Archive for February 17th, 2020

February 17, 2020

Way south in the French riviera!

So I came up with this pretty town nestle between two countries in PACA or simply put the French Riviera. I seldom come down here unless is business, or winemakers’s visits but is so well known and hordes of tourists go there that has never been my fancy. However, I did go and was impressive by the scenary and the driving lol!

I had a taste of Cap d’Ail just in the border with Monte Carlo, Monaco! and stayed at the Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco. I ate all over but the most memorable was Amici Miei.

We were recommended the Restaurant Amici Miei at the harbor of Fontvieille facing the cliffs and on top the Prince of Monaco’s castle; lovely.  This is an Italian restaurant cook by mamma herself and husband serves you with all the dishes explanation. The top is the son who is also a server comes to pick us up from the hotel and back, style chic this is after all the French Riviera.  The official restaurant webpage and highly recommended is here: Official restaurant Amici Miei

This is Fontvieille in French on its heritage, something to be back for.  City of Fontvieille on things to see

I have done a couple of entries on this area so will be brief and show you couple of pictures of the wonderful natural setting of the area I like.

Cap d’Ail, was until 1860, attached to the County of Nice. It was in 1908 that Cap d’Ail, which depended on La Turbie, became a fully-fledged town. The area around is bordered today on the north by the La Turbie. / Isola 2000, 105 km. Grenoble, 340 km.  Lyon, 492 km. and Paris, 954 km away.  To the east: border with the Fontvieille district of Monaco.  Menton, 16 km.  Ventimiglia (Italy), 29 km away. Sanremo (Italy), 59 km. Genoa (Italy), 183 km. /Rome (Italy), 694 km away. Towards the west: border with Èze. / Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 9 km. Nice, 18 km away.  Toulon, 170 km. and Marseille, 226 km. So literally all closer to Italy

cap d'ail

The roads are breathtaking here and I love it for it. I had a car so the driving was awesome. The best roads are the RD 6098 (basse corniche) and RD 6007 (formerly RN7 – called moyenne corniche and also called avenue Prince-Rainier-III-de-Monaco on its northern periphery. By the sea, the coastal path is an old, redeveloped course of 3,600 m joining the Mala and Marquet beaches via the Pointe des Douaniers. The train station and airport are all at Nice. The path is wonderful and explain better here in English from Cap tourist office: Tourist office of Cap d’Ail on the seashore walks

cap d'ail

There are wonderful layback harbors even an artificial one at  Cap-d’Ail on the extreme south and its northern quay is the frontier with  Monaco at Fontvieille as well as the eastern part of the town. An interesting phenomena that many times could not tell the difference whether I was in France or Monaco lol! 

There are, also, the Port Hercule or Port of Monaco. The port of Monaco consists of two ports, one natural, the Hercule port having been the subject of an extension by a floating concrete dam, the other artificial, the port of Fontvieille built in at the same time as the extension of the Fontvieille district on the sea. Its webpage in English is here: Ports of Monaco

cap d'ail

And Port Lympia or Port de Nice. Today it is the main port facility in Nice. There is also a small port in the Carras district. The port of Nice is divided into the Commercial port at the entrance and the marina at the bottom. More info here in English: Port of Nice

The Cap d’Ail tourist info is here in English: Tourist office of Cap d’Ail

The town also has several villas. I mentioned my favorites with nice architectural features I like:

 Villa du Roc Fleuri  and its botanical park and garden. Villa Perles Blanches  or  Villa Lumière  of the Lumière Brothers at 8 avenue Chales Blanc. Villa Les Funambules and the park Sacha Guitry. Villa Les Camélias at 17 avenue Raymond Gramaglia. . Villa Paloma at 16 avenue Raymond Gramaglia. Villa Les Violettes at 15 avenue François-de-May. Villa Les Mouettes at 6 avenue Raymond Gramaglia.. Villa Mirasol at 5 avenue Charles Blanc. Villa Primavera at the Moyenne Corniche road.

Other monuments to see are the Église Notre-Dame-du-Cap-Fleuri at 68 avenue du 3 septembre. Château de l’Hermitage at 37 avenue du 3 septembre Château des Terrasses at 89 avenue du 3 septembre. And the Tour Abeille and Villa 51 avenue du 3 septembre.

Some famous spent time here or lived are

Winston Churchill    was the honorary mayor of  Cap d’Ail Didier Deschamps  born at  Bayonne World Cup Champion football/soccer live in  Cap d’Ail. Sacha Guitry in 1927 acquired the Villa Les Funambules. The Lumière  Brothers Auguste and Louis. They owned the villa Perles Blanches at  avenue Charles Blanc. And André Malraux  He and Josiane Clotis lived in the  villa Les Camélias .

