Archive for March, 2019

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

auch

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.

Auch

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.

Auch

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).

Auch

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!!

auch

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 27, 2019

The Cathedral of Saint-Caprais ,Agen

Well let me bring you south to a wonderful area ,the new region of Nouvelle Aquitaine and the historical town of Agen. Famous for its canal , see other posts, I like to give you a glimpse of its nice Saint Caprais’ Cathedral. 

The Cathedral of Saint-Caprais is located in Agen in the Department of Lot-et-Garonne, no 47 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Built in the 12C, it is the seat of the Diocese of Agen. It is time I give it credit in my blog, well worth a detour to this town and do not missed the Cathedral.

agen cat st caprais front

A bit of history I like

Saint Caprais was martyred shortly after Sainte Foy, in 303AD. They were allegedly buried at the site of the Church of Martrou. The tradition is that a Church in homage to Saint Caprais was built at the beginning of the 5C by Bishop Saint Dulcide, who would have transported the relics of the martyrs. A basilica dedicated to Saint Caprais existed in 580 because it was quoted by Gregory of Tours. The Saint-Caprais Cathedral was built in the 12C at the site of an Episcopal basilica built in the 6C, ransacked by the Normans. In 853 was renovated and ransacked again in 1561, during the Wars of Religion. The Collegiate Church of Saint-Caprais became in 1791 a fodder shop before being reopened in 1796 and becoming the official Cathedral of Agen, after the destruction of the ancient cathedral Saint-Étienne by the French revolution. It was raised to the rank of Cathedral in 1802. Again rebuilt, from 1838 to 1847, the south facade, the steeple and the interior floors.

A bit on the construction and architecture

The Cathedral of Saint-Caprais has several architectural features such as its Romanesque apse extended by a Gothic nave with a single aisle. Replacing an old wooden bell tower, the present bell tower was built in 1835, and presents the peculiarity of being composed of the three Gothic stylistic elements such as Gothic with lancets, radiant Gothic, flamboyant Gothic) oddly presented in their inverse chronological order. One can still see, in an angle of the north brace of the Cathedral a cul-de-lamp composed according to this principle, and which, on its own, is a small monument receiving two large shaping   warhead arch of a large range.

agen

The paintings on the walls and ceilings represent the history of the coming of Christianity in the region. A central place is given to the first local martyrs. Other paintings are presented in series such as The Evangelists, the Apostles, the patriarchs of the Jewish people (Abraham, Noë…), the great kings of Israel..etc..

In 1829, the Chapel of the Virgin was done, and work on decoration continue until 1869. The rest of the decoration such as the paintings mix local themes and Marian iconography, the great figures of the Old Testament Bible and the New Testament as well.

agen

The main organ built in 1855 for the Universal Exhibition of Paris.   According to the legend, it was offered by the Empress Eugénie in 1858 to the Cathedral St Caprais of Agen, which until then had no organ. It is the largest instrument in the dept 47 of the   Lot-et-Garonne, with 45 games distributed on 3 keyboards and a pedal. The Choir organ was built in 1885.

Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your visit are

Official tourist office of dept 47 Lot et Garonne on the Cathedral

City of Agen on heritage in French

Official Diocese 47 on the Cathedral nice photos

There you go another gem in my belle France, south and nice, this is Agen. Very popular culinary town as well but that is another post.

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

 

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March 27, 2019

Cathedral St Alain,Lavaur!

Well in my rounds thru a very dear region of France for my family, I though I had told you all but it seems in my vault there are plenty more to tell you. I am surprise myself not having giving a post to the Cathedral of Saint Alain in Lavaur, the native town of my dear late wife Martine, late father Pierre. And believe me we have visited the town several times as still cousins around..

Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the Cathédrale Saint Alain de Lavaur.

lavaur

The Cathedral of St. Alain is located in Lavaur in the Tarn department , which was built between 1255 and 1300.  It is 73 meters long by 14 meters wide. A Jacquemart rings the hours at the top of the tower. At the front is the garden of the bishopric.

lavaur cat st alain jardin de l eveche

The origin of honoring Saint Alain at Lavaur remains unknown. The foundation of the Priory of Saint-Alain is attested by a charter of 1098 where the bishop of Toulouse Izarn of Lavaur makes a donation to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, dependent for them to rebuild the Church of St. Elan of Lavaur, then in ruins, proving that the cult of Saint Alain in Lavaur is clearly prior to this date.

lavaur

A bit of history I like

A Romanesque church was built between 1099 and 1211 by the Benedictines of Saint-Pons for their priory at Lavaur, which was destroyed during the Albigeois (cathars)  crusade during the siege of 1211. The present church was rebuilt in the middle of the 13C, begun around 1255, preserving the Romanesque footprint of the small bell tower south of the Jacquemart. It is of pure southern Gothic style with a large nave unique to slender proportions, the 13C church had only five bays closed at both ends by a straight wall. The erection of the priory in the bishopric of Lavaur in 1317 transformed the church into a cathedral, prelude to the expansion of the building, which would continue until the beginning of the 16C at the initiative of the bishops.

lavaur

In the 14C, the chapels were built between the foothills. In the middle of the 15C, the chapel currently serving as the sacristy, under the term of Saint Martial and in 1480 adjoining to the west, the canons established a chapter hall dedicated to Saint Gauthier. Fresco paintings performed in 1730 adorn its walls, narrating in episodes the story of Lavaur. They are erased on quite a large part by the humidity. It was especially in the last quarter of the 15C, on the initiative of Bishop Jean Vigier, that major works were undertaken giving the cathedral its present physiognomy. It is still the end of the 15C that a chapel is adjacent to the south of the old Romanesque porch, well preserved, to the rich capitals evocative of the childhood of Christ. A new side entrance, adorned with pinnacles, surmounted by the Bishop’s shield, is then carried out on the southern flank of the connecting span.

A bit on the description and architecture

The Altar table, late 11C. Since 1967, the altar of the Choir of Saint-Alain has a table whose exact provenance we do not know. It was found in 1876 in the Chapel of the hospital of Lavaur, but this is not its place of origin. It is possible that it came from the Cathedral and may have been part of the donation of Bishop Izarn to the Benedictines, but another hypothesis would make it come from the Church of Sainte-Foy de la Salvetat founded in Lavaur in 1065 by the monks of the abbey Sainte-Foy de Conques, which then took the name of Sainte-Croix and served as chapel for the Brotherhood of the Blue Penitents. This Romanesque table, in white marble probably of Saint-Beat, is part of the continuation of the production of altar tables of the Ecclesiastical province of Narbonne. The main theme of the anterior face is a Christ blessing in a circular mandorla, is the same on both tables. A series of angels, complete this face. On the right side are represented two angels supporting the altar table itself, a motif found on the stone of one of the capitals of Saint-Sernin (Toulouse). The sculpture on the left side would represent two angels worshipping the bread of heaven. The fourth face was destined to be engaged in masonry and is not decorated.

Lavaur

lavaur cat st alain angels pedestal bishops seat

At the beginning of the 15C, a magnificent portal was adorned in flamboyant Gothic with thomas; at the porch steeple the delicately chiseled ensemble will later be added the two chapels on the south side with very ornate vaults , one of which presents a very decorated niche, currently framing a beautiful pietà of painted and gilded wood of the 17C.  A very nice organ completes the whole feature with a richly Renaissance buffet. At the same time the enfeu to the right of the sanctuary of Renaissance decor, tomb of a bishop of Lavaur. Finally, the first mechanism and the bell of the famous Jacquemart date from 1523. But it appears that the automation (currently 3rd generation) will only take place in 1604.

lavaur

There you go a bit more on it in addition to my other general posts on the region and department of the Tarn! Hope you enjoy, it is another wonderful example of Cathedrals in France. Worth a detour to see the Saint Alain Cathedral at Lavaur!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of the Tarn on the Cathedral

Tourist office of the Tarn on the Jacquemart of the Cathedral

Now fully enjoy it as we do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 26, 2019

Lisle sur Tarn, dyers, wines, and chocolates!

Let’s continue our ride thru the southwest or sud ouest of France. Like I have said,the region is full of amazing small towns all with a rich history on its own,and worth your layover I am sure.

I am going to talk a bit about Lisle-sur-Tarn, of course ,it is in the Tarn department no 81, region of  Occitanie. Halfway between Toulouse and closer to Gaillac, as it is ,also, in its wine region.  It is a bastide or fortified town of the 12C  ,around 1229, easily reachable by the road A68 or the D988 (old N88). Parking is easy at the rue Saint Louis next to the plaza and tourist office turn left into rue porte peyrole and right on Les Promenades, free parking!  The bus system is still the Tarn bus system, that serves the main towns in the area, webpage http://tarnbus.tarn.fr/ , and the train station is the TER Occitanie webpage at  https://www.ter.sncf.com/occitanie/gares/87615310/Lisle-sur-Tarn/prochains-departs

It is on the road to Santiago de Compostela or St James in Galicia,Spain. It is best known for its dyer’s woad or blue taint on textiles and the Gaillac wine appellation.  Today only the wineries remains, and they are very good, especially the one at Tecou, a coop now group under Vinovalie ;that serves folks from Gaillac, Montans, Lisle sur Tarn, Graulhet, etc. webpage  http://www.vinovalie.com/caves?page=1

Just to say my dear late wife Martine father’s side come from this area and still cousins at Montans, Graulhet, and Gaillac. Her late father  Pierre was born in Lavaur.

The best way to see Lisle sur Tarn is on foot, see its quaint medieval cobblestone streets with four squares with fortified doors on each entrance, and a central plaza ,the biggest in the south west for a fortified town or bastide. The front facades of the houses in the plaza are in red brick or in columns pylons style. The main plaza or place aux couverts,( also known as place Paul Saissac), is completely covered so shaded with a nice fountain in the middle call the Griffoul typical of many in the area, this fountain was offered to the town by  Jeanne de Toulouse (daughter of count Raimond VII) and her husband Alphonse de Poitiers (brother of king Louis IX or Saint Louis). Going around in the same plaza is the Hôtel de Ville or mayors’ office from the 18C. Just by going thru the plaza and going out at the right hand side upon arrival by car as above parking, you go thru an arch door and into the Church Notre Dame de la Jonquière ,gothic art built between the 13C and the 14C .

lisle-sur-tarn

lisle sur tarn

Again by the beforemention parking Les Promenades you will see a pigeonniers or pigeon tower of the 13C  recently renovated. And the only harbor on the river Tarn of the bastides of the southwest! port de lisle sur tarn. For the nature lovers there is the lake or Le Lac Bellevue, located at the entrance of the town direction Gaillac with many outdoors activities including fishing!

lisle-sur-tarn

Other nice things to see and do here is the Musée Raymond Lafage, 10 rue Victor Maziés, it recount the engravings, and drawing of this local artist born here in 1656 and died in 1684 at Lyon , very well known  his work is found in many buildings and museums in France but also in Europe, United States even with individual collectionists. The other museum is the best reason other than wine to come here, Le Musée Art de Chocolat is right in the place aux couverts closest to rue Saint Louis upon entering into the town’s center.  The tour is given showing all the major production areas of  cacao, the making of it, the shipping, and of course very good portions of tastings of the end result chocolate from Ecuador, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, etc etc etc, just a mouthful, do come over, these are the creation of  maître chocolatier Michel Thomaso-Defos  that makes recreation of figures and places with chocolate done by painter and sculptor Casimir Ferrer ,and sculptors Marie-Madeleine Gautier and  Marta Solsona.

lisle-sur-tarn

The wines that are my personal choice and family from this region are Chateau Clement Termes, Chateau Lastours, and Chateau de Saurs. webpages chronologically are http://www.clement-termes.com/ ; http://www.chateau-lastours-gaillac.com/ ; http://www.chateau-de-saurs.com/ : wonderful over the years ,you wont go wrong find them in your area or better come on over !

We have refreshments at the main plaza in town, place aux couverts with O’Centre , 11 Place Paul Saissac;  internet and sports TV Screens available as well as Salsa dancing lessons in 1st floor!!

You can see a bit more of Lisle-sur-Tarn in the region of regional tourism office Vignobles et Bastideshttps://www.tourisme-vignoble-bastides.com/en/place-lisle-sur-tarn

In addition the Tarn department tourist site is at  https://www.tourisme-tarn.com/uk/things-to-do/unmissable-attractions/towns-villages-bastides/

And the region of Occitanie tourist office at https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/

Hope you enjoy the ride, it is wonderful in Lisle sur Tarn and the Sud Ouest (southwest) of France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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March 26, 2019

Rabastens, cathar and wine country the Tarn

We are in the area of the south west or Sud Ouest of my belle France, waving our way thru wonderful country.  Here again wine and cathar history mingle, the cathars are gone but the wine remains in the appellation of Gaillac. This is a repost from 2015 , the birth region of my dear late wife Martine, late father Pierre.

Lets talk a bit about Rabastens, yes, it is in the Tarn department no 81 in the region of Occitanie.  It sits half way between Toulouse and Gaillac on the D988 or old N88 road, easily done and parking by the long promenade in city center close to Hotel de Ville.  You can use the fast A68 to the village of Coufouleux ,exit or sortie 7 on road D12 ,where the train station is before entering Rabastens, only 800 meters (2640 ft) from city center.  The train station is at gare de Rabastens-Coufouleux , which is a close village of Rabastens.  The webpage for the TER Occitanie  https://www.ter.sncf.com/occitanie/gares/87615328/Rabastens-Couffouleux/prochains-departs . The bus system is the TarnBus, and it covers the town bus No 702 from Albi or Gaillac, with webpage  http://tarnbus.tarn.fr/

It is an old town as such in the area, been inhabited by Visigoths from which it takes its “ens”. The Cathar or Albigeois was big here as the city was considered a center of heresy!  By the treaty of Paris of 1229 the city is forced to destroyed its religious buildings. The war of the Hundred years by 1337 does a lot of damage and many perished under it force, by 1450 the end of the war, the new discovery of pastel or the teint in textiles gave the city a new birth, but then again the war of Religion of 1561 the city is a center of protestanism and suffer heavy damages.  The peace in 1563 does not stop here what is started in Paris with the massacre of St Barthelomy.  Finally the cave or cellars of wine in 1953 gives the wine back to the city and its a source of prosperous times still today.

rabastens

Some of the things to see and do here are the Hôtel de Ville or mayors’ office an old prayer house and tower of the 16C; and the Museum or musée du pays Rabastinois house in the mansion or hôtel particulier of the 17C, it contains collections of archeology, art and local history, and exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art, the webpage in the region’s webpage in French https://musees-occitanie.fr/musees/musee-du-pays-rabastinois/  info Hôtel de la Fite, 2 rue Amédée Clausade . Open tuesdays to fridays from 10h -12h and 14h-18h, saturdays,sundays and holidays from 15h -18h. Closed in December and January.

rabastens

 

The must church in town and listed on the route to Santiago or the road to St James de Compostela is Notre Dame du Bourg, it has wonderful stained glass paintings showing the religious life real or legendary of  James the Mayor or St James. The oldest part dates from the 13C completely done in red brick.  There is the official site here: http://rabastens-notredamedubourg.fr/

rabastens

You have a wonderful district or quartier du Bourg with old quaint medieval streets looking into the river Tarn,especially rue Gouzy, a lovely red brick bridge, and the gorgeous ramparts that show the fortifications of old at quai des remparts, and the district or quartier du Chateau; the oldest in town, limits of the quai des rempartsquai de la Libération ,and quai du descargadou. This is a great town to walk its ramparts and medieval streets especially in spring time. Lovely.

rabastens hotel particulier rue du pont de Plo cc

For shopping the best is the winery at 33 rue d’Albi, its actually a cooperative where many small winegrowers (about 150) pull their resources to make a delicious wine, well known in France. The Cave de Rabastens, lovely appellation Gaillac from indigenous grapes of the region like the Mauzac for whites. See the webpage of the union of cooperatives Vinovalie here: http://www.vinovalie.com/caves

rabastens

The tourist page for the town of Rabastens is at https://www.tourisme-vignoble-bastides.com/en/towns-villages/rabastens

Again the tourist office for the department 81 Tarn is at https://www.tourisme-tarn.com/uk/things-to-do/unmissable-attractions/towns-villages-bastides/

And the region Occitanie tourist office is at  https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/eglise-notre-dame-du-bourg/rabastens

Have a wonderful trip in a gorgeous country of the Tarn, and of course pretty Rabastens!!

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

 

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March 26, 2019

The battlefields in France of WWI

Dates come and go and come and we sometimes find no time to write about certain dear things to us. This is the case of the efffort of many for a free Europe/World. I am particularly thankful to the Americans ,who I am and active voter from France on all elections. I like to pay tribute to those who fought and or died for our freedom from all Nations in this humble post. I have visited these places one time or another.

Suresnes

I married a French women from the Battlefields of the Marne, Monument Americain or American Monument on the Route de Varennes near Meaux, today , there is a wonderful WWI museum there that you all should visit.  Museum of the Great War, Webpage here :Museum of the Great War or WWI in Meaux

meaux

meaux

The Battle of the Somme in WWI was a huge battlefront of 750 kms (about 465 miles) including two periods. Since September 1914 the course to the sea around the monuments of Ovilliers, Guillemont, and Flers. And then a north south line along the villages of Beaumont-Hamel, Thiepval, La Boisselle, Fricourt, Maricourt, Curlu, Dompierre, Fay, Chaulnes, and Maucourt.

It then , came again in June 1916 in the second Battle of the Somme, from Beaumont-Hamel and Bapaume to the north to Chilly,Chaulnes to the south; here the British and French fought side by side until a line at Maricourt. The battle involves about a million men and 200 000 horses as the official encounter began on June 24.  By July 2nd the losses were big already 58K men of which 22K killed especially by the British, their biggest losses up to that point in any war. Total by the December 1916 the losses were big, 1,2Million men out of combat for a total of 3M; the British advance only 12 kms the French 5-8kms alone the line.  Here too it talks about the great British offensive of Yprés from June to October 1917, the battle of Cambrai in November (first using tanks), and the tragic offensive of the French at Chemin des Dames.  1918, mark the commandement unique of the allied army to Marichal Foch March 26 at Doullens, the offensive by the Australians at Villers-Bretonneux, the American monument at Cantigny, monument to the 2nd division Australians at Peronne and the Canadian memorial at Le Quesnel, all evoke the counteroffensive that led to the armistice of November 11 at Compiegne.

You should visit the Historial de la Grande Guerre at Peronne: Historial museum of the Great War at Peronne

peronne

You can see the Cross to the 16st Irish division at Guillemont and Ginchy with Irish Treffles  for heroic action on September 3 and 9 1916. Also, remembering all the Irish who lost their lives in WWI.  At Longueval,  and the taking of Bois Delville by the South Africans  on July 15-20 1916. at specific Longueval, we honor also the New Zealanders that took bravery here on September 15 1916 taking objective near Flers the wood of Fourcaux, or high wood done by the 47th London division of New Zealand! You can see the South African memorial of Bois Delville with 63 hectares land of South Africa from 1920. Behind you will find a museum too with a replica of Fort du Cap. The New Zealanders have their memorial with a cross of the 12th battalion of Gloucestershire and the cementary of Caterpillar Valley, Scottish monument of the 1th Cameron Highlanders, 1st Black Watch, and the 47th division with a Cairn of 192 stones coming from Scotland to honor the 192 who felled here from the 9th battalion Highland light Infantry (Glasgow highlanders) and the London cementary.

le quesnoy

The Canadians are here too, Memorial Canadien on the road D929 to the right hand side in granite stone toward the village of Courcelette, took part here September 3 to November 18 1916. Losing 24K of their sons. You have the memorial to Newfoundlanders  with 16 hectares done in 1925, you can see while getting there on the road a statue of a Caribou ,their mascot in bronce.  You can see at La Boiselle the Lochnagar Crater of 100 meters in diameter around here you saw the 34th Division of Scottish and Irish, there is a monument with a bas-relief in Bronce of Saint George attacking a dragon, cross of Saint Andrew(Scottish), and a large celtic harp(Irish) with inscription engrave in the stone relating to this battle of July 1,1916.

The great battles around Albert,  with great efforts by the British , the town was destroyed 90% and the town reconstructed with the help of the city of Birmingham in England. You can see the wonderful Basilique Notre Dame de Brebiéres, and not to miss the museum ,Musée Somme 1916Museum of the Somme 1916 at Albert

albert

You drive around the area and can visit the Monument to the American and French nurses at Chaulnes, a gift from the USA and France Red Cross; at Lihons on August 21 1916 died in combat after volunteering to fight the nephew of Napoléon Ier Marshal Murat, a prince, you can see it on the road entering Lihons coming from Vermandovillers there is a small route on the left after the town cemetery. See the wonderful Arc de Triomphe at Proyart , a huge memorial for a small town donated by a rich Champagne men who lost his only son in the war.  You can see the old train line that supplies the front lines, the P’tit Train de la Haute-Somme; and now its a tourist attraction at Eclusier-Vaux for the little train ride and a trains museum. More here: Little Train ride appeva site

On May 28 1918 ,just when the French retreat from the Chemin des Dames and losing Soissons, the Americans land and engage for the first time in the front of Cantigny, and they take the town on May 31.  The American who lost their lives here are buried at the huge American cementary of the Somme in Bony, not far from the imposing memorial of Bellicourt on the road N44, it has a chapel, secretary office, and welcome center. It is honoring of the Big Red One Division on the borders of the town in the road D26 direction Montdidier.(not far from the A16 direction Amiens.

At Villers-Bretonneux, you have the Australian Memorial on the road D23 direction Fouilloy/Corbie, two huge white towers with an even bigger one in the middle and the names of the dead written on it. It opened in 1938 and here it is held every year the ANZAC Day celebration. They were 331K volunteers from a population of 4,9M and casualties of  58500 men including 16000 dead. See ,also at the Le Hamel the Parc Memorial Australien built by Australia in August 7,1998; free to all with trenches intact.  It is here too in July 4 1918 Australian and American troops fought alongside with infantry, artillery, aviation, tanks, and paratroopers to begin the modern war tactics… More here: Museum Franco-Australian at Villers-Bretonneux

From the above webpage see more into ,visit the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, where over 72,000 men with no known grave are remembered. Climb to the top of the Newfoundland Caribou Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel for a moving view of the former battlefield.  See the enormous Lochnagar mine crater at La Boisselle, created at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, on 1 July at 7h28 (7:28 am). Explore Delville Wood and the South African Memorial at Longueval, a former battleground today at peace. Take part in the moving ANZAC Day Dawn Service on 25 April at Villers-Bretonneux.  Participate with the commemorations of the Battle of the Somme at various sites of remembrance on 1 July.

Today, you can pay tribute to these great men in various cemetaries all over France,these are: The French are care by the Ministry of Defense and in the Somme there are 20 national cementaries.  More here Memories of men French Defense site can be in English

and for those seeking a love one,  this place can help: Memories of men French Defense ministry to search names can be in English

A site in French of many of them from many mostly Commonwealth nations here: Picardie 1418 on battlefields and men of WWI

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission takes care of the dead from the areas known as the Commonwealth UK, it takes care of 410 cementaries in the Somme along ; more here: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

From the USA, it is the American Battles Monuments Commission, who handles and maintain them, here is their webpage: ABMC cimenteries and memorials

In addition footnote information, for the Australians the most memorable places other than Villers-Bretonneux are Amiens, Corbie Plateau, Le Hamel, Albert, Poziéres, Sailly-le-Sec and Peronne.

Towns in general of WWI history and conflict are Doullens, hall of the sole command, Froissy, petit train de la haute somme, Thiepval, memorial Franco-Britanique, La Boiselle, Beaumont-Hamel, Rancourt, Longueval, Albert, Chaulnes,Cantigny,Lihons, Aveluy, Soyécourt, Frisé, Eclusier-Vaux, Maricourt, Feuilléres, Bouchavesnes-Bergen, Flaucourt, Courcelette, Martinpuich, Mametz,Fay,Moislans, Corbie, and Montauban-de-Picardie.

And of course, there are many others like Vimy, the Indian Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle, Notre-Dame de Lorette monument in Ablain-St-Nazaire, National Museum of Franco-American cooperation at Blérancourt, the Clairiére de l’Armistice at Compiegne, the Memory of Walls Museum at Verneuil-en-Halate, Caverne de Dragons and Chemin des Dames near Laon, Second battle of the Marne Memorial and Dormans Ossuary at Dormans, Navarin Ossuary at Souain, The First battle of the Marne memorial at Mondement, Vauquois Hill near Fleury, The world peace center at Verdun, as well as the Verdun Memorial, Douaumont Ossuary and Vaux fort.

For me including those of WWII as well is the American Cementary of Suresnes (dept 92 Hauts de Seine just outside Paris), And , also, the Lafayette Escadrile located inside the gates of Domaine National de Sainte-Cloud, (dept 92 Hauts de Seine as well)  of where I have been the most and event took visiting friends there. The  ABMC site has more info.

Rememberance is to honor them, never forget. As I see many who likes to come to cemeteries for the rich and famous, why not come to these ones, the feeling is much better and the experience unique!

