Archive for March 31st, 2021

March 31, 2021

Beautiful fortified Quimperlé!!

Indeed this is an old beautiful and fortified town of my lovely Bretagne. I like to update this introductory post on the town of Quimperlé, near me and hope you like it as I!

Coming back to a dear city to me and only 50 km or about 32 miles from my house in neighboring Finistére dept 29 of Bretagne; this is Quimperlé!  I have written before on it of course, and plenty to see here, I like to give an update and a bit more on the history I like. Its a prosperous city with a past to the sea and unfortunately some floodings but always comes back like a strong fortified town it is also. The tradition with horses is big here as well.  Let me tell you a bit more on beautiful fortified Quimperlé!

The N 165 expressway crosses the municipality from east to west. It crosses the valley of the Laïta by a viaduct about 1 km south of the city and Quimperlé is served by two exchangers, that of Kervidanou to the west, that of Kerfleury to the east, a half-exchanger also serves the city center, only in the sense to or from Lorient. 

Quimperlé the Breton name of the city is Kempere. The name of Kempere comes from the Breton word kember which means confluence and the river Ellé. Indeed the Ellé and the Isole converge at the height of Quimperlé to give birth to the Laïta, a long ria of 15 km subjected to the tide, which was navigable and allowed Quimperlé to be a sea port. Quimperlé is mentioned for the first time in 1038 under the name Kemperlensem (then in 1050 of Villa Kemperelegium, 1082 Kemperele, 11C Anauroth Kemper, 1135 Camperelegio, 1154 Kimberlik, 1160 Karger , 1220 Kemperele). 

Quimperlé is typically a bridge city, born to the place where the first bridge over the estuary was traditionally located, at the boundary between the maritime part and the fluvial part of the valley. It was also a port, the existence of which is attested from antiquity; Destroyed by the Vikings in 878, the activity subsequently resumed, notably after the creation of the Abbey of St. Croix in the 12C and remained relatively prosperous until the 19C, exporting grains, wines, salt, spices and limestone for construction . Beautiful merchant houses, dating from the 16C to the beginning of the 19C, testify to this activity; Quimperlé then traded with Flanders, England and the ports of the Atlantic coast to Madeira; On the “Quay” (now Quai Brizeux), the ground floor of the houses was occupied by the warehouses welcoming grains, salts and wines, the living quarters being located on the upper floors

A high city(Ville Haute) and a low city (Ville Baisse) are traditionally distinguished. The lower town (aristocratic and religious center) developed around the Church of Saint-Colomban, of which there is only one façade and the Benedictine abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé, while the high city developed around the church Saint-Michel and its place (center of commercial activity).

On the 13C, Duke John I Le Roux built ramparts around the lower town to protect it. A moat connecting the Ellé river and the isolé river was dug for a girdle of water. He also founded, through his wife Blanche of Navarre, an abbey of preacher Brothers (Dominicans), later called “White Abbey” (probably in remembrance of Blanche of Navarre, unless it was in reference to the color of the suit of Monks), intended to limit the power of the abbey of Sainte-Croix and established in the east of the city on land dependent on the bishopric of Vannes and around which is established the new district of Bourgneuf. During the war of the Succession of Bretagne, Quimperlé supported the Pretender Jean de Montfort. He died around 1345, as a result of his wounds at the siege of Quimper. He was buried in the Abbey church of the Dominicans (White Abbey) of Quimperlé, where he has his tomb.

In 1505, Duchess Anne of Brittany travelled to Quimperlé. In August 1594, the city housed a Spanish garrison led by Juan de Aguila who soon afterwards went to burn nearby Rosporden. The monument to the dead of Quimperlé bears the names of 342 soldiers and sailors who died for France during WWI.

Some of the nice things to see here , and see posts on them are:

The Abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé (see post) is a Benedictine abbey, founded in 1029 or 1050, by the Count of Cornouaille, Alain Canhiart. It is, with the Church of Lanleff, in the Côtes-d’Armor, the only church in Brittany to have a circular plan, modelled on that of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This plan has, moreover, the form of a Greek cross. Sainte-Croix is the highest-level Romanesque church in France. The Church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption (see post) is the former chapel of the bourgeois community of the city: its nave, dating from the 13C, and in a primitive Gothic style. The building, also known as Saint-Michel, is a construction of the 13C and 16C, surmounted by a square tower.

The White Abbey is the former Dominican convent. Founded in 1265, by Duke John I, it closes in 1790 and is purchased as a national property, serves as a quarry of stones, but the buildings of the 16C are still partially preserved, as well as the portal of the 15C.. It suffered destruction during the French revolution: destroyed church and conventual buildings disfigured. Sisters settled there at the beginning of the 19C and, since 1960, the places housed the order of the Daughters of Jesus of Kermaria. The Saint-Joseph chapel is built from 1932 to 1935, and is decorated with stained glass windows. The Ursuline convent was also sold as a national property in 1793. All during the French revolution.

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The private hotels of the rue Brémond d’Ars and rue Gorrequer, including wood-framed houses. The Brémond Hotel in Ars.  The Hotel Akinyemi du Christi.  Hotel Bréart de Boisanger. The “House of The Archers” (Ti ar Waregerien) is a wood-framed house with a 16C façade on the street. Then ,we walk by the Chapelle de Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs or Ursulines dating from the 17C  with a panoramic view of the city and now hosting cultural events in the city, and still imposing!

The presidial was a building built in 1653, on the model of the neighbouring house (on the left) , on the ground floor, the crowd (covered market) and, upstairs, the town community and the sénéchaussée (Royal Court). From the building, all disappeared, except only one beautiful stone staircase, two flights, which included access to the prison (house next to the right). Note that there has never been a presidial in Quimperlé. The room at the back of the staircase, of more recent construction, is used as a temporary church, during the restoration of the abbey Church of St. Croix, and serves, at present, as a municipal place of exhibitions.

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The Frémeur hospital is the last hospital of medieval structure still existing in the west of France. The chapel of the hospital, called Chapelle Saint-Eutrope, is a characteristic medieval hospital chapel: small but very high in order to allow the patients to hear religious ceremonies from the stands or from their beds.  The Frémeur Hôpital and Chapelle de Saint Eutrope dating from the 14C.  The ground floor (1st) was the women floor, then upstairs the men, the attic was reserved for contagious patients , and a chapel on each floor.  The hospital is the last medieval one in the west of France, and was used until 1976. You can go down to the quays of the river Laîta or  the route of Saint James of Compostella.

The Lovignon Bridge (17C),(see post) also known as the ornate bridge, had six gothic arches, of which only two were left, one at each end; The four arches, destroyed during the floods of 1746, are replaced by two large middies arches, with important fore-beaks. The bridge keeps its old structure in the back. The railway viaduct that crosses the Laïta dates from 1862. We did took a ride by the train station or gare, nice to know it is walking distance to all the above.  A beautiful city to see and enjoy it as we do, hope it helps your come on over! See Quimperlé!

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Some webpages to help you enjoy Quimperlé are:

The Terre Océane Quimperle tourist office on Quimperlé: https://www.quimperle-terreoceane.com/decouvrez/destination-16-communes/quimperle/

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on Quimperlé: https://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/quimperle-cite-histoire-art-creativite

The city of Quimperlé on culture: https://www.quimperle.bzh/vivre-a-quimperle/culture/

Now you are all set , remember Bretagne is the 3rd most visited region of France by tourist even if stay mostly domestic and some British. And of course, Quimperlé is a big part of it, hope you enjoy the introduction and seek specific posts on the city in my blog.

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

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March 31, 2021

La Ferme de Gally at St Cyr l’école!!

I love to update this small post on a memorable spot for my family. This is very closed to our old home in Versailles. My dear late wife Martine love gardening and heard of this place; I look it up and saw the important historical spot so of course no gamers we went for it. It was our spot for garden supplies and came to participate in many activities here like egg hunting at Easter. Let me tell you about the La Ferme de Gally or Gally’s farm in Saint Cyr l’école! This is in theYvelines dept 78 of theÏle de France region.

I will dwell into my beloved area of Versailles ; many things to see and seldom seeing by visitors.  When my boys were younger we came here often , it was a nice way to get away from Versailles into the countryside. We had petting farm, gardening, collect of fruits, and history all around with the still standing Porte de Gally or gate of Gally that went into the back of the Domaine of Versailles (if you are inside the castle property this is way back beyond the Grand Canal you can do walks there still just far back)  ,where we used to do our jogging and playing with the boys as well. Oh those wonderful younger days..!!

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I like to tell you a bit on this wonderful Ferme de Gally or Gally’s farm in Saint Cyr l’école. The farm of Gally is located at the western end of the park of the Domaine de Versailles. It is about  3 km from the palace/museum. The farm of  Gally is located between the l’Etoile Royale (in the north), the Allée Royal de  Villepreux, and the Porte de Maintenon  at Bailly (south).  You can come here better with a car but if in Versailles bus line 17 of Transdev  takes you close, Ligne 17 in about 17 minutes from the Versailles Rive Droite train station (closest to my neighborhood) on Maréchal Foch direction Grille de Maintenon you get off here and walk just a couple minutes to the farm entrance on Route de Saint-Cyr. By car take the Route de Versailles,  D10 along the Orangerie on your right and the pièce d’eau des Suisses on your left, and continue direction Saint Cyr l’école until the junction with the D7 road still direction St Cyr l’école and you will see the panels for the farm on your right hand side in 6 km! from in front of the palace/museum.

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There are 3 boutiques now and many more but I will concentrate on the original and my fav place to go egg hunting in Easter with the boys or just shopping there and collecting fruits and vegetables by hand ! As well as a small petting farm with domestic animals!  Open from Monday to Sunday without interruption from 9h30 to 19h. Open during school holidays and holidays at regular times. And the nice Café gally entrance at Rue du Doctor Vaillant (D7) .  As with today’s world check the times before coming ok

St Cy l ecole ferme de Gally MF shopping jan11

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A bit of history I like

Gally is first of all the history of the Laureau family, a farmer here  since 1746. And at this time purveyors to the kings at Versailles. Today, brothers Dominique and Xavier Laureau, the custodians of the transmitted know-how, have diversified their traditional activities and bring their expertise in the field of plants in the service of individuals and companies.

The name of Gally would refer to the quality of the soils in the vicinity of the brook now the stream of Gally and the marshy area that was Versailles before the clearing for the castle.  The brook which takes its source in the Grand Canal of Versailles and which runs off to the west of the Plain of Versailles. Gally’s farm was first a priory, attached to the abbey of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris. The earliest written record recorded to date on the existence of the Priory of Gally comes from a bull of Pope Alexander III, written in 1163. In 1663 and 1675, king  Louis XIV, residing at the Château de Versailles, encompassed the lands of Trianon and Musseloue, redeemed from the Abbaye de Sainte-Geneviève. Gally’s Farm then entered the royal estate while the king arranged the surroundings of the small park. The entire land of the Gally farm became the property of the king in 1684, when Abbé Emanuel de Sainte-Geneviève sold the remaining 319 ares.

In 1806, Napoleon I , bought the estate of Gally, after having set up the conservation of the Royal estate. As a result, Gally’s farm experiencing a revival in its agricultural operation, especially since the royal hunting no longer prevented agricultural work. New buildings have appeared over the centuries, depending on the needs of the time and the wishes of the different owners. According to the experts’ estimates some buttresses and columns could date from the 10C. The shepherd’s house dates from the 11C.  The west façade of the farmhouse corresponds to the priory and dates from the late 11C or early 12C. The skylights and some buttresses date back to the 13C.  The sheep herd dates from the 15C. The old barn dates back to the 17C.  Gally’s farm remains to this day one of the oldest built ensembles, still active in this part of the west of Paris.

Today, the farm is divided into 4 sectors of activity: self-service harvesting of more than 40 ha composed of an orchard and a vegetable garden; The “Open Farm”, an educational farm allowing children to approach and familiarize themselves with animals (cows, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, goats) and discover nature through fun and practical workshops (making juice of apples, bread and butter, extraction of honey from the hive, work around animal footprints, gardening sessions); Finally a garden center. You can also buy fresh products at the shop, where you find a coffee shop, which of course only cooks products from the farm. One can finally participate in cooking courses, or for the younger ones to organize there its birthday. An original address very popular in the beautiful days.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official current group of farms as les Fermes de Gally: https://www.lesfermesdegally.com/

The official Gally’s farm of St Cyr l’école: https://www.gally.com/

The Paris tourist office on the Ferme de Gally: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/103284/Ferme-de-Gally-Saint-Cyr

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist board on the Ferme de Gally: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Loisirs/Loisirs-dans-les-Yvelines/ferme-pedagogique-cueillette/ferme-pedagogique-Gally-Saint-cyr-Ecole

There you go a nice side trip from Versailles and you thought it is only the palace/museum right ! There is a whole world to discover in Versailles and surrounding royal areas indeed. Hope you enjoy the post on the Ferme de Gally as I; and it is good for the entire family.

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

March 31, 2021

Navacerrada , the mountain of Madrid!!

I was recently been watching the world alpine ski championship from Cortina, Italy and remind me of my try of skiing while living in my dear Madrid. The closest mountain was Navacerrada, the craddle of Spanish skiing that gave the country its Olympic medal. I like to update this memorable post for you and I. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

Ok another nostalgic moment that was able to see again last summer.  Well, this is the beginning of the end ; many years ago circa 1972, I was living in Madrid, and friends convince me to go skiing in the mountains. I am a beach bum boy and always been; so curiosity took me there. It was of course the fabled Navacerrada and I put my skis; well I never had so many summersaults in my life coming down the mountain, lucky was not hurt and therefore, ended my career as a skier….lol!  However, the memories still lingered and had gone up just to see an after ski day or just enjoying the natural beauty of the place, and of course driving around those mountain peaks.  Navacerrada will always remained close to my heart. My dear late wife Martine took a nostalgic trip with me in 2017 and really enjoyed it.

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Navacerrada  (the town) is in the Comunidad de Madrid at 1200 meters high on the shoulders of the Sierra de Guadarrama on the Navacerrada dam and the entrance to the Valley of Barranca. The town is located at 52 km from Madrid.  Every Sunday there is a market of antiques in the Avenida de Madrid. On the first Sunday of the month there is a expo of old collectible automobiles as well as a medieval market with a very festive ambiance. The peak is higher as you can see in the picture below

Navacerrada

You have an excellent time skiing here , the best in Madrid in my opinion. The closest station to Madrid at 1858 meters high.  It is well  divided in two zones; a high zone with average trails to advance and a lower zone with average trails and beginners. They are well protected along pine trees. The north ladder or ¡Segovian is part of the town of Real Sitio de San Ildefonso , and the south ladder or Madrilene belongs to the town of Cercedilla. . From here you can use as a base to visit La Granja de San Ildefonso (see post) , Segovia (see posts), San Lorenzo de El Escorial (see post), Rascafria , Fuenfria and others.

The project of the port was done in 1778 and opened to the public in 1788 under the reign of king Carlos IV. The port town is crossed by the road M 601 that connects Collado Villalba with Segovia. From the port town there is the road CL 604 that connects with the towns in the Valley of Lozoya passing by the Puerto de Cotos port.  The last segment from the south passes at the intersection of roads M 601 and M 607 at 1300 meters altitude and goes up 560 meters at a inclination of 8%.

Some good eating places in Puerto de Navacerrada and the town are Asador Espinosa, restaurante Casa Paco, and La Fonda Real, that I can recommend from the many in the area.

Ways to get to the town from Madrid. You can get on the expressway A6 to Collado Villalba (another nice town) and here take the M-601 direction Segovia until you reach Puerto de Navacerrada. Every day there are buses too from the bus depot at Moncloa in Madrid , take line 691 of Autobuses Larrea. You can ,also,come here from Madrid taking the road M-607 direction Colmenar Viejo follow signs for Puerto de Navacerrada . By train from Chamartin station in Madrid take the Cercanias C 8b to Cercedilla and here change on the C9 cotos train to Puerto de Navacerrada. The Adolfo Suarez Barajas airport is only 80 km. For info I always come here by car.

The town of Navacerrada on tourist info: https://www.aytonavacerrada.org/index.php/turismo-20

The Madrid tourist office on the Puerto de Navacerrada: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerto-navacerrada

Weather conditions especially snow by Infonieve in Navacerrada: https://www.infonieve.es/estacion-esqui/puerto-de-navacerrada/webcams/

The Puerto de Navacerrada webpage https://puertonavacerrada.com/en/the-resort/surroundings-and-patrimony/

Lately I read that due to the virus and less frequency two ski lanes will be closed, sadly, the space will be reduce so go as soon as you can before all changes.

Hope you enjoy it as I do; this short introductory post on Navacerrada. A spot of memories in my heart never to be forgotten and looking forward to be back when possible. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 31, 2021

Plaza de Colon of Madrid!!!

Another dandy full of memories for me and family, well as you can read, Madrid is all happy memories that will last all my life. Hope you get the idea, Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! This is the nice Plaza de Colon of Madrid!!!

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Not a moment goes by not thinking of all the things done here, living and visiting; and both ways. One of the emblematic places in the city is the Plaza de Colon or Colon Square in the upper part away from centro Madrid.  The area is nice, modern ,and upscale. It was my passage when opened the Wax museum (see post)  around it that my Mom took me. It has been great going to the National Library (see post) as a youth, and then many times over visiting with the family. Always great souvenirs of my Madrid.

The Plaza de Colón is named after Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon). Located at the intersection of the districts of the Centro, Chamberí and Salamanca, the square has a large open space known as the Gardens of Discovery , delimited by the streets of Goya, Jorge Juan and Serrano. The west side of the square consists of a crossroads at the center of which rises the monument to Columbus, where the Paseo de la Castellana is to the north and the Paseo de Recoletos to the south. The square was originally called Plaza de Santiago, or St, James Square. In 1893 it was decided to rename the square to Plaza de Colón in honor of Christopher Columbus.

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Erected between 1881 and 1885, this neo-Gothic-style monument consists of a column surmounted by the statue of Columbus (Colon) . Originally placed on the square itself, it is installed from 2009 in the center of the crossroads, surrounded by a basin. This space occupies a surface of 18 700 m2. In quadrangular form, it is divided into two triangular zones. Under the first, to the west, is the Fernán Gómez Cultural Center, as well as underground parking. The second zone, to the east, is mainly occupied by the monument of the Discovery of America, inaugurated in 1977. The Spanish Royal Mint stood here previously until 1970. In the vicinity, has risen from 2001 a mast of 50 meters high which bears the largest Spanish flag in the world, measuring 14 meters by 21 meters or 294 m2. There are stairs at the end that take you down to the Oficina de Turismo Colón.(Tourist office at Colon).

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The wonderful architecture and historical here is the  Torres de Colon or Columbus Towers  office building completed in 1976, dubbed “the electrical outlet” due to the shape of its top. . In the crossing of the square or Plaza de Colon with Calle de Génova you will see the towers, at its bottom you will see an isle that crosses with Calle Génova, the sculpture with the Women and the Mirror is the work of Fernando Botero. Car parking Empark under the square entrance by Calle de la Armada Española,1 just parallel with Paseo de Recoletos. Also, metro Colon Line 4 and Serrano line 4 and many bus lines.

We, also, stayed in a nice hotel when I first took my girlfriend  in September 1990, later wife and now dear late wife Martine. It was a moment to impress the new girl and book the Fénix Tryp hotel at Calle Hermosilla just after the Plaza de Colon with windows looking over it. Now it is a Melia Hotels property. The hotel is an icon for us as well. We even have visited couple times afterward! Decorations inside are the same!

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Other memorable moment of this Plaza de Colon is that upon visiting with my girlfriend we needed to take money out, first time needed to do this in Spain for me!. Looking ,asking finally at the hotel there was a Barclays bank across from Colon Square or Plaza Colon, 2  and we did!  Well the Barclays left ,after 50 years at this location,, in July 2018 ; it now says my sources will have a mix office business stores at that location. Here just for the memories!

Just below the wax museum, you have the Casino de Madrid, yes a Casino!! At Paseo de Recoletos, 37-41 which is just south of the Plaza de Colon. And just a bit further down one my hunts with my mother and later wife, the Restaurante El Espejo, under new management ;  a glass deco resto very quaint and popular with Madrilenos. webpage: http://www.elespejonouveau.com/carta/

The Madrid tourist office on the Plaza de Colonhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-colon

The Madrid tourist office on the Discovery America gardenhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-descubrimiento

The Madrid tourist office on the Fernan Gomez Cultural Centerhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/fernan-gomez-centro-cultural-de-la-villa

A nice place to walk , when you want to be away from the tourist centro areas and see the real working Madrid a bit. The Plaza de Colon is another must stop for me when in town, it brings lots of good memories for my soul. Hope you enjoy the post, and dare come over from centro.

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

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