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November 3, 2020

Fougéres and its castle!!!

Well ,well how about this find. As I am heavy into revising old posts with update text and some new photos, I came into a post on Fougéres. And behold, I could not find any post on the castle fortress there! To my surprise! Therefore, this is a new post and new photos in my blog. Hope you enjoy it.  Fougéres in itself is nice as many other posts on it here but now I give you the Château de Fougéres!

Briefly, Fougères is a sub-prefecture of Ille-et-Vilaine,dept 35 in the region of Bretagne. It is located in the Marches de Bretagne in the northeast of the department of Ille-et-Vilaine. The city is about 300 km from Paris, 50 km from Rennes,  47 km from Mont-Saint-Michel,  75 km from Saint-Malo, and about 180 km from my house! I passed by it many times on the road N12 going from Brest to Paris via Rennes and Alençon with no tolls! My favorite way to Paris. Of course, once in a while do go into town.

Fougères is historically, since the arrival of Latin in Armorica, in territory of practice of Gallo (a latinized language) in which it is called Foujerr. However Breton has never been spoken in the country of Fougères which is outside the traditional area of ​​dissemination of the Breton language yet entrance panels of the agglomeration have been installed there for several years. The town has been classified as a city of art and history since 1985. It is home to 24 historical monuments and 87 inventoried buildings of France.

The Château de Fougéres at Place Pierre Symon is one of the most imposing French fortified castles, occupying an area of ​​two hectares, and constituting a medieval ensemble from the 12C to the 15C. The castle is built on the naturally protected site of a rock emerging from the swamp surrounded by a loop of the Nançon river, a tributary of the Couesnon (famous for MSM), acting as a natural moat.


The first fortified castle which belonged in the 11C to the Fougères family was ruined in 1166 after the siege of Henri II Plantagenêt. It is dismantled and its dungeon razed. Raoul II rebuilt it around 1173. Raoul III pays homage from Fougères to king Louis IX (Saint Louis). Pierre de Dreux, known as Mauclerc, seized Fougères by surprise in 1231 but Louis IX, at the head of his army, came to retake the city. Raoul III was Louis IX’s comrade in arms during the Seventh Crusade and died in 1256.

Jean de Montfort, Duke of Brittany, settled there but Du Guesclin seized Fougères which returned it to Pierre II d’Alençon in 1373. In 1428, Jean II d’Alençon sold the Château de Fougères to the Duke of Brittany to pay his ransom. By this time, the fortifications are further increased, in particular by Peter II in the 15C. The castle has two squat towers, the “Françoise” and the “Tourasse”. In 1488, La Trémoille, lieutenant general of the Royal armies, took the castle in a week despite a defense made up of 3,000 men and the King of France left a garrison in Fougères once it was attached to the kingdom of France, in 1491. The Duke of Mercœur, governor of Brittany, lead in rebellion against Henri III, seized the castle on March 28, 1588 and took refuge there.

in 1793, the Château de Fougéres was taken by the Chouans and the Vendéens (fighting in the wars of the West against the French revolution) . The 14C main logis-home was destroyed around 1810. In October 1828, Honoré de Balzac stayed several weeks in Fougères with Gilbert de Pommereul. He visited the castle and the entire region to draw inspiration from it for his novel Les Chouans, published in 1829. Victor Hugo, in Quatrevingt-Treize (1879), was inspired by the Mélusine tower which he describes at length : it is Hugo’s “Tourgue”, “a high and wide tower, with six floors, pierced here and there by a few loopholes, having for entry and for only exit an iron door giving on a bridge-châtelet”. On the ground is the gate through which is visible the famous dungeon, sometimes a prison, sometimes a pantry. It was especially used in 2018 for a video parodying the Harry Potter saga!

A bit about the castle architecture I like

In the Château de Fougéres, the first towers are square and certainly have a defensive role, but a passive one; the circular towers allow the defenders not to fear blind spots during shots; the horseshoe towers cleverly protect the bases of the towers and give enough clearance to archers and crossbowmen. The ramparts are very well preserved and form three enclosures. If the stately logis-home is in ruins, the towers still rise with majesty. Some can be visited: the square tower of La Haye-Saint-Hilaire 12C which gives access to the lower yard, the Raoul tower 15C, the Mélusine tower 14C and the Hallay tower. The entrance gatehouse is defended by the Mélusine and Gobelins towers. The entry and Coigny towers date from the end of the 12C. In the 15C, the Amboise tower (poterne), then the Raoul and Surienne towers complete the fortifications.



At the entrance, there is a quadruple watermill whose wheels were restored in 2013 and still work; one of them runs an electric generator. This mill is located below the concierge desk. The Château de Fougéres is completely remodeled and fitted out to become the entrance to the castle, thus accommodating the ticket office, the shop, a projection room, and an educational space. Access to the west curtain allows you to observe the upper town. In 1892, the town of Fougères bought the castle from the Pommereul family and began its restorations as you see them today.



The city of Fougéres on the castle and its heritage:

The official Château de Fougéres webpage:

The Fougéres tourist office on the castle:

There now I feel much better, a wonderful monument in my lovely Bretagne is fully showcase in my blog, for the memories, for the history for all to enjoy it. Hope you do get to visit Fougéres and go straight to the Château de Fougéres!

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

October 24, 2020

My memorable restaurants in France!!!

Well I would like to talk about dining in the rest of France ,outside my current living area of Morbihan Bretagne. This is an updated old post done when I started blogging but many moons have passed and need to update. My initial post was in 2011!

I need to do some catch up so will list the ones that have remained memorable for me and my family and some repeat. It is a difficult task as there are so many good ones here, food is king or queen, and choices are endless. However, I will again dare to give my choices; hoping they will become yours in the years to come.

A bit of the ways that never change. The French follow a light breakfast, continental style , and lately some yogourt, are thrown in there. Sometimes you see heavier placing but this is only in tourist places or buffet style. Lunch is the main meal of the day, heavy and hearty, usually between 12h-15h where you need to be there on time or be square, place is closed or chef is out having lunch! Then dinner starts by 19h in most cases onwards to about 23h generally speaking. I know in some places nice folks have stay open for me until 01h00 when gathering with a group, but most like to leave by 23h and in some chains they stay until midnite 00h00, this is a lighter meal than lunch, but sometime hard to distinguish the two. Sundays lunch is our big gastronomic time, and we either go out or cook a big meal at home. More and more places are opening with Brunch , with one price all you can eat.

There are many places where you can eat in France, these are call auberge, hostellerie, relais (all a coaching inn or alternative to restaurant); a bar, a bistro,a cabaret or boite de nuit, brasserie, cafe, buffet , restaurant,hotels, pizzerias,libre-service (cafeteria style self service usually in hypermarkets and autoroutes/expressways), rôtisserie,salon de thé, and restaurants. The hours again, varied a bit as to more tourist big city areas to provincial inland towns, but normally are open from 11h to 23h or later in brasseries, cafes:bars are from 06h-07h until midnite 00h00, but they can be license to be open as late as 02h00. Restaurants are open for lunch between 12-15h but usually stop seating by 14h30, dinner is between 19h and 22h with some staying as late as 00h00.

The menus are displayed outside every restaurant or eating place, sometimes the meal of the day or plat du jour is posted in a board inside main lobby of the place, call the ardoise. You can have a set menu call menu prix fixe where for one standard price you can get a combination of entree and main dish or main dish and dessert or other combinations.  Some places will have a menu conseillé or advice menu which is often the cheapest combination available or you can have the other side of the most expensive with a menu gastronomique. The idea  of tipping is often raise by visitors, here there is something call service compris , meaning the total price including the tip and tax (VAT) is included. If it is not mentioned you can assume it is or ask. If the mention is only prix nets it means nothing extra has been added so you should tip. The tip is not obligatory, and it should be given with several variables in mind; like, what type of place you are in, if you will be a regular customer or just passing visitor,and the amount of services offered, as well as of course the excellence of the service. Its a personal choice. My take is ,if the service is good beyond reproach at a passing establishement, I tip a bit a few coins, if indeed is one of my regular joints where I am treated like a family then I tip as much as 10% of the bill. Again ,its up to you, and your habits.

Some of my favorite places over the years in France were/are:

le Lotus d’Or, 7 rue Bac, 92150, Suresnes; (this one is closed unfortunately here for the memories many times for lunch while working nearby) tramway suresnes-longchamps. tel +33 01 40 99 07 10. Just before mounting the highest hill in the Paris area at 162 meters in Mont Valerien, surrounded by the beautiful sight of the river Seine overlooking the bois de bolougne on the other side. Oriental chinese, vietnamese, thai food serve by an entire family with great service and prices,menus from 10€.

Donatello, 24 Esplanade Courtieux, 92150, Suresnes. tramway Suresnes-Longchamps, no web tel +33 01 42 04 41 67. An oasis of good inexpensive Italian food just over the bridge pont de Suresnes other side of bois de boulogne and on a courtyard where the market of Suresnes is held. Pizzas from 9€, and real Italian products and chef! More here:

Chez Clement, 15bis quai Requenequin Sualem, 78380, Bourgival. a chain that have gone thru bad times due to owner personal problems and now closed too here for the memories even my oldest had his birthdays there.  French cuisines in a painter’s old house cant be more romantic, and overlooking the river Seine,really French. You can take RER A to le Vésinet-le Pech and walk here.

Le Duc de Guise, 13-15  place Louis XII, 41000, Blois. Now closed, here for the memories.  traditional pizzeria and huge salads that wont break your bank and serve very good food. Near the Houdin magician museum,and castle.

Le Triboulet, 18 place du Chateau, 41000, Blois. French traditional in a house warming cozy setting with wood stove and fireplace. Just across from castle with a great view. Enjoy it, the family love it. More here:

Cafe des Arts, 138 cours Victor Hugo, 33000, Bordeaux,tramway musée d’Aquitaine gets you there. tel +33 05 57 95 94 51. Traditional French cafe of old, nicely decorated, good food, if a bit slow at lunch times. More here:

Le Kayoc, 2 allée Pierre Ortal, 33680, Lacanau-Océan. great view right on the beach, and seafood galores ! an oasis our family trek practically every summer. More here:

Le Colibri, 12 rue Chanzy, 51100, Reims.  Closed here for the memories. Great piano bar restaurant right by the Cathedral. Very cozy French traditional, and elegant. Our family love it.

La Scala, (now la Scaleta same owners) 1 Place Planchat, 18000, Bourges. Great food, ambiance, decorations like you were in Italy, the servers are Italian and you cant eat any better listening to Eroz Ramazzotti! and the waittress singing alone!!!! The reason for the name maybe .We have it mark. More here:

Le Palerme, 8 place de l’Eglise, 11990, Hourtin. The medoc again, central plaza overlooking the marché on your way to the beach. Nice setting ,simple but great pizzas good food, great service even in busy summers, you wont be disappointed.  tel +33 05 56 09 18 46. more here:

Le Meridional, 27 ave Pierre Curie, 78210, St Cyr l’Ecole. Recently open and it was a surprise, great Italian dishes at good prices, and family fun, the owners are on board daily. Real Italians for that home cooking we seek always. no web, tel +33 01 39 42 02 95. right on road D10 coming into the city from Versailles. Cannot confirm if open or not but here for the memories anyway.

Brasserie Paul, 1 place de la Cathédrale, 76000, Rouen, a local gourmand place of French traditions. Open in 1898 and the quality continues, friendly fast service even at lunch. Great food and ambiance at the side of the Cathedral of Rouen. tel +33 02 35 71 86 07. More info here:

Ty Breiz, 59 Quai Henri IV, 76200, Dieppe, a great creperie in the best area traditon all done on order by mama and son themselves ,right by the harbor. Cant make it any better than like home. tel +33 02 35 82 86 56. Cannot confirm if open or not, here just for the memories.

Le Crystal, 3 Rue Haute, 14600, Honfleur, a beauty try the second floor inside a house on the pedestrian street out of the harbor to your right, left hand side. great seafood place. tel +33 02 31 89 12 02. No web but confirm still open!

Le Bistro du Port, 14 Quai de la Quarantaine,14600, Honfleur. whether its a seafood pizza or a plat from the ocean this is to be seen and be seen with great ambiance, friendly service always for many years. tel +33 02 31 89 21 84. More here:

Le Queen, 3 Place Gambetta, 80000, Amiens (closed now but here for the memories) ;it had a very nice terrace near hotel de ville, to be seen and be seen in town, great views, and ambiance. Come for a pint or a nice steak and fries, good prices,great service, a stop a must.

Le Bistrot des Brasseurs (3 brasseurs) , 18-20 place de la Gare, 59000,Lille,  a place to taste the beer made next door at the 3 Brasseurs and use here with some moules and frites, great people , come enjoy +33  03 20 06 37 27. More here:

Le Vieux Comptoir, 10 rue de la Rôtisserie, 37000, Tours, great family place, in an old street of Tours, very nicely decorated. French traditional of great estime locally, and wines of the Loire valley. very sympa. More here:

Taverne de Bois de Maitre Kanter, Rue Georges Méliés, 41350, St Gervais la Forêt. on the road D174 towards the A10 or Blois. Great setting in the middle of the forest to sample Alsacien cuisine. A great tour to continue your journey with a great ambiance. More here:

La Fontana, 2 Rue de la Croix de Fer, 78100, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Great traditional Italian resto with Italian natives at the kitchen and serving. You will taste like mamma mia and just with the junction of the N186 to the A15 and Paris or the train at Saint Germain en Laye bel air-Fourqueux.  We love but now closed, just for the memories. I put what they put out in their Facebook page: “Despite the announcement of the reopening of restaurants on June 2, we are announcing the definitive closure of La Fontana.
After 25 years of good and loyal service, unforgettable memories, loyal customers in each decade of this great adventure … it is time to give back our apron!” Another sad story!

J’Go, 16 Place Victor Hugo, 31000, Toulouse. they have it now in Paris rue Drouot 9éme. The best of the southwest with an unique local flavor, my favorite in the city of roses. Good times ever roll.

Le Louchebem, the butcher of Toulouse in the covered market of place Victor Hugo, great cassoulet toulosain, ambiance, service and great views on the second floor over the place.Cant beat it. 21 different meats to choose from but keep at the cassoulet ::) More here:

Bar Les Clip’s , 1 place de la Trebaille, 81000, Albi . Great prices good view underneath the cathedral by the parking below its back. Cassoulet was good,and the service very family friendly. Good to go; no web but still open.

Les Berceaux,  13 rue de Berceaux, 51200, Epernay. Sublime Champagne resto gastronomic French cuisine at its best, cozy, ambiance sublime, regal, one of the best in the area. right in central town off  rue Eugéne Mercier, More here:

La Cave d’Artagnan, 4 rue de la republique, 32000, Auch. Great tapas selection and ambiance, friendly service. The products comes right from the owners farm, great foie gras tapas. Cannot confirm if open or closed, here just for the memories.

La Vieille Auberge, at Mont Saint Michel. Lovely architecture overlooking the bay, good food friendly service in an area loaded with tourist is to recommend. More here:

Le Phare in the island or Ïle de Ré, wonderful quaint seafaring town of St Martin de Ré, and the place was just great: also, lodging available. More here:

La Brasserie Royal at Pau. Grand of Pau; historical chic good ambiance right on the square Place Royale. More here:

Le Suisse, at St Jean de Luz right in the pays Basque, great location near all at place Louis XIV , and good times in family.  Cannot confirm if open or not so here for the memories.

Pizzeria Nota Bene at Nantes.  3 Rue Saint Denis near Cathedrale; excellent location , nice architecture, good food and soft prices. more here:

Crêperie Le Blé Noir at Noirmoustier en L’ïle. A wonderful location by the place Saint Louis and good galettes! More here:

Le Pub du Ralliement at Angers. nice central location good food and nice ambience; nice. They went thru a fire back in June 2020 but under control and back on. More here:

Crëperie La Flambée at Guérande. In the old town just next to the ramparts walls; good old fashion ambiance good service good food nice; more here:

Le Café de la Plage, Batz-sur-Mer. Overlooking the sea cith by the harbor at the beach or plage Saint Michel.Very good family ambiance good food good prices nice. More here:

I have try to update as many. As usual some were already out of business, a very common thing here where competition and the tourist season are fierce, and of course, there are those still open that I like. Of course, you must verify before hand at the time of your travel if they are still open. hope it helps and bon appétit!

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

September 28, 2020

Paris and an arch!!!

So here again at you with some new found photos from my vault and of course will try to provide more information on the text. I have done posts before on the Arc de Triomphe but as usual always leave things out. It’s a habit of rushing my amateur writings, and know can always come back for more.

The Arc de Triomphe is located on Place Charles de Gaulle which was previously called Place de l’Etoile from where 12 major avenues, among the most exclusive in Paris, depart. Clockwise, you will find the avenue Marceau, avenue d’Iéna, avenue Kléber, avenue Victor Hugo, avenue Foch (my favorite entry!) , avenue de la Grande Armée, avenue Carnot, avenue Mac-Mahon, avenue de Wagram, avenue Hoche, avenue de Friedland and finally avenue des Champs Élysées.


The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris. Measuring 50 meters high, 22 meters wide and 45 meters long, the Arc de Triomphe is the symbol of the victories of the French army under Napoleon’s Empire. The attic or upper part of the Arc, crowned with 30 shields on which are engraved the names of great battles of the revolution and the empire. The battles you will find on the interior faces of the large arcades. The 558 French generals, some of whom died in action, their names are underlined.

paris arc de triomphe conrer of Iena et Marceau sep16

Some emblematic ones me think are the departure of the Volunteers in 1792, also called the Marseillaise, represents the French people in all their diversity from revolutionaries (Republicans), Royalists and Bonapartists going together to fight. An iconic work of the French Republic erected under king of the French, Louis Philippe, in 1833. At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, you can discover the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument erected in 1921 with a flame that never goes out, called the eternal flame. This symbol represents all the French who died during WWI or as we know it here, the Great War, who could never be identified.

It was Napoleon who decided to build it in 1806 at the end of the Battle of Austerlitz and the arch was completed during the reign of Louis-Philippe. Before the expansion of Paris in 1860, the land on which the monument was built was on the border of the city, and offered privileged access to the Emperor’s residence, the former Palais des Tuileries, via the Champs-Élysées.

The panoramic view from the roof of the Arc de Triomphe is equally impressive. From above, you can admire the dynamism that animates the city by observing the twelve main arteries meeting at this point. The ascent to the Arc de Triomphe will give you beautiful views of the Champs-Elysées and the La Défense district. The climb is worth it. To enter and access the upper floor of the arch, you will need to pay the entrance fee and climb the 286 steps that separate the terrace from the ground. There is also a small museum inside, relating the history and construction of this imposing monument.

The official Arc de Triomphe

The Paris tourist office on the Arc de Triomphe

You will be delighted with the history and the wonderful architecture but the views oh the views are gorgeous of my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy the updated post on the Arc de Triomphe.

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

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August 19, 2020

Saint Lô: Church Notre Dame!

And while having a stop at Saint Lô (see previous post) , we had time to indulge in some sights as was near where we had our lunch lol! We had the ramparts and then this Church of Notre Dame right in front! Therefore, here is my take on Saint Lô ‘s Church of Notre Dame.

The Notre-Dame Church is in the Gothic-style erected over four centuries from the end of the 13C and strongly marked by the Battle of Normandy (WWII). As such, it is a “memorial” of the destruction of WWII. The parish church and former collegiate Church of Notre-Dame built from the 13C to the 20C is rightly considered the symbol of the city. This church dedicated to Notre Dame originates from the parish of the castle of Saint-Lô on Mont Briovère: the parish of “l’Enclos” whose patron was the lord of the castle, namely the bishop of Coutances.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The nave of five bar long spans dates from the first third of the 14C as well as its immediate side aisles; the foliage baskets on the capitals are very characteristic of the period. The north tower also dates from the 14C and the south tower dates from 1464, according to an inscription. There is no transept and the choir has four bays; the sanctuary is closed with six columns. The church has old stained glass windows, deposited safely during the bombing period, which date from the 15C including the royal stained glass which according to tradition would have been offered by Louis XI around 1470. It presents the Coronation of the Virgin and the story of Saint Crépin and Saint Crépinien. The south tower, square at the base, becomes octagonal. The two towers were completed with arrows in the 17C and gave the church a false appearance of a cathedral which was the pride of the Locals. Described and sketched by Victor Hugo, it was used more to harangue the crowds than to deliver the religious sermon. It consists of a vase with five flamboyant decoration panels surmounted by an arrow with brackets of fern leaves.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The Notre Dame Church did not undergo any major degradation before 1944. On July 18, after the fierce battles of the Liberation, the church was nearly 50% destroyed: nave uncovered with its cover and its vaults, facade collapsed as a result the bombardment of the North Tower by nazi artillery. Only the South tower without its spire, the choir and the aisles remained standing almost intact. The restoration of the church from 1944 to 1974 was long and difficult due to a change in the restoration bias during the construction. The restored church received its new dedication on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Liberation The statue of Notre Dame du Pilier , in a thousand pieces during the disaster, was saved and placed at the bottom of the sanctuary. The Notre-Dame Church therefore became the memorial to the destruction of the city of Saint-Lô.   The choir organ was acquired by the parish in 1960. After a first lifting carried out in 1999 it was restored and inaugurated in 2007. The great neoclassical organ of Notre-Dame was built in 1968.

Saint Lô

Saint Lô

The tourist office of Saint Lô on the Church Notre DameTourist office of Saint Lô on Church Notre Dame

The city of Saint Lô and its heritage sites: City of Saint Lô on its heritage sites

It is an impressive church considering it was almost all destroyed in WWII and then rebuilt with care. Indeed a symbol of a city that is very much on most WWII movies done by Hollywood and beyond, Saint Lô you know the name? And do stop by the Church of Notre Dame. Hope you enjoy it

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

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August 17, 2020

Lisieux: Halle Saint Jacques!

So let me tell you about a curiosity that we saw while touring awesome Lisieux, in the Calvados dept 14 of Normandie in my belle France! There is always something to see around here!!! See next posts!

This could a post for a monument pictures but is not. It sounds like a market as it is call a Halle but is not; well it actually was a former church Saint Jacques or St James! Let Me tell you a bit about it ok

The Church Saint Jacques was built from 1496 to 1540 in a flamboyant Gothic style. The choir was completed in 1501, while the last stone of the nave was laid in 1540 – the date of the dedication of the church.


The oriented church is built according to an elongated plan ending in a rectangular apse such as the end of the church at the back of the choir. It is flanked by a porch tower at the level of the western facade and has the particularity of not having a transept . It thus does not respond to the traditional plan of Latin cross churches. The construction being built on a slope, the choir is at ground level, while the facade is raised on a porch subdivided into several flights, which contributes to the embellishment of the large portal. The nave is made up of a central aisle flanked by side aisles.

Formerly, the interior decor consisted of stained glass windows and painted vaults. The ornaments of the columns or pillars were also loaded with inscriptions, medallions and painted statues. All the old stained-glass windows in the choir dated from 1501. The first window of the nave was adorned with a splendid Renaissance stained-glass window with a scene from the Apocalypse. The stained-glass window in the Chapel of Charity represented a miracle of Saint James.The six windows of the bedside were, in the 19C, adorned with stained glass windows. All this rich heritage was blown away during the 1944 bombings (WWII).

Badly damaged in WWII, the church has been restored as faithfully as possible. The church, which has not received worship since 1965, served as a storage location for the museum. The Victor-Hugo district ,wonder what will happen to the Saint-Jacques Church , closed to worship. Today it is a place of cultural events such as exhibitions, shows, etc; and it is now called Halle Saint-Jacques, located at 6 Rue Saint Jacques.

The city of Lisieux with its emblematic monuments including the Halle St JacquesCity of Lisieux on its emblematic monuments incl Halle St Jacques

So yes this impressive building once supposely a nice church, is now an exhibition hall  for events , arts festivals etc of the city of Lisieux. It is impressive indeed passing by. An anecdote for us passing by here maybe next time we can go inside for an event! Hope you enjoy the tip.

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


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August 6, 2020

Saint Malo and Chateaubriand!

And here I am back to the north of my Bretagne and the corsairs city of Saint Malo. This is in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine. We of course been here several times but as often the case with me things are left out… This is the case of one of the greatest writers of France François René de Chateaubriand, a native of Saint Malo. Let me tell you a bit more please.

He needs no introduction simply Chateaubriand, and many will do a better job of explaining his literary story. I will concentrate on the architecture and history of him in Saint Malo.

Coming from the Breton nobility, the most famous member of his family from Saint-Malo, Chateaubriand is politically part of the royalist movement. Several times ambassador to various sovereigns, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1822 to 1824 under the Restoration and counted, under the reign of Charles X, among the ultraroyalists. The many political and diplomatic responsibilities that mark his career as well as his taste for travel, in America and then in the Mediterranean basin, structure a life marked by exile and the nostalgia for stability.

Viscount François-René de Chateaubriand comes from a ruined noble family of Saint-Malo where the Rocher du Quengo family settled at the beginning of the 17C, a family which regained its former dignity thanks to commercial success of Chateaubriand’s father, Count René-Auguste de Chateaubriand (knight, Count of Combourg, Lord of Gaugres, Plessis l’Épine, Boulet, Malestroit en Dol and other places). In January 1789,  Chateaubriand participated in the States of Brittany and , in July of the same year, he attended the storming of the Bastille with his sisters Julie and Lucile.

At the time of the French revolution, in 1791, François-René Chateaubriand left France and embarked for the New World at Baltimore, with the pretext of seeking the Northwest Passage. He arrived in Philadelphia on July 10, 1791 , have been to New York, Boston and Lexington. He relates a meeting with George Washington in Philadelphia, who allegedly told him “Well well, young man”. He sailed up the Hudson River to Albany, where he hired a guide and continued to Niagara Falls, meeting the good savage and the loneliness of the forests of North America. Then he mentions in a few pages its return to Philadelphia via the Ohio River, Mississippi and Louisiana. News of the king’s (Louis XVI) flight to Varennes , he decides to leave America; from Philadelphia, he embarks on the Molly boat bound for La Rochelle.

At the end of March 1792, he married Céleste Buisson de la Vigne, descendant of a 17-year-old family of shipowners from Saint-Malo. They will have no posterity. On July 15, 1792, accompanied by his brother, but without his wife, he left France for Koblenz (Germany). He joined the army of emigres in Koblenz in order to fight the armies of the Republic there; his young wife Celeste, who lives in Brittany, abandoned by her husband who does not give her any news, is arrested as an “emigrant’s wife”, imprisoned in Rennes, where she remains until 27 July. François-René, injured at the siege of Thionville, drags himself to Brussels, from where he is transported convalescent to Jersey island. It was the end of his military career and he went to live in London in 1793 in temporary but real destitution ;he lived in an attic in Holborn, where he was reduced to giving French lessons and teaching translations for booksellers. In 1797 he published his first work there, the Historical, Political and Moral Essay on Ancient and Modern Revolutions, considered in their relationship with the French revolution.  In 1794, his brother, his sister-in-law (a granddaughter of Malesherbes , Louis XVI’s lawyer) and part of their family were guillotined in Paris. Back in France in 1800, he actively participated in the Mercure de France , then directed it for a few years. It is in this logic that he published, in 1801, Atala, an original creation which aroused controversial admiration. Still on the list of emigrants from whom he wants to be struck off, he pleads his case with Élisa Bonaparte, sister of the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte. She intervened several times with her brother to show him the talent of the writer who eventually was struck off this list on July 21, 1801. Bonaparte chose him in 1803 to accompany Cardinal Fesch to Rome as first secretary of the embassy. Later ,Napoléon Bonaparte appointed him on November 29, 1803 charge d’affaires in the Republic of Valais. On March 21, 1804, he learned of the execution of the Duc d’Enghien. He immediately resigned and went into opposition to the Empire.

Eager to visit for himself the places where the action was, he traveled through Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt during the year 1806. On his return from the East, exiled by Napoleon three leagues away from the capital, he acquired the Vallée-aux-Loups, in the Val d’Aulnay ,currently in the town of Châtenay-Malabry, near Sceaux, where he locked himself in a modest retirement. Throughout the Restoration, she played the role of a listened adviser to him. Talleyrand, who in the past covered and protected him, appointed him ambassador to Sweden. Chateaubriand had not yet left Paris when Napoleon I returned to France in 1815. He then accompanied Louis XVIII to Ghent, and became a member of his cabinet. He sent him the famous Report on the State of France.

After the Emperor’s defeat, Chateaubriand voted for the death of Marshal Ney in December 1815 in the Chamber of Peers. He was appointed Minister of State and Peer of France; but having attacked the ordinance of September 5, 1816 in La Monarchie according to the Charter which dissolved the Untraceable Chamber, he was disgraced and lost his post of Minister of State. He therefore threw himself into the ultra-royalist opposition, and became one of the main editors of the Conservative, the most powerful organ of this party. According to Pascal Melka, author of Victor Hugo, a fight for the oppressed. Study of his political evolution, the Conservative will be at the origin of the newspaper Le Conservateur Littéraire which will employ Victor Hugo.

In 1821, he was appointed Minister of France in Berlin, then Ambassador to London! where his cook, Montmireil, invented the cooking of the piece of beef that bears his name!!. In 1822, he represented France at the Congress of Verona. In 1823, he received from the hands of the Emperor Alexander I of Russia the Order of Saint Andrew, and from Ferdinand VII of Spain, the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He was one of the plenipotentiaries at the Congress of Verona and had the expedition to Spain decided, despite the apparent opposition of the United Kingdom (in reality, the latter wanted an intervention). On his return, he received the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs; he succeeded in the Spanish adventure with the capture of Cadiz at the battle of Trocadero in 1823; but, unable to come to an agreement with Villèle, head of government, he was brutally dismissed on June 6, 1824. He was appointed ambassador to Rome in 1828, where Celeste accompanied him this time and where she held her rank as ambassador brilliantly, but he resigned with the advent of the Polignac ministry, which is its political decline. He retired from business after the Revolution of 1830, even leaving the House of Peers. His last years were spent in deep retirement, in the company of his wife. He hardly leaves his home, an apartment on the ground floor of the Hôtel des Missions Étrangères, at 120 rue du Bac in Paris, except to go to the nearby Abbaye-aux-Bois, at Juliette Récamier’s, whose he is a constant friend and whose salon brings together the elite of the literary world.

On February 11, 1847, Céleste died, and Chateaubriand wrote: “I owe a tender and eternal gratitude to my wife, whose attachment was as touching as it was deep and sincere. She made my life more serious, more noble, more honorable, always inspiring me with respect, if not always the force of homework”. Chateaubriand died in Paris on July 4, 1848 at 120 rue du Bac. His remains are transported to Saint-Malo and deposited facing the sea, according to his wishes, on the rock of Grand Bé, an islet in the harbor of his native town, which can be reached on foot from Saint-Malo  at low tides.

Chateaubriand could have been a great minister. I explain it not only by his acute intelligence, but by his sense and his knowledge of history, and by his concern for national greatness. I also observe how rare it is for a great artist to possess such political gifts ”. said by Charles de Gaulle.

The tomb of Chateaubriand is the tomb where François-René de Chateaubriand is buried, a famous French writer born in Saint-Malo on September 4, 1768 and died in Paris on July 4, 1848. It is located on the islet of Grand Bé , accessible at low tides on foot, in Saint-Malo, his birthplace. It was according to his wish that after his death, on July 4, 1848 in Paris. The tomb is near the edge of the cliff and eternally turned towards the sea and the storm of which, he said.   “The noise rocked my first sleep”. A non-nominative plaque was however placed on the wall behind the tomb, with the inscription: “A great French writer wanted to rest here to hear only the wind and the sea. Passant respects his last will.” An anecdote about the Grand Bé is that the term Bé means falls in Breton, but it is not known if this could have played a role in the choice of the writer.

Saint Malo

In 1849 was first initiative to erect a statue in honor of Chateaubriand, by the Parisian bookseller-publisher, Parent-Desbarre. However, it all began in 1864 when negotiations are initiated with the city of Saint-Malo. The mayor forms a committee within the city council, supported in Paris by a second committee made up of members of the Institute de France. A public subscription is organized and is added by a donation from the bookseller. The committee chose Aimé Millet, who was inspired by a bust of David d’Angers entrusted to him by the Comte de Chateaubriand to make the statue. Then, in 1874: the Ministry of War offers 1200 kg of bronze for casting. Before leaving for Saint-Malo, the statue is on display in the courtyard of the artist’s studio in Paris where the Parisian public saw it next to the statue of Vercingetorix. Eventually in 1875 was the inauguration on September 5 in front of the writer’s birthplace in St Malo. The city in 1881 moved it to the casino garden ,and later in 1930 it was transferred again to the Fort de la Reine bastion. During WWII , in 1942 it was dismantled and melted down under the Vichy collaborator regime. After WWII in 1948, a new stone statue of Chateaubriand, commissioned by the State from Armel Beaufils, is erected in the Square du Casino.

Saint Malo

The tourist office of Saint Malo on the in English:  Tourist office of St Malo on Grand Bé island

And there you now i feel better! One of the great men of France and from Bretagne! Also, one of my favorites even before moving to Bretagne from a historical point of view and as a writer. A giant of his time to read again and again. Hope you enjoy the story on François-René Chateaubriand!

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

July 22, 2020

Some news from France, CCCXII

So here I am back with some news from France, your regular news bulletin of my belle France. There is a lot going on even under the covid19 spell. Let me give you the latest. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading it.

A repeat from my Cathedral St Peter and St Paul of Nantes. I have notice many views on this post and for reason. Just this morning July 18 2020 ,there was a fire at the Cathedral for now malicious intention is the way to go, with three different fires. Luckily , the fireman came in quickly and the fire was put out. Nevertheless the beautiful organs are gone completely burned as well as a portrait of the 17C. The Fondation du Patrimoine or heritage foundation has started a collection of funds to rebuild the organs. Webpage here:  Heritage foundation on Cathedral of Nantes

The first Council of Paris of the new mandate of Anne Hidalgo may not be a simple formality for the mayor and her majority. Three reports from the Ile-de-France Regional Chamber of Accounts (CRC) will thus be on the menu. Three reports; they will be published Monday at the latest , which point to management concerns in three emblematic sectors of the capital: the arrondissements or districts, the Porte de Versailles exhibition center but also the Eiffel Tower. it especially points to a price increase of 47%! and at the same time a drop in the number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower. “This increase was supposed to allow the construction of the reception center but it has still not seen the light of day,” explains the wise men of the CRC. So where the money is going Mme Mayor!!! search search and see where the poor Parisians money goes maybe for new bike lanes lol!

The rodeos on scooters under laughing gas sow panic on the Champs-Elysées. Rear wheels, dangerous slaloms between passers-by, haggard glances… The races of young people on electric scooters, intoxicated by nitrous oxide, have invaded the sidewalks and roadways of the most beautiful avenue in the world. Of course, no problems ,they have less cars !!! Paris is not doing good folks; it is changing and not for the better.

And if nothing is without saying , Paris is suffering the repercussions of the health crisis; between the absence of tourists and the total shutdown of the city for more than two months, the capital is on its knees. Faced with its colossal debt, the City of Paris is considering an increase in taxes for Parisians!!!. To offset the 565 million debt, including 200 million resulting directly from the economic recovery plan, the City of Paris calls on the generosity of the State and counts on an increase in taxes … for Parisians! OMG campaign promises. Faced with the absence of tourists (tourist taxes), the stopping of real estate transactions, impoundments (free parking during confinement) and the closure of municipal facilities such as swimming pools, nurseries or canteens, revenues taxes have collapsed; not without saying folks not coming for the hassle of getting in due to lanes closings. It is in this context of economic crisis that a budget plan which, will allow the city to recover must be voted on Friday July 24 at the Paris Council. A situation that denotes with the declarations of Anne Hidalgo who had promised in October 2019 that no tax increase would take place in Paris. Final answer this Friday, July 24, 2020 to the Paris Council! Well things will not be going well. Especially ,when already about 15% of Parisians are leaving for areas like Bordeaux, Nantes, and my Morbihan!!

At Roissy,(Val d’Oise 95) CDG airport for Paris ; the terminal 4 project has a negative impact. Controversial since its inception, this airport expansion project seems more than ever under fire from critics. Latest, the environmental authority which calls for a broad review of the project. The project for the new T4 terminal at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport is expected to accommodate up to 40 million additional passengers per year by 2037. Well , and when will they have the money when we reach the 40m on the old structures lol!

And to add sadness, Tati Barbès, at Bd Barbés by December 2020, it will be well and truly over. The emblematic 18éme arrondissement store will close its doors at the end of the year. The 34 employees who remain should be reclassified in Ile-de-France region in the stores of the owner Gifi. So sad, even my dear late wife Martine grandmother F used to shop in them, an institution in France, another bites the dust.

And for good news for a change. The crypt is the heart of the creation of Paris with the Ile de la Cité. So an exhibition was particularly close to the hearts by telling the story of Notre-Dame during the 19C from Victor Hugo to Viollet-le-Duc. Located just below, the crypt obviously had to be closed. It will reopen on September 9 2020 on the occasion of the presentation of a permanent exhibition dedicated to Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, designer of the now-defunct spire erected in the 19C. See it will be awesome!

The Dubois-Corneau de Brunoy museum, a treasure trove of local history in the Essonne dept 91. The Brunoy museum benefits from the large personal collection of Robert Dubois-Corneau, historian who died in 1951. The first room of the museum traces the history of the Château de Brunoy and its “great waters”, owned in turn by the Marquis de Brunoy then by the Count of Provence, before being dismantled during the French revolution as usual. A room is thus dedicated to the tragedian François-Joseph Talma, friend of Napoleon I, who had chosen Brunoy as his second home. The painter Maurice Eliot is also in the spotlight. Some of his works, as well as those of other artists who have reproduced the landscapes of the Yerres valley, can be seen there. Paintings by Numance Bouel, Amédée Varin and Alice Dubois, sister of Robert Dubois-Corneau, are part of the permanent collections. Finally, the last two rooms of the museum are dedicated to the two contemporary animal sculptors Maurice Prost and Pierre Dandelot. The musée Dubois-Corneau, 16, rue du Réveillon, Brunoy. Open all summer, except public holidays, from Wednesday to Sunday from 14h to 18h. Free entry!. More on the city of Brunoy in French here: City of Brunoy on the museum Dubois Corneau

Closed for the first time since 1876 because of the Covid virus, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres in Hauts-de-Seine dept 92, reopens the doors of its porcelain production workshop. And the museum, free, welcomes visitors. National Museum of Ceramics. With engraved in capital letters, the inscription is displayed on the pediment of an imposing building of classical inspiration, 130 meters long. Failing to have visited it, motorists taking the N118, in Sèvres, necessarily saw it yes!!!. Because if the places welcome a museum dedicated to the art of ceramics, they also house the National Manufacture of Sèvres since 1876. A place of production still alive and well where craftsmen perpetuate as much as they improve in knowledge of centuries. With the turning, twenty-six trades exist in the Manufacture, from production to decoration, including chemicals and baking. A multitude of traditional crafts which make possible the reproduction of pieces from yesteryear, but also the invention of new objects from the heritage, the hundred-year-old brick ovens which allow porcelain to be fired up to 1380 degrees in 33 hours and put up to 3 weeks to cool. National Ceramic Museum, 2, place de la Manufacture in Sèvres. Open every day except Tuesday from 10h to 12h30 . and from 13h30 to 17h. Free entry. Information: And more on official site in English: Manufacture and museum of Sévres

Visiting the Château de la Roche-Guyon (which is a must) is a bit like traveling through time. Located in this village to the west of the Vexin natural park, in the Val-d’Oise,dept 95 an hour and a half from Paris, built in the Middle Ages contains many legends. Leaning against the chalk cliff carved with caves during the Middle Ages, a keep was first built there in the 12C and will serve as a model for the Vermund tower described by Victor Hugo in Han d’Island … but also as a place set for the erotic film Virgins and Vampires (1971). The castle was built in the following century. The whole has undergone many modifications over the ages, especially in the 18C. Possibilities that compensate for the few parts inaccessible to the public like the dovecote because of the impossible social distancing and the keep currently under construction. All is not lost for the latter, it is still possible to approach it by following the hiking trails. A place is immortalized and popularized in the 1960s by “The Devilish Trap”, the ninth album from the comic strip Blake and Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs. Even today, the castle gives pride of place to this work. Bubble lovers can see a reproduction of the chronoscaphe, Professor Mortimer’s time machine, located near the casemates, these cells dug under the occupation to house nazi ammunition. The thematic tour on WWII is definitely worth doing. It is a part of the history of the castle that was not discussed at all. A visit launched last year to learn more about France‘s busiest castle. This is the case with that of the small underground theater of the 18C. Château Roche Guyon, 1, rue de l’Audience ;La Roche-Guyon. Free communal car park. Guided tour on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 15h. Individual supplement applies. Contact tel +33 (0) More from the city of Roche-Guyon on the castle in French here: City of La Roche Guyon on its castle museum

There will be an air of the Tour de France this Saturday July 25th in Mélisey. However, this small village in Haute-Saône, which had already seen the 2019 Grande Boucle pass just 17 km away, will have to wait until September 19 to admire the runners roaming its streets. In the meantime, it will be Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour, who will first take part in the race between Lure and the Planche des Belles-Filles. Mélisey, because this section, a time trial, will be the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour. And could well decide the man who will parade in a yellow jersey on the Champs-Élysées the next day. And, for Thibaut Pinot, this event will be special. The 30-year-old French cyclist knows this route by heart. He was born in Mélisey and still lives there. His confinement took place in the company of his family, but also of his donkeys and goats. The runner is also a close friend of the mayor of the village since it is simply his father, Régis. The only candidate in the last municipal elections, he has been managing the affairs of the municipality since 2008. It is the local idol to succeed in his Tour so that Mélisey becomes the ultimate attraction of this Grande Boucle 2020. To see is to see France!

And some notes on great regions of wines of France, and arts, simply the best!

Surrounded by a wall 3.2 km long, the prestigious Burgundy appellation of Clos de Vougeot with 50 hectares classified grand cru offers wines with varied profiles. When you take the beautiful departmental D974 road that leads from Dijon to Beaune, Côte-d´Or dept 21, a vineyard emerges on the right which slopes gently down a hill towards the road. You can’t miss it, even though it only stretches over a km and there are so many vines in this hilly landscape, from which, when the weather changes, you can distinguish Mont Blanc in the distance. This is one of the most prestigious sites in the world, Clos de Vougeot, a grand cru planted in the village of Vougeot, which takes its name from the Vouge, the river that crosses it. Let’s start with the owners. The Benedictines, who demarcated the site in the 12C, then owned it entirely. So much so that today no less than 82 owners share the land of the Clos, 67 of whom make wine under their name ;and the others entrust their grapes to others. Official Clos de Vougeot in English: Clos de Vougeot

At the foot of the mountain painted by Cézanne, the vines now occupy most of the space, adding to an already exceptional chromatic palette. From the top of the Sainte-Victoire mountain, the Pic des Mouches, more precisely, its highest point at 1,011 meters, the view is breathtaking. It has to be earned a nice hour of climbing starting from the Col des Portes. The orientation table is precious. Towards the north, the gaze is towards Lubéron, the Lure mountain, foothills of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, and, in the distance, the grated summit of Mont Ventoux. To the south, the wine-growing plain, the villages of Rousset, Puyloubier (Bouches-du-Rhône), Pourrières (Var) … And then, like a limestone echo of Sainte-Victoire, the majestic Sainte-Baume massif and its forest rich in beech, maple and lime trees. A jewel that Cézanne , born and died in Aix-en-Provence, never ceased to paint, but whose notoriety galloped around the world. Or more than 80 tables. In 1958, after Picasso told his dealer, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, that he “bought Cézanne’s Sainte-Victoire” and his friend asked him “which”, the painter replied “the original”. Picasso had just acquired the castle of Vauvenargues (Bouches-du-Rhône), on the northern slope of the mountain, where he spent the last fifteen years of his life. No doubt, as an enlightened amateur, he tasted the wines of the region.

After two years of work, the Palais Galliera reopens its doors. And the patron of these repairs is none other than the prestigious Maison Chanel. To mark this event, a retrospective devoted to a figure of fashion is organized: an exhibition on Coco Chanel. Entitled Gabrielle Chanel, fashion manifesto, the exhibition is in place from October 1, 2020 to March 14, 2021. The palace has decided to highlight the greatest creations of the seamstress, from the jersey model to the famous 1950s suits in through her iconic dresses. The retrospective is devoted to Coco Chanel, not just the designer’s clothes, so the museum also exhibits a selection of jewelry, accessories and fragrances unique to Chanel’s vision on fashion. Gabrielle Chanel, fashion manifesto. Palais Galliera. 10, avenue Pierre 1er de Serbia ,16éme arrondissement. More info here: Palais Galliera Paris

And something from an almost Agatha Christie story…. A plot of 2,032 m2 in the heart of the 7éme arrondissement, a building facing the street, an interior courtyard, a house at the back, an enormous garden itself surrounded by other gardens; and 35M €!… No doubt, this is certainly the last property of this importance still available on the Parisian real estate market. Located a stone’s throw from Les Invalides and Bon Marché, it was once the house next to Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s apartment. A true raw gem in the city, left completely abandoned for almost thirty years and which kept behind its shutters the mystery of the body of a man who has just been discovered. that of a mummified corpse plunged under planks and rubble in one of the cellars of the building. The criminal brigade, immediately called to the scene, was able to start a preliminary investigation, ordered by the Paris prosecutor’s office, in order to lift the veil on the identity of the man found and the circumstances of his death. The identity of the man, a certain Jean-Pierre Renaud, has made it possible to trace his death back to about thirty years. The traces of fractures and stab wounds found on the corpse support the hypothesis of intentional homicide. A little expensive to pay for a haunted house! Paris of course.

And there is all folks, for now. Hope you enjoy the series and again thanks for reading it. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

July 15, 2020

Fougéres, and the Arts!

And here continue in nostalgia lane and came back to one of my favorite cities in Bretagne/Brittany. It is known more for its castle but it has many interesting things to see as attested by my previous posts on it. However, as often the case I am afraid, things were left out to show fully the beauty of the town. Therefore, time to remedy that now.

This is Fougéres in the dept 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine in the region of Bretagne.

Let me show a bit introduction to the Arts in Fougéres starting with the theater , then the museums. Hope you enjoy it.

The Victor-Hugo Municipal Theatre, located in the upper town, in the historic district. It is performed in the style of Italian theaters. The room combines a French square plan and an Italian floor plan on four levels. Long occupied by salt merchants and false salters, the old Place du Brûlis evokes the terrible fires of the upper town in the 17C. As early as 1851, the mayor of Fougères proposed to develop the old “cohue à chair” or meat market hall to make it a performance hall. The curtain rises therefore on the theater for the first time in 1886. Following the bombings of 1944, the theater closed its doors. It did not reopen them until 1946. In 1970, the curtain fell; the theater no longer meets the new security rules. In 1996, an identical restoration was voted. Finally in 2001, the theater opened its doors again with the charm of its decor from the end of the 19C. Originally, its 650-seat hall met the needs of a predominantly working population. Today, the theater has 250 seats. The name Théâtre Victor Hugo was given in homage to Victor Hugo who came to discover the city in the company of his Fougeres muse, Juliette Drouet. Today, theatrical performances, concerts and other intimate shows are play.

The official cultural page of the Victor Hugo Theater in Fougéres here: Centre Culturel de Fougéres on the Victor Hugo theater

The tourist office of Fougéres on the Victor Hugo TheaterTourist office of Fougeres on Victor Hugo Theater


In city center there is a nice small Musée de l’Horlogerie (Clock museum )that looks very nice quaint but no time to go in just browse the shop, which was full of trinkets on the clock movement. It is located at 37 rue Nationale old town center. Because the past explains the present and is the pledge of the future, this museum, unique in Bretagne, testifies to the know-how of our master watchmaking craftsmen. Through building clocks, pendulums, watches and tools, you will enter the world of time measurement and the ingenuity of their creators. A moment of pleasure that will end with automata and animated pictures that invite you to daydream. We will be back.

The tourist office of Fougéres on the Clock museum: Tourist office of Fougéres on the musée de l’horlogerie


The Musée Emmanuel de la Villéon museum is located in the upper town, in one of the oldest half-timbered houses in the town, from the 16C near the Church of Saint Léonard (see post). Renowned landscaper, avant-garde colorist, Emmanuel de la Villéon was born in Fougères in 1858. He was one of the last Impressionists; and the museum holds about 30 portraits of the artist. He is the painter of harmony, of quiet joy, of balance, of peasant serenity, where even miseries are planed by the slow rhythm of the seasons. He painted Bretagne, but also love to travel and painted his destinations. The porch house, whose construction dates back to the 16C, is the last of this type of housing which bordered in particular rue Nationale and rue de la Pinterie. Most of them disappeared in the fires that ravaged the city in the 17C and during the bombing of June 1944.

The tourist office of Fougéres on the musée Emmanuel de la VilléonTourist office of Fougéres on the Emmanuel de la Villéon museum


There you folks, a nice town, with plenty of culture and a wonderful castle indeed. All the walks are nice and the things to see plenty. This is Fougéres in my lovely Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh! Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

ps. just for the anecdote, this is my 3100 post in my blog!!! thank you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 10, 2020

Cholet and its memorials!

Of course , cannot talk about Cholet and not tell you about is memorials past and not so past. This is a historical city of France and even if the history here goes against the French revolution it should be told for the record.

This is Cholet in the Maine et Loire dept 49 of Pays de la Loire. It was deeply involved in the Vendeen(as well as the Chouans of my Bretagne), wars of the west as they are known fighting the revolutionary hordes of destruction and killings , most of it have gone untold. As the history is always of the victorious unless you are like me who like to find the real history.

The memorial of the Battle of Cholet on October 17, 1793. This was the decisive victory of the revolutionary Republicans against the Vendéen white monarchists.It is located towards the villages of Beaupréau and Nantes-Noirmoutier, at the junction of the aerodrome road on the right ;   better to park lower, rather than on this strip. This metallic cross, sealed on a granite pedestal , was erected by the Souvenir Vendéen, and inaugurated on October 17, 1993, for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Cholet. The battle face the Republican revolutionary army against the Vendéen and Chouans who wanted to remain under the monarchy. The Parc du Champ de Bataille or Battlefield Park, with an orientation table memorizing the events of the Battle of Cholet in 1793, was built on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Vendée revolt of 1793. Access to the Park is via Boulevard du Maine on the northern ring road and park best at Champ du Bois by rue de Tours.

More in French from the folks who knows about this history here: Vendéen and Chouans

The very briefly told but you get the idea was that to combat the Republicans, the peasants decided to stand up together: this is known as the Vendée Uprising. It extended from the Vendée countryside to the banks of the Loire with Cholet town centre becoming the capital for this Vendée army. This ‘improvised’ army was led by soldiers as well as noblemen, with sacristans named as generals. Stofflet, La Rochejacquelein, Cathelineau, Bonchamps, D’Elbée and Charrette were among the heroes during this period.  There was merciless fighting between the Vendée monarchist Whites and the Republican Blues. Despite being armed only with pitchforks and scythes, the Vendée army won victory after victory. They destabilised the Republican army which counter-attacked with a devastating wave of murders known as the Colonnes Infernales. This three years of Civil War were to be extremely brutal and destructive for Cholet.

These were about 50,000 fighters who compete north of Cholet. And then will also pay tribute to the city and its surroundings, namely places martyrs of the Revolution. Cholet was 8,400 inhabitants in 1790,  and only 2,200 by 1796. We cannot say that everyone died, but some never returned and lost everything in the Wars of Vendée. It was a civil war. There were about 22,000 Republicans who were called the Blues (as France is known today) and 25,000 Whites (or monarchists), so the Vendeans. It is a territory that covers the southwest quarter of Maine-et-Loire, the northwest quarter of Deux-Sèvres, part of Loire-Atlantique, south of the Loire and the entire northern half of Vendée. Today the sites have completely disappeared. The battle began on what is today the aérodrome or airfield, which was called the Landes de la Papinière. Then, the whole fight developed at the height of the current ring road, between the Treille district and the bois Grolleau wood. This represents approximately four kilometers. In the first phase, the Vendeans repelled the Blues and advanced to Boulevard Joffre and Place de la République. That is to say, they arrive in the suburbs of Cholet. This is where the battle will tip over. At the end of the day, the fatal injury of two of their leaders will cause reflux.

More on this very important event in the history of France and even Europe at least is to read more in French on the Souvenir Vendéen webpage here: Souvenir Vendéen

A more modern war took me this time to take a picture.

The monument aux enfants de Cholet morts pour la Patrie or to the children of Cholet who died for the fatherland. The Place de la République is a large roundabout where 7 streets meet. Mayor Gustave Richard wanted to make a small replica of the Place de l’Etoile in Paris to serve the train station and the new districts in the north of the city. It was done in 1912 and the old Place Victor Hugo then became Place de la République. A monument in the center of the roundabout honors the victims of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian conflict. At the top of a granite base is the statue of a winged Victory carrying a victim brandishing a broken sword. It is a copy of the Gloire aux vaincus or glory to the vanquished ,made in 1875 by Antonin Mercié which is in the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris.


Hope you enjoy this bit of history as I am trying to find them all. A big task, will take me the rest of my lifetime but have many books and magazines on the subject of French history. We need to know history from all angles to undertand the current history and project ahead to the next chapter. I will be back for more!!!

Hope you can ,also, stop by here and see these places of history as I like. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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June 30, 2020

Canal de l’Ourcq!!!

So moving right along in this hot days of June 2020, and realise have written on the wonderful waterways of and around Paris including some of the canals but not on the one closest to me as it passes by Meaux. Let me tell you a bit more on the Canal de l’Ourcq.

One of the most if not the most emblematic canals of Paris. At least is my favorite for more than just a cruise. I have driven thru around many of the towns that crosses and taken cruises on canauxrama which are wonderful. For reference cruise trip here: Canauxrama on Canal de l’Ourcq

There are many cruises to do here all wonderful into nature and the very essence of water in Paris. You will do well to take one, and I mean into the canals not just the mundane tour around the islands of the city center Paris.   Hope you enjoy it as we did and will relish as me on the history as I like it.

The canal de l’Ourcq before starting at Mareuil-sur-Ourcq to reach the Bassin de la Villette in Paris, the Ourcq river is canalized and navigable from the Port aux Perches in the town of Silly-la-Poterie. With the Canal Saint-Denis, Bassin de la Villette, and the Canal Saint-Martin, it constitutes the network of Parisian canals, 130 km long and which belongs to the city of Paris. Its construction began in 1802 and ended in 1825. It was the subject of several modifications, notably the addition of five locks, a factory supplying the canal with water at Trilbardou and the widening of the gauge on the first eleven kms. Originally, the main objective of the canal was to supply Paris with drinking water; today, its use is reserved for waterways.


The Ourcq river takes its source in a wet meadow south of Courmont (Aisne dept 02) a few steps from the A4 highway in the Aisne department 02. From the small village of Silly-la-Poterie, at a place called Port-aux-Perches at the edge of the Retz forest, begins the channeled part of the river. This small river follows a wide valley and flows into the Marne, at Mary-sur-Marne, near Lizy-sur-Ourcq, after a course of approximately 87 km. The pipeline works diverted the river from Mareuil. Most of its water then goes to Paris via a canal on its own site, the Ourcq canal proper, with a length of 97 km. On entering Paris, the canal passes under the lifting bridge on rue de Crimée to widen in the large water station at La Villette. It then feeds the Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis canals.

A bit of history I like

When Paris was still Lutèce, the inhabitants of the Ile de la Cité used the water supplied by the Seine. In the 4C, work was started on the Arcueil aqueduct, attributed to the Emperor Julian. He brought spring water from the hillsides of Rungis, L’Haÿ, Cachan and Arcueil to the thermal baths of Cluny by the Roman road from Orleans (now rue Saint-Jacques). There was also a second aqueduct that ran along the Seine. The Merovingians, as much as the Carolingians, drew water from the Seine, the sources of Belleville and Pré-Saint-Gervais for four centuries. The abbeys of Saint-Laurent and Saint-Martin-des-Champs diverted the waters of the Prés Saint-Gervais from the heights of Romainville and Ménilmontant. The monks established fountains near their convent.  Philippe-Auguste, by establishing the Halles de Paris, brought the water from the Prés Saint-Gervais there to distribute it in two fountains, one of which was that of the Innocents. It was first placed at the corner of rue aux Fers and rue Saint-Denis and attached to the Church of the Saints-Innocents. It was rebuilt in the middle of the market in 1786 then placed in the middle of the Square des Innocents. At the beginning of the 17C, the La Samaritaine pump was built and work was ordered on the new Arcueil aqueduct. During this same period, in 1749, the Duke of Orleans entrusted the mission of modernizing the navigation works of the Ourcq. This is how the river was endowed with real airlock locks to replace the trenches and ponds with sailor doors that had equipped it from the start. These works ended around 1756 with the construction of a large lock in the park of the castle of Lizy-sur-Ourcq, on an artificial diversion of the Ourcq.

Jean-Antoine Chaptal, count of Chanteloup, speaking with Napoléon Bonaparte, he said to him: “I intend to make Paris the most beautiful capital in the world … I want to do something big and useful for Paris. What would be your ideas? “’ Give it water” Chaptal responded. Once the decree of 29 Floréal year X (French revolution diversions of the calendar) or May 19, 1802 was promulgated, studies for the layout of the canal began quickly: the first stone was laid on September 23. After impoundment of the Villette basin in 1808, by 1809 the waters of the Beuvronne flow to the Fontaine des Innocents in Paris, then in 1813, the first boat leaves from Claye-Souilly and arrives at La Villette.

A post-boat service was instituted in 1838. It made it possible to connect the Bassin de la Villette and Meaux (saw the canal de l’ourcq plenty here of course) in three hours, in conditions of comfort far superior to stagecoach or to the railway, which will be put into service in 1849. The latter, faster, will seal the fate of this river connection. The Meaux train station and the landing stage would have been neighbors, on both sides of the regional beltway road 603, if the river service had survived.  Commercial navigation stopped in 1962 on the navigable part of today, the canal de l’Ourcq remains a place of excursion very appreciated by cyclists, who appreciate the cycle path arranged from Bassin de la Villette to Claye-Souilly (and great shopping center here), then the towpath to La Rosée in Claye-Souilly and Meaux (my wife native town) , which represents around fifty kms of canal; recreational boating replaced the old traffic from 1983.

Along its wonderful route, the canal de l’Ourcq crosses many towns and communication routes. In Paris these are Rue de Crimée (wonderful sight) ,Rue de l’Ourcq , Boulevard Macdonald ,Pont du canal de l’Ourcq , and the boulevard périphérique BP of Paris. At our hide out in Pantin you see upon leaving a path bordered by a bike path on the north side and various activities on the south side. Then goes by Avenue du Général-Leclerc; rue Delizy, Rue Raymond-Queneau, in the Petit-Pantin neighborhood. Another memorable road warrior town and the canal de l’Ourcq is Bobigny; here the canal is first crossed by the railway bridge from the Paris-Est line to Strasbourg-Ville, then immediately by the grand ceinture of Paris. It is then crossed by the Pont de la Folie on which passes avenue Jean-Jaurès, and leads, south side, towards rue du Parc in Noisy-le-Sec. The other towns memorable to me (there are others) crossed by the Canal de l’Ourcq are:Tremblay-en-France (also part of CDG airport), Villeparisis; Claye-Souilly, Isles-lès-Villenoy, Villenoy (mom in law was born here), Meaux (wife was born here and Mom in law died), Trilport, Poincy, Varreddes, Lizy-sur-Ourcq, Mareuil-sur-Ourcq, and Silly-la-Poterie.

Of all, my most memorable reading on it as was getting to know the region was the book by Paul Féval (father), in the novel Les Habits noirs or the black habits, in the chapters “L’Aigle de Meaux no 2”   or the eagle of Meaux, bishop Bossuet   and the “Un brochet de quatorze livres” or a pike of fourteen pounds, the intrigue of which takes place on the banks and on the canal de l’Ourcq, including the narrative of the Aigle de Meaux No. 2, post boat (see above) , a passenger boat, fast, pulled by two galloping horses.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are

Paris tourist office on the Canal de l’Ourcq in English: Paris tourist office on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Paris tourist office on things to do around or near the Canal de l’OurcqParis tourist office on things to see around or near Canal de l’Ourcq

Official association on behalf of the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Au fil de l’Ourcq

Sweet water cruises by Marin d’eau douce on the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Marin d’eau douce on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Cruising on Paris Canal, on the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Paris Canal on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Now let me tell you if you have a car or a bike, the nicest way to see the Canal de l’Ourcq and be close to it is as follows:

You leave Paris by car by Porte de Pantin, and get on the national road N3, for the scenic drive even if more traffic than the autoroute A4, but for the thrill of roadster will give this route. Go direction Bobigny. Then, Noisy-le-Sec and then Bondy,Livry-Gargan, Villeparisis, Claye-Souilly (good rest stop and eating), You then immediately back on the N3 before Charmentray take right the D139 once in town turn left into the D54A follow it you have the Marne river on your right hand side. Get into city center Tribardou and get on the D27 road or Rue du Maréchal Gallieni continue to get back on the road N3 direction Meaux.  Once in Meaux, the road becomes the D603 but same road name rue de la Chaussée de Paris and into Avenue Gallieni with the train station of Meaux on your right hand side, and continue to past in front of it descending into quai de Victor Hugo with the Marne river on your right hand side, same road becomes quai Jacques Prévert, you see the Le Péniche boat, and right there you make a left turn into cours Raoult and into parking Henri IV, you are in city center Meaux. Happy motoring!


Or you leave Paris by bike as told by friends, never done it and do not imagine me doing it but, go by the La Villette going behind the Zénith entertainment complex in La Villete you are on the road galerie de l’Ourcq. You continue on quai de l’Aisne (there is an inner road closer to the water call Chemin de Halage you can take this too) and turn left over the Ourcq into quai de l’Ourcq or continue the Chemin de Halage, and past Rue Délizy, you passed the Guinguette des Grandes Sérré and immediately turn left into Chemin Lateral de l’Ourcq, you will be riding with the Ourcq on your right.  You will go under the highways A85 and the then N186 and after you will see on our right hand side the Conforama Bondy you crossed the Ourcq again this time the water will be on our left. You will go under the Pont de la Forêt and continue the road is Chemin de Halage but hardly noticeable you go straight. You will go over the Passage Freinville over the Ourcq to be on the right hand side of the water again; reaching the town of Sévran turn left into the road D44 into centre ville  but make a quick right into rue d’Estienne d’Orves all the way into the parc forestier de la Poudriere forest go thru it , you will be again on the left side of the water. Go into Mitry-Mory on the D84 and cross the water again to be on the right side of the water. You cross the N3 national road on Place du canal road crossing the La Beuvronne creek at Claye-Souilly on the D422 road. It will zig zag you into and out the N3 road going under and above it. You will be then on the D404 road with La Beuvronne creek on your right hand side direction Précy-sur-Marne thru centre ville city center and will be on the D54a road which is also, Rue des Deux Jumeaux but before getting into city center Charmentray turn right over the water and will past the town on your left hand side and water on your left. You will be at Tribardou! and into the Marne river with the Château de Tribardou on your left. You continue the D27 into the towns of Vignely, Isles les Villenoy,  get on the Chemin du Bac towards the town of Esbly and get on Rue Victor Hugo,  then quick left into rue de Condé  cross the water and this is the nice wonderful Canal de Meaux à Chalifert go into Chemin de Saint Germain into the Le Grand Morin wonderul natural country green and hilly; the Canal de Morin will on your right hand side. At city center go back on the road D85P to the chemin de halage and the Marne river on your left hand side which is also the Canal de Meaux à Chalifert. After a couple of km your will turn right on Chemin des Rouazes, then left into rue de Condé leaving behind the town of Quincy-Voisins and direction and into city centre Mareuil-les-Meaux, this road has the number D5A1 continue here past the Mairie and continue until connect with the road D360 direction Meaux. You will cross the Marne river to get into city center Meaux. Hope you can do it, me can’t.

Nice waterways of my belle France and this one really close to the heart. Hope you enjoy the Canal de l’Ourcq and do try the bike or car route very scenic.

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

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