Posts tagged ‘Bretagne’

November 15, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIII

Ok here I am and the wordpress folks change the page on me do not know why did not ask for this. Hopefully, it will work from now on (its really hard to handle this is not good) Ok it seems was able to switch back to old editor!!! . It is cool here but very nice 16C or about 60F no rain but was foggy in the morning. 

My twins boys are 25 Saturday but it is my travel day to Asia so we are taking advantage of my two days off today and tomorrow to do all before I leave for a week. We have our usual errands and trips and eat out we are very outdoors folks!


First, we went this morning to neighboring historical Auray. In this town we have our bank and studio photography to renew do my father’s US passport by mail. The usual fees in Euros on a bank check needs to be ordered arriving by mail;vive la difference. We then mail all to the US embassy in Paris for the new one which will arrive by mail within or about two weeks.

While in the lovely Auray I took some photos new ones to show you the nice town Auray is. 


We then hop over to our capital city of Vannes and our fav store FNAC to get an agenda for my French buddy in Asia , spiral style weekly layout. We look around for some potential Christmas gifts that this year will be very sad as will be the first one without my dear late wife Martine. We usually do a live pine tree and look forward to continue the tradition.


It was time to do the celebration, and my boys decided to have it in one restaurant we first encounter in Honfleur while on the sad mission of depositing the ashes of my late wife to sea with the help of the lifesavers SNSM. We realised they had an outlet in nearby Lanester ,next to Lorient and we had already try it very nice. The boys decided their outing for their birthday will be there. So we did

The restaurant is French but with a Western American theme and plenty of US flags. The food well it is with some items like Baltimore crab cakes, and pancho villa’s nachos and fish and chip and budweiser beers but also, Sol; you get the picture, a whole mingling of kitchen traditions. oh the Restaurant is Oncle Scott’s (uncle scott) and it is nice , friendly service and good food if a bit over price for the genre.

lanester oncle scott front entrance pipo nov18

We had several dishes but the principal had entrée of pancho villa’s nachos, main dish fish and chips, all with potatoes and sauces couple of Sol bottle beers and a delicious brownie and vanilla ice cream with English sauce , all came out for 30€ per person.

lanester oncle scott US flag nov18

lanester oncle scott USA Mexico cooperation nov18

We came back as tomorrow is another hectic day and not know if will have time to write one more post before leaving. We have to do some groceries at E Leclerc, and stop for the video games birthday gifts at Micromania, and my oldest will have his driving school class for two hours study period.

I will then leave Saturday morning. If you are not aware this Saturday November 17 France will go on strike oh la la la excercesing our right to protest as loyal citizens of the French Republic. Many places will be block by motorists all over and of course the airport is one of then. Hopefully ,I will do my trick to avoid all this and get to the airport even if earlier than usual.  Best of luck if driving in France on that day. For more check the official strike webpage in French of course:

It is done that you can see the talk in each department in France and find out where the blocks will be. Vive la France!!!

So until we read again, be good and stay away from blockage areas in my belle France.

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


November 11, 2018

And we go to Séné in my Morbihan!

So this is a weekend and as such we try to find places to go as home no way, Morbihan is too beautiful to stay home, and so is Brittany and even more so France. So, therefore, on the road we go.

We had to do our normal errands of a family in France but took a side step to another area which even if very close do not recall visited before. This is Port Anna in Séné near our capital of Vannes.


Port Anna on the tip left hand side of map. In yellow territory of Séné

We went to the Saturday morning market in Vannes, just wonderful, where we buy the essential, cheeses, eggs, fruits and vegetables, take out food ,wines etc It is open until 13h (1pm) but we like to go by the end and get better prices ….During the week there is a covered market at pl des Lices where you can buy too but not as good as the morning market in my opinion.



We had to have lunch, so we try to check a wonderful bay in the Port Anna in the town of Séné. This is what makes this area so nice, so many of these beautiful places to spent a day. The boats on the harbor and the sea road into the La Marle river into the ocean passing on one side Conleau peninsula and on the other side Arradon, and the islands of Boêdic across and further out Arz island . This river ocean La Marle takes you in to the canal and harbor of Vannes and right into city center! Just gorgeous!!!






We came back to have finally our lunch, at one of our favorites Le Tarmac in rue Ferdinand le Dressay which is the road D199 up the hill towards Séné. We had our gourmand burgers, and great local Breton beer Duchesse Anne 6%. All this overlooking the wonderful canal harbor of Vannes, capacity for 3000 boat berth! Across the street is the harbormaster of Vannes. Oh yes the bill was 25€ per person nice.





Finally, on the way home we did our groceries for the misc things we buy here mostly personal care, and household items at our favorite E Leclerc hypermarket and the nice underground free parking.


And we headed home for the rugby match France vs South Africa, too bad we had a good game but as lately in the last few minutes almost ending time this time we lost 26-29. It stayed a good effort once again. This was a friendly game, next is Argentina and then Fiji islands.

So , enjoy your Sunday now watching the commemoration of the Great War (WWI) the speech by President Macron, a bit long but with all the main participants present including the USA with Trump and Melanie.

I leave you the Sunday, and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




November 10, 2018

The high places of pilgrimage in France!

And why not this piece after all , it is said by one well known personality of France’s heritage Stéphane Bern that the 92 million visitors (on a running year to October) coming to France are here to see the accomplishements of the previous Monarchies and one particular part of this tradition is the Christian faith. I am a subscriber to M. BERN magazine and participate on his efforts to safeguard these monuments. I have, also, met him in person in Paris. You can read more on the magazine he heads Secrets d’Histoire (subscription gift of my dear late wife Martine) at Official Secrets d’Histoire webpage

Without going into thesis and validation, and concentrating only on the main sites of visitors/pilgrims here, let me give you a run down. Worth visiting all of them of course. And remember the poilus of WWI, tomorrow is their big day to give Thanks. Fitting to post this now.

Lourdes, Hautes-Pyrénées : When between 11 Feb and 18 jul 1858 Bernadette Soubirous see 18 apparitions in the grotto of Massabielle along the pau river and 160 years later this site has become the first Catholic pilgrimage in France with each year receiving between 3-4 million visitors. See the Basilica Notre Dame du Rosaire and above the esplanade the Basilica of the Immaculate ConceptionLourdes

Rocamadour, Lot: On the valley of the Alzou since the Middle Ages pilgrims after climbing 216 steps to the sanctuary to cultivate the Black Virgin. The sources unknown as well as that of the hermit Amadour of which body was found intact in 1166 in front of the Chapel of the Virgin Mary. The pilgrims come by way of Puy-en-Velay or the one leaving from Bénévent-l’Abbaye (Creuse). Rocamadour

Mont Sainte Odile Bas-Rhin: The pilgrims come to venerate the Patron Saint of Alsace born blind in the 12C. She was given vision by the baptismal waters from which comes her name Odile means the daughter of light, and she became the abbesse of the convent that was raised here by her father, Duke of Alsace , Etichon-Adalric . The route of pilgrims takes you from Ottrott, the climb is difficult but with a beautiful panorama of the plains of Alsace, the Rhine river, the Black Forest as well as the chain of the Vosges mountains. Mont Sainte Odile

Chartres, Eure-et-Eure: The Cathedral of Chartres more than any other sanctuary invites you to arrive on foot ; you can come on the itinerary created by Charles Péguy in 1912-13. You can see the belltower from the plains at a great distance. You need an entire day to see the 9 gates decorated with more than 2500 statues! On the interior the stained glass is wonderfully beautiful, and the medieval enclosure of the choir, the great organs, and kneel before the relic scarf of the Virgin, statue of Notre Dame du Pilier as well as in the crypt like the one of Notre Dame-de-Sous-Terre. In the nave, the labyrenth done on Fridays from careme to all saints day. Chartres

