Archive for July 20th, 2021

July 20, 2021

Avenue de Paris and the D10 of Versailles!

So this is the big one in my dear Versailles; many walked it without realising the history and of course only visit the palace/museum of Versailles….However, there is a lot more in the royal city, capital of the Yvelines dept 78 in the region of Ïle de France in my belle France! Let me update this post and tell you a bit more on the Avenue de Paris, the D10 of Versailles!

I believe left out the main street, and my favorite way to drive to Paris on a weekend family visit nowdays as it was the limits of my neighborhood in Versailles.  Let me tell you of a road warrior story of my beloved Versailles. And what way to tell you is about a historic road and street, the Avenue de Paris in Versailles aka D10 national road today. The old way Castle to fortress, Versailles to the Louvre when kings were around.

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The Avenue de Paris is one of three lanes that radiate in a fan from the Place d’Armes, in front of the Château de Versailles, with the Avenue de Saint-Cloud in the north and the Avenue de Sceaux in the south. The Avenue de Paris, in the center, is located in the axis of the castle. It heads southeast for about 1 500 meters, before oblique eastward for 1 km to place Louis-XIV where it ends. It is extended, on the other side of the square, by the Avenue du General-Léclerc. With 90 meters wide, the avenue is one of the widest in France. It takes its name from the fact that it leads towards Paris, passing through Sèvres. It is also the old Royal route to the Louvre that still can be done today! This is my beloved Versailles!  The Avenue de Paris coincides with the D 10 road for most of its course.  In Versailles, the Avenue de Paris borders the following buildings (many if not all with posts in my blog) of simply my preference:

Grand Ecurie , including the facades on the Cour d’Honneur and on the avenues of Paris and Saint-Cloud, the facades of the two pavilions and the grids bordering on the place d’Armes; the Petite Ecurie, between Ave de Paris and Avenue de Sceaux. At no. 6: Pavilion of the Constables, at no. 19: former stables of Madame Du Barry, built from 1773 by the architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux for the last favorite of King Louis XV; she wanted to shelter the staff and to store the crews of her teams in this building adjoining the pavilion it had acquired in 1772 (see No. 21, below). The works were suspended at the death of the King in1774 and completed according to the plans of Ledoux by Jean-François Chalgrin for the Comte de Provence, brother of King Louis XVI, then titled Monsieur (future king Louis XVIII), owner of the stables from 1775, and at no 21: former Madame du Barry Pavilion, at no. 22: Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs,here having welcomed the meeting of the Notables of 1787, that of 1788 and above all the Estate General of 1789, the last of the former regime. At no. 57: laiterie de Madame (old Dairy of Madame). At no. 111: Former music Pavilion of Madame, the Pavilion of Music of the Countess of Provence, which is located at Avenue Chauchard (at the level of no 111, avenue de Paris) , the government regional of the Prefecture of Yvelines; Domaine de Montreuil aka Domaine de Madame Elizabeth, (sister of Louis XVI).

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Entering Versailles from Paris on this road D10 you will see upon arriving at the city two enclosures houses or gates. There were the fees/taxes generators for allowing you to enter the royal city, there are still there! These two pavilions framing the Avenue de Paris symbolically sign the entrance into Versailles, located there since 1787, the date of annexation to Versailles of the towns of Montreuil and Porchefontaine. The two existing grant pavilions were built in 1824, and connected by iron Gates that closed the avenue. Real treat to drive by now for free! But this old road has a lot more history outside the limits of Versailles. This is a leasure driving trip from Paris (used to be from the Louvre) anywhere you can link up with it to the Chateau de Versailles. 

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With the transfer of the court and political power to Versailles in 1684 by king Louis XIV, the road between the Louvre and the new castle was experiencing intense activity. Previously a part of the national road No. 10, called Route de Versailles or Route de la Reine (queen’s road), an order of 1877 gave it its present name of Avenue de Versailles. All along the Seine and then some; you can see some interesting buildings before you leave Paris such as No 123 Avenue de Versailles now occupies the location of the hotel of Hortense Schneider , famous interpreter of  Offenbach. At no 142-Jassedé Building, in Art nouveau style, by Hector Guimard with a remarkable staircase. And at no 211bis ,the painter Albert Marquez lived here in 1903-1904. He painted the Avenue de Versailles and the district of the Point-du-Jour.

