Archive for January 3rd, 2022

January 3, 2022

A little bit of Dax!

Ok so in my road warrior ways have traveled all over France; sometimes stop, sometimes stayed and many times just past by with some potential to come back. The town here is an example of those that have passed by but never really went in to see things. I just took a train connection once and drove by it center in another time. However, I like for the memories and the desire to come back as a reminder tell you all a bit about Dax.

Dax is located in the Landes department 64 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It belongs to the former province of Gascony. It is a very busy spa town. The town is located 45 km from Bayonne, 80 km from Irun, 100 km from Saint-Sébastian, 150 km from Bordeaux and 730 km from Paris.

There is access by SNCF trains at the Gare de Dax.  Napoléon III was not able to come,however, the Impératrice Eugénie arrived from Biarritz on calèche wagon, and inaugure the train station in 1854, as well as gets off on the train to Bordeaux. The train station is service by the TGV on the line Paris(Montparnasse)-Hendaye or Tarbes (about 3h20 to Dax) and the TER Nouvelle Aquitaine regional trains. There are important renovation work going on but still working. I must add the bus terminal is next door. Walking you take 20 minutes doable by us, but maybe long for many.


The SNCF gare et connexions on Dax

The TER Nouvelle Aquitaine on Dax

The city of Dax on its train station

I admit with sorrow that only past by Dax in my road warrior ways and took once a connecting train to Bordeaux here, However, some of the things to see for you and me are :

Roman archaeological crypt. The archaeological crypt, located rue Cazade, would contain the foundations of a Roman temple from the 2C. Remains of the Gallo-Roman ramparts. The Gallo-Roman ramparts of Dax were built in the 4C of the Christian era. They then extended over a perimeter of 1,465 meters, having a thickness of 4 meters and a height of 10 meters starting from the ditch. They were pierced by three doors and punctuated by 46 towers. The  Notre-Dame Sainte-Marie Cathedral, Place Roger Ducos. At the end of the 13C.  Church of Saint-Vincent-de-Xaintes, rue des Écoles. Saint-Vincent-de-Xaintes bears the name of the city’s first bishop. The holy bishop would have been martyred there. Built on the site of a 11C basilica, itself erected on a Gallo-Roman temple, the current church, in neo-Romanesque style, dates from 1893.  Hotel Saint-Martin-d’Agès. Old mansion, with gate and interior courtyard, beautifully made. It dates from the 17C,. In 1659-60, Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin stayed there.
Private mansions: Hôtel de Chièvre (17C), now city/town hall), Hôtel Neurisse (17C, today Cultural Center, housing an 18C fountain), Banque de France (18C), Municipal Library (building of the 16C), house of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (17C)

Fontaine Chaude or Hot fountain or Source of the Nèhe. Named after a Nordic goddess of water, The Nèhe, the spring is the true symbol of the resort. Built in the 19C on the supposed site of the ancient Roman baths.I found me a couple of older pic from a paper pic and will include here for the memories of always, sorry for the quality they are old.

Dax ancienne fontaine d'eau chaude
The Arena of Dax. They were built in 1913, then enlarged in 1932. Bullfights are organized on the occasion of the Dax Festivities (six days around August 15) and the Toros y Salsa festival, organized the second weekend in September. Landes bullfighting is in the spotlight in July and August, with the holding of the Grand Landes competition in Dax on the first day of the Holidays.

Dax les arenes
Museum of Light Aviation and the Army and helicopter. Unique in France, this museum was set up by former soldiers. It presents, in a vast hall of 2000 m2, one of the most beautiful European collections of old combat airplanes and helicopters.  Atrium Casino The architects André Granet (Paris), Albert Pomade (Dax) and Jean Prunetti (Dax), are responsible for the realization of the casino. Having just completed the Salle Pleyel in Paris, On July 1, 1928, the first such entertainment space in the Landes was inaugurated. The building is part of an ensemble with the neighboring Hôtel Splendid. It became the property of the city in 1968, The casino was restored and reopened to the public in 2005

“Dax la feria!” , are generally organized between the second and third of August. They are thus organized, for five days, around a large bullfighting fair, structured around five bullfights, a rejonada corrida, a pitted novillada and two novilladas without picador. The city is a member of the Union of French bullfighting cities. Webpage :

Dax lights up and, also, hosts Toros y Salsa, a festival mixing salsa music and bullfights for three days in the middle of September, in the Parc des Arènes, Webpage :

A bit of history I like

The Viscounts of Tartas held the Viscount of Dax as well as that of Tartas until the beginning of the 14C or 1312 thereabout. By the marriage of the only daughter of the last viscount of Tartas and Dax, Assalide, with Amanieu V, Lord d’Albret, of the House of Albret, the title passed in this House, kings of Navarre in the 15C, and later to the King of France and Navarre, by King Henry IV from his mother, Jeanne d’Albret, from the House of Albret.

The marriage of Louis VII the Younger and Eleanor of Aquitaine was annulled in 1152; the same year she married Henri II Plantagenêt, later King of England, to whom she brought the provinces of southwestern France ,Gascony and Guyenne as a dowry. The domination of the kings of England, called kings-dukes , because they remained (in principle only) vassals of the kings of France for their possessions in France was to last until 1453, at the end of the Hundred Years War.

The clergy played an important role in this development , as evidenced by the many constructions carried out in the last three medieval centuries (all or almost all have disappeared): Notre-Dame Cathedral of the 13C (collapsed in the 17C, all that remains is the splendid portal of the apostles, a masterpiece of sculpture of the time), bishopric, cloister, convents (Cordeliers, Carmelites, Poor Clares), canonical houses, etc. The city/town hall of Dax is one of the oldest in France, it dates from 1189. The first mayor of Dax was called Pierre de Saint-Paul and, after him, 148 mayors succeeded one another, without any interruption !

Vincent de Paul studied at the Cordeliers de Dax, then at the municipal college. Cardinal Mazarin stayed in Dax in 1659. That same year, several princes and princesses moved to the city of Eaux-Chaudes. Louis XIV (with whom the city was sided during the Fronde) thus stopped in Dax by going to meet his fiancée, the Infanta Marie-Thérèse of Spain, whom he was going to marry at Saint-Jean-de- Luz.(see post).

The city of Dax on its heritage

The Dax tourist office :

There you go folks, another off the beaten path town of my belle France. It is quite nice and sure would love to visit with more time and been so close to Bordeaux. Hope you enjoy the introduction to Dax and its pretty train station or gare de Dax!

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

January 3, 2022

The rue de Castiglione of Paris!!!

This is a short grand street of my eternal Paris. I have written before but have new text with older new pictures found. This is the street I worked for several years while in the deluxe hotel management business. Let me tell you about the rue de Castiglione of Paris!!!

The rue de Castiglione is a street full of wonders architecturally,historically, and as said personal with still many friends there who are in touch. The street starts at the rue de Rivoli side with the wonderful Jardin des Tuileries and goes to the rue Saint Honoré just before the Place Vendôme.It is located in the neighborhood or quartier Place Vendôme and the 1er district or arrondissement of Paris.


The story goes of the fame of this street that one fine day in 1896, a light operator transported his enormous camera to this famous rue de Castiglione.  The perspective, with its depth of field, were then perceived as essential elements to reinforce the illusion of reality of the cinematograph . But in reality, what changed rue de Castiglione when in 1972 and 1986, a lover of the Lumière brothers chose to reproduce this view identically!

Since then, the rue de Castiglione has displayed incomparable luxury. Gone are the unusual days of Salvador Dali firing pistols and running herds of goats in the halls of the establishment. And the Vendôme column, now appearing as the essential and symbolic decoration of this so upscale neighborhood.


This was the old passage des Feuillants. The Benedictine monks of the Feuillants convent improved their ordinary life by renting investment houses (some still exist between numbers 235 and 229 rue Saint-Honoré). In 1791, the Club des Feuillants had established itself in the convent: there were good people there, dissidents of the Jacobins to follow the theories of La Fayette, Bailly, Sieyès or Talleyrand.

One good reason to be there, see my posts. The Paris tourist office on the Westin Vendôme

There you go folks, short and sassy on a wonderful street of Paris, my street for several years which I enjoyed fully and do so again when in Paris. Hope you like this brief walk in my rue de Castiglione ,old hangout with many memories ; the walk is short, the memories are long. This is my eternal Paris and lucky to see it often still today.

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

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January 3, 2022

The Île Saint-Louis of Paris!!

The recent put up for sale of a hôtel particulier or mansion built in 1640 in Ïle Saint Louis of Paris for 3,7M€ with the groupe Coldwell Banker Europa Realty ,let me to write this post, It will be on my black and white series as pictures here are rare , the island is residential. The sale is really rare as not usual to see properties sold here, they go by heritage or big spenders…

The Île Saint-Louis is an island located on the Seine river, in the heart of Paris, in the 4éme arrondissement, in the Notre-Dame neighborhood or quartier no 16 of Paris. The Île Saint-Louis since 1725 the current name from King Louis IX, aka Saint Louis, patron Saint and ancestor of Louis XIII. According to legend, he used to come to pray on the former Île aux Vaches and would have taken the cross there with his knights in 1269 before leaving for the Eighth Crusade (an expedition which was to be fatal to him: Louis IX died of dysentery under the walls of Tunis a year later). The island has an area of ​​11 ha. It takes the form of a parallelogram of 525 meters on its long side and 250 meters on its short side, Its greatest diagonal point is from place Louis-Aragon to square Barye, reaching a little over 700 meters.

Before 1860, (Baron Haussmann came after) Île Saint-Louis was part of the former 9éme arrondissement of Paris and alone formed the former neighborhood of Île-Saint-Louis. Under the French revolution, it was one of the 48 Parisian revolutionary sections baptized section de la Fraternité (fraternity), The Île Saint-Louis is connected to the rest of the arrondissement on the right bank of the river by three bridges, plus a fourth which connects it to the Île de la Cité, and to the 5éme arrondissement, on the left bank, by two other bridges. Before its urbanization, the current site of Île Saint-Louis was called Île Notre-Dame. It was given by King Charles the Bald to the Bishop of Paris in 867. The canons of Notre-Dame regained ownership shortly after. The island is connected to the left bank of the river by a footbridge at the site of the current Pont de Tournelle bridge, In the 13C, when Paris was fortified by the enclosure of Philippe Auguste, a channel cut the island in two current, then uninhabited, in the extension of the surrounding walls. The western part (roughly two-thirds) was called Île Notre-Dame, and the eastern section is Île aux Vaches.

Ile aux Vaches was an uninhabited island mostly covered with meadows. It was reunited with Île Notre-Dame located immediately downstream at the end of the 17C, during the urban operation which helped to form the current Île Saint-Louis. Despite opposition from the canons of Notre Dame, the island has been inhabited and covered with houses since around 1640, and town planning operations continued for about thirty years until the mid-17C. The street plan adopts a checkerboard shape where the traffic lanes intersect at right angles. The island is structured by the rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, its main artery, which runs through practically its entire length from east to west.

The Île Saint-Louis also saw the construction of a large number of private mansions, which made it nicknamed “the island of palaces”. A certain number of these hotels were the work of the architect Louis Le Vau (who settled there with his family in 1639) and his brother François Le Vau (also settled on the island). The latter drew up the plans for the Saint-Louis-en-l’Île Church, built in 1644, the interior decoration of this sober baroque church, consecrated in 1726 in honor of King Louis IX, paintings by masters and paintings. murals, a magnificent organ with 3,500 pipes, stained-glass windows and stucco sculptures, It is at 19 bis, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, worth the detour.

The Hôtel Lambert mansion, located at 2, rue Saint-Louis en île,is one of the most beautiful private mansions on the island, the Rothschild family owned since the 1950s and was sold to Abdallah Ben Abdallah-Al-Thani, of the princely family of Qatar. The Hôtel Lambert mansion, is located near the upstream point of the island, along the Quai d’Anjou, and was created by the architect Louis Le Vau. The large apartment on the first floor overlooking the courtyard overlooks the garden, because of the elevation of it. The decor of the three cabinets, known as Love, Muses and Baths, created by Le Sueur, as well as that of the large gallery by Le Brun, made this hotel famous from its inception.

The Hôtel de Lauzun, located at 17, quai d’Anjou, where Charles Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier founded the Club de Hachischins, a group dedicated to drug experimentation. From the nobility of the Empire, Baron Jérôme Pichon bought the building in the 1840s. The building was divided into apartments rented in particular to writers including Théophile Gautier, Roger de Beauvoir and Charles Baudelaire from 1843 to 1845. Charles Baudelaire wrote there the first poems of his work Les Fleurs du Mal.

Others are the Hôtel Aubert-Perrot; the Hôtel de Chenizot; the Hôtel Comans-Richelieu; the Hôtel de Gontaut-Biron; the Hôtel Le Charron; Hôtel Lefebure de la Malmaison ; the Hôtel Lefèvre de la Barre; the Hôtel Le Vau; the Hôtel Sainctot ; the Hôtel of Pierre Viole; the Hôtel Potart; the maison Gruyn de Bordes ; ; the Pavillon de Bretonvilliers, only one pavilion has been preserved visible at the end of the rue de Bretonvilliers, its porch open to traffic connects the rue Saint Louis en île to the quai de Béthune.

Also, several bridges were built to connect the island to the rest of Paris ; these were : the Pont Marie completed in 1635, the bridge owes its name to the engineer-entrepreneur Christophe Marie who built it from 1614 to 1635. This bridge dates from the 16C, which makes it one of the oldest bridges in Paris. Built to follow the urbanization of Île Saint-Louis, its construction spanned 20 years, from 1614 until 1635, The Pont de la Tournelle built in 1656. The link between Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, inaugurated around 1630, collapsed several times and was rebuilt six times over the following centuries, The Pont Louis-Philippe linked the island to the right bank in 1862, The Louis-Philippe bridge via the rue Jean du Bellay, It was on July 29, 1833, to celebrate his accession to the throne at the end of the Three Glorious Years, that Louis-Philippe laid the first stone of a suspension bridge that was initially anonymous, located in the extension of the rue du Pont Louis Philippe,. The bridge crosses the Seine at an angle to the Quai aux Fleurs via Île Saint-Louis. It was opened to traffic a year later, on July 26, 1834. After the revolution of 1848 during which it was set on fire, it was restored and baptized “Pont de la Réforme” until 1852. To cope with the increase trafic ,it was destroyed to be replaced by the current bridge in 1860. The Pont Louis-Philippe was therefore inaugurated in April 1862. Each of the 4 meters piers posed in the Seine is adorned with a crown of stone foliage which surrounds a metal rosette. The only modification it has received since then was to replace the stone guardrails, which were badly damaged by bad weather, in 1995. The Pont Sully was built to the east of the island in 1876 to replace two footbridges.The bridge to the right bank begins at Quai Henri-IV and ends at Quai d’Anjou, and the one to the left bank begins at Quai de Béthune to emerge on the Saint-Bernard and Tournelle quays. In the 19C, the two distinct parts of this bridge were called Passerelle Damiette on the right bank side and Passerelle de Constantine on the left bank side. These were two suspended walkways , the first will be destroyed during the revolution of 1848, the other (built between 1636 and 1638) will collapse following the corrosion of its cables in 1872. The current bridge was built in 1876, in the context of the great works of Baron Haussmann , and inaugurated on August 25, 1877. Its name honors Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully, Minister of Henri IV. The pont Saint-Louis, the last avatar of the footbridges between the two islands, was inaugurated in 1970.

The Île Saint-Louis is surrounded by four quays, each roughly delimiting a quarter of the island: Quai d’Anjou (right bank of the island, from Pont Sully to Pont Marie); Quai de Bourbon (right bank, from Pont Marie to Pointe Avale and Pont Saint-Louis). Quai d´Orléans (left bank, from Pont Saint-Louis to Pont de la Tournelle), The Quai d´Orléans name in homage to Gaston d´Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIII. It measures 275 meters. It was built from 1614 to 1646. At No 6,there is the Polish Library which has occupied, since 1853, a beautiful listed building from the 17C which belongs to the Polish Historical and Literary Society. Created in 1832 by migrants from the Russian occupier’s brutal repression of a Polish uprising. The Quai de Béthune (left bank, from Pont de la Tournelle to Pont Sully). This quay was built from 1614 to 1646. In the 18C, this quay was called quai des balconies because the architect Le Vau had proposed that all houses on Île Saint-Louis on the banks of the Seine are adorned with beautiful balconies, hence the name. The current name was given to it in 1806. It is the name of the minister of Henri IV, Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully., A curiosity, the number of buildings begins at number 12. This must be due to the fact that the former Hôtel de Bretonvilliers occupied the space between this number and the Pont de Sully before being demolished. It is bordered by many old hotels. It runs along the large arm of the Seine.

The Ïle Saint Louis is crossed in its middle by the rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, the only traffic lane that runs parallel to the Seine (with the exception of the quays). The other roads on the island are all perpendicular to rue Saint-Louis-en-Île, with the exception of boulevard Henri-IV. The Boulevard Henri-IV, which continues between the two parts of the Pont de Sully; rue de Bretonvilliers, between quai de Béthune and rue Saint-Louis-en-Île; rue Poulletier, between Quai de Béthune and Quai d’Anjou; the rue des Deux-Ponts, between the Pont de la Tournelle and the Pont Marie; rue Budé, between the quai d´Orléans and the rue Saint-Louis-en-Île, the rue Le Regrattier, between the quai d´Orléans and the quai de Bourbon; rue Boutarel, between quai d´Orléans and rue Saint-Louis-en-Île; rue Jean-du-Bellay, between the Saint-Louis bridge and the Pont Louis-Philippe . Place Louis-Aragon is located on the downstream tip of the island, beyond the Quai de Bourbon.

Île Saint-Louis is not directly served by any metro line. The closest stations are those of Pont Marie and Sully – Morland, on line 7, on the right bank of the Seine. Bus line 67 crosses the island from north to south along Rue des Deux-Ponts and has a stop located roughly in the middle of the island. On Boulevard Henri-IV, lines 86 and 87 have a stop in both directions, between the two parts of Pont Sully. Either the start of the Quai d’Orléans can be reached by crossing the Pont Louis-Philippe which can be reached from the Pont-Marie metro station of line 7 or from the bus stop of 67. The eastern end of the island is served by the Sully-Morland metro station line 7. Bus lines 86 and 87 have a stop near Square Barye.

The Berthillon glacier, (ices) is located at 29/31, rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île. This family-run establishment, founded in 1954, is considered one of the best ice cream parlors in the world. Although the flavors have multiplied, the recipe has been the same for more than half a century: the House’s ice creams and sorbets are concocted with natural products, without preservatives or sweeteners. Other things to see are the Île-Saint-Louis theater, located on Quai d’Anjou, offers a small Italian-style room and programs contemporary creations and concerts. The L’Île aux Images gallery, located on Rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, offers collection photographs and original lithographs from the period. The Librarie Ulysse bookstore, located rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Ile, is the first in the world to specialize in countries and travel in 1971.

The Paris tourist office on walks in the ïle Saint Louis :

The Paris tourist office on the Ïle Saint Louis :

There you go folks , a wonderful spot for walks amongst beautiful architecture and history of Paris. This is grand, one of the reasons to see Paris, even if folks prefer the other island of Notre Dame Cathedral. The Ïle Saint Louis is gloriously beautiful; worth the detour. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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