Posts tagged ‘Europe’

August 6, 2022

The Museo Sorolla of Madrid !!!

I believe my dear late mother Gladys took me here many years ago…. but in my rounds with my young men sons decided to give them an instroduction to Spanish culture and visits to museums is the best way of it. Especially so Spanish as the  Sorolla Museum of Madrid.  I am updating this older post with new info and links, shorter version ; hope you enjoy it as I,

The Sorolla Museum is a Spanish state museum located in a palace of the Paseo del General Martínez Campos, no. 37 a site that would serve as a workshop and housing for Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida with his wife and three children. The building was built in 1911, built with the wishes of the painter to create a space that merged the work area and his home and also had a garden space. The house retains the original atmosphere of many of the spaces, in addition to housing a wide collection of Sorolla’s works, as well as numerous objects that he collected as a collector during his life. It is also one of the best preserved artist houses in Europe! Indeed, it is !!

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A bit of history I like

The creation of a museum in the building that served as a family home, was the idea and express desire of Clotilde García del Castillo, Sorolla’s wife, as recorded in her 1925 will, where she gave the house and her collection of works to the Spanish State in order to perpetuate the memory of her husband.  On May 29, 1931, the Board of Trustees would be created of the newly instituted Foundation . This was initially composed by the children of Sorolla; María, Joaquín and Elena; representatives of various state institutions; the Head of State, who held the presidency; the Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts; as well as the president of the Hispanic Society of America, for which the painter had made one of the most ambitious projects of all his artistic production.

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On July 26, 1945, the first floor rooms would be opened to the public for the first time after a previous rehabilitation. These corresponded with the personal rooms of the marriage and the children to give it a purely intimate and familiar flavor, hence the family’s portraits, painter’s belongings or medals won in Its many exhibitions.   Joaquin Sorolla García died on March 2, 1948 and as expressed in his will, his properties went to the Museum Foundation and three years later, on July 16, 1951, his legacy is accepted and added to that of his mother, adding 156 more works to the Foundation’s funds. The direction was assumed by Francisco Pons-Sorolla, grandson of the painter and son of María Sorolla García and Francisco Pons Arnau. Under his administration a room dedicated to the drawings, gouache and watercolors of the Valencian artist (Sorolla) would be created and the first catalog of the Museum, Life and Work of Joaquín Sorolla, by Bernardino de Pantorba would be published.

A bit on the house I like

On November 17, 1905 Sorolla acquired  the first land of the house,  that corresponds to the living and study area, as well as the back garden. Four years later, in 1909, he would buy the surrounding land, giving him additional space to expand his studio and build the rest of the garden. Thus, the construction of the house would begin as early as 1910 and would extend until 1919, although it is known that the family would begin to inhabit it already in 1911.  The house is built around two floors, to which is added the already named garden level. The main floor or noble floor, has two accesses, the main and the other side. This floor also houses the painter’s three studios and the living-dining room, all illuminated through large windows that fill the rooms with abundant light, just as he wanted. Through this level the basement was accessed, where the kitchen and other units were located among which was the home of the guardians. For its part, the first floor corresponded to the most intimate area, where the bedrooms of both the family and the staff of the house were located. Finally, the garden, which is divided into three different spaces, was the painter’s work in its design and layout.

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To enable the house to serve as a museum, much of its internal structuring was renovated, except for part of the ground floor. Thus, the rooms currently corresponding to (map layout in the museum)  I, II and III, at the time formed the three studies of the painter. Room I was used as a warehouse, II for the exhibition of works by the artist and room III was the studio itself.  This room communicated with the family area, which corresponds to a room that   communicates  with the main entrance of the house, today leaving the museum; a room that precedes the lunch room and a staircase that leads to the first floor, where temporary exhibitions are currently held rooms from IV to VI. From this, through another staircase, you access the second floor, service area at first, then Joaquín Sorolla García’s room since 1941, after which in 1982 it would be used as the museum offices and currently, as a place where the workshops organized by the institution are developed. For their part, the gardens have remained true to how they were at the time in which the family lived in the house thanks to the restorations carried out between 1986 and 1991. The Andalusian style would be especially present in this space. The Alhambra of Granada ,and the Alcazar of Sevilla were the monuments that would most inspire the painter in his eagerness to design the exterior space of his home. For this , Sorolla was made with different elements such as fountains, tiles, columns, statues, plants and trees, all from Andalusia.

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The collections! Fantastic !!! love it!!! A must to see Spanish art!

The museum’s collections are composed of works by Sorolla himself, personal belongings, as well as many others that he collected during his life as a collector. Similarly, among the collection are works by his closest relatives, such as his daughters Maria and Helena Sorolla, and his son-in-law, Francisco Pons Arnau. Most of this comes from the legacy and donations made by the painter’s own relatives, such as his wife and three children.

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The painting collection is the most representative of the museum with 1294 works by Sorolla, which cover different themes and formats, such as his famous color notes, preparatory paintings he made as a study prior to the realization of a larger format work. It also has 164 works by other painters such as Aureliano de Beruete, Anders Zorn or Martín Rico Ortega.

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The drawings collection of 4985 drawings made by Sorolla includes designs for the facade of the building, its gardens or interiors of the house, as well as charcoals from the painter’s daily life. They are usually quick notes of the natural that he takes for entertainment or as ideas prior to his paintings.

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The sculpture collection is composed of 289 works from different eras and mainly of Spanish origin that enriched the family’s home. Its origin is unknown, although there is evidence that some were gifts made to Sorolla himself. Pieces of Rodin, Troubetzkoy as well as friends of the artist such as Mariano Benlliure, Josep Clarà, Miguel Blay, José Capuz or his daughter, Elena Sorolla stand out.

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The ceramic collection is a clear testimony of the painter’s taste for this type of element. This inclination could be due to the artist’s Levantine origins, as well as the constant trips he made to southern Spain to carry out his commission for the Hispanic Society, which led him to use ceramic tiles, plates and vases in the decoration of his own housing In addition, this collection offers a broad view of peninsular ceramics from the 15C to the 20C, with works by peers such as Daniel Zuloaga or Mariano Benlliure.

The jewels collection consists of 269 pieces, among which are popular jewels from different regions of Spain, with the Valencian jewelery being the one with the greatest presence. Likewise, it also includes pieces of Berber origin as a result of family trips,

The textile collection is mainly made up of those pieces acquired by Sorolla in his travels for the commission of the Hispanic Society and which mostly correspond to traditional clothing from different regions of the 19C and 20C. It also includes the family’s household furniture and other fragments of ancient fabrics acquired by the painter during his life

The furniture collection consists of 184 pieces that served the family in their home and that are mostly preserved in situ. As the tastes of the time marked, this is characterized by its eclectic character, in this way you can find furniture of varied invoice dating from the twelfth century, as well as other elements of modernist cut such as lamps that light different rooms, designed by Louis Confort Tiffany, or the Arabic-style canopy bed that was in the painter’s studio.

In the Sorolla Museum’s collections there are valuable personal belongings to both the painter and the family. These respond to different natures, so that we can find from Sorolla’s own belongings, such as their brushes, palettes or medals obtained in different national and international exhibitions, as well as a collection of metalwork and other glass objects from different eras.

The photo collection is the most extensive in the Sorolla Museum, with 7167 photographs of original paper copies, original negatives or modern positives. This photographic collection is due, in large measure, to Antonio García Peris, Sorolla’s father-in-law, who portrayed family members multiple times. The painter himself would also use photography as an instrument of documentation for some of his projects, as commissioned by the Hispanic Society. Similarly, in this collection you can find works by other famous photographers of the time, such as Christian Frazen, Ragel, Laurent, Campúa or Kaulak among others.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports on the Sorolla museum :https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/msorolla/inicio.html

The Madrid tourist office on the Sorolla museumhttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/sorolla-museum

There you go folks, this is a very nice little museum loaded with wonderful things to see and admire, highly recommended when in Madrid.I know we will be back again! Sorolla museum is Madrid !!

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

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August 5, 2022

The Deutsches Eck of Koblenz !!

In my wandering road warrior trips in Europe, I have come to Germany. Yes by plane and car indeed. One of our favorites cities there was/is Koblenz.  By the way in French , we have translated as Coblence... I like to update this older post and tell you a bit more on the Deutsches Eck  or German Corner , emblematic of the city and a must to visit while there or near Koblenz. Let me tell you a bit on it ok. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Koblenz  is a town in the state of Rhineland Palatine , the name come from the confluence of two rivers the Rhine and the Moselle in the German corner or Deutsches Eck, the closest big city are Bonn at 60 km and Mayence at 90 km.  My visit here has been by car from Trier so the road 602 ,then A1, B48 and finally the 9 roads or about 3 hrs. time. All toll free as we like them.  There is a train station of course,and close airports at Frankfort and Koln; as well as easy navigation by river. However, to us ,car is king and queen between cities.

We reached the Deutsches Eck  or German Corner! at the huge statue of emperor William I of Germany and overlooking the  Moselle and Rhine rivers with the great cable car to the fortress above and the quant restaurants along the riverbank.(see post)

Deutsches Eck  or German Corner is the name of a headland in Koblenz, where the Moselle river joins the Rhine river. Named after a local commander of the Teutonic Order, it became known for a monumental equestrian statue of William I, first German Emperor, erected in 1897 in appreciation of his merits in the unification of Germany. It was erected and solemnly inaugurated in the presence of the emperor on 31 August 1897.

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After the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic in 1949, the country was divided between a capitalist part and a communist part . In order to express the deep desire for a united Germany, President Theodor Heuss gave the German corner a monument dedicated to German unity. As a result, the coat of arms of all the German Länder (states), including those of the former German territories such as Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania, were installed there. In replacement of the destroyed equestrian statue, a German flag floated on the place. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, three pieces of concrete wall were installed next to the monument. On October 3, 1990, the emblems of the new federal states were added. The reinstallation of the equestrian statue of emperor William I, was done on September 25, 1993. Today, a large national flag and the flags of the 16 Länder  (states) are like a reminder of German unity. The three parts of the Berlin Wall are now dedicated to victims of the separation.

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The Koblenz tourist office on the German Cornerhttps://www.koblenz-tourism.com/culture/koblenz-attractions/deutsches-eck.html

The Mosel region tourist office on the German Cornerhttps://www.mosel.de/region/baukultur/details/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=497&cHash=a17443c6f6196ed34d180db0e8084fb4

The Regional cultural history site on the German Cornerhttps://www.regionalgeschichte.net/mittelrhein/koblenz/kulturdenkmaeler/deutsches-eck.html

There you go folks ,this is a dandy one to visit in Koblenz, I hope you enjoy the German Corner or Deutsches Eck of Koblenz.

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

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August 5, 2022

My walks of my Versailles !!!

Ok so lots of walks all over my belle France, we really enjoy it. Not to be mistaken, I love to arrive into town with my car , but once in town,my feet are better than Supermen !! I like these series as it brings lots of family memories to me and share with your some interesting parts of a city me think. This time will take you to my dear Versailles, and my walks in my Versailles !!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The former Hôtel de la Marine et des Affaires étrangéres, 5 rue de l’Independance Americaine is known for the grand galerie aux sept salles showing the beauty of France in Europe, having as themes the different cities of glorious dates of France. In the center it was a table en marbre that serves for ambassadors meetings and signature of treaties, At this table were signed the May 15 1768 the treaty that brough Corsica to France, and September 3 1783 in which England recognised the independance of the USA, The table is gone as are the archieves of foreign affairs that were replace by old books, The books were taken from noble men and royals by revolutionary confiscations in 1793 from the libraries of aristocrats and nobles that left Versailles,after the French revolution. It is now the Municipal Library of Versailles and course can be visited.

There is an intriguing passage opening onto the salon de l’oeil de bœuf or living room of the bull’s eye ,interior cabinet of the queen and there is a spiral staircase, or the staircase of the dupes. It was a secret passage used by Marie Antoinette to reach Axel Fersen lodging above her lodging. A service staircase like dozens of others in the Palace of Versailles  that the staff of the royal family used every day. But this passage is the oldest of all. This staircase would go back for some to the second castle of Louis XIII built between 1631 and 1634 for others, to the first campaign of work of Louis XIV between 1661 and 1668. The name of escalier des Dupes which is sometimes given is usurped because it is not contemporary with the famous day of the Dupes of November 10 1631 which saw Louis XIII reiterate against the advice of his mother Marie de Medici his confidence in Cardinal Richelieu in his Palace of Versailles. See it ask for it!

The bedroom of Louis XV in the interior apartment of the king, Arriving in Versailles in 1722 at the age of 12, Louis XV first occupied the large central room of his great grandfather, with 90 square meters and its 10 meters high ceiling , the bedroom was all the more difficult to heat in winter as it was exposed to the east, The King Beloved abandoned it at the age of 22 for a more comfortable room facing south, At the end of his reign these comings and goings were no longer an illusion so that it was in his private bedroom that the king died on May 10, 1774. The room that Louis XVI will occupy following his grandfather will remain one of these spaces of the castle which few mortals had the right to tread. Sublime !

The library and bathroom of Madame du Barry; small apartment of the king (2nd floor), Before becoming the title favorite of Louis XV in April 1769, Jeanne Bécu was a saleswoman in a fashion boutique on rue Saint Honoré in Paris. Marry to a certain Count of Barry for making her entry into court, she only reaped contempt and hostility. Aware of the scandal caused by the presence of this young woman of 25 years without nobility, Louis XV sought to protect her by installing her discreetly in his small apartment, It was the winter that Madame du Barry‘s apartment was used the most because in the spring the king and his close friends migrated to the countryside at the Petit Trianon. Louis XV was there with his favorite.

Let’s start with a bit on what is Versailles, a more historical perspective I like and do enjoy walking and riding these spots ! It is with the help of plates from Trudaine’s Atlas illustrating the roads and landscapes of France in the 17C that we learn about the former royal hunting estate of Versailles, built on an area of ​​approximately 10,000 hectares, i.e. an area equivalent to the city of Paris today !! In the beginning, the Val de Galie located between the old feudal divisions of Mantois, Pincerais, Laye, Parisis, Josas and Hureoix, occupied about two leagues of 25 degrees of length, in the direction of the south-east to the north-west, from Viroflay to Villepreux, and a league and a half approximately, in its greatest breadth from north to south, from Rocquencourt to Satory. In the titles of the 16C this valley is called Gally (some locals claims origin of the name of Versailles). To the north was the keep of the castellans of Rocquencourt, flanked by turrets and surrounded by walls, on a wooded hillside overlooking the plain dotted with woods and marshes, and the chapel of St Nicolas at a short distance and under the protection of the keep.This of course is a huge territory today but have done it by car and some posts in my blog !

