Archive for April 3rd, 2022

April 3, 2022

Some news from France, CCCLXII

Well can’t be too far from my belle France and my lovely posts of some news from France! The times have come back to cold and 1 cm of snow in my neck of the woods! And it will be for the next couple of days. And this is Spring! oh well we go on normally as this is nothing compare to where we have lived before….Now let me tell you of the latest tidbits of my France.

The regions of Hauts-de-France, Centre and Île-de-France, a high probability of snow showers from this Friday April 1 2022 morning. One to three centimeters (about one inch!) are expected in Paris and its suburbs, even five in the most rural departments and in the plains of the Paris Basin, on the night of Thursday March 31 to Friday April 1, (actually this has been extended to Monday April 4th). It’s freezing air, a pocket breaking away from the polar vortex and descending rapidly like a toboggan over Western Europe to create a cold drop at high altitudes, There should be no fear of morning frosts from here on Friday but that could change as of Saturday and Sunday, when this cold mass will have resumed its path towards the east, leaving a clear sky favorable to their formation according to Meteo France, I have the app in my phone but this is good info to know ahead of coming any time : https://meteofrance.com

Some nice ideas to vacation in France, and already visited with posts in my blog ; these can easily be done by train from Paris too.

Saint-Valéry-sur-Somme, an adorable sloping city of bricks and half-timbering. It enchants the eyes of visitors with its simplicity and the quality of its very well-presented heritage. Going up the main street, you will admire the houses with colorful shutters, but also the district of Courtgain, where sailors once lived who fished for shrimp or worked on the open sea. On two streets lined with cobblestones, those of the Moulins and Pilotes, follow one another of small terraced houses abundantly flowered, See the Guillaume towers and the castle, the Saint-Pierre Chapel with brick, limestone and flint walls. Back at the entrance to the city, the visit ends in the little tourist train that connects Saint-Valéry to Crotoy, another city full of charm. The Bay of the Somme tourist office on Saint Valéry sur Somme: https://www.tourisme-baiedesomme.fr/en/discover/saint-valery-sur-somme-cite-medievale-et-maritime/

Only 70 km from Paris, time stands still. In Moret-sur-Loing, (which became Moret-Loing-et-Orvanne in 2015), the presence of the Middle Ages asserts itself everywhere, which makes all the charm of wandering around this town bathed by the Loing river with fortified gates, dungeon and ramparts recount a moment of history , Thus Alfred Sisley posed there for twenty years during his easel. The painter is buried in the cemetery of Moret. Of the thousand paintings signed with his name, more than four hundred evoke the landscapes of Moret and the surrounding area (Veneux-Les Sablons, Saint-Mammès and Thomery). You need to taste the authentic barley sugar, invented in 1638 by Benedictine nuns. The combination of three products, water, sugar and barley ,still made according to the original recipe, the best sweetness for irritated throats! Fans will try the cheese and charcuterie flavored with barley sugar and visit the museum which tells its story… The Moret sur Loing tourist office on the candy : https://www.msl-tourisme.fr/index.php/fr/decouvrir-moret-seine-loing/terroir-et-artisanat/le-sucre-d-orge-de-moret.html

Villers-sur-mer , Calvados dept 14, only 13 km from Trouville, on the Côte fleurie or Flowery Coast, the old rural town has taken advantage of its seaside to become a pretty family seaside resort, Georges Méliès spent holidays there and filmed there… just like in the 20C François Truffault. The latter closes his “Quatre cents coups” by filming the discovery of the sea by Jean-Pierre Léaud in Villers! The town is renowned for its scallops, coastal fishing and boating, The In Deauville tourist office on Villers sur mer : https://en.indeauville.fr/villers-sur-mer

Trouville is only 2h15 by train (direct) from Paris which allows you to consider a round trip over a day. Even before arriving, the Norman landscape scrolls past the window and lends itself to reverie… meadows, herds of Norman cows and, finally, the terminus and the seaside. The Trouville-Deauville train station leaves you a few steps from the heart of the city. Turn right on leaving, cross the flowered bridge and you are facing the fishing port. Barely a ten-minute walk and the large beach bordered by its sublime villas awaits you. Those with a sweet tooth will not fail to taste the cakes from the Charlotte Corday pastry shop, including the famous “Tarte Antoine”, in tribute to the TV host Antoine de Caunes, a native of the city. The Trouville tourist office : https://www.trouvillesurmer.org/