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!

Versailles

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.

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.

versailles

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.

versailles grand canal to porte st antoine

versailles

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.

versailles

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.

versailles

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.

versailles

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.

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!

versailles

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 25, 2019

Saint-Louis Cathedral at Blois!

And well going back this wonderful region of the Loire valley now comprises of really two regions of the new French Republic. I have come here often and there is still lots to see as in my belle France. I though that I had written apart on it but apparently not, so here is my take on the Cathédrale Saint Louis de Blois!

Saint-Louis Cathedral is located in Blois in the Department of Loir-et-Cher No. 41, Centre-Val-de-Loire region. It is the seat of the bishopric of Blois, erected in 1697 by a bull of Pope Innocent XII.

blois

A bit of history I like

The Cathedral St Louis is of late Gothic style. Before becoming a cathedral, she was a collegiate and was placed under the patronage of Saint-Solenne. Construction began in the 12C. But apart from a few vestiges in the crypt and the base of the steeple, nothing remains of this church. The façade and tower of the steeple were built from 1544. The nave was destroyed by a hurricane in 1678, and the reconstruction in Gothic style took place between 1680 and 1700.

To celebrate the promotion of the Church to the rank of Cathedral in 1697, king Louis XIV offered the organ buffet in 1704. Since its construction, the current Cathedral has undergone very little transformations. The Notre-Dame Chapel was added in 1860. The American bombing of WWII destroyed most of the Cathedral’s stained glass windows. In 2000, the new stained glass windows were inaugurated as part of a general restoration of the building undertaken since 1985. The new stained glass windows cover thirty-three bays, high and low, and represent a total surface area of more than 360 m2.

blois

Dating from the middle of the 16C, the façade shows a compromise between the traditional late Gothic style and the beginnings of Classicism. There are medieval elements such as gargoyles, buttresses topped with pinnacles as well as the acute pinion that surmounts the whole, but also classical elements such as the triangular pediment, the medallions in round-hump in the spandrels.  The most remarkable part is the tower-steeple located to the north of the façade and which dominates the whole city. Although its bedrock dates from the 12C, construction began in 1544. The Renaissance style is equipped with ionic and Corinthian columns. The top floor is topped by a dome topped by a lantern built in 1603.  The tower has seven bells.

blois

blois

A bit more on the description and dates

The Saint Louis Cathedral is composed of a large nave with north and south collateral done between 1680-1700, on which are opened lateral chapels, as well as a choir with its ambulatory. There is no transept. The choir has a five-part apse from the 16-17C. Framing the choir, the ambulatory and its radiant chapels date back to the 19C. In the high windows there are 19C stained glass.  The ambulatory added in the 1860’s with its twisted pillars is a pastiche of the style Louis XII, example of imitation of the styles of the past under the Second Empire.

Blois

After the hurricane of 1678, only the façade, the five-sided apse and the pillars of the choir were reused. For the first time, the sanctuary of a warhead vault was covered.  The church has one very old chapel, dating from the 12C and located on the left under the tower, with a vault of period warheads falling on the capitals of Acanthus leaves. In front of it, on the right side in the first chapel is a marble bas-relief depicting the baptism of Christ and recovered from the tomb of the mother of the King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine Stanislas Leszczynski, who died in Blois. The Saint Louis Cathedral still houses another bas-relief of white marble called memory and meditation, dated 1660. The Clicquot organ buffet was offered by king Louis XIV in 1704.

blois

The Saint-Solenne Crypt is located under the Cathedral Choir. It was in 1927 that the remains of a Carolingian church, built at the end of the 10C by the Counts of Blois, were discovered to house the relics of Saint Solenne, Bishop of Chartres. Later, in the 12C, during the building of the next church, the choir of this Carolingian church became a crypt.  In the Crypt alone remains the central ship and the apse of this ancient church-basilica. Behind the altar, you can see the trace of its semi-circular apse. On the left side, a vault houses the tombs of the bishops of Blois.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Blois on heritage in French

Tourist office Blois Chambord on the Cathedral in English

Loire Valley regional tourist office on the Cathedral in English

Blois Catholic Parish site on the Cathedral in French

There you another gem to see as often the city is more than just a castle. Enjoy Blois, and do visit the Saint Louis Cathedral worth a detour. Enjoy it

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

 

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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

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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!!

 

 

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