Archive for July, 2021

July 30, 2021

Church Notre Dame de Locmaria of Quiberon!

Well if you have read my blog, you know this is my favorite area to spent my time. The peninsula of Quiberon is gorgeous and full of interesting spots. I have written widely on it in different posts before, but feel obligated to tell you a bit more on some of our interests that might be of yours too.  Quiberon, been a peninsula has beautiful beaches very much sought out by other Europeans as well. However, it has some interesting monuments located in quant nice city center full of shops, restos,and bars in the bourg or as well call here city center of the administration part of a town.

Therefore,  let me tell you a bit  more of the  Church of Notre Dame de Locmaria  in the bourg  of Quiberon!  The  Église Notre-Dame-de-Locmaria is at the entrance to the old section towards the beaches in city center Quiberon, we were just there for the first time several years back just before a wedding was to take place, very nice, no photos.  It is our walks now when we go in the main road into the town and parked for free by the train station or gare de  Quiberon, and then walk into the beach area minutes away. It is located in city center bourg at Place du Repos.

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The Church of Notre Dame de Locmaria was built in the 15C when the parish seat was transferred from the prieural Chapel of St Clement to the town, entirely redone in 1654, it will be wearing a Lantern Tower only in the 19C. Ransacked by the English of Admiral Lestock’s army in 1746, it would even serve as a hospital for the Chouans and the emigrants in 1795 (fight against the French revolution). But it was in 1900 that a storm damaged the Bell Tower destroying much of the roof. The Church in its present form dates from 1906.

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All in beige granite, sober, it occupies the highest point of the town. To see, when open, the Altar of the emigrants Breton in granite and bronze of the 20C ,and a painting of Pierre Roux of 1884, the baptism of Christ. The bells date from 1871 and come from the old church and carry inscriptions to identify them and to know their donors. The first Bell is called “Louise-Marie” and the second Bell is called “Joséphine-Félicité “. There is an ex-voto , a model of the Melpomène, a frigate dated from the 19C.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must to Quiberon and why not stop by the Church of Our Lady of the Assomption.

The city of Quiberon on its heritagehttps://www.ville-quiberon.fr/le-patrimoine/

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Quiberon: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/quiberon

There you go folks, another nice gem to see in beautiful Quiberon. And to add around the Church you have the city center admin area with plenty of shops to spent your day shopping away as well!

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

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July 30, 2021

Port Haliguen in Quiberon !!

In this time of the year the place is pack with visitors and locals alike and the weather is great of course.  What I am talking about Quiberon, the peninsula south of me, my backyard. And more specifically Port Haliguen; which not had written much about yet. This is an update of an older post ,hope you enjoy it as I.

There is a nice lighthouse done in 1856 and the marina was done from 1968; it is now on its way to be improve and enlarge from its current 1200 moorings. The governing body is on a plan right now such as a large renovation project at Port Haliguen is now underway. It involves: The large-scale dredging of the west dock (Bassin de Castero), which will be followed by the east basin (Bassin du Porigo).The complete re-planning of the quays, pontoons and commercial premises.The creation of a lively centre around the basin. This will improve the services for boat owners, develop the port and strengthen its identity. A sensible extension of the number of moorings. and you can read more on the city of Quiberon port haliguen: http://www.quiberon-port-haliguen.com/en/developments/

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There are beaches in between very nice, the wild and secluded plage de Castéro  and Kermorvan to the left facing the harbor and plage de Porigo to the right all the way to the plage du Fort Neuf.  Several fishing, boating, beach shops have opened up here as well as créperies, restos and bistro à vins. Very nice indeed.

My favorite beaches here are Castero and Porigo  ,and see more info on the webpage of Plages TV:

https://en.plages.tv/detail/castero-beach-quiberon-56170

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https://en.plages.tv/detail/porigo-beach-quiberon-56170

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You can, also, see the expositions in the Maison du Phare a sort of events place for the area . The Bay of Quiberon on the lighthouse house:   https://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/a-voir-a-faire/culture-et-patrimoine/ateliers-et-galeries-d-art/la-maison-du-phare

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You find all kinds of boats here from cruisers to dingy zodiac types, from motor to sails, combine, and catamarans. It is really a gorgeous spot to be in. We parked behind the Port Haliguen hotel right facing the harbor on a side street for free! Plenty of this type of parking if you come early.

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The lighthouses are always a pretty sight, and the bigger one from 1856 or phare de Port Haliguen can be seen for 10 miles with a height of 12 meters and no more in operation. Two smaller red phares or lighthouses are on the causeway out to see; the one on the left has 11 miles vision at 8 meters high; the one on the right has 8 miles vision of a high of 7 meters. On the north dam, there is another lighthouse,this one green with a vision of 6 miles and  9 meters high.

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Then, there is the Maison du Port or house of the harbor where the Yacht Club de Quiberon is house with a full program and plenty of boats in its yard. Official webpage of they YCQ: http://www.ycquiberon.com/index.html

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Then, you have the Capitainerie or harbormaster in Port Haliguen, VHF Chanel 9. Contact on right hand column of this harbors webpage: https://www.passeportescales.com/en/port-haliguen-quiberon

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You have a nice train station where you can walk to the Grande Plage and all the rest is not far, we parked and walk all over… the train station has a special service from Auray on the Tire-Bouchon  train or screwpull train in Summers only. You can, also, come on Keolis bus line 1 from the Auray train station in Summers.

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Driving out of town it is great to do so on rue du Port Haliguen where the Casino (betting) is on, and you past just in front of the Church of Notre Dame de Locmaria in city center.  You ,also, drive on the causeway in and out, one road two lanes in and out, and past the historic Fort of Penthievre, still a military installation but a site of firing squads assassination during the Nazi occupation. I have written on these several times before.

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Another dandy spot in my beautiful Quiberon peninsulaPort Haliguen is kind of secluded nice and great for the whole family. Enjoy it as I.

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

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July 29, 2021

Hôtel de Ville of Vannes!

As I did with my other two city halls in Paris and Versailles, the one now mine in Vannes is almost a replica, confirm with that of Paris. This is something, again, has written in bits and pieces before but feel needs a post of its own. Let me update this post for you and me ok. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more of the Hôtel de Ville or City/Town Hall of Vannes!

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The Hôtel de Ville de Vannes is located on the Place Maurice Marchais, and was built between 1880 and 1886. The other part of the administrtive part is at rue Joseph le Brix coming out of old to your left.

The City/Town Hall of Vannes was built to replace an old city/town hall in poor condition and not reflecting the ambitions of a prefecture city. Located at the place des Lices, the old city/town hall was a typical Breton-style building. Rescued from destruction, the staircase of the old city/town hall was installed in the 1960’s  in the courtyard of the Hotel de Limur. (see post).

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In 1878, the Municipal Council of Vannes fixed the location of the City/Town Hall on the place Napoléon, present day place Maurice Marchais and former place du Marché. This building wanted by the Republicans (revolutionaries) after their victory over the Monarchists in 1878 was the triumph of Republican ideas. The City/Town Hall is of Italian Renaissance style  and a copy, on the scale of Vannes, of the City/Town Hall of Paris(Hôtel de Ville).

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The main 4-story building is framed by 2 pavilions. On the main façade, the frontispiece is equipped with a clock and topped by the crest of the city. Reminiscent of the former belfry, the steeple located at 36 meters in height dominates the ensemble. The columns engaged in Corinthian capitals and pilasters. A monumental flight of stairs guarded by 2 Lions in cast iron leads to the entrance where 4 busts welcome you with Lesage, Descartes, Thiers and Mirabeau. The interior is the image of the outside;   including statues and stained glass depicting the marriage of Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII in 1491 at the level of the magnificent staircase of honor.

The city of Vannes on the Hôtel de Villehttps://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/histoire-et-patrimoine/qr-patrimoine/hotel-de-ville-en-detail/

There you go folks, another dandy in my beautiful capital city of Vannes. Hope you enjoy the post as I. Remind you it can be visited and with a guide to go into the details of it. The Hôtel de Ville of Vannes is on the rue Thiers on the edge of the old town where you can walk into the middle ages and beauty behold you!

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

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July 29, 2021

Houdan in the Yvelines 78, nice!

Now this is off the beaten path town in a vastly popular department 78 Yvelines just west of Paris with the capital city of Versailles! Houdan is south west and worth the detour me think. This is an update of an older post sort of an introduction, and I hope you enjoy as I. This was my old hunting ground…and I have come back as nostalgia sets in always. I have written bits of pieces on it, however, need to tell you more.

I like to tell you about the nice historical city of Houdan. Now I bring you to the heart of the Yvelines; visitors should dare more to come over and out of Paris! This is another example of a town that is not portrayed as Royal, but it is, go figure! .  It is Houdan, 43 km from Versailles. The nice road N12 (free road) passes by the town as well as the Paris Montparnasse direction Granville train line that has stop at Houdan.

The bit of history ,I like tells us that Houdan belongs to the Lords of Montfort from the 10C and later was added to the Duchy of Brittany!!! by marriage. It was disputed between the English and finally entered the Royal domain with the marriage of king Louis XII and Anne of Brittany/Bretagne. Given by king Louis XIV to the Luynes family in exchange for lands closer to Versailles, and stayed with them until the French revolution.

The fair or festival of Saint-Matthieu is done here every year for 2-3 days on the last weekend of September (Saint-Matthieu saint day is Sept 21). It is one of the oldest fairs in Europe with the first one going back to 1065, by the Count Amaury II de Montfort.

If not at the above festival in town, go to see the St James and St Christopher Church or église Saint-Jacques et Saint-Christophe gothic style built in the 15-16C with a renaissance choir, and an organ originally from 1739.  The first church of Houdan, at this site, was built in the 11C under the surname of Saint-Jacques-le-Major (St James the Mayor). It was rebuilt from the beginning of the 16C with the donations of the inhabitants against promises of indulgences. In 1510, the surname of Saint Christopher was added to that of Saint James. Private donation funding explains the length of the work: they ended in the early 18C. With a construction spanning three centuries, the Church of Houdan syncretised the transition from Flamboyant Gothic to Renaissance style. See the tracery of flamboyant style on the windows, and the Renaissance capitals on the pillars of the transept. The transept has only one arm and the upper part of the steeple is missing; probably for lack of funding. The Church of Saint-Jacques-le-Major-Saint-Christophe, 50 meters long, with a fairly stripped interior, is nonetheless worth the visit for its juxtaposition of the various artistic styles, from the gothic walls to the altarpiece of the high altar of 1672, not to mention a 1582 fresco. The canopy is made of white stained glass where fragments of 16C stained glass were inserted, some with a very beautiful greyness.

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Also, the tower or donjon very visible as you entered the city by car .It is what remained of the old fortifications been built in the 13C by Count Amaury III de Montfort; a massive tower alone in the western part of the town with 25 meters high and 16 meters of diameter, flank by four smaller towers of 4,8 meters in diameter; it is used today as a water tower.

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The Houdan tourist office on the Churchhttps://www.tourisme-pays-houdanais.fr/ent/discover/built-heritage/religious-heritage.html

The official Donjon of Houdan webpage: https://www.ledonjondehoudan.fr/index.php/le-donjon-de-houdan/

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist office on Houdan :https://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/visite-decouverte-yvelines/visiter-houdan-village-medieval

This is an overlook town for those visiting the Paris/Versailles corridor and as it is still an off the beaten path area that visitors should try to visit more if can. There is so much to see, I know!!! Anyway, Houdan is nice and lovely city center around the castle and donjon tower, the market right next to the Church all around you! Hope you enjoy the post and Houdan!

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

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July 29, 2021

The Estanque Grande del Parque del Buen Retiro of Madrid!!!

And I take you to my dear beloved Madrid again. Of course , written plenty on this wonderful city, and as well on the Retiro park. This time I like to concentrate on the big pond in it or the Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro in Spanish full name. I like to tell you details of it but mostly its history, as do not want to repeat myself. Here is my take on the Retiro park big pond! OK great news, just name to the Unesco World Heritage list , Parque del Buen Retiro I knew it!!!

The Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro or the Grand Pond of the Good Retreat, popularly known as the Retiro Estanque or Pond, is an extension of an artificial body of water, located in the Retiro Park. It was created in the first half of the 17C as one of the most important landscape elements of the Buen Retiro,an ancient possession of the Spanish Crown arising during the reign of Felipe IV. Its ownership corresponds, since 1868, to the City Of Madrid, as well as the landscaped spaces on which the current public park was formed. With an area of 37 240 m2 and a volume of water of 55 150 m3, it has a jetty that allows recreational navigation and the holding of rowing and canoeing competitions. On its banks are the Monument to Alfonso XII and the Egyptian Fountain.

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A bit of history I like

The Estanque Grande was built in the context of the works of the Buen Retiro, a set of palaces and gardens promoted in 1632 by the Count-Duke of Olivares for the enjoyment of King Felipe IV. In its location, it was occupied of a primitive pond, from the time of Felipe II who frequented the old Royal room of the Monastery of the Jeronimos,(see post) around which the Palace of the Buen Retiro would end up forming. According to some historians, it would be the pond that the aforementioned monarch had to make on the occasion of the entry into Madrid of his fourth wife, Queen Anne of Austria , and where a naval battle was staged in her honor. Although there is no written proof of this story, only the thought of historians.

Apart from the playful function that the Estanque Grande would eventually develop, its creation was mainly motivated by the need to have a large water reserve that guaranteed the supply to both the palace and the gardens and fountains. Hence four Ferris wheels were enabled on its banks, which extracted the water for distribution to different points of the complex. In addition to facilitating the practice of fishing, they had a scenic function within the theatrical performances that were held there especially during the reign of Felipe IV. According to the chronicles of the time, one of the most applauded performances was El mayor encanto, amor, or the greatest charm, love, of Calderón de la Barca that was staged in 1635, in the first Estanque Grande, with sketches of Cosme Lotti . Nautical simulations of naval combat were also carried out, using scale-made military ships and artifice fires. They were so numerous that the Royal site came to have its own fleet, integrated not only by military vessels, but also by gondolas and falúas, that made it possible to sail through the pond. In the Museum of Falúas Reales (Royal boats) , in Aranjuez exhibits a golden gondola belonging to this fleet, which King Carlos II commissioned in Naples, in 1686.

Recreational navigation was also practiced in the Rio Grande or El Mallo, a canal that started at the end of the pond and ended, after forming a circle and forking, in the lobbed estuary of San Antonio de los Portugueses (St Anthony of the Portuguese), a hermitage that was located on an artificial island, approximately where today stands the Fountain of the Fallen Angel (Fuente del Angel Caido). The Estanque Grande was surrounded by a lush forest, whose plantation began in 1638 and lasted until 1642. At that time, it should also have been carried out to afforestation of the Rio Grande, with a double row of trees on its edges.  In 1767 King Carlos III allowed public access to the compound, under certain restrictions, and established as a limit of the visits one of the banks of the Estanque Grande. During the War of Independence (1808-1814) the Buen Retiro was used as a barracks of Napoleonic troops, which caused significant damage to both the palace and the gardens, including the pond. With the arrival of king Fernando VII in 1814, its recovery was carried out, while new architectural elements were created The largest, the disappeared Royal Pier, was built in 1817 on the east bank, where the Monument to Alfonso XII is today. On the southern bank was built the Egyptian Fountain, which does stand still today.

During the reign of Fernando VII, the public visit to the gardens was still allowed, except for an area, called El Reservado (the Reserve), which the king took it for his personal enjoyment. In 1867, his daughter Queen Isabel II went a step further and allowed public navigation within the Estanque Grande, by leasing the facilities. In 1867, the boating service was inaugurated, with the assistance of professional rowers, and subsequently the first hotel establishments were opened on the banks. After the Revolution of 1868, which led to the dethroning of Isabel II, the Real Sitio del Buen Retiro (Royal Site of the Good Retreat) passed into the hands of the City Council of Madrid, which would make it a public park, with what the Estanque Grande went on as under municipal management.  In the first two decades of the 20C the physiognomy of the Estanque Grande changed substantially again, as a result of the construction of the Monument to the Spanish Fatherland personified in King Alfonso XII (better known as monument to Alfonso XII) on the shores, right in the place occupied by the Royal jetty. In 1917 the jetty was made that was to be definitive, this time on the northern bank and not on the east, like the previous ones. Six years later, in 1926, the jetty that has arrived to this day was built, as well as the lockers and surveillance posts annexed.

Some interesting facts I like

The Estanque Grande or big pond   has been dried several times throughout its history. This was proceeded in 1964, due to the filming of the film The Fabulous World, where it was used as a stage. In 1982 and 2001 it was emptied again, this time for cleaning, maintenance and repair. In 2001 it had to be waterproofed, since it was losing about 5000 liters a day. In 2001 it was completely emptied to repair it, and when the water disappeared they came to light, among others things , the following treasures: 192 chairs, 40 boats, 41 tables, 20 bins, 9 wooden benches, 3 containers, 19 town hall fences, 50 mobile phones, a gum vending machine, several shopping carts, numerous skateboards and an open empty safe. The Estanque Grande is inhabited by about 8,000 fishes, most of them carp although there are also other species such as catfish or pond perch. It also has other beings such as tortoises or crabs. As for the flora, there are several tree plantations on its banks, belonging to six main species: the false acacia, the white poplar, the chestnut tree of the Indies, the cedar of Lebanon, white eucalyptus and the shade banana trees.

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At its deepest point, the pond measures 1.81 meters. Its dimensions are 280 meters long by 140 meters wide. Inside, 55,000 cubic meters of water can fit. During the reign of queen Isabel II, the Paseo de las Estatuas (later christened Argentina) was opened, which touches the west bank with the Puerta de España (Spanish Gate). After the transfer of the Real Sitio to the City of Madrid in 1868, the Avenida de México was inaugurated, which links its northwest angle with the Puerta de la Independencia (Puerta de Alcalà), through the Fuente de los Galapagos. The pond is bounded by four main tracks. The Calle de Nicaragua runs along its west side, while The Plaza del Maestro Villa passes through the back of the Monument to Alfonso XII, marking the eastern flank. To the north extends the Paseo del Estanque and to the south the Paseo de Venezuela.

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The tourist office of Madrid on the Estanque Grande of the Retiro park: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/estanque-grande-de-el-retiro

Needsless to say as done it in previous blog but for short, I used to lived not far from it and it was  my park; the city limits of Madrid ended there really as the centro was for the visitors and a lot more today. The park has become very popular as well but it is big so all can fit in! My quickest entry was the Puerta de Hernani and the big entrance was at by the Puerta de la Independencia facing the Puerta de Alcalà on Calle de Alcalà ,my street! Memories forever and a must stop by me and now family when in town. It could be your memorable moment too, Retiro Park is awesome!

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Hope you enjoy the park and the pond with me many memories that have lasted over the years and with my family too. Estanque Grande del Buen Retiro is sublime, and Madrid awesome! I shall return!!!

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

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July 28, 2021

Chateau de La Roche Guyon!

And this was a historical visit lol! Actually passed by it several times and never got in until one day we had time and finally went in!! It was a memorable visit and we remember fondly especially the garden with my dear late wife Martine. Thereafter we came several times. Therefore, here is my take on the Chateau de La Roche Guyon!

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This is an updated older post. It is always good to have nice memories of the Castle of La Roche Guyon! Let me tell you a bit about La Roche Guyon  in dept 95 Val-d’Oise in the Île-de-France region. Very nicely along the A13 by car, direction from Paris on the autoroute A13 of Normandie, direction Rouen, at Mantes exit 14 take it followed direction Limay than Vétheuil./La Roche Guyon or even better the A15/D14 more scenic out of Paris. We always stop by La Roche Guyon, make it a one two punch hard to resist while driving this beautiful area great for weekends. Here you have the Chateau de la Roche Guyon, the Seine river form an unique turn with a high elevation ideal for a lookout from those invading Normans!