Interesting to know that leaving Paris is called Avenue de Versailles and entering Versailles is call Avenue de Paris! But go on read more and continue our leasure drive of France’s best two cities combination of course I can say so !

In Paris, the route of Versailles runs along the right bank of the Seine river, crosses the neighborhoods of Passy and Auteuil in the 16éme arrondissement; before arriving in Boulogne-Billancourt. Much later, in 1860, the limits of Paris are now fixed to the location of the old ramparts and doors(portes) that allowed to enter the capital. In 1877, the Route de Versailles was renamed Avenue de Versailles before it uncorked to the site of the former Porte-de-Saint-Cloud. It is after crossing the Porte-Saint-Cloud that the D 910 actually starts on entering Boulogne-Billancourt in the form of a long avenue that bears the name of General Leclerc since 1945.

The avenue leads to the Sèvres bridge that crosses the Seine river. Originally built of wood in 1685 with the first route of the road to Versailles, the bridge is rebuilt under the Empire first in stone before giving way to a vast metal work in 1963. Just before embarking on the bridge, a stele recalls the memory of General Leclerc and the 2nd Armoured Division whose squadron commanded by Captain Morel-Deville crosses the Seine here before entering Paris on August 25, 1944; for its liberation of WWII.  On the west bank of the Seine, the D 10 enters Sèvres by road km 11 by taking the route of the royal road opened in 1686 at the bottom of the valley of Marivel brook. About this period, it was through this still embryonic route that the materials needed for the construction of Versailles were transported from the port of Saint Cloud. On the right, you can see the national porcelain Manufactory installed here by the Marquise de Pompadour in 1756. This vast building is still home to a school, workshops and an important ceramics museum of Sévres.  The main street crosses Sèvres by climbing along the Parc de Saint-Cloud. The initial royal road of 1686 was enlarged under Louis XV. This street was the scene of many historical events such as the march of the Parisians on Versailles on October 5, 1789 and the passage of the royal family back to Paris the next day. The Grande Rue de Sèvres is still in its 18C configuration, more really adapted to the growth of traffic. It will be considerably enlarged in the 1970’s at the cost of the demolition of many buildings.

The road, in fact a long commuter road, continues towards Chaville at road km 15 (a nice picturesque train station here always love to see it), the last town of Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 crossed by the D10 road (these sections call D910 same road). The royal road, then national, first crossed the Bas Chaville under the name of Grande Rue before becoming rue Roger Salengro, in memory of the minister of the popular Front tragically disappeared in 1936. The main street, which became Rue Salengro, in 1960. On leaving the city, at La Pointe de Chaville , sharp turn, there is still the junction between the royal road and the route du Pavé des Gardes. This route linking Paris to Versailles by the Forest of Meudon had the advantage of being the shortest way between the two cities but at the cost of steep passages particularly dreaded in winter. Essentially used by the royal army, to whom it owes its name, the pavement of the guards was impracticable by the drawn cars forced to take the royal road in the valley of the Marivel.  The road continues towards Viroflay at road km 18 and enters the Yvelines (dept 78 !). The D10 crosses this department created in 1964 on more than 60 km, Versailles and Rambouillet are the main cities crossed.

Becoming Avenue Leclerc since the liberation, the D10 passes under the imposing railway viaduct also called the arcades because of the height of its arches. The work of art inaugurated in 1852 supports the extension to Chartres of the rail line Versailles-Rive Droite (my old train station) connecting Versailles to Paris. The Viroflay railway viaduct straddles the D10 since its inauguration in 1852. Leaving Viroflay, the D10 abruptly changes its physiognomy to the approach of Versailles at road km 20!. The modest road is then transformed into the majestic Avenue of Paris leading directly to the Palace/Museum’s Place d’Armes. In the place d’Armes, it converges with the other two avenues, that of Saint-Cloud and that of Sceaux. Until the French revolution, it was here that the Great Royal Road ended, which still put Versailles at nearly three hours of the Louvre..!!! And yes we can do it in less than an hour today!

Of course, if like me you have to drive around here all the time, you can continue once facing the Palace/museum to your left going around the Palace direction Saint Cyr l’école along the Orangerie and the Piéce d’eau des Suisses pond all the way to Saint Cyr l’école and Les Quatre-Pavés-du-Roi in Montigny-le-Bretonneux. And sightseeing galores! just to reaching Yvelines 78 dept territory moving on to Rambouillet etc. And you can drive today and do a fairy tail trip by Royals while by passing some wonderful historical and stunning architecture monuments of many periods,not to mention mingle up a bit with the locals! Enjoy the roads of my belle France! My eternal Paris, and my royally sublime Versailles! Many of the buildings mentioned here have already post on them in my blog before.

