Archive for July 9th, 2020

July 9, 2020

Notre Dame Cathedral , Update July2020!

So here I am back on the subject of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. Not back since my last update in Nov19! but things are moving again after the covid19.  There is a lot of work to go but the final date of 2024 has been kept and promise for the reopening!

Let me give you the latest on Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, France, Europe, the World.

The dismantling of the scaffolding of the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris, deformed and welded by the heat of the cathedral fire in April 2019, began this past Monday Around 9h45, workers began to climb inside the scaffolding, via an elevator. This scaffolding, made up of 40,000 pieces, of 200 tonnes half of which is more than 40 meters high, was first consolidated and then surrounded by metal beams on three levels to stabilize it and prevent any risk of collapse. A second scaffolding has been put in place and from this past Monday, two alternating teams of five rope access technicians will descend as close as possible to the burnt out parts to cut, using saber saws, the metal tubes melted one on top of the other .They will be evacuated with an 80 meter crane. This operation will take place throughout the summer.

The President Macron has acquired the conviction that the cathedral must be restored to its original state, the Élysée said Thursday evening, after a meeting of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture (CNPA), bringing together elected officials, experts and architects of the site. This Thursday afternoon, the members of the National Commission for Heritage and Architecture, a consultative and scientific body, all voted for an identical restoration of the spire. At the opening of the debates, General Georgelin, president of the public establishment of Notre-Dame, had also revealed to them the new intentions of the president. In the morning, the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, had also spoken of a consensus around the arrow!.

Part of the roof as well as the 13C framework must also be rebuilt. For these two structuring elements, President Emmanuel Macron will not give his opinion. The president leaves it to the experts to decide which materials will be chosen,” adds the Élysée. Commission asked for oak frame and argued for lead roofing.

The president trusted the experts and pre-approved the outline of the project presented by the chief architect Philippe Villeneuve, which plans to reconstruct the spire identically,” said the Elysee. This project globally proposes a restoration of the cathedral and its spire in the manner closest to its state just before the fire that occurred on the evening of April 15, 2019. The CNPA “unanimously approved the proposed restoration party consisting in restoring the architecture of Viollet-le-Duc, with regard to the cover and the spire while respecting the original materials”

Regarding the frame, on which there was debate, an upcoming study will specify exactly the contours of its reconstruction which will be made of wood. “If there is a contemporary gesture, it can be there”, according to the presidency, which also recalls the project of an ephemeral structure, of a “building site museum” which could be installed in the courtyard of the Hôtel-Dieu , near the cathedral.

Postponed due to confinement, the delicate dismantling of the scaffolding that surrounds Notre-Dame, deformed and welded by the heat of the fire, will be completed “at the latest in September”, assured General Georgelin a week ago . This dismantling conditions the possibility of starting the actual restoration of Notre-Dame. The president is still planning a reconstruction in five years with a reopening in 2024. There will be beautiful pages of debates, no doubt less Homeric, will still be written on Notre-Dame. But in 2024, if the deadlines are met, the whole world should find the familiar silhouette of the monument General Jean-Louis Georgelin reaffirms that Notre-Dame should be able to open its doors again in April 2024.

As to the cause of the fire still is a mystery huh! I like this to move rather quicker but…I have spoken to several firemen there , here ,and other parts of France. Confirming what is written in the French press…

It is a long and complex investigation that fascinates even beyond its challenges. An extraordinary survey, the size of Notre-Dame de Paris. For months, the cathedral was the scene of an intense ballet led by experts from the central laboratory of the police headquarters and the best heritage specialists. One by one, the stones of the collapsed vault were examined, the rubble was sorted, the cables, the electric wires and even what was left of the cigarette butts found on the site were analyzed and some placed under seal. Site personnel, workers, cathedral employees, members of the clergy, residents, merchants … more than a hundred witnesses were heard by the police of the criminal brigade, responsible for discovering the causes of the disaster. Accident, act of anti-Christian vandalism, criminal track, terrorist attack? Everything has been considered. The craziest as the most hazy. To the point that several “conspiracy theories” quickly emerge!

