Archive for ‘Bretagne’

August 19, 2018

17th Edition Saint Christophe old vehicles show at Bignan

Ok so busy day today lol!! This is the third of a series today on the town of Bignan.  Sunday is usually calm and family time here. However, I am on vacation finding places to go and things to do without too much preparation as I am in no mood to do that. Therefore, I saw the 17th edition of Saint Christophe old Vehicles show at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Bignan and off we went.

This event is done every year and this time organize by the Avrbignan association. Its Sunday so what the heck get out of the house we did and glad we did it. The association site of old antique vehicles is here in French:


We love cars so been to several of them here and elsewhere. Even in my town there are every year. The freedom of the road is unequal and never replace. Put your pedal to the metal and rock!!! Of course, always with moderation, we are even going down to 80 KPH rules in France on one way lane department roads like the one today on the D767 ! OF course ,even if the death on the road increase again…of course is not speed but they get plenty of money from it last read the government racks in more than 700M € in fines!!!

Bignan Bignan Bignan

So let’s get to the old slow cars (even if new they went faster than today).

The 17 edition of the Saint Christophe was one of the zillions of events held at the domaine nowadays. It was an all day affairs even if we only stay for the antique old cars display show at 14h. The cars left from Baud to Bignan, there a Mass in the tent at Kerguehennec by 11h then lunch at 12h30 for 11€ including ham, cold cuts, fries ,cheese, fruit tarts and coffee. By 14h the exhibition of the vehicles were shown all parked behind the stables out to the left of the Castle. By 16h30 there were prizes given to the best show and at 19h another dinner 10€ without drinks but kir Breton offered for free, live music by Kelt ha Breizh, celtic Breton songs of course.

Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan

Again, the webpage for the Domaine (and Castle) of Kerguéhennec is here:

The site is in French , so I put the above webpage on the page of agenda and cultural events coming up on it. Hope it helps.

There you go a nice old fashion old car show nearby on a beautiful surroundings, perfect Sunday. Hope you enjoy it too

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


August 19, 2018

Domaine de Kerguéhennec at Bignan!

As mentioned in my previous post, Sunday is usually calm and family time here. However, I am on vacation finding places to go and things to do without too much preparation as I am in no mood to do that. Therefore, I saw the 17th edition of Saint Christophe old Vehicles show at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Bignan and off we went. I will post the Domaine here and the car event on another separate post ok.

Bignan Bignan

On the Domaine which is gorgeous and worthy of the title the Versailles of Brittany (smaller of course), I have written a piece before. It is now a center for contemporary arts spread all over the property as well and a great area for picnics and just family outings.  Here is my previous post on it

Now a bit more on the domaine.

The Château de Kerguéhennec, (Domaine for the whole , the Castle is in the middle of the property) nicknamed the Versailles Breton, is an 18C castle located in Bignan in the Morbihan 56.. It is about 20 km north of Vannes, in the direction of Pontivy, the castle of Kerguéhennec was built in 1710 for two wealthy Swiss financiers from St. Gallen but settled in Paris, the Hogguer brothers, shareholders of the company of the India.

Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan

Thereafter, it goes thru a period of inheritance of different families such as in 1732, acquired as a land of agricultural and forestry by Guy-Auguste de Rohan , Count of Chabot, famous for having ordered taken prisoner Voltaire, who did not reside there. His son, Louis-Antoine de Rohan-Chabot , duke of Rohan, was to be separated shortly after the French Revolution. The estate was acquired in 1802 by the Count Louis Henri de Janzé , then, sold by his grand-son Count Louis Albert Henri de Janzé in 1872, then by Paul-Henri de Lanjuinais, the 3rd Earl of Lanjuinais, deputy and President of the General Council of Morbihan, his cousin, who then lavishly restored it.  It is also , Count Lanjuinais who made the park of 170 hectares The surroundings of the castle are treated with a French style gardens , while the north of the estate is arranged in the English style. It also houses an arboretum.

Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan Bignan


The estate will then pass by inheritance to Marie Louise Marguerite Lanjuinais, daughter of Paul Henri Lanjuinais and wife of Arthur Espivent de La Villeboisnet. Finally, the eldest daughter of the latter, Elisabeth Anne Marie Espivent de la Villesboisnet, became Countess Pierre Humières in 1933, who will inherit it herself by way of In division in 1943. It is she who on January 19, 1972 will sell the Château and Domaine de Kerguéhennec to the Department of Morbihan.

In 1986, an open-air sculpture garden was built in the park. In 1988, a contemporary art center was installed in the castle’s dependencies. The estate also houses a cultural meeting center that hosts musicians and composers in residence. Always something going on here.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official webpage of Kerguéhennec:

Tourist office of Brittany in English:

Tourist office Morbihan :

Central Morbihan tourist office :

Golfe du Morbihan tourist page :

Another nice outing in my neck of the woods all wonderful, beautiful and the weather helps a lot. The beaches are still full of visitors and locals alike. And tomorrow is Monday wow what are we going to do??? Yikes!!!

Enjoy the photos which will be many, so will do another post for the cars event with plenty of more photos in the next post. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




August 19, 2018

Little Bignan in the Morbihan Breton!

