Archive for April 4th, 2021

April 4, 2021

A story at Montfort l’Amaury!!!

And here I am updating a nice off the beaten path town of my former home Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region. We drove all over here and so many nice memories, still lots to be seen. One nice town with a nice history we like was Montfort l’Amaury. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok, and hope you enjoy it as I.

Well, it is not just Versailles folks…There is a small quaint little known town call Montfort l’Amaury, that has a saying in French history and my roots. Only 45 km from Paris,what are you waiting for? Ok so you don’t have a car ,no problems here. There is a train station at Montfort l’Amaury-Méré just 4 km from town on an easy taxi ride. It goes to Montparnasse Paris.  Several roads here of course, my treat. The best ones are the D76 to the train station, and the N12 direction Thoiry and else, I come to Versailles/Paris on it from Bretagne free tolls!, and the N10 from to and onwards to the A10 and Bordeaux, Spain. By bus from nearby towns you can take the Hourtoule, Veolia Transport Rambouillet  and  Veolia Transport Houdan bus companies, check them ouit for schedules as never taken them.

A bit of history I like

Montfort-l’Amaury took the name of Amaury I, the first Count of Montfort. King Robert I  ordered the castle built in 996 on the hill of Montfort. The town was the seat of the Montfort family from the 11C with Guillaume de Hainaut. His son Amaury , had the ramparts built which you can still see some of it. The lordship of Montfort-l’Amaury was created in favor of the sons of Simon IV . During the war of 100 years the castle was destroyed by the English. Quite old isn’t it.  Well it gets better. The Count of Montfort was linked to the Duchy of Brittany ! following the marriage of Yolande de Montfort with duke Arthur II of Brittany in 1292. During the war of succession in Brittany (1341-1364), the Monfort allied themselves with the English and won at the famous battle near me now at Auray (1364). From then on and during two centuries the town was in Brittany! and the Montfort became dukes of Brittany. The county was included in the crown of France in 1547 once the treaty making Brittany part of France in 1532 took effect. Anne de Bretagne, duchess of Brittany and Countess of Montfort was a benefactrice here. king Henri II, son of François Ier and Claude de France,(daughter of Anne de Bretagne, who was queen of France by marriage with king Charles VIII and later too king Louis XII).

So, what can you see here well

You have the old Castle ruins now only visible with a donjon tower built in the 12C call the tour d’Anne-de-Bretagne that was ordered built by herself. The wonderful impressive by its size and the size of the town is St Peter’s Church (see post) from the 15C and 16C ordered rebuilt by Anne de Bretagne in 1491, at the place of the old medieval church of the 11C ordered built by Count Amaury I de Montfort. If you are into these sort of things ,there is a cemetary from the 15C and 16C surrounded by galleries looking like a cloister serving as charniers for the inhumanisation of corps taken from the old cemetary by the Church; nice looking cloister entrance. The house or maison de Maurice Ravel(composer), call the Belvédère,(see post) from the 20C at the foot of the ruins of the castle and its donjon. Maurice Ravel lived here from 1921 until his death in 1937. The house was preserved by his younger brother. Finally it is bequested to the museums of France , and open to the public in 1973. The ramparts from the 11C and 12C that still have some intact and the gate or porte Bardoul, a prison in the 13C , as well as many wooden houses all around the narrow streets of the town. You can see especially the house where Victor Hugo stayed several times and compose the famous “Ode aux ruines” as a memory of the town. This was the house of poet Adolphe de Saint-Valry in rue de la Treille, where since 1825 Victor Hugo visited in the company of his wife.  You can, visit the gardens of the Chateau de Groussay near town, but not been here.

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist board on Montfort l’Amaury in French:

The city of Montfort l’Amaury on its historical heritage:

And the main reason curiosity took me to Montfort l’Amaury

José-Maria de Heredia, was born in 1842 and died in 1905; he was a writer, poet, teacher and born in Cuba under Spanish colonial rule , as his mother was French, he became French in 1893. His work made him one of the master of the Parnassian movement and the author of Les Trophées, (the trophies) published in 1893 that included 118 sonnets retracing the history of the world like the Conquerors or the coral recifs; as well as four long poems. A masterpiece!

He was born at La Fortuna, not far from Santiago de Cuba the plantation coffee farm ,and send to France at age 9 to further his studies in the Lycée Saint-Vincent of Senlis (Oise 60) where he studied until his diploma in 1859, been a brilliant student and very much appreciated. He returns to Cuba and spent a year in Havana in order to try for his law degree and it is at this time that writes his first poems in French.

He return to France in 1861 with his mother already widow. He enrolled the same year at the Law school of Paris. From 1862-1865 he takes courses in the école National des Chartes, where he excelled for his serious work and good manners. He began to be more motivated for the literature than Law and continue to compose poems in particular with sonnets; the family fortune managed by his mother, allows him to live well. He was part of a group of literary intellectuals like the La Bruyére conference and become influential member of the Parnassienne school. In 1863, he met Leconte de Lisle and help at contemporary Parnasse while making friends such as Sully Prudhomme, Catulle Mendés and Anatole France.

In 1884, Guy de Maupassant dedicates the new novel Garçon a Bok! The Les Trophées, making call to designer and animated experts dedicated to Leconte de Lisle, is given accolades and crown winner by the French Academy or Académie Française. He was already distinguished by the Académie for his translation of the true history of the conquest of the new Spain or L’Histoire véridique de la conquête de la Nouvelle Espagne du capitaine Bernal Díaz del Castillo! . He translate as well the story of the Sister marine Catalina de Erauso and collaborated in the magazine of two worlds, time newspaper and debates or Revue des Deux Mondes, au Temps et au Journal des débats. He is elected to the French Academy or l’Académie française on February 22 1894 on the seat of Charles de Mazade, or No 79. While the tsars traveled to Paris in 1896 he compose the poem Salut à l’Empereur. Member of the dictionary commission or Commission du dictionnaire, he becomes in 1901, conservator of the Arsenal library or conservateur de la bibliothèque de l’Arsenal. As Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir,  Pierre Louÿs and others, he belongs to the league of the French motherland or Ligue de la patrie française, and the Ligue anti dreyfusard moderates.

In 1902, he founded with Sully Prudhomme and Léon Dierx, the society of French poets. Heredia and his wife that in 1901 and 1902, had passed their summer vacations in Montfort-l’Amaury, decided in 1903 to change town and chose to lived with friends at  the Château de Bourdonné, near Houdan (today own by the sister of French singer Charles Aznavour , and open on heritage days but you can walk in the gardens other times) Park opens in July, August and September – Inquire in advance at the city/ town hall. By September of 1903 he is victim of a digestive hemorrhage ,that the local doctor has difficulties in stop it. He goes into a diet but even with that a second hemorrhage comes in August of 1904. He died in his Château de Bourdonné on the night of October 2 1905 followed by a third hemorrhage. As he had visited the Basilica of Bonsecours near Rouen with his friend Flaubert he decided to buy a plot as was moved by the statue of Jeanne d’Arc and the Basilica; and later buried his mother here, naturally he is buried here too at the cemetery of Bonsecours , just outside Rouen in dept 76 ,Seine-Maritime.


From his marriage in 1867 to Louise Despaigne, he had three daughters:  Hélène (1871-1953), married Maurice Maindron, then René Doumic.  Marie (1875-1963), married Henri de Régnier. She was the mistress of Pierre Louÿs and wrote under the pseudonym of Gérard d’Houville. She had a son ,Pierre de Régnier, dit Tigre (tiger), natural son of Pierre Louÿs,who was also his godfather.  Louise (1878-1930), married Pierre Louÿs, too fast and divorce, then married Auguste Gilbert de Voisins.  There is a monument to José-Maria de Heredia done by Victor Ségoffin  at the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris.

The cemetery /Tombs webpage tells in French about his life and resting place here:

Jose Maria de Heredai page at the Académie Française

His unofficial biography in French here:

And all his poems are here under José Maria de Heredia : France :

Hope you have enjoy this wonderful ride into the French soul, and the countryside of the Yvelines dept 78 at quant nice off the beaten path Montfort l’Amaury,  there is a lot more in my belle France.

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

April 4, 2021

Church of Notre Dame of Cholet !!

And on my update route again, and what a thrill it has been for me to revive these older posts due to current situation. I know there is a lot more to do but I am moving on and now with more time ho ho ho. Let me tell you about the Church of Notre Dame of Cholet!!! Hope you enjoy as I.  This was a surprise, did not realize that this town could have such a beautiful Church. As a lover of Architecture and History, these fascinates me and I go a great length to visit them all; working on it!


I am talking about the Notre Dame Church of Cholet. It is right in city center/downtown of the city  at the parvis Jean-Paul-II , and surrounded by the old town and a great square Travot.  The short end of it tells us that here was a castle and the now Church was just a chapel of the castle, then the parish Church was built and over and over again on the same spot the current Church occupy today. This region has suffered greatly in the 19C due to the voracious French revolution, that only destroyed many religious buildings but murdered many of the folks in the area of the Vendée or wars of the west as they were called.  The people here has taken to rebuilt these religious buildings  , and the current Church was initially built between 1854 and 1887. It is considered one of the best work and preserved of buildings from the trouble 19C in the region.


It is told that the first sign of a Church here was from the 11C and by around 1185 it became the parish Church.  For a long period of neglect, and after the French revolution it was used as a stable and then a prison.  The deterioration was imminent and by 1812 danger of fallen stones from its walls , the Church was closed to the public. In July 1814, the remains are demolished and new Church took over in the Poitevin style with a lantern tower bell tower below the altar, on ordered of the Duke of  Angoulême this was finished in 1820. The new Church was soon found too small and the fourth Church on the spot is built starting in 1854 and finished in 1887.  It was built of stones in a neo Gothic style of the 13C; it has a choir with five Chapels and a transept. It is capped with two steeples, each with a slender, pointed arrow, surmounted by a wrought iron cross, rising to 65 meters above the square.


Let me tell you some of the wonderful things you can find inside.

First, the ceilings are magnificent high and clean and just gorgeous, with beautiful stained glass in the walls recounting the story of the birth and last judgment of Christ.  There is a nice pulpit chair and a baptismal chapel with engraving that is just gorgeous. The towers front façade were recently clean and renovated and work is continuing on the rest of the Church while it stays open.  There at this time a Nativity Scene quite nice.



The building outside is huge or it seems that way to me. The reconstruction has been a success. There is a wonderful statue of my favorite Joanne of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) on the left side wall half way the nave.  You have an organ from 1903 renovated afterward on several times but just gorgeous encrusted on the wall from the bottom up and a big rosary window above it.



There are several Chapels  showing the Virgin and the Enfant Jesus, St Peter’s, the Last Judgment , and Christ at the Cross. The impressive statues at the back in white stone are one on St Remi baptizing Clovis for the foundation of France and St Genevieve battling Attila the Hun defending Paris (St Genevieve is Paris patron Saint). Impressive.






The Cholet tourist office on the church:

The Cholet Catholic parish on the church:

The city of Cholet on its churches:

Overall, this is a very nice Church of Notre Dame, that could be mistaken for a Cathedral. Big, spacious, bright white color showing throughout ,and nice statues. Just for it alone and the place Travot  in Cholet, could be worth a visit.

Enjoy it and help preserve for humanity’s sake. Another jewel from my belle France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 4, 2021

And we have Roscoff!

This one was going way north in my lovely Bretagne, always searching for new places in my magical world of France. Going over to our neighboring dept 29 Finistére is an usual habit by now, and this time got to the extreme north ; therefore, we have Roscoff! This is an update of an older post in my wonderful ride to revive memories of always. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Doing my road warrior swing thru Finistére , we went by car to Morlaix and with time decided to take a plunge into Roscoff a bit further. This was a good choice as we enjoy the sea breezes here.  The town is very touristic and seafarer, with lots of British influx due to the Brittany Ferry trips. We came by car along the D58 road, very nice done road and very little traffic almost alone on the road !!!  We hit first the ferry port and saw the many cars lining up to go over the manche… This is a busy port indeed with 85% British visitors , almost like been in UK….   We went by the Casino de Roscoff at port de Bloscon as well very nice and conveniently located by the ferry boat harbor.


We ,then proceeded by car to the lighthouse or phare right off the street coming in by the fishing old harbor ;this lighthouse is 24 meters high and has 95 steps, the square top was started in 1914,as well as the optic lense and done in 1917.  Funny we follow the petit train into the narrow streets all the way to the parking behind the Church Notre Dame de Croas Batz that itself was started built in 1520, with the belltower from 1576 and all done in granite. There is a marker on the wall as you come from the embarcadére to ile de Batz showing the spot where Marie Stuart of the Scotts once lived and also a plaque commemoration across from it. Queen at age 7 days! she crosses into Roscoff history as girlfriend of future king of France François II , she lands at Roscoff by the Chapel of Saint Ninien , (today destroyed) on which remaining façade there is the writing of this event.


We went to the pleasure boat marina of Bloscon . The embarcadére or cruising terminal to the island or ile de Batz, very nice indeed, we went down on the side of the Ibis hotel to the stony beach and you a great view of the passerelle to get the boat here,nice. It is done several times a day but cancel in case of high tides with coefficient greater than 100.




The town is very lovely with vibrant activities and plenty to shop for souvenirs and eating places. I rather think the beaches are great in season and one must come early for space.  The petit train is always a nice family riden especially if small children.


It was already late and as not planned to visit here ,we headed home, just our routine one day or weekend trips in our area and writing about it for eternity ::) . It goes to say, we will be back in season as it is nice for longer stay by the ocean . The road back was not the same as the one coming to Morlaix and then Roscoff. I always try to find out new routes . We took the same road out of Roscoff back to Morlaix on the D58 briefly on the D712 and then on the D769, and then by La Feuillée change to the D764  and continue to Carhaix-Plouger to hook up with the N164 dir Rostrenen. At Mûr de Bretagne (since joined another village and change name as a whole to Guerlédan) ; we got off heading into the D767 direction Pontivy, at Pontivy we took the D768 direction Baud, and here the road D768 direction Camors into our town. The ride along the Mont d’Arrée is fantastic.

The Roscoff tourist office

The Finistére dept 29 tourist board on Roscoff:

The Bretagne region tourist board on Roscoff

The City of Roscoff on tourism:

And now home writing about the new adventures. This is Roscoff ,worth a detour and we will be back when possible. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

April 4, 2021

The old city of Marseille!!

Indeed it is old. I happened to come here many years ago on a business trip and then on a solo run by train. Its another jewel of my belle France even the problems of a big entry city to France.  This is the old city of Marseille. Let me update this older post for you and I ,and hope you enjoy it as I.

The old city by the harbor bringing in the civilizations of all Europe and beyond, a melting pot of old nations and new ones. This is Marseille.  Why not talk about the city of the Mediterranean and especially it’s old harbor or vieux port.  The city lies in the department 13 Bouches-du-Rhône in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Oldest city in France founded in 600BC as Massalia by Greek fisherman. It has 57 km of coast including 24 km of rocky inlets or calanques, that are just magnificent. It is from Rouget de Lisle, in 1792, creates at Strasbourg an hymn called the song of war of the army of the Rhine. This hymn was edited and comes to Marseille that had welcome the French revolution with enthusiast. This ,then becomes the La Marseillaise the French National Anthem.

Marseille is the second biggest city in France and it has everything Paris has for leisure cinemas, theaters, operas, parks entertainment ,all! But let me update on the old harbor or vieux port where I spent most of my time there.

marseille-out-to-axi-en-provence jun08

As said, have come here a couple times one time by plane and the other by train, how about that ,need to come by car lol!!! The train station is gare St Charles and I came from gare de Lyon in Paris. The airport is Marseille and I came from Roissy CDG on terminal 1.  On the plane I came in and took a taxi to my destination and on the train walk down to the Vieux Port,less than 2 km easy! 

marseille gare st Charles train station jul10


marseille-steps-lead-to-st-charles-train-station jun08

There are two fortress at the entrance to the old harbor or thereafter Vieux-Port built by king Louis XIV to protect the city in the 17C, the fort Saint Nicolas remains now occupied by the French army. The fort Saint-Jean built in the 15C is now host of the museum of civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean or musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée. From the old arsenal galleries today only remains the harbormaster house.  The Ferry Boat which was so dear to Marcel Pagnol sets off from the City/Town Hall several times a day across the Vieux Port. It was started in June 1880 and thus began the famous Mairie-Place aux Huiles journey. In 2010, a more eco-friendly Ferry Boat with an electric solar propeller took to the water. Now two ferry boats share the Vieux-Port.

marseille-walking-to-vieux-port jun08

The Knights Templar commander stood on the site of the Church Saint Ferréol in the 12C. After the suppression of the Order and the disappearance of its members, Augustinian monks bought the buildings in 1369. They began building the gothic church which was consecrated in 1542 but only completed in 1588. The Italian-style bell tower dates back to the 18C. It was built as a parish in 1803 in the name of Saint Ferréol in memory of the collegiate of the same name which was destroyed in 1794. The church originally had 5 bays and 12 lateral chapels but urban planning destroyed two of the bays in 1804. After the opening of Rue Impériale (now Rue de la République),the new Neo-Baroque façade was done. The official religious Saint Ferréol webpage:

The entry to the harbor was protected by a long chain across it and closed at night. It was taken by the Spanish during an attack and pillage of the city in 1423. The chain is now in the Cathedral of Valencia Spain. And something the Spanish used later on the new world cities such as Havana harbor.  The quays or quais were built in the 15C to 17C and by the end of the 16C the two oldest buildings in town were built, the hôtel de Cabre and the Maison diamantée. In 1666 king Louis XVI ordered the extention of the city with ramparts destroyed and the city extended to the borders of the harbor.

A final extension happened in 1844 with a new basin or bassin de la Juliette and two link the two a new road is built called rue Impériale, today call the rue de la République. In 1849, the waters of the Durance river arrived and to honor it the palais Longchamp is built in 1869; a whole industrial heaven in Marseille. In 1845, the train station or Gare Saint Charles is built on a hill; in 1848,the promenade de la Corniche was created. To move about in the old harbor what do you have…well plenty other than walking which is great I used to walk from Saint Charles to the vieux port! you have by vélo stations at the quai du Port are to from Hôtel de Ville, Beauveau / Suffren , and Place aux Huiles. The metro is at Vieux-Port to Hôtel de ville on line 1. And if go by car done once too, you take the tunnel Prado Carénage exit:sortie Vieux-Port. Several underground parkings available such as mine Parking Vieux-Port la Criee entrance at 129 quai de Rive-Neuve.

Right around the above parking I used, you have the museum or musée de savon de Marseille (or marseille soap museum). If we take the other side of the harbor on quai du port going into the place Vivaux, you have the museum or Musée de Docks Romains or the museum of the history of Marseille (a must). And right on the quai du port, you get the start of the little train or petit train (take circuit 2) always a family favorite. Back to the other side , there is another Church worth going to see this is the Church of Saint Laurent at 16 Esplanade de la Tourette near the Forst Saint Jean spoken above. Very nice old Churh with foundations going back to 840.

A couple of my favorite places to eat business or pleasure are: . For a grand gastronomic meal à la Française try the restaurant La Nautique in a floating peniche boat. webpage: and a bit more on land on the same quai as the above parking ,museum, and restaurant you have a more inexpensive but good resto in the Au Vieux Port (now change management to Brasserie Sur le Port) ; webpage:

The Marseille tourist office:

The city of Marseille on history and heritage:

My Provence Bouches du Rhône tourist board on Marseille:

The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) tourist board on Marseille:

Hope you enjoy the tour, small one but believe enough to tell you Marseille should be in your travel plans; it’s a vibrant city, and if stayed around the Vieux Port is a magical experience.

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

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