Archive for March 19th, 2022

March 19, 2022

Castle museum of Dourdan!!!

 The department 91 Essonne is not well known yet surrounding Paris and well worth your while to pay attention to what it has to offer.  One of my highlights of coming here is the town of Dourdan, and I like to tell you a bit more about its castle museum. This is a split update of an older post. The town of Dourdan is in the Essonne dept 91 of the Île de France region of my belle France,  about 44 km from Paris.

The road A10 passes on the north of town before the tolls of Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (that I always avoid lol!). You have the better road D836 crossing the town west to east and onwards to Etampes and Rambouillet. Also, the D838 goes up to Versailles and the D116 with a beltway going to Arpajon.  Parking is best on the street near the marché or market. You have good train service on the line RER C and the TER Centre Val de Loire that passes by here destination of Vendôme or Châteaudun, without stops from the gare Paris Austerlitz.. There is a train station in town as well as the Dourdan-La Fôret servicing the RER C as terminus.

This Celtic village later Gallo Roman town, birthplace of the Capetian kings and royal town from the 10C, is today known for its castle, 13C very well preserved. The castle at Dourdan belongs to Hugues le Grand, Duke of the Franks that built this castle to his taste and died in it in 956. Also, here was born in 940, Hugues Capet founder of the dynasty of Capetians kings and crowned himself in 987, so Dourdan can be called the foundation of the House of France, royal town since the 10C.  It was in 1220 that king Philippe Auguste decided to built a new castle here taking as a model, the Louvre. The donjon was 26 meters high which was impressive at the times. It was offered as a chic place to such folks as Blanche de Castille, Marguerite de Provence, Saint Louis, Louis d’Evreux, Jean I de Berry, Sully, favorite Anne de Pisseleu and Anne of Austria. The town had a Hôtel-Dieu to welcome pilgrims .  In 1314, Jeanne II of Burgundy future queen of France was prisoner here. By 1340 it was completed the Chapel Saint Jean l’Evangéliste (St John the Evangelist).

dourdan chat donjon town ent mar11

The castle of Dourdan owned by Jean Ier de Berry since 1400 , and he ordered the construction of the ramparts. It passed thru many ravages of wars for many years and by 1562 king Henri II sold the property to the Duke de Guise, in the 17C by wish of his son. king Louis XIII gives it to the queen Marie de Médicis.  At the time, of the French revolution, the castle was the property of the Duke of Orleans, and became a prison.  After the return of the Dukes of Orleans in 1818 and the transfer of the departmental prison to Poissy, the building was used for multiple services. The Water and Forests administration occupies the west wing as well as the upper part of the châtelet. In 1828, the mutual school of Dourdan moved into the east wing of the first floor of the establishment.

There is a vast hunting royal forest that became domain in 1870. The ramparts are still there since the Middle Ages, long of 1700 meters and with 24 towers, Four gates (Paris, Chartres, Etampes, and Puits des Champs) and three wells (Grouteau, Croix-Ferras, and Petit-Huis) ; today only remains some in the north, west, and east of the city, two towers on the blvd des Alliés, one tower on the trail of Laubier, and the tower or tour du Petit-Huis on rue de l’Étang. 

dourdan chat donjon rue de Chartres aug11

In 1852, Amédée Guénée bought the old fortress, put up for sale by the Domains after the transfer of the forestry administration to Rambouillet. He spent the last ten years of his life restoring the castle and transforming the courtyard into a garden. The old 18C salt loft and the medieval châtelet have been converted into living quarters. His cousin, Louis-Jacques Guyot, inherited the castle in 1863. A year later, in 1864, Joseph Guyot, became its owner on the death of his father. Elisabeth, daughter of Joseph Guyot, inherited the château on the death of her father in Cannes in 1924. Countess Gaillard de la Valdène since her marriage in 1919, Elisabeth has lived in Paris, then moved abroad. Returning to Dourdan in 1952, she sold the château as a life annuity in 1961 to the town of Dourdan, which became its full owner upon her death in 1969. From the 1960s, the private house was gradually transformed into a museum by Maître Jean Chanson, notary in Dourdan and friend of the Countess. Helped by the association of Friends of the castle and the Dourdan Museum, he began to bring together the first collections. The establishment became a state-controlled municipal museum in 1975.  The collection includes objects of art, ceramic, paintings,sculpture,Graphic arts, Furniture, pictures and post cards,The museum includes a guide tour of the 3 floors,first floor entrance to salle Joseph Guyot and salle Château, second floor includes bedroom Guyot, salon Verteillac, salle de portraits, salle Poncetton,salle Dourdan, and salle hôtel dieu, the third floor includes the néo gothic room and the artists’ funds,

dourdan chat donjon rue des fosses du chateau aug11

The official castle museum of Dourdan

The city of Dourdan on its castle museum

There you go folks, another jewel very close to Paris and on the off the beaten path, worthty of a visit indeed. And you will be glad you visit the Royal town of Dourdan , and its castle museum!. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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March 19, 2022

YSL museum of Paris!!

Let me tell you something just briefly mentioned before but a must to have its own post in my blog. I am a fan and for many business working years was my favorite fashion designer. Let me tell you about an off the beaten path spot in Paris, the YSL Museum of Paris (Yves Saint Laurent mind you!)!!

A bit of historical background would do me think.

The Pierre-Bergé – Yves-Saint-Laurent Foundation is an extension of the history of the Yves Saint Laurent house, whose haute couture activity ended on October 31, 2002. In 1962, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé opened their haute couture house in Paris at 30 bis, rue Spontini.(not far from the Porte Dauphine) They will stay there for twelve years during which Yves Saint Laurent invents the modern woman’s wardrobe. They moved to 5 avenue Marceau in 1974, in a Second Empire style mansion. It was here that Yves Saint Laurent affirmed his style, until 2002, when he ended his career. Its vice-president was the American landscape architect Madison Cox until the death of Pierre Bergé in 2017, when he becomes the current president. The Pierre-Bergé – Yves-Saint-Laurent foundation opened its doors in 2004 with the exhibition « Yves Saint Laurent, dialogue with Art ».

A bit more on the YSL Museum!

Two museums are built to exhibit, in a permanent collection, the fund of the Pierre-Bergé – Yves-Saint-Laurent foundation, one in Marrakech and the other in Paris at 5 avenue Marceau, at the historic headquarters of the fashion house. The opening of the two museums was in October 2017. This is a priori the first time that a museum is dedicated to a single couturier in France! It receives the Musée de France label, which makes its collections inalienable, and which can facilitate the pre-emption of new pieces in public sales.


The YSL museum extends over all floors of the building and over a course of 450 m, even if the exhibition area is smaller than in Marrakech. The exhibition space is divided into small partitioned spaces. Among these spaces is the workshop where the couturier (who died in 2008) worked, upstairs, restored almost identically. His most emblematic creations are recalled: The women’s tuxedo, the safari jacket, the trench coat, etc., creations that have become classics. The first collection, from 1962, is also evoked with some of the pieces from this collection, sketches and photos of its preparation. Some of the creator’s sources of inspiration are highlighted, especially in the Imaginary Journeys section. Thematic temporary exhibitions are also organized, the first being in 2018 “L’Asie rêvée by Yves Saint Laurent”, which brings together 50 models inspired by India, China and Japan, and from the permanent collection, and confronts them with Asian works of art loaned by private collectors and by the national museum of Asian arts – Guimet. In all, you will see about 5000 dresses, 15 000 accessories ,thousands of croquis drawings, planches of the collection and photographs !

For info already mentioned in my some news from France series: To mark the 60th anniversary of the first fashion show of Yves Saint Laurent, 6 Parisian museums pay tribute to the designer, collector and aesthete: the Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Musée d’Orsay, Musée National Picasso-Paris and Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Through works from their own collections, each of these cultural institutions reveals a facet of the designer, exhibits some of his iconic pieces and puts the artistic genius of Yves Saint Laurent into perspective.

The official YSL museum Paris

The Paris tourist office on the YSL museum

And as I am on the Avenue Marceau,why not tell you a bit about it! This place I have been several times for personal use and events see No 5,11, and 22…..

A bit on the avenue, one of the axis of the Place Charles de Gaulle (Etoile, Arc de Triomphe), The Avenue Marceau is in the 8éme and 16éme arrondissements of Paris, providing the boundary between the two (even side for the 8éme and odd side for the 16éme). It starts at Avenue du President-Wilson, almost at Place de l’Alma, and ends at Place Charles-de-Gaulle. It is named after François Séverin Marceau, General of the French revolution.  This road was opened on August 13, 1854 between Rue Circulaire and Place de l’Étoile. It was extended on March 6, 1858 between Rue Circulaire and Avenue de l’Empereur under the name “Avenue Joséphine”, in honor of Joséphine de Beauharnais. It received its current name on August 16, 1879. There was already a rue Marceau (in the 12éme arrondissement) which was given the name rue de Wattignies on this occasion.

Some of the notable buildings on the Avenue Marceau me think are :

No 5: Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, former Yves Saint Laurent fashion house, transformed into an Yves Saint Laurent museum opened in October 2017. Metro: Alma-Marceau (line 9), Bus: 42/72/80 stop Alma-Marceau,
No 11: Octavio Paz Library of the Cervantes Institute.
No 22: Headquarters of the Spanish Embassy in France.
No 24: hotel built in 1882. Hotel of the Marquis de Panisse-Passis , from 1910.
No 30 : The atypical facades of the city contribute a lot to the cachet of Paris. Nestled in the back alley of avenue Marceau, the building is certainly one of these Art Nouveau and/or ‘Art-Déco nuggets, Built between 1912 and 1914 by André Granet, it cannot, historically speaking, claim to belong to one of the two movements. On the other hand, it is the perfect example of the period of transition between the two styles.

