Archive for ‘Bretagne’

February 19, 2020

Sea, ports, monuments, all Vannes!!!

Ok so of course, I need to write again about Vannes. If you have read my blog you know that I have done a load of posts on the city, and for good reasons. It is the capital of my department 56 Morbihan in my lovely Bretagne. And you ,also, should have read that Vannes is Gwened in the Breton language; that Bretagne/Brittany is Breizh and that the Morbihan is the only department (state/province etc) of France which the  name is not French ; it is Breton as Mor=sea bihan=small or should be Petite Mer but no way it is Morbihan here.

vannes

You, also, would have read I work here and live not far at about 35 km or 22 miles. Ok now for the new stuff lol!! The city of Vannes is a port, a pleasure marina and the out ins of the Gulf of Morbihan;one of the world’s best bays and beautiful I must add. So let me tell you a bit on the sea, ports, and even monuments side of the water in Vannes.

vannes

We had the old bridge that took us from Vannes to Séné easy and now we have the tunnel ,easier! The Pont de Kérino is a swing bridge crossing the channel of the port of Vannes downstream of a lock gate. The city of Vannes decided to replace it with a tunnel; the Tunnel de Kérino. The bridge was inaugurated in 1988 to allows the passage of road traffic from one bank to the other and constitutes the only east-west link of the southern part of the city of Vannes.

vannes

The Tunnel de Kerino or Kérino underpass is an underwater road, cycling and pedestrian tunnel This structure, intended to cross the Marle river, is located at the mouth of the channel connecting the town’s marina to the Gulf of Morbihan. It is intended to smooth the road traffic between the two banks of the Marle to the south and to relieve the Place Gambetta located at the north end of the channel, junction between the marina at Le Port , and the historic center. The tunnel of Kérino was opened to motor vehicles on June 24, 2016. On July 26, 2016, the tunnel is open to pedestrians and cyclists. The tunnel is dug a few meters downstream from the current Kérino bridge. It has a length of 250 meters and has two passages separated by a partition, one for motor traffic in both directions, the other for gentle travel modes (cycle track and sidewalk).

vannes

The Calvary of Kerino is a religious monument of granite and kersantite erected at the entrance to the port of Vannes It is located on the Butte de Kérino or hill, an elevation of the left bank of the channel of the marina, 150 meters upstream from the Pont de Kérino. The monument looks like a cross calvary, erected on a rectangular base, the central part of which represents an altar. On the cross, on either side of the square barrel, are the statues of Saint Patern and Saint Vincent Ferrier, the Patron Saints of the city of Vannes. The center of the cross features the coat of arms of Vannes. The cross that crowns the barrel is decorated with a Christ on the Cross at the front, and a Virgin and Child at the back. The monument is 6.25 meters high. The Calvary of Kerino was inaugurated on December 7, 1913. It was the subject of important pilgrimages in favor of peace and the return of prisoners during WWI or the Great War.

vannes

vannes

The port of Vannes is a commercial port, a passenger port and a marina located north of the Gulf of Morbihan along a 1,200 meters channel in a south-north direction, which leads the boats from the commercial port of Pont-Vert in the floating basin, at the foot of the Porte de Saint-Vincent gate, gateway to the old town section of Vannes.

vannes

 

The attested presence of a port in its current location dates back to the end of the 14C although research has demonstrated the existence of a port from the 1C AD at the foot of the first city during the Roman occupation: Darioritum, civitas of the Vénètes; now Vannes or Gwened (Breton).

 The current look of the port of Vannes and its district dates from the end of the 2000s when new equipment and renovations were done with the set up of a harbor office, cultural kiosk, tourist office, underground parking; and the beautification of the place with the creation of an esplanade on the right bank and the planting of paths of trees along the two banks.

 The Commercial Port is located just upstream of the Pont de Kérino swing bridge, infrastructure that allows vehicles to reach the east of the city towards the commercial innovation park of Bretagne Sud and the city of Séné in order to relieve traffic in the center. The quays of the commercial port welcome the goods which arrive in Vannes after having crossed the Gulf of Morbihan. Due to a complex topography, a weak tidal range and the presence of strong currents in the Gulf, it It is difficult for large ships to venture to a town like Vannes, located more than 15 km from the Atlantic coast.

At the exit of the marina, the Parc du Golfe is the starting point for boat cruises trips. At Place Gambetta, a hemispherical square, marks the end of the port of Vannes and puts it in contact with the historic center by the Porte Saint-Vincent gate. Located on the right bank of the port, the promenade de la Rabine is made up of a long avenue of trees which stretches for almost 800 meters between the port esplanade to the north and the quays of the commercial port to the south.

vannes

vannes

Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your visit here

City of Vannes on the Pont de Kérino

Ports of call on the port of Vannes

City of Vannes on cruise tours and boat crossing in English

Tourist office of the Golfe du Morbihan on boat cruising in French

The Chapelle de la Manoir de Larmor is on the edge of Avenue René de Kerviler just coming out of the Tunnel de Kérino direction Séné. This half-cut chapel dates from the 16C and, long abandoned, was recently restored. It occupies a corner of the manor of Larmor whose enclosure of the domain is fully walled. The stone pinnacle dates from the 17C. The chapel has 2 entries. One access by the gable under the pinnacle from the manor and a lateral access for the neighbors, used even during the French revolution. At the back, we can see the stele to Gérard Verdeau , founder of the Association Breiz Santel which aims to save and protect the religious heritage of Bretagne or Breizh.

vannes

We walked all of the above so its very easy… and you get to see these monuments and views that are just awesome. Hope you have enjoy the post and maybe see you around Vannes someday!! The sea is all around us here one way or the other and we like it

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

 

 

 

 

February 19, 2020

Sainte-Anne d’Auray!!!

It has been a while not written in my blog about the city of Sainte-Anne d’Auray been only about 17 km from our house and passing by it many times in the week, it surprise me but then again here the reason to be is one thing. And its huge! if you know the history of Bretagne.

I can only put the name of the town on the title because it is everything here. I like to tell you a bit more, mostly new pictures on the Basilica Sainte Anne. I am a non-practicing Catholic and been around here always move me and give me strentgh to go on in life. Best wishes to all.

sainte anne d'auray

Since I have written so much on it in the my past posts, let me give some glimpses of what this is. It is the third most visited pèlerinage in France after Lourdes, and St Thérese de Lisieux with sometimes almost 500K persons in this small town, huge.

What you must see here are the Basilica and its Cloister, but also the Scala Santa (holy stair), the miraculous fountain, the Memorial to the fallen Bretons, the stele of the sailors, the statue of Saint Anne and Mary (daughter and mother); and the message park upon the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1996 with the message , “transmitting the faith”.

sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

A few meters from the Basilica you can visit the house of Yvon and Guillemette Nicolazic. Yvon was the farmer who found a figure doll of a Virgin in the fields and who heard telling him to built the temple.

This is Sainte Anne that which the Bretons consider as their grandmother is sometimes confidential or protective. It dries tears and comforts without judging or betraying. In the basilica, opposite the ermine-shaped reliquary containing bones of Sainte Anne offered by king Louis XIII in thanks for the birth of Louis Dieudonné, future Louis XIV, we pray to the grandmother of Jesus in the hope of founding a family.

Some of the highlight dates to keep in mind when visiting are.

Beginning of May: Pilgrimage of Singles. June: Pilgrimage of mother’s. July: Pilgrimage of father’s of families. July 25-26: Grand Pardon of Sainte Anne. This is huge event overflowing the little town. End of July – Beginning of August: Festival of Families; August 15 – Feast of the Assumption. September: Pilgrimage of Couples wanting children. December: Christmas holidays with a living nativity scene.

Some webpages as usual from me to help you plan your trip here and even if not a believer the festivities and the architectural historical complex is huge, so me think is a must to come to Sainte Anne d’Auray.

Official Sanctuary of Sainte Anne in English

Official Sanctuary cities on Sainte Anne d’Auray in French

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

 

February 18, 2020

Le Guerno and its marvels!

And I stay in my Morbihan Breton dept 56 of the region of Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh. There is so much off the beaten path here as many come for the popular spots but France can be written another volume of a movable feast!

In my road warrior trips in my area , about 50 minutes from home, let me take you this time to a new town for us, Le Guerno. Right up the beaches of the Rhuys peninsula but in another world altogether.

Let me give you a brief description as old towns do here

The Le Guerno originally was a truce for the parish of Noyal-Muzillac, Le Guerno became a town in 1790 during the French revolution and an autonomous parish in 1802 after the Concordat. The Order of Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem founded a chaplaincy here, mentioned in a charter in 1160 under the name of “Eleemosina de Guernou”, as well as a chapel which shelters a fragment of the True Cross. This chaplaincy, which possessed fief and right of justice, is joined thereafter to the commandery of Carentoir.

The city of Le Guerno has nfo on its monuments in French here: City of Le Guerno on its heritage in French

I like to tell you briefly on what is there to see me thinking that we saw and like on our trip here

The Church of Notre Dame de la Vrai Croix or Our Lady of the True Cross , founded in the 12C by the order of the Hospitallers of Saint-Jean-de-Jerusalem. It is then dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. In 1312, after the suppression of the order, the chapel takes the name of the Temple of Guernou, because of its attachment to the commandery of Carentoir.  From the 12C Chapel, only the foundations and stones used in the construction of the current church, dating from the 15C and 16C, remain.

le guerno

le guerno

The tower was erected in 1580 and renovated in 1706. Its conical roof earned it to be called pepper tower. In a chapel built in 1682, called from the Tomb, was the Christ Lying, today in the north transept. The sacristy was built in 1920. The nave, covered with a structured vault, with wood dated 1580.

le guerno

le guerno

The balustrade abundantly decorated. The baptismal font is located under the rostrum. The Choir semicircular apse, quite unusual in the 15C. In masonry, terracotta pots and vases for acoustics, openings facing the choir. 16C stained glass, restored in 1975. It has an amazing exterior pulpit c. 1575, granite stelae, an altar in the open air, which comes from the altar of a Roman temple, which was in Branféré and which was razed by the Templars, a Calvary which surmounts the altar and which is formed of a granite monolith 5 meters high, two beautiful tombstones, from the old cemetery of the town, moved in 1946.

le guerno

le guerno

There is also nice fountains such as

The Sainte-Anne fountain c.1784. It would have been built on a very old place of worship. It is a small quadrangular building, which opens to the South and East by arched and molded arches. The northern wall shelters a niche in which is a statuette of Saint Anne. The whole is surmounted by a stone canopy, supported by four columns and crowned with a cross.

le guerno

The Sainte-Marie fountain c. 1787, is located at rue du Pont-Vivier, in Branféré . Just over the city limits and as we saw the panel followed !. It is a small quadrangular building, which opens on three sides. One of the walls houses a niche. The whole is crowned by a curved dome carrying at its top a stone cross

le guerno

And a picturesque nice washhouse.

The Lavoir or washhouse c. 18C, located not far from the Sainte-Anne fountain. it is in the form of a large jacketed stone basin. You can always observe the demarcated locations of the washerwomen.

le guerno

The one decent tourist info in English is on the local tourist office of Damgan-La Roche BernardTourist office of Damgan-LA Roche Bernard on Le Guerno in English

And there you go folks , a new visited town of Le Gourno for us another dot in our world map and counting heck no way too many already!!! This is one of those places you can make a architecturally and historical stop on your way back the beaches of the Rhuys Peninsula just south of here. Hope you enjoy the post of a real off the beaten path area

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

 

 

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February 18, 2020

A revisit to Noyal Muzillac!

So here I am again on the road warrior routine in my lovely Morbihan dept 56 of my beautiful Bretagne and my belle France! There is never a dull moment when you have so much to see around you and the Hexagone…

This time is a quick trip as we have been here before but went a bit more to a new place (more later). I have written on Noyal-Muzillac before and on its main monuments this time I like to tell you about a unique Chapelle de Benqué.

The town of Noyal-Muzillac is  also part of the 12 towns of the Arc Sud Bretagne intermunicipal association and the district of Vannes. About 50 minutes from my house.

A bit of history I like repeat is that after the fall of the Roman Empire, during Breton migrations, the first parishes appeared. It was probably at this time that the parish was born with patron Saint Martin de Tours. The feudal period will see many lords settle on the land.

The French revolutionary period will soon lead the local Noyalais to support the White party and more particularly the Chouannerie.(those fighting against the French republic)

In 1802 was born in Noyal-Muzillac Julien Daniélo, literary man who became known in the Parisian literary circles. He will be the last secretary of François-René de Chateaubriand . Julien Daniélo died in Paris in 1869.

And now the feature presentation….for this post of Noyal-Muzillac.

The Chapelle de Benguë was designated in the 18C as Notre-Dame-de-la-Bénédiction. This rectangular chapel is decorated with a three-part sacristy attached to the south and dated 1768. In 1793, the chapel was burnt down by the republican Le Batteux during a punitive expedition against acts of chouannerie. The chapel preserves an altarpiece in white stone characteristic of the 18C.

noyal muzillac

It is a simple chapel in city center and not far from the main church which have written before on it in my blog so spare the repetition. The town of Noyal-Muzillac is very Breton and has been designated as countryside heritage of Brittany/Bretagne. Lots of nice Renaissance homes here with beautiful architecture of course.

noyal muzillac

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Noyal Muzillac on Religious heritage in French

Tourist office of Damgan, la Roche Bernard on Noyal Muzillac

This will be a nice side off the beaten path trip from when coming back from the beaches just south in the Rhuys peninsula. Hope you enjoy the post

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

 

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February 16, 2020

Ramparts of Guérande!

And I come back to a very familiar town, there is plenty written in my blog on it but feel the part of the ramparts are not; this is Guérande. I did came here a lot to visit collegues and get some Clisson wine , however, do not know now as my best friend left France for work to Canada.

I like to tell you a bit more on the ramparts of Guérande! Awesome!! a must to visit!!!

The ramparts are fortifications that surround the medieval city of Guérande, in the Loire-Atlantique department 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. The medieval city of Guérande is one of the few to have preserved its ramparts in their entirety. It is also one of the best-preserved in France. It has been little altered since its main construction phase in the 15C and very little restored in the 19C. It currently includes 10 towers, 4 doors, two of which are flanked by towers, and a postern which opened in the 19C, connected by a curtain, over a length of 1.434 meters.

Guerande

The gates or portes are :

Porte Saint-Michel , the Châtelet reported around 1350, refurbished around 1440-1450, the cover was put in place in the 17C. Restored in the 19C. The Châtelet includes a Museum of the Friends of Guérande, founded in 1928, which brings together an interesting collection of headdresses and traditional costumes from the peninsula, as well as archaeological collections and the Treasury of the Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin de Guérande. This gate dominates the Place du Marché au Bois square.

 Guerande

Porte Vannetaise (you got it we come thru here from Vannes!): 13C. It is one of the oldest elements of the enclosure, it is of “Philippian” style. Some authors put forward the hypothesis that this gate was one of the elements of the Castle, or fortified Logis serving as a residence for the Dukes of Brittany, others, that it was linked to the residence of the bishop of Nantes called the bishopric.

Guerande

 

Porte de Saillé: 16C. As for the Porte de Bizienne (more recent), the Saillé gate is made up of only one simple opening apparently little fortified, in fact the external earthen fortifications, leveled in the 18C, ensured this defensive function. The surrounding wall between the Porte de Saillé and the Poterne du Tricot, is dated according to some authors of the 12C and would therefore constitute the oldest surviving element of the first enclosure of Guérande.

Guerande

Porte Bizienne: historians assume that the name of this gate originates from a noblemen of Guérande. It is the most recent element of the fortified enclosure.

Guerande

The towers or tours of the enclosure are 7 towers and these are the Saint-Jean tower (early 15C), the Sainte-Catherine tower (collapsed in early 1818, now disappeared), the Abreuvoir tower (1460-1470), the Gaudinais tower (mid 15C), the Kerbernet tower (mid 15C), the Sainte-Anne tower (mid 15C) and the Theological tower.

The roads and moats around the ramparts are:

The mail or boulevard, built at the end of the 15C or at the beginning of the 16C, located between the Saint-Michel gate and the Saillé gate for the part still preserved, constituted a first line of defense, reinforcing the ramparts becoming less effective with the development of attack artillery, and moreover made it possible to deploy cannons. Its current appearance results from the installations of the Duke of Aiguillon who made it enhance and transform into a tree-lined promenade. This hill derives its name from the mall, an ancestor of croquet a sport which the gentlemen practiced.

Guerande

The moats, originally dry, were dug between the Mail and the ramparts to strengthen the fortifications. They once completely surrounded the fortified enclosure. However, they were partly blocked because of the odor they gave off (part of the inhabitants threw their waste there). A part was however preserved between the Bizienne gate and the Vannetaise gate.

Some webpages in French for more better info to help you plan your trip here are

City of Guérande on the ramparts

Tourist office of La Baule-Guerande in English on the ramparts

Tourist office of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 on the ramparts of Guerande

A wonderful town in old Bretagne and very much like to visited for various reasons as above. Hope you enjoy the ramparts of Guérande! A must to see indeed

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

 

 

February 16, 2020

My other boy, Rex!!!

Seen pictures of dogs and I go crazy, love them to death/ One of men’s and probably the best friend indeed.  I have written on my dog Rex before but seeing post on dogs made me write again about him who just happened to be laydown just below me as I write!

A bit of a recap on previous posts.

I always had dogs in my single life; and even as I was married back in 1990 with my Frenchie Martine. Once boys came to be all 3 of them I stopped having them and gave my current dog Maite to my parents. As my boys became older, the need to have a dog grew , but my wife wanted none of it. Finally, we convince her as the boys also wanted a dog. She was very enthusiastic once the decision taken, and was the first one to go and buy him a bed ,and ball toys etc. Unfortunately, she could not enjoy it fully as passed away from cancer. My boy Rex is my legacy of her and it is treated like a son in our house.

He is Rex, we got him from a dairy farm near me at 4 mos old a mix Border Collier and Labrador as commonly call Boradors. He is as gentle and protective as can be expected from  a farm dog.  He is now 27 months old fully black with white toes and 26 kg or about 57 pounds healthy as he can be with regular visits to the Vet at the Clinique Vétérinaire du Chêne, gourmet type dog food at Maxi Zoo with now a store closer to us in Vannes, and beauty salon baths cuts etc in our town at Tou Beau Tou Propre.

My boys takes him to the local big park Goh Lanno which of course I have written before on all the previous places above.  And he is very goood boy , very gentle , loving and we love him back hugely. We have taken him in the car to the Maxi Zoo store and to eat outs all very good. We are lucky to live in a house with a huge patio 1000 sq meters or about 10760 sq feet. That is him below with a neighbor apple in his mouth lol!!

pluvigner

On our last family trip with the boys we went to Toulouse and we took him with us and was perfect! Walk all over Toulouse with us!!! and even went ok to restaurants. We went to Lavaur and did the same thing , a pleasant outing. We take him to different parks now and already on schedule to go out on vacation with us again in May’20!

Toulouse

Lavaur

He likes Goh Lanno but also the pointe des Immigrés littoral park in Vannes! And right now we cannot think of doing nothing without him. And gladly ,nowdays there is plenty here to go around with a dog.

vannes

He is still laying down by me as always the protective guy, if I leave the chair he follows me everywhere in the house even the toilet which I need to close the door or he goes in too lol!!!

pluvigner

He is a good French dog as he loves the baguette bread! and just eats everything, we need to control it because he doesn’t stop eating if we let him. My luck is that with 3 grown men around the house they do most of the work ! and love him too , he wakes them up in the mornings as when I leave I open the upstairs door and goes into their bedroom to lick them up!!

pluvigner

Overall, it was the best thing that can happen to me after the shock and now he is nosing up my arms because he wants attention, he says I do too much writings lol!!!!

Do you have dogs? or family member with dogs? How are they? I am on a borador group and is great interaction with the dog owners!!! Anyway have a great doggy day y’all

And remember, happy travels (with dogs better), good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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February 16, 2020

Another of my house wines, Marchais!

Ok so did a run but coming back, wine is part of my life since first tasted from my grandmother at 8 yrs old!! With us its a tradition of great proportions, my sons continue the trend.

I have written several posts on wines and even one on this region but need to come back for more as it is one of our house wines and we go often, thinking of been back already!

Thouaré sur Loire is in the department 44 Loire Atlantique south of me in the region of Pays de la Loire. Historically part of Bretagne … and only 13 km from Nantes. And about 2 hrs by car from my house.

The area around Thouaré-sur-Loire has the authorization to produce the wines of the following appellations: Coteaux d’Ancenis, Gros Plant du Pays Nantais, Muscadet; the Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, and the Loire Valley.

The Muscadet is a dry white wine of AOC (appellation d’Origine Controllée) mainly in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44, south of Nantes, and partially overflowing on the Maine-et-Loire dept 49 and the Vendée dept 85 ,all in Pays de la Loire region. This wine from the Loire Valley vineyards comes from a unique grape variety, the melon of Burgundy (Melon de Bourgogne) . This appellation has been classified AOC since 1936.  The Muscadet vineyards has several appellations: the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, the Muscadet -côtes-de-Grandlieu, the Muscadet-coteaux-de-la-Loire and the Muscadet without any particular denomination.

The properties we have chosen to buy are but about 3 but the main buy is done at Vignobles Marchais lately, this is at La Blandiniére hamlet just outside the town of Thouare-sur-Loire, and it has been a pleasant find. We first met at the village vignerons of Guérande .  About the second time we visit the owner Philippe Marchais arrived we were surprise by  a visit by radio chain France Bleu and the owner Philippe was interviewed right in front of us. I was one of the ones chosen to be spoken to and was indeed on the air!!!

thouare

It is in the vineyard near Nantes, in the heart of three terroirs Le Loroux-Bottereau, Thouaré-sur-Loire and Mauves-sur-Loire , that the history of the Marchais family, winemakers from father to son is written. In the heart of a green setting, the vines stretch, offering an exceptional setting for a total immersion in the world of winegrowers. Here, the muscadets-sèvre-et-maine with a generous and floral nose (such as Le Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé or Le Domaine de la Bronnière) and muscadets-coteaux-de-la-loire (the Thouaré vineyard) with a nice minerality are worked with passion. In this winery, you can choose between Le Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé, which is a fine local classic, or the historic muscadet of the vineyard: Le Domaine de la Bronnière, or the unusual Saveur d’Origine. Especially the sparklers rosé and white perles lutines and the parasol rose from old grapes before phylloxera call the 54 dating from the 1800’s.

thouare

thouare

True independent winemaker, Philippe Marchais strives to develop wine tourism by highlighting his work with wine, and it is successful. In his cellar, you will find wines from other family production, but also wines from winemakers from Loire, Bordeaux, Burgundy and elsewhere; local products such as Loire fish terrines, local beer and many other delicacies to discover, wine accessories and many gift ideas. A multifaceted place, very pleasant to discover. Also, in good weather the Bar!!!

thouare

Their official webpage here: Vignobles Marchais

The independent wine growers official site on the Marchais property: Official Independant winegrowers on the Marchais vineyards

We come by car of course; taking the freeway N165 towards Nantes stay out of the city center and continue on the A844/N844  get off at sortie 41 on the route de Paris which is the D723 into Thouaré and see the restaurant Au Chemin de Nantes turn right here into the La Baisse Hiliére road and the wine property is on your right corner with D68 route de Mauves. No bus or train by here that I know.

Enjoy the ride close to the loire river and wonderful countryside with the smell of the melon de bourgogne! And do visit vignobles Marchais the real thing down to earth la vie en rose of my belle France.

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

 

February 15, 2020

A king ! and a kingdom !! France!!!

So here I am in a cold rainy gray day due to the storms lately that thankfully bypassed us rather nicely, I like to tell you about a king. My favorite pastime is architecture and history other  than wines and football/soccer not necessarily in that order and this is history with a capital letter L.

As we came to know him well while living in Versailles and was such an influential there and elsewhere, I like to tell you a bit of the story on king Louis XIV of France. Hope you enjoy the story and see his doing while stopping by Versailles.

Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, born on September 5, 1638 at the Château Neuf in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines dept 78) and died on September 1, 1715 in the Château de Versailles (Yvelines dept 78) ,was a king of France and Navarre. His reign extends from May 14, 1643 – under the regency of his mother Anne of Austria until September 7, 1651 to his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years is one of the longest in the history of Europe and the longest in the history of France.

Saint Germain en Laye

Versailles

 

Born Louis, nicknamed Dieudonné, he ascended the throne of France on the death of his father, Louis XIII, a few months before his fifth birthday. He thus became the 64th king of France, the 44th king of Navarre and the third king of France from the Bourbon dynasty.  France is, during his reign, the most populous country in Europe, which gives it a certain power especially as, until the 1670s, the economy is doing well thanks in particular to the economic dynamism of the country and to public finances in order. Through diplomacy and war, king Louis XIV asserted his power in particular against the Habsburgs. His pre-square policy seeks to enlarge and rationalize the country’s borders, protected by the iron belt of Vauban, which fortifies the conquered cities. This action allows it to give France borders approaching those of the contemporary era, with the annexation of Roussillon, Franche-Comté, Lille, Alsace and Strasbourg.

Versailles

From 1682, king Louis XIV ruled his kingdom from the vast Palace of Versailles, whose construction he supervised and whose architectural style inspired other European castles. His court subjects the nobility, closely watched, to a very elaborate etiquette. The cultural prestige asserts itself there thanks to the royal patronage in favor of artists such as Molière, Racine, Boileau, Lully, Le Brun and Le Nôtre, which favors the apogee of French classicism, qualified, from its lifetime, of ” Grand Siècle ” (Great Century) , or even century of Louis XIV. After the disappearance of Louis XIV, Voltaire was partly inspired by him to develop the concept of enlightened despotism.

King Louis XIV was the son of king Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, Louis was the fruit of the union of two dynasties, with parents belonging to two of the most powerful families of that time: the Capetian house of Bourbon and the Habsburgs. To the traditional title of Dauphin de Viennois is added at birth that of First son of France. On the death of his father, Louis-Dieudonné, who is four and a half years old, becomes king under the name of Louis XIV. The Regent then leaves the inconvenient apartments of the Louvre and settles in the Palais-Cardinal, bequeathed by Cardinal Richelieu to Louis XIII, to take advantage of the garden where the young Louis XIV and his brother can play. The Palais-Cardinal then becomes the Palais-Royal, (as known today) where housekeepers abandon young Louis to their chambermaids who give in to all his whims, which will give birth to a legend.

Versailles

Cardinal Mazarin, godfather of king Louis XIV, was given responsibility by the Queen in March 1646 for the education of the young monarch and his brother Duke Philippe d’Orléans (known as “the petit Monsieur or little Mister). Louis is not a very hard-working student. In his childhood, Louis XIV repeatedly escaped death. At 5 years old, he almost drowned in one of the basins of the Palais-Royal garden. He is saved in extremis. At 9 years old, in 1647, he suffered from smallpox. Ten days later, the doctors no longer have any hope, but the young Louis is recovering miraculously. At 15, he has a breast tumor. At 17, he suffered from gonorrhea. The most serious alert for the Kingdom takes place in 1658: the king, at 19 years old, is victim of a serious food poisoning due probably to the water) and of typhoid fever, diagnosed as a typhus exanthematic, when taking Bergues in the North. On July 8, 1658 they gave him the last sacraments and started to prepare the succession, but François Guénaut, Anne of Austria’s doctor, gives him an emetic based on antimony and wine which once again heals miraculously  the king.

Versailles

By September 7, 1651, a decree of justice declares the majority of the king (the Royal majority is at thirteen years). All the great men of the kingdom come to pay him homage, except Condé who, from Guyenne, raises an army to march on Paris. The court then leaves Paris for Fontainebleau, then Bourges, where the four thousand men of Marshal d’Estrée are stationed. Then begins a civil war which will help to clarify things. king Louis XIV was sacred on June 7, 1654 in the Cathedral of Reims by Simon Legras, bishop of Soissons. He left the political affairs to Cardinal Mazarin, while he continued his military training with Turenne. Absolutism of divine right begins to take shape.

On November 7, 1659, the Spanish agreed to sign the Treaty of the Pyrenees, which fixed the borders between France and Spain. For his part, king Louis XIV consented, willy-nilly, to respect one of the clauses of the treaty: to marry the Infanta Maria-Teresa of Austria, daughter of Felipe IV king of Spain, and of Elisabeth of France. The purpose of this marriage, however, was to bring France closer to Spain. It takes place on June 9, 1660 in the Saint-John the Baptist Church of Saint-Jean-de-Luz (see my post on it). Note that on the occasion of this marriage, Maria-Teresa must renounce her rights to the Spanish throne.

When Cardinal Mazarin died on March 9, 1661, king Louis XIV first decision was to abolish the position of principal minister and to personally take control of the government on March 10, 1661 with a “coup de majesté” . On September 5, 1661, the day of his 23 years, the king had Nicolas Fouquet  (Château Vaux-le-Vicomte) arrested in broad daylight, by d’Artagnan (captain of the musketeers). At the same time, he abolished the position of superintendent of finance. The reasons for Nicolas Fouquet’s incarceration are numerous and go beyond a problem of enrichment. specifically, Nicolas Fouquet can be perceived as a political threat Louis XIV. The king created a chamber of justice to examine the accounts of finances, including Fouquet. In 1665, the judges condemned Fouquet to banishment, a sentence which the king commuted to life imprisonment in Pignerol. In July 1665, the judges prosecuted the farmers and the businessmen who were friends of Fouquet, on payment of a fixed tax. All this allows the state to recover about a hundred million pounds (from what supposedly Fouquet dwindle).

King Louis XIV had several mistresses, the most notable of whom are Louise de La Vallière and Madame de Montespan. The latter, who has in common with the king a taste for pomp and grandeur, advises him in the artistic field. She supports Jean-Baptiste Lully, Racine and Boileau Things changed in the early 1680s, when the king got closer, then secretly married Madame de Maintenon. Around 1681, the king returned to a decent private life, under the combined influence of his confessors and Madame de Maintenon. The year 1683 was marked by the death of Colbert, one of his principal ministers and the agent of this rational absolutism which then developed, the fruit of the intellectual revolution of the first half of the century. Queen Maria-Teresa died the same year, which allowed the king to secretly marry Madame de Maintenon, during an intimate ceremony which probably took place in 1683 among others.

Versailles

In 1685, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which granted religious freedom to French Protestants, restored the prestige of king Louis XIV vis-à-vis the Catholic princes and restored him his place among the great leaders of Christianity. The end of the reign was overshadowed by the loss, between 1711 and 1714, of almost all of his legitimate heirs and by the health problems of the old king. On September 1, 1715, around 8h15, the king died of an acute ischemia of the lower limb, caused by an embolism linked to a complete arrhythmia, complicated by gangrene. His courtiers surround him.The agony lasted several days. His death puts an end to a reign of seventy-two years and a hundred days (fifty-four years of effective reign if we withdraw the period of the regency from 1643 to 1661). The body of king Louis XIV was deposited in the Bourbon vault, in the crypt of the Saint-Denis Basilica. His coffin was desecrated on October 14, 1793 during the French revolution, and his body thrown into a mass grave adjoining the basilica, towards the north. In the 19C, Louis-Philippe I king of the French, ordered a monument in the Bourbon memorial chapel in Saint-Denis, in 1841-1842.

st denis

King Louis XIV had many legitimate and illegitimate children. From his wife, Maria-Teresa of Austria, the king had six children (three girls and three boys) of which only one, Louis of France, the “Grand Dauphin”, survived childhood. These were Louis of France, son of France, the Grand Dauphin; Anne-Élisabeth de France, daughter of France; Marie-Anne de France, daughter of France; Marie-Thérèse of France, daughter of France, and La Petite Madame(little misses) , Philippe-Charles of France, son of France, Duke of Anjou; and Louis-François de France, son of France, Duke of Anjou.

Of his two main mistresses, he had 10 legitimate children, only 5 of whom survived childhood. From the king’s union with Louise de La Vallière were born five or six children, two of whom survived childhood. The king is said to have had other children, but whom he did not recognize.

From Madame de Montespan were born: Louis-Auguste, Duke of Maine, Louis-César, Count of Vexin; Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes, married to the prince of Condé; Louise-Marie-Anne, Mademoiselle de Tours; Françoise-Marie, Mademoiselle de Blois, married to the Duke of Orleans and Louis-Alexandre, Count of Toulouse.

Some webpages to note and help you plan your trip to Saint-Germain-en-Laye and/or  Versailles are

Official Château de Versailles on Louis XIV in English

Official Château de Versailles on the capital of a kingdom with Louis XIV in English

There are in French of course…

Birth certificate of Louis XIV: http://www.frontenac-ameriques.org/louis-de-frontenac/article/la-chapelle-royale-saint-louis

Death certificate of king Louis XIV: https://www.geneanet.org/archives/actes/view/?idacte=37985

And there you go , I know a bit long but the personage can be describe in volumes of books and I did condense  my book at home with the main parts me think. Hope you have enjoy it as I do. King Louis XIV was awesome for Versailles, France, and the world; maybe we need another one today …

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

 

 

February 15, 2020

Little dear Brec’h!

Here let me tell you about the town of  Brech, its actually part of Pays d’Auray, so for most needs we were going to Auray, about 9 kms away or 5 miles; however ,Brech is divided into about 7 communes or villages plus the center or bourg where the church, post office,tabac are located as well as the mayor’s office and local ,real local govt offices are. This is where I came in contact with Bretagne! did not lasted long as moved on but still a special dot in my World map!

Here been very small and spread out has a pack of historical buildings. One of our favorite was the Ecomusée Saint Degan. Here the agriculture and doings of the area are all shown, from older days in a natural setting , very nice. The official webpage is here in French: Official Ecomusee St Degan of Brech

The city of Brech also has a bit more on the museum in French here: City of Brech on the Ecomusee

brech

Another nice monument sight to see is the Church of St André, it curiously has 24 capitouls from the 13C,the belltower was added in 1896, and many stones to built it taken from the chartreuse or Cartusien monastery nearby. It has been extensively renovated and looking great now as I passed by some times now.

brech

brech

A hugely historical monument here is the Chartreuse St Michel, it was built in 1382 AD in memory of the soldiers who fought in the war of succession in Brittany ,where the toughest battle was held on Sunday, September 29 1364 the day of St Michel. François II, Duke of Brittany change the collegiale of the monastery of Chartreux in 1480 , an order founded by St Bruno. Under the French revolution, the chartreuses were  chase out. The abbey Gabriel Deshayes, priest of Auray put in here in 1812 the Filles de la Sagesse, or daughters of the  Wisdom who were in charge of caring for the blind, deafs, and hard of hearing or understood. In 1814, under the restauration in France, the bones of the immigrants who were shot in firing squad during the revolution at the Champ des Martyrs(field of heroes)  in 1795 were transfert here . It is by the village of Penhoet, part of Brech off D120e coming to Brech on the D768 off the N165 expressway.  It is part handle by a retirement center, more in French here: Daughters of Wisdom site on the Cartusien monastery

brech

brech

The Chartreuse was built after the battle of Auray that opposed Jean de Montfort with his cousin and rival Charles de Blois for the Duchy of Brittany. A building here is held by an order of Montforistes religious order and houses homes for the needed and impaired.  I have come to visit them and are doing a great job. My old car is in the parking lot below!

brech

brech

You can ,see several chapels in the area, some near me are the Chapelle Notre Dame des Fleurs, dates from the 18C, a site of pilgrims very popular during the Spring pardon or forgiveness period of believers.  Another one in the center near the river Loch, is the Chapelle Saint Jacques or Santiago, St James, inside he is shown with his pole and st jacques shells, , the chapelle was built in 1464, and it is mentioned on the road to St James of Compostela from 1648.

brech

brech

The Loch river is historical and beautiful by its river banks. This river grows out in the middle of the Morbihan dept in Brittany and goes all the way meandering like a snake into the Gulf by Carnac and into the Atlantic Ocean.  The road just before the bourg or city center here, has a nice park/garden with plenty of ducks:::!!! A cute and traditional post office building.

Brech

In center town or bourg you can find your goodies at the L’official Gerard, boulangerie pâtisserie épicerie store in town ,bakery, sweets and small grocery store with the unique symbol of an American flag in its rightmost window.  It is located at 12 Rue Georges Cadoudal. you have the Le Moana tabac/cafe, 16 rue Georges Cadoudal;  town meeting for coffee and a glass of beer, plus lotto tickets!! , and stamps when post office is closed,and WiFi ;  as here the hours are country, only in the morning on Saturday and only afternoons for the post office, and all close by 19h lol!!!

The only thing that passes by here in public transport is the regional Keolis line 5  Baud – Vannes. A single ticket cost 2 euros and can be used for 50 cents correspondance with the Vannes bus network kiceo. Here is the schedule for line 5 in French: Official Keolis line 5 by Brech

Brech tourism on monuments in French: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/

And there you go a small town even a village divided in 7 parts with lots of historical monuments and a wonderful river bank of the Loch. Hope you enjoy my off the beaten path post of Brech!

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

 

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February 14, 2020

Chateau de Pontivy dit Rohan!

And again a re visit of something that alone is worth the visit to Pontivy in my opinion. There is a lot history here and architecture, even not enough for a couple of posts in my blog. However, each time here is a must to go by it. I will give some additional historical information and new pictures here but there is plenty more in my blog on it.

The Château de Pontivy , called Château des Rohan, was built in the 15C and 16C by the family of Rohan. The castle belongs to the family of Rohan who stayed there irregularly until the end of the 18C. Thereafter, the castle is successively occupied by the sub-prefecture and the courtroom of the civil court of Pontivy (1800-1839); General Bernadotte, commander-in-chief of the Western Army in charge of combating the Chouans (local farmers who fought against the French revolution for the king and region), installed his headquarters (May-June 1801); The Sisters of Kermaria, who created a school and a boarding schools for girls (1841-1884); A Breton museum founded by Jérôme Le Brigand in the late 19C; La Garde Saint-Ivy (sports Club of the city), the Scouts of France, some local families were housed in the west gallery, then severed in several rooms in the 1st half of the 20C with interruption in 1939-1940. During WWII, the Polish troops and then Autonomists Breton (June-September 1940). In 1953, Madame de Rohan rented it to the town of Pontivy by a lease of 99 years for a symbolic French Franc ,assuming all the charges of the owner. The town of Pontivy is then responsible for the maintenance, restoration and valorisation of the castle. Duke Josselin of Rohan agreed to cede his property to the city which became its owner on 16 October 2015. It still has some private rooms ,but most is open to the public.

pontivy

The Château Rohan was the place of the declaration of independance that was thwarted in Brittany while the creation of the National Breton Committee by the members of the Nationalist Breton Party in July 1940.

pontivy

The castle of Pontivy was built in a quadrangular and irregular way of about 90 meters by 75 meters flank by four towers with a circular angle connected with a courtine of 20 meters high very traditional.  The gross of its walls can reach in some spot to more than 5 meters in order to protect it from the progress of the artillery and canon balls. It is as it looks more of a fortress!

pontivy

The tourist office of Morbihan more on the castle in French

The tourist office of Pontivy communité on the castle

Hope it brings you here you won’t regretted, Pontivy and its castle. Lovely walks all around the castle/fortress indeed, and down its walls we have great souvenirs eating at L’Aiglon resto. Do read my previous posts on Pontivy, and I thank you.

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

 

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