Archive for November 16th, 2021

November 16, 2021

Chinon and its other monuments!!

Ok so I arrive at Chinon, do not recall if ever been here or just past by it. So many castles and towns in the valley of the kings , the Loire valley. Anyway this was one of my intended stop this time around. We took off in our road warrior ways and actually came twice to Chinon, one for the monuments and one for the fortress; therefore will see two posts on the town. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Chinon rue jeanne d'arc maison rouge nov21

Chinon is located in the Indre-et-Loire department, 37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. 47 km from Tours, 30 km from Saumur, 80 km from Angers, 85 km from Poitiers, and 305 km from Paris, Also about 314 km (about 195 miles) from my house, It is crossed by the Vienne river for 7.1 km. We like to go on the D751 linked to Tours, which partly bypasses the city. Also,alternatively is possible to reach Saumur by the left bank of the Vienne river on the D947 or by the right bank of the Loire river D952 road. Chinon is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional natural park, on the edge of a vast national forest extending to Azay-le-Rideau and which once extended to the castle. Placed on the course of the Vienne, in a strategic position on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, endowed with a rocky outcrop fortified since Antiquity, Chinon with its imposing fortress, has long played a key defensive role. It was one of the favorite strongholds of the Plantagenets. Jean sans Terre lost it to Philippe Auguste, who added it to the domains of the Crown of France.

Chinon bridge over the Vienne river to cv nov21

A bit of history I like, well Chinon has a lot will try to condense…

With Saint Martin of Tours, the Christian chronicle evokes the city and its surroundings. It was one of his disciples, Saint Maxime (Mexme) who founded a convent of cloistered monks in Chinon, of which he was the first abbot. Around the monastery, the population gathered and Maxime had to build a second place of worship: the Saint-Etienne Church. The son of Foulques V, Geoffroy Plantagenet, marrying Mathilde l’Emperesse in 1128, finds himself in a position to claim the inheritance of William the Conqueror, grandfather of the bride. He imposed his law on his French possessions and reduced to obedience the most turbulent part of the local nobility. He died in 1151 and left his states to his son Henri. The latter married, in 1152, Aliénor d’Aquitaine, who brought him Poitou and Aquitaine. Two years later, the chances of the succession to the throne of England allow Henry to accede to the royal crown. His younger brother Geoffroy, who received the strongholds of Chinon, Loudun and Mirebeau on their father’s death, must also receive Anjou, Touraine and Maine if Henry becomes King of England. The latter refusing to apply this clause in favor of his younger brother, Geoffroy fortifies the defenses of Chinon, Loudun and Mirebeau, then attacks Anjou. In 1156, this fratricidal struggle turned to the advantage of Henri and his younger brother had to give up all his possessions in exchange for a pension.  Having made himself master of Chinon, Philippe Auguste of France had the fortifications damaged by the siege and the assault restored. It was in Chinon that the crown of France gathered its troops, it was there that the king received his faults, It is from there that he launched his military expeditions. It is there that he receives the submission of his adversaries.

In 1413, during the clashes between Burgundians and Armagnacs, Chinon was occupied by the former, dislodged the following year by the latter. It was during this period of unrest that Touraine was given to the Dauphin, the future Charles VII, then aged 14, who, fleeing Paris on the night of May 29, 1418, came to find refuge in Touraine. It is from there that he will try to assert his claims to the throne of France, against the English and the Burgundians, in the midst of the anarchy that has seized the kingdom. With Charles VII begins a page of history. The Kingdom of France is in a very serious situation. Henry VI, King of England, claims the throne of France and, for his opponents, Charles VII is only the “King of Bourges”. In 1427, he set up his small court in Chinon. The following year, he brought together the States General of the Central and South provinces still subject to his authority. The States organized the defense of Orléans, besieged by the English and the Burgundians. At the end of February or the beginning of March 1429, it was in Chinon that Joan of Arc met the king for the first time. She persuades him to entrust her with the army that will deliver Orléans, thus initiating the reversal of the forces present during the Hundred Years War.

