Archive for May 9th, 2020

May 9, 2020

Porte Saint Pierre, Nantes!

Well, why not stay with Nantes. It is such a lovely city and plenty to see and do, in fact I am not done yet! Even thus as said , come here often several times a year but so much to see in my belle France. There is a whole library still untouch. For now let me tell you about the Porte Saint Pierre and its cousin the Place Saint Pierre in Nantes. Of course, you now this is in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of Pays de la Loire region.

The Porte Saint-Pierre ,also called Porte du Bastion Saint-Pierre or Manoir Guéguen is the best-preserved vestige of the city walls of Nantes. The gate was protected by the Guy de Thouars tower and the Evêché tower today gone.

Dating from the 15C for the lower part and resting on foundations of the Gallo-Roman period 3C, also incorporating vestiges of the enclosures of the 9C and 13C, it is located at the end of the rue de l’Évêché overlooking Cours Saint-Pierre and Place Maréchal-Foch, very near the chevet of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral (see post).


At the beginning of the 16C, Bishop Guéguen chose to have a house built above the gate itself. Part of it was demolished when the rue Royale now rue du Roi-Albert was opened in the 18C. The medieval town is limited to the current district of Bouffay. The gate leads to the Place du Maréchal Foch, on which stands a statue of king Louis XIV at the top of a column. King Henry IV crossed it, it is said, when he entered the city in 1598 to come and sign the Edict of Nantes. Indeed, the road from Paris ended at Porte Saint-Pierre. In the 18C, the drawbridge was replaced by a stone pavement to facilitate access to the newly built Cours Saint-Pierre and Saint-André. In 1910, the Saint-Pierre gate was cleared from the old bishopric. From the 1920s to the 1960s, the gate housed the Musée de Nantes par l’image or images museum through the image which presented in particular a model of the port. Since then, the collections of this museum have been transferred to the castle of the Dukes of Brittany.

The Place Saint-Pierre square is bordered by Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral.(see post). Six arteries lead to the square: rue de l’Évêché and rue du Roi-Albert, rue Portail, rue du Général-Leclerc-de-Hauteclocque rue de Verdun, as well as rue Mathelin-Rodier. The square serving as a forecourt to Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral, it inherited the first part of its name. During the French revolution, it was baptized place des Gracches.

The Place Saint-Pierre is located at the eastern entrance to the ancient city, inside the enclosure of the Gallo-Roman castrum built after the 270s. The first cathedral was built on the site in the 4C. On September 5, 1661, while visiting Nantes to attend the States of Brittany, king Louis XIV, ordered the arrest of Nicolas Fouquet (see Vaux le Vicomte fame and post), his superintendent of finance. After a failed attempt in front of the castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan,(see post) the king’s musketeer, manages to stop Fouquet on the square in front of the cathedral. And yes the petit train was passing by too !!!


Not easy to find specific tourist destination description on these spots but will give you the general tourist webpages of Nantes. I , of course, have a pretty good size library at home::)

The tourist office of Nantes in English: Toursit office of Nantes

The patrimoine or heritage site of Nantes on Porte St Pierre in French : Heritage site of Nantes on Porte St Pierre

This is a wonderful area to walk one of my favorites, you find the Cathedral and from there walk all around it in a radius of 1 km and see the magnificent architecture and historical spots all around; awesome. Hope you enjoy the walk around the Porte St Pierre and Place St Pierre of Nantes.

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

May 9, 2020

The Jardin des Plantes ,Nantes!

Well here I go again, been at home makes you think about where you have been and take a closer look at my blog. Well as usual i write on the many places visited and as always never quite tell all! Nantes is a city that is like one of my homes, not only for the visits with the family and friends that live there but on my business trips as well; needless to say been all over. However, there is so much beautiful things to write about my belle France that oh well here is another, the Jardin des Plantes of Nantes.

The nice Jardin des Plantes that I past my leisure times each time traveling by the train station! was created in 1807, and opened to the public in 1895 along the styles of the 19C with a mosaic or ceramic tradition and floral decorations with several cascades and water fountains; officially it is known as the botanical garden but still call by its old name. Open to the public. It is a botanical garden in the English style, serving among other things as an arboretum.


The Jardin des Plantes is located in the Malakoff – Saint-Donatien district, actually a bit north but across from it as well of the SNCF train station. It covers an area of 7,328 hectares and is generally in the shape of a rectangle oriented north-south, bordered by: rue Gambetta; Place Sophie-Trébuchet; rue Stanislas-Baudry; rue Écorchard, place Charles-Le Roux and boulevard de Stalingrad; and rue Frédéric-Cailliaud.   It has five entrances: “porte des Camélias”, place Charles-Leroux (main entrance); the “Porte des Cerfs”, at the corner of Rue Écorchard and Rue Stanislas-Baudry; at rue Stanislas-Baudry, in the axis of rue Georges-Clemenceau; and rue Gambetta; and rue Frédéric-Cailliaud, in the axis of rue d’Allonville. Of course for my nostalgia I always entered thru the Rue Écorchard directly across from train station of Nantes entrance and have my lunch there at Café des Plantes always!!! (see post on transports).


It was in 1687 that the first botanical garden in the city of Nantes was created. The master apothecaries are entrusted with the enjoyment of land located west of the city. This apothecaries’ garden is then located in the Marchix district (where the tour de Bretagne tower will be built in the 20C). Access is via rue Paré which still exists at the beginning of the 21C, the plot, which is completely urbanized thereafter, is crossed by rue de Budapest.  In 1719, the apothecaries’ garden became a royal garden of plants, subordinate to the King’s Garden. encouraged by the royal ordinance taken in 1726 by king Louis XV to subjugate the Captains of the Ships of Nantes to bring Seeds & Plants from the Colonies of Foreign Countries, for the Garden of Medicinal Plants established in Nantes. In 1806, a decree defining the limits of the botanical garden which is finally established on land adjacent to the former Ursuline convent. It planted in 1809 a superb Magnolia grandiflora known at the time to be one of the most beautiful in France. Another magnolia planted in the same place is now the oldest in the garden.


By royal ordinance of 1820, king Louis XVIII decided to transfer the ownership of the garden of the Loire Inferieur department to the city of Nantes. It then aims to open the garden to the public. The garden was finally opened in 1829 to the public, at least its upper part. The middle part of the garden was finally opened to the public in March 1854. The creation of the palmarium, a large heated greenhouse for the development of exotic plants. The garden acquired a rose garden in 1895 with more than 600 varieties. During the 1930s, it was replaced by the current botanical beds.The realization of the orangery completed on in1900 and is located behind the palmarium grove, along rue Gambetta. In 2018-2019, as part of the development of the Esplanade Pierre-Semard , the garden was extended in its southern part over 320 m2. It incorporates part of the Rue Écorchard which has become pedestrian, and in particular the small triangular square located at its western end at the level of which a new entrance was drilled which was inaugurated in February 2019. At the same time, the main south entrance is modified, moved back of about 20 meters, the 3 meter wide portal is replaced by two openings totaling almost 6.50 meters, thus allowing the enlargement of Place Charles-Le Roux.


There are bodies of water, fountains, a waterfall, bridges, statues, sculptures and pavilions. The garden layout elements are represented by perennials, shrubs and trees. Each year 75,000 plants are planted in the period from May 15 to June 20 for summer floral decoration. They come from a hundred varieties, and distributed in five floral mosaics. They are uprooted between mid-October and mid-November. The autumn-winter-spring floral decoration is made from bulbs of flowering plants, 65,000 plants are available for this time of year. The Jardin des Plantes contains a number of works of art. These are Le Premier Miroir ,this sandstone group represents a mother with her child in her arms, showing the latter, surprised and charmed, their image reflected by the calm surface of a body of water. Les Cerfs au repos or Deer at rest, this is an animal group sculpted in 1908 bringing together a deer, a doe and a fawn.

Monument to Jean-Marie Écorchard was inaugurated in 1892. During WWII, it was removed by the Nazis in order to be melted. In 1981, on the hundredth anniversary of the death of Dr Jean-Marie Écorchard, the town decided to have a copy of the original work made by Alain Douillard. Plate and medallion of Élisa Mercœur, this bronze medallion was inaugurated on December 5, 1909 to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the poet Élisa Mercœur. Monument to Jules Verne, the bust of Jules Verne in bronze and inaugurated on May 29, 1910. It disappeared during WWII and was replaced in 1945 by the current stone statue. La Moissonneuse or the harvester dates from 1940. There are two Wallace fountains in the Jardin des Plantes of the five in Nantes In the garden one is located to the southwest near the entrance of Rue Écorchard   near the statue of Les Cerfs au repos , which where I go in to the jardin des Plantes from the train station ,and the other is located to the northwest by rue Frédéric-Cailliaud near the Monument to Jules Verne.

The city of Nantes and its gardens on the Jardin des Plantes in English: City of Nantes on the Jardin des Plantes

The tourist office of Nantes on the Jardin des Plantes in English: Tourist office of Nantes on the Jardin des Plantes

This is a magnificent charming area of Nantes to even walks and see the wonderful architecture of buildings all around you, not to miss the Jardin des Plantes. A memorable place for me and already looking forward to pass by again! Hope you enjoy the brief tour.

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

May 9, 2020

The Pont Saint Nazaire bridge!

So telling you about all the wonderful monuments, sigths of my belle France why not a bridge! The road warrior in me has passed on several and some keeps for a memorable souvenir. As living close by and enjoying the coastal routes of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 in the Pays de la Loire region and formerly Bretagne this bridge has been taken often.

And as usual just briefly mentioned before, feel needs its own post in my blog for the souvenirs of family trips. Therefore, here is my take even if a bit technical on the Pont Saint Nazaire.

The Pont Saint-Nazaire bridge is a cable-stayed multi-cable bridge that spans the Loire estuary and connects the city of Saint-Nazaire to the district of Penhoët, via the town of Montoir-de-Bretagne where the bridge takes actually footing on the right bank to the north, at Saint-Brevin-les-Pins on the left bank to the south. The bridge, supporting the Route Bleu D 213,and was inaugurated on October 18, 1975. The name Pont de Saint-Nazaire is a common name, this bridge has no official name. One of the prettiest car ride you can make along the route bleu D213 over the bridge!

St Nazaire

The Pont Saint Nazaire was given its first stone on November 4, 1971, the works really began in March 1972 and after three years of construction, the bridge is put into service, on October 18, 1975. It has a central span of 404 meters, the structure 720 meters metal bridge holds the world span record for a cable-stayed metal bridge during its construction for eight years. Access to the bridge becomes free by removing the toll, October 1, 1994, sixteen years before the scheduled date!

As an amateur of architecture let me translate some technical information on the bridge for you and me.

The structure consists of two pre stressed concrete access viaducts, 1,115 meters to the north and 1,521 meters to the south, and a main metallic cable-stayed structure 720 meters long. It is taken by the Route Bleu D213. The construction of the bridge is entrusted to a group of companies for its metal construction and concrete structures.  Independent viaduct with pre stressed beams: 22 spans to the north and 30 spans to the south, with a span of 50.70 meters; 208 pre stressed beams 2.80 m high and 190 tons; a slab width of 13.5 meters between railings offering 12 meters of roll able width (used in 3 lanes), and two service passages of 0.75 meter; and longitudinal slopes of 5.6%.. Manufacture of beams on the ground, then transport by dunnage, and launching by means of a metal launcher allowing transverse shifting. A cable-stayed metal box 720 meters long and 3.20 meters high, in 3 spans of 158 meters, 404 meters and 158 meters, with an orthotropic slab 15 meters wide; A draft of 61 meters above the lowest water, 300 meters wide; 72 shrouds, in 4 fan plies, attached to two inverted V metal pylons, articulated at the bottom, and whose head is located substantially 130 meters above the lowest water level.

St Nazaire

The manufacture of the two 96 meters sections of each shore span, supplied by sea from the Fos factory, through the Strait of Gibraltar; assembly on two barges of each shore span 192 meters long with 34 meters overhang in central span; hoisting of the assembled box and of each coated pylon, by racks and jacks; lifting of pylons; successive hoists in the central span of the 16 meters sections and setting up and adjusting the advancement of the shrouds; keying. The current piles (52, not including 2 abutments) consist of two H-shaped drums from 3 meters to 57 meters in height, resting on a base based on four piles of 1.80 meters or 1.50 meters in diameter. Two main piers on either side of the channel are hollow and formed of four vertical cells based on a group of 18 piles 1.80 meters in diameter. The set of reinforced concrete piles, cased and anchored to the rock , vary in length from 15 to 50 meters. The piers were built by sliding formwork.

st nazaire

The speed is limited to 70 km / h, two section radars have been in service since 2012, the measurement is made at the front of the vehicles approaching in a north-south direction and at the rear of the vehicles moving away in the south-north direction.  Strictly enforce! and so far clean for me no tickets! The circulation can be prohibited with certain vehicles, even with all, by strong wind from 80 km / h for all the vehicles towing a trailer and the 2 wheels motorized or not. In order to offer an alternative crossing mode to the bridge for pedestrians and cyclists during the summer period (from May to September, the Loire Atlantique department offers a free shuttle with trailer which allows crossing the structure in complete safety. The only regular bus lines using the bridge and ensuring intercity connections between Saint-Nazaire and the country of Retz, are those of the Aléop network on lines 315, 316 and 317. Line 317 vehicles are equipped with spaces reserved for eight bikes.

St Nazaire

The Pont Saint Nazaire has been crossed by the Tour de France in 1993,1997,1999, 2000 and 2011!!!.

Some webpages to help you plan your passing by here and it is recommended by yours truly.

Inforoute traffic information on the Saint Nazaire bridge is a must before you go by it, here in French: Inforoutes Loire Atlantique dept 44 on Pont Saint Nazaire

Information on the Pont Saint Nazaire from the town of St Brévin-les-Pins in French: City of St Brévin les Pins on the pont Saint Nazaire

An older article on the local newspaper Saint Nazaire News in French but with a beautiful picture of the pont Saint Nazaire bridge me think.. Saint Nazaire News on windy conditions at Pont Nazaire

And the tourist office of Saint Nazaire on the Pont Saint Nazaire in English: Tourist office of Saint Nazaire on the Pont St Nazaire

And there you go another happy motoring ride in beautiful Loire Atlantique dept 44 old Brittany now Pays de la Loire and along the Atlantic ocean coast of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the ride on the pont Saint Nazaire.

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

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May 9, 2020

Le Croisic!!

And here I am in the region just south of me. This time will tell you a bit more on  Le Croisic in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of Pays de la Loire region, formely Brittany…I have come here a couple of times and it has been magical by the ocean and good times with the family.  Let me tell you a bit more on Le Croisic

Le Croisic is located on a granite island which remained separate from that of Batz-sur-Mer (see post) and the mainland until the 9C, it is now part of the wild coast of the Guérande (see posts) peninsula. With the exception of the narrow isthmus which links it to Batz-sur-Mer to the south-east, the territory of the town is surrounded by water, alternating beaches and cliffs exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and a port protected by the pier of the Tréhé and open to the traict.

Le Croisic


We went on by car to Le Croisic the end of the peninsula where the sea is king and we just the servants. We found for a Sunday plenty of parking for free in all the towns. Le Croisic is 22 km from Saint Nazaire,(see posts) bordering Batz-sur-Mer to the southeast; La Turballe (see post) to the northeast and Guérande to the east are separated from the town by the Traits du Croisic. Access to Le Croisic by road is via the D245 from the village of Batz-sur-Mer. Oriented along an east-west axis, it constitutes the only road axis leading to the town. On the Croisic, it follows the periphery of the peninsula under the names of D245 and D45.

For info, never taken it. The town has its own  colorful SNCF station, by the harbor, the terminus of the line from Saint-Nazaire, itself an extension of the line from Tours; it is currently served by the TER Pays de la Loire, and the TGVs, notably from Paris-Montparnasse. More info in French: TER Pays de la Loire on Le Croisic

Le Croisic

Lila Presqu’île bus network with line 5 to Océarium and 6 to train station gare takes you from Guérande to Le Croisic par bus. More info in French here: Aleop pays de la loire on bus network to Le Croisic

We came for the beaches , the ambiance and the market!  Open air market or Marché de plein air. Every Thursday mornings at place Dinan. The covered market or halle , every Tuesdays in july and August, Thursdays and Saturday mornings all year .


