Archive for March 13th, 2019

March 13, 2019

Houdan in the Yvelines 78, nice!

So I am sticking around a bit and into my beloved Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region. This was my old hunting ground…and I have come back as nostalgia sets in always. I have written bits of pieces on it, however, need to tell you more.

I like to tell you about the nice historical city of Houdan. Now I bring you to the heart of the Yvelines; visitors should dare more to come over and out of Paris! This is another example of a town that is not portrayed as Royal, but it is, go figure ::) .  It is Houdan, 43 km from Versailles. The nice road N12 (free road) passes by the town as well as the Paris Montparnasse direction Granville line that has stop at Houdan.

The bit of history ,I like tells us that Houdan belongs to the Lords of Montfort from the 10C and later was added to the Duchy of Brittany!!! by marriage. It was disputed between the English and finally entered the Royal domain with the marriage of king Louis XII and Anne of Brittany/Bretagne. Given by king Louis XIV to the Luynes family in exchange for lands closer to Versailles, and stayed with them until the French revolution.

The fair or festival of Saint-Matthieu is done here every year for 2-3 days on the last weekend of September (Saint-Matthieu saint day is Sept 21). It is one of the oldest fairs in Europe with the first one going back to 1065, by the Count Amaury II de Montfort.

If not at this time in town, go to see the St James and St Christopher Church or église Saint-Jacques et Saint-Christophe gothic style built in the 15-16C with a renaissance choir, and an organ originally from 1739.  The first church of Houdan, at this site, was built in the 11C under the surname of Saint-Jacques-le-Major (St James the Mayor). It was rebuilt from the beginning of the 16C with the donations of the inhabitants against promises of indulgences. In 1510, the surname of Saint Christopher was added to that of Saint James. Private donation funding explains the length of the work: they ended in the early 18C. With a construction spanning three centuries, the Church of Houdan syncretize the transition from Flamboyant Gothic to Renaissance style. See the tracery of flamboyant style on the windows, and the Renaissance capitals on the pillars of the transept. The transept has only one arm and the upper part of the steeple is missing; probably for lack of funding.

houdan

houdan

The Church of Saint-Jacques-le-Major-Saint-Christophe, 50 meters long, with a fairly stripped interior, is nonetheless worth the visit for its juxtaposition of the various artistic styles, from the gothic walls to the altarpiece of the high altar of 1672, not to mention a 1582 fresco. The canopy is made of white stained glass where fragments of 16C stained glass were inserted, some with a very beautiful greyness.

houdan

houdan

Also, the tower or donjon very visible as you entered the city by car .It is what remained of the old fortifications been built in the 13C by Count Amaury III de Montfort; a massive tower alone in the western part of the town with 25 meters high and 16 meters of diameter, flank by four smaller towers of 4,8 meters in diameter; it is used today as a water tower.

houdan

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Houdan

Tourist office of dept 78 Yvelines on Houdan

This is an overlook town for those visiting the Paris/Versailles corridor and as it is still an off the beaten path area that visitors should try to visit more if can. There is so much to see, I know!!! Anyway, Houdan is nice and lovely city center around the castle and donjon tower, the market right next to the Church all around you! Enjoy it

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

March 13, 2019

Dourdan in the Essonne dept 91! ïle de France!

So I am around the neighborhood telling you about some off the beaten path towns that are worthy of coming if so close to Paris. The department 91 Essonne is not well known yet surrounding Paris and well worth your while to pay attention to what it has to offer.

One of my highlights of coming here is the town of Dourdan, and I like to tell you a bit more about it. When, we go down south a bit on the region of ïle de France into magical Dourdan, about 44 km from Paris in the department 91 Essonne.

This Celtic village later Gallo Roman town, birthplace of the Capetian kings and royal town from the 10C, is today known for its castle, 13C very well preserved.  The road A10 passes on the north of town before the tolls of Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (that I always avoid lol!). You have the better road D836 crossing the town west to east and onwards to Etampes and Rambouillet. Also, the D838 goes up to Versailles and the D116 with a beltway going to Arpajon. You,also, have good train service on the line RER C and the TER Centre Val de Loire that passes by here destination of Vendôme or Châteaudun, without stops from the gare Paris Austerlitz.. There is a train station in town as well as the Dourdan-La Fôret servicing the RER C as terminus.

dourdan

A bit of history I like

The castle at Dourdan belongs to Hugues le Grand, Duke of the Franks that built this castle to his taste and died in it in 956AD. Also, here was born in 940, Hugues Capet founder of the dynasty of Capetians kings and crowned himself in 987, so Dourdan can be called the foundation of the House of France, royal town since the 10C.  It was in 1220 that king Philippe Auguste decided to built a new castle here taking as a model, the Louvre. The donjon was 26 meters high which was impressive at the times. It was offered as a chic place to such folks as Blanche de Castille, Marguerite de Provence, Saint Louis, Louis d’Evreux, Jean I de Berry, Sully, favorite Anne de Pisseleu and Anne of Austria. The town had a Hôtel-Dieu to welcome pilgrims .  In 1314, Jeanne II of Burgundy future queen of France was prisoner here. By 1340 it was completed the Chapel Saint Jean l’Evangéliste (St John the Evangelist).

dourdan

The castle of Dourdan owned by Jean Ier de Berry since 1400 , and he ordered the construction of the ramparts. It passed thru many ravages of wars for many years and by 1562 king Henri II sold the property to the Duke de Guise, in the 17C by wish of his son. king Louis XIII gives it to the queen Marie de Médicis.  At the time, of the French revolution, the castle was the property of the Duke of Orleans, and became a prison. In 1961 the Castle is sold to the city, and now used as a museum.

dourdan

Other things to see  are the Church or église St Germain d’Auxerre built along the lines of the Cathedral of Chartres in 1150 and finished in the 13C  with modifications in the 15C and 17C, the Church is 50 meters long by 18 meters wide, with a spiral north tower at 50 meters, the bronze bell called “Germaine” dates from 1778 and weighs 2300 kg, the portal gate on the north side is from the 15C, and there are wonderful paintings, sculptures.

Dourdan

Inside the Saint Germain d’Auxerre Church, you can see a funerary slab adorned with the effigy of Guillaume de Chatillonville, which served as a bridge over a ditch under the French revolution. It was returned to the Church after being recovered by the local Dourdannais. The shrine of the relics of Saint Félicien in precious glass and metal which was offered by Marguerite-Louise d’Orléans, Grand Duchess of Tuscany in 1695 is displayed every 9th June. Portraits of the priests of the Church since the French revolution, in particular that of Father Gautier, complete the decoration. The organ, built in 1870. The first bronze bell melted in 1599, the second, named Germaine, was cast in 1778 in bronze. A chest in the sacristy is dated 1733. The Church was used as a prison during the French revolution and was brought back to Catholic service by 1795.

dourdan

The Hôtel-Dieu with the Chapel of Saint Jean l’Evangéliste or St John the Evangelist. In 1220 was built the Hôtel-Dieu, destroyed and rebuilt from 1766 with the Evangelist Chapel mentioned in 1340. Modified in 1852 and 1885, it served as a hospital until 1970. Now it is a retirement home.

dourdan

There is a vast hunting royal forest that became domain in 1870. The ramparts are still there since the Middle Ages, long of 1700 meters and with 24 towers, Four gates (Paris, Chartres, Etampes, and Puits des Champs) and three wells (Grouteau, Croix-Ferras, and Petit-Huis) ; today only remains some in the north, west, and east of the city, two towers on the blvd des Alliés, one tower on the trail of Laubier, and the tower or tour du Petit-Huis on rue de l’Étang.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you should are

Tourist office of Dourdan

City of Dourdan on castle and museum

There you go another jewel very close to Paris and on the off the beaten path, worthty of a visit indeed. And you will be glad you visit the Royal town of Dourdan in the Essonne of the Ïle de France region of my belle France. Enjoy it

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

Tags: ,
March 13, 2019

Roma, arch Titus and Constantine!

Back to my eternal Roma, and Italy. Going around driving around well here came by plane too! I like to tell you about two arches , briefly that I saw while walking our way around Rome! Strange enough as too many old stones, these arches are not even showcase fully in the Tourist office of Rome! oh well.

I like to tell you a bit on it because they look nice on the heavy Roman traffic to see them still standing at all! And we like things to see for free lol! So,therefore, here are the Arch of Titus and Constantine, my version!

rome

The arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, located between the Colosseum and the Palatine. Nowadays it is in the area of the Celio, the ancient road of triumphs. It was built by the Roman Senate to commemorate the victory of Constantine at the Milvian Bridge against Maxence in 312AD  and his 10 years of power. It was placed near the Colosseum and the Meta Sudans, Constantine wanting to associate his reign with that of the Flavian dynasty which had erected these monuments. Inaugurated in 315, it is the last of the series of triumphal archs in Rome, in which it is distinguished by its systematic use of re-use of previous monuments.

rome

The arch of Constantine measures 21.10 meters high, 25.7 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. It has three bays: the central bay is the largest, with 11.5 meters high for 6.5 meters wide, while the side passages measure 7.4 meters high for 4.4 meters wide. The lower part of the monument is constructed of marble blocks, while the upper part, the attic, is made of brick masonry coated with a marble veneer. A staircase is laid out in the thickness of the arch; it is accessed by a door located in up on the side of the Palatine.

The decor of the arch of Constantine reuse massively fragments of older monuments, which acquire a new meaning in the context of the Constantinan edifice. On this commemorative monument of Constantine’s victory, the new historical frieze representing its Italian campaign is the most important reason: it celebrates the emperor, both in its military and civil functions.

The arch of Titus is an arch of Roman triumph at a balcony erected in Rome by Emperor Domitian in 81 A.D. to celebrate the victories of his brother Titus during the Judean war between 66 and 73 A.D. The arch was built after Titus ‘ death. The arch borders the Clivus, near its intersection with the Sacred Way, at the top of the Velia in Summa Sacra Via in the present old Rome. It is possible that it was slightly moved to the south and turned during the construction of the Temple of Venus.

rome

The arch of Titus was erected shortly after Titus ‘ death in 81 A.D. to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The statues that decorate the arch, including two bronze elephants, are found on the Via Sacra (sacred way)  between 535 and 536AD. The arch of Titus  is integrated into a fortress of frangipani during the Middle Ages. A room is built in the upper part of the vaulted passage. The room was liberated from the buildings around 1822 and was rebuilt . It reconstitutes a large part of the upper part and the outer half of the two pillars with travertine. The frieze and inscription are therefore preserved only on the side facing the Colosseum.

The arch of Titus, covered with marble of the Pentelic, is composed only of one arch against three for the arch of Constantine for example. It is 13.50 meters wide, 15.40 meters high and 4.75 meters deep. The vault reaches 8.30 meters high and 5.36 meters from wide. Each façade is adorned with two pairs of columns engaged in the two pillars of the arch. Their casks are fluted and the marquees are of a composite nature with volutes and acanthus leaves. The columns stand on square pedestals and frame small rectangular niches dug into the pillars. The upper part, the attic, is 4.40 meters high. It is on the attic that the inscription is engraved which is preserved only on the eastern side. The Arch summit was adorned with a bronze statuary group comprising an elephant-drawn quadriga in which the Emperor was shown as a god.

One reference to this arch was found in the tourist office Tourist office of Rome things to do

There you walking you can see more and find amazing buildings even if again old stones which I know very well. Enjoy Rome, and its Arches, and do walk the city!

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

 

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: