Archive for January, 2021

January 31, 2021

The Domaine de Versailles, exteriors!!!

A wonderful subject for me as lived in the city of Versailles by the Notre Dame Church for 9 years before moving on to the Morbihan breton and there so far 9 years too. Versailles will always be in our hearts, it was our first owned home in France! And of course, even if there is more than a castle in Versailles, need to tell you one of my first posts on the Domaine de Versailles, an overview of its exteriors now in my black and white series. Hope you enjoy as I do.

I am back on this nostalgic city. My Versailles is sublime, can’t go a day without thinking of it, visited many many times over the years and again next month.  A royal town chic and friendly folks and history all around you, France, Europe, the World. Unique!  I have done posts on Versailles of different kinds over the years but now will do one on simply the exteriors of the palace/museum of Versailles. The architecture is phenomenal and the look from any angle in the city is awesome.

We know from history, that the first mentioned of Versailles goes back to 1038 as was mentioned belong to the Abbey of Saint Pére of Chartres. From 1607 , king Louis XIII age 6 does his first hunting in the area.  In 1623 king Louis XIII has a serious sickness and need spiritual seclusion when he decides to built a modest manor hunting house of brick and stone on top of a summit in the plains of Versailles  on the road going from Versailles to Trianon , a site called Val-de-Galie, he purchase the land in 1624 where it was only a windmill and the house of the guardian surrounded by marshes.

In April 8 1632 king Louis XIII buys the whole property of the Domaine de Versailles from Jean-François de Gondi, the Bishop of Paris. He ordered construction of a nice royal mansion on site and works continue until he passes away. His son ,the next King Louis XIV  that was only 4 years old, too young to govern he is chaperone by the regency of Anne of Austria and the construction stop for 18 years!  We know that the future king Louis XIV did his first visit to Versailles in October 1641 with his brother (future Louis XV) to evade an epidemic of chickenpox that was affecting his castle home at Saint-Germain-en-Laye (favorite because he was born there see post). We know too, that he came back again in 1651 and thereafter more often , continuing to improved the hunting mansion from 1660-1664. The improvements continue on the period of  1664-1668 where the need to improved the housing is essential for the parties done by the Court especially the famous parties of pleasure of the enchanted island!!!  There is another period from 1669-1672 where the wars are going and the treaties are signed here like the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ending the war of devolution. At this time the palace begins to take the shape as we know it today.

In the period 1678-1684,  the  treaty of Nimégue puts an end to the war of Holland and starts the next construction wave on the castle. Now we do the  galerie des glaces , and its twin rooms the salon de la Guerre and the salon de la Paix and the wings of the noble and princes as well as middle wing and huge work on the gardens  as well the decorations in the Grands appartements.  A bit after the defeat in the war of the league of Augsbourg (1688-1697) and under the influence of Madame de Maintenon, king Louis XIV begins the 4th construction wave to the castle from 1699-1710. The Royal Chapel , appartement du roi or kings apartments and the salon du l’oeil-de-boeuf and the bedroom of the king. After these construction the work is stopped as well as the king Louis XIV died.  The brother king Louis XV  born in Versailles, in 1710 too young to rule yet alone. His tutor Philippe d’Orléans or regent leave Versailles to be house in the Palais Royal and the court of the Palais des Tuileries (now gone, pillage and put on fire by the commune uprisings of 1871, and later demolished by the city of Paris by 1881) in Paris; it was even suggested to demolished the castle at this time by the duke of Noailles.  He goes on to do three projects here the finished of the Grand Appartement, the renovations of the salon d’Hercule, basin de Neptune, and the extra building the Royal Opéra.

Under King Louis XVI, the improvement continue to create the most luxurious palace in the world, even with a budget.  The Petit Trianon is done for the Queen Marie-Antoinette,by 1777 a wonderful library inspired by Louis XVI; 1783 the cabinet doré is done,  as Louis XVI wanted an exposition room with in 1788 exposition of his personal purchases the cabinet des papillons (butterflies).  After the French revolution the palace suffers greatly and many items are destroyed or sold. The Imperial period of France under Napoléon Ier brings back some of its glory 1799-1814 period in which even Pope Pie VII came to crown the emperor Napoléon Ier and blessed the crowd from a window in the gallery of mirrors . In 1805, the emperor visits the chateau and decides to stop the renovation in it by choosing the Grand Trianon for residence.

The restoration of the crown from 1814-1830 under the youngest of the Louis still alive, King Louis XVIII continues cautiously the restoration known the history of his family and this work is continue by the youngest brother and final bourbon king of France Charles X. From 1830-1870 king of the French Louis Philippe tried to save the castle by doing it as a palace/museum with the motto  « À toutes les gloires de la France », to all the glories of France.  During the period 1870 under  emperor Napoleon III,  he only comes to the palace in commemorating the victories of Crimea and Italy but nevertheless is attach to keep the palace in the best condition possible. In 1855 he dines with the Queen Victoria of England in the galerie des Glaces.  The imperatrice Eugénie who follows the cult of Marie Antoinette provides an additional push to save it and under her influence at the Universal Exposition of 1867 most of the furniture is restituted to the palace of Versailles.

The castle today is an expression of the very best of France. The cours or courts in the front numbered 3 . If you see them from the Place d’Armes facing the city on the threesome avenue de Saint Cloud, avenue de Paris, and avenue de Sceaux.  At the place d’Armes you see an equestrian statue of king Louis XIV.  From this square you pass by the Grille d’Honneur to reach the biggest court that of the cour d’Honneur then comes the Grille Royale that closes the access to the cour Royale. At the end of this court you see five marbres where you find the cour de Marbre all done in black and white marbre.

You follow the building by the central body of the palace, including the Grands Appartements of the castle ,of the king, galerie des glaces, and grand appartement of the queen, the apartment of the king, small apartment of the king, and the small apartment of the queen.  Follow the apartments of the ladies, lower gallery, apartment of the heir or dauphin and dauphine, apartment of the captain of the guards, the small apartments, interior cabinets of the queen and the apartments of madame du Barry, marquise de Pompadour, and the Count of Maurepas.

Then, the aile du midi or middle wing  including the gallery of battles, congress room, gallery of high south stones, and lower south stones. This then follow the aile du nord or north wing, including Royal Chapel (just recently renovated!) of the chateau, south side, the Royal opera of the chateau north side, the rooms of the 17C, rooms of the 19C, and the crusades rooms, the gallery of high north stones and lower stones north.

You have the gardens (see other post) and the park as well. Then, other buildings (see posts) such as the Petite Ecuries and Grande Ecuries across the street, the Grand Commun (domestic help housing in the time of the kings) for short, the real name is the « Grand Carré des Offices – commun du Roi, de la Reine, de Monseigneur, de Madame la Dauphine » built 1682-1684  ,to the right of the castle looking out ,and the Ailes des Ministres or Ministers wing.

You,also, have the Grand Trianon, built in 1689 in marble. Petit Trianon, built from 1749 under the influence of the marquise de Pompadour step back from the Grand Trianon. In 1774, Louis XVI offered it to Marie-Antoinette that changes the lieu and had built other construction such as the sculptures of the Temple de l’Amour, Pavillon du rocher or Belvédère, and the Royal Théâtre, all done between 1777-1779, as well as the gate or porte Saint-Antoine, built in 1786 near the Hameau.  The Pavillon français is built in 1749-1750.

The Ménagerie was built between 1662-1664.  This was done in the route leading from Versailles to Saint-Cyr, at the extremity south of the Grand Canal. There is a monumental gate going to the ferme de Gally where my boys enjoyed coming to see some of the descendant animals of the Royal period.

The Domain is huge and very much a must to see in Versailles or when in the area. However, remember Versailles is the royal historical town of France, there is a lot more than the castle… IF you would imagine for a moment, before the French revolution this Domaine was 8000 Ha and now only… 807 Ha (one Ha = 2.471 acres).

This is it for now, see my other many posts on gorgeous Versailles as a whole ,that is, it is more than a castle. We shall be back when possible. Hope you enjoy the post as I do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 31, 2021

The gardens of the Domaine de Versailles!

This can be sublime, wishing to be there now for many; to me is like going back to happy times strolling the gardens especially after my boys left school and came here to unwind, relax, reflect on the beauty around us. I have many posts on Versailles in my blog, and each one is unique for us. I hope ,I can carry this enthusiasm for it writing my humble way in my blog. Enjoy the gardens of the Château de Versailles! This is again an updated/revised text post from October 2017.

It has been a while for my beloved city, where I spent my first 9 years in France. Versailles is unique, not only because of the castle palace museum but the Royal city itself is magical, a charm of old with trés chic ambiance, something clean away from Paris. Do not confuse Versailles with Paris is a world apart. Versailles is the capital city of department 78 Yvelines , western administrative part of the region of île de France.

We used to go with the boys by the porte Saint Antoine off ave de Versailles and go in by the Hameau of Marie Antoinette for free, wondered in the park and gardens and jogged, ride a bike or just plain walked amongt kings/queens. Awesome.  You too can do it. Just take bus 19 at ave Saint Cloud and blvd de l’Europe direction les Mureaux and stop at Parly II (see post) ; walk down about 300 meters and get on the gate of Saint Anthony or Porte Saint Antoine! For reference, this bus schedule is here: https://www.transdev-idf.com/ligne-19EXPRESS/les-mureaux-versailles/011-02MOBI

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, you can come to the front door, lots more crowds than the gardens . You can also cut across the rue des Reservoirs on the right side of the castle with a bit less crowds. And always if plan to go inside the castle buy your tickets in advance and be there early at opening.

There are immaculate parterres, great basins, an orangery, a vast collection of outdoor sculpture and some of the grandest fountains which have ever been made. The park and garden were designed by Andre Le Nôtre between 1661 and 1700. There are about 386 works of art that makes the gardens like an outdoor museum , includes 221 statues that are with magnificient features: huge parterres, an orangery, famous fountains (which operate….), rich bosquets (ornamental groves), a 1.8 km cruciform canal.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Grand Trianon, another formal garden, was built on the site of a former village. The Petit Trianon was given to Marie-Antoinette in 1774. She favoured the irregular style, with hills, rocks and streams. The Hameau was designed in 1785, as a stage village, for Marie-Antoinette to play with her friends in the idle years before the French Revolution. One particular one often bypass but a must to see is the cave or grotte de Thétys finished in 1670; the cave were done to make believe of the illusion of Apollon as the Greeks had it was the place of where god rests after taking his chariot to enlighten the sky; this cave was isolated from the castle . At the interior, there are motifs of shells to re create a marine cave with statues representing the Sun god believed by Nereides in the central group and horses guards of Tethys the other two auxiliary groups. From a point of view of the hydraulics of the gardens this cave plays a major role; the ceilings had a reserve that kept the water pumped from the lake of Clagny to feed by gravity the fountains in the gardens!

Other attempts with great architecture efforts were tried to feed the gardens of Versailles. In 1682, the machine de Marly (towns of Marly-le-Roi and Louveciennes) and the aqueduct of Louveciennes the latest technology of the 17C were done to link the waters of the Seine river to the Castle and Marly. (see posts) They were done to replace the windmills cave system that a weak pressure water to feed Versailles; only feeding up to Marly. The need to find a solution continues.  The construction of the Canal de l’Eure was started to direct the waters of the Eure river to the Seine and to Versailles! with a system of aqueducts. There was wars that stop for good this work. Versailles stayed been fed by a system of gravity done with aqueducts like the one at Buc, built between 1684-1686. They had the advantage of never needing upskeep; a total of 30 km of canalisations with lead and melted steel was done in the gardens and 40 kms of underground aqueduct existed at the time to feed the bassins and water spouts of the gardens of the Domaine de Versailles.  Practically, about a third of the cost to built the Chateau was used to feed it with water!!!

During the monarchy, the property was much bigger indeed, things the revolution do not want to tell much; do you know? The Domaine de Versailles was done in two sections, one was called the Grand Parc ; this is the region of bushes that encircle today the castle and the town of Versailles (partly walled) , and the Petit Parc, the part surrounded by a wall that were developed into gardens à la Française near the castle.  Today, this division still exists but call differently of course… There is the Grand Parc now call the Parc de Versailles including the green spaces that belongs to the Domaine de Versailles (bushes, fields, garden of the castle of Trianon , and Versailles castle. The Petit Parc, today includes under the Jardin de Versailles all located east of the castle and west of the basin du char d’Apollo, to the north the basin de Neptune,and to the south the Orangerie, and includes the gardens à l Française near the castle. Before the French revolution the Domaine of Versailles had about 8000 Ha while today it holds about 807 Ha. For reference I Ha is equivalent to  2.471 acres.

versailles-chateau-bosquet-de-bains-d-apollon-mar13

versailles-chateau-bassin-de-neptune-mar13

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

One of the highlights for me besides the famous statues and fountains in the garden park is the Grand Canal and the rental boats! fun for the whole family that we enjoyed tremendously. It has a length of 1 500 meters and a width of 62 meters built between 1668 and 1671 given a long view of the axis east to west until the Petit Parc.  Here, king Louis XIV ordered the construction of the Petite Venise located at the crossing of the transversal part of the Grand Canal housing the yachts and caravelles boats received from the Netherlands and housing as well the gondolas received as gifts from the Doge of Venice . The  Grand Canal  is located at a low point in the gardens and received the water trickling in from the fountains ; this water was pumped into a network of windmills pumps that were place on top the cave de Thétys to feed the fountains in a closed circuit.

I have to tell that the garden were saved from the French revolution in 1792, when by orders of the national convention many trees were taken down and some parts of the Grand Parc were sold!! Seeing  a menace to the survival of the gardens , Louis-Claude Marie Richard director of the botanical gardens and grandson of Claude Richard had pleas to the revolutionary government to save the gardens, and eventually he succeeded opening them to the general public. The hospital of Versailles bears his name . The Napoleonic eras ignored for the most part the castle and gardens. The Restauration of the Bourbons in 1814 made the first renovations to the gardens after the revolution; by 1817 king Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI) ordered two bosquets ,those of bosquet de l’Île du Roi , and the bosquet du  Miroir d’Eau , both changed into English style gardens to form the garden of the king or le Jardin du Roi.  Finally, the whole complex were saved by king of the French Louis-Philippe(not king of France (difference)) by 1837 under the museum of the history of France  or to the glory of France as you wish; of which the property is today, a lot more than a castle.

versailles-chateau-down-to-bassin-de-neptune-mar13

Another part of the castle property I love is the Orangerie;(see post)  located in the parterre du Midi right along the road N10 that goes into Versailles and then into Paris as the old carriage way of the kings entering Paris is the D910 into avenue de Versailles along the Seine…!! The Orangerie is done with a central gallery of 155 meters long surrounded by two lateral galleries located on top of the stairs or escaliers des Cent Marches (Stair of 100 steps) that front the before mentioned road. It has a high of 13 meters and contains more than 1000 trees, oranges, lemons, grenades of which some are centenaries, also, roses all with great big windows. The trees produces fruits and they are shown outside from mid May to mid October each year, weather permitting.

Versailles orangerie to piece d'eau des suisses parc jan11

As you read above there is a huge number of statues, and fountains, forest like design spots to really enjoy the property for a whole day alone. Versailles proper as the Domaine de Versailles needs more than a day to visit ,really! Impossible to tell you all here.

All essential readings to know this magical royal town of Versailles, France. Be at the  best for the visit.

The city of Versailles on its history in English: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/histoire-de-versailles/

The Versailles tourist office on the gardens in English: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-versailles-gardens.html

The Château de Versailles and its gardens in English: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/gardens

Well , hope this helps, I know is a general view but with so many rather give you the hint ,the will to visit it, you will be glad as millions have! Enjoy the Domaine de Versailles gardens!

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

January 31, 2021

The train stations of Paris and how to get around them!!!

Let me update this one, I guess very important for visitors. And even if I like the roads and a road warrior I have taken trains in the USA, France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. So therefore, not an expert but an user; let me tell you about the train stations in Paris briefly in my black and white series as individual posts and pictures elsewhere in my blog.

I wrote on getting public transports in the Paris area and even Bretagne (see posts). Going to the airports etc; but what about the train stations? So many go by them, they are one of the most used in Europe!! And Paris Nord or gare du Nord is tops in Europe! So, therefore ,why not telling you a bit on them even if always in a general view as there can be so many options, you are free to ask me for details.

Of course, bien sûr   , I have to tell you a bit of history as well. Heck, these train stations all have a story of their own. Sorry, can’t tell you the whole story, too long a history but at least a bit…ok.

