Archive for July 16th, 2020

July 16, 2020

Brest and its bridges!

And now in my lovely Finistére dept 29 of my beautiful Bretagne and the nice city of Brest. A mariners’ dream and many visits many posts but always something left out. This time I like to tell you about the bridges of Brest we have crossed many times and even walked it!

The Pont de Recouvrance is a lifting bridge which crosses the Penfeld, in Brest. Dominating the arsenal and the military port, it connects the bottom of the rue de Siam to the district of Recouvrance, replacing the swing bridge or National bridge destroyed in 1944 by the Allied bombings. The new bridge was inaugurated on July 17, 1954, it was for a long time the largest lifting bridge in Europe. Each pylon, built in reinforced concrete, is 70 meters high. The current mobile steel span, installed in 2011, is 88 meters long, 15 meters wide, and weighs 625 tons.


A wonderful bridge that we have walked with careful attention of the tramways and taken the wonderful cable car just fun times at Brest!


The Imperial or National Bridge (depending on the period) known as the big bridge inaugurated on June 23, 1861, collapsed in the river in September 1944, during the Allied bombings for the liberation of Brest from the Nazi occupation. The piles of the swing bridge remain in the state of vestiges! Even before the signing of the Nazi capitulation on May 8, 1945, the national authorities had decided to rebuild two bridges, one fixed over which the national road N12 would pass, this will be the Pont de l’Harteloire, and the other, mobile , in the heart of the city, intended for local service, this will be the Recouvrance bridge. The bridge was started in February 1950, and the official inauguration on July 17, 1954.


The Recouvrance bridge was redeveloped as part of the work for the future Brest tramway: in July 2011, the current span was installed on August 22, 2011, as part of the work for the installation of the first tramway line. The night of March 21 to 22, 2012, a first tramway train crossed the new deck. Since 2016, an urban cable car has provided the connection in 3 minutes, offering a very beautiful view of the harbor and the city. Great ride indeed!

brest pont de recouvrance castle side nov13

You have great views from the Jardin des explorateurs or explorers’ gardens. From this point of view, you will be able to discover the Château de Brest, the entrance to the harbor and the military Arsenal port from another angle, as well as the bridge. This place also offers a magnificent collection of plants brought back from the four corners of the world by the famous navigator, Bougainville ( and name of a great flower tree!). Great views indeed.

We were impressed by the bridge going to Brest over the rade on the RN165, the pont de l’Iroise. Great masterpiece of architecture, and always wonderful to see it and know you have arrived just in Brest!


The Pont de l’Iroise bridge spans the Elorn river between Le Relecq-Kerhuon and Plougastel-Daoulas (see posts) on the highway (voie express) RN165 which links Brest to Quimper and further into Nantes. Among the cable-stayed bridges, it has the third largest main span in France, behind the Normandy bridge and the Saint-Nazaire bridge and before the Millau viaduct. Its architecture, its elegance and its insertion in a classified site earned it the National Gold Ribbon Award in 1995. To contemplate this 800 meters long construction, you just have to go to the pont Albert- Louppe, now reserved for pedestrians, two-wheelers and slow vehicles, after having parked your car in one of the car parks provided for this purpose.

Brest pont de l'iroise passing bridge car nov12

Built between 1991 and 1994, it replaced the old Albert-Louppe bridge, located nearby and in parallel, which is today reserved for the circulation of cycles and pedestrians. The pont de l’Iroise is a cable-stayed bridge, the deck of which is directly supported by a series of cables. It is 800 meters long, and 400 meters separate the two pylons. When it entered service in July 1994, the bridge held the world span record. The bridge was inaugurated on July 12, 1994.

To enjoy it on foot you go to either the Moulin Blanc or you leave from the old bridge(Louppe). From Moulin Blanc, walk along the beach to the old bridge. You will then be able to go underneath while going towards the greenery. Then head to Le Relecq Kerhuon. When you turn around, you will have a superb view of the bridge. The passage from the Moulin Blanc to the old bridge also reveals some well sheltered coves which allow you to enjoy the calm sunrise.

Brest port de moulin blanc nov12

The tourist office of Brest has a nice picture of the Pont de Recouvrance and the cable car in French here: Tourist office of Brest on les capucins site

The tourist office of Brest on the Moulin Blanc marina the start the walk on the Pont de l’Iroise in French: Tourist office of Brest on Moulin Blanc marina

And there you go now the wonderful bridges of Brest are better serve in my blog. Its always nice as said to drive into Brest over the Iroise and to walk over the Recouvrance! Hope you enjoy the post.

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

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July 16, 2020

Fine arts at Rennes!

Well going back again looking at my earlier work in my blog realise there are many monuments sites missing in my blog or just barely small print passing by. Pity. It was the rush of early blog writing. I have use this period of relatively calm and confinement to look at these. Found out there are a bunch so lots of good material to complement my history of travels in my blog. Hope you can use it and enjoy it too.

Let me tell you now about the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes or Fine Arts Museum of Rennes. Rennes is in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine of my beautiful Bretagne.

The Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes at 20 quai Emile Zola is open from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10h to 17h. Saturdays and Sundays from 10h to 18h. Closed Mondays and Holidays. You can reach it in town with metro line A stop République. Or by Bus stop Musée beaux arts on lines C4, C6, 40ex, 50, 64, 67, and N and bus stop Lycée Zola on line 12. Parking is available at parking C-Park Kléber at rue Kléber, and bike or Vélo STAR station avenue Janvier with spaces for bike parking in front of museum.

Rennes mus beaux arts front door oct12

The musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes is, like most museums in France, a revolutionary creation. Constituted in 1794 from works seized from religious and civil buildings in the city, like most museums in France. However, the museum of fine arts derives most of its wealth from the fabulous cabinet of curiosities of Christophe-Paul de Robien, President of the Parliament of Brittany. This encyclopedic collection was one of the richest in Europe: paintings, sculptures, Egyptian, Greek and above all Celtic antiques, works of art from all continents, as well as an exceptional set of drawings where Leonardo da Vinci rubs shoulders, with Botticelli, Dürer and Rembrandt.

Between 1801 and 1811, deliveries from the State supplement the initial fund and bring works of primary importance, stemming from Parisian revolutionary confiscations and the conquests of the French armies that the Muséum Central du Louvre (current Louvre) could no longer contain. Thus, great masterpieces illustrating the different European painting schools enter the collection: Véronèse, Persée delivering Andromède, Rubens, La Chasse au tigre or Le Brun with the gigantic Descent from the Cross in the chapel of Versailles. The installation in 1855 of the museum in a new building also housing the University raises significant donations and legacies.

Damaged by WWII, the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes was the subject of a renovation in 1957, accompanied by an active policy of acquisitions which brought the collection into modernity: the Impressionists with Gustave Caillebotte, Les Périssoires and the Pont-Aven School, Emile Bernard, L’Arbre jaune, Paul Sérusier, Solitude and the Blue Navy by Georges Lacombe. For twenty years, the museum has built up a group representative of the various artistic trends of the 20C, for which there are some masterpieces: Frantisek Kupka, Bleus Movants, Pablo Picasso, Baigneuse à Dinard, Louis Marcoussis, La Gare de Kérity and Le Port de Kérity, Yves Tanguy, L’Inspiration, etc.

Rennes mus beaux arts oct12

If its solemn architecture impresses the visitor, it is because the musée des Beaux-Arts was originally designed to house a university palace. Today, the museum of fine arts tries to make forget this very official atmosphere by a presentation of its more intimate collections, where the bright colors of the walls warm the space.  At the same time, large rooms with very high ceilings allow the exhibition of large format works. The visitor is led from Egyptian Antiquity to contemporary art by a succession of rooms where masterpieces succeed other more discreet works which nevertheless know how to say their beauty to the attentive amateur.

More on the interior description of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes.

The Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes has an encyclopedic vocation, since its collections cover both European paintings and sculptures from the 14C to the 20C, works of art from Europe, but also from Africa and America, than regional, Roman, Etruscan, Greek and Egyptian antiquities. More than all the other sectors of the collection, the cabinet of drawings owes a lot to the president Robien. There is also, stamps andn works of arts; this fund, very diverse, includes pieces coming from French-speaking Africa, white and black since the 18C, from Asia Minor or Far East, but also America from the Arctic Circle to the South Tropic as well as Oceania The 15C is notably represented by a painting by Mariotto di Nardo and especially by two panels of the primitive Italian Lippo di Benivieni from the same polyptych. The 16C has some major works. The Venetian school is the best represented. The 17C sculpture is mainly represented by the large bas-reliefs by Antoine Coysevox which once adorned the pedestal of the Monument to Louis XIV erected on the Place du Palais in Rennes by the Estates General of Brittany and melted during the French revolution. The golden age of Spain was absent from the Rennes collections until the purchase in January 2014 of an important youth work by José de Ribera, Saint Jude Thaddée (circa 1609-1610), acquisition completed in 2015 by the gift of another painting from the first period of the Spanish master, a Saint Matthew from the same series as the first. The museum exhibits paintings dating from the 18C to the first half of the 19C, works by Camille Corot, Eugène Boudin, Gustave Caillebotte ,Paul Sérusier ,and Maurice Denis amongst others.

