Archive for February 13th, 2022

February 13, 2022

Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt !

Moving right along the wonderful Loire valley and encoutering new towns new discoveries of my belle France! The supply is endless and the beauty constant, as we drove on the D751 road to Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt. Let me tell you what we found here, nice architecture and history I like! 

Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt is in the department 37 of Indre-et-Loire in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Saint-Benoît, located 40 km of Tours . The parish of Saint-Benoît de la Mort is found in documents in 1290 and 1298, due to the demise of a fief in 1146. When King Louis XI visited this town in March 1479, it was still called Saint-Benoît-du-Lac-Mort. Indeed, the town was located 150 meters north of the Lac-Mort stream. During the French revolution, the town became Benoît-le-Bois and then again Saint-Benoît. Finally, according to a prefectural decree, the appellation became Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt  in 1936.

Here you have the Saint-Benoît Church, rebuilt in 1877, and whose sacristy is in the choir of the previous church, dating from the 13C and 15C, It is next to the mairie or mayor’s office building and was closed. But we came for the Abbey of Turpenay

St Benoit la foret ch front belltower feb22

The Abbey of Turpenay is located in a clearing between Saint-Benoît and Rivarennes. Founded in 1127 by Foulques the Younger, Count of Anjou, part of its buildings date from the 15C, another from the 17C. François Rabelais quotes it under the name of Abbey of Thélème, Honoré de Balzac mentions it under the name d’Abbé de Turpenay in Les Bons propos des nuns de Poissy (The good words of the nuns of Poissy), and in Sur le moyne Amador or on the Moyne Amador who was a glorious abbot of Turpenay, two of his Hundred Funny Tales. First organized around a wooden church, it acquired a stone building from 1134, under the action of Hugh, Archbishop of Tours. . In 1199, the abbey would have benefited from a large donation from Eleanor of Aquitaine, on the occasion of the death of her son Richard the Lionheart, Henry I Clement Marshal of France of Philippe Auguste was buried there in 1214, after his death in Angers. Rebuilt in the 14C, the monastery was suppressed during the French revolution, when it had only two monks left. Only a few buildings remain, including the abbey dwelling.

St Benoit la foret abbey Turpenay wall feb22

St Benoit la foret abbey Turpenay wall inside feb22

St Benoit la foret abbey Turpenay main feb22

The city of Saint Benoit la Forêt on its heritage:

There you go folks , another dandy road warrior ride in my trips to the Loire valley, an endless reservoir of beautiful architecture and history of my belle France. Hope you enjoy this off the beaten path trip to Saint Benoît la Forêt.

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

Tags: ,
February 13, 2022

Some news from France, CCCLVIII

And I go again with my beloved series of some news from France! Lots of going on as we are in the middle of the winter with cold temps but no snow, heavens on earth! We just came back from a twirling road warrior tour of the Centre Val de Loire, Pays de la Loire , and even the Nouvelle Aquitaine regions!! Stay tune. For now, here are the my latest tidbits of my belle France.

Hear all about it ,the covid is becoming history at last ! Next Wednesday February 16, to the delight of our revelers, the nightclubs reopen. But the good news doesn’t stop there! From Monday February 28, wearing a mask will no longer be compulsory in all closed places where the health pass is required (while still keeping barrier gestures). Which places are affected? Well plenty, the bars and restaurants, cinemas, performance and concert halls, libraries, sports halls, nightclubs, and fairs and trade shows, For public transport such as the metro, or even trains and planes, the mask remains mandatory. Ditto for stores or places of sale to take away. Don’t panic, it won’t be long.Patience is a virtue !!

This is a new assessment, after Saturday’s rallies in Paris. The police carried out 97 arrests and 513 verbalizations of opponents of health measures participating in the operation called “freedom convoys”, according to an overall report communicated this Sunday by the Paris police headquarters. A heterogeneous gathering of opponents of President Emmanuel Macron, the vaccination pass and “yellow vests”, those who call themselves “freedom convoys” were formed on the model of the mobilization which is currently paralyzing the Canadian capital Ottawa. More than 7,000 members of the police have been mobilized by the Paris police headquarters from Friday to Monday, the anti-pass convoys having planned to reach Brussels on Monday. I know at least 500 persons, or even more, in total, depending on the arrivals and departures of each other, found themselves yesterday Saturday on the site of the Gorges de Franchard, in the forest of Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne dept 77). Terminus of the journey for some, simple stopover on the road to Brussels for others,And the pressure keeps going !! All speed ahead !

