Archive for June 17th, 2019

June 17, 2019

Chapelle Notre Dame de Lourdes at Auray!

And I take you back to my neck of the woods for something unique off the beaten path and worth a detour indeed.

This is my favorite area and just took a visiting friend from Brazil here. After our dinner we walk a bit to show Saint Goustan, an old fashioned harbor of historical proportions to the USA and Canada that I have written before in my blog.

However, today, will tell you about something unique, the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes or the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. The neighborhood is very nice quant and many old phases of it, this is Saint Goustan.

You will see the wonderful now renovated Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes in Saint Goutan, city of Auray. There is still some minor details inside , but this is a loving care work by folks who care.


The neighborhood is under the protection of Saint-Goustan, the patron Saint of sailors and fishermen. And is is part of the city of Auray. And who is St Goustan? Well Goustan was born in 974 in Cornwall England. Kidnapped by pirates at 18, wounded, he is abandoned on the island of Houat (in the gulf of Morbihan) where he owes his life only to Providence which provides him with fish which he uses sparingly and which every day is reconstituted (hence its legend and its representation with a fish) and with help of St Félix, who will convert him to Christianity. He became a monk in 1025, and founded a Priory on the island of Hoëdic (another island of the Gulf of Morbihan). He rests with his brothers monks in the Abbey of Saint-Gildas of Rhuys (see post on it). More on him in this webpage:


A bit of history I like

Due to its recent nature, the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Lourdes  has attracted little attention until the end of the 20C. The documentation concerning it, whether written or iconographic, is very small , it is essentially constituted by the parish archives, the town of Auray documentation, as well as some old postcards. The old photographs contained in the departmental archives of Morbihan gladly show the picturesque rue du Petit Port, with its wood-paned houses from the late middle ages and the beginning of modern times, but none can distinguish, if only in background, the Chapel that interests us. An article was found about the blessing of the Chapel by the Bishop of Vannes in 1879 in the newspaper La Semaine of the Diocese of Vannes. The conclusions that can be drawn from these investigations make it possible to highlight that the construction of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes takes place from the winter of 1874-1875 and probably continues until 1878 (vintage of stained glass) or 1879 (the blessing by the Bishop taking place in November 1879).


The major interest of the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Lourdes, on the architectural level, lies in the fact that it seems to have undergone no change in the course of time, whether it is the structures as much as the furniture that it houses. In this sense, it offers a perfectly preserved example of the buildings of worship built in the second half of the 19C, in a neo-Gothic style, where you can perceive the local influences of the Finistére on the bell tower as much as the attempts to imitate the Upper Basilica of Lourdes   for the reception of the façade, creating a Chapel with a very special character, or even unique. Indeed it is for us!!!


You walking trails from the city of Auray that includes passing by here. Bear in mind this is a hilly site, you climb a street with handrails help but all worth it I tell you. Go for it when in the area. Saint Goustan is nice for many things and even across from the Chapel there is the St Sauveur Church  (see that post) and down by the river in Place Saint Sauveur there are plenty of restos and bars to keep the day longer into the night!

The webpage is here : City of Auray on heritage trails

There you go something unique and nice ,quant , historical and architectural interesting in an off the beaten path. And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




June 17, 2019

The museums of Saint Nazaire! part II and more!!

So moving right alone in wonderful refreshing Saint Nazaire in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region over the Father’s Day weekend in my belle France. As said, we have been here before but skip for several years coming back until now. It was a wonderful family trip of memories pointing at the different places we were before with my dear late wife Martine and now found new ones and much nicer places to spent really a full weekend here. It is worth the detour I say.

Another one we came by during our walks in the harbor sea front was the Eco Museum or Ecomusée is a museum to be amazed at the incredible rise of this city that has in the 19C the fastest growing population in France, nicknamed “the little California breton” in reference to the American gold rush. Understand the importance of the privileged site of the city: mouth of the Loire estuary, gateway to the ocean, between Presqu’île de Guérande and the marshes of the Grande Brière To detail the models: famous ships, seaplanes, shipyard, old Saint-Nazaire etc.  The Ecomuseum of Saint-Nazaire is located on the Autonomous Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire facing Chantiers de l’Atlantique (Atlantic shipyards). It presents a permanent exhibition, and offers tours and workshops on the heritage and history of Saint-Nazaire.

Well it does a good job on the memories of the Estuary retracing in over 550 m², the major themes of the history of Saint-Nazaire, from prehistory to the present day. The history of the port’s creation in the 19C and its development with the port and maritime professions are evoked by ship models and original illustrations. The major phases of the technical and human evolution of the naval and aeronautic industries in Saint-Nazaire are traced with the presentation of models of famous ships including Normandie (1935) and France (1962), models of the first Loire float planes from the 1930s. The pre-war city, then that of reconstruction with the history of its inhabitants are represented by archival films and unpublished documents. It also has a documentation center open to the public, including a photo library of 45,000 archival images on the naval and aeronautical industries, the history of the port and the city, specific works and documentary files on same themes. Possibility of consultation on site, only by appointment.

Tourist information on the Eco Museum and ticketing in English

st nazaire

The Espadon (S637) is a thermal submarine of the French National Navy. Commissioned in 1960. With a crew of 7 officers and 60 men, the Espadon (Swordfish) was tasked with monitoring ocean areas and shipping lines. This one to come back for it.

In September 1961, the submarine collided with the Laubie. On August 13, 1963, a fire in the torpedo room injured four officers, one of whom later died of his injuries. In May 1964, the  Espadon (Swordfish) and  Marsouin (Porpoise) plunged under the ice of the Norwegian Sea in the 70th northern parallel.

It was disarmed on September 11, 1985. For more than 20 years, the Espadon has been moored in the fortified lock of the Saint-Nazaire submarine base, after making its last dive on December 10, 1985 with 15 of its commanders among the original 16. The Swordfish is the first visitable submarine, having become a museum ship.

Tourist info and ticketing on the Espadon visit in English

We continue our walks in the harbor and came upon a wonderful story which we knew but barely dug into its history. My dear late wife Martine taugh French to our sons since birth using among other things the Tintin books and films. They know it by memory and have all the collection now. We talk about it now in our souvenirs of their mother. So it was natural to stop by here and look for them. We found them!!! and we ate just nearby for lunch!

So of course we will tell you a bit ok. Tintin d’accord… bien sûr!!!depuis Monsieur Hergé!

Remember (yes!!) in « Les Sept Boules de Cristal » or the seven crystal balls,Tintin, Milou(his dog companion!) and Captain Haddock travel to Saint-Nazaire, when the transatlantic port still exists. They’re looking for their friend, Professor Tournesol (sunflower). Bad bad guys kidnapped him. We must save the teacher…! Having set themselves the goal of perpetuating the memory of Tintin’s passage to Saint-Nazaire, the enthusiasts of the Association Les 7 Soleils (seven suns association) have installed, on the very places of history, six frescoes on enamelled metal. These panels reproduce vignettes from the album: to see Tintin and his companions walking the port of Saint-Nazaire, in the natural setting of the port landscape, creates a rather innovative mirror effect. The vignettes also revive a whole section of the history of Saint Nazaire which has never disappeared. Indeed, Hergé draws his heroes in the pre-war city, at a time when Saint-Nazaire was still the leader for Central America, with the scent of adventure and exoticism.

Tintin and his companions have just left Moulinsart Castle, aboard Captain Haddock’s yellow Lincoln Zephyr. They will go from an imaginary place; but partly inspired by a real monument, Cheverny Castle (see their presentation in the castle on previous post) to arrive in a real city: Saint-Nazaire. But this entrance to Saint-Nazaire is not the one they took because it did not exist at the time when they came there. This entrance was, in fact, opened during the reconstruction of the city. The Hôtel du Berry , which marks the beginning of Avenue de la République, (still hotel resto le Berry) was one of the very first buildings to rise on the ruins of the city, which was destroyed more than 85% by the Second World War.

Coming from the north or the east, it was in fact through rue de Trignac,(as we came today in the suburb of same name) that, until the reconstruction of the city, one entered Saint-Nazaire. From these wharves came legendary cruise liners such as the Normandie borrowed by Tintin to return from America and in the black and white version of L’Oreille cassée (the broken ear) , the France and, more recently, the Queen Mary 2. The beige car of Professor Tournesol ‘s captors was found in one of the harbour basins. But no trace of his dear Tryphon!  Disappointed that they had not found the trace of their friend, Tintin, Captain Haddock and Milou (the dog companion) wandered the docks. They’re coming to the ferry station. Suddenly, Tintin rushes to a departing cruise liner. He has just seen General Alcazar who is about to embark to his country, the San Theodoros.

By bringing Tintin and his companions to Saint-Nazaire, Hergé recalls this founding time for Saint-Nazaire such as the opening of the transatlantic cruise liners that contributed to the development of the city and its port and had the immediate consequence the establishment of shipbuilding yards. Captain Haddock, who unwisely sat on a bundle, is abducted with it. Hergé was inspired by a photo taken from a magazine to draw this scene. At 17 boulevard René Coty stands the former Hôtel Transatlantique, built in 1880. (today a high school institution)

Tourist office of Saint Nazaire on the Tintin story in English

The tintinomania fanatics of Tintin site on Tintin in St Nazaire in French

st nazaire

Tintin stories and my boys snsm lifeguards training ctr behind

And to close out our weekend in Saint Nazaire, well we ate there too. And again , we wanderers walking the harbor by the ecomusée I glance and took a look at a bistro and fell in love with the quantness of it so decided to go it,and as usual my olphatique nose did a 10!  We ate at the Le Bistro du Grand Pavois at 11 Place de la Rampe and corner with Avenue de la Vielle Ville. This is walking across the commemorating tables on Tintin as above. No WiFi but the owner came out very nicely to hook me up with his and of course no webpage just the address working on it; Le Bistro du Grand Pavois at St Nazaire

st nazaire

st nazaire

Located in front of the port and the Loire estuary, Le Bistrot du Grand Pavois offers dishes of artisanal quality from local products. Traditional cuisine without forgetting the bistro and pizzeria side in a warm and friendly atmosphere.  The reception, attention and service to customers is very good. The plates are beautiful, well done ,hearty and the food of very good quality. Fresh products really well cooked, a delight. We had a great time. We’ll be back! A fitting end to a wonderful stay in Saint Nazaire, very surprising nice and up and coming destination on the west of France! Enjoy the post!

st nazaire

st nazaire

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



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