Well, normally Sundays are quiet days around here and we follow too. However, this is Summer vacation times and we are always finding places to go and do. there was a big event at the Domaine de Kerguehennec (see next post) ,and we decided to go there and passed by the town of Bignan.

I have written briefly on the town in previous posts of the Some News from the Morbihan series but never a one shot post on it. Well today it their day in my blog. This is Bignan fierce Breton.

One of those previous blog post that I talked a bit on Bignan is here:

Now let’s get with the new story.

Bignan is located in the Morbihan department 56 of Brittany. The castle of Kerguéhennec (more on this next post), sometimes dubbed the “Versailles Breton”, is one of the most visited places on the town. The town rests on the moors of Lanvaux (forest). Bignan is located between the towns of Locminé and Saint-Jean-Brévelay., and is only half an hour from the main cities of Morbihan: Vannes, at  25 minutes , Lorient 30 mins, and Pontivy 20 mins aprox. I am about 25 minutes from it. The best way for visitors is to come from Rennes take the N24 to exit with the D181 road direction Bignan city center, there panels will tell you the different sights to see. From Vannes take the D767 direction Locminé to the D115 at Colpo and then the D150 to Bignan. There is no train /bus stations. Of course, I took the back roads even the D1 and D16 in the country.

Bignan Bignan

The bit of history I like is short for a village town simply Bignan was a very active center of Chouannerie from 1794 by the action of Pierre Guillemot, called “The King of Bignan”, Lieutenant of General Georges Cadoudal. All leading figures in the fight against the French revolution and re establishment of the monarchy in France but especially in Brittany. The castle of Kerguéhennec, sometimes nicknamed the “Versailles Breton”, served as a warehouse for the Chouans to subtract the crops from the law of requisition of grains applied by the Republican administration.

Things to see

Château de Beaulieu ,19C, covered alley and dolmen of Kergonfalz, the fountain of Saint Eloi, A Cross in city center from the 16C, and the Cross of Treuliec from the 17C, the Chapel of Sainte Noyale and fountain of Sainte Nolwenn, the farm of Pierre Guillemot at Kerdel commune of Bignan. The most famous of it all the Domaine de Kerguehennec now a center of contemporary arts in the Castle of the 18C , a park and arboretum with great picnic areas. 42 calvaries in and around the town from simple Cross to Monumental in size. In a couple there is an inscription I translate as , “The stone will be used, the Cross will stay, and the sons of Bignan will not surrender” (evidence of the fierce resistance to the French revolution and its reign of terror.

The one, I  will tell you a bit more is the Church of St Peter and St Paul .The Church is located at the Place de la Chouannerie  in city center of Bignan. It was built in the 18C to replace a roman Church in ruins. The first stone is laid in 1787. Interrupted during the French revolution and the exile of Abbé Nemati, (who refuse to submit to constitution of the French Republic) , the work resumed in 1801.  Abbé Pierre Nemati was buried there when he died in 1804. New bells were melted for the Church and received  them in 1807. The steeple is built between 1824 and 1857.

Bignan Bignan Bignan

The Church is built of stones, according to the Classical  style,  and a Latin Cross.  The bell tower to which the arrow is missing, is built to the east, on the narthex side. Square pillars separate the nave from the aisles.  The high altar, which dates from the 18C , supports a Christ in the Cross surrounded by the statues of St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist, an angel hanging from above. The original canopy still overlooks this altar. A stained glass window, dated from 1625, represents the interrogation of Yves Nicolazic (on the apparitions of Saint Anne see posts on Sainte Anne d’Auray ) by the Bishop of Vannes that same year.

The city /town hall of Bignan in French has a lot more on the monuments and history here:

I will do a separate post for it and an event there today, but the webpage for the main tourist attraction here is here:

A bit of detour and fall right into a very true history of France ,in just a small town in the Morbihan Breton, love it as a history buffs or lover or enthusiast or just plain history nuts.

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





August 18, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXVIII

I am back on my wonderful department 56 Morbihan of Brittany. It has been hotter around 25C or 77F but clouds and sunshine in and out. We in general, have better weather than the rest of France and it shows. We have been invaded by folks from all over France and some European countries like the most, the UK, and Germany but also,Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Italy as well. It is said , Brittany is the third most visited region of France ,behind Ile de France 1 and PACA 2.

The locals like me knows how to get around this and avoid the expressways or N roads here. However, had a former boss friend from Paris visiting me with his wife last night and coming from the Rhuys peninsula not far from me usually is 40 minutes, took him almost 1h10 due to heavy beach traffic on the N165 expressway or as we call here voie express. Anyway we had nice rosé wines from Corsica and pizzas of different flavors at my house with a bit of whisky, porto, and vodka aperitifs (apéros) before meal drinks. Lots to catch up and we had a pleasant evening. We did get a nice gift from the Camargue , rose wine which is nice. Pluvigner

Then ,today our regular errands day while not traveling. And traveling nowadays is hard as do not have my second half anymore (Martine passed away last April 30th due to cancer) we are content to just be with us , glued together and share moments. I tend to go back to old posts and revive them again for the memories. The public gets the benefits of more information on traveling the world with me.

Amongst the many associations and institution I support in France and Spain especially are those dealing with cancer here. The Ligue contre le Cancer du Morbihan and the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale.  Their webpages to follow

Now back to the errands of today.

We did some cleaning around the house, and left to have lunch out. We have not been for quite a long time to a chain we have visited before so we decided to go today. This is the steakhouse US style (but smaller steaks) Buffalo Grill at Ploeren just outside of Vannes. The webpage is here;

Vannes Vannes

Here we had the new menu Tennessee Burger with barbecue sauce and a potato patty that was very good and a good deal. We got it down with a bottle of Côte de Provence rosé from Masfleurie 2017 and had desserts base on ice cream Coupe America. All came in for 23.30€ per person ,which is about average.

VAnnes Vannes VAnnes

From there we walk to the nearby favorite office supply store for printer ink HP at Bureau Vallée. The store webpage is here:

We continue to do my car wash and gas up/petrol at E Leclerc hypermarket in Vannes, where we ,also,did our groceries as usual. Loading up on all essentials the quick way I am afraid. All in one spot shopping!  Webpage here:


By this time we had it all done and were back at home ready for our late evening TV and meal which nowdays is light and plenty of liquids glory of France! And of course, my FB, my LK, My Blog and my Whatapps…..keeps me busy and entertain nowadays. Thank you for your loyal support.

Tomorrow is a quiet day for us. Probably just a ride out to just say we were out of the house. Monday due some administrative errands and then go on to the Loire for wine tastings!

And remember, life is beautiful but can be short, enjoy it now. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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August 16, 2018

Some news from Bretagne, XXIIII

Way back in my initiation to blogging I did a series of entries showcasing my new region of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. This went on for a while in fact reviving this thread is no 24, with the last written on April 27 2017! You can search all of them in my blog by typing some news from Bretagne in the search box on the right hand column of my front page.

For reference, this was my last post on some news from Bretagne: some news from Bretagne

It has been amazing ride and later developed into more detail description of the events and towns here. However, today I go back because I have been in two of the regions of Bretagne , my own Morbihan dept 56,  and neighbor Finistére dept 29. So will do another Some news from Bretagne post.

I started my day after our family continental breakfast with painting! yes we painted a room in our basement (our basement has 130 sq meters or 1400 sq feet) on materials already purchase with my dear late wife Martine. We were thinking of doing two rooms in the basement for guests and we have it all done, just the room partitions is left to do! The boys did a good job and were treated with their favorite young people food, Star kebad and a sparkler mousseux from the Loire Vignobles Marchais that was not too bad for 6 euros lol! This was a great family affairs and I love it! The kebad has very friendly husband and wife team and  has a Facebook page here : Star Kebad Pluvigner

From here we went into our neighbor Finistére in the fortified town of Concarneau that we have visited many times and several blog posts on it. This time we were there for something special. FIFA Under 20 Women World Cup is been held in several cities in Brittany and today the quarter finals was SPAIN vs Nigeria!!! The game was played at Stade Guy Piriou with heavy security. We are so closed we could not miss cheering the girls so Spain won 2×1 and has a historical semifinal appearance which turn out will be against France yikes !!!! France beat North Korea 1X0 on a penalty kick. I will be neutral ::)






The game was pretty good, fast and lots of chances, Spain was dominating the first half ,winning 2X0 ,  a bit less the second half when Nigeria came back. They are very happy to be able to reach the semi finals for the first time. We had a blast there. Ah parking was funny, we saw it full around the small stadium and some VIP spaces so we ask a cop and told us go across to the E Leclerc hypermarket , so we did for free and an underground passageway to go from the hypermarket to the stadium to boot! Great!


As we were still about an hour from home decided to come back and celebrate the win closer to us in one of favorite bar and many times mentioned in my blog, the V&B of Auray. This is a nice concept of bar and liquor store where the closing time is 20h (8pm). The folks at the Auray store are very nice and have come to know them. The store is on a crossroads to the beaches south such as Carnac and Quiberon ,and just off the road N165 voie express or freeway here.




Here we had our usual German beers with my favorite Krombacher and wild pig and pepper sausages cut in thin slices.


After this indulgent we came home to relax and wait for a Paris friend visiting us by tomorrow.

Enjoy your day wherever you are, life is beautiful but short. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!





August 16, 2018

The Summer feasts of Wine in France!

This is a nice breezy not too hot not to cold day in my lovely Morbihan and we set out to do many things (more of that on later post). However, wine is in the air, Summer is the tradition of wine and the refreshing idea of drinking it with friends and family.

In my humble efforts to tell you all about wines in France from a seasoned taster, drinker, collector and diplomé person of France let me tell you the latest happening. Oh yes I will be in the trail by August 21th in the Loire.. Some of the tourist activities you can join are

Tasting under the Earth , some of the latest tasting going on in my belle France.
The Ardèche winegrowers make their wines grow old in spectacular galleries, and on the Cave of Saint-Marcel. A speleologist guide and a wine expert take you to taste them in the dark. Spéléoenology, 58 euros/pers. (2 h 30 to 3 h 30.)  more at

For tasting on the waves , see Denis Retiveau, winemaker and Marinier, embarks on his cabin flat bottom boat ;this flat-bottomed boat, topped by a hut, slips over the Loire (or Vienna) river while you enjoy a drink of wine from his Domaine des Champs Fleuris.
From 25 euros/pers. More info at

A canvas at the vineyard. In Puyloubier, Provence, in a Transat, enjoy a cinematic projection in the vineyards. A food truck treats you all night. 11 Euros/pers. Every Friday night, until September 7th. More info at these sites : and

Have a carriage Ride at the Château Fontainebleau du Var , they organize carriage rides on its field grown in organic farming and biodynamics. 11 Euros/pers. (30 minutes.). More info at

Have a “Escape game “ in the property. At the Castle of Rayne Vigneau, in the Sauternes, invites you to unravel the mysteries of its property. Its thrilling escape game ends with a tasting.  30 euros, from 4 pers. (1 H 30.) Book 72 hours in advance. More info here:

How about an animated course. The visit of the cellar Robert and Marcel, very close to Saumur, is worth visiting. Eight scenographies, around the wine, punctuate the course in the underground of the La Perrière. 5 Euros. The cellar with sensations. Until September, 11h to 15h and 16h to 17h. More info here:

The latest and 15th edition of Vines, Wines, Randos is upon us!

Event held from 01 to 02 September 2018 by the Interloire,association of vineyards and growers . Offering to you for the occasion 15 unpublished courses each composed of a exceptional stage. 3 hours of relaxation, conviviality and taste sensations on the occasion of VVR.. All guided by a winemaker, you leave for one of the 15 walks offered, punctuated by tastings, pairings and wines and discover the wine know-how. The kit of the perfect hiker in hand, you have all the ingredients to taste the savours of the terroir and discover the riches of the Loire heritage.

On your return, you are welcomed in the village VVR, in a festive atmosphere ensured by a group of music.. This VVR event is routes of 6-9 kms , with a family trail of 3 km, 2 days of hiking, -15 winemakers walks, including three new courses, 20 appellations tasted. 400 winegrowers. And 12 000 participants.

Practical information :Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September 2018
Timetable: Departures between 9h and 16h15; Price: 6€ and 1€ for under 18 years pre-registration on the site before August 30th, on site 10€. Address: 62 Rue Blaise Pascal, 37019 Tours. More in English here:

Some hints on where I am going next: Loire


And do enjoy it all or as many as you can !!! It wonderful in my belle France. And remember , happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 15, 2018

Etel and the ria, great Morbihan!

Today is officially a Holiday , the Ascension Day August 15 in France. So even if my Summer vacation don’t start until tomorrow, I have today’s off lol! Now so much to do out and in house, that I could not come up with something to do , amazing! So I decided to take my boys and have a car ride by the coast.

So a whims of air we went to Etel, passing by Ploemel ,Belz , and Saint Cado briefly by car. This is in glorious department 56, Morbihan ;my home dept. I have written before on Etel of course, a bit, here is that post for reference: Etel ,ria, and tuna trawlers!

The town is near me of course; as all the coast is… Étel is only 18 km from Auray , 30 km from Lorient and Vannes. Also, 22 km from my home!

In the middle of the 19C Etel fought for its independence from neighboring Erdeven. Etel in Breton language is An Intel. The former territory was called Saint Pierre d’Erdeven ; back in August of 1848, the locals heavily into the sardine business petition to have their own town; finally in 1850, Etel is raised to a town , independent of Erdeven. This is a heavily fish town, back in the 17C with more than 10 boats doing this catch in the area; it had about 12 conservation firms canning goods between 1849 and 1910. However, crises of the Sardine in the end of the 19C and beginning of the 20C made it change its fishing to Tuna. This fishing increase tremendously from 40 boats in 1910 to 220 in 1934, claiming the town as the first in France. The end of WWII put an end to this fishing and the town reorganized into motor boats and boat repairs.

For the pleasure boat lover or owner, the harbor marina (Le Port) here is heavens and so picturesque, here are some of the latest !





There is a quaint nice water taxi boat between the harbor of Etel and that of Le Magouer across the ria.  Its sort of the little train on water ::)



Two things to know here and beautiful to see and ride on it with pro help are

The river of Étel or Ria Étel (in Breton Stêr an Intel) is a small coastal river of the Morbihan in region of Brittany, which flows in an Aber (or ria), meaning that its deep valley is invaded by the sea at rising tide. It is a small bay dotted with islets, the mouth of which lies in the Atlantic Ocean at the level of the town of Étel and that of Plouhinec.

At the mouth of the Ria is the bar of Étel, a shoal of underwater sand formed by the crossing of the currents and whose position is variable. This bar makes navigation difficult. A semaphore is built in 1960, on the Plouhinec side, in order to safely guide sailors towards the entrance to the ria.



There is a nice museum of Tuna fishing that better call ahead to make sure is open, a great fish market, and a wonderful SNSM volunteer lifeguard station that I am involved with especially those in Honfleur Normandy. More on this later in the month.




While we were there today ,there was a antique car collectors meeting and voilà so my wonderful Mustang (Ford) my brand of car and my favorite all time car (used to own one too but too expensive in France now).  There was a nice Harley-Davidson motocycle and a super Auburn Super Charged !! Also, some fund raising going on inside the old covered market now use for events as well.







We did our usual driving and went to see the super change updated Pont Lorois in Belz now much better to go over it and over the oyster and mussel beds of the Riviera of Etel!

pont lorois

The town of Etel, was grand and even saw a buddy from work that lives there! The town is very picturesque with a beautiful marina and nice quaint restos . One resto brought a bit of tears as it was frequent there with my dear late wife Martine and we love it, the Le Cha qui Pêche at the harbor area or Le Port.




Talking about the the Harbor well here you can get cruising to the river up stream and into the islands outside on the Atlantic with the company Navix.  More on their webpage in French: Navix on Etel


Another nice afternoon in my gorgeous Morbihan, and now ready to tackle the job in the house tomorrow and later in the evening see the quarter final match of Spain vs Nigeria for the women U20 World Cup 2018 been played in nearby Concarneau!Aupa España ::) Stay tune!!!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Etel

The harbor of Etel

Dept 56 Morbihan tourism on Etel

Hope you enjoy your Summer wherever you are. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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August 14, 2018

Cathedral St Pierre et St Paul , Nantes!

And I continue with my in depth tour, of things that I have posted before in a general sense of a city, I feel that they deserve a single entry on their own. So here I am with Nantes a wonderful city in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 part of the region of Pays de la Loire, but sentimentally attach to Bretagne/Brittany!

I like to tell you about a wonderful Church Cathedral with lots of architecture and history inside. You can always do search in my blog ot find more about Nantes. Here is the latest entry on the Cathedrale de Saint Pierre et Saint Paul.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul , has some remarkable features, such as the presence of a well inside the building. In the past, water was to be fetch from this well in the Cathedral. To build the base of the pillars, granite, sturdier and more resistant to moisture than the Tufa stone, was used. The black spots are not due to the fire of  1972 but to the upwelling of the water. .  St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral (also locally known as St. Peter’s Cathedral   It is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Nantes, seat of the  Bishop of Nantes.


The site would have been initially occupied by a Druidic temple dedicated to Janus or “Bouljanus. Subsequently, three Christian religious buildings preceded the present Cathedral on the same premises:  A basilica built in the 4C, A first Cathedral, built in the current of the century and a second Romanesque Cathedral, built in the 11C. The current Cathedral is built on the site of the latter, gradually absorbing it.


The construction of the present Cathedral is under the impetus of the Duke of Brittany Jean V and Bishop Jean de Malestroit, who lay the first stone in 1434. The central gate that adorns the façade is completed in 1481, for the great masses. King Henri IV crossed it in 1598, when she passed through Nantes to sign the Edict of Tolerance or Nantes.   If the façade was completed at the end of the 15C, the towers were only in 1508; The nave and the collateral were also done at the beginning of the 16C, but the Gothic vault of the nave, the southern arm of the transept and the buttresses were completed in the 17C .

NAntes Nantes

During the French revolution, the Cathedral was used as a military observation post at the Siege of Nantes in 1793. A 10-meters-high wooden tower is built on the south tower, and surveillance is ensured by means of a telescope. Military decisions are made based on the information obtained here. During this period, it was transformed into an arsenal and a stable, then a departmental decree of 1794 formally devotes it to the celebration of public feasts The cathedral is threatened with destruction in 1796, and it is envisaged to extend the Rue du Département (now Rue du Roi-Albert) straight line to the Rue Brutus ( now Rue Prémion) facing the castle. The intervention, as an expert, by Mathurin-Julien Grolleau, avoids the destruction of the Cathedral.

The demolition of the walls to the east of the city allowed the completion of the Cathedral in the 19C;: the north arm of the transept and the bedside were undertaken in 1840, the old Romanesque choir was shot down from 1876 and the old tower of the transept crusader in 1886. The Chandeliers of the nave are made around 1870. After 457 years of work, the Cathedral was finally inaugurated on 25 December 1891 by Mgr le Coq.

A bit of a description

The cathedral has the following dimensions:  A height:of 63 meters, interior mength: 103 meters; height of the nave under vaults: 37.5 meters. The facade of the Cathedral of Nantes is framed by two quite massive towers, at the top on the terrace. It presents some remarkable peculiarities, such as the presence of an external pulpit intended to preach to the crowds assembled on the square, or the organization in five gates to the richly decorated covings, three central and two lateral. The portals are dedicated, from north to south, to the affluent children (the Donatien and Rogatien martyrs), to Saint Peter, to the Last Judgement, to Saint Paul and finally to Saint Yves; The sculptures of the covings have a historiography function, depending on the character to which the portal is dedicated.

Nantes nantes

In the Crypt is an 11C Romanesque crypt dating from the time of the second Cathedral. Endowed with pillars, it reveals the origins of Romanesque architecture. Objects of worship are exhibited there: Ciboriums, chalices, censers. A Crypt of Bishops, evokes the Bishops of Nantes by their tomb. Below, four open rooms of the 19C retrace the history of the Cathedral. he great Organ the documents testify to the presence of an organ in the Cathedral as early as the 15C, when the building was erected. The organ at the origin of the present instrument is the work of Jacques Girardt for the central part and dates from 1619. Ordinary ceremonies are usually accompanied by the choir organ, also known as the “small organ”, which is nevertheless the largest accompaniment organ of France. Completed by Louis Debiere in 1897.

Nantes Nantes


A must to see inside the Cathedral of Nantes.

It is possible to admire the tomb and the recumbents of Duke Francis II of Brittany and his wife Marguerite de Foix (parents of Anne of Brittany) executed at the beginning of the 16C. Considered a masterpiece of French sculpture, it establishes a link between the eras (from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance) and the regions (the Italian style meets and harmoniously blends with the French style). This marble tomb, took five years to achieve (1502-1507), is decorated with the Twelve Apostles and four women who represent strength, prudence, temperance, and justice. It is installed in the Cathedral in 1817. The Cathedral also houses the Cenotaph of General de Lamoricière, a monument erected in 1878 in papal homage to the services rendered by this child of the wealthy country.


Nantes Nantes

Events of note with the Cathedral are

It is in front of the Cathedral, place Saint-Pierre, that Nicolas Fouquet was arrested by d’Artagnan on September 5, 1661 by order of king Louis XIV. After having built Vaux-le-Vicomte and after some accusations of mishandling of money and jealousy

This monument is served by line 4 of the Busway de Nantes at the station “Foch-Cathedral” in public transport. More here:

OR Parking Cathedrale at Rue Sully, Parking here:

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and visit is a must to this wonderful Cathedral are

There you go, do visit this city ,you will be glad and do come over the West always better ::)

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





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August 12, 2018

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Nantes!

And I come to the ultimate history of Nantes. A unique place that is a must if only one this is it while in Nantes. I have long stories on it but just will tell you one. I will be telling you about the Château des Ducs de Bretagne or the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany.


Wait a minute! have I been telling you Nantes is not in Brittany but in Pays de la Loire region? yes officially indeed. This is an issue locally and many Bretons still considered it part of their region not just the castle but most of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 if not all. Historically, it was until the French revolution, what else!  My first encounter with this region or is it other region was on a touristic visit from my home in Versailles to the city of Nantes and obviously we saw the castle first. This was back in 2003/4 thereabouts. I was a bit shock to realized that it was call the castle of the Dukes of Brittany a duchy but was not in Brittany!! Give it to French geography and the National intention to hide the many differences in their regions and people. One reason the  French pages now says Castle of Nantes ::)

I will go on with the tourist part as always.  I have written before in my blog of course, always mix in with visits to Nantes. However, again, these places deserves a minimum of one blog post on their own, so here I go.

The castle of the Dukes of Brittany is an architectural ensemble located in Nantes, consisting of a 15C rampart and various buildings built from the 14C to the 18C after being ducal residence under Duke Francis II and Duchess Anne, the castle became a Royal fortress, seat of the governor of Nantes and Royal prison, then barracks from the 18C. Now owned by the city of Nantes in 1915, the château has been used for tourist and museum use since 1924, from 1990 to 2007, the castle has benefited from a large renovation and is from the seat of a new museum dedicated to the history of Nantes. As a result of the transformation of the urban community into Metropolis, the castle becomes a metropolitan property in 2015.

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Location and transport to the castle in town: The Castle is bordered to the north and west by rue Prémion, Place Marc-Elder and the Rue des Etats; to the east by the place Duchess Anne; to the south by the cours John Kennedy, which until the 1930’s was an arm of the Loire loire, known as the arm of the hospital. The castle was indeed at the edge of the Loire river, which feed its moat; close to castle, on the town side, was the port Maillard (the present Allée du Port-Maillard) and the suburb side, the Quai de Richebourg (the current allée Commandant Charcot). The castle, located on the first line of bus in 1826, on the first tramway line in 1879, and is currently served by line 1 of the tramway and line 4 of the Busway of Nantes at the station Duchess Anne-Château des Ducs de Bretagne.

A bit of history I like:

From 1207, Guy de Thouars, a widower of Constance, Duchess of Brittany and in this title regent of the duchy, built the first castle called “de la Tour Neuve” at the foot of the Gallo-Roman ramparts of the city then circumscribed to the present district of Bouffay, replacing the Château du Bouffay. During the second half of the 14C, the Chastel de la Tour Neuve  was enlarged by Jean IV of Brittany, who built several granite polygonal towers. The tower known as the  Vieux Donjon (Old Dungeon) is the only vestige of this epoch that remains in the 21C. In 1466, François II of Brittany decided to rebuild the castle. The new castle will be both the main residence of the ducal court and a military fortress capable of withstanding the royal power. Courtyard side by a residential palace of white tufa with refined facades,  the great government, the Golden Crown Tower, the Grand Logis ((le Grand Gouvernement, la tour de la Couronne d’Or, le Grand Logis)  and, on the city side, by seven massive towers of shale and granite connected by curtains and 500 meters of rounded road. On the death of François II in 1488, his daughter, Anne of Brittany, was the  queen of France from 1491 to 1514, by her two successive marriages, with Charles VIII and Louis XII, and  resumed the work. It also reinforces the fortress, on the Loire side, by building the Horseshoe Tower (tour du Fer à Cheval), an impressive artillery bastion. In 1514, the castle returned to her daughter Claude, who was married to king François I. To house the royal family, he enriched himself with a new Renaissance-style building: le Logis du Roy, now known as the small government (petit gouvernement).  In 1532, the castle became Royal property on the occasion of the Union of Brittany to France.


Under the Dukes Claude de France, François III and Henri, François I of France was a beneficiary of the duchy. Under its impulse and during the 16C and 17C, the castle is chosen as Breton residence of the kings of France.

Thus, from 1582, in a context of wars of religion, the Duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany, reinforces the defences of the castle. Anxious to protect the city from the Protestant attacks from Poitou, he built an artillery terrace and two defence works in the form of a spur, called bastions. The latter are equipped with terraces to receive the cannons. In the 21C, these transformations were no longer visible until the North Bastion and the curtain of the Levant( la Courtine du Levant) Mercœur had its emblems affixed.

On April 30, 1598, king Henri IV stayed at the castle when he came to the city for the signature of the Edict of Nantes. The signature of the famous edict will not, however, be done at the castle, but according to a popular tradition, in the House of Turrets (Maison des Tourelles) , a building which was located at the quai de la Fosse and was destroyed during WWII, during a bombardment on the city

Cardinal Richelieu proceed with the militarization of the terraces of the entrance towers. Since that time the stained glass and the walls of the chapel bear the Cardinal’s arms. The building begins its function as a prison for prestigious detainees. In 1654, the Cardinal Retz, leader of the Fronde, escapes from the castle where he was detained.

On September 5, 1661, when the court was gathered in the castle de Ducs de Bretagne king Louis XIV for the States of Brittany. The Superintendent Nicolas Fouquet was arrested by D’Artagnan, who led a detachment of Grey musketeers. Nicolas Fouquet is led to the castle of Angers where he will be locked up for some time.

In 1911, while it is a property of the state, an agreement between the Ministry of War and the municipality allows to exchange the castle against the ensemble Convent of the Visitation- for the barracks Bedeau belonging to the city, and which already houses a regiment of artilleries. In 1924, there was a municipal museum dedicated to decorative arts, completed after the war, new rooms containing the collections of the Museum of regional Folk Art, then the Museum of Salorges were house there.

The principal architecture points , brief.

The main entrance, located at Place Marc-Elder, the vulnerable point of the fortress, has a harrow and two doors protected by rocking drawbridges (a large one for the passage of carts and riders, a smaller one for the passage of men on foot), Which were recently restored during the restoration of the castle. The two other historic fortified entrances, less well known, are the poterne de la Loire, on the south facade of the castle, built by Anne of Brittany between 1491 and 1494, and the pont de Secours on the north façade. These two entrances were also returned to service during the restoration work.

The towers of the du Pied-de-Biche and the la Boulangerie . These twin Towers date from 1466, the Tower of the Jacobins: so named because it faced the convent of the same name, it is sometimes called the English tower, because it was used to imprison English soldiers during the 18C. The tower of the old dungeon( tour du Vieux Donjon). : the only visible vestige of the castle called the new tower (la Tour Neuve), and the tour du Port, la tour de la Rivière ,and tour du Fer à Cheval.

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The Campanile: Located on the moat side, this campanile bristling, with an arrow and a lantern, overlooks the entrance to the courtine de la Loire : built between 1491 and 1494 by Anne of Brittany, this part of the ramparts protected the castle from the river side. It is pierced by an entrance originally closed by a harrow, which was used to discreetly exit the castle and allow some visitors to arrive by water. Crenellated, it is adorned with gargoyles and machicolations adorned with the F of François I.

On the interior courtyard of the Castle you can see ,the Grand logis, Tour de la Couronne d’Or connects the Grand Logis to the Grand Gouvernement: This building body, formerly called the Ducal Palace, was rebuilt by order of king Louis XIV following a fire. It is now called the Grand Gouvernement , in remembrance of the governor of Brittany Charles de la Porte, duke of Meilleraye, who decides to settle there in the 17C. The destroyed part were in May 25 1800 due to a violent explosion, triggered by the collapse of a rotten floor on which were stored three tons of powder, and destroyed the tower of the Spaniards (tour des Espagnols) , the building of the king’s Lieutenant (Lieutenant du Roi) as well as the Chapel and the archive Room(salle des archives,), which were in the extension of the Grand Gouvernement.   The Petit Gouvernement was done in Renaissance style, it keeps its chimneys of brick and slate original. Built on the orders of François I, it serves as the Logis du Roi (his bedrooms) during its stays in Nantes. You have the Concierge here it was built in the early 18C to house the lieutenant of the King ( Lieutenant du Roi) and then the offices of the arsenal. It became the concierge of the château in 1924 during the transformation of the site into a museum. The harnessing(Harnachement) ;this building houses temporary exhibitions.


The current museum brings together the collections of several previous museums such as the Museum of the Arts and Popular Traditions ,Museum of the Salorges ,Museum of the Loire-Lower archaeological Museum of Nantes, Museum of the Image , and the Museums of the castle of Joseph Stany-Gauthier to Daniel Samson.

Currently,the Museum of History of Nantes ( Musée d’histoire de Nantes) occupies 32 rooms of the renovated castle with a portrait of the city in seven large sequences is presented to the public such as the Castle, Nantes and Brittany from antiquity until the 17C; Nantes, daughter of the river and the ocean; Trading and Black gold in the 18C; Nantes in Revolution; A Colonial and industrial port (1815-1940); The new form of a city (1940-1990); An Atlantic metropolis, today and tomorrow.

The creation of a complete circuit of the ramparts, the setting up of a first access by the moat and a second by a footbridge, the arrangement of a garden in the moat, the night lighting participate in the rebirth of the Castle. The 500 meters of round road on the fortified ramparts offer viewpoints on the castle, the courtyard, the moats, but also on the city: the LU Tower, the location of the Arms of the Loire river which bathed the castle before the attics of the 1930’s , St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Bouffay district. Night lighting values the site in its architectural complexity within the urban fabric. At the main entrance by the sleeping Bridge, a warm, orange light gushes from the inside at the level of the curtains. In the garden of the moat, the illumination of the counter-escarpment gives a darker light. On the southern façade, a moving light glides over the imposing wall..An event to be there at night. See first for hours.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here ,and you must , are

Official site Chateau de Nantes

Tourist office of Nantes on castle museum

Tourist office of Loire Atlantique on the castle museum

Region of Pays de la Loire on the castle/museum

There you go, you are all set for a wonderful stay in Nantes and the Castle Museum of Nantes (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany). Enjoy it

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



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August 12, 2018

Basilica of Saint Nicolas at Nantes!

On the continuation of sunny hot days let me take you closer to me in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the region of Pays de la Loire from which many still think it is in Bretagne/Brittany. I take you to a dear city many times visited, the wonderful Nantes.

In while we are in this great city of the West of France, let me tell you a bit more on one of its monuments. The Basilica of Saint Nicolas or Basilique de Saint Nicholas, a great building and one of the sights to see while in Nantes.


Of course, I have written on Nantes several posts but not on the Basilica alone and it deserves a separate post so here I go. You can do search in my blog and find all the other posts on Nantes and al.

The Basilica of St. Nicholas dates from the 19C. The construction started in 1844 and lasted 25 years. It took no less than 15 years to erect the bell tower. The builders were faced with difficulties due to the narrowness of the terrain. They had to make an exception to the tradition, which meant that all the Catholic buildings should be oriented eastward, towards the Rising Sun, which represented the risen Christ. The Basilica of St. Nicholas has the peculiarity to be on a north-south axis. The Church is made of granite and stones. Its architecture is neo-Gothic style. The basilica is accessible by a door located on the right side, when you are behind, rue de Feltre. It is one of the two basilicas of the city, with the Basilica of Saint-Donatien-et-Saint-Rogatien

The Catholic webpage for it is here:




A bit of history I like

A Chapel or small Church branch is erected between the second half of the 11C and the end of the 12C. The hypothesis of a construction before 1186, based on the existence of a “cemetery Saint-Nicolas”, mentioned that year. At that time, the area was part of the Saint-Similien parish. In 1226, Pierre I of Brittany launched the construction of an enclosure that encompasses the Saint-Nicolas district.

At the beginning of the 18C, with the fortifications deteriorating, the Duke Francis I renovated the walls and rebuilt the Porte Saint-Nicolas (at the junction between the current  rue de l’Arche Séche and the rue  du Commander-Boulay). At the same time, the Church of St. Nicholas is the subject of renovations. Its name is mentioned for the first time on a document of 1444. The before mentioned renovation  lasts between 1766-1772 is thus the final touch to the old building which has three naves separated by a large pillar. The bedside is flat. Its apse was located at the site of the present Rue Affre, and it could be accessed from the south from the place Félix-Fournier. The main entrance is to the south, via a porch, located at the level of the current place Félix-Fournier. The church always presents its monumental stained glass and its ornate altar.  The construction of the present church ranges from 1844 (laying of the first stone) to 1869 (blessing of the building) on a confined ground which obliges it to be oriented on a north-south axis, and not east-west as the Christian tradition would like. The Church is built in granite of the region, as well as in hard stones and tufa of Touraine. It is erected in minor Basilica on October 26, 1882 by Pope Leo XIII.

The Basilica Church is severely damaged during the allied bombardment of September 16, 1943 which affects the whole district , including part of the Place Royale, nearby, and the rue de Calvaire that runs along the north.  The war ended, the reconstruction site began in 1953 and lasted until 1974.

A brief description on the architecture by an amateur enthusiast , me.

The Basilica consists of four buildings: the porch tower, the nave of the faithful, the transept and the bedside composed of five radiant chapels. The bedside is therefore polygonal. The nave is of eight spans including those of the transept, the choir is composed of six bays, three of which are for the chapels of the apse. The roofs of the basilica are in Saddleback except the bell tower which is equipped with an arrow roof.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this wonderful monument are

A modern look at Nantes tourism in English:

Some info on the region Pays de la Loire in English:

Nantes is very easy to come from Paris as it is linked by airport and train station TGV and there is a wonderful airport express bus connecting the airport with the train station and the rest can be done on foot or a tramway! Enjoy the vist to the city of the  Dukes of Brittany oops!

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



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