July 26, 2017

Some news from Spain XLVII

Talking about my trip to Spain next month, well it’s the best time and hard to wait! temps here are cloudy,rainy, and cool 19C about 64F….

So now it’s time to speak about Spain .

The museum of El Prado is getting ready for it’s 200 years anniversary (1819-2019). There are many offers on the table to coincide with November 19 2018 that will have the pinotheque opens with programs like “De gira por España” or the  “El Prado Itinerante“. The museum will lent important works by a period of one month to several renown institutions; one for each autonomous region of Spain ,including Ceuta and Melilla, except  Madrid, in the program  “De gira por España”. The “El Prado Itinerante”, will have the exposition of  “Las Meninas”, that will be installed in a vehicle to do a tour of Spain as an homage to the Museum of the People and the republican pedagogics with the opening shortly of the Jonic Gallery or  Galería Jónica with classic sculptures.  In addition, nine new rooms of the Flemish and Dutch sculpture of the 17C in the second floor north of the museum ,therefore making the entire building of  Villanueva dedicated to expositions.  All is preview for the opening of the bicentenary on November 19 2018.  “Circa 1819” will the start of the event with 75 paintings done before or after the foundation of the Museum of El Prado with painters such as  Goya, Géricault, Turner, Friederich ,and Delacroix, that will be on from November 2018 to March 2019. Also, in 2019  there will be other expositions such as on  Velázquez, Rembrandt , and the Golden centuries of Spanish and Dutch paintings  in collaboration with the museum  or Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam; also, Goya Dibujos, Fra Angelico and the origins of the Florentine renaissance , Sofonisba Anguisola-Lavinia Fontana, two models of women artists and El triunfo de la muerte de Pieter Brueghel el Viejo. Exciting, you read it here first ::)

Much more sooner, this summer art in Spain.

The Festival Internacional de Teatro Clàsico de Mérida. 6 new shows with 7 montages and a historical moment for the 63rd edition of this festival that will look at the origins of our society; from the Democracy, Politics etc. Going on until August 27th. More here: http://www.festivaldemerida.es/

The Festival Internacional de Teatro Clàsico de Almagro, under the theme “Respira Festival” in its 40th edition. About 50 companies from 13 countries and 102 representations of which 25 will be first time showing.  The premier of  ‘La dama duende’, of Calderón de la Barca with the  Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico to open the festival. In it you will see shows on Shaskespeare, Quevedo, Cervantes, Lope de Vega or Molière etc. You will see Cervantes in  ‘Las verdaderas aventuras de Don Quijote de la Mancha’ and ‘El rufián dichoso’,from the Fundación Siglo de Oro. Also, for the first time, the complete  ‘El divino Narciso’,  of  Juana Inés de la Cruz; and the musical comedy  ‘La Calderona, The Remix’ on hip hop beat with DJ included!;  ‘Eco y Narciso’, one of the work less seen of Calderon.  To finish the “ Sueños” and “La Ternura” by the Teatro de la Ciudad ; ‘Cyrano de Bergerac‘; ‘La vida es sueño‘ from the Teatro del Temple or the classic  El Brujo. And more, to celebrate the anniversary of scene classics or ‘Clásicos en escena’ in the Plaza Mayor to more than 40 artists that had played in this golden age classics. All until July 30th,wonderful to see!!!  more here: http://festivaldealmagro.com/es/home/index.php

The Festival de Teatro Clàsico de Olite. In its 18th edition with new director. Starts at the Palacio Real or Royal Palace with “Cuando el amor habla, el corazón canta’, (when love talks, the heart sings), a spectacle with wordings from Tirso de Molina, Calderon de la Barca or Francisco Quevedo  ; a fusion of poetry ,and baroque music; until August 5th: more here in Spanish : http://www.olite.com.es/NOTICIAS/2016/TCLASICO/teatro_00.php

And my favorite; “Me vuelves Lorca” (give me back Lorca), in its 3rd edition in the Granadine Alpujarras inspired all by Federico García Lorca, and host by the village of  Laroles. You have music by Jorge Pardo and Juan Perro  with scenic propositions of the women of  El Vacie, and their ‘Fuenteovejuna‘  and with an impressive monologue of “El minuto del payaso’ by Luis Bermejo.  To complete the programming the dance of Belen Maya and Israel Galván  with the improvision of the Jamming Compañía with  ‘Jamming On Tour’. From July 28 to August 12; more info here: http://web2.mevuelveslorca.com/

New tools on the digital world; You know today there are 167 000 km of roads in Spain of which only a bit more than 10% or about 17000 km are motorways/expressways multi lanes. However, this 10% is 94,3% of all the traffic (source Ministerio de Fomento 2015).  Now you have many routes you can track down and do such as the town of Basi in Sant Martin del Castañar (Salamanca); Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Avila) or the Cathedral without name in Villacastin (Segovia).  You can participate in this new tool in instagram at  #LaGuiaInolvidable publish your new found places with a photo and location or send it to laguiainolvidable@renault-info.es . You can request the guide free on the webpage  http://www.laguiainolvidable.es

The river Arlanzón had made possible the city of Burgos, like many other cities that has a river going thru its center. And the artery that connects all the monuments of the city. From one end to the other, we have the Cartuja de Miraflores (monastery and hunting ground of king Enrique III);on the other side the monastery or Monasterio de las Huelgas, 12C. In between you have the park or parque de la Isla, the Paseo de los Cubos ,and Paseo del Espolón, the gothic Cathedral, and the post office building or  Correos y Telégrafos, the museum or Museo de la Evolución Humana, the statue in bronze of El Cid,and the convent of San José. And of course, the Castle or Castillo, that keeps an eye on the city from the hill or cerro de San Miguel.  Over the river you have the bridge or puente de Malatos, and puente de Santa María (best way to enter the city is under the gate of the same name) , and the Puente de San Pablo. One of the loveliest city of Spain, historical strong Burgos.  The tourist office here: http://www.turismoburgos.org/en

And as we reach the summer especially in Spain, what about those pools!!! or piscinas,  they are great for locals and visitors are welcome to stop by, it will be a great experience. Some of the best ones for me are:

The pool of Gymage located at calle de la Lune, 2  is open from 11h to 18h. You can have a drink later on , it has a white décor and plants all over . Admission is 12€ from Mondays to Fridays, Saturday and Sundays is 19€. More info here: http://www.gymage.es/

Then, you have something more youthful at the UCM pool, all kinds of interaction here with many young people from the University. Folks are towel to towel cramp here but a lot of fun If young at heart. It is located at avenida Obispo Trejo, s/n ;Tel +34 91 3941174.  Until September 6th open from 11h to 20H, daily admission is 4€ or 10 visits for 25€, 15 visits for 40€ ; weekends holidays it is 6€. More from Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/sports/piscina-de-la-universidad-complutense-de-Madrid

You, also, can visit the municipal pools managed by the Comunidad de Madrid. These are the Canal de Isabel II (Avenida de Filipinas, 54), San Vicente de Paúl (Calle Pelícano, 4) , and Parque Deportivo de Puerta de Hierro (Carretera de La Coruña, km 7), open from 11h to 20h open until September 10th and admission of 5,50€. You can purchase 10 visits for 50€ with discount for kids, mobility impaired,  and families . Opening from 11h to 21h such as the  Estación de Hortaleza, 11-13. Tel. +34 913 821 965. admission 4,50€  from Mondays to Fridays no holidays

Best of the them my opinion here: http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Cultura-ocio-y-deporte/Deportes/Direcciones-y-telefonos/Instalacion-Deportiva-Canal-de-Isabel-II?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=a8b5 b0c40971c010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=9b08151c238fe410VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD

In a hotel, a nice one is hotel Emperador, in the Gran Via, you can purchase an entry even if not staying in the hotel, if space permitting. Open from Mondays to Thursdays for 48€ , Fridays and weekends/Holidays for 63€. Menu and admission to pool from 14h30 Mondays to Thursdays for 68€ five passes  from Monday to Thursdays cost 215€ ; the terrace is open from 10h to 21h:more info here: http://blog.emperadorhotel.com/2016/05/03/roof-garden-2016-terraza-y-piscina-en-el-hotel-emperador/

Another nice municipal pool and one went for my boys is at Vicente del Bosque pool, in the district of Barrio del Pilar not far from Vaguada shopping center. Calle Monforte de Lemos, 13 tel +34  913 147 943. Admission is 4,50€  from Mondays to Fridays not Holidays.  More info here :https://www.esmadrid.com/deporte/centro-deportivo-municipal-vicente-del-bosque

And a nice gymnasium pool is at Virgin Active Capitan Haya, natural lighting and nice pool with controlled temperature. You can take Aquagym classes or aquchasatic training custom made for you.  It is located in the district of Tetuán,  Calle del Poeta Joan Maragall, 1 (Antigua Capitán Haya). Tel. +34  917 70 58 91. Hours Mondays to Fridays from 6h30 to 23h , Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays from 9h to 23h. The only catch you also need to be a member, but you get one day free to try it . More info here: https://www.virginactive.es/gimnasios/gimnasio-capitan-haya-madrid/instalaciones

Lastly , something useful for the seafood lover in me or you, and oysters. We have good ones in Spain too ! the oysters traditionally are consumed in the month with R or from September to April. However, modern days innovation make them available year around due to harvest oysters even if quality is inferior. I do not buy harvest oysters , period.

To open them you need some practice and precaution as well as using a proper knife , an oyster knife, wide and short with hand protection.  You need to introduce it between the shells , closer to the bottom end to cut the muscle.  You can buy them already open or do it yourself; we go to the coast here and get them closed but sometimes we had them open it if in a hurry. You need to feel the weight of them in your hand and they must be humid to the touch. They need to be really closed and when you knock them against each other  the sound should be dry and deaf ,no noise.

If you take time between the purchase and the consumption better to place them with the bottom side up and on the bottom section of our fridge covered with a wet towel and not to heavy so they won’t open up; the ideal temperature should be about 8C  or about 46F. When you open them you should smell them and throw out those smelling bad odor.

You can eat them as is with maybe a drop or two of lemon juice. Place them on a dish full of ice and on top the oyster facing up to do about a dozen at a time. There are many other ways to eat them , I just gave you the traditional way and the way we eat them. They are great as an entrée with Muscadet or Sancerre, Chablis types wines. Enjoy them !!!

Until next time in the Spainish waves. Enjoy your week, cheers.


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July 25, 2017

Some news from France CLXIIII

And now back to normal time ,killing time for my big summer French vacation in Spain ::) I will tell you surprising weather has come back without rain, some sunshine and temps in the 23C or about 73F in my neck of the woods….

Some of the things happening in my belle France.

