Archive for September 14th, 2021

September 14, 2021

The Church Saint Nicolas of Maisons Laffitte!

And I bring you back to my old dept Yvelines no 78 west of Paris in the same region of Ïle de France. This was a gem that I came first for the wonderful gourmand store in Longueil (see post). After getting to the town, I found out the wonderful castle and the church. Again , the castle (see post). I figure need to do justice and tell you about the Church Saint Nicolas of Maisons-Laffitte. Hope you enjoy this update as I


First , a bit about the town of itself. Maisons-Laffitte is located 10 km from Saint-Germain-en-Laye and 18 km from Paris. The town is on the left bank of the Seine river, and adjacent to the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The territory, also encompasses part of an island of the Seine, l’île de la Commune. The town borders the towns of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as well as about 800 meters bordering Achères-and the Mesnil-Le-Roi. It is separated by the Seine river from Sartrouville and Cormeilles-en-Parisis. The train line of Paris-Saint-Lazare to Le Havre get you here, as well as the RER A Transilien line L trains. However, I always came by car here,

And the feature presentation:  the Church Saint Nicolas is at rue de la Muette, and was built from 1867 to 1872 on the grounds of one of the old cemeteries, offered by the city. This church originally was built in the 12C as evidenced by the base of the bell tower, it will be renovated in the 13C and then enlarged in the 15C when a side-aisle addition to the south. It is disaffected in 1897 and the use is granted to firefighters who will serve as their barracks. They will do the drilling and modification of certain bays. Restored nowadays it now serves as a show room for entertainment, and local events.


The first Lords of Maisons built a church dedicated to St. Nicolas. Around 1087, Geoffroy 1er gave the Church of Maisons to the Abbey of Coulombs located in the territory of Chartres. The latter installed a Benedictine Priory in the vicinity under the term Saint-Germain. The Romanesque style bell tower is probably from the 12C. At the end of the Hundred Years War the village and the Church were burned by the English. The nave was rebuilt and enlarged from a low-side whose style is characteristic of the 15C. In 1630, Vincent de Paul came to preach at Maisons. He erected a charity for the relief of the poor. The gallery and the work bench that we see on the engraving were only built in 1749. The two stained glass windows that illuminate the nave possessed stained glass from the early 16C depicting a crowned Virgin carrying the child Jesus and a Saint Nicolas. The altarpiece of the master altar is now in the sacristy of the Church St. Nicolas. The Church was decommissioned in 1897.


So therefore even if locals still call it a church,it is not used for religious services but rather as a cultural center to house temporary exhibits and events for the city of Maisons Laffitte. It is interesting to see this transformation.

 The city of Maisons Laffitte on its heritage

The Maisons Laffite tourist office

There you go folks, another dandy and in my old Yvelines ! It’s not a real functioning church! , nevertheless, equally important for its architecture in a very nice upscale city of the west of Paris. Enjoy the so call Church St Nicolas of  Maisons Laffitte.

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

September 14, 2021

Former church Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains in Metz!!!

And let me get back to the east and many nice memories of family visits over the years, We were drawn here by the Christmas market and then more trips to the wonderful Metz in the Moselle dept 57 of the Grand Est  region of my belle France! This is an awesome building to visit, a must I say, not only for the architecture and history but the wonderful programming now done in it. Let me tell you a bit more on the Church of Saint Pierre aux Nonnains. I must say I will be brief as the history is long as old as it is !

The Church of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains dates from the end of the 4C ; one of the oldest churches in the world, and the oldest church in France. In Roman times, the building is used as a palestra and integrated into a thermal complex. In the 7C, it became the chapel of a Benedictine abbey. The Romanesque nave was built around the year 1000, which corresponds to the Ottonian period for the Holy Roman Empire of which Metz was then part.  The city of Metz was invaded and destroyed the first time in 253 by the Alamans (or Alemanni tribe from Germany later defeatd by Clovis in 496 founding royal France). In this climate of less security, the city surrounds itself with a wall of 3.5 meters thick pierced with several gates where architectural elements and steles of Roman monuments are reused. From this troubled time, date the construction of the Basilica St. Pierre aux Nonnains.

Metz ch st pierre aux nonnains oldest in Fr dec06

The building was built in the 4C by the Gallo-Romans. The Roman walls are recognizable by their brick links, separating rows of cut stones. In the 7C, the building was built for Christian worship, and receives a stone balustrade, or chancel, to separate the choir from the nave. This chancel is currently preserved in the museums of Metz.  In the 15-16C, Gothic arches were built over the nave and aisles. In the 7C, the Roman building became the church of a women’s abbey. From 1556, at the time of the construction of the citadel by the French, Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains becomes a military warehouse and the remained until the 20C. Unfortunately, during the siege of Metz by Charles V in 1552, François de Guise had erased forty religious buildings, including Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains.

metz ch st pierre aux nonnais inside wall mar11

In 1946, the city council approved the principle of transfer of various buildings by the army to the city of Metz. Today, Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains has become a venue for concerts and exhibitions. Wonderful historical exhibitions are held there now as well as concerts of the period and modern, a great cultural center in the city center of Metz.

Some webpages to help you  plan your trip,and it is a must are:

The city of Metz on the church

The Metz tourist office on the church

The Cité Musicale of Metz on cultural needs in the city ,especially the St Pierre aux Nonnains :

There you go folks, a wonderful space to see and enjoy it with the whole family, hope you do have a chance to visit ,it is worth the detour to the former Saint Pierre aux Nonnains of Metz!

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

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September 14, 2021

And I give you Ancenis!

Let me tell you about an off the beaten path trail on my road warrior roads in my belle France, I was going someplace else do not recall where and passed by Ancenis in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. It was a pleasant find as many have in my travels, and decided to take a quick peek, This is the story of that, bear in mind have another post on the covered market here. Hope you enjoy this post as I.

Ancenis is since January 1, 2019, the new town of Ancenis-Saint-Géréon with the former neighboring town of Saint-Géréon. The city is 35 km from Nantes, 50 km from Angers, and 50 km from Cholet. The city is connected to the national road network by its highway interchange as well as its toll on the A 11 connecting Nantes to Paris, Also, the popular D 763 , connecting Ancenis to Belleville-sur-Vie, via Vallet and Clisson; and the D 723 of which we have taken, There is a train station or gare at boulevard de la Liberation, and has no city bus network ; however, the city is served by buses from the region and by departmental buses from neighboring Maine-et-Loire dept 49, The Nantes Atlantique airport is located 50 km and about 40 minutes from the city.

The old Ancenis was founded in 984 by Guérech, son of Alain Barbetorte, Duke of Brittany, or by his wife Aremberge. The foundation of Ancenis is intended to defend the new Breton border created by the victory of Alain Barbetorte over the Normans, in particular the claims of the Counts of Anjou who, from 987, besieged the city. In 1468, the Treaty of Ancenis was signed, committing François II of Brittany to break alliances with Charles the Bold and King Edward IV of England. The original founding of the city was on an island whose contours can still be seen thanks to the boulevards Joseph-Vincent and Léon-Séché. The quays demonstrate the past importance of traffic on the Loire river and the importance of the port of Ancenis.

The Ancenis castle was built following the destruction of a castle motte, in 984, by Aremberge, wife of the count Gérech de Nantes, duke of Brittany, However, in the second part of the 15C, the castle was partly destroyed and, on the orders of Anne of Brittany, in conflict with the Lord of Ancenis, the ditches were filled during the Mad War (war between 1485 and 1488, a coalition of lords to Anne de France, regent of France. Carried out in parallel with the war in Brittany, it ends with the Treaty of the Orchard which prepares the union of Brittany with France). Following the reconciliation, the castle is then returned to the lord. From the 17C, the role of the castle diminished sharply, until 1626 when, by order of Richelieu, it was dismantled. The castle deteriorates over time: entire sections of walls disappear. The moats were filled in for the creation of the quays in 1840. It became the property of the city in 1987; the city restored the entrance gatehouse, demolished the 19C chapel, and the 1960s high school. In 2010, a controversial operation consisted of installing part of the services of the Loire-Atlantique general council within the walls of the castle.


The Pont d’Ancenis bridge, or Pont de Bretagne-Anjou , is a suspension bridge, over the Loire river. It was built in 1952, to be inaugurated on January 18, 1953. It was the beginning of the construction project for the quays and the new port, which faces the castle. Currently the bridge is 412 meters long, for a central span of 238 meters, and 28.7 meters high, or 1,500 tonnes of steel. The bridge links the bottom of the city center of Ancenis to the village of Fourneau, on the town of Liré (Maine-et-Loire 49).


Other things to see in Ancenis me think are : The Church Saint-Pierre, was built in the 15-16C, on the Place Saint-Pierre, in the city center, near the Loire , the Chapel Notre-Dame-de-la-Délivrance is a small chapel located to the right of the above church, place Saint-Pierre. This small chapel is very important because it was here, in 1943, that a Merovingian sarcophagus was discovered. This makes it possible to bear witness to the Christian presence in the 7-8C. The market halls or Halles (see post) are the heart of the city center, around which all of the city’s shops are located. They are built on the site of the old halls dating from the 15C, razed in 1859. It is in 1862 that the new Halles are inaugurated The city/town hall was built at the same time as the halles and is attached to it. It was inaugurated in 1863, in the same Napoleon III style as the covered market (halles). The Jardin de l’Eperon is unique in that it is located all along the Loire, from the bridge to the outdoor swimming pool. There is a playground, water games, and mini-golf. It offers a breathtaking view of the Loire , and the not to mention , the good wines of Ancenis.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The city of Ancenis-Saint Géreon on its heritage :

The Ancenis countryside tourist office on Ancenis:

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 tourist board on things to do around Ancenis

There you go folks, another dandy in my off the beaten paths ways of my belle France, This one not far from me in neighboring old Brittany, Loire-Atlantique dept 44, Ancenis is worth the detour for half a day. Hope you enjoy it as I

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

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September 14, 2021

The Church Sainte Foy of Morlaas!!

Let me bring you to another off the beaten path town of the southwest of my belle France. We have criss cross the region in our road warrior days and really enjoy passing by these towns of much neglected history and architecture. I have other posts on the town in my blog, but this one will concentrate on telling you about the Church Sainte Foy of Morlaas!!

Morlaàs is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department 64, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, just 11 km from Pau where we were based. We arrive at wonderful Morlaàs, the town is connected with the D39 and D943 roads from Pau traversing the A64 highway. The town had a commandery of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from Carvalho and Morlaàs. There were convents of Jacobins and Cordeliers. 

From the 10C to the 12C, Morlaàs was the residence of the viscounts of Béarn and capital of Béarn in place of Lescar (see post), destroyed in the 9C. Orthez (see post) will follow in the 12C. The Morlaàs charter dates from 1101. Morlaàs had been minting at the castle of Hourquie (or Fourquie, the exact location of which is unknown to us today) since the 9C; the soil morlan was used in all the south of France during all the Middle Ages. In 1690, the monetary workshop was transferred to Pau. Morlaàs’ weights and measures were used as standards throughout Béarn and as far as Soule and Basse-Navarre.

In Bourg-Mayou, vestiges of the city fortifications of the 11-12-14C, called Pousterles, bear witness to the town’s ancient past. The fountain known as Baratnau, place Sainte-Foy, dates from 1635 and the house of Jeanne d’Albret from 1451. Still on the same square, we find the old city/town hall, transformed into a police station, then into a school, built in 1832. On this same square, the Morlaàs museum can be proud of a rich collection of medieval or more recent objects, paintings, weapons, keys, furniture, sculptures, a funerary slab and various architectural elements.

Therefore, let me take you to see this nice jewel in Morlàas, the Church of Sainte Foy!


The reason of this post as other info in other posts is on the Romanesque Church Sainte. Foy  which partially dates from the 11C. Its construction was begun during the reign of Centule V. The main items inside are a 19C monstrance, paintings, an altar and a commemorative plaque dated 1301. The Church is a stage on via Tolosane , Latin name of one of the four paths of France for the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela; the southernmost path.



This religious building, founded in 1080, is wanted by Centule V, viscount of Béarn. Today, it testifies to the past grandeur of Morlaàs. The church is dedicated to Sainte Foy, a 3C martyr and one of the most venerated saints in the Middle Ages, The Church Sainte-Foy de Morlaàs has a portal of the greatest interest: Romanesque work with a carved tympanum of the type Languedocien. The statuary represents Christ in majesty surrounded by the 24 elders of the Apocalypse and the Apostles in the openings of the portal. The restoration by Viollet le Duc was decided in 1857 and completed in 1903. There is also a Romanesque crypt under the choir.



The city of Morlaàs on its heritage:

The Béarn Pyrénées guide on Morlaàs:

The Pyrénées Atlantiques tourist board on the Church Sainte Foy of Morlaàs:

There you go folks, another dandy for you to visit this beautiful architecture and historical city of Morlaàs , And do not forget to visit the Church Sainte Foy, Hope you enjoy the post as I,

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

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