Archive for May 11th, 2020

May 11, 2020

A bit more on Anet!

Moving right along in my road warrior trips, and an amateur of history, European especially and of course French too I search for places of historical and architectural value as well. One of the leading figures of this history was Diane de Poitiers, and she is very much in Anet. Anet is located in the department of Eure-et-Loir, no 28 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. The towns is located 15 km from Dreux and Houdan, two towns near the national road N12; which is my main route for the last few years to go to Paris area. Anet, however, is best known for its castle, built by Philibert Delorme under Henri II for Diane de Poitiers (see post).

You can come by car from Paris leaving Porte Maillot and taking the A13 (autoroute de normandie) direction Rouen, go out at exit/sortie 12 towards Mantes Sud and follow the D928 all the way to Anet. This has never been visited by train but its possible.

I have done a lot on the castle on previous post, let me tell you more about the history of Anet and all associated with it briefly of course.  New photos too. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

Anet is known under current name from 1608. This name seems to derive from the Gallic Ana or swamp with the diminutive  Roman suffix as small swamp. Or rather Anet is a small swap meaning ! The town was part of the forest of Crothais, currently encircling and including the town of Dreux.

Going way back in time we have under the Merovingians monarchies of the 6C to 8C, the forests cleared, the city of Carnutes, more populated, divided into several countries or pagi governed by a count . At the expense of the cities of Chartres and Evreux was formed the country Madrie or Pagus madracensis in which Anet began to populate. Under the Carolingians monarchies of the 8C to 10C, the  county of Madrie is often mentioned in connection with the Missies (sort of inspection of towns). The country of Madrie and Maine are joined to the seven counties which will form, a century later, Normandy.  Anet, meanwhile, had particular lords from the second half of the 11C, the Goël lords of Ivry, also masters of Bréval.  Anet thus enters the great history with Philippe-Auguste, son of Louis VII, king of France, that his father associated with the throne in 1179, at the age of 14 years. We find in effect in the Louvre ordinances letters from Philippe-Auguste given to Anet in 1192, the 13th year of his reign, by which he exempts the inhabitants of Anet, as being of his immediate jurisdiction, from all tolls and tax. Then he resides there in April and November 1195!. In 1404, Charles III of Navarre ceded definitively to the king of France the counties of Evreux and Mantes as well as Anet.

I call it the Romantic period at Anet. Pierre de Brézé was killed at the battle of Montlhéry in July 1465 and his son Jacques succeeded him and built around 1470 the manor of Anet. In 1462, he married Charlotte de France, natural sister of King Louis XI and daughter of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel. When Jacques died in 1494 an estimate…, Or rather when he was confiscated in 1477 for the murder of his wife Charlotte, his son Louis de Brézé, grandson of Charles VII, became the owner of Anet. Louis married in second marriage on March 29, 1514 at the age of 55, with Diane de Poitiers, born September 3, 1499 ,therefore only 15 years old!!. Diane, who is often called the great seneschal of Normandy) was only 32 years old when Louis de Brézé died on July 23, 1531 in Anet. Diane owned Anet until her death on April 25, 1566 at the castle. In 1535, she became the favorite of the future Henri II; when he ascended the throne in 1547, he covered her with brilliant favors: he offered her Chenonceaux, gave her the title of Duchess of Valentinois, and 1547-1552 had Anet rebuilt by three of the greatest artists of the century: architect Philibert Delorme, sculptor Jean Goujon and painter Jean Cousin le Jeune. On Diane’s death, Anet returned to her daughter, Louise de Brézé, duchess of Aumale by her marriage to Claude II, then to her son, Charles de Lorraine. By letters patent of King Henri III, given in February 1583, the Châtellenie d’Anet was erected in a principality.


And then, the story continues at Anet.  Charles of Lorraine duke of Aumale having revolted against Henri IV, Anet was confiscated then given to a creditor of Charles, Marie de Luxembourg , duchesse de Penthièvre and princess of Martigues in inheritance from her father Sébastien, duchesse de Mercœur by her marriage to Philippe-Emmanuel de Lorraine. She offered it in 1592 to her only daughter Marie-Françoise de Lorraine-Mercœur , who married in 1609 César, duke of Vendôme and Étampes, natural son of Henri IV and Gabrielle d’Estrées. On the death of Caesar in 1665, Anet returned to his son Louis, then to his grandson Louis-Joseph duc de Vendôme et d’Étampes, comte de Dreux. Louis-Charles sold Anet to Louis XV in 1773 , but reserved the usufruct until his death in 1775. On that date King Louis XVI, therefore had to become the owner of Anet, but the enormous price of the transaction of 1773 not having been regulated, it had to yield it the same year by means of arrangement to Louis de Bourbon , duke of Penthièvre, grand admiral of France, son of the count of Toulouse and by there grandson of Louis XIV, nephew of the Duke of Maine Louis-Auguste, first cousin and heir to Louis-Auguste and Louis-Charles de Bourbon-Maine, all mentioned above. The Duke of Penthièvre was the last lord of Anet. He died on March 4, 1793 in Bizy.

And of course ,the French revolution came and change everything.  Upon his death, the Duke of Penthiévre left his estates to his daughter, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, duchess of Orléans. Five weeks later, her property was confiscated by the revolutionary government. The Château d’Anet, placed in receivership, remains maintenance-free. In 1794, the furniture was sold at auction. On June 10, 1795, Moulins, commissioner of the General Security, had the desecration of Diane de Poitiers‘ tomb desecrated. The vault is opened and the coffin forced. Its contents are promptly transported to the village cemetery. On February 1, 1798, the estate was sold in four lots! In 1820, the empty and abandoned castle was returned to Marie-Adélaïde de Bourbon, Duchess of Orleans, who died in 1821. Her son, Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, faced with the scale of the repairs to be undertaken, sold it in 1823 to Louis-François Passy. In 1840, still in poor condition, the Château d’Anet was acquired by Count Adolphe de Riquet de Caraman, who undertook a first restoration campaign there. In 1860, following the Caraman’s reversal of fortune, Anet was bought by Parisian stockbroker Ferdinand Moreau, who led a second work campaign from 1863. In 1914-1918, his widow, his daughter, heiress of the castle in 1884, and his son-in-law Count Guy de Leusse, installed there, like other French castles, an auxiliary hospital of the Red Cross was installed during WWI. In 1944 ,the castle was given to his granddaughter, Mme Charles de Yturbe. Jean and Alexandra de Yturbe have owned it since 1998. A private and inhabited property, the château, its courtyard and the chapel are open to visitors. Finally, in 2010, the remains of Diane de Poitiers were exhumed to be replaced in the tomb in the castle, during a public ceremony.


City of Anet on heritage in French : City of Anet on heritage

Tourist office of Eure et Loir dept 28 on Anet in French: Tourist office of Eure et Loir dept 28 on Anet

And this is the story of a seldom visited but unique history of my belle France, worth the detour easy from the A13 famous Normandy road. The Château d’Anet at Anet is unique and the town very pleasant with a great market day we enjoyed very much. Hope you like the story and do come.

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

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May 11, 2020


Well have you notice, the uncreative world of mine, I have been naming my latest posts with the name of the city.  I figure it describes best the post. Hopefully…. Anyway, I like to tell you about a spot that visited a while back and just well almost not much mentioned but it is worth to have in my blog me think. I like to tell you a bit more about Épernon.

Épernon is a town in the Eure et Loir dept 28 of the Centre Val de Loire region of my belle France. The city is located 8 km from Maintenon (where we were heading see post), 14 km from Rambouillet (see post) and 65 km from Paris (several posts).

By road coming from the Rouen / Caen or Paris area take the A13 autoroute de Normandie direction Rouen, then A12 to the Rocquencourt triangle direction Rambouillet / Chartres on N10, take the direction Rambouillet. Go around Rambouillet. Immediately after the Carrefour hypermarket store seen from the road, and then take the direction of Orphin-Epernon. Coming from the Nantes / Le Mans / Angers / Brest / Rennes / Chartres areas take the A11 exit Ablis then direction Rambouillet by N10. Before Rambouillet, exit direction Orphin-Epernon. By train on the SNCF Paris-Le Mans line, from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Épernon .See the train station of Epernon here in French: TER Centre Val de Loire region on line to Epernon

A bit of history I like

 From the beginning of the 2C, Hugues Capet built the fortified castles of Maules, Neauphle-le-Château, Épernon and Montfort. They constituted a line of defense of the royal domain against the Dukes of Normandy, in other words against the kings of England. The new city extended to the banks of the Tahu river, now called the Guesle. Lord Amaury de Montfort, son of Guillaume de Hainault had Epernon surrounded by walls and ditches. Four gates gave access to the city, the Porte de Chartres, the Porte de Geolle, also known as Normanne or Normande gate, main entrance of the city, the Porte de   Paris and the Porte de Beauce.

From 1685 until 1689 the quarry operations contributed to the construction of the Maintenon aqueduct. The stone extracted for constructions is a particularly hard sandstone. The sandstone mining slumbered without stopping, until the construction of the railway line in 1843 and then with the opening of the railway line, making it possible to send stones and paving stones. towards the Paris region. The Haussmannian works were very large consumers of paving stones from Épernon cobblestone quarries disappeared with the economic crisis of 1929, but the remains were marketed until 1940.

Épernon is located on Via Turonensis of the pilgrimage to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle (Santiago de Compostela) going also by Chartres. The priory of Saint-Thomas, founded by Amaury I of Montfort as a monastery of the Trinity of Seincourt in 1052, has welcomed pilgrims to Chartres and to Santiago de Compostela since the 11C. Closed during the French revolution, the priory was bought in 1936 by the congregation of the sisters of Christ who continue to receive pilgrims.

We stopped here because my inclination to wines is such that I need to see all related to it while traveling my road warrior roads. Therefore, we saw the Pressoirs or vine pressing at Épernon ,and the first we saw was the former cellar of the 12C, built of local sandstone, it has three naves with seven vaulted spans, pillars with sculpted capitals and arched arches. Winegrowers were once very numerous in Epernon. The surrounding hillsides were covered with vines. According to feudal custom, each seventh bucket of wine returned to the lord in return for the use of the press. The charters of the Saint Thomas Priory designate it under the name of cellar of Hautebruyère. Indeed, it is there that the nuns of Hautebruyère kept the wine they harvested on the colline de Diane or hill of Diana whose vines belonged to them. It was also their farm for the rights they received in kind at the fairs and markets of Epernon. The Pressoirs are now use for cultural activities of the city, when it can be seen ,otherwise by pushing a button at the door the lights comes on and you can see inside from a glass window the place is vaulted and huge, magnificent sight.


Some other thing to see here with more time are

Saint Peter’s Church, of Romanesque origin, it’s the only surviving church in the town. It is mentioned in acts of the 12C. Restored in the 16C. The lords of the place and their families had a vault in the choir. There are still the partially mummified remains of a family member of a lord of Epernon. The Prieuré Saint Thomas Amaury de Montfort , who died around 1060, Lord of Epernon, took in from his ancestors the small Trinity Monastery of Seincourt, located on the banks of the Guesle. He donated this monastery to his friend Albert, a former monk from Chartres and abbot of Marmoutiers, who founded a priory there under the invocation of Saint Thomas. King Henry I solemnly approved this foundation in 1052. (see post on Montfort l’Amaury) .The Conservatoire des meules et paves or Conservatory of grinding stones and paving stones was created in 2005 to recall the memory of the region’s paver and millworkers. The building is a former stable, stable and sheepfold from the 19C, to which was added a building in the shape of a rotunda covered with slate from the Universal Exhibition of 1900, from the Pays de Caux. Two rooms are reserved for temporary exhibitions, most often on educational subjects. Their unique webpage is here in French: Conservatory of Grinding and Paving stones of Epernon

Great picturesque town to walk about , in fact Épernon has been name as one of the small villages of characters in France. Some nice streets to walk are the rue du Château, as during the weekly Tuesday market and various fairs, the grant, that is to say the right of entry of goods, was collected by the city in a hotel on this street, located at the corner of the rue aux Juifs and the rue du Château. The other been the Place du Change, as this square was once the center of the city and of shops. Old house whose ground floor is from the 15C. On the facade, on the left, Saint Christophe and, on the right, the angel of the Annunciation with the right hand on the chest. From the plain, we can see the turret of this house inside which remains a magnificent stone staircase.

The official Petites Cités de Charactére of France on Epernon in French: Small Villages of Characters of France on Epernon

The city of Epernon on heritage in French: City of Epernon on heritage

The tourist office blog on Epernon things to see in French: Epernon tourist blog on things to see

And voilà another dandy on the roads of my belle France. A very nice quaint town that is on the off the beaten path trail but worth the detour. For us Epernon was a nice visit on an area with plenty to see. Hope you enjoy the ride.

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

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May 11, 2020


Oh yes mighty Chenonceaux , really! well folks come here for the castle of Chenonceau, and I have written a post on it . However, in my road warrior endless walker side we did went around the town of Chenonceaux. Yes notice the X, is in my previous posts.

I like to tell you a bit more on the village of Chenonceaux.

Chenonceaux is located in the department of Indre-et-Loire,37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Specifically,in the heart of the Loire Valley, just 10 km from Amboise, less than an hour from the prestigious castles of Blois, Chambord, Azay le Rideau or Chinon, barely two hours from Paris and 30 minutes or 35 km from Tours. An ideal and central destination for exploring the many Châteaux of the Loire.

The village of Chenonceaux is bordered on its southern flank by the Cher river which constitutes its town’s limit. The Cher river , with a total length of 365.5 km, rises at 714 meters above sea level in Mérinchal, in the Creuse and flows into the Loire at Villandry, 40 meters above sea level, after crossing 117 towns. The neighboring towns to Chenonceaux are Civray-de-Touraine, Francueil, Chisseaux, Saint-Georges-sur-Cher, and Chissay-en-Touraine.

There is a gare or train station here believe or not. It is on the line from Vierzon to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, between the stations of Chissay-en-Touraine and Bléré – La Croix. Chenonceaux is served by TER Centre-Val de Loire trains which carry out trips between Tours and Saint-Aignan – Noyers, Vierzon-Ville, Bourges, Nevers or even Lyon-Perrache. Car parking is available. More info in French here; TER gare train station of Chenonceaux

By road the way I have come here from Paris is the A10 direction Bordeaux; by exit or sortie 18 take the N10 road which quickly becomes the D31 road direction Chateau Renault/Amboise, taking you around the latter town where you link up with the D81 road direction Civray-de-Touraine and here turn bearing left onto the D40 road direction Chenonceaux. 

Chenonceaux would mean: the little house of Chenon and counts only 353 inhabitants. Some things to see in this village are the obvious Château de Chenonceau as well as the Church Saint Jean Baptiste (st john Baptist), built in the 12C and renovated in the 16C; The house or maison du garde barriére next to the train station built in 1847 with openings reminiscent of the Gothic windows of the neighboring castle, and the house or maison des Pages, built in the 16C.

A bit of additional  history of the town of Chenonceaux that I like and historical lineage on the château de Chenonceau to follow

Chenonceaux was erected as a chatellenie in 1514, with the union of various areas that surrounded it. It came under Amboise by faith and homage-line. All the millers, fishermen and fish merchants, residing in the district of the châtellenie, from the mill of the Etourneau to the defeat of Chenonceau, were required to be, on the day of Pentecost, after vespers, below the Moulin-Fort, to break three poles against a pole planted in the middle of the Cher river. This feudal solemnity was announced several times in the pulpit by the priests of Chenonceau, Francueil, Saint-Georges and Chisseaux. A certain quantity of wine had to be supplied by the lord or by the lord’s farmer to the vassals who took part in the quintaine. In the 16C, the land of Chenonceau included the stronghold of Argy and the farmhouses or closeries of Bois-de-Pont, Baiserie, La Grange, Coulommiers, La Bruandière, La Chevrière, La Grange-Rouge , Port-Olivier, de la Touche, Vrigny, Deffais, Les Houdes and La Berangerie.


The castle of Chenonceau,(see post) built on a bridge that crosses the Cher river, is one of the most beautiful residences in France. Its reputation is wordly. It was built in the first part of the 16C by Thomas Bohier and Catherine Briçonnet, his wife. Diane Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, who owned it, made great embellishments. The chapel adjoining the manor also belongs to the 16C. Guillaume Marques, knight, first known lord of Chenonceau, is cited in Marmoutier charters of 1234, 1243 and 1248. Thomas Bohier, baron of Saint-Ciergue, lord of Chenaie and de la Chapelle-Bellouin, took possession of Chenonceau on February 10, 1513, and three days later paid homage to the king for this land. He was the son of a bourgeois from Issoire and Béraude du Prat. He became chamberlain and secretary to the king, general of finances, lieutenant-general in the Milanese and was mayor of Tours in 1491. On January 27, 1515, he paid homage to the king for his châtellenie de Chenonceau. He died on March 24, 1524 and was buried in the Saint-Saturnin Church in Tours. Katherine Briçonnet, widow of Thomas Bohier, lady of Chenonceau, paid homage to the king for this land on June 6, 1524. She died on November 3, 1526, and had her burial near her husband. François Ier, king of France, took possession of the Châtellenie de Chenonceau on September 27, 1533 against payment of the debt of Antoine Bohier. He died in Rambouillet on March 31, 1547.


Diane de Poitiers, mistress Henri II king of France; widow of Louis de Brezé, grand seneschal of Normandy, and daughter of Jean de Poitiers, count of Saint-Vallier and Jeanne de Bastarnay; received by letters patent of June 1547, the châtellenie of Chenonceau. In 1559, she ceded it (not willingly) to Queen Catherine de Medici, in exchange for that of Chaumont. Catherine de Médicis owned Chenonceau until her death, arriving on January 5, 1589. She bequeathed this land to Queen Louise de Lorraine. By letters sent to Moulins on February 8, 1566 and registered in Parliament on March 21 of the same year, King Charles IX had given Chenonceau to Henri, his brother. This donation has so far remained unexplained and it is unknown how the châtellenie in question could have come into the possession of the king. What is quite certain is that Catherine de Medici did not stop enjoying Chenonceau and acting as owner there from 1559 to 1589. Louise de Loraine de Vaudémont, daughter of Nicolas de Lorraine, count of Vaudémont, and Marguerite d’Egmont, married king Henri III on February 15, 1575. By letters of October 15, 1598, she gave the land of Chenonceau, reserving the usufruct, to César, duke of Vendôme, to the occasion of his marriage to Françoise de Lorraine, niece of the donor in July 1609. .César de Bourbon, duke of Vendôme, d’Étampes, de Mercœur, de Beaufort et de Penthièvre, comte de Buzançais, took possession of Chenonceau on February 20, 1601. This land, put up for sale at the request of the creditors of Catherine de Médicis, was auctioned, to Marie de Luxembourg, widow of Philippe-Emmanuel, duke of Mercœur, on November 15, 1606. Marie de Luxembourg, duchesse de Mercœur, Étampes et de Penthièvre, died in Anet on September 6, 1623. Chenonceau’s land passed to her daughter, Françoise de Lorraine, and to César de Vendôme, her son-in-law. César de Vendôme took possession of Chenonceau in 1624. He died in Paris on October 22, 1665. His wife, Françoise de Lorraine, died on September 8, 1669.


Louis-Henri, Duke of Bourbon, Prince of Condé, Duke of Bourbonnais, peer and grand-master of France, son of Louis III, Duke of Bourbon, and Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, legitimized of France, died on January 27, 1740 . On June 9, 1733, he sold Chenonceau to Claude Dupin and Louise-Marie-Madeleine Fontaine, his wife. Louise-Marie-Madeleine Fontaine, widow of Claude Dupin, had the land of Chenonceau in the division which was made in 1772, between her, her grandson Dupin de Rochefort, and Dupin de Francueil, She died in Chenonceau on November 20, 1799. And kept the castle from the ruins of the French revolution by declaring was part of the town as with the story of the X. Therefore not royal grounds. Bravo Madame!

Seized as national property, at the French revolution, the land of Chenonceau passed, by inheritance, to François-René Vallet, count of Villeneuve, grand-nephew of Mme Dupin, married, in 1795, to Adélaïde Charlotte-Appoline de Guibert, daughter of Jacques-Antoine-Hippolyte , count of Guibert, and Françoise-Adélaïde de Valmalette de Courcelles. Commander of the Legion of Honor, senator, honorary chamberlain during the reign of Napoleon III, knight of the order of the crown of Bavaria and member of the General Council of Indre-et-Loire, the count of Villeneuve died at Chenonceau on February 12, 1863. On June 15, 1889, following a bankruptcy, Marguerite Pelouze ceded the Chenonceau estate to Crédit Foncier de France (bank) during an auction.   In 1891 Crédit Foncier sold the entire estate to José Emilio Terry, (family of Cuban origin, born and died in Paris) son of Tomas Terry (Of Irish paternal descent, Terry was born in Caracas Venezuela died in Paris) and by Teresa Dorticos (born in Cienfuegos Cuba died in Rome Italy). The estate remained in this family until 1913. On April 5, 1913, Henri-Emile Anatole Menier, famous for their chocolates, acquired the estate and the Château de Chenonceau by public auction .The castle has been in this family (Laure Menier now) since that date.


And some recommendations for your pleasant stay in Chenonceaux town is to go and get some potteries at Poterie Agny ,11  Rue du Château, artisanal creation of decorative and utilitarian glazed stoneware pottery. Workshop and adjoining store. Facebook page here: Facebook page of Poterie Agny

Le Relais Chenonceaux; beams and fireplaces decorate the restaurant room. They offer quality traditional cuisine. The crêperie will delight gourmet appetites. You will appreciate the sunny and flowery terrace. English / Spanish spoken. More info in English here: Le Relais Chenonceaux

The  l’Amandier, 500 meters from the Château. This pretty, quiet house with its garden entirely enclosed by walls will be particularly pleasant for you to rest with family or friends L’Amandier is a comfortable house with 1 large living / dining room with fireplace and access to the outside, the kitchen is well designed and spacious with washing machine, dishwasher, coffee machine and kettle.  Upstairs, the house consists of 2 double bedrooms, a large bedroom for 4-5 persons and a small TV lounge. More in French here: L’Amandier gite Chenonceaux

More on the tourist office Bureau de Chenonceaux located at 1 rue Bretonneau, 37150 Chenonceaux. Tourist office of Chenonceaux

And there you go nice area not too many pictures on the castle even in that post and none found on the village of Chenonceaux, but worth mentioning in my blog for future reference and yours too. Hope it helps your planning.

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

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