Archive for May 28th, 2019

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.


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.


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


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.



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).


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.


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.


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.


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).


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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May 28, 2019

Saint Martin sur Oust, Saint Gravé, Saint Malo de Beignon, Saint Nolff, and Trédion in my Morbihan!

And back at you with more of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of the region of Brittany in my belle France. So many wonderful towns indeed in France, and I am just starting, needless to say will take a lifetime or more to see them all but each one is an enjoyment of life. I like to share with you this time, the towns of Saint Martin sur Oust, Saint Gravé, Saint Malo de Beignon, Saint Nolff, and Trédion in my Morbihan! The end of the line but not done yet, more will be coming later on my Morbihan!!!

Saint-Martin-sur-Oust is apparently a dismemberment of the Gallo-Roman parish of Glénac. In feudal times, the territory depends on the Rieux family . Saint-Martin-sur-Oust is erected in town  in the French revolutionary period of 1790. Saint-Martin, also known as Saint-Martin-sur-Oust, because of the river that bound it to the south, is contiguous to Saint-Laurent, Ruffiac, Saint-Nicolas-du-Tertre, Les Fougerêts, Peillac, Saint-Gravé and Saint-Gongard. The town is located close to the Canal, 10 km La Gacilly and 54 km from Vannes.

The Church of St. Martin built from the 15C to 1959, renovated in 1853 for the bell tower and transept, then finally rebuilt in 1959. From the 15C Church, there was only one third-point door at the beginning of the 20C and a stained glass window with a radiant lattice. The nave and the choir had been rearranged in the 18C. The cross-braces and the bell tower were also redone in 1853. The bell tower has three broken hanger openings. On the façade, the fenestration is underlined by clear stones. The pinion, backed by two buttresses, is pierced by two oculi. The door and the cowl date back to the 15C. The altarpiece dates from the 17C,  it presents in its center a painting appearing a crucifixion and the lateral niches house the statues of St. John the Baptist and Saint Michael. There are some old wooden statues including a statue of St. Martin with his sword and his coat to give to the poor. A simple ogive door, and a window of the same style with clover and triodes mullets. The lateral altars were dedicated one to the Rosary, the other to Saint Blaise and St. William, a 3rd to St. Julien and St. Margaret, a 4th, removed since then, to St. Barbara, they are today under the words of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Heart and St. Peter.

City of Saint Martin sur Oust on heritage


The town of Saint-Gravé, it seems, is a dismemberment of the primitive parish of Pleucadeuc. In 837, the cartulary of the Abbey of Redon reported the presence of the monks in the territory of Saint-Gravé.  The parish is mentioned in the 11C. It seems probable that Saint Gravé, Sancta Gravida, is the name of the Virgin responding to the Angel who announced that she was going to be the mother of the Redeemer. Created as a town under the French revolution in 1790, Saint-Gravé was attached to the canton of Rochefort-sur-Terre in 1801. The territory is naturally bounded to the north by the Oust river and to the south by that of Arz river; to the east it borders to Peillac and to the west to Pluherlin and to Saint-Congard. The town is located to the east, 6 km from Rochefort and 40 km from Vannes.

The Church of Saint-Denis b. 1900 replaces an old church destroyed in the late 19C. The old church remains only part of the Sainte-Anne Chapel, dated 1864. The Church houses a polychrome wooden statue of Santa Gravida or Our Lady of Advent. It retains a processional cross in silver of 1664. The parish church, under the term of Saint Denis the Areopagita, preserves some remnants of an ancient church south of the nave. There are also two ogival stained glass windows with flaming mullets, impellers and four leaf clover . The chapels once wore the names of Cancoet, the Brossais and the Saulaye. Today they are dedicated to the Rosary, to St. Anne and to the Sacred Heart.

City of Saint Gravé on heritage

st grave

The Church of Saint-Malo is located in Saint-Malo-de-Beignon.  From 1396, Saint-Malo-de-Beignon is an ecclesiastical court of the Bishop of Saint-Malo, whose manor house is adjacent to the Church. The construction began in the 11C. The portal seems to date from the 13C. Subsequently, the church was renovated several times. The residence of the bishops was burned in 1958 and in large part demolished in 1977. The west façade is Romanesque, stands out by its polychrome apparatus. It is partly hidden in the north by what remains of the residence of the bishops, which also hides a large part of the north wall of the Church. Framed by two powerful buttresses, it presents in its center a portal consisting of a massive masonry in advance whose top in build extends through a flat counterfort to the top of the gable. In the center of the massif, the door is framed by three broken arch arches falling on. Two full-hanger stained glass windows are  on both sides of the church. The south wall in return, pierced by three small full-sized stained glass windows, is of the same time. At the choir level, two large full-scale stained glass windows date back to the 18C. A polychrome altarpiece of the 17C occupies the background of the choir.

Tourist office of Quer Coetquidan Broceliande on St Malo de Beignon heritage

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on the Church in French

St Malo de Beignon

The town of Saint-Nolff comes from Saint Mayeul, Abbot of Cluny. The oldest document concerning Saint-Nolff dates from 1375, evoking a fact dating back to the second quarter of the 13C. It is unclear whether the parish actually existed before 1230. In the middle ages, the lordship of Gourvinec was one of the most powerful in Saint-Nolff. In 1790, the parish of Saint-Nolff was erected in town during the French revolution. The territory of Saint-Nolff, with an irregular contour, is surrounded by the towns of Elven, Treffléan, Theix, Saint-Patern, Saint-Avé and Monterblanc. The town, located at the bottom of a valley, where flows the Condat brook and where the railroad passes, is 6 km from Elven and 19 km from Vannes.

The Church of Saint-Mayeul b. 15-16C, renovated in the 17-19C. A cross-shaped Church, the two transept arms are formed by two juxtaposed bays having each gable and window with mullets on the sides.The bedside is square and pierced by a canopy. It originally included a nave without a aisle, a transept and a flat bedside choir. From this old church there remains only the choir whose bedside is pierced by a window with flamboyant lattice and a door of the south brace. The north cross brace dates from 1677.  At the end of the 19C the two cross-braces were extended to the western façade to form aisles and the Church was vaulted, which made a carved sand-pit structure disappear. The bell tower dates from 1783. A small side door dates from the 16C. The pulpit and the confessional date back to the 19C. The stained glass windows of the choir and transepts are in a broken arch with flamboyant filling and the stained glass is from 1882 to 1886. The confessional and the pulpit date from the 19C. A statue of Saint Mayeul, patron Saint of St. Nolff, is visible in the Church.

The city of St Nolff on heritage

Tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on Saint Nolff

st nolffs

The town of Trédion attested in the form Treduchum in 1121, Tréduihon in the 12C. Trédion is an ancient truce of the parish of Elven, of which it was detached in 1136.  At this truce was added the one of Aguénéac to create a new parish in 1820.  In 1833, the former trier of Trédion and Aguénéac were separated from the town of Elven to form the new town of Trédion from 1836. The town of Trédion is 7 km from Elven and 23 km from Vannes.

The Church of St. Martin new church b. 1870-1873. The Church of Saint-Martin was entrusted from the year 1000 to the Benedictines of the Mont-Saint-Michel. The Romanesque building was largely rebuilt during the second half of the 16C. The sand pits and pillar of the pulpit bear the dates of 1562, 1573 and 1577. The Church consisted in 1860 of a nave and two collateral in large plains and three Romanesque apses; the main apse was vaulted with stones and illuminated by stained glass windows in loopholes, it was preceded by a triumphal arch. An elegant bell tower built in two bells stood between the nave and the choir. The nave of the 2nd half of the 16C preserves in the south a door and a stained glass window of the 15C. The new bell tower was erected between 1869 and 1872. The current Choir is probably contemporary from the bell tower steeple in 1869. The vault of the new choir, joins that of the nave in 1895. Two additional stained glass windows are installed in 1910. The Church is of an elongated plan with a lateral bell-tower and a bedside with cut-out. The bell tower is in neo-Gothic style built in 1892. The nave is separated from the aisles by four arches resting on octagonal pillars. The choir built in 1860 is in Romanesque style, the tower is raised in the same style with stone Spire and pinnacles. It preserves a beautiful chalice in silver from the 16C.



City of Tredion on the Religious heritage

The tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan on Trédion

There you go the lineup , my last towns to show you, hope you have enjoyed the tour of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56, region of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh in my belle France. These towns are many like St Nolff very much frequented by me on my rounds here others less on architecture and history visits to them;all wonderful. Do come for the off the beaten path towns of Saint Martin sur Oust, Saint Gravé, Saint Malo de Beignon, Saint Nolff, and Trédion.

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

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