Archive for March 9th, 2021

March 9, 2021

The SNSM of Honfleur!!

So let me update a memorable spot for my family ,plenty written in my blog about it. One of the best organisations in France that we follow with care. This is not your typical travel post, but recognition to those that deserve it, and hopefully you can get to see them at their base. Let me tell you about the SNSM of Honfleur!

Ok so this should be hard but need to post it and keep as memory of always in my family. if you read my blog you have come to notice we are DNA of island folks both in America and Europe, and we love the sea. I was born with the sea as my patio and have lived near or on it all my life with the exception of the time in Madrid… Honfleur is special for me in more ways than a tourist spot.  Remember they do handle all the lifesaver on the beaches of France!

With the anniversay of my dear late wife Martine passing due to cancer, I like to once again take the task to write something about it as she loved coming here too. We first brought my dear late mom Gladys and she love it too.! And the boat rides were a must of course. A lot better than on a lifeboat as I had to do twice. Anyway, this is the story of the SNSM or Société National de Sauvetages en Mer or something like the National Society of Rescues at Sea.


First class rescue (vedette) star SNS 131 Notre-Dame-du-Port is the boat at Honfleur. Very emotional for me to pass by it as it took the ashes of my mother and wife out to sea burial in 2007 and 2018. Of course, I am a donor since 2007, and the folks at the station of Honfleur are great folks all volunteers ex fisherman, marines, navy etc who does an admirable jobs protecting lives and helping those in deuil. Chapeau!!!


The SNSM station in Honfleur

Sea tides Marée webpage to go out safe at Honfleur

These boats are first-class Star (vedettes) (V1) are unsinkable and self-right able, allowing it to sail away from the coasts and under extreme conditions. It has an average of 2 diesel engines of 330 HP allowing it to reach the speed of 25 knots. They have length in meters: from 13.3 to 16; Width in meters: from 4 to 4.6; Draught in meters: from 1.15 to 1.35; Displacements in tons: from 12 to 20;; Knot speed: 15 to 26;; Motor power in CH: from 225 to 500; The star V1 costs about 800 000 € for a lifespan of 30 years. This lifetime allows this investment to be recover in the long term.

Today, the SNSM has 41 all-weather canoes (CTT), 31 1st class vedettes (V1), 69 2nd class (V2), 4 3rd class (V3), 400 pneumatic, 60 semi-rigid and Jet Ski. In 2018, were delivered a new generation V1 NG for Bandol and Nouméa. The new all-weather canoes recently emerged for the Ile de Sein, Les Sables D’Olonne and Sète. Part of the fleet will be renewed in the coming years because of the end of life of a part of the canoes and the vedettes.  The SNSM rescue boats are located on 218 stations along the metropolitan and overseas coasts and operate under the authority and at the request of the regional operational surveillance and rescue centres (CROSS) which in France are the centers of emergency coordination at sea and which depend on the direction of Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.


A bit of history I like

A British-majority aristocratic committee established the first rescue company in Boulogne-sur-Mer, under the name “Human Society of the Shipwrecks”. Then, were created the human societies of Dunkerque, Calais, Rouen and Bayonne in 1834, of Dieppe in 1839, and finally Montreuil-sur-Mer in 1841. The beginning of centralization was only apparent in France in 1865, when the Central Shipwreck Rescue Society (SCSN) was founded under the chairmanship of Admiral de Genouilly. As a result of the WWII, everything was to be rebuilt, with most of the shelters and nautical means of the SCSN and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB) being destroyed. The two companies with similar goals can no longer meet the needs of the entire French coastline, particularly because of the developing sea crafts and nautical recreation. The SNSM was born in 1967 of the merger of the Central Shipwrecked Rescue Society (SCSN) and the Breton Hospital Rescuers (HSB), a union raised by Admiral Maurice Amman, former maritime prefect of the 2nd region in Brest, which will become the President of the new company.

The SNSM has three types of activities, the offshore rescue, the training of seasonal lifeguards and the prevention of nautical hazards. In the phocean city of Marseille the vedettes of the 1st class V1 NG La Bonne Mère de Marseille (the good mother of Marseille) SNS 152 is armed by soldiers of the battalion of Marines-firefighters of Marseille and not by volunteers like all the other French and overseas stations. Given the size of the city, it was impossible to rally a crew of volunteer rescuers to sail within the 15-minute period ,which is the target for the average time limit for the overall SNSM.

The official SNSM webpage in French:

There you go a nice history , a wonderful job, and I love them. You too can visit them and they will show you their boats on many events program throughout the year. And of course, if you can donate, as these folks are all volunteers doing a human heck of a job me think. Another plus for Honfleur!

Every year when possible they hold fund raising sea activities all over with the biggest one on the Seine river in Paris. This event is call the Mille SNSM and Le Figaro newspaper has more on it from last year available here:

There you go enjoy it as we do, the SNSM ,and always memorable at Honfleur, Calvados 14 in the region of Normandie.

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

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March 9, 2021

The Chouans of Auray and Bretagne!!!

I like to update this older post in my blog about an important event in the history of France often overlooked by the victors. I came to live in the Morbihan breton in June 2011 if you have been reading my blog coming from Versailles. While here , well , I have heard but never really into it as reading official publications. Here talking with natives and having these monuments close by came to learn about the other history hidden from the general public by the French Republic=France. This is an episode that could have change the history of France and maybe even Europe. Let me tell you a bit about the Chouans of Auray , Morbihan, and Bretagne.

Let’s be a bit historical on our travels. I like to mentioned a bit about the Chouans, the folks of the country of Brittany in France. These folks were not in agreement to go the way of the French revolution,and were Royals and Catholics. They were led amongst others by General Cadoudal, a native son of Auray, where I lived nearby in Brec’h when move into this region on a village next door.

The Chouannerie was in effect a civil war between Republicans (those for the French revolution) and Loyalists troops in the areas of the west of France such as Brittany, but also by others in Maine, Anjou, and Normandy.  It was linked to the war of the Vendée ,and many times the two are known as the Wars of the West. Wars rage from 1791 until 1800, from guerrilla warfare to frontal attacks all over the region. Uprisings took effect in 1815 and 1832 all subdued by the Republicans.

In Brittany by 1791, the Marquis de La Rouerie (already distinguished in the American Revolution as Colonel Armand with Gen Washington) with the support of the count of Artois ( king Louis XVI  brother and later King Charles X)  created the clandestine Breton association or Association Bretonne that puts together a group having the Catholic dioceses as the principal objective the defense of the Monarchy, against Republicanism, the conservation of property ,and the establishement of laws and customs belonging to Brittany.  The war had in the Royal and Catholic army of Vannes led by General Cadoudal  that dominates in the Morbihan (today dept 56 of Brittany where I live), was formed of peasants for the most part,and after much battles and fronts led by many, the 25 February of 1795 Gen Georges Cadoudal goes to Paris and meets with Napoleon I  on March 4th (Palais de Tuileries), Cadoudal was offered many goodies but he refuse them all and decides to continue the fight first from exile in London. On May 10, Cadoudal is received by the Count of Artois in London ; that names him General in charge of the Catholic and Royal army of Brittany; ten days later he is met by William Pitt (prime minister) that offered to land 30000 men at Calais and Brittany and 30000 more if he raises an army of 60K men .Cadoudal comes over by May 10th and lands in the Morbihan. The victory of Napoleon at Morango stops William Pitt to send the troops may even if peace is signed between England and France the war of the Chouans do not. In 1803 Cadoudal lands in Dieppe after gaining Paris to try to capture Napoleon he is betrayed and captured ,  and he finally is executed in 1804 at the place de Gréves (today pl Hotel de Ville) refusing all honors or pardons. Ironically the men to chase these chouans was Lazare Hoche, the general of the king and later Napoleon who is a native of Versailles, now buried there, and the famous Pl Hoche named after him in the city.

The family home in the village of  Kerleano next to Auray, is still hold by descendants of the General, and he is buried in a Chapel next to it, now entoured by a wonderful tree park,it is a place of pilgrimages by all Bretons. Yes heroes last for the people, Georges Cadoudal, was born in Kerleano commune de Brech January 1 1771 and died guillotined on June 25 1804 in Paris, a chouan General. Later he was posthumously name Marshal of France. If he had suceed in taken down Napoleon history would have been a lot different! and me think better. To visit his tomb and park you need a car from the Auray train station that you arrive from Paris Montparnasse. The house is in private hands of the family and is not visited but you can see fairly well from outside. Today the Breton language is taught in schools as an elective and already taken by more than 700K students.




The city of Auray on heritage trails see the Mausolée de Cadoudal in French with more information :

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist board on the Cadoudal history:

A Royalist webpage Vendéen and Chouans on the anniversary of Gen Cadoudal with video:

This area is close to my home, and I past by it everyday to work, I am sure more stories will surface.  You can make it by car off N165 direction sortie 34 go by two round abouts circles and you will see the sign on your right, the site is well posted after that on each turn.  Enjoy this bit of history very hidden from the main stream of France but real and must be known if you are into history as I. Remember, Cadoudal of Auray at Kerleano! 

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

March 9, 2021

Basilica minor Saint Sauveur of Dinan!

And here I am going back to a very nice city of the north of my lovely Bretagne. I like to update this older post of one of our visits to the city of Dinan and its  Basilica minor Saint Sauveur! Hope you enjoy the post as I do!

I finished my tour of Dinan in the wonderful Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my beloved region of Brittany. It is an area worth seeing indeed, and one reason is very popular to visitors to Brittany.  As said, have written several posts on Dinan, but this time will pick one monument that needs special attention for a visit. This is the Basilica Church of Saint Sauveur.


The Basilica of Saint-Sauveur of Dinan is also a place of Marian devotion to Notre-Dame-des-Virtues, bas-relief of the 15C formerly preserved in the convent of the Cordeliers. The object of local veneration, this representation of the assumption of the Virgin allowed the Church to be erected in a minor Basilica by Pope Pius XII on 23 May 1954.


The construction of Saint-Sauveur Church, in 1112, was attributed to the Chevalier Riwallon Le Roux, the grandson of Josselin I of Dinan, on his return from the crusade to the Holy Land, where he fought bravely in Palestine. In the battle, he made a vow, if he saw Dinan, to build a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity: Saint-Sauveur. Back in Dinan, he undertook the construction of the sanctuary. In the arm of the north transept are preserved the heart of De Guesclin and its tombstone. This basilica, which overlooks the Rance river, is one of the most original in Brittany, raised in the 12C, with a Romano-Byzantine façade, and developed in flamboyant Gothic in the 15C and 16C. Also to see, the statuette of the Madonna with the child, the monumental splashback in granite, the vault of the basilica, a stained glass window representing the four Evangelists or the Holy one at the bottom of which appear two fish in high relief that symbolize the life brought by baptism. Note that most stained glass windows date back to the 19C, with some unidentified fragments, apparently prior to the 15C .During the French revolution, the Church was change into a temple of the Supreme Being and then hay barn, the Church was returned to worship in 1800. The salvage of the dilapidated work continued until the Second Empire.


In the 12C the Church of St Sauveur was the subject of a campaign of important works starting from 1480: a aisle with a line of chapels was built north of the Romanesque nave; The upper level of the façade was rebuilt. South of the nave, a aisle was planned but not built; Instead a small three-piece chapel was built at the old location of a door, starting from 1500. The bedside was completely rebuilt from 1507. The ambulatory and the radiant chapels are vaulted before 1545, the date of the collapse of the steeple. After this event, the upper parts of the choir and the transept, which began in 1557, were not vaulted. These parts are completed in 1646 by a panelled frame, replaced by a false plaster vault in the 18C.


The architecture of the Basilica of Saint-Sauveur in Dinan is divided into two distinct ensembles:

Romanesque part of the 12C consisting of the ground floor of the western façade and the southern wall of the nave, outside, the Romanesque part is exceptional; the western façade is of a very unusual style in Brittany and the south wall seems to influence Byzantine ; while the lower part of the western façade is actually approaching a more prevalent Romanesque style in the regions of Poitou and Saintonge than in Brittany. Of the 12C architecture, the nave and the transept can only be described, the choir having been completely rebuilt in the 15-16C.  And a Gothic part occupying the rest of the building (top of the western façade, north wall of the lower side of the nave, transept, chorus and bedside). The Basilica of Saint-Sauveur was rebuilt in the 15-16C, the builders adopted the flamboyant Gothic architecture as at the Church of Saint-Malo de Dinan (see previous post)  of which the construction is contemporary with that of the basilica. The upper part of the western façade, the north wall of the nave, the transept and the bedside are built in flamboyant Gothic. The realization of the bedside was laborious, several incidents postponed the work and the construction of the Chapels of the ambulatory, begun in 1507, continued until the 18C. Despite these difficulties, the bedside represents a dazzling example of Renaissance Gothic.


A bit of the description and architecture , my best.

The Basilica of Saint Sauveur currently has three bells, which are located on the lower level of the steeple (stone part). Before the French revolution, the Basilica had four, but they were sold. The bells were replaced successively in 1832, 1868 and 1873. The latter was replaced in 1961. The bell name, Elisabeth weighs about 2.516 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.620 mm. It was done in 1868. The Bell No. 2, Bell without baptismal name weighs about 1.250 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.285 mm; done in 1832. The  Anne Cécile, weighs between 845 and 900 kg. The diameter of the clamp is 1.150 mm and was done in 1961. It is the smallest of the three bells that ring, three times a day, in 8:02, 12:02 and 19h02, the Angelus.

 The stained glass windows of the Basilica of Saint Sauveur are mostly from the second half of the 20C, except for the Évangélistes window, placed in a chapel on the north side. The two stained-glass windows of the Romanesque wall closest to the Crusaders contain fragments of unidentified stained glass, probably prior to the 15C. 


Two   important altarpieces that struck the most on the visit was that of Altar piece painting of Santa Barbara 18C and the Painting of Saint Eloi as a bishop .


 In 1839 , Aristide Cavaillon-Coll delivers his opus 6 to the parish of Saint-Sauveur in Dinan. He then had 28 games on three manual keyboards and a pedal (12 games at the Grand organ, 8 at the positive, 4 in the narrative and 4 on the pedal. The buffet, in a single-minded style, affects neoclassical architecture tempered by Renaissance ornaments. Today, the Grand organs of Saint-Sauveur de Dinan have three manual keyboards and a pedal. of neo-classical aesthetics, the instrument, with electric transmission, has not much to do with the work of Cavaillon-Coll.

Some webpages to shed more on the wonderful Dinan even if on the Basilica you need to come to see are:

The Dinan Cap Fréhel tourist office on Dinan

The Brittany tourist board on Dinan’s heritage

A webpage Val de Rance or valley of the Rance river on the Basilica minor Saint Sauveur in French:

There you you go a bit more on wonderful Dinan and its beautiful Basilica Minor Saint Sauveur a well merited stop while here. Another jewel of my belle France and gorgeous Brittany.

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

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March 9, 2021

Piazza Cavour, and the Adriano, Rome!!

Let me update this old post very old from 2013. It needs revision of its text and  links since then. Do not know why of the so many squares in Rome, this one is my favorite. Maybe, it is because so close to the castel Sant Angelo (see post) and its wonderful ponte  Umberto I bridge; the area is just sublime me think. Let me tell you a bit on the Piazza Cavour and the wonderful cinema theater Adriano. Hope you enjoy it as I.

So this is Rome in Italy of course. I have been several times and even came on vacation with the family. Lots of old stone all around and plenty of history even if the architecture is better.  I like to expand on an area that we like a lot and can be long, bear with me. I took the family here and we had lunches here very nice and lots of memories on happy times for me. This is Piazza Cavour and the fountains , and my son… and monuments around it especially the Cinema Adriano! 

roma-piazza-cavour-front-resto NF -aug13

Piazza Cavour is located between Piazza Adriana and via Triboniano in the Prati district of Rome. The square, dedicated to the Piedmontese statesman Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, is located in an area partially occupied by the Prata Neronis, which takes its name from the entire parish.  In the central garden, created between 1895 and 1911, there is a monument dedicated to the Statesman: a bronze statue on a pedestal with a granite platform and a marble pedestal, surrounded by allegories of Italy and Rome, of thought and Action. The monument, started in 1885, was completed in 1895, ten years after the laying of the first stone.  In the square there is an evangelical Church of Vaud, the House of the community of the Roman Faithful, and the Faculty of Theology, as well as the cinema Adriano .The monumental rear façade of the courthouse in Rome, nicknamed the Palazzaccio, can also be noticed.


Piazza Cavour is rectangular in shape  as a whole is a very elegant square, with a beautiful garden with palms and in the center of the square there is the bronze statue in honor of Count Cavour , dedicated to the famous statesman Camillo Benso, born in Turin in 1810 and died in Rome in 1861, the architect of the unification of Italy. The statue was placed in the square in 1895, in the presence of the Royal family. The monument   is also formed by a large base with groups of bronze statues. On one side of the Piazza Cavour you can see the Waldensian Church, and the Cinema Teatro Adriano. On the side of the Palazzaccio there is the mole Adriana, the garden of Castel Sant’Angelo called the Mole Adriana and the Castle, already mausoleum of Hadrian. The square is located on part of the Prata Neronis area.

