Archive for February 6th, 2011

February 6, 2011

Poissy, the other royal town

Many bypass this lovely small town on their way to Normandy from Paris on the A13 or the train. However, it is a royal town of France, baptismal of king Louis IX or Saint Louis was at its church, and it is easy to get from Gare Saint Lazare in Paris (direction Mantes) or the RER A from several points in Paris.

I live close by, and do enjoy the church here Collegiale de Notre Dame. The wonderful toy museum ,and the fine liquor Noyau that is done here, and not forget the modern Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier  is here too.  At one time it was an important market for animals of consumption such cows, pigs, etcs with a huge slaughter house. It still has the marché very nicely done indoor and outdoors. A bit about this nice town bordering the forest of St Germain en Laye.

The Collégiale de Notre Dame built in the 12C  is its most amazing sight, here there was a college of priests so that it was call collegiale, the tower is facing the rising sun to commemorate in August 15 to our Lady of the Assomption.  you see inside the stones of the fountain where  the future Louis IX was baptised (April 15, 1214 ), statues of Isabelle the daughter of Louis IX, plus a young Louis IX praying. The church is at 8 rue de l’Eglise, open everyday from 8h-12h and 14h-19h.  The size is nice and grand, just a marvel to see ,and recently power clean to its old luster. Official webpage of the church in FRench

The Musée des Jouets or toys museum is a favorite of all children and adults too, my kids love it. Its in the building of the abbey of Poissy 14C with toys from the periods 1850 to 1950. First floor is full of toys with a presentation from 1900, then the second floor is railroad tracks , dolls, trains, the works, the visit is ended by a presentation of more modern toys. Lovely, at 1 enclos de l’Abbaye. No web as it belongs to the city of Poissy now, contact email

 Distellerie de Noyau de Poissy, a liquor born here, very famous, and delicious, there are two one that is done at 30° and its use for crepes, salads of fruits, ice creams, etc. The other one is at 40° it is used for cocktails mixers and aperitifs. Its located in city center near the market area. Official webpage

Halle du Marché or market is in city center using buildings done by Baltard between 1825 and 1832. It is modeled after the Halles de Paris, and it open three times per week, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at the Place de la République. Lively and great bargains.

Villa Savoye de Le Corbusier, built between 1928 and 1931 closes a cycle started by Le Corbusier. Incorporating all the modern facilities in advance of his time, modernism at its best. Located at 82 rue de Villiers, Open every day except Mondays as follows, March 1 to April 30 and Sept 1 to Oct 31 from 10h to 17h. From May 2nd to August 31, open from 10h to 18h. From November 2 to February  28 10h00 to 13h and 14h to 17h. It is closed May 1,November 1,11, December 25 ,and January 1. More info at its official webpage

I dont stay here obviously so cant really recommend lodgings but the Ibis Hotel by the train station is walking distance to everything, and of a good chain that I use a lot. webpage  . For eating out, Le Boucanier, 32 ave Emile Zola is fantastic by the river Seine, live music, and great grout food, the place to be in Poissy webpage  and for light snacks but excellent ambiance, beers and people watching by the train station try the La Taverne, 18 Rue de la Gare, they have live concerts of live music here on weekends that is good, no web contact Tel. +33 01 39 65 29 46

The tourist office is at 132 rue du Général de Gaulle and its a rounded tower built in 1832 to make payment of the animals sold, and a tax to enter the city, its mark the city limits. tourist office webpage

The city of Poissy webpage for transport and other such as a photo of the round tower of the tourist office is here

Enjoy the Royal Town of Poissy! Cheers!!!

February 6, 2011

Versailles and its museums

Someone once told me the castle at Versailles its not a museum, well it is a very big and nice museum in a castle; just on my last post on St Germain enLaye there is a very nice historical museum in a castle. Many abound. However, I like to talk a bit about the other museums in Versailles ,yes there are others; and one who is trying to be one but it is a historical monument.

I will name them here, Jeu de Paume, Osmothéque, Lambert,and maison de Madame Elizabeth, museum of Carriages, and Musiciens Italienes. Let me tell you a bit about them ,and maybe you will have time next time in town to see them. Ok. First, the tourist office of Versailles, webpage

In the jeu de Paume of Versailles the parliamentarians of the Estates General of France met and swear never to leave until they have created a new constitution ,this was on june 1789 with a very emotional speech.  It is also here that in 1686 the first rules and probably game of Tennis was played. After the revolution, many thing was done here not related at all,even a shop by painter Gros . It is not until 1883 that the city takes the opportunity to renovate and improve the site, finally it was renovated again in 1988 to make it available to the public on specific dates. You have a guide tour at 15h on Saturdays with prior reservation with the tourist office of Versailles, tel +33 (0)1 39 24 88 88 .

Next ,you have the Osmothéque, this is a perfum museum open by reservation too, it has a collection of more than 1800 perfums of which about  400 are no longer available or extinct ; some are the parfum royal of the 1C, the Eau de Cologne of Napoleon at Ste Heléne, Fougére royale d’Houbigant (1884), the Parfums of Rosine,Coty,Lubin,Piver,Weil, Patou, and others. Some of the perfum houses in order to keep their fragances have donated them to the museum such as Ambre Angique (1905), Le Chypre (1917), and Crepe de Chine (1925) etc.  The visit is very intuitive as they can recompose these fragances even today, and you will learn a lot about perfums.  The visit are by appointment only, mondays to fridays, contact at  36, rue du parc de Clagny, Tél : +33(0)1 39 55 46 99, Fax : +33(0)1 39 55 73 64, Email :   webpage

Musée Lambert is the city of Versailles museum, it is in a mansion or hôtel particuliers of the 15C in Louis XV style of architecture built in 1751. A dept of fine arts with work from the 16C to 20C ;including paintings and scultures, a dept of decorative arts  showing what an apartment of the 18C looks like, a department of  history showing the entire history of Versailles.  Admission is only 4€, and contact location info is here, 54 boulevard de la Reine Tel : +33(0)1 39 50 30 32, and  Fax : +33(0)1 39 51 90 88. No web but this is a lovely house with beautiful items that should be worth seeing by anyone.

The maison of Madame Elizabeth, is the house that king Louis XVI gave to his younger sister Elizabeth when she was only 19 yrs old in 1783. She entertain the people in this house full of the happenings of the court away from the court,she was a strong defender of her brother, and maybe for that she was ,also, guillotine at the age of 30 in 1794. He was made into some manufacturing fashion after the revolution ,and later was purchase by the city that it maintain in the middle of a very nice park Domaine de Montreuil. The house is at 73 rue de Paris just up the road from the Castle , and can only be visited by reservation at tel + 33(0)1 39 07 78 78. This is a nice webpage in French with nice pictures of the house, by the government site at

There is a seldom visited museum because it only opens on certains dates, that is the musée des Carrosses, or carriage museum at the Grand Ecurie built between 1679 and 1682;  building across from the Chateau. Here the horse carriages of the kings are kept including the last one of Louis XVI, and the marriage of Napoleon I amongst others; the future dates are Sunday 24 april 2011,Sunday  8 may 2011, Thursday 2 june 2011, Sunday 12 june 2011, and Thursday 14 july 2011. Inquire at the castle itself or  +33(0)1 30 83 78 00 .

The Maison des Musiciens Italienes, is the house where the musicians hire by Louis XIV to play at the opera were housed, they came from Italy. It was later occupied by Mme Marsan the governor of Louis XV, and later by a botanist Le Bonnier, later it was restored by the companogne and it is now their museum. Located at ( Musée du compagnonnage).15 rue Champ Lagarde , contact Tel : +33 (0)6 07 39 70 00. It is now visited by reservation only .

In the continuing sage to show you the other Versailles, hope you enjoy

them as much as I. Any further info ,please let me know. I used to live here for almost 10 years. Cheers!!!

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