French Riviera & Monaco

Mont Blanc, France

Called Mount Bianco in Italian. It’s in the Italian Alps; And it is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc; which is on the French border and the highest peak in these alps. The mountain range is called the Graian Alps standing between the regions of Acosta Valley, Italy, and Haute-Savoie, France. Mont Blanc elevation is 15,777 ft high.

Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer

Saintes Marie de la Mer

Sounded by the ocean

Longingly remembered;

After Days on the sea;

There the Mary’s they were three.

Arriving by boat to Camargue’s rocky shore.

Winds that warmed like amber timbers,

Open hands and wide spread arms,

Welcomed to the place of the sun;

Most loved lady with ocean’s graces,

With tender spray upon sun burned faces.

Those shores whispered gentle thoughts;

The tales have been told when others forgot.

The Mary’s knows well the strength of love,

They pray for the world with love from above,

All is safe with heart, faith and mind,

Only earthly remains were left behind.

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“Saintes Maries de-la-Mer is a small fishing village located on the south-central coast of Mediterranean France in the Camargue region of Bouches-du-Rhone. Archaeological excavations and local legends indicate that the site has been venerated as a holy place by a succession of cultures including the Celts, Romans and early Christians.”

In the 6th century, Arles created a monastery in the town, named St. Mary, a favorite of the fishermen.

The village became known as Notre-Dame-de-Ratis (Our Lady of the Boat – being used in ratis, or boat) in reference to the three Mary, arriving by boat; a synonym for the Virgin Mary.

In the 15th century, someone “discovered” the relics of Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome, who were said to have arrived there by sea after fleeing Egypt together with Mary Magdalene. They came with the help of Joseph of Arimathaea.

In 1838, the town was renamed Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, after the three Maries (Marys) of its Catholic and local history. Shortly afterward, the pilgrimage was instituted.

Couesnon River

In the Mont Saint-Michel Bay

A river of Celtic nations flow this way,

River, western, coast and Celtic,

A language of Submerging basins.

This island strategic, fortified and feudal,

From an ancient time.

These cultural traits still survive

Couesnon River live,

You are untainted by time;

Eternally changing,

French, flowing and sublime.

One has thoughts, hopes and wishes,

Of ancient battles and remembering

Here is entirely aware.

A place of mystic, archangels and pilgrim,

Where legends arise.

This river where there is no beginning

There shall be no end; God above.

A brilliant strike of inspiration,

A flare of my imagination.

Of prophecy of things yet to come,

Kings who’s great songs were sung.

This ancient force, tranquil yet feral.

A nation one used in its original sense

Born to mean many people immense,

To share a common identity,

This Ireland, Wales and Cornwall too,

With a culture identified with island plenty.

Its where the head waters go,

A river by this territory Normandy flow;

What is this Britannia thee?

Were the Bretons submerged by the sea?

Both Celtic cousins origin and nation

Couesnon River still Brilliant and beautiful

Almost too surreal to believe.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island of 247 acres in size, surrounded by 3 major rivers located between sea, river and estuary in Normandy, France. It is located approximately just over half a mile off the northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.

Some of the biggest ocean tides in Europe occur in Mont-Saint-Michel Bay; moving in swiftly on an average of 33 ft. within minutes during low tide and in average up to 52 ft during the high tides. This is due in part to the low depth of the bay and the barrier effect from the Cotentin Peninsula which forms the estuary around Mont Saint-Michel.

According to a legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches. He was instructed in a vision by the Archangel Michael to build a church on this rocky islet. Aubert did not pay attention to this vision at first, until in the archangel Michael appeared to him again, this time driving his finger into Aubert’s skull and ordering him to complete the task again. The relic of Aubert’s skull, complete with hole where the archangel’s finger pierced it, can still be seen at the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches.

There were many invaders and the bishop was unable to defend this kingdom against the assaults of so many invaders. The bishop ask the King for help.

So the king of the Franks agreed to grant the Mont Saint-Michel to the Bretons for protection against invaders since It was in that region of Breton.

France traces much of their heritage to groups of Brittonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain mostly from Cornwall and Devon. There were many people who migrated in waves in pilgrimages to protect this holy place in the 3rd to 9th century.

But it was to brief period of Breton possession of the Mont. In these lands of Breton and Mont Saint-Michel only lasted until in 933 when William I made the Mont St. Michel definitively part of France. Breton would become Normandy during the Norman conquest of England.

In 1067 the monastery of Mont Saint-Michel gave its support to William the Conqueror in his claim to the throne of England.

For their support, the Breton’s were rewarded with properties and grounds on the English side of the Channel, including a small island off the southwestern coast of Cornwall which was modelled after Mont Saint-Michel and became a Norman priory named St Michael’s Mount of Penzance.

Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979; Listed as a place of cultural, historical, and architectural significance, and while in parts; some structures were created by humans as a place of outstanding natural beauty.

Thank you for reading.

For the Love of Julien

On his birthday.

Petunia

Amidst the green, the summer rain comes,

Warm, awaken and shrouded in bright sun.

They never falter, fail nor fall,

Growing in silence, but never quite only fun.

Rising, reaching and staying head up and tall,

Petunia you are amongst the most beautiful of all,

Trying never to look back nor recall.