Archive for January 1st, 2021

January 1, 2021

Versailles : Hôtel de Ville !!!

And great to be back, visually online to my beloved Versailles. I will update this post on the city/town hall as believe it is wonderful. This coming from the fact of the city of Versailles that 98% of visitors to the city just go to the palace; not surprise, but what a pity. Versailles has a lot more , I know. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the Hôtel de Ville of Versailles or city/town hall!

It was still sunny nice around here, and let me tell you about something I used to go not for visiting but did, mostly as a matter of civic duty. The city hall of Versailles!  Ok so on another nostalgic day let me talk again about my dear beloved Versailles. With all the wonders of my belle France, Versailles as a town to live or work  in has been the best; not that the other have been bad is just a ranking by yours truly….

The season came and gone, and I still remember the errands on the city /town hall of Versailles or mairie or Hôtel de Ville as it is known in Versailles. This is a lot more than a government building ,it has a wonderful history, and it is very well kept inside and beautiful.

The newer story  will tell you the city hall or Hôtel de Ville of today came from an order to have one in 1897 and finally done on November 18, 1900. However, it goes back way back on its history as a building. Let me tell you a bit of history I like.

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It’s in 1670, on the initiative of Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds ,Marshal of France , Governor of the kennels and the Louveterie of the king, which rises in the present 4  Avenue de Paris, a beautiful mansion whose gardens extend to the park of the Castle!. But the construction work of the Royal Stables (present-day National School of Architecture of Versailles) depriving the marshal of his royal perspective, he sells his hotel to the Knights of Lorraine. King Louis XIV acquired it in 1680 for Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vermandois, his legitimate son, who died prematurely three years later.  When the count died , the mansion became the home of his sister Marie-Anne, the Princess de Conti, who used it for great parties that were the toast of Versailles and that is why it was known as the palace of Conti!. Louis de Bourbon and Marie-Anne were Louis XIV children by his mistress Louise de la Vallière.

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The hotel was finally bought in 1723 by Louis XV to house Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé, Duke of Bourbon, Grand master of his house. Important works of decoration, where painters and sculptors compete in creativity and virtuosity, are undertaken under the direction of Robert de Cotte, the first architect of the king and disciple of Mansart. Like the princess of Conti, the duke de Bourbon organizes in his midst lavish receptions. It even opens the gardens to the public to facilitate communication between the thriving  Saint-Louis and Notre-Dame neighbourhoods!

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Unoccupied during the French revolution, the hotel tentatively welcomes in January 1790 , the city hall of Versailles, until then housed in the former royal furniture depot , current 11 rue des Reservoirs. From that time dates the extension of the rue Royale towards the Avenue de Paris. The building, which is entered by the Avenue de Berry (Current avenue du Général de Gaulle), is adorned with a belfry topped by a clock. In 1821 they were still there and the mansion became the official Hôtel de Ville. In 1859, the city officially became the owner of the hotel. The city hall is made up of two distinct parts: the first, along the rue du Général de Gaulle, looking at the castle, is a small building preceded by a large staircase.  The second, which looks at the Avenue de Paris, is an imposing neo-Louis XIII building.

So many older locals still call it the palace of Conti, proud that our city hall was a royal palace and with lots of tradition. The Hôtel de Ville is at the intersection of Ave de Paris and Ave du Gen De Gaulle , up from the rive gauche-château or left bank castle  REC C train station and  less than 300 meters from the Château de Versailles. On the right side facing the Ave du Gen de Gaulle there is a huge memorial to the fallen wall. The front of the Hôtel de Ville is magnificent ,and once you are inside in the main lobby you will see statues of personages of Versailles leading to a nice stairs to the upper municipal services offices , where the gorgeous marriage hall or salon de fêtes is located. The top  is shown as a dome from the outside. On the back there is a courtyard nicely mowed ,where the stairs comes out in the form of a horse shoe, and afterward a park like with trees very nice indeed.

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On the left side ,there is the firemen HQ for Versailles. Between the rive gauche-château train station and the Hôtel de Ville on ave du Gen de Gaulle, there is now a KFC restaurant, before there was El Rancho tex mex that we went to (see posts).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to this remarkable building:

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

The Tourist office of Versailles in English on the city hall: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/city-hall.html

So enjoy Versailles, like I said ,it’s a lot more than a castle.  The Hôtel de Ville is gorgeous. My kind of town. Hope you enjoy the post as I do

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

January 1, 2021

Paris churches with a twist!!

This was a unique post I did couple years back and would like to update with fresh text as I think they are wonderful monuments off the beaten path in Paris. Most come to see the renown and popular in tourist books but these have a wonderful history of their own. Let me show you the Paris churches with a twist!!

Let me bring you up to speed or kneeling position with the Paris churches with a twist. These are churches seldom if ever visited by tourists or even casual resident /expats. However, as a resident/citizen I did many times while working in Paris and living in Versailles.

We do come to Paris or any other city in Europe especially, and one of the thing to do is to see these wonderful monuments to the architecture genious of the past. Even if we are not religious ,these stands as a place worth the detour.

Paris has a small Anglo Catholic Church, that of Saint Joseph at 50 avenue Hoche near the Arc de Triomphe. The church was built by the Passionate Fathers in 1868 and the new Church was renovated in 1987. Hardly recognisable as a church but rather a modern building.  Parish for the English-speaking Catholic Community of Paris.  You get there on the metro CDG Etoile lines  1, 2, 6 & RER A. Webpage: http://www.stjoeparis.com/StJoeParis/ 

The Paris tourist office on St Joseph Churchhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/72405/Saint-Joseph-s-Church

The American Church was the first American Church to established themselves outside the USA!  It was created in 1814 ; located at 65, Quai d’Orsay, in the 7éme arrondissement, not far from the Seine river. The current Church was built in 1931.

By 1814, many Protestants Americans in Paris were welcome in homes around Paris than on a temple de l’Oratoire du Louvre from  1816 under the protection of  Talleyrand.  The first American Chapel was built in 1857 at 21, rue de Berri.  It was in 1858 that emperor Napoléon III  officially recognized the American Church of Paris. In  1925, the Church acquired land on the quai d’Orsay  and ordered architect Carrol Greenough  the construction of a big neo gothic Church.  The construction was finished on March 6 1931 even if the first stone was done on March 1st 1926. The American Church is frequented by the Protestants of Paris coming from 40 different countries and 35 Christian groups at last count.

The stained glass on the north and those on the nerf are all the same dimensions. Some themes on the glass gives honor to the American fallen in WWI. The Organ buffet has gothic sculptures  and the organ has four keyboards and  3 375 ring cables manufacture in Hambourg,Germany ; and open up with a series of concerts in 1988. The Chapel has a portrait as Christ looking at Jerusalem by a  Canadien Frank M. Armington that was behind the altar but now moved to give space to the organ . The nearest metro station is Invalides  lines 8 and 13 and the gare des Invalides RER C is close by.

The official American Church webpage: https://www.acparis.org/

The Paris tourist office on the American Churchhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71140/The-American-Church-in-Paris

I must say here that the two above I have been maybe once or twice since been in France. The next one, the  American Cathedral of Paris, I have been several times and even had meetings of the Franco-American community here. Many nice memories of events within over the early years in France indeed.

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The American Cathedral  of the Holy Trinity or Cathédrale de la Sainte-Trinité  is an American Church dating from the end of the 19C of the Anglican cult and serving as the Cathedral of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe of the Episcopal Church of the United States.  It is located wonderfully at  23, avenue George-V near the Champs-Élysées and Pont de l’Alma in the 8éme arrondissement.  The origins dates back to the 1830s when American Episcopalians began to meet together for services in the garden pavilion of the Hôtel Matignon, now the official residence of the French prime minister, then the home of American expatriate Colonel Herman Thorn.  In 1859, the formal establishment of a parish took place and in 1864 the first church building was consecrated on Rue Bayard . The Consecration of the church took place on Thanksgiving Day on November 25, 1886, which coincided with the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Holy Trinity became a cathedral in 1922, continuing as a parish church and also serving as the official seat of the bishop in charge of Episcopal churches in Europe.

At its current location it was built from 1881 on a Neo Gothic style under the plans of English architect George Edmund Street, and opened in 1886.  The stained glass which numbered 42 came from glassmaker  James Bell, that did them from 1883 to 1893 on the theme of Te Deum. It was later completed by the addition of a arrow tower designed between 1904-1906 by Arthur Edmond Street, son of the original architect that had passed away. Later in  1911 was added a presbytery , and finally in  1923  a memorial to the fallen American soldiers of WWI.  You have many concerts held here that are nice indeed; and well located to do all the good things you all enjoy of Paris. The Cathedral was renovated especially the tower and the stained glass by a donation from the US base World Monument Fund.

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The official webpage of the American Cathedral of Parishttps://amcathparis.com/

The Paris tourist office on the American Cathedralhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71165/The-American-Cathedral-in-Paris

The World Monument Fund on the work of the American Cathedralhttps://www.wmf.org/project/american-cathedral-paris

There you go something different from your regular visits to our beautiful Paris, eternal and well beyond words . I hope you have enjoyed the tour and do see these off the beaten path wonderful places of my Paris.

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

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January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo , Feliz Ano Novo 2021!!!

Many good well wishes for 2021.  It cannot be worse than 2020 so may all your hopes and dreams come true in good health. We stay home as in the last wishing you all a very very Happy New Year and best wishes to all.

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With the current virus situation is not really worth going out as most is closed or confine to a few people with reservations so we again stay home. Nevertheless, the last few years, we had decided to stay home and watch TV with my boys and Dad. We are very far family, the closest is about 8 hrs drive away.

Another year goes by, and I continue working from home with full pay until March 2021 when I can ask for my retirement early with agreement with my firm. The sensations are weird, glad to finally make it and spent more time at home ,but also sad that my travels will be cut in half as no more business trips to far away lands. I will continue doing some consulting work with a couple of outfits from Paris but these will be mostly in France. Maybe lucky some outings in Europe.

My father has become sick too and need to take care of him, gladly my boys help a lot. He is 85 years old and lost some motoring skills already with diabetes is more complicated. Luckily we have nurses coming home every day and the basic needs are walking distance from the house including pharmacy ,doctors, shopping etc.

It is sadly, the end of the road and other than some updates/revisions I am already doing the posts in my blog will be less eventually by next March. I will try to remain active in WordPress thus and just sign up for another year.

Of course, on a more personal level on trips, we will be passing by my belle France more into other regions and for sure Spain. The family is kept abreast by social media and whatsapps modes, is the modern way of family gathering!

Therefore, wishing you the best and do keep in touch. I thank you very much for reading my blog, Paris1972-Versailles2003  has been uplifting and deeply appreciate all comments over the years since 26 November 2010! There has been some old virtual friends gone and some new ones I see, all welcome and glad you made my day in time. I won’t be leaving just giving way upfront notice the posts will be less from March 2021.

Some statistics , WordPress give us and I look at it every year at least. Again thank you all possible thanks to you all.

In 2020, I had records all over!!! first  50 911 views,  26 826 visits, 20 948 likes! and 843 comments. I had written 1 085 posts! Also, the most! And have so far 1 102 followers which has gone beyond my wildest expectations! Thank you again

My Top 10 articles view for 2020 were:(and many were surprises)

The Somport Tunnel

Look back at the Palais des Tuileries

Lagos, Nigeria

Some streets of Versailles

The wines of Brittany/Bretagne

Lacanau-Océan, Médoc

The Bahamas

The Ladies of Versailles Adelaide and Victoire

Francis I gallery of Fontainebleau

Top 10 countries followers were:

USA

UK

France

India

Belgium

Canada

Spain

Germany

Finland,

Australia

My top search engines were: WordPress reader, Google search, Bing, Yahoo search, WordPress Android ,Baidu, duckduckgo, and Facebook.

There you go for you, fully transparent as always. Hope you have enjoy the travel posts done with care and love to share with all and maybe helpful in your trips. Thank you my followers and follows to share with me your adventures , it has been a pleasure.

Take care, best of luck, best wishes, stay safe ! AND REMEMBER, HAPPY TRAVELS, GOOD HEALTH, AND MANY CHEERS TO ALL!!!!

January 1, 2021

Saumur, walks into history!

On my road warrior rounds came to Saumur, and wrote this introductory post as have many newer posts and pictures in my blog. This was a nice visit with the family as others and we like it. We were on our way back from Tours, see post. Let me give you some walks into history at Saumur. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

And we came to Saumur, we have passed by it but always overlook in the multitude of choices of my belle France. This time we had an idea of going to Tours but we made the effort to stop in Saumur this time. Saumur is in the Maine-et-Loire department 49 of the région Pays de la Loire. It is right by the rivers, on the left bank the majestic Loire and on the right bank its tributary the Thouet river.

Here we have a wonderful castle of Saumur, the very famous, prestigious school of cavalry the Cadre Noir, and the Church of St Pierre. The Chapelle St Jean, the Grand Théatre, a wonderful hotel de ville, the halles St Pierre covered market, the pont Cessart ,and the tour Granitiére as some of the things to see here. See them on individual posts of Saumur!

We got back in our car and went to city center/downtown city finding a perfect parking right in front of the Hôtel de Ville or city hall, facing the Loire river and the back of the Grand Théatre! Just a superb entry into Saumur.

We had our lunch while marveling at the Grand Théâtre or theater at Place Bilange.  The current covered market Halles Saint Pierre is from the 1980’s however, there has been one here for 800 years! It is right in the place St Pierre and overlooking the Church of Saint Pierre. There is ,also, a market here on Sundays morning.

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The Chapelle Saint Jean , this was a commandery done to help visitors and passerbys as a hospital in the 12C, all that is left is the nice Chapel built in the 13C.

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The Hôtel de ville or city hall; it was here since 1508; with buildings from the 16-19-20C and the main house is from the 16C. The new façade facing the Loire river is from around 1860 with a neo gothic architecture and taste of the 19C.

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You have a nice tower or tour Granitiére from the 15C, at rue des paiens, and wonderful streets such as rue beaurepaire, rue puits neufs, rue Franklin Roosevelt, rue du fort, and place Bilange. We went by the tourist office and the maison des vins de la loire on quai Carnot facing the Loire river and all the wines from the region as well as products. You can have Loire river cruises right off Place Bilange as well as the bridge or pont Cessart. There was ,also, a market day on Saturday at Pl Bilange. The reformist temple on rue des paiens, and the place Saint Pierre.

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Did I tell you we had lunch ,yes. Right on place Bilange next to the Grand Théatre we went to the Café Brasserie La Bourse. This is a classic French brasserie very nicely done in red fabric walls and wood. Very near the Loire river and the Pont Cessart done in 1770. Here we had our menu du jour, entrée et plat, with aperitifs such as porto red, whiskies and jack Daniels and cola; we had fish of the day haddock on pesto sauce, steaks, chicken on champignons, etc, desserts such as abricot tarte and mousse de chocolat and île flotante etc all wash down with two 50 Cl garafe of red and white table wines from Saumur and coffee expresso all for 24.40€ per person. Facebook page for now: https://www.facebook.com/brasserielabourse/

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And finally, a great place to find info on Saumur but in French, too long to write on the blog but if you can read you will have all the info you need, this is Jadis. By just clicking on the labels of monuments it will take you to the information. webpage: http://saumur-jadis.pagesperso-orange.fr/lieux/lieux.htm

The city of Saumur on its heritage: https://www.ville-saumur.fr/patrimoine-architectural

The Saumur tourist office in English: https://www.ot-saumur.fr/SAUMUR-INVITATION-TO-TRAVEL_r56.html

the local Anjou tourist board on Saumurhttps://www.anjou-tourisme.com/fr/voir-faire/que-visiter/tous-les-sites-visiter/lieu/saumur

Enjoy Saumur a wonderful town, we like very much, and we will be back ,and we did. Hope you enjoy this introductory post on the historical town of Saumur.

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

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