Archive for October 30th, 2021

October 30, 2021

Maison des Musiciens Italiens of Versailles!

And here happy to update this wonderful spot in my beloved and former home of Versailles. As I indulge myself in my beautiful royal town of Versailles and try my best to take you away from the palace/museum (hard to do I know) but there in town, there are so much punch as far as history, architecture and traditions to account for a lot more than what the general visiting public give to the town. Let me tell you about the house of the Italian musicians in a nice area of Versailles.


The Maison des Musiciens Italiens or House of the Italians musicians in Versailles,  is a house of rocaille rock  style, erected in 1752 at No 15 rue Champ-Lagarde by Jacques Hardouin-Mansart , for the Countess of Argenson  separate wife of the count of Argenson. It is since 1986 the seat of the Union Compagnonnique des Compagnons du tour de France des devoirs unis (or something like the  Union of the Companions of the United Tour de France , that restores ancient buildings according to tradition) It is open all year round but for visits is on previous reservation only.


A bit of history I like

Unlike a legend conveyed since the 19C, the present house is not the house originally created by the Italian castrates of Louis XIV. It is indeed the pleasure House of the Countess of Argenson erected at the site of the primitive house of the castrati, as evidenced by various deeds of property as well as documents recently discovered. Anyway, it is a wonderful house and museum to visit in the off the beaten path of my beloved Versailles.

The house in the period under king Louis XIV tells us that between 1686-1691 , the Italian castrato of the Chapel of the King, acquired several pieces of land in Montreuil, village located then near Versailles (today one of its districts, and where many nobles lived to be away from the hassles of the court near the Palace including many who later were kings like Louis XVIII (count of Artois) and Charles X ( count of Provence). In 1691, an ordinary officer of the King’s music chamber, gave as gift his nearby music pavilion, a pavilion that served as an embryo for the future house. This pavilion was then composed of a circular lounge covered, inside, a dome and tiles on the outside, open of 3 crossing and a window-door.  In 1708, this pavilion was increased by two lateral wings while the estate was fenced with walls. That same year, the property was bequeath  to the brothers and friends of the music guild, who had participated in its constitution.

The house under the reign of king Louis XV ,after the main owners of the music guild passed away in 1726, 1733 and 1740, the house  remained in the hands of the last two members Carli and Ridolfi, the last to come. They ceded the property in 1748 and again the house was ceded in 1751 to Anne Larcher, Countess of Argenson, the wife of Louis XV’s minister of war. The Countess of Argenson decided to have the pavilion fully rebuilt to her liking. This house was for the Countess, her residence in Versailles at the same time as her play house, according to the expression of the time, i.e. her party house . Indeed, she sheltered her love with the Marquis de Valfons, here. The Count of Argenson also had a gallant house in the village of Montreuil, on the side of Avenue de Saint-Cloud, where the Countess d’Estrades lived as his lover. The Countess de Marsan remained there from 1759 to 1776.

The house under the reign of king Louis XVI tells us that by 1776, the countess of Marsan gave the house to Louis-Guillaume Lemmonier, the first ordinary Doctor of the King and a professor of botany at the jardin des plantes in Paris, which made it one of the high places of the French botanical gardens of the 18C. Besides the various species of trees planted in the garden of the house, Lemmonier had a greenhouse at the end of it which he will constantly modify to accommodate his many varieties of plants, as evidenced by the inventory after the death of his wife in 1793. It is here that Lemmonier will trained several travelling botanists, especially André Michaux, who had first been plowing the farm of Satory (by rue de Satory off ave de Sceaux) in Versailles. The garden of Lemmonier will remain, until its dismantlement in the middle of the 19C, the botanical garden of the city of Versailles. It gave birth to the horticultural vocation of the village of Montreuil, which will remain until the mid-1960’s. Lemmonier, who also made the house, his residence in Versailles, established on the left flank of the courtyard, the buildings now visible whose extension on the side of the garden. Extension that contained the new dining room of the house today.

The house after the fall of king Louis XVI; by the time of the death of Lemmonier in 1799, the house passed on to his three nieces. The beautiful garden of their uncle was gradually dismantled from the 1800’s. The heirs of the latter, began the fragmentation of the estate so dearly constituted by Lemmonier;  it then encompassed almost the entire triangle formed by the streets rue Champs-Lagarde, rue Pasteur and rue des Condamines (very nice area in Versailles for a walk). The point of the triangle on the side of the current high school or lycée Rameau passed to the town in 1881 which establishes in the old greenhouses of Lemmonier, a school, greenhouses that will disappear in the 1950’s during the reconstruction of it. The house of the musicians  nowadays passed from hand to hand until its acquisition by the City of Versailles in December 1978; then house  passed on in May 1986 to the Union Compagnonnique des Compagnons du tour de France des devoirs unis as it stands today. Another off the beaten path of my beloved Versailles.

The Versailles tourist office

The city of Versailles on the house, see in French « La “passion” du premier médecin de Louis XVI « :

And to show you once again, my Versailles is a lot more than the palace/museum 98% of you come to see when in Versailles. You need to spend more time and see more of glorious royal Versailles!

As the main sites are in French and for the benefit of those reading who do not speak French, I will tell you how to get the house from the palace/museum. Well ready! walk! the best way to see a city, go up from the place d’Armes in front of the palace/museum onwards on avenue de Paris, for about 24 minutes (guiding by google as me never counted) turn by the University of Versailles-Saint Quentin building on your left hand side is the beginning of rue Champ Lagarde a bit more on your left is the house at no 15. So better go all the way on foot, see more , enjoy Versailles more! Hope it helps,

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

October 30, 2021

Gare Château-Rive Gauche of Versailles !!

I will update this older post telling you about the train station closest to the Château de Versailles! I have written posts in general on transportation in and around Versailles but this one needs a separate entry me think. Hope you find it useful.

The Gare de Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche (formerly called Versailles-Rive-gauche), but still commonly called simply Rive Gauche , is one of the terminus of the line RER C . The word “Château” comes from its proximity to the Château de Versailles; The terms “rive gauche” are explained by the fact that it is located on an established line, departing from Paris, on the left bank of the Seine river. This station has three platforms (two central wharves and one outside wharf) for five dead-ends (plus a service lane).


A bit of history I like

The opening of the station of Versailles-Rive-Gauche, in the district of Saint-Louis, takes place on September 10, 1840 at the inauguration of the line of Paris – Versailles by the left bank of the Seine river. It is the closest station to the Château de Versailles (about 500 meters to the entrance gate of the castle, by the Avenue de Sceaux, which folks usually go a longer way by the Avenue de Paris). In order to facilitate the access of the site to its many visitors, the old name of the station nevertheless included the mention Château de Versailles. Its new name now includes the historical mention Rive-gauche as well. It is accessible from the center of Paris on the line C5 with stations such as Bibliothèque François Mitterrand ,Gare d’Austerlitz, Notre-Dame St Michel, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l’Alma, Champ de Mars and Tour Eiffel, etc. This station gets very busy, so I suggest that you buy a return ticket so you won’t have to waste time queuing to buy your ticket back to Paris.


This  Transilien train station, has a passenger building with open counters every day. It is equipped with  automation machines and Grandes lignes (big lines and even to Europe). facilities, equipment and services are available for people with reduced mobility. A press magazine snacks Relay is present, as well as distributors of fresh and hot beverages and snacks, an automatic photograph booth, and a photocopier are also available.


The Château-Rive Gauche train station is served by the bus lines 1 , 2 ,3 ,10, 13 ,22, and 103 of the Phebus bus network of Versailles , The RER C train station is on Avenue du Général de Gaulle ,closer with corner with Avenue de Sceaux, so coming out turn left and get on Sceaux you will get to the palace quicker on foot, Right across there is the bus depot with many lines as above, This is place Lyautey with starbuck coffee, and around the corner a Buffalo Grill resto and Brasserie le Lyautey, Plenty of shops souvenirs etc.



The line RER C into Versailles many times is decorated with sumptous wagons and I caught one for the memories here.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip are :

The official Transilien trains RER C Versailles :

The official Château de Versailles on transports château-rive gauche :!panel-80

The city of Versailles tourist office on public transports :

Now the RER C is a lot more than this station for reference the French site RER facile or RER easy with all RER C stations:

There you have it folks, in a nutshell if still need more, ask me. We did took several times for the thrill of public transport with the boys as they came in front of it all the time from their school and they use the same buses as all.  The Gare Château-Rive Gauche is tops, and Versailles is sublime ; do walk it and see more than the palace/museum. Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading me since November 2010,

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

October 30, 2021

Church Saint Martin of Pau!

Let me update this older post on a wonderful historical city we love. We have passed by it, stayed in it, and even watch several running of the Tour de France here, This is Pau  down in the Pyrénées Atlantiques department in 64  in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. Folks come here for the views of the Pyrénées from the boulevard des Pyrénées, the Castle, and the tour de France which passes by here almost every year. However, we love to walk around and go into different places in town.  I like to tell you a bit more about the Church Saint Martin, simply because it is related in history to the castle (see post) been just around it. It is a nice church worth a detour in town, me think,



A bit of history I like

The Church Saint Martin is located in the heart of the city at the gates of the Castle of Pau district.  A first St. Martin Church was built between 1468 and 1472 on a site opposite the castle of Pau where a small Chapel occupied the location of the present Place de la Deportation near the castle. This chapel was enlarged in 1468 by the decision of Viscount Gaston IV and became the Church St Martin which will remain the only parish church of Pau until 1801. Under the influence of the Albret family, the church became a Protestant temple between 1563 and 1620. Too cramped for the population of the district, the Church St. Martin was replaced in 1871 by a new sanctuary placed a little further east. It will therefore be decided to destroy the old Church St. Martin in 1885. Only its steeple remains;  it is the current tower of the Parliament of Navarre.

The new Church St Martin is of Gothic architecture with Byzantine influences.   A ciborium covers the altar. The warhead of the arcades is overridden, a form of Moorish inspiration.  This is found in the broken arch, the ribbed arches, the elongated windows, the hooks and the foliage that adorn the capitals. The stained glass windows are the collaboration of Boeswillwad with the painter glassmaker Louis Steinheil, quite famous at the time for his works at the Holy Chapel (Sainte Chapelle of Paris) already in collaboration with Boeswillwald.


The Church St Martin consists of a central nave, flanked by two secondary naves, a transept (the arm of the Cross), a chorus (the head of Christ) completed by a seven-piece apse cut, and four other flanks, two square and two of polygonal shape. The Church St Martin definitive location was only chosen in 1860, the old hotel Gontaut of which family was expulsed by imperial decree of 1856. The first stone was laid in 1863 and the works finally began in 1864. The church was inaugurated in 1871. The materials used are the stone of Arudy and the clearer stone of Angoulême . The dimensions are 71 meters long,36 meters wide, and 77 meters high of bell tower.

The high altar is covered by the ciborium, which rests on four fine columns of white marble, the spherical cap is gilded copper. Christ in Majesty is at the center of the Tabernacle, and on both sides the emblems of the four Evangelists, in repelled and gilded copper, are detached.



It has a Werner organ as well as a carillon. Inside, a painting by the painter Eugène Devéria and precious objects were offered by Queen Isabel II, who was driven from Spain and donated them during her visit to Pau in 1868.

The Pau Pyrénées tourist office on the church :

The city of Pau on the church:–leglise-saintmartin

As many things there are to see in Pau ,this one is something different nice, worth a detour. We like it and the grand square in front of it. Hope you enjoy the Church St Martin as we,

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: