Archive for March 23rd, 2019

March 23, 2019

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIII

So here I am back to my popular series, this one on My travels in the Morbihan, now in its 73rd edition! Thank you dear readers, friends, and family for your support to my passtime.

We go out during the week for the routine and then on weekends we try to go out again and then some. It has been hard since losing my dear wife Martine but I am coming alone fine with closer trips and planning some long ones starting next  May. For now our local routine.

We had a good morning sleep today Saturday and after a nice home breakfast still mix American and French we went out to our lovely Morbihan breton dept 56.

We needed some linen so set out for our favorite popular Conforama and got my sons some sheets, well they pay by now so its easy lol! Conforama of Vannes that is. Already popularly feature in my previous posts.

Vannes

We went on to visit our sub prefecture of Lorient which even if only about 30 km from me was a while not visited. It shows we cannot think we know towns because just a few months away and the city has change. Less parking available and now with a Saint Louis brocante flea market going on the city was packed. We did manage to fine underground parking at Place d’Armes for only 1,60€ for the day!

After that we came to that moment of eating and we came searching for what it was announce will be soon in Vannes, this is the other burger joint as France is inundated with them for good reason .Good inexpensive beef menu for families. I know many think this cannot be in France but it is just another country in the sea of fast food chains all over the world. As I travel for business to many remote parts of our world there is always that other name present lol!

We came and found Roadside Burgers at 28 rue Auguste Nayel very near the Place Aristide Briand, central for all that is good in Lorient. The side order of the so call crazy fries was good and portion was big, a mix of French fries with half cheddar cheese melted and other caramelized onions. I did get my love from Pepsi ,the Mountain Dew soda difficult to find in France (previously in Rennes or Paris) this is great but was typically French not cold enough but just fresh “frais” and we never get used to this.  I ordered the Strawberry milkshake and it was good but the size was a bit smallish. All this the bill came to 14.70€ per person. Again a bit more expensive than our favorite Burger King.

Lorient

Lorient

Lorient

As they are other burger chains opening up around here I believe they will have a tough time to survive ,but then again fast food is so popular, the formal original dining will be left for the rich and famous!

As we had time, we wondered around the city center and re visit our favorite wine chain store Nicolas at 1 Rue de la Patrie in city center where we had purchase before and do so all over France with no problems ever.  Of course, as far as wine store experience is concerned.

Lorient

We went into the Centre Commercial Nayel as it brought memories but it is just a mall shopping center type, good parking underneath thus. Plenty of stores and restos inside too.

Lorient

We, also, visit our favorite techno entertainement store FNAC right at the square or place Aristide Briand and it was super big and full of specials,I even got me an external portable hard drive from Maxtor! I needed it too many photos lol!!!

Lorient

On the way out of Lorient, we needed groceries so rather than go back to Vannes, we did it on the run at Lanester, next to Lorient where there was a nice E Leclerc hypermarket we like the chain; so groceries were done here.

Lanester

Finally, it was time to get back home to be ready for the match, yes we are going to see live on French TV the qualifier for my Spain vs Norway, European Championship game! Of course, our France already won easily yesterday 1X4 vs Moldavia!

So, now we are home and ready for the game with good cold beers of Brittany, namely the Mutine lol! sort like mutiny!

Therefore ,need to go, enjoy your weekend wherever you are. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

March 23, 2019

Cheverny, Loire and Tintin’s Moulinsart!

And why not continue on this wonderful trip through the Loire valley and its enchanting castles. I have written on many of them in my blog over the years but trying to bring out my favorites again to you.

One particular one we love for more than the castle but for Tintin and the hunting dogs is Cheverny. I like to tell you a bit more on it ok.

Another fairy tale castle of Cheverny in the valley of the kings or Loire valley.  It is very interesting because its original furniture, and the connection to one of the all time best cartoonist in Europe Hergé and the character Tintin, which used this castle as the series castle Moulinsart. The whole family will enjoy it.

It is located in the department of Loir et Cher No 41 in the region Centre-Val-de-Loire, dans the forest abounding the Sologne. You can come by train to Blois ,either a special bus during the summer months or a taxi it is very close from Paris Austerlitz or Montparnasse stations. Of course the best in the region is the car, from Paris on the A10 then exit Blois and follow direction Cheverny on the road D765.

cheverny

It is still a private castle with a history going back to 1500, the current owner are  Constance and Charles-Antoine de Vibraye , Marquis de Vibraye same family from 1825. The castle was open to the public in 1922.  Really the best and only thing to see here but its worth every minute of it, I assure you.

cheverny

cheverny

To give you a visual tour at the Chateau de Cheverny, you begin by looking at the exterior architecture, especially the rear part going into the gardens, style Louis XIII. However, the front of the castle is what inspired Hergé for his Chateau de Moulinsart fame in the Tintin series, it is all in sculpture stone construction as it is Chambord,Chenonceau,and Blois. Decorated with Roman busts with an antique look on them; the interior plans are inspired by those of the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris. Here then are the gardens a la Française or French garden style; you have the Orangerie of 18C construction for conventions and meetings now but during WWII it housed/hided  many objects of arts such as the Mona Lisa painting now at the Louvre. You go in the Park or parc, it is an ocean of lawns all over perfectly kept linking it with the garden a la Anglaise or English style planted with huge trees.  Here you past by the dogs cages or Chenils  as the castle is one of the high points of hunting, you can see the dogs wonderful,and see the feeding of them, great!  You move on to the Potager, in front of the hunting room with fruits, wine grapes,and vegetables;lovely. And dont forget the Communs, this  is by the entrance to the castle and house the administration but there are from the Renaissance period.

cheverny

cheverny

cheverny

I like to get you inside the castle! You go in by the Salle à Manger or dining room, from the 19C now but decoration of the 17C, with leather ceilings! and a bust of king Henri IV, you see on the wall Cervantes Don Quijotes with very impressive arms of the family,and a dining table for 30 seatings. Then you take the stairs, or l’Escalier d’Honneur, with a renaissance influence richly decorated in white stone and style Louis XIII, and hunting heads in wood. Going up to the appartements Privés or private apartments, that were occupied as little back as 1985. Here you have the Chambre jaune or birth bedroom, then the Petit Boudoir Rouge, small ladies room, Chambre d’enfants with the first horse models of the Napoleon III era as well as portraits of the owner family. The chambre des Mariés with the wedding clothing of the current owners including a bathtub of the 19C, the Salle à manger familiale is the place where the family ate and decorated as if it is waiting for guests; and the Petit Salon, with miniature potraits of the owner family in a glass cabinet.

cheverny

The visit is follow into the Salle d’Armes ,the biggest in the castle with decoration of origin from the 17C, a great wooden chimney and tapestries of Gobelins of the 17C showing events of the war of Troy in Greece. It has a collection of weapons from the 15C to 17C, lots of swords, arquebuses, and vaults of travels from the 17C. It has a covering thread in leather of Cordoba with the arms of France and Navarra that once belongs to king Henri IV and weights 70 kg (about 154 pounds). You go into the Chambre du Roi or king bedroom, a luxurious room! with decoration of the greatest adventures of romance, painting of Persia and Andromeda, 30 scenes of the tragic loves of Théagéne and Chariclée (French names sorry). 6 tapestries from the 17C with work of Ulyses hero of Odyssée. A huge bed of 2 meters by 1,60 meters ( 6.60x 5.3 ft) and chairs from Louis XIII, and sofas of Louis XIV with tapestries of Aubusson. You go to the small Vestibule with a nice Flanders tapestry of the 17C to go into the Grand Salon, the work of the owner for over 150 years with the best collection in the castle, portraits of the family, including the parents of Henri IV as well as the folks link to the castle such as Louis XII and queen Anne of Austria etc. Painting of Ferdinand I brother and successor of emperor Charles V, the furniture from the 17C and 18C and other wonders of the time to see, its just overpowering.

cheverny

You continue the visit of the castle into the Galerie, many paintings of the family from great masters of the 17C and an original document signed by General George Washington USA, talking about one of the ancestors of the current owner that fought alongside Lafayette and Rochambeau during the war of Independance of the United States! Great history indeed. You go thru the Petit Salon, more family portraits alongside a chimney as well as period furniture.  This takes you to the Library orBibliothéque with over 2000 ancient books done in different leathers with furniture from the Premier Empire and office desk signed by Jacob, the purveyor of them to Napoleon Ier.  You come now to the end into the Salon des Tapisseries, with 5 tapestries of Flanders from the 17C huge tapestries! with different motifs as well as furniture from Louis XIV and Louis XV, and a huge clock from the 18C still marking time as hours,minutes,seconds, day, date, and phases of the moon. Wonderful indeed all of it.

By the entrance to the right past the dogs cages and Salle des Trophées of hunting leyends you have an exbition of  Tintin and its Chateau de Moulinsart with many of the cartoons shown in his books and movies. Great for the whole family and my kids enjoyed tremendously as they are all fans of Tintin, the way the mother taught them French !!!

The official webpage for the castle of Cheverny, and properties is at http://www.chateau-cheverny.com/  and the space Tintin at Tintin exhibition at Moulinsart

We did had our pizzas and drink very nice by the church in town at Pinocchio, webpage http://www.lepinocchio.fr/

Cheverny

Enjoy Cheverny  and Tintin ,another Loire beauty and good for the whole family.

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

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March 23, 2019

Chenonceau, a castle for the ladies!

And I am taking you down to faire tells and castles of the Ladies! An area very popular with visitors and locals alike and all worth it. The town and castle has a peculiarity of the name but that is just history my dear readers. The place of course visited and again, and need to tell you a bit more on it

Ah, I am talking about the Castle of Chenonceau at Chenonceaux! 

This is a fairy tale castle in the castle rich Loire Valley area of France. It is most known for its connection to the many woman who nourish it,and improve it over the years.  I go to the area often as purchase my goodies there and help the Lion Club International in the Touraine region.  To get there it is best by car as I always will tell you, from Paris on the autoroute A10 exit/sortie Blois or Amboise, better) ,parking is free at castle. You can do so by train from Paris Montparnasse to Saint Pierre des Corps near Tours, and then from Tours train station to Chenonceaux by TER train, webpage  https://www.ter.sncf.com/centre-val-de-loire .  The station is just outside the castle walking distance.

Let me tell you a bit about this wonderful castle.

It is located in the village of Chenonceaux (the x story later) . You have castles here since the 12C, with a fortified windwill from 1230AD.  The Chateau de Chenonceau  goes thru many changes of hands and a legal battle to gain title to the property by heirs of  Thomas Bohier, he finally marries a one Catherine Briçonnet (the first lady of the story of the castle) , which does lots of work on the property until her death in 1526AD. Due to bad finances and no taxes paid, the king François I takes the property in 1535AD.  Later king Henri II gives it to his favorite lady Diane de Poitiers (see my other post on yvelines Anet) ,she ,also, does lots of work on the castle. After the death of Henri II in a duel in 1559AD, the crown finds a way again to take the property back, this time is Catherine de Medicis.

chenonceau

chenonceau

chenonceau

You have a continuation history of woman relating to the castle such as  Louise de Lorraine wife of king Henri III where the bedroom in the 2nd floor shows the on the door the deuil of her assassinated husband in 1589. She lived here until her death surrounded by religious sisters that took domicile at the castle, turning it into some form of convent after the death of Catherine. A room dedicated to the daughters and daughters in laws of Catherine de Medicis, the chambre des Cinq Reines  or bedroomof five queens (Marie StuartMarguerite de France  (queen Margot), Louise de Lorraine, Elizabeth of Austria, and Elizabeth of France).

chenonceau

chenonceau

chenonceau

A Claude Dupin buys the property in 1733 AD ,and his second wife , Louise Dupin, creates a heaven for conversation and enlightment so welcoming amongst others Voltaire, Fontenelle, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Buffon ,and Rousseau.  As indicated above , it is her Louise Dupin that is given credit for the different spelling of village and castle as village of  Chenonceaux and castle of Chenonceau, there is no proof to said otherwise  then her wish as owner of the castle during the FRench revolution  and great friends of the village people where she saves the chapel  to converted into a wooden depot to differentiate between the royalty whre the castle is a strong representation and the Republic.

chenonceau

chenonceau

chenonceau

Many owners follow suite, too numerous to name. Finally the property goes back to its original heirs in 1975 before passing by many famous painters visits like Gustave Flaubert. During WWI it serve as a military hospital and during WWII the castle makes mark into free France and occupied France, from which it escape with the chapel destroyed which later rebuilt.

From the bedroom of the ladies in the history of the castle to the room of king Louis XIV, to the gardens of Diane de Poitiers and those of Catherine de Medicis the place is just gorgeous and a must visit.

chenonceau

The Castle has a collection of murals of paintings from amongst others Murillo,Tintoret,Nicolas Poussin, Le Corrége, Rubens, Le Primatice, ” Les trois grâces” of Van Loo, and a nice group of tapestries of Flanders of the 16C.  After the gardens you can ,also, see the farm or ferme with buildings from the 16C, the laberinth ,italian style with 2000 trees. In the building of Dômes, you find wax museum with a historical presentation from the Renaissance to WWI paying tribute to all the woman who have reign on castles. There is a restaurant in the Orangerie of the highest French standards, a salon de thé, with self service,and snacks sandwiches is available every day from may to november. Reservation for the restaurant is at +33 02 47 23 91 97. There is children playgrounds, little boat rentals for kids, and a park of donkeys.

For staying lodging and restos there is a group but over the years we have stayed and/or eaten here , Auberge du  Bon  Laboureurhttps://www.bonlaboureur.com/en/loire-valley-restaurants

And the castle has a boutique shop inside for souvenirs. The official webpage of the castle is https://www.chenonceau.com/en , and tourism for the region of Touraine is at  https://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/cultural-heritage/chateau-of-chenonceau-chenonceaux/

Hope you have enjoy the ride on the feminime side of the Loire Valley! Chenonceau the castle for the Ladies!

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

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