Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

April 30, 2019

In memoriam my sweet Frenchie!

It is already one year but the pain still there. Missed my Frenchie!


As my blog is part of my life history and all the wonderful travels done with my family and alone throughout the years, I have a very sad news to tell all ,and make part of my blog.

I have no words as this is just been communicated to me by the doctors . My wife of 27,5 wonderful super years have passed away at Chubert Hospital in Vannes. It is a very sad moment for me but writing here is a soothing relief of the great pain I am going thru. We had 3 wonderful young men who are very close to her and me and we are hanging in there and we will survive together. My father still alive at 82 is with us.

The French family has call they are coming  ,and received condolances even from some not heard lately but in these times is when the…

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April 16, 2019

The grand lady Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris

This is my first post historical only on Notre Dame de Paris. Here is a list of what is save most and not.
What was save.
The relics of the passion of Christ; The Crown of thorns is the most precious relic preserved in Notre Dame. According to Christian tradition, she was laid on the head of Jesus with his crucifixion. Besides the Holy Crown, Notre-Dame preserves two other relics of the passion of Christ: a piece of the cross and a nail of the passion, which could be saved. The tunic of St. Louis the white adornment of King St. Louis was evacuated from the Cathedral at the beginning of the fire, as was the discipline of St. Louis. The 16 copper statues that adorned the great arrow of Notre-Dame, now destroyed, were withdrawn four days before the fire. They are currently in a safe place in Périgueux, where they are being restored. These representations of the twelve apostles and the four evangelists, Matthew, mark, Luke and John, date back to the great restoration conducted by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 1860’s.

The topping of an altar and several elements of an altar were taken out of the Inferno: six candlesticks, two candleholders, a Korean Holy Martyr, a Virgin and child. The two towers and the large stained glass window of the South façade were spared by the fire. The North and South rosettes, the two largest, are 13 metres in diameter. They are represented in medallions, prophets, Saints, Angels, Kings, scenes of the life of Saints, etc. The three rosettes present in their center, respectively, the Virgin, the child Jesus and the Christ in Majesty. The cross of the altar of Notre-Dame,

Some minor damage were the great organ saved, but the organ was not burned in the fire that ravaged the building, but its structure could suffer damage inflicted by the smoke. The small organ, which was under the arrow was damaged by the fire .

What was destroyed . Done between 1630 and 1707, the Corporation of the Parisian goldsmiths offered every May 1 a canvas to the Cathedral. On these 76 “large Mays “, 13 are today presented in the different chapels of the nave. “There are four very large ones, notably a Laurent de la Hyre, who a priori are destroyed.

What has been destroyed the arrow, the rooster, and its relics . The arrow had already been reconstituted by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the 19C. Three relics were nestled in the Rooster perched on the arrow: a parcel of the Holy Crown of thorns, a relic of Saint-Denis and one of St. Genevieve.

The “forest ” is lost , the roof was erase by the flames. This ensemble, of which most of the elements date from the 13C is one of the most beautiful structures in France. For architectural historians, it is a considerable loss of a heritage that tells a story and a know-how of artisans, sometimes from father to son.

The Minister of Culture has indicated that the “major parts” of Notre Dame treasure are safe at the safe of the City/Town Hall of Paris.

She will be back already 400M euros raised and counting!!!


There is another monument that brings the most crowds, but if there is one that identify the soul of Paris,France the most is the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. All the major events in history has gone by it or thru it,and one cannot possibly come to Paris without stopping for a visit here. Its a must.

The most you need are the specific sites for information on the Cathedral as the main site Cathédrale de Paris, 6, parvis Notre-Dame, 75004;Tel +33 01 42 34 56 10.the access is free and to visit the treasure of it is only 3€ everday from 7h35 to 18h main webpage– . The treasure by the southside of the choir on a narrow entry built by Viollet le Duc in 1850 houses amongst other things the passion relics,the palatine cross with fragments of the true cross of Christ, the linen shirt of…

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March 31, 2019

Île de Ré and Saint Martin de Ré!

So lets bring you back out to the coast and even beyond to an island off the mainland of France. Lovely place it reminds me of my favorite islands in a time far away now, but always nice to come back to the roots. island boy,beach bum you name it the thrills are huge! I have written on it in a general sense before in my blog.

However, as usual running with so much to see feel that I need to detail the most important monuments to see according to me lol! This is lovely ïle de Ré or Re island and the main capital city is Saint Martin de Ré. 

Brief introduction to the ïle de Ré:

The Île de Ré is the fourth largest island of metropolitan France, behind Corsica, the island of Oléron and Belle-Ile island (Morbihan 56!) It is located in the dept 17 of the Charente-Maritime in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. The historic center of the island is Saint-Martin-de-Ré, which forms with the neighboring town of La Flotte the urban unit of the Flotte. The island of Ré is separated from the mainland by the Pertuis Breton and is located north of the islands of Aix, Oléron, Madame and Nôle, and the forts Boyard, d’Enet and Louvois located in the Pertuis of Antioch to the South. Since 1988, it is connected to the mainland by the Pont de Île de Ré or island of Re bridge. Touristic wise, the island is nicknamed “Ré la Blanche” or Re the White one because of the characteristic hue of its traditional houses.

We move on to the inner city of Saint Martin de Ré ,visiting the Church of Saint Martin, with gothic ruins from Normans invasions  in the middle of the high city to be seen from the harbor. Today the oldest part dates from the 15C  on the walls on both sides of the high towers in ruins.  The belltower has a square tower and has three bells.

saint martin de re

saint martin de re

The parish Church of Saint-Martin in Saint-Martin-de-Ré still stands in Gothic ruins in the heart of the city. Raved repeatedly by the conflicts, it was eventually rebuilt more modestly in the 17-18C, reusing what remained of the Gothic edifice.

The origins of the city and the Church of Saint Martin are poorly known, although the fact that the two were destroyed by the Normans is quite probable. It is known however with certainty that in the 11C, the parish was given in the Puy-en-Velay chapter by the Count of Poitou. The canons will retain the parish until the 16C. However, there remains no vestige of the 11C Romanesque church. However this church was to be ruined less than a century later. The island of Ré, predominantly Protestant, was put to sack by the latter in 1586 during their disputes over the territory against the Catholics. The Church collapses in large part: only the base of the walls of the nave and the lateral chapels and the high walls of the transept, preserved because of their military importance, have been fortified.

saint martin de re

In the 17C the cult was able to resume in the devastated the Church  of Saint Martin after the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants. In 1629, the reconstruction work that was said to begin lasted for several years. But the Church was again ravaged in 1696 during the bombardment of the stronghold of Saint-Martin-de-Ré by a fleet consisting of English and Dutch ships. On the first day of the year 1774 the Bell Tower collapses, dragging with it a part of the vaults. It was then decided to rebuild the building by reversing the orientation of the choir: steeple to the East, chorus now to the West. At the French revolution, the cult is momentarily closed. The Bell Tower now serves as a panoramic terrace on the city and its surroundings.

saint martin de re

The oldest parts date from the 15C, these are the walls of the two cross-crosses of the transept, still in elevation, with a path of round and endowed with their portals to the mutilated statuary. There are also the chapels of the present Choir ,and those of the South side of the medieval church. One can also see a window of flamboyant style and today obstructed gutted on the North wall. The steeple formed by a square Tower is now visitable and contains three imposing bells: Marie Thérèse (the largest ring ); Charles Catherine , and Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine , the smallest one.

saint martin de re

Chapel in memory of priests killed by the French revolution

The parish of Ile de Re on the Church in French

Tourist office of the Ile de Re on the Church

The Citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a military work built from 1690 to protect the island of Ré. It is one of the main historical monuments of the city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. In 1873 it was transformed into a depot for the regrouping of prisoners destined to be sent to the Bagnes and was for 65 years (from 1873 to 1938), the only point of grouping of convicts to forced labour, before their departure, by boat (the Loire, or La Martinière), towards the prison of French Guyana or the prison of New Caledonia.

saint martin de re

A first Citadel was built in 1625 which was destroyed in 1628. It was rebuilt by Vauban and François Ferry from 1681 until the end of the 17C, following the siege of La Rochelle. It protects La Rochelle and Rochefort from the English invasions. In the 18C, access bridges were rebuilt. In the 20C, buildings were built for prisoners.

saint martin de re

The Citadel served many years as a gathering place for the convicts who were leaving for the Bagnes of New Caledonia and Guyana. It was then transformed into a penitentiary, a Central House still active. The visit of the ramparts west side of the city and on the entire waterfront is possible with the porte de La Flotte, currently Porte Thoiras . And the Porte de la Couarde, currently the Porte de  Campani.

saint martin de re

With 485 places, the penitentiary of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is the most important Central House in France, and the prison administration, the main employer of the island . In 1958, the Thoiras barracks of the Penitentiary Center was reserved for Algerian prisoners. It is a case, undoubtedly unique in France and Europe, of a prison located in the heart of a renowned tourist area, in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and of which a part of the infrastructures is classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO!

saint martin de re

Tourist office of Ile de Re on the citadel

Official site of Vauban fortifications on the Citadel of Saint Martin de Re

There you go something to get you over the island, car is king and the ride over the bridge is awesome. Once in the towns walking is best. Again for public transports see the tourist office here: Tourist office on public transports in the Ile de Re

Hope you have enjoy the post and thank you again for stopping by. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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January 6, 2019

Church of Saint Leonard, Alençon!

And moving away from more familiar surrounding and in the ever increasing thirst for new things in my belle France I take you to Alénçon in Normandy. 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 building in a very nice historical district of a very nice Norman city of Alençon, that is the Church of 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 St Leonard’s Church.

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 of 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.





Saint-Léonard Church at Alençon in the department of Orne 61 in the Normandy region The Church is 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. In 1562, the Church was plundered by the Protestants. 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 will depend on Notre Dame and shall not possess 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 Church of Saint-Léonard, restored in the 17-18C, then entirely refurbished in the 19C.

Not much to show the visitor other than in Catholic religious webpages such as the parrish Church at Alençon, info in French here: Parrish of Notre Dame d’Alençon see St Leonard

My information is from history texts that I keep in my library 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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