Archive for March 20th, 2022

March 20, 2022

The tower dungeon of Anne de Bretagne of Montfort L’Amaury!

This is a nice town and a wonderful off the beaten path visit of Montfort L’Amaury. I like to update this older post, and hope you enjoy it as I. When I was in Versailles, I came often to his town and initially walking to the tower dungeon of Anne de Bretagne, and later much else including lunches. Montfort L’Amaury is in the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region , and in my belle France.

The tower dungeon of Anne-de-Bretagne is a 15C tower, built by Anne de Bretagne in Montfort-l’Amaury, perched on the feudal motte which dominates the village, the Anne de Bretagne tower is the only vestige of the old castle, This dungeon with an outdoor staircase serving each floor, was built on the site of the ruins of the old 12C castle, destroyed by the English during the Hundred Years War, restored by Anne-de-Bretagne, Duchess of Brittany and Countess of Montfort and benefactress, You have the old Castle ruins now only visible with a donjon tower built in the 12C call the tour d’Anne-de-Bretagne that was ordered built by herself. An irregular octagonal staircase on three levels, the remains of a tower with a width of about 20 meters, walls 2-3 meters thick and an approximate height of 18 meters.Celebrated by Victor Hugo in 1825 in his Ode aux Ruines (Ruins),


As in addition : The town of Montfort L’Amaury still preserves the ruins of the old ramparts which surrounded the village from the second half of the 11C. Built by Hugues Bardoul, captain of the castle, the wall was six meters high and then had four doors. Dismantled during the English invasions, the fortifications will be rebuilt after the wars of religion, when Charles IX promises to endow Montfort with his first charter.

The bit of history I like here is like this :

When Robert the Pious, son of Hugues Capet, received the Pays d’Yvelines as a prerogative, he decided to build here, on a motte 185 meters above sea level, a defensive fortress which he entrusted to Guillaume de Hainaut, the latter then becoming the first Lord of Montfort. Several of his descendants bearing the first name of Amaury, the city will later take the name of Montfort-l’Amaury. The family of the lords of Montfort will become famous in history through the figure of Simon IV de Montfort, who was the main figure in the crusade against the Albigensians (cathars) at the beginning of the 13C. In 1292, the County of Montfort was attached to the Duchy of Brittany through the marriage of Yolande de Montfort and Arthur II of Brittany. This is how the Duchess Anne of Brittany, who also had the title of Countess of Montfort, she stayed five years in Montfort-L’Amaury, she will embellish the capital of her county; we also owe her the evolution of the Saint-Pierre Church (see post), which she undertook to remodel to give it a more modern architecture and a better layout. Nevertheless, this situation ended for Montfort l’Amaury when Bretagne/Brittany was annexed to the French crown in 1532, as a result of Anne of Brittany’s marriage to Charles VIII and then Louis XII. So Duchess once, Queen twice !

The city of Montfort L’Amaury on the tour Anne de Bretagne

There you go folks, a bit of culture away in a small quant town in my beloved Yvelines, nearer my dear Versailles. Its a nice detour to see what could be call an off the beaten path visit in my belle France. The Tower Dungeon of Anne of Brittany is very nice to see, just across from the house museum of Maurice Ravel (see post).

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

March 20, 2022

Maurice Ravel museum of Montfort L’Amaury!

This is a nice town and a wonderful off the beaten path visit by groups to the nice Maurice Ravel museum of Montfort L’Amaury. I like to update this older post, and hope you enjoy it as I. When I was in Versailles, I came often to this town and initially walking to the tour donjon of Anne de Bretagne, saw his house by chance. Then, the rest is history. Montfort L’Amaury in the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region.

The house museum of Maurice Ravel (music composer creator of Bolero )  call the  Belvédère, a mansion from the 20C at the foot of the ruins of the donjon/tower Anne de Bretagne (see post)  ,looking down on the house by Rue Maurice Ravel. Le Belvédère is the name of the house where the composer Maurice Ravel lived for sixteen years from 1921 until the year of his death in a clinic in Paris in 1937. The Boléro, the Concerto for the left hand, the L’Enfant or Child and the Sortilèges are some of the works written at Montfort. During a visit to the house of the famous composer, you will discover his surprising collection of trinkets. From its living room, you can admire the magnificent view as well as its Japanese garden.

This relatively modest and cramped house, acquired in January 1921, owes its name to its hillside location and the panorama it offers of the town of Montfort-l’Amaury  and the Rambouillet forest in the background. It is in this house that the composer composed almost all of his works from 1921, including L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, Chansons madécasses, the famous Boléro (I know him for it), the Concerto in G for piano and orchestra, and the Concerto for the left hand.

The house, inherited by the musician’s brother, Édouard Ravel, firstly remained under the care of the musician’s faithful governess of Breton origin, Mrs. Marie Reveleau. The custody of the Belvedere was jointly entrusted in 1954 to Céleste Albaret, former governess of Marcel Proust, and to her sister Marie Gineste. However, Céleste Albaret had to leave the Belvedere in 1970. In his second authentic will of July 18, 1958, Édouard Ravel bequeathed the Belvedere to the Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Union of National Museums).  The museum officially opened as such on May 18, 1973.


The house contains many precious and unusual objects. Indeed, Ravel collected trinkets, surprising and wonderful objects. He took great care to decorate his house, perfectly in his image. In the music room are the composer’s office and his Erard piano, made in 1908 and acquired in 1911, who traveled from 4 avenue Carnot to Paris where he was until 1917, then to Neuilly-sur-Seine until the installation at the Belvedere which began in January 1921, In this room of the house there are also, in addition to numerous objects and souvenirs, five family portraits: two portraits of the child composer, one by his Swiss brother Édouard Ravel and the other painted in 1886; one of his younger brother Édouard Ravel as a child by the Swiss brother Édouard Ravel, one of his mother Marie Delouart also by brother Édouard Ravel and one of his father Joseph Ravel. In the dining room, there is among other things a realistic bust of Maurice Ravel made in the summer of 1928.

Guided tours in small groups are organized there every weekend, and during the week by appointment, see the tourist office at La Maison du tourisme, 3, rue Amaury, 78490 Montfort l’Amaury or email :

The city of Montfort L’Amaury on the house museum of Maurice Ravel

The Foundation of Maurice Ravel has more info on the house museum

The Ravel days an association to showoff his work in Montfort

There you go folks, a bit of culture away in a small quant town in my beloved Yvelines, nearer my dear Versailles. Its a nice detour to see what could be call an off the beaten path visit in my belle France. The house museum Maurice Ravel is very interesting indeed.

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

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March 20, 2022

Curiosities 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 other things to see or curiosities of Dourdan!!! 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.

In the Saint Germain d’Auxerre Church, you can see a funerary slab adorned with the effigy of Guillaume de Chatillonville, which served as a bridge over a ditch under the French revolution. It was returned to the Church after being recovered by the local Dourdannais. The shrine of the relics of Saint Félicien in precious glass and metal which was offered by Marguerite-Louise d’Orléans, Grand Duchess of Tuscany in 1695 is displayed every 9th June. Portraits of the priests of the Church since the French revolution, in particular that of Father Gautier, complete the decoration. The organ, built in 1870. The first bronze bell melted in 1599, the second, named Germaine, was cast in 1778 in bronze. A chest in the sacristy is dated 1733. The Church was used as a prison during the French revolution and was brought back to Catholic service by 1795. The church is right next to the market.

dourdan ch st germain d auxerre rue demetz aug11

The Hôtel-Dieu with the Chapel of Saint Jean l’Evangéliste or St John the Evangelist. In 1220 was built the Hôtel-Dieu, destroyed and rebuilt from 1766 with the Evangelist Chapel mentioned in 1340. Modified in 1852 and 1885, it served as a hospital until 1970. Now it is a retirement home.

dourdan hotel dieu ret home aug11

The Hôtellerie Blanche de Castille is a 3 star hotel totally renovated in 2016. It is just 5 minutes on foot to the Musee du Chateau, the Halles, and the church, It is about 40 minutes from Roissy CDG airport. A bit of history tell us that it was built on a former mansion of the 17C, purchase by the family Védye and sold again in 1781 by the family Le Boistel, It continues to change hands for several generations of different families finally ceded to the city of Dourdan that ordered demolished, In 1969 the Hostellerie Blanche de Castille opened and kept the wonderful staircase you see by the entrance.

dourdan hostellerie blanche de castille hotel resto rue haute foulerie aug11

The Dourdan tourist office on its heritage

The official Hôtellerie Blanche de Castille

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 the wonderful things to see here all within walking distance. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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