Thirty political figures from all sides have already shown their ambition to stand for the presidential election in France, scheduled for April 2022. For the official list, it will be necessary to wait until March 2022, The Constitutional Council will publish the list of those who meet the prerequisites to participate in the first round of the election, on April 10, 2022. The main challenge is to collect at least 500 endorsements from elected officials, a procedure intended to limit the number of applications/participants,

How can a French entity be down? Since 2002, the number of cafes has dropped by 40% in Paris, and this is worrying. A deliberate study by the Chamber of Commerce explains that their number fell by 40%, In 2002, one could find 1907 cafes in Paris. Today, there are 1,410. In the center of Paris (1-4 arrondissements), tourist numbers mean that cafes are even on the rise. On the other hand, in arrondissements like the 16éme (more homey Paris), there are almost 68% fewer cafes. Fast food is ultimately the big bad wolf in this story. And lack of creativity for the new world ahead,

This Sunday (today) , America’s heart will beat to the beat of the 56th Super Bowl. That of Grégory Ascher too. The journalist from La Chaîne L’Équipe will indeed host the big evening devoted to the most watched annual sporting event in the world from 23h50 (11:50pm) , There are the diehards who can watch an undecided game Los Angeles-Rams-Cincinnati Bengals. And then there’s the halftime show, an incredible thing. This is what makes the Super Bowl so popular. This year, starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and Mary J. Blige, this might be one of the craziest half time in history. L’Equipe chain in French :

The famous Pont des Arts, spanning the Seine river to connect the Louvre museum and the Institut de France in the 6éme arrondissement, will finally be renovated in 2022. The Institut de France and the Palais du Louvre have been linked since 1804 by the bridge (or the Passarelle des Arts. It was the first metal bridge in Paris, made of cast iron with nine arches, and from that time it was given the name it bears today. From 2008 to 2014, a practice that is said to have come from Eastern Europe developed on the bridge: lovers hang padlocks, engraved with their names, on its mesh railing. Having become a (quasi) tradition, this practice is often criticized by the city of Paris and lovers of Paris like me. Since the collapse of part of the fence in 2014 due to the weight of the padlocks, the City of Paris has decided to ban this practice. This romantic and touristic tradition continues however in other places of the city, in particular around the equestrian statue of Henri IV at the end of the Île de la Cité.

A mythical establishment in the 5éme arrondissement, the restaurant La Tour d’Argent will close its doors for nine months of titanic work. It will close on April 30 after a final service. The establishment, whose history can be traced back to 1582, offers a sight as pleasant for the palate as it is for the eyes, with its breathtaking view of the Seine. Great names in history have dined here: Ernest Hemingway, Queen Elizabeth or even Franklin Roosevelt. The longest and most complete renovation in its history will begin, after that of 1936 which had raised the restaurant to the 6th floor. If the details of this historic project have not yet been revealed, the axis is clear: to bring the Tour d’Argent into the 21C. The brand new restaurant is set to open shortly before its famous neighbor Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris in February 2023. webpage:

The exhibition Meeting the Little Prince will be held from February 17 to June 26, 2022 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Saint-Exupéry’s manuscript leaves the United States for the first time, on the occasion of an event exhibition, “Meeting the Little Prince”, at the Museum. The exhibition “Meeting the Little Prince”, which opens this coming Thursday, February 17 is a cultural event, but above all an emotional shock. The manuscript of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s tale and its drawings had never left the United States. A book first, sold in 200 million copies and the most translated work in the world after the Bible, but also T-shirts, watches, pens, mugs, stuffed animals and figurines, a park of attractions, cartoons, films… Since its publication in 1943, “The Little Prince” has gone from the status of a publishing phenomenon to that of a real brand, recognized all over the planet. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 rue de Rivoli 1éme arrondissement, webpage :

Second-hand enthusiasts take over the top floor of Printemps Haussmann dept store in Paris to discover the largest space in Europe dedicated to second-hand. Prized by collectors looking for creations by great couturiers, it also attracts aficionados who come to complete their wardrobe with a more affordable piece, The sale dedicated to second-hand clothes, in a completely renovated space. on the top floor of the Printemps-Haussmann Women’s Fashion store. Welcome to 7éme Ciel/ Heaven, the largest space dedicated to circular fashion, vintage and second-hand, Nearly 2000 customers on average visit it daily, It is a basic trend. For several years, the second-hand sector has been conquering new market shares. Clothing, accessories, jewellery, and even decoration and furnishings… Consumers are seizing on this trend, for economic reasons, but also for ethical reasons. Webpage :

Each year new grape varieties are planted. The love affair between Île-de-France region and the vine is well and truly resumed, after a slumber of more than two centuries. And it is not just a question here of extending the planted surfaces, in memory of a distant era. Today’s winemakers work hard to achieve recognized quality. Ile-de-France Region Coordinating Committee of Brotherhoods (CO.CO.RI.CO.) Every two years, the body organizes a symposium bringing together all the wine brotherhoods of the Ile-de-France and the associations often municipalities that maintain a vineyard. The Île-de-France coordination committee of brotherhoods has awarded its highest award to the 2020 cuvée of red wine produced by the town of Argenteuil. A ceremony was organized a few days ago at the Workshop, gardens of the Abbey, for the presentation of this award. More info in French from the town of Argenteuil :

A walk in the Parc de la Poudrerie is amazing! This park straddling Sevran, Livry-Gargan, Vaujours and Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis dept 93) has, at the instigation of Napoleon III, hosted a blowing snow for a century. The 137 hectare site is today a Natura 2000 classified green lung. of the imperial building. Here, an old sandbox useful for smothering the start of a fire, there a storage shed. Of the 300 manufacturing and storage buildings, there remain the remains of about thirty today. More on the park from the Seine Saint Denis heritage webpage :

The city of Versailles retains its place as the best cycling city in the Île-de-France region for towns with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants in the barometer of the Federation of Bicycle Users. This is not a first since the royal city has occupied first place in Île-de-France for several years in the barometer of cycling cities of the Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB). In the category of towns with more than 20,000 inhabitants, All the results in French from the FUB webpage :

A nice note for Valentine’s Day February 14, which I will not be celebrating unfortunately, In Thoiry, the De la Panouse couple have been keeping the zoo going for half a century, Paul de la Panouse (78 yrs old) takes a break. The squire turns around, searches among the guests enchained for the origin of this delicious radiance and ends up meeting, bewildered, the gaze of a tall American woman with the perfect figure. We are in 1969 and the boss of the Thoiry zoo has just met his future wife. Fifty-three years later, it is by the fireplace, in the family castle of Thoiry (Yvelines 78), far from the Haussmann golds, that the couple tell of their story, a few days before Valentine’s Day 2022. Both have agreed to talk about their love story which, for half a century, has been walking its singularity in the alleys of the African savannah, weaving in the middle of tigers and lions. Annabelle will come back to see the lions. And will end up settling in the castle of the La Panouse family, She amazes him with her finesse of mind, she furnishes the Charles X library with taste The prestigious guests parade in the living room of the castle. André Malraux, Raymond Devos, Marcel Achard, Moshe Dayan… stop there before approaching the animals. Brigitte Bardot poses with the ostriches. Thoiry zoo webpage :

Dear festival friends, book your next August 25, 26, 27 and 28. Because the 2022 vintage of Rock en Seine, which is reborn from its ashes after two postponed / canceled editions, promises to offer us not 3, but 4 days of feasting, celebration and good sound like in the good old days. An 18th XXL edition for a return in style with the most beautiful of the musical scene webpage :

So what is in the name ? Pain au chocolat or chocolatine? While an ancestral battle has divided the North and South-West of France since the dawn of time, we finally thought we would win this fight with pride and bravery. Until a historian decides and puts an end to the debate. In Bordeaux, when a guy asks the baker for a pain au chocolat, he is quickly identified as a foreigner , The pastry was brought to France by a certain Zang August, in the middle of the 19C. He had also brought the croissant, which commemorates an Austrian victory over the Turks in 1683. A chocolate version, ‘Schokoladeen croissant’, was also sold. Between the Austrian accent which pronounces the ‘d’ as ‘t’ and the ours, the Parisians called the viennoiserie chocolatine. A shocking revelation. For many years the whole of France was talking about chocolatine before pastry chefs appropriated the recipe and replaced the brioche dough with a puff pastry. The debate is (finally) closed, The most tenacious will therefore be able to perpetuate the tradition !

There you go folks, another series of tidbits of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the story and posts, and thank you for following me since November 2010!!! Appreciated!!! Fornow looking forward to go out more and more under the newer world order. Stay safe!

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

February 13, 2022

Rigny-Ussé, castle and al!!!

Well here I am in my road warrior trips to the wonderful Loire valley of my belle France. This is an area you can easily spent a lifetime and do not see it all, awesome. I have seen plenty of these castles and monuments but decided to come back to one not been in years… before blogging! To my organising self, we came on the 9th and the castle is not open until the 13th so we missed the inside and as road warrior goes no time to call ahead. Oh well I will show you what I saw and more power to come back for more soon!

Here is my brief take on the Château d’Ussé and its monuments; hope you enjoy it as I.

The Château d’Ussé is located in Rigny-Ussé, in the Indre-et-Loire dept 37 of the Centre-Val de Loire region, It is a private domain open to visitors,and belongs to the 7th Duke of Blacas. It is located 33 km from Tours and 14 km from Chinon, in the town of Rigny-Ussé. Ussé merged in 1860 with Rigny to form the town of Rigny-Ussé.

Usse castle towers feb22

In 1099, Olivier d’Ussé was the lord of the place. His family seems to retain the lordship until the 14C. Towards the end of the Hundred Years’ War, in 1424, Jean V de Bueil, Count of Sancerre and Admiral of France, Lord of Ussé and notable captain of the king’s armies, member of one of Touraine’s most illustrious families built the basic structure of the current château. He died in 1477. His son Antoine, Count of Sancerre in 1478 and Lord of Ussé in 1456, married in 1462 Jeanne de Valois, daughter of Charles VII and Agnès Sorel. In the 1460s, he undertook the reconstruction of the castle in the style of the 15C. Over-indebted, Antoine de Bueil sold Ussé to Jacques d’Espinay in 1485. Of Breton origin, Jacques d’Espinay was the son of the chamberlain of the Duke François II of Brittany. He himself became chamberlain to Kings Charles VIII and Louis XII, then became Grand Master of the Queen’s Hotel. He continued the work on the castle and founded the collegiate church in 1521, destined to become the funeral chapel for his family.
Voltaire is said to have stayed there and written part of La Henriade. King Louis XVIII offered the lords of the time his portrait, which still hangs on the wall of the grand staircase. The castle has two architectural styles, one of medieval and Gothic inspiration and the other of the Renaissance. The interior courtyard presents an example of these two styles. Of course, this is the castle overlooking the Indre and the Loire rivers, so wonderful that it inspired Charles Perrault to imagine the castle of Sleeping Beauty.

Usse castle towers et logis feb22

Usse castle inside chapel feb22

The official Château d’Ussé

In the 15C. the region of Saint-Benoît-la-Forêt and Rigny is a regular place of stay for King Louis XI who comes to Mass at Notre Dame de Rigny Church and signs ordinances and missive letters there. Over the centuries, and certainly since the 16C, the hamlet of Rigny, from its valley, has moved to the town of Ussé, near the castle. The Church of Notre Dame and the cemetery nevertheless remained the center of worship and burial of the parish of Rigny until the middle of the 19C. Under Napoleon III, four fifths of the population of the village lived in Ussé , around the castle, and no longer Rigny. At that time, the Marquise de La Rochejaquelein, owner of the Château d’Ussé, received an important inheritance from a lady Georget, in charge of building a new church in the town of Ussé. Following the arrangements made with the town, the new church was built in 1858 – 1859, the town ceded the Church of Notre Dame de Rigny to Mme de La Rochejaquelein , under the condition of maintaining it in good condition and guaranteeing access to it for pilgrims and other manifestations of worship, Notre Dame therefore finds itself the property of the château… and quite alone in its valley. In 1885, the Blacas family acquired the castle and have owned it ever since. It also maintains the Notre Dame de Rigny Church.  The Collegiate Notre-Dame de la Trinité built between 1521 and 1535, the collegiate church of Ussé, dedicated to the Virgin and Saint Anne, serves as a private oratory and funeral chapel. The basket-handle entrance door is surmounted by an entablature and a curved shell pediment. The flames of the arch are decorated with seventeen medallions from which appear the busts of the twelve Apostles on the sides with Christ in the center. To the right of Christ, and from top to bottom are Peter, John, James the Greater, Andrew, Thomas, and possibly James the Minor. The four medallions at the bottom have Death as their theme. glazed earthenware.

Usse ch de la Trinité front feb22

Usse ch de la trinité altar feb22

Usse ch de la trinité chapel family feb22

Usse ch de la trinité chapel sacre heart feb22

The city of Rigny-Ussé on its heritage

The South Loire tourist board on the castle

Of course, we went by car just about 3h30 from our house and we took the scenic ride going along the Loire river by the D55 road by Loire Authion and Saint Mathurin then connect with the D952 along Le Port Maur and passing the road D749 bridge, then the Pont de Montsoreau, and the Pont du Cadre Noir or road D347 awesome!!

There you go folks, a nice initial run and more to come stay tune. This is me , us in the road warrior trips of my beautiful Loire valley , the valley of the kings, and my belle France ,where else!! Hope you enjoy this introduction in the small cute town of Rigny-Ussé.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: