Archive for December, 2021

December 28, 2021

Another time in Vannes !!

I cannot keep away for long from our capital city of Vannes of the beautiful Morbihan dept 56 in my lovely Bretagne. As said , have many posts on the city and it shows my interest for it, as it is rather off the beaten path in my belle France but really worth the detour, Gorgeous architecture and an interesting history ; I am in heaven ! Let me update for you and me this older post. As said written many posts on the sights below so search for them to read/see more ok.

We have come to Vannes so much that it feels like we live there ; well I worked for about 9 years just outside of it in an old castle of 1504 !! We were painting the basement/sous sol, and decided to take a break and come back to Vannes for a breather ! Always is and even more with my boys , and always with wonderful memories of my dear late Martine, memories hard to erase and each time here even more stronger feelings.

While In Vannes, we did our usual sightseeing and of course many errands for the house, We did a quick stop to Micromania at the Carrefour shopping center to get the latest gadgets in video games for the boys, and then hop over to FNAC for some reading and tech reviews before well we were hungry. That is my suggestion , and we went to a place been a couple times with colleagues from work , this time came with my boys to Le Tarmac in rue Ferdinand le Dressay on the other side of the pleasure boats marina canal that takes out to the Gulf of Morbihan and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean! This was just one time, we have come back several times more, see posts.  They have a terrace right on the sidewalk facing the canals, and then a streel level room and a very cozy first level or 2nd floor. The service is friendly and prompt, the prices very reasonable and the food is good. We had tapas dish of accras (codfish cake), with breaded shrimp ,crackers tortilla Mexican style with guacamole sauce for 8,50€ and hot dogs with fries for the boys, all with a bottle of Vigne Antique côte de Provence rosé 2016 wine all came about for 15€ per person!!. They have a Facebook page :


We had all day to do and why not do some walks in wonderful medieval Vannes all kept original no wars did anything to it. It is lovely to walk here. Of course, we come by car so easy , we park on free parking past the Place Gambetta up the rue Ferdinand le Dressay and you will see the parking lot on your right passing the Harbormaster, Plenty on street parking or pay underground parking at Le Port, We then take off on foot all over the city, it is easy to walk and very pleasant things to see. As I have written so much on it will not go into details here, just type in search Vannes and see all the posts going back to 2011 in my blog.


First, the canal on the pleasure boat marina is awesome, it says can hold up to 3000 boats and goes all the way to the Gulf of Morbihan  , and holds about 50 islands 24 of which inhabited. You have the tourist office and carrousel right by the canal as well as restaurants all around it on both sides.  


Walking past the wonderful Porte de Saint Vincent , a gate to old town along Rue Saint Vincent, a Saint from Valencia Spain who came here around 1400’s and his body rest in peace at the Cathedral of St Peter at Place Saint Pierre.  The street is full of shops even a Casino supermarket! This street takes you on the left to the Place du Poids Public and further into the Place des Lices, two lively architecturally nice squares in old town Vannes.  We do a lot of our shopping here, and the Saturday morning market is awesome. Just around the Place du Poids Public you have the rue de la Poissonnerie that leads you into the Halles aux Poissons or fish market.

Right in the corner of the two squares Poids Public and Lices you have the 17C Hôtel Francheville or Mynier recently completely renovated done in tufa style stone as the original. Up into the old town you have wonderful architecture, and the passing of the Cathedral St Peter as well as the fine arts museum La Cohue by place St Pierre and also a back entrance on lovely rue des Halles. This rue des Halles is wonderful plenty of stores and restos from buildings as far back as the 14C! By here you will find the archeological museum of Vannes house in the Chateau Gaillard and its magnificent tower at rue Noé.

You come into Place Valencia,name in honor of the before mention Saint born there, and also lived while in Vannes in the upper level of what is today the library La Procure.  There is a statue of the Saint in the wall. At the square are the famous statues of the two women right on the wall of the restaurant Villa Valencia. You can side step into the place Henri IV just before the place St Pierre where the Cathedral Saint Peter is located, here is wooden houses going back to the 14C and after, loaded with quaint stores and one great chocolatier de France ,Maison Georges Larnicol, Coming up to this latest square you have the rue Saint Salomon, another wonderful medieval street full of shops. Right next to the Cathedral there is rue des Chanoines with more wooden houses taking you to the ramparts of Vannes!

Ok so this was just an afternoon walk, there is a whole lot more here and we love it ; hoping you too will when visit my quant capital city of Vannes. Glad we came over to the Morbihan, we love it! You too if you take the time to come and into history, architecture, and good French/Breton foods.

The city of Vannes  on its heritage and history:

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist office on Vannes :

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on Vannes :

The Bretagne region tourist board on Vannes:

There you go folks, another dandy walking tour of my lovely capital city of Vannes. It goes without saying we will be back soon,,,,,,,,,,,,Hope it helps you come and enjoy this jewel of  the beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne as well as belle France as much as we do. And ,remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

December 28, 2021

The Place Henri IV of Meaux!!

So we love to walk a city and it shows in my blog. There is no better way to know a city, its architecture and history than to walk it. This is no difference in small , medium or large cities all over France and the world. I happened to love a square in my nostalgic city of Meaux, which I happened to meet first back in September 1990 while visiting my girlfriend later wife, and dear late wife Martine in her native town. I like to bring a new text with older pictures on the Place Henri IV of Meaux!!

The place Henri IV of Meaux  in Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Île de France region. It is another memorable place as here we went to the movies for the first time in France at the Majestic cinema. It is now part of the cinema group UGC and has a great auto parking above and below ground. Also, at Christmas time there is a nice market here with ice skating ring.  We and you can find easy parking at the Place Henri IV above ground. From here we walked all over the city and into the old town by the Rue du Général Leclerc.  Place Henri IV is a vast quadrilateral located at the junction of the old town and the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas (my  Martine district of birth). It is bordered by houses dating, for the most part, from the 19C today

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The square is name as such because it was to mark the coming of king Henri IV in 1599 when the city was in the middle of the 30 years war of Religions,and decided to rally in favor of the king. King Henri IV was a Protestant, and the city of Meaux , Catholic, and when the king converts to Catholicism, the locals (who are call by their celtic name, the Meldois) decided to signed the peace accords. The rebel governor, De Vitry, opened the gate of the fortified city, located on the edge of the square. He hands over the keys during an official ceremony that takes place on the Butte des Cordeliers, at the current location of the square. The king compliments De Vitry for this amnesty and maintains him in his post of governor, the equivalent of mayor and prefect today.

meaux pl henri IV jul21
Place Henri IV, was the former Place des Cordeliers,built in the second half of the 18C after the partial leveling of an earthen bastion, the Butte des Cordeliers. In this area was created a lover’s promenade or “promenade des Amourettes”. It is thus one of the main squares of Meaux which is created. It was renamed place Henri IV in 1820. The tanners who were installed along the Brasset,used part of the square to dry their skins. In 1845, the city decided on the final leveling of the square. The square thus took on its current appearance. In the 19C, the inhabitants opposed the establishment on this space of civil buildings (the theater in 1841, the courthouse in 1880) in order to preserve the integrity of the square: these two buildings were finally installed in bordering the Place Henri IV. Only a monument was erected in the center of the square in 1891, in honor of General Raoult, but the latter having been sent to melt in 1942 (by the Nazis), the square is today an empty space, apart from the plantations and benches for the whole family,

The city of Meaux on its heritage

The Meaux country tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, a dandy of a town of many wonderful memories never to forget, The whole is Meaux, and on its Place Henri IV it has its soul, Hope you enjoy the post as I. See you around the Place Henri IV of Meaux !!

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

December 28, 2021

The Place Henri IV of Vannes!!

So we love to walk a city and it shows in my blog. There is no better way to know a city, its architecture and history than to walk it. This is no difference in small , medium or large cities all over France and the world. I happened to love a square in my capital city of Vannes which we just go by even if nothing to shop or see. I like to bring a new text with older pictures on the Place Henri IV of Vannes!! 

The capital city of the Morbihan dept 56 , Vannes, alone has no less than 170 half-timbered houses. Colorful shacks with crazy charm that are concentrated around the squares and in the cobbled alleys of the old town. Popular and lively, Place Henri IV is the ideal starting point for exploring Vannes while learning about its history. The square is certainly one of the most beautiful views of the intramural area of Vannes, The houses here go back to the 14C thru the 17C.


Place Henri-IV is a square located in the inner city on the heights of the Mené hill. It communicates with the Place Saint-Pierre and the St Peter’s Cathedral,(see post)  and to the rue Saint-Salomon (see post) and to the rue des Chanoines and the rue Émile-Burgault. The square measures about 20 meters per side, or an area of ​​about 400 m2.  In the 18C, this square was called Mallièvre, a deformation of its original Breton name Men-Guevr, goat stone, After having been named Place du Département for a time during the revolutionary period, it was finally renamed to its current name during the 19C. A bird market took place in this square in the 1860s: sellers, called Pilorgets, mainly brought linnets and goldfinches.


Most of the houses in the Place Henri IV are listed as historic monuments of France. This is the case for houses located at no.1 (corner of Place Saint-Pierre), at no. 2 ( corner of Place Saint-Pierre), at no.5 (corner of rue Saint-Salomon),and at no.6 (corner of rue des Chanoines).


The city of Vannes on the Place Henri IV

Indeed a must to walk in Vannes, and worth the detour me think. Hope you enjoy these walks around my old capital city of Vannes. The idea of shopping and eating amongst these wonderful old half-timbered houses is superbe!!

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

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December 27, 2021

Musée Hôtel Morin of Amboise!

So lets stay in wonderful lovely Amboise. As said, we come here often, too repetitive to post always! However, while looking at previous posts, realised not written or hardly told you about a wonderful building and a nice museum by the Loire river. Therefore, this is old picture new text to tell you about the Musée Hôtel Morin of Amboise! at Christmas time!!

The Musée Hôtel Morin is housed in a former private mansion from the beginning of the 16C, facing the Loire river in Amboise. It houses various collections centered around the history of the city such as famous people, urban developments, historical moments, Amboise artists, etc. The museum was the private home of Pierre Morin, treasurer of king Louis XII. Built between 1501 and 1505, in the 18C it became the ducal palace of the Duke of Choiseul, then the seat of the city/town hall in 1855. From this period, the building was transformed into a museum bringing together national repositories and collections. acquired by successive mayors. Its architecture dates from the first French Renaissance, an alliance of French Gothic and Italian Renaissance.

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The domaine of Amboise and Chanteloup was raised in 1762 as a duchy-peerage. The Duke of Choiseul bought the Hôtel Morin in order to make it the seat of his seigneurial justice, the chamber of accounts and the prison. The building was then known under the name of Ducal Palace. On the death of the Duke of Choiseul in 1785, the Duke of Penthièvre bought the domain, which his daughter would inherit in 1793. Confiscated during the French revolution, the domain of Chanteloup was placed in sale while the Morin Hotel is given to the general hospice of Tours. The city of Amboise became a tenant until 1826, when it bought it from the general hospice in Tours, where the prison, the justice of the peace and the salt loft were installed.

Following his surrender in Algeria, Abd-El-Kader was taken prisoner and brought, with his family and his retinue, to France. He lived under house arrest at the royal castle of Amboise from 1848 to 1852. His garrison remained stationed at the Morin hotel for the duration of his presence in Amboise.  From the 1890s until 1970, the city/ town hall and the museum will live together in the same building. In 1970, the administrative services were transferred to the new buildings built nearby. A passage allowing direct access from one to the other of the buildings still allows the use of certain rooms for municipal purposes. Long called the Musée de l’Hotel de Ville or city hall museum, the museum has been renamed in 2014 as Musée de l’Hotel Morin or Morin hotel museum.

The museum has six visiting rooms, two vestibules, two corridors and a stairwell, The marriage room – where all civil weddings in the city of Amboise still take place, The Kings room, The Leonardo da Vinci room , The Yvonne Gouverné room, The gouache room, The municipal council room, Some rooms are still used for municipal purposes (marriage room, Yvonne Gouverné room, Council room in particular).

The city of Amboise on the museum

The regional centre val de loire museums webpage on the Morin Hotel Museum

There you go folks, another dandy monument in lovely Amboise , and to boot right facing the mighty Loire river. The Morin Hotel Museum is worth the detour once seen the castle, Hope it helps your planning,

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

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December 27, 2021

Church Saint Florentin of Amboise!!

I like this town, Amboise, go there often get my wines, shop in the market and take a tour around its castle and clos lucé. However, I love the banks of the Loire and anything around it and here you have the wonderful Church Saint Florentin, which is many times use for exhibitions only and not service. It is an impressive building especially at night. I like to update this post for you and me.

The Church Saint-Florentin is a parish church in the city of Amboise in dept 37 of Indre-et-Loire, in the Centre-Val de Loire region, located in the old town and at the foot of the royal castle next to the Loire river.  The church was built at the request of king Louis XI so that the church of the castle ceases to be parish, for fear of diseases. Letters patent of June 7, 1473 granted for this part of the tax on salt for four years and the church is consecrated in 1484. There is little information, especially architectural  on the Church Saint-Florentin of  Amboise.

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The bell tower is adorned with a 16C Renaissance dome, and was donated by the Duke of Choiseul. The nave ends with a three-sided apse. The south door is adorned with an archivolt surmounted by an accolade accompanied by two pilasters which supported missing statues. The interior was transformed in 1876 with wooden vault replaced by a stone vault , and the single nave was divided into three. The stained glass windows in the choir and the nave were produced in 1956 by Max Ingrand. The son of François I and Queen Claude, born in 1518, was baptized in this church, The stained glass windows were destroyed during WWII and replaced by original works by Max Ingrand, who also works at the Saint-Hubert Chapel of the castle (see post).

The windows, centered around the representations of the Virgin, were made in 1956. The church is also decorated with ten statues, typical of the Sulpician art of the 19C. The vertical parts of the choir were not reworked in 1876, they are from the late 15C. Today ,it serves as a place of exhibitions.

amboise ch st florentin stained glass back dec15

The city of Amboise on the Church of Saint Florentin  as well as other things to see:

There you go folks, another dandy in beautiful Amboise, plenty to see here see my other posts on it. Hope you enjoy this post on the Church Saint Florentin, right next to the Loire river.

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

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December 27, 2021

The Massy-Palaiseau train station and more!

Ok so lets get you to another sort of off the beaten path area of my eternal Paris. This is a place that has been just passed by and only use its transport hub , an important one especially if living in the west of France like me! There are ways to get direct from my Vannes train station on the TGV service to Roissy CDG airport or even Disneyland Paris. This is the connection station sometimes and sometimes it goes direct, talking about Massy-Palaiseau . Let me tell you a bit more on it and hope you can use it as well. I have it with updated information.

The Massy – Palaiseau train station is located in the territory of the town of Massy, ​​near Palaiseau, in the department of Essonne 91, in the Île-de-France region. Here there are 3 separate stations that are juxtaposed.

Massy tgv gare front closeup apr17

The train station of the former Sceaux line, now RER B, operated by RATP, the RER C station, officially named the Massy – Palaiseau – Grande-Ceinture station and operated by the SNCF, and the TGV station, operated by the main line SNCF, which forms the hub of the TGV’s east-west interconnections.

