Archive for March 12th, 2023

March 12, 2023

The Napoléon I Museum of Fontainebleau, part II

I have mentioned in my previous posts , not my favorite museum, but need to see it at least once for the history of it. And of course, visiting the beautiful,historical, architecturally stunning Château de Fontainebleau  in my nostalgic dept 77 Seine-et-Marne in the Île de France region is a must. Again written many posts on it and a very attaching castle for me and my family but feel need to tell you more about the goodies inside. I like to update this older post on a museum of a controversial figure in history; the Napoléon I Museum.

fontainebleau mus napoleon I portrait jun15

After much debate, this museum was opened in 1986, and built on two levels at the same princely apartments located in the Louis XV wing. A museum entirely devoted to Napoléon Bonaparte was thus created in Fontainebleau, its aim being to present a view of the self name emperor and his family. It was set up in the part of the château which had been restored by Napoleon I in 1810 and which before that restoration (from 1803 to 1808) had been the headquarters of the the special military academy, later known as Saint-Cyr.  (see post).

fontainebleau mus imperial eagle of napoleon I jun15

fontainebleau mus armor of napoleon I jun15

The collections came largely from the succession of the Imperial Family, Prince Napoleon, descendant of Jérôme de Westphalie, (still heir as Napoléon V, and glad to tell met Princess Napoléon his wife), younger brother and last heir of Napoleon 1st allow the evocation of Napoleon, Emperor between 1804 and 1815, of his family and in particular of his brothers, sovereigns in Europe. The gathering of an important gallery of portraits introduces to the route which successively presents the coronation, the splendours of the imperial table, the siblings and the diplomatic gifts, a campaign tent, the daily life of an emperor-soldier, the empress Marie-Louise then the heir, the King of Rome, The only throne room still visible in France, the Salle du Trône, the throne of Napoleon I, from the Tuileries Palace (now gone -see post). The rest of the elements (canopy, signs, platform) from the Palace of Saint-Cloud, (now gone) sent to Fontainebleau in 1808.

fontainebleau mus uniforms of napoleon I jun15

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the museum of Napoléon: http://:

The official Château de Fontainebleau on Napoléon

The official Napoléon’s family imperial site on Napoléon I

There you go folks, always wonderful nostalgic , words cannot describe my coming to Fontainebleau . The castle is very nice and show the history of France and the Bonaparte’s family of France, and Europe. An educational as well as historical take back in time at the Napoleon I Museum of Fontainebleau. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

I like to have two postcrips here for the history amateur in me and for the sake of roundup the post on the museum of Napoléon I of Fontainebleau.

ps1 : In 1803, ten years after its creation, the Louvre Museum was renamed the Napoleon Museum. It remains until 1814, the most prestigious museum in the world by the extent and the quality of its collections constituted, in addition to the former royal collections and the goods seized from the Church and from emigrants, by the war prizes carried out in Belgium. , Italy, Prussia and Austria. In 1815, when the Empire fell, nearly 5,000 works were returned to their countries. It was the National Convention that offered this solution to the vanquished in 1794 to pay their war indemnities. Having become First Consul then Emperor, Napoleon multiplied the artistic requisitions throughout Europe and ordered works at the Louvre in order to welcome and present these treasures with dignity The Louvre Museum has many works purchased or commissioned under the Consulate and the Empire . I will cite here only the most prestigious paintings (me think) of the French school devoted to the Napoleonic epic: The Plague Victims of Jaffa and Napoleon on the Battlefield of Eylau by Gros, The Empress Joséphine at Malmaison by Prud’hon, Le Sacre by David, The Chasseur Officer of the Charging Guard and The Wounded Cuirassier by Géricault.

ps2 : I came as a boy with my parents many many years ago always remembered even if not seen again in 52 years!! The Museo Napoleonico of La Habana (Havana), The Museo Napoleónico (Napoleon Museum) is housed in a building that was originally used as the home of Orestes Ferrera, one of the authors of the collection that is exhibited in the museum today. The house is inspired by the style of the Florentine Renaissance palaces of the 16C and was built in the decade of 1920, The house, located in calle San Miguel n°1 159 esq. Ronda, the Vedado district of Havana, was built of Italian marble, wrought iron and wood of first quality. This museum houses a large collection of nearly 7,000 personal items, weapons and works of art of Napoleon Bonaparte which were collected by Julio Lobo, the Cuban sugar magnate, and Orestes Ferrera, politician. From the collection we can notice the sketches of Voltaire, the paintings of the Battle of Waterloo, a mask from the collection of death masks made in bronze, which was made two days after his death by his personal doctor; the pistols that Napoleon carried at the Battle of Borondino, and the furniture that can be seen in Napoleon’s study room and bedroom. it is one of the most important museums in the world, To add his personal doctor Antonmarchi Born in Corsica died in Santiago de Cuba in 1838;today remains rest at the cemetery necropolis of Santa Ifigenia, Santiago de Cuba, The Napoleon family foundation on the museum: 

