Archive for ‘France’

April 26, 2021

Hôtel Groslot of Orléans!

And this historical Orléans and a wonderful mansion. You know who gave us the curiosity to be here and it was nice. Later years, met collegue from here and gave us the impetus to come back. It is a nice central city of my belle France, full of history we love. Hope you enjoy this update on the Hôtel Groslot of Orléans!

So let me tell you a bit about Orléans, and to show a bit more than popular Paris… In my road warrior trips with the family in Europe we have been to a lot of places and some we missed. The wonderful cold weather calls for something more warm down in central France.  Let me tell you a bit more about the Hôtel Groslot in the historical city of Orléans, department 45 of the Loiret in the region of Centre-Val de Loire. Sit back and enjoy the story,  hoping you like it as we.

The Hôtel Groslot is a 16C ( 1550-1555) mansion built for Jacques Groslot, bailiff of Orléans. The house, also called the Great House of the Steps, House of the Governor, or the Stewardship was successively a mansion and then the city/town Hall of Orléans and today welcomes the celebration of the weddings. Built under the impulse of the Groslot family, it welcomed the French Kings François II ,Henri III , Henri IV, and Charles IX and the Regent Catherine de Medici. The hotel is built near the Cathedral of St. Croix, in the Place de l’Etape, in the city center of Orléans. It is located near the B line of the Orléans tramway network.

orleans hotel-groslot-et-moi-aug07

A bit of history I like

The Groslot Hotel is built in the Renaissance of Germain Rebours and Anne Brachet ,the owners of an agrarian land on the Place de l’Etape in the middle of the 15C. They planned to built a particular hotel but give it up before the end of this project to Jacques Groslot, Bailiff of Orléans, in 1545. Jacques Groslot dies before the completion of the work in 1552. His widow and two sons, Jérôme and Henri, inherited the building and attended the end of its construction between 1553 and 1558.

On 18 October 1560, King Francis II imposed himself and settled with his court in the hotel to mark his opposition to Jérôme Groslot, a fervent supporter of the Protestant Reformation. François II died at Hôtel Groslot on 5 December 1560. Charles IX succeeds François II in the aftermath of the general states of 1560 which stand in front of the hotel in a large hall on occasion. As the king was 10 years old, the regency was entrusted to his mother Catherine de Médici. After a stay of almost five months, the court leaves Orléans and the Hôtel Groslot on February 12, 1561.

Jérôme Groslot resumes possession of the hotel after the departure of the court to support the actions of the Protestants and Groslot, Louis I of Bourbon-Condé returns to Orléans in 1562 and resides in the grand house of the Etape or stage (Groslot) which becomes the headquarters of Protestants. Charles IX returned to Orléans to appease the troubles arising from the massacre of Saint Bartholomew and stayed in the great House of the Stage (Groslot). The hotel is then purchased by the town in 1738 after several owners.

A bit on the constrution style of it

This building has a characteristic red brick facade arranged in rhombuses. It consists of a central building with two Renaissance-style wings and a double-volley staircase. The statue of Joan of Arc made by Princess Marie d’Orléans placed in front of its porch dates from the mid-19C. It still bears the traces of bullets received during the liberation of Orléans in August 1944. The Groslot Hotel is composed of four main halls: the Salon d’Honneur, the Old City Council Hall, the Mayor’s old office and the wedding hall. The Gothic troubadour style interior decoration is made between 1850 and 1854 as furnishings, there are many souvenirs of Joan of Arc, paintings, Aubusson tapestries, wooden chests and other period furniture. The gardens are accessible from the Rue d’Escures where there is a wall, consisting of the remains of the Chapel Saint-Jacques which stood up at the rue des Hôtelleries. The French writer Honoré de Balzac describes the Hôtel Groslot in one of his philosophical studies of the human comedy. A painting by the French painter Pierre Dupuis depicts the death of Francis II in a room of the Groslot Hotel.


The front porch and the central façade are restored between 1850 and 1852; The remainder of the work is carried out between 1852 and 1855. The new city/town hall is inaugurated on May 8, 1855. The administrative services of the city of Orléans leave the Hôtel Groslot in 1981 to be transferred to the new municipal center located opposite the hotel Groslot in 1, place de l’Etape.

Orleans hotel Groslot Pedro aug07

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Orléans tourist office on the Hôtel Groslot|en

The Greater Orléans tourist board on the Hôtel Groslot

The Loiret dept 45 tourist office on the Hôtel Groslot

The Loire Valley tourist office (Centre Val de Loire region) on the Hôtel Groslot

This is a nice city of Orléans, full of history and nice walks, all around the Hotel Groslot is worth the walk and marvel of the architecture and history all around you in the city of Joan of Arc made famous. See my other posts on Orléans in my blog.

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

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April 25, 2021

Cambrai, the Nord !!

And yes let’s stay in the Nord dept 59 of my belle France. This is family territory so been here many times since 1990! We always took advantage of staying in these lands to use as a base for our local road warrior trips. We have memorable moment of the older brother taken us to Cambrai first back in 1990 to show off his region. And as usual on family lands very few pictures if any. We , of course, came back many times. Let me tell you a bit about the big city nearby them; this is Cambrai!!

I take you again to my family civic duty town of Cambrai, in the Nord department 59 of the Hauts de France region. This is a town very often by passed by visitors, sadly.  I have told you before that my dear late wife Martine oldest brother lives not far from here in a smaller town and all their adminitrative duties are done here in Cambrai .So naturally, when visiting the bro, we were taken here way back in 1990. We have several times afterward even if not a real tourist town. Cambrai is nice and has a nice history to it. I like to tell you a bit more on Cambrai and hopefully you take the drive or train to see it. It is nice as in my belle France!  Lets go over to Cambrai, obviously no hotels and little restos as it is close to home. And my best shot from 2006 below lol!


Much of Cambrai’s monumental heritage has disappeared over the centuries. During the French revolution all the religious buildings in the city were sold as national property and destroyed, including the old cathedral. Only four churches, transformed into an attic, a hospital, a Temple of Reason or a prison, were spared.  The dismantling of the fortifications, from 1894, led to the disappearance of many gates. The WWI was again responsible for very significant destruction. Finally, at the end of WWII, Cambrai was subjected to Allied bombardments: a total of 55% of the buildings were damaged and 13% completely destroyed.

The places to see me think are the Cathédrale Notre Dame  de Grâce, built 1696-1702. a classic example of the Louis XV architecture and an icon Notre Dame de Grâce from 1492 still venerated ,it is at Place Jean Paul II. The Chapelle des Jésuites, built 1678-1694. Considered one of the best jewels of the baroque art form in France, it is at Place du Saint Sépulcre. The Church Saint-Géry, Place François de Fénelon, is one of the oldest monuments in Cambrai. It contains a remarkable polychrome marble rood screen as well as an Entombment by Rubens dating from 1616. The large organ built in 1867 underwent a major transformation in 1978.


The belfry of Cambrai. Formerly the bell tower of the Saint-Martin church, rue du Beffroi, the monument built in the 15C became the Cambrai belfry in 1550. The Hôtel de Ville or City/town hall, completely restored in 1932, opens onto the Grand’Place with a majestic facade in Greek style, surmounted by a campanile where two bronze bell-ringers, giants and of Moorish type, strike the hours on a large bell above the large clock: they are Martin and Martine, the protectors of the city. The Maison Espagnole or Spanish house, seat of the Tourist Office, the last half-timbered and gabled house in a regional style, dates from 1595. The oak sculptures (chimeras and caryatids) which adorned its facade in the 19C are exhibited on the first floor inside after having undergone a serious restoration. We visit its medieval cellars. The covered market, built after WWII, houses lively halles on market days.


The Citadelle built by emperor Charles V in 1543 ,it is at blvd Paul Bezin.Chateau de Selles ar rue Selles, one of the best kept example of the Middle Ages. The must Musée Militaire de Cambrai, retracing the history of the 1st infantry regiment of France fighting in from 1870, WWI, and WWII. It is the oldest regiment in France and in Christianity!!! it is at Cour de la Manutention, Rue des Capucins. By ave de la Victoire you can still the see the entrance gate to the city from Paris or the Porte de Paris, built around 1339 ,it was last renovated in 1904. The underground passages or catiches which extend under the center of the city, as in other medieval towns, were explored in the middle of the 19C as well as towards the end of the 20C. Carved in white chalk, they include galleries, Romanesque or Gothic vaulted rooms. There are also wells, niches with statues. The German military cemetery on the route de Solesmes, the Russian military cemetery and the Cambrai East Military Cemetery: the military cemetery on the route de Solesmes was created by the German army in March 1917. The Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts, opened in 1847 to present the revolutionary seizures, has been installed since 1893 in an 18C mansion, the Hôtel de Francqueville. The Cambrai theater, built in 1924 on the site of a 16th century chapel destroyed during  WWI. The renovated theater was inaugurated in 2003. It is a 700-seat Italian-style theater which hosts various shows.

Not really a sight but a mouthful are the two culinary institutions in town known for ages of all sorts, these are the Chocolaterie Diot, at 189 avenue Georges Nuttin near the commerce park of  ZC de Cora,where there is also a supermarket Cora. Then , you have what my kids grew up on the candies of Cambrai better known as the Bétise de Cambrai ,they are part of the culinary inventory of France and official candy of parc Asterix near Paris. There are located as you enter the city from Paris, at the industrial park ZI and you can order it here or at any store in Cambrai or the Nord or even in Paris.

The ones we get are from here the originals Confiserie Afchain

Here is a webpage in French with a nice video on how the candy mistakes of Cambrai are done ; bétise= mistake in the creation of this jewel of French gastronomy. From the Confiserie Afchain:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=29&cntnt01returnid=26

And a bit more on Cambrai, lovely to visit I say!  The town was part of the  Habsburg  in the 16C, and rediscovered the kingdom of France in the 17C.  Strongly destroyed during WWII  due to the air raids, the town rebuilt itself in the aftermath, revealing today a pleasant face to the visitors. Although a large part of the heritage has disappeared over the centuries, the town of Cambrai still has interesting sights to discover during the time of a stay on site.

A bit of history I like

At the beginning of the Merovingian period, Cambrai became the seat of a vast bishopric extending across the right bank of the Escaut river  and the center of a small ecclesiastical principality which depended on the Holy Roman Empire until annexation to France in 1678.  This came about due to the Treaty of Nijmegen signed on 10 August 1678 , where Spain abandons Cambrai, and the town is definitively annexed by France. Here the famous bishop Fénelon, nicknamed the Swan of Cambrai, was the most illustrious of the archbishops.

The city suffers from the French revolution in 1796, the cathedral, marvel of the Netherlands, is sold in 1796 to a merchant who leaves only the tower. Deprived of support, it collapsed in 1809 during the French Revolution all the religious buildings of the city were sold as national property and destroyed , including the old Cathedral. Only four Churches, transformed into an attic, a hospital, a temple of reason or in prison, are spared. The Cathedral of Notre Dame Grace, completed in 1703 in the classical style of the time, replaced after the revolution of 1789 the admirable Gothic cathedral of the 12C, of which there is no traces on the present place Fénelon.

The gate of Paris (late 14C), of  Notre Dame (17C) and the towers of the towers of  Sottes (or Saint-Fiacre), of Caudron (first half of 15C), and des Arquets (16C) are the remains of the medieval ramparts.  Occupied and partially destroyed by the German army during WWI, Cambrai saw at its doors in 1917 the battle where the tanks were used for the first time massively. The WWII, finally the first American tanks entered the city on September 2. 1944 , and thereafter the town followed a reconstruction program.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Cambrai on heritage:

The Cambrai tourist office on things to see:

There a bit more as promise, hope it helps you come on over and see some nice architecture of the Nord/north of France, is different promise. Cambrai has many examples.

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

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April 24, 2021

Notre-Dame of Cape Lihou Church of Granville!

And this is another wonderful update of a town we heard and finally visited with the family. It is part of the sights of the Mont Saint Michel and the town of Granville itself is hilly cobbletone nice. One of the monument to see here is the Notre-Dame Church of Cape Lihou , and I like to tell you a bit more of it. Hope you enjoy it as I.


I come back to you to my neighbor Normandie and a very nice old town with superb views over the bay of Mont Saint Michel.  I like to tell you about a small Church but very nice with great views that been off the beaten path is one of the gems to be visited. Oh yes in the Manche dept 50.  The Notre-Dame Church of Cape Lihou or église Notre-Dame du Cap Lihou , and I was surprise not to find more on this wonderful small Church overlooking the town from the upper town or haute ville of Granville. This is a wonderful walk , beautiful sights from it, and a very nice Church. Worth the walk, I say.


As you might know, Granville, is on the peninsula across from that other monument of Normandie,France and the World, Mont Saint Michel (see posts). From Paris best by car on the A13 direction Rouen continue until Caen and there continue on the A84 until reach the town of Villedieu-les-Poêles and here take the D924 direction Granville, right by the harbor continue follow direction Notre Dame du Cap Lihou at Place du parvis Notre Dame. Same direction from my Morbihan getting around Rennes on the N24 to connect direction Caen with the A84/N175 to the D924 road direction Granville.

A bit of history I like

A first chapel was built in granite in the 12C on Cape Lihou, after, according to legend, sailors found in 1113 a statue of the Virgin in their nets. It was then decided to name Our Lady of Cape Lihou. This makes it the oldest place of worship in Normandie!.  After taking possession of Cape Lihou by the British, they began in 1440, at the same time as they raised the fortress, a Church whose granite was brought from Chausey 16 km away  by Gabare boats, taking 3 centuries of construction.. From this period, dates the Tour du Clocher or tower of the steeple and the bays between the transept and chorus.  The construction of the choir began in 1628 and ended in 1641, the year of the building of the ambulatory. The large nave is erected between 1643 and 1655, the Saint-Clément and Notre-Dame chapels of Cape Lihou are added in 1674 and 1676 respectively. Almost a century later were raised the western façade, in 1767, and the sacristy, in 1771.

The great organ that date from the years 1660-1662. The magnificent buffet and its tribune were built between 1660 and 1668. The console dates from 1899.


Inside you have paintings such as the  L’Assomption de la Vierge (assumption of the Virgin from 1712) inspired by Rubens, and the La Pêche miraculeuse de Bonneville (miraculous fishing or sin) of 1787. The Chapelle Notre-Dame houses a statue of the Virgin in stone of Caen from the 15C. The Chapelle Saint-Clément, lighted by the stained glass windows representing Saint Eloi has a statue of the patron Saint of marines and of the Parish. The famous fashion designer Christian Dior was baptised in this Church in 1908.



Some webpages to help  you plan your trip here are:

The city of Granville on heritage includes the Church:

The Manche dept 50 tourist office on Granville

The Churches of the Manche on Notre Dame in Granville

Enjoy the Notre Dame Church of Cap Lihou  and the views high up in Granville, it is worth the detour off the A84! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 24, 2021

Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon!!

And I am back in Alençon the wonderful historical town of the Orne in Normandy. This time will tell you about another hugely historical church and a Saint story as well; part of the history of France, Europe, and the World. Let me update for you and me the Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon!!


I am staying in Alençon as often by passed the town on my road warrior trips along the N12 but worth a vist on its own, and I finally did. This is Alençon, in the Orne department 61 of the Normandy region.  I like to tell you a bit about a monumental basilica that is a must to visit of all the wonderful things to visit in my belle France. I will tell you a bit on the Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon.  One of the shrines of my belle France.


The Basilica of Notre-Dame is a Gothic architecture church located in the Place de la Magdelaine in city center of Alençon in the pedestrian area. Its construction was begun by Charles III, Duke of Alençon at the time of the Hundred Years War in 1356 to end in the 19C ,it is a basilica since August 10, 2009. Many memorable moments for the Catholic faith were held here and is a must for all to learn about good and be good and do good. For all this is worth the detour.



Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of Saint Teresa of Lisieux, married on 13 July 1858 at the Basilica of Notre-DameSaint Teresa of Lisieux received the sacrament of Baptism here on 6 January, 1873 (pity her life only lasted 24 yrs) , two days after her birth. The dress of this ceremony is displayed in the Church. One can also see a contemporary stained glass representing the ceremony. The funeral of Zélie Martin ,her mother was celebrated in 1877. After the beatification of the Martin couple on 19 October 2008 in Lisieux, more and more pilgrims come to this Church. Thus, the Church of Notre-Dame of Alençon was officially erected in a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI on August 10, 2009. As for Louis and Zélie Martin, they were canonized on 18 October 2015 by Pope Francisco.


Another local Blessed martyr was Marcel Denis, often went here with his family. He celebrated a last Mass in Alençon in March 1946 before leaving France for Laos in the Chapel of the Baptistery to mark his devotion to St. Teresa of the Child-Jesus, patron of the missions.


A bit on the Notre Dame Basilica and the history I like

This gothic building has a 15C nave with five bays of flamboyant Gothic style, from the early 16C. Following a fire, the choir and bell tower were rebuilt in the mid-18C. The lantern is from about 1736). And it has a triple portal. The Church has one of the most beautiful flamboyant Gothic portals in Normandy: A real stone lace, populated by statues illustrating the theme of transfiguration, rarely depicted. This façade contrasts with the very massive choir and steeple, rebuilt in the 18C after the monument was struck by lightning. The collection of stained glass, the elegance of the 15C nave and the fully restored organ are worth a visit indeed.


Well there you have it, one country and one soul, a very nice story. We need more of it today. I encourage you to visit even if not religious as the architecture and the surrounding neighborhood are superb with lots of quant shops and eating places.

Some webpage to help you in your visit plans and to know more are

The Orne dept 61 tourist office on the Notre Dame Basilica

The Sanctuary towns of France on Alençon

The Alençon tourist office on religious heritage

the city of Alençon on its heritage:

The official Sainte Thérése de Lisieux on the Notre Dame Basilica

And I hope you do come, a memorable beautiful Notre Dame Basilica on a very nice pleasant Alençon. And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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April 24, 2021

Saint Theresa of Lisieux in Alençon!!!

And let me bring my memories back to a holy place in the history of France, Europe ,and the World. We came to Alençon and met Saint Theresa of Lisieux. Let me tell you about Alençon here as have other posts and also on the town of Lisieux. Hope you enjoy as I.

And I come to the end of my journey in Alençon and the most simple and beautiful of it all, alone worth the trip to the city. Alençon is in the Orne dept 61 of Normandy region. It was little known that it is actually the native town of Saint Théresa. I have passed by it several times, and stop in it without really looking forward to its sights until this past weekend with the boys.  She is better known as where she created her convents and followers flock to Lisieux ,Calvados dept 14 of Normandy. However, she was born at Alénçon and made her first pass towards the life that will carry her in her little 24 years of life. In Alençon she spent the first 5 years of her life. I like to tell you a bit more on her here, bear with me please.


Louis, Joseph, Stanislas Martin (b. Bordeaux, 1823- d.Lisieux, Calvados, 1894), watchmaker, and his wife born Azélie-Marie Guérin called “Zélie ” (b. Gandelain, near Saint-Denis-sur-Sarthon, 1831- d Alençon, 1877) Lacemaker, belong to the small Bourgeoisie of Alençon. They were beatified on 19 October 2008 in Lisieux, for the exemplary of their life as a couple, and canonized in Rome on 18 October 2015 by Pope Francisco. They are the parents of Thérèse of Lisieux, in religion Sister Therese of the Child-Jesus and the Holy Face and of her four sisters, all religious. In 1858, on the Pont de Sarthe in Alençon, their looks intersect, they immediately understand that they are made for each other. Here begins your pilgrimage in the footsteps of these Saints who are so close to us by time and space.


From 1860 to 1873, Louis and Zélie Martin had nine children (seven daughters and two boys), four of whom died at an early age. Their five daughters become all religious: Marie (b. 22 February 1860-d. 19 January 1940), in religion Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart, Carmelite at Lisieux; Pauline (b. September 7, 1861- d. July 28, 1951), in Religion Mother Agnes of Jesus, Carmelite at Lisieux; Léonie (b. June 3, 1863- d. June 16, 1941), in religion Sister Françoise-Thérèse, Visitandine in Caen, buried in the crypt of the Chapel of the Monastery of the Visitandines of Caen. (beatification trial is open);   Céline (b. April 28, 1869-d. February 25, 1959), in religion Sister Geneviève de la Sainte-Face, Carmelite in Lisieux; and Thérèse, (b. January 2, 1873- d. September 30, 1897), in religion Sister Thérèse of the Child-Jesus and of the Holy Face, Carmelite in Lisieux, canonized in 1925. Françoise Marie Thérèse Martin is the last of a family of nine children the Martin family. Very often the family spends their holidays in Lisieux with Isidore Guérin, the brother of Zélie, pharmacist, and his wife Céline. Zélie also has a sister, Elise, Sister Marie-Dosithée, Visitandine at the Monastery of the Visitation at Le Mans. The elders Marie and Pauline will be boarders. Therese loses her mother at 4 and a half years and remains very marked. Marie and Pauline, the two eldest daughters will then take over the three youngest; until they entered the Carmel of Lisieux.



Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux, Doctor of the Catholic Church known as Thérèse Martin, daughter of Louis and Zélie Martin, marked the Norman religious history, Ornaise and more precisely alençonnaise. It is in this same Church Notre-Dame (now Basilica minor see post) that St. Theresa will be baptized. Her baptismal dress is still on display. You can admire a contemporary stained glass window that represents the ceremony and the baptistery. The funeral of Zélie (her mother) will also be celebrated in 1877 at Notre Dame Church. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, better known as Saint Theresa of Lisieux or Saint Theresa of the Child-Jesus was canonized in 1925. She will also return to the Carmel of Lisieux at the age of 15 and remain there until she is struck by tuberculosis. The disease will take her away on September 30, 1897 at 24 yrs of life.


Saint Theresa will be considered one of the greatest nuns of the 20C, following the enthusiasm aroused by her posthumous publications. Pope Pius XI saw in her the star of his pontificate. In 1997, Pope John Paul II made her the 33rd Doctor of the Catholic Church. It is at the origin of a new theology called the “Little Voice” which consists in carrying out trivial acts of everyday life for the sake of God. In 1877, her father moved to Lisieux in the House of the Buissonnets with his 5 daughters. It is a retired home, where the Martin family lives in solitude away from the city. In 1887, Louis Martin took his daughters Céline and Thérèse to the diocesan pilgrimage to Rome, and she claimed Ah! … these beauties of nature… I didn’t have enough eyes to look at. Standing at the door I almost lost my breath; I wanted to be on both sides of the wagon. During this stay, Theresa has the audacity to ask the Pope for permission to enter the Carmel at age of 15 despite the opposition of the superiors. The bishop finally gives her their permission. Thérèse pronounces her final vows on September 8, 1890, at the age of 17 and a half, in the hands of Mother Mary of Gonzaga, her protector Mother.

In 1894, Thérèse wrote her first pious recreations or small plays, played on the days of big parties by some sisters for the rest of the community. She also writes spiritual poems.   On July 29, 1894, Louis Martin, her father died. Her sister Céline enters the Carmel of Lisieux on September 14, 1894. In August 1895, the four Martin sisters were joined by their cousin, Marie Guérin. At the end of 1894, Thérèse discovers her little path and experiences it more and more, to offer herself to the merciful Love. On June 9, 1895 at the request of her Sister Pauline, Mother Agnes of Jesus, she undertakes the writing of her childhood memories, which will become a part of the book of memories Histoire d’une âme (History of a Soul).

On the night of Thursday to Friday Saint 1896, Therese spits blood.. A few days later, she is plunged into the thickest spiritual darkness of which she will no longer come out. On 30 May, Mother Mary of Gonzaga entrusted her with a second missionary after Abbé Bellière, Father Rathod, of the Foreign Missions of Paris, who was about to leave for China. He will be a true soul brother to her. Therese’s health is deteriorating quickly, she suffers a lot. She is located in the infirmary of the monastery. Mother Agnes and sister Geneviève begin to note the words of their sister. In June, at the suggestion of Mother Agnes, mother Mary of Gonzaga asked Therese to note her Carmelite memories. What she does during this month of June, using her last forces. It will end the manuscript with the word Amour (love), as each of all her autobiographical manuscripts. On September 30, 1897 at night, she died at the age of 24. She said “I’m not dying, I’m entering life.” Built in her honor, the Basilica of Lisieux is the second largest pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes.(see post).

And the House still under the ownership of the Bishop diocese of Sees, and religious folks is very moving with a touching personal tour. Hope you enjoy it and do visit is also part of the history of France,and many French do follow it. In been there ,there were mothers with little girls been told how to pray and follow up the tour,then they ask to go back to the Chapel alone.. Alençon is  nice indeed


Passing quickly on the sidewalk, it is difficult to locate the chapel dedicated to St. Teresa of Lisieux. It is nestled between two houses, one of the two being the house of the Martin family, the parents of St. Theresa, a house that is possible to visit. It is also the birthplace of the Future Saint . The Chapel is built between 1925 and 1928. It obviously gives access to the house of Martin. We see a room from the chapel. The place is obviously dedicated to the Holy One, died of tuberculosis at 24 years old! . One of the walls is covered with an impressive cloak of ex-voto. The altar and its beautiful altarpiece are contemporary creations. The Chapel was built on an annex house purchase by the Bishop of Sees to created it next to the house where she was born. 52 rue Blaize is her native house, next the Chapel is at 54 Rue Blaize.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and worth the detour for its historical value at least are:

The Orne dept 61 tourist office on the native house in French:

The official webpage of her parents

The official Religious Heritage of Saint Thérése de Lisieux from the Orne dept 61

The official Sanctuary towns on Alençon:

The city of Alençon on its heritage:

The Alençon tourist office on the religious heritage

So , there you have it. A full package to make your visit to Alençon a wonderful happy one! This is worth the detour for the significance of its monuments and the history of the Martin’s family which is all over. Of course, if religious than it is a must to be here, one of the best of France! Hope you enjoy the brief tour.

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

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April 24, 2021

Church Saint Leonard and al. at Alençon!

And on my road warrior trips in nearby Normandy I finally came to Alençon and it was a hit with the family. Nice town full of wonderful monuments, some of them will briefly explain here as well as the nice Church of Saint Leonard. Hope you enjoy the tour,and again thanks for reading me over the years! 

I take you to Alénçon in the Orne dept 61 of Normandie. Many times passed by in my road warrior rides and finally an up close and personal meeting, very nice indeed as what else isn’t it in my belle France.  Let me tell you a bit about a nice church in a very nice historical district of a very nice Norman city of Alençon, that is the Church Saint Leonard.

As we went into our parking in place Foch just by the Hôtel de Ville, Palais de Justice etc, we walk along rue du Maréchal Lattre de Tassigny until the junction with the Grande Rue and look right you see  the Church Saint Leonard quite opportune for a visit.



This is the historic district of the city not to be missed. Its cobbled streets and buildings are a unique testimony of Alençon in the Middle Ages. Throughout the walks, you will come to see the Church Saint-Léonard, the Maison des sept colonnes (House of the Seven Columns) , Maison à l’étal (house at the stall). You also have to have eyes in the air because the area has many balconies carved in wrought iron. The Pont de Sarthe (Sarthe river bridge), located a few steps from the old hospital, is a pleasant place to stroll and offers nice views. It is also a lively area with its bars and restaurants.



The Church Saint Léonard came under the term of Saint-Léonard de Noblac. It is of flamboyant Gothic style; It was built from 1489 by Duke René, second Duke of Alençon, and then by his widow Marguerite of Lorraine in the early 16C. Its Martin tower dating from the 12C is the base of the tower-steeple; It was deeply remodelled following the collapse of the vaults of the nave in 1645. The Church underwent several restorations in the 17-18C before being refurbished in the 19C. It is at the Place Marguerite de Lorraine,Alençon.  The Church has an elongated plan composed of a nave and two aisles. Flat bedside; presence of a 16C style steeple. Attached to the castle of the Dukes, the Church was then used as a private Chapel.



A bit of history I like

The relics of Saint Leonard, who died in 570, were transported in 868 to Corbigny by the monks of Vandœuvre to preserve them from the Normans. Some of them were undoubtedly returned to 1025 thanks to the second Lord of Alençon, Guillaume I, and deposited in an ancient chapel dedicated to Saint Martin located on the site of the present St. Leonard’s Church. This saint is often invoked to cure deafness. A first Saint-Léonard Church, attested between 1160 and 1182, was probably built very close to St. Martin’s Oratory. This disappeared in the middle of the 13C in forgotten circumstances, but parish life remained concentrated in the Chapel until the end of the 15C. It is on the latter that the present church, in the tertiary ogival style and inside in flamboyant Gothic, is elevated by the Duke René of Alençon and his wife Marguerite de Lorraine.

The bulk of the work ranged from 1490 to 1505 and it was that same year that the building was placed under the term of Saint Léonard de Noblac, a character then more in vogue than Saint Léonard de Vandœuvre. On the stained glass windows of one of the eleven lateral chapels, which was for some time dedicated to Louis IX, ancestor of the Earls and Alençonnais dukes, and on the walls, were the coats of arms of the Houses of Alençon and Lorraine, now extinct. It was in this chapel that the Duchess and the Duke attended the office and in which a chimney that no longer existed was built for them. After René ‘s death, his heart is deposited in a box of lead, itself shaped as a heart, covered with a stone. When at about 1510, René ‘s heart was transferred to the Church of Saint-François de Mortagne, the empty box was left in his vault. In 1776, the stone, which also bears the imprint of a heart, is removed, then put back in its place, and this impression, erased by the friction of the feet, no longer exists than in memory. At Easter 1645, the granite vault of Hertré crumbles. Replaced by a simple cradle of plaster, it was only in 1836 that a new vault of Gothic style was built. The main door is arranged in 1663 and the clock is laid in 1727.

Until 1789, this Church Saint Leonard did not possessed baptismal fonts. The altar and the carved wooden pulpit, two side consoles and some modern stained glass windows for the most part, deserve the attention of the visitor. The main façade, which was probably never completed, is thought to have been doubled by a polygonal porch, like in Notre-Dame. The last church work dates from 1897, with the reconstruction of Saint-Fiacre Chapel, in the south side aisle. The western facade houses an unframed door; it is flanked by two buttresses on the left, and an internal staircase and a buttress on the right. The north and south gutter walls have two elevation levels: the first is pierced by four bays and flanked by four buttresses, the second is pierced by six bays. The bedside has two levels of elevation: the first pierced with small windows and the second with clocks. Above the apse is the bell tower.

The city of Alençon on its heritage:

My information is from history brochures, visit to the church, and the local tourist office for a much love of history many times overlook or bypass for many reasons. The Church of St Leonard is worth a detour if not just to walk among its medieval district of Alençon. Hope you enjoy it.

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

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April 23, 2021

The galerie des Carrosses, Versailles!!

And back again to my beloved Versailles, never to forget the wonderful family times we had there while living in the city for almost 9 years. One of the emblematic places of course was the palace but there are many things in it and around the city to see. One place that was renovated and back open is the galerie des Carrosses where the coaches that carry the nobility of Versailles is kept just across from the palace. Let me bring you and me back to this beautiful monument.

This is part of the Chateau de Versailles but apart in a separate building across the street so maybe you go for the nice horse show and by pass this beauty just back open to the public not far back. I was here before they renovated it as Versailles has so much more than the palace. I told you so!  The new galerie des Carrosses or Gallery of Coaches/carriages is a wonderful place indeed. One place on my list to be back when possible ,and to take more pictures as like i said living and visiting are two different things. The galerie des carrosses is in the Grande Ecurie or Great stables of the king across from the palace.

The galerie des Carrosses or Gallery of coaches-formerly Museum of Carriages (until 2006) is done as a museum which presents a collection of coaches mainly from the 19C.  It is attached to the public establishment of the palace, the museum and the Domaine de Versailles and housed in the Grand Ecurie across from the palace.

A bit of history I like

After the carriages were dispersed during the revolutionary period, and selling at the end of the French revolution, this museum was created by King Louis-Philippe I in 1833 when he decided to transform Versailles into a museum of All the glories of France (and therefore saving the palace and dependencies from demolition!!!). It is then installed in the Grand Trianon, in a small building. The first museum of the Trianon opened its doors to the public in 1851.

Both Museum of the history of France and Salon of Automobile of the 18-19C, the gallery of coaches presents the most beautiful prototypes and the latest advances of the French bodywork in terms of comfort, performance and technique as well as traction, suspension, and first cut convertible.  The collection consists mainly as said of 19C vehicles with sedan and gala cars of the imperial Court of Napoleon I, the funeral chariot of Louis XVIII; and the carriage of the coronation of Charles X. The museum has only a few vehicles dating from the old regime (monarchy) with the sedan of the Dauphin Louis de France chairs with carriers and six sleds. The coaches of the gallery are the creations of the best artists and artisans of luxury of the court: architects, carpenter, saddler-bodywork, shimmerer, locksmith, bronzier, chaser, gilder, melter, painter, plasterer, trimmers, and knitters.etc.


In 1978, the collection at the Museum of the Carriages or wagons of Trianon, built in 1851, was moved to the Grande Ecurie. In 1985, the Museum of Carriages was opened to the public. In 2007, the Museum of Carriages closed its doors for the expansion work. In 2016, the museum is open again to the public. the Gallery of Coaches or La Galerie des Carrosses in the Grande Ecurie is the new name.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Château de Versailles on the galerie des Carrosses

The Versailles tourist office on the galerie des Carrosses

Hope you enjoy it with the family lots of nice wagon/coaches and even more history in them.  The galerie des Carrosses is worth the detour in Versailles, one more reason it takes more than one day to see it all!!

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

April 23, 2021

Rue de la Paroisse in Versailles!!

So this was one of favorite walks in Versailles from the time living there to when I later visited. Walking give you a different dimension seeing a city and get to know it up close and personal. This Versailles is personal to me more so than a tourist spot. I like to walk you again thru the streets of Versailles, and this time take you to the Rue de la Paroisse!!


A bit on some of the more personal and remarkable streets of the city of Versailles. A genuine effort to bring you out of the palace to the off the beaten paths, and fully enjoy this royal magnificent city.  I will tell you a bit on my main street where I drove/walked and spent most of my time in the city, this is the rue de la Paroisse. Other than been a hugely commercial street with all commodities walking distance from me and near the marvelous Notre Dame market; well there is the hugely historical ,royal and magnificent district church, Notre Dame Collegiate Church of Versailles (see post).

Notre-Dame is my old district of Versailles, department 78 of Yvelines, in the Ïle de France region of France. The district is located north of the axis of the palace by the Avenue de Paris, and takes its name from the Church of Notre-Dame the old parish of the palace. This is the first district, built during the creation of the new city under Louis XIV. It includes the theater Montansier opened in 1777, the museum Lambinet, the hotel of the Bailif which housed the local court under the old regime-today the heart of the picturesque district of antique dealers-and still has the most commercial streets in Versailles; like the Rue de la Paroisse.   Really, here I got all my living needs with the market Notre Dame (see post but one for the memories) nearby so it was very sedentary life in the beautiful city.


A bit of architecture and history I like

The rue de la Paroisse is an old street from the east to the west. It takes its name from the Notre-Dame parish from 1686 to 1793, then again from 1806. Filled with the sandy terrains of the hill of Montbauron under king Louis XIV.

The remarkable buildings on the odd numbers side are at no 1 the location of the trough removed with the drying of the Clagny pond from 1770, then land acquired by Soufflot architect of the Pantheon. At no 7a the house of the lawyer Albert Joly in 1869. at no 11 the Hôtel Pièche from the beginning of the 18C with facade ornaments of the late 19C (Jean-Joseph Pièche was a musician from the King’s chamber. See the dogs seated and the garlands of flowers carved between the windows. He would have seen Rameau and Boucher passed). It was restored between the two wars. At nos 3-5-7-7 bis-11-21 are facades of houses established in the 18C. At no 15 there is a house with the sign of the royal mark in the 18C; at no 32 there is a 19C cast-iron balcony guardrail, at no 35, this is it the Notre-Dame Collegiale Church created in 1686. at no 37-39-41 lies the former house of the mission of Notre-Dame from 1686; Order founded by Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. At no 43 the house of Dionis surgeon of king Louis XIV, at no 49 the house of Félix de Tassy, surgeon of king Louis XIV ; at no 53 the Hôtel de Bretagne, house of Guy Fagon, surgeon of king Louis XIV , at no 63 the House of the Grande Fontaine, by the name of Fontaine the public works contractor who lived there under king Louis XIV, at no 79 the building at the sign of the Rising Sun, the birth house of the poet Jean-François Ducis.

On the even numbers side the remarkable buildings are at no 2 and 4 the House of the Caretakers built under king Louis XVI. At no. 4 lived Joseph-Adrien Le Roi, head of Clinic at the hospice and historian of the Streets of Versailles in 1860. At no 6-6 bis 8-10, the Hôtel de Soissons stable of the Dauphine mother of Louis XVI, then Hôtel de Berry belonging to the Count of Provence. At no 28 the Restaurant of the Count of Toulouse. At no 32 by 1811, owned by the wife of Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire , zoologist at the Natural History Museum. At no 14 or 15 the charitable home of Madame de Maintenon, rebuilt in 1772. At no 108 ,the former property of Jean-Baptiste Faugeron, geographer of the Ministry of War who had the two balconies built in 1783, bearing his initials and the motto “Fidem Fortuna Coronat” or fortune rewards loyalty . At no 110, a 19C cast iron balcony guardrail. At no 112 it was in 1734 the Auberge Au Roi Charlemagne; a cabaret.

The Versailles tourist office on the Notre Dame district which inclus the rue de la Paroisse:

If you are curious to know more of this district and the streets in it visit the maison de quartier at 7, rue Sainte Sophie. Easy walk out of palace by the Chapel into Rue des Réservoirs continue until Bd de la Reine, take a right here, continue until rue Sainte Sophie take a right here until the house at about 150 meters on your left hand side.


Really a lovely street not to lived on it but just side of it was a wonderful experience indeed, and great memories. I hope you enjoy the post on the rue de la Paroisse as much as I reliving it, and provide some curiosity to come over and walk it when possible again, the beautiful Versailles.

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

April 23, 2021

Rue des Reservoirs in Versailles!!

So this was one of favorite walks in Versailles from the time living there to when I later visited. Walking give you a different dimension seeing a city and get to know it up close and personal. This Versailles is personal to me more so than a tourist spot. I like to walk you again thru the streets of Versailles, and this time take you to the Rue des Réservoirs!! 

I take you to one very near the palace/museum, but still in my old Notre Dame district. This is a very historical street, famous for its aqueducts which you can still see today if now all is underground. I am talking about the street of Rue des Réservoirs.

Notre-Dame was my old district of Versailles, department 78 of Yvelines, in the Ïle de France region. The district is located north of the axis of the palace by the Avenue de Paris, and takes its name from the Church of Notre-Dame the old parish of the palace. This is the first district, built during the creation of the new city under Louis XIV. It includes the theater Montansier opened in 1777, the museum Lambinet, the hotel of the Bailif which housed the local court under the old regime-today the heart of the picturesque district of antique dealers-and still has the most commercial streets in Versailles; like the Rue des Réservoirs. Really, here I got all my living needs with the market Notre Dame nearby so it was very sedentary life in the beautiful city. Of course, the sights above have their post in my blog.


Close to the Palace of Versailles, and having a south-north axis from it, the Rue des Réservoirs is located north of the palace and is on a section of the road RN 186, from the crossing of rue Carnot to the place Gambetta. It takes its name from the large reservoirs built to power the basins and water games of the Domaine de Versailles, reservoirs now extinct. The current reservoirs of the opera that were along the street were built after the creation of the Rue des Réservoirs.

On the apparent wall of these réservoirs were backed by 3 houses (at no 3, 5 and 7) which were demolished in the first half of the 19C. At no 11, where the Hotel du Garde-Meuble was then built, were initially wells which communicated by aqueducts with the Clagny pond located at the bottom of the rue des Réservoirs. Four covered pumps then lifted the water from the sumps to the reservoirs and fed the basins of the domaine. Later, a bit higher on the street, at the location of the Hôtel des Réservoirs was built a hexagonal tower to house a new sump surmounted by a strong hydraulic pump called the water tower. This was intended to feed the reservoir of the Tethys Cave built above it and thus higher than the 3 initial reservoirs fed by the other 4 sumps. The cave was destroyed a few years later, in 1686 to give way to the new Chapel of the palace.


Later, in 1752 , king Louis XV built for Madame de Pompadour on this site a particular hotel, called Hôtel de Pompadour or Hôtel des Réservoirs, connected to the castle by a covered corridor along the wall of the reservoir beside the park. In 1765, it was to house the Governor of Versailles. During the 19C this hotel became a luxury hotel that will house one of the most famous restaurants in the city. It saw itself adding two floors at the beginning of the 20C. Now extinct. In 1774, the land located at present No. 11, formerly occupied by the 4 pumps and houses of caretakers, was given by Monsieur, (Louis XVIII) the brother of King Louis XVI, to Thierry de D’Avray, Commissioner-General of the House of the King responsible for the storage/stocks of the Crown. This was then Hôtel de Conti, judged too far from the palace and too narrow (today the City/town Hall of Versailles); the works began in 1780 and the hotel of the storage was completed in 1783. It also had the advantage of being able to use the covered corridor connecting the castle to the Hôtel de Pompadour, located just next door. In 1778, it was built, at present No 2, the large buildings that surround the body of the middle. At this location was under king Louis XIV, the Hôtel de Louvois, a hotel occupied under king Louis XV by the Governor of Versailles which earned him his name as a government hotel. Under the Empire, the military staff of Versailles and the engineering administration settled there, in 1816, the building became a dependency of the palace before being re-used by the army in 1830. In 1855, the town built sidewalks and planted two rows of trees in what was then, off avenues, one of the widest streets of Versailles, between 32 and 38 meters. It then had a length of 481 meters.

In the Rue des Réservoirs, the numbering starts south of the street, the pairs number are to the East, the odd numbers to the West. The remarkable buildings here are

Reservoirs of the castle, at no 2-4, Hotel du government, former hotel of Louvois built in 1672, renovated by Heurtier in 1778; At no 6, hotel Ecquevilly; at no. 7-9, Hotel des Reservoirs or Hôtel de Pompadour; at no 8, Hotel de Serent, at no 11, Hotel du Garde-meuble which served as a storage of the castle and then housed the prefecture of Seine-et-Oise (current Yvelines) from 1800 to 186. At no 15, Théâter of Montansier, present Municipal Theater of Versailles. At no 19 (at the intersection with the rue de la Paroisse ),the building where Ferdinand de Lesseps was born in 1805. At no 21, the house where Blaise de Jouvencel lived , former mayor of Versailles. At no 22, Hôtel de Condé, built in 1679 and raised in the 19C, where lived and died Jean de La Bruyère, and was born the General Gaspard Gourgaud , Napoléon’s biographer, and lived a few years from 1950 the writer Maurice Martin du Gard. And at no 27 (at the intersection with the Boulevard de la Reine), a building where the painter Henri-Eugène le Sidaner lived.


The Versailles tourist office on the Notre Dame district includes the Rue des Réservoirs:

If you are curious to know more of this district and the streets in it visit the maison de quartier at 7, rue Sainte Sophie. Easy walk out of palace by the Chapel into Rue des Réservoirs continue until Bd de la Reine, take a right here, continue until rue Sainte Sophie take a right here until the house at about 150 meters on your left hand side.

There you go something to spent your good times in marvelous Versailles, a must I say to get a picture of France, Paris is not enough, and Versailles is a must. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

April 23, 2021

Church Saint Nicolas of Blois!

And here I go revising updating these wonderful posts of my previoius travels; all bringing back great lovely memories of my family. This time I bring you back to royal and lovely Blois and one of its emblematic monument, the Church Saint Nicolas of Blois!!!

The country of France is awesome, no wonder is No 1 visited country in the world since 1949 according to the WTO-UN studies. I like to bring you to an area of much fanfare and visits very popular and one of its most emblematic castle. Oh did I say castle, well that was another post. The city of Blois is loaded with goodies to see and do, and I like to bring you up to date with the Church Saint Nicolas of Blois.

Saint-Nicolas-Saint-Laumer Church is located in Blois, department of Loir-et-Cher no 41 ,in the Centre-Val de Loire region of my belle France. It was originally the abbey church of a monastery built in the 12C. It takes the name of the founder of this abbey, Saint Laumer. Its construction began in the 12C. The choir, the transept and the first span of the nave are built from 1138 to 1186. The Church is finished at the beginning of the 13C. The Church is in the Middle Ages an important place of pilgrimage. It is indeed home to several relics: Saint Lubin, Saint Laumer, Holy Mary the Egyptian and a fragment of the Cross of Christ.

A bit of history I like

The Church of St. Nicolas as said dates back to the 12C. Fleeing the Vikings, Benedictine monks from the monastery of Corbion in the Perche area, find refuge in Blois in 924. In the 12C, they built a monastery there. Their abbey church will be the Church of Saint-Laumer, the name of the founder of their first monastery. And from this founder, they took away the relics. The real name of St. Nicholas is thus Saint-Laumer. From 1138 to 1186, the first part of Saint-Laumer was built: choir, transept and first span of the nave. The remainder was completed at the beginning of the next century. With the wars of Religion, the church was damaged by the Protestants and the abbey destroyed. The latter was rebuilt in the 17-18C. At the French revolution, Saint-Laumer became the Hôtel-Dieu (hospital).

In the Middle Ages, the Church was an important place of pilgrimage to the relics it houses: Saint Lubin, Saint Laumer, Holy Mary the Egyptian and a fragment of the Cross of Christ. The pilgrimage to Saint Marcou will take shape in the French revolution. The Church of Saint-Nicolas is a magnificent Romanesque church: the three levels of elevation of the nave are of flawless purity, the interior architecture of the transepts is very harmonious. In the ambulatory and the radiant chapels, the contemporary stained-glass windows create a unique atmosphere, bathed in a yellow or blue light, peculiar to meditation.  When you see the Church from the left bank of the Loire river , it is almost taken for a building of the 19C with two towers on the façade, a steeple above the crossroads of the transept, the sober walls, combining rigour and robustness as thus worked the Benedictines monks.

A bit on the description of the Church Saint Nicolas of Blois.

At the front façade to the right you see on the main gate built between 1186 and 1120. The archivolt consists of three character covings. Originally, the gate was surrounded by six statues, now extinct. On the left, the majestic nave gives an impression of grandeur. That the narrowness of the spans still accentuates. Everything is coordinated so that the prayers rise to the sky without hindrance.  The western façade is like no other: The three gates are dissimilar and surmounted by an elegant gallery of arches that stretches over the entire width of the façade.


The choir of St. Nicolas in all its Romanesque purity. The semi-circular apse is supported by six pillars with marquees. The second level consists of blind arches in broken arc, while the third one receives five windows of Max Ingrand in large openings. The stained glass windows at the Abbey Saint-Nicolas , in the aftermath WWII, the stained glass windows of St. Nicholas Church are to be rebuilt. From 1947, the iconographic programme of the new canopies was established with the agreement of the Religious Art commission of the Diocese of Blois. It will pay homage to the patron Saints of the Church/abbey, to those who had relics, without forgetting the coats of arms of the abbots of the Blésoises abbeys. In 1968, the nave was completed.



The Chapel of Saint-Laumer is the chapel of the baptismal font. The Chapel of the Virgin replaced, in the 14C by an ancient Romanesque chapel. The beautiful sculpture of the Assumption dating from 1672, which stands out in a very happy way on the unfigurative stained glass of the Chevalier, and the Dome of St. Nicholas is an architectural curiosity. It is adorned with niches housing-in theory-statues of Saints or Bishops. Its eight warheads converge towards the central Oculus. Since it has only four openings, it is quite dark.



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The tourist office of Blois Chambord on the Church Saint Nicolas of Blois

The regional tourist office of the Loire Valley on the Church Saint Nicolas of Blois:

Hope you enjoy this Church Saint Nicolas, one of the best religious monuments in Blois, me think. Fully enjoy Blois.

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

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