Archive for October 29th, 2019

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.




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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

The tourist office of Saumur on the Cadre Noir :

And the museum of cavalry here:

More here in French from the friends of the cadre noir here:

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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