Archive for June 8th, 2020

June 8, 2020

Fine Arts Museum , La Rochelle!

As habits are hard to get rid of , this one again spoked briefly in previous posts in my blog about La Rochelle, however, feels deserves a page of its own. It is a wonderful history and great architecture which I like even if not been inside yet.

I like to tell you a bit more on the Musée des Beaux-Arts or fine arts of La Rochelle.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts is located in the town of La Rochelle, in Charente-Maritime dept 17 of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. This hotel was built at the beginning of the 17C and bought in 1600 by Paul Legoux, treasurer of the house of Navarre. It occupies the site of a residence, the Grand Logis, and housed guests such as Sully (1604), Condé (1615), Louis XIII (1628), Anne of Austria (1632). It was described as the most beautiful, the most suitable and the most airy of the houses in the city.


It then, became a seminary in 1673, installed the bishopric in 1696. From 1769 to 1774, rebuild the hotel as this archiepiscopal palace is in neoclassical style. During the French revolution, the town inherited the hotel and in 1795, the municipal library was established there. The museum was installed in 1845 on the second floor of the building, above the municipal library. The municipal library was transferred in 1998 to the Michel-Crépeau media library.

It gave way to the Contemporary Art Space which opened in 1999. In addition, the building hosts the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs of Poitou Charentes and a lapidary museum, gathering various fragments from the Carmelite church, the Hôtel de Ville or city hall, of the Protestant college and of disappeared or modified houses. The collections of the Musée d’Orbigny-Bernon, closed in 2012, have been transferred to the Musée des Beaux-Arts as well. The museum is created from works acquired since 1841 by the Société des Amis des Arts or the society of friends of the arts. The museum offers a panorama of European painting from the 15C to the 20C. The museum also has a beautiful Asian collection. The works even if now closed for repairs with no date yet of re opening.

The museum page of La Rochelle on the fine arts museum: Musée des Beaux Arts of La Rochelle

The city of La Rochelle on the fine arts museumCity of La Rochelle on the fine arts museum

The Society of Friends of the Arts page in French: Société des Amis des Arts de La Rochelle

And there you go folks, I feel better, this wonderful building, museum is disclose in my blog. A nice architectural gem and nice history of La Rochelle. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.

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

Tags: ,
June 8, 2020

Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux!

Ok so this is another that escape me from my posts, mentioned briefly in general posts but feel deserves a post on its own. Even if sad to say have not been inside this one, just passing by in my many trips to Bordeaux. Oh well, so much to see in my belle France, I will be back!

For now let me tell you a bit on the history of this wonderful monument ; the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, and I like it. I found two older pics in my vault and rather than a new post will add them here.Pics from paper pics so excuse the quality, they are old.

The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, was commissioned by Marshal Richelieu, Governor of Guyenne, and built by the architect Victor Louis, was inaugurated on April 7, 1780 with the representation of Athalie by Jean Racine. Nearly more than two hundred years of various uses or successive transformations of its rooms as of its environment, it found, at the same time its interior decoration blue, gold and white marble of origin on the occasion of its last restoration in 1991 and its perspective as a temple of the muses with the development of the Place de la Comédie and the Cours du Chapeau-Rouge in 2006. The Grand Théâtre is today the headquarters of the National Opera of Bordeaux, which programs its lyrical season and the performances of the Opera Ballet In Bordeaux.


The jurats had built in 1738 a stone hall in the gardens of the old city/town hall, then located near the Grosse-Cloche, according to the plans of the city’s architect, Montégut, a theater with a capacity of 1,500 places which was destroyed by fire on the night of December 28 to 29, 1755. A theater was built in 1760 at the entrance to rue de la Corderie (now rue Condillac) near place Dauphine. However, a permanent theatre was sought by the locals and with many offers finally was chosen in 1761 by Marshal Richelieu, duke of Fronsac and governor of Guyenne, for the passing troops, comedy, tragedy and opera then neighbor with the Récollets convent. However, the Marshal-Duke of Richelieu, himself a shareholder of the company, and governor of Guyenne, having great influence, managed to impose the Parisian architect Victor Louis to whom he had attached the services for the remodeling of his Parisian mansion.

The Maréchal-duc de Richelieu, grand-nephew of Cardinal Richelieu, appointed governor of Guyenne in 1755 is a Freemason. He asked the architect Victor Louis , affiliated in 1775-1779 to the lodge “Française de l’Orient” in Bordeaux, to build the Grand Théâtre. The first stone was laid on April 13, 1776 , a symbolic stone as the theatre was already under construction for 3 years by Louis-Philippe d’Orléans then Grand Master of French masons. Built between 1773 and 1780 on the glacis of the Trumpet castle on the site of the Gallo-Roman forum where the temple of the Pillars of Trusteeship was located, named after the goddess Tutela, protector of the city.

The gallery of the main facade consists of a flat box vault. In order to recover the forces at the ends of the gallery, the two extreme boxes have stones cut diagonally and metal tie rods put in place an iron frame in the two corner boxes, not visible, in order to connect the columns and the architrave on the facade wall. This innovative constructive device allows the forces to be transferred to the side walls and thus avoids the construction of a abutment. This principle, similar to that of future reinforced concrete, is called Louis’ nail. Indeed, the exteriors of the Grand Theater are designed as a space for entertainment and walks with shops in the north and south wings, three cafes, eleven apartments and street vendors who settled between the columns. Initially, the Place de la Comédie was on the same level as the Grand Théâtre. It was in 1848 that the external staircase was created with the lowering of the level of the Place de la Comédie. 88 meters long, the peristyle of the facade is supported by twelve Corinthian columns. These are maintained by an internal metal frame. The cornice is surmounted by 12 stone statues with a height of 2.3 meters with 3 goddesses Juno, Venus, and Minerva; and the 9 muses Euterpe, Urania, Calliope, Terpsichore, Melpomene, Thalie, Polymnie, Érato,and Clio.

Bordeaux Grand theatre honor stairs

The performance hall is decorated with blue, white and gold. Initially the hall could accommodate 1,700 spectators. Today there are 1,114 places. It was the painter Jean-Baptiste-Claude Robin who was entrusted, at the end of the 18C, with the task of decorating the dome of the performance hall. The theme chosen by the artist was “Apollo and the muses approve the dedication of a temple erected by the city of Bordeaux”. The work is a triple tribute, both allegorical and realistic, to the arts, to the craftsmen who built the theatre and to the city of Bordeaux. On this last scene, the city, represented by a woman, surmounted by the figure of Bordeaux, is protected by Athena and Hermes, while at its feet are the riches of the city: maritime trade, wine, and slaves. The main staircase, in three flights, leads to a first landing serving an imposing door, framed by two caryatids Thalie and Melpomène. Then the staircase divides into two new ramps leading to the 2nd floor, towards the auditorium and the foyer.

Bordeaux Grand theatre ceilings grande salle

For the theater’s centenary in 1870, the Bordeaux sculptor Amédée Jouandot created the sculpture of Victor Louis. This one is in phonolite, a volcanic stone which gives the impression of bronze. The sculpture is presented in the hall. It should be noted that Victor Louis did not have the slender silhouette of the sculpture, he was rather stocky and with a round face. In 1804, the Grand Théâtre was assigned to the heritage of the hospices de Bordeaux, now the CHU de Bordeaux (hospital), to replace property alienated to their detriment during the French revolution. Currently, the City of Bordeaux and the CHU are bound by a long-term lease of 99 years, which brings in an annual fee of 1 euro!

During the Franco-German War of 1870, the city of Bordeaux temporarily became the capital of France, where the French government found refuge. The first elected assembly of the Third Republic, proclaimed in 1871, sat at the Grand Theater. On June 12, 1992, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh Philip Mountbatten assist Mayor Jacques Chaban-Delmas at a concert by the Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra conducted by Alain Lombard.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Official Grand Theater :Grand Theater on visitor information

The city of Bordeaux on the Grand Theater: City of Bordeaux on the Grand Theater

The tourist office of Bordeaux on the Grand TheaterTourist office of Bordeaux on the Grand Theater

And there you go now i feel better for Bordeaux, a wonderful town of a lot more than wines lol! Hope you enjoy the post and do visit the Grand Théâtre, i will its on my list to do once able to travel far.

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

Tags: ,
June 8, 2020

The cliffs at Dieppe!

And lets talk about views! none better than from a high cliff or falaise in my belle France. We have them nearby but none bigger and wonderful than at Dieppe in the Seine Maritime dept 76 of the region of Normandie.

I have of course several posts on Dieppe but none on its cliffs ,therefore, let me tell you a bit about the falaises de Dieppe.


Dieppe is in the Côte d’Albâtre or Alabaster coast stretches 130 km from the Seine bay to the Somme bay. This high Normandy coast is characterized by its chalk cliffs and pebble beaches. The cliffs, made up of layers of chalk and flint beds (the black lines that can be seen on the cliff), subjected to the action of erosion, eventually collapse. The landslides found at the bottom of the cliff are made of chalk blocks and flint blocks. The chalk is quickly eroded. On the other hand, the very resistant pieces of flint will erode more slowly to become pebbles.

The Alabaster coast, with its spectacular white chalk cliffs, its seaside resorts, were very often represented by the Impressionists. Renowned seaside resort in the 19C, the city of Dieppe attracted high society and many artists. The Impressionist movement is well represented by works by Renoir, Pissarro, Boudin, and Gonzalès. To see also, Sickert’s works, notably the Saint-Jacques Church (see post) which he declines in series as Monet did with the Cathedral of Rouen.

Claude Monet returned to Pourville from June to September 1882, with his family, and, despite very variable weather, painted on the cliffs between Pourville and Dieppe. This time, the views of the beach and the cliffs are among his favorite subjects. Here in the Val Saint-Nicolas, the hanging valley which is on the coast of herons and which he will represent in series in 1896 and 1897. In these years, he was in Dieppe from Pourville, he painted on the cliffs. These spectacular views of the Atlantic ocean from Val Saint-Nicolas is a recurring motif in Monet’s work in 1897.


On January 15, 1907, Jean-Francis Auburtin (painted the buffet in Paris Gare de Lyonn etc etc) acquired land in Varengeville and had his house and workshop built. From then on, he roamed the high cliffs in search of interesting points of view. He painted the cliffs of Varengeville, Pourville and Dieppe. Like Monet, Auburtin appreciates the cliff terrain movement between Varengeville and Dieppe. He is buried at the Varengeville sur Mer cemetery.

One of the best work is from Claude Monet of course, my favorite painter , I told you that… He painted the Falaises prés de Dieppe, ciel-couvert ( the cliffs near Dieppe in cloudy skies) in 1897 and now shown at the Ermitage museum of St Petersbourg, Russia. Which by the way has several of Monet’s work.


Once there be careful ,it is forbidden and very dangerous to walk at their feet! At low tide, stay by the sea, far from the bottom of the cliff! It does not warn when it collapses !! And yes it does even early this year and people died. Again is beautiful but ask the tourist office before heading there. We go so is possible. The falling of rocks is common and on the beach of Dieppe about 30 meters from the restaurant “Bar O Métre”, rocks felled , there were no casualties, no damage. Cracks caused by the landslide may cause a new cliff face to collapse. You can take a walk consulting the tourist office first on the district of Pollet, one of the most authentic districts of Dieppe, traditionally called the fishermen’s neighborhood. The circuit then continues on the cliff by taking the chemin des douaniers   (customs path) towards the pretty beach or plage de Puys.

One way before going to be sure of the tides which are part of the cause of the falling off is to read the official tides service in France for Dieppe here in French: Tides info at Dieppe

The city of Dieppe on the history and things to see in French: City of Dieppe on things to see and history

The tourist office of Dieppe on heritage in English: Tourist office of Dieppe on its history

The tourist office of the Seine Maritime dept on Dieppe in English: Tourist office Seine Maritime on Dieppe

And there you an introduction to the cliffs of Dieppe a pretty sight and easy ferries to England too. Hope you enjoy the post on the cliffs or falaises of Dieppe.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: