Posts tagged ‘France’

January 12, 2021

Auray : harbor of Saint Goustan!!

And again bringing back older posts to give them a new light and for me nostalgia moments of always; thanks for reading me and our support all these years. Let me tell you about a nice post me think that I will update the links and revise the text a bit. Hope you enjoy as I

Today was a nice weather day ,hot and plenty of tourist from all over the world is the mood here in my coastal breton lands of the Morbihan. We are getting ready to go out in our vacation to the Pyrénées and before visit by the wife’s brother and family from the ch’tis nord 59!

We went out to Saint Goustan not far from where we used to lived in Brec’h  before moving to Pluvigner. Still we are about 14 km from Saint Goustan or less than 9 miles.

What can I say more, it is sublime like an islands in heaven. The only drawback is the climate for most of the year is windy ,cold and rainy, but around June to September very places can compete with any in the world. I have written several posts on Auray in general so lots of info in my blog on this area.   At Saint Goustan, a very steeply area by the Loc’h river  , confluent of the Auray river that ends at the Atlantic ocean. You can get on the little train or petit train in the Place Saint Sauveur for a first look without breaking your knees! the place is very hilly and cobblestones floors.

We went out with the family and the visiting family to our favorite galette place at Saint Goustan , a memorable historical and gorgeous harbor to eat at Créperie Saint Sauveur.  We had our usual galette madrilene, savoyards, goat cheese salads, etc with coco nuts ,banana splits ices and plenty of bottles of the local Coat-Albret brut cider all for about 18 euros per person,  great place, great food, good friends and reasonable prices, heavens. The visitors like it too….  It has become our central foodie place and already know the owners even seen them shopping with us! webpage: https://www.creperie-saint-sauveur-auray.fr/

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As the brother and family were trying out our Interceltique festival in Lorient, all about the Celtic people from France, UK, and Spain with lots of celebration superb but we have been already. It is something to see indeed. webpage: https://www.festival-interceltique.bzh/

We headed back to Vannes to do some last minute shopping for our trip and some tools for the house like a lawnmower machine! and then headed back to Saint Goustan for ice creams at the L’Igloo !!! superb ice cream I had the dark chocolate large cone with five flavors from strawberry ,coconut, mousse de chocolat, chocolate raspberry, and banana wow for 5,70 euros ;great you should try it big cone! Over 150 flavors and branch in Carnac Plage/beach too which we of course have tried too . Tourist office of Carnac webpage: https://www.ot-carnac.fr/fiche/glacier-l-igloo

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I believe I have mentioned this before but here it goes again; who was Saint Goustan? The district bears his name now, the patron Saint of the fisherman and marines. He was born in 974 in Cornouailles and raised by pirates at 18 yrs old, wounded he was left abandon in the island or île d’Houat out from the Gulf of Morbihan  in the Atlantic ocean where he lived by providence that provided him with fish , so he is represented by a fish, and the care of Saint Félix, that will convert him to Christianism.  He became a monk in 1025 and founded a priory on the island or île de Hoëdic  also close to the island above. He now rests with his brother monks in the abbey of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys ,Presqu’île de Rhuys (see post).

Not only Benjamin Franklin has a plaque, and wharf name after him but also a bar, resto, and the auberge with a plaque. We remember Benji a lot!!! As he landed here to ask the king of France for help in the US Independence war inspired by Lafayette!  However, here ,also set sail for Acadia (Canada) “Razilly’s expedition ( brothers Isaac de Razilly  and younger Claude)  of three ships, holding 300 men, perhaps a dozen or so women, and supplies aplenty, all financed by his own trading company, departed Auray in early July 1632 and arrived at La Hève three months later.  He left most of the men and supplies at La Hève (Nova Scotia), until then just another fishing station on the Atlantic shore of Acadia but now his new headquarters, and hurried to Port-Royal ( today Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia ) to take possession of the old post from the surviving Scots, who he returned to Britain via France.  After 18 years of neglect and English interference, French suzerainty in greater Acadia finally was restored.

The Bay of Quiberon area tourist office on Auray/Saint Goustan in English: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/the-port-of-saint-goustan-in-auray

The south Morbihan tourist board on the islands in French: https://www.morbihan.com/accueil/cote-mer/les-iles-terres-du-large

The tourist office of Bretagne on Saint Goustan in English: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/auray-port-of-saint-goustan/

We then did our usual walk around this gorgeous place taking some pictures all seems beautiful to me. Enjoy the Morbihan, and do try Saint Goustan. You will love it as we do!!

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

January 11, 2021

A wonderful walk in Auray!!!

Ok so this one is old back to 2015 in my blog but it needs update on links , text and of course the gorgeous photos are kept. This is Auray, the first adminstrative town we encounter when moving to Bretagne in the Morbihan dept 56. We come here often a lot me think and its gorgeous. Let me tell you about Auray and even more beautiful Saint Goustan; hope you enjoy as I do!

Well today we went back to Auray. I still only live about 14 km (less than 9 miles)  from it, so it was going to rain in the afternoon (it did) so took off for it in the morning for a walk and some quencher drinks. 

We went on the back side and park at Pl Notre Dame, and then walk by past the Chapel of St Esprit (see post); this is now use for exhibitions, events concerts right in the middle of town done from 1286 the last Mass was done in 1790 (due to the French revolution) and then to now use as other functions.

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We went around this, to reach place Gabriel Deshayes, and come up again the wonderful Church of Saint Gildas, (see post) it was started built in  1623  but not finished until 1663. The belltower with a square top in three levels was not finished until 1701. We wondered around in city center to past the tourist office of the former chapelle  de la Congregation, and continue to the hotel de ville in the Place de la République up the space jeu de paume a very narrow street that takes you to a nice garden and the old prison. 

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You continue coming down to the hotel de ville area and go around on your right when the hotel on your back and go see the Chapelle du Pére Eternel, (see post)the old cordeliers order was here since 1644 ,lost during the French revolution, in 1807 it was given back to the Sister of the Holy Charity of Saint Louis . Here in 1820 the priest of the Chistian instruction were given the order for God only and the rules  by the Vicary of Saint Brieuc and the priest of Auray Gabriel Deshayes. It is now awaiting renovation. After it you have the park Le Belvédére with beautiful views over the river basin of Saint Goustan below and a football field of the city of Auray.

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You take here a narrow street call the rue du Belvédére to go down to the river basin of Auray, at the end of this street you arrive at the top of the Castle ruins overlooking the river and the district of Saint Goustan for marvelous views. Here at Saint Goustan, our favorite local area where we are often, we had our let down and our ice cream and gauffres from L’Igloo just overlooking the river Auray that goes out into the Gulf of Morbihan and eventually the Atlantic ocean.

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Finally, after a bit of walking on the beautiful harbor of Saint Goustan, we decided for some drink, a nice cold Grimbergen blonde beers with coffee genoise and diabolo menthe overlooking the river, the crowd and the beautiful life in the Morbihan. We stop at the L’Armoric café pizzeria resto right in the corner of place Saint Sauveur. Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/larmoric.bzh

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The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Saint Goustan in English: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/the-port-of-saint-goustan-in-auray

The tourist board of Bretagne on Saint Goustan in English: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/auray-port-of-saint-goustan/

And already raining a bit hard, we went back to our car and home just 14 km away where we spent the rest of the day until new urge to go out again. Hope you have enjoy the walk and do visit when possible beautiful Saint Goustan in historical Auray.

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

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January 11, 2021

Vannes and the Fêtes Historiques!!!

This is a wonderful festival on the streets of Vannes every year in July. We first encounter it in 2012 and been to it ever since. I like to update the one from 2016 for its historical face. Hope you enjoy the Historical Festival of Vannes!

This is a wonderful event in Vannes, my capital city , where I work and live only 26 km or about 14 miles on country roads.  A huge middle ages intact city left in time and glory for all of us to enjoy it today. The event in it’s 31th edition is the Fêtes Historiques or Historical Festival.

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We enjoy it every year since the last five we have live in the area, and always wonderful. This year the Festival has a guest of honor ,Napoléon III.

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It is held ironically around the National Day of France July 14 ,today ,showing another aspect of French traditions and this time held July 13-14, 2016. It has hundreds and if not thousands of folks dressed in period costumes with fire works in the ramparts gardens, and many représentations from other European countries. Of course, Spain was here, as the wife of Napoleon III was Maria Eugenia de Montijo, emperatrice of France and Spanish born (see Belmonte post).

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Napoléon III came twice to Vannes ,once in 1858 and again in 1865. It was on a long trip to Brittany to gather support in the region,and stop of the religious center in Sainte-Anne d’Auray (see post) as well. They came with their children and were received in the Palais de la Motte (where today lies the préfecture or regional government building see post on garden).

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The animations starts from 14h30 to 20h each day, and there are walks with all personalities around town at 16h30, from the Church of Saint Pattern,(see post) 17h from the Place Maurice Marchais, and at 22h30 from the same square Place Maurice Marchais. Fireworks at the ramparts garden at 23h30. We were early at 10h30 in the Hôtel de Ville (see post) where the foreign visitors will be presented and bal dance held as well as marching band from the period.

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Some of the artists that will be here of my interest are the Centre Equestre de Plougoumelen.   And the Fundacion Bodas de Isabel of  Teruel, Aragon, Spain. This is worth seeing in Spain too on the dramatic romance of Teruel, more in Spanish webpage: http://www.bodasdeisabel.com/W3/Bodas/Index_Bodas.aspx

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There will be navette bus free from the right bank of the harbor area or le Port, and the Parc du Golfe, and parking Racker. And the city of Vannes had a bus from midnight 00h30 departing from the Place de la République , front of the post office building. We parked in place de la Liberation bus terminal area for free and walk 10 minutes to city center!

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A great event which unfortunately due to the virus cas cancelled for July 2020. Hopefully, see you better in July 2021.

Be ready for 2021. The Gulf of Morbihan webpage on the Fêtes Historiqueshttps://golfedumorbihan56.com/vannes-les-fetes-historiques-2021/

More on the Vannes south Brittany webpage: https://www.vannes-bretagne-sud.bzh/evenement/fetes-historiques-vannes/

And the tourist office of Brittany on the Historical Festival of Vanneshttps://www.brittanytourism.com/matching-what-i-want/culture-and-heritage/brittanys-main-events/vannes-historical-festival/

Hope you enjoy it, and be ready next time to be in the area; you will enjoy it too, me think..

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

January 11, 2021

The bus in Versailles!!

Well in all the updates, it has helped to seek nice entries that were missed from posting. I have done one post on the bus in Paris which I take rather than the metro for long distances ,however, do not had one for my dear Versailles! Time to remedy that in the city I used to lived, took the bus ,yes! and my kids were wizards of it. Here is my credit to the bus in Versailles!!

Oh yes road warrior in a bus!! Well as said, I have tried all sort of transports in Europe, France etc I still prefer the car but customs oblige the bus is used extensively here and Versailles is not behind.

The Phebus network, the public transport network of Versailles and the surrounding towns, has been putting its know-how and experience at the service of the agglomeration since 1973 (under old name S.V.T.U) . It has 240 buses. 56 bus lines, more than 900 stops and 17 SNCF stations served. There are neighboring towns bus lines 101 to 107. It is now part of the Keolis national network of bus lines which we have it here in the Morbihan breton too.

The history of the Phébus network of Versailles. My sentimental favorite bus lines as my boys learned with me for school etc and then surpassed in knowledge of it. I should have written this post before!

