Archive for August, 2021

August 31, 2021

Puerta del Sol of Madrid!!

And here I present you a real beauty of a square, if it were not for Cibeles, and Mayor, this would be my favorite. No more waiting, this is the gate to the sun ooops meant Puerta del Sol in my beloved Madrid. As have several posts mentioning and pictures will update this one on my black and white series, hope you enjoy it as I.

I spent many childhoods days here first with my dear late mother Gladys and later bringing my family ,and my dear late wife Martine love it with me, especially the churros nearby ! The boys love it too, and it has become a must stop each time in Madrid, that thanks God has been many times in my life time. If you read my blog you know why. I have made several references to it in many of my previous posts on Madrid, so do search in my blog for more. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. De Madrid al Cielo y un hueco en él para mirarla todos los dias.

This is the place I came to get abanicos (fans) for my mother and umbrellas, the early purchases at Calle Preciados for Galerias Preciados (today part of El Corte Inglés same spot), and the Churros at the Pasadizo de San Ginés street for Chocolateria San Ginés good then and now an institution for locals and visitors alike. The wonderful discothéque (before community theater in my days in the city) Joy Eslava off Puerta del  Sol and Calle Arenal.

Let me tell you a bit more on the magical Puerta del Sol. Some of the emblematic symbols you should look for here are:

Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry tree ( Madroño) under the billboard of Tío Pepe,(sherry fame) at the beginning of Calle de Alcalá, you will find the statue of the symbol of Madrid. It was created in 1967 and is one of the most popular meeting points in Madrid. In front of the building of the old Hotel Paris (no 1, where was the panel of Tio Pepe), later transferred to the beginning of Calle Carmen and relocated in its original place in 2009.  The panel of  Tio Pepe located at no 1 until 2011, when it was retired, and repositioned in no, 11 in 2014.

The Clock of the Post Office House, (Reloj en la Casa de Correos) . The clock was built and donated in the 19C by José Rodríguez de Losada, and whose 12 bells ringing the night of December 31 mark the traditional taking of the twelve grapes by the vast majority of the Spaniards, saying good bye to the Old Year and welcoming the New Year with a wish. It has been televised  since 1962. The Post Office House (Casa de Correos)  was built by the French architect Jaime Marquet between 1766 and 1768; It was subsequently  home to the Ministry of the Interior in 1847 and Directorate General of State Security during the Franco era and, currently, is the seat of the presidency of the community of Madrid.

Kilometer zero: Starting point of the Spanish radial routes. It is indicated on the ground from which all roads in Spain are measure. The Mariblanca located at the Puerta del Sol  between 1630 and 1838 crowned the Fountain of the Mariblanca, (aka Fuente de la Fé, Fuente del Buen Suceso , Fuente de Venus or Diana, Fuente de las Arpias or first ornamental fountain (Fuente)  of the Puerta del Sol). In the last third of the 20C a smaller copy was made that since 1986 has had different emplacements at the Puerta del Sol, while the original moved from the Paseo de Recoletos, in which it was from 1969, to the vestibule of the Casa de la  Villa , after its restoration in 1985.

The last element added, in 1994, is the equestrian statue of king Carlos III. It is a bronze reproduction of Juan Pascual de Mena’s work that is preserved in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The spiral inscription surrounding the pedestal briefly describes the history of the reign of Carlos III. The monument is nine meters high. As a curiosity, it should be noted that an electronic device was installed in it to keep the pigeons from resting on it continually.

A bit of history I like

The Puerta del Sol was in its origins one of the accesses of the ramparts that surrounded Madrid in the 15C. This wall gathered in its perimeter the medieval suburbs that had grown outside the walls, around the Christian wall of the 12C. The name of the gate comes from a sun that adorned the entrance, placed there to be facing the gate to the Levant. Among the buildings that gave it prestige in the beginnings was the Church del Buen Suceso  and Church of San Felipe el Real (both now gone). The Puerta del Sol is surrounded by fourteen buildings. From the same time dates the measurement of 635.50 meters above the average sea level of Alicante.

In 1986 a new reform came that gave more importance to the pedestrian zone. The streetlights installed on the occasion of this remodeling, were popularly nicknamed as the suppositories and provoked a great controversy due to its modern design. Finally they were replaced by the current style lanterns fernandians or Fernandino, although in the two central posts of the square the suppositories survived some years more, to be unified a few years later with those of the rest of the square.

The Puerta del Sol area corresponding to the Calle Mayor, that occupies the Casa Cordero (now gone) , on its first floor was known the Great Bazaar of the Union (Gran Bazar de la Union) (now gone) ,where objects were sold at fixed prices. This Grand Bazaar was the first large retail establishment that would lead to department stores. At the end of the 20C, establishments such as the El Corte Inglés  were expanding their area of influence from the Calle Preciados to reach the lower levels of the north of the square. At the beginning of the 21C, the traditional shops that were at the Puerta del Sol have been disappearing to give way to franchises, gambling halls, fast food restaurants and other more impersonal and cold establishments. However, the centenary cafeteria-Patiseria La Mallorquina, located in the area between the Calle Mayor and Calle Arenal, just off the Puerta del Sol, and also the area where the lotteries shops traditionally are. Still preserved  today are the  fans and umbrellas shop Casa Diego (founded in the 18C).

I must tell you my dear mom took me as a boy to buy shoes at the old Los Guerrilleros shoes store in Puerta del Sol ; many fond memories here. The family best friend married the manager of the store and so on until it close (Jan 10 2015). Founded here in 1962. We later last 2019 came to shop at a new shoes store there Zapshop!

The 10 streets that come out of the Puerta del Sol in clockwise direction from the Calle de Alcalà are Calle de Alcalá, Carrera de San Jerónimo, Calle Espoz y Mina, Calle de las Carretas, Calle del Correo, Calle Mayor, Calle del Arenal, Calle de Preciados, Calle del Carmen, and Calle de la Montera. The transports here is very good with metro Sol lines 1, and 2. Also local trains Cercanias  C-3 and C-4. The station has been converted by its dimensions in the largest in the World with 28 meters deep, 207 meters in length and 20 meters wide. Its lobby is 7500 m². The entrance to the inter connecting station, similar to an igloo, has changed the physiognomy of the Puerta del Sol again. All around heavens in Madrid!!!

Some events and trivia on this very Madrileña square:

The Puerta del Sol has also experienced some important events for the history of Spain, such as the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Some films of note on my taste showing bits of the Puerta del Sol were El misterio de la Puerta del Sol (mystery of the gate of the sun), by Francisco Elías Riquelme in 1929, considered as the first movie with sound of Spanish cinema. Km. 0, a light comedy of love, intrigues and Spanish erotism from 2000. The main line of the story is the  Madroño symbol of Madrid at the Puerta del Sol. In theater you have the play La Celosa (jealous one) of famous Tirso de Molina. Also a Spanish operetta or very Spanish call Zarzuelas, this one El  último tranvía (the last tramway) by Ricardo Blasco.

In Literature, we have Luces de Bohemia (lights of Bohemia) from 1924 of Valle Inclán. The novel by Benito Pérez Galdós, Fortunata y Jacinta of 1886-87, the main carácter Juanito Santacruz lived at the Puerta del Sol and it recounts stories of the Gran Bazar de la Union. The dramaturges Jerónimo López Mozo in his work of El arquitecto y el relojero (the architect and the watchmaker) from 2000 has a story on the Casa de Correos house as well as the surrounding áreas of the Puerta del Sol. Also, the La conquista de la Puerta del Sol (conquest of the gate to the sun) by Emilio Carrere. In music, the scene given on the song Un Ano Màs (one more year) by Mecano. And finally, on my favorites is the painting of the Charge of the Mamalukes or La Carga de los Mamelucos (or 2 de Mayo 1808) by Francisco de Goya.

The Madrid tourist office on the Puerta del Sol: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-del-sol

The Comunidad de Madrid region tourist office on the Puerta del Sol: http://turismomadrid.es/es/descubre/madrid/de-inter%C3%A9s/5100-puerta-del-sol.html

There you go folks, you need to be here, if you say you were in Madrid ok. Nothing is enough on Madrid and the Puerta del Sol is where the Sun’s Gate! And as in Spain , everything under the Sun, tourism slogan from the 80’s. Hope you enjoy the post as I!

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

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August 31, 2021

Hotel Dieu and Fine Arts Musuem of Mantes-la-Jolie !!

In a not far distant land there is a Royal town of France seldom seen by visitors , a pity indeed . In my beloved old home of Yvelines dept 78 in the Ïle de France region there lies one once a king Henri IV call the most beautiful. I am talking about Mantes-la-Jolie (or Mantes the Beautiful) and its old town center.  Here you will find marvels that I have written/told you before in my posts,and today I like to take you to one special place. This is a museum of Fine Arts but is more than that if you know the history and architecture of it. It is also the former Hôtel-Dieu of Mantes.  Let me update this post to tell you a bit more on it.

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The city of Mantes-la-Jolie is located on the left bank of the Seine river , 57 km from Paris , 47 km from Versailles, and 85 km from Rouen. The museum of fine arts or musée Hôtel-Dieu is just a few steps from the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, (see post) the Hotel-Dieu Museum is at the place de l’etape on the main street in town. Here it will allows you to discover the medieval past of the city as well as the works of the artist Maximilien Luce.

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The Hôtel-Dieu was built in the 14C during the reign of king Charles V and heavily redeveloped during the 16-17C; it was an institution managed by the church. After various occupations, the building was acquired by the city of Mantes-la-Jolie in 1962. It has a beautiful 18C façade characterized by its Corinthian pilasters, its large rosette adorned with a winged angel’s head and its ornamentation. The Hôtel-Dieu Chapel became a Museum in 1996 and was name Museum of France or Musée de France in 2002.

The Hotel-Dieu Museum retains the largest collection dedicated to the artist Maximilien Luce in France. This post-Impressionist painter settled in the region, in Rolleboise, in 1917. He particularly illustrated the themes of the landscape in the Seine Valley, the activities on and off the banks of the Seine river, the industrial development as well as the working conditions of the time. Only museum of fine arts of the territory, it is on the road of impressionist painters, a few kilometers from Giverny, Pontoise and Paris and allows you to discover a great Neo-Impressionist painter.

After renovations, the Musée de L’Hôtel-Dieu in Mantes-la-Jolie reopened its doors last February 16, 2019 with a new scenography centered on the work of the Neo-Impressionist painter Maximilien Luce.  The collections presented on a permanent basis currently form two sets. Particularly from the depositories of the Notre Dame Collegiate Church and the Sainte-Anne of Gassicourt Church, a set of pieces dating from the medieval period, including sculpted elements, medieval lapidary works testify to the high quality of regional artistic production. The paintings and works on paper by the impressionist painter Maximilian Luce, composed of more than 150 works, from drawing to painting, through lithography and etching , illustrating the themes of the landscape in the Seine Valley, the nascent fluvial tourism, the industrial development and the condition of the man at work.

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The museum’s new reserves, located in the heart of the Val Fourre District, are home to other treasures, from the collections from the three collectors ‘ museums, historical and documentary (Deschamps Collection), Scientific (Mesnil Museum) and Beaux-Arts (Duhamel Museum), having helped to forge, at the beginning of the 20C, the city’s heritage profile. Occasional presentations of these eclectic collections (sculptures, furniture, earthenware, art objects…), as well as a policy of pedagogical animation in the space of the reserves will allow to rediscover them.

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And who was Maximilien Luce? Well a bit on him shall we..

Maximilien Luce, was born on March 13, 1858 and died on February 6, 1941 in Paris, a French painter. A libertarian activist, he produced many politically engaged illustrations. He is also an engraver, portraitist and poster artist. His first known painting dates from 1876. From 1885, and for fifteen years, he enrolled in the Neo-Impressionist movement: he uses the technique of divisionism (or pointillism), developed by Georges Seurat.

In September 1883, he was released from his obligatory military duties. As the invention of zincography significantly reduced the opportunities for wood engraving, Luce became a full-time painter. From 1884 to 1886, Luce made several stays in Lagny-sur-Marne, in the company of Émile-Gustave Cavallo-Péduzzi and Léo Gausson, whom he had known at the atelier of Eugène Froment. The two painters kept him informed of Seurat’s research. It was in Lagny-sur-Marne, in 1885, that Luce began to produce in a divisional manner. In the spring of 1887, the works of the neo-impressionists were first assembled at the independants exhibition. Luce exhibited seven divisionist paintings.

Luce was also a libertarian activist, his first political drawing appears in the modern life magazine. On 24 June,1894 the President of the French Republic Sadi Carnot was assassinated by the Italian anarchist Caserio. Suspected of complicity, especially because of his collaboration with father Peinard, Luce was arrested on 6 July. He’s incarcerated at Mazas prison. But it is too late to include it in the trial of the thirty, which takes place from 6 to 12 August. He was released on 17 August, for lack of serious evidence against him. In 1898 and 1899, during the Dreyfus affair, he supported Zola, then Colonel Picquart. He signed a petition, he produces dreyfusards drawings. At the beginning of the 20C, he definitively renounces the coloured dots that have earned the divisionists the nickname of pointillistes: his touches’stretches and softens, it comes to a more traditional billing, but which keeps the harmony and brightness of his first period.

From 1902 to 1912, he paints the big projects that remodel the face of Paris. He dedicates a dozen paintings to the bloody week which marked his childhood: Une rue de Paris en mai 1871 (1903-1905), Le 18 mars, place Pigalle (1906), Vive la Commune (vers 1910), Les Derniers Défenseurs de la Commune, le 28 mai 1871 (1915), L’Exécution de Varlin (1910-1917), La République et la Mort (no date) . In 1915 and 1916, he sought to show the social significance of the conflict (WWI) by painting the activity of the Parisian stations and the rear of the fighting. Far from the heroisation of patriotic propaganda, he testifies of the grey, ponderant and devoid of the shattered reality of war. In 1917, he discovered Rolleboise, on the banks of the Seine river. He bought a house in 1920 and shared it between this house and Paris where he leaves, the same year, the 16th arrondissement to settle 16 rue de Seine.

