Archive for September 3rd, 2022

September 3, 2022

Pretty Melrand and St Barthélemy !!!

In my road warrior driving around my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of the lovely region of Bretagne/Brittany in my belle France. There is so much to see I had said will take me a lifetime and won’t be enough. There is a whole lot in the wonderful Gulf of Morbihan south of me . However, there is so much on what we call côte ou en terre or inland that will amazed you . Of course  ,you need to like architecture and history as I do. Let me take you to two small gems in the Morbihan. Hope you enjoy these off the beaten path sites.

The town of Melrand  is mentioned from 1125 in the cartulary of Redon, in the form of Melran parrochia. In 1273, the name is written Melrant, in 1387 we find the current form of Melrand. It is a rural town belonging to the community of towns of the Pays de Baud. The village is located 14 km from Pontivy, 15 km fromBaud, 32 km from Lorient ,45 km from Vannes, and 28 km from my house. The town is bordered to the east by the Blavet valley. It is crossed by the Sarre, Houée, Brandifrout and Blavet rivers (D142). It is traditional to make Melrand a Breton town resulting from the emigration of Bretons driven from Great Britain by the Anglo-Saxons in the 5C and who settle along the coasts and rivers by clearing sparsely inhabited lands. How Bretagne or Little Britain came to be way back….

The main monument is the Church of St. Pierre (Peter) 15-17C with a granite bell tower from 1733. The parish church dedicated to Saint-Pierre is a complex church that has been altered many times over the centuries. It retains, on the south side, part of the nave from the first half of the 15C, pierced by a broken arch window as well as two molded doors on balusters with capitals. The southern porch and the interior arcade of the north chapel, located at the entrance to the choir, are also a survival from medieval times, probably from the first half of the 16C. The date 1661 written on the porch corresponds to a late modification. Five half-chapels, two to the south and three to the north have been grafted onto the long nave. The chevet with sides is flanked by a sacristy on the south wall. The southern porch is preserved. The bell tower has a massive square tower with octagonal drum and polygonal spire in masonry.



Some other things to see in town and around it worth a stop me think are :  Cross of Kerentrec’h., The Kehoc’h tumulus excavated at the end of the 19C , and is located in a heath dependent on the village of Locmaria. It is 27 meters in diameter by 2 meters in height. The Calvary on base and altar on the road to Guémené-sur-Scorff 19C, and located on the road to Guémené at the exit of the town. Other bigger monuments are the Flamboyant 16C Locmaria Chapel: bell tower, 16C stained glass windows, 17C altarpiece, statues, 16C baptismal font. Flamboyant 15C Saint-Fiacre chapel: 16C rood screen one of the last four still in place in the Morbihan, painted panels, 17C wooden altarpiece elements and two statues, holy water baptismal font. And the Notre-Dame du Guelhouit Chapel and its 17C scala: located in the hollow of the valley where the Sarre river flows and at the foot of a hill with wooded slopes. The chapel is dated 1683.

The town of Melrand on its heritage :

The Blavet valley tourist board on Melrand:

The town of Saint-Barthélemy is located on the way to Melrand on the road D142 up from the D768 from my house in about 45 minutes. Old truce of Baud erected in town on July 17, 1867 . There is a nice looking modern Church of Saint-Barthélemy 19-20C. In the shape of a Latin cross, it was built near the old chapel of Saint-Barthélemy which has become a parish church since 1871. The old chapel which dates from the 16C was demolished, and in 1891 gave way to an ordinary modern Gothic style chruch. It is a large nave ending in a semicircular apse. The current church was blessed on October 27, 1895. The bell tower was built in 1913.


The town of Saint Barthélemy on its heritage :

The Blavet valley tourist board on Saint Barthélemy:

You need a car to reach this small in land towns but the quant beauty of their natural habitat will entice you as me to come back. Of course, I always come by car and up my alley on the road D768 put you in touch with this world very easily, you connect with the road D142 to reach Melrand and St Barthélemy.

There you go folks, a wonderful ride off the beaten path into deep Morbihan, what a pleasure it is always.  The sights are genuine, full of history and great architecture , it is what my idea of my belle France , beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne is all about. Hope you enjoy the ride thru Saint Barthélemy and Melrand !  

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

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September 3, 2022

The Pont Mac Racken of Mayenne !

We usually passed by many towns in our road warrior trip in my France. We come to see the hugely popular, the architecturally and historically beautiful and old, and do spent some off the beaten paths. However, seldom we see spots that marked our trip, this is the case of Mayenne in the department of Mayenne no 53 in the Pays de la Loire region.

There are three bridges over the Mayenne river. The pont Mac-Racken from the 19C today is the route I take the N12 to drive into Paris toll free; the bridge was done in 1834 first naming itself Ambroise de Loré, then Orléans, ,Caisse d’Epargne and finally Mac Racken honouring the sacrifice of this American soldier that allowed the passage of the Weaver group 90th division to cross the river in WWII to free the left bank in June 5 1944; there is a commemorating plaque there. In memoriam , the bridge is named after him.


I like to tell you about the pont Mac Racken of Mayenne and give credit to whom credit is deservingly so. The construction of the now call Mac-Racken Bridge began on May 15, 1824. Originally the Ambroise-de-Loré bridge, the structure will successively take the names of Pont d’Orléans, Petit Pont, Caisse de Épargne bridge and then Mac-Racken bridge The current name of the bridge is a tribute to Sergeant James Mac-Racken who, on the night of August 5, 1944, defused the 125 kg and 15 cases of dynamite that the Nazis had placed on deck. Of the three bridges that existed at the time in the city, it will be the only one that will remain after the war. On August 5, 1946, a commemorative stele bearing the inscription “Here to save this bridge James Mac Racken of the 315th bon, U.S.A. Sacrificia on August 5, 1944” is posed.


His name was James Dougal Mac Racken, ASN 34 881 595 – Compagny A – 315th The Enginer Combat Battalion, 90th infantry division. This American soldier sacrificed himself to defend a bridge in Mayenne, which now bears his name, on August 5, 1944.  Born June 1, 1916 in Red Spring, North Carolina ; USA, he was 28 when he landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944. His infantry division, the 90th, was responsible for liberating Mayenne. Two out of three bridges have already been destroyed, only that of the Caisse d’Epargne (savings bank) can allow a rapid advance of the Americans. On the night of August 5, 1944, his team specializing in mine clearance had the mission of cutting the conductors, connected to a 125-kilogram bomb and 15 cases of dynamite, placed on deck by the Nazis. This American soldier sacrificed himself to save the bridge of the Caisse d’Epargne and thus allow his comrades to liberate the city of Mayenne. Protected by two tanks, the deminers progress. Sergeant Mac Racken leaps onto the deck, uncovered, and cuts the wires. He was shot by Nazis skirmishers and machine gunners, positioned on rue Roullois. The Weaver group of the 90th division can cross the bridge. From 5h30, the progress of the Americans is general. Mayenne is conquered, then liberated.


When he died, James Mac Racken left behind a wife, Maggie, and a three-year-old daughter, Myrtis. For Christmas, the city will offer little Myrtis a doll. On each anniversary date, the city of Mayenne invited Maggie Mac Racken to attend the celebrations. But her finances did not allow her to cross the Atlantic. A North Carolina newspaper was interested in this story. Readers quickly mobilized and raised more than $ 1,500 to help the family travel to France. The information is relayed by the national branch of the newspaper, and everything is accelerating. In July 1961, seventeen years after the liberation of Mayenne, the widow Mac Racken finally went to the place of sacrifice of her husband. Amén RIP Soldier France does not forget.


The Mayenne dept 53 tourist office on Mayenne

The American War Memorial on the bridge

There you go folks, nice history ,great story , and one not to be forgotten by all those who cherish freedom. Mayenne remembers you and so do we, the French. For the history buffs , and freedom loving folks,worth the detour me think. Note when we got there the Mayenne river was overflown.Also, right by the river is the Mayenne tourist office.

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

September 3, 2022

How about Pierrefitte-en-Auge !

This is out of my vault which kept preciously as it was one of my boys school trip when they were in high school (Lycée), As it is, this must be one of the smallest towns we have been with only 159 inhabitants ! The trip was love by them all and we were glad, As my blog is part of my life’s history, here is a bit on Pierrefitte en Auge ; hope you enjoy the post as I.

Pierrefitte-en-Auge is located in the Calvados department 14 of the Normandy region, It is very close to Pont l’Evêque and the beaches of Cabourg, Deauville, etc, (see posts), The town is about 362 km (about 224 Mi) from our house going pretty much the route as if going to Paris get past Caen on the A13 autoroute de Normandie to the Pont l’Evêque exit taking route D579 direction Lisieux ,but way before at the roundabout trafic circle take the road D280A right turn go over the La Touques river and just over get on road D48 just to cover this area as it is same road as the D280A until you get to Pierrefitte en Auge, The Domaine du Houvre is a bit further on same route.

However, my sons came for the visit and stayed in group at the Domaine du Houvre with visits to the Cabourg beach, The Domaine Du Houvre is located at La Cour de France, near the lake of Pont L’Evêque in the village of Pierrefitte En Auge.

Pierrefitte En Auge domaine du Houvre farm sheeps bel air trip apr11

Cabourg plage bel air trip RF apr11

The Domaine du Houvre since its creation in 1996, popularly known as the Ecodomaine du Houvre has evolved towards welcoming an ever-wider public but demanding on the authenticity and quality of the environment. With capacity of 120 beds divided into small living units, welcoming any project, whether family, association, professional or festive. Ideally located ten minutes from the Côte Fleurie -Deauville, Honfleur, and Cabourg, It has a nature trail of over 3 km, nautical leisure base, pedestrian and equestrian carriage and horse drawn carriage trails complete the offer in the proximity of La Touques and the Lac de Pont l’Evêque in an architectural setting of character and unspoiled nature. This is a conservatory farm for Norman farm breeds of 20 different breeds. webpage:

Pierrefitte En Auge domaine du Houvre chalet bel air trip apr11

Pierrefitte En Auge domaine du Houvre dog RF bel air trip apr11

Pierrefitte En Auge domaine du Houvre cart bel air trip apr11

One of the things to see here are the Church Saint-Denis from between 1643 and 1645, The vaults of the nave and a chapel, dated from the middle of the 17C, The choir dates from the 13C, The building was modified and restored: windows and buttresses were added in the 15C, Two chapels were erected in the 16C and provided with ogival windows, The chapels were located between the nave and the choir. The bell tower is located near the portal and is covered with slates, Another site private is the Castle from the 19C.

The village of Pierrefitte en Auge on its heritage

The Calvados dept 14 tourist office on Pierrefitte en Auge

There you go folks, a nice memorable trip that my sons really enjoyed it and we were glad for it. One more spot in our world travel map in pretty Calvados of historical grand Normandy. We will remember fondly Pierrefitte en Auge and the Domaine du Houvre. Hope you can enjoy the post and do visit the property on a group basis.

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

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