May 20, 2017

Some news from France CLVI

Here to you all surprise ! right before Krakow, there was Paris well always Paris. Some sunny nice day in Paris indeed ,and some great news from the eternal city.

An American in Paris Kristin Frederick from California just started her third restaurant in the city. The GreenHouse, 22 rue Crespin-du-Gast 11eme; just after her previous two establishement Le Camion qui Fume, 168 rue Montmartre 2eme, and the Huabu ,67 rue du Faubourg-Poissonniére 9eme.  Great to have Paris an international city.

You should go and check out the Best barman in the world from a contest sponsored by Diageo after 10K participant, Jennifer Le Nechet of Café Moderne, 19 rue Keller 11eme open Tuesdays to Saturdays 15h and 19h in evenings.

Check out one of my favorite spots in Paris, Paname Brewing Company, 41bis quai de la Loire,19eme.Views on the bassin de la Villette, with big tables and cubes at end of rooms having five boutique beers to choose from in a loft culture style. http://www.panamebrewingcompany.com. The Galeries Lafayette is stepping out until December 31 2017. weekend in style every Sundays from 11h to 19H ;brunch from Angelina, Big Fernand, L’ice cube etc.

See the wonderful harbor or ports of Paris from a bit outside the city the port of Gennevilliers(dept 92). You can have boat rides here too by the tourist office of the dept at 62 route principale du port ,Gennevilliers, metro asniéres -gennvilliers-Les Courtilles line 13 or gare de Gennevilliers RER C. Or the Port de Cergy (dept 95) with beautiful wharfs on the river Seine where I have many lunches working in the area, you can do canoe-kayak pédalo, fishing, and accrobranche, 6 quai de la Tourelle, Cergy ,gare cergy-Préfecture RER A and Line L out of St Lazare. Tel +33 (0) 1 34 24 11 77.  And of course the one inside Paris (dept 75) Port de l’Arsenal ,  just with the Bastille looking at you linking the canal de Saint Martin to the river Seine; and 170 boats enjoy the pergolas and walk the wharfs ; this is at 53 blvd de la Bastille 12eme; metro quai de la Rapée line 5 or tel +33 (0) 143 41 39 32

Two interesting anecdotes, the pool or piscine Georges Valleray, host the 1924 Olympics where Johnny Weismuller won 3 golds in swimming and in water polo, before becoming Tarzan. The pool is one of the rare ones in the city that has a covered roof covering the 50 meters pool. Admission is 3€ location: 148 avenue Gambetta,20eme. http://www.piscine-valleray.fr

Also, the rare and interesting Salle d’Armes Coudurier. Opened in 1886, the oldest fencing club in Paris with keeping its authentic deco. The platforms of one meter wide by 10 meters long. It host many filming events and you can even try fencing in it from Mondays to Saturdays and from 17h to 21h. 6 rue Git-le-Coeur 6eme.www. salledarmescoudurier.org

If you want to buy baseball/softball equipment in Paris, go to the best Diamond Equipment for many years and have visited. You can find anything to play the sports here. A bit tiny  and loaded and if not there they can find it for you. See it at 75 blvd Soult, 12eme or http://www.diamsports.com

If you are in Paris for a while or expats and need help on housework,childcare,dog walking, household and computer repair or just watering the plants seek out Lulu les bons tuyaux , founded in 2005. Charges from 5€ to 20€ per half hour. See more at http://www.luludansmarue.org

Old reliable show at the théatre des Nouveautés, 24 blvd Poissonniére, 9eme see the show How to become Parisien in one hour, by Olivier Giraud.  tickets by calling +33 (0) 6 98 57 45 98 or http://www.oliviergiraud.com

Do you know Paris is vying for the 2024 Olympic Games?  Many sites already selecting for the organising committee trying to convince the Olympic Committee to   host the games competing with Los Angeles.  They have divided the venues into Zone Grand Paris ,those around Paris like the Stade de France,Le Bourget etc, Those in Zone Paris centre like the Champ-de-Mars, Tour Eiffel,Champs-Elysées, Grand Palais, Esplanade des Invalides, parc des princes, roland Garros, etc and those in other zones or stand alone venues such as Arena 92, Zénith Paris, Chateau de Versailles, etc. It will be big and messy if the games are here but also think good for the economy of the region.

And what better place to smell sports than at the Bois de Vincennes parks. It is 3 times Central Park in NYC and covers 10% of the city land; created by Napoléon III covering 7,8 kms of creeks natural and artificial,(3,9 sq miles)  English style in a 10 square kilometers  (4,8 sq miles) space.  It receives 11 million visitors per year! You have fishing, canoe-kayak, cricket etc in a space that hosted the 1900 Olympic Games!  On the municipal velodrome (La Cipale) built in 1896 and renovated in 2015 ready to host the next games….  You have the Théatre du Soleil founded here in 1970 by Ariane Mnouchkine in the old armament factory or cartoucherie!  The Tour de France bicycle race the winner was crowned here from 1968 to 1974 such champions as Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil etc. Here we have the Institut National du Sport or the national sports institute where past and future champions in sports comes out on 25 hectares of land . We cannot forget the nice and famous hippodrome de Vincennes horse racecourse opened in 1863 hosting still prestigious events such as the Grand Prix de France, and Grand Prix d’Amerique.  We all can indulge in the Cafe Casaques for afterworks (happy hours) from 19h to 23h . Not forget the Paris colonial expo of 1931 (where you can still see the pavillon Indochina with a replica of the temple of Angkor Vat) played out here and hosting more than 8 millions visitors you can still see the old Paris colonial expo of 1907 on the western extreme part of the park.  See the temples for Cameroon and Togo  now transformed into a pagoda, and hosting one fo the biggest center of Budha in Europe with a budha statue of 9 meters high ( 14 feet). Of course, cannot forget the Parc Floral or flower park and the Zoo. All magical all Paris

So you are here for shopping, well you are at the king or queen of all shopping extravaganza and the capital of fashion . One area you should come to and not just for eating is the Mouffetard.  You go right into my favorite the Carl Marletti (previous pastry chef of the Intercontinental Paris Hotel (today Westin and see my previous post on it) . the millefeuille where he was crowned the best in Paris are to kill for as well as the mont-blanc etc. 51 rue Censier, http://www.carlmarletti.com

The thêatre Mouffetard and old marionnette theater now a show of puppets masks etc in a 230 seat theater featuring two shows and admission of -8-18€ 73 rue Mouffetard, 5eme more at http://www.theatredelamarionnette.com  ;but also, La Tuile à Loup, 35 rue Daubenton since 1974 the lovely shop has promoted French craftmanship with a top notch selection of tableware, fabrics,pottery, ceramics and  much more.  they ,also ship abroad; more at http://www.latuilealoup.com  To have a drink visit the Cave La Bourgogne, 144 rue Mouffetard for a coffee, glass of burgundy or hearty steak with the Mouffetard market’s lively ambianc as a backdrop. nice.

Continue the tour of Mouffetard with visiting the La Maison des Trois Thés, 1 rue Saint-Médard the domain of master Tseng one of the world’s leading tea experts. Her team advises and guides you thru more than 1000 varieties of teas many aged in the premises.  Also, the Fromagerie Patrick Veron (cheese) at 105 rue Mouffetard, the last independant fromager in the street with over 40 years’s experience defending the raw milk cheeses (of course the best) An inmense selection of goat cheeses,which he ages on premises.

For a broader clothing and accessories selection see Chromatic, 67 and 92 rue Mouffetard since 1992 providing great designer jewerly and quality clothing on both sides of the street.  The library les Traversées (old librarie l’Arbre à Lettres) purchased by the employees and change name in 2013.  Don’t miss their readings and book signings at 2 rue Edouard-Quenu, http://www.lestraversees.com  ; For toys come to the L’Epée de Bois a world of wooden toys since 1945. All French made on wood cloths dolls, and mobiles. the place to find something inspiring for Children. 12 rue de L’Epée-de-Bois 5eme. This is Mouffetard unique!

For something uniquely French try the Henri Bardouin pastis. Winner of the agriculture salon of 2017. An aromatic blend of 65 plants and spices including fennel, thyme,green anis, rosemary, star anis, guinea pepper, cardamon, clove, and south american tonka bean! Can be mix with water as an aperitif as well as summer meals. more here:  www. pastishenribardouin.com

And talking about drinks what about the Les Vignerons Parisiens or parisians winemakers! they are bringing back the Parisian tradition of wine making and its newest winery. The entire winemaking process is on the premises, and you can discover the world of wine through visits, tastings and oenology courses held at the winery. 55 rue de Turbigo 3eme: more here: http://www.lesvignerons.paris

And something unique for those seeking camping cars and outdoor accommodations, see Gamping. It is a combination of offering rooms or chambres d’hôtes in private lots from cabins to plaine lodges etc. you can pick your place on the site app; It already has more than 8000 places in France and abroad from the sea , to mountains, or in the middle of the vineyards to share with the owners meals, walks ,tastings etc. See more about it here: https://www.gamping.fr/

Orlyval is celebrating 25 years !! with modern train wagons and additional signages on all its stations. Showing live time traffic on the RER B and Orlyval lines. The latest addition, the last navette leaves the airport at 23h35 (compare to 23h before) ;so you can take the last RER B to Paris in only 6 minutes! all about it in English here: https://www.orlyval.com/en

There is a new retro game area at CDG airport with 1980’s Video games on a new arcade at T2C, T3,and satellite 5 of T1; Featuring Pacman, Tetris,and Donkey Kong with a free game on each arcade. Retrogaming is the name; and by June two new areas will open at Terminal T2E hall K with 15 machines at your disposal. Passangers played 6 millions games in 2016! wow, it’s your turn!

And this is it for now folks until next time. My travels move me onwards to Brazil where I am now, soon by June more goodies in my blog. Stay healthy be good and keep on traveling Cheers!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 9, 2017

Some news from France CLV

So now we are back to work and waiting for my next trip on Friday next. Today was sunny with temps in 21C or about 70F sunny nice day to be well in France. Some news before my departure! And I was just notify by WordPress, that this is my “Congratulations on writing 1000 posts on Paris1972-Versailles2003!”

You know about the Dordogne in France? and the wonderful river that meanders about ,the Dordogne from its source in Sancy in the Puy-de-Dôme until its arrival into the Gironde.  Some tourist sites to start:

http://uk.france.fr/en/Dordogne

http://www.visit-dordogne-valley.co.uk/

It’s heaven to see the river Dordogne from the tops of the Castle of Beynac and walks the narrow streets of Beynac-et-Cazenac. Some numbers 1,5 million tourists come into the Valley of the Dordogne spending 32 millions Euros, the valley has about 400 000 hectares. http://www.france-beautiful-villages.org/en/beynac-et-cazenac

Some of the things to see here are:

Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac, long kilometers of promenades along millennium old trees settled into a stony park and its cliffs like the Belvédère at 130 meters high. Nice natural setting and one of the most sought after here. More here: http://marqueyssac.com/?lang=en

Of course, the Château de Beynac, from the 13C and 14C, fighting off the enemy from 150 meters high, and films done here including Jeanne d’Arc of Luc Besson. See the medieval times right in your face;unique, a must so visit. More here: http://chateau-beynac.com/?lang=en

Another dandy, the Château de Castelnaud, on the highs as well with a great panorama of the valley, built in the 12C. It has a nice arms and armory of medieval times, and the children can climb on the machines of shooting or catapults to recreate its offensive postures. More here: http://castelnaud.com/en/

Continue to the Château de Fayrac, on the lower end of the river and now own by a rich Texan (USA), and of course closed to the visit but a sight to see, even André Malraux lived here for several weeks in 1944 when he entered the French Resistance after his brothers were taken prisioners by the Nazis. The castle is in the town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle, which is itself one of the most beautiful villages/towns of France.  A bit on it in French: http://www.cestenfrance.fr/chateau-de-fayrac/

and the town page on Les Plus Beaux Villages de France here: http://www.france-beautiful-villages.org/en/castelnaud-la-chapelle-0

Continue on towards the more familiar Château des Milandes, of Josephine Baker lived here from 1937 to 1968 with her husband and 12 adopted children.  She created here in the park a world village and even had a theater, the castle was sold to pay her debts but today it is still a museum of her stayed here/ more here: http://www.milandes.com/gb/

The town itself of Beynac-et-Cazenac is another of the most beautiful villages of France; nestled in a rocky rock, one of the must stops when coming to the region or even passing as I have done several times. The city page in French here: http://www.beynac-et-cazenac.fr/Les-plans-de-situation.aspx

And the tourist office in English here: http://www.sarlat-tourisme.com/en/beynac-et-cazenac

We reach the end of the river Dordogne bend and arrive at La Roque-Gageac another beautiful village of France, and a must to stop by. Old town of the bishops of Sarlat, and was completely fortified with white rock facades and many narrow  medieval streets.Nice indeed.  The city page in French here: http://www.laroquegageac.fr/tourisme

The site of the most beautiful villages of France in English: http://www.france-beautiful-villages.org/en/la-roque-gageac

And the tourist office in English: http://www.sarlat-tourisme.com/en/la-roque-gageac

And the trip back to Paris, you will see the last studio of Eugene Delacroix, the house was founded by George Desvalliéres and Maurice Denis after the end of WWI at place de Furstenberg in the district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. In 1932 the society of Friends of Delacroix made the effort to save the house and turn it into the museum. The museum became part of the National museum title and from 2004 part of the Louvre. The museum is just finished to be renovated, and allow to come intime with Delacroix, but also, Cezanne, Picasso, Gauguin, Bernard, etc. See their work in the exhibition “Maurice Denis et Eugene Delacroix, from the Studio to the Museum” . Until August 28 at the musée Delacroix. More here: http://www.musee-delacroix.fr/en/museum/studio-to-museum/from-the-studio-to-the-museum

And the best Baguette or bread of Paris has just been announce! And the winner is the Boulangerie Brun, 193, rue Tolbiac – 13eme. Open Mondays to Sundays from 7h to 20h, Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

And a new terrace with 1000 m2 name the Papa Cabane, Rue Paul Belmondo, just behind the AccorHotels arena in the 12eme. You will have good music, transats, baby-foot games Ping-Pong tables and a pétanque court. Opening May 11 2017 ,open every Thursdays in summer from 18h to 23h. For now a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/lepapacabane/?ref=ts&fref=ts

 A new promenade will be coming on board in Paris soon. This one to add the ones reserve for the walkers and lovers of history in the heart of Paris. There are some already by the 12eme (rue Claude Decean) , 14eme (rue des Coulmiers), 15eme (lineal of 1,3 kms and space of 3,5 hectares), 16eme (between rue d’Auteuil, and chaussée de  La Muette), and the 18 eme (rue du Ruisseau). Next the runners, walkers visitors and locals alike will be able to run/walk the Petite Ceinture that was during the Second Empire ,the railroad tracks for goods and passengers bringing 39 millions travelers each year to Paris. It is schedule to be useable for  2018, and to open by the 20eme (open to the public by the rue de la Mare and rue Ménilmontant), 14 eme (between the promenade Broussais,and the avenue du Général-Leclerc  near the old train station of Orléans-Ceinture.) ,and on the 17eme (along the boulevard Pereire west of the place de Wagram and rue de Saussure). A special site in French dedicated to the Petite Ceinture here: https://www.petiteceinture.org/

And in French from the city of Paris: http://www.paris.fr/actualites/10-km-de-la-petite-ceinture-ouverts-d-ici-2020-4764

something from my area to keep an eye on are:

Festival des Vieilles Charrues in Carhaix, a crazy musical rendez-vous and now the biggest music festival in France (in terms of spectators). July 13 to 16 2016. More here in French: https://www.vieillescharrues.asso.fr/2017/

Closer to me come see the history and folkclore of Brittany in the Festival InterCeltique de Lorient, the annual Celtic musi and culture get together in August 4-13 2017. And this year the invited country is Scotland! More here: http://www.festival-interceltique.bzh/festival/

Next but not least, see the Festival du Bout du Monde (end of the world festival) a music festival that blends influences from many parts of the world in an amazing setting,the Crozon peninsula; from August 4-5 2017. More here: http://www.festivalduboutdumonde.com/

Ok so cut it short tonite, as will be away from this coming weekend to the last weekend of May so more or less from May 12 to May 28 2017; Poland and Brazil awaits me,and it will be good but tiring continuos trip stop and go. Hopefully will be my last before the big summer vacation break. Until then, be good, help out, smile, and live, life is beautiful but it is short. Cheers

 

 

May 7, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XVII

This is Sunday in the Morbihan, with a special day on a grand weekend. The weather was typically cloudy and cool, and we got some light rain on the way back home. However, very nice vibrant town center indeed.

Today, May 7th is the second and final tour of the Presidential elections pitting Emmanuel Macron, center left and Marine Le Pen, far right candidates. I did my civic duty this morning at the salle (center)  Marie J Le Borgne on my district 6 of the town of Pluvigner. The voting was lively and we got 89% voting last time and expected at least the same this time, great voter turnout in town.

We left our house walking into the voting place and as usual took advantage to take pictures of the town and give you a look of daily life in my belle France. As told to many, living and visiting or expats is not the same thing ::)

Passing on our way by the place St Michel you can see the belltower of our Church St Guigner and the several restaurants in this square.  Many of these already tried and good as well as businesses such our selling real estate agency.

You can see the side of the Church St Guigner on a bend on the road that continues on the road D102 direction Malachap and Languidic.  Finally, we reach the voting place on the center expo events of the town the Marie J Le Borgne where I voted. Funny ,right next to the voting place there is Rivallin SARL which is a wholesale distributor of liquors, wines,and beers !

Doing the duty, we came back walking again, and past the Gendarmerie or national police with a far shot of the belltower of the Church St Guigner again.  The Gendarmerie is a plain white building you see in the picture.

Coming back on rue St Michel, we passed our optician eyeglass maker Optic 2000 in town as I told you yesterday we had our exams done and only one needed to have frames done ! great we see good as a whole!

You will see La Croix Blanche a fine restaurant/bar with hotel rooms great for an emergency in town on any visiting friend or family.  Moving along, we passed by the Stadium bar, the center of sports watching karaoke in summer, and good cheers right across from the place St Michel and our market or marché square.

Moving right along on our way back home ,we passed by our city/town hall or Hôtel de Ville /Mairie which is a nice modern building with Breton decoration.  Right across is the Maison de la Presse or news stand where my father plays the euro million lotto religiously and we sometimes.

You will take a look at the gare routiére or bus terminal space where the boys take their bus no 5 TIM to move into the bigger towns around us. Right across the street, is our Poste or post office building; very good for us that mail a lot abroad.

Passing this, you see the Proxi supermarket where we get our farm roast chicken and sundry items as well as last minute groceries necessaries. And just before the traffic circle on the road D768 corner with road D16 going home you see the photo of Annie Coiffures we the family gets their haircuts!

In all, a nice quiet town with all the necessaries of life and well place between crossroads leading everywhere.  Now winding down at home and ready for another day off tomorrow as Victory Day 1945 is a holiday here, the end of WWII. We plan on going out eat and do the groceries lol:::!

Have a great Sunday you all, and happy travels. Cheers

Well had Monday off, and after so many errands with the family finally decided to try a restaurant we know the owner , very nice and helpful fellow. As I will be away for quite some time traveling to Poland and then to Brazil, I figure to put this wonderful restaurant here.

This is the La Barcarella, brasserie, pizzeria and créperie all into one right by the Church St Guigner. All decorated with pirates and corsairs portraits trinkets and memorabilia that the owner has collected over time and purchase in flea markets! You have a dining room with the bar area and kitchen and then to the right as you entered another dining room. We had chorizo pizza and ham and cabbage, then galettes of chorizo, cheese and egg all wash down with La Goudale  local Breton draft beer, and desserts from banana splits to peach melba to coconuts shell etc. all for less than 16€! Great! So if you ever in town ,need to try it for the good food, prices and friendly chat. More here: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/restaurant-la-barcarella/pluvigner/tabid/8269/offreid/8ed52755-7b88-47f1-80c1-56f9ebb041db/detail.aspx

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May 6, 2017

Brest ,Finistére, a whole lot more than Brittany!

Ok so moving right out as promise, our last minute move was to come back to Brest, in the Finistére of Brittany, Bretagne/Breizh. This is a vibrant busy town with lots of ambiance on any trip we have made here even at Christmas. For the newcomers to my blog, these are the previous posts on Brest:

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/04/brestthe-city-harbor-of-the-finistere/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/11/30/brest-at-christmas-time-marche-de-noel/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/03/09/brest-for-the-seaman-in-you-and-a-lot-more-for-us/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/07/17/brest-2016-the-sailing-capital-of-the-worldfor-a-few-days/

We saw a cloudy day and cool windy, but in Brittany you cannot follow the weather, we set on our car heading on the N165 expressway towards Brest, and found a very nice sunny day with no rain ! We like to park in different parts of the city each time there and this time we decided to park by the Place Wilson not far from the train station and walk all over the city center. You will find plenty of tourist info on the previous posts and many photos too.

Once parking off street by the Place Wilson, automatic parking meter with credit/debit  card allowed even if we just pumped in 4€ for the day. We came back down towards the gardens overlooking the harbor of Brest. There lies a very nice historical monument.

The monument Américain cours Dajot or American Monument built on land given in perpetuity  and free by France to the USA. It overlooks the harbor or port de commerce and the rade or harbor with a rose tower of 50 meters high with three levels in commemoration of the American help in WWI that had more than 800 000 men landed here from November 12 1917 to November 28 1918. Destroyed by the Nazis in WWII it was rebuilt to the identical details in 1958 on land given to the USA by France. Right on the garden and to the right of the monument you see a wall stone plaque with the figurehead of comte de Rochambeau and comte de Grasse, the general (and Count) and admiral (and Count) respectively who participated in the battle of Yorktown ,that finally gave advantage and independence to the USA from UK with the help of France.

The American Battle Monument Commission in charge of safekeeping of  American monuments and cemeteries abroad has more on it in English here: https://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries-memorials/europe/naval-monument-brest#.WQ4VhFXyjIU

The views to the harbor and port are wonderful sublime from the monument Americain indeed; a nice way to begin your visit to the city. One monument in particular I like and a donor is the SNSM ,and at Brest it has its training headquarter. SNSM=Sociétè Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (the National Society for Sea Rescue) . More on this wonderful society here at Brest: https://www.snsm.org/etablissement/centre-de-formation-de-brest

We passed by the Castle this time, a wonderful structure and even better Marine Museum that we have spoked about in previous post above. The coming May 20 is Museum night in France ,and many as this one are free admission. More on it here: http://www.musee-marine.fr/brest

Walking just along the castle you will come to see the pont de Recouvrance ,and right next to it the Tanguy tower ,and its old Brest museum on the history of the city, and the arbre émpathique or empathetic tree right next to the bridge. The bridge or  pont de Recouvrance gives you a very nice view on the old city; looking towards the harbor you see the castle citadel, where the local marine government office and the marine museum as above; on the right bank you see the district of Recouvrance with the famous Tanguy tower and the arsenal that goes to both banks of the river until the bridge or pont de l’Harteloire; this area is mostly a military off limits zone but you can see from above the bridge on its many gunboats, helicopters, and canons.

Walking along past the bridge ,and after seeing the arsenal on the right bank or rive droite you will see the cable car! The téléphérique de Brest or the line C of the local transport network call bibus links the two banks of the river Penfeld that separates the districts of Siam and Capucins. It is the first of its kind in France and started in 2016. Each of its cabins can transport up to 60 persons at the same time. A unique experience for next time as we were short on time on our typical one day flash.  The line C is here:

And more on Bibus network here: http://www.bibus.fr/1/216.aspx

For a relaxing moment and dwell into the local scene need to stop by the librarie Dialogue by the street , Square Mgr Roull and into the rue Louis Pasteur and the shopping artery rue de Siam. A local independent library started here in 1976 and now elsewhere even Paris. Wonderful choices and loving local care for the avid readers; more here: https://www.librairiedialogues.fr/

Can’t missed even for sentimental reasons, the Church or église Saint Louis de Brest. It is now build in modern style as was reconstructed after WWII (1953-1958) on the ruins of the old Church Saint Louis built between 1686 and 1785, and consecrated to King Louis IX or Saint Louis. The Catholic site here: http://diocese-quimper.fr/fr/diocese/paroisses/brest-rade

Then, right next to it you find the wonderful Halles Saint Louis or covered market St Louis. A must on any visit to the city for the local ambiance, the goodies from the French countryside, and the history. They are open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8h30-13h30 and 16h to 19h30, Saturdays from 8h-14h and 16h to 19h30, and Sundays from 8h to 13h; completely renovated in 2016, more in French here on local site with presentation of merchants: http://www.cotebrest.fr/2016/07/01/les-quatorze-commercants-des-halles-saint-louis/

The shopping paradise of the rue de Siam is enormous and always vibrant with great ambiance, a shopper’s delight. You have the big square Liberty where Christmas market is held, and the city hall or hotel de ville next to it the nice Ciné Liberté; the boys had tried one movie here and it was nice if you have time or an overnight stay. All transports from taxis, buses, and trams passes by here. More here: http://www.multiplexeliberte.fr/horaires/

As we love to shop, we can’t avoid going to the Centre Commercial Espace Jaurés on rue de Siam; you have it all even a Printemps Paris store branch, and FNAC, and of course Burger King ! It has 3 levels ,parking and dedicated space for children. We love it because we gathered some sales of up to 50% off and had a nice old style lunch at BK lol!!! More on the shopping center here: http://www.espacejaures.com/

Of course, Burger King is from Florida USA, and so are we so we have to tried them all over and my born in the USA boys loves them. We had to come in for a late lunch before heading home so we did try the Burger King here up the rue de Siam it changes into the rue Jean Jaures right on the shopping Espace Jaurés. In our opinion, the staff was slow and smallist one, not the right feeling, there are other betters ones like in Vannes nearer us. The usual load came to 11€ per person with desserts included. More on this one here: https://www.burgerking.fr/restaurants/q/brest

Still walking, on our way back we stop by the train station or Gare de Brest as an anecdote for the travelers reading the blog as us never take trains here. It’s a nice complex with plenty of restaurants and parking; and a modern station,now with staring in July 2nd, faster service to Paris saving 1h25 in time! More here: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frbes/brest

and the local TER trains site on the same station here: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/gares/87474007/BREST/prochains-departs

Right next to it is the Gare Routiére or bus terminal. Here is more at the transports site for dept 29 Finistére(in Breton Penn-ar-Bed) : http://www.viaoo29.fr/presentation/?rub_code=36&thm_id=37&gpl_id=&part_id=

And we of course, got our baguette at La Fournée à Brest ,more here: http://lafourneeabrest.fr/

And we did some shopping well the other half did for a whopping amount lol!! got a pant and blouse both at 50% off !!! at Eurodif store on same street. This is a nice store we had at Versailles and near us now at Lorient, and Vannes, so we try the one in Brest and it was the same good products, good prices and friendly local service; recommended.  Deco, table items, bedrooms, baths, curtains,lingerie and housewear, accessories, children, and woman clothings. More on the Brest store here: https://www.eurodif.com/boutiques/brest-centre-mode-maison

And all, a nice outing with the family on this long weekend, tomorrow is Presidential election day in France and I will be doing my civic duty here and then football/soccer Real Madrid plays Granada,and Monday is a holiday celebrating end of WWII Victory Day 1945 so off ::)

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are and happy travels, life is beautiful,la vie est belle, la Dolce vita, La vida es chula !!! Cheers

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May 5, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan ,XVIIII

This is an unusual day , Friday night. I am happy to tell you had a day off today and then on Monday we have a Holiday in France, Victory Day 1945 for the end of WWII so so a nice 4 days weekend. Thinking thinking as to where to go, again it is hard to do around here.

We took today to do one of our duties, get our eyes checked. Seeing a ophthalmologist or eye doctor here is not easy, even thus we have ours for the last 6 years, the appointments are far in between.  We had our appointment a couple of months ago, and today finally we went ,all of us at 16h30 or 4:30pm in Auray, only about 12 kms from home.

In my continuing effort to bring to you daily life in our belle France rather than always tourist information ,that we ,also, have a lot here.

At the business park or Zone Artisanale Porte Océane, Auray; you have many businesses. These include Ti Hanok Cinema, La Vie Claire bio store, Feu Vert auto store, Distri Center clothing store, centre aquatique Alre’O, pharmacies, La Pataterie resto , La Bucherie resto, Kyriad Hotel, Super U supermarket, Brico Marché home building store, Darty electronic store, B&B hotel, V&B liquor store bar and many others.

Namely on this side not only we go to our eye doctor but do patronize the restaurants and the V&B, and two particular ones.

The Ti Hanok Cinéma, a great modern movie theater with 5 movie showing houses. All is very modern and with a Breton motif, rather nice. Also, theater and concerts pre recorded are shown. General prices are 6,50€ a good deal here, and easy to reach with the Auray bus service call Auraybus line rouge or red from the train station stops right in front of the cinema, cost 1€. The name Ti Hanok reflects the owners Breton and Korean, with Ti ,Breton for house ,and Hanok , Korean for the traditional Korean houses name. More here: http://www.cinematihanok.bzh/a-l-affiche

Another great site we go especially the boys is the Centre Aquatique Alre’O, this is an indoor pool and swimming balneo center with all the trimming of comfort and modernity. It has a pool of 25 meters by 10 meters with lanes and a depth of 1,30 to 2,50 meters. Also, pool with banquets and floaters with depths of 0,80 meters to 1,10 meters, a pool of waves, toboggan of 70 meters, and a  learning pool of 80 cm to 1,10 meter deep. (For those not using the metric system, one meter is about 3,3 feet).

The balnéo space has a sauna, hamman, spa, and massaging showers. Many activities are done here from aqua gym courses to aquabike, children garden, beginners swim, as well as bike rentals,etc. A whole nice universe for the whole family. More here: http://www.alreo.fr/centre-aquatique-alre-o-534.html

A nice way to kill a day and see your eye doctor indeed as with him we finished by 18H or 6 pm! and now the real planning begins, where are we going this weekend? Stay tune for more.

Enjoy your weekend and be calm for those in earlier hours of our zones. Cheers!

Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray

   

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May 3, 2017

Some news from France CLIIII

So ,therefore, we reach the half way mark of the work week. This one short as off Friday and Holiday Monday Victory 1945 day! Temps are cool in the teen C’s but sunny.

Some of the things happening in my belle France from various sources are back:

You want to follow of my the mythic of Paris , André Malraux , who save many art buildings and help made Paris a museum to the world that it is. He spent his early years at  53, rue Damrémont (18eme) ,where his parents lived, before followed his mother to Bondy in the east of Paris. At the 20’s Montparnasse by pass Montmartre and become the intellectual and artistic spot in the city. Upon his returned from Asia in 1926 he finds his friends at the restos Deux Magots, Flore, and the Brasserie Lipp on the other side in blvd Saint Germain. We see him dined with Saint-Exupéry , Drieu or Arland. He and his wife Clara (they were married on October 21 1921) lived at end 1932 on the  44, rue du Bac (7eme),  a short distance from his office and his editor , where he creates his new novel “ la Condition Humaine” ,and where on March 28 1933 his daughter Florence is born. He meets many personalities here from the literature, politics of France and abroad here. Destiny shows up on August 6 1945 when he meets Général de Gaulle at the war ministry on 14, rue Saint Dominique (6eme), seat of the Council President. The two men creates great chemistry right away, and 10 days later he entered the cabinet of Gen de Gaulle as adviser of culture, and on November 21 , 1945 becomes Minister of Information. Charles de Gaulle returns to power in 1958, and on June 1st, M. Malraux becomes the delegue minister to the presidential council in charge of information.  On January 8 1959, he becomes State Minister in charge of Cultural affairs in the government of  Michel Debré , and has office at 3, rue de Valois, where he stays 10 years. The famous law voted on August 4 1962 as the Loi Malraux (62-903) allows to protect the heritage of France in urban areas preserving their character and architectural unity like the Marais of Paris. He, also, saved against modernist opposition the Hotel Guénégaud (now musée de la Chasse et de la Nature) or the hunting and nature museum; from destruction; the only building built by François Mansart in the  Marais still intact. He died on November 23, 1976 and rest at the Panthéon since 1996 on the side of Jean Moulin. source; Le Figaro translated by me!

And one dear to me because been there and pickup friends coming here from there. The old guinguette Cabassud on pylons over the waters of the Ville-d’Avray.  The same ones that inspired the  impressionists painters and also, Alphonse Daudet and Boris Vian. If you rest your arms on the railings of the park surrounding the lake you see a house with blue roof where lived Corot. The best paintings from the lake now hangs in museums from Strasbourg to  Washington DC. Today you can come to see popular themes shown here on each Thursday per month like May 25th White night, (soirée Blanche). June 22nd ,the  les Paillotes  show you the crazy years around Jazz; July 13 eve of the National Day (Bastille) a bal musette plays with the air of the  Amants de Saint-Jean and the La Java bleue.  Finally, by September, you will have wine tastings of the new millésimes or year of French producers. Go to Les Etangs de Corot,  55, rue de Versailles, Ville-d’Avray (92).Tél. +33 (0) 1 41 15 37 00. Open Thursdays and Fridays  18h30 to midnight ; Saturdays from 12h to midnight; nd Sundays from  11h to 16h. More info here: http://www.etangs-corot.com/

Check this out for those using guides in Paris. About  80 of them are on strike from the company  City Wonders, based in Dublin , Ireland that employs these guide conferenciers as self employed in the big European capitals. The latest strike will be at the Arc du Carrousel du Louvre, to let the tourist and general public know of their situation. It is said that  City Wonders make work in the Louvre folks who have no professional license to be a guide, so cheaper for the company to hire. Buyer beware, Source.  Le Figaro

The great hotel de Crillon is getting closer to open with its total renovation, located at the Place de la Concorde; no photos are allowed now but the folks of Le Parisien newspaper were able to do this reporting I am translating.  the Salon des Ambassadeurs is done, an ultramodern bar is in this historic place , all historical corners of the hotel were renovated and restore to its famous glamour. In the Salon d’hiver, the ceilings a work of art has been restored completely, on the upper level the view is fantastic over the Place de la Concorde. The Salon des Aigles was a great technical knowhow to bring it to its former glory. In the basement, 90 meters long by 30 meters wide, two levels were done without having to move the façades built in 1758!  There is a pool! of 14 meters long, and on the kitchen almost all is done with 7 elevators to bring the meals quicker up. You just need to wait to fit in on its 81 rooms starting from 1 200€, or the 33 suites and 10 signature suites (where two were design by Karl Lagerfeld) at a price not yet reveal lol! This is Paris, more here: https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/hotel-de-crillon

And I have been here and one of my favorites,now a bit of history too. The library bookstore Gibert Jeune ? or Gibert Joseph ?  Two aparts libraries with a history that will become one soon according to the Livres Hebdo, a book journal here. Gibert Jeune was declared in bankrupt and now it seems will be united with its sister library.  The first library opened in 1888 at the  quai Saint-Michel by a professor named  Joseph Gibert, who became a bookstore keeper than librarian. Upon his death in 1915, his two sons took over. However, in 1929, there are différences amongst them and war starts with the company splitting in two  Gilbert Jeune and Gilbert Joseph. The eldest son opened at 60 boulevard Saint-Michel (Gibert Joseph, blue ribbon) , and the brother preserve the family name Under  Gibert Jeune (yellow ribbon).  There became over the years a reference for students where they can buy and sell their books and others like us that came for maps , travel, and history books. More here:

https://www.gibertjeune.fr/

https://www.gibertjoseph.com/

Watch out Ice Hockey players converge on Paris Bercy From this coming Friday to May 18, on the AccorHotels Arena (12eme) will host 30 games of the 81st world ice hockey championship. The rest of the games will be played in Koln, Germany. http://www.iihfworlds2017.com/en/

The accorhotels arena here: https://www.accorhotelsarena.com/en/sports-in-Paris/championnat-du-monde-de-hockey-sur-glace-2017-de-liihf

And a burger story in France from America and no its not the typical fast food names. Five Guys de France are opening next month their fourth property in France short distance from the Opéra Garnier. This is the same spot of my old favorite restaurants now bankrupts Chez Clément, almost across the street from Café de la Paix famous resto. They have a bigger property in the Champs-Elysées ,the biggest in the world, and always super busy. The chain was started by Jerry Murrel from Arlington, Virginia USA in 1986 and the name comes from his five sons who are involved in the business. The first restaurant was Five Guys de Bercy (Bercy Village) last August and they all the most profitable of the business with those of Dubai and New York times square.  And get this France consume 1,3 million burgers just behind the British in Europe…! I try to go to taste them at the Champs-Elysées but the lines were long….so we left. More here: https://www.fiveguys.fr/

The Paris football/soccer team PSG thinking of going to the chateau of Thiverval-Grignon property for their training center change their mind ,now it will be at the 74 hectares on Terres de Poncy at Poissy in the intersection of autoroutes  A13 and A14, to be open by the season 2019-2020.  More here in French : https://www.yvelines-infos.fr/le-psg-a-choisi-poissy/

There are exhibition of the master call « Picasso Primitif », in the museum of du Quai Branly, until July 25th.  More here: http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/exhibitions-and-events/at-the-museum/exhibitions/event-details/e/picasso-primitif-36915/.  And the museum or musée Picasso de Paris has an exposition entitled “ Olga Picasso “, a Russian dancer and first wife of the painter, shown until September 3rd. More info:  http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/olga-picasso-exhibition/

The Norwegian agency Snøhetta created an international art center at Lascaux 4 famous caves a complex of 11 500 m2  that house the center, a giant replica of the prehistoric site old of 20 000 years. Done on an exact replica of the cave and with a temperature of 13C (about 54F)  and a lighting to resemble the original light in the cave. It has 6 salons showing the whole history of prehistoric men, open since the end of 2016 but officially opened last March . More info here: http://www.lascaux.fr/en

The Fondation Cartier reopen its door after the renovation were done with a wonderful exposition entitled « Autophoto » , the automobile photograph from all angles since the early 20C by the great names, all until September 24th; more info here: https://www.fondationcartier.com/en/art-contemporain/26/exhibitions/2644/news/2779/autophoto/

And we are cutting time from next July 2017 coming and going from Brittany to Paris. this is the new line of LGV all the way to Brest. Time to discovered this town sang by the poet  Jacques Prévert , that is hosting the 40th anniversary of his death.  The where the fresh wind, artistic, and architecture, blows in his hidden heart… OF course , some increase in fares are in order too! The LGV will allow to bring Rennes to Paris in 1h25 from the current 2h04. The price increase will be from 4-6€. More info here: http://blog-tgvatlantique.sncf.com/feedbacks/149930-decouvrez-projets-horaires-2017-Bretagne

You can discovered the city of Brest (see my other post do search) and the best value are the Oceanopolis aquarium or the marine museum in the castle.  the oceanopolis has a new pavilion call Bretagne, see more here : http://www.oceanopolis.co.uk/

http://www.musee-marine.fr/brest

Some anecdotes of Brest: You have heard of the  « tonnerre de Brest »  lighting of Brest, it comes from the noise that was made with the canon shot to announce the attempt escape of a detainee in the harbor. You have heard of Jean Gabin, that made a film there “Remorques“,and asked that his ashes were disperse in town harbor that was done on November 18, 1976.  The American lieutenant James Reese (and his musicians of the 369th infantery regiment) who was the first one who played jazz in France to the public while the American troops landed in December 1917. 800 000 American soldiers landed at Brest during the First World War. The famous cake Paris-Brest ,created in 1910 by a pastry chef from Maisons-Laffitte (dept 78 Yvelines!!) in honor of the bicycle race linking the two cities ; that explains the form of the bike wheel.  The Quartz, the national scene of Brest, one of the most frequented in France.http://www.lequartz.com/

One recommendation for lodging, do the historical hotel of Brest, Le Continental. Art Déco and rooms from 68€. http://www.oceaniahotels.co.uk/h/hotel-le-continental-brest/presentation

or another favorite property the  Le Mercure Brest Centre Les Voyageurs, all new ,rooms from 70€.  More here: http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-A4A5-hotel-mercure-brest-centre-les-voyageurs/index.shtml

Other than those already given to eat ,in previous posts, the restaurant  Le Ruffé, of Thierry Beauvy and Jean-Michel Faijean has been recommended to me and will try all with local produce and meats in an modern décor.  Menu from 19€  More info here:  http://www.le-ruffe.com/

Enjoy France is all a movable feast ::) Cheers!

 

May 2, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan ,XVIII

Yesterday was Labor Day here, the international one, and we had the day off. Thinking what to do on a general Holiday, last minute,is a tough issue. The temps was not good lots of rains, cloudy, cold, so so what to do…

We could not stay home as it is not us, so we went out somewhere along the road. It took me from my town on road D102 to the great religious town of Sainte Anne d’Auray and see that beautiful Basilique de Sante Anne again is always a pleasure ,just for starters. Of course, I have written in details on it before, see the photo, and just to give you the official link here in French: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/

We rode down to the coast and beach town of Larmor Baden, on the road D101 ,then D316, this is best known for the boat ride to see the Cairn de Gavrinis a huge stone monument that they have not figure the date on it yet, and it sits right on an island of the same name off the town. I have written on them so will give you the official links here in French : http://www.larmorbaden.com/tourisme/sites-a-visiter/ile-de-gavrinis

and more in French from the department of Morbihan tourist link: http://www.morbihan.fr/gavrinis/

Unfortunately, on this holiday ,there was hardly there ,then a few diehard venturing out to see the Cairn by boat on a windy, cold, and rainy day. Restos were closed!

So hungry and nowhere to go as our head were blank, we came back home. However, we thought of the always reliable Auray and the Saint Goustan harbor district full of restos and bars, and the river Auray and the castle ruins, and oh well , again written much about it so will give you their tourist page here in French: http://www.auray.fr/auray/architecture/saint-goustan/

and the dept Morbihan here in French: http://www.morbihan.com/accueil/decouvrir/le-morbihan/les-incontournables/saint-goustan-port-d-auray

And just for an apéro or friendly drink to appease our sorry sort of going out we stop at old reliable L’Armoric, the best ambiance bar in Auray right by the river and next to the old stone bridge. Here we had some beers like the Breton Duchesse Anne (in honor of queen and duchess of Brittany Anne) and of course my gang had other beers and some croque-monsieur and croque-madame sandwiches of ham and cheese toasted. Just great for the home arrival, soft landing, easy living, after all this is France, la vie est belle, the joie de vivre, la vie en rose!!! yes indeed it is;Cheers and have a great week. ok ok here is the link for the bar, and we had about 9 euros per person ::) http://www.larmoric.bzh/

Of course, you can always ride the little train or petit train at St Goustan ! http://www.auray-tourisme.com/le-petit-train-du-loc-h/auray/tabid/8280/offreid/be4cbca7-36c2-40e7-85e7-5aa9a046ec23/detail.aspx

Short one for me as off Friday,and holiday again Monday so another great four days weekend coming up lol!!! Life is beautiful. Cheers folks! oh yes tonite the Champions league, the greatest Real Madrid vs the wall of Atletico de Madrid, the Spanish derby in Europe, we rule !!!!

Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Auray Larmor Baden Larmor Baden Larmor Baden Ste Anne d'Auray

 

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May 1, 2017

One more time, Retiro park, Madrid!

Again and again, the Retiro park is magical in Madrid. It is the place to be for visitors and locals alike and my childhood park par excellence. My mother will take me here for strolls and boat rides , that are still the norm of many families.

El Parque del Buen Retiro has been written before in my blog on several occasions so won’t dwell on it too long.  Just the tourist office of Madrid on it: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

There are many facets to the park, and even thus most guides tells you to see in one day, you really need two if wants to know all its history. The Retiro park is mythical, romantic, adorable, a big green space in the middle of Madrid, and a past time for many generations of families ,including mine.

I could not be by Madrid without stopping by at Retiro and see every corner of it if not in one passing on the next. The park has remained the same, like a photo of history, and that of Madrid.

You have the popular palaces of Velazquez and Cristal, the fisherman house, the gardens and the sports fields of Chopera as well as that lake full of boats. I visited some spots this time.

However, let me give you some anecdotes of the park. In 2001, the city hall of Madrid decided to empty the lake to fix a problem of water loss. They found 192 chairs, 40 small boats, 41 tables, 3 garbage containers, 50 mobile telephones, umbrellas, wallets, pairs of shoes, and many others!

In 2010, the underground works in the area known as the «las Estufas»  boilers,, it was discovered two tunnels of bricks of unknown origins; a canalization of water from Arabic time around the 10C, part of the installation of the Royal Factory of Porcelain of the reign of Carlos III and the trenches fortifications of the Napoleonic troops or of the Civil War are some of the thesis for these tunnels.

In the older days swimming was allowed now only boating is done, on water temperature of 4C at midday.  In the movie, the “Circus World” in 1963, the city empty the lake so the filming can be done in the middle of the lake. Actors John Wayne, Rita Hayworth ,and Claudia Cardinale.

The lake as was known as the Big lake of Retiro or the “Estanque Grande de El Retiro”, as the official name was built by king Felipe IV to recreate naval battles where he himself participated. The artificial lake is 280 meters long by 140 meters wide and a depth from 60 cm to 1,80 meters. Even with this depth many incidents of suicide were attempted.

It has ,also, an impressive tree such as the Ahuehuete also known as Mexican cypress ,planted in 1630. It is located in the Parterre section where you can see it going in by the calle Alfonso XII. the tree measures 25 meters and looks like a candelabra as from its base many branches very thick comes out.

You will see pictures of the Bosque del Recuerdo ,done in 2005  as a garden inside the park to remembered the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11 in Madrid.  It is a wonderful garden indeed and worth the detour in the park to see it.

You will see the Egyptian Fountain of the Canopian god  or better known as the Egyptian Fountain; this is the Fuente Egipcia del Dios Canopo,( Fuente Egipcia), a monumental fountain erected in the last part of the 19C to enhance the sides of the big lake in a neo Egyptian style with traces of neo classical.

You will find caves like buildings with a devilish figure on top or strange figures; these are several all around the old Casa de las Fieras or wild animal house which was part of the old zoo in the park;now it is a learning center keeping its wonderful ceramic tile work in the Jardines del Architecto Herrero Palacios or garden of architect Herrero Palacios.

There is a famous fountain to the devil there or Angel Caido, fallen angel, but the one I like is that of Alcachofas, or Fuente de la Alcachofa. This one was raised in the last part of the 18C  facing the old vallecas gate or Puerta de Vallecas, and passed on to the Retiro park in 1880; there is a replica in bronze in the Atocha square in 1986.

The boating in the lake is wonderful and very highly recommended to all visitors, and will have the opportunity to mingle with locals as it is very popular. In my days ,you could rent paddle boats, foot pedals and oar boats, today they are all oar boats for rent. There is a small house on the extreme left facing the lake to rent them; rentals 6€ weekdays,8€ weekends. And, the men do the oars ok ::)

Another wonderful garden inside the Retiro park is that of the Jardines de Cecilio Rodriguez (for many years the park’s gardener) ;this is by Paseo Uruguay in the park. You will see here many things including the fuente de las Gaviotas,(seagulls fountain)  and the wonderful figure statue of Venus , and see the colony of Peacocks there.

The entrances by avenida Menendez Pelayo are very nice such as those by the Puerta del Niño Jésus or Puerta de Murillo as well as the Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez. The Paseo del Duque Fernàn Nunez is name after the first Duke who had a castle nearby there ,and gave the land for the the park was turn into a Royal grounds and finally made available to the public in 1868.  Right on this paseo or street you will see the before mentioned fountain of the Fallen Angel done in 1874 on request by the duke in turn.

The Puerta del Niño Jésus, is located on the square of the same name where you entered the Paseo de del Duque Fernàn Nunez  that takes you to the  Rosaleda (rosary garden). Before reaching the Rosaleda see an old building from 1850 with a tower that is the Castillete Metereológico (sort of meteorological  small castle) ,inside ,it was installed the first optic telegraph of which depended from the Real  Observatorio Astronómico (Royal Astronomic Observatory).

And ,you have the Puerta de Murillo, by the Calle de Alfonso XII; this is an access gate to the park  with an wrough iron gate that takes you to the municipal sports complex of La Chopera inside the Retiro park. This area is known as chopera for the black poplar trees found around it. At La Chopera sports complex you can practice Handball, Football, Indoor Football, Football 7, gym, paddle, Tennis, and Basketball. I played football. Soccer when a boy and could not find a better park for it.

In all , again, a magical place of my magical Madrid, a great city, great ambiance, very friendly, plenty of choices and great food. Not to mention, darn, the best park around, Retiro park. To many enjoy your Labor Day, May 1st ,off day for the workers. I go back tomorrow, but another 4 day weekend coming up lol!

Cheers y’all. Hasta pronto por Madrid.

 Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid  Madrid

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May 1, 2017

Madrid and my Bernabeu and Elipa!

Two memorable parks of my youth one and of always the other, without them Madrid will be just another city in my world map. I grew up there, playing baseball in the Elipa and part of the Real Madrid organization in Benjamin division at casa de Campo, the old training and field grounds ,then became a Madridista for life and Bernabeu is my second home.

Another chance to be by Madrid and of course, could not resist in stopping by even if there were no games just been around these places is special to me. Lucky enough to be able to be back and see them often.

The temperature was nice and sunny around the 23C (73F)  in the afternoons and going down to 10C  (50F) in the evenings. A nice way to walk the city.

I first went to the Elipa park or the Parque Municipal de la Elipa; this is part of my district where I used to lived in the 70’s. It is surrounded in the north by El Carmen (near mine in Quintana) neighborhood , east by the cementary La Almudena (of Cathedral fame)  , to the south by the neighborhood of Moratalaz, and to the west the avenida de la Paz (or the beltway M-30) . It is part of the neighborhood of Ventas (of the bullfight arena monumental fame),and the district is Ciudad Lineal (same as mine), in Madrid.

I always came here by bus in my times it was the P13 and with the new EMT Madrid transport of modern Spain, the numbers were change,and now is the line 113. In 2007, (finally) ,they open a metro line 2 La Elipa , that is at the intersection of the streets avenida del Marqués de Corbera and calle Santa Felicidad.

I played for a team sponsored by the Real Madrid FC organization with the same name in a league of about 8 teams, most of the equipement was provided by the US air force base at Torrejon de Ardoz. Some of the teams I remember other than mine were, the Rayo Vallecano, Atlético de Madrid, Condepols, Piratas, Abraham Lincoln school, and the US air base team. The Spanish were learning the sport of Baseball and it was fun to be able to teach as well as played.

Today the Madrid baseball/softball federation is base there with a training school and the sports field has been enlarged to offer programs in Basketball, Baseball, Football, indoor football, musculation and gym, swimming, padel, tennis, table tenis,and Volleyball. Also, a batting cage for practices batting the baseball,and nudist zone. More info here in Spanish from the city (sorry for the length) :  http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/El-Ayuntamiento/Deportes/Centro-Deportivo-Municipal-La-Elipa?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=f6b842be9971c010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=cb1a171c30036010VgnVCM100000dc0ca8c0RCRD&idioma=es&idiomaPrevio=es

And the Madrid baseball and softball federation org is here: http://fmbs.org/

And in Spanish what the Real Madrid baseball club won, the best of its time as well ! https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secci%C3%B3n_de_B%C3%A9isbol_del_Real_Madrid_Club_de_F%C3%BAtbol

I walked from my hotel along calle del Pez Volador and calle del Dr Esquerdo along parque de Roma, you see the Spain tower of television and radio RTVE, a sight indeed, and then crossing the passarelle bridge over the beltway M-30 (that was just finished when I left Madrid in 1974 for good), and into the street on the other side turning left you go to a traffic circle and then see the signs for La Elipa ,follow it and you are there in 15 minutes! A memorable trip and photos that now I can show my sons until August which we will be back and can show in person. memories forever of my Madrid!!!

Of course, on the way back with time between flights, left Madrid T4 terminal to go and pay a visit to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and a chance to have lunch by there. The Real Café Bernabéu was closed for lunch already to headed for the restaurant TGIF in the La Esquina del Bernabeu building by the plaza del Sagrado Corazon,and avenida Concha Espina.

Real Café Bernabeu link: http://www.realcafebernabeu.es/

The restaurant was great as usual and I ask to hurry up as needed to get back to the airport and they did it very fast, my burger, bacon and fries and a jarra or pint of Mahou Cinco Estrellas Madrid beer; all with a nice view of the square or plaza Sagrado Corazon.

The TGIF link: http://www.tgifridays.es/restaurantes/fridays-bernabeu

Before,had my walk on the mythical stadium. The link: http://www.realmadrid.com/en/santiago-bernabeu-stadium

The tourist office link in English: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/santiago-bernabeu-stadium

I have been to the stadium several times over my life and never enough. I always dream of living not far from it and just spend my times there , around and inside…. It is what the true fan wish for all our lives.  Did you know that Don Santiago Bernabéu’s  mother was Cuban from Camagüey? And that he had no child from his wife(since 1940 who died in 1987) Maria Valenciano! http://www.corazonblanco.com/wiki/don_santiago_bernabeu

Why we name the stadium: http://www.realmadrid.com/en/about-real-madrid/history/presidents/santiago-bernabeu

History and description of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, http://stadiumdb.com/stadiums/esp/estadio_santiago_bernabeu

When I go , always go for the Fondo Sur (south) bleechers by the avenida Concha Espina, you can have the Fondo norte(north) by the calle Rafael Salgado, lateral Este (East) by calle Pedro Damiàn, and lateral Oeste (West) by Paseo de la Castellana. A quick walk around of the stadium before buying your ticket will give an idea.  There are four towers around the stadium with tower A between fondo sur and lateral este , tower B  between fondo sur and lateral oeste,tower C between lateral oeste and fondo norte and tower D between fondo norte and lateral este. You then have zones, in each section divided in six levels from those in the fondos closest to the field, to tribuna, and antitheater’s or theaters three laterals and four fondo with the fourth fondo the most far away from the field.

To read your ticket see the numbers : you have the puerta or gate to get in, then the color to show the section ,like mine are Red for fondo sur.Green is fondo norte, Purple for laterals and Blue for the tribunes and preferential seating.  Then the ticket show the vomitorios or exit lanes, this is the passage that takes you to the bleacher’s and tribunes, antitheater etc by which you walk to leave the stadium once the game is over.

Then, you go for your sector seating, this is a 3 digit number on your ticket usually with a letter. Once you reach inside passing before reaching the bleacher’s you need to go to your sector; these are divided in lanes or aisles so the even numbers are on your right and the odd numbers on your left; easy up to now ::) The first number means your level up the ladder in the stadium zone you purchase, the second number  and third pinpoint the seat so the first number may means high level, the second number tribune, and the third number a antitheater. If a first time, can be confusing but there is always personnel around to help you find your seat at all times.  Finally, there is your seat number indicated on the ticket and on each chair! easy I said.

Now arriving in Madrid ,how to get to the stadium? again easy all roads lead to Bernabéu! I have use them all and the car is still best ::) Only you need to be there early underground parking available or nearby. Then, you can walk from your hotel -2km is a good walking distance here go ahead! Then ,for the more social transport folks there is the cercanias or suburban trains, where you will reach the station Nuevos Ministerios from C-1, C-3, C-4, C-7  or C-10 trains. Afterward you can walk about 10 minutes or take the metro line 10 to Santiago Bernabéu stop . You have last I counted 7 bus lines passing by the stadium such as No. 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 ,and  150. And of course, the metro/subway/tube on line 10 Santiago Bernabéu go up on the stadium exit (see picture) then once out turn to your right and see the Stadium!!! If you arrive from other city in Spain usually by Atocha then take line 1 metro to stop Tribunal, and the the above mentioned line 10.

Ahh tickets to the game , the official Real Madrid site is the best  and sure; see next game Champions league vs AM is from 80€ and up: http://www.realmadrid.com/en/tickets

Other reliable ticket places are ticketbureau here: http://www.ticketbureau.com/real-madrid-tickets/

or ticketmaster here: http://www.ticketmaster.es/artist/real-madrid-cf-tickets/28065?language=en-us

I have good experiences with ticketmaster and Real Madrid sites, never use ticketbureau but friends tells me is ok too.

By the way, I was in A Coruña in a bar (see previous post) where saw the Real Madrid winning 2×6! and now they have beaten Valencia 2×1, and tomorrow there is the first game of the Champions league vs Atlético de Madrid!!Hala Madrid!!! for all the glory in football/soccer and basketball we won the derby vs Estudiantes and in Final Four of Europa! Hala Madrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are looking for a hotel for a game there, or just to see Madrid away from the tourist hordes, than I recommend the one I have always use when in town for a game; Holiday Inn Plaza de Carlos Trias Bertrán, 4;link here: https://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/madrid/tojsp/hoteldetail?qAdlt=1&qBrs=6c.hi.ex.rs.ic.cp.in.sb.cw.cv.ul.vn.ki.sp.nd.ct&qChld=0&qFRA=1&qGRM=0&qIta=99600594&qPSt=0&qRRSrt=rt&qRef=df&qRms=1&qRpn=1&qRpp=20&qSHp=1&qSmP=3&qSrt=sBR&qWch=0&srb_u=1&icdv=99600594&siclientid=1964&sitrackingid=889438144&dp=true&glat=SEAR

sorry again for the long thread but I am not technical lol!!

To eat, there are plenty other than the above mentioned places you have the La Esquina Asador Sidreria and Zen Market in the Real Madrid complex. Also, Alduccio, Jose Luis ,Tony Roma’s, Gelateria La Romana dal 1947, Bar Campanoli, Lateral, and Restaurante L’Albufera to name a few walking distance that I had tried over the years.

In all, near the Nuevos Ministerios transports hub you have an El Corté Inglés department store and an FNAC electronics/books/cd store that is a good spot to be around these two for shopping. Closer to the stadium you have the AZCA  or Moda complex of stores. links here: http://www.modashopping.com/

In all, this is Madrid, and with the famous Bernabéu in tow and the true local Elipa to see the real living of the locals, you will have the best of both worlds and appreciate Madrid even more. I am enjoying my Labor Day May 1st off at home and now ready to go out for a spin.

Cheers y’all!

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April 30, 2017

And again Madrid, never enough, Madrid to heavens ….

I am lucky enough to come back to Madrid often in the last few years. I used to lived here for 4,and left an image in my mind of good times, never to forget, or as the saying goes Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day! I was back in Madrid last week.

I arrived on Iberia from Nantes France very early and took advantage of some time off to walk the city and enjoy it fully; walking brings back many memories of youth, and my mother. You know the esmadrid tourist office so will skip that now.

I am very happy with Iberia, easy flights, good prices and on time, in addition to the Adolfo Suarez airport Madrid-Barajas has been name the best airport in 2017 by a survey of airport users which they proudly post it in the gate areas.  Here is their link: http://www.iberia.com/?language=en

I had some time before the hotel check in so decided to have lunch on the road. Headed straight for the Atocha area and El Brillante. A wonderful place with great views of the train station Atocha on one side and the Reina Sofia museum on the back. Great chorizo sandwiches and a Mahou 5stars beer and see the world go by you, superb.  More here: http://www.barelbrillante.es/

The Atocha was packed as always and so was the Reina Sofia museum with a line down the stairs all the way to the street at the Plaza Emperador Carlos V!  I did walk Paseo del Prado and saw the Caixa Forum which had some renovation done, as well as the Botanical garden with the entrance doing some work but all open.

The Reina Sofia was showing the great Guernica painting exhibition, so that is why was packed. More here: http://www.museoreinasofia.es/en

Atocha train station here: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/info/ZonaEmbarqueAtocha.html

The Caixa Forum a great exhibition area right around the triangle of great museums is worth a detour; more here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/caixaforum-Madrid

And the Botanical gardens are one of my favorite spots in Madrid that I have come since a kid…. El Real Jardin Botànico de Madrid.  The official page in English here: http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico/jardin/?len=en

You should take a look at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that conducts tours with the tourist office, this is a great architecture building and gorgeous rooms right around the Atocha train station. El Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca is located in the Palacio de Fomento from the 19C and gone thru many changes in name and uses until the current one. One of your off the beaten path sites in Madrid and worth the detour. More here on the guided visits in Spanish: http://www.mapama.gob.es/en/ministerio/palacio-de-fomento/visitas-guiadas/default.aspx

Up the road from the above and going by Calle  Dr Velasco, you reach the Real Observatorio Astronomico de Madrid or Royal Astronomic Observatory to see the sky!  This is another off the beaten path trips to Madrid and it should be encouraged more, I have come here since school age in Madrid!!! More here on visits in Spanish: http://contenido.ign.es/rom/visitas/reservas.html

You can go by the paseo way before the main entrance to the Prado museum and go by the Puerta de Murillo, the south door entrance of the Prado. The building dates from 1786,and you heard it here! And of course, in Spanish you have the information on it at the bottom of page, it disappear when you change to English ::) More here: https://www.museodelprado.es/visita-el-museo

Here you will see a statue of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; from which the square and entrance is name after. Golden age of Spanish painting and he was one of the main one;living in the 17C.

See the great façade of the Chapel of the Children’s Hospital on the Avenida de  Menendez Pelayo facing the Retiro park. The hospital is Hospital de Niño Jésus; more info here in Spanish: http://www.madrid.org/cs/Satellite?cid=1142401273116&language=es&pagename=HospitalNinoJesus%2FPage%2FHNIJ_contenidoFinal

And of course, I was able to check in to my usual hotel the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon on Calle del Pez Volador,1 and corner of Calle del Dr Esquerdo, metro Sainz de Baranda line 6 or 9, couple minutes from hotel. Great service, good prices and central to all my needs, very close to Retiro park. More here: http://www.ayrehoteles.com/en/hotels/ayre-gran-hotel-colon/

And just head out for the city on my again usual resto, why change when you found the best ::) Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, on Calle del Dr Esquerdo closer to Conde de Casal metro station but about 10 minutes walking from the hotel. And always the same guys,good service, good food and see the world go by on the inner courtyard facing the street or the terrace tables right on the street! They have another one on the other side of Retiro park on avda Menendez Pelayo that is great too as well as others in different parts of Spain. More info here in Spanish: https://cerveceriacruzblanca.es/local/cervecer%C3%ADa-cruz-blanca-esquerdo

I will stop here on the tour, there is more and more personal for me but Madrid is personal up close and wonderful, it really provides some extra to continue back new home.  And just to think about it, I will be back with the family in summer !!!

Enjoy your Sunday wherever you are and happy travels, remember la vida es chula, la vie est belle, la dolce vita, life is beautiful, enjoy it now. Cheers

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