Archive for May 1st, 2020

May 1, 2020

A Cloister and a Covered Market, Albi!!

In continuing my road warrior rides in my belle France, I could not avoid Albi. This is a must city and not really seen well by visitors, sort of like an off the beaten path spot. I like to combine two separate and unique spots in Albi on this post. There is a nice Romanesque arches from the old Cloister of the Cathedral Ste Cecile and the covered market and al. that are a vibrant reminder of daily life in all towns of France.

Every Saturday, from the first hours, producers and traders set up shop in the city’s various food markets by the Place Fernand Pelloutier, Boulevard de Strasbourg, around the covered market and Place de la Pile to welcome customers from 7h to 13h. The range of food products is very rich: bread, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, spices, honey, cheeses, wines ..etc.

The city of Albi on the markets in French: City of Albi on markets

The layout plan adopted for the covered market or halles was a triangular hall, of the Baltard pavilion type (like Paris), combining the metal uprights with brick walls and louvers intended to be assembled like a giant construction game. The Albi covered market was inaugurated in 1905. In 2007, the covered market hall opened its doors to the public after three years of impressive renovation work. The hall structure was thus raised, allowing the creation of a 255-space car parking on three levels and an elevator.


Official halles or covered market of Albi in French: The Covered market of Albi

The tourist office of Albi on the covered market in English: Tourist office of Albi on covered market

And a wonderful spot seldom visited because it is all the back of the Ste Cécile Cathedral are the remnants of the old Cloister of the Cathedral. Nice architecture  I like. I have a post on the Cathedral so will be very brief here.


The current Ste Cécile Cathedral of Albi is preceded by several churches. The first dates from the 4C and was destroyed in 666 or 667 by a fire. A second appears in the texts in 920 under the name of Sainte Cécile, the patron saint of musicians. At that time, an episcopal ensemble includes the cathedral, but also a baptistery and a chapel dedicated to Saint-Pierre. Some arches of the old Romanesque cloister remain from this period, several times displaced after having remained in the Rochegude park for a long time and placed in the 2010s between the Cathedral and the Castelviel district. Other elements of Romanesque architecture are located between the current buildings of the cathedral and the Berbie palace, not visible from public places.


The tourist office of Albi on its historical center monuments in English: Tourist office of Albi on historical city center

And of course, I have written about Albi and the Albigeois or Cathars heck my wife’s side of the family are from the region! We love going there and of course the wines are good too especially Gaillac’s. Hope you enjoy the post on the markets and the old cloister of the Cathedral! in Albi architecture and history blends very nicely.

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

May 1, 2020

Sauveterre de Guyenne!

And on my road warrior trips all over my belle France, the Gironde dept 33 and Nouvelle Aquitaine region are tops. So many villages and towns that do not know when will pull all the photos to match a post!! This is one of them, simply titled Sauveterre de Guyenne!

Sauveterre-de-Guyenne is located in the Gironde department 33, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The town of Sauveterre de Guyenne is in the heart of the Entre-deux-Mers vineyards and watered by the Vignague, tributary of the Dropt, Sauveterre is 49 km from Bordeaux, and 22 km from Langon.

The main roads into town by car , both crossing the city, are the   D670, which leads to Saint-Jean-de-Blaignac and Libourne and La Réole, and the D672, leads to Saint-Macaire and Langon (we were coming from here) and to Pellegrue and Sainte-Foy-la-Grande; Others such as the D671, leads to Targon and Créon; towards the D129, starting on the D670 a little after Le Puch, leads to Blasimon; towards the D230, starting on the D670 in Saint-Romain-de-Vignagne, leads to Monségur. Expressways are at access no 3, known as Langon, and no 4, known as La Réole, to the A62 autoroute (Bordeaux-Toulouse) are both 23 km apart. Access no 1, known as Bazas, to the autoroute A65 (Langon-Pau) is 36 km away. The closest access to the A89 autoroute (Bordeaux-Lyon) is that of the interchange with the N89 which is 31 km away.

By bus, the Transgironde network on Line 403 Sauveterre de Guyenne – Bordeaux: and Line 317 Sauveterre de Guyenne – Libourne. I was told from Bordeaux there is a bike ride takes about 4 hours… ..! To inquire at tourist office. The nearest SNCF station is the one, 14 km away by road to Gironde-sur-Dropt on the Bordeaux-Sète line of the TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine. On the same line but offering more connection opportunities, La Réole station is 15 km away.

It is an old bastide of English origin, founded in 1281 by king Edward Ier. In the 13C, a small wooden castle inhabited by Dame Athalésie was built on a hill and the city then took the name of Athala. To put an end to the feudal rivalries, King Edward I of England, also the Duke of Aquitaine, accepted the creation of a country house in 1281 with privileges granted in 1283. The country house changed sides 10 times, French, English, and became French definitively in 1451, two years before the end of the Hundred Years War. It was administered by a jury until the French revolution.

During the French revolution, the parish of Notre-Dame de Sauveterre formed the town of Sauveterre and in 1896, the town of Sauveterre became Sauveterre-de-Guyenne. On May 1, 1965, the towns of Puch, Saint-Léger-de-Vignague and Saint-Romain-de-Vignague were attached to the town of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne.

The walls of the country house were dismantled in 1838 but the gates have been preserved. To date, Sauveterre de Guyenne is the only one of the eight bastide towns in Gironde to have kept the four city gates. One of them, the Saubotte gate of 17 meters high and 2 guard rooms has been completely restored and can be visited. The city gates are located at the four main entrances to the old country house, on the departmental roads D670 and D672. However, I came to peek on the city by the Porte de la Font gate at the D672 end.

sauveterre de guyenne

From June 25 to 28, 1940, Sauveterre-de-Guyenne hosted the Belgian government of Hubert Pierlot in exile. After the armistice signed in 1940, the line of demarcation between occupied France and the Free Zone was established. It passed in front of the Saint-Léger and Saint Romain gates. The bastide of Sauveterre de Guyenne was in the occupied zone.

The city of Sauveterre de Guyenne on its heritage in French: City of Sauveterre de Guyenne on heritage

The tourist office of Gironde dept 33 on Sauveterre de Guyenne in French: Tourist office Gironde dept 33 on Sauveterre de Guyenne

The wine region of Entre Deux Mers on Sauveterre de Guyenne in English: Entre Deux Mers wine region on Sauveterre de Guyenne

The French webpage on bastides or fortified towns of the Gironde dept 33 on Sauveterre de Guyenne in French: Bastides 33 Gironde on Sauveterre de Guyenne

There you go another off the beaten path town of my belle France, a road warrior dreams beyond a simple post. Hope you enjoy the ride on old Sauveterre de Guyenne.

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

Tags: ,
May 1, 2020

Maison de Jeanne d´Albret, Orthez!

And why not stayed in pretty Orthez in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept 64 of the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This is as said one of my best regions of my belle France and we come here often during the year(s). Let me show another marvel that previously have written very little on it.

I like to go into the Protestant history of France and tell you about the House or Maison de Jeanne d’Albret in Orthez.

The house or Maison de Jeanne d´Albret, today is the tourist office and a Protestant museum of the Béarn. Originally, this house was a bourgeoise mansion from the 16C that was given as a donation by a Captain of the militias of Albret to the king Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d’Albret to obtain titles of nobility. Here, also, there is the museum of or musée Jeanne d´Albret, dedicated to the long history of Protestanism in the Béarn. Very educational and historical a must to see and worth the visit to Orthez alone in my opinion.


The Jeanne d’Albret museum is a museum devoted to the history of Bearn Protestantism it is installed in the walls of an old residence of the mother of king Henri IV, Jeanne d’Albret, dating from the 16C . It indeed belonged to Queen Jeanne as attested by the letters patent of November 30, 1555, registered on May 5, 1556. They indicate that the building was offered to Jeanne d’Albret in 1555 by Arnaud de Gachissans, lord of Salles and butler of Henri II d’Albret, Jeanne’s father, in exchange for letters of nobility. The sovereign wanted to make it his home during his visits to Orthez.


The house known as Jeanne d’Albret was built in the 15-16C. It is distinguished by its remarkable spiral staircase inscribed in an octagonal turret connecting the two buildings that make up the house. The retaining wall of the garden is one of the remains of the city walls. The facades facing the street were enlarged in the 16C, but, on the garden side, one can observe different types of openings which make it possible to identify the successive stages of construction.

The Jeanne d’Albret museum retraces with its collections of objects, portraits and documents, the history of Protestantism in Bearn since the 16C. The historical characteristic of Bearn is the conversion to Protestantism of its sovereign Jeanne d’Albret, who governs this small state as a convinced Calvinist. Therefore, the history of Béarn remains intimately linked to that of Protestantism. The museum therefore reviews all the historical phases: wars of religion, wars of Rohan, persecutions and clandestinity, but also the development of Protestantism in the 19-20C, missions, secularism, and personalities of this time who have a link with the Béarn: Élisée Reclus, Félix Pécaut, Eugène Casalis, Albert Cadier or the Spanish preacher Manuel Matamoros, persecuted and imprisoned by his Spanish compatriots.

Official Jeanne d’Albret museum house in French: Museum house of Jeanne d’Albret Orthez

The tourist office of the heart of Bearn on the museum: Coeur de Bearn tourist office on the museum Jeanne d’Albret

This is the Centre d’Etude du Protestantisme Béarnais in French: Center of protestant studies in the Bearn region

And now you have something different and for sure off the beaten path in my beautiful France deep down in the Pyrénées Atlantiques and the pretty town of Orthez. Hope you come to see the House Museum of Jeanne d’Albret.

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

Tags: ,
May 1, 2020

The Pont Vieux, is in Orthez!

So here I am again on the southwest of my belle France. The region has been criss cross by my family for many years and remains one of our favorites. Even thus, written plenty on it over the years in my blog, there is so much to see, always something missing. Therefore, let me tell you about a nice monument in the city of Orthez!

The Pont Vieux, is in Orthez, department 64 of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The old bridge is a 13C fortified bridge.  The Pont Vieux , spanning the Gave de Pau river, dates from the 13C. It connects the city center to its suburb of Depart. It is on the vicomtale road which went from the Haderne bridge, at Sault-de-Navailles, to the Osserain bridge, and led to Roncevaux. It owes its construction to Gaston VII Moncade of Béarn, when he made Orthez the capital of Béarn and transported his court there.


We do not know when the bridge was built in its current state with 4 masonry spans. In 1589, there was already only one tower. The upper part of the tower had disappeared. The bridge resisted two major assaults: in August 1569, the Huguenot troops of Montgomery, after the battle of Orthez precipitated priests in the Gave by an opening , the priests’ window in the downstream parapet, to the right of the key main span. In February 1814, troops of the Duke of Wellington went after the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte in retreat. On February 27, 45 soldiers of Marshal Soult’s army rearguard entrenched in the bridge tower resisted for one day the attacks of the English army during the battle of Orthez.


it is today remarkable for its uneven arches and its fortified central tower. The tower was restored according to its original arrangements in 1873. The aliening and the roof are modern. Total length of the bridge between the two abutments: 46 meters long; width span 14.87 meters; Openings of the two adjacent arches: 7.10 meters and 7.65 meters.

The city of Orthez on the Pont Vieux or old bridge in French: City of Orthez on the Pont Vieux

The tourist office of the heart of the Béarn area on Orthez in French: Coeur de Bearn on Orthez heritage

And there you go, another nice monument of architectural and historical value I like to keep in my blog, hope you enjoy passing by the Pont Vieux of Orthez! Enjoy the ride

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: