Archive for April 18th, 2021

April 18, 2021

Fougéres, more than its Castle!!

And again on the thrill of lately, updating my older posts in my blog, and what a thrill it has been. Thanks to my reades of course; giving me great memorable moments. This is a nice town, Fougéres in the Ille et Vilaine dept 35 of my lovely Bretagne! Of course, have written on Fougéres in my blog and its many wonderful sights, this one is sort of like an introduction. Hope you enjoy it as I.

And here I am at you again on my wonderful extraordinary Bretagne, or Breizh. I have as mentioned on my posts on Fougéres many times by on my trips to and from Paris. However, once or twice I have stopped inside and written on it. It’s a small nice fortified town that can be a nice surprise to lovers of architecture and history. Fougéres ,more than its  castle!!  Fougères is located in the marches (swampy areas) of Brittany, in the northeast of the Ille-et-Vilaine department. The fortified city initially developed on the plateau (about 140 meters above sea level) on the left bank of the Nançon, a tributary of the right bank of the Couesnon coastal river, the castle, oddly in a low position (at 114 meters above sea level), occupying a eminence of the convex shoreline at the lobe of a particularly accentuated meander of the Nançon.

Fougères is located at: 330 km from Paris, 40 km from Rennes, 58 km from Mont-Saint-Michel, 81 km from Saint-Malo, 290 km from Brest, 140 km from Nantes. It is served by the Estuary expressway A84 between Caen and Rennes, and by the N12 which crosses the city from east to west. By the N12 going from Brest to Paris via Rennes and Alençon, but whose section is now downgraded to the departmental road between Romagné and Rennes, the construction of the A84 expressway which passes a little to the west of the city, but to which Fougéres  is , from its road bypass, connected by a four-lane road. Since the stop of the regular traffic of travellers between Fougéres and Vitré there is no train service since 1972. The N12 road is the one I take lately to go to Paris toll free.

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A bit of history I like

Fougères is historically, since the arrival of Latin in Armoric, in the territory of practice of Gallo in which it is called Foujerr. Its name in Breton is Felger; However ,Breton has never been spoken in the country of Fougéres which lies outside the traditional area of diffusion of the Breton language yet the entrance panels of the agglomeration have been installed there for several years with Breton language.

The creation of Fougéres dates back to the Middle Ages. The first mention of the Castle of Fougéres  is found in the late 10C. It was at the time a simple wooden fortification located on a rocky ridge, whose position dominated the Nançon valley and the surrounding marshes. Fougéres  was at the crossroads of two Roman lanes, one from Chartres to Carhaix and the other from Avranches to Nantes. From the 12C onwards, the population departed from the banks of the  Nançon river  and the city grew higher in height, divided into two parishes: Saint-Sulpice for the lower town and Saint-Léonard for the high town. From the Middle Ages, artisanal activity developed around the tannery, weavers and clothiers in the lower town.

Built in the 11C by the Lords of Fougéres, the first fortification, defended by Raoul II, was taken by Henri II Plantagenet in 1166 and destroyed. Raoul II, obstinate, will have it rebuilt in more imposing, and it will become a stronghold defending the borders of Brittany, Mont Saint-Michel and Nantes. The population of Fougéres requests assistance from the Duchy of Brittany. And it was returned to its circle in 1428, sold by Jean II of Alençon. But in 1449, a man named François de Surienne, a Aragonese mercenary in the service of the English, seized and sacked it, in order to force Brittany to ally itself with England. There are many massacres, which provoke the reaction of duke François I of Brittany, determined to get rid of the English. The Duke of Brittany allied himself with Charles VII of France, attacked the south of Normandy and put the siege in front of Fougéres. Surienne and his men, however, manage to resist and make themselves conditional on being able to leave free. This episode announces the Battle of Formigny. Finally , La Trémoille, French general, seized Fougéres in 1488, during the Mad War.

During the French revolution the province of Brittany disappears and its privileges with it. The first changes made are well received. But the population then divides, the civil constitution of the clergy of priests, the lifting of Mass trigger a rebellion, the Chouannerie. In 1793, the campaigns are increasing and soon the troubles escalate into riots. The same year, during the trip of Galerne, the Chouans and the Vendéens took over the city on November 3, 1793 which was taken over on November 18, 1793 by the Republicans (revolutionaries). For eight years, the city and its region passed from hand to hand, with the passing of numerous massacres and lootings. The chief of the Chouans in the vicinity of Fougères was the young general Aimé de Boisguy. The region of Fougères was concerned by the schism of the Church, Catholics refusing the Concordat of 1801, known locally as “louises”.

The monument to the dead of Fougéres bears the names of 640 soldiers from the town who died for France during WWI. The military square bears the names of 148 other dead soldiers in Fougéres, but not native to this city, because Fougéres hosted in its hospital during WWI many casualties of the war from afar.  The monument to the dead of Fougéres bears the names of 52 people who died for France during WWII. The liberation was marked by the terrible American-British bombardments of 6 and 8 June 1944,

Things to see  , I like are (many written on separate posts)

The Château de Fougères occupies an area of two hectares. It is made up of three enclosures in a good state of conservation. If the lordship dwelling is in ruins, the thirteen towers are still standing. Some are visitable, such as the Hallay Tower, The Hague Tower (12C), the Raoul Tower (15C), or the Melusine tower. At the entrance there is a triple water mill. Access to the West curtain makes it possible to observe the  city from above it afar with great views. If anything this alone is worth the detour to see it!You go by this boutique store for the tickets then continue into the St Hilaire tower, into the enceinte or central square of the castle where you can look up all the towers such as Guédameuc, Coigny, Guilbé, Gobelins,Poterne,Mélusine, Surienne, Raoul,Cadran to come back out again.  Between the Poterne and Gobelins towers you can see the old ruins of the keep with traces of the original wooden castle from 1166AD.  Inside the most interesting towers are Mélusine, showing how the castle was built, Surienne, life in the castle, and Raoul, the power of Brittany  with coronation of the Duke Francis II.

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The Porte Notre-Dame; this gate of the 15C with a double drawbridge presents numerous tusks including moats, wells, machicolations, etc., and a protective Virgin facing outward. It is the only fortified gate in the city that still remains. The Theatre de Fougéres is rather nice but never been inside.  You past by the nice homes of the Place du Marchix where the maison de Savigny is the oldest in the city, 14c/15C.

The Church of Bonabry which the works began in1891 and ended with a blessing from the Archbishop of Rennes in 1893. In Neo-Romano-Byzantine style, the façade of the Church is inspired by Notre-Dame-la-Grande of Poitiers. The chorus was rebuilt after the bombardment of 1944. Its capitals were done in 1962. In city center there is a nice small Musée de l’Horlogerie (Clock museum )that looks very nice quaint but no time to go in yet, just browse the shop.

The Saint-Sulpice Church is home to two remarkable medieval altarpieces in monumental granite, with carved decorations: The Tanners ‘ altarpiece and the altarpiece of Notre-Dame-des-Marais. The Church of Saint Sulpice, at the street, Enclos Etienne de Fougères, founded in the 11C at the foot of the castle. Taking a quotes from the tourist office who always explained it better, this is the take, rebuilt in the 15C and 16C  in a flamboyant Gothic style, completed for the choir in the 18C, St Sulpice church is one of the richest in Brittany.  Inside you will discover the nave preening hull overturned boat, the choir in rocaille style of the 18C woodwork of Louis XV, the medieval altarpiece in granite, the stained glass of the 16C. On the left of the nave , the altarpiece dedicated to Notre Dame des Marais is one of the rare altarpiece in granite kept in Brittany, with one of the tanners lying in mortuary chapel. Outside , the sculptures strike by the imagination of their inspiration. You will find the so called Gargoyle, the satyr, and the sculpture of the fairy Melusine above the door of the church.

The Church of Saint-Léonard, located at the top of the high City, offers a panorama view of the town.  The Church of Saint Léonard was founded in the 12C ,rebuilt in the 15C, and 16C.   With a portal and a rosette  of six meters in  diameter from  flamboyant Gothic style.  Outside, admire  the North facade with balusters  and strange gargoyles. The South chapel contains the oldest stained glass of Brittany  (12C) which comes from the Abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris. The North Chapel holds an array from the 19C. During the high season, visitors have access to the Bell tower of the church where they will discover an incredible panorama on ferns, its monuments and the surrounding countryside.  The mortuary chapel of the Church houses  the oldest stained-glass window  preserved in Brittany:  the medallion of St. Benedict.  Donated by a parishioner after the French revolution, it comes from the Abbey of Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis 93) and illustrates  the history of Saint-Benoît.  Left of stained glass, he returned  to the monastery   where the   Abbot hands him his  coat of monk;  right,  a priest  visits him.  Above a Jerusalem cross fragment incomplete, recalls that a jacket was placed under the feet of the donkey. Wonderful indeed.

The former Convent of the Clarisse Urbanists, built in 1680 and destroyed in part by a fire in 1794, now houses a cultural center after being used as a prison and then as barracks. You come to see the Beffroi or Belfry of the city, off rue  Nationale.   Symbol of the wealth of trade with distant regions, the first belfry of Brittany was erected by the burghers of the city in 1397. Its architecture is inspired by the Flemish models of the Drapers of Ferns and were   discovered during the travels in Flanders.  Engraved on the Bell  is the inscription:‘in 1397  the bourges of ferns  made  me and call me Chapelle Roland.  We moved on to walk its wandering street , see the petit train work,and the wonderful Théatre Victor Hugo. We very much enjoy the market or marché, lots of folks full, and goodies like those cheeses we got from  maison hautbois stand their home base in the Manche (dept 50).

The city/town hall was built in the 15C. The Emmanuel-de-la-Villéon museum; House with porch built in the 16C located near the Church of Saint-Léonard.  The Hôtel de la Belinaye, built in 1740, is the birthplace of the Marquis de la Rouërie Armand Tuffin. It now hosts the city courthouse. The Victor-Hugo Municipal Theatre, one of the last Italian theatres, was built in 1888. La Tour du Papegaud, a place where the plot of the novel Les Chouans by Balzac unravels. The Public Garden: located in the upper town, it offers a remarkable panorama of the city, overlooking the castle and the medieval quarter around the Church of Saint-Sulpice. Le Val Nançon: A landscaped garden that offers many ambiences to discover as you step up. Exhibition of contemporary works including the work on the life of Louis-Marie Catta since 2000.

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As we left the city of Fougéres,  we encountered two characters one in a huge statue by rue Rallier (can be seen from rue Nationale)  of Général de La Riboisiére,  Jean-Ambroise Baston the Riboisiere  was born in Fougéres. He was classmate of Napoléon Bonaparte at the artillery school of la Fére, general and Baron of the Empire,  inspector–general of artillery, played a decisive role with his guns at Austerlitz, Wagram, Eylau, Danzig, Lena, Smolensk, and Borodino, where one of his sons was killed. Shortly after he died in  Königsberg, Prussia, the General was buried at Les Invalides, Paris. But his heart rests at the Monthorin castle in Louvigné du Désert. The statue of the General was put back in 1999, as the one in 1942 had been destroyed by the nazis.

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Another one, very interesting for me was of Marquis de la Rouërie, Armand Tuffin. (see big post) Born at Fougères, in 1751, Armand Tuffin de la Roûerie  is covered with glory in the US war of independence under the name of Colonel Armand. He remains a friend of  Gen. Washington. Back in Paris, he was the ardent defender of Breton privileges.  At Saint-Ouen-la- Rouërie, shortly before  1789, he founded the Breton Association who in 1791-1792 prepares an insurrection against the French revolutionary goverment. Betrayed by one of his friends, the doctor in this case, hunted down  he died of exhaustion in the castle of Guyomar (côte d’Armor dept 22) on January 30, 1793. He will be beheaded post-mortem ,and his body has never been found. RIP.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here , and is a must are:

The city of Fougéres on heritage:  https://fougeres.fr/dossier/d%C3%A9couvrir-le-patrimoine-fougerais-0

The Fougéres tourist officehttps://www.ot-fougeres.fr/accueil/organiser/loisirs/les_sites_patrimoniaux

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Fougéreshttps://www.bretagne35.com/partez-a-la-decouverte-de-lille-et-vilaine/sites-remarquables/fougeres/

The Bretagne region tourist board on Fougéreshttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/rennes-and-brittanys-historic-gateways/fougeres/

There you go ,now you are well armed to see and enjoy this wonderful city of Fougéres in nice Ille et Vilaine, lovely Bretagne, of my belle France.

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

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April 18, 2021

The other side of Saint Anne d’Auray!!

And coming back updating my older posts in my blog; a work of love, which I have enjoyed tremendously. Hoping and thanking that you have follow along with me in this journey. I like to bring you back to a very important little town of my lovely Bretagne and my beautiful Morbihan which is only about 15 km from my house. This is the historical and religious center of Sainte Anne d’Auray , but let me tell you the other side ok.

This again is a town I go often and spent many times there with the family. It is hugely a religious town of great significant in Brittany at least, so since written so much on it in my blog I like to tell a bit more on the town and not the Basilica.  Sainte-Anne-d’Auray , the Breton name is Santez Anna Wened.

Sainte Anne d’Auray is the main pilgrimage site of Brittany. It has been like this since 1625,when the faithful came to commemorate the apparition of Saint Anne, mother of Mary , and maternal grandmother of Jesus Christ, to local farmer Yves Nicolazic (his native house preserved). Every summer, on 24-26 July, a pilgrimage takes place: The pardon of Sainte Anne , is famous for its Catholic pilgrimage in honor of Sainte AnnePope John Paul II came on a pilgrimage on September 20, 1996 , first visit of a Pope in Brittany.

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There are various memorial to the Fallen here along statues of Sainte Anne and plaque commemorating the visit by Pope Johnn Paul II.

The Memorial of the Great War of Sainte Anne d’Auray, built from 1922 to 1932 by the five dioceses of Brittany to keep the memory of  the 240 000 Breton victims of WWI. The Rotunda that supports the slenderness of eight arcades is crowned of a sarazinoised helmet roof that dominates a lace cross. The dome houses a monolithic altar in pink granite from Ploumanac’h. The door is framed by two great granite bas-reliefs representing the protective arms of the allegories of victory and peace. The burial crypt is organized in 5 apsidioles arranged in chapels for the 5 dioceses of Brittany. New conflicts having grieving the country since 1932, a mausoleum was placed in the center of the crypt, dedicated to all the dead of all wars. The symbolic tombs of the missing sailor and infantryman, are guarded by Saint Michel, patron of France, and Saint Yves, patron of Brittany.

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The nécropole nationale de Sainte-Anne-d’Auray is a French military cemetery there are graves of fallen soldiers during the war of 1870, WWI, WWII and the War of Indochina. The necropolis was created in 1959.  In 1960-1961, the bodies of soldiers killed during WWII exhumed from the military squares of the communal cemeteries of Brittany, Poitou and the Pays de la Loire were buried in this necropolis. In 1983-1984, it was the remains of soldiers who died during WWI exhumed from the military squares of the communal cemeteries of Brittany, which were grouped together with the bodies of Belgian soldiers who died during WWI and previously buried in Brittany, Pays de la Loire and Normandy. In 1988, the remains of Belgian soldiers buried during the war of 1914-1918 in Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées were transferred to this necropolis as well. With an area of 1.7 hectares, the national Necropolis has 2 106 burials of soldiers who died in hospitals in western France of injuries or illnesses contracted during the wars of 1870, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. It is the only national necropolis located in Brittany. The ossuary is located under a menhir dedicated to the fallen of all wars.

From the Morbihan prefecture government site on the National Necropolis of Sainte Anne in pdf file: https://www.morbihan.gouv.fr/content/download/21564/172993/file/DepliantStAnneAuray.pdf

ste anne d auray cementary-wwars ent jan14

Something from the past still very much in evidence of this of most glorious town. The monument of the Count of Chambord erected in 1891 in memory of Henri d’Artois, the Count of Chambord  (Duke of Bordeaux ) last Bourbon pretender to the crown of France. During the attempt to restore Henri V, a pilgrimage was organized by the Royalists from the west of France to Sainte Anne d’Auray to pray for the return of the king to the throne. The latter is held every year on 29 September, the anniversary of the birth of the prince, until his death in 1883. The monument consists of a summit statue of the Comte de Chambord, depicted on his knees and in coronation attire, placed on a granite pedestal. On the sides of it are the statues of all the Saints such as Jeanne d’Arc, on the front, and Saint Geneviève, at the back, as well as the Bayard Knights on the left and Du Guesclin on the right.

The official Royalist site of the Count of Chambord: http://www.comtedechambord.fr/homme/memorial/

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The Musée de cire, l’Historial or the wax museum, the Historial; This museum traces, through various scenes, the origins of the Pilgrimage, the life of Yves Nicolazic, the apparitions of St. Anne, mother of Mary, and her miracles, the origin of the Great Breton Pilgrimage. The last scene, carried out by the Musée Grévin de Paris, presents the pope surrounded by 5 Breton children, winking at the visit of John Paul II to Sainte Anne d’Auray on September 20 1996. It is a total reconstruction of the origins of the pilgrimage, etc, under the reign of king Louis XIII.  I passed by it almost every day but not been inside yet, goes without saying. webpage: http://www.musee-de-cire.com/

Académie de Musique et d’Arts Sacrés or the   Academy of Music and Sacred Arts which carries a magnificent cultural project and the musical animation of the site with its choirs, its music (great organ of Cavaillé-Coll). The Breton culture is endowed with a long musical, artistic and religious tradition which is expressed in particular by the pardons. This tradition has been celebrated fervently, since the 17C in Sainte-Anne of Auray. Academy of Music and Sacred Arts has been established since 1999. It is then founded under the name Center of Sacred Music. A veritable bridge between art, culture and faith, it seeks to bring to life and transmit this sacred Breton heritage, rich in music and singing, dance, customs, art objects and creations. Again passed right in front of it almost every day but not been inside yet lol! Official webpage: http://www.academie-musique-arts-sacres.fr/

And will give you a couple more webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must not just for the religious significance but the architectural, historical , and just plain knowledge of the Breton culture.

The city of Sainte Anne d’Auray on its heritage: https://www.sainte-anne-auray.com/?page_id=85

The Bay of Quiberon local tourist office on Sainte Anne d’Aurayhttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/sainte-anne-dauray

And there you go folks , something different to see in a city surrounded by Sainte Anne, mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus, patron Saint of Bretagne!, the grandmother!! Plenty more to see here and you are told worth the detour indeed.

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

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April 18, 2021

My travels in the Morbihan XCI

And my road warrior mentality cannot keep me at home for long. Today I cheated a bit and went beyond the allow 10 km rule (unless urgent needs) we have in France until May 3rd. This was on a errand trip to Auray; however, I came back closer to home to see something we always go by and not gone in until now. It shows the multitude of choices in my lovely Bretagne and belle France! 

I have mentioned the town of Camors on a previous post. However, it has more and after figuring where to go out and the fact that my father’s nurse is from there , we decided to ride into the forest!!!

Camors is located in my beautiful Morbihan department 56 . Actually about 8 km from my house! It is surrounded by the towns of Baud, Pluvigner and La Chapelle-Neuve. It is largely covered by two forest areas, the national forest of Camors and the forest of Floranges. The population is mainly distributed around three poles: the town, the village of Lambel-Camors and the village of Locoal-Camors. The town is part of the Canton of Pluvigner, of the community of towns Auray Quiberon Terre Atlantique (as we are). The Breton name of the town is Kamorzh. The main roads here and I take them always is the D768 and then the D24 and finally the D189.

The territory of the town of Camors was born late and consists of part of the territory of Baud and part of the territory of Pluvigner. In Camors there were, in 1936, 77 clog makers (wooden shoes or sabotiers in French) for 623 households. It is in the forest of Camors that the last huts of clog makers of Brittany would have survived, The last clog maker of Camors closed at the end of 2020, for lack of buyer. Sadly!

The national forests of Camors and Floranges and Lanvaux cover 1372 hectares in the north of the territory of Auray and extend over the towns of Camors and Pluvigner. An essential living space, these forests made up of oaks, chestnuts, beeches, scots and maritime pines, firs and spruces, shelter and protect a variety of fauna. Mysterious forests, they hide many strange stones, so-called magic trees, and are said to be populated by korrigans. The legend even says that the forest of Camors was the domain of “Bluebeard”. For centuries, they have fed a multitude of woodworkers. Today, they form a privileged space for many sports and leisure activities: hiking, fishing, horse riding, tree climbing, and fitness trail.

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The national forest of Camors, the site of the Petit Bois pond, and the megaliths. The Etang des Petit Bois is a pond where it is possible to fish, picnic areas, a sports course and a tree climbing park. You can see the Menhir Braz, or great Menhir over 3 meters high, also called the “Star Menhir”. This stele, erected in the Neolithic, is more than 5,000 years old. Also, the Menhir Bihan about 200 meters on the right meaning the small menhir in Breton.  The megaliths of the forest are the alignments of Cornevec, Bras menhir, Bihan menhir, Crénan line tumulus, Armoirie menhir, as well as the star menhir. The parish Church of Saint-Sané (see post), dating from the 17C, but has undergone many alterations . Also, the Saint-Goal Chapel from the 14C, the Saint-Gobrien Chapel from the 14C.

There is a Lambel – Camors train station located in the village of Lambel on the territory of the town of Camors It was a stopover when it was put into service in 1899 by the Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans (PO). The passenger service closed in 1949 and the freight service towards the end of the 20C. So now is inactive.  However, the main terminal building was bought in 1999 by the town of Camors. The association ATA Lambel (Artistes et Trains Associés – Lambel) which aims to animate the station, its head office is located in the station. The Parb’er association (Espace Rail des Pays d’Auray Rohan Blavet) occasionally runs a tourist train with several outward or return journeys between Auray station and Pontivy station according to a program available on the site of the association . These trains stop at Lambel – Camors station. Webpage: https://www.train-blavet-ocean.bzh/

There is a wonderful outdoor Utopia park which we have walked by but not done activity yet. It was the first tree climbing park to emerge in Brittany! To date, Utopia Parc attracts locals and tourists alike thanks to its entertaining activities such as Laser-tag: An outdoor Laser-Game, with facilities for hiding, and various scenarios to make the games even more fun! Tree climbing: To explore the natural area seen from above by following several routes. A continuous lifeline allows you to enjoy the moment in complete safety. QuickFlight: An attraction for thrill seekers. They will be able to jump into the void from a 22 meters high platform. After 2 meters of free fall, a secure braking system restrains the descent. Webpage: https://utopia-parc.fr/

camors utopia park ent panel apr21

camors

camors

Right by the above you have the Etang des Petit Bois, or the little wood pond where fishing is allowed and has picnic tables kayak activities etc. I have not tried this yet. The fishing season and al can be found in this webpage: http://morbihan.federationpeche.fr/923-aappma-la-truite-baudaise.htm

camors l etang du petit bois panel apr21

camors etang des petits bois apr21

The city of Camors on its heritage/historyhttps://camors.fr/fr/rb/1157184/patrimoine-95

The Bay of Quiberon tourist board on Camorshttps://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/suggestions/camors

And there you folks, another dandy so close yet not well known until today. Camors is one town I passed almost every week and there are still things to see so close to home. Hope you have enjoy this bit of nature post for all.

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

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April 18, 2021

This is Saint Malo!!

And on my saga of updating older posts and bringing back beautiful memories let me take you to the corsair city of Saint Malo. My first introduction to it was an old friend from a now defunct travel forum virtual tourist who lived in the city, a native of England. I came to see him with the family and voilà got the itch to be back for a visitor inquiry. Since then, several trips and posts in my blog. This one was sort of an introduction so here is this is Saint Malo.

I went up north to another department ,this time no 35 Ille-et-Vilaine and the wonderful fortified city of Saint Malo!  Again, I have written in my blog on it but like to tell you more of the history and the intricate wall ramparts of this wonderful corsair city of upper Brittany! Pictures here not repeated elsewhere.

Saint-Malo is the main port on the north coast of Brittany. The name of the locality is attested in the Latinized form of  Macloviensem in 1162, then, Saent Madubugwu in 1282, Saint Malou in 1287 and in 1294, Saint Malo in 1304 during the revolution, the town was renamed Port-Malo, then Common-de-la-Victoire, then Mont-Mamet.  On the coast of the channel and on the right bank of the Rance estuary. It is located 18 km north of Dinan, 75 km north of Rennes and 404 km from Paris. Saint-Malo is part of Clos-Poulet, a large peninsula bordered by the Rance, Manche and the depression of Châteauneuf.  The coastline of the Clos-Poulet is part of the Emerald Coast, stretching from Cancale to Cape Fréhel. Saint-Malo is bordered by Dinard, but is separated by the estuary of La Rance. The tides of the Bay of Saint-Malo are among the most important in Europe. They are caused by the concentration of water in the heart of a triangular bay between Brittany and Cotentin.

Saint-Malo is connected to Rennes and Paris by train. In season there are also links with Granville and Lille Europe (on weekends only). Many residents leave each morning to work in Rennes and return in the evening, enjoying two stops in the regional capital; In addition to Rennes train station, Pontchaillou station serves the Pontchaillou hospital, schools and the Villejean University campus.  The city center/ downtown with the historic city (old Saint-Malo), the city (old Alet) and the port, is formed by a complex coastline, with numerous reefs and marshes immersed in high tide, underwater tombolos, visible at the low tides of vivid waters , by islands or islets, many of which were fortified in the 17-18C such as Cézembre, Fort Harbour, fort de la Conchée, Grande Bé and Le Petit Bé, and the island of the Fort National.

A bit of history I like

De Canalchius (from the Old Gaul Canalch) became over time the intra-muros Saint-Malo. It’s on this one, surrounded by the islets of the Grande, the small and the National Fort accessible at low tide, lined with those of Harbour, Cézembre and Conchée in the studded harbor of multiple rocks, that the hermit Aaron welcomed a monk from what Will eventually become Wales: Maclow, Malo or Manail, the future Saint-Malo. On March 11, 1590, Saint-Malo declared its independence from the Kingdom of France and became the Republic of Saint-Malo. The four-year episode will end on December 5, 1594 with the conversion to Catholicism of King Henry IV . It is with the discovery of the Americas and the development of trade with the Indies; The shipowners became more numerous and characters of that period made famous the city, these were Jacques Cartier (discovered and explored Canada), and the Corsairs harassed the enemy merchant and military Marines, such as Duguay-Trouin, and later Surcouf.

During WWII, Saint-Malo and its surroundings were fortified by the Nazis as several ports of the Atlantic façade. The Festung (fortress) Saint-Malo becomes even as the entire coastal zone of restricted access. During the liberation of the city in August 1944, this Nazi garrison is actually located on the city of Aleth. These bombings and the fires they trigger destroyed 80% of the old town. The Nazis on the island of Cézembre will still resist for almost a month, only after intensive shelling by  land, sea and air, including the use of napalm bombs.

Things to see and do, and there are plenty, so my favorites:

The start of the Rum Route, a solo transatlantic sailboat race, takes place every four years, and the arrival of the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo as a crew which also takes place every 4 years!  Saint-Malo is an active trading port, the second largest trading port in Brittany. It is composed of four basins, the Vauban basin, the Duguay-Trouin basin, the Jacques-Cartier basin and the Bouvet Basin. The port of Saint-Malo on passenger service to or from Great Britain, Ireland, Jersey or guernsey. The avant-port of Saint-Malo has two recent and efficient ferries terminals, the Naye Ferry terminal and then the Bourse terminal. Four lighthouses mark the various access channels: The Grand jardin, the Balue, the Bas-Sablons and Rochebonne.

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St. Vincent’s Cathedral, (see post)in Romanesque and Gothic style. It was the former seat of the bishopric of Saint-Malo until 1801. Dedicated to Saint Vincent of Zaragoza,and the  Evangelist Church of Saint-Servan; The Church of St. Croix; The Cchurch of Saint-Sauveur are nice ones to see.

The awesome here are the RAMPARTS!!:

The Porte Saint-Thomas, the first of the name, because there will be two others. It opens between two towers, the old dungeon, and the square tower; A second Porte Saint-Thomas is opened in the northern rampart, in front of the tower Quic-en-Groigne, allowing to leave the city. The second gate St. Thomas is destroyed with the old rampart and rebuilt in the new between 1737 and 1742. It is the third gate St. Thomas, which overlooks the cale and the Evantail beach  it still retains the old elements of the counterweight of its door.

The Grand Porte( big door), also called: the Sea Gate, because originally, the boats came to moor there. It consists of two towers with a firing platform with machicolations to quadruple heights. It’s the oldest door.

The statue of Our Lady of Bon-Secours, placed in a niche at the top of the door dates according to the experts from  the early 15C and seems to be already in place in 1439. The guard placed at the top, destroyed by a fire in 1661, caused  some damage requiring restoration and was rested and blessed in 1663. It is white limestone, and was polychrome. It suffered the outrage of time and people, thrown down and burned at the French revolution, it was finally restored and re-established. The original is now is in the shelter and is replaced by a copy. It has been credited with many miracles.

The Poterne de la Croix du Fief (Fief Cross), which disappeared during the first expansion (1708-1742), was replaced by the Porte Saint-Vincent during the expansion of 1709

The Poterne Brevet, destroyed in the second expansion (1714-1770), replaced by the Porte de Dinan, on the axis of it which happened to be at the corner of the current rue d’Estrées, the old ramparts, and porte de Dinan, giving access to the square.

The Poterne of Bon-Secours (1751-1871). In the event of danger, the poternes (small gates) was walled. The Porte Saint-Vincent, it was built between 1708 and 1710 and is part of the first expansion of the city called the Fief.

The Porte Saint-Louis, pierced in the curtain wall, in 1721, during the third expansion, it was opened only in 1874. It faces the Vauban basin, on the Quai Saint-Louis, and inside the city, at the rue de Toulouse and the Rue de Chartres.

The Porte de Dinan, in the 18C, called the Porte de la Marine ( Navy), or Porte de l’Evéche (bishop), because it was by this one that he made his first entrance into the city. It was built in 1714.

The Poterne d’Estrées, opened in 1933, between the bastion of Holland and that of Saint-Philippe, opens on the beach of the Mole, and faces the rue d’Estrées. By Northern wind and stormy days, the water goes through there too.

The Porte Saint-Pierre, opens on the beach of Bon-Secours

The Porte de Bés, it overlooks the beach of Bon-Secours, and was opened in 1884 to facilitate the access to the Petit-Bé at the foot of which the steam boats arrived from Dinard. It was carried out in the Tower of Notre-Dame, also known as the La Découvrance (discovery). It is from this place that the watch saw on November 26, 1693, the English fleet anchored under the Conchée, ready to assail the city.

The Porte de Champs Vauverts, opened in 1879, it overlooks the rocks that surround the tour Bidouane, and allowing access to the square of Malo and Bon-Secours. Easy access to the Grand Bé  and Petit Bé islands

The Poterne aux Normands, its name probably comes from the rocks lying opposite the stones to the Normans. It was rebuilt after the bombardment and fire of 1944

The Poterne Jean de Chatillon, opened in 1757, condemned in 1871, during the opening of the Porte Saint-Pierre, it was reopened in 1958. She was called Poterne bon-secours , until 1971, and a poterne de la surveillance during the French revolution. It gives rue de La Crosse and allows access to the bon-secours square.

In continuation, other importants things to see are

The Château de Saint-Malo, (see post) which now houses the city/town hall, was built by the Dukes of Bretagne, its dungeon currently houses the Museum of History of the city and the Malouin country. Integrated in the northern part of the enclosure by the Porte Saint-Thomas, it separates-southeast of the Porte Saint-Vincent-by an interruption, the latter corresponding to the old moat which isolated it from the rest of the city.

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A recap of wonderful things here.

There are numerous sites to see, however, my favorites are; Les Remparts or wall defense area around the harbor of about 1754 meters long, dating as old as the middle ages. There are intact from 1944 on…The Chateau, housing the musée d’Histoire in the grand donjon from the .15C; fortification by Vauban in 1500. The Cathédrale Saint Vincent, already a cathedral since 1146, recontructed after losses during WWII, now remains work from the 12C to the 18C, and it keeps the tombs of Jacques Cartier and René Duguay-Trouin. The Maison de Corsaire, most of the facades recontructed after WWII, see the wonderful hotel d’Asfeld, 18C used during the French revolution as a woman prison. The Fort National and Fort du Petit Bé ,built during 1689 on planning by Vauban in the bay of Saint Malo, they can be reach on low tides only . The le Grand Bé, in 1848 the writer François-René de Chateaubriand was buried here,and it can reach in low tides. The wonderful three mast boat Etoile du Roy a replicate of a corsary frigate of 1745, wonderful museum. The Tour Solidor is a wonderful place just outside intra muros in the quartier of Cité d’Alet,considered the oldest part where the original Saint Malo was founded; here on the donjon of the tower you have a musée des Cap-Horniers, in honor of the locals who were the first discoverers in the 17C. There is a petit train or little train, we didn’t took as we are used to walking but could be a respite for many and allows you to get an overview of the town, and it stops by the main gate porte Saint Vincent next to Chateau.

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And of course, one cannot go away then eating at this magical place, so we had our lunch at one place recommended by coworkers, Créperie des Bés, 4 Rue Thévenard, close to the porte Saint Pierre at place du Guet. It was warmly welcome,and even thus the food was standard, the service and friendlliness was nice; it was ,also, an opportunity to meet one of my travel forum buddies from VT , for the first time; in all a wonderful experience. We have galettes of chorizo and potatoes,with kir and porto as aperos, a pint of leffe beers, and expresso coffee all for under 16€ per person. We had decided to have our dessert elsewhere, as we saw plenty of ice cream parlors; we stop at Sanchez  9 Rue de la Vieille Boucherie . We had numerous cones and bowl of 3 and four scoops each of magnificent ice cream of all flavors so many cant remember them now, lol!

Not to be outdone ,there are good beaches here, we look at plage de Bon Secours,right in the middle area from intra muros and a wonderful pool with diving deck right in the ocean! plage du Mole is a bit secluded under the remparts and our favorite for its sandy white sand and tranquil waves. the beach or plage de l’Eventail is nice just below the chateau with a large cafe on beachside.

Just outside the city limits there is the Saint Malo aquarium I must say was a welcome relief and nice laidout, including a dive into the Nautibus submarine ride and the big fish and sharks tanks was nice. You ,also,have a petting fish tank lol!!! nice for the entire family. You have free parking !!! and you end up here on the N137 road at the entrance of Saint Malo.

Again, many posts and info in my blog on Saint Malo, the beautiful fortified town . Some webpages to help you plan your visit here ,and a visit is a must are:

The city of Saint Malo on tourism info: https://www.ville-saint-malo.fr/tourisme/

The Saint Malo tourist office: https://www.saint-malo-tourisme.co.uk/

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Saint Malo: https://www.bretagne35.com/partez-a-la-decouverte-de-lille-et-vilaine/sites-remarquables/saint-malo/

The Bretagne region tourist board on Saint Malo: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/

And there you have it , with this and previous posts on Saint Malo you should have all you need for a wonderful visit to an extraordinary city of Ille et Vilaine north Bretagne.

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

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