Archive for January 8th, 2023

January 8, 2023

Some streets of Nantes !

So  ,after writing so much on the monuments of the city of Nantes, need to tell you a bit about its streets all a natural architecture delight for the eyes. This is my departure city with an airport out west and friends there and so much to see , several posts in my blog. Nantes is in the department Loire-Atlantique No 44, and the region of Pays de la Loire , its a wonderful airy and open city.  

Driving you know me by now its heavens for the road warrior ,and Nantes is great if at rush hours of work time can be hectic with traffic jams. It has a boulevard periphérique or beltway just like Paris or Bordeaux, but its the second biggest with 43 kms only behind Bordeaux. This is due to the estatuaries of the Loire river which has a huge port and the traffic had to be directed around it. It has given two numbers to this road in the north it is the A844 and on the south portion is the N844, you take autoroute A811 that connects with the bigger autoroute A11 at exit/sortie 22 with the exit/sortie 42 of the linking road A811. It really is lot easier than explained as I always drive around. Plenty of parkings under and over ground, my fav is by the castle of the dukes of Bretagne or Gasclin or the train station. My best rides into the region of Pays de la Loire is to connect with the boulevard periphérique into the countryside, quick and easy. 

Nantes is very nice around the Loire river and main sights streets which has an abundance of beautiful architecture on many buildings and a pleasant walk me think. Streets such as the quai de la Fossecours Saint Pierre, and Saint André including the Castle, Cathedral area , and the district of Bouffay, the island Ile Feydeau, and the district Graslin. The district of Bouffay is the old quarters around the Cathedral that includes a wonderful Théatre around the Place Graslin; the Place Royale where the fountain represent the Loire river, the palais de la Bourse where it is now the tourist office, at the place St Pierre you will find the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul,  You cannot miss the Passage Pommeraye a commercial gallery of exquisite architecture inside.

The cours Cambronne is wonderful with about 180 meters long by 50 meters wide and many mansions. as is the cours des 50 Otages, with about 800 meters long and 65 meters wide, where you can see the wonderful Hôtel de la Pelouse and the the tour de haut pas ,what’s left of the gate or Porte Sauvetout. And do walk across the Pont Anne de Bretagne a bridge with two piers spanning the arm of the Madeleine, and arm of the Loire separating the city center of Nantes from the island of Nantes. The Anne-de-Bretagne bridge has 4 lanes entirely dedicated to vehicles as well as two bike paths and two sidewalks. There is talk of redoing it with an esplanade.

nantes cours cambronne my13

The  rue de la Barillerie around the market ,pedestrian street in the district of Bouffay. The street connects the allées Jean-Bart and Penthièvre to the Place du Change. It is joined by the rue Haute-Casserie and by the rue de la Bléterie. It is rectilinear, paved, and is part of the pedestrian area of Bouffay. It is name Barillerie because coopers have established their activity there. The Rue de la Barillerie resumes the layout of the Gallo-Roman roadway of Antiquity . See the reliefs of the Enfants Nantais at the corner with rue de la Paix.


The rue de Verdun, almost rectilinear, it connects the place de Pilori to the Place St. Pierre and is about  210 meters long, it crosses the rue de Strasbourg half way. See the half-timbered house at No 15.  The rue St Denis is a paved road, open to vehicular traffic. Rectilinear, it connects rue de Verdun to Place Dumoustier, a little west of the cathedral. It crosses  rue du Général-Leclerc-de-Hauteclocque. The  street is  cut in two after  the opening of the rue de Châteaudun,   renamed rue du General-Leclerc-de-Hauteclocque,  around 1870.The former church Saint-Denis is probably built in the 7C, and rebuilt in the 18C. It was a 20-by-18-meter on the No. 9 of the current street. The church was sold as national property during the French revolution, and converted into a dwelling and business house. The inner courtyard retains certain elements of the church such as the bedside leaning on three columns, a staircase leaning on another column, and the cellars that are ancient crypts.



The Nantes Tourist office:

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 Tourist office on Nantes:

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the walks, it is a large territory ,but we are used to walking here, you might need to adjust your timing. Nevertheless, it is wonderful to walk Nantes, city of Dukes of Bretagne today in another region but historically and sentimentally still in Bretagne.

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

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January 8, 2023

The Passage Pommeraye of Nantes !!!

We love it in Nantes , and this is one chic nice architecturally historical place to do the shopping in Nantes in or around it . Let me tell you a bit more on the passage Pommeraye of Nantes. It is a magical place taking you into times past surrounded by chic boutiques and the area outside just magical as well. For me the best part of Nantes. We have come here often with the family, see posts.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.


The passage Pommeraye is a shopping mall in the city center of Nantes, built from the end of 1840, it is put into service on July 3, 1843 drawing its peculiarity to be built on a land with a steep gradient. It extends on three levels distributed by a central staircase. If its construction resulted in the ruin of its promoter, Louis Pommeraye, the passage, considered an architectural success, remained a flourishing place of commerce. It has benefited from a renovation completed in 2015.


It connects the Rue de la Fosse to the Rue Santeuil and the Rue du Puits-d’Argent, putting a hyphen between the district of the Place du Commerce and that of the place Graslin.  It has a difference of nine meters, and is organized on three levels, around a monumental central staircase: at the lower level, the Galerie de la Fosse opening onto the rue de la Fosse.  At the intermediate level, the  Galerie Regnier a mezzanine connected on its north side to the Rue du Puits-d’Argent by a lateral gallery. On its southern side, leads to the Passage Coeur de Nantes. At the upper level, the Galerie Santeuil opens onto the rue de Santeuil.  The Pommeraye passage is a private space, closed to the public during the night by wrough iron grill doors.


A bit of history I like

In Nantes the first passage dates only from 1827: It is the passage of Orléans, still existing, of a modest length of about 20 meters, connecting the rue d’Orléans to the place Félix-Fournier.

In the first half of the 19C, the rue de la Fosse, rue Santeuil and rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau framed an islet of dilapidated buildings, which was only traversed by the Rue du Puits-d’Argent and the place du Commerce. The study of the development of a restaurant at rue Santeuil by the restaurateur Charles Guilloux, takes up the idea of building a covered passage in the neighborhood. Guilloux acquirer as of August 1837 of a portion of the building at 18, rue de La Fosse joins an ambitious notary public, Louis Pommeraye, who submits to the mayor of Nantes the idea of building a covered passage in this ignored neighborhood, according to his own terms. It is a matter of creating a new link between the business district (Bourse Palace, Place du Commerce) and the Culture District (place Graslin), and, to a lesser extent, between the Bourse palace (stock exchange) and the main post office then located on Rue Santeuil.


However, five years later, the operation was a failure linked to the economic crisis of 1848. The company is liquidated in 1849. Baron Henri Baillardel de Lareinty, principal creditor, bought the passage in 1851. In 1852 the new owner is allowed to connect the passage, by the Galerie Reignier, to Rue du Puits-d’Argent, to facilitate access to rue Crébillon via the rue Régnier, but with the arrival of the department stores in the last third of the 19C, the covered passages fall into desuetude. It was then used as student housing, the Santeuil University Residence, is installed in 1949 closing in 2008. The maintenance work now is financed by a co-ownership of some sixty members, supported by the State and the Region governments.

From the original 31 shops in operation now are opened on the Galerie de la Fosse, Galerie Réignier, Rue du Puits-d’Argent, and Galerie Santeuil , 26 shops. The most famous showing of the passage Pommeraye was shown in the cinema with the movie Lola (1961) and Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (the umbrella of Cherbourg) in 1964.


As an extension of these covered passes way there is another Passage annex called Passage Coeur-de-Nantes located southwest of the historic passage built at the site of the building of the commercial printing store, long occupied by Presse Océan, and demolished in October 2013. It officially opened its doors in 2016. The entrance is located on 10 rue Santeuil , facing the outlet on rue Rameau about 50 meters south of one of the two main entrances of the passage Pommeraye.

The Official Passage Pommeraye:

The Nantes tourist office on the Passage Pommeraye:

There you go folk ,enjoy a fascinating way to shop or window shop as you like; this is the magical Passage Pommeraye in Nantes. A must to visit in Nantes, me think. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

January 8, 2023

The Squares or Plazas of Aranjuez !!

So many nice places to see in addition to the top Palace here (see posts) I like to come back to something more urban and walkable with beautiful sights all around you. We love to walk especially once in the city anywhere, and the squares are the main attraction really. So , back in my dear Spain, and one of my favorite spot let me tell you about princely squares or plazas of Aranjuez !!

The Plaza de San Antonio, also known as the Plaza of the Mariblanca, due to the sculptural ensemble known as the source of the Mariblanca (whose real name is Venus) that decorates the north end of the square. In the square you can see the sites of the Casa de los Caballeros y Oficios ( House of Knights and Crafts), the Church of San Antonio, the Casa de Infantes (house of Infantes in line for the throne), and the garden of Isabel II. Towards 1752, the square had another source called the Fuente del Rey (fountain of the king), with an image of the King Fernando VI looking at the bridge, but in 1760 King Carlos III, ordered it removed, and two years later was placed the current fountain of Venus.  The Plaza San Antonio square was designed in the year 1750, during the reign of king Fernando VI , to serve as a connection between the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (see post) ,and the urban fabric that had been formed south of it. The arcaded gallery being the closest to the palatial enclosure. It is a half-point arch, supported on rectangular pillars carved in stone of Colmenar, which unifies and gives continuity to the facades of the Casa de los Caballeros y Oficios, two buildings emerged in different times. The one started in 1584, although its construction lasted until the 17C. The second was conceived in 1613 but was not completed until century and a half later, between 1762 and 1770.


On it you see the Church of San Antonio, (see post) whose baroque silhouette defines and gives personality to the whole. Conceived as the vanishing point of the square, it replaced the oratory that  king Felipe V had founded as reinforcement of the Chapel of the Royal Palace, too small to fully address the religious needs of the court. It was done in the year 1752. The main facade is protected by a portico of five semicircular arches and Tuscan pilasters, which gives rise, on the upper part, to a terrace, which is closed by means of a stone balustrade and a triangular pediment, at the coronation of the central arch. During the reign of Carlos III , the Church was enlarged with a rectangular nave, while the closing of the southern face of the square was undertaken, with the construction of two new arcades on both sides of its façade. This work was carried out in 1767. On the square full of porticoes only in its first stretch, in its contact with the Casa de Infantes, whereas, in the second, it opens to the garden of Isabel II. The Casa de Infantes was done in 1772, for lodging of the infants Gabriel and Antonio, sons of king Carlos III, and of their respective families; It is perfectly integrated in the square, thanks to the aforementioned gallery of arcs. The northern side faces the square lacks arcades, which facilitates a direct connection to the Parterre garden, located next to the west façade of the Royal Palace. The feeling of contact between the two areas is reinforced with the location in this part of the fountain of Venus, whose monumental base constitutes a worthy counterpoint to the Church of San Antonio. This fountain was made in 1762 .

At first, the fountain was known as the Fuente del Rey or  King’s fountain, by the statue of Fernando VI that it had installed on its upper part. With the change of the sculptural auction, it received the official denomination of Fuente de Venus, although everyone began to call it the Mariblanca, due to the color of the figure of the goddess (white). For this reason, the Plaza de San Antonio is also called the Mariblanca. The Plaza de Mariblanca known as well as Plaza de Sant Antonio (see above). The beautiful statue is the image of a Venus sculpted in white stone by the artist of the time Juan Reina, and because of the very similar thing that turned out to be with the statue of the fountain of Puerta del Sol in Madrid, was given the same name as this , since then one of the greatest symbols of this city that has seen it grow from its beginnings until today. The Fuente de  Venus. In 1830 the fountain was ornamented by a ensemble formed by lizards, snails, cupids riding on newts and three Lions, two of them with a ball between their claws and a third holding a castle. The goddess Venus , one of the twelve Olympic divinities. According to Greek mythology, it was born by joining the Sea with the foam formed by the sperm of Uranus (the sky) after Saturn cut his testicles. It’s usually depicted in a shell. Usually Venus has been associated with beauty, love and especially with sexual attraction. Her loves with Mars and Adonis highlight the attraction for physical beauty. The evolution of its cult presents many aspects, the Venus Génitrix flattering of the marriage, the Venus Pandemic which veiled by the prostitution, the Venus Pelagia protective of the sailors… In Sparta, she was venerated as a warrior goddess and in the primitive Rome she was represented the spring, guarding and protecting the fields and gardens, which reaffirms her as a perfect guardian of our orchards.


Moving along on these wonderful squares of Aranjuez we come to the Plaza de Parejas Reales. The main characteristic of the square is its enormous dimension and its semi-open form.  Its name is due to the game of couples that took place in this square and was a kind of dance on horseback in which forty-eight knights were divided into four rows headed by one of the sons of the king and parading disciplined they crossed and  re-crossed in a a kind of dance, tournament and military parade. This square is perpendicular to the Royal Palace flanked by the Casa de los Fogones (house of the kitchens) that closes on one side and limits it on the other the Casa de Caballeros y Oficios (House of Knights and Trades). It belongs to the area of warehouses and dependencies close to the Royal Palace. Its special location, near the Royal Palace and where their facades facing the Plaza de Parejas and Plaza de San Antonio stand above the rest.


The Jardines del Principe or  Prince’s garden (see post) built by the Prince of Asturias , the future Carlos IV . It houses a myriad of gardens at the entrance, like the Spanish Garden, the Plaza de Pamplona, garden pavilions, Rollercoaster, spectacular Chinese gardens, Hermit Island.


 For the benefit of those in public transports, the best way to reach here is from Madrid Puerta del Sol you can take Cercanias train C3 o C3A to Aranjuez train station, there walk about 15 minutes to the squares above. Of course, I always come here by car and get off street parking for free. 

The city of  Aranjuez tourist office on its heritage :

The Community of Madrid region on Aranjuez:

There you go folks ,another nice walkable city full of wonderful monuments , I have done other posts on the city monuments that you can search in my blog. For now, enjoy the squares or plazas of Aranjuez as I,

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

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