Archive for November 11th, 2021

November 11, 2021

Mont Valerien of Suresnes and France !!!

I like to update this older post for me and you on historical Mount Valérien in Suresnes, Hauts de Seine dept 92 of the Ïle de France region of my belle France. Hope you appreciate it as I

This is one of my old job cities in France, I worked here for 2 years and many  nice memories of the place and friends. Suresnes is just west of Paris easy over the Bois de Boulogne.  Been on a hill rolling down to the Seine river makes a picturesque town of quant streets and nice city center which I had enjoyed many times and even visited.

However, the reason for the post is that on this nice city of Suresnes lies the wonderful monument to the fallen of France of things never to be repeated. And it’s up to each and everyone of us to make sure it does not happened again. I will tell you a bit about the hill of Mont Valerien in the city of Suresnes! Ah before I forget ,you can easily reach Suresnes from Gare Saint Lazare in Paris, to Mont Valerien station go out and get on the exit Mont Valerien climb the street at the top is the memorial.

You turn to the left side you go up to the  Mémorial Nationale dedicated to French veterans a solemn place with a never ending flame of gratitude to all those fallen under the nazism, many here were held and shot dead. It has a nice chapel and on top you can see the old fortress where there is a military fort still operational. if you go on the right side, the distance will be longer but you see more high views of Paris and a nice walkers sentry on the parc promenade Jacques Baumel. The Mémorial de la France Combattante or Memorial of the fighting French is a monument of homage to French fighters, resistant and deported which is in the city of Suresnes on the slope of Mont Valérien, at the foot of the fortress of Mont Valérien.


The Fortress of Mont-Valérien, one of the 16 forts built around Paris, a five-sided polygon, was built from 1840 to 1846. Its visit allows, through the “Souvenir Trail”, to follow the path of those who were to be shot, passing by the chapel, its graffiti, ultimate witnesses of history and the clearing. One of the highest points in the Ile-de-France region with its 161 meters, Mont-Valérien marks the landscape. It would have been formed, according to legend, by soil brought back from the city of Saint-Denis by Saint Maurice in the 3C. Its religious vocation is therefore very strong: it will be a place of hermitism and pilgrimages around his Calvary for nine centuries.

The fortress of Mont-Valérien was the site of more than a thousand executions of resistants fighters in WWII such as Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves or 22 members of the Manouchian group. On June 18, 1946, General de Gaulle paid homage to the massacred shot on November 11, 1946, under the direction of the Minister of Prisoners, deportees and refugees of the Provisional Government, fifteen corps of WWII fighters from France and settlements, including two women buried in a temporary crypt.

The design  was inspired by the symbol of the Unknown Soldier of the Great War (WWI is known in France), and adapted it to the specificities of  WWII. The different categories of combatants (fighters of 1940, FFL, resistant, deportees, prisoners, men of the France of Overseas) are represented by the remains of one of theirs. In 1952, one also places the body of a French soldier from Indochina killed by the Japanese. In 1958, General de Gaulle, returned to power, commissioned the architect of civil buildings and national palaces to build a real monument, inaugurated on June 18, 1960.


The esplanade of the monument is over 1,000 m2. A wall 150 meters long, in pink sandstone of the Vosges, is attached to the rampart in millstone of the fortress. In the middle of this wall, a large Lorraine cross 12 meters high marks the entrance to the crypt where the 16 fighters rest. Vault 9 awaits the last companion of the Liberation, which recently (oct 2021) rest in peace with the presence of President Macron. The 17 vaults are arranged in an arc of circle, with in the center an urn containing ashes collected in concentration camps, decorated with a metal sculpture representing a flame. On the foot of the cross is engraved the inscription extracted from the Appeal of June 18: “Whatever happened to the flame of resistance it will not be  turn off.  June 18, 1940 Charles De Gaulle”


In front of the cross of Lorraine, a flame springs permanently from a bronze burner. Along the wall, 16 different sculptures, equivalent to the Greek metopic, in bronze, symbolize the different forms of fighting for the Liberation. Built from 2008, an information and reception center has been open since 2009.

The Memorial of Mont Valérien of Suresnes

The Suresnes tourist office on the Mont Valérien memorial

Chemins de Memoire or roads of memory on the Mont Valérien memorial

There you go folks, a place of solemn memory and peaceful surrounding to guard and keep these brave men and women of our mother Earth. I thank them eternally! You go a lot to Paris, you should make a detour and visit Mont Valérien, Suresnes.

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

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November 11, 2021

Circulo de Artes and Teatro Rojas of Toledo!!

So bringing you back to another of my favorite cities of my beloved Spain. I do have several posts on the city of Toledo, Castilla La Mancha , Spain. So much to see in Toledo, the city is pack with architecture and historical buildings, and many overlook by visitors, I am happy to bring these two sort of on the off the beaten paths sites.I like to tell you of the arts and museums of Toledo, and specific the Circulo de Artes and Teatro Rojas.

Toledo is about 71 km (about 44 miles) from Madrid. I have come here once by train and the rest by car, It has wonderful train station (see post) ,My old road 401 Madrid-Toledo-Ciudad Real was transformed at the end of the decade of 1980 in the current A-42, which of course have taken too, There is ,also, bus service from Madrid.

The Circulo de Arte or Circle of Art in Toledo is located in the Plaza San Vicente, 2 in the Old Parish of San Vicente which was founded by King Alfonso VI after conquering the Moors in the city of Toledo for the kingdom of Castile.


The building has undergone, for centuries, different reconstructions, transformations and additions. Its current main façade, in which Roman reliefs and embedded Visigoths can be noticed, either as an ornament or as reused materials, conceals the originality with added constructions, being its oldest element preserved a splendid apse, from the 13C, of which already in the 15C by a recess of the street, was discovered its foundation platform, giving it its current slenderness and appearance of the Mudejar tower. In the Baroque era, a large stone shield and two openings were incorporated on the axis with the purpose of illuminating the main chapel and a lower chamber, being blind only a third crypt and sepulchral located in turn under both underground level to the current street. This peculiar apse is known in Toledo as “cubillo de San Vicente” (or cubism) , being one of the most valuable Mudejar remains of the ancient city. The temple consists of a single nave, the original of the Mudejar building, with side chapels on one side, separated from it by rectangular pillars on which semicircular horseshoe arches lean towards the ship and semi-circular townhouses towards these chapels that had to be added towards the second half of the 14C.

The church was desacralized in 1842 and, once the parish was abolished, it acquired over time various uses such as the museum of religious art, municipal warehouse, or classrooms of the University of Toledo, currently being the headquarters of the Circle of Art, and serving for artistic expression, cultural promotion, nightlife and the exercise of free thinking. The central nave has an area of 222 m2, with a capacity for 450 standing persons and about 150 seated. The lateral nave has an area of 53 m2 where the cafeteria is located. The stage has an area of 54 m2, prepared with the appropriate technologies to carry out any type of event.

The official Circulo de Artes of Toledo

The Teatro Rojas Theater first opened in 1879 on the old comedy corral called Mesón de la Fruta and several architects participated in its construction. It is named in honor of the Toledo playwright Francisco de Rojas. The theater was inaugurated on October 19, 1879, with the representation of the work of Francisco de Rojas, drama de honor Del Rey abajo ninguno. Or the drama of honor of the King below none.  Talía, the muse of the theater, and a series of medallions in which we see great authors of Spanish theater, such as Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca or Francisco de Rojas, who gives name to the theater appear in the paintings on the ceiling. The sills of the boxes, the thin iron columns, the mouth of the stage with the stage boxes and, finally, the spectacular curtain, make this room an important piece within the particular panorama of the Spanish municipal theater of the 19C.


The official Teatro Rojas of Toledo

The Castilla La Mancha region cultural webpage on the Teatro Rojas:

The Toledo tourist office:

The Castilla La Mancha region tourist board on things to see in the province of Toledo:

There you go folks, a wonderful world of the arts in a city of arts itself , Toledo. These monuments are worth the detour in your heavy sights schedule for the city !. Hope you enjoy it as we do

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

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November 11, 2021

Church Calatrava of Madrid!!

Here is another monument of my beloved Madrid that had passed in front many times but never got in. This is an omnipresent tourist area near Puerta del Sol , however, it stays off the beaten path to many. A worthy architectural and historial monument of Madrid and Spain. Let me tell you a bit more on the Church Calatrava, and hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Iglesia de la Concepcion Real de Calatrava or simply Iglesia de las Calatravas or the Church of  Calatrava is the only surviving part of the old Concepción Real convent, of the commander nuns of the Order of Calatrava, located at the beginning of one of the most important streets in Madrid, Calle de Alcalá, a short distance from Puerta del Sol.


The history of the convent is inseparably linked to that of the Calatrava Military Order, founded in the 12C to defend the Christian possessions in the south of the peninsula from Muslim attacks, within the framework of the Reconquest. They soon had female equivalents, of a monastic character, in order to welcome the wives and daughters of those who went to war in the monasteries, and the vocation to help the mission of the Christian knights through prayer and penance. In this way the religious commendators of Calatrava arose, as a feminine branch of the Order of the same name. The nuns of Calatrava in Madrid had first occupied a convent in Almonacid de Zorita province of Guadalajara, a town closely linked to the history of the Order, but in 1623, seeking proximity to the Court, they moved the house to Madrid by order of king Felipe IV . The convent and church buildings were built at that time, soon becoming one of the most popular and crowded religious centers in Madrid. All that splendor lasted just two centuries. Finally, although the convent building was destroyed, Queen Isabel II had it rebuilt in 1872. Already converted the convent church into a parish, luck wanted it not to suffer too much from the vicissitudes of the Spanish Civil War, keeping its interior almost intact. However, lack of maintenance led the monument to a state of serious deterioration during the last decades of the 20C. Finally, at the beginning of the 21C, an ambitious program was undertaken that included intervention both on the external and internal parts of the Church Calatrava. Currently, the church is open to visitors outside the hours of liturgical celebrations.

The Church of Calatrava responds to the convent typology of the Spanish Baroque, characterized by volumetric and decorative simplicity. On the ground floor, the church presents an intermediate solution between the basilica and the central layout. The preference of military orders for centralized spaces is striking, perhaps as a demand or need for certain rites or ceremonies that are known, such as the investiture of new knights. In the 19C, the king consort Francisco de Asís ordered the entire exterior of the church to be decorated in a romantic fashion, In this way, the façade main one, recalling Calle de Alcalá, presents today an ornate appearance, with grouped pilaster strips, scallops, cushioning, graffito, and a curious cornice with stiff taps, all in a Neo- Plateresque style that contrasts strikingly with the architecture. Omnipresent both outside and inside the church is the Cruz de Calatrava, very visible in the rose window that crowns the entrance, formed by a semicircular arch flanked by very flat pilasters with grottoes, the ensemble ending with a niche with a statue of the Virgin.


As I passed several times by it on a very busy sightseeing area, each time there was service so not seen the inside yet. However, the interior of the Church Calatrava is characterized by its luminosity and decorative exuberance The space of the main chapel is perhaps the most outstanding part of the church. The front of the same occupies a spectacular altarpiece made of gilded and polychrome wood, which makes a pendant with two smaller ones. There is a wonderful retable master altar as well. This one is one major one to see completely and now more than ever eager to go and see it. The architecture is nice and the history is huge . Hope you enjoy the brief introduction and do come to see  the Church Calatrava of Madrid. Me too promise.

The official Church Calatrava webpage:

The Madrid tourist office on the church

There you go folks,  Madrid has a world to offer and see architecture and history of SpainEurope, the Americas, do come and see the Church Calatrava. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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