January 23, 2018

Cebu to Bacolod, the Philippines!

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Ok so I did had a little time on my last trip to the Philippines, my third. there was not much time to do sightseeing but did get into a whole new area of the Philippines.

I flew from Cebu to Bacolog on Philippines Airlines. Their page is here:https://www.philippineairlines.com/en

A bit more on Bacolod city:http://tourism.negros-occ.gov.ph/places-to-go/cities/bacolod-city-capital/

Let me give you something different than the tourist office on Cebu here: http://www.mycebuguide.com/cebu-city-philippines-tourist-travel-weather-info.html

I needed to get the flight at 6am had a driver take me to the Cebu airport, hop on Philippines airlines was easy and the flight smooth. Arriving at Bacolod city airport by 7am where another driver was picking me up and gave a brief introduction to Bacolod. The airport site is here: https://www.bacolodsilay.com/

we ,then set out to eat at the favorite place of the locals, Bob’s Restaurant. Here we had blue marlin fish dish just fried as it is, and rice, and delicious fruit punch drink, wonderful. I would come back just for the fish! More on them here: https://looloo.com/p/bobs-restaurant-bacolod-city

We did visit a nice shopping mall SM City really nice modern and many nice stores, we had our coffees here at Starbucks inside the mall. The stores were all very clean, nice displays and many popular names notice. More on it here: https://www.smsupermalls.com/mall-locator/sm-city-bacolod/information

As we got back to Cebu a bit late, we had a good night wrap up at one of the joints of the past still very lively: Howling Dogs! Best at their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/cebuhowlingdogs

The beers are cold, the drinks superb , karaoke music , and plenty of good ambiance to get you into the late night. HD is the place in Cebu city.

And this was it ,this time. I was disappointed on the time but cannot always get free time on business travels. It will be next time , already working on it for summer this time. Looking back ,it seems I always visited in January for the last 3 years lol!

Stay tune for more on this your blog and my stories, Paris1972-Versailles2003. Enjoy the rest of your week in good health and happy travels. Cheers!

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January 23, 2018

Vannes-Nantes-Paris-Hong Kong-Cebu and back!!!

I just came back from my third trip to the Philippines and been a rush business trip of only four days gave me no time to see much.  The other two times, I did some out traveling but could not be possible this time. So will tell you mostly of my travel ordeals on a long voyage.

I started from home on Saturday January 13 going to the train station in Vannes with free parking behind it, and getting a train to Redon, changing train to Nantes train station 62€ . There took the express airport bus 9€ to the Nantes Atlantique Airport. From arrival headed to my one night hotel the Escale Oceania Hotel across from the airport 90€. This is the usual hotel I stayed when coming and going thru my closest decent flights airport.

For Vannes train station: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frvne/vannes

Redon train station: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frxrn/redon

Nantes train station: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frnte/nantes

Airport Express Bus, the updated price is 9€: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en/practical/airport-shuttle

Nantes Atlantique airport: https://www.nantes.aeroport.fr/fr/vols-en-temps-reel/departs

Escale Oceania hotel: https://www.oceaniahotels.co.uk/h/hotel-escale-oceania-nantes-aeroport/presentation

Once back into the Airport on Sunday January 14, took my regular flight with Air France to CDG airport arriving in Terminal F and changing for my connection to Terminal A.

Air France: https://www.airfrance.fr/en?setPreferredLang=true

CDG airport transfer on blue bus: http://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/passengers/access/paris-charles-de-gaulle/inter-terminal-shuttles

Once at my departure gate in Terminal A I flew with Cathay Pacific for the first time; and it was a nice ride indeed. This is the airline of Hong Kong and I was going to the airport there for connection to final destination.

Cathay Pacific:  https://www.cathaypacific.com/cx/en_HK.html

Hong Kong airport: http://www.hongkongairport.com/eng/passenger/transfer-transit/all/transit_procedures.html

The Hong Kong airport was my first time too, but as connections were made tight, really had no time to see much of it.

The flight arrive late into the day and still needed a connection on the same Cathay Pacific airlines from Hong Kong to Cebu in the Philippines. I finally arrived in Cebu by 19h Monday January 15, and taking the hotel shuttle headed straight to my usual hotel the Best Western Plus Lex, Cebu.

This was the rest I needed to begin work the next day. The hotel site is here: https://www.bestwesternlex.com/

The hotel is very nice and central to all. I spent four nights here at BW Plus Lex Cebu a repeat visit to the hotel.

On my way back left on Friday January 19 by 20h on Cathay Pacific same routing back after been deposited at the airport by a company driver.  From Cebu airport going back to Hong Kong, needing a bit of running to catch the flight until to find out it was been delayed 20 minutes!  Again at Hong Kong taking Cathay Pacific again by 23h35 local time to reach Paris CDG Terminal A .

Cebu airport:http://www.mactan-cebuairport.com.ph/

This is a smallist nice airport full of shops and restos nice to come early and enjoy the shopping.

Tourist info on Cebu here: http://www.experiencephilippines.org/tourism/destinations-tourism/cebu-bohol-department-of-tourism/

Finally on Saturday January 20 from CDG T2A transfer to TF2 using the same blue bus line again. Here I departed by 10h10 on Air France back to Nantes Atlantique airport. Again taking the Airport Express bus to the Nantes train station.

Here I had my lunch out of airports on my popular Café des Plantes just out of the Nantes Nord train station section and next to the jardin des plantes. Great friendly service always, and fast. The menu of the day is always good and great quality/price value. I had  my veal pipettes with fries in a mustard sauce, leffe Belgian beers, and expresso coffee all for 15€. More here: http://www.cafe-des-plantes.fr/

Nantes Nantes

From the Nantes train station took a TER train to Rennes train station, and here change to another TER to Vannes. Finally picking up my car to drive home arriving on Saturday by 19h!

Rennes train station(going major overhaul) : https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frrns/rennes

There you go another exhausting trip not to brag about it, just another opportunity to see by now friends and a nice welcome by the locals as usual.  Stay tune for more.

You all have a wonderful week and happy travels. Cheers!


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January 22, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXII

Here I am again, so much to tell and weather is not good ,rains ,river rising, and cold down to 4C or about 40F dark grey winter day and night. However, this is la Belle France and nothing comes close lol!

I was passing by Paris and as always pick up some goodies to tell on the latest from the capital of the world , Paris.

Air France just started creating boutique stores in many cities. You get to see the design and advice on your travels plans, product purchases and virtual reality experience to see the inside of their planes. Nantes was first city to do so, and I was by there on my way out, it’s the airport I use from my area of Brittany. This year Bordeaux, Nice and Toulouse will follow suit. Later, they will be others. More here: https://www.airfrance.fr/cgi-bin/AF/FR/fr/local/process/misc/RetrieveAgencyAction.do?name=agence+nantes+aeroport

HOP Air France sudsidiary is back at Orly Ouest airport. At hall 2 will be able to respond to your concerns, purchase of tickets last minute, modifications of your trips, options etc. There is a digital space with tablettes with special services for those on the frequent miles program SkyPriority like me ::) More here: https://www.hop.com/en/hop-options

Flying blue is re invented. again. From April 1 2018 you will earned miles on Air France, Hop, KLM, Joon, and Transavia airlines. In addition to several services provided by them such as extra lugage paid etc, extra point for preserving your flying status and again it will be improve from June 2018 , again. More here: https://www.flyingblue.com/earn-miles.html

And Transavia will be flying in winter to Spain! Especially Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona, all departing from Orly Sud, 3 flights per day to Madrid, 2 to Sevilla, and Barcelona. More here: https://www.transavia.com/en-EU/destinations/

the national museum of the Château de Malmaison has an exceptional collection of souvenirs of exile from Napoléon on the island of Sainte Héléne from 1815 to his death in 1821. This has not been shown to the public in more than 20 years! And they are open for viewing now! Such as the bed where his body was exposed when he died, and some portraits such as the one of its the end of Napoléon Ist à Sainte Hélene by Oscar Rex in 1799. The year 1799 the castle was acquired by Napoleon and first wife Josephine and became a museum in 1905 with one of the rare places in France to see furniture and coherent decor of the Napoleonic times. More here: http://en.musees-nationaux-malmaison.fr/chateau-malmaison/c-now-museum

the heads in the stars, the cité de l’Espace of Toulouse opens its doors to the infinite and extraordinary with space vehicules on 2500 m2 of space including interactive expositions with 5 ha of gardens, and a IMAX cinema, planetarium and simulators; take a ride on Astronuates, much more great for the entire family and very educational located at avenue Jean-Gonord, tel +33 (0) 5 67 22 23 24. More info here: http://www.cite-espace.com/

The Champagne house of Piper-Heidsieck has been doing the bubbly since 1785. Now with Essentiel with little sugar non millesime assemble of several years and let it aged and now out as a Extra Brut. The house is the most awarded in Champagne with various awards from Decanter World Wine Awards, to International Wine Challenge given the winemaker Régis Camus 8 times since 2004 the best in its class. More of this wonderful bottle here: http://piper-heidsieck.com/en/essentiel

Do you know there ia museum in the Paris CDG airport? Terminal 2E Hall M now the Paris collective The Parisianer were given carte blanche to present their vision of Paris in the year 2050! More on them here: http://theparisianer.fr/the-parisianer-2050/

there is a new look at the T2F in CDG with two boarding lounges for Schengen passengers ; new floors designed seats power outlets and USB sockets, better AC , smoking areas, cateting outlets in a contemporary ambiance for the terminal that welcomes 15 millions passengers in 2017 alone. Next a total redesign of Hall L at terminal 2E!! More on T2F here: http://www.parisaeroport.fr/docs/default-source/passager-fichiers/acces/plan-t2f.pdf?sfvrsn=59c907bd_60

A new beauty house la Créme de la Créme with a revolutionary line of products with more natural ingredients and pesonalised skin diagnosis, see it at 11 rue Madame,6éme tel +33 (0) 1 45 48 97 48. More here: https://www.labote.paris/

looking for some good interior decor look no more at La Maison du Bac at you know it 108 rue du Bac 7éme, great tea towels from Charvet Editions at 19€, see more at https://lamaisondubac.com/

if you are into Japanese cuisine head for Yoshinori 18 rue Grégoire de Tours 6éme the chef by the same name previos at Encore and L’Auberge du XV. more here: http://www.yoshinori-paris.com/

And if looking for good pasta like me, head for the La Laiterie de Paris, a small boutique and Paris’s first workshop for making and ageing cheeses using milk from NOrmandy ,Brittany, and the Pyrénées. Camembert is good. See it at 74 rue des Poissonniers 18éme; more here: http://lalaiteriedeparis.blogspot.fr/

sweets sweets of Paris, high flying bakery Farine&o the anniversary of opening in the 11éme now a second outlet at 10 rue des Martyrs 9éme where you can taste the wonderful creation such as a Toupie a brioche with curry lemon califlower filling to kill for. More here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/farine-et-o-paris

Now how about a hidden bar, darn I was looking for one… Shake N’Smash is the one at 87 rue de Turbigo 3éme on the basement of Phileas Fogg Club with a 19C ambiance and travel theme menu like cuzco with pisto, lime and tonka syrup! more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/shake-n-smash-paris

Bit of Italian and coffee! just opened, head for Cafe Foufou with the best coffees like Kivu ,Congo, expresso 2,50€ piccolo 3,50€; the place has pink marble tables and with some scrambled eggs with salmon, scones with organic jam or avocado toast, sublime at 10 rue Oberkampt 2eme: more here https://www.yelp.com/biz/caf%C3%A9-foufou-paris-2

Keep repeating it in my posts try the Publicis Drugstore at the 133 avenue des champs-élysées founded in 1958 now with a 1960’s look ;for the chic cocktails at 9€ more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/publicis-drugstore-paris-2

How about a hotel, we all need to sleep and with Paris skies above us we/I should recommend the Hotel Eiffel Blomet at 78 rue Blomet 15éme. Of course near the Eiffel tower wiht roaring twenties ambience decor and belle epoque style. king size beds and a small swimming pool and flowered terraces. Get a night sleep with the best you deserve it. More here: https://www.hoteleiffelblomet.com/

One of my sentimental favorites a repeat here and once worked ::) Intercontinental Hotel Le Grand by the place de l’Opéra and rue scribe , second empire decor from 1862 with a central patio enclosed canopy to dream on done in 1980’s over the old cour d’honneur and 800 m2 of garden to discover at any time and lingered for a lunch cocktail; behind it there is a charming bar du Grand Hotel with belle epoque allures as well. 2 rue Scribe 9éme; more here: https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/fr/fr/paris/parhb/hoteldetail#scmisc=nav_hoteldetail_ic

And how about grandeur and excellence chic at the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme their new insignia at the 2 place Vendôme 1éme. Louis Vuitton do I need to say more? I handle their training French culture classes at the above hotel. More here: https://fr.louisvuitton.com/fra-fr/notre-histoire/store-vendome#/page/facade

Some night action well head for Le Comptoir du Canal at 14 quai de la Loire 19éme. you can uncork lesser known liquids here like a Koforobé from the Ardeche  and the sparkler Obi wine keno bubble. the owners worked at the Avant Comptoir and now heading their own joint; glass of wine for 4.50-8€ open Mondays to Saturday until 02H (2AM). More here: https://www.facebook.com/lecomptoirducanal/

And something in Paris closer to Brittany, the Breizh Café (or Café Brittany) all done with parquet, brut stones, wood and leather in the champion of the galette Breton in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Crêpes from 10.50€ located at 1 rue de l’Odéon, 6éme.More here: https://breizhcafe.com/en/

And now how about those teas at Naturathéra, 85 rue de la Verrerie 4éme; this is a herbal tea bar natural and organic on a basement the only one in Paris! it can cure many ailments as well, cup from 4.50€; more here: http://www.naturathera.fr/

And here is a nice park away from Paris in just over the river Neuilly sur Seine dept 92 (Hauts de Seine); Parc de la Folie Saint-James, 16 avenue de Madrid.  totally restored it has a playground, large rock, palladian bridge, ancient column and even a temple of love.  More in French from the city page here: https://www.neuillysurseine.fr/parc-saint-james

A temple of outsider arts in Paris, the Halles Saint Pierre in the 18éme arrondissement at 2 rue Ronsard. The show is Caro and Jeunet (who did the film Amélie) will be back . The place will be full of marionettes ,maquetes , moving creatures, storyboards, costume rendering and more. Showing the recently release Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. running until July 31: more here: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71509/La-Halle-Saint-Pierre

Another show I came to know the comedian and the girlfriend while eating at La Gare 16éme; is Olivier Giraud and the ever running show How to become a Parisian in one hour? ! All in English at the theater des Nouveautés. You can buy the tickets online on the webpage too. More on the theater here: http://www.theatredesnouveautes.fr/spectacle/olivier-giraud

A bible for arts lovers is the book , Degas Danse Dessin done with the collaboration of Edgar Degas and Paul Valéry on dancers and now exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, 1 rue de la legion d”honneur 7éme. More here: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay/article/degas-danse-dessin-46519.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=254&cHash=5607894a8e

And back to sweets the royal Stohrer, 51 rue Montorgueil  2éme.  Founded in Paris in 1730! by the pastry maker of king Louis XV. Love their religiouse for two 12€: more here: https://stohrer.fr/?lang=en

And the wonderful presidential Chateau de Rambouillet after restoration is back; home of French kings and Presidents since the 19C. The grand dining room has been restored and set up as it was during the G6 meeting of 1975. Set up with Sévres porcelain, Christofle cutlery, and sterling silver centerpiece; admission from 7€. More here: http://www.chateau-rambouillet.fr/en/

Go back to one of old hangouts and favorite the L’Alcazar 62 rue Mazarin 6éme. A tropical winter garden set up with balcony cocktail bar. For vegan on Sunday you have brunch for 41€ as well; but better come for the trendy and wonderful menu and drinks too. More here:  http://www.alcazar.fr/

Something different a library in the Marais. Come to La Moutte Rieuse (cheerful seagull) at 17bis rue Pavée 4éme. this is bookstore and much more, with over 35000 books and a café restaurant (love it) , gallery, delicatessen, and special sections for vintage posters, coloring books,and diaries ;more here: http://www.lamouetterieuse.fr/

Another classic in my roundups around Paris is Café Pouchkine at 16 Place de la Madeleine 8éme. A marriage of France and Russia, a gourmet pastry chain now but the original here. the menu is designed by Alain Ducasse!! More here for their newest store by the Madeleine: https://www.yelp.com/biz/caf%C3%A9-pouchkine-paris-10

And how about those wines of the Pyrénées! well go for Vins de Pyrénées, 25 rue Beautrellis 4éme. serving bistronomic cuisine at all hours and now  a new menu with a great croque monsieur with truffle gouda cheese ,has also a great wine list of course. there is even a hidden cocktail bar and heated outdoor terrace. More here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/vins-des-pyr%C3%A9n%C3%A9es-paris-2?osq=vins+de+pyrenees

La Cité du Cinéma at 20 rue Ampére ,Saint Denis dept 93 or Seine-Saint-Denis. you can visit on guided tours on Wednesdays 13h30 for 14,90€. This is often call here the Hollywood of the Seine as were movie studios house in a dramatic glass and steel 1930’s power station. The place showcase all the magic of cinema on the Avenue des Studios where sets are constructed and film costumes are on display. More here: http://www.citeducinema.org/en/

And the famous post office of the louvre (1850) is going thru renovations. Magnificent arcades and Haussmannian facades sheltered by the rue du louvre. The renovations will be done by February 2019 and will house only a third of the building for the new post office and in addition; a police station,day care center,social housing, commerces, co working spaces, and shops in the inner courtyard.  Plans call for the top floor to house an 80 rooms luxury hotel from the Elegancia group and a panoramic restaurant. More here: http://lapostedulouvre.fr/lessentiel/

You should come see an aviation and space  museum and site of the Paris Air Show (next 2019), this is Le Bourget at the musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.  Opened in 1917 and was Paris main airport until 1961.  since 1975 it has hosted the museum. More on the museum here: http://www.museeairespace.fr/en

and the Paris Air Show here: https://www.siae.fr/

And the wonderful Salle Pleyel built in 1927, featuring the unique acoustics developed by Gustave Lyon that change the way Parisians experience music and dedicated to classical music with a décor of Art Déco style. A must for the architecture if the Classical music is not for you. More here: https://www.sallepleyel.com/

If coming to see Notre Dame Cathedral, why not go just across into the Hôtel Dieu built in the Cité in 651AD, and Paris oldest hospital. You can come into the lobby and wonderful gardens. In 1877 Emperor Napoléon III was modernized as part of Baron Haussmann redesign of Paris. A heaven to mingle and tell history around you: more here: https://www.aphp.fr/contenu/hopital-hotel-dieu

At Raincy in dept 93 Seine Saint-Denis you come to see Notre Dame de la Consolation church built in 1922 by August Perret in reinforce concrete crown by a soaring roof resting on 28 slender pillars all surrounded in the stained glass by work from Maurice Denis and Marguerite Huré.  You can come on the RER C from Paris; more here in English:  https://uk.tourisme93.com/notre-dame-du-raincy.html

And I will finished my ramblings with a gem. Nola Restaurant  gastronomic upstairs and POBoy Café downstairs. Done by cheesecake queen Rachel Moeller celebrating the cuisine of New Orleans LA USA. Chef Ryan Pearson a native of New Orleans makes heaven with the Cajun delicacies with creative touches. The menu 45-60€ located at 72 quai de Jemmapes 10éme. More on both here: http://www.twostories.fr/

You all have a wonderful week, my is starting after the Philippines more later on that. Cheers!



January 21, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXI

Well I am back and so much to tell you on my latest and new info from my collection of Some news from France! The belle France is popping, airports, train stations full;and even if the weather has been raining and cold as down as 3C in Paris, the people are out and so was I.

Some of the nice places to go is Elmer, a cellar grocery store with a nice selection of wines such as montlouis-sur-loire of Jousset, Saumur from the Domaine Bobinet, beaujolais de France Gonzalvez, wines for house wine from the côtes catalanes and Riberach. They are at 19, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, 3eme. No telephone yet ; wines from 5 euros a glass and -20% on the bottles you take home. tapas foodies between 5 -18 euros. More here: http://elmer-restaurant.fr/

Another one is Chéri bibi , a wine bar, diner, grocery store all in black and yellow deco with marble and wood. Natural wines such as VDF blanc Ad Naturam from the Château Lassolle, arbois Tôt ou tard from Jean-Baptiste Menigoz. They are at 50, rue d’Espagne, 64200 Biarritz. Tél. +33 (0) 5 59 41 24 75. wines between 3 -7 euros a glass, right of cork of 10 euros , lunch menus at 12€ 16€ and 19€. diner dishes from 3-19€. More here: http://tourisme.biarritz.fr/en/eating/search/cheri-bibi/RESAQU064FS00212

Enyaa only steps from the Palais-Royal, on the foundations of the house of Molière deco with old stones and clear woods along with bottles of Champagne and Sake. The house has about 60 references such as Agrapart, De Sousa, Larmandier-Bernier, etc, and about 20 of saké such as from Kyoto, Nagano, Tochigi etc. Located at 37, rue de Montpensier, 1éme. Tél. +33 (0)1 40 26 78 25. Menus from 29-48 euros, lunches , and from 58-88 euros dinners. You can mix and match food and wines from +40 and +60 euros. Champagne between 9 -17 euros glass and Saké from 9 -11 euros glass. More here:http://www.enyaa-paris.com/index_eng.html

Séptieme la cave is here along the Bastille,in the annex of the restaurant Septime,that is the meeting point of the internationals of hipsters 7/7 taste wines in any language from whites reds and bubbly of France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Géorgia from 10 to 80 euros. Located at 3, rue Basfroi, 11éme. Tél. +33 (0) 1 43 67 14 87. wines between 5-12 euros a glass right of cork for 7 euros and dishes from 4-14 euros. More here:http://septime-lacave.fr/

More moving to the La dilettante with a revolving selection of wines from all of France and beyond with a cellar of more than 800 references such as a glass of morgon from the Domaine Joseph Chamonard or a barbera d’alba of Mascarello. Located at 11, rue du Faubourg-Bretonnière, 21200 Beaune. Tél. +33 (0)3 80 21 48 59. wines from 3,50 to 10 euros per glass; dishes between 9-18 euros. More here:https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-dilettante-beaune

Steps from the wonderful Vieux-Port of Marseille you come to the Cave des Papilles. The sister location of the one in Paris has more than 400 references mostly bio from côtes-du-jura Champ d’Aubert 2015 of Valentin Morel ; and several jars of olives and lemon while having a VDF Nino 2014 of the domaine Es d’Aqui. Located at 84-86, rue de Grignan, 13001 Marseille. Tél. +33 (0)4 86 26 54 16. wines betweeen 5-10 euros in the restaurant. Lunch formules at 24€ and evenings at 35€. More here: http://www.lacavedespapilles.com/blog/la-cave-des-papilles-ouvre-a-marseille

Hidden in a small area in the 4éme of Paris, precisely at 40 rue des Blancs-Manteaux,you have the boutique Terres de café. A usual place to taste coffees from specialists or the grands crus from the world over. The « Geisha Bar » is an initiation to the botanical varieties the most fragile of the world coming from the forests of Geisha in Ethiopia. A coffee of purity flowery aromas that is part of the best offered by the bar. Some of them are the Marcala Uluma from Honduras, with white flower and peach, and the Yeti Yanqii, with its fruity and spicy taste available all for sale and tastings in all five boutiques in Paris of the Terres de café. Geisha Bar in the Terres de café at 40 rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4éme. Open tuesdays to saturdays from 9h30 to 19h , Sundays from 13h to 18h. More athttp://www.terresdecafe.com/content/49-boutiques

A bit on the market side we have amongst the specialise markets those from the fleas at Puces de Clignancourt (Saint-Ouen) or those in parc Georges-Brassens 15éme, reserves for old books; not too many have a fix site. However, at the Place d’Aligre (12éme)there is one of the few that are open every day except Mondays by about 40 stands selling all kinds of trinkets. Here you have the locals coming to do their groceries in the covered market Beauvau that is just next to the fleas. The OHVL,a leading French org that organizes some of the meetings by the boulevard Blanqui (13éme) on some weekends. Some others are held by the avenue Ledru-Rollin (13éme) or antiques on the street. More here: https://en.parisinfo.com/shopping-paris/93225/Marche-Beauvau-Marche-d-Aligre

Something that is going on as I write (latest by BFMTV shows Le Pecq near St Germain en Laye, Yvelines 78) is the raising of the water levels in the Seine river. It reach 4,15 meters (about 14 feet) at Austerlitz according to DRIEE coming down to going up again to 3,50 meters or about 11.5 feet. The announce continuing rains will make matters worse with rising water levels. The estimates by Vigicrues tell us rising to 3,80 meters and even 3,92 meters by this weekend or even higher. At Chatou the impressionist island it was 3.29 meters .The mayor’s office of Paris has decided to closed the roads along the river and the tunnel of Tuileries. More in French here: https://www.vigicrues.gouv.fr/niv2-bassin.php?CdEntVigiCru=7

UPDATE: this is the latest as of today January 23rd on the rising waters of the Seine river and many others in France going on as I write:

Expecting highs Tuesday 23 January at between 4.8 – 5,2 meters and prevision for Wednesday January 24 morning to be between  5.4- 5.7 meters . There are so far 7 train station closed until at least January 26; Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Champ-de-Mars, Avenue du Président Kennedy, Boulainvilliers, Pont de l’Alma (already closed for renovation). The vigicrues water organism and the city of Paris had decided to close the roads under the Pont National both ways to the A4 autoroute. The tunnel des Tuileries  and the underground  Henri-IV.  The roads along the river on the left bank or Rive gauche (pont de l’Alma  to pont Royal). The roads along the river on the right bank or Rive droite (Tuileries  to Mazas) are closed as well.  The tunnel des Tuileries and the road  voie Georges-Pompidou  between the  pont de Garigliano and the pont de Bir-Hakeim are closed. They have made the  avenue Kennedy into a two way road between the streets or rue du Ranelagh  and rue de Beethoven. The road of Valhubert 13eme district was closed since Monday.  There are several buildings where access is not allowed along the Seine river as well.

This past wednesday the airline Ryanair, announce the opening of four new destinations from the airport of Beauvais-Tillé. Travelers will be able to flight to Slovania with Bratislava two flights per week, to Malta 2 per week, to Prague in Czech Republic 3 flights per week and to Thessaloniki Greece 2 per week. More here: https://www.ryanair.com/us/en/cheap-flight-destinations-list

Something wonderful in my old Yvelines 78 is coming. Saturday September 15 2018. You all welcome to bring your folding chairs around the lake of Corot in Ville d’Avray. From the scene of the « Au bord des bois… l’étang », or along the forest, the lake there will be solo singers, piano voices, musicians playing different pieces on a floating scene in the middle of the lake. The first edition of the Musicales de Corot. Jean-Baptiste Corot had done more than 250 paintings in the lake on this beautiful site right next to Versailles and Paris. They are hoping to make an annual event do come just the site is gorgeous More info email at lesmusicalesdecorot@gmail.com or by cellular tel +33 (0) The place is here to keep an eye for the event in English: https://www.etangs-corot.com/en/une-escapade-bucolique/

The bicycle is coming stronger, who would figure many years ago on the start of the Vélib I took a ride around the Parc Monceau not believing it would work; well I was wrong it has. There are 107 new stations Vélib this week. Now the program is managed by Smovengo. There are other 200 stations waiting for connection with the goal of having them operational by end of January 2018. Later, to reach 1000 by March 31st with 1400 counting the nearby towns by next Spring. More here in French: https://www.velib2018.com/le-nouveau-velib/

And we keep opening lines of transportation all over. There will be a new deviation on the line Ribécourt-Noyon to go around the west of Noyon. The deviation will be of 3,5 km long linking Mont-Renaud to the axis Noyon-Roye. Also, will need work on the Canal Seine nord that will border the west of the town (see photo map).
canal seine nord routing riverways

And Bordeaux is stepping out as the IN city. All along the Garonne river there is a renaissance of businesses and sites such as the new markets, contemporary arts museum the wine center and others. Until April 1 2018 come see the exposition « Schweizweit, il n’y a pas une architecture suisse », or there is no Swiss architecture . More info here! http://www.arcenreve.com/Pages/pages.html

Open last November in floating pools on the Garonne river been the vedette of the quai des Chartrons. The halles de Bacalan has 23 stands showcasing the gastronomy of the south west of France. Especially the delicious foies gras of landes of the Maison Paris. There is a restaurant to allow to cook and taste on site the product purchased. Open Tuesdays to Sundays at 10, esplanade de Pontac.Bordeaux; more here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/les-halles-de-bacalan-bordeaux

Bistrot du Fromager you come to smell taste and buy the goat and ewes milik cheeses! Nice finds from the area ,refine cold cuts and area wines ;try to get the terraces for the Garonne river glory. Have a petite tomme Aquitaine country cheese with the light haut médoc red of Château Lalande. The bistrot is also a cellar; open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 17h to 02h at 73, quai des Chartrons. Tél.+33 (0)5-56-98-17-08. More here:https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-bistrot-du-fromager-bordeaux?osq=bistrot+de+fromager

A classic new hotel the hôtel Seeko’o with sculptural lines in the middle of old buildings by the historic quai de Bacalan . The hotel has been called the « l’iceberg » or the glaçon=ice by the locals. It has 44 rooms with spacious bedrooms in a loft style and a suite of 55 sq meters with a big view of the Garonne river and its barges. From 110€ doubles at 54, quai de Bacalan. More here: https://seekoo-hotel.com/eng/

Then, of course wine Bordeaux so a museum about wines! La Cité du Vin Better go to the 7th floor (8th US) to the restaurant Le 7 offering a magnificent view over the moon harbor or port de la Lune, call as such for the curve in the form of a croissant over the Graonne river of the bridge or pont Jacques-Chaban-Delmas. admission from 8€ Open very day at 134-150, quai de Bacalan. more info here: http://www.laciteduvin.com/en

The wonderful museum or Musée de Bayeux (Calvados dept 14), will go thru a renovation period estimates to be finishe by 2023,and will lend the famous tapistry of bayeux to probably the Britih Museum . The so called Telle du Conquest as it was called in the past recalling the invasion of England by William the Conqueror. So doing the lending what others such as French, Spanish, Germans and Scandinavians institutions had not done. More here: https://www.normandie.fr/tapisserie-de-bayeux-2023-une-nouvelle-etape-franchie-dans-le-projet-du-futur-musee
The museum page is here :http://www.bayeuxmuseum.com/en/la_tapisserie_de_bayeux_en.html

And for last, back to Paris to understand French architecture. What was the date of the profession of Architecture in France? .The elegant hotel de Soubise that houses the national archives will try to respond to this question. Until March 12 2018 the exposition design to build or « Dessiner pour bâtir » rends honor to the transformation of the Great Century that gave the masters of these works to us. The French architects of the 17C needed to wait until the middle of the 20C to received credit that first came to them by the anglo Saxons countries. Then, architects such as Claude Perrault (1613-1688), Louis Le Vau (1612-1670), Augustin-Charles d’Aviler (1653-1701), Jacques Lemercier (1585-1654), François Blondel (1618-1686), Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646-1708), and his uncle François Mansart benefitted from documented publications in the French language. More here: http://www.archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/en/web/guest/dessiner-pour-batir

And enjoy your Sunday wherever you are; I am back from the Philippines. Cheers!!!

January 13, 2018

Historical Orleans , a revisit!

A while back I wrote in my blog about this wonderful town of Orleans. It is often overlook but it is enclosed of great history of France. The coming of a new colleague to my company, native of this city made me bring back this post.

The old post is here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/11/orleans-jeanne-darc-and-france/

You will several photos on the city above. Easiest way to get here is on the A10 from Paris direction Bordeaux or the train with two stations ,the gare d’Orléans, right in city center and very nice and the one on the nearby northern town of Fleury-les-Aubrais, both link by bus navette and a tramway.



public transport in the area of Orleans metropôle and connection between the train stations is here: http://www.reseau-tao.fr/me-deplacer/itineraires/trouver-mon-trajet/

Orleans has been designated as the Capital of the new region of Centre-Val-de-Loire been only about 120 km from Paris. The city is nice ,really, if overlook by many visitors, very good ambiance. The city center around the place du Martroi, is wonderful central square where all goes on; the Loire river passes right in the center, the quais or wharfs along the river are full of walkers and meeting place to go into exploring the city   ; also the site of the great Festival de Loire, the biggest gathering in Europe on the river cruising. Of course, it is also a city of art and history of France or  Ville d’Art et d’Histoire; it is a stage for the bicycle riders in the circuit Loire à vélo, and at the gate to the castles of the valley of the Loire. The story of  Jeanne d’Arc was what brought me first to this city and it is wonderful for the history lover like me.  The city has nice Christmas market and Jazz by the Bishop event as well as the magnificent festival of Jeanne d’Arc .

The bike circuit (Loire à Vélo) not done but it has nice itineraries bypassing some of the sights in the Loire and of course in Orleans here: http://www.cycling-loire.com/sights-itinerary/villes-caractere-velo/orleans

Most of the information here is taken from the wonderful regional site of Orléans Metropôle here in English: http://www.orleans-metropole.fr/74/decouvrir-la-metropole-orleanaise.htm#googtrans(fr|en)

Ironically, the city tourist office can’t find it in English so here it is in French: https://www.tourisme-orleans.com/une-ville-lhistoire-bimillenaire

As the circuit of Joanne of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc is to follow these monuments.sites. Place du Martroi, Hôtel Groslot, fine arts museum or musée de Beaux-Arts, Cathédrale Sainte Croix, hotel Cabu or the museum of history and archeology ; Chapelle Notre Dame des Miracles in the Church St Paul; rue Jeanne d’Arc,  the ramparts of the city from the 15C , it had one there since the 4C! and was enlarged in the 14C with some walls left still . You have the white tower or Tour Blanche  and a section of the Roman curtain, more on the north the wall is seen on the court or cour de l’ancien évêché  and near the Cathedral ; there is a bridge giving to the square or  porte du Martroi that still be seen in the parking under the square. To extreme west of the square martroi you see parts of the wall as well on the streets or rue du Cloître-Saint-Paul ,and rue de la Chèvre-qui-Danse. Of course , the main thing is the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc or house of Joanne of Arc. She stayed here from April to May 1429 and now a nice museum with a multimedia presentation retracing her life. On the upper floors there is a recherché center with over 37000 documents on her. There is a webpage for it but again only in French here: http://www.jeannedarc.com.fr/maison/maison.htm

Of course, Orleans is a lot older since the times of Cenabum ! going thru all the periods of French history, too long to tell you here. Stronghold of the war of 1870 with the Prussians and during WWII the city was again ransacked and bombed until liberated on August 1944 by the troops of Gen Patton, US. On the other side of the Atlantic ocean, New Orleans is named in honor of the regent duke of Orleans for Louis XV and inhabited with about 8K French and Arcadians running away from the British in the Northeast.

Other information to tell you about this city is the nice park or Parc Pasteur by the northern corners of the city center created in 1927 over the old workers garden that were on a disinfected cemetery of Saint Vincent.  There is a monumental gate of Saint Samson from the 17C a great water basin, even if the children theater, and vapor train are no longer in action (train given by  Wichita Kansas USA in 1952) unfortunately both were closed in 2017.

Another nice park is  Parc Floral de la  Source , bigger than above with an iris garden, rose garden, rock garden,  vegetable garden, dahlia garden, Asian garden, grassland garden, tropical garden, strips of perennials, collections of pelargoniums, a display of fuchsias, animal park, exotic birds, butterfly house, animal feeding and adventure playgrounds for younger visitors..etc

Just for up to date information. Anyway, the main thing to come to this city other than walking the wharfs of the Loire river are the house and traces of Joanne of Arc ,and the Cathedral of Sainte Croix.

The religious site for the Cathedral is here in French: http://www.orleans.catholique.fr/eglise-loiret/trouver-ma-paroisse/1216-cathedrale-sainte-croix

The Cathedral  was inaugurated on 8th May 1829, 400 years after the liberation of Orléans by Jeanne d’Arc on a gothic style of 140 meters long, 53 meters façade and 114 meters on the spiral tower. More info in French is at the department 45 Loiret site of which Orleans belongs. https://www.tourismeloiret.com/fr/diffusio/visites/cathedrale-sainte-croix-orleans_TFOPCUCEN0450100249

Enjoy the historical wonderful city of Orleans , in my belle France. One perso photo inside the maison de Jeanne d’Arc


ps see you soon I will be in Asia ::)

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January 11, 2018

A town with a Royal story and a castle; Maintenon

We have been lucky enough to come to France, me since 1972, and my wife a native. Traveled all over the country even before the times of internet and photos and blogs; I try to put some of them in my blog now, not easy with the photos; but once in a while will like to remind of you the beauty of my belle France.

Let’s talk tonite about Maintenon. I have written before a post on it here it is: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/29/maintenon-its-madame-de-maintenon/

You can come to this historical town and the castle of Royal repercussions only about 65 kms  (40 miles) from Paris and 47 kms ( 29 miles) from Versailles. From Versailles we rode into the D10 , running parallel to the Orangerie of the castle of Versailles that becomes out of town limits the N10 direction Rambouillet, once passing Rambouillet take the road D176 direction Epernon, and then take the road D906 direction Maintenon, free no tolls. From Paris you can drive on the A13 direction Rouen then the A12 , then back into the N10 and at Rambouillet take the D906 until Maintenon or by the A11 exit sortie 1 at Ablis direction Gallardon the Bailleau-Armenonville and follow signs to Maintenon. You can come by train from Montparnasse to the train station in Maintenon, on the line Paris-Montparnasse to Chartres.

A bit more history on the town from the city page translating tells us that the first name was known under Mestenon on a document dating from 1123AD and eventually Maintenon by 1415. It had two parish Churches ,one Saint-Nicolas and the other Saint-Pierre; split into the Duke of Noailles and Marshal of France for Saint Nicolas and the bishop for Saint Pierre. At the French revolution the town was part of the region of Chartres in the department of Eure-et-Loir No 28. By 1792, all properties were taken as national property including those belonging to the Church, and including the heritage of the Noailles family forcing many to immigrate. Today, Maintenon still belongs to the dept 28 Eure-et-Loir in the region of Centre-Val-de-Loire. The community agglomeration created was that of the Les Terrasses et Vallées de Maintenon which groups the towns of Bouglainval, Chartainvilliers, Houx, Maintenon, Mévoisins, Pierres, Saint-Piat, Soulaires, Villiers le Morhier ,and Yermenonville.

Some of the nice things to see here in my opinion are the Espace Maintenon at  1 ter rue de la ferté or 2 rue pierre sadorge , a building called the red house or « maison rouge »  simply because of the number of red bricks on its façade. It was ordered built by king  Louis XIV  at the end of the 17C that was given as a donation to Madame de Maintenon act done in November 1689. The other is the Thursday market which when I have gone to benefit from the wonderful local produce of the area. You have all sorts here from cheeses to  flowers, to meats and fish ; all done at the place Aristide Briand , and the place Noé , as well as place Omer Sadorge (under the covered market). There is, also, a unfinished aqueduct which can be seen behind the Castle started by king Louis XIV to eventually feed Versailles but sickness like malaria stop it in 1688; the nice portion there is in good condition.

However, the main thing to come here is the castle that really was here since the middle ages and was the first fortress of the count of Monfort. The castle was later rebuilt in a renaissance style from 1509 under the current owner, Jean Cottereau, superintendent treasurer of finances for king Louis XII, then François I, and then Henri II. The garden, park was done by André Le Nôtre; and Racine came here often to meditate and Vauban, the directed the aqueduct.  Eventually the Castle passes to the family of Noailles ,after the marriage of Françoise-Amable d’Aubigné to the Duke of Ayen ,the son of Marshal Noailles.  Even king Charles X on it’s way to exile, sleeps in the castle in 1830. The town was occupied by Prussians troops in 1870-1871; and on June 1940 the Nazis massacre about 50 Senegalese soldiers fighting for France here.  The official castle site is here: http://www.chateaudemaintenon.fr/

You have several tourist sites that can give you more on the Castle of Maintenon, these are:

City of Maintenon tourism : http://www.destination-maintenon.com/maintenon/

Dept 28 Tourist page : http://www.tourisme28.com/vallee-royale-de-leure/chateau-et-aqueduc-de-maintenon

The nearby Chartres tourist page : https://www.chartres-tourisme.com/en/explore/chateau-de-maintenon

The Rambouillet tourist page: http://www.rambouillet-tourisme.fr/fr/decouvrir/visiter/sur-les-pas-du-roi-soleil/chateau-de-maintenon.html

And of course, the main personage of the town and the title of Madame de Maintenon , we say wife of king Louis XIV was Françoise d’Aubigné, future marquise de Maintenon, born in the prison of Niort on November 27 1635 and the third child and oldest  of Constant d’Aubigné (1585-1647), and Jeanne de Cardilhac (1611-1652). Her father was in prison there for the murdered of his wife and the lover of her while seeing them together in 1619.  Constant had two child from this first wife but they died of young age. He eventually remarry with Jeanne de Cardilhac  in 1627 that already had given two sons Constant (1629-1646) , and Charles (1634-1703). She had accepted to follow her husband in prison and it is under these conditions that Françoise was born.

Shortly afterward, she was baptized Catholic the religion of her mother and had as godparents François de la Rochefoucauld  and Suzanne de Baudéan.  She was named Françoise in honor of her godfather.  However, the parents of Françoise had no money and gave her to be raised by her Aunt ,who was protestant Artémise and already mother of children in the Château de Mursay, that helped raised here for five years from 1638 to 1643.  Françoise considered her as the mother. In 1643, after the death of Cardinal Richelieu, her bio father Constant is release from prison and Françoise comes back to the family.  After some efforts on fortunes in the Caribbean and coming back to France, she catches the attention of King Louis XIV , and in 1683, after the death of the queen the king married Madame de Maintenon  on the night of October 9-10 of 1683.

In 1674, Françoise d’Aubigné, future Madame de Maintenon buys the castle, lands and farms thanks to the help of the King Louis XIV, to think of retired in her last days here. The future extension of the castle after 1686 were done for the aqueduct and the visits by the king to the castle; after 1688 ,she will never lived in the castle.

In 1686, Madame de Maintenon creates at Saint-Cyr closer to Versailles a school for young girls of noble heritage but poor that allows them a good education. During the last years of her life, she goes thru many sad moments such as many of her friends and family like in  1711 the Grand Dauphin, only legitimate child of King Louis XIV dies, in 1712,the Duke of Burgundy or Duc de Bourgogne and his wife as well as their sons the Duke of Brittany were taken by the smallpox.  In 1715, few days before the death of the King, Madame de Maintenon retires from the Court to  Saint-Cyr, where she died four years later on April 15 1719.  Her remains were profane in 1793 during the French revolution but were later found after WWII and brought back to Saint Cyr in 1969.

The house where it was the prison , she lived with her father and was born in at Niort still can be visited today at the dept of Deux Sévres no 79 here:  http://www.tourisme-deux-sevres.com/votre-sejour/a-voir-a-faire/864214-la-maison-natale-de-la-marquise-de-maintenon

I leave here with one photo of the castle taken from back in the garden and back side of the Castle of Maintenon, there are more in the previous post on this castle above. Enjoy my belle France, Cheers!!!





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January 10, 2018

The Métro of Paris

Well , the world comes to Paris and surprise for many riding the metro/subway/tube is an event….Not really for those who need to take it everyday! I used it extensively for almost 10 years living in Versailles and working in Paris.

I do it now practically every month going visiting the city, again I was asked to go on the 24th but nahh too many times, I am going away to Asia for a week next Saturday and enough of Paris. hahahaha!!! well…

I did a while back in 2012 on my blog a series of introduction on each metro line, some of the things I enjoy and with the help of my l’Indispensable book on the streets of Paris. I like to share it here as it is pretty up to date by itself.

It will help the historically inclined, architecture lover, and simply a lover of Paris , and they are many around the Earth….! Plenty of anecdotes and thing to see and do on each line, there are 14 so far. They are working on creating new ones all the way to 18, Grand Paris Express is the project. The site is here still in French: https://www.societedugrandparis.fr/

Now here are the metro of Paris 14 lines. Enjoy it! and your week too.















Cheers oh one photo of my old hangout place, employees entrance to work.

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January 10, 2018

Another Royal town of France, Mantes-la-Jolie

Talking lately of Royal towns of France well my old Yvelines has plenty of them. This is another one, Mantes-la-Jolie. IN the Yvelines dept 78 west of Paris.

This is the story of king Henri IV that gave the name to the city writing to his mistress Gabrielle d’Estrées saying I am at Mantes, my pretty or « Je suis à Mantes, ma jolie ». He made the history of the town where his government was established from 1590 to 1593.

you can see the wonderful Church collégiale Notre Dame another gothic jewel of France; where the heart of king Philippe Auguste was deposited while he died at the old castle now only some ramparts walls left. From the top of the towers of the Church you have wonderful views over the Seine river, the Vexin forests are to dream on afar.

Do not missed the museum or musée de l’hôtel Dieu, and the streets such as rue Baudin and it’s many mansions of the 17C and 18C,the rue Porte Chant-à-l’Oise, the square Gabrielle d’Estrées , and on the lower town a series of ramparts with the old gate or Porte-au-Prêtre ,and the old bridge or vieux pont de Mantes; that was immortalise by Corot.

This is Mantes la Jolie, direct trains to gare Saint Lazare in Paris.And by road along the A13 route de Normandie exits 11-13. The main train station and closest to city center is at Gare principale ,place du 8 Mai 1945.

I have written before two posts on this nice city by the Seine river.



I leave you with one photo as the others are in the links above; the front entrance of Notre Dame Church.

Enjoy the Yvelines, ïle de France region, and of course my belle France.
MLJ ch ND front jun12

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January 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LVIIII

I am starting the second week of January 2018 with my beloved Spain news report. There have been lots of problems with the snow falling there and accidents galore along the AP-6 highway but things are beginning to be back to normal. The temps today at 45F or about 8C and cloudy , the rest of the week shows rain in Madrid.

However, the news are many to start:
Let me tell you a bit about the wines of my ancestry in the Canary Islands ; base on studies by Enomaq a fair in Zaragoza on the trade here: https://www.feriazaragoza.es/enomaq-2017

Pushing for helping wines revive on the islands they have come up with a few worth seeing and my favorite will tell you too.

Bodegas Insulares, is one of the best one there if not the best , done at Viña Norte, in Tacoronte-Acentejo,El Ancón, and Ycoden-Daute-Isora. They are ready to launch a new vintage call Tágara Marmajuelo 2017, a white on lies with only 2000 bottles and an aroma of passion fruit, mint, jazmine, and grassy fields. It has 13,5 degrees alcohol and a wide mouth taste. The bodega is already famous for its sweeter wines under the brand Humboldt,in the Icod area. They are a cooperative with the help of the local government and 300 members in Tacoronte and 150 more in Icod. Their Gual 2013, a liquoreux sweet wines of 18 degrees alcohol and 130 grams of sugar with notes of citrics, laurel leaves quoing and good acidic with oxidic notes covering it is very good. More on them here: http://www.bodegasinsulares.es/bodegas/Tacoronte%20-%20Acentejo

You continue with the Bodega Comarcal del Valle de Güímar ,another cooperative with more than 130 members and 160 ha area where they process over 200 000 liters 90% of them white wines on vinyards going from 200 to 1500 meters altitude over sea level. At the highest areas especially at Las Dehesas and Los Pelaos,they do the wine Brumas de Ayosa Blanco on lies 2016, from the grape Listán blanco and aromas of leaves and apple very creamy on the taste; not try myself. More here: http://bodegavalledeguimar.com/

Another one I know is the Bodegas El Drago, located in the area of El Boquerón,in the valley or Valle Guerra, in Tacoronte-Acentejo area. In addition to the bodega they have a wonderful complex for the production of palms as well as 20 ha of vineyards. Not long ago they only produce grapes for sale but coming to the program Enomaq they started winemaking producing about 4000 bottles of white wine and 2000 bottles of red wine. More here: http://www.bodegaeldrago.com/#inicio-pantalla

A newer bodega is the bodegas Buten (since 1998) with the brands Cráter and Magma, the first one from the grape listán negra and negramoll , and the second one with the grapes negramoll and syrah. THe newest one has been the white wine Cráter Blanco, with grapes malvasía and listán blanco, with three month on lies. A goulish wine with note of yellow prunes and peaches, citrics, grassy herbs. they do about 20 000 bottles on 15 Ha of land in the municipality of El Sauzal,where the bodega is and Tacoronte, at altitudes of 400 meters for the growing of the grapes right in the bio farm “El Pino”. Their red wine Cráter tinto 2014 is looking very good by the wine tasters in Spain, silky, ample, volcanic smoky, prune confit, black pepper and some saline overtone from the sea. More of them here: http://www.craterbodegas.com/ing.php

Continuing with my Canaries, the Bodegas El Sitio de San Juan, with only 3 ha and several associate farms all over the islands is a very modern bodega and a leader on technology in Tacoronte. It provides 100% of the energy needed by itself with photovoltic plaques. It is the new DOP Islas Canarias,(denominacion de origen protegida)and brings the best grapes from the best sites. In its own lands has mostly the grape vijariego negro, at 313 meters above sea level, the Malvasia from the south of Tenerife, baboso negro and vijariego negro from El Pinar, in the nearby island of El Hierro, as well as forastera gomera, from Chipude, Gomera. It has established an export channel to Florida USA and produces around 25 000 bottles with five brands. More here: http://bodegaselsitio.com/?lang=en

Last but not least is another of my favorites from the vinicole group of Cándido Hernández Pío with different properties in different zones like Tacoronte-Acentejo and Valle de Güímar. The first one is the area of La Matanza with 10 Ha at altitude of 150-180 meters above sea level and the second at Candelaria (had to say my paternal grandparents are natives of Candelaria!!!) ,with 9 Ha at only 80-90 meters from the Atlantic ocean!. Amongst the best wines are the Calius Verdello 2015 with menthol notes of green tea and grassy herbs or the Calius Marmajuelo 2015 with 15% malvasia grape a fruity expression of the variety. Another sweeter wine is the Punta del Sol Blanco Dulce 2001, with malvasia and albillo grapes very nice citrical wine , as well as the Riquelas Negramoll 2016, sings to the Atlantic with seaweeds, forest fruits, raspberries and a volcanic identity with notes of minerals. More here http://bodegaschp.es/

Now moving into the arts in Madrid:
GEt up my friend and come this is the words in the tomb of María Zambrano. The theatrical showing of her work is coming at the sala Francisco Nieva in the teatro Valle-Inclán until February 11 2018. A women who together with Ortega y Gasset,is probably the best of the Spanish philosophy in the 20C . The presentation is entitled La tumba de María Zambrano» full of ideas,philosphical hymns but a work of theatrical dimensions with drama of two worlds. nice to see indeed. The theater is here: http://cdn.mcu.es/espectaculo/la-tumba-de-maria-zambrano-pieza-poetica-de-un-sueno/

Let’s stay with arts into the La Bohème.Composed in 1896 and shown first at Turin in 1896. The success is on the story of a young bohemians that live day in day out routines with little resources and find themselves the reality of life and maturity. The showing here comes from the Royal Opera House, in London and with some changes here on the scenery with decoration on background even snow falling during the entire presentation. See it at the Teatro Real, Plaza de Isabel II, s/n. Has to show it even if over by the time you read this post, see the lineup at the theater . http://www.teatro-real.com/en/season-17-18/opera

The dual expo on Goya and Buñuel. The dreams of reason or Suenos de la Razon, that can be visited until next march 2018 in the museum or Museo Lázaro Galdiano. LAter it will continue its journey to Zaragoza, México ,and the United States. Looking at about 55 Works from portraits engravings, books, postcards, photograms, etc coming from museums like the Lazaro Galdiano ,Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen, Filmoteca Española,etc pretend to show the works of these deaf artists, frenchisize and genious. Some of the works showing will be a Virgin and the Child by Goya that will be shown for the first time in public! Also works like the struggles of the war by Buñuel. The celebrated sefl portrait of Goya and a photography showing of Man Ray. Museo Lázaro Galdiano , Calle Serrano, 122.Until March 4 2018. More here: http://www.flg.es/agenda-de-actividades/exposiciones-temporales/exposicion-goya-bunuel-museo-lazaro-galdiano#.WlOWxVXibIU

Now something that we all need to know when driving in the snow and already fallen all over Europe. Winter tires/tyres.
There were tests done by Goodyear, driving at 80 km/h on snow a car with summer tires will need 112 meters to stop while the winter tires only 70 meters or a difference of 42 meters which can be critical in avoiding an accident if need to break suddently on snow. The winter tires are a solution each time the temperature is lower than 7 degrees Celsius ,and they are better than the tire chains typical sold in stores and avoid changing the chains on the highways with littel visibility and cold. The winter tires are better as the chain only goes into the moving edge and not on both as with the tires. Having on both allows for better traction and more security for the controls such as ABS, traction, stability in all advance systems of today. You can tell the winter tires by the symbols “M+S” together with a mountain icon and the snow star in the middle. Another test done with one tire for winter/summer is the Michelin Cross Climate, tested for temperatures up to less than minus 30 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius. Under 25C the breaking time is the same with most summer tires and in cold weather similar to winter tires. Of course, MIchelin are my tires/tyres ::) Here is the site in France: https://www.michelin.fr/pneus/michelin-crossclimate

And to eat good game meals delights in Madrid and we have plenty of goodies, my favorites are:
Restaurante Hortensio Calle Marqués de Riscal, 5, Tel +34 91 002 35 54). An exquisite menu on three servings of Hare. See it here: https://www.hortensio.es/restaurante/

Then, you have Arce Calle Augusto Figueroa, 32,tel +34 91 522 04 40 where you will have woodcock or teal duck in armagnac sauce or stag deer cured marinated and roasted accompany by red fruits and chestnut sauce ,superb!!! More here: http://restaurantearce.com/en/restaurant

Last but not least another dandy Viridiana already 40 years strong. Calle Juan de Mena 14, tel +34 91 531 10 39. Wild pig balls from the Montes de Toledo amontillado with small potatoes and chestnuts to die for it. More here: http://www.restauranteviridiana.com/

And now some historical news about a town of Castilla y Leon, of course Leon. The Cathedral here is awesome, many call it the «Pulchra Leonina» ( Beautiful lioness), a jewel of Gothic art. What many do not know is that next to the Chapel of the white Virgin that you reach by the western façade you arrive at the tomb of Ordoño II. Legends tell of ghosts at night walking all around it . Then the Church Collegiate of San Isidoro, considered by many as the Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art is here too. One of the treasures it keeps since the 11C is the Cup of lady Urraca or de Doña Urraca, call the fear one or la Temeraria. The cup is believe to be used for Jesus Christ in His last supper and has supernatural powers. It has two sides of ceramic type Qumran used in Palestine at the times of Jesus, united in the middle by a golden ball that lady Urraca ordered and gave her jewels to do it.

Another treasure of the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro is the figure of a golden copper rooster that for many years was not notice. It crowned the tower of the Church and legend says his sounds were to alert the town of the arrival of the Moors of Almanzor; it was put to the test of carbon 14 and found that it is from the 6C by Persian jewelers and fit with byzantine stories that the Persian King Kosroes II a contemporary of Mohammed and conqueror of Jerusalem made all the crosses of the rooftops of the Churches ere replace by precious stones encrusted on the eyes with a description that still has not been interpreted.

In front of the gate of San Isidoro there a black bronze statue on a square stone pedastal base. This represent the abbot of the collegiale and the mayor of the town commemorating an event that took place in 1158. Worry after a long dry season they took the remains of San Isidoro in a procession and it rains very heavely according to what was written in the «Chronicon Mundi» of Lucas de Tuy. Since ,then, every year the city offers a candle and two axes of wax to the city council that is shown in the monument. After a dispute all was resolve with bowing of the heads three times or known as the «Las Cabezadas» that are repeated the last Sunday of April.

The Casa Botines is one of threee works done by Gaudi outside Catalunia ; the others are in the El Palacio Episcopal of Astorga, and the El Capricho of Comillas in Cantabria. This is modern building that was used as a knitting fabric warehouse and private residence. Today it houses a museum dedicated to Catalan architecture. In the front of this building there is a bank with a statue of Gaudi sitting taking notes and next a pigeon. The place is known as the square of pigieons or Plaza de las Palomas, even if officially it is the square or Plaza de San Marcelo. Next to the Botines you have a renaissance building call the the Palacio de Los Guzmanes built in the 16C on orders of the bishop of Calahorra. Today is the home of the Provincial government. In its façade there a mysterious shield of the Guzmanes, a Calder pot from which it comes out seven snakes.

You cannot overlook visiting the archeological museum or Museo Arqueológico de León the ivory of 33 cm known as the Carrizo Christ or El Cristo del Carrizo. Romanesque lioness with eyebrows of coal on golden cord It reached the museum in 1874 coming from a monastery Cistercian in Carrizo de la Ribera, where they were guarded by sisters that sold it to help paid for the care of one of them. It is believed that was created at the end of the 11C but not much more is known of it. Above story on Leon taken and translated by me from ABC newspaper here: http://www.abc.es/viajar/destinos/espana/abci-santo-grial-y-otros-nueve-secretos-poco-conocidos-leon-201801041814_noticia.html

And moving closer to me to my old Madrid , I take you to the castle and forest of Riofrio.

Very nice Riofrío by the Granja de San Ildefonso. Segovia. 80 km from Madrid. You take the road A-6 to San Rafael continues on the N-603 and SG-V.7212 road until the entrance to Palace of Riofrio.

It was in 1724 when king Felipe V rented the Dehesa of the Frio river from the Marquis of Paredes with the intention of having a hunting ground near the palace of La Granja (small Versailles where he was born) This way he kept it until his death. The second wife Isabel de Farnesio, decided to buy it in 1751,when the king was Fernando VI. Due to bad relations with the king she was sure to have a castle nearby. It is a perfect copy of the Royal palace in Madrid with a square architecture with three heights in a neo classic style ;before it was completed king Fernando VI died therefore Isabel de Farnesio did not needed to think of her refuge The complex without finishing it as only the palace and the entrance gate were built the officer’s quarters, the stables convent theater and gardens were left forgotten, You can still see the shield of Isabel de Farnesio in the front facade of the Palacio de Riofrío.

Symmetrical on all sides the interior of the palace preserves 18 rooms totally furnished that tell how life was at the times for the kings At the end of the residential area there is the hunting museum or Museo de Caza. Here you can take a tour of the hunting tradition of the kings from the time of the primitives ; even if the most interesting portion is that of the recent times Remarkable to see the natural state of different ecological niches with iberian fauna. The end you see the trophy rooms of hunters with numerous examples of animals horns, skin and skeletons without losing perspective that these were other times.

There is a road lateral to the palace that goes to the end of road in Riofrio and takes the whole of the dehesa or forest. Vehicules are not permitted here to go at more than 40 kph, you cannot stop and cannot abandon the road ; it is ,also prohibited to go on foot or give food to the animals. A simple walk can be done by the lookout road or Senda del Mirador,that allows you to around the palace, and it is worth it , very easy to do with good signage and allows you to see the deers etc at short range. The roundtrip takes about 1.5 km ,and here next to the palace you have an area of picnic with tables and shades, and the walk takes you to see the fountain or Fuente del Rey and a forest house. Takes about 30 minutes to do. The hours of the palace or Palacio Real de Riofrio are tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 18h and the forest park is open from 8h to sundown. Admission to the palace is 4 euros and the forest with auto or bike is also 4 euros; if you go on foot to the forest or bicycle it is free.
Article taken and translated from El Mundo here: http://metropoli.elmundo.es/blogs/al-aire-libre/2018/01/07/palacio-y-bosques-de-riofrio.html

Information on the Palace of Riofrio here:

And the forest here: http://www.patrimonionacional.es/medio-natural/bosque-de-riofrio

Enjoy Spain, is everything under the Sun and then some. HAve a great week y’all.Cheers!!

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January 7, 2018

The coastal town of Ploemeur in the Morbihan!

Yesterday was a busy day as usually is in my jolie Morbihan Breton, and of course Sunday is usually a day of rest, the gang is doing a homemade Paella from ingredients purchase at Ploemeur . Oh yes still cloudy here rain on and off and temps at 6C or about 43F.

So I will tell you today about Ploemeur a coastal town in my Morbihan very close to me. I have passed by there and done some wrap up on the Morbihan posts but never really walk around like yesterday. So much to see here and all wonderful I keep telling you ….::)

Let’s start with the city page on their heritage, who better to tell you. These are some of the natural things to see in town or around it, I must say the Point de Talud and the Atlantic Wall (WWII) are very worth seeing. Here is more: https://www.ploemeur.com/decouvrir/a-voir/?lang=en

Then, what most people at least in my area come here for ,are the beaches / plages in season of course. they are wonderful and if here around July-August they are very much worth visiting.  Here Fort Bloqué with the fortress right in front of you out to sea is very nice, as well as the  Kaolins.  Although with small children, the one at L’anse du stole in nearby village of Lomener is very nice too. more here: https://www.ploemeur.com/decouvrir/les-plages/?lang=en

The area tourist office of South Brittany has more on this region and the town of Ploemeur in English here   https://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/decouvrez-le-territoire/commune.cfm?region=ploemeur&lng=en

Like , I said, we live very close and we do walks around these towns on the weekends when we are not away so far we have seen hundreds but many more hundreds to see lol!

Ploemeur has a very picturesque city center with shops around the Place de l’Eglise and their main Church of St Peter or église Saint Pierre.

Here the first known Church dates from 1037! It has been renovated for centuries, and now has un grand nave with seven transepts, and a choir flat; between the nave and the choir there is a triomphe arch redone in the 16C with two columns from the 11C  wrap with leaves, animals etc and are the only remains of the Romanesque Church . The nave was rebuilt in the 18C with large arcades. The choir of which behind lies the sacristy was done in 1729. The bell on the western tower began in 1686 with the porch and door has a Latin inscription meaning ” began according to the wishes of the parishioners on June 1st 1686″. The south porch is from the 18C.  The parish site tells you more in French here: http://paroisseploemeur.fr/eglise-st-pierre-aux-liens/

Inside, you have a pretty good size nave with a simple altar, a side prayer chapel and an upper sitting chapel to view the altar from above. The additional worth coming here, is that it is in the middle of the shopping area of Ploemeur with plenty to see, eat and buy lol!!!

The story of the Church square or Place de l’église is interesting. The Church  area was becoming small so in 1846 it was surrounded by a square , initially to be called Market square but then change to Church square. Early in the 20C a water pump was installed providing water to the residents . There is an original memorial to the fallen of WWI . In the 1950’s the area served as fruit stands were set up to direct sales to the public.  Renovations in 2005 took away the water pump and now there is a fountain set up there. The north side of the Church was destroyed by allied bombings in 1943, and rebuilt.

As we continue our walk, all around the Church St Peter’s ,we thinking of doing a paella what better way than to buy fresh ingredients from a coastal town on a reputable fish shop that everybody there seems to know each other!  This w did our fish whiting, shrimps, scallops, and clams!!! loaded home and now cooking ,can’t wait ::)  Ah the place Aux  Délices de l’Océan ! and they even have a webpage here: http://www.poissonnerie-ploemeur.fr/#vos-magasins

And to complement, a bit over 50 meters we came to the other delicacy we cannot be without the chocolates so we shopped at Les Délices d’Anvers , stores at several places and known to us of very good Belgian chocolates (Anvers is the French way for Antwerpen, the flemish). Here we got a 500 grms box and a stick of sweet dry fruits delicious  as always! More here with all their branches a bit down is Ploemeur; http://www.delicesdanvers.fr/magasins.php

For the geographical curious the town of Ploemeur is surrounded by the towns of Lorient, Larmor-Plage, Guidel, and Quéven for which I have written posts before. It has 17 km or about 10 miles of sea front . The name comes from Breton language meaning a grand parish as in one time it was the largest in the area given away slowly to the other adjacent town as far late as 1925.  The town and area has great concentration of mineral kaolin still today.

In all a nice coastal town to visit and smell that sea! Until next time in my jolie Morbihan , have a great Sunday y’all ::) Cheers!

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