Posts tagged ‘France’

October 12, 2021

Albi, Toulouse-Lautrec and more!!

Let me tell you on a beautiful historical city of France. The area is well known to me for family and historical reasons I like, and the seat of the Cathars or Albigeois ,therefore, I am talking about the city of Albi. This one have other posts in my blog but it was the instroduction to it,therefore, will be in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Albi  is in the department 81 Tarn region of Occitanie . It is a wonderful magnificent city small enough to walk all over after we always arrived by car. It is not far from the vineyards of famous Gaillac, with only about 50 minutes by car from Toulouse (in good traffic) , less than 3 hrs from the Pyrénées and less than 2 hrs from the Mediterranean sea ; the closest towns are Castres, Toulouse, Mazamet, Graulhet, Lavaur, Gaillac, Montauban, Rodez, and Béziers. And we have relatives such as cousins of my wife in Graulhet, Lavaur, and Gaillac…!!! The Tarn river passes thru town and it’s a tributary of the Garonne , Dordogne, and Lot rivers.

By road is always better, taking the superb autoroute A68 you can reach Albi from Toulouse as mentioned above in about 50 minutes. As it gets closer to Albi it becomes the N88 that continues into Rodez, Aveyron, and Lyon. The D612 is very nice reaching Castres then Carcassonne, and Mazamet. The D999 goes east towards Millau passing thru the regional natural park of the Grands Causses. The D600 takes you to Cordes sur Ciel then Saint-Antonin-Noble Val and finally Caussade. Albi is about 789 km from Paris ,390 km from Bordeaux, and 290 km from Girona, Spain. You have two train stations in Albi, the more regional Albi Ville and the TGV of Albi-Madeleine. The airports of Toulouse-Blagnac, Castres, and Rodez are an option.

The Cathedral of Sainte Cécile (built as a show of force vs the Cathars) , Palais de la Berbie, native town of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in which his museum is at the palais de la Berbie with the most important collection in the world of this post impressionist painter. The city that gave the name and principal place of the Cathars adepts who were called Albigeois in which their cult were brutally surpressed in the 13C by the Catholic Church known as the crusades of the Albigeois. The city of Albi has world heritage sites by Unesco such as the the area around the Cathedral Sainte Cécile, palais de la Berbie, and cloister, the banks of the tarn river and the old bridge or pont Vieux as well as other buildings on the French list of National Monuments. A very rich heritage indeed.

Now let me tell you a bit of history I like.

The city is here since antiquity, becoming Roman in 120 ; in 418 the Visigoths come into the town and then the Francs in 507 under king Chilperic 1er king of Neustrie and rapidly the Francs takes it back under king Clotaire II. It became a Episcopal city in the 13C; during the Renaissance the city becomes wealthy thanks to the pastel ( a fabric teinted woad dye) and many mansions are built such as the Maison Enjalbert, Hôtel Gorsse, and Hôtel de Reynés . In the French revolution all the properties of the clergy are sold and many became administrative buildings.  In 1474, Louis d’Amboise is name bishop of Albi, was before the ambassador of France to Rome and adviser of king Louis XI as well as lieutenant general of the province of Languedoc; he is of the origin of the installation here of Neumeister, a master printer from Mayence and collaborator of Gutenberg who opened a shop here only after those of Paris and Lyon.

In the 16C new troubles for the city and area with the arrival of Calvinism around 1540. By 1560 there was a huge procession of spies on the regent Catherine de Médicis after she name her cousin Laurent Strozzi to the Episcopal seat to defend the city against the protestants. The massacre of Saint Barthélemy of 1572 in Paris takes copy at Albi couple months later given rise to settlement of accounts in bloody upheavals. Albi sides with the League and in 1593 the League States were done in presence of Henri Duke de Joyeuse, the palais de la Berbie becomes a stronghold until 1598 at which time the League disappeared with the nomination of Henri IV as king of France.

The 17C there is an economic decline in the city due to the lost of the Pastel and upon the arrival of the French revolution the city is in diehard conditions. The following sale of the clergy properties such as the convent of Carmes becoming the current justice palace, and the convent of Cordeliers a prison, the palais de la Berbie becomes the administrative seat of the department until 1823. The clergy archives were totally burned in 1794 in the place du Vigan. During the WWII, the town is under the Vichy regime, collaborator of the Nazis, and open a foreigner assembly center or another name for concentration camp. A bit before the liberation of the town, The nazis tried to regain a bridge and are confronted by the foreigners many of them Polish and Spanish that fights them on the bridge or pont Neuf before leaving, a monument to the fallen is there now to remember their heroism. A bit outside of town by about 1-2 km,  on the road direction St Juéry there was a camp for Russian prisioners in October 1945.

The absolute must see in Albi are:

The Palais de la Berbie and its gardens one of the episcopal city built after the crusade against the Albigeois. It has a questions rooms and a prison. The name of Berbie comes from the Occitan language meaning bishop. In the 13C the bishop Bernard de Castanet an important person in the construction of the complex had built a donjon tower of 50 meters four towers and walls all around the palace with courts and exterior ramparts until the Tarn river.. This is the origin of the fortress that was change over the centuries in residence ,by 1905 the palace is property of the Department and mayor puts the museum of Albi. Later it becomes after the death of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in 1922 the museum on his honor with donations of his work from his mother. Now,also, the tourist office.

The Sainte Cécile Cathedral is built between the 13C and the 16C by the bishops of Albi who were the lords of the city after the crusade against the Albigeois (Cathars). It is of meridional gothic with bricks and inside has the biggest concentration of Italian paintings in France. The Cathedral is 114 meters long by 35 meters wide and 40 meters high; the bell tower are at 78 meters. The entrance on the side of the nave and not by the gate of entrance under the clock tower for lack of space. The Cathedral was restored in the 19C and by 1948 it was raise to Basilica. The square around the Cathedral of the same name has been renovated into a pedestrian way ,and very nice with restos all around even back of the Cathedral.

There is another Church this one Collegiale Saint Salvi, the oldest in the city carrying the name of the first bishop of Albi in the 6C The complex is in stone and brick with an architecture renovated in the 11C to 18C. It has a cloister from the 12C mixing roman and gothic styles. The Church is surrounded by beautiful mansions that were once the residences of the canons. The bell tower has a Roman base dating from the 11C and the first floor (2nd US) is gothic. The upper level of the tower is crowned in brick with a look out in Florentine style.

The old bridge or Pont Vieux crossing the Tarn river built since 1035 and still there. There is another new bridge or Pont Neuf done in 1868. The before mentioned Hôtel Reynés is a renaissance style mansion of 1520 it has a courtyard in brick and stone bordered by loggias and sculptures of king François Ier and his wife Eléonore of Austria, today is the seat of the Chamber of commerce and industry. The neighborhood of Vieil Alby is where the Castle of Castelnau. With many streets with wooden houses and decorations such as the renaissance period, such as the house or Maison du Vieil Alby located at the angle of rue Puec-Béringuer and rue Croix-Blanche, the most visited house in Albi as it is an exposition center on the childhood days of Toulouse-Lautrec. The pharmacy of the Pénitents or Maison Enjalbert another renaissance house dating from the 16C it has a scuplture in wood representing a phalic personage. See the old Roman baths near the Cathedral by the Tarn river now serving as water aqueduct for the city!

The city of Albi has another nice museum this is the Musée Lapérouse with the collection of the explorer Jean-François de Galaup count of Lapérouse of the 18C given us a view of the known world before Lapérouse to the navigator Cook and after Lapérouse. There is a nice municipal theatre done in 1893.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this magnificent wonderful city of the Tarn dept 81, and Occitanie, and my belle France! Hope you enjoy the post on Albi as I.

The city of Albi on its heritage:

The Albi tourist office:

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on Albi:

The Occitanie region tourist board on Albi:

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

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October 12, 2021

Poissy, and Saint Louis!!!

And I am , again reviving old glories of my belle France. I used to lived not far from here, and came often , the shopping and the Church are really nice, and the local liquor fantastic. It is very easy from Paris too, can be done in half a day tour. I am talking about Poissy, in department 78 Yvelines, region of ïle de France. I did this as an introductory post in my black and white series, no pictures. I have other posts in my blog on the city. Hope you enjoy as I

The town of Poissy is only about 30 km from Paris and 8 km from Saint Germain en Laye as well as 23 km from Versailles, the capital of the department  (78) Yvelines. It is on the left bank of the Seine river in a stream of water limted by the forest of Saint Germain en Laye on the east and the Seine river on the west. It has a very good train bus terminal with the train on the Paris Le Havre line coming ouf of gare Saint Lazare in Paris and the terminus for the RER A. The regular train Transilien J takes you even to Mantes La Jolie and Vernon (Giverny) There is the A13 road passing by it on way to Normandy, the river road D153 is nice coming facing the Collegiale Church, and the D190 along the St Germain en Laye corridor as well as the D308; many intersecting roads with good car travel to and from Paris. The parking by the train station is good or along the Seine river park Meissonier.

The town has a long history starting with the Pincerais under the  Merovingians, and thereafter becomes one of the oldest Royal towns in Ïle de France, birthplace of kings Louis IX (Saint Louis) and  Philippe III. It was one of the earliest towns to received city designation in 1200 by king Philippe-Auguste, as well as an important religious town with convents of the Dominicans, Capuchins, and Ursulines before the French revolution.

Here is the bit of history I like

From the time of the Gauls ,Poissy  was a modest town of farmers and fishermen on the limit of the territory of the  Carnutes or  Chartres (Carnutum). They have discovered some tombs on the street of  rue de l’Église  when doing work that is from that period. On the Roman times, Poissy was one of the crossing points of the Seine river. Recently, they have found evidence of Antiquity or the Middle Ages by the area of the Royal Priory. Under the Merovingians, Poissy, was called  Pinciacum, and the territory extended to the north of the Seine river to the limit with the forest of Yvelines all including the valley of the Mauldre. Under the Capétiens, there was already a castle here and the first one old castle next to the collegiate Church was on a site of a hunting meeting place of the Mérovingiens. The second or new castle was built probably by Constance d’Arles, 3rd wife of king Robert II the Fair, and was at the enclos of the abbey next to the old castle. In 1200, king Philippe-Auguste gives this castle to his son Louis VIII on the occasion of his marriage to Blanche of Castile.

Saint Louis was born here in 1214, probably in the castle and was baptised in the parish Church of Notre Dame(see post), later he signed private letters as  Louis de Poissy or  Louis, lord of  Poissy  to remember his baptism here.  In 1297, the Pope Boniface VIII does the canonisation for Saint Louis here.  The king Philippe le Bel, founded an abbey of Dominicans here in honor of Saint Louis that was his grandfather.

In 1245, is born here Philippe III le Hardi, son of king Louis IX , and  Marguerite de Provence , and he ruled from 1270 to 1285.  During the War of Hundred Years in 1346 the king of England , Edward III pillage and burn the city  after landing in Normandy and coming along the Valley of the Seine, and defeat king Philippe VI de Valois at Crécy before his capture at Calais. In 1369, king Charles V ordered destroyed what was left of the castle of Poissy, that was burned in 1346 by the Black Prince son of the king of England. In 1429, the troops of Joanne of Arc takes the tower or tour de Béthemont aux Godons. Poissy is again occupied in 1441 by John Talbot and the English and again pillage the town and the abbey.

It is at Poissy in 1561 that the colloquial of Poissy takes place. This was organized by Catherine de Médicis, to meet Catholics and Protestants held on the refectory room after been restored from the pillages of John Talbot. The failure of the effort of reconciliation gave light to the Wars of Religion. Here in 1567, took place the Battle of Poissy between Calvinists (led by the Prince Condé) and Catholics.

In December 12/13 1840, the flotilla of transports carrying the rests of Emperor  Napoléon Ier made a stop at Poissy and a ceremony was held the Sunday December 13. An interesting anecdote, worth mentioning even if no longer there.  There was a live animal market here very important in the region, on the route Paris to Rouen to provide beef to Paris. It was the right to trade given by king Louis IX in 1245 and the names of some streets tells you of the activity that was here such as  rue de la Triperie (tripes) , rue des Moutons (lambs), rue du Bœuf couronné (beef), ruelle aux Vaches (cows). This concentration of animals also needed great expanse of land that was to be built on it . In 1867, the live animal market of Poissy, was cancelled and transferred to the new market at Villette  in Paris on that year.

During the Franco Prussian war of 1870, the town was occupied for several months in 1870/71. The bridge was mined to slow down the Prussian advance arriving from Saint Germain en Laye; the town was submitted to requisitions and needed to maintained a regiment of cavalry and their horses. During WWI, Poissy was in the field of tranches from Paris and many fortified works were done in town, the town hosted two military hospitals for the battlefront wounded.

From 1928 to 1931 the architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret dit Le Corbusier  built the villa  Les Heures claires better known as the Villa Savoye. IT was damaged during WWII and taken by the city in 1958 that wanted demolished. A campaign was done with the intervention  of  d’André Malraux ,then Minister of Culture to save the villa,and of course it was succesful. In 2016, a convention between the town of Poissy and the Fondation Le Corbusier was signed to open the museum Le Corbusier.  During WWII the town was again occupied by the Nazis from 1940 to 1944. The town of Poissy is liberated by the American army in August 26 1944.

Some things to see in Poissy me think

The main sight to see is the Collégiale Church of Notre Dame, (see post) a Roman style of the 12C with two octagonal bells and restored in the 19C. The old bridge of Poissy dates from the 12C destroyed in 1944; it was 410 meters long with 24 arcs now only 3 remains connecting the left bank of the Seine to the isle Migneaux in the middle of the river . It has been replaced by a new bridge of about 300 meters long. The Porterie of the Priory is what is left of the old abbey of Dominicans where the Colloquial of Poissy was held. The Priory founded by king Philippe le  Bel in the 13C was destroyed i the 18C including the Saint Louis Church. The Porterie houses today a very nice old toys museum.

The city hall or Hôtel de ville at rue de la Gare was an old convent of the Capuchins dating from 1620 transformed into city hall/school in 1837. A new city hall was done opening in  1937 with the innovation of integrating a theater.  Renovated in 1991, the theater room has an exceptional accoustic hosting concerts and recordings. The Pavillon de l’Octroi, on an octagonal shape built in 1830 replaces the old gate to Paris (today the tourist office of Poissy).  It has sculptured symbolising the activities of the town at the time such as fishing, agriculture, and live animal market.

The Villa Les Heures Claires  aka Villa Savoye built from 1928-1931 as mentioned above. It is constructed in armored cement with geometrical lines on pylons.  It was occupied by the Nazis and later the Americans during WWII and later abandon for a long period and even in 1958 taken 6 hectares to built a high school lycée Le Corbusier. The STate took over in 1964 and important restorations were done in the 1980-1990 period.

The wonderful delicous Distillerie du noyau de Poissy a herbs liquor with a secret recipe with a store at the rue du Général-de-Gaulle. The Maison Centrale de Poissy or prison been before the convent of the Ursulines from the end of the 17C, renovated since to house the prison. The Château de Villiers, built on orders of the baron Léonce Hély d’Oissel (1803 – 1883). A Louis XIII style building done in stone and brick. In 1976 the town purchase it to open a playcenter; which the presence of the castle makes it very romantic. The Château de La Coudraie, built in 1870  is located in the rue de Migneaux.

The Château de Bethemont,modified in 1858, today host a park and golf course. The manoir normand de Donat Agache built in 1928. The Chapel or Chapelle Saint-Lazare de la Maladrerie,dating from 1120-1140, discovered by an archeologist Edgar Mareuse (1848 – 1926). The tower or tour de Bethemont built in the 14C to 15C damage in 1429 while been reconquered by the troops of Joanne d’Arc and taken by the English that made it uninhabited and of no use.

The 12 hectares park or  parc Meissonier  from city center along the avenue du Bon Roi Saint-Louis (road D153). It has an English style park with a lake of 8 000 m2,a rosary , a theater and a green house.  Owned by the city since 1952 arranged from part of the old enclos of the abbey. The parc de Villard, next to parc Meissonier, own by the city since 1976 ,has a castle, playground and mini farm.

As an anecdote of our memories we came to shop at the Art de Vivre shopping center in Orgeval very close to Poissy and along the A13; it was always a nice family outing; now I read that the stores are gone, the centrer deserted and the town trying to find investments to change it but so far nothing, Sadly another memory erase physically but always remember by us.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip ,worth a detour are :

The City of Poissy on its heritage in French:

The Terres en Seine tourist office for Poissy:

The Yvelines Dept 78 tourist office on Poissy:

The Ïle de France region tourist board on Poissy :

There you go folks another dandy in my belle France.  Hope you enjoy the post on wonderful Poissy. I think is worth a detour. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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October 12, 2021

Chateau d’Anet, and Diane de Poitiers !!

I go back in memory time to update this wonderful post about an unique castle, and a grand lady in the Eure et Loir dept 28 in Centre Val de Loire region , This is the Château d’Anet ,it was ordered built in 1543 by king Henri II for Diane de Poitiers. One of the gems on the history of France. I have another post more on the castle and this one more on Diane ; hope you enjoy it as I.

You can come by car from Paris leaving Porte Maillot and taking the A13 direction Rouen, go out at exit/sortie 12 towards Mantes Sud and follow the D928 all the way to Anet. By public transport is long but doable, get on Paris Montparnasse to Dreux train station,and there take the bus L05 direction of Coolen (La Chaussée-d’Ivry) , and descend at stop Boxhorn in Anêt,

The Château dAnet has lots of damage over the years and only exist today from the original a square in U or horseshoe in the left wing that was renovated in the 17C. After the French revolution, the new owner in 1804 had blown up the central body and the right wing of the castle; must have been a revolutionary… !

Many of the wonderful objects here were transferred to Fontainebleau and the fine arts museum of Chartres. The engraving by Rigaud showing 14 busts decorating the exterior walls facing the garden were sent to the Library of Chartres and the archeological society of the Eure et Loir etc. By 1723, the princess de Condé inherit Anet but 171 manuscripts were sold to the library many belonging to Diane de Poitiers preserved after her death. Many more hand changing afterward too long to mention. During WWI one of the owners since 1884 made it into an auxiliary hospital of the Red Cross; and the last owners Jean et Alexandra de Yturbe have it since 1998.


Now ,who was Diane de Poitiers? well she was born in 1499 in the castle of her grandfather Chateau de Saint Vallier that gave her the title of Countess of Valentinois and the shield of Poitiers. She was an able jockey and at an early age joined the court of Anne de Beaujeu and Louis XII. Maid of honor of the queen Anne and later of the future queen Claude (wife of François I) she assisted of his crowning in 1515. She married same year to Louis de Brézé, (40 yrs older) who was a grandson of King Charles VII of France. Louis de Brézé was Lord of Anet, Count of  Maulevrier, Seneschal of  Normandy and Master of the Hunt,  and she reach a nobility rank second only to a princess ,and choose to lived in Anet. Upon king François I death, the children are given for care to Diane in 1524.  Brief in 1531 her husband Louis de Blézé dies and she became known as the lady in black, wearing that color for a long period.

Called upon to the court again in 1533 to help Catherine de Medici into her new life in France and the French customs. She eventually becomes the lover of king Henri II by 1536-1537 thereabouts at the Château d’Ecouen, the favorite home of Anne de Montmorency. During their long relationship and ‘against-all-odds’ love, Henri and Diane created a love symbol that would be engraved all over Paris  even on Henri’s cannons. Their symbol contained two interwoven D’s with a line through the middle, forming an H. Even today, the symbol can be seen on the ceiling of the Louvre Museum, Fountainbleau, Chenonceaux, and the Paris Military Museum. Henry designed his own armor with the symbol  as a sign to France that his true love was not his wife, but Diane.

For her love and affection to the king and the help for Catherine de Medici to give him a child, she was given the Château de Chenonceau (see post) in the Loire valley.  differences began to appear between the mistress Diane and the queen Catherine of Henri II. Catherine did not invite Diane to Henri’s funeral, and she immediately banished her from Chenonceau. Diane moved to her castle in Anet, where she lived in comfortable obscurity for the rest of her life. 

Diane, took over the Château de Chaumont sur Loire (see post) after Catherine had decorated ugly and change everything inside and donates it to her daughter Françoise. Diane comes back again to Anet already at 64 yrs old and still looking good. Finally, two years later in 1566 she died at Anet. She gave away her fortunes to the daughters and the convents in the area, and upon her funeral the poor dressed in white and sang pray God for Diane de Poitiers. She is buried in the Chapel at Anet, during the French revolution the revolutionaries open her tomb and cut her hair to make hair strands in 1795 !


She had been kind to her husband to whom she had been faithful, kind to her daughters whom she had made rich. She had loved a King who had adored and respected her and made her happy. She was an example of great energy with a heritage of beauty exalted in France and became one of its glories.” and further Leonardo da Vinci wise formula may have been her guide: ‘That thou hast acquired in thy youth stays the damage of old age, and if thou dost understand that wisdom is the food of the eld so do that thine old age may not lack sustenance’.

Diane de Poitiers, moon mistress, was quite simply a woman for all time.  The sculpture once surmounted the monumental La Fontaine de Diane (The Fountain of Diana). It dates to the mid 16C, where it was originally placed in the courtyard of the Château d’Anet built by Philibert de L’Orme for Diane de Poitiers, Henry II’s mistress. In the 18C,  the fountain was moved to the nymphaeum before being confiscated during the French revolution when it was transferred to the Musée des Monuments Français in 1798. In 1799-1800, it was restored , and placed in the museum’s Elysée Garden. It was then claimed by the duchess of Orléans, owner of the Château of Anet at the time of the revolution and finally allocated to the Louvre at Paris by ministerial decree in 1819.  The sculpture depicts a semi-reclining Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, accompanied by her two dogs, Phrocyion and Cyrius, clearly depicted as a greyhound and a water spaniel. She has one arm around the neck of the majestic stag.

The official site for the castle of Anet

The city of Anet on the castle

A fascinating story and women, today she could be a role model but she was ahead of her time indeed. Hope you enjoy the story; The Château d’Anet and Diane de Poitiers are always intertwine in history ,the good one of France. Worth the detour me think,

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

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October 11, 2021

The world comes to Le Mans!!

I am going back to my early days when I was chasing or been chase car racing in Daytona. Well , here we got a pretty good one if not better race and it has a lot more than cars, with a very old city. I am talking about Le Mans. This will be an update on text and links in my black and white series ,no pictures. See my many posts on Le Mans and their pictures! This was my introductory post on the city, hope you enjoy it as I.

Le Mans is in the department of the Sarthe no 72 in the region of Pays de la Loire. The city is at the meeting point of the Sarthe and Huisne rivers, former provincial capital of the Maine and Perche from the 16C. Here the marriage of Geoffroy V d’Anjou and Mathilde l’Emperesse,daughter of the  king of England  created the basis for the Plantagenêt empire , and the birth of Henri II.  The old Le Mans called the Cité Plantagenêt (or Plantagenêt city) has been the historical neighborhood of the city, known as the Red city for the color of its gallo roman ramparts of which part is still visible,dating from the 3C!  The city is about 185 km from Paris. You some small gardens/parks here such as the jardin des plantes, with some remnants of the old periods of explorations ,it has an English garden, and another French garden with a rosary and a music kiosk. There is the parc du musée de Tessé  that with the Quinconces des Jacobins makes a nice green area in the middle of the city, and on the high ground you have the esplanade du Bicentenaire, another wooded park with a nice view over the Sarthe river below.  The  Jardins Pierre-de-Ronsard,has three gardens by the Chuch collegiale of Saint-Pierre-La-Cour.  Below the tunnel, there is the square Dubois, not far from the old town area where the Plantagenêt Rose was created  with a grenade color and petals of gold 22 karat in 2009.

For moving and transport, this is a big train station that I used sometimes in my travels as a correspondence stop. The first train station was done here in 1852 connecting  Paris, and later Rennes, Angers, and Nantes.  By road,you have a big exchange circle here with the A11 Paris-Nantes ,the A81 Le Mans-Rennes, and the A28 Rouen-Tours.  A fast expressway the D323 makes the grand circle of Le Mans and joins up with the A28 coming from Tours (exit d’Auvours), and the A11  direction Nantes  (exit d’Allonnes-Le Mans ZI Sud). The A11 and the A81 is taken by yours truly several times. There is a public network, which I have no experience at all. Nice parking by place de la République. There is no better way than walking once in town, lovely architecture and history abound.

A bit of history I like

The city is known since the 2C BC under the name of Vindinon and on the gallo roman times the name of Vindunum was mentioned by the geographer Ptolémée.  The city takes by the 4C the name Gallouis of  Aulerques  Cénomans,and the first mentioned as such  under Mans is from the 12C in a novel Rou calling it Prez del Mans.  A charter from 1264 gives the name of Mans.  The placement of the  le took place in the 12C on a change in language usages.

Le Mans is considered the first city to have done an European treaty of alliance between the German town of Paderborn ; this was called the light of Europe and was signed in 836. Its inhabitants can said to be the first city attached to the royal power of France in 1066.  The city has many alias such as been called the Capital of Automobile sports, international automobile capital or the birthplace of automobile ( auto club race in 1906 but I know my  Ormond Beach, Fla had world record racing in 1902).

The first commercial available car in production was done here, the Red City for the color of its ramparts , the city of blood in gold for the color of its flag . The city of lights from the 19C as was one of the first ones to received electricity. The gate to the west for its car highways around it, the city of was from the 16C to the 19C production of wax here and candles; last factories closing in the 19C . The city of lace from the 17C to the 18C, and the city of leather makers from the 12C to the 18C.

A bit of history I like:

By the 9C the city was a fortress against the invading armies of all groups, the Bretons were pushed back and the Vikings came in force along the river . The city was conquered by William the Conqueror of Normandy in around 1060 and even decided to stayed and to do a donjon with two elevator moats the grand and petit Barbet. Geoffroy le Bel received in 1129 the count of Maine as heredity title as well as the count of Anjou and Touraine. He reigned over the territory from 1128 to 1151 and the senator of Anjou and Maine marries in 1128 the daughter of the king of England, Mathilde (fr) the granddaughter of William, she not only gave to Normandy but also the hope of one day reign over England. Their son Henri II born at Le Mans in 1130 did becomes king of England in 1154 and managed the Plantagenet empire from Angers and Chinon, a more vast domaine than the king of France of which he was subordinate! The empire ends by 1189 by king Philippe Auguste and the city does not return French than in 1448 .The last count of Maine Charles V died in 1481 and the domains possession were given to the king of France, Louis XI, and for this Maine returns to the Royal domain.

 The battle of Mans in 1793 was the most deadly encounter of the war of the Vendée against the French revolution. The Vendéen army arrives at Le Mans in December 10, 1793 but rather disorganized were needed to take back to Laval. The dead are between 10k to 15K Vendéens sometimes with atrocities. The city was retaken by the Chouans, the Breton farmers fighting the French revolution in 1799 and later the Empire as well (been Royalists). By June 19 1940 during the battle of France the Nazis of the 38 corps takes the city.  The city is liberated by the The city of Le Mans was liberated August 8 1944 by the 3rd Army of General George Patton; 15th Corp of Gen Haslings.

There are lots of things to see here, at Le Mans.

There is the neighborhood where you can see traces of the first battle of Mans, below the bridge or the current Pont de Pontlieue  as here were the Vendéens bridge. There is the former Municipal Theater done in 1842, and the city host today the 24 hours of Le Mans.  The course is here since 1923 and is done every year in June on the circuit of more than 13 km. The old town is encircled by  roman ramparts built at end of the 3C and well preserved. The most important witness to military architecture of France and the best preserve in Europe after Rome. The thermes or spas of Vindunum are now in the school of fine arts. There are several domus and the most visible is that one at the Halles or market, the forum is located under the Cathedral at the lowest point of the hill of Old Mans. The cité Plantagenêt or city is at the heart of the medieval Le Mans ,at the interior of a wall you have the old Le Mans or Vieux Mans or old town with many houses from the renaissance. Especially the house of Adam and Eve, and Hôtel de Clairaulnay and Hôtel de Vaux, a count and royal palace of Maine (now the city hall) and the Collegiale Church of Saint Pierre-la-Cour.

The Place de la République is a big pedestrian square in city center, before it was called Place des halles, as it welcome the wheat market that was destroyed in the 19C. There is the place des Jacobins ,the second biggest in Le Mans by the old ramparts of old Mans and where the Cathedral is located. The Place des Comtes-du-Maine is there out of the need recently to have a central open space in city center , located by the avenue François-Mitterrand, the main road leading you to the train station gare Nord, where there is always great traffic! and has an underground parking. The place de l’Éperon is a nice area too with heavy traffic.  The place Saint-Nicolas is in the heart of the neighborhood of same name , was an old area in the old town and was very commercialise; the rich built great mansions around here by the 19C.

The must to see are the Saint Julien Cathedral with roman architecture on the nave and gothic on the choir and abside. It has a gothic top high of 33 meters and the Cathedral itself was built in the 11C and 15C, with the stained glass done for the most part in the 13C. You have the nice Collegiale Church of Saint Pierre-la-Cour built in the 10C after the Norman invasions of the 9C, and renovated again by Henri II Plantagenêt in 1175 before it was enlarged in 1267 with the help of Charles III d’Anjou; this was the former lordship chapel of the counts of Maine and part of the royal and count palace; today it is a place for expositions and meetings.

You, also , have the nice Grabatoire palace or palais du Grabatoire a canons house built between 1538 and 1542 by the bishop of Le Mans. Here in 1612, Marshal  Lavardin aka Jean de Beaumanoir, received the young Louis XIII ,and the governor care for the regent Marie de Médicis, that felled sick in the trip. You have the beautiful house or Maison de la Reine Bérengére housing now the museum of the Reine Béréngère housing the work of arts of the Sarthe region history and life in Le Mans. The wife of Richard the lion hearted never lived in the house, that was initially done as a salt stock in the 15C, the house is totally in wood with ornaments carvings and sculpture, columns etc. The house of Adam and Eve or Maison d’Adam et Eve was built in 1520, the name comes from an ornament on top of the entry door. The first floor (2nd US) has massive pillars. You have the house of the two friends or Maison des Deux Amis located in the rue de la reine Bérengère built in the 15C by a rich merchant. The house of the red pillar or Maison du Pilier Rouge was built in the 15C as well, with poles holding it on a floor of stones to protect it from humidity.

There are several nice mansions worth a detour me think. These are the Hôtel des Ursulines  as it was the former school for girls from the 17C.  It has a huge glass enclosure that today is the tourist office of Le Mans. The oratory chapel or Chapelle de l’Oratoire was built in 1683 next to the school of the Oratory, and today is part of the school complex of the Montesquieu.  The Hôtel Nepveu de Rouillon from the 18C and today the resident of the craftsman workers of France or the Compagnons du devoir,heirs to the great builders of the middle ages.  The Chapelle de la Visitation located in the Place de la République is a building in the Regence style in the city, the Church was founded in 1723. In the 20C columns were added to make it a courthouse or justice palace.

Built in the 11C the bridge or pont des Vendéens  was attack in the war of the Vendée fand allowed the city folks to prepare the defense before their arrival; you can see some remains of this bridge in the neighborhood of Pontlieue,south side of the city. The nice mansion Hôtel Desportes de Linières, located at the place de l’Éperon, has a nice facade on the 9 rue des Boucheries by the market area. It was built in three levels with about 8 rooms per floor; the hotel sufferes degradation but finally restored to see the luxurious rooms decorated on the Italian style and full of marble. The nice Tessé museum or Musée de Tessé is a mansion from the 19C former episcopal palace. One of the great museums of Le Mans, and one of the first ones created after the French revolution. Today it is recognized to have Egyptian collections of great value as well as portraits from the 17C to 19C. The stock exchange or Bourse du Mans started in 1866 and finished in 1890 located on the south side of the Place de la République. Today , it houses the chamber of commerce and industry of the Sarthe.

The shop or Atelier Cosson built in 1873 at 10 rue du Crucifix. This mansion in brick and stones was built as the photography studio of  Gustave Cosson , a famous local photographer.  By 1980 on a new urban developement the street is eliminated ; the shop is dismantle stone by stone and move to the rue Montauban. Today ,this shop mansion Cosson is part of the House of the Attorneys. The tunnel des Jacobins is a section done on the hill of old Mans created in 1873 to avoid traffic in city center ;nice to take a ride on it!   The abbey of Epau or the Abbaye de l’Épau is a former Cistercian abbey founded by the Reine Bérengère of Navarra in 1229. The tomb of the queen is in the Capitol room. The abbey received many cultural events and others such as the festival of classical music of Epau. It is a bit outside of town at about 4 km east on the left bank of the Huisne river, by the town of Yvré-l’Évêque.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this wonderful old city ,which needs lots of time as you can see from the above. I have written on some of them in my blog already especially the 24 hrs of Le Mans!!! the museum next door is excellent too.

The city of Le Mans on its heritage:

The Le Mans tourist office:

The Sarthe dept 72 tourist office on 24 hrs of Le Mans!

The Pays de la Loire region on Le Mans:

There you go folks, a wonderful , gorgeous, historical city of Le Mans with stunning architecture, a must to see in my belle France. Hope you have enjoy the introduction and welcome eventually to this nice town of the Pays de la Loire region. And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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October 11, 2021

Re-visit my Montparnasse!

I am going to update this older post sort of an introduction to an area dear to me as worked there several years, This is the wonderful historical part of Paris that is one of my favorites and one of my work hangouts while working right by rue de Départ!! Of course, I am talking about Montparnasse, the neighborhood or quartier in the 14éme arrondissement or district of Paris!

The name itself brings out the artsy, vibrant, gaiety of the Paris we came to love and enjoy , and still do. I was lucky to worked by this area and enjoy all its splendor and many good restaurants and bars lol! I like to use this post thus on the history of the area as have many other posts on Montparnasse in my blog, Pictures will be minimal for the same reason.

The name of Montparnasse is used since the 17C on the old square of the Vaugirard neighborhood in the  14éme  arrondissement and Notre-Dame-des-Champs neighborhood in the 6éme arrondissement of Paris.  The name given made reference to the  Mont Parnasse, a hill in the center of Greece that according to Greek mythology lived the muses; the students of the Latin quarter by  1725, call it a hill of garbage , on an artificial hill between the roads of boulevard du Montparnasse ,and  boulevard Raspail. The name took force after the creation of the street rue du Montparnasse in 1773 and after been called cours du Midy since 1700. The name of  Mont Parnasse  was given to the whole neighborhood in the middle of the 19C. However, the name of  Montparnasse has a larger perimeter as many of its most emblematic places are in the neighborhoods of  Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Necker , and Plaisance. It is surrounded  on the North by the blvd du Montparnasse and blvd de Port Royal, to the east by the rue de la Santé, to the south by the plains of the bvld Saint-Jacques (along the line 6 of Metro), place Denfert-Rochereau,  a section of the rue Froidevaux,  rue Boulard , and rue Daguerre,  to the southwest a section of the avenue du Maine , and on the northwest by the  rue du Départ.  A large part is occupy by the cemetery of Montparnasse.

The Quartier or neighborhood  Montparnasse No 53  in the 14éme arrondissement or district (see my posts on quartiers and arrondissements),  created in 1860 and with emblematic streets such as rue du Montparnasse , boulevard du Montparnasse, and  place Pablo-Picasso . There is a remnants of a barrier wall built in 1786 and now demolished on what is now the Metro Edgar Quinet;  and the barrier of hell or Barrière d’Enfer still existing on the wall of the  general farmers building. The cemetery of Montparnasse , where rest in peace  Charles Baudelaire, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Guy de Maupassant, Serge Gainsbourg , and many more notables. The wonderful train station, my own now coming into Paris from Brittany ,the gare Montparnasse, as well as the convenient metro station Montparnasse – Bienvenüe. You go out and see the big one, the  tour Montparnasse  with 59 floors and 210 meters high.


Other nice things around here are the Casino Montparnasse at  35, rue de la Gaîté, where it was created the operetta  La Belle de Cadix in  1945, and actor/comedian Bourvil came to be known. The theater Montparnasse nearby in  rue de la Gaîté built in  1886, and renovated in 1930. Finally the catacombs from the end of the 18C with 6 millions bones put into subterranean galleries  with an entrance at  1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy. The wonderful green garden of  jardin Atlantique on the upper levels of the gare Montparnasse since  1990. The sculpture of the lion of Belfort,on the  place Denfert-Rochereau. The Fondation Cartier for contemporary arts , the  Observatoire de Paris. The neighborhood is also crossed by the meridian of Paris ; and the health prison or Prison de la Santé.  Not to forget the museum of Montparnasse  at 21 avenue du Maine, and the Galerie Les Montparnos, at  5 rue Stanislas, that specialise on the school of Paris of the 1920’s and the discovery of artists painters forgotten  of the Montparnasse painting between the two world wars. Wonderful shopping even with Galeries Lafayette at Montparnasse rive gauche mall in the Necker neighborhood or quartier of the 15éme arrondissement or district of Paris ! The works!!


Books, plays, cinema all about Montparnasse made famous over the years with the restaurants La Coupole , and Le Dôme.  And many Americans seeking arts with their fortunes such as Gertrude Stein, Peggy Guggenheim, Edith Wharton ,and Harry Crosby  as well as critics like D.H Lawrence, Archibald MacLeish, James Joyce, Kay Boyle, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Dorothy Parker, and many more.

The Paris tourist office on Montparnasse neighborhood or quartier

The city of Paris, entertainment webpage on what is on in Montparnasse in French:

My wonderful train station arriving from Bretagne, the gare Montparnasse:

A wonderful arrondissement/district and even gorgeous neighborhoods/quartiers of plenty to do all day and night long. Hope you have enjoy it as I do. This is wonderful Montparnasse ! Of Paris ,of course !

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

October 11, 2021

Goh Lanno sports park of Pluvigner!!!

I have written many posts on my town of Pluvigner and glad to do it, as not always should be places visited far away but up close and personal as my blog is, In the running, also written on the parc Goh Lanno, which is not far from my house ; so much we walked our dog Rex there every day, This time went to see how the new stands are doing and took new pictures, therefore, this is the time for an update on the Goh Lanno sports complex of Pluvigner. This is my town in the beautiful Morbihan breton dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France.

plu goh lanno main complex entr oct21

Surely, for a small town of about 7.5K folks , this is one of the best sports complex around and we are very happy about it and even more so because it is walking distance from my house. The parc Goh Lanno is not to be confused to the adjoint collége Goh Lanno or middle school. One of my sons plays for the football/soccer team but today were playing away in Mendon, and I did not go,,,,not in every game lol !

plu goh lanno entr complex parking oct21

In my previous post, told you about the history of the park and even a bit on Pluvigner but this time will base it on the new construction with new pictures. There is a new basketball court, a renovated petanque (a sort of open air bowling with precision throws) , a huge sports complex for indoor basketball/volleyball, and others like judo etc, A rugby field and the best 3 football/soccer fields.

plu goh lanno basket courts oct21

plu goh lanno petanque field oct21

One football/soccer field is a training ground and jogging conditioning. There is a second artificial grass field for official games, and the main stands field with sports booth. On the main stadium there are changing rooms and showers as well.

plu goh lanno main stade upper deck closeup oct21

plu goh lanno main stade to chg rooms oct21

plu goh lanno secondary stade field oct21

plu goh lanno training field oct21

For a recap, the facilities there in two halls green and blue were put into service between 1975-1984, this sports space is of the multisports hall type, it has a synthetic floor ,and has 100 seats in the grandstand. The development area is 1484 m2 on the main stadium, You can practice 9 sports activities at Complexe Sportif De Goh Lanno: handball, mini hand, beach handball, basketball , track running, other dances, karate, karate jutsu , goshin jutsu, kobudo, nihon tai-jutsu, taijitsu, nambudo, ninjutsu, nunchaku, …also, indoor hockey, field hockey, badminton, shuttlecock game , volleyball, beach volleyball, green volleyball, and tennis.

The city of Pluvigner on the parks and Goh Lanno

There you go folks, a nice walk from my house to showcase the wonderful Goh Lanno sports park of Pluvigner. Of course, if you stop by , this is a nice place to meet and there are even picnic tables there…! A nice rest stop on your way to the beaches south. Hope you enjoy the personal sports post!

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

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October 10, 2021

Curiosities of Saint Jean Pied de Port!!

I am bringing you back to one of my fav areas of my belle France. This is deep pyrénées and basque country of Saint Jean Pied de Port!!  I have written before, but left several nice pictures out and decided they should be shown in my blog, So, therefore, this is all new text and older pictures, Hope you enjoy it as I 

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (in Basque Donibane Garazi) is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department 64, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It is located 118 km from Pau, where we were base this time , and we took the easy way by the Autoroute 64 and the D 933 via Orthez and Saint-Palais (see posts).

The town is located on 3 pilgrimage routes to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle,(Santiago de Compostela) If you arrived, by the north, you see the chapel of the Madeleine, the pilgrims entered the upper town by the Porte Saint-Jacques, then followed the rue d ‘Espagne to the bridge over the Nive. There, two routes were available to them to reach Roncesvalles: that of the port of Cize, which follows the route of the ancient Iter XXXIV of the Antonine Route linking Bordeaux to Astorga, or the easier one that joins the col de Roncesvalles (puerto de Ibañeta in Spanish) by Valcarlos, located in the Nive valley, where Charlemagne once established his camp, before flying to Roland’s aid in Roncesvalles. At the Maison Laborde, at 39 rue de la Citadelle, the welcoming staff inform the pilgrims: The pilgrims’ office is not a Tourist Office they claim for all to hear ; that of St Jean Pied de Port is responsible for tourist info. The welcoming must respect strict neutrality in the information concerning the orientation of pilgrims to refuges and other accommodation.


In the Maison des Pélerins there is a boutique, webpage:

There is ,also, a weekly market  held every Thursday, from 9h at the covered market, in season from June to September. Gourmets can find cold meats, cheeses, jams, local honey, Basque cakes… Local artisans will also be there to present their articles. The covered market is located in Zuharpeta, behind the city walls at 12 Place des Remparts. The usual outdoors market is open from 8h to 13h. These times may vary depending on the weather and the season.We loaded up coming here, love it and also visit some wonderful foodie places such as


We went for the basque macarons at the La Fabrique de Macarons on 25 rue de la Citadelle, yummy for desserts. here they had almonds, chocolate, lemon, noix de coco, almonds with piment d’espelette, flavors that we clean up the house. Webpage:


The La Caves aux Fromages  or cheese cellars is located at 2 pl des Remparts near the covered market,,We clean up on brebis(ewe)  cheeses in different shapes and textures from Ossau-Iraty region simply awesome we eat them at home like bread lol!!! On the spot they taste even better lol!!. This is the fromagerie des Aldudes who produces these wonderful cheeses for the cave. webpage:


And to end it all, we stop by the store of Etienne Brana, one of the original Irouléguy wine and do not forget the apéritf wine Txapa ! You can, also tour their winery, but we decided to go for the wine at the store instead on 6 rue de l’église. Brief story of this venerable wine of the Basque country tell us that the family has been doing wine here for more than a century ,and already four generations of family in the wine business, In 1974 Etienne Brana and his wife Adrienne created a distillery and planted pear William. Martine and Jean their children continue the tradition today. webpage:


Some webpages to help you plan your trip and all worth it are

The Basque country tourist office on St Jean de Pied :

The city of Saint Jean Pied de Port on the way of Santiago

The French Basque country tourist office on St Jean Pied de Port :

There you go folks, a dandy of a town in Saint Jean Pied de Port, we love it already visited twice and looking forward for more, See my other posts on town’s many sights, worth the detour indeed

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

October 9, 2021

Curiosities of Auch!!

I was roaming my photo vault on something unique to post and found out the nice city of Auch which we have been a while back and have already posts in my blog came up nicely, I have some pictures left that were not in previous posts and this is as good a time as any to tell you a bit more on Auch, Do read my other posts on the city, rather nice stories and sights,

Let me give you some introduction to the city of Auch,. The city is the prefecture of the Gers department 32, in the Occitanie region, It is renowned for its gastronomy, its rugby team which has long evolved into the elite, its cathedral, (see post) its pousterles and its monumental staircase from the top of which the statue of d’Artagnan (see post) dominates the course from the Gers river, which separates it into upper town and lower town, Auch is considered the historic capital of the old regime province of Gascony or Gasgogne. The city is 69 km from Toulouse, 86 km from Pau, 530 km from Nantes, and 595 km from Paris, We always have come here by the road and the wonderful RN 124 connecting Toulouse to the RN 524 towards Bordeaux.

A bit of history I like

In 333, the Anonymous of Bordeaux, on the road to Jerusalem, stopped there and mentioned on his itinerary the name of Civitas Auscius. During medieval times, the city of Auch was for a time the capital of the Counts of Armagnac 10-11C. After the Battle of Lectoure in 1473 which marked the final fall of the dynasty of the Counts of Armagnac, the city was invested by the troops of the King of France, Louis XI. More particularly under Louis XV, the intendant Antoine Mégret d’Étigny transformed the city by giving it its present face with the construction of most of its remarkable buildings ,such as the city/town hall, Intendance hall, promenade, etc, It was the golden age of Auch.

We many times take a moment to see these government buildings which in many occasions looks fantastic such as this one in Auch.

The Palais de Justice or courthouse in Auch, which was inaugurated in 1864,had a facelift. While keeping intact its superb courtroom. The courthouse was inaugurated the same year as the monumental staircase (see post), The Palais de Justice is located in the historic city center. It is surrounded by various historical and cultural monuments such as the Cathedral of Saint Mary (see post) , in front of the tribunal and which at the same time represented religious power. In this historic center, we find the City/Town Hall, erected in 1777, the Tourist Office located in a 15C corbelled house, as well as the Jacobins Museum which was founded in December 1793. Culture and education are also present in one and the same place, located not far from the court, the University Institute of Technology Paul Sabatier.

The Palais de Justice was built in 1863, during the Second Empire. The architectural style of this building is undetermined. The main entrance is distinguished by stairs, then by an arch delimiting the latter. Above the central door, two columns support the inscription « Palais de Justice ». On the sides of the stairs, there are two statues of the goddess Themis, which means law, in Greek and who was the deity of Justice. These statues are placed on a pedestal, so as to show the importance of the law, even before entering the precincts of the court. On the right statue, the goddess is represented holding a sword, with which she punishes those who do not have not obeyed the law. On the other hand, the one on the left is represented with the Codes (civil and penal …), on which it is based. Before entering the courtroom of the courthouse of Auch, there is an antechamber between the entrance door to the courtroom and the latter, The courtroom is organized into three very distinct spaces: the public space, the space reserved for lawyers and their defendants , and the last part of the Audience room is raised above the rest of the room, as if to show the power of judges, supreme representatives of Justice. The cases dealt with in this court concern the family, in particular marriage, divorce, filiation, adoption or the settlement of inheritances. It can also respond to civil actions for defamation or insults, in the criminal court. It has the right to dissolve an association and it concerns requests for rectification of civil acts.

Auch hotel de ville jul10

We did our walks as usual just to soak in the wonderful architecture and history we have in my belle France. One place we love to be in was the Place de la Liberation, this is the old regime name Place Royale , and was Place de la Liberté after the French revolution of 1848 (we had a few lol) , it took the name of Place de l’Hotel de Ville, the regime being then a Republic. Enclosed by the median of the Allées d’Étigny, the Place de la Liberation constitutes the center of animation of the upper town. It has uniform facades and two pillars surmounted by lions which separate it from the Place de la République. Very close to the Sainte Marie Cathedral.

Auch pl de la liberation to promenade prefecture de Gers jul10

While walking around , of course we have great memories of this restaurant which unfortunately has closed a while back before the covid virus, This was the nicely appropiately name La Cave D’artagnan , was at 4 rue de la République, Now has a new business resto there name Lou Troket, I have it here because need to have it in my blog, for the memories’s sake ! See us!!!

Auch la cave d'artagnan jul10

The city of Auch on its heritage

The Auch tourist office

There you go folks, it seems to me, maybe just me, that everywhere you turn in my belle France ,there is always something nice to see and enjoy! Hope you get the chance to enjoy visiting Auch, for a true gascon experience! and maybe meet D’Artagnan……sort of.

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

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October 8, 2021

The Church St Pierre in Sérent!!

We came to see the museum in St Marcel (see post) but as the town was on our way home and not stopped before, figure this to be the time as good as any for a walk in town of Sérent. Another nice quant town of my Morbihan. Let me tell you a bit about it ok; hope you enjoy it as we did.

The town of Sérent is located in my beautiful Morbihan department 56 in my lovely Bretagne region, near Ploërmel. Sérent is 30 km from Vannes and 70 km from Rennes, The city is crossed by the N 166, (Vannes Ploërmel, Rennes), and is served by bus line 4 of the BreizhGo coach service of Brittany, OF course , we came here by car going on the N166 getting off at St Marcel (see next post) and then taking the D151 to Sérent, then took the D10 to reach back our house one way 40 minutes, We came on our way back home after visiting the museum in St Marcel (see post).

A bit of history I like

The first allusion to Sérent dates from the end of the 9C in the cartulary of Redon, The La Terre de Sérent or La Chapelle en Sérent was erected into a barony in 1318 by John III, Duke of Brittany in favor of Olivier II, sire de La Chapelle, Marshal of Brittany, The town had an eventful history during the French revolution when the opposition between Chouans and “Bleus” (Republicans) ravaged the countryside, The Catholic and Royal Army of Morbihan was even made up of a column called “Column of Sérent” which, with that of Bignan and that of Pleugriffet, made up the Legion of Bignan. During , WWII, the maquis of Saint-Marcel , a mecca of the French /Breton Resistance, was in fact located mainly in the town of Sérent around the farm of La Nouette. Serent therefore had to deplore the exactions of the Nazi occupier (the great majority of Georgian soldiers engaged in the Nazi army).

The main thing we like here and is right in city center is the Church St Peter’s (église St Pierre) ,Built in the 15-16C, the church is in the shape of a Latin cross: 3 naves, 2 transepts and a choir. The choir is from the 15C and its decoration from the classical period. The 3 naves date from the 16C and the central nave measures 37 by 20 meters. All around the church, magnificent stained-glass windows represent the patrons of the various chapels of the parish and the names of the donors. A false gargoyle representing a washer kneeling with her dog, recalls the legend of the barkers of Josselin.

Serent ch st pierre entr front oct21

Serent ch st pierre side oct21

Serent ch st pierre back oct21

The large arched arches, are supported by heavy pillars with engaged columns. The nave was redone in the 16C and it communicates with the aisles by means of three-point arcades penetrating into polygonal pillars. The exterior decoration of the windows, surmounted by gables, and that of the portals are made of flamboyant and Renaissance elements. The bell tower, which stood on the last bay of the nave, was rebuilt between 1885 and 1890 . The church is covered with a frame dated, on the quarry stones, from 1601. The church has eight gables, a monumental staircase, a long-sided roof, a polygonal spire punctuated by four bell towers and twelve stained-glass windows. The stained-glass window of the “Sacred Heart of the Calvary of Saint Suzanne”, dates from 1893-1898. The Pietà, in oak wood, dates from the 16C. The church contains a silver chalice coated with gold, which dates from 1672. In the past and from 1300, we could see the tomb of the Sérent family, the preeminent lords. Jean de Sérent, Lord of Tromeur, is exhumed there in a white marble tomb, adorned with a reclining statue.

Serent ch st pierre nave to altar oct21

Serent ch st pierre chapel virgin et child oct21

Serent ch st pierre chapel agonizing Christ oct21

Serent ch st pierre pulpit afar chapel virgin et child oct21

Other things to see here me think are:

The Manor of Tromeur (15-16C), property of Jean de Sérent; The Manoir de la Ville Gros (17C) ; the successive property of the Le Blaye or Blay families (in the 15-16C, The castle of La Salle (17C) : The estate has a main house of the 17C partially rebuilt in the 19C ( circa 1820). It has a well, a private chapel and a Calvary, Le manoir de Bohurel dated 1613, The manor house was restored in the 18C. Burned down in 1944 and partially rebuilt at that time, La Houletière castle: seat of the former lordship of La Ville-Raix or Ville-Rée, The castle of La Rivière: seat of the former lordship of La Rivière which belonged to a younger branch of the Sérent family, owned by Geoffroy de Sérent in 1464 and François de Serent in 1536. It formerly had a private chapel; a cromlech is located not far from the castle, it has a diameter of 2.70 meters; the seven stones that compose it are, on average, 70 cm high, The castle of Rohéan (15C), in ruins around 1840. In 1919, it became the property of the Briand family; The Calvary of Sainte-Suzanne (16C) its central shaft – framed by four columns topped with spheres, represents the agony of Christ; this Calvary has a large base preceded by an altar and dominated by five stepped balusters.

The town of Sérent is a typical breton town , in country agricultural and very much attach to family traditions. It is a picturesque town nice clean and a great square with shops/restos around the Church St Pierre. A nice stop indeed in my road warrior travels of my lovely Bretagne.

The city of Sérent and its heritage:

There you go folks, another dandy day out ,close to home ,and a nice detour indeed in our road warrior trips of my beautiful Morbihan. Hope you enjoy the post and do dare come into these off the beaten path ways of Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh!

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

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October 8, 2021

The Museum of the Resistance in Brittany of St Marcel!

I have written before on this museum on the old format ; and heard of the renovations going on for the last two years, Therefore, once it was open again, took the family to it.  A very pleasant surprise of a nice museum well done, This is a lot of history here, and great men, I like to rend hommage to them again, and new text and new pictures on the new museum of the resistance in Brittany during WWII, Hope you enjoy it as I !

The best is by car from Vannes take the N166 direction Rennes and come off at exit/sortie D112 direction Bohal-Pleucadeuc / Saint-Marcel Malestroit , and follows direction Malestroit/Saint-Marcel on the D776, follow the signs for the city and museum.

The Museum of the Resistance in Brittany, until 2021 was called the Museum of the Breton Resistance, is a museum located on the territory of the town of Saint-Marcel in Morbihan dept 56. It is devoted to the history of the resistance in Brittany during WWII and in particular of the largest Breton maquis(resistant fighters), the maquis of Saint-Marcel.

st marcel mus resistance Bretonne ent oct21
This museum traces the history of resistance in Brittany during the Nazi Occupation. It was created on the site of the Saint-Marcel maquis, one of the main Breton maquis during WWII. Since 1994, it has also housed the national exhibition on the history of paratroopers in Free France.
st marcel mus resistance bretonne uniforms free France libre oct21

The Museum of the Resistance in Brittany, was under renovation ,and just reopens its doors on September 18, 2021, after 2 years of architectural and scenographic renovation work. The museum has now an entirely renewed scenography presenting more than 1,000 objects among the 12,000 carefully preserved, witnesses of the daily life of men and women under the Nazi occupation and of the commitment of the Bretons in the army of Shadows.
st marcel mus resistance bretonne ametrailleuse US oct21

st marcel mus resistance bretonne equipements oct21

st marcel mus resistance bretonne jeep trucks oct21

Saint Marcel was one of the hotspots of the French resistance. This is where, on June 18, 1944, one of the very first battles fought by French fighters against the Nazi occupiers took place after the Allied landings in Normandy. A victory for souls rather than weapons, the battle of Saint-Marcel has symbolic value. It was made possible thanks to the mobilization of the local children in a maquis of several thousand young resistance fighters, to the support of SAS paratroopers from Free France and to the benevolent and often active complicity of the inhabitants of the neighboring localities. This example of a combined action between internal and external resistance, brought together and supported by the local population, was a first. The Museum is located on the site of these battles.

st marcel mus resistance bretonne comm room oct21

st marcel mus resistance bretonne paratroopers uniforms and weapons oct21

st marcel mus resistance bretonne paratroopers uniforms oct21

The museum of the Resistance in Brittany webpage:

The city of Saint Marcel and its heritage

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist board on the museum

The Bretagne region tourist board on the museum

There you go folks, some of the off the beaten path wonders of my beautiful Morbihan and plenty of recent glorious history here ; a wonderful learning lesson indeed, Hope you enjoy and come to visit the Musée de la Resistance en Bretagne at St Marcel !

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

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