Archive for November 9th, 2021

November 9, 2021

The Halles of Clisson!!

So wandering my way to beautiful wine country of the Nantaise between the Atlantic ocean and the Loire river, we came to Clisson. Now I have written on wines of it and heritage of it in my blog before but this time let me concentrate a bit more on the Halles of Clisson or covered market.


The town of Clisson is in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. However, it used to be part of the Duchy of Brittany.  The town is located between Nantes, Cholet ,and La Roche sur Yon in the limits of the dept of Maine et Loire and Vendée. Take it from Nantes on the D149 road into Route de Nantes and city center /Centre ville Clisson.

The Halles or covered market of Clisson shows on recent analyses that the halles date from the 14C and are among the oldest in France. The estimated period is of 1374-1376, that is to say at the time of Olivier V , Constable of France. The halles are erected on the market square attested here since Guillaume de Clisson in the 13C. Clisson city of the markets of Brittany was also a city of important markets at the crossroads of three former provinces: Brittany, Anjou and Poitou. Before the French revolution, there was a house of Minage, located in the square of the same name, which collected taxes on cereals entering the market. The lower Les Halles housed, as was often the case, a court of law.  In 1793, following Torfou’s defeat, the Republicans (French revolutionaries) set Clisson on fire. The following year, the city was largely ravaged by the passage of the Infernal Columns, commissioned by Turreau to eradicate any Royalist resistance. It was probably spared because this building had a practical purpose, it served as a camp for Republican troops !


The halles are supported by a remarkable structure composed of different species of wood such as fir, chestnut, and oak, the architectural opulence testifies to the intensity of the trade practiced in Clisson and the richness of the city. The halles extend from rue St. Jacques to the southern end of Place Notre Dame. Nowadays, they are home to the big market on Tuesdays and Fridays all year round and make the heart beat of the city.


The city of Clisson on the market

The City of Clisson on the market hours

The Loire Valley tourist board on the market of Clisson

There you go folks, you have another wonderful excuse to come out west and see these gems. Like I said, a lot more than good muscadet wines are here in the Nantaise! Hope you enjoy the Halles of Clisson as we did.

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

November 9, 2021

The Abbey of Saint Gildas des Bois !!

I have said, there is so much to see in my  belle France, will need a lifetime and I am afraid will run out short on them! We had a four day weekend with Ascension Day in France so always on the last minute ,what to do? I look up a map and saw there was a nice abbey in a town about 1h30 from us and we say let’s do it. First time there!!

I am updating text and links as we did paid a visit to the Abbey of Saint Gildas des Bois in neighboring town of Saint Gildas des Bois in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. (Old Bretagne )if you have read me,,, And of course, it was very nice and now time to tell you all about it, lol! Hope you enjoy it as I.


The town of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois is located  is located 17 km from Redon, 64 km from Vannes, and 59 km from Nantes. The neighbouring towns are Séverac, Missillac, Pontchâteau, Drefféac ,and Guenrouet. The emerging village of Saint-Gildas supplanted the town when Lord Simon I of La Roche, Lord of La Roche-Bernard, implanted a Benedictine Abbey in honor of Almighty God and Blessed Abbot Gildas, in 1026. The current name of the town comes from the pine forest which was planted under the reign of king Louis-Philippe I.  As its neighbors of the Nazi occupation in the hinterland, Saint-Gildas-des-Bois was caught at the end of WWII in the pocket of Saint-Nazaire, which earned it an extension of the Nazi occupation of 9 months more than the rest of the region or  from August 1944 to May 11, 1945.

A bit of history I like

The former Abbey of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois credit its foundation as a project in part  of a wider project of new wave of evangelisation, undertaken around the year 1000 by the Abbey of Cluny, then the spiritual capital of Europe. The founding of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois dates from the beginning of the 11C. It is due to the will of the Abbot of Saint-Gildas of Rhuys (Rhuys peninsula Morbihan see post), who undertakes to evangelise the south of Brittany after years of turmoil linked to the invasions of the Vikings, by implanting monastic communities, destined to become the homes of   evangelical life. They appealed to the Abbey of Saint-Sauveur in Redon, whose Abbot detached in 1026 eight of his monks to form the first nucleus of the community, with at the head Helogon, who thus becomes the first Abbot of Saint-Gildas-des-Bois.

The need is felt to build a new church, worthy of the Saint that has come to be worshiped and large enough to accommodate the pilgrims. Thus, at the end of the 12C, the present Abbey Church was built, about 150 years after the founding of the monastery. It is, from its construction and up to the present day, one of the most remarkable religious monuments of the countryside region of Nantes by the unity of its style. At the beginning of the 15C was built the porch of the Capitular Hall, flanked by two loathed stained glass windows. It is in this room of the chapter that the Father Abbot gathers daily his monks, to read a chapter of the rule of St. Benedict or make decisions concerning the monastic life.

In 1492, the King of France Charles VIII, who has just married the Duchess Anne of Brittany, appoints an Abbot commendatory of Saint-Gildas, Jean Bohier. With him is established at the Abbey what is called “the beginning”: Henceforth, the Abbot is no longer elected by his monks and no longer resides in the Abbey. The monastery is placed under the responsibility of a prior, which is renewed every three years. This is where the decline of the abbey begins. It remained however until the French revolution, which abolished it in 1790. The monastic buildings, rebuilt in the 18C, were then redeemed by Abbot Gabriel Deshayes, founder of the Sisters of Christian Instruction, more known nowadays as the Sisters of Saint Gildas. See their official webpage :

In August 1944, the liberation armies were in the run on Nantes. It is then the pocket of Saint-Nazaire. On 12 August, Saint-Gildas-des-Bois underwent a double aerial bombardment. The stained glass windows in the lower parts are completely destroyed and, for lack of finances, replaced by Cathedral glasses of little aesthetic interest. Forty years later, in 2007, by the will of heritage lovers, fourteen of them are replaced by transparent monochrome Crystal stained glass windows depicting children. The whole project is designed by Pascal Convert; the artist wished to draw inspiration from the dedication of Saint-Gildas, invoked to heal the madness. From the national archives, he obtained photographs of children from the book “invention of hysteria”, by Georges Didi-Huberman, describing the practices carried out around hysteria at the Hospital of the Salpêtrière of the time of Charcot. The faces have been altered to represent the children with their eyes closed, in a situation of meditation. Thus were born the portraits appearing on the stained glass windows today!

