Archive for May 1st, 2021

May 1, 2021

Thabor park of Rennes!

This is it, the best park of Rennes in my opinion. I have been here  and love it. This is again an older post update that have allowed me to come back to these beautiful spots in my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. The Thabor park of Rennes is nice indeed. Hope you enjoy the post and thanks again for reading me over these wonderful years of blogging!

Ok so now lets get ecological nature lover in me and tell you about a wonderful park right in the middle of a large city. This is Rennes, dept 35 of Ille et Vilaine in the region of Bretagne ! Having taking on monuments and museums, let me tell you about a nature lovers paradise.  I have several posts on Rennes but would like to tell you about the wonderful Thabor park or Parc du Thabor of Rennes!


Parc du Thabor park, is close to the city center, a public park with more than ten hectares, the characteristic of which is to mix a French garden, an English garden and an important botanical garden. Since its private origin, vegetable garden and pleasure of the monks of Saint-Melaine Abbey long outside the walls of the city, the park has become, by successive developments and enlargements, one of the emblematic places of the city and of the most popular.

Thabor Park is in the district of Thabor-Saint-Helier-Alphonse Guérin. It is framed by rue Martenot and Rue de Paris to the south, the boulevard de la Duchess Anne to the east and the Rue de la Palestine to the north. The west of the park is clearly tightened between Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine in the north and middle school Anne de Bretagne in the south; You can access it by the place Saint-Melaine, the entrance closest to the center of the city. Access to the park is made by six open entrances on the above mentioned streets. It is served by lines C3 and 44, Thabor stop; The nearest metro station is Sainte-Anne. The park is open all year round. Just to say I always come here by car as on trains is only a transfer station for me.

A bit of history and description I like

Originally, the park was only a hill culminating at 56 meters above sea level, i.e. it dominated a large part of Rennes, the altitude of which ranges from 20 to 74 meters. The first mentions of the Thabor date from 1610. The lands of Thabor have long been a dependency of the abbey of Saint-Melaine, where they were mainly used as an orchard. In the 17C, Benedictine monks opened their gardens, but they were reserved for men only. The Thabor was accessed by a passage that communicated between the abbey’s interior cloister and its vegetable garden, and then through a door that was set in the wake of the Great Fire of 1720, the Thabor became the seat of the bishopric. The Palace of the bishopric was built there and part of the gardens became those of the bishopric.

In the French revolution, all ecclesiastical domains are attached to the State. On May 10, 1793, Rennes became the owner of these lands following an exchange with the State. A public promenade was opened on the rest of the bishopric and Benedictine lands; the Court of the bishopric is the main entrance. In 1826, the demolition of the Church of Saint John, located next to Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine, abandoned since the French revolution, opened the current entrance to Saint-Melaine.

Besides the French gardens expressly requested by the mayor, Denis Bühler proposed to create the first landscaped garden of Rennes and to move the garden of plants, then to the west of the Orangerie, to the east of the park. The greenhouses, the aviary, the grates, the Orangerie and the bandstand are made on the plans of the local architect Jean-Baptiste Martenot. The last expansions took place at the end of the 19C with the transfer of the Office of the Catherinettes in 1891, then the acquisition of the parcel Perrigault. During the 20C, some minor developments were carried out, such as the addition of wrought iron gratings at the entrance to Rue de Paris, in 1912 and Avenue de Grignan in 1926, but also the creation of a menagerie in 1930 following the success of the park of Maurepas created essentially as a playground and relaxation in 1936, the Thabor park, also receives this type of equipment. The Duchess Anne’s greenhouses were demolished at the beginning of 2005 to liberate the settlement area of the social housing, as well as a neighborhood library and a new entrance towards the square Lucien Rose.

A bit of a description of Thabor park!

The 10 ha of the Thabor public garden consists of two walks-the square of the Guesclin and the L’Enfer (hell) to the west-of the French garden in front of the Orangerie in the north, a large landscaped garden in the center and the south, and finally a botanical garden and a rosary to the east. The Guesclin square was laid out in bowling lawn in 1825, it is a trapezoidal lawn with a promenade lined with chestnut trees. On the small side, a stone arch highlighting a column of July allows to overlook the bowling, of this observatory, the impression that the Guesclin square is of parallelepiped form.. The demolition of the Church of Saint John allowed to create an entrance leading directly to the Guesclin square in 1826 overlooking the Place Saint Melaine, ancient forecourt of the abbey, the entrance is marked by a monumental portal, bearing the arms of Rennes. A small wall was spread on either side of the pillars, punctuated by six low-protrusion pilasters adorned with cast iron vases. The construction of the new grid, is a miniature version of that of Parc Monceau, Paris began in 1873 and ended only 3 years later.

The terraces, along Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine, are lined with mosaics of flowers. From 1950, these mosaics were thematic and could represent comic characters (Asterix, Smurfs…) or the Fables of Fontaine. This demanded substantial financial support for the city of Rennes, and since 1975, the flower beds have been a simpler motif. During the early 20C, L’Enfer (hell) was a holiday place with the installation of a green theater. In front of L’Enfer, a very treed square houses a children’s carousel. An overhanging promenade is located on the edge of the Espachien. It includes a foosball table, a stones table and two sculptures made between 1889 and 1895 by the students of the Beaux-Arts of Rennes who face on the east side of the promenade.  Between L’Enfer and the French gardens, a bar-restaurant is located along the Rue de la Palestine. The Thabor’s snack bar becomes the La Terrace du Thabor Restaurant. webpage:


The French gardens were designed by Denis Bühler at the explicit request of the mayor of the city. This is the only French garden created by this landscaper, and the only 19C park to own a French garden. The French garden respects the precepts of Le Nôtre: we find gendarme hats, embroidery beds and basins. In addition to the Floral Park, the French garden also stands out by its decoration and its development by factories, statues and by the urban furniture. The bandstand, strategically placed in the alignment of the massif of the French garden, on its eastern part, is built by Martenot in 1875. He took trips before designing the kiosk, including advice on acoustics, and was very much inspired by the Bois de Boulogne kiosk. The statues were added at the end of the 19C. In 1807, the Orangerie and two greenhouses were built, but the latter were replaced almost sixty years later (in 1862 and 1863) by the greenhouses designed by Martenot. The glass and steel greenhouses are largely inspired by the greenhouses of the Bordeaux Botanical Garden. Three cut-out pavilions called palmerium, surmounted by a balcony and a dome crowned with a lantern are connected by small galleries.


The greenhouses of Martenot are affected by the bombardment of WWII; more classic integrated into the buildings of the Orangerie were built after the war. The Orangerie consists of two buildings that frame the greenhouses in the east and west. The Orangerie, pierced by windows on all sides except in the north, is decorated with bas-reliefs and inscriptions commemorating the great names of botany and horticulture: The pediment is adorned with names of botanists such as Linné and De Jussieu are represented on the western part and the Quintinie and Le Nôtre on the eastern part. Today, the 85 m2 of the west Orangery serves as a showroom.


The Botanical Garden which was located west of the Orangerie and moved to the east of the park. The botanical Garden is organized circularly in eleven flowerbeds where more than 3 000 species grow to understand this organization, the visitor should browse the botanical garden starting from the acotylédones (mushrooms, mosses and ferns) , then going up to the center of the circle by turning clockwise until the flowering. So the plants become more and more imposing, and we pass herbs to shrubs. Between the Rosary, the botanical gardens and the French garden, a space of 300 m2 is isolated from the public by means of grills. It is the site of   experimentation of the Ecorurb research program, the objective of which is to understand the effects of urbanization on biodiversity. The grid plot must primarily be used to understand the process of recolonization of plants on pristine terrain with or without seed input. For this, the land was sterilized and then isolated from the rest of the park.


The Rosary garden is rich in many varieties of rose stem, half-stalk, climbing or bush. A large part of the climbing roses are presented on the north wall separating the garden from the Rue de la Palestine, but also on arbours and pergolas. In the square of the novelties, an exhibition of roses that has been created during the previous ten years is located around the statue La Pensée( thought), a copy of the Louvre or Versailles. The side of the wall bordering the Rue de la Palestine is a place of observation where the adaptation of the roses created less than five years ago to the climatic and soil conditions is tested for two to three years by the National Society of Horticulture of France in order to compete in the Grand Prix de la Rose SNHF. A square of the old Roses inaugurated in 1990 to the south of the botanical garden allows to discover the first varieties of tea roses and their hybrids of the Japanese steps allowing to access the young Savoyard mourning his groundhog, but also to enter the heart of the ancient Rosary. To the northeast of the Botanical Garden is an exhibition of dahlias.

The landscaped garden is summarily divided into two areas: first of all the garden imagined by Denis Bühler, offering larger spaces grassy and creating openings allowing the creation of picturesque landscapes. However, the landscape garden remains the place of the idealization of nature. The landscaped garden is home to many species of trees, including redwoods that are in some way the signature of the Bühler brothers. The most elaborate part of the landscape park is the mosaiculture representing the coat of arms of Rennes surrounded by two ermines. This is the only part of the park enclosure that is wide open outside, thanks to a long grid, so that passersby and motorists browsing the Rue de Paris can enjoy it. The monumental fountain of 1829 for the development of the Square de la Motte is dismantled and installed at the entrance of Rue de Paris in 1901. The waterfall is lined with rocks from the forest of Saint-Aubin, although during the construction of the Catherinettes, picturesque-shaped rocks were made using cement. The waterfall is a miniature copy of that of the Bois de Boulogne.


The menagerie was arranged in 1930 to the southeast of the Catherinettes. It originally housed deer, sheep and some birds such as ducks and guinea geese, but several complaints from the vicinity, vandalism and also inadequate food for the species present led to the transformation of the Menagerie in simple duck pens in 1978. In 1968, the children’s playground is located in the southeast of the landscape park. It currently contains several slides and swings highlighted by large circular stone surrounds. A lawn adjacent to the playground is allowed to the public. Many captive birds are found at the Thabor park. Many species of surface duck and parakeets are exposed to the public in the duck enclosure and aviary. Wooden panels representing each bird installed in the vicinity of these facilities make it possible to inform the public of the different species presented. The park allows to observe several wild birds, passers and raptors mainly (Owl Tawny, European hawk). The red squirrel is also present.


The Thabor park consists of 52 000 m2 of turf, 5 800 m2 of shrubs and 700 trees of which 200 conifers. The park, and in particular the landscaped park, is embellished with many species of trees: redwoods, Lebanese cedar, tricolor beech, Tulip tree of Virginia, Cork Oak, magnolias, silver bell trees, pyramidal oak, Algerian fir, Colorado blue fir, Etc. The Thabor Park represents 59 000 annual plants, 54 000 biennial plants, 18 500 plants bulbous, 500 chrysanthemum, 1 000 dahlias of 78 different varieties and 2 100 roses of 980 different varieties. The Botanical Garden Houses 3 120 different plants, of which 800 are planted each year; The most represented family is that of daisies. It is also a place of exhibition, especially thanks to the orangery where different artists were exposed.

Ok so I believe you get the picture , this is a big Thabor park and a wonderful place to do your walks and or relax after a long day of sightseeing in Rennes, in dept 35 Ïlle et Vilaine,  capital of the region of Bretagne!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Rennes tourist office on Thabor park

The Rennes metro area on the 150 anniversary (2018) of Thabor park

The Bretagne 35 Ïle et Vilaine on Thabor Park

Enjoy Thabor park ,its wonderful with the whole family, we even go there while walking around the city, lately to eat out. Its an off the beaten path site that needs to be visited more. Beautiful Rennes!

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

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May 1, 2021

The Château de Vitré!!

a wonderful castle in my lovely Bretagne just at the entrance of it. In our road warrior trips we have been to Vitré and have several posts on it in my blog. This time will just love to update for you and me the entry of The Château de Vitré!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I like to come back to my region of Bretagne. Again, written general posts on the city of Vitré and its wonders, but feel once again a single post on the castle is merited and worth the visit by all those passing by. In our quest to take advantage of living here and with so much history and architecture around we took it upon ourselves to see as much as possible of my new region and it has been a blast! Let me tell you a bit more on the Castle of Vitré!


The Vitré castle is a powerful castle located at the western end of the fortified town of Vitré, in Ille-et-Vilaine,dept 35 of Bretagne and on the marches of Bretagne. The Vitré castle occupies the end of a schist spur overlooking the north of the Valley of the Vilaine and to the south a swampy brook, disappeared in the 18C to make way for the royal road from Paris to Rennes. The renovation of the castle c. 1420,  had another purpose, the affirmation of the lords’s power, shaken by the arrival of the English in Maine ,because the castle then was the refuge of the counts of Laval, especially when the English took Laval in 1427.


A bit of history I like

Around the year 1000, a first wooden castle mentioned between 1066 and 1076 was built on a clod castrale by Baron Riwallon of Vitré at the present site of the Church of St. Croix. This castle whose shape is unknown was burned on many occasions. It was abandoned for the benefit of a new stone castle built by Baron Robert I of Vitré at the end of the 11C on a new defensive site, a vast rocky headland of schist that dominates about thirty meters above the Vilaine river. This castle still has a Romanesque-style porch. The reconstruction of the castle in its current, triangular form and the fortification of the city in the first half of the 13C was traditionally attributed to Baron Andre III.

The Parliament of Brittany took refuge on three occasions (1564, 1582 and 1583) during the plague epidemics in Rennes. With the families of the Rieux and Coligny, owners of the castle between 1547 and 1605, Vitré houses the Protestant cult and became for a few years a Huguenot bastion. One of the major elements of the French revolution in Vitré was the accidental fire that destroyed the Seigneurial house in 1795. At the beginning of the 19C, a departmental prison was built in the place of the Seigneurial house and occupied the entire northern part, including the Madeleine tower. The prison became garrisoned upon the arrival of the 70th Infantry Regiment from 1867 to 1877. The castle was bought by the State in the 19C. Today, the Vitré City/town Hall is installed inside the castle enclosure, in a building rebuilt in 1912 according to the plans of the medieval Logis.

A bit on the architecture details I like

The entrance facade to the east is preceded by a large esplanade called Place du Château (castle square). The entrance Châtelet dating from the 15C is composed of two towers in pepper-pots ,the north tower in rubble and south tower paired, topped by a gallery of machicolations Breton Sandstone and a double fortified floor.


The tower of the Oratory, also called the Chapel Tower, takes its name from the Renaissance apsidiole which adorns its facade the coat of arms of the Comte de Laval surrounded by the collar of the Order of St. Michael appear intertwined with those of his wives, Charlotte of Aragon, Anne de Montmorency and Antoinette de Daillon. Around the inner courtyard are distributed the seigneurial buildings, which became those of the City/Town Hall. The tower of the Oratory exhibits a triptych altarpiece consisting of 32 enamel plates of Limoges tracing the life of Christ and the Virgin.



The St. Lawrence Tower was the home of the governor. The four floors of this imposing tower are such that it acts as a dungeon. Built in the 15C on the site of a 13C tower, it collapsed in 1835 and was rebuilt around 1870.  The museum presents a collection of paintings depicting the history of Vitré and the evolution of French religious goldsmith from the 17C to the 20C. The Saint-Laurent tower houses, among others, sculptures from the 15-16C from Vitré’s houses, a Renaissance fireplace dating back to 1583, tapestries from Flanders from the 16C and Aubusson from the 17C, and the tomb of Guy X of Laval.


There, and now some webpages to help you plan your trip here which I say is a must to see in Vitré and Bretagne!

The official Castle of Vitré:

The city of Vitré on its heritage

The Vitré tourist office on the castle

Now you are all set to visit this enchanting castle right in city center Vitré on the frontiers of my lovely Bretagne, and worth the detour. It was a very nice visit by us there, and sure worth a return.

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

May 1, 2021

Castle museum of the Navy, Brest!!

And here I go to the extreme northwest of my lovely Bretagne and the great seamen city of Brest. Of course, many posts on it but this one would like to update for you and me. I love castles and when they house a naval museum even more, and this is the case of this post, the castle museum of the Navy in Brest! Hope you enjoy it as I.


In maritime Brest, let me bring you into something more historical , older, and with great architecture. Just what I like to see. I have come to Brest several times with the family, and we have stop here each time with each trip more in depth visits. The diversity of things to see here allows for the opportunity to come back again and again to see these jewels of my lovely Bretagne and belle France. One of the sights that rigtht away comes to your eyes upon entering the city is the Castle , a wonderfully preserved one indeed. However, the best of it is what is inside! A naval museum of France! It is a must to see indeed and good for the whole family!


Within the recently renovated Brest Castle, rich in 17 centuries of history, the National Museum of the Navy, traces the history of the arsenal and large sea fleets from Primauguet and Richelieu until today, and confirms the close ties between the city of Brest and this maritime history. By browsing the different rooms of the castle, the historic heart of the city, and one of the few vestiges of its past, you will enjoy a superb collection of models of ships, paintings, sculptures, the pocket submarine, the evocation of the old Brest, The memories of the prison… all in connection with the great naval adventure. Alone or in the company of a speaker, discover this exceptional site that offers a superb panorama of the harbor, the Penfeld and the city.