The causes of the fire are only part of the problem. Another equally important part is the arrangements made to protect the site in particular and the cathedral in general. We note that they came under the Ministry of Culture and that its services were particularly weak. It is nevertheless strange that with the current means of investigation, the cause is “unknown”. It is therefore a safe bet that this is a well prepared attack from the Freemason government who wants to destroy any Catholic symbol in France. The presence of the rabbi after the destruction of the cathedral is strange to say the least, as are the laughs of Macron and his (now former) prime minister Philippe … The investigation is all the more difficult since the will to find is absent: A professional firefighter friend assured me that such old oak beams do not burn: they burn slowly. So there needed a combustion activator, an “energy”. The oxidizer being oxygen, and “energy” being activated, the frame burned down completely in an hour …Energy? A spark would not have been enough.   So the conclusion is obvious, but the omerta is in the media, and for good reason …It is indeed strange like some higher up is been protected!

I believe we might take more time in finding out than in rebuilding the Notre Dame Cathedral; time will tell. IN the meantime, we are moving on and on schedule!!!

For reference official webpage of Notre Dame Cathedral in French: Notre Dame de Paris

And you will be able to see an identical Cathedral in 2024 maybe the month will change but 2024 will be it. Thankfully, in time for the Paris Olympics!!!

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

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July 9, 2020

Getting around Cholet!

So , we decided to re-visit Cholet in the département no. 49 of the Maine-et-Loire in the région of Pays de la Loire. This is a historical town of very much links to the Vendéen wars against the French revolution. In what was the Anjou area. It is a very pleasant town and plenty to see and of course great walking

And as usual, I went by auto; taken the N165 direction Nantes hooking up direct to the N844  direction Poitiers/Angers ,on exit sortie 44 porte de Vignobles  linking with the N249 direction Poitiers  exit 38 and into the D753 that takes you into Cholet Centre or city  center. However, before going into city center we got around and parked first off street parking at Bd Guy Chouteau to see a church (more of this later) and then move on to the covered market by place du Huit Mai 1945 square (more of this later) and then move on for lunch by the Place Travot (more of this later). In all very easy by car and walks on site to minimize fatigue. In and out of Cholet is very easy.

Other parkings are Arcades Rougé (see shopping center post), Travot and Mondement, as well as closed parkings of Prisset, Mail , and Turpault. However, the covered market or Les Halles is a very good spot to park as well when the market is not on.

There is a bus terminal or Gare Routiére at Boulevard du Général Faidherbe, the local network here Choletbus : Choletbus network of buses


However, right by rue Travot next to the Hôtel de Ville agglo and Parc François Tharreau (more of this later) you have an excellent bus depot of lines 1-6 and others passing by which we saw but of course never tried it. Just for information.

cholet gare routiere hotel de ville depot jul20

The train station or Gare de Cholet located at 2 place du 77eme Régiment d’Infanterie. It has been totally re done and it looks very modern with all amenities of course never tried it here. Just for information.


More on these official webpages :

Gare SNCF of Cholet: Gare de Cholet train station

TER trains on CholetTER Pays de la Loire on Cholet


The Nantes Atlantique airport is within an hour so they say as never taken it from here just for information.   Airport of Nantes in English here: Nantes Atlantique airport

The webpage site Destinéo tells you itineraries and schedules of public transport in the region available in English: Destineo public transport tool

There is a connected public transport site Aleop for the Pays de la Loire region in French here: ALEOP Pays de la Loire public transports

You can, also, rent bikes or vélos to ride in the city, but did not saw anybody doing this while we were there on weekdays. The rental locations are  – Casavélo Tél : 02 41 62 08 41,  Culture Vélo Tél : 02 41 65 70 40, Cycles Bouyer Giant Cholet Tél : 02 41 28 53 39, and Cycles Chauvière Tél : 02 41 65 15 03. Again for information as never done it.

As you can tell, this is close to me at less than 2 hrs so we move by car very convenient and always easy parking even on street like in Cholet. The cost is 40 cents per hour if need to pay because if come between 12h and 14h is free as well as the first hour at other times. Then once in there, you can walk all over great fun indeed, the best combination!

City of Cholet on practical informationCity of Cholet on practical information

Hope you enjoy the post and see the coming posts on nice Cholet in the Maine et Loire 49niners! We again enjoy it even if this time there was one dear late wife Martine not with us physically.

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

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July 9, 2020

Wines news of France IIII !!

Well here I am again on one of my hobbies wines! And getting the habit of it, this might be the beginning of a new series already on its 4th version without counting the many others not numbered over my blog. Hope you enjoy the posts, with moderation but en vino veritas!!

A fun and above all free activity for young holidaymakers in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The Cité du Vin de Bordeaux has decided to offer to people under 18 free until August 31.

In compliance with the sanitary rules provided for by the coronavirus – including the wearing of a mask from 11 years old , the establishment has announced the possibility for juniors accompanying their parents, upon request at reception, to come and discover its permanent route as well as the Belvedere.

With 3,000 m², the Permanent Route includes nearly ten hours of content from twenty different interactive themes relating to culture and heritage around the theme of the vine in the region and its many vineyards, accompanied by a digital guide to discover the different stories. The terroir table, a tactile table with 50 winemakers from ten regions of the world trusting in their work and anecdotes, the “e-vine” area to learn how professionals select grape varieties, prune vines, take care of their grapes and their harvests or “around the world of vineyards” with the representation of many landscapes are part of the different spaces making up the route. Everything is in place to put yourself in the shoes of a winemaker or a wine merchant. Finally, head to the 8th floor of the establishment to go to the Belvedere which, 35 meters high, offers a 360-degree view of the city and its surroundings and sip organic reason juice. For health reasons, adults are invited to book their tickets online.

More info at La Cité du Vin – 134 Quai de Bacalan 33300 Bordeaux . Open every day from 10h to 19h. More info here: La Cité du Vin Bordeaux

Worth mentioning, the surges of solidarity towards the nursing staff multiplied during confinement and continue beyond. Thus, the Maison Ruinart announced last Friday that it was joining the united and unifying operation “A table, les soignants !” or at the table, the carers!, Launched by chef Arnaud Donckele, chef of the triple-star restaurant La Vague d’Or, at the Hôtel Cheval Blanc Saint-Tropez, supported in particular by LVMH, Cheval Blanc, and the Michelin Guide. Created out of generosity and as a sign of recognition by restaurateurs, this national initiative consists of an invitation to an establishment for each caregiver, accompanied by the person of their choice. During the summer season, the champagne house founded in 1729 offers professionals in the medical world, twenty tables for two , after registering the dedicated platform for two professionals per week to taste the brunch made by Valérie Radou, chef en residence, at Maison Ruinart in Reims. As a sign of recognition, Ruinart has also decided to make a case of bottles of Ruinart’s cuvée R available to partner establishments of the house and participants in the operation to offer a cup to the caregivers present on the premises. More info here: A Table les Soignants info site

The French are crazy about gin. The proof again with Thomas and Charlotte Jourdan, founders of the young brand Malouin’s. They are found in Brittany. In their 4×4 with camouflage interior, they take us to the ramparts of Saint-Malo. Facing a turquoise sea we go, wicker basket in the bend of the elbow, picnic of crustaceans and a loaf of fresh bread. Following star chef Roellinger’s recipe, Thomas pours a centiliter of his gin into an oyster, accompanied by a round of pepper mill and a few drops of lemon. They use juniper, of course, coriander and their flagship ingredient, seaweed, kombu, kelp and sea spaghetti, which is collect by hand on the beach at Rochebonne. Add to that yuzu and orange for balance, and that’s it. A heady iodized scent that makes it a strong alcohol and pure seafood! In 2018, after seven years together at the head of the Bistrot de Louise et Manon and a whole life anchored in Neuilly-sur-Seine (92), near Paris, the duo, as a couple in the city as on the scene, decided to sell the establishment and change of life, the frantic pace becoming difficult to reconcile with two children to raise Among them, the upcoming release of their apple gin, based on apple alcohol, or the opening of the first distillery in Saint-Malo intra- muros. And then, finally, they think about growing their own junipers, and making Malouin’s gin a real product of local crafts. Malouins gin Breton more info here: Malouins Gin St Malo

In the Basque Country, the 39 winegrowers on 50 hectares of the Irouleguy appellation have suffered from the health crisis. Indeed as many but I am drinking Irouleguy right now, so help is on its way! “50% of our activity is based on cafes and restaurants. It therefore found itself nullified for two months due to covid19. We also had a very noticeable drop in mass distribution because people went to entry-level products. Even there, we lost 70% of market share”. From now on, the Irouleguy winery, which produces 500,000 bottles per year and represents 60% of the AOC, focuses on the return of French and even foreign tourists. “The Nordic populations, from Belgium and even higher, are big fans of our wines,” says the director general. Christophe Mazaud, directeur général de la cave coopérative Irouleguy at Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). More on the cellars in English here : Cave Irouleguy

Another region hurting even if less is Burgundy. Burgundy wines expect a “decent” decline in sales in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the end of April, sales posted a decline of only 2% in volume, and 8% in value. At the end of May, they should have fallen by 12% in exports but by 25 to 30% in France. More than half (56%) of Burgundy wines are exported, the first market being the United States (20% of total exports). Exports came close to a billion euros in 2019. Over the whole year, the drop in sales in value should be between 10% and “15-20%”. Burgundy, with 3,659 estates, represents 4% of the French vineyard but almost 9% of the turnover of French AOCs and 20% of their exports. explains Monday June 29 the president of the Interprofessional Office of Burgundy wines (BIVB), Louis-Fabrice Latour. More info in English here: Burgundy Wines

The first to announce their Fall Wine fairs! At supermarkets Système U, Hyper U and magasin U stores take place from September 29 to October 10, 2020. Système U , which includes Hyper U, Super U, and Magasin U stores offers a 2020 wine fair made up of 752 references, including 60 organic, biodynamic or HVE (High Environmental Value) wines. The offer is thus much narrower than last year (around 1,000 references) the range of wines available remains considerable and can cover 14 French wine regions, with a rich diversity of appellations. Bordeaux wines are in the majority among this 2020 wine fair catalog of U stores. The average price of a bottle on the brand’s catalog is 10.98€, which positions System U in a wine fair that tends to towards the middle range. The heart of the selection is displayed at prices between 5 and 10 euros.

Despite health constraints, the 1st edition of the Festival Vallée du Rhône en musique or the Rhône Valley Music Festival will be organized from July 31 to August 19, 2020. Under the artistic direction of Grégory Girard, cellist, and under the patronage of Frédéric Lodéon, it will be punctuated by eight concerts by songs or classical music in different sites or wine-growing areas: at the Château du Barroux (84, Mont ventoux), at the Domaine de la Palud (Orange), at the Château de la Croix Chabrières (Bollène), or at the Château de Suze-la-Rousse , where the festival will end on August 19. More info here: Vallée du Rhône en musique

To wrap up this post some overall information: The French vineyard produces 3,240 different wines for 1,313 different names in 80 departments and 16 major vineyards. The 16 French vineyards, with 3245 labeled wines (2959 AOC-AOP, 286 IGP), and the 25,000 French wine-growing towns!. La vie est belle; en vino veritas!

Some webpages that I have used over the years and never a faute are:

Hachette vins here :

The online Vinatis when not able to go direct you can have it in French, German, Italian and I have it in English; the prices are for delivery in France:

And my all time favorite, cannot even remember when I started shopping here for wines, liquors, porto etc and present in many towns in France lucky to have it here in Vannes and Lorient nearby. Nicolas wine stores more info in English, also in French and deliveries ok in Europe.

Even thus my first priority is to visit on site the vineyards and come back for more. Only in need time do I ordered online and sometimes stop by the store like the Nicolas. Hope It helps

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

July 9, 2020

L’église de la Trinité de Brélévenez,Lannion!

And why not continue a bit up north in my beloved Bretagne and stay on nice Lannion in the Côtes d’Armor dept 22. As said, need to give credit to these places that I have almost forgotten in my blog , so therefore time to remedy this omission. Let me tell you a bit more on the Church of the Trinity at Brélévenez, Lannion. or église de la Trinité de Brélévenez.

You go down a steep road , and you can get to the Church of the Trinity in Brélénevez. There is a stair with 142 steps downward that we did not took. This is a Roman style Church done at the end of the 12C to early 13C with rénovations to the 14C. There is a mise au tombeau from the 18C , portraits and statues of Saint Gilles and Saint Loup with a retable in marbre white and black in the altar.

However, let me give you a bit more on its architecture and history ok.

The Church of the Trinity of Brélévenez is located in the former village of Brélévenez, which has become a district of Lannion since 1961, The church is a remarkable witness to the architecture of transition between Romanesque and Gothic art. The Church of the Trinity is built on top of the Crec’h Tanet hill or fire hill overlooking the city. It is about 50 meters above sea level. It is reached from the city center by a staircase of 142 steps, bordered by houses on one side. It seems to have been built from the end of the 12C on 11C substructures. Construction began with the choir and the crypt, then continued with the nave. No archive background shedding light on the stages of construction and modifications of the church, the dates are based solely on stylistic analysis.


