Archive for October, 2019

October 31, 2019

Pénestin ,the coastal Morbihan!

And why not tell you more of my lovely Morbihan dept 56 of the region of Bretagne! Well I have many posts on the region and always amaze of the amount of beautiful spots we have  ,always room for more. This is the case on the next posts, passed by it but never been until now. The choices are endless.

Let me tell you more about Pénestin, coastal Morbihan less than an hour from me. The town of Pénestin is 25 km of coastline,and is the southernmost town of the Morbihan dept. 56.

penestin

A bit of history I like

Pénestin was the former parish of Assérac, the new parish of Pénestin was created in 1767, and was until the French revolution, the town than was created as a city in 1790. In 1806,a study commissioned by Napoleon Ier to define the linguistic border between French and Breton , the town of Pénestin was Breton and faced Herbignac, French-speaking town.   In 1843, according to the dictionary of Ogée, the town became French-speaking. Generally as Breton is still spoken.

Pénestin was occupied by the Nazis in 1940, the town became part of the Atlantic Wall which formed an impressive line of fortified works to prevent any landing of the Allies. The strategic position par excellence of the town, located at the northern end of the Pocket of Saint-Nazaire, therefore justified the construction of a multitude of blockhouses. The Pointe de Halguen tip is located northwest of the town, where the fresh waters of the Vilaine river   and the salt waters of the Atlantic meet. The Lomer, again, the occupation troops had bunkers built by the local workforce, employed and directed by the Todt organization. The two main works are less substantial than those of Halguen but benefit from a wide opening on the ocean.

Some of the things to see here that I like are

One of the sights to see here are the wonderful beach and cliff of the gold mine or Mine d’Or which overlooks the beach of choice of holiday makers and which gave it its name. The cliff was exploited as a gold mine in the 19C, hence its name! At the time, it aroused the wildest hopes but was closed during WWI for lack of sufficient return.No gold!

For this and the beaches see the tourist office of the area here: The tourist office of La Baule Guerande on the beaches of Penestin

On our way here we passed by the picturesque town of Assérac and saw some wonderful sea salt ponds at the Beauregard saline .From the ocean to the salt harvest, discover how a salt works and the profession of salt. Passing by the Marais Salant de Port d’Arme . We will need more time to see this lol!

Asserac

At one time there were 7 windmills but today only 2 remains. The lighthouse or phare de Tréhiguer built in 1881 and since 1995 is the home of mussel culture or Maison de la Mytiliculture. The House of Mussel culture is a museum structure dedicated to the discovery, enhancement and promotion of mussel farming, ie the breeding of mussels, one of the most important economic niches of the town and very famous as one of the best in the world!. Famous for its production qualities and its appeal of the palate, the bouchot mussel of Pénestin delivers all its secrets here. From the entrance of the lighthouse-exhibition, you are projected in the world of the mussel farmer by a forest of piles, life-size reconstruction of a small mussel park. This one presents you the technical evolutions of the stakes, denominated bouchots, which serve as support to the growth of the molds. On the ground floor, the first room reveals the life of the mussel, from birth to harvest through nutrition and predation, in an underwater atmosphere. Upstairs, two rooms illustrate the profession of the mussel farmer and its evolutions through photographs, models and old tools. At the top, at the end of the spiral staircase, you will be rewarded for your climb by accessing the balcony, window open on one of the most beautiful panoramas of the estuary of the Vilaine river basin. Do not forget to visit the last room of the museum: the documentation room near the exit. General or specialized books and press clippings await you, especially to introduce you to the best mussel recipes … of course!

More on the house of mussels culture here: Tourist office of Penestin on the Maison de la Mytiliculture in English

Another nice building is the Saint-Gildas Church built and consecrated in 1880, this neo-Gothic church replaces an older church in the current cemetery. Inaugurated in a meadow, the church has some statues, one of which is Saint Gildas, the patron saint of the town. The capitals on the pillars of the nave represent flower motifs and the stained glass windows represent the life of Christ or that of Saint Gildas. Each arm of the transept contains a wooden altar of the 19C. The bottom of the choir wall is paneled.

Penestin

Penestin

Penestin

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and worth a detour are

City of Penestin on heritage and culture

Tourist office of Penestin on heritage and history in English

Toursit office of Brittany on Penestin in English

And there you go my brief tour of another wonderful magical spot in my lovely Morbihan and by the sea is always better me think. Enjoy the tip of Penestin in beautiful Bretagne or Brittany or local Breizh!

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

October 31, 2019

War memorials of France and USA!

This is one of my old job cities in France, I worked here for 2 years and many  nice memories of the place and friends. Suresnes is in dept 92 Hauts de Seine just west of Paris easy over the Bois de Boulogne.  Been on a hill rolling down to the Seine river makes a picturesque town of quant streets and nice city center which I had enjoyed many times and even visited.

However, the reason for the post is that on this nice city of Suresnes lies two wonderful monuments of things never to be repeated. And it’s up to each and everyone of us to make sure it does not happened again. I will tell you a bit about the American Cemetery and the Memorial to the fighting French in the hill of Mont Valerien in the city of Suresnes! Ah before I forget ,you can easily reach Suresnes from Gare Saint Lazare in Paris, to Mont Valerien station go out and get on the exit Mont Valerien climb the street at the top are the memorial and cemetery.

Once on top you will go to the American Cemetery with souls of WWI and WWII on territory given by France to the USA ; this is a beautiful cemetery and on top has great views of Paris. You can go down to the esplanade to the left of the cemetery and the views to Paris on clear days is great; the best way to see the monuments. At night is sublime and romantic.

Suresnes

suresnes

The American Cemetery at Suresnes is an American military cemetery, located on the slope of Mont Valerién facing Paris. It contains, on an area of ​​more than three hectares, the graves of 1,541 American soldiers who died during WWI and 24 unknown soldiers who died during WWII. In addition, a wall of the lost perpetuates the memory of 974 missing at sea or on the battlefields during WWI. Rosettes were placed in front of the names of former missing persons later found. It is the only American military cemetery in Europe that combines the two WW. The land was granted for free in perpetuity by the French people to the USA.

Suresnes

The cemetery was established in 1917 by the Graves Registration Service of the Army Quartermaster Corps. Unlike the other cemeteries of WWI, located near the battlefields, this one was chosen because of its proximity to Parisian hospitals.  It was inaugurated by President Woodrow Wilson on Memorial Day May 1919, in the presence of General Pershing and Marshal Foch. The American Battle Monuments Commission then builds the chapel and landscaping. This work was completed in 1932 and the administration of the estate was entrusted to the American Battle Monuments Commission in 1934. The part dedicated to WWII was inaugurated at a grand ceremony in 1952, by General George Marshall, then President of the American Battle Monuments Commission. At that time, the loggias adjoining the chapel, as well as memorial rooms decorated with sculptures and engraved inscriptions were made. The stelae of white marble are mostly decorated with a Cross, or a Star of David for Jewish soldiers. On November 11, 2018, on the occasion of the centenary of the armistice of 1918, the American president Donald Trump came to collect himself at the American cemetery of Suresnes

The American Battle Monument Commission on the Suresnes cemetery

The roads of memories of the French govt on the Suresnes cemetery

Cacing the cemetery to the left side you go up to the  Mémorial Nationale dedicated to French veterans a solemn place with a never ending flame of gratitude to all those fallen under the nazism, many here were held and shot dead. It has a nice chapel and on top you can see the old fortress where there is a military fort still operational. if you go on the right side of the American Cemetery the distance will be longer but you see more high views of Paris and a nice walkers sentry on the parc promenade Jacques Baumel.

The Mémorial de la France Combattante or Memorial of the fighting French is a monument of homage to French fighters, resistant and deported which is in the city of Suresnes on the slope of Mont Valérien, at the foot of the fortress of Mont Valerien

Suresnes

The fortress of Mont-Valérien was the site of more than a thousand executions of resistants fighters in WWII such as Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves or 22 members of the Manouchian group. On June 18, 1946, General de Gaulle paid homage to the massacred and shot on November 11, 1946, under the direction of the Minister of Prisoners, deportees and refugees of the Provisional Government, fifteen corps of WWII fighters from France and settlements, including two women buried in a temporary crypt.

Suresnes

The design  was inspired by the symbol of the Unknown Soldier of the Great War (WWI is known in France), and adapted it to the specificities of  WWII. The different categories of combatants (fighters of 1940, FFL, resistant, deportees, prisoners, men of the France of Overseas) are represented by the remains of one of theirs. In 1952, one also places the body of a French soldier from Indochina killed by the Japanese. In 1958, General de Gaulle, returned to power, commissioned the architect of civil buildings and national palaces to build a real monument, inaugurated on June 18, 1960

Suresnes

The esplanade of the monument is over 1,000 m2. A wall 150 meters long, in pink sandstone of the Vosges, is attached to the rampart in millstone of the fortress. In the middle of this wall, a large Lorraine cross 12 meters high marks the entrance to the crypt where the 16 fighters rest. Vault 9 awaits the last companion of the Liberation. The 17 vaults are arranged in an arc of circle, with in the center an urn containing ashes collected in concentration camps, decorated with a metal sculpture representing a flame. On the foot of the cross is engraved the inscription extracted from the Appeal of June 18: “Whatever happened to the flame of resistance it will not be  turn off.  June 18, 1940 Charles De Gaulle”

Suresnes

In front of the cross of Lorraine, a flame springs permanently from a bronze burner. Along the wall, 16 different sculptures, equivalent to the Greek metopic, in bronze, symbolize the different forms of fighting for the Liberation. Built from 2008, an information and reception center has been open since 2009.

Memorial of Mont Valerien in French

Roads of memories French govt on the Mont Valerien memorial

Tourist office of Paris on the French memorial in English

And there you go a place of solemn memory and peaceful surrounding to guard and keep these brave men and women of our mother Earth. I thank them eternally! You go a lot to Paris, you should make a detour and visit Mont Valérien, Suresnes

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

 

 

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October 30, 2019

Church of St Nicolas ,Chaumont sur Loire!

Ok so sometimes I come into a town see it, come back see it again, post on my blog but basic info, its a habit by now I guess! However, I leave out many wonderful things that needs more explanation and showing; one of these is the Church of St Nicolas in quant Chaumont sur Loire, better known for its castle.

The Church of Saint Nicolas is on the banks of the Loire river and is dedicated formally to Saint Nicolas and Sainte Eugénie de Rilly. It is located in the Centre-Val de Loire region, in the town of Chaumont sur Loire, some 17 km of Blois, diocese on which it depends. This is in dept 41 Loir-et-Cher.

chaumont sur loire

The bell tower is square and high enough to see it from far, once Inside if have time, we didn’t there is a nave with three transepts, alongside several chapels and great light with the stained glass windows. There is a statue of Saint Nicolas, Saint Martin, Sainte Catherine, and a pieta from a now gone nearby church. You will be able to see other statues and work of arts as paintings from the 19C. The outside dimensions are nice.

chaumont sur loire

It is built in the last quarter of the 19C a little away from the village, and is easily identifiable by its large forecourt, leading to the few steps of the entrance and two busts carved on both sides, and its porch. It is dedicated to Saint Nicolas and Saint Eugénie de Rilly. Its square porch tower stands proudly above the entrance and, relatively slender, is seen from afar.

chaumont sur loire

At your entry into the church, you distinguish a nave with three bays, lined with side chapels, lit by large openings adorned with stained glass windows. The church unveils in particular a beautiful statuary, including a statue of Saint Nicolas, another of Saint Martin, one of Saint Catherine, and finally a remarkable Pieta coming from a disused chapel nearby.

Other sculptures of Saints are present as well as works of art, including paintings of the 19C. The current Church of Saint-Nicolas , was built in 1883 with its presbytery on the former island of Tranchepied between the village of Chaumont and the village of Saint-Martin. The majority of the church’s windows are closed by antique glass windows connected with lead.  Two circular windows on each side of the porch tower represent the baptism of Clovis, above the baptismal font, and the burial of Christ. They seem to date from the end of the 19C, from the period of construction of the church.

It has four beautiful statues come from the old churches and chapels of the parish. They are in beautiful condition having been recently restored. St Nicolas, patron saint of the parish, because of the Loire, is the patron saint of seamen, and children. He is represented in a bishop’s dress, dressed in a chasuble covering the dalmatic and dawn, wearing the miter. At his feet a child is presented in the salt. St. Martin, bishop of Tours, evangelizer of many  campaigns, is represented in the habit of bishop, wearing a miter. He carries a butt in his left hand while his right hand is blessing. This wooden statue would come from the church prior of St Martin. Then, St. Catherine, martyr, patron saint of students among others, is presented standing. She wears the toga, a crown on her head and holds with one hand the open book and the other with the sword that decapitated her.

The Pieta or Virgin of Mercy would come from the chapel of Herpinière, hidden during the French revolution in a mulch not to be destroyed. She is made of stone. This suffering Mother can be consoling mothers in pain. Other statues are present in the church as St. Vincent, St Anthony of Padua, St. Joan of Arc, St Michael, Jean Marie Vianney or Cure of Ars, St. Philomena, St. Therese of Lisieux, the Virgin Mary, the Sacred Heart, … There are portraits such as the one representing the Holy Family, offered to the parish in 1852 by the State and Christ offered by the family of Korewo are beautiful. The tomb of the abbot Pilon, priest of Chaumont during the construction of the church, is present in the southern chapel and carries an epitaph.

A couple of webpages one on the parish and the other for direction to Chaumont will help me think, but not much written on the Church.

Parish of Chaumont sur Loire on the Church St Nicolas in French

City of Chaumont sur Loire on how to come here

Voilà a simple Church of St Nicolas, but very nice and just short walking distance from the castle and overlooking the wonderful Loire river, can’t ask for more, worth a detour while passing in town of Chaumont-sur-Loire!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October 30, 2019

Gare de Metz-Ville at Metz!!!

Ok so I do get into train stations in France and even in Europe even if I prefer the roads and the car. However, this is an impressive building that never rode in it but walk in passing by on my visits to the city of Metz. I thought worthwhile to post about it in my blog. Hope you like it.

The Metz-Ville train station, usually called the Metz train station, is located near the city center of Metz, prefecture of the Moselle department  57, in the Grand Est region. Inaugurated in 1908 by the Imperial General Directorate of Railways of Alsace-Lorraine, it replaces the former Metz station commissioned in 1878. The train station of Gare de Metz is very nice and fast trains arrived from Gare de l’Est of Paris.

metz

A bit of history I like

The rail service of Metz, which begins in 1850, revolves around three stations which succeed one another during the second half of the 19C and at the beginning of the 20C. The current station is in fact the third station of Metz. The first railway station of Metz, built temporarily out of wood, is a terminus station, built around 1850 outside the ramparts of the city, at the current site of the place du Roi-George (King-George). In 1871, during the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine,( same year as the unification of Germany ) ,the station was placed under the authority of the Imperial General Directorate of Railways of Alsace-Lorraine  to be integrated into the German rail network. This station having been destroyed by an accidental fire in 1872, it is decided to build a new station, bigger and more functional. This will be the second station of Metz, known today as the former station of Metz. The building was inaugurated in 1878. At the beginning of the 20C, with the increase in rail traffic, the German imperial administration decided to replace the station of 1878 with a station of greater capacity. The third station of Metz, which will be put into service in 1908, is still in activity as the current train station of Metz.

The primary function of this new station was military. It is the terminus of the cannon line, a strategic railway line. In the event of a war with France, Germany must be able to move its troops on the western border, especially in the Moselstellung sector, in a minimum of time. In the neo-Romanesque Rhineland style, the isolated tower, which stands near the train station, is a water tower. With a capacity of 300 m3, it was used to feed the steam locomotives.

The train station of Metz was, with the stations of Strasbourg and Colmar, one of the principal stations of Reichsland Alsace-Lorraine, a new province of the German Empire. Built in pale gray Niderviller sandstone, it is distinguished from the old buildings of the city center, made of Jaumont stone, a yellow ocher limestone, very characteristic. to conform to a Rhenish Romanesque style, which gathered the consent of William II, drawing from the past glory of the Holy Roman Empire its legitimation; formal kinship with a church , seen from the outside, is most striking for a station. For the right part the buffet and arrivals hall, it is an imperial palace that is evoked. The station reinterprets the symbolism of the religious and temporal powers of the emperor in the Middle Ages. William II, who liked to visit the city of Metz in the Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen was placed under his direct authority ,and would have sketched the clock tower of the clock according to the press of the time. A profusion of carved details, the statuary, or the stained glass evoking the protection of Charlemagne, echoing the local origins of the Carolingian dynasty, underline the symbolic dimension instilled into the building.

Brief description as never taken trains here just walk in on visits to Metz ! In the lobby are various shops and services, including: two bars-restaurants-breweries, a newsagent, a bookstore, a bakery, a car rental agency, a bike rental stand, a mini market, various shops, a cash dispenser, a photo booth, and paid public washrooms. A contemporary work by the German artist Stephan Balkenhol pays tribute to Jean Moulin, whose death was found on July 8, 1943 in Metz station. It represents Jeann Moulin on foot, surrounded by three resistant’s.

metz

Two underpasses allow travelers to access the 10 lanes available to the station. They cross the station entirely in a North-South axis. The first passage called Jürgen-Kröger passage, named after the architect who built the station, connects the place de General de Gaulle to the district of the Amphitheater and the Deposition-Minute South Station. The second passage, named “passage Adrienne-Thomas”, named after a voluntary caregiver in 1915-16, connects the Taxis station on rue Lafayette with the Amphitheater district and the multimodal exchange hub. A gateway located south exit allows travelers to directly reach the parvis des droits de l’Homme (human rights square) ,and the  Centre Pompidou-Metz. In 2017 and 2018, it was voted “most beautiful train station in France” by Internet users, following a contest organized on Facebook by Gares & Connexions (SNCF).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit or passing by it are

Official Gares and Connexions on the train station of Metz

City of Metz on the train station in French

Tourist office of Metz on coming to Metz

There you go another dandy in my belle France, always amazes me on its wonderful architecture and history not to mention gastronomy good reasons to stay here!!! Enjoy the train station of Metz or Gare Metz-Ville!

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

 

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October 30, 2019

The mountains by St Jean Pied de Port!!!

Ok so gave you some public transports of my belle France in previous posts and even some information on road driving , but I need to show you more of the driving in the high mountains of the Pays Basque or the Basque country of France! (there is another one in Spain…) It was due and here it is folks ; hope you enjoy it as we did/do. And see my other posts on Saint Jean Pied de Port!

Saint Jean Pied de Port is located south of Lower Navarre, second of the three provinces of the French Basque Country, also called Iparralde. You will be literally in the heart of the Basque Country, between the province of Labourd (towards the ocean) and the province of Soule (Mauléon-Licharre).

Saint jean pied de port

The highlands of Iraty, known for their famous sheep cheese (which is the house favorite!), the canyons of Soule and the karst plateau of Pierre Saint-Martin. The name comes from the fact that Saint John (St Jean)  brings back to Saint John the Baptist, patron Saint of the town. That’s the easy part, which you find all at once. The second is more difficult: pied de port or foot at the port,it refers to the geographical location of the town. The town is at the foot of the passes that lead to Spain, and in the Pyrenees the pass is also designated by the word port. Listen carefully as you wander the streets of the town, and you will often hear “Garazi”. Another village? In Basque, Saint Jean Pied de Port is called  “Donibane Garazi”. There you go folks !

The small town was founded in the 12C. This corner, today of France, was at the time part of the illustrious Kingdom of Navarre (split with Spain Navarra). It is with King Sancho the Fort that the town will begin its tremendous development. At all times, Saint Jean Pied de Port has attracted hundreds of pilgrims en route to Saint James of Compostela (Santiago de Compostela) , the two being separated by some 800 km! The St James vocation of the town did not deny it, and since the Middle Ages, the cobblestones of the old city have seen millions of pilgrims.

Donibane Garazi or St Jean Pied de Port is also known for its architectural heritage. As soon as you pass the ramparts that surround it, the old town makes you jump back in time. The street of the citadel and the Rue d’Espagne (street of Spain), both paved, offer curious visitors splendid examples of houses or “etxe” in Basque, of which the oldest, rue de la Citadelle, dates from 1510. above almost all the houses, you can see beautiful carved lintels, surmounting the doors of the houses, some cut in the pink sandstone of Arradoy. These two streets are dominated by the Notre-Dame-du-Bout-du-Pont Church, which is the second Gothic building in the French Basque Country after the Bayonne cathedral. Another giant of stones watches over the village since the 17C, it is its citadel. Vauban had it erected on Mendiguren Hill at an altitude of 70 meters in 1685. After having sheltered for centuries military garrisons, which watched over any incursion of the Spanish neighbors, it now welcomes young people’s minds. For generations, since it is the public college of the town!.

At the start, St Jean de Pied de Port and its citadel lined with 17-18C houses, you then pass Caro and its pelota Basque then Estérençuby located in the hollow of a gorge, dominated by the peak of (Col) Iramendy. From Phagalcette to Iraty Pass for this long stage where you climb several passes between forests and meadows to reach the Iraty plateau. flank of ridges up to Ugatzé pass(col) . Along the way, you will discover several cajolers, places of work and life of the shepherds. Variant in bad weather: descent through the Larrau Valley.

Saint jean pied de port

st jean pied de port

Saint jean pied de port

Iraty ski station in summer

Haute Soule is a country famous for its canyons. Your trail runs along the gorges of Holzarte and the canyon of Kakouetta down the valley of Sainte-Engrace (entry fee for Easter to All-Saints’ Day). Finally, enjoy a last stop in the small Church of Sainte-Engrâce to admire amazing sculptures. From Sainte-Engrace to Arette, the Saint Martin stone, dotted with ravines, gorges and parades to take you to the pass of Pierre-Saint-Martin where you enjoy a vast panorama on the peak of Anie. Pass by the famous chasm, the Mecca of speleology. From Arette La Pierre-Saint-Martin, you cross Arres de Camplong, a large limestone plateau with shredded soil. On the way, you dive your eyes in the valley of Aspe and its mountains, then the valley of Oloron and its surrounding peaks, Soumcouy, Anie and Coutendé. Admire the chain of peaks of the Orgues de Camplong from Lescun, one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Pyrenees. I believe this trails can be done on foot as well lol!!!

Saint jean pied de port

More of our trip by car was from the foot of the Ports or Col de Cize and along the great path of crossing the Pyrenees by Roncesvalles, Saint Jean Pied de Port embraces a radiant destiny from the point of view of the citadel, you can admire the valleys of the Pays de Cize, the vineyards of the Irouléguy AOC and the mountains that surround this historical mecca of the Basque country. The Porte Saint Jacques, sees more pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela every year and are about to cross the Pyrenees. Come down the citadel street to get there. You can admire the carved facades and lintels of the Basque houses. On the way, visit the so-called Bishops’ prison and discover the enigma of this building. Make a stop at the Church Notre Dame du Bout du Pont, the foundations of the 13C.

Saint jean pied de port

 

In a nearby smaller town we passed by surrounded by white water and mountains lined with protohistoric remains, Saint-Jean-Le-Vieux occupies a strategic position at the entrance to the plain of Cize. The Romans settled there as early as 15 BC to install a road station designated by an ancient document under the name Imus Pyrenaeus (foot of the Pyrenees). You go zig zagging on various peaks, passes etc such as Haltza Pass ,Haritzcurutche Pass, Burdincurutcheta Pass, Burdinkurutxeta Pass culminates at an altitude of 1,135 meters. The Col Heguichouria, and the  Bagargui Pass. Further peaks and passes are the Bagargui Pass located in the Iraty Forest. It rises to 1,327 meters. It is accessed by Estérençuby  29.5 km, by the Larrau coast (exit of the village, take the direction of Iraty) to 8.8 km or from the Burdincurutcheta pass  between Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port  and the cottages of Iraty (Soule) .Col d’Orgambidesca or Orgambidesca pass is one of the most important sites of observation of the migration of the pigeons, this migratory bird which hunters love and that defends and observes the ornithologists. All gorgeous!!!

Saint jean pied de port

 

An awesome trip I am planning to do again. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of St Jean Pied de Port on mountain passes on foot

Tourist office St Jean Pied de Port on mountain towns

The best is to get your GPS , Michelin map , a car and go the high mountain road warrior ways. Just to tell you my wife was on her seat belt hanging on the steep climb even with the car in second and first gear is awesome, very steep but the views ohhh the views are heaven looking down on earth. Of course, I only took pictures on the easy part lol!! Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it. The basque country around Saint Jean Pied de Port!

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

 

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October 29, 2019

Lescar, Cathedral and more !!!

Let’s keep it down south, of France that is. A lovely region that we had enjoyed tremendously over the years, and always looking forward to return. Let me tell you a bit more on a very nice quant town. Lescar is located at 6.5 km  west of Pau;  it is also 52 km north of Urdos, which allows the passage to Spain (via the Col du Somport), heck yeah for many years our route even before the tunnel was built !!!

At Lescar you come into the Cathedral of the Kings of Navarre, and its wonderful.  The Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption.  Here by the Cathedral there is a small but interesting museum of antiquities from the findings in the area dating to Romanesques times, located at the old cellars of the episcopal palace.

lescar

lescar

lescar

You, also , have interesting ruins of a castle and citadel up at pont Saint Louis very nice rustique natural setting, you can climb from the bottom parking lot thru the river and up the ruins into the high city and the Cathedral.  Here was the old bishophery from the 6C and from the 10C a  baptistry dedicated to Saint-John-the Baptist.  Later a repenting soldier built a chapel , “Loup-Fort”,where it was dedicated to Saint Mary.

lescar

lescar

The medieval town develops on a rocky headland , overlooking the gave (river) to the south, and bounded by the brook of Lescourre to the north and then to the plain of the Pont-Long. Lescar is the heir of the Gallo-Roman city of Beneharnum, the first capital of the people of Venarni which gives its name to the former sovereign state of Béarn. Having lost its role as capital Béarnaise, in favor of Morlaàs, the city rebuilt at the end of the 10C under the impulse of the Duke of Biscay Guillaume Sancho. He built a chapel in the upper town dedicated to Saint Mary, which is consecrated Cathedral in 1062. It became the seat of the bishops of Lescar, following the primitive Cathedral of Saint-Julien in Lower town. Taking part in the Reconquista in the 12C, Bishop Guy de Lons replaced  the Chapel-Cathedral by constructing the present Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral in the Romanesque style in  1790 as part of a grouping with Bayonne and Oloron.  From this period, Lescar retains several heritage elements including its ramparts (partly ancient), with the gates or Porte de l’Esquirette and certain towers constituting them. It remains one of the stages of the Via Tolosana, on the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela. Lescar became an educational center, first with the installation of the Protestant Academy of Béarn in 1562, then with the decision of king Henri IV to establish a college of Barnabites. This college built in the 18C is the ancestor of the current lycée Jacques-Monod.

More on the history of this amazing small town which we stopped by every year we passed by .   The birth of Lescar as a city occurs in the 1C, from the time of the Roman occupation of Aquitaine. The city becomes the capital of the people of Venarni, sheltering in Lower town the bulk of the habitat and activities. The earliest Roman period occupation indices date back to around 15-10 B.C., but a true urban plot only appears from the second quarter of the 1C. It was at the end of the 10C that the city was reborn, under the impetus of the Dukes of Biscay and, in particular, Guillaume Sancho. Legend has it that a soldier, named Loup Fort or strong wolf, finds in the ancient city only a forest and a baptistery dedicated to Saint John Baptiste in the  Upper town. Loup-Fort then built a Church under the Saint Mary name in this place, in repentance of past crimes. This Church became a Cathedral in 1058, before its official consecration in 1062. The name Beneharnum is abandoned for that of Lescar, the city rebuilt on the rocky spur in the 5C.  The ramparts of the city are reinforced, while the Cathedral attributed to Loup-Fort is rebuilt in the 12C in the Romanesque style, mainly under the episcopate of Guy de Lons, it takes the name of Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption. Already highly independent since its formation around the 9C, Béarn won its independence in 1347 under Gaston Fébus,  it is in the Cathedral of Lescar that the Kings and Queens of Navarre choose to be buried from 1483 to 1555.

After becoming king of France in 1589, Béarn Henri IV promulgated the Edict of Fontainebleau for the Catholics of Béarn in 1599. It is necessary to wait 1610 for the Cathedral of Lescar to be restored in its Catholic cult, but it is the military expedition of King Louis XIII in 1620 which allows to restore definitively the Catholic cult in the whole country of Béarn.  The historical part of the town is composed of ancient houses dating for most of the 18C, sporting a classic Béarn style with roof steep covered with slates, stones of size at angles and openings, sponge cake between the roof and the wall, Pebbles of the gave river to make the walls. Older houses of the 16C and 17C are also present in the city, made especially for the canons of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption dating partially from the 12C and 13C.  The Cathedral of Notre Dame de l’Assomption is considered the most imposing Romanesque building in Béarn.

In all a wonderful town to visit, hope you have enjoy the post. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth a detour are

City of Lescar on heritage and Cathedral

Tourist office of Pau and region on the Cathedral of Lescar

There you go another splendid recommendation to come and enjoy the Nouvelle Aquitaine and the wonderful Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept 64 (old Béarn) as well as the lovely city of Lescar!

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

 

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October 29, 2019

Church of St Peter’s at Théze!

And moving right along in my belle France, let me take you deep south to some off the beaten path towns of my road warrior trips. Indeed , it is a beautiful country no wonders is no 1 by visitors according to the UN-WTO! I am trying to see them all, hard task ahead!

We have been by here oh yeah! This is Théze  20 km north of Pau and is part of the Vic-Bilh. The N134 and the D44 /D944 as well as the connection with the A65 connects the city very nicely.  The Church of St. Peter dates from the 12C. It is remarkable for the volume of its porch tower and its Renaissance portal. It contains objects, paintings and furniture from the times.

We finally made the round for the day by coming all out to Thézé on the road D834 and coming back in into Pau. Here you have a nice looking Church, where it is ,also, église de Saint Pierre. The unique thing about it is that ithas a square bell tower with huge contraweight in a double retreat and with a cylindrical tower. It is considered as one of the most original in the region of Béarn.

Théze

There are vestiges of two fortified ensembles of the 11C and 12C, testify to the ancient past of the town. One of the sites, the Moutta, is currently with a Calvary. The dovecote at its foot is built at the site of the primitive entrance. The 17C dates the Château de Miret and the name of the family of Fanget, is located at the top of the village and was restored after a long period of ruin to house municipal premises.  The town presents a set of houses and farms from the 16C to the 20C.  The Church of St. Peter dates from the 12C. It is remarkable for the volume of its porch tower and its Renaissance portal. It contains objects, paintings and furniture from the times.

theze

The webpage to help you plan your trip here and it is lovely indeed is:

The region of Bearn dept 64 on heritage things to see at Théze

Hope you enjoy the visit and as well as the town and the area just north of wonderful Pau, lovely, very fond memories of our visits here and always looking forward for more of Théze.

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

 

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October 29, 2019

Cadre Noir at Saumur!

And to tell you a bit more of a great historical institution of my belle France, and with courage on the line of duty, the Cadre Noir of Saumur cavarly school is awesome. A must to see while in the area of Saumur. I will tell you a bit more on it here

We move to the Cadre Noir and the school of cavalry. Saumur goes back to 1763,while it was decided to bring a regiment of carabineers of the Count of Provence here. Later in 1814, there is a training school of horsemen here that is followed in 1825 by the royal school of Cavalry . This military presence is the origin of this wonderful heritage now in town. It is now barracks of the 18C as well as riding school and stables built around the place du Chardonnet in the 18-19C. This includes today one of the most beautiful examples of European architecture of military horsemen.

saumur

The Cadre Noir has been developing for almost 150 years in the Saumur Cavalry School before being transferred in 1972 to the newly created National Riding School. In 1972, the Cadre Noir separated from the School of Application of the Armored Cavalry. Leaving the guardianship of the Ministry of Defense for that of Youth and Sports, it joined the National School of Riding that has just been created. Favoring academic riding, it is gradually becoming half of the teaching staff of a school mainly oriented towards the training of the frames of the equitation but in which one also teaches the three Olympic disciplines , the coupling, the endurance and the aerobatics.

saumur

A bit of history I like

In 1763, King Louis XV entrusted the Duke of Choiseul with the reorganization of the French cavalry. The most beautiful school in the world was then built on the Chardonnet to accommodate officers and non-commissioned officers in charge of training in cavalry regiments. It will work until 1788. Dissolved on the eve of the French revolution, the school will be reborn at the Restoration.

It then includes an Armory in which the principles of military horsemanship are taught. The “raised tunes” are officially practiced there. Appeared in the Middle Ages and maintained under the Italian Renaissance, the “school jumps” were used to decorate the carousel choreography. They also allowed proving the value and solidity of the riders in the saddle. The military origin of these movements is probable. In Saumur the “school jumps” were, and still are, practiced without stirrups.

The squires of the Manège académique, ancestor of the Cadre Noir, immediately claimed the tradition of Versailles. In 1828, at the first carousel, the executives presented batters and instructors. The latter are then wearing the current merry-go-round hat, the lantern or cocked hat, but the outfit is not yet black. It will become it during the reign of Louis Philippe. The Cadre Noir is born and therefore forms part of the riding instructors of the Cavalry School.

saumur

From 1840, the school sees confront two conceptions of academic riding, that of the Count of Aure and that of Lrançois Baucher. Sometimes very opposite, the methods of Aure and Baucher gave rise to many and violent polemics. Student of both, General L’Hotte, one of the most brilliant squires of his time, enriched the French equestrian tradition by laying down the bases of the doctrine.

saumur

The National Riding School has 400 horses hosted in individual boxes; 20,000 training days a year; 4 large stables; 6 rides and 15 Olympic courses; almost 50 km of prepared slopes; several hundred natural obstacles; a modern veterinary clinic; an equipped amphitheater; and a modern media library.

There are performing shows and a wonderful museum too, check dates as it can change. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must are

The Cadre Noir official webpage here: https://www.ifce.fr/cadre-noir/

The tourist office of Saumur on the Cadre Noir : https://www.ot-saumur.fr/LE-CADRE-NOIR-DE-SAUMUR_a745.html

And the museum of cavalry here:  https://www.musee-cavalerie.fr/

More here in French from the friends of the cadre noir here:  https://www.amisducadrenoir.fr/le-cadre-noir-de-saumur/

There you go another gem in my belle France , and you will be delighted you visit. Enjoy the Cadre Noir as we did/do in wonderful Saumur.

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

 

 

 

 

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October 28, 2019

Church St Pierre au Marais at Saumur!

And moving right along in the wonderful Saumur, I will like to show you a bit more of the Church of St Pierre au Marais sort of St Peter’s of the marshes Church.  The city has plenty of things to see right in the old valley of the kings and many already showcase in my blog. It is time for this wonderful Church of St Peter.

The Church of Saint-Pierre-du-Marais in dept 49 of the Maine-et-Loire, region of Pays de la Loire,in the town of Saumur. The Saint-Pierre district is Saumur’s development in the 12th century. Its church, dedicated to St. Peter, is built from the 12C to the 17C, at the hinge of Romanesque and Gothic Angevin styles. It includes a Romanesque portal, a nave Plantagenet style, a small side chapel of the 14C, two renaissance chapels, etc. Its bell tower has a polygonal arrow slightly twisted  with a height of 69 meters.

saumur

The roof of St. Peter’s Church is impressive, with long roofs, and a polygonal dome and dome of the most beautiful effect. At the entrance inside the church, you will be admiring the beautiful spiral staircase to reach the floor and the vaults and vault of the ceiling. Then, a beautiful liturgical furniture, remarkable sculptures, numerous paintings as well as colourful stained glass windows. There are organ concerts here regularly

saumur

suamur

saumur

 

It has been renovated over the years the last mayor work took place between 2008 to 2016,when it reopened to the services. Now it is wonderfully done and exquisite renovated at to its time. A nice stop over while in Saumur. Hope you enjoy it

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

A pdf file by the City of Saumur on a lot more on the Church of St Pierre au MaraisCity of Saumur on the church pdf file in French

Tourist office of Saumur on the Church in French

Ok enjoy it wonderful district to walk around it too, lovely architectures and plenty of good food and great wines!

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

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October 28, 2019

Saumur, the Castle!

And we came to Saumur, we have passed by it but always overlook in the multitude of choices of my belle France. Saumur is in the Maine-et-Loire department 49 of the région Pays de la Loire. It is right by the rivers, on the left bank the majestic Loire and on the right bank its tributary the Thouet river.  Here we have a wonderful castle of Saumur. as the thing to see here. A must.

We arrive by car ,and quickly moved into the Castle or Chateau de Saumur, and the parking nearby for free. It is a fairy tail castle right on a hill overlooking the city with great gastronomic restaurant next to it.

saumur

saumur

A bit of history of the castle  of  Saumur, gone thru many situations and saved on each, until the one we see today. The castle was in the possession of the Counts of Anjou, then the Plantagenêts and change into a royal fortress early in the 13C in the times of king Louis IX (Saint Louis). During the second half of the 14C the duke Louis Ier d’Anjou (brother of king Charles V) change it into a castle-palace of great beauty. The miniature of it is represented in the famous play of the three rich hours of the duke of Berry or « Très riches heures du duc de Berry » that will give it a precise image. King René, last of the dukes of Anjou lived here periodically, after his death in 1480 the castle comes back to the royal domaine.

saumur

The Château de Saumur has a double revolutionary staircase, built several centuries before the work of Leonardo da Vinci. It allowed nobles and servants to use the same staircase without ever crossing each other. The access to the belvedere allows to discover the south wing and to take this staircase with double revolution, a rare testimony of a controlled know-how. Note also the staircase of honor, with its 4 bays, is the only surviving witness of an element that also existed in the Louvre.

saumur

With political stability and religious tolerance, the city will gradually lose its interest, and the castle of its greatness.   From 1745, it is transformed into a simple prison and, in 1810, it becomes a state prison. The castle was decommissioned militarily in 1830 and transformed into a military arsenal until 1890. The underground room below the courtyard maintains a constant temperature and was once used to store provisions. Originally, it was totally enclosed but the west wing fell into ruin in the 17C and was not rebuilt. The first floor contained the main apartments and has fireplaces, floors and ornate windows, although the rooms are not currently furnished. The apartments were once very luxurious, furnished by Louis I of Anjou inspired by the conversions made by his brother King Charles V at the Louvre. The belvedere, accessible in summer, offers an exceptional panorama on the Loire and the city.

saumur

In 1906, the castle was bought by the City of Saumur to house the municipal museum, now labeled Museum of France. A rich collection of decorative arts currently occupies the first floor of the North and East wings. Part of the horse collection, collecting objects from antiquity to the early 20C is exhibited in the former abbey. In 1912, the collections of the municipal museum will be installed there. In 1919, the donation by Count Charles Lair of his collection allows the museum to present one of the beautiful sets of decorative arts of France, from the end of antiquity until the beginning of the 19C. A Horse Museum, also presents visitors with more than 1,500 pieces retracing the history of horse riding across ages and continents.

saumur

saumur

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

The official castle webpage is here: http://www.chateau-saumur.fr/

Official city of Saumur on the castle: https://www.ville-saumur.fr/chateau

Tourist office of Saumur on the Castle

There you go another gem of my belle France. Hoping you have the chance to see it, another wonderful castle of the old valley of the kings now in Pays de la Loire region.

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

 

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