However, looking at the current festivities I search my blog for a post on the St Peter’s Cathedral or Cathédrale St Pierre and behold my last entry was from October 2016!! There were some bits and pieces in other posts but for the Cathedral not one since 2016!! Amazing all the things we see and write and continue! New fresh photos!

Anyway this is the 600 anniversary of the coming here of Vincent Ferrier from Valencia Spain to spread the gospel of Christ in this area. It is now Saint Vincent Ferrier and we are celebrating big from March 2018 to June 2019 but especially this year. There is a dedicated site for the festivities in many languages here: Official Saint Vincent Ferrier festivities Vannes

His body rest in the Cathedral on a special Chapel as you enter on your left hand side nearer the Altar.And of course, it is a great center of pelegrinage from many parts of Europe. He was born in 1350 at Valencia at the time part of the kingdom of Aragon, and died in 1419 at Vannes! He is the Patron Saint of the Comunidad of Valencia in Spain. In Spanish he is written at Vicente Ferrer.  The Dominican fathers have a page on him in Spanish here: Dominicans order page on San Vicente Ferrer

As it would be a monumental task to tell you all about this wonderful magnificent beautiful Cathedral, I will just tell you the main points me think. Hope you enjoy as we do.

The Cathedral Saint-Pierre of Vannes is done in Gothic style, it is elevated on the site of the ancient Romanesque cathedral. Its construction spans five centuries, from the 15C to the 19C, and if one includes the length of existence of the Romanesque Tower-Belfry preserved from the old building, one arrives at a construction period of seven centuries. As a whole, the Cathedral remains, nevertheless, faithful to the ancient Romanesque and comprises a nave annexed by ten lateral chapels, a transept with unequal arms, a choir wrapped in a ambulatory and a row of two axial chapels.

The nave has a length of 47 meters and a width of 13 meters. The total length of the Cathedral is 110 meters, which makes it the longest among the Cathedrals of Brittany. The vault of the nave and the transept measures almost 21 meters high.

vannes cat st pierre front door mar19

From west to east, the following five chapels are found on the south side:

Chapel of the baptismal font this is the smallest of the five chapels. Sainte-Anne Chapel she is the patron Saint of Brittany, and according to the Bible, the mother of Mary ,grandmother of Jesus. Chapel of the Rosary the stained-glass window shows the sacred heart of Paray-le-Monial. Blessed Pierre René Rogue’s Chapel blessed Pierre René Rogue was a priest, born in Vannes, known for his great piety he was sentenced to death and guillotined for bringing communion to a dying man. It is buried under the altar. The Chapel Saint-Gwenaël, Saint Gwenaël took part in the evangelisation of the Breton dioceses in the 6C. On the corresponding stained glass, he is represented in the company of the blessed Françoise d’Amboise. The latter, Duchess of Brittany, founded the first convent of Carmelites in Vannes.

vannes

The five chapels on the north side of the nave are the following from west to east:

Chapelle Saint-Mériadec-et-Saint-Patern the stained glass depicts Saint Mériadec and Saint Patern, the first bishop of Vannes (who also has a Church on his name in his neighborhood and is the oldest Church in Vannes). Chapelle Saint-Louis with about 5.17 meters over 6.15 meters. This is the largest Chapel in the nave. Built around 1456, it was first dedicated to St. Sebastian, to which St. John the Baptist was added from 1648. At the end of the 18C, it was dedicated to Saint Louis, hence the stained glass window which represents twelve scenes of the life of the Holy King. Chapelle Saint-Antoine, its Gothic-style porch is topped by a stained-glass window bearing the arms of Brittany, Vannes and Mgr Bécel. Since December 2015, an inscription in red, affixed to the outside of the porch, indicates that this entrance is called the gate of Mercy. referring to the Holy Jubilee year decreed by Pope Francis in the Bull of Indiction Misericordia Vultus of April 11 2015. The Rotunda Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament this rotunda shaped side chapel is of Italian Renaissance style, a rare case in Brittany. Adjacent to the north façade, it was built between 1530 and 1537 at the expense of Canon Jean Daniélo, inspired by his Roman memories and who thought to make it his mausoleum. Originally destined for the Blessed Sacrament, this chapel was dedicated to the cult of St. Vincent Ferrier from 1956 to 2018. It is currently empty and awaiting a new liturgical assignment. Maybe a baptistery. The altar-tomb of Saint Vincent Ferrier, which was there, was transferred to the North cruiser. And the Chapel called Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes-this is the place of the ancient gate of the Dukes of Brittany.

vannes

vannes

vannes

The Northern Cross of the transept opens outwards by the beautiful portal of the Chanoines. It is topped by a stained glass window depicting Saint Vincent Ferrier. This North brace which, from 1956, had been reduced to being a place of passage, since may 2018 hosts the tomb of Saint Vincent Ferrier. It is thus found, the altar-tomb of Saint Vincent as well as the beautiful reliquary in the form of a bust of vermeil made in 1902. On the edge of the upper part of the woodwork, is deployed the tapestry of Aubusson of 1615 which relates on 28 meters of length, seven miracles attributed to the Saint as well as the scene of his canonization in 1455 and the portrait of the donor, the Bishop of Vannes.

vannes

vannes

vannes

The Choir is surrounded by a very large ambulatory intended to channel pilgrims who came to pray on the tomb of St. Vincent Ferrier in the middle ages. Like the basilical pavilion located in the Choir, a marble plaque recalls the affiliation of the Basilica Cathedral of St Peter’s Vannes to the Basilica of St. Peter of Rome.

vannes

The Grand Organ of the Cathedral of St Pierre of Vannes is today an instrument of 35 games which has been the subject of a complete restoration in 1985. The Tribune is supported by six Doric columns with smooth bole and molded marquee resting on masonry quadrangular granite bases, the upper part of which consists of a larger stone treated in quarter round, ledge and ogee before resuming a square shape under the column tours. The organ consists of two buffets: the positive and the great organ. The positive is placed in cornball in the middle of the Tribune. The Grand-Organ is composed of three levels of mouldings, squares at the lower level, rectangular horizontal at the middle and rectangular vertical level at the upper level. Marrying the bulge form of the cheeks of the Massif, two monumental sculptures support the large turrets.

vannes

As usual some webpages to help you enjoy and plan your trip here which is a must,are

Official Cathedral St Peter of Vannes

Tourist office of the Morbihan dept 56 on Vannes heritage

Tourist office of Brittany on Vannes heritage

And they you have it a gem of my belle France, a must in my beautiful Brittany and you have to see if passing by my beloved adopted Morbihan and of course our capital city of Vannes.  The St Peter’s Cathedral is worth your while.

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

 

March 30, 2019

Vannes ,again, its a must to see!

So this is beginning to look a lot like Spring or even summer temps today at 18C or about 64F and sunny, very nice. It must have a walk a short trip somewhere from our town, so what would it be? well there are so many difficult to pick one, even thus we have some in my grinder for later longer trip, the decision was to go to our capital city of Vannes, in the Morbihan breton of our beautiful Brittany.

There was the usual errand as well as my boys wanted some japanese BD/mangas thing at Japanim the specialist store in old town Vannes. And of course ,on the way back the groceries at our usual E Leclerc but there were other goodies as well. As you can tell we are busy lol!

Back to Friday night I had a lunch with collegues at a restaurant never been even thus been to the one next door! The experience was very nice and should go back with the family. However, waiting for my collegues to arrive i had my first apéro or before meal drink or after work or happy hours whatever at a friendly bar near the city town hall of Vannes. This turn out to be rather nice as there were visiting Americans on job assignments here so you guess it the conversation turn into current events and sports for a while. The place is nice for this sort of thing a drink snacks and then continue the night; oh yes the place is Café Arthur at Place Maurice Marchais facing the city hall. It is only open since November 2018 but the new owner was very pleasant and I did had my German beer Warsteiner ,not bad.

vannes

From there I join my collègues at the Le Sous-Sol restaurant on the other side of the square next to the city hall. The restaurant is very innovative in food and name layout as le sous-sol means basement and it is there. We opted for the main table at street level. There were very nouvelle cuisine dishes with codfish, shrimps, and desserts I never had and probably won’t opt for them in the future but for the curious culinary mind it should work. The service was very friendly and even the waiter spoked English! More about it here:Restaurant Le Sous-Sol Vannes

Morbihan tourist office in French: Tourist office of Morbihann dept 56 on Le Sous-Sol

vannes

vannes

Now forward to today Saturday. The area is very nice and I usually parked by the Place de la Liberation where there is the bus terminal amongt the ones stopping there is our town bus line 5 coming and going to Vannes that my boys take often for their things.. My new Ford car is there, ready for 2019, as well as my boys behind.

vannes

vannes

We walk in the area and cannot passed by our wonderful capital city or town hall building with the impressive horse statue of duke of Brittany John IV (Jean) and the wonderful college Jules Simon (middle school) and its wonderful Chapel St Yves. 

vannes

vannes

We then continue today down to the Le Port or harbor marina with its wonderful canal of sailing boats that goes all the way out into the Gulf of Morbihan and its 12 islands! and then out into the Atlantic ocean!

vannes

We went a bit into the market that still was going on usually until about 13h30 or 1:30 pm. and goes all the way around from place Lucien Laroche to place du poid public to place des lices along the old ramparts of Vannes! and see backside its magnificent Constable tower or Tour du Connetable.

vannes

And of course we ate, who wouldn’t in this magical place by the harbor marina Le Port is very nice and many places we had eaten here over the last 8 years. We came back to one not been in a while, the L’Atlantique plenty of good sea and land combination and mad crowd to get in, we were lucky without reservation because arrive at exactly 12h midday ;many others were turn away without reservations!

vannes

vannes

Here we had as entrée oysters of course!! a half dozen , and then the main dish was for me the hashis parmontier au canard or sort of a potato purée over a bed of duck meat, and for dessert the dome aux chocolat with crunchy bottom, ice cream and a cupola or dome of dark chocolate! all wash down with a nice red 2016 from our neighbors in the Loire, Domaine Octavie Les Vieux Moines all pinot noir! nice.

vannes

Finally, it was a big day in town for a very special person at the Cathedral of St Peter but that is another post. For now enjoy Vannes always exciting to see in my Morbihan breton.

vannes

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

 

 

 

March 30, 2019

Forum of Peace or Foro della Pace, of course, Rome!

Ok so, again,  this was a dandy I needed to tell you more about it, almost forgot from my vault of over 50K photos, yes! As I told you, we go to a city by plane car or train and then we walk all over , staying above ground. In my opinion, the best way to see a city and its monuments. No different in Italy and especially Rome!

The Forum of Peace (Foro della Pace) is the third of the Imperial forums. The term peace did not have the same meaning as it may have in the 21C; it was the peace imposed by the Emperor of Rome or Pax Romana eventually imposed by the arms. Vespasian ,Imperator Cæsar Vespasianus Augustus had also built it, between 71 and 75, to commemorate his victory over the Jews of Judea.

rome

It is a monumental ensemble of 145 meters over 85 meters, surrounded by a wall of walls on three sides and a large portico with columns on the fourth side. It was built to the east of the Nerva Forum, at the site of the former Macellum burned down in 64.

On the site of the Forum of Peace you could find,  the Temple of Peace at about 34 meters by 22 meters, which contained the treasure recovered during the capture of the second temple of Jerusalem and many other works of art. The library of the Forum of Peace (tabularium) which contained the archives of the urban Prefecture, the cadastral plans and a series of documents concerning the work of the world, notably under Vespasian and Septime Severa, as well as a very large number of the works of the doctor Galen. The famous Forma Urbis , a marble cadastral plan of Rome, new edition supplemented and updated the plan of Agrippa, executed in 73, and destroyed during the great fire of 191 or 192. There is also, a nice garden. The location of the Forum of Peace in modern Rome is located in the space between Via Cavour , corner with the Via dei Fori Imperiali and between the Colosseum, and the Monument to Vittorio Emanuelle II.

rome

As we walking the before mention popular area it was not hard to by pass this Foro della Pace on your left side coming from the Colosseo or Coliseum. Great walk and plenty to eat ok in this area in off the beaten path restos especially on the Via Cavour side.

Hope you enjoy it as we did. Here is a webpage with some more info on the Foro della Pace or Forum of Peace (Roman peace that is!) . Fori Imperiali webpage on foro della pace in Italian

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

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March 30, 2019

Hostal Restaurant Palacios ,Toledo!

Ok so today will go into again uncharted territory for me. I do travel whether business or pleasure always try to sneek in and see things in our beautiful world. Spain is like my home, I am Spanish citizen since birth from my grandparents of Tenerife.  I have lived in Madrid and still cousins there and near north of Toledo. I do visit Spain at least once every year since upteem times. All said and done.

However, when I write I tell you about experiences and things to see eat do, but I like to bring one dear place to give it the credit it deserves in my arsenal of memories ,hoping they become yours too. My family was taken to Spain by my insistance for several years now and they became to love it too; no question every year vacation time Spain came out on top and get away from our beloved France where we have lived for the last 16 years.

The visit to Toledo is a must for all, and no different for us Spaniards to see the history of our country ,the tolerance of Toledo is awesome(search my many posts on it). While walking its narrow cobblestone streets in the center and beyond and got to the point of been hungry we stop at a restaurant that is also a hostal (inexpensive hotel) right in the tourist central! We thought would be crazy to eat there but the price was right, amazing even 7,95€ complete meal with wine/beer so we took the opportunity.

It has been our must stop each time in the city for lunch for the last several years except 2018 when my dear late wife Martine passed away from pancreatic cancer. She loved this place so much. I would tell you briefly on Hostal Restaurant Palacios in Toledo!

