Archive for November 2nd, 2021

November 2, 2021

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie of Auch!

This is going deep down my belle France to update this wonderful older post, This is Auch in the dept 32 of Gers and the region of Occitanie. It is more famous for a personage name D’Artagnan but it has a wonderful St Mary’s Cathedral that I like to tell you more of it now. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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The Cathédrale Sainte Marie or Saint Mary’s Cathedral was always dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. A large three-aisle building, 102 meters long by 35 meters wide, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Auch. Begun in July 1489, on the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Austinde, it was consecrated in 1548, but two centuries were necessary to complete its construction.   It is of flamboyant Gothic style, strongly influenced by the Renaissance. It was completed at the end of the 17C by a façade and a Corinthian porch. It includes a set of 21 chapels. It is especially noteworthy by a series of eighteen canopies, , and by the panelling of the choir, including the 113 stalls, of unknown authors, which continue following the biblical scenes begun on the canopies ! The first cathedral would have been built in the Gers plain. It was ruined by the Saracens (moors arabs) in the 9C. Ayrard was the first bishop of Auch who received the title of archbishop in a letter from Pope John VIII dated 879. The archbishops will tried to rebuild their cathedral, several times after. The construction of the present Cathedral of St Mary began by bishops and city people who had the taste, if not passion, of the construction of the churches. There were concessions of indulgences for those who would help in the reconstruction of the cathedral from 1469 to 1482. The first stone is laid in 1489!

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The Cathédrale Sainte Marie began with the crypt with its five chapels. The construction continued through the ambulatory and its chapels. In 1507, the bedside and chorus of the cathedral until the transept-except the vaults above the sanctuary-were completed. The coat of arms of François de Savoie and Jean-François de la Trémoille can be seen at the base of the buttresses around the choir. It was Cardinal François de Clermont-Lodève who gave a new impetus to the construction of the Cathedral. His coat of arms appears on the fourteen buttresses on the south side. The stained glass windows, made between 1507 and 1513, adorn the eighteen low-lying window of the bedside. It was ,also commissioned the altar of Sainte-Catherine made in 1521, the tomb and the stalls. In 1544, the work reached the level of one of the sundial. The Cathedral was consecrated on 12 February 1548 while the construction of the nave, aisles and doors continued. In 1561, the second sundial is engraved on the south facade. The erection of the steeples had to began around 1559. It was in 1560 the door of the north aisle were finished, and by 1609, the main nave did not yet have a vault. Only the ambulatory and the chapels are vaulted. The western façade is not yet finished, as well as the sculptures of the lateral porches In 1629 ; the altar of the Blessed Sacrament is consecrated capped with a ciborium, a stone canopy carved up to date and then the essentials of the nave and its vaulting are made the stained glass windows of the nave are put in 1641.

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The Cathédrale Sainte Marie choir is almost a church in a church with its vast dimensions. It is completely fenced by the monumental altarpiece and by the stalls on the other three sides. The choir received, a mosaic pavement and, in its outer perimeter, a rich light oak coating . The Cathédrale Sainte Marie is equipped with two organ of different periods: the Organ of the Tribune or great organ, finished in June 1694; and the Chorus organ of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll, of Romantic period, designed a ensemble acting as a rood at the rear of the stalls with a choir organ surmounted by a great Calvary in the late Gothic style.  It was possible to access the crypt from the St Mary’s Cathedral by two staircases, one of which is walled in the north. Since the crypt was only to redeem the difference in levels due to the slope, it is at the same level with the courtyard of the former archdiocese. It comprises five chapels placed under the chapels of the ambulatory. The steeple towers are the last floors of the towers. Their sculpted decor, finished in 1680 and are occupied by a ringing of nine bells. Eight are in the North tower. The tower of the clock carries the heaviest of them: the Bumblebee dedicated to the Virgin Mary, done in 1852 and weighing 6 750 kg (2.18 meters in diameter).

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On 3 October 1793 the county council decided to destroy the coats of arms on the walls and vaults of the St Mary’s Cathedral (French revolution). The constitutional bishop is put in prison and the maintenance of the cathedral is no longer assured. In 1808, Napoleon I promised during a stint at Auch to allocate funds for the restoration of the cathedral. The exterior of the St Mary’s Cathedral was built following a plan in Latin cross with nave-nave and aisle-sides-with peripheral chapels and an unflowing transept. Access to the cathedral is through five portals: three to the West giving access to the nave and the aisles, and one to each end of the transept. Inside there are 21 Chapels!! It is a wonderful cathedral that needs to be seen more.

