Archive for January 6th, 2021

January 6, 2021

Merlin says go to Plélan le Grand in Brocéliande!!!

And why not stayed in this magical land of Brocéliande of the Merlin fame you know… We spent more time here really in quant Plélan-le-Grand. This was a combine post and I split to give more sense to the text. Hope you enjoy it as I did.

And while in Bretagne who needs more lol! Truly enjoying the region and one of the places we finally went as a family and after seeing reading hearing the stories of king Arthur and Merlin was here in the forest of Brocéliande.  The other major town for it is Plelan le Grand. I like to tell you a bit more on it. Close your eyes see magic, done!

Of course would not do justice without mentioning Plélan le Grand a nice country town on the edge of the forest of BrocéliandePlélan-le-Grand, Pilelan in Gallo/Plelann-Veur in Breton is a town in Dept 35 Ille et Vilaine . The name comes from the Breton Ple (parish) and Ian (Hermitage) or the parish of the Hermitage or monastery. It is at the border of the Forest of Paimpont aka Brocéliande on the N24 road between Rennes and Lorient. The town is at equal distance from the Atlantic ocean and the Canal of the Manche or about 80 km.

A bit of history on the town

The monks of the Abbaye Saint-Melaine de Rennes built religious buildings at the Gué or forjd near the oratory given to them by Solomon, King of Porhoët County. The name of the parish thus appears from 843 in the Cartulary de Redon; The village of the Forjd is the place of the primitive parish formed around La Motte-Salomon, where the castle of Judicaël, occupied also by King Solomon, was erected in the Middle Ages. We can always discover the remains of the feudal castle, a circular platform of 2.2 meters in height, of 58 meters in diameter at its base, surrounded by a moat of 10 meters wide and partially filled.

The iron forges are more on the side of Plélan le Grand then Paimpont (see post) and can be on both.  The blacksmith’s forges, part of which is located in the territory of Plélan (former canteen of the workers became Gourmet restaurant, Maison de l’évéche).

The Château de Pont-Muzard (or Château de Pontmuzard) is a historic building, attested since the 15C.  However ,other than the sites continuos to Paimpont and the legend the best to see here is the Church.

The parish Church of Saint Pierre was mentioned in the 12C. Only the Chapel of Sainte-Anne remains original. It was destroyed in the three quarters, was rebuilt between 1850 and 1853. At the site of the old building still remains the North chapel, remarkable for its frame with sculpted pits that can go back to the 16C. While in the south there is always a tower, built in 1620 and whose ringing of bells calls the daily life of the Plélanais today. On entering the Church, one can admire the altar with its bas-relief representing the tomb by the Angels done in 1858-1859, as well as the choir stalls from 1852. It is built In neo-Gothic style, this red schist building has marked the revival of religious architecture in Ille-et-Vilaine and is a major heritage element for the inhabitants of the town as well as a curiosity for visitors/tourists alike.





Of course , after a round of two towns we needed to eat so we chose this town and the wonderful  Les Boucaniers or the Buccaneers restaurant not far from the Church St Pierre on the main street or ave de la libération, and rue Nationale ,same road. Here we got the big table by the bar,as the back dining room was full. We were behind a door with a picture of Marilyn Monroe, figure it was the toilet or restroom but it was the stock room so all the good stuff was right behind us! The lady owner server was laughting with us all the way. They serve several servings of bread and butter, plenty of water, and good Grimbergen blonde beers. You have entrée buffet with cold cuts, terrines of paté campagne and mousse de  salmon, hard boiled eggs, pasta with shurimi shrimps, potato salad, just to start, then the main dish was hashi parmentier with pork and sausage meats, and bottom cut of steaks, with fries and salads greens, and for desserts, fondant de chocolat, and sorbet framboise and various fruits chunks; the beers we double it, so the total bill came to 16€ per person, a great bargain and sure to remember this place. Facebook page:



The city of Plélan le Grand on its history/heritage webpage:

Enjoy the ride into magical Brittany, or Bretagne, or Breizh! And indulge yourselves into Plélan le Grand in around the wonderful Brocéliande forest. Hope you enjoy it as I do

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

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January 6, 2021

Merlin says go to Paimpont in Brocéliande!!!

And so here I am in my merry go round updating my old posts and saw this one very badly done me think. Therefore, I am splitting the towns and do one post for each with new text. Hope you enjoy Paimpoint in the forest of Brocéliande of fame Merlin you know…

And while in Bretagne who needs more lol! Truly enjoying the region and one of the places we finally went as a family and after seeing reading hearing the stories of king Arthur and Merlin was here in the forest of Brocéliande.  The major town for it is Paimpont . I like to tell you a bit more on it. Close your eyes see magic, done!


Paimpont  is a town in the department 35 of Ille et Vilaine in the region of Bretagne. The town is mainly in the forest of Paimpont that in turn is in the forest of Brocéliande. The nearest town is Guer in the Morbihan dept 56. The Aff river is the limit with the camp Coëtquidan, training field for the military and 3 military schools there at Guer since the end of WWII.

The town of Paimpont encircles the eastern contour of a pond of 50 ha called the pond of the abbey. It is on its shore that the abbey of the monastery of Paimpont has settled and developed. The name of the town is from the Breton Pen-(head, end, tip) and Pont, Breton word borrowed from the Latin Pontus. As Bridgehead or the end of the bridge. The monastery founded in the 7C by Judicaël became the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Paimpont in the 13C. For a long time the village was only made up of the abbey with its associated buildings such as the hotel for the reception of pilgrims, the cemetery and some houses.

It was not until the 19C, well after the sale of the abbey as a nationalized property in 1790 during the French revolution, that the village began to take the look as we know today. During WWI at least 157 locals lost their life according to the list carved on the obelisk of the Monument to the Fallen inaugurated in 1923 and erected near the Abbey Place du Roi-Saint-Judicaël.   Following the nazi invasion of 1940, the mother of General de Gaulle,  Jeanne Maillot took refuge here. Leading a necessarily discreet existence, she heard on the radio that her son had been convicted by the Vichy collaborating regime. At her death, a few weeks later, on July 16, 1940, a large crowd attended her funeral although the death-certificate was censored by the authorities and she was buried in the village cemetery. On 21 August 1944, General De Gaulle, after his visit to Rennes, fifteen days after the liberation of the city, came to bow to her grave.

Things to see:  All related to the Arthurian legend of King Arthur and the round table. We have

The Abbey of Notre Dame  is an abbey and former monastery on the gothic and baroque styles built in the 13C. The edifice at the beginnig was a benedictine monastery from the 12C of which there is nothing left today.  The Abbey of Notre-Dame holds this peculiarity to house both the religious center of the parish and the center of the communal power, since the City/Town hall is located in the Grand Logis, like the presbytery.  The abbey is the central building of the Abbaye, which is linked to other buildings such as the the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, a place of prayer and meditation; the Baptistery chapel, dedicated to baptism; the sacristy where the precious patrimony of the abbey is preserved; and the Écrouettes room. The Grand Logis and Manoir Abbatial are located around the abbey.  The parish Garden is a park of trees and a place of prayer depending on the abbey. It is located not far from the pond, on the banks opposite the abbey, in the direction of the north. It consists of an altar for the major events of the parish, a cave dedicated to the cult of Notre-Dame de Paimpont, and a source of drinking water adjoining a sculptural representation of the King builder Saint Judicaël.  The Abbey houses religious silverwares and ancient books spanning a large period, from the 15C to the present day, which are exposed to the public view in glass enclosures.

Official Abbey of Notre Dame de Paimpont:



The Barenton Fountain, lost in the wild-minded forest; This source is the place of many Celtic legends such as the encounter of Merlin and Viviane, the battle between Yvain and the Black Knight or the legend of Ponthus son of the king of Galicia. It is famous for its miraculous virtues which allow to trigger the rain.

The Val sans Retour (valley without return) This valley aka as the perilous or even Valley of false lovers , is a legendary place of the Arthurian cycle in the forest of Brocéliande,. The legend attached to it, narrated in the Lancelot-Grail (early 13C), circulated orally before the end of the 12C. The Fairy Morgana saw a disappointment in love with the Chevalier Guyomard (or Guiomar, Guyamor), who pushed her away at the instigation of Queen Guinevere. She studied magic with Merlin and then, in retaliation, created the Val sans Retour in the forest of Brocéliande to enclose the false lovers;unfaithful knights in love. After seventeen years, Morgana was foiled by Lancelot du Lac, who remained faithful to Guinevere, who liberated 253 knights. This narrative is the most vivid action of Morgana against the Arthurian chivalry, and a reversal of male and female roles as they are conceived in medieval literature.

The Hotié of Viviane or tomb of the Druids or House of Viviane, large burial chest (Neolithic), in the Val sans Retour; The Hotié, Hostié or House of Viviane, also known as the Tomb of the Druids, was described quickly during the 19C and then forgotten, but the various fires of the Val sans Retour and the local actions allowed to find it and to carry out searches. The legend makes it the home of the fairy Viviane, where she would hold the enchanting Merlin in an air prison. Another legend equates it with the transformation of Merlin. When the location of the val sans retour is moved to the Val de Rauco in 1850, the megalithic site near the Gurvant Valley takes the name of Hotié de Viviane which is sometimes assimilated to the tomb of Viviane. Previously, this tomb was located near the tomb of Merlin and the first location of the Val sans Retour in the valley of the Marette.


The Tomb of the Giants, in the Val sans Retour; The Tomb of Merlin (Neolithic) and the Fountain of Youth.   The iron forges are a former remarkable industrial site of the forest of Paimpont they were the most important wood forgings of Brittany from the 18C. They will work until the end of the 19C.



Some webpages to help you further plan your trip here are

The city of Paimpont on its heritage:

The Forest of Broceliande tourist board on the legendary sites as above:

The tourist board of Bretagne on the legendary sites of the Broceliande forest:

Enjoy the ride into magical Brittany, or Bretagne, or Breizh! In the sublime Brocéliande forest at Paimpont!!

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

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January 6, 2021

Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados!!

Ok so lets put the original name on the title, this is the Royal Basilica Our Lady of the Foresaken in Valencia! The Spanish name actually sound more prophetic Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados! Let me update this post for all as it brings nice memories and an important monument in the city.

And I am in Valencia, a wonderful city by the Mediterranean often overlook for others but this one rank up high in my travel books! Trying not to repeat myself I did a post on the Cathedral where I mentioned my attachment to the city. And of course ,it has many wonderful things to see.

However, if monuments are measure , I would skip all others and head for the Royal Basilica of  Our Lady of the Foresaken or Real Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados. This is a must in town.


The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken stands out for being the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Forsaken, Patron Saint of Valencia and all the ancient kingdom of Valencia today. It boasts basilical rank thanks to the Pontifical brief signed by Pope Pius XII on April 21, 1948. Specifically, it is located in the Plaza de la Virgen, opposite the allegorical source of the Turia river,  and its arches (Rascanya, Tormos, Mestalla, Mislata, Rovella, Favaro, Benàger i Faitanar and Quart).  Two of its gates give to this square, and a third gives to the passage that separates the Basilica to the Cathedral, joined both by a superior arch. In this third door there is a latticed window through which you can contemplate the interior when the Basilica is closed and you can contemplate the illuminated Virgin. Excavations carried out in the Almoina indicate that the area where the Basilica is located corresponds to the Roman forum of the city of Valencia. In fact, several ashlars from the main façade of the basilica are tombstones and inscriptions from the Roman era.


A bit of history I like

The presence of the image of the Virgin, according to various historians, dates from 1414, being its findings wrapped in the legend of the angelic construction. Initially its recumbent configuration, arranged on the coffins of the executed, had a small pillow that made advancing the head. This fact, it made that when it was erected, it was seen with its characteristic head inclination; calling it Geperudeta ( little bended). King Fernando the Catholic in a Royal privilege, granted the title to this historic brotherhood with the name of ‘ Verge dels Innoscents e Desamparats  (Virgin of the innocent and forsaken) on June 3, 1493. The visit of King Felipe IV to Valencia in 1632 and the circumstance that through the intercession of the Virgin will justify his victories at Fuenterrabía and Tortosa, led to the promotion of a new and Royal Chapel dedicated to the Virgin of the Foresaken. The Royal Chapel of the Virgin of the Forsaken, was made between 1652 and 1666.


The wonderful architecture of the Royal Basilica of  Our Lady of the Foresaken

The composition of the first Church is framed in a Tardo-renaissance  designed, characterized by its classicist sobriety, constructive sincerity and economical, enhancing the values of proportion, symmetry and equilibrium. Inside, the discovery of the original ornamentation of 1666, composed of paddings, florets and enrolled children’s Angels intertwined with borders in the interspaces of the dome, leads us to a severe building in its conception, characterized by its whiteness, combining, to perfection, the idea of the Renaissance centrality, with the Baroque dynamism of the elliptical space, topped in a cupola. Between 1683 and 1694, and in a fully Baroque designed with Greek cross with flared arches and oblique architecture, the Chapel of the Virgin is built, as a shrine-sanctuary, linked directly to the central-elliptical space, through its total spatial interconnection, considering itself as a unique case in the history of architecture.

In 1701, in full Baroque effervescence, a new inner dome was executed, theoretically, from the outside, according to the discovery of this research, on which Antonio Palomino made the great pictorial composition.  During the 18C to 20C, the Royal Chapel experienced successive and important transformations such as neoclassical reform, romantic and historicist performances etc with substantial modification of the sober and austere initial renaissance approach, providing of great formal and material wealth. The internal approach of strict symmetry with respect to the two orthogonal axes of the elliptical plant, was moved to the external image, by means of the definition of three facades clearly symmetrical with respect to the vertical-central axis. The disposition of the accesses, double in the facades to the square and the Calle de la Leña (firewood)  and centered in the façade to the Cathedral, together with the vertical layout of the lantern, reinforced the centrality and symmetry of the composition.

The intervention in the cupola of the Basilica of  Our Lady of the Forsaken has served to recover all the color of frescoes painted by Antonio Palomino in 1701, but has also rehabilitated the name of this artist and Cordovan scholar, chamber painter of king Carlos II , whose pictorial work has taken centuries to recognize, although today it is considered fundamental in the mural production of Spanish Baroque. Palomino currently considered one of the most interesting figures of the transition period from the 17C to the 18C, left a notable footprint in Valencia , which could be greater if the 1,200 square meters of vault painted in the Church of the Saints Juanes (would be the greatest fresco in the world) would have survived the four fires that almost devastated the Church during the Spanish Civil War. He then went on to take care of the vault of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken, in which, following the fashion of the late 17C, it was intended to reform its interior appearance. Palomino was in charge of putting the sky to that cloister ,with its balconies and columns, which is seen today inside the Basilica. Their capitals still show the black effect provoked by the smoke of the candles and that made practically invisible the work of the Cordovan painter ,especially in the upper area of the altar.  Coinciding with the replacement of the main altar, it was decided to reform the Virgin’s dressing room, gaining in monumentality thanks to the treatment of the walls, the vaulted solution of the covered wrought , the change of pavement and the auction of the Estancia. The walls were surrounded by a dark marble plinth and at the angles columns with red marble stems with Corinthian capitals.



The stained glass set consists of seven stained glass windows with modernist nuances marked by the style of the time, are located in the seven spaces of illumination of the central nave of the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken. The stained glass windows symbolize the litany of the Holy Rosary and venerate the Virgin representing the patron saint of Valencia’s such as: Door of Heaven, Ivory Tower, Mystical rose, roots of Jesus, throne of Wisdom and Morning Star. Six of them are located in a symmetrical way illuminating the ovoid vault, while the seventh, at the apex of the oval, reaches its symmetry when juxtaposed with the image of  Our Lady of the Forsaken. This last window is of bigger dimensions than the rest and folding, it functions like a door of access to the narrow interior cornice that runs through the drum to allow access to the others. The main window is linked to the Royal Brotherhood of the Virgin of the Forsaken where two innocent infants are depicted praying at the foot of the cross, the stained glass reproduced the text “Pray for us. “ These seven symbols are framed inside a baroque Chapel whose representation comprises two columns of ionic capital bearing a half-point arch and a triangular pediment. This set is repeated in the seven stained glass windows being all the same size except in the central symbol of allusion to the Virgin.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official webpage of the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken

City of Valencia on the Basilica in Spanish:

The Valencia tourist office on the Basilica:

There you go another jewel by the Mediterranean and worth a detour in the city of Fallas. Hope you enjoy the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken in Valencia.

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

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January 6, 2021

Basilica San Juan de los Lagos!!

And on my going into other areas of Mexico I came to this town in the State of Jalisco, and saw a wonderful basilica in San Juan de los Lagos ,that I like to update in this post. Hope you enjoy it as I do

This is one Latin American country that I have visited extensively from afar back as 2000, and have family there in Yucatàn region today. Many mention the risks but if careful you can manage it, locals do take precautions as well so why not you. I have enjoyed all my trips there.  I like to tell you about a main religious center very popular with all Mexicans but especially those from the north Jalisco especially.  This is the Basilica Church of San Juan de los Lagos.


While around the town of Tepatitlan de Morelos (see post) , locals drove me to San Juan de los Lagos Basilica and it was fantastic experience. It was a prayer day and the Basilica was full, and it was impressive to see the faithful there, a very moving experience.  However, let me tell you a bit more about this town and Basilica.

San Juan de los Lagos is located northwest of the state of Jalisco at 150 Km from Guadalajara. It is considered the most important tourist center of the area because it is the second point of attraction for the religious Tourism of Mexico and one of the main Marian shrines in Latin America, since here is one of the images venerated by the Catholics faithful.

The town was founded in 1542 by Fray Miguel of Bologna, the indigenous people of San Juan Bautista Mezquititlán today San Juan de los Lagos, where a hermitage was built with hospital, in this place it left the image of the Virgin of the Conception, elaborated a heart of a mixture ground cane with certain bulbs called   talzingen. During the 18C and 19C the city acquired great economic importance due to the demand for services and commercial activity venerated by the thousands of pilgrims. This boom, coupled with the growing presence of the structure of ecclesiastical authority, led to the construction of several buildings and houses that today have an important architectural and historical value. San Juan de los Lagos after Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, is the largest tourism registered in the state of Jalisco.

The architecture of the Basilica is rich and varied some points I like on it briefly.

The High Altar, in the center is located the baldachin of large dimensions, conformed by four columns of African salmon marble that holds a semicircular entablature and on this one vault of a quarter of mat, that is framed with a beautiful arch of half point of wavy and ornamented profile with phytomorphic elements, in the part inside a thin molding of ovals and darts. All this in white Carrara marble. In the center of the arch as a key a cross, and under it a cartridge with the monogram of the Virgin Mary. On the ledge of the entablature lie on the inside two beautiful little angels of Black Broce on a cloud that hold in their hands a beautiful crown, which is said to have been fused in France by the known sculptor Frederic Bartholdi, who made the Statue of Liberty of New York. At the sides of the baldachin framed with a rectangular molding that serves as background and standing on huge corbels, are the sculptural images of Saint Joachim on the left, and Saint Anne on the right.


Inside the Baldachin is located the tabernacle that keeps the splendid image of the Virgin of San Juan de los Lagos, niche of very beautiful manufacture of circular plant supported by eight semi coupled columns of ionic order, with rebounds in the axes of the columns and on these, pairs of crown-shaped auctions; The tabernacle is covered with a sloped front, made in silver, culminating in the high with the symbolic figure resplendent in the Holy Spirit.

The Virgin de San Juan de los Lagos is of Indìan manufacture, made of pasta of corn in Patzcuaro, Michiocàn., the portrays of the clean conception of Our Lady of San Juan, measures 38 cm and represents Mary standing, with the face a little inclined in prayer and with the hands together before the chest , dressed in blue and a crescent at her feet. The bottom of the body is stored in a glass, the portrays is wrapped in tùnicas linen interiors, which puts a dress of rich fabric with an opening done by leaving the hands, closes with button at the top, under the neck. Her silk tresses, overlapping the gilding of the sculpture, spreads on the shoulders of fine pearls and rich tendrils of gold with precious stones. Both the Tùnica and the mantle can be brocades, apricots, tisù, maorè or silk, with exquisite embroideries or gallons of gold or silver, with inlays of gemstones.


In 1990, Pope John Paul II came as a pilgrim and offered Mass to a crowd of six million! And that is me in front of the statue of Pope John Paul II done as a thank to his visit on the side of the Basilica.  A prayer says;  For your clean conception and unsurpassed beauty, cover us with your mantle, blessed Mother of St. John (San Juan).

san juan de los lagos church statue JP II apr15

The Basilica is on a great square: The Plaza de Armas or Rita Pérez de Moreno Civic Plaza is in the center of the city. It was built in the 18C, and later modified. In the center, there is a Monument to Independence, erected in 1872. It consists of a thin column supported by a base which has four dragon figures. At the top, there is marble sculpture of a woman holding a laurel crown. The monument stand in the center of a large circular fountain.


Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

The tourist office of San Juan de los Lagos on the Basilica:

Official diocese of San Juan de los Lagos in Spanish:

There you go a beauty up Jalisco, Mexico, you should see the country, it has a lot more than tourist beach spots. Hope you enjoy San Juan de los Lagos as I did.

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

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