Archive for October 5th, 2021

October 5, 2021

The magical staircase of Chambord!!!

I have written several posts on the Château de Chambord, a magical place and a must visit I say, However, as with all wonderful monuments there is so much to write about that on many occasions I have forgotten or found no nuance to write about important elements of the place, This is the case here at Chambord and its magical staircase ! I will tell you about with new text and older pictures ; hope you enjoy it as I.

Inside the place is gorgeous but as a must within the musts you need to see the magical staircase of the Château de Chambord right in the center.  The original stair conceived by Leonardo Da Vinci for king François I is magnificent, but first some overall impressions.  The magical staircase of the Château de Chambord was built right in the center of the keep, at the crossroads of four large rooms. This so-called double revolution staircase serves the main floors of the castle, up to the top terraces where it is surmounted by the highest tower of the castle. And of course wonderful views of the Domaine ! Since the 16C, it has exerted the same fascination on visitors to the castle, on the one hand for the architectural prowess it represents, on the other hand for the staging it induces. In fact, two people, each taking one of the ramps, can see each other through the windows in the nucleus but never meet. A game that is still enjoyed by tourists, like the guests of the castle over the centuries.

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Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, the brilliant inventor, the Chambord staircase presents a unique feature at the time: two screws, which go up one on the other, seem to form only one for the outside observer. The magical staircase symbolizes a perpetual renewal. This staircase, which allows two people to climb it simultaneously without ever crossing, has always fascinated visitors to Chambord. The Chambord castle staircase has a unique feature at the time, two screws, which go up one on the other, seem to form only one for the outside observer. However, those who take this staircase will testify ; it is possible to reach the terraces without ever crossing another person who goes up at the same rate at most, one can observe it by one of the skylights arranged towards the inside the staircase. It is invisible in the outer silhouette of the keep but occupies an essential place there, in the center of the cruciform plane, as if it were the backbone of the whole castle. No matter where you walk in, it cannot hide from the gaze!!

The staircase consists of an openwork central core around which wind, one above the other, two helical ramps supported by eight pillars. It benefits from side lighting, coming from the arms of the cross. Separating the main facade of the castle in two, the main section, called the Donjon or keep , rises. This tall cube is flanked at each corner by impressive round towers and overlooked by beautiful terraces. There, one walks between pointed roofs covered with slate, moldings and sculpted fireplaces and windows. In the center of the terraces stands the Tour-Lanterne. The highest point of the castle, its characteristic and ornate shape gives the house its recognizable profile.

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The Tour-Lanterne also tops the majestic staircase of Chambord castle, one of the most fascinating elements of the royal residence. Nothing from the outside indicates its presence. It nevertheless forms the central point of the keep. Almost nine meters in diameter, it has two entrances at each level and a propeller shape. A touch of magic seems to accompany the people who enter its steps. If they go up or down at the same time, each taking a different entrance, they do not cross. It is made up of two staircases wound one above the other, which gives it the name of Chambord double revolution staircase. Its axis of rotation is at the heart of an empty column surmounted at its top by the Lantern Tower. This column has stone walls pierced with openings serving as a skylight. These windows per se allow those who use the steps to see each other even if they use different ramps, adding a playful side to this structure.

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Built at the same time as the Donjon or keep, from 1519, the Chambord staircase serves two floors, but also the terraces. The use of double revolutions was to facilitate movement on the stairs and avoid traffic jams,,,. This astonishing construction, the centerpiece of the main building, is quite unusual in period buildings. Likewise, its helical shape departs from Renaissance trends, more accustomed to straight staircases. Leonardo da Vinci left his mark on the Chambord staircase. The propeller, the basic form of the construction, represents one of the movements that fascinates him intensely. It can be found, for example, in his study of the “Aerial Vis”, a prototype helicopter. Arithmetic, geometry and symmetry in particular have always interested him. Only he could, in the 16C, have imagined a castle plan developed from a central point: the staircase. To confirm Leonardo da Vinci’s involvement in the design of Chambord’s plans, further research is needed. The French revolution indeed led to the disappearance of all original plans and documents relating to the construction of the royal residence. The names of the architects who worked on this project remain unknown until now, unfortunately.

The official webpage of the Castle of Chambordhttps://www.chambord.org/en/groups/visit-the-chateau/

The Blois-Chambord tourist office on the castle: https://www.bloischambord.co.uk/explore/the-chateaux/the-chateau-de-chambord

And did I said, the king of the valley of the kings, Chambord, undescribable. A must to visit while in France. We had come back, and will again. We were there even during Christmas magical, and concerts awesome. Hope you enjoy the tour and do visit Chambord.

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

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October 5, 2021

Dieppe, the sea, and the sea!!!

This is a pleasant update of my introductory post on the wonderful Dieppe! We had visited couple times at least, can’t recall all, and I like to bring it back to life in the blog. Black and White series in my blog, no pictures, Dieppe is in the département 76 of Seine-Maritime in the region of Normandie. It has been called the city of the four harbors in the Caux country ,about 170 km from Paris, and north of Rouen; right in the deep valley of the Arques.  The oldest mention of this name comes from the 11C. It is related to a name given to a stream that throws itself at the city, it was called the  Tella, and in the text of the Mérovigians and Carolian kings it was designated as Dieppe! Voilà !!

The town has an intense seamen history and a great fishing port, first in France for the St Jacques! or scallops. It is, also, the closest beach to Paris as well as pleasure boating basin.  Many personalities are link to the city too many to name, but one Jean Cousin, sailed to Brazil four years before Christopher Colombus (1488) and had the two Pinzon brothers with him that later accompany Colombus in his discoveries. Most of the old inhabitants had emigrated to the New World mostly due to the fact they were Huguenots or protestants. August 19,1942, Operation Jubilee during WWII, carry by Canadians invade the city testing the defences, for the fallen, the veterans name a town in New Brunswick, Canada in their honor, and today ,many tours are conducted showcasing the events of this period in the war at Dieppe.

Dieppe has a local network of public transport call DeepMob, This is a new network , and of course have no experience with it as always came here by car. The train station is at Bd Georges Clémenceau in city center, however, you take in Paris Gare Saint Lazare to Rouen and then another train to Dieppe. It ,also, has ferry service to Newhaven in England Been the closes beach closest to Paris ,it is easily link by road on the wonderful A13 (autoroute de Normandie), the A151, and then the N27. Dieppe is connected locally by the D925 to the town of Eu and Saint-Valery-en-Caux, D920 to Envermeu and Londinières, the D915 to Forges-les-Eaux, and the N27 to Tôtes and Rouen. All nice roads easy driving,

The city is divided on the four ports concepts with the historical center around the estuary of the Arques , including the sea front, neighborhood around the end of the quays and quai Henri IV (lovely) ,Grande-Rue, neighborhood of Saint-Jacques,and the area at avenue Gambetta. Another nice area is to the east of city center on the other side of the canal, the neighborhood of Pollet, with fisherman houses very typical of the region. All nice walks in the city.

A bit of history I like, condense ok.

At the times of the Gallo-Roman period the field of Ceasar aka Cité de Limes, was located north of the current city of Dieppe, and a ramparts attesting to the fact this is one of the oldest human presence in the region. By 910,the Vikings were in the mouth of the Tella river,a deep river that ends at sea. They call the town Djúpr or deep or Djúpá or deep river. The oldest mentioned in text dates from 1030 saying there was a small fishing port called Dieppe!. A castle was built in 1188 by king Henry II Plantagenêt of England. In 1195 the castle is destroyed by fire from the French troops of king Philippe-Auguste, that was at war with Richard the Lion Heart Duke of Normandy. Two years later in 1197 Duke Richard gives the land of Dieppe to the Archidiocese of Rouen; however in 1204, after the falled of the Château-Gaillard and the taking of Rouen, Dieppe and Normandy were annexed by the kingdom of France under king Philippe-Auguste. In 1420, in the battle of Azincourt, Dieppe is occupied by the English and was kept for 15 years; by 1430 ,Dieppe was a temporary detention for Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) before she was transferred to Rouen where she was tried and ordered burned at the stake. Dieppe was finally liberated from the English occupation in October 1435 when the town was taken by the French led by Captain Charles Desmarets on account of king Charles VII.

The town has a rich seamen tradition and many leave Dieppe to explore new worlds. Given boats by the shipbuilder and explorer Jehan Ango , they reached Sumatra, Brazil, and Canada. Wealth from the gold of the Americas, and the wood of Brazil or even the codfish of Newfoundland, Jehan Ango is notice by the king François Ier that comes to Dieppe in 1534 to name him Viscount and Governor of the city. Dieppe becomes as well the seat of the cartography and hydrography school or École de cartographie de Dieppe et d’hydrographie under the direction of Pierre Desceliers,that designs in 1546 a map of the World with Africa and the Americas !

In 1822, the first bath house in France is built here on the beach under the name of  sea baths of Caroline in honor of Caroline de Bourbon, duchesse de Berry, daughter in law of king  Charles X. She opened the baths in 1824 that under the Second Empire received great fame  and the growth of this pleasure. By 1852 you have here the first race course on horses in the Hippodrome de Dieppe-Rouxmesni. The sea bath gained popularity here,and brings many personalities of the Napoleonic aristocracy such as Hortense de Beauharnais, accompany by her children , including the future Napoléon III. Moving forward in time, we have learned that from August 20 to September 9 1853, Dieppe was the honeymoon residence of the Emperor Napoléon III,and the Empératrice Eugénie , Early on the 20C, the town is at its heights and it is until 1914, the first beach town in France frequent by the famous. Some of these were king Léopold II of Belgium, Duke of Westminster, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy, Claude Monet, Madeleine Lemaire, Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissaro, Countess Greffulhe, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Walter Sickert, and Marcel Proust. Robert de Montesquiou, Gabriel Fauré, prince Edmond de Polignac stayed frequently in the house of the Countess Greffulhe in the villa La Case. During WWII, Dieppe is liberated in September 1944 without any combats as the Nazis abandoned the post before the advance of the Allied armies.

Some things to see in Dieppe me think are:

Dieppe has a beach, yes! Casino, 18 hole golf course, racecourse, harbor with ferry service and very nice complex of thalasotherapy on the beach and near the castle. Since 1980, it host every two years, the biggest kite event on the beach, Festival International de Cerf-Volant, with as much as 44 countries represented and one of the best world events. Webpage: http://www.dieppe-cerf-volant.org/accueil.html

The Château de Dieppe ,(see post) had a first one in the 12C and the current one dates from 1443. The west tower dates from the 14C, and the place is really a fortress with a very solid architecture and with several parts in bricks. It housed until 1923 the army barracks of Ruffin. Today, the Castle house the museum of Dieppe ( a must to see), from the top you can see beautiful views of the sea and the city as well as inside marvel of the biggest and most beautiful collections of sculpture ivory in Europe; from crucifix, chapelets, statues, events, tabacs, painted work by Georges Braque, furniture from the house of pianist Camille Saint-Saëns and temporary expositions.

There is the Church of Saint-Rémy (15C and 17C) dominating the square or place Saint-Rémy, and known by locals as one of the prettiest Church in the region, with influences of the counter reformist movement and an organ by Parizot. The Church of Saint-Jacques (St James 16C) flamboyant and renaissance style and a great neighborhood we like . The initial Church was started in the 12C and name the parish Church in 1282 by the bishop of Rouen Guillaume de Flavacourt.  Inside see the Chapelle du trésors , showing the countries and towns discovered by the Dieppois people, this church was even visited by Victor Hugo. Marvelous quay or quai Duquesne with its arcades of the stockmarket or Bourse,see here the architecture modernist and classist of the old hardware store Leveau at 26 quai Duquesne. The wonderful Church of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (1876) looking down at the city from the cliffs above the rock of Pollet,was a place of pilgrims and later a point to the memory of the marines lost at sea. The architectural stunning houses of the faubourg de la Barre, and the place du moulin à vent. Take even the little Theater built in 1900 and now housing the memorial 19 August 1942. Inside Louis XV style. The beachfront is magical with about 1500 meters of sand designed by; the orders of the Emperatrice Eugenie, separating the great boulevard de Verdun (parkings).

The wonderful quai Henri-IV , we like to eat here and has several restaurants looking at the pleasure marina in front as well as some buildings from the 17C and 18C such as the collège des Oratoriens (1614) where the Chapel was built on the site of the house of shipbuilder Jehan Ango, Hôtel de la Vicomté and Hôtel d’Anvers (1697) with a bas-relief, showing the city of Anvers on the porch giving to the interior courtyard. In the ramparts see the tour aux Crabes (1374), that defended until 1841 the access to the channel going to the port. The Pont Colbert a turning metal bridge built in 1885-1889, it is the last turning bridge of Europe still active on its original configuration, it is 66 meters long and on the channel of Pollet carved during the renovation of the port ;and now covered in steel of the Eiffel type. It was dynamited in 1944 by the Nazis and rebuilt again on July 14 1946 (French National Day). The pont Ango turning in metal from 1881 ,destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in a levy bridge in 1950.

You have the street the Grande-Rue until the place du Puits-Salé, pedestrian and very nice a pleasure to walk it. The rue de la Barre,is nice and a continuation of the Grande-Rue. The houses in the neighborhood of Caude-Côte in the faubourg de la Barre,and the great windmill at the place du moulin à vent  with its pittoresques houses. The small municipal theater done in 1900 ,and do walk the sea front of 1500 meters with an esplanade designed by the Imperatrice Eugénie while visiting the city separating the boulevard de Verdun (great parking here!)  from the promenade maritime.

The gorgeous houses from the Second Empire, along the rue Parmentier and the rue de la Rade,were the first inhabited houses built on the beachfront ,and dates from before WWII. The Hôtel Aguado (1958),on the boulevard de Verdun; second hotel name as such here built on the spot of the royal manufacture of Cigars or Manufacture Royale des Tabacs,burned during WWII. The old Hôtel Royal (1901), symbol of the city and the last survivor of the palaces of the Belle Époque period now converted into appartments ; one of the most beautiful buildings along the boulevard de Verdun.And of course do not missed the twin towers or Tourelles (15C); built during the 100 years war and the last of the seven gates of the city that defended it against the English; a piece of the ramparts next to it is preserved. See the old Hôtel Édouard-VII (1857), and Villa Nelly, couple houses further you have the former Hôtel du Rhin and the Hötel  New Haven from early the 20C.  

The nice house or Maison Miffant(1624), built in wood a rarity survived the bombings of 1694 by the combined naval force of English-Dutch . See the architecture in the houses of the rue Jules-Ferry,neo norman end of 19C. The villa Perrotte designated a heritage of the 20C, built in 1928,the mansion avant arde of art deco style and modernist. The great scientific and technical center of the Estran Cité de la mer,showing on 1600 m2 expositions, naval construction, and the fishing techniques ,the coastline environment, and the marine fauna to old and young visitors. There is even left standing the bunkers or blockhaus left from the Nazis a bit hidden behind the cliff of the Castle. The underground aqueduct aka aqueduct de la source bleue , a gravity aqueduct carved in the 16C under the plateau of Janval.It has a lenght of 6,7 km, and brings water from a source at Petit-Appeville to Dieppe, and still in use as an electric and telecom network; you can see the entrance.

Last but not least in this wonderful Norman town , we have the Canadian Cemetary of Dieppe ,located nearby in the village of Hautot-sur-Mer. Here rest in peace Canadians soldiers killed during the landing at Dieppe on August 19 1942 : 944 soldiers from the allied forces with 761 identified of which 707 are Canadians. The cemetery is south of Dieppe along the road N27, or rue des Canadiens (Canadians street), later becomes rue des Jonquilles,right into the village of Hautot-sur-Mer,next to the hamlet of Vertus de Saint-Aubin-sur-Scie.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and is a must me think are :

The City of Dieppe tourist office on things to see: https://www.dieppe.fr/menus/decouvrir-dieppe-2/le-patrimoine-architectural-2

The Seine Maritime dept 76 tourist office on Dieppe: https://www.seine-maritime-tourisme.com/en/i-visit/10-key-places/dieppe/dieppe.php

The Normandie region tourist board on Dieppe: https://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/unmissable-sites/dieppe/

Of course, we have stayed there overnight to fully enjoy the city! At the Hotel de la Plage, blvd Verdun, just across from the beach and near the pool complex ,and castle. Great normandy welcome,friendly, excellent price for a family and great views. Hotels webpage on the hotel : https://www.hotels.com/ho350437/hotel-de-la-plage-dieppe-france/?pos=HCOM_EMEA&locale=en_IE

We always eat other than the above hotel at Créperie Ty Breiz for a taste of Brittany ,however, they have closed a while back , here just for the memories, and one good reason to update posts. They were at  68 quai Henri IV. In turn we do our shopping for goodies each time in town at the L’Epicerie Olivier, genuine local and great choice of ciders, wines, cheeses, etc. at 16 rue St Jacques near the church same name. webpage: http://www.olivierdieppeboutique.com/

There you go folks, a wonderful visit to a nice town of Dieppe, Hope you enjoy the trip and do visit, worth the detour indeed.  And remember, Happy travels , good Health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 5, 2021

Church Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz of Roscoff!

And let go north again in my Bretagne on the coast of Finistére dept 29 to take you to the quant nice town of Roscoff. I have written several posts on it in the past in my blog, but again feel a single post on its Church is merited.  Therefore, here is my take on the Church of Notre Dame of Croaz Batz of Roscoff!

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As to the name of Croaz Batz ,this is the best explanation for this term. There was on the plains, not far from the present church a small mound formed by a pile of rocks; it was there that you embarked to move to the island of Batz, the l’Ile Basse or low Island of the Gallo-Roman period. A cross planted at the top of the mound protected the passage, from or the name of Croaz-baz. The plain was thus created with a vast land-lot, which was attached to the coast, and that was where the Church was built.ok!

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The granite construction of the Church of Notre Dame de Croaz Batz in Gothic and Renaissance style, decided in 1515, was undertaken between 1522 and 1545, on land taken from the sea, near the cross of the pier of the Isle of Batz, on the initiative of the ship-owners, despite the reluctance and the pressures of the Bishop of Saint Pol. The construction was financed by the same ship-owners who joined the merchants of Roscoff. It was only in 1550 that the inhabitants were granted the right to have their children baptized and to bury their dead and the Church was consecrated only in 1590.  The sacred enclosure contain in the Notre Dame of Croaz Batz Church are two ossuary chapels, one Gothic, the other Henri II style, and the funeral monument of Dorothée Silburne, who hosted in London, Mgr de la Marche, the last Bishop of Leon, emigrated in 1790 fleeing the French revolution. In the Center of the city, the Renaissance bell tower rises since 1585. There are balustrades, domes and lanterns. The rest of the Church, before, remains Gothic. The roof of the nave is paved, at the jointing of two panels of slate, of granite slabs that form like a narrow staircase to the sky. Three naves carved in the walls recall the craft of the donor’s ship-owners.

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Inside, many altarpieces are exhibited such as the Rosary, Agonizing, Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Geneviève. A painting of our Lady of Guadeloupe standing in front of a leather of Cordoba altar recalls the ties with new Spain. The frame paneling was laid in 1610-1611. The most notable is the alabaster Chapel, dedicated to Saint Joseph and built in 1634 instead of a porch. It presents seven 15C Alabaster bas-reliefs reported from Nottingham during regular exchanges on both sides of the channel. The baptismal font was melted in 1690 in reported pewter from Cornwall. The northern Chapel was added in 1701. The Interior was refurbished in 1777.

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The first organs, dating from 1606, were deposited in 1649 to be replaced by more grandiose ones, inaugurated in 1650. In 1887, they were strident. The current organs were received in 1888 and supplemented by three new games plays delivered in 1929.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip and worth it me think are:

The Roscoff tourist office on the church: https://www.roscoff-tourisme.com/fr/fiche/patrimoine-culturel/eglise-notre-dame-de-croas-batz-roscoff_TFOPCUBRE029V52BJZ2/

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on Roscoff: https://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/article/roscoff

The Bretagne tourist board on Roscoff: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/pink-granite-coast-morlaix-bay/roscoff/

There you go folks, again another lovely town and beautiful monument of my lovely Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit ,the Church Notre Dame de Croaz-Batz , nice and worth the visit me think in Roscoff.

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

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