During the 1930’s , he was part of the Honorary Committee of the International League of Peace fighters, the most radical of pacifist organizations, whose motto was: “no to all wars!” In November 1934, he succeeded Paul Signac as President of the society of independent artists. At the end of the year, Luce resigned from the Presidency of the independent artists to protest against Vichy’s policy of discrimination against Jewish artists. He died in Paris on 7 February 1941. He was buried alongside his wife at the Rolleboise cemetery.

The town can be walk as the main things are just couple minutes away on foot! Easily a full day visiting all Collegiale church and museum as well as the tour Maclou. (see posts).

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The city of Mantes la Jolie on the museum: http://www.manteslajolie.fr/MUSEE%20DE%20LHOTELDIEU

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist board on the museum: https://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/musee-yvelines/musee-hotel-dieu-mantes-la-jolie

There you go again folks ,some marvels of my belle France in what can be describe as an off the beaten path monument that must be more than that and be visited. Hope you enjoy the Musée de l’Hôtel Dieu of Mantes la Jolie.

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

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August 31, 2021

Basilica of Notre-Dame du Roncier of Josselin!!

 As the previous post mentioned a lot Olivier V of Clisson, why not tell you something on where he rests in peace and another jewel of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France!  I like to give you more than briefly on my other posts on Josselin, and talk to you about the Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Roncier.  Hope you enjoy the post as I

The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Roncier, also a parish Church, built at the end of the 12C and several times enlarged and modified. It houses the tombs of Olivier V de Clisson, Constable de France, and his second wife Marguerite de Rohan. All succeeded in all the major events in Josselin of the family of chevalier Olivier de Clisson, and Marguerite de Rohan, therefore the story of the Rohan family in the castle. There is a pilgrimage here and one of the most important of the Morbihan, after that of Sainte Anne d’Auray (for Sainte Anne, see post). The town of Josselin is in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56. It is the site of the pardon or forgiveness celebration of the virgen for 1200+ years!  every september 8th. You can climb the tower 138 steps at a height of 61 meters. Inside its richly decorated.

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The Basilique Notre Dame du Roncier, in 808 leyend has it, a farmer who worked the land finds a statue of the Virgin and takes it home, however, the Virgin always comes back to the place where he found it ,and several times as well. The bishop ask him to rend a cult in her memory; the daughter of the farmer who was blind recovered her sight and people flock to the place until finally a Church is ordered built.

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In April 1891, Pope Leo XIII granted it the title of minor basilica 1949. The bell tower contains five free-throw volley bells, three of which, fixed in the spire, strike the hours.  In 1491 the construction of the chapel to the north of the choir, the current Notre-Dame du Roncier Chapel. The current church was remodeled in the 19C. Alongside a very attractive architectural cachet, enhanced by the contrast between the granite stone and the wooden vaults, the building is rich in 15C and 19C stained glass windows. The Notre-Dame du Roncier chapel shines with a magnificent 19C altar, itself surrounded by two angels with very airy dynamism. The altar is in white Charentes stone. The wooden vault of the Notre-Dame du Roncier Church is similar to those of many Breton churches. Brittany, rich in forests, favored wood rather than stone for the vaulting of its Gothic religious buildings. The choir of the basilica is dominated by the large stained glass window of the Rohans made by Ferdinand Hucher in 1893. The high altar is in granite from Lannion and in Carrara marble. It was created by the V. Henrot de Lannion workshop in 1885. In the separation between the choir and the Notre-Dame du Roncier Chapel, the massive columns and Romanesque capitals date from the end of the 12C. Visitors will not fail to admire the triple arched brace of the west portal. Its trumeau is decorated with a 15C Virgin. A pretty basket-handle door opens onto the south aisle. It is surmounted by an attractive granite cross decorated with the face of a Christ of Sorrows.  As for the tower, its lower part is the most recent part early 16C. It is embedded between two buttresses from the 15C. The nave is said to be “of high party”  therefore without wind In April 1891, Pope Leo XIII granted it the title of minor basilica 1949. The new bell tower of 1949, contains five free-throw volley bells, three of which, fixed in the spire, strike the hours.

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The Constable Olivier de Clisson and his second wife Marguerite de Rohan had the southern apsidiole transformed into an oratory and private chapel at the end of the 14C. In 1370, this powerful lord, who was constable of the royal armies, had a private chapel built to the right of the choir (Sainte-Marguerite chapel), a place intended to shelter his remains. Many miracles are attributed to this basilica, including the healing of the blind and the paralytic. The healing of “barkers” during forgiveness is also attributed to Notre-Dame du Roncier.

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The stained glass windows. We do not know much about the old  stained glass windows of Notre-Dame du Roncier. The current church houses four partially preserved 15C stained-glass windows . These are stained-glass windows with large figures and high canopies, painted in grisaille and silver yellow. In the 20C, the de Rohan family ordered done a very art-deco stained glass window on the Combat des Trente (circa 1931-1933). In 1939, the Mauméjean workshop, with its characteristic style, produced two stained glass windows on the Birth of the Virgin and the Marriage of the Virgin. Among the 19C stained-glass windows, notice the one dedicated to Saint Anne d’Auray and her pilgrimage, two stained-glass windows including that of Olivier de Clisson and Marguerite de Rohan, visible in the Sainte-Marguerite Chapel which houses the cenotaph of the constable.  The stained glass window illustrating the fight of the Archangel Michael against the demon. The stained glass window of the axis bay commissioned by the de Rohan family in 1893. The six figures of the de Rohan family, aligned in the base. As for the lancets, they illustrate the mysteries of the Rosary. Also see a very beautifully crafted stained glass window  illustrating the famous theme of “barkers”, women affected by hysteria or epilepsy,

The old furniture kept in the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier is remarkable. The decor of the south porch is taken up in the 16C and expresses Renaissance influences. The organ is from the 17C, pulpit  18C wrought iron.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The official sanctuary of the basilica: https://sanctuaire-josselin.fr/

The Catholic Diocese of Vannes on the basilica: https://www.vannes.catholique.fr/basilique-nd-du-roncier-josselin/

The Regional Broceliande tourist board on the basilica: https://www.broceliande-vacances.com/offres/basilique-notre-dame-du-roncier-josselin-fr-2279515/

There you go folks, now you have the whole story , not much to write because I think is monumental and beyond my humble creative writing; but the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier is worth to visit, a must I would say if by this area, which is in itself a must to visit and say hello….

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

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August 30, 2021

Let’s go to Josselin!!

Well it’s time to tell you again and update about the wonders of my department 56, Morbihan of lovely Bretagne. It has so much to offer , no wonder is the third destination of the French! for vacations and very prize to live here. You have forest, lakes, rivers, monasteries, castles, churches, things to do galore, the beaches, the sea goodies , the cider ,the galette hey hey wait a minute. I am trying to tell you all in advance!! Anyway, my belle France is a country of wonders, no doubt why no 1 most visited country since numbers are kept which is like after 1949 by the UN-WTO. We reach 90M visitors before the pandemic , and we only have about 67M folks living lol! But, let’s go into the wonderful introduction to the city of Josselin , cradle of Brietagne’s history and France.

Josselin is located between the Rennes/Lorient Expressway  (N24) and the Nantes-Brest Canal on the Oust river. Located 44 km from Vannes, 73 km from Lorient and 81 km from Rennes, and 50 km from me. It is the name of the one who built the castle of the same name. This Josselin was one of the sons of Guethénoc, Count of Porhoêt, who lived from the year 998 to the year 1040. Anecdote, the current owners are also call Josselin.

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A bit of history I like on Josselin and the castle

Josselin is a town probably created around the year 1000 by Guéthénoc, son of the Duke of Brittany Conan Ier the Wrong. This viscount of Porhoët would have built in this place a first wooden castle around the year 1008 and which will be destroyed by King Henry II Plantagenet in 1168. His son Goscelinus gives his name to the new fortress, Castellum Goscelini, from where Château-Josselin then to Josselin town is name and which offers a relative security.

According to the legend, in 808, a laborer discovers a statue of wood in the brambles which allowed his daughter, blind to be born, to find the sight. Following this miracle, a Chapel and then a Church with still some remains from the 12C and finally a Basilica are built in the place of this discovery. In this Basilica, a fresco recalls the struggle of the thirty that took place halfway between Ploërmel and Josselin in the Hundred Years War. Josselin was a main government district between 1790 to 1795, where a revolutionary military commission was held. Nothing much to tell from the great wars.

A must is the Château de Josselin,( see post) much of the history of Brittany and France. Built between 1490 and 1505 by picking up many elements of the Louis XII architecture style. It is one of the points of the Triangle Rohannais (three great fortresses la Chèze, Josselin and Pontivy) which has for center the village of Rohan, the nominal fief of the House of Rohan. Guéthénoc, cadet of the ducal house of Brittany, Viscount of Porhoët, Rohan and Guémené, a member of the family of the Counts of Rennes, would have left the feudal motte of Château-Tro in Guilliers to build in this place a first wooden castle around the year 1008.

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Around 1170, Henri II came in person to direct the demolition of the castle and filled with salt to keep the walls in ruins. The castle is passed on into the hands of several great families foreign to Brittany, including the Lusignan, the Counts of Alençon and the Perche. In 1370, the latter agreed to cede Josselin, Castle and town to Olivier V de Clisson in exchange for the barony of Thuit, near the town of Falaise. From the existing castle, Clisson built the best armed fortress of Brittany: A feudal enclosure of 4 500 m2, with a chattel-residence and ramparts of 25 meters dotted with nine towers and a huge dungeon of 26 meters diameter and 32 meters high. In 1389, Clisson was banished from the Kingdom of France and was sentenced to death by Duke John IV. He fled to his stronghold of Josselin, but John IV soon made the siege of the castle. Dotted with truces, the struggle with the Duke of Brittany will continue until his death. After the death of Olivier de Clisson, the castle became the property of Alain VIII de Rohan (heir to the viscounts of Rohan), who married Beatrice, daughter of Olivier de Clisson. His son Alain IX de Rohan began to build a dwelling that he was leaning on in the towers and the courtyard.

In 1488, the Duke of Brittany Francis II took the castle and demolished it partially in order to punish John II of Rohan for his support of the French party opposed to him. His daughter Anne of Brittany gave it back to John II, banished from Josselin because of their adherence to Protestantism, the Rohan had to let the governor of Brittany, the Duke of Mercœur, make their castle a base for the league opposed to the new King Henry IV. The history of the castle remains obscure for many years, but the war of Succession of Brittany makes it its military role during the episode of the war of the thirty in 1351 as from Josselin depart the thirty supporters of Charles of Blois (for battle of Auray) under the leadership of Jean de Beaumanoir.

The castle passes into the hands of the Rohans, whose rise is affirmed in the 15C. In 1603, when the viscounty of Rohan was erected in the duchy-paired by King Henri IV, Henri II de Rohan, the chief general of the Protestants, transferred the siege of his power to the castle of Pontivy. In order to punish him, Cardinal Richelieu dismantled the dungeon in March 1629 (in two times, as its mass was imposing) and three towers, but spared the Renaissance building. In 1694, after the Battle of Camaret, the castle served as a prison for the English soldiers.  In the 18C, the Rohans, living at court, no longer reside in the castle which is unfurnished and neglected. The castle reverted to prison in 1758, after the Battle of Saint-Cast, and then sheltered nearly 1 200 prisoners of war. In 1760, in the face of the decay of the fortress, Louis III of Rohan Chabot demolished what remains of the two large towers that frame the first gate and the drawbridge. In 1776, in order to provide work for poor children in the region, the Duchess of Rohan established a cotton mill in the rooms on the ground floor. During the French revolution, the town requisitioned the castle and settled there to hold its meetings. In 1799, the castle was returned to the Rohan family, in a very degraded state. In 1822, the Duchess of Berry, on her adventurous tour, convinced the Duke of Rohan to restore it. Around 1835, Charles de Rohan-Chabot, tenth duke of Rohan, decided to undertake a proper restoration of his home, which was largely dilapidated. The construction site starts around 1855, and work continues until open to the public around 1930.

The castle is presently inhabited by the 14th Duke of Rohan, Josselin de Rohan, withdrawn from the affairs of regional or national politics, and his family. The gardens and four large rooms on the ground floor of the chateau, the long dining room, whose top of the panelling is carved up to date with the names of the Duke Alain, his parents, his wife and children, the living room , an antichamber and library containing 3 000 volumes and old portraits. Many works of art are exhibited: paintings of Old masters . On the stables have been rearranged to accommodate the Dolls museum. ,a collection enjoyed by the Duchess of Rohan. The French garden were created at the beginning of the 20C along the front of the Renaissance facade of the castle. A rose Garden was built in 2001 and has 160 roses belonging to 40 different varieties. An English garden, also created, extends to the foot of the ramparts along the river. This garden presents rare species of azaleas, camellias, many rhododendrons and centenary trees only open in heritage days and go to the garden event. Nice

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Other things to see in Josselin me think are:

The Basilica of Notre-Dame-du-Roncier,(see post)  also a parish Church, built at the end of the 12C and several times enlarged and modified. It houses the tombs of Olivier V de Clisson, Constable de France, and his wife Marguerite de Rohan. There is a pilgrimage here and one of the most important of the Morbihan, after that of Sainte Anne d’Auray (for Sainte Anne).

The Fontaine Notre-Dame-du-Roncier still called the Miraculous Fountain dated 1675, restored in 1958 is a fountain-wall.  The Chapelle Sainte-Croix founded in 1060 at the place-dit le Prieuré , including the 11C nave with flat bedside, the massive tower and the lateral chapel. The granite Calvary representing Christ in the Cross, Saint Laurent, Saint John the Baptist, Sainte Anne Crowned and the Virgin and the child at the foot. The Church of Saint Martin, which depended on the Saint-Martin Priory of Josselin founded in 1105, became a parish around 1400. It was very revamped in the 17C, the nave was destroyed in the 19C and a chapel was rebuilt in its place. It is important for the Breton Romanesque architecture because it reproduces the real Benedictine plan. The Carmelite Convent of St. Joachim says of the retreat, Sisters of Wisdom was built from 1640, enlarged in 1750 and the Chapel was rebuilt in 1975.  There are only restored remains of the convent of the Ursulines of Notre-Dame, which were established in 1646.  The Benedictine Chapel known as the congregation was built from 1702 and surmounted by a belfry in the 19C.

