Archive for ‘France’

May 25, 2020

Musée du Louvre, Paris!!!

I decided during this limited period to rev up my blog a bit. One major monument building that I am Friends of the Museum is the Louvre in Paris. I have written a more historical post on it but feel not do a good job. Indeed, the Louvre merits more time and posts.   Oh well my creativity definitively do not belong in the Louvre lol! I like to give you a fresh new update now. As well as photos not published before…

One of the greatest and by many THE greatest museum in the world, including me!. Its a huge fortress that grew up from about 1190 by king Philippe Auguste occupying the south west side of the current Cour Carré. The treasures of France were kept here since 1317   put together from the wealth of the orders of temples and hospitals by king Charles V. The museum was given idea on about 1793 under the French revolutionary government under the name of Museum Centrale des Arts de la Republique. it was later change to Museum Napoleon under the Empire before coming back to its current name. The idea was to centralised all the works in one national museum.

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It has about 160 000 square meters of space of which only about 60 000 are use for works open to the public. The idea has long been to expand the space and provide easier and more numerous access to the public. The annex of Lens, Pas de Calais dept 62 of the Hauts de France region , webpage in English here: Louvre museum at Lens

And the newest opened in Abu Dhabi UAE as here:  Louvre at Abu Dhabi

The idea of all these annexes are to done a window of opportunity not only for more revenue but also to display more works of arts instead of piling them in the basement and other depositories I know such as the basement of the Chartres Cathedral. The Louvre is to the world !!!

One must know the museum is closed on Tuesdays, open every other day. Open from 9h to 18h and on Wednesdays and Fridays open to 21h45 . Open until 21h45 the first Saturday of each month, the wing or  aile Richelieu with prior reservation only .Admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and on National Day July 14. The best entrances are on the quai François Mitterrand, passage Richelieu,  99 Rue de Rivoli, and the Porte des Lions at the end of Pavillon Flore next to the Seine river to avoid as much as possible the crowds. The best days to visit are Mondays and Thursdays are these are full days of work in France. Weekends everybody is here, plus Wednesdays afternoons and Fridays are rest period for many workers in France. Be early on opening time for any day or late nights opening days. The metro line 1 and 7 Palais Royale/Musée du Louvre , Tuileries, close by is Pyramides on line 14, and all these bus lines get you here : 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, and 95. Also, on a quaint stop do come by Batobus  stop Louvre at quai François-Mitterrand. Plan ,plan ahead, read ,read ahead, its a huge place, on average visit the museum claims it to be 3h15 but most visitor do not appreciate what is there;  it really needs three days to see all well.  Or as I did , plan your itineraries and come back a second or third or…time. First timers for each new area better get an audioguide, and get a map of the place (as below) , buy your ticket ahead of time, and settled on the areas you want to see first, narrow it down if your time is limited. The Sphinx, Mona Lisa (joconde), Napoleon III apartments, Venus, some of these need to be seen on your first trip. One of every two visitors are first timers. You can advance purchase tickets at many stores in Paris before arriving at the museum such as FNAC, Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps,BHV, Carrefour, Auchan , andLeclerc supermarkets. As well as the official Louvre Museum ticketing : Ticketing in advance for the Louvre Museum

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This is a very good pdf file on a map of the Louvre Museum, you are better to print it at home before coming for the visit; it can done in several languages I have it in English: PDF map of the Louvre museum

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You have sections such as my favorite Egyptian antiquities, then Etruscan/Roman antiquities, Greek antiquities, Oriental antiquities, Oriental relating to the art of Islam, interior and exterior architectures marvels (especially the apartments to Napoleon III), Graphic Arts, First arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, Object d’Arts from all over the world, Paintings of the masters as English, Spanish, Flemish, French, Italians, other Europeans, European sculptures, French sculptures, and Italian sculptures. All marvels too many to mention here.

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You have guided tours as well as workshops to participate on, the official site will tell you.  A wonderful auditorium for concerts,   expositions, exhibits, and movies showcasing the arts in all its form as well as temporary exhibits covering many subjects.

Next door you have the wonderful Jardin des Tuileries my lunch hangout for many years. The Musée des arts décoratifs on the pavillon Marsans facing rue de Rivoli will keep you here for weeks ! An splendid boutique store for your shopping even online where you can find luggage bags and coats valet service at  underneath the Pyramide (Hall Napoleon) and the porte des Lions from 9h to 18h45 and to 21h45 on late night openings.

You have several choices for snacking and eating ,drinking inside the complex such as   Goguette, Starbucks, Café Diane, Café Mollien, Comptoir du Louvre, Paul, Denon and Richelieu counters, Terrase de Pomone, and Amorino ice cream, all detail in English here : Official Louvre museum cafes and restaurants

An splendid boutique store for your shopping even online where you can find many nice souvenirs and support for the museum with your purchases. For your shopping even online here : Boutique des Musées on the Louvre

And this is the official site of the Louvre museum in English: Musée du Louvre

As well as the city of Paris tourist office on the Louvre museumParis tourist office on the Louvre museum

Just my touch, the webpage of the Friends of the Louvre museum; many benefits you too can help out: Amis du Louvre

Again, one post,2 3 4 will not do justice to this marvel of our world, I did my small part in sharing it with my readers, firends and family. Hope you enjoy the Louvre museum or Musée du Louvre as we do. Always looking forward to be back!

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

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May 25, 2020

Church Saint Gervais-Saint Protais , Paris

In walking around my eternal Paris I often wonder how much time will take to catalog it all! I have an extensive library at home on architecture, history, and things to see in Paris in addition to around 100K pictures in cd roms ,external hard drives etc. However, each time I go out amazing things comes to view. A while back , walking the streets around the Hôtel de Ville I saw this church. Mind you, I know what it is but never had the time or effort to stop by. Until then,and now will like to tell you a bit more on the Saint Gervais-Saint Protais Church , briefly….

The Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church, located opposite the Paris City/Town Hall,across La Poste (post office) would benefit from being better known. It is indeed one of the most beautiful in Paris, with remarkable Renaissance stained glass!. Conceived by the wardens of the parish as a recasting and an extension of a previous consecrated church in 1420, it took almost one hundred and fifty years to build it. The chapels of the choir were first erected to the north, that of the axis, then those to the south. It was then refitted the central vessel of the choir. The western facade, where the three classical orders are imposed, was not completed until 1621. This facade served as a model for other Parisian churches. During the French revolution, Saint-Gervais will remain closed for a few years. It is reopened under the Directory and will suffer little from the turmoil. In 1802, it regained its status as a Catholic parish.It should be added that the church underwent extensive restoration at the start of the 21C.

The architect of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais Church remains unknown. Anyway, the Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church has a narrow nave, marked by a very studied slenderness effect. Saint-Gervais is part of the history of Renaissance churches in Paris, in the flamboyant Gothic style. The 19C it has adorned its numerous chapels with murals that the exiguity of the architecture or the reflections of the light do not always allow to appreciate in good conditions. In the choir of the 16C stalls will delight the visitor with their variety of scenes from everyday life and small trades on the mercies. On the second level of the nave and the choir, magnificent and large canopies from the 16C illuminate the church. The stained glass windows of the Chapel of the Virgin and the famous stained glass window of the Wisdom of Solomon in a chapel south of the ambulatory. Note that the old white glasses of the lost canopies have been replaced by creations by modern artists. As for worship, since 1975, the Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church is no longer parish, but assigned to the monastic liturgies of the Fraternities of Jerusalem.

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The exterior of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church shows the church is almost entirely hidden by so-called perimeter-Saint-Gervais buildings. To the south, a narrow passage runs along the wall without the possibility of retreating. There remains the apse and the facade. Fortunately the facade is worthy of praise. It is the first erected in classical style in Paris. It is 1616 and this facade is an addition to the already built church. The architect therefore attaches its facade to the Gothic nave by creating an additional span. The two ends are closed by a chapel in an ogival quarter circle. The discerning eye immediately sees there the three classic orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. The first level accommodates four pairs of columns. These pairs are repeated on the second level, only enriched by two niches housing the statues of the two legendary Saints Gervais and Protais. The Ionic order of the second level is crowned by Saint Matthew and Saint John. The elegance of the facade would only be a word without the beautiful slenderness of the third level. The Corinthian order occupies only the central part. Two pairs of columns surround a large canopy, the whole is surmounted by a curved pediment, hollowed out in its center. The facade of Saint-Gervais, which will serve as a model in France and Europe, heralds the arrival of the Baroque!.

Some details of the interior beautifully architecturally done that I like are.

The baptismal font Chapel dates from the beginning of the 17C. Its existence is due to the creation of the west facade, built from 1616 to 1621 in front of the church. There is a Chapel commemorating the catastrophe of March 29, 1918. At the beginning of 1918, the Brest-Litovsk armistice enabled Germany to launch a vast offensive in the West. The Germans were approaching Paris. Towards Laon, with cannons installed on rail, they began to bomb Paris. On March 29, a large caliber shell fell on the nave of Saint-Gervais. The church, where the Good Friday Mass was to begin, was packed. The shell punctured part of the vault which collapsed on the faithful, killing 89 people and wounding 90 others. The base of the main altar houses a copy of the Dormition of the Virgin. This work, dating from the 13C, is located in the base of the altar in the north side Chapel of Saint-Laurent. On both sides of the altar take place the two wooden statues of Gervais and Protais, carved around 1620.

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The stained glass window of the Wisdom of Solomon c.1531; it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance stained glass windows in Paris .The state of conservation of this stained glass window is so exceptional that experts from the 20C took original pieces for 19C restorations. The Judgment is spread over four lancets and consists of only one scene. It is a so-called unified canopy and, in 1531, it was even one of the first unified canopies posed in Paris. The author of the stained glass rest unknown.  The Chapelle de Brégy chapel , apart from three large murals , the Brégy chapel houses the fragment of the funerary monument of Michel Le Tellier, a 17C work designed after the drawings of Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Nearby, you can also admire three prayers: those of the Potier family, husband, wife and son. The two windows are modern. The artist Sylvie Gaudin made a total of five very futuristic representations of the major themes of Christianity (Nativity, Crucifixion, Pentecost, etc.). The Chapelle de la Piéta is on the north side, very well lit by two white glass windows, offers a very beautiful Pieta surrounded by two angels in adoration. also chiseled a beautiful Ecce Homo, rich in draperies. Finally enriched the walls with four beautiful murals including The Works of Mercy and Jesus and the Evangelists showing the Evangelists writing under the inspiration of Christ. One of the two windows has a remnant of Renaissance stained glass in the tympanum. It illustrates the martyrdom of Saint James.

The Chapelle de la Vierge with great depth, the chapel of the axis of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church was completed in 1517. The chapel of the Virgin is an artistic center of the Church of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais. The Renaissance left the overall architecture and stained glass there, the 19C enriched it with paintings, an altarpiece and a statue of the Virgin. The three axial canopies, dated 1517, year of completion of the chapel, and which illustrate scenes from the life of the Virgin, 19C paintings illustrate scenes from the life of the Virgin as well as virtues. Let me add that the stained glass windows to the north show a remnant of the Tree of Jesse from the 16C with the Virgin and the patriarchs Isaac and Abraham. This Tree was partially completed in the 19C when David, Jacob and Solomon were added. The keystone of the Choir bears the date of 1540. The large canopies therefore had to be put in place after this date, that is to say around the year 1550. The large canopies of Saint-Gervais in the nave and the choir of Saint-Gervais offer, in their upper parts, a magnificent panorama of stained glass windows from the Renaissance period.  The gallery organ of Saint-Gervais-Saint Protais Church is a unique specimen in Paris of organs from the 16C and 17C. First built in the south transept in 1601, the large buffet dates from 1601. It was decorated in 1759.

Some webpages to help you enjoy this wonderful church are

Fraternity of Jerusalem of St Gervais, Paris in French: Fraternity of Jerusalem on the St Gervais St Protais Church

Catholic Paris on Ch St Gervais St Protais in French:  Catholic Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church

The tourist office of Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church in English: Tourist office of Paris on St Gervais St Protais Church

And there you go folks, another wonderful monument to visit while in Paris, the list is endless but I am working on it, hope you enjoy it and follow me along! The St Gervais St Protais Church of Paris is commonly just call the St Gervais. And I know need to work on those pictures ::)

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

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May 24, 2020

Thanksgiving Americana in Paris!

So this is a revised old post of mine as traditions are meant to be kept. We do the best anywhere we are and one nice tradition we took as ours is Thanksgiving. As immigrants of the world we do give thanks. Hope you enjoy the post and plan ahead you never know these days….

Often I have been asked about American celebrations in France. I have done this piece in December 2010 in my blog, one of my first posts as began the blog in November 26 2010. The idea like any immigrant group and I should be an expert with four passports, that we carry our traditions wherever we go regardless of the new ones we pick up. One that really comes on top is Thanksgiving. Do we have it here? Is it the same at the table? Are you giving stuffings? Cranberry sauce? How, Where, can one enjoy this wonderful tradition while away from home and in Paris France.

The answer is very simple, YES, its alive and well with many places offering caterings for groups and restaurants offering a set menu. In Paris ,you can follow all is the melting pot of Europe at least. However, once you move to the provinces or countryside the choices are limited or none. In my new area I have no restaurant set menu or catering even thus we go out to get the turkey for at home celebration. After all we are celebrating immigrants coming to a new country! You have the usual way of getting American goods in Paris, and do it yourself at home. There were two places to get American products but unfortunately as told before Thanksgiving store/resto has closed. There is still one The Real McCoy

The Real McCoy grocery store, 194 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Open 10h-20h contact tel +33  (0) 1 45 56 98 82, metro Ecole Militaire.. They have a Facebook page here: facebook page of the Real McCoy Paris

I have done too is to partake with the French-American community at Joe Allen restaurant 30 rue Pierre Lescot 1éme arrondissement very near Metro line 4 Etienne Marcel. Tel contact  +33 (0) 1 42 36 70 13 Facebook page here: facebook page of Joe Allen Paris

I like to add, spent many nights at Joe Allen and still stop by once in a while visiting Paris from the Morbihan breton!

Another popular place is at Breakfast in America, yes you can do that too home style but on Thanksgiving they give away for the traditional meal at Breakfast in America; 17, rue des Ecoles, 5éme. Tel.Contact + 33 (0) 1 43 54 50 28. webpage: Breakfast in America Paris

La Grande Epicerie 38 Rue de Sévres 7éme or 80 Rue de Passy 16éme you can buy American products and pre order as well on special dates. More info here: La Grande Epicerie Paris

You can order online base in Toulouse, My American Grocery ,but never ordered from them. They claims to be the No 1 US product online store in France: more info here: My American Market Toulouse

And an American in Rennes , created the My Little America, and you can order on line too, maybe Thanksgiving stuff but again never use them. More info here: My Little America at Rennes

In addition to these diehard places I have enjoyed over the years, you can ask the US embassy American Citizen Services in Paris   for organisations where the event is held. Often , organisation organize this event in Paris and you are all invited for a fix price. Contact org like the Association of American Residents Overseas, (AARO) , Association of American Wives of Europeans (AAWE) , American Chamber of Commerce (L’AmCham France) , American University Clubs of France (AUC), or the Paris Alumni Network (PAN) as some I know…

The latest for me was the Thanksgiving at Les Arches du Marais, 11 rue de Braque,(one way street) , 3éme arrondissement; metro Rambuteau line 11. This is on the back of the Archives National hotels a very nice quaint area of Paris. This event was organised by the AUC/PAN org. Les Arches du Marais located in the heart of old Paris, in a unique historic setting with exposed stones and vaulted cellars. Offer four connecting reception rooms located in the heart of old Paris, near the Georges Pompidou center. In the basement of Les Arches du Marais, the adjoining vaulted cellars accommodate a hundred people for a cocktail party on approximately 80m². This was while still in Versailles in 2010 as I left for the Morbihan Breton in June 2011.

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I found a nice promotional video on it from abcsalles and dailymotion that show it better.

I have read lately that the noise especially from the place has started a chain of complaints against the Les Arches du Marais and even ask for its closure. At the moment, it is still open. Maybe is that in addition to have the place rented for events it has a regular programming such as from Monday to Friday noon and every Tuesday evening in Dinner / Concert / After Work Jazz Club & More mode ..from 19h30. to 24h midnight. on Tuesday evening: Soul – Jazz & More .- After Work above: Music & Drinks / Diner (concert from below broadcast live on a giant screen in all rooms)  Dinner concert downstairs facing the concept stage. A magical and relaxed setting, good cocktails, very good wines, quality catering all accompanied by great jazz … & More !!! So they said. And for contact them here in French: ABC Salles Les Arches du Marais

And there you go, it is possible to keep your traditions at least in Paris. Otherwise, buy your ingredients and do it at home. Hope you enjoy the post as I do bringing back nice souvenirs.

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

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May 24, 2020

Fort Boyard!!!

Ok so have you ever saw a show on TV on a wonderful idylic place and wondered if you can go see it? Well, my family liked to watch this show on TV which was pretty popular in France. And alors, one day my oldest son got  a semester hotel/restaurant studies in La Rochelle, and from there we decided once visiting him to take a look at this place. What is it? well is Fort Boyard. 

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Let me set up the scene on this fort in the middle of the Atlantic ocean!

Fort Boyard is a fortification located on a high bottom originally formed by a sandbank, called the longe de Boyard which is discovered at low tide and is located between the island of Aix , the island of Oléron, with the island Madame and the island of , belonging to the Charente archipelago. The Longe de Boyard is attached to the cadastre of the town of Île-d’Aix, in the department 17 of Charente-Maritime, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.  Fort Boyard is an integral part of the Rochefort Maritime Arsenal which stretches along the Charente estuary. It is the property of the departmental council of Charente-Maritime since 1989.

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At first, the designation on 17C Dutch maps of this sandbank under the name Banjaert Hollandis suggested a Dutch origin of this name. The oblong shape of the fort is located 2,900 meters from the island of Aix and 2,400 meters from the island of Oléron. It measures 68 meters long in the axis by 31 meters wide, for a surface area of 2,065 m2 and a total of 2,689 m2. The inner courtyard is 43 meters long in the axis, 12 meters wide and its surface is 565 m2. The surrounding walls culminate 20 meters from the foundations. The fort was built to protect the Rochefort arsenal. At the end of the construction of the arsenal in 1666, the need for protection was mentioned with Boyard’s lanyard as a basis for construction, but after the various surveys, Vauban presenting the project to king Louis XIV, ironically said “ Sire, it would be easier to grasp the Moon with your teeth than to attempt such work in this place”. This first project will therefore remain there.

In 1801, taking advantage of a short truce in the war which had pitted France against England for 9 years already, Bonaparte, 1st consul, approved a new project which aimed to build a fort measuring 80 by 40 meters. worked began in 1803, Napoleon, on site in August 1808, revised the project downward – the project was reduced to a dimension of 40 meters by 20 – and work resumed in 1809. The Battle of the Isle of Aix, called The Burns of the Isle of Aix: in early April 1809, a squadron of 11 French line vessels and 4 frigates was assembled in the harbor before the mouth of the Charente, under the orders of Vice-Admiral Zacharie Allemand, with a view to setting sail to bring reinforcements to the Antilles, despite the blockade maintained by the English. The French squadron lost 4 vessels and a frigate. Thus are ruined the hopes of reinforcements for the threatened colonies in the Antilles. And finally, in June 1809, the construction of Fort Boyard, to close the harbor, was permanently suspended.

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We had to wait for the reign of Louis-Philippe and the renewed tension between the French and the British for the project to resume. In 1841, it was redefined downwards and new credits were released and in 1857 the construction of the fort is completed with the second floor and the first cannons are put in place in 1859. This marks the end of the construction of the fort as a whole; the minutes announcing the end of all the work was signed on February 6, 1866. Its military use is never what it should have been, and finally, in 1913, the army separated and the guns were sold to scrap dealers. In 1869, work was carried out on the north jetty of the barachois and, in 1873, the tide gauge was transferred from Fort Enet to Fort Boyard. On August 11 of the same year, the first observations of sea level were made. It will operate until 1919. During WWII, it served as a training target for the Nazis. Finally the fort was put on sale before definitively selling off in November 1988, The game production company of Jacques Antoine, who acquired it, then immediately sold it to the General Council of Charente-Maritime for a symbolic franc. In exchange, the department undertakes to carry out the rehabilitation works and ensure the exclusive operation of the site at JAC (Jacques Antoine et Cie, third French producer of television games at the time). From then on, the monument became the filming location for a television program bearing his name: Fort Boyard

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Maritime access to the fort from Fouras is by chartered speedboat during the filming season for the game show; the Baron Gourgaud in 1988 and 1989 of the Inter-Islands cruises, then by speedboat, the Bacman between 1989 and 2003 then the Sea Surfer from 2004. In 1990, the building, freshly bought and rehabilitated, became the filming location from the program Les Clés de Fort Boyard, renamed Fort Boyard the following year. The show was set as a team of candidates, surrounded by more or less strange characters, must overcome a certain number of physical and intellectual tests (calling on agility, speed, endurance, strength, memory or logic) as well as overcome their fears, in order to be able to collect the keys giving access to the treasure room of the fortress and guess the code word of the day with clue cartridges to seize the gold coins called boyars, in a limited time , which fall into a round cage, and pour them into a cauldron which will then be weighed.

A nice integral video on the Fort Boyard show from youtube videos in French!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here or see from the islands is worth the views are

The Tourisme Charente Maritime dept 17 on Fort BoyardAtlantic Cognac tourist office on Fort Boyard

The Ïle d’Oléron tourist office on Fort Boyard in English: Oleron island tourist office on Fort Boyard

The Rochefort tourist office on Fort Boyard in English: Rochefort tourist office on Fort Boyard

And there you go a nice adventure trip by boat to a popular French spot on the ocean surrounded by beautiful island views; hope you enjoy the photos and maybe come to see the Fort Boyard. It is no longer on, but a new redesigned program call Boyard Land!! version amusement park ,not on the Fort, with many of the same participants and co hosts, but not the same unfortunately.  Hope you enjoy it.

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

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May 24, 2020

Saint Remi Church at Marines!

The town of Marines is located in the Val d’Oise dept 95 of the Ïle de France region at about 50 km from Paris. You get here from Paris on the A15 direction Rouen, which becomes the D915 passing by Cergy-Pontoise in the French Vexin Regional Natural Park (see posts) and passed by Marines, the name made me curious but nothing to do with the naval guys…! Anyway, it has a nice church and enough for me to take a picture. Let me tell you a bit  more on off the beaten paths of my belle France!

The Saint-Rémi Church in Marines is in the French Vexin Regional Natural Park . It succeeds a chapel, which King Louis the Fat gave to the regular canons of Saint Augustin of the Saint-Vincent de Senlis abbey between 1125 and 1130. However, the current church is from the middle of the 12C. The first span of the choir, the transept and the large arches north of the nave are the only elements that remain to this day. They belong to the primitive Gothic style. In 1618, the Oratorian fathers replace the canons.

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During the French revolution, in 1793, the Brulart de Sillery tombs in the vault under the chapel were destroyed. During the second half of the 19C, the funeral chapel changed its name and was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Since 1966, Marines and all the other parishes of the new department of Val-d’Oise no 95 come under the diocese of Pontoise. The parish that includes Marines today brings together a total of thirty-four villages. Sunday masses are celebrated in the Saint-Rémi Church every Sunday at 11h.

A bit on the architecture of the Saint Remi Church I like. The church consists of a nave of four spans accompanied by its two collaterals; a transept which does not overflow and therefore cannot be identified from the outside; a fairly common central bell tower rising above the crossing of the transept; a choir of two spans, the second of which has the apse with cut sides; as well as an octagonal chapel in the corner between choir and southern cross. The north cross is completely included in the church of the former Convent of the Oratorians.

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart, initially the sepulchral chapel of Nicolas Brulart de Sillery and dedicated to Saint Roch, is very different from other religious churches in French Vexin. The chapel has an octagonal plan, and thus approximates the circular ideal plan of the architects of ancient Rome, as it was implemented in the Pantheon in Rome. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart appears as a separate entity, which does not connects with the rest of the church. Apart from a small auxiliary door, its walls are full, and structured by buttresses, which have a salient angle on the front face, in order to remain coherent with the octagonal plan of the chapel.

Apart from the funeral chapel, the Saint Remi Church is especially famous for its Renaissance porch. The 13C bell is one of the oldest in France. It is probably the only surviving bell that was made using the process developed by the monk Theophile. The organ was made around 1833 by the English organ builder John Abbey who settled in France from 1826. This organ is regularly used for offices and many concerts and recitals are given there.

The other building of note is the Château de Marines. The castle was built during the second quarter of the 16C for the Brosses family. It is made up of a central main building flanked by two massive pavilions, topped with tall roofs covered with slate. The castle was unfortunately brutally renovated during the 20C. In this context, an old building with a round tower with a pepper roof and directly overlooking the square was demolished unfortunately.

The city of Marines on its heritage in French here: City of Marines on its heritage

And there you go, a lot fun driving around beautiful movable feast France! You never know what you will find and always a dandy for the architecture and historical love in me. Hope you enjoy the daring rides and see these wonderful monuments to all. The Saint Remi Church is nice indeed in quaint Marines!

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

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May 23, 2020

Champagne history,and its kingdoms of Reims/Epernay!

And here I am back in the East; a wonderful region and hoping it rebounds from the virus. I have been here a lot, and family ties of old; however, even if several posts on it,feels never enough credit to the Grand Est or Champagne-Ardennes or the Marne! time to remedy that me think. Hope you enjoy the tour.

Let me tell you a bit more on Reims and Epernay, champagne country!!!!

Well this time let me update a previous old post from 2011 in my blog. One of my favorite cities, region,and one of the first cities that I visit in France way back in 1990. It has become a fixture ever since with many family trips and even weekend getaways. It is a tender family story as my dear late wife Martine used to work picking grapes here to save for schooling together with her other sisters and brothers who followed. There is lot to tell here so I just cover the basics, much reading and questions to fulfill a good trip here, and you can ask me for details bien sûr.

First Reims, was the city of the kingdom of France, king Clovis of the Francs chose it to have his coronation there as the story goes whether leyend or not, he was to fight a big battle with the king Lothar of the Allemani both names Romanised as present day Germany. Clovis was married to Clothilde a Wisigoth from down under southern France,northern Spain,and she was Christian he was pagan. He asked her if her God was strong, and she said yes, he asked her to teach him how to pray to her God, and if he came out victorious ,he will make his new kingdom Christian and he will be converted to it. She did, and he won the battle. Therefore, the kingdom of the Francs became Christian, and he was baptised at Reims . Ever after, most of the kings of France have been crowned there, and all did barring one or two. And the leyend continues…My sons are name after the Christmas day of the coronation, and the emissary from the Pope who was there,and the bishop who baptised. It has become our history too.

Reims as it is Epernay is the Department of the Marne (as per the river) No 51 in the region now of Grand Est old Champagne-Ardenne; and the Marne dept, east of Paris. You reach them on the A4 autoroute very easy on exit/sorties 23 Cathedral and 24 St Remi. You can ,also, go on the D3 (old N3)  national road from porte de Pantin in Paris passing by Meaux on your way to Epernay and then the D951 (old N51 ) to Reims. If coming from UK the A26 from Calais takes you here too. Parking is very easy as I had parked on the street leading to the Cathedral ,rue Liebergier. On Epernay I have parked by the train station, of course plenty more parking spaces. And there are many wonderful little towns all over the area like Hautevilliers,Avizé, Ay,Chalôns en Champagne  etc etc etc.!

By train you have four stations, all served by the TER regional network of trains, these stations are Gare de Reims, principal station. Gare de Reims-Maison Blanche near the hospital or Centre Hospitalier. The new Gare de Reims-Franchet d’Esperey that has a connection with the tramway The Gare de Champagne-Ardenne TGV and TER trains too.  You leave Paris by the Gare de l’Est for the best connections. For the bus and tram at Reims the network is Citura , the official webpage: Citura bus tram network of Reims

Although I have never taken trains or buses here, walking once in town by car is the best way to see the city. You can use the same train TER site for the Gare d’Epernay and come from Paris Gare de l’Est. The webpages for the train station in French to follow:

Gare de Reims: https://www.ter.sncf.com/grand-est/gares/87171009/Reims/pratique

Gare de Reims-Maison Blanche: https://www.ter.sncf.com/grand-est/gares/87171272/Reims-Maison-Blanche/pratique

Gare de Reims-Franchet d’Esperey : https://www.ter.sncf.com/grand-est/gares/87417444/Franchet-Desp%C3%A8rey/pratique

Gare Champagne Ardennes TGV: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/freah/champagne-ardenne-tgv

Gare d’Epernay: https://www.ter.sncf.com/grand-est/gares/87171553/Epernay/pratique

There is much to see, but my favorites are the Cathedrale de Notre Dame,Basilique Saint Remi, (see posts) Porte de Mars, Place Royale, Palais de Tau (see post) , musée de l’Automobile, musée des Beaux-Arts, and of course the Champagne houses as many as you can ::) In Epernay, you can continue your view of the Champagne houses especially along the Avenue de Champagne. Both cities suffered greatly during WWI and WWII with Epernay been destroyed 2/3 of it in WWI. Both were rapidly reconstructed and show lots of vitality and good life, especially maybe Epernay as it is a smaller town and my favorite of the two from a local point of view.

I am sure like me you will inquire about the Champagne houses, this is a must in either city. My favorites houses will be given away here, and they are not necessarily the famous names, my bottles are from Champagne G H Martel,17 rue de Créneaux, Reims; Champagne Leclerc-Briant,67 rue Claude Ruelle, Epernay,.Champagne de Castellane, 57 rue de Verdun, Epernay, Champagne Mercier, 68-70 avenue de Champagne , Epernay (my first ever taste of Champagne! and still a family staple! Now part of Moêt & Chandon ) Champagne Moet & Chandon, 20 avenue de Champagne, Epernay, Champagne G. H. Mumm, 34 rue des Champs de Mars,Reims ; champagne Ruinart, (claim to be the oldest champagne house) 4 rue de Crayéres, Reims, Champagne Taittinger, 9 place Saint Nicaise, Reims, Champagne Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, 1 place des Droits de l’Homme, Reims,. Champagne Vranken-Pommery, 5 place du Général Gouraud, Reims, and one not on these cities but that I buy a lot  is Champagne Michel Gonet, 196 avenue Jean Jaurés, Avize; Have a bubbly day in the Marne!

Epernay

Epernay

The main things to see here in my opinion are: The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Reims was built over an initial church from 401 , the actual Cathedral we see today is from 1211-1275 .  She was renovated in 1488 and again after WWI where it was call the ‘martyr of all Cathedrals’. It is 149 meters long ( 472 ft) with the tour l’ange 87 meters high (287 ft). It is inmense and glorious inside, and the most beautiful from the front, one of  THE Cathedrals of France. The Basilique Saint Remi, keeps the grave of Saint Remi built around the year 1000 .A very renown evangelical priest bishop Saint Remi lived to 96 yrs old,and was He who baptised Clovis king of the Francs in between 496-506 at the previous church in the spot.  It is 122 meters long (403 ft). There is a museum , musée-abbaye Saint Remi next to the Basilique with gallo romans collection of mosaiques,and stones as well as local archeological finds.Talking about museums the Musée des Beaux-Arts occupying the old building of the abbey of Saint Denis has a nice collection of portraits by Cranach l’Ancien and country scenes by Corot, flemish, Dutch,and French school of paintings. It belongs to the city of   Reims. You will love to see the Chapelle Foujita, 33 rue du Champ de Mars,a chapel in romance style dedicated to the Virgin Mary, wonderful! You have the Musée ‘Automobile Reims-Champagne,84 avenue George Clemenceau, almost 250 cars and motocycles from 1908 to present day, a marvelous place for the car lover in all of us ::) . Musée de la Reddition or capitulation museum, where the end of WWII was signed on May 7 1945 at 2:41AM in one hall that has been left intact. Great historical place, at 12 rue Franklin Roosevelt.   The Palais du Tau,  is the former Archbishop palace and on the UNESCO heritage site too. All the sculptures removed from the Cathedral are here, and a great stone display of old historical figures including Charlemagne talisman amongst others.

reims

You can make a nice promenade walk tour of Reims and visit these wonderful architecture buildings  like the  Hôtel des comtes de Champagne 14C owned by Taittinger, rue de Tambour. Hôtel Ponsardin, townhouse before French revolution now trade chamber at rue cérés, Hôtel Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, 16C, place of birth of Saint Jean Baptiste de la Salle ,founder of the Brothers of Christian Schools, Rue Docteur Jacquin, Grand Théatre built in 1873 Place Myron Herrick, Parc de la Patte d’Oie, city center park going back to the 17C, boulevard du Général Leclerc. Pavillon de Muire, built 1565, owned by Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, Rue du Temple. Place Drouet d’Erlon, the “Champs Elysées” of Reims, and the Church Saint Jacques, oldest in Reims after St Remi medieval period, Rue Marx-Dormoy.

reims

Reims

While in Epernay, you need to walk the Avenue de Champagne with many 19C houses from renaissance to classical styles.  The Orangerie, gardens part of the estate of the house of Moêt & Chandon, its not open for visitors but you can see it from avenue de Champagne. The Porte Saint Martin, one of the oldest monument here remains of the old church of Notre Dame, at Place Hugues Plomb. Visit the Church of Notre Dame, 16C but built in 12C architecture with great decorations from the 15C and 16C, at Place Méndes France.

On your way to Epernay on the D3 old N3 from porte de Pantin in Paris, and passing by my dear memorable town of Meaux, you passed by the town of Dormans here at the parc du chateau there is a monument call Memorial to the battle of the Marne is in French but a chilling account with each body of the events played here in WWI or the Great War, all the front around my wife native town of just north of Meaux to Dormans. The monument tomb was built in 1921, and it has a crypt, chapel,and special stained glass windows, a cloister leading to the ossuary containing the remains of 1500 unknown soldiers.Go up a stairway of about 100 Steps and you will have a great view over the valley of the Marne and crosses.

For goodies shopping for local items, I will recommend the chocolates of Deléans, 20 rue Cérés, Reims chocolates with pink biscuits, try the pêchè du diable or devils sin!!; the biscuits Fossier, 25 cours Jean-Baptiste Langlet;  near the Reims Cathedral , and ,also at Epernay, this is a genuine local product not to missed the cookies yummy!  Chocolates with Champagne taste, well head for La Petite Friande at 15 cours Jean Baptiste Langlet, try the bouchon marc de champagne or the cork with champagne liquor ,and of course the macarons. For something more kitchen use, and a local brand try the mustards and vinager and mustard Clovis done in Reims by Charbonneaux Brabant at 5 rue de Valmy. While in Epernay just dont missed out on the chocolates of Vincent Dallet Maison Dallet, 26 rue du Général Leclerc; also at Reims. He can even teach you how to do them !

For lodging/eating  we have stayed at the beautiful gastronomic and wonderful Les Berceaux in Epernay, just sublime and romantic, as well as exquisite French food done right with a Champagne twist, you wont go wrong here,tops. For drinks and a local chat head for the Bar des Archers, 7 rue des Archers in Epernay ; pool available and wifi free for guests. near ave de Champagne and ave Eugéne Mercier.

epernay

In Reims we have stayed at the Mercure Reims Centre, Cathedrale, close to all ,and one of my favorite chains in France. Our eating places over the years have been many but the best were Le Colibri,12 rue Chanzy but unfortunately it has closed just for memories posted! It was almost in front of the Cathedral, great service, very friendly with kids, and the food was always good, piano at evenings. Restaurant Cafe de la Paix, 25 Place Drouet d’Erlon heavens on the Erlon! menus change with the season all the best from the region .For history of Reims and great food try Brasserie Boulingrin, 31 rue de Mars. For drinks old chats people watching on the Erlon,the Champs Elysées of Reims here visited Ernest Hemingway.

There is so much to see in the area, so the tourist offices will help and if you need specifics let me know.

For Reims: Tourist office of Reims

For EpernayTourist office of Epernay

You can always get some info from the city of Reims has it in French at: City of Reims and its heritage

And for the city of Epernay in French here: City of Epernay on its heritage

The tourist office for the Grand Est region still not fully developed so here is the Champagne-Ardenne tourist webpage in English at: tourist office Champagne Ardennes on Champagne

And voilà a wonderful spot in my belle France for all to enjoy; class and tradition the best combination. Hope you enjoy this tour of the fabolous city of Reims and the quaint picturesque city of Epernay. Both always in our house.

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

May 23, 2020

Chaumont sur Loire,the castle , the Loire!!

This , well another castle in the Loire and lately in the area decided to stop by as driving along the Loire river. This is the castle city of Chaumont sur Loire. We were driving to pick up some wines and decided to come here before getting to the wines in Limeray near Amboise. Of course, this was before the virus…

chaumont sur Loire

Really to get here from the usual Paris you can do the route on the autoroute A10 to direction Bordeaux. Take exit 17 direction Amboise  you will be on the D952A pass Blois over the Loire river on the road D174 once on the other side of the Loire take right into the D951/D751 direction Amboise and soon see on the panels Chaumont S/Loire. Once entering town take the first traffic light left into the castle parking about 1000 meters (1 km).  You can come by train on the line Paris Gare d’Austerlitz-Orléans-Tours stopping at Orzain/Chaumont sur Loire, but never done it by train.

chaumont sur Loire

We were already hungry by the time we arrive, so we stop at a créperie La Bolée just across the street and the lady very friendly told us we were Lucky she was about to close as no guests so far in the day! Well they came after us ,we gave her some luck lol! The Créperie is at 33 rue du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny. We had the usual galette mine with scallops, and other varieties along a bottle of cider brut from the region and plenty of ice cream like mine banana split. all for about 17€ per person. Very well done and talkative friendly owner server ! Something to remember always when in the region again. , it  has a Facebook page here: Facebook page of Créperie la Bolée Chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

And now was time to hit the castle. We took the car to climb to the parking lot nearest the entrance, there was security checking the bags, and ticket office, all very easy and in we were. The castle of Chaumont sur Loire is very old having been founded around the year 1000 by Odo I Count of  Blois. The history as you can tell is long and easy found in official brochures as many Kings and nobles took part in its history  including the reluctant resident Diane de Poitiers and it is to her that most of the castle appereance is credited from 1562-1566 period. Many more owners after her again Marie-Charlotte-Constance  who married Prince Henri-Amédée de Broglie and was the last private owner of the castle until 1938. At this time the Govt of France took possession. The princess Broglie spent her last days in the luxury hôtels of Paris  like the Ritz and George V as well as her Paris apartment at rue de Grenelle; she finally passed away in 1943.

The castle has a great arts community at its entrance with several modern building showing works of arts (like the Mexican Gabriel Orozco) , and a wonderful winter garden (jardin d’hiver) all very well landscape starting in 1880  at the request of prince Broglie. It has a wonderful stables (écuries) building apart from the castle with a nice water tower (château d’Eau) in the garden. You can, also see a dogs cementary  (ciméntiere des chiens) with an elephant as well all very well care by the Prince:ss Broglie. The park was for renovation but we got in because were given a reduction in the ticket!

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

Inside the castle, you will see the beautiful dining room with the coat of arms of Cardinal Georges d’Amboise and historical tapestries from the 16C. You move on to the Library with 19C bookcases , tapestries from the 17C done at Aubusson showing the life of Alexander the Great. Then, the Little  Living Room, with empire period clock in marble with gilded in bronze;continue to the Billiards room,  with a ceilings painting of different scènes of the castle, more tapestries of the 16C on the life of Hannibal. You reach the Great Salon on the inspiration style of the castle of Blois many things there goes back to Napoleon III or late 19C. You leave into the courtyard and visit the Chapel restored in 1886. It shows the history of Chaumont from its origins to the Broglie family’s  days. Paintings from the 15C and do go down to the Kitchen but still was under renovation.

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

The stables or écuries were order by Prince de  Broglie in 1877, the larger used by the Castle owners and the smaller one for the guests.  You see carriages houses and carriages with Tools of the times with kitchen and working saddlery and next the gala saddlery unchanged since the 19C; you have also, a small riding arena of about 12meters and then the pony stables!

chaumont sur Loire

chaumont sur Loire

In all a nice visit of another wonderful Loire castle at Chaumont sur Loire, you will need a lifetime to see them all. We passed by many not famous or even known but equally impressive properties some still private. Come and enjoy the Loire, oh this is region Centre-Val de Loire, where the main famous castles are, not to be confused with other region of castles Pays de la Loire.

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are

The city of Chaumont sur Loire on the castle in French: City of Chaumont sur Loire on the castle

The official castle of Chaumont sur Loire in English: Official castle of Chaumont sur Loire

The regional tourist office of Blois-Chambord on the castle of Chaumont sur Loire in English: Tourist office Blois Chambord on the castle

And there you go another dandy in my valley of the kings not far and nice, another jewel in my belle France. Hope you enjoy it and do visit Chaumont sur Loire ,all worth it.

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

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May 23, 2020

Tour Montparnasse!!

Well , what can I say, not a good photographer for sure but coming up with sites in my eternal Paris is a nightmare. There are so many and so many photos hard to choose and worse write about them. But I got my external hard drive running and giving me back lots of photos. I need to match them with a post. Therefore, one of them is on the Tour Montparnasse.

Yes, have several posts on Montparnasse but dealing with the history side and the train station, so will tell a bit more on the neighborhood and the Tour Montparnasse.  This should be easy, after all a major monument in Paris seen by millions! However, I worked across the street and went in for eating and business meetings several times over the years, bear with me please.

Tour Montparnasse, is front of  the train station, transport hub of Montparnasse. Amazing again my office was across the street, been here ,but need to tell you more ::)

Paris

It is located in the quartier Necker in the 15éme arrondissement., the 6éme is surrounded it as well as the 14éme fittingly call the quartier Montparnasse of which the tower takes its name. It is separated by the train station by simple place Raoul Doutry, and has many transportation lines including a TGV, regular SNCF trains, metro station Montparnasse-Bienvenue on lines 4,6;12;and 13. Many bus lines criss cross it like lines 92,94,96, and 28,58, 82 and others. parking by car is best at Maine TGV parking garage or Océane parking.

The tour Montparnasse entrance is at 33 avenue du Maine. There is also a cafe both (resto ciel de paris)  are claiming to be the highest in Europe. The 56 floor is all enclosed heated and cool yeararound convenient to see the best sights in Paris, and the view is superb! However, it is also framed by the rue de Départ , rue de l’Arrivée , boulevard du Montparnasse and the place of 18-Juin-1940. It is separated from the Gare-Montparnasse by the place Raoul-Dautry. You have all the latest information in its official webpage in English: Official Tour Montparnasse

Some numbers at you, work finally began end of 1969 and lasted until end of 1972. It took the destruction of the old train station, and foundation work took away much of the concrete around it with the construction of 56 pillars or columns of 70 meters deep ( 231 ft). All needed to support a weigh of 115K tons! The metro structures were surrounded by walls of concrete in the middle of 2,3 hectares or 5.7 acres. The tower is 209 meters high (690 ft) and has 58 floors of 2,000 m2 each. It is capped by a terrace on the 59th floor with a magnificent view of Paris. It , also, count with a shopping center of 5 floors located between the tower and rue de Rennes ; the basement has an excellent underground parking space. Right off my street Rue de Départs you go into the Montparnasse rive gauche shopping center, info here in French: Montparnasse rive gauche shopping center

The above is great shopping not to mention plenty of cinemas, museums, gardens all around this historical area wonderful walks all day. On the other side of the above on Rue de l’Arrivée you have more stores not to mention those inside the Gare Montparnasse. The whole area was undergoing new design the Maine Montparnasse area ,stay tune.

paris

Some observation , the best times are between opening 9h30 and before lunch or mornings to see clear, the most romantic times are just before closing by 22h-23h (10-11 pm). Try to avoid the Friday afternoons evenings as for happy hour on the tower it is very popular especially if coming with family.

As I sometime been on it, if you are on business or plan business meetings in Paris, try to get a room here for it or convince your company to hold it here, the views are superb ,very private, and great service pros to attend you, the site for that is Espace56  here : Espace56 at Tour Montparnasse

The only spaces open to the public are floor 56 and the terrace at floor 59. In the 56 floor there is a wonderful restaurant call Ciel de Paris which you entered it by 23 avenue du Maine, of course is good food but the view is better in my opinion; webpage  :   Restaurant Ciel de Paris Montparnasse

The area around has plenty of eateries, and bars, too numerous really as over the years it has been my second home. I have written on them before so just will give the names here.

The area around has plenty of eateries, and bars, too numerous really as over the years it has been my second home. I have written on them before so just will give the names here. For italian and pizzas try Pizza Pino , If you want the original breton crepes then head for Creperie de Josselin, 67 rue du Montparnasse, metro edgar quinet line 6. menus from 10€ and deco a la Breton, very popular its always full. Some exotic try a cigar and mojito ,and salsa at Cubana Cafe, 47 rue Vavin, metro Vavin, line 4. Very reasonable formules are proposed at Millesime 62, 13 place de Catalogne,For ambiance Jazz and great nights of mine for several years ; try Jazz Café Montparnasse (old Le Petit Journal) , 13, rue du Commandant Rene Mouchotte, Café Montparnasse, 8 pl du 18 juin 1940  great selection of beers for a happy hour or just chat with friends, good views of the plaza in front. Also , the well known Bouillon Chartier Montparnasse, at 59 bd de Montparnasse. All across from the train station. And right around the corner you have a wonderful marché Edgar Quinet at Bd Edgar Quinet and 36 rue du Départ

paris

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The tourist office of Paris on the tour Montparnasse in English: Tourist office of Paris on Tour Montparnasse

And not to repeat but to reiterate….on the 56th floor, you can enjoy an impressive view of the city, protected by huge windows. In addition to the breathtaking view, you can also learn more about Paris through interactive multimedia installations, or immerse yourself in the city’s past by discovering the exhibition of old photos of Paris. On the 59th floor ,from the top of this observatory, it is possible to enjoy the view without any glass that would spoil the quality of your photos. the Tour Montparnasse Tower has another significant advantage: that of being able to observe the Tour Eiffel Tower from the top of its terrace on the top floor.  And not only that but wonderful views of the  Champs-de-Mars, Montmartre afar and its Sacré-Coeur,  Louvre museum, and the wonderful cupola or Dôme des Invalides, and the still memorable Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the jardin du Luxembourg, and the towers of la Défense business district with its Arche de la Défense. A visit that is a must and recommended.

And on the same program by the city of Paris, by 2024, the Tour Montparnasse promises to become lighter, greener, more open to Parisians and less energy-hungry. Stay tune.

Hope you enjoy the tour oh well, yes and do see the Tour Montparnasse a wonderful place to be in Paris. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 22, 2020

Chateau de Fontainebleau, the faces of the French kingdom!

So I told you on several post my connection to this castle, and still is very close to me. Also, have written many pieces on it in my blog , however, the overall picture and guided tours were told when I started my blog way back, and I just updated to bring it back to life! So for pictures go to other posts. Hope you enjoy the /my Château de Fontainebleau, in Fontainebleau dept 77 Seine et Marne of the Ïle de France region.

One of the most important, lovely ,and special castles in France. It was my first introduction to French cultural and historical life back in 1990, as was visited with my girlfriend who is from the region,and then my wife; now deceased, memories forever!

Fontainebleau

I like to give you the details of getting there first, usually is last but I think it should be first so you know how to get there.  First the individual visits are done in the tour of the Grands appartements ,including those of the Pope,the renaissance rooms,sovereigns apartments and the interior apartment of the Emperor, the museum of Napoleon Ier, and the French and English style gardens covering 50 hectares ( 123,50 acres). You are given free audioguides. You are given guided tours of the Petit Appartements, the spaces link to the Second Empire (Napoleon III)  as well as the galerie des meubles (gallery of furnitures). You can visit the museum of Napoleon on a guided tour as well as the appartements. It is well advised to reserve in advance the guided tours of the Chateau.  The main webpage of the castle museum in English is at : Chateau de Fontainebleau

The city of Fontainebleau tourist council webpage is here for information not only of the castle but of the city monuments as well: Tourist office of Fontainebleau on the castle

The tourist information site for the region where Fontainebleau is its call Seine et Marne or dept 77 , and the webpage in French is at : Tourist office of Seine et Marne dept 77

For a magnificent ride into the forest of Fontainebleau ,one of the biggest in ile de France region and considered the “Green Lung of the Region ”  and full of interesting sights you go here at the tourist office in English with plenty of links to more specifics areas for walkers and outdoor lovers: Tourist office of Fontainebleau on its forest

The best way to reach it from Paris as most usually come from there is by train from gare de Lyon  line R direction Montargis, Sens or Montereau and stop at train station Fontainebleau-Avon. Train info here: transilien line R to Fontainebleau

And then take bus Line 1 direction Les Lilas to the stop Château here: transdev bus line 1 to Castle of Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau

Now  a bit more about this wonderful property, the Chateau de Fontainebleau. It was king François Ier who seduce by the beauty of the area ordered to demolished the feodal castle done by king Louis IX (Saint Louis)  and built a renaissance castle instead.  It was the home of the French kings/emperors from the 16C to the 19C from François I to Napoleon III. All of them at one time or the other had something to do with the castle, a window, a door a renovation a construction a garden they all left their imprints here.  It is ,also, the site of a painters school from the 16C started by le Rosso ( a disciple of Michael Ange ) and le Primatice. The school is still there on a side building.

A bit of a tour of the exterior, the most imposing is the cour du Cheval Blanc ou des Adieux ( horse shape court of the white horse or of the goodbyes). This exterior tour can take from 1h to 2h according to your pace. It starts here at the cour du Cheval Blanc as I like to call it. It was the honor court of the Emperor, then you go by the cour de la Fontaine, located by the etang des Carpes or the lake of Carps ( a fish); the fountain gives you a very pure water and was only used by the king which he had it guard daily. The current fountain dates from 1812 with a statue of Ulyses. Then , you cross the porte Dorée or golden door dating from 1528 with a sculptured salamander the symbol of king François I. You make your steps backward coming to the chapelle du Baptistére (baptismal chapel not visited only by groups but gorgeous inside), and you arrive at cour Ovale or oval court, the oldest at the castle as it sits at the courtyard of the old feodal castle first built here where today you only see the donjon or tower, at the other end you see the porte du Baptistére. You continue your tour with the cour des Offices or Cuisines, where the entrance is guarded by two impressive heads of Hermés (1640) ;this courtyard was built in 1609 by king Henry IV, and you can see from here the front of the place d’Armes and its magnificent architecture.  Once you noticed the gardens, oh la la la! First come into the jardin de Diane or Diana’s garden created by Catherine de Médicis.You should make a brief walk by the grotte du jardin des Pins or cave of the garden of pines, decorated with frescos by king François I. Come across from here to the English garden where the water flows on a small fountain call Bliaud or Blaut that gives the name to the Chateau in old French,until you reach the Parterre design by gardener Le Notre . The park is a creation of king Henry IV that created the canal in 1609 (about 60 yrs before the Grand Canal at Versailles), and planted oak,pines, and fruit trees all around it. You can ride all these gardens in horse wagon or attelages starting from the porte Dorée in season (mostly summers). You can ,also, see the jeu de paume de Fontainebleau by the side of the jardin de Diane, where from 1601 tennis and squash are still practice from 11h to 19h for free.

Coming inside the castle, of course, you cannot missed the Grands Appartements where you will see the splendid galerie François I or the chapelle de la Trinité, the chapel where Louis XV marries Marie Leszczynska and where the future Napoleon III was baptised. Stop by the escalier du Roi( king’s stair) built under king Louis XV where the theme is the history of Alexander as seen by the Primatice painter. You will end up at the salle de bal or ballroom where the paintings and the layout are absolutely marvelous. To the side you will see the appartements royaux or royal apartments where Catherine de Médicis and Henry IV lived;just gorgeous. Here the galerie de Diane long of 80 meters (264 ft)  was transformed into a library under the Second Empire. After you walk thru numerous rooms, boudoirs,and galleries take a look at the appartements intérieur de l’Empereur or the interior apartments of the Emperor;  where it is the bedroom and the salon de l’Abdication or abdication room where the Emperor Napoleon I abdicated on April 6, 1814. The furniture has remain the same here ever since. You go to the ground floor of the galerie François I that gives way to the jardin de Diane to visit the Petits Appartements or Small apartments that were used by Napoleon I and Josephine. These are the private apartments of the monarch first used by king Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry . The smaller ones are decorated under Josephine (1808 ) such as the salon Jaune or yellow bedroom that is exquisite. You come into the galerie des Cerfs or Gallery of Stags that was given the name because of the heads of stags that is decorated with and were a replacement to the statues done by the Primatice in 1540.

You have two museums into the museum castle of Fontainebleau, one is the Musée Chinois or Chinese museum, the collection was started by emperatrice Eugénie (wife of Napoleon III) coming from the loots of the chinese emperor by the English-Franco expedition against China in 1860. The other is the musée Napoléon 1er or the Napoleon I museum. This is dedicated to the Emperor and his family, occupying 15 rooms on the first floor(2 FL) and ground floor (1 FL)at the wing Louis XV. The museum has souvenirs, objects d’arts,furniture,, ceramics, arms etc etc of the family.. guided visit last about 1h15 upon request from June to September. Otherwise open every day from 9h30 to 18h October thru May.

In more lasting visits I have stayed at the Mercure Royal Hotel  , a wonderful property just walking distance from the chateau and city center,  webpage in French from All Accor. More info here in French: All Accor Mercure Royale Fontainebleau

For eating my all time favorite was the Le Caveau des Ducs at 24 rue de Ferrare, but upon checking unfortunately it has closed. So we began a new relationship with La Salamandre, 76 rue Grande, tel +33 01 64 22 28 16 , They have a Facebook page here:Facebook page of La Salamandre resto

It is right on main street to the right of castle near Church of Saint Louis. The terrine de poissons, and osso bucco was very good indeed, formules from 12€ entrée+main dish or main dish + dessert. Coffee 1,60€ at counter 1,10€ quart of wine 3,20€ for two persons; nice view of people watching in city center.

Enjoy the castle, I am there regularly. And see my many posts on Fontainebleau of kings and emperors. A huge castle for the history of France, Europe and even the World, a must to visit.

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

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May 22, 2020

Saint-Louis Church ,Fontainebleau!

So here I am bringing back lovely monument of my belle France. I was reviewing my Fontainebleau posts and even if several ,there is something missing always with so much to see. I like to tell you a deserving bit more on the Saint Louis Church of Fontainebleau!

I have walked this town back and forward over the years , and enjoy very much visited, as even Friends of the Castle myself. However, even if passed by it many times I have done a post on the Church of Saint Louis and it should be mention. Here is my take on it. hope you like it.

The Saint-Louis Church is located in Fontainebleau ,Seine-et-Marne dept 77 region of ïle de France. Exactly at 2 rue de la Paroisse, right off corner of Rue Grande , not far from the castle; It is part of the diocese of Meaux. The Saint-Louis Church was built between 1611 and 1614 then considerably altered under the Second Empire.

Fontainebleau

At the time when the town of Fontainebleau was growing, that the path of the inhabitants towards the church of Avon became more and more difficult, king Henri IV made start the church of the parish in 1610 but he did not have time to complete it because he died on May 14 in Paris. It was the regent Marie de Medici who fulfilled the king’s promise. The Saint-Louis Church was completed in May 1614. The town of Fontainebleau was created by the constituent from its parish in 1661. On November 16, 1661, king Louis XIV and Anne of Austria erected the chapel in the parish of Fontainebleau. In 1662, with permission from the King; a priest  bought a piece of land behind the church to build a large building to house a community of priests: this is the Hôtel de la Mission, still in existence.

The parish register of the Saint Louis Church of Fontainebleau contains the baptismal certificate of the son of the musician Jean-Baptiste Lully and Madeleine Lambert, Louis Lully, baptized on September 9, 1677 in the upper Saint-Saturnin Chapel (see post) of the Oval Court of the Château de Fontainebleau.

The Saint-Louis Church was considerably enlarged and enriched by Napoleon III, who came regularly to the castle and wished to give the city a more monumental character. It is from this period that the main facade, the facade of the transept on Rue Grande and the Chapel of the Virgin date, as an extension of the apse. The Saint-Louis Church has brick and stone facades which give it a very special personality among the religious buildings of the region.

In the 18C, King Louis XV and his wife, Queen Marie Leszczynska, were the godfather and godmother of the church bell. It was dismantled and broken during the French revolution. The Saint-Louis Church has an organ buffet offered by King Louis XIV. The organ is partially damaged, notably due to soot, during the arson attack on January 10, 2016.

Unfortunately, on January 10, 2016, part of the Saint Louis Church was ravaged by arson: according to the mayor of the city, the statue of the Virgin of Franchard from the 14C, an altarpiece from the 15C and an altar from the 16C were destroyed. The ciborium was stolen and consecrated hosts were thrown on the ground. The Reparation Mass is celebrated by the bishop of Meaux, Mgr Jean-Yves Nahmias, on January 24, 2016, in the presence of President Nicolas Sarkozy and the President of the Île-de-France region Valérie Pécresse. On May 2018 ,the new statue of the Virgin of Franchard was replace by an identical statue ,the work of sculptor Thierry Gillaizeau, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and put back in the chapel.

A bit on the architecture of the Saint Louis Church tell us the facade with three superimposed pyramid levels. A arched arch door opens the first level and is framed in the antique double Corinthian columns engaged supporting a triangular pediment; the second level carved out of three niches sheltering statues of saints; and the third level is made up of fluted Corinthian pilasters, surmounted by a broken pediment with reentrant upper scrolls. The side walls are pierced with bays framed in bricks. A bell tower with a polygonal base and louvers is placed above the crossing of the transept, at the top of the roof. The entire building is covered with a double-pitched roof. The interior elevation has two elevation levels of large countered arches and tall windows, covered with a curved vault covered with paintings with decorative patterns.

Some webpages to help you visit the wonderful Saint Louis Church in French:

City of Fontainebleau on the St Louis Church

Contact the Parish of Meaux for personal visits in French: Parish of Meaux on visits to St Louis Church

It is always there, close to the castle on main street, always a fix and we have come and gone from it. Hope you like the reminder of another monument to visit in my beloved memorable Fontainebleau and the Saint Louis Church.

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

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