Archive for ‘Europe’

January 29, 2023

Wines news of Spain VI

We are fully in Winter 2023, its time to tell you once again on the wines of my dear Spain, As said, this goes back from my beginnings ,and I still go for them everywhere, Therefore, will try the monumental task of telling you about my favorites anecdotes and news of Spanish wines and hope to continue this series as my others with your blessing and likes. Here it is ,again coming back at you my wines news of Spain VI !!

And we arrive at Madrid Fusión, The Wine Edition 2023 kicked off this past Monday with an opening day that gives clues to the most relevant topics and trends on the scene. The Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros has led a talk about the territories to be explored in our country; exploration in the broadest sense has been addressed, including the recovery of historic areas such as Betanzos, the study of the best acclimatized native varieties, or the wines of origin over those of style. Copa Jerez international competition in search of the perfect pairing with Sherry wines, in which seven countries participate. The finalists for the selection of the Spanish candidate have been the Ambivium, Atrio, Casa Marcial and Slow&Low restaurants ,The winners have been the tandem formed by Laura Rodriguez and Cristobal Muñoz from the Ambivium restaurant in Peñafiel, They will be the representatives of our country in the international final that will be held on October 3 and 4 in Jerez. In the tasting room, the Tenerife wines have been used for a walk through the six denominations of origin that occur on the island , To conclude, there has been a review of the sixty-year history of the Jean Léon winery, with a selection of vintages from the winery founded by the brilliant visionary Webpage:

On the last day of the congress, Madrid Fusión The Wine Edition 2023 and Spanish Wine Academy awarded the III Juli Soler Future and Talent Award from the World of Wine to young people with the greatest projection in the different fields of the sector. This award, promoted by Ramón Bilbao through the Spanish Wine Academy and delivered by Rita Soler, daughter of Juli Soler, aims to discover the new generation of wine professionals. The five winners this year have been: Sara González (vine grower and winemaker at Bodegas Margón, León), Tomás Ucha Altamirano (head sommelier at Berria Wine Bar, Madrid), Pol Contreras (pastry chef at El Portal de Echaurren restaurant, La Rioja ), Rocío Benito (sommelier at Jaleo restaurant, Dubai) and Frederic Oliva (sommelier at Enigma restaurant, Barcelona). Webpage : see above

The gastronomic tourism association Saborea España (Taste Spain) has spent a decade bringing out the flavors of the main destinations in Spain. It is the first national platform that works to promote gastronomic heritage as a tourist attraction and already brings together 25 routes: A Coruña, Badajoz, Cambrils , Ciudad Real, Cullera, Dénia, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote, León, Logroño, Madrid, Mallorca, Oviedo, Pamplona, Segovia, Seville, Talavera de la Reina, Tenerife, Tudela, Valencia, Valladolid, Vinaròs and Zaragoza . The Canary Islands, with four destinations (Fuerteventura, La Palma Lanzarote and Tenerife), is the autonomous community with the greatest representation, followed by Castilla y León (Segovia, León and Valladolid) and the Valencian Community (Cullera, Dénia and Valencia), Saborea España from which is part of the Association of Gastronomic Destinations, It is made up of the Spanish Hospitality Federation (FEHR), the Spanish Association of Destinations for the Promotion of Gastronomic Tourism, the European Chef Organization (Euro-Toques), the Federation of Associations of Chefs and Pastry Chefs of Spain (FACYRE) and Paradores de Turismo. Webpage :

Wine consumption in Spain has fallen to 9.64 million hectoliters, 7.2%, in the interannual period to November 2022, according to information provided by INFOVI (Market Information System for the Wine Sector ). The TAM (acronym in English for the size of the market) already showed a slight fall of 0.4% in October, which worsened at the end of a very negative month of November, according to the Spanish Wine Market Observatory. Of course, still reeling from the covid and wars etc, As steady as it goes it should improve this year 2023.

The X Feroz Awards toast with Ribera del Duero, which continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary at this festival of cinema and series that celebrates its tenth edition in Zaragoza this past Saturday, January 28 2023. The Ribera Spirit will flood every moment of the Feroz Awards . Guests will receive a special gift before walking down the red carpet, a unique edition personalized bottle of Ribera del Duero that pays homage to their artistic facets. A particular award that will be given to all the professionals nominated in the 20 different categories, who attend the gala as guests, and to Pedro Almodóvar, recognized for his entire career. All of them will also receive a special gift courtesy of the Bodegas of Briego, Fuentespina, Briones Abad, Yllera, Ismael Arroyo, Nabal, Resalte, Valdubón, Alílian, Bardos, Tamaral, Tierra Aranda, Carrasvilla, Finca Villacreces, Vegaclara, Viña Mambrilla, Viña Mayor and Figueroa. You can also enjoy the suggestive Ribera del Duero proposal during the pre-gala cocktail, in the wine bar that will be set up for the occasion. The Bodegas Avelino Vegas, Milvus, Yllera, Nabal, Resalte, Valdubón, Alílian, Bardos, Tamaral, Fuentespina, Carrasvilla, Viña Mayor, Finca Villacreces, Sociedad Vitivinícola Villalba , Vegaclara, Figuero, Arzuaga, Briones Abad, and Neo wineries.Hola magazine with the winners webpage :

From June 5 to 9, the 44th edition of the World Congress of Vine and Wine and the 21st General Assembly of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) will be held in Jerez de la Frontera (province of Cádiz). More info webpage :

These are the best Spanish wines according to the 37th Gourmet Wine Guide 2022: I am only telling you my favorites because the list is long, highlighted tops ! Cappuccino Palo Cortado VORS (Osborne) DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry; Dalmau 2017 (Marqués de Murrieta) DOCa Rioja; Don PX Convent Selection 1958 (Bodegas Toro Albalá) DO Montilla-Moriles; Noé VORS (Bodega González Byass) DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Pingus 2018 (Dominio de Pingus) DO Ribera del Duero, Tío Pepe Cuatro Palmas (Bodega González Byass Jerez) DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Vega Sicilia Único 2012 (Bodegas Vega Sicily) DO Ribera del Duero.

The Ribera del Duero DO, forty years of a denomination with the name of a river, In 1982, forty years ago, Spain became modern and I was at the Soccer World Cup in Madrid! The movement began in 1976 on the anniversary of the Santa Eulalia cooperative in La Horra, In 1980 a provisional Regulatory Council was formed in Aranda to create a first regulation. Those who founded this were a true family ; only five wineries, in addition to the cooperatives, which were the ones who had the strength as they produced 85% of the wine in the area at that time , and, without them, the Denomination could hardly have been created. The ‘château’ of Aranda was where the first provisional Regulatory Council met in this city especially, Torremilanos, The winery occupies a building next to the four-star hotel, a large building from whose windows part of the 200-hectare vineyard can be seen , and it seems as if moved to a Castilian Médoc The first Ribera ,before the D.O. only included terroirs in Burgos and struggled to extend the line of the Duero to Protos and Vega Sicilia, in Valladolid. In fact, the Denomination includes grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot precisely for this reason, From those early years, in which they entered the D.O. some reference brands: Alejandro Fernández with his Tinto Pesquera,(family carries on) which did very well positioning itself in the Anglo-Saxon market, Vega Sicilia and Protos. The creation of the D.O. has been the salvation of these peoples. If it hadn’t been for work, people would have gone to live in other places. Thanks to the vineyard today there are young people, in the village nursery and in the school you have children. And a vineyard has been planted again. And the history goes on I admit prefer these Riberas over the Riojas, DO webpage:

One of my favorites over the years and this year is no exception is Viña Ardanza Reserva 2016 , It is a wine steeped in history. And as such, its easily recognizable style remains unchanged while its presence evolves with a single objective: to be a little better every day. The blend, dominated by Tempranillo, 80% exhibits a percentage of Garnacha 20% much higher than what is usual in those lands. Clusters of one variety and another that have come from their own vineyards for a few harvests. The aging, separated by variety and time (three years for Tempranillo and two and a half for Garnacha), is carried out in used American oak barrels. . One of its hallmarks and one of its clearest nuances integrated into the whole like nobody or almost nobody knows how to do. The result boasts aromatic beauty (ripe red fruits and abundant spicy tones) crossed by intense flavors, sweet nuances and outstanding freshness. Elegance, depth, balance and strength -combined with the counterpoint of its smooth texture- that allow this red to surpass itself once again Bodega Rioja Alta webpage :

It was the 1960s and various artists, including Fernando Zóbel, Gustavo Torner, Antonio Saura, Manolo Millares, Luis Feito and Rafael Canogar, chose Cuenca to exhibit their works, turning it into an avant-garde city. The chosen place was the most famous monument of the capital: the Casas Colgadas or Hanging Houses. A building dating from the 14C, whose balconies overlook the Hoz del Huécar and which, since 1966, houses the headquarters of the Spanish Abstract Museum and also gives life to one of its best-known restaurants in the old town, called, of course, Casas Colgadas. Jesús Segura, the new chef at Las Casas Colgadas, confesses that many years ago he dreamed that he ran this restaurant at number 3 Calle Canónigos. After going through more than 38 kitchens and having achieved a Michelin star in his first restaurant, Trivio, in the lower part of the city, his dream has came true twice. sublime !! webpage :

There you go folks, another wonderful post on my dear Spanish wines, Hoping for a long lasting memories of my dear Spain and its wine news, An area already shining for several years, and getting better me think, Hope you enjoy the new series of wines news from Spain as I

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

January 29, 2023

Some news from Spain, CXLI

This is yours truly with another episode of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and Winter is here already! I am eagerly looking forward to be back to Spain too!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, By the way CXLI is old Roman for 141, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

‘La Dolores‘ sings 100 years without Tomàs Bretón, After the success of ‘La verbena de la Paloma’, Bizet from Salamanca, he elevated Spanish opera to the altars with ‘La Dolores’, which returns to the Teatro de la Zarzuela on the occasion of the centenary of the composer’s death, Between January 27 and February 12, 2023 the Theater will offer thirteen performances of La Dolores, an opera that was premiered in the same room in 1895 and that since then has remained a symbol of the best of the Spanish opera. Theater webpage :

The San Isidro Fair 2023, the earliest in history, already has posters with the presence of the main figures hired for three afternoons -Morante de la Puebla, El Juli in his 25th anniversary of alternative, Alejandro Talavante and Roca Rey- and the quadruple presence of Emilio de Justo, who adds his fourth appointment as head of the Charity series, The fair will start on May 10 with two very strong posters, breaking the tradition of starting from less to more, The very early preparation of San Isidro 2023, with the intention of of better marketing. It will be the first fair, by the way, with the release of prices for single tickets, out of subscription, that is. Webpage mundotoro (Spanish):

Emeritus King Juan Carlos I plans to be in Paris on February 9, 2023 where he will attend the ceremony of access to the Académie Française or French Academy of Mario Vargas Llosa as a guest. It should be remembered that Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded a marquisate by Don Juan Carlos in 2011, Don Juan Carlos was the first person who called him when he received Spanish nationality in 1993, as Vargas Llosa recalls , Vargas Llosa, lived for a few years in Paris, The academy (French) webpage :

The new house of Ortega y Gasset and Gregorio Marañón, after six years of construction, goes forward to open, The José Ortega y Gasset-Gregorio Marañón Foundation can now boast its renovated headquarters. The 1847 mansion on Calle Fortuny, 53, which has a window from which it is easy to dream of a better world, same house as the foundation, Webpage foundation :

The Royal Collections Gallery, built in the Royal Palace complex in Madrid, will open next summer 2023. For now, the process of assembling the museographic elements that will house the 650 pieces of the inaugural exhibition continues, a third of which will rotate continuously. From what is known so far, the main access will be through the Plaza de la Almudena, (by the cathedral) although it will also be possible to enter from the Campo del Moro, National heritage webpage :

The great hotel of Canfranc train station. There is no official opening date yet, but Barceló is already selling rooms at Canfranc Estación hotel , a Royal Hideaway Hotel 5*, for February 1 2023. This station was inaugurated in 1928 , and railroad and history buffs know that the Canfranc International Station (Huesca) was one of the most important railway complexes in Europe in the first part of the 20C. The railroad is open up to here, from Zaragoza awaiting ok between France and Spain to continue into Pau as before Stay tune, Webpage :

The Best European Destinations association, dependent on the EU, has drawn up a list of the most beautiful places in Spain preferred by foreigners, I just pick my favorites ok, Their webpage :

RONDA (province of Màlaga), The New Bridge is the main protagonist of this Malaga town, as it is prodigiously raised over the Guadalevín river, saving the so-called Ronda pit, a spectacular gorge. Built in the 18C, the bridge was considered the highest in the world (it measures 98 meters) until 1839. You should also visit the town for its taverns, its ancestral homes, its palaces, its gardens, its museums, its bullring and its literary corners that writers such as Ernest Hemingway or Rainer Maria Rilke fell in love with.,

CUDILLERO (Principality of Asturias), It is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and also one of the favorites for foreign tourists. Its hanging houses, its cozy port, its seafood taverns, its intricate alleyways… Everything in Cudillero is a fairy tale.

AGÜERO (province of Huesca), Located just 40 kilometers from the Huesca capital, this beautiful mountain town stands out for its imposing rock formation known as Los Mallos,(saw them many times passing by!) some stone monoliths attached to the old town. One of them, Peña Sola, exceeds 200 meters on its western slope. To get here you have to go through a lush forest and a winding road.

SAN ANDRÉS (Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife), The town of San Andrés, was founded in the 15C, making it one of the oldest on the island, which can be seen in its architecture, of colonial court. Its colorful houses and its Teresitas beach are two of the hallmarks of the largest town in the Anaga district.

PEÑÍSCOLA (province of Castellon), One of the hidden jewels for the Best European Destinations association due to its monumental castle of Papa Luna, its beaches, its charming streets and its privileged climate, which makes the sun rise 300 days a year !

Born in the 13C to serve the nearby Monastery of Santa María la Real, today the town of San Martín de Valdeiglesias is a prosperous town located at the western end of the Community of Madrid, where it borders the Castilian provinces of Ávila. and Toledo. For its part, the aforementioned monastery located next to the nearby and well-known San Juan swamp, is undergoing a slow and laborious restoration after decades submerged in abandonment and ruin. The castle of La Coracera is the emblem of this town. It was built in the 15C by Don Álvaro de Luna, a patron of King Juan II, father of Enrique IV and his sister, the all-powerful Queen Isabel la Católica. Not surprisingly, the castle functioned as the monarch’s chamber during her proclamation as Queen of Castile in the nearby town of El Tiemblo in Avila. We must not forget that it was even the headquarters of dictator Napoleon’s French troops during the War of Independence (peninsular wars). Close to the castle is the Enchanted Forest, another of the essentials of the town. It is a well-kept botanical garden that integrates more than 500 plant species. More than this, it stands out because more than three hundred sculptures have been created inside it from plants. Bordering the San Juan swamp, at other times of the year it would be obligatory to go to the so-called Madrid beach to take a bath and sunbathe on the shores of this enclave in the Sierra Oeste of the Comunidad de Madrid. Even so, there is always some adventurer who does not hesitate to enter its waters in the middle of the winter months to practice kayaking, wakeboarding or paddle-surfing, some of the water activities most frequented in these parts. You can also sail, paraglide or mark a hiking route in its surroundings. The town on tourism:

Guadalajara can boast of being the second Spanish province with the most castles in the country behind Jaén. In total, this corner of my nostalgic Castilla La Mancha has 198 fortresses spread throughout its territory, many of which are in an admirable state of preservation. The Torija castle is located in a privileged area as a crossroads and natural transit to Aragon. The origin of its current plan dates from the 15C and was the work of the Mendonza family. Since the end of the 16C it has ceased to be inhabited and only on exceptional occasions was it used to house kings such as Carlos V or Felipe II and other distinguished visitors. In the 19C it would be occupied by the French occupying troops of General Hugo and later by Juan Martín el Empecinado who blew it up, leaving it in ruins. The current restoration was carried out in 1962., The castle of Sigüenza, erected in the 12C on top of a pronounced hill in this town, was used continuously as the residence of the bishops until the middle of the 19C. In the 15C it served as a refuge against the raids carried out by the Navarrese during the war of the Infantes of Aragon. During the Napoleonic occupation, the castle abandoned its character as a bishop’s residence to be the headquarters of the occupying French troops from 1808. In 1827 it returned to being the residence of bishops. It served as a fortress in the Carlist Wars for the last time, suffering extensive damage, a ruin that was completed in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). One visited recently briefly see post is the Molina de Aragón castle located in the north of the province, perched on the slopes of the mountain that rises above the town and the valley of the River Gallo, the Molina de Aragón castle is the largest and most monumental of all that remain today in Guadalajara, The set consists of a first walled belt known as albacara that has numerous defensive towers and whose main access is the Puerta del Reloj. (clock gate) The interior is made up of the fortress itself, with six towers of which the remains of two remain and another four in good condition and which are connected by a crenellated wall walk, and by a large space , In this flat interior terrain are also the remains of the Romanesque church of Santa María del Collado and a natural chasm known as Cueva de la Mora. From the castle you can also reach what is known as the Torre de Aragón, a three-story pentagonal tower surrounded by a wall with battlements. It is a reconstruction from the 19C, although an Arab fortress was located here, which in turn was built on a Celtiberian castro.!Awesome !

The Exit Alcalá cocido roll, prepared by the chef Roseny Brito and stuffed with the traditional meats of the Madrid stew, has been the winning tapa in the final of the 1st Official Championship of Tapas and Skewers of the Community of Madrid, organized by the Higher School of Hospitality and Tourism of Madrid. In the final, the cocido roll from Exit Alcalá faced the bola de cocido from Taberna Casa Maravillas, the Madrid chotis from Welkhome Club (also made with stew) and the Asian reinterpretation of the squid sandwich from BLT. The winner Exit Alcalà from Alcalà de Henares webpage :

And finally, my rant of the month or year . I do not know if just me but I have been noticing many folks trying to follow my blog giving a few likes and once ok the « friend » contact they just disappears ! I do not know why people follow , but to me , me think, you follow me because you like my content lol ! Just goes without saying that once in a while you should stop by to say Hi ,give a « like » and so on, I have taken many down from as much as 3000 followers to just over a thousand, Still a lot with hardly any real following, Is it me ? Or is just my mind ? What do you think ?

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! We are in Winter and cold weather and snow are showing up, and will be colder from now on ; just enough to be cozy and homey again. Time to enjoy my some news from Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

January 25, 2023

Sublime Sainte Anne d’Auray !!!

We passed again by Sainte Anne d’Auray often , many times in the week, this is where the Basilica of Sainte Anne (see posts)  is located,in my beautiful Morbihan, and my lovely Bretagne and of course my belle France. I have written before of the whole complex but this one always attracted my attention and would like to tell you again with new pictures. By the way, the town is only 10 km from my house. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Saint Anne d'Auray Basilica Sainte Anne front jan23

Passing by a back road around the basilica you can see the Pont er Groah, coming off the D102 road,  a nice housing type windmills way back in the sanctuary that is actually an open air theater !!  The open air theater in the Basilica de Sainte-Anne d’Auray shows a 2 hours huge spectacle with more than 200 actors and figures in costumes of the times with farm animals, carts, and carriages in the recontructed village of Ker Anna of the 17C recounting the apparitions of Sainte-Anne (the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus) to a humble Breton farmer Yvon Nicolazic. She is now the patron saint of Brittany, and the third biggest pilgrimage in France.

The Basilica of Sainte Anne is a wonderful religious complex with monuments all over the park, Especially unique is the area where Pope John Paul II visited in 1996.  You will find the monument plaque to Pope John Paul II visit in September 26 1996. It is made exactly 16,129 blocks offered by the pilgrims. It is surrounded by 12 granite columns, recalling that these are the twelve bishops of the twelve dioceses of the ecclesiastical region of western France who invited the Pope to come to this region: Angers, Bayeux, Coutances, Laval, Le Mans, Luzon, Nantes, Quimper, Rennes, St. Brieuc, Sees, Vannes. There is a figure stele bearing the image of John Paul II. A graph is drawn on the tiles. It represents a globe, a cross, a fish: the globe is the whole world to which Christ came to bring the good news, the cross, which crosses the earth, reminds us that it is in his blood that Christ saved the world, the fish takes us back to the early days of the Church, it is the sign of recognition of the first Christians, .A large Crucifix with a truly impressive carving of Christ. Beyond the espace John Paul II.

Saint Anne d'Auray Pope John Paull II visit memorial jan23

 You see the baptismal miracle fountain , the place of the first prayer and statue of Sainte Anne right coming straight to the Basilica. By choosing the fountain as a place of its first appearance, Sainte. Anne reminds us of the importance of  the source of water, but above the water of baptism: as water is essential to our lives, baptism is essential to grow in faith. The water of baptism makes us children of God and Sainte. Anne, by appearing at the fountain, invites us to return to our baptismal promises.

Saint Anne d'Auray mon Sainte Anne baptismal miracle fountain parvis basilica jan23

The Memorial of the Great War (WWI) was built from 1922 to 1932 by the five dioceses of Brittany to keep the memory of the 240 000 Bretons victims of WWI; The monument is of 52 meters high and 12 meters in diameter.  With  new  conflicts that  have  grieving  the country since 1932, a mausoleum has been placed in the center of the crypt, dedicated to all the dead of all wars. The symbolic tombs of the sailor and the missing infantryman, are guarded by Saint Michael, a patron Saint of France, and Saint Yves, a patron Saint of Brittany.

Saint Anne d'Auray mon to Bretons front jan23

The Scala Sancta is in the Christian tradition, the staircase of the palace or Praetorium of Jerusalem climbed by Jesus Christ during his Passion (during his Judgment by Pontius Pilate) to reach the Praetorium of Pontius Pilate who decided on his crucifixion. Tradition has it that pilgrims climb its steps on their knees, praying and meditating on the Passion of the Lord. It is two staircases that meet in the middle, where stands out like a small chapel: that’s it! The object of the ritual is to climb the stairs on your knees as a sign of penance, reciting the Rosary or meditating on the mysteries of the Passion of Our Lord. 

Saint Anne d'Auray scala santa prayer sainte anne jan23

The granite statue of St. Anne and Mary, both crowned. The monumental statue with Anne is having Mary read the Bible.

Saint Anne d'Auray statue Monumentale Sainte Anne et fille back jan23

A steele or stone calvary in memory of all sailors right along the wall of the memorial of the Great War.

Saint Anne d'Auray Stèle des marins Sainte Anne back field jan23

The Saint-Joachim’s Oratory is a place for perpetual prayers, it is next to the basilica and attach to the bathrooms, a small pretty space of prayers that is open 24 hrs 7/7.

Saint Anne d'Auray oratoire sainte anne outside jan23

Saint Anne d'Auray oratoire sainte anne inside jan23

The official Sanctuary of Sainte Anne

The city of Sainte Anne d’Auray on the religious heritage :

The official Yvon Nicolazic home on the episode of miracle of lights on him seeing the apparition of Sainte Anne  done at Pont er Groah theater :

The  local Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Sainte Anne d’Auray :

There you go folks, a dandy revered spot near me in spiritually imposing Sainte Anne d’Auray. The place is worth the detour if not for the religion for the history and architecture of my beautiful Morbihan ; it sits in a nice wooded area, to right along the main road D17/19 to Vannes and from my Pluvigner, Indeed Sainte Anne d’Auray is awesome, me think. Again, hope you enjoy it as I.

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

January 20, 2023

A personal touch of Santa Barbara !!!

I have said the blog is my personal life , all of it since birth; just search around and you will know me. It is my past time and have fun telling you of many places on earth, sharing my experiences with the world, and learning some more. In my family we are not and never will be extremists but we are a conservative traditional family and we believe in God, just that. There are many who claim to be but really do not, we are simple followers of good and do good and like to see good for all. I like to tell you a personal touch of Santa Barbara !!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Plu house 3D carte postale Santa Barbara de mima jan23

The legend of Saint Barbara tells that in the 3C in Asia Minor, a very pretty young girl named Barbara lived, according to the will of her father, recluse in a tower to protect her from her suitors. But one day, while his father was away, Christ appeared to her. Barbara decided to convert to Christianity, and had a third window cut into her tower, symbolizing the Trinity. This decision made the father of the young woman mad with rage. Brought before a judge, Barbara refused to renounce the Christian religion, and was condemned to be tortured. Despite all the abuse she endured, she felt no pain, thanks to the intervention of God. Her father decided to end it and beheaded her. He was then immediately struck by lightning and reduced to dust.

When the Christians come to ask for the body of the young martyr, not wanting to use her pagan first name nor reveal themselves using her Christian baptismal name, they can only refer to her as “the young barbarian woman”, hence the name of Barbara given to her. The Byzantine emperors particularly venerated his relics, which they had transferred in the 6C to Constantinople. A part was taken to Italy by the Venetians, and another in the 11C by the daughter of Alexius Comnenus to Kyev, where they are still in St. Vladimir’s Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. Since then, Saint Barbara has become the patron saint of trades facing the dangers of fire and explosions: firefighters, pyrotechnicians and miners celebrate her every year on December 4. A day off for miners, this day was more than a religious event during which a statue of Saint Barbara was blessed and then lowered into the galleries to grant her protection. to workers. On the surface, the party becomes popular and shared by all, all religions combined.

Her worship was confirmed by Pope Saint Pius V in 1568 and she became one of the fourteen holy helpers of the Saints. At the time of the Napoleonic wars, the sacred relics were taken to the temple of Saint Martin on the island of Burano, where they are still kept. until today. The remains are in a chapel dedicated exclusively to Santa Bárbara In the Church of San Juan del Hospital, Valencia, is the column where she was martyred, in a chapel dedicated to the saint. This relic was brought to the city of Valencia by the Empress Constanza Augusta of Greece. In the Church of San Jaime de Moncada ,also, in Valencia, there is a one-finger phalanx of the Saint brought from Rome to Moncada. Saint Barbara is often associated with three other saints who have taken a vow of chastity: Sainte Catherine of Alexandria, Sainte Marguerite of Antioch and Sainte Genevieve of Paris. This is the case for the altar of the Virgins of the Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz Church in Roscoff (Finistère 29 ) presenting a statue of Saint Barbara accompanied by those of Sainte Catherine and Sainte Geneviève.

Santa Barbara is usually represented young, either with the palm of martyrdom, or with peacock feathers, since this animal is a symbol of resurrection or immortality, and it already appears in the oldest known representation, dating from the 8C. It also usually appears with her attribute, a tower with three windows, sometimes enclosed in it and other times the tower appears at her side or in miniature on one of her hands. The meaning of this tower with three windows is the refuge of faith in the Holy Trinity. And she usually wears a crown, which admits of variations: in some it is that of a princess and in others it is a complete crown made up of several towers. The image of Saint Barbara is also sometimes associated with the sword with which she was beheaded, which has contributed to her being associated with war, but said sword represents a symbol of unwavering faith. With a chalice, which signifies her conversion to Catholicism.

The Santa Barbara is the patron saint of coal miners in Asturias,Spain.  She is, also, the patron saint of my native town of Punta Brava in Cuba, and venerated by all my family anywhere in the world.  The National Sanctuary of Santa Barbara can be found in the town of Arroyo Naranjo just 22 km south of Havana. The building has an eclectic style and was built in just a year with the local community’s help and funded by the Archbishop of Havana, Manuel Arteaga Betancourt and first lady Martha Fernandez (Fulgencio Batista’s wife), and it was inaugurated on the day that commemorates her,December 4, 1953. 

Plu house statue Santa Barbara de mima jan23

A bit of Rome for Santa Barbara Her first depiction is perhaps in Rome, in a fresco in Santa Maria Antiqua, and both the oratory attached to the Church of San Gregorio al Celio and the Church of Santa Barbara dei Librai also have remote origins.  In 16C Rome devotees of Saint Barbara were inevitably the forerunners of the modern artillerymen, that is, the bombardiers in charge of the defense of Castel Sant’Angelo. At their own expense, they restructured one of the chapels in the Church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, dedicating it to their patroness and decorating its walls with astonishing stucco  thrusters,  mortars,  cannons,  howitzers,  balls,  bullets and barrels of gunpowder. Organized into a confraternity since 1594, the papal bombardiers enjoyed a number of privileges and exemptions, including the possibility of releasing a condemned prisoner twice a year, on 29 September, for the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, and precisely on 4 December for Santa Barbara.

A great prayer known to my family is as follows:  «Saint Barbara, blessed virgin, great with immense power, God be with you and you with me on the path of good. With your winning sword deliver me from evil, injustice, envy and evil eyes. With the power of lightning protect me from my enemies, glorify the muzzle of my cannon and allow me to be victorious. With the chalice of your cup and the wine, keep the strength of my body and spirit for the hard struggle and combat. Receive my apples and daisies as an offering that I always have you present in my thoughts and in my home, and I beg you to never abandon me and come to me every time I claim you to defend my faith, my land, my family and my fights; and that in the end you always take me to glory like you. Amen.”

An unofficial site on the life of Santa Barbara :

The St Peter’s Basilica of Rome on Santa Barbara:

There you go folks, a wonderful story of faith and peservering in our difficult times then and even more today, In my days of sorrows, I had the comfort of my family and Santa Barbara with statues kept by my dear late mom Gladys at home which I am showing here for the record, for the history, for my blog ,me and the world, Again, hope you enjoy this personal post on a personal saint, Santa Barbara as I

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

January 18, 2023

Wines news of Spain V

We are in Winter 2023, its time to tell you once again on the wines of my dear Spain, As said, this goes back from my beginnings ,and I still go for them everywhere, Therefore, will try the monumental task of telling you about my favorites anecdotes and news of Spanish wines and hope to continue this series as my others with your blessing and likes. Here it is ,again coming back at you mywines news of Spain V !!

The Riojan winery Bodega Marqués de Murrieta has managed to position one of its wines, Marqués de Murrieta Reserva, in fourth place in its Top 10 Wine Values of 2022 ranking prepared by Wine Spectator magazine, recognized for being one of the most influential in the industry, and which usually drink French, American and Italian wines. This recognition of Marqués de Murrieta Reserva comes months after the pioneering Rioja winery was recognized in November last year with the Best Of 2023 award, which ranks it as the best winery in the world and was awarded by the World Network of Large Wine Capitals. In 2020, Wine Spectator had already chosen another of the Marqués de Murrieta wines as the best wine in the world, on this occasion Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. Webpage :

The Familia Fernández Rivera, a family wine group led by women, whose iconic Tinto Pesquera winery celebrates 50 years of history. The Fernández Rivera family includes the Hotel AF Pesquera and the Condado de Haza wineries; Dehesa La Granja; El Vínculo y Tinto Pesquera, promoter of the DO Ribera del Duero and flagship that celebrates 50 years of history. Lucía Fernández Rivera, daughter of the founder, Alejandro and Esperanza, who I met them ! The work soon paid off, because in the 80s they began to export Tinto Pesquera. “That the first country we sent wines to was the US meant everything, it opened doors for us; also Robert Parker’s points, although no one around here knew him…”, Lucia says with a smile. Indeed I was there when it poured in Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel Fl USA !! Memories forever !!! webpage :

The Remírez de Ganuza’s Reserva 2009 has been chosen as one of the best wines of 2022 by the prestigious wine magazine The Drinks Business. The news serves to highlight the great moment the winery is experiencing, which in 2022 has managed to reach the goal of selling 50,000 bottles over €50. Until now Vega Sicilia was the only Spanish winery to achieve this. Located in the small town of Samaniego in Alava, it was founded in 1989 by Fernando Remírez de Ganuza. In 2010, his Gran Reserva 2004 obtained the coveted 100 Parker points. That same year, the Urtasun family became part of the winery, first as Fernando’s partners but since 2019 they own the entirety. Of its Reserva 2009, it stands out that with more than ten years of age, it is at its best moment, with ripe notes, leather and sweet balsamic, along with stewed fruit. Complementing these aromas is a touch of cedar, dark chocolate and spices, as well as a lovely texture, which starts out meaty, ending chewy and fresh. With a price of 90 euros, some bottles can still be found in specialized points of sale ! Webpage :

The prestige and recognition achieved by Bodega Fillaboa and its elaborations follow one another without rest. It is one of the three spirits and Orujo that the brand makes that is now attracting attention. The Spanish Association of Wine Journalists and Writers (AEPEV) awards in its XIV edition of Best Wines and Spirits of Spain 2022 the Aged Orujo Fillaboa in the category of Orujos Spirits, Grape Spirits and Liqueurs. The Aged Fillaboa Orujo of the I.G. Orujo de Galicia has been presented since last year 2022 in a new and stylish bottle. This brandy is obtained from the aging of the Orujo Blanco. The brandy ages for at least seven years in 225L French Limousine oak barrels. located in the warehouse. Of an amber color, this distillate is clean and bright. On the nose it gives off aromas of vanilla, toast and hints of French oak. It has notes of orange peel, dried fruit and hints of toffee. On the palate it is complex, unctuous and soft. It is recommended to serve at a temperature of 15-18º and it has a potential aging of 20 years. Fillaboa is a historic estate that has remained indivisible throughout the centuries, being one of the largest, most beautiful and oldest in Galicia and the only one that, due to its special characteristics, it belongs to Grandes Pagos de España. Behind the 1,600 meter thick stone wall that protects the property, in addition to the vineyards, the winery and a spectacular rebuilt manor house are hidden. 50 hectares of Albariño grape vineyards planted on undulating slopes make up the Fillaboa estate, which is located in Salvaterra do Miño, on the natural border with Portugal, next to the Tea and Miño rivers, and comprises a total of 74 hectares spread over 12 different pagos, Webpage Fillaboa with the orujo :

The Orujo the skin of the grape, after it has been pressed and all its substance has been removed, A sort of aguardiente from grapes, Aguardiente is an alcoholic beverage distilled from an alcoholic fermentation. It can be sugar cane etc, The orujo is very popular in Galicia which my friends always offered ! To explain a bit on the above words, let me tell you a pagos is a word coming from the Latin pagus, which the Romans used to designate a geographical and territorial unit into which a city was divided and which formed part of the land cadastral organization. However, obtaining great wines associated with specific places was already present in ancient Greece where the pagos of the mountain of Tmolos, those of Fanes or those of Plentia (in Alexandria) were famous. The Great Pagos of Spain are here with Fillaboa :

It is known in the DO Toro and elsewhere as Tinto Aragones. It is Garnacha, a variety that has coexisted there with tinta de toro in unequal conditions. Its always interesting participation in coupages was limited to 25% , Now the situation is very different. Not only is the door open to the creation of Garnacha monovarietals protected by the denomination of origin, but a greater pride is perceived among those who use this grape, The tinta de toro in Prima 2020. Abundant fruity memories, finesse and restrained strength -softly wrapped in oak- stand out in this wine. It is made with the youngest vines (although some have exceeded half a century) from his Toro winery. It is easy and comfortable to drink without giving up its seriousness and character. A successful approach to the greatness of a terroir, also present in this brand, which has the blessing of a few drops of Garnacha. Webpage :

Vega Sicilia expanded its legend with a historic tasting in which it quoted the best of the sector’s press and where it honored those present with eight decades of its best vintages. With the act, It celebrated the 40th anniversary since the Álvarez saga acquired the best winery in Spain for around 300 million pesetas and whose origins date back to 1848 when Toribio Lecanda acquired a 2,000-hectare estate from the Marquis of Valbuena. The winery, based in Valbuena de Duero (province of Valladolid, Castilla y Léon) tasted at the Asador Etxebarri (Atxondo, Vizcaya) , two Valbuenas (2018 and 2005 magnum) to give way to a collection of unforgettable Único vintages, some relics that would make more than one collector lose their heads: 2013, 2010, 2009, 2004, 1999 , 1996, 1994, 1991, 1990 magnum, 1989, 1986, 1981 magnum, 1980, 1975, 1974, 1970, 1968, 1962, 1960, 1957, 1953 and 1942. The vineyard has been our obsession for 40 years. And it still is. The vineyard is the biggest and most beautiful thing we have”, endorsed Álvarez. Amen ! Webpage :

And I cannot leave this post without again mentioning Herederos del Marqués de Riscal, my first taste ever of wine given by my dear maternal grandmother Amparo of Pajarà, Tenerife always remembered abuela Amparo, Her favorite words was in those earlier days , the wine may be sour but is our wine ! (Spain of course), The Marqués de Riscal is one of the oldest wineries in Rioja, founded in Elciego ( province of Álava) in 1858 by Guillermo Hurtado de Amézaga. Since its inception it has been a benchmark in the wine industry, being the first Rioja winery to produce wines according to Bordeaux methods (first winemaker was Jean Pineau of Bordeaux). In 1972 it became the first winery to promote the Rueda Designation of Origin ,where its famous white wines are made ,and in 1991 it launched Barón de Chirel, the first “high expression wine”. In 2006, the Ciudad del Vino or City of wine was inaugurated, with a hotel designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry, which is the most avant-garde work carried out to date by a Spanish winery. Marqués de Riscal has always had a clear export vocation. Today it is present in more than 110 countries to which it exports more than 60% of its production. In 2021 Marqués de Riscal has been named the second best vineyard in the world and the first in Europe in the World’s Best Vineyards 2021 contest. The Ciudad del Vino de Marqués de Riscal offers the experience of going through the history of the winery from its foundation in 1858 to the present day with the possibility of enjoying wine through the five senses: guided tours with which the visitor will visit the most and you will be able to see first-hand how they make their wines. All tours include tasting of their wines and appetizers. Hotel Marqués de Riscal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, designed by Frank O. Gehry. Center for meetings, conventions and events. Caudalie wine therapy spa. Wide gastronomic offer, Gastronomic Restaurant, with a Michelin Star and the advice of the La Rioja chef Francis Paniego, 1860 Tradición Restaurant, Vinoteca y Bistró, Asador Torrea and bar and cafeteria. Sublime ! Webpage :

The Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja or Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin will become the epicenter of national and international wine tourism activity by being chosen as the venue for the World’s Best Vineyards 2023 convention, an annual event famous for revealing the ranking of the best experiences offered by vineyards and wineries, enjoyed by of enormous prestige and great worldwide media coverage. The contest, which will take place from July 10 to 13 ,2023, offers the opportunity to show the potential of Rioja before the eyes of the delegation, made up of more than a hundred people including the organization, the jury, national and international journalists, as well as great exponents and experts from the sector, who will have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Denomination through an extensive program with different itineraries, which will include tastings, visits to wineries and leisure activities, among others, to enjoy the rich diversity of the Region so that they can appreciate all the elements that make Rioja a unique place , Within the program of visits organized in collaboration with the Regulatory Council of the DOCa, the announcement of the 50 Best Vineyards and Wineries occupies a prominent place of the World (World’s Best Vineyards) of 2023, which will take place on July 12, at which time the global ranking will be announced. Rioja, is the oldest Qualified Designation of Origin in Spain, dating back to 1925, and the first to receive Qualified certification in 1991, is positioned as one of the Designations of Origin in the world that offers the best guarantees regarding quality and authenticity. of its wines, thanks to the demanding regulations and self-control developed by its Regulatory Council. With more than 66,000 hectares, the DOCa Rioja is made up of three zones with different wine-growing characteristics ,Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental , which cover 144 towns through which the Denomination extends, with 600 wineries and more than 14,000 winegrowers. Rioja wines webpage :

As far as Decanter magazine ( me a former subscriber for many years of learning) the best wines for winter, and my favorites are : R Lopez de Heredia, Viña Gravonia Blanco, Crianza, 2014, La Rioja Alta, Gran Reserva 890, 2005, Remírez de Ganuza, Reserva, 2006,  Bodegas Ramón Bilbao, Límite Sur, 2017, Bodegas Riojanas, Monte Real Gran Reserva, 2014 , CVNE, Cune Reserva, 2017, and Faustino, I Gran Reserva, 2011 , You won’t go wrong with any of these fyi, Decanter webpage:

And why not leave you with a nice recipe of my dear Spain, this time from Burgos, The Cobo Vintage style roast lamb in a convection oven. This roast chooses a piece of Arce Carne IGP, from La Bureba in Burgos, which is macerated with garlic, lemon, salt and white vinegar before being subjected to the most traditional and avant-garde cuisine by Miguel Cobo.

The Ingredients : Piece of Arce lamb Meat IGP 5 liters of water, 1 head of garlic, 150 ml of white vinegar, 1 lemon ,and Salt, The making of it: We put the piece to soak in the water for 12 hours with the garlic, lemon, salt and vinegar. Then we will roast the piece in a convection oven subjecting it to three round and round maneuvers every 40, 30 and 15 minutes, at 160º or 180º., This is the mythical Vallés, in Briviesca; Cobo Vintage opened in 2014, in Burgos; He achieved his Michelin star in 2016 and in 2020 he undertook the ambitious Cobo Estratos project, with two restaurants that share access and two different culinary styles: traditional Burgos and cosmopolitan avant-garde. Now, the new project is called Cobo Evolución, and it is a gastronomic restaurant that is located within the Cobo Estratos space of almost 1,500 square meters. It is located in Plaza de la Libertad ,9, in the historic center of Burgos. Buen provecho ! His webpage :

There you go folks, another wonderful post on my dear Spanish wines, Hoping for a long lasting memories of my dear Spain and its wine news, An area already shining for several years, and getting better me think, Hope you enjoy the new series of wines news from Spain as I

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

January 13, 2023

The Saint-Laud Collegiate Church of Angers !

In my road warrior tour of the region and on our way back home, decided to stop by Angers again. This is  Angers , a wonderful city in the dept 49 of Maine et Loire and in the Pays de la Loire region of my belle France. I had this buried in another post and feel deserves a post of its own. Therefore here it is the Saint Laud Collegiate Church of Angers!

The Saint-Laud Collegiate Church is a former collegiate church located in Angers. It is less known and not on the tourist office webpage but me think is a must to see, and me more of it, First, the chapel of the collegiate church was rebuilt by Henry II Plantagenet around the middle of the 12C on the site of a tower of the Gallo-Roman enclosure of the city. The Saint-Laud Collegiate Church of the castle disappeared in 1232, but there is still a Saint-Laud church which is its heir. In July 1471, by his letters patent, King Louis XI confirmed its privileges. It housed a famous relic, the True Cross of St-Laud d’Angers, cherished by Louis XI. The Saint Laud Collegiate Church has always carried the dedication of Saint Laud. The chapter was expelled to Esvière in 1232 on the occasion of the construction of the castle. It then occupies the former church of Saint-Germain, and is therefore sometimes called Saint-Laud-en-Saint-Germain.

The Saint-Laud Collegiate Church indirectly owes its existence to the Norman invasions. The remains of Blessed Laud , bishop of Coutances in the 6C, were brought to Angers to protect them from invaders. A chapter of canons watched over them, close to the castle. In 1234, King Saint Louis wanted to enlarge his citadel. He had the canons and their relics transferred to the small parish church of Saint-Germain en Saint-Laud, to the current Cour Saint-Laud in Angers. It is nevertheless famous because it keeps shards of wood brought back from the Holy Land. These shards are said to be fragments of the true Cross of Christ. During the French revolution, the reliquary was broken, the church ruined. The place of worship of the parish will henceforth be the chapel of the Récollets, at the current location of the church. In 1869, it was destroyed to be replaced by the current church which will be consecrated in 1876. The Saint-Laud Collegiate Church is in Poitevin Romanesque style. In May 1944, (during WWII) two bombs will bruise it: twenty-eight dead, collapsed vaults, altar, furniture and organ destroyed. It will not be returned to worship until 1954.


The Countess of Quatrebarbes was the benefactress of the Saint-Laud Collegiate Church. She commissioned the first stained glass window in the church: that of Foulques V. It was made in 1876. The stained glass window of Foulques V was destroyed in a bombardment in May 1944 (during WWII). Five thousand pieces were recovered from the debris. They will be patiently reassembled at the cost of a thousand hours of work. The stained glass window returned to its place in 2008. The Foulques V stained glass window consists of three illustrations of the important stages in the life of the count. Foulques who was King of Jerusalem from 1131 to 1143 through his marriage to Mélisende, daughter of Baudoin and King of Jerusalem.

The Notre Dame du Salve or Our Lady of Salva is a statue dating, according to the sources, from the end of the 13C or the beginning of the 14C. Attached to the school of Ile-de-France, it is in white marble and was offered by the royal family at the time when Philippe IV le Bel was king of France. It remained in the small church of Saint-Germain in Saint-Laud until 1793 and was then hidden in Grand-Douzillé. It took its place in Saint-Laud Collegiate Church in 1887. It is one of the rare statues of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus where we can also see Eve biting the apple. The Virgin rests on Eve. According to the sources, the serpent is also seen there.

The Stained Glass of the True Cross has no workshop or master glassmaker signature. It is likely that it dates from the second half of the 19C, It shows the Patriarch of Jerusalem gives the cross on a cushion: Foulques V brings the True Cross to Angers, Louis XI made the Duke of Burgundy swear on the True Cross (“my dear enemy”) because, in the Middle Ages, the True Cross had the reputation of causing all those who perjured themselves to die within a year (hence the qualifier “dear”…) The episode of the French revolution. The goldsmith Vigier makes assessments for the revolutionaries. He recognizes the True Cross and hides it behind his back. He will restore it to the Clergy after the revolution !

The Parish of Saint Laud on the church :

The Angers tourist office on its religous heritage :!/?q=religious%20buildings

There you go folks, another gem of Angers and not far from me. This is one off the beaten path monument you should seek and me will come back. Hope you enjoy the post on the Saint Laud Collegiate Church as I

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

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January 13, 2023

The Grand Théâtre d’Angers !

In my road warrior tour of the region and on our way back home, decided to stop by Angers again. This is  Angers , a wonderful city in the dept 49 of Maine et Loire and in the Pays de la Loire region of my belle France. I had this buried in another post and feel deserves a post of its own. Therefore here it is the Grand Theater of Angers!


The Grand Théâtre d’Angers is a performance hall built in the 19C located in the city center on Place du Ralliement. The 723 seats of this Italian theater host both music, theater and opera.  The body of the building is made up of three sections, the two side sections being slightly set back from the main section. Initially, the ground floor is marked by a vestibule hall and two fluted columns with Ionic capitals. Masks representing tragedy and comedy since antiquity make the transition between the ground floor and the first floor. The latter is characterized by fluted columns with Corinthian capitals and large windows between which we find, in niches , statues of muses representing from left to right: lyric poetry, comedy, tragedy and music. The top of the building is marked by a semicircular pediment decorated with the arms of the city of Angers, under which, on each side of a window reminiscent of the ancient baths, there are new allegories: cherubs representing fame on the right, eloquence and history and on the left, satire, music and drama. Inside there are several parts: an auditorium, a large foyer and a backstage area.

Angers Grand theatre pl du Ralliement feb22

A bit of history I like

A theater has been present in Angers since Gallo-Roman times. A municipal theater was built there in 1794 in the former Grandes Écoles on Place du Ralliement, and opened in September 1795 ,On the night of December 4 to 5, 1865, a fire destroyed the theater. The city decides on its reconstruction, which begins in 1867, The new theater is inaugurated in 1871. It consists of a vestibule, a theater and a stage, and boxes behind The following year the work of the two cafes that frame it, thus forming a whole, During the second half of the 20C, the theater underwent several works, notably in 1957, 1981 and 1993. The renovation work carried out between November 1992 and July 1994 made it possible to create an exhibition hall, In 2003, when it was created, the Angers-Nantes Opéra training was in residence at the theater , If the theater hosts music and theater, it also hosts exhibitions and other events.

The city of Angers on the Grand Théâtre :

The Angers tourist office on visiting the Grand Théâtre

There you go folks, another gem of Angers and not far from me. Hope you enjoy the post on the Grand Théâtre of Angers as I

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

Tags: ,
January 12, 2023

Always more in Saint Germain en Laye !!!

And I am in my old neighborhood of Saint Germain en Laye, a wonderful town near my old home, why not tell you again about a wonderful royal city of my belle France, and of great historical significance and beautiful museum today. It is a must see while here and very easy to get to from Paris.

The town of Saint Germain en Laye is located in the Yvelines department 78, west of Paris; this is in the Île de France region.  It was very near me and I did shopping and eating out there often with the family. It is ,also, the birthplace of king Louis XIV with a beautiful castle now a wonderful museum. To come best on the RER A from many points in Paris, or the train  station Grand  Ceinture ,just at entry to the city from the west, train from Paris gare St Lazare.  The most obvious parkings  is by the RER A station, two are call RER and Chateau parking in two levels. The other is to go underneath the Vieux Marché or market area on ave de la République, or the parking Pologne at rue de Pologne or the Monoprix store parking.


The town offers many sightseeing choices and it is very easy to get to from Paris.  The town grew because of the castle and the forest that surround it which are magnificent with a wonderful view of Paris in the distance and its monuments at the park done by Le Notre. The name is old possibly from 972 AD when king of the French Robert I had built a monastery in honor of St Germain ,probably St Germain des Prés. The name of the town can be translated as Saint Germain of the forest in new French.  In 1777, King Louis XVI donated the New Castle, in bad condition, to his brother Charles, Count of Artois, the future Charles X. He had it demolished with the intention of rebuilding it.  Under the first Empire, the Château-Vieux was repaired to form a cavalry school. It hosts the Special Military School of Cavalry, opened in 1809 and merged, in 1914, with the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr. From 1836 to 1855, the castle was transformed into a military penitentiary. It was extensively restored under Napoleon III . On March 8, 1862, an imperial decree acts the creation in the castle of a Museum of Celtic and Gallo-Roman Antiquities (later renamed Museum of National Antiquities, then recently , and still today the Museum of National Archaeology).


I have other posts on the castle,but here is a little more ok. The castle revolves around an inner courtyard in the shape of a trapezoid, taking the primitive route of Charles V Castle. The wings that frame this courtyard traditionally bear the following names: King’s Wing (north wing), Queen’s Wing (east Wing), King’s Children’s wing (southeast wing), Chapel Wing (southwest Wing), and the Feast Hall Wing (West Wing). The ballroom is located in the West Wing. Unfinished at the death of François I, it was inaugurated by his son Henri II at a grand banquet in 1549 to celebrate the baptism of his son. It is more than 500 m2 and has a monumental chimney with a stone motif, which features the salamander; the emblem of François I. Louis XIV transformed it into a comedy room, and the team of formidable instruments. More than one hundred and forty representations of all kinds were given in this room considered the largest of the whole kingdom. Lully and Molière knew their hours of glory here. In 1666, king Louis XIV performed himself in the Ballet des Muses. This room now houses the comparative archaeology room.


The castle museum are well kept with a beautiful Chapel of  St. Louis, located in the Gothic castle, is a vestige of the ancient fortress. It was built by Saint Louis in 1238. Louis XIV, although born in the Château Neuf, was baptized there. An inner courtyard, floors of antiquities artifacts from the region very nicely display, and the adjoining park design by Le Notre overlooking Paris. Behind the castle in what is now the restaurant Pavillon Henri IV, a marker displays the fact that king Louis XIV was born there. Of course, the castle now the museum of antiquities or musée national des antiquites it covers in three floors wonders of the old days found in the surrounding areas, and it is considered one of the best in its genre.  Behind you see an archdoor leading to the Pavillon Henri IV restaurant (great dining) an enblem showing this is where Louis XIV was born. The parc and gardens were done from  1668 to 1675 by the great gardener Le Nôtre, and it has an expansive view over Paris and the vineyards of Le Pecq that after doing so from antiquity are now back in form from 2000 onward producicng pinot noir base wines.   


Some of the stories and personalities of the Castle and the city of Saint Germain en Laye were:

King François I married Claude de France (daughter of Anne de Bretagne and queen as well) in the Chapel of the old castle in 1514 , and became its favorite living property. Henri II is also born here, and he became king in 1547!  Charles IX established a glass making trade in 1561, and  Henri IV exempt the inhabitants of all taxes in 1599 priviledge that lasted until 1789! king Louis XIII spent his youth at the old castle, and it was while hunting from here that he discovered another place to later build his hunting lodge-Versailles. He later died here in 1643, while his son Louis XIV was born here in 1638. As king Louis XIV spent a great deal of his time here from 1661  to 1682 afterward the castle decline as the new other property was been built at Versailles. The king of England Edward II came here in exile from 1689 to his death in 1701 at the old castle, and is buried across the street at the Church of St Germain (see post).

