Archive for ‘France’

December 12, 2019

The Casino at Dinard!

So here we go for a little game, granted not a real player myself for several years now; but I remember then in AC NJ where i was almost every weekend! Those were the days of youth and big spender. I try to be away from them, but curiosity and architecture always brings me back to them even in Europe.

I have been by the Casino Barriére of Dinard and would like to tall you a bit about it. It could be fun, besides great hotel and wonderful restaurant inside too! Maybe the season perfect to try it.

The Casino Barrière Dinard offers 5 reception rooms for the family and professional events. 4 of these rooms have a breathtaking view of Dinard beach. A hall of 130 slot machines and traditional games is open all year, and many shows and events are organized. The restaurant l’Appel du Large open to individuals and groups, welcomes you all year round facing the sea.


The Casino Barriére Dinard is located on the plage de l’Ecluse,(beach) with rectangular massive plan. The facade on rue du President Wilson has a pedimented central entrance. Lateral lower wings , crowned with a balustrade. Glazed arcades are used as shop windows. The facade facing the sea is done in raw concrete, punctuated by a structure with vertical poles.


A bit of history I like

The first known casino project is dated 1865. This project, presumably too ambitious for the nascent station, was not executed. The first casino of 1866 was made of wood; it is very likely that it is nevertheless the work that builds in a more certain way the second establishment in 1877. This new casino of greater dimensions was raised on two levels. The ground floor housed a party room, a theater arranged and decorated and large living rooms; in the basement level floor with the terrace were arranged hot baths of sea water and fresh water with bath cabins as well as laundry, kitchens and stables. In 1884, an authorization was granted to build a retaining wall for the central part on which a rotunda was raised. Major works were reported in 1906 with the demolition beginning with the theater. The new building, the High-Life Casino, with a massive plan,was covered by a skylight, still in place. Work continues in 1911 on the side wings. The facade on the sea is rebuilt again in 1966: the casino then becomes the Palais d’Emeraude or Emerald Palace.

A wonderful experience by the wonderful beach and great architecture rich town of Dinard. Here are some webpages to help you plan your trip here

City of Dinard on the Casino

Tourist office of Dinard and Emerald coast on the Casino

Official Casino Barriere on casino at Dinard

There you go enjoy the leisure trip, again the town of Dinard is worth the detour and the casino on the beach with a great resto view of the sea is tops. Enjoy it

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


December 12, 2019

Wonderful Vannes!

Ok so on a cool damp rainy and gray day lol!! Welcome to Brittany in the Fall and wait for Winter. The streets are all for us locals and the places we love are open so much conversations and same old service. I was in Vannes today, you know, I told you, this is our capital city of the dept 56 Morbihan.

Rather than tell you all the wonderful things to do and see here as if this could be my 20th post on Vannes me think, not counted but so much said. You must come here! The French come here, 3rd most visited region and the most visited department. Then, some other Europeans come like the British ,and Germans especially. My American friends have come and love it and today heard there was one from Michigan walking around town lol! Need to get out of Pariis…And see my beautiful Morbihan! And wonderful Vannes!!!

Ok so here are the pictures of today, just showing off ok…. ::)


From above the Garenne park over the ramparts and Cathedral St Pierre


Above the old castle ruins looking over the ramparts garden with tour Connetable and the Cathedral St Pierre


The lavoirs in the ramparts laundry of old now events expo


Ground level over the Tour du Connétable , garden in ramparts far Tour Poudriére ,and Cathedral St Pierre


above parc Garenne monument to the fallen of French wars


Place des Lices and all open for me!! no crowds

Of course , we did some shopping oe oe oe, yes the season to be merrier and we shop!! La Belle Iloise for delicious goodies from the sea and Nicolas for those wonderful nectar of the gods wines.


Place du poids public and Nicolas, the store on the left reddish!


On the Place du Poids Public, La Belle Iloise store! corner with Pl des LIces.

And there you go wonderful views of my belle Vannes and Morbihan!!! Enjoy them as we do. Here are some wonderful webpages to help you plan your trip here or ask me ::)

City of Vannes tourist office in English

Tourist office of Morbihan 56 in English

Tourist office of the Gulf of Morbihan in English

Tourist office of Brittany on Vannes in English

Now the stores are superb, and the two above are awesome. We do buy there exclusively mind you.

The Nicolas store is this one: Nicolas at Vannes

The La Belle Iloise store is this one: La Belle Iloise at pl du poids public Vannes

So you , are you ready? Looking forward to seeing you around in beautiful Vannes. Enjoy the photos, new ones.

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




December 12, 2019

Colonel Armand, France and USA!

Ok so as I like history, will tell you about one personnage very dear to me and many others… I read about it while living in New Jersey many years ago, and finally while walking the streets of Fougéres in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine of my lovely Bretagne came upon a statue of him very seldom mention but worth a lot for the history of the two dear countries of mine. The story is long even if condensed bear with me and hope you like it.

Armand-Charles Tuffin, Marquis de La Rouërie, born April 13, 1751 in Fougères,dept 35 Ille et Vilaine died January 30, 1793 at the Château de La Guyomarais in Saint-Denoual, dept 22 of Côtes d’Armor all in Bretagne. He was a French soldier, hero of the American Revolutionary War and the organizer of the Breton Association. After a stormy youth, La Rouërie decides to go to America. He participates in the American War of Independence in the Continental Army. Known as Colonel Armand, he distinguished himself at the head of the 1st Legion of Dragons and actively participated in the Battle of Yorktown. Admirator of the American Revolution, friend of George Washington, La Rouërie returned to France with the rank of brigadier-general, decorated with the cross of Saint-Louis and the order of Cincinnatus. Back in Bretagne, La Rouërie defends the Parliament of Brittany against the edicts of Versailles, which is worth to be locked in the Bastille July 14, 1788. Opposed to absolutism, he first saw with joy the signs of the French revolution but the refusal of the Breton nobility to have deputies at Versailles prevents him from playing a role in the States-General. Royalist freemason, La Rouërie rallies the counter-revolution following the suppression of the particular laws and customs of Brittany. He created the Breton Association to raise an army against the revolutionaries. Betrayed, the Rouërie dies before being able to finish his enterprise but the movement organized by the marquis was later to be precursor of the Chouannerie (rebels in Brittany,Maine, Anjou and Normandy regions in favor of Royals and against the French revolution).


A bit of a long history I like

In 1766, his family bought him a certificate of sign in the regiment of French Guards. Aged 15, he left the Château de Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he spent his childhood for Paris. He takes his service at Versailles. The French Guards being an elite body and parade, the leisure takes more time than the service, at the beginning life in Paris and Versailles pleases him, but quickly it is gained by the boredom. During a duel, due to a dispute over the cooking of a chicken!, he badly wounds the comte de Bourbon Busset to the point that one fears for his life. This event provoked the anger of King Louis XVI, whose Bourbon Busset was a childhood friend. The duels being prohibited, the King threatens to hang the marquis. Rouërie resigns from the French Guards and exiles in Geneva. This exile does not last, the King agrees that La Rouërie can return to France on the condition that he withdraws to his land.

It was during this period that the news of the American Revolution finally reaches Brittany. La Rouërie was initiated to Freemasonry, to the lodge of the Royal-Roussillon Cavalry Regiment; the Perfect Union and also frequents the Masonic Lodge of Fougères, the Aimable Concorde as Scottish Master. The Freemasons fougerais, in correspondence with their American counterparts, frequently receive news from the Thirteen Colonies; it is thanks to these steps that La Rouërie keeps abreast of the events. The desire for revenge on the English in the wake of the Seven Years’ War, the taste for adventure, the desire to forget his past, the opportunity to revive his military career abroad with a cause that he is right, are the principal motives which impel La Rouërie to embark for America.

After a first unsuccessful attempt to leave on a French ship, the Amphitrite, belonging to Beaumarchais from Le Havre, La Rouërie managed to embark, with one of his servants named Lefebvre on the Morris, an American ship sailing from Nantes. in the first months of the year 1777. An eventful voyage, which ends at swimming ashore, the English having attacked the ship in Delaware Bay. A boat is put to the sea, Rouërie takes place with his servant after the captain handed him the dispatches. Refusing to leave the cargo to the English, Captain Anderson blows up his ship. The boat is overthrown by a wave caused by a cannonball and all its occupants must swim to the shore. Rouërie and Lefebvre arrive in Philadelphia and get an audience with the Congress to offer their services in the Continental Army. The Marquis was recommended to Congress by Robert Morris. At the hearing, La Rouërie says he is ready to refuse to pay a salary, only wishing to put his sword in the service of the cause. He also declares that, not wishing to be known under his title of marquis or under family name, he wishes to keep only his baptismal name, which is why he had to engage himself under the name of Charles Armand and be known by the nickname Colonel Armand. This spirit of panache and devotion pleases the Congress which gives Armand, on May 10, a the right to use colonel. Confirmed in his rank of colonel, La Rouërie can not however join the continental army, because at this moment no post is vacant, instead he is allowed to raise a body of partisans and militiamen. There are, however, few Frenchmen in the US Army at this time and La Rouërie is to report to a commander of a free infantry corps, composed mainly of German-speaking Pennsylvanians. Quickly, Rouërie enters into conflict with the commander, reproaching him for his looting habits. Gen Washington gives him reason, he dismisses the commander and La Rouërie takes the head of the infantry corps.


The Battle of Short Hills (New Jersey) is the baptism of fire of La Rouërie which is placed with its troops at the forefront of the attack. The battle ends, however, with a defeat for the Americans against the British better trained and twice as many. Armand’s corps, made up of infantrymen and dragons, officially takes the name of 1st battalion of the legion of partisans. The Patriots, however, resume some hopes when they learn the victory of General Horatio Gates at the Battle of Saratoga. The latter had to convince king Louis XVI to send troops. La Rouërie and La Fayette were then the only two French officers of high rank in the American army, La Fayette arrived in America in July, shortly after La Rouërie, quickly they experience friendship and mutual esteem. In the spring of 1778, La Rouërie obtained the authorization of the Congress to create a legion of “Free and Independent Chasseurs” of 452 men and 14 officers, placed under his orders and supported financially by the Congress. As early as March, he recruited volunteers from prisoners of war. Armand’s corps consisted of horse-drawn dragons and light infantrymen, who rode horsemen as the legion moved long distances.

La Rouërie is in charge of capturing Colonel John Graves Simcoe, commander of a troop, the Queen’s Rangers who had been marked by many ravages. After a long ride Armand Legion seizes Simcoe on the Raritan River near South Amboy, New Jersey, (near where I lived there!!!) as it prepares to sink ships. US troops of the Southern Army have suffered several defeats and are particularly lacking in cavalry. Gen Washington decided to reinforce the Southern army with the Delaware and Maryland regiments, as well as with the Armand legion. General Casimir Pulaski (a Polish American hero and places there name after him today) was killed on October 11, 1779 at the Savannah headquarters. On February 25, 1780, Congress decided to incorporate what remains of the Pulaski Legion into the Armand legion. In May 1780, La Rouërie took the road south, before joining the army he made a stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, where are the soldiers of Pulaski responsible for strengthening his legion.

La Rouërie embarked for France in February 1781, he traveled with Colonel John Laurens to negotiate financial assistance to King Louis XVI. Following a trip without any surprises, the Marquis de La Rouërie arrived in Versailles in April 1781. Wishing to make the King and the Court forget his stormy past in the French Guards, he had asked and obtained from Gen Washington a certificate of service status. But the main goal of La Rouërie is to obtain the necessary equipment to rearm its legion. For this, he must go into debt and pledge his own land. After a visit to Fougères and Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he visited his family, La Rouërie embarked with his cargo at Brest, towards the end of June 1781, aboard one of the two French ships who form a convoy of arms for the Americans, escorted by The Magician, a frigate of the Royal French Navy. During the trip, one of the transport ships dismay during a storm and must go to Spain for repairs. The other ship carrying La Rouërie and her cargo arrives in Boston on August 15th. La Rouërie thus returns to America after six months of absence.   Nevertheless, thanks to the intervention of the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Spain, the outcome of the war seems to turn to the advantage of the Insurgents. In Virginia, English Gen Charles Cornwallis must shut himself up at Yorktown with his army. when the French and American troops, led by Gen Washington, Gen Rochambeau and Marquis de La Fayette, march on Yorktown, La Rouërie is in Philadelphia, where he tries to recruit new troops. Legion veterans still fight in the La Fayette division. But the fact of being removed from the operations becomes unbearable for La Rouërie who decides to join the army. After two weeks of travel, he joined the Franco-American camp near Yorktown, a few days before the siege of that city.

To take Yorktown, the French and Americans must first take the two redoubts that are the main defensive elements of the city. However, both must be taken during the same offensive, otherwise the English will have no trouble in taking the other. It is decided that the French and Americans will each attack a redoubt. On the French side, the attack was led by Antoine Charles of Houx de Viomenil, but the troops that formed the spearhead of the attack were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume de Deux-Pont, seconded by the Baron de l’Estrade . For the second redoubt, on the left, it was the Marquis de La Fayette who led the attack for the Americans, the command of the offensive came to Colonel Alexander Hamilton, assisted by Colonel Gimat, the former aide La Fayette camp, and Colonel John Laurens. The attack is scheduled for 11 pm.   In the afternoon, a few hours before the attack, Colonel La Rouërie will find General Washington and ask permission and honor to participate individually in the assault of redoubts, without exercising command and accompanied of only a few of his officers. Washington agrees. The attack, at night, is successful; the Americans seize their redoubt more quickly than the French. During the fight, La Rouërie is among the first to enter the American redoubt. Three days later, on October 17, 1781, General Charles Cornwallis surrendered.

However, in June 1782 La Rouërie left Virginia after six months in Charlottesville. He is ordered to settle with his troop in York, Pennsylvania. In early 1783, Colonel Armand still serves in the US Army. Arrived among the first in America, Rouërie is one of the last French to leave. The French Expeditionary Force re-embarked for France at the end of 1782 and La Fayette departed shortly after the siege of Yorktown. On March 26, 1783, La Rouërie finally received the reward he had been waiting for a long time. He is promoted by the Congress to the rank of Brigadier-General. One thinks of the constitution of armed forces in peacetime, La Rouërie is invited by the Congress to give its opinion on the composition of the cavalry (known as the father of the US Cavalry!). In his written response to Washington, La Rouërie proposes to continue his service in the US Army, he recommends Lieutenant-Colonel de Ternant to take the lead of his former legion which has grown to 340 soldiers perfectly well disciplined, he also points out in this letter “his attachment to your Excellency (Gen Washington) and to the form of the republican government,” who later became one of the leaders of the counter-revolution in France. On September 3, 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the American war of independence officially ended. On November 25, 1783 Armand ‘s Legion soldiers parade for the last time in Philadelphia in front of General Washington. On December 15, 1783, General George Washington wrote to La Rouërie: (small excerpt of the letter will post here):

“My dear Marquis, Among the last actions of my life as a public man, there is none which gives me more pleasure than that which puts me in a position to recognize the help I have received from those honorable men whom I have I had the honor to command and whose actions and conduct have contributed so much to the safety and freedom of my country ..”

After finishing the dismissal of his Legion, La Rouërie embarked in the spring of the year 1784 for France from Baltimore on the Count of Estaing, battleship and arrived in Nantes on August 29, 1784, accompanied of 6 officers including his friend Major Georges Schaffnerlors and definitively leaves America. Back in Brittany, La Rouërie is welcomed as a hero on his return to Fougères and Saint-Ouen-la-Rouërie where he finds his family. He became engaged then married Louise Caroline Guérin of Saint-Brice, who lived at the Château de La Motte, near Saint-Ouen, and came from a wealthy family. On December 27, 1785, the Marquis de La Rouërie and Louise Caroline Guérin of Saint-Brice married at the chapel of the Château de La Motte in Saint-Brice-en-Coglès.

At the beginning of the year 1786, La Rouërie sought to resume the career of arms, thanks to his services in America where he was appointed General, he hopes to be granted an equivalent position within the French army. General Washington recommended the Marquis to Count Rochambeau in a letter dated May 16, 1784. Meanwhile; Madame de La Rouërie is suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. Dr Chevetel argues that only the air of the mountain could cure the marchioness, so it is decided to send it to Cauterets, in the Pyrenees. La Rouërie and Chevetel quickly became friends, so the marquis went along with his views. Soon Louise de La Rouërie sets out for the Pyrenees. But he soon learned of his wife’s death on July 18, 1786, shortly after her arrival at Cauterets.

On May 8, 1788, King Louis XVI passed the edicts of Brienne and Lamoignon. These edicts nullify the political powers and diminish the judicial competence of the Parliaments. But the Parliament of Brittany refuses to apply these edicts, which it considers contrary to the Treaty of Union of Brittany to France of 1532. The nobility of the States of Brittany en masse signs a petition to the king and decides to send a deputation of twelve Breton nobles at Versailles. The twelve chosen nobles are the Marquis of Tremargat, Bourdonnaye-Montluc, Carné, Bois de la Ferronnière and La Rouërie, and the counts of Nétumières, Becdelièvre, La Fruglaye, Bedée, Cicé and Godet de Chatillon, and finally the Chevalier de Guer. On August 25, 1788, the ministry efforts to obstruct the nobles led by Etienne-Charles Loménie de Brienne falls, which causes the release of the twelve Breton nobles the same day. The return to Brittany, and especially to Fougères for the Marquis La Rouërie, is a triumph. By its action and its loyalty, La Rouërie gains a very big popularity in Brittany

La Rouërie is liberal, having fought for the United States, he really admires the American revolution and he said he was very attached to the US Republican government. But in France, La Rouërie remains fiercely royalist. On March 22, 1791 in Fougères, the Marquis de La Rouërie received the visit of François-René de Chateaubriand who was due to leave for America. La Rouërie writes him a letter of recommendation for Gen Washington, it must be the last letter written by the Marquis to the President of the United States.

La Rouërie therefore decides to address the Comte d’Artois, brother of king Louis XVI, (later king Charles X) then emigrated to Koblenz in the Holy Empire. They arrive in Koblenz on May 20, then go to Ulm where they are received by the Count of Artois. After having received from the Comte d’Artois a signed document confirming his agreement on the creation of the Association Bretonne, the Bretons cross the border and return to France. Seeking a place to spend the night in Paris, La Rouërie goes with his companions to his friend Dr Valentin Chevetel who hosts them. When they had met La Rouërie and Chevetel had quickly become friends, they had discussed politics and at the beginning had immediately shared the same liberal ideas, so Rouërie told him about his projects without any suspicion. He does not know, however, that since then Chevetel’s ideas have been totally different from his. Chevetel lived in the Hotel La Fautrière, rue de l’Ancienne Comedie, near the Cordeliers Club. Becoming a patriot, he became particularly close to Jean-Paul Marat and Danton, the latter was also his neighbor. If he welcomes La Rouërie and his companions at home, he is careful not to share his revolutionary convictions with his guests. Subsequently, the Breton Association also receives the support of the Comte de Provence, (later King Louis XVIII) who since then had also emigrated. La Rouërie now finds support among the Breton population, very disappointed with the French revolution, after having first been favorable, and strongly hostile to the civil constitution of the clergy. Although not particularly pious, La Rouërie was Catholic.

On April 20, 1792, France declared war on the Archduchy of Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, which received the same day the support of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Army of the Emigrants, the First Coalition against the French revolutionaries is formed. The Breton Association is ready for the fight, its strength is then 10,000 soldiers!

On the edge of the park of the Château de Launay-Villiers, is the forest of Misedon. This forest was the den of Jean Cottereau, aka Jean Chouan and his men who had taken the name of Chouans. Cottereau and his companions revolt on August 15, 1792 against the revolutionaries in Saint-Ouen-des-Toits. For several weeks, the Breton association await the instructions of the king’s brothers. The wait causes some nervousness among some of the partners. On one side La Rouërie must calm the ardor of some of them who wanted to take up arms on the spot, on the other he firmly calls to order the committee of Saint-Malo who challenges his orders and asks to wait for the capture of Paris by the allies before taking up arms. Finally, towards the end of August, Fontevieux arrives at Launay-Villiers, he is carrying a letter from Calonne dated August 11th. This one announces the next offensive in France of the armies of the coalition. La Rouërie spreads the news to all the committees. He fixed the taking of arms for October 10, 1792 the date of the taking of Châlons-en-Champagne, by the armies of the coalition.

On August 19, 1792, after having repulsed the offensive of the French revolutionaries, the Prussian and Austrian troops entered France. Dr Valentin Chevetel then returned to Paris, and on September 2nd, the very day of his arrival, he appeared at 3 am, to Danton, then Minister of Justice. Chevetel (traitor) informs Danton of the danger represented by the Breton Association, and informs him of all he knows.   But at the end of September, La Rouërie receives news of the victory of the French revolutionaries, on September 20, at Valmy, located only 35 km from Chalons-en-Champagne. The coalition troops retreat, cross the border and leave France. On September 22, 1792 the French monarchy is overthrown and the French Republic is proclaimed.

La Rouërie quickly ranks with their views and the date of the insurrection is postponed for March 10, 1793. Being the principal sought, he must go into hiding. On January 12, 1793, after galloping in the vicinity of the forest of Hunaudaye, La Rouërie and his two companions will find refuge at the Château de La Guyomarais, belonging to the family of the same name, in the parish of Saint-Denoual. It snowed that day and Saint-Pierre is suffering from fevers. Monsieur de La Guyomarais is a member of the Breton Association and has hosted La Rouërie three times in the previous months. They are housed in a castle room. With chills and violent coughing, La Rouërie suffered from pneumonia. The next day, Schaffner and Fontevieux arrive at La Guyomarais, and bring with them a newspaper which has informed them of the execution of king Louis XVI on the 21st of January 1793. However the associates decide not to reveal the death of the king to the marquis, believing that it would aggravate the fever whereas despite the episode of the day before one maintains the hope of its recovery. La Rouërie takes it and learns the death of Louis XVI. La Rouërie then has a crisis of delirium, he jumps out of bed, dresses, declares he wants to leave but collapses, totally weakened. For three days,he alternates between prostration, delirium and unconsciousness. Finally, La Rouërie died on January 30, 1793, by 4am (4h).

On the 31st of January, however, it was necessary to hide the body during the night, Schaffner, Fontevieux, Loaisel, Lemasson, the gardener Perrin, servants and members of the La Guyomarais family, burying the body of La Rouerie secretly in the woods of Vieux Semis (old sowing), which belongs to the castle. But before that, at the end of January, Thérèse de Moëlien, who knows La Rouërie was sick, wrote to Dr Valentin Chevetel. She asks him for help, remembering his profession as a doctor. Chevetel then arrives at La Fosse-Hinguant. He learns from Désilles the death of the Marquis de La Rouërie, as well as the place and circumstances of his death. Later on February 25, the Chevelet, at the head of 15 French Republican soldiers, burst in La Guyomarais. He arrested all his occupants, the family of La Guyomarais, and their servants. The three doctors who had treated the marquis were also arrested and taken to the manor. Lalligand-Morillon then interrogates the prisoners, one by one, for long hours and in the mansion itself. All the defendants deny having sheltered La Rouërie. However Lalligand-Morillon intoxicates the gardener Perrin who ends up talking. This one leads Lalligand-Morillon and some soldiers in front of the tomb. The body of the Marquis de La Rouërie is exhumed,and he had it beheaded. He then returns to La Guyomarais and throws to the ground the head of La Rouërie which rolls at the feet of the accused. Monsieur de La Guyomarais then said: “There is no more to deny. This is the noble head of the man who has made you tremble so long.”

The body of La Rouërie is then put back in the ground. His head, abandoned after the departure of the French Republicans and their prisoners, is recovered by the two girls of La Guyomarais and hidden under a slab of the castle chapel. The skull was discovered in 1877 and handed over to the La Belinaye family (his mother’s side family). On the denunciations of Chevetel, Lalligand arrested several members of the Breton conspiracy. He also discovers the papers buried by Désilles. But most associates escape thanks to Thérèse de Moëlien, who soon after the death of La Rouërie burns the list of members of the Association. In all, Lalligand-Morillon arrested 27 people, who were taken to Paris for trial. After several months of imprisonment, the trial opens on June 4, 1793, and ends on June 18. At the end of the judgment thirteen accused are acquitted, two are sentenced to deportation, the gardener Perrin and the doctor Lemasson, who were sent to Bicêtre, are executed there on June 26, 1794 during the conspiracy of the prisons, and twelve are sentenced to death ; Monsieur and Madame de La Guyomarais, Louis du Pontavice, La Chauvinais, Madame de la Fonchais, Morin de Launay, Locquet de Granville, Jean Vincent, Groult de La Motte, Picot de Limoelan, Georges de Fontevieux and Thérèse de Moelien. They are executed the same day.

The expected date of the uprising of the Breton Association was March 10, 1793, but an insurrection still took place in the month of March 1793. The application of the levy en masse provokes the revolt of peasants in Brittany, Maine , in Vendee. The rebellious peasants then give themselves the name of the first insurgents of Mayenne: the Chouans. They choose soldiers and nobles for chiefs, most of them former members of the Breton Association. In 1794, Joseph de Puisaye presents himself as the successor of La Rouërie, in order to unify the groups of Chouannerie, he tries to resuscitate the Breton Association.

Couple famous excerpts written for La Rouërie:

Monsieur de La Rouerie came here some time before me, and obtained the rank of Colonel with the command of an independent corps. He was everywhere and everywhere he distinguished himself by a truly French bravery, an indefatigable zeal and above all difficulties, a violent love of his profession. He had happy opportunities. Is it not, my dear cousin, officers like you? I am all the more certain that you will like M. le Marquis de la Rouerie that the qualities of his heart and his mind do not yield to his military qualities. ” Marquis de La Fayette

“The rival of La Fayette and Lauzun, the predecessor of La Rochejaquelein, the Marquis de La Rouerie was more intelligent than they; he had fought more often than the first; he had kidnapped actresses at the Opera as the second; he would have become the companion in arms of the third. He foraged the woods in Brittany with an American major, and accompanied by a monkey sitting on the rump of his horse. The law schoolchildren at Rennes loved him because of his boldness of action and his freedom of ideas. He had been one of the twelve Breton gentlemen sent to the Bastille. He was elegant in size and manner, brave and charming, and resembled the portraits of the young lords of the League. ” – François-René de Chateaubriand

This is the Castle or Château de la Rouerie that can be visited. Offiical Chateau de La Rouerie

In the woods of the Château de La Goyomarais (really a manoir house) at Saint Denoual ( a very small town of less than 500 folks) there is a tomb of the Marquis de La Rouërie, it has a stone plaque erected by the Embassy of the USA in France. The village is between St Malo and St Brieuc about 1h30 from me and less than an hour from St Malo. Tel +33 (0) 2 96 31 50 36 . No webpage.

In his native Fougéres behind the Hôtel de La Bélinaye , former home of the Bélinaye family now housing the district courthouse you can see on the back of the square the bronze statue of the Marquis de La Rouërie, born in this mansion. There is a bit on him at the tourist office of Fougéres here: Official tourist office of Fougeres see end page for La Rouerie

I had to give you this long post because I have been to these places,i love the history of the two dear countries USA and France ,and understand the will of the Breton! So there you go a nice round trip that can be done with a car to visit all these places. Enjoy a bit more the friendship in blood of these two nations.

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

December 11, 2019

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVII

And here I am back again in my lovely Morbihan and beautiful Brittany by the coast. The sunny cool day is back, hardly any traffic and all is wonderful in the west! of my belle France.

Today was Sunday, last and we went out unusually for a leisure trip to the movies and lunch . So we took the best combination of the Cinéville in Vannes with a local crêperie in nearby home Grand Champ. In Breton language of my region these are Gwened and Gregam, respectively.

The Cinéville is our favorite so have written before, here is a picture of it


webpage: CIneville cinema in Vannes

We went to see Jumanji Next Level with the boys, well they drag me to it. Not my type of film but a nice afternoon spent with the boys was nice. Oh this is base on a video game lol!

On the way home I ask to stop to Kreizhy Crep’s Crêperie  in city center Grand Champ. I passed by it all the time and finally time to try it. It has been recognized for several years by the Petit Futé . A very nice and contemporary stop on the area of Landes de Lanvaux. The old building is adorned with a veil of modernity that suits it to delight. The cakes are made with a flour 100% black wheat IGP Breton, well garnished and perfectly tasty. The bar room offers sports entertainment evenings. Open all year. Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10h30 to 13h30 Friday to Sunday from 10h30 to 13h30 and 19h to 21h30.

grand champ

grand champ

Today we all took different galettes with mine Chévre chaud Miel Salade or hot goat cheese honey and green salad; the boys took from the Compléte, Compléte oignions, and Compléte bacon all wash down with a bottle of Cider brut de Rhuys artisan Nicol, and ended with expresso coffee and tea orange. all for 12€ perfect lunch and a nice friendly service by the couple owners.

grand champ

grand champ

And we are home for the rest of Sunday. Nice family day in my lovely Morbihan and beautiful Brittany, nice and quiet detach from the world, just my gorgeous Breton fields. Hope to see by these neck of the woods someday. Enjoy the post

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



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December 11, 2019

Vannes a culinary escapee!!

Ok so after a swing in the Paris area, and visiting new and old places, well back to my tranquil surrounding of my lovely Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh . I am convince now after so many years that big cities are nice to visit and small cities are nice to live lol!

I had my opportunities over the years to live in the world’s best cities in or next to them including Paris but been back here is like a peaceful remainder life can be simpler and better. I am back in my small town and going out for treats in my capital city of Vannes.

We have been here before, with family and collegues and I decided to take my Dad and go here again, talking about Le Tarmac restaurant, bar, brewery, etc by the canal in Le Port of Vannes.


They are on the left bank or rive gauche of the canal at 25 Rue Ferdinand le Dressay no webpage but tel no +33 (0) 2 97 47 58 27. They open from 11h to 1h serving lunch, dinner, coffees and drinks. Of course, they do have a Facebook page:  Facebook page of Le Tarmac of Vannes


Very friendly and delicious tapas and beers like the Le Tarmac house brand! Also, upstairs is very cosy and romantic with views over the boats in the canal marina. This time we went to the back next to the inner terrace and the plane propeller! comes with the name tarmac = Taxiway and parking planes in an airport.. ok



This time we had pizzas pilote ( goat cheese bacon , oregano, tomato and honey), fish and chips, steak and fries with salads, hot dogs with beef and cheese, plenty of beer cañas or small glasses and expresso coffee all for under 19€!! La vie est belle in the countryside of my lovely Morbihan!!!


SO I am back in town, be aware or be square lol! and may the season be merrier and happier for all of you dear readers. Merry Christmas , Joyeüx Noêl , Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal!!!!

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


December 10, 2019

Fairytale Chantilly!!!

Indeed one of favorite castles in France, and friends of the castle as well. WE love it, and been coming here since 1990 and then almost every year! This is Chantilly , a lot more than the cream lol! I have written before as most common in my belle France, last back on March 19 2019! You got it is a beautiful property indeed.

I have done a lot history before as I like it, but let me tell you a bit more with new photos ok. And thanks for reading my posts/blog!!! Chantilly is in the département 60 of the Oise, in the region of Hauts-de-France at the center of the forest of Chantilly, in the valley of the Nonette. Historically, it is part of the old region of Valois. Chantilly is located about 38 km north of Paris.


It is formally known as the Domaine de Chantilly built slowly since the Middle Ages by different owners such as Anne de Montmorency, and the Bourbon Condé such as the Grand Condé cousin of Louis XIV and Henri d’Orléans, duke of Aumale before by will given for custody to the Institut de France as long as is kept without changes and open to the public. Awesome gesture! Anne de Montmorency was constable of France  under king François I . It passes to the Condé who ask André le Nôtre the great gardener of France to do the gardens with permission from Louis XIV at the same time as was doing Versailles! Finally, it was the Duke of Aumale the last Condé and fifth child of Louis-Philippe last French king who re built the castle from the ruins of the French revolution.



The Domaine de Chantilly, has a grandiose entrance coming from parking P1 is a great view. There is wrough iron grill door where you pay your admission, combine 17€ plus 5€ for the parking.  You then see in front of you the equestrian statue of Anne de Montmorency and to the left the Castle. Further left of the castle back you have the English garden from the 19C, here you have the Île d’Amour or love island the pont des Grands Hommes (bridge of notable men) ,the temple of Venus, and further towards the stables you have the Jeu de Paume for temporary expositions and the Fontaines de Beauvais. Straight back down the monumental stairs and the water fountain, you have the garden of Le Nôtre from the 17C with an unique system of water irrigation still going strong today. To the right as you come up to the equestrian statue of Montmorency you see the Petit Parc or small park with below it the Maison de Sylvie from the 17-18C. There are enclosure of kangaroos, and honey combs . Across the canal separating the petit parc you have the Anglo-Chinese garden of the 18C with the Hameau now a dining experience, and Children playground. Way back if you walk you will see the Grande Cascade or big waterfall. Again a wonderful place to be !

Tragic events here are by François Vatel (who claims the cream of Chantilly), howver, he was the organiser of the 3 days of feast to celebrate the accords between the Grand Condé and the cousin of this king Louis XIV in 1671. The Holy Friday day of the feast and last day of it, the order of fish never arrives, touch by this incident he takes his own life upon the arrival of the invitées.

Again, Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé with heir to his fortune after the execution of his son the duke of Enghien in 1804 by Napoléon Ier bequest his properties in 1830 to his nephew and godson of Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale, fifth child of king of the French Louis-Philippe.

The castle interiors are done with the Grands Appartement (big apartments) of the Princes of Condé, and place of living in the 17C and 18C, galeries de peintures, cabinet d’arts graphiques, cabinet des livres, and private apartments of the duke of Aumale. There is a museum with the collection of the duke of Aumale that after spending 23 years in exile in England amazes a huge collection of works of arts , upon returning to France he creates the Musée Condé and today is considered the first French museum of old paintings meaning before 1850 after the Louvre. To note, the Louvre is a collection of State and items taken from other private castles in France, including Versailles. The Chantilly museum is all private ownership of the Duke of Aumale.

There is also , a huge library that was the biggest of its time with almost 9000 works including 1500 manuscripts; you can see the huge piece of the Les Trés Riche Heures du duc de Berry in facsimile format.

In all a splendid castle very nicely done and kept with lots of architecture and history nuisance too big for a blog post. I enjoy the Domaine de Chantilly and hopefully you will do too once visited.

The main webpage of the property is at Official Domaine de Chantilly in English

Tourist office of Chantilly on the Domaine: Official tourist office of Chantilly on the Domaine in English

The tourist office of the Oise dept 60 in French: TOurist office of dept 60, the Oise on Chantilly


There you go folks another wonder of my belle France waiting to be visited and now during Christmas time it is completely decorated for it! Enjoy Chantilly as we do

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


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December 9, 2019

The Great Stables and Museum of the Horse , Chantilly of course!

So in rounding up my latest visit to Chantilly, I take you to the Grandes Ecuries et Musée du Cheval or the Great Stables and the Museum of the Horse. A huge building of historical and architectural proportion worth seeing alone. However, if you add the two stables and museum then it becomes a must visit while in France , me think.

Let me tell you a bit on it just a bit ok, there is always plenty of things to do here. For info , I have come with the family and also on business conferences that have been held in the Grande Ecuries!

The Museum of the Horse is a museum and an equestrian show room located in the Great Stables of  the Domaine de Chantilly in the dept 60 of the Oise, and region of Hauts-de-France.


It was opened to the public in 1982 to house the Living Museum of the Horse which was completely renovated in 2013. This museum intended for all audiences, tells through more than 200 objects and works of art the importance of the relationship between man and horse since the beginning of civilizations and offers “live” equestrian animations, educational presentations and shows.

The great stables were built between 1719 and 1740 at the request of the seventh prince of Conde, Louis Henri de Bourbon who, according to legend, thought to be reincarnated as a horse and wanted stables worthy of his rank. The stables were home to 240 horses and 500 dogs in different packs for the daily hunts that took place throughout the year.


The museum was totally closed at the beginning of 2009 for renovation work. The large dome of the stables was reopened in 2009 after the installation of new stands and the extension of the central track.  A complete overhaul of the other rooms of the museum took place and all the rooms reopened on the 16th June 2013.

The collections come from the Condé museum’s reserves or from private collections, notably those of the Aga Khan. They testify to the different uses of the horse and the aesthetic forms appreciated throughout the world.  The Museum of the Horse tackles several themes: the history of the domestication of the horse, the different races of horses in the world or the evolution of the forms of harnessing through the centuries. A room is thus dedicated to the tools invented by the man to control his mount.


A collection of Bohemian glass vases engraved from the mid-19C illustrates the representation of the horse in art and more specifically in the decorative arts. Bibliophilia is also present with a set of ancient books related to the horse. The horse races, which are the hallmark of Chantilly since 1834, are represented in two rooms of the museum, a video allows to discover the evolution of the position of the jockeys throughout the ages. Finally, a set of carousel animals is exhibited in the museum, with several carved wooden horses. In the West housing, two horse-drawn carriages are on display: the Empress’s carriage and the Duke of Bourbon’s sedan.

The Grandes Écuries are home to some forty horses, donkeys and ponies who regularly take part in demonstrations of dressage in the quarry outside the museum as well as shows that take place under the 28-meter dome transformed into an equestrian venue. Today, the horses of the Grandes Ecuries are essentially Iberian, Pure breed Spanish Andalucians and Portuguese Lusitano. They usually arrive at the museum at the age of four or five, and after two to three years of training, from lower to high school, they gradually enter the track. First in educational presentations, then in shows.


Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official Domaine de Chantilly on the Great Stables

Tourist office of Chantilly on Equestrian shows

Tourist office of dept 60 Oise on the great stables museum

Further these Great Stables were converted into barracks during the French revolution  and took again life after 1815. The real big push in constrution took place in 1847 thanks to the Orléans’ family. Today, the official brochure tells us that there are 8 jockeys, 26 horses, 8 poneys, and 3 donkeys. 1040 irons fit in per year and 40 kg of manure per horse and per day! 6 kg of hay, 6 liters of pellets, and 50 liters of water per horse per day. Also, does more than 150 spectacles per year and equestrians shows every day.


The building is divided into the Cour des Chenils or kennel court that allowed division of dogs by pedegree, the Dôme or cupola where the spectacles are held since the 18C and today the jockeys on equestrians shows. The Cour des Remises or discount court at a time served as guard of the wagons of the princes and caleches, and was completely renovated in 2011!! And I was there yes!!!

The museum of the horse has 15 rooms in the Cour des Remises des Grandes Ecuries. Rooms 1 to 3 host the visitor and introduce you to the art of the horse. Rooms 4 to 9 show the domestication of the horse all over the world and the work they do in our lives. Room 9 shows the hunting horse. The last of the visit starts with room 10 showing the leisure activities with the horse and equestrian sporting events. The big room 13 shows the horse and the artists of our times to the carrousels of the little ones, kids. Once living the museum see on the West nave hippomobiles of the 19C preserve in France such as the Caléche of the Empresses and the wagon of the duke of Bourbon guarded at the Condé museum.


Finally, on the way out had my meal of the day and came back as usually do the the Pizzeria Ristorante Napoli at 5 avenue du général leclerc or road D1016 not far from the hippodrome de Chantilly. This we have been before and for memories sake decided alone to come back to it. Never disappointed excellent Italian restaurant . The welcome is like family warm and very funny really all is good to put simply a nice lunch/dinner meal inside dining room with views of the road. I just had my Chorizo pizza , haa of course!! with a 1/4 bottle of Médoc house red and expresso coffee for 21 euros. Nice. no web for info Tel +33 (0) 3 44 57 40 09. Buon appetito!!!



And there you go a one two dandy on your way out see wonderful history of a beautiful animal and great food in royally Chantilly! My belle France is amazing indeed! Hope you enjoy it too

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

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December 9, 2019

The racecourse at Chantilly!

Ok so now I am going on an old tradition in my family especially my mother’s side, horse racing. I have been to many in NJ and Fl USA as well as Madrid, Spain. Needless, to say I have been to the ones in France , several of them. However, no where is more real and precious than on the home of the horse, Chantilly! For info, been here once and still do not know well the racetrack.

Nevertheless  I was in town and did some walking around the racecourse or hippodrome and decided to take some pictures for the post. Hope you enjoy the Hippodrome de Chantilly


The Hippodrome de Chantilly (Racecourse) was inaugurated in 1834. It is located on the edge of a forest near the Château de Chantilly and covers 65 hectares. This is where the Jockey Club Award for males and females has been held since 1836, and since 1843 the Prix de Diane for females. These two events are flat races. There are about 42 race days a year , it can change with the year. The racecourse is the property of the Institut de France (owner of the whole domaine), but the racecourse is managed by France Galop for the maintenance of the tracks and the days of races. Room management and leasing of commercial space are managed by the Foundation for the Safeguarding and Development of the Domaine de Chantilly of the Aga Khan.


After the first race dating from 1834, the route of the current tracks dates from 1879. These are originally all grass and are 25 to 30 meters wide. The finishing line is 600 meters uphill with 10 meters in altitude over the last 800 meters which makes it particularly selective. You might be ablet to tell (not me) a large track (or Jockey Club track) of 2,400 meters (finish line 600 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill over the last 800 meters, course from 1600 to 4800 meters), A straight line of 1 200 meters (1,000 to 1,200 meters course), a track average of 2,150 meters (finish line 550 meters, elevation 10 meters uphill, course 1,600 to 2,600 meters), A round track, 1,400 meters course at 2,400 meters a 1,900 meter fiber-sand track (finish line of 550 meters and width of 20 meters), the first laid out on one of the Paris racecourses, in autumn 2011. There exists in total 13 possible starting points.


The Hippodrome de Chantilly racecourse can currently accommodate 30,000 spectators, including 2,300 in the stands seated. To replace the first temporary stands built in 1835, the Duke of Aumale, owner of the land, built two new Anglo-Norman style stands in 1847. These were rebuilt in 1881. The weighing building was built in 1891. The tribune of the committee, former tribune of the prince, is rebuilt in 1911.

Several courses are held here, but the two main ones are the Prix du Jockey in June, 2100 meters for the horses of 3 yrs old and the Prix de Diane also in june, of 2100 meters for the fillies of 3 yrs both races considered top Group 1. The tracks are used to train racehorses every Tuesday. There is 2,000 gallops per year for 800 horses. Jumping de Chantilly: two jumping competition meetings held each year on the racecourse: the Grand National in April the International Jump Competition (CSI) five stars in July. In 2010, Chantilly joined the Global Champions Tour and earned its fifth star, becoming the 2nd CSI of France with Cannes. For this occasion, a 150 m by 100 m fiber grass track is permanently installed in the center of the race tracks, west of the racecourse. It also serves the ground regularly for spot kite practice.

Some of the webpages to help you visit here are

Official domaine de Chantilly on the racecourse

Tourist office of Chantilly on the racecourse

Tourist office of dept 60 Oise on the racecourse

And there you go another way to come and enjoy Chantilly, a real passionate place for horses, you like horses? you will be royally welcome in Chantilly. Enjoy the hippodrome de Chantilly!

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





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December 8, 2019

Basilica Saint Denis !!!

Ok so here i am again, this one i have been but many years ago even when was visiting France back in 1990!! wow! Now since living here since 2003 never had been back…until now. It is one of those places you hear about but always been on the wrong side of the road never dare pass by it. It has happened and it has been very nice indeed.

To say will tell you a bit about the Basilica of Saint Denis  will be deceiving, there is so much to tell about and so much history into that a book rather than a blog post would be needed. I am hoping to give you a glimpse and some photos that will make you as I decide to come to visit. In my humble opinion, it is one of the must sites to visit in France.

st denis

st denis

The Basilique de Saint-Denis basilica is a Gothic church located in the center of the city of Saint-Denis, 5 km north of Paris in the department 93 of Seine-Saint-Denis in the Ile-de-France region. Originally founded as an abbey, it has the status of cathedral of the diocese of Saint-Denis since 1966. The abbey church was called “basilica” from the Merovingian period . It stands on the site of a Gallo-Roman cemetery, the burial place of St. Denis martyred around 250. The transept of the abbey church, of exceptional magnitude, was intended to accommodate the royal tombs. It is thus the necropolis of the kings of France since the Robertians and Capetians direct, even if several Merovingian then Carolingian kings had chosen to rest there before them.

In 1793, following the desecration of the tombs of the Basilica of St. Denis,during the French revolution, the revolutionaries threw the ashes of forty-two kings, thirty-two queens, sixty-three princes, ten servants of the kingdom, as well as thirty abbots and various religious, between beds of limestone, in mass graves of the old monks’ cemetery then located north of the basilica. Part of the treasure of the basilica is transformed into money. As for the recumbent, masterpieces of funerary art dating back to the early Middle Ages for older, they are largely deteriorated. That of Charles V the Wise lost his scepter, and that of his wife Jeanne de Bourbon has meanwhile disappeared!!!

st denis

In 1805, Napoleon I fixed the new destiny of the building: symbol of the continuity of the monarchical power, it must become the memorial of the four dynasties that reigned over France. On February 20, 1805, he asked to be informed of the state of the abbey and two days later that the Ministry of the Interior proceeds to its restoration! On January 19, 1817, Louis XVIII brought back the remains of his predecessors, recovered in the pits, in the crypt of the basilica, where they are gathered ,because the limestone prevented their identification in an ossuary sealed by marble slabs on which are the names of the buried royals. Under the Second Empire, Napoleon III decided that the basilica of Saint-Denis would house his burial place, that of his wife and his successors, unlike the other princes of the imperial family to whom the crypt of the Saint-Augustin church would be affected. This new imperial vault is not the one envisaged by Napoleon I, the old chapel of Hilduin which Louis XVIII made a royal vault. In 1859, he had Eugène Viollet-le-Duc develop a new imperial vault located west of the previous one, under the high altar. This very large underground chapel was demolished in 1952.

st denis basilica louis xvi and marie antoinette closerup nov19

st denis

The coronations at the Basilica Saint Denis were   of: Anne of Brittany, February 8, 1492, crowned and crowned Queen of France at Saint-Denis, she is the first queen crowned in this basilica and sacred; Mary of England, November 5, 1514; Claude of France, May 10, 1517; Eleanor of Austria, March 5, 1531; Catherine de Medici, June 10, 1549; Elizabeth of Austria, March 25, 1571; and Marie de Medici, May 13, 1610, last sacred queen in Saint-Denis.

The sun radiates from its rays the stones of the nave, symbolizing the passage from natural light to immaterial, “divine” light. The north side of the basilica with the Porte de Valois gate, that is to say the gate of the north arm of the transept. In the 13C, we insert in the facade of the transept a portal which, given its sculptures, dates from 1160. The facade of the basilica with its three portals and its unique tower. The north tower disappeared in 1846. The novelty for the time was the central rosette on the facade and the layout of the three carved portals. The Tympanum of the central portal with Christ surrounded by the twelve Apostles. The Tympanum of the 12C,was ransacked at the French revolution, restored in the 19C. Saint Denis and his companions, Rustique and Eleuthère, are led to the torture after having communicated the hands of Christ himself. Historians see Suger’s desire to impose a tympanum dedicated to a hagiography of Saint Denis. Despite the mutilations and restorations of the 19C, it retains most of his original sculpture of Suger’s era. The portal devoted to Saint Denis marks once again the desire of Suger to make recognize the role of this martyr as protector of royalty. To impose St. Denis as the “special patron” of the kingdom, it was said at that time, was also to proclaim the sacred character of the kings of France.

Need to give credit when credit is rightfully due. Born around 1081, of modest origin, Suger was placed at the age of ten at the abbey of Saint-Denis. It was there that he met the future Louis VI le Gros , son of Philippe I. Beginning his life as a monk, he was soon noticed by his gift to plead the good causes and his art of administrator. Often sent to Rome, it was while returning from an embassy in Italy, in 1122, that he learned of his election at the head of the abbey of Saint-Denis. Returning to Rome for the Lateran Council, he visited the principal sanctuaries of the southern regions. And was deeply marked. His future task as a builder, patron and statesman will be imbued with his Italian apprenticeship: Benevento, Salerno, Bari and above all Monte Cassino. Returning to Saint-Denis, he undertook to rebuild his church, which had become too small. The means of financing were ensured by a rigorous and all-round management of the properties of the abbey. His new church will embody his theological and artistic vision of the world, reinforced by his contacts with Hugues de Saint-Victor, a renowned Parisian master of thought who gave great importance to the mechanical arts and conceived of art as a spiritual support. To believe, one must see and be impressed by the beauty of the holy things. So we build the people and we work for peace. Hence the basic idea of the ambulatory to circulate around rich reliquaries, all immersed in an intense light, earthly expression of the divine light. It was at this time that he began to write his Life of Louis le Gros and a History of Louis VII. Suger is also a statesman. He works alongside his friend, Louis VI until the death of the latter in 1137. He returns a few years later to the court to serve Louis VII le Jeune or the Younger. Its purpose is omnipresent: to establish its church as protector of the kingship and to closely imbricate the Church and the kingdom of France. In 1145, Louis VII went on a crusade. Suger is invested with a high mission: to manage the kingdom in the absence of the sovereign. His task will last two and a half years; he will perform it magnificently: royal treasure provided, sending subsidies to the king, repairing the castles, rebellion of the great mate, peace and security assured. Shortly after the return of the king and despite the failure of the second crusade, Suger is declared “Father of the Fatherland”. On the internal level, Louis VII wants to separate from Eleanor of Aquitaine and declare war on Henry II Plantagenet. Suger dissuades him. In 1150, Abbot Suger reached the age of seventy. Sick, he went into agony in December and died in January 1151. The following year, Louis VII divorced ,losing Aquitaine at the same time , and attacked Henri II. The work of Abbot Suger is immense. In keeping with religious architecture, it was he who instilled the initial momentum, the constructive idea, the artistic principle that underpin and encompass the whole history of Gothic cathedrals in Europe and everywhere as elsewhere in the world.

The Basilica Saint-Denis is a cathedral apart from the French religious architectural heritage. This by the will of a man: Father Suger. The energy and religious ideals of this exceptional prelate, who was also a statesman, knew how to transform a Romanesque church into a Gothic monument (enlarged in the 13C). Named abbot of the rich abbey in 1122, he managed to raise sufficient funds to reinvent the religious architecture of his time by applying a simple principle: Faith by Beauty. To believe, the people must admire, so see. To see, it will circulate in an ambulatory where relics have been exposed in beautiful reliquaries. Hence the demand for space and light. The stained windows necessarily very beautiful will complete the task by bringing to the illiterates the religious teaching and the rules of moral edification. The Gothic spirit was born. The Carolingian church of the abbey is enlarged around 1135. First the facade, then the bedside. Suger exposes his project to the king, but decides not to touch the Carolingian nave. A simple sanctuary was not enough: Father Suger played his friendships with King Louis VI le Gros (the Fat), then with his son, Louis VII, to make his abbey a royal necropolis. He succeeded: Saint-Denis is rich with more than seventy marble statues which make his fame. Suger also fought to make it the official place of the coronation of the kings of France. On this point, he was taken aback by the cathedral of Reims.

A bit of a description, small apport:

The seven radiant chapels of Saint-Denis bring two novelties compared to Romanesque art: they are almost contiguous and of little depth. Suger’s goal was to enlarge the space and better penetrate the light. To this end, they have only two stained glass probably because there is no room for a third). Even though the chapels look narrower on each other, the space effect is successful. Many buildings of the first Gothic age will take over this system of chapel with two stained glass windows.

Historically, it was the abbot Suger  one of the great instigators of the basilica of Saint-Denis, who gave the definitive formulation of the Tree: a Jesse lying from which a tree comes out whose climbing branches carry the prophets (as spiritual ancestors) and kings (as carnal ancestors) of Jesus. This is why the Jesse Tree of Saint Denis Basilica is of paramount importance in the history of stained glass. This formulation will serve as a model in France and England throughout the Middle Ages.

For his abbey, Father Suger had a grandiose and personal stained glass project done by the best artists and master glassmakers in the region. In his book Liber of rebus in administratione sua gestis, he spreads himself in praiseful qualifiers to describe the role of the light that enters the sanctuary through the stained glass windows. However, in his writings, he expressly quotes only three of them: the Tree of Jesse, the Allegories of St. Paul and the Life of Moses. The allegories are taken from the epistles of St. Paul. It is interesting to note that the abbey took Paul for his spiritual father following the confusion , perhaps voluntary between Saint Denis, first bishop of Paris and real patron of the abbey, and Denys the Areopagyte, disciple direct from the Apostle Paul.

The glass roof of Saint-Denis has suffered a lot in the course of history. Many of Suger’s windows from the 12C were renovated in the 13C. The large windows are also from the 13C. Unfortunately, the entire glass roof of the 13C disappeared during the French revolution in 1794-1795. In 1799, the windows of the ambulatory took the path of the Museum of French Monuments, part was broken en route, another sold. In 1816, after the closure of the Museum, what was recovered and returned to the abbey. Clearly, the entire glass roof of the basilica was redone in the 19C, with the exception of a few elements in the windows of the ambulatory which, they come exclusively from the time of Suger. These stained glass windows are easy to locate: their brilliance is far from being as brilliant as those of the 19C juxtaposed with them.

st denis

The 19C canopy obeys a Royal and Dionysian iconography. In the choir,the life of Saint Denis; in the triforium of the nave: the life of the popes; finally, in the high windows: the life of the kings and queens of France. There is also a large glass roof in the transept with the visit of Louis XVIII to the abbey and a double glass roof, the funeral of Louis XVIII and the dedication of the funeral chapel under Charles X These stained glass windows are of very high quality. In Saint-Denis, the wish of Suger – flood the church with light and always respected.

st denis

Even if the stalls of the Basilica of Saint-Denis do not belong to the history of the basilica. They come from the chapel of the castle of Gaillon, Normandy and date back to the 16C. It is an order of Cardinal Georges d’Amboise, Archbishop of Rouen. Viollet-le-Duc made the decision to install them in Saint-Denis in the 19C. The scenes illustrate episodes from the Life of Jesus, the Virgin and martyrs. It is a very beautiful work of marquetry.

st denis

Finally, and foremost we have the necropolis of kings and queens of France! Just gorgeous.

At the beginning of its history, the necropolis of Saint-Denis is nothing more than a cemetery that one chose, in his testament, to be buried alongside Saint Denis and his companions, Rustique and Eleuthère, all three renowned martyrs of the Church. According to historians, Queen Arnegonde was the only person of royal blood to choose Saint-Denis , and in a personal capacity. In fact, the Merovingian kings preferred to be buried in a place where they had some attachment to their habitual residence, a palace they appreciated or a religious establishment of which they were founder or benefactor. Thus royal tombs were found in Poitiers, Soissons, Metz or Arras, and, of course, also in Paris. Dagobert died in 639, chose Saint-Denis, but because there were ties to it as he was simply the benefactor of the abbey! With the nascent Carolingian dynasty, the choice of Saint-Denis is imposed on Charles Martel and Pépin le Bref (Pepin was anointed there in 754). Followed Charles the Bald and five members of his family. It is up to the Capetians to have the necropolis of the abbey recognized as the obligatory resting place of the kings of France. There are two explanations for this: on the one hand, to repeat the Carolingian tradition is to affirm its legitimacy; on the other hand, some of the first Capetian kings were simply lauded abbots of Saint-Denis. It will be buried there: Eudes and Hugues Capet, Robert the Pious and Henry I. Not to mention that the energy of Suger, in the 12C, made of this habit a real law. When Philippe I chose Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, in 1108, and Louis VII le Jeune, in 1180, the Cistercian abbey of Saint-Port de Barbeau that he had founded, the monks of Saint-Denis reacted with an outcry . Nevertheless, the link between the abbey and the crown was strengthened as Louis VI le Gros recognized it as a right of spoils;it was now considered the official guardian of the symbolic objects of royalty, the Regalia. The principle of the abbey as a royal necropolis was now respected. With the exception of Louis XI, Louis XVI and Louis XVII, all the French kings from Louis VII to Louis XVIII were buried in Saint-Denis. (Louis VII was buried in Barbeau, but in 1817, Louis XVIII brought his body back to Saint-Denis.) Today the necropolis has more than 70 recumbent and tombs. It is a unique place in Europe. Indeed it is for all to see!!!

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your must visit here are

Official Basilica of Saint Denis in English

Official tourist office of Dept 93 Seine Saint Denis on the Basilica in English

There a huge job but i hope I caught the important points to make this a must to visit while in France.The Basilique de Saint Denis is awesome!! Gorgeous and architecturally :historically an absolute must. Enjoy it

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



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December 8, 2019

The Hôtel de Ville de Saint Denis!

Ok so coming here for the big one I stuck around to do some walks in daytime on a nice Saturday mid day. This is Saint Denis in dept 93 Seine Saint Denis north of Paris. Come here for the Basilica of course,but do walk around and you will see the real beat of life in France away from the glamour.

Let me tell you a bit on the city of Saint Denis and its Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall!

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Saint-Denis is a city bordering Paris, located on the north in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, No 93 which it is sub-prefecture, in the region of Île-de-France. It is the most populated department, ahead of Montreuil, and the 3rd in the region of Ile-de-France after Paris and Boulogne-Billancourt in the Hauts-de-Seine (92). Saint-Denis, still known as a bastion of the French Communist Party, is to date the most populated city, and one of only two cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants, with Montreuil, to be led by a communist mayor!

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Saint-Denis borders the cities of Paris, Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine, Île-Saint-Denis, Epinay-sur-Seine, Villetaneuse, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Stains, La Courneuve and Aubervilliers. The city is served by the A1 highway or autoroute du nord   which connects it to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and Le Bourget airports and the A86, as well as by the boulevard périphérique around Paris.

At the beginning of the 20C, the city was a knot of tramway lines that connected the city to its neighbors of Épinay-sur-Seine and Enghien – Trinité, Pierrefitte, Stains, Aubervilliers, Villeneuve-la-Garenne, Saint-Ouen -sur-Seine and Paris .These lines were all removed before 1938. The city is now served by several major lines of transport including again the tramways , metro RER etc.

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Between the re-designed Porte de Paris gate and the Basilica, the Legion-d’Honneur Park adjoins the gardens and outbuildings of the Legion of Honor’s Education House, which occupies the buildings of the old abbey. Dominated by the Basilica of Saint-Denis, flanked by the garden Pierre de Montreuil, the old center has several remarkable monuments such as this imposing city/town hall, Church of Saint-Denis-de-l’Estrée, royal abbey, porch of the former convent of the Ursulines , former convent of the Carmelites (Museum of Saint-Denis), former headquarters of the newspaper L’Humanité, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, etc.

At the crossroads of rue Gabriel-Péri and the rue de la Boulangerie, the café “Au Pavillon” was already known five centuries ago to be a hunting lodge of kings of France who took a break. Henri IV had his bachelor apartment on rue de la Boulangerie where he was preparing the speeches he was going to deliver at the Basilica. Home to the biggest market of the Île-de-France on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning (see previous post), the most centenary market hall   reopened at the end of 2006, after renovation. It now has a rainwater recovery system, used for post-market cleaning, and solar panels for lighting. The city center has been pedestrianized since March 11, 2005. The Basilique de Saint-Denis metro station is in remote correspondence with the T1 tramway, close to a major urban hypermarket.

At the beginning of the 7C, Dagobert rebuilt the oratory and the priory built by Saint Genevieve in 475, and created a fair which became in the 12C, the fair of Landy; from the Middle Ages, merchants came from all over Europe and Byzantium; the fair was inaugurated each year by the rector of the University of Paris who came there in great ceremony The church was rebuilt by Suger, who became abbot of Saint-Denis in 1122, advisor to Louis VI, and ruled in the absence of Louis VII, gone to the Holy Land. It was he who, the first time, handed to a king of France the banner, which became famous under the name of its banner.

Louis XI rebuilt almost entirely the sanctuary, the transepts and the nave at his own expense. The ancient tombs were rebuilt in the transept and choir of the abbey church, which for centuries was an object of admiration for visitors. This monastery, so to speak national, has always been in the same veneration since Louis IX.

In 1806, Napoleon I, by a decree, consecrated the old church to the burial of the emperors, there instituted a retreat for the bishops over 60 years, and a house of education for the daughters of the legionaries.

Taken by the enemy in 1814, Saint-Denis was one of the first to declare himself in favor of the Bourbons. In 1815, the city gave the same marks of love to the son of his former benefactors. In 1817, Louis XVIII ordered that the remains of kings, removed from the tombs in 1793, be reinstated there. In 1852, Napoleon III gathered the cure of Saint-Denis in the chapter of the basilica. The church, as a whole, dates from the 12-13C, but since 1858 the sanctuary has returned to its original state. On August 27, 1944, General Leclerc’s troops entered the city for its liberation.

The city of Saint Denis more on its history in French: City of Saint Denis on its history

The tourist office for Seine Saint Denis 93 in English: Tourist office of dept 93 Seine Saint Denis

Hope you enjoy the tour,if in town for the Basilica which is a must , then why not take a walk around the Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall of Saint Denis. Enjoy it

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


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