La Saint-Baume Var: Pilgrims comes by the the way of Kings because it was taken by at least 40 monarchs since Saint Louis in 1254 to Louis XIV in 1660. The way starts at the Basilica of Saint-Maximin about 15km away where the skull of Marie Magdalene is exposed. However, it is only guided coming from Nans-le-Pins halfway here; and most pilgrims only do the last couple of km from Trois Chênes. Once arrived you see a sumptuous panorama looking at the Sainte Victoire and on cliffs you see the grotto where Mary Magdalene spent her last 30 years. It is said that seven times per day she was raised by the angels of Saint-Pilon where today lies a Chapel, the strongest pilgrims do this route when not too much wind and rain. You can then go down by the road chemin du Canapé and reach the hotel where the Dominicans guard the sanctuary since 1295 and host the pilgrims. Sainte Baume

Vézelay, Yonne: This is the inspired hill as this hill the spirit blows harder. The Basilica is dedicated to Mary Magdaleine where some of the assumed relics are kept in the crypt. Here the pilgrim will be astounded by the beauty of Roman art where the land and the heavens speaks along a game of lights to see the soltice. You can hear the chants of the monks that rhyme with the hours of the day. Vézelay

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Bouches du Rhône: The story here begins at the beginning of Christianity when the Christians were persecuted in the year 45AD It was here where the Rhine meets with the Mediterranean that were appear the three Marys’s (Mary Solomé mother of St James, Mary Magdaleine, and Mary Jacobian ) accompanied by Lazarus, Martha, Maximin ,their servant Sara and a few others. The pilgrimage of travelled people is the most known here in the month of May, a huge crowd accompanied the gypsies towards the sea escorted by provençal guardians on horseback. Saintes Maries de la Mer

Lisieux, Calvados:  The Basilica of Lisieux built in 1954 is the second largest pilgrimage site in France after Lourdes. Here we venerates the relics of one of the biggest Saint of the 19C, Theresa Martin that entered the Carmelites and took the name of Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She was also known as the little Theresa as she trace a spiritual life of childhood that has given her the title of Doctor of the Church and secondary Patron Saint of France. There are over a million visitors each year here, making the 3rd most visited place after the Landing Beaches of Normandy ,and Mont Saint Michel. Lisieux

Sainte Anne d’Auray , Morbihan: This one is very close to me (12 km) and all true on the expectations and crowds. It was a humble laborer of the land Yves Nicolazic that the Mother Virgin Mary appeared from 1623 to 1625 asking to built a Chapel that was promise in the 6C. At the spot , Yves digs a hole and finds a small wooden Virgin figure on the spot called Ker Anna or the village of Anna in Breton. Too small to welcome the crowds of the faithful it was replaced in the 16C by a Basilica of Sainte Anne d’Auray. Each year as much as 500K persons come here by July 25-26; the procession is huge with Breton songs and costumes   bagpipe bands and banners. It is the Patron Saint of Brittany and call the Mamm Gozh ar Vretoned or the grandmother of the Bretons. The Bible tells us she is the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus. Sainte Anne d’Auray

The Mont Saint Michel, Manche: The pilgrims arrived by the northern flank and crossed the Bay with the help of guides. The crossing in moving sand is to show the troubles of life and to overcome it. You ,then climb the rock and visit the Church of St Peter and keep climbing until the arrow steep on the western terrace with a great view of the Bay. The songs of the monks incite you to walk on the abbey Church and discovered the Chapel of Notre Dame-Sous-Terre that replaced the sanctuary done first in 708AD by Saint Aubert . The site covers 13 centuries of history, and the spirit of the angel St Michael is here. Mont Saint Michel

Le Puy-en-Velay , Haute-Loire: The Cathedral de l’Annociation is together with Chartres the oldest Marian sanctuary in the Christian Gaul. The Virgin appeared in the 5C helping a suffering women to laid for rest on a stone flatbed, this stone call the Stone of Fevers is today inside the Cathedral. The pilgrims came to see the Black Virgin a statue from the 17C that replaced the original medieval statue; It is in this town, a departing point for the Route of St James. However, before doing the walk the pilgrims followed three ascentions. One the rock of Corneille where since 1860 lies the statue of Notre Dame de France; the rock of St Michel d’Aiguilhe that takes you to a roman Chapel dedicated to the Archangel. Finally, in the upper town you take the rue des Tables that leads you to the Cathedral where you will received benediction. From here the road of Puy-en-Velay awaits you for the trip to Santiago , St James 1600 km farther. Le Puy en Velay

These are the most popular places of pilgrimage in France, and folks from around the world do come. There is no better way to know the history, traditions, architecture, and customs of France then by visiting these high places. Enjoy them all!

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

November 9, 2018

Château de Suscinio, Duchy of Brittany!

So I am back to my beloved Morbihan breton and the region of Brittany. If you have been reading, you know I live in this wonderful department 56. However, there is much wonderful things to see in my department alone, without going into the region or lets not even go to talk about France ;sometimes is overwhelming and hard to decide where!!!

As much as many have told me how I cover territory , there are many still unseen or hardly touch. This is an example of it. When my boys came here they did studies nearby and we came to see the area, even thinking for a while of  purchasing a home here. We always drove up and down and sideways but really never had invested time to see this marvel of Brittany.

I am talking of course about the Château de Suscinio, former home of the Dukes of Brittany and right near me in the Presqu’île de Rhuys (peninsula) . On this cool cloudy Sunday, I change all that taking my boys to see up close and personal, finally!




I have written on blog post back in 2014!! on it , here it is for reference: My blog ,Suscinio is Sarzeau

The official page in French for the castle is here: Domaine de Suscinio

There are surrounded by water here, huge. First, you have the swamps or marshes of Suscinio. The Suscinio marshes are a complex composed of salt marshes and freshwater ponds. A full-fledged hydrographic entity consists of the Landrezac marshes located east of the Suscinio marshes. Near the Gulf of Morbihan, the marshes of Sucinio are located in the commune of Sarzeau.


If these are not enough to keep you here for at least a day, then come in Summer for beach time at two beautiful beaches such as the Pointe de Penvins beach and the follow up the Landrezac beach. At Penvins you have the small beach and at Landrezac you have the big beach. Behind the castle there is the Suscinio beach and then at the end there is the Beg Lann beach , in all four beaches running one after the other, huge parking space, lifeguard station and camping park. My favorite is Landrezac with 5 km of white sandy beach! More here in Plage tv webpage: Plage tv the beaches of Sarzeau




Ok ok, sorry, its a peninsula!!! the works is hereeee! you must come, ok so now a bit about the castle oops!

The Château of Suscinio, built at the end of the Middle Ages (13C   and to the second half of the 14C),was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany,and is located on the edge of Mor Braz (Atlantic Ocean) in the town of Sarzeau, Morbihan 56.

A bit of history I like

The first building was a manor house for hunting, and built for the Duke of Brittany, Pierre de Dreux, in 1218, between freshwater ponds in the north, marshes of Suscinio and Étiers in the south. In 1229, his son, Jean I   le Roux, continued the construction of the castle, and closed a large part of the forest of Rhuys which would become a hunting park. Duke Jean IV of Brittany puts the castle at the disposal of the English, his allies. The fortress, commanded since 1365 by an English captain, was reconquered for the crown of France by Bertrand du Guesclin in 1373. The constable has dismantled towers, curtains and sleeping buildings. The Dukes Jean IV and Jean V undertake work of consolidation, expansion and construction of the sleeping building after 1380 and of the west building towards 1430) as well as the construction of a new tower . Thereafter, the castle is gradually neglected, the Dukes of Brittany favoring their castle of Nantes. It becomes in 1520 property of the crown of France under king François I who entrusted it in usufruct with the surrounding lands to high figures of the Court, in particular one of his mistresses, who perceive the incomes of the estate.

In 1798, the castle ,already very degraded was sold as a national property to a fairground merchant in Lorient who exploited it as a quarry for stones for buildings and just junked the sculptures. Purchase in 1852 by Viscount Jules de Francheville, his family did everything possible to save the existing one until the takeover in 1965 by the Morbihan County Council, which began its restoration as of today.

In 1975, the Chapel of the priory, burned in 1370, which has a remarkable pavement of about 300 m2, is discovered nearby during excavations, which are ongoing today. This one is studied, restored and exposed in a room of the castle. At the beginning of the 21C, the castle, now open all year round to the visit, regained its medieval fortress form intact.

A bit of a description if I may say so …

The castle, girded with moats deep of 3 to 4 meters, affects the shape of an irregular quadrilateral and probably in the second half of the 13C; flanked by seven towers, including a quadrangular one defending the West walls. These towers as well as the towerettes are in their low level of condition, essentially vestiges of the 13C castle; The high body date from the 15C. The entrance is protected by two powerful towers of 12 meters in diameter, a drawbridge preceded by a stone-sleeping bridge and supervised by four lookout posts in the main body. The towers and curtains are crowned by the Breton machicolations, formed by consoles in decreasing pyramid. The enclosure is shouldered South by two artillery bastions built at the end of the 16C in the time of the Wars of the League

Separated by a large courtyard, two housings in granite , are connected by curtains. The northern courtship was mainly intended as a passageway connecting the East Logis (ducal residence, it includes a ceremonial hall, a wicket with a pass-through, the bedroom of the Duke close to the chamber to be adorned, the ovens, an oratory that overlooks the North tower) at the West building, and also shelter a less important North building in view of the four large mullions that have been pierced and two of which are walled.






Some of my personal observation as best can describe them are:

The Grand escalier à vis (big stair)  end of 15C  communicated to the rooms in 2nd and 3rd floors reserve to the ducal family and guard troops only.  Salle du capitaine (Captain’s room) was the principal entrance and the rooms of the ducal family created end of the 16C ; it is here that the defense of the castle is planned. From the middle of the 17C the captain and ducal guards no longer lived here.  The Grand Salle (big room) for protocol meetings of the dukes and guests.  Cabinet, a room for secretaries for writing of ducal acts etc.  The mounted horse statue of Olivier Clisson Constable of France in the 14C chief of the armies of the king, was done in 1892 . The city of Vannes put it here when the castle was a museum .Done by Emmanuel Fremiet in 1892, the same artist who did the arrow of St Michel on top of the Mont Saint Michel.  Room of  Facing of the duke, with three window bays for clarity typical of the 15C architecture. A place to rest and work given way to the grand stair and the working room. A small door allowed the duke to reach the room of the Duchess and their children.  The working room next to the closet -wardrobe of the duke and where the duke took his baths and cleaned himself with servants. The whole travel with the duke whenever he needed to be. Room of facing or parement working and resting room next to the closet or wardrobe of the duke. Ducal oratory to hold Mass in private and pray by the duke and family. It had a gothic style retable under the altar and stained glass of the evangelisation of Christ. It had the arms of the duchy of Brittany.  Wardrobe or Garde robe  of the Duchess, with several servants at her disposal. It had individual baths for her to be cleaned and dressed.  The logis or lodgings on the south were four levels with several windows , this is where the oratory was and the defense of the St Nicolas tower.  The west building from the 15C and the rooms of the dukes, link by an interior stair flank by the New tower or tour Neuve. They seems to be from the primitive castle and oldest parts.  The building on the east dates from the 13C and it is the oldest today only traces and archeological excavations are been held.  The castle is surrounded by a large moat deep of 3-4 meters! It has been renovated in 1970. After excavations it has been found that the moat this deep was not and water around the castle did not began than on around the 14-15C ; it had a clap that allow to release water to the swamps if it became too flooded in the moat.  The principal gate was protected by the moat and the passage was done by bridges , fixed on the exterior and levies on the interior. There was a guard corp in front of this exterior bridge .And this was the only entrance to the castle for wagons, persons etc. One door. Got it!!







IT is beautiful and you must see it at least once if stopping by here in my lovely Morbihan. Some webpages to help you plan your trip visit here are

Tourist office of Brittany on Suscinio and Rhuys

Gulf of Morbihan tourism on Suscinio

Tourist office of Morbihan on Rhuys peninsula

There you go ,history, architecture, traditions, and good food, the Morbihan is waiting for you, and will gladly help you enjoy it, I told you its beautiful!!!

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

November 5, 2018

Some news from France CXCXVIII

So here back with some news of my belle France! The weather is still cloudy and cool at  14C in my neck of the woods of Morbihan, and in eternal Paris is 17C  with more sunshine at 16h or 4pm. There are many events leading up to the commemoration of WWI or the Great War as it is known here.

In the course of this week’s events, here are some of my favorites news.

Emmanuel Macron embarks on a new marathon. This past Sunday in Strasbourg, the president embarked on a week-long journey in the footsteps of the Great War (WWI), from Verdun to the Somme. The purpose of this roaming, as the Elysée calls it, is to go to meet our ancestors the poilus, these some eight million who fought from 1914 to 1918. In total, Emmanuel Macron will visit 11 departments and 17 cities. The president will visit the sites of the war but also go to territories. These are Strasbourg, Morhange, Pont-à-Monsoon, Pompy, Les Eparges, Verdun, Reims, Charleville-Mézières, Rozoy-sur-Serres, La Flamegrie, Feignions, Maubeuge, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, Lens, Albert, Péronne, Compiègne, and Paris. In black ,towns that I have been to. Unfortunately, this is also part of politics with some rumblings going on now here, and some visitor coming now not so strong after Merkel of Germany decided not to run for re election, and the USA election tomorrow for Congress seats.


credit AFP and

According to the management of Disneyland Paris; Star Wars, the Snow Queen and Marvel: The Disney galaxy will still grow in Marne-La-Vallée. By 2025, the three new universes of Disneyland Paris will open to the millions of visitors of the amusement parks of Chessy (Seine-et-Marne 77); Three public meetings are scheduled for Tuesday evening and on 14 and 22 November to inform the population of the Val d’Europe for the construction restrictions. The Marvel universe will serve as the European base of the Avengers ‘s  headquarters.  They will remake Rock’n’Roller coaster to create an experience against evil, alongside Ironman. On the Snow Queen, the town of Arendelle must be recreated with attractions where our visitors can meet their favorite character. And on Star Wars, they are going to create an immersive place where our visitors will live like in a galaxy. From 2019 until 2025, the three new worlds will be set up in the second park, the Walt Disney Studios. With 31 ha to be set up (12 ha for new attractions, 8 ha for backstage, 11 ha for construction site and road), the expectations in terms of employment are enormous. Hopes that this extension will promote longer stays of tourists on the area as well as the construction of new hotels. More on Disneyland Paris here:

Victoria’s Secret, The famous American lingerie brand, will it open in 2019 its first French flagship on the Champs-Elysées? The experts believe this news is credible. The Italian group Percassi, owner of the 1 500 m2 of the Queen’s premises, closed since April 2018, would first consider installing a Kiko make-up shop. But commercial experts believe that the surface would be too big for such a sign. Hence the theory on the installation at this location of a Victoria’s Secret shop, of which the Percassi group holds the license. Victoria’s Secret is rich in 1 200 stores around the world including a small shop at Orly Airport as well as at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport since last May.

As of this Monday (today), November 5, you can see trains of the tramway T3b circulate between the Porte de la Chapelle and Asnières, the extension of the tramway of the Maréchaux  which will actually enter into commercial service on November 24th 2018. More on the line and tramways of Paris here:


T3B tramway credit Le Parisien newspaper

Meaux,  my dear late wife Martine native town, something wonderful for the lovers of good cheese, the Brie de Meaux ! This past Sunday the dean of the Brotherhood of Brie de Meaux blows the candle of the birthday cake of the Maison du Brie de Meaux. The small museum in the Episcopal city celebrated its second anniversary this past Sunday. More on it here:

In Saint-Germain-en-Laye, (Yvelines 78) the  l’Apothicairerie  Royale (Royal apothecary) reveals its treasures until the end of March 2019, you will discover these pots of the 17C and  18C in which the apothecaries concoction their remedies.

For the lovers of good wine: This past October 22nd, one of the largest castles in Pauillac obtained the Ecocert France certification, which validates the production of organic wines. A first in the closed circle of the prestigious areas of Bordeaux. Unofficially, this wine has been for at least three years, obligatory conversion time to obtain the Ecocert France certification, but the body that validates the production of organic wines has just delivered its precious decision. Château Latour will be officially organic from the 2018 vintage. The work carried out by the château, which has been owned by François Pinault since 1993, marks a real turning point. The figures are there which show that the train is en route. On the wine expert blog of  “Côté Châteaux” of France 3 Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Jean-Pierre Stahl points out that 15% of all the classified crus of 1855 are now switched to organic, when the whole vineyard of Bordeaux is still only 8%. Another locomotive will soon leave the station: Château Margaux, one of the five largest on the left bank, is also in conversion. More on Latour here:

The Fondation Henri Cartier- Bresson inaugurates tomorrow November 6th the more spacious premises in Paris with a retrospective of Martine Franck. Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) signed unforgettable portraits of his contemporaries, but himself refused to be photographed, and he pulled a knife out of his pocket to discourage any attempt to steal his image. The founder of the Magnum agency, who marked the history of photography with his dazzling images, did not do many self-portraits either. Huge works have turned an old car garage into an air-conditioned and state-of-the-art exhibition and storage area of 900 square meters .More here:

A notice to Photography enthusiasts! Be aware that the Grand Palais provides free online courses on the history of photography from November 5th until December 31st 2018.  After the success of the online courses on the history of art and on Picasso, the Grand Palais provides free online courses on the history of photography, on the occasion of Paris Photo 2018. Enough to refine your photographic knowledge and technique.  Delivered by the Orange Foundation for Culture and NMR-Grand Palais, this MOOC (for Massive Open Online Course) approaches in 6 sequences the great movements as well as the authors and the clichés that have marked the history of photography. Direction the site Mooc Photo where already more than 10 000 enthusiasts have registered! The courses are open to all, available free of charge 24 hours a day, and bonuses, at each end of the sequence, a quiz allows you to test your knowledge. More in French here:

So you want to speak French ok how about mixed up with some English, you can have Franglais !! This is every day life here and I think hilarious !! To get straight to the point, we’re just here to let you know that even if  we like English, you have to be able to dose it properly on a daily basis.  We have nothing against a beautiful mixture of cultures. We are just looking to warn most people before they fall into the syndrome called “Afida Turner”.  Our friends the English and the Americans influence us daily with their art (music, films, series…), and by this way, their language. Here are 10 phrases that need to (really) try to use less here in my belle France!!!

1 – Mainstream : Rather cool term because it defines well the state of notoriety of such or such thing, that said… Popular passes as well, huh?

2 – Random : We like to use it, but in itself, we have enough to do with many French synonyms (as commonplace ).

3 – Boriiing :  What annoys us most is probably the lengthening of the word. It sounds very bitchy, and it’s not positive.

4 – Whatever… Still in the same line, the whatever becomes very bitchy with the sharp accent that is added and that makes a lot of shit.

5 – Asap :  That means  “as soon as possible ” (either  “as fast as possible “). You could say that it is a time saver, but it is very effective too…

6 – Anyway… : It can also be added to the family of the bitchy talk (Franglais assumed). Especially annoying when a person places it to move on to something else in a debate.

7 – Bae : Bae does not want to say babe, but before anywone else (before all the others). Unfortunately, in the mouth, the term resonates very little girl who can no longer…..

8 – Cute : One must recognize that the term is quite effective and more practical than a “mignon “. Unfortunately, this over-exploitation has exhausted all  and  tired us out a little by force.

9 – Obviously (ou of course) :  For the time being, there are so obvious alternatives that one wonders why people are going to look so far… A simple  “obviously ” or  “Of course ” is largely enough.

10 – Target : Word that defines that person you dig and want. Only in the ear, the term gives the impression that seducing this person represents a psychotic mission. So, the crush presents itself as the alternative: a real vicious circle!

Yes we do Franglais a lot at work and on night outs here, but mostly just for our inner circle lol!

Enjoy your time in my belle France, and maybe you can catch up on some news here too.  vous avez besoin de faire le target ::)

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



November 2, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXII

So here we are again on this time a mild cold day and sometimes sunny temps were in the 13C and were down to 8C in the morning. So we did our usual errands in our neck of the woods, the Morbihan breton dept 56 in the region of Brittany/Bretagne or Breizh.

We set out to do several errands most of the usual ones already mentioned several times here in my blog. the usual selling of video games (easycash) and buying new ones (micromania)  by the boys and the reading on especially travel books at the FNAC in Vannes, and of course shopping in our Saturday market which is very nice.

We , also went to do our course or groceries shopping (E Leclerc) for the rest. And stop by a favorite restaurant (tablapizza) of my dear late wife Martine. IN all the weekend is not over as Toussaints and the pont day of today plus the weekend ,I have a long 4 day weekend! Oh Toussaints is the All Saints’ s Day and the pont is a bridge off day we get in our belle France.

The E leclerc hypermarket is huge with about 60 cashiers not always working at the same time, automatic cashier lanes, preferred customer lanes, less than 10 articles lanes and you name inside all you can imagine to purchase in one spot. There is even a travel agency and a bank!



Then , it has a nice cultural center that is like a fnac of their own with all the electronics and books, cd’s, dvd’s etc etc you can imagine on a separate store in the same commercial center.


Inside in the commercial center, you have about 25  other stores including a post office, bank,and restaurants. The stores are your typical mall names but covers all needs really. There is underground parking that we love as well with direct escalator stairs to the center.


We had to eat when we are out so long so we went to favorite of my dear late wife Martine,and the boys, the pizzeria Tablapizza. The folks there know us well and we have been away for a while due to my wife’s passing. The staff and especially the manager was very moved by the unfortunate event that I went thru and it made me feel human after all, people do care; and it was nice to patronized a humanistic place like Tablapizza of Vannes.



We had our Espagnole or Spanish pizza for the chorizos in me, with a nice bottle of white chenin Domaine à Deux of the Loire, and profiterolles with strawberry ice cream for dessert and expresso coffee, all for 26€ per person. Of course, my sons had different things from rolled pizzas to pastas.




We had finally fixed the couple of tiles missing from our front tile stair, and pay for services to have a night movement light in our front garden driveway so if coming late at night there will be light automatically on! Also, a new shower wall handle and kitchen sink water tap. AND, we finish painting the cellar area of our basement ready for the woodwork in a proper winecellar! We are waiting already book and approuve to have our garage door and house driveway entry door replace before Christmas this year. There, litlle by little the house is completely modernized……

Ok , an update on the family of the Morbihan adopted Bretons indeed, times flies but already over 5 yrs in this house,and almost 8 in Brittany!!!

And, just you know, remember always; happy travels, good health, and wishing many cheers to all!!! And I thank you for keeping up with me on this blog!!!!!!



October 30, 2018

The other side of Saint Anne d’Auray

This again is a town I go often in fact almost every day passing from or to work , and of course visited and spent many times there with the family. It is hugely a religious town of great significant in Brittany at least, so since written so much on it in my blog I like to tell a bit more on the town and not the Basilica. This is Sainte Anne d’Auray in my Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany of course!

Sainte-Anne-d’Auray is a town in the Morbihan department 56 in the region of Brittany,and only 11 km from my house. The Breton name is Santez Anna Wened.

Sainte Anne d’Auray is the main pilgrimage site of Brittany. It has been like this since 1625,when the faithful came to commemorate the apparition of Saint Anne, mother of Mary , and maternal grandmother of Jesus Christ, to local farmer Yves Nicolazic (his native house preserved below photo). Every summer, on 26 July, a pilgrimage takes place: The pardon of St. Anne. is famous for its Catholic pilgrimage in honor of St. Anne. Pope John Paul II came on a pilgrimage on September 20, 1996 , first visit of a Pope in Brittany.


There are various memorial to the Fallen here along statues of Sainte Anne and plaque commemorating the visit by Pope Johnn Paul II.

st anne d auray

The Memorial of the Great War of Sainte Anne d’Auray, built from 1922 to 1932 by the five dioceses of Brittany to keep the memory of  the 240 000 Breton victims of WWI. The Rotunda that supports the slenderness of eight arcades is crowned of a sarazinoised helmet roof that dominates a lace cross. The dome houses a monolithic altar in pink granite from Ploumanac’h. The door is framed by two great granite bas-reliefs representing the protective arms of the allegories of victory and peace. The burial crypt is organized in 5 apsidioles arranged in chapels for the 5 dioceses of Brittany. New conflicts having grieving the country since 1932, a mausoleum was placed in the center of the crypt, dedicated to all the dead of all wars. The symbolic tombs of the missing sailor and infantryman, are guarded by Saint Michel, patron of France, and Saint Yves, patron of Brittany.

The whole story in French here: Memorial story on journals in French

st anne d auray

The nécropole nationale de Sainte-Anne-d’Auray is a French military cemetery there are graves of fallen soldiers during the war of 1870, WWI, WWII and the War of Indochina. The necropolis was created in 1959.  In 1960-1961, the bodies of soldiers killed during WWII   exhumed from the military squares of the communal cemeteries of Brittany, Poitou and the Pays de la Loire were buried in this necropolis. In 1983-1984, it was the remains of soldiers who died during WWI exhumed from the military squares of the communal cemeteries of Brittany, which were grouped together with the bodies of Belgian soldiers who died during WWI and previously buried in Brittany, Pays de la Loire and Normandy. In 1988, the remains of Belgian soldiers buried during the war of 1914-1918 in Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées were transferred to this necropolis as well. With an area of 1.7 hectares, the national Necropolis has 2 106 burials of soldiers who died in hospitals in western France of injuries or illnesses contracted during the wars of 1870, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. It is the only national necropolis located in Brittany. The ossuary is located under a menhir dedicated to the fallen of all wars.

Official gov roads of memories on memorial of Sainte Anne d’Auray

Govt of Morbihan in pdf on the memorial of Sainte Anne d’Auray

st anne d auray

Something from the past still very much in evidence of this of most glorious town. The monument of the Count of Chambord erected in 1891 in memory of Henri d’Artois, the Count of Chambord  last Bourbon pretender to the crown of France. During the attempt to restore Henri V, a pilgrimage was organized by the Royalists from the west of France to Sainte Anne d’Auray to pray for the return of the king to the throne. The latter is held every year on 29 September, the anniversary of the birth of the prince, until his death in 1883. The monument consists of a summit statue of the Comte de Chambord, depicted on his knees and in coronation attire, placed on a granite pedestal. On the sides of it are the statues of all the Saints such as Jeanne d’Arc, on the front, and Saint Geneviève, at the back, as well as the Bayard Knights on the left and Du Guesclin on the right.

Official Royalist on the memorial of Count of Chambord

st anne d auray


The Musée de cire, l’Historial or the wax museum, the Historial; This museum traces, through various scenes, the origins of the Pilgrimage, the life of Yves Nicolazic, the apparitions of St. Anne, mother of Mary, and her miracles, the origin of the Great Breton Pilgrimage. The last scene, carried out by the Musée Grévin de Paris, presents the pope surrounded by 5 Breton children, winking at the visit of John Paul II to Sainte Anne d’Auray on September 20 1996. It is a total reconstruction of the origins of the pilgrimage, etc, under the reign of king Louis XIII.  I passed by it almost every day but not been inside yet, goes without saying. More info here:

Official Wax Museum of St Anne d’Auray

Académie de Musique et d’Arts Sacrés or the   Academy of Music and Sacred Arts which carries a magnificent cultural project and the musical animation of the site with its choirs, its music (great organ of Cavaillé-Coll). The Breton culture is endowed with a long musical, artistic and religious tradition which is expressed in particular by the pardons. This tradition has been celebrated fervently, since the 17C in Sainte-Anne of Auray. Academy of Music and Sacred Arts has been established since 1999. It is then founded under the name Center of Sacred Music. A veritable bridge between art, culture and faith, it seeks to bring to life and transmit this sacred Breton heritage, rich in music and singing, dance, customs, art objects and creations. Again passed right in front of it almost every day but not been inside yet lol! Official webpage here:

Official Acadamy of Music of Sacred Arts

City of Sainte Anne d’Auray on the academy

And will give you a couple more webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must not just for the religious significance but the architectural,history,and knowledge of the Breton culture.

City of Sainte Anne d’Auray on heritage

Tourist office of the Auray region on Sainte Anne d’Auray

And there you , something different to see in a city surrounded by Sainte Anne, mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus, patron Saint of Brittany!

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




October 30, 2018

The Churches of Auray!

And on a very cold Sunday , we have 7C and sunny of course…. I take you to a Sunday event, talk about Churches. In France we have thousands, and Brittany leads the way been one of the most if not the most traditional region of France. I happened to have inititally lived here in Auray a historical town of many nations and with plenty of Churches. Some main pictures as others are spread all over previous posts.

I have written many posts on Auray and bits on them, but believe a full post on just the Churches is merité n’est pas? So,therefore, here they are , the Churches of Auray! Oh yes of course in the Morbihan dept 56!!! mine!!! I moved but only by 12 km ::)

Auray well again needless to tell you I used to lived here when initially moved from Versailles ,Yvelines 78 to Brittany. The town is surrounded by the towns of Crac’h to the south and west, Brech to the north, and Pluneret to the east. It is crossed by a small coastal river, the Auray river, which leads into the Gulf of Morbihan. The port of Saint-Goustan is at the bottom of the valley, east of the river. The port of Saint-Goustan is at the origin of the city. It is located on the Auray river, at the most upstream point that can reach the sea ships with the help of the tide. It received high seas vessels until the 19C. It is also a port of Cargo active in the direction of Spain and Great Britain. Its decline as a trading port with the arrival of the railway in 1862. Today it is a marina and a stopover of the tourist circuit of the tour of the Gulf of Morbihan

In the 1950’s, the national road N165 Vannes-Lorient bypasses the center of Auray by the north. In 1989, the construction of the Kerplouz viaduct on the N 165 (voie express) in 4 lanes above the Auray river downstream of Saint-Goustan removes the agglomeration of transit traffic. The train station of Auray is located more than two km north of the city center. This is the station that I take and Vannes  all  my trips to Paris via TGV.

I was going on the history but done that before in other posts so briefly here: Auray is a place name, originating from a Breton name of a person, mentioned for the first time in 1069, Alrae, then in 1168 Alrai, in Breton An Alré.

What Churches are in Auray? well several and will start with the main one.

The Church of St Gildas owes its name to a 12C priory which depends on the Benedictine abbey of the Rhuys Peninsula. It was conceived at the site of the old priory of which combines medieval and baroque styles. The work started in 1623 ,it bears the date of 1636 on the three gables and was consecrated in 1641 ,but is only completed in 1663. The steeple of the three-story square tower was however only completed in 1701, and rebuilt in 1832. The Church is built saddle an elongated plan, with non-protruding transept. The nave consists of three aisles. The western facade consists of a three-level steeple tower surmounted by an octagonal lantern. The south façade is remarkable for its Renaissance-style porch, with three levels with twin columns on the first two levels and a triangular pediment in which the saint’s niche is located. The nave has a level of large arcades resting on columns that rise up to the coffered vault whose double arches are resting on carved bases. The aisles are vaulted in cradle, separated by double arches. The crossing of the transept also receives a vouûte with a cross-box of warheads. The flat choir, vaulted also with caissons, is adorned with a large altarpiece. It dominates the whole city, and will serve as a model in the region.   This Church is a sober building, except for the two porches of Renaissance and Baroque style. Inside you can admire a recently restored 16C Christ-recumbent. The imposing altarpiece of the high altar is in Levallois style and dates from 1657.   The vault is adorned with painted boxes and at the bottom, in the Tribune, the organ of Waltrin dates from 1761.   The whole dates from the 17C 18C, 19C and Baroque style .Located at Place Gabriel Deshayes.



The Chapelle du Saint-Esprit (Holy Spirit). 13C, it is the last vestige of the commandery of the Order of the Holy Spirit of Montpellier. In the 14C, this convent and hospitable house of the Holy Spirit at Auray would have become one of the principals of France, with, under its authority, some fifty foundations. In 1762, Pope Clement XIII abolished the order of the Holy Spirit. The city installed the headquarters of the General Hospital, then, in 1790, a military hospital. At the beginning of the 19C, what remained of the buildings was transformed into a permanent barracks. Important works transformed the chapel as seen before the restoration of 1990-1994. It will take the name of Duguesclin Barracks. The present restitution allows this building to regain its original volumes: a single vessel with five bays and a flat bedside ; an unusual silhouette in Brittany. It is a site of many cultural presentation exhibits etc today. Located at Place du Four Mollet.

Tourist office of Morbihan on Holy Spirit Chapel


Chapelle du Père Éternel (Chapel of the Eternal Father). This Chapel is the last testimony of the convent built from 1644 to welcome the Franciscan sisters. They arrive at Auray in the early 17C to hold a girls’ school. Hunted in 1792 during the French Revolution, the convent and thus the Chapel are abandoned and serve different uses. These monuments retook their original function in 1807 with the arrival of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis. The Chapel contains beautiful 18C carved panelling and stalls. Located at Rue du Pére Eternel.

Tourist office of Morbihan on Eternal Father Chapel


The Chapelle Sainte-Hélène , built in the 15C is one of the oldest monuments in the city of Auray. It is known in the course of history under four names: Chapel of Notre-Dame, name under which she was blessed; Chapel of the hospital, in reference to the hotel Dieu which it served; Chapel of the Augustines, name from the hospital nuns in charge of the sick; and Chapelle Sainte-Hélène, name given by the locals to their Chapel. This Chapel contains beautiful 18C carved stalls from the Chartreuse de Brec’h, a 19C altarpiece and woodwork. Open all year round ; Daily from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 17h30, except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. It holds a Pardon on August 21st at 18h each year. Located at Rue Georges Clemenceau.

Tourist office of Morbihan on St Helene Chapel


Ancient Chapel of the Congregation of men at auray. Its full name is Chapel of the Brothers of the Congregation of Men of the Immaculate Conception . It’s dated from 1672. Only the front is original. Pious craftsmen gathered there to pray to the Virgin. Before going out, observe the Tribune and its central panel. You will see the Rapture of Saint Paul , a work performed around 1672-1678 by Antoine de Bray a Parisian decorator who adorned several halls of the parliament of Brittany in Rennes. Today it welcomes the tourist office, at rue du Lait.

Tourist office of Auray


One of my favorites because of the historical context that it was built and personnage. Charles of Blois was the son of Marguerite de Valois, sister of the king of France Philip VI, great-granddaughter, therefore, of Saint Louis, who had just been placed on the altars. His father, Guy de Châtillon, Count of Blois, was as good a Christian as brave Knight. The old chronicles point out that everything was serious, almost severe in his castle; One could have believed in a monastery rather than in the abode of a lord.

On the conflicts of the War of Succession of Brittany, the quarrels got first to an arbirtration by the king of France. King Philip VI convened his parliament in an extraordinary assembly. In July 1341, the ecclesiastical and secular peers were gathered in the united commission, presided over by the bishops of Noyon and Langres, who travelled to Brittany to study the customs of the country on the spot. The final judgment, after hearing counsel for both parties, was rendered on September 7, 1341. The right of representation was law in Brittany, Jeanne de Penthièvre, daughter of the elder brother of Jean III, inherited from her uncle by him, Charles of Blois was Duke of Brittany!!! The opposing Jean de Montfort did not wish to submit to this sentence, and the war was declared and lasted for more than twenty years!. The death in combat at the Battle of Auray of Charles de Blois ended it. On December 14, 1904, Pope Pius X solemnly recognized that the cult of blessed Charles of Blois had been maintained throughout the centuries. He was beatified then.

The église Charles de Blois  begun to be built in 1929, and consecrated in 1939. Built according to a centered plan, the Church consists of a first vessel that opens onto a wider square space where the cult takes place. The wrong side is adjacent to the west.   Access to the Church is done in the east. It is a gabled façade adorned with Lombard strips. It consists of a portal in full hanger topped with a rose, and has to its left a small steeple. The main steeple is to the west of the building, it is a Cornish steeple. The roof of the building is polygonal on its central part and double slope for the remainder. The side walls are pierced with berries. The district of the train station quickly populated at the beginning of the 20C, a Church became necessary. Léon Chevassu, rector of the parish, decides to built it with private donations. And it is done very nice you can see from the train station of Auray. Located at Place Léon Chevassu.


Another nice one I go often for visits is the Church of Saint-Sauveur located in the Saint-Goustan district of Auray. The Church, whose origin dates back to the 15C (c 1469), was largely destroyed by a fire in 1886. Rebuilt, the Church retains the original portal only. The carved wooden furniture, including the pulpit with a statue of St. Goustan, and the closing of the choir sculpted by Joseph Jegouza in 1929, can be admired. See the model under glass of a boat that received the special prize of the jury category “Ex-Voto” at the national competition of the heritage of the Côtes de France in 1996. Although the Church is under the term of Saint-Sauveur, the district is under the protection of Saint-Goustan, the patron of sailors and fishermen. Saint Goustan was born in Cornwall in 974. Kidnapped by pirates at 18 years old, wounded, he is abandoned on the island of Houat (Gulf of Morbihan) where he owes life only to Providence which provides him with fish which he uses sparingly and which each day reconstitutes (hence his legend and his representation with a fish) and the cures of St Felix, who will convert him to Christianity. He became a monk in 1025, and founded a priory on the island of Hoëdic. He rests with his friars monks in the abbey of Saint Gildas de Rhuys.



On the other side of the street stands the Notre-Dame de Lourdes Chapel of 1878, closed, given a certain fragility. The construction of the Chapel Notre-Dame de Lourdes takes place from the winter of 1874-1875 and probably continues until 1878 (vintage of stained glass) or 1879 (the blessing by the Bishop taking place in November 1879). Victim of a fire in 1886, the structural disorders, visibly still today, are recorded as early as the 1930’s at least. In a Gothic style is currently being restored and it is closed to the public since July 1998. A repair of the roof took place in 1990 and some of the stained glass windows were rehabilitated. The Friends of the work of Saint-Joseph, located in Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère) are trying to raise funds to complete the restoration. More contact info here:  Association Friends of St Joseph


Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip in addition to asking me are

City of Auray on heritage walks

Tourist office of Brittany on Saint Goustan district

There you go, a hugely historical city for USA and Canada as well. A gorgeous old upper city center and a magnificent district of St Goustan in the lower city! Direct trains from Montparnasse Paris , superb! Enjoy it, this is Auray.

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


October 29, 2018

Another beauty at Commana!

And why not continuing with the wonderful parish enclosures of Brittany , a wonderful history trip. These are religious monuments that go beyond religion due to their enormous architecture showing and the huge historical significant to the region of Brittany.

I went out again to see the parish enclosure of Commana, in the Finistére dept 29 of my beloved Brittany. This is my latest take on the town and its parish enclosure.

Commana  is part of the Regional Natural Park of Armorique and benefits from the label “Town of Rural Heritage of Brittany”. It is located on the northern slopes of the Monts d’Arrée and on the Haut-Léon area, on the edge of Cornouaille.  The town is situated on a mound facing the north slope of the mountains of Monts d’Arrée. Two coastal rivers, the Élorn to the west and the Penzé to the east serve as part of limits to the territory, separating Commana from Sizun to the west and Plounéour-Ménez to the east. The mountains of Monts d’Arrée separate Commana from Saint-Rivoal and Botmeur to the south, even if the town boundaries do not coincide exactly with the ridge line; To the north, the boundary with Saint-Thégonnec passes through the plateau of Leon without relying on any notable topographic features.

The name of Commana would come from the words Bretons muc (valley) or Komm (trough) and St. Anne, due to the local tradition, of a trough of stone containing a statue of Sainte Anne which one would have found at the site of the Church (but which would in fact be a Statue of Venus that the inhabitants would have Christianized in Sainte Anne). This would be the origin of the cult of St. Anne in the parish

A bit of history I like

A commandery was created in the 12C at the place called Kaerfornerit by the Hospitallers of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem implanted in the neighboring parish of La Feuillée. Kaerfornèrit, with about twenty outfits, were under the command of the commander; the last of these villages is reported in 1160 as belonging already, to the Knights of Saint John of Jèrusalem; It is called in the Charter “Kaerfornerit in Commana”.

The Bois de la Roche, in Commana, which embraced in its fief the majority of this parish, was formerly of Penhoët; In the 17C, the Lord of the Bois de la Roche acquired the portion of Penhoët stretching into Commana as well as all the other fiefs of this parish which did not belong to him yet, and thus brought together the entire parish, which he called “Seigneury of Commanan” and which he paid homage directly to the king. Note that in a relatively modern era, the manor of the Bois de la Roche in Commana was called Château de Bouvans, named after its last owners.

Commana is on an ancient axis of communication. It seems certain that the Roman road from Carhaix to Plouguerneau is directed by the vicinity of the Huelgoat by Comanna, Guimiliau, Lampaul-Guimiliau. The royal road became the N164 which connected Ancenis to Landerneau, then Brest, whose traditional route passed through Huelgoat, La Feuillée, Commana, Sizun and Landerneau. It was in 1973 that this axis was downgraded to the axis from Carhaix to Châteaulin, now expressway.

Since the 16C at least, the activity linked to flax and hemp, probably thanks to the impulse aroused by the monks of the abbey of Relec located in the neighboring parish of Plounéour-Ménez, has developed in Commana, allowing among other the social ascent of the juloded and the financing of the construction of the parish enclosure. At the end of the 18C, a veritable canvas industry was created in Commana, but the wars of the French revolution and the Empire ruined this nascent industry, which remained until the end of the 19C.

The use of slates has once constituted a very important activity in the Center-Finistère. Confined to the 18C in the vicinity of Châteaulin, it gradually developed eastward following the Aulne Valley and to the north in the Monts d’Arrée mountains, mainly to Commana, Sizun and Plounéour-Ménez . Production reached its maximum level in 1923,, still sought nowadays by historical Monuments renovations. Production reached its peak in the 1950’s to 1960’s, then rapidly declining under the effects of competition from the slate quarries of Trélazé , then foreign, Spanish especially. Today the extraction has stopped.

The monument to the fallen of Commana bears the names of 126 deaths for France of which 119 were from WWI, and 7 during WWII.

Things to see, and the main thing here and a must to see is the Parish Enclosure, a must to see in my Brittany.  The parish enclosure, built around the Church of Saint-Derrien. This architectural ensemble built in the 16-17C is considered one of the most beautiful in Brittany. The Church, the funeral chapel, the enclosure itself, the Calvary and the Arc de Triomphe.

The parish Church of Commana is dedicated to Saint Derrien, a Saint who lived in the 4C.. Legend has it that upon his return from the Holy Land, he rescued Prince Élorn from drowning, who later gave his name to the coastal river. Refusing the land offered in gratitude for this good deed, the Saint demanded from this prince the construction of a Church, that of Commana it was at the end of the 16C, in 1592, that the construction of the parish enclosure of Commana, the Church, was undertaken. Dating back to 1645. It comprises a five-span nave with its lower sides as wide as the central nave. The chorus ends with a three-sided bedside. All naves are panelled in cradle , all in Renaissance architecture style.



This porch was built from 1645. Three dates listed in three different locations allow us to say that it was built in three separate major stages (1645, 1650, 1653). The central niche housing the statue of Saint Derrien is surmounted by a pediment itself topped by a lantern. Inside the porch, twelve niches with balusters form a hedge of honor leading to two doors separated from a thomas with a blessing from wherever it comes, the visitor will be impressed by this steeple, high of 57 meters, perched on one of the highest hills of Leon, at 262 meters above sea level, Supported by eight buttresses adorned with mouldings and cornices, this pointed steeple, straight up to the sky, cohabits with the shale and serrated Roc’h of the ridges of Monts d’Arrée. Overcoming a massive tower, this pointed arrow devoid of pinnacles can only impose a respect for a admiring contemplation. The date, 1592, is engraved at its base.


Dating from the beginning of the 18C (1701), the Sacristy complements the Church harmoniously, integrating perfectly with the rest of the building. The altarpiece of St. Anne is a masterpiece of 17C Baroque art. So complete, accurate and illustrated, it is difficult to describe it. The Church of Commana also houses two other altarpieces that do not possess the beauty of the first. These two altarpieces are that of the Rosary and that of the Five wounds. Located south of the choir, these two altarpieces are based on the same architectural pattern as the altarpiece of St. Anne with a central scene, framed by two niches, all placed under the gaze of the eternal Father.


The Baptismal Chapel dating back to the 18C are located in the northwestern corner of the Church. The baptismal fountain dated 1656, is arranged in the heart of a fluted column, adorned with gadroons and surmounted by a five-part wooden canopy covered by five pilasters which are backed by two cardinal virtues (Justice and Temperance) and the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity). Above the canopy, balusters support the dome overhung by the statue of Jesus holding the Cross, supported by three caryatids. This last work dates from 1683 .


This monumental, Arc de Triomphe overhung by three lanterns is the main entrance to the parish enclosure. Decorated with mouldings carved in stone, it housed up to 1978 two statuettes in the lateral niches. In the past, this triumphal arch was closed to a wrought iron grate dating back to the 18C. It was only open on the occasion of marriage or burial in order to pass the procession, access to the church usually by the steps located on the left of the Arc de Triomphe.


Once crossed the Arc de Triomphe, one finds, immediately on the left, the Reliquary Chapel, improperly called Ossuary. Dated from 1677 to 1687, this building is very sober, includes only one door and four windows each containing a blessed. Only crosses and spiral ramps carved from dragons adorn the façade.


There are two Calvaries in the parish enclosure. The first one located between the Arc de Triomphe and the south porch is dated 1585, however the Cross bears the date of 1742, which suggests that it replaced a cross dating from the 16C. Dating back to 1624, the second Calvary lies more in the cemetery.


Other things to see in Commana are

The covered alley of the Mougau-Bihan, or “Tomb of the Giants” (Neolithic). is a megalithic ensemble composed of 24 large blocks of stone this monument was dated, by comparison, between 3 000 and 2 500 B.C. It is 14 meters long, and consists of juxtaposed granite walls; These pillars are from 1-1.30 meters apart from each other. The horizontal ceiling consists of four almost horizontal slabs, the fifth covering the cell at the north. The 5th Slab does not cover the burial chamber but a terminal cell called “Cella” which overlooks the south. The entrance is located in the north. Its width is less, because it is half closed by a pillar placed obliquely.

The windmills of Kerouat built from 1610 to 1910, the village comprises two water mills and their hydraulic system, the Museum of Fauna and Flora “Art and Nature” of Kervelly This museum allows to discover the animals, the flora and the minerals of the four seasons in the Mountains of Monts d’Arrée.   Fifty-nine Kanndi were recorded on the territory, the laundries in the parishes of Plounéour-Ménez, Commana and Sizun in the 18C. Located in the eponymous village, the Kanndi of Rozonoual, was an ancient property of the monks of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, was restored by the association   “Lichen ” between 2007 and 2013

 The lake of the Drennec gives you possibilities of a water course, artificial beach, pedestrian path, rest areas and picnic, camping of 50 places, tennis and petanque. A restaurant (bar-Crêprerie) is open in season. Its waters are almost free from pollution given its very upstream situation on the Élorn basin. This artificial reservoir with an area of 110 hectares, partly fuelled by Élorn and Mougau, supplies water to a part of north Finistère, including Brest Métropole, Landerneau and Landivisiau. Located on the towns of Commana and Sizun, this lake enjoys a 1st category classification for trout fishing.

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

City of Commana on heritage

Tourist office of Finistére on the parish enclosure of Commana

Tourist office of Brittany on parish enclosures

And two association that preserves these parish enclosures dearly and a must to read and translate from the French (too long for me::)) are

APREV assoc on parish enclosure of Commana

APEVE association on parish enclosure of Commana

And there you go, another wonderful historical and fascinating trip into my Brittany, hope you enjoy it as I do.

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

October 29, 2018

The traditions of Brittany, Locronan!

So now let’s tackle a serious tourism and heritage subject in my old beautiful Brittany. Tradition with the Bretons is very strong even now, and the legacies of the past are well maintained with their language pushing and the religious beliefs, here strong. One town stands of many on this example.

I like to talk to you today about Locronan in the Finistére dept 29 of Brittany. A town full of traditions and beautiful architecture not to mention history. Enough for me to love it.

Locronan  is a town in the department 29 of Finistére in the region of Brittany.  The important architectural heritage of Locronan, preserved very early, allowed the village to be a member of the network of Small Cities of Character. Locronan is also today gratified of the label of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Around the church, the roofs of the village are works of art. From its Belle Epoque, the village has preserved a centrally paved square adorned with a well, the vast Church of St. Ronan, and Renaissance houses in granite.

Most Beautiful Villages of France on Locronan

Small Towns of Character in France on Locronan

The Montagne de Locronan (Menez Lokorn in Breton) with its 289 meters of altitude is one of the highest points of the Black Mountain massif characterized by outcroppings of granite on an axis starting from the Pointe de Raz and going up to Lizio near the moors of Lanvaux.  The place of Plas Ar Horn, at the top of the Priory Mountain, which is backed by Locronan, offers a splendid panorama of the Porzay Plain, the Ménez-Hom and the Bay of Douarnenez as a whole.  Its name means “the consecrated place (of the Hermitage) of Saint Ronan”, lok meaning consecrated place in Breton. The ancient archives sometimes call Locronan, Saint-René-du-Bois .

The town  of Locronan is 15 km west of Quimper and 5 km from the sea (Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Douarnenez, Kervel beach  which is part of the commune of Plonévez-Porzay). It is about 110 km from my house.

A bit of history I like

In Roman times, Locronan was at the crossroads of two Roman routes, one coming from Quimper and heading towards the peninsula of Crozon, the other heading towards Douarnenez. Saint Ronan later installed his hermitage (at the site of the present chapel of the Pénity, adjacent in the southern part of the Church of Saint-Ronan), which explains the Christianisation of the town. The main square of Locronan is located at the crossroads of two Roman roads as above.

The existence of a church is attested from 1031 because on this date the count of Cornouaille Alain Canhiart donated the Church of Saint-Ronan to the Abbey of St. Croix of Quimperlé following his victory as he would have implored the rescue from Saint Ronan and won against the Duke Alain III of Brittany and known as the “Battle of Ronan” . Later, the Counts of Cornouaille carried a great devotion to Saint Ronan.

The region was Christianized in the 5C  by Saint Ronan, an Irish hermit. The contemporary oral tradition wants Saint Ronan to travel every day in penance to the circuit of the petite Troménie, and every Sunday that of the Grand Tromérie. The city of Locronan forever keeps track of its passage since we now name it Locronan, the locus (space) of Ronan.  In St. Ronan’s Church, the statue represents him with mitre and lacrosse as a roving abbot or bishop.

As early as the 14C, hemp flourished almost everywhere in the Locronan region. From this production is born an industry of windsurfing, the sails of Locronan would have thus equipped the Invincible Spanish Armada and Shakespeare cites it even in “Coriolanus” (act II, Scene I). It was at this time of prosperity, halted a time by the destructions linked to the Wars of the League (Locronan was looted in 1594 by the Spanish troops, then successively by the war captains  of which belongs  most of the architectural treasures of the granite mansions of the Place de l’église  and the surrounding streets and, of course, the Church of St. Ronan and the small Chapel of the Pénity adjoining it and housing the lying of the Saint (15-16C). Since 1914, there were no more hemp sails artisans in Locronan.

The square, endowed in its center of the old town’s  well, long only source of drinking water of the town, takes its full dimension every second Sunday of July during the Troménies, but even more every six years during the Grande Troménie (next in 2019). The square is lined with 14 granite houses that make up a remarkable architectural ensemble, testifying to the richness of the canvas merchants and other notable people who built them in the 17-18C, including the canvas office and the Hotel de la Compagnie des Indies. The current  rue Moal was the old rue des Tisserants(weavers).

Locronan is famous for its troménies: The Grand Troménie, a procession that is held around the limits of an ancient sacral space, which has become a Leigh (Tro Leigh, now  “Troménie “), every six years (next in 2019). Between two Grand Troménies takes place annually la Petite Troménie, the 2nd Sunday of July.

72 soldiers from Locronan died for France, including 48 during  WWI, 17 during WWII, and 7 during the other conflicts of the 20C.

Things to see, the first one is a must!

The Church of St. Ronan, (15C), and its Chapel of the Pénity where is the tomb of Saint Ronan. The Church was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the gifts of the Dukes of Brittany Jean V, Pierre II and François II. It is erected at the site of the Chapel of the Priory depending on the abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé. Its arrow, struck three times, was finally demolished in 1808. The Church is 43 meters long. The width of the building increases in the last spans of the southern collateral. The big Western Tower, which has lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is noticed inside. The Tomb of Saint Ronan is in the Chapel of the Pénity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII appended to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Pénity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only the western one, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of Kersanton, supported by six angels carrying coats of arms; Two angels stand by his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The recumbent of the Saint shoves with his left hand his butt in the mouth of a monster and he blesses with his right hand.






La Place de l’église with its well In curbstone, destroyed in 1932 by a bus, but rebuilt since . The buildings of the Place de l’église date from the 17C and 18C, with the facades of bluish grey granite. The Hôtel Gauthier 16-17C at Place de l’église city center. The camp des Salles ( halls), referred to as Goarem-ar-Salud an ancienne Carolingian camp.


The Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle (15-16-18C), dedicated to Saint Eutrope. The stained glass windows were made in 1985 according to drawings by the painter Alfred Manesser. The Chapel also houses numerous stone statues, including those of the Virgin Mother, the Holy Trinity and a descent of the Cross. Nearby, the Calvary and the fountain, offered by a canvas merchant named Conan, date from 1698. This chapel is mentioned in the Testament of Jean Le Moine of 1439. It constitutes the fifth station of the route of the Grande Troménie.


The Museum of Art and History, created in 1934, presents the great moments of the history of Locronan on the ground floor (1st Fl US) and a hundred paintings and drawings representing the Finistère on the first floor (2 FL US), as well as the earthenwares of Quimper. On the ground floor, you can discover a real weaving workshop (stage of the Route des canvases de Bretagne). A loom of the 18C is presented there as well as many tools necessary for the textile work of hemp and flax. In the 16C, this was what made the wealth of Locronan. In this space, we also discover the secret of making Breton costumes and the exhibition of some traditional costumes. As for the first floor, almost a hundred paintings  are exhibited alongside some costumes of the Porzay. The paintings represent the attachment of some men to this city and thus constitute the testimony of an artistic life in Brittany at the beginning of the 20C. By the men who frequented it but also its history and its architecture, the Museum of Locronan is an exceptional site to discover.

The Mountain of Locronan, (Menez Lokorn), have exceptional views, and the vitality of the legend of St. Ronan, the undeniable historical interest of the secular tradition of the Troménie, and more. It is a hill located on the towns of Locronan, Quéménéven and Plogonnec, with an altitude of 289 meters, offering  panoramic views  on the Bay of Douarnenez, the Cap de la Chévre and the Ménez-Hom. It houses the Chapel Ar Zonj, dedicated to Saint Ronan, and the chair of Saint Ronan, both constituting stages of the Troménie. Its north face is surrounded  by the bois du duc (duke forest)  while its southern slope is laid out in hedgerow.

Some webpages in addition to my previous post to help you plan your trip here and it should be a must especially at Christmas time.

City of Locronan at Christmas market

Tourist office of Locronan

Tourist office of Finistére on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

And there you go , well arm now come and see this beauty you won’t regretted, for sure. And, remember as always, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


%d bloggers like this: