Archive for May 3rd, 2022

May 3, 2022

Saint Martin de Ré!!!

I have been to a lot on my road warrior travels in my belle France, One thing started late but catching up all over is to visit the outer island off the continental shelf of France, The event , 2016 European Nations Cup were held in France! and the training ground for the national team of Spain was you guess right, Sainte Marie de Ré in the Ïle de Ré island!! So we went there, and saw things all over, we came on later years too, see posts, The main city is actually Saint Martin de Ré and we spent most of our time here after all, The Île de Ré is a nice wonderdul island , the fourth largest on metropolitan France! It is in the Charente Maritime dept 17 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. 

I somehow have left the sea info from my blog, so need to do justice to this beautiful island and will tell you a bit on the port and beach of Saint Martin de Ré. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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This port in Saint Martin de Ré, the easiest on the Ile de Ré island, has a rating of +1.3 meters. The site includes an outer harbour, a beaching port and a wet dock closed by a lock. 220 spaces on quay and pontoons including 40 to 50 visitors for boats of <16 meters. Quai Georges Clémenceau in the beaching harbor reserved for fishing , Boaters who dock there rub shoulders with fishing boats and above all, enjoy a delightful environment. Protected by the ramparts and located in the heart of the village, it allows the traveler to go to the restaurant or to visit the park.

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There is ,also, a cute little beach, plage de la Cible, supervised with its pretty white bathing cabins. Small but complete, there are also water activities to do there, restaurants and fun on the beach, a pontoon. The beach is located about 700 meters from the old port. Beach supervised in season with free parking, a diving board and toilets. You will also find a sailing school, a playground and picnic area, enough to practice surfing, sailing, fishing on foot, kitesurfing, kite flying. The beach which is certified “bathing water quality”. We did not go in the water but a nice quant beach indeed.

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The city of Saint Martin de Ré on its port: http://www.saint-martin-de-re.fr/fr/information/73129/bureau-port

The Saint Martin de Ré Cible beach from the island tourist officehttps://www.holidays-iledere.co.uk/discover-ile-de-re/preserved-and-living-nature/beaches-that-change-with-the-seasons/the-beaches-of-ile-de-re-interactive-map/plage-de-la-cible-580133

My fav beach site Plages TV on the Cible beachhttps://en.plages.tv/detail/cible-beach-saint-martin-de-re-17410

There you go folks, another wonderful spot in my belle France, The Ïle de Ré is beautiful and Saint Martin de Ré lovely! Hope you enjoy this seawater post and do visit, worth the detour,

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

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May 3, 2022

Museum and Library of Lavaur !

This is another sentimental town in my belle France. We have come here often with the whole family as it is the native town of my dear late wife Martine father’s-Pierre. The town of Lavaur is really still off the beaten path areas of the Tarn dept 81 in region of Occitanie. A wonderful small town loaded with goodies to see and enjoy it me think. I will touch briefly on these two as looking at the building from the Esplanade de Plô (see post) I realise it was something nice but had not given it enough time, because the cathedral calling. One building and two wonderful places, a museum and a library!

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First the Museum or musée du Pays Vaurais is at 1 rue Jouxaygues not far from the monastery and cathedral.  The museum has a wonderful permanent collections. When we visit they were restructuring so no pictures, one spot we need to come back. The museum is now call the musée municipal du Pays de Cocagne !

Today the museum’s reserves ,several thousand objects, include rich collections of sacred art, fine arts, archeology, popular art and traditions as well as the workshop funds of the old factory Puget organ unique in the old Midi-Pyrénées region now part of Occitanie. One important collection is that of paintings/sculptures of the Cathedral of St Alain of Lavaur (see posts). A masterpiece of the first Southern Gothic, a few decades earlier than Sainte-Cécile d´Albi. The building constitutes a major milestone in the genealogy of the great Gothic churches of the Midi.

