Archive for October 30th, 2019

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.


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.


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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