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 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

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

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.  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.

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.

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

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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March 28, 2019

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie ,Auch!

And I take you deeper into south deep France of the region of Occitanie and the dept 32 of the Gers, the wonderful expression of French culinary arts in and around the city of Auch. It is more famous for a personage name D’Artagnan but it has a wonderful Cathedral that I like to tell you more of it now.

Sit back and enjoy as I do on the St Mary’s Cathedral or Cathédrale Sainte Marie of Auch!

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie or Saint Mary’s Cathedral is located in Auch. The Cathedral was always dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. A large three-aisle building, 102 meters long by 35 meters wide, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Auch. Begun in July 1489, on the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Austinde, it was consecrated in 1548, but two centuries were necessary to complete its construction.   It is of flamboyant Gothic style, strongly influenced by the Renaissance. It was completed at the end of the 17C by a façade and a Corinthian porch. It includes a set of 21 chapels. It is especially noteworthy by a series of eighteen canopies, works by Arnaud de Moles, and by the panelling of the choir, including the 113 stalls, of unknown authors, which continue following the biblical scenes begun on the canopies

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A bit of history I like

The first cathedral would have been built in the Gers plain. It was ruined by the Saracens (moors arabs) in the 9C. Ayrard was the first bishop of Auch who received the title of archbishop in a letter from Pope John VIII dated 879. The archbishops will tried to rebuild their cathedral, several times after. The construction of the present Cathedral of St Mary began by bishops and city people who had the taste, if not passion, of the construction of the churches. There were concessions of indulgences for those who would help in the reconstruction of the cathedral from 1469 to 1482. The first stone is laid in 1489!

A bit more on the construction and architecture

The Cathedral of Saint Mary began with the crypt with its five chapels. The construction continued through the ambulatory and its chapels. In 1507, the bedside and chorus of the cathedral until the transept-except the vaults above the sanctuary-were completed. The coat of arms of François de Savoie and Jean-François de la Trémoille can be seen at the base of the buttresses around the choir. It was Cardinal François de Clermont-Lodève who gave a new impetus to the construction of the Cathedral. His coat of arms appears on the fourteen buttresses on the south side. The stained glass windows, made between 1507 and 1513, adorn the eighteen low-lying window of the bedside. It was ,also commissioned the altar of Sainte-Catherine made in 1521, the tomb and the stalls. In 1544, the work reached the level of one of the sundial. The Cathedral was consecrated on 12 February 1548 while the construction of the nave, aisles and doors continued. In 1561, the second sundial is engraved on the south facade. The erection of the steeples had to began around 1559. It was in 1560 the door of the north aisle were finished, and by 1609, the main nave did not yet have a vault. Only the ambulatory and the chapels are vaulted. The western façade is not yet finished, as well as the sculptures of the lateral porches In 1629 ; the altar of the Blessed Sacrament is consecrated capped with a ciborium, a stone canopy carved up to date and then the essentials of the nave and its vaulting are made the stained glass windows of the nave are put in 1641.

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The Cathédrale Sainte Marie choir is almost a church in a church with its vast dimensions,   meters by 12 meters. It is completely fenced by the monumental altarpiece and by the stalls on the other three sides. The choir received, a mosaic pavement and, in its outer perimeter, a rich light oak coating . The Cathédrale Sainte Marie is equipped with two organ of different periods: the Organ of the Tribune or great organ, finished in June 1694; and the Chorus organ of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll, of Romantic period, designed a ensemble acting as a rood at the rear of the stalls with a choir organ surmounted by a great Calvary in the late Gothic style.

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It was possible to access the crypt from the St Mary’s Cathedral by two staircases, one of which is walled in the north. Since the crypt was only to redeem the difference in levels due to the slope, it is at the same level with the courtyard of the former archdiocese. It comprises five chapels placed under the chapels of the ambulatory. The steeple towers are the last floors of the towers. Their sculpted decor, finished in 1680 and are occupied by a ringing of nine bells. Eight are in the North tower. The tower of the clock carries the heaviest of them: the Bumblebee dedicated to the Virgin Mary, done in 1852 and weighing 6 750 kg (2.18 meters in diameter).

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On 3 October 1793 the county council decided to destroy the coats of arms on the walls and vaults of the St Mary’s Cathedral (French revolution). The constitutional bishop is put in prison and the maintenance of the cathedral is no longer assured. In 1808, Napoleon I promised during a stint at Auch to allocate sums for the restoration of the cathedral. The exterior of the St Mary’s Cathedral was built following a plan in Latin cross with nave-nave and aisle-sides-with peripheral chapels and an unflowing transept. Access to the cathedral is through five portals: three to the West giving access to the nave and the aisles, and one to each end of the transept. Inside there are 21 Chapels!!

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Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip are

Tourist office of Auch on the Cathedral

Tourist office of Gers on the Cathedral

TOurist office of region of Occitanie on things to see

Lovely old backwaters area we love to go and plenty of activities with of course the wonders of my belle France such as the St Mary’s Cathedral of Auch. Enjoy it!

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

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March 28, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVI

And here I am talking again about my belle France and some of the interesting things I like about it. The sun is out, 18C even and nice almost beach weather in my neck of the Breton woods.

As mentioned before in my blog ; the building between the 52 and 60 Avenue Champs-Elysées is like a book that combines the history of Paris and that of commerce. The Galeries Lafayette will open to the public on this coming Thursday, at noon, a new concept, hybrid of the department store and the concept store. Thirty years previously, Virgin Megastore invented both the concept of flagship of a sign and the theatricalisation of the sale-mini-concerts in support-in the majestic architecture from the 1930’s of the former offices of the first National City Bank of New York.

The Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées add to the art deco heritage; combining in 6,500 square meters, at the entrance an immersive tunnel worthy of the corridor of a spaceship of Kubrick, boxes of glasses hung on the second floor under the dome that was cleared of the false ceiling and a monumental staircase that connects the first and second floors. The furniture mixes kinds of ruffled carpets for shoes with rounded linear in gold or silver metal. The atmosphere is airy and sophisticated. The 650 selected labels-from mid-range to luxury share the same aisles and the same connected hangers with a digital display showing the available sizes. The visual identity incorporates the very typographical logo. All staff are employed by Galeries Lafayette. No demonstrators.  The man and the woman mix in the aisles. The dressing rooms like the toilets are unisex. The fluidity of the era of time… The basement offers 30 to 50 dining seats for 10 sweet or savoury brands such as  Chocolaterie Ducasse, Marcolini, Kaspia, A la mère de Famille, Maisie Café, comptoir Vérot.etc.More soon here:  http://www.galerieslafayette.com/i/nos-magasins/

Taillevent, belongs to the history of our gastronomy, and even a little more. All influential figures have marched since the post-war period. In the mansion of the Duke of Morny, former owner Jean-Claude Vrinat knew how to place capitalism gurus, Ministers, media bosses and showbiz stars. He had reached Nirvana, three Michelin stars, in 1973, kept until 2007. Chef David Bizet replaces Alain Solivérès, chef for almost 17 years of the restaurant Le Taillevent. 70 years after getting the first star, it’s a page that turns for this big house that welcomes its sixth chef at rue Lamennais, always looking to get back its 3 stars.More here:  https://letaillevent.com/en/

l’English-language Library in Angers.  Talking about Brexit that huge decision that will linger in time as a bad play, time will tell. The largest English-language library in Western France lists 1 876 members of 74 different nationalities. Liz, has been living in Angers since 1995, but she is still not French. This week, she had even planned to go to Ireland to apply for nationality, and thus double her chances of staying European. Ken, for the regulars has been living in Angers for over forty years. He met Marie-Madeleine. They loved each other and then married. He remained, became an English teacher at the European high school Sainte-Agnès. Ken is 65 years old today. He listens to the BBC morning and evening, comes to recharge in the English library. Despair. “How can women and politicians justify this position when they see the economic catastrophe that is on the horizon? At Swindon, they still believe that Honda’s departure has nothing to do with Brexit. There are 3 500 jobs which, in 2022, will disappear with the closure of the factory of the Japanese manufacturer. More here: https://www.lemonde.fr/m-le-mag/article/2019/03/26/a-l-approche-du-brexit-la-grande-angoisse-des-anglais-d-anjou_5441271_4500055.html

It’s spring, the beautiful days come back and many Parisians and regional folks are riding their bikes again.  And they need to know the laws too! Cyclists discover on this occasion certain special rules of the Highway Code. The wearing of headphones is one of the most expensive tickets to which cyclists are potentially subjected. This offence is punishable by a fine of 90 euros in case of payment within 15 days, increased to 135 euros beyond and up to 375 euros in case of payment after 45 days. And it’s not the only one. Riding by bike, Scooter or trottinette on a sidewalk is forbidden, except for children up to 8 years of age. Ride in a forbidden direction and go to the red light… unless explicitly authorized. Cyclists are obliged to respect the traffic lights. Except when triangular signs allow them to go straight or right. Please note that bicycles are not required to use a bicycle path unless this requirement is indicated by a blue-bottomed circular panel (they should be). yet doubling the cars by the right when cycling is an offense. Circulate under the influence of alcohol. Drink or drive, you have to choose, even on a bicycle. But unlike a legend, a cyclist cannot get points on his license. While in Germany, the limit of alcohol allowed by bicycle is twice as high as driving (should be the same, but this is Europe!). The city of Paris has intensified the video-verbalization to enforce them. More than 23 200 fines (PV) have been compiled since January 2018. The law by the Association Déplacer à Bicyclette : https://mdb-idf.org/code-de-la-route-a-velo-droits-et-devoirs/

The Domaine de La Grange-la Prévôté, in Savigny-Le-Temple, has been labelled “heritage of regional interest”, this past Tuesday, by the Permanent Commission of the Regional Council of île-de-France chaired by Valérie Pécresse. It joins the other twelve sites of Seine-et-Marne (dept 77) having already received the precious label of the region.  In Savigny-Le-Temple, the Domaine de La Grange-la-Prévôté derives its name from the existence of a Provost in the 14C but the Castle and its Commons date for the most part of the second empire.

In Bassevelle, the staking aircraft Lighthouse “Petit Bassevelle”, rue de l’église (at road D 55), was a luminous landmark with neon lights used to guide air navigation. It was installed in the place called Les jerseys in the early 20C and is part of a set of three aeronautical headlights close to each other located in Jouarre and at the Marchais-en-Brie (Aisne, dept 02).

At Combs-la-Ville , the Church of Saint Vincent, place du Père-André-Jarlan, is in the image of Sénart: a new building on ancient foundations. The Church mixes vestiges dating back several centuries, like the Bell Tower with a choir, a bedside and a nave demolished and rebuilt from 1900 to 1902.

At Coupvray , labeled “village of character”, several elements of the small heritage are honored: the fountain, the Royal Terminal and the wash-houses (lavoirs). One of the washing-houses, said of the Médisances, at the top of the village, was built during the French revolutionary period at the site of an old fountain, is fed by the sream of the Fréminette and enjoys a nice roof open to the center which allows to recover the rainwater.

At Crégy-lès-Meaux, the Maison des Carmes  , received the label as well. The former convent of the order of the Barefoot Carmelites, built from 1622 in a corniche overlooking Meaux in the North, was dispersed in the French revolution. The house belongs to a private owner. The lawn promenade of 180 meters long between its two towers restored by the municipality is a town area covered by the GR1(walkers way) and offering a breathtaking view of Meaux. The convent welcomed monks from the order of the Carmelites who walked barefoot, hence their name of barefoot Carmelites. They lived un-cloistered and actively participated in life outside their convent, preaching in parishes, forming students, etc.

At Guercheville, the Dovecote next to the City/Town Hall, rue Grande. It is easily recognizable by its shape and it’s bicolor, beige and brick façade. It is one of the remains of the Castle, bought by the town in 1984 with the farm and its portal. If the farm was demolished to build the City/Town Hall, the gate was preserved, the Dovecote became the City Council Hall and the barn was transformed into a holiday guest room.

At Maisoncelles-en-Brie, the Church of Saint-Sulpice has three elements classified and restored: the altar of the 17C and two altarpieces, which were even lent to the Musée du Louvre for the time of an exhibition!.

The Vexin (wonderful natural park we enjoyed while at Versailles) crosses over the Seine. For the first time since its creation in 1995, the Vexin Regional Natural Park (PNR) will count from the towns on the left bank of the river. As part of an extension of this park which now counts 78 towns on the Val-d’Oise(dept 95) and 20 in the Yvelines (dept 78). Nine towns from the Yvelines will be added, by 2021, to this list; these are Bennecourt, Mousseaux, Limetz-Villez, Rolleboise, Méricourt, Freneuse, Moisson, Hardricourt and Triel-sur-Seine.More here:   http://www.pnr-vexin-francais.fr/fr/le-parc/

With more than 45 000 visitors, the Cerny – La Ferté-Alais aerial meeting is one of the most popular events of the Essonne (dept 91). The 47th Edition of the “time of the propellers” will take place on June 8-9, 2019. On the program, aerial shows accompanied by pyrotechnic effects, baptisms of the air but also animations around the theme of aeronautics. It is calling for volunteers. Only criteria to apply: to be at least 16 years old (parental authorization necessary for minors), to be motorized or to be able to access the ground by their own means. A letter of motivation must be sent by May 15 May. The letter to be sent to Amis de Jean-Baptiste Salis, Aerodrome de Cerny/La Ferté-Alais, 91590 Cerny or by émail:  Bureau@ajbs.fr. More info here:http://www.ajbs.fr/presentation-du-meeting-2019/

The town,La Ferté-Alais : https://www.lafertealais.fr/tourisme/tourisme-fertois

Take a leap in the past to Saint-Cloud (Hauts de Seine dept 92). The Castle has disappeared, but the gardens remain a must-have. In addition, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, you will know all about its history through a guided tour. Duration: 45 minutes. Departure 15h in front of the historical Museum. Open every day from 7h30 to 21h. Free. More here:  . http://www.domaine-saint-cloud.fr/en/Prepare-for-your-visit

Admire the Eagles in Provins (Seine et Marne dept 77). The “Eagles of the ramparts” show, in the open air, resumes this coming Saturday with new atmospheres in staging and a new fairy character amidst the nocturnal birds. From the Hawk to the Eagle, through the hawks and owls, the Raptors shave the heads of the spectators, on the ramparts of the medieval city. From March 30 , at 14h30 and 17h on weekends, at 14h30 and 16h. on weekdays. Rates: 8 to 12.50 €.  Into line Tel. +33 (0) 1.60.58.80.32. More info here:  https://www.provins.net/sites-incontournables-de-provins-tourisme/tous-au-spectacle/les-aigles-des-remparts/

Nautical activities in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines ( Yvelines dept78). Since last summer, a small outdoor activity park has entertained children at the Trappes recreation base. A caterpillar on Rails, logs of water, boats that move by pedaling, rolls in large transparent balloons on the water, a trampoline of 15 carpets or a mini-karting of 60 meters in the open air offer a playful getaway. From 6 to 12 years. From 5 to 10 minutes the activity, from 1-2€  the ticket according to the quantity purchased. Parking of the Base: 5€ per car. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10h to 20h. Info line Tel.+33 (0) 6.08.04.24.69. Entrance by the roundabout Éric Tabarly,road  D 912, in Trappes. More info here:   http://saint-quentin-en-yvelines.iledeloisirs.fr/comment-venir-sur-lile-de-loisirs

Slide in a pedal boat in Pierrefonds (Oise dept 60). Another activity on water, pedalo, on the pond of Pierrefonds. You can get tired by pedaling with a breathtaking view of the Castle, amidst the ducks and herons, before having a drink on the terrace by the water. Open daily according to the weather. Rates: 3.70 to 4.80€. Pier, Deflubé Causeway. Info line tel. +33 (0) 9.52.80.12.26 . More info here : https://www.lembarcadere-pierrefonds.fr/

Sceaux Park organizes its Cherry Blossom Festival from April 21st to 22nd! As every year, the city of Sceaux welcomes the arrival of spring around many festivities. On the program, big festive picnic made by food trucks, at the rhythm of the taikos and the parades of Awa Odori… Ideal for tasting delicious sushi and drinking sake in peace, in an idyllic bucolic setting. More than just a party, it’s a real Japanese gathering that will be happening! This year, the festivities will also be punctuated by various workshops, dance, and many artistic and musical performances. The opportunity to discover Japanese artists who will accompany you to the sanshin (small guitar of southern Japan) and to the shinobue (traditional flute) all the weekend! More info to get there:   http://domaine-de-sceaux.hauts-de-seine.fr/english-section/practical-information/

In honor of its 130th anniversary, the Eiffel Tower organizes a festive weekend on March 30th and 31st with concerts, animations and an adventure game. The goal? Discover the famous Tower in all its facets and uncover the secret of the Eiffel on workshops. Alone, or as a team, you will need to find the name of a confidential file by deciphering a series of puzzles scattered on the 1st floor as well as in the gardens of the tower. And bonus this weekend: the whole course will be scripted with comedians in period costumes in immersive scenery. An experience not to be missed for lovers of history and secrets! More info here:   https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/news/130-years/come-and-discover-eiffel-tower-adventure-game-march-30-and-31

There you, there is always something going on in my belle France, the Héxagone with just a tip of the iceberg of opportunities to enjoy. Hope you can enjoy them too.

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

March 25, 2019

Jardins de Versailles or it’s gardens!

I need to talk again about the gardens or jardins de Versailles. The palace/museum is marvelous, a wonder of art building, a dream. However, the gardens are heavens, peace, beauty au naturel , health, good food, and hours and hours of tranquility amongst the paces of many personalities of our history.

The gardens were/are for me a refuge, I came here often very often much more than inside the castle as lived in the city. This was/is my kingdom, and for certains events in the near garden  and for most of the park is free.  If you want to have some peace away from the city not just Versailles but Paris, and other nearby, come here you will find it. Also, find many interesting folks from all over the world ,maybe even me!

When we go jogging, we go by the sculptures of the Cabinet des Animaux du midi ou fontaine du soir done in 1684. There are on the left side of the parterre d’eau after leaving the castle on the back.  Many figures of animals here,  like the Lion attacking a wild pig or a lion attacking a wolf. Louis XIV was an ardent hunter, with more than 100 days per year spent hunting.

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The gardens developped as did the palace/museum in the Domaine of Versailles , it includes all the buildings and land, that started with 815 hectares or 2003 acres. It is now only 37 hectares or 91 acres, thanks to the French revolution, yet its huge.  The king Louis XIII was of course, the first mover in the development of the gardens, the first traces were laid in the west side of the castle in 1630. In 1662 after the disgrace of Nicolas Fouquet and the appropiation of the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, king Louis XIV put his efforts in beautifying the castle at Versailles with the same team of  Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun , and André Le Nôtre.

You move on to the Hercule, Minerve ,and Flore done in 1656. They are in the bosquet de la girandole and they were gifts from Nicolas Fouquet to Louis XIV, they were done as Hercule,Minerve,Flore,Moissonneur,Bacchus, Pomone,Vertumne, and Baccante done in Rome in 1655. They were purchase from the heirs of Nicolas Fouquet. The marble was taken as well from Nicolas Fouquet at the cour des Marbles,and last renovated in 1978-1982. You come to admire the Bassin du Dragon, sculptured in 1667, with serpents being attacked by archers, throw its blood but better water b its mouth. They were put here in 1668 welcoming the triumphant Louis XIV from the devolution war and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

We continue with the Bosquet des Rocailles ou Salle de Bal, this is where the spectacles were held outdoors,in the summer evenings, where the ballet comedy and opera ballet created by Lully and Moliére were started in 1683. Louis XIV was also interested by the dance and with his support the royal academy of the dance was created in 1661. Not a garden but right in the middle of it, is the Petite Venise ,near the Grand Canal, done in 1673. This is where the gondolas and boats given by Venice were housed as well as the yachts of England for the boat parade in the Grand Canal., These included the ships Galiate(1669), Grand Vaisseay(1685),Dunkerquoise (1685), Réale or Grande Galére (1686) were the stars. The Grand Canal 1,8 kms long served perfectly for this showcase. The front of a boat favorite of Marie Antoniette it is now visible at the musée national de la marine at the pl de la concorde ,Paris.

It is by 1661 that the Orangerie and Grotte de Thétys are done, and king Louis XIV made sumptous parties. Between 1665 and 1668 the enrichement of the gardens continue with the improvement the Grotte de Thétys ,and the addition of the Parterre de Latone and bassin d’Apollon. The grotte or cave of Thétys had another marvelous use  with the hydraulic system that provided water to the gardens, the roof of the cave held a reserve that kept the water pump from the etang or lake of Clagny fed by gravity the fountains of the gardens.

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We come to the Grand Canal, 1500 meters long and 62 meters wide built between 1668-1671 gives you a visual into farther away behind the palace  to the axe east west until the petit parc. In 1674, king Louis  XIV  ordered the construction of the  “Petite Venise“; located by the septentrinal arm of the Grand Canal where it houses the boats and yachts received from the Low Countries ,and housing the gondolas received as gift from the Doge de Venice. The Grand Canal receives the water that filter from the fountains and into the garden;this water was pump by a network of pump made work by windmills and horsemills and later send to the reserves on the top of the grotte de Thétys to again feed the fountains ,so the hydraulic system works in a close circuit.

he gardens of Versailles are irrigated with water, where? underground, when in the fall the fountains are empty for cleaning you can see the deep wells of these magnificents fountains and water pumps. The reservoir in the north wing coming from the hill or butte de Montbauron provides underground water for 30 kms of canals!!! reachable by 6 galleries or underground tunnels communicating by a set of joints to the 50 fountains and 670 water spouts. The underbelly of Versailles is a huge water castle.  By the parterre of water eight statues surge representing the rivers of France such as the Loire, Rhone,Loiret,Saone,Seine,Marne, Garonne and Dordogne.

versailles grand canal to porte st antoine

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Below the fountain of Latone you will see the terrace of the castle also known as the Parterre d’Eau . It forms an axe east west between the castle and the gardens and has a straight view from the Grands Appartements!. In 1674 king Louis XIV ordered several statues as a decorating element for the fountains on the parterre d’Eau, this is known as the Grande Commande or big order, and consisted of  24 statues of classical design created by Charles Le Brun and done by the best sculptures of the times.

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Some of the forest gardens done under king Louis XIV were numerous I just mentioned them here with dates Bosquet du Marais(1670); Bosquet du Théatre d’Eau(1671); Île du Roi & Miroir d’Eau, Salle des Festins or salle du Conseil;Bosquet des Trois-Fontaines.  In 1672, Labyrinthe and Bosquet de l’Arc de Triomphe; in 1675  Bosquet de Renommée (also call bosquet des Dômes), Bosquet de l’Encélade, in 1678  Bosquet des Sources.

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Other wonders such as the bassin des sapins where the fountain of Neptune is located done in 1678.  The gardens were constantly improve and enlarge and three more forest or bosquets came to light, Galerie des Antiques in 1680 La Salle de Bal, with a cascade only one in Versailles that gave rise to many celebrations here by the king,done in 1681-1683. La Colonnade by Jules Hardouin Mansart done on the old placement of the Bosquet des Sources  of André Le Nôtre. This is a circular shape with 32 arches and 28 fountains echoing the architectural expression of Hardouin-Mansart at Versailles,done in 1684-85.  king Louis XV spent more on the palace and trianons than on the gardens so his efforts bear very little here. king Louis XVI try to change the gardens a la anglaise or english but did not work to a la française came back. However, little as his biggest contribution was that of  the  Grotte des Bains d’Apollon.

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The French revolution came in and the gardens suffered too. Trees and grass was removed, and people will come to do their laundry in the fountains…  Napoleon I came but ignored the gardens as well. And it took another Louis to do something about it. In 1817 king Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI as the VXII was killed by the revolutionaries) ordered two forests built, these are the bosquet de l’Île du Roi ,and the  Miroir d’Eau , both were transformed into English garden to form the  Jardin du Roi.

Just at the entry fo the pyramide and the allée des marmousets you see the Bain des Nymphes de Diane (done from 1668-1670).  This is to the right as you come into the gardens. You, also, enjoy the Ile de Délos, This is the mythical story of Latone lover of Junon who gives birth to Apollon and Diane at the isle of Delos. The figures are on marble on a pedestal of 3 levels with the figure of Latone facing the Grand Canal. Great

We go now to the birth of seasons at Enlevement de Proserpine par Pluton or the kidnapping of proserpine by pluton.Created by Le Brun in 1674. Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter and kidnapped by Pluton god of hell that marries her. It is in the center of the bosquet de la Colonnade from 1699 Many beautiful sculptures around this area too. One of the them is the Songe de Poliphile, white and pink marble done between 1687-1688 at the place of the old bosquet de Sources done by Le Notre, after losing favorite status by Louis XIV the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart that change the name to bosquet de la colonnade ,and creates amongst other beauties the Grande and Petite Ecuries,new Orangerie,Grand Trianon,and the designed of the allées de Nord,and Midi.The bosquet de la colonnade is gorgeous.

See the Fountain du bosquet de l’Encelade (1675-1677) full of rocks imitating the lava of a volcano. Also from Greek mytholody. The bosquet was used as a political tool in the war of Holland during the great european alliance of 1673.  It continues showing the sculpture of the France Triomphante (1683) at the bosquet de l’arc de triomphe.  It has at its feet the conquered countries after the peace of Nimegue in 1678 shown as captives such as Spain,Austria,. The sculpture is in gold but not massive just a bath.  Continue to the Bosquet des trois Fontaines, done in 1679 and renovated in 2005,it has a huge shell of copper of 4 meters in diameter.

Another of my favorites is the Bassin de l’ile des Enfants at the bosquet du Rond Vert. The children plays with the flowers on a rock dating from 1710,done from the anguish of Louis XIV of seeing many of his royal children not reaching teen years…they died. In 1714 it is only one child left to inherit the reign, one that Louis XIV held for over 60 years! Going over to the Bassin de Neptune we see the Neptune et Amphitrite (1736-1740), placing over a huge marine shell on a metal platform. It has 99 jets of water!!!  It is the only sculpture ordered by Louis XV in the gardens.  We move on to the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon to see the sundown chez Tethys;;;lead design done in 1704 around the old grotte or cave of Tethys done in 1666. A gorgeous romantic spot.

The palace and it gardens were finally protected by king Louis Philippe in 1837 by transforming it into a museum! All the palace and gardens is a museum. Many of the gardens bosquets have a short life and no longer exist than those mentioned above. In all a wonderful huge place to come and I say more than a day at least 3 to see it all!

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The official Chateau de Versailles webpage has information on the gardens : Chateau de Versailles on the gardens in English

Tourist office of Versailles on palace’ gardens in English

There you go enjoy a masterpiece of humanity. WE love it, hope you do too, its a must even for it alone! indeed our favorite playground with the boys! The gardens of the palace/museum of Versailles!

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

March 24, 2019

Distillerie du Gorvello at Sulniac!

So let me tell you for a change of a local producer, we buy from direct. Of course, they are very near us in the lovely Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany. This post I like to introduce to another gem of my belle France know as the culinary birthplace of the world and already recognized by Unesco, first!

We like some spirits with our meals like good Europeans and better Frenchmen, so this ,also includes Cider. I have been drinking cider since a child from the region of Asturias in my beloved Spain. As time went on and my travel horizons expanded I came to know Norman cider, and then once moved to my beautiful Brittany, also Breton cider. Which is better is up to you, me I like the Breton cider ::) Why the apples the varieties are awesome with tastes going to all the palates.

And to think we found it by just road warrior trips in  my area! We were on the road looking for goodies found a new one and we have been back! this is the nearby Distillerie du Gorvello just before reaching the castle of Plessis Josso (see post apart)  off the road to your left and then left again.  From the expressway N165 take exit 22 Le Gorvello/Surzur at traffic circle follow direction Le Gorvello and follow the arrows to the Distillery. A wonderful place making cider, apple juice, liquors from apples such as pommeau de Bretagne, Fine de Bretagne, vinager of cider, etc as well as cold cuts canned goods. It has won many medals in the region and a family business. It is better to call ahead for tours as they change all the time; we did not go on it as we already visited the making of cider here, but did tasted the apple juice Gullivec and Tradition and Gullivec ciders as well as pig canned good terrines, all purchased as well for home and the road trip!!!  Prices are great from 3 euros the bottles and up.

Sulniac

It is in the immediate vicinity of Vannes and the Gulf of Morbihan, at the village of Sulniac , the Gorvello distillery is a small family farm specializing in the cultivation of Apple Cider.  Drive up rue Thiers from Le Port marina and get on the expressway N165 direction Nantes  at exit sortie 22 take direction first La Trinité Surzur and quick right into the road D183 direction Sulniac, you past the signs for the Castle of Plessis Josso and on the next road with a small sign (need to be alert not to missed it) turn right and see signs for the distillery. Worth the detour

Sulniac

The production activity is right on site with a workshop located within one of their orchards, here  carefully and according to artisanal methods its develop quality products including aperitifs and distilled spirits with their own alembic and aged in oak barrels in the cellar.

Sulniac

The flagship products are  Fine Bretagne AOC , Pommeau de Bretagne AOC, Little Prince Guillevic ,Cider from Brittany IGP and AB, AB Apple juice, Cider vinegar et Other local products. We have tried most already. Delicious, old fashion way the one we like and glad to be in France and the prices are family soft.

Sulniac

Sulniac

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Distillerie du Gorvello in French

Regional Gulf of Morbihan tourism site on the Distillerie du Gorvello in French

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on the Distillerie du Gorvello in English

There you go a bit of tourism with good home made products of the champion France , will not go wrong here. Remember the name Distillerie du Gorvello at Sulniac dept 56.

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

March 24, 2019

Lisbon antigua and beautiful!

I took a trip to Lisbon right after the 10th Champions of Real Madrid of Spain, and its Portuguese stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, and Coentrao. It was a short trip but full of souvenirs and good company. This is a re post from May 2014.

Lisbon deserves more visits, and getting to know it, it is an exciting city full of life and happy friendly folks always willing to help ,directions, food choices, and just have a good time there

My trip took me first to Nantes airport, then Paris CDG and finally Lisbon on AF; same return flight taken. The airports of Nantes and Paris CDG are very familiar to me after so many trips thru them. Lisbon was easy two terminals, came in and on terminal 1. Coming in took a taxi as was very late, has to haggle with the taxi driver who wanted 20€, told him my maximum was 15€ and he finally accepted. Figure the ride was for about 10-12 euros, so ok for 15 late at night almost midnight. You have to be sure the meter is on or don’t get in the car, otherwise be prepare to haggle easy for me as I speak Portuguese. The airport of LIsbon site is  https://www.aeroportolisboa.pt/en

On the way back ,I took the metro at Picoas line amarela(yellow) to Saldanha, here took the line Vermelho (red) to the airport all in about 40 minutes. all for a machine ticket of 1,90€ (including charge of rechargeable card of 0,50c). A great bargain indeed.  The metro, also, has the azul or blue line and the verde or green line, and its easy in English here  http://www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/

lisbon

While in the city I stayed at the wonderful modern, clean and perfect location Hotel Exe Parque Lisboa , at Largo Andaluz 13, near metro stops Picoas , Marques de Pompal or Parque. webpage here   http://exelisboaparque.selectionofhotels.com/

Lisbon

The rooms were spacious, bath too, the views on the 2fl a bit obstructed by the nearby buildings but for the location, services can be beaten. right off the marque de Pompal monument and the superb avenida da Libertade. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. I will no doubt have no problems staying there again.

From the hotel I took my walks in the evenings all over the vast avenida da libertade from the monument at plaça marques de pompal all the way to plaça Dom Pedro IV, where I even past a branch of the famous Parisien resto Brasserie FLO. Beautiful fountains stores and the great plaça restauradores with beautiful buildings all around it.

Lisbon

Lisbon

 

Lisbon

Lisbon

Before long it was time to eat,and I was told about a restaurant there at plaça de restauradores call Pinoquio (like the famous character Pinocchio), this is seafood of Portugal at its best. The service was impeccable friendly,and the food sublime. it started to rain but no bother I was in heaven. I order my usual beers and then the dish was Feijoada de marisco. This is magnificent casserole of shrimp, lobsters,clams, and white beans stew, just fab and of course enough for one person ,really it could be ordered for two. Its a great dish I will try to imitate at home; here is the recipe in Portuguese: Petiscos Portuguese recipe for Feijoada de Mariscos

Lisbon

Like, I said, it was raining light, and I decided to face it and walk back seeing all the sights and smells of avenida da Libertade. During the daytime went to the Tivoli forum shopping a deluxe shopping center right on the avenida da libertade, and had lunch in the food court there, where a vast cafeteria serves different kinds of fast food, we try the beef people counter with a goat cheese hamburger with limonade. More info here: https://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-shops/tivoli-forum.html

Lisbon

And I came home not before setting my sights on returning either in October with me or in summer with the family; will see, it is tempting Lisbon is catchy, maybe I have the city at heart by now.

The tourist office of Lisbon  is at https://www.visitlisboa.com/?lang=en-GB

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

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