Saint Germain en Laye saw the birth of  (year following name) :Henri II, 1518; Marguerite de France, Queen Margot, 1553 ; Jeanne d’Albret, (mother of Henri IV and great figure of the Reformist era) ,1528;Charles IX , 1550 ; Louis de Buade count de Frontenac,( Governor of New France (Canada)),1622; King Louis XIV, 1638 ; Philippe de France, duke of Orléans,1640 ; Philippe de France, duke of Anjou, (oldest son of Louis XIV), 1660; Marie-Louise of England , (daughter of king James II of England exile in the city and buried at the Church of St Germain across from castle), 1692;  Claude Debussy ,1862 ; Edouard Bourdet, 1887;  Jehan Alain, 1911 ;  Christian Fouchet, 1911,(ambassador and previous minister and follower from the first hour of Gen de Gaulle); José Artur, 1927; Michel Pericard (1929-1999), (previous mayor of Saint-Germain- en-Laye (1977-1999),deputy of the Yvelines  (1978-1999) , and Vice President of the National Assembly of France (1997-1999); Jean-Edern Hallier, 1936;  and Pierre Douglas, 1941…

Saint Germain en Laye saw the passing of figures such as (year of death following name) : Louis XIII,1643 ; James II king of England, 1701; The knight  Ramsay  1743 ; François de Beauharnais, (father in law of Joséphine first wife of Napoléon), 1800 ; prince de Polignac, 1847 ; Adolphe Thiers, President of the IIIe Républic, 1877; the Poet Catulle Mendès, 1909 ; Henri Cochet, Tennis champion 6 times winner of the Davis Cup, 1987; Suzanne Chantal, roman writer, 1994. And who have passed by in the city, some of the famous are : Molière, alias Jean-Baptiste Poquelin; Mozart for a day in 1778 ; Benjamin Franklin also in 1778; Alexandre Dumas father and son. The father wrote  “Les Trois mousquetaires” and “Le Comte de Monte Cristo” in the city while commander of the national guard in town as well as directs the theater.  The son wrote  “La Dame aux camélias” in the city. The musician Claude Debussy, and the painter Maurice Denis , that have a museum in the city as well. And of course, many many others too numerous to mention.

The Seine Saint Germain en Laye tourist office :

The Castle/Museum of National Antiquities:

There you go folks, worth a detour out of Paris glitz! come on over the Yvelines dept 78 ; the first , history , architecture, marvels of my belle France, and enjoy Saint Germain) en Laye as I !!!

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

January 10, 2023

The Rue Jeanne d’Arc of Orléans !

I just found another picture not in my blog yet from my vault lol ! It is a street we walked several times each time in Orléans, Therefore, let me tell you with new text and older pictures on the Rue Jeanne d’Arc of Orléans ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The opening of the rue Royale in 1756 having attracted traffic and commerce, it was immediately thought to open a new avenue in the axis of the facade of the Bourbon cathedral then under construction, to replace the old “decumanus maximus” or rue de Bourgogne, which had become too narrow. The French revolution postponed the execution of the project, and after a detailed study carried out in 1811, the opening of the rue de Bourbon was declared of public utility on September 16, 1825. The work, was given to be done and work on was from 1836 to 1841. The Rue Jeanne d’Arc, thus named in 1840, was finally completed in 1846. After the destruction of 1940 (WWII) , an extension of 55 meters beyond Rue Royale , will be produced from 1941. It led to the destruction of six streets, three squares and many buildings. The ostentatious will of the architects is clearly visible: the façade of the Anatole Bailly College, formerly the Royal College, bears witness to this in particular. The street was extended after WWII to the Place du General de Gaulle, created simultaneously.


The Rue Jeanne d’Arc is lined with houses almost all built at the same time, following a municipal ordinance which fixed the general layout and the main dimensions. The cornices reign everywhere at the same height and the headbands of the floors are placed at the same level. The architecture is different on each facade, but everywhere on the same scale. This ordinance was intended to enhance the cathedral, The Tram TAO passes on Rue Jeanne d’Arc in front of the cathedral

Orleans rue jeanne d arc Pedro et Remi behind us aout07

The Orléans metropole tourist office on its presentation:

The Loiret dept 45 tourist office on the Rue Jeanne d’Arc :

There you go folks, a dandy town of Joan! This is Orléans and we love the city, ; this is one of its emblematic streets. Hope you enjoy the brief tour of the Rue Jeanne d’Arc ,and see my other posts on Orléans. It is worth your detour ,me think

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

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January 9, 2023

The Saint-Julien Hospital and Chapel of Laval

Wonderful memories indeed and glad we came to Laval. I have several entries on Laval, located in the Mayenne dept 53 of the Pays de la Loire region. I like to tell you with new text and picture on this forgotten one in my vault gladly now in my blog. This is the Hospital and Chapel of Saint Julien ,more about it and hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Saint-Julien Hospital and Chapel of Laval is located at 29-43 quai Paul-Boudet. The hospital disappeared and was also named Saint-Joseph in the 19C.The city had its church by Julien du Mans as early as the 9C. It was not a parish church, but the chapel of the Maison-Dieu, built at the end of the bridge, on the side opposite the town. This hospitable house was at the same time a rather considerable benefice, usually conferred on a personage of distinction. This church, which was doubtless rebuilt several times, or at least enlarged and modified, still existed in the 19C; thus it was, for ten centuries, the main center of the cult of Saint Julien for all the neighboring populations. In 1830, the ancient church of Saint-Julien and the almost ruined buildings of the old hospital were sold to a company of speculators who had the bazaar or passage Saint-Julien built on this site, The hospital archives escaped the French revolution;and they still exist, and are considerable ,The archives of the hospitals of Laval – Saint-Julien and Saint-Louis are kept in the Departmental Archives of Mayenne.


Nothing is known about the time of its foundation. Some historians give the date as the 10C; but by the 15C all the titles which could have made known the truth on this point had already been lost. Everything suggests that this foundation was a benefit of the lords of Laval. Originally it consisted only of a lower room at the level of the Mayenne river at the bottom of the Valley of Saint-Julien. Later a great hall was established against the causeway or turcia of the bridge and on the same level. This room served at the same time as accommodation for the poor and as a chapel for divine service. Later still, it kept only this last destination and Guy XVI de Laval had built for the sick, in 1528, along the wall of the church, a kind of gallery supported by granite columns whose base was in the river In the early days, this house was administered by people forming a kind of brotherhood, and taking the quality of brothers and sisters of the chaplaincy ,This corporation was replaced towards the end of the 13C by ecclesiastics who formed a kind of chapter, and which had a particular cemetery, which was called the Cimetière-Dieu or God cementery, The administration of the Maison-Dieu was changed in the 16C. The Count of Laval, Guy XVII de Laval, or rather his tutor because he was still a minor, withdrew, on February 8, 1556, from the master of the chaplaincy, all authority over this house. At that time, the Maison-Dieu gave her help at home, and received the sick, but it still had neither a doctor nor a surgeon in charge of caring for them. It was only in 1577 that a barber-surgeon was permanently attached to this service. The community of Saint-Joseph suffered less than other religious establishments during the French revolution. The hospital had been declared a military hospice. It was rebuilt at the end of the 19C and was completed in 1899. The Maison Saint Julien Hospital Care Center has owned the chapel since 1987. After its disaffection with worship in the 1980s, the chapel was used as a exhibition space. Since 2000, it has been used as a museum reserve.

The Saint Julien Chapel is of Latin cross and Romano-Byzantine style, it is distinguished by its richly decorated entrance: bas-relief sculptures including a Virgin and Child holding a lily and a statue of Saint Joseph, rose, arcades, etc. A campanile with polygonal spire contains a bell ,The left arm of the transept, formerly the choir of the nuns, consists of a low room with two rows of five arcades and a floor., The ceiling of the lower room is covered with carved oak joists. What corresponds to the nave stricto sensu was formerly reserved for the sick and communicated with the hospital. The choir which describes as a semi-circle is shallow. The interior decor is particularly worthy of interest: The stained glass windows were made between 1901 and 1902, and there are monumental paintings by the painters Maurice Chabas and Emmanuel Cavaillé-Col, sculptures by Joseph Vallet.

The Space Saint Julien, health house for the needy now

The city of Laval on its heritage

The Laval tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy find in my vault on the nice City of Laval ,Worth a detour me think, Very little information on them now but from my library and brochures was able to provide general info on it, Again hope you have enjoy the post on the Hospital and Chapel of St Julien as I.

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

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