A bit on its construction

The main façade is in the early times done with simple windows. The broken arch gate dates from the 12C, as is the square tower of the transept, pierced by two stained glass windows on each side. The nave, the transept and the choir date back to the end of the 12C and strike by their will to return to the count, well in the spirit of time that sees the rise of the Cistercian order, well present in Brittany, even if this is a Benedictine foundation. Above the bare wall, without span articulation, is pierced large stained glass windows in a broken arch. The choir consists of two straight spans completed by a three-sided apse. It is pierced by seven stained glass windows separated by engaged columns that support the vault. The choir is furnished with 36 oak stalls dating from the 17C. The old fencing of the monks bears the date of 1711. It was converted into an interior porch, during the transformation in 1840 of the old abbey church into a parish church. The wrought iron grille dates from the 18C. The altarpiece of Saint-Nicolas dates from 1725. The altarpiece of the Rosary dates from the early 18C.




The city of Saint Gildas des Bois on the abbey

The Pontchâteau-Saint Gildas des Bois tourist office on the abbey:

And there you folks, go see another wonderful historical and architecturally stunning monument of my belle France and very near me! Behold I visited a new place, not common lately as I am a born repeater but this ride was nice. For now enjoy the Abbey of Saint Gildas des Bois.

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

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November 9, 2021

Grand Champ, and Locmaria in my Morbihan !!

Ok so I am updating this one and it is so close to me, I passed by here every day going to work and it was a delight, Eventually, I stopped for lunch, bread, and sights of Grand Champ and its neighbor Locmaria in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne. Let me go quickly into the best in my opinion of the towns of Grand Champ, and Locmaria-Grand Champ.

The town of Grand Champ is located about 15 km from the city of Vannes, capital of the dept 56 Morbihan, The town is a dismemberment of the former primitive parish of Plumergat. The existence of a place-known as “Grandi-Campo ” (big field) was mentioned in the 10C. Originally, Grandi-Campo is a great Roman camp. Around 1342, Jean de Montfort stayed at Grand-Champ to prepare for the attack on Vannes during the War of Succession of Brittany. The battle of Grand-Champ in 1795, during the repression of the chouannerie (local rebels against the French revolution). On December 1, 1870 the balloon dirigible Bataille de Paris, flies from the Gare du Nord in Paris then beset by the Prussians and finishes its course at Grand-Champ, after having travelled 460 km.


The nice monument here is the Church Saint-Tugdual , 15-16C, rebuilt in 1865. The first stone was laid  in 1865 and the church was inaugurated  in 1867. The bell tower dates from 1867. The former church of the 15C, which had been roof covered in 1428 and adorned by a beautiful tower with stone spire begun in 1669, was demolished towards 1865 to make way for an ordinary Gothic-style church. The main work was completed in 1870. The stained glass gallery  houses two carved wooden panels from the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Burgo. It preserves a chalice in gilded silver from the middle of the 18C from the Chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Moustoir, a beautiful processional cross in silver, of 1763, and a silver censer of the second half of the 18C. The Saint Tugdual, the church is name after died in Tréguier, and was a 5C religious, native of Wales, who came with seventy-two religious to evangelize Armorique (now Brittany) by landing at Trébabu in Leon. He died in 564 and his celebration Saint day is November 30.


The city of Grand Champ on its history

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist board on Grand Champ heritage and church

The town of Locmaria-Grand Champ takes its name from the term “loc” from the Latin “locus” which means “the place” followed by the name of Saint Honoré on site (here Mary) and its common “mother” . The town is very close to the D767 road taken to work many times by yours truly, The township was united in Locqueltas (then Plaudren) in 1802 to form a unique place. A parish reorganization of the diocese in 1802, was erected in Locmaria ward or branch, but without ceasing to belong to the town Grand Champ. The town of Locmaria-Grand Champ is only a town since 1889.


The main monument here is the Church of St. Mary (Sainte Marie) of Locmaria-Grand Champ ( admin apart but really just next to Grand Champ) was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style and completed in 1882. The tower is surely the most beautiful architectural element of this church. Whole granite carved, it rises on three floors. On the ground floor, the porch is opened on three sides by large broken arcades. The floor of the bells presents on each of its faces an oculus over long bays divided into two lancets. Inside the church lies the ruler of a Lord of Coet Candec. Carved and sculpted in a white stone monolith, the lying one, turned according to the custom towards the choir, measures almost 2 meters long for a width of 90 cm. It rests on a base that is probably not original. The recumbent are more likely the portraits of characters of the 15C such as Pierre Chohan who married, around 1534, Jeanne Grillon de Rosnarho, in the town of Crac’h.


The city of Locmaria-Grand Champ on its heritage

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist board on Locmaria-Grand Champ heritage and church

There you go folks, another wonderful , nice unique and local towns to indulge yourselves into the real French life. If only Hemingway would had traveled more he would have certaintly written a second book, France is a Movable Feast! Enjoy Grand Champ, and Locmaria-Grand Champ in my beautiful Morbihan.

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

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