December 18, 2014

Some news from France, XCVI

This is time for the parties at year’s end and the preparation. For now, we will be away from Paris for ours, but as Paris is central, here are some of the tops to go to if you are around ::)

The Famous New Years Party at the RedLight 19h to 07h, 50€ per person and 10 drinks included as well as breakfast! you can reserve here ,and the place is near my old office in rue de départs, Montparnasse.

Concorde boat party , at the boat or bateau Atlantique, 20h to 06h  59€ per person with 3-10 drinks included and Champagne. You reach it at facing  23 quai Anatole France  Metro Assemblée Nationale (12) or Musée d’Orsay (RER C); resa at /

American Borderline , from 20h, 49€ with 10 drinks, at Châlet de la Porte Jaune, Avenue de Nogent ;  Métro: Ligne 1 (Station Château de Vincennes then  bus 114/ 210  stop/arrêt Porte Jaune) or  RER (A2 direction Boissy-Saint-Léger, Station Fontenay sous-bois) ;you can park by car free along the site; resa at  ; site at

Régine’s New Year, 22h to 06h ;50€ per person open bar champagne,  and two drinks: over 25 yrs and well dressed, you are at Regine’s. Chez Regine, 49 rue de Ponthieu Metro Franklin Roosevelt (L1, L9); resa at , and webpage here  from one i write in French :

Manoir de Bagatelle, 20h to 06h, 39€ , drinks ,buffet included, Le Manoir des Jardins de Bagatelle,  42, Route de Sèvres, Neuilly;  Métro : Pont de neuilly or les sablons;  Parking free along the Manoir, resa at

Roofstop at L’Electric, 21h to 06h, 55€ and 3 drinks, 1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, Metro Porte de Versailles (Line 12 – T2 or T3a tramways)  Parc des Expositions – Porte de Versailles Hall 7 – Niveau(level) 4; well dressed. resa at , and webpage

Bateau Maxim sur Seine at the foot of Eiffel tower, (our favorite boat) 20h to 06H, 55€ per person all included! Port de Suffren, down the river Seine,  Métro : Bir Hakeim, line 6,and great  300 Places parking next to it, we do here for wine and produce tastings too!!  The owner is Pierre Cardin. resa at

Aquarium’s New Year, 22h to sunup, 49€ champagne, drinks and breakfast included. This is at 5,avenue Albert De Mun metro Trocadéro line 6 or Iena line 9; resa ; webpage on the aquarium of Trocadéro.,24.html

Generation 80-90 at Globo; 22h to 06h, 45€ and 3 drinks, resa at located at Le Globo,  8 Boulevard de Strasbourg,  Metro Strasbourg Saint-Denis (L4, 8, 9),site

Of course , these are not all, just my favorites over the years . The prices above are minimum you can always get a better package when reserving.

One near where I used to lived in Versailles is the La Ferme du Manet at 45, Avenue Du Manet, Montigny Le Bretonneux, 78180, resa at ,and you must be younger than 41::) ,and contact for reservation the email. the place is now used for banquet but its historical, webpage

And we will have a nice dinner at a grand place near La Rochelle at the 123 Restaurant here,  and this menu

la vie est belle en France je dit ::)

Cheers and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015!!!!!



December 9, 2014

Some news from France, XCV

As we are in the subject of Christmas, what are the latest best pastries, cakes, sweets we will be serving in our homes here or in restaurants. I know it will be a Bûche de Noêl for sure.

Some of the ones to try are:

Lenôtre, with the Maison Pierre Frey; a bûche with sugar Windows and walls of white chocolate. The chair and sofa are in chocolate and the carpets and curtains in almond paste. 130 euros for 8-10 persons get it from December 13 to 24 ,2014.

À la mère de famille , ice bûche done with caramel and chocolate on a bed of crusty nuts and streusel with a croking black chocolate and the boots and bonnet are in almond paste , 47 euros.

Burgundy Paris , the pastry maker  Stéphane Tranchet  created this Wonder with a star of Christmas, bavaroise in pears with dusty flour and added an almond biscuit with eyes of a pine tree; 90€ for  6 persons. This one you need to ordered it.

Café Pouchkine , the chef  Damien Piscioneri,that created the  bûche « Place Blanche ».  This one is covered with a mousse de chocolat  with a fondant heart of caramel, cookie of cacao with a point of salt. 96€ for  8 persons.

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme ,here Fabien Berteau, Chef Pâtissier du Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, created a dessert in Art Nouveau poetic style. This  bûche is a mix of flavor textures with a cookie of sweet almond, covered with a fine white chocolate garnache and  absinthe, with a cream of vanilla from Tahiti. Bûche de Noël 6 parts, 110 euros.  You need to ordered it at +33 (0) 1 58 71 10 60.

Shangri-La Hotel Paris, the  Chef Pâtissier du Shangri-La Hotel Paris, François Perret, has created the  traditional bûche in a sleight of papa Noël . Cissel in the black chocolate, the deers go around a forest of pines decorated with a silver leave. La Bûche Enchantée du Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, 5 persons for  108 euros.  You can try it as well at restaurant La Bauhinia  up to the 25 December .

Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, here the chef Jean-Yves Bournot du Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal has created a  bûche de Noël  inspired by a giant glove, 2,60 m high byr 3 m wide,done with a sugary recipe compose of garnache au chocolat  on a mona lisa cookie. Give for  4-6 persons for 60 euros.

Le Mandarin Oriental à Paris, chef pâtissier Pierre Mathieu  inspired by the white peaks created this  bûche with the association  for each an  Everest. The base is almond streudel, posing on top of it creamy mousse au caramel. Limited supplies from Dec 15 to 25 2014 at the Comptoir des Pâtisseries  and with reservation 48h in advance. Price of 118 euros  for 6 persons.

Ladurée, sign off by the  Ladurée house this bûche is done witha sirop of rum and vanilla, enclosed in a heart of creamy green lemon and  puff pastry, as well as battered cream of vanilla. price  97 euros for  6 -8 persons. Available from December 16 2014.!collections/collections19

Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, the collection for  2014 at the Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris proposes a new salty  bûche de Noël, « RUBY ».  Created by  Laurent André, Chef Exécutif  of the hotel. It has  foie gras in a pan with vinager and raspberries. 110 euros for  6 persons. Available to take home with 72h advance notice at the restaurant  La Cuisine.

The Westin Paris, my sentimental favorite and chef Ken Thomas, created a graphic bûche with the flavors of exotic fruits such as ice fruit from passion fruit and orange enrolled in a milky chocolate. All put in black chocolate crumbled base with zests of orange and salt flower, covered with a golden leave.  6 -8 persons for  65 euros. Direct sale to take home by order at 01 44 77 10 20 until December 20. We did and here they deliver ::)

Trianon Palace, right up my old alley near the Château de Versailles,and the cake inspired on the gardens of the castle with a triangular pine and arabesques in black chocolate. On top some scoops of chocolat, covered with jams and a green camaïeu symbolising the wooded bird cage showing the elegance of a French garden. There is also the gourmande ball in candy attach to the pine tree to offer. Price bûche 70 euros for 8 persons. Available from December 15. The ball of  Noël, price 12 euros.

Peninsula Paris, here the Chef Pâtissier du Peninsula, Julien Alvarez, takes its inspiration on the architecture and elements of the building to createbûche de Noël limited edition call  « Christmas Leaves ».  Price 120 euros,for 8 persons.  ON sale by advance order in  48 hrs from December 22ne to December 28th 2014.

Arnaud Larher , this  bûche represent the sleight of papa  Nöel,created by  Arnaud Larher. It is composed of a cookie streudel of almonds, a crusty praliné with  nuts with black chocolate cream  70 % cacao ,and a cream chantilly of gianduja hazelnut. On sale on the boutiques of Arnaud Larher,and by internet from today Price 78 euros.


La Maison du chocolat, the marvelous bûche here is a fine chocolate with nuts,  mousse au chocolat pure of  Venezuela, a chocolate génoise with cacao syrup and praliné fondant of nuts and eclats of chocolate. Price 95 euros,for 6- 8 persons. Available from Dec 21 to é’ 2014.

Enjoy the desserts  , the Bûche de Noël is the best family tradition of France.

December 7, 2014

Christmas at Rochefort en Terre

Well,  it’s that time of the year again, my best really. Love to be around, walk ,drive visit those wonderful Christmas markets in beautiful France. We are doing it a bit different this year.

Usually we go out far away just before the Christmas season, this year, we decided to stay local before and try the ones around us, and then after Christmas spent our end of year in between at La Rochelle.

Yesterday ,after some shopping in Vannes, we headed to the fairy tale city of Rochefort-en-Terre in our Morbihan dept 56.  The tourist office is here with a nice video of this magical period.

We were here last back in Dec 22,2013, see the entry here, and back before on other trips.

The town is magical at any period with lots of medieval merlin the magician ambiance. However, at Christmas time is it a  must folks from all over even foreigners come here , the place is pack and live. We came this time a bit later to take advantage of the night lights, and park at the entrance to the town in the free bus company parking lot of Maury  on the street that walking five minutes will take you right to the center of town!

However, if no car, you can take the bus No 9  from Vannes here, Line TIM  Vannes/Questembert/Rochefort-en-Terre, schedules here

Also, you can come by train to Questembert ,and then taxi to Rochefort en Terre or bus no 9 as above.

The rest is easy walking up and down, and side ways on hilly Streets all fully lit ,and decorated with creches, and Christmas trees out on the Streets, and markets, and vin chaud (hot wine) and Suchard chocolat chaud (hot chocolate Suchard), and the traditional Breton kouign-amann  sweets.

The town is full of families and plenty of strollers, pack the main street in a festive festival atmosphere, good for the soul and family life. It is a must, you must be here ,in my opinion, the best in Brittany.  And of course, one of the most beautiful villages of France yeararound,

Enjoy the magic and spread it anywhere you are. Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers; may the spirit of Christmas stayed with you.

Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre Rochefort en Terre



November 30, 2014

Salon de la Gastronomie Vannes 2014

Believe or not, this is a major event here, and after 3 years in the area finally went to it this morning. I guess to much to see and not enough time ::) . Talking of the Salon de la Gastronomie et des Arts Culinaires.

This year’s theme was Portugal and its wonderful culinary traditions. There a big stand from products from there especial the area of Sétubal, and singing Fado music all day long. The food is prepare on site and can be tasted on refine tables with white tablecloths. The event is held November 28-30,and Dec 1st. 5€ adult admission, and on the wonderful Parc Chorus of the Parc du Golfe, exposition expo Hall A.  Hours are from 10h to 19h with Dec 1 to 18H. There are over 100’s exposants and food to eat on site, also ,a cooking school of the Gulf of Morbihan.

You get here by car from expressway N165 take exit D779 Grand Champ go in the upper traffic circle direction le Port, Conleau, parc des Expositions, continue following this name and Conleau, and you hit the Parc du Golfe where the Chorus expo center is located.  The official webpage is at

You have set up mixing vendors from all over France, divided into drinks, meats and by meats, fish and seafood, sweets and candies, fruits and vegetables, non food items (such as tableware), other misc food items (such as spices, crêperies), organisms to help the needy, restauration, and cheeses.

The stands are made that you can walk in alleyways corridors with a big semi moon area in the back for music fado and bands, tables set up restaurant style.  Of course ,we grab our basque cheeses and cherry cakes, the Champagne for the end of year from Verzenay, near Reims ,Champagne Gdome pére et fils,, and wines from our Neighbors in the Loire at St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Vignobles de la Rodaie,, and of course our plate combination for the raclette!!!

Enjoy the bounties of France, UNESCO world heritage inmaterial site for Gastronomy and Wines!!! Cheers

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November 30, 2014

Christmas is coming, Paris is Christmas, so is France!


Needless to tell  you this is my favorite time of the year. Regardless of your religious inclination, the lights, actions, events, festive mood all around is magical. It seems the folks awaits this time to bring out their best. We enjoy every single season ,and for 10 years we were at Versailles with Paris as our background.

Now for the last 3 years we have been in the Morbihan, Brittany and as normal the country is more subdue. However, see next post and you will see it all begins here too.

For now, let me give some of my favorite places for goodies in Paris and some new ones,there is always time for new places to enjoy the Bounty of France.

The chocolates of the rive gauche or left bank will leave speechless if you try one of our favorites ;Jean-Charles Rochoux, he does marvels with creating chocolate expressions of Christmas or Noêl, this year is the bears in tune. You can get to him at 16 rue d’Assas,6éme Tél.: 01 42 84 29 45. webpage at

For artisanal confitures, those wonders of Jelly and jams, you must search, find, meet Catherine Manoël ,making wonderful confections in the Gard and then the Aube region and now store in Paris ,you know is good when you have Paul Bocuse as Customer !!! (and you know who is Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest chefs in the world); See it at Comptoirs des Confitures,  :The Paris store is represented at 13, rue d’Aligre, 12éme, at the Chocolaterie d’Aligre; Tél.: 01 43 40 34 45; webpage at

And of the new ice cream places found in Paris, coming from South Corsica, is that of Pierre Geronimi, and his L’Arbre de Café at 10, rue du Nil, 2éme. Tél.: 01 84 17 24 17; the flavors are out of this world and many innovative ones like the chatâigne ice cream ! webpage

These ones you can find at the La Grande Epicérie, 38 rue de Sévres,7éme, tel. 01 44 39 81 00.  Coming from Australia and New Zealand, resembles a kind of pickle which would be filled with small translucent beads to taste like candy, close enough to the grapefruit. William Ledeuil (Ze Kitchen Galerie, life) associates it with ginger in a carpaccio of saint-jacques, Olivier Roellinger scattered its oysters and Jean-Louis Nomicos proposes all new Franck pay-per-view (Vuitton Foundation) in the form of sea bream and carrots marinated, Lemon Basil citrus and caviar. Just wonderful goodies found of an all time favorite, webpage

And ,of course you need to eat at Poilâne Paris, this year the nice biscuit figurines of deers are the return. Get it at 8, rue du Cherche-Midi, 6éme. Tél.: 01 45 48 42 59; webpage

If you mingle your cooking with Italian specialties, from the Maison Fracassa,  you will find the goodies of Alessandra Pierini  at RAP, 4 , rue Fléchier, 9éme. Tél.: 01 42 80 09 91. not far to your left out of gare st lazare and then left at Fléchier;  webpage

For oysters we got some challengers where we live now, but back in Paris we had try the delicious oysters of the island of Mersea (Essex) Oysters Saint Honoré, result of an Oyster tradition over three centuries, are high for three years in deep waters, and then refined in the estuary, which gives them a subtle salt content. Generous, fleshy, firm and crisp: so authentic.  The place is a laberinth of goodies of all sorts and was closed to my business routes. You need to take a short metro ride to Terra Gourma at  79 rue Voltaire ,Levallois-Perret 92  webpage

For spices and oils one of the tops there is the Maison Thiercelin (since 1809) ,where even the vinagers are great from herbes from the mediterranean and Northern Africa. See them at 3, rue Charles-François-Dupuis, 3éme. Tél.: 01 44 78 96 74: webpage

And to close this culinary ride on a more American mode and Floridian to boot, why not Burger King! They are coming back in force, we were at the first one in train station or Gare St Lazare, and now more at la Villette, Alésia,  and the newest one from November 26th at  124, rue La Boétie,8éme. There are in already in other cities in France , at Créteil, Calais, Marseille, Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Reims,  and Beaune with hearsays that the first in Bretagne will be at Brest. Franchise in France part of the group Bertrand.  The site is Under construction here still, :however with the groupe Bertrand there are in good company having some of my favorites names such as La Gare, Angelina, Brasserie Lipp, Au Bureau, Charlie Birdy,as well handling the restaurant side of Au Printemps , Le Petit Pavillon and et Le Manége, in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, Rest’o, Atmosphére, Biosphére in the La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and Palais de la découverte. Le Carré des Invalides, Inside the Musée de l’Armée – Invalides. The Le Café des Marronniers Inside the Jardin des Tuileries. The L’Atelier Renault Café in the dealer office first floor in the avenue des Champs Elysées. You are in good company

Enjoy the seasons to be merry,and an early Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, and Joyeux Noêl to all.

November 25, 2014

Nice museums, not seldom seen, and of course they are in Paris!

The idea of coming to Paris and see muséums is in the mind of many, and they have even gotten a special museum pass.

The Paris museum pass will let you see many museum for a one price depending on the days you want. I always said if it is at least 3 ,the pass is Worth it. And it goes beyond Paris too. See the link.

Therefore, I went to look for these muséums that are very good but seldom mentioned by visitors. Here they are:

At the heart of the Marais, the mansion or hôtel de Donon,  XVIe is a square building with a rectangular court and interiors of the  XVIIIe acquired by  Cognacq-Jay ,that have been redone by Christian Lacroix and its presenting costumes from the time of  Louis XV .Musée Cognacq-Jay at 8, rue Elzévir,webpage

Adolphe and Clémence d’Ennery had built a mansion close to the  bois de Boulogne to put their collection of Asian arts, more than 6300 objects now on the building done in 1875.  Located at  59 avenue Foch, you need to reserve in advance to get in with a group of min 15,once they have it you can visit,  email :, The Musée d’Ennery is hosted by the Musée Guimet ;

It took Ary Scheffer who received all of Paris from the monarchy of july to  Delacroix, Rossini, Sand, Chopin, Gounod, Tourgueniev, and Dickens. Some furniture, paintings and object of arts remaining from George Sand. The baron Taylor , Charles Nodier (1780-1844),friend of Balzac, Hugo, Vigny and Lamartine, passion for the heritage give notion to the story behind the work ” Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France”.  And this give rise to the Musée de la Vie Romantique at 6, rue Chaptal  webpage at

By the place de Fürstenberg, passing a porch in a paved courtyard on the first floor (2nd US) of a brick building and stone was the apartment of the last years of the romantic master Delacroix still with its second empire cachet. It has 350 sq meters of space! with a rotating 1100 work of arts 150 at a time. The détails of his trip in 1832 to Morocco and Algeria are now on display.  The Musée Delacroix located at 6, rue de Fürstenberg ,webpage

It is here that the Baron Taylor, a man of giving and culture man of Belgian origins, host the artists in need from 1844.  Completively renovated last year the building of five floors was enlarge offering  250 m2 of exposition space open to the public. Until December 13 there is the work of 3 artists on display ,that of  Thibaut de Reimpré (painter), Lavinia Aubry (sculptor) and Michèle Atmann (engraver). Located at 1, rue La Bruyère , the webpage for the Fondation Taylor,

A the Bibliothéque Fornay,  belonging to an industrila man of the  XIXe , Samuel-Aimé Forney, that bequest to the city of  Paris a set of work dedicated to education of artists. Here there are 230,000 volumes dedicated to the graphic arts, and fine arts with technical manuals from the XIXe, postal cards, and millions of painted paper samples , etc. It is located at 1, rue du Figuier , Hôtel de Sens, webpage

One of the artists places in Paris that still can be say it is intact is that of Ossip Zadkine, of Russian origin come to Paris in  1910 to the same address as the museum today. He worked on the house from 1928 to 1967, with his wife Valentine Prax.  She bequested the house to the city of Paris  located at rue d’Assas , and it opened to the public in 1982. Musée Zadkine, 100bis rue d’Assas, webpage

And we go the butte or hill, here in Montmartre you find the Maison du Bel Air from the XVIIe, a museum to the glory of Montmartre ,and its bohemian life style open in 1960. Later, it was enlarge with the last month atelier of  Valadon-Utrillo, bringing in the mansion or hôtel Demarne where the father Tanguy  sold its colors to the impressionnistes. Its stairs give to small rooms with paintings of  Kupka, Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Steinlen… etc. This is now hosting until  September 2015 the work «L’esprit de Montmartre et l’art moderne (1875-1910)», evocating the incoherent arts, the Hydrocathes, the Fumisme or the cabaret des Quat’z’Arts and the  Vachalcade. Located at 12, rue Cortot ,musée de Montmartre, webpage ,

Jean-Paul Favand, the founder of the mondane arts and former antique fleas marketeer has put together a treasure. See it at the next Festival of wonders whre the museum will open with Magic Mirror,an old dance hall of the 1920’s from December 26 to January 4 2015. Musée des Arts Forains, Located at  53, avenue des Terroirs-de-France; webpage

One very dear to me spent many visits here, is the Mona Bismarck American Center at 34 avenue de New York. In  1986,upond the death of Countess Mona Bismarck  ,an American passion with Arts and philanthropist activities the mansion became a foundation.  It was the site of many American institutions and now relocated elsewhere. See the discussion around  “An American in Paris ,on Monday December 1st at 19H (7PM) with prior reservation to talk with Christopher Wheeldon, dancer and choreagrapher of the New York City Ballet and  Jean-Luc Choplin, general manager of the Théatre du Châtelet where the musical comedy is playing until January 4 2015. It is a wonderful building bordering the river Seine near the Musée d’Art Moderne, dating from the  XIXe  and with a great deep garden well maintained. webpage ;

The Musée Gustave Moreau, sits away from the crowds and it is one of the most exquisite museum of Paris. It was done in a building from the end of the  XIXe  by the painter himself.  it is done around a colimaçon stair, with shop and living furniture including almost 400 symbolic paintings  It is located at 14, rue de La Rochefoucauld  with webpage at

And the Maison du Balzac, where he wrote the  La Comédie humaine. You see his work office partially recontructed and his manuscripts. Located at   47, rue Raynouard, webpage at

As told Paris is a movable feast, you will never see everything, but can’t say I did not told you so ::) Cheers

November 17, 2014

A birthday is a birthday ,my twins are 21!

Well just a short entry to tell all, today is my identical twin boys 21st birthday. All hard work and we arrive at adulthood for real, not that 18 is not but to me 21 blackjack is the magic number.

We celebrated on Saturday last, as more time than a working day. Starting in the market or marché du samedi in Vannes.

We got our wines and cheeses here, and our favorite Nicolas store, which is right in the middle of the Saturday market area of place du poids public;

We continue with a nice afternoon of bowling at Le Master parc du Golfe,

Continue on the tattoo place by the Cathedral Saint Pierre, at Buzz Tattoo 11 Rue Saint Guenhaêl, +33 2 97 42 69 21 for the dragon figurines in their arms to be done by early December in time for Christmas lol!!! I never went thru that but times changes and I am a modern men ::)

We came back to have our dinner, and the boys pick a funky chain restaurant we have try here and in St Nazaire as well; the Le Poivre Rouge. It is located behind the centre commercial E Leclerc and the Atlanville shopping zone,

Where we had our red wine and cuts of beef in several ways, at a family price. Who says you cannot eat good here at good prices? We have a bottle of  red Nîmes house wine, plenty of bread and butter, main dish of different cuts of beef ,and duck in espelette peppers, desserts and cafe gourmand dish (small cakes and ice cream with expresso coffee), and water. All for 22€ per person.

And we came home, happy and good. Ready for the the Holiday season. Cheers y’all ::)

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November 9, 2014

The high Brittany or haute Bretagne in Vitré

This is an area that needs more visits, haute bretagne or high Brittany sits in the marshes of medieval times that were the frontier into the dukedom. Vitré is gorgeous and has more porch houses than any other in France!  The town is one of the Arts and History designation, 3 flowers towns , and best detour de France désignations 2012.  It is located South east of Rennes in departément 35 Ille et Vilaine. The tourist office for the town is at  and the department regional tourist office on Vitré ,


We left home early by 8H as the town is about 2Hrs from our home. We took the N157 from Rennes into the D777 to Vitré by car is easy. The day was raining at home both ways but at Vitré it was wonderful a bit cloudy but no rains at all ::) Goes to show you when people ask us about weather,,huh? do not worry  just come and you will be surprise.

We knew the château de Mme Sévigné was closed for rénovations but we went to see the outside anyway, it is about 5 kms from Vitré on the D88 direction Argentré du Plessis, and right around the golf course of des Rochers. Nice horse country road and pity the rénovations, I past by here sometimes and family was looking forward to see it but it will be next time. It traces the story of Mme Sévigné in Brittany , this is at the château rochers -Sévigné, and the property extend to include the golf course.

We came back to city center Vitré, where we hit right on the Church Saint Martin, imposing on a traffic circle that lines up with the historic center of the town.  The Church was closed but it is imposing and overlook the entire Church can be seen from many places in the city.  The other nice Church was that of Notre Dame; nice Church with beautiful chapels ,not much in tourist office but needs to see closer to the castle ,,104-.html

You have the wonderful laundrymat or pré lavandières by the river VIlaine where the wash clothing used to be done; the many wonderful wooden houses and porches the most of any city in France! the wonderful chocolate and pastries shops; we had our lunch at Le Chene Vert, 2 pl du Général de Gaulle diagonilly across the train station of Vitré, great tagliatelle with scallops mushrooms and all others with porto rouge as apéro,grimbergen beers, coffee expresso for less than 16€ a bargain.