And of course why not tell you where we have our lunch each time in Piazza Cavour for the last 10 years! until 2018 well at the Gran Caffe Cavour. Need to verified as heard service has been down lately in 2020.Webpage restaurant guru has some insights into it here:


Today the area is one of the most beautiful in Rome and is intensely populated. Over the centuries, because of its military character during the urbanization, an area was called Piazza D’Armi, or Arms square , and in 1881 were built barracks today there are the barracks of the Army and of the Carabinieri. During this period the first palaces were built, in 1900 the first trams arrived, and in 1921 the Prati district was officially constituted.   The elegant garden of Piazza Cavour were made in 1910, the flowerbeds are adorned with numerous specimens of palms of various species, purchased from the municipality of Ventimiglia, there are also plants of Oleander and Laurel.

Other monuments there are the Palazzo Giustizia, also called in an ironic way by the Romans “Palazzaccio“, was built between 1888 and 1911, after the unification of Italy. The Palazzo Giustizia today is the seat of the Supreme Court of Justice (Cassation). The twin fountains of Palazzo Giustizia, and Piazza Cavour are behind the Palazzo Giustizia, behind by the Piazza dei Tribunals. They are formed by an architraved gable, adorned with a rosette and two lateral blind medallions, which rests on a partially protruding frieze punctuated by alternating triglyphs and supported by two pillars and volutes. A large central shelf under the eardrum hides the fissure from which the water gushes out which in wide fan is gathered in a shell of elongated shape, which connects, to the rest of the composition by means of ornamental scrolls. From the shell, through semicircular grooves, the water drains into the tank below. Fontana Dell’androne di Palazzo Gisutizia (fountain) is leaning against the wall, consisting of a top cup from which emerge 2 dolphins with the tails straight and crossed between them to support a sphere. The bowl is in the shape of a goblet on a narrow central foot and is all covered by vertical ribs. At the foot of the tank there are two fish placed symmetrically, each of which has a straight top tail so as to twist the ring. The set rests on a graffiti rock that insists on a mistilinear ground bathtub, the fountain is not active.


The palace known as the Casa Madre dei Mutilati ed Invalidi di Guerra or the  House of the Mutilated and Invalids of War was built between 1925 and 1928, another section  was added in 1936. The inauguration of the building, not yet completed, occurred in the presence of King Victor Emmanuel III and Queen Helena, on November 4, 1928, the tenth anniversary of the Armistice of WWI. This is in Piazza Adriana just around from Piazza Cavour.


 Ponte Cavour leads from Piazza del Porto di Ripetta, to via Tomacelli, which leads towards via Condotti and Via del Corso and Piazza di Spagna, and on the other side it leads to Piazza Cavour. The bridge connects the Campo Marzio district with the Lungotevere dei Mellini. The Cavour bridge was opened to transit in 1901; the bridge is a typical city bridge, with low cones extended by an elegant pillow way, the arches are all sixth similar to Ponte Regina Margherita. The bridge has 5 arches, 110 meters long, 20.50 meters wide.

And one spot there we have been with the family and part of the title of my post. The Teatro Adriano , also known as Politeama Adriano and Cinéma Adriano, is a cinema and an old theater located on Piazza Cavour.   The  façade has a central arch crowned by a pediment and is punctuated by two orders of arches on pillars and columns. Inaugurated in 1898, with a representation of the opera of Amilcare Ponchielli La Gioconda led by Edoardo Mascheroni. From 1936 to 1946 the theater hosted the concerts of the National Academy of Sainta Cecilia, and was restructured into performances and concert halls.Throughout the first half of the 1900’s, was the largest capacity theatre in Rome with its 5000 seats, and on its scenes were represented operas, dances, comedies, prose dramas, operettas, and even circus shows. On horseback between the two World Wars, the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, held here concerts. In 1965, the theater hosted two evenings of the Beatles ‘ concerts. The Theater Adriano was sold in 1984, and transformed into the Cinema Adriano. The multiroom cinema opened in 2000, and is now part of the Ferrero group. The webpage on Massimo Ferrero Adriano cinema here:


The Rome tourist office on Piazza Cavour in English:

I told you there is lots to see in Rome other than old stones.. and to see it all best is to walk the beat or if tired use the bus network above ground, you see more ::) The Piazza Cavour is wonderful to spent time there and a movie at Adriano well is tops even in Italian! Hope you enjoy the post.

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

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