Archive for March 5th, 2022

March 5, 2022

Sentimental Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône!!

I have not mentioned this town, maybe briefly , it has a huge sentimental value to me, perhaps not a tourist spot but could be an off the beaten path for many. My experiences here were sad, it was here that my dear late mother Gladys was cremated afterward taken her ashes at sea in Honfleur, Normandie. I like to pay a small tribute to her and remember in my blog this special place. Please bear with me ,thanks

The town of Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône is in the department 95 of Val-d’Oise, part of the urban community of Cergy-Pontoise and located on the banks of the Oise river. This is in the ïle de France region of my belle France, The main road and where all the happening are is the Rue du Général-Leclerc, located in the extension of the pont de Pontoise bridge, the traditional shopping street and the busiest artery of the city.

We have decided to be cremated all, as « Cremation responds to a need related to the context of great mobility and geographic breakdown of families » This is a true statement specially for us now spread with family all over. My dear late wife Martine went this way, and my father and I are waiting to join them this way , all at Honfleur, Normandie, where the braves landed.

Saint Ouen L'Aumône (95) crematorium de mima jan08

The town of Saint Ouen l’Aumône is cross by several roads such as the old RN14 Paris-Rouen, which has become the RD 14. And I took so many times on my work duties, and even on a visit of Rouen, The road is less use since the A15 highway, crossing the territory of the town at the southern limit, on the same parallel axis and in the same direction as the national road. In the north-south axis, the city is crossed by the RD 922, which, later, also, was supplanted by the Francilienne (N104) , allowing to reach Roissy-en-France and the international airport Charles-de-Gaulle. It also connects the A1 highways to the A16, A15, A13 and A12. The A16 highway and the national road N104 provide access to Beauvais airport.

As far as trains it is also well representative although never taken them by me here. The town of Saint Ouen l’Aumône is served by lines H (gare du Nord) and J, gare St Lazare) of Paris as well as by RER C. The town has five train stations ,which coming from Pontoise are:Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône in the center and Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône – Liesse, served by Transilien line H and RER line C; the stops at Épluches and Pont-Petit, located on the Pontoise to Creil line, served by Transilien line H; and the Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône – Quartier de l’Eglise, served by line J of the Transilien.

Some of the things to see here if coming for visiting and might be worth the detour with good connections from Paris are :
The Maubuisson Abbey, avenue Richard-de-Tour; Cistercian abbey founded in 1236 by Blanche de Castille. The tithe barn, the vaulted chapter house, a large parlor, latrines, and the nuns’ room remain. The abbey now houses the contemporary art site of the Val d’Oise Departmental Council, as well as the Departmental Archeology Service. The surrounding tower at rue Alexandre Prachay. It is more commonly known as the “Tour des Bourseaux”. It is the only remaining tower of the enclosure that surrounded the abbey. The Chateau de Maubuisson, on the grounds of Maubuisson Abbey: This 17C building is the former guest house of the abbey. Home of the chocolatier Guérin-Boutron at the beginning of the 20C, the castle is now occupied by the Rothschild Foundation The Grange aux Dîmes, avenue Richard-de-Tour, is an annex of the abbey and was built in 1240.

The dovecote, avenue de Verdun is cylindrical in shape and dates from the first half of the 17C. A steeple crowns the pepperbox roof. The interior contains approximately 1,800 putlogs for as many pairs of pigeons, The chapel of Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Épluches, rue de la Chapelle The chapel dates back to the 16C and may have been built in context with the Château d’Épluches, which is contemporary with it. It was restored in 1879, The Saint-Ouen Church, avenue de Verdun succeeds a chapel, which was built at the end of the 7C or the beginning of the 8C to commemorate the passage of the funeral procession of Saint Ouen towards his episcopal city of Rouen, in 686.

A bit of history tell us that at Aumône, district of the Saint-Lazare leper area in the 12C, located under the current Sainte-Marie clinic, opposite the current Clos du Roy, former resort building of kings, in particular Louis IX dit Saint Louis and Henry IV, during their visits to the abbey, which has since disappeared. However, from this date and until the 18C, this territory was referred to as Maubuisson. But in fact the village, politically and militarily dependent on Pontoise, lives off the economic and medical activity deployed by the nuns around Maubuisson Abbey, founded by Blanche de Castille under the name of Royal Abbey Notre-Dame-la- Royal. The last lord of Epluches was during the French revolution, Antoine André Michel Savarin de Marestan, captain of cavalry, former musketeer of the king. Despite his past as a former lord of Epluches and cavalier in the king’s household, he became commander of the national guard of Saint-Ouen l’Aumône during the French revolution and renounced his titles of nobility. The latter, who had then accompanied King Louis XVIII during his exile in Ghent during the hundred days of Napoleon I’s return to Paris, received in return from the monarch the authorization to raise the title of Baron de Marestan. He will sell his castle of Epluches to Jean Baptiste Louis Desavenelle de Grand-Maison who will be elected mayor of Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône later.

Hope you can understand the post. It brings peace to my mind knowing all my life’s history and my love ones are in my blog, It still might be worth it to see Saint Ouen l’Aumône !

The official Val d’Oise et Parc Memorial Crematorium of Saint Ouen l’Aumône

The city of Saint Ouen l’Aumône on the crematorium

The Agglo metro area of Cergy Pontoise on St Ouen l’Aumône

There you go folks, another dandy spot in my belle France. It is all here in my blog for me, get to know me well I like to do the same ; today more than ever humanity must stand together.  And rememberr, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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March 5, 2022

My town, Vannes, and a worthy cause!!!

I cannot keep away for long from our capital city of Vannes of the beautiful Morbihan dept 56 in my lovely Bretagne , and in my belle France. I have many posts on the city, and we love to come here every week, The city still is a bit off the beaten path of many but you should see its gorgeous architecture and an interesting history, However, this visit was special, read on,,,,

Not to mix the politics with the travel but me think is a must, What is going in Ukraine is genocide but the world today is soft on values and continues to make the same mistakes as in the past at least since 1938.  I heard of a Czech owned resto in Vannes that was making sandwiches to raise funds for the people there, So we went for it of course, and took some sights of the city again,

The Le Thika restaurant is at 11 bis Rue Thomas de Closmadeuc in old town, right off Rue Thiers and across from the Hôtel de Ville, It is Czech-French couple and they do nice sandwiches indeed, We purchase the chicken base meli melo poulet that was offered as the donation base for Ukraine, We , also got vanilla and caramel milkshake all for 14,30 euros per person. Delicious and worthy.

vannes le Thika resto rue thomas de cloumaudeuc mar22

We walked of course before parked by the back of the Tour Connétable off the ramparts in the old town.

vannes tour connetable back from parking mar22

We drove past the Cinema Garenne across from the château de l’Hermine and saw the Porte Tour Trompette !

vannes Rue Alexandre le Pontois by cinema garenne passing mar22

vannes porte tour trompette mar22

We walked to take a peek again of the Place des Lices and its wooden houses.

vannes pl des lices mar22

And we passed by to see again the Hôtel de Ville or city hall and a peek af the totally renovated Chapelle Saint Yves (see post) off the Collége Jules Simon (middle school) right across from the city hall.

vannes hotel de ville passing mar22

We stop for some shopping at Carrefour Vannes and buy supplies for Ukraine. This we drop them off at our town city hall or mairie of Pluvigner. This is across from our market area , the Place Saint Michel.  And the day was done with nice sights, easy ride, and the feeling good of doing something , the minimum for a good cause.

plu mairie from pl St Michel mar22

plu pl St Michel from mairie mar22

I never been to Ukraine and looking forward to go once free again, Hope you appreciate this post as I

For reference :

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office for Vannes :

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office for Pluvigner :

There you go folks, a nice ride, pleasant in my neck of the woods, and for a good cause me think, Pluvigner and Vannes are close to heart and worth the detour me think, And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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March 5, 2022

The Château de Versailles and its Grand Parc!!!

And I continue with nostalgia and great memorable moments in my blog. This is a town I know very well, of course lived here!! This is Versailles where we spent 9 years of our lives in France and keep many nice memorable moments. We have re visited and have several, many posts on it in my blog. However, I like to tell you more of if from my brochures and as Friends of the Castle since 2004. This the Château de Versailles and the Grand Parc or Domaine of Versailles. Hope you enjoy it as I.

And I bring you back to my beloved Versailles, the castle of France ! My playground with my boys and Friends of the Castle since 2004, I love to tell you more and this time on my historical point of view, we love it, Therefore, let me tell you a bit more in my black and white series, one map pictures of this wonderful Domaine de Versailles !

Did I said, the palace of Versailles is a lot more ? Yes, what today is known as the Château de Versailles or Palace of Versailles is just that the castle and gardens, If you go and see the Hameau ,and the Trianon, then you are in the known areas of the palace. All this ,palace/hameau/trianons is about 8,150,265 square meters (87,728,720 square feet), 816 hectares ( 2,014 acres), making it the World’s Largest Royal Domain.

The Domaine of Versailles enclos of old and can be done by car is an area of 86 km2 (33 sq miles), and 8 600 hectares ( 21 251 acres). It include 9 towns raise as parishes already in existance before the creation of the town these are Buc, Guyancourt, Bois-d’Arcy, Saint Cyr l’école, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin, Noisy and Bailly. I like to tell you more of it.

All around this Domaine de Versailles enclos you have the old gates some still there . These are/were:  Porte de Buc, Porte de La Boulie, Porte de Jouy or Porte de Biévre, Porte des Loges, Porte de Trou-salé, Porte de Toussus, Porte de Châteaufort, Porte de Mérantais, Porte de Voisins, Porte de Montigny, Porte de Trappes, Fausse Porte de Trappes, Porte de Pissaloup, Porte de Val-Joyeux, Porte de Villepreux, Porte Saint Vincent or des Grandes Maisons, Fausse Porte de Saint Nom, Porte de Saint Nom, Porte de Versailles, Porte de la Croix Saint Philippe, Porte de La Lauberderie, Porte de Marly, Porte de Noisy, Porte de Rocquencourt, Porte de Paris, Porte de Saint Nom, Porte de Saint Vincent, Porte de la Tuilerie, Porte de Bailly, Porte du Cerf Volant, Porte de Maintenon, Porte Saint Antoine, and Porte de Saint Cyr. The picture from my book below.

Grand Parc de Versailles

As you can see the former original Domaine de Versailles was 10 times bigger than what can be visited today with a ticket ! The Grand Parc of Versailles was started in 1683 to 1789, It had a total of 24 entrance pavilions and the gates above, It covered a territory from Plains of Versailles to the heights of Marly and a small part of the plains south between the rivers Biévre, and Yvette.  There is a private association that tries to keep it alive call the Association Les Amis di Grand Parc de Versailles or the Friends of the big park of Versailles, They have a webpage and a nice map comparing the size today to what it was and the superficie of Paris, smaller! :

In the 18C this Grand Parc encircled 9 towns and over 20 farms, this place symbol of the absolute monarchy was cut up in the French revolution, The land was sold, or destroyed to make room for the urban development of the 20C. Today there are over 300K inhabitants living in this Grand Parc, The Association as above worked for the rehabilitation of the Grand Perspective de Le Nôtre in Villepreux . Today you can see around here some royal terminals or bornes put in place since the end of the18C to marked the royal roads property of the king, The crown terminals dates from the Restoration (1814-15) some lost due to thieves.

Of course, you have heard and me told you about the Machine de Marly in Marly le Roi/Louveciennes inside this Grand Parc where work started on the castle in 1679 and was much like by Louis XIV and Louis XV, At the French revolution the furniture was sold and the land sold in 1800,By 1811 it is part of Napoléon Ier which the castle today is gone, By 1681 to 1684 the machine de Marly was set up here,

You have the Château de Bailly owned by the Lords of Gondi and renovated several times, In the 18C it goes to the Boucheman the first valet and concierge of the palace of Versailles, Today it is owned by the Fondation Stern, and you can still see it as it was in the 18C.

The village of Rennemoulin, only 20 km from Paris watered by the stream of Gally and very well preserved, It has a nice laundry in the form of an atrium with an oratory dedicated to Saint Nicolas, The Chapelle du Prieury Saint Nicolas, both today own by the Institut Pasteur.  Also, take a look at the kennel that reminds you of the hunt done here in those years and house the royal dogs, This stream of Gally is one of the hypothesis of the name of Versailles.

You reach Villepreux, and its Château de Grand’Maisons built in the 17C and was property of Francini in the 18C, He was the manager of the water dept of France, The famous stayed here such as Lully, Madame de Pompadour, and Chateaubriand, Louis XV buys the castle in 1768 and in 1776 the Grand’Maison becomes a royal farm, Louis XVI renovates the castle to give it the current look. My son ex girlfriend that we visit the parents lives walking distance from the castle in the neighborhood call Grand Maisons. Currently the owners are Count Luc de Saint Seine, that opens it for receptions and seminaries, Also, nearby in rue Curie you see the house of Saint Vincent de Paul still standing this wooden house, In the 17C the priest Vincent de Paul the tutor of the children of Gondi set up his second house of charity.

The Allée de Villepreux, the Grand Perspective on the plains of Versailles provides several lookouts to the palace of Versailles, This look goes for13 km from Vélizy to Villepreux, The before mentioned association worked to make again visible after the Grille Royale the avenue de Villepreux long of 5 km today crossover by the road D11 and a railroad line, Thanks in part to the next Paris 2024 Olympic Games this has been done and now open for the viewing pleasure,

The étang de Saint Quentin or pond is an artificial pond of about 250 hectares and a major hydraulic force that feeds Versailles today, It was put in service by Vauban in 1685, the water comes from the ponds of Hollande and Saint Hubert in the forest of Rambouillet,Today is a natural preserve of many birds of 87 hectares.

The Aqueduct of Buc is long of 580 meters and 46 meters high with several arcades some hidden, One of the elements of the river of the Sun King that was put in service in 1686 to feed the basins and fountains of the palace of Versailles, It has been discontinued since 1950. The above association is trying to rehabilitated again and for now there are nice walks to be done with the tourist office of Versailles.

There is one gate worth mentioning apart, that is the Porte de Jouy and Porte de Trou-Salé, At the end of the 17C a wall long of 43 km bigger than the BP of Paris was done to mark the limits of the Grand Parc of hunting of the King, 24 pavillions were done where the Swiss guards lodge and guard the gates, Most of these gates have been destroyed, In the town of Loges en Josas there is still the Porte de Jouy aka porte de la Biévre designed by Hardouin-Mansart in 1684, It is now a forest house and able to keep it. A bit south on the town of Toussus le Noble you see the pretty Porte du Trou-Salé set up in a farm of the 18C, All part of the great hunting domain of Marly.

One memorable spot we went often as my dear late wife Martine love gardening was the Ferme de Gally. The first mentioned of a farm here goes back to 1163. This is now in the town of Saint Cyr-l-école with three nice buildings where the oldest goes back to the 11C.  The big farm with 400 hectares in the 17C where the production feeded the palace of Versailles became property of the king in 1684. After the French revolution the farm is property of the State. For many generations the lands are worked by the family Laureau who established themselved in the region back in 1764, Here you have a garden store, a vegetable garden of fruits and crafts, Nearby another vegetable garden of more than 50 hectares you can pick the fruits and veggies yourselves and we did !!!The farm is open for shops, petting of animals with feeding times, and bread honey and apple juice fabrication, I have a post dedicated to it in the blog.

The official Château de Versailles:

The city of Versailles on the palace:

Of course today with the expansion of the 20C as mentioned the name given to the Grand Parc has an even larger territory but not blend well with the original Palace of Versailles. Today ,the Grand Parc of Versailles has 12 400 hectares and 18 towns with the main city still Versailles. Webpage:

And from a personal reference the Société des Amis de Versailles (Friends of the Palace of Versailles assoc) :

There you go folks, the grandeur of France before your eyes, yes crowded, yes busy, but you are still coming and for a good reason. There is no other castle/palace/museum , and a lot more, that can equal it for architecture, history and just a beautiful property. My Versailles, my Palace of Versailles. Hope you enjoy the post on the Grand Parc ,and find help in your next visit when possible.

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

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