There you go folks, a dandy avenue of Paris in my sublime Versailles! Hope you enjoy the ride and try it sometime is awesome! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

July 20, 2021

Château de Langeais, the castle!!!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s end this tour of several posts, and finish with a bang at the Château de Langeais! Hope you enjoy it as we!

This is a wonderful castle which I like all anyway, but this one rang right up there as one of the best display and furnished.  The 15C Château de Langeais and its park. The castle replaces a first fortified castle built at the end of the 10C by Foulques Nerra. The castle is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the Loire Valley on the right bank. The castle is preceded by a castrum with a keep on a motte built in stone and not in wood, associated with a domicilium. This fortified work was built at the instigation of Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou after 994. It would be, with its main building immediately provided with defensive means, one of the first stone dungeons, having vestiges that have subsisted.

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Under the domination of the English Plantagenets dynasty, the castle was enlarged by the King of England Richard the Lionheart, also, Count of Maine and Anjou from 1189 to 1199.  King Philippe Auguste re-conquered it in 1206, then it was destroyed by the English during the Hundred Years War. A facade of the main tower remains of the building from this period, known as the Donjon de Foulques Nerra. In 1465, Louis XI ordered the reconstruction of the castle, below the remains of the old building.The new castle of Langeais was completed in 1469.

Until the reign of Louis XIII, the Château de Langeais remained the property of the crown of France, which sometimes gave it as compensation or reward. It then belongs to different families. Looted and abandoned during the French revolution and at the beginning of the 19C, the buildings were rehabilitated from 1833.

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The Langeais castle found a taker in the person of M. Baron in April 1839. The castle of Langeais was in poor condition. The town, a partial tenant, has transformed the large downstairs room into a stable for the horses of the gendarmes (police). Another part is assigned to the audience of the justice of the peace and the cantonal prison. The neighbors occupy the cellars and common areas as they wish. The park is divided into about sixty plots devoted to fruit trees and vines. A Mulhouse businessman Jacques Siegfried, who for 20 years restored and refurnished it before donating it to the Institut de France on March 22, 1904 (Colin-Langeais deed) with reserve of usufruct for his heirs.

A bit of a description I like

For some historians, the two angled walls which stand behind the castle of Louis XI would be the remains of a domicilium transformed into a dungeon This one is equipped with a medieval wooden scaffolding with its lifting devices, in the style of the time.  Very well preserved and little altered, the Château de Langeais is a fine example of architecture from the end of the medieval period, characterized by its drawbridge, its high roofs, its machicolations, its rampart walk and its monumental finely carved chimneys., unique throughout France . Langeais is in fact built at the crossroads between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, its west facade, on the garden side, offering a completely different face, marked by Renaissance-type decorations.

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This set includes fifteen rooms furnished and decorated, including the “Salle des Preux”(hall of valiants) and its unique collection of 15-16C tapestries, seven pieces (out of nine) from the famous hanging or suite of the Preux (Aubusson or Felletin, which would have been carried out between 1525 and 1540 for Pierre Paien Protestant lord of Chauray in Poitou.   Jacques Siefgried acquired it in 1892.   This collection of seven out of nine tapestries, with only two missing (those of Charlemagne and Judas Macchabée, disappeared or destroyed), is the most complete in the world.

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The castle is animated by a scenography representing the daily life of a noble family of the late Middle Ages and the marriage of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, (which we saw the act led by Stéphane Bern!) as well as by a collection of major works from this period. Its park now offers several playgrounds and a cabin perched in a majestic cedar, as well as a promenade leading to the Loire belvedere.

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The most significant event in the life of the Langeais castle was the royal wedding of Charles VIII with Anne of Brittany, celebrated on December 6, 1491 at 7h. Early and in secret to avoid rambling of the Hapburgs! The young duchess was then only 14 years old.

The official Château de Langeaishttps://chateau-de-langeais.com/

The town of Langeais  on its heritage see right column: https://langeais.fr/fr/rb/432499/patrimoine-et-monuments

The Touraine Val de Loire tourist site on the Château de Langeaishttps://www.touraineloirevalley.com/patrimoine-culturel/chateau-et-parc-de-langeais-langeais/

Now let me give you our tour as we did it individually and it was a blast especially walking around the top head of the donjon tower!

First, we went in to the Salon des Boiseries Peintes or painted woods room with armories, and all decorated in wood even the walls! You go on to the Salon des Mille Fleurs or thousand flowers room, with tapistries in flower motifs from Flemish shops and more period furniture. Moving right along to the Salle de la Devise or emblems room, with souvenirs of Charles VIII and Anne de Bretagne such as her ermine. You entered the big Salle du Banquet or dining room with all arranged in the lordship showcase and a beautiful decorated chimney with 13 personages as well as more Flemish tapestries. Go to the Chambre de Parement,here as in the middle ages we sleep and we work; see the tapestry of the Crucifixion of Christ done by Van der Weyden. You entered the chambre de la Dame or ladies bedroom; as in the middle ages the lord sleeps on the first stage and the lady and children on the second. You see the lions of Luxembourg for the widow of the governor of Luxembourg! Then you have arrive at the Chambre des Enfants or children’s bedroom with items from children from the king and duchess and see the Flemish tapestry for reference on child bearing women of the times. You reach the Cabinet d’Art Sacré or sacre art room with paintings of Sainte Agnés, a relicary coffre and miracles of bees , the Jewish Easter etc. I was impressed by the sculpture statues of the 3 Saints of the Spanish school of the 16C showing Saint Bernardin de Siena, Sainte Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Louis of Anjou who refuse the throne of Naples to become a Franciscan monk,and was bishop of Toulouse! You, also, see a sculpture statue of the Virgin and the Child from 1480, and Sainte Anne in polychrome wood showing a book teaching to read her daughter Virgin Mary! As explained better above I reached the salle des preux or valiant room pics above but here in this room you see tapestries of Josué, David, Judas Maccabeo, Hector, Alexander the Great, Cesar, Arthur and the round table, Godefroy de Bouillon who took Jerusalem on the first crusade, and Charlemagne! Awesome room!!!You get to the salle de Luini or room of Luini dedicated to the Renaissance period with frescoes and tapestries, and furniture. The mariage of Charles VIII and Anne of Bretagne was told by image on the walls by Stéphane Bern ,really superbe showing each personage and their role in the wedding of 1491! And of course, leaving from the donjon top circular motion all the way down and out; really a must to see!!!

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There you go folks a wonderful entry into beautiful Château de Langeais! All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

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

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July 20, 2021

Church St John the Baptist of Langeais!

And we went back to the valley of the kings and the wonderful castles of my belle France. We have been to them when even visiting France but has taken me many years to be back; this was as good as any time to do this. We first went to the Château de Villandry and then the Château de Langeais! Let’s continue the tour with several posts,and now let me get off castles to tell you about the unique Church St John the Baptiste of Langeais! Hope you enjoy it as we!

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The Church of Saint John the Baptist or Saint-Jean-Baptiste was built in the 11-12C, with the nave dates back to the 15C and the transept dates from the 19C.

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The site was consecrated from the 4C by Saint Martin, Bishop of Tours who founded a first church in Langeais. The trace has disappeared. In the 10C, Foulques Nerra built a second church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist at the same time as its keep. This church has undergone many transformations over the centuries such as its apse was modified in the 11C, then the bell tower in the 12C. What to see well there is a 15C baptismal font, 17C Burgundian terracotta virgin, 10C crypt, monumental cast-iron Stations of the Cross from the “Barbezot” workshops.

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The Church Saint John the Baptist consists of a single nave preceded by a bell tower, all from the 11-12C, and a choir with aisles ending in a main apse and two secondary apses from the same period. A transept was added in the second half of the 19C. On the north side, a 15C sacristy flanks the apsidiole and the aisle bay that precedes it. A small barrel vaulted crypt is located under the main apse.

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The city of Langeais on the churchhttps://langeais.fr/fr/rb/448970/eglise-saint-jean-baptiste

The Touraine Loire valley tourist board on the Langeais churchhttps://www.touraineloirevalley.com/patrimoine-culturel/eglise-saint-jean-baptiste-langeais/

The official Saint Martin de Tours on the routes of the Saint on the churchhttps://saint-martindetours.com/eglise-saint-jean-baptiste-langeais/

There you go folks a wonderful and beautiful Langeais and its Church Saint John the Baptist! All about 3 hrs from our home which can be done in a day!! We got the hang of it and will be back for more castles which we love in natural setting with great food and wines of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you about it.

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

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