Archive for June 3rd, 2019

June 3, 2019

Puente de San Pablo, Cuenca!

So need to bring you back to my beloved Spain, can’t be too far from it you know. The second most visited country in the world 85M 2018 UN-WTO. And counting, a country under the sunshine with so much beauty ,history and architecture to offer the world. My Spain.

And here one of the icons of it and certainly of the city of Cuenca in Castilla La Mancha, one of my favorite cities of all Spain. Let me tell you a bit more on it than have in general previous posts.

The Puente de San Pablo Bridge is a beam bridge that crosses the Huécar River in Cuenca. The current bridge was preceded by another of the same name, built between 1533 and 1589 originally in stone, to save the sickle of the Huécar, communicating the Convent of San Pablo (now a parador lodging chain) and the urban center,  paasing by the hanging houses . This bridge collapsed. Eight years passed from then until the inauguration of the current iron bridge.


In 1902 was built the bridge of iron and wood of today being inaugurated on April 19, 1903. It is a rectilinear bridge, of 100 meters in length in two spans and 60 meters of maximum height, supporting its ends in six stirrups, one on the hill of the city and another in the hill opposite. It is composed of 5 arches with pillars of 40 meters of height that rise from the channel of the Huécar river in what constitutes a work of true craftsmanship.


The year 1902 was a black year for Cuenca. If on 13 April there had been the collapse of the Cathedral, on July 31 a hurricane was to have flown the new bridge almost finished. The memorable moment was if you remember King Felipe VI portraying Queen Letizia with the bottom of the Casas Colgadas (hanging houses) on their newlywed trip? They were walking on the bridge. It is the image of Cuenca and, in addition, each local conquense has its own memories of when it crossed for the first time. Today, as it was for centuries the former stone bridge, the new bridge of San Pablo remains an icon of the city of Cuenca. An example of iron engineering from a specific time in our history.


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

Tourist office of Cuenca on heritage

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the bridge

There you go the San Pablo bridge ,a nice spot in a beautiful city of Cuenca, many beautiful views and sights and places to visit around here, plenty already written in my blog on it. Enjoy it.

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


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June 3, 2019

The tunnels of Monrepos and al.

So coming right at you and my road warrior instincts need to tell you about some road experiences, well pretty much let you know the wonderful work going on to bring travel between France and Spain, the No 1 and 2 most visited countries in the world!!!(UN-WTO) together.

I know might be repeated but I have been driving these lands since the 70’s and myself at the wheel since 1990, and the progress has been huge! Many of these crossing were done in dirt road and over very steep mountain passes! Today we have the tunnels! hurray!!!

Let me tell you a bit about them on my two beloved countries, France and Spain or Spain and France!

The tunnels of the Monrepós are a set of seven road tunnels located in Spain on the Col du Monrepós in the Pyrenean mountain chain. They are located on the axis of the A-23 (European Axis E-7 (Pau-Zaragoza)) between the towns of Huesca and Sabiñánigo.  There are two tunnels in operation on the N-330 and four others under construction on the A-23 section of the road. The total length of the six tunnels that will remain in service is 7 743 meters, which will make this set of tunnels one of the most important in Spain.


The tunnels of upper Aragon are two consecutive single-tube tunnels of three lanes with a length of 1 449 meters and 609 meters (5th and 10th longest road tunnels of Aragon). Designed and built in the early 1990’s, these tunnels allow improved access to the Pyrenees compared to the old road. They represent a gain of 100 meters in altitude, avoiding many problems in winter, as well as a distance gain of 3.2 km and the passage of a narrow and winding road to a wide road with three lanes (two normal lanes and one lane for slow vehicles).  The option chosen is to use part of the existing roadway of the current N-330 and to construct a new, more or less parallel road, which will cross the pass through a network of viaducts and four new tunnels. The future tunnel will be located at the top of  Monrepós and will be a twin tunnel of the Monrepós  tunnel (or upper-Aragon). It will measure 1 500 metres (4th longest road tunnel in Aragon) and be a two-lane mono-tube tunnel. The route is integrated into the Haut-Arguis (upper) section of Monrepós on the A-23 highway. The future tunnel of Caldearenas will be located in the top of Montrepós. Its first section will be a twin tunnel from that of Monrepós 2 (or upper-Aragon 2), while the following are used to gain 2.6 km of descent from the top of the pass towards the city of Jaca. With a length of 2 885 meters, it will be the longest of all the tunnels of the Monrepós, the 2nd longest road tunnel of Aragon and the 15th of Spain. Like the other tunnels on the A-23, it will be mono-tube double-track. The predicted maximum slope is 3%. A 2 km parallel evacuation gallery is also provided. The route is integrated into the top section of Monrepós-Caldearenas on the A-23 highway. technical info on Monrepos in Spanish: Altimeters network on Monrepos


The tunnel of Nueno  is located at the banks of the Isuela river ,between the towns of Arguis and Nueno,on the beginning of the descend to the port. The banks of the Isuela river is a very tight and delicate for the environment therefore this is a alternative route to the N-330 highway, in occasions with parallel lanes and sometimes independent of each.  The tunnel in the banks of the Isuela river has 494 meters and it is a mono tuve doublé lane of one way.  It is integrated to the section of the highway A-23 “Nueno-Congosto del Isuela”, that has 5 km and opened in July 2014.  On this section there are ,also, 3 viaducts of 315, 202 ,and 140 meters respectively.




There is a huge construction project going on as i write that will create 8 tunnels for a total of 8 km and raise 12 viaducts ! Even if takes several years for the road to reach Jaca. The  20,6 km reaching  Sabiñánigo  are still in the offering as the union of the sections Lanave-Jabarrella and Jabarrella-Sabiñánigo south. By March 2019, the tunnel of Caldearenas on the A23 the 2nd longest in Aragon with its 2885 meters is done. The works are located in the section  Alto de Monrepós-Caldearenas, that is part of the system of tunnels of  Monrepós, connecting the towns of Huesca and Sabiñánigo, relieving most traffic ; this has help improve the flow of traffic here. I will need to try this new structures!


The Spanish highway A-23 (my main road to from France) also call the Autovía Mudéjar is a communication axis between the Mediterranean coast and the Valencian community as well as central Pyrénees.  It helps connect Sagundo on the north with Valencia a the tunnel of Somport and to reach France by the central pyrenees. It cuts thru the towns of Teruel, Zaragoza, and Huesca (wonderful rides). It ,also, extends the French national road  RN 134 between  Pau and Oloron-Sainte-Marie (great towns). The A-23 follows the route of the national roads N-234 between Sagundo and Daroca and later the N-330 between Retascón and the tunnel of Somport. The A-23 arrives to Zaragoza by the south to connects with the beltway Z-40 (quick and easy).  Which are our usual trip to from France/Spain. ON the last sections are still in construction that will take you directly to Jaca where it will connect with the highway A-21 coming from Pamplona and the town of Canfranc  by the tunnel of Somport.


We rode hard until the outskirst of Zaragoza where from the A23 we took the beltway Z40 direction the airport of Zaragoza/and Madrid.  We continue on this A23 to direction Teruel/Cariñena wine country. On this stretch we stop for lunch at Plaza Mudejar A23 Somport-Sagunto km 215 by Villadoz/Zaragoza; here we had our bocadillos or sandwiches of chorizo and tortilla (omelette) with  a large glass of beer call a tubo(tall glass of 200 cl), croquettes of ham and cheese, and orange juices 7,65€ per person in 2016-17 twice. Great memories we always hit it on!  It was delicious and good festive vacation ambiance with lots of travelers More info here:

The usual tunnel and one written before in my blog is the tunnel of Somport that connects France and Spain at the west of the Pyrenean chain. It is use by the Spanish national road N-330, and the French RN 134, part of the European network of the E7 Pau – Zaragoza. The RN 134 goes over the Pyrenees at the peak of Somport at 1 632 meters high,yes!. This is possible in good weather only so check the meteo/tiempo news . In addition , this road crosses the national park of the pyrenees. The tunnel itself is at an average height of  1 150 meters, and will ease the crossing in bad weather. It is reach on the French side by Urdos (Pyrénées-Atlantiques),also the old stop for customs before the EU ! at the village of  Les Forges d’Abel at 1 116 meters high in the valley of the Aspe. You come out on the Spanish side south of the town of Canfranc  at 1 180 meters high.  It retraces the old railroad line that is inactive now after a bridge collapsed in 1970 , on the old line of Pau – Canfranc, it is ,however in coming back opening expected in  2020. More on Somport: Tunel de Somport Jaca region tourist office


The peak of or Col du Pourtalet is another passage we have taken if less frequently between France and Spain . It is donne by the town of Laruns in France ,and the valley of the Ossau in Spain valley of Tena. It is passed at an altitude of 1 794 meters, fallinng on the circus or cirque d’Anéou offering a wonderful views on the peak or pic du Midi d’Ossau. More details on crossing at the Valley of Ossau tourist site in French

Some webpages to help you plan your driving are

The port of Somport access routes

Col du Portalet and Aubisque in valley of Ossau

Michelin map of tunnel of Monrepos

Michelin map of tunnel de Nueno

There you go a road warrior tour of magical countries that the world has come to know better; and I think I can say put my little grain of salt to add to the story. Spain and France or France and Spain. Enjoy the highways/motorways of them now!

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

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June 3, 2019

Château de la Bretesche at Missillac!

And again on new territories thanks to a long weekend and wants of exploring new places in my belle France and wonderful west along coastal and a bit inland territories. We had a long weekend so we headed out to see a memorable town of our family, and two new towns in my France’ map; one of them is Missillac,nice.

On a previous post I wrote a bit on the  church in town, now I like to tell you about my fav monuments to see anywhere, the castles. This area been Pays de la Loire has them in bunches and we love it! I came just entering Missillac on the road D2 you have the Château de la Bretesche!  This is in Loire Atlantique dept 44. I like to tell you about it at lenght!

The history of Missillac also is link to that of the Château de la Bretesche, residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages. The Chatelaine de la Bretesche belongs in the year 1000 to Bernard de la Roche. The fortress of la Bretesche , 14C was rebuilt in the 15C, beset by Mercoeur in the 16C, destroyed in the French revolution and rebuilt again in the 19C.

Château de la Bretesche former residence of the family of Montaigu whose members exercised for 45 years in the 19-20C the function of Mayor of the town of Missillac. The castle was rebuilt in the 19C in place of a fortress of the 14-15C, destroyed during the French revolution. The Liburin Tower dates from the 19C c. 1876. The Manor hosted the Dukes of Brittany, Jean V, François I and François II who came to hunt in the beautiful forest. The castle is built on a crannied terrace, surrounded on three sides by moats, the fourth bathing directly in a large lake of 13 hectares.


The history I like is a bit long but nice!

Eudon III, Baron from 1347 to 1364 signed, on 7 July 1352, an edict which mentions, for the first time, his Château de la Bretesche where this document was written. Eudon III, son of Baron Péan died at the battle of Auray on 29 September 1364, with his lord Charles de Blois. Raoul VIII, son-in-law and successor of Eudon, will reign over the barony from 1364 to 1393 and make la Bretesche a formidable fortress. Raoul VIII succeeded by his son, Raoul IX, from 1393 to 1419 and, in 1404, he married his son, Jean de Montfort to Anne de Laval, widow of du Guesclin. He will lead the barony from 1419 to 1453 under the name of Guy XIV of Laval. It is the culmination of the barony of la Bretesche and the barony of La Roche-Bernard. Guy XIV will be the faithful companion of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), and was next to Joan of Arc, in the coronation of king Charles VII in Reims on July 17, 1429, and in 1435, he will marry the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, Jean V and Jeanne de France, mother of King Charles VII.

Converted to Calvinism, during his captivity in Milan, François de Coligny transformed in the 16C the fortified castle of the Bretesche, of which he owns, in Citadel of the Reformation. He transformed the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Roche-Bernard (built around 1063 by Bernard II) into the first Protestant Temple of Brittany and, the Château de la Bretesche became the radiant home of the new religion, which would bring the Catholic armies to do the siege of the citadel in the spring of 1569. Badly defended, because the Baron d’Andelot fought at the time alongside his brother the Admiral and the Prince of Condé, in the region of La Rochelle and Jarnac, the Château de la Brestesche quickly surrendered.

In August 1591, thecastle/ fortress of Bretesche, despite its thirty light horses and its fifty archers placed under the command of Sir Le Pennec de Boisjollan, Lord of Trégrain , falls under the combined attacks of the Duke of Mercoeur and the Spaniards of Don Juan D’Aquila. On 19 April 1605, François d’Andelot, the grandson of the founder of the reformed church in the barony of la Bretesche, solemnly forswears the Protestantism of his mother and grandfather and converted to Catholicism. In 1636, he was the cousin of Cardinal Richelieu, Charles de Cambout, who became Baron of La Roche Bernard and took possession of the Château de la Bretesche. His grandson, Armand de Cambout, elevated to the dignity of Duke of Coislin, Baron de la Roche and Pontchâteau, succeeded him in 1663. Then it will be Pierre de Cambout, from 1702 to 1710, the eldest son of the Duke of Coislin, then his brother Henri Charles from 1710 to 1732, Bishop of Metz (he will never reside in the Bretesche). His successor and cousin, Louis Charles de Lorraine, will sell the barony and the Bretesche to the Chevalier Reignault-Gabriel de Boisgelin, Marquis de Cucé, in 1744. In 1774, his young son, Louis Bruno de Boisgelin (future Colonel of Musketeers, Field Marshal, Master of the Royal wardrobe and President of the Breton nobility) succeeded him, because his elder brother was deceased. On the denunciation of their servants, Louis Bruno de Boisgelin (the last Baron of the ancient barony of La Roche-Bernard) was brought to the scaffold with his wife on 7 July 1794.

The Château de la Bretesche is the former residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard. It takes its name from Bretesche, an exterior work overlooking the main gate of a castle to defend its entrance. This castle was built between 1430 and 1470 by Jean de Laval, Baron de la Roche-Bernard. During the wars of religion, the castle was a high place of Protestantism and suffered in 1591, the siége of the Duke of Mercoeur. From 1636 to 1648, Charles de Cambout (cousin of Cardinal Richelieu), proceeded to repair and enlarge the Castle. On October 17, 1793, the Castle, which served as a rallying center for the Royalists, was burned down by the revolutionary General Avril. The house of the barons remained in ruins until 1813, when the Domaine de Bretesche was bought by a Mr Formont, later deputy under king Charles X. In 1840, the Bretesche castle was sold to Baron Jean Jacques Perron, former staff officer and former aide-de-camp to General Bugeaud. In November 1847, Jacques Perron sold the Bretesche to the Marquis Auguste de Montaigu, and the house remained the property of the Montaigu family until 1965. Auguste de Montaigu was elected Mayor of the town of Missillac in 1848 and remained until his death in 1904, except for the years of the Second Empire (1852-1871) where his monarchist convictions forced him to withdraw. The castle was restored by Pierre de Montaigu and his wife, Caroline de Wendel.


In 1965, the Château of la Bretesche was sold to a real estate company. Shortly thereafter it is divided into apartments sold separately to private individuals. Its dependencies are transformed into a hotel-restaurant, and a golf park. Domaine de la Bretesche includes a luxury hotel located in the outbuildings of the 15C castle, an 18-hole golf course that crosses a 200-acre park, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa. Wonderful would love to stay in it!!! I will be back!!!


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Missillac on the Castle

Tourist office of between the Brière and the Canal in Pays de Pont-Château on the castle in English

Official Domaine de Bretesche in French

Relais and Castles lodging site on the Domaine in French

There you go another gem to see is to dream and to stay should be sublime. Wonderful property , great history, architecture, and just beautiful sorroundings worth the stop and visit even better.  Only the garden areas are open to the public as it is a private property. Hope you enjoy the Château de la Bretesche in Missillac!

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


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