Archive for July 6th, 2022

July 6, 2022

Basilica Notre Dame d’Avesniéres of Laval !!

In my travels in my belle France, I have come luckily to see many beautiful sights some very popular. However, I have ,also, gone from the mainstream into the countryside and even in town to neighborhood not frequently travel all thanks for my enthusiasm for walking seeing all this beauty and car travel deep into these gorgeous spots. The travel have taken me to Laval with the family and written on it before in my blog. However, I believe the Basilica Notre Dame d’Avesniéres needs a post of its own in my blog. Beautiful architecture, history, and just quant location in beautiful Laval.  Let me update this older post with fresh text and links; hope you enjoy it as I


The Basilica of Notre-Dame Avesnières is located in Laval, in the department of Mayenne,50 in the region of Pays de la Loire. It is located in the district of Avesnières, on the right bank of the Mayenne river and south of the city center. The Church has existed at least since the 11C, but it got its present appearance in the 12C, when the Benedictines set up a priory here. The nuns left Avesnières during the Hundred Years ‘ War and the Church then became a simple parish Church. It was raised to the rank of minor Basilica in 1898, by Pope Leo XIII. The Romanesque-style basilica, also has a bell tower that combines Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Its nave, storied and punctuated with vaulted Chapels in cul-de-furnace, is its most remarkable element. The Basilica finally has a number of ancient statues. The Church appears on the list of the first 1 034 French historical monuments classified in 1840!


A bit more history I like

Originally a monastic village attested from the middle of the 11C in a charter of the Tourangelle Abbey of Marmoutier, the existence of a church in Avesnières seems to be linked to the power exercised by the family of Saint Berthevin. In 1073, Guérin de Saint-Berthevin installed a community of nuns from the Ronceray of Angers. The foundation of this priory is accompanied by the granting of important rights, including that of founding a borough. The village of Avesnières was nevertheless devastated around 1430 by an English ride led by the Earl of Arundel. Despite an important reconstruction phase following the Hundred Years ‘ War, Avesnières did not enjoyed the same demographic dynamism as its powerful neighbors. Finally , becoming part of the town of Laval in 1863, the old village still retains a strong identity supported by the erection of the Church to the rank of Basilica by Pope Leo XIII.


The Church of Avesnières is endowed with a remarkable nave, the foundations of which date from the first half of the 12C. At that time, the choir was adorned with an ambulatory, which quickly came to graft 5 radiant or apsidioles Chapels. A few years later, a new work campaign raised the arch of the choir at a height of 17 meters. The work was completed   in 1534 by crowning the Crusader tower with a magnificent finely arrow in yellow stone from Poitou.


The end of the 19C marks the revival of the Church. In 1873, the octagonal arrow was identically restored. Ten years later worked on the reconstruction of the Church portal was done in Neo-Romanesque style. The ornamentation of the work produced in 1890 three interesting bas-reliefs, including a magnificent coronation of the Virgin. The other two scenes represent the miracles that occurred on the site.

The Ambulatory, where the pilgrim are walking around the choir 12C. There are simple motifs such as lacrosses reminiscent of Breton themes or figures of monsters more commonly representative of the art of the Loire Valley. The plant motifs gradually leave room for representations of more or less fantastic animals such as basil (half-rooster, half-lizard) or the dragon, perceived by contemporaries as personifications of evil. The symbolic of this medieval bestiary has reached us through the writings of Hugues de Saint-Victeur and Isidore of Seville. Supporting statues of popular devotion a benevolent Virgin the Church choir is adorned with two statues dated from the end of the Middle Ages. The first, located at the level of the Tribune, represents Notre-Dame, whose body of stone clad in precious ornaments, was once worn at the head of the procession during the large processions. Placed in the central arcade of the roundabout, a beautiful cross of Christ. The ends of the instrument of the torment are decorated with quad welcoming the symbols of the four Evangelists. A very surprising practice at the entrance of the sanctuary, a monumental Saint Christophe raised in 1583 by subscription of parishioners made during a representation of Christ Savior dated from the 14C. Wearing the papal tiara, this statue holds its originality from the upward movement it releases. This surprising posture made the parishioners believe that, sheltered from the eyes, the statue rested on its feet. For a long time it was accepted that a needle should be planted in his heel to see a wish to be fulfilled.



The tradition is that the Church was founded by Guy, Lord of Laval, who, falling into the water wanting to cross the river, would have been miraculously saved from drowning by the Virgin and transported safely to the river bank. The place would then have been chosen, in remembrance of this miraculous rescue, to host a sanctuary dedicated to Notre-Dame. This beautiful story is the legend that allow mother Peret de Montbron, mother prioress of Avesnières, who in the 15C, by flattering the pride of the Lords of Laval, managed to obtain the necessary subsidies for the reconstruction of his Church. The vow of Monsignor Casimir Wicart, first Bishop of Laval, in the face of the anxiety provoked by the advance of the Prussian troops in 1871, decided to organise a large prayer vigil in Avesnières. At this ceremony, the faithful assembled take an oath to rebuild the Church if Notre Dame saves the city from foreign occupation. The next day, the Prussians were stop in Saint-Melaine, at the gates of Laval, when the Virgin appeared in a small village in the north by the town of  Pontmain.

The Laval tourist office on the Basilica:

There you go folks, , a wonderful  Basilica Notre Dame d’Avesniéres in lovely Laval, indeed and full of history with beautiful architecture as well. A worth a detour for sure. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

Tags: ,
July 6, 2022

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II of Rome !

On my family trip to Rome and surrounding Lazio region area we were confronted with lots of history and architecture which we love. However, one building really struck us for its size, meaning and even a bit of controversy. It sits in the middle of old Rome yet the building is newer sort of a big contrast that Romans and visitors alike come to understand and like. We like it too. Oh yes it is the Monument of Vittorio Emmanuell II the unifying king of Italy known there as Vittoriano as well. I like to update this older post with fresh text and links; hope you enjoy it as I.


The monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is located in Piazza Venezia (Venice Square). At the center of the monument stands the altar of the Fatherland (Altai della Patria), while the interior of the building houses the museum on the Reunification of Italy (Museo del Risorgimento).  The immense monument of an immaculate white marble, made between 1885 and 1911 to celebrate the 50 years of the Italian unity. It was built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy unified in 1861. It was built in the neo Classic style.


Architecture description, brief.

The monument, along with its grand staircase, is full of dazzling white marble extracted from the quarries of Botticino, Brescia. It is a profusion of columns and fountains where throne an equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel II, supported on both sides by 16 columns. The reliefs represent the Italian cities, the great reliefs on both sides of the altar of the Nation; these sculptures evoke Italy in art, science, religion and law. The structure measures 140 meters wide and 70 meters high. Above the building, on each side, representing unity and freedom, two statues inspired by the representations of Athena lead a quadriga. Below burns the eternal flame, on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The fountain, on the left, symbolizes the Adriatic Sea and on the right of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Today most Romans consider this monument, which continues to attract many visitors, as one of the symbols of their city.


What is there to see, really.

The monument holds the Tomb of the unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of Goddess Roma after WWI following an idea of General Giulio Douhet. The body of the Unknown Soldier was chosen in 1921 from among 11 unknown remains by Maria Bergamas, a woman from Gradisca of Isonzo whose only child was killed during WWI. Her son’s body was never recovered. The selected unknown was transferred from Aquileia, where the ceremony with Maria Bergamas had taken place, to Rome and buried in a state funeral in the same year 1921.


The flags of disbanded units of the Italian Armed Forces, as well as the flags of ships stricken from the naval register of the Italian Navy are stored at the Vittoriano in the so-called Shrine of the Flags (Sacrario delle Bandiere). The oldest flag on display is the flag of the 19C frigate Giuseppe Garibaldi. When an Italian military unit is reactivated its flag is taken from the Vittoriano and returned to the unit, which with the flag receives also the name, traditions, and military honors bestowed upon the flag over time.


One of the most attractive aspects of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II is the panoramic view that is obtained from the terrace at the top of the Quadrigas. Panoramic elevators/lifts are the only way to get to the top floor but the nice views from above make it worthwhile to climb.


As said, It is at the Piazza Venezia. Free admission but to get the elevator/lift admission to top terrace is with paid admission. You have some nice nearby places to see as well such as the Basilica of Saint Mary in Aracoeli only 48 meters, Museum of the Capitole 134 meters, Capitole square 142 meters, Venice Palace 187 meters and the Trajan steps at 273 meters (the longest 273 meters is about 900 feet). See posts.

The Rome tourist office on the monument

There you go folks, it is a nice area to walk and walked we did. The Monument Vittorio Emanuele II is grand and nice to be on top! Hope you enjoyed this modern part of Rome as we did.

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

Tags: ,
July 6, 2022

And I was in lovely, quant Dublin !

Let me bring back memories of my trip into Dublin. I was here first on business conference fo two days, and then came back the following week on a family two weeks vacation !. A typical run from me coming seeing and then bringing the family for an in depth look. I like to update this older post with fresh text and new links to serve as an introduction to our visit ,more of the history and  a general overview of the best to see in my opinion of course.Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Dublin,  is located near the central point of the eastern coast of the island of Ireland and in the center of Dublin County. The name “Dublin” is generally considered from the original Gaelic Dubh Linn (“The Black Pond”) which now means “bay “Smoke”, the name of a basin of a tributary of the Liffey, near which was erected the first stronghold of the Irish Vikings, or Gall Gàidheal. Of course, I came by plane direct from Nantes to Dublin international airport and then the airport bus to old city center from where did a lot of walking, great!


A bit of history I like, condense as it can be longer….

In the year 837, Thorgis returned there for the second time, accompanied this time by a fleet of one hundred and twenty Viking boats. Sixty of them go up the Boyne River, the other sixty the Liffey River. Unknown in his own country, all the tales relating to his conquests are found in Ireland and the British Isles. Upon their arrival in Dublin, his men took over this community of fishermen and farmers and erected a strong fort according to the Scandinavian construction methods, on the hill where is the present Castle of Dublin. King Brian Boru, nicknamed Boroimhe, Brian Mac Cenneidigh, born in the year 941 in the Thomond in Ireland, was buried in Dublin in the year 1014, at the age of 73 years. He tried to unify Ireland; He died at the Battle of Clontarf on April 23, 1014, in his tent, on a Good Friday.

After the invasion of Ireland by the Normans (1170/1171), Dublin replaced the hill of Tara as the capital of Ireland, the power settling at the Castle of Dublin until independence. After their victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, the Protestant troops of William of Orange, among them 3 000 French Huguenots, installed many of their men in Dublin, to stand out from the controversial Protestants who had colonized Ulster and Munster for a century. The 239 Huguenots of Dublin have a collective burial, Huguenot House in the small street of Mansion Row near the park of St Stephen Green, created in 1693 in the new Dublin, where are engraved the names of 239 of them, listed in alphabetical order.

Since the beginning of the English occupation in the 12C, the city has played the role of the Capital of the Irish Island, in all forms that political authority has taken: The Lordship of Ireland (1171-1541); The Kingdom of Ireland (1541-1800); The island as a member of the United Kingdom (1801-1922); and the Irish Republic (1919-1922).  The Easter Uprising in 1916 placed Dublin in instability, and the Anglo-Irish War, while the Irish Civil War left the city in ruins, many of its most beautiful buildings having been destroyed. From 1922, following the partition of Ireland, Dublin is the capital of the Free State of Ireland (1922 – 1937) and then of the Republic of Ireland. After WWII (known as “the Emergency”) in reference to the state of emergency decreed from 1939 to 1946). Today, it is still the Republic of Ireland or Eire.


Things to see abound ,but my favorites are:

Of course, plenty of theater choices and good ones. The most famous theatres are the Abbey Theater, the Gate Theater, the Gaiety Theater and the Olympia. The Abbey Theater was founded in 1904 by a group of writers, including Yeats, in order to promote the literary talents of Irish authors. It allowed the discovery of works by authors such as Shaw, Synge, O’Casey, and at the same time to serve as a springboard for national and political revival of the early 20C. The Gate Theater was founded in 1928 to promote avant-garde European and American works. The Gaiety Theater specializes in musical productions: operas, musical comedies, ballets. The greatest theater is the Mahony Hall, and Ambassador theater is not bad at all!


Kells’s book is kept in the Trinity College library. The Chester Beatty Library has many manuscripts, drawings and other rare books whose oldest documents date back to 2700 B.C. The main museums are the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery and the National Museum of Ireland divided into three sites, archaeology in Kildare Street, decorative arts and history in Collins Barracks and Natural history in Merrion Street..

Trinity College, a university founded in 1592 by queen Elisabeth I of England and home to the book of Kells, a illuminated manuscript dating from about 800, making it one of the oldest books in the world. Christ Church Cathedral, some parts of which date back to the original Danish construction. St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Pro-St. Mary’s Cathedral, Dublin Catholic Cathedral;   Dublin Castle, Dublin Writers Museum, and the Ha’penny Bridge, which owes its name to the price (half a penny) that had to pay any person to have the right to cross it and enter the city.

There is a vibrant nightlife in Dublin, indeed is true. Dublin is dotted with pubs, especially around Temple Bar, located on the south shore of the Liffey, is the attraction of a crowd from all over the city and many tourists who come to take the pubs by assault.   This area was developed as a cultural district with art galleries, the National Film Center (Irish Film Institute), and photography studios. The streets around St Stephen Green,Harcourt Street, Camden Street, Wexford Street and Leeson Street, in particular, there are a lot of nightclubs. The brewery of St. James Gate , where the famous Guinness has been produced since 1759. O’Connell Street is one of the main avenues with many places and squares of Georgian architectural treasures such as St Stephen GreenMerrion Square, Ely Place, and Fitzwilliam Squares.

The Dublin tourist office:

The city of Dublin on things to do

The Ireland tourist board on Dublin

There you go folks, a nice city to visit and we are looking forward for a repeat to Dublin eventually. This was nice to bring the family and enjoy it fully. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: