Archive for July 10th, 2021

July 10, 2021

The wonders of Sancerre!!

And I am staying around Sancerre, this time with more time to see things than in the past. My last minute road warrior idea of a vacation took off by car in 5h25 to the beautiful Sancerre  in the Cher dept 18 of the region of Centre Val de Loire! Again, all around this is wine country but I will give something more new pictures. Hope you enjoy it as we did!!

Let me show some beautiful sights in Sancerre not written elsewhere in my blog. This is a brand new experience!

There are many of them and even a route de Jacques Coeur and of course, there is one house in Sancerre too! The Maison de Jacques Cœur, 1 Place du Beffroi, built in the 15C, this residence, the oldest in the city, was built by Jacques Coeur, the great treasurer of King Charles VII. Confiscated during his disgrace and his death sentence, it was returned in 1463 to his son Geoffrey, host master.

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The tour du Chancelier de Giac. Pierre II de Giac had been appointed master of finance by Charles VII in 1424. He fell madly in love with Catherine de L’Isle Bouchard, who apparently turned many heads. He married her at the end of 1425. Pierre died in 1427. Legend has it that Catherine had something to do with it, especially since she would later marry her lover, Georges de la Trémoille.

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The place de L’Ancienne Halle (see pic other post on sights of Sancerre) had a first market   built in 1456 by Jean IV , first count of Sancerre of the House of Bueil. The second hall, built in 1883 and demolished in 1981, has not been rebuilt.

And I will put the experience of the hotel/restaurant in this post. We came several times to eat and drink at the Hôtel des Remparts in Sancerre and it was a find! superbe!!

The Hôtel-Restaurant du Rempart located at the Rempart des Abreuvoirs street in the heart of Sancerre, the Hôtel du Rempart offers a terrace, a restaurant and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. On site, you will also benefit from the daily press and free public parking just next. With a view of the vineyard, the Remparts restaurant welcomes you in an authentic setting. Authentic French cuisine resto. I have to say this was one of the highlights of the trip. The service and friendliness of the folks there was beyond the call of duty , the food was excellent with great price/quality ratio. The bar area we were right away recognise each time which helps been a lot of time there lol! The terrase overlooking the valley of vineyards was awesome: we really enjoyed it and recommended to all No webpage but they do have a page in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hoteldurempart/

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The Hôtel de la Thaumassière dates from the 17C; its roof is decorated with beautiful stone carvings. The history of the Hotel de la Thaumassière, now owned by Coeur de France Ecole de Langues, is closely linked to the history of Sancerre. The hotel has over 400 years of history behind it. The Thaumassière was built around 1590 during the reign of Henri IV by César Thaumas de la Thaumassière, apothecary and doctor of Henri II de Bourbon, prince of Condé. More than 20 rooms occupied the three floors and nearly 50 windows let in light. Under the hotel, a large vaulted cellar was built to store food and wine (from Sancerre obviously). César Thaumas de la Thaumassière appreciated beauty: one can thus perceive his sense of humor while observing the carved stone statues which adorn the roof (a drinker, a wine grower, a musician). His son, César, known by the name by Gaspard Thaumas de la Thaumassière is the author of a “Histoire de Berry”, published for the first time in 1689. In 1898, the building was bought by the Caisse d’Epargne.(bank) Then, in the 21C, after major renovations, Coeur de France moved into the building in January 2003, thus responding to the wish of the city of Sancerre, sensitive to the fact of keeping the building within a listed historic district. La Thaumassière becomes a place of cultural exchange for students.  The Coeur de France webpage on the history of the Hôtel de La Thaumassiére in English: https://www.coeurdefrance.com/about-us/our-school-building/

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The city of Sancerre and its historyhttps://ville-sancerre.com/culture/#histoire

The Sancerre tourist office on the not to be missed sights : https://www.tourisme-sancerre.com/la-destination/nos-incontournables/cite-medievale-de-sancerre/

The petites cités de caractére or the small towns of character of France so Sancerre : https://petitescitesdecaractere.com/en/explore-petites-cites-de-caractere-small-towns-character/sancerre

The Berry province local tourist office on Sancerrehttps://www.berryprovince.com/ma-destination-le-berry/les-destinations-en-berry/sancerre-et-la-loire/#

There you go folks, a wonderful town to visit, this is beautiful Sancerre. The visit was a good one for all and looking forward to be back! Hope you enjoy this post and be alert on the others to come. Thank you for reading me and sharing my hopes and dreams since November 2010!

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

July 10, 2021

Sancerre land of the white wines!

I have heard of this town for a long time while living in France. Finally several years back when living in Versailles took a tour with a group of co-workers to the Maison de Sancerre the wine showcase of Sancerre , and it was nice. As places have it, took again off for other venues in  my belle France. Finally, in this days of looking to go out again, decided on a last minute rush to visit Sancerre. We were glad we did! Here is the introduction to the town by yours truly!

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The town of Sancerre is located in the Cher department 18 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. In 2021, this town was elected Favorite village of the French in the program presented by Stéphane Bern on France 3 TV. Yes we saw it !!

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Sancerre borders the Nièvre department and the Bourgogne-Franche Comté region from which it is separated by the Loire river. The lateral canal to the Loire crosses the town. It is 43 km from Bourges (see posts); the prefecture of Cher dept 18.

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The village of Chavignol is amalgamated with the town of Sancerre between 1790 and 1794 .Established in a basin in the middle of the vines, the village of Chavignol stretches out along the road which goes up to the church. The Crottin de Chavignol, goat’s cheese made from whole and raw milk, has also made the reputation of the village and has benefited from a controlled designation of origin (AOC) since 1976. The shape of the cheese, due to that of its molding, which recalls that of the old terracotta oil lamps (the crot), explains its surprising name. The Sancerre winegrowers produce a dry white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc as well as a red and a rosé made from Pinot Noir. The white, red and rosé wines made from these grape varieties obtained the controlled designation of origin in 1936 and 1959 respectively. The wines of Sancerre are today known throughout the world, especially the whites.

A bit of history I like

From 1152 to 1789, the county of Sancerre belonged to large families of the kingdom of France, successively the house of Sancerre (1152-1419), the house of Auvergne (1419-1436), the Bueil family (1451-1628) , the house of Condé (1628-1777), the house of Espagnac (1777-1786) and King Louis XVI (1786-1791).

The Château de Sancerre, whose date of foundation is unknown, was built from the 12C  by Étienne Ier de Sancerre, son of Thibaut IV de Blois dit Le Grand, on an easily defensible hill, and near the village formed around the abbey of Saint-Satur. A new village was formed around the castle, which eventually became more important than the original village.  The inhabitants of the county town embraced the Protestant reform in the 1550s. Sancerre was at the time a strong position and became a Calvinist place of war. The peace of Saint-Germain in 1570 leaves it theoretically to the king of France Charles IX, but it is acquired to the Protestants.

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In 1795, the town of Sancerre rose up with Antoine Le Picard de Phélippeaux at its head. He was a friend of Bonaparte at the Military School in Paris. In April of this year, Sancerre was the object of occupation by the forces of the republican revolutionary army. Phélippeaux is taken prisoner but manages to escape to England. He finally died in 1799 against his former companion Bonaparte while defending the city of Saint-Jean-d’Acre, in Palestine.

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Some historical culture associated with Sancerre. The Marquis de Sade titled one of his stories La Comtesse de Sancerre in The Crimes of Love. In the 19C, François-René de Chateaubriand stayed at the Château de l’Estang, Stendhal at the Château de Tracy during a brief stay in 1830. The action of La Muse in the department of Honoré de Balzac was located in Sancerre. Sancerre is also the homeland of two of the main characters of La Comédie Humaine, the doctor Horace Bianchon and the journalist Étienne Lousteau.

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The things to see here are the Notre-Dame Church (see post) , 17-19C. The Saint-Pierre Church . The Hôtel de la Thaumassière dates from the 17C; its roof is decorated with beautiful stone carvings.. The Tower of the Fiefs (see post): from the top of its 195 steps and a height of 40 meters, this last vestige of the old feudal castle offers a beautiful panoramic view of Sancerre and its region; the back is adorned with a magnificent wisteria planted in 1903. Place du Beffroi and the belfry of Sancerre, also known as the “Saint-Jean tower”, which was deprived of its clock and its bell after the siege of 1573. One chapel is on the ground floor. And the wine showcase Maison de Sancerre with a nice explanation of the wines and terroirs.

The city of Sancerre on its historyhttps://ville-sancerre.com/culture/#histoire

The Sancerre tourist officehttps://www.tourisme-sancerre.com/la-destination/le-grand-sancerrois/le-sancerrois/

The local Berry province tourist office on Sancerrehttps://www.berryprovince.com/ma-destination-le-berry/les-destinations-en-berry/sancerre-et-la-loire/#

The Central Loire tourist office on Sancerre wineshttps://www.vins-centre-loire.com/en/1/62/APPELLATION-SANCERRE.html?accept=1

And there you go folks, another destination with my boys, Dad and Rex our dog!!! Wonderful family trip to raise the hopes of life! La vie est belle mais courte! profiter-bien. Life is beautiful but short, enjoy it well. Hope you enjoy the visit to Sancerre, and there is more posts to come , stay tune!

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

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July 10, 2021

Nha Trang, Vietnam!

Another set of wonderful memories of my several visits to Vietnam. This one was unexpected we were going elsewhere north but settle here with some friends and it was a blast. Really nice beach and awesome nightlife!! Let me tell you a bit about Nha Trang in Vietnam! Hope you enjoy it as I.

I have come to Vietnam several times in the last few years, last was in Dec’18. Plenty written in my blog on it. However, there is one spot that brings about great souvenirs and fun times and many things typical of my youth as well.  So let me bring you back to Nha Trang, a delightful coastal beach town in central Vietnam. I considered myself lucky to be able to come to these far places and to enrich my knowledge of the world.  Nha Trang is in the top places with the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. There are long beaches of white sand and a turquoise and transparent sea. Nha Trang is the capital of the province of Khanh Hoa. It is a seaside town, located in 434 km, north of Ho Chi Minh City (aprox 1h flight).

A bit of history I like:  The city of Nha Trang belonged to the kingdom of Champa, founded in 240 inhabited by the Chams. There were about 200 kings in the Viet Nam Center (Annam) before their disappearance. In 748, construction of the group of temples of Po Nagar (Hindu) where the adoration of the Lingam and the Yoni is still being practised (symbols of male and female energy, Yang/Yin, and the main love engine of life). The city was looted by the Khmers in 950.  In 1640 ,aprox., the town was invaded by Northerners, the Giao-Chi, later called Kinh or Viets. This leads to the disappearance of the Cham. And there is more modern history but most know that.

A bit more on things to see here per moi!

With an area of approximately 507 sq km , Nha Trang Bay comprises 19 islands and islets, and is one of the few natural models of the bay system in the world, which brings together most of the rare and tropical ecosystems such as coral reefs, mangroves, herbaria… With a diverse ecosystem, Nha Trang Bay becomes the ideal shelter for rare and precious animal species such as swiftlet, caret, red coral, pearl oyster, and oval abalone.

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The main central beach in town is a beautiful 7 km beach, and runs along the road of Trần Phú, the most lively axis of Nha Trang.  The beach is clean and shallow, with white sand and turquoise waters. In the afternoon, it is often populated by tourists. It is in this area where you can find all types of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. This is awesome, and I walk it all 6 kms of it lol! plenty to do for all tastes! You can see the rest below interesting, but the main action here is the beach and clubs!

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Other things to see here of interest according to me are the Đầm market; built in 1908, it is the largest market in Nha Trang. You can find seafood, clothing, souvenirs, fruits, etc. Visit Po Nagar a Cham temple founded before 781, dedicated to the goddess Yan Po Nagar, legendary founder of the Kingdom of Champa, later identified with the Hindu goddesses Bhagavati and Mahishasuramardini, and which is called in Vietnamese Thiên Y Thánh Mâu. See the Long Son Pagoda, built in 1886, Long Son is one of the oldest pagodas in the region. It is located 3 km from the city center and has a reclining Buddha, at 17 meters, surrounded by 49 stone monks. The pagoda offers breathtaking views of Nha Trang.  Discover the Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute. The Institute includes an oceanographic museum. Many ponds and aquariums are home to a multitude of animal species in their reconstituted ecosystems. Visitors are immersed in a colorful world of rare and delicate marine creatures such as anemones, starfish, holothurians, snakes, turtles, fish…etc. And why not visit the Museum of Alexander Yersin ; the discoverer of the plague bacillus. The panels retracing his life are written in French and the curator is Francophone. In the Institut Pasteur, at 10 rue Tran Phu.

The Hotels guide to Vietnam on Nha Tranghttp://www.vietnam-guide.com/nha-trang/

A private webpage Cap Vietnam on Nha Trang in French: https://www.cap-vietnam.com/node/23889

The govt tourist information webpage on Khanh Hoa province (Nha Trang) in Vietnamese: https://vietnamtourism.gov.vn/index.php/items/6823

There you go folks, another nice spot to visit, Nha Trang, plenty of visitors already there and you must visit.  It is a jewel in exotic Vietnam. Hope you have enjoy the introduction tour by yours truly!

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

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July 10, 2021

Church St Germain of St Germain en Laye!

Do not know why but each time in Saint Germain en Laye (Yvelines dept 78) I passed by this church. It is rightfully located across the street from the castle/museum for which I have other posts. I like to bring back to life my older post on the Church St Germain. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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Let me tell you in one post about a nice Church many times overlook even if right smack in a historical part of Royal and historical Saint Germain en LayeYvelines dept 78 region of Ïle de France. Near my old home. Often folks go to the castle/museum across the street, take their RER A and zoom back to Paris. However, this is a historical Church right in there and a must to see in my opinion. Behind the Church you start on city center and loads of shops and restaurants and a wonderful outdoor market. I am talking here about the Church of St Germain, time to give it a bit more credit that so much deserves.

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Saint-Germain Church  was called at the beginning of the 18C Saint-Germain-de-Paris. Located in front of the castle, this current Church built in 1824, in a neo-classical style inspired by the Paleo basilicas, was restored from 1848 to 1854. Its facade has a triangular pediment supported by six Tuscan columns, four of which are aligned in front and two in return. The present Church is however closer to Saint-Philippe-du-Roule in Paris. The present Church is the fourth built on the site. It was built on the site of an ancient Church built in 1683 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and became too small, which replaced a first church of the 14C. The first stone laid on November 20 1766 by the Duke of Noailles: the works were quickly stopped but taken over by the order of king Louis XVI at the request of the municipal assembly. The French revolution provoked the abandonment of the works until 1823, when the construction was restarted, and proceeded to the completion of it in 1827. The new Church was blessed on December 2, 1827 by Jean-François-Étienne Borderies, Bishop of Versailles.

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Some of the nice things to see inside are:

Benedetto Antelami, Descent of the Cross, 1178, identical to that preserved in the Cathedral of Parma. It was offered to the Church by a family of the city in 1994. Its origin is disputed: It would be a second version made by the artist or a later copy…Notre-Dame du Bon Retour (Our Lady of the Good Return), 14C, Virgin and the Child discovered in the 19C during the construction work of the Church.  Christ on the Cross, 17C in Baroque style, unknown origin. Baroque pulpit chair given by king Louis XIV, from the third chapel of the Château de Versailles, abandoned in 1710 to make way for the present chapel of Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte. Charles-Joseph Natoire, the Baptism of Christ c.1750, originally painted for the chapel of the castle of Machaud d’Arnouville, Minister of king Louis XV. Very close to a first version made in 1747 (now at Museum of Fine Arts of Arras). This painting is the last work painted in France by Natoire, then at the height of its fame, before its definitive departure for Rome. Honoré Icard, the Hereafter, 1913, grouping in marble. The walls of the nave and the apse are adorned with frescoes by Amaury-Duval, a pupil of Ingres, on the theme of the New Testament. They were completed in 1857.

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The Mausoleum of the King of England, James II (Stuart), exiled to France and greeted by his cousin king Louis XIV. He resided and died at the Château de Saint-Germain, where Louis XIV had lived a few decades before.

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The Grand Organ was commissioned by king Louis XIV to Alexandre Thierry in 1698. Aristide Cavaillon-Coll rebuilt the organ keeping the old part that could be saved. In 1903, Charles Mutin remade the instrument (forty four games), the largest part of the piping of the 18C disappeared. In 1967, the company Haerpfer-Erman performed a restoration and reinstalled the back positive by Mutin. Buffet in 1930 and instrumental part in 1975. The Choir organ was built by Aristide Cavaillon-Coll in 1889.

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A great personality and local boy was Claude Debussy ,French musician born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 22, 1862, was baptized at the Église Saint-Germain on July 31, 1864.

Some webpages to fully appreciate this Church of St Germain  and help plan your trip here are:

The local Seine St Germain en Laye tourist office on the Churchhttps://www.seine-saintgermain.fr/en/file/4877143/eglise-saint-germain/

The city of St Germain en Laye on its history/heritage in French: https://www.saintgermainenlaye.fr/792/histoire-et-patrimoine.htm

The Choir of St Germain Church webpage in French: http://www.choeursaintgermain.fr/

The Association of old Friends of St Germain en Laye to help preserve heritagehttp://www.amisvieuxsaintgermain.org/index.html

There you go folks, do not miss it next time, worth your time there. Wonderful Saint Germain en Laye, many memories especially from the sights just to come to the market for goodies with the family. The St Germain Church is part of the history of the city and France as well as UK

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

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