Archive for April 11th, 2019

April 11, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVII

Oh wow, just reliazed having so much fun with my lovely Brittany, had not been around my belle France news report! Well of course, the news and fun of my France are too many for just one blog even less a series of posts, but I do my grain of sand effort to show you the best of the most visited country in the world, for good reasons.

The weather has been mixed with cold rain and now calm sunny beautiful Spring times. Here in my neck of the woods is 13C (about 58F)  but will go down in the morning of tomorrow to 1C! At our grand Paris is a bit cooler at 11C and 55F. The weekend looks a bit colder again.

Now let me tell you a bit on what are the things nice and lovable and like by me. Oh CCXXVII is the Roman numeral for 227th post on the series since Nov 2010! Thank you!!

When Fellini Dreamed of Picasso at the Cinemathéque Française of Paris, and until July 28 2019, with an integral retrospective of the films of Fellini until  May 25th.More info here: .

Pastry passion ice Fruttini by MO is the new gourmet jewel of Saint Germain des Prés, located just a few steps from the Bon Marché.More info here:

From 8h. to 18h  today Thursday, the rue du cloister Notre-Dame ,4éme will be closed to traffic. A 100 meters high crane will be installed. Starting at 10h30, the first eight statues of the Apostles and Evangelists of 3 meters in height (but whose heads have already been removed) and which have been there from the great restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc in 1861, will be lowered to the ground in order to be themselves rehabilitated. The end of this work is planned for 2022. See more info here:

The project to reenchant the Champs-Elysées on the horizon 2024,  date of the Olympic Games in Paris. While 63% of Parisians believe, in an Ipsos survey, that it remains the most beautiful avenue in the world, it is also considered “noisy”, “artificial”, “stressful” or even “dangerous”. On 100 pedestrians, in addition to tourists, 22 people work here and only 2% are Parisians who come there for pleasure. 15 hectares of gardens are spread out along the Champs-Elysées, between the Seine and the Elysée in particular. And there are twenty times less walkers than at Parc Monceau which is only 8 hectares. They have began to open an ideas box, with closed and theme family parks, a pedestrian walkway between the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, a sports course on the Seine side, bathing basins on the Seine river, and cultural animations . I need this but tourist galore come to it. More info here :

The Hotel de la Marine, a historical monument built under king Louis XV, continues its renovation, started in 2017. The monumental worksite must be completed in about a year, for an opening hoped for in June 2020. With an ambition  to making the place, inaccessible since 230 years, a place of life for Parisians, who expects 600 000 visitors per year on 6200 sq meters. The Cour d’Honneur or Court of honour is in the process of restoring its volumes of origins, with its arcades that had been cloisonné when the building welcomed the naval staff, the court will become the living center of the hotel and it will be open permanently, allowing the passage from the rue Royale or the place de la Concorde. This transverse artery will host a CMN bookshop, but also a quality grocery store offering takeout. Restaurants, whose card will be entrusted to the chef Jean-François Piége, and a coffee shop, more classical, come to enrich this leisure offer. Finally, a tea room, this time by the brand Alain Ducasse, will find its place on the 1st floor (2nd fl US). Visitors will be able to access the tour concentrated on the 1st floor. The apparat lounges, all gilts and pendants, are preserved in their 19C origins. Their little addition, the terrace that offers a unique view of the Concorde and the Tuileries. The 18C section, the intendant’s apartments, are still in the process of restoration, with the bet to find the decorations and original furniture. More info here:

The GoodPlanet Foundation, created by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand to educate the public about ecology, inaugurated on April 13th and 14th 2019 its new season. And it’s a book of new things. In the Castle, exit Humans, the beautiful series of video portraits on giant screens. The new permanent exhibition is called Planet Ocean and it transports us to the seas of the globe, for four hours of underwater images, fascinating, in the world of the abyss Domaine de Longchamp, Bois de Boulogne ,16éme  Saturday and Sunday April  13-14 2019, 11h  to 19h  free admission. More info here:

A street art fresco of 150 m2 underway at Gare de L’Est. The day may be a little less bleak from today onwards. In order to bring art a little closer to Parisians and Franciliens, the urban art production house Quai 36 has appealed to the ONOFF collective to create an immense street art fresco. To enjoy it, we will take the exit/entrance Château-Landon from the station. Gare de l’Est place du 11 Novembre 1918, 10th. More info here :

Direction Fluctuart, the first center of urban art floating in the world with a unique transparent structure, which will offer exhibitions, creative workshops, bookstore and festive evenings from the end of May. The space of 1 000 m2 totally transparent and in the heart of Paris will valorize the trends of urban art, from the pioneers of street art to contemporary artists, and will particularly highlight the emerging and innovative practices. Scattered in three levels, the structure of the place is completely modular and transparent. Pont des Invalides 2 Port du Gros Caillou  7th. More info here :

Just a teaser to keep abreast of what is going on, Paris and France in general are moving on to another record year of visitors, estimates run to 100M visitors! So pack early and plan well, things will be busy. Enjoy l’Hexagone!

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


April 11, 2019

Ville Close of Concarneau!

I am taking back into time and a fortified city with ancient walls and full of life now. Lovely and enchanting all around it. This is the Ville Close of Concarneau. Again, written briefly on it on several of my posts on Concarneau but feel deserves a post of its own. Therefore, here it is. Hope you enjoy as we did. Of course it is in the Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany.

The walled city of Concarneau is a fortified city of the 15-16C built on an islet. It is the historical heart of the city of Concarneau which has gradually developed around the islet.

You best reach it by car, along the N165 expressway motorway from nantes-brest. Get off at exit/sortie coat cong no 51 on the road mapping, and go down on the road D70 to city center. However, i do it several ways ,and for me the most scenic way is to get off at Kérandréo exit 48 on the road D4 you go past Pont Aven ,then follow signs on the road D783, much nicer ride


According to the legend, it is Concar who would have liberated the site occupied by the current city close (Ville Close) of the Picts to base the city of Concarneau. Around the 10C, a Priory was established by the monks of the Abbey of Landévennec on the basis of some houses already present on the upper part of the islet. Traces of a 13C tower and a 14C wall found near the Tour du Fer à Cheval (Horseshoe Tower) confirm the existence of a medieval enclosure. It was probably Duke John II of Brittany who built this first stone enclosure surrounding the islet around 1285. At that time, a community of bourgeois, traders and fishermen lived in the city.

concarneau ville close entrance jan13

The city now closed becomes a stronghold of Brittany and the stakes of rivalries between English and French, especially during the War of Succession of Brittany during which the Englishmen, who came to help Jean de Montfort, took the city in 1342. In 1373, after thirty years of English occupation, Olivier du Guesclin, took over the city on behalf of the King of France Charles V and chase the English out. In 1488, after the battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, the closed city (Ville Close) passed into the hands of the King of France Charles VIII, before being taken over by the Bretons. In 1489, John II of Rohan siege the city closed and takes over the islet in the name of the King. Anne of Brittany, to counter the French influence on the Duchy, appealed to the English who occupied the city until 1495.


Concarneau becomes a Royal court with a right of provost and one of the 42 cities of Brittany to send a member to the States General of Brittany. In July 1619, King Louis XIII, dissatisfied with the Governor of Concarneau, ordered the Governor of Brittany to take control of the city. Until the French Revolution, Concarneau, in addition to the garrison, had a population of fishermen who had a few dozen rowboats. The fishing mainly consisting of the pressed ,dried or smoked sardines, is then shipped by boat to Saint-Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle, or even Bordeaux and by cart to the cities of the Interior. During the industrial revolution, the city is transformed with bourgeois houses  built along the docks outside the closed town (ville close).


Between the mid-19C and the middle of the 20C, the closed city (ville close) was also the subject of the attention of the painters known as the “Concarneau group”. The Chapel-Hospital of the Trinity, located in the walled city, is a victim of a fire in 1917, but a wealthy American, Katerine Wylie, finances its reconstruction in 1924 as a hospital-dispensary. The building subsequently became a maternity ward until the construction of the Porzou maternity in the early 1970’s.

See a site in French on the painters of Concarneau as above : Painters of Concarneau

The ville close, or fortified city ,only 380 meters on its longest stretch and  100 meters on it average widest point. A wonderful time as it was chilly and hardly anybody there but locals and daring like us ::) See the nice church of Saint Guénolé, built in 1830. It was partially destroyed in  1937, and now only remains the facade and the base of the belltower. Inside you can see the cannons from the ship Venus now on displayed, get up on the tour du gouvernor, The belltower or Beffroi  done in 1906 on the old guard post lookout, that can be seen from outside and nice quaint from the inside, and of course the ramparts, (this time close due to the windy weather). The other attraction not stop this time but very nice and worth the trip is the museum of fishing or musée de la Pêche, main entrance inside the ville close. A wonderful unique place to see the fisherman life, boating and fish industry of the area.

See the granite houses along rue Vauban, very nice architectural insight into the area and its inhabitants, as well as the nice Chapelle de l’Hôpital de la Trinité done in the 15C.  in the 16C Concarneau had a Chapel Hospital.  It was dedicated to the holy trinity. Its two halls could welcome several sick men and women. The halls gave direct access to the chapel, and from their bed could do their daily routines, it was to care for the homeless ,however by the 19C the hospital was in ruins. Only remained the wooden door facing rue Vauban. We can today admire the door in pillars and cap in stones and on top the blason or idenity shields of the founding lords. To the right of the door, there is a modest statue of St Guénolé done in 1954.

The ramparts, in their contemporary form, girders the walled city over a total length of about 980 meters. The closed city extends from East to West in its largest length over 380 meters and 220 meters in its largest width (North-South) and on a 60 meters in its minimum width. The ramparts made of local granite have an average thickness between 2.5 and 3 meters. Their machicolations date from the 15C. The main entrance of the closed city (ville close) is protected by a first raveling enhanced by a parapet crenate. The latter is connected to the half-moon by a sleeping bridge. These structures are interconnected by a set of six wooden bridges, three drawbridges and three sleeper bridges. The ramparts are drilled by eight towers (nine if you count the Horseshoe). Starting from the tower located close to the main entrance, one counts in the direction of a clockwise rotation.


The Governor’s Tower or tour du Gouverneur (circa 1477-17C) it hosts the House of the captains and the Governor of the city. Vauban strengthens and walks the structure to support an artillery platform. At the beginning of the 18C, a spur was added to the base of the tower. The tower of the Major or tour du Major (14-17C), the primitive structure of the Tower of the major dates from the 14C, the front is of the 17C. It is mainly composed of a low room serving as ammunition depot especially for powder barrels and protected by a lookout corridor. Upstairs is the major’s Firehouse. The New tower or tour Neuve 16C also called the Powder Mills tower or tour du Moulin à Poudre, it is built to protect a section of the ramparts more vulnerable at low tide. The Gate to the Wine tower or  tour de la Porte au Vin dates from the last quarter of the 15C. The Passage tower  or tour du Passage probably dated from the 15C, it is located in a strategic location. The tower of the harbor of the dogs or tour du Port aux Chiens, 16C, also called the “tour de l’essence”. The Horseshoe  or Le Fer à Cheval dated from the 16C, it was block in the 19C. Restoration works uncovered the remains of a 13C tower.  The Tower of the Moors, or tour du Maure,dated from the 15C, it is pierced by three archers gunboats. The tower of Fortune, or tour de la Fortune is one of the oldest towers of the closed city. Pierced by three archers, it is also called the Masson tower or tour du Masson . The door of the Thieves or porte des Larrons, 15C, located near the square of the thieves or carré des Larrons, this door takes its name from the thieves who were driven by barge on the other side of the shore, in the passage, to be hanged there. Walled for several centuries, it was reopened in 1991. The gate to the wine or porte au Vin ,15C, this door opened on the first commercial port. A wharf is built in 1891 in the outside extension of the gate, along the ramparts to satisfy the fishermen. The gate of the passage (19C) or  porte du Passage, the wall is pierced at the end of the 18C to facilitate access to the passage. The door itself dates back to the time of Louis-Philippe (1830-1848). The Governor’s House ,or  maison du Gouverneur, 17C, this building backed by the Governor’s Tower, serves as a house and an annex to the latter with which it communicates on two levels. No Governor actually occupied this dwelling, rented a time to a carpenter. The house of the major or Logis du Major (circa 1730) in the absence of the Governor of the city, the garrison is commanded by a major. The watch room or salle de guet above one of the main gates was reassigned in the middle of the 18C to house the major. The bodyguard, or  corps de garde rebuilt in 1694 in the half-moon to protect the second drawbridge.


The old Church of Saint-Guénolé was built in the 12C and today only remains its façade and its gable-bell. The Chapel of the Hospital (Trinity) from the 16C, the walled city (ville close) has a hospital chapel dedicated to the Trinity, by the French revolution; it is transformed into a decadaire temple. After the revolution the building became successively a parish church, a school, a house closed during WWI, and then a dispensary and finally a place of exhibition. From the primitive building, there is only visible the façade on rue Vauban. Several other remarkable buildings or structures to see as you walk about.

We were a bit late so we try another resto in the pl du 8 mai 1945, at the street alongside it, La Croisiére at 11 Avenue du Docteur Pierre Nicolas. This is family own serving delicious seafood/fish dishes and some meats. tel +33 (0) 2 98 97 01 87.  There is a pleasant modern salle or room in the street level and a nice with great views on top looking towards the ville close and the pleasure boat marina, with a nicer terrace in good weather . All that with great food of mussels, fish, pizzas and white meats. We had dourade royale or sea bream type fish in sauce nantaise (butter sauce) and rissotto with mushrooms, a large pint of bitburger german beer, and a café gourmand (expresso coffee with small cakes panacotta, brownies, sweet meringue cookie), the rest had assortments of mussels rocquefort,curry, bretonne (bacon=lardon, onions, cream,and white wine), tea gourmand with the same as coffee,and more pints of beer bitburger,and a juice non alcoholic drink for the wife, all five for 120€. Just my number and the food was fantastic, the welcome very warm and the server from the marne dep 51 (Champagne) lol!!!No web

Again a must to see I am telling you. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Concarneau on the Ville Close

Tourist office of Finistere on Concarneau

Tourist office of Brittany on Concarneau

You must come, it is really nice and we are so lucky to live close to it. There is lots to do in Concarneau but the Ville Close is definitively our favorite.

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

April 11, 2019

Church of Saint Herlé at Douarnenez

So moving right along in my beautiful Brittany which as a whole can be told as an off the beaten path tourist destination in France. Even thus, it is the third most visited region by the French for vacation, the foreign visitors seems content with going back to the popular places. Brittany has a huge inventory of wonders with historically and architecturally gems such as the one showcase here.

Again briefly mention in my previous posts, I like to tell you a bit more on the Church of Saint Herlé in Douarnenez.


The Church of Saint-Herlé, or Saint Erlé, is located in the Ploaré district of Douarnenez, Finistére Dept 29 of the region of Brittany.  This church is recognized as the most beautiful church in Douarnenez, according to many folks in the region. What strikes above all in the Church of St Herlé is its superb Bell Tower, one of the most remarkable in the Cornish region. Situated on a height, in the center of the town, it dominates the whole country from its slender arrow, whose end rises more than 65 meters above the ground level.


douarnenez ch st herle right side dec13

The construction of the Church of St Herlé began around 1548 as evidenced by an inscription visible at the base of the Tower; the Spire was built in several stages during the 17C. The whole thing is of the Cornish Gothic style. But the tower and its spire were rebuilt several times, probably after partial destruction due to lightning, especially in 1751, hence their composite character. The sacristy dates from the 18C.


The Church of Saint-Herlé has hosted numerous sermons by the famous preacher DOM Michel Le Nobletz. A stained-glass window dating from 1902 depicts him leaving Douarnenez in front of his crying followers.  A bas-relief of the Church dating from the 16C represents sardines on which a gull is eaten them; it is a lasting testimony of the ancient importance of the sardine fishing industry in Brittany. And still big as the best is from there today and we buy them!


The high altar, from the 17C, is adorned with a double Tabernacle and a Retable with turrets. At the door of the lower Tabernacle, the lamb is lying on the Cross. At the upper Tabernacle we see a carved monstrance framed by two virtues. At the top appears the risen Christ. To the left and to the right of the Tabernacle you can see the statues of St Peter and St Paul. Two beautiful carved oak chandeliers decorate the entrance of the choir; on the left, the figure Saint Herlé, in deacon; on the right, a beautiful group of the Trinity, where the dove overcomes the tiara of the Eternal Father. At the top of the north side is the altar of St. Anne, with twisted columns, with the Eternal Father on top. There are, also, modern statues of St. Anthony and St. Isidore.


The pulpit to preach seems from the 18C. It is equipped with five sculpted side panels, representing the four evangelists, with Saint Herlé at the central panel. At the bottom of the south collateral, you will notice a fireplace with the baptismal font. At the north side, in an already ancient tomb, was buried Marguerite Le Nobletz, sister of DOM Michel. Several mothers lay down their slow little children to walk, after having carried them processionally along the naves.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Douarnenez on religious heritage

Tourist office of Douarnenez on heritage

Friends of St Herle assoc supporting the Church

Another historically and architecturally nice monument in the Finistére breton of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. Hope you have enjoy the small tour.

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


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