Things to see in Le Croisic: Saint-Goustan Chapel 11C to 19C, Menhir de la Pierre Longue (neolithic); Notre-Dame-de-Pitié Church   15-17C; Chapel of the Crucifix 16C; Kervaudu Cross 17C; Hôtel d’Aiguillon 17C: Manoir de Kervaudu 15C: the House at 14, place Dinan 16C: the houses at 33-35, rue Saint-Christophe 15C: the house at 28, rue de l ‘église 16C , and the house at 5, quai de la Grande Chambre 17C.

The City of Le Croisic has 3 lush green spaces, open to walking. Mont Lénigo with an area of 1.5 ha, Mont-Esprit with 3 ha and the Penn Avel park with 9 ha. Penn Avel Park is open to the public from 8h to 20h . from April to mid-October and outside this period from 8h to 17C. Mont-Esprit and Mont Lénigo are former shedding mounds formed over the centuries by the deposit of materials used as ballast for merchant ships that came to get Guérande salt. The two sites were converted into gardens in the 19C.

North of Le Croisic, the Traict constitutes a unique natural landscape. The Traict is a mixture of sand and water. This wetland allows salt water to enter deep into the land and in particular to feed the Guérande salt marshes. During low tide, it almost completely empties, leaving only two navigable arms. The two traicts ,the small and the large are separated from the salt marshes by a dike. it is also classified as a “Natura 2000″ area.

There are 10 beaches!  at Le Croisic ! Baie de jumel   with 120 meters; Castouillet  –  280 m ; Crucifix  –  100 m ; Fort de la Pointe  –  70 m ;Le Sable-Menu  –  50 m ; Port aux rocs  –  140 m ; Port Lin  –  180 m  main beach on the wild coast or côte sauvage route; Port-Val  –  208 m ; Saint-Goustan  –  360 m opposite the tip of Pen Bron in La Turballe ;and Saint-Jean-de-Dieu  –  520 m ! And you know it the hightlighted beaches above are our favorites.

My favorite beach webpage Plages tv on Port Lin in English!: Plages tv on Port Lin beach at Le Croisic

le croisic

And a pleasure marina and fisherman port more info in French: Pleasure and fishing marina at Le Croisic

le Croisic

There was an exposition going on at the house of the rescue or Maison du Sauvetage right by the harbor. The fishing harbor and the pleasure boat harbor are sublime picturesques beautiful. More info in French here from the : Tourist office of Le Croisic on Maison du Sauvetage

Le Croisic

A little bit of history I like

If up to the 13C nothing distinguishes Le Croisic administratively from the rest of the Batz peninsula, in the 14C the locality undoubtedly acquired the status of a town. It was from Croisic that in June 1386, the flotilla of three ships armed with cannons and commanded by Pierre de Lesnérac, constable of Nantes to fetch the future 3rd wife of Jean IV of Brittany, Jeanne de Navarre, who then lived in Pamplona (Spain). In the 15C, Le Croisic was the vassal direct from the crown of Brittany and enjoys privileges subsequently confirmed by the successive kings of France, from Charles VIII to Louis XV. These are exemptions from excavation taxes, support for war and defense costs and ordinary and extraordinary contributions. Le Croisic, like Guérande and forty other cities in Brittany, was represented in the 17-18C in the parliament of Brittany , sovereign court of the duchy with mainly financial powers.

The city of Le Croisic is name as one of the Petites Cités de Caractere or  small villages of character in France for its picturesques quaint architecture, ambiance more here in French Petites cites de caractere on Le Croisic

The Le Croisic tourist office : Tourist office of Le Croisic

There you go this is wonderful coastal France on the Atlantic ocean and very close to me and yes part of the Breton traditions. This is Le Croisic, enjoy it fully.

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

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