The park of Versailles extends the gardens thanks to two large bodies of water: the Grand Canal and the pièce d’eau des Suisses, It covers approximately 800 hectares, criss-crossed by straight paths delimiting wooded areas and agricultural fields. This is all a road warrior lands and lots of walks, sublime , a must get away from the palace!

The Grand Canal of Versailles is a basin, part of the park of the Palace of Versailles, built from 1667 at the instigation of Le Nôtre. Before this date, the gate that closed the park was located behind the Bassin des Cygnes. The works completed in 1680, the Grand Canal will serve as the starting point for the fireworks given during the sumptuous royal celebrations that Louis XIV organized at Versailles. The latter would sail there with a substantial fleet: a three-master (“Le Grand Vaisseau”), a galley (“La Dunkerquoise”), rowboats, galiotes, brigantines, gondolas (offered by the Doge of Venice) and , from 1675, two yachts from England. The sailors who served on this flotilla were commanded by Captain Consolin and were housed from 1674 in buildings constructed especially for them near the Trianon, called the “Little Venice”. Every year on September 5, the anniversary of the birth of Louis XIV (in 1638); the Sun sets in line with the Grand Canal. In winter, when the frost prohibited all navigation, the Grand Canal was transformed into an ice rink welcoming skaters and sleds, when allowed,

On the Allée de la Reine, in the direction of the Trianon, the walker can let the rhythm of this quadruple alignment regulate his walk according to the alternation of shadow and light created by the trunks of the beech trees. The Place d’Armes du Grand Trianon presents itself to him like a large clearing before he plunges back into the darkness of the Allée des Mouchards. Reserving the Trianon gardens for a future getaway, it crosses the Fer à Cheval space open to the arm of the Grand Canal, then sinks into the forest path of Ru de Gally. The Allée de Saint-Cyr lends itself perfectly to the exercise. From the small hill where it takes off, at the corner of Allée des Rendez-vous, it offers a real panorama of the Estate. The high oak groves then the large agricultural plots rise in tiers, the damp projection of the Ru de Gally can be seen further on, and finally the order of the rows of lime trees which announce the Étoile royale, seen more than a kilometer from our starting point. Sublime !!

The Allée royale de Villepreux, created in 1680 by André Le Nôtre, gardener to Louis XIV and Grand Director of Versailles, is at the center of the plain of Versailles ,Extension of the Grand Canal, this axis is part of the “Grand Perspective” imagined by André Le Nôtre on either side of the Château. It starts at the Bassin d’Apollon by the Tapis Vert, an esplanade that descends towards the Grand Canal. Beyond, the path starts from the roundabout called L’Étoile Royale and crosses the towns of Versailles, Saint-Cyr-l’École, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin and Villepreux. The Allée Royale was the main of the five alleys starting in a bundle from the Etoile Royale, forming a majestic landscape ensemble that was compared to “the King’s hand landing on his territory”. Originally, it was a grassy avenue 97 meters wide. Unobstructed in its center, it is framed on either side by two main alleys of 5 meters, bordered by a double alignment of country elms, This is an awesome walk , highly recommended just get out of the palace ! By the Allée Royale you will have the new stop of the new tramway line 13, more info here : https://tram-t13-stcyr-stgermain.iledefrance-mobilites.fr/decouvrir-le-projet/

The official Château de Versailles on the park :https://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/park

The Versailles tourist office on the parkhttps://en.versailles-tourisme.com/park-of-versailles-palace.html

There you go folks a wonderful historical architecturally stunning old royal city of my belle France. This is my walks of my Versailles, and you are encourage to do so too. Hope it helps the will to do it. And remember, happy travels, good health, andn many cheers to all !!!

August 4, 2022

A walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris !!!

The nice walks of my eternal Paris , always sublime. I have written of course a lot on Paris, my working city , and visited zillions of times since 1972 ! As the name of my blog implies ! However, now is Summer and walks are superbe and I will tell you my favorites that I have done with the family , This a walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris did it for two glorious years! My next to last work spot in the city of lights. Hope you enjoy them as I.

I will start at the wonderful Opéra Garnier done by the great Charles Garnier for emperor Napoléon III and opened by President of France 3rd Republic Mac Mahon in July 5, 1875, to think I worked across from it for two years ! An imposing building 172 meters long 101 meters wide on 11K square meters of land,You have on the Red salon welcoming 2300 persons and cannot miss the libray museum in the pavillon de l’Empereur.

I walked in front of the great department stores and cannot miss at no 40 blvd Haussmann, the Galeries Lafayette grew from a modest boutique in 1895 to the grand of today by the corners of Rue Lafayette and rue Chausée d’Antin done in 1906 and today 120k square meters of land ! Further at No 64 blvd Haussmann you see Printemps founded in 1865, the current building done from 1889 and later enlarge in 1907.

Continue to the Square d’Estienne d’Orves and the magnificent Church de la Sante Trinité built between 1861 and 1867 (was a side trip for eating spots and visit) .It has a belltower bells high of 65 meters with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide, Not to mss the Théatre Mogador at no 25 Rue de Mogador built in 1919, Continue to the Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the Lycée Concorcet (of many passing in front of it). Here from 1781 to 1783 Brongniart built the convent , and chapel that by 1862 the chapel becomes the Parish Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the convent is tranformed into the high school or lycée Condorcet where Goncourt, Marcel Proust, Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé and Eugéne Sue amongst other ,studied !

This is the historic anecdote that at 14 blvd des Capucines in the Indian salon of the Grand Café the Lumiéres brothers show their first cinema slides, This is the area where the grand boulevards were created from 1670 decision to change the enclosure of Charles V into a public promenade of 4,5 km from the Madeleine to the Bastille ! And the bd Capucines, Italiens, Montmartre, Poissonniere and Bonne Noiuvelle knew their day in the light.

We continue to my first working train station in Paris, the Gare Saint Lazare many many times by here from Rive Droite in my Versailles ! This is the first train station of Paris from 1837 ! Even thus the first real station was done in 1851, The current station was built from 1885 to 1887 and renovated several times with two statues of the Hour for all and the Consingment for life in the cours de Rome street, Not far from here you find the ultimate honor of seeing the Chapelle Expiatoire by the will of king Louis XVIII done between 1815 and 1826, On the same spot where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dump by the revolutionaries,on what was the old cementery Madeleine,that open in 1720 where 3000 victims of the French revolution were interred, such as the Swiss Guards , Louis-Philippe d’Orléans (father of later king Louis Philippe I and known after the revolution as Philippe Egalité), Danton, Lavoisier, Camille and Lucile Desmoulins etc The Chapel is on the Square Louis XVI, one of only five name after the defunct king. When time allowed I came by here for a bit of reflection before going for my trains.

You continue on the Théâtre Athénée built in 1906 , a bit further you reach the Théâtre Edouard VII that has taken since 1984 the name of Sasha Guitry, You have by here the Olympia music hall, and finally cross over to the Madeleine that on my walks to work had to go around it zillion times ! The first stone was posed in 1764 but in 1806 Napoléon decided to raise a temple to honor his soldiers ,he never saw it build as later by 1842 it was given to the clergy of Paris and opened as the Church de la Madeleine with its 52 corinthians columns high of 20 meters, The church has 108 meters long, 43 meters wide and 30 meters high, It dominates the place de la Madeleine the starting point of the grand boulevards as above.

A bit further you reach the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, 263 Rue St Honoré built between 1670 and 1676, It has a cupola of 26 meters and was the parish church until 1840, It later was given to the Polish community of Paris since 1850, Here the funerals of Lafayette in 1834 and Stendhal of 1842 were held, I walked by it every day to work !

And you reach the wonderful sublime Place Vendôme, my criss cross walking it for work are memorable ! It is 213 meters long, 124 meters wide on 20k square meters of land, Created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and done between 1686 and 1720, The obelisk done on request of Napoléon I to pay homage to the Grand Army after their triumph at Austerlitz, Austria and was done in 1806,from melted iron of canons weapons taken from the enemy in this battle finished in 1810, In 1871 during the uprising of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war the obelisk was destroyed but in 1872 the national assembly decided to rebuild it, You have in this square the wonderful Ritz Hotel done in 1898.

You can come into the Rue de la Paix, the most expensive in Paris, and awesome to have walked it for two years daily ! It was clear in 1806 to link Vendôme to the Opéra ! Before called rue Napoléon !

There you go folks, a wonderful walk in sublime eternal Paris, My memorable walks in Paris, with the best of France indeed, I do walk in Paris sometimes 3 km around, once find my parking spot , sublime. Hope you enjoy the walk and do it, it is recommended by yours truly.

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

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August 4, 2022

Collegiate Church Notre Dame of Montreuil-Bellay !

It is closely related to the castle (see post),but the church now stand alone and independant of it. Therefore, having visited it , I will update this older post with new text and links for you and me.  This is Montreuil Bellay in the dept 49 of Maine et Loire and region of Pays de la Loire. It is next to the famous and beautiful castle we have the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, this started as a chapel of the castle but from its size you can tell the importance of it to the daily life in the area. The visit was very nice indeed. 

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A bit on the town of Montreuil-Bellay as I like. Montreuil-Bellay is located on the Thouet river,  bordering the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the departments of Vienne (town of Pouançay) and Deux-Sèvres (town of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay). Bathed by the Thouet river , Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne).

The Chapel of Notre Dame will become after the French revolution apart from the castle, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame (collegiate because it teaches canons:chanoines), it was built 1472-1474 and raised as Collegiate in 1475 and a parish Church in 1810. Inside the Church there is the angevine architecture of vaults.  The Chapel of Notre Dame was hand over to the State after the French revolution and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church.

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A bit of official story goes like this: The former chapel of the castle built in the 15C became collegiate served by the canons under the name of Notre-Dame.  It was given to the town and turned into a parish church at the beginning of the 19C following the decommissioning of the old Saint-Pierre church located in the Nobis priory which was falling into ruin.  A bridge over the moat was built in 1863 to give direct access to the church without passing through the castle courtyard. Now there is a stone wall between the castle and the church for privacy. 

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Built between 1472 and 1484 it was commissioned by Guillaume d’Harcourt, lord of Montreuil-Bellay, buried here with his family. It is one of the most prestigious religious buildings of the 15C in Anjou, specific to the Angevin Gothic style. The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame  consists of a large nave 44 meters long and 12 meters wide whose vault at 18 meters height is faithful to the Plantagenet style then in use in Anjou. There is a small oratory where the lord and his family attended, in all discretion, offices. A liter (black band) runs through the walls of the church, at a height that reflected the importance of the lords of the time. At the French revolution, the paintings of the old churches of the city were grouped in the nave. They reflect the provincial nature of art in Anjou under the Ancien Régime (monarchy). In 1810, the collegiate church became parish church and main place of worship of the city.

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The city of Montreuil Bellay on its history/heritagehttps://www.ville-montreuil-bellay.com/en/sitemap/in-english/

The official Parish Church of Notre Dame du Bellayhttps://notredamedubellay.diocese49.org/

There you go folks a wonderful 1-2 combination to do with the castle and more history, architecture and just beauty of my belle France. Hope you enjoy it as we did and do come by to the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame in Montreuil-Bellay.

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

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August 3, 2022

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay !!

On the road warrior team we set out again for the region of Pays de la Loire and the dept 49 of Maine-et-Loire to visit Montreuil-Bellay!  Just to show you, we have castles to create a new country lol! Old France never died it just faded away a bit but still plenty of stones around!!! We really enjoy the visit here and need to update this older post with new text and links on the Château de Montreuil-Bellay !! Hope you enjoy it as we did.

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Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne). The rule in the castle was no pictures just certain areas only, so be it, its still worth the detour me think. The displacement of the administrative center in Saumur, during the French revolution, completed to reduce the commercial, economic and administrative importance of the city of Montreuil-Bellay, simple chief town of canton since 1790.

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The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is a vast medieval castle, several times remodeled and standing in the heart of the old close town of Montreuil-Bellay. It is the Duke of Anjou Foulque Nerra who built the first citadel on a Roman oppidum in about 1026. He entrusted custody to his vassal Giraud Berlay, now Giraud Bellay, and the city takes the name of Montreuil-Bellay. The attachment of the Berlay family to the crown of France leads King Philippe Auguste in 1208 and King Louis VIII in 1224 to hold their court at the Château de Montreuil-Bellay. The Donjon from the 15C is no longer visible as the new castle was built in its place. It was 30 meters high , it was demolished in 1865.

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The castle of Montreuil-Bellay goes to the family of the House of Melun and the House of Tancarville during the Hundred Years War. Subsequently, it is enlarged with the addition of several towers and an enclosure, 650 meters of defense and 13 defense towers, protect the castle, with an entrance to the fortified building, flanked by round towers and massive barbican and drawbridge. During the 15C, the Renaissance period allows the castle to be modernized and airy, new buildings, new rooms, new kitchen (the term barbe au cul was when animals were roasted entirely in the huge kitchen and the term barbecue comes from it ! ), dining room, large living room, small living room, bedroom, monumental staircase and construction of a chapel of Notre Dame. This later will be hand over to the State and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church (see post). Then the castle belongs to the House of Harcourt. During the French revolution, the Lord of Montreuil-Bellay, Jean-Bretagne de La Trémoille, remains faithful to King Louis XVI. His castle is requisitioned and transformed into a prison for royalist women. After the revolutionary period, the castle becomes by marriage the property of the Grandmaison family, some of whose members were mayors of the city or senator.  The Grandmaison’s are still living in the castle. The castle of Montreuil-Bellay is remodeled in the 11C, 13C, 14C and 17C.

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The official Château de Montreuil-Bellayhttps://en.chateau-de-montreuil-bellay.fr/

The Saumur tourist office on Montreuil-Bellayhttps://www.ot-saumur.fr/MONTREUIL-BELLAY_a14817.html

The city of Montreuil-Bellay on its history/heritagehttps://www.ville-montreuil-bellay.com/tourisme/histoire-et-patrimoine/

There you go folks, is a beautiful castle and great wine tasting and purchase at the end to finish a wonderful day. Do come to the Château de Montreuil-Bellay you will be glad you did.

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

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August 3, 2022

The Saint Nicolas tower of La Rochelle !!

We enjoyed La Rochelle a lot and have come back several times with many posts in my blog, We first came as my oldest son study hotellerie/restaurant courses there. I will update this post with text and links for you and me ; hope you enjoy it as I The towers of La Rochelle, in Charente-Maritime dept  17 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine!

In town, we walk, and walk is a walker’s paradise of quaint old streets and historical buildings, we took the tour de la Chaine,(see post) tour de St Nicolas, and the  tour de la Lantern.(see posts).  The development of this new city of the 11C is assured from the 14C by the protection offered by the towers, including the towers of St. Nicholas and the Chaine that regulate the entry of many merchant ships in its port.

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All three designed to serve as a residence, two towers out of three (ie the tower of Saint Nicolas and the tower of the Chaine) were also places of detention between the 16C and 18C for the Huguenots and foreign sailors. They then become military prisons in the 19C. The Lantern Tower was used to disarm the boats upstream of the port and was a lighthouse. The boutiques of the Chaîne and Saint-Nicolas towers offer throughout the year a wide range of books, products for young and old. The shops are free access and are open 7 days a week during the opening hours of the towers.

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Tour St Nicolas is the most impressive one in my opinion.  Because of the marshy terrain, the tower rests on a raft. The latter consists of six-meter-long oak piles with metal shoes embedded in the mud and wedged with stones, the whole being covered with a grid of horizontal beams and acting as foundations. However, the weight of the tower and the loose nature of the ground led to a destabilization of the foundations during its construction, and an important rise of the building, more than twenty centimeters, towards the East. This inclination will be maintained during the restoration of the tower, so that the soil today still has an inclination of about 2%, although it has been raised 50 cm from the original soil.  The circular tower is 37 meters high and 18 to 23 meters in diameter. Originally, the tower was isolated from the rest of the city by marshy areas, but following the construction of the Gabut Bastion, it was joined to the urban fabric of La Rochelle, which extended to its base.The access ramp, which today provides direct access to the reception room on the first floor (2nd US) , did not originally exist, and was only built in 1695. Traffic at the interior of the building is done by two independent staircases but connecting all the levels.

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Salle du veilleur  (warden’s room), This small room on the ceiling adorned with arches of ogives with carved pedestals was used to monitor the entrance to the port. The ship owner’s room, The Salle de l’Armateur  (ship-owner’s room) is a large octagonal room with a cross vault of ogives with carved pedestals. It was used as a point of attachment to the chain which was used to close the port entrance, and which was operated from the Tour de la Chaine, on the other side.  The salle d’accueil (reception room), located on the first floor (2nd US), is accessible from the access ramp and overlooks the room of the low lookout. It is also connected to the chapel, on the second floor by a staircase. This room served as a reception room. Located on the first floor of the tower, the salle de la vigie basse (room of the low vigil)  is accessible from the reception room and gives access to a staircase to the salle du troubadour, (troubadour room), on the second floor. It used to have an outdoor wooden platform to monitor vessel traffic. The openings allowing the guards to access the rooms were later turned into firing holes. The hall houses an important 17C vault owned by one of the captains of the tower. The troubadour room, on the second floor, is connected by a staircase to the room of the low lookout, the lower one. It provides access to the latrines and to the salle du capitaine (captain’s room) through a defense corridor. The Captain’s Room is located on the second floor and is connected by a defense corridor to the troubadour room. It provides access to the  salle des coussièges (cushion room). It is also connected by a staircase to the walkway on the third floor. It used to be the residence of the captain and his family. The salle des coussièges (hall of cushions)  is an open recess on the captain’s room that also gives access to the captain’s study. The captain’s study is accessible from the cushion room. The tower has a chapel, located on the second floor, vertical to the entrance of the tower, probably playing a role of symbolic protection. It is directly connected to the reception room, on the first floor by a staircase, and to the walkway, by another staircase. The walkway is located on the third floor, and gives access to the guard corridor and the petite salle des gardes. (small guard room). It is connected to the second floor by a staircase to the captain’s room at one end, and at the other end by a staircase to the chapel. The small guard room served as a shelter and resting place between two rounds. The fourth floor Salle de veille du capitaine (Captain’s watch room), and the fifth floor, the  Terrace.

A bit of history I like

The tower of Saint-Nicolas  14C  is one of the three towers of the seafront of La Rochelle, and one of the emblematic of the Old Port , of which it constitutes the majestic door of entry. For five centuries it provided for the defense of the pass and served as a point of attachment to the chain, stretched from the other side, which was used to prohibit access to the port. The construction of the Saint-Nicolas tower  begins, according to the sources, around 1345 or between 1374 and 1394.  From 1652 to 1659, the tower houses the Hamburg’s naval carpenters companions, who came to La Rochelle to set up a shipyard. From 1569, and more widely during the 16C and 17C, the tower was used episodically weapons depot, powder keg and prison during the wars of religion: Huguenots were locked there between 1682 and 1686, at the the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. During the French revolution, the tower was used until 1793 to imprison Chouans (local rebels against the French revolution).

The official National Monuments of France on the towers of La Rochellehttps://www.tours-la-rochelle.fr/en/

The La Rochelle tourist office on the towershttps://www.holidays-la-rochelle.co.uk/discover/city-strolls/historical-sites-and-monuments/tours-de-la-rochelle

There you go folks, this is an amazing Nicolas tower and well worth the visit to La Rochelle, a beautiful city indeed.

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

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August 3, 2022

Some news from Spain CXXVIII

And back at you with my series of some news from Spain !!! thanks to you all. There is lots of things going on in my beloved Spain, and it is summer awesome as folks are coming back ! I am eagerly looking forward to be back too!! Let me tell you the latest tidbits of news chosen by yours truly, Enjoy it as Spain is everything under the Sun!

The heat wave continues: orange alert in 10 communities that will reach 42 degrees Andalusia, Aragon, the two Castillas, Extremadura, Galicia, the Community of Madrid, Navarra, La Rioja and the Canary Islands are on orange alert due to very high temperatures, In the entire province of Seville, the orange alert has been activated for temperatures of up to 40 degrees, as in Ávila, Salamanca and Ourense, They will have 39 in the Ribera del Ebro in Zaragoza, at points in Valladolid and Zamora; on the banks of the Ebro in La Rioja and Navarra and in the metropolitan area, south, west and Las Vegas in the Community of Madrid. In the Canary Islands, the orange alert is for maximums of up to 28 degrees at noon in Gran Canaria, while in the rest of the archipelago the warning is yellow for temperatures that will not drop below 34 degrees at noon and for force 7 winds on the coasts of the islands central and western. Castilla-La Mancha maintains a yellow warning activated for storms throughout the community, except in the province of Guadalajara, and for heat that will reach 39 degrees in the Guadiana valley in Ciudad Real, while in Galicia there is the same level of alert in points of Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra due to heat between 34 and 38 degrees. In the Valencian Community, the yellow alert is for maximums that at noon will be between 36 and 38 degrees in the province of Valencia. The AEMET (Spain weather service) warns that with the orange alert there is a significant meteorological risk, with a certain degree of danger for usual activities, and with the yellow there is no meteorological risk for the general population, although there is for some specific activity, Keep cool , easy in my dear Spain !

From Alto de Acevo to Santiago. Almost 170 km make up the Primitive Way, an itinerary frequented by the Asturian-Galician people during the 9-10C. In 2015 it was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, The Primitive Way is the first pilgrimage route and links Oviedo with Santiago de Compostela. It had its great moment in the 9C and 10C until León became the capital of the kingdom and the monarchs began to promote the French Way. Today, this route continues to be an alternative for pilgrims devoted to the collection of relics in the cathedral of San Salvador de Ovidio and Lugo, which enjoys the papal privilege of exhibiting the Blessed Sacrament day and night. The route goes from Melide, where they connect the Primitive Way and the French Way to Arzúa. A 14.5-km section that takes just under four hours , Starting from Melide, and after visiting its church, the route takes the pilgrim through Boente and Ribadiso, the latter being reached by crossing a bridge over the Iso river, next to the which is the hostel, one of the most beautiful on the French Way. From here, the pilgrim heads towards Arzúa, the land of cheese par excellence. In another way from Ourense in a clear example of that infinite beauty. In addition, one of the Caminos de Santiago passes through this province, which you have to do at least once in your life. We are talking about the Vía de la Plata or Camino Mozárabe, one of the oldest that allows the pilgrim to enjoy the wonders that exist from Andalusia to Galician lands. Enjoy it !!

It starts in the renovated Plaza de España, La Estival, with a varied cultural offer. Outdoor cinema, music and gastronomy will liven up the days in the center of Madrid. The program includes the screening of titles such as The Artist, The Day of the Beast, Cinema Paradiso or Back to the Future, as well as concerts of film soundtracks such as Amélie. In the enclosure there will also be food stalls, gazebos and rest areas to create the perfect atmosphere for summer, webpage : https://www.laestival.com/

The Almadén bullring in Ciudad Real, Castilla La Mancha, which was completed in 1765, is linked to the San Rafael Miners Hospital and the men who worked in the mines, This is the only hexagonal bullring in Spain, one of the oldest and currently houses the Hotel Plaza de Toros, the Tourist Office and the Bullfighting Museum, and for having a wide cultural heritage. It is currently a third category plaza and has its own bugle calls, including that of death. Webpage : https://www.turismociudadreal.com/patrimonio-cultural/18/plaza-de-toros

The ship Antonio de Ulloa crosses the waters of the Canal de Castilla again ! The Canal de Castilla, the only navigable one in Spain today, was born in the 18C, in the time of King Fernando VI and the influential Marquis of Ensenada. The latter proposed to the monarch a network of navigation channels to transport the grain produced by the plateau. Its innovative system of locks was designed to bridge the unevenness of the river and allow cereals to be transported to the northern ports at a time when land communications made this task very difficult. Thus, those who travel on the back of the Antonio de Ulloa enter a short section of the route that barges traveled years ago, pulled by mules that walked along its banks. In addition, the branches of the canal also cross the provinces of Palencia and Burgos, with their own tourist options. There is , also, a combination with the Canal Tren de Castilla or Castile Canal Train. This tourist initiative proposes the complete plan: a round trip by train from Madrid (or Segovia) to Valladolid to enjoy a day of leisure, culture and gastronomy until December 4, one Sunday a month. Webpage : https://www.turismocastillayleon.com/en/countryside-nature/boat-trips/antonio-de-ulloa-boat

More on the RENFE train boat webpage : https://www.renfe.com/es/es/experiencias/trenes-tematicos/tren-canal-castilla

A bullfight, three Novilladas and a bullfighting (rajonero) show for the month of August 2022 in Las Ventas, Madrid, The Plaza 1 company, which will repeat another four years as concessionaire of the Las Ventas bullring, has scheduled a total of five festivities for the month of August in the bullring of Madrid, among them the one on August 15, celebration of the Virgen de la Paloma (a big festival of Madrid, not to miss). That of this traditional date will be the only bullfight of the month. Webpage : https://www.las-ventas.com/actualidad/proximos-festejos-plaza-toros-las-ventas

The Puerta de Alcalá offers from July 30 to October 2 (July and August: Saturdays and Sundays) the opportunity to visit it and get to know it from a unique point of view. Heritage emblem of the city of Madrid, (and need to say it again lived not far from it!) it is immersed in a restoration project that will take place between 2022 and 2023. The platform used to carry out these studies allows you to climb to the cornice of the monument, accessing through one of the modules of scaffolding, while a specialized guide explains the keys and master lines that will guide the process of intervention in the Puerta de Alcalá. Lasting 50 minutes, each visit is made up of a group of 18 people over the age of 18. Built between 1769 and 1779, designed by the royal architect and engineer Francisco Sabatini, it is a solid construction with five openings, the three central ones point and the two sides with lintels and of lower height., More than 200 years of history with five interventions that have always kept the traces of the war events that took place in its vicinity: the entry into Madrid of the French army on December 3, 1808 during the War of Independence( or Peninsular War) ; again the access of a military contingent in the city on May 23, 1823, the One Hundred Thousand Sons of San Luis, and a tank battle in 1939. webpage : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala

More info on restoration webpage : https://reservaspatrimonio.es/275-visita-guiada-abierto-por-restauracion-la-puerta-de-alcala

The brotherhood between the creators Joaquín Sorolla and Mariano Benlliure serves as a precise metaphor and fine-tuned plan for this month of August 2022. While in the Chamberí museum, where the painter lived, you can still visit the Sorolla and Benlliure exhibition. A friendship, two artists, about the brotherhood that personally and creatively nurtured these prolific Valencians and their families, in the streets of Madrid you can also see multiple figures chiseled by the sculptor, such as the equestrian statue of Alfonso XII that watches over the Retiro pond , one of those popular beaches in Madrid, so longed for and frequented in summer when municipal regulations allow it ; the closeness and deep admiration that began to forge from their adolescence in Valencia and that even linked their artistic careers: although Sorolla was slow to obtain the recognition that Benlliure had garnered before, such as the honorable mention at the National Exhibition in Madrid, between 1890 and 1901 they worked tirelessly and enjoyed success and recognition at the same time, such as the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Until both reached the Olympus of history: one, as a master impressionist and luminist; the other, as the last 19C realist. Thus, as a tribute to the 75th anniversary of Benlliure’s death, the Sorolla museum adds eight sculptures that for the first time, and until October, 2022 are gathered in this same enviable garden space at any time of the year, together with letters, drawings and photographs that testify to the creative symbiosis. In fact, if today the oil painting Boys on the Beach (1909) can be seen in the Museo del Prado along with 22 other canvases that the art gallery conserves, it was thanks to Benlliure preferring that Sorolla donate this gift that he offered to his dear friend. And the other way around: the limestone statue that has welcomed the public in the Sorolla museum’s garden since 1932, with a Sorolla brandishing a palette and brush in the sunlight, is the fruit and gift of Benlliure. Also the plaster Study for the monument to Velázquez (1900), never before exhibited before to the visitor. In the Chamberí museum you can also visit the exhibition ‘Sorolla in black’, inaugurated last month, which brings together up to 62 works by the artist, some unpublished -such as ‘Maria painting’ (1911), which have been selected from the collection and loans from institutions and individuals. Another point of view on the master who portrayed the light of the Mediterranean without equal. The Sorolla Museum presents the darkest exhibition of the Valencian: a compilation of more than 62 works belonging to his beginnings, in which he used brown and black tones. The original sample represents the opposite of what one expects to see from the painter, known for his paintings full of light and color. Among the paintings that can be seen are the Portrait of Manuel Bartolomé Cossío (1908), which is exhibited for the first time in Spain for decades, Portrait of Juan Antonio García del Castillo (1887), recently acquired by the Ministry of Culture and Sports for the Sorolla Museum, or S.M. Queen Maria Cristina. Study for La Regencia (1903-1905), restored for the exhibition, Shown until November 27 2022, Museo Sorolla museum, Paseo del General Martinez Campos, 37, webpage : https://www.culturaydeporte.gob.es/msorolla/inicio.html

Last April,2022, the Repsol Guide launched the Soletes de Carretera, a list with more than 300 bars, restaurants and cafes that recognizes the quality of these establishments located on the busiest roads in the 50 provinces of Spain, Some of my known and visited are :

AUTOVÍA A-1 : Restaurant Area Boceguillas (A-1, km 115, Boceguillas, Segovia , and the El lagar de Milagros (Autovía N-1, exit km 146, Milagros, Burgos,
AUTOVÍA A-2 : Area 103 (Autovía A-2, km 103, Almadrones, Guadalajara, and Area 280 (A-2, km 281 Calatorao, Zaragoza
AUTOVÍA A-3 : Bar Venta San José (Autovía del Este, km 124, Villares del Saz, Cuenca; and Las Bairetas (Ramón y Cajal, s/n, Valencia
AUTOVÍA A-4 : Hostal El Amigo Restaurant (Ctra. de Andalucía, km 57, 200, Ocaña, Toledo
AUTOVÍA A-6 : La Magdalena de Combarros (N-VI, km. 335, Combarros, León,

Therefore, if you are on the roads of Spain, you know where to stop and get a full of Spanish service, friendliness and good food !

As usual by me lately some wine suggestion to try at home or when visiting Spain, En vino veritas !!

Finca Rio Negro Nº 5,The most exclusive reference of this winery (Finca Rio Negro) that is committed to high-altitude wines at 1,000 meters, next to the Sierra Norte de Guadalajara Natural Park in Castilla La Mancha. Made using artisanal methods with the Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties, it is a wine for aging with a long and careful process of at least five years, destined to continue improving in the bottle for many more years. The result is a red wine with an intense, elegant and complex aroma, where notes of ripe black fruit predominate, combined with notes of new wood, spices and balsamic. On the palate it is fleshy, persistent and balanced.

Monte Real de Familia Reserva, Iconic brand of Bodegas Riojanas. Classically made, it incorporates innovative elements to extract the varietal aromas, the polyphenols and the ripe tannins that reside in the skin. This Tempranillo born in the heart of Cenicero (in Rioja Alta) is aged in oak barrels for at least 12 months and then refined in the bottle for a minimum of 6 months. Ripe fruits, strawberries and liquorice are perceived on the nose, while on the palate it is subtle, tasty and with a long finish.

Conde de San Cristobal, Reserva Especial 2018, The Bodega Conde de San Cristóbal, located on the so-called golden mile of Ribera del Duero, in Pago de Valdestremero, signs a limited edition red wine (with a production of 12,976 bottles) made with Tinta Fina, from a plot located at about 900 meters altitude. Characteristics that make this reference the most exclusive of the brand. After aging for 18 months in French oak barrels, the result is a balanced and fine wine with a deep, complex, tasty and powerful aroma on the palate.

There you go folks, another dandy tour of my beloved Spain ! Summer is here with all that heat wave as well. Time to enjoy sunny Spain once again, and we are gear up for it! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

August 2, 2022

Pro sports in Toulouse !!

I grew up playing baseball/volleyball, then quickly moved on to football/soccer, and lately while in France have taken a lot of liking to Rugby as spectator. Having family from the Toulouse area you need to be into Rugby and especially the Stade Toulousain! However, never leave my football and the Toulouse FC! 1-2 punch in the pink city of Toulouse. Let me update this older post and tell you about some of my other hobbies lol ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Toulouse Football Club, abbreviated as Toulouse FC, is founded in 1970. The current Toulouse FC having in addition been founded in 1970 under the name of Union Sportive de Toulouse. The latter receives at its creation the support of the city/town hall, which offers it to play at the Municipal Stadium, and the French Football Federation, which integrates it among the clubs chosen to directly access the new Division 2 open to amateur clubs for the 1970-1971 season during the 1970 championship reform. In 1979, US Toulouse took the name of Toulouse FC and adopted professional status. It joined Division 1 in 1982 and finished three times in the first five places in the championship.

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Its history in French League 2 Championship Champion: 1982 and 2003, and Vice-champion: 1981 and 1997. In French League 1 Championship Third: 1987 and 2007.  Some of its famous coaches was the legendary Just Fontaine, also, Alain Giresse, and Antoine Kombouaré. Main players were Moussa Sissoko, Étienne Capoue, Franck Tabanou or Wissam Ben Yedder. It is also a springboard to the very highest level for other players like Jérémy Mathieu sold to FC Valence, Aymen Abdennour sold to AS Monaco or Serge Aurier sold to PSG.

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The Toulouse Stadium, previously called the Municipal Stadium, is the largest sports arena in Toulouse. Its has 33,150 seats, and it is located on the Ramier Island, very close to the center of Toulouse. Its construction began in 1937 , and was finally completed in 1949, work having been interrupted by WWII. It welcomes the professional team of the Toulouse Football Club (TFC), as well as the big rugby matches of the Stade Toulousain in the European Cup or in the Top 14. It has hosted football world cup matches, the European championship football, and friendly matches of the French football team. It has also hosted rugby world cup matches, friendly matches of the French rugby union team, and major international matches and many finals of the French rugby league championship.

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The official Toulouse FC football/soccer teamhttps://www.toulousefc.com/fr

The city of Toulouse on the stadiumhttps://www.toulouse.fr/web/uefaeuro2016/stadium

The Toulouse tourist office on the stadiumhttps://www.toulouse-visit.com/decouvrez-les-coulisses-du-stadium-et-du-tfc/toulouse/pcumid031v50fjo8

Of course, the most fans and following here is the sport king in the region, rugby. Also, followed by the father’s side of the family. The mighty Stade Toulousain rugby, which we follow as our team in France, and had visited of course.

The Stade Toulousain is rugby union club founded in 1907 and based in Toulouse. It has its home stadium as the Stade Ernest-Wallon. The club has won the French rugby union championship 21 times, it is also five times European champion, which makes it the most successful French and European club. Its philosophy of play “hand game, Toulousain game” is recognized by the world of rugby as close to total rugby practiced in particular by the All Blacks (New Zealand).

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Rugby Union made its appearance in Toulouse at the end of the 19C and the first clubs were formed in the 1890s. It was notably the students who practiced this sport, the existence of which in France was very recent c.1872. The Toulouse Student Stadium (SOET), created in 1897, and bringing together students from all disciplines, was soon split up with the Sports Union of the Veterinary School (USEV) created in 1899. These two clubs added the Toulousain Athletic Sport (SAT). In 1905, the USEV (gray color) and the SAT (yellow and black colors) merged to be called Toulouse Véto-Sport (gray jersey, black pants). In 1907, the merger of two Toulouse clubs (SOET and Véto-sport) gave birth to the Stade Olympien and Véto-sport Toulousain which for the sake of an essential shortcut will be called the Stade Toulousain.

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The Stade Toulousain traditionally play in red and black, the colors of SOET. These were the colors of the Capitouls, the former municipal councilors. The white jersey appeared later in the 1920s as an away jersey. Over the years, the gray jersey also appeared, certainly a tribute to Véto-sport. The only novelty to these colors is the pale pink jersey used throughout 2007, which to celebrate the club’s centenary, pays tribute to the pink city which is its cradle -Toulouse.

During WWI, many players from the Stade Toulousain served in the French army. About eighty died in the trenches during the battles of Verdun, Somme, etc. Many players were then champions of France in 1912, and were part of the team nicknamed “the Red Virgin”. Stade Toulousain manager, Lucien Cézéra, had the idea in the 1950s of creating a logo for the club. He found his inspiration in the Saint-Sernin Basilica of Toulouse (see post)  where, in a chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas Aquinas which was created when his relics were provisionally deposited there, is a mosaic of an astonishing resemblance to the logo of the club Red and black. The club logo, worn on the jersey, consists of the letters “S” and “T” intertwined. It is the faithful copy of the acronym of Saint Thomas in the Saint-Sernin Basilica.

Indeed, since 1985, the Stade Toulousain has been one of the very best clubs in Europe. It has raised the Brennus Shield eleven times, including four consecutive from 1994 to 1997. It is also the first club to win the European Cup in 1996. With four continental titles, Stade Toulousain is the most successful club in the European Cup.  112 years after its creation, the Stade Toulousain has won 21 French champion titles, five European Cups, has a 19,500-seat stadium , about 250 partner companies, and 117 international players over its history. Important players for me are Thierry Dusautoir, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Yannick Jauzon, Frédéric Michalak, Emile Ntamack, Clément Poitranaud, and Maxime Médard. As coach none other than Guy Novés.

The Stade Toulousain evolved during its creation in the Parc des Prairie des Filters. This place notably hosted the meetings of the Stade Olympien of Toulouse students. In 1907, Ernest Wallon, president of the club, decided to provide the club with a sports arena. Located in the heart of the Ponts-Jumeaux district, not far from the site of the old stadium of the Prairie des Filters , the club moves to the Ponts Jumeaux stadium. It was inaugurated on November 24, 1907. The Stade Toulousain is one of the rare French clubs, all sports combined, to have its own sports facilities. It therefore owns the stadium, Stade Ernest-Wallon, commonly known as the Sept Deniers stadium, near Blagnac. It is named after Ernest Wallon, president of the Stade Olympien des étudiants de Toulouse or Toulouse Olympic Stadium for Students (SOET) and law professor at the Faculty of Toulouse, at the beginning of the 20C, who participated in the creation of the Ponts Jumeaux stadium in Toulouse. The latter, opened in 1982, has been recently renovated and has a capacity of 19,500 seats. In 2019, the stadium lawn was completely changed to adopt a hybrid lawn. A new dining hall is built between the store and the entrance to the training center. The current main entrance to the changing rooms under the grandstand, the visitors changing rooms and the old canteen were then completely refurbished.

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The official Stade Toulousain rugbyhttps://www.stadetoulousain.fr/

The official Stade Toulousain on the Ernest Wallon stadiumhttps://www.stadetoulousain.fr/ernest-wallon

The Toulouse tourist office on rugby in townhttps://www.toulouse-visit.com/land-rugby

There you go folks, a lethal combination if in town, the pink city is Toulouse and football/rugby is it. Again, hope you enjoy the pro sports of Toulouse ! as I.

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

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July 31, 2022

The Citadel of Port Louis !!

This is another wonderful spot of my beautiful Morbihan, not far from home and we love it. I  will update this older post for you and me. Let me tell you a bit about the Citadel of Port Louis. This is easily reach from my house on road D781 coming from Etel or on the national road N165 direction Hennebont, then Port Louis. You can come by train to the station in Lorient then bus to Port Louis, TGV service from Paris Montparnasse. You can make it by boat from Lorient,as well.  The parking is easy at the entrance to the Grande Rue or by the Pointe harbor area. There is also plenty of parking by the Citadel.

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The Citadel is a marvel of Vauban fortifications, and the guard fortress to the city, famous for its trade with the Indies in America. The first company of trade was done here, and the museum inside the Citadel today tells you of this wonderful period. The  Citadelle de Port-Louis was built in the 16C by the Spanish and modified in the 17C by the French.

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The Citadel is rebuilt between 1618 and 1621, when Louis XIII decided to give Port-Louis the status of royal city. The present appearance of the citadel dates from this period and despite appearances, Vauban  only did  the buildings built in the barnyard (arsenal and ball park) at a later date. The citadel will be used for the defense of the harbor, then it will be assigned to the surveillance of the maritime traffic. The last soldiers leave the premises in 2007.

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Really ,the main urge to come here is the citadel and its museum of the Indies, which covers more of the compagnie des  indies épisodes to far régions such as Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The museum  of the Marine is a wonderful recollection of the seafaring French/Breton and its seafaring skills. It is an impressive fortress and must visit if in the area.

You can, also, see the Grand Poudriére (built 1750-1752) or big powder house, to keep that old ammunition all along the ramparts leading to the citadelle. See also, the fountain de Recollets.

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A bit of history of Port Louis I like

The city which was formerly called Blavet and its citadel are renamed Port Louis in 1618 on a the Royal decision. Port-Louis, or Porzh Loeiz in Breton, recalls the name of the Kings of France and thus marks their suzerainty on this port which was long a Spanish fortress. The city is occupied by the Spaniards from 1590, the Duke of Mercœur, in a first time alliance with king Felipe II (Philip II) , having delivered them thereafter, Don Juan del Aguila defended it and built fortifications there. The name of the new stronghold is given to him as Fuerte del Aguila (Fort de L’Aigle or Fort of the Eagle). The Citadel was half dismantled at the beginning of the 17C, the Spaniards having evacuated the territory. The current name of Port-Louis, dating from 1618, is given in honor of King Louis XIII who wanted to make it a fortified city completed in 1642, the Citadel of Port-Louis is the key element of the defence of the harbour. Under the French revolution, the town provisionally carries the names of Port-de-l’Égalité and Port-Liberté.

The local Lorient south Brittany tourist office on the Citadel: https://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/fr/immanquables/port-louis/citadelle-de-port-louis/

The town of Port Louis on its museums in the Citadelhttps://www.ville-portlouis.fr/64-decouverte/488-cite-d-art-et-de-patrimoine/297-les-musees-de-la-citadelle.html

The city of Lorient on the Indies museum in the citadelhttps://musee.lorient.bzh/musee/

The National Naval museum in the citadelhttps://www.musee-marine.fr/musee-national-de-la-marine-port-louis

There you go folks, another dandy for sure and a beautiful beach just behind the citadel to see in my other posts on Port Louis. Hope you enjoy the post on the Citadel of Port Louis !! 

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

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