Archive for April 24th, 2020

April 24, 2020

Chapel St Saturnin, Fontainebleau!

Well what can I say if not said before! The Château de Fontainebleau is unique in France, Europe, the World! A masterpiece of architecture and history and we love it. Need to say proudly, the first castle ever visited in France, home of my dear wife’s region who proudly took me here first when we met. It has been a love affair ever since 1990.

I have written several posts on Fontainebleau but there is always more, I have to tell you about a missing piece in my story the Chapel of Saint Saturnin.

Of course, a bit on the Château de Fontainebleau , my Fontainebleau.

There is no other Royal Castle in France that can boast of having hosted 34 sovereigns from Louis VI the Fat to Napoleon III. It was Napoleon I who expressed it best, “This is the real home of Kings, the house of centuries”, he said in Saint Helena, remembering this place he had loved so much. The Palace thus has more than 1,500 rooms deployed in the heart of 14 hectares of park and gardens. Fontainebleau is therefore the only royal and imperial castle inhabited without interruption for seven centuries, and its throne room is the only one which is still visible in France. The castle of Fontainebleau is the only sovereign residence fully preserved. The castle still harbors collections of furniture, paintings and works of art of exceptional richness and magnitude. Covering an area of 14 hectares, the large Parterre done in 1660-1664 by André Le Nôtre is the largest in Europe. The Donjon is probably the oldest building in the castle ,before 1137. It was transformed several times, notably during the reign of François Ier. Therefore, its architecture represents several styles.

And the feature presentation of the Chapelle haute de Saint Saturnin!

This Chapel of Saint Saturnin, also saw in 1606 the baptism of Louis XIII in a basin, a masterpiece of Islamic art. The chapel is on two levels, on the second level is the organ gallery. Raphael’s painting “The Holy Family” today in the Louvre (as usual taken to Paris) previously decorated in the chapel. If the general chronology of the Chapel of Saint-Saturnin is still uncertain, we know that the high chapel sheltered the baptism of Elisabeth of France, daughter of Henri II, king of France, and Catherine de Médicis, was as a wife of king Felipe II of Spain, Queen Consort of Spain, Sicily and Naples, Duchess of Burgundy, Milan, Brabant, Luxembourg and Limburg, Countess of Flanders, Hainaut and Countess Palatine of Burgundy.


The High Chapel of Saint Saturnin is the oldest chapel in that of the Oval courtyard, placed under the name of Saint Saturnin. It is a double chapel, rebuilt on two superimposed levels from the reign of François Ier: on the ground floor, a lower chapel is dedicated to the servants and, upstairs, on one level with the apartments, a high chapel is reserved for the king and his family. The upper chapel, visible in the is a Renaissance oratory which housed, until the 17C, the famous  Holy Family of Raphael. Designed to be widely lit, it has a box vault and a lantern diffusing a directional light towards the center of the sanctuary. After receiving an admirable decoration designed by Philibert Delorme and a marble organ gallery, it was finally included in the wings of the Salle du Bal or Ballroom and the Tiber or Tibre. Its dimensions did not allow to welcome the crowds of the big festivals, a second chapel was necessary. Gradually unusual for the benefit of the Trinity Chapel, it experienced the astonishing destiny of becoming, in the 19C, the library of Napoleon I.


The official Château de Fontainebleau on the Royal Chapels and St Saturnin in French: Château de Fontainebleau on the Royal Chapels

And now there you go another wonderful spot on a hugely wonderful castle/palace of Fontainebleau of my belle well Seine et Marne dept 77 and France! Hope you enjoy it as we did/do! And got another photo from my vault found it!

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

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April 24, 2020

A re-visit to La Défense!

And why not talk about La Défense? For long periods this area was considered off tourists/visitors as indeed it is mostly a business pole ,one of the biggest in Europe. Over time, more was open for visitors alike and the Grande Arche had a lot to do with it. It is still a bit off the beaten path as most visitors stay in Paris proper even if included in the Paris tourist office offering, it is not in Paris. I wrote a more historical piece before and let me tell you more of what is here ,briefly.

La Defense parvis de la Défense towards the arc de triomphe dec13

It’s been a while not telling you on La DéfenseHauts-de-Seine dept 92 in the Île de France region. This was found out when working out of one of the towers there and realised there were more than high towers here but things to spent a nice afternoon with the family. I am looking at my vault of pictures and finding gems, this is an older shot of the Grande Arche and instead of a new post, just will add on this one. On left in front the statue La Défense de Paris, bronze, 1983.

La Defense grand arche c2008

The thing that will bring you here is the Grande Arche de la Défense , sort of like a modern Arc de Triomphe. It is in line with it along ave de la Grande Armée and the Arc de Triomphe is very easily visible. A must to go to the top of the Grande Arche de la Défense, the views are wonderful over Paris. Visitors can now enjoy now the largest terrace in Paris on the rooftop of the Grande Arche. The Grande Arche has a 100-meter long footbridge stretching across it that provides beautiful views of all the major historical monuments of Paris, from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. The Grande Arche also provides an excellent view over France’s largest open-air museum in the parvis of La Défense below it.

La Defense Arche underneath c 2005

The official Grande Arche de la Défense in English here: Official Grande Arche de la Défense

La defense

You can enjoy great movies in the Dome cinema Ciné Cité  UGC , with very modern facilities and a favorite of my kids as it is easy reachable from where we used to live.  It is right in the Westfield Quatre-Temps shopping center  Here in French how to get to the cinema ,prices schedules etc. : UGC cinemas Dome La Défense

La defense

if you like big shopping center/malls then you will love the Quatre Temps shopping center here, its one of the best in the area, and it keeps growing!  You have 223 stores, 51 restaurants More on how to get there here in English: Westfield Les 4 Temps shopping center

And over to the CNIT building, across the parvis, where the convention and congress place with the Centre des Nouvelles Industries et Technologies or CNIT (center of new industries and technologies). And more stores and restaurants on ground floor More here in French: Paris La Defense on the CNIT

la defense

There are so many towers here from all sort of businesses some with restos on ground floor that is too long lol! Suffice to say I have been to several. You can see them here in English: Paris La Défense on the towers or tours

There is many artworks here too, inside the towers and outside the parvis/esplanade , one more reason to admire walking around and so many, they are listed here in English: Paris La Defense on the artworks all over

And several green spaces with benches for a relax time, long to write but you can see them here in English: Paris La Defense on the green spaces

And well I am into numbers but rather let you read as I am in telework lol! These are the numbers of La Défense in English: Paris La Defense on the detail numbers of it

And even the Paris tourist office has info on La Défense even if it is not in Paris but in Hauts de Seine dept 92 another province/state/dept but Paris likes to take it all lol: Tourist office of Paris on La Défense

And of course, not to be left out, the Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on La Défense in French: Tourist office of dept 92 Hauts de Seine on La Défense

And last but not least, how to get here? From Paris or surroundings is easy! I have even gone there by car and parking underground is great too. However for the visitor inclined here are choices. You can take the Transilien train line L or U (Versailles Chantiers)  from many stops begins at Gare St Lazare, until the Gare de la Défense Grande Arche. Also, the RER A until the gare La Défense Grande Arche from Châtelet-Les Halles this is about 20 minutes! And of course, metro line 1 or tramway line 2 take you to the La Défense Grande Arche as well and takes you up to the parvis esplanade! You can stop with metro line 1 at the stop Esplanade de La Défense as well. My recommendation is to take metro line 1. There is a great map from RATP ,you can print here even in English: RATP map of transports at La Défense

La Defense hall of transportation underneath Grande Arche c 2005

And there you go ,all set go; step out from Paris, the region of Ïle de France not the least the dept 92 Hauts de Seine has beauties beyond comprehension and this one is nice easy ride out and something trés français! Hope you enjoy La Défense.

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

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