Archive for March 28th, 2021

March 28, 2021

Lieutenance et Mont Joli!!!!

Ok this is a town I keep bringing up and will as too many nice memories here and very sentimental for us. On this trip we wrote about two wonderful spots in my beloved Honfleur, Calvados dept 14 of Normandie! One has plenty and the other little so will balance the post here on the Lieutenance and Mont Joli! Hope you enjoy it as I do always!

SO here I am again at you on my special Honfleur. Well if you read my blog, you know it is very special.  As you know , Honfleur is on the coast,  and the river Seine that flows divides into a bay with Le Havre on the other side and two wonderful bridges Normandie and Tancarville. Enough said , I love it here and wish could visited more ,even if do come often when possible. 

I get to tell you a bit about two small places, one is very popular in the middle of it all, and the other perhaps more spectacular you need to climb a hilly street and another village part of Honfleur to then see down and amazing sights! I will be telling you about the Lieutenance and Mont Joli.

Keeper of the old basin, the lieutenancy (or Steward or Lieutenance in French) is the last bastion of the medieval Honfleur, the last vestige of the ramparts, dismantled at the end of the 17C by order of Colbert . Last vestige of the fortifications of Honfleur, the building was the housing of the King’s lieutenant. The King’s lieutenant was the ruler’s representative in a region. Two buildings are to be distinguished in the lieutenancy: the bedrock, made of stone, built around a corridor, is what remains of the enclosure. Above, the brick and stone buildings, built in the 17C, sheltered the apartments of the king’s Lieutenant. It is surmounted by a niche, which contains a statue of the Virgin, Notre Dame du Port (Our Lady of the Port), and flanked by two graceful turrets in corbelled, decorated with the weapons of the city.

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A plaque in memory of Samuel de Champlain, a navigator who explored Canada and founded the city of Québec from Honfleur in 1608, is affixed to the south facade of the building. The lieutenance is wonderful to look at every time coming into town and walking around it is sublime very nice area by the Vieux Bassin or old basin.

The city of Honfleur on the Lieutenance: https://www.ville-honfleur.com/decouvrir-honfleur/honfleur-terre-de-patrimoines/la-lieutenance/

Mont joli is a beautiful hill, yes right up by the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Grâce (see post) and with indeed beautiful views below. It’s a stop to gaze and wonder and dream on in Honfleur. Located on the heights of Honfleur and a few steps from the Chapelle, Mont Joli is a magnificent viewpoint which deserves a small detour. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire city, below, with its typical Norman-architecture houses, as well as the remarkable Tancarville Bridge, built in the mid-1950’s. The Normandie Bridge and the mouth of the Seine river. From the hill, a nice little road goes down to Honfleur and you can thus return to the city on foot via a pleasant walk. Well it is steep hilly not my cup of tea so I have not done this but is available!

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The Honfleur tourist office on the côte de Grace and Mont Joli: https://www.ot-honfleur.fr/je-profite-sur-place/patrimoine/la-cote-de-grace/

And where these sights are located really is the town of Equemauville, city hall webpage on its history: https://www.mairie-equemauville.com/histoire-et-patrimoine

In all you got the high and the lows of Honfleur, you can see the water’s edge and the medieval looking inner harbor and the sights from above with far away views that at night are just well awesome. Hope you enjoy the trip to Honfleur, and see the Lieutenance and Mont Joli to tell me more about my special town , Honfleur. Also, remember to see the other posts on them.

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

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March 28, 2021

A look again at Montparnasse!!!

And why not update this wonderful post on a dear spot in Paris for me. After all my years worked in Paris there are two spots memorable to me, the other won’t mention here, find out. This one I will , this is my Montparnasse where I worked near the tour Montparnasse and later my entry point to Paris from my current Morbihan breton! Let me tell you a bit more about Montparnasse of Paris , of course!

I do went to Paris each month on business before the virus and several times on personal trips from my Morbihan , but my entry point has change from when I lived in Versailles; there it was glorious to go on the rive droite train station to gare Saint Lazare in Paris.  Nowdays , I go in by Gare Montparnasse for the last few years. I can go out from Auray or Vannes, the latter is better equipped and nicer parking ,free are both on sections. On this particular trip  took a look at all the construction they are talking about in the Montparnasse district covering several neighborhoods.  

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The Gare Montparnasse is up for a renewal after 25 years !, is about time. Eventually, the station will be brighter, more open to the city, and equipped with more waiting spaces dedicated to passengers. It will also total 19,000 square meters of shops, restaurants, or other co-working spaces. The Gare Montparnasse is a beauty. Starting with the repair of its 250 linear meters of exterior facade.  The façade which also has large windows is covered with aluminium panels adorning the walls of the railway station.  These frescoes dating from the beginning of the  1970’s  go on their side to be renovated. A glass walkway will also be created in the Hall to provide a walking space.

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Inside the station, it is both better to manage the flow of passengers (notably by creating 14 additional escalators, which will bring their number to 39), to enlarge the reception space allocated to the public and to create businesses spaces. The creation of large bays windows allows to open the station on the district (on the side of the Avenue du Maine), while it turned so far back to the city. The traveller arriving from the province will thus have a view of the Montparnasse Tower-also in the process of being renovated, the glass windows also allow to bring in a maximum of light in a building particularly dark and cold. New materials – granite, bamboo…-are also introduced to end the All-concrete scene.

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One of the challenges of this monumental project is to carry out the work while keeping the station active. The first tranche of work (Commandant Mouchotte street side) will be completed next November 2019  with the opening of a part of the shops. The second instalment (Vaugirard side) will end in November 2019. The final delivery (center of the station) is programmed at the end of 2020 the space, the first service to be relocated, is currently forming along Pier 24. In parallel, on the Océane front side, a huge tarp conceals the passengers from a double panoramic lift access to the quays. These first developments will be discovered during October in the station.  Two new TGV lines destined for Bordeaux and Rennes, inaugurated in early July, sound the beginnings of this evolution. The renovation of two lounges, including that of the frequent flyer, was completed just in time for this event. The real big construction site has been in installation for several weeks, occupying almost all of the place Raoul Dautry and seriously impacting the passenger routes inside the station, especially the users of the Metro. The work is expected to begin in September and will be done in 3 phases:

Phase 1: Building on the street side of Commandant Mouchotte, until the end 2019.  Phase 2: Part of the building at the corner of Boulevard de Vaugirard and place Raoul Dautry, end 2018 to end 2019.  Phase 3: Central part, from end 2019 to end 2020.  Panoramic elevators/ lifts will be installed in a SNCF/RATP exchange room, as 70% of the station’s users arrive by Metro. will also be arranged 19 additional escalators, with the introduction of three “sense of departure” against only one today, and four “senses arrive” against two today.

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A few steps from the train station, another shopping centre, Gaîté-Montparnasse, undertook, in the summer of 2017, its renovation project underway will include a  E Leclerc hypermarket center, perhaps followed by an Ikea store. Above the train station, opposite the Atlantic Garden, the NOC Bar envisages a refreshment and the premises of the Museum of General Leclerc, which will move, are the subject of a call for projects of the city of Paris.  This is a vast renovation, to last for years in a perimeter which is an important gateway to the Paris . The first phase of the work could be programmed to end in the spring of 2024, then a second start in the fall, after the Olympics in Paris.

The neighborhood of Pasteur-Montparnasse will have renovations too. The Post office museum, which celebrated its 70 years in June 2016, is currently under construction. The institution, located on Boulevard de Vaugirard, will be completely transformed. Only the facade panels, signed by the sculptor Robert Juvin, will be preserved. The reopening has been done already. Current 2019, the Museum of General Leclerc/Musée de la Liberation – Musée Jean Moulin will take a new location. Located at the level of the Atlantic Garden, above the Gare Montparnasse, the establishment is difficult to reach and suffers from a lack of visibility ,a new establishment will be on the Boulevard Pasteur (between n ° 24 and 30) .Adjacent to a Jardin des Simples  proposing the cultivation of aromatic plants and herbal teas by rue du doctor Roux, will complete this project.

Farewell, two-wheeler (motos) stationed permanently on the Boulevard of Vaugirard.  A portion of the central aisle will soon be returned to pedestrians. The boulevards Pasteur and Vaugirard are going to be vegetated in two stages. The first one will be the Boulevard Pasteur with the layout of the small square located at the entrance of the subway Pasteur. 

This is the city of Paris on the project which as you know due to the virus has some delayed, the dates above were the initial input. Webpage on renovations: https://www.paris.fr/pages/projet-6e-14e-15e-maine-montparnasse-5750/

The SNCF webpage on the work going on in Montparnasse: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpmo/paris-montparnasse/actualites/travaux

And the report is , well there is lots of work going on and some areas are completely covered ,but you can’t hardly notice it, and all is smoothly flowing, that is Montparnasse. The last I read in French media is that work will end by the Summer of 2021 but this is condition on the measures against the virus taken as well. Anyway after all is done and finish it will be totally new train station and I am looking forward to revisit again!

!As I worked next to it for two years let me tell you that the Tour Montparnasse will close to reborn anew bigger, more transparent and ecological sound with a suspended garden! The works which will be huge need the tower to be empty of its occupants for about 4 years!!! but the work won’t start before 2021. Of course, this too pending on how the virus situation develops. Stay tune!

You are welcome to Paris. Another good day in Paris. It is always good to come back once in a while for personal reasons it took two months to come back, and it was missed the monthly trips. Paris is eternal you know, and once bitten by the virus you will always come back or we will always have Paris , right!

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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