Archive for March 6th, 2021

March 6, 2021

This is Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor!!

And again updating the best of the times and what of thrill it has been to go back to these older posts and relive memories! Thanks for reading me over the years!! And I like to tell you this time about an off the beaten path nice town call Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my lovely Bretagne! Hope you enjoy it as I and on the list to be back when possible.

And , yes Bretagne oh well it is locally Breizh. So many things to see in my Brittany now, and you know my blog on the rest of France, no wonder is No 1 most visited country in the world! according to the UN WTO. Oh yes United Nations World Tourism Organisation.  Let me tell you a bit more of the historical Guingamp.  I admit , been here briefly passing by on way to Lannion , and once just walking around the city center with the family a while back, but is still another place to see.   Guingamp is located 110 km east of Brest and 130 km west of Rennes. Saint-Brieuc, the prefecture, is 32 km to the east. Guingamp is crossed by the Trieux river. The Breton name of the city is Gwengamp, probably from Gwenn “white” or “blessed” figuratively, and Kamp (Latin campus) “field”. The etymological sense would therefore be white field.


The N12 road , the old royal road from Paris to Brittany now the main road passing by it and it goes all the way to Fougéres where I connect with Paris lately. The Gare de Guingamp train station is located on the Paris-Montparnasse-Brest line, their secondary network lines, the line at Carhaix and the line at Paimpol, allow to reach Carhaix and Paimpol.

A bit of history I like

The excavations in the castle of Guingamp have highlighted the three castles built successively on the same site. A first castle, built around 1030 on a circular feudal clod, was surrounded by a ditch with a depth of 5 meters dug into the rock. The buildings were wooden, as were the rectangular tower-gates resting on six poles that defended the entrance. A second castle, built in stone, was erected in the 12C. Its enclosure wall is polygonal; The angles are reinforced with buttresses, according to a model then very common in the country of Plantagenet. A third castle was built in the middle of the 15C, with square planes with imposing circular towers at the four angles, adapted to the artillery of the time. This third castle remained unfinished: the tensions existing between the Duchy of Brittany and the Kingdom of France oblige Duke François II of Brittany to favor the castles located in the east at the borders of his duchy.  Guingamp is quoted for having participated in the revolt of the Red Caps (bonnet rouge) or revolt of the stamped paper which occurred in 1675 against the King for high taxes. At Guingamp, under the French revolution, no execution is to be noted. On the other hand, crops were catastrophic and market supplies are often meagre. No guillotine, no chouannerie. On the other hand, the active participation of locals in the wars of Vendée, on the Republican side (revolutionaries). Guingamp was released on August 7, 1944 by the maquisards of Plésidy-Saint-Connan, resistance fighters. A Museum of Resistance in Argot opened in 2014 in Saint-Connan in order to recall the actions of these heroes.

Things to see ,my favorites in Guingamp.

Château de Pierre II (or Guingamp) is a former fortified castle, from the beginning of the 11C, the castle was also part of the defensive belt of the city ramparts built in 1446 by Jean de Beuves for Pierre II (Peter), were also present and drew the outlines of the city in the 15C.


 Saint Croix Abbey . Founded around 1135 is a foundation for the regular canons of St. Augustine in Brittany, established in 1134 by Count Étienne de Penthièvre for canons from the Abbaye Saint-Victor in Paris.  The abbey was founded by Count Étienne I of Penthièvre and his wife Havoise of Blois known as Guingamp.

Fountain of the Plomée at the top of the Place du Centre, at the crossroads of rue Notre Dame and rue Henry Kerfant . The term Plomée comes from the Breton word plomenn meaning “pump, fountain ” and locally “source “. The fountain was built in the 15C. In 1588, it was transferred to the top of the square and became ornamental. It was renovated in 1743 .

Chateau des Salles (castle of the rooms) built in the 15C. It had a major redevelopment at the beginning of the 17C. It’s closed to the public. The building was erected at the entrance of the city coming from the alley of the Marquis.   The tower on the side is a former 16C dovecote.

Old prison Style “Pennsylvanian” (18C) was built between 1836 and 1841 according to the model “Pennsylvanian , and is located at 4, rue Auguste Pavia. It was disused in 1951 and property of the city since 1992. The prison worked as joint penitentiary establishment between 1841 and 1931, when it officially closed. However, the prison underwent a new activity between 1941 and 1952, and 1 400 persons were again imprisoned for common law offences.

The jewel and a must to be seen is the Basilica of Bon Secours (Our Lady of Good help) built from the 11C to the 16C. In 1093, the Earl of Guingamp, Étienne inherited the county of Penthièvre on the death of his elder brother, Geoffroy. It gives the city and its surroundings a large lot. Inside the walls, the old chapel of the castle quickly becomes a respected and influential parish. In the 12C, the church known today as Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours bears the successive words of St. Peter and St. Paul before bearing the name of the Church of the Blessed Mary of Guingamp, a place of Marian pilgrimage. Some of the details of it are:

The tour Pointue : the Tower is located in the center of the basilica. High of 57 meters, it is surmounted by an octagonal granite spire at the end of which one can distinguish a rooster perched on its cross in wrought iron 3 meters high and admiring the view.   Renaissance tower is located on the south side of the western façade of the basilica. It was erected in the 16C, allowing visitors to admire the Renaissance style. The clock tower is located on the north side of the western façade. It is the oldest part of the church after Romanesque substructions. The Notre-Dame portal is located on the north façade of the basilica. The Sainte-Jeanne portal is located on the northern façade of the basilica and opens onto the north transept. The Porte au Duc( Duke) is located on the south facade of the basilica.   The chapel of the baptismal font is located south of the Western portal The Chapel of Blessed Charles of Blois dates from the 13C. It is located at the point of the clock tower, north of the western gate. This chapel is the oldest part of the basilica after Romanesque substructions. The Chapel of the Virgin is located to the north of the basilica. The chapel of the deceased, formerly Chapel of La Chapelle Saint-Jacques(St James), is located near the Porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. It was, until 1621, the place where the city community was meeting. Trinity or Chapelle de Saint-Denis, is located on the north side of the basilica; the Treasury Chapel is located immediately south of the porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is located in the eastern part of the southern lower-side of the basilica. Formerly called the Chapel of the Virgin, it was garnished in 1860 with a white marble altar. The north of the nave is the Gothic part of the 13C while the south corresponds to the Renaissance part of the 15-16C. The choir of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is surrounded by four large pillars offering each to the eyes of the discerning visitors, heads of Énigmatic characters. In the past, this part of the church contained a coffin in the form of a armorised tomb of the Le Brun family with above a stone pyramid. A marble slab with a wooden cornice bore an inscription which indicated that Jacques Le Brun had been governor of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours in 1656. Today, one is surprised by a small statue at the turn of the south-west pillar representing a young man dressed in a robe, holding a fleur de Lys in his right hand and leaning on what looks like an axe: it is Saint Joseph.  At the ambulatory level, the tracery of the windows are flamboyant in style. This peculiar form of Gothic affection lanceolate imitating flames and succeeds in Radiant Gothic. The carved foliage of the capitals, the corolled pellets of the fallout and the old statues are also impressive to the visitors. The apse of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours dates from the 15C.   The bedside represents the end of the nave behind the great altar. Originally flat and composed of three large windows, it was between 1462 and 1484, replaced by a polygonal apse after a donation from the rector of Tréveneuc . The majestic organ of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is located on the south side, in the chapel Santiago. In the course of his history has underwent several restorations. The presbytery is located near the western Gate, southwest of the basilica.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Guingamp Paimpol tourist office on Guingamp:

The Friends of Guingamp Heritage in French:

The Côtes d’Armor dept 22 Tourist board on Guingamp small city of character:

There you another wonder of our beautiful Bretagne in seldom seen Côtes d’Armor up north. Guingamp is nice and deserves more time even by me! Hope you have enjoy the post as I.

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

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March 6, 2021

The other sights of my Versailles!

And this is a small old post I like to revive, update as it is from my dear Versailles. If you have read my blog you know that I lived there for 9 years before moving to the Morbihan Breton in France. It is one of those cities that no matter where you are now in the world you always look back to it and re visit again and again. Hopefully the soonest will be back. For now, hope you enjoy this post on the other sights of Versailles!

Coming along on my latest trip to the Paris region and a visit to my  mother-in-law in Seine et Marne, I could not resist not passing by my beloved Versailles. So many great memories of it that will stay with me and my boys forever, these were really happier times. Versailles is it, royal beautiful quiet and just quant. We love it and its shows in my posts.  We had little time on this trip as our final destination was the family on wife’s side in Seine et Marne 77; however, we made the best of it by walking all over our old neighborhood of Notre Dame. I like to tell you about these sights of Versailles.

We first stop by the gorgeous wonderful lively Notre Dame market (see post) at the square crossing of rue de la Paroisse and rue du Maréchal Foch; we even walked our dog Rex on the streets and he love it, looking and smelling everywhere! It was memorable for all of us including Rex! As this is my old neighborhood!!! Notre Dame!!!



Of course, we stop by the neighborhood Church and the Royal Church of Versailles, Notre Dame, (see post) behind it was my home ::) . This is a very nice historical Church of France; the kings and family members were baptised here and birth recorded and deaths all is here in the basement sacristy!

We went over to see the Porte Saint Antoine (see posts) on bd Saint Antoine, which was our easy entry to the property of the castle and our jogging, walking and just killing time space with glorious lunch/snacks at the Petit Trianon, Angelina (see posts).   While driving out we went by the new renovated and very nice Monument Américain , the American monument featuring the heroes of the US war of independance and the help back to France in WWI, statues of the Marquis de La Fayette and General Pershing (see post).

We, then were able to take new shots of the businesses we patronise while living here and then visiting, such as the Gibert & Joseph book store in rue de la Paroisse as well as my Nicolas wine store, the old favorite resto Le Boeuf à la Mode, and the old Cyrano cinema as well as some shots of Rue de la Paroisse and Rue des Reservoirs. And of course, the big photo on my way to my old house behind Notre Dame.  Gorgeous Versailles always was and is and will be me think!





I leave you with that though a medium size loaded with commodities town full of architecture, history of the world, and quant streets to walk by with friendly people even in the maze of tourist, over 7 millions come over each year 98% visiting the Chateau de Versailles, but do come out , it is full of off the beaten paths beauties to see and marvel. Enjoy it fully without moderation!!! And take a look at my other posts on Versailles in my blog.

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

March 6, 2021

Salon de Diane , Versailles of course!

And I have many many posts on Versailles in my blog, and if you have read it you know why. One of these older post was on the Salon de Diane, one of my favorite rooms. I like to update, revise links on this post and hope you like it as I.

And as I am on a roll in my beloved, beautiful and Royal Versailles ; let me continue somethings to ahhh about. Versailles is sublime and one needs to see it more to understand is not Paris it preceeds Paris, it is part of the constitution of France a de facto capital of France! My kind of town!  While walking in the city you come to realise the multitude of things to see that is not castle related. However, there is always the castle. Inside of it one of the places that always fascinates me is the Salon de Diane ,and I like to tell you a bit more about it.

The Salon of Diane is a room of the Château de Versailles, and my favorite room. Part of the King’s Grands apartments, this room decorated with the theme of Diane, goddess of Roman mythology, served as a billiard room in the time of Louis XIV. The lounge communicates to the west with the Salon de Mars and to the east with the Salon de Venus. And the door of the bottom, on the right, led to the second flight of the staircase of the  Ambassadeurs. You will see in the center of the ceiling, Diane accompanied by the nocturnal hours and the cool hours of the morning, presiding over hunting and navigation. The salon is  about 10 meters long by 9 meters wide and 7,5 meters high.


The King’s Grands appartements constitute the public part of the monarch’s life, which received the court and foreign ambassadors with pomp. There, especially at the time of king Louis XIV, was a veritable staging of absolute power,   great power for official receptions, feasts, concerts, etc. The decor, of infinite richness, constitutes a real work of art , and it is not an inch of ceiling, tapestry or furniture that does not advocate the virtues of the king. The walls of the Grands appartement are panelled with marble and were exhibited in the Royal Collection of antique statues and busts or enriched with paintings, a number of which are now  taken to the Louvre Museum.


King Louis XIV originally used the Salon de Diane as a billiards room. He was a master at this game. The billiard table stood in the center of the room, covered with a fringed crimson velvet carpet. Stands covered with Persian rugs embroidered in gold and silver were placed around the room on which the women sat to observe the game.


Some of the decorations to keep an eye on are in the ceiling; Diane on her chariot presiding with hunting and navigation, in ancient Greece, the goddess of hunting, Diane, was associated with the moon for her coldness. She was also the sister of Apollo, the god of the sun. The covings are adorned with hunting scenes of ancient heroes. Here the allusion is transparent, because it is common knowledge that Louis XIV was a great hunter. At the north side see Alexander chasing the lion, the east is Cyrus chasing the boar, and on the south Julius Caesar sending a Roman colony to Carthage,and the west see Jason and the Argonauts.

The chimney is surmounted by a painting representing Iphigenia saved by Diane. A small relief of marble representing the escape in Egypt is embedded in the apron of the chimney. In the middle of the wall facing the windows stands a bust carved in 1685 of king Louis XIV at the age of 27 years. The brilliant performance of this sculpture is one of the masterpieces of the artist Bernini.


Some of the nice paintings here are all by Louis-Gabriel Blanchard  witht the exception of this one: The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, by Charles Le Fosse; then,  Diane and Endymion, Camaïeu above the doors, evoking the legend of Diane:; Diane and Actaeon, Diane protecting Arethusa, and offering of flowers, and the Sacrifice to Diane.  Some of the nice sculptures here are: Bust of Louis XIV by Bernini from 1665 in white marble; Ancient Roman woman bust with head in white marble, onyx shirt from Egypt or Asia Minor, tunic in Brocatelle; Ancient bust of Roman Empress with head in white marble, the onyx shirt of Egypt or Asia Minor, the tunic and the pedestal in flower of peach, this marble comes from Serravezza in the Carrara basin in Italy.


Just marvelous indeed the whole and its parts. You must come even if lately due to its worldwide popularity has become a bit crowded. Pick early hours, bring your ticket with you, go in by the back either the orangerie or the better and mine  porte Saint Antoine, and try the Wednesday mornings when school is out and kids with their parents are elsewhere.

The Grand Apartments including the Salon de Diane (Diana Room) at the Château de Versailles:

Enjoy it fully ,its a must to see in your lifetime . See the Salon de Diane in the Château de Versailles, sublime! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 6, 2021

Bir-Hakeim , Paris!!!

Oh yes a memorable stop for many years and hardly notice in my blog. A while back decided to do something about it and now updating the links and text as of today. It is always great uplifting mode to do these older posts again as they bring great memories of my family’s travel and this one does indeed. Let me tell you a bit more on Bir-Hakeim, Paris!!!


It has become routine for me in these last few years so even if written a blog post on the line 6, figure nice for memories to write a post just on this station/bridge.  My World HQ office at least until this late 2019 was nearby passing the Tour Eiffel every month. It has been very nice indeed my time by here.


Bir-Hakeim is a station on line 6 of the Paris Metro, located in the 15éme arrondissement. It is an aerial station located on the axis of Boulevard de Grenelle, on the left bank of the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, or bridge above which passes the line. This is the stop before at Dupleix.