No particular order of liking; let’s start with the venerable Gare du Nord or popularly call Paris-Nord.

The company that created the station was call the Compagnie des Chemins de fer du Nord, therefore the Gare du Nord in 1846.  The current building dates from 1864. It handles the intercités trains to the North of France ; the Thalys towards Belgium, Nethersland , Germany (with connections to Scandinavia, Poland, and Russia ; the ever popular Eurostar towards London ; the TGV Nord line to  Lille and the main Northern towns  ; the suburbian trains north of Paris such as lines ligne H and K of the Transilien ; TER Picardie ; and stops of the lines RER B and D ; and close to the station of  Magenta on the RER E line. As said , it is Europe’s busiest train station. The current building has  nine statues crowning the rooftop facade, each representing destinations outside France, with the figure of Paris in the center.  There are 14 more modest statues lower down, representing French regional cities. There is a huge project to renovate the train station and already approved. the departure terminal side should be ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the rest by 2025.

The official SNCF Gare du Nord: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpno/paris-gare-du-nord

The official oui SNCF Gare du Nord webpage with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-gare-du-nord

The official Transilien webpage on Gare du Nord: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-gare-du-nord-8727103

And we are just starting, moving on to the Gare de l’Est (my first ever station visited in France as from my wife town of Meaux (77) came into Paris).  The company was created as the Compagnie des chemins de fer de l’Est , therefore, the Gare de l’Est in 1849. It handles the traffic from to the East of France, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.  Night trains to Munich and connections to Vienna, Budapest, as well as Innsbruck, Hambourg, and Berlin. Also ,the Moscow express trans-european to Minsk and Moscow ;Venice Simplon-Orient-Express : luxury train to the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, the Balkans, Istanbul and the suburbian trains of the east of Paris such as the line P of the Transilien; near stop at the station of Magenta on the line RER E . There was talk about a future terminal of the  CDG Express towards the  Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport but this is on hold due to permits and noise issues of the ecolos. The Gare de l’Est is just about a five minute walk to the Gare du Nord; its  main claim to fame is being home to the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, until its decline and closure. The Murder on the Orient Express or the Venice-Simplon Orient Express is the one Christie wrote about. In the platform of the long big lines there is a monumental painting call , Le Départ des poilus, août 1914, offered by the American painter Albert Herter as a memory to his son killed in front of 1918 near Château-Thierry (Aisne dept 02) shown here since 1926. It was taken down for renovation but back in its place since 2008.

The official SNCF webpage on Gare de l’Est: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpst/paris-est

The official Oui SNCF webpage on Gare de l’Est with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-est

The regional Transilien webpage on Gare de l’Est: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/8711300

And we are stepping up to the Gare de Lyon: The company was created as the Compagnie des chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM) in 1849; therefore, call the Gare de Lyon. It does the TGV trains to the Franche-Comté region and the south of Alsace connecting with the LGV Rhin-Rhône. Also, the trains to the south of France and the Languedoc-Roussillon area; the TGV to Switzerland (myself do the runs on lyria), Spain, and Italy.The TGV Sud-Est, Rhône-Alpes and Mediterranean, the night train Thello to Italy, suburbian southeast trains of Paris, the arrival point for the line R of the Transilien; the stops of the RER A and D. The train station was built for the World Exposition of 1900 and was regarded as one of the finest examples of architecture of its era. Its clock tower ,of 67 meters high; modeled after that of London’s Houses of Parliament,home of Big Ben. I believe it is the prettiest in Paris. It’s also home to one of the city’s most famous restaurants, the Le Train Bleu opened in 1901 with a grand decor to rival the palace of Versailles; painted ceilings, gold leaf and shimmering chandeliers hint of the gilded prices on the menu. Just below is the Montreux Jazz Café, much cheaper and arguably more fun. Between July and August this is one of Paris’s busiest station, with families leaving for the south of France.

The official SNCF webpage for the Gare de Lyon: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frply/paris-gare-lyon

The official Oui SNCF of the Gare de Lyon with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-gare-de-lyon

The official regional Transilien on the Gare de Lyon: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-gare-de-lyon-8768603

Moving right along to the lesser known gare d’Austerlitz. This was created as the Compagnie du Chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans (PO) in 1840 as the gare d’Orléans located in the quai d’Austerlitz of which later it took its name to the Gare d’Austerlitz; after France greatest victory during the Battle of Austerlitz by Napoleon. The PO folks decided to extend the line to the center of the capital city and the gare d’Orsay was opened in 1900; unused from the Second World War and transformed in a museum in 1986:Musée d’Orsay; we come to know and love.  The only operating station beside the Seine, Gare d’Austerlitz offers great views across the river, and is one of only two stations on the Rive Gauche, the left bank. On the quayside, the turquoise metal entrance from the Metro bridge into the station offers a contrast to the old stone building, and features a statue representing the destination of Orleans.  The trains to towards the center of France, Toulouse, pyrénées and all night trains of the Intercités network towards the south of France ; Also, Intercités towards Orléans ,and Tours ; The TER Centre-Val de Loire network towards  Vendôme and Orléans ; Stopping point of the line RER C in Paris.

The official SNCF on the gare d’Austerlitz: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpaz/paris-austerlitz

The official Oui SNCF on the Gare d’Austerlitz with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-austerlitz

The official regional Transilien on the Gare d’Austerlitz: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-austerlitz-8754702

Next we come to my neighborhoods; the company created was the Compagnie des chemin de fer de l’Ouest , purchased in 1908 by the Administration des Chemins de fer de l’Etat that serves the two lines to Versailles,one on the right bank or rive droite,the other the left bank or rive gauche-Château, and that explains why there are two additional stations in Paris.

The gare Saint-Lazare head of the line Paris-Saint-Lazare-Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the line Paris-Saint-Lazare-Versailles-Rive-Droite (rue du maréchal Foch, closest to my old home) .  This line serves the trains to Normandie, suburbian trains of the Paris west, line J of the Transilien, connection by a passageway to the gare Haussmann-Saint-Lazare terminus of the RER E. The station is in the heart of Paris, close by the Place de la Madeleine, Opéra Garnier, and the city’s grand department stores, this is the capital second busiest station! When it opened as a simple wooden structure in 1837 it was the first train station in Paris, but the terminus was soon expanded into its current form. These days it’s largely a commuter terminus,  but it was once the hub for glamorous ocean liner traffic arriving via Cherbourg.  Travel-inspired artwork — a teetering pile of bronze suitcases, a stack of clocks — live in the main square in front of the entrance. An enclosed walkway, La Galerie Marie Antoinette, connects the station with the old world splendor of the Hilton Paris Opera Hotel. As well as a great shopping arcade centre commerciale St Lazare! Wonderful!

The official SNCF webpage on the Gare Saint Lazare: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpsl/paris-saint-lazare

The official Oui SNCF webpage on the Gare Saint Lazare with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-saint-lazare

The regional Transilien on the gare Saint Lazare: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-saint-lazare-8738400

The other that I used now the most coming from the Morbihan, Bretagne is the Gare Montparnasse ,head of the line Paris-Versailles on the Versailles Chantier station, Rue de l’Abbé Rousseau ,and Paris-Brest.  This station serves the south express to Lisbon, TGV Atlantique (west and southwest of France so like Bretagne) TER Normandie, Intercités network line Paris-Vaugirard to Granville via Argentan; TER Centre -Val-de-Loire on the line Paris to Le Mans via Chartres; line N of the Transilien serving the suburbs west of Paris. It is a very nice modern glass and steel facade station, you’d be hard pushed to believe it was originally opened in 1840 as Gare de l’Ouest (west). With correspondance with the TGV at Hendaye you can go to Spain by Irun, San Sebastian and Madrid. Also to Portugal with the connection with the Sud-Express train. The original building was torn down in 1969 to make way for the 59-story Tour Montparnasse, one of Paris’s least loved buildings.  The views from the top are said to be the best in Paris ; the popular joke being that it’s the only spot from which the tower itself cannot be viewed! In the basement there is the Chapelle Saint Bernard de Montparnasse as well in the roof the Jardin Atlantique.

The official SNCF webpage on the Gare Montparnasse: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpmo/paris-montparnasse

the Oui SNCF webpage on the Gare Montparnasse with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-montparnasse

The regional Transilien webpage on the gare Montparnasse: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-montparnasse-8739100

The seldom used (at least by me) Gare de Bercy  now with new name, gare de Paris-Bercy-Bourgogne-Pays d’Auvergne,  has trains Intercités goings towards Auvergne,TER Bourgogne, TER Centre-Val de Loire. Also, not regular lines but serve the Pullman Orient Express. The station opened in 1977), and is, also, the smallest and the one located in the least glamorous area. Following the closure of the Tolbiac terminal, the Bercy station recovered the coaches of the SNCF South-West network. Then, with the launch of the iDBUS coach service by SNCF, Paris-Bercy finds international destinations like London, Brussels and Amsterdam, Turin and Milan. However, since January 7, 2019, the stopping point for these coaches, until then located in the immediate vicinity of the train station, has been moved to the Bercy-Seine bus station ,which access requires crossing the park of Bercy; the latter is also served by other coach operators.

The Official SNCF webpage for the now Gare de Paris-Bercy-Bourgogne-Pays d’Auvergne: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpbe/paris-bercy-bourgogne-pays-dauvergne

The official Oui SNCF webpage for the Gare de Paris-Bercy-Bourgogne-Pays d’Auvergne with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-bercy-bourgogne-pays-d-auvergne

The official regional Transilien on the Gare de Paris-Bercy-Bourgogne-Pays d’Auvergne: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/paris-bercy-bourgogne-pays-d-auvergne-8768666

There is a good service in English put out by the SNCF the webpage is here with plenty of information: https://en.oui.sncf/en/destination/france/paris-region/paris

Of course, the Paris tourist office has a good layout in English on the main stations here with additional good information: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/Paris-a-fabulous-heritage/paris-monuments/paris-train-stations-19th-century-architectural-heritage

Two other popular stations that even thus not inside Paris are use regularly by many and of course many visitors; these are the Disneyland Marne-La-Vallée-Chessy station and the Roissy CDG Airport T2 station for the TGV.

Marne La Vallée Chessy station is a purpose-built train station sitting right outside the gates of Disneyland Resort Paris. Marne La Vallée Chessy station welcomes Eurostar trains from the UK to Disneyland Resort Paris. Plus you can catch high-speed TGV trains from the station for journeys across France and beyond. Marne La Vallée Chessy station opened in 1994, two years after Disneyland Resort Paris. It is a smallish station, housing three platforms and five high-speed tracks. Automatic Left Luggage from 07h-22h ; Monday-Sunday & Holidays. Luggage trolleys are also available inside the station. There is a foreign exchange in the station. Disabled facilities: 07h-22h30 Monday-Sunday &  Holidays; at the Welcome Desk;  You should turn up to the reception 30 minutes before your train leaves if you need assistance boarding. Wheelchairs and boarding ramps are also available if required.. You can You can come to the station by RER A best in Paris by etoile CDG or Arc de Triomphe and Auber by the big dept stores. By bus:Disney operates a free shuttle service from the station to all the Disney hotels. By taxi: You can catch a cab at Place des Passagers des Vents in front of the station. On foot: The station is just by the entrance to Disney Village and the resort. And yes we have visited the Resort by train as well!!!

The official SNCF webpage on the Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frmlv/marne-vallee-chessy

The official Oui SNCF webpage on the Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/marne-la-vallee-chessy

The regional Transilien on RER A to Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy: https://www.transilien.com/lignes/rer-trains/rer-A

The Roissy CDG Airport station at Terminal  2 TGV  serves both TGV trains and  the RER B line rapid transit system. RER B connects to central Paris, calling at Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est on the way. TGV trains from the station run to many destinations, including Bordeaux, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, Nantes (where I have taken several times, as well as from Vannes), Perpignan, Rennes and Toulouse.  Aéroport CDG Terminal 1 is the next stop on RER B ; the CDGVAL monorail train runs between the terminals as well as shuttle buses. At Paris CDG Terminal  2 , you can securely deposit your baggage at the central lockers located at the CDGVAL station’s exit, near the RER B train station. This service is available 7 days a week, from 6h to 21h30. You can get to the CDG T2 TGV station by Taxi: Go to Level 5 and use the ‘south/sud’ exit. A taxi between central Paris and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) takes about 45 minutes. Cost is around 50-60 euros depends on number of people, luggage and time of day. Roissybus service runs between the three airport terminals and rue Scribe behind the Opéra Garnier. Between 06h and 22.30, shuttles run every 15 minutes and take approximately 45-60 minutes. By Train: RER line B trains run every 8-15 minutes between the airport and central Paris, with a journey time of around 35 minutes, prices change in July and sometimes January so check the official sites of RATP for updates.

The official SNCF webpage for the CDG T2 airport stop of TGV: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frmlw/aeroport-charles-gaulle-2-tgv

The official Oui SNCF webpage on the CDG T2 Airport station with connection info: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/aeroport-charles-de-gaulle-2-tgv

The official regional Transilien on the RER B airport service: https://www.transilien.com/lignes/rer-trains/rer-B

For moving in Paris and to the sites above the Paris transport site is RATP with itineraires: https://www.ratp.fr/en/itineraires

And let’s see , there are connection between all train stations in Paris. Generally, they are all mention on this official webpage: https://www.oui.sncf/aide/correspondances-depuis-gare-montparnasse

From the airport, see my previous post on travel from to airports of the Paris region. Hope it helps your quest to come and enjoy Paris and its region île-de-France a lot better. Again any questions, ask me.

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

January 31, 2021

How to ,from ,and back,the airports of Paris!

Ok this is a post I did earlier in my blog and need to update links and text, and put it in my black and white series as the pictures are elsewhere on individual posts. A repeated question in many mediums and I would like to put my five cents to it. Of course as the title says will tell you a bit on how to move about in Paris between its airports.Hope you find it useful, and thanks for reading me over the years!!!

I will give you some direction on how to get around the airports of the Paris region,  Roissy CDG Val d’Oise (dept 95) , Orly , Val du Marne (dept 94)  and Beauvais Oise ( dept 60). I have use them all over the years and of course ,the most has been Roissy  CDG!

I will star with CDG Terminal 1. Yes there is one, indeed.  It has post office, and currency exchange bureaus as well as lost items office. Children’s areas by the CDGVal hall 5 departure gates 2 and 17. At the same level there is a pharmacy. Game Arcade at departure gates 1 ,3, 4,5,7. As far as restaurants you have in the public zone McDonald’s Naked, and Paul ; and under security area Alto Café in satellite 2, Brioche Dorée in satellite 1, 4,5,6, Café Eiffel nad Pradier.  You can rent cars such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise Citer, and Sixt.

Moving on to the busy Terminal 2 where I go by the most. I will broke it down into satellites A,B,and C and satellites E,F,and G.

The A,C,D, you have currency exchange and ATM cash distribution machines 24:24, post office, internet bornes, lost items office, Children’s areas such as T2A departure area, mezzanine baby spaces, T2C departure central area.  Here you will find bag plastic wrapper by public zone gates A8,C11, and C14, pharmacy public zone, massage center at 2A and 2C, prayer room by shopping level ,and game arcade at 2C. You have restaurants in public areas such as 2A Starbucks, 2A/C Frenchy’s bistro and McDonald’s, 2C Paul, 2D Brioche Dorée, Hippopotamus, and Starbucks. In the security zone at 2A you have Exki, Fauchon, Starbucks, and Brioche Dorée; 2A/C Seafood bar and Café Eiffel; 2C Bert’s and McDonald’s, and 2D Brioche Dorée and Exki. The car rental desks of Avis, Europcar, Hertz,Enterprise citer, and Sixt.

While in the E,F,G  , you have Banks, currency exchange and ATM cash distribution machines such as HSBC and Travelex. Children’s spaces at 2E departure area after police filter,and 2F departure lounge after security checks. Massage centers at 2E halls L, M, and 2F. Also, museum space at 2E hall M. Plastic wrapping luggage in public area 2E gates 2,6,and 14, 2F gate 6 departure level. Luggage lockers at 2E by the train TGV station. Medical center at 2F door 17 arrivals; pharmacy 2E public area departure, prayer room multifaith at 2E hall L door E63 7/7 days 2F arrivals door 1 7/7 days from 6h30 to 22H (6:30am to 10 pm). Game arcades at 2E hall M, and business center at 2F and 2G. Restaurants are plenty on 2E Brioche DoréeEspressamente Illy, Naked, arrivals level, 2F Brasserie Flo, Espressamente Illy, Ladurée, Marks&Spencer, Starbucks. 2F1 Brioche dorée, Pradier and 2G Paul. In security areas where I always eat are 2E hall K, Exki, Paname Restaurant, Paul, Prêt à manger, Starbucks, and Yo Shushi; Hall L Exki, Fly Bar, Illy, I love Paris by Guy Martin (great), Hall M Caviar House & Prunier , seafood bar, Exki, Paul, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, Café Cubiste. 2F1 , Exki, ,Paul, and Petrossian, 2F2, Bellota Bellota, Bert’s, Brioche Dorée, Caviar House & Prunier, Seafood bar Paul, and Yo Sushi.  At 2G you have Bert’s, Illy, and Ladurée. I highlight the ones I have tried ok. You can rent cars here like Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise Citer, and Sixt.

And there is a Terminal 3 sometimes used; the police is base here, as well ATM cash distribution machines in public area, currency exchange, internet kiosks, plastic wrapping luggage in departure hall and children’s spaces with video games airside. Restaurants are in public area Brioche Dorée, and by security Alto Café.

Inside the CDG airport complex in addition to walking you can take the CDGVAL airport shuttle monorail train. This goes constantly between Terminal 1 passing by Parking R (here there is a Mercure hotel) , Terminal 3 (here 5 min walking to Roissypole hotels and line buses including RER B)  , Parking X, and Terminal 2 (here you connect with the TGV RER B and hotels). The service is open 7/7 days from 04h00 (4am) to 01h00 (1am), and by bus from 1am to 4am. Trips take about 8 min so they say , never time it.

Also, there is a navette shuttle bus the N2 operating from 5h30 to 23h going around all the terminals  but in T2E only between 21h30 to 23h. This is a free service. You can get to the airport by car of course, no problems at all Porte de la Chapelle on the A1 or the A3 by the Porte de Bagnolet, then A1 keep on right lane.  

Sadly need to have it for the memories the old Air France Cars and later Le Bus Direct  has definitively closed!! 

Then, you have the ever popular RER B,not my favorite and passing thru some of the worse areas in the Paris region. Trains go every 12 minutes again never time it, and takes ,about 30 minutes to Châtelet-Les-Halles from 4h56 to 23h40 stopping at T1,T2 TGV station and then CDGVAL to terminals and it goes to Paris from T3 and T2 take the RER Band from T1 take the CDGVAL shuttle to T3 Roissypole station.

The wonderful Roissybus is great, leaves from all terminals to the angle of rue Scribe and rue Auber behind the Opéra Garnier every 20 minutes and takes about  60 minutes ride. The return goes to CDG T1 exit 32 arrival level, CDG 2A-2C between exits 8 and 9, from CDG 2D exit D11, and from CDG 2E-2F , from T3 arrival hall running from 6h to 23h. cost is 13.70€. 

There is a direct TGV service to Roissy CDG which taken often, this arrives at T2 TGV station between E and F. There is a night service call Noctilien between Paris and CDG 00h30 to 5h30, two lines N140 and N143, there are five points in Paris for correspondence such as Châtelet, Gare de Lyon, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de l’Est/Nord, and Gare Saint Lazare. To CDG T1 gate 12, CDG T2F gate 2, and CDG T3 bus terminal at Roissypôle. Taxis of course, another dandy here are theLes Taxis Bleus, Taxi G7, then the new ones Alpha Taxis and Taxis 7000. My favorites are the G7. webpage: https://www.g7.fr/ 

In Roissy CDG terminal  T3 RER B station or T2 Gare TGV train you can go on the RER B to Antony, then Orlyval to Orly airport every 3-8 minutes from 6h to 23h. Webpage: https://www.orlyval.com/

Let’s go over Orly the south Paris airport.  Here you have two terminal West and South or Ouest et Sud.

The terminal west or ouest has urgent medical care by Gate B arrivals around the clock. Vaccination center from Mondays to Saturdays 8h-12h and 14h-19h Sundays from 8h to 19h in urgencies with an added fee. Lost items space on arrivals facing elevators:lifts A100 from 7h to 16h. You have courtesy telephone booths at level 0, information desk at level 1 departures gate A, level 0 arrivals gate B. Tourist desks are at level 0 arrivals gate A and assistance to person with specific needs at welcome center level 1 departure gate A. Family areas in public area departure level, video games arcade in rooms 10,20,31, and 40 Sony PS3. Luggage weights balance in Hall 1,2,and 3. Internet kiosks entrance to halls 2 and 3-4; post office arrivals gate A M-F 8h to 18h30 Sat 8h to 12h30. Banking HSBC arrivals gate A 8h30 to 19h15,ATM cash distribution machines at arrivals gate A, departures leaving the CDGVAL train and at gate G. Plastic wrapping luggage at Hall 1 departures and prayer room at level 0, business center at Hall 2. Pharmacy at departure level, and restaurants such as in public zones central hall, Café Pouchkine, Caviar House & Prunier Seafood bar, ladurée, Monop’daily, Carrefour city (arrivals) and Red d’Hippo. At Hall 1 you have Starbucks, Boco in departures , and Hall 2 Ladurée , Paul by gate B at departures, and Hall 3 Paul at departures gate G. Under security areas you have Hall 1 Exki gate 10, Hall 2 Exki gate 20, ,and Brioche Dorée, Hall 3 Kayser Relay, gate 31 and Hall 4 Eric Kayser, Ladurée by gate 40. Car rental available are Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise Citer, and Sixt by exit A; you can even rent motorbikes.

You have connection between terminal Ouest and Sud on Orlyval every 4-8 minutes at Orly Ouest get it at Gate A departures and Orly Sud at Gate K pedestrian walking area and Orly Ouest at Gate 1 level Arrivals. As well there are navette bus between the parkings and the terminals.

Moving on to Terminal Sud or South, you have here medical service by stairs S3 lower level M-F 8h to 17h. Assistance of persons with needs, lower level Gate B, ¨Pharmacy level 1 public area; children’s area public entrance with playstation games in halls A and B, smoking section in hall A and B; information kiosks in public area departure and arrivals, tourist information lower level near gate L; internet kiosk in central area hall A and B. RATP Paris transport desk by gate K, ATM cash distributors in public area lower level by gate A and near gate C, duty free shopping area level 1 hall A and Hall B gate 20 international baggage area. Currency exchange at lower level towards gate C and Hall A. Prayer room on chapel in level 2, mosque and synagogue at level -1. Interfaith office at level -1, plastic wrapping luggage station at level 0 gates B and C; business center in Hall B. Restaurants in public area are level 0 Brioche Dorée, departures and arrivals, Paul at gate B and Starbucks. Level 1 you have Cup, McDonald’s, Paul,and Zumo. Level 4 conference center, terrace with views on the airplanes.  ¨Past security areas you have at level 1 hall A, Bert’s, Kayser relay, Paul and on Hall B, Exki, Illy, and Kayser Relay.

You can get to Orly by car of course, the road A6 by the porte d’Orléans A6a or by the porte de Gentilly A6b than the A106 until Orly airport.  All well posted. Coming from Orly to Paris you can take the Porte d’Orléans ,A6a or Porte d’Italie A6b. Parkings are at P4 or P7 for both terminals. Direct access to airport at parking P0 and P2 for Orly Ouest and parkings P1,P3, and P6 for Orly Sud.

Sadly need to have it for the memories the old Air France Cars and later Le Bus Direct  has definitively closed!!

There is the combination RER B and Orlyval with transfer at Antony for both terminals. You get the Orlyval at terminal Sud exit K. Orly Ouest at exit A departures.one train every 4-8 minutes doing it from 6h to 23h. The traject takes about 25 minutes to Châtelet-Les-Halles.  There is a navette bus service between both terminals At Sud is at Gate H and at Ouest is at gate D and it goes to all the parkings too.

There is ,also, the RER C then navette Go C Paris shuttle. To Paris you go from Pont de Rungis the RER C station is at exit G bay 6 at Orly Sud and arrivals level bay B exit H at Orly Ouest.  Departures every 15-30 minutes from 4h34 to 12h56 or 4:34 am to 12h56 am the trip takes about 35 to 50  minutes from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz. The Orlybus from Place Denfert-Rochereau in front of the RER station there, every 15-20 minutes from 5h35 to 23h05 takes about 30 minutes ride. The return is done from Orly Sud exit G quai 3, and Orly Ouest arrival level gate D, quai B from 6h to 23h30. Price 9.50€

There is the tramway the T7 depart from metro station Villejuif Louis Aragon/RER C station La Fraternelle. It arrives at Orly station takes about 35 minutes and it’s open from 5h30 to 12h30 or 5:30 am to 12h30 am. Taxis are available such as Alpha Taxis, Taxis Bleus, Taxis G7, and Taxis 7000. Again your choice, I used the Taxis G7 and they are enough for me; see webpage above. You can ,also, take the OrlyVal then RER B to CDG T1 or T2 TGV terminal. You take the Orlyval to Antony and there take the RER B to CDG airport.

The airport at Tille Beauvais is simply low cost airlines like Ryanair. There is a direct bus whether you have ticket or not from the airport to the parking Pershing on the side of the Porte Maillot in Paris. The trip takes about 1h15 but it is really dependant on the traffic especially on the A1. The stop is near RER C and Metro line 1 of Paris. There is bus line 6 that takes you to city center Beauvais on the network Corolis. There is ,also, navette hotels NA from airport to Hôtel de Ville (city hall Beauvais). Webpage: https://www.corolis.fr/se-deplacer

You can go by car but unless you have been in the area before driving I would not tell you to do it. Basically you have to leave Paris on the A14 past Paris and into La Defénse area in Neuilly-sur-Seine , take the A86  direction Colombes/Cergy-Pontoise, and hook up with the A15 to go direction  Épinay-sur-Seine/Cergy-Pontoise/Gennevilliers-Village/Argenteuil-Orgemont; take exit A115 direction   Calais/Amiens/Beauvais/Ermont/Franconville-Centre/A16;  take slightly left and join the road N184 direction  A16/Calais/Amiens/Beauvais/Aéroport Charles de Gaulle continue on the N184, follow panels for the   A16/Amiens/Beauvais/L’Isle-Adam/Presles N184 go turning slightly right and the road becomes the A16 stay and get off at exit 15 direction Beauvais-Nord/Aéroport Beauvais-Tillé/Clermont .

Car rentals there are Hertz (my fav), then Sixt, Thrifty, Europcar, and Avis. Taxi from Paris is very expensive but if you can get to the train station in Beauvais the ride is about 15€ daytime and 20€ nighttime. To Paris the station is at the Gare du Nord; the Gare de Beauvais train station webpage: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frbva/beauvais/transports-horaires

And the official webpage for the airports of Paris

Paris Aéroports on CDG in English: https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-charles-de-gaulle

Paris Aéroports on Orly in English: https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-orly

Paris-Beauvais Aéroport in English: https://www.aeroportparisbeauvais.com/en/passengers/

And there you folks ,hope it helps your running thru Paris airports. Of course, as a disclaimer lots of changes going on due to the virus so check the links above before venturing into the Paris airports. Enjoy Paris when possible.

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

Tags: , ,
January 30, 2021

Church of Saint-Philbert ,Île de Noirmoutier!

Therefore, need to update this older post to go along the others recently done on the Île de Noirmoutier. I had it separate because of the local meaning to the monument, the Church of Saint Philbert! Hope you enjoy as I.

And I take you to the islands!! on the West coast of my belle France again. Here all is wonderful and peaceful, and other things to see besides the beaches! This is just south of me along the coast!  I like to take you to the Île de Noirmoutier, in the dept of the Vendée 85 (old Poitou area) in Pays de la Loire region and to show a bit more of the Church of Saint Philbert.

The island of Noirmoutier  or Île de Noirmoutier is in the Atlantic Ocean, on the coast of the Vendée dept85 . It is separated from the mainland by the Strait or gully of Fromentine, wide from 700 to 800 meters, and  connected  to the mainland  by the Passage du Gois (or Goâ), 4 km long and practicable passage at low sea. A bridge further north has also been connecting the island to the mainland since 1971.

The Church of St Philbert, which is the former Benedictine abbey, is in its present state dates from  the 12C, 14C and 19C, but it is built on a crypt that must be that of the primitive Church and go back to the end of the 7C or 8C. It contains a sarcophagus of Saint Philbert, which passes to be the tomb of the Saint, but which is in reality only a modern restoration. Beautiful 14C rectangular dungeon, flanked by turret-shaped buttresses. This dungeon had to be built by the lord of the island, on the location of the Castle raised in the 9C by the monks to defend against the Vikings.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Who was Saint Philbert? ,well a brief description: he was abbot of Jumièges in Normandy, then of Noirmoutier in the Vendée. He had left the court of King Dagobert to make himself a monk at first to Rebais  in the French Brie area (77 Seine et Marne). Later he founded a monastery in Jumièges near Rouen in Normandy. When he learned that Ebroïn, the mayor of the palace, had murdered Saint Léger of Autun, he went to reproach his crime to the mayor of Neustria. Ebroïn instructed Saint Ouen to make it disappear. The Bishop of Rouen obeyed, made him imprisoned, but the captivity was gentle and lasted little, for Ebroïn was assassinated in his turn. Saint Philbert thanked Saint Ouen for his hospitality, assured him of his perfect friendship and took the way to the monastery of Noirmoutier. During the Norman invasions, his relics were transported to Tournus in Burgundy, where a magnificent abbey was built.(still there).

A bit of history I like on the Church

The Church of Saint-Philbert rises on the site of an abbey founded by Philibert de Tournus in 677AD.  It was plundered by the Saracens at the beginning of the 8C, then burned down by the Normans in 846AD. It was then rebuilt at the end of the 11C on a primitive Chapel, which is the present Crypt, but only the Choir and the main nave remains. From the end of the 14C to the 17C ,the left and right naves were raised, and it was consecrated in 1849.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The bell tower is neo-Romanesque it was built in 1875 to replace the old steeple which had been destroyed by a fire in 1848. Inside you can admire a model of a frigate, made by an artisan watchmaker of the village in 1802 for Auguste Jacobsen.

The Crypt is located under the Choir, it hosted the body of Saint Philbert between 690 and 836, when it was transferred to Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, then to Tournus in Burgundy, where the monks had fled after the Norman invasions in 875. A shrine on the altar contains some relics of the Saint transferred in 1863 date on which this Crypt was restored.The Merovingian Crypt where Saint Philbert rested is what remains of the abbey destroyed by the Normans. Indeed the abbey which extended over the location of the church and the castle was never raised in its walls after the monks fled the occupation of the Vikings who had made the island their base behind their raids on the Loire. Only a priory was restored which became the Church we know today.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The windows of the nave tell us of Saint Philbert and the ancient Abbey, the castle, the arms of the abbey and on the other side four stages and foundations of Philibert: Jumièges, Saint Philibert of Grandlieu, Cunault and Tournus.  The altarpiece of the Holy Mary is the oldest altarpiece of the Church, and the most lavishly decorated. You can admire the garlands of roses and sun carved in stone. The altarpiece of the altar St. Anne was built in 1711.

The Noirmoutier island tourist office on the Church: https://www.ile-noirmoutier.com/fr/que-faire-sur-l-ile/patrimoine-sites-de-visites/eglise-saint-philbert.html

The parish church of Noirmoutier island on the Church: http://saint-philbert-en-noirmoutier.fr/saint-philbert-de-noirmoutier/

Hope you enjoy the story, the island is very nice just close by Nantes and the passage of Goa in low tide is sublime experience, written on it in previous posts. For now enjoy the history and architecture of the Saint Philbert Church in the Ïle de Noirmoutier!

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

Tags: ,
January 30, 2021

And the 49ers of Cholet !

I need to update this post , very unique to me. Actually, hard to come up with titles, and as Cholet is dept 49 of Pays de la Loire region of my belle France...well I thought of the 49ers as in American football lol!!! Even not my favorite team there but very famous… okay so why talk about sports! Let me tell you what we have in this 49ers of Cholet!

Ok so in continuing the saga looking into new areas in my belle France, we decided today to visit Cholet in the département of the Maine-et-Loire no. 49 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.  As usual , I passed by these departments and regions all the time but always lack the time to visit all. France is a mouvable feast!!!

As I said the history is huge here, and  my small contribution on this post is not enough.  And as usual, I went by car/auto; taken the N165 direction Nantes hooking up direct to the N844  direction Poitiers/Angers ,on exit sortie 44  linking with the N249 direction Poitiers  exit 38 into the D753 that takes you into Cholet Centre city  center. We parked in the limits of the city center at parking Turpault easy in and out for 40 cents!!!, a nice small garden with plenty of inexpensive parking fees and walk along rue Nationale to the center really less than 5 minutes.

cholet-turpault-parking-dec17

This is the lands of Foulque Nera Count of Anjou , and passing by one of his loyal soldiers who later passed it on to their sons until the family lineage is gone in the 13C.  Passing again by several hands until becoming part of the reign in 1343 due to the grand extensors of salt ,by 1463 the lands are even sold to the Duke of Brittany! However, nothing compare to what behold the town and area during the French revolution, especially during the battle of Cholet in 1793.  it goes to textile and shoes industries ups and down until today a revitalizing town on the move.

The first thing we did after parking the car is walk the town as we love to do. We saw a very modern and nice shopping center right in city center!  the  « Les Arcades Rougé »; something different to have one around the old town.  Anchor by a Super U supermarket and with plenty of stores of all kinds and Irish pubs as well ! Webpage: http://www.les-arcades-rouge.fr/le-centre/.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is a huge wonderful Place Travot, it seems the center of it all in town. There is an impressive building now hosting the Mercure hotel; and you can see the back of Notre Dame Church (see post).  You have nice winding old streets like the rue Bretonnaise or Breton street ,and the Grand Pharmacie in the place Travot , and the long and winding rue Nationale, actually cut in half by the Place Travot. All very nice..

However, as often happened here in our belle France; tradition calls for specific lunch hours , and even missing by a few minute and with half a restaurant empty the answer will always be, we are closed or food service is over!!! We arrive there to a place we have picked to eat at 14h06 that is 2:06PM and were told the routine answers. We tried others in the Place Travot and the answer was the same, and of course many were even closed. So we end up hungry as usual and settle for the all American chain Subway sandwiches !!! Part of the Arcades Rougé shopping center.The official Subway webpage with location Cholet: https://www.subway.com/fr-FR/FindAStore?zip=cholet

So we had a nice big 30 cm long BMT my all time favorite here from younger days, and my 7 Up along with a chocolate cookie ! neat and came out to 9.10€ per person; at least my wallet was in heaven! And we headed back home.

This was before the New Year 2018 (see post) and of course was on my way to change car tomorrow  for another Ford!! , my lifetime car/auto and never a problem. Until my next post, I want to wish you all a very very Happy New Year 2018!

The city of Cholet things to see: https://www.cholet.fr/welcome/tourisme.php

The tourist office for Cholet on its heritage: https://en.ot-cholet.fr/exploring/heritage-cholet.html

And there you go folks, a short post on a sort of introduction to wonderful historical Cholet. Plenty of posts in my blog on things to see there, worth the detour and to know the whole history of France. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

Tags: ,
January 30, 2021

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part VI!!!

We went into the islands off the continental France , hugely popular and lovely; it was like been born again for me! I like to update this posts from 2017 with links,text using same pictures. Hope you enjoy it as much as I ! This one is Ïle de Noirmoutier , part VI.

Moving right alone on the trip to Noirmoutier island in the Vendée dept 85 of the Pays de la Loire region; this is part 6 of the series.  Today, I will show you briefs on the religious monuments of the city of Noirmoutier ,itself full of history.  This is the end of this story! There are several posts on the island and a lot more pictures in my blog.

You can meander thru the little tight streets  with a beach scent of the island and its white houses, colorful merchants and restaurants of all sorts but especially ,the sea. The season actually starts in April, and on the first day it was already packed. Talking with locals , we were told to rent in summer you need about a year in advance to get the best properties; it is very sought after here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

While walking alone the dam or digue out into the harbor and the salt and oyster beds we saw a small bell cross pointed within the houses towards town. We walk further towards it and found on a private road but accessible by the public a small Chapel right between the private homes. This is the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Pitié.(see post).

It was done in 1950 by the Abbey Raymond in order to honored the 1500 or 1800 soldiers of Charette leader of the counter French revolution who were executed here in 1794. These soldiers were taken prisoner in the Church of St Philbert (see post) and taken here in groups of about 60 to be executed in what was a garbage dump place. Most of the soldiers were buried in the sand dunes around it.

Upon entering the Chapel you see the Cross of the Martyrs ,and inside the rock of pieta is from the 16C given by the Marquis de Chauvelin. Amongst the bones found are those now in an enclose glass cabinet of the General D’Elbée executed by firing squad on January 7, 1794 ,he was the military chief of the counter revolutionaries in the Vendée region.   This is probably why there is not much info and nothing in the tourists office but here is a site on the period of counter revolution of the Vendée and the Chouans of Bretagne (see post). Webpage in French: http://www.vendeensetchouans.com/archives/2012/04/12/23997600.html

Just going over to the town, it was that time to finally eat something hot so we passed by the picturesque square or place Saint  Louis of many restos and we just pick by chance the Le Blé Noir II at 14 Place Saint Louis. Very friendly, and the waiter had lived in New York and London, so nice expat conversation indeed lol! Michel was a great topic of conversation and the food price/quality was excellent, the bill came to 25,50€ per person including 8 beers Licorne, 2 diabolo menthe drink, one galette chevrette or goat galette and one galette anglaise or English galette with bacon egg and fresh cream, 3 menus of  entrée of fish soup, main dish Hake fish in a white sauce with shrimps, and two scoops of ice cream. Just lovely and a fair price for a chic upper island vacation spot!! We are reflected on the window! Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Le-Bl%C3%A9-Noir-II-328855830658053/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Now much better equipped ::) we continue our walks into the main Church in town, that of one its founders Saint Philbert; a great travelers born in the Gers around 616; he became a monk at the age of 20. After many bad adventures and even prison he ends up here to found a  monastery. He encouraged the cultivation of salt and creates dams to protect the harbor. He died in 685 and his body was placed in the crypt of the Church for several centuries. It now only remained a phalanx in a ossuary in the crypt of the Church ; that now bears his name as many other buildings in the island. 

The Church of Saint Philbert (see post) is just next to the castle; on the square or place d’Armes. The church of a Roman style enclosed in a model frigate or boat. In the Choir of the Church in the crypt laid his body from 690 to 836; it now has some relics of the Saint.  The Church Saint-Philbert is in the spot of an Abbey founded in 677.  It was plundered by the Saracens in the 8C and then burnt by the Normans in 846. It was then  rebuilt  at the end of the 11C on the original Chapel, which is the  current  crypt,  only the choir and the nave.  The end of the 14C  to the 17C , the  left and  right nave were taken down,  it was consecrated in 1849. The  bell tower is neo-Roman, and it was built in 1875 to replace the former bell   tower which had been destroyed by a fire in 1848.

Inside we can admire a model of a frigate, made by an artisan watchmaker of the village in 1802 for Auguste Jacobsen.  The crypt: it is located under the choir, she welcomed the body of St. Philbert between 690 and 836, date at which he was transferred to Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu,  then  to Tournus  where the monks  had fled after the  invasions  of  Normandy in 875.   A  chasse on the altar  contains  some relics of the  saint, transferred in 1863 date that  this  crypt  was  restored.

 The Merovingian crypt where rested Saint Philbert is what remains of the Abbey destroyed by the Normans.  Indeed the Abbey that stretched to the location of the Church  and the castle  was never relieved within its walls once the monks  fled the occupation  of the Vikings who had  made the island their rear base   for their raids  on the Loire.  Only a Priory was restored which became the Church as we know it.  The stained glass windows of the nave tell of Saint Philbert:  the  former Abbey,  the Castle,  the arms of the Abbey  and of the other side  four steps and  foundations of Philbert:  Jumièges,  Saint Philbert de Grandlieu,  and Cunault and Tournus. The altarpiece Sainte Marie is the oldest altarpiece of the Church,  and the most richly  decorated.  You can admire the garlands of roses and Sun carved in stone. The retable of the altar of  Ste.  Anne  was  built in 1711.

Indeed a wonderful Church Saint Philbert that must be visited and admire.

