Archive for February 20th, 2022

February 20, 2022

The Canal de l’Ourcq !!

This is awesome, and we love it. We have taken several boat rides into my belle France but seldom lately . I came up with this idea because the Canal de l’Ourcq passes by a very memorable town for me, Meaux in Seine et Marne dept77. Therefore, here is my black and white, but one personal picture for the memories, my contribution to the canal. Hope you enjoy the ride as I.

The Canal de l’Ourcq boating on it at 8 kph passing many levies and wonderful sightseeing, La vie est belle ! Leaving La Villette in Paris you passed by La Ferté Milon birthplace of Jean Racine in route passing Pavillons sous Bois and Aulnay sous Bois towns, Finally, you reach Villeparisis in Seine et Marne dept 77 ! Here is where the Honoré Balzac family stayed in 1819 and wrote first at 19 and lived with Laure de Berny one of his love stories.

You continue to reach Claye-Souilly an old port (now great shopping mall I shopped) .They specialise on the fabrication of textile of Jouy of great impressions by a Victor Hugo. Facing the church you see an elevated bridge the only one other than in rue de Crimée 19éme Paris that still have these bridges in France. You passed by picturesques Précy sur Marne where the Marne river can be rough. Here you see French culture again with Yves Duteil, (where he was the mayor) and film Barbara  en liberté ,the black eagle of French songs. At Trilbardou the canal take a twist on the Marne river with a huge levy having to climb to get it to work. Near where the Marne is very close to the Canal de l’Ourcq at Villers lés Rigault you have another elevated levy that give the Marne pumped waters. You passed now by Meaux, my dear memorable Meaux, and continue to another melancholy town Varreddes a place of gathering for old mariners and a big levy too. The boating is done slowly here maybe 4 kph.

From Lizy the ride is smooth to get to May en Multien where was a location of the great war or WWI Battle of the Marne in September 1914. There is a pretty church here from the 16C and we continue to Crousy sur Ourcq, and the ruins of the Château de Gesvres as well as the dungeon of the Château du Houssy. The entire river now is canalise leaving the Seine et Marne with a small incursion into the Oise dept 60 then the Aisne dept 02. The popular saying is “You will see , this canal de l’Ourcq if you visited often, you will love it !” The best ride ever for me and unfortunately is not done anymore by Canauxrama 13 quai de la Loire, Paris 19éme.

A bit of the history tell us that it was king François I with the ideas of Leonardo de Vinci that first thought about this canal to bring water to Paris, Later, king Louis XIV with the push of the Duke of Orléans created toll section called Canal of the Duke on a portion that was navigable to the east of Meaux. In the 18C, with Paris water shortages, Napoléon I ordered a study to be done to provide more water to Paris, this is done by engineer Pierre-Simon Girard creating the project of the Canal de l’Ourcq in 1802. Wars and demise of Napoléon caused delays that until 1822 the first boats rode on it from La Ferté Milon to the La Villette in Paris.

My wonderful anecdote on Meaux, the “daughter of the Marne river !” Passing Vignely and Villenoy (birthplace of Yvette, late dear mom of my late dear wife Martine) you come into Meaux under the pont Saint Rémy bridge. Here powerful motor boats do the trip Paris Meaux in less than 3 hrs at a speed of about 15 kph. The city of the Eagle of Meaux confessor of Louis XIV and Bishop of Meaux Jacques Bénigne Bossuet developped on a, curve bent of the Marne river. It had always canals such as Cornillon, Chalifert, and Ourcq historically gave Meaux an important function of exchange commerce. You have the right bank the town, and the left bank the market and traditionally commercial district, (indeed still today). This is more evident by the pont Vieux or old bridge , aka market bridge. From the defense system created by the Counts of Champagne only rest the tour du pot de chambre. The market went thru several and the one today is covered with metal surrounded by old houses (where you get the real Brie de Meaux cheese of kings, the king of cheeses Vienna 1815). The passarelle des Moulins, you reach the city center. There you have the ramparts, bishop’s city of the 4C, Cathedral St Etienne 12C to 16C. The Vieux Châpitre or old chapter 13C, the bishop’s palace faces it since 1155. There is a French garden some say done by André Le Nôtre in 1640. At the end of the garden the bishop Domenique de Ligny had done a pavilion Bossuet a small house attach to the ramparts where in 1926 became the museum of the writer and library of Bossuet. Very nice indeed and getting more attention as a base for Disneyland Paris. Pic the Marne with the market afar and the boat basin for the ride to Paris and me !

Meaux marne river et Pedro

The city of Paris on things to know about the Canal de l’Ourcq:

The Paris tourist office on the Canal:

Nowdays you can take the ride on the Marin D’Eau Douce base is located on the Bassin de la Villette, between the MK2 cinema and the Passerelle de Moselle. Exact 37 Quai de la Seine. Their webpage on the canal de l’Ourcq trip:

There you go folks, a beautiful romantic and historically incline boat ride to one of the best canals in France, the Ourcq. Hope you enjoy the post and do try it when possible, worth the detour.

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

Tags: , ,
February 20, 2022

Le Vésinet!!!

Again looking at my travel ,history books in my library I came upon this time that we visited several times while in living in the area you know where. I am shock that could not find any pictures of the town, but nevertheless, need to have it in my blog for the memories of always. Let me tell you about Le Vésinet in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy the story as I.

Le Vésinet is located east of the Yvelines department 78 ,in the Île-de-France region. It is a residential town in the west of Paris organized around parks, lakes and artificial rivers, served by green arteries with trees more than a hundred years old, It is 19 km from Paris and 4 km from Saint-Germain-en- Laye. The neighboring towns are Chatou, Croissy-sur-Seine (where I almost lived) , Le Pecq and Montesson. The town of Le Vésinet has not change since king Louis XIV wanted to have a panorama view of Paris from his castle in St Germain en Laye (see post), In fact the current boulevard Carnot was to be extended to the Arc de Triomphe! The town enlarged from its hunting past by creating great road axis such as the Allée du Grand Veneur, rondpoint du Cerf, and Allée de la Meute!

I came here always by car. There are four main axes radiating from the Place de la République located on the site of the forest star rondpoint: the road from Sartrouville (RD 121) towards the north, the road from Montesson (RD 311) towards the northeast , Boulevard Carnot (RD186)(my prefer road) heading east and Route de Croissy (RD 121) heading south-east. Boulevard Carnot connects the Pont du Pecq to the Pont de Chatou and is the main artery of the town. The town is connected to the A86 via the Chatou bridge and to the A13 via the Saint-Germain-en-Laye or Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt interchanges. Le Vésinet is served by two RER A stations: Le Vésinet-Centre and Le Vésinet – Le Pecq, which connect it to Paris via La Défense and to Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It also has bus stations in the two RER stations.

A bit of history I like

From the Middle Ages to the reign of Louis XIV, the forest had a bad reputation; however, this did not prevent Louis XIV from hunting there. Cardinal de Noailles had it cleared and built houses and a chapel there for the farmers. Le Vésinet was a hamlet of Chatou before 1726, then of Le Pecq between 1726 and 1874. Under the French revolution, this territory was shared between the new towns of Croissy, Chatou, Montesson and Le Pecq. In 1855, Napoleon III decreed that an asylum would be built south of the Bois du Vésinet for convalescent or mutilated workers in the course of their work. On September 29, 1859, the Imperial Asylum of Le Vésinet was inaugurated. As tradition dictates, the town center features a church, Sainte-Marguerite, consecrated on July 2, 1865, one of the first public buildings made of concrete in France. Also, at Le Vésinet the very first housing estates in France and the sale by auction of the first lots began on October 10, 1858. This was one of the first town planning regulations established in France. On May 31, 1875, Le Vésinet was erected as an autonomous town. You can built and moved here but do not cut the trees a law since creation of the town as well as enclosed the walls, and the hedges cannot be higher than 70 cm (about 28.5 inches).

The Tour de France departed from Le Vésinet in 1925 and then each year from 1927 to 1939 inclusive. The start of the event is in Paris, near the Étoile, but the actual start is given at Le Vésinet and sometimes at night, around two or three in the morning!

Some of the things to see here, me think are:

Wood Cottage at 122, boulevard des Etats-Unis was a factory house built in 1864 by the contractor Tricotel for Mr. Taconnet. Its facades have concrete moldings representing tree branches.

The villa Berthe or La Hublotière at 72, route de Montesson was built in 1896, it is one of the rare creations of the architect Hector Guimard, the creator of the entrances to the Paris metro entrances, See the facade and grille.

The Palais Rose du Vésinet or rose palace at 12, rue Diderot is a villa built on the model of the Grand Trianon of Versailles around 1900 .The palace was inhabited from 1908 to 1921 by the poet and esthète Robert de Montesquiou. In 1912, Robert de Montesquiou had bought adjoining wooded land, where he had a park designed and many vases and statues erected. Above all, he had a rotunda built there, called the Temple of Love, housing the basin that had been the marble bathtub in Madame de Montespan’s apartment at Versailles. The house has been sold many times in its history.

The Vésinet Hospital at 72, avenue de la Princesse as above was a former imperial asylum built in 1859,

The Sainte-Marguerite Church at Place de l’Eglise is the first non-industrial building made of concrete in France. The church was built from 1862 to 1865. In 1866, the parish of Le Vésinet was erected by Napoleon III. In 1896, a sacristy was added in the axis of the choir as well as two side chapels connected by an ambulatory. From 1901 to 1903, Maurice Denis decorated the chapels which were completely restored in 2007-2008.

The Sainte Pauline Church at 55, boulevard d’Angleterre. In 1905, after the separation of Church and State, a local, Mrs. Chardon, offered the bishopric of Versailles the land on which the church would be built. The Sainte Pauline Church was built in memory of her only daughter who died in 1886, also a Pauline. The church was consecrated on July 13, 1913. First attached to Sainte-Marguerite, Sainte-Pauline became a parish on January 15, 1919.

There is another curiosity here already mention on my homage to Josephine Baker, the Franco-American perfomer and resistant of France now at the Panthéon of Paris. She owned a villa that she lived partially too at Le Vésinet well known to me. The house was the Villa Beau-Chêne and she used it from 1929 to 1947. It is at number 52 avenue Georges-Clemenceau, and the current owners have hardly changed the appearance. In this huge house, very turn of the century in appearance, surrounded by a splendid English-style park, Josephine lived surrounded by familiar animals, among which there was even a leopard and a few monkeys, one of which was escaped and was found on the second floor of a neighboring house.

The city of Le Vésinet on its heritage :

The Société d’Histoire du Vésinet (historical society of Le Vésinet) :

The Seine Saint Germain en Laye tourist office on Le Vésinet :

There you go folks, a nice chic town with nice history and beautiful architecture all over, worth the detour. Le Vésinet is one to know, and glad now fully in my blog. Again, hope you enjoy the story as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
February 20, 2022

Marly-le-Roi and Louveciennes!!! 

Ok so for lack of a better heading ,just give you the town. Lots of history here, and lots of memories visiting and riding once living in Versailles. It has been a while and perhaps nostalgic will bring out more in my black and white series,no pictures. This have written a post before on the museum, like to tell you more on Marly le Roi, the Yvelines dept 78, Ïle de France region of my belle France.

Here once upon a time there was the idea a aqueduct to feed the waters of the Palace of Versailles and the town became an impressionnist painters’ heaven. This is Marly-le-Roi. I passed by it often and even visited friends at Marly-le-Roi. Not to mention walked these places of history and beautiful quaint villages/towns. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Marly le Roi it’s name bring us back to Louis XIV, the palace destroyed in the 19C but its charm continues in its garden/park in this old village. You need to come to Marly le Roi like the king did from its grille royal gate on the side of the town of Louveciennes (see post). There is a nice museum des promenades where they have a nice model of the old palace, as well as the machine de Marly that makes this stop a must. After you can walk in the park with beautiful reminders of its glory, such as sculptures, pieces of architecture, and the trough that has been renovated and in which you find the chevaux de Marly horses, two sculptures by Coustou where the originals are kept in the Louvre museum.

You leave the park by the pavillon des gardes to reach city center that has preserves its old village ambiance and narrow street, some with cobblestones I say. The Grande Rue is the main artery bordered with typical houses where the winegrowers lived, but also the craftman and nobility.

You can see at No 14 a decorator tapestry maker, around the Grande Rue you can see beautiful mansions from the 18C especially the old royal kennel today ,the hotel de ville surrounded by one of the first landscaping gardens of France. The Hôtel Couvé with a beautiful balcony in forge iron. Taking the rue Champflour, you take a road going up to the middle ages of Marly Bourg or city center to Marly le Châtel stop at no 1 this house belonged to Alexandre Dumas.

The machine de Marly at Bougival (see post) were to feed the basins of the palace of Versailles with a huge pump that would have pushed the water up 160 meters to the hill. It was totally dismantled in 1967 unfortunately, only remained the vapor machine in a neo classic building.

The village of Louveciennes or the town of the seven castles ! You can see them taken the liason verte a promenade of about 6 km passing thru parks allys, and old streets to Belle Epoque castles. Also, several buildings of Madame du Barry. The best start is at the museum of promenades and see nearby the Domaine de la Châtaigneraie where is the old home of marshal Joffre as well as the mausoleum where he is buried. Follow up with the Château du Pont 12C see the bridge and pigeon doves, Continue to the Château de Louveciennes and then that of the Château de Beauséjour (the city hall), take the rue de la Machine at the lower end of the promenade de la Machine to see the old foundry where Renoir lived and the Pavillion des Eaux the home of the inventor with the rare remains of the machine de Marly ! This building was lived by the natural sons of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan and later Madame du Barry. The music pavilion of the later is very nice.

The city of Marly le Roi on its heritage:

The city of Louveciennes on its heritage:

The Seine St Germain en Laye local tourist office on Marly le Roi:

The Seine St Germain en Laye local tourist office on Louveciennes:

There you go folks, a historical wonderful area we love from our former hunting ground. The area of Marly le Roi and Louveciennes is tops to visit and to live, and you should enjoy it all surrounded by lush surrounding in noble French traditions. Hope you enjoy it as I with wonderful memories of always.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: