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  • The Baguette
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.

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January 16 2010 7 16 /01 /January /2010 12:54

La porte du midi – L'arsenal de la marine
001arsenal de la marine la porte du midi
Built in 1862, la porte du midi has been, until recent years, the main gateway to the “Port militaire” also called “L’arsenal de la marine”.  For generations the workers and seamen who contributed to Cherbourg’s shipbuilding activities went through its gates on their way to work or on their way home; but in 2007, after the Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) took over operations, it was determined that the gateway precipitated safety issues and that it no longer served a useful purpose.  Therefore, the symbolic monument was moved from its original location within the Arsenal to a more visible address along rue de l’Abbaye.
  

 000arsenal de la marine la porte du midi
002arsenal de la marine la porte du midi
003arsenal de la marine la porte du midi

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November 25 2009 4 25 /11 /November /2009 08:06
A descendant of an old Caen family the poet François de Malherbe (1555 – 1628) is thought to have been born in this house.  Rebuilt in 1582 in Place “Belle Croix”, by his father, who was on the Caen Presidial, it has been magnificently restored.
As in the day of the father of French poetry, along with the coat of arms of the Malherbes’ ancestors and allies, it represents two sumptuous attic windows engraved with Latin inscriptions.

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November 22 2009 1 22 /11 /November /2009 18:39

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November 12 2009 5 12 /11 /November /2009 10:46

L'église de Hainneville

 

This small church is in the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in Equeurdreville.  Built on the hill looking over the sea, it stands in the middle of the cemetery like many rural churches in the Cotentin.  There was another religious building on the site in the 11th century under the patronage of the Abbey of St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.  It was in 1650 that Louis Gigault Bellfonds, lord of Hainneville became the patron and founded the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity. 
Turrets that blend with the building flank the tower and has a portal with an arched opening supported by pilasters topped with a classical triangular pediment.

 

Le manoir de Hainneville

 

There is a deed that proves the existence of a house on this site belonging to Jean de la Roche Tesson until 1345.  It then became the property of the abbots of Mont-St-Michel in 1394 in exchange for land near Caen.  Later it was given to Louis Gigault Bellfonds who built a new mansion on the foundations of the old ruined building.

The building was altered by Louis Gigault Bellfonds’ son (great grandson of Louis XVIII) during the early 19th century.  From 1880 the manor passed into the hands of different owners.  During World War II, German and U.S. troops occupied the building.  After that it fell into disrepair and in 1995 it was acquired by the city.  In 2002, the city council voted unanimously to save the manor and the redevelopment of the park that surrounds it.

 

The park of three acres has been landscaped by the city.  Walking paths, a paved courtyard, terraces and walls of an amphitheater were rehabilitated. The planting of exotic and aromatic flowers and shrubs makes it an enjoyable place to walk or have a picnic.

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November 3 2009 3 03 /11 /November /2009 08:03
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September 23 2009 4 23 /09 /September /2009 09:09

Saturday and Sunday were European Heritage Days.  In France, these days are called Journées du patrimoine.  One of the places I explored was the Château de Gonneville.   Parts of the château were built between the 13th – 16th and 18th centuries.  Two of the oldest structures are the stone towers—the dungeon, which can be seen from the road and the other (dated 1313) in the garden behind the home.


The family of Pirou built most of the château over the ruins of a much older dwelling.  The square tower, the moat and drawbridge are all that remains of the first building which gives the château its medieval appearance.

  A grassy forecourt surrounded by large work buildings with beautiful oval windows precedes the entrance.  One of them bears the coat of arms of Jallot de Beaumont and the date 1641.

 

The château is famous for several times hosting the dukes of Normandy and English King John Lackland in 1203. 

 


In 1842, two main buildings which connected the tower to the château as well as the Chapel of St. John were demolished under the orders of Dame Lambert who thought there was buried treasure to be found.  The façade was mutilated, the mullioned windows and carved transoms, skylights and chimneys were also destroyed.  Unsuccessful in her search for buried treasure, Dame Lambert sold the property in 1849. 

 


It has now been restored to much of its original beauty under the direction of current owner, Monsieur de Montfort who provided us with a brief tour and regaled us with stories of German occupation of the property during World War II.

 Around the château is a park with fenced-in woodlands and gardens. One part of the terraced garden contains a building called le fruitier and an impressive 400-year-old cork oak.


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September 22 2009 3 22 /09 /September /2009 05:59
Saturday and Sunday were European Heritage DaysIn France, these days are called Journées du patrimoine.  Many places of historical importance that are usually closed to the public opened their doors.  Other places, which normally charge a fee, reduced prices or allowed visitors free entry.  I went to the Fort de Querqueville and the Château de Gonneville.  Today’s post is about the Querqueville Fort.

Students from l'école des fourriers of the Marine National were on hand to guide visitors.  These two were Melanie (Navy) and Julien (Air Force). 


Southern defensive walls surrounded by a moat of seawater.

 



This is the main gate to the fort.  After entering, I was saddened by the way this place of immense cultural value could be brought to such decline.  Windows were cemented over, outbuildings were in great need of repairs, and rows of empty barracks were closed to the public because of the danger they posed architecturally.





In 1786 after a visit from Louis XVI, the construction of Fort Querqueville was ordered to better protect Cherbourg harbor.  The foundations were sunk the year following the king’s visit but construction had to be halted once it was realized that its position from the eastern fort on l'ile Pelée was too far away to be adequate for defense of the harbor.   

The work on the hemicycle however, continued in order to maintain a potential defense and shooting position even if it was rendered inaccurate by distance from l'ile Pelée.  The work ended in 1795.  It wasn’t until 1852 that the fort was fully equipped with housing for officers, barracks, bunkers and guns.

During World War II, the Germans occupied the fort and built gun-turrets on the facilities as well as building concrete blockhouses along the shore in nearby Urville-Nacqueville and Landemer.

The main caserne or barracks (which could house up to 600 men) opens onto a central courtyard surrounded by the 36 arches (pillboxes) of the hemicycle where cannons weighing up to 5,200 kg could be mounted. 

 


The curious symbols carved into the granite throughout the fort are markings made by stonecutters from the quarries.



 
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