Archive for May, 2019

May 31, 2019

The coastal beaches of my Morbihan!

So we are waiting for summer but is it already here? We had 23C today or about 74F and sunny, the first traffic jams going towards the coast were felled coming back and the foreign license plates from UK, IRL, and Germany are beginning to be seen quite often. We have a four days weekend due to Ascension Day and today bridge break off day and as usual we did not had anything planned!

We are last minute travelers and usually take our two big vacation periods in August and Christmas/New Year’s time. The rest we just wandered around our areas or an occassional weekend treat. Today I decided to go into unchartered territory sort of. We go by the area but with so much to see we continue to by pass wonderful spots that now I take the time to see ,locally. Here are two gems from the towns of Ploemeur and Larmor Plage in the Morbihan dept 56.

ploemeur

Of course, I have written on these two before , but today will concentrate on the coastal area and its beaches. They can compare with any and are a wonderful spot to soak on the French flair ! Let me tell you a bit more on them.

Ploemeur is a town on the Atlantic coast bordering four cities: Lorient, Larmor-Plage, Guidel and Quéven. It has 17 km of coastline. On this range there are several beaches, without counting several coves. The way to the sea is a 13 km circuit linking the center of Ploemeur to the seaside.

In the hamlet of Kerroc’h , part of Ploemeur, west of the pointe du Talud, there is the Port Blanc-Kerroc’h beach which is mostly frequented by locals. It opens on the port of Kerroc’h, which is rather a mooring area for small boats, historically there were fishermen who practiced coastal fishing and there is a boat ramp very busy. The Port Blanc – Kerroc’h beach is a family beach of fine sand of 100 meters long surrounded by rocks, and of course swimming is not supervised. This beach is equipped with: sanitary, drinking water point, showers, and telephone booth. I must add and you can see by the photos that it is very nice cosy beach and very nice for families, with plenty of eating facilities up the street. There is, also, a lighthouse pointing towards the Belle ïle en Mer and a Calvary in honor of the fallen fisherman!

ploemeur

ploemeur

ploemeur

ploemeur

 

The nearby Pointe du Talud is located between the beaches of Pérello and Kerroc’h. There is a promenade along the cliffs anchored in the sea. The natural and the diversity of the landscapes constantly moving over the seasons and the weather will amaze you. This advance of land in the sea will make as much the pleasure of walkers as fishermen. This is more secluded and grassy sandy walks along the ocean are always wonderful. The area is loaded with mobile homes both for rentals and all year living as residents. The big thing here is a very nice camping or Camping Pointe du Talud, great for the whole family. More info on the Camping is here: https://www.campingpointedutalud.com/

ploemeur

City of Ploemeur and its beaches

Plages tv site on the Port Blanc Kerroch beach

Local tourist office of Lorient South Brittany on Ploemeur

Larmor-Plage is located on the west bank of the entrance to the harbor of Lorient which marks the confluence of the Blavet and Scorff rivers, it faces the island of Groix and the Atlantic Ocean. The territory of the town extends inside the harbor of Lorient, allowing a view on the peninsula of Gâvres, the Citadel of Port-Louis and Lorient. The coastline is rich and varied, alternating rocky coast, sandy beaches such as port Maria, and Toulhars etc., dune cordon with its marshes at Anse de Kerguelen, and Parc Océanique, the coastal urban area with its ancient and contemporary villas, the village center surrounded by the Notre Dame de Larmor Church and its Tower fortified steeple that responded to the salutation of the naval ships passing through the access channel of the harbor by a flock of bells. Larmor-Plage is a seaside resort, adopted by tourists and local walkers for its beaches, its Marina, its restaurants in the village, on the port, and along the promenade of port Maria, its traditional market on the place du Bourg on Sunday mornings and its promenades with a view on the island of Groix and the harbor of Lorient.

The plage de Toulhars is a family beach lined with a pedestrian promenade. A popular venue for beach volley enthusiasts. Toilets and showers are available, pets are not allowed. The beach is supervised from July 01 to August 31. The beach of Toulhars forms a cove that gives the whole landscape its coherence. In the immediate vicinity of the town, the seafront of Toulhars is the main seaside area of Larmor-Plage, with its pedestrian promenade on both sides of the cove and its row of modest-sized resorts, where some high-rise buildings recently have been pretty much integrated. The two landing-stages, today abandoned by the port users and maintained by the town, serve as a place for walks.

larmor plage

larmor plage

City of Larmor Plage on its beaches

Plages tv site on the Toulhars beach

Local Tourist office of Lorient South Brittany on Larmor Plage

And there you go a nice one two combination for a day or weekend soaking on the nice Breton sunshine and great bounties of the sea on site! Not to mention the nice pure air walks along the ocean, always nice. Hope you enjoy the beaches of Ploemeur and Larmor Plage as we do.

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

 

May 31, 2019

The Circus Maximus of Rome!

So we went off to Italy , well I went off several times mostly on business trips, but with the family we chose Rome. Such an impressive name and a great introduction for them to Italy. There is so much to see , very old stones of very old history nevertheless, a primer from where most began. I have written several posts on Italy and most on Rome in my blog.

However, as usual many have been general in scope and I feel this spot in Rome deserves a bit more description and information on it. I will tell you a bit more on the Circus Maximus or Circo Massimo of Rome or Roma!

