Paris by night Sunday, Dec 9 2012 

Palais Garnier

My last night in Paris and I had thought of getting the metro to eat away from the hotel area, but my searches for somewhere to eat had not been that good this trip, no out and out failures but nothing to shout about either, so I decided to plump for the nearest place to my hotel in Place d’Italie and this was near the metro entrance, well it turned out to be a pleasant surprise the waiter spoke English and showed me the plat du jour of pork on the way to another table, this looked good to me and it was fine, and I would have no problems eating there again considering how close it was to the hotel also. My weary legs had been rested and I had the option of a few trains in the morning I decided to have a wonder around the touris centre so I took the Pink line 7 metro up towards the Pyramides, I decided to get off before the Opera as I had no great wish to see it, getting off the metro I was greeted by a Cornish fellow who I had seen around on my travels and he approached a religious person out of their working gear, I knew this as I had also seen him on my travels. Whilst I got my bearings and the dialogue between the two ended the Cornishman approached me and we talked about Cornwall and where I had visited as a fisherman, when he got to find out I was from Jersey off he went saying I was from a wealthy island and could afford him some money for a drink etc, I got away in a friendly parting but did not want to spend the evening arguing the toss with him again so took a detour and after some walking and losing my bearings I ended up at the Opera the Palais Garnier !  this was a pleaing site lit up and with only a gentle flow of people, I decided to get back on the metro and get back to the Louvre area where I really wanted to be, on arrial  it was very quiet and I had a pleasant time wondering around the square and through the buildings.


I then thought about going off to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights but decided a stroll by the Seine was a better option. I walked a short way along the river edge and then went up to the road and headed towards the Gare d’Austerlitz which is currently undergoing some major improvements and I decided to get the metro and off to the hotel.


In the morning I got up around seven, I could have stayed in Paris for the day and arrived in St Malo late evening but I was not keen on the idea, so opted for a morning train, there was one very early but I strolled along to the station around nine as the metro was not to mad and I squeezed on with my bags with the odd frowns from commuters trying to exit on later stops, there appears to be no sort of protocol at stops people try and get on and off at the same time, one would think a few seconds to allow those to get off the right of way, but no a little melee and side stepping dance ensues. As it happened I got to Mont Parnasse station with a train leaving in a few minutes, as it happened I might have caught it but booked a ticket for the next one in an hour at 10 which went directly with little difference in price, I played around with the machine looking at a possible trip to the Verdun area to look up my Wimbée routes, with Nicolas Wimbée  b ?- died 1813 Jersey, it would appear fleeing the Revolution and arriving in Jersey and starting a family there.

My train trip was an uneventful one with a fair amount of fog and I eventually nodded off only to be awoken by the guard wanting my ticket. I had thought of a night stay in Rennes but as it happened things worked out okay in St Malo.


Montmartre Saturday, Dec 8 2012 



I had passed Montmartre cemetery last year and because of the over official gate I had decided not to visit it. That had been a strange day as I had heard warnings regarding the area and mounted the steps up to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur to see a number of gypsies looking like they had been caught or were up to no good and some police interviewing some of them and some tourists that I presume had got caught out in some way, after making my way through the tourist touts in the square with a few swear words aimed at me in the process because I was not going along with their scams, I visited the Dali museum which is only a small building but I did enjoy it, but then I am a great fan of his work and it was interesting to see some aspects I had not previousy seen. On exiting I did not hang around the area because of the stench of sewage which I presume must have leaked or was leaking from somewhere, another reason why I probably skipped the cemetery.

This year I had a reason as a few weeks previously I had come across a grave in Almorah cemetery in Jersey here were buried the families of Allain, Wimbée, and Garnier, the information on the grave gave me some new information that I followed up with research in the Jersey Archive and I cam across one of the burials and it mentioned that after three days the body had been removed from Almorah to Montmarte, it appears I did not note this done and my trip to Paris was not entirely planned so I wrote down the details of what I thought might be the lady in question and the time period I thought, I approached the desk at the cemetery and the staff who spoke no English endeavoured to find my Jersey connection,  as it must have been a wealthy family (The Allain’s had made a fortune in the wine trade in Jersey), I had thought it was Simone de la Poix De Freminville who had married William Wimbée Garnier, then re-married a Comte De Bousignac, for some reason I had the 1920’s as date of death when actually she died in 1956, a thorough search by the lady of the 1920’s period did not turn anything up, I had said that I would send the correct details when I was back in Jersey, but I can not find a note as I think I may have thought this is going to be easy to find, and retracing my previous searches has been fruitless in finding the original record which must have been from one of the funeral company ledgers. I just thought it bizarre that someone should be buried then removed to Paris. I can send what details I have to Montmartre but I would have liked to get the original details first as I now have doubts on who it exactly is, even though searching the individuals records has not shown anything other than one I can not find mention of!

So I ventured along the grey and drab routes through the cemetery in the vain hope I may find the person or family concerned, but needles in haystacks would be easier to find. My first encounter with a familiar surname was by the entrance and picture no. 6 of the grave of Jean Herve Ozouf  buried in 1836. The cemetery did have a sombre beauty, but I much prefer Mont Parnasse. Perhpas it has something to do with the site Montmatre is rather odd that it has different levels and slopes and the main entrance is a level below a road on one side and one enters from the depths of the underworld. With coming across an excavation and bones of a resident pictured above also added to the feeling. I left the cemetery in search of a chemist for some pills for a headache, which I did find at a cost of 7 euro, this was my own fault for not having a supply with me. I walked around Place de Clichy which was busy thoroughfare for cars so not the best place in my condition, there were several seafood stalls and restaurants which had some very samll Canadian lobsters (American) on sale instead of our European lobsters,  which was disappointing to see in a Country that one thinks prides itself of the provenance of what ends up on the plate. The prices were certainly very high although the moules looked reasonably priced enough, but I am not sure if I would risk eating shellfish in Paris unless I was entirely sure of its freshness.

Siege of Granville 1793 Saturday, Dec 1 2012 


The burning of Granville painted by Jean-Francois Hue

The French Revolution of 1792 saw change and  the “Reign of Terror” there was also to be a counter revolution involving the Royalists in the “Battle of the Vendée” this of course led to many people fleeing France at the time and for many years later as the country went through this very unsettled period of brutal change in the name of democracy. Jersey was to play a major part in that it became a refuge for those fleeing the percecution and insecurity that ensued this no doubt was why my Wimbée ancestors arrived in Jersey at this time from the Verdun area, and is perhaps why the Jouault’s (3 brothers and a cousin) were to make Jersey their home at the start of the 19th century. There is an interesting account of Jean-Pierre Fleury’s  time in Jersey (click on name for link to PDF)

The battle or “Seige of Granville” was part of the military operation known as the “Virée de Galerne” (North-west wind) which  took place on the 14th November 1793 when the Royalist army of Vendée also known as the “Chouans” advanced through Normandy the plan was to take over a port to enable their English allies to land and assist them, they were aware they were nearby but not sure where, they were in fact in Jersey. St Malo was totally defended so they decided to lay seige and attack Granville, in the process Rue des Juifs was set alight and a bloody attack mounted that was to last for some 28 hours, but chaos errupted when one of the attackers (most likely an infiltrator) shouted out that it was a trap, and the force eventually retired and retreated. In the process a number of townfolk including the mayor were killed, they are named on a plaque erected in 1910 at the town gate as follows:

Jacques Francois Clement Desmaisons (Mayor)

Jacques Avril

Jean Avril

Jean Bourey

Jacques Butot

Pierre Dereaux

Raphael Dodard

Pierre Durand

Pierre Franquet

Louis Herpin

Pierre Herve

Julien Huaut

Michel Jourdan

Jacques Lebuffe

Nicolas Lecomte

Pierre Lecuyer

Julienne Levigoureaux

wife of Godard

Guillaume Lorbehaye

Pierre Morband

Julien Philippe

Michel Rosay

Nicolas Ruel

Pierre Sebire

Pierre Sibron

This last name may well be Pierre Sibron 1773 the brother of Rosalie Sibron 1775-1855 who married my Pierre Philippe Jouault 1766-1841 a taillor from Mesnil-le Thebault.

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