Paimpol or Pem Poull = the end of the pond or pond-, in the Côtes-d’Armor dept 22 lives to the rhythm of the sea, an activity that has led the Paimpolais to Iceland, as the novelist Pierre Loti relates in “Fisherman of Iceland” (1886). Another testimony in the heart of town, the statue of Théodore Botrel, the author of the song “La Paimpolaise” (1895). The winding streets take you to the other monument of the city: the Jézéquel cutlery, a Paimpolaise institution since 1886! Held by the fourth generation, this hardware store installed in a half-timbered house conceals a thousand treasures, from nails to the weighing machine to gardening tools and stylized fish hooks…Other things to see are the pointe de Guilben to the Abbey of Beauport while lovers of old trains will choose the open air of the Trieux steamer, an old-fashioned locomotive that connects Paimpol to Pontrieux along the Trieux estuary, The Guingamp-Paimpol tourist office on things to see: https://www.guingamp-paimpol.com/en/welcome-to-guingamp-baie-de-paimpol/must-see-destinations

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the fortified city, Between the Basque coast and the Spanish border, this fortified city of less than 2000 souls, classified among the most beautiful villages in France, is nicknamed the capital of Lower Navarre. About 50 km from the Basque coast, this old town with cobbled streets in which you will enjoy getting lost is dominated by the citadel founded in the 17C. Steep stairs will lead you there, wear good shoes! You will discover a splendid view. Each year, thousands of walkers en route to Santiago de Compostela make a final stop in the city. On Monday mornings, the Farmers’ Market packed with local produce will help you soak up the town’s atmosphere. Don’t leave without treating yourself to a pair of espadrilles hand-sewn for over 30 years by the Arangois family at rue d’Espagne. The Pays Basque tourist office on Saint Jean Pied de Port : https://www.en-pays-basque.fr/territoires-et-destinations/le-pays-de-saint-jean-pied-de-port/

Then, news closer to home… The Salle du Jeu de Paume will reopen on April 1st 2022, after been in renovation since July 2021, The room is close by the Château de Versailles. It was not renovated since the bicentenial of the French revolution in 1989! The renovation was done on the roof, the framework, the joinery, the painted decoration of the room and its floor. In terms of works of art, Olivier Merson’s famous canvas depicting the Oath of the Royal Tennis Court, based on David’s drawing, has also been restored. Webpage : https://en.chateauversailles.fr/news/life-on-estate/restoration-royal-tennis-court#the-place

On April 1st 2022, the apartments of the Dauphin will reopen in the Château de Versailles after been close since 2013. Located on the ground floor (1fl), in the central body of the palace/museum, the Dauphin’s apartment is one of the most prestigious in the former royal residence. The three rooms that compose it: bedroom, Grand Cabinet, library, offer a unique perspective on the gardens. Webpage : https://www.chateauversailles.fr/presse/restaurations/chantier-restauration-appartement-dauphin#un-appartement-prestigieux

The Saint-Lazare train station, considered the poor relation of rail traffic, line J has just lost two direct trains between Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines 78) and Paris (75). These are only trains from Rouen (Seine Maritime 76) with departures 11h17 and 15h17 for stops at 12h10 and 16h12 at Mantes station) and running on line J: many trains from Cherbourg (Manche 50), Rouen or Le Havre (Seine-Maritime 76) indeed mark the stop at Mantes-la-Jolie before reaching Paris. SNCF train schedules : https://www.sncf.com/en/stations/paris-saint-lazare/OCE87384008/departures-arrivals/gl/departures

The «Les fantômes d’Orsay», or “The Ghosts of Orsay”, by Sophie Calle, is on view until June 12, 2022 at the Musée d’Orsay. Haven’t heard of the Gare d’Orsay (7éme) or its grand hotel? Go to the Musée d’Orsay, to meet the “ghosts of Orsay”* who still haunt the place thanks to the relics carefully collected and preserved by Sophie Calle ,Museum webpage : https://www.musee-orsay.fr/fr/expositions/sophie-calle-et-son-invite-jean-paul-demoule-201182

A fresh start and 72 new shops for the Centre Commercial des 3 Fontaines shopping centre in Cergy (95). The long-awaited extension of the shopping center has been open to the public since this Wednesday ( 30 March 2022) , The 33,000 m2 extension will eventually accommodate 72 shops, all of which should have moved in in their new cells within six to eight months. The site now offers an area of 100,000 m2 and 3,700 parking spaces, One nostalgic center that used to visit when lived in Versailles ! webpage : https://www.3fontaines.com/

The Centre Commercial Les Saisons, the hour of renewal has come more than six years after its opening, the center is diversifying its activities within its Chauconin-Neufmontiers gallery at the gates of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne 77) in order to meet new customer expectations and revitalize itself . These are not traditional stores but rather rare establishments in this type of place. In recent months, two associations, a coworking space and a school have settled there. Visit as near family member! Webpage : https://meaux.aushopping.com/fr/magasins/shops

A little over 30 years ago, Disneyland Paris, today the number one tourist destination in Europe, emerged from the ground. The main employer in Seine-et-Marne 77 is also the engine of urban and economic development in the Val-d’Europe conurbation. The countdown is on before Disneyland Paris officially turns 30 on April 12 2022. But the first amusement park in Europe is not the only one to celebrate a symbolic anniversary this year. The agglomeration of Val-d’Europe, on the territory of which the Disney parks and hotels are also, Thise area when first came to it near my wife town was marshes and cows pasture, today is a vibrant modern area as Orlando FL USA was, webpage :https://www.valdeuropeagglo.fr/10-communes/


The short metro line from Mont d’Est to Noisy-le-Grand will never be used to transport passengers. Almost thirty years later, the town hall is launching a call for projects to transform it into a place of urban and popular culture. It’s hard to imagine that here, stuck to this busy RER A station in Noisy-le-Grand – Mont d’Est, hides a small abandoned automatic metro line. However, tunnel, cabins, landing platform and exchange room have been waiting for nearly thirty years for passengers who will never arrive. Exurbis site WordPress for more info in French : https://www.exurbis.com/2007/03/metro-sk-a-noisy-le-grand/

Until May 28, 2022, Contemporary works of art exhibited in shops. This is the funny initiative of the “Neighborhood Museum” operation which installed paintings and photographs usually exhibited at the musée des Abattoirs, Toulouse. More info at museum webpage :https://www.lesabattoirs.org/en/Exhibitions/musee-de-quartier/

Every year the Loto du Patrimoine (heritage lottery) takes place. Since 2019, the lotto has been made in two draws, one on July 14 and the scratch game on World Heritage Day, this game was created as part of the Mission Stéphane Bern by the Française des jeux (French lotery organisation) . What purpose ? Raise funds for the Heritage Foundation, a foundation that maintains monuments and is responsible for restoring those in danger, whether they are historical monuments or not. Yes indeed, Great!!

For this 5th edition of Loto du Patrimoine, 18 sites have been selected, one in each French region. On September 17 and 18, the amounts granted will be revealed. Discover the list of the 18 sites selected for 2022!
GRAND EST site: First castle of the princes of Salm in Sénones (Vosges)
AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES site: Spring park in Vichy (Allier)
NOUVELLE AQUITAINE site: Italian-style theater in Guéret (Creuse)
PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D’AZUR site: Castellas de Roquemartine in Eyguières (Bouches-du-Rhône)
BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ site: Priory of Charité-sur-Loire (Nièvre)
Site BRITTANY: Former penal colony of Belle-Île-en-Mer (Morbihan)!!!YES!!!see post
HAUTS-DE-FRANCE site: Oignies mining headframes (Pas-de-Calais)
ILE-DE-FRANCE website: Church of Saint-Louis in Villemomble (Seine-Saint-Denis)
OCCITANIE site: Stewardship House of the Montpellier Botanical Garden (Hérault)
PAYS DE LA LOIRE website: Porte Beucheresse in Laval (Mayenne)!!! YES!!see post
CORSICA site: Castle of Quenza (southern Corsica)
NORMANDY site: Church and veterinary infirmary of Haras du Pin (Orne)
CENTRE-VAL DE LOIRE site: House of the Alixes in Gien (Loiret)
GUYANA site: Acarouany village in Mana
Site LA RÉUNION: Former Pierrefonds sugar factory, in Saint-Pierre
MAYOTTE site: Former Hajangoua sugar factory, in Dembéni
MARTINIQUE site: Atlas cinema in Anses d’Arlet

And while doing compilation for this post, saw an article to vacation in the Azores islands of Portugal! This brought back many memories of a time gone by where sadly pictures were not able to be taken, been poor. Here is my bit of story about me too!

The Açores islands of Portugal are between Europe and North America, Nine volcanic islands offer a rainbow of discoveries like the Pico volcano, 2351 meters above sea level and the highest peak in Portugal . It emerges 1600 km from Portugal and 2450 km from Canada. Nice things to see here are the Nssa. Sra Da Assunçâo Church, Santa Maria Museum, Baia de Säo Lourenço bay,, Formosa praia or beach, However, my story goes deeper than just sights !

Many many years ago, 51 to be exact, I landed at the Santa Maria airport on a freedom flight from Havana to Madrid on a 16 hrs flight onboard a Brittania four propeller aircraft!! I was with my dear mom Gladys who sadly passed away in Versailles in 2007. I will never forget this trip, and weird that I have not gone back. Looking at a travel magazine, gave me the idea to put it in my blog, and hopefully the right timing to finally visit in a more happier time.

The official ANA airport of Santa Maria : https://www.ana.pt/en/sma/access-parking/getting-to-and-from-the-airport/public-transportation

The Açores islands tourist office: https://www.visitazores.com/en

There you go folks, another dandy round of my some news from France! Hope you have enjoy it as I. And see you around, planning already for the next move in my road warrior world!! Salut!

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

April 3, 2022

The Former Church of Santa Cruz of Cuenca!!

Well if you have been reading my blog, for which I thank you; you know my sentimental attachment to Cuenca and many family vacations. I ,also, have, several posts on the city and surrounding areas in Castilla La Mancha autonomous community. However, there was one older post crammed with several churches of great architectural and historical value that I have decided to spin off into individual posts giving them the credit they deserve in my blog. Hope you enjoy each of them as we did!

The Church of Santa Cruz or Holy Cross of Cuenca was one of the first parishes in that city. It was a modest construction, a nave, which was made of masonry and covered with wood. An important remodeling was carried out in the 18C, as it was then that the church was vaulted, The church has a nave, in the shape of a hall, which is divided into six sections by means of buttresses with attached pilasters, and has a polygonal apse. The lack of space , as the church overlooks the Huécar gorge forced the sacristy to be placed under the main chapel.

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In the 16C the Church of Santa Cruz was covered with a wooden coffered ceiling which, in the 18C, was replaced by a half-barrel vault with lunettes, built with tuff stone, which collapsed due to the lack of solidity of the walls raised in the 16C. The cover of the church is a work of the 16C. With a very simple layout, it is made up of a semicircular arch, between Ionic embossed pilasters. The upper body, which has a niche between two ces, must have been altered in its layout and decoration. Traces of 18C painting have survived inside. Currently, only the façade and the perimeter walls remain of the temple, Inside is the sepulchral Chapel of Luís Valle de la Cerda, an illustrious promoter of the Montes de Piedad. (charitable org),

In the 21C it was rehabilitated to become an exhibition center and for a time it functioned as the Regional Center for Exhibitions and the sale of handicrafts. It currently houses the Roberto Polo Collection.

The Roberto Polo Collection displays 107 works by 60 international artists in the desecrated church of Santa Cruz, showcasing historical European avant-gardes and aims to become a “vital” resource for the city. The one in Cuenca is the second headquarters of the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art of Castilla-La Mancha (Corpo). The other part of the Roberto Polo Collection has been in the former convent of Santa Fe de Toledo since March 2019.

Precisely, the Roberto Polo Collection wants to establish a parallelism between the artists who promoted the Museum of Abstract Art in the city in 1959 and their European and American contemporaries, according to the Cuban-American patron Roberto Polo in an emotional intervention before the media. Among the creations that can be seen in the Holy Cross, there are works by painters such as John Atkinson Grimshaw, Félicien Rops, Alexandre Seon, Joseph Granié and Edgar Degas. Also a work in Chinese ink on paper of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, by Pablo Ruiz Picasso; and «The Soldier», an oil on canvas by Eugène Delacroix, which draws attention very close to the entrance. Meanwhile, on the second floor, which was occupied by the choir of the old church, there is an exhibition of contemporary sculpture and photography, as well as a room dedicated to abstraction.

The Castilla La Mancha regional tourist office on the Church Holy Cross : http://en.www.turismocastillalamancha.es/patrimonio/iglesia-de-la-santa-cruz-coleccion-roberto-polo-corpo-cuenca-31864/descripcion/

The Colleccion Roberto Polo webpage: https://www.coleccionrobertopolo.es/

There you go folks, a dandy nice Church of Santa Cruz in wonderful Cuenca; we love it. There is so much to see in this Unesco World Heritage Site indeed. Hope you enjoy the post as much as I did. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 3, 2022

Former Colegio de los Jesuitas of Cuenca!

Well if you have been reading my blog, for which I thank you; you know my sentimental attachment to Cuenca and many family vacations. I ,also, have, several posts on the city and surrounding areas in Castilla La Mancha autonomous community. However, there was one older post crammed with several churches of great architectural and historical value that I have decided to spin off into individual posts giving them the credit they deserve in my blog. Hope you enjoy each of them as we did!

Walking down Calle Trabuco, you come into the Colegio de los Jesuitas from the 16C (jesuit college), precisely at 30, Calle de San Pedro in Cuenca.  The portal of the Jesuit College faces Calle San Pedro street. The Jesuits founded the college in Cuenca in 1554, in a house donated to them by Canon Pedro del Pozo, which was located on Calle de San Pedro. This portal is the last vestige of what was the first Jesuit college in Cuenca. In it, the semicircular arch is shown, between a plastic and linear decoration of a clear Renaissance sign, framed between Ionic pilasters, which rise on very high bases and far exceed the key of the arch. They thus form a space of respectable proportions between it and the cornice; so that, in the Baroque era, a large shield belonging to the order of the Jesuits could be fitted.

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The front of the building is the last vestige that is preserved today, of this Jesuit school. The school had its own church known as Church of the Circumcision, of which we know nothing today, it takes its name from the theme represented in the altarpiece and paintings inside, the latter made by Cincinato, a Florentine painter, who worked in the Court of Felipe II. After the expulsion of the Order of the Jesuits from Spanish territory, by the law decreed by Carlos III, the building began to house the Foundation for the Memory of Foundlings of San Julián.

The first news that appears about the founding of the College of Foundlings is from 1664, with the creation of the Memory of Foundlings of “San Julián” of the Cathedral of Cuenca. This pious memory was endowed with farms and rents in towns like Moncalvillo, where orphans between the ages of 8 and 13 were educated. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, the king Carlos III ceded the school to the foundlings, and from that time they were raised and educated in the aforementioned school until approximately 1836, when by order of the Political Government of the Province of Cuenca , they moved to the Casa de Misericordia or Mercy House, losing its ecclesiastical character by remaining under the supervision and control of the Municipal Charity Board of Cuenca.

The current center for the elderly dependent on the Social Services of the province of Cuenca, which began in the summer of 1967, built on the land of the old Casa de Beneficencia or Casa de Misericordia, of which only its façade remained standing, dismantled and set back at No 2 Calle de Colón.

The Ministry of Culture of Spain has more info on the Colegio de Jesuits of Cuencahttp://pares.mcu.es/ParesBusquedas20/catalogo/autoridad/19830

There you go folks, a dandy nice Portal of the Colegio Jesuita in in wonderful Cuenca; we love it. There is so much to see in this Unesco World Heritage Site indeed. Hope you enjoy the post as much as I did. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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