Archive for March 8th, 2011

March 8, 2011

Some news from France XXV

Well we are in the cool of winter that wont go away but the sun is out shiny and nice.  I will driven around the 19éme of Paris this week and waiting for the weekend to celebrate my oldest son birthday with his buddies in a bowling alley a bit south of Versailles.

The latest as I have always expected, the French government is investigating allegations of makeup goodies in TripAdvisor part of the Expedia group of companies.  Too many nice reviews which are not true, I do not contribute to them for many many years already. According to the Journal du Net that I read in French ,  Frédéric Lefebvre, Secretary of STate for the consumer rights have asked at the end of january to the DGCCRF (governing body of consumer rights in France ,government agency) to inquire to identify the business services of marketing with probable cause to publish false good reviews on the properties.  This after hotels in Singapore have ,also, complaint to the site.

In another publication I follow, the Le Quotidien du Tourisme , reports Air France is up in volume of 5,1% with a load factor of 77% in February, so continuing the trend that more people are flying :::!)

Futuroscope in Poitiers had a banner year in 2010 welcoming more than 130k visitors than in 2009. This is a futuristic site in the centre region of France at http://www.futuroscope.com/ , we had attended a while back and its similar to an EPCOT at Disney in Orlando, Fl USA.

Phil Collins tell of his retirement from the music world,and it will be a loss !! 40 yrs of great music, we will have the CD’s. Thanks Phil.

The Opéra in Paris is entering into a new era for the year 2011-2012 of its programming, this is the line up folks and a great one it is, cheers;  http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/

Surveys to open the Parisien taxis to competition IS UNDERWAY. Many coming into the game offering same service same prices as those already established and the city is seen this as good.  Would it help the visitor? What do you think?

New surveys in France on the Presidential elections to come shows the right wing Marine Le Pen ahead of all candidates including now President Sarkozy !

tonite ,tom and next march 15,16 is another final round of eight finals in the Champions league games, tonite on tap as best Arsenal vs Barcelona, with Arsenal leading having beaten the catalans 2×1 on their field. Another interesting match for me is Schalke 04 ,Germany vs Valencia of Spain, go Schalke04 now the club of my Captain Raul Gonzalez Blanco of Real Madrid who our lousy President let go still with goals in his legs.

France goes for the honor vs Italy ,saturday March 12 at Rome in VI Nations rugby match. Should be a dandy as the team is down for the defeat vs England that took them out of winning the tournament.

All about deco animalier or the animal decoration in our life is going to be at the Musée d’arts decoratifs now until NOvember 1 2011,9€ admission, webpage http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/arts-decoratifs/expositions-23/actuellement-501/dans-la-galerie-d-etudes/animal/

at Bercy congress hall ,many things happening but on April 24 ,France vs Canada in ice hockey! see it all here  http://www.bercy.fr/programme/sport/1237/FRANCE_-_CANADA_match_préparatoire

Book fair salon du livre at parc des exposition de la porte de Versailles from March 18 to 21, 10h-23h admission 9€ adults, free for students under 26.  for the expo center webpage http://www.viparis.com/Viparis/exhibition-paris/exhibition/SALON-LIVRE/en/8714 ; for the official book fair webpage  in English, http://www.salondulivreparis.com/site/GB,C1397,I1397.htm?KM_Session=f0815c65562f53229942785b23ad62a1

Cheers and best travels in France.

March 8, 2011

Brussels, more than manneken, and moules

A lovely city that is about time mentioned and indeed need another visit soon. This is Bruxelles, it is in French and Brussel in Dutch, capital of Belgium and the European Union. It is a very old city divided into 19 districts, and which French and Flemish/Dutch can interwined freely with English widely spoken.

I have come here by car along the A1 then E19 into Belgium or by Thaly train most of my trips have been on business, with a couple with the family over the years. It has an excellent airport as well. I will give webpages for these here by road viamichelin at  http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/ , by train Thalys at http://www.thalys.com/fr/en/?time=1299593212 ,and by air http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/. The trips from Paris are very easy indeed. The local network of metros, buses ,and trams can be easily taken out at the official site in English here http://www.stib.be/index.htm?l=en

Some of my favorites attractions in the city are the ,

Grand Place ( where everything converges in the city, a must just fabulous and an English city of Brussels webpage with details at  http://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm?id=5757&  ,

Manneken Pis (from 1388AD the symbol of Brussels, located at the junction of Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat)  ,

Bourse area (great walks building built in 1868-1873) ,

Cathédrale St Michael (gorgeous and you can read it in English here http://www.cathedralestmichel.be/eng/index.php?lang=eng  )  ,

the Royal Palace (see the official royal webpage for it in English at http://www.monarchie.be/palace-and-heritage/palace-brussels ) ,

Atomium ( a science park with the atom in mind, very educational for all) , webpage here http://www.atomium.be/ ,

Cinquantenaire park  (go with metro Mérode and Schuman, great walk park surrounded by many good museums including the Autoworld) ,

Mini Europe ( a miniature park with many scale sizes monuments of Europe), webpage here http://www.minieurope.eu/  . 

As I have taken kids in my trips the best museum has been the Comic Strip museum, with a webpage in English here http://www.comicscenter.net/en/home ; however you can browse at many city museums at the official museum webpage for Brussels here http://www.museesdebruxelles.be/en/home/index.php

The gastronomy as to waffles, lambic beers, and the famous moules and frites or mussels and fries are in itself worth a trip lol!  First if you want a site to show you the best Belgian breweries including Brussels then go here, http://www.beerparadise.be/emc.asp?pageId=629 . If you want that artisanal home good Belgian chocolate away from the popular brands check this page out , http://www.bbcw.be/members.php  ;check out Darcis,and Corné ::) My eateries over the years have been at Le Pavillon, Rue Defacqz 63, for your light cafe type setting in a nice decor and on your way to the Grand’Place walking, no web ,tel +32 2 538 02 15. Le Grand Cafe,blvd Anspach 78, webpage http://www.legrandcafe.be/legrandcafe/index.php ,we had the house grand cafe menu.  Cave du roy, Grand’place itself with great people view, and brussel pork sausage or mussels in alsacien wine, webpage http://www.caveduroy.com/  Le Brasseurs de la Grand’Place, for great beers and people watching at the GP, webpage http://www.les-brasseurs.com/en/info.html . For all kinds of seafood my all time favorite place in town is Chez Patrick, webpage in French or Dutch ,http://www.chezpatrick.be/fr/bienvenue/ , and A la Mort Subite, the best nightime bar/pub in the city in my opinion, it means Sudden Death but you will survive ::) webpage in English at http://www.alamortsubite.com/ENG/info.html

The city has many guided tours too, see in English the City of Brussels webpage here http://www.brussels.be/artdet.cfm?id=4820&

When in town, I stay with the ACCOR French chain as it gives me points, and it is my favorite chain all over Europe. The Mercure at the airport has been used on business trips before, it is convenient to city center, so here is the webpage http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0958-mercure-brussels-airport/index.shtml . One that would be more convenient for visitors and I have used with the family is the Novotel Grand’Place, very convenient at webpage http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-1030-novotel-brussels-off-grand-place/index.shtml. The city has many choices in all budget ranges.

For historical upscale shopping and typical Belgian, you must at least visit this place Galerie St Hubert,if anything try the ice cream Haagens Dazs here,  webpage http://www.galeries-saint-hubert.com/ . The areas just around the Grand’Place is a shopper’s paradise of stores, as well as rue Neuve, the big pedestrian street there. For the wonderful Belgian laces try the Lace Palace, webpage http://www.lacepalace.be/ , and the manufacture Belge de Dentelles(lace)  at http://www.mbd.be/location.htm .For general chocolate stores we preferred the Leonidas at rue au Beurre near Grand’Place, and rue Neuve brand webpage http://www.leonidas.com/pralines?id=HOMEEN .

Hope it brings out to the nord, flemish walloon, and Belgian , and I need to have more pictures, I know ::) cheers

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