The Ïle de Noirmoutier city on tourism do and see in English: https://www.ile-noirmoutier.com/en/noirmoutier-en-lile-historical-center.html

The Vendée dept 85 on Noirmoutier island in English: http://www.vendee-tourism.co.uk/en/discover/nature-and-countryside/noirmoutier-island/

You are just across from the castle and we found free parking right in front of the Church. Enjoy Noirmoutier another jewel in my belle France! Hope you enjoy the series!

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

January 30, 2021

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part V!

We went into the islands off the continental France , hugely popular and lovely; it was like been born again for me! I like to update this posts from 2017 with links,text using same pictures. There are several posts on the island and a lot more pictures in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I ! This one is Ïle de Noirmoutier , part V.

And my Noirmoutier saga continues with the WWII bunkers on the beach there. This is part 5 or V of the saga so need to catch up with the previous ones for the whole story.  By January 19 1944, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is named inspector of fortifications and all the big harbors of the Atlantic are raise to fortresses that will need to withstand until the last block.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After 73 years the bunkers or blockhouses here are brought to new by an association formed to protect them for posterity. The association is the Atlantic Wall Memory (AWM). Info here: Place René Ganachaud (mayor’s office) 85680 La Guérinière. The assoc webpage in French: https://atlanticwall.fr/tirpitz-blockhaus-la-gueriniere/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These are in the town of La Guériniére and along the Cantine beach or plage de la Cantine with children playground and plenty of bike paths and car parking for free.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here you will find about 7 (I think I counted 7) blockhouses coming from batteries Sa 114a along boulevard de l’Océan in La Guériniére. One of the blockhouses the 669’s has a small museum on the local history of fishing; the Maison des Anciens Marins or the house of retired fisherman and wartime pictures . Finding the 627 with plates on rare to see but the bunker has them. The battery was named after the battleship “Tirpitz”.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Another bunker has a Maison des Ecluses et Pêche Traditionnelle still in use or the House of levies and traditional fishing.  There are four building behind the bunkers acting as a double defense line and they look like bunkers to me too ::)

Once you are in the town of La Guériniére you follow the signs for the bonkers until you reach the boulevard de l’Océan one way turning right and find your parking. This is the Cantine beach and the after the children playground in a still grassy area facing the beach you see the big blockhouses rising before you one after the other.  They are all near the sand or beach, and then behind are other buildings some semi submerge in the land on the other side of a narrow road. There are panels to explain what they are.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It is a mood time to reflect on the times then and what we have now and to protect the balance without injustices as happened before.  It is a must for all to come and see them and especially our young adults so they learn the lessons of history head on.

The tourist office of Noirmoutier island and La Guériniére : https://www.ile-noirmoutier.com/en/explore-the-island/la-gueriniere.html

Enjoy it and have a great time as we did in Noirmoutier island or Noirmoutier-en-île. And in this case at La Guériniére!

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

January 29, 2021

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part IV !

We went into the islands off the continental France , hugely popular and lovely; it was like been born again for me! I like to update this posts from 2017 with links,text using same pictures. There are several posts on the island and a lot more pictures in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I ! This one is Ïle de Noirmoutier , part IIII !

And the saga of Noirmoutier continues with this the 4th version. Read on;;;;;

As said, it is a very nice island off the continent of France link by two passages via road. One is a big bridge or pont de Noirmoutier  since 1971 ;which was nice. The next one is the one we took on the way back, and it is at water level well underwater lol!!

On the way back we took the Passage du Gois which is a submersible road located between the bay of Bourgneuf that link the island of Noirmoutier at the town of Barbâtre with the continent on the town of Beauvoir sur Mer in the department of the Vendée No 85. The crossing can be done in voiture, bike or on foot only in low tide because at high tide is completely covered by the sea! It is a bit over 4 kms long (about 2.4 miles) and water can be as much as 4 meters deep (about 13 feet).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

During the high tides, the place is known for fishing on foot and you can see the folks doing that while crossing it. In the Bay around it you can harvest clams, cockles, and oysters. The oysters are ,also, developed ,because the Gois allows access at low tide to the oyster locations. You see the cages as you drive by too!. Paving of the road has been made between 1935 and 1939, in a time of two hours at low tide twice a day. At the end of this work, the Gois passage became passable. Even today, one observe this paving characteristic on a large portion of the passage even if a part has been paved.  The ride can be bumpy to some.  Official webpage of the passage du Goishttps://www.passagedugois.com/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The road is part of the road D948 but the passage is known as far back as 820 when texts mentioned of the difficulty of passing due to dead water or high tides! It was heavily guarded by the Nazis who controlled it in WWII guarding the mouth of the bay of Saint Nazaire. There is another bridge here that we took on our way in call the Pont de Saint Nazaire and below it are the shipyards of the big cruise ships such as Harmony of the Seas.

You must adhere to these hours religiously as the crossing is considered dangerous, the high tide comes in rather quickly and once in the crossing there is no way out. Lately, there has been no deadly episodes but many rescues with cars lost ! The reason is there is only a narrow road each way and there is lots of traffic, very popular and you cannot drive fast but only at 50 kph or about 35 mph.

The tourist office of ïle Noirmoutier on the passage du Gois in English: https://www.ile-noirmoutier.com/en/gois-passage.html

This is the tourist site of the area and Beauvoir sur Mer on the passage du Gois: https://www.challansgois-tourisme.fr/a-decouvrir/le-passage-du-gois/

This is the above tourist site showing the low tides for 2021 in the passage du Gois: https://www.challansgois-tourisme.fr/vie-pratique/horaires-des-marees/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is,also, a famous running/walking course call the Crowds of Gois that will be done in June, Les Foulées du Gois; webpage in French: https://www.lesfouleesdugois.com/les-courses/

It’s an experience and for the road warrior like me it was wonderful to have the feeling of cutting the ocean driving on land that can submerge under the sea! Love it:: recommended! Enjoy the ways of my belle France and my road warrior experiences of an unique way of travel!

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

Tags: ,
January 29, 2021

You know the Vendée, Noirmoutier island, part III !

We went into the islands off the continental France , hugely popular and lovely; it was like been born again for me! I like to update this posts from 2017 with links,text using same pictures. There are several posts on the island and a lot more pictures in my blog. Hope you enjoy it as much as I ! This one is Ïle de Noirmoutier , part III !

Continuing the saga of my visit to the island of Noirmoutier , this is as seen the 3rd episode!

Easy to get to Noirmoutier, south of Nantes and from there take the bus 13 , that is from the Nantes train station if coming by the airport take the airport shuttle bus for 9€ to the train station then the bus 13 to Noirmoustier. By road from Nantes along the D723 direction Bouguenais ,then sucessives roads D751, D758 , D22 direction of the D38 La Guérinière turn off in traffic circle to Noirmoustier. For the benefit of those in public transports here is the bus 13 route:https://loireatlantique.transdev-paysdelaloire.com/ligne-13-nantesfromentinenoirmoutier

The island is ideal to walk and take a bike as well, nice views and beautiful seashores. On this posting I would like to talk about the island of butterflies or île aux papillons!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This is very educational for the whole family right out of Noirmoustier direction La Guériniére on  the road D948 past the Intermarché supermarket take a right and see the signs for it. Open April,May,and September ;Mondays to Fridays from 14h to 19h and June,July, and August every day from 10h to 19h30. Admission is 9.10€ adult. Free parking and picnic area available.

The enclosed garden is kept at 26C or about 79F and see hundreds of butterflies from Guyana, Kenya, Madagascar, Costa Rica, and the Philippines!  You will see the stand where they are born and kept until able to fly almost a 1000 of them.  This is claim to be the largest butterfly greenhouse in France.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is an AC room showing a film on the life of the butterfly, as well as a boutique with souvenirs of the butterfly world and refreshments. The greenhouse has many plants attractive to butterflies such as banana trees and ponds ,one with red fish in it ,rather big lol! You ,also ,will see a section on the back with quails of China these are small chicken like animals very delicious but here they look cute ::)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The tourist office of île de Noirmoutier on the butterfly island gardens in English: https://www.ile-noirmoutier.com/en/island-activities/heritage-tourist-attractions/lile-aux-papillons.html

The official webpage of the Île aux Papillons : http://www.ile-aux-papillons.com/spip.php?page=sommaire

A nice family experience and something to do after a beach day I would say.  Families with kids under 15 will enjoy it most me think. Ours are young men so it was a quick tour.

Enjoy the Noirmoutier island living it is best and of course when in France oh là là là là là and là là!!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: