Archive for May 9th, 2019

May 9, 2019

Places in Normandy!

Ok this is a miscellaneous post on places I have passed thru and visit briefly as a road warrior in me. Normandy has been with me for a long time and many visits to its glorious sites. There is one holy to me and will be basing several posts on it in the coming days or weeks …depending on my writing time.

For now, we took the trip on the N24 to Rennes and there the A84 to Caen and then the D579 to all these towns taken alternative routes along winding hilly roads and coasting by the beaches.

One nice hilly town we passed by always is Équemauville located in the Department of Calvados 14 as all the towns here and later . It is surrounded by the towns of Barneville-La-Bertran, Honfleur and Pennedepie. Équemauville is located 4 km southwest of Honfleur

 The Church of St. Peter, (St Pierre) is from the end of the 19C. However,  later as for now just tell you of the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Here in September 1477, the King of Portugal Alfonso V visited this Chapel every morning before returning to his Kingdom. Indeed, he would have decided to renounce his throne, writing his will in Honfleur.

Equemauville

A bit more on Equemauville on the agglo area webpage here: Agglo area of Equemauville on the town

Another dandy town we passed by and walk a bit even if a bit upper upper is Deauville. Great for horse lovers and casino players as well as a nice beach. We love the architecture of is Casino and train station jointly held with another next door town Trouville-sur-Mer.

Deauville is a  Norman seaside resort, and it is considered, with its casino, its palaces, its classified villas, its racetracks, its marinas, its Convention Center, its American Film Festival, its golf courses and discos, as one of the cities most prestigious in France. It is s 13 km from Pont l’évêque, 16 km from Honfleur, 17 km from Dives-sur-Mer and 42 km from Caen.

The casino of Groupe Barriére webpage on the city site is here: City of Deauville on Casino Barriere

Deauville

And the Trouville-Deauville train station, rebuilt in neo-Norman style in 1931 and which inspired Dalat (Vietnam) and Pointe-Noire (Republic of Congo).

Deauville

We follow up with Villers-sur-Mer another dandy beach town.

The Church of Saint-Martin is impressive and worth coming back for more. It was built in the second half of the 19C on a neo Gothic style and enrich with wonderful stained glass. More on the city of Villers site here:  https://mairie.villers.fr/tourisme/index/38/L_eglise_St_Martin_et_ses_vitraux

Villers sur Mer

As said, it has a wonderful beach front, and sandy beach, more here:  https://mairie.villers.fr/tourisme/index/45/La_plage_de_sable_fin

Villers sur Mer

And another nice Casino right across from the beach from the groupe Tranchant more here  http://villers.groupetranchant.com/

Villers sur Mer

The ride was wonderful to see the architecture, fancy villas and glorious beaches. It is worth coming back for in depth look; mark.

Like I said, the reason of my trip here was for more than fancy tourism but it always is catchy. Hope you enjoy the ride and stay tune for more on the big H!

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

 

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May 9, 2019

Mont d’Arrée, the inner Brittany!

Well my creativity is low I know , so for lack of a better name I am titling it Mont d’Arrée, the inner Brittany. This is hills and forest and monuments of the creation of the region of Brittany or rather first Armorique, then the Duchy, and then the region of France. This is as old as it can get here and a strong symbol.

We passed by here with our car and stop along the way for sights and a bit of walking now because in summer is death valley à la Breton if you know what I mean.  The sights thought are huge and beautiful if you like pure nature, then this is it. Great place for walking in nice weather as well as biking too.  Let me describe in my best way possible this vast mountain of the Mont d’Arrée Breton. Bear with me ok!

The Monts D’Arrée (Menez Are in Breton) are an ancient mountainous massif of western Brittany forming part of the Armorican massif. They marked the boundary of the Diocese of Cornouaille and Leon. Their landscape is very close to those of Ireland and Wales, with its rocks emerging from the vegetation consisting mainly of heathland, which is typical of the Argoat. The Monts D’Arrée are located in the Department 29 of Finistère, mainly on the communes of Berrien, Botmeur, Brennilis, Brasparts, Commana, Huelgoat, La Feuillée, the Cloister-Saint-Thégonnec, Loqueffret, Plounéour-Ménez, Saint-Rivoal and Sizun. The Monts D’Arrée are part of the regional natural park of Armorique created in 1969.

monts d arree

The leveling drop is about 60 degrees from the Roc’h Trevezel, high of only 384 meters above sea level, and its neighbors the Roc’h ar Feunteun  371 meters, the Roc’h Ruz, and Roc’h Trédudon 383 meters protrude on the ridge, forming a striking relief, dominating a hundred meters the tabular granitic plateau of Leon, exposed to the vigorous influence of the winds of the northwest, very green because of the Borage and meadows that cover it because of its more modest altitude, although it is actually little wooded on the side of Commana and Plounéour-Ménez.

Towards the south-southwest, in the form of a high crescent, a line of massive heights, with rounded summits such as the plateaus of Toussaines, Menez Kador or Tuchenn Kador, long considered the highest point of Brittany at 384 meters; further south, isolated, balloon-shaped, Mont Saint-Michel de Brasparts, altitude roughly equal to that of Toussaines, but much more powerful in appearance, by its isolation. A symbol in Brittany. To the east, from the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, we find the marshes of Saint-Michel, the marshes of hell, a vast depression barely dug, flat surface rather than a basin, closed to the west by the mountains of Toussaines and Saint-Michel.  It is the natural water craddle of the  Finistère, birthing of many coastal rivers such as the Aulne, Elorn, La Penzé,  Queffleut  , Douron, Ellez , etc. take their source. The water is here unpolluted, which explains the presence of Commana and La Feuillée water bottling plants, the capture drawing water at the foot of the north slope of the Roc’h Trevezel for the first, and on the network of water of La Feuillée for the second.

monts d arréé

The country of Central-West Brittany (COB) or Kreiz Breizh in Breton, on the three departments of Finistère (29), Côtes-d’Armor(22), and Morbihan (56), aims to federate, beyond the departmental administrative divisions, the efforts for the development of this “country”. It has 108 towns, of which 37 in Finistère, on 3143 km2 with (1140 km2 in Finistère.

We did try to stop by the museum or Ecomusée Monts d’Arrée just off Commana direction Sizun, but on Saturdays it was closed when we were in the area. The museum page is here: Official Ecomuseum of Monts d’Arrée

monts d arree

A bit longer history I like !

The first traces of settlement of the Monts D’Arrée are attested by the numerous megaliths, erected from the 5C BC such as the  menhirs of Berrien, the Cloister-Saint-Thégonnec, Coatmocun in Huelgoat, Kerelcun and  La Feuillée or the alignment call the “stone wedding” in Brasparts; walkways covered with Commana and Brennilis. Many bronze age tumulus were discovered on the slopes of the Mont d’Arrée mountains, particularly in Berrien. In the Gaulish era, the Osisms built an oppidum in the Huelgoat, the camp of Arthus, whose remains still exist today. The Roman conquest will develop the region of Carhaix, without leaving important traces in the Monts D’Arrée.

The arrival of the Bretons from the island of Britain (present-day Great Britain) and Ireland is illustrated in the region of the Mont d’Arrée by the coming in 554 of Saint-Joua in Brasparts (where he died), the fight in 555 between the armies of Comonor Coount of Poher and Tudal, Prince of Dumnonia (seconded by the King of the Franks, Childebert) in Relecq  near Plounéour-Ménez, at the foot of the Mont d’Arrée. The Abbey of Relec in Plounéour-Ménez would have been founded there for this reason in 560 by a disciple of Pol Aurélien, although the history holds 1132 as the date of the founding of the Abbey of the Cistercian order. In the 8C, Saint Herbot, from the island of Britain, settled in the region of Berrien, healing the sick and the animals;  the peasants continued recently to offer him cribs of cow tails in the Chapel of Saint-Herbot located in the town of Plonévez-du-Faou.

The revolt of the stamped paper, also known as “Bonnet Rouge”  Red caps in 1675, revolt against fiscal and seigneurial oppression, raised the countryside around Carhaix and Quimper. A powerful movement of Christianization of the region was organized in the 17-18C under the impetus of Michel Le Nobletz (who called Huelgoat ,Citadel of the devil), then of father Julien Maunoir, Jesuit, who preached for example in 1679 to Locmaria-Berrien and the Huelgoat. Men rose in arms during the French revolution from August 1792 men rose against it at Scrignac, Berrien, Plourac’h, etc. by the numbers, but only a few  armed with rifles. The resistance movement in the Monts D’Arrée during WWII  began in October 1942 (Memorial of the “first resistant village of France” in Trédudon-Le-Moine). It is a Breton fief still nowadays, many children who attend the schools Diwan who practice a teaching mainly in Breton, or public schools bilingual like that of Saint-Rivoal, the tradition of the Festoù-Noz lasts, one dances among other things the gavotte of the mountains, the practice of the Gouren (Breton wrestling) remains frequent. Autonomist parties, for example the Breton Democratic Union (UDB), have good electoral results, although they remain largely minority. The tourism development of the region of the Monts D’Arrée was very quickly;  from the second half of the 19C;  Huelgoat, nicknamed “the Fontainebleau Breton” attracts tourists housed in the Hotel de France, opened in 1906 or at the Hotel d’Angleterre, opened in 1908. Writers and artists stayed there as Paul Sérusier or Gustave Flaubert; Victor Segalen died in 1919 in the Huelgoat forest.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office for the Monts d’Arrée

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on the Monts d’Arrée

National Regional Park of the Armorique on the Monts d’Arrée

National Regional Park of the Armorique on Mont St Michel de Brasparts

Tourist office of Brittany on the Monts d’Arrée and MSM

There you go a natural heavens on the territory of Brittany and a symbol to all Bretons. You too can come and see historical spots along its way ad gaze of the natural beauty of the Monts d’Arréé.

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

May 9, 2019

Pointe du Raz or end of Finistére!

So I move up to a wonderful department 29 of Finistére in my lovely Brittany of my belle France. This is a wild visit full of nature, gorgeous views and great time to see the effects of mother nature first hand. It is made for all nature lovers of the world.

Pointe du Raz, in the Cap Sizun, (Sizun Cape) at the westernmost point in the peninsula seeing the vast Atlantic ocean and the lighthouses of the island of Sein. The view here is magnificent over the vast ocean and you are on a cliff with rocky stony footpath leading you to the edge!

Pointe du Raz

The Pointe du Raz, the local name in Breton Beg ar Raz, is a rocky promontory constituting the most advanced part of Cap Sizun, facing the Iroise Sea. Located to the west of the town of Plogoff, it forms a bow with a height of 72 meters dominating the Raz de Sein. It is one of the most emblematic sites of the granitic coasts of Brittany. Access to the site is possible by car by the road D 784 with a paid parking space nearby.

Pointe du Raz

Cap Sizun advances in the Iroise, bordered to the north by the Bay of Douarnenez and to the south by the Bay of Audierne. Its most famous natural sites are the Pointe du Raz,  and that of the Pointe du Van as well as between them, the Bay of the Trepassés. Its maritime extension is the chaussée de Sein (sea road), whose most important part is the ïle de Sein island  from which it is separated by the Raz de Sein.

Pointe du Raz

This human pressure required rigorous environmental protection measures in the context of a large national site operation, to restore its vegetation cover consisting mainly of heather. To this end, shops have been displaced, 2 hotels have been demolished, and the place of arrival of the cars has been move by one km. The operation was conducted in 1996-2000. A commercial space and paid parking are built at a respectable distance, connected to the site by a bus shuttle and horses from the equestrian center of Plogoff. An European hiking trail of 3 050 km, the European trail E5, connects the Pointe du Raz  to Venice,Italy!. The GR 34(country walk way), which runs along all the Breton coasts from Mont Saint-Michel to Lorient, also passes through this site. The route du vent solaire or Sun wind route, tourist route goes from Pointe du Raz to Penmarch along the Bay of Audierne.

Pointe du Raz

Pointe du Raz

The Ile de Sein, located 8 km to the west on the chaussée de Sein, is separated from the Pointe du Raz and by the Raz de Sein whose violent currents are at the origin of the topology of the site. Two automated lighthouses  are established on the islands of the latter: la-Vieille and Tévennec. The statue of  Notre-Dame des naufragés or Our Lady of the shipwrecked and a semaphore are placed at the end of the seminal plateau. The inferno of Plogoff, a gallery dug by the sea under the tip, is reputed to be the place where the flood deposits those who drowned at sea. The beauty of the site is reinforced by those of the nearby coasts that curl to the north along a large sandy beach at the bottom of the Bay of Trepassés, closed by the Pointe du Van beyond which stretches the immense Bay of Douarnenez closed by the Cap de La Chèvre. To the south lies the Bay of Audierne.

Pointe du Raz

Pointe du Raz

Since antiquity, the passage between the Pointe du Raz and the Island of Sein, called the Raz de Sein, was reputed to be very dangerous for navigation and especially, at night and in the wrong season, due to the violence of its sea currents. A manned lighthouse, the lighthouse of Tévennec, was built from 1869 to 1874 on the islet of Tévennec and was lit in 1875. In 1910, it was transformed into a permanent lighthouse  without a keeper. A sheet metal turret with a more modest lighthouse was established around 1870 on a cliff-side to the northwest to create a lighthouse lighted in  alignment pointing to the old island. It was called the  feu de la falaise du Raz or the fire of the cliff of the Raz, and was also extinguished in 1887. The base of the Pointe du Raz lighthouse was then redesigned to make it a semaphore.

Pointe du Raz

Pointe du Raz

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

Official Pointe du Raz

Official Cap Sizun on Pointe du Raz

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on the Pointe du Raz

Tourist office of Brittany on the Pointe du Raz and Cap Sizun

There you go something on the off the beaten path ways of my Brittany. A nature lovers’ paradise and the immense views of our glorious Atlantic ocean with rocky formation to dream on. Enjoy the Pointe du Raz

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

 

 

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