Archive for August 12th, 2021

August 12, 2021

Surzur and its cider!!!

So on this cool sunny day in my beautiful Morbihan at home and resting waiting to go out for my next adventure in life, let me bring you back to a memorable town. I have written on Surzur before in my blog, and it was one special spot where I took my dear late wife Martine for natural cures; forever memorable.

However, I like to start by a brief introduction without repeating much of what I have already written and bear off to the subject of this post, the ciders of Surzur. Hope you enjoy the ride as I.

The town of Surzur is crossed from east to west by the D 20, the town’s main road. It divides the town into two distinct parts: The D 195, which links Noyalo to Le Tour-du-Parc via the town of Surzur. The D 183, which connects the expressway from Vannes to Nantes, the N 165, but also the connection with the villages located inland, such as La Trinité-Surzur, Sulniac or Le Gorvello. by Kicéo, Vannes transport company line 22 Vannes Liberation – Surzur centre.

The town of Surzur has an oceanic feeling crisscross by several small creeks and rivers. It ,also, has several chapels and manors or big homes almost like castles all over the territory. These are written elsewhere in my blog but briefly here are the Chappelle de Sainte Hélène ,located in village of Brarun, part of Surzur. It has a nice simple façade with nice main door dating from the 17C and on top a small bell tower in stone.  We syphon the city center seeing in the distance the Church of Saint Symphorien  a Roman style church from the 11C. The Chapelle de Notre-Dame de Recouvrance. Also called Notre-Dame du Bas-bourg. The chapel dates back to the 14C, but only the foundations remain from this period, the whole dating back to the 16C. The Chapelle Sainte-Anne-Grappon (or Graz au Pont): 17C altarpiece and painting, unique in Brittany. It was rebuilt in 1690.

The city of Surzur on its heritage sights in French: https://www.surzur.fr/listes/architectural/

Therefore, we go to the Cidrerie Nicol with it’s wonderful cider products already tasted here. Near the Gulf of Morbihan, for three generations, the Nicol’s have been making on their farm a traditional cider which has the particularity of being fruity and slightly acidic. It is made with apples from their 13 ha orchards and apples from south Morbihan farmers exclusively to preserve the wine which is linked to the land and their high level of sunshine. The farm has 13 hectares of orchard, four of which have a red label, the cider house harvests and buys apples of local varieties. It processed nearly 1,000 tonnes of fruit in 2019 for a production of around 800,000 bottles of cider (raw, fruity and sweet), 100,000 bottles of apple juice, 100,000 bottles of Royal Guillevic Label Rouge and 10,000 crab apple bottles (non-alcoholic sparkling juice).

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They make an authentic cider bouché (corked) pure juice, exclusively from fresh Guillevic apples, with a fine and original personality to be discovered both as an aperitif in a flute or at the table with a dessert. This top-of-the-range mono-varietal cider, of natural fermentation, of the Royal Guillevic appellation is today guaranteed by a Label Rouge. With perfect traceability, each batch is subject to approval after analysis and evaluation by the tasting committee.

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Other products are the Rhuys Artisanal Cider (Brut, Demi-sec, Doux) traditionally made in their farm and has the particularity of being fruity and slightly acidulous. It is regularly awarded a medal at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris. Apple juice 100% pure juice made from cider apple juice gives it a fragrant and frank taste. It is of course alcohol-free and without the addition of sugar.

The official Cidres Nicol in French: https://www.cidres-nicol.bzh/

The house of ciders of Brittany on Nicol in French: https://www.maisoncidricoledebretagne.bzh/cidre-de-rhuys-nicol/

There you go folks, a bit of the wonderful earthly products of my beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne. The ciders are big items with the Bretons, and goes very well with the galettes and crêpes!!! Surzur is a nice small town to visit at least on you way to the wonderful beaches of the Rhuys peninsula! Hope you have enjoy the ride with me.

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

August 12, 2021

The bridges of Paris!!!

On a sunny day ,I will update this older post for you and me. A wonderful adventure reliving these memorable posts; and thanks for reading me since November 2010!. I have become nostalgic maybe even romantic to write about Paris and its bridges. Lots of beauty, romance and history on the bridges (ponts) of Paris; they numbered about 37 over the Seine river.

We all have our favorites, I happened to have passed by them all either by car or on foot or both ways over the years. The Bridges of Paris or Les Ponts de Paris are sublime. One old record from the city of Paris shows that there are 37 bridges over the Seine river, 58 bridges over Parisien streets, 10 bridges used by the trains RATP, 33 bridges used by the trains SNCF, 148 bridges over the boulevard Périphérique beltway road around Paris, and 49 pedestrian bridges!! Of the 37 bridges over the Seine , 5 are pedestrians and 2 are train bridges. 3 link the Île Saint Louis to the rest of Paris and 8 do the same for the île de la Cité, and one link the islands.

The 37 Ponts de Paris over the Seine river are:

Pont Amont at the edge of the river entry to the city in the boulevard Périphérique; Pont National, Pont de Tolbiac, Passarelle Simone de Beauvoir (pedestrian), Pont de Bercy (railroad bridge carrying line 6 of the Métro and another lane for road traffic); Pont Charles de Gaulle, viaduct d’Austerlitz (railroad bridge on line 5 of the Métro ) following the rive droite by the viaduct du quai de la Rapée; Pont d’Austerlitz, Pont de Sully (eastern edge of ïle Saint Louis), Pont de la Tournelle (between rive gauche and ïle Saint Louis); Pont Marie (between Ïle Saint Louis and the rive droite); Pont Louis Philippe (between ïle Saint Louis and the rive droite, Pont Saint Louis (pedestrian between ïle Saint Louis and ïle de la  Cité); Pont de l’Archevêché (between the rive gauche and ïle de la Cité); Pont au Double (between rive gauche and ïle de la Cité); Pont d’Arcole (between ïle de la Cité and rive droite); Petit Pont (between rive gauche and ïle de la Cité), Pont Notre Dame (between ïle de la Cité and the rive droite); Pont Saint MIchel (between rive gauche and île de la Cité), Pont au Change (between ïle de la Cité and the rive droite); Pont Neuf, (oldest bridge at western tip of ïle de la Cité; Passerelle des Arts (pedestrian), Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal, Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor (formerly passerelle de Solférino); Pont de la ConcordePont Alexandre III, Pont des Invalides, Pont de l’Alma, Passerelle Debilly (pedestrian); Pont d’Iéna, Pont de Bir-Hakeim (crossing île aux Cygnes with Métro line 6 and another road traffic lane); Pont Rouelle ( train viaduct of RER C crossing ïle aux Cygnes); Pont de Grenelle (crossing ïle aux Cygnes), Pont Mirabeau, Pont du Garigliano, and Pont Aval (boulevard Périphérique at river exit from the city) . Voilà!! I just highlighted in black my favorites!

Out of all of these , I have my favorites of course, listed here with some additional notes, and select pictures . These are:

Pont de la Tournelle : The first bridge built on the site was completed in 1620. The present-day bridge dates from 1928. A tall pylon flanks the bridge, topped by a statue of St. Geneviève, the Patron Saint of Paris.

Pont Marie:  Built in 1614-1635, : the bridge is one of the oldest in Paris. It is named after its lead engineer Christophe Marie.

Pont au Double:  There has been a bridge spanning the river on the site from 1626. The latest version, a single arch cast-iron bridge, dates from 1883. The bridge connects the left bank with the Île de la Cité and leads directly to the Place du Parvis Notre Dame, right in front of the Notre Dame Chathedral.

Pont au Change: Linking the Île de la Cité to the Right Bank, the first version of the bridge dated to the 9C  . It bears the initials of Emperor Napoleon III. Today’s bridge was built in 1860 as a masonry arch bridge and connects the Châtelet Square with the Conciergerie at the ïle de la Cité. Its name is derived from the goldsmiths and jewellers that had their shops here between the 14C-17C.

Pont Neuf : Ironically this is the city’s oldest bridge, built in 1607. At the time of its construction the Pont Neuf (which means ‘new bridge’) was the first bridge in Paris with no houses built upon it. The bridge connects the left bank with the right bank over the western tip of the ïle de la Cité.

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Pont des Arts (Passarelle des Arts)  The footbridge offers one of the most romantic views of Paris. In the distance the Île de la Cité can be seen and the medieval-looking bridge of Pont-Neuf which links the Right and Left banks.

Pont Alexandre III :  The bridge named after the Tsar of Russia was built during the Belle Époque opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900. The bridge is decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. Tall pillars on either side of the bridge are topped with large gilded statues, and connects the Invalides to the Grand and Petit Palais.

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Passerelle Debilly :  This pedestrianized built in 1900. :It offers spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower.

Pont d’Iéna : The bridge dates from 1814. It is very famous for its remarkable position, linking the Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and Champ-de-Mars. It was named after the German city of Jena (Iéna in French) where Napoléon had defeated the Prussian army in 1806. The statues were added in 1853 and in 1937 the bridge was widened to 35m (115ft).

Pont de Bir-Hakeim:  The particularity of the double-decked bridge from 1878 and 1905 is that it was designed for both road and métro traffic.

Pont de Grenelle : The bridge is a bland modern steel bridge built in 1966. The bridge passes along the southern tip of the Île des Cygnes (Swan Island) where you find a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The 9 meter high statue was given as a present from the United States, who had earlier received the original Statue of Liberty as a gift from France.

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Pont de la Concorde: The Pont de la Concorde (Bridge of Concord) leads from the Place de ma Concorde to the Palais Bourbon, home of the French Parliament’s lower house. Already planned in 1725, the bridge was built after much delay, between 1787 and 1791. The width of the bridge was doubled in 1932 to 34m (112ft) to accommodate the increasing traffic.

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Pont d’Arcole: The first permanent bridge connecting the City Hall of Paris (Hôtel de Ville) and the Île de la Cité was built in 1828. This small pedestrian bridge with a central pillar was replaced by a wider and stronger bridge in 1854. The for its time advanced bridge with no central pillar still stands today.

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Of course , the history of these bridges has a lot more to offer and tell, they are magical on its own. As an example for the curious I will expand on the Pont Saint Michel.

The construction of the bridge of St Michael or pont Saint Michel was ordered in 1378 and finished in 1387; to link the ïle de la Cité with the rive gauche (left bank) of the Seine. It took the name of St Michel for a small chapel that occupied the southwest angle of the court or cour de la Sainte Chapelle in the interior of the Justice palace (palais de la justice). It was broken by the ices cold front of 1408, 1547 and 1616 rebuilt in stones as well as in wood, it was necessary to rebuilt it with stone the year 1616 for a company that won the right to built 32 houses that were still visible in the first years of the 20C, and were not demolished from a decree order of emperor Napoléon Ier,in  1807  from the war field of Tilsitt. The pont Saint-Michel is held by four arches in the center, of 61 meters and wide of 25 meters between the heads. On each column there is a N in capital letter inscrits on the stone to remind us of the reign of emperor Napoléon III.

You can read/see more in the Paris tourist office in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/museums-monuments-heritage-paris/Paris-the-Seine-with-its-bridges-and-footbridges

The city of Paris leisure webpage on its bridges in French: https://www.sortiraparis.com/arts-culture/histoire-patrimoine/guides/173565-l-histoire-des-ponts-de-paris

Enjoy the bridges of Paris whether you are just walking around or driving on them as I do both, it is sublime , see Paris above ground. Please walk Paris ,if still driving makes it difficult for you, then take the buses and walk walk walk Paris; as my other posts said, Paris is an open air Museum !!! Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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August 12, 2021

Brugge canals and more!!!

The small country of Belgium hit me since first visiting in 1991, and with family close to the border France-Belgium it was an easy trip to the country. It’s a lot more than fries ,mussels and beers althought I can go there just for that lol! Let me update this older post for you and me, and hope you enjoy it as I.

I like to tell you a bit more on the town of Brugge,  places to see etc. I love history so will like to remind you a bit more on the city this time.

Brugge is in the Flemish region of Belgium, principal city of the province of West Flandre. It has been call by many the Venice of the north, but you know how that goes…Brugge is mentioned from the 9C as a stronghold of the Count of Flandre and by 1134 a huge wave open up breach to the sea call the Zwin, giving access to the sea and the developement of several canals, now making the city famous. This quasi natural breach of sea eventually by the 20C allows for the huge port of Bruges-Zeebruges. Now link with Bruges since 1907 by the Canal Baudouin,of 12 km long.

I have come to Brugge only by car, and the roads are good , easy on the park and relays parkings or in the hotels. The main roads here at the French border; A17/E403, links Courtrai to Tournai;the national roads such as the N31/E403,links to the port of Zeebruges. We went from Versailles to my dear Martine to her brother’s house in Caudry (see post) and from there took the D630 to connect with the A2 then by Valenciennes got on the A23 and afterward you are on the D169A direction Saint Amand-les-Eaux , once crossing to Belgium; you will be on the Belgian N507 to continues on the N52 to exit 31 Antoing to connect with the A16   and get on exit 32 direction Brussels ,you will be then on the E403 A17 passing Dottignies direction Brugge where you will end up on the N31 still direction Brugge to the beltway Buten Begijnenvest ,follow this to exit 4 Katelijnepoort, and it goes right into city center/Downtown, we parked at our hotel Novotel for free! Other than that you can use the parking relays such as Centrum-Station (railway station) and Centrum-’t Zand. Both are situated within walking distance of the Markt square, but you can also use the bus transfer with ‘De Lijn’ between the parking Centrum-Station and the city centre (included in your parking fee for 4 passengers). One in hotel we just walked all over and came out the same way!

A bit of history I like on Brugge:

On May 18 1302, during the festival of the Bruggian mornings the population revolts against the king of France Philippe le Bel and killed the supporters of the king, then take side with the Count of Flandre Gui de Dampierre and oldest son Robert prisonner of the king of France since 1300. Two months later the town takes part in the Flemish victory in the battle of the golden spurs or bataille des éperons d’or, against the king of France.  In the 15C Brugge is under the control of the dukes of Burgundy, by 1436 the militia of locals and Gantons returning from the sieges of Picardie in France, demand the independance of Brugge in the maritime port of L’Écluse. By May 1437 the locals revolt again against Duke Philippe III of Burgundy in a bloody revolt. The town of Brugge passed under Spanish domination and by the succession of the lower countries in 1584 the town reach its lowest point ; by 1600, Brugge is only a small provincial town. By WWI , Brugge was occupied by the Germans,but the city suffered virtually no damage and was liberated on 19 October 1918 by the allies. From 1940 in WWII, the city was occupied by the Nazis and again spared destruction. On 12 September 1944 it was liberated by Canadian troops.

Some things to see I like are:

The Markt Place;(Grand Place)   with its palais provincial and Beffroi  the city hall (stadhuis) from 1376 on the place du Bourg wonderful architecture and history here!

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Monastery of the vineyard (béguinage de Bruges) founded by Marguerite of Constantinople, also countess of Flandre in 1245. The Benedictines were here since 1927. There is possible to visit a house of beguine, but we didn’t have time to do the house. Hospital of Saint-John of Bruges (Sint-Jans-Hospitaal) , an old hospital of the 12C located in the street Mariastraat, it is now of museums dedicated to the works of Hans Memling, including the famous shrine of Sainte Ursula, and the mythical marriage of Sainte Catherine. In the sick room there is showing the sick in a reconstitution and objects of arts and medicine showing the hospital life of the times.

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The palace of the dukes of Burgundy, and the Maison-Dieu from the 14C.  Cathedral of Saint Salvador (Sint-Salvatorskathedraal);  Notre-Dame de la Poterie Church (Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ter Potterie) it was a hospital since the 13C and now a museum on its history. And the Jerusalem Church built in early 15C by descendants of Opice Adornes, a genovese shopper and one of the rare Churches in Belgium still in private hands run by the ASBL Adornes. And not to missed the procession of the HOly Blood dating from the middle ages that is held every year on Ascension day. old abbey of Dunes , the monks of this abbey in the 17C came here and today there is a seminary on the quay de poteries with an undone façade. Basilica of the Holy Blood (Basiliek van het Heilig Bloed), (see post) a pilgrimage place from a long time, explain the procession of the Holy Blood. 

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Brugge has numerous museums and have been to a few; some of the ones I like are the Belfort or bell tower at a height of 83 meters and a structure of 47 bells.  Also, the gate of Gentpoort one of the four gates of the medieval town; the windmill of Koelewei from 1765 now near the gate of Damme since 1996; museum of arts and popular traditions housed in 8 maison dieu of the 17C; Museum Groeninge; Flemish paintings from the 15C to our days; Palace of the franks de Bruges (Paleis van het Brugse Vrije) there were a council managing the region around the town and now houses the archives and in the renaissance room there is a monumental chimney of the 16C. And the Gruuthusemuseum is a museum of applied arts in Bruges, located in the medieval Gruuthuse, the house of Louis de Gruuthuse. The collection ranges from the 15-19C. Even the tourist office has a nice building here! Not the least the Civil Courthouse!

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The Brugge tourist office: https://www.visitbruges.be/discover

A good private webpage on tourist info of Brugge: https://www.brugestourisme.com/

There now you go folks, the city of Brugge (Bruges in Fr) is awesome, a must to visit me think. Enjoy the north, the Venice of the North. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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