Posts tagged ‘Europe’

July 11, 2020

Cholet: Parc Francois Tharreau!

And after my last going out in my belle France we re visited Cholet in the Maine et Loire dept 49 of the Pays de la Loire region. It is a nice town full of history and nice walks we enjoy a lot. This was another trip and still things to see. Stay tune.

I like to tell you now about the gardens of Cholet and a complex known as the Parc François Tharreau. Hope you enjoy the walks in it as well as the history of it.

The Parc François Tharreau is located in the heart of town, on the very spot where the Château de Cholet once stood, the Jardin du Mail is more than simply a green space , it’s a reminder of Cholet’s history. About 150 years after they were planted, these gardens have become a favourite destination for locals of all ages in search of a bit of rest and relaxation as well as being an attractive place for tourists. The benches and lawns do look very inviting.


The garden already existed before the revolution, forming an integral part of the old castle, on the site of the current promenade. It was after the construction of the Palais de Justice in 1865 that the Jardin du Mail was transformed from 1870 until 1879.

cholet parc François Tharreau chemin jul20

It consists of three main parts:

The large embankment planted with five rows of lime trees runs along the Palais de Justice on one side and the picturesque hill on the other side. The picturesque hillside brings together all the arguments of landscaped and horticultural gardens from the 19C, natural formations such as waterfalls, rock walls, and cave grouped in lush vegetation where lights and shadows play. The horticultural part, at the foot of the Palais de Justice, forms a vast inclined, grassy plain, dotted with flower beds and crossed by a small artificial stream that joins various basins. The last is located at the foot of the wall of the old castle. Large trees including two superb magnolias that frame the facade of the Palais de Justice complete the landscape. This garden is equipped with a playground for children from 1 to 8 years old. The 74 m² fire truck themed structure was created in 2014. It can accommodate up to 32 children.

cholet parc François Tharreau front jul20

cholet parc François Tharreau fountain jul20

In the 11C, the Count of Anjou Foulque Nerra built a castle in Cholet. Burnt down and rebuilt several times, the building disappeared definitively, ravaged by flames during the Wars of Vendée. Today, only the ramparts of another era remain. In order to preserve these remains, they have been fully integrated into the current Jardin du Mail, highlighting them in this green setting. At the foot of the ramparts, stands proudly the Grand Menhir de la Garde . Moved here in 1888, it bears witness to a prehistoric life on Cholet. In place of the old castle keep is today the Palace of Justice (courthouse). The entrance to the garden, materialized by a monumental porch, testifies to the prosperity of the textile city of the 17-18C. This porch, carved on both sides, has a decor of imposing proportions. The jardin du Mail was laid out in the 1870s. The garden takes its name from the esplanade located on the side of the Palais de Justice, which was used for playing lawn game or jeu de mail, the ancestor of Croquet. Today, this space is popular with pétanque players.

cholet palais de justice tribunal front Rue François Tharreau jul20


The Grand Menhir de la Garde, initially the menhir stands southwest of Cholet, in the ditch by the Maulévrier road, 70 meters before the Garde farm. It was transported to the Jardin du Mail in 1888 on a special cart coming from Nantes and harnessed with sixteen oxens, which represents a transport of 30 tons over 5 km The menhir is a prism made of local granite, called Aubiers granite, with an almost square section with rounded angles and vertices, a height of 3.60 meters including 70 cm buried.


Cholet tourist office on its heritage in English here: Cholet tourist office on its heritage

A wonderful garden right in the middle of the city and great for all to walk it and see hear history on your paths. Hope you enjoy the walk in the Parc François Tharreau of Cholet.

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

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July 11, 2020

Cholet: Les Halles! market!

And here I am sticking to Cholet, in the Maine et Loire dept 49 of the Pays de la Loire region and in my belle France! Wonderful town I said, and to show you France is a mouvable feast indeed!

Well we love the food and wines of my France and of course every time in town we seek the market. No better place to soak in the local culture and foodies galore! The market are it and here Les Halles are gorgeous with plenty of parking after 13h30 that we use to walk around the town! The market itself was close but more power to come back for it. And, we arrive early so had lunch elsewhere but it looks nice here!

The covered market or Les Halles de Cholet are at Place du 8 mai 1945. The Cholet tourist office has nice pictures here: Cholet tourist office on Les Halles

Since September 10, 2019, the Les Halles de Cholet have opened their doors in a brand new setting: 2358 m² of total area which accommodates 33 stalls, 1 bar-brasserie, 1 convivial space. It is a real place of life, where exchanges and meetings are the norm as in all markets.


Les Halles are modern, welcoming, bright, with indoor and outdoor terraces. Emphasis was placed on the fluidity and accessibility of the stalls. There are no right angles, even the benches have 45 ° angles. As for the predominant white color, it signifies hygiene and cleanliness.

There are butchers, delicatessens, cellar, coffee, world cuisine, fishmonger, dried fruit, honey, early vegetables, poultry etc. Some new products are also emerging, such as a florist, an organic grocery store, a new bakery or a group of farmers from Lys-Haut-Layon. Open all year Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 6h to 13h ; Friday,and Saturday 6h to 13h30 p.m.


More info in French on the official webpage here: Les Halles de Cholet

And there you go folks a nice place always to stop by and we will leave earlier next time to see the hussle and bussle of it, we love it in my belle France! Hope you have the good timing to come and see it taste it enjoy it!

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

July 10, 2020

Cholet: Hôtel de Ville!

Here I take pictures of government buildings in France! Well they are part of the history of the towns and this is the case in Cholet in the Maine et Loire dept 49 part of the Pays de la Loire region.

As you walk these streets you begin to realise the wonderful architecture of these buildings and indulge into their history so much fascinating me think. This is the case of the city/town hall and prefecture building of Cholet. I like to tell you a bit on it ok.

When the city council decided to build a town hall in the 1820s, Cholet was only a modest county town. Built between 1824 and 1827, the very first city/town hall of Cholet took up residence near the covered market and rue Royale ;now rue Nationale, Place Travot was still only a vast swampy area.

Elected in 1965, Maurice Ligot decides to build a new city/town hall, inaugurated in 1976. Then, the building on Place Travot will successively host the Vendée War Museum and then the City’s cultural services. Before becoming the brasserie (see post) we know today, equipped with a large glass roof.

The city hall , prefecture and agglo admin building sits around the streets of Rue Saint Bonaventure ,Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville and the rue Travot.

Cholet hotel de ville agglo jul20

The main building of the main courtyard represents approximately 3/5 ° of the former Hôtel de Tharreau, which was split up and raised following a family sharing. The two buildings back on the main courtyard were erected for the transformation of this building into a sub-prefecture in 1858. The initial project provided for a blind wall on Rue Bretonnaise, with a high wooden gate, the option was taken to install a wrought iron gate surmounted by the arms of the town of Cholet; at the beginning of the century there were still two large plane trees on either side of this grid. The mansion has a structure from the end of the 18C, even if certain arrangements should be made around 1829: a typically Cholet style central staircase, in solid oak, with turned balusters, large handrail and solid stringer, which is developing over 3 flights. This mansion has on the ground floor and on the 1st floor two pretty rooms with Louis XVI decor, in rotunda. The large living room is the only room in the town of Cholet with checkered parquet “à la Versailles”. This room is also furnished with a period Directoire room which comes from the first sub-prefecture, then fixed at Beaupreau. In this living room and in the dining room, there are two beautiful fireplaces with inlaid decor: carved marble cartridges set at external angles and in the center of the lintel in the marble of the fireplace.


Cholet tourist office on its heritage in English here: Cholet tourist office on its heritage

Official city of Cholet on practival information in French: City of Cholet on practical information

And there you go walking is wonderful and let you see superb monuments such as this city hall of Cholet. For the original building see my next post on the brasserie!

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

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July 10, 2020

Cholet and its memorials!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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July 9, 2020

Getting around Cholet!

So , we decided to re-visit Cholet in the département no. 49 of the Maine-et-Loire in the région of Pays de la Loire. This is a historical town of very much links to the Vendéen wars against the French revolution. In what was the Anjou area. It is a very pleasant town and plenty to see and of course great walking

And as usual, I went by auto; taken the N165 direction Nantes hooking up direct to the N844  direction Poitiers/Angers ,on exit sortie 44 porte de Vignobles  linking with the N249 direction Poitiers  exit 38 and into the D753 that takes you into Cholet Centre or city  center. However, before going into city center we got around and parked first off street parking at Bd Guy Chouteau to see a church (more of this later) and then move on to the covered market by place du Huit Mai 1945 square (more of this later) and then move on for lunch by the Place Travot (more of this later). In all very easy by car and walks on site to minimize fatigue. In and out of Cholet is very easy.

Other parkings are Arcades Rougé (see shopping center post), Travot and Mondement, as well as closed parkings of Prisset, Mail , and Turpault. However, the covered market or Les Halles is a very good spot to park as well when the market is not on.

There is a bus terminal or Gare Routiére at Boulevard du Général Faidherbe, the local network here Choletbus : Choletbus network of buses


However, right by rue Travot next to the Hôtel de Ville agglo and Parc François Tharreau (more of this later) you have an excellent bus depot of lines 1-6 and others passing by which we saw but of course never tried it. Just for information.

cholet gare routiere hotel de ville depot jul20

The train station or Gare de Cholet located at 2 place du 77eme Régiment d’Infanterie. It has been totally re done and it looks very modern with all amenities of course never tried it here. Just for information.


More on these official webpages :

Gare SNCF of Cholet: Gare de Cholet train station

TER trains on CholetTER Pays de la Loire on Cholet


The Nantes Atlantique airport is within an hour so they say as never taken it from here just for information.   Airport of Nantes in English here: Nantes Atlantique airport

The webpage site Destinéo tells you itineraries and schedules of public transport in the region available in English: Destineo public transport tool

There is a connected public transport site Aleop for the Pays de la Loire region in French here: ALEOP Pays de la Loire public transports

You can, also, rent bikes or vélos to ride in the city, but did not saw anybody doing this while we were there on weekdays. The rental locations are  – Casavélo Tél : 02 41 62 08 41,  Culture Vélo Tél : 02 41 65 70 40, Cycles Bouyer Giant Cholet Tél : 02 41 28 53 39, and Cycles Chauvière Tél : 02 41 65 15 03. Again for information as never done it.

As you can tell, this is close to me at less than 2 hrs so we move by car very convenient and always easy parking even on street like in Cholet. The cost is 40 cents per hour if need to pay because if come between 12h and 14h is free as well as the first hour at other times. Then once in there, you can walk all over great fun indeed, the best combination!

City of Cholet on practical informationCity of Cholet on practical information

Hope you enjoy the post and see the coming posts on nice Cholet in the Maine et Loire 49niners! We again enjoy it even if this time there was one dear late wife Martine not with us physically.

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

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July 9, 2020

L’église de la Trinité de Brélévenez,Lannion!

And why not continue a bit up north in my beloved Bretagne and stay on nice Lannion in the Côtes d’Armor dept 22. As said, need to give credit to these places that I have almost forgotten in my blog , so therefore time to remedy this omission. Let me tell you a bit more on the Church of the Trinity at Brélévenez, Lannion. or église de la Trinité de Brélévenez.

You go down a steep road , and you can get to the Church of the Trinity in Brélénevez. There is a stair with 142 steps downward that we did not took. This is a Roman style Church done at the end of the 12C to early 13C with rénovations to the 14C. There is a mise au tombeau from the 18C , portraits and statues of Saint Gilles and Saint Loup with a retable in marbre white and black in the altar.

However, let me give you a bit more on its architecture and history ok.

The Church of the Trinity of Brélévenez is located in the former village of Brélévenez, which has become a district of Lannion since 1961, The church is a remarkable witness to the architecture of transition between Romanesque and Gothic art. The Church of the Trinity is built on top of the Crec’h Tanet hill or fire hill overlooking the city. It is about 50 meters above sea level. It is reached from the city center by a staircase of 142 steps, bordered by houses on one side. It seems to have been built from the end of the 12C on 11C substructures. Construction began with the choir and the crypt, then continued with the nave. No archive background shedding light on the stages of construction and modifications of the church, the dates are based solely on stylistic analysis.


