Archive for May 17th, 2021

May 17, 2021

Château de la Bretesche of Missillac!

And I am staying in this nice little town of the west of France in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. In the old regime, this was Bretagne… Very much still identify with it and more so in the wonderful Château de la Bretesche. I am updating this older post on it and hoping you enjoy it as I. 

We had a long weekend so we headed out to see a new town of my belle France, this was Missillac,nice. On a previous post I wrote a bit on the  church in town, now I like to tell you about my fav monuments to see anywhere, the castles. This area been Pays de la Loire has them in bunches and we love it! I came just entering Missillac on the road D2 you have the Château de la Bretesche!  The history of Missillac also is link to that of the Château de la Bretesche, residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages. The Chatelaine de la Bretesche belongs in the year 1000 to Bernard de la Roche. The fortress of la Bretesche , 14C was rebuilt in the 15C, beset by Mercoeur in the 16C, destroyed in the French revolution and rebuilt again in the 19C.


The Château de la Bretesche former residence of the family of Montaigu whose members exercised for 45 years in the 19-20C the function of Mayor of the town of Missillac. The castle was rebuilt in the 19C in place of a fortress of the 14-15C, destroyed during the French revolution. The Liburin Tower dates from the 19C c. 1876. The Manor hosted the Dukes of Brittany, Jean V, François I and François II who came to hunt in the beautiful forest. The castle is built on a crannied terrace, surrounded on three sides by moats, the fourth bathing directly in a large lake of 13 hectares.



The history I like although nice is a bit long, so I will condense as much as possible.

Eudon III, Baron from 1347 to 1364 signed, on 7 July 1352, an edict which mentions, for the first time, his Château de la Bretesche where this document was written. Eudon III, son of Baron Péan died at the battle of Auray on 29 September 1364, with his lord Charles de Blois. It is the culmination of the barony of la Bretesche and the barony of La Roche-Bernard. Guy XIV will be the faithful companion of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), and was next to Joan of Arc, in the coronation of king Charles VII in Reims on July 17, 1429, and in 1435, he will marry the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, Jean V and Jeanne de France, mother of King Charles VII.

Converted to Calvinism, during his captivity in Milan, François de Coligny transformed in the 16C the fortified castle of the Bretesche, of which he owns, in Citadel of the Reformation. He transformed the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Roche-Bernard (built around 1063 by Bernard II) into the first Protestant Temple of Brittany and, the Château de la Bretesche became the radiant home of the new religion, which would bring the Catholic armies to do the siege of the citadel in the spring of 1569. Badly defended, the Château de la Brestesche quickly surrendered.

In August 1591, the castle/ fortress of Bretesche, despite its thirty light horses and its fifty archers placed under the command of Sir Le Pennec de Boisjollan, Lord of Trégrain , falls under the combined attacks of the Duke of Mercoeur and the Spaniards of Don Juan D’Aquila. Many purchases and successions later until the French revolution. The Château de la Bretesche is the former residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard. It takes its name from Bretesche, an exterior work overlooking the main gate of a castle to defend its entrance. This castle was built between 1430 and 1470 by Jean de Laval, Baron de la Roche-Bernard. The house of the barons remained in ruins until 1813, when the Domaine de Bretesche was bought by a Mr Formont, later deputy under king Charles X.

In November 1847, Jacques Perron sold the Bretesche to the Marquis Auguste de Montaigu, and the house remained the property of the Montaigu family until 1965. Auguste de Montaigu was elected Mayor of the town of Missillac in 1848 and remained until his death in 1904, except for the years of the Second Empire (1852-1871) where his monarchist convictions forced him to withdraw. The castle was restored by Pierre de Montaigu and his wife, Caroline de Wendel. In 1965, the Château of la Bretesche was sold to a real estate company. Shortly thereafter it is divided into apartments sold separately to private individuals. Its dependencies are transformed into a hotel-restaurant, and a golf park. Domaine de la Bretesche includes a luxury hotel located in the outbuildings of the 15C castle, an 18-hole golf course that crosses a 200-acre park, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa. Wonderful would love to stay in it!!! I will be back!!!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The current Domaine de la Bretesche luxury property:

The Relais & Châteaux domaines of luxury rentals on the Bretesche:

The Briére Channel Pontchâteau and Saint Gildas des Bois tourist office on the Castle:

The city of Missillac on the castle:

There you go folks , another gem to see is to dream and to stay should be sublime. Wonderful property , great history, architecture, and just beautiful sorroundings worth the stop and visit even better.  Only the garden areas are open to the public as it is a private property. Hope you enjoy the Château de la Bretesche in Missillac!

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

May 17, 2021

Church of St Peter and St Paul of Missillac!

And I take you inland Loire Atlantique dept 44 to some of the off the beaten path trails of the Pays de la Loire and old Bretagne. I like to update this older post on the Church of St Peter and St Paul of Missillac! Hope you enjoy the ride and once again thanks for reading me over the years since 2010!

And I am back at surrounding region and more beautiful things to see in my belle France. Again, even if passed close to this town several times never came in until this recently. Another gem in the west of France and another pin in my France map. Keep trying….!  I like to tell you about the Church of St Pierre et St Paul in the town of Missillac.


First a bit of where is Missillac! Well to start is about 1h30 by car from my house! Missillac is located on the edge of Morbihan dept 56 of Bretagne, 25 km from Saint-Nazaire, 55 km from Nantes, 55 km from Vannes and 25 km from Redon. The neighbouring towns are Séverac, Saint-Gildas-des-Bois (see post), Pontchâteau, Sainte-Reine-de-Bretagne, La Chapelle-des-Marais and Herbignac in Loire-Atlantique dept 44, Nivillac, Saint-Dolay and Théhillac in Morbihan dept 56.

A bit of history I like  

The history of Missillac also is link to that of the Château de la Bretesche, (see post ) residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages. The Chatelaine de la Bretesche belongs in the year 1000 to Bernard de la Roche. The fortress of la Bretesche , 14C was rebuilt in the 15C, beset by Mercoeur in the 16C, destroyed in the French revolution and rebuilt again in the 19C.  In 1806, the town of La Bretèche hitherto independent, is attached to that of Missillac. For nearly a century, between 1871 and 1959, the Montaigu family was regularly elected to the head of the City/Town Hall. This longevity combined with their fortunes, allows them to oppose the Prefecture when the latter attempts to impose Republican reforms (French revolution), including the school laws. The resistants of autonomist obedience of the groupe Liberté (freedom group) had a base in Missillac in 1943, then in connection with the Commander Verliac they helped provide the men of the battalion of the pocket of Saint Nazaire. At the end of WWII, because of the existence of the pocket of Saint-Nazaire, the Nazis occupation extended to Missillac as on all the neighbouring localities of the estuary for 9 months more or from August 1944 to 11 May 1945, the surrender of the pocket of Saint Nazaire intervening 3 days after the surrender of Nazi Germany.

And let’s get on the Church shall we!

The first Church of St Pierre et St Paul in Missillac was probably destroyed by the Vikings who came from the Scandinavian Islands and went back up the Vilaine river at the beginning of the 10C. Around 925, one of the Viking chiefs, Bernhard, erected a dungeon on the banks of the Vilaine river and the village which he founded took his name and became the La Roche-Bernard (or the rock of Bernard,see my posts on the town), capital of the barony and the high place of the deanery of the same name which subsisted until the French revolution of 1789. The son of Bernard, the Lord Simon I of La Roche Bernard implements on his domain of Lampridic (now Saint-Gildas-des-Bois (see abbey post on it)) a Benedictine Abbey in honor of God Almighty and Blessed Abbot Gildas in 1026. In 1150, the parish of Missillac, which then comprises the territories of Mirsilliacus, Théhillac and the present parish of La Chapelle-des-Marais, is officially founded and its administration is entrusted to the Benedictines of the Abbey of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois and will depend on the parish until the French revolution.


This Church of St Pierre et St Paul replaces an ancient small church and a primitive sanctuary, apparently, once at the place called Le Tertre, which dominates the current town. In 1849, during the drilling of the road (D2) linking Missillac to Saint-Gildas-des-Bois, the works updated many tombs dating back to the 7C or 8C. The present Church comprises an apse, a choir, two sacristies, a transept and two lateral spans that end in a grandstand, elevated on the site of the lateral nave of the ancient Sanctuary. The church was blessed in 1898. The stained glass windows, depicting the scenes from the life of Christ, date from 1600; it is a gift from the Baron de La Roche-Bernard, François de Coligny. . These stained glass windows are shown, in the top, the arms of the Coligny and Cambout (François de Cambout was, in 1600, Abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois). The wooden altarpiece dates from the 18C.



The city of Missillac on the Church St Peter and St Paul

It is a nice quant inner town of the west of France in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 old regime part of Bretagne , and still with strong attachment. Quite laid back ,Missillac it is great for the curious, the history and architecture lover in me, and just plain road warrior freedom of the road mentality. Hope you enjoy it and dare do come by!

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

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May 17, 2021

Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo ,Alcalá de Henares!

And let me bring you back to this quant historical and architecturally stunning city of Alcalà de Henares! We always had good times coming here from way back in time, and we walked all over. One of this marvels of a monument is the one call Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo. Let me update this older post for you and me and enjoy Alcalá de Henares as I!

I have several posts on Spain, Madrid, and even  Alcalà de Henares but darn have not written a deserving post on this museum. Therefore, I would like to tell you a bit more on the Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo for the long official name, simply for short a Religiuos Arts museum. It is located in Alcalà de Henares, in the region of the Comunidad de Madrid. For some reason,not posted, pictures were not allowed inside!!


A bit of history I like

The Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo  was founded in 1613 by Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas. The Plaza de las Bernardas (square) formed by the Convent of the Mother of God, the Archiepiscopal Palace and the Convent of San Bernardo constituted during the rebirth an engine of urban transformation of this zone of the city, that previously was the Arab district during the Middle Ages.  The Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo, was destined to a Cistercian community of nuns, popularly called “Bernardas “. The patron of the work was the Cardinal and Archbishop of Toledo Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas, a great reformer of artists and writers of fame such as Lope de Vega, Quevedo, Góngora and Miguel de Cervantes. The works began in 1617, in the old Plaza de la Verdura (vegetable), inside the Moslem district of the medieval Alcalá. Leaving the old Puerta de Burgos(gate) inside the garden of the convent and making disappear the old Calle de Segovia; So it had to build the current gate of Calle Santiago , which also has a statue of St. Bernard (San Bernardo).  The convent suffered many malfunctions in the fire of 1939, so several restoration works were carried out in the following decades. The closing of the Bernardas nuns was finished in 2000, leaving the building today as a Museo de Arte Religioso (religious art museum). In 2013 the Casa de la Demandadera and the lesser Cloister of the Convent of San Bernardo was restored, hosting an exhibition hall and the diocesan residence.

A bit on the construction I like

Its main facade, of curtain type with a central line decoration from top to bottom, separated in three bodies and finished in red brick, corresponds to the classic model of the Complutense Baroque, in which the use of the brick is combined as constructive material with the cover stone. In the central niche, on the door, appears the image of the titular Saint Bernard of Clairvaux surrounded by large shields of the founder Cardinal Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas and mirrors. The different bodies are traversed by an impost with three parallel and horizontal inscriptions describing the historical characters of the moment and the dedication of the convent. The church, with elliptical floors and six side chapels, of which the diagonals repeat the model of the great central space, covered by a superb dome with a false vault , equally oval, the largest in its kind made in Spain. The exempt Baldachin, where the tabernacle is located, is located in front of the main altar. At the closing there are two cloisters, the convent file and the chapter house.


In January 1997 the Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo was inaugurated, with headquarters in the Convent of the Bernardas. It consists of an important collection of Italian paintings from the 17C, the work of master Angelo Nardi. It stands out in the Presbytery of the church an exempt altarpiece or baldachin made of wood stewed and polychrome, raised by Francisco Bautista, at the time the architect of the Collegiate Church of San Isidro in Madrid. The silver and ebony ark of Emperor Carlos V, ordered done by his son king Felipe II, with beautiful embossments representing victorious scenes of the emperor. The armchair of Cardinal Sandoval is a unique piece of its kind, in which the carpentry is mixed with the jewellery, enriched the piece with the inlay of rock crystals decorated as if they were gemstones. In the closing is guarded a beautiful size of the immaculate, by Antonio de Herrera Barnuevo.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Alcalà de Henares private blog in Spanish on the Convent of San Bernardo:

The Community of Madrid tourist office in Spanish on the Convent of San Bernardo:

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office in Spanish on the monastery of San Bernardo and museum:

And there you go folks, all set for a nice visit on a beautiful architectural building and in a very nice square with full of things to see some already mentioned in my blog. Enjoy the Museum of Religious Art or Museum of the Cistercian Convent of San Bernardo of Alcalà de Henares!

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

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May 17, 2021

The Royal Observatory of Madrid!

And here I have something off the beaten path for you in marvelous Madrid! Yes  there are some spot seldom visited in most visited Madrid of my beloved Spain. I like to update this monument to knowledge for you and me; the Royal Observatory of Madrid is awesome! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Let me show you another gem that is a must to visit if you are into architecture, history and especially the stars as I am. This is again in my beloved Madrid, very nice area and a bit hilly but worth it.  Let me tell you a bit or lot more on the wonderful Royal Observatory of Madrid!

The Real Observatorio is a scientific institution located in Madrid. The national astronomical observatories are one of the oldest institutions for research that the governments of the world created with a defined and important purpose.  The Real Observatorio of Madrid is perhaps the part of the Retiro Park less frequented by the public. It is located in the southwest corner of the enclosure, the closest to the Atocha train station, a few meters from the National Museum of Anthropology. The Royal Observatory is located on a small hill, the San Blas hill. Here was the hermitage of San Blas. This place was chosen precisely because of its elevated location, then on the outskirts of Madrid, a secluded spot ideal for astronomical observations and for study. To visit the Real Observatorio (Royal Observatory), it is necessary to register in advance. The visits are made in groups of maximum 25 people and last approximately one hour and a half. On the tour, visitors access only three buildings. The address main entrance is at Calle Alfonso XII, 3. Located in the Cerro de San Blas, next to Retiro Park. You can also reach it from Atocha up the Agriculture Fishing and Environment ministry building on Calle  Dr Velasco.


A bit of history I like

As Spain needed astronomy for its application to navigation, having to control a huge overseas empire. The art of sailing became the science of navigation, Jorge Juan being one of the main architects of this transformation. It was precisely he who suggested to King Charles III the establishment of an Astronomical Observatory of the Navy in southern Spain, founded in 1753 and dedicated to solving the problem of longitude at sea, teaching modern methods of astronomical navigation and maintaining the hour.  The purely astronomical activities were later transferred to a new institution, the Real Observatorio of Madrid. The main building begins to be built in 1790 in the old San Blas hill. located next to the current Parque del Buen Retiro in the Calle Alfonso XII, and at the same time, the astronomer William Herschel is responsible for the construction of a reflector telescope with a mirror of 60 cm in diameter. In 1834 the Queen María Cristina de Borbón-Dos Sicilias appointed Director of the Royal Observatory of Madrid to the illustrated Domingo Fontán, author of the first map (of Galicia) made in Spain with scientific methods. The activities in the Royal Observatory are resumed in 1845, and the construction of the building is completed the following year. In 1865, the official name of the institution will be that of the Astronomical and Meteorological Observatory of Madrid, until 1904, the year in which the Observatory is integrated into the National Geographic Institute (IGN), forming part of it since then and continuing to this day today.


The various buildings and pavilions of the Real Observatorio is detail below as briefly as possible.

Edificio Villanueva (building). Of neoclassical style, the Villanueva building is the main one of the enclosure and also the oldest one. Inside, you will enter the library, with antique furniture and a collection of more than 6,000 books mainly on astronomy and geography. Next to it are several old measuring objects, as well as two original Herschel telescopes from 1796.

The Pabellon Herschel (Pavilion) is a recent construction with a more modern design. exclusively to house the replica of the large telescope 60 centimeters in diameter that William Herschel designed and built for the Observatory around 1798. Ten years later it was destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation.

The Sala del Circulo Meridiano or Room of the Meridian Circle, which receives the name of the instrument that presides over it in the center, just up some stairs. It was built by the German astronomer Johann Georg Repsold in 1853 and acquired by the Royal Observatory the following year, thus being one of the most important elements of the institution and the main one of this type when measuring the position of the stars and fixing the hour

The Edificio Gran Ecuatorial (Great Equatorial Building), completed in 1855, besides being able to accommodate the homes of the astronomers and their assistants, had to have a rotating tower in its center to install the telescope equipped with equatorial mount from Merz. In 1922, having been outdated this equatorial telescope; it is replaced by another more modern from the house of Grubb.  At present, both the National Astronomical Observatory and the Central Geophysical Observatory have their headquarters.

The Pabellón del Astrógrafo (Pavilion of the Astrographer) is another of the buildings that you will find in the tour of the Royal Observatory. The name, logically, it takes from the fact of having housed an astrograph inside, having been made from its dome systematic observations of asteroids. For some years it was used as accommodation for several atomic clocks.

The Sala de Ciencias de la Tierra y del Universo (Room of Sciences of the Earth and the Universe). This room is also a recent building and was designed to house a museum. Inside and divided into four different themes such as Astronomy, Cartography, Geodesy and Geophysics, we can see a sample of the valuable collection of instruments used by the Royal Observatory and the National Geographic Institute over the 19C and 20C.

The Pabellon del Sol (Pavilion of the Sun)  is a construction from 1901 The purpose of its construction was to have a building where to place the two glasses of the house of Grubb bought to be able to follow the total eclipse of the Sun that occurred in 1900. Currently, this instrumental has been removed from the domes and taken to the Room of Sciences of the Earth and the Universe for exhibition.

For reservation on visits is done at the IGN on this webpage in Spanish:

The Madrid tourist office on the Royal Observatory in English:

And there you go folks, another gem, and why not while passing by Atocha transports hub which I know many do, and take a hilly but nice area walk up to the Real Observatorio? And if you give yourselves time, you can come and see this marvel ,come back and get your train,ideas for an off the beaten path fantastico de mi Madrid!!

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

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