Archive for February 14th, 2011

February 14, 2011

Yvelines beauties and the Eure/Loir nearby

Well I am on the neighborhood so let me tell you about some beauties not too well known but wonderful properties that I have all around me.

Yvelines ,dept 78 the old Seine et Oise region is full of history,and what we have next door is wonderful ,such as the neighboring Eure et Loir dept 27 ,part of the Centre region now.

Here you have the towns of Marly-le-roi, Louveciennes, Houdan, and Anet. Its very near me so visit even on weekends just for a getaway from the city. Let me tell  you a bit of what you will find in these lovely towns.

First, Marly-le-roi, and Louvecinnes as these two share the magnificent Musée Promenade with its old machine de Marly fame.  In this historic park , the museum traces with paintings, graphic arts, sculpture, furniture, and decorated arts the history of the old royal domaine today gone.  In 1679 king Louis XIV had built in the swampy waters of Marly a fairy tale palace . This was a huge building surrounded by 12 additional smaller ones and the Grande Piéce d’eau or big lake mixing art and nature. It has the domaine at its height with collections from Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. But ,also, of personalities such as Madame Du Barry, and renown artists of the times such as Boucher, Mme Vigée-Lebrun, Ledoux etc.  Here you will discover the huge Machine de Marly, 8th wonder of the world, archeological findings in different objects from the area, a building of baths, fountains of laces to welcome carps etc; marvelous walks nowdays amongst wonders. Some of it were taken to the Louvre museum such as the horse of Marly for which the museum has a cafe name after it.  You get here by the La Grille Royale on the road N186 which on the other side of Versailles and off the autoroute A13 exit 5 dir St Germain en Laye. Public transport on the RER A from points in Paris to St Germain en Laye, then bus No 1 until Louveciennes village or from gare Saint Lazare on train to marly le roi .  Admission is only 4€ . The webpage in French is

February 14, 2011

Rambouillet, the royal and republican town

This is the town of the other government regional government of department of the Yvelines No 78, my dept. It was a royal residence and since long a republican residence as well; it has the castle ready for guests of stay of France ,and the French President can vacation in it.

It is in the southern part of the department, and its my way to get across the Loire and Aquitaine best on the autoroute A10 that link up here from the D191 road. It has train connection with Paris Montparnasse, on this regional train webpage

The best thing to see here of course is the castle of Rambouillet.  This is where king François I died, and where king Charles X abdicated. The group of literary genious called The Precieuses had their meetings in the 17C, and that king Louis XVI and emperor Napoleon I lived before the State took over as the French Republic.  When the President is not in town it can be visited every day except Tuesdays from 10h to 16h30. This is the official webpage for it in English

Adjacent to the castle you can see the Chaumiére aux coquillages, built in 1775 all done in shells. The Laiterie de la Reine, a little farm adore by Marie Antoinette, all in the middle of an English garden. All done with tiles and marble with a dome ,open every day see same webpage as the castle above. The gardens and park of the domaine where the castle is takes from a French garden to terraces, and bushes, trees, a little stream in many sites, and little isles around them. It was created by the Duke of Penthiévre in 1779. Great park for a picnic which I have done with the family.

There is the Palais du roi de Rome, the palace of the king of Rome, that the emperor gave to his son born in 1811. However, the son never lived in it. The actual building were built between 1783-1787 in a neo classical style. It now houses the musée du jeu de l’Oie, and expos by the city. Located at Place du roi de Rome. Open wednesdays to Sundays from 14h to 18H

The Bergerie Nationale, built by king Louis XVI with imported merino sheeps from Spain. It has a working farm with about 1000 sheeps. There are cows and donkeys, goats,pigs,horses, all living as before. You can have horse wagon rides, and demonstrations. Near the castle, webpage

Musée Rambolitrain, is a minituare train museum great for old and young alike, my kids love it. More than 4000 pieces on display with model railroad station and running trains.  You have, the cavern of Ali Baba, a re creation of a toy store from the 1930’s.  Its located at 4 place Jeanne d’Arc,city center, open wednesdays to sundays from 10h-12h and 14h to 17h30. You can walk to it from the castle. webpage

The Espace Rambouillet offers you an introduction to the forest of Rambouillet. With over 100 kinds of wild birds of prey plus wild pigs,deers, etc you can see them up close with different themes in the Forêt des Cerfs, Forêt Sauvage, and Forêt des Aigles. It is on road D27 between Rambouillet and Clairefontaine, follow the N10 from Rambouillet, webpage

It is in my department so no experience with hotels, however, the ones in city center are pretty good, like the Mercure from the chain ACCOR;my favorite. webpage

Eating places , I had quick formule du jour at Cafe de la Gare, 10 place Ferdinand Prud’homme  ,yes its next to the train station in city center. For evenings and French traditional resto I have try the Le Cheval Rouge, 78 rue du Général de Gaulle , which is the road up from the castle going into city center.

The tourist office webpage for Rambouillet is  the tourist office in English for my department Yvelines 78 is at

Hope it helps ,enjoy the visit of wonderful Rambouillet in the Yvelines dept 78 ! Cheers!!




February 14, 2011

Some news from France XVIII

Well here I am again starting a new week, the skies are cloudy and damp, but ok for walking. The temps announced are for the next 10 days about 2 to 11°C, rains are supposed to be from February 19-23 period. A romantic touch for wishing all a happy Saint Valentin.

The expansion and improvement to the Roland Garros tennis tournament will remain in Paris. Versailles was fighting hard for it, but at the end as usual nowdays the cheaper gets the win, not the best thus. The Versailles site would have been 500M€ while keeping it in Paris will cost about 300M€ voilà c’est la vie, tant pis pour Versailles.

I was by Suresnes yesterday, (hauts de seine dept 92 ) ,it was my old work area so came back to see the folks in the restos that I frequented, most closed of course but did enjoy the charlie birdy. There are great places to eat here and cheaper than just across the river Seine to Paris. Some of the places but closed on Sundays , and all within meters of each other are , oh yes you get there by the tramway longchamp stop from La Defense, or the train at Suresnes-mont valerien from gare Saint Lazare, all easy trips.

Le Berry, 30 rue Bourets, tel +33 01 41 38 20 60 .typical brasserie with the simple down to earth real French food. plat du jour always for about 9,50-10€

Le Richmond, 6 Rue Desbassayns de Richemont, tel +33 01 42 04 18 11. Another brasserie with the French flair next to the post office.

Donatello, 24 Esplanade Courtieux, tel +33 01 42 04 41 67. Italian real mamma mia on a elevated street section right up from the market or marche.

Le Pub, 15 Place Gén Leclerc, tel +33 01 46 97 70 04. The anglo touch in the area, great burgers, plats combiné, and beers including guinness. webpage

Lotus d’or, 7 Rue du Bac, tel +33 01 40 99 07 10. The Chinese,Thai, Viet touch in the are, always reliable,a nd a family favorite, menus from 11,50€ all you can eat. Great Chinese beers

Katsura,  15 Rue du Bac. Tél +33 01 47 28 83 88. The Japanese ,with great sushis, and brochettes or beef on pins, great Japanese beers.

And the one that was open so we ate there again is the chain Charlie Birdy, 29 Quai Galliéni , tel +33 01 41 44 77 80. The closest here is the tramway Belvedere from La Defense, it is facing the river Seine, overlooking bois de boulougne and Paris. Nice bar drinks, beers, salads, and burgers especially the burgers are gourmet big for about 12-13€, there is a menu on weekdays for 13,90€. webpage

Yesterday I had a mix end of weekend as my Real Madrid basketball lost the Kings Cup tournament to our ever rivals without name cules, only by 8 points, so we are getting closer. Then in football/soccer we beat Espanyol of Barcelona 1×0 and now only 5 points behind the cules. We continue this week with the Champions league where we are facing Lyon of France.

As far as my other love, the VI Nations rugby competition is in full gear, France visited Ireland and even thus was not a clean win, we did won 25 to 22, and stay unbeaten. We will play England on Feb 26 18H local time in England for an important match.

My sons went to see the movie TRON, and they like it. Especially sad as the father risk all to save its sons. I know Dads are pretty good ::)  The biggest preparation is for their annual school vacation in April, one is going to Normandy to see a working farm,and the other is going to the alps Val Cenis for skiing/Last year they did the reverse combination. My oldest is in the working world sort of so vacations will be in August with us. In July my father is visiting Florida with his sister so we are thinking where we are going, maybe England, Germany or Spain. OF course, this is the European long vacation, we will be cruising on weekends all over.

For Saint Valentin I just ordered to pick up my Love Duo at Lenôtre, near me in Le Chesnay Parly II shopping mall, webpage  and for the Lenôtre stores webpage here

For chocolates and refine pastries you can try Carette, my all time favorite at Trocadero but also at Vosges. webpage

For well dress, Parisien style and natives, see the Commune de Paris store. Ready to wear evoking the Communards revolt of old, stylish in blue, white ,and red ,the colors you know of Les Bleus. You find their garments at French Trotters, 116 , rue Vieille du Temple ,75003. and , 30, rue de Charonne ,75011. Or at my place the grand magasin  Au Bon Marché Rive Gauche, 24, rue de Sévres 75007. webpage

Another beauty from a local maker and all made in France, is Kitsuné and Kitsuné Parisien, 52,  rue de Richelieu ,75001. Polos all 100% French. webpage

So again Happy Valentin to all, and in Paris is more lovely ::)

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