Archive for September 8th, 2021

September 8, 2021

Little towns of the Côtes d’Armor!

So on my road warrior routes in my lovely Bretagne (Fr) or Brittany (En) or Breizh (Breton) I came up to dept 22 Côtes d’Armor right up the alley from me in about an hour. I went to see a friend with my boys and Dad.

While at it we passed by some interesting little towns with nice monuments I like to have it recorded in my blog. I took up on my road D768 towards Pontivy and then D767 towards Mur de Bretagne (town today call Guérledan) continuing on to Saint Mayeux, then side stepping to Saint Gilles Vieux Marché on the road D69 and back on D767 to the D70 reaching Plussulien ,and finally back on the D767 to reach Le Haut Corlay, where the friend lives and has a boucherie-charcuterie Chez Martell or a butcher shop and small restaurant set up.(see post).

After the visit and lunch, we continue back in our road warrior travels indulging in new roads and new things to see in the neighboring department 22 ,Côtes d’Armor. Our first stop was Saint Mayeux. 

Saint-Mayeux  town was name as such from the18C.. The name of the town comes from Saint Mayeux, little known Breton Saint. Saint-Mayeux est accessible par la D 69, between Saint Gilles Vieux Marché and the village of Kerguiel. It is at 21 km from Pontivy (Morbihan 56).

The main thing to see here is the Church of Saint Mayeux  with a bell tower rebuilt in 1808, been a recovery of that of the Abbey of Bon-Repos. The church houses a statue of the Virgin 17-18C, and old statues of Saint Mayeux, a Crucifix, Saint Yves , and Saint Abbé. The Church Is next to city hall at 1 Place de la Mairie. The cemetery crucifix dates from the 16C, although the year 1861 is engraved on the base. 

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Other things to see are the Saint-Maurice chapel, 14-17C, restored in the 18C with its altarpiece and its miraculous fountain. Le Roch ar lin, with the belvedere steeped in history and legends, including the famous staircase pulpit and its standing stones or Menhirs, such as the Mein ar c’has (the Stone of the cat), the Roch al lein (the Rock at the top). Le Tombeau du Gaulois (a covered walkway).

Saint Mayeux as you can tell is a very small town so the city/town hall just do not have official building more info in French: https://www.annuaire-mairie.fr/mairie-saint-mayeux.html

Then, we saw the name intriguing so took a side step to Saint Gilles Vieux Marché. This town was called trèfle du Vieulx Marché in 1535-1536, just Vieux Marché in the 18C, and then Saint-Gilles-du-Vieux-Marché from 1790. From 1793 during the high of the French revolution, the name became again Vieux-Marché. A decree dated October 27, 1801 officially fixes the final form of Saint-Gilles-Vieux-Marché. It is about 6 km of old Mûr de Bretagne (today call Guerlédan). A huge cycling area see posts

The main thing to see here is the Church of Saint-Gilles rebuilt from 1894 to 1896. It has an external bell tower, a nave with aisles of six spans and a choir. The first stone was blessed on September 23, 1894 and the church on July 5, 1896. The furniture inside offers ancient statues of the Holy Virgin and Saint Gilles; and among modern stained glass windows, Saint Gildas and Saint Yves. It contains some old statues. In the past, roosters were offered at the pardon of Saint-Gilles. Saint-Gilles is a saint of Greek origin who came to the South of Gaul. 

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Other things to see here are the Château du Quellenec, 18C. the Poulancre manor, 17C, the chapel of Saint-Yves, 18C, and the stone or Menhir de Callac.

A little bigger town so it has a city hall here with the Saint Gilles heritagehttp://www.saint-gilles-vieux-marche.fr/le-patrimoine.html

And we finished the ride with another smallist town of Plussulien. The town’s name comes from the Breton “ploe” (parish) and from “Saint Sulia or Saint Suliac”, breton Saint honored as much in Bretagne as in Wales and Cornwall. Plussulien is cited as a locality at the end of the 12C and in 1221. It is about 40 km from St Brieuc.

