Archive for ‘Europe’

April 17, 2021

KIO is Puerta de Europa ! Madrid of course!!

And here I am updating this older post of my beloved Madrid. Well of course, if you read my blog you know me and Madrid. However, most folks guided by tourist guides go to the Centro or center area of  Madrid which is loaded with tourist hangouts waiting for you. I have said and I do, go out into the regular living, know the country, the city , the people and you will see nice monuments too. This is the case at the Puerta de Europe or Europe’s Gate and the KIO buildings. Let me tell you about them ,and hope you enjoy as I.

I am trying to remember my memories and have plenty so hard to choose as they all look sentimental. Getting to write about Madrid is easy for me, my favorite city. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!  So you all go to the Centro, old city center by now overrun with visitors; visitors are good don’t get me wrong, they are needed and all around like it. It is just that after a while, it becomes so so visited that the locals starts cooking, painting and showcasing just for the visitors and not the local modes. So I always said get out from the center and see the city,it will amazed you.

I am taking you up north along Paseo de la Castellana to lovely Plaza de Castilla (Castile square) in the Chamartin district. And here you have a wonderful architecturally done buildings and art centers and a huge local transport hub. It is one of my hangouts in Madrid and we love to shop by it, especially the gourmet grocery store of Sanchez Romero (many branches in Madrid) at Castellana 196 not far on right hand side to Plaza de Castilla.

The two towers that are located in Plaza de Castilla, and that make up the so-called Puerta de Europa (gates of Europe) , are commonly known as Torres Kio because they were promoted by the Kuwaiti company Kio (Kuwait Investments Office).  The two buildings are located on either side of the Paseo de la Castellana, the main artery of the center north of Madrid, on the northern edge of the Plaza de Castilla, in the Chamartín district., and across from the Centro de Arte Fundación Isabel Canal II  Paseo de la Castellana, 214 ( a foundation for arts center name after queen Isabell II water chanel). webpage: https://www.fundacioncanal.com/la-visita/

The buildings are two inversely symmetrical towers inclined towards each other, 15 degrees with respect to the vertical one, and were the first inclined skyscrapers of the world. The skyscrapers have a height of 114 meters and twenty-six floors, and are visible several km away from Madrid, given their situation in one of the highest heights of the city. They are the first towers voluntarily inclined in the world. The construction of the towers began in 1989, but due to a series of financial difficulties, it interrupted for several years and ended only in 1996.  On a total surface of 2 340 m2 of floor, the towers consist of a steel structure covered with glass curtain walls totalling a surface of 32 864 m2 for a height of 114 meters.(about 376 ft)   Each building has four elevators, the first two of which serve floors 1 to 13 and the next two floors 13 to 27. These are the second highest twin towers in Spain, after those located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

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The tower that has the top of the logo of Bankia is called Puerta de Europa I, whereas the other one, with the logo of Realia, is known as Puerta de Europa II. To avoid confusion the first has a heliport painted in blue and the second in red. KIO towers, at that time in construction, are one of the scenarios where the film is developed The Day of the Beast (El Dia de la Bestia) by Alex de la Iglesia.

Around the plaza you will see the obelisk of Calatrava itself 92 meters high (304 ft) ,and 6 meters in diameter (19.8 ft).  the monument of Calvo Sotelo, a huge sculpture of the Spanish jurist and politician, built in 1959 in memory of the assassination that was one of the sparks of  the Spanish civil war. The area is one of the main bus terminals in Madrid, above ground many local buses have a stop here, and underground you have buses to nearby cities and inter province service. You reach it on metro Plaza de Castilla ,lines 1,9,10.

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The Madrid tourist office on the KIO towers at Puerta de Europa in the Plaza de Castillahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/torres-kio-puerta-europa

The Bankia bank story on the Kio towers in Spanish: https://www.bankia.com/es/30-aniversario-torres-kio/

Hope you enjoy this trip out from the tourist center and be encourage to see more of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 16, 2021

Museo de América of Madrid!!!

Again updating and again memories flashing in my beloved Madrid! So much of my life centered around this city, I guess more than any other. If life could had made me lived here forever, oh well we will go on with the memories of always. This one was one I came in a class trip as a young boy, and then stop. Later in life came with the family for a memorable visit! Hope you enjoy as I ,the Museo de América of Madrid!

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This is a dandy to visit. I was glad to visit with the family . I really was missing something beautiful ,educational, historical, architecturally inspiring a real museum of real facts and events. I love it!  I am talking about the Museum of Americas or Museo de América up Calle de la Princesa ,right past the Faro de Moncloa (see post) on a hilly area just behind the lighthouse tower or Faro de Moncloa. The wonderful Museo de América, a museum on all Spain relates to Latin America and our cultures.

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The Museum of America or Museo de América is a national museum  is dependent on the Ministry of Culture. There are exhibited collections of art, archaeology and ethnology of America (Latin) since pre-Columbian times to present  times. The idea of collecting such collections, envisaged since the time of Cardinal Cisneros, was concretized by government law of 1941 ; the works, which began in 1943 , finished  in 1954. Once the institution was established , the collection that was exhibited in rooms of the National Archaeological Museum were transferred to its definitive location in 1962.  The works kept at the museum are of various origins. They are made up of donations, legacies and progressive acquisitions, and essentially of collections formerly deposited in the National Museum of Archaeology. Until 1868, these works were stored at the National Museum of Natural Sciences. In 1771, king Charles III had founded a Royal Cabinet of Natural History, containing objects from the first archaeological excavations and scientific expeditions. This small collection is the original nucleus of the museum.

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The collections cover a period extending from prehistoric times to the present day; The essentials, however, consist of pieces of pre-Columbian archaeology, ethnography and colonial art. They bring together more than 25 000 objects.  Through a magnificent collection of pre-Columbian objects (such as those coming from Peru and Guatemala), from the Colonial era (Andean schools and the Viceroyalty of New Spain), and from the contemporary indigenous peoples (from the North west Coast to Amazonas), and using an anthropological discourse, presided over by respect for all cultures, the Museum of America offers the possibility of stopping at the many objects, texts and images that have spread for centuries realities and inventions on America. In this way it is possible to recognize how their peoples and cultures evolved through more than 12,000 years of history, how their models of society were articulated, how it was their contribution to the world of religion, and what instruments they used to communicate with each other.

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The permanent exhibition is organized in five parts:

Knowledge of America: This space seeks to present the way in which the knowledge of the American continent and its peoples has been built in Europe, through the exhibition of the myths that once spread over the New World, Chronicles, Expeditions and mapping.

The Reality of America: This part is intended to be a presentation of the settlement of America from the original migrations to the development of the different indigenous cultures, presented chronologically.

Society: this part evokes the existence of the various American societies: Tribal Societies and complex societies. It is treated daily life, through housing, the economy, the organization of society, the power.

Religion: in this space are exposed the main deities, as well as myths and sacred places, rites, objects of worship,… This part is equally interested in the religions of the United States and the Catholic religion, established by the Europeans.

Communication: Here, the exhibition focuses on the development of written and oral communication in America. It is based on Codex, but also on native languages and Spanish.

The exhibition of objects of art or archaeology are complemented by audiovisual presentations.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must I said!

The Madrid tourist office on the Museo de Americahttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-de-america

The official Museo de Americahttps://museomadrid.com/museo-de-america/

The Ministry of Culture and Sports of Spain on the Museo de Americahttp://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/museodeamerica/el-museo.html

Hope you have enjoy this brief description and encourages you to come over to the Museum of America. You will be glad to know more about my beloved Spain and the people of Hispanic America.

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

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April 16, 2021

Gare de Lyon of Paris!!

This one I will update for you and me. A memorable train station for its restaurant and our trip east as well as my boys school trips to skiing sites.  The venerable gare de Lyon or Paris-Lyon train station ,hope you enjoy the post as I.

In France as in most of Europe , public transport is a must many times, usually forced by work. This is a bit different as we have used it for travel leisure time too. Let me tell you a bit about the Gare de Lyon of Paris.  I have come thru it for business trips to Geneva, Basel, and Zurich, as well as my sons going on ski school trips. It is a very nice station and something inside worth coming to even if not traveling on the train…

The Gare de Lyon is also a train station of the RER network of Île-de-France. It is located in the 12éme arrondissement or district of Paris, mainly in the neighborhood or quartier of Quinze Vingts ; however, the southeast of the tracks and quays being located in the neighborhood of Bercy. It is the third station of Paris by its traffic , and a train station of main lines ensuring the service of a large southeast quarter of France and intermediate regions. Gare de Lyon is the head of the TGV line to the southeast of France. I have taken it for business trips to Geneva,Basel and Zurich. It is also, a Transilien train station making the service of the southeast of the Parisian region with the line R of the Transilien (lines Paris-Montereau via Héricy, Paris-Montereau via Fontainebleau and Moret and finally Paris-Montargis). An underground station, common to the RATP and the SNCF, is located under the Rue de Bercy. It is part of the RER A and D lines and offers a correspondence with lines 1 and 14 of the Metro. The main entrance, on the Place Louis-Armand , is on the Rue de Lyon, which leads towards the Place de la Bastille, and on the boulevard Diderot. This station is distinguished by its belfry, a square tower of 67 meters and with clock dials on its four sides.

In my business trips, couple times had to stay overnight there and use the wonderful next door Mercure hotel. Webpage: https://all.accor.com/hotel/2217/index.en.shtml

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A bit of history I like

The Lyon Pier has been operating since 1847. It is officially open to the public on August 12, 1849 under the name of “Paris Railway Pier” in Montereau . The PLM company was unflattered to arrive in front of the new Prison Mazas. It hoped to be able to go to the Place de la Bastille. The route was used for the creation of the Rue de Lyon. With the increase in rail traffic and the ramp-up of PLM, this pier has been expanded on many occasions. In 1855 as terminus of the lines of the railway company of Paris to Lyon . This train station is built on a 6 to 8 meters land lift to protect it from the floods of the Seine. It comprises only five lanes covered by a large hall of 220 meters and wide of 42 meters. A portico, spanning the entrance of the courtyard of the arrival, on the right, connected the station proper to a central administration building on the side, building X overlooking the Boulevard Mazas. This station was partially destroyed by a fire in the commune of Paris in 1871 and rebuilt in identical fashion.

In 1900, travellers visiting the Universal Expo in Paris arrived at a new 13-lane Gare de Lyon, inaugurated on 6 April 1901, by Émile Loubet, President of the French Republic. It now has a façade on the place Diderot (present place Louis-Armand) and a high clock tower of 67 meters, covered with a zinc dome. Each side of the bole, of square section, is 8.5 meters wide; The cube of the clock measures 10 meters on the side. We climb to the top by a staircase of 400 steps. The monumental clock is from Paul Garnier with four dials of 6.4 meters in diameter and a surface of 140 m2 of stained glass. The Roman brass numerals are hand-painted and measure one meter high. The needles are aluminum; The big ones weighs 38 kg and measures 4 meters while the small weighs 26 kg and measures about 3 meters. The dials were illuminated from the inside by 250 oil spouts, until 1929. They were replaced by electric lighting, modernised in 2005 by the company Bode .It was stop due to the storm of 26 December 1999, and restarted on 15 February 2005 (with its original mechanism, modernized by a system of Motorization and synchronisation on the hourly signal transmitted by the transmitter of Allouis of France Inter on large waves.

This clock tower was thus restored twice: in 1948, then in 2005. The passengers of 1900 also discover the first line of the Parisian subway, which serves the station. The 13 tracks of the station put into service in 1900 corresponded to the current “letter” lanes. The “figure” lanes, located at the end of the ticket room, are added later, and were originally used only for trains departing from Gare de Lyon. The building evolves little until the 1960’s, the decade in which is built the line RER A network of Île-de-France. The facade on the Rue de Bercy and the Halle Bercy are destroyed; A suburban railway station (now RER D station) and, below, the RER A train station (inaugurated in December 1977) are dug. The creation of a new canopy of more than 4 400 m2 is also done, in order to house shops and services.

A bit on the description and architecture

In the SNCF Gare de Lyon station, at the top of the columns, are the coats of arms of the cities served. In the wicket room, the large fresco spans a hundred meters parallel to the letter lanes, showing, on a continuous basis, the main destinations accessible by train from the station, to the Côte d’Azur and the city of Menton. On the first floor, by the grand Staircase, is the mythical restaurant style Second Empire, the Train Blue , as well as its bar le Big Ben. The blue Train is a gastronomic restaurant of neo-Baroque style and Belle epoque of the 1900’s. This is a must to try, lovely. webpage: https://www.le-train-bleu.com/en/

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Some on the transports choices from it and within it

From Gare de Lyon Station originates many TGV running the high-speed south-east line and its extensions (LGV Rhône-Alpes, LGV Méditerranée and LGV Rhine-Rhône), it is, by the number of travelers, one of the first SNCF stations, and the first for large traffic Lines. The TGV to the southeast of France and the intermediate regions, as well as five neighbouring countries (Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and, Germany). The Gare de Lyon is served by two lines of the RER network (A and D), in a underground station sit under the Rue de Bercy, against the main station.

The Gare de Lyon train station is in line with the metro station Gare de Lyon of lines 1 and 14. The station of Line 1 is located under Boulevard Diderot , opposite the line 14 and the underground station (RATP and SNCF) located under the Rue de Bercy. In addition, the metro station Quai de la Rapée, located in place Mazas, on the banks of the Seine, at 600 meters, is accessible by exiting the station and taking the street. It is also possible to walk to the Gare d’Austerlitz station (ten minutes walk), the rue Van-Gogh, then the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. The station is served by Bus lines 20, 24, 29, 57, 61, 63, 65, 87 and 91 of the RATP network, as well as line 4 of the Direct Bus to/from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. Finally, at night, it is served by the lines N01, N02, 11, 16, N31, N32, N33, N34, N35, N130, N131, N132 and N134 of the Noctilien bus network. There is a nice car park Parking Urbis Paris Lyon at 193 rue de Bercy , you can come in by two in and outs entries such as at 56 Quai de la Rapée and 193 Rue de Bercy.

And anecdotes inside of it.  The Gare de Lyon station served as a setting for many films, including: A final scene of the Crossing of Paris (1956) between Gabin and Bourvil; Two scenes from the film The Man of Rio (1964) by Philippe de Broca; and a scene from the film La Grande Vaudrouille (1966) by Gérard Oury, actually play at the Gare de l’Est.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and passage by here are:

The SNCF gare and connections on the Gare de Lyon: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frply/paris-gare-lyon

The Paris tourist office on the Gare de Lyon: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73400/Gare-de-Lyon

The Oui SNCF official train site on public transports connections and else on the Gare de Lyon : https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris/paris-gare-de-lyon

A good unofficial webpage on the exclusively the Gare de Lyon: https://www.garedelyon.fr/

Now you are all set to know and come in and out of the Gare de Lyon. Another nice architectural monument of Paris. Holding many nice memories for us especially coming to get our boys from their school vacations to the Alps.

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

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April 16, 2021

Gare du Nord of Paris!

Oh yes, this is the most busy train station in Paris at least until the latest figures of 2019. As it happened, even if known to be a road warrior all over Europe, you bet yours that I have taken plenty of public transports from trams, bus, and trains, even a grand voyageur frequent train traveler! yes! One of the train station I have gone thru is the Paris-Nord or Gare du Nord of Paris. Let me update this older post on this emblematic station of Paris.

At the time of writing this post in my blog, we were fully into Summer ! Plenty of hot weather in August around my belle France rising as much as 37C in the south, while we were at 33C in sunny Morbihan Breton! This is hot but it is ,also, a time to say farewell to collegues who take vacation earlier.  While, I will tell you a bit about one of the train stations in Paris, and one used often by me on my trips to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam for business. I have gone to all those cities by car with the family as well.  Oh yes , written posts on transportation in Paris but not on this train station in specific, talking about the Gare du Nord. The North station or Paris-Nord. My first encounter with it was circa 2011 on a business trip to Olen near Anvers! I went from Nord to Midi in Brussels where tired of the train rented a car to get to Olen lol!

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A bit of history I like:

The Gare du Nord station as we know it was opened to the public on April 19, 1864, in the 10éme arrondissement of Paris. It replaces a first station, inaugurated on 14 June 1846, a pier of the north railway  which was then the second Parisian station after Saint-Lazare (see post). The line was opened with the Northern Railway Company  on the north line to LIlle, it covered 12 000m ² and serves only two lanes, one for arrivals, the other for departures;  the structure of the building remained  almost  the same today. The large Universal exhibitions of 1854, 1889 and 1900 have been opportunities for expansion work, which are also needed by the strong growth of its attendance. For the 1889 and 1900 Universal exhibitions, the number of  tracks increased from 13 to 18.

The most notable changes were  in 1906, with the arrival of the Metro (line 4); In the years 1950 and 1960, with the electrification of the tracks, between 1977 and 1983, with the titanic site of the underground station dedicated to the suburbs, in 1993 and 1994, with the arrival of high speed train with the TGV Nord and the Eurostar. June 1996: Commissioning of the Thalys, connecting Paris with Amsterdam via Brussels; 12 July 1999: Inauguration of the E line of the RER and the station of Magenta; 1998 to 2002: Operation Gare du Nord station exchanges. The Gare du Nord , also known as the Paris-Nord, is the Parisian head of the railway network serving the north of France, as well as the neighboring countries. Because of the proximity of Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, it has always possessed a marked international vocation, before its regional traffic has developed strongly.

It is, with an endowment of thirty-two lanes at the quays  since 1993, of which four underground, the station Gare du Nord occupies, in France, the first place in traffic. On this set, from west to east, track 2 (track 1 has been removed) is located between the Post Office building and the Eurostar-controlled area, four customs lanes reserved for the Eurostar service, 15 lanes for Thalys services, main lines ( TGV and Intercité) and TER Hauts-de-France, seven lanes for services in the northern suburbs of Île-de-France (line H and line K of the Transilien Network), and under the latter a underground station consisting of four lanes used by the traffic of lines B and D of the RER. The trench extending north of the establishment has fourteen lanes, four of which are destined for suburban traffic alone. There are four underground lanes under the latter, heading towards the underground station and beyond, to the interconnected lines of the suburbs, apart from Japan is the world’s first station in terms of traffic. It remains to be seen with the Brexit how the traffic will continue as the loads from the UK were huge.

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Now let me tell you a bit on the architecture.

The Roman-inspired façade is organized around a central pavilion forming a triumphal arch framed by two smaller pavilions. It is characterized by the use of large blocks of stone. The façade is adorned with twenty-three statues ordered from thirteen eminent sculptors of the time, representing the main cities served by the company the most majestic statues, which crown the building, are 5.50 meters high are of international renown. National destinations, represented by statues placed on the facade and less high, of only 4 meters. The statue of Paris, naturally is at the summit top of the façade.

And about all those transport options here

Transports by here are the metro station Gare du Nord, where lines 4 and 5 pass, which also serve the Paris-East (Gare de l’Est station) (see post).  Since the 1990’s, a connecting corridor connects the underground station to the metro station La Chapelle of line 2. On the surface and in the bus station you can find the buses: Lines 26, 30, 31, 35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 48, 54, 56, 65, 302, 350 and the OpenTour tourist line of the RATP bus network; and the lines N01, N02, 14, N43, N44, N140 and N143 of the Noctilien night time network. These due to current times of the covid needs to be verify when trying to use them.

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Some artsy things inside the Gare du Nord

Several works of literature have as a setting this station as well as several films were shot at the station. A couple I remember are the 2001: The Fabulous Fate of Amélie Poulard of Jean-Pierre Jeunet; and the  2004: Ocean Twelve by Steven Soderbergh. Some scenes from the police television series Quai n ° 1, aired on French TV channel FR2  between 1997 and 2006, were shot in the station. As well coming up in several older songs.

The Gare du Nord station will triple in volume by 2023, from the perspective of the 2024 Olympics. And, world premiere, a 1 km trail will be installed on its rooftops for the benefit of all athletes. It was with the Auchan Group (Ceetrus) that the railway company finally chose to do the work for 600 million euros  invested to transform the station, by 2023. In the long run, the SNCF will only be a minority shareholder, while Ceetrus will be the majority shareholder for a period of 46 years. Remember that the Gare du Nord station is already the largest station in Europe. And it is not likely to lose its title since its surface will go from 36 000 m² to 110 000 m², i.e. a multiplication of spaces for travelers. Again, to be seen the impact on the Brexit.

It will be first of all, the creation of a single entrance, large loggia open on the forecourt, to the east of the historic station which gives access to an inner hall  of 300 meters long covered by a canopy. This path of light crosses the new building, guiding users to the departures of all destinations and serves the new activities, commercial, cultural, sporting and co-working. Existing surfaces are quintuplets. The interior façade of the Great Hall designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff in the 19C has been restored to its original state and becomes a masterful element of reception for travelers of the European main lines. A new departure terminal will be built and significantly increase the station. Thus the arrival and departure of the station will be distinct and improve the flow. The construction of footbridges above the existing lanes will allow the movement of those who leave while the arrivals leave the station by the quays. An expansion of the Eurostar terminal will also better meet the challenge of strengthening customs controls related to Brexit. If the original hall will overall remain the same, the entrance Transilien, with its glass walls, will be deeply transformed. This entry will indeed become a central “street” in the station, surmounted by a transparent roof, a passage of more than 300 meters by 18 meters wide, from where it should be easy to access the various quays: Eurostar, TGV, RER and Transilien. The station will be beautiful with a new façade, on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and direct access to the departure terminal.

And places to eat I have enjoyed over the years here are:

The hotel Terminus-Nord, facing the station, and its 1925 Art Deco-style restaurant was renovated. The Exki by the Eurostar area. By the Rue Dunkerque Le Zinc du Nord.  The Café du Nord at 19 rue de Dunkerque. Also, Costa Coffee at the level -1 hall of Londres. A couple for the memories just mentioned here were the Buffet and the L’étoile du Nord of Thierry Marx.

The city of Paris on Gare du Nord renovations: https://www.paris.fr/pages/un-protocole-d-accord-pour-la-modernisation-de-la-gare-du-nord-15922

The official SNCF on the Gare du Nord: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpno/paris-gare-du-nord

The region Ïle de France Transilien on the Gare du Nord: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/gare-de-paris-nord-8727103

The Paris tourist office on the Gare du Nord: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73398/Gare-du-Nord

You are now set to go, the Northern encounter to France is ready and will be even better soon. Enjoy the Gare du Nord of Paris, me waiting!

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

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April 15, 2021

The Aquarium of La Rochelle!!

Let me update this wonderful experience for all. We love the seas and aquariums are a bit of consolation to see these wonderful animals as our road warrior takes us we love to come to La Rochelle. PLenty written in my blog on the town and personal anecdotes , however, this time will tell you about the Aquarium of La Rochelle!

I usually just mention it on the run of a post on visiting a town, however, this is not just any aquarium. It is by the old port of La Rochelle, a town with many posts in my blog on visits by us. In our runs north south in France and into Spain we passed by La Rochelle until my son came to study here and told us about it. As so many things to see in our belle France , we went finally and love it; we came back to La Rochelle. One of the hightlights of the trip was going to this Aquarium by the harbor, very rustic and modern and from a real adventurer of the seas founder and now expert builder of aquariums all over the world. 

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The aquarium La Rochelle is located in department Charente-Maritime no 17,region of Nouvelle Aquitaine, opposite the old Port. Opened in 1988 on a surface of 8 445 m2, it exhibits 12 000 animals of 600 species spread between 75 pool tanks.  The aquarium originates from the fish collection of René Coutant, a manufacturer of aquariums, which he publicly exposes for the first time in 1972, with the help of his children Pascal and Roselyne with only a surface of 250 square meters. This aquarium is destroyed in a fire, on July 31, 1985.

The aquarium,is rebuilt near the marina of the Minimes, has 1 600 M2 and has 36 aquariums with a total volume of 550 000 liters; then the aquarium moves near the vieux port or  old port in 2001. On a surface of 8 445 m2, it comprises more than 12 000 marine animals of 600 different species distributed in 3 million liters of sea water aquariums, of which 1.5 million of liters is for the shark Basin.

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The tour is divided into sections such as

Salle Atlantique or Atlantic Hall. The first room presents the local species of the coasts of Charente-Maritime and the foreshore (cuttlefish, rays, soles, speckled seahorses, etc.).

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Salle Mediterranée or Mediterranean Room. This room presents fish, invertebrates and corals of the Mediterranean Sea (saupes fish, cardinal fish, red coral, etc.).

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Milieu Océanique or Ocean Environment ;an aquarium presents wildlife off the coast of Africa (Barracudas, jacks, guitar rays, etc).

Espace méduses or Jellyfish area. This space presents the jellyfish of tropical and temperate waters. Two aquariums also contain animal and plant plankton.

Salle Caraïbes or Caribbean Room. Five aquariums present species living in the Caribbean (diodes, angelfish, fish surgeons, etc.). A mangrove is also reconstituted on a terrarium.

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Salle Indo-Pacifique or Indo-Pacific Room. This aquariums feature various species of fish, invertebrates and corals that are cohabiting in the Great barrier reefs, Hawaiian archipelagos and the Red Sea. Three aquariums immersed in darkness also allow to observe the life of the Night Reef: bioluminescence, fluorescence and absorption of light. Finally, a last aquarium shows cuttings of corals.

L’Aquarium des requins or the aquarium of sharks .Bleachers are installed allowing to observe different species of sharks (fish saws, grey sharks, bulls, etc.) evolving in an aquarium.

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L’aquarium de l’amphithéâtre or the aquarium of the amphitheater presents benches of fish surgeons and jacks evolving among morays, a green turtle and a tortoise with scales. The amphitheatre behind the aquarium offers screenings of films.

La serre tropicale or the tropical greenhouse is the exit of the aquarium and takes place via a tropical greenhouse, consisting of three aquariums and a river with turtles.

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In all is a great nice family outing after a day seeing the beauty of the sea and the historical buildings in La Rochelle, a must visit. You can type La Rochelle in my search right hand column of my blog and see all the posts on the town.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Aquarium of La Rochellehttps://www.aquarium-larochelle.com/

La Rochelle tourist office on the aquariumhttps://www.holidays-la-rochelle.co.uk/museums-and-tourist-attractions/aquarium-la-rochelle

The city of La Rochelle on the aquariumhttps://www.larochelle.fr/annuaires/lieux/annuaire/aquarium-de-la-rochelle

Enjoy this great family outing good for all ages in beautiful La Rochelle.  The Aquarium is another dandy to visit with the entire family.

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

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April 15, 2021

Cathedral Saint Julien of Le Mans!!

And this is another dandy monument of my belle France. In my road warrior ways of course I have come to Le Mans and what a surprise to find this wonderful Cathedral Saint Julien. Let me update this older post on it and hope you enjoy as much as I

In my humble efforts to showcase the wonderful historical architecturally stunning places of my belle France, I come to you to a fabulous city and great Cathedral.  I admit that I came here for the 24hrs auto race and the museum, but once touch base with the city, I came back for more to see it up close and personal; it was fantastic.  I like to tell you about the Cathedral Saint Julien of Le Mans; it too, deserves a post of its own. The fortified city of Le Mans is in the Sarthe department 72 in the region of Pays de la Loire. The city has a great public transport system with bus, tramway, and a great train station direct with Paris which I have passed and do connections in it. By car, best underground parkings are Jacobins and pl de la République. The autoroute A11/A10 from Paris is the easiest if toll road or get on the A13 direction Rouen , go down on the A12 direction Rambouillet and there take the N12 direction Dreux continue until Alençon and there take the A28 to Le Mans for free.

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The first Cathedral was built in the 6C and the very famous Gothic choir was begun around 1220.  Let me tell you more of this Romanesque Cathedral Saint Julien.  The nave has five double spans. The vault is Gothic the vaults of the collateral have been rebuilt. The pillars are composed of half columns engaged on a quadrangular nucleus with balusters. The elevation has three levels: the large arcades, the triforium with alternately open and blind arches, the high windows. The large arcades are in a broken arch but the archivolt is distinguished from the Romanesque nave of the early 12C. The walls of the collateral are Romanesque. The first level is decorated with blind arches. The tower of the southern end of the transept dates from the middle of the 12C. The gate of the knights, name due to the relief of Samson recessed above. The window pierced above the gate also had a defensive role. The West façade. completed around 1110-1115, the two large buttresses were built around 1160 to counter support the vaults of the nave that did not originally exist; the pediment is bicolored (rousers/limestone) The large window has decorated archivolts falling on balusters.   The South gate of the nave. Although it can be counted among the portals of the first Gothic art, it retains the traditions of the Romanesque sculpture the roman Christ of the Apocalypse of Saint John, a novel theme par excellence. These stained glass windows are from the 12C: 2nd and 3rd Quarter: The window of Ascension; the cycle of Saint Etienne ;Saint Etienne lead out of the city been stoned, and Saint Gervais flogging as well as the gorging of Saint Protais.

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Moving on to the history and architecture.

The Cathedral of St. Julien is one of the largest buildings of the Gothic-Romanesque period of France and unique in the west of France. It is a medieval testament to the architectural style of the Gothic Angevin. Begun around 1060 by Bishop Wulgrin, it was completed in its current form around 1430. It houses the tombs of Saint Julien and Charles d’Anjou. Located on the Butte du Vieux-Mans( a hilly area of the city), the building has a tower culminating at 64 meters, making it the highest building in metropolitan area of Le Mans and dominating the country around Le Mans.  The Cathedral is located in the city center of Le Mans, on the Cité Plantagenet. It is surrounded by the Place de Cardenal Grente, the Place Saint-Michel , the Psalette and its gardens and below the Place du Jet d’Eau. It marks the end of the Grande Rue which is the main street of the Old Town.

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The cathedral has on its western flank a rare piece attesting to the ancient presence of megaliths. It is a sandstone menhir (standing stone) with a height of 4.55 meters. This menhir dates from prehistoric times and was installed in the Place Saint Michel in 1778, following the destruction of the Dolmen de la pierre en lait ( dolmen of the Stone with milk).

The Cathedral’s architecture combines two major arts: Romanesque art for the nave and Gothic art for the choir and transept. The stained-glass windows that adorn it are the symbol of this fusion of genres. The exterior length is of 134 meters, and the interior nave is of 57 meters. It is a true museum of the art of stained glass, the cathedral is home to the oldest stained-glass window on site, the window of Ascension.

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The large organs, located at the bottom of the south Cross of the transept, were carried out between 1529 and 1535 by the factor Pierre Bert in a Renaissance style buffet, designed and sculpted according to the instructions of Symon Hayeneufve. In 1634, the brothers Jean and François de Héman restored the organ, which then had 42 games. In 1848, the division of the narrative is enlarged and that of the crankset is reinforced by the brothers Claude who carry the number of games to 46. From 1959 to 1963, Pierre Chéron began a restoration the instrument was inaugurated by Gaston Litaize in 1974. It is again restored between 2016 and 2018.

It is well recommended to see it by yours truly and of course if in Le Mans impossible to missed it. Some of the webpages available to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Cathedral St Julien of Le Manshttps://www.cathedraledumans.fr/a-noter/visite-virtuelle-de-la-cathedrale/

The City of Le Mans on the Cathedral: https://www.lemans.fr/dynamique/des-idees-de-visite/les-monuments/la-cathedrale/

The Sarthe dept 72 tourist board on the Cathedral of Le Manshttps://www.sarthetourisme.com/patrimoine-culturel/cathedrale-saint-julien-le-mans-0

The Pays de la Loire tourist board on the Cathedral of Le Manshttps://www.atlantic-loire-valley.com/visits/religious-heritage/cathedrale-saint-julien-le-mans

Yes, this is Le Mans at its best in the Cathedral Saint Julien! Hope you have enjoy the post as much as we did. And remember ,happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 14, 2021

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims!!

And let me bring you back to the source of French monarchy and history of France. We have been attach to the city even if by my dear late wife Martine who used to come here as a young girl to pick grapes in the Champagne fields to help her studies etc. We came early invited by the maternal grandmother Fourré and tour the city and the region. We have come back with my parents and later my boys. It is with great pleasure that I get to update this older post on the most emblematic monument of the city. The Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

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So we go there a must to visit, one of the greatest Cathedrals ever, more history in it you can have a lifetime to trace. It is not only for the kings althought that is a big part but also the French resistance in WWI, and a symbol of France to the world. This is the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Reims (Notre Dame Cathedral), in the department 51 of the Marne, new region of Grand Est (old Champagne-Ardennes).  I have come here several times since early days in France circa 1990.  The Cathédrale of Notre-Dame de Reims, its construction began in the early 13C.  Consecrated to the Virgin Mary, the Cathedral of Reims was completed in the 14C.  This is one of the major achievements of Gothic art in France, both for its architecture and for its statuary, which has 2 303 statues.

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A great history I like

According to Flodoard, Nicaise, Bishop of Reims, founded the first Cathedral in the early 5C, probably around 401, on ancient Gallo-Romain baths. It lies not far from the previous Basilica, that of the Holy Apostles erected under Bétause. It was before the door of his Cathedral, already dedicated to the Virgin Mary, that Nicaise would have been decapitated by the vandals in 407 or by the Huns in 451 (depending from whom). The term “Sainte-Marie” suggests that the second date is the right one, since St. Mary Major, is considered the first Church consecrated to Mary, dates from the year 430. The building then measures about 20 meters wide on 55 meters long. This is where Clovis ‘ baptism takes place, by Bishop Remi of Reims (later Saint Remi), on December 25th (Christmas Day). The year of this celebration is debatable and is located between 496 and 499 (From my family the first year is the most correct). In 816, Louis the Pious was the first French monarch crowned in Reims, by Pope Stephen IV and the last 1825: Charles X by Bishop Jean-Baptiste de Latil.

Archbishop Ebbon continued the work until 846, under the episcopate of Hincmar. The Archbishop adorns the interior of the building with gilding, mosaics, paintings, sculptures and tapistries. He consecrated this second Cathedral in 862 in the presence of Charles the Bald. The new building is 86 meters long and has two transepts. At the beginning of the 10C, an ancient crypt dating from the first Cathedral was discovered, unobstructed and renovated before being consecrated to Saint Remi. This crypt is the “initial nucleus” from which each Cathedral is built, thus the altar has been located in the same place for more than fifteen centuries!!. In addition to this work to the west of the Cathedral, a new Choir and Chapels are beginning to be built to the east of the Cathedral. The building measures 110 meters in length. At the end of the century, the nave and the transept were of Carolingian style, while the bedside in construction and the façade were of the first Gothic art. It is known, however, that Archbishop Albéric de Humbert poses the first stone of a new Cathedral in 1211, the fire destroying the previous building. Four architects succeeded each other on the construction site, the main work of which was completed in 1275. The Kings Charles VIII and then Louis XII, sacred in the Cathedral, provide financial support for the reconstruction, unlike their predecessor Louis XI. They grant in particular a royal grant, corresponding to part of the salt tax. As a thank-you, the new roof is topped with fleur de Lys and the Royal coat of arms is affixed to the top of the bedside. This decoration is nevertheless suspended in 1516, the work is stopped before the completion of the arrows.

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The political power of the Archbishops of Reims culminated in Henry I in 1027 to definitively set the place of the coronation in Reims. All the kings of France were made sacred in the city of Reims, with the exception of seven of them  :  Hugh Capet at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Noyon or at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims in 987 by Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims;  Robert II at the Cathedral of St. Croix d’Orléans in 987 by Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims;  Louis VI at the Cathedral of St. Croix d’Orléans in 1108 by Dagobert, Archbishop of Sens; John I (died immediately after his birth);  Henri IV at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Chartres in 1594 by Nicolas de Thou, Bishop of Chartres; Louis XVIII (was not sacred); Louis-Philippe I (King of the French, is not a sacrament).  When Louis IX was crowned in 1226, the Cathedral as we know it today is still under construction. The coronation of Charles VII in 1429 is of particular importance, in that it reverses the course of the Hundred Years ‘ War thanks to the tenacity of Joan of Arc, whose statue sits on the Cathedral Square.  The Cathedral glorifies royalty. On the façade, in the center of the Gallery of Kings composed of 56 statues with a height of 4.5 meters, Clovis throne surrounded by his wife Clotilde and Remi.  On 8 October 2016, a plaque with the names of the thirty-one Sacred kings in Reims is set up in the Cathedral in the presence of Mgr Thierry Jordan, Archbishop of Reims, and Prince Louis de Bourbon, one of the present contenders to the throne of France (legitimate king Louis XX).

The troubles of the French Revolution have not reached the extent that we have seen elsewhere with only some statues  broken, gates torn away, the scepter and the hand of justice burned. The cathedral is turned into a forage store and the project to demolished it  is quickly abandoned.  The Franco-German reconciliation was symbolically formalized in July 1962 by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer under the vaults of the Cathedral of Reims which was intentionally bombarded in 1914 by the German Army in order to break the French moral.  The Cathedral of Reims was described as a “martyr’s Cathedral”Pope John Paul II, during his pastoral visit to France, came to the Cathedral of Reims on September 22, 1996 to celebrate the 1 500th anniversary of the baptism of Clovis.  Today, the bell tower have only two bells: Marie (7 and a half tons) and Charlotte (11 tons). These two bells are now very seldom used, so that they can preserve the fragile state to which the structure is still subjected; and that the vibrations generated by the sound of the bells could worsen.  Total length of the Cathedral is  149  meters, inside length: 138 meters, height of the nave: 38 meters, height of the two facade towers: 81.50 meters, height of the tower to the Angel (tour à l’ange): 87 meters, width of the western facade: 49 meters. Rosaries windows; the diameter of the West rosary is 12.5 meters , diameter of the northern rosary is  9.65 meters, diameter of the south rosary is  9.65 meters.

A bit introduction to the interior as it can be lenthly, brief:  The Cathedral of Reims is built on a plane in a slightly adapted Latin cross: The three-vessel nave is crossed by a transept, also with three vessels. However, the bedside retains the width of the transept. This allows the placement of two parallel-oriented Chapels of the right Choir , of which they are separated by an ambulatory. This one opens on five radiant Chapels, the axe Chapel being a little deeper than the other four. Vaults of quadripartite warheads cover the entire building. All the same at nearly 82 meters high. The orientation of the Cathedral follows a south-west-northeast axis. The Cathedral is therefore oriented not towards the Orient, but on the axis of the summer Solstice.  The elevation is three stories in the nave, the transept and the choir. Large arcades separate the main ship from the collateral. Above the large arcades, a triforium and high windows chant the wall. The Cathedral of Reims introduces a new window model, the reformed window or window-frame: composed of two lancets surmounted by a rose, it is independent of the architecture.

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A brief tour of the Chapels I like:

The Chapel of St. John, located under the arm of the south transept, contains the great altarpiece, aka Altar of the Apostles. It dates from 1541. It represents the resurrection and the Virgin of Pity. In the center of the lower register is a Pietà, in the center of the upper register a triumphant Christ and in the pediment the eternal Father being capped with a tiara. The bluish cross that overcomes it was that which was on the beam of glory of the rood of the Cathedral.

The Chapel of Saint Joseph, it is dedicated to Joseph, son of Jacob. His limestone altar is carved from three scenes of Joseph’s life. The blue and gilded silver coin carries the weapons of the biblical character. The ground is paved with scenes of Joseph’s life drawn by lead threads encrusted in stone; They are divided into two groups of ten pieces.

The Chapel of the Sacré-Coeur, the stained-glass windows are the work of Imi Knoebel. The golden and red altar, which rests on a black marble, is surmounted by a golden Christ. The walls and niches are still painted.

The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament or Chapel of the Virgin, this chapel is located at the beginning of the ambulatory around the choir, on the north side.  It includes a statue of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, made in 1742.  The altar with circular pediment is supported by four marble columns dating back to 1741.  On the ground before the altar is the tombstone of Cardinal Robert de Lenoncourt, 78th Archbishop of Reims (1534-1552) who has sacred king François I.

And a bit on the exteriors as can be lenghtly as well

The western façade:  The Cathedral of Reims has a very rich statuary. The number of statues adorning it is indeed 2 303. The building is distinguished by a rare unit of style, despite a construction that stretched over more than two hundred years (mainly in the 13C) the central portal has as its general theme the Virgin and its glorification, which is exceptional. It is usually the Christ Savior, the cornerstone of the Church, which is located at the middle of the main gate to welcome the visitor;   The right gate is dedicated to the end of time and the Last Judgement; The portal on the left includes Saints and Martyrs. You can see the statue of the angel in the smile, emblem of the city of Reims.

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At 50 meters from the ground, on the western side, is the Gallery of Kings with, in the center, the baptism of Clovis. Below, we can observe the story of David’s fight against Goliath. The statue of Goliath, which is more than five meters high (it is the largest of the statues of the façade), is currently in the Palace of Tau, which adjoins the Cathedral. Just above the great gate is a copy of the Coronation of the Virgin. The original of this grandiose ensemble is also at the Palais du Tau. (see post).  Facade of the south transept the South rose of the transept is flanked by two statues: on one side, the Church, on the other, the Synagogue which is recognized by its blindfolds.  Despite the successive destructions begun in the 18C, the Cathedral still has many 13C stained-glass windows, grouped in the high parts of the nave, the choir and the transept.

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The Cathedral of Reims has two organs, the great organ on a rostrum above the entrance to the north porch, and the choir organ (smaller) in the nave.  The great organ: the buffet dates from the 15C, partly destroyed by a fire in 1481, it was rebuilt by Ojo-Heystre in 1487, then by Jean Thury in 1647. The buffet is topped by a blessing Christ and by two musicians Angels. The Choir organ is the work of the cabinetmaker Étienne-Gabriel Vantadour in the middle of the 19C, after WWI a gift of the Countess Werlé ,a game of Charles Mutin was added. Inaugurated in October 1926, it found its place in the Choir in May 1927 during the opening to the public of the nave of the Cathedral. It features two keyboards and a 17-game crankset.

And finally, there is crest of ridge of the roof adorned with an alternation of clovers and Fleurs de Lys, recalling that the Cathedral was the place of the coronation of the Kings of France. Suppressed and destroyed in the French revolution, these elements were restored in 1924-1926 during the reconstruction that followed the destruction of WWI (Great War).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and its a must visit in Reims or France for that matter. Hope it helps you enjoy this jewel of my belle France.

The city of Reims on the Cathedral: https://www.reims.fr/la-ville-de-reims/reims-et-son-patrimoine/la-cathedrale-notre-dame-de-reims-et-le-palais-du-tau-7511.html

The Official Friends of the Cathedral of Reims: http://www.amis-cathedrale-reims.fr/

The Reims tourist office on the Cathedral: https://www.reims-tourism.com/cathedrale-notre-dame-de-reims/reims/pcu0000000001190

The Marne dept 51 tourist office on the Cathedral: https://www.tourisme-en-champagne.co.uk/visite-guidee-de-la-cathedrale-notre-dame-de-reims/reims/pcucha051v501dpl

The Champagne-Ardennes region tourist board on the Cathedral of Reims: https://www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk/what-do/visiting/sites-visit/visite-guidee-de-la-cathedrale-notre-dame-de-reims-1470050

And there you go, you have all you need for a splendid trip to Reims, and again very much recommended to see the Notre Dame Cathedral. Again gorgeous architecture and history of France! Enjoy it.

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

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April 14, 2021

Notre Dame Cathedral update Apr2021

And this is about time to give you another update on the grand Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris and its reconstruction. As you might know , this is a symbol of Paris , sometimes more so than the Eiffel and the whole country is behind it. One of the magnificent gothic cathedrals of my belle France!  Here are the latest news on its return , and it will better than ever.

It’s a metal cathedral now. From floor to ceiling, from the Choir to the nave, are tens of thousands of steel tubes. Everywhere, scaffolders are busy putting up this framework. In the future, it will clean up walls contaminated with lead. At the moment, the scaffolding is used to access the vaults. The extraordinary work is the pride of its designer.

The vaults are particularly weakened, their consolidation is therefore the priority of the site. Massive structural members, 7 to 10 meters long, arrive by air. About twenty of these wooden belts are already in place. The device is close to that of the builders of cathedrals. The actual reconstruction work will begin this summer 2021.

The National Heritage and Architecture Commission (CNPA) has ruled after studying several restoration proposals. The frame will be “close to the missing frame”

In the aftermath of the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in April 2019, Emmanuel Macron announced the reconstruction of the millennial cathedral in the next 5 years, on the horizon of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Hope undermined by the forecasts of the first deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire auditioned in the National Assembly on the subject of the restoration of the church, which foresees a delivery of the site in 2025. The site will not be finished, but the cathedral will have a partial reopening and in particular to the exercise of worship in 2024.

Controversy especially with the mayor of Paris, (as always) Above all, those responsible for the hearing at the National Assembly were particularly interested in the allocation of the 50 million euros, promised by the city of Paris in 2019 just after the tragedy. For now, parliamentarians note that none of the structures and foundations mobilized in the restoration of the church has touched the slightest centime/penny. Concretely, the deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire, confirms that this sum will be allocated to the renovation of the surroundings of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris, in particular the famous square (parvis). There is the catch no money but wait we promise afterward for outside decoration work! The surroundings must continue to promote a mix of uses, a place for strolling, recreational and cultural uses for Parisians and visitors, a place of contemplation for users of worship , and enhance views of the cathedral on all routes. approach, including from the Seine river.

Thus, the city of Paris project is broken down into four main areas of work: the historical, heritage and landscape enhancement, the diversification of uses, the creation of a reception, waiting and of discovery , and strengthening of the environmental qualities of the site. Regarding the schedule, the final specifications will be submitted in the summer of 2021 before starting the selection of the “winner” project one year later, in the summer of 2022, according to the program planned by the City/Town Hall. of Paris. The start of work will not be envisaged before the Olympic Games are held in Paris in the summer of 2024.

A protective, non-slip, very resistant and cleanable resin has also come to cover the surface of the square (parvis) in order to alleviate the problems related to lead pollution, which appeared after the fire. Finally, the Crypt   decontamination work is completed. Measurements revealed very low post-cleaning lead levels, with 17 readings less than 100µg / m², the highest at 754µg / m². This site is therefore considered “clean”.

It’s the final line to found out who/what cause the fire; of course, a very political outcome. A little less than two years after the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris, which had devastated it, the investigations entered their final phase. Scientists from the Paris police headquarters laboratory and investigators are preparing to enter, for the first time, the red zone, which is located in the heart of the historic and religious monument, France Télévisions learned from a police source. To date, the conclusions of the investigation by the judicial police show that only a succession of errors and negligence would be at the origin of the incident, specifies the same source.

For the moment, they remained on the same theses: the cigarette butt, the short-circuit , indicates the source close to the investigation, still considering that it is“ too early ”to say that one of these two options is privileged. In parallel, several failures in the security of the cathedral were identified, in particular in the alarm system of it, which contributed to delaying the call to the firefighters on the day of the fire, or on the electrical system, on one of the elevators. These malfunctions were not likely the cause of the fire, but may have allowed the flames to spread through the cathedral.

One final question. Will the approximately 830 million euros of national and international fundraising (350,000 donors) be sufficient for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame? Many doubt it. The international outpouring of generosity has been exceptional in two years, but is now strongly penalized and complicated by the pandemic. As usual in these cases costs will go up as everywhere else due to the pandemic.

The official site of Notre Dame from the Culture ministry  of France on the work area and information in French: https://notre-dame-de-paris.culture.gouv.fr/fr/chantier

The official Notre Dame Cathedral on news: https://www.notredamedeparis.fr/actualites-et-agenda/

As a reminder, to arrive at Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris you can take the Metro/RER as metro line 4 Cité; Saint Michel – Notre-Dame RER B and C lines 1 and 11 Hôtel de Ville; line 10 Maubert-Mutualité / Cluny – La Sorbonne , lines 7 and 14 Châtelet – Les Halles as well here RER A and D. Of course, the best way is to come all the way walking from your spot in Paris!

And as in previus updates on the situation of Notre Dame Cathedral, here are my posts. Hope it helps tells you the whole story.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/11/20/notre-dame-cathedral-update-nov2020/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/07/09/notre-dame-cathedral-update-july2020/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/11/14/notre-dame-cathedral-update-nov19/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/09/16/notre-dame-cathedral-update-sep19/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/08/05/notre-dame-cathedral-update-aug19/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/07/16/notre-dame-cathedral-jul19-update/

It is a monumental task but it will be done as per anything to do with French heritage in my belle France. Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris will shine again! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 14, 2021

Chic Trouville sur Mer!!

This another of the Norman riviera town very chic nice and great beaches for a nice summer resort. We came here first on our road warrior trips between Honfleur and Deauville and found Trouville sur Mer very nice. Let me tell you a bit more on chic Trouville sur Mer!

We had some extra time in the area , and decided to come to the nearby town of Trouville sur Mer in dept Calvados 14 region of Normandy. I have passed by it several times but never really got into it as heard was a bit glitzy. This time we went in with the extra time and marvel of another jewel of Normandy and France even if still glitzy.

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A bit of history I like

The rise of the seaside resort of Trouville sur Mer , began in the 19C with the fashion of sea bathing, is surely due to its attendance by a small group of painters: Charles Mozin; The “discoverer of Trouville” in 1825 , Paul Huet, A. G. Decamps and his pupil Louis Godefroy Jadin, Eugène Isabey, Corot, whose Musée d’Orsay provides at least one proof  Trouville fishing boats stranded in the channel and also Eugene Boudin. The writer Alphonse Karr also contributed to his fame. King of the French, Louis-Philippe also helped the launch of Trouville, which he opposed to Dieppe the legitimate side of monarchy, and it was from this station that he tried to leave for England during the revolution of 1848. Gustave Flaubert met with Elisa Schlésinger during the summer of 1836. Dubbed the “Queen of Beaches”, this grand bourse resort according to a ranking of guides Joanne is soon challenged by Deauville (see post). Alexandre Dumas talked about it in his memoirs.

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Some of the things to see here  other than the beach are:

The Hôtel des Roches Noires (Black Rocks Hotel). Former palace inaugurated in 1866, whose entrance hall was decorated by Robert Mallet-Stevens. The hotel was painted by Claude Monet in 1870 and was the resort of Marcel Proust and Marguerite Duras.  The Villa Montebello built in 1865; now hosts the museum of the city. The Church Notre Dame du Bon-Secours. The Casino with the Lousiana theme ,first casino with this décor in Europe, build in 1912.

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However, for us , the beach was it, large extensive white sandy beach with huge assortment of fun things to do for all the family and a beautiful swimming pool complex right on the beach.  It is recommended for all families even if a bit glitzy, upper scale beach town is really open to all pricewise I meant.

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I figure the best combination is to be here at daytime for the beach, and then go about 14 km down along the D513 road to Honfleur (see posts)  for the evening dining and sightseeing activities. Food for thought…..There is so much to see in my belle France!! My friends and family asked me but I tell them not enough time in my lifetime to see it all, just enjoy the bit I have so far, which is not too shabby ok ::)  We are even thinking of coming back in quieter times and just marvel of the scenery.

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The Trouville sur Mer tourist officehttps://www.trouvillesurmer.org/

The city of Trouville sur Mer on tourismhttps://www.trouville.fr/office-de-tourisme/

My fav beach webpage in France, plages tv on the beach of Trouville sur Mer: https://en.plages.tv/detail/beach-trouville-sur-mer-14360

Enjoy the short post and introduction on Trouville sur Mer together with me. And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 13, 2021

Classic Deauville!!

I will update this one a classic Deauville one of the most chic of French cities and is not in theh south riviera! This is Normandy at its best , and we like it. Hope you enjoy the revise post on Deauville a dandy amongt the dandies. This is glitzy and old charm town but it is very famous with the upper class and under….

Deauville in the Department 14 of Calvados in the region of Normandy. It is considered, with its casino, its palaces, its classic villas, its racing fields, its marinas, its convention center, its American film Festival, its golfs and its discotheques, as one of the most prestigious city in France. It attracts thousands of tourists each year, especially Parisians because of its relative proximity (about 200 km), which is worth being dubbed the “21st arrondissement of Paris” (21st district of Paris) thanks to the A13 highway  ,and the A132 connector as well as the Deauville Train station.  Of course, we have , also come from Bretagne on the same A13 but getting around Caen to the coast along the road D513.

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At the mouth of the Touques river which separates it from Trouville-sur-Mer, (see post) and stretches partly along the river. A bridge connects the two town. From a traditional point of view, it is in the north of the Pays d’Auge  and from a tourist point of view, it is located on the Côte Fleurie. Adjacent to Trouville-sur-Mer, the agglomeration is 13 km L’évêque, 16 km from Honfleur, 17 km Dives-sur-Mer and 42 km  Caen.

The name Deauville is attested in the Latinized form  Auevilla in 1060, then Deauvilla later on. The original village was built on the height of Mount Canisy, belonging to the Bishopric of Lisieux during the old regime ( monarchy).

A bit of history I like

There is still little, of ruins of the castle of Lassay, which  was believed still practically intact in 1830. This castle was built in 1676 by Armand de Madaillan, Count of  Lesparre, Marquis of Lassay. Well known in the court at Versailles, while he was wooing the Duchess of Montpensier,  Countess of Auge, staying  in Honfleur. It was a little embellish reality, the castle was only a simple mansion, it was in this faithful to its gascons origins. It was his son, Count and Marquis of Lassay, who had the Hôtel de Lassay built in Paris, now residence of the President of the National Assembly of France.  King  Louis XIV made parishes of Benerville, Tourgéville, Saint-Aja and Deauville a lordship under the name of Montcanisy. The Domaine de Montcanisy becomes by inheritance of his granddaughter, and then the  Duke of Brancas-Lauraguais. The Duke gave sumptuous feasts in favour of Madame du Barry, favorite of Louis XV, but also later for Sophie Arnoult,a  singer at the Opéra de Paris and his mistress. The castle was sold in 1824 to a Parisian named Auger who let it degrade.

It is Dieppe that inaugurates in France the Sea Baths in 1812, it achieved success with the Duchess of Berry who passes the seasons. The relay is taken by Trouville-sur-Mer, which is still a village, and will develop with the new French bourgeoisie, but also with the aristocracy of the Second Empire (Napoléon III). In 1847, Trouville, to establish a regular correspondence with the Paris trains which now arrive in Le Havre, built a long jetty at the mouth of the Touques river  to facilitate the berthing of the big ships. This disrupts the sea currents and the sand now accumulates along the marshes and the warrens of Deauville, pushing the ocean and creating a large sandy beach

The realization of the plan of planning, designed by  Architect Desle-François Breney,  sharing the space in four zones: by the sea, the permits to the avenue Impériale, the luxury residential area with the casino, behind a popular urban area, at the foot of the Hill a worldly area with the Hippodrome and along the Touques river  a zone of activity with the port and the wharf of the railroad. The space is enshrined in a quadrilateral, structured around a cardo with an avenue connecting the casino by the sea at the Hippodrome and the Imperial Avenue, former “customs Road”, parallel to the sea, connecting the other bank of the Touques by a bridge, and shared by a grid of broad streets. Excluded from the urban plan, the old village remains exiled to the top of the hill, around the church of St. Lawrence, in connection with the popular area by the extension of its paths vicinal classic plan is inspired to Breney by the Parisian principles of the Baron Haussmann.

At the beginning of the 20C, Deauville remained in the shadow of Trouville-sur-Mer, a station more famous for Parisian clientele. Grand Hotel du Casino and has a new casino built in its place inaugurated  in 1912. In 1912 is also opened the Hotel Normandy and in 1913, a second palace, the Hotel Royal, is built at the location of the Villa Louisiana of Baron Erlanger  and that of the Duke of Morny, thus turning a page of the history of Deauville. During ,WWI, the Royal, like many other Norman hotels, was transformed into a complementary military hospital to receive the wounded directly from the front through the railway line. The villa de Flots built by Botele, prefect of Police of the Second Empire, bought in 1867 by Count Roger de Gontaut-Biron, is demolished in 1911 to make way for the Normandy-hotel.

The city of Deauville builds the tennis club Lawn-Tennis  in 1913; In 1911, Count Le Marois built the grandstands of the Hippodrome de la Touques, inspired by those of Longchamp in Paris. In 1912 and in 1913, it is conceived, at the back of the casino, a set of luxury boutiques for, among others, the jeweller Van Cleef & Arpels and the stylist Coco Chanel. It incorporates the Café de la Potinière. These stores of spring open their first shop outside of Paris, it is in 1924 that are opened the Pompeian baths  with the famous “plates” and in 1929 that is created the Yacht club

During  WWII, Deauville was occupied by the Nazi army. On 19 August 1944, Kommandant Major Rimmer summoned the municipal authorities, tob the city/town Hall, for a farewell party before leaving the city to settle on the heights of Trouville and Now everyone is waiting for the liberators. It was the units of the 6th Airborne Division of Major-General Richard Gale, the parachutists of the night from June 5 to 6, 1944 on the Orne channel that was entrusted with the liberation of the country of Auge (pays d’Auge) . The Belgian units of the Piron Brigade, who have passed Gale’s orders, are entrusted with the liberation of the coast, and after Cabourg, Dives-sur-Mer, Houlgate, Villers-sur-Mer, they arrive in sight of Deauville and Trouville. From August  20, contacts were made between the envoys of Deauville and the Allied troops who now know that the Germans evacuated the West Bank of the Touques including Mount Canisy. It was only on Thursday 24 August at 8h15 that the Belgian troops crossed the Touques river on a makeshift footbridge thrown on the ruins of the bridge between Deauville and Trouville. Allied forces chase the Nazis  in their retreat to Belgium and the Netherlands. It is in remembrance of their liberators that the bridge rebuilt between the two cities bears the name of “Bridge of the Belgians”.

Some things to see and do here, of course ,the Beach is it really for my opinion.

Tourism develops around the casino and the two luxury hotels of the Groupe Barriére, prestigious shops (Hermes, Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Prada, Armani, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Tod, Weston, Pardha Jewellery…) and the Centre International de Deauville (CID), which hosts throughout the year numerous festivals, concerts, shows, congresses and seminars and every season the horse races. The Golfs Barriere of Deauville, the Admiralty, and Saint-Ganesh, scattered in the hinterland  of Deauville, the tennis-club on the waterfront, the Yacht club, the nautical center, the slopes of karting..The horse sector is particularly present through regular sales of thoroughbred horses at the Elie-de-Brignac establishment, including the sale of yearlings in August, of international renown; The organization of Grand Prix races on the Hippodrome of the Touques and on the Hippodrome of Clairefontaine as well as the organization of the “Deauville Polo Cup” every year, in the month of August.

The Saint-Laurent Chapel a former parish church of the 12C and 13C, where Yves Saint Laurent contributed to its restoration. Villa Strassburger, on the grounds of the  Ferme du Couteau  built at the beginning of the 20C  it is called Strassburger because it became, in the 1920’s, the Deauville  residence of the American billionaire Ralph-Beaver Strassburger. His descendants have donated the villa to the city of Deauville which has been providing it since its management and maintenance. The Trouville-Deauville train station, rebuilt in neo-Normand style in 1931 and which inspired that of Dalat (Vietnam) and Pointe-Noire (Republic of Congo) . The Villa Breloque is the dwelling in which the painter Eugene Boudin  lived the last year of his life and died in  August 8, 1898. The promenade de la plage,  The board and its  Pompeian Baths,  the place Morny, its jets of water and its covered market;  the arcades  of the Avenue du General-de-Gaulle.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The Deauville tourist officehttps://en.indeauville.fr/

The City of Deauville on the beaches : https://en.indeauville.fr/6-indeauville-beaches

The Calvados tourist office on Deauville beacheshttps://www.calvados-tourisme.co.uk/offer/plage-de-deauville/?tpl=indiv&referer_listing_id=111759

The Normandy Tourist Board on Deauvillehttps://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/unmissable-sites/deauville/

There you , if refinement is your taste ,this Deauville is for you, even more than Paris. This is old money here ,even if lately some well to do families do come and some curious ones too. Like I said is an alternative to vacations in France for anyone. Enjoy it.

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

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