Archive for October 12th, 2022

October 12, 2022

Meaux and the Cité Episcopale !!!

I have written several posts on this sentimental city of mine, There is always something to tell in medieval old Meaux, in Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region of my belle France ! I like to tell you more about an emblematic site that I first learned about it in 1990 with what would be later my dear late wife Martine , her native town, Of course, I have walked all over the city and know it as my own, Let me tell you more especially about the Cité Episcopale or Episcopal City ,and its wonderful surrounding monuments.

Meaux was the first town in Île-de-France region to be labeled City of Art and History, in 1988 ! Its Gothic cathedral, its episcopal palace which has become a museum, its garden created by Le Nôtre, its remains of medieval ramparts, form a beautiful historical setting. The largest city of Seine-et-Marne also plays every summer, with hundreds of volunteers, a sound and light show retracing 1,000 years of its history ! Gorgeous event indeed.

The official sound and light spectacle of Meaux

The Cathedral Saint Etienne in Meaux took 350 years to build, whereas a cathedral took less than 100 years to build. This makes it one of the few in France to combine all the architectural styles of Gothic ! The cathedral is built on an old Romanesque church, whose choir was demolished in favor of another, Gothic, which was completed at the beginning of the 13C. But poorly designed, it threatens to collapse. It needs to be consolidated. Standing in the middle of the building, we admire this choir which offers a fine and luminous architecture. Opposite, the rose window and the organ gallery stand out in a flamboyant, post-15C style. Between the two, part of the nave has remained in a primitive 13C. The stained glass windows are smaller. Today, there remains only one tomb in the vault of the bishops, that of the famous Bossuet, nicknamed the Eagle of Meaux. Two huge statues commemorate the centenary and bicentenary of his death. He was amongst other things the confessor to king Louis XIV !!

Meaux cat st etienne parvis et PF mar13


The Vieux Châpitre or Old Chapter has kept its authenticity. It was there that the canons meted out justice. It can only be entered by guided tour. The palace, the bishop’s residence, became a museum in 1908. You can access the lower rooms, the chapel, the bishop’s bedroom and the reception room. The 19C parquet floor shines and creaks under our feet, the windows offer a view of the Bossuet garden bordered by lime trees, it was designed by Le Nôtre, This garden can be admired like a painting from the palace. The Meldois (as the locals are known from an old celtic tribe that gave the name to the city) have been talking about the Old Chapter since the 19C. But what is the origin of this name? The first hypothesis: the assembly of canons who stood in the catechism chapel (in the courtyard of the episcopal city) at the beginning of the 19C, the castle then became the “old” chapter, that is to say the ancient, The second hypothesis and the most probable: From the end of the 18C, cracks were clearly visible on the south-west turret and the south span. The state of disrepair set in and intensified throughout the 19C. The first hypothesis probably favored the second, the clergy not wanting, not being able to finance the work.  The building became state property, the restoration began in 1916 and was completed in 1933 (except for some interior fittings: heating, toilets, etc. completed in 1937). The footbridge was completed in 1935. The chapter castle dates back to the 12C or 13C. It thus marks the power of the chapter against those of the bishop in his palace and of the counts of Champagne and Brie in their castle The external staircase was covered with its framework in the 14C. It leads to the first floor.  The configuration of the Vieux Châpitre are as follows :The base room ,located about 5 meters underground was used as a cellar. It would also have served as a prison. In the 19C, the room was partitioned off. The two naves are separated in the middle by four massive pillars thus delimiting ten cross vaults. The ground floor has the same layout as the basement.This room would have been the refectory of the canons or the meeting place of the chapter. The first floor is reached by the only external staircase. Inside, four columns carry a 15C framework. It is the noble floor as in any castle of the Middle Ages. And enforce Justice, later, this room would have served as a dormitory for the canons. The attic can be reach by a spiral staircase located in the south-west turret. The very beautiful frame rests on the north and south walls joined by four oak beams crossing the room.

We go now to the Palais Episcopale or Episcopal Palace exteriors :

meaux episcopal palace et musee Bossuet back of cat st etienne dec18

The facade on the courtyard side was carried out at the beginning of the 16C. At the crossroads between medieval and modern, it includes a medieval chapel, remodeled in the 15C and built as an appetizer at the eastern end, and a rectangular brick and stone tower that projects from the middle of the building. The facade on the garden side seen from the garden, presents a harmonious whole that unites the classical building with the Renaissance work in brick. It comprises a vast body bounded at the ends by two corner pavilions. The building opens onto a terrace, supported on the ground floor by a series of seven semi-circular arches, which form a kind of gallery serving to hide the 12C wall. The garden, has been known since the 17C to have been entrusted the expansion of the episcopal garden to the young gardener André Le Nôtre. It is a “French” garden of 8500 m2, composed of a flowerbed evoking the miter of a bishop. It is divided into four alleys lined with greenery which meet around a pond and extend to the ramparts of the city on which a terrace planted with yew and boxwood is laid out.(My first real kiss with my then girlfriend was done here, so much to us and now me forever!!), The Bossuet cabinet, on the terrace of the ramparts had a charming little pavilion built, now called the Bossuet pavilion. According to local tradition, this small construction was greatly appreciated by the Aigle de Meaux who liked to go there to work in peace and meditate. On the occasion of the tercentenary of his death in 2004, a plant was planted in his honor in the garden a new variety of roses called “Bossuet Aigle de Meaux” which recalls by its mauve color, the episcopal habit. It still there and very much appreciated.

Meaux episcopal palace la taverne maison en bois jun10


We go into the interiors of the Palais Episcopale :

The rise ramp made up of inclined sections which stop on successive levels, is rare in France, The lower rooms, on the ground floor, two magnificent rooms, separated by a thick wall, occupy the entire length of the building. Each of the rooms is divided into two naves by a row of monolithic columns, confined by four engaged columns which receive the fallout of the warheads, The double chapel, is a chapel oriented on two levels of palatial type dating from the second half of the 12C. On the ground floor, the lower chapel is accessed through the official hall. This chapel, divided into several rooms by partitions, On the second level, the upper chapel has a rib-vaulted nave of two bays separated by a transverse arch and ends with an apsidal choir vaulted in six quarters of ribs and lit by three long windows in tiers-point, The apartments, have a room located to the right of the ramp and known as the Changeux room. Giving access to the upper chapel, it was formerly divided into two spaces occupied by bedrooms. Currently, this space hosts the very first room in the Bossuet Museum dedicated to the end of Mannerism. The Synod Hall, so called because these assemblies were held there in the past, is today a magnificent room with imposing dimensions ,and with a framed ceiling made up of three beams mistresses. Four characteristic 17C windows give light onto the garden and give access to the terrace. To the right of the Synod Hall is the Bishops’ Lounge, known as the Antichamber a noble-looking room adorned with a pretty marble fireplace dating from the time of Louis XIV. Located after the bishops’ lounge, the king’s room or bishop’s room is undoubtedly the most beautiful room in the palace. Forming a forefront on the garden, the Bossuet cabinet or the Queen’s bedroom, following the King’s bedroom, once served as Bossuet’s study. While King Louis XVI occupied the bishop’s room, Queen Marie-Antoinette and the two children occupied the Queen’s bedroom.  As in the king’s bedroom, there is a fireplace surmounted by Empire woodwork decorated in the lower part with a mirror and in the upper part with a canvas representing, according to tradition, Henrietta of England , sister-in-law of King Louis XIV. At the western end of the palace is the Renaissance room called Salle Moissan, formerly called the second room of the episcopal palace. To the left of the ramp is the Bishops’ room. It is a large square room decorated with a fireplace illustrated with a representation of the Holy Family.

meaux cat st etienne garments popes dec18

The official Bossuet Museum

This green space of gardens connects the episcopal palace and the fortification walls of the city. At the time, it was not a garden but part of the city, with the houses of the canons. They gradually bought the land, then the bishopric bought the ramparts to nicely enclose the whole before creating a hanging garden, around 1642. A happy idea since these are the only ramparts still standing in Meaux.

The city of Meaux on its history

The Meaux country local tourist office on the Cité Episcopale

There you go folks, this is my Meaux!!!  I have taken new text by translating the above links where English was not available. The pictures are older but new to my blog. Hope you enjoy this wonderful part of my belle France, worth the detour and easy connection for a day from Paris or even Disneyland! 

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

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October 12, 2022

Curiosity sights of Occitanie !!!

Another of my favorite regions of my belle France, this is the new Occitanie that is really very old… I found me some paper photos of older road warrior trips and decided to put them in my blog. After all, this is my life’s story and like to share it with the world. Therefore, here are some curiosity sights of Occitanie !!!

The town of Mirepoix is ​​located in the department of Ariège 09, in the Occitanie region. It is located 26 km from Foix, department prefecture, and 22 km from Pamiers, sub-prefecture. Dependent on the county of Foix, the city was won by Catharism at the end of the 12C, The city was taken in 1209 by Simon de Montfort which he gave to one of his lieutenants Guy de Lévis, hence the family of Lévis- Mirepoix. Mirepoix was a bishopric until 1801.

The Maison des Consuls dates from the 15C on January 5, 1274, Guy III of Lévis gave the inhabitants of the city the right to elect consuls. In the year 1500, the consuls were granted the right to build their house on the solier of the house of Justice. On August 14, 1655, they bought a house to make it the City/Town Hall. It served as a court, a council chamber and a prison. The front beam, or chest, is a single heart of oak almost 12 meters long and over 60 cm thick. 104 sculptures adorn the ends of the windchests or beams perpendicular to the facade, and the supporting pillars. Gorgeous !

Mirepoix maison des consuls

Other things to see in Tarbes are in my opinion !

The episcopal palace, for the part located in the extension of the nave of the cathedral, dates from the 15C The Porte d’ Avail dates from 1372 , The Church of Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Michel is located in the cemetery, avenue Victor Hugo, it presents four paintings, three of which retrace the foundation and work of the Trinitarians, and an altarpiece from the 17C. The old castle of Mirepoix, whose first mention dates back to 960, had been taken at the same time as the city, on September 22, 1209, Saint-Maurice’s Day, by the Crusaders of Simon de Montfort.  Saint-Maurice Cathedral as the story goes that on September 22, 1209, Saint-Maurice’s Day, the armies of Simon de Montfort took the city and placed the church under the patronage of the saint and his companions. But this church is no longer, carried away by the flood of June 16, 1289, which moved the city to the left bank. The cathedral that we know saw its first stone laid by Jean Ier de Lévis-Mirepoix, May 6, 1298.

The town of Mirepoix on its history:

The Mirepoix tourist office on its heritage

The city of Montpellier is the prefecture of the Hérault department 34 ; it is located in the Occitanie region and in the historic Languedoc region, on a major communication axis joining Spain to the west and Italy to the east. The city is located 14 km by road from the Mediterranean Sea in the town of Palavas-les-Flots, It was the first land of the counts of Melgueil, who gave it in 985 to a certain Guilhem in exchange for his devotion, the lordship of Montpellier passed at the beginning of the 13C to the Crown of Aragon King Jacques I of Aragon was born there in 1208 then to the Kingdom of Majorca, before being purchased in 1349 by the King of France Philippe de Valois. Sold in 1365 to the King of Navarre, Charles the Bad, Montpellier returned definitively to the Kingdom of France in 1383.

The date of June 9, 1907, with a gigantic rally in Montpellier, marks the peak of winegrower protest in the South of France. The Place de la Comédie is invaded by a crowd estimated between 600,000 and 800,000 people. It is the greatest manifestation of the Third Republic. During WWII, the city was part of the free zone, gradually subject to Nazis interests, through the collaboration of the regime in place. On February 13, 1941, Marshal Pétain, accompanied by Admiral Darlan, met General Franco in Montpellier. The city had always been an important center of resistance. Evidenced by the activity of Jean Moulin, a famous French resistant established in Montpellier for a large part of the war and whose most famous photographic portrait was taken in front of a pillar of the Arceaux aqueduct. The city of Montpellier was bombed several times during WWII: The city was liberated by the 1st DFL (Free French Division).

There are wonderful places for walks such as the Place de la Comédie and the Arc de Triomphe-esplanade du Peyrou date from the 17C. This is also the case of Place Jean-Jaurès, built on the site of the former Church of Notre-Dame-des-Tables, destroyed during the Wars of Religion, and the Promenade Royale du Peyrou built by order of Louis XIV and in his honour, outside the fortifications. To supply the city and its gardens, an aqueduct, called “Les Arceaux”, carries water from Saint-Clément-de-Rivière. Developed in the middle of the 18C, inaugurated and put into service on December 7, 1765, it culminates in the superb water tower which dominates the Peyrou esplanade, From the medieval hostal to the classic 18C hotel, Montpellier today has nearly eighty mansions.

You cannot miss coming here, great ambiance and beautiful architecture. The Place de la Comédie dating from 1755 and completely refurbished after the fire of the theater in 1881 is the central place of the city. It takes its name from the municipal theater whose monumental facade adorns the square, and is embellished with the fountain of the Three Graces, . It should be noted that the Place de la Comédie obtained, several years ago, a prize rewarding the quality and enhancement of its architecture by the nocturnal lighting of its facades and of the theatre. This square is also nicknamed “place de l’œuf” because of the pattern drawn on the ground, in front of the Opéra de la Comédie.

Montpellier pl de la comedie les trois glacés

Another we rush by was the Arceaux aqueduct, whose real name is the Saint-Clément aqueduct, built in the 18C is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city. This building, largely inspired by the Pont du Gard, allowed the arrival of drinking water from the source of Boulidou, then later that of Lez, located in Saint-Clément-de-Rivière. When it was built, it brought 25 liters of water per second to the city of Montpellier.

Montpellier les Arceaux

Other things to see in my opinion are the Fabre Museum , the Comédie Opera; the Jean-Vilar theatre, municipal theater , the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, Saint-Roch Church; Notre-Dame des Tables Basilica, Sainte-Foy Chapel , known as the Chapel of the White Penitents.

The city of Montpellier on things to see

The Montpellier tourist office on must sees

The town of Rocamadour is located in the Lot department 46, in the Occitanie region. In the heart of Haut-Quercy, clinging to a mighty cliff 150 meters above the deep Alzou valley. This Marian city has been a renowned place of pilgrimage since the 12C, frequented since the Middle Ages by many anonymous or famous such as Henry II of England, Simon de Montfort, Blanche of Castile and Louis IX of France, Saint Dominic and Saint Bernard, among other illustrious figures, who come to venerate the Black Virgin and the tomb of Saint Amadour.

The medieval town, with its winding streets, is guarded by a series of fortified gates (Salmon, Cabilière, Hospital and Figuier gates). A monumental staircase, which pilgrims climbed and sometimes still climb on their knees, leads to the esplanade of the sanctuaries, where the Saint-Sauveur Basilica, the Saint-Amadour crypt , the Chapels of Sainte -Anne, Saint-Blaise, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Notre-Dame , where the Black Virgin is located -,Saint-Louis and Saint-Michel. The ensemble is dominated by the Palace of the Bishops of Tulle. A Way of the Cross leads at the castle and at the cross of Jerusalem, where a belvedere has been set up.

The three floors of the town of Rocamadour date from the Middle Ages, they reflect the three orders of society: the knights above, linked to the religious clerics in the middle and the lay workers below near the river. The final test of the pilgrimage was to climb on your knees the 216 steps leading to the religious city (see above). Finally arrived inside the sanctuaries after this ascent, the pilgrims left in ex-voto various objects, All the religious buildings of the Religious City; The Basilica of Saint-Sauveur . The basilica offers a mural representation of the Tale of the three dead and the three living: three young gentlemen are challenged in a cemetery by three dead people, who remind them of the brevity of life and the importance of the salvation of their souls; the Chapelle Notre-Dame ; Saint-Michel Chapel ; Saint-Anne Chapel ; Saint-Blaise Chapel ; and Saint-Jean-Baptiste Chapel ,

