Archive for ‘Bretagne’

June 19, 2019

Chateau de Keronic at Pluvigner!

Oh yes we have castles here too, and very nice ones right in my little town of Pluvigner. Happy camper indeed, we love it and even if private properties we go by on the perimeter to see them. Now coming up a garden event, they are opening up the garden area for folks to come in into the property. Of course, I have mention it before but really needs a page of its own me think.

From the grid at the end of a long beautiful road of trees, 2,5 km to the northwest of Pluvigner right on the road D 102 direction Languidic. This is the Château Keronic! The Château is located in my town Pluvigner in the Morbihan Department 56 of the region of Bretagne . As said, we have gone there and even if private wandered around its park now will be open again due to the gardens of Brittany event so we were there of course. And had a nice conversation with the owner who had their lunches in summer under the tulipier of Virginia tree as seen below!


It is an imposing mansion of the 15-17C, but largely reengineered by the Harscouët family of Saint Georges around 1860. It is still the property of this family, currently represented by Viscount Christian de la Tullaye. Set amidst large woods, the castle has a large Chapel. In addition, another Chapel exists in the park along an alley, south of the Castle.



It is occupied successively by the families of Launay since 1426-1427 and until the 16C, Eudo de Kervilio , from 1536 to the end of the 17C, Carpenter of Lenvos in 1717, Harscouët de Saint-Georges from 1802, the estate was not fragmented during the 19C and thus retains all its spatial organization. The installations of the 17-19C, both in the gardens and in the castle, are well preserved and of great value. The Saint-Joseph Chapel with its altarpiece as well as the decorations of the Logis-salons of the 18C, staircase with baluster with its stained glass, library, oriental style wallpaper-also participate in the heritage interest of this domain.


The park of Keronic  was designed by Legendre in the 1880’s and is remarkable with its land plants such as heather,  rhododendrons, camellias and hydrangeas, as well as exotic trees such as sequioas, araucarias, etc.  It has a pond and French style garden.  All very nice indeed.




Some webpages to help you plan  a visit to see it at least or come in heritage days some years or the garden event of Sunday June 9th like me

City of Pluvigner on castles and manor houses

If you want to know the heritage days in France, where many historical places are open to the public when otherwise they are not look no more than this webpage

Heritage Days in France in French

So there you go another off the beaten path gem in my neck of the woods just love it. And there are more! Do stop by the Chateau Keronic and say hi! in Pluvigner.

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


June 19, 2019

Chateau de Kerlois, Pluvigner!

So back to my town, yes little Pluvigner has a lot of punch when it comes to history and architecture. We have castles too!! and we love them even if private properties we wandered around them on the park outside. Again, mention them in previous posts but feel they deserve a post on their own.

Therefore, here is my take on the Château de Kerlois at Pluvigner! Again, this is open sometimes on heritage days but not this year, and sometimes on gardens of Brittany days but not this year!.

The Château de Kerlois is a castle located in the town of Pluvigner in the Department of Morbihan 56 of the region of Bretagne. It is on the D102 road going to Sainte Anne d’Auray.

The Château dates mostly from the 17C (facade) but preserves some elements of the 15C. At the beginning of 15C, the Château de Kerlois was the seat of a lordship which belonged successively to Eon de Kernigues, Squire of Duke Jean V in 1407, to the Lestrin family of Saint-Avé, to the Lord of Keriolet, Olivier Le Gouvello in 1607, his son, Pierre de Keriolet, spends his childhood there. The private chapel was built by the mother of the latter, in thanks for the conversion of her son to Loudun. Later to Mr. de Moncan and to the La Ville-Gonan family. The private chapel was restored in the 18C. It is since 1800, the property of the family Le Bobinnec.   It shows a painting depicting the Virgin Mary and Sainte-Anne d’Auray. A painting before which would have come to pray Pierre de Keriolet. The building to the left of the castle became a hospice for the sick and the poor, after Pierre de Keriolet became a priest.


The Château de Kerlois opens its Park to the visitors on some heritage days weekend or garden days in Brittany. The French garden dates from the 18C when  Pierre de Keriolet, the “bandit of God”, lived there. The garden was made up of medicinal plants and a kitchen garden. It must be said that at the end of his life the man without faith or law, repentant, housed a Hospice in the back of the Castle. The two strengths of this park are the camellias with more than fifteen varieties, and the remarkable charms of it. There is also a bicentennial cedar of Lebanon brought back from the countryside by the ancestor of the current owner, who was captain in the Royal Navy.


The city of Pluvigner has some info on the castle here: City of Pluvigner on castles and manor houses

Hope you enjoy the tour, and do stop by even if just to look at these wonderful castles of yesteryear and still fascinating for the history and architecture. Enjoy the Château de Kerlois in my Pluvigner.

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

June 17, 2019

Chapelle Notre Dame de Lourdes at Auray!

And I take you back to my neck of the woods for something unique off the beaten path and worth a detour indeed.

This is my favorite area and just took a visiting friend from Brazil here. After our dinner we walk a bit to show Saint Goustan, an old fashioned harbor of historical proportions to the USA and Canada that I have written before in my blog.

However, today, will tell you about something unique, the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes or the Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel. The neighborhood is very nice quant and many old phases of it, this is Saint Goustan.

You will see the wonderful now renovated Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes in Saint Goutan, city of Auray. There is still some minor details inside , but this is a loving care work by folks who care.


The neighborhood is under the protection of Saint-Goustan, the patron Saint of sailors and fishermen. And is is part of the city of Auray. And who is St Goustan? Well Goustan was born in 974 in Cornwall England. Kidnapped by pirates at 18, wounded, he is abandoned on the island of Houat (in the gulf of Morbihan) where he owes his life only to Providence which provides him with fish which he uses sparingly and which every day is reconstituted (hence its legend and its representation with a fish) and with help of St Félix, who will convert him to Christianity. He became a monk in 1025, and founded a Priory on the island of Hoëdic (another island of the Gulf of Morbihan). He rests with his brothers monks in the Abbey of Saint-Gildas of Rhuys (see post on it). More on him in this webpage:


A bit of history I like

Due to its recent nature, the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Lourdes  has attracted little attention until the end of the 20C. The documentation concerning it, whether written or iconographic, is very small , it is essentially constituted by the parish archives, the town of Auray documentation, as well as some old postcards. The old photographs contained in the departmental archives of Morbihan gladly show the picturesque rue du Petit Port, with its wood-paned houses from the late middle ages and the beginning of modern times, but none can distinguish, if only in background, the Chapel that interests us. An article was found about the blessing of the Chapel by the Bishop of Vannes in 1879 in the newspaper La Semaine of the Diocese of Vannes. The conclusions that can be drawn from these investigations make it possible to highlight that the construction of the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes takes place from the winter of 1874-1875 and probably continues until 1878 (vintage of stained glass) or 1879 (the blessing by the Bishop taking place in November 1879).


The major interest of the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Lourdes, on the architectural level, lies in the fact that it seems to have undergone no change in the course of time, whether it is the structures as much as the furniture that it houses. In this sense, it offers a perfectly preserved example of the buildings of worship built in the second half of the 19C, in a neo-Gothic style, where you can perceive the local influences of the Finistére on the bell tower as much as the attempts to imitate the Upper Basilica of Lourdes   for the reception of the façade, creating a Chapel with a very special character, or even unique. Indeed it is for us!!!


You walking trails from the city of Auray that includes passing by here. Bear in mind this is a hilly site, you climb a street with handrails help but all worth it I tell you. Go for it when in the area. Saint Goustan is nice for many things and even across from the Chapel there is the St Sauveur Church  (see that post) and down by the river in Place Saint Sauveur there are plenty of restos and bars to keep the day longer into the night!

The webpage is here : City of Auray on heritage trails

There you go something unique and nice ,quant , historical and architectural interesting in an off the beaten path. And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




June 17, 2019

The museums of Saint Nazaire! part II and more!!

So moving right alone in wonderful refreshing Saint Nazaire in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region over the Father’s Day weekend in my belle France. As said, we have been here before but skip for several years coming back until now. It was a wonderful family trip of memories pointing at the different places we were before with my dear late wife Martine and now found new ones and much nicer places to spent really a full weekend here. It is worth the detour I say.

Another one we came by during our walks in the harbor sea front was the Eco Museum or Ecomusée is a museum to be amazed at the incredible rise of this city that has in the 19C the fastest growing population in France, nicknamed “the little California breton” in reference to the American gold rush. Understand the importance of the privileged site of the city: mouth of the Loire estuary, gateway to the ocean, between Presqu’île de Guérande and the marshes of the Grande Brière To detail the models: famous ships, seaplanes, shipyard, old Saint-Nazaire etc.  The Ecomuseum of Saint-Nazaire is located on the Autonomous Port of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire facing Chantiers de l’Atlantique (Atlantic shipyards). It presents a permanent exhibition, and offers tours and workshops on the heritage and history of Saint-Nazaire.

Well it does a good job on the memories of the Estuary retracing in over 550 m², the major themes of the history of Saint-Nazaire, from prehistory to the present day. The history of the port’s creation in the 19C and its development with the port and maritime professions are evoked by ship models and original illustrations. The major phases of the technical and human evolution of the naval and aeronautic industries in Saint-Nazaire are traced with the presentation of models of famous ships including Normandie (1935) and France (1962), models of the first Loire float planes from the 1930s. The pre-war city, then that of reconstruction with the history of its inhabitants are represented by archival films and unpublished documents. It also has a documentation center open to the public, including a photo library of 45,000 archival images on the naval and aeronautical industries, the history of the port and the city, specific works and documentary files on same themes. Possibility of consultation on site, only by appointment.

Tourist information on the Eco Museum and ticketing in English

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The Espadon (S637) is a thermal submarine of the French National Navy. Commissioned in 1960. With a crew of 7 officers and 60 men, the Espadon (Swordfish) was tasked with monitoring ocean areas and shipping lines. This one to come back for it.

In September 1961, the submarine collided with the Laubie. On August 13, 1963, a fire in the torpedo room injured four officers, one of whom later died of his injuries. In May 1964, the  Espadon (Swordfish) and  Marsouin (Porpoise) plunged under the ice of the Norwegian Sea in the 70th northern parallel.

It was disarmed on September 11, 1985. For more than 20 years, the Espadon has been moored in the fortified lock of the Saint-Nazaire submarine base, after making its last dive on December 10, 1985 with 15 of its commanders among the original 16. The Swordfish is the first visitable submarine, having become a museum ship.

Tourist info and ticketing on the Espadon visit in English

We continue our walks in the harbor and came upon a wonderful story which we knew but barely dug into its history. My dear late wife Martine taugh French to our sons since birth using among other things the Tintin books and films. They know it by memory and have all the collection now. We talk about it now in our souvenirs of their mother. So it was natural to stop by here and look for them. We found them!!! and we ate just nearby for lunch!

So of course we will tell you a bit ok. Tintin d’accord… bien sûr!!!depuis Monsieur Hergé!

Remember (yes!!) in « Les Sept Boules de Cristal » or the seven crystal balls,Tintin, Milou(his dog companion!) and Captain Haddock travel to Saint-Nazaire, when the transatlantic port still exists. They’re looking for their friend, Professor Tournesol (sunflower). Bad bad guys kidnapped him. We must save the teacher…! Having set themselves the goal of perpetuating the memory of Tintin’s passage to Saint-Nazaire, the enthusiasts of the Association Les 7 Soleils (seven suns association) have installed, on the very places of history, six frescoes on enamelled metal. These panels reproduce vignettes from the album: to see Tintin and his companions walking the port of Saint-Nazaire, in the natural setting of the port landscape, creates a rather innovative mirror effect. The vignettes also revive a whole section of the history of Saint Nazaire which has never disappeared. Indeed, Hergé draws his heroes in the pre-war city, at a time when Saint-Nazaire was still the leader for Central America, with the scent of adventure and exoticism.

