Archive for October 31st, 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.


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!


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.




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.



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.


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


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.


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


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”


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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