We got our baguettes, pastries in double chocolat and strawberry caramels, éclairs, tarte à poires, etc at La Petite Marquise, here  ; we had some chocolate sticks filled with fruits in chocolaterie Le Derf which we have one closer in Vannes, but they are delicious anywhere. They are here

We went into the train station(gare de Vitré) as always helps to know how others get here ::) the station has link up with Rennes to go to Paris Montparnasse by TGV, and it is small but full of ticket machines, snacks, photo,copier, and nice walk in counter on your right as you entered.

One of the thing , in fact only second to the castle ,that we love is the jardin du parc or garden of the park, right at the entrance of the historic center, and very near where we park at parking place du champ de foire. This was a noble land that was taken by the city in 1867, and it is even now considered an eco garden designation. It has pagodas, huts, kiosk of music, wonderful lawn gardens , huge wonderful curved trees, and just a pleasure to be and walk; nice in the city center.,173.html

And of course, the last but first is the Castle of Vitré or Château de Vitré, this is one of the most remarkable fortress in city center in France, and it is very nice richly decorated and fair admission of 4€ adults. The whole castle is in a parvis that once belongs to a monastery. The castle is done with huge walls surrounding it, and a huge courtyard, now housing the city hall or city govt offices, and a museum up the tour Saint Laurent across the ramparts to Tour de l’Argenterie and finally the tour de l’Oratoire. Each room is name after a famous personality related to the castle. I have been to the city hall on visit not tourism, and this time took the family so we saw the whole thing,and it is a must to visit here and Worth a detour just for it. The museum is loaded and richly shown with nice clean détails of life back then. There each room has a motif related to it like the Salle des Marchands d’Outre Mer saw how the merchants of the old French post lived, then Salle Henri de la Trémouille retraces the founders, Salle Claude-Etienne Savary, with silver utensils, Chapelle Seigneuriale in the tour de l’oratoire or prayers tower with religious objects of great value, Salle Raoul David with paintings of the master with many scènes of castle life, chemin de ronde, a small cozy space for family life and heated; Salle Aimée des Nétumiéres, tapestries and uniform of French nobility. Richly wonderful, Worth the detour for it. You can continue by going along rue Pasteur at no 15 the museé Saint Nicolas with many more items than on the castle and the old building of the monastery of Saint Nicolas today a training center educational organism.

We were genuingly impressed with the city layout, cleanliness and joyful ambiance. In addition, the rich historical values in the architecture and visiting places. It has a wonderful hippodrome or racecourse too, evidence of the rich horse tradition here, . The area out into the road D777 closer to the N157 is a city full of shopping centers  with almost every imaginable store leisurely outside the city center, centre commerciale de la Vàliére et Barataine etc, there is a good map of what I am saying here,

In all , we will be back. And hopefully we can meet in Vitré ::) Enjoy your Sunday! Cheers.

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November 5, 2014

Some news from France XCIIII


ParisOn a cold, gray night in Bretagne, that is Brittany or even better Breizh, let’s talk about coffee and my favorites Paris haunts.

I took this idea because I came back just last week from Brazil,and visited a farm where the owner had coffee trees, and was able to roast some for me, well 4 kilos !!! that is about 9 lbs of coffee, and we just try it and well , it is delicious!!! So what about those places here that I used to go for that wonderful cup of coffee , expresso or café au lait, or capuccino or mokaccino ! And voilà Le Figaro had a piece on them so here it is.

It started out as a partnership and now there is one left. It also ,used to roast its own coffee and now takes it from abroad  such as Has Bean (England) and Koppi (Sweden) but the flavorful coffees and the service remains the same.  Télescope, 5 ,rue Villedo, 1er, open every day except Sundays from 8h30 to 18h (M-F) and 9h30 to 18h30 (Sat).

KB Café Shop.  This used to be the  «Kooka Boora», just in the area of  South Pigalle with a big terrace by the roads of Trudaine/Martyrs. The roasted coffee comes from the la Brûlerie de Belleville,but also from abroad such as  Square Mile (England).  Also, serving Scones, granola ,and fruit juice.  53, avenue Trudaine  and 62, rue des Martyrs ( 9e). Tél. +33 01 56 92 12 41. open every day from  7h30 to 18h30 ( from 9h to 18h30 on the weekends).

Some others, La Caféothéque, 52, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4e).

Café Coutume, 47, rue de Babylone, 7e,

Lockwood, 73, rue d’Aboukir, 2e,

Fondation Café ,16, rue Dupetit-Thouars, 3e),

Fragments ,76, rue des Tournelles, 3e),

Loustic 40, rue Chapon, 3e) ,

and Boot Café,19, rue du Pont-aux-Choux,3e).  And of course,we ,also have the coffee roasting houses.  Belleville Brûlerie 10, rue Pradier, (19e) Tél. +33 09 83 75 60 80; and one near Paris, but close to my Versailles is Pfaff & Cie.  40, avenue de Poissy, Triel-sur-Seine (78). Tél. +33 01 39 74 82 69. simply awesome, missed it.

Price for coffee in Paris is very disperse, you can have it at luxury places like Fouquet’s for 8€ or simple places likeFolies de Belleville for 1,50€. Café de laPaix 6€, Le Train Bleu 6,10€, Café Marly 5,50€ , and the Starbucks at 1,95€. However ,if you drink it at the counter you can lower these prices considerably and even get it for 1,30€ aroundRivoli, like the CaféL’Imperiale.

Some good ones near me are Brûlerie Alre, 8b, Rue Jean Marie Barré, 56400 Auray (for beans)  and the cafe le Petit Port, 7, Place St Sauveur,56400 Auray,

Brulerie Saint Patern 4 rue Saint Nicolas 56000 Vannes ;

and a site in French listing all the coffee roasters or torréfacteurs in France part of the comité Français du Café,

and the Brooklyn Café right inAtlanville Vannes,one of my favorite haunts here and you can see me .

So enjoy coffee, its great after a great meal or even in the middle of the day for a work break, great amongst friends because no alcohol so more politically correct drink. Have a cup tonite, I know I will soon and from Brazil ::)


November 1, 2014

Country Brazil, State of Sao Paulo

One of the benefits of work travel is to be able to go back to places you have been and like. This is the case of Brazil. A wonderful country full of ups and downs, intrigue, beautiful ,and sometimes not understood. My trips lately have been to inland State of Sao Paulo, where the most famous city is Sao Paulo. However ,I go inland to the country towns of Paulinia and Descalvado.

More on Paulinia here,  ; and more on Descalvado,

And the tourist site for the State of Sao Paulo,  where the two cities are base.

I come into Guarulhos airport and have driver to take me to hotel in Paulinia the Ibis.  The airport official site is here very modern and has all facilities. My hotel was Under renovation but the chain French is very good.

Here reunited with friends one of them not seen in 20 years!!!! It was indeed a memorable event, we ate at the Estancia Grill in Campinas near on the side of Paulinia, it was the usual churrasqueria with meat cuts , salads, and drinks, nice family ambiance, and decoration country style.

We drove the wonderful rodovias of the State of Sao Paulo such as the Banderaintes to the town of Itapui, nice ride and great driving in the country. We took advantage of the rest stops or posto de serviço of the Graal chain, with all the trimming.

I then move on to Descalvado, this is really deep country with so far the only hotel in the area Hotel Descalvado,  A historical building dating from 1888, see site, , it has AC , breakfast and a nice park across the street, as well as the main Church Our Lady of Bélem.  You can read about the Church here, in Portuguese,

We had our dinner with friends at choperia Caneçao in Descalvado, cuts thin slices of beef and breaded seafood with nice chopes or beers in the terrace right next to the road, nice ambiance, relax, and friendly service . The best site could find them is here, goes to show you the locals knows best.

On this trip had to transfer in Madrid, so again try the T4 to T4S terminal train on Iberia, that was very nice trip, got my seats, and ahead of Schedule both ways !!! here had my usual airport lunch at Mas O Menos on the way to Brazil in T4 ;  and on the way back try the Eating Point at T4 too, here

Who is to say to really enjoy the city you need to have plenty of time, for me coming into Madrid even the airport is already nice to be back to the city I love and once lived for four years of my younger life ::)  Brazil as well been there so many times and including periods of 3 months at a time so always enjoyable to be back and this time meeting again a friend that ocean and distance has kept us with little communication. However, what are friends for, it proves the real one, stays with you forever no matter where you are.

Enjoy the photos and until we go out again, next month. Have a great weekend everyone. Cheers.

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