The station has two accesses on the sides at the right of  no 65/68 and no 63/66 of the Boulevard de Grenelle. On the occasion of its renovation of 2008, the station hosted Night and Day, a work by American plastic artist Judy Ledgerwood. It is a double stained glass window positioned on the canopy at each end of the station, above the tracks. The work was offered to the RATP in exchange for a Guimard entrance to the Van Buren Street station in Chicago USA.  The station is in correspondence with the station of the Champs de Mars-Eiffel Tower of the line RER C  via an  underground connection.


A bit on the history I like

The station was opened on 24 April 1906 under the name of Grenelle. It takes the name Bir-Hakeim on June 18, 1949, with as subtitle Grenelle, when the Bridge of Passy is renamed Pont de Bir-Hakeim.  Previously there was a pedestrian metal walkway, the Passy bridge built for the Universal exhibition in 1878 here. The subtitle is changed to the Eiffel Tower in 1998, as it is the closest metro station to the famous building (only about 650 meters). However, the Grenelle subtitle will remain displayed until the station’s deep renovation in 2008, where the nameplates are finally matched with the mapping.

Its name commemorates the Battle of Bir Hakeim , named after a derelict water point in the middle of the Libyan desert, south of Tobruk, was a battle of  WWII, which took place from 26 May to 11 June 1942 during the Desert War.  During these 16  days, the 1st Free French Brigade (future 1st Free French Division ) of General Koenig resisted the attacks of the more numerous Italian and Nazis motorized armies (the Afrika Korps), commanded by General Rommel. The respite gained by the Free French allowed the British, then in bad posture, to retreat and triumph at El Alamein.

A bit more on the fabulous bridge of which the metro station is name and very near the Eiffel Tower.

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is 247 meters long for 25 meters wide passing over the Seine river, and  passing  upstream tip of  Swan Island (île aux Cygnes).  For the underground of the bridge perfectly flat at the bottom for cars and pedestrians, in gradual descent of the right bank (rive droite) to the left bank (rive gauche). The lower level comprises two roads 6 meters wide, separated by a walkway of about 9 meters and two sidewalks 2 meters wide. The upper level is reserved for the passage of the Metro line  6 Nation-Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile. This bridge is metallic throughout its length, except for a stone arch at the île aux Cygnes level and the pillars on either side of the shoreline. The bridge crosses the île aux Cygnes  with as the Pont de Rouelle and the Pont de Grenelle. It is located upstream of the Pont de Rouelle and downstream of the Pont d’Iéna.


The Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge, bears a plaque in memory of the battle: in Bir-Hakeim from May 27 to June 11, 1942 ;the First brigade of the Free French Forces pushes the furious assaults of two enemy divisions and tells the world that France has never stopped fighting.  Quai Branly: On the quay is installed a monument in homage to General Diego Brosset and to the dead of the 1st Free French Division , whose 1st Brigade fought in Bir-Hakeim in 1942.

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is richly decorated with statues like on the stone arch: the Science and the Work upstream,  and downstream Electricity and Commerce. The batteries reproduced upstream and downstream, on each passage of the Seine, the Nautes and the Blacksmiths riveters the tip of the island, the France Renaissance (reborn of France) , gift of the Danish in 1930.

Nearby are the  Eiffel Tower: Being the closest station to the tower.  Winter velodrome (Vélodrome d’Hiver), colloquially called “Vel ‘d’ Hiv” and famous for its cycling races, it was also the place of first detention of 13 000 Jews rounded up in the capital in 1942 before their deportation. The velodrome was destroyed in 1960 during the development of the Seine sides. A commemorative monument is erected south of the station, above the RER C  train track.

Some webpages to help your plan visiting in addition to my post on the line 6 above are

The Tour Eiffel access map on Bir-Hakeim

The Paris tourist office on the Pont Bir-Hakeim

Coming early or very late you can easily find parking along the Port de Suffren next to the Seine as well.Or the Quai Branly-Tour Eiffel at 25 Quai Branly.

There you go, hope it helps you enjoy this corner of magical Paris. The Bir-Hakeim brings back many memories each time I write about it from business trips to family trips.

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

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