Archive for November 30th, 2020

November 30, 2020

Paris and Montparnasse !!!

Oh yes it has been a love affairs indeed! Paris and Montparnasse!!! I like to bring this short intro to the neighborhood I onced worked in my eternal Paris. Lots of good souvenirs of going for lunches around here and seeing beautiful architecture and history all around me. Hope you enjoy it as I do and thanks for reading me.

On my many trips to Paris now , once again I got in by Montparnasse. A vast area where there are still many symbols of the grandeur of Paris in the 1920’s and afterward, where I once worked and now go in to Paris at the Gare Montparnasse.

The smaller area is in the 14éme arrondissement de Paris or district in the 53rd quartier or neighborhood. Many people comes here and are told of the 20 districts of Paris that you find in the postal codes like 75 then the district or 75014. What many missed is the fact that since the creation of the new Paris by Baron Haussmann under Napoléon III in 1860 it was created into four quartiers or neighborhood per arrondissement or district ; therefore, Paris has 80 or four per district. (See my posts)

Some of the things to see in this neighborhood are the Barrière d’Enfer on the Mur des Fermiers généraux , the second barrier of roads in Paris today and was the wall set up between 1784 and 1790.  The sculpture of the Lion de Belfort in the Place Denfert-Rochereau (the symbol of the territory of Belfort ) It was done by Auguste Bartholdi and as the Statue of Liberté done by him ,both points in the same direction in Paris!

The wonderful boulevard du Montparnasse with some of the most famous cafés such as La Coupole and Le Dôme! The cimetiére du Montparnasse (cemetery) where rest in peace such names as Charles Baudelaire, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Guy de Moupassant, Sainte Beuve, Serge Gainsbourg, etc.  The wonderful metro station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe (metro lines 4,6,12, and 13) that links to the Gare de Montparnasse train station. The theater or Théâtre Montparnasse, Bobino, Theater de la Gaîté-Montparnasse, Theater Rive Gauche, and the Theater d’Edgar. The wonderful crêperies on the heights of rue du Montparnasse reminds you of little Brittany or petit Bretagne. 

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The Fondation Cartier for the art contemporary, the Observatoire de Paris, the meridian of Paris crosses the district.  And the Prison de la Santé or health prison built in 1861 and has held many notables still to this day the only prison inside Paris city limits still today!!!

This area, which has become so famous, was only a place called close to the village of Vaugirard. At the site of the current Carrefour Vavin, at the corner of Boulevards du Montparnasse and Raspail, a pile of rubble had formed an artificial hillock.

Carriers, duelists or onlookers, many met in this place which then bore the name of “Mont de la Fronde”, because some trained there by stone throwing. It sometimes happened that students came to recite verses, not without a certain irony. Irony which will push some malicious to rename this mound in Mont Parnassus, in memory of the shelter of the muses of which the Greek mythology tells us. The premonition is all the more fun when you know the artistic profusion that will mark the history of the neighborhood. This name definitively adopted in 1773 when the rue du Montparnasse was pierced to make the junction between the rue Notre Dame des Champs and the Cour du Midi built under king Louis XIV. In time, the mound will be leveled. As for the famous Cour du Midi, it will be renamed a few years later to be transformed into Boulevard du Montparnasse.

At the beginning of the 20C, many artists will migrate from Montmartre to Montparnasse, considered more central. The district will have many workshops and cities of painters, many of which will be sacrificed during the savage renovation of the district in the 60s / 70s.

It is, also, my old working quartier and my entry point each time coming out from gare Montparnasse now. The restos around the Gare de Montparnasse are like my second home for many years. On this latest visit I step in into Café bar La Marine 59 bd Montparnasse,for a taste of some fish and chips with cold Carlsberg beers and a new taste of  IPA rather sweeter brew; just nice ,,,,as always. Great cozy tables and great sports match ambiance. Cannot confirm if open as the webpage does not work and due to the virus who knows,unfortunately. Here for the memories anyway!

The tourist office of Paris on the Montparnasse quartier! https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73171/Quartier-de-Montparnasse

And there you go another day in Paris! Montparnasse became famous in the 1920’s and has gone thru periods of decline, but lately is coming back with many places of lecture and discussion sometimes in the same old places and sometimes in new places. We used to have a group by Pizza  Pino and it continues as far as I know. Hope you enjoy the post and do relive Montparnasse Paris!

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

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November 30, 2020

Auray , my new region of France!!

Well I guess the title is a pretty good one! I needed to update this post, well revise the text a bit and in black and white style, but a sentimental post. This goes back to 2011 the year I came to live and stay in the Morbihan dept 56 of my now lovely Bretagne. I have several posts on where we settle for an apartment in Brec”h that was very close to Auray about 6 km and made Auray our official city for all errands, and adminstrative needs. Therefore, I just want to update it. Hope you enjoy it. See my many posts on Auray too!

I am back to share the wonderful world of Auray, Morbihan, Bretagne,  France. Today, I will talk a bit about my new area the Pays ‘Auray. Its a agglomaration of several towns into a metropolitan system of cities. The capital and main city is Auray or An Alre in Breton language. Then you have St Anne d’Auray the most important religious site in Brittany as it is the site of the patron saint of Bretagne, Sainte Anne. 

Auray is to start very historical, one Benjamin Franklin landed by sea here at age 70! to tried to convince king Louis XVI the support for recognition and credits to the new nation of the United States of America; he got it!!! You can know all about by walking the quai Franklin in the old port district of St Goustan, an extention of the city center medieval look.

Here at the port, St Goustan ,you will find all good old world accommodation, great boating, and cruise ships to the outer islands, and plenty of cheers and bar,bistros,and restos which especially at dinner time makes you go back in time, romantic, nice, quiet, educated; great for the whole family. Its still one of our favorite areas to go out locally, and friends brought here love it too!

Maindering its cobblestone streets , you will see a plethora of shops typical of the area. You will love to climb the old Chateau d’Auray now in ruins ,thanks to the war of succession of Bretagne, but the climbing gives you a look over the town, the port area and beyond with magnificent views and at night very romantic! I have posts with these wonderful newer photos.

Over to the city center area crossing the old bridge or pont vieux you will come to the Halles, a covered market selling all the goodies of the land and sea. Plenty of  wandering old world streets, and beautiful shops,restos,bars etc.

See the Chapelle Eternel ,given to Franciscan friars in the 17C to established a school for girls today its richly preserved. Chapelle Ste Helene, one of the oldest in town chapels. Chapelle du Saint Esprit anothter old chapel of great architectural significance, today hold events like the Christmas celebrations.

Wonderful place de la Republique takes you in center stage to all the above areas;its where the halles or market is located. Going over to walking the street you will see plenty of maisons en bois or woodend houses of old, very nice. Another area is the Church of St Gildas,and Church of Charles-le-Blois (near train station) of historical significance, and the memorial to Cadoudal, a peasant chief who fought against the French revolution, his tomb is at Kerleano on his native land , a field of martyrs, and house of descendants today. The thousands of chouans or peasants Bretons who died are today at Chartreause of Brec’h.

The train station here was/is my public transport contact with the world as it has direct Roissy CDG TGV service as well as thru Montparnasse in Paris. There is an Auraybus service for free from the gare train station to the city center area in summer months, but walking is about 15 mins. The station today is about 15 minutes from current home in Pluvigner.

The Relais Franklin was a natural to have some crepes,cider ,and great views at St Goustan,and be right in American history too nearby plaque attesting to the landing of Benjamin Franklin and night over. The location was at 21 Place St Sauveur. Today, there is a new business there but the plaque stayed.

And to recap, my small town of Brec’h has about 2000 strong and part of the Auray agglo area, just 6 km from the train station! and direct access to the N165 main route linking Nantes to Brest and connection to everywhere on the road warrior, the place is name Brech or Brec’h in Breton.  The valley whre the Loc’h river runs toward the port de Saint-Goustan, connects with the Auray river before ending into the Gulf of  Morbihan, and the UNESCO world heritage site. Many chapels of old are here and the Ecomusée de Saint-Dégan , with all the natural beauty of the area and its agricultural past and present. See ,also, the Moulin de Treuroux or windmill.

One of the most beautiful chapels in all of the Morbihan dept is the Chapelle de Saint Quirin in the hamlet of St Guerin near me in Brech. The 16C Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce is another jewel near me. A new chapel in the traditon of old is the one of Chapelle Notre Dame de la Route, near me in the village of Mané Salut.And the Chartreuse, the historical one as it was built after the battle of Auray in 1364 that face Jean de Montfort to his cousin and rival Charles de Blois, for the duchy of Brittany.

And if you want to learn the Breton traditional danse then come over for the  festoù-noz (night parties in breton) where the traditional dance puts together all the generations around music and dance bretons. Danses of two or three such as Laridés, Gavottes, Plinn, Fisel, An dro…and even in circles ! You come to the feast of « Les mardis de la Dañs » The tuesdays of the dance at  Brech (Brec’h) every tuesday in july and august at 20h at Park Kreisker and its free. Of course, with today’s virus the dates and times of these events needs to be verify in advance. You can get an idea but in French at this webpage Maison de la Culture et de la Langue Bretonnes or House of the Culture and Breton languages: https://www.tidouaralre.com/mardi-de-la-dans/p20.html

Of course, on the above monuments/sights i have individula posts all over my blog on Auray, Ste Anne d’Auray, Brec’h towns. This was an introduction to my new area and one i still move about on them. Really a nice area, we cannot say this is it as by history I moved every 5-6 years average but I have already 7 at current location! so so, nice area indeed. Hope you enjoy the post and Degemer mat or bienvenue or welcome!

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

November 30, 2020

Auray at Christmas!

Therefore, in my continuing pursue of updating and revising my old posts in my blog I come back to a very familiar town. When I first came to the Morbihan breton dept 56 my main town for train station, buses, administrative issues was Auray. I like to tell you a somewhat funny Christmas at Auray 2015!

I was at just 14 kms or about 9 miles away from it and do come often here. During the Christmas of 2015 we decided to come early for parking etc. We quickly found out the festivities started way later and we were walking around empty chalets lol!! We kept the spirit of Christmas anyway!

As the spirit of Christmas is amongst us all, we took a ride to the city this morning to see any preparation for Christmas as usually they have the better one in the area closer to me. Indeed the preparation were going on for the big night and the célébrations were to go on from December 14 and will last until December 31 2015.

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Tonite they will have jogglers performing and tomorrow the bulk really begins with a slate of activities.

All the activities will be concentrated this year in the Chapelle Saint Esprit for the Christmas market or Marché de Noêl and on the Village de Noêl at Place Notre Dame (square) by the Church of Saint Gildas (see post).  The Chapelle Saint Esprit is an excellent place of great historical value that has been preserve at all cost by the local people.

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The Chapelle Saint Esprit was one of the most important chapel in the commanderies of the order of Saint Esprit, the members defended and protected the poor, orphans and the sick. It was first built here by the Duke John II of Brittany that had also founded the Chapelle du Saint Sépulcre (where is now the parking area South of the current Chapelle). It was in the later, that the gisant of Christ was founded and recently restored.From the 14C the chapel has been enlarged by the Religious orders that were here. The Chapel lost its Religious vocation during the French revolution (as usual);and from 1794 it served as a military outpost, the famous HQ Dugueslin where it welcome soldiers until the 20C, it ,also ,serve as safe heaven for the population during WWII , later housed School children, firefigthers, and local associations. Today, it still holds cultural events and plays of many diverse nature.

auray chapelle saint esprit noel dec19

Enjoy the Christmas spirit wherever you are. Cheers and be merry, a very Merry Christmas to all my readers celebrating it.

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

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