Archive for August 4th, 2022

August 4, 2022

Antiques neighborhood of Versailles !

So why not tell you another little spot in my dear Versailles where I will not be tired of telling you lived for almost 10 sublimes years. And many visits thereafter…from my beautiful Morbihan in my lovely BretagneThere is so much to see in Versailles and again will not be tired of telling you the city is more than the palace/museum as almost everyone that comes here do not go elsewhere in the city, a pity.  Let me tell you about the Antiques quarter of Versailles in my nostalgic Notre Dame district of Versailles.

The whole area is broken down into sections and all are worth the detour good for about half a day. These areas are the Bailliage, Village, Carré, and Passage.


The Bailliage this superb 18C building built in 1724 by Tavenot, a student of Mansart, first court and first prison of Versailles today houses antique shops and galleries that present furniture, modern paintings and objets d’art in a charming setting.

Let yourself be dragged to the Village, former outbuildings of the Picardie hotel where the little houses arranged in a horseshoe around the well, welcome the walkers. A picturesque staircase will guide you to other exhibitors and will allow you if you wish to join the rue de la Pourvoierie and the Notre Dame market.

The Passage is implanted in the old walk of the prisoners of the prison of the Geole. Samson who executed Louis XVI held the office of executioner until 1788. Madame Du Barry, the famous favorite of Louis XV was locked during the French revolution. Today, jewels, ceramics, elegant furniture, objects of shop windows are the admiration of all walkers.

The Carré des Antiquaires, originally stables of the bailiwick , turned into sheds during the 19C to house the wines and spirits destined for the Notre Dame market where the given name of Cour de l’Etape aux Vins, or courtyard of the wines stages. Today transformed into galleries of antique shops or craftsmen’s workshops they reveal the richness of the creation, and the art of living of past centuries.

You can come into this wonderful area of my Versailles by the Passage de la Geôle or the rue du Bailliage or the 14 bis, rue Baillet-Reviron or the 13, rue de la Pourvoierie. The hours are different for each, you need to check before going, but do go ! Remember, the  Passage, Village,and the Carré.


The official Antiques of Versailles :

The Versailles tourist office on the antiquarians of Versailles

There you go folks, another wonderful artful historical and architecturally stunning visit to the other Versailles. The antiquaires of Versailles is wonderful worth a detour. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

August 4, 2022

The Chapel and the Espace Richaud of Versailles !

And here I am again, to update this off the beaten path older post about my dear Versailles. If you have been reading my posts , you know I lived here for almost 10 years and still my sentimental favorite. Versailles is sublime, royal, majestic and chic with nice town feel. A while back I wrote of the transformation of an icon in the city, and now very modern spaces.   I am trying in my posts to show you the other Versailles as well. Let me tell you a bit on the Chapel and the Espace Richaud of Versailles! 

Again, pictures are not allowed inside ,but is worth the detour to the Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception. In your walks of the city and you must get out of the palace, at the end of rue royale, take a look at the Lycée Notre Dame de Grandchamp that houses a private school and next to it at 16 Rue Monseigneur Gibier, you have the Bishop’s office of the diocese of Versailles. And next to it at no 8 the  Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception.


A bit of history of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception,  and its meaning. It all started when the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, who in 1224 joined the Order of the Poor Ladies, of which its first abbess was the sister Claire. Hence the name adopted later: the Poor Clares., the nuns who joined them were called “Colettines”. The Poor Clares of Versailles belonged to this branch of the Franciscan Order. Some of their most important dates are : The apparitions of Our Lady of Bernadette, Lourdes 1858; Installation of Poor Clares Colettines at Versailles in 1860 ; Chapel consecrated in 1867 to the Immaculate Conception; Departure regretted of the Poor Clares in June 1999; and October 12, 2008, resumption of worship during the month of the Rosary of the year of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception”.

The official Congregation of the Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception of Versailles

I like to take remembrance to the Hôpital Richaud, a venerable institution in Versailles who have seen its better days.  I have been in it and still have some pictures as to when it began to be change unfortunately. The Units have been transferred next door to a modern facility ,and the old hospital is been transformed into a luxury condo, apartment complex, the only building left will be the Chapel. The Chapel was, in the Convent of the Augustinians of Versailles or Couvent de la Reine, dedicated to the education of young ladies founded by Queen Marie Leszczynka,wife of Louis XV. It was done in 1772. It is very near my former home and easy to get there from Paris as my old route was from the Gare Rive Droite  Versailles on the Line Paris St Lazare, La Défense. If you are in city center Versailles by the rive gauche château station nearest the palace you can walk east or take the bus phebus 3 (my boys old school route), arrêt/stop  Gare Rive Droite. The walk will allow to past by the wonderful historical and elegant architecture of Versailles!


L’hôpital Richaud, also known as the  Hôpital Royal de Versailles is completely restored and transformed since 2015 in housing, shops and liberal professions offices. The hospital is located in the Notre-Dame district in the center of Versailles near the Rive-Droite train station (my old neighborhood) . It is located also in this district and near the Notre-Dame Church, Lambinet Museum, Hoche High School and Saint-Jean-Hulst Private School. Two underground car parks have been dug on either side of the building, one under the bd de la Reine named Reine-Richaud and managed by Urbis Park, at the entrance rue du Maréchal Foch, and the another under the Place du Marché Notre-Dame, managed by Indigo.  This hospital Richaud has a long history since at its origin was the house of charity created by king Louis XIII in 1636 The construction work of the Royal Hospital of Versailles spread over a long period of nearly 80 years,and was not finishing until 1859. The site was assigned a hospital function: first modest ‘charity house’ held by the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, the institution has seen its patient attendance grow over the years   until the 1960s.


After the transfer of activities to the Hôpital Mignot hospital site in 1981, the site goes through many years of neglect. This hospital is next to my boys high school in Le Chesnay now new town of Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt, just a street over from the city of Versailles!  In November 2009, the real estate organisation ,OGIC acquired almost the entire Royal Hospital of Versailles from the French State via the town to turn it into housing, with 20% of social housing, shops and gardens . The opening to the public of the whole of the Carré des Siècles,(square of centuries) new name given to the real estate site was made in April 2015. It is a block of housing (317 dwellings including 66 upscale apartments and 91 social housing or students), shops (five in number) and offices ( nearly 3000 m2), with a cultural space that can accommodate exhibitions or concerts, a daycare of 66 cradles and 10.000 m2 of public gardens. The renovated chapel, now Space Richaud, now hosts exhibitions as well as plays.

The city of Versailles on the Space Richaud

The official General Hospital Richaud on its history :

There you go folks, you can go in and visit the espace Richaud or old royal Chapel and see still the beauty of it. Just another gem in my beloved Versailles, do see it, and behold. Versailles is a lot more than a palace! I say !!

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

August 4, 2022

A walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris !!!

The nice walks of my eternal Paris , always sublime. I have written of course a lot on Paris, my working city , and visited zillions of times since 1972 ! As the name of my blog implies ! However, now is Summer and walks are superbe and I will tell you my favorites that I have done with the family , This a walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris did it for two glorious years! My next to last work spot in the city of lights. Hope you enjoy them as I.

I will start at the wonderful Opéra Garnier done by the great Charles Garnier for emperor Napoléon III and opened by President of France 3rd Republic Mac Mahon in July 5, 1875, to think I worked across from it for two years ! An imposing building 172 meters long 101 meters wide on 11K square meters of land,You have on the Red salon welcoming 2300 persons and cannot miss the libray museum in the pavillon de l’Empereur.

I walked in front of the great department stores and cannot miss at no 40 blvd Haussmann, the Galeries Lafayette grew from a modest boutique in 1895 to the grand of today by the corners of Rue Lafayette and rue Chausée d’Antin done in 1906 and today 120k square meters of land ! Further at No 64 blvd Haussmann you see Printemps founded in 1865, the current building done from 1889 and later enlarge in 1907.

Continue to the Square d’Estienne d’Orves and the magnificent Church de la Sante Trinité built between 1861 and 1867 (was a side trip for eating spots and visit) .It has a belltower bells high of 65 meters with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide, Not to mss the Théatre Mogador at no 25 Rue de Mogador built in 1919, Continue to the Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the Lycée Concorcet (of many passing in front of it). Here from 1781 to 1783 Brongniart built the convent , and chapel that by 1862 the chapel becomes the Parish Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the convent is tranformed into the high school or lycée Condorcet where Goncourt, Marcel Proust, Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé and Eugéne Sue amongst other ,studied !

This is the historic anecdote that at 14 blvd des Capucines in the Indian salon of the Grand Café the Lumiéres brothers show their first cinema slides, This is the area where the grand boulevards were created from 1670 decision to change the enclosure of Charles V into a public promenade of 4,5 km from the Madeleine to the Bastille ! And the bd Capucines, Italiens, Montmartre, Poissonniere and Bonne Noiuvelle knew their day in the light.

We continue to my first working train station in Paris, the Gare Saint Lazare many many times by here from Rive Droite in my Versailles ! This is the first train station of Paris from 1837 ! Even thus the first real station was done in 1851, The current station was built from 1885 to 1887 and renovated several times with two statues of the Hour for all and the Consingment for life in the cours de Rome street, Not far from here you find the ultimate honor of seeing the Chapelle Expiatoire by the will of king Louis XVIII done between 1815 and 1826, On the same spot where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dump by the revolutionaries,on what was the old cementery Madeleine,that open in 1720 where 3000 victims of the French revolution were interred, such as the Swiss Guards , Louis-Philippe d’Orléans (father of later king Louis Philippe I and known after the revolution as Philippe Egalité), Danton, Lavoisier, Camille and Lucile Desmoulins etc The Chapel is on the Square Louis XVI, one of only five name after the defunct king. When time allowed I came by here for a bit of reflection before going for my trains.

You continue on the Théâtre Athénée built in 1906 , a bit further you reach the Théâtre Edouard VII that has taken since 1984 the name of Sasha Guitry, You have by here the Olympia music hall, and finally cross over to the Madeleine that on my walks to work had to go around it zillion times ! The first stone was posed in 1764 but in 1806 Napoléon decided to raise a temple to honor his soldiers ,he never saw it build as later by 1842 it was given to the clergy of Paris and opened as the Church de la Madeleine with its 52 corinthians columns high of 20 meters, The church has 108 meters long, 43 meters wide and 30 meters high, It dominates the place de la Madeleine the starting point of the grand boulevards as above.

A bit further you reach the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, 263 Rue St Honoré built between 1670 and 1676, It has a cupola of 26 meters and was the parish church until 1840, It later was given to the Polish community of Paris since 1850, Here the funerals of Lafayette in 1834 and Stendhal of 1842 were held, I walked by it every day to work !

And you reach the wonderful sublime Place Vendôme, my criss cross walking it for work are memorable ! It is 213 meters long, 124 meters wide on 20k square meters of land, Created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and done between 1686 and 1720, The obelisk done on request of Napoléon I to pay homage to the Grand Army after their triumph at Austerlitz, Austria and was done in 1806,from melted iron of canons weapons taken from the enemy in this battle finished in 1810, In 1871 during the uprising of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war the obelisk was destroyed but in 1872 the national assembly decided to rebuild it, You have in this square the wonderful Ritz Hotel done in 1898.

You can come into the Rue de la Paix, the most expensive in Paris, and awesome to have walked it for two years daily ! It was clear in 1806 to link Vendôme to the Opéra ! Before called rue Napoléon !

There you go folks, a wonderful walk in sublime eternal Paris, My memorable walks in Paris, with the best of France indeed, I do walk in Paris sometimes 3 km around, once find my parking spot , sublime. Hope you enjoy the walk and do it, it is recommended by yours truly.

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

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August 4, 2022

Collegiate Church Notre Dame of Montreuil-Bellay !

It is closely related to the castle (see post),but the church now stand alone and independant of it. Therefore, having visited it , I will update this older post with new text and links for you and me.  This is Montreuil Bellay in the dept 49 of Maine et Loire and region of Pays de la Loire. It is next to the famous and beautiful castle we have the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, this started as a chapel of the castle but from its size you can tell the importance of it to the daily life in the area. The visit was very nice indeed. 


A bit on the town of Montreuil-Bellay as I like. Montreuil-Bellay is located on the Thouet river,  bordering the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the departments of Vienne (town of Pouançay) and Deux-Sèvres (town of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay). Bathed by the Thouet river , Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne).

The Chapel of Notre Dame will become after the French revolution apart from the castle, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame (collegiate because it teaches canons:chanoines), it was built 1472-1474 and raised as Collegiate in 1475 and a parish Church in 1810. Inside the Church there is the angevine architecture of vaults.  The Chapel of Notre Dame was hand over to the State after the French revolution and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church.



A bit of official story goes like this: The former chapel of the castle built in the 15C became collegiate served by the canons under the name of Notre-Dame.  It was given to the town and turned into a parish church at the beginning of the 19C following the decommissioning of the old Saint-Pierre church located in the Nobis priory which was falling into ruin.  A bridge over the moat was built in 1863 to give direct access to the church without passing through the castle courtyard. Now there is a stone wall between the castle and the church for privacy. 


Built between 1472 and 1484 it was commissioned by Guillaume d’Harcourt, lord of Montreuil-Bellay, buried here with his family. It is one of the most prestigious religious buildings of the 15C in Anjou, specific to the Angevin Gothic style. The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame  consists of a large nave 44 meters long and 12 meters wide whose vault at 18 meters height is faithful to the Plantagenet style then in use in Anjou. There is a small oratory where the lord and his family attended, in all discretion, offices. A liter (black band) runs through the walls of the church, at a height that reflected the importance of the lords of the time. At the French revolution, the paintings of the old churches of the city were grouped in the nave. They reflect the provincial nature of art in Anjou under the Ancien Régime (monarchy). In 1810, the collegiate church became parish church and main place of worship of the city.


The city of Montreuil Bellay on its history/heritage

The official Parish Church of Notre Dame du Bellay

There you go folks a wonderful 1-2 combination to do with the castle and more history, architecture and just beauty of my belle France. Hope you enjoy it as we did and do come by to the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame in Montreuil-Bellay.

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

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