Archive for December 23rd, 2021

December 23, 2021

Picturesque Cour Cheverny!

And we came back to this area after several years; this is the village of Cour Cheverny!  We have great memories of family visits, and I gather strenght to come back with the boys, my Dad and our dog Rex!

The town of Cour-Cheverny is located in the Loir-et-Cher department 41 of the Centre-Val de Loire region. The town is located about 10 km from Blois and about 15 km from the Château de Chambord. (see posts). Sitting about one km from the more famous Cheverny! (see posts)

Cour Cheverny hotel de ville dec21

A bit on the village rather than a town tell us that the first church was mentioned in 1145 under the dependence of the Abbey of Bourgmoyen. It was formerly under the diocese of Chartres, At the end of the Great War or WWI, a unit of the Signals Service of the United States Army, the “Signal Corps”, settled on the territory of the town and on that of the neighboring village of Cheverny. They publish an internal English-language journal called Toot-Sweet. Between January 29, 1939 and February 8, more than 3,100 Spanish refugees fleeing the collapse of the Spanish republic in front of Franco, arrived in Loir-et-Cher. Faced with insufficient reception facilities , 47 villages are called upon, including Cour-Cheverny. The Château de Cheverny, (see post) located in the neighboring town of Cheverny, became a popular tourist destination during the 20C, contributing to the tourist development of Cour-Cheverny.

Other things to see are the 6 castles of Château de Sérigny, Château la Sistière, Château Beaumont, Château Chantreuil, Château les Murblins and Château la Taurie. The 12C Saint-Aignan Church, remodeled in the 16-17C. The Cheverny forest, with a surface area of ​​2,502 ha, extends over 4 towns, Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Contres and Fontaines-en-Sologne.

We know from historians that this church dedicated to Saint-Aignan was built in the 11C or 12C at the latest ,The Church of Saint Aignan appears from 1145 among the possessions of the Abbey of Bourgmoyen de Blois. More exactly, it is about a priory – cure dependent on the canons regular of this abbey belonging to the order of Saint-Augustin ,mentioned in various papal Bulls, These various historical elements are thus likely to support the thesis according to which the Church Saint Aignan of Cour-Cheverny would have been part of a monastery. Unfortunately, we do not find any trace in our time of the existence of such a monastery even thus architecturally, the church having atypical architectural elements which suggest that it was originally a monastery church.

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan front dec21
Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan altar dec21
The two portals from the 12C,and you see the transformations carried out in the 16-17C, which gave the church its present appearance, very different from the original one. Part of the primitive arches was widened, the central nave received rib vaults placed much lower , bearing the date of 1609, the last three bays of the aisle have been transformed and especially a bas-side was built in mirror ,which highlights the narrowness of the other two naves. Outside, the small onion bell tower was added in the 17C.

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan nave left dec21

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan nave back dec21

Oh did I tell you we stayed here! It was so good as only 850 meters from the Château de Cheverny and Tintin, the main reason we were here and see separate posts on them. We use the Hôtel Restaurant Saint Hubert (part of Logis de France chain we love it!) as a base and it was magical to say the least. Great facilities, wonderful friendly reception, talkative owner and just great food: we came back for a second sitting lol!!! We tried the Rosé and Red wine of the Domaine le Portail of Cheverny of course.The hotel resto webpage:

For the memories we had;menus going from roasted quail to steaks,with Cheverny Rosé wine and tiramisu agrumes etc; then for dinner we had roasted quail, quiche lorraine, steaks, choucroute royale, etc with Cheverny Red wine, ice cream of different flavors. Coffees.22 Euros menus. Sublime!!!

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert entr dec21

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert lobby chimney dec21

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert dining room dec21

The Blois Chambord tourist office on Cour Cheverny

The town of Cour Cheverny on its history/heritage

There you go folks, a dandy ride into a wonderful Centre Val de Loire region we love it ,the valley of the kings of France! There is so much to see here along, you can spend a lifetime, me I am trying harder..Stay tune for more and for now enjoy Cour Cheverny!!!

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

December 23, 2021

A unique historical former cemetery of Paris!!!

It has been kept quiet for many years as not the government favorite monument but it is of the kingdom of France. I like to tell you a bit more of the Cemetery of the Madeleine and see my related post on the Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris! This of course, was to be in my black and white series, however, found one picture not in my blog so here it is walking to the holy cellars of the Expiatory Chapel. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Madeleine cemetery is a former cemetery located in the current 8éme arrondissement of Paris. This cemetery originally had its entrance in the rue de la Ville-l’Évêque, and depended on the former parish of Sainte-Madeleine de la Ville-Évêque. Towards the end of the 15C, Charles VIII had a chapel built for the brotherhood of the Madeleine, on the site of an oratory which time had partially destroyed. This chapel became a parish church in 1639, and was rebuilt twenty years later by Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, and Nicolas Sévin, coadjutor of Sarlat, who laid the first stone on July 8, 1651. We know that work on the new church was halted during the French revolution. As for the old church, it was suppressed. The cemetery which adjoins the Church of the Madeleine (see post) and whose entrance was in the rue de la Ville-l’Évêque, at the corner of the second part of the rue de la Madeleine, had been preserved for the purpose of specially assigned to the burial of convicts executed on the Place de la Révolution , current Place de la Concorde.

Among the most famous main burials, there were 133 victims of the fireworks used during the celebration of the marriage of the Dauphin (what became Louis XVI) and Maria Antoniette (May 30, 1770) .The massacred Swiss guards at the Tuileries Palace (now razed) on 10 August 1792. The remains of Marie Antoniette were identified by a garter and a jawbone, an eyewitness who identified as the Queen, on the basis of having seen more than thirty years before her smile. Louis XVIII also tried in vain to look for the remains of his sister Madame Elisabeth (see post) in the cemetery; later tried also at the Errancis cemetery site, but to no avail. Others here of note were the Comtesse du Barry, the Girondins executed in 1793,and Charlotte Corday. King Louis XVIII to perpetuate the memory of the execution of his brother, Louis XVI, had an Expiatory Chapel or Chapelle Expiatoire built there in 1826, a chapel now included in the Place Louis-XVI square which occupies the space of the old cemetery.

But the guillotine cut down so many heads that the pavement of the Rue de la Ville-l’Evêque was constantly red with blood. Moreover, this mass grave was also in the too immediate vicinity of the Place de la Révolution. (again today Place de la Concorde) . This twofold circumstance, mentioned in a report by the police commissioner, motivated the removal of the old Madeleine cemetery. Its closure did not take place because of congestion, since we hastened, as soon as a trench was filled with corpses, to cover them with a layer of quicklime, but for reasons of hygiène, and recorded in the magistrate’s report.

During or after the French revolution, there were four cemeteries of revolutionary crimes in Paris to have received the bodies of the guillotines, the other three are the Picpus cemetery, the Errancis cemetery and the Sainte Marguerite cemetery.

A man and royal judge ,Pierre-Louis-Olivier Descloseaux, a resident of the Madeleine cemetery, bought the piece of land. Having witnessed the burials that were made there, and having drawn up the list of 1343 people guillotined from 1792 to 1794, He had circumscribed the exact place where the bodies lay and surrounded the square of a bower with weeping willows and cypresses. , in order to safeguard the remains of the royal couple and the other victims who were buried there. This cemetery was abandoned in March 1794. Under the Restoration, Louis XVIII had the Expiatory Chapel erected on this site, built by Pierre Fontaine.


A bit of further history on the cemeteries I like

The first sanctuary was built around 8 bd Malesherbes in the town of the Ville l’Evêque domain given to the bishop of Paris at the time of the king Dagobert. The parish had 3 cemetaries, A small next to the church of the 13C when two others were done , this one was reserve for the rich families. In the Catacombs of Paris there is a panel telling you the bones are from here, they were transfer to the catacombs in 1859.

There is a second cemetary called of the Poor by the Rue de Suresnes and Faubourg Ste Honoré, this cemetary served until 1720. The other was an exchange of land by the rue d’Anjou that belongs to the clergy, the cemetery was located at the intersection of rue d’Anjou and grand sewer (now boulevard Hausmann), covering the current Place Louis XVI. It was part of the land on which the Expiatory Chapel now stands, next to the same Madeleine.

This third cemetary is what saw the inhumain treatment of those beheaded in the French revolution and the remains of the second cemetary were transfer to the latter one, This third cemetary was by what today is the Place Louis XVI, entrance by 36 rue Pasquier and was opened in 1721. It had already received several bodies before it was name the cemetary of the revolution, It was at the Place du Carrousel from August 1792 and later Place Louis XV before name the Place de la Revolution, today Place de la Concorde.

The bad odors and repugnant views force the elected officials to finally closed it in 1794, and the bodies of the cementary were transfered to the one called cementary of Errancis or Monceau. Two years after closing the cemetary land was sold in 1796, and later again in 1802 to Pierre Louis Olivier Descloseaux

In 1815, once the remains of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were unearth and transferd to the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis ; the rest of the corps in the cemetary were transferred to the Catacombs of Paris. However, further searches found in 2018 on the lower cellars found boxes containing human remains. By 2020 in further searches it was determine that the bones of the executed were indeed still there in the stony walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire. As little support from government official to dig further nothing has been done, so far.

The above findings makes the Chapelle Expiatoire even more solemn and piety, The story of the finding of the king and queen last Bourbon absolute of France goes that the Pierre Louis Olivier Descloseaux lived in a house looking over the cementary and he was a Royal judge was able to pinpoint where the bodies of the king and queen were deposited, His house has disappeared but a tree marks the spot where it was. The rest you can read my post on the Chapelle Expiatoire here :

The official Chapelle Expiatoire:

The Paris tourist office on the Chapelle Expiatoire:

There you go folks, enjoy, the real history of France, a time to seek facts!!! For the lovers and seekers of history , this is a must in Paris.  And it is walking distance from the gare Saint Lazare train station. The Chapelle Expiatoire is a must while in Paris, me think You will stepping on the old cemetery Madeleine!

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

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December 23, 2021

Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis!!!

Oh so this is a dandy to tell you more about it, and put in new pictures not in my blog before! I have a historical post on it but this post will have more historical facts as well. Let me tell you about the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis!!!

To say will tell you a bit about the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Denis  will be deceiving, there is so much to tell about and so much history into that a book rather than a blog post would be needed. I am hoping to give you a glimpse and some new pictures that will make you decide to come to visit. In my humble opinion, it is one of the must sites to visit in France. A bit more on its history and construction I like!

st denis basilica front nov19

At its origins, the former royal abbey of Saint-Denis is associated with the history of the Franks. The abbey church has been called a “basilica” since the Merovingian period . The transept of the abbey church, of an exceptional size, was intended to accommodate the royal tombs. The Basilica Cathedral of Saint-Denis, true cradle of French history, houses the burials of all the Kings and Queens of France. Clovis I, Dagobert, Charles Martel, Catherine de Medici, Henri IV, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette … 42 kings, 32 queens, 63 princes !!

st denis basilica back left side nov19

The main church of the diocese, where a bishop officiates most of the time, is called a Cathedral. The title of Basilica is attributed by the Pope to a church when it rests on the tomb of a Saint, because it contains relics there, or because it is a pilgrimage site. Therefore, when all of these conditions are met, a cathedral can be crowned with the title of basilica, and vice versa. Thus in 1966, the Basilica of Saint-Denis was elevated to the rank of Cathedral. There is of course King Dagobert, who in 639 became the first king to be buried in the basilica. The tomb of François I, his wife Claude of France, and three of their children. But also that of Catherine de Medici, who erected a huge rotunda 30 meters in diameter, intended to accommodate the burials of her family. The Saint-Denis Basilica-Cathedral thus constitutes the most important collection of funerary sculptures in Europe with more than 70 recumbent figures and monumental tombs.

st denis basilica francois I nov19

st denis basilica henri II et catherine de medici close nov19

Its facade and apse, at both ends of the monument, are the beginnings of Gothic architecture. Gothic architecture is at its peak: bright, open, dressed in stained glass letting a penetrating light shine through. Hence its nickname lucerna or the lantern, which will follow it until the 18C. The splendor of the monument is such that its roses , fascinating by their size and their designs were notably used as models for Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.Gothic art gradually replaced Romanesque art during the second half of the 12C in the towns of Ile-de-France. Gothic develops a series of technical innovations such as the ribbed vault, which directs the thrust of the vault on pillars, and no longer on walls, flying buttresses which serve as external support for the pillars, the high pointed arch windows: between the pillars, and the walls no longer support the vault and are pierced with windows in the shape of a pointed arch, clad in stained glass.

st denis basilica altar closeup nov19

The transformation of the crypt of Saint-Denis into a royal necropolis began under the Merovingians with Dagobert I, and took on its full extent under the Capetian dynasty of 987-1328. In the 12C, the practice of burial in Saint-Denis continued, but it was then reserved for the kings of France. During a reorganization of the necropolis ordered by Saint Louis, the remains of 16 rulers are found and moved. Their mortal remains are placed in stone coffins, protected by recumbent figures. The recumbent statues are funerary sculptures, inspired by religious statuary found at the entrance to churches, and whose function is to recall the deceased to the memory of the living. To do this, symbolic objects, animals and plants are used, and historical scenes involving the deceased are sometimes depicted on the sides of the pedestal. The 16 recumbent statues of the order of Saint Louis are idealized: they wear a crown and scepter, have their eyes open and are dressed in the fashion of the 13C.

st denis basilica funeral tomb nov19

The mausoleum, also called the Valois rotunda because of its shape, was built on order of the queen mother Catherine de Medici to house the tombs of the Valois. An unfinished building, with only two floors when the initial project had three, it was destroyed in 1719 because it threatened to collapse. Only the monumental tomb to the glory of Henri II and Catherine de Medici has been preserved and reassembled in the north arm of the transept of the abbey.  In 1665, at the beginning of his glory, the young Louis XIV nourished the project of offering the kings and queens of the Bourbon dynasty a tomb worthy of their prestige. Colbert and the architect François Mansart were in charge of the project. But the death of the architect, after only a year, put an end to the project. Although the Bourbons rotunda was never built, its preparatory plans and sketches will inspire Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the son of François Mansart, during the realization of the dome of the Invalides.

st denis basilica tombs from upper floor nov19

The Committee of Public Safety, organ of the revolutionary government created under the Constituent Assembly to fight against the enemies of the nascent French Republic, decides to commemorate the first anniversary of the fall of the monarchy by destroying the mausoleums of the kings of France. The Abbey of Saint-Denis and its royal necropolis are no exception to this program. Funeral monuments are either destroyed or sold. The metal recovered from the graves is melted and transformed into cannons and balls, necessary to continue the war against the enemies of the Republic. In the same way, part of the stained-glass windows is dismantled in order to recover the lead contained in the windows. They were replaced in the 19C during the two restoration campaigns undertaken by the architects Debret and Viollet-le-Duc. It was not until 1805, once crowned Emperor, that Napoleon I ordered the restoration of the basilica, that he modernized part of the buildings of the abbey by making it the Education House of the Legion of honor (see post) in 1809.

st denis basilica entrance nave nov19

On June 13, 1940, the Nazis army entered the city of Saint-Denis. Among the Nazi military targets, there was also destruction of civilian buildings: the basilica was hit. Many stained-glass windows dating from the 12C were destroyed, the large Gothic windows being particularly fragile. There are only five 12C glass roofs left in Saint-Denis today.

The official Basilica Cathedral Saint Denis:

The official Seine Saint Denis dept 93 tourist office on the Basilica

I have gone to the Basilica Cathedral Saint Denis by car but if visiting you can come in public transport by the metro line 13  Station Basilique de Saint-Denis only 200 meters, and only 15 minutes on foot to the Stade de France.

There you go folks, a huge job but i hope I caught some important points to make this a must to visit while in France. The Basilique Cathédrale de Saint Denis is awesome!! Gorgeous and architecturally :historically an absolute must. Enjoy it

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

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