Archive for ‘France’

March 5, 2021

The Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris!!!

And let me update a wonderful monument with much history of France and Europe to say the least. It has been kept quiet for many years as not the government favorite monument but it is of the kingdom of France. I like to tell you a bit more of the Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris!! Hope  you enjoy it as I and thanks for reading.

Let me tell you about something historical, sad, and true located in Paris. I have passed by many times on foot, and a couple of times went in, was very moved to see history that can be cruel; then , I have come with the family to talk about it and history behind it.  For those interested in knowing the true France. I like to tell you a bit about the Chapelle Expiatoire. or Expiatory Chapel or Atoning Chapel in English me think ::)

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In the heart of the 8éme arrondissement, halfway between the Gare Saint-Lazare and the Church of the Madeleine, on the Place Louis XVI, (29 rue Pasquier), there is an unknown monument: the Expiatory Chapel or Chapelle Expiatoire.

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Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld  Duke de Doudeauville , aide-de-camp of the Count of Artois, future king Charles X (younger brother of Louis XVI), proposed first,the building of it  at the end of the year 1815, the creation of a monument atoning in memory of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. King  Louis XVIII (middle brother of Louis XVI)  had then decided to raise at his expense a commemorative Chapel. He commanded it to Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine . The monument was built from 1815 to 1826.

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The traditional manifestation of legitimate Royals of France is the annual commemorative Mass given on January 21th  for the peace  of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at the Expiatory Chapel, whose legitimists had obtained the reopening. ( legitimists are those who claim rightful blood rights to the true king of France ,Bourbons now in line Alfonso de Bourbon as Louis XX).

A very interesting monument to discover both for its architecture, but especially for its historical interest. Built on an ancient cemetery that received hundreds of bodies during the French revolution, witnessed said about 1343 corps, the Chapel was indeed built in the same place where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were buried after their execution in 1793.

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In 1814, the monarchy was restored to France. King Louis XVIII, freshly mounted on the throne, wishes to revive the memory of the Royal family. He decided to transfer the remains of his brother Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette to the Basilica of St. Denis, and to have a atoning Chapel built on the ancient revolutionary cemetery of La Madeleine. A monument that will have a dual vocation: Prayer, and Remembrance.

This monument, is indeed a true immersion in the darkest hours of the French revolution, when the terror and executions of masses triumphed over individual freedoms. Receiving every day dozens of bodies, the Madeleine was more a mass grave than a cemetery. In this place were buried the hundreds of Swiss guards massacred during the arrest of the king and his family at the Palais des Tuileries on August 10, 1792 (now there is only the Jardin des Tuileries).  The tombstones that you will see aligned on the sides of the inner garden are also symbolic tombs built in remembrance of these Swiss guards. The guillotine, installed in Place de la Concorde (then called Place de la Revolution), will later operate without interruption from May 1793 to June 1794. From the Royal family to politicians and anyone suspected of royalist conviction, all of them would face  the same fate:   Became unsanitary and harmful, it will be closed in 1794, then the bones transferred to the Catacombs of Paris (where people now treated as a tourist attraction now but none of it) in 1859.

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The composition of the Expiatory Chapel is somewhat inspired by the Queen’s Convent at Versailles. From the outside, the building presents itself as a closed enclosure with a gate giving access to an elevated esplanade framed by two cloistered galleries, Petit Campo Santo, an area of isolation and recollection. In the background, a tetrastyla portico with a Doric-style pediment giving access to the Chapel. Thus the plans are in a Greek Cross, and one sees the balanced harmony born of the dome and the half-domes surrounding the cubic massif softened by the peristyle. Three vaults, in the butt of a coffered furnace and illuminated by an oculus in their upper part, contribute in  the central dome also with caissons and lace, resting on pendants. The lighting is natural, only shown by the Oculus of the vaults.  In neo-classical style, the Expiatory Chapel made numerous borrowings from Roman antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance for its realization. Although being a place of worship, you will also notice the discretion of Christian elements, reminding us of the main mission of this Chapel: memory.

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Inside, you will discover the statues representing Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. On the pedestal of Louis XVI is engraved the testament of the King written before his execution, on that of Marie-Antoinette with the last letter written to the King’s sister, Madame Elisabeth(later ,also guillotine 1794). The building houses two sculpted groups of white marble showing the sovereigns in ecstatic attitude: Louis XVI, to which an angel shows the sky, and Marie-Antoinette supported by religion. Other sculptures, are a bas-relief showing the exhumation of the King and Queen of the Madeleine Cemetery. Finally, the black and white marble altar, visible in the crypt, marks the exact location from which the King and Queen bobies were exhumed.  An unsung monument of great historical richness!

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François-René de Chateaubriand said that the Expiatory Chapel  was “perhaps the most remarkable monument in Paris.” I could not argue really.

You can get there on several ways even walking from afar, I go often by car or train and walk from Saint Lazare station. You have the parking Saint Lazare off rue Saint Lazaire with entrance on 20, Rue de Rome. At the Gare Saint Lazare for many public transport choices such as  metro Saint Lazare lines 3, 12 , 13, and  14 metro Saint-Augustin, lines 3 and 9, metro Havre-Caumartin, lines  8, 12, and 14,and Bus lines 32, 43,49, 84 ,and 94.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Chapelle Expiatoirehttp://www.chapelle-expiatoire-paris.fr/en/

The Paris tourist office on the Chapelle Expiatoirehttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71072/Chapelle-expiatoire

The museum pass of Paris includes the Chapelle Expiatoirehttps://www.parismuseumpass.fr/t-en/musees-monuments/chapelle-expiatoire?c=a-paris

Enjoy, the real history of France, a time to seek facts!!! For the lovers and seekers of history , this is a must in Paris.  Hope you enjoy it as we did and shall return when possible to the Chapelle Expiatoire.

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

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March 5, 2021

This is Paris: Church of St Etienne du Mont!!

And I did a series of posts on the various churches of Paris because they hold the history and best examples of architecture in the city me think. This one is a particular one that is very nice and should tell you a bit more with revise text and links. See the Church of St Etienne du Mont!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

This one is excellent ,very nice quartier and very nice church. The name can be St Stephen’s on the Hill Church in English me think. Another stop you should do in Paris. The Church of Saint Etienne du Mont is one I have written a bit in other posts mix in with many but not done a sole post on it, and well, its about time.  And I admit need to come back for more here, on the list…

Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church is located on the Sainte-Geneviève hill, in the 5éme arrondissement close to the Lycée Henri-IV , Luxembourg garden, and the Pantheon.  After being briefly transformed into a temple of filial piety under the French revolution, it was returned to her parish church functions in 1801 and has not changed assignments since. The Shrine of Sainte Geneviève,(patron saint of Paris) empty of its relics since the French revolution in 1793 (when thrown in the sewers) with only one piece of bone remaining, as well as the stone of her coffin is now preserved there. The church also houses an organ whose origins and the buffet date back to the years 1630. It is the last Parisian church where you can still see a rood!

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The gallery that surrounds the bedside, adorned with twenty-four stained glass windows was built from 1605. Finally the bell tower is raised in 1624 while the gate is built in 1610. The architect Victor Baltard restored the façade of the church between 1861 and 1868. The Church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont is remarkable in several capacities: it has a rood of finely carved stone (one of the last existing in Paris), dating from the vicinity of 1540 and combining with a perfect elegance the late Gothic vocabulary and Renaissance. Inside the tomb of Blaise de Vigenere, Blaise Pascal, Racine, and Mgr. Sibour.

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The Church of Sainte Etienne du Mont stands on the site of an abbey founded by Clovis, King of the Franks (466-511) and later dedicated to Ste. Geneviève, the patroness of Paris. St. Geneviève was so popular in the Middle Ages that the abbey had to be enlarged to accommodate all the pilgrims. Construction on the present abbey church began in 1492 and encountered numerous delays before it was finally finished in 1626. All that remains of the ancient abbey is the Tour de Clovis (Tower of Clovis), which is now part of the Lycée Henri IV.  The attractive church, named for St. Stephen but still devoted to Ste. Geneviève, is located right next to the Panthéon.  The interior of St-Etienne-du-Mont is Gothic, an unusual style for a mostly 16C church.  Along with the patroness of Paris, such illustrious men as Pascal and Racine were entombed here. Ste. Geneviève’s tomb was destroyed during the French revolution, but the stone on which her coffin rested was discovered later, and her relics were gathered for a place of honor at St-Etienne.  The church possesses a remarkable early-16C rood screen. Dramatically crossing the nave like a bridge with spiral staircases on either side, it’s unique in Paris and beloved by many .  Also notable is the wood pulpit, supported by Samson with a jawbone in hand and slain lion at his feet. The fourth chapel on the right from the entrance contains impressive 16C  stained glass. The arches of the apse and the steeple are built in 1492, the heart of flamboyant Gothic style up to the transept in 1537.

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The most impressive here other than the relics of Sainte Geneviève are the rood. Towards 1540 the Rood, will be built, in an oval style for the arches and Renaissance style for the enablement, in 1580 the vaults of the nave and the transept.  The roods have disappeared from most of the Gothic Churches, and their use has been lost in modern churches. They served for certain rites, but suspended between the chorus and the nave, they further isolated the priests of the faithful, which probably explains their destruction. Several cities in France still have roods but one of the most curious and remarkable is that of the Church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, the only one surviving in Paris. This rood conjugates a Gothic structure with Renaissance ornamentation. The balustrade, a veritable interlace of stone lace, is carved in St. Leu Limestone and its two staircases wrap around the pillars while serving both the rood and the courtyard. Strangely, the author of this masterpiece is unknown when most of the names of the craftsmen who participated in the construction of the Church are known to us. On the other hand for the sculptures of the Rood, whose two figures of young men with ecstatic glances above the doors leading to the choir, the author is well identified: it is about Pierre Biard the Aîné.