Again, the place is very chic upscale and nice. The kind of place you can dream of retiring too lol! A bit slow pace for me, too up the ladder but worth a visit in my belle France.

Hope you have enjoy the post, and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

February 17, 2020

A little Chapel in a little town, Ernée!

SO here I am again for another off the beaten path of my belle France. I am on the road a lot in this beautiful country and passed by many wonders, usually no time to stop and just marked it for later returns and in depth views. Or bring the family over for a nice day out or weekend or more.

One of these small towns I passed by and brings good souvenirs of passing on the job and then bringing the family over on a non toll ride to Paris/Versailles area. The little town is Ernée in the department of the Mayenne no. 53 in the Pays de la Loire region.  And the little Chapel is right there on the road N12 each time so let me tell you a bit on the Chapelle de Charné

The town of Ernée is cut by the river that flows through the town, of the same  name. This river creates the Ernée valley and leads to a body of water integrated into the city.

The town of Ernée of course has no train station, however, the TGV train station in Laval located less than 30 km away, takes you /from Paris Montparnasse in about 1.5 hours away . Ernée is also served by bus lines 104, 105 of the Pégase network in the Mayenne dept 53, connecting the city of Mayenne and Laval passing by Ernée. You can look up bus line 116 as well. Their current schedule is here: ALEOP transports of Pays de la Loire region

Of course, we go by car here on the N12 long trip without tolls or taxes to Paris/Versailles and the round trip is done by here. We gas up and have a snack on our way , especially at the Au Ptit Bistro, a nice rest area and picturesque little town. The businesses webpage is here in French: Heart of the town of Ernee on restos hotels etc

A bit of history I like of Ernée

In 1231, after the truce concluded in Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, on July 4, between Queen Blanche of Castile, (mother of St Louis or Louis IX) regent, and Pierre Mauclerc, Duke of Brittany, the city of Ernée is the place of the interview between Pierre Mauclerc and Philippe Hurepel, the king’s uncle. This interview ended with a solemn exchange of oaths.

Some things to see here are

The Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Church which dominates the town with its high bell tower. It was consecrated in 1697. The Chapel of Charné 13C altered in the 15C and later 17C. Also, Roman Antiquities. The Château de Pannard 16C of Renaissance style. The local museum of prehistory. The Louis-Derbré cultural space: foundry workshop, sculpture garden and open-air theater. The Dolmen of Contrie. . And The Covered Alley of the Tardivière.

The one I like to tell you today is special because I passed by here often very often on the N12 road and see it all the time, a nice view on the road warrior trips of mine.  The Chapelle de Charné is the old parish church of Ernée. The chapel is on the edge of the N 12 road, called route de Paris exactly at local 32 Avenue de Paris.


The existence of the Church of Charné is attested for the first time around 1150. The church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whose Assumption was especially honored. In the 17C, people came from all around Charné, to give worship of the imposing statue of Notre Dame, very old, but of which we know neither the date nor the craftsman. It is in oak, measures 1m30 and, according to the attitude of the Virgin, the rusticity of the presentation, the drapery of the clothes, it seems to be from the 13C.  Mary holds in her hand the scepter, symbol of power, and Jesus, the cross on the terrestrial globe, symbol of royalty and redemption.

In 1793, during the French revolution and in the context of the anti-religious struggle, the chapel was closed and the entrance guarded to prevent access. It was sold as national property, but a certain Le Nicolais, although a member of the revolutionary committee, hid the statue in a barrel in his cellar where it remained until 1800. Marie had regard to this gesture of piety; he died christianly.

However the Chapelle de Charné threatened ruin and its disappearance seemed inexorable when it was put up for sale a third time in 1807. It was then a humble servant, Anne Vauloup, who offered all her savings, obtained a deposit on her wages, begged to Ernée and surroundings, which, on January 18, 1808, had the joy of being awarded the chapel and cemetery. She immediately donated it to the Charity Office of the city on the express condition that the chapel remained for the use of Catholic worship. She reserved for her only one place in the cemetery. She rests there, a little to the right, opposite the west entrance to the chapel. A city street now bears her name.

The Chapelle de Charné, with its Romanesque tower, is the remains of an old church which was demolished at the end of the 17C. It is surrounded by its classified cemetery where there are very ancient tombs.   The construction of the central part and the choir can be dated to the beginning of the 13C. The nave was destroyed around 1690, during the construction of the ND Church of Ernée. Consecrated on June 29, 1697, the ND Church of Ernée replaces the Charné as a parish church.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Ernee on the Chapel of Charne

Tourist office Pays de la Loire on the Chapel of Charne

And there you go  a nice ride by and rest stop with a nice monument to boot, this is my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post and more take a ride by Ernée in real French country!

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

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