Archive for September 20th, 2021

September 20, 2021

The Fort National of Saint Malo!!

Well here is a dandy touch base briefly in my many posts on Saint Malo; however, felled not enough credit to this wonderful monument on an island out at sea, the Fort National. Therefore, here is my humble rendition on it; hope you enjoy it as I.


The Fort National is a bastion located on an island offshore Saint-Malobuilt on the rock of l’Islet. From Eventail Beach,(see post) opposite the Château de Saint-Malo (see post) , the Fort national , private property since 1927, opens to the public at each low tide.



This rock was, before the construction of the fort, the site of a lighthouse to guide ships in the rocky bay of the corsair city, but also the place of execution of the Lordship of Saint-Malo. In the middle of his reign, Louis XIV launched a project to fortify Saint-Malo to protect the city and its immense wealth from a possible English invasion. Construction will begin in 1689 and the date of completion of construction seems to be 1693. The outer enclosure of the fort was enlarged and redesigned in the 18C and early 19C to improve the defense of the fort on the land side.


The island is accessible at low tide. Private today, the fort belongs to an old Breton family.  Formerly called “Fort Royal” and also “Fort Impérial” ,during the years of the First and Second Empire,(Napoleonic periods)  the current Fort National was built in 1689 by engineer Siméon Garangeau according to plans by Vauban and on orders of King Louis XIV, at the same time as the ramparts of Saint-Malo were reinforced, of which it ensured the defense. If you see the French flag hoisted on the Fort,(meaning is open) then dive into the 35-minute guided and narrated tour. You will relive more than three centuries of military life with its legends and dungeons, the immersion is total..

Throughout its history, the Fort National was the object of a decision of the Sun King, of an achievement by Vauban, it was a place of duel for the famous privateer corsair Robert Surcouf. The story goes that Surcouf, on the lawn of Fort National, overwhelmed his first 11 opponents, simply cutting off the hand of the 12th and declaring “I spare you sir, because I need a witness”. The fort participated actively in the defense of the city during the English attack of 1693. It was finally a Nazi jail. This long history makes it a monument definitely linked to the life of Saint-Malo and a must to visit. 

The official webpage of the Fort National:

The Saint Malo tourist office on the Fort National

There you go folks, now I feel better. This is a nice monument worth the wait to see it and awesome crossing of the bay on low tide! Hope you enjoy the short introduction to the Fort National of Saint Malo!

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

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September 20, 2021

Church St Thurien of Plogonnec!

I am in my road warrior days in my lovely Bretagne in my belle France and finally got to see it close. I cannot count the times passed by it , always curious for its spire tower looking at it from the road D63 in the dept 29 of Finistére, and finally got in the town! This is an update of this nice post me think; hope you enjoy it as I

I was coming back home and saw the spire, did a quick turn and went for the town of Plogonnec , finally!. So much to see and want to see it all!!! Unfortunately again, there was a service going on so could not and won’t take pictures of the inside, while service is going on. Let me tell you thus a bit more on the Church Saint Thurien of Plogonnec deep in off the beaten path territory!


The town of Plogonnec is located 13 km from Quimper and 13 km from Douarnenez and 4 km from Locronan (I was coming in from here!). Plogonnec comes from Breton ploe (parish) and from Saint-Connec or Conec . In Breton it is name Plogoneg.  The first act which signals its existence is found in the cartulary of Quimperlé Abbey. This is a donation made to Saint Ronan on April 12, 1203. In this cartulaire the name of the parish is written “Plue Gunuc”, then “Ploegonohc” and “Ploe Gonoc. The parish of Plogonnec falls under the old regime (monarchy) direct fiefs of the Névet (western and eastern part of the parish) and the princes of Rohan (central part), all under the direct authority of the Bishops of Cornouaille.

There is little information online on this church so I will translate my condense description from the city of Plogonnec by yours truly.

The current Church Saint Thurien , started in the 15C. The set includes a nave and two side walls of six spans, a flat chevet decorated with three windows and a false transept. The large, dark aspect of the nave is matched by the large windows of the false transept and the choir. The church presents some remains of the 15C, but dates mainly from the 16C, with the exception of the bell tower, started in 1657, which was deeply altered in the 18C. The sacristy was built in 1864.


The bell tower, rectangular, leans on powerful buttresses. It is accosted by two octagonal turrets, each capped with a ribbed dome and bulbuls, crowned with a lantern. It has many inscriptions, including that of the western tympanum, under the statue of Saint Thurien. Here is the translation: “O Saint Thurien, keep your tower and your church, so that the features of Jupiter’s trident will not damage it”.


The apse is flat, with three large windows framed by buttresses.  The forecourt is decorated with a Gothic triumphal arch from the 16C, enhanced with a coronation and a pediment from 1730. From the old cemetery, which until the 1920s occupied the north and east of the wall, there remain two betyls (sacred stones), one with grooves, the other surmounted by a cross and embedded in the enclosure wall. The south facade has a portion of the 15C wall at the base of the bell tower. The porch dates from 1581. Its semicircular opening is framed by two Gothic niches containing statues of Saint Catherine and Sainte Anne. It has retained its interior carved wooden door. The rest of the facade is made up of three large bays surmounted by gables with creepers with hooks.


The statues in polychrome stone are Saint Thurien (18C), Saint Etienne (18C), Saint Claude (16C), Saint Maudez (16C), Saint Herbot (17C). and In polychrome wood are Christ on the Cross, Madonna and Child known as Our Lady of the Rosary, and San Sebastian. The furniture has on the central altarpiece, with its painted woodwork from the beginning of the 18C and its two niches with golden pilasters and garlands. The side altars of the 17C and the woodwork of the 19C (restored in 1996). Against the walls, the stalls. In the choir, used for worship, the tracery altar with sculptures from 1990.

The pulpit to preach from 1780 with the Doctors of the West on the panels of the tank. Two half-domed confessionals dating from the 18C. The ancient granite baptismal font. On the wall, near the south door, a 17C painted panel: it contains nine scenes from the life of Saint Maudez and probably comes from an altarpiece dedicated to an altar dedicated to the same saint. The whole was restored in 1994.

The city of Plogonnec on the Church of Saint Thurien

The city of Plogonnec on its heritage including the church above:

And there you go folks, another wonderful architecturally stunning building or Church Saint Thurien in off the beaten path town of Plogonnec! You just need a car but the possibilities are endless in this region of Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the tour as I.

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

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September 20, 2021

Chartres its more than a cathedral!!

So looking at my older post realised only written on the Cathedral of Chartres, good enough. However, Chartres has a lot more to offer even if pictures are far and few that can find. I like to have it set in my blog the history, architecture of this wonderful city ,and very old sentimental pictures!! Therefore, let me tell you more of Chartres, its more than a cathedral!! 

The city of Chartres is located in the dept 28 of Eure et Loir in the Centre Val de Loire region. It is about 125 km from my house; 75 km from Versailles, and 90 km from Paris. Chartres is the seat of the community of agglomeration Chartres Métropole, the first of Eure-et-Loir; it brings together 66 towns. Chartres is traditionally a place of pilgrimage, especially on Palm Sunday for students, as well as Pentecost for the pilgrimage to Christianity. The city is also located on the Via Turonensis of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The heart of the city of Chartres is located on the Beauce plateau, on a rocky promontory that surrounds the Eure. The city then extends over a tongue of land bypassed by two arms of the Eure, as well as on a gentle slope on the side opposite the river. The outlines of the old town are delimited by boulevards and a few large squares from which major communication routes start.

No experience here as always by car but the Chartres train/bus station is located at the edge of the town of Mainvilliers. The main rail axis crossing the city is the line from Paris-Montparnasse to Brest; Although no long-distance train has served the station since the LGV Atlantique came into service in 1989, TER Centre-Val de Loire traffic is sustained, with several trips to Paris. The urban bus network Filibus and the interurban bus network, REMI,have no experience here either. However, plenty of good roads, Chartres is served by three main traffic routes of national importance: the national road 10 Paris – Tours – Bordeaux and the national road 154 Rouen – Orléans. The city is linked to the Pays de la Loire and Brittany by the departmental road 923, the route of which begins in Chartres and ends in Paimboeuf. Chartres is also connected to the motorway network by the A11 motorway (Paris – Le Mans – Angers – Nantes) with exits no 2 (Chartres Center / Chartres Est) at Propylées and no 3 (Chartres-Center / Illiers-Combray) at Thivars , both providing access to the metropolitan area of ​​Chartres.

A bit of history I like

Little is known about the urban development of Chartres between the 3C and 10C ; the ancient city seems to have faded in favor of small autonomous villages. The first installations of Christian buildings, attested by some texts, suggest that at the end of the 6C there were numerous religious establishments in Chartres, then run by the bishop. In 743, the city was taken by Hunald duke of Aquitaine and burned. In the 9C, the Normans ravaged the surrounding lands on several occasions and, in June 858, destroyed the city and probably the cathedral, In 876, a donation from Charles II the Bald, the Veil of the Virgin, was at the origin of an important pilgrimage which then makes the wealth of the city and the power of the local religious institutions, During the Renaissance of the 12C, an innovative thought flourished in Chartres, nourished by the rediscovery of Platonism. A spirit which derives directly from the grammatical rigor and scientific curiosity of the teaching of Bernard de Chartres, based on the ancients, and whose remarks on this subject, reported by Jean de Salisbury, have become among the most famous in the world of intellectual history,

In the 16C, despite religious disturbances, the city of Chartres remained faithful to the Catholic worship After having been the prerogative of Charles de Valois, father of Philippe VI, the county of Chartres was erected into a duchy by François I in 1528 for the benefit of Renée of France, Duchess of Ferrara. In 1568, the city was besieged by Louis de Bourbon-Condé, then from February to April 1591, by Henri IV ,Despite the resistance of the city, he was consecrated on February 27, 1594 in the cathedral of Chartres: he was the only king of France sacred in this cathedral Later, Louis XIV gave the Duchy of Chartres to the House of Orleans, whose heir carried, until Louis-Philippe, the title of Duke of Chartres.

During the French revolution, the cathedral was relatively protected, while several Chartres churches were sold, demolished or transformed. At the start of WWII, Jean Moulin, then prefect of Eure-et-Loir, had his first quarrels with the troops of the Third Reich while remaining with the 800 inhabitants who did not take part in the exodus during the battle. de France on June 15, 1940. He left his post in November 1940. The cathedral was saved from destruction on August 16, 1944 thanks to the American colonel Welborn Griffith. The latter questions the order received to destroy the cathedral, its leaders believing that the Nazis were sheltering there. He volunteers to go and check with another volunteer for the presence of Nazis soldiers inside. Noting that the cathedral is empty, he rings the bells to warn of the absence of an enemy. He was killed in action the same day in Lèves, near Chartres. He was posthumously decorated with the Croix de Guerre with palm, the Legion of Honor and the Order of Merit by the French government, as well as the Distinguished Service Cross of the American government , From August 16, 1944, des reconnaissance missions carried out in the region by the 3rd cavalry group of the US Army lead to the liberation of the city at the cost of heavy fighting carried out on August 18 by the 5th infantry division and the 7th American armored division belonging to the 20th Corps of the 3rd United States Army commanded by General George Patton , On August 23, 1944, en route to Rambouillet, which he reached at 18h, and where he had to meet with General Leclerc to finalize the final details of the liberation of Paris, General de Gaulle delivers an address from the steps of the large Post Office in Chartres: “How moved me the magnificent reception of Chartres, Chartres liberated! Chartres on the way to Paris, that is to say on the way to victory! “

Things to see in Chartres are numerous seen most but not all , of course the Notre-Dame Cathedral (see post), Saint-Pierre Church, rue Pétion, Saint-André Church, rue Saint-André, dating from the second half of the 12C, Saint Aignan Church, rue des Grenets, dates from the beginning of the 16C ; the Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rechévres, rue de la Paix, and several others.

Chartres cathedral ND NF et PF c.2007

Chartres Cathedral ND cloister door RF PF c. 2007

The old town of Chartres consists of two parts, the upper town around the cathedral and the lower town on the banks of the Eure river . It constitutes a remarkable set of medieval and Renaissance buildings. The Place de la Poissonnerie is a characteristic architectural example of the Maison du Saumon and the Maison de la Truie qui file. The Maison du Saumon was inhabited by Catherine Maubuisson, lady of Borville who was at the head of an important import and export business. Besides the salmon, the facade features an Annunciation and Saint Michael slaying the dragon. The enclosure of Loëns was a group of buildings dependent on the cathedral chapter, which united, outside the cloister, a cellar, an attic, a prison and a common oven. In this enclosure, were stored the tithes and rents paid in kind, and imprisoned the condemned of ecclesiastical justice. It currently houses the International Center for Stained Glass. Of the Episcopal palace which welcomes Henri IV on the occasion of his coronation in 1594, only the outbuildings remain. The central building was erected during the first half of the 18C. The central pavilion of the facade, the Italian room and the chapel were built in the middle of the 18C. The building was abandoned until the city of Chartres made it its museum of fine arts. It was inaugurated in 1939, but was not really opened until 1948. The former Hôtel des Postes in a neo-Gothic style completed in 1928, In 2005, the City of Chartres acquired the building to install its media library after complete interior reconstruction. In 1948, a monument in homage to Jean Moulin was inaugurated thanks to a public subscription the monument represents a fist clenched on a broken sword. The statue, made of pink granite, immortalizes the action of Jean Moulin. A rose bed called “Resurrection” or “Roses of the deportation”, red magenta and pink, dedicated to the women deported to Ravensbrück, surrounds the monument. The Maison Picassiette house (or the House of a Thousand Pieces) is an example of naive architecture made up of glass mosaics and earthenware cast in cement. A route of 15 megaliths, partially covered with mosaics, allows the tourist who visits the house to go to the Picassiette district and to discover the works produced by the inhabitants in the cages of buildings, The theater of Chartres with its foyer-bar recently renovated and its 531-seat Italian-style hall make it a major center of Chartres culture. The Museum of Fine Arts is the main museum in the city. Located in the former episcopal palace, next to the cathedral, The Bishop’s Palace gardens consist of several terraces behind the cathedral, with a view of the city and the lower town. These gardens were the gardens of the former bishopric, today the Museum of Fine Arts.

And for a day in town, we ate with nice memories in the Créperie des Trois Lys, of course Breton specialities near the Porte Guillaume. Its half-timbering and beams undoubtedly give it character; the decoration and the subdued lights take care of the rest … result: a place where you feel infinitely good. Prices are still very good, so enjoy your meal! We sure will be back here.  webpage:

Chartres creperie les trois lys porte guillaume kids 2007

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and its a must are:

The city of Chartres on its heritage:

The Chartres tourist office on its heritage

The Eure et Loir dept 28 tourist office on Chartres

There you go folks, a dandy of a town in my belle France, this is Chartres it does has more than a cathedral ! Enjoy the reading of a nice historical and gorgeous architecture town of Chartres. We will be back soon!

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

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