No 31 : Church Saint Pierre de Chaillot

No 32 : Clothilde de La Rochelambert, comtesse de La Bédoyère later princess de la Moskowa, bridesmaid of the Emperatrice Eugénie died here in 1884. The historian Albert Vandal of the French Academy died here in 1910.

No 34 : after living at 26 Avenue Marceau until 1919, Madame Sacerdote, the famous fashion designer Jenny (the second woman in France to be awarded the Legion of Honor for her services to couture) and her husband Joseph, lived here until 1946.
No 36: mansion of M. L. Lefébure in 1910, neo-Louis XIII style, with a contemporary elevation.
No 64: Hôtel de la Comtesse de Breteuil in 1910, occupied by the Hôtel InterContinental Marceau currently,
No 78 bis: Hotel Radisson Blu Champs-Élysées.
No 81: former home of Pierre-Gabriel Chandon de Briailles, a former co-owner of the Moët & Chandon Champagne house.

There you go folks, a dandy place to visit at the YSL Museum of Paris, another wonderful spot in my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy it as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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March 19, 2022

Place Wilson of Toulouse!!!

Somehow, whenever we come to Toulouse we end up here either walking or driving by it. This is very nice, lively ,clean, modern as can be in Toulouse. I have mentioned the square in other posts but not one on itself and the wonderful carrousel of Place Wilson. Let me tell you a bit about it ok; hope you enjoy it as I.

One of the mythical squares of Toulouse! First of all because it is located at the Jean Jaurès metro, where the only 2 metro lines meet, so this is where people meet for a nice walk in the city center!  The Place du Président-Thomas-Woodrow-Wilson is a square in the historic center of Toulouse. It is located in the heart of the Saint-Georges district, in sector 1 – Center. It extends the Allées Jean-Jaurès, linking the heart of the city to the Canal du Midi. Built around the square, cafes and cinemas concentrate student nightlife.

Then because it is ideally located close to the Capitole and around there are all the shops, the Gaumont cinema and the shopping streets of the pink city! It extends the Jean Jaurès alleys, is located 2 minutes from the Capitole, and this greenery in the heart of the city center is frankly good! Adorned with a very pretty monument fountain to Goudouli was inaugurated in 1908. A 17C Occitan poet, his face and his pose seem to have frozen him in perpetual reflection. You can rest there on one of the benches while having a bite to eat. It’s definitely one of the liveliest places in Toulouse, day and night, and I love going there! We have great family memories of eating our Häagen-Dazs ice cream, 18 Pl of President Thomas Wilson !!

toulouse pl wilson jul10


Already two generations of Toulouse residents have galloped on wooden horses. Ever since Marc Méric installed it for the first time in Toulouse, on Place Saint-Georges. And since that date of December 1990, the carousel has been a part of the life of all Toulousians, Since 2007, the carousel has been running 365 days a year on Place Wilson.


At the Place du Président-Thomas-Woodrow-Wilson you have the junction of the streets such as the Allées du Président-Franklin-Roosevelt, Rue d’Austerlitz, Rue Lafayette, Rue Lapeyrouse, Rue Saint-Antoine-du-T, and Rue des Trois-Journées, The nearest metro stations are Capitole, on the line A, and Jean-Jaurès line A and B. Nearby are the stops for the Lineo L1​, L8​ ,L9​​​​​​​​​​​​ and bus 14​, 23, and ​29, The closest VéloToulouse self-service bike stations are in the neighboring streets: these are stations no. 1 (12 rue du Poids-de-l’Huile), no. 2 (21 rue Lafayette), no. 3 (62 rue de la Pomme), No. 7 (6 Rue du Rempart-Villeneuve), No. 19 (62 Boulevard Lazare-Carnot) and No. 20 (60 Boulevard Lazare-Carnot). Heavily used as this is an university town, However, we have, also, park at 16 Allée Jean Jaurès, a great underground parking, for reference webpage:

The square is named after Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States from 1912 to 1920. In April 1917, he committed his country to WWI or the Great War on the side of the Allies. On July 4, 1918, the city of Toulouse, led by mayor Jean Rieux, named Woodrow Wilson an honorary citizen of the city and gave his name to the square.

The Toulouse tourist office on the Carrousel of Pl Wilson

There you go folks, a nice pretty Place Wilson for short, and a wonderful sight of the Carrousel and the fountain. Just lovely memories of the pink city of Toulouse, with us forever. Again, hope you enjoy this post as I.

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

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