Archive for May, 2011

May 11, 2011

The Frontier of the Pyrénées mountains

They form a magnificent natural barrier of two wonderful countries which I love very much. I am from both ,and have or are living in one.  Not to mention of the picturesque Andorra. They run for about 430 kms or 267 miles along the border. The highest peak is the Aneto at  3 404 meters or 11 233 feet. 

The have over 4500 species of flora including 160 that are natives and hundred of thousands of fauna including over 300 species of butterflies.  You have many parks in the geography of the chain with the most famous to be the Parc National des Pyrénées , the parc National d’Aigûestortes, and Lake Saint Maurice at Encantats in France as well as the Parque Nacional de Ordessa, and Parque National del Monte Perdido in Spain. to these you have the adjacent parks such as the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Catalanes and the Parc Naturel Régional Pyrénées Ariégeoises.

Some of the historical dates that created, contained ,and enhance this wonderful area are noted below, history buffs go at it ::)

1213 Battle of Muret, victory of Simon de Montfort over a coalitions of Occitans lords, and death of king Peter II of Aragon who had a project to unite in a big State the occitano-Aragonais people.

1258 signature of Treaty of de Corbeil, established the frontiers between France and Aragon by Corbiéres and Capcir.

1276 creation of the kingdom of Majorca based at Perpignan.

1288 Signature by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix for the co -Principality of Andorra.

1344 king Peter IV of Aragon annexed the Roussillon and Cerdagne with the frontier limit at Pas de Salses.

1375 establishement of the Junta of Roncal, creating laws for the passages in the valleys of Roncal (Aragon) and Barétous (Béarn). 1419 bishop of Urgell authorised the creation of the Autonomous council of Andorrans.

1462 Treaty of Bayonne, king John 11 of Aragon  (the Faithless) gives the counties of Cerdagne and Roussillon to king Louis XI of France, these counties were gain back by Spain in 1493. 1512 kings of Aragon take over the high Navarra region and the Catalan possessions of the family of Foix-Béarn, the low Navarra remains French.

1607 annexation of Béarn and Navarra to the crown of France thanks to king Henry III of Navarra, which became king Henri IV of France in 1589.

1641 Treaty of Peronne, the king of France ,Louis XIII becames the new count of Barcelona, Roussillon ,and Cerdagne. 1642 Perpignan  surrenders to French troops of king Louis XIII. 1649 French troops occupies the Valley of Aran.

1652 The French leave Barcelona and renounce possession of Catalunya. 1659 Treaty of the Pyrénées on the ile of Faisans in Basque country is signed between France and Spain. 1660 the French and Spanish redraw the map to arrange for the frontiers of the two countries,and by 1663-66 the restitution of lands taken on both sides is given to owners .

1674 conspiration at Villefranche-de-Conflent and Perpignan in favor of the Spanish, and the Spanish forces entered the Roussillon. 1678 The French army goes into Cerdagne and destroy Puigcerdà, peace is signed between France and Spain again. 1784 creation of the Commission International Caro-d’Ornano to cartographier the region and fix limits of boundary, interrupted for the war in 1792.

1790 creation of the French departments of Basses-Pyrénées(Pyrénées Atlantique after 1969), Hautes Pyrénées, Haute Garonne,Ariége,Aude,and Pyrénées Orientales. 1793-1795 Spain entered in war against the French revolution.  1808-1813 passage of Napoleonic troops by the mountains in the Pyrénées towards conquering Spain (later repulse by the Spaniards in what they call Day of Independance May 2,and immortalised in paintings by Goya)

1856 first line of treaties to fix the boundaries again signed at Bayonne, the frontier is fix from the ocean to the table des trois rois. 1862 second treaty of limits fixing the frontier from table de trois rois to port de boet. 1866 third treaty of limits fixing frontier from Portella Blanca to the Mediterranean. 1868 Final act of  the frontier with 600 bornes place along the mountains along the edge of the La Bidasoa to Cap Cerbére, and 45 bornes around the village of Llivia in French cerdagne. 1875 Creation of the International commission on limits or Commission of the Pyrénées that is in charge to enforce the boundary limits.

1912 opening of the train tunnel at Somport in the Valley of the Aspé (Béarn). 1928 opening of train station at Canfranc (Aragon) linking Toulouse with Barcelona.

1939 opening of French borders to thousands upon thousands of Spaniards fleeing the dictatorship of Franco in Spain.1944 Franco builts the Linea P a line of bunkers over 450 kms (279 miles) to protect Spain from a French invasion. 1946-1948 closing of the Spanish borders. 1949 the commission of the Pyrénées meeting in Madrid ordered the counting of the bornes and lining of the frontiers as per the 19C drawing that had disappeared.

1970 closing of the railroad line between Bedous and Canfranc, and reduced over the portion Pau-Oloron-Sainte-Marie from 1980. 1973 France and Spain signed treaty to fix the frontiers, name delegates to enforce the limits, and the maintenance of  it.

1976 Opening of the first automobile tunnel between the two countries ,the tunnel of Bielsa-Aragnouet between the Valleys of Aure (Haute Pyrénées) and Cinca (Aragon). 1985 signing of the first Schengen agreement ratify by France and Spain in 1990. 1986 Spain entered the European Union. 1993 Customs postes are eliminated in the frontier. 1998 Hendaye,Irun and Hondarribia form the first agglomeration of the region in the UE, name the consorcio bidasoa-Txingudi.

2003 opening of the Tunnel of Somport (and I try it first yes!!!) . 2007-2009 piercing of the TGV tunnel for the line Perpignan Barcelona that should be operational by 2013!

Some webpages of reading material. The Pyrénées tourism at http://www.lespyrenees.net/en/ Ski info also great in the Pyrénées at http://www.skiinfo.co.uk/Country/France-EFR-9671-en.jhtml

The parc naturel in French side http://www.parc-pyrenees.com/ :the lakes on both sides in Spanish, French http://www.lacsdespyrenees.com/

guide of the Pyrénées in Spanish, http://www.pirineo.com/ ,and the official Commission of the Pyrenees http://www.ctp.org/ and a wonderful family site on lodging,eating ,mountaneers etc the world of the pyrenees in Spanish, http://www.elmundodelospirineos.com/ . This is in addition to the normal tourist sites for each autonomous region or department with contact with the Pyrénées or Pirineos. I have another post on my passing by here with my wife once, the rest have been solo, and always by car.

Enjoy the mountains. Cheers

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May 10, 2011

Some news from France XLIIII

Well I am away from my area but need to give you some updates. The weather is gorgeous sunny and warm, its right in Spring and it shows Summer ::)  temps in the Paris/Versailles axis will be from 9°C to 21°C for the next 10 days and rain is announce from May 15 on.

I am by Vannes, Morbihan and its also very sunny, and pleasant with nice breezes from the nearby Gulf/Ocean. The temps here are similar only highs will be 24°C and no rain in sight.

Something about French consumers , a study done by INSEE, the French govt statistical arm, says, the French are in 7th place in the ranking of big spenders in Europe. Leading the way are the UK and Luxembourg. The French spending habits are 13% above the average for the UE The French, eat more fish than the Germans with 18% higher consumption then the EU average.  They drink more alcohol than the British with 20% above the UE average! ,and smoke less then the Spaniards with 28% less than the UE average.

The 64th edition of the Festival de Cannes is approaching tomorrow opening. Over 50 films will be shown to decide the winners by May 22nd with Robert de Niro as chairman of this year edition.  The official webpage is here http://www.festival-cannes.fr/fr.html

From May 27-29, the Festival de l’Histoire des Arts will take place at the Chateau de Fontainebleau ,a gorgeous theme of the folies or looney periods of  Erasmus; all about it at the official blog http://festivaldelhistoiredelart.com/

In the theme of the European Museum Night, the Chateau de Versailles will open the Petit Parc by 20H30 to create an event entitled “Nuit et bosquets, un bestiaire à Versailles” or nights and forests, a dresserroom at versailles. The activities will start by 21h30, by the cour d’honneur, the castle will remain closed. webpage http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover-estate

For all your gourmet needs, and great shopping from the best in the world go to the Epicerie de Longueil at Maisons Laffitte; one of my favorites hanging grounds, and coffee stumper place. Grand city dotted with a nice castle and horse racecourse of fame. The grocery store is at 28 avenue de Longueil which the main street to your left coming out of the train RER A from Paris. webpage http://www.epiceriedelongueil.com/accueil.htm

Walking along the Paris 15éme arrondissement the other day ,went to see a friend  from Australia visiting Paris, and took some extra time before arriving to past by the Parc  André Citroen, near the Seine river, metro Javel ,Balard or RER blvd Victor, done on the old automobile factories of Citroên. Here you have two small gardens call  “jardin blanc” ,and  “jardin noir” (these are between rue Saint-Charles and rue Leblanc), and are link to the main garden. There is a huge lawn square in the middle, bordering this square there are 6  serial gardens separated by a cascade and id with a metal color each such as gold/Or, Silver/Argent, and Green/Vert or Red/rouge. At the end  there is a garden in movement or “jardin en mouvement” ; it is like a prairie in a natural state with flowers. to the south, there is the canal with more cascades and statues or nymphées,a cave where water spout with force. webpage http://www.parisinfo.com/sites-culturels/1283/parc-andre-citroen

And one of the best shopping in Paris is at Rue du Commerce, in the Quartier Grenelle, arrondissement 15 of Paris , especially a Sephora store with beautician services inside! And the good wine store Le Repaire de Bacchus at 86 rue du commerce; also a great bouillon , today converted into a cafe resto call Le Cafe du Commerce at 51 rue du Commerce, more on this later post ; and Gerard Darel at 24 rue du Commerce for great ready to wear outfits.

Expo at the Petit Palais ,the work of Charlotte Perriand , one of the great creators of furniture in the 20C,now turning into photography to re discover her . More than 380 photos and 70 furniture pieces are on display; from her entrance into the shop of Le Corbusier and  Pierre Jeanneret in 1928, http://petitpalais.paris.fr/

Musée de Quai de Branly is showing the Mayas exhibition on Guatemala, 160 pieces of exceptional value will be on display. from 6 june to october, http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/programmation/exhibitions/soon/maya.html?S=1%252

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of France, Fréderic Lefebvre is going after Expedia, Hotels.com,and TripAdvisor for attack their false recommendations.  Such as saying the hotel is full when in reality it is not!!!  Announcing promotional tarifs when in reality they are the normal prices!!! or downgrade a 4 stars to a 3 stars/ This is part of the division of fraud of its ministry that is after informations that are tricks of the game!. To stop these gimmicks the DGCCRF  have ask to demand the  tribunal de commerce de Paris or the high court in commercial matters for fast and expedient investigation into these matters  for a legal process started in April of 2010 against these outfits by the Hotel union in France Synhorcat. And now it is all over the news in France, article in French by Le Figaro, http://www.lefigaro.fr/conso/2011/05/10/05007-20110510ARTFIG00466-l-etat-s-attaque-a-l-hotellerie-en-ligne.php

Intercontinental Hotels Group announced a gain of 69 M $ for its first trimester of 2011,28% increase in net income and 9% in revenues . Disneyland has reduced its losses by 13%  for a take in of 82?9 M€ for the year 2010-11. Ascott is coming to France !!  They just bought the property of the old Hôtel Costes K and a vacant nearby building ,that once the transaction over, it will be the new hotel in Paris name Ascott Arc de Triomphe Paris.


Anish Kapoor opens at the Grand Palais, under the lights of the Parisien skies, the interior of this creation like a Leviathan, high of 35 meters (115.5 ft)  will be the more or less scary. It is a spectacular plonge into a pre historic cave. A experience of the sensors and métaphysical like that of Stanley Kubrick in 2001, the Space Oddysea.  http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/News/Current-programme-in-full/p-468-lg1-Current-programme-in-full.htm?action=search&page=1&evt_periode=next&evt_lieu=0&x=49&y=9

A new place to sample out in the Morbihan,  at Vannes, La Pierre à Griller,30 ter rue Thiers; Tel +33  02 97 42 65 07. Great grill meats and wonderful steaks for a change in a seafront town. no web reservations at lapierreagriller@yahoo.fr . menus from 11,70€  just in front of Hôtel de Ville or city hall.

Cheers and looking forward to be back in my area.

And just in, the Normandie region is celebrating 1100 years of their foundation read all about it and festivities schedules in the official webpage for the events here http://www.happybirthdaynormandie.com/?lg=en

May 9, 2011

San Francisco, golden and more

I feel that when I think of one of USA best travel destination it had to be San Francisco. I was lucky enough to be there in 2004, and it remains one of my goals to come back to this vibrant city by the bay and the golden gate bridge. I will need to find my pictures lol!!!

I just had friends from there coming over, and bringing goodies from there so its a good moment to talk about this wonderful city. San Francisco is a city and county of the same name in the State of California, USA.  The mission was founded by the Spanish in 1776 in honor of St Francis of Assis or San Francisco .

one of the most to see in the city is the Golden Gate Park, extending from the Pacific Ocean along Ocean Beach to Stanyan Street, webpage at  http://www.golden-gate-park.com/ Another nice park is the Lincoln Park by the end of Ocean Beach and the Bay with the Palace of the Legion of Honor, an art museum. aand over to the Presidio National Park that leads to the Golden Gate Bridge, webpages http://www.presidio.gov/ and http://www.goldengatebridge.org/  The highways I 280 and I 80 as well as US 101 criss cross the town , and the best way to get oriented here is using the route planner mapquest at http://www.mapquest.com/ . For buses ,cable car, tramway information the official site is http://www.sfmta.com/cms/home/sfmta.php . The best way to see the city is by the famous SF cable cars ,and they even have a museum webpage here http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/ ,and of course walking even those hilly streets can be an adventure not to forget. Many folks like me entered first by the SFO or San Francisco International Airport, webpage here http://www.flysfo.com/web/page/index.jsp ;when I went we rented a minivan for road travel.

Some of the wonderful museums here is the Legion of Honor, done in honoring Californians who fought in the wars at France, and today an arts museum; webpage http://legionofhonor.famsf.org/ . Another interesting museum I like is the Exploratorium, where Science and Arts is fused, started by Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, and on a building from 1915:webpage http://www.exploratorium.edu/ , another is the Museum of Modern Arts of San Francisco, the pompidou of the city, there since 1935, webpage http://www.sfmoma.org/

Some of the things to see that I enjoyed were the seaquarium by the bay, near Embarcadero and Beach st, webpage is here http://www.aquariumofthebay.org/ . The Pier 39 with lots of stores and restos and my favorite Crab House at Pier 39,  as well as the Bay and Blue boat rides into Alcatraz, webpage for the boat ride is at  http://www.blueandgoldfleet.com/ and for the Pier 39 at  http://www.pier39.com/index.cfm. If you want to see the real thing and get on to Alcatraz ,this is the specialist althought I would choose Bay and Blue, second choice Alcatraz Cruises from Fisherman’s Wharfs webpage http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/

The Ripléy’s Believe or Not museum is great with many extraordinary displays , it seems I follow then wherever they are, webpage is at http://sanfrancisco.ripleys.com/ , and the very nice Wax Museum http://www.waxmuseum.com/ both at Fishermans Wharf.  Which you can know more here http://www.fishermanswharf.org/ with lots to shop and eat here my favorites are Ghiraldelli Chocolates ,and coffee shop at http://www.ghirardelli.com/ ,and dine especially in the evenings for a wonderful view of the bay at Bistro Boudin, http://www.bistroboudin.com/ . Another exciting place to be is The Cannery, the old Del Monte canning factory and since many years, the place to be for shops and restos in SF. webpage http://www.thecannery.com/ , and my favorite because its near the Financial district is Crocker Gallery with Leila mediterranean cuisine resto and  John Walker for those Californian wines, webpage http://www.johnwalker.com/ . The webpage for the Crocker Gallery is here http://www.thecrockergalleria.com/

My stay there was spent at the fabolous Hotel Nikko  at 222 Mason Street, Union Square very close to market str and the cable cars and up the Nob Hill to Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39 areas. webpage http://www.hotelnikkosf.com/

walking we did a lot especially around Japantown (Post st)  and Chinatown (Washington and Powell) ,and Russian Hill areas. you can get a city pass for 69 USDollars good for all transport in cable cars, Muni transport system, and some of the places I have mentioned above, plus other USA cities, the webpage for San Francisco is at  http://www.citypass.com/san-francisco

For a look back of where it all began ,see the Mission Dolores house, built upon city foundation in 1776, the oldest of course, and the only remaining of the 21 that Father Serra started then. It is at 3321 16th street and Dolores St, webpage at http://www.missiondolores.org/

If you want to have a nice meal, great steaks,and be in movie history as it was here that Humphrey Bogart’s The Maltese Falcon was filmed then head for John’s Grill webpage http://www.johnsgrill.com/ you wont go wrong here ::) , and if you want your munchies and great pints, beer that is then head for Johnny Foleys’ webpage http://www.johnnyfoleys.com/ , and since folks like me cant never be too far from a good French resto, then head for Cafe Bastille off Market and Kearny streets, webpage is at http://www.cafebastille.com/

Enjoy San Francisco ,and its not Frisco nor Cisco, just plain San Francisco ::)

May 7, 2011

Some news from Spain VI

well elections and talk is the norm now in Madrid, the May 22nd city and community elections is the hot topic of discussions all over. There will be the main parties PP, and PSOE as well as IU, but 22 parties are going for seats in the city govt and another 15 in the assembly. A total of  25 Political parties for the city of Madrid and 18 for the Assembly of Madrid are going for it. A real democracy in action!!!

Nightime repairs will be the word in south Tenerife on the roads that is long needed.  The road  TF-1 from  Santa Cruz to Armeñime( Adeje) is the one that will go first.

Tonite is Real Madrid vs Sevilla another hot game to see, with Mourinho out for five games due to UEFA politics, and he will appeal even to the justice outside football. In the Euroliga or European club championships Real Madrid reach the Final Four but loss to Maccabi by a wide margin, now will settle for third place with Sienna of Italy, Maccabi of Israel will play the final against Pananthiakos of Greece.

tour Bernabeu to see the Real Madrid stadium for 16€ a museum of the best team in history per FIFA and IFHHS of the 20C; loaded with memories and more each day, including a basketball section. tickets by Puerta 7 or door 7 at the stadium.  Official webpage info in Spanish but can buy tickets online on servicaixa just switch to English above right, http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/es/1193040472497/GenericoContenedor/ESTADIO.htm

In another sad story the passing of Severiano Ballesteros a great golfer, one of the pioneers in Spain, not much into golf but know he was a nice guy. RIP.

Rain for Madrid today and tomorrow temps in the next few days from 14°C to 26°C with periods of rain, so bring a rainjacket this is May ,traditionally a rainy month.

for something different in Madrid go eat at Centro Cubano de España , is the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe founded in 1967 at Claudio Coello, 41. Its an oasis in Madrid, have some photos of it. webpage http://www.elcentrocubano.com/ (Now closed)

For a nice side trip from Madrid go down to the Province of  Toledo and visit Consuegra. From Estacion Sur in Madrid you take buses Samar to Consuegra their webpage is at http://www.samar.es/resultado.php . This is the ciy webpage on the molinos or windmills section the best amongst many to see here, its in Spanish http://www.aytoconsuegra.es/ go to Turismo, then Lugares de intéres, then castillo y molinos.

At Parque del Oeste in Madrid you can see throughtout 3 bunkers from the Spanish Civil War.

Work of the Spanish govt and various organisations to create a space of memories of the Spanish Civil War (Memoria Historica)  is up and running; the latest work is a map showing all the wells carved in to dispose of bodies during and after the war. The webpage can also help find love ones,and their final resting place, most at Valle de los Caidos;  the webpage in Spanish is here http://www.memoriahistorica.gob.es/Mapafosas. There are about 1203 wells still not open yet…

Spain has use up all their fishing quotas for 2011 and now need to depends on imported fish/seafood for the rest of the year.  This is according to studies from New Economics Foundation (NEF) ,and  Ocean2012.  In the UE, the fishing only covers 50% of its needs, and in Spain the consomption of fish is 44.8 kgs per year per person while the worldwide average is 17,1 Kgs !!! yes bring on the seas to our tables lol!

And Expomanga in Spain ,who wants to know the nominees of Naruto, etc. Started yesterday May 6  for 4€ admission in the Palacio de Cristal, Casa de Campo, metro line 6,9 runs until May 8th; webpage  http://www.expocomic.com/

Enjoy Spain everything under the sun. Cheers!

May 6, 2011

Some news from France XLIII

Hello again here just waiting to be over lunch and head back to Paris/Versailles area from lovely Morbihan in Bretagne. The temps are wonderful 24°C and sunny, just gorgeous sights. It might rain next week a bit but you know the weather men is not human ::)

From May 6 to September 4, 2011 at Musée Rodin, an expo putting the work of Monsieur Rodin alongside his disciples and followers ! First time done at his place. Some of the invited artists’s work are Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro, Jean Fautrier, Lucio Fontana, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Willem de Kooning, Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers, Eduardo Paolozzi, Anthony Caro, Cy Twombly, Eric Cameron, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Haim Steinbach, Sophie Ristelhueber, Ugo Rondinone, Douglas Gordon, and Urs Fischer. Webpage at http://www.musee-rodin.fr/welcome.htm

Next May 14 is the La Nuit des Musées in all over Paris as well as places in France, and Europe. Many events for free with wonderful museums open to the public on special hours. The whole is explain at the Culture France webpage here http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/

and this is the pdf file for all the programming in the Ile de France region that includes my department Yvelines  no 78 (Versailles) and Paris no 75. http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/IDF.pdf

At le Zenith de Paris, the Italian singer Zuccherowill have a concert on May 12. He is one of my favorites and if you dont know who he is, then here is a synopsis of his career; first album 1983 call “un po di Zucchero” ,1987 next album “Blue’s” has an inmense success in Italy with over one million copies sold.  He starts touring in Italy and he does a duo with Joe Cocker. The rest of Europe catches up with him in 1989 with the album “Oro Incenso  E Birra’. He makes an European concert tour with Eric Clapton. In 1993, he is named the best Italian singer at the “World Music Awards”. In 1995, he wins the prize for the best worldwide sales by an Italian artist with the album “Spirito di vino”, selling more than 2 millions copies. In 1998, he brings out his latest album “Blue sugar”, that talks about his life and the road follow by the artist. I am looking forward to this concert in Paris.

A nice place to be and needs more notice by visitors is the Bois de Vincennes, Fauna, Flora, at will all around you. Around the lake or lac Daumesnil  is nice at any hour, the morning for the running ,the afternoon along or with friends to relax on the grassy parts, and a bit later to enjoy the tranquility of the place. You can rent small boats for 11-12€ . The main webpage is here http://www.boisdevincennes.com/site/index.php3 ;these are the maps of the place,a nd the No 2 shows the lac Daumesnil , here http://www.boisdevincennes.com/site/plans.php3

The oldest remaining combattant of WWI has passed away in Australia, may he rest in peace, and Thank you very much. Claude Choules, known as  «Chuckles», born at Wyre Piddle , Midlands, UK on March 3, 1901. He lied about his age to enrolled in the Army at age 14 ,and joined the Royal Navy in 1916. He ,also, participated in WWII, around the area of Fremantle in Australia, and was not too keen of wars.  In 1926 in Australia he met a young nurse Ethel, Scottish, and came to lived in Perth ,Australia. The couple was married for 80 years !!! until her death; they had 3 children, 13 grandchildren, and 26 great grand children, 2 great great grandchildren !!! RIP.

And from that how about riding a bike in free France ?  the fancy stores to buy are En Selle Marcel, 40, rue Tiquetonne (75002), tél.+33 01 44 54 06 46, open from tuesdays to saturdays from 11 h – 19 h. webpage blog ,http://ensellemarcel.over-blog.com/  and Les Vélos Parisiens, 3, rue de l’Abbé-Grégoire (75004 ), tél. +33 01 45 44 72 97, tuesdays to saturdays from  10 h – 13 h and 14 h 30 – 19 h, wednesdays from  10 h – 18 h.  http://www.lesvelosparisiens.com/  To rent other than the now famous Vélibs you can do so at Gepetto et Vélos 59, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine (75005 ). Tél. +33 01 43 54 19 95. closed Mondays.http://www.gepetto-velos.com/  Holland Bikes 77, bd Lefebvre (75015 ). Tél. +33 01 42 50 42 40. Closed Sundays and Mondays.http://www.hollandbikes.com/  Paris Cycles, rond-point du Jardin d’Acclimatation, bois de Boulogne (75016 ). Tél.+33 01 47 47 76 50. http://www.pariscycles.fr/ Paris Bike Tour 38, rue de Saintonge (75003). Tél. +33 01 42 74 22 14. http://www.parisbiketour.net/ Vélo Paris, reservation by internet only.http://www.veloparis.com/

If you like to do a ride in groups then Paris Rando Vélo is for you, webpage herehttp://www.parisrandovelo.com/ . And if you need to have your bike fixed same day, come to Au Reparateur de Bicyclettes ,52 bd de Sebastopol, 75003.webpage http://www.aureparateurdebicyclettes.com/

If you want to go to a different library then try  L’escale littéraire 120, bd du Montparnasse (75014). Tél.+33 01 42 18 04 27.  It is near the FNAC and the librairie Tschann, where Diane and Olivier do many things to be original and different. The personal advices, the new finds, lecture club, Literary evening with a nice  gâteau basque delivered by nearby restaurant  Oyez Paxoa(No 118) ,and a very lively nice internet user friendly. Their webpage/blog  is at http://lescalelitteraire.over-blog.com/ ; and why not go in for a ful meal at the Basque resto Oyez Paxoa ,webpage http://www.restobasque.com/accueil.htm  recommended by one of France best TV cuisine presenter Jean Luc Petit Renaud. Very nice indeed.

And the new sensation in Paris the Italian milanese of Grom, 81, rue de Seine (75006). Tél. +33 01 40 46 92 60. Two italians started it in 2003 and within 3 years in Paris they have a great clientele that includes yours truly, for a great Italian ice cream.   The ice cream are light and good for you, that is diet consious all of us. webpage http://www.grom.fr/

Just came in and saw an article on Le Figaro, they have chosen the best ” palaces” hotels in France, they are 8 and some of the heavy hitters are not there, creating lots of buzz words around Paris; the 8 at the highest category are the Bristol, Meurice, Plaza Athénée, Park Hyatt Vendome,hotel de Palais at Biarritz, hotel Les Airelles at Courchevel, Cheval Blanc at Courchevel, Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, the others like the Crillon ,Ritz,and George V were left out lol!!!

And until next time as I need to hit the road going back home, and my desire to taste the ice cream is big ::) Cheers

May 4, 2011

Some news from Spain V

Well rain is the word my family tells me but its May, the aguaceros de Mayo….showers of May are in. 11°C to 21°C with rain for the weekend again.

My stories went way back on this but just today I can confirm it as reading my new Madridista magazine of Real Madrid read the article that when Real Madrid was founded in 1902 four members of the team were of Cuban origins. The brothers Armando,Mario,José Giralt and Antonio Sanchez Neyra. Many others follow, and now there is even a peña or supporters group in Havana that meets at the Hotel Nacional with 250 members!!!

One of its members is the actor Jorge Perugorria, a Goya winner and the group was form in his house in Santa Fe (near Punta Brava) so there you go even Football/soccer was strong, and I knew it.

these restaurant owners were given the order of Madrid by the mayor for their contribution to tourism in Madrid, these are Pedro Abrego ,founder of the  restaurants Mesón Txistu and Asador Donostiarra; Lucio Blázquez, owner of  Casa Lucio; Abraham García, owner of  restaurant Viridiana; Evaristo García Gómez,owner of  Pescaderías Coruñesas ,and the restaurants El Pescador and O’Pazo; Miguel García Gómez, owner of  La Tarinera and Los Remos;and José Luis Ruiz del Portal, promoter of the group  José Luis. Madrid receives today 7,9 millions tourist a year. el Mundo newspaper article.

Real Madrid tied Barcelona 1X1 in the Nou Camp for the semi finals of the Champions league. Again a goal was disallowed on Higuain by the belgian referee as Mourinho has stated we are playing always either with 10 vs 12 or 11 vs 16 ( for all the referees) ;the momentum was for Real Madrid if the goal would have been allowed. Barcelona moves on to the Final in Wembley London possibly against the Manchester United. The MU plays tonite against Schalke 04 already ahead 0X2. The UEFA needs to up the quality of refereeing or introduce the already suggested video replay to the game.

The tramwayof Arturo Soria in my old district of Ciudad Lineal, was planned for a way of 40 meters wide joining the main points in the city for a distance of 50 kms. The main road that today is call Calle de Arturo Soria is born in Chamartin and ends at Calle  Alcalá. It was due to economic of the times only 5 kms long that today you can see in certain areas pieces of it. This is very nice article in Madriddiario, as I took the tramway to see my Aunt at Canillejas which at that time had no metro only a tramway from Ciudad Lineal. They were in circulation until June 1st 1972. Now for shopping you can go to Arturo Soria Plaza webpage here http://www.arturosoriaplaza.es/

The feast of San Isidro is coming just a week away, see it all about here http://sanisidro.esmadrid.com/ , and for the bulls this blog of wordpress, with all the info in Spanish http://desolysombra.com/2011/04/06/feria-de-san-isidro-2011-carteles-de-toros/

The Gran Via will be of honor this year,on May 15 all the Gran Via will be in blue carpet that will go from Calle Alcalà to Plaza de España or almost 3000 square meters for a trip of 1,5 kms. There will be projectors showcasing the history of this emblematic street in Madrid, all during the Feast of San Isidro, the patron Saint of Madrid.

For a nice walk in a nice park try El Capricho at Alameda de Osuna, metro Canillejas/Camo de las Naciones. A French flavor of the 18C in Madrid on a baroque layout; includes a number of squares and fountains .

For entertainment for all try Heron City just by Las Rosas Village  and plenty of cinemas, bowling, and restos to keep the entire family busy.  Buses takes you there from the interchange at Moncloa bus 628 is good. Trains the C8 cercanias from Atocha takes you there too. webpage with all info here http://www.heroncitymadrid.com/index.asp

The wonderful Botanical Gardens of Madrid, many times there ,love it. Now during the month of May 9, 16,23 ,and 30th showing your metro ride ticket you can get in for free, just past the Prado museum, webpage http://www.rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico/jardin/contenido.php?Pag=143&tipo=agenda&cod=1258&len=en

and for the family and budget the best deals in Madrid the Cafeterias VIPS including stores next to them for all your essentials. Calle Alcala 447 is my area, (includes starbucks,TGIF franchises and more) and the webpage for all is here http://www.grupovips.com/flash.php

And last but not least the Campus Experience of the Fundacion Real Madrid ,the educational and charitable arm of the Real Madrid is having a basketball campus in New York,Madrid,and Santander this summer for kids ages 7-17 yrs old.From June to September 2011. see it all here http://www.campussummerexperience.es/

Have a great time in Madrid. Saludos.

May 3, 2011

Some news from France XLII

Well here I am at my lunch and having a great time in Bretagne, I am near Vannes in the Morbihan dept 56; great glorious place and nice weather so far. The area of the gulf is a UNESCO heritage site and so deserving. temp is cloudy in the morning and then sunny in the afternoon, with right now its 16°C!

I am on business as my job takes me places so will need to see if can find me a camera , mine took a farewell after 10 years decided to stop working !! And I a wreck when it comes to the newer technologies. I will settle for a automatic one ::)

Nice places to mingle walk and hang around just doing nothing but walk and see churches from the 16C like in Saint Nolff, of course this is deep France so only in French but it gives you the idea of what to see if do not know the language, the city webpage http://www.saint-nolff.fr/pages/presentation/historique.php

Then its off to Vannes the seat of government in the department or préfecture. Here is right at the door of the Golfe de Morbihan so lot more tourist places to see, and I just got here ::) see the interactive pictures just as true as it is, tourist webpage http://www.tourisme-vannes.com/en 

The best here of course is the crêpes and cider but also the

I am in a hotel chain ACCOR, Mercure close to the port, webpage http://www.mercure-vannes.fr/_en/ company pays of course ::) And so far I have try in addition to the wonderful breakfast at the hotel, lunch is at work cantine!, and dinner and drinks outside , such as Villa Valencia , its a pizzeria but the name stuck so try this one first ::) the webpage http://www.villavalencia.fr/cadre.asp , and had some late night drinks at La Bodega for the same reasons as the pizzeria but this time its real Spanish ambiance with tapas and great wines webpage http://www.labodega-vannes.com/

The second box of the down on a flight Paris-Rio No AF447 has been found!!! Now the two boxes are up and they can more easily found out what went wrong, also, give final resting peace to the families.

In France the death of Ben Laden is not the end of Al Qaida and the war on terrorism continues. Advicing French citizens not to go to areas of danger, and to be more vigilant in their whereabouts, as per Le Parisien newspaper.

Pierre Cardin is willing to sell its empire for 1B euros !!! He is 88 years old without succession or heritage to give!!! interested? here is the webpage http://www.pierrecardin.com/

et voilà pour aujourd’hui parce que je suis en boulot ok à la prochaine mes amis.

May 1, 2011

Some news from France XLI

Well here it is May 1 is gone with not much sitting at home ,and sad because the holiday fell on a Sunday, and tomorrow Monday is work day here in lovely France !

The weather is turning gray, then sunny in the afternoon, rain is predicted for tomorrow especially in the area I will be in Bretagne. Again meteo France says temps will be from 7°C to 24°C until May 10. However, rain is expected tomorrow Monday and on May 8,9,and 10 with storms.

So up I go tomorrow very early on my way to gorgeous Bretagne and its gulf of Morbihan. Sometimes the job makes for wonderful trips ::) However , maybe my writings will be less ,we will see ::)

As fashion and looks are an everyday form in France, I will point out some names that are in vogue as per Madame Figaro magazine. Names sounding strong now to look for them when shopping in France are Lancôme de l’Or Angerie perfumerie, Kenzo and Prada sunglasses, Prada Milano dal 1913 perfume, Mon Jasmin Noir by Bvlgari a perfum, thongs by YSL, clothing brand like Chloe, Maison Fabre, André, Paul & Joe, Maje, and Michael Kors,Christian Lacroix sunglasses, bikinis by Dior,Triumph, Paul & Joe, Louis Vuitton,Balenciaga, blumarine,Banana moon, YSL, Janine Robin, Iodus by Pierre Martinez, André Sardà, Fendi, Zadig & Voltaire, the series of sun tanning by Sisley Paris, and Opium by YSL.

As well as a new surging beauty salons call Biguine, webpage here http://www.biguine.com/sommaire/ . Also new store by pl Vendôme at 38 rue du Mont-Thabor, 1ér. White Bird, great creations in jewerly from Cathy Waterman, Sia Taylor and others.  webpage http://www.whitebirdjewellery.com/

Some houses recommended for massages / Spa of great reknown are in Paris, Asian Sushi Party at la villa Thai ,8bis rue Sedaine, 11éme webpage http://www.lavillathai.com/ . message plus meals with good prices at Villa Spicy and Espace Weleda, www.espace-weleda.fr for the messages ,and www.spicyrestaurant.com for the meals.  Also away from Paris ,one that I know from my wife at Honfleur is La Ferme Saint-Siméon, rue Adolphe Marais, webpage http://www.fermesaintsimeon.fr/ . and Lyon at La Cour des Loges, 2-8 rue du Boeuf, webpage http://www.courdesloges.com/

A great new place for clothings for out of town and ceremonials dresses is La Pompadour, 32bis blvd Haussmann,9éme sizes from 38-62 French, webpage http://www.lapompadour.fr/

For watches of all sorts try Louis Pion ,there is a central store at 83 ave des Champs-Elysées but stores all over France, http://www.louis-pion.fr/

BHV just open a new men’s store behind the emblematic department store, competing head to head to even its own group which includes Galerie Lafayette, and Monoprix. The store is located at  36 rue de la Verrerie,
75004 , and opening hours are  Monday to Saturdays from  10h to 20h, and its open until 21H on Wednesday and Saturday. webpage http://www.bhv.fr/magasins/en-region-parisienne/bhv-homme.html

And like coming to Paris cannot be without the food, for coffee head for one of my favorites in town Comptoir Richard the coffeehouse at 45 Rue de Bretagne 3éme, and also at my most visited in the 16éme webpage http://www.comptoirsrichard.fr/boutique/index.php.  For ice cream to melt and no waiting in line try Gelato d’Alberto, 12 rue des Lombard,and also at Mouffetards, webpage http://www.gelatidalberto.com/ . For sweet and chocolate creation to boost your day in Paris try La Fougasse at 25 rue de Bretagne, webpage at  http://www.boulangerie-patisserie-paris3.com/  and to a crumpious delicious meal try one of my old times favorite if not at trocadero this one by the place des vosges is newer but just as good Carette, 25 pl des Vosges, webpage http://www.carette-paris.com/uk/

And a wonderful expo at the Musée des lettres et manuscrits  (museum of letters and manuscripts) located at 222 boulevard Saint-Germain is doing the expo covering two hundred letters of arts thru the writings and notes of almost 50 of the greatest painters of our times such as Manet, Gauguin, Matisse, Delacroix, Dalí ,etc. unitl August 28th 2011 ,webpage  http://www.museedeslettres.fr/public/

At the Maison des Etats Unis or the house of the United States, until May 27 you will see  beautiful portraits in black and white signed by  Samuel Nja Kwa showing the great ones of Jazz from Randy Weston to Ahmad Jamal. Located at 3, rue Cassette (6émé). Tél.+33 01 53 63 13 43. http://www.maisondesetatsunis.com/culture/expositions.html

Of  course the Bacardi Mojito lab, 28 rue Keller (11éme) you have about 20 different mojitos to choose from in a ecclactic salle or room, very friendly and happy crowd, and they even train you to do them. Every day from 18 h. Cocktails from 10-14 €. From the menu ,also, mojitos without alcohol at 6 €. webpage http://www.mojitolab.com/

And now last, the robe wore by Princess Kate in the Royal wedding at London with Prince William, carry the laces of the town of Caudry in France, Nord dept 59. Great to see it, as it is the town of my wife’s brother and we have been to the shop and we have the laces from it in our home…..Cheers

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