Toledo

The magic lunch menu price has been kept from 7,50€ to 7,95€ over the years and always fully loaded with entrée, main dish, dessert, drink of juice sodas/wines/beers and coffee! It changes every time often. The food is terrific and the place very quant with very nice people we have come to know, they even remember us!!

Toledo

This Small and modern Hostel-Restaurant is located in the heart of the old town of Toledo next to the Cathedral and 200 meters from the Plaza de Zocodover and the Alcázar de Toledo.

Toledo

Restaurant Palacios is part of the facilities of the Hostal Palacios, located in Calle Alfonso X the Wise. In this restaurant they have been satisfying the tastes of the most exquisite palates with their wide variety of dishes and portions and the excellent quality of their products. Enjoy homemade food and typical Toledo dishes.

Toledo

In General, Toledo eats well. It Is true that not always cheap, as many stand out, but if you look a bit, you will find gems like Palacios.

Hostal Palacios (this not tried yet) offers comfortable accommodation in this impressive city. The air-conditioned rooms are decorated in a warm and rustic style and feature a plasma-screen satellite TV and views of the old town of Toledo. The hotel offers an Internet point from where you can organise your excursion to the beautiful Alcázar and other sights.

I like to give you handy some webpages to help you plan your trip to this wonderful property worthy of my recommendation.

Official Hostal Palacios

Tourist office of Toledo on the Hostal Palacios

And two of my favorites sites already mentioned in my blogroll end of my front blog page are The Fork or Tenedor or Fourchette ,and Yelp

The Tenedor or fork reviews on Restaurant Palacios

Yelp reviews on Hostal Restaurant Palacios

There you go, I feel better now, it is worth mention good memorable places when we travel even if humble places, they are part of the thrill of traveling and family stories to last a lifetime. I know Martine would be happy to tell you about it too!

Toledo

One for the memories forever my dear late wife Martine!

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

 

March 29, 2019

Jardins de Fontainebleau or its gardens!

It was the first castle that I visited in France way back in 1990 when my dear late wife Martine took me there as it was her native area. Its still the nostalgic favorite ,visited several times over the years. The luxury and architecture of it is inmense, but a lot of folks missed the wonderful gardens. They are magnificent. So here I am to tell you a bit about it.

The jardins or gardens of the Chateau or castle of Fontainebleau, are in the department of Seine et Marne or no 77 east of Paris in the region of Île de France. You get here by train from Gare de Lyon in Paris direction de Montargis, Montereau, or Laroche-Migennes, to the Fontainebleau-Avon train station and there take bus line 1 direction Les Lilas until stop /arrêt « Château ». You can come by road from Paris on the A6  (Porte d’Orléans or Porte d’Italie). Parking is available across right from the castle or at pl d’Armes or at the next street over  Rue de Ferrare.

Fontainebleau

To the south of the castle lies the  grand parterre (11 ha or 27 acres) or big garden designed by none other than  André Le Nôtre, and it is the most extensive that he had done, a French garden style or jardin à la française. It was created from 1660 to 1664. By the time of  Napoléon Ier, the terraces were encircled with lime trees.  The English style garden or jardin à la Anglaise took formed from 1812 with an artificial stream, and long alleys, butches of trees,and isolated trees of various species ,and sculptures . Some of the current trees dates back from the middle of the 19C and are from the time of those planted under Napoleon. The jardin de Diane are from work done under Napoleon as well as Louis Philippe that were done in a picturesque style . They have as principal sculpture that of the Fountain of Diane that, also, gave name to the garden. The gardens are free admission and are open from  May to September  9h-19h.  March April and October from  9h-18h, and from November to February from  9h-17h.

Fontainebleau

Other interesting things to see is the Grotte des Pins or cave of pins encrusted in a wall by the wing of the galerie d’Ulysse looking out and done under king  Louis XV. The Pavillon de l’Etangs built in 1662 by Le Vau looking out to the Grand Parterre done by Le Nôtre. It was restored in 1807  when the jardin  Anglais was done. Then you have the huge Parc or park that goes beyond the castle far back, it has 130 hectares or 321 acres of land all the way to the bassin des Cascades ,and the east the royal castle.  From the village of Avon it crosses a principal road for access to the castle. It current configuration is due to the organisation of the alleys, cascades , and the creation of the Canal of 1,2 kms (0.75 mile)  under king  Henri IV by 1606-1609. You, also, will see the Fountain Bliaud, in the middle of the garden in a small forest , the fountain also call Belle-Eau  from the 16C and the one that gives the name to the castle in old French as in Fontaine -bleau or bliaud.

 Fontainebleau

You have the possibility of riding in a horse carriage the extend of the gardens, from Easter to All Saints day every day from 10h30 – 13h and 14h30 – 17h without interruption the weekends on depart from the Porte Dorée of the castle. You can ask for a ride into the forest as well . Information at the  « Les Attelages de Forêt de Fontainebleau » 66, rue Gambetta , at Avon. More info: Horse wagon rides in Castle and forest of Fontainebleau in French

Fontainebleau
Every year in November you can participate in the blessing of the hunt or the Feast of Saint Hubert, patron saint of the hunters. It is wonderful indeed, and we have participated of course. You start with a Mass by 9h30 or so, at the cour Ovale ,and then by 11h or so the Vin d’Honneur or drink by the Porte Dorée, and then by 12h or so the depart for the hunting in the forest  near the Obelisk towards the look of Maintenon . The current information will be told closer to the date on the Castle or city tourism webpage.

fontainebleau

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Fontainebleau castle on gardens

Official Tourist office of Fontainebleau

Official tourist office dept 77 Seine et Marne on Fontainebleau

For info as I am the official Friends of Fontainebleau site

There you go another wonderful gem of my belle France awaits for you and yours. Enjoy the Jardins de Fontainebleau or its gardens!

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

 

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March 29, 2019

Fontainebleau,King of Rome!

Once again for my memories , the first castle ever visited in France because it was near my dear late wife Martine native town. We have been here several times and are friends of the castle members. Well, a while back  ,I went back to Fontainebleau, to see the exposition of the Le Roi de Rome was going on.

Le Roi de Rome, un enfant, un prince it is call in French. It is about the son of Napoleon I, who was so in love with all things Roman, that he created and bestowed the title of king of Rome on his only male son.  The son was born on March 20, 1811 at the Palais des Tuileries in Paris (was set on fire by communards in 1871 and raze by the city of Paris in 1884, no longer there, but a group is trying to rebuilt it on private funds).

fontainebleau

He never set foot in Fontainebleau as his father and later uncle (Napoleon III) did, because of the turmoils of the time.  When Josephine could not provide Napoleon I a child because of old age he decided to divorce her ,and marry the sister of the tsar Alexandre I, marrying Marie-Louise of Austria at age 18 yrs old who was sacrificed  by her father the emperor François II. He married her by procuration in Vienna, brought her over to Compiegne on March 27 1810, and spent the night with her there before the religious ceremony that took place later at the Salon Carré in the Louvre, Paris.

fontainebleau

The title of king of Rome or roi du Rome was to tell the Pope Pie VII that the new king was above him, as Rome was one of the States of the French empire.  At the same time taken away the power of the emperor of the Germanic Holy Roman empire  by given the new born the title of king of the Romans.

The baptisme was done on June 9 1811 at Notre Dame  Cathedral of Paris. The June 16 1811 a bal is organised in the Palais des Tuileries and again another one at the chateau de Saint Cloud (today also lost in history, but still a nice garden) . Important work was done in the Palais des Tuileries to host the child, the Pavillon de Marsan was rename the appartement des Enfants de France. He,also, lived at chateau de Meudon in april of 1812, Compiégne in the summer of 1811, Rambouillet in 1812, where a mansion was built call the palais du roi de Rome still in existance. A castle was to be built in the Chaillot area of Paris right by the pont d’Iena but the wars and funds were never enough to do so.

Without his father, and after the revolt first in 1814 and then in 1815, the child Napoleon François Joseph Charles, Prince of Parma, and King of Rome refuses to leave the Palais des Tuileries. Napoleon I release his title in favor of his son as Napoleon II, but the enemy refuse the deal. The child is made to run, first Rambouillet, then Blois, and Orléans, finally he leaves France on May 2 1814 by Belfort at age 3, he never will return.  At Vienna with his grandfather he was given the title of Duke of Reichstadt, his link with France or French visitors is prohibited. However tuberculosis takes him in 1832 at age 21.

The photos in this exposition were prohibited even without flash, the material presented is so precious but very much worth your trip if ever again it is shown. Instead I will bring new photos of the Chateau de Fontainebleau.

fontainebleau

There some info on the Napoleon museum here: Official Chateau de Fontainebleau on the Napoleon Museum

Enjoy it for its history,its architecture,and its wonderful gardens. Fontainebleau is France, Europe and the World to be understood.

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

 

 

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March 28, 2019

The Chouans of Auray and Bretagne!

Let’s be a bit historical on our travels. I like to mentioned a bit about the Chouans, the folks of the country of Brittany in France. These folks were not in agreement to go the way of the French revolution,and were Royals and Catholics. They were led amongst others by General Cadoudal, a native son of Auray, where I used to lived when move into this region on a village next door.

The Chouannerie was in effect a civil war between Republicans (those for the French revolution) and Loyalists troops in the areas of the west of France such as Brittany, but also by others in  Maine, Anjou, and Normandy.  It was linked to the war of the Vendée ,and many times the two are known as the wars of the west. Wars rage from 1791 until 1800, from guerrilla warfare to frontal attacks all over the region. Uprisings took effect in 1815 and 1832 all subdued by the Republicans.

In Brittany by 1791, the Marquis de La Rouerie (already distinguished in the American Revolution as Colonel Armand) with the support of the count of Artois (the king Louis XVI  brother and later King Charles X)  created the clandestine Breton association or Association Bretonne that puts together a group having the Catholic dioceses as the principal objective the defense of the Monarchy, against Republicanism, the conservation of property ,and the establishement of laws and customs belonging to Brittany.  The war had in the Royal and Catholic army of Vannes led by General Cadoudal  that dominates in the Morbihan (today dept 56 of Brittany where I live), was formed of peasants for the most part,and after much battles and fronts led by many, the 25 February of 1795 Gen Georges Cadoudal goes to Paris and meets with Napoleon I  on March 4th (Palais de Tuileries), Cadoudal was offered many goodies but he refuse them all and decides to continue the fight first from exile in London. On May 10, Cadoudal is received by the Count of Artois at London ; that names him General in charge of the Catholic and Royal army of Brittany; ten days later he is met by William Pitt (prime minister) that offered to land 30000 men  at Calais and Brittany and 30000 more if he raises an army of 60K men .Cadoudal comes over by May 10th and lands in the Morbihan. The victory of Napoleon at Morango stops William Pitt to send the troops may even if peace is signed between England and France the war of the Chouans do not. In 1803 Cadoudal lands in Dieppe after gaining Paris to try to capture Napoleon he is betrayed and captured ,  and he finally is executed in 1804 at the place de Gréves (today pl Hotel de Ville) refusing all honors or pardons. Ironically the men to chase these chouans was Lazare Hoche, the general of the king and later Napoleon who is a native of Versailles, now buried there, and the famous Pl Hoche named after him in the city.

The family home in the village of  Kerleano next to Auray, is still hold by descendants of the General, and he is buried in a Chapel next to it, now entoured by a wonderful tree park,it is a place of pilgrimages by all Bretons. Yes heroes last for the people, Georges Cadoudal, was born in Kerleano commune de Brech January 1 1771 and died guillotined on June 25 1804 in Paris, a chouan General. Later he was posthumously name Marshal of France. If he had suceed in taken down Napoleon history would have been a lot different! To visit his tomb and park you need a car from the Auray train station that you arrive from Paris Montparnasse. The house is in private of the family and is not visited but you can see fairly well from outside. Today the Breton language is taught in schools as an elective and already taken by more than 700K students. The city webpage in French with more information on this monument is at  City of Auray on heritage see Le Reclus Kerleano

Auray

Auray

Auray

These area is close to my home, and I past by it everyday to work, I am sure more stories will surface.  You can make by car off N165 direction sortie 34 go by two round abouts circles and you will see the sign on your right, the site is well posted after that on each turn.

Enjoy this bit of history very hidden from the main stream of France but real and must be known if you are into history as I. Remember, Cadoudal of Auray at Kerleano! 

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

March 28, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXVI

And here I am back at you on my beloved Spain, oh yes and times are getting warmer !!! It sunny and 15C in my neck of the woods or about 58F but in Madrid it is also sunny and 65F or about 18C. Enjoy the latest and see you maybe this summer there!!!

The biography, the Nature, the topicality of the tradition, the biography as impulse of the writing, the music like shelter and as space of coexistence in the classrooms, in the parks, in the street. In life. That’s the date. That’s what MarPoética will deploy in Marbella. Because poetry is of all.  Every day in the afternoon y 18h30, the famous Park of the Constitution (Parque de la Constitución) will unfold the Cycle ‘ Words of the Sea ‘, in which they ask the voice and the word the youngest, recognized and award-winning poets. Another of the great scenarios of the meeting will be the Royal Hospital of Mercy (Hospital Real de la Misericordia) where from the 20h30 will develop the ambitious ‘ Poetic Dialogues ‘, which call the debate to authors of first line. More here:

https://marpoetica.es/programacion

The culture of cheese, so deeply rooted in the Spanish tradition, needed specialized establishments to nurture and nurture it. Fortunately, we have some temples with experience and expertise.One of the best in Madrid at Poncelet , Calle Argensola 27 More here:  www.poncelet.es

A free marathon with the best works of Garcia Lorca. On Wednesday March 27th is celebrated the World Theatre Day, a day that since 1961 remembers the importance that this art has to create a free and committed citizenship. The Royal Post Office (Real Casa de Correos),home of the Community of Madrid, hosts this Saturday a marathon of Lorquianas works to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the Andalusian poet to the Residence of Students. The Act will commence at 18h.

It has Been more than two decades since, in 1994, a score of sculptures by Fernando Botero took the Paseo de Recoletos of Madrid, and enjoyed such a welcome among the pedestrians during their stay that one of them was finally gifted to the city, achievement that they did not get New York or Paris, where it had traveled before this same exhibition. His Woman with a Mirror rests, since then, placidly and face down beside the Paseo de Recoletos, turning her back to the Calle Génova. Now, a large selection of canvases by the versatile Colombian artist, who in the decade of the 70’s came to consolidate as the most quoted living sculptor on the planet, he rushes his last days in Marlborough. Considered one of the great exponents of contemporary figurative painting, his balances of composition also speak of his understanding of the mechanisms of abstraction. The same is true of its color management, another of the features of its canvases, in which humor and critique always walk by hand. Gallery Marlborough (Calle Orfila, 5).Until Saturday, March 30th.

Some curiosities of my beloved Madrid:

If today’s Retiro park seems like a fascinating place, at the time it was a much more impressive place. The Royal Site of the Gran Retiro (Great Retreat) came to count, centuries ago, with 20 buildings, five squares, six ponds and eight hermitages.

Anyone who has gone through the Puerta del Sol knows that everyone, of any creed or condition, has a hole in it. Something that is also true in a physical way, because it has an area of about 11,000 square meters.

In the Plaza de Colon area are the Gardens of Discovery, a space full of symbology. For example, the three large blocks that we can observe next to the pond represent the three caravels of the famous Columbus expedition of 1492.

We go now with a disturbing fact, and that in Madrid there are more dead people  than alive. Only in the Almudena cemetery can we find the remains of some five million people!.

The disputes in the 17C in Madrid could be caused by the slightest reason. For example, not giving up the seat in the Church or passing in front of another by a door could be reason enough to end paddling in mourning (duels).

Located in the Alameda de Osuna, the park of Capricho is almost with total security the most beautiful in Madrid. One of the great surprises that it has prepared to the visitors is a bunker of the Civil War of 1500 square meters that can be visited by means of previous reservation, the so-called Jaca Position.

Did you know that Madrid has a castle? This is a fact that very few people know and with whom we encourage the reader to investigate a little more, visit included. We refer to the Castle of the Alameda, erected in the 15C, and located in the district of Barajas.

Robustness and agility, have strong and clear voice and not have been processed by racketeer or disturbing. These were some of the requirements required to be able to be a Sereno in Madrid in the mid-20C. Sereno, the men who guarde the streets of Madrid and many times thought to be a watchdog of the government system. However, very handy of opening the door of buildings late at night if forgotten the key or came too drunk!

If you walk through any neighborhood of the city you will not advance too many meters until you run into a gym. And it is that these places have experienced a real boom in the last decade. The first Gymnasium in Spain opened in Chueca in 1859.

The growth of Madrid led to the development of neighborhoods on land that used to be a very different function. For example, where today is Moratalaz, there was a meadow in which King Alfonso XIII liked to play polo. Ok

What would be Lent and Easter without French toast (Torrijas)? This sweet, of European origin but of long tradition in Spain, consists of a slice of bread of several days that, once soaked in syrup, milk or wine, is battered in egg and fried in a frying pan with oil. It is usually sweetened with molasses, sugar or honey and sometimes it is aromatized with cinnamon… It looks pretty much like French toast, but it’s not the same. The III Contest of French Toasts of the Community of Madrid,( III Concurso de Torrijas de la Comunidad de Madrid) which, on this occasion, has been organized by three associations (Craftsmen Artisans of Pastry-Confectioners of Madrid, Association of Cooks and confectioners of Madrid and Hotel Business Association of Madrid) and it has developed in three different categories: traditional, innovative and gluten-free elaborated by bakers as well as by cooks and food confectioners.