Some webpages to help you in your visit are

Official Fine Arts Museum of Rennes on individual visits in English: Fine Arts Museum of Rennes practical info

The tourist office of Rennes on the Fine Arts Museum of Rennes in English: Tourist office of Rennes on the Fine Arts museum

And there you go another beautiful historical monument of this time my Bretagne. Worth the detour while in town. We go often, several posts but missed this one , now remedy me think. Hope it helps you appreciated and visit the Fine Arts Museum of Rennes.

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

July 16, 2020

Saint Malo and the sea!

Well again written several posts on Saint Malo but feel very little on one of its biggest attraction the sea and the beaches. And they are plenty and beautiful here if only can have more time.

Saint Malo is in north Bretagne in the department 35 of Ille et Vilaine and about 155 km from my house or a bit over 2 hrs. Let me tell you a bit more of this city of corsairs.

Saint-Malo is the main port on the north coast of Bretagne. It is 18 km from Dinan, 75 km from Rennes and 404 km from Paris. It constitutes the north-western part of Clos Poulet, a wide peninsula bounded by the Rance, the Manche and the Châteauneuf depression. At the northeast end of Clos-Poulet is Cancale, which closes the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel to the west. The Clos-Poulet coastline is part of the côte d’Émeraude or Emerald Coast, which stretches from Cancale to Cape Fréhel.   The neighboring towns of Saint-Malo are, Saint-Coulomb, Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, Saint-Jouan-des-Guérets, on the left bank of the Rance, Dinard, La Richardais and Pleurtuit.

The tides in the bay of Saint-Malo are among the highest in Europe. They are caused by the concentration of water in the heart of a triangular bay between Bretagne and Cotentin peninsula. At most, the tidal range (amplitude between low tide and high tide) can reach 14 meters, more than double the ordinary tidal range in the Atlantic ocean. It is for this reason that the dam of the tidal power plant was built on the Rance estuary, upstream of the intramural of Saint-Malo in the early 1960s. Here, the sea offers you a different landscape at all times, swept twice a day by the back and forth of the tide. During the full moon or the new moon, the attraction is at its peak. The tidal coefficients generally exceed 100. Every six months, near each equinox (March-April and September-October), the tides are even stronger. These are the famous tides of equinox long awaited by fishermen on foot, because the sea recedes particularly far. But they are also very much feared by the residents of the seaside because the risks of flooding at the time of the high sea are frequent.

The most famous events in the city of Saint-Malo are associated with nautical races: the start of the Route du Rhum, a solo transatlantic sailboat race, takes place every four years, and the arrival of the Transat Quebec -Saint-Malo with crew which also takes place every 4 years. Saint-Malo also hosts occasional nautical events such as the start of the Course des Grands Voiliers (formerly the Cutty Sark) in 2012 or smaller ones such as the Raid des Corsaires in the bay of Saint-Malo. In the area, there is also a second-hand nautical fair, Saint-Malo à la Hune.

Saint Malo

Saint-Malo is an active trading port, the second largest trading port in Bretagne. It is made up of four basins, the Vauban basin, the Duguay-Trouin basin, the Jacques-Cartier basin and the Bouvet basin.

Saint Malo

There are two pleasure boat marinas. One is the Port de Plaisance des Sablons , Port des Sablons, Terre plein sud. Open in high season 7h – 21h. Low season 8h15 – 12h15 and 13h45 – 17h30.

