Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

Some news from France XXXII

Well the rain came back last night and today is back to sunny and cloudy periods, temps are seasonal spring so nice, the perfect time to visit France !

The Woody Allen New Orleans Jazz band is coming with the cineaste in tow. It will be April 2ne at the Grand Rex 75002, webpage

The new hotel Shangri-la is making its sounds around Paris already with a grand restaurant inside, L’Abeille or the Bees.It will be specialise in French cuisine with seafood at its main best. I did not eat but was there yesterday and the service and staff are very pros and friendly, something to keep in mind. Webpage

And plenty of culinary action to help support the people of Japan in their disasters, many around Paris but per Le Figaro these are tops, Bistrot Paul-Bert , 18, rue Paul-Bert (75011) special dinner on April 4 all proceeds to Japanese Red Cross.  The Bar Lindbergh at the Hotel Radisson Blu ,16, bd Haussmann, (75009) will have a drink cocktail name Hope or (yuzu,jasmin and rose)  with 60% of sale price going to the Japan Red Cross, the drink cost 10€ all during the month of April. Until April 9 the Cafe de la Paix , Place de l’Opéra, (75009) will give for each breakfast buffet ordered 5€  to the Embassy of Japan who is charge of giving aid. Finally many restaurants  like the Pére Fouettard (75001), Chez Eux (75007), Flottes (75001),L’Evasion (75008…)  are mobilising on the side of Chef Hisayuki Takeuchi of the Maison Kaiseki, 7 rue André-Lefebvre (75015)  to collect funds for the victims. 

For relaxation in Paris ,La Voie du tai-chi   will have it Vice Champion of Europe give courses at al levels in the Jardin du Luxembourg, webpage . By the blvd de la Villette the Centre Génération Tao  offers courses see webpage , by rue St Jacques on the 5th the Rasa Yoga Rive Gauche  offers courses as well with webpage

If you are stress in Paris what? well some do, Be Relax offers relaxation exercises and massages with English speaking personnel ,webpage , and for help carrying those small children no need to break your back ,try Familib with webpage

If you want a day to relax with a great view of Paris come to the parc des Buttes-Chaumont (75019) was around there last week and it is superb. The view with a pause at Rosa Bonheur2, allée de la Cascade, webpage at , the climb to the Temple de la Sibylle . The view over Paris is romantically gorgeous at the top of the île du Belvédère, however be prepare in summer heat to have a large crowd there.

A place for arts, see the  Monet-Rodin duo while walking the marvelous gardens of the Musée Rodin ,the go inside to see the manuscripts, documents, and portraits/busts that associate these two great men, the painter and the sculptor friends.Musée Rodin, 79, rue de Varenne (75007). Until May 1 2011.

Something dear to me the price of real estate is going up and up in France, and especially on the Paris region. The average rental is 17,8€ per sq meter in ile de France Paris region. while only 10,30€ in Aquitaine, and 12,30€ in the cote d’azur. The price of buying property is over the roof in Paris with the 6éme at 11120€ per sq meter, 4éme 10500€, 5éme 9530€, 1éme 9410€ ,8éme 9030€, and my beloved 16éme only at 8430€ per sq meter. A rise of 21% from 2009-2010. These couple with a slight rise in the fees of Notaires or notary public that here handle the real estate transaction of from 0 to 6500€ 4%, 6500-17000€ 1,65%, 17000-60000€ 1,10%, and over 60000€ 0,825%. 

France tied Croatia in a friendly soccer/football match yesterday, and Spain beat Lithuania for the European Championshiop qualifier 1X3 in Kaunas. Real Madrid beat Valencia in the European basketball championship quarter finals, so its ahead 2 games to 1.

Ok last for sure, I will be in Fontainebleau this coming thursday ,work details but wife is not working so we will be having our day there in her native soil neighborhood. Cheers

March 29, 2011

Maintenon, its Madame de Maintenon

Travelling along the French roads you never stop amazing yourself of the beauty of the country and its exhaustive treasures. Passing by Maintenon is no exception with its fabulous Chateau de Maintenon, where a certain madame de Maintenon made her marks in French history.

The city of Maintenon is located in the department of Eure et Loir, dept No 28, region of Centre. However its just about an hour from me by car along  either roads D983 and D906, parking is very easy either in front of castle with parking meter or free just on the side of the castle past the river on rue Thiers for free!!! . Along road D906 I did stop by at the town of Epernon to see its wonderful pressoirs.  You are best to leave Paris on the A13 autoroute de Normandie to exit 11 at Mantes La Jolie, and continue on direction Nogent le roi /Maintenon. Best way to come here is by car of course.  It has a train station on the line Paris Montparnasse -Chartres-Le Mans with about two trains per day,and the station is about a km on foot from city center, webpage here  .  The buses can be taken from Rambouillet on lines 89 ,and from Chartres on lines 12 and 152. All on the bus company Transbeauce with webpage here

The city of Maintenon was first mention in about 1123AD  and was added to the dukedom of Epernon, and after the French revolution to the canton of Chartres where it is still today attached as its administrative center.  The things to see are the magnificent castle and aqueduct ruins.  Epernon was heard since 1024AD and was part of the king Henri III in 1581 and eventually it passes to the Marshal Noailles. The things to see here are the Cellier, known as Les Pressoirs from the 12C. You can use the same train line as Maintenon and the same bus company above.

The Chateau de Maintenon, is a jewel that everyone should try to see as you will be able to tell by the pictures I took of it.  Its construction dates from the 12C to the 17C, belonging to the Lords of Maintenon until the 16C when they had to sell it. It was purchase by the intendant of king Louis XII who enriched it and expanded it. In 1674 Françoise d’Aubigné widow of Scarron, the future Madame de Maintenon, purchased the castle. Thanks to the financial support of king Louis XIV with the hope of retiring one day here she makes it her jewel; these renovations were linked to the aqueduct just behind it and the visits by the King Louis XIV. In 1669 she was name the guardian of all illegimates children of the king under the service of Madame de Montespan, the favorite of king Louis XIV, when the children were legally recognised by the king in 1673 she entered the court at Versailles, she raise and educate the children and becomes very close to the king.  In 1683 after the death of the queen Maria Theresa, she secretly marries king Louis XIV. She never returned to the castle after 1688.  In 1715 when the king dies she retires to the Maison Royale or royal house at Saint Cyr a pension for young girls of nobility and poor that she had started in 1685 ,there she died in 1719 at the age of 84! Then,  it goes by heritage to the descendants niece in 1698, and by marriage to the family Noailles, the current owner is Mr and Mrs Raindre(descendant of the Noailles) who in 1983 bequest the castle to the Maintenon Foundation for upkeep. In 2005 in turn it passes to the regional governement council who maintains the castle as of today.

The visit nowdays is done in the reverse order as there is construction in the front of the castle. In no way missing anything for the visit. Normally you will enter by the escalier d’Honneur after crossing a small moat, continue on the bedrooms of Madame de Maintenon, follow by the appartements of the Marshal Noailles, there is a nice piéce de Saxe, and salon Chinois or Chinese room, to the Kings room , and the passages des boiseries or passages with wood decorations; to the Grand Salon or big hall room, the billiard or pool table room, the bibliothéque or library, and the beautiful galerie or gallery and descend the Cénotaphe or small room before heading out again. The gardens are out and in by the passage des boiseries section or by going into the main courtyard behind the main entrance. From the gardens there is a beautiful view of the Aqueduct folly of king Louis XIV.

The gardens were done by fame gardener of the king Le Notre as he got his degree at the Tuileries in 1637 and from his father also a gardener the right to be in charge of the gardens of the king from 1643. The king Louis XIV sends him in 1676 to do Maintenon. There using the backdrop of the Aqueduct and the river Eure while creating several canals and about 30 small bridges , he creates a masterpiece that was not gone unnoticed by the king who made him a noble in 1681.

The Aqueduct de Maintenon is directly link to the parc and gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. The Versailles needed water,and Maintenon had plenty. The king did not want it the water to stop at Versailles, so he makes built the machine de Marly but it was not enough. The geometres of the king led by La Hire, discover the waters of the river Eure can be redirect by gravitation to Versailles, and the king wanted a work that will surpass those of the Romans! So in 1685 work begins with Vauban and La Hire. The aqueduct should go from Pontgouin to Versailles or about 80 kms (50 miles). The design was inspired by the pont du Gard and led by architect Blondel. AFter the war of the league of Ausbourg that empty the funds of the king by 1695,and work stopped. It remain 29 kms to complete (18 miles). The king Louis XIV gives as a gift to Madame de Maintenon. And the aqueduct is still there see the pictures.

While stopping by nearby Epernon, we see the Pressoirs (see photo) were an old cellar from the 12C  when the vinyards were numerous here, it was the storage for the Prieure de Saint Thomas that the religious order kept their wines.  It is now use for cultural activities of the city, when it can be seen ,otherwise by pushing a button at the door the lights comes on and you can see inside from a glass window the place is vaulted and huge, magnificent sight.

The webpage for the Chateau de Maintenon,  . Tourism webpage for the dept 28 Eure et Loir at  . The city of Epernon tourist page , , and the city of Maintenon tourist page see bottom of page in French.

There is plenty of lodging typical of the area in quaint homes of old, however, it is so close to me have had no need to book any. The tourist office can help here. For eating we have try with good friendly local service, generous portions and nice price the Brasserie Saint Denis across from the Chateau de Maintenon.5 Place Aristides Briand, no web tel +33 02 37 23 00 76, and in Epernon, Crêperie du Roi Henry 6, rue Drouet, no web, Tél +33 02 37 83 51 18. Again the choices are nice in both towns with plenty of real genuine country French cooking. Enjoy it !!

March 28, 2011

La Villette ,Paris 19éme , coming back in style

In my rumblings thru Paris something I never will get tire of doing, I came back to the 19th, this area was the passing of many by me as it was my getaway to see my girlfriend now wife outside Paris on the old N3 now D603 road direction Meaux.

The passing by the Rotonda de la Villette was always inspirings, even thus the area for many years was left a bit behind shal we say… Well I was told it has come back and I went back out there to walks its Crimée and Jaurés etc streets and feel it again, and I am happy to tell you it has come back indeed.

This is the mayor’s office webpage for the 19 arrondissement de Paris ,

It covers the northeast quadrant of Paris bordering the boulevard periphérique, the first mention of La Villette goes back to 1198AD, and the area was like many annexed to Paris proper in 1860.  It is divided into four quartiers or neighborhood such as La Villette, Pont de Flanders, Amérique, and Combat.

Things to see here well the main one for me is the Cite de la Science et de l’Industrie with plenty of activities from the cultural to scientific to music events ,webpage . The Parc de la Villette is the biggest park in Paris done in 1867  covering 55 hectares ( 135.85 acres), it has a webpage in French at ; however, will tell you what you find here, its very nice complex ,there are the Grande Halle de la Villette, metal structures built in 1865-1867, it was the site of one of the biggest slaugherhouses in Paris and today it serve for cultural events and concerts; the aforemention Cité de la Musique et de l’Industrie, the Géode, a large ball shape building of 36 meters( 119 ft)  in diameter housing a cinema IMAX,  the Cité de la Musique, all about musique from shops, history, presentation and museum; Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP),  Zénith de Paris,  a concert hall and popular venue with 6300 seats, great concerts here !!!with the best of yesterday and today in music, webpage; Philharmonie de Paris (to be open in 2013); Cinaxe , this is a cinema made like a flight simulator ,very good! you play the movie with the same movements lol! , Argonaute ,submarine of the French nave on display, Le Trabendo , another hall of shows spectacular concerts with capacity for 700 persons, webpage  ; Cabaret Sauvage, a concert hall, nightclub, very popular great events love it ::)  webpage ;  théâtre Paris-Villette, a theater and plenty around there too even on peniches boats ,this one,the webpage is here ; It has an equetrian center, sculptures, and music kiosques all around, great place to spend a day in a different Paris.

It has gorgeous walks along the Canal de la Villette, Canal Saint Denis,and Canal de l’Ourcq all meeting here going into a great esplanade to the Rotonda de la Villette ,the old tax authority now been converted into a Brasserie restaurant for possible opening by August 2011. The luminous cinema MK2 right overlooking the canal is romantic ,beautiful this is the webpage look at the photo wow, in person at night its even sublime, love it !!!

All around these canals you have the bassin de la Villette, the biggest body of water in Paris with 700 meters long( 2310 ft) and celebrated is bicentennial in 2009! The aforementioned Rotonde de la Villette  is one of 54 buildings done in 1784 to received the taxes on products entering Paris; it faces the Bassin de la Villette, it is now under renovation to have a cultural center and brasserie/restaurant there.

For difference there is a nice church St Jacques et St Chritophe de la Villette at place Bitche a nice small park in front will do good for a rest and some snack/drink to recharge your walk, I know I did :::) this is the Church webpage

Here you can get to many peniche boat and cruise boat on the canals and bassin the most famous is the Canauxrama firm right on quai de la Loire, the webpage is ,but, also, the newer Paris Canal same side of the quais with webpage

There are numerous peniche boats anchored here providing theater and opera performances right on the water, amongst them Péniche Opéra, webpage of theaters in Paris in French,  as well as design furniture etc event such as the Puces du design , webpage , and dance music with color at the Peniche Demoiselle with les ailes d’Oraguon, webpage

To have a zip drink spend a lovely time here other than inside the Parc de la Villette, you have a wonderful cafe LM at the MK2 cinema overlooking the bassin de la Villette, Belushi’s at rue Crimée is wonderful and youthful with good prices, and great views, webpage  For a heartier meal I suggest the Au Boeuf Couronné, for great beef and the signature of Gerard Joulie restaurants in Paris, located at 188 ave Jean Jaurés, metro porte de Pantin ,line 5 ;webpage

There is a hostal St Christopher’s next to it with lively ambiance, great prices, and very easy located on metro Crimée line 7; webpage .

The Paris tourist office webpage ; and some of fruitful walk in photos

Enjoy it, Cheers!!!

March 28, 2011

Some news from France XXXI

Well the Spring season is strongly underway with todays high of 17°C and sunny. Nice ride on the roads around Paris . The temps will go as high as 23°C by Saturday and early week in April some rains is announced according to Meteo France.

Recent regional elections in France have left the Left ahead with  35.75%, UMP the ruling party now got  20.24% ,and the right FN got 11,73% … with a whopping 55% abtention !!! Versailles area stay right with the UMP way ahead.

What started as a reporting way to show its quartier of Pigalle by Philippe Cochinard has now turn into a 21 district Paris Web TV  where you can see the news happening in those districts or neighborhoods, mostly tourist areas, such as Pigalle, Montmartre,  Saint-Germain, Bastille, Champs-Elysées, Mouffetard, Opéra, Belleville, Bastille, Tolbiac, Invalides, etc . You can see the news here

Next April 8 is last day of school for kids in the Ile de France region, vacation for Easter until April 25th, so kids on the roads be careful. However, my kids go on school trips from April 4-8th ,one to the Alps and the other to Normandy ,then Easter vacation, what a nice life Lol!!

If you want to know what classification is your hotel ,B&B or vacation rental in France go to this page Atout en France in French ,official govt webpage, and key in the name on the right bracket that says “Rechercher un hébergement classé”, the webpage is

If you want to see web TV in Madrid then come for MadridiariocriticoTV, that will be known under the letter code MDCTV: all you need to know about Madrid, Spain, and it will be in Spanish of course first,webpage

In Madrid, the Palace of Cibeles has re open after 100 yrs !! remodeled open this Sunday and will be free until July 27th 2011. It has 44.600 square meters in 8 floors! The palace once the seat of Spain national post office will have in floor  -1,an auditorium of 2 150 sq meters with capacity for 296 spectators ideal for camara music as well in the floor 1 a Salon or room of expositions of 1 400 Sq meters ; floors 2,3,4 will be available for expositions . Also,  a beautiful Galería de Cristal,or gallery of mirrors with a patio garden linking the streets of Alcala and Montalban. Source newspaper MadridDiario with these beautiful photo collection one inside the Palace at ,and the other looking out from the palace at

More improvement in the metro of Madrid with the extention of Line 9 to Mirasierra. one of the longest line for 38 kms linking 28 stations; this will be the first phase of the extras here,  the second phase will continue with a second station at street Calle Costa Brava that will link by a tunnel the 1,4 kms from the new station at Mirasierra to the Cercanias or suburbian lines C7, C8 ,and C10. Source in Spanish MadridPress.

The European football qualifications continue on March 29 with Spain playing at Lithuania, the game is in doubt as the field is in very bad condition and the Spanish federation has asked UEFA to inspect it for proper conditions before the game is played. France plays the same day but a friendly match against Croacia at the Stade de France in St Denis,north of Paris.

The always interesting NCAA basketball tournament in the USA is coming to its Final Four with lots of surprise, only Kentucky can claim of pedigree the others could be in for a surprise Connecticut, Butler, and VCU( Virginia Commonwealth University). It will be from April 4 at Atlanta GA . I have to go for the underdogs VCU!!!

And the main city in my last county in the USA ,Broward County Florida, the city of Fort Lauderdale is 100 years old this year, celebrations abound, see the local newspaper Sun-Sentinel  here,0,4358903.story Happy Birthday FLL !!! from your old neighbor of Miramar ::)

And lastly ,was walking around the area of Paris 19 last week around Villette, Jaurés, and Crimée so took some pictures because its one area of Paris on the up and up, hightly renovated and great interest for locals and visitors alike. See next post. Cheers and have a great week.

March 26, 2011

Auto en Seine, Les Mureaux

I like cars probably because grew up around Daytona Beach, Florida USA and now live in France. So when a car event goes up there I go usually. This time there is no exception besides spring is in the air ::)

This event is call Autos en Seine in the town of Les Mureaux, dept Yvelines no 78 west of Paris on your way to Normandy on the A13 autoroute de Normandie exit/sortie 8. Its a town about 39 kms (24 miles) from Paris. You can easily get here by train from Paris gare Saint Lazare direction Mantes la Jolie. The local train site for all of the Paris regional area is

The town of Les Mureaux is the site of Aviation historically in France, and it houses today the EADS European Agency for Defense and Space, the equivalent of NASA in Europe. The rockets are only assembled here and they are taken to Guyana in South America for send off to destination.

OF further interest is the Château de Bécheville from the 17C who was visited by the writer Stendhal in 1811, the castle was renovated in the 19C and today it houses the Center of arts and music conservatory of the town.  There is a center for sailing boats Cercle de la Voile de Paris here since 1893 with webpage at . And the church St Pierre St Paul built in 1896. Amongst the best parks is the  parc de l’Oseraie with a nice house from 1876-1879 , and the Val de Loisirs du Val de Seine with plenty of games ,activities ,and a lake with boating out to the river Seine, webpage at

For those seeking lodging right off the A13 on your way to Normandy or back to Paris you can have this logis de France property ,La Chaumiere  with webpage here . For eating I have try the Le Bonheur de Les Mureaux, Chinese,Thai, Viet cuisine near the train station at 25, Rue Jean-Jaurès 78130 Les Mureaux
Tél. +33 01 34 74 23 50,no web. And Les Voiles restaurant part of the sailing club area,adjacent to it overlooking the river Seine as it passes thru town, webpage . For a coffee, snack and overlooking the place de la Liberation people watching spot in town try the Cafe de la Mairie, 2 place de la Libération, tel +33  01 34 74 03 45. And for hanging out with the astronauts folks and a drink try the Le Week End,64 route de Verneuil ,Tél. +33 01 34 74 05 41. And one for the river views and quaint area Le Bellevue, 4 ave Félix Faure, tel +33 01 34 74 02 93 all for typical  French home cooking.

The city mayor’s office is at and it falls under the Ile de France region of Paris for tourism information at

Enjoy the Autos by the Seine river!


March 25, 2011

Some news from France XXX

Well spring is in the air indeed, temps today as high as 21°C registered in my area of Versailles. For the next few days into early April we will have about the same from the lows of 8°C in the morning to as high as 18°C. Good things are coming our way.

The new thingy in town is the Nuits Parisiennes that will be on April 1, and will have several presentation around the city of Paris in art form. From 18h to 22h. ArtParis is sponsoring amongst others.  The sites will be Hôtel Le Meurice, le Village Royal,Fondation d’Entreprise Ricard, L’Eclaireur, Artcurial, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Hôtel Royal Monceau, and Villa L, more info rmation in the special webpage here in English

A survey by the firm Entreprise & Prévention has found out the French prefer to drink alcoholic beverages at home. The general breakdown is 80% at home and 20% outside. The ones at your own home comes out on top with 49%, with family,friends or colleagues is at 31%, in a bar is 5%, discotheque is 4%, restaurant or brasserie 4%,and in a Café 4%. Just fine with me and my thoughts. The same survey talks about the purchase of 74,7 liters of alcoholic beverages per household in 2010.

Something renovated and spruce up in an usual place, and still great cuisine with oyster is Le Bar à Huîtres112, boulevard du Montparnasse, 75014. Tél. +33 01 43 20 71 01. Open every day with three other addresses in Paris, webpage

For the music lover there is the exhibition of Georges Brassens ou la liberté”  at the Cité de la Musique , Parc de la Villete,75019 until August  21 2011. webpage

work on the RER B from CDG airport will have delays for three weekends from March 26/27, April 2/3, and April 9/10. du to work on the line B the circulation of train will be stop between Aulnay-sous-Bois and the airport according to the SNCF.

Tonite there is 133 millions euros to win in the Euro Million lottery lol! I am in !!!

Also, tonite there is France vs Luxembourg and Spain vs Czech Republic for the European Championship of football/soccer. France game is at 21h local time.

In the Plaza Oriente in Fuenlabrada,Madrid soon to open the biggest Chinese shopping center in Europe, it is located in the commercial park Cobo Calleja, which already has 377 firms with Chinese management with 3,000 workers of which  60% are Spanish .

