Archive for February 20th, 2020

February 20, 2020

Bordeaux and Saint André!

Well how about that I have written several posts on the wines of the region of Bordeaux but not much on its monuments! sacre bleu!!! This is one of my favorite cities in my belle France and candidate for my retirement years!!! We have spent several family trips here over the years.

The whole huge area around Bordeaux is connected by a beltway road, the “rocade” or the A630 that takes you into the city or out into the other areas and into Spain. My best is to go into the Médoc, the famous area of wines but it has a lot more. From the rocade you  take exit 4 to go into central Bordeaux or exit /sortie in French to no 7 that takes you into the side D1/D2 of wine country along the Garonne river, the other exit/sortie no 8 takes you into the beaches and central area of Medoc.

Its time for me to correct the unnaming and tell you about some of the monuments of the city of Bordeaux. Bordeaux is in the Gironde dept 33 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France and I like to tell you a bit on the Cathedral of Saint André!

The Primate Cathedral of Saint-André , built in the 12-13C and located on Place Pey-Berland, is the most imposing place of worship in Bordeaux. It is the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux. It was consecrated on May 1, 1096 by Pope Urban II, on tour to preach the First Crusade. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style from the 12C to the 16C. In this church were celebrated some royal marriages, in 1137, the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine, then aged fifteen, with the future Louis VII, king of the Franks and in November 1615 the marriage of Anne of Austria, Infante of Spain and Louis XIII, king of France and Navarre. In 1305: Bertrand de Got ,Archbishop of Bordeaux solemnly reads the decree of his election as Pope and takes the name of Clement V. In 1367: Born in Bordeaux, Richard, son of the Black Prince and future king of England under the name of Richard II, was baptized here. In 1650: Cardinal Mazarin accompanied his godson Louis XIV and the Queen Mother Anne of Austria to this cathedral. In 1808: on a visit to Bordeaux, Napoleon I noted the damage suffered by the cathedral during the French revolution. He orders its restoration. On June 12, 1992: Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, are welcomed by Bishop Eyt, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and Jacques Chaban-Delmas, mayor of the city.

The tourist office of Bordeaux in English: Tourist office of Bordeaux on the Cathedral St André

bordeaux

The Pey Berland tower, named after Archbishop Pey Berland, is the separate bell tower of Saint-André Cathedral, located on Place Pey-Berland. Its construction spread from 1440 to 1500 on the initiative of the Archbishop of the same name. Crowned by a bell tower, it has always remained isolated from the rest of the Cathedral. Superbly carved, it was sold as national property during the French revolution and transformed into a shotgun factory and a fodder store. The tower becomes a religious building by decree of June 29, 1851.

You have to climb two hundred and thirty three steps in a narrow spiral staircase to reach the terrace located at the top of the tower and which has the shape of a gallery around the spire. It is about fifty meters from the ground. The base of the statue is 60 meters, and the height of the latter is 6 meters. And you have great views of the city of Bordeaux !!!

Tourist office of BordeauxTourist office of Bordeaux on the tour Pey Berland in English

Special webpage on the Tour Pey Berland: Tour Pey Berland in English

And there you go another wonderful monument of the city of Bordeaux that is a must to visit. The Cathedral of Saint André and the tour Pey Berland are wonderful indeed full of history and awesome architecture. Hope you enjoy it as we do.

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

 

 

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February 20, 2020

Bordeaux and Saint Michel!

Well how about that I have written several posts on the wines of the region of Bordeaux but not much on its monuments! sacre bleu!!! This is one of my favorite cities in my belle France and candidate for my retirement years!!! We have spent several family trips here over the years.

The whole huge area around Bordeaux is connected by a beltway road, the “rocade” or the A630 that takes you into the city or out into the other areas and into Spain. My best is to go into the Médoc, the famous area of wines but it has a lot more. From the rocade you  take exit 4 to go into central Bordeaux or exit /sortie in French to no 7 that takes you into the side D1/D2 of wine country along the Garonne river, the other exit/sortie no 8 takes you into the beaches and central area of Medoc.

Its time for me to correct the unnaming and tell you about some of the monuments of the city of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux is in the Gironde dept 33 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France and I like to tell you a bit on the Basilica of St Michel.

bordeaux

The Basilica of Saint-Michel is one of the main Catholic places of worship in the city of Bordeaux. Built from the 14C to the 16C, it is characteristic of the flamboyant Gothic style. The church gave its name to the neighbourhood in which it is located.

The basilica shares with Saint-André Cathedral (see posts) the particularity of having a bell tower 15C independent of the sanctuary or campanile. Rising to a height of 114 meters (378 feet), it is the highest in the South of France and the second tallest in France.

In 1466, a college of canons was installed in the church, still under construction. The latter becomes an important stage on the way to Saint-James of Compostela, as evidenced by the Saint-James Chapel. In 1791, the departmental directory ordered the removal of the old parish cemetery surrounding the church, the current Place Meynard. The bones are piled up in the crypt located under the bell tower, then covered with earth. It was during this work that dozens of mummified bodies were discovered, the “mummies of Saint Michael”. The latter are placed in the crypt, which is open to visitors until 1979. On this date, the bodies are again buried, this time in the Chartreuse cemetery.

bordeaux

The Basilica of St Michel measures 75 meters long from the Choir at the entrance to the nave and 38 meters wide from one cross to the other, the basilica is one of the largest places of worship in Bordeaux.

Here, curiously, its spire tower was built in the 15C on an old mass grave where were installed at the end of the 18C mummies exhumed from the cemetery formerly located around it. With their tense figures, these dry bodies will haunt the Saint-Michel Crypt for a long time. Thus these mummies (they were nearly 70) attracted thousands of visitors including some famous writers like, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Théophile Gautier or closer to us Ferdinand Céline. You could see “L’Enterré Vivant” (the living buried), “the family poisoned by mushrooms”, “L’africaine” (the African), a general killed in a duel, etc. This macabre round ended in 1990. Today an audiovisual reconstructs the origins of this exhibition of which many Bordeaux residents have kept a memory. The spire tower of Saint-Michel and its Crypt are open every day in season.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and its a must are

City of Bordeaux on the Basilica St Michel

Tourist office of Bordeaux on the Basilica St Michel

Tourist office of Bordeaux on the spiral tower of the Basilica of St Michel

And there you go folks another wonderful monument of my belle France in a splendid city like Bordeaux where the sights mix well with the smells…. Enjoy this time the Basilica of Saint Michel and its spiral tower.

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

 

 

 

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February 20, 2020

Saint Germain en Laye, the gardens!

And back to old familar stumping grounds that while living in Versailles was also a very much visited place with the family for the shopping, the museum and the gardens. Oh yes this is Saint Germain en Laye in my old Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region.

I have written about the castle, museum and city before, so let me complete by telling you a bit about the gardens of the Château de Saint Germain en Laye.

First, a bit on the castle , briefly as have several posts on it already in my blog.

The Château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is a former residence of the kings of France. The current castle was built under François Ier by Pierre de Chambiges, from 1539. Enlarged to several times by his successors, it was a royal residence until 1682, when Louis XIV left it definitively for Versailles. The chapel of the castle, in Gothic style, is a vestige of the old fortified castle built by Louis VI le Gros. It was built by Saint Louis (Louis IX) in 1238. Louis XIV was baptized there. The castle was transformed into a cavalry school under Napoleon I, it later housed a military penitentiary. It was restored under Napoleon III. Since 1867, it has housed the National Archeology Museum.

King Louis XIV was born at the Château Neuf now gone, the one you see is the Château Vieux that is the museum. Worth a bit of history here I like

In January 19, 1777, the dilapidated Château Neuf was given by King Louis XVI to his younger brother the Comte d’Artois (later king Charles X grandson of Louis XV) to carry out the work. Demolition and reconstruction projects are established. However, the French revolution arrives, the castle is seized as national property and sold to the former manager who demolishes it, subdivides the land and sells the materials. Today, only the Henri IV Pavilion (a nice restaurant today) , the Garden Pavilion, the Sully Pavilion at nearby Le Pecq, a terrace and its two ramps at the end of rue Thiers which overlooks the avenue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny and some vestiges in the cellars of the district ,one at 3 rue des Arcades remains.

The gardener Claude Mollet, creates the terraced gardens on the east facade of the Château Neuf for king Henri IV. These gardens, designed at the border of the 16C and 17C, were then adorned with caves, water games and hydraulic automata.

Saint Germain en Laye

On the north facade of Château Vieux, the regular gardens were created under the direction of André Le Nôtre, between 1663 and 1673. This one, much appreciated by king Louis XIV, redesigned the green spaces of the two castles, the Château Vieux by François I and the Château-Neuf of Henri IV; by creating three separate gardens, namely a large flowerbed, a slanting flowerbed and the Dauphine garden.

Saint Germain en Laye

In addition, Le Nôtre imposes here the genius of perspective. Its large terrace, built between 1669 and 1674, 2 km long, is a true masterpiece of perspective. It offers an exceptional panoramic view over the entire Seine valley, extending to the edge of the forest. Beautiful walks in the heart of lush greenery await you. An orientation table will allow you to identify the main landscape and architectural elements of the panorama. You can go free to the park and the large terrace of the Domaine de Saint-Germain-en-Laye every day.

Saint Germain en laye

Saint Germain en Laye

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your visit here , and it is a must! are

City of St Germain en Laye on parks and gardens in French

Official Antiquities museum on the gardens in English

City of St Germain en Laye on shops with the gardens info in French

And there you a wonderful city, much to see ,architecturally stunning and full of history near Paris easy on public transports with the RER A; no excuses a must to see. The gardens of the Château de Saint Germain en Laye.

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

 

 

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