Tintin and his companions have just left Moulinsart Castle, aboard Captain Haddock’s yellow Lincoln Zephyr. They will go from an imaginary place; but partly inspired by a real monument, Cheverny Castle (see their presentation in the castle on previous post) to arrive in a real city: Saint-Nazaire. But this entrance to Saint-Nazaire is not the one they took because it did not exist at the time when they came there. This entrance was, in fact, opened during the reconstruction of the city. The Hôtel du Berry , which marks the beginning of Avenue de la République, (still hotel resto le Berry) was one of the very first buildings to rise on the ruins of the city, which was destroyed more than 85% by the Second World War.

Coming from the north or the east, it was in fact through rue de Trignac,(as we came today in the suburb of same name) that, until the reconstruction of the city, one entered Saint-Nazaire. From these wharves came legendary cruise liners such as the Normandie borrowed by Tintin to return from America and in the black and white version of L’Oreille cassée (the broken ear) , the France and, more recently, the Queen Mary 2. The beige car of Professor Tournesol ‘s captors was found in one of the harbour basins. But no trace of his dear Tryphon!  Disappointed that they had not found the trace of their friend, Tintin, Captain Haddock and Milou (the dog companion) wandered the docks. They’re coming to the ferry station. Suddenly, Tintin rushes to a departing cruise liner. He has just seen General Alcazar who is about to embark to his country, the San Theodoros.

By bringing Tintin and his companions to Saint-Nazaire, Hergé recalls this founding time for Saint-Nazaire such as the opening of the transatlantic cruise liners that contributed to the development of the city and its port and had the immediate consequence the establishment of shipbuilding yards. Captain Haddock, who unwisely sat on a bundle, is abducted with it. Hergé was inspired by a photo taken from a magazine to draw this scene. At 17 boulevard René Coty stands the former Hôtel Transatlantique, built in 1880. (today a high school institution)

Tourist office of Saint Nazaire on the Tintin story in English

The tintinomania fanatics of Tintin site on Tintin in St Nazaire in French

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Tintin stories and my boys snsm lifeguards training ctr behind

And to close out our weekend in Saint Nazaire, well we ate there too. And again , we wanderers walking the harbor by the ecomusée I glance and took a look at a bistro and fell in love with the quantness of it so decided to go it,and as usual my olphatique nose did a 10!  We ate at the Le Bistro du Grand Pavois at 11 Place de la Rampe and corner with Avenue de la Vielle Ville. This is walking across the commemorating tables on Tintin as above. No WiFi but the owner came out very nicely to hook me up with his and of course no webpage just the address working on it; Le Bistro du Grand Pavois at St Nazaire

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st nazaire

Located in front of the port and the Loire estuary, Le Bistrot du Grand Pavois offers dishes of artisanal quality from local products. Traditional cuisine without forgetting the bistro and pizzeria side in a warm and friendly atmosphere.  The reception, attention and service to customers is very good. The plates are beautiful, well done ,hearty and the food of very good quality. Fresh products really well cooked, a delight. We had a great time. We’ll be back! A fitting end to a wonderful stay in Saint Nazaire, very surprising nice and up and coming destination on the west of France! Enjoy the post!

st nazaire

st nazaire

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



June 16, 2019

The museums of Saint Nazaire! part I

So let me tell you a bit more about some of the museums we saw in the Ville-Port harbor side of Saint Nazaire, in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region of my belle France! It has been a while by here and all has change for the better, very nice vibrant moving town and friendly folks to tell you later. Enjoy the museums for now they are all worth it I say!

The Escal’Atlantic is an interpretation center on the history of ocean liners!  It includes a scenographic course covering 3,700 m2 built on three levels, and includes nearly 200 collectors items, from cruise ships built in Saint-Nazaire between the late 19C to the early 1960’s. Located in the old submarine base at the port of Saint-Nazaire, and opening in 2000 very poorly. In its new version, open since the summer of 2013 (after our last trip here) , this tourist and cultural equipment site combines a scenographic journey, inspired by the architecture of cruise ships, objects of remarkable collections and multimedia devices for an immersive visit to the world of ocean liners. The ships have strongly marked the history of the city, both transatlantic port of 1862 on the eve of   WWII, and a high place of shipbuilding. In 1862, the liner Louisiana left Saint-Nazaire to inaugurate the first regular line of the Transatlantic General Company, Saint-Nazaire-Veracruz in Mexico. From 1865, a second line was established, connecting Saint-Nazaire to Colon, on the isthmus of Panama, via Martinique. The WWII put an end to the transatlantic history of Saint-Nazaire. Before, the first ship that left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire will be the Empress Eugenie, in 1865. The city will remain known as the cradle of giant transatlantic ships since almost all French transatlantic liners will have been built in Saint-Nazaire (Penhoët shipyards then Chantiers de l’Atlantique): giants like Île-de-France (1927), Normandie (1935) or France (1962); the famous France of 1912, nicknamed “Versailles of the Atlantic”, or, around 1900, the series of regional or provincial line including the La Bretagne (1886), La Champagne (1886), La Savoie (1901), La Provence (1906) … Between 1862 and 2013, the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire built 121 steamers liners and cruisers, of which 36 for the General Transatlantic Company.

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The city of Saint-Nazaire has about 4,000 pieces, gathered from 20 years and from ships built in its shipyards between 1900 and 1960. Decorative and graphic works, furniture, tableware, luggage, accessories and documents are what is probably the most important public collection on this theme in Europe. Nearly 200 objects in the collection are permanently integrated in Escal’Atlantic, for their aesthetic or artistic value, but especially for their value as witnesses to the voyages in cruise liner. A deposit of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris has enriched the collection of exceptional works, from a donation made by the heirs of Louis-René Vian in 2005. This great connoisseur, passionate about the liner Normandie, had gathered several hundreds of objects specially designed for the ship, and signed by the most important creators of the Art Deco period.

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These objects are accompanied by digital panels giving access to additional information about the object (manufacture, use on board, historical context, aesthetics, sociology .etc..). Throughout the course, interactive and multimedia devices allow the visitor to explore, if they wish, different levels of discovery. They can thus adapt their itinerary and their visiting time according to their own interests. Some devices come in the form of a game. Images from archives, photos and movies are presented as montages specially created for Escal’Atlantic. Some scenes (the departure, the open sea, the film session) have been fully recreated. Very nice indeed!

Tourist info on the Escal’Atlantic and ticketing in English

Tourist info on the transatlantic cruisers in St Nazaire in English

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And of course for us this was the must see. The submarine base of Saint-Nazaire is one of five bases built on the Atlantic coast during WWII by Nazi Germany that occupied France. It serves as home port to the 6. and 7 submarine fleet. Before the start of WWII the port of Saint-Nazaire was one of the largest on the French Atlantic coast.   The Nazis arrived in Saint-Nazaire in June 1940. The base is built instead on the turning basin of the Transatlantic General Company. With the expansion of the shelter, as far north and south, the wharves and buildings of the company will be destroyed.

st nazaire

st nazaire

The work is done in several stages. They begin in February 1941, with the cells 6, 7 and 8. They are completed in June 1941. From July 1941 to January 1942, the cells 9 to 14 are built, then, between February to June 1942 it is the alveoli 1 to 5. Finally, from June to December 1943, the construction of an annex tower completed the construction work. Between late 1943 and early 1944, a protected lock was built in line with the base to allow access to the basin or estuary of the Loire. It is 155 meters long, 25 meters wide and 14 meters high and is equipped with four Flak cannons (anti-aircraft defense) on its roof. An armored bell at the eastern end protects the sea side access and crosses its firepower with a comparable work on the other side of the estuary. The dimensions of the base are 300 meters long, 130 meters wide and 18 meters high for an area of 39 000 m2 and a volume of concrete poured estimated at 480 000 m3. The thickness of the roof is about 8 meters, consisting of a thousand sheets of slabs and protections. There are 14 cells, numbered from 1 to 14 from north to south: cells 1 to 8 each constitute a refit basin 92 meters long by 11 meters wide, for a submarine; cells 9 to 14 are basins afloat, 62 meters long by 17 meters wide, for two submarines.   Two inter-boxes allow access to the upper floors of the base. They are located between cells 5/6 and 12/13. They correspond to the ends of the original plan of the shelter. Two fleets will be assigned to Saint-Nazaire, the 6th and 7th nazis submarine fleets. The neighborhood of the base has long been abandoned. That is why, in 1994, the town of Saint-Nazaire decided to launch the project “Port-Ville” or city port intended to rehabilitate the area of the base which is then a vast industrial wasteland. It is a lot different today for good and well worth the visit indeed! Enjoy it

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Tourist info on the submarine base and ticketing in English

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There you go two wonderful places Escal’Atlantic and the Sub Marine Base that are worth indeed come to visit in details .Hope it has given you some ideas, it did to us and we will be back. After all we are only 1h30 from it!!!

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





June 16, 2019

The theater of Saint Nazaire!

So on the Father’s day weekend in my belle France and lucky to still have one, we took off into my road warrior escapes in my west of France into the Pays de la Loire region and the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 to visit an old acquaintance of ours Saint Nazaire. I will have some posts to tell you but just been only about 1h30 from my house looking at the old pictures my last time here was in June 2013!!!

There is so much that have change in Saint Nazaire over these last few years and the town seems vibrant and active with lots of nice monuments and places to see and eat. Well more of that later. For now, let me touch up on this fabulous property that on my last trip did not notice just recently opened then.

On a wonderful old train station they have build a theater and a cinema while pushing the train/bus station a bit out from the center of town. Good choice indeed.

The Le Theatre is a theater in Saint-Nazaire, inaugurated on September 7, 2012. It uses the site and building of the city’s former main railway station, replaced by a new railway station when the city was rebuilt in the early 1950s. On September 8, 2012, the first show was titled « Il était une fois une gare… » or sort of  once upon a time a train station.

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A bit technical on the theater which i am not, tells us it has been well used over the last 7 years.

The Theater has 2 rooms; the theatre section with 826 seats, and the creative room with 100 seats. There is also, one cinema room ,the Jacques Tati with 148 seats. In the complex there is a bar and apartments, studios (made available by the City of Saint-Nazaire according to availability).

On average the city tells us that it has done 65 events with 122 performances as live shows and 188 films with 780 screenings on Cinema last season. There is a movement this year led by the mayor of St Nazaire to name the theater the Simone Veil theater.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here which if in town for over a day it might well be worth it especially knowing the so many nice monuments to visit around it even of foot.

Official Le Théatre of Saint Nazaire

City of Saint Nazaire on the cultural offerings

So for a quick day/night this is  a nice option and the place is sublime gorgeous. Enjoy the Théatre in Saint Nazaire.

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


June 16, 2019

Saint Nazaire a transatlantic city!

Ok I came back to Saint Nazaire , after a long period of absent and it was wonderful as it is visiting in my belle France! I came here with the family once and with so much to see ,went on to other areas of my country. For some reason, my sons had picked up a brochure on things to do in Saint Nazaire and on the Father’s day weekend we headed back there. It was very nice and really an off the beaten path city that needs to be visited more by all.

Let me in my own humble way give some overview on the city of Saint Nazaire and some for later.

Saint-Nazaire is the district capital of the Loire-Atlantique department 44, in the Pays de la Loire region. Before the creation of the Departments, Saint-Nazaire was under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Brittany, then the Parliament of Brittany from 1532 (union of Brittany to France). On the religious level, Saint-Nazaire has been under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Nantes since the Middle Ages.  The city is the capital of shipbuilding in France, the Atlantic Shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are one of six sites in the world to build large ships of more than 300 meters.

The town of Saint-Nazaire is located on the right bank of the Loire estuary (its territory including the tip of Chémoulin which marks the end of the estuary), 50 km west of Nantes. It is close to the marshes of the Brière, an important regional natural park with many animal and plant species, the second largest wetland in France after the Camargue. The neighboring towns are Pornichet to the west, La Baule-Escoublac to the northwest, Saint-André-des-Eaux, Saint-Joachim, Montoir-de-Bretagne, and Trignac and, south of the estuary, Saint-Brevin-les-Pins. It has several beaches, such as those of Villès-Martin, Porcé, and especially those surrounding the seaside resort of Saint-Marc-sur-Mer.

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A bit of history I like

An important aspect of Saint-Nazaire’s history is that until the 19C, it was a modest rural and maritime site. The large city west of the Brière was Guérande, as early as the Middle Ages, and the port of Croisic developed long before that of Saint-Nazaire. The creation of the modern port and city in a few decades at the end of the 19C represented a major change not only locally, but regionally.  In the 6C, a text by Gregory of Tours mentions a basilica housing the relics of the martyr Nazarius. In this basilica, a gold harness as an offering was on display. It is said to have aroused the covetousness of the Breton leader Waroc’h II, who had an emissary sent to seize it. He smashed his skull on the lint of the door. By this miracle, Waroc’h, frightened, filled the church with gifts. The village took the name Sanctus Nazarius de Sinuario or simply Saint Nazaire. Saint-Nazaire was part, like the whole of Brittany, of the Breton kingdom, then of the Duchy of Brittany until 1532, the year of annexation to France. Until the French revolution, Saint-Nazaire was part of the region of Brittany.

In 1802, it was decided to build a roadway on the Portereau, a lighthouse, a mole, ponds and holds of construction. After a long wait, the mole was edified from 1828 to 1835. The city is built on the current location of the petit Maroc or little Morocco neighborhood. A new Saint-Nazaire was created during the reign of emperor Napoleon III, as an advanced port of Nantes on the Loire river , taking advantage of truces in the wars that had previously prevented its evolution. The large ships could no longer go up to Nantes, making it an alternate port. In 1856, the first basin of Saint-Nazaire, was dug by the embankment cove of the Halluard. This darse allowed the ships to dock and turn around. The installation of transatlantic postal lines to Central America in 1862 and the opening of the first shipyards began the industrialization of the city and the modernization of its port facilities, notably with the Scott yards (now gone).

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st nazaire

In 1865, the Méan neighborhood near the Penhoet shipyards was detached from the town of Montoir-de-Bretagne to include it in   that of Saint-Nazaire. It is the first French shipyard to launch modern ships with metal hulls. In 1881, the inauguration of the second basin, Penhoet, allowed a larger number of ships to be anchored. This traffic is then governed by the postal convention which stipulates that half of the ships operated by the line’s dealer must be built in France. An access lock is also built. The old Saint-Nazaire, is thus cut by this lock, creating an artificial island called petit Maroc. During WWI   Saint Nazaire is the largest landing port for American troops. It was in Saint-Nazaire that the first contingents of soldiers landed. Between 1931 and 1932, the Joubert lock form was completed, a transformation necessary to accommodate the construction of the new flagship of the Transatlantic General Company, the liner Normandie.

st nazaire

st nazaire

During WWII, in 1940, after the evacuation of Allied forces in June during Operation Ariel, marked by the RMS Lancastria tragedy, the port was quickly occupied by Kriegsmarine units (nazi navy). The site of the former shipyard of the Transatlantic General Company is selected for the construction of a submarine shelter, UBB for the nazis, i.e. U-Boat Bunker. Admiral Dunitz himself inaugurated the first three alveoli in June 1941 after barely four months of work. The shelter was constantly expanded to fourteen alveoli in 1943. In March 1942, Operation Chariot allowed a British commando to damage the form of Joubert in order to prevent the nazis battleships from being repaired there. The lock door closing the basin was destroyed during the raid thanks to the ship HMS Campbeltown, which served as a ram ship and was not repaired until after the war. In the weeks following the Normandy landings, nazi troops retreated to the area and created a resistance zone where fighting continued, known as the Pocket of Saint-Nazaire. The city was released three days after the Nazi surrender on May 11, 1945. Thus, Saint-Nazaire is the last city liberated from the Nazi yoke in Europe.

st nazaire

Saint-Nazaire was rebuilt around the axis of the Avenue de la République, turning its back on the sea. The town was trying to refocus the city towards the port, including the redevelopment of the surroundings of the submarine base, which now house recreational facilities such as the Cinéville multiplex, shops with the shopping center Ruban Bleu (blue ribbon)   as well as several museums such as   Escal’Atlantic on the history of ocean liners, the Écomusée or the Espadon submarine. The complex forms an urban project called Ville Port which aims to become an extension of the city center. Finally, the abandoned old passenger train station after the war underwent a major renovation to accommodate the new theater.

st nazaire


Walks and sights of Saint Nazaire.

The Boulevard de Mer, along the beaches of Saint-Nazaire, Villès-Martin and Kerlédé for 3 km. Monuments and sites along the estuary and sea boulevard: Commando memorial, monument to the abolition of slavery, elevated factory, Commando Square, Lancastria memorial, American soldier’s stele overlooking the German eagle, Villès-Martin fisheries. The underwater base, its tourist facilities and the structures of the port: Joubert form. The theater, contemporary construction based on the remaining parts of the old railway station.  The short hiking tours along the beaches of Saint-Nazaire. The calvary of the Rochelles, the cross of Heinleix and the cross du Dernier (last).

The Immaculate neighborhood, the landscaped park, with its body of water, Guindreff pond with pedestrian circuits. Dolmen des Trois Pierres, located in the center of Saint-Nazaire; Tumulus de Dissignac, located on the outskirts of the city. Around the port, especially around the submarine base, the Ville-Port project leaves an important place for culture and leisure, in fact it brings together: A multiplex cinema, museums but also bars and a current music room. The new theater was created in 2012 on the wasteland of the old passenger train station. But it also , the Ruban Bleu shopping center with about 40 shops and restaurants. The Escal’Atlantic, opened since 2000, renovated in 2012/2013. It is a route whose architecture is inspired by that of a transatlantic liner. Saint-Nazaire became a center for building ocean liners; The Queen Mary II was built here in 2003. The Espadon is a submarine of the French navy, disarmed in the 1980s. Today, it is installed in the advanced submarine base, a fortified lock located above the eastern entrance of the Saint-Nazaire basin, and is visited. The Saint-Nazaire ecomusée, located in the Petit Maroc district, opposite the Estuary, is an eco-museum, namely a museum dealing with a particular territory. It traces the history of Saint-Nazaire from prehistory to the present day. All within walking distance!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is very nice indeed are

City of Saint Nazaire transport choices

Tourist office of Saint Nazaire

Tourist office of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 on Saint Nazaire

There you go something still off the beaten path but worth the detour. Another gem in my belle France. In the west is better, and Saint Nazaire is it.  lol!!

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




June 14, 2019

A walk on the train station of Auray and historical walk at the village of Brech

This is a town very close to Auray where I first came to the Morbihan , Brittany and I passed by it almost every day now. Many nice monuments here and historical too, I like to bring it back alive for the pleasure of all. Enjoy Brech, Morbihan, Bretagne, France!
And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


Today while waiting for my kids on their ski trip to the Franche-Comté area, I decided to take a ride by the train station earlier and take some photos, as been by there and yet a photo lol!! Then went around my bourg or village of Brech in pays d’Auray just some nice walks to see nature and some buildings that need to be known to the world by using my blog. Here is the story,

I pick up my boy at the Vannes train station by 18H or 6pm, and was so happy of his trip, and see snow lol!!! He can keep it. Lots of snow and ski, and photos for them, and of course the nice gifts for Dad and Mom and brothers. Always nice indeed….Another successful trip of school in France.

However, before that time, I was alone,and decided to do some walk or drive or…

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June 12, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXXIIII

So back to my regular series and the latest I can pick as interesting from my belle France. Always something going on in France and hard to keep up but I try my best to tell you. Thank you for reading me, and now the news!

To start off firing hot. ..! The mayor (PS) of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wants to put a boost to turn the BP (boulevard périphérique)  into an urban boulevard. It wants to quickly implement the lowering of the speed of 70 to 50 km / h and the establishment of a lane reserved for clean vehicles and carpooling, two emblematic recommendations of the report of the information mission and evaluation (MIE) put on debate this past Tuesday at the Paris Council. This axis used by more than 1.2 million vehicles per day for an average daytime speed of 39.7 km / h. Ok so again, no solution is a great solution, Paris needs vehicules to survive and she is destroying, their own records show the number of usages and the speed limit even below what they are recommending!! And how they are going to replace all this driving, the land is expensive, and the public transport is also saturated.  Anyway I do not take the BP too crowded lol! Go into the portes ,gates of Paris in the side streets you advance better lol! Ana should do what Manuel did go back to Spain!!!

Now , this is something good done by the region and Valérie Pécresse is right on !  The cardboard metro ticket, which has been part of the Parisian landscape for nearly 120 years, is destined to disappear by 2021. To replace it, users will have the choice between smart cards or contactless solutions via their smartphone. . Starting this Wednesday, transport users in Ile-de-France can buy a new pass called Navigo Easy (cost 2€) in the counters. The Navigo Easy, inspired by the Osyter Card, of London, (yes use it good deal!!), is for casual travelers and tourists, who consume a few dozen trips a month. The Navigo Easy pass is sold in shops and ticket offices at the region of Ile-de-France stations and stations. It must then be charged by purchasing dematerialized tickets, at the counter or on a terminal. The Navigo Easy badge is not nominative, the buyer can give it or lend it. But beware, it cannot be used by more than one traveler at a time.And for those traveling outside Paris? Ile-de-France Mobilités (the body that govern this by Mme Pécresse) is preparing the Navigo Liberté +, which will be marketed in November. This pass will be billed monthly for all trips actually made, on all bus networks, tram, trains and metro Ile-de-France. The Navigo Liberté + will be for travelers for whom the subscription to Navigo is not justified, or who seek a certain flexibility. Real solutions that will work!

And more on the Paris transport front lol!  Of the three new stations built on the occasion of the extension to the west of the RER E (Eole project), that of Nanterre – La Folie (the name is not final) is the least complex to build. Unlike those of La Défense and Porte Maillot, this station is completely on the surface. It is on the ground floor of this building, in a porch 12 meters deep and 8 meters high, without doors, that travelers can buy tickets and receive information on their trip. An almost station, but not a station. In the same way, the connections with the  RER A line  and the future line 15 of the metro will be made from the street and not via underground passages. There will also be no connection from the station to Paris La Défense Arena: the preferred access point to the enclosure must remain the station La Defense. In addition to being entirely open, Nanterre station will also be a station turnaround, which will mark a break in the flow of trains along the line. Thus, to go to Mantes-la-Jolie one of the terminus of the RER line E to the east (Chelles or Tournan-en-Brie), it will be necessary to change the platform at Nanterre. by the end of the year 2019, the station should be finished with regard to structural work. Its commissioning is however planned for 2022. Improvement to come indeed as I know la Defense /Nanterre is a maze lol! The Eole project in French here:

For an even nicer news. The good news was announced this past Tuesday afternoon at the Ministry of Culture. The “Ruche”  or hive of the 15éme arrondissement is among the 120 or so sites in France that will benefit from the next Heritage Lotto drawing!. In addition with the will of the Stéphane Bern mission to preserve bees or biodiversity. La Ruche is the nickname that Alfred Boucher, an acknowledged sculptor of the early 20C and patron, had given to the incredible cité d’artistes or city of artists he had built in 1902, on the southern edge of Paris in what has now become the Passage de Danzig. Alfred Boucher rented them, at a low price, to his fellow artists , often forgetting to ask rent to the less fortunate of them. The greatest names of the Parisian art scene of the time succeeded one another, from Fernand Léger to Chagall, passing by  Fujita or Soutine. More on this wonderful site here in French:

This is the only site retained in the Val-d’Oise dept 95  but it is also the first. The theater hidden under the castle of La Roche Guyon will benefit from the fallout of the Heritage Lotto as well!. The project will be long, probably five years, because there is a lot of studies to do. The Lotto would be a big boost; in two years it could be done. Designed in the late 18C, this troglodyte theater would have worked for two centuries before being abandoned. it will be necessary to wait until the year 2020 because  it depends on the sale of the tickets of the lotto, specifies the Heritage Foundation. After their sale on June 15, a first draw with a jackpot of € 13 million will be made on July 14. From September lotto grids at 3€ and 15€  will also be on sale (buy it if in France). The sums collected will then be divided among the selected projects according to the financing needs expressed. This time, 121 monuments will be renovated thanks to this lottery!! Great news indeed!! More in French from the Heritage Foundation:

Something wonderful is happening in Paris this coming weekend and of course I will miss it ! The pastries festival where the great patisseries of France compete will be held ! Salon de la pâtisserie, From Friday June 14 to Monday June 17 2019, and from 10h to 19H,only until 18h Monday. Where, well of course at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 15éme, hall 5.1. admission for the crowds are from 7-14€ (1€ will be given as donation to the association of the Les Bonnes fées for the sales of tickets onlinne.  More info here in

Always a grand event ! Some 3,500 drawings and 650 paintings from the end of the 16C to the beginning of the 20C. But also a documentary fund of great wealth and a complete library. The exceptional private collection of Pierre Rosenberg, former president and director of the Louvre Museum and member of the French Academy, is now in the hands of the department of Hauts-de-Seine (92). And will be partly highlighted in a Musée du Grand-Siècle (great century museum), in  the 17éme arrondissement. The heart of the Rosenberg collection,  which will be born in Saint-Cloud, on the site of the Caserne Sully barracks!  This museum project is a complete rewrite of the copy planned until then for the future of the Sully barracks. Because the site of 1.8 ha, located at the entrance of the park of Saint-Cloud, was supposed to accommodate the departmental archives on 13 000 m² in the building Charles X and a student residence of 7 700 m². The news told here in French:

Auvers-sur-Oise, “really, it’s gravely beautiful,” wrote the painter Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo on May 21, 1890. Nearly 130 years later, the impression remains the same, indeed it is a must to visit. Even more with the myth surrounding now the Dutch artist.  As soon as you leave the station, Vincent Van Gogh’s imprint is obvious. You just have to cross the rue du Général-de-Gaulle to go back in time with the Daubigny garden. Next door, in the park with his name, the author of “The starry night” stands, the look on the horizon, his equipment on the back. The gardens (some open to visit) accompany you  to the rue de Paris, at the top of which stands the Church Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, Romanesque-Gothic building, now known worldwide through the exposed painting at the Musée d’Orsay. At the top of the hill, overlooking the valley of the Oise, the agitation of the city leaves room for the appeasement of the fields. Gateway to the Vexin Regional Nature Park, cutting through the fields, the path of the Montier takes us into a small wood, leading to the house workshop Daubigny and its garden. Small turn into rue Léry, to the castle, guardian of the history of landscape painting. Its park, very French style, and its benches, offer a pleasant breathing. At the end of rue Gachet, still on the hillside, the gates of Dr. Gachet’s house open onto an intriguing garden. Just before finding the rue du General-de-Gaulle, Van Gogh leaves us there, at the Ravoux Inn, his last home. He died there on July 29, 1890, surrounded by Dr. Gachet and his brother Theo. The latter rests next to the famous painter in the cemetery located at the top of the hill, surrounded by fields.Van Gogh’s house shows on  the first floor of the Auberge Ravoux, a room of 7 m2 remained in the still of the time. Only a chair is lit by light from a small skylight. It is in this room n ° 5 that Van Gogh lived his last days. The place is at 52, rue du General-de-Gaulle. Admission is  6€. More info on the house of Van Gogh here :

And she will be back better than ever and traditionally done!  Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris: a first mass could be celebrated on this coming Saturday!. The festival of Dedication, however, would be a great occasion for the anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral. The date that was chosen is symbolic. It represents the consecration of the altar. It is very important to be able to signify to the world that the role of the Cathedral is to show the glory of God. Celebrating the Eucharist that day, even in a very small group, will be the sign of this glory and grace. Every year, this festival brings together a hundred Parisian priests during a solemn celebration, on June 16 exactly. This year, given the circumstances, this office would be celebrated this Saturday, at 18h, in very small group, with five or six priests (hard hat on the head) and in the axial chapel, at the bottom of the building. A space preserved by flames and rubble, behind the large golden cross that appeared from the first images of the drama, as miraculously preserved.

As for the ephemeral wooden cathedral that the diocese wanted to install on the Ile de la Cité?  It has been planned to do a little Marian sanctuary. A place of prayer. A symbolic place where people can meet in front of the Virgin of Notre-Dame de Paris This dedicated place will house a copy of the Virgin with the pillar, the most famous of the thirty-seven representations of the Virgin of the Cathedral. It will be sheltered under the sanctuary and the pilgrims will be able to contemplate and pray to the Virgin. It will also be a welcoming place where a priest will be . Candles and flowers can be placed there. Official webpage of the Notre Dame Cathedral:

And the Seine river is re-inventing itself at least they are trying and worth the effort me think. Bodies of water, buildings, land, structures, the “Reinventing the Seine” call for projects consists in proposing sites all along the Seine river axis, to occupy, animate, rent or buy through the setting of  innovative projects. This multi-site approach must contribute to revealing and concretizing the Seine axis with communities and ports are launching the challenge to architects, entrepreneurs, artists, … to invent new ways of living, work, to move on and at the water’s edge, relying on these different sites. Innovation and the river thus become the two red threads for inventing the twenty-first century metropolis, from Paris to Le Havre, via Rouen. Lots of things going on in the coming years and it is all here for you to know as it goes and ready when here! More here in English at Reinventer la Seine:

And this is it for now, France has always something to come see it, indulge in the French cachet and see it for yourselves. La vie en Rose and a movable feast are just the tip of the iceberg! Enjoy it!

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


June 3, 2019

Château de la Bretesche at Missillac!

And again on new territories thanks to a long weekend and wants of exploring new places in my belle France and wonderful west along coastal and a bit inland territories. We had a long weekend so we headed out to see a memorable town of our family, and two new towns in my France’ map; one of them is Missillac,nice.

On a previous post I wrote a bit on the  church in town, now I like to tell you about my fav monuments to see anywhere, the castles. This area been Pays de la Loire has them in bunches and we love it! I came just entering Missillac on the road D2 you have the Château de la Bretesche!  This is in Loire Atlantique dept 44. I like to tell you about it at lenght!

The history of Missillac also is link to that of the Château de la Bretesche, residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard in the middle ages. The Chatelaine de la Bretesche belongs in the year 1000 to Bernard de la Roche. The fortress of la Bretesche , 14C was rebuilt in the 15C, beset by Mercoeur in the 16C, destroyed in the French revolution and rebuilt again in the 19C.

Château de la Bretesche former residence of the family of Montaigu whose members exercised for 45 years in the 19-20C the function of Mayor of the town of Missillac. The castle was rebuilt in the 19C in place of a fortress of the 14-15C, destroyed during the French revolution. The Liburin Tower dates from the 19C c. 1876. The Manor hosted the Dukes of Brittany, Jean V, François I and François II who came to hunt in the beautiful forest. The castle is built on a crannied terrace, surrounded on three sides by moats, the fourth bathing directly in a large lake of 13 hectares.


The history I like is a bit long but nice!

Eudon III, Baron from 1347 to 1364 signed, on 7 July 1352, an edict which mentions, for the first time, his Château de la Bretesche where this document was written. Eudon III, son of Baron Péan died at the battle of Auray on 29 September 1364, with his lord Charles de Blois. Raoul VIII, son-in-law and successor of Eudon, will reign over the barony from 1364 to 1393 and make la Bretesche a formidable fortress. Raoul VIII succeeded by his son, Raoul IX, from 1393 to 1419 and, in 1404, he married his son, Jean de Montfort to Anne de Laval, widow of du Guesclin. He will lead the barony from 1419 to 1453 under the name of Guy XIV of Laval. It is the culmination of the barony of la Bretesche and the barony of La Roche-Bernard. Guy XIV will be the faithful companion of Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc), and was next to Joan of Arc, in the coronation of king Charles VII in Reims on July 17, 1429, and in 1435, he will marry the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, Jean V and Jeanne de France, mother of King Charles VII.

Converted to Calvinism, during his captivity in Milan, François de Coligny transformed in the 16C the fortified castle of the Bretesche, of which he owns, in Citadel of the Reformation. He transformed the Chapel of Notre-Dame de la Roche-Bernard (built around 1063 by Bernard II) into the first Protestant Temple of Brittany and, the Château de la Bretesche became the radiant home of the new religion, which would bring the Catholic armies to do the siege of the citadel in the spring of 1569. Badly defended, because the Baron d’Andelot fought at the time alongside his brother the Admiral and the Prince of Condé, in the region of La Rochelle and Jarnac, the Château de la Brestesche quickly surrendered.

In August 1591, thecastle/ fortress of Bretesche, despite its thirty light horses and its fifty archers placed under the command of Sir Le Pennec de Boisjollan, Lord of Trégrain , falls under the combined attacks of the Duke of Mercoeur and the Spaniards of Don Juan D’Aquila. On 19 April 1605, François d’Andelot, the grandson of the founder of the reformed church in the barony of la Bretesche, solemnly forswears the Protestantism of his mother and grandfather and converted to Catholicism. In 1636, he was the cousin of Cardinal Richelieu, Charles de Cambout, who became Baron of La Roche Bernard and took possession of the Château de la Bretesche. His grandson, Armand de Cambout, elevated to the dignity of Duke of Coislin, Baron de la Roche and Pontchâteau, succeeded him in 1663. Then it will be Pierre de Cambout, from 1702 to 1710, the eldest son of the Duke of Coislin, then his brother Henri Charles from 1710 to 1732, Bishop of Metz (he will never reside in the Bretesche). His successor and cousin, Louis Charles de Lorraine, will sell the barony and the Bretesche to the Chevalier Reignault-Gabriel de Boisgelin, Marquis de Cucé, in 1744. In 1774, his young son, Louis Bruno de Boisgelin (future Colonel of Musketeers, Field Marshal, Master of the Royal wardrobe and President of the Breton nobility) succeeded him, because his elder brother was deceased. On the denunciation of their servants, Louis Bruno de Boisgelin (the last Baron of the ancient barony of La Roche-Bernard) was brought to the scaffold with his wife on 7 July 1794.

The Château de la Bretesche is the former residence of the barons of La Roche-Bernard. It takes its name from Bretesche, an exterior work overlooking the main gate of a castle to defend its entrance. This castle was built between 1430 and 1470 by Jean de Laval, Baron de la Roche-Bernard. During the wars of religion, the castle was a high place of Protestantism and suffered in 1591, the siége of the Duke of Mercoeur. From 1636 to 1648, Charles de Cambout (cousin of Cardinal Richelieu), proceeded to repair and enlarge the Castle. On October 17, 1793, the Castle, which served as a rallying center for the Royalists, was burned down by the revolutionary General Avril. The house of the barons remained in ruins until 1813, when the Domaine de Bretesche was bought by a Mr Formont, later deputy under king Charles X. In 1840, the Bretesche castle was sold to Baron Jean Jacques Perron, former staff officer and former aide-de-camp to General Bugeaud. In November 1847, Jacques Perron sold the Bretesche to the Marquis Auguste de Montaigu, and the house remained the property of the Montaigu family until 1965. Auguste de Montaigu was elected Mayor of the town of Missillac in 1848 and remained until his death in 1904, except for the years of the Second Empire (1852-1871) where his monarchist convictions forced him to withdraw. The castle was restored by Pierre de Montaigu and his wife, Caroline de Wendel.


In 1965, the Château of la Bretesche was sold to a real estate company. Shortly thereafter it is divided into apartments sold separately to private individuals. Its dependencies are transformed into a hotel-restaurant, and a golf park. Domaine de la Bretesche includes a luxury hotel located in the outbuildings of the 15C castle, an 18-hole golf course that crosses a 200-acre park, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa. Wonderful would love to stay in it!!! I will be back!!!


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Missillac on the Castle

Tourist office of between the Brière and the Canal in Pays de Pont-Château on the castle in English

Official Domaine de Bretesche in French

Relais and Castles lodging site on the Domaine in French

There you go another gem to see is to dream and to stay should be sublime. Wonderful property , great history, architecture, and just beautiful sorroundings worth the stop and visit even better.  Only the garden areas are open to the public as it is a private property. Hope you enjoy the Château de la Bretesche in Missillac!

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


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