However, the Church retains, in the Chapel of Communion , a beautiful collection of stained glass windows painted at the end of the 16C or early 17C. Mutilated and dispersed in the French revolution, they were again assembled in 1834; Unfortunately, there are only 12 left of the original 22.  Among all the works of art, one can highlight the entombment, a group carved in terracotta composed of eight characters dating from the end of the 16C. The author of this work is not identified, but this group, initially placed in the old church of St. Benoit, would come from the French school a chair in carved wood, made around 1640.  Its perimeter is adorned with seven allegorical statues representing the cardinal virtues (Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Force) and theological (Hope, Faith, and Charity), separated by bas-relief sculpted on the panels telling the story of Saint Étienne. The canopy is surmounted by an angel, surrounded by different geniuses. The pulpit is supported by a figure standing on an extended lion, holding in his right hand a donkey jaw: So it is Samson, a biblical figure endowed with a legendary force, who has struck down a lion (book of Judges 14, 6) and killed a thousand philistines with a donkey’s jaw (Book of Judges 15, 14-17). The church also maintains many frescoes and paintings.

The organs are wonderful indeed and great concerts are given. The buffet organ, built in 1630, is considered a true masterpiece of carpentry. The organ itself dates from 1636. The organ was severely damaged in 1760 during a violent fire. It was rebuilt by Cliquot in 1777, then Aristide Cavaillon-Coll enriched it in 1863 and 1873. Theodore Puget makes improvements in 1911. The House Beuchet-Debierer performs a radical transformation in 1956 at the instigation of Maurice Duruflé. Danin-Gonzalez realigns the whole and changes the console to 1975; Bernard Dargassies performs a lift in 1991 and another in summer 2011. And the smaller one is the Choir organ  an instrument of 14 games, of which 12 are real, distributed on two keyboards of 56 notes and a pedal of 30. Built by Puget in 1902, it is placed on the north side of the choir behind stalls. The transmission is pneumatic. The instrument is housed in a two-storey Gothic style buffet with a high bedrock. Horizontally, the buffet is organized in a tripartite way, A must to hear it play.

There you go this one is a must and the area is gorgeous. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Church Saint Etienne du Monthttps://www.saintetiennedumont.fr/

The Paris tourist office on the Church Saint Etienne du Monthttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71774/Paroisse-Saint-Etienne-du-Mont

This is one of the dandy churches of Paris that I would consider an off the beaten path site and a must to visit. Hope you have enjoy the post on the wonderful Church of Saint Etienne du Mont! St Stephens!

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

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March 5, 2021

This is Paris: Basilica Notre Dame des Victoires!

And I did a series of posts on the various churches of Paris because they hold the history and best examples of architecture in the city me think. This one is a particular one that is very nice and should tell you a bit more with revise text and links. See the Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires! Hope you enjoy it as I.

Written on churches before in my blog and some just mention briefly, this one deserves a post of its own. A wonderful Church Basilica Notre Dame des Victoires. Basilique Notre Dame-des-Victoires is located at Place des Petits-Péres in the 2éme district or arrondissement of Paris. It is one of five minor Basilicas in Paris been raise to Basilica in 1927.

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The basilica is in the Chapel of the former Augustinian convent. The construction begins in 1629. King Louis XIII posed the first stone and dedicated the Church to Notre-Dame-des-Victories because of its military successes, especially at the Siege of La Rochelle (1628).  111 years took to completed it finally in 1740. The convent had a library of forty thousand books. In the French revolution, it was closed. The Church is occupied by the offices of the National Lottery and then by the stock exchange. It was returned to worship in 1809. The conventual buildings, themselves, were destroyed in 1859. During the commune 1870-71 , the church was looted again and ransacked.

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In 1836, Notre-Dame-des-Victories is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin. The abbot creates an association of which one of the first aims is the conversion of sinners. In 1838, the association became Arch confraternity patronized by Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, approved by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1927, the church was elevated to the rank of minor basilica by Pope Pius XI.

Our Lady of the Victories or Notre Dame des Victoires is a high place of devotion, unique in Paris, its walls are covered by about thirty-seven thousand ex-votos in gratitude to the Virgin. Finally, the Church has a choir richly endowed with seven paintings by Carl Vanloo. Six of them are devoted to the life of St. Augustine. In 1778, Mozart prayed in this church . The total length of the church is 62 meters for a width of 24.50 meters. The height of the vault is 15 meters. The church is in the Classic style, notice the cornice in modillions and roses, and its pilasters of ionic order.

Some of the nicest Chapels to see are the Chapel in memory of St. Teresa of Lisieux ,surmounted by the stained glass showing Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux in 1887, before going to Rome to asked the Pope the permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux, the girl comes to pray to Notre-Dame-des-Victories with her father and sister. The Sainte-Anne Chapel dated from 1878 and showing the painting of “The Education of the Virgin” (upper part). The Saint Augustine Chapel on the left side of the transept. The six paintings of Carl Vanloo on the life of Saint Augustine were painted between 1746 and 1755. Removed from by the French revolution, reestablished in 1811, they evoke the baptism of Saint Augustine, his episcopal ordination, his oratorical jousting with the Donatists, his homilies before Bishop Valeri, his death, and finally the translation of his relics in Pavia. This collection of paintings by Carl Vanloo is unique in France!

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The impressive cenotaph of Jean-Baptiste Lulli.  Lulli lived in Rue des Petits-Champs and was buried in the Church. His tomb, executed in 1687 was demolished during the commune. What remained of the tomb was placed between the chapels of St. John and the Holy Childhood to the left and to the right are seated two mourners representing poetry and music. On the upper pedestal: two statues of children (or weeping geniuses). At the top sits the bust in bronze of Lulli 17C.

Eight windows of the nave follow a common pattern, they are surrounded by a garland with decorative themes. The background is made up of a grey clover-base on which one or two central characters are detached. These stained glass windows let little light pass. In summer, the grand portal of the Basilica is always open to bring a little clarity to the nave. On the other hand, the transept and chorus are still quite dark. The 37 000 ex-Votos of Notre-Dame-des-Victories are, above all, marble slabs that cover the aisles and the transept, but also thousands of hearts, stained glass windows, military medals and decorations. The ex-Votos are in French, English, German, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, etc. True to the principle of arch confraternity conversion is the main subject of recognition.

The Chapel of the Virgin dedicated to the very holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary a statue financed by king Louis XIV. Beneath the altar is a part of the relics of St. Aurélie, victim of persecution under Emperor Valérien.  Dressed in a white mantle, the forehead girded with a golden crown.  The Virgin disappeared in the French revolution with all the treasures of the Church!!

The lower part of the stained glass illustrates the vision and its consequences. The manuscript of the archives of the Augustinian Convent reports, after the Brother Fiacre had  heard the cry of a grandchild: he turned his head on the side of the voice and saw the Sacred Virgin surrounded by a beautiful and pleasant light, having a Child in her arms, dressed of a blue robe dotted with stars, her hair hanging on her shoulders, three crowns on her head, sitting on a chair and saying: “My child, do not be afraid, I am the mother of God.” On this, the witness Brother Fiacre  flung himself to the ground to worship the Child held between her arms, believing that it was Jesus Christ, but the Sacred Virgin said to him:  “My child is not my son, it is the child that God wants to give to France.” This story came to the ears of the court and the king. The Virgin asked for three novenas in three shrines of the kingdom dedicated to Notre-Dame, including Notre-Dame of Victories and Notre-Dame de Paris. Brother acquitted himself of this prayer in November and December 1637. Ten months later, on September 5, 1638, Queen Anne of Austria gave birth to a son, Louis Dieudonné ( Louis the God given), at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye (future king Louis XIV)! At court, it was recalled that this birth had been foretold by a religious. Brother Fiacre will devote his life, through prayer, to the royal family, to the poor and to peace and will become famous. It is reported that later, his portrait adorns a car rental office on horseback. They will eventually take its name, the famous “cabs”, ancestors of our taxis. Nice story after all, you find thousands in the churches of Paris.

The Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires has two representations of the vows of Louis XIII a painting by Carl Vanloo 18C  and a 19C stained glass window. Another great stained glass window can be seen on this theme at the Chapelle Saint-Vincent-de-Paul de Blois (17C).  In gratitude for this long-awaited son (Louis-Dieudonné, the future king Louis XIV), king Louis XIII vowed, in 1638, to dedicate “his person, his state, his crown and his subjects” to the Virgin and to renew this vow every year at the feast of the Assumption. In Carl Vanloo’s painting, King Louis XIII,  has his vow, exposed to the Virgin the drawing of the façade of the church which he had promised to edify. This will be Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

The first crowned statue in France is that of this basilica, on 9 July 1853 at the request of Pope Pius IX in gratitude for the grant of Rome by the French. The organ was executed by Lesclop, factor of the 18C and the buffet by Louis-Alexandre Reigner, Master Carpenter in Paris and member of the Académie Saint-Luc since 1735. The buffet, made of wood carved and decorated in the mass, consists of a large body with five turrets and a positive of three back turrets. It has decorations in bas relief and in round hump, including vases, trophies and musical instruments; The central turret is crowned by an angel who holds an open book on his knees. The light asses of the turrets are adorned with heads of cherubs at mid-body. It dates from 1739.

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

The official Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires: https://www.notredamedesvictoires.com/

The Paris tourist office on the Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71945/Basilique-Notre-Dame-des-Victoires

Enjoy Paris ,a lot more to see than on many travel books. And the story is not over yet because Paris is eternal. Hope you enjoy the post on the wonderful Basilique Notre Dame des Victoires!

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

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March 4, 2021

Wines of France,the story never ends!!!

And here I am reaching another weekend, well the first one in March 2021! And need to tell you again about the wines of France, the story never ends !! indeed, simply the best. If you read my blog you know this is one of my hobbies and been all over in wine countries over the years. Here is my latest news on wines of my France!

And what the government or governments don’t tell you about the virus. The rules and the incompetence are hurting all. In France, 220,000 restaurants have closed their doors since the start of the pandemic. Beyond this tragedy which affects hundreds of thousands of employees, an entire industry is at half mast. The winegrowers, often very affected by the crisis, launched, at the initiative of the Force 4 Agency, the Solidarité Restaurateurs operation to raise funds and support restaurateurs in a logic of sustainable development from the reopening. Among them, Michel Chapoutier from Maison Chapoutier, Xavier Gomart, general manager of Cave de Tain or Alice Euvrard, Domaine de la Navicelle, Maison Louis Jadot, Patricia Ortelli from Château La Calisse, etc etc. Consumers identify the participants in the operation by the green dot on the bottle. From € 0.20 to € 1 per bottle sold are donated to the Hésiode endowment fund of the French Association of Master Restorers. Webpage: https://www.solidariterestaurateurs.com/

The Renaissance of Château Kirwan, the discreet of the Margaux appellation, one of my favorites!  Its neighbors are called Boyd-Cantenac, Brane-Cantenac, Prieuré-Lichine, Issan and, a few km further, Palmer and Margaux. By their side, Kirwan is a confidential address, a good deal given by word of mouth. The confidential address has nevertheless been a classified grand cru since 1855. At the time, the château was selected for the Universal Exhibition organized by Napoleon III. It was the first of Margaux’s third Grands Crus Classés and the 16th Grand Bordeaux in the official order of awarded wines.  In Cantenac, once you have passed the entrance gate to the domain, the charm immediately sparkle. In front of the beautiful 18C bourgeois mansion stretches out a garden, also listed with its hundred-year-old trees and its flowered arbour of roses, imagined by Camille Godard – former mayor of Bordeaux and, in his spare time, landscape architect, who was the owner during the second half of the 19C and vineyards as far as the eye can see, on 37 hectares! This enchanting setting has undoubtedly inspired the appellation of the château’s second wine, called Charmes de Kirwan.

At the origin of its notoriety, a Scottish immigrant, Mark Kirwan, arrived in Bordeaux in the middle of the 18C. He inherited the estate in 1760 by marrying the owner’s daughter, Sir John Collinwood. It is said that in 1787 Thomas Jefferson, then United States Ambassador to France, already called the Château a “second rank grand cru”. A comment announcing the fate of this exceptional wine. It was in 1926 that Alfred Schÿler, at the head of one of the oldest wine trading houses, the Schröder et Schÿler house, founded in 1739, bought this château north of Bordeaux, on the prestigious Margaux appellation.  Today, it is his great-granddaughter, Sophie Schÿler, who oversees the property, supported by Philippe Delfaut, a former Château Palmer, while his brother, Yann, chairs the trading house. She is an expert herself. Administrator and member of the Bordeaux Wine Academy, she regularly participates in master classes in the grandes écoles to initiate future leaders who are expected to be received at large tables, she specifies ; and writes for the Forbes Magazine as well as for several trade magazines. After having worked in the United States at Moët Hennessy and in the Besnier group, she returned to her native lands in 1996 to take charge of commercial development in particular of exports to the United States and Asia , and the communication from Kirwan.

Evidenced by the sculptural door through which it is accessed. A contemporary work in stainless steel lace called Les Ceps this magnificent porch, we are welcomed under a large glass roof revealing a row of wooden barrels. Mark Kirwan’s historic cellars, dating from the 18C, have been enlarged by the creation of a new space fitted out with wooden barrels from Allier. The whole being connected to 37 concrete tanks made to measure in Italy. Finally, she likes to receive groups of wine lovers in the Orangerie room of 220 m2, offering from all sides a panorama of the vines and extraordinary acoustics, thanks to its wooden beams on the ceiling, ideal for organizing events. concerts-tastings. The official webpage: https://www.chateau-kirwan.com/

Chanel is expanding its pink paradise in Porquerolles. By purchasing Domaine Perzinsky, a little over two years after acquiring the Island vineyard, the fashion house becomes the largest wine owner in this Mediterranean Eden. There were three owners who shared the 80 hectares of vines on the island of Porquerolles, with 70% production of rosé wines. Now there are two of them. Because the 14 hectares of the Perzinsky estate have just been bought by the house of Chanel to expand the Domaine de l’Île, which it has owned since autumn 2019, in this corner of Mediterranean land, facing the Pointe de Giens. Already owner in the Bordeaux region (Château Rauzan-Ségla, second classified grand cru of Margaux, Château Berliquet and Château Canon, grand cru and premier grand cru classé of Saint-Émilion), also at domaine of St Supery Estate Vineyards and Winery Napa California. Chanel made its entry into the promising rosé wine market with the Domaine de l’Île, a historic property of the 12.4 km2 island pebble, including 30 km of coastline that once belonged entirely to an adventurer of Belgian origin, Joseph- Alain Fournier. Strong personality, this former owner of mines in Mexico had devoted his fortune to his Mediterranean Eden before it was divided between his six daughters, then, little by little, ceded to the State which, in turn, had retroceded some arpents in the early 1980s to wine growers in the form of emphyteutic leases. In five years, when everything has been replanted and restructured, 40 hectares and 200,000 bottles per vintage will be sailing around the world. But always entirely and exclusively handmade, from the vineyard to the bottling, in this earthly paradise “made in Provence”. The Domaine de LÏle webpage: https://www.domainedelile.com/

In Saint-Émilion, wine tourism is no longer a fantasy. Some properties have made significant efforts to attract visitors, whether they are experts, novices or simply curious. In turn, Château Montlabert has decided to join the wine tourism dance. The reception pavilion is on the edge of the departmental road that connects Saint-Émilion to Libourne. Those who stop in can set off on a comprehensive 1.5-hour tour in a small group. The time to watch a video which presents the geographical location of the property, its terroir, its history since the 18C, and everyone gets into a very contemporary electric car. The castle and the new installations, invisible from the road, are revealed only after a few hundred meters. At the end of the small path, you will discover the 3 hectares of the English park as well as the French garden and its rose garden. A large fountain has been built, it is also likely to serve as a water reserve in the event of firefighters intervening.

This Castel group, which has nineteen properties in France, including fifteen in Bordeaux, three in Loire, one in Provence, one in Languedoc, or 1,100 hectares, needed a standard bearer. Château Montlabert was acquired by the family in 2008. Each year, Château Montlabert produces 50,000 bottles of its first wine and 70,000 bottles of the second. At the entrance to the vat room, four screens placed flat recall by their arrangement the sorting tables of the grape. We discover, in a film shot vertically, the main stages of wine making. It’s both spectacular and educational. A few meters further on, everyone can enter the heart of the cellar, made up of four islands each divided into as many large vats – two in stainless steel, two in concrete – in a space designed to limit energy consumption as much as possible (- 60 % compared to a conventional installation). The walls are covered with cork, a good insulator, while an ingenious system allows a natural flow of air to circulate in the vat room as well as in the cellars located on the lower level. In this space dedicated to drums, another video animation, very general public, of a few tens of seconds, is projected on the walls and columns. Then, towards the boutique store. webpage: https://www.chateau-montlabert.com/fr/

And here is the scary question and yes we do! What to drink with … a cheeseburger?   America’s culinary heritage owes a great deal to 19C immigrants. Thus, the hamburger (minced meat between two slices of bread) is a very old specialty of the city of Hamburg , Germany. The cheeseburger is an evolution: around 1925, a young chef from Pasadena (California), named Lionel Sternberger, had the idea of enriching his sandwich with a slice of cheese; but it was one of his colleagues from Denver (Colorado), Louis Ballast, who made it a registered trademark in 1935. With the success that we know. Cheese or not, it is obviously the ground beef which takes the best here. We should therefore avoid white wines: not structured enough, and especially devoid of tannins, they would lead to a somewhat wobbly marriage. Especially since you have to marry at the same time the sweetness of the ketchup, the acidity of the pickle and, of course, the fat of the cheese. We will choose it red, young for a preserved fruitiness, strong in taste and aromas, with notes of vanilla and black fruits, and above all a nice density in the mouth, with very present tannins. A south west France red, of course. Bon appétit.

And a bit of technical know how by yours truly.   Alcohol is an essential component of wine, the result of alcoholic fermentation, which transforms the sour in grape juice into alcohol; the latter generally represents between 12 and 14% of the total volume of a wine, and its content (also called alcoholic strength) is indicated on the label, this is the law. Not all wines are equal when it comes to alcohol content, but they owe it as much to their climate, to their grape variety, as to the cultivation practices put in place by the winemaker. Schematically, wines from the South are generally more generous (in alcohol) than wines from the North, an obvious consequence of the light intensity and the duration of sunshine, at the origin of photosynthesis which brings the sweet juice in. the vat. Today, in the south of the Rhône valley or in Languedoc, it is often difficult to harvest certain grape varieties (especially Syrah) even at potential 12 ° C, because if the sugar is there, the skins do not have the maturity required to make a great wine. Because that is where the heart of the matter lies: the only way to make a great wine is to pick the grapes at their optimum maturity, skin and juice. Even if the final degree sometimes reaches 13 or even 14 ° C, this is always better than having a wine with a rough touch and vegetable scents because the season was picked too early. You want to learn more about the different climates of French wine terroirs, oenology courses in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and in 24 other cities in France are organized by Prodégustation and are accessible for all levels, from amateurs to the most advanced. Webpage:https://www.prodegustation.com/cours-oenologie/vog-academique.html

The Jura has a rich diversity of terroirs and wines. Because, for those who do not yet know it, this vineyard does not boil down to yellow wine alone.   Trousseau and Poulsard produce unique reds that are rarely fleshy or full-bodied, but often intense and beautifully fluid. As for Chardonnay, it gives birth to whites capable of challenging the finest wines of the Côte de Beaune. Finally, Savagnin brings all its personality to yellow wine, king of oxidative wines. André & Mireille Tissot in Arbois are my best example of this little known wines, try them. Whether from the trousseau or the poulsard, Stéphane Tissot produces reds with character. While elegance is always present with silky textures, the wines never lack substance. As for its yellow wines, here too, the plot work in the vineyard has enabled it to make a huge qualitative leap in the cellar. The wines have gained in race.