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Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip are :

The Auch tourist office on the cathedral : https://www.auch-tourisme.com/patrimoine-culturel/cathedrale-sainte-marie/

The Gers dept 47 tourist office on the cathedral : https://www.tourisme-gers.com/cathedrale-sainte-marie-auch-49972

The Occitanie region tourist board on Auch things to see : https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/major-sites/auch

There you go folks, a wonderful, lovely Cathédrale Sainte Marie sitting itself in an old quarters of old backwaters area ,we love to go ,and plenty of activities with of course the wonders of my belle France such as this cathedral. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit, worth the detour to Auch!

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

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November 2, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLIX

And now in plain Fall and on the Day of the Dead 2 November 2021; I come to you with another of my regular series of some news from France with the latest tidbits of my choice, of course. We are planning to go out again and already book hotels in my belle France so things are opening up, the world of travel will continue. Best of luck to all and of course, welcome to France!!!

The Glénat exhibition, which presents the illustrations of one of the main representatives of contemporary fantastic comics: the forecourt of Notre Dame swept by intriguing rays of light, gargoyles peering into the twilight of the Seine and its waking quays at their feet, a motorbike which rushes towards the Eiffel Tower lit up like a lighthouse in the night, or the Louvre pyramid which radiates dazzling volutes towards the sky … Here is a sample of what awaits you at the Glénat gallery until November 13, Born in 1969 in Meaux (77), at age 52, Olivier Ledroit is considered one of the French masters of contemporary fantastic comics, leader of a generation of illustrator authors inspired by the heroic fantasy and the role-playing games “Olivier Ledroit, The Third Eye”, exhibition until November 13 at the Glénat gallery, 22, rue de Picardie «  3éme, from Tuesday to Saturday from 10h to 19h. Webpage : https://www.galerie-glenat.com/olivier-ledroit-4/

The Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) group announced today Monday in a press release that the launch of the controversial Triangle Tower project would take place “by the end of the year”, with the arrival of the insurer Axa as a financial partner. This 180 meters high, 42-story tower will be erected within the grounds of the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, in the 15éme arrondissement of Paris. We used to come here for events so I guess will be no more… In particular, it must house a four-star hotel, more than 2,000 m2 of shared workspace (“coworking”), a health center and a cultural space. Webpage : http://tour-triangle.com/

This past Sunday morning, October 31, 8h has not yet struck at the bell tower of the Hôtel de Ville de Paris (4éme arrondissement). Clocks of the City of Light at winter time. A service which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Yes times put back one hour so now more night time, and cold,,,,

The museum dedicated to the Dreyfus affair. Installed in the house acquired by Émile Zola in Médan (Yvelines 78) in 1878, this place of memory, open to the public since last Thursday, October 28, wants to perpetuate the memory of Alfred Dreyfus, victim of a judicial and anti-Semitic plot. Implicated in 1894, the captain was not rehabilitated until 1906, thanks in particular to the engagement of the writer, author of the famous “J’accuse”. of Émile Zola , However, still intrigue as on September 29, 1902 Zola died of suffocation in his apartment in the rue de Bruxelles in Paris (9éme), the great writer was found dead in his room, suffocated by carbon oxide fumes, Accidental death or assassination ? Until the end, did his enemies want the novelist to pay for his engagement with Captain Dreyfus? Time will tell maybe,,webpage: https://www.maisonzola-museedreyfus.com/

Equestrian theater: “Cabaret of exile”, the so alive ghosts of Bartabas, His new show, at the Zingaro Theater in Aubervilliers ( Seine St Denis 93), offers a journey through time and space of Yiddishland. Webpage : https://www.bartabas.fr/zingaro/spectacles-zingaro/

Madame, it is Madame Thierry de Ville-d´Avray, the wife of the intendant of the Crown furniture repository just before the French revolution. She lived in the Hôtel de la Marine on Place de la Concorde in Paris, a building that reopened this past July 2021 after a long restoration campaign. Visitors roam the renovated salons, gazing at the rich fabrics and heavy curtains. But sight is not the only sense summoned. A vaguely floral scent floats in this room. A sprayed perfume plunges the visitor right into the heart of the 18C atmosphere. “I wanted to reconstitute a presence, a smell that one cannot” neither distinguish nor define “, in the words of the time”, explains Chantal Sanier, perfume designer for the Odeur de sainteté brand and “olfactory scenographer”. webpage : https://www.odeurdesaintete.com/

Saint-Guénolé, at the very end of Finistère (29), has been battered by wind and tides for centuries. The heather-covered moor plunges you into the harshness of the life of the monks of yesteryear, and it is possible to attend services, sung in Gregorian. Two pavilions outside the walls welcome those who wish to make a retreat open to personal meditation. by train to Brest or Quimper, then take the bus towards Camaret sur Mer (line 34 or 37 of the Penn Ar Bed network) then a taxi for the last kms. Webpage :https://www.abbaye-landevennec.fr/?page_id=208

A major football venue, the Bollaert-Delelis stadium, Lens, (Pas de Calais 62) will host the International Art Crafts Fair, from November 12 to 14 2021, For this sixth edition organized by the Hauts-de-France Chamber of Crafts and Crafts, 150 arts and crafts professionals (jewelry, leather goods, violin making, fashion, etc.) will take over the stadium lounges, with a bird’s eye view of the field lawn, webpage : https://sima.metiersdart-hdf.fr/

Dedicated to the work of Thierry Mugler, which is held at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris until April 24, 2022. Traveling exhibition, “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” If the couturier retired from the catwalks in 2002, his extravagant fashion, celebrating conquering femininity left its mark on the 1980s and 1990s, highlighting the multidisciplinary career of the creator. The latter is embodied by the greatest supermodels of the time, from Jerry Hall to Gisele Bündchen via Linda Evangelista or Eva Herzigova, who can be found in majesty in the clip “Too Funky” by George Michael, in 1992. webpage : https://madparis.fr/couturissime

At the Palais Galliera, three hundred years of fashion from every angle, 18C silk dresses, liberated bodies from the 1910s, show silhouettes by Mugler in Montana: the Parisian fashion museum is showing until June three centuries of clothing, which speaks of French creativity and the relationship to the body. A history of fashion. Collecting, exhibiting at the Palais Galliera , until June 26, 2022 webpage : https://www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr/fr/expositions/une-histoire-de-la-mode-collectionner-exposer-au-palais-galliera

This almond-hazelnut, almond kernels and nougatine praline, coated in chocolate, is irresistible with indulgence. Note that the French almonds come from the two plantations of Patrick Roger in Provence., Meilleur Ouvrier de France chocolatier in 2000 and winner of the chocolate world cup in 1994, Patrick Roger is a rebellious purist who has never sacrificed authenticity. nor the subtlety of its products, branches all over. Price: 1.70€ each ( 54€ for the box of 32 pieces). Locations Webpage : https://experience.patrickroger.com/en/chocolat/boutiques

Ephemeral terraces, it’s over … It was this past Sunday October 31 ,that restaurateurs and cafetiers had to repackage the extensions that had been authorized by the City of Paris, after confinement. So no more extentions on the sidewalks of tables, back to normal lives. This should be follow up by the rest of France.

Jean-François Piège takes over the Hôtel de la Marine. The Michelin-starred chef has a new restaurant, Mimosa. The new establishment under the Moma Group flag has taken up residence in one of the emblematic monuments of the Place de la Concorde (8éme), just opposite the Café Lapérouse. After the Grand Restaurant (two stars), the Clover, Clover Green, the Poule au pot and the Epi d´Or, the highly anticipated new establishment by starred chef Jean-François Piège has just opened its doors. This new brewery, created in tandem with Benjamin Patou, from Moma Group (already in charge of La Pérouse café, la Fontaine de Gaillon, Manko, etc.), is nestled in the heart of the Hôtel de la Marine, a building built in the 18C by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel to house the furniture depot of the crown or Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, 2, rue Royale. Open Monday to Sunday, 12h to 15h and 19h 23h. webpage : https://www.hotel-de-la-marine.paris/Autour-de-la-visite/Gastronomie/Restaurant-MIMOSA

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France direct to you! There is things going on and they will be better as we came out wholy of this virus mess. Stay strong and hopes never die, we will overcome! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

November 2, 2021

The Royal Monatery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial !!!

And I am back updating one of the jewels of our world, a must to visit while in Spain. What can I say , so many posts on this wonderful country that I can call mine, the land of my grandparents maternal and paternal. The No 2 most visited country in the world by UN-WTO standards. I like to tell you a bit about one wonder of our world; the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Been here since a child and never tired of coming back for more, its an absolute must to see! The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a complex that includes a royal palace, a basilica, a pantheon, a library, a school and a monastery. It is located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the Community of Madrid region, on the southern slope of Mount Abantos, at 1028 meters altitude, in the Sierra de Guadarrama and was built between 1563 and 1584.

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The palace was the residence of the Spanish Royal family, the basilica is the burial place of most kings of Spain and the monastery; founded by monks of the Order of St. Jerome is currently occupied by friars of the Order of Saint Augustine.   It was considered, since the late 16C, the eighth wonder of the world, both for its size and functional complexity and for its enormous symbolic value. Its architecture marked the passage of the Renaissance Plateresque to the unadorned Classicism. It’s paintings, sculptures, cantonal, parchments, liturgical ornaments and other luxury objects, and sacred items make the Escorial also a museum.

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A bit of history I like;briefly…

In 1557, there was the victory over the French at the Battle of San Quentin.(Aisne 02 France). In 1558 , the emperor Carlos V dies in Yuste, changing in his will his desire to be buried in Granada by the request to his son to create an ex Novo building for his tomb, in a place different from his parents and grandparents. In November of 1560, the current site is chosen, just 50 km from Madrid, in the vicinity of the source of Blasco Sancho, next to El Escorial , then a small village of the community of Villa and Tierra de Segovia, to build the monastery complex.

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This year, 1561,  was the key to the history of San Lorenzo de El Escorial; because the monarch moved the capital of Spain from Toledo to Madrid. He entrusted the monastery of El Escorial to the Jeronimos monks . Traditionally, the Hispanic monarchy had been closely linked to this religious order. In April 23rd 1563, the Feast of St. George (San Jorge), the first stone of the monastery was placed, on the foundations of the convent’s refectory, under the Prior’s chair, on the southern facade. In 1584, the statues of David and Solomon are placed on the cover of the basilica. By September 13th,1584 the works were officially finalized, despite the fact that the Royal Basilica was not completed. This culminated in 1586 after eleven years of construction.  The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial arises from the need to create a monastery that ensures the cult around a family pantheon of new creation, in order to comply with the last testament of Carlos V of 1558. The emperor wanted to bury himself with his wife Isabel of Portugal and with his new dynasty away from the usual burial places of the Trastámara. The final floor of the building, with only four towers in the corners and the royal palace making a handle, recalls the shape of a grill, so traditionally it has been claimed that this trace was chosen in honor of St. Lawrence, martyred in Rome on a grill , since on August 10th, 1557, the day of the saint’s festivity, the Battle of San Quentin took place. Hence the name of the whole and the locality created around it.

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In 1814, once surpassed the avatars of the war of the independence(peninsula war see post) , which meant for the monastery the plundering and the secularization, the monks of the order Jerónimos return. With the reestablishment of the 1812 Constitution and the start of the Liberal three-fold, the monastery is again abandoned by the majority of the monks between 1820 and 1824. On December 1, 1837, the 150 Jeronimos monks depart after entering into force the laws of the disentailment of ecclesiastical property. Later, after a failed restoration attempt, a patronage of secular chaplains was created. In 1885, after two intervals in which the Escolapios parents occupied it (since 1869 the school, and between 1872 and 1875 the complete custody of the monastery) and again the secular chaplains, the king Alfonso XII makes delivery of the monastery to the Order of Saint Augustine. The Augustinians live in the monastery until today. What was this huge complex in the middle of a mountain small town, behold beauty, architecture, history, and fairy tails to make story telling a habit of continuous family talks. Like mines! 

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In reality the architectural origin of its plant is very controversial. Leaving aside the merry chance of the grate, which did not appear until closed the main façade with the false façade of the library and eliminated six of the towers, the plant seems to be based rather on descriptions of Solomon’s Temple of the Bible , and the Judeo-Roman historian Flavio Josephus. The theory most accepted today is that the similarity with the Temple of Jerusalem and the presence of the statues of David and Solomon on its facade sought to underline the real presence of God in the Eucharist, an idea denied by the Protestants and defended in the Council of Trento. It is also very possible that, at the end of the 16C, it was sought to endow a biblical background with the ideas of humanism about the recovery of pagan architecture and ideas about the modulation of Vitruvius, since the Temple of Jerusalem that was described by Flavio Josephus was built during the Roman domination of Judea .The values of the project are the order, the hierarchy and the perfect relation between all the parts of the composition, integrating monarchy, religion, science and culture in the main axis: the main façade with the statue of Saint Lawrence, the Library, the Kings of Judah, the Basilica and the King’s private palace. The theatricality of this journey through this great central axis to finally show the Tabernacle with the Eucharist anticipates the arrival of the Baroque. A work of art like none other , I say!

The main sections in which the Real Monasterio de El Escorial site can be divided , and to keep them brief are:

King Felipe II gave to the Real Biblioteca or Royal Library of the monastery the rich codices he possessed and for whose enrichment he commissioned the acquisition of the most exemplary libraries and works from Spain and abroad.

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The Palacio de Felipe II, also known as the Palace of the Austrias, occupies the entire handle of El Escorial grill and part of the north courtyard, built on two floors around the presbytery of the basilica and around the courtyard of figureheads. It follows the same architectural scheme of the palace of Carlos V in the monastery of Yuste.  In stark contrast to the austere monumentality of the palace of the Habsburgs, stands the Palace of the Bourbons. Built north of the basilica, around the courtyard of the palace, the complex of rooms has its origin in the time of king Felipe II, when in that area were installed the chambers of the infants , the gallery of battles, and kitchens and service areas.

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The Basilica, preceded by the courtyard of the Kings, is the true nucleus of the whole, around which the other dependencies are articulated. The Crypt by order of king Felipe III, the small funerary chapel from under the altar to house there twenty-six marble sepulchres where rest the remains of the kings and queens of the Houses of Austria and Bourbon, with only a few exceptions. The Reliquaries were done following one of the precepts approved by the Council of Trento concerning the veneration of the Saints, king Felipe II endowed the monastery with one of the largest collections of relics of the Catholic world. The collection consists of some 7500 relics, which are stored in 507 boxes or sculptural reliquary.  The Convent; the monastery itself occupies the entire south third of the building. It was originally occupied by Jeronimos monks in 1567, although since 1885 is inhabited by the Augustinian Fathers. The enclosure is organized around the great main cloister, the courtyard of the Evangelists, and is one of the best architectural pages of the monastery. Its two floors are connected by the spectacular main staircase, with the vaults decorated by frescoes. It also emphasizes the low cell priory in the old church or of Lent the martyrdom of Saint Lawrence of Titian is preserved, one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, which king Felipe II commissioned for the main altarpiece of the basilica but which ruled out by its dark colorful, little visible at some distance.

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The main staircase; follows the typical Spanish tradition of imperial staircase with a main section divided in two to the sides from the first plateau, maintaining the axis of symmetry of the convent and combining the three floors of the courtyard of the Evangelists with the three of the Convent by means of discreet doors that allow the passage to the most collected and domestic area.

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Chapter rooms (Salas Capitulares), currently destined for paintings, were the halls where the monks celebrated their chapters, a kind of mutual confessions to maintain the purity of the congregation. Since the time of Velázquez, who intervened in its decoration, they housed important paintings.  Hall of Battles is a gallery of 60 x 6 meters, 8 meters high, located in the area of the Royal apartments. In its walls are depicted frescoed some battles won by the Spanish armies.

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Museum of Architecture; It was located in the basement of the building, vaults plant, and was created in the year 1963 as part of the exhibitions of the fourth centenary of the placement of the first stone.

Friars’ Garden or Jardines de los Frailes; were ordered built by king Felipe II, who was a lover of nature, constitute an ideal place for rest and meditation. To the southwest of the garden is the Convalescent gallery or corridor of the sun, a spacious, airy and light-filled space designed for the rest of the sick. It is supported by an architectural articulation little achieved in the Torre de la Botica, perhaps due to the need to guarantee the closure of the monks. Its sober facade to the west market contrasts with the most open to the gardens, where the Arquitrabada solution with arches on Ionic colonnades is unique in the monastery.

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It’s a work of art, indeed a wonder of our world, a must to see by all. I know I am repeating myself but do go see it, and learn a whole lot of my dear Spain, The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is awesome !!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are :

The San Lorenzo de El Escorial tourist office on the Royal Monasteryhttps://www.sanlorenzoturismo.es/en/what-to-visit/royal-monastery-of-san-lorenzo-de-el-escorial/

The city of Madrid tourist office on El Escorial : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/monastery-escorial

The Comunidad de Madrid region tourist office on the Royal Monasteryhttps://www.turismomadrid.es/en/discover/san-lorenzo-de-el-escorial.html

The National Heritage of Spain on El Escorial : https://www.patrimonionacional.es/en/visita/royal-site-san-lorenzo-de-el-escorial

There you go folks, again, you must come, the books, travel sites even my blog are not enough to see this wonder of our world. Never tired of riding out to see it when in Madrid. The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, wow! In my beloved Spain of course!

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

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