Posts tagged ‘Bretagne’

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 XCIII


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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October 4, 2014

My aller retour à Paris or goings and comings!!!

Usually do not like to mix business and pleasure but sometimes I get the itch to tell my routine. The routine is wonderful as it may allow me to see great places and some very dear often. So on my last trip I decided to tell a bit about my rounds… First, it was raining hard towards Concarneau today but once there it was clear and nice, town pack after been name to the top 10 list of the preferred monuments of the French by a Survey on France 3 television here. Life goes on as usually great in our life’s journey. I was even able to locate a lost cousin in Chicago, IL USA!!! now the family is located all over our wonderful world.

I need to go to Paris for a couple of days on a business meeting , something I do almost every week but hardly ever tell. I love my car always a road warrior and on these business trips they send me by train yikes!!! never got used to them at all. Even the metro do not like, prefer to walk or the bus in town. However, business obliges and as all is reimburse by the company have really no choice.

The company books the train or plane, and the hotel in advance direct billing , I do not need to advance anything. If a car rental is needed once in a blue moon, it is also direct billing. Therefore, I have to go on public transport when on business. Even if I have try to negotiate going by car lol!!!

I have my TGV 1er Class electronic ticket loaded into my SNCF Grand Voyageur frequent traveler card (compliment of all those business trips) so is paperless.

My nearest station from home is out of Auray, it is small but nice size station train and bus, and counters and restaurant, relay store, avis car rentals, and hotel and resto across the street. I love to come early and see the train, TGV and TER Bretagne. Killing time is at the bar resto Le Tire Bouchon (corkscrew) where a nice Grimbergen blonde will always do wonders to the waiting time. And some nice chats with fellow travelers. Sometimes, If I go with collègues than we go out of Vannes, a bigger station with paid parking that is not to my liking;prefer Auray . The station at Auray in English SNCF site is

The time is usually around 3h20 to 3h40 to Paris Montparnasse. The stops are always Vannes and Rennes, and sometimes we do stop at Redon, Vitré, Le Mans ,and Laval. We arrive in Paris by the berth 1 thru 7 always, this time it was berth 3. the Gare site in English is at

I indulge a bit there sometimes stopping for a refreshing beer at brasserie Océane on the ile de France lines level almost leaving the station. This time my hotel happens to be across the square at 59 blvd du Montparnasse Hôtel Terminus Montparnasse.

As one of the bad points of business travel is that you do not choose your hotel, so this one was convenient and full of restos/bar around, some of them my favorites when used to have an office nearby in rue de depart. However, this one was very Noisy ,even the water flushes were heard and showers, the breakfast limited in a small room, and of course the room small with Windows given to a tree full courtyard that you could see the kitchen from your window! Not the type of hotel I would recommend personally or with families. Like i said, the only good point is that it was across from the Montparnasse transport hub and right between resto Montparnasse 1900 and La Marine, institutions in the area.

I need it to be by the tour Eiffel side,as my business office for meetings is nearby and its always a good opportunity to see the steel lady. Great views on the window of it and the Invalides dome as well. Getting there I take the metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim as it is an above ground train ride most of the way.  line 6 pdf file here

The return is always sad , au revoir Paris encore un fois. Saying goodbye to Paris again…. TGV Montparnasse thru Rennes, and Vannes this time to Auray where my car is waiting for the trip home of 20 minutes.  The lunches on business are done in the top floor of our building club house with views of the roofstops of Paris (en route for nomination of UNESCO world heritage site) with grand style and wines so can’t complaint here is done French class style. Even if missed going out to the wonderful restos of Paris.

And another trip ,sometimes for a day or two ,sometimes for 3 ,and less times for a week at a time. Until next time, mid month passing by CDG on my way to Prague. Time goes nicer when you are having fun of living in la belle France. Cheers.

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September 28, 2014

Some news from France XCII

And here we go again, its the Fall season ,the leaves are changing and the days are mix, cold early mornings late night and warm daytime. lows of 7C and highs of 22C, but sunny. The company convention over and now work begins with travel to far distant lands next month but first its Paris again and Montparnasse as well as Tour Eiffel areas. October seems like a good month ::)

Now what is to do  to do to do, well good bargains and great brands can be found in Paris friperies ( used clothing), those wonderful stores selling good bargains if you know what are looking for.  The favorites over the years well,

Free’p’Star, mondays to Fridays from 11h to 21h and Saturdays and Sundays from 12h to 21h at  8 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie,  75004, tel +33 01 42 76 03 72;
By Flowers, Mondays 14h30 to 20h30, Tuesdays to Saturdays 11h to 20h30 ,and Sundays  14h30 to 20h30.
86 rue des martyrs,  75018

The Kilo Shop , Mondays to Saturdays from 11h to 21h at two locations, Marais :  69-71 rue de la Verrerie
75004, and Saint Germain : 125 boulevard Saint Germain,75006

The two locations of Guerrisol at 19 avenue de Clichy  75018,from 10h to 19h30. tel +33 01 40 08 03 00, and at  96 Boulevard de Barbes, 75018,Marcadet from 10h to20h.Tel +33 01 53 28 10 70

Rag et Vertiges , open Mondays to Saturdays from  10h to 20h , and Sundays  12h to 20h at 83 (Rag) and 85 (Vertiges) rue Saint Martin 75004 tel +33 01 48 84 34 64, and Rag, 81 rue Saint Honoré Louvre Rivoli
75001, tel +33 01 40 28 48 44

Fripes Ketchup at 8 rue Dancourt – 75018, tel +33  01 42 51 96 33;
La jolie garde-robe at  15 rue des Commines – 75003; Tuesdays to Saturdays from   13h-19h30 or by appointments. Tel +33 0142721390
Mam’zelle Swing at  35 rue du Roi de Sicile
 75004 open Mondays to Saturdays 14h to 19h, Tél. +33 01 48 87 04 06, email
Iglaïne at 12 Rue de la Grande Truanderie 75001  Métro : Etienne Marcel, open Mondays to Saturdays  11h to 19h,  Tél +33 01 42 36 19 91, webpage
And been Parisien, if you want to make love, these are the best spots ::) so romantic lol!!! in Order, Parc Monceau, Jardin des Tuileries, le square de la place Dauphine,le jardin du musée Rodin,and jardin Tino Rossi along the quais of the Seine. Voilà and don’t say I told you so…
And something wonderful along the same lines … The Institut des Lettres et Manuscrits is showcasing for the first time in France, one of the works the most explain in the French literature : le rouleau autographe des 120 journées de Sodome ou l’École du libertinage. Something like the autography roll of 120 days of Sodome or the school of gaité, freedom of acts. It was written in  1785!!!,  on a thin paper roll by the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) while he was held prisioner in the Bastille. The document survived the taking of the fortress and on this year of its bicentanial of the death of the writer Sade ,it is shown to the public. From now to January 18 2015. Open every day except Mondays from 10h-19h, Thursdays open to 21h30; admission is 5€.  21 rue de l’Université, 75007. Metro Solferino or Rue du Bac.  Tel +33; official webpage here
And the Venerable institution of the Jardin des Plantes of Paris is celebrating the 220 years of the petting zoo, or ménagerie with exhibits and events thru January 5, 2015. From its beginning in 1794, the historic zoo has welcome many animals that some became famous. The Muséum d’Histoire naturelle or the museum of National History puts out the lights today with the program expo of Animaux célèbres de la Ménagerie, or famous animals of the zoo.  They will be exposed with a series of drawings, newspaper clips, post cards, photos and models. Open every day except Tuesdays and May 1 from 10h-17h. In summer it is open until  18h the Saturdays and Sundays, admission is 3€.  Metro Censier, and Dauberton line 7, webpage
The Centre Georges Pompidou de Paris will have an exposition from October 8 to January 26 2015 for the first time in Europe of the work dedicated to  Frank Gehry, one of the greatest figures of contemporary architecture and the most renown of the 20C. webpage
Musée de l’Armée de Paris, will have an exposition from October 15 to January 25 2015 on the look from the front in WWI so that the contemporary see the reaction from those already in the front, how they saw the war, what have they have shown and why? Interesting retrospective.  programming still in French at Invalides,
And during the whole month of October, at the Galleria Sylvan Gilles de Maria, at  51-53 rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île ,which is the famous Hôtel Chenizot, outside the business name is L’île aux images, there will be an exhibition on the île Saint Louis!
And last but not least, having worked in one and know them all, what are the best bars in the palace hôtels of Paris? Well as you might know the Crillon and the Ritz are still Under renovation opening in 2015. For the rest in competition this is the list of Le Figaro,in order:
The bar 228 of Meurice hotel, bar of Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme, bar of Four Seasons George V, bar long of Royal Manceau, bar of the Bristol, bar of Plaza Athénée, bar of Shangri-là, bar 8 of Mandarin Oriental, and bar Kléber of Peninsula hotel. I would add the Bar Hemingway of the Lutétia,,bar bulles of the Grand Intercontinental,and Bar Tuileries Westin (old Intercontinental);my old job. Salut; and enjoy your Sunday.
September 18, 2014

wines and more wines, the foires are on, wine fairs in France

This is the period of the wine faires or Foires du vin in France. Being a wine drinker, aficionado, amateur, lover, collector? , and former wine store manager I am always in love with wines. Water is for the agriculture ,wine is for the good health.

Some good quotes; “One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.”
Charles Baudelaire

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
Louis Pasteur

and my favorite, “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”
Ernest Hemingway


I rather go to the properties themselves and have some in the Médoc, around Amboise, Clisson near Nantes, and the South west near Gaillac, as well as pays basque with the jurançons. However, as one cannot be always on site even if live here, we do go to the Nicolas stores to shop my wines as well as online from the Baronnie of the Mouton-Rothschild family.  A representative presentation of some of my house wines ::)

store Nicolas, have in Vannes and Lorient, but Customer of the one in Vannes

and La Baronnie,

of course , here there is heaven so many so much choices, and so good quality wines ,it is like well heaven ::)

The new year will be exceptional according to my latest report from Bordeaux, such as “caught up with the heat deficit in August by a month of exceptional September”. Started by places early September, the harvest of white grapes, representing 12% of the blend of the 112.600 hectares of the wines of Bordeaux, including late harvested sweet wines, in the middle of month full swing. The harvest of red grapes are planned from the last week of September”  And that is for both colors white and red.

Enjoy the wines of France, no matter what they said the others are copies these are the real thing. See the grapes ::) Cheers

plu chateau bel air lalande de pomerol 2011 sept14 plu chateau de Chizots fleurie 2012 sept14 plu chateau de navailles jurancon 2010 sept14 plu Chateau Haut La Pierriere 2011 Castillon Bordeaux sept14 Plu domaine de la Morandiere 2012 Chinon aug14 plu lupe cholet bourgogne hautes  cote de nuits 2012 sept14






September 14, 2014

Returning to Quiberon , always grand!

Today was a wonderful day sunny with 24C temps or about 75F, as Sunday, the family took a ride back to one of our favorite areas, but since so many of them ::) took a while since January. This is summer still here lol! the beach was full but parking was ok offstreet and free . Quiberon is only about 40 minutes by car from my house so it  should be visited more often, it is grand.

For a reminder, the tourist office official page is here

We went by car, and stop at nice Plouharnel ,which we have passed by and in city center but this time went to their beach. Nice clean beach, althought more suited for surfers and kites folks ,lots of waves; the rest was nice.  Their tourist office official page is here

We ,also, stop by the old chapel of Ste Barbe which has a history of the chouans rebels that were here camping with Gen Cadoudal back in 1795; they fought the French revolution. As many led you to believe that it was a revolution on the king and period, it was longer than that and not totally wipe out the resistance than in 1832. Before all the combattants were given pardon and titles given back. More here,

Quiberon is a peninsula (it reminds me of the Florida Keys, my old hangout years ago), there are beaches on both sides and a military fortress as well, a railroad line from Auray in summers and the rest connected by the departément 56 TIM bus service on line 1 from Vannes, passing by many communities; the Schedule now is here  in pdf file

We try to find free parking and Varquez square was full, the train station we left behind so we found street parking for free on Sundays by rue du Port de Pêche not far from Place Varquez andthis street takes you straight to Port Maria and the cruise terminal or gare maritime. The station takes you to the Belle-île-sur-Mer, île d’Houat, and île d’Hoëdic.  The Compagnie Océane does this service, the dept tourist office tells you,

Once in Quiberon, we did our usual things, walk up and down the grande plage area, full of shops, restos, pubs, and people. We got into the 14th Balade Solex Club Quiberonnais, folks in old bicycles with costumes ludics. An event done here with lots of local interests and joined in by some tourists still left behind … more in French here ,

We had our usual lunch away from home on the beach at the Grande Plage or big beach, the center of it all. There is a resto bistro right on the sand call Fisher’s Club, we had our beers, and tapas of red peppers with goat cheese, calamar in its sauce, ham and cheese rolls, codfish fritters, with a great look at the beach, grandiose!!!  Very nice cool place , to relax by the sea, sublime, and even kids space to boot. classic on the beach of Quiberon, go to gallerie to see more photos.!restaurant/crrl

For dessert, we went over across to the Quai des Glaces or Ice wharf  parlor to have our 3  and four balls of ice creams like marc de bourgogne, pruneaux d’armagnac, strawberries for me with churros or chichis as call here. At the place du Hoche just going down to the beach at Grande Plage. Wonderful friendly service always , great ices and the four scoops any flavor  at 4,40€.no webpage.

On the way back , I stop at the dolmen Mané Kerioned on the D768 road between Auray and Plouharnel, always pass by it and see, this time took pictures lol!! The stones here dates from more than 3500 years BC. Its a group of 2 dolmen stones standing side by side facing South, and a third one facing them; the longest one you need to kneeled but it is 10 meters long below the surface. It has several engraving hard to decipher even today, these were burial chambers….impressive. The dept 56 Morbihan tourist site has more in French,

Again, another wonderful Sunday in the Morbihan, Departément 56 of Brittany, France. And now ready for work,reports,and annual company convention in near Paris. I have to say, I had my birthday yesterday, and was loaded with bottles of wines from my son’s. It took them over 20 years but its nice to get something back finally ,I am thrill !!! Enjoy your Sunday. Cheers.

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