Archive for November 11th, 2020

November 11, 2020

Vannes worth the stop in the Morbihan!!!

And back to my black and white series and my capital city of Vannes in the Morbihan Breton 56 of my lovely Bretagne and in my belle France. Of course, have written a lot on this wonderful town and this is updating one from the vaults. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

It was one of the multiple times, the family came to our capital city of Vannes. Do not get me wrong, I just don’t just come to Vannes alone, it is just so much fun for all of us. Of course, I work in the city so visit everyday but not with the family.

Vannes is unique that been with only about 55K inhabitants and about 13K university students is the city of the region. All is here, anything just like any big city in France.

Of course, we could not come here without stopping by the Cathédrale Saint Pierre, and basilica minor of the Roman Catholic Church, guarding the remains since 1419 of Father Vicente Ferrier who evangilise the area coming from Valencia , Spain. Now Saint Vincent Ferrier. You can even see a small statue of him in a window square against the walls of a house in the square or place Valencia where he lived.

We marvel of the Château Gaillard, now the museum of Archeology and History of Vannes, wonderful old castle all around is old, intact.  Another must, to walk along the ramparts, old castle in ruins, and the wonderful towers like tour Connetable and Prison, and Joliette. The moats and laundry or lavoirs of old, all beautifully done in spring fever, see those wonderful gardens of the Garenne.

Go Inside the covered market or marché couvert at pl des Lices, and see the wonderful produce, fish, meats, veggies, fruits, honeys, cheeses, you name it from local produce the best to you ,real French, what I came here for!!!! dynamite.

See the history before you as Vannes is the birthplace of Saint Emilion, yes , you got it the hermit that gave fame to a wine and a town in the Gironde down South!!! See it at the Courtine de la tour Joliette. Walk enjoy this wonderful town, full of shops over 700 of them all over the old city you find all,and nice, exhuberant old and nice nice….. Walk the short street of rue de la Bienfaisance, at No 3 before 1791 lived 3 duchesses of Brittany!!!! Isabeau d’Ecosse (Isabella of Scotland) , Françoise d’Amboise, and Catherine de Luxembourg.

We indulge ourselves in a nice small cup of chocolate fraisier of Alain Chartier chocolates, at pl des Lices. Master chocolatier and ice cream maker with store and school. webpage: https://www.alainchartier.fr/

Last but not least, we had to eat. So having been with friends to these joint, decided to bring the family this time. Saint-Exupéry is a brasserie/créperie at 14 rue des Halles, old area, nice buildings and shops all around you,and you can come in with terrace as we did by 8 Rue des Orfévres sitting in a nice square. Here we had the menu du jour for 11,20€ includes plat and dessert and drink but we had beer Affligem so opted out of the house wine. 3,30€ for the beer. galette of cheese, tomato ratatouille, and bacon; dessert was a crêpe framboise, and we added coffee for 1,60€ each. Service was fast and friendly , glad to find it in the old town. Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/Le-St-Ex-422848304554517/

And another wonderful day in Vannes went by and we were happier for the visit once again. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading along the places dear to me in my blog.

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

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November 11, 2020

Pleyben foodies and chocolates!!!

And here is another black and white post for you. Going back there is a nice story on visiting Pleyben. I like to update ,revised and insert fresh text to the original post of 2014. Hope you enjoy it as I do

The day was started by a pilgrimage trip to the historical and gastronomic little town of Pleyben, in the Finistére  dept 29 of Bretagne, we have been here before but,  many places to see in my lovely Bretagne! We set out from home along the N165, to exit Pleyben road D765 Route Touristique, following easy signs for it we reach the city center in 1h30 time.

Once we got into town, we did a bit of stretching walk to go around the Chapelle de la Congregation, buy some baguettes at Boulangerie Loas,at the main square in town ,18 pl Charles de Gaulle. It was market day time so we indulge ourselves in doing our shopping of natural home country produce of terrines, pâtes, pork and veal meats, strawberries on the spot all at good prices and what we love about France the most, no industrial supermarket gimmicks just out with the farmer. Our main suppliers were the butcher , a couple of Giséle and Jean-Bernard Kergoat, who have their farm at “Yun Malguen” at Plounéour-Ménez and do their work visiting several markets in the area. The other find was the cheese provider oh yes forgot to tell you we purchase goat cheese, crottin de chévre which my wife was going to do in the evening once home with toasted bread and honey! yummy. they are at the farm or ferme de Roc’h Conan same town as the butcher above.

We had eaten before at the Taverne La Blanche Hermine at 1 pl Charles de Gaulle opposite the calvary of Pleyben ,  it is traditional breton cooking with a great breton ambiance. onion soup  or soupe aux oignons with some fricassée de boudin noir aux pommes et à l’andouille are delicious! However, trying to try everything as so far everything is delicious, we opted for a new one at the opposite end of the previous one, Créperie de l’Enclos, 51, Pl du Général de Gaulle. They are Gault & Millau 2 chefshats or toques, guide Pudlo (creperie of the year 2008) , Petit Futé, and Geo guide recipient awards. The service, the ambiance very nice, the decoration with photos of the dishes from the menu is unique. The food was with a bottle of Rosé wine from Rocamadour, galettes Paysanne (ham, fresh cream, egg, tomatoes, and green lettuce), Rocamadour (goat cheese and miel), mine was Chichon (fry pork, espilette sauce, lettuce), Mandarine ( fresh goat cheese, bacon,chutney of mango and red onions) , then desserts were écossaise (chocolate and whiskey liquor), pêche melba, amandine (caramel, almonds flambée with Cointreau, and comportament bonheur ( peach, raspberry, mandarin , and caramel ice cream, coulis red fruits, and chantilly). Turn out to be about 20€ per person, good prices.

For reference taverne La Blanche Hermine: http://www.la-blanche-hermine.com/

And this time marvel the Créperie de L’Enclos: https://www.creperiedelenclos.fr/

Of course, we took another peek at the Calvary of Pleyben suggest dating from the 1600’s and one of the top 3 in Brittany in preservation and decoration. Have a separate post on it in my blog.  We,also, did went Inside the Church of Saint Germain de l’Auxerrois, which is part of the enclos or enclosure of the calvary. The preservation is magnificent, and already discussed in my previous post on the town.

Finally, as we were to leave , we visited our favorite regional chocolatier Michel Chatillon, right next to the Calvary. These are delicious home made chocolates with factory in the back which you can tour as well as tasting in the store. The store is packed full of wonders of the French and Breton gastronomy. These are what you come to France for , original, best quality, and made in France. I let you read thru it, but we love the Florentins, thin slices of chocolate brought to the court of the duchy of Brittany by Anne de Bretagne after conversing with Catherine de Médicis and her Florentian tastes. You,have the brick breton, and just wonderful chocolates, accessories ,baskets, and nougats! Worth going there just for this. Webpage: https://www.chatillon-chocolat.com/

But our day was not over, we headed on this time the D785 road to connect closer to the N165 back to Vannes, where we needed to get some essential for the Young today like PS VIta game machines, and video games tapes, at FNAC and Micromania. Finally, getting some home Tools and gadgets for the house at Castorama Vannes.

And we arrive home a bit exhausted but happy and ready to attack this wonderful meal we are getting going, with great wines of Mme the Baronness Philippone de Rothschild of Bordeaux! 

The city of Pleyben with tourism information: https://www.mairiepleyben.fr/index.php/fr/decouvrir-bouger/tourisme/office-de-tourisme

The tourist office of Brittany on Pleybenhttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/pink-granite-coast-morlaix-bay/pleyben-saint-thegonnec/

There you go feel better updated, revised better and ready to show it and maybe help someone enjoy this wonderful corner of my Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh in my belle France!

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

November 11, 2020

WordPress, you and me!!!

So taking a small time to thank you all for your loyal following these last 10 years. It has been a wonderful trip which I have enjoyed very much, hoping you too.

I started on WordPress after advice from an American  friend living in Madrid for about 25 years who told me it was easy to work for the non technical guy in me and it has been so. It was November 26th 2010 so holy cow already 10 years !!!!!

And ,I have decided to look at my numbers with the help of wandering a bit into WordPress. Even with humble numbers compare to some of you, it has been a wonderful ride and fully satisfy. Again thank you so much. Merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, muito obrigado.

After already not counting this one 3 113 posts in my blog, come to realize my best viewing day is Sunday and the best time is 9h or 9am!! The best day viewed was December 10, 2012! with 972 views!!!

My best view pages or posts have been: The Somport Tunnel and Peak !!!, Lagos, Nigeria an Adventure, and A look back at history, the Palais des Tuileries.

The most commented post has been Versailles and it’s historical Churches with 172!!!! wow and we do have a palace there lol!

I have 1061 other blogs following mine an honor! ,thank you all. Never in my wildest dreams would I thought to have these many reading my blog wow! There are about 18 steady commentators and the top 10 are well known you know who you are , and my wish is to have more comments, constructive comments that is.

The countries that have most folks viewing my blog are in order: USA,   France, UK, Germany, UK, India, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain, Finland, and Australia! Thanks!!! In actuality, it covers the world with many many countries even in those where internet is little or controled.

The year of great activity with most views was 2012 with 120 701, and the one with the most visitors was 2013 with 27 140. However, it seems that 2020 even if not over year will break all records. So far I have 40 371 views, 21 294 visitors, 16 816 likes!!! and 668 comments!!!. So it seems I will beat all time records in Likes and Comments for sure. Thank you!!!

There are a total of 7 pages on front page, 15 categories of posts and 15 tags with 11 links in the blogroll bottom of page. There are over 40000 photos already here wow!!!

I am sure WordPress will have better numbers to tell beginning of 2021 for 2020. In the meantime, thanks for reading mine and sharing yours, and happy healthy travels to all. Enjoy your week, and end of year. I will have a short one,due to the virus; and finally Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s.

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

November 11, 2020

La Roche Bernard, a boater’s heaven protected by a rock!

In the continuing saga of my black and white posts, let me take you south of me at the end of the Morbihan dept 56 towards Nantes and a nice sea town. La Roche Bernard, yes is the stone of Bernard, with plenty in my blog on it. This is just an update, revised refresh text of an older post in my blog.

Well back on November 6 ,2011, I wrote an article in my blog about La Roche Bernard. For some reason, the text was lost when I was saving it, and only realise the missing text the next day!!!  Now a bit over 2 years later , I went back with the family and hopefully the text will stay in this one! yes it did!!!

It has been a cool cloudy day but no rain, and perfect for a day out awaiting the start of the Christmas markets season of 2013.  The rock is as old as the  Millennium, around the year 1000, a Lord had a castle on a rock in the new parish of Nivillac. The village of La Roche-Bernard develops from the 11C through the establishment of merchants on the site and port traffic.

Local historians have long speculated on the origin of the name of the Lord who gave his name to the rock: Bernard. They gave him a Norman or Viking origin. If there were actual Normans in the entourage of the Lords Rochois, it is however not possible today to know the origin of the first of them. It was in the 13C only the line of Lords of the rock is attributed as founder Bernard. The site became in acts, from 1231, “Rocha Bernardi», La Roche Bernard.

La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages stretched along the paths of Nantes (rue de l’Hôpital) and Redon (Rue Saint Jacques) based in rue Grant a descending passage on the Vilaine river. The primitive village or Bailiwick stood in the bottom of the town, in current  vieux quartiers or old neighbourhoods. The halles or market were built on the current place du Bouffay. François de Coligny D’Andelot, Lord, baron of La Roche-Bernard, installed the Protestant faith in his barony in the second half of the 16C. This cult lasted in La Roche-Bernard until 1685 when the renunciations were enforced. Local traditions still speak of the Protestant memory places like the two doors of the Notre-Dame Chapel , one used by Catholics, the other, now blocked, borrowed at this time by the Protestants, the granaries of the Tour de l’Isle, places of clandestine worship that communicate…

In 1666, La Roche-Bernard officially became a city. This prosperous period saw the construction of great houses: the Maison de basses-fosses (Museum of the Vilaine), down the street from the dumpling houses are examples. The port internationally trade especially with Northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, England, Wales…) as well as with the Spain.  Set off local production (cereals, timber, salt and wine of the Guérande peninsula…). At the beginning of the 17C, one of the first vessels of the Royal fleet, the La Couronne, was built in La Roche-Bernard on the orders of Richelieu. 60 meters long, 600-man crew… The ship much impressed his contemporaries by its allure.

La Roche-Bernard during the French revolutionary period was often described as a Republican bastion encircled by Chouans. The French revolution creates new territorial entities and La Roche-Bernard passes  the responsibility of Nantes (Diocese of Nantes and sénéchaussée of Guérande) to Vannes (Morbihan Department).

La Roche-Bernard thrives in the 19C in part thanks to its market and fairs established as early as the middle ages. It benefits from its location, on the border of two regions of different agricultural production (livestock and animal by-products, cereal…). It was at this time that appear the big squares in the city, places of markets (the Pl de l’église with the relocation of the cemetery in 1830, place du Bouffay with the demolition of the halles in 1877…). The port contributes, in the second half of the 19C, with a regular exchange of wood and coal, especially with Wales. The arrival of the railway in 1912 ,however greatly reduce port activities. Travelers have that tray of passage as a solution to cross the Vilaine river, however, the reputation of La Roche Bernard is not always very good. In 1839, it inaugurated the first bridge on the Vilaine. The bridge is then replaced by a metal bridge  in 1912. The bridges have an effect on the urban landscape Rochois and the allure of the medieval village is shattered by a transverse axis , that of the current rue Crespel de Latouche.

La Roche-Bernard is occupied by the Nazi army from 1940 to 1945. From August 1944 to May 1945, it is part of the pocket of Saint-Nazaire which the boundary to the North was the Vilaine river. It was bombed by the Americans in August 1944. The bridge, undermined by the Nazis, blowups, struck by fire powder on August 15, 1944. The crossing of the Vilaine river is back traverse by boats. In 1960, a new bridge was inaugurated. Today, the crossing is also half a mile upstream, on the Pont du Morbihan, built in 1996.

A wonderful place to visit, we had our walks again there, and had lunch at the wonderful Le Yackam’s bar brasserie at 8 Quai St Antoine, just by the port or harbor area; plenty of free parking. This has become our home away from home when visiting La Roche Bernard in future years. This time we had  great tagliatelle st jacques with cafe gourmand and a bottle of 2013 Beaujolais nouveau!!! less than 22€ per person. Webpage: https://www.le-yackams-restaurant-la-roche-bernard.com/

If you have the time, we see them bits by bits as I live only about 52 minutes by car from it; these are the main attractions: The Pont de la Vilaine river, La Maison du Canon, Château de Basse-Fossées, La Quenelle, Le Lavoir, Chapelle Notre Dame, Church St Michel, Maison Bertho, les Garennes, la Maison Coligny, and do walk the rue de la saulnerie. The Maison du Miel is wonderful for the history of honey in the area.

The city of La Roche Bernard on its port history: https://www.laroche-bernard.com/decouvrir-la-ville/histoire-du-port/

The tourist office of Damgan-La-Roche-Bernard on LRB: https://www.damgan-larochebernard-tourisme.com/lieux-incontournables/la-roche-bernard-petite-cite-de-caractere/

There you go folks we are loaded with wonderful coastal town with a view of the sea, and La Roche Bernard is one good example of the joys of living and visiting here. Hope you can visit one day and will agree…See my other posts on the city with photos.

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

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November 11, 2020

Lorient ,the sea and so close!

Again found me an oldie but goodie from the early posts in my blog. In my continuing black and white series to bring about the nostalgic history of my travels , I bring you Lorient. 

This is very close to me and been there several times but never enough pictures. As it is this is a book style of post but will not be the only ones. Enjoy Lorient and see the other posts with photos on it.

It is near me and go often but so much to see its hard to keep up.  It was with temps at 30C or about 90F and before the big party of the National Day or Bastille day as popularly known, the beaches were full, the sun is shiny and its just gorgeous out. We decided to visit again Lorient, in the Morbihan Breton.

Of course , we come by car on the N165 get off at Lorient and follow panels Lorient Centre. Then we park by the palais de Congres close to the pleasure marina more or less facing the shopping center Nayel.

Lorient is a city that came from the ashes of WWII due to the submarine base it had and the openness to the sea. It is a story of heroes that are mentioned in several posts in my blog.

We come here to shop too. We went to attack  La Trinitaine store and for a surprise we finally entered the Stockmani store just before reaching city center. This is a discontinue series store with brand name items, at discount prices. It was a great find, and glad we stop by. Unfortunately the store by city center we went is closed and it has moved to the nearby town of Lanester in a big commercial open air shopping center off the N165 expressway we know well too. For reference, this is the Stockmani Lanester store: https://www.stokomani.fr/magasins/lanester

We stop at my dear late wife Martine, favorite Damart store, where not only she purchase shoes but got a free small  cocotte or cooking pan in ceramics as a gift! Many nice souvenirs for us coming to shop here. More info here: https://www.damart.fr/magasins/lorient

Then, right around the above we came over the city center where we just walk around, so again the wonderful Church Saint Louis at place Alsace Lorraine, near the wonderful shopping of the Galeries Lafayette.

We went for a nice late lunch at brasserie Le Carré (taking over from La Rotonde) at rue du Port near the place Aristide Briand for a nice burgers, rumsteak steaks, connellonis, chicken curry salads, pear in rum ice creams, and grimbergen beers all  for 22 euros per person ,good. More info here: https://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/fr/fiche/brasserie-le-carre-lorient_TFOTRESTLECARRE

We went right into the harbor, the passenger boat terminal, the pleasure marina, and the roads to the ile de Groix. The gare maritime to the île de Groix is nice and the island is gorgeous Groix island that is,see it with the compagnie Océanehttps://www.compagnie-oceane.fr/en/node/2

As we had left home for Lorient, we had workers doing our Garden, 1000 m2 of it! We got rid of the old trees, plants, flowers etc; now we took off the roots to level the terrain and finally in the spring we will redo the garden with Breton motifs, lots of gravel and stones. Some of the fruit trees like figs, pears and apples were initially left but taken off, as we wanted a semi tropical garden with Breton symbols. At the same time we are redoing our front open terrace (we have an enclosed one too), we took a hit this week as the man who is doing this work was just diagnose with cancer. We hope he will recover even if we need to find someone else to finish the work; he seems like a real nice guy and very helpful to us. Unfortunately, we needed to take someone else to finish as the nice guy could not finish, sadly.

And as we knew will be staying long in Lorient to give the above work to be done, and not cooking at home we simply had a simple sandwich menu for the dinner! I know many people come here looking for the French culinary richness, and we love it; however, been living in the USA for so long we yearns for that special American touch, such as eating out at Subway sandwich shops at Avenue du Faouédic ,next to place Aristide Briand  city center of Lorient. And we ate on the run lol! https://www.subway.com/fr-FR/FindAStore?zip=lorient

And we headed home as usual another nice quick ride visit to nice Lorient, in my Morbihan dept 56 of my Bretagne and in my belle France. Just nice and looking forward to a lot more. Hope you enjoy the new look posts.

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

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