Archive for February 24th, 2011

February 24, 2011

Meaux,brie cheese, and the Cathedral

A while back I didnt even know there was a Meaux, a few years back. That is until I happened to meet a young lady in Paris ! She was a native of Meaux but work in Paris as a secretary to a real estate company.  The rest is history, today she is my wife of 20 years, 3 boys, and many many trips to Meaux, in department Seine et Marne ,no 77. east of Paris.

It would be hard to tell you everything about the town, that I have come to know every bit nook and cranny of it, where my boys roll in baby carriages since age 5 weeks !! for one and 6 mos for the other 2,twins !!! Even along cobblestone streets around the Cathedral. But, I will try to tell you a bit about it ,and maybe you will come to know MEAUX too ::)

Its people are call the Meldois, going back to celtic tribes in the area of the Meldois, very old town yes.  In the region of Brie, cross by the wonderful river Marne (that goes into Champagne country !) , the town was occupied by vikings in 882AD, and even before that many Romans remains have been found by the river bed, and next to the Canal de l’Ourcq. The town was a major scene of WWI, with the famous Battle of the Marne play just around it, the bridge going over to the marché was destroyed by the French to hold the advance of the Germans, and it was successful. There are many monuments to the dead around just outside of town, with huge statues dedicated to them such as the Monument Americain (b. 1932) , dedicated to the Americans, and plaques inside the Cathedral dedicated to the British who died in its fields. If you are into military history you should come here.

To come here from Paris, you can take the train at Gare de l’Est to the station in Meaux, or you can drive on the A4 connecting with the A140 straigth into town or do the scenic ride on the N3 from Porte de Pantin in Paris all the way to Champagne country passing thru city center Meaux.  The train webpage for the ile de France region in English is here http://www.transilien.com/web/site/lang/en , it can ,also be read in Spanish. The easiest is to trace the route in viamichelin in English here if coming by car, http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/.  Best parking is by parking centre ville (underground parking) entrance facing the river Marne or along cours de l’arquebuse road (open air).  For local public transport see the city of Meaux transport page in French here http://www.ville-meaux.fr/-Transports-publics-.html

The town is divided into sections or neighborhood some newer away from the river and the old ones from times afar such as the city center or centre ville, and ,the Marché , just across from the bridge over the river Marne, the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas (where my wife is from), the Châage-Saint Faron or area of the hospital (where she was born), and the ave de la Republique/La Croix de Varenne, from where the escapee Louis XVI was brought back to Paris spending a night here.

Some of the places of interest in the town in my opinion are , the gallo roman ramparts still visible today and near where I lately park my car! , the complex of the Cité Episcopal includes the Cathedral St Etienne of Meaux (12-15C) a jewel of gothic art, and holds the remains of bishop Bossuet, the religious teacher and advisor of king Louis XIV; the episcopal palace (12-16C) , the vieux chapitre (13C) , and the jardin Bossuet (17C), and Musée Bousset with paintings and sculptures  of the ile de France region  ; the many convents proof of its strong religious past are couvent de la Visitation, chapelle des sœurs Augustines, chapelle des sœurs Saint-Joseph de Cluny, église Notre-Dame du Marché, église Notre-Dame de Chaâge, and as well beautiful mansions as such hôtel Macé de Montoury, hôtel Passelaigue, hôtel de la Sirène, hôtel Prévost de Longpérier, hôtel Marquelet de la Noue, and the old hôtel Dassy which have been redone as apartments! The Château Frot, the music conservatory today at cours Pinteville. And something that is to start by November 11, 2011 the museum of the Grande Guerre as call in French WWI, you can see been built in French here, at the official webpage http://www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu/

You can lodge well in the Campanile hotel at webpage http://www.campanile-meaux.fr/en/index.aspx  , very good friendly folks used for family gathering over the years. In city center, the historic Le Richemond is grand and very nice by the river Marne at good prices, webpage http://www.hotel-lerichemont.com/index_en.php.

To eat out, there are plenty of good restos we enjoy over the years such as Le Briconnet, just around our alley ,the webpage is in French but they will respond in English if contacted, see details first page, glorious attention and good French food, http://www.lebriconnet.fr/accueil.html  La Péniche ,is a boat resto by the river Marne, great tradition and good food tooo, webpage in French bien sûr  http://la.peniche.free.fr/ ,and Le Laureat, just in city center by the Cathedral, refine and old French, http://www.lelaureat.com/ . La Table à Crêpes, in city center, very good over the years, still going strong with real Bretons, and food/beer/cider from the country, 5, rue des Vieux Moulins tel +33 01 60 09 48 98. up from the river Marne past the hotel de ville .

The things to buy here of course, the world famous Brie de Meaux, the king of cheeses and the cheese of Kings, as per the Congress of Vienna 1815. You can find the original in the marché or the fromagerie in city center, the webpage for the fraternity that guard over the authenticity of this cheese is here in French, http://www.confreriedubriedemeaux.fr/actualite/accueil.htm

And there is the mustard of Meaux, well renown, the story goes well there is no telling when it was created !!! all we know is that in 1760 someone gave to a Mr. M.J.B Pommery , the secret recipe for the mustard, that has by priviledge be presented on the tables of the kings of France since 1632 AD , the house of  Pommery came to be located at 69 rue du faubourg St Nicolas until 1927 refusing to give the secret away, at that time the last descendant of the house sells the business with recipe and all . Still commercialise in all over by this webpage ,and you can buy it too in many stores in Meaux, the manufacture is an adjacent town where we have family too, http://www.moutarde-de-meaux.com/en/contact.php

You have the marché or market in city center around the blvd Rose,and the river or around the cinema Majestic every wednesday mornings, Saturday all day, and Sunday morning. Under the covered market in just over the river Marne you will find merchant selling the real brie cheese with un pasteurised milk.  The area just outside Meaux along the A140 is full of stores of all kinds, a great shopper paradise with prices better than Paris.  City center around rue st Remy is pedestrian only.  For the brie cheese and many other do come to La Fromagerie de Meaux,4, rue du Général Leclerc, city center off rue st Remy, tel +33   01 64 34 22 82 ,is open every day except mondays and even open Sunday morning. Bakeries goodies our favorite is Boulangerie Prentignac, 31, rue du Faubourg St Nicolas ,tel +33 01 64 34 12 38 open every day even Sunday mornings, except Mondays.  TAke cty center rue St Remy and you will have a field day shopping typical French. For entertainement with the family head over to the Majestic theater or cinema, my first movie and have come back for more, the webpage is here http://www.cinesoco.com/meaux/ located at place Henri IV, with nice parking next to it.

The official city of Meaux webpage has tourist information too, however, in French, if need help let me know. http://www.ville-meaux.fr/-Tourisme-et-patrimoine-.html?lang=fr

For further tourist info,you can look at the department tourist webpage here in English ( I have in the Cathedral of Meaux page) http://www.tourism77.co.uk/heritage-culture-france/religious-heritage/cathedral-meaux.htm

Hope you have enjoyed this small trip to a very special place for me. Cheers.

 

February 24, 2011

Disneyland Paris

Well here it is by popular demand Mickey invasion of France and Europe ! It started very slow, even lack of crowds, bad marketing, many fine tuning ever since including the addition of serving wine inside the park; and now its cruising ,very popular. It used to be called Euro Disney Resort then Disneyland Paris Resort to now Disneyland Paris.

I have lived for many years within an hour of World Disney in Orlando ,FL, USA, so many trips there with 3 boys and plenty of family and friends visits, including concerts at night. Coming over to France, it seems not important to go here, tented many times but never did until a few months back got the itch as we got a great deal at work 21€ admission for all the parks for one day with parking included, so there we went… Its only about 1h30 from where we live now by auto.

Marne-la-Vallée where the resort is build, was for many years agricultural and unused lands, near the region of my wife. It is becoming just like Orlando a humming ground of buildings houses, apts, stores, shops, malls, growing every month.  The town chosen for its main entrance is Chessy in department Seine-et-marne No 77. east of Paris.  You get here by car on the autoroute A4 exit/sortie 12,1 or the RER A from Paris. There is ,also, a bus service straight from the airports that service Paris such as CDG , Orly,and Beauvais, the service is call VEA, and the webpage in English is here http://www.vea-shuttle.co.uk/  . The RER A can be trace on the Paris official transport site in English here http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_5000/accueil/ , and for road info you can check viamichelin in English at http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/. Also, on TGV at the Marne la Vallée Chessy station, http://www.tgv-europe.com/en/

The train station RER leaves you at walking distance to the main entrance of the complex. Disneyland Paris is composed of Disney Village, with many shops, and restos including Rainforest Cafe, which my kids like the best.  Walt Disney studios with movie history and making displays , 6 on site hotels, the David Crocket Ranch with camping tie ins and bungalows, a 27 hole golf course, 6 other hotels considered recommended by Disneyland Paris, an aparthotel complex Adagio, Marriot Village timeshare complex, Val d’Europe shopping center, La Vallée Village outlet stores, as well as an aquarium next to Val d’Europe.

Of course the favorite still is Space Mountain ride, the Star Wars galaxy ride, the IMAX movie cinema, the Rainforest Cafe resto, Planet Hollywood resto, for French Auberge de Cendrillon at Fantasyland. Our lodging was at the old Holiday Inn Disneyland, now call Vienna International Magic Circus Hotel with game rooms, circus decoration, large good resto and the best the indoor heated swimming pool with all facilities and amenities the kids love it.

The official page in English will give you all the latest details webpage at http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/index.xhtml.

The webpage for the Vienna Magic Circus  hotel(old Holiday Inn) is http://www.magiccircus-hotel.com/en/home/.  For the Val d’Europe shopping, and great it is go here, in French with access page http://www.valdeurope.fr/106-13535-Plan-d-acces.php . The Sea Life aquarium next to it webpage http://www.sealife.fr/local/index.php?lang=en

Some tips, it is always better to be there ahead of opening time, even if waiting in line for most shows open by 9h45, however, you will be ahead of the crowds. Have planning with your family the rides ,attractions you want to see most, and head for those first upon entering. Hold your lunches late, as when they are eating you are in ::)  Bring picnic items , there is a picnic section just before entering the park to your left, or coming out of the RER turn to your left as if going out of the park and the picnic area will be on your right.  Buy the tickets ahead of time, either at the Disney webpage or this site we use in France, in French ,but can print the tickets at home ,webpage at  http://www.billetsparcs.com/billets-individuels/billet-disneyland-paris.html. They can also be purchase at any FNAC store in Paris, go to parks/attraction in English at http://www.fnactickets.com/.

If you are from other than the USA do come here its nice, if you are from the USA do come here its different, less, but French, and you want to brag back home you were here too. Cheers

 

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