Archive for August 15th, 2021

August 15, 2021

Lorient, sailing harbor!!

I have come to this town often close to me and the sub prefecture of the Morbihan dept 56 .  It really not well known off the beaten path even if has nice things to see especially as it relates to the sea. The city of Lorient means in breton An Oriant or the Orient as the companies that sail to the new world , the Americas were done here and across the bay at Port Louis. Lorient was heavily damaged during WWII about 80% of it destroyed. It was an important nazi submarine base from which they prowl the Atlantic sinking allied ships. The base is still there , today use for better things. I am updating text and link on this older post, hope you enjoy it as I.

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You then go next door in the beautiful sailing boats harbor of Lorient home of many sailing competitions, and the great champion Eric Tabarly. He ,with sponsors created a place call the Cité de Voilé Eric Tabarly. This is an impressive building with all you need to know about sailings boats, models, sea maps, interactive sailing boat class, films, pictures,and guides, all around and inside the sailing world. The boats are magnificent starting with the front door black  boat in front that you can climb inside with the purchase ticket, and the sailing boat tower to see all the harbor of Lorient. Huge interactive ,display museum of sailing interesting for the whole family. Webpage:   https://www.citevoile-tabarly.com/en

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We have been here before, but as there is so much to see here, sometimes you need to come back for more lol! The place Aristide Briand where the FNAC store (which my boys shop enormously!) is where the gare d’échanges for the bus terminal and the narrow streets full of shops and restos are vibrant always especially on Saturdays. The whole town is there it seems. The marina of pleasure boats just as impressive as the harbor of sailing boats,and the passenger terminal to go to île de Groix (sublime in the Atlantic ocean) across the bay with the compagnie Océane.

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My usual load of webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Lorient heritage webpage in French: https://patrimoine.lorient.bzh/histoire/architecture/incontournables/

The Lorient South Brittany tourist office on Lorient in English: https://www.visit-lorient-brittany.com/unmissable/lorient/

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist board on Lorienthttps://www.morbihan.com/accueil/decouvrir/le-morbihan/les-principales-destinations/lorient

A nice way to do some walking around beautiful sailing boats,and past the afternoon with the family, while looking into some historical facts of our past to serve as learnings not to repeat them in the future. Enjoy renovated Lorient, only about 30 minutes from my house. If you like the sea ,then this town is for you. Remember to search in my blog for more posts on Lorient!

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

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August 15, 2021

This is Lorient!

This is just around my alley in the beautiful Morbihan 56 of my lovely Bretagne.  For those new to my blog, Morbihan is the only French department adminstrative division that is not in French ,but rather in native Breton language. Mor=sea bihan=small or small sea or petite mer in French. Let me give you an introduction to Lorient in my black and white series so no pictures. Plenty of posts and pictures in my blog already. Still an active port city and maritime arsenal at the bottom of the Bay of Lorient.  It is located at the mouth of the Blavet and Scorff rivers , which flows into the Bay of Lorient, then into the Atlantic Ocean. The town is located 503 km from Paris, 153 km from Rennes and 158 km from Nantes. The capital of the Morbihan, Vannes is only 57 km.

How to get here is important as the car is still king for most parts except cities like Lorient. You can come on the N165 national road. Also, there is an extensive bus network both in town and to nearby cities with the network CRTL. The same bus network has ferry boat connection to nearby harbors. Also, there is a bus my boys have taken line 17 from the Lorient train station goes to Baud where they connect with our bus line 5. There is a train station SNCF  with direct connection to Paris-Montparnasse in TGV . There is a local airport with summer and some flights to nearby places ,the airport  Lorient South Brittany  offers several daily domestic flights to Paris-Orly as well as seasonal flights Finally, the boat-taxi ensures the Lorient-island of Groix and visits to the harbor.(see post on transports)

A bit of history I like

Lorient was created in 1666 in a field called “the enclosure” and develops outside of it. The whole is closed by walls erected in 1744 the ramparts and the gates of Morbihan and Ploemeur were destroyed in 1906. The Royal Navy was here in 1690. At the same time in 1709, the parish of Lorient is created from that of Ploemeur.  John Law of Lauriston created the Perpetual India Company by acquiring several other commercial companies, and chose Lorient as the basis for its operations. In 1732, the company decided to transfer from Nantes to Lorient the seat of all its sales, and  built a new buildings in stones to accommodate its activities, and to beautify the space . Sales are made there from 1734, and are processed up to 25 million pounds. The monopoly of the company is however abolished at the same time as this in 1769 under the influence of the Physiocrats.

The American War of Independence led to an increase in activity from 1775, and several Corsairs used the city as their home port. At the end of the war, several transatlantic lines were opened to the United States, and from 1785, a new commercial company was created, the company of Callone, and settled in Lorient.  The French revolution and the ensuing wars against England put an end to the commercial activities in Lorient for nearly two decades. Thanks to its support for the  French revolution, the city acquired the title of city in 1790, the chief-place of borough and the Chief-place of Maritime borough in 1800.

During WWII,  It is decided to erect the largest of the Nazis submarine bases of the war, where the second and tenth fleets will be set up. Admiral Dönitz is setting up his staff at Kernevel Castle.  Lorient will be almost entirely demolished between 1943-1944 by Allied bombardments that fail with the objective of destroying the base of the submarines, despite the spill of 4 000 tons of bombs. The Nazi  garrison will not surrended  the weapons until May 10, 1945, with the Bay of Lorient  . The city of Lorient, received condecoration from France as Died for France, the Legion of Honor in 1949 and the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945(War Cross).

The Tour de France bicycle race just passed by here this year 2021 and has several times in the past! Here is a brief history of the tour de France passing by Lorient with year , stage, and route: 1956 6 Saint-Malo Lorient 7 Lorient Angers ; 1960 6 Saint-Malo  Lorient 7 Lorient  Angers ;  1968 6 Dinard  Lorient ; 7 Lorient Nantes ; 1977 8 Angers Lorient ; 9 Lorient Rennes ;  1982 9  Lorient Plumelec ;  1985 2 Lorient  Vitré ; 1998 3 Roscoff  Lorient ; 2002 9 Lanester  Lorient ; 2006 8 St-Méen-le-Grand Lorient ; 2011 4 Lorient Mûr-de-Bretagne ;  and 2018 5 Lorient  Quimper.

Some of the things to see here are:

Fishing port of Keroman; second fishing port of France in tonnage behind Boulogne-sur-Mer and first in value added. Port of Commerce of Kergroise (first port of the region Brittany).  Marina with numerous pontoon places spread over the ports of Lorient (370), Kernevel (1 000), Port-Louis (450), Gâvres (57) and Guidel (102). At these five sites are added the 880 meters of pontoons of the offshore racing pole recently arranged on the site of the former base of submarines of Kéroman, (see post) and reserved for racing boats, rental and passenger boats.  Passenger Port towards the islands of Groix and Belle-Ile-en-Mer.  Military Port between the Arsenal and Lann Bihoué.

Other places are the Saint-Christophe Chapel . The  Hotel Gabriel (former Maritime prefecture of Lorient) from the 18C. The base of the submarines of Keroman, built between 1941 and 1944 by the organization Todt, the Tower of the Discovery, watchtower to signal the approach of the ships and to monitor possible smuggling manoeuvres on the coasts of the island of Groix. Built for the first time in 1737, the discovery Tower was destroyed on two occasions by lightning in 1751 and 1784. In 1786, it was rebuilt on the hill of Faouëdic.  Les Moulins du Faouëdic, the Company of India built two windmills on the hill of Faouëdic; the first in 1677, the second in 1719. Constructed of rubble and slate-covered, they each measure 25 meters high and have an interior staircase serving the various levels.  Cité du Voile (see post) or the city of sailing Éric Tabarly which opened its doors in May 2008 (great place) ,The underwater Museum of the Pays de Lorient, (see post) presenting the underwater heritage of  WWII within the oldest rescue center for submariners built in 1942 by the Kriegsmarine, then reused for 42 years by the National Navy. The submarine “La Flore” S645, the former submarine of the French Army ,with an interactive museum ending with a visit of the submarine.  The Church of Notre-Dame-de-Victoire, known as St. Louis Church, (see post) in reference to the pre-war church, built in 1954-56 (place Alsace Lorraine) ,and  Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle Church (Kerentrech-Place de l’Yser).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to Lorient are:

The City of Lorient webpage : https://www.lorient.bzh/en/discover-lorient/

The Lorient South Brittany Tourist office: https://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/?lng=en

The Morbihan Dept 56 tourist board on Lorient: https://www.morbihan.com/accueil/decouvrir/le-morbihan/les-principales-destinations/lorient

There you go folks, a nice city with plenty of boats in city center/downtown, and great ambiance good for a family day out. This is Lorient!

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

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August 15, 2021

Hemingway and Paris!!!

Once in a long while I dare write about an important historical figure me think. Some of the folks I followed in my life not necessarily the end but the living part. This is the case of Ernest Hemingway, a personage known to me since was able to read! I follow him from Havana, to Madrid, Key West and then Paris , a real traveler indeed! This would be as a literary leyend he was, black and white series no pictures. Hope hope you enjoy it as I.

I take this inspiration to tell you a bit on my side on this great figure of the literary world, a giant amongst giants of the read. Let me give some of his way which have been mine too and the relation of Hemingway and Paris!!!

Here is my story on the great Ernest Hemingway who landed for the first time in Paris on December 22, 1921, he was at the time a reporter for the Toronto Star. Under the guidance of Sherwood Anderson, the author moved to Paris with his wife Hadley to improve his style and meet the great English-speaking writers who were very numerous in the French capital. He stayed for a few months in a hotel in the 6éme arrondissement. Hotel d’Angleterre at 44 rue Jacob, In all ,Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris from 1921 to 1928 and returned there several times thereafter, read on,,,

The Hemingways lived in this small two-room apartment in rue Cardinal Lemoine from 1922 to 1923. On the ground floor of the building, a musette ball enlivens this working-class district a stone’s throw from the Place de la Contrescarpe. It is in this apartment that Hemingway writes, among other things, the short story My Old man and the famous Paris is a movable feast, a posthumous novel that recounts these Roaring Twenties in Paris. The apartment was at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine 5éme arrondissement or district of Paris.

One of the pleasant spots of his and I have a post on it was the Shakespeare and Company library , Ernest Hemingway pushes the door of this bookstore specializing in English-language books, always following the recommendations of Sherwood Anderson. Shakespeare and Company was created by Sylvia Beach, American bookseller and publisher, at 8 rue Dupuytren in 1919, the store quickly became the point of reference for all English and American writers living in Paris. Here Hemingway borrows and buys many books, he discovers Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Eliot, Joyce, but also Flaubert, Stendhal and Henry James. At the time, the Shakespeare & Company bookstore was located at 12 rue de l’Odéon,from 1921 to 1941 but today it is in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Shakespeare and Company. 37 rue de la Bûcherie 5éme arrondissement, This bookstore was frequented by all members of the Lost Generation, but also by French-speaking authors such as Paul Valéry or André Gide . And for good reason, you can buy or, for the less well off, borrow most of the English-speaking books banned in England and the United States. You can also sit there for a few hours to read … or write! If it no longer has much to do with that of the pre-war years, it remains the greatest ambassador of English literature in Paris.

Adrienne Monnier, partner of Sylvia Beach, opened a bookstore at 7 rue de l’Odéon in 1915 «La maison des amis des livres» or The house of the books of the friends. The store also acts as a lending library and the manager regularly organizes public reading sessions there. Today ,the house of the friends of the books no longer exists, but you can still walk in front of it, and imagine the cultural dynamism of the time. La Maison des amis des livres was at 7 rue de l’Odéon, 6éme arrondissement).

From their early days in Paris, the Hemingways often went out for their meals in inexpensive places. Chez Lipp for a potato salad and beer or at Pré-aux-Clercs where the menu was twelve francs and the bottle of wine was sixty cents. Brasserie Lipp, 151 boulevard Saint-Germain and The Pré-aux-Clercs at 30 rue Bonaparte both 6éme arrondissement. He and his friends from the Lost Generation will frequent the Montparnasse and Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhoods. They will meet regularly, to remake the world overnight, at the Dôme, at the Closerie des Lilas, at the Coupole de Montparnasse, as wel as at Deux-Magots near Saint-Germain.

In the evening, like the intellectual flower of his compatriots, Hemingway favors the atmosphere of the cafes at the crossroads of boulevards Raspail and Montparnasse. The young writer has his habits at the Dôme, 109, boulevard du Montparnasse 14éme arrondissement, and at the Select, where he meets Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Desnos, Picasso … At 27, Hemingway’s rigor at La Closerie des lilas is finally paying off. His first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), is a success. A beginning for the future great writer, crowned by the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, thanks to his book The Old Man and the Sea, (finished in Havana Cuba) and who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954

The jardin du Luxembourg is in Paris is a movable feast or Paris est une fête in French, he used to regularly cross the Luco (Luxembourg by locals) to go to Montparnasse, which became the epicenter of Parisian nightlife in the 1920s. At the Hippodrome d’Auteuil racecourse, he regularly frequents it, and left for the day with Hadley, a picnic, and good tips on horses to follow. He bets a lot, as he used to do in the United States.

It is again Sherwood Anderson who is at the origin of Hemingway’s meeting with Gertrude Stein. American poet, writer, playwright and feminist, she taught the American novelist automatic writing. Gertrude Stein is today known for having played an important role in the development and dissemination of literature and modern art. She was the one who defined these young artists as a “Lost Generation” because of the customs of war. Gertrude Stein’s apartment was at 27 rue de Fleurus 5éme arrondissement.

A mentor from her early days, Miss Stein lectured Hemingway. She taught him automatic writing and urged him to stop journalism in 1924 to devote himself to literature. To be in tune with this decisive turning point, head for the bohemian Montparnasse! (see posts) Hemingway then moved with his family to 113, rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs 6éme arrondissement.In 1924, he moved to this neighborhood,in an apartment without electricity but large enough to live there with Hadley and their son John. He established his headquarters at La Closerie, where he spent hours writing. In 1925, he gave birth there in just six weeks of one of his masterpieces, “The Sun Also Rises”.

Some of the anecdotes I like were : On the right bank, you cannot miss Harry’s Bar, the center of Parisian nightlife in the 1920s and the place where the famous Bloody Mary was created. The members of the Lost Generation like to meet in the most American of Parisian bars. It is rumored, however, that the Bloody Mary was created for Hemingway after he asked the bartender for a cocktail that he wouldn’t drink alcohol. Indeed, every time he came home, his wife would give him soap if he smelled of alcohol. Legends abound around the great American writer!

Also, at the Falstaff 42, rue du Montparnasse, this bar was the scene, in July 1929, of a boxing match between Hemingway and a Canadian friend, Morley Callaghan. Ernest had been boxing since he was 10 years old, but that night he took a bust in an improvised ring, with Scott Fitzgerald as referee. The author of “Gatsby”, drunk as often, forgot to ring the end of the round. Drunk by the rain of blows but above all annoyed, Hemingway was convinced that Fitzgerald had done it on purpose to better humiliate him !

An even more incredible anecdote tells us that he who was an ambulance driver during the Great War (WWI), then a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War, resumed his work as a war journalist when American troops decided to land on the coast of Normandy in June 1944. Attached to the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th American Division as a civilian, he is one of the privileged witnesses of the landing of June 6, then of the Allied advances towards the interior of France. In mid-August, the future Nobel Prize for Literature is in Rambouillet alongside American (Gen Patton was there 3rd Army see post) and French troops. Playing on his influence, he managed to meet there General Leclerc, commander of the 2nd French armored division which would march on Paris a few days later. It was August 25, the last day of the Battle of Paris when most of the military Nazis who were still alive have left Paris or been taken prisoner, so Hemingway arrived at Place Vendôme. Accompanied by a small group of Rambolitan resistance fighters, he bursts into the palace, submachine gun in hand and determined to put an end to the Nazis who have seized his favorite hotel. “I’m coming to free the Ritz!” he writes as he tumbles into the building. But the French flag is already flying on the roof of the palace and the Nazis are far away. “Of course, Mr. Hemingway, but please leave your weapon in front of the door”, replied Claude Azello, the director of the palace. After placing his gun in his Jeep, Hemingway returns to the counter of his favorite bar to string together 51 glasses of Dry Martini !!, his favorite beverage. If the author of The Old Man and the Sea did not really liberate the Ritz, his unusual adventure still earned him a beautiful slate and a funny story to tell! Yes !!

And of course, he has a street in Paris, that I know of, the Rue Ernest-Hemingway is in the 15éme arrondissement or district of Paris, It begins at 64, rue Leblanc and ends at 49, boulevard du Général-Martial-Valin. Not far from the Pont du Garigliano on the Seine river and Metro Balard line 8 or Tramway 3A.

There you folks, a bit of Americana in the city of lights, the most beautiful city in the world, and these figures have a lot to do with that title. Hope you enjoy the post as I. Thanks for reading me since November 2010!!

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

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