The Porte du Figuier by the Rue Roland le Preux is one of the gateways to the city of Rocamadour. In most cases, it will be the first thing you see in Rocamadour, because there is only paid parking, the only place where you can leave the car to go for a walk in the town as I recall we did. The gate is part of the city wall that has surrounded the city for centuries. It is the only gateway to the city, inside you will find other gates such as the Salmon gate, also visible the Hugon gate or the Cabilières gate and tower. The second of the five gates that pilgrims passed through before reaching the sanctuary. We pass the gate of Figuier, gate of the upper Coustalou, then of the haberdashery, gate Malbec or Salomon, Gate Gugon, gate of the bottom of the Coustalou or the bottom of the city… Fortifications built in the 14-15C.

Rocamadour porte du Figuier

Other things to see me think are the Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in L’Hospitalet and the Francis Poulenc Sacred Art Museum.

The Lot dept 46 tourist office on Rocamadour

The Dordogne valley region tourist office on Rocamadour:

The city of Tarbes is the prefecture of the Hautes-Pyrénées 65 department, in the Occitanie region, Historically and culturally, the town belongs to the former county of Bigorre, a historic county of the French Pyrenees and Gascony, The town is the historic seat of a Catholic diocese erected in the 4tC (today of Tarbes and Lourdes) corresponding to the department of Hautes-Pyrénées.

At the end of the 12C, the Count of Bigorre moved into his castle in Tarbes, bringing the court of justice with him. Then the capital of Bigorre received a royal seneschalship. During the Wars of Religion, in 1569, the troops of Jeanne d’Albret burned down the cathedral, the convents and other churches as well as the bishopric. Despite the strategic destruction in an attempt to ensure the defense of Bourg Vieux, the inhabitants were massacred. In 1806, Napoleon I re-established the national stud farm of Tarbes and from the Tarbes horse gave birth to the Anglo-Arab breed. Marshal Foch, Commander-in-Chief of all the Allied Armies, Marshal of France, Great Britain and Poland, was born in Tarbes in 1851.  During WWII, on September 11, 1940, Tarbes, located in the Free Zone, hosted the Cavalry School of Saumur ; it was from this school that the famous “Cadets of Saumur” came, who distinguished themselves by heroic fighting on the Loire in June 1940, with other French units.

My walk and drive was on Rue du Maréchal-Foch, It has 700 meters long, one-way , representing one of the shopping streets of the city center district , The street begins in the Place de Verdun, it is cut by Place Jean-Jaurès (place de la mairie) and ends in the place Marcadieu between the halle Marcadieu and the Church of Sainte-Thérèse. In the past, Rue Maréchal-Foch was called Rue des Grands-Fossés and was extended in 1867 from the old town to Place Marcadieu in the new town. It was on September 28, 1919 that the street was renamed during a ceremony in the presence of Marshal Foch. Building to see here are at No 28: Galeries Lafayette; and No 32: Monument to Danton on the city/town hall square.

Tarbes avenue Foch

Other things to see here me think are the Parc des Haras, a former national stud farm, created under Napoleon in 1806 and bought by the city in 2016. This 9 ha listed park in the city center includes a number of renovated buildings. An equestrian activity is maintained there. Located in the city center, every summer it hosts Equestria, the festival of equestrian creation. Parc Bel-Air covers an area of ​​3.5 ha with a large central lawn that gives off beautiful views of the Pyrenees. It includes a body of water fed by a beautiful waterfall, play areas for children, rest areas equipped with benches. The city/town hall and the courthouse, classic 19C buildings, adjoin rue Maréchal-Foch. Inaugurated in 1906, the city/ town hall stands out with its frank monumentality. It is surmounted by a campanile and faces Place Jean-Jaurès where the statue of Danton is enthroned. The Hôtel Brauhauban, an 18C private mansion, is one of its annexes today. The prefecture settled in the former episcopal palace rebuilt in the 17C. The monumental four valleys fountain, combining cast iron and sculpture, features the valleys of Bagnères, Aure, Argelès and the plain of Tarbes, A replica of the mythical fountain of the Alhambra in Granada in Spain is located at 43 rue Maréchal-Foch, in the green patio of a shopping mall , The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, between rue Brauhauban, which has become pedestrianized for part of it, and rue Maréchal-Foch, its structure, dating from the 15C, remains marked by the southern Gothic current In Languedoc Gothic style, the Sainte-Thérèse Church faces the halles (covered market) and place Marcadieu. Its history begins with the establishment of the monks of Mount Carmel in the 13C. The bell tower, which is one of the oldest elements, dates from the 15C and is a remnant of this former abbey.

The city of Tarbes and its heritage

The Tarbes tourist office on main things to see :

There you go folks, another dandy road warrior trip in my belle France and gorgeous Occitanie region, Hope you enjoy the tour as I and thanks for reading along my escapades.

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

Tags: ,
October 12, 2022

Curiosity monuments of Occitanie !!!

Another of my favorite regions of my belle France, this is the new Occitanie that is really very old… I found me some paper photos of old , older road warrior trips and decided to put them in my blog. After all, this is my life’s story and like to share it with the world. Therefore, here are some curiosity monuments of Occitanie !!!

Lourdes is located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department, 65 in the Occitanie region. Located at the foot of the Pyrenees, in the historic region of Bigorre, on the Gave de Pau. The sanctuary is located at the exit of the city following the Gave de Pau. The origin of the city of Lourdes is certainly illustrated by a legend. However, it should be noted that this only dates back to 1118. It is a chronicle of the Irish monk, Marfin, and rediscovered in the 17C. In France and internationally, Lourdes is the Marian city par excellence. It is a world center of pilgrimages whose history began in February 1858,

In 1858, Bernadette Soubirous said that a White Lady presented to her saying “I am the Immaculate Conception”, which is considered to be a designation of the Virgin Mary identified with her own conception appeared to her several times in the small cave of Massabielle, bordering the Gave de Pau to the west of the city, Work on the sanctuary began the same year. A first chapel was replaced by the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception below which the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was then built to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims. They are both located above the cave.

The site of the sanctuary covers 52 hectares, its center is the Grotto of Massabielle and the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary completed in 1889, overlooked by the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The huge Basilica of St. Pius X, inaugurated in 1958, is built entirely of concrete and extends even further underground. The Marian shrine welcomes several million pilgrims each year. The last building built is the Sainte-Bernadette Church.

Lourdes basilica and crown Virgin

Other things to see are the Pyrenean Museum established within the walls of the castle, The fortified castle of Lourdes, in turn the main residence of the Count of Bigorre in the 11-12C, passing from hand to hand in the 13-14C, royal prison in the 17-18C, then Pyrenean Museum (arts and popular traditions of the Pyrenees) from 1921. The Nativity Museum: nativity scenes animated by sound and light, The Lourdes Museum: evoking the history of Lourdes from 1858 to the present day, The Wax Museum: 18 scenes and 100 wax figures, The Musée du Petit Lourdes: walk in the middle of nature around a miniature Lourdes in the year 1858. The House of Bernadette and family sites of Soubirous. At the Bernadette Museum, a diorama of 18 scenes presents the life of Bernadette Soubirous and the story of the apparitions. The small place of Marcadal, at the entrance of the rue de la Grotte and in the heart of the city is always animated, it is marked by the presence of a monumental fountain ,The parish Church of the Sacred Heart. The construction of this parish church in neo-Romanesque style, The church holds since July 13, 2011 a relic of Blessed John Paul II which was sent to it by the Holy See. It is a fragment of the cassock that the former Pope wore during the assassination attack of May 13, 1981.

The city of Lourdes and its history:

The Lourdes tourist office on the sanctuary

The town of Moissac is located in the Tarn-et-Garonne 82 department in the Occitanie region. The town is known as the “city of Chasselas”, named after the table grape originating from the village of Chasselas (Saône-et-Loire); the production in AOC “chasselas de Moissac”, is practiced by the farmers of the canton. During WWII, Moissac was a refuge for the large community of Israelite Scouts of France (EIF). The latter, lodged at the Moulin de Moissac, or for the youngest at the Maison des enfants de Moissac, remained there during the war thanks, among other things, to the benevolence of the municipal authorities and the population , Ten inhabitants of Moissac were honored as Righteous among the nations

St. Peter’s Church, former abbey church with the portal from 1130, one of the masterpieces of Romanesque sculpture. Of the 11C church, all that remains is the massive bell tower-porch, a kind of keep with a walkway, built for defensive purposes but whose top floor only dates from the end of the Gothic period. Cloister late 11C, one of the best preserved in the Christian West.

Moissac abbaye st Pierre

Other things to see here are : The Saint-Martin Church, The Saint-Julien Church, The Saint-Jacques Church, The 356 meters long, Cacor canal bridge allows the side channel of the Garonne to cross the Tarn, just outside Moissac, The Moissagais Museum is housed in the former Abbots’ House, an imposing building flanked by a crenellated 13C brick tower. Two maps show the influence of the abbey in the Middle Ages. The Napoleon bridge: decided by Napoleon I and finished by Napoleon III, we have a view of the quays and the Saint-Jacques bridge , Moissac is one of the few towns on the Via Podiensis where we find mention of a brotherhood of Saint Jacques. This association appears late, in 1523.

The official Abbey Church of Moissac

The Moissac tourist office on the abbey church:

The town of Montsaunès is located in the Haute-Garonne department, 31 in the Occitanie region. It is 68 km from Toulouse, Historically and culturally, Montsaunès is part of the country of Comminges, corresponding to the former county of Comminges, district of the province of Gascony located in the current departments of Gers, Haute- Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées and Ariège , Until the French revolution, the parish of Montsaunès formed with the parish of Mazères-sur-Salat one of the Languedocian enclaves of “Petit-Comminges”, one of the 24 civil dioceses of the Languedoc.

The Saint-Christophe Church is the only Templar church in France whose architecture has remained intact. The church is a large brick building which dates back to the end of the 12C. It has retained its remarkable decorations which make it famous. Indeed, two portals with finely chiseled figurations in white limestone, as well as the painted interior set, allow us to grasp the religious and symbolic dimensions of the Templars. The portal capitals date back to the end of the 12C and are among the most beautiful in Comminges. Staged in stylized architectural settings, they refer to various episodes of the New Testament and in particular to the childhood of Jesus, or to the life of certain apostles or holy martyrs (crucifixion of St Peter, stoning of St Stephen, etc.). The arch of the western portal is decorated with carved masks.

Montsaunes ch Saint Christophe des Templiers chevet 12C

Montsaunes ch Saint Christophe des Templiers nave to altar

The local Cagire Garonne Sarlat tourist office no the church

The town of Montesquieu-Volvestre is located in the Haute-Garonne department 31 in the Occitanie region. It is located 47 km from Toulouse . A Bastide, created in 1238 by the Count of Toulouse, Raymond VII, who decided to establish a new city in a loop of the Arize. From the Middle Ages until its disappearance in 1790 during the French revolution, Montesquieu-Volvestre was part of the Diocese of Rieux. The architectural heritage of the town includes two buildings, the Château de Palays, and the Saint-Victor Church

The Saint-Victor Church dating from the 13C. The massive fortified brick facade reminds us that the church, a place of meditation, was also part of the city’s defense system. Its 32-meter bell tower with 16 sides, lit on the three upper floors by Gothic openings, is extremely rare. It has rich furniture, an entombment carved in stone (15C), a Baroque altarpiece and paintings, including the Deposition from the Cross by Girodet (18C).

Montesquieu-Volvestre ch saint victor front 16C

Other things to see here are the Moulin sur l’Arize Moulin de Barrau (15-18C) one of the few mills still in operation , The Château de Palays 13C at the confluence of the Arize and Pas-du-Rat rivers (private),

The town of Montesquieu Volvestre on its heritage

The  local Volvestre area tourist office on the church:

There you go folks, another dandy road warrior trip in my belle France and gorgeous Occitanie region, Hope you enjoy the tour as I and thanks for reading along my escapades,

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

Tags: ,
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