A world apart: First observation: even in the absence of some of the most prestigious names, the magic of yellow operates. Second observation: breeding under sail is indeed a world apart. Last point, probably the most important: if a hierarchy emerges, the rating is only indicative, because everyone’s preference will be based on their affinities with a particular style.   The jaune or yellow wine represents around 5% of sales in Jura production, with an average volume of 3,000 hectoliters bottled each year, ie a little less than 500,000 clavelins.(bottles size of the region). Webpage of the Tissot propertyhttps://www.stephane-tissot.com/en/index.htm

To know more about the wines of the Jurahttps://www.jura-vins.com/vins-guide-vins.htm

And there you go for now folks, another dandy post on the wines of France, simply the best! Hope you have enjoy the post and the news of wines of France as I

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

March 4, 2021

The Grand Trianon of Versailles!!!

And here I am updating this wonderful monument of my beloved Versailles in my belle France. I have come here many times even if pictures are scarse; as said, living and visiting are two different things. Let me update for you and I , the Grand Trianon of Versailles! Hope you enjoy it as I, and see my other post on it.

Now going back to my previous neck of the woods so saying, this is Versailles hello world!! The Royal city of Versailles has many wonders and some seldom visited . Surveys done by the city of Versailles tell us that 98% of visitors to the city only come to see the palace/museum!! Oh my God, there is so much more in Versailles, my town ,another beloved spot on earth for me.  9 glorious happy years of family living with memories to last a lifetime. Let me tell you about a gem, call the Grand Trianon.

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Before the current Trianon there was a building built by the architect Le Vau on the order of king Louis XIV, which was called the Trianon de porcelain. Its walls were covered with Delft tiles. Destroyed in 1687, it was replaced from the following year by the Trianon de marble. The architect was Jules Hardouin-Mansart. This is the palace we see today. The king reserved it for the feasts, the concerts, the snacks in the middle of the rest. His garden was covered with flowers, specially chosen for their colors and smells.

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The pieces of the Grand Trianon are all marked by history. The Kings and the emperor who lived there left their mark. The most visible are those of Napoleon I and Louis-Philippe. The Trianon-sous-Bois wing was a time reserved for the President of the French Republic. After the visit of the castle, the visit of the Grand Trianon is indispensable. Apart from the architecture, the furniture and some pieces of porcelain, you can admire dozens of beautiful paintings of the great century, including the works of Charles de la Fosse ,and Jean Jouvenet .

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The water plays an important part in all the property and no exception at the Grand Trianon, when you see the Buffet d’Eau done in 1703.  A huge fountain topped by figures of Poseidon, and Amphitrite, a wonderful fountain by the gardens.

The gallery of the Cotelle or galerie de la Cotelle done in  1687, to decorate the gallery, it was ordered 24 paintings illustrating the groves and fountains of the gardens of Versailles. 21 of these paintings are of the painter Jean Cosuch (1645-1708). The room is 52 meters long and 7 meters wide. Done by the Jean Cotelle, the young. They show forest or gardens that today are no longer, but were, such as the Bosquet de Labyrinthe, bosquet de l’Arc de Triomphe, Bosquet du Théatre d’Eau, and the bosquet du Marais de Mme de Montespan. They were re installed later by Louis-Philippe and do not shown inside the castle until 1913, in memory of François Francine, a great gardener influential in Versailles the same as André Le Notre. It  communicates with the so-called Trianon-sous-Bois wing. It was built to serve as a reception room. Under the Empire, it housed a collection of model boats; Under Louis-Philippe, a collection of bronze and art objects.   As in the past, this gallery is now and then used for official receptions. So it is quite often closed to the public.

The Music Room or salon de la musique, after being the first antichamber of king Louis XIV, this room became a music parlor. The shutters that are seen at the top of the wall facing the windows opened in a grandstand where the musicians were installed. The room became an officer’s lounge under the Empire, then a billiard room under Louis-Philippe.

The Grand Trianon or Trianon de marble is  within the park of the castle or more appropiate the Domaine of Versailles. The exterior of the building is constructed of pink marble which gives it the name Trianon de marble, as opposed to the Trianon of porcelain which preceded it in the same location.  The Grand Trianon is made up of a courtyard, of a palace, and of a set of gardens and basins;  it includes at its entrance a large courtyard called the Cour d’honneur, framed by a building divided into two wings connected by a gallery with columns. The right wing is extended by a perpendicular wing called Trianon-sous-Bois. The building overlooks a set of French gardens and basins, including the flat bottom basin, the so-called ear basin and the Horseshoe Basin.

It was the place of residence or passing of several French or foreign royal figures, including king Louis XIV, tsar Peter I of Russia or queen Marie Leszczyńska, wife of king Louis XV. More recently there were General de Gaulle, or foreign heads of State on official visits to France, such as the American President Richard Nixon in 1969, or the Queen of the United Kingdom Elisabeth II in 1972. The bit of history I like tells us that in 1663 and 1665, king Louis XIV bought from the monks of the Abbaye Sainte-Geneviève de Paris the lands and the village of Trianon (named Triarnum in a papal bull of 1163).

Completed in 1672, the first castle of Trianon, known as the Trianon de porcelain, will remain so for 15 years. In Faïence porcelain very fragile, it quickly suffered the wear and tear of time and stopped pleasing the king who ordered its demolition in 1686, shortly after the visit of the ambassadors of the king of Siam, to build in his place a wider abode and a style resolutely different. The Trianon de marble is rebuilt on the rubble of the former Trianon de Porcelaine, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the first architect of the King, is responsible for its construction. The project is established in 1687. The Grand Trianon, or Trianon de marble, was inaugurated in the summer of 1688 by king Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, who make it their private residence. The king regularly organized dinners with the aim of controlling the Court. Few guests were sleeping there because of the limited number of rooms. At the end of his reign, king Louis XIV opened more widely the Grand Trianon.  The panelling of the lounges welcomed many princes of the Royal house like the Grand Dauphin, the Duchess of Burgundy, the Duke of Berry and Duchess of Berry, the Duke of Chartres, the Duchess of Bourbon and the Duchess of Orléans, Madame Palatine.

King Louis XV is totally uninterested in the place, but he comes to hunt. the Queen Marie Leszczyńska, who resides there since August 1741 with more retreat, and pushed by her favourite, the Marquise de Pompadour, king Louis XV decided to retake the palace of Grand Trianon in 1749. He built the French pavilion, endowed with a farmyard, and the French garden. Finally, the construction of the Petit Trianon,(next post) between 1761 and 1768, gives its new name to the Trianon de marble, the Grand Trianon. Marie-Antoinette far prefers the Petit Trianon to the grand, spite of this, she gives some performances in the gallery of the Cotelle.

We have to wait for the first Empire for the domain to regain its importance. In 1805, emperor Napoleon I ordered the restoration of the two palaces. The emperor made many stays at the Grand Trianon between 1809 and 1813. In order to guarantee its security and to facilitate direct access to Grand Trianon without going through the Palace, it erected the entrance gate of the front yard and the two pavilions reserved for its personal guard. Under king Louis XVIII, no change is made to the Trianons, only the imperial symbols are removed.  In 1830, king Charles X stopped for a few hours on his way to exile. From 1830 to 1848, Marie-Amélie of Bourbon-Sicily renovated the castle to the liking of the day to live there, and married his daughter, Marie d’Orléans, with Alexandre de Württemberg, in 1837. Like his predecessor, king Louis-Philippe I made a halt at Trianon on the road to exile in 1848.

The Treaty of Trianon, which split the Balkans, was signed at the Grand Trianon by the warring powers of WWI in 1920. From 1959, General de Gaulle thought of making the Grand Trianon a presidential  residence. Only, the costs to be incurred for this were very important ; however it serves as a framework for the official receptions of the French c Republic, including the G7 Summit of 1982, the presidential guests residing in the wing of the Trianon-sous-Bois. Among the welcomed heads of state were the American presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Duke of Edinburgh, the latter being the Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1992. The room occupied by General de Gaulle remained as is, with two separate beds, very long ,due to his size.

A bit of overall description on the rooms are:

Apartment of the Impératrice, Chambre of the Empress ,Salon of the Chapel ,Salon of the Lords. The péristyle  of the Grand Trianon is the colonnaded gallery connecting the right wing and the left wing of the Grand Trianon, but also the courtyard to the gardens. It consists of open arcades on the courtyard and a colonnade on the garden. The nickname Trianon de marble of the Grand Trianon is due in particular to this peristyle whose pilasters are made of this rock=marbre.  There is a large living room ,salon de Musique,  Salon Louis-Philippe’s ,Salon of Malachite .The gallery of Cotelle, located in the north wing, features 11 windows and 5 windows are connected to the Garden lounge. It takes its name from the painter Jean Cotelle the young, portraitist and miniaturist of king Louis XIV who realizes 21 out of 24 paintings that are attached to it Salon of Jardins.

We come out again, in my game, to the fountain of L’Enfant au Carquois at the garden,  by the old garden of the king on the north wing, a fountain with shells,and the only of its kind in France at the théatre d’eau one of the most famous gardens of Louis XIV done by Andre Le Notre between 1671-1673.  You can see the other two element of this triology at the National Gallery of Washington DC USA. We go back in to the chambre de l’empereur or emperor’s bedroom, at the petit appartement of the Emperor at the north wing. This was the personal bedroom of Napoleon Ier,  he has five rooms such as the antiroom, personal office, bathroom, bedroom, and breakfast room. They were decorated and setup between 1805-1807 by the best artists of the time. Even after the divorce with Josephine the colors and decorations stay.  Napoleon could see the castle from the Grand Trianon and only the abdication in 1814 stops receiving the entire imperial family at the Grand Trianon. The emperor’s office finish in 1812 is the only room completely decorated to his tastes.  Inside by the middle wing, you will find the Boudoir de l’Emperatrice Marie-Louise. In 1805 the emperor has done it for his mother but never use it, and in turn was given to his new wife in 1810. Marie Louise is the daughter of the niece of Marie Antoinette!  We stay inside to go to the Vasque aux malachites, done on 1807-1809 at the salon des malachites in the north wing. This is a huge table cover given as a present by the tzar Alexander 1er to Napoleon Ier for the alliance of Tilsit in 1802.  A huge gift as the malachite is a precious stone only found in Siberia.

We continue our walk inside to see the bed or lit de la chambre de l’imperatrice, done in 1809, at the south wing. The bed was ordered b Napoleon Ier before been use by Louis XVIII in 1824;  It was Louis Philippe who brought back to the castle to show the legimate claim by the Orleans side of the royals to the claim of the kingdom of France. Worth mentioning that he voted for the execution of Louix XVI being a Bourbon in 1793, and his wife Marie-Amelie de Bourbon-Sicily was the niece of Louis XVI!!! cousin of Louis XVII and of the Emperatrice Marie Louise. He Louis Philippe took the throne after replacing Louis XIX that ruled for only 20 minutes ! It was here in the Grand Trianon in 1830 that he took over after firing all the ministers. In his favor, in 1837 he declare the Domaine de Versailles for the Glory of France, a museum!!! so saving it from demolition and allow us to see the beauty we see today.

Moving on to the  Small apartment of the emperor’s , Bedroom of the emperor’s,  antichamber of the emperor’s , topographical office of the Emperor’s,  cabinet particular of the Emperor’s; Breakfast living room, bath of the Emperor , and Trianon-sous-Bois in the north wing of the Grand Trianon built in to overcome a lack of space, this wing is built shortly before 1708 and is occupied by Madame Palatine, sister-in-law of King Louis XIV, and his family.  The billiard room is transformed into a chapel under king Louis-Philippe Ier. The marriage of Marie d’Orléans, daughter of Louis-Philippe, with Alexandre de Württemberg is held here in 1837. Columns in the Chapel come from the grove of the Dômes, and a stained glass window representing the assumption of the Virgin an order of the National manufactory of Sèvres.  And we finish the tour with the Bailiffs ‘ room ,waiting room for first aid and office of the President , the small living room , dining hall , Chapel of Louis-Philippe during the construction of the Trianon de marble, André le Nôtre traces in the gardens geometrical figures in compartment sections of greenery. The gardens are completed after his death, in 1700, by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who, in 1702, decorates them, among others, with a water buffet and creates groves and halls of greenery. Only the pride of Le Nôtre, the garden of Springs, located in the hollow of the gallery of the Costelle and Trianon-sous-Bois are preserved.

We move a more recent historical room, Bureau du Général de Gaulle, or his office. apartements of the Presidency in the wing of the Trianon under woods, or sous bois. In the extreme north of the Grand Trianon, you find this room ,redone since 1962 ,and not well known to the public. It was redone after Napoleon III left it; and given to the chief of State. He was used for receptions and welcome of dignataries visiting France. This events were terminated by Jacques Chirac that from March 29 1999 returned it to the castle to show as museum piece to the public.

There you go a full story tour. A wonderful place indeed in my beloved Versailles. You can avoid the lines rush from place d’Armes by going thru the porte Saint Antoine direct to the Grand Trianon ;this is done if you have a car or take bus line 19 by ave Saint Cloud to stop Parly II le Chesnay, walking down couple hundred meters on your right hand side.

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

The Château de Versailles on the Grand Trianon:  http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/estate-trianon/grand-trianon

The tourist office of Versailles on the Grand Trianonhttps://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-grand-trianon.html

Hope it helps you enjoy the Grand Trianon as much as it does me. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 3, 2021

The glorious Jardin des Tuileries!!!

It is with great pleasure that I am updating this older post in my blog.  The Jardin des Tuileries were my next door relaxation while working in Paris for several years, many times just walked on it and have my lunch while looking at the wonderful architecture and history all around me. Therefore, let me tell you more and more of the glorious Jardin des Tuileries of Paris!

I always love to tell you about a wonderful beautiful inmense garden I came to love and became my favorite. I had visited before, visiting is different than living as many should know. Of course, I am talking about the Tuileries garden or Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.  I came to know it intimately while working off rue de Castiglione off rue de Rivoli for several years. It was my lunch break lol!!! and on weekends will bring the family to walk on it , poney rides, and swings the fairs of many games on it, the Grande roue , all very memorable moments and a thrill to past by it once in a while now.

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You get there on metro Tuileries (design of Hector Guimard),the entrance is located along the Tuileries garden, rue de Rivoli on line 1 or Concorde lines 1, 8 and 12 . The  line 1 of the Metro built has two staircases with low frames with cartridges with an entrance and an exit.  The Tuileries Garden is open daily from 7h30 to 21h. Also, bus lines 20 21 68 72 73, 84 , as the closest , and my best parkings underground here are Concorde  Place de la Concorde (corner of Avenue Gabriel and Place de la Concorde), and Tuileries by 38, rue du Mont Tabor (now not open to the public).

It is actually a series of gardens and the locals sometimes call it the Jardins des Tuileries in plural. There is the Tuileries and then the Carrousel. Let me tell you a bit on them and more now.

The Jardin des Tuileries garden extends from the Palais du Louvre (east) to the Place de la Concorde (West), it is bordered to the north by the Rue de Rivoli, the place de Pyramides and to the south by the Seine river . The Arc du Carrousel, built in 1806 in the Carousel’s garden, marks the entrance to the Tuileries. The Palace of the Tuileries, which closed the Louvre on its west side, was burned during the commune in 1871 and its ruins were razed in 1881 by the third Republic. From the 1st arrondissement or district created in the 16C to the site of old Tuileries which gave it its name. It is the most important and oldest French garden of Paris, which used to be the palace of the Tuileries, a former royal and imperial residence, now extinct. I was a former treasurer to rebuilt it but it is difficult and costly almost 400M€, believe the effort is dead unless Stéphane Bern come in …

The Rue de Rivoli is located in the early 19C between Rue de Rohan and rue Saint-Florentin, in particular the impasse  and the grounds occupied by the Dames-de-l’Assomption. The garden then expanded during the development of the Tuileries Wharf, a support wall is built along the terrace of the water’s edge, with stones extracted from the quarries of Châtillon.  In 1519, king François 1er had chosen this vast land occupied since the 12C by tile factories (hence Tuileries) . In 1553 Catherine de Medici decided to settle in the Louvre and to have a castle built, she bought land at the Tuileries and built an Italian park with fountains, a cave, a greenhouse and a menagerie, the Palais des Tuileries.

Catherine de Medici buys these lands between the walls of Charles V and the walls of the Fausses Jaunes (ditches). Starting from 1564, it began the construction of the Palais des Tuileries, while beginning the development of an Italian garden to the west until the glacis of the enclosure (present Place de la Concorde). It consists of six aisles in the straight direction and eight in the witdth direction, which rectangular compartments comprising different plantations (trees, quinconces, lawns, flower beds, etc.). In the years 1605-1625 an orangery and a petting zoo were added. In 1664, Jean-Baptiste Colbert and King Louis XIV ordered the garden to be entirely redesigned by André Le Nôtre, who had already illustrated himself in Vaux-le-Vicomte.  Royal Gardens of Versailles, Marly, Saint-Cloud and Saint-Germain en Laye.  The destruction of the Palace of the Tuileries opened a perspective towards the Place de la Concorde, the Avenue of the Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue of the Grand Armée, and the Grand Arche de la Defense.

At the western angles of the garden, Napoleon III ordered built two identical buildings:

An orangery in 1852, in the southwest, today hosting a museum of modern Art, the Musée de l’Orangerie (see post). The Museum of the Orangerie is a museum of impressionistic and Impressionists paintings located in the garden of the Tuileries, at the western end of the terrace of the waterfront, Place de la Concorde it presents works by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Le Douanier Rousseau, André Derain, Chaïm-Soutien, Marie Laurencin, Maurice Utrillo, Paul Gauguin, Alfred Sisley and Kees van Dongen.

A Jeu de Paume in 1861, today hosting a museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery of Jeu de Paume.   The Jeu de Paume Museum.(see post)  The building is located on the terraces by rue de Rivoli dominating the Place de la Concorde in the Tuileries garden.  The Jeu de Paume game was built in 1861 on the model of the Orangerie was a gym where the ancestor of tennis was practised.  At the beginning of the 20C, the building is a national museum.  The museum was remodelled in 1986, following the opening of the Musée d’Orsay, and became a place of temporary exhibitions.  

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The Tuileries Garden, is of major historical importance, has 22.4 hectares. Between the wings of the Louvre, the Carousel garden is 6.2 hectares. The Tuileries and the Carrousel are separated by the Tuileries Terrace.  These two gardens are accessible to visitors.. To the east, three small gardens enshrine the building: Along the Rue de Rivoli lies the  Jardin de l’Oratoire (4 500 m2), and, opposite the Seine, the Jardin de l’Infante (3 900 m2) and the Jardin de Raffet (1 250 m2). These small gardens are not accessible to the public.

Ok so not much on the other gardens but will give you an overview from my books on the history of Paris. The Oratory garden takes its name from the religious building opposite, between 145 rue Saint-Honoré and 160 rue de Rivoli. The construction of this building was started in 1620 and completed in 1748. A statue of Admiral de Coligny, by the sculptor Gustave Crauk, was erected at his bedside in 1889, to recall the Saint-Barthélémy massacre perpetrated against the Protestants in 1572.

The Garden of the Infanta recalls the ephemeral fiancée of Louis XV, who was an “infanta” of Spain, that is to say a child of the Spanish royal family. In 1721, little María Ana Victoria was promised to her cousin the King of France when she was only three years old and he was eleven. She was sent to Paris, where she arrived on March 2, 1722. Given her rank, she was housed in the Louvre in the queen-mothers’ apartment. A garden is created for her, which she can admire from her windows and where she likes to play. It is adorned with a set of statues representing the nymphs of Diana, brought back from the parc de Marly (Yvelines 78 see post). In June 1722, when the king moved to Versailles, his fiancée followed him. But from 1725, she was sent back to Spain, so that Louis XV could marry Marie Leczinska, the daughter of the King of Poland. Of its short stayed at the court of France, only the name of this garden remains, which has been modified several times.

The name of the Raffet garden keeps the memory of the monuments to the great painters who adorned the eastern perimeter of the Louvre, a sort of “Pantheon of all the masters of the art” wanted by the Third Republic. The ditch below the Colonnade de Perrault was then filled in and flowerbeds formed a green and flowery setting for the building. On the lawns, sculptures were placed in honor of Velázquez, Boucher or Meissonier. Facing the Seine stood a monument to Auguste Raffet, a romantic painter who had illustrated the Napoleonic epic in the front, a grenadier drummed, while military trophies recalled the exploits of the Grande Armée . Since then, the bronze soldier has been melted down by the Vichy regime for the recovery of non-ferrous metals on behalf of the Nazis, then the marble bust was deposited by order of André Malraux in 1966. Only the column remains.

The gardens of the Carrousel and the Tuileries are true museums of open-air sculptures: At the carousel are exposed twenty sculptures of Aristide Maillol and the Tuileries, the visitor can admire more than 200 statues and vases of first importance, ranging from  17C to 21C. This vast garden offers varied walks, at the rhythm of the seasons, and relaxation areas for young and old alike. Some of my favorite statues here are by Auguste Caïn Deux Lionesses attacking a bull the Nubian lion and his prey lion and wild boar igre slaying a crocodile. By Aristide Maillol  the Mountain (1937) The Air (1938) The River (1938) Elongated Girl (1921) The Nymph (1930) The Three Graces (1938). By Paul Gand Medea Statue in marble. By Louis Lévêque,   the Young Nymph (1866). By Pierre le Gros   Vetturie (1665).

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Paintings immortalizing the Tuileries gardens amongst my favorites are by Édouard Manet, music at the Tuileries Garden (1862), Adolph von Menzel, afternoon at the Tuileries Garden (1867) Claude Monet, Les Tuileries (1876),. Maurice Prendergast, the Tuileries Garden (1895), Camille Pissarro, the Tuileries Gardens (1900), and Paul de Castro, the Tuileries Garden in Autumn (1921).

During WWII, part of the garden was transformed into a depot because of the lack of supplies during the Occupation. On 25 August 1944, General von Choltitz, commanding officer of the “Groß-Paris”, received an ultimatum from Colonel Pierre Billotte  of the 2nd DB and replied “I do not accept ultimatums”. In the ensuing fighting, Captain Branet seized the hotel Meurice, rue de Rivoli, headquarters of the Nazis occupying forces; Captain Julien goes to the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré to reach the siege of the Kommandantur, Place de l’Opéra and on his side Lieutenant Bricard clears the Tuileries garden. The ten commemorative plaques affixed along the garden at the corner of Rue de Rivoli and Place de la Concorde do not fully account for the intensity of the fighting and the number of casualties.

Since 2005, the management of the Tuileries Garden has been entrusted to the Louvre museum, which ensures the development and maintenance of it. A real treat in Paris.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this wonderful beautiful garden park are:

The Paris tourist office on the Jardin des Tuileries: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71304/Jardin-des-Tuileries

The city of Paris on the Jardin des Tuileries: https://www.paris.fr/equipements/jardin-des-tuileries-1795

The Ïle de France region tourist board on the Jardin des Tuileries: https://www.visitparisregion.com/en/garden-of-tuileries

The managing Louvre museum on the Jardin des Tuileries: https://www.louvre.fr/en/departments/carrousel-tuileries-gardens

Hope you enjoy all Parisiens do even if loaded with tourists in a heavily visited area of Paris. The Jardin des Tuileries is a must to see in Paris. So much part of the history and landscape of Paris. We love it!!!

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

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March 3, 2021

Vannes a medieval intact in the Morbihan!!!

Oh yes my beautiful capital city of the Morbihan, Vannes can claim to have an intact city center with wooden houses going back to the 14C and thru the 17C in addition to wonderful monuments. I did this post back in 2018 and need to update links and text so here is again Vannes a medieval intact in the Morbihan! Hope you enjoy as I and thanks for reading me over the years!

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Vannes is a medieval jewel of France really, all intact ,no wars have done damage here ,all original with some repairs needed for upkeeps. There are even people living in these old wooden houses going back to the 14C, where nothing can be change by law of preservation of the heritage. Vannes is my capital city and where I worked for the last 9 years as of today update.

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We got up early and went for the Japanim mangas store in the old town section of Vannes, at 14 bis rue Emilie Burgault; parking for free by Place du Maréchal Lyautey as National Holiday, or National Day July 14 (what visitors still call Bastille Day,no longer use in France).  From there we walk to the market around Place des Lices, Place du Poids Public and rue Saint Vincent, Rue de Le Hellec, one of the best I have seen around France. It is big and has everything, we get our fruits, vegetables, and cheeses here and nice to be recognize by the vendors already.

Then it was time to do my car wash at the automatics at the E Leclerc shopping center, had lunch at Flunch , a supermarket chain restaurants typical of the all you can eat phenomenon reminded me always of my Piccadilly’s in Florida way back. The best here is the salads and the sweets , ice cream and wines all at reasonable prices, who said France is expensive!  Of course, we stop by Castorama our home building store and gather more garden and barbecue goodies, at their store in Vannes just around the corner from all the above places. And finally we crossed over to E Leclerc hypermarket to do our groceries with the boys.  And we got back home as now it’s been played the 3rd game match of the World Cup Russia 2018 between Belgium vs England; two dear countries so we are neutral.

My beautiful medieval Vannes as we walked its streets just before preparation for their Fêtes Historiques (see post)  today and getting ready for a wide screen TV to see the France vs Croatia World Cup final tomorrow 17H French time from Moscow. We will be in our town watching it with the locals at Skellig Irish Pub!

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Again some repeat webpages but for the sake of searching here they are:

The Morbihan dept 56 Tourist board on Vanneshttp://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/vannes

The city of Vannes on things to see and tourist office: http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/discoveringvannes/tourism/tourist-office/

Hope it helps your trip on medieval wonderful Vannes, in dept 56 Morbihan, region of Bretagne.

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

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March 3, 2021

The ecclesiastical historical Burgundian Sens!

And here I bring you to Burgundy right at the top of it, updating a nice post me think on the ecclesiastical historical Burgundian Sens! A beautiful town on history and architecture that I like visited by chance! Let me tell you a bit on Sens!

As we go to all over our belle France, we have so much to see ,sometimes even with money there is no time. However, this is a nice surprise visit to the beautiful ecclesiastical , historical Burgundian Sens. A bit of an anecdote as before never had visited Sens. While talking with my Franco-American friends in Paris one of them history teacher at Paris Univ IV (now retired) decided to get the group to visit Sens and so we went by car a group of about 8 ,and this is how I saw the city, later to come back with the family!

Sens  is in the  Yonne department 89 in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and about 100  km south of Paris.  Sens  is traverse by two rivers, the Yonne ,one of the tributaries on the left bank of the Seine river and the Vanne on the right bank.  The Yonne has a total of 292 km long crossing the town south to north coming from the Morvan before joining the Seine river at the town of Montereau-Fault-Yonne. There is an aqueduct de la Vanne that provides a great part of the water to Paris, long of 156 km the work started in 1866 and finished in 1874 ordered by the Baron Haussmann that wanted to bring potable water from sites far from Paris and provide a regular flow of water to the city.

There is regular TER train service from the gare de Bercy  and the gare de Lyon in Paris. Internally, the city has 14 lines of buses to cover its needs but the best is still the car here. The roads A6 and A5 passes by here very nicely. I only have come here by car.

A bit of history I like. The city was called  Agendicum in the Roman period , however, the actual name of the city comes from the Gaullic tribe of Sénons. By the year 53 BC, during the invasion of Gaul by the Romans Ceasar had spent winter six legions here just south of the city and you can see many remains of this period in the town of  Motte du Ciar  near the  joining of the Vanne and Yonne river.

The Diocese of Sens was founded in 240 by Saint Savinien. His archbishops had an important place in the Church of France: In the 9C, Pope John VIII gave the archbishop of Sens the title of “Primate of Gauls and Germania” and until the 17C, the Bishop of Paris depended on the archbishop of Sens. These seven bishoprics constituted an exceptional ecclesiastical province which was reflected in the motto Campa acrostic of the initials of the seven seats enshrined under the arms of the Cathedral of Sens. In 769, the Archbishop of Sens, Villicaire, was at the helm of the French Episcopal mission which was attending Rome at the council responsible for judging the intruding pontiff Constantine II, with the title of Archbishop of Gauls. The archbishop’s throne dominated in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, the episcopal throne of the bishop of Paris. In 1622, the Ecclesiastical province of  Sens  was divided into two, Chartres, Meaux, and Orléans became under the new archdiocese: Paris.

In 1015, the county of Sénonais was first attached to the crown and finally to the death of the last Earl Renard  the Bad in 1055.   In 1135, the city chose to rebuild its cathedral in an innovative style. It was the first Gothic cathedral in France in 1163, under Louis VII, for nearly three years, Pope Alexander III, exiled by Frederick Barbarossa, fixed himself with the Curia at Sens. The city receives the Archbishops of Canterbury Thomas Becket and Edmond (Saint Edme). In 1194, a bailiff royal is located in Sens. It is the first of the royal domain to be so localized while the institution has been known since 1184. . On 27 May 1234, Archbishop Gauthier le Cornu organized and celebrated the royal marriage between Saint Louis and Marguerite de Provence at the Cathedral of Sens, where many personalities were invited. May 28, 1234, Marguerite de Provence is crowned queen of France.  The Parliament of Paris gave the Archbishop of Sens the title of “Primate of Gauls and Germania” to remind all the pre-eminence of the Archbishop of Sens dating from the end of the 8C, when he was systematically appointed legate Permanent Pope for the free kingdoms. The title is preserved today. During the reign of Louis XIII, the Diocese of Paris was erected in archdiocese by dismemberment of that of Sens. Death of tuberculosis shortly before Christmas 1765, the Dauphin Louis-Ferdinand was buried in the cathedral. The Dauphine Marie-Josephus, who had contracted the evil of her husband by treating him, joined him a few months later. Their tomb was desecrated in 1794 during the French revolution, but their remains, thrown into the common grave, were placed in their tomb in 1814 on the orders of their son king Louis XVIII.

In 1914, the city welcomed the French General command  before the launch of the Battle of the Marne. The first Nazis motorcycles arrive in Sens on June 15 , 1940 at the end of the morning and troops with armored vehicles were in by 14h. By 1944, Sens was abandoned by most of its Nazis occupants  and the city was crossed on August 21st 1944 in the early afternoon by Troops of General Patton’s USA Third Army who left the next day at dawn in the direction of the east.

Things to see in Sens in my opinion are:

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Saint Etienne) , the first Gothic cathedral in France. The former Archbishop’s palace: the Synodal and archbishop Palace. The covered market: inaugurated in 1882, it is located on the Place de la République, opposite the Cathedral.  The House of Abraham: half-timbered House of the 16C built for the Tanner Nicolas Mégissier, also called House of the Four winds. Tree of Jess carved on the post, representing the Virgin and eight kings of Israel. The working instruments of the tanners are carved on the studs.

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The courthouse (palais de justice), built on the site of the former royal Palace, built in the 11C, it retains a round part corresponding to a Gallo-Roman tower of three levels (the ground floor is incorporated into a private property). This palace welcomed Saint Louis after his marriage with Marguerite de Provence, celebrated at the Cathedral of Sens. Its central body was rebuilt in the middle of the 16C, the walls of the royal Chapel (served by the parish priest the neighbouring church of Saint-Maximin) persists, encroaching on the pavement. The stables were located across the street in front of the courtyard. The Queen’s halls, located in the northern prolongation of the king’s halls, were done  around 1500. The Royal garden and the prisons have recently taken up constructions in the south.  Today, the TGI or main courthouse is the tenant there.

Saint-Jean-lès-Sens Abbey,  Church of Saint-Savinin-the-young of Sens,  Park of Moulin in Tan and its tropical greenhouses.  Jean Cousin Park, La Grande Rue: Pedestrian shopping street. The banks of the Yonne and the Church of Saint-Maurice. In the central aisle of the cemetery rests Saint-Denis, the last  Mamaluke  of Napoleon 1st, who after serving the emperor at St. Helena until his death retreated in Sens where he died. The museums of Sens, are in the building adjacent the Cathedral and Justice palace; more in the Sens museum webpage here: https://www.musees-sens.fr/le-musee/cathedrale-saint-etienne/

Some additional webpages to help your planning for a visit to Sens, it is worth a detour. These are:

The city of Sens on its heritage and gardens: https://www.ville-sens.fr/patrimoine-et-jardins/

The Sens tourist oficehttps://en.tourisme-sens.com/

The Yonne dept 89 tourist office on Sens: https://www.tourisme-yonne.com/lyonne-en-bourgogne/les-tresors-de-lyonne/sens-porte-de-la-bourgogne/

The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté tourist board on Senshttps://www.bourgognefranchecomte.com/les-villes-et-villages/sens

Hope it helps your planning to visit this wonderful city of Burgundy not far from Paris. This is Sens in all its splendors ,enjoy it as we did.  And, remember, Happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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March 2, 2021

Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes!

And going back updating my older posts in my blog to take you again to beautiful Cordes sur Ciel. The story goes that met a native in the French consulat of Miami FL USA , while we were living there and members of Miami Accueil, and got the idea of one day visiting her town of which she spoked well of course. Well time came in my road warrior ways in the region to stop by Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Cordes sur Ciel is very popular because it is beautiful.  Of course, I love it too. Let me tell you on the wonderful incredible little town of Cordes sur Ciel. This is an area of my dear late wife Martine father’s side family ,the Tarn! The city is in the department of Tarn No. 81 in the region of Occitanie. It was built in the year 1222 by Count Raymond VII of Toulouse as a place of Cathars ( The idea of two Gods or principles, one being good and the other evil, was central to Cathar beliefs opposed by the Catholic Church,) on a medieval layout of narrow and steep streets from which high above it , you can see the wonderful valley of the Cérou. It is a grand site of the region on the route to Saint James/Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

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On the road N122 on the left bank of the Cérou river tributary of the Aveyron you are in about 1h15 from Toulouse. The local roads are good but a bit narrow, on the D600 by Vindrac to Albi, and the D922 links the town with Gaillac and connects with the A680 to Toulouse, the one we like to take. There is a train station at Vindrac at about 5 km and local taxis make the run to Cordes, but never taken it.

A bit of history I like. As mentioned, in 1222, the Count Raymond VII gives the chapter of a town to the place called Peuch de Mordagne and by 1229 the treaty of Paris already mentioned Cordes as a stronghold of the Albigeois (proche of Albi another name for the Cathars). During this treaty of Paris of 1229, Jeanne daughter of Raymond VII of Toulouse married in 1241 Alphonse de Poitiers ,brother of king Louis IX. The Count of Toulouse up to them autonomous is attached to the crown of France on the death of Alphonse II and Jeanne in 1271. Cordes never conquered becomes land of the kingdom of France in 1370.

Follow by a golden age period and the construction of many mansions in the gothic style,from the end of the 13C to the middle of the 14C ,with an architectural unity to the bastide allowing to be called the city of the hundreds gothic arches or the Cité aux Cent Ogives with another splendid period from the 14C to the 16C. Hardly touch in the following wars the city has kept its architectural and medieval ambiance of always. During the French revolution, the city was named Cordes-la-Montagne to take away the Ciel or heaven part of the name! Albert Camus after visiting the city in the 1950’s said of it « At Cordes all is beautiful even the disappointments “ or  À Cordes, tout est beau, même le regret.  The city is officially named Cordes-sur-Ciel in 1993.

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Briefly on the things to see in Cordes sur Ciel and with many already told in previous posts in my blog:

The city is surrounded by four ramparts and many gates such as the porte des Ormeaux, porte de la Jane or the porte de l’Horloge. It has a well on the market that is about 114 meters deep. The house of the great hunter or the maison du Grand Veneur is a big house in  sandstone with a façade in three levels , been one of the most sculpture of the city. The mairie or city hall is at the house or maison Fonpeyrouse. The Chapelle du Saint Crucifix , and the Cross or Croix de Cordes sur Ciel. The most important Church is that of Saint Michael or Saint Michel in a meridional gothic style done mostly in the 13C and some renovations in the 15C. The bell tower is from the 14C , the interior has renaissance frescoes and several paintings. You can drive to the village of Pied Haut where you can see the bastide town and a great view of the town emerging from the clouds.  Others are the Convent of the Capucins of Gaillac, done in 1600 located in the chemin des Capucins ,rue La Peyrade. Since 1826 is given to the community of Sisters of Saint Joseph d’Oulias (Rhône). Since 1975 is the principal home of the community of Bliss or the Communauté des Béatitudes , the old community of the Lion of Juda and the Sacrificial Lamb. The paradise garden or Jardin du Paradis is on the first fortified terraces of the city with water pumps, flower carpets and exotic essences on the oriental influence ; each year there is something different for the visitor.

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There is a sugar and chocolate museum or musée du sucre et du chocolat. Inside you will see several creations of art done with the sugar on different themes going from the middle ages to the technologies. It is right in front of the big covered market. In the Maison du Grand Fauconnier (Falconer), it houses the museum of modern and contemporary art or the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, offering a unique contrast with the historical architectural heritage and the artistic creation  showing the styles of different movements with collections from the 20C.  An unique museum we like very much is the Charles Portal history and architecture museum or the Musée Charles Portal Histoire et Architecture that is house in the gate of the porte des Ormeaux, a medieval  building. The Cordes architecture is explained by showing historical items such as sculpture falcons, the former gate of the city hall from the 16C, locks etc of the period; there is a film showing the depths of the market well, and the collections of Cordes are shown as well as the region from pre history to the 16C with pretty items from the gallo roman, merovingians, and medieval periods. From the terrace you have nice views over the fields and the old streets of Cordes.

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Some further webpages to help you in your planning to this unique town are:

The Cordes sur Ciel tourist office in English: https://www.cordessurciel.fr/en/

The city of Cordes sur Ciel on things to see in French: http://mairie.cordessurciel.fr/culture-loisirs/decouvrir-cordes

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on Cordes sur Cielhttps://www.tourisme-tarn.com/a-voir-a-faire/les-incontournables/cordes-sur-ciel

The Occitanie region tourist board on Cordes sur Cielhttp://tourism-occitania.co.uk/home/things-to-see-and-do/sightseeing-and-exploring/great-tourist-sites-in-midi-pyrenees/villages-and-tourist-attractions/cordes-sur-ciel

There you have it, Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes! A wonderful cloud perch town that is worth any detour you can take while in the region or even go directly there! We came back again and looking forward when possible to see it again.

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

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March 2, 2021

Laval is in the Mayenne!

Ok so this is an update text and pics and of course even the title, not so creative I know. I have several posts with pictures on Laval in my blog and this one was sort of an introduction to the city we like. Hope you enjoy the post and again thanks for reading me over the years!

And on a very rainy even grail and humid evening in my gorgeous Morbihan , I bring something close by again. This is the Mayenne dept 53 and Laval is the city. A nice one and my old boss native town lol! nice guy…Laval is in the Pays de la Loire and about 300 km from Paris. It was historically in the province of Maine, in the Breton and Angevin frontiers and not far from Normandie.

Laval is on the road axis linking Paris to Brest on the autoroute A81 and on the rail lines of Paris Montparnasse to Brest, been the gare de Laval served by the TGV Atlantique. It is also served by the TER Pays de la Loire going between Rennes and Le Mans or Nantes. You passed by quaint towns like Ernée and Craoin and even Fougéres. The course of the Mayenne river goes along the N162 road connecting Laval to Mayenne and even Angers. The road D31 connects Laval with Fougéres and Ernée. These cities I go thru many times on my runs to Paris. Locally, the bus service is handle by TUL and on the department of the Mayenne by Pégase, but never taken them so verify.

The city center is quant old and divided in two by the Mayenne river. The pedestrian streets with lots of shopping is around the Place du 11 novembre. The left bank is more residential . The most notable neighborhoods are between the Avesniéres on the south of city center and the Cathedral on the north around the Place de Hercé or along the rue du Lycée. The green spaces such as the Jardin de la Perrine and the quays on the left bank are also very chic.

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A bit of history I like:

Laval is a relatively young city  for France, not existing before the 11C and mentioned for the frist time as Vallis Guidonis in the 13C or 14C meaning the valley of Guy reference to Lord Guy I, the first lord of  Laval.  There was a castle here very primitive reaching the Cathedral with a dirt moat controlling the access to the castle; the Basilica of Notre Dame d’Avesniéres was founded in the 12C by Lord Guy II of Laval.  The castle by 1206 extended to a plateau where it was the donjon and a ramparts wall of 1100 meters long. Guy XVII had ordered built the new castle around 1542 and it was renovated by 1747. Lord  Guy XVII was a member of the court of king François I and the House of Laval.

Many constructions were done following on the prosperous period of Laval, such as the Monastery of Ursulines, Monastery of Benedictines and the Church of the Capucins, all destroyed during the French revolution. During the wars of the Vendée (against the French revolution) the city is taken by the Royalists in 1793 in the battle of Laval, they were trying to reach Granville to receive support from England but the expedition to Normandy failed and the revolutionaries overtook Laval later in the year eventually losing the siege of Angers and defeated by Republican armies.

Early 1871, the Prussian army are at the doors of the city but by no known reason took back and did not entered. This miracle according to local legend is attributed to the Virgin Mary that shows up to the children of Pontmain in January 17. In the morning of August 6 1944 the troops of General Patton US 3rd army arrived at Laval and face the offensive to take the city from the Nazis, the dynamite the bridges over the Mayenne river but by 15H or 3pm the city is liberated. The General Bradley set up command at the Castle of Bois Gamats. It is from the nearby aerodrome that he gives orders to General Leclerc on August 22nd to advance towards Paris, the step needed for the final liberation of Paris!

Things to see that I like:

Laval is a city full of heritage by the river and around town there at least 37 Religioius statues  dating from the 15C to 20C put in niches around the city center and  monuments as grand as the La Jolie by Louis Derbré, statue of Ambroise Paré by David d’Angers, and the one on Alfred Jarry by Ossip Zadkine , the one on Beatrix de Gâvre or Ubu roi and the monument to the fallen of the WWI dessigned by Hyacinthe Perrin; the city also has a Wallace fountain, a music kiosk from 1879 and the Morris columns.  Harder to find are the fountains at the Place des Quatre Docteurs-Bucquet and the one at place Saint Tugal dating from the 18C.

The wonderful Château de Laval, over the old town with two different buildings one the old or Vieux Château and the New or Château Neuf. All along worth for visiting here. The first old castle is from the medieval period built in granite and chalk, it has a court, chapel, donjon, and housing body. The Chapel is from the 12C and the Donjon and housing body are from the 13C .  The exterior renovated in the 15C and 16C and some rooms redone at the same time.  the new castle has a wing on a gallery in the renaissance style done in 1542.  It was decorated in 1747 and enlarged by a lateral building and a wing from around 1854. While the French revolution the old castle became a prison and the tribunals were in the new castle. The prison was purchased by the city in 1909 and renovated later change into a museum after 1920. The Justice palace left the Renaissance wing in 1996. There is a stair seen in the old castle that came from the Abbey of Clermon.

You can still see some parts of the ramparts that enclosed the castle with the towers Renaise, and Belot Oisel and the gate or Porte Beucheresse. The walls you see dates from the 13C and the round walk or chemin de ronde on the machicolis was added in the 15C . You see around it many wooden houses dating from the 15C and 16C especially those around the streets, Grande rue, rue des Chevaux, rue de Chapelle, and rue Renaise.  Other houses built in the 16C and houses with decorations on them can be seen by the streets rue Ambroise-Paré, rue de Paradis , and the ruelle Boulain.

There are some wonderful architecture here and well worth the walk within history. At the Place de Hercé you see the Hôtel Périer du Bignon dating from 17771, Hôtel du Bas du Gast from 1742, Hôtel Dubois de Beauregard from 1772, and along the rue du Lycée see the Hôtel du Plessis d’Argentré from 1771. Moving right along wonderful Laval, you come to the Hôtel Busson aka Grande Maison built middle 16C with a side court, semi open to the street showing the different levels of the house. In 1619 it was renovated and enlarged and finally purchased in 1791 by François Busson, Sir of Chambellay where he was assassinated in 1819. By 1821, the house is purchased by Thérése Rondeau, founder of the Sisters of the misercorde of Notre Dame of Laval, her tomb is in the garden, and today it is a retirement home. There is a wonderful street axis that includes the rue de Paris, rue de la Paix, rue du Général de Gaulle and rue de Bretagne done early in the 19C to get around the old town and show a new city center. These works allowed the construction of the bridge or Pont Aristide Briand or Pont Neuf built between 1812 and 1824 with several nice buildings like the Hôtel de Ville or city hall and the municipal theater. You see nice mansions done after 1850 by the rue de Paris and rue de Bretagne.

You need to see the Cathedral on the gothic angevin style as Cathedral de la Holy Trinity or Cathédrale de la Sainte Trinité ,and the Basilica of Notre Dame d’Avresniéres  in the roman style architecture. This Church was first mentioned in the 11C and offered to the sisters Benedictines a century later; they had it rebuilt but took several years because the War of  Hundred Years, and the arrow was done in 1538.  It goes into a bad deterioration and it became necessary to rebuilt identically finishing in 1887 . The Church of the Cordeliers was attached to the convent of the Franciscans built end of the 14C  but added very important baroque additions in the 17C like the porch and the altar. You come to see interesting sites such as the shower baths of Laval opened in 1927 with an Art Déco style and a granite façade and glass and ceramics in the interior were added after the bombings of 1944.The Viaduc crossing the Mayenne river done in 1856 and 25 meters high. The jardin de la Perrine with a high level promenade been an old private park purchased by the city in 1885 that is surrounded by a mansion from the 18C.  The park is share by a French and English style garden and a rosary and also has an orangerie from the 19C as well as a petting animal zoo with goats ,ducks and rabbits. You ,also, will find the tomb of Douanier Rousseau.

There are museums such as the Vieux Château museum  known for the collection of Naîf arts with works of Douanier Rousseau  and others from the same movement such as Jean-Joseph Sanfourche, Séraphine Louis, Lucien Le Guern, and Robert Tatin; and now call the naïf art museum but has as well a collection of portraits from the 19C and by Charles Landelle, Auguste Anastasi, and Guillaume Fouace as well as illustrations by Léopold Lelée , designs of old Laval, engravings, weapons and ceramics.  It has in addition a collection dedicated to ethnology of Africa and Asia with a stamp of Utagawa Kunisada and historic relics such as those from Saint Tugdual and the work bag of Ambroise Paré.

The Sciences Museum in a building from the end of the 19C has over 130K objects and especially fossils as it specialise in paleonthalogy, as well as herbs, grains, eggs, minerals ,shelling, bones of animals and birds , reptiles, etc. It has the collection going from the paleolithic to the high middle age years  including points of arrows, harpoons, jewelry and swords as well as insects and old intruments like telescopes etc , as well as curiosities. Then, the smaller school museum of Perrine in the mansion in the middle of the Jardin de la Perrine open on temporary expositions and courses of plastic arts and applied arts are given.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this interesting city that is worth a detour are

The city of Laval on its heritage: https://www.laval.fr/decouvrir-sortir/tourisme-patrimoine/patrimoine

The Laval tourist office: http://www.laval-tourisme.com/en

The Mayenne dept 53 tourist office on Laval: https://www.mayenne-tourisme.com/en/les-vallees-de-la-mayenne-en/le-pays-de-laval-en/

Hope it helps. Enjoy the city of Laval, worth the detour and surprisintly nice. And remember happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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