Archive for December 20th, 2022

December 20, 2022

A museum like no other, Orsay !!!

In back to my eternal Paris, oh well yes indeed. If someone invented the idea of a city then it definitively should have taken Paris as a model. We are at the museums, well my weak spot ! I am updating this older post that brings back nice memories to my family. The Orsay Museum or Musée d’Orsay was heard about it for years and finally my oldest son worked in the restaurant  just across at the Maison des Polytechniciens, a building purchase lands in 1640 and by 1923 becomes the house of polytechnicians as today, the restaurant is use for private functions and events. This was across the museum so why not take a peek, and voilà nice came back several times over the years.

paris mus d'orsay ind tkt ent mar13


The musée d’Orsay or Orsay museum opened in 1986!, yes not that old. It is along the Seine river on the rive gauche or left bank. As you may know, it is in the old train station of gare d’Orsay, built by Victor Laloux  between 1898 and 1900 , and change into a museum on the wish of French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.  The collections are western art from 1848 to 1914, in all its diversity of paintings, sculpture, decorated arts, graphic arts, photography, architecture ,and al. Making it one of the biggest museums in Europe !It is right on the spot of the old Orsay palace built in 1810 richly decorated that hosted in 1840 the Council of State at street level and then the Tax Court on first floor (2nd US). It burned in 1871 during the uprising of the Commune , and left in abandon state until the construction by  Victor Laloux of the gare d’Orsay, old terminus of the Compagnie du Chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans (railroad company of line Paris-Orléans), to host visitors to the Universal Exposition of 1900.


The Orsay museum has one of the most important collection of impressionist and post impressionist paintings in the world with over  1 100 portraits that we can see like the works of Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe ,and l’Olympia by Edouard Manet, une épreuve de La Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans by Degas, L’Origine du monde, Un enterrement à Ornans, L’Atelier du peintre by Courbet, Les joueurs de cartes by Cézanne and even five portraits of the series  or Série des Cathédrales de Rouen by Monet , and Bal du moulin de la Galette by Renoir; wonderful all.  Also, paintings from the Cloisonnistes, symbolistes and Nabis schools and the fame école de Barbizon scholl , and realistes naturalists, orientalists, academic and foreign schools.


This section I like a lot the decorative arts or Arts decoratifs . From 1977, there is a collection of works of arts décoratifs from the period 1848-1914  in the dining room or salle à manger Charpentier  from 1900, renovate in its own space of period room with different furniture and objects in contrast.  Showing works of arts from the ceramic, glass , jewerly and furniture productions showing the permutation of the objects link to the industrial revolution, to those of fine arts apply to industry.

There is an unique section on Photography been collected since 1970. No other fine arts museum in France has a sectioin dedicated to photography that I know of ; it was just thought to have it here. The works are by many including Hippolyte Bayard, Édouard Baldus, Christian Bérard, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, Félix Nadar, Nicéphore Niépce, and Constant Alexandre Famin.

The museum today falls adminitravely  as public entity since 2004. The musée de l’Orangerie was added in 2010; and the new name is that of the Établissement public du musée d’Orsay et du musée de l’Orangerie-Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (aka EPMO ). The webpage for both museums

paris mus d'orsay across seine mar13

Since 2009 ,the musée d’Orsay has signed partnership deals with other museums to allow for sharing of collections and scientific support. These are the Musée des impressionnismes Giverny ;Musée Bonnard ;Musée Courbet ; and the Musée de Pont-Aven. The Orsay museum is reach in Paris by the RER C gare du Musée d’Orsay below the museum , and the metro Solférino, line 12.Also RATP bus line 68 stop/arrêt Henry de Montherlant; line 69 Musée d’Orsay, and line 87 stop Henry de Montherlant.

The official Orsay museum:

The Friends of the Orsay museum (not a member of this one but worth it) :

If you want to order from the library boutique of the Orsay museum

There you go folks, a must while in Paris. This is the wonderful Musée d’Orsay or Orsay museum. It will take more than a post to tell you all about it but hope this introduction will entice you come to see it. 

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

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December 20, 2022

The streets of Saint Malo !!!