In the 13C, two side chapels forming a false transept were added to the long volume of the church. In the 14C, due to its dominant position, the church was fortified by Olivier V, Constable of Clisson, during the War of  Succession of Brittany . Jean IV, Duke of Brittany, brought in Philippe Le Hardi, Duke of Burgundy in order to obtain the demilitarization of the church to return it to worship . The fortifications built by Olivier de Clisson were dismantled, leading to the recovery of the walls of the nave. During the same period, the side aisles were taken over and the side chapels enlarged. The bell tower was built in the 15C. The choir was altered in the 17C to place the imposing Baroque altarpiece commissioned in 1660 by Count Pierre de Laval and his wife in the 18C. The chapel of Mont Carmel was built at the junction of the nave and the northern chapel. The sacristy was rebuilt in 1845 on the site of an older one, obstructing Romanesque windows .In the middle of the 19C, the staircase which connects the church to the lower town was rebuilt, weakened by the extraction of shale.


The large church is over 50 meters long. It has a Latin cross plan ending in an ambulatory choir with a single axial chapel. The two side chapels, built from the 13C, form a false transept ;without correspondence with the central, continuous volume, built from the end of the 12C. The north chapel is more important than the south chapel, creating an asymmetry. The most remarkable exterior part is the beautiful chevet from late 12C of pink granite, still Romanesque in its design with its buttresses formed by columns engaged with sculpted capitals, its modillions where heads can be distinguished despite the pronounced wear and its tall narrow semicircular windows. The south porch, in pink granite, also dates from the end of the 12C. The south side, reinforced with masonry buttresses, is pierced with Gothic windows with fillings. The south transept of green shale is pierced by a beautiful flamboyant window, moved from the north chapel during the construction of the sacristy in 1845.  The church is dominated to the west by a bell tower-porch in pink granite from the 15C . At the top, the recessed bell chamber is surmounted by an openwork octagonal arrow. Each of the two levels is surrounded by an open balustrade of three-lobed arcades.

The long nave of 11 travers spans wide including that of the bell tower, leads directly to the choir, without transept. Covered with painted paneling resting on sculpted sand pits, the long volume opens onto the aisles by broken arches resting on large round stacks. The crypt contains a remarkable polychrome Entombment from the 18C whose life-size figures are carved out of limestone. The church has five altarpieces. The back of the choir is occupied by a huge Baroque altarpiece which obscures the roundabout. Dating from 1660, it is built in tufa and adorned with black marble columns. Four other Baroque altarpieces from the 17C adorn the side chapels. In the south chapel, the Weavers’ Altarpiece frames a painting representing Pentecost. In the north chapel, an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Gilles and Saint Loup and the altarpiece of the brotherhood of the Trépassés, decorated with skulls. In the Chapel of Mont Carmel is a stucco altarpiece depicting the Virgin giving the scapular to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena.

The Church of the Trinity ,also houses three classified sculptures: Christ of the Links, 16C, Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist, 16C. Above the door of the sacristy, a beautiful 15C bas-relief depicts the Virgin as an orante surrounded by six Apostles, with traces of polychromy. The large rectangular font included in the wall to the left of the front door is an old 13C grain measure engraved with an inscription in Latin and reused. In the Chapel of Mont Carmel, the vase of the 15C baptismal font, decorated with the heads of angels and hammered escutcheons, was purchased from the parish of Plestin-les-Grèves in the 19C. The pulpit and the lectern date from the 18C. The organ case is a work by organ builder Jules Heyer, a pupil of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, made in 1862. It replaced the 17C organ destroyed during the French revolution. It was restored and extended in 1980 by Jean Renaud, from Nantes.

Some webpages in French but helps describe this beautiful monument even more are

L’association Sauvegarde du patrimoine Religieux En Vie (SPREV)  or the Association for the Safeguarding of Living Religious Heritage. SPREV on the Church of the Trinity in Brélévenez

The Paroisse de la Bonne Nouvelle Lannion Pleumeur-Bodou or Parish of the Good News Lannion Pleumeur-Bodou.  Parish of Lannion Pleumeur Bodou on Church of the Trinity of Brélévenez

And now I feel better to have in my blog this wonderful monument fully explain best I can. Hoping you enjoy visiting the Church of the Trinity at Brélévenez in Lannion.

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

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July 8, 2020

Monastery Sainte Anne and library of Lannion!

Ok so here I am back home in lovely Lannion north of me in department Côtes d’Armor 22 of my beautiful Bretagne in my belle France. I have written before on Lannion of course, but left wonderful monuments out and need to remedy that. I like to tell you a bit about the former Monastery of Sainte Anne today the Mediathéque or library complex of Lannion!

lannion mon sainte anne now library ent mar16

The Monastery of Sainte Anne , story goes that first there was a Hôtel-Dieu or hospice here in the 12C until replaced in the 17C by a convent housing the order of the Augustinians (misericordia of Jesus) . In the French revolution, they were expelled only to come back in 1805. In 2006, it was converted into the Library or mediathéque of the city. You can now rent the Chapelle de Sainte Anne done in 1902, and the Chapelle des Ursulines from the 17C is also attach offering a cultural exhibition space today.


I like to tell you about the architecture and history of it ,I like

The Sainte-Anne Hospital or the primitive Hôtel-Dieu was founded by the Kergomar family who affixed their coat of arms in 1630. It was then located in the parish of Loguivy. The building would have suffered greatly from the wars of the League towards the end of the 16C. In the second half of the 17C,  it looked like a wooden bridge building, adjoining a small chapel dedicated to Saint Anne. This building contained two rooms for the poor and ran along the rue de Kérampont. The whole then becomes the property of the Augustines or Hospitallers of the Mercy of Jesus. In February 1667, five hospitable nuns from Quimper took possession of this hospice and its outbuildings. Between 1667 and 1672, they restored and enlarged the buildings thanks to the generosity of several benefactors. A priest, Father Corentin de Kermeno de Plivern cousin of the superior and close collaborator of Father Maunoir, took charge of the establishment and devoted his personal fortune to it. The chaplain remained until his death in 1716. He was buried in the Sainte-Anne chapel (his grave was transferred in 1900 to the new chapel while his original funeral plaque is in the Avant-Choeur) where you could see his tomb emblazoned with his arms: fashioned of gold and silver with six pieces. In the 17C, the hospital depended on the bishopric of Dol, of which the abbot of Kermeno was the vicar general his tomb was the large chapel.


In 1753, the restoration of the convent chapel began, and in 1767 that of the buildings of the Hospice. During the terror of the French revolution, the Sisters were imprisoned in Tréguier, but the hospital was returned to them in 1805. It was rebuilt under the second empire and inaugurated on October 23, 1866. During the 19-20C, it was enlarged. The large chapel was raised to the glory of Sainte-Anne and inaugurated in 1900. Disused at the end of the 19C, the old chapel was rented in 1935 to an ironworker, before being taken over by the nuns to settle there. a home for young workers. From December 1975 the hospital was transferred to the new buildings near the Kergomar manor, which then became a retirement home. Part of the monastery buildings will be transformed into a home for the elderly, and another part into housing for able-bodied people. In June 2003, the Sainte-Anne Community sold its heritage and the municipal council of the time, decided to acquire the monastery in 2003. The building was then converted into the media library we see today.

Acquired by the City of Lannion in 2003 following the sale by the Sainte-Anne Community. The Espace Sainte Anne offers you today: The Alain Gouriou Media Library, or mediathéque. Dare to stroll around and discover the 100,000 documents at your disposal in this splendid 1500 m² building! Access to the multimedia library and to printed documents, reading and individual listening on site are free. A conference room, An entertainment room, Meeting rooms, Permanence rooms, A cafeteria, An exhibition gallery, A digital space, Dedicated association premises, The Youth Information Point (PIJ), The Information and Orientation Center (CIO), the offices of the service of cultural life, the offices of the municipal opposition, and an interior courtyard that can accommodate entertainment concludes the complex.


The Library Alain Gouriou and al of Lannion in French here: City of Lannion on the Espace Sainte Anne

The official webpage of the library of Lannion in French: Lannion library page

There you go blending architecture, history , and modern facilities to boot all under one roof at nice Lannion up north. Hope you enjoy and why not visit a library in France ! Hope it helps you decide.

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

July 8, 2020

Jerez de la Frontera: Alcàzar!!!

And looking over my previous posts on my beloved Spain, found out did several on the sherry wines but not on the monument. And of course, one is very important there so cannot believe it when not written about it. Let me tell you now a bit on the Alcàzar of Jerez de la Frontera!

Here we are again with a piece of my beloved Spain. This is deep Spain, in fact when visitors comes to Spain or hear about it, what they really see / hear is Andalucia. Not bad to wandered around Spain, as we say Spain is everything under the sun ::)

Jerez de la Frontera is the most populated province of Cádiz in Andalusia. It is 6 km from El Puerto de Santa María, 12 km from the Atlantic Ocean and 85 km from the Strait of Gibraltar. The city is one of the 6 towns that make up the Bahía de Cádiz-Jerez metropolitan area, a polynuclear urban agglomeration formed by the towns of Cádiz, Chiclana de la Frontera, Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto Real, El Puerto de Santa María and San Fernando located in the Bay of Cádiz.

The Discovery of America and the Conquest of Granada, in 1492, made Jerez one of the most prosperous cities in Andalusia thanks to trade and its proximity to the ports of Sevilla and Cádiz. In fact, the strategic situation of the city made king Felipe II consider building a navigable estuary so that ships could get from the city’s jetty in El Portal to the city through the Guadalete river and that the city was included among the 480 cities of the world that are part of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum. (It was an editorial project conceived as a complement to Abraham Ortelius’ world atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), which became the most complete collection of panoramic views, plans and commentaries textual of cities published during the Modern Age.)

The one I like to tell you here is the Alcàzar ,old arab fortress and inside of it has the Palacio de Villavicencio and a hidden camera; as well as the ramparts walls with pieces of it on several streets, open or encrusted in buildings today. Need to tell you Jerez de la Frontera, means Jerez at the frontier as this was the name given to towns conquered by the Catholic kings army marching thru liberating it from muslim rule and after conquest and stop the area became the frontier between the two worlds. Hence, Jerez de la Frontera was a frontier town.

The Alcázar de Jerez de la Frontera, is a group of fortified buildings of Almohad origin ,probably the 12C, being the oldest Almohad building on the Iberian peninsula, to which later palatial baroque buildings were added, and which is one of the main monuments of the city; It is located in the corner of the wall that surrounded the city, next to the Alameda Vieja. It is considered one of the few examples of Almohad architecture that exists in the Iberian Peninsula.

Jerez de la Frontera

In the middle of the 11C, Jerez swore allegiance to the Banu Jizrun of the Taifa kingdom of Arcos. It is precisely to this time that the first architectural remains located in the fortress belong, although these are reduced to a few foundations, made with stones locked with mud. In the 12C, in response to the authority of the Almoravids, Jerez proclaimed an independent taifa under the government of Abul Gamar ibn Garrun, king of Ronda. From 1146 he swore allegiance to the Almohads, who will take control of Al Andalus (Andalucia) in their fight against the Christians of the north. Most of the Islamic buildings that remain in the quarterdeck belong to this stage, which lasts until 1248, when Jerez declared himself a vassal of the Kingdom of Castilla, reigning in this Fernando III El Santo. Between 1248 and 1255, the Alcàzar will remain in the hands of its Muslim governor, named Aben Obeit in Christian literary sources, until Jerez is besieged by the Castilians, and the Alcazar is conquered. However, in 1264 the Muslims of Jerez rebelled against Christian rule, entering the quarterdeck and passing the entire Christian garrison to the knife! king Alfonso X reacts against the revolt, besieging the city for five months, in 1264. As a result of this siege, Jerez surrenders to the Castilian troops, all the Islamic inhabitants of the city being expelled, who sought refuge in nearby towns or emigrated to Africa.

From the original Islamic fortress, the doors, the mosque, the Arab baths, the octagonal tower and the Pavilion of the patio of Doña Blanca de Borbón are preserved. From later stages, the Torre del Homenaje 15C, and the Baroque palace of Villavicencio and the Molino de Aceite or Oil mill  18C stand out. Partially surrounded by the large Alameda Vieja, the imposing Torre Octagonal or octagonal tower stands out with its presence, with its characteristic Almohad double curb, as well as the Torre del Homenaje de los Ponce de León. Later, a Renaissance facade replaced the old wall of passage to the Arab baths.

Jerez de la Frontera

The Mosque and the Arab Baths built by the Almohad sovereigns, this mosque is the only one that remains in the city of the eighteen that existed during the Islamic period. Its interior, now suitably restored, preserves, in addition to its classic horseshoe arches, the substantial parts for the Muslim rite, such as the minaret, the courtyard of ablutions, the prayer room and the mihrab, as well as an altar that reminds us that the first Christian Chapel of Santa María del Alcázar was created here. The Arab Baths keep the three classic rooms of this type of facility in very good condition. Built with sober solid and rough brick, starry skylights open in the domes of their ceilings, giving them the intimacy with which they were conceived. The Pabellon Real or royal pavilion has undergone archaeological excavations  being carried out.

Palacio de Villavicencio.  This stately palace was created by Don Lorenzo Fernández de Villavicencio, one of the first wardens of the city, and stands on one of its sides from the year 1664 on the remains of previous Arab buildings. It is a remarkable baroque palace that served as a residence for this and other city wardens and public representatives.  Inside it is housed what was saved from the pharmacy of the Municipal Pharmacy originally in the Convento de la Merced de Jerez de la Frontera. It is in perfect condition and completed with various furniture from the period 19C.

The Camera obscura or hidden camera, inside the main tower of the Palacio de Villavicencio, the tallest in the city. A simple set of lenses and mirrors with which you can see in real time and bird’s eye view of everything that happens at the moment in the streets and squares of the city; as well as the main monuments, church steeples and steeple and, roofs of palaces and mansions, and the distant farmland of the Jerez countryside.

Jardines or gardens in the Alcázar has several landscaped areas that include olive trees, cypresses and various flowers and fish ponds. Currently you can access much of the surface, leaving a small extension attached to finish completing. Attached to the mill building are the gardens of the old teatro Eslava which are used for cultural activities.
The Patio de Armas is the most spacious area of ​​the complex, the place where in times of Almohad rule the governor formed his troops. The main buildings of the Alcázar are arranged around this space, and it currently houses all kinds of social and cultural activities.

And now i feel better showing this wonderful complex that still needs to be seen fully. Hope you have enjoy this wonderful Alcàzar of Jerez de la Frontera!

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

The city of Jerez de la Frontera on the Alcàzar complex: City of Jerez on the Alcazar

The Jerez de la Frontera tourist office on the Alcàzar and especially the palace: Jerez tourist office on the Alcazar

The Cadiz province tourist office on Jerez de la FronteraCadiz province tourist office on Jerez de la Frontera

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

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July 7, 2020

Jaca: Monasterio de Santa Cruz!

And here I am back in my beloved Spain! I have been coming here for years , initially as a stopping point between my trips from France to Spain over  Somport and Portalet; then we visit the city and even spent vacation time around the area. This is Jaca right facing the Pyrénées mountains! As you might know Spain is the No 2 most visited country in the world according to official tallies of the UN-WTO.

I have written several posts on it  ,but feel some is missing and I am trying to remedy this ommission of this wonderful quant city of Aragon. Let me tell you a bit more of Jaca on the Monasterio de Santa Cruz or the Holy Cross Monastery.

The Monasterio de Santa Cruz, where the daughter of a king of Aragon Ramiro I, Sancha was brough over from Santa Cruz de los Seros in 1622, been the best preserve romanesque tomb in Spain; the monastery itself was built from 1555.  The order of Benitas of sisters were in charge of the place before the reformation of 1730; the ceilings were painted al fresco in 1862.


In 1555 the nuns of the Monasterio de Santa Cruz de la Serós (Sorores) moved to Jaca, at the behest of king Felipe II, building the monastery commonly called “de las Benitas”. The monastic complex has been extensively renovated, and the double ecclesial complex monopolizes its interest such as the original crypt and the temple of San Ginés. The underground Church of Santa María was known as that of San Salvador and is a room covered with a vault and which was decorated with Romanesque paintings.

The Church of San Ginés, or high church, was ceded to the nuns by the brotherhood of San Ginés in 1579. Only the Romanesque door remains of its origins, the whole Inside it has remained, for 450 years, the best full Romanesque tomb that has been preserved in the Iberian Peninsula. The famous sarcophagus of the Countess Doña Sancha, daughter of King Ramiro I of Aragon, brought to Jaca from Santa Cruz de los Serós in 1622.


Currently the sarcophagus has been moved to one of the rooms of the Colegio de las Benedictinas, suitable to create a small museum in which in addition to being able to admire the tomb in all its splendor, it will be accompanied by eight panels of the Romanesque paintings of the Church of San Ginés, which until now were in the monastery’s private oratory and photos of the Renaissance cloister, closed to the public.The tomb is made of stone and on its sides it presents respectively a chrisom and a pair of opposite taps. On the back, chivalrous scenes are represented that look different. On the front is an allegory of the Countess’s soul represented by a naked girl carried by two angels to heaven. Two scenes of the deceased are presented on the sides as seated abbess and in a pontifical ceremony.

The Monasterio de Santa Cruz is located at the eastern end of the old town, attached to the only section of the old city wall, demolished at the beginning of the 20C. More on the monastery of the Holy Cross from the city of Jaca in Spanish which the above was translated: City of Jaca on the Monasterio de Santa Cruz

You have as usual by me some webpages for references on planning your trip here which is worth the detour.

The city of Jaca tourist office:

The Huesca Province tourist office on Jaca:

The Aragon region tourist office on Jaca:

Again, a wonderful monument in a nice old town area of beautiful Jaca, worth the detour to see the Monasterio of Santa Cruz or the Holy Cross Monastery. Hope you enjoy the tour

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

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July 7, 2020

Jaca: The Seminario Diocesano !

And here I am back in my beloved Spain! I have been coming here for years , initially as a stopping point between my trips from France to Spain over  Somport and Portalet; then we visit the city and even spent vacation time around the area. This is Jaca right facing the Pyrénées mountains! As you might know Spain is the No 2 most visited country in the world according to official tallies of the UN-WTO.

I have written several posts on it  ,but feel some is missing and I am trying to remedy this ommission of this wonderful quant city of Aragon. Let me tell you a bit more of Jaca on the Seminario Diocesano or Diocesan Seminary.

The Seminario Diocesano or Diocesan Seminary was built during the third decade of the 20C, at an important moment for urban planning in Jaca. At that time, the City Council had decided to demolish the medieval wall to promote growth and meet the new needs of the city. This extension is known as El Ensanche (widening the suburbs), which, as in other cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, brings together in Jaca numerous buildings with high-quality modernist features, such as this former Diocesan Seminary.

Jaca seminario diocesano aug14

From 1610 different seminaries followed one another in the city of Jaca, but it was not until 1860 when the old Conciliar Seminary of the Immaculate Conception was officially inaugurated. This building was located on Calle del Carmen and was destroyed by a great fire in May 1924. That same year,a project for the construction of a new seminary, in the western area of the Ensanche, in a place that it allowed the Diocese to acquire large plots of land in a place close to the old city center.

The elevation of the Seminario Diocesano is made up of a ground floor and two floors in height. Its façade is divided into three large forward and raised bodies, between which two small transition elements are located, which provide the ensemble with continuity. The entire main façade is articulated on the basis of large openings framed by rectangular section pilasters, which run through the building in height. These openings are culminated by arches of very different making and proportions: lintels, semicircular, edging, panels, lowered and pointed, in mitre or pediment. This compositional alternation manages to give said façade a mobility and variety that contrasts powerfully with the uniformity of materials used in it. The new building was finally inaugurated in February 1926.


More info on the Seminario Diocesano  translated above from the city of Jaca here: City of Jaca on the Seminario Diocesano

Some additional webpages as usual for reference on planning your trip here which is worth it are

The Jaca tourist office: Jaca tourist office

The Huesca Province tourist office on Jaca in Spanish: Huesca province tourist office on Jaca

The Aragon region tourist office on Jaca:  Aragon tourist office on jaca

And once again, there you go folks ,another wonderful architecturally and historical monument in beautiful Jaca and all easy on foot. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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