Archive for May 4th, 2022

May 4, 2022

Navarrenx and its ramparts !!

We were in our road warrior routine from our base in Pau ,and look up a map and decided to visit the town because of the history on cigars!  I am talking about Navarrenx in the department 64 Pyrenees Atlantique in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. However, once there we found out it has a lot more to offer, as the town is surrounded by the first rampart walls built from 1538!. I will give you here new text using older pictures, see my other posts on Navarrenx !


In Navarrenx, they were endowed with a new system of bastioned fortifications from 1538 to 1549: Henri d’Albret and Marguerite d’Angoulême, kings of Navarre, with 1.66 km of ramparts 10 meters high, with walls caulked with earth and pierced with fortified gates, four bastions, steps, half-moon, watchtowers, underground countermine galleries.  A powder magazine and a military fountain complete this defensive system as well as an arsenal built later in 1680.  The impressive ramparts took 10 years of construction, reputedly impenetrable and revolutionary, don’t these walls and their plan remind you of someone, a famous military architect for example…. Vauban ! Well little scoop, here in Navarrenx, they were the firsts!


Navarrenx is surrounded by the first bastioned enclosure built in France from 1538. Although, distorted since at the end of the 20C by a municipal decision, thoughtless, allowed the demolition of the Porte de France or the Musketeers as well as a drilling, unsightly and remained in the state, of the curtain Saint Antoine in the extension of the rue Saint Germain. Surrounded by walls from the 14C, the city retains beautiful vestiges such as the Porte Saint-Antoine gate, rebuilt in 1645, the powder tower, the barracks square, the military fountain, as well as Gothic houses and, on the square of the City/Town Hall, a 17C arsenal built on the ruins of the house of the Kings of Navarre.


In 1680, Vauban or one of his collaborators renovated the enclosure, without altering its general appearance. New barracks are also built. The bridge built in 1583 was repaired several times during the 18-19C. The curtain walls were razed to provide roads and the bridge was widened in 1988 to facilitate motor traffic. Two thirds of the ramparts of Navarrenx remain. In the city, the fountain, the powder magazine, the 16C arsenal and the barracks, built in 1680, still exist and have been transformed into private dwellings.


Some anecdotes in Navarrenx !!

Under the fortified gate, a plaque recalls the passage, in 1828, of illustrious lovers: the pianist Franz Liszt and his pupil from Pau, Caroline de Saint-Cricq, whom he had to leave because the Comte de Saint-Cricq, financier of the kingdom , had other ambitions for his daughter. However, it is much more likely that this passage took place in 1844. Indeed, we know the timetable of Franz Liszt from January to July 1828, the date of the break with Caroline de Saint-Criq. On the other hand, we know that Liszt stayed from October 7 to 21, 1844 in Pau, and that he met Caroline de Saint-Criq, wife of D’Artigaux, on this occasion. It is therefore most certainly during these days that the famous visit to the ramparts of Navarrenx took place.

Imagine Aramis and Athos growing up just a few dozen kilometers away in their respective villages, Isaac de Portau, alias Porthos is from a family from Audaux, a stone’s throw away, training for battle as a young man with the city guards . Here he was at the end of his career guarding ammunition from the city of Navarrenx !!.

And ,Paul de Batz d’Artagnan born in Navarrenx, musketeer then captain in the king’s guards; older brother of Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan (who inspired the character in the novel The Three Musketeers). King Louis XIV grants him in May 1667 the government of the fortress of Navarrenx. This patent was regularly renewed for him every three years until his death on May 24, 1703.

The city of Navarrenx on its history/heritage

The Béarn des Gaves local tourist office on Navarrenx

There you go folks, something unique in deep south France. The place is very nice, even romantic, you should make a detour to stop at Navarrenx! Enjoy the ramparts as I !

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

Tags: ,
May 4, 2022

The National Sports Museum of Lisbon!

Oh well lucky to have travel to Lisbon, You know back in New Jersey I grew up in a Portuguese community and played football/soccer for their local social club !! Who would know years later , I would be visiting Portugal so many times, and especially Lisbon !! I like to write a new text with older picture of a memorable square ,praça dos Restauradores and a special place the Museu Nacional do Desporto or National Sports Museum ! This post will remind me of the memorable Praça dos Restauradores or Restoration square in Lisbon. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The National Sports Museum is located in Palácio Foz, a historic building in the Praça dos Restauradores. It exposes testimonies of the history and culture of sport and its material and scientific development.  Inaugurated on July 12, 2012, the year in which Portugal celebrated 100 years of participation in the Olympic Games, the space is the result of a public invitation addressed to sports federations to make known the heritage that athletes and the different modalities have left. highlighting, the Golden Boot 1965 won by Eusébio and the pieces of equipment used by Rosa Mota when she became Olympic champion in 1988 at Seoul. Some equipment used by the greatest climber in the history of Portugal was also gathered. João Garcia climbed the 14 highest mountains in the world, the only ones with an altitude of more than 8,000 meters. He was the tenth man ever to conquer the Himalayan Crown without oxygen.


The National Sports Museum has a collection of around 60,000 registered items. It is possible to find the most recent and important modern monographs on sport and some copies of particular historical relevance. The Museum and the National Sports Library provide the national and international public with a significant collection on the history of sport in Portugal. It shows temporary exhibitions related to the sports themes and an educational service of a transversal scope. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10h to 17h.

An integral part of the Museum is its vast library dedicated to sport, the National Sports Library. With a collection of approximately 60 thousand items, including books, monographs, periodicals, videos, DVDs, audio supports and others. The library’s great attraction is the first sports book published worldwide, dating from 1577: De Arte Gymnastica, whose author was Hieronymus Mercurialis.

The official National Museum of Sports

The Lisbon tourist office on the museum of sports :

The Guia da cidade or city guides Lisbon

There you go folks, one nice building and an interesting subject, sports !! All in a memorable wonderful square of Praça dos Restauradores and you will immerge in gorgeous architecture and Portuguese history to boot: my favorite square in Lisbon! Hope you enjoy it as I,

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

Tags: ,
May 4, 2022

The beach towns of Carcans, and Hourtin!

You want to come to the beaches of France, and there are many beautiful ones, However, an area off the beaten path for many visitors outside of Europe is the Médoc !! Yes, the most famous wine region has, also, some of the best beaches of France ! We have spent many summers here when the boys were younger and beach goers, a lot less lately, but memories lingered forever. Oh yes definitively, not just wines here ! Let me tell you  a bit more on the beach towns of Carcans and Hourtin in the Médoc peninsula of the Gironde dept 33 of the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine! And of course ,do see my other posts on them and other beach towns here,

We headed for the beaches of Cancans and Hourtin as well like our playground area, crisscrossing this wonderful region, of great beaches. We love the italian ices in Cancans, and the pizza at Hourtin. Can’t missed the ice creams in Cancans Le Salon de la Glace , its right in the small city center street facing the beach of Maubuisson at 142 Av. de Maubuisson.

Hourtin is just a bit north on the Médoc peninsula nestled in the heart of the immense forest of the Landes, it borders the Côte d’Argent or Silver Coast and counts on the presence of one of the largest natural lakes of France, the Lake of Hourtin and Carcans, which is also the most important of the great lakes of the Landes. Hourtin is also the 30th largest town in France by its surface area due mainly to the lakes/forest area. Part of the territory is classified as a national nature reserve, the national nature reserve of the dunes and marshes of Hourtin.


The town of Hourtin is 12 km from Carcans 23 km from Lacanau, 24 km from Pauillac, 37 km from Soulac-sur-Mer, 54 km from Bordeaux and 59 km from Arcachon. The present town was known until 1628 under the name of Cartignac, Hourtin being only a small hamlet of the village to the French revolution, the present town replaced the old parish of Saint-Hélène de l’Étang.

Main tourist places here are the Church of Hourtin. , the Hourtin lighthouse (phare). The Forest of the Landes. And Hourtin shares with its neighbour Carcans one of the largest freshwater lakes of France, the Lake of Hourtin and Carcans, at the edge of which is built the tourist complex of Hourtin-port.

The city of Hourtin on its heritage :

The Médoc Atlantique tourist office on Hourtin

My favorite beach site plages tv on the Hourtin beach :

Carcans  as locals call it but officially Carcans-Maubuisson is only 12 km from Hourtin. And as above. The town is a seaside resort enjoying both the Atlantic Ocean and the largest natural freshwater lake in France. It is composed of five poles: but for the visitors the main are  Carcans city center or bourg; Maubuisson,  with a great lake beach and water activities; the tourist resort Le Domaine de Bombannes, sports and recreation area by the Lake; and Carcans-Beach, seaside resort at the edge of the ocean.


The first historical testimony of Carcans dates from 1099, the year in which the Lord of Lesparre attributed to the Benedictine monks of the Abbey Sainte Croix (Holy Cross) in Bordeaux, the churches of Carcans-Lacanau and Saint-Hélène de l’Étang . Carcans is as well located on the way or Camino de Santiago de Compostela (St James) , leaving from Soulac, on the Soulac way. A 13C manuscript reveals the importance of religion in Carcans and especially the cult of St. John the Baptist. Today the main economic activity of Carcans is the seaside tourism.

Some of the remarkable tourist places here are the Moulin (mill) built at the site of what was called the Castle. The first official mention of the monument dates from 1627. The miraculous fountain of St. John quoted by Olivier de Marliave was located at the foot of the mill. The Church of St. Martin founded in 1099, was the seat of a Priory until the 13C. At that time it was erected as a parish. Carcans was a relay for pilgrims from Santiago de Compostela coming from Saintonge. In remembrance, the Church preserves a statue of Saint James in a pilgrim’s costume dating from the 17C. From time immemorial, Saint-Martin Church was a place of pilgrimage to St. John the Baptist folks came from very far revering the head of St. John, carved in stone, of Byzantine origin of the 6C, wearing hair in horseman-work of a terrifying realism . A statue of Saint John of the 18C dominates the altar of this Saint. The present church was built in 1870 in the Neo-Gothic style; the altar of the same time is polychrome marble. The organ of the choir, of German origin, was mounted in 1971, during the restoration of the Church.

The city of Carcans on tourism info

The Médoc Atlantique tourist office on Carcans

My favorite beach site plages tv on the beaches of Carcans

Of course, we came here for the best combination of beach and wines, The heritage abound for further incursions and we had in other visits. The beaches are tops, recommended, as can equal any ,anywhere ! And I am a beach bum since birth !!

The Gironde dept 33 on the Médoc area

There you go folks ,another gem on the water of my wonderful Médoc, a lot more than world class wines (simply the best), but also, many monuments, rides, architecture,history and great beaches all along the Atlantic ocean.  Enjoy coming to Carcans and Hourtin! Hope you will like them too.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: