Archive for May 16th, 2021

May 16, 2021

Inland Elven!

And here I am again updating an older post in my blog. As I said ,this has been a wonderful discovery of even places I have forgotten visited lol! This inland town was there for the curious and a collegue who is from there to check it out in my road warrior mode. So I took the family to inland Elven, see what it is and hope you enjoy it as I.

Ok so I set out near me again, this time to the inland town of Elven. I was with a friend ,and we had lunch at a nice place with my dear late wife Martine. I have some touristic stuff, and will add some with history, and then my last lunch trip to Elven.

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The town of Elven is located about 15 km of Vannes on the axis Vannes-Rennes, road N166. Of course, there are other roads like the D766 that I take to get there.  In around Elven, you will find numerous megaliths such as by the Loge-au-Loup on the road to Trédion, the tabular stone of the battle in the Forest of Coeby, the twin menhirs of babouin and babouine who were adorned with faces engraved in an indefinite period.

Elven was reportedly founded by immigrant religious leaders from across the channel in the 5C. Around 900, a castle was built to fight the Norman invasions. The current Château de Largoët is built from the 14C, 2 km from the village in the midst of a vast expanse of wood. Henri Tudor, Duke of Richmond, future king Henry VII of England, was retained here  between 1474 and 1476.  Elven is a place of the Chouannerie ( the locals who fought the French revolution). In fact, chief Chouan Joseph Gambert, the Canton’s company captain, was killed near the village of Panistrel in 1794. A street has its name. In the woods of Saint-Bily were founf underground caches of Chouans. The movie Chouans! was partly shot in Elven.  For a small town, one famous person was born here; Catherine Descartes , a poet and niece of philosopher René Descartes was born in the manoir house of Kerleau. He came here to signed the baptismal registry.  During the Nazi occupation, Elven was the scene of the first airborne operation, called Operation Savanna, on 15 March 1941. On the road to Questembert, a stele commemorates the event.

Some of the things you can see here are: Fortress of Largoët, called Tower of Elven now in ruins, Château de Kerfily originally built from the 17C to 18C due to fire rebuilt between 1860-1863; Château de Kerlo  15C Catherine Descartes was born here in 1637 ; Saint-Clément Chapel, and the main St. Alban’s Church.

Dedicated to Alban de Verulamium, patron of Elven, referring to the martyrdom suffered by him in England in 303 while the founders of the city come from the other side of the channel. The Normans destroyed by fire the first wooden church. In 1121, a Romanesque church was rebuilt, again destroyed by a fire in 1525. A church of Gothic style was elevated, of which no longer remains until today the choir in 1536 is built a nave gothic and then in 1642 a steeple. In the 19C, the work suffering from the times was renovated, the nave and the transept were rebuilt. The steeple is completed in 1877 and the Church Saint Alban was consecrated in 1879.

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So as said above, we went by noonish by car to the Hostellerie Lion d’Or; the building dates from the 16C! It is wonderful country food , as the best in France is. We started with me a leffe blonde beer for the apéro entry and lots of conversation with beets chips, and then we went with the entrée, I had crusty shell with stuffed Andouille , a Breton sausage type and goat cheese, green salad; this was already began to be accompany by a good Saumur-Champigny red Les Longes , and the main dish was skewed canard with mushrooms sauce, I finish with my favorite crème brulée ( a sweet custard cake). And more red wine… In all a great lunch to finish the week!

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The city of Elven on its heritagehttps://www.elven.bzh/listes/patrimoine/

The city of Elven on its historyhttps://www.elven.bzh/histoire-de-la-ville/

The Hostellerie lion d’or has no webpage so I leave you with their Facebook page on photos: https://www.facebook.com/leliondor.elven/photos/?ref=page_internal

In all , I saw the Church Saint Alban been renovated again, and the town nice ,clean, and quiet as country life in France is and we love it.   This is the real living in France folks, nothing over price or glamorous like Paris, but the real deal, the reason we are in France, my belle France. Enjoy the brief tour of inland Elven!

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

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May 16, 2021

The Royal Library at Fontainebleau!!!

ok well try not to repeat as this is very nostalgic for me and each writing on it makes feel like I am there inside! This of course is Fontainebleau, in Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region of my belle France! I like to update for you and me the wonderful  as words cannot describe it, Royal Library of the Château de Fontainebleau!

So let me turn your attention to a wonderful room in a gorgeous castle full of history of France and Europe. One of my favorites and the first one ever visited in France with my dear late wife Martine.  As said, this castle brings lots of memories for me and my family and we love it every minute we can be there, as Friends of the castle; I keep up with its walls.  The Royal Library grew and it became a major one of France and the world.  It all started as usually old with a King, this time was François I. One of the lasting visitor resident of the Château de Fontainebleau.

On May 22, 1544, king François I ordered an inventory of the library of the Château de Blois to prepare them for a move to the nearby Chateau de Fontainebleau.   The 1,896 items were soon on the move, arriving at their new home by June 12 under the supervision of his private librarian. From 1537 it received a copy of every French publication. By 1546, the English ambassador toured the new Royal library at Fontainebleau as François I proudly showed his new library to them. It was remarked during the tour that he had commissioned French translations of the Greek books he had purchased through his agents in Greece. During his reign, fine bindings became the craze and many of the books added by him and Henry II are masterpieces of the binder’s art.

The Royal library of the Château of Fontainebleau grew steadily, even after François’ death. By 1567, it held 3,650 books. Scholars were so eager to get their hands on the books that they petitioned Catherine de Medici to move the Royal library closer to a building in Paris. The library was moved to Paris between 1567 and 1593, and the first real catalog of its holdings was compiled in 1622. First opened to the public in 1692, the library was moved to the Mazarin Palace in the rue de Richelieu in 1721 and underwent successive expansions thereafter. The library was renamed the Bibliothèque National de France  in 1795, and it benefited by the revolutionary confiscations of church and parish book collections and later by Napoleon’s acquisitions or pillages. Most of them are still there, very well organized. Now located at Quai François Mauriac 13éme Paris. This library of about 4,000 volumes returned to Paris at a date that remains uncertain, between January 1569 and May 1574. Similarly, the precise place where it was installed is not known.

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However, the Royal library at Fontainebleau still contains some of the most original and historical books. The castle keeps within it collections of prime importance including prints dating from the 16C to the 19C. Established under the leadership of Napoleon I and in use throughout the 19C, the castle’s libraries consist of two main groups: the palace library and the emperor’s private library.

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The official Château de Fontainebleau and the galerie de Diane old royal library webpage: https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/the-grands-apartments/nineteenth-century-galleries/

The official Château de Fontainebleau and the palace library: https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/fontainebleau-resources/documents/heritage-libraries/the-palace-library/

The official Château de Fontainebleau and the private Imperial libraryhttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/fontainebleau-resources/documents/heritage-libraries/the-emperors-private-library/

Enjoy it as much as you can; a castle open to the world and a beautiful old Royal library! This is Fontainebleau and see the Chateau de Fontainebleau and its galerie de Diane (see post) Royal LIbrary.

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

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May 16, 2021

The bedrooms of Fontainebleu castle!!!

And is with pleasure that I am updating this older post for you and me. This is another sentimental property in my belle France; plenty written on it already. I like to take you a short ride thru the bedrooms of Fontainebleau castle! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I have to come back to my first region of France, the Ïle de France.  I guess region here could be like a province, or state in many other countries. Then , we have the Seine-et-Marne dept 77; and these could be like counties  , me think. I like to tell you a bit more on the bedrooms of the Castle of Fontainebleau!

If you have read my blog before, you know I todl lyou this is not a thing to do of Paris (city and dept 75) but a different administrative legal region that need to be visit on its merits which are huge. It has become very attach to us over the years and we are of course members of its friends association.  By the way let me give you that webpage now as it might interest you as me an amateur  lover of architecture and history webpage: https://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/

And now let me tell you a bit about its bedrooms, lol written many posts on the castle but never on the famous bedrooms, who wants to sleep there? me!!! With a bit of history first , of course….  The Château de Fontainebleau is a Royal castle of predominantly Renaissance and Classical styles, near the city center of the city of Fontainebleau in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, about 60 km (about 37 mi) from Paris. The first traces of a castle in Fontainebleau date back to the 12C. The last work was done in the 19C. A high place in the history of France, the Château de Fontainebleau was one of the mansions of French sovereigns since François I, who made it his favorite home, until Napoleon III.

The Royal apartments consist of a double strand of rooms. Their service, as well as their guard is ensured by an external walkway along the façade on the oval courtyard.. With access to the oval courtyard, located near the entrance Chatelet (Golden Gate), the King’s apartment sees its staircase rebuilt under Louis XV at the location of the Duchess of Etampes ‘ bedroom. This staircase gives access to the succession of the anti-chambers, chambers, salons and cabinets. The Queen’s apartment is its counterpart and enjoys a roughly analogous distribution, from the staircase laid out beyond the Serlio portico. It also takes on the side of the garden reserved for the Queen (current garden of Diane). The interior decorations are largely taken up in the 17C, and it is on the eve of the French revolution that the interior apartment of Louis XVI (current interior apartment of Napoleon) is part of the suite of the large apartment with the doubling of the wing of the galerie François Ier.  The small apartments have been two separate apartments for Napoleon and Josephine and Marie-Louise since the first Empire. The Emperor’s Office includes the offices of his Secretaries. Stairs and inner passages allow them to be connected to the great apartments of the sovereigns, on the first floor.

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Let me give you a brief description on them with the help of the castle’ webpage and my books on it, which as usual on this so personal spot lack many pictures. Bear with me please.

The bedroom of the Pope ,the bed of this room, enlarged for the Duchess of Orléans, was made in 1787 for Louis XVI at the Château de Saint-Cloud and served Napoleon at the Palais des Tuileries (both gone).

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The Apparat bedroom was the former room of Anne of Austria has a ceiling and painted paneling of polychromatic grotesque on the top-of-doors are the portrait of Anne of Austria in Minerva and that of Marie-Thérèse of Spain in Abundance done in 1660.

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Napoleon’s bedroom kept the essentials of Louis XVI décor such as woodwork, fireplace, top-of-door decorations, etc. In fact, it served in the 18C, from a powder cabinet (toilet). The décor was enriched for the Emperor of his victories, bees, Imperial figure, and paintings in golden grilles, made in 1811. Furnished in 1808-1809 in the Empire style, including two armchairs called “paumier” (with unequal armrests) the room has a carpet adorned with military trophies woven in Aubusson in 1809. The Emperor’s bedroom was the billiard room of the Princess of Lamballe in 1786, before becoming the room of Madame Elisabeth in 1791, then the room of Cardinal Fesch in 1804. The alcove was abolished in 1810, while the brocatelle fireplace was installed. Woodwork dates back to the late 18C.

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The small sleeping bedroom former office of Louis XVI of which the chimney, the top-of-doors and the woodwork remain, the small bedroom of the apartments of the Emperor was in fact the work of Napoleon, where he had installed in 1811 a gilded iron camp resting bed.

The Emperor’s antichamber constituted the first and second antichamber of Madame de Pompadour, before becoming the first antichamber of Madame Elisabeth (sister of Louis XVI).

The bedroom of Méneval is of modest appearance and low ceiling, was arranged at the location of the Cabinet of the game of the King (from 1769 to 1782), then Salon of the Princess of Lamballe (from 1782 to 1787) then room used by the servants of Madame Elisabeth (in 1791) , then home of the geographer Louis Albert Guislain Bacler d’Albe (in 1807), before becoming the Chamber of the Secretary of Napoleon I, Claude François de Méneval, from which it preserves the name today.

The bedroom of the Empress has the furniture consisting notably of a bed with a singular coronation, enlarged in 1843 for one of the daughters of Louis-Philippe and her husband, in silk of Lyon white and blue Lapis papered gold.  The Empress’s bedroom has been home to the Queen’s bedroom since the 16C, and this is where the Grand Dauphin, son of Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse, was born in 1661. This piece is nicknamed the bedroom of six Mary’s in reference to the various sovereigns who used it ,such as Marie de Médicis, Marie-Thérèse of Spain, Marie Leszczyńska, Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Louise de Habsburg, and Marie-Amélie. The room was rearranged for Josephine between 1805 and 1807, before being inhabited for the last time by the Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon III).

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The bedroom for sleeping, made in 1725, were enhanced under Louis-Philippe. The furniture has kept its state Louis-Philippe, consisting of a bed in gilded wood made for Madame Élisabeth in 1787, two armchairs and a stool with spur from the Interior Cabinet of Marie-Antoinette in Saint – Cloud . The furniture was covered in 1837 in white satin with green lozenges and bouquets of flowers, woven between 1812 and 1814, with borders made in 1809-1810.

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There you have a brief description and maybe tempted for you to come and see them up close and personal, best… I love it can’t say enough, a must see while in France.  Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The official Château de Fontainebleauhttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/

The Fontainebleau city tourist office on the castlehttps://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/en/discover-the-region/patrimoine-2/the-chateau-a-grand-history-book-of-france/

The Seine et Marne dept 77 Tourist Board on Fontainebleau castlehttps://tourisme.seine-et-marne-attractivite.fr/670011-chateau-de-fontainebleau?private=0

Now go to Fontainebleau as soon as possible, and enjoy it as we always do. For now see my other many posts in my blog on this wonderful historical and architecture gem of my belle France.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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