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A bit of history I like

In the 3C , the troglodyctives caves, and the local lord Guy eventually gave the name to Roche Guyon. History tell us that from the year 911 , the treaty of Saint Clair sur Epte giving Normandy to the Vikings, the Roche Guyon keeps the limits of the frontier with the French kingdom over the Seine river.  The French revolution has a tragic and bloody event here, as the owner of the castle was Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld, he was very close to the ideals of the American Revolution and translate to French all the articles of the constitution of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina with first editions in 1778.  He along with the Marquis de Lafayette, joined the estates generals and guided in principles the avenants of the French revolution, elected President of the department of Paris in 1791. Aftet the revolutionaries turn against him for fear of his democratic ideals, he take refuge with his wife and mother at  Forges-les-Eaux where he hides there but in september 4, 1792 while doing a carriage transfer at Gisors he is arrested and massacre by stoning while his mother and wife looks on in disbelief.  More than 1000 are taken prisioners there and killed, the mother the Duchess of Enville is spare with the daughter in law by the intervention of the local people who appreciated their support. She died in Paris in 1797 and the grandson continues with the property of Roche Guyon which eventually passes to his heir, the Cardinal Rohan. Some renovation is done to preserve the castle from lack of care in years later.

Then WWII starts, from 1940 the village is occupied by the nazis, and on 1943 a civil defense field  created.  In February 1944, marshal Rommel established his command HQ in the Château de La Roche-Guyon.  The town is liberated the 8 august 1944 after 8 bombs hits the Chateau , taking about 20 yrs to make it back to how it was before the war.

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The castle and gardens are now open.  The visit is done following the terraces, then along and inside the salons or rooms, then the circuit of donjons /towers, and chapels, then the casements. Dont forget to visit the gardens just in front of castle towards the Seine river.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Château de La Roche Guyon: https://www.chateaudelarocheguyon.fr/

The town La Roche Guyon on the castle in French: http://larocheguyon.fr/decouvrir-roche-guyon/le-chateau/

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the ride, it is a historical nice place to visit and the views over the garden and into the  Seine river are sublime. Enjoy La Roche Guyon!

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

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July 28, 2021

A nostalgic look at New Brunswick !!

Well this is another gem taken from the vault of memories not yet written on. After going over updating many older posts in my blog, and what a thrill it has been!! I found this nice picture that reminded me of a town visit several times in my youth back in my days of New Jersey USA! Therefore, let me tell you another of my nostalgic posts this time on New Brunswick!!

As briefly as possible as already written on NJ but just to remind new readers.  New Jersey  State borders on the west by  Pennsylvania and Delaware, on the north by New York State, and on the south east by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s capital city is the historic Trenton and its biggest city is metropolitan Newark. It is one of the smallest State but one of the most densely populated one as well. Sitting in what we call, the Tri-State area of NJ, NY, and CT was my area or Central NJ.

I lived in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, (see posts). Part of Central Jersey but stuck up near North Jersey and across from New York City.  The capital of the county is New Brunswick! Perth Amboy borders the Arthur Kill, (and my house was by there looking at NYC Staten Island), and features a historic waterfront. Here I spent my Middle School name William C McGinnis; and graduated from Perth Amboy High School (or PAHS) ; the Panthers!!!(see posts)

At New Brunswick, I became an American citizen in December 13 1980 in the municipal courthouse, 25 Kirkpatrick Street!

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New Brunswick is the seat of Middlesex County. It is located 50 km from New York, on the south bank of the Raritan river, about 24 km from the mouth of it.  The site of New Brunswick where the first settlers settled in 1681 was first inhabited by the Amerindian people of the Lenapes. This first colony was called “Prigmore’s Swamp” from 1681 to 1697 then “Indian’s Ferry” from 1691 to 1714. It was not until 1714 that the young colony took the name of “New Brunswick”. New Brunswick was delimited by Royal Charter on December 30, 1730, between other towns in Middlesex County and Somerset County, and was again delimited by Royal Charter on February 12, 1763. The name comes from that of the German city of Brunswick. Brunswick was an influential and powerful city within the Hanseatic League, then the Holy Roman Empire, and was the seat of the Duchy then of the Principality of Hanover whose prince-elector became King George I of Great Britain who reigned between 1714 and 1727.(change name after WWI and now continues as house of Windsor).

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was first read in public in Philadelphia, after having been promulgated there by the Continental Congress, and was then read for the third time in public in New Brunswick. The 3rd public reading of the Declaration of Independence took place outside a tavern on Albany Street on July 9, 1776. The document was en route from Philadelphia to New York when Col. John A. Neilson stood outside a tavern, atop a table, and read it to the townspeople! A life-size bronze statue commemorating this significant moment in our city’s history is located in Monument Square, in front of the Heldrich Hotel.

The city is also home to most of the Rutgers University campus.The main NJ state university. New Brunswick is remarkable for its Hungarian community. It counted nearly a quarter of the population of Hungarian origin residing in New Jersey.

Things to see in my opinion are: Old Queen’s College, the oldest building on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, built between 1808 and 1825. Rutgers Church, Douglas College. Statue of William of Orange in Voorhees Mall on the Old Queen’s College campus . The home of Henry Guest, alderman of New Brunswick and friend of John Adams and Thomas Paine. The birthplace of Joyce Kilmer. journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer and editor.

Sadly in these years my hobby was turn into post card collection (4K+ 76 countries) and pictures were not important so now do not have hardly any of this period. Needless, to say have New Brunswick in my blog because know the city, played soccer against their HS and went in summer matches against kids there, visit and played on the Rutgers univ stadium and just about everywhere including obtaining my US citizenship there. Another memorable spot in my world map!

