Archive for April 9th, 2019

April 9, 2019

American Monument at Brest!

This is what I meant when I say Brittany in general still has a lot of off the beaten path sites not visited by most. Brest is a great city with plenty to see and heck one of the best Chrismas markets in Brittany and we often here. Lots of better known monuments too.

However, if you come by car like we do, upon entering the city by the wharfs you will a huge tower on the hill. This is the American Monument or Naval Monument of Brest. I like to tell you a bit more about it.


The Naval Monument, more commonly called the Pink Tower, is an American Memorial erected at the Cours Dajot in Brest, dept 29 of the Finistére in Brittany; to recall the action of the American Navy in Europe during WWI. Destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation, it was rebuilt identically in 1958.


The Pink Tower was designed from 1930 to 1932, and inaugurated in 1937. Located roughly in the middle of the Cours Dajot, resting on the side of the rampart dominating the port of Commerce, the Memorial consists of a square tower in pink granite of 44 meters high or 30.5 meters (100 feet) from the cours Dajot. In front there is an esplanade and a public garden. The whole is owned by the Government of the United States but does not benefit from extraterritoriality as commonly the case in American cemeteries in Europe ,due to the fact there is no one buried at it.


my family at American Monument

At its base, on its north-west side (Esplanade side) and south-east side ( Avenue Salaun Penquer) is inscribed, “Erected by the United States of America to commemorate the achievements of the naval forces of the United States and France during WWI”.


Inside the Pink Tower, not open to the public, a staircase allows access to a small platform about 30 meters in height. The interior It is said of no particular interest except a letter from President Eisenhower, written while he was President of the United States at the time of the inauguration of its reconstruction, which was deposited there. The monument is owned by the American government and managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission and it is the American military cemetery of St. James (in the South of the Manche Dept 50) which is responsible for its maintenance.


The US Navy has been active in the conflict since the United States entered the war on 6 April 1917 and the creation of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), the American Expeditionary Corps which it conveyed in Europe until the repatriation of the last American soldiers in 1919, several months after the Armistice.

The American Battle Monuments Commission therefore decided to erect a memorial to commemorate this action of the American Navy in European waters. Brest was chosen because the Breton port was the headquarters of the American naval forces in Europe during the war and the main place of landing and re boarding of the American troops. Of the 2 million members of the AEF, more than 700 000 arrived by Brest. It was also via Brest that the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, arrived in Europe in 1919.

The Pink Tower was destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation on July 4 1941 and they built a bunker at its location. The purpose of this destruction could be to deprive the British aviators who used the tower and the Portzic lighthouse as an alignment for their bombing. After the war, in 1958, the tower was rebuilt identically, on the bunker, slightly shifted in relation to its original location, and inaugurated on July 16, 1960.

Some webpages to help you enjoy your visit here are

American Battle Monuments Commission on the Pink Tower

Tourist office of Brest on heritage

Tourist office of the Finistére dept 29 on Brest heritage

Tourist office of Brittany on heritage of Brest

There you go,so on your next trip to Brest…upon sighting the castle marine museum go across the park into the esplanade overlooking the port of Commerce and even from the castle museum you will see the Pink Tower. Go see it and read it. Hope it helps

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



April 9, 2019

The Castle at La Roche Maurice!

Ok so I am staying in this wonderful old town of the Finistére dept 29 in Brittany. We have come here for sights and even to purchase at the wonderful market next to the Church in city center of lovely La Roche Maurice. Again in previous posts did not go too much into the sights here and the Castle ruins is a must to see. Let me catch up you on it now.

La roche maurice

The La Roche Maurice town is located in the downstream part of the Valley of the Élorn river , between Landivisiau (upstream, east) and Landerneau (downstream, west). La Roche-Maurice is crossed by the former road National 12 , now name the D 712., and by rail line from Paris-Montparnasse to Brest which goes along the Élorn, right bank for the former N 12, left bank by the railroad tracks. La Roche-Maurice is served by a train station.

la roche maurice

And the castle has according to legend, the Castle,  very old , would have belonged in the 5C to a Lord named Élorn and then would have been called Hainebon, “the old bridge”, the history of the Château de la Roche-Maurice is closely linked to the counts of Leon. During the dismantling of the territory of Léon in 1180, the youngest branch of the Léon family ,founded by Hervé I de Léon Lord of Léon, the youngest son of Guyomarch IV, Viscount of Léon, obtained the territories of Daoulas, Landerneau and Landivisiau until Penzé and manages to keep himself around his fief of La Roche-Maurice for 8 generations.

La Roche Maurice

The Château, which was then called Roc’h-Morvan ,because it was originally built, facing   Leon, by a Lord of Cornwall, called Morvan, was taken by the English in 1177; they placed a garrison there until Geoffroy II Plantagenet, Duke of Bretagne from 1181 to 1186, restored a part of Léon to the sons of Guyomarch IV of Leon. The dungeon, about 13 meters wide, could have been raised by Guyomarch V of Leon, heir in 1179 of the Viscounty of Leon, and living until 1210. It is probably partially destroyed around 1240 when Hervé III, Lord of Léon tries vainly to oppose the advance of the Duke of Brittany Jean I Le Roux, but nevertheless continues to be in the hands of the family of Leon until the death of Hervé VIII of Leon in 1363, who dies without a direct heir . The lordship of Leon had a sister, Jeanne, wife of John I of Rohan. The lordship ,then became part of the House of Rohan. For 150 years, waiting to become Viscounts of Rohan, the eldest sons of Rohan settled until 1517 in the Château de la Roche-Maurice under the title of Lords of Leon. The Château de la Roche-Maurice is then the only fortress of the lordship of Leon in a state of defence fortification.

La Roche Maurice

In 1489, following the Franco-Breton war of 1489-1491 led by Viscount John II of Rohan, who claims to inherit the Duchy of Brittany because of his ascend and his wife Marie de Bretagne against the King of France Charles VIII, the Château de la Roche-Maurice is dismantled. Around 1580, during the League wars, the Rohan took the side of the Protestant party in Brittany. The castle is probably definitely destroyed at that time. It will never be rebuilt.

la Roche Maurice

In 1678, the Castle was transformed into a prison, and retained this role until 1694 in the 18-19C, the Castle served as a quarry, and many of the houses of the village and perhaps the present church were built with these stones. The Château remained the property of the family of Rohan until its acquisition in 1986 by the General Council of Finistère open now to the visit, the Castle now offers a secure course dotted with interpretive panels (construction phases, reconstitution of scenes of daily life). The history of the Château de la Roche-Maurice will remain, however, forever unknown due to the destruction of most of the trail of the Maison de Rohan, also known as the “Chartrier of Blain” in 1793 during the reign of terror of the French revolution.

La Roche Maurice

Very nicely done the presentation tours from the tourist office of La Roche Maurice which is at the base of the Castle across it. A nice place to see on the off the beaten path ways of my Brittany; hope you have enjoy it.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here worth a detour are

City of La Roche Maurice on heritage

Tourist office of Landerneau Daoulas on La Roche Maurice castle

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


April 9, 2019

La Roche Maurice and the Church of St Yves!

And I am sticking in my Brittany with still many off the beaten path for the visitors and even the locals. Nevertheless, it is the 3rd most popular vacation region for the French! I have crossed greatly if a lot is still to see and I am amazed of the monuments of great architecture and historical value here.

I have told you about it in pieces but the Church of St Yves in La Roche Maurice, dept 29 of Finistére deserves more credit. Therefore, will tell you a bit more on it here.

The Church St Yves, dedicated to Saint Yves, dates from the 16C and was built from 1509 to 1589 at the site of the Church or Castral Chapel of 1363, founded by the family Rohan, Lords heirs of the Viscounts of Leon.

La Roche Maurice

The Bell Tower of about 60 meters high dates from 1589. At the base of the Bell Tower, there is an ionic gate dated 1589, accosted and topped by niches sheltering the statues of Saint Yves, Saint Pascal Baylon and Saint Vincent Ferrier. The south Portal is dated 1550. The cowl of the southern Portal dates from 1520-1530 with the canopy of the cowl is adorned with four busts and is topped by the statue of Saint Maudez or Maurice, in Abbot’s outfit, c.1520.

La Roche Maurice

Inside, there is a remarkable Renaissance-style rood screen of the 16C. Behind the altar is a large stained glass window dated 1539. The front door, dated 1550. The coat of arms of the northern Altar is from 1545. The altarpiece is from 1650 , stained glass, dated 1539 with a   surface is 21 meters and has 15 scenes depicting the passion and resurrection of Christ. There are the 14 coats of arms of Rohan and allied families. The five lancets present a detailed account of the passion of Christ and the crucifixion occupies the two upper registers of the three central lancets.

La Roche Maurice

 La Roche Maurice

La Roche Maurice

The panelled vaults have carved sandpits and beams of scenes from daily life done in 1559-1561. The rood screen of the Church of St Yves is with that of the chapel of Lambader, one of the most beautiful of Brittany. Executed around 1570-1580, in polychrome carved oak, it is composed of a gallery surmounted by a Christ in the Cross surrounded by the Virgin Mary and Saint John. It includes 12 statues depicting Saints on either side of the transverse gallery but also characters, monsters and grotesque or fabulous masks at the pillars and sub bases.

Beyond the rood screen, in the north side, one recognizes the ox of Luke, the lion of Mark and the eagle of John. The second series, below the rood screen, carries live scenes: pouching scenes, burial of a corpse with crossed legs and lying on a cart drawn by two horses. On the nave and in the niches of the gallery are the nine Apostles from left to right are Philip, André, Thomas, Jude, Matthew, James the miner, Mathias, Simon, James the major and undoubtedly three Popes, the seated characters, wearing a tiara in the niches. On the choir side and in the niches of the gallery, there are many saints venerated in Brittany such as Saint Paul Aurélien and his dragon, St. Augustine or St. Blaise, St. Christopher, Saint Michael terrasting the Dragon, Mary Magdalene and her vase, Christ risen, St. Catherine, St. Barbara and her Tower, Saint Apolline and the pliers of her torment, St. Dominic or St. Gilles, St. Genevieve and her unquenchable candle, St. Margaret and her dragon.

La Roche Maurice

Aside from the Church of St Yves you can see an Ossuary quite impressive too. Built between 1639 and 1640 as the Saint Anne chapel. It has five windows on each side of the central entrance and above the door a triangular pediment. On the façade seven carvings depict seven people from different levels of society and death is represented with the “Ankou”,(skeleton)  armed with an arrow and giving the chilling warning “I will kill you all” (“Je vous tue tous”) and another inscription of 1640 reminds us that we are of but dust (“Souviens-toi, homme que tu n’es que poussière”). ” Remember men that you are only but dust”. Built in a mixture of Logonna stone and schiste and in the Renaissance style.

LA Roche Maurice

A pretty site to see worth the detour me think. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of La Roche Maurice on the Church

Tourist office of Landerneau Daoulas on La Roche Maurice heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on La Roche Maurice heritage

SPREV private group on La Roche Maurice and the Church

It is a nice ride here and like I said worth the detour to see the beauty we have in off the beaten path sites of Finistére, Brittany in my belle France. The Church of St Yves will be good to see.

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


%d bloggers like this: