Archive for June 11th, 2020

June 11, 2020

Friends of Fontainebleau!

Ok as I have mentioned it several times in my blog, let me do a single short post on it. I am very much into architecture and history and of course very much influence by the French, not just been one now ,but even from before. As a consequence, even before moving permanently to live in France I was friend of many monumental institution.

When came to France in 2003, shortly thereafter a group was founded in Fontainebleau to help preserve the castle and I was one of the first member since 2007! It is a glorious place of the history of France and Europe and even the World there. I will not go much into that because written plenty on it in my blog. If you ever need info to get there what to see and best to see it let me know.

For now, let me tell you about the Friends of the Castle of Fontainebleau.

I like to have memories and nowdays even more. I remember Fontainebleau castle as it was the property in Seine et Marne dept 77 that my late wife Martine, took me first to show me her department/region back in 1990. We have come here ever since,and it is one of my favorite castles been friend of the association that helps protect its heritage.

The Société des Amis et Mécènes du Château de Fontainebleau (SAMCF) or the Society of Friends and Patrons of the Château de Fontainebleau, created in February 2006, is an association governed by the law of 1901 ,non profit organisation. It brings together many members worldwide. The extraordinary general assembly of October 2014 changed its name, which became the Amis du château de Fontainebleau (ACF). Or Friends of the Château de Fontainebleau.


The goals of ACF are to increase awareness of the Château de Fontainebleau, its gardens, its park, develop activities likely to highlight and conserve this exceptional historical and artistic heritage and contribute to the enrichment and restoration of the museum and its collections supporting sponsorship ,etc.

A friend of the Château de Fontainebleau benefits from: Free entry to the castle all year round, Access to visits led by specialists, cultural trips and specific conferences, periodical publications (newsletters by email, semi-annual newsletter, flash info); an invitation to the temporary exhibitions of the castle on the day of their inauguration and a 5% discount at the boutique of the castle. Additional advantages reserved for benefactor members: Invitation to the opening of exhibitions mounted by the château , and preferencial presentations.

It is located at the Pavillon des Vitriers (mirrors pavilion) upon entering the castle by the main grille entrance immediately to your left hand side. The permanent office is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 14h to 17h; Fridays, 10h to 13h; the office is closed on Tuesdays and weekends. Contact by phone +33 (0) 1 64 23 58 46; and by email:

Their official ACF webpage in French is here: Amis du Chateau de Fontainebleau

In the official page of the Château de Fontainebleau you will find in English a page related to the American friends of the Castle of Fontainebleau: more info here: Chateau de Fontainebleau on the American Friends of the Castle

For further info, there is also a similar association for the forest which I am not a member ,but very nice too for info is the Asssociation des Amis de la Forêt de Fontainebleau or Association of Friends of the Fontainebleau Forest. Their office is located at 26 rue de la Cloche,(Maison des Compagnons) corner to rue des Pins: go out from castle main grille gate turn right continue along Rue Grande to rue de la Cloche turn left and office is on right hand side. More info here:

Hope you enjoy the information and take as a goodwill post to showcase a valuable property for all of us. Hope to see you by, and enjoy it as we do. Disclaimer, this post is only my personal opinion and gesture/effort, nothing to do with the ACF.

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

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June 11, 2020

The Rotunda at Parc Monceau!

ok so back to my eternal Paris, can’t be too far away from it and lucky to do so nowdays with soon more of it. I ,again, written on this park before in a general sense, but would like to tell you more about its emblematic icon the Rotunda at the Parc Monceau or Barriére de Chartres!

I always get a kick of telling you that way back when Vélib bikes were introduce I was with a group of friends and someone decided to tried these bikes for a ride along bd de Courcelles and well we got into the Parc Monceau as well by the Rotunda too! Talk about trying all modes of transportation and know so can tell the best in Paris is to walk!

The Rotunda in Parc Monceau, which was part of the Barrière de Chartres, is located at Boulevard de Courcelles on the northern edge of Parc Monceau. This rotunda is one of the four remaining pavilions of the Farmers General enclosure built by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux from 1786 to 1792 like those of the Place Denfert Rochereau. The current Parc Monceau garden has entrances on boulevard Malesherbes and Avenue Hoche as well. There are other lesser entrances without grille gates such as Avenue Ruysdaël, Rue Rembrandt,Allée de la Comtesse de Ségur; Avenue de Valois and Avenue de Velazquez.  I must add on the rotunda there are public toilettes…


A bit on the history I like

In 1787, part of the garden was cut to allow Ledoux to build an observation office on the plain called the Barriére de Chartres or barrier rotunda. In most cases, the buildings of the Ledoux barriers were intended to house the tax officers levying taxes on goods entering Paris. Only, that of the Chartres rotunda was a little different. You couldn’t cross it. Indeed, it was located on the edge of the garden of the Duke of Chartres, a prince of the blood, cousin of Louis XVI. He even had to amputate to built the wall. As a result, this garden, ancestor of Parc Monceau, still in the countryside, found itself taken over by the city. This pavilion is initially made up of sixteen columns. The columns with smooth bole and upper dome were modified in 1861. Originally, guards were installed on the ground and first floors. We had left the possibility for the Duke to be able to climb on the terrace to observe the plain. In 1860, Paris annexed the territories of the surrounding towns, within the walls of Thiers. The farmers’ general wall is no longer useful and is quickly destroyed. All barriers are destroyed. Some vestiges are preserved. The Chartres rotunda is one of them. Indeed, it served for the organization of Parc Monceau. It then becomes the rotunda of Parc Monceau!


The Parc Monceau is adorned with marble statues of writers and musicians. The statues are on the monuments to Guy de Maupassant, Édouard Pailleron, Alfred de Musset , Charles Gounod , the statue le Jeune Faune or sort of young faun, and further monuments to Frédéric Chopin, Ambroise Thomas as well as the one call Le Joueur de billes or sort of ball player. You see the ruins gate of St Jean or city/town hall as well as many beautiful buildings around it.  There remain pedestals of disappeared statues, melted under the occupation in WWII around 1942, like that of the injured Lioness done in1891 and old Bronze statues have disappeared, probably melted during the occupation of WWII in 1942 as well in order to supply non-ferrous metals.


There are beautiful painting done for it but my favorites are those on the Parc Monceau by Gustave Caillebotte in 1877 , and   Claude Monet in 1876.

More information in addition to my previous post on the Parc Monceau can be found here:

The city of Paris on parks and gardens and Parc Monceau in French: City of Paris on parc monceau

The tourist office of Paris on the Parc Monceau in English: Paris tourist office on the Parc Monceau

And there you folks another dandy in the most beautiful city in the world indeed, eternal Paris; we will always have Paris. The Parc Monceau is a beautiful park and in a beautiful part of Paris with loads of architecture and history buildings. Enjoy the walk, is good for you!

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

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June 11, 2020

Mont Saint Michel Bay!

So let me tackle a dear of mine and hard to explain me think. However, from a tourist point of view is a must while visiting my belle France. I like to tackle the more difficult part, that of the Bay of Mont Saint Michel. This beautiful body of water that rises and lower upon reaching the Abbey! It is awesome from above! The other thing in there already written plenty in my blog ::)

Let me tell you a bit technical pershaps but worth it to keep in m blog me think. This is the Mont Saint Michel Bay; yes it is a bay, and ,also , one of the most beautiful in the world!

Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is a bay located between Brittany  yeah!  and the Normandy Cotentin peninsula at the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf. It belongs to the club of the most beautiful bays in the world and is registered with the world heritage of UNESCO in 1979. The very important tidal range in the region (up to 15 meters or about 49.5 feet) allows a large part of this bay to be discovered low tide. Two granite islands are found in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, Tombelaine and Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy.

Mont Saint Michel

Here is the Great Bays of our World on Mont Saint Michel BayWorlds great bays on Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont-Saint-Michel covers an area of approximately 500 km2. The bay is bordered from north to south by the following towns: In Normandy: Granville, Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, Jullouville, Carolles, Champeaux, Saint-Jean-le-Thomas, Dragey-Ronthon, Genêts, Vains, Marcey- les-Grèves, Avranches, Le Val-Saint-Père, Céaux, Courtils, Huisnes-sur-Mer, Pontorson, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Beauvoir. In Brittany: Saint-Georges-de-Gréhaigne, Roz-sur-Couesnon, Saint-Broladre, Cherrueix, Mont-Dol, Le Vivier-sur-Mer, Hirel, Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes, Saint-Méloir-des- Ondes and Cancale.

Mont Saint Michel

Three rivers flow into this bay ,and cross it at low tide; the Couesnon, now showing to the west of Mont Saint-Michel, the Sée and the Sélune. The very slight slope of the bay and the significant tidal range cause by great tide of the equinox the formation of a tidal bore or bar in these rivers which can go up several kms inland. The mount was then tossed about by the ramblings of the courses of the three rivers which still watered the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. These rivers are as above the Sélune, Sée and especially the Couesnon which, marking the border between Normandy and Brittany in the past. In reality, until the 18C, the mouth of the Couesnon was 6 km west of the Mount Saint Michel. This is therefore a legend which amuses the border inhabitants who know that the border is not located on the Couesnon proper but on the mainland 4 km west, at the foot of the Saint-Broladre (dept 35 Brittany) massif.

Mont Saint Michel

The largest tidal range observed in Europe is in this bay: with an average amplitude of 10 meters, it reaches 12 meters in average whitewater, 15 meters during exceptional white water. These coefficients are accentuated by the shallow depth of the bay and the barrier effect of the Cotentin peninsula which diffracts the tidal wave, thus forming a standing wave which has a double amplitude of the progressive wave off Cherbourg. Between the Breton point of Grouin de Cancale and the Norman cliffs of Carolles, the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel constitutes the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf. The bay extends from Pointe du Grouin to Pointe Champeaux along a west-east axis; and the Couesnon de Pontorson canal, Beauvoir, at the Barracks dam, continues in a dyke north to Mont Saint-Michel , then Tombelaine, the Bec d’ Andaine and Saint-Jean-le-Thomas . To the west, Cancale, to the east, Avranches sur la Sée, north of Sélune. It is located at the bottom of the Norman-Breton Gulf which is bounded by Bréhat to the west and cape de la Hague to the north.

Mont Saint Michel

The bay of Mont Saint Michel has the particularity of being practically flat and therefore prone to quicksand. Crossing the bay can be dangerous in the absence of an experienced guide. The crossing of the Sée and the Sélune only opposes a slight difficulty, but there are several areas of quicksand in the sandy parts of the bay, especially the channels, as in any very flat area, which wander from day to day.   If the channel fills then, it is advisable to release its feet to the maximum and to swim with the force of the arms; theory predicts that one floats, but hypothermia kills if one does not emerge quickly. Trying to prevent a person from getting bogged down by towing it so that it finds dry land is impossible, since its weight is approximately equivalent to that of a car in this situation.

From the 8C to the 17C, the shell cords deposited by the sea between the tip of Château-Richeux and the Saint-Broladre massif had been used to stem the marshes of Dol. To the east of the Sainte-Anne Chapel, there is still this dyke which marks the southern limit of the polders and which is designated by the name of the Duchess-Anne dyke. The Duchesse-Anne dam, built in the 11C in granite, stretches for some 20 km. There are ongoing projects in Mont Saint Michel to control this body of water and make it more fertile but costs and politics have delayed much of the work. It is a long history not the intention of this post but all is here in French; the Project of Mont Saint Michel:

The expression “Mont Saint-Michel tide rises at the speed of a galloping horse”, used by the media and tourist guides for the general public, is wrongly attributed to Victor Hugo. This cliché was probably born under the pen of Théophile Gautier who came to Mont Saint Michel in September 1859 as a journalist for the review of the Moniteur Universelle on the occasion of a “tide of the century” and described the flow as a “cavalry front made up of white horses and charging at a gallop ”. The truth is that the tidal range is only observable in its entirety at the entrance of the bay as the depths around Mont Saint-Michel are above the low seas level, that the flow of the rising tide is 3.6 km / h, or 1 m / s or close to the speed of a walking man, the maximum speed observed being of the order of 6.1 km / h, but unfortunately it cost the life to a lot of the unwary.

The help with guides to cross it as we did, superbe experience but no photos as the small digital camera we carried felled lol! next time ! Here is the info on the guidesTourist office of Mont Saint Michel on guides

The pilgrimage and the crossing of the strikes to get to the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel began in the Middle Ages. The practice of pilgrimages resumed in the middle of the 20th century, and over the past twenty years crossing strikes with a guide has become an approach to the Mont which allows you to discover the bay and which is becoming more and more successful.

Some webpages to round up the above and help you plan your trip here which is a must are

The tourist office of Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy side information in English: Tourist office of Mont Saint Michel on the Normandy side

The tourist office of Brittany on Mont Saint Michel on the Brittany side in English: Tourist office of Brittany on the Brittany side of Mont Saint Michel

The tourist office of dept 50 Manche on the Mont Saint Michel in French; Tourist office of dept 50 Manche on Mont Saint Michel

And there you , hope you enjoy the post on the  Bay of Mont Saint Michel. For the history buffs maybe it show you more light on whether is in Normandy or Brittany! Of course, you can see it is in Brittany lol!

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

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