Archive for June 27th, 2020

June 27, 2020

Saint Cloud!!!

Ok so this one is a big task but feels worth the mention in my blog and will expand on future posts. Its a place that I have been several times but not from a tourist/visitor point of view so no photos. However, many meetings there and one hobby of mine that took me there often.

I like to tell you a lot on Saint Cloud, dept 92 Hauts de Seine, in the Ïle de France region. Just next to Paris! Sorry for my very creative post name ::)

Saint-Cloud is a huppée and residential town, it is mainly known for the Saint-Cloud park it shelters. The town is 10 km from Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral point zero.  It extends over the slopes which dominate the left bank of the Seine river ,opposite the Bois de Boulogne. The city center is located 3 km from the Porte de Saint-Cloud and the Porte d’Auteuil ,this two I have driven often. The town is bordered to the north by Suresnes (see post, and where I have worked), to the west by Rueil-Malmaison (emperatrice ..), Garches and Marnes-la-Coquette (driven thru and the highest per capita income in France)  and to the south by Sèvres (the porcelain town) and Ville-d’Avray (see post). Its eastern limit is materialized by the Seine river which separates it from the towns of Boulogne-Billancourt and Paris (Bois de Boulogne) via the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge.

Saint-Cloud was built on a hill, therefore many stairs, and even escalators, run through the town, oh yes indeed many almost perpendicular! and tight narrow streets! . The town of Saint-Cloud is known to many motorists for being the starting point for the first French highway: the A13 (Autoroute de Normandie) . Until 1974, the A13 stopped at the Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge. Since then, it has been connected to the Paris BP or boulevard périphérique or ring road by the Saint-Cloud viaduct which overlooks the Seine and by a tunnel under  Boulogne-Billancourt. Saint-Cloud owes its name to Clodoald, grandson of Clovis; threatened by his uncles, Clodoald moves away from power disputes and settles in Novigentum, a hamlet of loggers and fishermen where he builds a moustier or monastery of which there is still a wall. The town takes the name of “Sanctus Clodoaldus”. From then on, the town will often be at the heart of History.  Saint-Cloud bears witness to a rich and prestigious past. And I know, needed to visit more for the sights.

Some of this history is long and precious, I will condense as much as possible here.

An abbey developed in this place in 765, it is in third position, just after the abbot of Saint-Denis and that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  The Church of Saint-Cloud became collegiate with nine canons by the Bulle of Pope Alexander III in 1165. Saint-Cloud knew the Norman invasions of 845, 856, 861 and 885 which came to plunder Paris. During the Hundred Years War in 1358, the English took the village, burned it and massacred the inhabitants. Saint-Cloud was burnt down in 1411, during the fighting between Armagnacs and Bourguignons. In 1433, the inhabitants were crushed with requisitions. In 1556, Henri II built the stone bridge of Saint-Cloud, and Henri III authorized the inhabitants to surround themselves with walls and ditches. The lordship belonged to the bishop of Paris who lodge in the most beautiful house in Saint-Cloud, sold to Catherine de Médicis, who gave it to Jérôme de Gondi in 1577.

In 1589, Henri III, who had settled in the Château de Saint-Cloud built by Jérôme de Gondi to lead the siege of Paris, held by the Leaguers, was assassinated there by the monk Jacques Clément. Henri IV is recognized as king there. Near Paris and on the road to Versailles, the Château de Saint-Cloud was bought by Louis XIV and given to his brother Duke Philippe d’Orléans. He created its park from 1658. In 1674, Louis XIV erected a duchy peerage for the archbishops of Paris. Louis XVI acquired it in 1785 to offer it to his wife Marie-Antoinette. Then, both the castle and the park played an important role in the history of France throughout the 19C.

Napoleon Bonaparte carried out his coup d’etat on 18 Brumaire Year VIII or November 9, 1799, and made it his favorite residence, where the magnificences of the imperial court of Napoleon I spread . The civil marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise is celebrated there in 1810. In 1814, Saint Cloud was occupied by the Russian general count de Langeron, (born in Paris) who respected the castle and the inhabitants. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic epic, the Prussian marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher moved to the castle. Drunk with revenge, he lacerates silks and draperies, devastates the bedroom and the library. In 1817, the palace became a royal residence, and the Montretout mountain was later converted into a garden reserved for the Duke of Bordeaux (Henri d´Artois or Comte de Chambord, refuse to be king under the tricolor flag and the monarchy ended with him, should have been Henri V). Louis XVIII began barracks and buildings completed there by Charles X, who, on July 30, 1830, left it forever. It is from there that he leaves for exile. Napoleon III was proclaimed Emperor there on December 1, 1852.

On July 15, 1870, the Franco-German War of 1870 was declared to Prussia in a council held at the Château de Saint Cloud. After the French defeat, on October 13, 1870, the castle, previously occupied by the Prussians during the siege of Paris, was set on fire, according to the Prussian version, by a shell fired by the French from the fortress of Mont-Valérien. The Prussians who had no interest in defending a French building, destroyed by the French themselves, did nothing to prevent the fire and let the castle burn. However, the French claimed to have found in the ruins several traces of fuel. Fortunately, the Empress Regent Eugenie had ordered the removal of the most precious works of art to the furniture repository. Be that as it may, the city emerged almost completely destroyed from the war, only 21 houses remained standing. It was then necessary to rebuild it. At the start of the 20C, the very recent Coteaux district passed into posterity thanks to the resounding exploits of the balloonists of the Aéro-Club de France (at Rue Galilée Paris) , including Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Here is a break and advance by the City of Saint Cloud on its heritage in French: City of Saint Cloud on its heritage

Some general public transport and parkings of Saint Cloud:

There are strict regulations on parking from a  rotating zone the parking is payable from Monday to Friday from 9h to 19h and Saturday from 9h to 13h . In the resident area: parking is payable Monday to Friday from 9h. to 19h.  It is free on weekends, holidays and the month of August. The Parking spaces available are Colline: 1, place Georges-Clemenceau; Liberation: 5, rue Dailly, Joffre: Place Joffre ;Orleans: Rue d’Orléans; Quai Carnot: under the A13 viaduct; Tramway Parc de Saint-Cloud : Near the T2 station,  Marché des Avelines: 38, Bd de la République, Desfossez: Rue du Docteur-Desfossez. Mine always is in black.

The city is served by the SNCF (from Gare Saint Lazare), nine bus lines, the tramway, a municipal minibus service. The Metro in Boulogne-Billancourt, and taxis complete the transport offer. The prominent bus lines me think are the Line 52 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Opéra Garnier. Line 72 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Paris Hôtel de Ville, and line 471 Versailles Rive Droite station / Coteaux station. Noctilien night buses ,also goes through Saint-Cloud with the N53 Saint-Lazare / Nanterre Université RER line (Saint-Cloud Val d’Or station served every hour from 0h30 to 5h30 ). Then you have the tramway line 2 or T2
Pont de Bezons / Porte de Versailles  Parc de Saint-Cloud station with bus lines tranferts  52, 72, as above. By the Pont de Sèvres station metro line 9  located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the Saint-Cloud park; by the Boulogne – Pont de Saint-Cloud station of  metro line 10 of the Paris metro, also located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the center of Saint-Cloud; and by the Val d’Or station and the Saint-Cloud station located on lines L and U of the Transilien trains from Saint Lazare.

Now some of the things to see in this wonderful town are

The constructions of the decorator architect Louis Süe, see the villa de Jeanne Paquin done in 1912 at 33 rue du Mont-Valérien and the villa de Jane Renouardt at 2 rue de Buzenval which he built from 1924 to 1925 in the company of painters André Mare and Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier and the Compagnie des Arts français. The Jardin Stern garden, avenue Pozzo-di-Borgo: created in 1927 by Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, this terraced garden spanning the railway track. The Château de Pélican  is also a monument of the city.

It was in the national domaine de Saint-Cloud, also called Parc de Saint-Cloud, that the castle was located, the holiday residence of several French sovereigns. The French gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, have been preserved. More on this wonderful property more garden that most historians claimed on Louis XIV, he governed from Versailles, but his friends are entertained at Saint Cloud! See oficial webpage here in English. Domaine de Saint Cloud

And the Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on the castle in French: Hauts de Seine tourist office on the castle

Jardin des Tourneroches garden offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city , centered on the Eiffel Tower, embracing the Bois de Boulogne and Paris from the natural balcony of the hillsides. These lands have belonged since 1860 to the powerful family of Goyeneche, the Grande of Spain and the Dukes of Gamio. During these years the property was called Castel Gamio. The house, known as the Villa Tourneroches, was built in the 1930s. Doctor Débat bought the property located on either side of rue du Mont-Valérien; this area already carries a house, outbuildings and a garden fitted out at the beginning of the century; he razed the house and built his house, a caretaker’s house and a house near the station; it preserves the park, the outbuildings and the pre-existing dovecote.  This neo-medieval Church of Saint Clodoald dominates the center of the old town. It was rebuilt under the Second Empire by the architect Pierre-Félix Delarue, between April 1861 (laying of the first stone) and May 1863 (blessing), in place of the old collegiate church which housed the crypt containing the tomb apocryphal of Saint Clodoald. Inside the church, under the altar of the chapel dedicated to Saint Cloud, a shrine contains his relics. The Church Notre-Dame-des-Airs was built in 1919, owes its name to the memory of the frequentation of the it and area by aviation pioneers such as Santos-Dumont. Another spot dear to me because many times drove by it to avoid traffic on the A13 going to Paris!  This is the Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud racecourse . It was inaugurated on March 15, 1901, and is today a galloping racetrack, with a 2,300-meter grass track with rope on the left, which covers an area of ​​75 hectares. More on the racecourse from the Paris tourist office in English here: Paris tourist office on the Saint Cloud racecourse

The first Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge appeared in history in 841 during a conflict between Charles le Chauve and Lothaire I ,the sovereigns therefore crossed the Seine by boat, and the course was they will died. Well, François I having already died in Rambouillet, made his convoy paraded on the bridge and the embarrassing tradition was broken without risk, the king being already dead. The wooden bridge was then demolished and in 1556, his son Henri II built a magnificent bridge made up of eleven stone arches. Napoleon ordered its repair in 1808, it was 12.8 meters wide. It was then rebuilt in 1940 and widened to 30 meters, for a length of 186 meters. Copper-clad metal deck crosses the Seine in a single spray, simply placed on six rows of columns of reinforced concrete. In order to allow circulation along the quays, underground passages have been laid out on both banks. The Avre reservoirs are four reservoirs built between 1891 and 1938 to allow water to be stored before it is transported to Paris. This water is routed from the department of Eure-et-Loir thanks to a 102 km long aqueduct passing through the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge. At the Avenue de Longchamp, in Saint-Cloud, a bronze statue commissioned by the Air Club of France represents the character of Greek mythology Icarus, in honor of Santos Dumont. The monument is located in a square near the old Aeroestation of Saint-Cloud, where Santos-Dumont carried out its experiments on heavier than air, and the monument was inaugurated on October 19, 1913.

In October 2011, the town of Saint Cloud joined the “Imperial City” group, created jointly by the towns of Saint-Cloud, Rueil-Malmaison, Compiègne and Fontainebleau. The aim of this group is to enhance, from a tourist and cultural point of view, the Napoleonic heritage linked to the First and Second Empire. It must be said that in Saint-Cloud this heritage is very present with the Saint-Clodoald Church erected under the Second Empire, the house of the famous composer Charles Gounod dating from the 19C, and of course, the National Estate, witness to ‘a time when the Château de Saint-Cloud was one of the most prominent places in the country. There are other cities in Europe, the webpage is here for reference: Imperial cities on Saint Cloud

In 1929, Jean Cocteau entered the Saint-Cloud clinic for the second time trying to detoxify himself from opium. He took the opportunity to write Les Enfants terribles in 17 days. Also, some nice films I have enjoyed over time with some location here are from the 1955-56, Elena et les Hommes of Jean Renoir, at the Bois de Saint-Cloud; in 1966, Le Grand Restaurant of Jacques Besnard with Louis de Funès, with a scene in the park of Saint-Cloud.

Ok so all that , and what was that I came here often, almost every weekend while living in Versailles? Well, Le Savour Club went to the Les Chais du Savour St Cloud at 12 Bis Rue De Dailly was an extraordinary wine cellars where you buy the best of France and tasted before purchase. They held many wine tasting events and many pairings with delicious dinners and an experience crowd. We love it and could not resist driving here to be in it.  Several times we had our lunch just a bit below facing the Place Georges Clemenceau ,the Bistrot Le Saint Cloud at 2 Rue De Dailly , which I am afraid could not verifie if still open.I am sad to see ,it has now become more a beer place than wine, Craft Beers & Cie even if still keep the wine status in their store in Lille. See the new webpage here: The Savour Club Saint Cloud

saint cloud

Surely , memories forever, and as often the case nothing is eternal. The anecdote in all of this long post, is that for a great town, close to me never dwell into its things to see but went as an everyday resident/local for the wines and the occassional lunch and that it was. One more spot of my belle France that need to see more in depth time and health permitting. Hope you have enjoy the post, and maybe tell me about Saint Cloud yourselves.

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

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June 27, 2020

Getting around Rennes!!!

So why have I not posted on Rennes transports! Well ,it is only the capital of the region of Brittany/Bretagne and go often business and pleasure. I have not written a post on public transports or getting around or to Rennes in my blog, and its a shame. I will try to remedy that now even if it is a big task. Hoping not to leave anything out. And of course, that it will be useful to all. Therefore, here is my take on getting around Rennes!!!

First , let me give you a brief introduction on the city of Rennes as have already plenty on history and things to see elsewhere in my blog. Rennes is the capital of the Ille-et-Vilaine department 35 and of the Brittany region. The city is located in Upper Brittany at the confluence of the Ille and the Vilaine rivers, hence the dept name. It is about 308 km from Paris and is therefore offset from the Lille-Paris-Lyon-Marseille axis structuring the French territory. The city of Rennes covers 50 km2, including more than 8 km of green spaces and public gardens. To give further idea of its location ,it is ,also, 128 km from Angers, 210 of Brest, 154 km of Caen, 180 km of Quimper, and Le Havre is at 204 km, La Rochelle 220 km, Nantes 120 km, Saint Malo 63 km, Vitré 35 km, Redon 58k, Paimpont 37 km and from me it is at 129 km.

It is in Rennes that the Conference of the Cities of the Atlantic Arc was created in 2000.  The Conference of Cities of the Atlantic Arc is a network of local authorities which works with different institutions to highlight the role of the cities of the Atlantic Arc in Europe. Its hq is at Rennes, more here: Atlantic Cities as Rennes

The city is very easily accessible as it is located at the crossroads of a star network of expressways. If you’re driving, Rennes is three and a half hours away from Paris via the A11 and A81. As usual we took the D16 out to the D117 and on the N24 to Rennes coming into the city by the N24. Even on market day,  but were able to find street parking for the day for two euros at rue Legraveren off rue Saint Malo. Other times we parked by the train station Gare Sud  which is great several floors of parking, we stay for about 3 hours and only paid 3,80€  or the market Lices underground.  In terms of road transport, you have the  RN 157 to the east towards Vitré, Laval, Le Mans and Paris. The RN 137 south to Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux. The RN 24 to the west towards Vannes, Lorient and Quimper. The RN 12 north-west towards Saint-Brieuc and Brest. The RD 137 north towards Dinan, Dinard and Saint-Malo. The A84 north east towards Fougères, Caen, Rouen and Lille. The city is also served by three structuring roads being upgraded to 2 × 2 lanes such as the RD 163 in the south east towards Châteaubriant and Angers. The RD 177 south west towards Redon and Saint-Nazaire. The RD 175 north towards Saint-Aubin-d’Aubigné and Le Mont-Saint-Michel. All these roads connect to the Rennes Rocade or ring road which provides a complete motorway bypass of 31 km around the city.

Rennes

Paid C-Park car parks managed by Citédia: Arsenal, entrance by Boulevard de la Tour and Rue Pierre Abélard . Colombier entrance by Rue Plélo, Rue du Puits Mauger and Rue du Capitaine Maignan .Dinan Chezy,entrance by Rue du Louis d’Or. Charles de Gaulle-Gare entrance by  Rue d’Isly and Rue Yvonne Jean-Haffen. Gare Sud entrance by Rue Quineleu and Rue de l’Alma. Halles Centrale entrance by Place Honoré Commeurec. Hoche,entrance by Place Hoche. Kennedy-Villejean entrance by Rue du Bourbonnais.  Kléber,entrance by Rue Kléber. Les Lices (market) entrance by Place des Lices(market), and Vilaine entrance by Quai Duguay Trouin and Quai Lamennais. There is also, the parc relay which allow you to come by car on the outside and come to city center in public transports, these are Dinan Chezy, Les Lices, Hoche, Vilaine, Kleber, Charles de Gaulle-Gare, and Colombier.

More on these parkings here: C Park parkings Rennes

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The LGV/TGV Brittany, takes you from the train station or Gare de Rennes to Paris Montparnasse in about 190 minutes (taken several times) ,and 45 minutes from Le Mans by TGV. Rennes is also accessible from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport , Massy TGV,  and Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland). It is also a multimodal transport node with the connection of the bus network and the metro. Rennes train station is also at the center of the peri-urban TER network of the Rennes urban area. There are also two other stations on the town’s territory: Rennes-Pontchaillou near the Pontchaillou hospital (memories there with my dear late wife Martine) and Rennes 2 university, on the Rennes – Saint-Malo line, and Rennes-La Poterie train station located southeast of the city on the Rennes – Châteaubriant line.

Gare de Rennes: SNCF gare de Rennes

TER gare de Rennes: TER SNCF trains of Rennes

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rennes

Another airport that I have used is the Rennes airport located at Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande .Just an hour away from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Taking just 90 minutes, you can also enjoy direct flights to Rennes from a number of major European cities such as London, Southampton, Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester, Dublin, Cork, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome, etc. The Rennes-Saint-Jacques airport is a mere 20 minutes (7 km ) away from the city center, take the bus C6 or a taxi. More info here: Rennes airport

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For your trips throughout the metropolis, the STAR network offers a metro line, 150 bus lines, relay parks, several bicycle rental services, a car-sharing app and, to link it all, the STAR app. It has a metro line, 150 bus lines (70 regular lines and 80 school lines), which serve the 43 towns of the Rennes metropolis. More info here: Star Rennes transport network

Rennes

The KorriGo Services card allows you to load all STAR transport tickets (bus, metro, Star self-service bicycle) as well as TER Bretagne and BreizhGo tickets. How to get one here can be translated : Star network Korrigo transport card

The metro runs (except summer period): Monday to Wednesday from 5h15 to 0h45; Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 0h25; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5h15 am to 01h45 am; Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 01h25, Sundays and public holidays from 7h25 to 0h45 and Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 0h25. The metro line connects the Pottery to J.F. Kennedy and serves 15 stations. Among them, 4 stations are in the immediate vicinity of Parcs Relais parkings.  The pdf file metro map here: Metro map

Public transports for the region of Brittany  can be found at Breizhgo here: Brittany public transports planner Breizhgo

Rennes tourist information centre ,main at 1 rue Saint-Malo, tel +33 (0) 891 67 35 35 Email : infos@tourisme-rennes.com

A new phenomenon taken place here and elsewhere in France, is the bike ride. So here is general information for it as I have not try it.

The bicycle express network consists mainly of cycle links located between Rennes and the towns of the first belt, and will serve 80% of the inhabitants of Rennes Métropole. The Maison du vélo  or Bike House will open at the multimodal exchange hub of Rennes during 2020. This place of nearly 180 m2 will offer the services already offered on rue du Puits-Mauger which are temporarily installed in the Colombier district, rue du Puits-Mauger, pending final opening in the future station, in 2020.  The Maison du vélo will be complemented by an itinerant Maison du vélo (an equipped bus), which will circulate throughout the metropolis, as well as by the opening of 3 service centers in the Poterie, Saint-Jacques-Gaîté and Cesson-ViaSilva. Pedestrians and cyclists will have priority in a sector contained between rue de l’Hotel Dieu to the north, boulevard de la Liberté to the south, boulevard de Chézy to the west and the Guillaudot / Gambetta axis to the east. the establishment of a meeting area in place of the current area 30. The principles of the meeting area are as follows: 20 km / h maximum with priority from the weakest to the strongest, possibility for pedestrians to move on the road, and for cyclists to circulate in both directions. The City of Rennes will experiment with its first bike ride between Place Pasteur and Place de Bretagne. The north quays such as Chateaubriand, Lamartine and Duguay Trouin  will be reserved for cyclists (two-way cycling) and for waterfront services. Concretely, the quai Lamartine will be closed to general traffic (immediate waterfront access, deliveries and emergency vehicles only), while waterfront services and parking will be maintained on the qaui Chateaubriand  (mandatory exit by rue Jean Jaurès, rue Edith Cavell, Place du Parlement and Rue Victor Hugo) and the Quai Dugay Trouin (access maintained by rue de la Monnaie, rue de Clisson, rue Dugesclin, rue de l’Horloge and rue de Rohan). More info here : Star network on bikes in Rennes

Also, bike parks to be found at the C Park parking site: C Park parkings see Vélos or Bikes

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As noted in my last visit to the city before the virus, traffic has increase enormously with heavy lock down all over similar to the situation in Paris. Either cars will be out totally or chaos will reign as with the number of persons, one cannot eliminate roads without alternative solutions.

The city of Rennes on parkings roads transports etc in French: City of Rennes Metropole on transports

Rennes tourist office on things to see: Rennes tourist office on things to see

And there you go folks, hope it helps you getting around and to Rennes, the capital of Brittany, my region. As well , to see Rennes a wonderful city as evidence by my many posts on it. Hope you enjoy it

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

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