1874:The concession for horse-drawn trams (8 km of track, 24 cars and 100 horses) is granted to the Francq brothers (Société anonyme des tramways de Versailles et extensions). 1883: The concession for horse-drawn trams is awarded to the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus, which already operates many lines in Paris, as well as the Louvre – Versailles line. 1895: The first electric tramways in Versailles, the concession of which is granted to Société Versaillaise de Tramways Electriques et de Distribution d’Energie (S.V.T.E, a subsidiary of Thomson). 1931: The height of the electric tramway: ridership reached 8.2 million annual passengers, to which must be added 465,000 passengers on the Saint-Cyr – Versailles line. 1957: “Burial” of trams. The Compagnie Française de Transports (C.F.T.) takes over the operation of the service with 24 Renault R 4231 type buses, under the name Transports Urbains de Versailles (T.U.V.). 1973: Takeover of the network by Société Versaillaise de Transports Urbains. 1987: Attachment of the S.V.T.U. at the Compagnie Française de Transports de Voyageurs (C.F.T.V.). 1992: Attachment of the C.F.T.V. to the Cariane group. 1995: Launch of the Phébus brand and signature of the quality charter with the eleven towns then served by the network. 1999: Thanks to the takeover of VIA-GTI by SNCF-Participations, SVTU is part of a large Via-Cariane group, which will become Keolis in 2001. 2004: Extension of the Phébus brand to the Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole lines (1 to 6).   2007: On October 12, 2007, on avenue de l’Europe in Versailles, Phébus opened the first Navigo branch of OPTILE member companies with a view to selling “Navigo card” and “full annual card” tickets. 2008: The Keolis Devillairs company acquires the Véolia-Vélizy company, serving in particular the towns of Vélizy-Villacoublay, Chaville and Bièvres. 18 additional lines then join the Phébus network. 2012:   Development of the transport offer in Jouy-en-Josas with the creation of the GHP line (redevelopment of the N and Z lines) and creation of the Phébus de Nuit 3 line between the Satory district and the Gare des Chantiers. 2014: On December 13, 2014, launch of Tramway T6 between “Chatillon – Montrouge” and “Vélizy Villacoublay – Robert Wagner”, accompanied by the establishment of a significantly improved bus network (Phébus lines 30, 34, 40, 42, 45 and 60). 2016: On May 28, 2016, launch of the extension of Tramway T6 to Viroflay Rive Droite station and second phase of redevelopment of the Phébus Vélizy lines (22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33 and 34). 2018: On September 3, 2018, Phébus is moving to Saint-Cyr L’École to facilitate all your trips. A network of 3 simpler lines (52, 53, 54), more regular and better connected to trains, replacing lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.   Departures earlier in the morning and later in the evening ;More frequency on Saturday. The creation of a service on Sundays and public holidays on line 52. Service from Parc Ariane to Guyancourt by line 54. New line numbers to avoid confusion with other lines serving the city of Versailles. We missed the lettering bus lines of Versailles!!!

They are 14 bus lines in Versailles easy no 1 thru 14.   My boys took line 3 the most or before it was A, direction Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt Hôpital A.Mignot Accueil – Versailles Satory. Passing by rive gauche-château RER C train station  (ave du Général de Gaulle)  and rive droite  train station (Ave du Maréchal Foch) very close to the palace/museum. In winter months there is line 14 easy taken in Ave de l’Europe or Place du marché Notre Dame (market). The old line TRI that went to all 3 train stations the castle and into the Trianons has been cancelled as newer lines does the trick now.

Three main lines (1, 2, 3) will run 7 days a week, every 5 to 10 minutes. Their common point: a stop at the three stations of Versailles ( rive droite, rive gauche-château and Chantiers)  and La Celle Saint-Cloud. Montreuil station will be served by four buses, including line 1, which replaces the old B and R buses connecting Parly 2 shopping center (Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt) to the University of Versailles. No new feature for line 3, the route of which is identical to the old bus A linking Mignot hospital to Versailles Satory. The hospital now benefits from a reinforced service with five buses which mark the stop there (2, 3, 7, 8, 9). And the one my boys took most to go to school!!!

Ah yes from the shopping center Parly II or thêatre Montansier or the train stations Chantiers and rive gauche-château  you can take bus line 1 and 2 to the palace arrêt/stop Château. Further out like the  monument Pershing you can take bus line 10 to rive gauche-château and walk to palace 5 mins.

The new bus numbering system of the Phebus bus network of Versailles.

Bus line 1 University (Versailles) Louis Pelin (Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt)
Bus line 2 Porchefontaine Louis XIV (Versailles) La Celle Saint-Cloud SNCF station ( My older boy took this one also at Europe to go Chantiers train station and onwards by train to La Verriére)
Bus line 3 Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt – André Mignot Hospital – Reception ↔ Versailles – Satory (this my twin boys took it at arrêt or stop Europe near corner with ave de Saint Cloud dir Hôpital A Mignot in then Le Chesnay and now the town of Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt) .
Bus line 5 Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt – Coeur de Bourg ↔ Versailles – Bernard de Jussieu
Bus line 4 Pershing (Versailles) Versailles Chantiers
Bus line 6 Viroflay Rive Gauche Gare SNCF Versailles — Satory Mobilab (weeks) / Versailles Chantiers (Saturday / Sunday / Holidays)
Bus line 7 Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt – Center Commercial Parly 2 ↔ Viroflay-Rive-Gauche Station
Bus line 8 Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt – Center Commercial Parly 2 ↔ Versailles – Les Grands Chênes
Bus line 9 Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt – Moxouris ↔ Gare de Vaucresson / Gare de Garches (Monday to Fridays at certain times)
Bus line 10 Gare de Vaucresson ↔ Versailles – Lycée Jules-Ferry
Bus line 11 (Circular) Gare de Jouy-en-Josas ↔ via Parc de Diane
Bus line 12 (Circular) Gare de Jouy-en-Josas ↔ via INRA
Bus line 13 Versailles Chantiers Picardie (Versailles)
Bus line 14 Versailles – Europe ↔ Versailles – Prés aux Bois

I have one memorable picture of bus A going to Hôpital A Mignot:

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However, I still nostalgic of the old system so cool with letters! For the nostalgics like me the old network as compare to the new is as follow:  Bus A now line 3 . B is 1,2,3,5, C is 5, D is 6 and 14, E is 10 and 13, F is 10, G is 4, H is 2, F is 9 , K is 6, M is 9, N is 12, O is 8 P is 11, R are 1 ,6 ,13. S is 5, 7,9. U is 7 and W is 6 and X is 6.

The new office for ticketing, information, maps you name , help if get lost in Versailles (what!) is at the new Agence Navigo Phébus Europe at 18 Avenue de l’Europe. Open Mondays to Fridays from 9h to 12h30 and 13h30 to 18h. Saturdays from 10h to 12h30 and 13h30 to 18h.  This office is right next to the Monoprix store near intersection with Avenue de Saint Cloud.

The city bus info center is at the new name Agence Phébus les Ménages (old Espace Clients Phébus) located at 12 av. du Général  de Gaulle. Open Mondays to Fridays from 9h to 13h and 14h30 to 17h30; Saturdays, Sundays ,and Holidays is closed. The office is right across the train station rive gauche-château near the Hôtel de Ville.

The city of Versailles on public transports in English: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/se-deplacer/transports-en-commun/

The greater Grand Parc agglo area of Versailles on public transports in French: https://www.versaillesgrandparc.fr/au-quotidien/se-deplacer/en-transport-en-commun

The Versailles tourist offices for direction ,help, ideas in addition to you asking me ::) in English: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/our-reception-points.html

There are reclamation procedures for any service as well as lost and found items. There is a telephone to call in at +33 (0) 1 39 20 16 20. If more than 15 days passing all items are deposit awaiting reclamation at  Objets Trouvés – 3 bis Passage Pilâtre du Rozier Versailles – Téléphone ++33 (0) 1 30 97 81 60.  This is just near my old home from the Rive Droite train station out turn right and the next street is the Passage Pilâtre du Rozier turn right here and see the house office on your left hand side. We never encounter any problems but some do,hope it helps.

And there you go folks a nice city to walk but if tired from all the seeing around the Domaine de Versailles  , a bus ride should be nice. Also , allows you to go further and see the other wonderful sights of my Versailles, see posts. Hope it helps

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

January 10, 2021

Domaine de Versailles!!!

Oh yes when started my blog way back in 2010 ,I wrote a post on the Versailles property that the world comes there to see. However, in France we make a distinction between the Château or Palace and the Domaine or Domain of Versailles. One is just one building while the latter is the whole property including dependencies. Let me tell you a bit of the history of the Palace and the things in the Domain of Versailles.

One of the grands of our world, a must to visit when in France or even to come just for it!! The domaine de Versailles is the set of lands and buildings of 850 Ha. (8000 Ha before the French revolution) dependent on the Palace of Versailles. You do the math as one hectare is equal to 2.471 acres.

Besides the castle, it includes 93 ha of gardens and 300 ha of forest. You count 20 km of enclosures, 42 km of alleys, and 372 magnificent statues !   However, also, the Petit and Grand Trianon with a park of 80 ha for the Grand and 50 ha for the Petit. Also, the Hameau de la Reine, the Grand and Petit Canal, Orangerie, and the pièce d’eau des 3 Suisses. It has 55 basins! The biggest are the Grand Canal 23 Ha, and 500 000 M3 of water and the Piéce d’Eau des 3 Suisses with 180 000 M3 of water. A total of 35 km of canals and 600 water jets.

The Palace of Versailles also has an Royal Opera house and a Royal Chapel.   The chapel created between 1689 and 1710, the Kings regularly attended daily mass. It has been completely renovated this December 2020! The Opera, inaugurated in 1770, was one of the last buildings of the Palace of Versailles. This museum (palace of Versailles) is the biggest in the world with 18000 m2 of space.

We love the gardens where we walked, jogged, had picnics in the back and enjoy a nice croissant etc at Angelina by the Petit Trianon.  To admire and understand Le Nôtre’s masterpiece, you have to go and discover it from above, from the king’s and queen’s apartments and the Hall of Mirrors.  Then, in the gardens, passing through the steps of the bassin de Latone, the majestic prospect of the reflecting pool leads to the chariot of Apollo. Then, you have to get lost in the plant labyrinth to better savor the effects of surprise that the discovery of the fourteen green rooms has in store. Among these creations, the salle de Bal or ballroom and its rockeries. The days of Musical Fountains, gardens and groves are a visual and sound enchantment.

The park is spread around the Grand Canal, a 23 hectare body of water with a 5.5 km periphery. Its major axis towards the sunset extends the perspective of the garden towards infinity between the hedge of large Italian poplars, the proud silhouettes of which can be seen beyond the water. At the head of the Canal, the buildings of Little Venice are reminiscent of gondoliers and gondolas, yachts and galleys which made up the flotilla and which were used for walks, for concerts or for nautical festivals. The transverse arm of the Grand Canal linked the Menagerie (now destroyed) to Trianon.

On either side of the Grand Canal are forest plots made up of local tree varieties and crisscrossed by large alleys. These are bordered by single or double rows that were once planted with elms and today with tillers and beeches. The trees are rigorously pruned, making up a real plant architecture. Near the Castle,the flowerbeds were designed to be seen from the first floor. The parterre du Midi, boxwood embroidery decorated with flowers; the parterre du Nord, all of boxwood and grass; in the center, the two mirrors of the parterre d’Eau bordered by reclining statues representing the rivers of France, masterpieces of sculpture. At the bend of an alley new points of view are offered, new fountains, new statues, trellis cradles,and   topiaries. Fantasy can be found in the groves , today 9. These groves are rooms of greenery nestled in the small woods located between the alleys; when one goes through these, one cannot suspect the existence of these wonders.

The property goes back way back of the Grand Canal into the towns of St Cyr l’école and its many gates or portes that encircle the old Domain of Versailles for 43 km!!. My favorite here was the Porte de Bailly still visible from the Ferme de Gally on St Cyr l’école. 700 meters from it you can still see the Porte de Noisy with a garden guardian house still there. Much further in the enclosure you have the Porte de Buc (town of Buc) ,Porte de Saint Cyr(town of St Cyr l’école) ,Porte d’Aréne (town of St Nom la Bretêche ) Porte de Jouy et Porte de Loches (town of Jouy en Loches) , Porte de Mérantais (town of St Quentin en Yvelines) , pavillon de Chateaufort (town of Chateaufort) ,Porte de Puissaloup (town of Bois d’Arcy) ,my favorite entrance to the Domaine , porte Saint Antoine or Porte de la Reine ( town of Versailles) ,Porte de Trou Salé (town of Toussus le Noble) ,Porte d’entrées or entering gate (town of St Nom la Bretêche private occupied today). You see my Domaine de Versailles!

A bit of history I like

The first mentioned of Versailles dates from 1038 where monks erect a Church of Saint Julien. By 1472 , the first complete mentioned of the city is as Versailles-aux-Bourg-de-Galie (new French, Versailles in the town of Gally). by 1475 the Lords of Versailles give right to Trianon to the abbey of Sain Germain, first mentioned of Trianon in texts. by 1589 first time king Louis XIII stops by Versailles, which he again will visit in 1604,1607, and 1609 ;while doing his first hunt in 1607. By 1623 ,king Louis XIII has built a modest country manor home in bricks to spent his time hunting and passing by but never sleeps in it.

The first castle type construction was done by what is today the cour de marbre or courtyard of marble, being of 24 meters long and 6 meters wide. On April 18, 1632 king Louis XIII buys the lands and domaine of Versailles to Jean-François de Gondi, bishop of Paris. New lands around it are purchased and a bigger castle is built in 1634. King Louis XIII died on May 14 ,1643.

His son king Louis XIV lived in Paris at the Louvre, and was born in nearby Saint Germain-en-Laye. By 1651 does his first visit to Versailles and on October 25th, 1660 takes there for the first time his wife queen Maria Teresa (Spain). From 1661-1668 renovations and new constructions takes over the life of the domaine. He brings in the crew that built the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte (seine et marne dept 77) as Le Vau, the architect, Errard and Coypel, the decorators, and Le Notre ,the gardener. By 1664 the first parties are done in the castle including plays by Moliére. First statues place in the gardens done in 1665 , the Grand Canal was built in 1667 . The biggest party is thrown on July 18 1668 to make the castle known to the world.

In the period, 1668-1670 the castle is enlarged again with encircling the old building all done by architect Le Vau, and after his death in 1670 by his successor architect d’Orbay. The Trianon de Porcelain (replace by the Grand Trianon) is built in 1670 , and at this time many hôtel particuliéres or manor houses are built of great richness such as the ones of Luxembourg, Noailles,Guise,Bouillon, and Gesvres. Between 1678-1686 the galerie des glaces or the Hall of mirrors (73 meters long) is built with decorations by Le Brun. By 1682 even before all is finished the king Louix XIV comes to live in the castle.

Meanwhile, more construction is going on between 1685-89 . New Orangerie, (see post) Grand Comun (for servants and lesser officials quarters -see post) , the stables  of Petite and Grande Ecuries (see post).  1700 new apartments are done to house the duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV, future king of Spain under Felipe V (the Bourbon line is done, ancestors of today’s king of Spain Felipe VI ,his father king Juan Carlos I was fifth in line to the throne of France).

By 1689-1710,  the Royal Chapel is built; upon king Louis XIV death in 1715, Louis XV finally comes to live in Versailles in 1722 at the age of 12 years old, and makes his preference to lived at the Grand Trianon later more so the queen Marie Leszczynska . Meanwhile renovations and constructions continues from 1729 on such as the Salon d’Hercules in 1729-1736, the Royal Opéra 1768-1770, and the Petit Trianon 1761-1768. In 1770 the marriage of the dauphin heir future Louis XVI with Marie-Antoinette de Lorraine, archduchess of Austria is held here at the Royal Chapel.

Comes king Louis XVI, he builts the library in 1774 done by Gabriel. Cabinet Dorée or golden cabinet built in 1783 to house the collections of Louis XV, his father. then comes the French revolution.  The Estates Generaux are held here and from October 6, 1789 the castle is never the same again. All traces of kings is taken down, all objects are spread all over France and abroad.  the statues, sculptures and paintings as well as furniture is sold all over Europe. A sad time indeed. Then comes reason in the name of the new monarch of king Louis-Philippe in 1830, he decides for good that the castle can be save if made into a museum !  ” FOR ALL THE GLORIES OF FRANCE”. The museum is open on June 10, 1837, hails greatly by one Victor Hugo.

Here the treaty of Versailles ending  WWI is done on June 28 1919.  The French constitution has it that all changes or amendments to the French constitution as per article 89 needs the National Assembly or Assamblée Générale (house of reps) and the Senate,and the President and his cabinet must move and do those changes debates in Versailles. While here the city of Versailles becomes the de facto Capital of France!!! Like it never has stopped being it !!!!!!!!!!

It has welcome celebraties and events such as in 1972 Queen Elisabeth II of England (UK) 1974 the Shah of Iran, 1985 Mickaïl Gorbachev, 1992 Boris Yeltsin, and 1982  served as reunion site for the G7, amongst many more including serving as office of Pres Charles De Gaulle!

The latest info for ticketing : All these places are to be discovered thanks to the “Passport with hourly reservation” ticket which allows access to the entire estate (the castle with access within half an hour following the chosen schedule, the gardens, the Trianon estate ). This ticket allows access to the gardens on the days of Musical Fountains and Musical Gardens, during which all the groves are open and the pools are filled with water. Tariff is 27€ on Musical Fountains or Musical Gardens days , and 20€ excluding Musical Fountains and Musical Gardens days.

Some webpages for more info and planning for your next visit as soon as possible are

The official Chateau de Versailles:  http://en.chateauversailles.fr/

The city of Versailles on history/heritage info:   https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/histoire-de-versailles/

The official tourist office of the city of Versailles :https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/

In French but the little city newspaper , Le Petit Versaillais ( the little person of Versailles =versaillais) that you can subscribe for news of the city in general, give all the everyday life of it including tourist updates and information. Webpage: http://www.lepetitversaillais.fr/

If you want to help restore and maintain this wonderful property call the Domaine de Versailles and join millions around the world who do, including me, this is the webpage for Les Amis de Versailles or the friends of Versailles.  https://www.amisdeversailles.com/?lang=en

Of course impossible to name them all, the property is huge, this will give some ideas and history to search. If need any detail information feel free to post a question or contact me on this blog. I lived there for 9 glorious years!!! Hope you enjoy the tidbits of info on the post of my fav Domaine de Versailles! 

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

January 10, 2021

Toulouse: Cathédrale St Etienne!!!

And again this is a monumental sight to see in my sentimental Toulouse so needed to update links and revise text. Of course, we have come to Toulouse several times over the years and visit the Cathedral, but this time it seems enjoy it more as took more time and pictures. Hope you enjoy the St Stephens Cathedral or Cathédrale St Etienne as much as we do.

And this is the dandy Cathedral St Stephens or Cathédrale St Etienne of Toulouse . A wonderful monument we always stop by and a must to see while in the pink city of Toulouse. So will give you a more historical twist and pictures this time.  

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The oldest parts of the cathedral date from the Romanesque period. These are the south wall of the choir and the north and south walls of the old nave. You can easily see a portion of it from the Place Cardinal Saliège square; it is visible at the level of the current nave, where the wall is in slight relief. It has two oculi, a small door covered with a semicircular arch and two buttresses nested in the Gothic buttresses.

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The Romanesque building was shorter than the current nave. It is estimated that it was 20 meters wide by 85 meters long. In all likelihood, it consisted of a western massif with two towers, a nave with three vessels and a tripartite chevet in extension. The aisles were pierced by oculi to the west, surmounted by a platform and consolidated by buttresses. Its construction probably spans between the episcopate of Bishop Isarn 1071 to 1105, and continues under that of his successor Amiel 1105 to 1139.

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The construction of the cathedral is linked to a policy of recovery of the Church, in the midst of a crisis since the 10C. The papacy encouraged a reform intended to restore discipline among the clergy, change their customs and consolidate their independence from the laity. Bishop Isarn, notably influenced by the action of the Cluny monastery, introduced this reform in Toulouse in 1073. He had a charter drawn up in which it was required: “Let all the clerics eat together, sleep together. May food and clothing be common to all according to the prescription of apostolic tradition. That the freedom to go and move in any place is only granted with the permission of their prior, so that there exists only one spirit, one soul for those who have only one God , one faith, one baptism ”.

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Bishop Isarn had the buildings necessary for this community life constructed. A cloister, a chapter house and a large refectory are built to the south and east of the cathedral. They are added to the group of churches Saint-Etienne and Saint-Jacques. The district, most probably fenced, develops in an area of 2.3 hectares. It is bounded to the east by the city wall. Three vaulted passages, to the north, south and west, open onto the city but are closed after dark. The cathedral is located on the edge of this district to allow people to enter more easily.

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The famous sculptors’ workshops of Moissac and Saint-Sernin participate in the ornamentation of this vast architectural ensemble. Part of their production can still be appreciated despite the almost complete disappearance of Romanesque buildings. The capitals of the nave and five others visible in the gallery come from the old cathedral. They can be compared to those dated 1100-1110 from the Saint-Sernin Basilica. (see post)  The St Augustins Museum (see posts) preserves magnificent sculptures from the cloister and the chapter house, some of which are attributed to Gilabertus, one of the major artists of Romanesque art.

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The history of the St Stephens Cathedral is marked by the revolutionary period. In France, the Constituent Assembly seeks to establish a new Church. The property of the clergy is confiscated, religious orders suppressed and the authority of the pope rejected. New priests must be elected and swear an oath to the Civil Constitution of the clergy. This new constitutional clergy must leave the religious habit for a civil dress and marry its members, under penalty of imprisonment. The Toulouse priests were summoned on March 6, 1791. The session took place in the cathedral. The majority of religious refuse to take an oath to the Constitution and must flee. Father Sermet, favorable to new ideas, was elected bishop on March 27. Constitutional worship is also prohibited. The cathedral was closed in March 1794. The canonical quarter, which no longer had any reason for being, was gradually destroyed. The cloister was demolished in 1799. The church suffered numerous destructions. The portal statues are overturned, the Cardailhac bell is thrown from the bell tower and the furniture is partially destroyed. The choir serves as a warehouse for the furniture of the suppressed churches.

The nave of Saint-Etienne becomes the place of revolutionary celebrations. It is transformed into a temple of the goddess Reason then receives the worship of the Supreme Being. Then take place the decadal worship ceremonies, during which the laws are read and civic spirit glorified. The persecution of religious ends with the Concordat of 1801, an agreement signed between Napoleon Bonaparte and the Papacy. Christianity regained its dominant place in society. After twelve years of unrest, the cathedral is returned to Catholic worship. In a state of ruins, it has lost much of its wealth. And it came back better than ever,Amen!!!

The tourist office of Toulouse on the Cathedral: https://www.toulouse-visit.com/la-cathedrale-saint-etienne/toulouse/pcumid031fs000a2

Official webpage Cathédrale St Etiennehttp://cathedrale.toulouse.free.fr/

And even a revolution could not change the faith. So do come to the Cathédrale St Etienne as it is a wonderful monument testament of enduring faith and beautiful architecture. It is Toulouse so if you are here , you must come to it. Hope you have enjoy the post and thanks for reading me.

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

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January 9, 2021

Toulouse: Church Notre Dame du Taur!!

I like to update links and revise this post for sentimental reasons. As said Toulouse is one of my dear towns of France. I walked by the Church Notre Dame du Taur many times in our trips but for some reason never came inside. Until one day with my boys decided to see it and as usual  is a gem not to be missed. Let me tell you a bit more on this church in my dear Toulouse. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

And why not come back inside to see a great monument of Toulouse. This is the case of the Church Notre Dame du Taur near the Capitole and Basilica St Sernin  exactly at 12bis rue du Taur.  I have written a piece on its history a while back so will concentrate on new pictures.  This is a wonderful historical church which was seen briefly before and more in depth on this trip.

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The stone portal has 6 archivolts and columns decorated with capitals with foliage. The interior of the triangular top is decorated with an 18C statue of the virgin. On both sides, in the niches, two casts replaced the old statues of the 16C ;an apostle and Saint Francis of Assisi. The choir is made up of a small central chapel with a flat apse and two apses with cut sides on both sides.

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Above the central altar, the martyrdom of Saint Saturnin, a 19C painting by Bénézet. The central chapel preserves the statue of Notre-Dame du Rempart or of the Deliverance or the Good Help, of the 16C, entered the church in 1783 after the demolition of the oratory of the gate of Villeneuve.

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On the south wall of the nave are the remains of a 38-figure genealogy of Jacob, arranged in two registers, from the 14C. This very erased painting was discovered in 1872 when the woodwork that adorned the walls was removed. A bull, carved in the oldest part of the church, reminds us of the martyrdom of Saturnin.

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The tourist office of Toulouse on the Church Notre Dame du Taurhttps://www.toulouse-visit.com/notre-dame-du-taur/toulouse/pcumid031fs000a8

There you go  a nice monument to see and close to it all in Toulouse; you must see the Church Notre Dame du Taur. Hope you enjoy the post as we did the visit.

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

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January 9, 2021

Marche Victor Hugo-Toulouse!

Oh yes need to revise this not so old post, a sentimental one as one took for the first in Toulouse without my dear late wife Martine. Her father’s side of the family is from nearby Lavaur (see posts) and we have come to the market and the city often. I have even had business meetings in restos on it! See my foodie posts on Toulouse.

And why not food in Toulouse, wonderful occitan cuisine rich and hearty for the soul of the mountains and the Garonne. This is a place I have been coming in for years for drinks with friends, and family and for lunch and dinners as well as market and nearby stores shopping galore, this is Toulouse.  I like to tell you more on the marché Victor Hugo at Place Victor Hugo in Toulouse.

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The Marché Victor-Hugo market is a covered market located in the center of the Place Victor-Hugo, in the Saint-Georges district, in sector 1 of Toulouse. It is one of the main Toulouse food markets. it once stood under a metal hall, dismantled and replaced by a concrete parking market.

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Before the opening of the rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, the current Place Victor-Hugo was called Place du Marché-au-Bois. There was a wood market, also known as an old-fashioned market. This market was a vast wooden hall, built in 1825 on the site of the old rampart Villeneuve destroyed. The square was completed in 1832. It received the name of Victor Hugo in 1885, on the occasion of a coronation of the poet by the Floral Games. The Victor-Hugo market was inaugurated on March 20, 1892 and opened on July 1, when the works were not completely finished. They were not completed until the following year.

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The Victor Hugo market is in the form of a large rectangular building, it consists of a central nave. The building rests on a basement of vaulted cellars. Four entrances are located on the gables of the central nave. Two canopies run along the side elevations, the building rests on cast iron pillars and is covered with a metal frame. The old metal hall is destroyed and replaced by the current parking market, inaugurated on October 17, 1959. It was then the city’s first parking market. Between 2017 and 2019, new renovation and upgrading work was undertaken, while the Place Victor-Hugo was itself rehabilitated.

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The beauty of it that each time we go by there is some renovations going on but the businesses remain the same for many years! The city of Toulouse show you this grand opening with a video here: https://www.toulouse.fr/web/projet-urbain/-/amenagement-de-la-place-du-marche-et-du-parking-victor-hugo

We did get some goodies for the apartment rental inside but also around the covered market and the great convenience of a Monop grocery store part of the Monoprix group. Location here: https://www.monoprix.fr/monop-marche-toulouse-toulouse-31000-s

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There is an excellent bakery pastry store with branches in other parts of Toulouse. Of course, we got some pastries and baguette here. This is the Le Fournil de Victor Hugo! My reviews fav YELP has more on it here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-fournil-de-victor-hugo-toulouse

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And last we grab our regional wines such as Fronton here at Busquet’s Maison Busquets, and we got some good Fronton local wines here! webpage: https://www.maisonbusquets.com/busquets-et-son-histoire.html

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You will be loaded with goodies of my belle France and lovely Toulouse all the very best. Aah if cheese is your way than see Xavier fromagerie right there, no buy this time but worth the stop anytime. Here is their webpage: https://xavier.fr/#

The Tourist office of Toulouse on the Marché Victor Hugo: https://www.toulouse-visit.com/marche-couvert-victor-hugo/toulouse/commid031v5013x5

Official Marché Victor Hugo webpage: https://www.marche-victor-hugo.fr/

As said, this is heaven territory and we stick to it for years, you will be delighted take it from me, diplomé in wines of France by SOPEXA food and wine from France. And the culinary delights of the Haute Garonne, Occitanie, and France!

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

January 9, 2021

The museum’s of Toulouse!!!

I need to revise and update this one with new text and links as Toulouse is one of my dearest cities in France. The region of my dear late wife Martine family on father’s side. We, of course, have been there several times and we need to be back again when possible. The museums are gorgeous and should be seen by all visitors; I like to tell you a bit more on the museums of  Toulouse! Hope you enjoy it as I did

This time will be recap several museums in the city some of which I have written before in my blog. Never a minute away from them will give you more on them here. Toulouse is the pink city and it also reflects on the architecture of these museums.  Toulouse has some nice museums that are often overlook but should not in my opinion.

I start with the musée Saint Raymond, just across from the Basilica of St Sernin.  The musée Saint-Raymond, former museum of antiquities , is the archeological museum of Toulouse  opened since 1892.  It is located in the walls of the former university college of Saint-Raymond dating from the 16C.

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The Saint-Raymond Museum is quite simply the second largest collection of Roman sculptures in France after that of the Louvre. In the basement of the museum, the visitor can also visit one of the necropolises of Toulouse with in particular the presence of the remains of a large limekiln and an extraordinary collection of sarcophagi from the end of the Antiquity.

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The official St Raylmond museum webpage: https://saintraymond.toulouse.fr/Musee-Saint-Raymond-Toulouse-archaeological-museum_a1081.html

The tourist office of Toulouse on the museum: https://www.toulouse-visit.com/musee-saint-raymond-musee-d-archeologie-de-toulouse/toulouse/pcumid031fs00071

Then , you can move on to the musée des Saint-Augustins .  The musée des Augustins is the fine arts museum of Toulouse.  It was created in 1793 and opened in 1795. As it was during the French revolution period , it was house in the former convent of Augustins housing the important collections of painting and sculptures.

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The Musée des Augustins is one of the oldest museums in France (after Louvre). It brings together in a prestigious setting important collections of painting and sculpture from the early Middle Ages to the early years of the 20C, including a collection of Romanesque capitals and Gothic sculptures. During your visit, do not miss the colony of gargoyles which has taken up residence in the cloister! Various salons are upstairs where sculptures and European schools of painting from the 17C to the 19C are represented, with some great signatures such as Vigée-Lebrun, Murillo or even Delacroix. In addition, many tours and workshops are offered to visitors, children and families.

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It is now closed undergoing a major renovation.  The new museum will have a stone wall several meters high that will rise between the current entrance on rue de Metz and the building which adjoins rue d’Alsace-Lorraine. It will replace the current brick wall. Since last November 16, archaeological excavations have started in front of the museum. Once these excavations are completed at the end of January 2021, the renovation will be able to file the building permit. The work will then start in September 2021 for a period of one year. The goal is to open the new pavilion in October 2022.

First, there is the construction site of the two glass roofs built at the end of the 19C according to plans by the architect Eugène Viollet-Le-Duc. This project should make it possible to increase the luminosity of the Salon Rouge, where the most beautiful works of the museum are exhibited. This work will be completed in February 2021. Major work has also been carried out to improve the accessibility of the site to all audiences and in particular to people with reduced mobility. When the museum reopens, an elevator will take you to the upstairs painting rooms. New fire safety has been put in place to protect the reserves on the top floor. Finally, the cloister is now subject to increased surveillance: The cloister does not manage rainwater and it damages the walls. Arbitrations are underway to find solutions.

The official Saint Augustins museum webpage: https://www.augustins.org/en/home

The tourist office of Toulouse on the museum : http://Tourist office of Toulouse on the St Augustins museum

The Museum of Toulouse located at 35 Allée Jules Guesdes and near the gardens. We need to come back to see more of this one. The Toulouse Museum, bordered by the Jardin des Plantes, (see post) is a museum at the crossroads of the world of science, culture, education, social issues and questions. It invites the visitor to wonder about his relationship to the living world around him.

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In 1796, Philippe Picot, holder of the first chair in natural history in Toulouse and director of the Jardin des Plantes, transferred his cabinet and his collections to an old monastery. It is the birth of the Museum. 200 years later, millions have passed the walls to discover the relationship that man maintains with the nature that surrounds him, through his history and the major challenges he encounters.

It offers visitors the opportunity to discover and deepen their knowledge of the interactions between man, nature and the environment: a journey through the heart of living things (permanent exhibition on the Earth, the history of life, living and biodiversity), understanding contemporary natural heritage through temporary exhibitions, conferences, screenings … Do not miss strolling in the gardens of the Maourine and the Museum, discovering the Ketzal boutique or taking a look on the books of the library.

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The Official museum of Toulouse webpage: https://www.museum.toulouse.fr/accueil

The tourist office of Toulouse on the museum : https://www.toulouse-visit.com/le-museum-de-toulouse/toulouse/pcumid031fs00966

The City of Toulouse on its museums in French: https://www.toulouse.fr/web/cultures/musees#/?_k=viqpli

You should plan half a day for each to see it well, or come back as we do… they are really worth it and need to be known more other than those in Paris. Hope you enjoy the museums of Toulouse!

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

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January 8, 2021

The market at Redon!

Ok so this is a revision of text from an older post of 2019. We love markets and any town we go to we need to visit them and many times shop as well. This one is no different the market at Redon is nice. Let me tell you a bit more on it and hope you like it too.

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So lets bring you back to the markets of my belle France and especially those of my lovely Bretagne. This time is a simple market in the dept 35 Ille et Vilaine and the town of Redon.

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I passed by here sometimes on my train rides to Paris and of course by car several times. As the market was is and will be one of the highlights of our lives in France,we love them all. This one is brief but worth the detour as well. See my previous posts on the town of Redon in my blog.

The Halles de Redon dates from the 19C, the Halles were renovated in 2012 to offer more brightness and friendliness. They now welcome about thirty traders who sell their local or organic products. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish (from the ports of the mouth of the Vilaine river ), and cold cuts. As it should be in Gallo country, a good market cannot be complete without the inevitable cake-sausage. Opening hours of the halls: Monday, 8H30 to 13H from October to April and 8H to 14H May to September. Fridays and Saturdays in the covered market in the mornings.

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The city of Redon on its market: https://www.redon.fr/economie/r49-halles-et-march.html

The Redon tourist office on market: https://www.tourisme-pays-redon.com/manger/marches-de-pays

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 on markets and this one Redon ,nice pictures: https://www.marches35.fr/item/les-halles-de-redon

Do not miss the galettes de Solange in the market black wheat bio delicious.

There you go short and sassy for you, a wonderful side kick to see the bounties of my lovely Bretagne. Enjoy the market or Halles of Redon.

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

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