Archive for July 20th, 2022

July 20, 2022

The Lieutenance of Honfleur!

There is an ongoing saga of my family coming to this wonderful city of Honfleur. It was love at first sight way back in 1992 and has been like that ever since. Many trips and seeing it all, participated in its festivals, and my dear mom Gladys and wife Martine laid at sea there. Enough said.  I am updating this older post on an emblematic building of the city, this is the Lieutenance. And as the name implies it was the home of the Lieutenant of the King!  You cannot come to Honfleur without seeing it visited it and enjoyed it all by the old basin or vieux basin or port. Glorious basking in Honfleur, the city of seamen.  


The Lieutenance or lieutenancy of Honfleur is located near the old basin. Last vestige of the fortifications of Honfleur, the building was the dwelling of the King’s Lieutenant. In 1662, the lieutenancy is one of the two gates of Honfleur. Called the Porte de Caen, it will be one of the only accesses from 1682 after the destruction of the Porte de Rouen in 1682. From 1684, the building officially took the name Lieutenance after the creation of the King’s lieutenant’s apartments. of the old basin, the lieutenancy is the last bastion of the medieval Honfleur, last vestige of the ramparts, dismantled at the end of the 17C by order of Colbert. The lieutenancy, as we see it nowadays, is the result of many renovations over the centuries.


Two buildings are to be distinguished in the lieutenancy, first the basement, made of stone, built around a corridor, is what remains of the enclosure. Above, the brick and stone buildings, built in the 17C, housed the apartments of the King’s Lieutenant from which it got its name. The very first ramparts of the city of Honfleur were erected in the 13C, around the so-called paddock. Around 1350, Charles V built a veritable fortress surrounding the harbour. The enclosure consisted of powerful walls. Two gates opened on the outside: the Porte de Rouen gate and the Porte de Caen , in other words the lieutenancy. The present façade dating from the 16C.


In front of the lieutenancy stood the Tour Carre or square tower. As in La Rochelle, chains stretched between these two towers closed the entrance to the port. The square tower was demolished in 1808. The presence of a building is attested as early as the 11C, a time when Honfleur was not yet fortified. It was profoundly reengineered between the 16-17C. In the middle of the fortifications, this city gate dates from the beginning of the 18C. Following a donation of Queen Anne of Austria, the gate receives in 1643 a niche with a statue of the Virgin, Notre Dame du Port it will be partially destroyed at the end of the 18C, it would regain its place in 1863. And the SNSM boat (volunteer lifesaving organisation) of many memories of my family bears the name of the Virgin.


A plaque in memory of Samuel de Champlain, Navigator who explored Canada and founded the city of Quebec from Honfleur in 1608, is affixed to the south façade of the Lieutenance building.

The city of Honfleur on the Lieutenance

The Honfleur tourist office on the old bassin and Lieutenance

There you go folks, another gem in my beloved Honfleur, the world comes to it and we do each time in the city; the Lieutenance , remember the name as in lieutenant.

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

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July 20, 2022

Larmor Gwened beach park of Vannes !

Well today is my Dad 87th birthday and we took him out for a ride and eat out in one of his favorites KFC! Yes! leave it to an American to still cling to his old tastes! Anyway, he was pleased and on our way there just to kill time I drove into unknown territory even in Vannes !! Voilà two surprises in a row, I tell you my beautiful Morbihan has it all !!!

I went around the Le Port harbor area and continue along the canal marina that goes into the Gulf of Morbihan, nothing new here. Then, I cut into rue du Commerce straight ahead to turn right for the first time into rue de Larmor Gwened, and this surprising took me to the Larmor Gwened beach park !! A find! By the way Larmor is breton for the coast side of the land,  but Gwened is the breton word for Vannes! So it is like coastal vannes !

Vannes larmor gwened park playground jul22

Vannes larmor gwened park walking distances 2.5 walk to Vannes jul22

Larmor Gwened has a nice natural beach, playground and picnic table. Free car parking area. You can go to the end, after the football field, cruising in the moors, especially in summer. Expanse of grass with shade. View of the Gulf of Morbihan. For info the Stade De Larmor Gwened Football field is natural grass with 2 changing rooms with showers.

Vannes larmor gwened park beach to conleau jul22

Vannes larmor gwened park beach to gare maritime jul22

All along the shores of the Gulf of Morbihan, this space reveals many beaches nestled in small coves, a reed bed and a large marsh area near Séné on the other side. Even thus it was closed you have a good review restaurant here the L’eauthentik with location of 24 Rue de Larmor GwenedThe RestaurantGuru reviews on the L’eauthentik resto :

The city of Vannes on its natural spaces such as Larmor Gwened

Vannes larmor gwened park beach to conleau closeup jul22

Vannes larmor gwened park to open gulf of morbihan jul22

You can get there on bus no 7 KICEO of Vannes stop Arcal and then about a 5 minutes walk. We shall return, we weill bring our dog Rex next time he will love it! and try the restaurant! Another nice area in the many choices around my beautiful Morbihan and wonderful sublime Vannes. Hope you enjoy the post and do seek out these experiences when in the area.

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

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July 20, 2022

A Chapel of Grace in the Côte de Grâce of Equemauville !!!

There is an ongoing saga of my family coming to this wonderful city of Honfleur. It was love at first sight way back in 1992 and has been like that ever since. Many trips and seeing it all, participated in its festivals, and my dear mom Gladys and wife Martine laid at sea there. Enough said.  I am updating this older post on an emblematic building of the nearby city of Equemauville, this is the Côte de Grâce and its Notre Dame Chapel.  You cannot come to Honfleur without seeing it visited it and enjoyed it all by hill of Grace. Glorious basking in Honfleur, the city of seamen.  

Actually , as said, it is in the town of Equemauville high on the hill. Or the Hill or Plateau of Grace up the road from the vieux bassin or old basin of Honfleur. It is a special place for us and have been coming here since 1992.  The plateau is magical with what you have here as well as the wonderful views over the valley and statuaire of the Seine river. The Notre Dame Chapel, the Mont Joli, the Cross, the pavillion , and the views are superb! Of course, I have written plenty on them but never enough for this magical place.

Equemauville was born in 1023 when the Viking Scamel hided the booty. It baptized the plateau above the beach Scamelvilla. This plateau was a Gallic camp, and a Roman camp as well. They even found carved stones dating from the Paleolithic era ! The plateau of Grace offers a complete panorama on the Normandy coast. Here is what the magical and secret Côte de Grâce offers you!  Relaxing walk and rewarding discovery for visitors who will visit an ancient Sanctuary of the region: the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce or Chapel of Our Lady of Grace. It was founded by Richard II, Duke of Normandy in 1023 to fulfill a vow made during a storm in which he had almost perish. The current Chapel was built between 1600 and 1615 by the bourgeois and sailors of Honfleur. The Chapel is a place of recollection for many pilgrims and also and above all a space of hope according to the legend and worship of Notre Dame. Many faithful come to deposit for centuries offerings such as statuettes, plaques and model boats in gratitude to God. Their numbers today is impressive. The place coveted and visited by famous personnages such as Pierre Berthelot, king Louis XIII Napoléon Bonaparte, and Thérèse of Lisieux. The Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce is today for the plenitude that reigns there. On the outside you can see the bells of pilgrimages.




Right in front of the Notre Dame De Grâce Chapel you have a Fisherman prayer chapel where a priest makes Mass on special ocassions such as when the Festival of Marines or Fête des Marins which we have attended in previous years. There is, also, an impressive Christ Cross overlooking the city of Honfleur below and the bay across is Le Havre.



Mont Joli is a magnificent viewpoint which deserves a small detour. It offers a breathtaking view of the entire city, below, with its typical Norman-architecture houses, as well as the remarkable Tancarville Bridge, built in the mid-1950’s. The Normandy Bridge, and the mouth of the Seine river. As well as the city of Le Havre and its ports. From the hill, a nice little road goes down to Honfleur and you can thus return to the city on foot via a pleasant walk. Or as with Dad we go up by car and walk on top!


Another interesting building here is the Louis-Philippe Pavilion, it is a charming house where King Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie took refuge after the revolution of 1848 , known as the February revolution, (the third French revolution! )while waiting to take the boat to go into exile in England. It seems I always missed the picture on this one right next to the entrance to Mont Joli!

It is a pieceful place with great views nice walks if you dare on hilly terrain, but nice. The place was great for our dog Rex as well! Hope you enjoy this special part of Equemauville (as in Honfleur ).

The Honfleur tourist office on the hill of Grace:

The city of Equemauville on the hill of Grace

There you go another wonderful spot in Equemauville next to Honfleur and surrounding hills. A wonderful family trip, very educational on the history of the region, hope you enjoy the Côte de Grace and its wonders as I.

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

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July 20, 2022

Basilica Notre Dame du Paradis of Hennebont !

And I need to take you back to my beautiful home dept 56 of Morbihan in my lovely adopted Bretagne. There is so much to see , hopefully will have life to see them all. I thank you for reading my blog for the last 12 years and my 11th in the Morbihan!! time flies when having fun they said.  There is a nice fortified town near me that is just a gem and  sort of like an off the beaten path . I will tell you a bit more of the Basilica Notre Dame du Paradis or Our Lady of Paradise Basilica of Hennebont.


The project of a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame is presented by François Michart, an ironworker, in 1513, on the place du Paradis. The first stone is laid in 1514 and the unfinished church is consecrated in 1524. The chapel serves as a parish church from 1590. The church is of flamboyant Gothic style, and is noticed by the boldness of its porch and the richness of its ornamentation.  The church was elevated to the rank of minor Basilica by Pope Pius X on January 17, 1913. The Basilica Church Notre Dame du Paradis was miraculously spared by the Nazis bombing of 1944, when a large part of the city was destroyed. 


The imposing Bell Tower. high of nearly 65 meters, its location on one of the high points of the city makes it a real sight. The tower is divided into three parts. The base that opens with a vast porch whose elevation is made even more vertiginous by the carved decoration that adorns it. The massive buttresses are lighted by the presence of niches which may have housed statues, and small vegetal sculptures; at the first Gallery level. From the first balustrade, there is the drum that is enclosed the Bell-room, the only room in the building with a chimney, and the belfry with the bells. And finally, all of lace, the arrow itself that will know many times and restorations. Attached to the Bell Tower, the two turrets of stairs   one of which no longer exist   allow access to the upper parts and still visually lighten the mass of the Bell Tower. The particular color of the granite drawn from the old quarries of Locoyarne gives the Bell Tower a beautiful blond hue especially in the end of the day.


Among the architectural features of the Basilica Notre Dame du Paradis or Our Lady of Paradis, you will noticed as soon as you penetrated into its walls the vast nave formed by the dark nave and the aisles pierced by large bays to bring the light in.This polygonal choir receives a flood of light from the five stained glass windows that open into its walls. These stained glass windows are so vast that the walls that surround them seem, in the light, almost non-existent. This emphasis on light is one of the characteristics of Gothic architecture. It has, the oldest organ in the Morbihan which dates from 1652.



In 1652 an epidemic ravaged the region, and nothing seemed to be able to stop it that the intervention of the Virgin to whom the inhabitants promised a silver statue that would be carried out in procession each year. Hennebont was spared and offered to the Church a silver statue in 1700, which unfortunately was melted in the Mint of Nantes in 1792 ,during the French revolution.. Since a new silver bronze statue made in 1818 replaces it. There is a painting evoking this episode: the vow of 1699, work of 1807 by François-Henri Mulard.. See inside the stained glass by Max Ingrand retracing the great events of the history of Hennebont.


An imposing Basilica Church Notre Dame du Paradis on the now name  Place du Maréchal Foch  of Hennebont.  Another gem of a monument to visit here and walking in town is glorious. We parked by the river basin just behind the ramparts or up behind the Basilica each time in town. We are just 28 km or about 17 miles from it along the expressway N165 direction Brest.

The city of Hennebont on its heritage

The Lorient south Brittany tourist office on Hennebont

The Brittany region tourist office on Hennebont

There you go folks, you have it all on the Basilica Notre Dame du Paradis and a great part of the city of Hennebont’s history. A welcome stop easy on and off the N165 expressway and train service abound. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

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