Archive for May 30th, 2020

May 30, 2020

Verneuil sur Seine!

So now let me tackle another nostalgic spot for me and my family in our belle France. Nothing fancy not a tourist destination but oh so dear to us. Part of living the good life in the countryside of the Yvelines. Let me tell you the story of Verneuil sur Seine!

The story goes that we first came into France to live permanently as French citizens, we had to find schools for the boys as well as all. Been that they came after ,me in August and ,they in December 2003   (due to my job), the school year was started and no place was found in Versailles. So we end up so they speed up quickly the French the mother has taught them started them in elementary school in Verneuil sur Seine and this is the story of the town. Forever in our hearts!

Verneuil-sur-Seine is a town in the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region. It is about 17 km from Saint Germain en Laye and 28 km from Versailles. It is, also about 40 km from Paris. Verneuil-sur-Seine benefits from very exceptional rail and road connections to Paris. As well as a privileged geographical location between the banks of the Seine river, the Verneuil ponds, the Verneuil forest massif and the agricultural lands of the Groux plateau. The name is explained from 2 Gallic words: “vernos” which designates the verne and “ialos” which means the clearing, the cleared place and finally, the village. Verneuil is, literally, the village built with the vernes so they say.

A bit of history I like

The discovery of sarcophagi suggests that the territory of Verneuil-sur-Seine was inhabited in the Merovingian period and several charters attest that the existence of the village dates back to a remote period of the Middle Ages. In the 12C, the land of Verneuil was on the list of possessions for the house of Montmorency. It then passed into the Narbonne family, then in the 15C, to Mary Bureau who sold the fiefs, the lands and the lordships of Verneuil and Vernouillet with their memberships and their dependencies, to Estienne Alleaume, squire and lord of La Motte, in 1517.  Later, Count Hervé de Tocqueville, loving wealth, honors and power, lived in Verneuil as a great lord, surrounded by a large family and receiving a host of guests, including Chateaubriand. In 1804, the Count de Toqueville accepted from the Emperor Napoléon I , whom he did not hesitate to call the usurper the day after his fall, the functions of mayor of Verneuil, which he exercised until 1814.

We came up from Versailles on Rue Neuve Notre Dame to rue des reservoirs or D186 same road but now call bd du Roi into Place de la Loi and left on bd Saint Antoine   past Parly II shopping center and Arboretum (see posts) continue same road now call Rue de Versailles then loop road into the A13 autoroute de Normandie direction Rouen connect with the D113 at Orgeval and past La Maison Blanche turn right into the D154 road into Verneuil sur Seine, by BNP Paribas bank turn left into rue de Bazincourt and into the collége Jean Zay. Hopefully I taugh my Dad how to get there and he did the roundtrip with my Mom.. Always appreciated this big help!

And who was Jean Zay ? He was born August 6, 1904 in Orléans and died assassinated by the French Militia collaborators (nazis) on June 20, 1944 in Molles (Allier),he was a French lawyer and politician. He was Under-Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council, Minister of National Education and Fine Arts, Member of Parliament for Loiret and General Councilor. The school here that bears his name and my boys went webpage in French here: Collége Jean Zay Verneuil sur Seine

verneuil sur seine

In other transport modes:

The city of Verneuil sur Seine has two Transilien-train stations operated by the SNCF: I passed by it sometimes on the Vernouillet-Verneuil station, actually located at theentrance to the city on the edge of the town of Vernouillet. It is located next to the Notre-Dame Les Oiseaux school (old castle). The less frequented by all is the Clairières de Verneuil train station, located at the other side of the city on the edge of the Verneuil forest. These two stations are served by line J of the Paris-Saint-Lazare network. This line travels Paris-Saint-Lazare <> Mantes-la-Jolie by Poissy or Houilles-Carrières. You can ,also, reach here on the RER A from Paris Gare de Lyon – Poissy: get off at Poissy, take the regular train towards Mantes and get off at Vernouillet / Verneuil station or Clairières de Verneuil station.  Next to the Vernouillet-Verneuil train station is the bus station . Plenty of bus service by the Transdev group, which operates 18 lines, but never taken it here. There is the L’Express A14 highway bus that passes by Verneuil and goes to La Défense in 30 minutes claimed but never taken it. . The main road here is the D154 linking Orgeval to Les Mureaux, parallel to the A13 autoroute de Normandie.  

Some of the things to see here are

Saint-Martin’s Church The church dates from the 12C and the 13C was rebuilt several times. The basement of the church has a much older history than its walls suggest; the foundation of the church actually dates back to the first Middle Ages, the Carolingian era (9-10C). Indeed, a rectangular church, with an apse with rounded angles and a flat apse, could be identified under the choir of the current church. No act indicates the precise date of the foundation of the Saint-Martin Church of Verneuil, but from 1790, the parish is attached to the diocese of Versailles.

There is a beautiful 12C castle built by the Montmorency family, and modified since. The castle preserves, before the 16C, its cellars, its dovecote and its vaulted outbuildings. In 1773, the Renaissance style manor house was decorated with facades in the fashion of the time with false windows, pediments, and garlands. The castle has been uninhabited for 15 years when its new owners arrived in late August-early September 1929. They are nuns from the Notre Dame congregation, a congregation born in 1597 from the intuition of Alix Le Clerc and Pierre Fourier. The sisters founded the Notre Dame des Oiseaux school. In the 18C, the castle underwent profound modifications. The execution of the Countess de Senozan, Anne Nicole de Lamoignon, owner of the land and the lordship since 1780 and sister of Malesherbes,   gave rise to the confiscation of her property, the prison of Port-Royal and guillotined in May 1794 , and the castle remained in receivership until 1802, then fell, in 1807, to Louise Magdeleine Le Peletier-Rosanbo, wife of Count Hervé de Tocqueville. It is today the Notre Dame des Oiseaux private school.

There is a huge acitivities park with plenty of fields and lake and fun for the entire family we encounted a couple of times, this is great in Summer for the whole family , call the Ïle de Loisirs du Val de Seine; more info in French here: http://valdeseine.iledeloisirs.fr/

Verneuil sur seine

Small town but pack a load of the famous such as François-René de Chateaubriand , French romantic writer and politician, lived a few years in Verneuil and wrote several chapters of his Memoirs from beyond the grave in the park of the castle, today a private educational institution Notre –Dame des Oiseaux. Alexis de Tocqueville , French political thinker, historian and writer, lived part of his childhood at the castle of Verneuil-sur-Seine. His father, Hervé Clérel de Tocqueville, prefect and peer of France, was mayor of the town from 1804 to 1814. Émile Zola , naturalist writer. When he lived in the neighboring town of Médan, in the 1890s, Zola regularly came by bicycle to Verneuil to visit his mistress, Jeanne Rozerot and his two children, Denise and Jacques. And Dwight D. Eisenhower , one of the main figures in the liberation of France during WWII. The Manoir du Champclos, in Verneuil, was occupied by the nazis until the arrival of the Americans in 1945. General Eisenhower, then a 5-star general of the American army and commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in Europe and his officers dine there and rest there for a few hours.

The city of  Verneuil sur Seine on its history and heritage in French : City of Verneuil sur Seine on its heritage and history

And there you go another soft spot in my belle France for me and so sad not enough pictures to show as on those days, we were just living here and no internet guru no blog no need for pictures as have post cards collection of over 4K from 76 countries. The photos and posts came much later; so bear with me on this one.

Nevertheless, hope you enjoy the reading and do stop by for a bit of à la Française real living surrounded by architecture and history as usual in my belle France. Enjoy Verneuil sur Seine in the Yvelines!

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

May 30, 2020

Some news from France, CCCVI

Well is about time we get back to normal and me too with my series of Some news from France! We are slowly but surely coming out with a lot more loosening it up on June 2nd and then further opening by June 22nd. Stay tune , France is back!

Update no time to wait for another Some news from France; Info on Notre Dame Cathedral!  The Parvis or  square of Notre-Dame reopened today Sunday, Pentecost Day. The dismantling of the scaffolding 10,000 bent and welded metal tubes – which have already started in their preparatory phase, will enter from June 8 “in the last phase”!!! Notre-Dame is the emblem of Paris, more than the Eiffel Tower, and is the zero point in Paris to measure distances in France!. Should a chapel be installed on the forecourt before 2024? Mgr Michel Aupetit indicated that there would be “probably something more modest”, the rector evoking a possible “representation of the Virgin” in this place where millions of visitors pass each year.

“Phase 2” of the deconfinement was launched Thursday by the government. If on the whole territory, the “indicators are green”, Ile-de-France is one of the three regions classified in orange zone (with Mayotte and Guyana). This Saturday the gates open on all of the 400 or so parks and gardens in the city, the Parisians returned to the Gardens of Bagatelles, coulee vert, petite ceinture, Arboretum, small squares etc. The playgrounds will be gradually reopened. Individual sports activities are authorized if you are a fan of tai chi or yoga, prohibited if it is a football tournament or any other team sport.

The symbols of a French art of living, the terraces of cafes and restaurants will once again be able to welcome customers from June 2 in Ile-de-France. But those who lack it feel aggrieved. Reduction of tables need 60% minimum filled if not they can close before the end of the year for 40% of restaurant owners according to the chefs. This really makes us smile! Phase 3 of the deconfinement will be tackled on June 22, when it is likely that cafes and restaurants can also welcome us inside their establishments. It remains to be seen under what conditions.

It’s official. The Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann (9éme) reopen today Saturday. A relief for both employees and management after two and a half months of total shutdown. Victory for the legendary brand on Boulevard Haussmann: Au Printemps was able to reopen this past Thursday, May 28.

 Two emblematic sites in the history and cultural life of Val-d’Oise 95 will reopen their doors this weekend. In Vexin, the latter have already been present in numbers for two weeks. They will be able to visit the fascinating castle of La Roche-Guyon again from Saturday. The fruit garden will only reopen on June 6. A specific itinerary at Royaumont abbey also comes out of sleep. monument built in the 13C in Asnières-sur-Oise. And it also offers a renewed vision of the abbey.

So sad to read the Fête des Loges in Saint-Germain-en-Laye which has been officially canceled. A wonderful fair in the woods or forest of Saint Germain en Laye we went couple times wonderful memories. The Ferme de Gally of Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole is as we have never seen it. Empty of people!! . Or almost. Reopened since May 13, the famous educational farm had to adapt to the health crisis. The number of visitors is limited and the public is necessarily less numerous than usual to wander in its meadows, around the animal enclosures.

The company that handle the pedal boat rides on the Seine river, the Société Marin d’Eau Douce announce the opening of its facility in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne 77) since May 21. Parisians need to take advantage of it as La Villette is still close.

Since May 11, and at least until the end of the epidemic, cars have been banned from the famous rue de Rivoli in Paris! This street leading from Saint-Paul to the Concorde. The Samaritaine complex, is still no one there. Scheduled for last April, the opening of the historic department store bought by LVMH in 2000 is postponed due to Covid-19. After fifteen years of work and 750 million euros of investment, the complex could open next February 2021 . For now , you can already admire its corrugated glass facade signed Kazuyo Sejima. This is a beautiful artery and well taken even worked off of it for several years. A bit of nostalgia is that In 1800, in place of rue de Rivoli, there was a large network of unhealthy alleys. To link the Palais-Royal to the Concorde, Napoleon I drilled a first part of this axis between 1811 and 1835. He named it after a victorious battle in Italy. The works are of general interest, the necessary expropriations. Among the forty or so demolished streets, that of Mauvais-Garçons is a cut-throat where criminals find girls of joy. In 1850, under Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann extended Rivoli to the east and linked the Louvre to the Bastille. In the shops under the new arcades, a decree of 1852 prohibited the use of the hammer and the burning oven. Yes indeed history of my eternal Paris!

As of   today Saturday, the Claude Monet’s house in Giverny reopens its doors and its famous gardens which so inspired his genius. Indeed, after three months of closure, the magnificent pink building with green shutters takes us back on a journey back in time, to meet one of the masters of Impressionism. To access it, wearing a mask is compulsory for everyone and not provided. Hydroalcoholic gel will also be available for all to use. The Claude Monet Foundation will be open every day from 9h30 to 18h until November 1, 2020.

From June 15 and if the health situation allows, France is also in favor of reopening the European borders without a fortnight for European nationals. Regarding the external borders to Europe, they will remain closed until June 15, 2020, at least.

Since the end of April, the period at which the foxes who lived at Père-Lachaise cemetery were seen by the curator of the cemetery, the Paris City Hall considered having to move them. Now, it has been confirmed, the little family can stay there without forced deconfinement, and we secretly hope to be able to see babies as young as two months old from afar without disturbing them, of course. I saw this on TV and they look cute but they are foxes about 6 of them, be careful.

And last but a bargain perhaps the price of real estate in Paris has come down ! A first for a long time. Drimki, a specialist in online property valuation, says housing prices fell 5% in the city on March 16 due to the confinement. If you had to plan at the start of the year 13,070 € / m2 on average to buy a property in the center of the city, you now have to count 11,581 € / m2. A nice drop of almost 1,500 € per m2! Yes my dear you are reading right, this is just double what it cost in Versailles for example and out in the Morbihan you could buy a castle!!! And you know Hemingway was not a good traveller, he wrote posthumously the Movable Feast for Paris but if he had travelled a bit into the country; could easily wrote a second volume, France is a movable feast! I say!!!

And there you go folks , some news from France is back alive and well. We will be reading the new and grand of my belle France, and of course, slowly opening up everything. Even no more 100 km limits, so off I go preparing my vacations again. Stay tune, France is back!!

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

May 30, 2020

Monument to Pershing and Lafayette!

So getting my delights in my old home now, and telling a bit more expanded views on some of its wonderful monuments off the beaten path indeed. I have written briefly on it but feels they deserve more, so here is my take on the Monument Pershing Lafayette of Versailles!

The Pershing – Lafayette monument is a memorial located on the heights of Versailles , department 78 Yvelines in the ïle de France region. My old home for almost 10 years. The monument was erected on the one hand in tribute to the American army which fought during the Great War or WWI and to the army of the war of American independence, on the other hand. The monument was inaugurated on October 6, 1937 in the presence of General Pershing, but the monument erected remained unfinished. The very degraded plaster statue of General Pershing was deposited in 1941.

Versailles

The Pershing-Lafayette-Versailles association undertook, with the help of generous donors (moi aussi) , to install the final statues of the two generals whose plaster model was deposited in 1941. On September 8, 2017, the statues of Generals Pershing and La Fayette are inaugurated. The memorial has two concrete pedestals that face each other on Avenue des Etats-Unis. They are in fact pedestals which support the equestrian statues of General Pershing and Lafayette. Built hastily, these were made of reinforced concrete sails, only one of the 4 stairs is made of stone. The two reinforced concrete bases intended to receive the equestrian statues are about 9 meters high raised on 2 benches pierced on either side of two staircases distant from the road by a grassy ground. Each base was surmounted by an equestrian statue about 5 meters high in patinated bronze plaster for the inauguration of October 6, 1937.

versailles

Coming from Versailles, the monument on the right is dedicated to La Fayette and recalls the battles in which he participated in the USA War of Independence, the monument on the left is dedicated to General Pershing and recalls the battles to which this general took part with the American Expeditionary Force (as the US Army coming to France was named. A unique symbol of Franco-American friendship. The equestrian statues of Generals Pershing and La Fayette were inaugurated on the Butte de Picardie, avenue des Etats-Unis or road D185 in Versailles direction Ville d’Avray (see post).

For those on public transport from the Versailles Château rive gauche RER C station take bus line 10 direction Vaucresson and stop at Versailles Pershing. Also from Versailles Chantiers train station take bus line 13 direction Versailles Pershing final stop. When in the area use this vianavigo itinerary planner its official :  Phebus bus network Versailles and vianavigo journey planner

A bit more info can be read in French from the The US WWI Centennial Commission :Pershing Lafayette Versailles commission

And the L’Association des riverains Etats-Unis Pershing (association of neighborhood Avenue des Etats Unis Pershing): Neighborhood association avenue Etats Unis on of Pershing

There you go a nice place to be and pay our respect while indulging in a big of Franco-American history, cooperation, and friendship that goes back to the founding of the USA.  Hope you enjoy the story and can visit these wonderful equestrian monuments to La Fayette and Pershing in my beloved dear Versailles.

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

May 30, 2020

St Cyr l’école!!!

And coming back to my old stumping road warrior area ,and catching up on my many photos to bring you new areas and ideas to visit my belle France, here is a new one. Well , I have written on the farm very famous there but now let me tell you a bit about the town itself, this is Saint Cyr l’école!!

Saint-Cyr-l’École is located in the department 78 of Yvelines, in the Île-de-France region. The town of Saint-Cyr-l’École is just birds view only 21.5 km from Paris Notre Dame Cathedral. It is bordered by the towns   of Versailles to the east, Guyancourt to the south, Montigny-le-Bretonneux to the south-southwest, Bois -d’Arcy to the southwest, Fontenay-le-Fleury to the west and Bailly to the north. Areas truly visited as lived nearby…and plenty of activities with the boys on them.

Plentiful road access that is tops. The main road is the D10 connecting Versailles (by the Orangerie side) to Rambouillet and regional road D11 connecting Saint-Cyr-l’École to Plaisir (and great shopping area). In the immediate vicinity is the Bois-d’Arcy interchange between the A12 highway, on a north-south axis which connects the triangle from Rocquencourt to Trappes on the N 10,and north with the A13 autoroute de Normandie, the N 12, connects Dreux at the A86 highway.

The  Saint-Cyr train station,of the Transilien network is on the N line connecting Paris to Rambouillet / Plaisir – Grignon / Mantes-la-Jolie, the station is not served by trains from Dreux. The station or Gare de Saint Cyr is located on the line connecting Paris-Montparnasse to Chartres and is at the point of the junction giving access to the Granville line via Plaisir – Grignon and Dreux. Direct commuter train services are provided to Paris-Montparnasse via Versailles-Chantiers. RER C connecting Saint Martin d’Étampes to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, serving Paris-Austerlitz via Invalides. And the train U line connecting La Défense to La Verrière.

Keolis Yvelines is serving the lines, 52, 53 and 54 of the Phebus bus network  in Versailles . You can find all these buses  and trains at the somewhat new ïle de France Mobilités (old STIF) site here: All transports ile de France region Mobilités

A historic city at the gates of Versailles, Saint-Cyr-l’École shines in the Yvelines department 78. The Maison de Saint-Louis founded by Madame de Maintenon, then transformed by Napoleon into a Military School has notably ensured its reputation.
The history of the city begins at the end of the 11C, when the monks of the Sainte-Geneviève Abbey in Paris decided to set up, on the edge of the ru de Gally, a chapel and a priory with its farm, to evangelize and clear the valley.

In 1686 the royal house of Saint-Louis was founded, an education house for 250 young girls, by Madame de Maintenon and whose construction was entrusted to Jules Hardouin-Mansart. In 1808, in the same buildings, the Special Military School was established. This school, founded in 1802 in Fontainebleau by Napoleon I and then transferred to Saint-Cyr, remained there until 1940, when it was withdrawn to Aix-en-Provence.  The buildings of Saint-Cyr are then seriously affected by the Allied bombings of 1944 and the school is recreated in 1945, but in Coëtquidan ( my Morbihan 56 see post) under the name of Special military school of Saint-Cyr.

The city of St Cyr l’école on its history and heritage in French: City of St Cyr on history and heritage

The city was 92% damaged by the bombings of WWII.  In 1995, Saint-Cyr officially received the 1939-1945 War Cross with palm, which had been awarded to it forty-five years earlier for acts of resistance and for its exemplary attitude under the bombing but which the town of the day had refused.

Saint-Cyr-l’École aerodrome (nice) occupies an area of ​​75 hectares, or 15% of Saint-Cyrien territory. On the eastern side, it adjoins the park of the Palace of Versailles! and stretches north to the rue de Gally. He is a historic player in the plain of Versailles. It was indeed in 1907 that the Count de La Vaulx had a hangar built at the gates of the town to house an aeronate, more simply called an airship. The same year, Santos-Dumont managed to link Saint-Cyr-l’École to Buc at a speed of 90 kph on board his Demoiselle monoplane. It is on this aircraft that Roland Garros will learned to fly. Three years later, this is where the tests of the La Liberté airship were carried out. Today, the aerodrome is home to nine air clubs gathered within GUAS, the Saint-Cyr-l’École aerodrome users’ group, and is attended by a thousand enthusiasts; including me on old light planes air shows!

The aerodrome today is managed by Aéroports de Paris, the site in English here: Paris airports on aerodrome St Cyr

And just a friendly reminder,(see prev post) for what we came here the most and love it and still waiting to go back, the Ferme de Gally!

My family’s favorite place in St Cyr l’école, the Ferme de Gally. Yes a farm, but not an ordinary farm. It was acquired in 1684 by Louis XIV to supply the court of milk products. It is at the end of the Grand Canal, yes the one you think ends by the boat lakes, but its actually goes way back, keep walking …. all along the allée de la Ceinture. The farm is still today in activity, handle by the same family since 1741!!! It is one of the oldest building in the area ,originally founded in the 11C by the priests of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviéve-du-mont at Paris to plow and put into use the lands around the plains of Versailles.  It was call after the val de galie, a stream,that since then was change to Gally. We can continue today follow the stream, from the allée du Plat Fond just to the small village of Rennemoulin off the D307 and very picturesque horse country today.  At the beginning by 1038, this stream gave the name to Versailles because the lord of these lands was named Hugo de Versaillis. Yes indeed part of my history too you know….

St Cyr

St Cyr

Official webpage in French for the Ferme de Gally, see the picture this gate (see prev post for a closer look than the one above) goes or used to go into the domaine de Versailles to provide the kings with food! Les Fermes de Gally

Hope you enjoy the ride into my nostalgic Yvelines the cradle of the kingdom of France and lovely towns all over with great architecture and history, St Cyr l’école is one of them.

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

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