Saint Malo

And the Port de Plaisance Vauban, in the Vauban basin handle by the chamber of commerce and industry of Sain Malo-Fougéres. Port Vauban marina: 225 berths on 3 wharfs and neighboring wharves 50 visitor berths All distances allowed. More info here: Tourist office of St Malo on Vauban marina

Saint Malo

There will be a nice museum worth waiting for and visit. The Musée d’Histoire Maritime de Saint-Malo or maritime history museum , which is schedule to open its doors to the public in 2022. Strong themes carried by 1704 objects and works of art, an exceptional location vis-à-vis the intramural and ramparts, at on the edge of the Duguay-Trouin basin and a stone’s throw from the beach, modern and sober architecture in visual and physical dialogue with the city and the port. You can take a peek in the youtube video below:

Two nice quant rides you can take in the bay fun for the whole family and use as a boat touristic tour (we love it) are

Captain taxi : All year round, From Dinard or from St Malo, embark with family and friends to discover the history and maritime landscapes of the Emerald Cost and Rance Valley. For a quick trip, the water taxi operates fast cruise services between Dinard, Saint-Malo, Cézembre Island and Ebihens Island. More info on the tourist office of Saint Malo here: Tourist office of Saint Malo on Captain Taxi

Taxi Boat : Join Dinard, Saint-Malo or Saint-Servan safely and without congestion!   Shuttle to the island of Cézembre. Discover its beaches, its beautiful promenade and stop at the corsair restaurant . More info on the tourist office of Saint Malo here: tourist office of Saint Malo no Taxi boat

Not to be outdone ,there are very good beaches here, we have our favorites over the times coming here. The plage de Bon Secours,right in the middle area from intra muros and a wonderful pool with diving deck right in the ocean! The plage du Mole is a bit secluded under the remparts and our favorite for its sandy white sand and tranquil waves. And the plage de l’Eventail is nice just below the chateau with a large cafe on beachside. Grand plage or plage du Sillon , 3 km long, extends from the city within the city to the tip of Rochebonne.

Saint Malo

There are 10 secure beaches at St Malo including those above, these are:

The plage de Bon Secours beach is accessible by the ramparts and the fortified town. 3 km long, it is the largest sandy beach in Saint-Malo. Along this beach, you can reach Intra-Muros in Paramé. Plage du Sillon includes the Grande plage, Hoguette beach and Rochebonne beach.

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

Located in the Paramé district, between Hoguette beach and Pont beach, Rochebonne beach is as much appreciated by families as passing visitors

Minihic Beach stretches west of Pointe de Rochebonne, between Paramé and Rothéneuf. Its location below a small cliff, offers the beach a slightly wilder and more green setting.

Sheltered by the ramparts, this sandy beach is located opposite the Fort National and at the very beginning of the Sillon, the Grande Plage de Saint-Malo. It is accessible from the ramparts by the Porte Saint-Thomas or by the Sillon. Fort National, built in 1689, is accessible at low tide. Further offshore, on the right, you will see the Fort de la Conchée, both built on the plans of Vauban, chief architect of King Louis XIV.

Saint Malo

Located at the entrance to the Rothéneuf district, in continuation of the Minihic beach, Pont beach offers a pleasant setting with easy access. This fine sandy beach opens onto the bay of Saint-Malo with the silhouette of the corsair city and Cap Fréhel as a background. By taking the coastal path at the end of the beach, you can reach Pointe de la Varde in just a few minutes.

Near the Bas Sablons marina, the Bas Sablons beach offers a beautiful panorama of the Cité Corsaire. The dike was built to protect the marina and offers a superb view of the Cité Corsaire.

Located in the continuity of the large Sillon beach, the Hoguette beach is located in front of the Thalassotherapy center of Saint-Malo. at its end you will find the nautical base and the sand yachting and surf school.

Val Beach is located at the foot of the residential district of Rothéneuf. This beautiful stretch of fine sand offers a pleasant plant environment appreciated by families.

The plage de Môle is protected from the winds by the pier which shelters the port, and oriented to the west, it is a very pleasant sandy beach for swimming, and therefore very popular in summer. The dike, called Môle des Noires, is a jetty 500 meters long.

Saint Malo

Some webpages on the beaches of Saint Malo to help you plan your visit and is a must are

My fav site plages tv on the beaches of Saint Malo in English: Plages tv on beaches of St Malo

The city of Saint Malo on its beaches in French: City of Saint Malo on its beaches

The tourist office of Saint Malo on its beaches in English: Tourist office of St Malo on its beaches

And there you go folks I feel better telling you the sea and beach side of wonderful Saint Malo in my lovely Bretagne. It is worth the detour for its monuments but in season can’t missed those beaches! They can match any in the world!!!

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

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