Posts tagged ‘Bretagne’

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.

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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

 Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes


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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 ::)

 Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes  Vannes


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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 ::)


October 26, 2014

Some news from France, XCIII

Here we are in the middle of the Fall season, cool,gray but no rains! Just back from latest escapade and now tomorrow out again this time to Brazil for a week. Before that, let me tell you some of the latest  happening in my lovely country of France, with especial interest on Paris, bien sûr ::)

First, something past, the recent finished FIAC event at the Grand Palais and the docks of Paris was a great success and a rebirth of sort to the wonderful art of today.  This was the 41th edition and had 191 stands from 26 countries.  The Docks is the Cité de la mode et du design where about 60 stands were put up with representation of 13 countries.  The art work was carried into other parts of Paris such as the Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin des Plantes, the Museum of Natural History, place Vendôme, the boats berges on the river Seine, the auditorium of the Louvre, école des Beaux-Arts de Paris,and Silencio at the ground level next to the Seine of the Cité de la mode et design.  A great event in october stay tune for next,

The Samaritaine is coming along ,as political haggle slow down the process of the building permit ,stop ,than re started again. The project is led by the Japanese firm SANAA. It’s a perfect example of the paperwork maze and political rambling of Paris and France in general , that is making progress slow and other cities catch up to Paris’ charm.  Another example is the Alésia cinemas where the urban rules of renovation have impacted the modern techniques of today to do a job of bringing back these magnificent building even in a different twist.  There Is the Grand Paris project ,and It hopes that it will give the necessary push to achieve these projects and continue to maintain Paris at the top of cities to visit and enjoy.  This is the site and it is in English, so be aware of the transformation of Paris ;

Recently Paris magazine published by the Aéroports de Paris had an interview with Stephen Clarke, the English writer who lives in Paris. He came up with areas he enjoys in Paris such as Drouot the antique house at 9 rue Drouot, 9é. The Abbey bookshop with a Canadian owner, where Mr Clarke sold his first book, “God Save la France” 29 rue de la Parcheminerie, 5é; BHV Marais store where he gets his supplies at 36 rue de la Verrerie, 4é; Bassin de la Villette, for walks and petanque game, and the many small restaurants coming up, at 19é. Finally ,the musée Carnavalet, the history of Paris, 16 rue des Franc-Bourgeois, 3é, where I tell visitors to go too, and know Paris rather than the more popular places, here you know Paris,

You need to try the center of Paris-Brest, Saint-Honoré, etc you know those delicious gourmet delicacies of France, try them at Les Fées Pâtissières, 21 rue Rambuteau,4é,  YUMMY ::)

You want something different to stay in Paris? try the Kube hotel, 3 passage Ruelle,18é yes by Montmartre, right in a courtyard patio where the reception is a glass cube! all is black and white with high technology like fingerprint keyboard doors and resto with matching drinks,and the bar well the ice kube all in ice! constant temperature of -18C!

And if going to the Cité de la mode et design is not enough, then eat at Le Playtime, 34 quai d’Austerlitz 13é, right at the foot of the cité, open 24/7 and is a pleasure boat! restaurant, reading room, bar with two terraces, club and concert hall and even a small pool! menu of tapas, meat, fish and vegetable dishes great for me in happy hours!

You want to taste the sublime Beaufort cheeses, don’t go so far, have them in Paris from the coopérative laitiére du Beautofortain just opened a boutique at 9 rue Corneille 6é, as well as other savoyards cheeses too. How about a raclette?

For wonderful pièces of jewerly and watches head for Miller, 233 rue Saint-Honoré 1é, these are pre owned pièces all guarantee from the grandest names at 40-50% off! metro tuileries or opéra and parking Under the place Vendôme; now its your chance to show off the best of Paris at affordable prices;

And if burgers it is, but the grand Paris taste not fast food, then head for Mamie burger no webpage, the first store opened in 16 rue de la Michodiére ,and now one near the Opéra Garnier at 18 rue Saint-Fiacré 2é; the meat from butcher Hugo Desnoyer, the bread from Boulanger Rachel’s you won’t go wrong here. metro bonne nouvelle. burgers from 9€ and midday with fries from 14€ but real ones gourmet, the best.

The next big event is the Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel or like the international cultural heritage fair at the Carrousel du Louvre Paris from November 6-9,2014.  The best for restoration experts and to know in detail these wonders we see, I was there at the beginning of them as a volunteer, and it is recommended for all lovers of heritage historical artifacts from tapestries to paintings to objects of arts.

Until November 2nd, at Giverny, the musée des Impressionismes 99 rue Claude Monet will have the Belgians! James Ensor,Emile Claus, Théo Van Rysselberghe and others showcase theirs 20C wares adding more touches to the impressionists movement.

The boat show comes back to Paris, Nautic at the porte de Versailles from December 6-14 2014. you want to see the latest in boating in Europe ,come here;

The musée Picasso Paris open again yesterday, bigger , nicer, and more than ever, even the attic will be open to show the personal painting of Picasso own collection. The weekend is free this one, then is admission 11€, the Hôtel Salé where it is has been totally renovated for it. At last!!

The musée des arts décoratifs for the 5th edition of the specialise magazine AD is doing a carte blanche to 16 decorators to create and present their wares until November 23rd; 107 rue de Rivoli 1é in Louvre,écoratifs/

Some anecdote of Paris, the coat of arms of Paris shows ” Il est battu par les flots mais ne sombre pas” meaning something like tossed by the waters she does not sink, showing the ship in the symbol of the city since 1853, recalling the roles of the nautes the city powerful river merchants in the middle ages. And you know there are about 30 cities that uses the name Paris from North America, Denmark, Africa to Russia. The city of lights shines even beyond its borders !!!

One building in Paris dear to me because I worked next to it for several years,and it was not only my leisure time for lunches but a place of relaxation at nights and looking at it thru my window every day was magical beyond words. This is the Opéra Garnier de Paris. Of course ,Paris is full of beauty, it seems every building is, but we all have our favorites ::)  You see the wonderful Hall du Grand Escalier or staircase hugely magnificent, with white marbre of Italy mix with onyx and green marbre of Sweden. The Rotonde du Glacier or mirrored rotunda wiht large glass Windows for receptions and tapestries showcasing the culinary arts; the loge de la salle de spectacle or auditorium boxes decorated in gold, stucco,and red velvet, boxes in five floors as lounges for 4 to 6 persons!  The creating of scènes is beyond my humble words, the orchestra seats done with springs and horsehair covered in red velvet ! the Grand Foyer with floors, paneling,chandeliers, gilding of sumptous décorations.  Just awesome!! come to see it quick!!

There is a new University in Paris, or Paris-Saclay, a huge 7 700 hectares park (19000 acres) to be built by 2020. Capacity for 60 000 students and 10 500 researchers in 600000 sq meters or 6,5 million sq feet of classrooms. IT will be the merging of 20 institutions now from the Université de Paris-Sud to the prestigious HEC business school, école polytechnique,and CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research)   As facts to do this, taking from the ranking of universities worldwide (The Times Higher Education ) where the best of France is Sciences Pô and HEC, it shows the potential to attract foreign students here, France gets about 5-10% of the total pool available with the bulk going to the USA.  Paris ranked 2nd in attractive cities to study to first London and 3rd Los Angeles,in the top 10 the other from Europe is Stockholm.  As there is lots of confusion on these rankings the European Union will start its own ranking starting this Fall; this is the groundwork of the régulations from the EU  and this will be the tool to use ,!/home?trackType=home&sightMode=undefined&section=entrance

And who want to walk the petite ceinture of Paris, the little beltway of Paris. It was an old railroad line built in 1852-1869, and closed down in 1993 (except the RER C segment) and long of 32 kms. You can walk on it by Balard 15é, and see the garden or jardin partagés du Ruisseau 18é and my favorite walk in the 16é between the porte d’Auteuil and the Porte de la Muette for 1,2 kms. To where you can go to my favorite resto La Gare (the old station Muette)18 chaussée de la Muette , ;over roads see the portion of avenue Jean jaurés to porte d’Aubervilliers 19é . The Charonne station on rue de Bagnolet 20é was turned into a discothéque La Fléche d’Or (the name of the train that did London to Paris between 1926 and 1972). The old Auteuil station is now the Thai restaurant Mary Goodnight, 76 rue d’Auteuil. ;later in the station of St Ouen will host a restaurant opening in 2015, Le Hasard Ludique, music bar, concert hall, and atelier. and before that an eco bar la Recyclerie.

See the oldest market in Paris at le marché des enfants rouges: 39 rue de Bretagne 3é; open Tuesdays to Saturdays (8h to 20h) and Sundays some stands (8h30 to 17h); some times différences from mayor’s office of the 3rd arrondissement and the city of Paris;but inquire before going,anyway when there I use the morning hours ok.

So now you know, and I know, Paris is it and France is right behind it ::) cheers and happy Sunday.

PAris paris Paris





October 5, 2014

We will always have Concarneau ::)

One of the advantanges of living in France is that no matter where you are there is always something wonderfully beautiful to visit. I am Lucky to have found Brittany, and my regular weekends with the family is to go into these wonderful places even just for a day trip. This Saturday, we went to  Concarneau, recently name by France 3 television of the top preferred monuments to visit by the French people. It is about 89 kms from my house or about 55 miles in the neighbor department of Finistére no 29.

The tourist office is here , and the mayor’s office tourist section is here

the city has a huge amount of parking and a nice train station with regular bus services as well, even on a Saturday their passing was often and regular. We park by the tourist office to be central and there is additional parking in front of the entrance to the ville close.  The train line to Paris Montparnasse is at nearby Rospoden with direct bus service to city center Concarneau.

In town you have the covered market or halles a site not to missed. Plenty of hôtels and restos all along the bay makes it nice for choices. But speaking of choices, the main attraction here is the ville close.  This was built in the end of the middle ages and subsequent rénovations and additions throughtout to 1889.

Enclosed town or ville close  by excellence, the maritime city established on l´ile of Conq: or “the large shell”  was popular in the middle ages as it sits on the shortest  itinerary between Quimper and Pont-Aven. Occupied many times by the English, she submits to Du Guesclin in 1373Vauban made modernize the fortifications of the city between 1692 and 1699.

Facing the land, towers of artillery or Major (to the North) and the Gouverneur or Governor (in the South) bordering the front entrance and the ravelin are reinforced by a liner granite several metres thick in the 16C and the 17C. To stagger the defense-in-depth, Vauban adapts a new gate with drawbridge and ditch behind the halfpipe. Side sea, Vauban endows the enclosure of ducking doorways to the places best facing the entry pass: the Tower of iron horse (tour du fer à cheval) and facing the inner harbour: the new Tower or Neuve.   In July 1695, Vauban himself (he is still Commander of upper and lower Brittany!) was deliver to Concarneau at the Château du Taureau of ammunition to put it in a State of defence. The parapets are raised and drilled slot of shooting while a powder magazine and a new barracks are built (1837). The island of Conq becomes at the end of the 19C a fueling station for the French mobile torpedo boats.

Archaeological excavations undertaken these past 30 years helped to rediscover a typology of embrasures (slits, slits-gunships, gunships, ducking doorways, niches of shooting etc.), gates and posterns… that to better understand the history of this city.  Some of the most interesting aspects of these fortifications are here:

Les Dames tronconic defensive walls impeding the access to the towers from outside. The corps de garde semi circular square to avoid getting to the bridge done in 1694, and the entry point to the ville close today too. The beffroi or belltower done in 1906 houses the clock visible from the city and its emblem. It has walls or courtines of granite with a thickness of 2,5 meters to 3 meters all along the city. The tour du Major, done in 1691 also called tour des munitions or ammunitations surrounded by figurines of breton origins and now shown totaly after excavations around the museum of fishing. The tour du gouverneur, the tour de la Fortune also call tour du masson, the origins remains a mystery, its one of the oldest part of the city. The tour Neuve or tour du moulin à poudré from the 19C, the Tour du Vin, or tour de la porte du vin, cylindrical form and not walled done around the 15C; Tour du passage also known as tour de  Chambertin, Istim or Larrons dates from the 15C. The tour aux Chiens, also known as Tour du port or tour de l’essence, from the 16C. The tour le Fer à Cheval, also known as tour Eperon, it is from the 16C serve as battery canons in the 19C, it was found remains of an older tower from the 13C, it had three levels with the bottom one having a chimney and two Windows; The tour du Maure or moors, also known as tour du connétable done in 1753, still today not found why call like this.

You have a well protected harbor and a huge basin on the other side of the ville close with lovely quaints boats and ships. You can take the bac or taxi boat between the ville close and the passage district 90 cents for 2 minutes of traverse, the smallest boat tour on record. The site from the city in French is here, . Not to missed the wonderul musée de la pêche or fishing museum with wonderful collection of boat models in scale and paintings sea fishing items, lovely  and only 4,50€  on the main street of the ville close rue de Vauban, site here

You have the colorful shopping of the area best fish, sardines especially a major port. Conserverie Courtin is lovely and well stock with delicious stuff, right on the ville close too, ; the wonderful chocolates and caramels of Georges Larnicol ,; the wonderful bargains at Marine & Co all made in Brittany, fashion a la Breton. great polos sweaters, rainjackets at good prices here and all locally made.

Come to see the yeararound festivities of the ville close, this time from Deizekilibre group, chants and performers all thru the town. see the photos on street performers. or the nice promenades at sea from the Vedettes de l’Odet, info here , .

We did not stay at the hotel des Grand Voyageurs as we can do it easily in one day, however, it is a nice place to stay across from Ville Close main entrance and parking just in front at pl du 8 mai 1945.  We did try their restaurant and the service was impeccably great, fast friendly ,and good. The price a menu du jour for 13,80€ including a galette la speciale with ham, goat cheese, kir breton for apero (cider and white wine), a cup of cider brut, coffee expresso, dessert of crêpe chocolate or caramel, and delicious, a find.

Not to forget a delicious homemade ice cream at 4 rue Vauban ville close by FK. Four scoops 4,50€.

We took the road D783 to Quimperlé,Pont Aven, etc glorious trip back home passing the Britt brewery, lol!! at Trégunc , if you want to pick up some on way home, local beer Breton, and the day was another success !!! Enjoy Brittany! Cheers

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