The RER line C station, of which it constitutes the terminus of branch C2, is also served by intersector TGVs circulating between Normandie (Le Havre, Rouen-Rive-Droite) and the South-East (Lyon-Part-Dieu, Valence TGV, Avignon TGV and Marseille-Saint-Charles). The other Provence TGVs coming from or going to the LGV Atlantique and serving Massy stop at the Massy TGV station.

According to Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) plans for 2023, the station will be the terminus of the tramway line 12 Express. Still according to the same organism, the station should be served by the Grand Paris Express metro line 18 from 2027.  The new underground station should have a large arch-shaped building, largely glazed, located in the center of the interchange hub between the RER B and RER C lines; it will be installed instead of a few tracks in the beam, at an equal distance from the two gateways to which it will be connected and will act as a skylight, The TGV, RER and bus stations  are interconnected by a  241 meter footbridge to allows passengers to reach the RER, TGV and Vilmorin and Atlantis bus stations.

Massy tgv gare and bus terminal apr17

A bit on the town of Massy itself.

Massy is 15 km from Paris-Notre-Dame, point zero of the roads of France, 16 km from Evry,  34 km from Etampes, 30 km from Dourdan, 39 km from Milly-la-Forêt and only 13 km from Versailles. The town is bordered on the north by the course of Bièvre river for about 1.52 km (old river now gone from Paris see Rue du Biévre)

The Massy-Palaiseau station, opened in 1883, is currently part of a multimodal hub connected to RER B and C and completed since 1991 by the Massy TGV station served by the five French high-speed lines, Atlantique to Rennes , Nantes and Bordeaux, South-East to Lyon then Mediterranean to Marseille and Montpellier, North to Lille and Brussels and now Eastern Europe to Strasbourg. There is also bus stations of Massy-Atlantis and Massy-Vilmorin

massy tgv gare front afar apr17

By road , you have the two ancient roads prior to the 18C, the national road 20 heir to the great royal road from Paris to Toulouse, currently the 920  road (this have taken from Paris to Toulouse! both when name 20 and now 920 ) to the far east and the 188 road from the east to the southwest (old road of Chartres main axis of old Massy constituted of the avenue of President-Kennedy,  Rue Gabriel-Péri, rue du mai 8 1945 and the rue de  Paris).

Other than the intersection on TGV from Vannes to Roissy CDG,  which I have taken several times, and Disneyland Paris once,  there is to see  the Opera de Massy, Cultural Center Paul Bailliart, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance.  There is ,also, the Château de Vilgénis rebuilt in 1823,  from its origins of 1755, now owned by Air France!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip by here are:

The city of Massy on transports

The Paris Saclay tourist office on TGV at Massy

The SNCF Massy TGV train station

The Transilien RER trains B and C

The Massy-Palaiseau station is nice big areas, plenty of eating places and easy panels me think. The trip from the west is long ok for me but my father is difficult and he has taken it with me and the boys too. However, it is a great alternative to get to Roissy CDG for many including me and avoid the Paris center, and it is very easy about 32 minutes to Disneyland Paris.

There you go folks,the transport tribulations of my belle France. Yes, you notice too almost everything is routed by Paris yes indeed. It all has to do with a National government of a Republic that wanted to crown its jewel in one city, Paris. Hope you find the post useful for your next trip to France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 26, 2021

Cité Royale de Loches!!!

Ok so this one was planned for on our way back home stop and see the most we could. We were on my road warrior trip in the Loire and this was the end of the line before heading full throttle home on the A85 to A11 to N165 and home! So let me give you an introduction and then some on the Cité Royale de Loches!!!

Loches is located in the Indre-et-Loire department 37, in the Centre-Val de Loire region. The town is crossed by the Indre river for about 6 km which flows from south to north at the eastern end of its territory, I got here along the D960/D760 road,from Valençay passing briefly by Montrésor.

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A bit of history I like tell us that Loches becomes a small medieval town topped with one of the oldest dungeons in Europe, built around the year 1000 by Foulques III Nerra. In the 10C, the incessant quarrels between the counts of Blois and the counts of Anjou are in the origin of the rise of the castle of Loches, which now plays a leading role in this power struggle. His son Foulques Nerra had an enormous dominium built, attesting to his power, in the form of a large square tower. This quadrangular keep is still visible today.

In 1195, after the death of Henri II Plantagenêt, Lord of Anjou and King of England and taking advantage of Richard the Lionheart being held prisoner in Austria since his return from the Crusades, Philippe Auguste intrigued with Jean sans Terre, the brother of Richard the Lionheart and is given Loches. As soon as he is freed, the impetuous Lionheart runs up and takes back the castle of Loches. Ten years later, in 1205, Philippe Auguste took his revenge. The siege lasts a year. In 1249, the lordship of Loches passed definitively to the French royal domain after Saint Louis bought it . Until the end of the Ancien Régime, the kings of France gave the title of lieutenants to the king to the governors of the stronghold of Loches, and in particular the Baraudins dynasty, which succeeded each other throughout the 18C.