The Circo Massimo or Circus Maximus literally “the biggest circus”,  is the largest and oldest racecourse in Rome, considering the importance of its dimensions and the richness of its history compared to the dozen or so circus of Rome, it is often called simply “Circus” by the ancient writers. The largest public building of ancient Rome, it is mainly dedicated to chariot races but it can also be used for other types of show or during triumphal processions, especially from the reign of Trajan. Today, it is located in the rione of Ripa and remains the scene of large gatherings at festivals, concerts, or other major events.

rome

A bit of history I like, just a bit ok

The Roman tradition attributes the foundation of the circus to Tarquin the Elder, in 599 BC, with the first works of arrangement. Its location corresponds to the site where, in the time of Romulus, the rites and the first sacred games, called Consualiaa, which included equestrian races, would have taken place in honor of the god Consus. At the end of the 4C BC appear the first permanent structures but it was not until the end of the 1C BC, with the work undertaken by Julius Caesar and Augustus, for the building to adopt its definitive form of Roman circus.

At the beginning of the 4C, Emperor Constantine I restored the circus magnificently, and prepared a site on the spina for a new obelisk taken from Karnak in Egypt and arrived in Rome in 323. In May 357, the Emperor Constantine II resumes the project of Constantine I to raise a second obelisk on the spina. This second obelisk is a monolith of 33 meters, the largest in Rome, as high as a 10-story building. It was carved out of Syrian Aswan pink granite during the reign of Tuthmosis  IV between 1401 and 1390 BC. It is today known as the Lateran Obelisk, because it was re-erected on the Place Saint-Jean-de-Latran in the 16C.

In 549 took place the last race, under the reign of Ostrogoth king Totila, after which the Circus Maximus  is left abandoned and falls into ruin. During the Middle Ages, the stones and marbles of the terraces and tribunes are gradually re-used in the construction of various palaces and churches. In 1587, the Constantine II obelisk was removed. Broken into three pieces, it is transported and reassembled in 1588 in the Place Saint-Jean-de-Latran. In 1589, the obelisk of Augustus was in turn moved to Piazza del Popolo. After the Renaissance, there is almost nothing left of the vast construction.

Under the Empire, with the construction of the amphitheater of Statilius Taurus and especially that of the Coliseum, the circus is no longer the privileged place for the organization of much of the entertainment that took place under the Republic,  like gladiator fights, hunting shows, and fighting wild beasts. However, this type of show does not disappear completely from the circus; representations continue to be given from time to time.

Today’s and it’s uses of the Circo Massimo!

The grassy valley that today forms the Circus Maximus is used for major events such as concerts, popular gatherings like the celebration of Italy’s victory at the 2006 World Cup with a million people, or giant outdoor cinema sessions.

The Circus Maximus extends in a very elongated plan that ends up occupying virtually the entire valley between the Palatine and the Aventine. In reality, its maximum capacity (in the 4C) was 95,000 to 100,000 spectators (that is 1 / 10th of the population of Imperial Rome).  A bit on the Interior Architecture, just to name the main places such as the  Arena, Spina and Euripus, Obelisks, Bleachers and Pulvinar, and Prisons. Outdoor Architecture, you have the Facades, Associated Temples, The Consuls Altar, The Fornix Steriti, and the Arch of Vespasian and Titus.

The ways of getting here are varied. Directions to get here are easy, we took the bus and then walk . However, there is the Metro, line B (stop Circo Massimo). The Tramway line 3 (stop Aventino/Circo Massimo). And the many bus lines passing by such as the  51, 75, 118, 81, 85, 87, 118, 160, 186, 626, 673, 810, and N2 nighttime bus.

Ok so as usual some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Rome on the circus

Quadrata or square Rome webpage on info of the Circus

Cultural site of Rome on the circus

All Italy map of the circus and surroundings in Rome

There you go , now you are all set for a wonderful time in Rome and the Circus Maximus or in Italian Circo Massimo. Hope you have enjoy the brief tour.

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

 

 

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May 31, 2019

Two temples for Rome!!

So I take you now to the Romans oh not the old ones oh well they are still old as in Rome. In our wandering walks we stumbled sometimes into interesting places some not really research but nevertheless very nice architecture which we love much, thank you…;

While in Rome, do as the Romans do is an old cliché I have known since birth, and this we did while in Rome with the family. Doing this we came across the Temple of Victorious Hercules and the  Temple of Portunus! I like to tell you a bit more on them and to see soon more in depth, I hope.

rome

The Temple of Ercole Vincittore ( victorious Hercules) , rises in the square of the Bocca della Verità (mouth of truth) in Rome, not far from the temple of Portuno inside the forum Boario. Due to a mistaken attribution, born during the Renaissance, the temple is sometimes still popularly referred to as the Temple of Vesta; The error is due to its circular shape that makes it similar to the true temple of Vesta located in the Roman Forum. Dating back to 120 B.C., it is the oldest building of preserved marble currently in Rome

The Temple of Ercole Vincittore was later restored under the emperor Tiberius , and owes its preservation, like many other Roman monuments, to the fact that it was transformed into a church in the Middle Ages; it was in fact consecrated in 1132 and dedicated to Saint Stephen of the Carriages, then to be transformed in the 17C in the Church of Santa Maria del Sole (St Mary of the Sun Dedication: Blessed Virgin Mary), because not far from the church, on the edge of the Tiber, was found an image of the Madonna from where a ray of sunshine departed.

A bit on it’s construction

The temple is circular in shape, and is made of marble. Its plant has a diameter of about 15 meters. The original marble used for the opera was Greek. It rises on a foundation with rings of capillaceous blocks in turn on a platform in blocks of tuffa of dark cave, which incorporate the outlet of the deposit of filth. The base has a stepped base, thus lacking the Italian podium. The cylindrical cell, open to the east, is decorated with a high plinth, outer layers and the upper part in imitation of the isonomic masonry. In the floor of the cell opens a Favissa, a deep well in the shape of tholos (round Greek style). The central part is surrounded by twenty 11 meters high flared columns with a base of its own and Corinthian capitals; Eleven columns and nine capitals date back to the restoration of the Tiberian period and are recognizable because in Apanus marble from Luni. Some capitals have lost the upper part.

Tourism of Rome: Tourist office of Rome on Hercules temple

The Temple of  Mainly Fortune or Portunus (Tempio di Portuno) is a Roman temple , one of the best preserved of all Roman temples. Its dedication remains unclear, as ancient sources mention several temples in this area of Rome, without saying enough to make it clear which this is. It was called the Temple of Fortuna Virilis from the Renaissance, and remains better known by this name. If dedicated to Portunus, the god of keys, doors and livestock, and so granaries, it is the main temple dedicated to the god in the city. It is in the Ionic order and located by the ancient Forum Boarium by the Tiber river.

The temple was originally built in the 3-4C BC, but was rebuilt between 120–80 BC. The rectangular building consists of a tetrastyle portico and cella, raised on a high podium reached by a flight of steps, which it retains. It has a pronaos portico of four Ionic columns across and two columns deep. The columns of the portico are free-standing, while the remaining five columns on the long sides and the four columns at the rear are half-columns engaged along the walls of the cella.

If still in use by the 4C BC, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire. The temple owes its state of preservation to its being converted for use as a Church of Santa Maria in Gradellis  in 872 A.D., and Santa Maria Egiziaca in the 15C (Saint Mary of Egypt).  Its Ionic order has been much admired, drawn and engraved and copied since the 16C.

Tourist office of Rome: Tourist office of Rome on Portunus temple

I have one picture and got both of them, amazing only realise this after back and started looking at them! oh well one shot two monuments enjoy it

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

 

 

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May 30, 2019

Buckingham Palace, London!

Well here I am taking a large task, needless to say each time in London I missed the guided tour and we just walked around it and take a peek at the changing of the guards. However, we will keep at it, and one day ….. For the time been I like to put some historical facts here for a reminder and hopefully helps those coming to not missed it.

I am talking about the Buckingham Palace of London, UK. A wonderful palace in a very nice area too. Hope you enjoy it.

Buckingham Palace is located in London, the Palace is both the venue for events in relation to the Royal family, the home of many visiting heads of State, and an important tourist attraction. Built for John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham and Normandy (yep you know it), in 1703, it is the place of residence of the British monarchy. It was enlarged during the 19C for King George IV. In the middle ages, the site of Buckingham Palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury. It had several Royal occupants since Édward the Confessor and was the subject of numerous speculations about his owner: a flaw in the lease of Charles I of England allowed the land to return to the Royal lap in the 18C.

London

First known as Buckingham House, the building forming the heart of today’s Palace was previously a large mansion built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham John Sheffield and acquired by King George III in 1762 to make it his private residence. It was enlarged over the next 75 years. The Palace eventually became the official residence of the British monarchy during Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1837. The last major structural additions date from the late 19C and early 20C such as the imposing wing facing the Mall was added, and the former official entrance, Marble Arch, was moved near the Speakers ‘ corner to Hyde Park, where it still is today. The east side façade was redone in 1913 with Portland limestone blocks, in the background of the Victoria Memorial, creating the public façade of Buckingham, with the famous balcony in its center. The St. James Palace remained the Royal residence as well as the place of the official ceremonies. Even today, foreign ambassadors are welcomed to the Court of St. James, although State representatives and their staff are presented at Buckingham Palace when they are appointed.

london

The main rooms are located on the noble floor, behind the façade overlooking the western gardens. In the center of these richly adorned rooms is the music room, whose large arch is the main element of the façade. Adjacent to the music room are the blue and white reception lounges. In the center of the suite, the 50 meters long picture gallery serves as a link between the different rooms. Other rooms leading to the gallery are the Throne room and the Green reception lounge. The Green reception lounge, which serves as a Grand antechamber to the Throne room and is part of the ceremonial journey to the hall from the Guard room, contains a white marble statue of Prince Albert, located at the top of the grand staircase.

Just below the official apartments is a series of slightly less solemn rooms, called semi-official apartments, accessible by the Marble hall. These parts are used for less formal occasions, lunches and private hearings. the Room of 1844 which was decorated that year for the official visit of the Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. Then ,in the center, the Hall of the Arch, that thousands of guests cross each year to go to the gardens during the garden parties. The Queen occupies a suite in the north wing for her private use. The Chinese Red and Blue breakfast room is made up of elements of the Brighton banquet and music halls, however the fireplace is Indian-style, although it also comes from Brighton. In the Yellow reception room you can see an 18C tapestry, which was used in 1817 for the Brighton Salon. The chimney in this room is a European transposition of what would be the Chinese equivalent, with mandarins nodding in the niches and scary dragons. In the center of this wing we recognize the famous balcony, and behind its windows is the Central room. It is a Chinese style salon arranged by Queen Mary at the end of the 1920’s, although the lacquered doors were brought from Brighton in 1873. The visiting heads of State occupy the Belgian suite when they are received at the Palace. It is located on the ground floor facing the north gardens.These rooms, whose hallways includes domes, were the first decorated for the uncle of Prince Albert; King Leopold I of the Belgians. King Edward VIII lived there during his short reign.

At the back of Buckingham Palace is the large garden, which is the largest private garden in London. The large artificial lake was completed in 1828 and its water comes from the nearby Serpentine Lake of Hyde Park. Like the Palace, the gardens of Buckingham Palace feature many works of art. The most notable is the vase of Waterloo, a large urn commissioned by Napoleon I to commemorate his upcoming victories, and which in 1815 was presented unfinished to the Prince Regent by Ferdinand III of Tuscany. No floor could withstand a sculpture measuring nearly 4.5 meters and weighing fifteen tons, the work was given to the National Gallery, which finally made this gift to the sovereign in 1906. King Edward VII solved the problem by placing the vase in the garden where it still remains today. In the gardens there is also a small Pavilion attributed to William Kent, built around 1740.

Adjacent to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, are home to the Royal carriages, including the King’s carriage. This Rococo-style gilded carriage, created by Sir William Chambers in 1760, features panels painted by G. B. Cipriani. Having served for the first time at the official inauguration of the Parliament by king George III in 1762, it is used by the sovereign only in sacred or jubilee ceremonies. The horses solicited for the Royal processions in London are also housed in these stables.

How to get to Buckingham Palace: by Underground/Metro/Subway , the nearest stations are: Victoria District, Circle & Victoria line. Green Park Piccadilly, Victoria & Jubilee line. St James’s Park District & Circle line. By Train, the nearest, mainline, train station: London Victoria; am told about 15 minutes walk. By Bus, lines 11, 211, 239, C1 & C10 Stop on Buckingham Palace Rd. By Car, Not recommended as the palace is in the congestion charge zone, and parking is difficult to find and expensive. We come by car , and stay outside the congestion zone, and to the Palace we used the tube with our oyster cards ::)

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of London on the Palace

Official Royal Residence of Buckingham Palace

The place to get tickets for its guided tours

And this what we have not done buy in advance so when walking around London and decided to come in ,it was either closed for visits or the lines were huge! It will happened we are not far… Hope you have enjoy the history tour of Buckingham Palace , a brief one at that.

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

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May 30, 2019

The streets of Meaux!!!

Here I am in my sentimental mood again, on my belle France where else.  I have written on the city of Meaux, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, region of Ïle de France before on several posts. However, it is never enough on Meaux!

I was very much French influence since youth, and maybe it was the reason end up marrying a French women , native of Meaux which I visited several times while dating, got her to marry me in Florida USA and then convince me already French citizen to come to live in France. It was, and is the best decision of my life to have found her, and Meaux, and coming to France, all wonderful. If only I lost my dear late Martine to cancer last year. Meaux still is very sentimental.

There are other more beautiful towns in France I guess, and some with major works of arts, and monuments to boot, but little Meaux will remain the biggest of them all. Let me tell you a bit of some of the streets dear to me there. Bear with me ok

Meaux is a small beautiful town, sitting on the Marne river, wrote Michel de Montaigne in 1580 in his diary of travel. On one side the city and the suburbs, on the other the market, sheltered in a meander of the river. Since the Celtic era, it has been an important religious pole; its name remains associated with the tutelary figure of Bossuet, “the Eagle of Meaux “, and its status as an Episcopal seat has earned it its most remarkable monuments: the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, the Episcopal Palace (now Bossuet Museum) and the  ” Vieux Chapitre” (old chapter).

meaux

A sentimental big street for me is the rue Noëfort, this is where I first met what was to be my wife, my dear late wife Martine at no 36. The main here is that at 3 rue Noéfort  there is the Gendarmerie Nationale. The national military police sort of a State trooper or National Guard. It is also, on the next section of historical Meaux. There are so many walks by here ,and pushing the baby stroller with 3 boys of close ages, and shopping the local nearby shops and eateries, so many memories….

meaux

The Faubourg Saint-Nicolas extends to the east of the city, along the great eponymous artery, formerly known as the route d’Allemagne (road of Germany). It is circumscribed by the avenues of  Maréchal Foch, du Maréchal Joffre, de la République, du président Salvador Allende,and the streets of rue des Béguines and rue des Cordeliers , and of course rue Noëfort. It was built at the foot of the promontory housing the Cathedral and the old town, along the rue du Faubourg Saint-Nicolas which brings together the most important buildings of the District such as the former General Hospital, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Protestant Temple. It was separated from the District of the Cathedral by the Brasset, a small arm of the Marne river, now underground.

meaux

In the 5C, it was buried Saint Céline, a friend of Saint Genevieve; on her tomb, placed Extra Muros in the ancient Celtic tradition, arose a church that was to endure until the French revolution, the Church of Saint Céline. The suburb also welcomed in the 13C another religious establishment, that of the Franciscans or Cordeliers; their arrival in Meaux is part of the development of the communities of beggars monks in all the cities of Europe. In the 17C, two new establishments settled in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas: the Priory of Noëfort (on rue Noëfort ) and the General Hospital, founded in 1667 to interne the poor and the vagabonds  in application of the great enclosures  decided by the Royal Ordinance of 1662. The old parish church is indeed moved to the site of the Convent of the Cordeliers, and the primitive Church disappears from the urban fabric from the 19C. Not far from its location is then built the Protestant Temple, 1847. As for the Priory of Noëfort, it is converted into a military building; today is the modern Gendarmerie Natinale (police HQ at 3 rue Noëfort), which no longer has any old vestige. The only pre-19C monuments still present in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas are the present Parish Church St Nicolas (former convent of the Cordeliers) and the House of the Augustines (former General Hospital).

Another wonderful artery we walked and walked a lot over the years is the one call the boulevard des Anciens fossés (old wells), currently Boulevard Jean Rose, the boulevard that is running along the Gallo-Roman walls of Meaux (ramparts!) and great parking area now. The black plague spread over the territory and in Meaux  a third of the population died in 1348. This terrible epidemic upset Jean Rose a local rich merchant, who turned to help the poor and the sick and became the benefactor of the city of Meaux. His wealth, in fact, allowed him to create various pious foundations. In 1356 he built the l’hôpital de la Passion (passion hospital) to accommodate 25 blind and 12 poor, as well as a school for 10 children. It changed its name between the 15C and the 16C. It was gradually called the hospital Jean Rose. It was only in 1647 that the Bishop decided to close the hospital and set up a seminar there. The buildings that housed the Grand Seminary were completely rebuilt in the 18C. Only the Chapel of the Hospital Jean Rose survives today. There is always the crest of the benefactor made up of three roses. It is under the construction date of the building at the top of the door. Jean Rose is buried alongside his wife Jeanne Rose in a Chapel of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (St Etienne). It is a side chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament that our benefactor built, at his expense in 1331 following the death of his wife. In 1848 the town of Meaux decided to honor the memory of Jean Rose by giving its name to an artery of the city: the present Boulevard Jean Rose. Well done!

meaux

Up against the ramparts at Boulevard Jean Rose there is a very active market right over the parking area on Tuesday mornings. More info here: Tourist office of the Meaux country on the market

Another venerable street is the  Cours Raoult, this is where the old Ford dealership was in town and where I purchase my first car in France !  Now there is Monop convenience store there as the dealer has move to outer limits of the city. This is a short street taking you to the Place Henri IV, and along the Rue du Général Leclerc on one way and across the Quai Jacques Prévert (road D603) to the banks of the Marne river. Indeed a very nice place to walk and shop; there is an even bigger market across the river. Here each Saturday, under the historic metal covered cheese market of Meaux built in the second half of the 19C you can have the real cheese Brie de Meaux amongt other things! Magical and nominated for one of the best markets in France!  This is an article on it in the Le Parisien Paris newspaper: Le Parisien newspaper on the market at Meaux

meaux

Moving right along, you come to the  Rue du Général Leclerc which is pedestrian from the Cours Raoult or Pl Henri IV to the Cathedral at Parvis St Etienne. The Rue du Général Leclerc was call before the rue de la Savaterie, and was well known for commerce from the Middle Ages when it was cut into two section one the rue des Pâtissiers (pastry makers st) and the rue de l’Epicerie( groceries st).

meaux

The place Charles-de-Gaulle (square), is at the foot of the Cathedral of St Stephen (St Etienne) where it was also very animated in the Middle Ages when it was called the place des Quatre-Vents, before becoming the Parvis Saint-Etienne, and now the Gen de Gaulle. Very quant pedestrian area with many shops and restos/bars a must to walk it in town. The Cathedral a monument of Gothic France! The Rue St Etienne goes into Rue St Pierre all around the Cathedral. On one side there is Rue Bossuet that takes you to the ramparts and bd Jean Rose (see above). All worth the walks into medieval France and great for shops and restos/bars too.

meaux

The place Henri IV, is another memorable place as here we went to the movies for the first time in France at the Majestic cinema. It is now part of the cinema group UGC and has a great auto parking above and below ground. Also, at Christmas time there is a nice market here with ice skating ring. The square is name as such because it was to mark the coming of king Henri IV in 1599 when the city was in the middle of the 30 years war of Religions,and decided to rally in favor of the king. King Henri IV was a Protestant, and the city of Meaux , Catholic, and when the king converts to Catholicism, the locals (who are call by their celtic name, the Meldois) decided to signed the peace accords.

Couple of webpages to help you plan your visit to Meaux, well worth it and direct from Gare de l’Est in Paris. The streets of Meaux are eternal!

meaux

City of Meaux on things to see

Tourist office of the Meaux country on the Must see in town

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

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May 30, 2019

Mercado de Abastos ,Aranjuez!

And back into my beautiful historical sunny Spain, and another legendary city of it. This is Aranjuez, in the Comunidad de Madrid region, just outside the Capital city of Madrid. Wonderful beautiful indeed.

However, today will tell you a bit more on the supplies market that is the happenning in town again. The Mercado de Abastos or sort of supplies market is now better than ever right near the Palace. Again, plenty more written in my blog but this icon needs more me think.

The Mercado de Abastos market is located in Aranjuez.  The inauguration dates from the year 1894, and its most important restoration of 1985. In 1997 the consistory yields the exploitation of the market to a private company that finally mirrored and conditions the entire enclosure.  Before the 19C there was an open-air crate market, located in the same square.

Aranjuez

This work introduces the formal vocabulary of a new material such as iron, and interprets the use of brick and stone so characteristic of the architecture of Aranjuez, and following a Hispanic tradition.   But in equal measure it maintains the modular and volumetric continuity of the urban ensemble of the 18C, subjecting itself to its style. The makers of the market, arranged a perimeter to  define a space open to the interior.  The building was a  market of supplies at the end of the 19C (1891-1895) and recently restored, finishes to form the Plaza de la Constitucion, with a last element, the sculpture of king Alfonso XII that centers the square, public space fully 19C both in Its architect typology, as in its denomination and use.  The historic Mercado de Abastos market has inaugurated in 2016 an area dedicated to the restoration that is located in the central courtyard of the building.

aranjuez

In the 18C, a large urban space had been dedicated where transactions were practiced. In 1775, there appears a wide street, elongated, called Plaza de Abastos, which clearly divides into two the urban area of the Royal site. This route began in the Camino Real or Camino de Ocaña (Royal or Ocaña way) , the current Ruta de  Andalusia (road) and ended in what would be the Calle del  Foso or moat st. It had not yet been built in its center the line of houses that would divide in two this large area, forming the current streets of the Gobernador and Abastos.

aranjuez

A quant wonderful part of Aranjuez and we walked it all, easy to do come on, very close to the Royal Palace grounds and around here the best places to eat out. Plenty more in my blog.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Mercado de Abastos

City of Aranjuez on the Mercado

And again there you go another gem in my beautiful Spain, the Mercado de Abastos in Aranjuez is nice, especially after a visit to the Royal Palace in town! Enjoy it

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

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May 29, 2019

The Municipal Theater of Fontainebleau!

So sticking around familial and sentimental territory I like to tell you a bit more on a nice property very near the famous Château de Fontainebleau. This is the nice Italian style Municipal Theater.  I as usual have written bits on it in my previous posts on Fontainebleau but feel that it merits a post of its own. Therefore, here it goes briefly.

The Municipal Theater or Théatre Municipal is located at 6, rue Denecourt, corner of rue de Richelieu in Fontainebleau very near the Castle.

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Built from 1905 in a Louis XIII style combining brick and stone, the theater is inaugurated in 1912. Outside of Paris, it is one of the few Italian theaters and one of the most beautiful in the whole  Ile de France region. The building consists of a foyer, a curvilinear theater room, a reception hall with possibilities for organizing specific cultural events, a home and ancillary rooms. The Municipal theater has a 650-seat capacity Concert Hall and a Ballroom. Classical and imposing, strongly integrated in the urban landscape, the theater is a major pole of attraction and cultural and artistic identity within the city. Indeed is very nice, something different and cultural to see while in Fontainebleau.

Some webpages to help you enjoy the visit here are

Tourist office of Fontainebleau on the Theater

City of Fontainebleau on the theater’s agenda

And there you go , I am not a huge fan of theaters, only for the architectural or historical point of view of them. This one is tops of the list, all worth a visit while in Fontainebleau, dept 77 of the Seine-et-Marne, in the Ïle de France region. Hope you can enjoy it.

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

 

 

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May 29, 2019

La Salle de la Belle Cheminée, Fontainebleau!

I am back now in sentimental area and property. This is difficult to write as many wonderful moments with my dear late wife Martine visiting the castle and town of Fontainebleau in her region and becoming Friends of the Castle. However, drawing on my photos I like to bring them to life for memories’ sake. Hope you enjoy them and do visit the castle is a must while in France. Several post about it in my blog.

Let me tell you about a part not open to the public but had several meetings there and as the castle is renovated maybe will be open one day. The piece in question is the room of the beautiful chimney and its relations or in French la Salle de la Belle Cheminée of the Château de Fontainebleau!

The Salle de la Belle Cheminée (or the beautiful chimney room) is one of the works commissioned by king Henri IV. Above the Belle Cheminée, lies a bas-relief of Henri IV on horseback representing the King on his illustrious white steed.

The wing of the Belle Cheminée, also known as the aile(wing)  de l’Ancienne Comédie or wing of the old comedy, built between 1565 and 1570 in stone of Saint-Leu, derives its name from the chimney that occupied the great hall in the 18C. It was taken down and her sculptures were scattered. The name of old comedy comes from the theater that king Louis XV had made. First known as the Salle de la Belle Cheminée from 1597 to 1601, it was called a theater from 1725, on the occasion of the marriage of king Louis XV; It was destroyed in 1856 by a fire.  The monumental exterior staircase has two Italian ramps. It makes the connection with the cour de la Fontaine (courtyard of the fountain).

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La salle de la belle cheminée et moi!

Commissioned by king Henri IV in 1597 and finished in 1601, the Belle Cheminée of the Château de Fontainebleau was dismembered in 1725 (see above the theater). The fragments were taken in the 19C into two other chimneys in the castle. Other fragments are in reserve at Fontainebleau. The Louvre museum presents the central frieze which separated the upper part forming mantle from the fireplace.

It is now in a theater setup for meetings and the chimney still there , still call the beautiful chimney room and one that hoping to be shown to the public if not already ::)

Other rooms in relation to the Belle Cheminée are worth mentioning on this post.

In the Salle des Gardes (room of the guards) you will notice two great figures that surround the chimney coming from the famous Belle Cheminée by then disappeared, sumptuous carved monument. to the glory of the victorious king of 7 meters high,by  6 meters wide. On the left is the allegorical figure of Peace; it lowers, to smother it, the torch of war, reminding us that by the edit of Nantes (1598), king Henri IV had put an end to the civil religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. On the right, the allegory seems to be Obedience;  a young woman is about to pass a harness to a lion. The good King Henri was indeed, against any golden legend, an autocratic sovereign, reinforcing the Royal authority and announcing the absolute monarchy of his grandson, Louis XIV. The remainder of the chimney, of a more grey hue, was carved in 19C.

And to continue the circuit of king Henri IV born at the Château de Fontainebleau.

In the Chapel of Saint Saturnin, you will see in the décor of the coffered vault, the figure of king Henri IV and that of queen Marie de Medicis. In the first room of Saint Louis, in the upper part of the paneling, paintings by Ambroise Dubois from the Cabinet of the King and that of the Queen. In the second room of Saint Louis, an equestrian portrait of the King, coming from the Belle-Cheminée. In the Salon Louis XIII (room), in which he was born, you will see bouquets painted by Jean Dhoey. In the Chapel of the Trinity, above the galleries, the arms of France are attached to those of Navarre. The décor of the chapel was commissioned by king Henri IV. In the Galerie aux Cerfs (deers), the bronze reproduction of the Diane Huntress who adorns the fountain of the Jardin de Diane that runs along this gallery (the original marble is in the Louvre museum), a bronze reproduction of the Lacoon (the original marble is in the Vatican Museum.)

The Jeu de Paume room, whose entrance is to the right of the Jardin de Diane, was rebuilt after a fire, according to the plans of the hall intended by king Henri IV. In the Henri IV part of the Castle, the Cour des Offices are under the porch, on the ceiling the figures of the King Henri IV and Catherine of Médicis.

Some webpages to help you further plan your trip here are

Chateau de Fontainebleau and the salle de la Belle Cheminée

Chateau de Fontainebleau and the reign of Henri IV

Again, this is special, a must to visit while in France. So much history of France and Europe is here, as well as loving architecture details as above. You ought it to yourselves to visit the Château de Fontainebleau!

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

 

 

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May 28, 2019

The Royal Library at Fontainebleau!

So let me turn your attention to a wonderful room in a gorgeous castle full of history of France and Europe. One of my favorites and the first one ever visited in France with my dear late wife Martine. Let me tell you briefly of the Royal Library of Fontainebleau castle in Fontainebleau , dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, east of Paris.

As said, this castle brings lots of memories for me and my family and we love it every minute we can be here, as Friends of the castle I keep up with its walls.  The Royal Library grew and it became a major one of France and the world.

It all started as usually old with a King, this time was François I. One of the lasting visitor resident of the Château de Fontainebleau.

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On May 22, 1544, king François I ordered an inventory of the library at Blois to prepare them for a move to the nearby Chateau de Fontainebleau.   The 1,896 items were soon on the move, arriving at their new home by June 12 under the supervision of his private librarian. From 1537 it received a copy of every French publication. By 1546, the English ambassador toured the new Royal library at Fontainebleau as François I proudly showed his new library to them. It was remarked during the tour that he had commissioned French   translations of the Greek books he had purchased through his agents in Greece. During his reign, fine bindings became the craze and many of the books added by him and Henry II are masterpieces of the binder’s art.

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The Royal library at Fontainebleau grew steadily, even after François’ death. By 1567, it held 3,650 books. Scholars were so eager to get their hands on the books that they petitioned Catherine de Medici to move the Royal library closer to a building in Paris. The library was moved to Paris between 1567 and 1593, and the first real catalog of its holdings was compiled in 1622. First opened to the public in 1692, the library was moved to the Mazarin Palace in the rue de Richelieu in 1721 and underwent successive expansions thereafter. The library was renamed the Bibliothèque National de France  in 1795, and it benefited by the revolutionary confiscations of church and parish book collections and later by Napoleon’s acquisitions. Most of them are still there, very well organized. Now located at Quai François Mauriac 13éme Paris.

The official webpage: Official webpage of the National LIbrary of France

Tourist office of Paris on the National LIbrary of France

Official Chateau de Fontainebleau on Francois I

Enjoy it  ,open to the public and by the Seine river, nice.  However, do go to Fontainebleau and see the old library still there waiting with its wonders, a joy! The photos are from Fontainebleau. Hope you enjoy it

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

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May 28, 2019

The bedrooms of Fontainebleu!

So after taking some rounds in my lovely Brittany where I live ,and even stepping into the nice Normandy nearby, I have to come back to my first region of France, the Ïle de France.  I guess region here could be like a province, or state in many other countries. Then , we have like those previous regions posted/visited the Morbihan dept 56 or the Calvados dept 14 or now back to Seine-et-Marne dept 77; and these could be like counties or municipalities , me think. I like to tell you a bit more on the bedrooms of the Castle of Fontainebleau!

If you have read my blog before, you know that Fontainebleau was the first castle I ever visited in France as it is from my dear late wife Martine region in dept 77.  As that other castle , this is not a thing to do of Paris (city and dept 75) but a different administrative legal region that need to be visit on its merits which are huge. It has become very attach to us over the years and we are of course members of its friends association.  By the way let me give you that webpage now as it might interest you as me an amateur  lover of architecture and history.  The Friends of the Castle of Fontainebleau

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Horse shoe stair symbol of Fontainebleau

And now let me tell you a bit about its bedrooms, lol written many posts on the castle but never on the famous bedrooms, who wants to sleep there? me!!! With a bit of history first , of course

The Château de Fontainebleau is a Royal castle of predominantly Renaissance and Classical styles, near the city center of the city of Fontainebleau in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, about 60 km (about 37 mi) from Paris. The first traces of a castle in Fontainebleau date back to the 12C. The last work was done in the 19C. A high place in the history of France, the Château de Fontainebleau was one of the mansions of French sovereigns since François I, who made it his favorite home, until Napoleon III.

The Royal apartments consist of a double strand of rooms. Their service, as well as their guard is ensured by an external walkway along the façade on the oval courtyard.. With access to the oval courtyard, located near the entrance Chatelet (Golden Gate), the King’s apartment sees its staircase rebuilt under Louis XV at the location of the Duchess of Etampes ‘ bedroom. This staircase gives access to the succession of the anti-chambers, chambers, salons and cabinets. The Queen’s apartment is its counterpart and enjoys a roughly analogous distribution, from the staircase laid out beyond the Serlio portico. It also takes on the side of the garden reserved for the Queen (current garden of Diane). The interior decorations are largely taken up in the 17C, and it is on the eve of the French revolution that the interior apartment of Louis XVI (current interior apartment of Napoleon) is part of the suite of the large apartment with the doubling of the wing of the gallery François Ier.  The small apartments have been two separate apartments for Napoleon and Josephine and Marie-Louise since the first Empire. The Emperor’s Office includes the offices of his Secretaries. Stairs and inner passages allow them to be connected to the great apartments of the sovereigns, on the first floor.

Fontainebleau

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The bedroom of the Pope ,the bed of this room, enlarged for the Duchess of Orléans, was made in 1787 for Louis XVI at the Château de Saint-Cloud and served Napoleon at the Palais des Tuileries (both gone).

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The Apparat bedroom was the former room of Anne of Austria has a ceiling and painted paneling of polychromatic grotesque on the top-of-doors are the portrait of Anne of Austria in Minerva and that of Marie-Thérèse of Spain in Abundance done in 1660.

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Napoleon’s bedroom kept the essentials of Louis XVI décor such as woodwork, fireplace, top-of-door decorations, etc. In fact, it served in the 18C, from a powder cabinet (toilet). The décor was enriched for the Emperor of his victories, bees, Imperial figure, and paintings in golden grilles, made in 1811. Furnished in 1808-1809 in the Empire style, including two armchairs called “paumier” (with unequal armrests) the room has a carpet adorned with military trophies woven in Aubusson in 1809.

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The small sleeping bedroom former office of Louis XVI of which the chimney, the top-of-doors and the woodwork remain, the small bedroom of the apartments of the Emperor was in fact the work of Napoleon, where he had installed in 1811 a gilded iron camp resting bed.

The Emperor’s antichamber constituted the first and second antichamber of Madame de Pompadour, before becoming the first antichamber of Madame Elisabeth (sister of Louis XVI).

The bedroom of Méneval is of modest appearance and low ceiling, was arranged at the location of the Cabinet of the game of the King (from 1769 to 1782), then Salon of the Princess of Lamballe (from 1782 to 1787) then room used by the servants of Madame Elisabeth (in 1791) , then home of the geographer Louis Albert Guislain Bacler d’Albe (in 1807), before becoming the Chamber of the Secretary of Napoleon I, Claude François de Méneval, from which it preserves the name today.

The Emperor’s bedroom was the billiard room of the Princess of Lamballe in 1786, before becoming the room of Madame Elisabeth in 1791, then the room of Cardinal Fesch in 1804. The alcove was abolished in 1810, while the brocatelle fireplace was installed. Woodwork dates back to the late 18C.

 The bedroom of the Empress has the furniture consisting notably of a bed with a singular coronation, enlarged in 1843 for one of the daughters of Louis-Philippe and her husband, in silk of Lyon white and blue Lapis papered gold.

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The Empress’s bedroom has been home to the Queen’s bedroom since the 16C, and this is where the Grand Dauphin, son of Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse, was born in 1661. This piece is nicknamed the bedroom of six Mary’s in reference to the various sovereigns who used it ,such as Marie de Médicis, Marie-Thérèse of Spain, Marie Leszczyńska, Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Louise de Habsburg, and Marie-Amélie. The room was rearranged for Josephine between 1805 and 1807, before being inhabited for the last time by the Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon III).

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The bedroom for sleeping, made in 1725, were enhanced under Louis-Philippe. The furniture has kept its state Louis-Philippe, consisting of a bed in gilded wood made for Madame Élisabeth in 1787, two armchairs and a stool with spur from the Interior Cabinet of Marie-Antoinette in Saint – Cloud . The furniture was covered in 1837 in white satin with green lozenges and bouquets of flowers, woven between 1812 and 1814, with borders made in 1809-1810.

There you have a brief description and maybe tempt you to come and see them up close and personal, best… I love it can’t say enough, a must see while in France. Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

Official Château de Fontainebleau

City of Fontainebleau on the Castle

Tourist office of Seine et Marne dept 77 on the Castle

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

 

 

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