When Charles VIII died, Louis XII must, according to the deceased’s will, marry his widow Anne of Brittany. He has a strong inclination for her and this new marriage keeps Brittany in the crown of France; double reason for the king to celebrate with magnificent festivals the arrival of the liberating bubble. At the end of Marie de Medici’s quarrels with her son Louis XIII, the queen received, in August 1619, the government of Angers, Ponts-de-Cé and the castle and town of Chinon (treaty of Angoulême ) which did not prevent her from revolting again against the king, before her supporters were dispersed at Ponts-de-Cé, August 7, 1620. During this period of quarrels, reconciliations and open revolts, Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, confessor of Anne of Austria, served as an intermediary between the parties. At the end of the crisis, he was appointed cardinal (1622) and entered the King’s Council (1624). Since 1621, he has owned the heritage estate of Richelieu, a few leagues from Chinon, Richelieu then undertakes to become the owner. Through a series of artifices, petty intrigues and figureheads, he achieved his goals on January 23, 1632, annexing the city to its duchy-peerage. For the locals of Chinon, who have always depended directly on the Crown , and as such benefit from special advantages and exemptions , the passage of their city into the hands of the Cardinal represents a real regression. It is from this date that the fortress completely ceases to be maintained and begins to fall into ruins.

Chinon and its fortress will remain in the Plessis-Richelieu family until the French revolution. Armand Jean de Vignerot du Plessis, 2nd Duke of Richelieu, grand-nephew of the Cardinal, had the great hall of the castle destroyed. His son, Louis François Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, 3rd Duke of Richelieu and Marshal of France, offends the Chinonais by making Saint-Maurice pose a liter bearing his arms, His grandson, Armand Emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis, 5th last Duke of Richelieu, bears the title of Count of Chinon. Emigrated during the French revolution, he returned to France in 1801, was given back what remains of his possessions. But he no longer had the means to maintain the domain of Richelieu, had it demolished and gave up his rights (moreover for the most part abolished) on the town and the fortress of Chinon.

In 1789, two locals were among the twelve deputies of the third state of Touraine. During the events, the population of Chinon, mainly in favor of the constitution of 1789 (French revolution). During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the Indre-et-Loire remained away from the major battles. In March 1915, the conscripts of locals contributed with recruits from Touraine, Anjou, Poitou, Berry and men from the invaded regions of the North to the formation of the 409th Infantry Regiment, Out of the 3,220 men that the 409th IR had at the time of its formation, 1,735 were killed and 1,000 injured. In 1918, only 480 men remained of the original regiment. In June 1940, Chinon saw uninterrupted convoys of refugees in transit. The town had hardly suffered , From mid-September 1944, the guerrillas from Scévolles joined the French Liberation Army, volunteering for the duration of the war on the Saint-Nazaire front. Grouped into four companies and two free corps, the former Scévolles formed the 6th battalion of the 125th Infantry Regiment, the Americans arrived two days later at Port-Boulet, Chouzé-sur-Loire. The Nazis installed in the Kommandantur of Chinon flee On August 30, Chinon and its inhabitants regain their freedom, the invader having left without having been driven out…

The main thing to see here is the Royal Fortress of Chinon (see post).  Other things to see in Chinon me think are:

At the foot of the castle, the fortified town, the original nucleus of Chinon and the best-preserved part of the city, has been surrounded by ramparts at least since the 14C the rue Haute Saint-Maurice where successive half-timbered houses , public buildings such as the House of the Estates General, Palace of the Bailliage, and mansions of the 15-16C such as the Maîtrise des Eaux et Forêts), 17C as the Hôtel du Gouverneur, and 18C , the Hôtel Torterue de Langardière. The district is served by the Saint-Maurice Church (see post). The Saint-Maurice Church is the parish church of the Fortified City, it grows at the same time as the city: the oldest part is the base of the bell tower, which dates back to the beginning of the 12C. The nave and the choir which was attached to it were rebuilt at the end of the 12C in Angevin Gothic style, with very domed rib vaults receiving an elaborate decoration.

Located ,also, in the fortified town, the Caves Painctes form part of the vast network of galleries dug under the hillside to extract the tuffeau.The immense vaults of the Caves Painctes, cited by Rabelais in his work, house the chapters of the Brotherhood of Good Entonneurs rabelaisiens, founded in 1961: chapter of Saint-Vincent (January), chapter of the Flower (June), chapter of the Harvest (September) and chapter of Diane (December) grouped around the Collegiate Church of Saint-Maxime, (see post) former religious center of the city, the canonical quarter contains some very beautiful residences of canons such as the hotels in rue Hoche, hotel de Chavigny and in rue de Buffon, dating from the 15-16C ,and often altered in the 17-18C.

At the outlet of the medieval bridge, on the left bank of the Vienne river, the Faubourg Saint-Jacques, entirely protected by dikes, was built by the Plantagenets to serve as a bridgehead and improve links to the south and their possessions in Poitou . The Old Market suburb housed convents in the 17C. Today remains the convent of Calvairiennes, redeveloped into housing. Further west, along the river, the Saint-Louans hill is made up of a village and isolated dwellings, around a priory founded in the Merovingian period. The landscape is rural, made up of vineyards. And of course, one of the best wines from Chinon; Domaine Couly-Dutheil and its Clos de l’Echo vineyards! 

Chinon clos de l'echo winery nov21

Musée animé du Vin et de la Tonnellerie or sort of Lively Museum of Wine and Cooperage has been opened since June 1, 1979, this museum is the work of one man. Chinese of origin. Over the course of five years, he gathered all the tools presented and 2,500 hours of work were necessary for the realization of the fourteen automatons, thanks to which come to life the utensils that were used, at the end of the last century, in the manufacture of wine: barrel , press, bowl, gin, etc. Interesting !

Chinon mus anime du vins et la tonnellerie imp dr gendron nov21

Carroi Museum In the heart of the historic city, the house of the States-General, dating from the 14-15-16C, is one of the most representative buildings of Chinese architecture. It was there that Charles VII united the States-General in 1428, in order to convince them of the need to raise the money necessary for the fight against the English and the Burgundians. Became an inn in the 17C, then a bakery from the end of the 19C until 1968 !! , the building, restored in the 1970s, houses the Carroi museum. It offers the visitor collections of works of art and objects illustrating the history of the city and its country, from prehistory to the 19C. Hispano-Moorish fabric from the 12C, decorated with confronted cheetahs, chained and accompanied by elements evoking hunting. a portrait of Rabelais painted in 1833 by Eugène Delacroix for the town of Chinon, in which is represented an image both traditional and romantic of the great “master François”. This table adorns the room of the States-General; Langeais earthenware, religious statuary, objects linked to compagnonnage (artisans builders of France).

chinon mus le carroi arts et histoire rue haute st maurice nov21

The Statue of Rabelais , inaugurated in 1882 at the outlet of the Place du Général de Gaulle, the statue of Rabelais represents the child of the country seated, in a doctor’s dress, holding a feather in his hand. The bas-reliefs on the plinth recall his different activities: a dissection, Gargantua and mottos recalling his contribution to humanism. The Equestrian statue of Joan of Arc was inaugurated on August 13, 1893 ; this bronze equestrian group, seven meters high and weighing 7 tons, had been exhibited in Paris for the celebrations of July 14, 1893. Despite all the attempts it had been impossible to ship it by rail, therefore strong Percherons horses, attached to a sturdy car, had transported it to its current location, the current Place Jeanne d’Arc. The Maid is represented in the saddle, holding her sword in her right hand and in her left brandishing her standard. Her horse passes over the bodies of two English soldiers lying on the ground.

Chinon pl jeanne d'arc statue of jeanne d'arc nov21

Sacred Heart of Chinon is a statue perched on the hillside and erected on a private site to implore divine protection during WWII. Completed and blessed in June 1941, the statue, which recalls by its pose the Christ of Corcovado, was executed in cement projected with a trowel on a metal frame and modeled on the spot ! Instead of climbing there is a nice fountain in pl du Gen de Gaulle in front of city hall and market spot.

Chinon pl gen de gaulle fountain nov21

Chinon city hall market day nov21

The City of Chinon on its heritage

The official wines of Chinon

There you go folks, this will be my introduction to Chinon, promise other posts will be shorter lol! There is so much to see here and so much architecture and history, really a blog on it will be more suitable. I try to give you a taste of what I think are the best of Chinon in this and my future posts. Hope you enjoy it as I and do visit; I will again!

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

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November 16, 2021

Church St Gilles of Île Bouchard!!

And while in the wonderful Île Bouchard we did some walking from our great chambre d’hôte or B&B (see post) into the town. Well this is a unique town as it is an island! Right in the middle of the Vienne river! It was a great find, and we love it; will be back as it is a great base for the sightseeings in the Loire Valley!

The Île-Bouchard is crossed by the Vienne river for 1.7 km, which constitutes a dividing limit.  L’Île-Bouchard is located in the Indre-et-Loire department,37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region of my belle France.

As it happened in our walks we came into a nice church and it became the site seen of our visit as this was supposed to be a base for our wines and Chinon sightseeing (see posts). The Saint-Gilles Church, built in the 11C. It is established that Joan of Arc, going to meet King Charles VII not far from Chinon, entered and heard mass there on March 6, 1429!

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles front nov21

The Saint Gilles Church is in Romanesque style, was a former 11C priory. From this time, only the north side and its portal remain. The facade and its portal, the nave and the bell tower date from the 12C. The Gothic choir has three aisles and a flat apse; it was rebuilt in the 15C thanks to donations from king Charles VII. The vaults and brick roofs were redone in the 19C. The stained glass window dates from 1801 and is titled La bonne mort de Saint Joseph or the good death of St Joseph, The church has an ongoing fund raising to renovate the nave and roof in need of repairs.

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles side belltower nov21

The events of December 8 to 14, 1947, when four little girls, Jacqueline Aubry (12 years old) and her sister Jeanne Aubry (7 years old), their cousin Nicole Robin (10 years old) and their little neighbor Laura Croizon (8 years old), say they saw the Blessed Virgin Mary, accompanied by an angel. They were able to kiss the Virgin and the latter asked them to pray for France and to build a cave which will later become the sanctuary of Notre-Dame-de-la-Prière or Our Lady of Prayer.

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles nave to altar nov21

The many witnesses as there were perhaps 2,000 people in the Church Saint Gilles on Sunday December 14 were struck by certain details such as the fact that the little girls were all kissing the same point in space or that Jacqueline was lifting her sister. and her friends without difficulty when it was usually difficult for her and all could see a particularly bright ray of Sun when the Virgin Mary disappeared. The little Jacqueline Aubry was cured in twenty-four hours of her myopia, her strabismus and her purulent conjunctivitis. It is the only unexplained healing that takes place as a result of these appearances. Pilgrimages and public worship were authorized by Mgr André Vingt-Trois, then Archbishop of Tours (and later Archbishop of Paris), on December 8, 2001. A family pilgrimage has taken place there every year since 1985.

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles chapel offrent virgin mary nov21

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles chapel virgin et child nov21

A double reliquary of the relics of Mother Teresa and of John Paul II was installed in the Saint-Gilles Church in 2017 ,it represents a stylized Romanesque wooden church adorned with red and green patinas in the fire, gold and silver leaf with rock crystal, amethyst and chalcedony cabochons. We had no time as the sanctuary was in service, so rather we saw the main church.

Ile Bouchard ch St Gilles chapel sinners nov21

The Sanctuary of the Ïle Bouchard:

The city of Île Bouchard on its heritage inclus the church

This Saint Gilles Church is a must while in the area, very nice church. It was late Saturday and we had it all for ourselves. Hope you enjoy the tour and do visit the region ; after all is the valley of the kings! Île Bouchard was quant , nice, friendly, and we will be back.

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

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November 16, 2021

Île Bouchard and us!!!

Ah my road warrior ways in my belle France! Always beautiful and interesting indeed…This is the case of our latest trip in the Loire Valley about 3h30 from our house. We came by car of course, going first by toll roads A11/A85 and coming back on the D749/D751 free roads. I needed to rent me an apartment for 5 including wheelchair Dad and our dog Rex!  The search was easy in booking that has it all nowdays it seems. I took a peculiar sounding name call La Isla Bonita or the beautiful island as we thought indeed it was in Île Bouchard or island! Indeed it look central to our idea of weekend trip.

This is my take on the town which is an island in the middle of Vienne river, call Île Bouchard! by the way 17 km from Chinon.

The Île-Bouchard island has a sanctuary that became a place of pilgrimage following Marian apparitions in 1947 in Saint Gilles Church. Extending over 3.5 km², it has a unique configuration since it is made up of two suburbs, Saint Maurice and Saint Gilles, respectively on the left and right banks of the Vienne river, linked by a bridge and separated by L’Île, cradle of the city. Île-Bouchard is crossed by the Vienne river for 1.7 km, which constitutes a dividing limit.  L’Île-Bouchard is located in the Indre-et-Loire department,37 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Located 280 km from Paris, L’Île-Bouchard is also 43 km from Tours, 75 km from Poitiers and 45 km from Saumur. The nearest larger towns are Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau, Saint-Maure-de-Touraine and Richelieu, all four located equidistant from the town, about 15 km away. It is about 329 km (204 miles) from my house.

A bit of history I like tells us that a lord named Bouchard laid the foundations of a castrum on the island around 885. He led, among other things, an expedition to bring back to Touraine the relics of Saint-Martin, which were in a church of Auxerre. The successors of Bouchard, on the lordships of the island, Rivarennes and Bréhémont crossed the centuries, L’Île-Bouchard, in the Cartulary of the Abbey of Noyers, was designated in 1189 under the name of Insula Buchardi. On this island, Roman remains have been identified, At around 1629 the island passed to Richelieu, whose family (the Vignerots du Plessis dukes of Richelieu, descended from his sister Françoise du Plessis, wife of René de Vignerot: their great-grandson was the famous Marshal-Duke of Richelieu) kept it until the French revolution, but in fact ignoring it. In 1832, the current town of L’Île-Bouchard was created by the merger of the villages of Saint-Gilles-de-l’Île-Bouchard and Saint-Maurice-de-l’Île-Bouchard.

The Isla Bonita chambre d’Hôte or B&B is located on an island, on the edge of the Vienne river; in fact the terrace is right next to it!. The B&B  allows you to enjoy the charm and tranquility of Touraine while offering a variety of attractions nearby. We stayed at the Trinidad room , a family room: it is made up of 2 separate rooms which communicate: a parent room and a child room. Each room has access to the balcony. 28.17 sq meters with inside bathroom. The price 113€ breakfast included and the dog!  They set up a table so we can eat our pizzas Tintin in dining room style ,greatl! Also, they gave us their living room TV so we can watch the France vs Kazakhstan football game (we won 8×0!) One of the highlight of the stay was that the couple husband is from Havana Cuba as I!!! The Val de Loire tourist office on La Isla Bonita

We did ordered from the Pizza Tintin cannibale beef and other varieties with the old fashion Sprite for a change of pace on the road.You ordered and go to pick up about one km from the apartment. This was recommended by the owners and was good. webpage:

The things to see in the Île Bouchard are (in addition to sanctuary above):

The Priory of Saint-Léonard, (not seen) built in the first half of the 12C, is one of the oldest Romanesque buildings in France. All that remains today is the choir, its ambulatory and its chapels.The Saint-Maurice Church, (stop by) dating from the 15C, terminated by a very beautiful stone spire decorated with openwork sculptures. Its flamboyant Renaissance-style naves rest on pillars decorated with medallions. The Musée du Bouchardais, a museum of Popular Art and Traditions and local history, it is located in the old train station of Île-Bouchard, near the Prieuré Saint-Léonard. It makes it possible to discover the richness of the heritage of the canton through the tools, materials and objects of the rural world.This one did not go in.

Ile Bouchard ch St Maurice belltower nov21

The Saint-Gilles Church, (saw see next post) built in the 11C. It is established that Joan of Arc, going to meet King Charles VII not far from Chinon, entered and heard mass there on March 6, 1429.   

The City of the Île Bouchard on its heritage

The city of the Île Bouchard with more on its history:

There you go folks, a nice secluded real France stay with easy connection to the wonders of the Loire Valley, and very friendly folks at La Isla Bonita! Hope you enjoy the post and discover with me this pretty island.

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

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