Archive for April 25th, 2021

April 25, 2021

Some news from Spain CII

Well there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for start traveling again. Here in my belle France all eyes are on May 3rd, and see some eating places are beginning to relax from this weekend! Can’t wait as I am sure my readers are. For me especially, Spain is dear and yearning to be back, especially to my nostalgic Madrid. As in between let me give you the latest scoops of my favorites in my series some news from Spain! Hope you enjoy it as I!

La Biblioteca General Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca or the General Historical Library of the University of Salamanca was created in 1254 and currently has 2,774 manuscripts, 483 incunabula and some 62,000 volumes printed between the 16C and 18C. The General Historical Library of Salamanca is the oldest university library in Spain. The Salamanca University was founded in 1218 by the will of King Alfonso IX of León, although it was in 1254 when Alfonso X ‘El Sabio’ granted it its first constitutional charter, and in 1255 when Pope Alexander IV granted universal validity to the titles imparted. by the new University. The oldest inventory of the Library, with a nominal list of authors and titles, dates from the early 17C or about 1611 and it contains 879 works, between manuscripts and printed matter. Amongt them, these little treasures are exceptional. The manuscript ‘De materia medica’, popularly known by the name of its author, Pedanius Dioscorides, was the botanical work with the greatest diffusion during the Middle Ages and collects extensive knowledge of medicine, botany and pharmacology that lasts over time as axes of traditional medicine. The one preserved here is a copy written in Greek sometime in the 15C in Italy. It also guards the codex ‘Armorial’ by Steve Tamborino, which was owned by Agustín de Torres, King of Arms of the Catholic Monarchs, and considered as the jewel of the Spanish armories of the 16C by collecting a multitude of coats of arms of different people or lineages, mainly from the Aragonese area. The Terrestrial Globe , it is made of paper and plaster and rests in a wooden cradle formed by a circular bowl for the compass in which the months and the zodiacal signs are outlined. Made in London in 1757 by Johan Senex and Benjamin Hardon, it presents, surrounded by floral motifs and angels, the same legend in Latin and English. The translation reads “Globe of all parts and regions explored, according to the latest astronomical navigational observations and reliable inventories.” Awesome!! More in Spanish from the Library here: https://bibliotecas.usal.es/en/biblioteca/general-historica

A retreat of the monks in the Middle Ages opens to tourists in a town in León. The seventeen cavities of Villasabariego have been recovered.  A new walkway allows a comfortable view of the caves excavated in Villasabariego in the Middle Ages .These artificial caves are found in the Cerro de Villasabariego, in the town of the same name, about 20 km to the southeast of León, and it is believed that they were excavated during the High Middle Ages as the home of hermit monks who sought solitude, away from the population centers, to meditate and live. The first study of these cavities was carried out at the University of León in the 1920s. Then, in full fashion of discoveries related to prehistory. More in local newspaper in Spanish:  https://www.leonoticias.com/culturas/patrimonio/cuevas-menudas-villasabariego-20210415122050-nt.html?

A rock treasure in La Rioja with one kilometer cave with galleries, pillars and niches. The Cueva de los Cien Pilares opens to the public, after extensive rehabilitation, in Arnedo (La Rioja) with the recreation of a monk’s room next to the niches that were used as columbariums. More from La Rioja tourist office: https://lariojaturismo.com/fr/lugar-de-interes/cueva-de-los-cien-pilares/498628f3-ab52-42e7-8f4c-8a246d4b9e73

After more than five months closed to tourism due to the health crisis, the Cathedral of El Salvador of Avila has just announced the opening of its doors to visitors who want to know the wonders of the first Gothic cathedral in Spain. The tourist visit to the Cathedral can be done in full, except for the climb to the bell ringer’s house, which will remain temporarily closed. At the moment, conservation works are being carried out in the antechrist, which is about to be completed. Until then, you can visit the entire Cathedral and, through the cloister, access the museum and the Chapel of San Bernabé (Sacristy of the Cathedral).  Next to the cathedral, the Basilica of San Vicente will also open to tourists this past Friday. As with the wall, the Cathedral of Ávila has a confusing start date of construction. There are those who point to the year 1091 and those who place it in the twelfth century. Even so, enough is known about this temple to be considered the first of the Gothic style built in Spain, in dispute with that of Burgos. It has French features, with similarities to that of the Basilica Saint-Denis France. “The interior of the temple is overwhelming for its past shadow embedded in its walls and for its quiet darkness, which invites meditation on the supreme,” wrote Federico García Lorca.(see post). Its famous Portal de los Apóstoles, bas-reliefs in which the Apostles guard the Pantocrator under whose watchful gaze the faithful enter the interior, on the north portal of the seo, is striking. More on webpage Cathedral of Avila official: https://catedralavila.es/la-catedral/historia-de-la-catedral/

As told before on my previous some news from Spain, now more light. The supposed painting by Caravaggio that was discovered at an auction of the Ansorena house belonged to the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (RABASF), but was exchanged for a work by Alonso Cano to an ancestor of the current owners, three heirs of The Pérez de Castro family from Madrid, linked to the world of culture and politics, is the owner of the supposed Caravaggio that was going to go up for auction a few weeks ago for 1,500 euros!!!. The Royal Academy of San Fernando has issued a statement today in which it assures that, according to the research of Dr. Itziar Arana, Coordinator of the RABASF Center for R + D + I Studies, a “caravaggio” called “Ecce-Hommo” with two saiones (executioners) of Caravaggio “belonged to the institution”. The politician Evaristo Pérez de Castro, ancestor of the owners and honorary academic of this Royal Academy since 1800, would have proposed to the institution in 1823 the exchange of this work for another from its collection, a “San Juan Bautista” by Alonso Cano. The painting was declared unexportable by the Ministry of Culture and it is speculated that it could have been tried to sell outside of Spain before it went up for auction. Official webpage of RABASF: https://www.realacademiabellasartessanfernando.com/es/actividades/exposiciones/

The National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) in Madrid has just inaugurated Deserts of Spain, a visual walk through the driest Spanish geography by photographer and traveler Luis Sáez (Murcia). The Biodiversity building of the Museum of Natural Sciences , Calle José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, Madrid. Open until June 13 2021 .Admission 7€. Yes indeed we have deserts too lol! Some of favorites are Los Coloraos Gorafe (Granada),  Mahoya Desert (Murcia) Also known as Abanilla desert, name of the Murcian town in which it is located. It is a huge area of land made up of badlands  that ten million years ago was the seabed. And Bardenas Reales (Navarra) The head of Castildetierra is the best known formation of the Bardenas Reales.And yes this one I have even passed by car back in 1991!!! Awesome!! More from the MNCN in Spanish: https://www.mncn.csic.es/es/Comunicaci%C3%B3n/el-mncn-invita-contemplar-la-belleza-de-los-desiertos-espanoles-en-una-muestra

I am going to give you an imaginary trip of my beloved Segovia. Of course, best done by car as yours truly road warrior.  Anyone who visits Segovia in the spring will find an image that contradicts that of the writers of the generation of 98, that endless plain in which, according to Azorín, the entire history of Spain fit and that some have compared with the Australian Outback with high mountains, pine forests, deep canyons and a rolling green sea dotted with yellow flowers and early poppies. This is a route of art, nature and gastronomy through the less trite places of the Castilian city and its province. Enjoy it and plan ahead I am coming too!

We start from my beloved port of Navacerrada (first and last tried of skiing! see post). The road descends unruly through the forest to the beautiful palace and the Versailles gardens of La Granja de San Ildefonso, (see post) refuge of the first Spanish Bourbon, Felipe V (born in Versailles and grandson of Louis XIV). From Madrid through the Alto del León or the Guadarrama tunnel, the road soon leaves the pine forests behind to run through a wonderful  landscape, all heavenly yours. To the left of the road you can see the pink palace of Riofrío, an old royal hunting lodge that stands alone in the middle of an old forest of ash, oak and holm oaks limited by a stone wall and populated by herds of deers. The city of Segovia is immediately visible!!!

About Segovia they have written from Cervantes and Quevedo to the American Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow (The Gonzaga manuscripts). Beyond the inns, the aqueduct, the cathedral and the fortress, there are many other places that the fast or voracious tourist will miss. The Castilian city has more than 20 Romanesque churches, (see posts on many) all of them built in a period of only 70 years, between 1180 and 1250. Among the most beautiful are that of San Martín, in the Caballeros neighborhood, and that of San Millán, in the district of the witches. Among the less known, that of San Justo, in the old suburb of El Cerrillo, with a unique set of 12C wall paintings discovered by chance after some works. Outside the walls is that of Vera Cruz, the most eastern and enigmatic of the Segovian churches, built on a dodecagonal plan and attributed to the Templars.

You will see the most Saracenic style reflected in the beautiful alfarjes of the Monastery of El Parral, the fortress or the Monastery of San Antonio el Real (now converted into a hotel) in which the Moorish masons, master builders and carpenters who lived in the neighborhood worked, considered the best in Castilla. Last Friday, April 23, it was 500 years since the battle of Villalar (Valladolid), which ended the autonomy of the Castilian towns and cities represented by the town and court councils, against the imperial and absolute power of Carlos V.  In the most beautiful of the Segovian squares, that of the Sirenas, next to the Romanesque atrium of San Martín, stands the statue of the Segovian community member Juan Bravo, beheaded the next day along with his brothers in arms Juan de Padilla and Francisco Maldonado (also  many others). The memory of Sefarad survives in the main old Synagogue (today Corpus Christi Church) and the seven streets of the old Aljama, between the cathedral and the wall.

As we leave the city, you will see beautiful towns such as Coca, the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I the Great (347-395), and its formidable Gothic-Mudejar castle. You will arrive at Turégano, the Roman Toroda, with a square of porticoed houses on which the castle of Arias Dávila (1436-1497) looms, closed for restoration. Camilo José Cela writes in his book Jews, Moors and Christians: “Through the air of Turégano, still glued to the ghostly silhouette of its Castle”. You will follow and see the Cistercian Monastery of Santa María la Real, later named in honor of Bernard de Clairvaux when he was canonized, was removed stone by stone in 1925 on behalf of the American billionaire William Randolph Hearst, and which ended up in North Miami Beach Florida USA (also truly visited by yours ). A detour from the road near Arcones leads to Pedraza, another mythical town considered to be the most beautiful in Spain!
The webpage for the FLorida monastery is here: https://www.spanishmonastery.com/

Hope you enjoy the ride thru this magnificent Segovia landscape and town love it! Something worth going back for it!!

I have passed by here several times and know about the efforts to re start the train station. This is a historic occasion for Spain indeed and soon France. The inauguration of the new Canfranc train station for domestic travel is the first major milestone for the future reopening of the international line, closed for 51 years. Contacts continue to be maintained to convene the quadripartite meeting between the governments of Spain, France, Aragon and Nouvelle Aquitaine, and to materialize the momentum for the reopening of the international line. Looking forward to it, now this is one train ride I will take! For now you can visit the international train station building more info from Canfranc tourist office in Spanish: https://www.canfranc.es/turismo_canfranc_pirineos.php?idRec=5

And now let me give some flavor, Spanish flavor even with some international hint of the wonderful cuisine of Spain. Enjoy it all in Madrid! Buen provecho a todos!