The Latasia Restaurant has not had a rival. Among the innovative proposals, the restaurant Koma, made with iced horchata or the Barra Dulce (sweet bar) with tea chai and chocolate. Café de la Opera (in the lower floor of the Hotel Opera, opposite the Teatro Real) to taste its classic French toast. In addition, the reinterpretations that can be tasted in Catalonia Atocha (a pair of brioches inspired by breakfast and in the afternoon snack that children usually take) and the one presented by the restaurant El Etxeko of the Hotel Bless (French-toasted ingot, caramelized and perfect flavor and texture, with almond cream and pistachio ice cream)

The best for me its still the Viena Repostería Capellanes (Vienna Pastry Shops Chaplains) at Calle Alcalá, 127 ,and other locations in Madrid, Also, the Patiseria La Oriental calle Ferraz, 47. From April 5 to 21 , you can taste the best French toasts in the pastries, restaurants and hotel that have participated in this contest. More on the contest here: http://www.asempas.com/asempas/iii-concurso-de-la-comunidad-de-madrid-las-mejores-torrijas-de-madrid-2019/

If you fancy the famous American dish (burgers) and don’t want to resort to the battle burgers, investing just a little more skyline diner is an option to contemplate. Always among the listings of the best burger, in their flirty and central local feel like staying and their burgers bet on quality ingredients. It can be created to taste, for those who start by removing the greener part or fleeing the sauces. Its Strenght is the artisan bread and the three types of meat to choose (D.O. Avila Veal, Black Angus and Pollo Campero (farm chicken). At Calle de Jesús, 14. Tel. +34  913 89 67 00. average Price 15-18 euros. More here: https://www.skylinediner.es/

During the 1930s and 40’s of the 20C, the border towns of Alcoutim (Portugal) and Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Huelva), separated by the river, were dark and abrupt places, where smuggling was rampant. The porters defied the law to pass merchandise from one side of the Guadiana to the other in wartime, both day and night. This cross-border activity marked the daily lives of the inhabitants of both populations and, at the same time, established a cultural and emotional link between their people. In memory of those times, and twinned by a tradition and a common feeling, Alcoutim and Sanlúcar jointly celebrate the third edition of the Festival of smuggling, (Festival del Contrabando,) an event in which, for three days from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 March, its inhabitants revive the past through a program full of activities, with ingredients as important as art, culture, gastronomy and natural heritage shared by both villas. The official start of the festival will be on Friday 29th by 15h30 with the opening of the Market of Trades and Fair, a traditional rural market that has become one of the attractions of the event. The most anticipated moment of the festival is the inauguration of the Floating Bridge on Friday 29th, at 16h, an ephemeral platform that connects both municipalities (the rest of the year, to access from one side to another must be done by boat), which has become a tourist attraction. Thousands of people will cross the bridge in the water, between the pier of Alcoutim and the one of Sanlúcar, the three days that is installed, which facilitate to the public the access to the different events of the festival on the shores. Places like the Castillo de San Marcos, in Sanlúcar de Guadiana, or the Castle of the Villa and the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Conception, in Alcoutim, accommodate some of the festive activities, but it is worthwhile to visit them with tranquility. The complete program is here in Portuguese: http://www.cm-alcoutim.pt/pt/destaques/4298/festival-do-contrabando-une-dois-paises-em-torno-de-uma-identidade.aspx

The Old Convent of Santa Fe receives 250 works of modern and contemporary authors little represented in Spain. One of the works of modern and contemporary art of the Roberto Polo collection that from this Wednesday 27th March, can be seen in the old convent of Santa Fe. The meeting, which has been possible after four years of work between the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, the Cuban-American collector Roberto Polo  and the journalist and art expert Rafael Sierra, assumes that for 15 years a renewable period by the one who signed the free transfer of 475 works of 171 artists will remain in the region. The agreement, signed last July, includes the opening of another headquarters in the old Court of the Inquisition of Cuenca, a 16C building that will house the rest of the cession and whose rehabilitation is not completed until 2023. From the beginnings of the abstraction with Kandinsky, the constructivism with The Lissitzky, the new realismes and the surrealism with Max Ernst. It is a bridge that allows us to recover the relationship between Spain and Flanders, which was lost in the 17C.

The Old Convent of Santa Fe ,closed since 1973, whose construction began in the 9C as the palace of Rahman III, then passed to the order of Calatrava and, in the 16C, Isabel the Catholic gave it to the Mother Superior of Santiago. After 15 years of restoration, the space has recovered the palatial Andalusian part and the caliphal Qubba, of which the poly lobular arches of the vault are still preserved, since that small chapel of Bethlehem, currently with mural paintings of the 16C has always been a place of prayer. Corpo also has a temporary exhibition hall, which shares with the Santa Cruz Museum and presents, for the first time in Spain, a large exhibition (60 canvases and 135 drawings) by Belgian artist Werner Mannaers. The visit to both spaces will be free until March 31st.

The bullfighter José Tomás Toreará this year at the Granada Corpus Fair on Saturday 22nd June. This will be the first paseíllo of the Spanish season of José Tomás, who wore lights in national arenas for the last time last year 29 June 2018 in Algeciras. More on Corpus Christi in  Granada here:  http://www.lovegranada.com/feasts/corpus-christi/

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

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