Archive for April 12th, 2019

April 12, 2019

Church of Saint Melaine at Morlaix!

And as promise staying right put in lovely Morlaix by the bay. It has several monuments and you can read on them in my previous posts, however, feel that the best monuments needs a post on their own. Therefore, here is the second episode of Morlaix and now its Church of Saint Melaine. Ah yes the sun is triying to come out in my neck of the woods with temps of 11C or about 52F.

The Church of Saint Melaine is located at Morlaix, Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany. The  Church of Saint-Mélaine, is of flamboyant Gothic style (15C) dedicated to Melaine de Rennes. The Priory of Saint-Mélaine  was founded between 1149 and 1157 following a donation of Guyomarc’h III, Lord of Morlaix. The Church was built at the end of the 15C. In 1879, the Church lantern was replaced by a zinc-coated wooden arrow. The Church houses beautiful paintings and scultptures from the 15C to 19C, as well as a Dallam organ restored in 1971.


The Sainte-Marie Chapel, was initially included in the parish of Ploujean. In the middle of the 12C, it was given, with all its dependencies, to the Abbaye Saint-Melaine of Rennes by Guyomarc’h III, Viscount of Léon. The son of the latter, Hervé II, confirms the donation in 1154. A Priory Saint-Melaine is therefore founded between 1149 and 1157.


In the second half of the 15C, the population of the parish grew very fast. The Church of Sainte Melaine is declared by the parishioners too small and obsolete. They decide to demolished it and build a new Church without interrupting the exercise of worship. At the entrance to this porch, two Angels hold a banner on which one can read: “the year one thousand four hundred and eighty nine was started this Church of God”. From 1511 to 1516, the construction of the bell tower, the last installment of the big work was started. A clock is set up in 1564. The bell tower is only completed in 1574. the Church will be completed in the 1570’s with the Bell Tower. It is covered with a Renaissance dome in lead, topped with a lantern. In 1610 and 1611, the paneled vault of the south porch and the inner tympanum are painted.


Under the French revolution, the parish of Saint-Melaine was abolished. The Church of Saint Melaine is closed to worship, and it became a food store. The parish of Saint-Melaine was restored in 1856. In 1879, the Renaissance dome of the tower is destroyed. It is replaced by an arrow of wood covered with molded zinc. In 1943, a bomb fell into the garden of the presbytery, causing considerable damage to the north sides. Reconstruction work is underway. A larger sacristy is built. In 1956, the organs are deposited and transported for restoration in Nantes. On this occasion, the Rector wishes to modify the provisions of the Choir, of the altar in particular. Long debates engage and conclude the displacement of the altar to the west, a modification made in many buildings.


What about Saint Melaine a local hero! Saint Melaine was a monk in the region of Redon (Morbihan dept 56), and was elected Bishop of Rennes in 491. A church man and diplomat, he became adviser to king Clovis and worked on the rapprochement of the Armorica church with Rome. His tomb in Rennes quickly became a place of worship. An Abbey dedicated to the Saint was built in Rennes in the 11C (see my post other churches of Rennes); the radiance of this abbey was very great , and at the end of the 12C, the monks of Saint-Melaine held a hundred churches, radiating all the way to England.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip to lovely Morlaix and enjoy these gems are

City of Morlaix on heritage

Tourist office of the Bay of Morlaix on Morlaix heritage

Tourist office of dept 29 Finistere on Morlaix

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix

And there you go , a nice one two punch to see in lovely Morlaix and easy ride with train station. One of the gems of the off the beaten path of my belle France. Enjoy it here the Church of Saint Melaine, nice indeed.

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


April 12, 2019

Wines of the world!

So in continuing with the good news on the wine world, my world maybe your world too, let me tell you some numbers. Even with the pressure to reduce comsumption the trend is up because wine is an integral part of our cultures and cannot be eliminated. It is like taken down Notre Dame Cathedral ,etc etc. En vino veritas!

According to the International Vine and Wine Organization (OIV). Italy confirms its rank as the first producer in front of France. World production reached a record level of 292.3 million hectoliters, up 14.5% !!, according to the OIV . It needs to  go back fifteen years to regain a comparable volume. This situation is all the more remarkable as the vineyard has not ceased to decline since 2004. It stabilized last year.

Some numbers: A world vineyard area of 7.4 million hectares in 2018. A strong increase in production, with 292.3 million hectoliters, representing a growth of 42.5 Million hectoliters compared to 2017. A quasi-stabilized consumption of 246 million hectoliters.  World trade in wine rising with 108 million hectoliters and an increase in value of 1.2% to reach the 31.3 billion Euros!!! Thank you world!!!

In Europe, the area would grow most in Italy between 2017 and 2018, of about 5000 hectares to reach 706 millions ha, unlike other European countries that show a stabilization of the vineyard areas. Nevertheless, Spain remains in the lead in the world ranking with 969 million ha. In Asia, after more than 10 years of strong progression, the growth of the Chinese vineyard  with 875 million ha slows, while that of Turkey 448 mil ha  sees its size stabilize in 2018 after a steady decline since 2003. In the American continent, the vineyard is increasing in Mexico, which is 34 mil ha. The vineyard of South Africa continues to shrink slowly since 2012, to reach 125 mil ha in 2018. In Oceania, the Australian vineyard of 145 mil ha) would see its recent decline slow, while the New Zealand vineyard remains almost stable, with an area around 39 mil ha.

Italy confirm its place of the premier global producer with 54.8 Mil hl, followed by France with 49.1 Mil hl and Spain which registers 44.4 Mil hl. On the other hand, weather conditions have been less favorable for some European countries. In Portugal  6.1 Mil hl, attacks of mildew and powdery mildew have had an impact on the production in 2017, which remains even all with a higher production than the average of the last years.

The United States would record in 2018, with 23.9 Mil hl, a production of wines excluding juice and musts greater than + 0.5 Mil hl compared to 2017. Argentina, with 14.5 Mil hl, grew by + 2.7 Mil hl. Chile recorded a strong progression: + 3.4 Mil hl, with 12.9 Mil hl, opposite Brazil, whose production declined with 3.1 Mil hl in 2018. South Africa sees a drop of-1.4 Mil hl per compared to 2017, explained the impact of drought and reached 9.5 Mil hl. In Oceania,  Australian production with 12, 9 Mil hl  in 2018 remains stable. The New Zealand production is 3.0 Mil hl, registering + 0.2 Mil hl increase compared to 2017

In 2018, World wine consumption, estimated at 246 million hectoliters, would seem to pause in its progression, mainly influenced by a decline in consumption in China and the United Kingdom.  The United States is still the world’s largest consumer since 2011 and reached  33. Mil hl, a slight increase from the previous year  + 1.1%. In South America, there is a slight setback, except in Brazil where consumption 2018 remained almost unchanged from 2017 and amounted to 3.6 Mil hl. In Europe , wine consumption stabilizes in the majority of countries, with the exception of Spain,  increase for the third consecutive year with 10.7 Mil hl in 2018, Portugal , 5.5 Mil hl in 2018, Romania 4, 5 Mil hl, and Hungary  2.4 Mil hl.  In China, the consumption by  in 2018 would drop by 6.6% compared to 2017, and would reached  18 Mil hl.  South Africa also registers a slight setback to reach 4.3 Mil hl. In Oceania, however, Australia increased by 6.1% compared to 2017 and reached 6.3 Mil hl. New Zealand remains almost stable at 0.9 Mil hl.

Spain continues to be the largest exporter in volume with 20.9 Mil hl, representing 19.4% of the the world market. France is still the world’s largest exporter in value with 9.3 billion Euros exported in 2018. Exports of  wines are still largely dominated by Spain, Italy and France, which account the three, more than 50% of the world market volume in 2018, or 54.8 Mil hl the first five importing countries are Germany, United Kingdom, USA, France and China-represent more than half of total imports.

First 2019 harvest estimates in the southern hemisphere  the harvest show a decline in most of the southern hemisphere countries (notably Argentina, Brazil and Chile).  In light of  high temperatures recorded were reportedly impacted by the harvest and South Africa would still be severely affected by drought. The only country that will harvest upwards from the previous year is New Zealand.

OIV entire article on World Wine Production here in English

The next OIV Congress will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, July 15-19 2019. This will be the  42nd World Congress of Vine and Wine. Who is the OIV well a brief description follows.

The International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) is an intergovernmental organization established in 1924. It works in the scientific and technical fields of the whole wine sector. The organization is comprised of 46 States that account for 85% of world wine production and almost 80% of world consumption.  In addition, ten international non-governmental organizations also participate as observers.  The International Organization of Vine and Wine was created on April 3, 2001. It replaces the international vine and wine office of 1958, replacing it with the international wine board of 29 November 1924.

There you go , wine is nice, good health, and helps provide millions of jobs for families of traditional values all over the World. Enjoy it wisely, consume smart, and share it. And remember, happy travels, (to vineyards is awesome) ,good health, (wine is an anti oxydant good for you), and many cheers to all (with wine the cheering will be better) !!!


April 12, 2019

Church of St Ronan, Locronan!

So I am staying in my gorgeous Brittany and take you again to the Finistére dept 29 the closest dept to mine 56. We have gone all over here and never stop amaze of the wonders encounters. Here we have been even in Christmas time as they have a nice market; see my other posts on Locronan in my blog.

However, I like to indulge you with a bit more on a wonderful monument that must be seen. This is the ensemble of the Church of Saint Ronan and the Chapelle de la Pénity that communicates next door. So bear with me and hope you enjoy it.

The Church of Saint-Ronan is a priority Church located in Locronan, Dept. 29 of Finistère, region of Brittany. The Chapel of the Penity, which houses the tomb of St. Ronan, is also part of the ensemble. The Church of St Ronan is one of the most beautiful specimens of the flamboyant ogival art of the 15C.


From the Romanesque church, raised in 1031 by Alain Cainhart, Count of Cornouaille, on the site of the primitive Oratory of Saint Ronan, there is nothing left. The current Church of St Ronan was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the donations of the Dukes of Brittany John V, Peter II and Francis II.


The statue of the Saint welcomes you in the large porch with a low arch and a double gate with a trumeau. On each side, a décor of armatures, without niches of Apostles. Bypassing the Church in the north, by the rue de Châteaulin, you will see successively,  the lateral porch, with fests portals and mullioned windows; the sacristy, of fortified aspect, with an elegant skylight on the floor;  the cemetery, dominated by its Calvary ,16C adorned with statuettes and a risen Christ. The Virgin, Saint John, Saint Ronan and Saint Peter framed it;  the bedside of the Church, pierced by three flaming bays, topped by a gable with hooks with ridge cross; and the pallister, in the south, where the view embraces all the buildings, the Gothic steeples of the Priory and the Penity framing the square tower; the pinnacles forming on the roofs and balustrades, opened with hearts, running on the walls.


The Church of Saint Ronan is 43 meters long. The width of the Church increases at the level of the last spans of the south collateral. The large western tower, which lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is seen inside.  The visitor entered by the great porch lying between the four piles of the tower. It is struck by the harmonious proportions of the nave, by the brightness of it. It is a rectangle nave divided into three naves by pillars without capitals in bundles of balusters. These support stone vaults, with liernes and warheads crossed. The vault keys are badges of the blazons destroyed by the French revolution. A different level and two pillars carrying a diaphragm arch marks the entrance of the monastic choir which was surrounded by a chancel, probably topped by a rood screen. Beautiful perspective on the Chapel and the retable of the Rosary.


Vestiges of a statue of Saint Eloi, patron Saint of blacksmiths and veterinarians. Saint Christophe in tufa stone of 16C. This bearded giant deformed with a living and astonished gaze forms with the child Jesus whom he wears, a remarkably balanced group and of great expressive quality. He’s the patron Saint of travelers. Ancient statues of Santa Barbara or Sainte Barbe (patron Saint of my native town!), bearing her turn; patron Saint of the carriers and firefighters, and of Saint Margaret, famous penitent, trampling a furious dragon. Saint Herbot, protector of horned cattle. Saint Maurice, a Breton Benedictine Abbot, honored by the monks of the Priory who gave his name to one of the streets of Locronan where he had his Chapel. Saint Fiacre in granite stonen of 13C, patron Saint of gardeners and plumbers, Also, Saint Teresa of Lisieux. Saint Yves, who came on a pilgrimage to Locronan, patron Saint of Brittany and lawyers. Altar of the Rosary, altarpiece carved in 1668, framed by torsos columns, adorned with fifteen miniature medallions reproducing the mysteries; in the center, the crowned Virgin between St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena; on the left, Saint Joseph; right, Saint Joachim. In the niche, a graceful Italian Virgin. The high altar of the early 18C, with carved and gilded Tabernacle topped with Angels bearing the Cross.


The great glass canopy done c. 1480  represents the passion in seventeen paintings. This canopy reads from left to right and from bottom to top. It begins with the resurrection of Lazarus and ends with the resurrection of Christ and the people in front of the empty tomb. the majestic profile of Christ of the twigs. Gift of Duke Francis II, father of Anne of Brittany c 15C. Right of the great glass canopy, Saint Ronan, Bishop, hieratic polychrome granite statue. On the left, Saint Corentin,in polychrome wood, a contemporary of Saint Ronan, first bishop of Quimper and patron Saint of the diocese. At the entrance of the Choir, the Apostle Saint John in his tragic pose and the Virgin standing near his son of polychrome wood from the 17C, frame the stained glass of Passion. The statue of Saint Mary Magdalene, bearing a skull, emblem of her penitence. She looks at Christ on the Cross. Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John ,near the pulpit, Saint Anthony, hermit, protector of livestock in polychrome wood of 17C. The pulpit c.1707, history and legend of Saint Ronan in 10 medallions.


The Chapel of the Penity was built on the site of the primitive Church to serve as a reliquary at the tomb of Saint Ronan, idea from 1485. The tomb of St. Ronan is located in the Chapel of Penity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII annexed to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Penity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only, that of the West, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of kersanton, supported by six Angels carrying coats of arms; two Angels watch at his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The Saint’s son-in-law pushes his butt into the mouth of a monster and he blesses his right hand.


Anne of Brittany, who had herself made a pilgrimage to Locronan in 1505, gave the Church an annuity on the duties of salt from the land of Guérande. The Penity or Hermitage, retains the memory of the donors: their coats of arms appear in the stained glass ,late 15C Saint Louis, wearing Crown and Royal mantle, represents the Maison de France. His statue also recalls that he made a crusade to bring the thorn wreath back to the Holy Chapel. He presented it in a linen, like Nicodemus of the group of the descent of the Cross. The descent of the Cross, carved masterpiece in granite, polychrome group of the 16C where Marie-Madeleine wears a costumed of Medici and Nicodemus a costume Henri II. Joseph of Arimathie extends the shroud. recessed in the pedestal, to the left of the altar, two bas-reliefs in kersantite stone, the apparitions of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene and to the Disciples of Emmaus.

Located in the heart of a small city of character, the Church of Saint Ronan of Locronan is known for having been the backdrop of several films such as the Chouans (1947) by Henri Calef, or Tess (1979) by Roman Polanski.  It is the starting and arrival point of the Grande Troménie. The procession of the Grand Troménie takes place every six years between the second and third Sunday of July. The next will take place this year 2019. The other years takes place the petite Troménie(little tromenia).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Locronan on history of St Ronan

Tourist office of Locronan on Locronan heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

There you go another gem in my Brittany ,this one in neighboring Finistére and lovely medieval Locronan. Hope you enjoy the tour and thank you for your visit.

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

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