December 7, 2022

More favorite restaurants of my Madrid !!!

This is a daunting task as there is so much good choices. However, as in Madrid will love to share my more recent culinary adventures with you all. This is a revision of older posts condense for ease of searching and reference, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The first time I ran into the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos was back in 1972! I was a poor young teen then but was taken by an older gentlemen of a group of friends who was trying to impress us with his knowledge and purchasing power. He did! I was fascinated by it and promise one day to come back here. Well it took me a while until 1990 on a visit that came here for tapas and a glass of wine. Afterward and on my married life came here several times usually for a quick drink and tapas. Until this year , when came with my young men sons on a nostalgic trip this time without our dear mom and wife MartineEl Anciano Rey de los Vinos, which is very close to the Almudena Cathedral and a few steps from the Royal Palace on Calle de Bailén. It is one of those bars full of grandparents and people from the neighborhood, and it has been there since 1909. webpage: https://elancianoreydelosvinos.es/?lang=en

And while in my beloved Madrid and a game of Real Madrid was on, needed a quick place to see with good ambiance. Nothing better than to ask the locals at the bar as well as the BB apartment we were staying. 100 Montaditos and LAPEPA. ! And the verdict was go to La Fiebre ! Ok so not been there before but did not want to take a long trek to my usual places near the stadium so we went for it  La Fiebre it was! And what a great time we had !!! I wanted to see the game of Real Madrid vs Valladolid that was on that night! Right away the staff came over us and a nice looking lady and very kind took me and my sons to the back , the VIP room lol!! TV on all walls nice low level seats small tables slighlty lit we were in heavens!!!  La Fiebre (the fever) is at Calle del Principe just before Plaza de Santa Ana Webpage: https://lafiebremadrid.com/

It is more than possible that you had a caña at the Cervecería de San Andrés in the Plaza de San Andrés, 4 without even knowing its name. We stay on the terrace in front of the Church of San Andrés (see post). We were walking as we did all over Madrid with hunger in our minds we saw this quant bar cerveceria brasserie /brewery and say enough walking we stop here.  Well the restaurant is divided into two floors, small room upstairs and bathrooms downstairs, but we stay in the sunny terrace with parasol umbrellas. no webpage but reviews at RestaurantGuru: https://restaurantguru.com/San-Andres-Madrid

Madrid

I like to mention here my sweet former neighborhood resto bar Docamar at Calle de Alcalá, 337. Metro: Quintana, line 5, just at the foot of my piso/apartment when lived in Madrid in the early 1970’s and my pilgrimage visit every year to Madrid, as brings back wonderful memories of my dear late mother Gladys. If you want to try some of the best ‘patatas bravas’ in town (since 1963) , you’ll have to head out here, beyond the M-30 ring road.  Upstairs, a well-appointed room, spacious and bright, with many windows and decorated with photos of people from the neighborhood: communions, football, workers, gangs, old and modern images, of people who went to breakfast, take a caña, and others who each afternoon came by it; this is their bar. A tribute to the faithful neighborhood, where, it is normal to share! webpage: https://docamar.com/

Cerveceria Cruz Blanca  redefines the concept of a brewery and recreates the old classical and chaste taverns that originated in the early 20C.  My favorite is the Calle Dr Esquerdo  157 (near Conde de Casal) with a great terrace with two parts: one next to the semi-covered premises that has water sprinklers in summer and heating in winter and tables on the street in summer. The place is on the side of Dr Esquerdo where the sun shines in the afternoon so the best option is always with sprinklers in summer. There is another I have visited at Calle Menendez Pelayo ,47 (across from Retiro park) .both can be reach with metro line 6 at Sanz de Baranda stop. webpage: https://www.cerveceriacruzblanca.es/local/cervecer%C3%ADa-cruz-blanca-esquerdo

Named after its owner Esteban González, this restaurant is the result of a lifetime’s effort to fulfill a dream. The El Rincón de Esteban offers classic cuisine with seasonal products and it is not uncommon to find famous personalities from the world of politics on their tables. It’s worth eating here every day. But coming in the themed days of hunting (season), in the codfish, and in the time of San Isidro will allow you to try special menus very top! In the Calle Santa Catalina, in front of the Congress of Deputies (gov of Spain); this restaurant invites, before and after, to be able to walk through the pictorial and historic streets of the Barrio de Letras, as well as savor the capital Castiso pure local tradition. Without a doubt, El Rincón de Esteban, is one of those classics that three generations that transit Madrid know perfectly; as well as the culinary temple that every tourist must visit to understand the Spanish gastronomic culture. webpage: https://www.elrincondeesteban.com/

The Heladeria Los Alpes (ice cream parlor the Alps) was founded in 1950. The founders were a marriage of Italian and Spanish and today, their grandchildren continue to run the business and follow the original Italian recipe of their grandfather improved by the second generation of the family. They make more than 80 different flavors and select the raw material from those places where it is best: lemons, from Murcia. the hazelnut, from Reus, the pistachio, from Sicily. Everything is fresh and without preservatives.  Their address at Calle Arcipreste de Hita,6 almost behind the Calle de la Princesa before reaching Faro de Moncloa. metro Moncloa (the closest) and Arguelles takes you here. We were up in the area and I wanted to take my sons here so we walk from Plaza de España up Calle de la Princesa to just before you see the Faro de Moncloa turn right into Calle de Fernando el Catolico and then left into Calle Arciprete de Hita to the store on your right hand side. If you take the metro line 3 to Moncloa come out and go away from Faro de Moncloa on your left hand side is the Calle Fernando el Catolico take left and then left into Arciprete de Hita. Webpage: https://www.heladeriaslosalpes.es/

The origin of Horchata, comes from the city of Alboraya, in the Comunidad de Valencia. It is a typical sweet drink that is usually accompanied by fartons that regulars like to eat by soaking them before in the horchata. It is the tigernut or chufa as we call it in Spain, very popular and we love it each time there. Very refreshing in Summers. The best is Horchatería Alboraya. Two addresses in Madrid: Calle de Alcalá, 125 (where we tasted right off metro Principe de Vergara metro lines 2 and 9) and Avenida Felipe II, 26 (where we saw it too). The tradition of this place begins with the grandparents, who cultivated their first tigernut in Alboraya in 1960. Then, the next generation founded the first Alboraya tiger nut milk factory in Madrid This is great just where I grew up not far really, not far from Retiro Park on the famous Calle de Alcalà (mine!) and a family tradition at its best. Webpage: http://www.horchaterialboraya.com/

The 100 Montaditos ,the term refers to an ancient Spanish culinary habit of filling one or two small slices of bread with various ingredients such as cold cuts, meat, fish, vegetables, cheeses or various types of sauces.100 Montaditos has thus decided to take inspiration from this tradition by giving life to a list of a hundred different proposals.  In its service formula a form is filled out with the order that is delivered at the counter and, once prepared, customers are notified through electronic gadget for direct pickup. For snacks or a varied lunch, opt for the low-cost 100 Montaditos of this Madrid chain. Euromania almost all items on the menu for one euro! And Jarramania two pints of tinto de verano cold wine and side of strip potatoes for 3 euros in Summer otherwise the pint is 1,50! Tried it all over Madrid ,we have visited with the family the locations at Calle de la Princesa; 22,  Calle Mayor; 18 ,  Plaza de las Cortes; 3 , and T2 international airport Adolfo Suarez of Madrid ,Webpage: https://spain.100montaditos.com/es/

We first notice and then on another day came back to try it. It was a pleasant surprise even if the prices are for the tourist incline in my opinion, the quality and the service is tops. The La Rollerie chain is something I would try again! And their latest address at Carrera San Jéronimo is super! The La Rollerie of the Barrio de las Letras holds a surprise, a greenhouse in which you can breathe peace and in which you can choose your favorite corner under its vines, in the greenhouse, in front of the fountain or on its rocker. Our place the property at Carrera de San Jeronimo, 26, their newest property! Our visit took place in what was the classic store of the Spanish Musical Union, it is a large place on the corner with stained glass windows, lamps and ceiling lamps of 1925 that remain exactly the same now that the instruments have left room for the pastries, the workshop and the kitchen of this new restaurant and cafe. The second floor, converted into a Provencal garden and courtyard, into a botanical garden, with a roof of vines and transformed corners flower kiosks. webpage: https://larollerie.com/restaurantes/item/79-restaurante-zona-barrio-de-las-letras-madrid

This is Faborit a chain of minimalist and warm premises that integrate the latest technology to provide a good service: giant screens present a menu that varies according to the time of day. You have here exotic teas from all corners of the planet, coffees selected and prepared with care by a cappuccino specialist, the ‘coffee leader’, and a selection of flavored mineral waters (lime-lemon, apple-strawberry, kiwi and strawberry) from England, star in the amazing drinks menu.  We try the one at Plaza de las Cortes across from the Westin Palace Hotel. Webpage: https://www.faborit.com/establecimientos-faborit/faborit-cortes/

The Dunkin Coffee (Donuts) we went to is at Calle de la Victoria 2 corner with Carrera de San Jeronimo as is the one passing between Puerta del Sol and Plaza de las Cortes.  This store is closed but here for the memories as they have others in Madrid. Webpage:  https://www.dunkin.es/localizador/

Madrid Faborit cafe front pl de las cortes aug19

There you go folks, just passing and stopping, Madrid has more per sq km than any other city in Europe.  Hope you try them and see for yourselves, the good life of Madrid. Buen provecho, vale. Enjoy it.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 7, 2022

Christmas in Spain !!!

This is the season to be merrier we are told. I am hanging in there with the best face forward. Remembering all those family gathering all over the Americas and Europe over the years; some still with us and some dearly missed. I could not be away from telling you about my Christmas or Navidad in my dear Spain. Let me tell you some of my best Christmas experiences in Spain. Hope you enjoy it as I. And Feliz Navidad y mejores deseos para todos!!!

The time has come to talk about the best destinations to travel at Christmas in my dear Spain, OF course, these are just my favorites, there are many more nice ones, a taste for everyone.

I could not and will not leave out my dear Madrid, when Christmas is the best time, something we can agree is that Madrid and the month of December have a special connection that makes it one of the best destinations to visit Spain during Christmas. The chestnuts in Callao, a walk along the fully illuminated Gran Vía, the Christmas carousels in different parts of the city, the ice rinks of Plaza de España or Plaza de Colón, the route of the best nativity scenes through the center of the city, the Enlightened Nature of the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor market and the traditional churros of San Ginés (Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5) or the -almost recent arrivals churros of Manosanta (calle de Hermosilla, 97 ).Sublime !!! It’s official, the lighting will begin on Thursday, November 24 at 19h (7 pm), coinciding with the Black Friday weekend, which marks the start of the Christmas campaign from a commercial point of view. 21 districts will be kit entirely in ‘LED’ type high energy efficiency, that will promote commerce, hotels, restaurants and tourism in the city. In total, more than 230 locations will be illuminated, distributing 6,700 chains throughout the capital, 115 cherry trees and 13 large luminous fir trees, among which the giant natural fir tree in Plaza de España will stand out. The traditional figurative nativity scenes will also be maintained, the large ball located at the confluence of Calle Alcalá with Gran Vía or the large luminous menina, elements to which something new will be added. In addition to repeating the installation of the fir tree in Plaza de España, this will also be the place chosen for turning on the Christmas lights of the city on November 24 at 19h (7 p.m.), Among the new locations, several areas of the Retiro district. Such is the case of Calle Narváez , Avenida Menéndez Pelayo , Puerta de Alcalá and Plaza de la Lealtad. Meanwhile, in Centro, the Apolo fountain in the Paseo del Prado ; and the streets of Barquillo, Belén, Refueros, Santa Teresa and Campamor , among others, will also open their lights. And finally, a giant Nativity scene in front of the Torre de Madrid tower, in the corner with Calle Princesa. The Madrid tourist office on Christmas : https://www.esmadrid.com/navidad-madrid

Torrejón de Ardoz in the Comunidad de Madrid is one of the destinations where Christmas rises to its highest expression. This town offers us the largest Christmas theme park in Spain. Spectacular illumination, a large Nativity Scene in the City Museum, the Guachis, which are children’s characters to maintain the Illusion of children, the largest Christmas walk in Spain, a Christmas village and the spectacular Magic Door are the cards of presentation that make Torrejón de Ardoz a true Christmas must-see. The City of Torrejon de Ardoz and Christmas : https://magicasnavidades.ayto-torrejon.es/

In Sepúlveda, province of Segovia a beautiful town characterized by having a great Christmas tradition. This town full of history, which already existed before Roman times, offers Christmas among hillsides, Romanesque buildings and hanging houses. In addition, in its Church of Bartolomé every year a large Bethlehem is set up with a lot of tradition that attracts all kinds of visitors, Newspaper Segovia al dia on Christmas : https://segoviaaldia.es/art/8241/programacion-de-navidad-en-sepulveda

Every year there are wonderful Christmas markets, so we couldn’t miss the one in Covarrubias,province of Burgos, the town for Christmas lovers. A very peculiar market is held there, organized by the association of artists and artisans of Covarrubias “Cáscara de Nuez”, which mixes the family tradition of the old workshops with the new bets of young artisans. Everything you will find is handmade. The town of Covarrubias on festivities : https://www.covarrubias.es/fiestas-y-tradiciones

Christmas in the town of Ledesma, province of Salamanca is synonymous with the Fiesta de las Calendas. This festivity announces the arrival of Christmas, and begins on the night of December 23, starting at 2 in the morning, when the bells of the Church of Santa María la Mayor ring, offering a time for reflection. and the silence. When this happens, those present in the main square of this beautiful walled town taste sweet wine, brandy or mantecados. This night, which has been celebrated since ancient times, can be a perfect plan to start the holidays with joy, Ledesma tourist office : http://www.turismoledesma.com/imprescindibles/

The town of Briones, in La Rioja has until January 6, free of charge, you can see the exhibition of a beautiful Bethlehem in the parish church; the work has even more value because it has been created by its own neighbors. With attention you will be able to see on a small scale the most symbolic buildings of Briones. In the so-called “Briones curve” you can see a spectacular meander of the Ebro river and many other beautiful winter landscapes. There are more reasons to visit it: the town offers a great gastronomy based on pintxos, vineyards and a historic center full of stately palaces, among many other charms.The town of Briones on festivities : http://www.ayuntamientobriones.org/Belen-Parroquial.8566.0.html

The medieval town of Alquézar, in the province of Huesca, is a dream destination to spend the Christmas holidays, whatever the plan you are looking for. For those who are looking for more active tourism, they can do the route of the Alquézar catwalks, a circular route, adapted for all types of hikers, which will reveal beautiful winter landscapes full of colors, nature, catwalks, steps and spaces of water. Alquézar tourism : https://turismoalquezar.es/invierno/

There you go folks, a wonderful period of the year indeed. We love it in joy and pain but wonderful anyway. Again, the above are some of the remarkable ones over the years, there are many others nice ones indeed. These have nice memories behind them of great family times. Hope you enjoy them and the season to be merrier as I. Again, Feliz Navidad y mejores deseos para todos!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 7, 2022

Christmas in Locronan and Rochefort en Terre !!

As the best season is coming up for 2022, I try to bring nicer memories back into my life. Now that time has passed and the two great women of my life are out, (my mom Gladys and my wife Martine) this is the time where all comes back. I like to share these moment again with my readers. Thank you for reading me, and hope these posts brings joy to you and your families. These posts will be in my black and white series, no pictures.

I came back to these wonderful towns during Christmas market period. Lots of family memories that I like to update and package into one post, These were the first Christmas market we went back after the passing of a very dear person, my dear wife Martine in 2018. This was the Christmas of December 2019,

Locronan  is in the Finistére dept 29 and Rochefort en Terre is in the Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne, very nice market , very traditional and respected by all here. The Christmas marketis small in Locronan as the town is with less than 1K inhabitants but the dimensions of its fame are huge. We have come here every year since we were in Brittany,this year December 2019.Christmas at Locronan it seems more real !!

We went as usual by car , about 1h30 from our house is Locronan. This is a famous town famous for its Grande Tromédie (second sunday of July) a religious and historical procession of 12 km (see post), And of course, we look at the Christmas chalets , they are nice quant but a bit smallish . More than 5 km of garlands and light curtains will illuminate the Little City of Character with the magic of Christmas. On the program: concert of sacred gypsy songs, street shows and Breton dances, fairground rides and Santa Claus on a pony! Christmas magic works every time in the wonderful little city of character, it’s magic and free! In all the streets and all the squares of the historic heart, the light decorations will compete in beauty in the purest and most traditional Christmas spirit! Spicy and gourmet scents will guide you throughout your journey, for a ride that promises to be enchanting. Traders and art craftsmen will welcome you on the Christmas market made up of 25 chalets and in their shop or workshop to find magnificent gifts. Also, the Church Notre Dame de Troncaye just superbe !

The fairy tale wonderful cosy gorgeous medieval Rochefort en Terre in my beautiful Morbihan. I live less than an hour from here! and love it!!! Each time coming here is an event of wonderful memories. My dear late wife Martine, absolutely love it!

First, the town is loaded with artists, painters, potters, jewerly makers, leather makers you name they are here spread all over the inner core of the old town a whimsical ride to the best of Bretagne and France. And what makes it special the spirit of Christmas , voted as the best many times in different scenarios and best village of France in 2016! 

And of course great local food recommended tried over the years here ,these are the Bar Restaurant Freine le Temps, Bar Restaurant Les Ardoisiéres, Créperie Glacier La Terrasse, Restaurant L’Ancolie, and especially our fav Créperie Le Café Breton ! You can, also, visit the Church of Notre Dame de la Tronchaye, NAIA museum, and the castle just awesome , recommended to all to stop by indeed. Enjoy it as we do.

There you go folks a dandy experience , always remember with fondness, this is the season to be merrier, we always try even if memories of the past will come flashing by rapidly. It is always a time to cheers and in the Morbihan is sublime.

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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December 6, 2022

Christmas market of Auray !!

As the best season is coming up for 2022, I try to bring nicer memories back into my life. Now that time has passed and the two great women of my life are out, (my mom Gladys and my wife Martine) this is the time where all comes back. I like to share these moment again with my readers. Thank you for reading me, and hope these posts brings joy to you and your families. These posts will be in my black and white series, no pictures.

And yes, we have small Christmas market in my new area of the Morbihan breton, We go early to avoid crowds because when we are leaving the hordes come in so maybe not the best description of a Christmas market locally. However, we have been to all of them over the years and were back for the Auray Christmas market ,December 2019.

The Marché de Noël or Christmas Market is set up in the Christmas Village for 11 days at Place Notre Dame from 10h to 19h. This year, the Christmas Market will welcome nearly 80 artisans, creators and local producers under marquees: jewelry, bags, decorative items, ceramics, cosmetics, board games, photography, publishing, food trades. A whole range of gift ideas for everyone. Games, participative activities, Escape-Game, Musical Stage and on-site catering.

On Friday December 13 : Arrival of Santa Claus on Quai Franklin (St Goustan). Musical  water show from 17h45, for a Papà Noël (Santa Claus) arrival at 18h30. On December 14, 15, 21 and 22. Find the Christmas horse-drawn carriage at the top of Rue du Lait. Let your children embark on a Heart of the City tour. All free . Actually Santa Claus or Papà Noël was by the City /Town Hall at Pl de la République by 14h as we were leaving,

There is a Sliding area with an ice rink 150m² for skiing for everyone! It will take up residence with a curling rink in an unusual place: La Chapelle Saint-Esprit! Just behind place Notre Dame. The sliding area will be accessible every day from Saturday December 14 to Tuesday December 31, from 15h. to 19h. Free admission On Saturday December 21, entertainment by “Rouge Feu” show at 19h on the forecourt of St Gildas Church, Place Notre Dame.

There one nice small Christmas market right around from us, I must say my town of Pluvigner, will do a one day Christmas market on December 22nd. The bigger tradition and bigger markets are on the north and east of France, mind you. Hope you enjoy the post in my historical Auray. Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal to all !!!

The city of Auray on the Christmas market: https://www.auray.fr/Agenda/Noel-a-Auray/Le-programme-des-animations

There you go folks a dandy experience , always remember with fondness, this is the season to be merrier, we always try even if memories of the past will come flashing by rapidly. It is always a time to cheers and in Auray, it is a historical town of 3 countries, France, USA, and Canada !

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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December 6, 2022

Amboise at Christmas !!

As the best season is coming up for 2022, I try to bring nicer memories back into my life. Now that time has passed and the two great women of my life are out, (my mom Gladys and my wife Martine) this is the time where all comes back. I like to share these moment again with my readers. Thank you for reading me, and hope these posts brings joy to you and your families. These posts will be in my black and white series, no pictures.

I am going to take you into the fairy tell land of the Loire and its castles. All this in a magical time of the year, Christmas 2018 ! First , I got me into the castle, let me tell you that Amboise is in the so call Valley of the kings castles in or around the Loire river. However, there are two regions in France that converges on it. Amboise is in department Indre-et-Loire no. 37 ;that is in the Centre-Val de Loire region and not in the Pays de la Loire region that ,also has many castles along the Loire.

Clear that out of the way, let me tell you about Amboise at Christmas time December 2018. We come with the family here often as it is also where we buy our house wines of Touraine-Amboise appellation. This is a family affairs that begins at the castle and overflows into the city center of Amboise along the Loire river; needless to say you should come here at Christmas time. It is magical. More so this year as it is the 500 anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci at the Château du Clos Lucé.

Every year, the Château of Amboise proposes to you to live Christmas over the centuries and to discover how the holidays have evolved over the years, from the origins to the Renaissance and until today.  Come and visit the castle which, for the occasion, gets to offer you scenes richly decorated in its rooms. You will find everything that makes you dream small and big when approaching Christmas: Decorated fir trees, logs and confectionery, cribs, fairy sets… All within the framework of a true Royal castle!  You follow the guiding thread: the Angels. Discover them in different forms, in the decorations of the castle or the paintings hanging on the walls, during your angelic visit of the Royal Castle of Amboise.  From December to January, you can also enjoy concerts, musical tales, creative workshops, a Roisou pastry cake tasting and a magnificent Renaissance ball!

And at the downtown/city center ,Christmas in Amboise, it is the occasion for all the dreamers, to fall back to childhood and to rediscover the wonder that invades everyone in the approach of the holidays. The historic heart of the city is illuminated every evening by hundreds of glittering garlands, from the place Michel Debré to the place Saint-Denis via the Tour de l’Horloge. A forest of fir trees sublimated by a light all red and green welcomes you in the old town.

At nightfall, the banks of the Loire river are the privileged witnesses of the marvellous illumination of the Royal Castle of Amboise. Fleurs-de-lis and cherubs come to life in a whirlwind of lights and colors for the greatest wonder of the entire family. In the Council room, near the roaring wood fire, a gigantic nativity scene presents, with the traditional characters of Advent, a village stage full of colorful goodness! Close your eyes, alert your ear… You would almost hear the fisherman’s banter negotiating his most beautiful catches with the fishermen, under the eager look of the neighborhood cats. In the salon Louis-Philippe, the fir tree is ready, the socks are hanging from the chimney, and some packages and gifts already adorn the foot of the dream tree.

At the Château du Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci welcomes its guests in a decor magnified by sumptuous plant creations. The grand staircase takes on the airs of a pristine forest, and brings you into the living room with a beautiful red fir tree. At its foot are already laid a few packages, promises of joys to come, under the benevolent protection of the mechanical lion of the master of the castle (in case some would consider opening the packages before the hour!). In the kitchen, candied fruits, spices and prepared poultry are already out. Finally, only the guests are missing to celebrate these wonderful moments of reunion! Welcome to magical Amboise!

We came first once from Versailles and we love it; we have come back several years at Christmas from the Morbihan breton. Amboise is magical indeed!

The official Châteai d’Amboise: https://www.chateau-amboise.com/en/

The city of Amboise on its heritage: https://www.ville-amboise.fr/88/monuments-a-visiter.htm

There you go folks a dandy experience , always remember with fondness, this is the season to be merrier, we always try even if memories of the past will come flashing by rapidly. It is always a time to cheers and in Amboise is magical.

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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December 6, 2022

Christmas in France !!!

This is a special moment of great joy for our family. I like to share some of our favorite spots for Christmas markets or festivities in my belle France. Of course, this is not an all for all, but rather my favorite choices over the years. This year we will be spending it in my beautiful Morbihan and have plenty of it in my blog already. Keep an eye for more soon.

Therefore, these are my best Christmas towns in France chosen by yours truly. Hope you enjoy the post as I. And Merry Christmas and best wishes to all!!

Paris, the magnificent, In December, the most beautiful alley in the world shines with a thousand lights. Department stores are raising the curtain on their bustling shop windows. Christmas markets flourish in all districts, with at the top of the list, that of the Jardin des Tuileries with its ice rink. Museums, theaters and restaurants are also decked out in Christmas colours. Paris tourist office on Christmas : https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/major-events/christmas-in-paris/christmas-lights/christmas-lights-in-paris

The castles of the Loire in majesty, What could be more magical than visiting the castles of the Loire in a costume of light? The monuments come out on top during the “Christmas in the land of castles” operation from December 4, 2021 to January 2, 2022, the castles of Villandry, Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Langeais, Villandry, the Fortress Royal City of Chinon and the Royal City of Loches invite you to a lively and shimmering tour to celebrate the Christmas spirit. The magic of the castles of the Loire at Christmas : https://www.grandesetapes.com/chateau-hotel-choiseul-amboise/en/offer/magic-christmas-france/

When the holiday season approaches, we tend to forget the West of France a little ,and yet, some Breton villages do not have to be ashamed of their Christmas decorations, like Saint-Malo for example. Every year, the old town is completely decorated with numerous illuminations. On the square of Intra-Muros, a Christmas market is installed and allows you to do your last Christmas shopping. In the fifteen or so chalets there are traditional cheese and sausage stalls, but the city also honors Saint-Malo craftsmen and restaurateurs. It’s very nice to stroll through the streets of this little Christmas market while enjoying a sausage galette! Christmas at Saint Malo : https://mon-marche-de-noel.com/accueil/villes/saintmalo/

The historic city of Metz, in Lorraine, hosts one of the largest Christmas markets in France after Strasbourg and Paris. In fact, there are five Christmas villages spread across the city center. A Ferris wheel stands in the center of the cathedral square (place d’Armes) As for the medieval Saint-Louis square, it hosts the oldest Christmas market in the city, On the Republic square, the pyramid of Noel guides its visitors to another market including an ice rink. Finally, the Lantern Trail is undoubtedly the attraction that will appeal to children the most! Christmas at Metz : https://tout-metz.com/marches-noel-metz-dates-horaires-2022-589236.php

Strasbourg, for the magic of Christmas Self-proclaimed “capital of Christmas”, the city of Strasbourg offers several Christmas markets with chalets, decorations, concerts and tastings of mulled wine and bredele to go with it. Extend your visit, if you can, to other more authentic towns or villages in Alsace such as Ribeauvillé. Christmas at Strasbourg : https://noel.strasbourg.eu/en/accueil

The city of Colmar is an ideal destination for the end of year celebrations. Normally, we go there to visit one of the 6 Christmas markets where we meet more than 200 exhibitors. It smells good of mulled wine and gingerbread, you can buy figurines, decorations for the Christmas tree and above all… nougat from Alsace! And finally, Colmar is nicknamed the “little Venice” because of its many canals crossing the city center, where it is pleasant to walk even in winter. With a bit of luck you will even see otters swimming in the Lauch, the Colmar river. Christmas at Colmar : https://www.noel-colmar.com/en/

The Village of Riquewirh with its colorful half-timbered houses is part of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France” and is for me one of the most beautiful villages in Alsace. As often in Alsace, the houses of this village are decorated all year round. Decorations vary with the seasons. It takes a good hour to visit this village which is organized along a large main street. The particularity of Riquewirh compared to the other beautiful Alsatian villages, is that one can find the magic of Christmas there in any season and even this year in the absence of the famous markets which make the reputation of Alsace. Christmas in Alsace on Riquewirth : https://www.christmas.alsace/riquewihr-christmas-market/

Meet on Saturday, December 4 from 6 p.m. in Nancy for the Saint Nicolas parade, the high point of the festival: floats, troupes and orchestras criss-cross the city for the pleasure of young and old. It is the flagship event, where magic rhymes with enchantment, but throughout the month, many festivities, concerts, shows, animations enliven the city placed under the benevolent gaze of the patron saint of Lorraine: Saint Nicolas. Nancy tourist office on Christmas : https://www.nancy-tourisme.fr/en/to-see-to-do/agenda-and-major-events/the-saint-nicholas-festivities-in-nancy/

The Lille Christmas Market is wonderfully located in the city’s shopping district. The focal point of Lille is the large Place du General de Gaulle, also known as the Grand’Place. This is where the locals gather for the big parties. The Christmas market takes place in the nearby square of Place Rihour. Every year, the streets of Lille shine with bright and festive lights, making the city center a vibrant and warm place. The colorful facades and shop windows are decorated with ornaments, lights, garlands and tinsel. Christmas at Lille : https://noel-a-lille.com/

The Arras Christmas market has become one of the most important Christmas events organized in the North of France. Occupying the remarkable Grand’Place, the Arras Christmas market is embellished with decorations and illuminations, as well as entertainment for children and concerts. The Advent period is the perfect opportunity to come to Arras and visit the main tourist sites of the Hauts-de-France region. Christmas at Arras : https://www.noelarras.com/fr/programme-3

The forecourt of the high cathedral of Reims and the adjacent streets are an ideal place for the Reims Christmas market. Founded in 1996, the event has become one of the most popular Christmas markets in France. The 140 Christmas market stalls offer all kinds of merchandise and gift ideas. The Rêve de Couleurs sound and light show is a breathtaking spectacle that takes place on the facade of the Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame de Reims. The show gives color to the rich statuary of the cathedral. Christmas at Reims : https://en.reims-tourisme.com/marche-de-noel-de-reims/reims/fmacha051v507ogw

Located one hour from Paris, the medieval town of Provins is worth a visit… even if it means braving the December cold! In the Middle Ages, the city once organized prestigious trade fairs, the “Foires de Champagne”. For a weekend in December, the Provins Christmas market brings together around forty artisans. Visitors like to come to Provins for its playful and authentic atmosphere. It gives an idea of ​​how the inhabitants of Provins lived in the Middle Ages. You will meet real minstrels, jugglers and fire-eaters. On the weekend of the Christmas market, the medieval town organizes a wide range of exciting events on the theme of the Middle Ages: an auction of medieval objects, a medieval ball, breathtaking fire juggling shows , guided tours in the historic town and an exhibition of nativity scenes. Christmas at Provins : https://provins.net/en/christmas-in-provins-2/

There is another Christmas attraction in the department of Seine-et-Marne: the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. In December, the estate is transformed into an enchanted world… Vaux-le-Vicomte is rediscovered through magical illuminations in the gardens and the castle. Fireworks, gifts and horse-drawn carriage rides complete this timeless visit! Christmas at Vaux-le-Vicomte : https://vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/news/vaux-le-vicomtes-in-celebration/

We couldn’t talk about Christmas destinations in France without mentioning Disneyland Paris, one of the favorite places for children! From November, the Disneyland Paris parks are preparing to celebrate Christmas in a delicious winter atmosphere and with beautiful surprises! In front of the majestic illuminated Christmas tree in Town Square, find Santa Claus, Mickey and Minnie. The Christmas Parade is one of Disney’s most anticipated events. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and their friends parade down Main Street amid dancing candy canes, gingerbread men and other Christmas treats. Outside of the parks, Disney Village hosts a Christmas Market. Disneyland Paris at Christmas : https://www.disneylandparis.com/en-int/seasons/christmas-at-disneyland-paris/

December 8 is a key date in the calendar of the city of Lyon. For 4 days around the date of Saint Lucia, the city lights up on the occasion of the Festival of Lights and offers innovative light creations and projections on dazzling facades. An opportunity to discover or rediscover the traboules and the traffic jams of Lyon. Lyon at Christmas : https://www.lyon-france.com/l-agenda/fetes/marche-de-noel-de-lyon

There you go folks, enjoy the season to be merrier and remember those dear not with us anymore; they would make it a wholesome Christmas after all. Again, Merry Christmas and best wishes to all!! Hope you enjoy the post and make your season a merrier one.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 6, 2022

My favorites Christmas markets of Paris !!!

Well Paris is always Paris, and  I can never be tired of writing about it, even if now I am a bit away in the Morbihan 56 of Bretagne! I like to give you a glimpse of my favorite marché de Noël or Christmas market while working in the City and living in Versailles for 9 years. These were my favorites, one year or the other or sometimes in combination ; and of course in my black and white series, no pictures, Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Every year, many Christmas markets are set up in Paris to the delight of young and old alike. French craftsmen but also sometimes from abroad invest charming chalets and offer visitors the product of their work. Richly decorated, these small winter villages compete in inventiveness and multiply the attractions: sale of Christmas trees, merry-go-rounds, meetings with Santa Claus, tastings of culinary specialties, creative workshops, ice rinks, shows etc, You will find, among others, the illuminations of the Champs-Elysées , But every corner of the city will not fail to surprise you! Indeed you will find many Christmas decorations and illuminations in Paris, on Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, on Avenue Montaigne, or in the streets of Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Don’t forget to take a walk in the shopping streets to admire the famous Christmas windows of Paris, including the windows of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Haussmann. My walks to work, sublime !!! Below in no particular order.

The Tuileries Christmas Market 2022, Since he no longer has permission to settle on the Champs-Élysées, Marcel Campion has moved his famous Christmas market to the Tuileries Garden! Privileging French craftsmen, this market called “The Magic of Christmas” consists of a hundred wooden chalets, a 1200 m2 ice rink, or a beautifully decorated Christmas tree 20 meters high! A delight for children who can also discover free shows. to January 8, 2023

Alsatian Christmas Market 2022 at the Gare de l’Est, Every year, the forecourt of the Gare de l’Est is transformed in December into a large Alsatian Christmas market. On the menu, all the culinary specialties and delicacies that make the reputation of the region: pretzels, gingerbread, small cakes, chocolates, fresh pasta, foie gras, wines, eau-de-vie, charcuterie… Everything is there. to allow visitors to find the ingredients and the magic of the traditions of an Alsatian Christmas in the heart of Paris and to exchange with the producers. to December 16, 2022 Forecourt of Gare de l’Est, 10éme arrondissement or district of Paris.

The Champ-de-Mars or Eiffel Christmas Village 2022, With its 50 artisanal chalets, this Christmas village installed on the lawns of the Champ-de-Mars offers a magical moment under the magical decor of the great iron lady. Many activities are offered there for the youngest: specialty tastings, board sports and a beautiful 300 m² ice rink (to be confirmed).From December 16, 2022 to January 2, 2023 From 10h to 20h On the lawns of the Champ de Mars, 7éme arrondissement

The Christmas Market 2022 of the City/Town Hall Square, Located in the heart of the city, the City/town hall square hosts wooden chalets surrounded by a forest of fir trees. Local craftsmen present their know-how and their products. The grown-ups enjoy waffles and mulled wine while the little ones take turns on the big carousel with wooden horses, climb aboard a little train and even set off… to meet Santa Claus! From December 2, 2022 to Sunday, January 1, 2023 Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4éme arrondissement.

The Christmas market 2022 in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Modest in size, this richly decorated market is worth the detour. It is held every year along the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. For more than a month, charming little stands sell craft, traditional and local products. Several activities are offered to children, who can even meet Father Christmas there on weekends and have their picture taken with him. to January 1, 2023 From 10h to 19h every day, Boulevard Saint-Germain, 6éme arrondissement.

The Notre-Dame de Paris Christmas Market 2022, Temporarily closed following the fire that ravaged its structure in April 2019, the famous cathedral hosts a charming Christmas market in its surroundings. Artistic craftsmanship and authentic atmosphere are on the program of the site, with the presence of real craftsmen and the sale of quality products (jewellery, textiles, ceramics, gastronomy…). The toddlers will not be left out with the visit of Father Christmas in person and many activities organized for them. From December 9 to December 26, 2022 From 10h to 20h and until 21h on weekends Square Viviani, quai Montebello, 5éme arrondissement.

The Montmartre Christmas Market 2022 , Perhaps less famous, the Montmartre Christmas market is certainly not the least picturesque. Fifteen small wooden chalets are spread out in the streets surrounding the Butte, in a warm and festive atmosphere. Artisanal products, local products and many gift ideas are offered there. The youngest can meet Father Christmas there and even give them their letter… From December 10 to 31, 2022, from 10h to 20h. Place des Abbesses,18éme arrondissement.

The Christmas Market of the Canals 2022, Several Christmas markets are organized this year again within the Pavillon des Canals. Each weekend has its own theme: “Grrrande Market” (December 3-4); “The Peacock Christmas Market” (December 10 and 11); “El gran mercado latino” (the great Latin market) (December 17 and 18). to December 18, 2022 , 39 Quai de la Loire, 19éme arrondissement.

The Les Féeries d’Auteuil 2022, In the illuminated setting of rue Jean de La Fontaine, come and celebrate Christmas with the Apprentis d’Auteuil! This veritable Christmas market is accompanied by activities for children, concerts, an exhibition of nativity scenes… not to mention a Christmas-themed creation workshop, an old-fashioned merry-go-round, pony rides , balloon releases, a restaurant area, an oyster bar… From December 3 to 11, 2022 40 rue Jean de La Fontaine, 16éme arrondissement.

The Christmas Village 2022 on the Parvis de la Défense, Experience the magic of Christmas with the family in La Défense in a festive atmosphere and be amazed: whether you are young or old, you will stroll along the aisles of the market discovering 350 chalets and exhibitors from all over the world. This unique market will make you lose track of time and immerse you in the festive atmosphere. Many activities are on the program throughout these five weeks, take full advantage of the Christmas atmosphere, come with family or friends, when at nightfall, the towers light up, the fir trees sparkle with a thousand lights. , the elves thread their way through the aisles and the magic happens. to December 24, 2022 From 11h to 20h, Saturday from 10h to 22h. Parvis de la Défense, 92800 Puteaux.

The Great Christmas Sale, December 17 and 18, 2022, Opening hours: Saturday from 10h to 18h, and Sunday from 10h to 16h It is at the Parc Floral de Paris that you will find the famous Christmas Sale for the benefit of the association Mécénat Cardiaque. On more than 1,000 m², thousands of products from major brands are sold for the benefit of children with heart disease. You will find there: Christmas gifts, toys, books, fashion (women, men, children), perfumes and jewelry, shoes, sports, decoration, household appliances, wines, gastronomy, chocolates, tableware, etc, Parc Floral, Château de Vincennes, 118 route de la Pyramide 12éme ,also, for a worthy cause.

There you go folks always a magical moment, Francedoes it well and Parisis sublime ,out of this world. Hope you are planning and enjoy the season to be merrier at the most beautiful City in the world, Paris, of course, Merry Christmas to all my followers and readers ! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

And remember,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 5, 2022

Paris, the Christmas season and the twins 18 b-day !!!

As the best season is coming up for 2022, I try to bring nicer memories back into my life. Now that time has passed and the two great women of my life are out, (my mom Gladys and my wife Martine) this is the time where all comes back. I like to share these moment again with my readers. Thank you for reading me, and hope these posts brings joy to you and your families. These posts will be in my black and white series, no pictures.

Another year ends and Christmas season is in the air, The  December 2011 Christmas was our first one in our new apartment of Brec’h in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. However, took the boys back to Paris because its always an excuse, because it was my twin boys 18 birthday wow!! now big men, times flies, and because it was the start of decorations, and Christmas market in the Champs-Elysées. Voilà Noël is in the air !!!

I took off from Brec’h by car as usual, with my twins boys who goes to school here while the mom and older plus my father stays in Versailles waiting for the house to be sold (have two realtors working on it). The ride was as usual very smooth on the N165,N24,A84,and A13;gas was at 1,359 euros per liter and tolls were 14,30 euros one way. Still a lot cheaper than going by train or plane or else. We arrive Friday night late just enough to sleep and ready for Paris the next day.

The day was begun at the George V parking lot underground ,one of my favorites spots to park my car as in several others. We then proceeded to a  huge visit and Dad/Mom hefty price tag at Virgin Megastore (now closed) at the Champs-Elysées. This was great as usual and they got their X360 videogame machine plus all kinds of tapes, and video games.

We walk as far as the place de la Concorde, and the big wheel or grande roue was there flashing already a Paris landmark and waited by many. The chalets or market stalls were abundant and nice with wood from the French vosges , all kinds of them, and they were already busy with the crowds. We notice some over pricing, as my oldest son work in the business of souvenirs stores in Versailles, there the prices sometimes are half of those in Paris ::) However, it seems of little importance as folks were gathering gadgets all over the avenue. We visit the Sport24 store to see some nice shirts by Real Madrid but again a bit overprice than I could pay in Madrid ::) The main point was the walk and seeing all the lights been ready,and the festive mood of the people, lots of French kisses on the avenue, young lovers abound….

Finally it was time to head back, to find something to eat, well we were in tourist heaven so not much choice,however, we had eaten at Pizza Pino at Montparnasse before and it was good portions at good pricing so we opted for it. Pizza Pino has a branch in the Champs-Elysées (now closed) right in front of l’entrecote and next to pizza roma, cant missed it. We left happy as it was, also, my twins birthdays and as they wanted to shop for their gadgets there we ate on site.

We did not finish shopping we went across to FNAC another dept store , at the Champs-Elysées, and we purchase two samsung digital cameras (mines) there plus more cd, and dvds tapes for the kids and Dad ::) We then went over to the George V parking garage got in my car and drove over to the port de Suffren where the boat Maxim’s is anchored.

The boat Maxim’s is a double decker maroons off the Seine just below the Tour Eiffel, and owned by Pierre Cardin. Every year I get invitations to the tastings of wine and goodies there, you can eat on the upper deck or just buy and go home. Over the years we have done both, this time we just bought our regular house wines from the Loire,beaujolais nouveau, and plenty of chocolates, French chocolates home made by artists of the genre, really good. The parking there is free with attendance,and you get to see and walk around the Eiffel tower which after so many trps over the years no need to go up again lol! We were loaded ,more broked ,but very happy as usual of our Paris escapades.

We headed home but knowing it was late and just the hour for folks coming in and out of Paris for the night activities we took the direction of La Defense, went around the N13 direction Suresnes and reach the A13 at just Versailles, nice ride by the road warrior once again. The day made more special because of my twins boys 18 birthday !!!

The Paris tourist office: https://en.parisinfo.com/

There you go folks a dandy experience , always remember with fondness, this is the season to be merrier, we always try even if memories of the past will come flashing by rapidly. It is always a time to cheers and in Paris much the better.

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 5, 2022

Versailles on Christmas Day !!!

As the best season is coming up for 2022, I try to bring nicer memories back into my life. Now that time has passed and the two great women of my life are out, (my mom Gladys and my wife Martine) this is the time where all comes back. I like to share these moment again with my readers. Thank you for reading me, and hope these posts brings joy to you and your families. These posts will be in my black and white series, no pictures.

After the Christmas eve dinner and the Christmas day gifts what is next ? I took off for a ride and walk of the city of Versailles on this glorious day. Christmas 2011 that is !!!

The city was calm and almost empty of course, there was some hardy tourists strolling in the evening but for most it was to me and my father who accompanied me while the rest of the gang stay at home watching the Christmas/Noel shows on TV. Its a special day, and wanted to be out, no snow, not cold ,just cool evening ,and no sunshine. I was by the palace, of course, then up the bd Leclerc to see the Cathedral of St Louis, and the Potager du roi, up to ave Gral de Gaulle to see the rive gauche train RER station, and the Hôtel de Ville on the corner of ave de Paris, went up to see Madame Elizabeth home on 73 ave de Paris, and back to the marché de Notre Dame.  Some was done by car and most on foot.

Its my home for now, still selling my house to move west to the Morbihan breton, but Versailles will always be home ,8.5 glorious years, another milestone in my life of moving and shaking and life goes on. I am sure another sweet land awaits me in Morbihan dept 56 of Bretagne, but the previous ones are all good. They all marked a stage of my life and learning experiences that helps me shape my life in the future. They are all remembered and share with friends and family along the ways. Versailles is no different.

The royal town of Versailles, home of the French constitution,and the declaration of support for the young nation of the United States of America. The end of the line of French monarchy. Its all here, along with jobs and schools, and everyday life’s chores.

Some updates from the Palace,,,,a new balcon has been open in the cours des cerfs; the piece des bains in Marie Antoinette apartments  are now open for viewing; and the restauration of the salon de Mercure over the last few months ,this is part of the Grands Appartements, done in 1682.

The Versailles tourist office: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/?origine=switchLangue

The official Château de Versailles: https://en.chateauversailles.fr/

There you go folks a dandy experience , always remember with fondness, this is the season to be merrier, we always try even if memories of the past will come flashing by rapidly. It is always a time to cheers and in Versailles is royal nice.

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all !!!

December 5, 2022

My travel stories so far !!!

We are coming to the end of 2022 another year and another battle, My 87 years old father Elio is already 18 days in the hospital recuperating from an episode of epilepsy and coming along slowly in stable condition, He is the last as my mother Gladys died in 2007 and my dear wife Martine in 2018, I am at home with my 3 young men and our dog Rex waiting for Christmas and another year, I decided to look back and briefly tell of my travels and countries visited in my life, All wonderful trips with family and alone that will be in my memory forever, Hope you enjoy the reading along with me of this wonderful post,

I have gone out into the world from the Miami International airport, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Later from CDG Roissy airport (Paris) and Orly airport (Paris), Lastly my trips have been from Nantes Atlantique airport or even the Lorient and Rennes airports. Many experiences all good me think even with some delays, No sad event on any of them.

The countries I have visited are group by region below :

Asia : Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia,Taiwan, and Thailand,(14)

Africa : Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, Argelia, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania,Angola, Namibia, Mozambique,Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon,and Senegal, (16)

America : Mexico , Brazil, Belize, Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Canada, USA, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay Bolivia,Dominican Republic,Guatemala, Jamaica, and Haiti (27)

Europe : Spain, France, Portugal , Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy,Greece, San Marino, Russia,Israel, Austria, Bulgaria, Andorra, Monaco, and the Vatican, (24)

So there you go 81 countries so far, and some were done from France ,the latest ones, and others done from the USA the oldest visits, All wonderful memorable moments in my life.

The family was always sitting down to figure where we are going, and the endless choices mostly turn out to be France or Spain. Lately, alone with the boys we have been concentrating closer to home in our lovely region of Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh, Life goes on, beautiful life but short to many, enjoy it fully while you can, Remember as I needed to, don’t do tomorrow what you can do today, This post will allow me to keep track of where I have been because it took some work to put it together.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all !!!

ps, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2023

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