Archive for December 19th, 2022

December 19, 2022

Bourges, a Cathedral and Jacques !!

I like to tell you about a nice town of memorable family visit. This post will be on my black and white series, no pictures. See my many othe’r posts on Bourges. We came to Bourges a while back , little known really when you are in the Valley of the Kings or now call Centre-Val de Loire. However, very nicely accessible and worth a detour me think.  Bourges is in the Department of the Cher 18 in the region of Centre Val de Loire ; been the historical capital of the Berry, a province in the monarchy corresponding about with today’s departments of Indre and Cher.  About 240 km from Paris and located at the intersection of several rivers such as the Yévre, Voiselle, and affluents Auron, Moulon, and Langis.

The way I come is by car here taking from Paris the A71 (Orléans – Clermont-Ferrand) that puts Bourges in one hour to Orleans, 2h30 from Paris, 4h from Lyon. You can ,also take the A85 at Vierzon and go to Tours in about 1h30, which has been my latests visits.

The city center or downtown is divided in two sections surrounded by boulevards that allows you to go around it as in a beltway. This city center has the main shopping street , rue Moyenne and principal buildings including the Cathedral and the bus terminal to the train station  as well as several nice gardens such as the jardin de l’archevêché  (bishop) and jardin des Pré-Fichaux. The central crown around the town has several other buildings around the city center including the marshes or Marais de Bourges.

I like to tell you a bit about the history I like, as sort of an introduction to Bourges.

Before the Romans, this area was inhabited by Gallic people known as the Bituriges Cubes  , that I am told it means “kings of the world” . The uprising of the Bituriges against the Romans and their massacre by the Romans in 53 BC is a major item on the uprising strength of the Gallic people and their main leader Vercingétorix  against Jules Caesar. During the Gallic wars Caesar had several sieges against Bourges for long months. As in the rest of Gallia, Vercingétorix has implemented a tactic of burning and destroying everything before helping to supply the Romans.  The Gallic leader had defended Bourges with natural defenses such as hills around a river, and marshes as well as  a strong wall in the south.  From this wall, we come to the term later of calling the city, the red town (same as was name Le Mans). Caesar took the city anyway and massacre most of the inhabitants.

Bourges becomes the seat of the Bishops from where the dioceses of Albi, Cahors, Clermont-Ferrand , Mende, Puy-en-Vélay, Rodez, Saint Flour, and Tulle were attached. It was one of the first diocese founded by Saint Ursin in one of the first evangelical campaigns of the Gaulle around the 4C. The town ,then belonging to the kingdom of Aquitaine was taken by Charles Martel in 731 ,then by Eudes of Aquitaine, Pépin le Bref took it in 762; destroying the walls ramparts and integrating it to the Royal domain under the care of the Counts; he builts a palace from the 767. Early on the 12C, Bourges becomes the seat of the Viscount until the last one Eudes d’Arpin in 1101 sells the county to the king of France ,Louis VI to finance a crusade; the city enters the domain Royal, property of the Crown. In the 14C, the city of Bourges becomes the capital of the duchy of Berry that is given to Jean de Berry as a priviledge.  He is the third child of king of France Jean le Bon and brother of king Charles V. The dauphin , future king Charles VII of France finds refuge in Bourges and used the administration of the city put in place by his grand uncle ,the duke of Berry to be able to take control of his kingdom. Bourges has a long history of military stronghold. By 1860, it was chosen to be the center of army provisions under the Second Empire (Napoléon III) . From 1928  it has a strong presence of aeronautical industry here as well as a center of manufacture of land weapons.

A major figure here and in France. Jacques Coeur son of curtain merchant and a famous citizen of the city of Bourges, worked with his father as supplier to the ducal court and has a fast rise to fame; also marries the daughter of the provost of Bourges, Macée de Léodepart. Later, participates in the making of currency money and becomes the financier of the king or supplier of the Royal court as well as developing an international commercial network enabling him to set up money counters and a navy. However, this fortune becomes too big and bring jealousy of the King which leads to the lost of it. He is condemn by Royal justice and becomes a fugitive, later bankrupt finding refuge with the Pope Nicolas V. All his properties were confiscated and sold for the profit of the king and he dies in exile in 1456. The most remarkable trace left in the city is that of the wonderful palais Jacques Coeur.  A must to visit.

Things to see here are plenty and very nice; most written on already in my blog. The city is a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire in France (city of art and history of France). Of course , you must see the St Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint Etienne, recognize by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. The before mentioned Palais Jacques Coeur built by end 15C.  The marshes or marais de l’Yévre et de la Voiselle, family and culture gardens wonderful. The ruins of the Gallo Roman ramparts. The monumental fountain and Gallo Roman porch under the palace of the Duke of Berry as well as the rest of it today it is the Préfecture or regional government building. Walk around the Place Gordaine and the wooden houses from the 14C, the Grange des Dîmes from the 12C at rue Moliére near the Cathedral (storage of agro products until the French revolution). The Episcopal Palace or palais Archiepiscopal from the 17C, old city hall and a French style garden done by Le Nôtre , this is the jardin de l’Archevêché. The Canal de Berry on the river Auron.  Notre Dame Church mostly destroyed by fire in 1487, Church Saint-Pierre le Marché later dedicated to Notre Dame was rebuilt with several modifications and now you see different styles of architecture. And not that I go there, but many do, so there is the Cemetery des Capucins ,near the Cathedral done in 1792 to replace all the others done by other Churches.

The many nice museums with most written on in my blog are:  Musée du Berry ( archeology, arts and popular traditions) in the Hôtel de Cujas mansion.  Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Gabriel Foucher, Musée Maurice Estève (dedicated to modernist painter Maurice Estève) in the Hôtel des Echevins mansion. Hôtel Lallemant mansion  (Renaissance style) with a museum on decorative arts; Musée des Meilleurs ouvriers de France (best craftmans of France). The muse de la Résistance et de la Déportation du Cher (museum of the resistance and deportation of the Cher).

The old Berry area is rich in gastronomy as where else in France! However, something unique to Bourges is the Forestine, this crisp and mellow candy contains a delicious praline of chocolate-flavoured almonds and hazelnuts under a layer of crunchy sugar, and the best is at the  Maison de la Forestine  at the Place Cujas. webpage:

The City of Bourges on its heritage:

The Bourges Tourist office on not to miss monuments:

The Friends of the Cathedral of Bourges:

There you go folks, you have Bourges as brief and clear as I can make it. Enjoy the Cher, the Berry and yes Bourges as I. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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December 19, 2022

Memories of Buxy !!!

This one is from the old vault , before our arrival permanent in France ! These must be from the 1994-95 vintage lol ! We came with the older brother of my wife and our families to share a gîte in Buxy and explore the lands of the Côte Chalonnaise and beyond, We follow the brother into unknown territory and perhaps it was here that I gather my road warrior mode spirit of life on the roads of France ! I like to use some old personal pictures to bring this memorable trip into my blog and tell you about quant nice wine crazy Buxy ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Buxy gite PF MF et boys c1994

The village of Buxy is located in the Saône-et-Loire department 71 of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, It is about 20 km from Chalon-sur-Saône, 53 km from Beaune, and 357 km from Paris. Buxy is a wine-growing village on the Côte Chalonnaise wine appellation, Further well connected as we came by rental car, is 15 km from the A6 motorway exit sortie Chalon-sur-Saône, 6 km from N80 Chalon-Moulins ,18 km from the train line from Paris-Lyon to Marseille-Saint-Charles, and about 20 km from the LGV Sud-Est (TGV) Le Creusot TGV train station.

The village of Buxy is very old , The “y” which also ends many surrounding villages, indicates, according to specialists, that Buxy, located on the territory of the Aedui, was already in Roman times a small trading town. The name Buxy probably comes from the Latin Buxetum, a place planted with boxwood. For at least three centuries Buxy experienced the “Pax Romana”, or the Roman peace, Buxy falls under the dependence of the Counts of Chalon. Cluny Abbey, founded in 909, owns land in Jully les Buxy. The Abbey of La Ferté, founded in 1113, also has land in Neuilly (hamlet of Montagny) and in Buxy itself. In 1166, the abuses of a Count of Chalon led Louis VII to ravage the Chalonnais. The fortifications and the solid church of Buxy date from this period. The Templars settled in the region around 1185 (templar residence of Jully), In 1237, the Chalonnais passed into the hands of the Duke of Burgundy, Hugh IV, by exchange with the principality of Salins, Buxy suffers from the Hundred Years War, and the inhabitants take part in the fighting , the village is therefore the site of a battle between the Burgundian army, based in Chalon-sur-Saône, composed of nobles and mercenaries, mostly Germans, and the royal troops recruited in the Dauphiné, the Rhone Valley and coming from Saint Gengoux-le-Royal. On March 14, 1471, at the Battle of Buxy, thousands of men of war clashed. After an uncertain outcome, the royal troops seem to win, After the death of Charles the Bold in 1477, the duchy fell into the hands of the kings of France first under Louis XI.

Buxy did not stay away from the French revolution: a bourgeois militia was created on July 24, 1789. It became the National Guard and was armed until 1792, training being done on the Champ de Mars, the current Place de Baranges. During the revolutionary period of the National Convention (1792-1795), the town temporarily bears the names of Buxy-le-National and Grand-Buxy. At the end of the First Empire (Napoléon Ier), France was invaded and Buxy mobilized to resist the invasion. The village will be occupied by the Austrians in 1814 and 1815 after Waterloo. Buxy temporarily becomes Buxy-le-Royal from 1816 to 1822, In June 1940, the demarcation line was set up for 3 years at the southern exit of Buxy. The township is dislocated, the smugglers take big risks, the maquis form further south in the Clunysois and the occupants set up a camp for tracking aircraft by radar in Montagny. The liberation takes place without a fight at the same time as Chalon.

Some of the things to see here are the Church of Saint-Germain l’Auxorrois erected from the 12C to 16C , The Châtel de Buxy (or old Buxy) took shape between the 12C and 16C. Surrounded by walls flanked by six towers, it contained about forty houses. There was a Protestant temple, several mills, two oil mills, a laundry, a silkworm factory. Old surrounding towers, including the King’s tower and the Red tower, which houses a cellar and gourmet restaurant. Staircase towers: Perrault tower (1531 ), Perrussot tower (around 1550), Saccazand tower, and a Wine grower’s museum, in a vaulted cellar.

Buxy Grande Rue tour rouge and us c1994

Buxy mima market c1994

The presence of vineyards in the territory is very old. The only documents in the possession of the village dates back to the end of the first millennium, during the predominance of the abbeys of Cluny and La Ferté, but its appearance seems singularly more distant. At the end of the 19C, beginning of the 20C, the hillsides were exclusively dedicated to vineyards. The relentless damage of diseases, in particular phylloxera, the human hecatomb of the Great War or WWI caused a significant contraction of the vineyard. The Montagny wine appellation has 53 localities (called Climats) classified as Premiers Crus spread over four towns, you will find 13 in Buxy.Other than my gîte own made Rando wine (see post) some of the better known properties I can recommend here are the Château de la Saule, Château de Chamilly , Cave de vignerons de Bissey sous Cruchaud ,and the Cave des vignerons de Buxy.

The Gîte was in wine country on a hill overlooking the vineyards, and it had horses to ride as well and wine made on the spot call Rando which have written on it before in my blog. If you ask me the name of the gîte (rural rental house) forget it, it was my Wife’s older brother who took care of the rental we just share the expenses and do not recall the name now sadly. Nevertheless memories forever !!!

buxy gite PF c 1994

Buxy gite PF twins et MF c1994

The town of Buxy on its history

The Buxy tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, glad to revive these wonderful family memories into my blog for memories forever and to share with the world, Buxy was nice homey family and great times by all, Excellent rapport price/quality ratio in the Côte Chalonnaise !! Hope you enjoy the post as I,

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

December 19, 2022

Our old Périgueux !!!

And wow, got me a handful of older pictures from my family forays into Périgueux and of course, needs a post of its own. Great to dig into my vault of pictures a never ending source it seems; sorry for the quality as these are old paper glossy pictures going back to 1990nish. My idea is to keep a log in my blog of all the places I or my family have gone, like a living testament for generations to come. In the meantime, a great source of info for future travelers/visitors and locals alike. This is my homage to old Périgueux; hope you enjoy it as I.

The City of Périgueux is in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Chief town and prefecture of the department of Dordogne (24) since 1791 The city is located 109 km from Bordeaux, 68 km from Angoulême, 83 km from Limoges, 64 km from Brive-la-Gaillarde, 100 km from Cahors and 109 km from Agen, The city offers tourists a historical Gallo-Roman, medieval and Renaissance heritage. recognized as a city of art and history, Périgueux has 44 registered or classified historical monuments, and three museums labeled Museums of France, including two municipal ones. The city preserves and showcases its rich civil, military and religious heritage, including its Saint-Front Cathedral, classified as a historical monument as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The ways there to from Périgueux are road bypass of the national road 89 (N89) taken zillions of times !. Later, this section was integrated into the new A89 hightway/motorway linking Bordeaux to Lyon, opening three of the main road accesses to Périgueux ; the two interchanges Périgueux-Ouest No 14 and Périgueux-Est no 16 provide access to the town via the departmental road 6089 ( D6089 the old N89). Périgueux is also accessible to the south by interchange no. 15, Périgueux-Centre, then by the departmental road 6021 (D6021 from the old N21) which comes from Lourdes and which continues north to Limoges, The Périgueux train station which never taken is served by Intercités and TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine trains. The city is also connected, by TER links, to Bordeaux, Limoges, Brive and Agen; by main line trains to Paris, Lyon and, via the Ventadour, to Clermont-Ferrand.

The things to see in Périgueux are many indeed but will just name some and those visited,

The Périgord Art and Archeology Museum, the department’s first museum, was created in 1835. The Périgord Military Museum was created in 1911 to commemorate the heroism of the National Guard of Périgueux and the 22nd Mobile Regiment de la Dordogne from 1870 and 1871. The Gallo-Roman museum Vesunna is a recent creation of the architect Jean Nouvel. Together they allow you to understand local history through archaeological collections from prehistory to the present day, The Gallo-Roman remains of the ancient city of Vésone: the remains of the Domus des Bouquets (Gallo-Roman villa) above which the architect Jean Nouvel built the Vesunna museum , The Jardin des Arènes garden is surrounded by the remains of the 2C Roman amphitheater, La Tour de Vésone remains the only vestige of a fanum dedicated to Vésone, the city’s tutelary goddess. This tower corresponds to the cella, that is to say, the sacred central part where only the priests had access. The Porte Normande or Norman gate is one of the openings of the elliptical enclosure built in the 3C. It would have played a role in the defense of the city against the Vikings who, in the 9C, went up the course of the Isle, thus giving it the name of Normande or Norman.

Perigueux aqueduct romain c2004

Perigueux jardin des Arénes c2004

Perigueux porte normandie arc romain c2004

The city has preserved many medieval and Renaissance buildings like the Château Barrière, from the 12C to the 16C, Over twenty hectares extends the preserved sector of the medieval and Renaissance city center, including rue Limogeanne, with in particular the Fayard hotel known as “Maison Estignard” and at nos. 1, 3 and 5 a group of houses from the Renaissance period. The Mataguerre tower, the last existing tower of the rampart, is accessible for visits. The houses of the Quays form an architectural ensemble made up of three adjoining houses, that is the Hôtel Salleton the Maison des Consuls and the Maison Lambert, Also on the banks of the Isle, a strange cob and timber-framed building, the eschif. Although never having served as a mill, the eschif is wrongly called the Vieux moulin (old mill) or the moulin du Chapitre (chapter mill) or even the moulin de Saint-Front (Saint Front mill), It is a lookout post that will allow from the Middle Ages the surveillance of the Tournepiche bridge.

Perigueux la maison des Consuls c2004

The Dordogne prefecture hall, built in the 19C, has a Second Empire facade; its salons are true works of art , The courthouse in neoclassical style. On the banks of the Isle, 200 meters northeast of the cathedral, the 17C Hôtel de Fayolle, The Cathedral of Saint-Front, place de la Clautre is built in the city center of Périgueux, on the tomb of Saint Front of Périgueux, the legendary evangelizer of Périgord, who gave his name to the central district of the city (“Puy-Saint-Front”) in the Middle Ages. Originally a simple church (at the beginning of the 5C), it underwent several destructions and reconstructions, to become, from 1669, the cathedral of the diocese of Périgueux, also erected as a minor basilica in 1897, and registered in the World Humanity Heritage under the routes to Santiago de Compostela in 1998 , Other churches of importance are the Church of Saint-Étienne de la Cité, place de la Cité, former cathedral of the diocese of Périgueux until 1669, became a simple parish church in 1673, Replacing an old church located a hundred meters away, the Church Saint-Georges, place Saint-Georges, in the district of the same name, was built between 1852 and 1870 , and was established as a parish in 1854, The current Saint-Martin Church, place Saint-Martin, first built entirely of wood from 1868 to 1870, was rebuilt in masonry, between 1870 and 1875, and became a parish in 1863 , The Saint-Jean-Saint-Charles Church, rue de l’Abîme, in the Toulon district, built between 1879 and 1892, was originally an annex chapel of the Saint-Martin Church, and was erected as a parish in 1907 and its bell tower was added in 1911.

Perigueux Bas Saint Front across L'Isle river c2004

Perigueux Bas Saint Front altar wood and dalles c2004

A bit of history I like really condense as it is huge

After confiscating the Duchy of Aquitaine from John the Landless and reuniting him with the crown of France, Philippe Auguste demands that the peoples and nobles of this duchy pay homage to him. Hélie V and the inhabitants of the future city of Périgueux then take an oath of loyalty to the French monarch in 1204, The Hundred Years War, Périgueux remains faithful to the kingdom of France, even when it is occupied by the English between 1360 and 1363, In May 1472, by his letters patent, King Louis XI confirms the privileges of the city, following the death of Charles, Duke of Guyenne, his brother , The religious wars are more deadly for Périgueux than was not the Hundred Years War. Périgueux was taken on August 6, 1575 by the Calvinists, The Périgord joined the crown of France in 1589, when its penultimate count, son of Jeanne d’Albret, became King of France under the name of Henri IV, while leaving the county as a prerogative to his sister Catherine de Bourbon. This one, who died in 1604, will be the last titular countess of Périgord, It was in 1669 that the cathedral seat moved from Saint-Étienne-de-la-Cité, ruined, to Saint-Front Cathedral, the former church of the abbey of the same name. Under the First Empire, the City is the seat of the prefecture.

The City of Périgueux on its history

The Grand Périgueux tourist office on Perigueux

There you go folks, another dandy spot in my belle France. This is beautiful country indeed all around, the Dordogne and Périgueux is a prime star. Again, glad to share these old pictures with you all and great for me to have the memory forever. Périgueux is a must to visit me think.

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

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