November 29, 2015

Brazil , the States of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais!!!

Wonderful big country with great ambiance and friends; always a pleasure to visit and Lucky to do it every year. This time went a bit to old grounds and had the opportunity to visit new ones. First I got there from Nantes, Paris CDG and Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport, then on  to Paulinia and Descalvados in the State of Sao Paulo to repeat. I then went on to Très Coracoes and Varghina in the State of Minas Gerais.

From Sao Paulo GRU took shuttle private taxi to Paulinia; there friends took me to Descalvados and from there shuttle taxi to Varghina; friends took me to Tres Coracoes and again shuttle taxi back from Varghina to GRU Sao Paulo airport.

the tourist office for the STate of Sao Paulo is here  ; State convention bureau here

and the State of Minas Gerais is here , and the govt page on tourism ,

I had dinner the first day in Paulinia at the Churrascaria  Estancia Grill, a big place with friendly service and the typical Brazilian grill house with all kinds of cuts of meats, salads buffets,and desserts with beers was a great place and good company.

We went by car to Descalvados in the country of the State of Sao Paulo, the main sight in city center is the Church of St Theresa is imposing in the town. The hotel Descalvado was just across the street , the only one, more like a truck stop hotel but decent, clean ,and friendly service.

We had breakfast all you can eat and room for about 27€! per night. I stayed two nights here enjoying the country life. For dinner I try the new Japanese restaurant here Nintai, newly open and friendly welcome with buffet all you can eat and beers. For dinner I try Cabana Churrasqueria, a big place lively with local people and local food steakhouse all you can eat with great desserts! and course beers Original Antarctica! the address with link to site is here ,

Next ,I was on my way to Varghina where our next hotel was to visit Tres Coracoes. The latter is best known as the birthplace of the great football/soccer player Péle! It has a statue in the entrance to the town.  It even has a museum (no time to visit it)  on the street house he was born here,

The roads were ok all over except of course coming into Sao Paulo, but even then traffic move fairly quickly; it only gets bad if there is an accident or in rush hours to/from  work. You can check on the traffic on the main highways or rodovias here,

Upon arriving at Varghina I went straight to the hotel,Grand Enio very modern, nice but had no gel/shampoo in bath! The resto for breakfast was very good indeed. The hotel was in front of the Universidty UNIFAS Santa Luiza. Here I stayed for two nights as well. The best was the breakfast and dinner time here. good dish of picanha beefs with onions in a mayo base sauce with good beers Itaipava premium.

I was able to go out for lunch to the Recanto Flora, and forgot my camera !!! lol! oh well the place is a typical Minas Gerais cuisine with shop and restaurant overlooking the greens of the fields behind it. Very friendly service was promise if call ahead will cook something typical just for me!  They  have other businesses like a cheese making company in the farm or fazenda casa flora more closer to Très Coraçoes.  The views on this resto search site is just like it for reference and to be back with photos !

Varghina has a good bus terminal with connection to all the big cities like Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro etc.

There is a big project to open a mall or shopping center just outiside Varghina call Via Café; this is huge and awaiting stores and completion, stay tune for it, Worth it, nice town.

Last full day in Varghina was nice, i was taken to eat at Venda do Chico, more on the side of Très Coraçoes ; a marvelous place in a farm with cafeteria, resto and grocery store where the coffee is done on an oven the old fashion way. The company was nice, the service great, and the food sublime with minas gerais original food in pork,beef, rice and beans, salads all in different dishes to serve oneself,and original antarctica beers! wonderful;need to repeat here. see the main picture on the site and you will know what I mean !!

At night to top it all off I was taken to Café Com Pinga;( an intriguing word for some Spanish speaking people ::)) but here is an rum alcohol base drink similar to Cachaça. It is another term for it a bit cheaper. And the place was great with pork ribs, fry fish, and great itaipava premium beers. The views over the city as the night fell was fantastic and live music playing oldies but goodies was a king size top off to a wonderful night send off from Brazil; I should be back here::) Same site here to show what it is as there is no webpage for it,

And I came back by car from the hotel in Varghina to Sao Paulo Guarulhos about 4 hrs drive on highway very nice ride, and took my flight back on TAM Brazilian Airlines, very slim service not much to eat or drink but can’t ask for more on economy ::) the connection with Air France was a bit tense for the events in Paris security is tight. Landing on CDG terminal 1 could not take the CDGVAL train to T2F so need to walk around it to T2E and then cross the parking underground to connect with T2F;if you are coming in next few days give yourselfs ample time. Otherwise, another wonderful trip to wonderful Brazil. Muito Obrigado!

Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Sao Paulo Sao Paulo Paulinia Paulinia tres coracoes Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina


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November 22, 2015

Some news from France, XCXV

Just ready for another trip but before let me tell you about the newbies I found on my last one passing by Paris.

The famous restaurant Thoumieux at 79 rue Saint Dominique is changes colors to the restaurant , new chef of Pakistani origins Sylvestre Wahid  with subtle cuisine now with a brasserie on ground floor and a gastronomic resto on first floor (2nd US).

Try taste wines and even take it home at the Les Caves du Louvre, 52 rue de l’Arbre-Sec,1éme. sommelier led wine tasting with high tech sensory ambiance. visits and tastings from 11€ to 35€.  The building facade dates from the 17C raised by the sommelier of king Louis  XV, it houses wonderful vaulted cellars re arrange with taste for the wine aficionados.

You want to eat in style while visiting the museum Baccarat (crystals) then head for the Cristal Room Baccarat, 11 place des Etats Unis, 16éme. Decorated by Philippe Starck in the former home of Marie-Louise de Noailles who host the who is who of Paris now Under new chef Baptiste Trudel (disciple of Guy Martin) menus at 119€ (who said we cannot dream!);

Do not know if posted on earlier posts but if you want to rent a hotel for a few hours in Paris or elsewhere now you can on this site dayuse. WWW.DAYUSE.COM

If you want to catch a meal or drink in a restaurant late in Paris well do it at my favorite Chez Denise (Denise Benariac)  open until 5h (5AM) Near the halles no webpage but one of my favorite gourmand pages in Paris here ;

For chocolates to die for go to La Manufacture de Chocolat, 40 rue de la Roquette ,11éme; where Nicolas Berger transforms the cocoa beans into art. For the season try the Flocon de Noêl for 5€. The shop was founded by great chef Alain Ducasse.

Now for the season to come, Christmas and New year, Champagne is in order, have yours yet? mine is on the cellar. The Philippe Gonet cuvée Belemnita Grand Cru 2005 is on, buy in Paris at les Caves de Passy, 3 rue Duban, 16éme ;

Another great caviste or cellarmaster in Paris closer to the sights is Legrand filles et fils, 1 rue de la Banque 2éme;

The musée Rodin opens its doors after renovation with great new rooms and more to see! 3 yrs of rénovations to boot all restore and redesign! The museum is at the old Hotel Biron (where Rodin lived since 1908 until his death in 1917)  the tour has been redone to what in actuality is a new museum really! It has 18 rooms with a new space for graphics arts and photography. The paintings from Munch to Van Gogh are also on display now. 79 rue de Varenne, 7éme.

In the Philharmonie de Paris, 221, Avenue Jean-Jàures, (Cité) 19éme come to see the work of Marc Chagall (1887-1985 born in Bielorussia). The presentation is of le Triomphe de la Musique lasting until January 31 2016.

You can see at the Galerie des Gobelins, 42 avenue des Gobelins ,13éme a recreation of the military camp of Napoleon with tents and all, luggage items, folding furniture and others. Until December 13 2015. 6€ with free admission last Sunday of the month,

If you want to know Parisian French ::) parigos we call them, then buy the book , dictionnaire Je Parle le Parisien by Jean-Laurent Cassely et Camille Saféris, Parigramme, 144 pages 11,90€ It can be found in leading libraries in Paris such as FNAC.

Anécdote, you know there are 6100 Streets in Paris? yes. the shortest is rue des Degrés 2éme with just a stair of 6 meters linking it to rue de Cléry to the rue Beauregard. The longest is the rue Daumesnil 12éme that has 6 kms from the place de la Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes.

And Under construction the new palais de justice  estimated by June 2017 will be the second tallest building in Paris behind the tour Montparnasse. It will be near the boulevard périphérique and the porte de Clichy with 160 meters high in 38 floors. It will house all the courthouses social security,police,and civil courts. It will be connected to metro lines 13 and 14 and tramway T3. To see ::)

From the end of October past, the metro line 14 is bigger!! leading from the gare Saint Lazare to the Pont Cardinet (where i like to park my car ::)) , by 2019 it will reach the mairie de Saint Ouen (where the famous flea market is) and will have four new stations , it will be automated and will reach eventually Saint-Denis-Pleyel to the north, Orly airport to the South to become the most frequented line!

A special mention for Grenoble that will have at its Musée de Grenoble a presentation on Georgia O’Keefe photos until February 7 2016. open every day except Tuesdays from 10h to 18h30 at 5 place de Lavalette.

You can shop to die for not far from Roissy CDG Paris airport terminal 3 has a free navette bus to it!! even opens on Sundays. shopping,restaurants, cinema, great for the rush traveler who wants to see a bit more of France; This is Aéroville;

Back to Paris proper, want shopping for women clothing…head for Brand Bazaar, 33 rue de Sévres, 6éme; over 100 designers names all in one place, to shop for it…!

For children clothing and toys something different in Paris and elsewhere in France ,to me they are in Nantes too. Moulin Roty, in Paris at 22 blvd des Filles du Calvaire 11éme;

Paris is underground too you have heard of the Catacombes but do you know there is the regard de la lantern or Manhole of flashlight in Belleville 20éme? the underground of the Canal Saint Martin (can be seen on guided tour) in all 2350 kms!!(1460 miles)  of sewers, 211 kms (131 miles) of metro lines and 260 kms (161 miles) of hallways in the metro, ghost stations included. You can get guided tours of these by contacting the stone quarries of Capucins, SEADACC here, ; canal st martin contact the boat rides of Canauxrama, one of my favorites boat rides in all of France, ; and the aqueducts du nord de paris or ASNEP you can contact phone email and see photos of what they do here ;; for something different to see in Paris, you are not done yet ::)

And I will missed it this year as will be traveling abroad just this afternoon, but the Salons des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants or independent wine producers will be held again at the Porte de Versailles expo center from November 26 to the 30th. 10h to 20h except the 30th will be from 10h to 18h. The best small wine producers of France will be there,and if you love wine like me and are here go there!  And yes no matter the events in Paris all of these will be open YES!

Finally, cannot dismiss the events in Paris recently, my condolences to all the families and friends touch by this event where one Young American women was one of the victims in Bataclan, an entertainment place I love and participated in many events there lastly the Festival de Rio Brazilian extravaganza. Paris will be and is and will stay Paris, the most beautiful city in the world! RIP and life go on.



November 21, 2015

Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Miami Beach, this is Florida!

OMG, I just look back of my blog and realise not written on these wonderful spots since 2011! Times flies, this was my last stronghold in the USA before leaving permanently to France. I had not been back there since 2009 and now had 3 great days in the area. This is the South Florida area where I still have family.

It has a lot to offers other than the beaches and night life, but I let you mingle and decide on that with the tourist offices there of Miami,  and Fort Lauderdale,

I was Lucky to have on my way back from Mexico the company ok to attend a finance conference in Fort Lauderdale arriving at Miami airport on American Airlines.  . I must add nothing compares with Air France ::)

My cousin was there to greet me and take me to eat at a local Cuban restaurant now very popular for the last 10 years or so, Molina’s in the nearby city of Hialeah on which hospital my twin boys were born!!! The place was typical of old Cuba and the food very Cuban, something did not had for yearsss! picadillo ,moros rice, sweet plaintains, and a nice corona beer.

Afterward I was taken to my conference hotel at Fort Lauderdale, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel; right off the ocean drive and very near Las Olas blvd chic area,

OF course, the hotel was top luxury, glad was not paying ::) the room well the apartment as it was two rooms with living room and bedroom, TV in both in addition to a smaller one in the bathroom. There had bathtub and shower and lavs for two. The wonderful beachside restaurant was wonderful too. A great place ,location, and friendly prompt service.

The evening had the chance to eat dinner there overlooking the ocean and Fort Lauderdale beach , nice oysters, shrimps, and cocktails mojitos was wonderful right at the bar with a friendly bartender. Needless to say went to bed very late into the morning hours lol!!!

Once the conference was over, we were invited for dinner as part of it, to the wonderful Brazilian charrusqueria Chima’s right on Las Olas blvd and about 15 minutes walking back to the hotel which me and a group of warriors found out.

Chima has a wonderful front terrace to mingle and drink, and then great laidout indoor tables for the feast of bringing those different cuts of meats charrusqueria style (call here steakhouse) all night long with wonderful glasses of red wines. Good company and pleasant evening afterward on the way back and at the hotel bar ::)

The last day got pickup by my cousin again and given a right in the laberinth of roads and tolls the area has become, really change feld big and different already. Saw the new Marlins baseball stadium, the Lincoln Road Miami Beach area, and the bridges before finally depositing me at Miami airport for the trip back home. A nice nostalgic if short trip to what was once call home ::)

At Miami before flight had some snacks at La Pausa in concourse J Mia for a mahi mahi sandwich fries and a glass of California Hogue cellars red wine. A nice send offs.

The flight back was my first ever ,believe or not, delays at airport, happening after a heigthening of security tension for the atrocious terrorist acts in Paris, they found two bags checked-in but no passenger so the plane was ask to return to gate!! wait and wait finally departed to Paris. There, as was getting ready to board my last flight to Nantes, once already in the passarelle to the plane we were ask to return back Inside as they was a fuel leak on the plane, wait wait, finally took off. Arrive home five hours late missed by twins birthday outing and needed to catch up today lol! Now ready for another long journey tomorrow to Brazil!!!

Have a great weekend!





November 20, 2015

One, two , Mexico DF, Tepatitlan de Morelos in one short trip!

Now I am rested to finish Mexico to tell you all about it, and then out again Sunday for another wonderful trip, happy travels indeed ::)

As usual left from Nantes airport to Paris CDG and then Mexico DF Benito Juarez airport; staying at the nice City Express Plus Patio Universidad in DF. Here are the contacts :

The hotel was central at the corner of Universidad and Av. Popocatépetl in the shopping center Patio Universidad, it open in 2015 very nice with stores like Best Buy, The Home Store,  Steve Madden, Sports World, and groceries Superama. Also many restaurants like Starbucks, El Bajío, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang´s, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Carls Jr., and IHOP. open 9h to 22h;also a wonderful cinema Cinépolis. no webpage yet!

I did show up and went straight to El Bajio for my first dinner there, nice place if a bit hurry up to get rid of me lol! The lady kept giving me dishes to try and I keep saying no thank you have enough, endless, but the food and drinks were good, bohemia oscura beers !

I did a lot of walking around to see old names like Walmart, Sears, and the Mexican dept store Liverpool,(chic), and had my rides thru Insurgentes Sur and into the State of Mexico outside DF in Ecatepec de Morelos. Of course ,my hotel had great views of the city of Mexico too. Driving around in Ecatepec  I had lunch at Los Bisquets de Obregon local cuisine restaurant with a great cecina steak (salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke) with mashed potatoes, mexican rice, and mango/papaya juices here !

Next , after doing some walking around safe in DF! lol! I met some old friends at the Olive Garden in the Patio Universidad shopping;  here with ravioli stuff champignon and a great Trapiche malbec Argentinian wine, coffee nice, great memories ;

This allows me just before to go over the Plaza Universidad shopping center, ; which later on hook up with another friend and after already having eaten we went over for some snacks and drinks at the Sanborns Inside.

and following my culinary taste of Mexico DF on another night went for TGIFridays hahaha yes very original , I remember this resto from back in USA and love them. Found them here with a nice big burger and try Victoria and Pacifico beers !! This was ,also, in the Patio Universidad shopping!

Moving right alone as able to see the Métrobus system with elevated platforms running east-west and north-South in the city ,well the traffic is still BIG! Teatro Insurgentes was nice but no time to see a show; right in chic area by city center building in Insurgentes Sur.

And, I had time with another friend to see the Mexico vs El Salvador match concacaf WC qualifying won easily by Mexico 3X0 at Hooters another of my old favorites ::) Great Indio beer and nachos snacks with cheese and the action was good with friendly crowd.

And I took my plane to Guadalajara airport before had my lunch at Wimpy in DF airport; cant find webpage but was ok for an introduction before leaving. Guadalajara airport is small and nice ;

And went over to Tepatitlan de Morelos a nice town country cozy feeling more on it here, in Spanish

Here I stayed again in my usual Grand Hotel, with French owner and very nice, my room the Mexican Rangel, chic class and great service in city center near the main Church.

Having breakfast in the Café Paris is grand and great views over the city. and we went out to Zapoten , nice town and had lunch on the road at Birreria Chololo with goat meat and beers Indio oscura. An institution in the area, they are at Carretera a Chapala Km 17, Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, no webpage but a nice page to describe it a bit further,

We did some traveling by car and walk from our hotel to a wonderful place for dinner Bistro 77 right in city center near the wonderful Cathedral and kiosk in the park. Wonderful Pulpo beers and pizzas with hot chili mexican here, great tv screens and wonderful friendly service,

I came back to DF on Aeromexico again, easy. and my trip continue on next post. Enjoy Mexico!!!

Guadalajara zapoten guadalajara tepatitlan de morelos Tepatitlan de morelos guadalajara zapoten tepatitlan de morelos tepatitlan de morelos tepatitlan de morelos tepatitlan de morelos Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF ecatepec ecatepec Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF



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October 28, 2015

Some news from France, XCXIIII

Mid week blues and autumn is here with its cloudy darker days and rainy driving on the country roads of Brittany is exhuberant  like you are alone in the planet, eerie good feeling of independance. Oh well back to the real world; news and tidbits from my France

There is a movie documentary on Alain Cavalier, who knows Bartabas long ago, asked the famous Squire if he could shoot the training for his next show, in the company of his favourite horse, Le Caravage. Every day, filmmaker, equipped with a small camera, went to the fort of Aubervilliers, seat of the equestrian theatre Zingaro, with Bartabas, to record their sessions. The work of the riders to the routines with the rider through the care of the animal, Alain Cavalier misses nothing laborious daily which unites Bartabas to his horse.

And the best beer places were recently rank by Le Figaro , I will just post my favorite from the 10 or so they mentioned;  The Frog & Rosbif. 116, rue Saint-Denis (IIe). Tél.: 01 42 36 34 73. Tlj. A la Carte: 15-20 €. Beers (25 cl): 4,50 €.

The department stores of Paris are innovating, such as Printemps , now a new set of tablesetting at its brasserie restaurant on top; Terres de Café showcasing a new tasting sensation of coffees in the 3rd floor.(US 4th).  Fauchon is in the basement or street level serving a mister chou in chocolate. Marks & Spencer with a black boutique showcasing British products. The unmistakable illumination of the facade, as of 5 November, on the theme of the fairy spring . This creature, wearing a flowery and yellow bibi incandescent, illustrated in the 1920s a collector in the shop calendar. It purchased here in the windows as on the main wall, large luminescent (9 meters long).

The Galeries Lafayette, creating a 400 M2 space on beauty products, welcoming Victoria Beckham as well as a day of chocolate on November 20th with Alan Ducasse,  Pierre Hervé amongst others. New gallery on the first floor (2nd US) showcasing the American Alex Prager until January 23,2016 , 6th floor (7th US) will become a huge gift wrapping and souvenirs floor as well as Christmas décorations. Animations around the year-end holidays contest dressing table (Dec. 16), giant cooking classes with the chefsworkshop (26 Nov, 3, 10 and 17 Dec.) and  truffle market  (from 17 to 31 Dec.). Lafayette Gourmet.  The saga of Star Wars and a giant Disney store  and the store front with a cosmic showcases, an intergalactic giant FIR, an expo of helmets reviewed and corrected by street artists, a capsule collection of clothes inspired by the Jedi and the Force.

BHV Marais is not left behind, the blue Court persists and signs welcoming this winter kiosks gastro such as BGR (Burger Gourmand and Race), and, soon, a hut for tea time. The only, the unique English brand floral so take his quarters on the ground floor (since 18 Nov). Even the pastry of dreams set in the breathtaking Rotunda of the 3rd floor back his watch of hour-long, using every weekend brunch look Union Jack. You will not have the view on the River Thames, but the left bank perspective. And the inauguration of a winter roost. The Norwegian kitchen replaces the bruschetta, parasols, pleas and the windscreen heating fungi garlands of guinguette. Playlist, it is responsible for warming the atmosphere.

Le Bon Marché, after the fountain of youth‘s space  and the espace Souliers  and a comprehensive reorganization of La Grande Epicerie, the store continues its transformations by bringing natural light by the stained glass windows and other glass windowpanes, and inserting “l’art de vivre” to all floors, with a florist in the beam mode, beauty products or perfumes to the youth space creators.  Throughout the store, pieces of furniture and other objects join the collection of works of art that punctuate the spaces. Pierre Paulin was honored with an exhibition space home (1st. until 30 November). Reissues of the famous designer chairs are on sale in exclusive fabrics. Conversations at the bookstore, under the canopy, between writers and Laure Adler will resume next January.

And the venerable Samaritaine, awaiting the total transformation of the Department store of the rue de Rivoli, slowed down several years, is finally underway! A colossal construction, of three years minimum, which notably gives birth to shops, offices, a luxury hotel, babycare center and more. More info here

And to close , coming by my area, do see , taste and buy the Strawberries of Plougastel, simply the best. There is even a museum for them here. Started in 1992 as the museum of local heritage and later in 1997 to the museum of the heritage and the strawberry. Today, it has nine rooms of exposition in two floors showing the history of the Strawberry since the 18C to our days as well as the heritage of the peninsula of  Plougastel .

Have a great rest of the week. Cheers



October 24, 2015

The land of Sherry or Xéres or Jerez;vinos olé!!!

Here I am back after a most wonderful week in the corners of Spain down in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia, Kingdom of Spain. This is for real Chiclana de la Frontera ,and Jerez de la Frontera. Gorgeous.

The tourist office sites are here:

The sherry wines are made mostly from Palomino grapes in this part of the world for centuries, whites wines of Manzanilla and Fino ,and darker oxidize wines such as Oloroso and Amontillado, and dessert wines done from Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. The word of Sherry is an English version of Xeres or Jerez. The area covers from Sanlùcar de Barrameda to Puerto de Santa Maria passing by Jerez de la Frontera.

The history here goes back to the Phoenicians to the year 1100 BC! but the distillation was born with the Moors in 711AD ,and from 1264 Under Spanish Kings the wines took on Europe and the rest of the world. The different styles as told above are

Fino (‘fine’ in Spanish) is the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of Sherry. The wine is aged in barrels under a cap of  yeast flour to prevent contact with the air. Manzanilla is an especially light variety of Fino Sherry made around the port of Sanlùcar de Barrameda. Manzanilla Pasada is a Manzanilla that has undergone extended aging or has been partially oxidised, giving a richer, nuttier flavour. Amontillado is a variety of Sherry that is first aged under flor but which is then exposed to oxygen, producing a sherry that is darker than a Fino but lighter than an Oloroso. Naturally dry, they are sometimes sold lightly to medium sweetened but these can no longer be labelled as Amontillado. Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) is a variety of sherry aged oxidative for a longer time than a Fino or Amontillado, producing a darker and richer wine. With alcohol levels  between 18 and 20%, Olorosos are the most alcoholic sherries. Like Amontillado, naturally dry, they are often also sold in sweetened versions called Cream sherry. As with Amontillado “Sweet Oloroso”, “Rich Oloroso” and “Oloroso Dulce” are prohibited terms. Palo Cortado is a variety of Sherry that is initially aged like an Amontillado, typically for three or four years, but which subsequently develops a character closer to a Oloroso. This either happens by accident when the flor dies, or commonly the flor is killed by fortification or filtration. Jerez Dulce (Sweet Sherries) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intensely sweet dark brown or black wine, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety.  Cream is a type of sweet sherry first made in the 1860s by blending different sherries, usually including Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.

For a further breakdown and official information on Sherry see the official site for the wine here ;

Here I visited the famous farm-house of Domecq at Finca Los Alburejos with Alvaro Domecq himself riding the horses;  ; and later went to Gonzalez Byass bodega for more wines and Tio Pepe!!!

In both properties above had a sumptuous dinner in the bodega or picador arena in the wonderful Andalusian nights to remember forever.

And to do the reverse this time, I stayed at the wonderful Barcelo Sancti Petri Spa Resort at Chiclana de la Frontera. A wonderful pool and waterfall with jacuzzi and japanese style garden lake, disco Siddhartha with an Indian decoration and the Dublin Bay bar Irish Pub. Great amphitheater outdoors, and the buffet resto Almadraba,restaurante Atunante and Spa of course. Just a place not to leave but then again, you do not want to miss the wines!!  You can see it no need to tell you lol!

And of course, I took off from Nantes to Jerez de la Frontera airport on a charter jet and then cercanias 1 train to Cadiz train station and bus to 020 to Chiclana ,taxi to the resort above. On the way back we took a taxi to airport at 98€ for four persons. Easy ride and great fun, now enjoy the photos. Until next month’s trips.  ;

Chiclana Chiclana Chiclana Chiclana Chiclana Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez Jerez

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October 15, 2015

Carpi, one more time in Italy!

ok so after a long two years I was back by Carpi, in Modena region of Italy. This was a shorter trip just a couple days or what I call my touch and go trips lol!

As usually not, had to go to catch my TGV at Nantes train station so needed to drive from home almost 2 hrs. The TGV was nice and quick to Roissy CDG airport, from where took my AF flight to Bologna Marconi airport. There taxi shuttle to Carpi.

The train station in Nantes is right in city center not far from the castle of the dukes of Brittany (old region now in pays de la loire region);

You know from my rambling always go by CDG a nice airport that many do not undertand but I find it easy.

And arrival in Bologna airport is by now easy too, not a big airport but nicely done.

And my ride into town is by Mr G Auto Blu Noleggi, Via Ballona, 9/A – 46023 – Gonzaga – MN tel +39 339 3846496. Used him several times always nice and ponctuel at the right price cash better.

Upon arrival, went to hotel Carpi, my home away from home in the area, good for the fashion industry of which the area is well known.

Went out to a real restaurant as the hotel only offers breakfast and night snack bar, and just couple hundred meters there are a bunch of eating places. I remember the Roadhouse Grill steakhouse and went there, very nice decorated and well received. Even try my Italian lol! service was good the burger and miller genuine draft beer was good and needed. Nice place;

After a rest went out to do my duties and for lunch went to a very nice sportclub restaurant that was a delightful place of good cheers , great buffet food and main dish of tagliatini di porcini something like that !! and it was great with a good Le Focaie local red wine. The place is the Ristorante Sporting Club di Michele at

Came back at night for dinner but my local friends decided to try a beer place brewing their own and as the card machine was broken I end up paying with cash, always good to have cash euros you know! a great romano picante pizza and house beers plus coffee did the trick and the girls were the best looking  I have seen while in the area; I think they must have been models as it is a fashion area. The place was the Giustospirito of Carpi,

I really had no time to go into city center as the next day had to get back to the airport early; same reverse routine, taxi shuttle to G Marconi airport at Bologna, AF flight to CDG Paris, down to the SNCV TGV train service to Nantes , pickup my car and go home; a real European tour ::)

And now until next time as will be out for a week in another place another country dear to me; see you soon and happy travels.

Bologna Bologna Bologna Bologna Bologna  Carpi  Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Nantes Paris Paris Paris


October 7, 2015

Some news from France , XCXIII

Now back in my area after a cloudy cool humid day at 14C or about 58F in lovely Brittany. Its time to tell you my ramblings about Paris and France.

The school is in and especially the Universities are in full swing so the Quartier Latin is humming. How to get connected on your WiFi’s ?  You can do it at AntiCafé Beaubourg 79 rue Quincampoix 3éme with tariffs of 4€ per hour  or Hubsy 41 rue Réaumur 3éme same prices.

More choices here , La Chambre aux Oiseaux 48 rue Bichat 10éme  and the Coffee Spoune 36 rue Saint-Sébastien ,11éme no webpage as well as Coworkshop 29 rue des Vinaigriers 10éme similar tariffs and on all discounts from 10-15% for students id.

Who said Paris is expensive, you have to follow the students !!! these have dishes for 10€,  this can happened at the Bouillon Belge 6 rue Planchat, 20éme  Tél.: 01 43 70 41 03), the Tribal Café 3 cour des Petites-Ecuries,10éme Tél.: 01 47 70 57 08) ,Cordonnerie 28 rue Greneta 2éme Tél: 01 40 28 95 35), pizzas slices at Al Taglio several addresses but one nice one at 20 rue du Dragon 4éme  Tél.: 09 66 89 14 72), the Pizza dei Cioppi  44 rue Trousseau 11éme  Tél.: 09 84 48 14 58),  the Chipotle 20 blvd Montmartre 2éme , Miznon 22 rue des Ecouffes, 4éme  Tél.: 01 44 78 01 89), Grillé 15 rue Saint-Augustin 2éme  Tél.: 01 42 96 10 64), Zarma 64 rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle 9éme. Easy to find their webpages me think. Some have just a Facebook page , but that is something else I do not post.

For a nice inexpensive happy hour go for ! La Tireuse 18 rue Laplace 5éme, or Charlie et sa biére à 2 balles 29 rue de Cotte, 12éme.   Go over to the area of  rue Jean-Pierre-Timbaud,by Oberkampf and get in on L’UFO, La Marquise, L’Orange Mécanique or the Le Onze Bar.  A bit later you can stop by the L’International 5-7 rue Moret and arrive to the morning hours in Le Nouveau Casino 109 rue Oberkampf.

And from there to dance the night away into the weee hours, need stamina it can be loong ::)

Le Virgo with électro scene every Fridays and with DJ at 34 rue du Départ , 14éme ,just around the corner from my old job site ! That is Montparnasse.

La Concrete each Sunday open 7h to 2h morning next at 69 Port de la Rapéen 12éme.

 Le Tunnel , on old stone quarries of chalk and scene of the Tunnel, new galleries are exploded with a second scene, at 5 chemin des Montquartiers, in nearby town of Issy-les-Moulineaux dept 92. get there on the metro line 12  Mairie d’Issy or RER C Gare d’Issy.

Le Faust, huge dancefloor and a LED ceiling! you can see great things here, at Pont Alexandre III, 7éme wonderful terrace Under the bridge,

L’Underclub a new one by the  Châtelet, club techno-house  that can pack 300 persons at 57 rue Quincampoix 4éme.

And one of my favorites of younger days is still there  on the roofstops of the fashion city or  Cité de la mode,the Wanderlust ,32 quai d’Austerlitz ,13éme, now still bringing the best of Paris youth that my boys enjoyed too from Wednesday to Saturdays evenings. Giant terrrace with drinks , night projections and music with DJ with house and techno until the wee hours.

Can’t leave without reminiscent of my Paris days at the Fête des Vendanges in Montmartre now going on from today October 7 thru the 11th. The great show is the Grand Défile  Saturday October 10th from 15h to 17h45 departing from the mayor’s office of the 18éme arrondissement to the place Saint-Pierre.

A bit of nostalgia and good old times still around the corner for those passing by Paris.

September 27, 2015

Some news from France ,XCXII

Well passing by Paris always brings the best of me, and more nice things to see and do, and admire. The city was bustling and vibrant as ever, full , the tourists keep coming 32,3M last year and this year 2015 should another record. I laugh when people tell me to find a place where tourists are not in Paris!!! They are all over; but here are some new ones.

Some new chic hotel, such as the Hotel Ekta, 52 rue Galilée double rooms from 140€ this is a nice area where I have done events like the nearby Aero Club de France.

The great pastry maker Christophe Michalak going from teaching to creating a new patisserie Michalak at 16 rue de la Verrerie, open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10h30 to 19h. Tastes like guitar-shaped chocolates and popular Kosmiks verrines for 6,80€. So new not even yet on his webpage ::)

You want new fashions and local ,then head for Front de Mode, 42 rue Volga , open  Mondays to Saturdays from 11h to 19H. brands like Veja, Misericordia, Naco Paris, jewelry and great creators behind the work. Local produce. The official site is just new hot off the press too but there is the main designer behind it page as well Sakina. and the new site ;

The great Yannick Alléno already visit him at the resto Terroir Parisien  in the Palais Brongniart, now will have his new place at Stay,15 rue Boissy d’Anglas, a nice area by the Madeleine where I used to take my passport photos US!!! Dining with a terrace inside the hotel Sofitel,

And perfumes well the famous Fragonard has refurbished the boutique museum in Paris. 9 rue Scribe ,open Mondays to Saturdays from 9h to 18h. Musée du Parfum Fragonard, right in an old theater renovated for them.

How about a pontoon boat ride on the Seine? Green Rivers Cruises will do it.  They have sofas, and bars with capacity of only 11 persons! You go up the canal Saint Martin roundtrip up to Boulogne. Of course, you can do it in the Seine river too but its crowded on boats….

If you want to rent a hotel in Paris or elsewhere for a few hours without CB reservation, then try this site,  Dayuse;

If you want to be close to Italy or Milan specifically in Paris then head for Ober Mama; (ober for oberkampf and mama for mamma Italian mother); you have the aperitivo concept here from 18h to 20h sort of happy hour with food included; the products use are straight from Italy with dishes from 10-15€ reasonable and good. See them at 107 boulevard Richard Lenoir.

And for the anecdote following the above info, Paris vs Milan, ok Pop Paris 2,26M , Milan 1,35M, bikes Paris 13420, Milan 3370, places for an opera, Paris 2013 ,Milan 3000;  the first fashion week ,Paris 1973 and Milan 1958; foreign tourists welcome Paris 32,3M, Milan 2,7M! the most visitors comes from: Paris, British with more than 2,1M, Milan, Russians with 193K. Somehow Paris is tops.

You will see the museum was refurbished and renovated and now his work will be on stage at the Grand Palais Paris, call Picasso Mania for the Great Picasso from October 7 ,2015 to February 29 2016;

You know Paris is surrounded by water… yes and there are many islands to boot, some of my favorites. Well ,some need a car, and its great on the road regardless of all those books telling you is not. I drive and its fun,just know your hours. The islands are La Dynamique in Puteaux, just outside Paris near La Defense; you can go on metro line 1 stop pont de Neuilly and walk to see the parc Labaudy, Naturoscope, etc. La Jatte in Levallois-Perret right over the bridge, get here on metro line 3 stop pont de Levallois-Becon, the island is like a boat shape and cradle of impressionists celebrated by Seurat’s A Sunday afternoon on the island; and see sites painted by Monet, Van Gogh, and Sisley. See the Temple de L’Amour, maison de la Pêche et de la Nature or house of fishing and nature.  Right over to Chatou (Yvelines) you  have the La Mythique, where Renoir and his guinguettes and canotiers reign supreme. There is a park dedicated to the impressionist movement, the hamlet of Fournaise with its restaurant and museum, as well as the center of contemporary arts. You can get here on the RER A  from Paris,stop Chatou-Croissy.

Coming up is again that wonderful event I have attended several times over the years, Fête des Vendanges in the butte Montmartre. Again this year from October 7-11. The smallest vineyard of France is here only given about 2000 bottles!aged in the cellars of the mayor’s office. . You can see the biggest gallery of Dali in France at the L’Espace Dali (11 rue Poulbot) ,and the remaining windmill of Le Moulin de la Galette(83 rue Lepic); restaurant and now awaiting new owners;

And just to say we copy too, the Ministry of Defense in France is creating the French Pentagon right by Balard by the Place Balard and the boulevard périphérique in the 15 arrondissement of Paris. A huge city of 420K sq meters or about 4,5M sq feet. all branches of the military will be base here!  An ongoing project now its design stage and one of the great projects of Paris metro or Grand Paris.

Be ready for the biggest boat show around,the Paris Nautic December 5-13 2015.Porte de Versailles, info here

How about those pools ok summer is gone but you can always stop by anytime on the covered pools such as Pontoise opened in 1934,  ;Pailleron close to the parc des Buttes-Chaumont built-in 1933,  the Buttes-aux-Cailles with a great vaulted ceiling recently renovated in the 13éme.

You know some of the nicest places in the flea market of St Ouen just north of Paris? This is dept 93 Seine-Saint-Denis.  Well see the old fashion looks at Les Merveilles de Babellou for the different women in you, Marché Paul Bert allée 1, stand 13 and 77;

As above, what about that rare old book, this is the biggest Librairie L’Avenue founded at the flea in 1961, 31 rue Lécuyer with over 150K titles!  If you like old photo equipments  for collections or sporadic uses, Au Vieux Format, 23ter rue Paul Bert, ; getting that old record vinyl, cassettes etc go to Vintage Tourne Disque, marché Dauphine,stand 186 , 1fl (2 fl US) 140 rue des Roisiers.—adress-store/28191898.html

Following along, see the wonderful furniture ideas at Habitat 1964, 77-81 rue des Roisiers, furniture, objects decoration and accessories for the living is here to boot, great selection. ; and don’t forget while there to eat at the historic (1958) restaurant Le Paul Bert, 20 rue Paul Bert with plat du jour from 15€.

And just for not leaving anything out from my umpteen nostalgic trip back to Paris, how about those mythical villages! small neighborhoods that seems just out of ordinary Paris. Talking about places like the Villa Léandre in the 18éme; this site tells you more of what I mean::)

The wonderful Villa Seurat in the 14éme , one of my best hangouts in Paris while living in Versailles and working by there, and the place of many like Chaim Soutine, and Henry Miller giving it a character by André Lurcat and designed by Bauhaus architects. The homes of the likes of Vincent Bolloré, Alain Afflelou, Xavier Niel, Myléne Farmer,and Carla Bruni; great walks you can do down rue Poussin or along the petite ceinture.  More from a popular French site Evous,,1160191.html

The petite Alsace or Villa Daviel in the 13éme near the Butte-aux-Cailles park. 40 houses built here of working class standing of the times; a bit more on the same evous site in French,,1175787.html

The Villa du Danube gong from 70 rue David-d’Angers and ending at 11 rue de l’Ègalité near the park des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19éme is wonderful; 93 homes like windmills without blades and of course the Mouzaîa area with over 250 homes from the end of the 19C, more in evous ,,1177270.html

And last but not least, the airport de Paris tell us that on  CDG Terminal 1 passageway 4 you can see the Louvre with photographs of the famous such as the winged victory of Samothrace, Delacroix’s The Women of Algiers, art objects, sculptures and more.

And there you have when you pass by Paris, all comes back in earnest. Now ready to go back to work and the real life, of course Paris is a dream ::) Cheers


September 25, 2015

A lovely one two punch, Paris and London!

Ok so I had a different travels this time as was on a visit to both wonderful cities, Paris and London. My trip was on public transportation. I still, do not undertand how people claims to take this route and find it good, no way I am a car lover and nothing is better than been independent of your time with a car.

Having said that, my trip began at the Auray train station on a TGV to Montparnasse Paris, here took the metro line 4 to Réaumur-Sébastopol and line 3 there to République, where my hotel was just around the corner Hotel Meslay. Nice location, AC, elevator/lift, and nice friendly reception. The rooms as usual were a bit older traditional Parisien style but ok. Enough room. This was for my director’s meeting of my company worldwide;

The area is well known to me as used to handle accounting/finance work right on the square for the old Holiday Inn, now it is a Crown Plaza hotel! So all the restaurants there were my hangout for lunch or dinner. This time I went to the Indiana Café and was as good as old for dinner, great crowd, wonderful service and a great pastrami burger with a good Affligem beers, and double noisette coffee.

From there the next day I set out to walk Paris, wonderful as always and beating any mode of transport. I walk all the way to the Louvre museum passing by some familiar places like the Church of St Eustache, and seeing new ones like the Church of Saint Nicolas des Champs, with the great porte Saint Martin, the Les Forum (still under construction but open for business), the Arts et Métiers museum still nice ,and my old hangout work area of the Louvre at Rivoli to Castiglione.

I was able to grab a coffee at my train station brasserie Océane and had time to in my walks visit my old Americain hangout Joe Allen with a great pint of Glolsch beer !!! All these places easily found webpages on the net.  More beautiful passages like the Grand Cerf, and finally hit my meeting place at the old Palais de la Bourse or Palais Brongniart,now.  I got some pictures of the inside as in a professional environment is hard to do.

From the metro Bourse line 3 took me back to Réaumur Sébastopol and then line 4 off for Gare du Nord, and here it was chaos as usual, renovation in plus, a horde of people been directed to different lanes and finally reach the outrageous RER B to get me to CDG Terminal 2E.  Here went for my flight to London Heathrow terminal 4 on AF.

The flight was easy as usual, and decided to continue tasting the public transports route, and took the underground/tube/metro/subway here on the Piccadilly line to my hotel at Gloucester Road station; had my old oyster card still with money in it! and this was easy as done before several times. My hotel was in an area that I know, chic Kensington. The Millenium Gloucester Hotel, very nice grand old English style and service and amenities galore.

I was put in the 5th floor millennium club and enough to say the experience was marvelous and the service tops. Great English breakfast too. However, my final destination where I was invited to speak on a world trade finance conference was held at the sister hotel the Millenium Knightsbridge Hotel on the Knightsbridge tube station on same Piccadilly line. My oyster card was good enough to take me here and then recharge on the machines is easy with my debit Visa card. The Knightsbridge was excellent as well and great facilities, with great company of professionals from several countries and great lunch food.

I took advantage of doing some walks in the chic area of Sloane street and over to Gloucester Road as usually my home with family or me is in Earl’s Court.  The rides were ok, but smelly and crowded at end of the day coming back to hotel. I had all taken care here but did went out to indulge in the crazy American tradition of hamburgers ….well been from Florida had to try the Burger King here lol!: Gloucester road BK mind you ::) Been in contrast dining in the evening with suit and tie, but heck, we have no social classes !!!

After the meeting left by 4PM (16H) as needed to catch the flight back home, same Piccadilly line from Knightsbridge to Heathrow Terminal 4, long ride and tight but will do for the experience. I was there on time for my AF flight back to Paris CDG. Then, no more trains I thought, took a flight on AF to Nantes Atlantique airport ,my usual home area airport.

However, there was no transportation to my home and no one at home that can find me in Nantes, so needed to rent me a hotel room for the night at the B&B hotel at the airport with a code key sign in ,no human at the counter! For an airport hotel is ok but basic services, first time on one of them, and so so experience.  I walk from airport to hotel about 10 minutes going by the parking of the Oceania hotel( tried this one but for one night no need to pay difference in price). The stay was fine and the room was easily found on 2nd Floor, large room and bath with one double and two twins beds!éroport.htm?arrivalDate=30/09/2015&departureDate=01/10/2015&selectPersonNumber=1

Next day, this morning, took the navette bus from the airport to the train station sud in Nantes. This have done before so no problems, and the bus was waiting for me when arrive from the B&B hotel. It is now 8€ ride (started with them at 7!!!).

At the train station, which I know well, had my breakfast at the Class’Croute bakery in the south side or Gare de Nantes Sud,just after getting my ticket and validating it on the yellow machines.  Here took a TER train direction Nantes-Quimper but stopping in Auray, where my old papa , reliable old men was waiting for me to take me home arriving by 12:30 pm or 12h30 today. Now at night , doing the post so can have my weekend for the family.

Enjoy the ride and photos,and until next time. Have a wonderful weekend y’all ::)

London London London London London London London London Nantes Nantes Nantes Nantes Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris



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