Some webpages for further info on New Brunswick are:

The city of New Brunswick on things to do / seehttps://www.cityofnewbrunswick.org/visitors/index.php

The New Brunswick tourist officehttps://www.newbrunswick.com/

The New Jersey tourist board on New Brunswick: https://visitnj.org/city/new-brunswick

There you go folks , a nostalgic spot in my world map has a post and I feel good about it. New Brunswick was part of my early life in the USA, memories forever. Hope you enjoy the post as I!

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

July 28, 2021

Cathedral St Alain of Lavaur!

Again, another memorable older post very happy to update for you and me. Enjoying doing these updates and they bring lots of memories such as this one.  I have other newer post on the Cathedral fyi. The Cathedral St Alain of Lavaur is beautiful and the native town of my boys maternal grandfather Pierre RIP. Let me tell you a bit more about it.

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Well in my rounds thru a very dear region of my belle France for my family, I though I had told you all but it seems in my vault there are plenty more to tell you. I am glad to show you the Cathedral of Saint Alain in Lavaur, the native town of my dear late wife Martine, late father Pierre (which unfortunately never met died when she was 10 in auto accident snowy roads same day my twin boys were born later!). We have visited the town several times over the years.  The Cathedral of St. Alain is located in Lavaur in the Tarn department 81 , in the new region of Occitanie ,and was built between 1255 and 1300.  It is 73 meters long by 14 meters wide. A Jacquemart rings the hours at the top of the tower. At the front is the garden of the bishopric.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-bell-tower-jacquemart

The origin of honoring Saint Alain at Lavaur remains unknown. The foundation of the Priory of Saint-Alain is attested by a charter of 1098 where the bishop of Toulouse Izarn of Lavaur makes a donation to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Pons-de-Thomières, dependent for them to rebuild the Church of St. Elan of Lavaur, then in ruins, proving that the cult of Saint Alain in Lavaur is clearly prior to this date.

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A bit of history I like

A Romanesque church was built between 1099 and 1211 by the Benedictines of Saint-Pons for their priory at Lavaur, which was destroyed during the Albigeois (cathars)  crusade during the siege of 1211. The present church was rebuilt in the middle of the 13C, begun around 1255, preserving the Romanesque footprint of the small bell tower south of the Jacquemart. It is of pure southern Gothic style with a large nave unique to slender proportions, the 13C church had only five bays closed at both ends by a straight wall. The erection of the priory in the bishopric of Lavaur in 1317 transformed the church into a cathedral, prelude to the expansion of the church, which would continue until the beginning of the 16C at the initiative of the bishops.

In the 14C, the chapels were built and by the middle of the 15C, the chapel currently serving as the sacristy, under the term of Saint Martial and in 1480 adjoining the canons established a chapter hall dedicated to Saint Gauthier. Fresco paintings performed in 1730 adorn its walls, narrating in episodes the story of Lavaur. They are erased on quite a large part by the humidity. It was especially in the last quarter of the 15C, on the initiative of Bishop Jean Vigier, that major works were undertaken giving the cathedral its present physiognomy. It is still the end of the 15C that a chapel was added adjacent to the south of the old Romanesque porch, well preserved, to the rich capitals evocative of the childhood of Christ. A new side entrance, adorned with pinnacles, surmounted by the Bishop’s shield, is then carried out on the southern flank of the connecting span.

A bit on the description and architecture

The Altar table, late 11C. Since 1967, the altar of the Choir of Saint-Alain has a table whose exact provenance we do not know. It was found in 1876 in the Chapel of the hospital of Lavaur, but this is not its place of origin. It is possible that it came from the Cathedral and may have been part of the donation of Bishop Izarn to the Benedictines, but another hypothesis would make it come from the Church of Sainte-Foy de la Salvetat founded in Lavaur in 1065 by the monks of the abbey Sainte-Foy de Conques, which then took the name of Sainte-Croix and served as chapel for the Brotherhood of the Blue Penitents. This Romanesque table, in white marble probably of Saint-Beat, is part of the continuation of the production of altar tables of the Ecclesiastical province of Narbonne. The main theme of the anterior face is a Christ blessing in a circular mandorla, is the same on both tables. A series of angels, complete this face. On the right side are represented two angels supporting the altar table itself, a motif found on the stone of one of the capitals of Saint-Sernin (Toulouse). The sculpture on the left side would represent two angels worshipping the bread of heaven. The fourth face was destined to be engaged in masonry and is not decorated.

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At the beginning of the 15C, a magnificent portal was adorned in flamboyant Gothic with thomas; at the porch steeple the delicately chiseled ensemble will later be added the two chapels on the south side with very ornate vaults , one of which presents a very decorated niche, currently framing a beautiful pietà of painted and gilded wood of the 17C.  A very nice organ completes the whole feature with a richly Renaissance buffet. At the same time the enfeu to the right of the sanctuary of Renaissance decor, tomb of a bishop of Lavaur. Finally, the first mechanism and the bell of the famous Jacquemart date from 1523. But it appears that the automation (currently 3rd generation) will only take place in 1604.

lavaur-cat-st-alain-angels-pedestal-bishops-seat

There you go folks, a bit more on it in addition to my other general posts on the region and department of the Tarn! Hope you enjoy, it is another wonderful example of Cathedrals in France. Worth a detour to see the Saint Alain Cathedral at Lavaur!

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

The city of Lavaur on the cathedralhttps://www.ville-lavaur.fr/la-cathedrale-saint-alain/

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on the cathedralhttps://www.tourisme-tarn.com/patrimoine-culturel/cathedrale-saint-alain

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on the cathedral’s Jacquemarthttps://www.tourisme-tarn.com/patrimoine-culturel/le-jacquemart-cathedrale-saint-alain

The Catholic churches in the Tarn dept 81 on the Cathédrale Saint Alain in Frenchhttps://albi.catholique.fr/tarn-tourisme-catholique/eglises-du-tarn/lavaur-cathedrale-saint-alain/

There you go folks, fully enjoy it as we do. The Cathédrale Saint Alain is unique in France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 27, 2021

Orléans, a lot more than Jeanne!

And continuing in my saga of updating older posts to relieve wonderful family moments of our travels; it has been a blast and thank you for reading me since November  2010!! I bring us back to the magical Orléans loaded with the history of France and Europe but also beautiful architecture. Indeed, Orléans is a lot more than Jeanne!

So needless to say have other posts on Orléans in my blog and speaking of Jeanne oh yes Joan of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc (Fr) it is a nice city to visit and even thus we use the car, it has direct train service from Paris for an easy day outing. It is worth it. Let me tell you a bit more on Orléans. The very essence of mentioning Orléans brings back my history coming to France. It was on my trip to know my dear late wife Martine, that I passed by here on our way to Spain, right down the center of town back in 1990, still going strong, and many visits afterward.

This is the epicenter of the history of modern France, when Jeanne d’Arc gave back the city to the French king Charles VII from the English invaders. This is the epic story of a young lady rise to military genius and more importantly to be later the Patron Saint of France, doctor of the Catholic Church.  It is a city in the department of the Loiret No 45 in the region Centre-Val-de-Loire.  It is easily reachable on the autoroute A10 direction Bordeaux from Paris. Near it passes the A71 towards the mediterranean becoming later the A75 . The A19 linked the city with the A10 and A6 north of the city. By the way I have visited the city only by car. However, it is well linked by train from Paris Austerlitz station , the SNCF train station is at avenue de Paris near shopping center place d’Arc; the bus station is also next to the train station. Just to add this was the route to go to Paris at Gare d’Orsay, today its the museum. There is a local bus/tramway service Tao, but again never use it.

The city goes back several thousands years but the most important event was that took place with Jeanne d’Arc and its liberation. Liberated on May 8 1429. Later after much destruction in WWII it was liberated again by Gen Patton of the US 3rd Army in 1945. The history associated with it its huge not enough space for this post .  The feast of Jeanne d’Arc is held every year on the 29 of April to May 8 celebrations, there is a video reproduction and more in French at the metro Orléans tourist office webpage, keep an eye for it: https://www.orleans-metropole.fr/fetes-de-jeanne-d-arc/

However, as an introductory post to Orléans there is plenty others things to see and have some on separate posts in my blog. Below a sentimental picture of my boys and dear Martine front of Hôtel de Ville or city hall of Orléans!

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One must come here to see the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix (see post ) at 10 rue Gobelets,where Jeanne d’Arc came to celebrate Mass in 1429. There is a church here since 330 destroyed ,fires, and always rebuilt from kings of France to 1829 when finally all restored. its great inside and statue of Jeanne d’Arc is superb.  The Hôtel Groslot,(see post ) built between 1550-1555 by Jacques Groslot bailif of Orleans. kings Charles IX, Henri III,and Henri IV stayed here ! It now houses the mayors office of the city since 1790, it is splendidly richly decorated. The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc (see post) is where she lodged from april 24 to May 9 1429, rebuilt to identical after its destruction with the bombings of WWII.   The place du Martroi, symbolic heart of the city has a huge equestrian statue of Jeanne d’Arc where she is bigger than the horse, at WWII this sculpture was partially destroyed and it was rebuilt by sculptor Paul Belmondo ,father of the famous actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.  The Hôtel Hatte, 15C, where it now houses the Center Charles Péguy, a native writer/poet who felled in WWI in the battle of the Marne in Villeroy (Seine-et-Marne).  The Church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance built between 1513-1519 has a choir altar from Second Empire in renaissance style. For walks do it by rue de Bourgogne and rue de l’Empereur for wonderful medieval ambiance as well as Rue Royale. The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Place Ste Croix, is very nice with works from Velazquez, Van Dyck, Jan Brueghel, Tintoret,  and works of Rodin,Maillol, Picasso etc, really nice. Walk too the pont George V the oldest bridge in the city, built in 1751-1760 and runs for about 1,2 km.

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orleans-pl-de-l-etape-near-hotel-de-ville

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On this particular trip we stayed gloriously at the Mercure Centre Hotel at 44-46 quai Barentin overlooking the Loire river and near pont George V. As usual great service by the chain,pool and good resto. walking distance to the best and easy in and out of the city by car. However,there is plenty of accommodation in the city to choose for all budgets.  The Mercure hotel resto Le Chaland (now call Le M)  was good too and cheaper at menus from 13,50€.  the picture on happier times for me and my dearl late wife Martine (picture caught me eating! ). The Mercure Accor webpage: https://all.accor.com/hotel/0581/index.fr.shtml

Orleans mercure centre hotel le chaland resto PF et MF aug07

The Metro Orléans city tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.orleans-metropole.fr/histoire-patrimoine/lieux-celebres

The Metro Orléans tourist office on the walks of Joan of Archttps://en.tourisme-orleansmetropole.com/walking-joan-arcs-footsteps

The local Loire Valley tourist office on Orléanshttps://www.loirevalley-france.co.uk/outings/city-visits/orleans-town-authentic-tourism

There you go folks, enjoy the city of Orléans . We did too!!! The city really needs more attention. Hope you have enjoy the post as I!  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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July 27, 2021

Savigny-les-Beaune , castle and museum!

And updating this older post it brings back many memories of old with good family times on our road warrior mode in Bourgogne/Burgundy where we stayed many times renting gîtes or rental houses. We took it as a base around Buxy and then rode all over the region. One of the highlight of this particular trip was a visit to Savigny-les-Beaune. It is with great pleasure that I bring back the visit to the Château de Savigny and its museum! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I do have traveled a lot and love it; thankful to be able to do it. Lucky to be in the world’s No 1 most visited country by international official counts (UN-WTO) ,France, and it shows so much to see. As said will need a lifetime and then may not be able to see everything. But I am trying hard! The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a region of my belle France with a lot of wealth when it comes to monuments and vineyards, however, I like to combine my love for aviation with wines and one of the best if not the best place to do this is at Savigny-les-Beaune a town close to another famous ,Beaune.(see posts).  When my travels takes me away with the family I try to combine all that is of interest to all of us. Its the best way to enjoy your vacation,especially if you have kids. Since I have 3 boys, our interests are pretty much the same, we all like women, wines, autos ,and airplanes. Therefore what better way to enjoy our vacation then to go to Savigny-les-Beaune in Burgundy.

savigny les beaune chateau-savigny-les-beaune-entr-aug95

Its one of my secret get away, the family rents a gîte or a house rental in the area, this time was in near Buxy in the Côte Chalonnaise of southern Burgundy. From there with a car we expand to all horizons but deeply submerge in the wine country. In fact the house was surrounded by vineyards, and we purchase the wine right from the owner at 5€ the bottle of red. Yummy!!  One of the highlights of the long summer vacation trip was to see the vineyard of Chateau Savigny les Beaune  with 20 hectares (49,4 acres) which includes the appellations of Auxey-Duresses, Beaune, Monthelie, Pommard, Volnay and Savigny-lès-Beaune.

Where Michel Pont has not only added a magnificent bottle but also a diehard fanatics of cars and planes, he has established a museum indoors and outdoors of these marvels. He is especially in love with FIAT 500 Abarth ,and all the previous models going back to 1956. He keeps 149 cars in his car museum plus 36 he has competed. Inside there is a minituare displays of cars from all over the world. There are,also, 250 motocycles from 1903 to 1960.  In the park of the castle spread around like ants he has kept 80 fighter airplanes of French, American, and Russian manufactured.  You are ,also, to see engines, and airplanes parts from many models . Inside, you will see 2400 small sides models of airplanes of the world. The view of these aerodrome of vintage war planes is awesome, and should not be missed when in the area, especially with kids.

DCF 1.0

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I like to give some history of the castle as I like it,

The Château de Savigny-lès-Beaune is a 14C castle on a wine estate of 20 hectares of the Côte de Beaune vineyard, in Savigny-lès-Beaune in the Côte-d’Or dept 21 of the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. This castle was built around 1340 for the Duke Eudes IV of Burgundy. It was destroyed in 1478 by order of king Louis XI, in retaliation for what his owner had taken the part of the Duchess Marie of Burgundy and her husband the future Emperor Maximilian I against him during the War of the succession of Burgundy. Only the crows of the machicolations still visible on two towers are preserved. At the beginning of the 17C, the castle was restored by the family of Lords Bouhier with the addition of the little castle after 1671.

savigny les beaune chateau-savigny-les-beaune-dining-room-aug95

In 1689, the castle started changing hands by several families .In 1979, the castle was purchased by Michel Pont, a winegrower operating an important wine estate of 20 hectares of the Côte de Beaune vineyards, which undertook major restoration work. Former racing driver Abarth of the 1960’s, and important collector of mechanics, he founded several museums with important mechanical collections and housing, in 2018, the most important private collection in the world of fighter planes, approved by the Guinness Book of Records !

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Château de Savigny on the museums info webpage: https://www.chateau-savigny.com/musees/

The Beaune tourist office on the Château de Savignyhttps://www.beaune-tourism.com/discover/chateaux-abbeys-burgundy/chateau-de-savigny-les-beaune

The Côte d’Or dept 21 on Savigny-les-Beaunehttps://www.cotedor-tourisme.com/sit/chateau-de-savigny-les-beaune

Hope you enjoy the visit with the entire family to this pretty castle and its awesome museums. Savigny-les-Beaune is worth the detour, and a must if an aviation/automobile amateur! And again thanks for reading me since November 2010!!

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

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