Archive for ‘Europe’

June 19, 2019

Chateau de Keronic at Pluvigner!

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

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

pluvigner

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

pluvigner

pluvigner

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

pluvignerpluvigner

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

pluvigner

pluvigner

pluvigner

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

City of Pluvigner on castles and manor houses

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

Heritage Days in France in French

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

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

 

June 19, 2019

Chateau de Kerlois, Pluvigner!

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

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

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

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

Pluvigner

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

pluvigner

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

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

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

June 18, 2019

Tour Charlemagne, at Tours!

So lets take you to pure and wonderful Loire valley, ok there are two loire regions in France not to be confused, the one generally see as the valley of the kings is in the region of Centre-Val de Loire. The department of which the city of Tours is located is call Indre et Loire dept 37. I have written several posts on Tours in my blog but again feel that this monument needs more attention by all.

Let me tell you a bit more on the Charlemagne tower in Tours! or Tour Charlemagne.  The  tour Charlemagne  or Charlemagne tower is a remnant of an old basilica dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours (see post apart) and located in Tours at  rue des Halles, in the historic center of the city. Its name comes from the tomb of Luitgarde d’Alémanie, fourth wife of Charlemagne, who died in 800 during the emperor’s stay in Tours. Tradition reports that the emperor had it buried under or near the tower, but opinions are very divided as to the exact location of the tomb, never formally identified.

Tours

A bit of history I like

No source can be affirmative on the chronology and the exact dating of the construction of the tower. However, it took place shortly after the construction of the transept of the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours, because paintings on the walls of the latter were hidden by the masonry of the Charlemagne tower, but a certain unity of style prohibits too long delay between the two events. In the second half of the 11C and shortly after the completion of the basilica in its original state, a tower-porch was built, capping the end of the north arm of the transept with reinforcement of the vaults of the latter, having to bear the weight of the tower. The tower was set astride the gable wall of the transept, which became an intermediate vault; it rested, in the south, on the tribunes of the first span of the transept, reinforced for the occasion, and, in the north, on a new vault outside the original transept. The tower then consisted of two semicircular vaulted floors, typical of Romanesque art, the second floor acting as a belfry. The external absidiole of the north arm of the transept was integrated into the tower in the form of a sacristy and surmounted on the first floor of a chapel of the same plan. The nature and shape of the original roof are unknown, even if we assume the presence of an arrow. At the beginning of the 14C, a new floor was added to the tower, but this time it was the Gothic style that was used with broken arch windows. The southern Romanesque windows of the lower floors were walled, to reinforce the solidity. An arrow, present in the 17C, crowned the tower which, in this configuration, reached a height of 56 meters. In the 15C, the hall of the belfry on the third floor (4th US) was shared in its height by a Gothic vault; it was sheltering two bells.

Tours

In 1790, the Basilica of Saint Martin des Tours was declared a national property during the French revolution.  In 1794, all the arrows of the churches (including that of the Charlemagne tower) had to be demolished. The Charlemagne tower was not demolished because a restoration project of the tower was set up in 1805 to recall that a new Charlemagne (Napoleon) had just been crowned emperor on December 2, 1804 ,the  project will not be realized, but the Charlemagne tower was preserved due to this initiative.  After the French Revolution, it hosted a factory of lead (1813); a carpentry settled in its ground floor and was the victim of a fire (1826); an artesian well of 107 meters deep was dug at its foot (1831); a water tower was installed on its first floor (1860 to 1885), an overload of 218 tons; finally, she survived an earthquake (1927) ; while the tramways of Tours shook it at each of their passages. Fragilized, the Charlemagne tower partially collapsed in 1928. In its southern half, from top to bottom, fell down in the neighboring streets without causing casualties . The part that remained standing was abutted with scaffolding to avoid further damage.

A company, created in 1931, ” les Amis de le tour Charlemagne “, or the Friends of the Charlemagne tower, bought the monument at a symbolic price ,and as a precautionary measure, consolidated the remaining part with a concrete inner frame. During , WWII, the tower was fortunately spared by the bombings and fires that ravaged the northern part of Tours in 1940. In 1972, the Charlemagne tower  was offered to the town of Tours. More recent developments have been made to allow the public access to the “Luitgarde Arch” located on the ground floor of the tower on the occasion of the European Heritage Days 2012 and the first floor of the tower since September 2013 ; a project provides for full access to the monument, which was done on the occasion of the European Heritage Days 2016. And we were there!

Tours

A bit on the Architecture

The floor dimensions of the Charlemagne tower are approximately 25 × 15 meters. In its current configuration, after restoration, its summit platform culminates at 48 meters. The tower is Romanesque style for its lower floors, Gothic for its top floor. The lower two floors of the tower are accessible from a spiral staircase in a turret outside the transept, on a corner of the tower. The top floor is accessed via an internal spiral staircase. The walls are provided externally, up to the floor level of the second floor, with powerful plated buttresses. Its southern facade, completely rebuilt from 1962 , is blind from the second floor. The building had Romanesque frescoes dated 12C. Discovered during the restoration work on some pillars but especially in the apsidiole transformed into sacristy, they were deposited and restored; they are now kept at the Saint-Martin museum in Tours. Because of the successive embankments around the basilica, the original floor of the Charlemagne tower is now down about 2 meters from the surrounding streets.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Tours on the Charlemagne tower in French

Tourist office of Tours on things to see in English

There you go another gem in my belle France; wonderful city indeed that of Tours plenty to see, and we love it. Hope you enjoy it too

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

 

 

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June 18, 2019

The Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana of Villanueva de la Jara!

So back into my beloved Spain everything under the Sun and my dream land of Castilla La Mancha. This time not only off the beaten path site but deep down in the La Mancha territory. A wonderful town full of history and architecture is Villanueva de la Jara and in it ,it houses the wonderful historical Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana. Let me tell you a bit more about it.

Well , excuse me, some info on the town’s history I like!

Villanueva de la Jara, is a town in the province of Cuenca, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha. It belongs to the region of La Manchuela.  The town rises between rivers; on the side of the orient, the Júcar, natural border between the Mancha Castellana, and the Castilian borders that extend towards the Levant, where the other flow, the one of the Valdemembra river, tributary of the previous river. It is known for the cultivation of the mushroom which is the main economic activity of the town, as well as different edible fungi. Villanueva de la Jara is well connected as it passes through the town the N-320 that runs from Cuenca to Albacete and the N-310 that runs from Villanueva de la Jara to Manzanares, and is 13 km from the A-3 autovia de Madrid-Valencia. The Madrid-Cuenca-Albacete-Levante AVE train also passes through its municipal area. We arrived by the A-3 highway/motorway towards Valencia taking exit 186 to join the CUV-8307, a few kilometers later we took the N-310 road, which links Villanueva de la Jara with Manzanares (Ciudad Real). Another route that passes through the municipality is the CM-220, which runs between the cities of Cuenca and Albacete.

After the Arab rule the King of Castile, Alfonso VIII, reconquered the town of Cuenca in 1177, also reconquered the town of Alarcón in 1184 and Iniesta in 1186 establishing the town of Cuenca to favor of the repopulation of this territory. During this time, some neighbors of Alarcón traveled 4 leagues (about 19 km) towards the south founding the town, at first like a dependent village of Alarcón and governed under the jurisdiction of the lordship of Villena and the Crown of Castile. The municipality has the title of Villa since 1476, earning the independence of Alarcón due to the support given to Queen Isabel I, the Catholic during the War of Castilian Succession, in which Diego López Pacheco, Marquis of Villena and Lord of Alarcón, fought in favor of the other candidate for the throne of Castile, Juana la Beltraneja.

In the Spanish Civil War was one of the bases of the leftist Republican  Army and the International Brigades. In Villanueva de la Jara were George Orwell, Willy Brandt and Josip Broz Tito among many others, within the International Brigades, the Comitern and the Lincoln Brigade. On the outskirts of the town there are bunkers of what was an airfield during wartime.

A bit on the Convent of the Carmelites.

The Convent of the Carmelites was founded by Santa Teresa de Jesús in 1580. It is composed of Church,Convent and Cloister. It is an isolated building that forms a whole block and surrounded by walls. Inside, the 17C paintings of the altarpiece stand out, as well as a magnificent Mudejar-style wooden roof that covers the presbytery forming a 32-pointed star. It also highlights the tomb of Venerable Ana de San Agustín, who was in  charge  of the convent once Santa Teresa left Villanueva de la Jara. It is located at Calle Santa Ana.

Villanueva de la jara

Teresa, the Carmelite Saint, wanderer, arrived a cold February 21, 1580 to institute her Rule to some pious women, and project her convent around the Hermitage of Santa Ana. Everything happened to her in La Jara. During the days that she remained in the town, until breaking an arm, next to the well, the same that today presides over the garden. After her step she left her companion, today Venerable Ana de San Agustín, whose body rests at the foot of the Church, next to the Choir. And the Saint, restless and enterprising, not only left her footprints in the work of her daughters; the friars of Socorro were brought up, to raise them around the devotion of the local Patron ,a carving of the 14C brought from Rome, the Convent of Carmen, of which today the immense Church remains.  The highlight of the temple, without a doubt, is the beautiful coffered ceiling that is preserved to perfection. The Church has three beautiful altarpieces, as well as two low Choirs and one high Choir. Inside is the venerated sepulcher of Ana de San Agustín.

villanueva de la jara

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Villanueva de la Jara on its history

Tourist office of Province of Cuenca on the town sites

Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Convent

The Barefoot Carmelites of the Convent of Santa Ana of Villanueva de la Jara ,13C.   founded by Santa Teresa de Jesus, it was now done for her 500 years built  a Teresian center, on last February 21, the date on which the Saint arrived at the town in 1580. The Center, which represents an interpretation of the book of the Moradas de Santa Teresa de Jesús (lodgings of Saint Teresa of Jesus), can be visited from the week following its inauguration by all those who are interested in following the traces of Teresa. Visits to say Center will be arranged through the Municipal Tourism Office of Villanueva de la Jara.

More here in Spanish:Tourist office of region of La Manchuela on the Teresian center

villanueva de la jara

And there you go ,now another off the beaten path gem of my beautiful Castilla La Mancha in my beloved Spain. Enjoy Villanueva de la Jara and its Convent.

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

 

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June 17, 2019

Chapelle Notre Dame de Lourdes at Auray!

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

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

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

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

Auray

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

Auray

A bit of history I like

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

auray

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

auray

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

The webpage is here : City of Auray on heritage trails

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

 

 

 

June 17, 2019

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

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

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

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

Tourist information on the Eco Museum and ticketing in English

st nazaire

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

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

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

Tourist info and ticketing on the Espadon visit in English

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tourist office of Saint Nazaire on the Tintin story in English

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

st nazaire

Tintin stories and my boys snsm lifeguards training ctr behind

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

st nazaire

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

st nazaire

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

 

 

June 16, 2019

The museums of Saint Nazaire! part I

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

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

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

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

Tourist info on the Escal’Atlantic and ticketing in English

Tourist info on the transatlantic cruisers in St Nazaire in English

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

Tourist info on the submarine base and ticketing in English

st nazaire

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

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

 

 

 

 

June 16, 2019

The theater of Saint Nazaire!

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

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

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

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

st nazaire

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

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

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

st nazaire

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

Official Le Théatre of Saint Nazaire

City of Saint Nazaire on the cultural offerings

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

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

 

June 16, 2019

Saint Nazaire a transatlantic city!

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

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

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

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

st nazaire

A bit of history I like

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

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

st nazaire

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

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

st nazaire

 

Walks and sights of Saint Nazaire.

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

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

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

City of Saint Nazaire transport choices

Tourist office of Saint Nazaire

Tourist office of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 on Saint Nazaire

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

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

 

 

 

June 15, 2019

Havana, La Habana, a beautiful postcard of vintage beauty,my Habana!

Ok so I would have like to reblog this post but could not do it so will just copy paste and reproduce here my post from February 2012. This is my Habana and would like to share it with my new readers as well as the old .Enjoy it!

Well sometimes surprises in life do happenned, and lucky me from work  I needed to go to Havana, Cuba. A whimsical place of many years and family memories, I was born there but left too young as a boy, came back once to see my grandparents who raised me, and now back again. What a change, what a shock full of wonderful memories and honest, too good people, humble ,nice, friendly, like been back into the family again.

This is La Habana Havana or the complete real name San Cristobal de la Habana; St Christopher the Saint in honor of Christopher Columbus and the indian taino word Habana meaning a savannah between two rivers the Cojimar (of Ernest Hemingway fame) and Almendares,(the best baseball team on the island,and my family’s team).

Upon arrival I had my cousin, husband there to greet me, but as in official company trip ,had a very nice friendly Cuban name Pedro Luis, who took me to the Casa Particular of his father Rogelio in the district of Playa, old Miramar, near the hotels Melia Habana,Commodore,Panoramico, and the Miramar Business Center. The house was built in 1923, and wonderfully renovated, huge bedroom,and bathroom with AC and TV, telephone on the hallways,central to all. The service was very friendly, the owner Rogelio chatted with me every morning for the ritual Cuban coffee expresso, strong and black and sweet!!! You and I were set for the day lol! His son Pedro Luis always in contact with me will come to pick me up for the business and took me around Havana for eateries and sightseeing a bit. Every night upon my return, the security person already knew me by name and hand me the key to the room!

I went to the wonderful Malecon, Plaza Vieja, Church of St Francisco de Asisi, saw the statue to the Caballero de Paris, gentleman of Paris a beggar who knew like Enstein and told wonderful stories to passerbyers from the 1950’s. We went by the bourse of commerce or Longia; and of course, we sip a daiquiri at Floridita Bar,(in 1957 Esquire magazine name it the best bar in the world!). We went inside the hotel Nacional, and walks it historical alleys and patio with its Aguiar canons, magical.

havana

havana

havana

havana

I saw my Morro castle, and the excavations of the Zanja Real or royal sewers now open and shown above ground to tourists.  Coming by grand Miramar on my way to visit my old native place, I saw the clock tower on 5th avenue of Miramar, the Palacio de Convenciones, and the wonderful old houses now occupy by foreign embassies.

havana

havana

havana

Foremost, wandering the streets of Havana, and Playa(Miramar),and Punta Brava took many memories of me, exciting and sad ,curious and forgetful; did not wanted to pass by the house I was born, too many strong memories,and better enjoy the sights tourists see. I am now a tourist in La Habana.

punta brava

We had lunch at El Bosque inside the hotel Melia Habana, Avenida  3rd. between  76 and 80 streets, Miramar , the Spanish chain of hotels have done a wonderful job here, by far the best in Havana. We ,also,, had our meetings there in the 9th floor breakfast business center with wonderful views of Havana.  I had lunch with the family at a parador private folks have at Parrillada 84  y 15, Playa, all done by charcoal, with my Aunt and cousins. The highlight was at El Palenque, near pabexpo Cuba, wonderful typical Cuban place and food, very nice lechon or pork with yucca,moro (blackened rice), and the local Cristal beer, address at Calle 17 & Calle 190 , Playa, La Habana  . In Havana we ate at Factoria Plaza Vieja, at Plaza Vieja, terrace outfit with shrimps and lobsters,pork,and chicken grilled platters. All very cheap compare to Europe.

havana

havana

havana

For a nostalgic trip we passed by El Potin resto, my Mom Gladys used to take me here as a little boy, just a sandwich and light platters place and ice cream,juice and soda drinks, still there!!! and it looks nice after 43 years!!!! Inspired by French immigrants! at Línea corner of Paseo, Vedado section of La Habana.

havana

Coming and going thru Madrid, I try for the first time the newer terminal T4 and T4S; very modern, spacious, lots of eateries, and shops, with a automated train between the two,and easy walking to the metro station of line 8 that ends there. 2,50 euros one way to Madrid. I had my lunch at Vinea, a nice tapas and wine place.

My return was to Nantes, almost by 11h (11pm) and took my car to arrive home here by 12h30 am. Very tired but happy to be able to see my family again (many of them most are already out of the country!) , even if now look more like a tourist than a native; the reception by all was very nice. Cheers,  enjoy the pictures from Feb 2012.

The tourist office showing Havana is here in English: Official Cuba Travel on Havana

Tourist office of Cuba in English

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

 

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