The main thing to see here is the Church of Saint-Julien dedicated to Saint Julien, bishop of Le Mans, the church was rebuilt from 1873 to 1875. It is in the shape of a Latin cross, includes a nave with aisles of three spans, plus that of the bell tower, a transept and a choir. The current, modern church was built first stone was blessed on July 30, 1873 and its porch is dated 1875. It replaced a church several times rebuilt, in the 14C and 16C; only the 16C stained glass has been re-employed in the current church. The church has a processional silver cross from the end of the 16C; ancient statues of Saint Julien, N.-D. de Pitié, Saint Pierre, Saint Guillaume, Saint Meriadec 17-18C, Saint Cornely, Saint Roch, Saint Laurent, Saint Marguerite; and, among the more recent, those of Saint Sulian and Saint Yves. One curiosity here, there is a nice statue of the Christ Résurrection at the entranc to the cemetery and next to the above church.

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Other things to see here are the menhir of Kerjégu, erected  on the site of Quelfennec, constitutes another witness of human occupation of the territory in the Neolithic period. The site is a dolerite quarry which was the subject of intense exploitation in the Neolithic period, from -3500 to -1800, for the production of polished stone tools, The production of axes seems to have gradually disappeared around -2000 on the diffusion of metal tools in the Bronze Age.

Again small town of Plussulien, simple no city hall building more info in French: https://www.annuaire-mairie.fr/mairie-plussulien.html

There you go folks, another wonderful ride into the countryside of my lovely Bretagne; pure nature and we had sunshine here too! The road warrior freedom of travel, can’t be beat anywhere!  Hope you enjoy these off the beaten path towns of the Côtes d’Armor dept 22.

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

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September 8, 2021

My family trace in France, roots Français!!!

Well its about time I give some refresher to this old post and tell you all and especially my newest readers a bit more on my history, especially the French one. I have said my blog is a tracing of my life’s history all is here since birth. My family enjoys it and my sons hopefully will carry it on for the family memories. Let me tell you all proudly my family trace in France, racines Français!!! OF course, most of these towns have their separate post in my blog.

In the continuing saga of family roots and places of yesteryear and today and tomorrow, etc. Ok ,I will tell you about the roots =racines of my family in France, les frenchies as I call them ho ho ho (even if I am too since 2000). This will be of course, in my black and white series, no pictures. As you might know, sometimes when you have the chance to be in a gorgeous country and world acclaim like France, everybody tells you ,have you been there? like France is a miniature country and not aware of the enormous tourist potential here! Even the city of Versailles did a survey on visitors to the palace, found out 98% of them just visit the palace!! c’mon you don’t even go to see up the road ave de Paris the Menus Plaisir where the French constitution was written and now a wonderful baroque music conservatory is now there!! Well there you have it, we live here but cannot be everywhere, with time we will see everything; maybe, we will need good health too. Anyway, this is our roots here in France with a bit on each place. Hope you enjoy knowing the French….. Welcome to the French Republic or the République Française or France!

The wonderful museum of the Great War in the country of Meaux dedicated to the WWI (the Great War is how it is known here the First World War), and especially to the two battles of the Marne (1914 and 1918), opened in 2011. Meaux is crossed by the road N3, old royal road also known as the Germany way. The N3 is ,also, link to the expressway /Autoroute A4 passing south of the city and arriving at Meaux by the A140. Meaux is a town of Art and HIstory designation and a four flower label as a flower town of France. The navigation of the Marne river is authorize by boat/peniche and other motor boats with a wonderful pleasure harbor marina, sailing, Canoë/Kayak club. Meaux has a river beach and is one of the rare town to have swimming in the Marne river. The historical spectacle of Meaux,held during June, July, August, and September in the gallo roman ramparts is magnificent way to see life in the middle ages done by actors; check for official days;see the wonderful episcopal city which includes the St Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-Étienne built in the 12-15C and the Episcopal palace built in the 12-16C including the museum Bossuet , the old palace of canons of the Cathedral and the old chapter in the jardin Bossuet, 17C, and the ramparts garden credited to André Le Nôtre , etc etc, really a wonderful town. My dear late wife Martine was born in Meaux, forever in my memory. RIP

Meaux , of course is in departément 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. Old capital of the Brie region, the Meldes were celts made their Lantinum their capital. After the Roman conquest the name of Meldes still exist and the town takes the name of Meldis. The Christianism is preached to the Meldes in the 3C by Saint Denis and his successor Saint Saintin was the first bishop of Meaux. During the WWI Meaux was the theater of the first Battle of the Marne. The old bridge over the Marne was destroyed to stop the advance of the Germans. the combats around the town of Meaux or the pocket of Meaux during this first battle of the Marne between August 30 and September 12 1914 was furious; there were battles known as the Ourcq and Marais de Saint-Gond were huge within the overall Battle of the Marne. The liberty in tears by the American Frederick MacMonnies, better known as the American Monument or the monument of Varreddes was a huge statue of 22 meters high, erected in 1932 on the road leading to the town of Varreddes and also Chambry was done in the memory of the French fallen during the first Battle of the Marne. The monument was done on the forward advance line of the Germans in their drive to Paris in 1914.

The city of Meaux on its heritage: https://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme.html

The Meaux country tourist office: https://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/

My wife’s mother or my mother-in-law was born here in Villenoy, a small town in the département 77 or Seine-et-Marne , in the region of Île-de-France. The town is bordered by the Marne river on the southeast side of the canal de l’Ourcq passes by it. The road I took many times and still do as it has no tolls or péage is the N3 passing to the north of the town. The name of the town was first noticed in the 7C on a will and last testament of Aldegonde of Maubeuge,that the town belong at the time part of the abbey of Maubeuge. In the 12C , the bishop of Meaux creates a parish and the first Church was built.The Church of Sainte-Aldegonde rebuilt in the 17C. At the end of March 1814, the town had combats just around it and inside the town when the Russians entered Meaux. The biggest battles took place in the quarter of faubourg Cornillon in Meaux. The war of 1870, caused heavy damaged to the town and lots of requisitions. There is a anti aircraft bunker that could house hundreds and built between 1938 and 1940, restored in 2013. It was designed to protect the personnel of the sugar factory nearby in the parc de l’Hôtel-de-Ville.

The city of Villenoy on its heritage: https://www.villenoy.fr/categorie/notre-ville/histoire-patrimoine/

The mother in law lived in Chambry, and another sister too (the step father lives there now, the father figure I knew as bio father passed away when wife was 10). Another town in the département 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the région of Île-de-France. There is a legend that town was given by Jules Ceaser to one of his legionaries in the 1C , with the first mention of the town dates from the 12C. The town was the scene of heavey combat during the famous battle of the Ourcq (September 1914), that was part of the bigger conflict in the area of the Battle of the Marne. You have a monument known as the Four Roads built in 1915 on ordered of general Galliéni dedicated in memory of the soldiers of the Paris army that won this battle It is a national necropolis with a French cemetary as well as a German cemetary (1918). You have the St Peter and St Paul Church or Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, from the 15C, damaged in 1940 and restored after 1944. Well I joked with in laws, that Julius Ceaser did indeed past by here because there is not much all surrounded by wheat fields. The city hall is Mairie de Chambry, 10, rue de la Ville 77910 Chambry.Tel +33 (0)1 64 34 04 77 no webpage! It has less than 1K folks! My mother-in-law passed away last November 2020. RIP

Then, nearby there is a sister at Étrépilly. A national neocropole with tombs and ossuaries of the fallen in WWI fallen while the battle around Étrépilly in 1914. During the Battle of the Ourcq, September 7 1914 ,the 2e Regiment of Zouaves were here and were stop the charge before the cemetary where the German were in trenches during the charge half the men felled together with their commanding officer lieutenant-coronel Dubujadoux. You can see the St John the Baptist Church or Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The city hall is at Mairie 4 Place Christian de Bartillat 77139 Etrepilly, Tél: +33 (0) 1 64 36 61 19 ; of course no webpage; of course another town with less than 1K folks!

Another sister lives at Chauconin-Neufmontiers also of course in the département 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the région of Île-de-France. The first mention of the town of Chauconin was shown in texts of the 8C under the name Coconiacum ,with the town of Neufmontiers, was shown from the 13C created by the abbots of Saint Faron in Meaux, which has now no trace, the fusion of the two towns was done in 1972 as Chauconin-Neufmontiers. The Battle of the Ourcq as known here the Battle of the Marne bigger theater. The Saint Saturnin Church or Saint-Saturnin de Chauconin,built in the 16-17C. In the 18C the relics of an old Church in the village nearby were transfered to the current Church. This Church serves as an example of the change from gothic to renaissance styles. The Church of Saint-Barthélemy de Neufmontiers, 20C served as a hospital in the first Battle of the Marne in WWI, September 5-13,1914. Jeanne d’Arc passed by Chauconin on her way to Reims by the road we now call the road of Reims that goes from Chauconin towards Crégy-lès-Meaux. Painter Maurice Utrillo painted the the burning farm of Chauconin or « La ferme incendiée à Chauconin, near Meaux where the Church of Chauconin appears in the background within the context of WWI.

The city of Chauconin-Neufmontiers on its heritage: http://chauconin-neufmontiers.fr/decouvrir-le-village/sites-remarquables/

A younger brother lives at Nanteuil-lès-Meaux a town as well in department 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. The Marne river marks the northern limits of the town. Here you have a protestant temple built in 1827. This one was a replacement to one built in the village of Chermont around 1570 and destroyed after the enactment of the edit of Nantes in 1685, one of the first ones built in France at the end of the 16C. Nanteuil-lès-Meaux becomes the Capital of Protestant Briard following the disappearance of the Cénacle of Meaux. there is, also, the Saint Georges Church of the 18C.

The city of Nanteuil-les-Meaux on its heritage : https://www.nanteuil-les-meaux.fr/patrimoine/

Let’s go south! to Lavaur, where my wife’s bio father was born, a town in the département 81 of the Tarn,in the region of Occitanie. Located in a triangle of Albi, Toulouse, and Carcassonne. The town is on the borders of the Agout river,on the hills of the cocagne country. On the east north east of Toulous ,south of Gaillac and west of Castres. It is seen written for the first time in 1025 and by 1035 as a enclosed town. By 1065, there was written a constitution of the Lavaur, given by the monks of the abbey of Sainte-Foy of Conques. In 1098, it was built the Saint Alain Church in a prairie offered by the monks of the abbey of Saint-Pons of Thomières, by Isarn, bishop of Toulouse. You have here now the Saint Alain Cathedral built 13-15C with the only jacquemart in the southwest of France. The Bishop’s garden old French style gardens done by the bishop and renovated in the 19C in the English style. St Francis Church also known as the Cordeliers built in the 13-15C with a great organ of 1866. The Plô old site of the old Castle today gone, attached by the King by the consuls in 1622, and now arranged into a nice promenade later esplanade from the 17C. The tower or Tour des Rondes, one of the last remaining from the fortifications of the old town and today the tourist office. The monastery of Clarists founded in 1642 destroyed during the French revolution and restored in 1802; the current chapel from 1837 has a in a chase the body of Sainte Clémentine,a Roman Virgin and martyr discovered in one of the catacombs of Rome. The lavaur bridge in stone and cement over the Agout river built in 1773-1791, and the grains warehouse or Halle aux Grains, built in 1880. Her father passed away on a car accident on the road D87 between Lavaur and Gaillac , RIP, while attending his brother’s funeral on November 17 1968. Our twins boys were born November 17….

The city of Lavaur on its heritage: https://www.ville-lavaur.fr/votre-ville/visiter-lavaur/

There are still cousins at Montans , a town in the département 81 of the Tarn, in the region of Occitanie. You can reach it by the expressway/autoroute A68 exit or sortie 9 ,and the by the road N88.  The Gallois produce pottery here on the site of Montans and after the Roman occopation the town became one of the most important early on our era o the production of potteries. The findings are presented in the Archéosite de Montans, a museum and conservation center since opening in 1995 retracing the history of the prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. There is a gallo roman road in the principal street of Montans as well as a house of the ceramic worker where you can imagine life as it was in the 1C. All year round there are animations, events, demonstrations, expositions, shops and spectacles.

The town of Montans on its heritage: https://www.montans.fr/archeosite

Other cousins are still around/in Graulhet, also in the département 81 of the Tarn in the region of Occitanie. Located at the heart of the Tarn at equal distance from Castres and Albi in a valley parallel to the axis Toulouse-Albi but with no train station , and for the same reasons a bit on the distant of the roads such as A68 that links Toulouse with Albi,and do link by the D964 to Gaillac. The Roman presence here was big with evidence of a center gallo-romain. In 1166, Graulhet, been a lordship passes under the domain of the Counts of Toulouse.In 1484, again the lordship passes to the house of Amboise, due to the marriage of Hugues d’Amboise d’Aubijoux with Madeleine de Lescun d’Armagnac. You can still see here the Château de Lézignac, 17C, the old bridge built in 1244 ; the quaint medieval neighborhood of Panessac, narrow and with many mansions in wood embellished from the 16-17C . The wonderful Hostellerie du Lyon d’Or, a medieval mansion. Henri of Navarre, future king Henri IV, did a gourmand stop here. You can still see the Cross of Saint Andrew from the 15C on a nice facade with showing roman numerals on the wooden sides. The Church Notre-Dame-du-Val-d’Amour,which at its foundation you see a funeral stone of Louis d’Amboise d’Aubijoux, also the leather house or Maison des Métiers du cuir to visit the transformation of leather from the skin to the objects done with leather.

The city of Graulhet on its heritage: https://www.ville-graulhet.fr/historique-0

And we go north or nord to the older brother at Caudry. The town is located in the south of the département 59 or Nord in the region of Hauts-de-France. Lots of fabrication of tulle and lace by mechanical means where the quality was crowned in the international exposition of Brussels in 1910. Caudry shares with Calais the title of the world Capital of lace of Calais design to go into high fashion garments. The town is ,also, named City of occupations and Arts in 1995. It is located about 14 km from Cambrai, and 62 km from Lille . It is south of the D643 road, the old N43 that links Cambrai with Charleville-Mézières. The origins of the town are not well known but it can be said goes back to the Merorvingians era as many passages mentioned the martyrdom of Maxellende. Caudry was anneexed to the kingdom of France by the treaty of Nimègue signed in 1678, after that taken of Cambrai by king Louis XIV in 1677. During WWI Caudry was occupied by German troops mostly all the war period ; entering the town in August 1914 with the city hall serving as HQ. The town was again occupied during WWII when the Nazis entered in May 1940; the town was liberated by an American 5th Armored Division on September 3, 1944. You can see here: Brasserie l’Union des Coopérateurs du Cambrésis, rue Charles-Gide ; Brasserie-malterie Lemaire et Defossez ,rue de Saint Quentin ; the industrial house of maison Dumont, built in 1947, rue Émile-Salembier. The laces museum or Musée caudrésien des dentelles et broderies in the factory of Théophile et Jean-Baptiste Carpentier, where the brick building dates from 1898. In its collections you can trace the history of the knitting machines. It does expositions and learning shops for the children. Caudry has an underground carved from chalk around the 10C to hide the population in times of needs. it was not known until discovered in 1847. The underground goes into three directions , the part under the rue de la Paix has 14 rooms and a a gallery at 13 meters deep and 74 meters long. In 1916-1917, caving of the land allowed the Germans to discovered a great part of it , and it was fitted as an ammunitions depot; while retreating in 1918 the German blew up the entrance and a part of the cave. The parish of Caudry is mentinoed since 1181 , and the Basilica of Sainte Maxdellende was done as the previous one was too small and was in bad shape. The new one was started in 1887, consecration in 1890 and was raised to basilica minor by a Papal briefing in 1991.

The city of Caudry on its heritage: https://www.caudry.fr/fr/visiter-caudry.html

These are the towns we have been so many times, know them well, and after the years and the losses , many memories in them to remember forever. So now you know a bit about me and my French family in my belle France.

The Dept 77 Seine et Marne tourist office: https://www.seine-et-marne-attractivite.fr/en

The Dept 81 Tarn tourist office: https://www.tourisme-tarn.com/uk

The Dept 59 Nord tourist office: https://lenord.fr/jcms/pnw_6334/histoire

There you go folks , a bit more of me , us in France. For the memories, for eternity ,for the blog, and to share with the world. Enjoy the reading as I did writing this post. Again, thank you for reading me since November 2010!

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

September 8, 2021

The Automatons and Miniature Models museums of La Rochelle!!!

And as I am nostalgic these days of La Rochelle, let me continue showcase this city to you in my humble ways of my blog. The story not to be repeated is briefly mentioned in previous posts but fell a need to have a full post on them. See my introduction to the city and other posts on La Rochelle in my blog, Hope you enjoy it as I, and thanks for reading me since November 2010 !!!

La Rochelle is historical ,architectural, and great ambiance by the sea; however, it has other charms hidden from the casual visitor.  Let me show you more of the automatons and reduce models museums of La Rochelle. These museums next to each other and admission can be combine showcase all machines that can be manipulated like robots me think huh! and miniature models of cities events machines of many years back , superbe! They are very museums and very nice shown that you and the family should check it out. It is located at Rue de la Desirée, La Ville en Bois, just on the other side of the old harbor of La Rochelle, you can go on foot from there. As said, they are next to each other and a wonderful day of private museums family outing should be call for!

The Museum of Automatons, first of its kind in France and opened since 1984, has some prestigious items. It offers, to both small and large, the joy of observing a collection of old figurines from all over Europe. The research was meticulous: sales halls, antique shops, granaries, department stores… The result is up to par, with automatons dating from the 19C and those advertising of the 1950’s but also the historical reenactments like this district of Montmartre at the very beginning of the 20C, with its shops and showcases. This is awesome indeed.

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The museum has more than 300 characters in motion: ancient, contemporary automatons, animated showcases, historical scenes,… that will enchant young and old. You will then be seduced by the presentation of numerous reproductions: automobiles, old boats…etc

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The museum of reduce models or miniature models ,is one of the most important museums of this type at the regional level, as much by its exhibition area as by the number of exhibits and animations in place. The museum of reduce models comes from the assembly of different objects from a company created in 1959 and made sets for thematic exhibitions. Created in 1987 and located in the modern district of the Minimes between the old Port and the marina, this museum consists entirely of private collections, spread over a total area of 800 m2. It is the largest regional museum specialized in the theme of the toy and the model.

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Through models and modelling and a varied animation, the museum presents among others: the Automobile (Rolls Royce torpedo Phantom 2). The history of navigation  (naval Model room, sound and visual reconstruction of a naval battle). The Railway (railway tracks including one outside the museum, famous model of La Rochelle station). The copy of the la couronne boat by Richelieu! The Museum of reduce models, also offers a journey into childhood in the small world of the imaginary. The visit is more classical and allows to admire in particular models of boats competing in a naval fight or evoking the great discoveries and of the railway circuits. Magical!

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And a surprise for me a model copy of the tramway of Madrid, Spain! Announcing a sponsor in calle Arenal next to the Puerta del Sol!

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The city of La Rochelle on the museums : https://www.larochelle.fr/annuaires/lieux/annuaire/musee-des-automates-et-des-modeles-reduits

The official museums of La Rochelle on both: https://museeslarochelle.com/

There you go folks in all, the museums holds you for a whole day of family fun and away from the more famous old port areas of La Rochelle and into the real people neighborhoods. Bring snacks and bottle water as not too many places to eat around them.

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

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September 8, 2021

La Rochelle , an introduction !!

This is one of our favorite cities in France , really, that is saying a lot when you have visited zillions of villages here over the years. It was found by chance, as my oldest son studied hôtellerie/restaurant in Paris and needed a semester of on hands study here several years back. He came back very happy of the experience ,and we that had by passed the town on several occassion decided it was time to visit. We did for several days renting an appart hotel just by the museums in Gabut neighborhood. Oh yes I am talking about La Rochelle.

I like to go into the general history and a brief description of what is there to see as to how to get here next. And do see my other posts on La Rochelle , sublime !  La Rochelle is in departément 17 of the Charente-Maritime in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. It is located on the borders of the Atlantic Ocean in the esplanade at sea of Pertuis d’Antioche and protected by barriers islands such as Ré, Oléron, and Aix. It is therefore, an important port and since the 12C, holding the title of  Gate to the Ocean or Porte Océane with three harbors marinas fishing, commercial and pleasure.

To give you an idea of the central location of the city even if a sea port let me tell you about the distances ok. It is 287 km from my house! Also, 472 km (about 293 miles) from Paris link by the N11 and A10 now ; only 63 km from Niort, 125 km from Poitiers, 130 km from Angouléme, 147 km from Nantes, and 187 km from Bordeaux. Many roads by passes it in addition to the N11 and A10 above, you have the D137 and A837 as well as the N141. Nearby towns are close too such as Saintes only 70 km, by the A837, 30 km from Rochefort by the D137 and to the island or ïle de Ré by a bridge or pont de l’île de Ré (just wonderful see post). You have ample bus transportation in the area first the RTCR has buses covering La Rochelle and the suburbs and the Ocecars has 11 lines covering the adjacent towns after that. There is a great train station in Gare de La Rochelle and an extension of the line to service the great cruise port of la Pallice.

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A bit of history I like

La Rochelle was a village from the 10C , the château fort de Vauclair built early 12C by the lords of Mauléon and Rochefort, later Guillaume X Duke of Aquitaine became lord of La Rochelle in 1130. He gave the town a ramparts and a charter of free port and once the English market opened after the marriage of Aliénor d’Aquitaine in 1152 the presence of the Templars and knights of St John of Jerusalem gave the town the biggest port in the Atlantic. The town passes from the kingdom of France king Louis VII to the king of England Henri II Plantagenêt; by 1224 Louis VIII annexed the town to the royal domain; in 1360 by the treaty of Brétigny, the town goes back to the kingdom of England. In 1371 the locals send off the English out of the castle but left open the gates to Duguesclin ,that after confirmation by king Charles V of the privilidges to the town insuring to remain in royal possession of France.

In the 16C the doctrine of Calvin weights heavy here and La Rochelle becomes one of the principal centers of Protestants with many sieges of it by king Charles IX in 1573 and 1628 by Richelieu himself with heavy resistant by the mayor Jean Guiton that had built a digue of 1500 meters to isolate the city from the sea and his English allies, done but surrended the city to king Louis XIII eventually. By 1822 there was the conspiracy of the four sargents or Quatre Sergents a secret society of mostly sub officers that were trying to overcome the Restoration (king back in power ) they were discovered in time put in prison in Paris first where they were condemn to die and executed. This sentence made them martyrs of king Louis XVIII and at La Rochelle, that is why I am writing on it, they were initially imprisoned at the tour de La Lanterne where the graffitis can still be seen.

To walk La Rochelle is to marvel of the best of France , it is a fortified city and just lovely we really fell for it. Many memories now of my other half.  Some of the nicest walks are in the quartier du Gabut or neighborhood nice and museums , Cours des Dames with boatbuilders houses, Rue Sur les Murs linking the tour de La Chaîne to the Tour de La Lanterne, and the Quai Duperré full of cafés  and facing the big clock or grosse horloge the statue of admiral Duperré born here in 1775 and leader of the fleet that took Algers in 1830. A main street is the Rue du Palais, Rue Chaudrier with wooden houses with a sculpture of Ronsard, at the end of this street on a small garden you see the house call Maison Henri II built in 1555 because done in his style of construction. Grande Rue des Merciers, loaded with shops and homes of the  17C ,and the rue de Minage covered with old arcades with very old houses such as no 43 ,22, 4 ,and 2 .The old port or Vieux Port is gorgeous with its towers or Tour Saint Nicolas, and Tour de la Chaine, and Tour de la Lanterne only left from the ramparts covering the town in 1628 mostly demolished by Richelieu. The gate or Porte de la Grosse Horloge kept the entry to the city from the old town still in medieval conditions   You see the remarkable city hall or Hôtel de Ville in the renaissance style and many buildings from the 17C and 18C like the chamber of commerce old Bourse or stock house.

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The city has wonderful parks too amazing. The two we like and biggest are the parc Charruyer created from 1887 on 40 hectares on military lands that were swampy with marshes located at the foot of the fortifications west of town dating from the ramparts of 1685; the park was finished in 1890 and originally was called the parc Monceau   of La Rochelle. It gives to the   Allées du Mail which at the summit you have the parc Franck Delmas, name after a local resistance fighter assassinated for his acts by the nazis in WWII. Before this part was private but now it is public with its wonderful Villa Fort Louis in the center of the park of 7 hectares and this park was renovated in 1999 due to the storm Martin.

At the beginning there were pools of sea water here and centers of Thalassotherapy from the 18C then the beach was open at Plage de la Concurrence and the town exploded with beachgoers from 1907. Other beaches followed such as those of the plage des Minimes in 1978, later plage de Chef de Baie and Plage d’Aytré. At the extreme point of the plage des Minimes you find the Phare du bout du Monde (lighthouse at the end of the world) a replica of the one in Cap Horn off South Africa. The lighthouse is in wood in an octagonal form with lights of 7 lamps with colza oil   good vision for 26 km at an angle of 93 degrees . One of the best aquarium in Europe that of La Rochelle in the neighborhood of the Gabut just on the other side of the old harbor has 10K animals from all the world in 3K sq meters of water divided into 65 basins. A nice visit indeed.

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You have the principal religious temples here such as Saint Louis Cathedral , Chapel of Notre Dame de l’Esperance, Church of Notre Dame de Cougnes, ,and Church of Saint Sauveur. Several museums here my favorites are the bunker museum or musée du bunker de la Rochelle on a real bunker of 280 square meters recounting the history of WWII here. Fine arts museum or Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Rochelle since 1845 on the old bishop’s house in city center with local painters. Natural history museum or Muséum d’Histoire naturelle since 1831 in the governor mansion given by Napoléon in 1808, the New World Museum or musée Nouvelle Monde given history from the 16C on what the locals have done in the world. The marine or musée maritime on floating and on land with 8 heritage boats in the basin of the old port allowing you to see the meteorological boat France 1. The automated museum or musée des Automates the first in France a collection of automated toys from all over Europe and all periods. Wonderful as well as the reduce models museum or Musée des Modéles Réduits. Many with single posts in my blog!

Some of the great men who passed by here included François Rabelais that he mentioned in his masterwork Pantagruel, the military engineer Choderlos de Laclos who first wrote dangerous liaisons or Liaisons dangereuses in 1782 and visit the city in 1786. Eugéne Fromentin is a writer painter native of La Rochelle, with his novel Dominique he wrote of life in the city in the 19C. Guy de Maupassant wrote about it in his work L’Epave in 1886. And many others.

Many wonderful events here to check it out to be here at the time and reservations in advance. In May, Jazz Around La Rochelle since 2001 traditional jazz in a New Orleans ambiance wonderful. In June the Festival international du film since 1973 second only to Cannes in France;in July, the Francofolies since 1984, French music concerts and discovery of new talent. The Grand Pavois, in September lasting a week, the biggest international on water boat salon at the port des Minimes.

The city of La Rochelle on things to do / see:https://www.larochelle.fr/je-suis/un-touriste

The La Rochelle tourist officehttps://www.holidays-la-rochelle.co.uk/

The Nouvelle Aquitaine region on La Rochelle 3 day tour: Trois jours à la Rochelle, un week-end au bord de l’atlantique (nouvelle-aquitaine-tourisme.com)

There you go folks a wonderful town for a stay of more than a day for sure. La Rochelle, we really like it and fond memories of it. There is so much to see just in France sometimes we take time in coming back to things we saw, but this one is high on the list for a return soon. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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