Heir to the historical halls of the arsenals, the great collections of Paris, Versailles and the practical Works Hall of the School of Engineering Builders, the National Museum of the Navy is both museum of art and history, science and technical, human adventures and popular traditions, a center of maritime culture open to the widest public. It is intended to be the showcase and the Heritage Conservatory of all Marines. With the Museum of the St. Petersburg (Russia), it shares the privilege of being one of the two oldest maritime museums in the world by the importance and diversity of its collections.  Around its permanent collections, large models of arsenals, paintings including the series of the ports of Vernet, of objects witnessing maritime activities, and by its temporary exhibitions, the National Museum of the Navy sensitizes the public to the maritime fact. It offers to the visitor not only a permanent collection but also temporary exhibitions as well as numerous animations, workshops and visits with family or for the younger ones.



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

The official marine museum of Brest

The Brest tourist office on the marine museum

There is a great parking area just in front of the castle ,where we always parked and from there is easy walking all over the city center. A wonderful time well spent with the family and highly recommended as one of the best maritime museums in the world! Enjoy it

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

May 1, 2021

Grand Thêatre de Saumur!

And how about showing you a theater outside of Paris, oh yes we have plenty of them all over small medium and large towns. This is a wonderful update older post on nice historical Saumur. Let me tell you a bit more of the Grand Thêatre!

So lets get back in the Loire, and show you the city of Saumur and its wonderful monuments including Cathedrals, Churches, and a Castle ,not to forget good wines! However, there are so much to see here, and one of my favorite for it’s impressive look by the Loire river was the GrandTheater.  Not just any theater but a Grand Théâtre right along the quays of the Loire river. One of the things I wrote briefly before, but really needs a visit especially for its dome or even a show…. It is located at the confluence of the shopping squares of Place de la République and Place de La Bilange, at the edge of the Loire river, the Grand Théâtre of Saumur has always wanted since the 18C, the symbol of the modern city. And it is impressive indeed.


A bit of history I like

The town of Saumur took advantage of the arrival of the Cavalry brigades in 1763 to begin its modernization.  In the context of the extensive urban redevelopment plan, the creation of the new theater began in 1785. In 1788, the first theater was finished at the location of the current theater, associated with a market hall and a tree-lined walk on the new quays. The expenses were covered by donations mainly composed of Cavalry , notable, entrepreneurs and traders of Saumur and the surrounding area.  A trader of Angers, Joachim-Jean Trottouin, even subscribes an action on the head of Louis Charles de France, the future Louis XVII! (that never reigned murdered in the French revolution).  Very degraded despite successive restorations, the building was finally demolished in 1863. The construction of a new theater was  given to the architect of the city, Charles Joly-Leterme . He opted for an imposing building in tufa and slate.


The 30 Corinthian columns that belt the building testify to influences from the canons of classical architecture. The outer galleries serve, as in the previous century, a covered market and a trading stock exchange with nice arcades closed by the gates Place de la Bilange. Inside, the Italian style room can accommodate 860 spectators at ease, even 950 a little tight. The interior decoration is entrusted to Antoine-Victor Barbereau dit Saint-Léon, Parisian painter decorator.  The bombardments of June 1940 which damaged the theater,  a new ceiling representing the allegory of opera, tragedy, comedy and dance was done.

Despite regular attention, the very dilapidated theater closes in June 2008 for security reasons.  The restoration project, launched in 2010, proposes a complete modernization while respecting its architectural envelope.  In the theater, the stage and the staging area are modified to offer several configurations: theater, Circassian scene, orchestra pit, stand for lyrical and symphonic, opening possible in the background of a plateau. In the foyer, the extension of public staircases to courtyard and garden by destroying the main staircase makes this space free for the reception and the wandering of the public.


Finally the realization of a dome roof marks externally the transformation of the building. The theater dome marks the entrance to the city on the north side, giving it an important counterweight to the rest of the facades on the Loire. Its new characteristic profile becomes by essence one of the flagship buildings of the city with the dome of the Ardilliers, the Castle and the 3 arrows of the Church of St. Peter, the old City/Town hall and the Church of Saint Nicholas.(see previous posts).

Another nice one to see in Saumur, the Grand Théâtre is great in a wonderful shopping area with arcades fountains and the Loire, as well as great places to eat, see my previous post on the city. For now enjoy the Grand Théâtre of Saumur!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are:

The city of Saumur on the Grand Theâtre

The Saumur tourist office on things to see:

The Greater Saumur area on the theater cultural season:

There you go folks ,another dandy by the Loire river of my belle France, enjoy the mouvable feast of France! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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