Going over the dire state of the French rail system , losing money on the TGV and still trying to avoid roads into Paris lol! Read this in the Le Parisien newspaper; my translation.

The SNCF  will publish next Friday the accounts for the last  quarter showing a return of passengers to the TGV , even if this influx will not make it come out of the red.  According to the newspaper, after several years of stagnation or lowering traffic, the domestic traffic has increase of 8,4% in the first quarter comparing same period in 2016.  This is due to the implementation of the rates for the under 26 years old call  TGVMax with an unlimited destinations as well as  picking off rush hours pricing.  In the sector South-East  (from Paris towards the Alpes and the Mediterranean), the rate of occupancy has reached 88 % !  The TGV  fully loaded several days in advance are numerous. However, the profitability has eroded year after year  with the high frequency of  high tariffs for the railings asked of the network  SNCF Réseau (ex-RFF), who handles all the infrastructure on rails to have the trains run.  Face with this increasing debt (reaching 44B €!), up due to also lower subventions by the government; the  SNCF Réseau has try to increase its earnings with the only lines that can do this, the TGV.  However, the TGV alone is 2B € in the red . More than two thirds of lines are in deficit and the marginal space operated by the TGV has been cut in half, reaching just 630M € in 2016.  They will need twice that for them to finance their operations and buy new rail lines  to modernize the system.  For economies, the company has cancelled year after year trains on the lines in deficit but this rate kills the growth. The goal for 2018 is to find how to bring the margins back in the TGV at around 20%, to bring an additional 700M € additional per year. Started in 2013 the line Paris to Barcelona  could go through a reduction in service and lower the frequencies that is share with Spain’s RENFE that takes about 6 trains per day in vacation times and 3 the rest of the times. The line Paris-Geneva, share with the Swiss Railroad under the label Lyria , is in the same situation.

There will be a great looking back on Steve McQueen in the gallery or galerie Joseph, 116  rue de Turenne. Bringing many facets of the actor, great fan of speed and car collector. Expo until August 30th. More here:  http://galeriejoseph.com/turenne-espace-atypique-le-marais/

A new hotel , talking about the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers, only 600 meters from the Centre Pompidou, with 66 rooms, a trattoria, a cicchetteria (Venetian tapas) , bar with cocktails, the L’Herbarium.  All done with cement, granite, terrazzo and hard wood. More here:  https://www.hotelnational.paris/en/

With more than 200 works of art from Van Gogh projected in the walls of 12 meters high in the Grande Halle de la Villette to invite you into the passages, village scenes , wheat fields, and sunflowers of the painter.  This exposition is to discover the work of his last three years of his life. Wonderful.  Until September 10th, more here: http://www.imagine-vangogh.com/

From where came the Dragons? A vast subject to discover in 4 000 m2  of exposition space. The  DragonLand  takes you in to discover this phenomenon and from theory to practice with explanations. You will discover 30 dragons in animation.  In the Paris Expo, porte de Versailles, until September 3rd. More in English here: http://www.dragonland-expo.fr/page/exhibition-english-version/

And many times, people ask me where to see Paris from above? Well many places really, these are some of my favorites. Enjoy Paris, always eternal.

You see her white silhouette high in the hill of Montmartre  in the 18  arrondissement/District of Paris. The view from the Sacré-Cœur over the roofstops of Paris is Worth the climb.  Some, like me think is one of the best if not the best.  From the steps of the Basilica built in the end of the 19C, Paris looks infinite. See more here: http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/francais/histoire-et-visite/article/visite-virtuelle-panoramique-de-la

WE go by the rue Georges-Lardennois or the stair on the avenue Simon-Bolivar, this is the Butte Bergeyre , 19 arrondissement/district that ends with  about hundred meters high.   At the summit in a range of trees you see the arrows of  Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. At this height you should know it’s name came from a stadium named after Robert Bergeyre,  a rugby Player killed at the age of 20 early in World War I.  The hill opened in August 1918, today the sport complex is gone but it held the France Cup of football/soccer in 1920. More here in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/119306/Butte-Bergeyre

You go to the park or parc de Belleville and you can see the Beaubourg, (centre Pompidou) where you see the tubes/pipes of it, and behind the golden dome of Invalides. From here you can continue seeing the stars of Paris , such as the Library or Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand, and the tour Eiffel ,and all the way to Mont Valérien ( the highest point and a great view of Paris, my favorite) . You can see the Church of  Notre-Dame-de-Paris,and it’s square towers as well as the tour Montparnasse; with a keener eye you can see on clear days the Sorbonne , and the palais de Chaillot! More here  : https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71357/Parc-de-Belleville

The magical rooftop of the Institut du Monde Arabe is freely accessable  and guarantee quiet place at 77 meters high. You can see the Cathedral de Notre-Dame-de-Paris and the island or île Saint-Louis. At the Zyriab you can taste the mint and oriental sweets. This is at 39, Boulevard Saint Germain , 5th arrondissement/district ; Tuesdays to Fridays from 10h to 18h and weekends and holidays until 19H. More here: https://www.imarabe.org/en

You can go to the Parc de la Villette, and do a stop at the Philharmonie de Paris where the roofstop is freely accessable. Take the monumental stairs with metallic covers and on the third floor the elevators/lifts will carry you to the third floor or parvis/ belvédère. You have reach the artificial hill of architect Jean Nouvel. The view is almost 360° on Paris.  You see a range of trees with modern buildings but farther you see the tour Eiffel and tour Montparnasse on one side.  On the other side you see outer Paris such as Pantin, Aubervilliers, and Les Lilas. The location is Le Belvédère de la Philharmonie de Paris, 221 avenue Jean Jaures, 19 arrondissement/district. You can climb from Wednesdays to Sundays  from mid day to 20H. More info here: http://philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/rooftop-viewpoint-at-the-philharmonie

One of the newer shopping centers or malls in Paris that I visit just after initial opening is now booming! the centre commercial Beaugrenelle , 15 arrondissement/district. The hot weather and rainy days has put the numbers of visitors up here.  From this past June the increase in frequency has been from 15 -20 %, with sales growing at 15- 25 %.  The best sales are the ice creams !!! juice bars, and ready to wear/prêt-à-porter. The mall has 50 000 m2  of space for stores; just great while in Paris.  And you have sales until August 8th. More here : http://www.beaugrenelle-paris.com/en

 Last but not least for this post is about a town close to where I used to lived. Saint Germain en Laye. The city has received the prize on the 23rd edition of the contest « Les Rubans du patrimoine »  for the restauration of the ramps of the caves or Grottes , that were one of the last vestiges of the Château-Neuf (where louis XIV was born and today the castle is gone); the castle there call the vieux is now housing the archeological museum. The city  finally restored the walls of Lions or mur des Lions in 2016. More on the gone castle in French here: http://musee-archeologienationale.fr/chateau-et-jardins/les-espaces-remarquables/le-chateau-neuf

On the ramp in English here: http://www.saintgermainenlaye-tourisme.fr/en/places-must-see/grottoes-banister-633100

Enjoy France, it is the eternal from which Paris is just the beginning of heaven ::) Cheers


July 24, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XVIIII

Well, do not know you, but me, once have a photo need to do something about it or forgot it all. As tomorrow is back to work after a long five day weekend, need to catch up. Awaiting of course, our summer vacation in August.

We had a visitor from the Americas with us for these last few days and it was nice to talk to someone we had met and renew the friendship again. Today was the last day as she was leaving in the afternoon to Montparnasse Paris and onwards in her trip.

Therefore, we settled for a quick trip around my town, small quiet and cloudy but no rain!! We went walking as all is within walking distance. My boys joined us for the walk, so good company.

We did a town reconnaissance walk going by our family haircutter Annie, then the convenience supermarket store Proxi.  We stop by le Stadium bar to go across street to a field where there is a stone memorial to a B17 American bombardier that crash landed here, all dead except the radiomen. The family member came back and a ceremony was held in 1994 for the stone memorial; nice town.

We went by the mediathéque or library in town, and past into the residential area to visit the fountain of St Guigner (c. 1526)and laundry of Tanin.

The highlight of the trip was to visit the Church of Saint Guigner  (16C) in city center, our main Church. The legend has been told before in other posts where he was the son of an Irish king  named Clyton who was made Christian by St Patrick,and  came here to evangelize the area in around 406AD. More in French or Breton in our city page here: http://www.pluvigner.fr/eglise-paroissiale-saint-guigner/

Tourist office info here in French: http://www.pluvigner.fr/contacts/office-de-tourisme/

And the local area tourist office in French here: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/home/nos-villes-et-villages/pluvigner.aspx

After this nice walk in town, we came back home for lunch. And we took our friend to the train station in Auray for her TGV to Montparnasse Paris. It was nice to be with friendly company for a few days, and we wish her good continuation of her trip in France, Germany and the USA.

We came back home to have our apero snacks with porto red and now relaxing getting mentally prepare to go back to work tomorrow. You all have an excellent week. Until next time in my blog; Cheers.

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July 24, 2017

Landerneau in the Finistére Breton!

So driving around with a visiting friend we decided to take her to Landerneau a very old town in the Finistére Breton dept 29. Always raining so typical but we told her rain is part of Brittany and it does not stop us from going out and visiting. The temps was mild cool ,cloudy raining all day all over the route on the N165 and D770 as well as on site. I had briefly written on the town back in August 2012!

It goes to show once again the diversity of places here , so many things to see , we take time to come back to old ones ::) The tourist office of Landerneau is at http://www.pays-landerneau-daoulas.fr/patrimoine/

Some info in English from the Finistére tourist office here: http://www.finisterebrittany.com/landerneau

So, the drive was easy but rainy along the N165 to the D770 and Landerneau. We arrived by the Pont de Rohan (b. 1510) parking along the quai de Léon. Alongside the River Elorn .Metered parking but as Sunday it is free. We then set out on foot.

We went to see the Church Saint Thomas and the next door Ossuary of Saint Cadou.

The Church of Saint Thomas was in honor of Thomas Becket , bishop of Canterbury, died as martyr in 1170. The lords of Léon founders of the abbey of Daoulas and owners of Landerneau had a Church built in honor of St Thomas that became the priory of St Thomas since the middle of the 13C. The original Church was rebuilt in the end of the 16C and the tower founded the day of the Trinity in 1607. The Church was again renovated in 1849. The 3 level bell tower was also renovated in 1849. The front façade with the porch is decorated with statues in stone of St Francis de Assisi, St Eloi, and a Virgin in calvary on top of the entrance. Inside you see a nice altar of 1711,and a statue in wood of the Virgin lying down from the 15C. Not much more but a bit more here: http://www.patrimoine-religieux.fr/eglises_edifices/29-Finistere/29103-Landerneau/124737-EgliseSaint-Thomas-de-Cantorbery

The ossuaire de Saint Cadou, just facing the above Church is the old ossuary of Saint Thomas dedicated to Saint Cadou with a date of 1635.  This is a rectangular building with four windows and two chapters in the door. the funerary chapel was taken in 1794 by the French revolution to be a factory of laces and leather shoes for the soldiers. Later, it served for housing of the sacristan priest and later as of today a museum of stone statues from the area. Fairly new the newspaper Ouest France has news in French here: http://www.ouest-france.fr/bretagne/landerneau-29800/landerneau-l-ossuaire-saint-cadou-ouvert-au-public-5101434

Right around this area you will see the fountain in the Place des 4 Pompes  that used to gather the water of the prairies of Saint Thomas ,after the realignment of the street it was redone in a modern style in 1774. It has four spouts to spring water from and it is probably why it is call 4 pompes.  You than come to the Galerie de Rohan. Contemporary arts at its best in 180 square meters of space. More from the city in French here: http://www.ville-landerneau.fr/Culture-Sport/La-Galerie-de-Rohan

We had a break and went for lunch, so been raining and not much to walk about on a Sunday, we entered the Ar Vamm Fave créperie right on the rue du Pont next to the river Elorn. This was a pleasant surprise as the food was delicious and the ambiance very Breton with nice decorations to boot. The group had several things from complete galette ,to Andouille the Breton sausage type of many unnamed things inside, the ti bragou with sausages of Moléne, together with crêpes flambée, and coffees, all wash down with cider Kerne demi sec; coming to 12.90€ per person. Very good. webpage here: http://www.landerneau-boutiques.com/les-boutiques.html?pid=58&sid=116:creperie-ar-vamm-fave

Once fed, we continue a bit more into the Church Saint Houardon starting from the 16C at rue Alain Daniel not far from the river Elorn. After the French revolution, the Church was in bad state and very small for the new parrishgoers. The Church was rebuilt in 1858-1860 in neo gothic style. The bell tower is of 63 meters dating from 1589 and done in 1860. The sculpture porch is from 1604 high of 22 meters and an older one on top dating from the 16C. The roof was renovated in 1957; it has many gargouilles mostly dating from 1860 representing animals. Not much on it, just a bit more from Yelp in French here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/eglise-saint-houardon-landerneau

More on the city heritage in French here: http://www.ville-landerneau.fr/Culture-Sport/Archives-et-patrimoine/Tout-sur-le-patrimoine/Histoire-de-Landerneau/Des-origines-a-la-Revolution

After a bit of stretch walking , we took the car back home same direction before stopping in previous post of Plougastel-Daoulas. We reach home in time for dinner and some TV ::) And Sunday was gone! Enjoy yours , Cheers

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July 23, 2017

Plougastel Daoulas memories again in the Finistére breton

Well running around with a friend , took her to see this town and when realize again in my surprise, the last time wrote on it was in July 2012!! Even when my sons celebrated birthdays here!!!

The town is Plougastel-Daoulas , the center of Strawberry in Brittany! You can see a museum on it. The beautiful Calvary and the nice Church of Saint Pierre (St Peter).

I am not going to go long on this one as have several posts on the town. You can search for it in my blog.

Needless , to say, the Calvary is one of the better ones in Brittany.  It was built between 1602 and 1604 as an offering for saving the town from the plague of 1598.

The story of the restoration is a nice one me think.  On August 23, 1944 American bombs as they move their army from Brest partially destroyed the calvary with several statues completely destroyed. Here comes an American officer , John D. Skilton,  who was a conservator of a museum in Washington while a civilian and was present in Plougastel-Daoulas  at the moment of the bombardment. He heroically saved several of the statues and stone and created back in the USA, the Plougastel Calvary Restoration Fund Inc , with the goal of raising funds to restore the Calvary. This was done !

You can see the position of the Saints and Angels as well as Christ on the three pictures describing the Calvary joined here.

See ,also, the monument to the fallen on the Church and Calvary property dedicated to the fallen in previous wars of France.

The Church Saint Pierre;(St Peter) , the Church was built in 1870 but damaged with the bombings of August 1944. It was restored by 1950. The Church has a nice rosary dating from 1654-1656 and an altar on top of a entombment of Christ from the 16C.

Info on tourism in French here: http://www.mairie-plougastel.fr/tourisme/decouvrir/patrimoine/architecture/

Tourism on the region of Brittany and this town in English: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/brest-terres-oceanes/unmissable-sites/presqu-ile-de-plougastel-and-daoulas-abbey

Enjoy the ride into the Finistére, always fascinating at the end of the  World ::) Cheers

Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas Plougastel Daoulas



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July 23, 2017

Historical Auray, a lot more than a harbor Saint Goustan

I just checked my blog, the last time wrote on Auray was in December 2015!!! Unbelievable if you notice that I live just 11 km from the town and my train station is there lol! It goes to show you the choices we have in our beautiful Brittany and especially the Morbihan Breton!

Auray is Saint Goustan and a lot more up hill in the haute ville.  The tourist office is here: http://www.auray-tourism.com/

And the region of Brittany in English is here: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/unmissable-sites/saint-goustan

We love to go by the place Notre Dame because that is where the town’s main Church Saint Gildas is located.  Even thus, they claim it is the place Gabriel Deshayes. An imposing building as all these old Churches.

The Church of Saint Gildas is given this name due to a priory of the 12C that depended from the Benedictine Abbey of the peninsula or presqu’île de Rhuys. Worked began in 1623 and were not finished until 1663.  The bell tower is square of three levels and was finished in 1701. It has two porches of Baroque and Renaissance style and in the interior there is a statue of Christ from the 16C. The nice marble altar in the Levallois style dates from the 17C. The organ is a Waltrin dating from 1761.

All around this area you will find plenty of shops and restos to please everyone. There is also the city hall or Hôtel de Ville nearby. Then ,you go to the Baisse Ville or lower town. This is Saint Goustan.

At Saint Goustan, a very steeply area by the river Loc’h (confluent of the Auray), you can get on the little train or petit train in the Place Saint Sauveur. Here along the Quai Franklin you can see the sleeping house when Benjamin Franklin entered France in 1776 to seek support of France against England possible re invasion and he got it from King Louis XVI in Versailles.

On this harbor today, you can set sail by cruise up the river Auray or into the islands in the Gulf of Morbihan with the Navix boat company. http://www.navix.fr/ports-de-depart/

You will see the still in renovation Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes dates from 1878.  You get to see the Church Saint Sauveur, very nice condition and overlooking the high hill of Saint Goustan. The Church is on rue Saint-Sauveur, dates from 1469.  You can still see the lower gate entrance from this time, as the rest was lost on fire in 1886 then rebuilt. Plenty of wooden sculptures such as the pulpit or throne of Saint Goustan, and the choir enclosure done in 1929.

I believe I have mentioned this before but here it goes again; who was Saint Goustan? The district bears his name now, the patron Saint of the fisherman and marines. He was born in 974 in Cornouailles and raised by pirates at 18 yrs old, wounded he was left abandon in the island or île d’Houat  (in the Gulf of Morbihan) where he lived by providence that provided him with fish (so he is represented by a fish) and the care of Saint Félix, that will convert him to Christianism.  He became a monk in 1025 and founded a priory on the island or ’île de Hoëdic (Gulf of Morbihan). He now rests with his brother monks in the abbey of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys (Presqu’île de Rhuys).

More in French from the city of Auray here: http://www.auray.fr/auray/architecture/saint-goustan/

A whole new (or old) world at your fingertips with wonderful restaurants/bars, one of our favorite areas in the Region of Brittany! I guess we come so often we do not write all the time ::)

Not only Benjamin Franklin has a plaque, and wharf name after him but also a bar, resto, and the auberge with a plaque. We remember Benji a lot!!! However, here ,also set sail for Acadia (Canada) “Razilly’s expedition of three ships, holding 300 men, perhaps a dozen or so women, and supplies aplenty, all financed by his own trading company, departed Auray in early July 1632 and arrived at La Hève three months later.  He left most of the men and supplies at La Hève(Nova Scotia), until then just another fishing station on the Atlantic shore of Acadia but now his new headquarters, and hurried to Port-Royal( today Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia )to take possession of the old post from the surviving Scots, who he returned to Britain via France.  After 18 years of neglect and English interference, French suzerainty in greater Acadia finally was restored. “As per Wikipedia.

Ok so welcome to Auray, you will find it plenty of history, quaint, magical and seafaring strong. Enjoy your Sunday,cheers.

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July 22, 2017

Vannes , the market , the Cathedral and more!!!

Once again by Vannes, my backyard town and work city. I was walking around with a visitor from US staying with us and of course we needed to visit some repeat locations but always wonderful to be in Vannes ::)

We walked by the ramparts and visit the tour connetable or constable tower as well as the laundry or lavoirs passing by the Porte or gate of Saint Vincent.  We went up to see the place Valencia and the house where Saint Vincent lived as well as the Two women faces of Vannes or Vannes et ces femmes in what is now the villa Valencia restaurant. All while passing the Cohue fine arts museum and chateau Gaillard archeological museum. Passing by Place Henri IV was great again with all its wooden houses always a pleasure to see. They go back to the 14C thru the 17C. Of course, we did see the Chateau de l’Hermine off the garden of the Garenne and back now doing expositions.  The imposing sparkling clean building housing the Burton store is very nice to see the contrast with the older architecture surrounding it.

Of course ,not to missed the Le Port or harbor area and all the shops and restos;bars around there and up rue Saint Vincent into rue du lait and the place du poids public and place des Lices.

The imposing great Cathedral St Peter or Cathédrale Saint Pierre safekeeping the tomb of Saint Vincent (Vicente Ferrer of Valencia , Spain), who evangelized this area in the early 1400’s. The official site is here in French: http://cathedrale-vannes.cef.fr/index.php/patrimoine/la-cathedrale

From the city page in French you have more info than in English of course: http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/histoire-et-patrimoine/qr-patrimoine/cathedrale-saint-pierre-en-detail/

In the Cathedral , you has to see the chapel of baptisms, holy sacrament, the tomb of Saint Vincent, mea beata Virgin Mary chapel, the wonderful organ that host many concerts next July 26th.  The many beautiful chapels along its length inside including that of Sainte Anne, patron Saint of the Brittany and who is celebrating the major pardon procession July 25-26 in Sainte Anne d’Auray (see previous post in my blog).

Another reason to come to Vannes is it’s wonderful market on Saturday morning especially. You have the outdoor flea market going on all the way into place des lices and then the food market all around place du poids public and into rue le Hellec. Not the least the Halles aux Poissons of fish market and the many shops bordering this huge space of merry go around goodies, the best reason to live here!!!

Did I tell you I love Vannes? YES; and many posts to prove it, just do search and see them all. Plenty of information to make this your one stop Brittany visit. Kenavo!!

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July 21, 2017

A return to Sainte Anne d’Auray,and Sainte Anne!

Hello,again is me ::) I have not written on this religious town since 2014 even if it is just 20 minutes from my house. However, on July 25-26 it will be the pardon holy day of the Saint in the town, and we passed by it for just an opener. More on the pardon here: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/?mode=grand_pardon

I am talking about Sainte Anne d’Auray and the Basilica of Sainte Anne; the patron Saint of Brittany. According to the Bible, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.  The official page is here in English: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/?langue=en

The Auray area tourist office in French: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/home/nos-villes-et-villages/sainte-anne-d-auray.aspx

I would not go into more details as I have written on the story and history of this high religious stop in the Morbihan Breton on several occasions. Suffixes to say it is a wonderful complex of the Basilica of Sainte Anne, to the statues of her all over the park, the mausoleum to the dead for Brittany in the wars, to the area where Pope John Paul II visited in 1996.

The importance of the statue monument to the Count of Chambord is here as well; very well mentioned in the history of France. The monument has four faces, including the two Saints of France and Paris, Sainte Jeanne d’Arc in the front , and  Sainte Geneviève behind, as well as two great heroes of France ; Bayard on the left and  Du Guesclin on the right, all standing on foot.  On top of the statue you will see a golden crown on his right, representing the monarchy of France.  It is here where the prayers were said  on the apparitions in August 1623 to March 1625 and 1628 ,when  Anne d’Autriche (Austria) ask to make  Sainte-Anne public prayers and daily to have a descendant of the crown to the throne.  It became a tradition thereafter by the house of France or  Maison de France  to ask of Sainte Anne the birth of future princes of France.  More here on official Chambord page in French: http://www.comtedechambord.fr/homme/memorial/

You will see the stairs or Holy Stairs. This monument was built in 1662 by the Carmelite Fathers. Currently located in the area of ​​the spine, the Scala Sancta was until 1870 the front porch of the Basilica and thus defining the place reserved for prayer. You can read more in the official page given above on the Basilica.

On the same webpage you will find info on the monument plaque to Pope John Paul II visit in September 26 1996. It is made exactly 16,129 blocks offered by the pilgrims. It is surrounded by 12 granite columns, recalling that these are the twelve bishops of the twelve dioceses of the ecclesiastical region of western France who invited the Pope to come to this region: Angers, Bayeux, Coutances, Laval, Le Mans, Luzon, Nantes, Quimper, Rennes, St. Brieuc, Sees, Vannes. There is figure stele bearing the image of John Paul II.

You see the baptismal fountain or fontaine, the place of the first prayer and statue of Sainte Anne right coming straight to the Basilica. More in the webpage of the Basilica, a primer here: By choosing the fountain as a place of its first appearance, St. Anne reminds us of the importance of source water, but above the water of baptism: as water is essential to our lives, baptism is essential to grow in faith. The water of baptism makes us children of God and St. Anne, by appearing at the fountain, invites us to return to our baptismal promises.

More on the webpage above and on this wonderful site here: The Basilica dedicated to Saint Anne is the heart of the sanctuary. It replaced, in the late 19C, in 1872, the first chapel built by Yves Nicolazic chapel became too small to accommodate the crowd of pilgrims.  It was built in the same field of Bocenno which was found the original statue of St. Anne by Yves Nicolazic.  Neo-Gothic combines the grace of the Renaissance, model houses the tombs of Yves Nicolazic (1591-1645), the man who saw St. Anne and Pierre de Keriolet the penitent (1602-1660).  A bas-relief on a pillar of the choir, right, points out the spot where Yves Nicolazic and its neighbors, discovered the statue of Saint Anne March 7, 1625.

In the photos you will see a Chapel dedicated to Sainte Anne (St Anne) and another one to Sainte Marie (St Mary). The beautiful organ is spiral right against the left side wall of the altar.  And the stained glass is wonderful vivid and bright well done and tells the story well.

Again, a day is needed to see this wonderful spot and very worth the detour for those traveling along the N24 or N165.  Enjoy the photos and have a great weekend. Cheers

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July 21, 2017

The best of the beach Carnac and Quiberon!

Ok so today was windy , cloudy, and a bit of rain with cool temps but anyway there is always a good time to go out in Brittany. As we said, when there is a will , there is a way. So we headed for our favorite beach towns with a visiting friend.

It’s amazing to read that I have not written on Carnac since June 2015 in my blog yet it is a wonderful beach about 30 minutes from my house and an Unesco World Heritage Site on the megalith stones!!!

The tourist office in English for Carnac is here: http://www.carnactourism.co.uk/

We took a ride by La Trinité sur Mer, Plouharnel, and then headed for Carnac arriving in city center doing some walks checking the high prices on the shops and then headed for a the Grande Plage or big beach here. Of course ,nobody on the water , too cold and windy , just the thrill of been on a nice flat sandy beach.  A view of the grande plage in French here: http://www.carnactourism.co.uk/node/454

We went by our favorite places such as Memestra brasserie facing the grande plage and the Fisher’s Club right on the sand, both wonderful to spend a day there! Ther webpages to follow:



Then, we moved on to Quiberon, our favorite spot on a peninsula. We did came back thru the Côte Sauvage or wild coast, both previously written on it.

We cam straight to our favorite water hole here L’Esplanade Café on the place Hoche facing the Grande Plage or big beach here. You have plenty to choose from all around as well as a wonderful promenade boulevard facing the beach and plenty of goodies. You, also, have a Fisher’s Club here.

At the L’Esplanade Café you can drink the famous Belzubeth 8,5% beers as well as the St Omer premium drafts. All very friendly and nice ambiance always.

The Esplanade Hoche here is surrounded by shops, restos, bars galore on a central compact location in the beach. You can, also, spent a day here or combine the day with the above Carnac.

More on the above here in French : http://www.quiberon.com/se-restaurer/brasseries/1016873-lesplanade-café

And more on the tourist office of Quiberon here: http://www.quiberon.com/

And more on the tourist page of the region Bretagne:



Enjoy the ride, more to come soon, in my beautiful Brittany, Bretagne, Breizh, and kenavo !!!

 Carnac  Carnac  Carnac  Carnac  Carnac  Quiberon  Quiberon  Quiberon  Quiberon

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July 19, 2017

Domaine de Villarceaux in the Vexin!

Here is another one, I have written in one of my compost posts and not given a deservently post. This is the Domaine de Villarceaux in the Vexin park of Val d’Oise dept 95 north west of Paris.

The Domaine de Villarceaux, is located in the middle of the park or parc naturel régional du Vexin français along the A15 road direction Rouen from Paris. It is a castle from the 12C 13C eras.  It was part of the defensive line to Paris from Normandy and on the 16C it becames an agriculture area.

By the 17C it houses memorabilia of the love affaires of Louis de Mornay, marquis de Villarceaux, and Ninon de Lenclos. In the 18C Charles-Jean-Baptiste du Tillet, marquis de la Bussière, nephew of the Marquis de Villarceaux, inherits the property. He dismantled it from a feudal look and built the castle we see today.

In 1989, the regional council government of the region of Île-de-France agrees to it’s renovation and maintenance as well as open it to the public.  They signed a leasing bail for 99 years with the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer. Eventually, it opened to the public in 1990.

It has other elements exteriors such as the tour des condamnés » (or tour Saint-Nicolas) , and the pavillon de Ninon. These common areas form an enclosure with two other smaller towers or tours still visible. One of the them houses the artisans working there. They were completely renovated in the 16C.

The pavillon de Ninon is a building with nice decorations from the 16C and 17C and it’s open in rare occasions and for small groups, you can ask to see it.The Tour Saint Nicolas and the medieval terraces with medicinal plants and is open to visitors. The Parterre sur l’eau are a rare example of the jardin sur l’eau or garden over water.   The miroir de Ninon17C a water space in   mirror because the castle from high up reflects on the water with a nice cascade.

And the Castle high up or château dit   du haut. Done in the 17C , this is the new castle done by the Marquis de la Bussiére. The windows are big with nice views towards the French gardens on the hills of the castle all the way afar. You can see the country side of the Vexin from here too. The Vertugadin from the 18C name from the skirt weared by the women of the times. It gives you a perspective of view from the high terraces to the lake 530 (1749 feet) meters further down!Statues of the 17C and 18C coming from Rome (palace Altieri) and of Côme (Villa d’Este) are all along the promenade.

The  cour d’honneur from the 18C; encircled by the common buildings and the coat of arms of the owner as well as a Chapel dedicated to Saint Antoine (Saint Anthony) and Saint Michel (Saint Michael) . it allows the carriages to arrive on the hills high ground of the castle. There is great view from here too. There are moats on the borders to stop the access without hiding the view like a wall would. The Orangerie 19C with two greenhouses one warm and the other cool to culitivate oranges and exotic fruits . They were conserved in a fridge underground still in the park; and ice was taken from here to mix with the grass and keep for the summer.

Here you have a nice page with a beautiful video of the property text in French: http://villarceaux.iledefrance.fr/bienvenue-villarceaux/chateau

Contact and info in English from the department 95 Val d’Oise tourist page here: http://www.valdoise-tourisme.com/diffusio/en/to-see-and-to-do/culture/chaussy/domaine-de-villarceaux_TFO105889266312.php?tfo%5BgC%5D=|MoCulturePatrimoine|CulturePatrimoine|ComPlusAlpha||-TT|&tfo[page]=16#.WW-tSsIUnmI

There is a nice market there like in the old days which when we have been here.  These are call the European Days of trades of art, with artisans in the common building showcasing all kinds of old and new trades. As well as a gourmand market later on in the year. More in French here: http://www.bergerie-villarceaux.org/index.php?page=a-villarceaux

A lovely way to spend your day not far from Paris. How to get here:

From Paris porte de la Chapelle by car, get on the A15  direction Rouen which becomes the N14,same road ,continue direction Magny-en-Vexin, exit or sortir at Vernon / Hodent. Continue on the road D86, direction Chaussy. You will then see signs for the castle. In Summer ,like now, there is the Baladobus for 4€, take the regular train from Gare Saint Lazare to Cergy Pontoise and take the bus or take the RER A from several locations in Paris to Cergy-Préfecture and take the bus.  More on the directions here: http://villarceaux.iledefrance.fr/venir-villarceaux

And the Parc Naturel Régional du Vexin Français in French with more on the region and transports. http://www.pnr-vexin-francais.fr/fr/le-parc/actualites/en-cours/bdd/actu/2

Enjoy the ride and get out of Paris, France has a lot more to offers. Cheers

Villarceaux Villarceaux Villarceaux




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