Archive for January 28th, 2021

January 28, 2021

Yvelines 78 Morbihan 56, France, and Us!!!!

Ok so I have several personal posts in my blog; I feel readers need to know us for reassurance and sharing stories I like. This one is at the root of our lives in France, a country we love and adopted as our own. My blog title has Paris1972, that is the first time I came for one day to Paris while living in Madrid! I came back in 1990 to meet what would be my wife Martine. The story took off with our love of France eventually reaching it permanently as my blog says Versailles2003 when we arrived. It has been sad times like losing my mom and wife due to illness but the ride has been huge for us, so much that our love for France has increase totally. Hope I can convey that love to my readers ; and thank you for reading me in my blog since November 26 2010.

This is the story of pedmar10 in the Royal magical town of Versailles and thereabouts, where I lived 9 years. It is time to reminiscent and remember the good old days of France.

Versailles from 1682 to 1789 held the power in France and all evolves around the city. It is only about 17 km from Paris.  Capital city of the Yvelines dept 78 since 1968. The history tells us treaties were signed here such as the treaty of Paris 1783 to end the American war of Independence and the Treaty of Versailles to end WWI or the Great War. It is ,also, written in the French constitution that each time there is a change to it, amendment, etc the entire French government has to move here to do the changes becoming Versailles de facto capital of France; this last happened in 2009 under President Sarkozy term.

My boys went to school in nearby Verneuil sur Seine and Le Chesnay both memorable places. I worked in Paris and Suresnes. My wife worked at CDG Airport .

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My parents followed with us as they were already American retiree and just got their titre de séjour easy. Unfortunately, my mother Gladys passed away on December 27 2007 while in Versailles. Her ashes are at sea in Honfleur, Normandy.

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Brief, I married my Frenchie in December 26 1990, in Daytona Beach Florida USA,  became French citizen in December 17 2000 at the Consulat de France of Miami.

We all came to France permanently me for the job in August and the rest of the family in December 2003 and lived in Versailles until May 30, 2011. We then moved to the Morbihan in Bretagne due to my job in June 2011 first in Brec’h near Auray and now in Pluvigner.

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We moved to the Morbihan,dept 56 of Bretagne after I found a top job with worldwide responsibilities in Finance. We lived in the town of Brec’h .  In 1795, the expedition of Quiberon by immigrant Breton from England failed (lack of support from England) , and were taken prisoners here where they were summarily condemned to death by a military court, 795 were executed in the field today call Champ des Martyrs or Field of Martyrs on the Loch river . In 1829,the rests were exhumed and transferred to the Chartreuse of  Brech in a chapel where they rest today. In WWII, the train station of Auray was the place to carried the cement block to built the blockhouses in the Atlantic wall by the Nazis.

My boys went to schools in Sarzeau and Auray to finish. Another spot in our world  map.  I worked in Vannes and my wife retired just before moving to Brec’h as on a car accident in Miami Florida turnpike she lost her left eye. Not able there but yes in our belle France. And we moved on.

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After purchasing our house in Pluvigner. There was an important train station here; Opened in December 1864 on the line from Auray to Napoleonville (today is Pontivy) that passes by here with three trains per day; the line stopped in 1951 and the station finally closed in 1981.  On January 23 1943, an American B17 bomber was damaged and landed here in the forest of Kéronic . Seven aviators were killed and three survived; there are two stones commemorating this in 1994 in the presence of  survivor Charles Roth, and the regular member of the crew that was absent on this mission  Mel Schulst. It is still here.

Of course I worked in Vannes, the capital of the department on the outside in an old manoir /castle of 1504 on which ruins our office is build and a 44 hectares park/garden.

Unfortunately, unluck have it my dear wife Martine passed away from cancer while in Pluvigner on April 30 2018. I was left with our young men in their late 20’s and my Dad who is diabetic of 85 years old. And me the guardian of our home; looking for retirement by March 2021.

This is me and have other posts on my family here and pictures if you look the names of the towns. La vie est belle or la vida es chula , and life is beautiful we must go on with huge wonderful memories. This blog is a reflection of them and I thank you for reading me.

And thanks for the over 1100 followers and many likes and comments over the years to you all. It made my days easier. Thank you, Merci beaucoup, Muchas Gracias, Muito Obrigado!

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

January 28, 2021

Historical Clisson!!! And its wines !!!

And this one was a nice trip and story. I have gone to the wine areas of the Loire but not much into the Nantaise or Nantes area. Until I heard of this town and a friend moved to Nantes. So one day I decided to pay a visit to my friend and afterward took a tour of this Nantaise town of Clisson. It was a wonderful trip and since we have come back couple times more. Hope you enjoy Clisson, its history and its wines!!! This is an update on text and links, pictures in individual posts ,therefore ,this one is a black and white series post.

Therefore, we went , and did a whole day at maximum satisfaction level. Once we were finished with visit locally, we set the wheels to Clisson, in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 ,Pays de la Loire region and some wines ,muscadet! Old Bretagne mind you!!

We visited by car after several months of talk by a colleague at work and me passing by it on my trips to Spain, this time there was a wine tasting fairs and well it was the right time to try the town with the family. We set out on the N165 past Nantes taking the A844/N844  taking exit 38 briefly on the A11 (free) and taking exit 44 for the N249 direction Clisson, you get off at the D763 direction Mouzillon/Clisson , it becomes the D149 entering Clisson right into the rue des Halles pedestrian street where there is a square for parking ,place St Jacques. Just to mention there is a train station or gare de Clisson, the first TER line in this area for the train lovers in you.

A bit of history I like

The town sits in the middle of the muscadet vineyards of Nantes but more importantly for the historically correct, it was part of the Brittany I now live. or Bretagne in French or Breizh in Breton ! It became part of Brittany in 851 with the treaty of Angers between king Charles the Bold of France and Erispoë, king of Brittany. So ,therefore, need to tell you a bit of history here, my treat!!!  The town took active part in the war of succession and the 100 years war. During the War of Succession of Brittany Olivier IV de Clisson was an active part on the side of the Dukedom of Brittany as a consequence was beheaded in the Halles of Paris after been accused of discussions for intervention with the king of  England Edward III. During the 100 years war his son Olivier V de Clisson was a key participant.

During the French revolution ,the Vendée wars against it took the valley of Clisson in total destruction. The revolutionary convention decided in 1793 to make obligatory the men to conscribe to the army ,however Clisson refuse the recruitment ,and with the insurrection started on March 10 1793. The rebel Vendéens took over Clisson on the same month and by May the Republicans ( French revolutionary as in the French Republic of today) entered the town and started the first massacre of people and burned the houses. This did not spare the Castle also burned; it got worse when the so call infernal columns occupied Clisson in 1794 with more massacres of the population; the town is completely destroyed and whoever was left leaves the town as well. Later , exiled Nantaise from Italy come back and decided to lived in Clisson by 1798, Pierre (painter)  and François (diplomat) Cacault and later a friend François-Frédéric Lemot is pulls into living in the town as well and acquired the Garenne or a hunting park of the castle and old hunting grounds of the Lords of Clisson in 1805 and later purchased the castle in 1807.  Here starts the rehabilitation of the town and the look you see today in many of its facades takes you back to Italy.

There are many things to see here but with our time , we visited the Castle, Church of Notre Dame, and the Halles or covered market. We later came back for more so see the posts and pictures in my blog.

The Castle of Clisson was part of the family of Clisson (lords) since the 12C and by the 15C was a strategic point in the borders with the Dukedom of Brittany.  From a wooden castle it became a stone castle ; it was part of Olivier V de Clisson ,then the last Duke of Brittany , François II is very attached to the castle where he marries Marguerite de Foix ; Anne de Bretagne  was their first and heritage daughter!! From 1807 it belongs to Lemot until his death in 1827, the castle stays in ruins until finally purchase by the regional council in 1962; it is still in renovation but very slow, never got back after been ransacked and burned during the French revolution. The castle has a 3€ admission and several divided hours and months such as closed in January, opens 14h to 17h30 in February, March, and April every day except Tuesdays; 10h30 to 18h every day on May and June ; 10h30 to 18h in July, August every day. 10h30 to 18h in September every day. 14h to 17h30 October, November, and December every day; all day closing on November 1st and 11th as well as December 25th and 31st.

The Church of Notre Dame has a beautiful façade inspired on the Gesu of Rome. At Place Notre Dame. Built at the same spot as the old Collegiale Church burned at the French revolution. The new Church is from the 19C following Italian design. It has a Tuscan bell tower with a huge wonderful fresco painting of 1930. You have two wonderful Chapels of the Christ and Virgin: and can get nice views over the city such as the Castle ,  the terrace of the Hotel  Best Western Villa St Antoine,the viaduct, the terrace of the mansion Villa Lemot, and the bridge or pont de Nid d’Oie. worth a detour indeed.

Then, you can see the Les Halles or covered market ,there is renovation ongoing but a very nice place right in center town. They were built in the 15C on orders of Duke François II of Brittany. It served as refuge for combat troops of both sides in the wars of the Vendée and were restored on many occasions. They extend from the rue Saint Jacques to the Place Notre Dame, and still house today the nice market held on Tuesdays and Fridays. Renovations are done. More info on the markets from the city of Clisson here: http://www.mairie-clisson.fr/infos-pratiques/marches/

However, the main reason we came is to take a closer look of the muscadet wines famous in the vineyards Nantaise or Nantes. It all started with five winemakers who decided to share their enthusiasm for the wines of the region and do events of wine tastings coupled with local products. So this weekend they hold Soif des vins et de Savoirs or thirst of wines and knowledge. For this we headed for the Domaine du Grand Air at Bourginal a village of Clisson.  There was sparkling and red wines from the region as well as Sauvignon, and Pinot noir, and Chardonnay etc wines.

The association and their partners with contact info at the Domaine du Grand Air webpage: http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/association.php

The winemaker of the Domaine du Grand Air, you can see pictures of their work: http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/photos.php

Very friendly nice farming area, and it shows the love of their trade. We came home with a case of white wines mix, pure grape jelly done on premises; foie gras from the Poitiers area, chocolates, macaroons and more from the region, including the famous gateau Nantais or cake. Here is the recipe in English from the tourist office of Nanteshttps://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/food-and-wine/gateau-nantais

We just ate all kinds of goodies in the event from foie gras to cheeses to sweets in addition to the wines of all sorts that were  full no need to stop to eat on the road, just headed back home a bit late.  And passing over on the road N149 to Clisson we passed by the vineyards of Mouzillon and saw a very nice Church Saint Martin

The tourist webpage of the vineyards of Nantes on Clissonhttps://www.visitnantesvineyard.com/the-destination/you-wont-stop-loving-it/a-touch-of-italy/

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 tourist office on Clisson in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/clisson-ville-italienne/

In all a wonderful day and time , very heavy on time but heck we will be back, so much to see , we have our works cut out to see it all in our lifetime. France is a feast or a mouvable feast at that! At the time of the original post it was chilly with lows of -1C and now 9C (about 44F)at mid day, sunny bright wintery day, and no rain!  Paris at 45F  and cloudy wind-chill at 40F .

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

January 28, 2021

Back to Huete, province of Cuenca.

And taken you back updating a sentimental post to an area that will remain in my heart. I , of course, know it well, but coming here with my family was huge. An opportunity to show them the roots and having just a great time. One of the quant towns we visited in the last several years was Huete in the Province of Cuenca and the Autonomous Community of Castilla La Mancha. Let me tell you a bit more on it  and hope you enjoy it. See my separate posts on individual sights.

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So on our last day of our summer vacation August 2017, we re visit Huete , a nice provincial town we have visited last year too. We found again the nice parking Plaza San Juan. This will be our last vacation as a family together and always remembered, if you read my blog, you know my dear late wife Martine passed away from cancer in April 30, 2018.

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The town came  to Christian hands when king Alfonso VII took the city from the Arab/Moors. The king left the management of the city to the Castro family ,and after some concerns with the young son Alfonso VIII, and the separation from the region of Castilla y Leon, brought a huge battle against the Manrique de la Lara family in 1164. The city was huge and the Arab/Moors caliph came back to attack it with over 100K men so says the legend, and they were repulsed  due to storms that make them change their mind and stop the advance. This was on the day of Santa Justa and Santa Refina therefore, the town’s patron Saints now with their date on July 19.. In 1290 king Sancho IV celebrated the pardon of the Jewish Castilians.  It was name a city in 1428 by king Juan II. The city felled to the Catholic kings  when their troops march in the city in 1476, and by 1477 Huete was name Noble and Loyal town of Spain.

There are a couple of museum worth seeing such as the Museo de la Fotografia, Fundacion Antonio Perez, with photos done by local photographers. And the Museo Arte Moderno, Florencio de la Fuerte with paintings by Dali, Picasso, Corot, Bores, Villatoro, Ortega, and Guayasamin.

We went around town to soak in the locals and eat and buy fruits and cucumber very good ones here. As to what to see well this time we passed by the Convento Justinianas de Jesus y Maria , work began in 1554 as well as the Church by the same name there. In the convent you see the museum of photography mentioned above.

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You can see and if you dare climb to the old Castle ruins seen from the city center in town , and get into the inner city on Calle Mamerto Alique with nice architecture in buildings. The Church of San Nicolas de Medina, started by Jesuist and done between 1700-1703, once there see the Puerta de Medina gate the only medieval one preserved from the ramparts built at end of the 12C. King Charles III gave the Church the title of Royal , and has Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1770, and in 1795 the Fraternity of St John the Evangelist had a Chapel built too.   You can see the hill around the town by the Castle and notice the big Christ statue on top overlooking the city.

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You can see the Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman , done in the Classical to the Baroque in 1621 and finished by 1642.  The façade is impressive and nice walk in the surrounding streets.  Then, you go over the El Posito or the little well; a historical building but also a store of local goodies. The Posito Real or Royal Stores that is.  Here we stored grains in the old days, cereals, etc. We lend it to the farmers ! The façade is from the 17C with a Royal shield and two of Huete. The left of it was built in 1698 , and the central section and other in 1871.

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I tried in vain to visit the Pago Calzadilla wine on the road towards Cuenca CM2019, just out of Huete near the town of Caracenilla.  These wines I had in Cuenca and bring them home, but last year it was closed by the time we got there. This year I call ahead asking if open and yes, however, when we got there ,they were doing inventory and were closed again. Oh well, we will just have to drink their wines!!! see post on wines of Castilla.

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And we headed back to our vacation home in Las Majadas, Cuenca. This was our last venture out,and we left the next day , see post on the departure a few days ago . Sad to go again ,as it was a wonderful family vacation and always many fond memories together.  Province of Cuenca , Castilla La Mancha, Spain has been our get away for the several years! Do not know with the sad news if we will be back here ,but it sure felled good here, you ought to check it out indeed! If not back, the memories will always be with me.

The tourist office of the city of Huete in Spanish: http://www.huete.org/web/?p=situacion&c=6|0

The Autonomous Community of Castilla La Mancha on Huete and its heritage: http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/huete-39731/descripcion/

Therefore, my posts on Spain towns and regions will end and back to the realities of work in France, one day it will be, can’t wait ! Hope you have enjoyed the post and seek out these off the beaten path marvels of my beloved Spain ,and with all that is going on in our world, think, be safe and enjoy life to the fullest

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

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