Archive for February 23rd, 2021

February 23, 2021

Nantes , Christmas time 2016!

Well well, this is a dandy taken from the past and update links and text same pictures. I know, early but then again I have the Christmas spirit yeararound! This was a memorable moment with the family  and love to do it again! Hope you enjoy it as I! Let me tell you about Christmas at Nantes, 2016 version!

Well, only living about 1h30 from Nantes of course, it  has become a major city favorite destination for me either on business or pleasure, this one more as a family visits. Christmas season is one of the best if not the best time to visit the city in my opinion. I was here again yesterday with the family in a really nice Christmas spirit afternoon and evening!

We arrive there by car of course on the N165 and headed for Nantes Centre, looking for parking was not going to be easy, Saturday weekend, and Christmas market as well as regular day market made the city packed with locals and visitors alike. Knowing this I took a ride in town just to see all the underground parking label Complet or full. So I headed for a safe heaven in the train station north or Nantes gare Nord.  This I know well as always come by here on trains for business trips which is very often. Here we had plenty of parking and for 6 hours we paid 9,90€. Here are the parkings at the Gare de Nanteshttps://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frnte/nantes/transports-horaires/transports-individuels/parking

And from the Gare Nord parking we set out on foot to see the city; the old Breton castle of the Dukes of Brittany (see post) looms big along the quais; we did not went in this time but just walking by it is awesome. Well we did a lot of walking all over the city visiting all the Christmas market and ice skating activities and it was very nice. We like it.

We , also, had the opportunity to pass by some well known sights of Nantes. I have separate posts on them in my blog.

Basilique de Saint Nicolas that dates from the 19C replacing an older Church that went back as far as 1196AD , and it is of neo gothic style. Last renovations dates from 1974. Less talk about than the other this one in city center Nantes near Place Royale  is a nice stop indeed.

We came in by the Jardin des Plantes, as always do when visiting the city even on business trips! ; a beautiful garden in the middle of Nantes next to the train station by the Gare Nord exit. A botanical garden of great luxurious laidout of gardens, trees, and especially sitting benches all over… a wonderful Serre or La Palmeraie. The main entrance is a bit further with a monumental arch grille iron door at rue Stanislas-Baudry.

Of course, a must here is the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul or Cathédrale St Pierre-St Paul, a wonderful edifice full of local and regional history. I love the chapel of the Virgin and the Misericordia as well as the tombs of Duke François II and General Lamoriciére.

You are well worth it to see the Church of Saint Clément at rue Maréchal Joffre and the square of same name not far from the Cathedral. There was a Church here from about 490 , the first name after St Clement dates from 1226. The Church is of neo gothic style done by 1892 and last renovated in 1954. It has a beautiful nave altar and a nice pulpit.

We came into the Church of Saint Croix briefly as there was a service going on. Built in the 17C not far from the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany. It was built in the Classic style ;current Church dates from 1828 and last renovated in 1983 after an incident of heavy winds. It is the center of Our Lady of Saviors  or Notre Dame de Bonsecours.

It was good to see the Galeries Lafayette store here and the great window decoration like in Paris with Deers, bears and penguins rather nice.  Of course , do not know why but the petit train or little train is always nice to see if not ride on them. Not to mention the great Passage Pommeraye shopping arcade of Nantes.

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And need to pass by the museum of fine arts that the streets are under renovation but the museum is open, this is the Musée des Beaux-Arts, one of the best in France.

We had our lunch at the Nota Bene pizzeria restaurant at 3 rue Saint Denis, just before getting into the feisty shopping paradise of the rue de Verdun. This was a nice service and food place and we really enjoy our Roma pizza, linguini, calzone, as well as the nice Peroni Italian beer and for desserts we have the Amore Mio with almond ice cream, strawberry syrup, Chantilly etc and we had different ones all for 21.80€. Webpage: https://www.notabene-restaurant.fr/

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We had of course our hot wine and chichis (churros) later around the day and visit the places of Christmas market or Marché de Noêl at Place Royale, Place du Commerce, Place du Bouffay, Place de la  Bourse and the chalets of many goodies as well as the wonderful rides such as the deer chariot along a railroad line high up…. and the ice skating or patinoire rink at the Cours Saint Pierre.

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The Nantes metropolitan area tourist board on must sees :https://metropole.nantes.fr/sortir/vie-locale/culture/incontournables-patrimoine#paragraphe-darticle

The Nantes tourist office in English :https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/nantes-tourist-guide

All in all a wonderful family time, and still in what is historically  recognize as part of Bretagne even if the Vichy change it in 1941 and the government of the French Republic did not wanted to go back to the original borders. This is still Bretagne, Breizh. Proof, the Breton flat now flies in city/town hall of Nantes!

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Hope you enjoy the Holiday spirits wherever you are or whatever date you celebrate them, Cheers and be merry. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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February 23, 2021

My wonderful trio Noyal Muzillac, Muzillac ,and Ambon!

And here we go again with updating older posts and so nice ,this one on a trio of nice inland towns in my beautiful Morbihan breton dept 56 of lovely Bretagne. I have written bits and pieces on them but this one is a bit more on Noyal Muzilla, Muzillac, and Ambon!

Today was a cloudy sunless rainy day but we the road warriors set out to see some areas that seldom do or just passing in the south of our department of the Morbihan Breton or No 56. It is ,also, a special day for the adults as me and my wife celebrated 27 years of marriage !!! It was fun and plenty of memories now!!!

These are not going to show on the tourist main page, or even secondary; these are inland Bretons lands, the very best way to see and get to know the country. We love to travel here. We took the N165 direction Nantes and continue until exit/sortie Muzillac no 20.

And we arrived first at Noyal Muzillac, parked by the Church. This town saw the birth of Julien Daniélo (1802) ,the secretary of François-René de Chateaubriand. It has a Maison du Patrimoine or house of heritage from 1602 ,and today serve souvenirs and ice cream etc to all in season, winter is closed. The Chapelle de Bengué dating from the 17C ,the sacristy is from 1798, destroyed during the French revolution it was rebuilt in 1817. There is a fountain St Martin done in 1839 , and across the street a laundry or lavoirs from about the same period. The house at 6 rue de la Poste with stone blazon’s of noble houses from the 16-17C. The town has several houses some dating back to 1532 in renaissance style showing the wealth of the town from times afar. The town is name “Communes du Patrimoine Rural de Bretagne”  or towns of rural heritage of Brittany preserving the essential traditions of this region.

Noyal-Muzillac is also part of the 12 towns of the intercommunality Arc Sud Bretagne and the district of Vannes. Excavations carried out in the 19C have brought to light prehistoric sites and the Roman period as pathways and elements of a villa. The first time the name is found of Noyal-Muzillac  in the history of the country, was in 1252.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, during the Breton migrations, the first parishes appeared. It is probably at this time that the parish will be born with Patron Saint Martin of Tours. The revolutionary period will lead the Noyalais early enough to support the white party (Royals) and especially the Chouannerie. The troops of Le Batteux will also punish these inhabitants during a bloody punitive expedition in 1793.   

The Church of St. Martin de Tours, which preserves from the Romanesque period some vaults dated from the 11C. The Gothic period of the 15C is also very present with imposing ogive arches and capitals with various motifs. The nave and choir are enriched with remarkable 17C paintings. Its Chapel of the Rosary, in the south, also has an imposing painting of 1819. The Church of St. Martin de Tours, 11-12C , 17C and 20C is dedicated to Saint Martin de Tours. It included a nave with aisles, a transept, on which the rounded apse of the sanctuary was opened directly.  This church was modified in the 14C at transept and choir. At the end of the 13C or at the beginning of the 14C, the cross-braces were transformed into chapels opening onto the square, which became the choir, by large broken arches worn on heavy pillars with engaged balusters, including the capitals adorned with foliage’s and serrations indicate that these pillars were part of the primitive construction. The apse has been preserved but very reworked at various times. The bell tower, which was to be first on the square, had been rebuilt on the south Chapel: it was burned in 1630 and restored in 1639. The nave was completely rebuilt in 1850. The last major works carried out from 1965 to 1970, lead to the decrease of the nave.

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The three Chapels of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, the True Cross and Saint-Yves depending on the lordship.. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart located in the north wing of the transept and threatening ruin is restored in 1898 , and it is now the baptistery. The Church is covered with a frame and on the sand pits are the coats of arms of the families Carné, Boisorhant, Rochefort, Larlan and Rieux. The sprocket dates from 1785. The baptistery, octagonal in shape, dates from the 18C. This church is restored and transformed into 1970. The lateral stained glass windows dates back to 1886. The stained glass of Saint Joseph, dates from 1909. The stained glass of Notre-Dame de Lourdes, dates from 1959. One saw in the Interior of the Church, three paintings such as the Christ on the Cross and which today took the place of the old altarpiece, the Annunciation and the presentation at the temple which are today near the Chapel of the Rosary of the 17C from the Château de Keralio. The painting of the Rosary, in the chapel of the Rosary, is dated 1819,  the Church houses the polychrome statues of a Virgin and Child (or Our Lady of the Blessing), a Madonna and Child, 17C  and located in the Chapel of the Rosary, Saint Sébastien, 18C, Saint Isidore 19C and Saint John the Baptist 16-17C.  The church now houses three bells weighing 600 kg., 450 kg. and 125 kg. and blessed  in 1953.

The city of Noyal Muzillac on religious heritage: https://www.noyal-muzillac.fr/patrimoine-religieux/

The Damgan La Roche Bernard tourist office on Noyal Muzillac: https://www.damgan-larochebernard-tourisme.com/noyal-muzillac-vitrine-de-la-renaissance/

We  went to a different town name similar,,, that is  Muzillac.

Muzillac is part of the 12 towns of the intercommunality Arc Sud Bretagne and the district  of Vannes. It is located 30 km from Vannes, and 90 km from Nantes.  The town of Muzillac is placed under the Ducal power in the 13C and regularly receives the Chamber of Accounts of Brittany , from the 13C to the 15C. In the 16C, an edict of Charles IX unites the Royal Court of the borough at the siege of Vannes. At the time of the French revolution, the territory of Muzillac was the mark of the Chouans under the command of the Count of Silz, then of the General of Sol de Grisolles. On June 10, 1815, at Pen Mur, the Royalists (chouans) took over the imperial troops ,this is known as the battle of the schoolboys. Because , the battle of Pen Mur  between the bonapartists and the chouannerie clashed. The latter is awaiting a landing of arms by the British. Alerted, the Imperials, in the number of 570 and commanded by General Rousseau, exit from Vannes and attack the chouans in Muzillac where they had placed under the command of General Louis de Sol de Grisolles. The confrontation turns to the advantage of the chouans in this battle where they are carried out on the ground by Rohu and Joseph de Cadoudal and where the pupils of the Collège Saint-Yves of Vannes are distinguished ( that is why also the battle of schoolboys)  and having joined the Catholic and Royal Army of Brittany that are pushing back the imperial troops.

The two main things to see here are the Old Convent of the Ursulines done in 1678; later under the French revolution in 1792 to get them out of their convent and send them to Vannes. The convent was sold as national property (confiscated); in 1982 they were purchased by the city and made a cultural center that opened in 1990. And the Church Sainte Thérése done after fire took away the older one in 1934 in a Latin Cross style, and neo roman architecture. It has crosses, portraits and calices from the 17C onward, and a nice Nativity scene in the right front corner.

Further from the parish bishop place translate into English at best as such: After a fire in 1929 that destroyed the bell tower of the old Romanesque Church of Bourg-Pol, a new one was built in 1934 closer to city center. It was dedicated to Ste Teresa de Lisieux even if the parish keeps St Pol de Léon as patron Saint. We can see inside a statue of the Virgin in exotic wood, and another of St Joseph (in oak wood). The one on St Joseph is an auto portrait of the sculptor. The stained glass windows represent the life and spirituality of Ste Teresa. The Church is inspired in the Romanesque architecture of the old one and in art deco of the year 1925. Sainte-Thérèse Church is the new Church done in 1930 . The new Church, without steeple and in the form of a Latin cross, is consecrated in 1934 and dedicated to Sainte-Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The two-story nave has six spans on each side. In addition to the high altar, there are two lateral altars: the altar located in the west houses the statues of Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. Anthony of Padua; the other altar located opposite houses the statues of Sainte Anne, the Virgin and St. Joseph. Stained glass windows are from 1948;  this church was restored following a arson offence dated November 13, 1983 .

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The city of Muzillac on its heritage: https://www.muzillac.fr/category/decouvrir/histoire/les-circuits-patrimoine/

The Damgan La Roche Bernard tourist office on Muzillac: https://www.damgan-larochebernard-tourisme.com/lieux-incontournables/muzillac-quand-la-pose-simpose/

We saw the weather turns worse but we continue our cruising along the waters of the Gulf of Morbihan into the town of Ambon, here we saw a nice picturesque Crêperie restaurant typical of the Bretons and decided to stop in for late lunch. Briefly ,the town has of course a Church Saint-Cyr-et-Sainte-Julitte is the name. Here the basement is from the 9C! most is built in the 12C with some 15C and 17C renovations. After some excavations done it was found a choir and a transept were updates of a Roman temple of the 3C, a paleochretian sanctuary of the 6C showing a façade and a Roman nerf, sculpture chapters and altar from the 17C. The Church as enlarged with the addition of a sacristy from 1636-1649.(see post).

And now the créperie Le Fournil, so much good things here you are bound never to make a mistake. They are feature in the dept tourist office and their site is under construction but believe me they are alive and kicking and very very good local stuff. We were warmly welcome and sitted right away. We had front window seating facing the Church. We started with 100 Cl of Cider Brut Nicol from nearby Surzur, this is more than a bottle (75)::) We then ordered our galettes. I had a duo of bacon and Emmental cheese; others had complete bacon with soft eggs, super complete, montagnarde, twice. Then we had desserts, and I had the coupe antillaise with rum raisins ice cream and caramel sauce. WE left as it is for 17.20€ per person. Delicious and a nice find, we will be back. Webpage: https://www.lefournil-creperie.fr/creperie-ambon-muzillac/

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And the city of Ambon on its heritage: https://www.ambon.fr/patrimoine

And there you a nice road warrior tour of my beautiful Morbihan with three jewels to see and enjoy any time. Hope you enjoy the tour as I and see you around!

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

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February 23, 2021

La Coruña, Galicia in Spain!

And coming back to a wonderful area of my beloved Spain updating/revising my older post from 2017. I have been here several times and many good friends still in touch; also several other posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy this update on La Coruña as I bringing back many nice memories.

As it goes, I did a round trip in reverse really due to airline pricing. La Coruña is a nice place, each time visited it makes you come back already, this time I venture into the city center and it was magical.  I went from Nantes to Porto , and then drove around in Portugal , finally doing the run by car from near Porto to La Coruña and leaving from it on Transavia to Nantes lol!

The airport at La Coruña is smallist and nice easy in and out. webpage: http://www.aena.es/en/a-coruna-airport/airport-guide.html

I was driven there by friends so no public transports this time. And of course I stayed in my usual hotel, Attica21 in Matogrande neighborhood. A great hotel with friendly service, modern facilities, and good breakfast food all you eat as well as a super neighborhood! webpage: https://www.attica21hotels.com/en/hotel-attica21-coruna/

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By car crossing into Spain was marvelous with viaducs, mountains and old castles hanging on cliffs overlooking the road A1 into the A3 and then the A55, A52 to N120, and the corridor CG 2,2 ! great ride! We reach the town of Sarria.

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From Sarria we end up in A Coruña to check into the hotel and then out to eat and walk the Plaza de Bombilla with the great obelisk or Obelisco de los Cantones. More on the story here at the association commercial zone Obelisk in Spanish here:http://www.zonaobelisco.com/Nzona.asp

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Nearby we parked on parking los Cantones , at Canton Grande street, very nice size ,secure and easy walking into the old town area. There is an area around it call Cantones Village, and here it is loaded with brand shops, restaurants, bars, and the biggest discothèque in the city.

We went by the famous La Bombilla restaurant at Rua Galera in old town, this was told is a classic all visitors to La Coruña should come (A Coruña in the local Galician language). We had some tapas with omelette and chorizo here and the local beer Estrella Galicia. Just great and good friendly service. As told in one of my previous posts this had a family feud and new members are trying to open it even at a different address. For now they are still there check before going.

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We moved on to a more sturdy meal at Alma Negra restaurant, where we had a Racion full of cold cuts, cheeses, and cold meats all wash down with a great 2014 Juan Gil red wine from Jumilla.  Just wonderful indeed and friendly service, excellent food and good ambiance one is in Calle Barrera,13. Webpage: https://www.conceptonegra.com/

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We finish the night at Alquimia for some small tapas and red wine from the house, quick and easy nice the way things are done there, easy does it life is beautiful as we say La Vida es Chula!! As web not working need to check before going if still open as the virus change things all over. Here as part of the history of this visit.

And this time was the hour to head to the hotel for some minimum rest ::) before taking off for Lisbon where my flight on TAP by White Airways! was so late missed my flight and had to stay one night in Lisbon ! (see post) ,and come back on TAP next day early.

The La Coruña tourist office in English: https://www.turismocoruna.com/web/

The Galicia tourist board on La Coruña in English: https://www.turismo.gal/que-visitar/cidades/a-coruna?langId=en_US

And there you go another dandy gastronomic delight to wonderful La Coruña Galicia Spain ; looking forward to be back as soon as possible. Again, hope you enjoy the tour of the other green of Galicia!

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

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