In the 13C, two side chapels forming a false transept were added to the long volume of the church. In the 14C, due to its dominant position, the church was fortified by Olivier V, Constable of Clisson, during the War of  Succession of Brittany . Jean IV, Duke of Brittany, brought in Philippe Le Hardi, Duke of Burgundy in order to obtain the demilitarization of the church to return it to worship . The fortifications built by Olivier de Clisson were dismantled, leading to the recovery of the walls of the nave. During the same period, the side aisles were taken over and the side chapels enlarged. The bell tower was built in the 15C. The choir was altered in the 17C to place the imposing Baroque altarpiece commissioned in 1660 by Count Pierre de Laval and his wife in the 18C. The chapel of Mont Carmel was built at the junction of the nave and the northern chapel. The sacristy was rebuilt in 1845 on the site of an older one, obstructing Romanesque windows .In the middle of the 19C, the staircase which connects the church to the lower town was rebuilt, weakened by the extraction of shale.


The large church is over 50 meters long. It has a Latin cross plan ending in an ambulatory choir with a single axial chapel. The two side chapels, built from the 13C, form a false transept ;without correspondence with the central, continuous volume, built from the end of the 12C. The north chapel is more important than the south chapel, creating an asymmetry. The most remarkable exterior part is the beautiful chevet from late 12C of pink granite, still Romanesque in its design with its buttresses formed by columns engaged with sculpted capitals, its modillions where heads can be distinguished despite the pronounced wear and its tall narrow semicircular windows. The south porch, in pink granite, also dates from the end of the 12C. The south side, reinforced with masonry buttresses, is pierced with Gothic windows with fillings. The south transept of green shale is pierced by a beautiful flamboyant window, moved from the north chapel during the construction of the sacristy in 1845.  The church is dominated to the west by a bell tower-porch in pink granite from the 15C . At the top, the recessed bell chamber is surmounted by an openwork octagonal arrow. Each of the two levels is surrounded by an open balustrade of three-lobed arcades.

The long nave of 11 travers spans wide including that of the bell tower, leads directly to the choir, without transept. Covered with painted paneling resting on sculpted sand pits, the long volume opens onto the aisles by broken arches resting on large round stacks. The crypt contains a remarkable polychrome Entombment from the 18C whose life-size figures are carved out of limestone. The church has five altarpieces. The back of the choir is occupied by a huge Baroque altarpiece which obscures the roundabout. Dating from 1660, it is built in tufa and adorned with black marble columns. Four other Baroque altarpieces from the 17C adorn the side chapels. In the south chapel, the Weavers’ Altarpiece frames a painting representing Pentecost. In the north chapel, an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Gilles and Saint Loup and the altarpiece of the brotherhood of the Trépassés, decorated with skulls. In the Chapel of Mont Carmel is a stucco altarpiece depicting the Virgin giving the scapular to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena.

The Church of the Trinity ,also houses three classified sculptures: Christ of the Links, 16C, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, 16C. Above the door of the sacristy, a beautiful 15C bas-relief depicts the Virgin as an orante surrounded by six Apostles, with traces of polychromy. The large rectangular font included in the wall to the left of the front door is an old 13C grain measure engraved with an inscription in Latin and reused. In the Chapel of Mont Carmel, the vase of the 15C baptismal font, decorated with the heads of angels and hammered escutcheons, was purchased from the parish of Plestin-les-Grèves in the 19C. The pulpit and the lectern date from the 18C. The organ case is a work by organ builder Jules Heyer, a pupil of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, made in 1862. It replaced the 17C organ destroyed during the French revolution. It was restored and extended in 1980 by Jean Renaud, from Nantes.

Some webpages in French but helps describe this beautiful monument even more are

L’association Sauvegarde du patrimoine Religieux En Vie (SPREV)  or the Association for the Safeguarding of Living Religious Heritage. SPREV on the Church of the Trinity in Brélévenez

The Paroisse de la Bonne Nouvelle Lannion Pleumeur-Bodou or Parish of the Good News Lannion Pleumeur-Bodou.  Parish of Lannion Pleumeur Bodou on Church of the Trinity of Brélévenez

And now I feel better to have in my blog this wonderful monument fully explain best I can. Hoping you enjoy visiting the Church of the Trinity at Brélévenez in Lannion.

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

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