Archive for May 6th, 2020

May 6, 2020

The Porte Beucheresse ,Laval!

And I sticking with the Mayenne, and Pays de la Loire, and Laval. As always been rushing wiht all these beauties and so much to tell the world about my belle France. There is always something by passed and hidden in small mentions in previous posts. This is one of them and would like to give credit to a wonderful monument, the Porte Beucheresse gate in Laval.

The Porte Beucheresse is a city gate in Laval, in Mayenne department 53 of the region of Pays de la Loire in my belle France.. It is the only surviving gate of Laval, as well as one of the best preserved vestiges of the ramparts of Laval. It stands on the edge of Place Hardy-de-Lévaré, in the city center, and connects with Rue des Serruriers.

The Porte Beucheresse was on the way to the Concise forest, and the woodcutters, when they brought the wood to Laval, took the current rue du Lycée, then passed under the gate. Its name therefore means “door of the Lumberjacks”. The naive painter Henri Rousseau was born in the right tower in 1844 and lived there during his childhood. His father had a tinsmith on the ground floor.   On the rue des Serruriers side, a niche in the gate wall shelters a Pietà from the end of the 15C. It is one of the many religious statuettes found in the old center of Laval.


The city of Laval appeared in the 11C, around the castle (see post). Originally, this castle had a large earthen wall which encompassed land leading to the current cathedral (see post). In the 13C, the castle was rebuilt in stone and it folded around the keep. The city is therefore no longer protected and has its own fortifications, also built of stone. The ramparts built in the 13C included several gates, including four main ones: the Porte Renaise , the Porte Belot-Oisel ; the Porte Peinte   on the Mayenne river side, and the Porte Beucheresse. The entire enclosure was altered in the 15C, during the Hundred Years War. The Porte Beucheresse gate is then topped with machicolations, integrated into a covered way which made it possible to go around the fortifications. After the war, the Beucheresse gate was protected by a bastion, which disappeared during the development of Place Hardy-de-Lévaré in the 18C. This work also removed the moat. Openings were drilled in the towers in the 18C or early 19C.

The porte Beucheresse is made up of two circular and symmetrical towers. The opening is in a rib vault. It was originally fitted with a harrow. These opening is surmounted by loopholes, while the towers are capped with a rest of covered way on machicolation. The whole is built of rubble. The openings made in modern times are located on the towers. They are grouped into two spans, one on each tower. Those on the left have neo-Renaissance decorations including pinnacles, pilasters, a pediment, a shell and geometric reliefs. These neo-Renaissance windows are made of limestone ashlar.

As usual from me , here are some webpages that will help you plan your trip here and its worth it

City of Laval on the Porte Beucheresse in French: City of Laval on Beucheresse gate

Briefly on the tourist office of Laval on the ramparts and porte Beucheresse in French: tourist office of Laval on ramparts and porte beucheresse

And a site on heritage of Laval on the porte Beucheresse in French: Patrimoine Laval on porte beucheresse

there you go another nice architecturally stunning and historical gate in Laval; worth the detour folks. Hope you enjoy it

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


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May 6, 2020

The Church Saint Venerand,Laval!

And here we are again by the Pays de la Loire region and this time in dept 53 of Mayenne. I have written some posts on this town but left this nice monument out and would like to tell you about it here ,of course the wonderful town of Laval.

And one monument kept quietly but worth the detour is the Church Saint Venerand. Here is my take on it with the history I like. Hope you enjoy it

The Church or église Saint Vénérand, is a very nice Church by Rue du Pont de Mayenne, that we could not go in as Mass service was been conducted at 10h30. The Church was finished in 1499 and houses wonderful relics brought back from Rome in 1693.


It was in 1485 that François de Laval , the future Guy XV of Laval, Count of Gavre to advise how to raise a church closer to the banks of the Mayenne river, leaving more easily accessible to its many parishioners. The church of the ancient priory of Saint-Melaine served as a Romanesque church , and was becoming too far from the new population center marked by the development of the canvas trade; it was replaced by a new church.

The story goes that Father Angot says of the foundation of this church in Laval that Guy XIV of Laval offers in 1490 to the notables of the parish apart from his protection and feudal allowances a remarkable relic, namely the head of Saint Vénérand, from his church of ‘Acquigny to be kept.  In  1485,  Guy XIV of Laval, count of Laval, preceded by the clergy, followed by the count of Gavre, his son,  and others  could lay the first stone of their new church.

A small bell was melted which was given the name of Vénérande. The relics of Saint-Vénérand are placed in the provisional chapel in 1490. In 1499, the Church of Saint-Vénérand was gradually completed. The nave and the transepts were completed in 1520. A new bell was melted, it was given the name of Anne . The church  completed in 1521, then consisted only of a nave and two transepts. The portal was not yet built . In  1521 the church, put under the invocation of Saint Venérand, of which it already had a part of the head. Guy XVI of Laval, in 1522, attended the dedication of this new church, the foundations of which his predecessor had traced.


In 1605, the Confrérie du Saint-Sacrement de Laval was founded in the Church Saint-Vénérand.

The Church Saint Vénérand ,then contained, in addition to the high altar, seven altars dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Anne, Saint Barbara, Saint John, Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint William and Saint Claude. The great altar of the church of Saint-Melaine was also brought in this time to Saint-Vénérand and placed at the bedside. The church wardens was  placed in the Chapel of Saint-André, which had just been built. In 1699, permission was given to demolish four altars in the church, namely, those of Sainte Anne, Saint Bonaventure, Saint John the Evangelist and Sainte Madeleine. The altars of Saint Christopher and Saint Eloi had already disappeared. In 1705, the chapel on the side of the Gospel, where the sacristy was, was completed and vaulted. In the middle of the 18C, the choir was adorned with beautifully crafted iron stalls and balustrades; a sacristy is built there. Until 1707, there was only a sacristy in a chapel, near the choir on the side of the Gospel. The first stone of the Sacristy was laid in 1707, behind the northern transept, on the Chevalier courtyard it was completed four years later, in 1711. In 1772, relics of Saint Charles Borromée were brought, then in 1775  those of the True Cross n and the altar of the Blessed Virgin was built in 1781.

During the French revolution from the end of 1793 to 1795, the Church Saint Vénérand was removed for worship and served as stores for fodder and supplies, sometimes as a stable. After the French revolution, the church recovered a pulpit from the Convent of the Jacobins, work of a religious men. The author of this work of sculpture had the idea of ​​tracing, on the front face, the view of the city of Laval, which he had in front of his convent. We can see the old castle, the large clock, destroyed in the 19c, the small castle and the Church of Saint-Tugal, as we saw them then. A new organ was replaced in the church in 1834.

There currently remain in the Church Saint Vénérand ,seven altarpieces, including one from the 19C. 4 of them date from the 18C. There are thus: the altar of the Virgin dated 1610, and that of Sainte-Anne, dated 1606. They illustrate the beginnings of what will become the school of Laval ; the altar of the Bishops dated 1732; its upper niches frame a stained glass window, in a layout inspired by that of the symmetrical altarpiece dedicated to Sainte-Anne. The altars of Saint-John the Baptist and Saint-Joseph, exactly identical and symmetrically arranged with respect to the apse of the axis of the choir, are dated by an inscription from 1743. another altar, located at the chevet of the church , follows the shape of the axis absidiole, and could date from 1748.

Beautiful canopies once adorned all the windows that lit the nave, the transepts and the sides of the choir. Only two of the old ones remain today in the two transepts. In the transept of the Church Saint-Vénérand , two 16C stained glass windows have been kept: La Crucifixion, and La Vie de Moïse.  In 2005, Michel Soutra painted The Promised Land to accompany Moses and La Grâce by body and blood of Christ to go with the Crucifixion. In the choir, on each side, the artist created four canopies to replace 19C stained glass, abstract glasses, of colors, very rhythmic evoking the angels and the saints who go up to the choir.

Some webpages to help plan your trip to wonderful Laval are

Tourist office of Laval on the Church Saint Vénérand in English: Tourist office of Laval on Church Saint Venerand

The Parish of Laval on Church Saint Vénérand in French: Parish of Laval on Church Saint Venerand

City of Laval on history and heritage in French: City of Laval on heritage and history

There you go a nice fortified town of Laval in the Mayenne lovely and full of wonderful architecture and history we like. Hope you enjoy Laval and do visit the Church Saint Vénérand.

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

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May 6, 2020

Getting around Le Mans!

Le Mans is in the department of the Sarthe no 72 in the region of Pays de la Loire. It is an important historical town of  my belle France and a beautiful fortified city center. It does not get the popularity it deserves maybe just for the car aficionados like me and its famous 24 hours. However , it is worth the detour as can be seen by my various post on it in my blog.

As usual , there needs to be a way to get there to show you it is easy. I have come here by car and train. Let me tell you a bit on getting around Le Mans.

Le Mans is in the heart of a highway/motorway star network as the A11 : Paris, Angers and Nantes ;A28 : Alençon, Caen, Rouen ; A28 and A85 : A fast expressway the D323 makes the grand circle of Le Mans and joins up with the A28 coming from Tours (exit d’Auvours), and the A11  direction Nantes  (exit d’Allonnes-Le Mans ZI Sud). Tours and Lyon , A28 and A10 : Tours and Bordeaux et A81 : Rennes. Aprox distances by road from Le Mans to Tours : 100 Km, Rennes : 155 Km, Nantes : 185 Km ; Paris : 200 Km ,and Rouen : 205 Km

I come by car, and it was about 3 hrs from my Morbihan breton avoiding tolls which do not like if can avoided, why paid more taxes ::) We took off on the N24 towards Rennes and there connected with the N157 passing Vitré, then at Laval, gettting around the D900, briefly on the N162, and then the D57 towards Le Mans that becomes the D357 and into the city by the place du pré and the free parking next to Church Notre Dame du Pré.   From Versailles/Paris you can take the A13 autoroute de Normandie direction Rouen and get off at the A12 direction Dreux/Rambouillet to get on the N12 direction Dreux by Alençon take the exit/sortie 18 to get to the A28 direction Le Mans ,before reaching the city get off on your right on the D338 which is sort of a beltway of Le Mans known locally as the route d’Alençon and same road becomes the D304 cross the Sarthe river and follow signs for centre ville/Jacobins/Cathédrale Wonderful ride folks.

There is plenty of parking in Le Mans even on street parking and even if regulated, however, for sightseeing the best are the underground parking. There are 12 parkings in total available above and under ground.  Upon entering panels tells you the available spaces remaining. The parkings are République,774 places, Jacobins, 388 places, Quinconces, 610 underground and 350 above ground ,   Filles-Dieu,165 places,   Médiathèque, 240 places,   Rabelais, 92 places,   Halles, 240 places,   Gare-Sud,  269 places,   Novaxis, 42 places,   Palais-des-congrès,  380 places, and Gare-Nord, 88 places.

le mans

The management company for all these parkings is cenoviapark and you can reserve in advance too; link here in French: cenoviapark for parkings in Le Mans

There is a public transport all over the city and territory , however, better stop at an underground parking and walk, the best way anyway, and the streets are very narrow and city center largely pedestrian , so park underground by the Place de la République or Jacobins as we do or place du pré above ground and free.

In Le Mans, travel is facilitated by two tramway lines, a dedicated bus line and a bus network, not to mention the facilities for cyclists. In addition, there is a set of underground car parks and paid on-street parking. Le Mans Métropole has entrusted its urban transport network to Setram

The Le Mans tramway lines are  Line T 1 between Antarès-MMarena and University, with 24 stations, and line T 2 between Bellevue-Hauts de Coulaines and Espal-Arche de la nature, with 18 stations. Also, a total of 27 bus lines with main bus terminal at boulevard Robert Jarry serving the 19 towns of Le Mans Métropole, every day of the year, including Sundays and holidays. To reach the city center by tram or bus, you can leave your vehicle in one of the two parking lots at the entrances to the city. At Antarès, and at Université-Bartholdi. These are the parc relays.

For itineraries and schedules on Setram, here in French: Setram tramwaya and bus schedules of Le Mans

Here you can print the maps for the section you will most likely be in by the train station or gare du Mans and the city center or centre villeSetram for maps printable on tram and bus of Le Mans

The regional bus line 26 connects daily Le Mans to Saumur via La Flèche. The line serves the train station the trade center of Le Mans and offers direct and fast connections to the network SETRAM Mans (bus and tram) and the SNCF network (TGV and TER).  Bus/coaches are in correspondence with the trains from and to Paris. The itinerary and schedule of line 26 in French here: Sarthe pays de la loire bus line 26

There is a service run by the SNCF call Ouibus and is an alternative to the train. The OuiBus travel between Le Mans, Lyon, Nantes, Paris and  Rennes  very cheaply in Le Mans stops at 5 boulevard Louis Le prince Ringuet. More in French here: OuiBus from Le Mans

To move about the city of Le Mans is becoming more and more bike friendly as is most of France. The Bike Space for rentals, info etc is at 49 avenue du Général de Gaulle; open Monday to Friday from 8h30 to 19h, Saturday from 10h to 12h and from 14h to 19h.
The Bike Space is closed on Sundays and public holidays. To answer your questions,there is a dedicated telephone number as well for customer service on +33 (0)2 43 24 76 76.

For me the other experience coming here and on business trips has been the train. There is a nice  big train station in Le Mans. I have also used it as a correspondence stop. The first train station was done here in 1852 connecting  Paris, and later Rennes, Angers, and Nantes. The current train station is at Place du 8 Mai 1945.

Le Mans

For local TER trains info in French here: TER Pays de la Loire trains at Le Mans

For the TGV/TER trains the SNCF info is here in French for itineraries: SNCF TGV ter trains schedules and itineraries from Le Mans

The bus lines that passes by the train station are Nord access on Boulevard Robert Jarry for the lines  5, 6, T3 and 17 and on Boulevard Alexandre Oyon for line 30. Outside Taxi stand for Radio Taxi.  There are nice waiting halls at the Nord and Sud terminals in the train station of Le Mans. Full service even a business center. There is a Carrefour Express supermarket , a press Relay store on both nord and sud halls and restaurant the Factory and Co, Costa Coffee, and Paul bakery.

le mans

Counters are  open Monday to Friday: 9h to 19h, Saturday: 10h to 18h, Sunday: 12h to 19h. The train station is open Monday to Friday: 03h to 24h. Saturday: 5h45 to 22h45. Sunday: 6h45 24h. The train station is a bit on the outskirts of Le Mans and will need public transport to get to the main sights . For example, to the Cathedral St Julien is it less than 2 km and will take according to google 26 minutes as I never time it.  The distance is ok for us to walk here but for visitors might be a different habit::)

le mans

There is a small airport just to cover all as never use it. It is the Le Mans-Arnage and is located just outside of the 24 hrs circuit at Route d’Angers  just 7 km south of Le Mans. It is mostly a business airport for folks coming to the races, info in English here: Le Mans Sarthe Airport

More from the city of Le Mans in French on transports: City of Le Mans transports

And there you go a nice historical town to visit , great architecture not to forget great car racing town, and lovely medieval streets to walk. Le Mans is it, hope you enjoy the post and info.

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

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