A first museum was created in Lavaur in 1898, within the City/Town Hall. It then benefited from some state deposits or donations. Abandoned, it was relaunched in 1952 by the Archaeological Society of Lavaur and called Musée du Pays Vaurais, later the  name was change in about 2002 to the musée municipal du Pays de Cocagne. It then enriched itself with numerous donations and deposits. In 2002, the semi-associative establishment definitively became municipal.  Today, the museum is located in the former house of the Sisters of Christ, a large building bought by the the town of Lavaur in 2001.

The city of Lavaur on the municipal museumhttps://www.ville-lavaur.fr/culture/le-musee/le-musee-municipal-du-pays-vaurais/

My information came mostly from the site museums of Occitanie : http://Musée du Pays de Cocagne – Musées Occitanie (musees-occitanie.fr)

The Médiathéque Guiraude de Laurac media library, is in the former convent of the Sisters of Christ, as well as the above, It is between Saint-Alain Cathedral and the Esplanade de Plô (see posts). The story goes that at the beginning of the 13C, Guiraude de Laurac, lord of Lavaur,(cathar believer) occupied the Château du Plô overlooking the Agout river valley. During the capture of the city by the troops of Simon de Montfort (against the cathars), she died assassinated on May 3, 1211, precipitated alive in a well. The sense of hospitality, the spirit of tolerance and the freedom of thought, which characterized the chatelaine of Lavaur have permeated in the city and founded the rascal identity. In homage to Dame Guiraude, the name of the media library has become established.

It is configure as such: On the ground floor: Reception area for lending and returning documents. And on the 1st floor: (2nd US) ,the teenagers & adults area with books for loan or on-site consultation: magazines, novels, documentaries, large print books, police, science fiction, local funds … The multimedia space offers a large collection of self-service CDs and DVDs, two music listening stations and a screen for viewing films, cartoons or documentaries.

The city of Lavaur on the library :https://www.ville-lavaur.fr/culture/la-mediatheque/la-mediatheque-55/

The official médiathèque of Lavaur :http://mediatheque.ville-lavaur.fr/

There you go folks, a brief detail ,noter, worth coming back for more, and Lavaur is always at home. Lavaur is nice deep in the Tarn and just lovely. I said worth a detour indeed, Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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May 3, 2022

Cathedral of Saint Alain of Lavaur, part II

Well , we have come several times and always a must in Lavaur, our sentimental city for reasons already told on several posts in my blog, The Saint Alain Cathedral is a majestic monument, a must to visit in town if anything else. The Cathedral of Saint Alain is a masterpiece that needs to be discovered by many. Right now is a sentimental town and Cathedral for us and lucky to be able to see again this time with my 3 young men and nice borador Rex. We love it and sure will be back eventually,

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The Saint-Alain Cathedral of Lavaur is the only city in the southwest of France, to have a Jacquemart, emblematic character, wooden automaton hoisted in the tower. The legend of the Jacquemart tells that, during the wars of religion, a Protestant prisoner locked in the tower of the cathedral had the obligation to ring the bells every hour, day and night. He devised a stratagem, by constructing a mechanical figurine to do it in his place, and could thus escape the jailers!

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The nice history of this marvel condense style by yours truly.

The Saint Alain Cathedral is of southern Gothic style , and was built between 1255 and 1300. At the front is the Bishopric Garden (see post). The origin of Saint Alain honored at Lavaur remains unknown. The foundation of the Saint-Alain priory is certified by a charter of August 5, 1098 to the Benedictine monks of the Saint-Pons-de-Thomières abbey, responsible for rebuilding the Saint-Elan church in Lavaur, then in ruins , which proves that the worship of Saint Alain in Lavaur is clearly prior to this date.

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A Romanesque church was then built between 1099 and 1211 by the Benedictines of Saint-Pons for their priory of Lavaur, destroyed during the Albigensian (cathars) crusade during the siege of 1211. The current Saint Alain Cathedral was rebuilt in the middle of the 13C, started around 1255 retaining the small southern steeple of Jacquemart from the Romanesque style. A vast single nave of slender proportions such as high of 23 meters by wide of almost 14 meters, the 13C church had only five spans closed at both ends by a straight wall. The erection of the priory as bishopric of Lavaur in 1318 transformed the church into a cathedral, a prelude to enlargements of it, which would continue until the beginning of the 16C on the initiative of the bishops.

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Thus, in the 14C, chapels were built between the buttresses. In the middle of the 15C, the chapel currently used as a sacristy was built, under the name of Saint Martial and in 1480 contiguous to the west of it, the canons established a chapter room dedicated to Saint Gauthier. Frescoes paintings executed in 1730 adorn its walls, telling episodes of the history of Lavaur. With the promotion of the city to the rank of Bishopric in 1318, the cathedral underwent a series of embellishments: apse on the east side in 1332, north and south chapels between the middle of the 14C and the beginning of the 16C, a powerful bell tower and monumental portal to the west at the end of the 15C. The great Cavaillé-Coll organ was installed in 1876 in a magnificent polychrome carved wooden organ case 1523, a masterpiece of Renaissance art from the South.

It was especially in the last quarter of the 15C that great works are undertaken giving the Saint Alain Cathedral its present look. Its width is about 14 meters and its total length 73 meters. Passing from the construction of a new episcopal palace adjoining the cathedral to the north (destroyed at the beginning of the 19C) it undertook to build the imposing western bell tower with three terraces, 42 meters high and, to connect it by an additional span to the rest of the church, realizing at the same time a nave of a great extent. The curious crown carved in fleur-de-lis at the top of the tower recalls that it was completed under the episcopate and it was still at the end of the 15C that a chapel was attached to the south of the old Romanesque porch, well preserved, with rich capitals reminiscent of the childhood of Christ. A new side entrance, adorned with pinnacles, surmounted by the bishop’s shield is then made on the south flank of the connecting span.

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Since 1967, the altar of the Saint-Alain Choir has had a table whose exact provenance we do not know. It was found in 1876, in the chapel of the Lavaur hospital, but it is not there its place of origin This Romanesque table, in white marble probably from Saint-Béat, is part of the rest of the production altar tables from the ecclesiastical province of Narbonne. The upper side is slightly hollowed out, but its great interest comes from the sculpture of its slice cut into a chamfer, The main theme of the front side: a blessing Christ in a circular mandorla, is the same on both tables. A series of angels, completes this face. On the right side are represented two angels supporting the altar table itself, a motif which can be found on the cutter of one of the capitals of Saint-Sernin Basilica in Toulouse. The sculpture on the left side is of a more delicate interpretation; it would represent two angels worshiping the bread of heaven. The fourth side was intended to be engaged in masonry and is not decorated.

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A very beautiful organ completes the overall arrangement with a high-quality Renaissance buffet by Toulouse sculptor Nicolas Bachelier ; instrument redone in 1889 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Finally, the first mechanism and the bell that makes the famous Jacquemart ring, date from 1523. But it appears that the automaton (currently 3rd generation) will not take place until 1604. In 2016, the Saint Alain Cathedral was the subject of renovations, so the painted decor of the 19C today has a second youth. Take the time to admire this Cathedral as a whole!!

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The city of Lavaur on the Saint Alain Cathedralhttps://www.ville-lavaur.fr/La-Cathedrale-Saint-Alain/

The Local Tarn Agout tourist office on Lavaur’s heritagehttps://www.tourisme-tarnagout.com/decouvrir-et-visiter/patrimoine-des-villes-et-des-champs/

The Catholic Diocese of Albi on the Saint Alain Cathedral of Lavaurhttps://albi.catholique.fr/tarn-tourisme-catholique/eglises-du-tarn/lavaur-cathedrale-saint-alain/

There you go folks, a masterpiece and should be visited more , even if Lavaur is still in the off the beaten path of most visitors. It is a wonderful cathedral surrounded by beautiful buildings and gardens all walkable. A delight me think. Do come and enjoy the Saint Alain Cathedral in sentimental Lavaur, the Tarn 81 of Occtanie in my belle France.

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

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