March 12, 2023

Aux Vignobles, wine fair in Vannes !!!

Once again, is that time of the year in end winter just waiting for spring that we come to Vannes for our favorite wine fair, and to see old friends of the wine world, This is awesome, recommended to all and hope you can see it one of these days, I like to again tell you about the Aux Vignobles, wine fair of Vannes !!! Hope you enjoy the post as i.

Vannes salon des vins parc du golfe expo mar23

One of the highlights of living in my beautiful Morbihan is that gastronomy and wines are tops, whether locally or folks coming in , we are serve the best of France, And that is saying a lot me think, We have jump on the wagon sort of speaking early on in our stay here,and participated in these events, One we go every year since 2014 is the now call Aux Vignobles or its former names over the years, Let me tell you again about my experiences yesterday Saturday March11 , 2023 in the Chorus expo center.

Vannes salon des vins entr and out mar23

Aux Vignobles was held from 10 to 13 ,and we were there on Saturday March 11th at the Chorus Parc des Expositions de Vannes in the Parc du Golfe. General admission 5€! (we get invited by the merchants so free admission) ,  We were ready with our wheel baggy and carry a load of wines, and cold cuts and foie gras and cheeses the works, This is great and already a tradition for us to be here. This year there were 135 participating businesses but we narrow it down to three and spent quite a bit of time talking to them all as well tastings their products, then buying it and got some freebees as well !

This year’s properties were :

Château Fontbaude, wines of Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux, Bordeaux at stand F21

Vannes salon des vins chateau fontbaude vins mar23

Foie Gras AGERRIA , Duck foie gras, pâtés, confits, preserves, Basque ready meals at stand E14

Vannes salon des vins Agarria pates basques mar23

Maison Gastellou, Salted meats, products and cakes from the Basque Country at stand C7.

Vannes salon des vins maison Gastellou charcuteries mar23

Vannes salon des vins Maison Gastellou cheeses brebis mar23

Vignoble La Rodaie, Cosseau-Boireau , Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil (Loire Valley) at stand E18

Vannes salon des vins Cousseau Boireau SN Bourgueil wines mar23

Vannes salon des vins Cousseau Boireau SN Bourgueil wines owner mar23

These were repeated visits each year and were chosen this year for their price/quality ratio and friendly welcome of always, The Vignoble la Rodaie are by now friends that come to stay in their second home near me and we go to theirs , The owners are on the pictures. tops ! The Maison Gastellou we have gone to their main store in Saint Jean de Luz and see the post on that, very friendly folks and free googies always as well.

You have the real France here nothing industrial, supermarket type but the real deal straight from the farms and the artisans who produces the marvelous things we all came to know France for and still is. You have them here from different regions all defending their land and product. We later came to visit many of them on site and the history continues…

The official Aux Vignoble event site

The official Le Chorus Expo Center at the Parc du Golfe of Vannes on the event:

There you go folks, my world, and you are welcome, This was another wonderful experience in my capital City of Vannes and the by now great Aux Vignobles wine fair. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

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

March 12, 2023

The Basilica Notre Dame de Brebières of Albert !!!

Here I am again in the north of my belle France, the real thing, and wonderful things to see around here, close to family territory.  I have done posts on the region briefs and have come back with more on their main things to see me think. I like to update this older post with new text and links and take you to the Basilica of Notre Dame de Brébiéres of Albert. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

albert bas notre dame de brebieres front apr07

The wonderful Basilica of Notre Dame de Brébiéres was built from 1885 to 1895 in neo byzantine style, and connects to the museum of  Somme 1916.(see post). It was one of the high places of Marian worship in Picardy since the 11-12C. At the end of the 19C, the pilgrimage experienced a revival of fervor with all of Marian devotion. In 1895, at the time of its new inauguration, Pope Leo XIII conferred the honorary title of Minor Basilica on the new church. He specified in his papal bull his ambition for the basilica: “Albert would have to become the Lourdes of the North”. The bell tower-porch, 76 meters high, was surmounted by a dome carrying a golden statue of the Virgin which culminates in 82 meters. Albert’s basilica was completely destroyed during WWI ( Great War) . Just on the south side of the basilica is the entrance to the Somme 1916 Museum. As part of the ceremonies commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, American singer Barbara Hendricks gave a Peace Concert accompanied by the Orchestra de Picardie, on Friday July 1, 2016 at 22h at the Basilica Notre Dame of Brébiéres in Albert.

albert bas notre dame de brebieres virgin on top apr07

A bit on the construction which is unique me think

The main facade is formed by a porch with three gates located under the bell tower. The floor and the facade are decorated with mosaics. The bell tower-porch rises to 76 meters. Its upper part is made up of a dome carrying a virgin covered with 40,000 gold sheets, six meters high presenting the Child Jesus: the child’s arms form a cross. An outdoor gallery located sixty meters above the ground allows you to go around the bell tower and offers a remarkable view of the city and its surroundings. The layout of the basilica recalls that of the first Christian basilicas with a large apse formed by an elevated chapel and framed by two apsidioles leaning on both sides on the transept also finished in the north and in the south by two apsidioles . The transept crossing is surmounted by a small quadrangular lantern tower. A five-span nave flanked by two side aisles extends the basilica. Each of the spans communicates with the collaterals which open on each side into five chapels. A decorated frame and a coffered ceiling replace the traditional vaults. The length of the basilica is 70 meters, its width is 35 meters at the transept. The ceiling height is 23 meters. The tribune organ inaugurated in 1901; the organs were completely destroyed. They were replaced, in 1958. The Choir organ was installed in the basilica at the same time as the tribune organ.

albert bas notre dame de brebieres nave apr07

And the event that the world remembers, and me too. Here is the story.

On October 22, 1914, a first shell hit the Basilica Notre Dame de Brébiéres.  Unintentionally perhaps, because from a strategic point of view the Basilica offers the enemy a landmark for the regulation of artillery fire that destroys industry, the railway and improvised hospitals in schools and boarding schools. Three other shells still hit the Basilica across the bell tower right through without causing irreparable damage. Two others crush the central skylight, the debris of which crashes on the high altar. A quarter of the roof was destroyed. On January 7, 1915, a shell burst the dome and the vaults collapsed. Having achieved its objectives, the enemy then targets the Basilica. On January 14 and 15, 1915 about 43 shells fell on the basilica !!!.

On January 15, 1915 in the afternoon, around 15h the dome shatters, and shortly after the bronze statue of the Virgin and Child Jesus, 7 meters high, surmounting the bell tower of the Basilica of Notre Dame de Brebières , bows. Later in the evening, under the effect of the storm, it positioned itself horizontally. The frame yields without completely breaking. The Virgin finds herself suspended above the void, directed towards the south. Seeing this leaning Virgin, the soldiers imagine a legend: “When the Virgin falls, the war will end”. On March 26, 1918, Albert fell back into German hands. What remains of the bell tower of the Basilica becomes an observation post for the occupier, which must be destroyed to take back the city. On April 16, 1918, around 15h30, on the third attempt, the British artillery hit the steeple and the Virgin collapsed. We are in 1918 the Virgin felled and the same year the war ended. The legend is “respected”. Indeed wonderful story !!!

The City of Albert on its heritage :

The local Pays de Coquelicot tourist office on the basilica :

The Somme dept 80 tourist office on the basilica :

There is an ongoing campaign by the Stephane Bern org to restore the lectern, The lectern dates from 1723 and was donated to the Basilica by Madame Hecquet. It is an eagle lectern resting on a polychrome wooden support. Its tripod base is composed of three lyres, it ends in lion’s paws. The cherubs of the support are reported. The lectern bears an engraved inscription: “Executed by Ve Vanier et fils avril 1713”. The campaign just started, The Heritage Foundation on it :

There you go folks, another gem ,this time in the north or Hauts de France, old Picardie region. Albert has a lot of punch and thanks to the Basilica Notre Dame de Brébiéres. Again, hope you enjoy the post and do come to visit it, its another must around this region.

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

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