Archive for April 17th, 2021

April 17, 2021

Cathédrale St Etienne de Saint Brieuc!!

Again searching my road warrior soul I came to the North of Brittany and it was nice to see my lovely Bretagne is beautiful all over. I came into Saint Brieuc and after doing an introduction in previous post here is the main plate, the Cathédrale St Etienne de Saint Brieuc or the St Stephen’s Cathedral of Saint Brieuc! Hope you enjoy the post as I.


We have visited Saint Brieuc, can be considered an off the beaten path here, but worth the visit for its Cathedral at least me think.  Therefore, other than my general posts on Saint Brieuc, decided worth it to tell you a bit more on the St Stephen’s Cathedral of Saint Brieuc .  The Cathédrale St Etienne de Saint-Brieuc (French) is in the Côtes-d’Armor dept 22 of my beloved Bretagne.  It is one of the nine historic cathedrals of Brittany. It is currently the seat of the Diocese of Saint-Brieuc and Tréguier, known by this name since 1852.


A bit of history I like

The Gothic-style contemporary Cathédrale St Etienne was built from the 13C to the 18C. Some relics of Saint Brieuc itself, dating from the 6C, are preserved there. It was built on a swamp with wooden pillars. It is one of the few fortified churches in Brittany. The “Grande Dame de Pierre” or the Big Lady of Stone, thus reflects the history of the city. Besieged, burned, the Cathedral will experience many avatars during the 14C, during the wars of succession that hit Brittany. Its restoration and extension spread throughout the 15C. The Cathedral was looted again during the Wars of Religions, and the League from 1589 to 1598.

A bit of chronological history is as follows: 1220, the planning of the western pediment of the Cathedral after the Cathedral of Noyon, in the Oise. Construction of the North tower. It becomes the Episcopal dungeon. By 1431-1436, construction of the South tower following the generous gift of Duke Jean V. In the 17C construction of corbelets supporting the balustrade, and completion of the nave rosette in 1728. By the time of the French revolution 1789-1794, the Cathedral serves as a warehouse and shed. In 1853, construction of a wooden hourd topped by a pyramidion. The corbelets are transformed into machicolations consoles.  The six portraits of the north side door known as the Gate of the Martray were made around 1860. Four of these portraits were sawn to allow the opening of two small doors.  in 1889, construction of the central porch.

Some of the wonderful description of this Cathedral of St Stephen to follow.

From its two towers, both with deadly features, the Brieuc tower is the lowest and the highest is the Marie tower. A century separates the construction of the two towers, 14C and 15C.  The Brieuc tower is the lowest and the Marie tower the highest. The towers are equipped with slits for archers.


Inside, do not miss the baptismal font Basin ,15C, as well as the altarpiece of the Annunciation, in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, masterpiece of Baroque Art ,18C. The Chapel of the Annunciation, this altarpiece is considered a masterpiece of rock aesthetics in Brittany. It is one of the most beautiful wooden retables of the Côtes d’Armor, it is surmounted by a glory illustrating God the Father and the Holy Spirit. The central table of the altarpiece represents Christ alongside the angel Gabriel making the announcement to Mary.



The great organ of the Cathedral St Etienne is a great Cavaillon of 1848, takes place in a magnificent buffet dating back to 1540. Several recumbents and tombs of the 17C and 18C are spread around. A few stations of the contemporary Way of the Cross made by the school of Fine Arts of Rennes are shown around the walls.


Since 2009, the Cathédrale St Etienne has enjoyed an important programme of renovations, done in 2019 with the nave. The stones are cleaned to restore their whiteness and the cement joints are replaced by traditional lime joints. The axial chapel was restored as it was in the nineteenth century: very colorful. The starry blue vaults are surrounded by repainted pillars of flowering or spiral motifs. Like the choir, it is certainly accessible to the public.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Saint Brieuc on heritage:

The Bay of Saint Brieuc tourist office on things to see :

The Côtes d’Armor dept 22 tourist office on the Cathedral

There you go another nice stop in my lovely Bretagne and Saint Brieuc in the north sea coast of Côtes d’Armor. And of course, the wonderful fortified Cathedral of St Stephen is a must stop while in town.

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

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April 17, 2021

This is Saint Brieuc!

In one of my forays into northern Bretagne, we came to Saint Brieuc. This is a historical town again of my lovely Bretagne and I like to update this older post for you and me. Hope you like the introduction to Saint Brieuc! And see my other posts on this city in my blog!

I like to bring you up well Brittany , my region/state is fairly divided into north central and south but most define it as north and south, so I live in South Brittany, but there is also, North Brittany. I like to tell you a bit more about Saint Brieuc.  The city is in departément 22 or Côte d’Armor . The founder is a monk name Brieuc, in about 580, from the current Wales, by 848 the first bishopry is founded. It seems that the Breton was spoken here for the most part of the population until about 1200. Afterward,the Gallo took over around the city, and finally French with the economic utility of it.

In 1592 the first battle for Brittany was done here in the place Saint Michel. Côtes-du-Nord was the old name until 1990 when it was changed to Côtes d’Armor. There was a big battle here after the French revolution with Republican forces and the local Chouan rebels. The city of Saint-Brieuc is located at the edge of the channel, at the bottom of a bay to which it gives its name (Baie de Saint-Brieuc). At 144 km from Brest and 99 from Rennes, the town is crossed by the  road N12, at km 416. It has a SNCF train station located on the Paris-Brest line as well as on the line to Dinan. The country of Saint-Brieuc is the country of upper Brittany where the use of the Gallo language is the most frequent (the region of Brittany is gallo in one half a descendent of Latin Romanesque and Breton from the Celtic lands of today Great Britain).

A bit of history I like

The town takes its name from the monk Brioc, its founder. Originally from the Ceredigion (present-day Wales), he settled on the heights around 480 and founded a monastery, near where is still the fountain Saint-Brieuc. The porch of the fountain was built in 1420 by Marguerite de Clisson, Countess of Penthièvre. Saint Brieuc is one of the seven founding Saints of Brittany. The city was a pilgrimage stage. In 848, Breton King Nominoë made a reshuffle of the bishoprics under his hold after the departure of the Normans. It was on this date that the bishopric of Saint-Brieuc was founded. The relics of Saint Brieuc, which had been put to safety at the time of the Norman invasion, returned to the city in 1210.  In 1220 is the elevation to the episcopate of Guillaume Pinchion, one of the greatest craftsmen in the construction of the Cathedral. He died in 1234 and was canonized as early as 1247 (Saint Guillaume) by Pope Innocent IV without seeing the completion of his work by his successor, Philippe, in 1248. It is the first Saint of Armorique (old name for Bretagne) canonized in Rome. The Cathedral was built from the 13C to the 18C.

In 1790, during the French revolution, Saint-Brieuc became the capital of the Department of Côtes du Nord (later rename Côtes-d’Armor in 1990) During this period, the town temporarily carried the name Port-Brieuc in 1793, during the terror, the war between the Chouans and the Republicans raged.  During WWII, the liberation of Saint-Brieuc was done by the American troops of General George Patton on August 6, 1944.

Things to see that I like

The Italian Theater, Place de La Poste, nice bas-reliefs on the facade of attic. Many houses in wooden pans, notably Rue Fang, place au Lin, rue Pohel, Rue Quinquaine and Rue de Gouët (Hotel aka of the Dukes of Brittany, 1572; Houses of the Barriére and Le Ribault 16C. Hôtel de Bellescize 17C, La Tour de l’Hôtel de Saint-Esprit 15C The dovecote of the Jardin du Colombier 15C-16C . The Notre-Dame Fountain from the 15C, the Basilica of Our Lady of Hope 1854-1877; Saint-Michel Church 1837-1841, the first historical parish of Saint-Brieu; The park of the Villa Rohannec’h. Also, on the old seminary taken over under the French revolution, it was grouped from different sources into the museum of art and history of the city of Saint Brieuc.


The main thing here is the Saint-Brieuc Cathedral (11C to 18C) see post. This Cathedral is one of the nine historic Cathedrals of Brittany. The North tower was built at the beginning of the 13C. After a fire, the choir and nave were rebuilt between 1354 and 1357. The vaults of the aisle date from 1735, and the upper vaults of 1879. The Cathedral is equipped with a Cavaillon-Coll organ, named after one of the most famous organ factors of the 19C. A similar organ is found in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. Several other Churches are spread all over town.

There are buildings of nice architectural lookup such as the Lycée Ernest Renan, offering even courses in tourism. It has a beautiful exterior architecture and a chapel with high belltower in the Saint Michel district. You have the college Anatole le Braz,another wonderful architecture building with a nice chapel and it was here that the local résidents were put in prison during the Nazy occupation. The complex of government buildings is impressive.  Around place Général de Gaulle, you have the préfecture or departamental government, then the Conseil Régional de Côte d’Armor which is the regional government, and then the Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office (we were there while a wedding was going on!!).  Nice passing by the parc des Promenades, before heading to the main Church here, Cathédrale Saint Etienne  as above. You can see by the Cathedral the Halles covered and outdoor arcades and inside full of produce shoppers, and on market days the outside gets full. They are at place du Martray.

While doing all these walks, and indulging on Saint Brieuc we tried and ate all over

We had our treats at the caramels breton and cookies place of the Biscuiterie Saint Brieuc, next to the old Church of Saint François.rue Saint François and Saint Guillaume. exactly at 58 rue Saint Guillaume. We took some chocolates a ballotin and some assorted pastries such as equinox and paris-brest ones at La Duchesse de Rohan, 2 Rue Saint-Gouéno, an institution in town since 1936. We had a quick lunch a la baguette late at the nice institution of Maison Diener (founded in 1947) , boulangerie/pâtisserie by the boutique des champs 11 rue St François, formule of bacon goat cheese sandwich, nice pain au chocolat and coca cola for 5,50€ can’t beat on the run and eaten right on the corner of the shopping center Les Champs! people watching par excellence.

My boys got their game and mangas at Japanim, similar store in our area and they can’t missed it. Here at 15 rue de Rohan, some info on these stores and for lovers of Japanese mangas figurines, tapes etc is tops according to my 3 Young men! Of course, we went into the shopping center Les Champs, right in city center and near the the great bus depot of Les Champs, at Rue Sainte Barbe , here you find the leading stores in malls in France,and we got some stuff at New Yorker store, here is the webpage , nice and modern stuff, cool!   And while walking the inner streets the boys always on top in France got their stuff at Lacoste and Hugo Boss stores!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Saint Brieuc on heritage:

The Bay of Saint Brieuc tourist office on St Brieuc

The Côtes d’Armor dept 22 tourist office on the Bay of Saint Brieuc:

The Bretagne region tourist board on Saint Brieuc

Now you have a comprehensive bunch of information to make your stay in Saint Brieuc worthwhile, it is worth a detour in the north of Bretagne.

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

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April 17, 2021

KIO is Puerta de Europa ! Madrid of course!!

And here I am updating this older post of my beloved Madrid. Well of course, if you read my blog you know me and Madrid. However, most folks guided by tourist guides go to the Centro or center area of  Madrid which is loaded with tourist hangouts waiting for you. I have said and I do, go out into the regular living, know the country, the city , the people and you will see nice monuments too. This is the case at the Puerta de Europe or Europe’s Gate and the KIO buildings. Let me tell you about them ,and hope you enjoy as I.

I am trying to remember my memories and have plenty so hard to choose as they all look sentimental. Getting to write about Madrid is easy for me, my favorite city. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!  So you all go to the Centro, old city center by now overrun with visitors; visitors are good don’t get me wrong, they are needed and all around like it. It is just that after a while, it becomes so so visited that the locals starts cooking, painting and showcasing just for the visitors and not the local modes. So I always said get out from the center and see the city,it will amazed you.

I am taking you up north along Paseo de la Castellana to lovely Plaza de Castilla (Castile square) in the Chamartin district. And here you have a wonderful architecturally done buildings and art centers and a huge local transport hub. It is one of my hangouts in Madrid and we love to shop by it, especially the gourmet grocery store of Sanchez Romero (many branches in Madrid) at Castellana 196 not far on right hand side to Plaza de Castilla.

The two towers that are located in Plaza de Castilla, and that make up the so-called Puerta de Europa (gates of Europe) , are commonly known as Torres Kio because they were promoted by the Kuwaiti company Kio (Kuwait Investments Office).  The two buildings are located on either side of the Paseo de la Castellana, the main artery of the center north of Madrid, on the northern edge of the Plaza de Castilla, in the Chamartín district., and across from the Centro de Arte Fundación Isabel Canal II  Paseo de la Castellana, 214 ( a foundation for arts center name after queen Isabell II water chanel). webpage:

The buildings are two inversely symmetrical towers inclined towards each other, 15 degrees with respect to the vertical one, and were the first inclined skyscrapers of the world. The skyscrapers have a height of 114 meters and twenty-six floors, and are visible several km away from Madrid, given their situation in one of the highest heights of the city. They are the first towers voluntarily inclined in the world. The construction of the towers began in 1989, but due to a series of financial difficulties, it interrupted for several years and ended only in 1996.  On a total surface of 2 340 m2 of floor, the towers consist of a steel structure covered with glass curtain walls totalling a surface of 32 864 m2 for a height of 114 meters.(about 376 ft)   Each building has four elevators, the first two of which serve floors 1 to 13 and the next two floors 13 to 27. These are the second highest twin towers in Spain, after those located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.


The tower that has the top of the logo of Bankia is called Puerta de Europa I, whereas the other one, with the logo of Realia, is known as Puerta de Europa II. To avoid confusion the first has a heliport painted in blue and the second in red. KIO towers, at that time in construction, are one of the scenarios where the film is developed The Day of the Beast (El Dia de la Bestia) by Alex de la Iglesia.

Around the plaza you will see the obelisk of Calatrava itself 92 meters high (304 ft) ,and 6 meters in diameter (19.8 ft).  the monument of Calvo Sotelo, a huge sculpture of the Spanish jurist and politician, built in 1959 in memory of the assassination that was one of the sparks of  the Spanish civil war. The area is one of the main bus terminals in Madrid, above ground many local buses have a stop here, and underground you have buses to nearby cities and inter province service. You reach it on metro Plaza de Castilla ,lines 1,9,10.


The Madrid tourist office on the KIO towers at Puerta de Europa in the Plaza de Castilla

The Bankia bank story on the Kio towers in Spanish:

Hope you enjoy this trip out from the tourist center and be encourage to see more of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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