In 2009, New York Burger opened its first restaurant in the capital with a proposal of gourmet burgers. Today it has five restaurants in Madrid and one in Barcelona and, for some time, it has also offered smoked meats.  Delicious place you must try it!  For example, the two burgers April 2021, on the occasion of the 12th anniversary: Liberty, with Parisian brown sauce (awesome!), and Nolita, with cured and smoked bacon “at home”, grilled on the grill and marinated in bourbon sauce. .Or the more than popular Angus Black Beef Rib, smoked for hours and glazed on the grill. The first store arrived, on Calle General Yagüe , today call San Germán (due to Spain memory lane changes].  And, shortly after, the expansion began: Recoletos in 2011; Castellana, 2013; Miguel Ángel, 2015; Moraleja, 2018; Barcelona, ​​March 1, 2020, on the eve of the pandemic. In 2019, the NYB of Moraleja Green was chosen the Most beautiful in the world, by Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, something like the Oscars of design in restoration! webpage:https://newyorkburger.es/

One for the memories I told you about its possible sale due to financial problems due to the pandemic. Well it has happened.  The Grupo Urrechu finally stays with Zalacain thanks to the pandemic. After closing its doors during confinement and declaring bankruptcy last November, Zalacain will finally pass into the hands of the Urrechu Group. This has been decided by the Commercial Court No. 13 of Madrid. The emblematic establishment, the first Spanish restaurant to achieve three Michelin stars Considered one of the most luxurious restaurants in Madrid and where pages of the history of our country were written, Zalacaín opened Its doors in 1973. Its owner, a merchant seaman from Navarra converted to a hotelier, Jesús Oyarbide, managed to convert it, with his Basque-Navarrese cuisine with a lot of French influence and its elegant dining rooms, into the great benchmark of the capital’s international class. So long another that bite the dust in my Madrid.  Iñigo Urrechu began his career with Martín Berasategui, with whom he learned good taste in cooking, acquiring a passion for this trade.  He has worked in different restaurants, such as “Le Pain Adour et Fantasie” (France) with Chef Didier Oudill, who has two Michelin Stars. This is a union of several restaurants under his guidance and local chefs in charge.

The Madrid tourist office still gives a glimpse of this wonderful former Zalacainhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/restaurants/zalacain

And my grand finale on the culinary genious of my beloved Spain and still in my dear Madrid, let me tell you about what is cooking at Casa de Campo (see post).  The recent opening of restaurants such as Café del Lago, Villa Verbena, Contramar or El Ancla del Lago have revitalized the gastronomic offer of this natural enclave and Madrid’s green lung. The Casa de Campo is one of the green lungs of Madrid and, with its more than 1,530 hectares, the largest urban park in the city. We keep talking about its dimensions: five times bigger than Central Park (New York) and almost seven times bigger than Hyde Park (London). La Casa de Campo was the favorite picnic area of ​​Madrid before we coined the word picnic to go out to eat in the country and, today, it is again. How good I did it with my dear late mother Gladys, cheap and nice to eat. Memories forever and happy to read this, can’t wait to be back!!!!!!!!!!!

On the shores of the Lago (Lake), this terrace Café del Lago was started last March 2021 , created with the idea of ​​recovering the verbenero (neighborhood parties) spirit of the people of Madrid. The joint project of the TriCiclo Group and The Hat Madrid, two authentic brands, is a complete success. On weekends on the 600 m² terrace they hang the sign “in full”. The motives? Added to the impressive views over the Madrid skyline are the cuisine designed by Javier Mayor, Javier Goya and David Alfonso, founders of Grupo Triciclo (TriCiclo; Il Giro in Tándem trattoria, La Elisa tavern and Súa grill). As of May 4, El Cenador, the covered air-conditioned pavilion, will be operating with the same offer as the terrace. El Taller del Lago or the lake workshop. “It is a concept of world cuisines a bit street food style, harmonized with some 20 international beers . Location at  Paseo de María Teresa, 3. Does not close. Average price: 20-25 euros ( snacks); 30-35 euros (lunch and dinner at a high table) and 40-45 euros (at a table with a tablecloth). You know Spain! I have been to the one in Retiro park they have Terraza El Ancla! webpage: https://grupocasaremigio.com/restaurantes/cafe-del-lago/

The El Urogallo group is a classic in Madrid’s restaurants. In 1996 he opened his first place El Urogallo Casa de Campo next to the Lake and, almost 25 years later, his terrace and lounge, his traditional cuisine, his tapas and his rations are still there. Today, the brand which has three more Grouse at  Príncipe Pío, Pozuelo and Majadahonda  has just opened Contramar in the heart of Casa de Campo, with views of the Lake and a taste of the sea. Because the proposal revolves around seafood cuisine . Location is at Paseo de la Puerta del Ángel, 12. Closed Tuesday. Average price: 35 euros. webpage: https://www.contramar.es/

And the established one we have visited El Urogallo Casa de Campohttps://elurogallo.es/casa-de-campo/

El Ancla del Lago or the lake anchor. A little over two months ago this restaurant opened its doors on the shores of the Lake and in the shadow of the Plátano gordo (a shadow banana more than 200 years old and 20 meters high awesome!!!). The house of Luis García, which is the name of the owner, has a conservatory where white tones are imposed and a large terrace with magnificent views. Its cuisine, traditional and timeless. Its menu is completed with a varied proposal of dishes to share. Located at Paseo María Teresa, 2. Closed on Mondays. Average price: 25 euros. No direct webpage yet but they have a branch here: http://www.elancla.net/

And there you go folks, a dandy page for your plans to visit my beloved Spain and nostalgic beautiful Madrid! Hope you have enjoy the ride and be there soon. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

April 25, 2021

Cambrai, the Nord !!

And yes let’s stay in the Nord dept 59 of my belle France. This is family territory so been here many times since 1990! We always took advantage of staying in these lands to use as a base for our local road warrior trips. We have memorable moment of the older brother taken us to Cambrai first back in 1990 to show off his region. And as usual on family lands very few pictures if any. We , of course, came back many times. Let me tell you a bit about the big city nearby them; this is Cambrai!!

I take you again to my family civic duty town of Cambrai, in the Nord department 59 of the Hauts de France region. This is a town very often by passed by visitors, sadly.  I have told you before that my dear late wife Martine oldest brother lives not far from here in a smaller town and all their adminitrative duties are done here in Cambrai .So naturally, when visiting the bro, we were taken here way back in 1990. We have several times afterward even if not a real tourist town. Cambrai is nice and has a nice history to it. I like to tell you a bit more on Cambrai and hopefully you take the drive or train to see it. It is nice as in my belle France!  Lets go over to Cambrai, obviously no hotels and little restos as it is close to home. And my best shot from 2006 below lol!

cambrai-pedro-and-kids-centre-ville-place-aristide-briand-jun02

Much of Cambrai’s monumental heritage has disappeared over the centuries. During the French revolution all the religious buildings in the city were sold as national property and destroyed, including the old cathedral. Only four churches, transformed into an attic, a hospital, a Temple of Reason or a prison, were spared.  The dismantling of the fortifications, from 1894, led to the disappearance of many gates. The WWI was again responsible for very significant destruction. Finally, at the end of WWII, Cambrai was subjected to Allied bombardments: a total of 55% of the buildings were damaged and 13% completely destroyed.

The places to see me think are the Cathédrale Notre Dame  de Grâce, built 1696-1702. a classic example of the Louis XV architecture and an icon Notre Dame de Grâce from 1492 still venerated ,it is at Place Jean Paul II. The Chapelle des Jésuites, built 1678-1694. Considered one of the best jewels of the baroque art form in France, it is at Place du Saint Sépulcre. The Church Saint-Géry, Place François de Fénelon, is one of the oldest monuments in Cambrai. It contains a remarkable polychrome marble rood screen as well as an Entombment by Rubens dating from 1616. The large organ built in 1867 underwent a major transformation in 1978.

Cambrai

The belfry of Cambrai. Formerly the bell tower of the Saint-Martin church, rue du Beffroi, the monument built in the 15C became the Cambrai belfry in 1550. The Hôtel de Ville or City/town hall, completely restored in 1932, opens onto the Grand’Place with a majestic facade in Greek style, surmounted by a campanile where two bronze bell-ringers, giants and of Moorish type, strike the hours on a large bell above the large clock: they are Martin and Martine, the protectors of the city. The Maison Espagnole or Spanish house, seat of the Tourist Office, the last half-timbered and gabled house in a regional style, dates from 1595. The oak sculptures (chimeras and caryatids) which adorned its facade in the 19C are exhibited on the first floor inside after having undergone a serious restoration. We visit its medieval cellars. The covered market, built after WWII, houses lively halles on market days.

cambrai-hotel-de-ville-circa-2006

The Citadelle built by emperor Charles V in 1543 ,it is at blvd Paul Bezin.Chateau de Selles ar rue Selles, one of the best kept example of the Middle Ages. The must Musée Militaire de Cambrai, retracing the history of the 1st infantry regiment of France fighting in from 1870, WWI, and WWII. It is the oldest regiment in France and in Christianity!!! it is at Cour de la Manutention, Rue des Capucins. By ave de la Victoire you can still the see the entrance gate to the city from Paris or the Porte de Paris, built around 1339 ,it was last renovated in 1904. The underground passages or catiches which extend under the center of the city, as in other medieval towns, were explored in the middle of the 19C as well as towards the end of the 20C. Carved in white chalk, they include galleries, Romanesque or Gothic vaulted rooms. There are also wells, niches with statues. The German military cemetery on the route de Solesmes, the Russian military cemetery and the Cambrai East Military Cemetery: the military cemetery on the route de Solesmes was created by the German army in March 1917. The Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts, opened in 1847 to present the revolutionary seizures, has been installed since 1893 in an 18C mansion, the Hôtel de Francqueville. The Cambrai theater, built in 1924 on the site of a 16th century chapel destroyed during  WWI. The renovated theater was inaugurated in 2003. It is a 700-seat Italian-style theater which hosts various shows.

Not really a sight but a mouthful are the two culinary institutions in town known for ages of all sorts, these are the Chocolaterie Diot, at 189 avenue Georges Nuttin near the commerce park of  ZC de Cora,where there is also a supermarket Cora. Then , you have what my kids grew up on the candies of Cambrai better known as the Bétise de Cambrai ,they are part of the culinary inventory of France and official candy of parc Asterix near Paris. There are located as you enter the city from Paris, at the industrial park ZI and you can order it here or at any store in Cambrai or the Nord or even in Paris.

The ones we get are from here the originals Confiserie Afchainhttps://confiserieafchain.fr/

Here is a webpage in French with a nice video on how the candy mistakes of Cambrai are done ; bétise= mistake in the creation of this jewel of French gastronomy. From the Confiserie Afchain: http://www.patrimoinevivantdelafrance.fr/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=29&cntnt01returnid=26

And a bit more on Cambrai, lovely to visit I say!  The town was part of the  Habsburg  in the 16C, and rediscovered the kingdom of France in the 17C.  Strongly destroyed during WWII  due to the air raids, the town rebuilt itself in the aftermath, revealing today a pleasant face to the visitors. Although a large part of the heritage has disappeared over the centuries, the town of Cambrai still has interesting sights to discover during the time of a stay on site.

A bit of history I like

At the beginning of the Merovingian period, Cambrai became the seat of a vast bishopric extending across the right bank of the Escaut river  and the center of a small ecclesiastical principality which depended on the Holy Roman Empire until annexation to France in 1678.  This came about due to the Treaty of Nijmegen signed on 10 August 1678 , where Spain abandons Cambrai, and the town is definitively annexed by France. Here the famous bishop Fénelon, nicknamed the Swan of Cambrai, was the most illustrious of the archbishops.

The city suffers from the French revolution in 1796, the cathedral, marvel of the Netherlands, is sold in 1796 to a merchant who leaves only the tower. Deprived of support, it collapsed in 1809 during the French Revolution all the religious buildings of the city were sold as national property and destroyed , including the old Cathedral. Only four Churches, transformed into an attic, a hospital, a temple of reason or in prison, are spared. The Cathedral of Notre Dame Grace, completed in 1703 in the classical style of the time, replaced after the revolution of 1789 the admirable Gothic cathedral of the 12C, of which there is no traces on the present place Fénelon.

The gate of Paris (late 14C), of  Notre Dame (17C) and the towers of the towers of  Sottes (or Saint-Fiacre), of Caudron (first half of 15C), and des Arquets (16C) are the remains of the medieval ramparts.  Occupied and partially destroyed by the German army during WWI, Cambrai saw at its doors in 1917 the battle where the tanks were used for the first time massively. The WWII, finally the first American tanks entered the city on September 2. 1944 , and thereafter the town followed a reconstruction program.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Cambrai on heritage: https://www.villedecambrai.com/decouvrir-cambrai/portrait-de-ville/

The Cambrai tourist office on things to see: http://www.amazing-cambrai.com/places-interest

There a bit more as promise, hope it helps you come on over and see some nice architecture of the Nord/north of France, is different promise. Cambrai has many examples.

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

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April 25, 2021

Le Quesnoy and Mauberge!!

I updating this memorable post from visiting nearby family in the Nord dept 59 of my belle France. We took advantage of visiting older brother of my wife and decided to do short road warrior trips along the Belgian border. We came upon two picturesque towns of Le Quesnoy and Mauberge. This is their story as per my opinion. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I take you closer to family and times expent there for years since 1990. As usually the case with places so familiar and personal , pictures are minimum. Need to come back for them lol!!!  On this particular road warrior trip, I like to take you to visit two nice cities along the Franco-Belgian border, that is Le Quesnoy and Mauberge in the department 59 of the Nord, in the region of Hauts de France.

 We were nearby by so why not do a run and see something new, this time in the Nord to see two small towns; ,Mauberge with its wall fortifications going back to 1676, the museum les Corps de Garde, and the nice places to eat with good beers of the Nord (north).  And Le Quesnoy,  with it fortified ramparts, they are 12 km of walls in line around a fortified wall intact of 3,5 km in circle with an ingenious systems of wells.  A belltower or Beffroi of 48 carillons, and a Hôtel de Ville city govt building from 1700, and a most vivid a memorial to New Zealanders who fought here in WWI ,and now Le Quesnoy is forever linked to the city of Cambridge in New Zealand. A vivid nice memorial for all to see and not forget.  And I go on with some update wonderful information to help you visit these wonderful frontier towns. 

Maubeuge is a town near the Franco-Belgian border  only 7 km north of the city. The province passes to the House of Austria from 1478 to 1513, and to the House of Spain from 1513 to 1678. Maubeuge was definitively attached to France by the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678, ratified by King Louis XIV a few days later, and by the King of Spain Carlos II , a few days further on.

Mauberge pl jean mabuse MF PF twins Jun02

A bit of history I like

During the French revolution in 1793, the siege was placed before the city by the Austrians of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg. A few months later it was the Battle of the Sambre, in 1794, which took over Maubeuge, and ended with the victory of the French revolutionaries, thus securing the conquest of Belgium.

Following the defeat of the Napoleonic armies in Leipzig in October 1813, the coalition forces invaded France. The stronghold of Maubeuge resisted victoriously in 1814 to the attacks of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar troops. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s troops prepared here for the nearby Battle of Waterloo. Three days after this defeat, on June 21, 1815, Maubeuge was besieged by 12 000 Prussians and had to surrender. Followed by three years of occupation of the Prussian and then Russian troops.

In 1678, the signing of the Treaty of Nijmegen ended the war in the United Provinces. This treaty allows France to fill a fortified border in the north of its territory. This line of fortifications is almost identical to our current border with Belgium (from Dunkirk to Givet). The ensemble imagined for Maubeuge is composed of a line of ramparts of a height of ten meters flanked by seven bastions in Roll-ons. To close the space between two bastions, a half-moon belt is added (completely surrounded by ditches). The construction of this ensemble lasted from 1679 to 1685 in the north, on the place Vauban, leaning against the wall the Porte de Mons, a stone work surmounted by attics as of the Mansart style. Built in 1682 with materials of local origin two buildings from the military heritage have survived; the powder shop located near the rue de la Croix exhibits a vaulted room covered with a thick earth mount. The Arsenal built between 1678 and 1689 develops a long silhouette on three levels (103 meters long by 12 meters wide). This building is part of the barracks planned at the time to house the troops of the garrison.

In WWI will re-test the city until finally liberated by the British on 9 November 1918. WWII, on the other hand, had a disastrous effect on the city destroying the heart of Maubeuge at more than 90%. On September 2, 1944, the city was liberated from the Nazis occupier by the American’ 3rd Armoured Division known as SpearHead , led by Gen Maurice Rose.

The town other than fortications has a nice Zoo , to visit is worth the detour. Some webpages to help you plan your trip to nice Mauberge are:

The Zoo of Maubergehttp://www.zoodemaubeuge.fr/wp/

The city of Mauberge on its heritagehttps://ville-maubeuge.fr/la-patrimoine-maubeugeois/

The Sambre-Avesnois tourist office on Mauberge and the zoo: https://www.partagetonsecret.com/avoirafaire

The local Avesnois tourist office on Mauberge fortificationshttp://en.tourisme-avesnois.com/dont-miss/fortified-towns

The local towns and villages of the Avesnois on Mauberge heritage : http://villesetvillagesdelavesnois.org/maubeuge/maubeuge.html

Moving right along to Le Quesnoy,  it has kept intact its characteristic ramparts which show the evolution of the art of defence of the 17C (the so-called Spanish era) at the beginning of the 20C passing by the famous Vauban who changed its appearance. Belgium is 10 km away!

le quesnoy

The city was under Hainaut, Burgundian, and Spanish occupation and or control .Before the end of the Fronde in 1654, the city is taken by the Royal French Army of Turenne. The city that had never been French became it for the great pleasure of the court. The young king Louis XIV receives the city as a gift of his coronation!

The border town undergoes a siege by the Austrian army of Cobourg and falls in 1793 it was retaken in 1794 by the troops of Schérer after a severe siege under a downpour rain.The news of the capture of the city is transmitted in a few hours by the telegraph Chappe, a world premiere, to the Committee of Parisian Public Salvation which welcomes it.

The city was taken in 1914 by the German troops suffered a severe occupation during four years, that after a difficult approach by the Valley of the Ecaillon, the city was liberated in 1918 by a New Zealand Division. In 1923, the New Zealand monument was inaugurated. The Mayor Daniel Vincent welcomes Marshal Joffre, Lord Milner (one of the English signatories to the Treaty of Versailles) and Sir Allen, representative of New Zealand. The communal cemetery of the Quesnoy and its extension host 189 war graves of the Commonwealth War Graves Soldier’s Commission who died in November 1918, of which 49 are New Zealanders.

le-quesnoy-mem-new-zealand-wwi jun02

In WWII, once defeated the Algerian Tirailleurs Battalion, which defended Jolimetz with a few tanks in support after the Nazis’ breakthrough through the defences of the Sambre, the 5th Panzer stood in front of the ramparts of the Quesnoy on 18 May 1940 towards the end of the afternoon. The Nazis of the 5th Panzer, who are preparing a new attack with tanks and heavy artillery, propose to the defenders to give their surrender, which they accept in the afternoon.

le-quesnoy-ramparts-fortifications jun02

Le Quesnoy fortification MF et PF jun02

Some webpages here to help you plan your trip to Le Quesnoy are:

The City of Le Quesnoy on its heritage: http://www.lequesnoy.fr/vivre-a-le-quesnoy/lhistoire-de-la-ville/

The Mormal country tourist office on Le Quesnoy: https://www.tourisme-paysdemormal.fr/visiter-quesnoy.html

The Avesnois tourist office on Le Quesnoy fortifications: http://en.tourisme-avesnois.com/dont-miss/fortified-towns

The local towns and villages of the Avesnois on Le Quesnoy heritage : http://villesetvillagesdelavesnois.org/lequesnoy/le_quesnoy.html

Hope it helps come over to this wonderful northern region of the Nord, unique and different but still the my belle France. Mauberge and Le Quesnoy are those town that are full of history and architecture but seldom gets recognition by the visitors. Hope it helps you discovered them.

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

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