There I go again on not my road warrior mode but my devilish walking pace in pretty Saint Malo, in the Ille et Vilaine dept 35 of my lovely Bretagne, As we go visiting these wonderful towns , we tend to look for the big monument ; however what takes me there is , also, the architecture, the history, and the ambiance of the place. Cities are all made of the three and without it there is no soul me think. I always make a point to walk the cities and towns I visit, even if it takes me a couple trips. You get the idea, go walk and see it all before your eyes. This is another post about the streets of Saint Malo !!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Place aux marché des Légumes or vegetable market square is one of the most beautiful squares in the old town of Saint-Malo, surrounded by granite, slate-roofed buildings The market here is done Monday to Thursday and Friday to Sunday, Summer market (jewellery, crafts), The first market washeld here by 1901 with a style of iron hall, The market and houses around it were in ruins after the bombings of 1944 during WWII, The new Place aux Marché des Légumes was rebuilt in 1949,It was very much downsided in the 1990’s but still a place to be in the old town of Saint Malo !

Saint Malo place du marche aux legumes aug12

The rue de la Corne de Cerf is another old street in the old town of Saint Malo, Nice architecture,history and even greater walks, This is one of the few preserved areas of the City to have been spared the bombing of WWII, Look up at 7 rue de la Corne de Cerf ,where currently houses the Hôtel Anne de Bretagne which at the same time can be no. 11 rue Saint-Thomas, forming the corner with no. 7 rue de la Corne de Cerf. It consists of two bodies of buildings joined together, The house at no 18 Rue de la Corne de Cerf was part of the original enclosure. It is one of two remaining wooden-fronted houses in the town. A corner niche has a shell at the top and a base ending in a human head. You can several bullet holes from the WWII conflict still visible on the facade, a sign that there was caught up in the fighting, but the whole thing was fortunately spared. It therefore still appears today in its original appearance, and its various architectural characteristics allow it to be dated to the 17C.

Saint Malo rue de la Corne de Cerf aug12

The Saint Malo tourist office :

The city of Saint Malo:

There you go folks, hope you take the bite and do walk the Intra Muros or enclosed city of Saint Malo. Lovely place, full of wonderful architecture and history and good chow! Walking its streets is sublime !!

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

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December 20, 2022

Rouen : Jeanne d’Arc , and France !!!

I have written plenty on my belle France in my blog, many places, Once in a while , I write about a figure of French history that has attracted me even more to the République Française or the Royaume de France, The fact is the world’s most visited country according to the official UN WTO leaves no arguments, I have come several times to Rouen, each time more enriching than the last, and one huge figure of it is Jeanne d’Arc or Joan of Arc. I like to tell you a bit about this most French figure in my black and white series,no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I,

Rouen is a city cross by the Seine river in the department 76 of Seine-Maritime in the region of Normandie. Rouen is the administrative Capital or prefecture of the region, now part of the  metropole Rouen-Normandie ,6th in size in France and 2nd on the west. The governmental metropole Rouen-Normandie webpage:

The city of Rouen was between 911 and 1204, the capital of the duchy of Normandy and for many years always in dispute between the French and the English especially during the War of 100 years. It was on its soil that Jeanne d’ Arc  was imprisoned , judge, and burned at the stake on May 30 , 1431. She is now a patron Saint of France, doctor of the Catholic Church. The city was heavily bombarded during WWII in 1944 and revive later thanks to its wonderful harbor 5th port in France. The Seine river covers 179 hectares of the city area.  In 949, the Duke of Normandy, Richard I known as the Fearless wins a decisive battle over a coalition of forces which included the king of France, Louis IV , Emperor Othon the Great and the Count of Flandres. A plaque commemorating this victory is at the Place de la Rougemare.  The work (invasion and conquest of England) by William the Conqueror Duke of Normandy allows the region to be the most powerful in Europe. It is at Rouen that William the Conqueror died in 1087. It is after the burning of Jeanne d’Arc by the instigation of the Duke of Bedford and the Burgundian party majority in the city; same year a young Henri IV is crowned king of France and England in Paris before coming to Rouen where he is acclaimed by the people.  The king Henri IV takes the city of Rouen in  1449, 18 years after the death of Jeanne d’Arc and 30 years after the English occupation.

Joan of Arc, known as “the Maid”, born around 1412 in Domrémy, a village in the duchy of Barn, Lorraine (currently in the department of Vosges 88 region of Grand Est), and died at the stake on May 30, 1431 in Rouen, capital of the Duchy of Normandy (currently the Seine Maritime 76 department of the Normandie region) then an English possession, is a heroine of the history of France, warlord and saint of the Catholic Church, posthumously nicknamed “the Maid of Orleans”.

On April 27, 1429, Joan of Arc was sent by the king to Orléans, not at the head of an army, but with a supply convoy that ran along the Loire on the left bank. Arriving in Orléans on April 29, she brought supplies and was enthusiastically welcomed by the population, but the war captains were reserved. With her faith, her confidence and her enthusiasm, she manages to breathe new energy into the desperate French soldiers and to compel the English to raise the siege of the city on the night of May 7-8, 1429. Because of this victory (again celebrated in Orléans during the “Johannic Festivals”, every year from April 29 to May 8), she is nicknamed the “Maid of Orléans”, an expression appearing for the first time in 1555 in the book Le Fort inexpugnable de l’honneur du sexe féminin by François de Billon, something like The Impregnable Stronghold of Female Honor.

Captured by the Burgundians at Compiègne in 1430, it was sold to the English by Jean de Luxembourg, Count of Ligny, for the sum of ten thousand pounds. She was condemned to be burned alive in 1431 after a trial for heresy led by Pierre Cauchon, bishop of Beauvais and former rector of the University of Paris. Tainted by numerous irregularities, this trial saw its revision ordered by Pope Calixte III in 1455. A second trial was held which concluded, in 1456, that Joan was innocent and completely rehabilitated her. Thanks to these two trials, the minutes of which have been preserved, she is one of the best known personalities of the Middle Ages. Beatified in 1909 then canonized in 1920, Joan of Arc became one of the two secondary patron saints of France in 1922, Her national holiday was instituted by law in 1920 and fixed for the 2nd Sunday in May.

During the French revolution, in 1792 on the last days of the monarchy, several members loyal to the king are united in  Rouen and put in place all the necessary preparation for host the King and fight back. However, the always indecisive Louis XVI decides to stayed in Paris; this stopping all possibilities of an uprising to reverse the revolutionary process. Therefore, Rouen was the last chance for the monarchy to win back the monarchy of Louis XVI. Symbolize by a statue done by Jean-Pierre Cortot, erected in 1838, makes Rouen one of the 8 cities represented in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. During the war of 1870, Rouen is occupied by the Prussians  with 16 battalions and 16 squadrons under General Ferdinand von Bentheim. During the Great War or WWI, Rouen served as a base for the British army, The city welcome many Belgians escaping from the Nazis, and the city turns out to help them out with donations, the city hall of Rouen decided to change the name of the bd Cauchoise to bd des Belges (or blvd of Belgians) to honor them.  Rouen was again occupied by the Nazis in WWII on June 1940 and suffered greatly the bombardments and fires practically destroying the whole of the old town between the Cathedral and the Seine river ; and on August 2 1944 the general mobilization for the war is call for in the city., On August 30 1944 the Nazis retreat and the city is finally liberated by the Canadians.

The place du Vieux-Marché, has now a huge market ,there you see the Cross at the spot of the burning, and the Church of Jeanne d’Arc  built at the same spot of the martyrdom May 30 1431.  The tower of  Jeanne d’Arc that was part of the old Castle of Rouen built in 1204 by king Philippe Auguste on the ruins of a Gallo-Roman amphitheater of Rotomagus; it is on this castle that Jeanne d’Arc was imprisons and where the charges against her were given.

Some of the interesting thing of Rouen is that as well as been name a City of Arts and History of France; Stendhal called it The Athens of the Gothic style.  I have several posts on what can you see in Rouen so will skip repetition here , just see posts,

The City of Rouen on its heritage :

The Rouen tourist office on its heritage :

The Seine Maritime dept 76 tourist office on Rouen:

There you go, I think I pay my respects to Rouen, a wonderful town, history, architecture and good food as the Norman hole or the trou Normand ::) , The history of Jeanne d’Arc is always fascinated and inspiring these days too. Glad have her on my blog, and again ,hope you have enjoy the post as I

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

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