At the end of May 1429, after her victory in Orleans, Joan of Arc came to meet Charles VII to convince him to be crowned. In the 15C, Agnès Sorel, favorite of Charles VII, often lived in the converted castles of Loches and Beaulieu from 1444 in 1449. She abandons the court of Chinon, where the Dauphin (future Louis XI) created many difficulties for her. Agnès Sorel took refuge in Loches and Charles VII, angered by so much impertinence, drove her son from the court and sent him to govern the Dauphiné. After serving as a royal residence, the Château de Loches became a state prison under Louis XI. On the eve of the French revolution, Loches was in decline, and in 1789, the royal prison of Loches had only three prisoners. Under the Consulate, Chinon and Loches are designated sub-prefectures of the department of Indre-et-Loire, thus preserving a certain administrative and cultural autonomy vis-à-vis the city of Tours. Loches built an amphitheater under the remains of an old castle only 41 km from Tours. The Loches roundup on Thursday July 27, 1944 the Gestapo helped by the militia of Tours closed the city, more than two hundred people will be arrested and questioned for part of the day in the premises of the Alfred-de-Vigny girls’ school. 58 men and 6 women will be directed to the prison of Tours, then to the deportation camps. Loches is listed as a City of Art and History, Flower town, and among the most beautiful detours in France. It is now very popular among the British many of whom settled in this part of Touraine, thereby reconnecting with their Plantagenêt ancestors.

Things to see in Loches, well head for the castle of Loches ,the main thing to see here, and it includes, the Roman keep, remarkable for its dimensions (36 meters high) and for its excellent state of conservation, it is the last of the dungeons erected by Foulques Nerra, Count of Anjou, around the year 1000. In 1926, the keep finally ceased to be a prison. The keep is flanked by another tower called the Louis-XI tower, built during the Renaissance with a purely military vocation, it was designed to allow cannon firing from the top of its terrace.

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Le Logis Royal built on the tip of the rocky outcrop overlooking the Indre valley, the Logis Royal was one of the favorite residences of the Valois during the Hundred Years War. Charles VII erected a first main building inspired by military architecture at the end of the 14C. His successors extended it with a second building, the facade of which was decorated in a flamboyant Gothic style. Three illustrious women have marked the history of the Logis Royal: Joan of Arc, Agnès Sorel, favorite of Charles VII and Anne of Brittany.

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Other things to see in Loches are

The Royal Gate: the only exit allowing access to the Citadel. This door dates from the 12C and 13C and was completed in the 15C by a central building and a cannon terrace. From the Porte Royale, you can enter the Royal City to visit the keep, the Logis Royal, the Saint-Ours Collegiate Church and the Maison Lansyer, or go around the ramparts via Boulevard Philippe-Auguste (as we did). The top of the Porte Royale can be reached through the Maison Lansyer garden, from where the view of the city is breathtaking.

The Saint-Ours Collegiate Church is a Romanesque and Gothic church built in the 11-12, whose mixed style is due to a long construction over two different periods. It also has two strange hollow eight-sided pyramids, the “dubes”, erected around 1165. It also houses the marble tomb of Agnès Sorel,

The Chancellery, a Renaissance building open to the public which houses an exhibition on the history of the city of Loches, City of Art and History and temporary exhibitions, and the Maison du Centaure neighboring house whose facade is adorned with a relief representing Hercules and a Centaur,

The Saint-Antoine Tower: former bell tower of the Saint-Antoine chapel, now disappeared, it also serves as the city’s belfry. It rises to 52 meters and offers a good view of the surroundings of Loches. Built between 1529 and 1575, it is the only Renaissance belfry in Touraine. It is only open to the public on the occasion of Heritage Days,

The Porte des Cordeliers: opened in the 15C in the third belt of the city’s ramparts, the Porte des Cordeliers was equipped with two drawbridges crossing the reach of the Indre. She let in travelers who came by road from Spain,

Sansac castle , a small Renaissance castle whose particularity is an asymmetrical facade. It was here that Francis I first met Charles V. The castle is private.  The bronze statue of Alfred de Vigny, made in 1909 by François Sicard, is on the Place de la Marne, it was previously located on the Place de Verdun.

The city of Loches on its heritage

The Loches tourist office on the Royal City/castle

There you go folks, I come to the end of my road warrior tour of the magnificent Loire valley. The Royal Fortress of Loches needs more time and we will be back. For now I leave this introduction in my blog as a reminder for later trips hoping 2022 would be a better year for all. Hope you enjoy the post on the Cité Royal de Loches!

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

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December 26, 2021

The Château de Valençay !!!

And here I am moving right alone in the wonderful sublime Valley of the Kings, the Loire. And I arrive at Valençay castle, the home of Tayllerand! This is new territory in my blog, so will tell you more about it. I do not recall been here as Tayllerand was close to Napoléon.

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The town of Valençay is located in the dept Indre 37 of the Centre Val de Loire region. Let me use this post to tell you about the castle and then another for the rest misc. Hope you enjoy it as I. As usual superbe loire valley castle.

The château de Valençay was the property of the prince de Talleyrand. Documents attest to the presence of the lordship or domain of Valençay from the 13C, but all that remains from this time is the salle basse (lower medieval hall), located below the current cour d’Honneur (main courtyard). Property of Eudes de Bourgogne at the time and then passed on to his descendants, the fiefdom was acquired in 1451 by Robert II d’Estampes who extended the property.  Louis d’Estampes, grandson of Robert II, made a rich match in marrying Marie Hurault, daughter of the French Minister of Finances of Louis XII, which triggered the construction around 1520. First by building the large tower, then half of the facade and two bays of the gallery. The gallery, near the cour d’Honneur, was built in the next decade.  In 1540, Jacques, son of Louis and Marie d’Estampes, who also married into wealth, began to finish building the large tower, adding an imperial roof which was not yet very common.The marriage between his son Jean and Sara d’Applaincourt, heiress of the fiefdom of Picardie, relaunched construction with the building of a remarkable keep. This square tower flanked by cylindrical turrets on both sides of the entrance and the courtyard had a porte-cochère and a pedestrian door. The construction of a wing symmetrical to the main buildings, between the round tower and the keep was initiated but remained unfinished. The Marquis de Valencay Dominique, that the d’Estampes family reached its peak. Dominique made a prestigious alliance in marrying Marie-Louise de Montmorency and had a particularly favorable position in the king’s court. Thanks to him, the buildings surrounding the cour d’Honneur were completed: end of construction of the west wing, coupled with a gallery, construction of a symmetrical wing to the east, a stone arcade wall to the south closing the courtyard.  Following premature deaths in the d’Estampes family and conflicts related to heritage and the estate, the château was sold several times.   

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Beautiful collections of furniture sculptures, paintings and precious objects give the Château of Valençay a still inhabited look, Its prominent room ,condensed briefly by yours truly from the official castle site are :

Grand salon this room is completely inspired by the Empire style from the mahogany and gilded bronze décor to the hanging Bohemian crystal chandeliers. It is found in the armchairs, chairs and sofas whose tapestries, all different and embroidered by the ladies of the court of Spain, reproduce leaves collected in the park. 

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Blue salon ,the Louis xv style table was transformed into a card table by the Spanish princes. A big player himself, Talleyrand surely enjoyed it. All around: Louis XV and Louis XVI style chairs and small pieces of furniture. A beautiful early 18C bureau Mazarin, with red tortoiseshell and leather inlay.

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King of Spain’s Bedroom The largest bedchamber in the château including a beautiful set of Empire-style furniture, this room was occupied by the Prince of Asturias from 1808 to 1814. As a prisoner of Napoleon, the future King Ferdinand VII stayed in a gilded cage thanks to the attention and concern of Talleyrand.A Louis XVI-style bed was specifically made for Ferdinand and small pieces of furniture for gloves, stockings and handkerchiefs all add a touch of sophistication to this room along with the recently added cheval mirror. The walls are covered in a fine panoramic grisaille wallpaper, representing episodes of the life of Cupid and Psyche.

Valencay castle chambre roi d Espagne left dec21

Duchess de Dino’s Bedroom The Duchess of Dino, Talleyrand’s beloved niece turned companion of Talleyrand, gazes upon her former world in a formal dress from her portrait painted by Chabord. This room contains a very fine set of mahogany furniture, including a beautiful Empire Restoration-style sleigh bed made from Cuban mahogany. A stunning 19C copper bathtub and rare Regency bidet-chair are located in the bathroom next to the bedchamber.

Valencay castle chambre duchesse de Dino dec21

Dining room The dining room displays a magnificent mahogany table seating up to 36 guests, refreshment console tables made of marble, a cutting table and an elegant decor.

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Hall of Treasures Since 2018, the staged museum room has showcased the personal and historical items belonging to Talleyrand.

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Family portraits gallery Today, the gallery is adorned with 19C neoclassic statues and busts, Empire-style chairs and six portraits of Talleyrand’s parents and ancestors.

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Music room Versailles-style wooden floors, carved woodwork and original painted walls are all inspired by Louis XVI.

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Grand Gallery It serves all of the upstairs apartments and ends in a small room, formerly used as a chapel, which holds today a copy of Houdon’s “Diana the Huntress”. This corridor is filled with many Empire and Restoration-style chests of drawers and console tables.

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Princess de Bénévent’s Bedroom Talleyrand’s wife was given the title of Princess of Benevento when Talleyrand received the duchy of Benevento, an estate owned by the Vatican attached to the kingdom of Naples, from Napoleon in 1806. Furniture in her room dates back to the 18C.

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Prince de Talleyrand’s Bedroom Some of the beautiful Empire-style furniture comes from the Hôtel Saint Florentin in Paris, where Talleyrand died in 1838. The mahogany bed with an Egyptian-style headboard, Egyptian Revival chest of drawers with marble top and claw feet, small pedestal table with two marble surfaces, three rounded claw legs with hawk heads and gilded bronze motifs.

Valencay castle chambre prince de Tayllerand dec21

Guest Room This room was named after the Empire-style bed that belonged to this famous female scholar, Miss de Staël. Here you will find a small striking pedestal table engraved with hieroglyphics with its three legs embellished with lion heads and paws.

Study This room holds various pieces of office furniture that belonged to Talleyrand. The mahogany veneer table and leather armchair with bellow pockets were used during Talleyrand’s last diplomatic mission, in London from 1830 to 1834, for King Louis-Philippe.

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Cabinet de toilette With its Toile de Jouy wall coverings, it separated the two bedrooms and was previously an antechamber.

The kitchens Equipped with ovens and copper utensils were comfortably set up in the 17-18C basements

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Renaissance Room This room, located on the first floor of the keep, still bears witness to the style and taste of upper class people at the time of the Renaissance. an impressive fireplace presents a superb basket of flowers in the centre of its hood surrounded by the weapons, monograms and portraits of Louis d’Estampes and his wife, Marie.

Guard Room In the basement of the west wing, a long sloping corridor takes you to a room located underneath the Cour d’Honneur (Grand Courtyard). It is the last remaining part of a fortified castle built in the 13C. Divided into three bays by thick arches.

From 1816 until his death, Talleyrand stayed at Valençay castle for a few months every year, surrounded by his family and the many leading figures of the times whom he counted as friends. In 1819, he launched construction on a building in the communal area, designed to be a private theater for his own entertainment and that of his entourage. was completed in 1820 . The theater’s defining feature is the magnificent conservation of most of its original sets. After fading from memory in the early 20C, the theater was rediscovered in the 1980s and then officially reopened to the public in 2013.

Renewed each season, the flower beds are designed to give the château a colorful setting worthy of its architectural splendor. Filled with 25 different tree species, the forest is carefully maintained and plays an educational role with signs that provide information on their different origins, uses and biology. Visitors can explore it on foot or by electric golf cart on a 4 km path. You have the Garden “à la française”, The Duchess’ Garden, and Ornamental Gardens. The Deer Park dates back to Talleyrand’s day, with its delightful deer, large and small, sporting their red coats with white splashes in the summer, brown in the winter. The “Forêt des Princes” , visitors can explore a magnificent 4 km historical and natural path on foot or using an electric golf cart. Seven remarkable features are worth pointing out along this walk, along with a stunning view of the château. This has an additional charge of 14€.

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The official Château de Valençay

The Valençay tourist office on the castle

There you go folks, another magnificent castle in my belle France! The list is endless, and the beauty beyond questioning. This is indeed the valley of the kings, and I am just touching the surface. The Château de Valençay and Tayllerand is a nice history piece to learn with more space and time than this post allows me. Hope you enjoy it and visit.

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

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December 25, 2021

Curiosities of Valençay!!

And of course, in most if not all of these towns, the castle is it. However, some have charm and pleasant surrounding for a walk in town; this is the case of Valençay. I was there to see the castle , of course. (see post). However, I did venture out into the streets as love to walk all over the towns once in it. Let me give you the town view of Valençay; hope you enjoy it as I.

The town of Valençay is located in the dept Indre 36 of the Centre Val de Loire region, It owes its name to the Gallo-Romain Valens who owned in this place a villa “Valenciacus” (Domaine de Valens). From the 3C to the 5C, workshops and buildings which housed among other things an oven, a mill and a press were built around this villa. It is a stone fortress which was built at the end of the 10C and the beginning of the 11C to defend the region. At that time, the Templars for their part founded a commandery beyond the Nahon river. The church of the village was built around the abbey. A feudal castle appeared with the first lord of Valençay Bertrand Gauthier in 1220. Jacques 1er d’Estampes had the feudal castle razed to the ground in 1540 to begin construction of the current castle.

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The Count of Luçay ceded his domain in 1803 to Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Consulate who only obeyed the orders of Bonaparte. In 1808, the castle was chosen by Napoléon I as the residence of the Princes of Spain in exile. Ferdinand of Spain, his brother Don Carlos and his uncle Don Antonio did not leave Valençay until 1814 after signing a treaty settling the Spanish affair. And Napoleon,been booted out of Spain…

It was spared from the wars of 1870-1871 and 1914-1918. During WWII, it was a place of parachuting of weapons and supplies for the guerrillas hidden in the forests of Gâtines and Garsanland. On August 16, 1944, it suffered in particular from Nazis reprisals. but the castle was spared thanks to the German origins of the Duke of Valençay and to the curator of the Louvre museum who could parley. Blood is thicker than water…

Some of the other things you can see here are

The Tombeau de Talleyrand, (did not visit) which is in fact a chapel which once served as a place of prayer for the Daughters of the Cross; Talleyrand had a large crypt dug to be buried there, which served as a burial place for his descendants until 1952. Since May 21, 2010, the sarcophagus has been transported to the Notre-Dame Chapel and the tomb can be visited. The Notre Dame Chapel is near the city/town hall of Valençay.

The Valençay tourist office on the tomb of Talleyrand

The wheat market or Halle au Blé , would have existed for several centuries, and would have been part of the domain of Prince Talleyrand at the beginning of the 19C before being sold to the city of Valençay. The Halle then has an old-fashioned thatched roof and a rammed earth parterre.  The current building dates from the second quarter of the 19C when it was completely rebuilt. For nearly a century and a half, the Halle au Blé had been organized like a large covered market and thus hosted the weekly local market. Today this beautiful white tufa building, with the large entrance of wrought iron and stained glass, topped with a decor of red bricks, and surrounded by four beautiful pilasters, has a modern and authentic look at the same time. For several years now, between April and June, the Festiv’halle’coustique, one of the city’s main musical events, has taken place in the halle au blé or wheat market.

Valencay le halle au ble front pl de la halle dec21

The Saint-Martin Church, also there was a Talleyrand museum in the outbuildings , (did not see) orangery of the castle of Valençay (see post). The furniture and works of art that were there have been reinstalled inside the castle itself. Musée de l’automobile de Valençay or Automobile Museum (did not see) ; presents more than fifty beautiful vehicles including the Renault limousine of presidents Raymond Poincaré and Alexandre Millerand, and the Delaunay-Belleville of the Mousquetaire cruise. 

And as hunger have it , came quickly in Valençay. The town had a nice traffic especially inside the restaurant we pick by chance a créperie breton lol! Can’t get away from them!! It was a hit, the Xavier Bouvier owner was very talkative and friendly adapting to our dog Rex and my Dad very nicely, we appreciated. The food was good galette complet royale with crêpe dark chocolate, Lancelot blonde breton beers and coffees all for 21€ per person nice! A pleasant find in nice Valençay. Oh the place was Créperie Le Biniou 17 Rue Ancienne des Bouchers. No web but all worth it me think.

Valencay le Binou crep front dec21

Valencay le Biniou crep lancelot beers dec21

Further, the City of Valençay on its heritage

Valençay is a town of the most beautiful side trips (detours) of France:

There you go folks, a dandy little town with a lot of punch in the Loire. This is Valençay and we like it; another dot to be back soon. Hope you enjoy the castle and town of Valençay as well as I.

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

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December 25, 2021

Selles-sur-Cher ,we were here!!!

This is one of those towns we passed by and never been in it. In all my road warrior trips in my belle France, the choices are endless and many. However, we love the goat cheese from there and eat it profusely , so now in the neighborhood…it was time to pay a visit to the goat cheese. Voilà nice lively town we like it and will be back for more. Hope you enjoy this brief instroduction to Selles-sur-Cher!

Selles-sur-Cher is located in the department of Loir-et-Cher, 41 in the Centre-Val de Loire region. It was on the road D956 on our way to see Valençay castle (see post). It is about 39 km from Blois.

Some brief history I like, between January 29 and February 8, 1939, more than 3,100 Spanish refugees, fleeing the collapse of the Spanish republic before Franco, arrived in Loir-et-Cher.The Selles-sur-Cher stud farms are involved
The town of Selles-sur-Cher is located in the area of the protected designation of origin (AOP) of three products: two cheeses we love too, the Selles-sur-cher and Valençay as well as one wine Valençay.

There is a nice castle here we did not see this time, the Château de Selles-sur-Cher, first medieval fortress whose construction dates back to 935, having belonged to Philippe de Béthune who called on the architect Jacques Androuet du Cerceau for its renovation, partially destroyed in the 18C and rebuilt to make it a pleasure residence. It has been reopened to the public since 2012. It has been hosting the Geek Faëries festival since June 2014.

The one wonderful monument we saw was the Abbey ! The Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche , also called the abbey of Saint-Eusice. Saint Eusice died probably in 542. Childebert had a magnificent church built on his tomb. The church was devastated by the Vikings, probably in 903. According to tradition, Saint Eusice built an oratory there in the 6C which was spared by a flood of the river. In 531, he predicted to Childeric, king of the Franks the victory against Alamaric, king of Visigoth, and on his return, the latter according to the wish he had made, had an abbey built on this very place, marking the birth of the town.

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The Abbey of Notre Dame la Blanche was rebuilt during the second quarter of the 12C. At the end of the 12C, the nave was partially rebuilt. The north wall, the pillars of the nave and its vault were then reassembled in the Gothic style during the 13-14C. In 1606, only the outer envelope of the ambulatory remained and the radiant chapels. The choir and the ambulatory were covered with a common wooden ceiling. The windows of the choir were closed.

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Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar nave to altar dec21

In 1613, the congregation of Feuillants which had settled in the Abbey enhanced the choir and enlarged the crypt where it placed the relics of Saint Eusice. It was not until 1882 that the abbey was rebuild to its original state, and it is an almost new church that we can now contemplate. The Abbey includes a nave flanked by side aisles, a transept and a choir surrounded by an ambulatory with three radiating chapels. The transept square has four enormous piers supporting semicircular arches which frame a dome with pendants. This powerful massif supports a steeple. The crypt below the choir contains the tomb of Saint Eusice from the 6C. 

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Selles sur Cher Abbey of Notre-Dame-la-Blanche altar crypt tomb Saint Eusice dec21

The town of Selles sur Cher on its heritage

The south valley of the Loire tourist office on Selles sur Cher

There you go folks a dandy visit to be back for more, yes cheese and wine, welcome to France!The side trip to Selles sur Cher was nice and yummy, as said we will be back. For now enjoy the Abbey Notre Dame la Blanche, and Selles sur Cher as I did.

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

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