Archive for May 12th, 2020

May 12, 2020

Parc aux étoiles !

Ok a French name title for a change , its about time !!! Another one from my vault and family memories of our time in the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region. This is in the hilly quaint town of Triel-sur-Seine and it is an astronomical museum , really.

Triel sur Seine is a buckle land ends surrounded by the curveture of the Seine river as it moves towards Normandy just above Poissy not far from the A13 autoroute de Normandie. We took the D186/N186 by the Le Petit Marly up to Poissy crossed the Seine river and towards Triel sur Seine. You can take the A13 from Paris direction Rouen and get off exit/sortie 7 Orgeval take D154 road which becomes the D1 all direction Triel sur Seine.  It is only 35 km from Paris.  and 31 km from Versailles. Triel-sur-Seine most of it is spread over the hillsides of Hautil which dominate at 175 meters.

There is train service but never taken it here. It is on the SNCF Paris-Mantes line, it also benefits from the RER A service very close to Conflans-St Honorine (Cergy) and Poissy, SNCF Mantes – Saint Lazare line via Conflans Sainte-Honorine.  For reference this is the train line to take line J TransilienTransilien trains line J

The main thing to see here and worth the detour is the Parc aux étoiles . A wonderful exhibition on astronomy and space exploration. It is located in the park of the Château de la Tour. The Parc aux Etoiles has in particular the largest telescope in France (310 mm) open to public observation. Dioramas, three-dimensional models, give the illusion of movement and reality with 22,000 stars in color and three dimensions, and around thirty windows in black light. The dioramas present a fairly complete picture of space exploration and research, from the Big-Bang to future explorations of the universe.Very interesting place came here with my boys and was very nice for children and curious like me.

Triel sur Seine

The webpages for more info on getting here and more are

The official parc aux étoiles in French webpage: Parc aux Etoiles

The city of Triel sur Seine on the parc aux étoiles in French: City of Triel sur Seine on the parc aux etoiles

And there you go surprise? not really this is my beloved Yvelines 78 in my belle France. Always something to see and this is off the beaten path site but worth the detour me think. Hope you enjoy the briefs on the Stars park ….or parc aux étoiles of Triel-sur-Seine!

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

May 12, 2020

Chambord,king of the valley!

It has been said that the stretch of land on both sides of the Loire river passing by several famous towns for its castles was referred to as the valley of the kings. Well Chambord is the king of the valley! Chambord is a small village with a huge castle and even bigger forest in dept Loir-et- Cher,no 41 of the Centre-Val de Loire region. This is the so call Valley of the kings not to be confused with Pays de la Loire region.

As usual , I have written plenty before but never enough when you consider the magnificent of Chambord. Therefore, here is a bit more on it with new photos. Hope you enjoy the tour.

Chambord is a dream an illusion , is a castle made for the Kings of France . Where can I begin that have not been said before! Well when I came with the family I chose the IKAR hotel part of my business trips chain Inter-Hotel, it is only 15 km from the castle at Saint Gervais La Forêt on the D956 road ; we came along the D33 road arriving on the back of the castle where the snack souvenirs store is located. For reference, their webpage is here in French: IKAR Hotel

Chambord

We were spending more time in the area so we figure a one night stand will help the driving. We do this many times , usually over a weekend. The IKAR hotel is worth it. Getting early helps and we were Lucky to be practically the first ones in the castle and had it all for ourselves from 9h

.The tour began with the Church of Saint Louis on a brook just across and we walked from it. It was the property of the Maison de Bourbon Parma until 1932 when the French government purchased it. Already have a  post on it.

We then, proceeded to walk in the garden a bit and see the Stables of Maréchal de Saxe where equestrian shows are held for most part of the year but not when visited. More info in English here; Castle of Chambord on activities and entertainment

Chambord

And we finally entered the castle , and the crowds began to arrive. Very difficult for me to describe this wonder of our world; my writing are not the best expression but verbal is my forte.  The original stair of François I is magnificent, but first some overall impressions. The castle was begun to be built in 1519 and it has 156 meters long by 56 meters high and 77 stairs, 282 fireplaces, and 426 rooms!!! François I only spent 72 days in Chambord and did not live to see it all completed. He died in 1547; and took his son Henri II as well as Louis XIV who are responsable for making Chambord what it looks today. Some of those who lived here apart from François I were Gaston d’Orléans (brother of Louis XIII), Louis XIV spent time here on nine times; Stanislaus Leszczynski exiled king of Poland and Louis XV father in law, Maréchal de Saxe, Duke of Bordeaux, Count of Chambord the grandson of Charles X received the castle by public subscription in 1821. Finally , the French government took control in 1930.

Chambord

A very important historical event to explain the above statement of the Count of Chambord.  A wished king Henri V born Henri d’Artois also called Henri, Count of Chambord. He is first known by the name of Duke of Bordeaux, grandson of King Charles X who abdicated in his favor at the end of the French Revolution of 1830.   Henri V said he was king of France not proclaimed from August 2, to August 7 1830. In 1873, he refused an attempt to restore the monarchy offered to him by the vast majority of the deputies of the National Assembly ; because he refused to serve under the revolutionary flag of France that we know today as the tricolore but rather the royal white crown flag of France. His letter explaining his decision is in his room at Chambord. Near me in St Anne d’Auray (Morbihan 56) there is a monument to his memory where royals still meet. See post 04/18/2019. This was the last chance of a king in France, never again has happened and very unlikely in our days.

We follow in libre visit on our own, moved into the Keep and staircase right in the center. You visit the coach room with carriages built by the Count of Chambord in 1871 with saddlery by Hérmes of Paris. There is an audiovisual room with a 15 minute film with computer generated images. The first floor you see how people lived in the 16C to 19C; move on to the Chapel completed by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart, the architect of Versailles! Continue to the bedrooms of François I and then the State Apartments done by Louis XIV same as in Versailles now decorated in 18C style as per Maréchal de Saxe.

Chambord

Chambord

Chambord

You arrive at the Queen’s apartments occupied by the two wives of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Austria and Madame de Maintenon. You reach the 18C apartments who hardly lived were occupied by visitors such as the exile king of Poland, and maréchal de Saxe.  Then the wonderful historical museum of the Count of Chambord that were once his bedrooms. The Count own the castle from 1821 to his death in 1883 but spent only 3 days here. The last of the Bourbon Kings heirs of France, he died in exile in Frohsdorf, Austria August 24 1883 . Many items here some belonging to his mother the Duchess of Berry.

Chambord

Chambord

Upper floor see the wonderful ornamental ceiling vaults with monograms of François I and his salamander. Here on the second floor you see the hunting tradition of the castle. All kinds of artifacts and Tools used for hunting in the 16C is here displayed. And you can see spectacular views from the castle terraces over the domaine property. The park is 5440 hectares or 54,4 square kms or about 21 sq miles. All surrounded by a wall of 32 kms or about 19.8 miles been the largest enclosed forest park in Europe! with a national game reserve containing many types of animals living completely free. Open to the public there are 800 hectares or about 1 sq mile!!!

Chambord

Chambord

Chambord

And you can say the château de Chambord started out as an arts presentation place been the first show of Moliére Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme played in 1670 in front of king Louis XIV. It has more than 4500 objects of arts and furniture to show. A full children program is available ask at front office. Many activities in the property from equestrian shows such as the écuries of maréchal de Saxe, Drama shows, visites in 4X4! rides in horse wagon , boat or bike, walks with guide, concerts, and see the English garden done in 1889. A nice boutique store and restaurant on Le Café d’Orléans.

The official webpage of the Castle of Chambord in English: Castle of Chambord

The tourist office of Blois-Chambord on the castle in English: Tourist office of Blois-Chambord on the castle of Chambord

And did I say the king of the valley of the kings, Chambord, undescribable. A must to visit while in France. We had come back, and will again. We were there even during Christmas magical, and concerts awesome. Hope you enjoy the tour and do visit Chambord.

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

 

 

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May 12, 2020

And why not Maintenon!

As I am in the neighborhood literally, why not Maintenon! One of the picturesque quaint villages of my belle France. I used to visit often before moving to Bretagne but still many nice memories with the family. I have written enough on the castle of Mme Maintenon but the village has more , therefore, here is a bit more on Maintenon.

Maintenon is located in the department 28 of the Eure-et-Loir in the Centre-Val de Loire region of my belle France. It is about 65 kms (40 miles) from Paris and 47 kms ( 29 miles) from Versailles. From Versailles we rode into the D10 , running parallel to the Orangerie of the Palace of Versailles that becomes out of town limits the N10 direction Rambouillet, once passing Rambouillet take the road D176 direction Epernon (see post), and then take the road D906 direction Maintenon, free no tolls. From Paris you can drive on the A13 direction Rouen then the A12 , then back into the N10 and at Rambouillet take the D906 until Maintenon or by the A11 exit sortie 1 at Ablis direction Gallardon the Bailleau-Armenonville and follow signs to Maintenon. You can come by train from Montparnasse to the train station in Maintenon.

Maintenon participated in the creation of a community of  towns called Communauté de Communes des Terrasses et Vallées de Maintenon , which brought together 10 towns: Bouglainval, Chartainvilliers, Houx, Maintenon, Mévoisins, Pierres, Saint-Piat, Soulaires, Villiers-le-Morhier and Yermenonville.  Every Thursday morning, downtown Maintenon is bustling with the market. Sedentary traders like fishmongers, cheese makers, early vegetables, florists, etc. set up in Place Aristide Briand and in Place Noé and Place Omer Sadorge, under the covered market.

A bit deviation from my norm, the tourist information will show here. The tourist office is located at 2 Place Aristide Briand opposite the City/Town Hall . Tel +33 (0)2 34 40 11 95
Email: mainton@chartres-tourisme.com . Opening hours are  Wednesday to Saturday from 10h to 13h and from 14h to 18h . The tourist brochures all mentioned the castle but there is more see below.  The  City of Maintenon tourist office on the castle in French:  City of Maintenon on the castle

The Tourist office of Chartres on the castle in English:  Tourist office of Chartres on the castle

There is a Church St Pierre (not been yet) It shows here from the 12C, and there remains no trace of its previous constructions. Indeed, the church was completely destroyed during the wars of religion. Rebuilt at the end of the 17C or about 1694, this charming Baroque church, the only one in the department in this style, was financed by donations from Madame de Maintenon.

The following we have been in nice Maintenon. See previous posts for the castle.

The arches of the aqueduct bridge which follow one another over more than 4 km and cross the park of Maintenon, made the visual celebrity of this work which was to divert the waters of the Eure river towards the royal residences of Versailles and Marly (see posts)  The construction of the aqueduct began in 1685 with Vauban as director of works and La Hire as director of earthworks. In 1695, the funds were empty , and the works cease definitively. There were 29 km remaining and some additional work to bring the waters of the Eure to the waterfalls of Versailles. Louis XIV donated the unfinished aqueduct to Madame de Maintenon. The Canal of Louis XIV:  This canal, built from Pontgouin to Maintenon between 1685 and 1692 to supply water to the fountains of the Palace of Versailles, has never been completed. Vauban was the master builder. It was through this bridge that entry into Maintenon was made until 1838. It was Louis XIV who ordered the construction of the Pont Rouge or red bridge in the years 1685-1686, following major work undertaken in the park of the castle . The legend attributes its name to the color of the uniform of the soldiers in charge of its guard.

maintenon

maintenon

Maintenon has two parish Churches ,one  told above, and the Church of Saint-Nicolas with the Duke of Noailles and Marshal of France as sponsored. This Collegiate Church of Saint Nicolas, attached to the orangery of the castle, was rebuilt between 1506 and 1522 in place of the church of the Notre-Dame de Maintenon priory. The church built by Jean Cottereau, treasurer of finance of François I; the charter of 1522, promulgated by Jean Cottereau, successor of the lords of Maintenon, the Church Saint Nicolas, enlarged, restored and henceforth dedicated to Saint Nicolas, is erected as a collegiate church. It is a 33 meters high with a single nave 28.50 x 6.80 meters, flanked by two chapels forming a transept 15 meters long. It has been found certain tombs from the 14-15C, and others from the beginning of the 16C. No individual burial after the 16C has not been uncovered, The anthropological study has made it possible to count a minimum of 12 individuals in the surveyed part, whose surface is less than one square meter!

maintenon

And of course a nice city/town hall, that is by the place Aristide Briand /Rue St Pierre as well as the post office building, next to castle and church. This is a nice village town for walks on end and good food by the castle on Le Soleil former Brasserie St Denis. Enjoy Maintenon.

maintenon

Maintenon

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

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