There will be a mini marathon for new entrepreneurs in Madrid . All division from 14 yrs old and up are allowed, the race is for 5 kms and will start at 9h30 on April 9 from the  Paseo de Coches in the Retiro park or Parque del Buen Retiro.  More info here

The second round of regional elections will be held next Sunday in France, the race has a increase in the voting percentages from the far right the Front National or FN.

Next round of aid from the EU to Portugal that after Greece, Ireland is next. Spain is quivering on the border possibly next. Its historical for the south of Europe to get more aid, it always has been from the rich North. However, this time there is still the EU to come to the rescue. It will be balance out.

More round of democracy calling from the North Africa,and Middle East, newest one is Syria. All of the best of  luck to the democratic voices and may the already democracies help more. Cheers

The islands  in and around Paris, most know about Ile de la Cité, and Ile Saint Louis in central Paris. However, do you know Ile de Chatou in my area of Yvelines dept 78 (Impressionists territory and I was by there yesterday ) , Ile de l’Abreuvoir at Champigny-sur-Marne bordering the river Marne in dept 94 Val du Marne, between the 16éme and 15éme arrondissements, the Ile aux Cygnes, old digue of Grenelle, its an artificial island of 890 meters long ( 2937 ft) and 11 meters wide (36.3 ft), in the bois de Vincennes you have the lake Daumesnil , and it is link by two the ile de Reuilly and the Ile de Bercy,  famous too by impressionists painters you have the Ile de la Jatte or also call Ile de la Grande Jatte share by the towns of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Levallois-Perret in dept 92 Hauts de Seine, the Ile de Puteaux long of 2 kms is shared by the towns of Puteaux and Neuilly-sur-Seine in dept 92 Hauts de Seine, the site of an old Renault car manufacturing plant and today waiting rehabilitation sits at Boulogne-Billancourt, dept 92, the ile de Seguin, first a military camp and today a regional public park sits at Issy-les-Moulineaux, the Ile Saint-Germain, and last the Ile d’Amour is an island of the river Marne on the limits of the town of Bry-sur-Marne, dept 77 Seine et Marne.

And well have a happy weekend I need to get out and see those French playing the Luxembourguish in football/Soccer. Cheers

March 24, 2011

Rouen, Normand and Jeanne d’Arc

It is a must when visiting Normandy ,the history and trabulations of knowing a bit more about France are here. Its quaint streets, its beautiful churches, and the museum of fine arts ,just wonderful. It is a city that I come often ,very, even for lunch!  I will try to give a bit about it and hope you can come and enjoy it too.

Rouen is in department Seine-Maritime or No 76 in the region of Haute Normandie. It is the seat of the bishop of the region, and the city is a Legion d’Honneur recipient of France.  The river Seine flows thru it just like Paris.  It is there since gallo roman times, and on 841AD it was destroyed by Vikings raids. It was declare Capital of Normandy by chef Rollon a viking who became Count of  Rouen or some historian Prince of Rouen. Later it was the favorite of king Richard the Lion Hearted, and his heart lays at the ambulatory in the Cathedral of Rouen.  French since 1209AD it become part of the British empire in 1419AD, fighting this Joanne of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc was burnt at the stake here on May 30 1431 AD, the region came back to France in 1449AD. It went thru all the wars of succession, religion, and the 1870 war where it was the base of the Prussian forces. In WWI it serve as the base for the British soldiers; in WWII it was occupied by the Germans from june 1940 to August 1944 when it was liberated. It was rebuilt and prosper as of today.

Some of  the must see in the city are the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Rouen,Abbey Church of St Ouen, Gros Horloge or fat clock, Palais de Justice, the tourist office been the oldest renaissance building in the city from 1509AD, Church St Maclou, Aitre St Maclou, place du vieux marché, donjon or tower of Chateau de Rouen (where Jeanne d’Arc was prisioner) , the museum of beaux-Arts and antiquities, museums of Jeanne d’Arc, and fat clock or gros horloge; and the many quaint medieval streets in city center along Martainville,and around the Cathedral. Wonderful indeed !!!

You get here by car on the A13 autoroute de normandie from Paris direction Rouen. Very easy, the best parking is at the vieux marché or the place St Marc both around a lovely lively markets or marché.  The trains come from Paris gare st lazare into the Rouen train station or gare rive droite at place Bernard Tissot,that you can walk about 10-15 mins into city center. No need for public transport in the city, walk it this is the best way to see its marvels. The train TER for scheduling is here .

The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Rouen, is a marvel, its gothic architecture inspired Claude Monet, with an arrow as high as 151 meters (498 ft), the highest in France. Stained glass of splendors but also, about 70 sculpture figures of about 20-30 meters high done between 1362-1421. The tour Saint Romain of 77 meters high (254 ft)  at the north face and the tour de Beurre of 80 meters 264 ft)  in its south face. Just a marvel inside too. Webpage at

The abbey church of Saint Ouen, built from 1318AD and finish in the 16C it was the power center of the abbeys of Normandy for centuries.  It is 137 meters long ‘452 ft) at its center nave, with a tower crown of Normandy of 87 meters high (287 ft) .

The Gros Horloge, or fat clock a landmark of Rouen ,an astronomic clock from the 14C with a solar cadran of the 16C,  located right at the rue du Gros Horloge in city center.  in its double screen you see the needle  pointing of the hour, a weekly details and the phases of the moon in its oeil de boeuf face. It has an agneau pascal or pascal lamb in its center of the arcade  representing the arms of the city symbolising commerce and wool  industry .At its right face you see  angels on a stone where one is the reverse in signal of unhappiness on the workers while the clock was built.

The Palais de Justice is the old Parliament of Normandy! architecture end of the middle ages, built from the 15C to 16C, you see a nice clock on its rear facade. Around you see the Hotel Bourgtheroulde  from the 15C now a luxury hotel at the place de la Pucelle. The Bureau de Justice is now the tourist office of the city of Rouen, built in 1509-1540AD , and the tourist office since 1959.

The church of Saint Maclou, sits in a nice city center with quaint streets all over, nice place to walk. The church was built between 1437-1517. The inside done like a sanctuary is very clear, and it house a tree or arbre  de Jesse of the 15C. The aître Saint Maclou, it goes back to 1388AD during the Black death epidemic , the parvis was converted into a necropolis. Today it house a school of Fine Arts. The Place du Vieux Marché, is the site of the burning of Jeanne d’Arc, and a center of market activity in the city today. You have around it the church of Jeanne d’Arc built in 1979 with the stained glass of the extinct church of Saint Vincent  destroyed in 1944 bombings, and the musée de Jeanne d’Arc with the history of her life from birth at Domrémy to her death,museum open in 1953,  webpage here well as the cross marking the spot of her burning.

The Donjon tower or Chateau de Rouen where Jeanne d’Arc was kept prisioner still is well preserved. The original castle was built by Philippe Auguste in 1204AD . The musée des Beaux-Arts is a wonderful building from 1877. It has about 60 rooms full of wonderful fine arts ,one of the principal museums in France. painting, tapestries, sculptures, and objects d’arts from the 14C.  Including work by Monet, Sisley, Modigliani, etc. the webpage for the museum and others is at .

The musée des Antiquités  is on the convent of visititation from the 17C and it is open as a museum since 1834.  A rich collection of roman object d’art and sculpture was my interest and it is wonderful, webpage in english here

There is a petit train or little train ride from the Cathedral from april to october for about 6,50€ with a quick visit it is a good thing to do and get an overview of the city. There is also, a wagon horse ride or caléche  from the same place from april to september and again in december for about 5€. There is also a boat ride on the river Seine and port on the “ Cavellier de la Salle II” from the port jean Ango, from june to october on wednesdays and saturdays for about 7€. All these rides can be confirm with the tourist office.

There is great views over the city from the côte Sainte Catherine where the church of bonsecours is located.

The best marché or markets that we have enjoy over the years are at place du Vieux Marché (right around church jeanne d’arc) ,on tuesdays, wednesday, thursdays and sundays from 6h30  to 12h30 and on fridays and saturdays from 6h30 to 18h. The other been the place St Marc (closer to church St Maclou) on tuesdays, fridays, and saturdays from 6h to 18h, and Sundays from 6h to 13h30.

As far as something you may not think is here, well I do come often and a regular supporter of the Rouen Huskies ,baseball champion of France, and heavy contenders for the European championship whre they have arrived second. The season starts March 27th, the field is the stade Saint Exupéry ,field or terrain Pierre Rolland, right by the hospital Charles Nicolle. The official webpage is at

The city center around the Cathedral to the Gros Horloge area is full of stores for shopping including Au Printemps,and FNAC. Many wonderful things can be found as souvenirs, and local craft too many to mention,one special one is the Le Torchon a Carreaux webpage with Rouen address here .  We do like malls so we shop also at the Centre Commercial St Sever, just over the Jeanne d’Arc bridge with all amenities and stores, see official webpage here

We usually make a days run as it is just about 1h30 by car from us, but sometime we do stay overnight at the Mercure Champ de Mars or Ibis same complex, all ACCOR chain hotels, individual webpages here AND

For eating out, we have enjoy the following over the year away from the tourist center, Le Bistroquet chez Cédric, 220 rue Martainville, tel +33 02 32 08 09 60, just by church St Maclou,no web but great mussels in chorizo, French and goood. One wish in a historical restaurant next to the Cathedral try Brasserie Paul, 1 place de la Cathédrale, tel +33 02 35 71 86 07; all good in season we go for the 22€ formule webpage .  A perennial favorite with my gang is Perle d’Asie, chinese,thais, viet cuisine by the river Seine facing it at 2 place de la Republique, tel +33 02 35 70 51 10 no web but try the mongolian dishes superb! A newer find has been B’Art Tapas, 35 rue Jean Lecanuet, tel +33 02 35 71 02 48, no web,next to the musée des Beaux-Arts,wonderful Basque and great tapas at nights from 5€. Créperie Saint Romain, 52 Rue Saint Romain, you guess it crepes good and yummy sweet or salted, sucré ou salée in a quaint street just behind the web, tel +33 02 35 88 90 36. And another historical one Le Metropole, 111 rue Jeanne d’Arc coming out from the gare or train station, there since 1932 and the hanging out place of Simone de Beauvoir  and Jean-Paul Sartre. Nice drinks, great views and people watching place ,no web ,tel +33 02 35 71 58 56.

Hope you have enjoy this brief tour of Rouen, there is a lot more to see and do, and a nice ride for a day from Paris. The official city tourist webpage is . The tourist office for Normandy is , and the Seine Maritime department whre Rouen is has a tourist office at

Enjoy the visit, Cheers!

March 19, 2011

Some news from France XXVIIII

Ok so it seems the cold spell has come back, temps in the single digits again and not too much sun; oh well officially winter is until March 21th but not exact science. However,again Meteo France predicts temps in the high digits by end of month up to 16°C and sunny days.

Parking a car in Paris will be more expensive. Not only all the laws to make the use of the car less viable will be hit with another downer, higher parking fees. Eventually it will be a city of like London with area congestion fees and all, lol!!! and I love my car, will be in by the Tour Eiffel tomorrow mornings.  The hourly charges of 3,60€ already in the districts/arrondissements Ier, IIe, and parts of the VIIIe, IXe, XVIe , XVIIe with the highest charges in Paris will be extended to the totality of the first 7 arrondissements 1-7. In  Montmartre, the north of the  XIIIe and great part of the XIIe.  will have the rates increase from 1,20 €, to  2,40 € !. The arrondissements XVe, XIXe and XXe  will remain at 1,20 € per hour.

The before mention chateau in my blog Chantilly after some renovations will reopen its season of events. The Grandes Ecuries have all been redone its roofs to the original designs from 1721. The jardin a la Anglaise or English garden will continue to have renovation work done until 2012 , and the oldest section in the castle dating from 1718 the Salon de la Musique has been entirely renovated to its origins. All ready for the event Les Feux de Chantilly next June 17-18. webpage for the castle

If you want to be close to Spain in Paris, then one of the best in town is the El Burro Blanco or the white donkey at 79 rue  du Cardinal Lemoine 75005. richly decorated in one of the oldest buildings in the district, live dancing and flamenco music very good. webpage here .Another typical that sponsors soccer/football team in corporate league in Paris and sports TV of games in a popular area and one of my favorites is Toro Borracho or drunken bull ! 90 Rue de Charonne 75011. webpage is here .For the authentic outside of Spain you wont go wrong/ Enjoy y olé olé and olé.

Some of the pros and cons of living in Paris was shown in the French magazine Nouvel Observateur TV guide current issue 19-26 Mars 2011.  First the good reasons to stay, 1) a rich cultural fire power, 2) stay away from me city attitude that is their right, 3) Love is in the air, the city of lovers and romanciers. Now the good reasons to leave the city, a) leave an expensive apartment loaded with businesses all around you.b) leave the noice and pollution, c) totally disconnected from nature all cement and stone.  There this is from the Parisiens so what about you?

Something jazzy how about Scott Hamilton at the Caveau de la Huchette,5 rue de la Huchette 75005 March 21 and 23 from 22h for 1à-14€ admission. Their webpage

Musée des Arts Décoratifs has an exhibition until May 8, 2001 of wooden toys over the times good for kids, call “Vilac 100 ans de jouets en bois”  Webpage

Also until May 8 2011 at the musée Jeu de Paume on the jardin des Tuileries, there is an exposition entitled ” Sociéte Réaliste Empire State Building” . webpage

For something different to do in Paris ,why not a visit to the museum of the Police, Musée de la Police, it is located in the hote de la police of the 5éme  arrondissement , 4, rue de la Montagne Sainte-Geneviève fourth floor, and started there by commissaire Lépine in 1909 . It traces the history of the Paris police from the 17C to our days. It is open Mondays to Fridays from 9h -17h, Saturdays from 10h-17h  and from April 2nd will be from 10h30 to 17h30 . The police webpage for the prefect is in French but has more info,

To speak about wines, my favorite subject well a young men from Bordeaux has just created a site for socialising all the wine lovers as well as winegrowers to come and mingle together,  Vivre le Vin or enjoy the wine  this is the webpage

And speaking of wines, do not forget the VINEXPO again this year from June 19-23  at Bordeaux of course! The international date for wine lovers all over the world. There are for the trade pros but if you make arrangement with your local distributor they can provide an access badge ::) . The webpage

Before that here is another good I wont missed it for the world, the Le Salon de La Revue du vin de France, at the Bourse de Paris, Palais Brongniart, metro Bourse on May 14-15 2011, 10h-19h about 250 winegrowers from the best in France will be there as well as some internationals. This event is sponsored by the magazine of which I am a subscriber and there is a link in my blogroll at the bottom. You can charge your pass online so ready when in Paris in those days;  Anyway webpage here,billetterie-salon-rvf-2011,12836,1117341.asp

Tonite is France vs Wales in VI Nations rugby for the honor as neither can win the tournament. Real Madrid has advance to the quarterfinals of the League of Champions and will play next Tottenham Spurs next April 5 and 13 with Real Madrid playing away on the 13 and home on the 5th. European Nations qualifiers coming are  Spain vs Czech Republic on March 25th and Lithuania on the 29th. France vs Luxembourg and Croatia respectively on same dates.

Have a great rest of weekend everybody Cheers ::)

March 16, 2011

Some news from France XXVIII

ok so spring is in the air temps today of 17°C very nice with a tad of sun coming out. Time to do some gardening in my free afternoon. Cut some pine trees along my fence given to the forest! Its great to have this weather again. And it will be like this for the next few days.

Tonite big match Real Madrid vs O Lyon in the Champions league,(Canal+ 20h45) be there for sure! The Real Madrid needs to finally get by the eight finals of the competition and their nemesis lately Lyon is lurking on. They  have a goal advantage away goal and playing at home in Madrid so no excuses. WE WON 3X0!!! and advance to quarter finals Yes!!!

There is an expo Vision d’Egypt at the Bibliothéque Nationale  salle Richelieu ,until June 5 2011. The Egyptian art and Arab art on display by the collection of Emile Prisse d’Avennes.  He became an egyptologue ,archeologist, and ethnology expert with special interest in Egypt where he spent two tours one in 1827 to 1844, and another from 1858 to 1860.  Library located at rue de Richelieu, best metro quatre septembre or Bourse line 3.

We are doing gaufres for tonite, the wife that is ::) these little mouthful are hard to find in Paris but a favorite of the family. You need to go in Paris to Angelina, Carette or l’Avant Comptoir  to find some good ones, and then home made are still better. Other good ones are found at Coupole (75014) ,and L’Absinthe, and au Pain Quotidien in Paris. And the famous one with the vanilla from Madagascar and special of the Nord, Lille to be exact has come to Paris, Meert, 16, rue Elzévir, 75003  Tél. +33  01 49 96 56 90. this is the webpage to entice you to taste

Some new French expressions to note and it changes with the times always ,really so you thought you knew French huh, n’est pas ce pas vrai mes amis ::)  When we say  Avoir la Barry White (is to have the voice coerse the next morning of partying) , and Se faire flûter (is to be abuse of you make a fool of you), Bling, à composer ( create something  chic),  Un lieu surstaffé (there is nobody but clients), Baronner (to tell the verbs derive from the place you frequent), Le triple off (you are more off than off the record or way off), and Avoir une vitalité hybride (to have multiple love relationships). cheers ::)

Madrid is expanding its metro system , the Line 2 passing by my old neighborhood has grown with four more stations reaching Las Rosas ! including La Almudena, Alsacia,Avenida de Guadalajara, and Las Rosas see the metromadrid webpage

The situation in Japan is uncertain too many media talking and too many reports, but the nuclear thread is real. France has reinforce its security measures but another media rethoric, the incident is in Japan. Sarkozy is losing ground in the next elections, so anything goes. Now even the son of Khadafy the Lybian dictator is claiming he provided campaign funds to Sarkozy, what a shame if found to be true.

this month the bullfight season opens in Spain, those matadores ahead are José Tomás, El Juli, Juan Mora ,and Morante de la Puebla. olé.

Eurostar will open reservation for the London Olympic games from end of June 2011.

The world tourist fair open today at Porte de Versailles everything you want to know about tourism is here at the No 1 in the world France !

A new concept in hostals is already open in Paris, St Christopher’s  with plans for a brasserie restaurant by the Rotonde de la Villette in July/August next and another hostal by Gare du Nord planned, webpage for the current place by the Canal de la Villette rue de Crimée is here

Well until we read again ,stay safe and happy rest of the week, spring is in the air Cheers!

ps add on to my comments, I find it hard to believe that trying to write entries and found no pictures ,I dont like to do that but…Lately in doing my posts I realised my photos for Beauregard castle, Rambouillet, Tours ,and Geneva, Switzerland are no where to be found at home….well maybe do the post and found the excuse to go back and revisit these places huh…Lol! Great idea.

March 14, 2011

Some news from France XXVII

Well trying to get by in another lonely slow Monday in the office by La Defense. La vie est belle en France mes amis oui oui et oui. The temps are back to spring like weather with high of 16°C today and sunny. Wildly fluctuating between 3 and 18°C until the 22 March, couple days of rain otherwise between cloudy and sunny. per Meteo France of course.

As the price of gasoline is going up everywhere its time to remind myself that saving is needed , a few tips not to stop me from putting the pedal to the metal of course ::) The EU site tells you in English and all the languages of the European Union here

Another wonderful event down the line but just be prepare for it is the Semaine du Goût or the the week of tasting, tasting galore all over France and into the region of Navarra in Spain, many restos come up with the Les Tables du Goût ,proposing formule menus with great pricing!  As well as shops for teaching the latest cooking recipes. The official webpage is at the page for locating restaurants in French,

The national museum of antiquities located at the Chateau Saint Germain en Laye (Yvelines dept 78) is showing now the 13 ed of spring of poets or printemps des Poétes ,here and the coming events for April are here

Due to the terrible earthquake affecting Japan, Air France is putting together some special rates for one way travel there. Taking time for my condolences to the victims of this terrible incident.

At the musée des Beaux-Arts at Tours you can see the expo ” Richelieu à Richelieu” , showcasing the grandeur of the castle decorated, and enlarge by the Cardinal of muskeeteers fame and power of France at the time.  The expo will run until June 13 2011, and the webpage for the centre region museums showing more is here

a bit of history on the above it was in 1633AD that Richelieu made bring from all over Europe and Turkey wonders to France to be put in his castle at Richelieu, really the precursor of  Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Versailles. Unfortunately after the French revolution the castle was left in abandoned, items stolens and decayed and by 1835 stones sold by piece to merchants. It is left to museums such as those at Tours,Orleans, the local one at  Richelieu ,and the Louvre, for bring about the encounter with this beauty of the past. Where is Richelieu ? well its in the Loire of course just past Tours on the A10 direction Bordeaux exit sortie no 22 then the road N10 for cheaper tolls, then D960 following Chinon, Richelieu , viamichelin will get you there. By train to the gare de Chinon the bus TE for 20 mins to Richelieu or from gare de Tours take the bus H2 of the touraine network here

My favorite newspaper in France, Le Figaro is coming up with a restaurant guide as well, of course after so many years me following their recommendations, and my writing on resto/bars in Cityvox (link) they are now coming up with the follow up and bigger  guide 2011 already in bookstores in France. Online here but anywhere in France you can buy it when in town webpage—723.html

And if the Grand Palais expo was not enough or no time or were not here, the American inspired Mona Bismarck Foundation is showing  Gustave Courbet (master of realism), Location  Mona Bismarck Foundation, 34, avenue de New-York (75016) Tél. +33  01 47 23 38 88. open everyday except Sundays and Mondays from 12h to 18h30,until June 4th, webpage

And last, we had a blast this past Saturday at SQY south of Versailles to celebrate at the bowling center my  oldest son birthday 19. We had a blast with plenty of good drinks, great game of bowling, and many goodies in food and gifts with his brothers and friends.

Have a great week everyone Cheers !!!

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