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The City/Town center or downtown between the Basilica and the Castle is made up of medieval half-timbered houses and stone houses. The house of the place Notre-Dame built in the 15C;the house dated 1538 to pilasters in spindles on the ground floor and the wood of 3 rue Georges-Le-Berd, the old Grande-rue, that of rue Glatinier dated 1602 , the one called Maison Morice at 21 rue Olivier-de-Clisson those of 27 rue Olivier-de-Clisson that of the 4 place of the Resistance, that of the Rue des Trento, those of 5 and 7 rue des Trento; Two houses rue Saint-Michel, the building of the 16C of 3 rue des Devins ‘ mansion built in 1763 at 6 rue des Devins le logis and 4 rue Olivier-de-Clisson, the only one of this time in stone. With the ancient ramparts, the Oust river forms the boundary of the medieval city. The Mall is a tree promenade in the heart of the city.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Official Chateau de Josselin: https://www.chateaudejosselin.com/en/homepage/

The City of Josselin on heritage and castle: https://www.josselin.com/decouvrir/histoire-et-patrimoine/

The Bretagne region tourist office on Josselinhttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/destination-broceliande/josselin/

There you go folks, a dandy town of Josselin to enjoy fully! You have a beautiful old town and a gorgeous castle, a must to visit in the Morbihan. Hope it helps your plans.

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

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August 30, 2021

Quiberon is beautiful!!

Oh yes our favorite hangout in our lovely Bretagne and close to home about 45 minutes by car on a lovely peninsula with the sea on both sides and close! Heaven on earth! A must to see! I have written several posts on Quiberon but never enough me think. Here is an update of an oldie for goodie post for you and me! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Ok in our busiest day of the week ,Saturday, we are always on the lookout for relaxing trips not far from our home. Well ,we are lucky to be not far from a world still unnoticed as it is the Gulf of Morbihan and the Peninsula of Quiberon. This is a long strip of land technically a peninsula and at the tip of it is wonderful beautiful Quiberon, which is a dream location for spending a day or weekend!

The wild coast or côte sauvage (see post) is something out of a Disney movie and the town itselt is laid back wonderland even in winter or summer!!  We of course went in and were able to find easy parking as usual near the fisherman’s cooperative along the ocean and walking distance to city center. Here you have a wonderful ferry passenger terminal for trips into the outlyng islands even in the Atlantic ocean!

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The fish boat harbor as well as the pleasure marina are very nice areas loaded with quant seafood and breton food restaurants facing the sea. A wonderful feeling indeed. For a boy who grew up in a shrimp fisherman harbor and been around the world ,this is nostalgia at its  best and it feld nice.  Coming along the côte sauvage, the best road in for us the first thing you see is the Château Turpault, in private hands and not visited, but the sight coming in to Quiberon is magical indeed. You are now in Quiberon city.

quiberon fishing harbor apr19

We proceed to our lunch with previous reservation while en route here! The old favorite revised it again La Cabana.(sadly closed 2020 ! here for the memories of always). The service and food as always was good with good prices. It has a great location at end place Hoche and before the Grande Plage or big beach. For starter we had the Fahrenheit pizza and copieuse galette /boucher beef galette all wash down with a new twist of modernity for us a Touraine Sauvignon Blanc wine 2017 very chill and very nice at 18€ the bottle. We finish with desserts from banana splits to choco and coconut crêpes and express coffee ; all for 26€ per person. ok

quiberon la cabana resto ent apr19

We did a bit of walking as usual by the Grande Plage and the Place Hoche square on a rainy cloudy day that had some courageous folks on already. Usually the tourist season here starts July 14 National Day (old Bastille day). And it was time to head back home again, after another wonderful day in Quiberon!

quiberon grande plage apr19

On the way back , we got our goodies of the region at our favorite store La Trinitaine (see posts) but this time went to a brand new store in Carnac city limits village of Kergroix  on our way back to Auray on the road D768 . Here we got our fish soups, rose cider and peach liquors to ease on down the weekend!  And of course, the errands buying dog food at Maxi Zoo in Séné, soccer gloves for my boy at InterSports, bank paperwork at Auray, and finally grocery shopping the papers trails at E Leclerc in Vannes before heading finally home to find out my dear Real Madrid CF won on two goals from Frenchmen Karim Benzema!! Hala Madrid!!!

Once at home ,settled down with our beautiful and good boy Rex, our dog mix border collier/labrador or Borador!!! and my Dad watching his usual Spanish TV programs in his bedroom lol!  Sunday is yet to see as usual relaxing time in France. Hope you enjoy the tour as I. Quiberon is beautiful, need to see it to believe it!

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

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August 30, 2021

Basilica Saint Remi of Reims!!

Well this is a classic and marvelous monument of my belle France. I enjoyed with the family all these previous trips especially those in Champagne country! I like to tell you about the glorious Basilica Saint Remi of Reims! 

Yes no matter what, history and roots are deep here, sometimes they make you change with difficulty but the history and architecture is enormous. I have been here often, been the place with my dear late wife Martine and sisters used to worked the vineyards to help pay studies etc. They took me early in 1990 ,and then some. And it is at Reims, department 51 of the Marne, in the region of Grand Est. The Basilica of St. Remi after the Cathedral, which it equals almost in size, it is 122 meters long (403 ft) , the Basilica of Saint-Remi is the most famous church of Reims. It was a long time attached to an important abbey, the Abbaye Saint-Remi de Reims. Saint-Remi dates from the 11-13C and 15C.

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A bit of history I like

This Basilica Church Saint Remi contains the relics of Bishop Saint Remi, who baptized Clovis, King of the Franks, on Christmas Day of a year between 496 and 506, perhaps in 499 of the Incarnation, after the Battle of Tolbiac. However, the tradition holds the year 496, celebrated by the coming of Pope John Paul II in 1996 to celebrate the 1 500 years of the baptism of Clovis and France.

In 533, Remi, Bishop of Reims, wished to be buried in the Chapel dedicated to Saint Christophe, which was located 2 km from the Cathedral. Very quickly this Chapel Saint-Christophe becomes a place of pilgrimage. People flocking, religious folks to keep the body of the Holy man. The primitive chapel is enlarged to the dimensions of a church, where the body is transferred in 533, the day that became, the Saint-Remi. At about 760, Abbé Jean Turpin (Turpin in the song of Roland) founded the Abbey of Saint-Remi and settled there a Benedictine religious community that remained there until the French revolution. The church was consecrated by Pope Leo IX in 1049, during the Council of Reims between 1118 and 1151, the sanctuary and the monastic choir was decorated and was preserved until the French revolution. It has been done like a mosaic pavement in the choir of the monks, which occupied the last four bays of the nave, and in the cross of the transept. The pavement surrounded and highlighted funerary slabs of important characters, buried in the church since the time of the Carolingians.

At the beginning of the 16C, was done the flamboyant window gate to the south arm of the transept. The congregation of Saint-Maur, which reformed the abbey from 1627 and reclaimed many residential buildings, came back from the novices, built the Renaissance colonnade, which closed the choir. The Basilica Saint Remi  escape the demolitions of the revolutionary turmoil, but the interior is desecrated and ransacked. Invaluable interior furniture disappears like the holy light bulb destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1793, when the Benedictines are expelled from their monastery. After the French revolution, it became a parish church for the southern districts.. The gilded bronze shrine enclosed in the mausoleum is made on the occasion of the 14th centenary of the baptism of Clovis, in 1896. The “Crown of Light”, symbol of the celestial Jerusalem and whose ninety-six candles evoke the life of Saint Rémi, was redone. The Basilica St Remi has the nave and the transepts, Romanesque in style, are the oldest, while the facade of the south transept is the most recent. The choir and the apse date back to the 12-13C. The monuments of value that were in the church in the past were looted during the French revolution; The tomb of Saint Remi is a 19C revival. However, there are still 12C stained glass windows in the apse and the tapestries exhibited in the museum in the old Abbey. The Basilica of St. Remi and the adjoining Benedictine abbey of the 18C (museum Saint-Remi, Gallo-Roman collections in particular).

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This is a wonderful museum that we have touch base with and worth a combination with the basilica. The museum St Remi is located in the former abbey of Saint-Remi, an architectural jewel! The Saint-Remi museum invites you to relive the history of Reims and its region, from its origins. Archaeological and artistic collections and objects of everyday life tell you about the adventure of an ancient and medieval metropolis. Discover the figure of Saint Remi, bishop of Reims who baptized King Clovis, and follow in those of the monks, guardians of the Holy Ampoule used for the coronation of the kings of France …!

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It was only in 2000 that the Basilica St Remi was once again endowed with a great organ. It is exceptional by the height of its pipes, 6.5 meters integrated in a buffet of 11.5 meters. A commemorative plaque affixed in the southern collateral nave reminds us that three kings of the Franks were sacred in this Basilica: Charles III the Simple in 893, Robert I in 922, and Lothaire in 954.. Among the royal and ecclesial personalities buried in the basilica, we can note the Kings Carolingian Louis IV and Lothaire who were the subject of description at the time of their destruction under the French revolution.

A jewel and nothing else, a must see in Reims. And some webpages to help you plan your visit are:

The city of Reims on the basilica: https://www.reims.fr/la-ville-de-reims/reims-et-son-patrimoine/la-basilique-et-l-ancienne-abbaye-saint-remi-7496.html

The Reims tourist office on the basilica: https://www.reims-tourism.com/basilique-saint-remi/reims/pcu0000000000733

The St Remi museum webpage: https://musees-reims.fr/fr/musees/musee-saint-remi/

There you go folks , nothing more to say ,you need to come here. Reims is great, and not to forget this is Champagne country! Hope you enjoy the post to the Basilica St Remi of Reims!!

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

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August 29, 2021

The beach in Locmariaquer!!

Oh well we went out as my oldest was on work break and took the gang including my father and our dog Rex into the coastal Morbihan we love so much, we came driving by Crac’h ,St Philibert,La Trinité sur Mer and finally settle in by beautiful Locmariaquer. Let me tell you a bit more of this latest adventure by yours truly! 

I must say the center town and several beaches were packed as I guess all have the health pass…. We just stop in the most quiet and empty spot by the Pointe de Kerpenhir in Locmariaquer.

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The town of Locmariaquer is located at the western mouth of the Gulf of Morbihan and has many beaches overlooking the Bay of Quiberon, western part of Mor Braz which opens access to the Atlantic Ocean. Love to come here for a drink or lunch by the port.

Locmariaquer is a wonderful coastal town with several beaches such as the fine sandy beaches of Saint-Pierre beach, Falaise beach, Rolay beach and Valy beach. I have several posts on Locmariaquer in my blog and the Falaise beach in particular, This time went yesterday morning with our dog Rex to visit walked more the Rolay beach, Here is my take on it ; hope you enjoy it as I.

locmariaquer kerpenhir rolay plage along sea aug21

This pointe de Kerpenhir is wonderful with a very nice beach and plenty of picnics and parking along the beaches. We love to come here even in winter and walked on them for a pint by the port.

locmariaquer kerpenhir rolay beach front aug21

The plage du Rolay or rolay beach is located between the Falaise beach and Pointe de Kerpenhir headland, facing Port Navalo (see post), and overlooks the ocean. Swimming in complete serenity since an exclusion zone for navigation has been delimited on the site . There are parking spaces along the road. Rolay beach, has just been fitted out to allow people with reduced mobility to enjoy the joys of swimming. A launching mat has been installed recently,

locmariaquer kerpenhir rolay beach to isles aug21

As a reminder , Locmariaquer is one of the renowned exceptional testimony to the funeral rites of the Neolithic, with its archaeological site of megaliths, renowned throughout the world There are 3 emblematic monuments reigning majestically including the Grand Menhir Brisé. With a height of 21 meters and 280 tons, it is the largest stele ever erected by man at that time! A few steps away, the Er Grahet tumulus and the Table des Marchands dolmen are real archaeological nuggets. Adorned with 2 magnificent golden slabs, the Merchants’ Table is part of the passage tombs, and, like the Er Grah tumulus, offers an overview of funeral rites in Neolithic times from about 4,500 to 3,500 years BC !! Worth the detour just for this alone !

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

The town of Locmariaquer on its heritage : http://www.locmariaquer.fr/patrimoine-page-90-rub-2.html

My fav beach webpage of Plages TV on the Rolay beach of Locmariaquer: https://en.plages.tv/detail/rolay-beach-locmariaquer-56740

This is heavens on earth in the coastal Morbihan; on a nice Rolay beach in lovely Locmariaquer.  Hope you have enjoy the post as it, And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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August 29, 2021

Place de la République of Paris!!

So back to my eternal Paris again, yes again. Paris is eternal there is no time limit or enough writing on it. We just keep on ticking on Paris forever. This is an update on text and links on a very popular square dear to me as one of the properties that reported to me sits here still, and when in Paris visiting on personal time, always stayed in hotels around it.  It is a magical place and one you need to know the schedule or news so not be squeezed in with crowds (strikes), you know what I mean. I am going to tell you a bit more on the Place de la République or Republic square of Paris. Enough has been written on it, this is my take more on the history part I like.

paris pl de la republique from Indiana cafe sep15

The Place de la République, formerly known as Place du Château d’Eau, was designed by Baron Haussmann in 1854. In its midst stands the Statue of the Republic of 10 meters high on a space of 3.4 ha, and located bordering the 3éme, 10éme, and 11éme arrondissements of Paris. The streets coming off of it are in a clockwise direction: Boulevard de Magenta, rue Beaurepaire, rue Léon-Jouhaux, rue du Faubourg-du-Temple, Avenue de la Republique, Boulevard Voltaire, Boulevard du Temple, rue du Temple, Boulevard Saint-Martin, and rue René-Boulanger. The place de la République was the subject of a complete redevelopment in order to leave more room for pedestrians, done and now easier flow of traffic as well. The year 1904 saw the end of the construction of Line 3 of the Metro and the inauguration of the metro station République under the square. Metro Lines 5, 8, and 9 will later be built and also serve the square. The last, the line 11 is inaugurated in 1935!

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The north side of the square is occupied by buildings on the site of what was the Diorama founded in 1822 by Daguerre. The shops together, the barracks of the Place de la République, built in 1854, originally named Prince Eugene Barracks, it takes the name of Vérines. The Statue of the Republic in bronze, 10 meters high, rests on a pedestal of 15.50 meters was installed from 1880 to 1883. The three large stone statues of the pedestal represent freedom, equality and brotherhood. The stone pedestal is surrounded by twelve bronze bas-reliefs which represent the major events at the origin of the birth of the French Republic, between 1789 and 1880. A green bronze lion, 3 meters high, is lying at the foot of the monument. Initially it was in its center, the fountain of the Nubian Lions which became too small when the square was widened ,and place instead in front of the Grand Halle de la Villette. It was then replaced by the Fontaine aux Lions in 1875, which was itself transferred at present place Félix Eboué following the installation in 1880 of the current Statue of the Republic.

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A bit of history I like

In the years 1670-1680, the enclosure of Charles V, built in the 14C, is razed and a course is laid out in its location. A small triangular square is located at the site of the bastion of the Temple gate the square was slightly further west than the present square. It was located above the Rue des Fosses-Saint-Martin (later known as Rue Bondy, then Rue René-Boulanger). This street marks the limit of the old square it is originally only part of Boulevard Saint-Martin But it takes in the 19C the name of Place du Château d’Eau in reference to a fountain called   Château d’Eau (watertower), installed on the square in 1811.

The place takes its present physiognomy in the context of the transformations of Paris under the Second Empire (Napoleon III). The Prince Eugene Barracks, later called Château d’Eau barracks and later still Vérines barracks. Subsequently, several boulevards are projected: piercing of the Boulevard du Prince-Eugène (current boulevard Voltaire) and the beginning of the present Avenue de la République, declared public utility in 1857 and extension of the Boulevard du Nord (current Boulevard de Magenta) between Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin and the Château l’Eau, declared public utility in 1859. The administration of Baron Haussmann produces a large rectangular square of 280 meters long by 120 meters wide. A large part of the theaters of the Boulevard du Temple are then razed; notably the theatre-history or theatre-lyric founded by Alexandre Dumas in 1847, and disappeared by 1850. In 1866 it was built on the square the magasins réunies.

The square takes its present name in 1879 the monument consists of a colossal statue of Marianne (representing the French Republic)  in bronze of 10 meters high on a stone base of 15 meters high where are seated allegories of freedom, equality and brotherhood. The fountain of the Château d’Eau of Davioud was resettled in 1880 to the Place Daumesnil (present place Félix-Éboué), in the 12éme arrondissement. On 1 July 2013 the Terrace Emilian-Moreau-Évrard, the Esplanade André-Tollet, and the terrace of the   commander-Jacques-Blasquez were inaugurated, in homage to their acts of resistance during WWII. Sometimes, because of its name and the symbolism linked to it, but mainly because of its accessibility and its location at the crossroads of great avenues, this is one of the usual places of the Parisian demonstrations, most often at the initiative of Political organizations of the left or trade unions. But the place de la République was also the framework chosen in 1958 by General de Gaulle for a demonstration, on September 4, in favour of the yes to the referendum establishing the Constitution of the fifth Républic as it rules France today.

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Some building of note according to me are at No. 1: Passage Vendôme, No. 10: Magasins Réunis and Hotel Crowne Plaza; (One old work property reported to me while working in Paris! ), and No. 12: Vérines Barracks; It has been hosting the Republican Guard since 1947.

The Paris tourist office on the place de la Républiquehttps://en.parisinfo.com/transport/90901/Place-de-la-Republique

It is really one of the squares to be in, and many nice places to eat around it as well as close to many sights and great transportation hub. Place de la République, enjoy it as I do each time in Paris.

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

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August 29, 2021

Church Saint Merri of Paris!

Ok so I told you how much I have walked all over Paris and that I worked in it for 9 years while living just next door in Versailles! Well, I have, also told you that there is so many things to see here that you will need a lifetime. Ok so this is one monument I had never been inside! Passed by it as it is in a popular area, had my pints but never occur to me to go inside until now. There is always time to indulge in Paris and there is always new things to see . Let me tell you a bit on the Church Saint Merri of Paris!

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The Saint-Merri Church is located near the Centre Georges-Pompidou (see post) at the intersection of rue Saint-Martin and rue de la Verrerie  by No 76 in the 4éme arrondissement of Paris. The name Saint-Merri comes from the abbot St. Mederic, who died in the year 700, canonized and renamed Saint Merri by contraction. The remains of this Saint still rest in the crypt of the church!

A bit of history I like

Tradition has it that Médéric, abbot of the abbey of Saint-Martin d’Autun, came to live as a hermit in a hut near the oratory Saint-Pierre-des-Bois which stood at this place. He died in 700 and was buried there and the oratory was transformed into a chapel under the name of Saint-Pierre-des-Bois Chapel or more simply Saint-Pierre Chapel. In 884, the bishop of Paris exhumed the body , and put in a shrine the remains of Saint-Médéric, which will become Saint-Merri, now considered as relics. It is at this time that Saint-Médéric is chosen to become the patron Saint of the rive droite or right bank of Paris, and the chapel then taking the name of Saint-Médéric Chapel or Chapel Saint-Merri.  Around 1010, the bishop of Paris, donated it to the chapter of Notre-Dame. Becoming collegiate, it is then served by a community of seven canons from the chapter. In 1200, the church built in its place is erected in parish under the name of Saint-Merri. It is thus one of the four daughters of Notre Dame, and the last remaining one today.

The current Church St Merri was built between 1515 and 1612. The crypt, the nave, and the aisles date from 1515-1520, the arms and the cross of the transept from 1526-1530, the choir and the apse were completed in 1552, while the work ended in 1612, when the bell tower is raised one floor. The  18C is for the church an era of reshuffle , when the rood screen of 1558 is destroyed in 1709, rework the choir whose arched bows are bent and covered as the pillars of a marble veneer and stucco. The floor is covered with a marble pavement, the furniture is renewed and the stained glass windows are partly replaced by white glass.  Closed in 1793 because of the French revolution, the Church of Saint Merri becomes a saltpetre factory. From 1797 to 1801, theophilanthropes made it the “Temple of Commerce”.  The church ended up being returned to Catholic worship in 1803.

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The Church Saint Merri is entirely flamboyant Gothic, with no trace of Renaissance architecture. Its layout evokes that of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. It was administered by seven canons of the cathedral and was nicknamed Notre Dame le petit or little Notre Dame.  The facade is flamboyant Gothic style. A little further up is a slender, narrow campanile whose wooden top contains a very old bell dating back to 1331, which would probably be the oldest in Paris!

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The nave with five spans and ogive vault was completed in 1520. The transept was completed in 1526.  The choir, completed in 1552, its length is substantially the same as the nave. The Chapel of the communion was built in 1743 , it consists of three square bays symbolizing the real world, lit by three oval lanterns, with arches separated by Corinthian pilasters. The openwork cupolas symbolize the celestial vault. The square bell tower having been endowed with a third floor in 1612, has found since the fire of 1871 its height of origin of two floors. On the left, you can see an octagonal turret decorated with arcatures, surmounted by a campanile sheltering the oldest bell of Paris c. 1331. The crypt, completed in 1515 under the fifth chapel on the left of the nave, houses since 1884 the shrine containing the relics of Saint Merri. Dating from the 16C, the presbytery of Saint-Merri was remodeled in 1731.

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The decorative elements of the current Church Saint Merri are inspired by themes honored after the Council of Trent and during the spiritual renewal of the 17C. Saint-Merri Church has a large collection of paintings from the 17C to the 19C.  The organ with five turrets was built from 1647 to 1650. The turret buffet was made in 1647. Two angels with bird bodies support the large side turrets. The wooden stand is work of 1755, and it is supported by four fluted wooden pillars surmounted by Ionic capitals. A frieze of reeds and ears, a lion mask and two fire pots complete the carved decoration. The instrument was expanded by François-Henri Clicquot in 1779, then transformed from 1855 to 1857 by Cavaillé-Coll and in 1947 by Victor Gonzalez . There is Choir organ or Organ Merklin from 1880. The wooden pulpit dates from 1753. The former baptismal font with the arms of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany. In all a nice Church.

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An anecdote worth noticing. The Baphomet, that is to say for some the Devil, for others the idol possibly venerated by the Templars whose main house was very close to Saint-Merri, or finally simply the westernisation of Mahomet. This little devil, being horned half man and half woman with bat wings, evokes the publications of Eliphas Levi (born Alphonse-Louis Constant). It belongs to the occult iconography of the 19C, inspired by ancient figures found in the Templars. This unusual presence is reported by Claude Seignolle in his collection of short stories La Nuit des Halles, Umberto Eco in his novel The Pendulum of Foucault as well as by the writers Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne in their novel The Seventh Templar (page 429). Like the entire main facade, it was restored during the work done in 2013-2014.

The official Parish of St Merri: https://saintmerry.org/#patrimoine

The city of Paris on the Church St Merri renovations done still the organ this year 2021.https://www.paris.fr/pages/eglise-saint-merry-une-restauration-a-la-hauteur-de-l-edifice-6868

So there you go folks,  a masterpiece church often overlook and totally bypassed by yours truly until now. Paris is always amazing and so is my belle France. Now, enjoy the Church Saint Merri of Paris

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

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August 28, 2021

The Place de l’école militaire in Paris!

I like to update this unique post of just about the Place de l’école militaire, part of a famous monument of Paris. It sits in front angle of the école militaire de Paris! (see post). Another spot to meet friends from here and elsewhere. Great on my eternal Paris! Now let me tell you  a bit more on this square place de l’école Militaire. Actually , written on the school before so briefly, will concentrate here on my tour of streets of Paris ok.

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The Place de l’école-Militaire is a square in the 7éme arrondissement. It lies on the northeast section of the école Militaire. There are six avenues emanating from it such as Avenue de La Bourdonnais ; Avenue Bosquet ; Avenue de La Motte-Picquet ; Avenue Tourville ; Avenue Duquesne; and Place Joffre. The neighborhood of the école-Militaire is the 27th of Paris in the 7éme arrondissement or district. The place de l’école Militaire is served by: Metro line 8, bus RATP lines 28 80 82 87 and 92, as well as a taxi stand. The bus line 82 (see post) is a dandy for me from Montparnasse and see Paris above ground sublime! There is Indigo parking above ground at Place Joffre, which of course, have parked.webpage: https://fr.parkindigo.com/parking/paris-75007/joffre-ecole-militaire-75070200

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The place de l’école militaire before its creation, in 1912, was part of the Avenue Duquesne, between the avenues of La Motte-Picquet and Tourville, Avenue Tourville, between the avenues of La Motte-Picquet and Duquesne. On one side, the square is served by several bars brasseries with large terraces, and find the entrance of the vehicles of the école militaire. This is one of my favorite hangout places in Paris. For the memories ,right off of it by Ave Bosquet there is a resto Séptime Vin, I brought some friends from an old travel forum once there for a get together of many nations! And of course, one of my favorites too. Also, another of my favorite spots there is the La Terrasse du 7ème with nice views over the square! (see posts). Nearby a popular stop for my family  and meet friends at Rue de Grenelle is the wonderful market held there on Wednesdays and Sundays; and the wonderful fleas trinkets section on Sunday mornings. I have even done volunteer work here for a local association! More from the Paris tourist office: https://en.parisinfo.com/shopping-paris/73878/Marche-Grenelle

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The école militaire (see post) was built between 1751 and 1768 in the plain of Grenelle during the reign of king Louis XV. The main entrance is the Avenue de la Motte Piquet, facing the Champ de Mars ; the Eiffel Tower at the other end. In 1787, the military school was closed and it was planned to transfer to the Hôtel-Dieu which would never took place. The buildings are abandoned and then looted in the French revolution. The building serves as a depot, and then barracks, especially for the Imperial Guard. After various assignments, it is enlarged, to acquire the aspect that is now known today. In 1878 the École supérieure de guerre (high School of War) was opened, and in 1911 the centre des hautes études militaries opened (Center for Advanced Military Studies).  The main thing of course is the école militaire and not much is written on the square that carries its name. However, take it from me , it is a very chic nice neighborhood where I visit several friends, and the area has the allures of upper class, not that Paris does not have enough of these.

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However, there is a nice small square with a statue nearby, Place Joffre, on the side of Avenue de la Motte-Picquet. Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre, often known just as Jacques Joffre, was a French General during WWI.  He is most well known for regrouping the retreating allied armies in order to defeat the Germans at the strategically decisive First Battle of the Marne, which happened in 1914.  And with this triumph, plus other strategies that Joffre put in place, he gained further popularity and became referred to with a nickname of Papa Joffre. Joseph Joffre had been awarded the title of Marshal of France, and he was the first person to receive this title and rank under the Third Republic, even though he also received other honors including knighthood. And my favorite parking there too!!(see above).

Another interesting square in this neighborhood or quartier is the Place de FontenoyUNESCO, formerly Place de Fontenoy .  This place near the military school bears the name of the Battle of Fontenoy won by the French in 1745 and UNESCO whose headquarters occupies most of it. Drawn up in 1770, the square is ceded by France to the city of Paris in 1838. In the same square, you see the Ministry of Social Affairs. At No. 3, the building, adjoining the former Ministry of posts (Avenue of Saxe), was built at the beginning of the 1930’s for the Ministry of the Merchant Navy. Following its restoration, it has been occupied since September 2016 by the National Commission of Informatics and Freedoms and the Defender of Rights. The military school occupies the entire west side of the square by Avenue de Lowendal.

And you have an idea of the neighborhood just my sublime Paris , eternal gorgeous and always wanting more. There you go folks, another dandy spot in the most beautiful city in the world, Paris! Hope you enjoy reading the post as I writing it.  There is no specific webpage for the square as of course, the main building there is the école militaire but that is in another post.

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

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