Musée d’Orsay in Paris

5 December 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Paris / Île-de-France Reading Time:  14 minutes

© Daniel Vorndran/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Daniel Vorndran/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Musée d’Orsay (English: Orsay Museum) is a museum in Paris, France, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1914, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Berthe Morisot, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin, and van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum’s opening in 1986. It is one of the largest art museums in Europe.   read more…

Abbey of Fontenay in Burgundy

4 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  10 minutes

The cloister © Jjpetite/cc-by-sa-4.0

The cloister © Jjpetite/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Abbey of Fontenay is a former Cistercian abbey located in the commune of Marmagne, near Montbard, in the département of Côte-d’Or in France. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118, and built in the Romanesque style. It is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Of the original complex comprising church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium, refectory, dovecote and forge, all remain intact except the refectory and are well maintained. The Abbey of Fontenay, along with other Cistercian abbeys, forms a connecting link between Romanesque and Gothic architecture.   read more…

Aix-Marseille University

7 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Universities, Colleges, Academies Reading Time:  5 minutes

University of the Mediterranean Aix-Marseille II in Marseille © Georges Seguin/cc-by-sa-3.0

University of the Mediterranean Aix-Marseille II in Marseille © Georges Seguin/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aix-Marseille University (AMU; French: Aix-Marseille Université; formally incorporated as Université d’Aix-Marseille) is a public research university located in the Provence region of southern France. It was founded in 1409 when Louis II of Anjou, Count of Provence, petitioned the Pisan Antipope Alexander V to establish the University of Provence, making it one of the oldest university-level institutions in France. The institution came into its current form following a reunification of the University of Provence, the University of the Mediterranean and Paul Cézanne University. The reunification became effective on 1 January 2012, resulting in the creation of the largest university in the French-speaking world, with about 80,000 students. AMU has the largest budget of any academic institution in the Francophone world, standing at €750 million. It is consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and is ranked within the top 5 universities in France according to ARWU, USNWR, and CWTS.   read more…

La Trappe Abbey in Normandy

4 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Giogo/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Giogo/cc-by-sa-4.0

La Trappe Abbey, also known as La Grande Trappe, is a monastery in Soligny-la-Trappe, Orne, France. It is known for being the house of origin of the Trappists, to whom it gave its name. The site of the famous La Trappe Abbey was for centuries isolated in a valley surrounded by forests, streams and lakes, 9 miles from Mortagne and 84 miles from Paris, in the Diocese of Séez and the former province of Normandy. It began as a small oratory chapel to the Virgin Mary, built in 1122 by Rotrou III, Count of Perche, as a memorial to his wife Matilda FitzRoy, Countess of Perche. (An illegitimate daughter of Henry I, she drowned in the White Ship disaster of 1120.) A few years later Rotrou built a monastery adjoining, which he offered to the monks of Le Breuil-Benoît Abbey near Dreux, a house of the Order of Savigny. The order was highly respected at that time for its fervour and holiness. In 1140 the monastery of La Trappe was raised to the status of abbey. In 1147 Savigny Abbey, with all its affiliated monasteries, was united to the Cistercian Order. From that time onwards, La Trappe was a Cistercian abbey, immediately subordinate to the abbot of Clairvaux.   read more…

Cabourg in Normandy

30 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Cabourg Beach © Jmdigne/cc-by-sa-4.0

Cabourg Beach © Jmdigne/cc-by-sa-4.0

Cabourg is a commune in the Calvados department, region of Normandy, France. Cabourg is on the coast of the English Channel, at the mouth of the river Dives. The back country is a plain, favourable to the culture of cereal. The town sits on the Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast) and its population increases by over 40,000 during the summer. Cabourg is located between Caen and Deauville, part of the Côte Fleurie. The town is on the Dives river, across from Dives-sur-Mer.   read more…

Ardennes or Oesling in Belgium, France and Luxembourg

28 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

The Ardennes, also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes, is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, extending into Germany and France. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel; both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian (382.7 to 387.7 million years ago), as were several other named ranges of the same greater range. The Ardennes proper stretches well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region) and geologically into the Eifel (the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany); most of it is in the southeast of Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing more than half of the country’s total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called “Oesling” (Luxembourgish: Éislek). On the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate. The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.   read more…

Veules-les-Roses in Normandy

20 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  4 minutes

The river Veules © Gegeours/cc-by-sa-3.0

The river Veules © Gegeours/cc-by-sa-3.0

Veules-les-Roses is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region in northern France. Veules-les-Roses is a tourism and farming village situated on the coast of the English Channel in the Pays de Caux, some 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Dieppe at the junction of the D68, D926 and the D142 roads.   read more…

Perros-Guirec in Brittany

5 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Hortensia, one of the symbols of Brittany at the local market © Marc Schuelper/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hortensia, one of the symbols of Brittany at the local market © Marc Schuelper/cc-by-sa-3.0

Perros-Guirec is a commune in the Côtes-d’Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France. It has been a seaside resort since the end of the 19th century and is located on the famous Côte de Granit Rose.   read more…

Canal de la Meuse in France

27 August 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Patton © Andre Corso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Patton © Andre Corso/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Canal de la Meuse is the current name of what used to be the northern branch of the Canal de l’Est (French: “canal of the east”). It is a canal in northeastern France, predominantly made up of the canalised river Meuse. The Canal de l’Est was built from 1874 to 1887 to provide a waterway inside the new border with Prussia after the Franco-Prussian War, Overall, the canal had a total length of 394 kilometres (245 mi). In 2003, the northern and southern branches were officially renamed Canal de la Meuse and Canal des Vosgesrespectively.   read more…

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