Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Some news from France LVII

Well Paris is always in the air as well as Versailles for me;and then France entirely is a movable feast.

I will be back in Versailles this coming Saturday, and then possibly go over Paris. Before on Friday will be by near Angers in Pays de la Loire. The following week is in Chantilly/Paris for back to the Morbihan and back to Versailles again on the 10th Sept. I will burning lots of rubber and using lots of gas plus kms on my car lol!!!

Something new, Aéroports de Paris is given a new service for passengers n the restaurants of the terminals 1 and 2A  at Roissy CDG. Using a small USB key which will be given free of charge, the clients could recharge their mobile phones while eating. The concept is from Powerkiss ,and it works by electromagnetic induction.

 As many know, we are getting to the rentrée or the re entry period in FRance. This is the period after the normal long vacation,and the start of school ,but ,also, the start of business activities and meetings/conventions. Hotels are usually pack as well in the cities, and the restos are in heaven with activity. The schools start September 5th in our area, and the boys are ready. So I think are the parents ::)

Having my oldest son and father with me we had our mid day stop for food at the Cat Way pub in the Port area of Vannes. Grimbergers beers (4), coca cola for Dad,and salad savoyarde, andalucian pizzas and mussels a la breton with a banana split,caraibes ice cream with rum, vanilla; 58 Euros for 3. We then did some groceries at the local Super U supermarket before reaching new home and now watching football/soccer match between Bordeaux and St Etienne.

Then, we spoked with the wife and one twin boy, and the other twin boy call me from his girlfriend’s house to have the round trip pep talk with the family before going to bed. Tomorrow is another full day at work, while my oldest and dad gets to try the public bus system in the area,the TIM and TPV.

A great event coming up^in ¨Paris, the American Friends of the musée d’Orsay have a great gala event, read all about it here http://aforsay.org/events/afmo/

Until our next pep talk, you all have a wonderful end of week, and happy travels ::)

Port Vannes

Cat Way pub on the right at le Port, Vannes

August 28, 2011

Gulf of Morbihan: LamorBaden,Port Blanc,Arradon

Another day of going into the wonderful gulf of Morbihan (small sea in Breton language). Having my Dad in tow its an big effort but we manage to do it.  This is the area just to the west of Vannes, the area main city and seat of government in the department/state/province.

We started our morning going to Lamor-Baden , a nice harbor city with passenger boat service to the outer islands, and market day today, Sunday. Many picturesques hilly streets and beautfiful home before reaching the harbor or port area. Many homes for rent vacation properties in this area, very nice, and the port area with nice restos overlooking the harbor. Boats do go out to the outer islands very frequently in summer.

We then move on to Port Blanc, where direct boat trips to the gulf is done, very frequently in summer. The main island just in front is the Iles aux moines, an island first inhabited by monks. Now a very nice vacation hotspot with beautiful beaches. The area has a boardwalk with bakeries, restos and ticket offices for boat passenger rides. A great parking is nearby just before reaching the port area, and its free.

We finally arrive at Arradon, a nice town just next to Vannes, with a very nice city center full of shops and a pretty church. We went to the port area with tall sail boats, jet skies, and scuba facilities. It is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Restos are along the harbor and boats do go out to the outer islands frequently. The free parking is in a wooded area just before port,all easily walkable. The views,are,amazing, and the fact that is near the town makes a nice base for families;another place to come back to.

You reach all these places off the expressway N165 then exit for Lamor Baden, Arradon, on the 127; signs are well posted to go to lamor on the D316 etc. You have Vannes bus system (www.TPV.fr) on line 4 available. However, the best way here is the car, definitively a must to really enjoy the area.

The choices are endless,and families especially are welcome. The surfing, jet ski, canoeing, kayak crowds are also very welcome as these are prime location for its practice.

The webpage for the Lamor Baden area is at http://www.larmorbaden.com/index.php/TOURISME.html

The webpage for the gulf of morbihan and port blanc info is here http://golfe-du-morbihan.com/iam/index.php3

The webpage for the Arradon area is at http://www.arradon.com//index.php?section=240 

And of course for the whole area of the department of Morbihan the tourist office webpage is at http://www.morbihan.com/morbihan/decouvrez-le-morbihan/accueil-decouvrez-le-morbihan.aspx

Finally, here are some one pictures of the area ,enjoy them.

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August 27, 2011

Chateau Suscinio and the Port du Crouesty!

Well just back from my usual weekend foraways into the wonderful Morbihan, and today it was no exception of beauty. I was by the presqu’ile de Rhuys, and visit the Chateau de Suscinio,Port du Crouesty, Port Navalo, and St Gilda des Rhuys.

The Chateau de Suscinio in the small village of Suscinio is near my kids school. It was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany in the 13C-14C, and it is an impressive architecture you can see in the photos to come.  The official webpage is at http://www.suscinio.info/index.php3

You can see items from the region from medieval times and recreation of the times for children to learn and play! It is very intuitive and educational. For me its the wonderful kept architecture that amazes me always. I have visited twice already and it seem will be on it for many years to come.

I was with my Dad in tow, and he kept up pretty good, stayed in the car while I did my photo takes ::) From here we headed for the Port du Crouesty, a magnificent area by the ocean with many boats, excellent marina, captain services, Yacht club ,and quaint pretty  stores and restos, pubs all around the port marina area. It has a nice light house, and great channel in and out to ocean. The area is pretty clean ,and nice. We did stop to see our favorite stores La Trinitaire, and Via Maris as well as the tourist office, always a must in any visit.

We took a ride into the city center of Arzon, and visited the town church. We saw some visitors walking along the narrow quaint streets so it is nice we did it on the car so my Dad dont walk too much. We headed back to the Port du Crouesty for lunch at the Creperie de Broceliande, 23 Quai des Voiliers ,tel +33 02 97 53 63 88. He had his chorizo pizza and coffee with milk plus a huge coupe bounty ice cream of chocolate and coconut, i had my usual two beers, and the menu 16,50 euros with galette of st jacques, mushrooms,and shrimps, then a salad of goat cheese in a galette ,and the grand marnier crepe to finish with a coffee all for 46 Euros! great service and great people watching on the port marina.

We headed then for Port Navalo where we saw the small but lovely beach at port navalo, and a nice plaza with restos, bars etc, nice harbor heaven with pretty boats, and it has a passenger marina to the outer islands of Houat,Hoedic, Belle-ile,Locmariaquer and a tour of the Gulf of morbihan. The are is very chic, nice, ideal place for a family getaway which I am already thinking about ::)

To know more about the Port du Crouesty, Arzon, Port Navalo area see the official tourist webpage http://www.crouesty.fr/ Where you can see, also, the thalasso services offered and a Casino.

We drove on towards St Gildas de Rhuys rode the city center and went to see the beach at plage de Kerver, very nice large,sandy, and not crowded! To know more see the official tourist webpage for it at http://www.saintgildasderhuys.com/

All of these communities there is bus service line 7 from Vannes, SNCF train/bus station and pl de la Republique with the www.tpv.fr transport webpage. However, the best by far is the car, Avis and Hertz are available at train and bus stations areas.

Its part of the beauty of the Morbihan, and you are all welcome to see it.If anybody needs more info or specific information I might be able to help further. Enjoy the area and the photos.

August 21, 2011

The one two punch Carnac and La Trinité sur Mer

Well back out on what it was a bit cloudy morning leaving by 8h30 turn out to be a wonderfully sunny and hot day of 29°C! I took my father again to visit Carnac and La Trinite sur Mer, both next to each other and about a 30 minutes ride from my place.

The tourist office for Carnac is at www.ot-carnac.fr  and for La Trinité sur Mer is at www.ot-trinite-sur-mer.fr

The world has heard of the strange stone formation at Carnac, they are all line up, and a major tourist attraction, but I am not for stones ,sorry.I have seen them once so be curious.

For me the beauty is the gorgeous architecture of beautiful homes, the wonderful church in city center, the quaint streets, and the beaches, the Grande Plage especially is big, nice ,with all amenities for families and kids playgrounds, all just across the street from restos, hotels, pubs, and shopping.

This time i have the inmense pleasure of  meeting in Carnac a long time friend of the internet who happenned to be Cuban born from Centro Habana and lives in Seine et Marne dept 77. While visiting with her husband and 3 good looking kids we met up by the big restaurant facing the grande plage, which I always have coffee in and always forget the name lol!!! Tania it was a pleasure finally meeting you and putting as we say a face to the internet chats. In addition my father had a blast as we are also from nearby Punta Brava in Cuba, natives. Here are two photos of our encounter for the memories.

We then departed as they were on their annual vacation run with the kids, and my father and I head for nearby La Trinite sur Mer. This is a boaters paradise and it was pack for lunch, we had ours at the L’Etage right by the basin as you come in to the city right on the water. The place has three floors but the food is serve on the second and the drinks on the top;all with great views of the bay , harbor and ocean. We had our sampler of fish and st jacques,steak and fries (my father is diehard on this), plenty of 1664 and Corona beers, and coffee all for 47 Euros . The service was great as our server ,also ,spoked Spanish , amazing her boyfriend is Mexican so she FRench learn the language lol!! Great communication tool.

La Trinite sur Mer is a semi moon bay surrounded with restos, bars,pubs, bakeries ,and stores on the land side, and fish market with lifesaver station and a 2000 boats pleasure marina on the water side. Just a wonderfull place to spent your days sipping and eating great seafood and fish.

Like I say is very close to me ,only about 30 mins by car off the N165 direction CArnac. There is no train, and only one bus line.So the key here is rent a car or bring your own. It will be worth it I asure you. It feels like been back in my old Florida only its France ::)

Now heading into the next week, and cant wait for another weekend and other areas to share with my father. Have a great summer, and be cheerful;life is short.

August 20, 2011

Presqu’ile de Quiberon, paradise found!

Well I was back this morning to my favorite place in the Morbihan, Quiberon or the almost island of Quiberon as the French name roughly translates. Its beach, dunes, seafood,and quaint little streets with plenty to shop for. Its only 30 mins from my home by car. The time  was very sunny and temp of 30°C!!!

In the summer months there is a train service from Vannes to Quiberon but then it stops. There is a bus no 1 from Vannes too all year long, check schedules at TIM or transports in the morbihan. The best however is the car, parking at the SEmophare up front and buses takes you all the way to city center and the gare maritime. Or come early and park like me at the gare or train station parking just couple minutes from city center.

The webpages for the city of Quiberon is www.ville-quiberon.fr

the tourist office is at www.quiberon.com

You have many goodies here like the Riguedel famous bakery ,the Trinitaine biscuits store, and the fish/tuna conservatory at Belle Iloise as my favorites. For clothing the Via Maris is great as well as souvenirs. The Comptoir de la Mer is great for clothing too.

There are restos,pubs,creperies, all over the area huge area;and of course the fish and seafood is king, with live fresh gulf lobster today going for 24,95 euros per kilo or about 18 USD a pound. Plenty of fish like flounder at 8,95 per kilo and all goodies like langostine salads,and tuna with olives!!!

The market was on with more goodies from local farms and many items of souvenirs and clothings. Its the event every saturday morning so dont miss it while in the area. Needless to say the area was pack;just come early like me here by 9h to avoid the traffic and congestion, parking by the gare or train station will avoid later the traffic leaving out.

I was visiting with my father so the toll on walking was stop several times for rest periods, but he kept up pretty well. We ate local food at the creperie Cap Au Large overlooking the beach at 15 rue port maria tel +33 (0) 2 97 30 39 93. We ran up five beers leffes a Houat st jacques, mushrooms and salmon galette similar to crepe, the ham and cheese for him, , crepe of chocolate and coconuts,and two coffees for 41 euros for two, not bad facing the ocean and best people watching on the beach ::); The service was very good and fast.

I have some photos to come below hopefully, and more exploring to do in the area tomorrow. I must tell you keep this destination in mind for your next vacation it is wonderfully good for the whole family.

 

August 20, 2011

Auray, my next door neighbor

I am having a great time with my father in tow, taking him to some of the places I have been and showing our next new home area in France. This time it was to our neighbor and main city of Auray.

Auray is very historical ,once a Benjamin Franklin landed here in route to secure credit and recognition of the new nation of the USA to king Louis XVI of France; bad weather cause his boat to land at the river Loch entrance of the guld that took him to the area of St Goustan in Auray.

I go her often to eat and drink spent some time away from work. Now it was time to show my father around, and taking away the walk I gave him ,the rest was very enjoyable.

He is getting old, so the walks are not his forte now. He really enjoy the boat scene, and the nice choice of restos even ice cream!  I park by Kerrolean parking area.

The city of Auray webpage is at http://www.auray.fr/ and the tourism office is at www.auray-tourisme.com

It has a train station with direct connection to Päris Montparnasse via TGV.The bus system Auraybus runs in the summer and then there is the department or area bus of TIM. However, the best way is to do with a car ::)

Rental car AVIS is right at the train station in Auray. Taxi service is very frequent and dependable with about a 10-15 euro charge anyway around the area. The best road is the N165 and get off at exit D765 Auray.

You have an old chateau at St Goustan, wonderful churches and chapels, and one of the best preserved inner city old town in the area going down to the river at St Goustan off pl de la Republique.

We are beginning to love this area, and encourage all to discovered it as many British and Germans already have ;lol! there are everywhere.

Today it was up to 30° C and very hot sunny pleasant for the beach so stay tune for more in future posts. Here are some photos. Cheers and happy Summer.

 

August 15, 2011

The Yvelines, my old home place dept and house

 

Well once again I am in my last few weeks in my old home of the Yvelines, Versailles and neighboring towns,my home for the last 8 years.

One of the happ times was to go out to eat no matter where, and one of our favorites was the chain Leon de Bruxelles restos of mussels and fries Belgian style. Walking the old town of <les Mureaux< or the Walls as Romans wall ruins were found there long ago.

Our home is for sale as we are on our preparations to move to my new area in Brittany or BRetagne west of France  by the Morbihan coast. The whole family is very excited about the change, one of our unteens times we move in our life, average a home every 7 years!!!

The Les Mureaux area is known for the home of EADS the European Space Agency where the rockets are assembled to be shipped to Guyana and then up in space. It has a nice aerodrome,and great sailing canoing facilities on the river Seine that passes by as well as cruise ships coming from Rouen that stops by. The transportation facilities are second to none in the region with train or bus connections to Paris and beyond even to Roissy CDG by bus with connection at Cergy Pontoise prefecture, you take the bus no 80 to Cergy prefecture and then the 95-18 to Roissy CDG; also the A14 bus to La Defense, bus No 19 to VErsailles and no 16 to St GErmain en Laye. Train go to gare St Lazare in Paris and by going towards Mantes you can connect with the train to Paris Montparnasse.

Well some family pictures to close out my wonderful Assomption weekend with the family, and brought my father with me here already making a mess ::::ho ho ho ::) Cheers, and have a great week ahead. Oh weather is great sunny in the 20 C and traffic has been fantastic no jams at all and smooth motoring throughout.

 

August 15, 2011

Versailles, one more time, and more ,more ,more

I was back to the old home (well still officially is) of Versailles from my Brittany new job. As always it is full of nostalgia and great joy to be able to come back here often.

Versailles to most ,its known for its chateau or palace or castle and thats it. However, to me it was a lot more than that. IT was and still is my government capital, the city of my sons schools and jobs, the city I spent many summers walking to places that the general public rarely sees even at the Castle. My past time was to walk especially on weekends its wonderful gardens and sip a hot coffee and croissants at Angelina by the Petit Trianon.

Its a city ,a capital of the department of the Yvelines No 78, not Paris, but a separate city ,government, and the center of royal France. When Paris is refers as the Capital of France in a Republican sense, Versailles is the capital in a royal sense. As well as by constitutional right, the Capital of France when changes, additions or substraction from the FRench constitution is needed as the whole government including the President must move here to hold government hearings.

I will remember the etangs des suisses park as well as Balbi ,the Notre Dame food/clothing market, the flower /Plant market by St Cloud; the masses at the Collegiale de Notre Dame,(the most royal of churches as all offsprings of kings were baptised or given birth certificates there), the nice restaurants dotting Satory, and the ones off the NOtre Dame market, the historical government buildings on the ave of the Independance Americain (where the treaty recognising the USA was signed by reps of king Louis XVI and BEnjamin Franklin for the USA).

The Gare d’Europe bus station off ave  de l’Europe and ave St Cloud; the trains at rive gauche and rive droite as well as Chantiers. The bus station by rive gauche, and the parking at Sceaux, when needed to use the car in the city (always an old habit). The underground parking at St Cloud is best for visitors thus.

My oldest son still works there by the gift shops across from the rive gauche station, and seeking to come over here too. My twins will official leave school there on Aug 30th to start in BRittany on SEpt 5th.

Well here are some photos taken on a quick walk on my beloved Versailles, it is as I will always have a Versailles!!!! Cheers

August 13, 2011

Some news from France LVI

Very hot and sunny in the Morbihan, and getting ready once again to visit the family in Versailles and stop by Paris of course. We have a holiday call assomption on August 15 so we will have a three day weekened to enjoy in summer.

Here the tourist are in force all over and especially on sunny days by the coast gulf area on the beaches. My next stop after the 15 august will be in sept 3rd to pick kids for the school here that starts sept 5, and then return the mother sept 10th, waiting for the house to sell there.

If anybody wants to meet me I will be sept 5-9 in the evenings in Paris by the hotel Magellan on the 17éme.

Lately the Le Figaro has come up with a contest for the best strawberry pie in Paris and the winner was Gerard Mulot, 76 rue de Seine ,6éme. 2nd was Jacques Genin at 113 rue de Turenne, 3rd Dalloyau 101 rue faubourg saint honore.

Similar ranking fr the gaufres,where the winner is L’avant Comptor at the carrefour de l’Odéon one of my favorite places in Paris, 2nd place was for L’Absinthe at pl du marche saint honore, and 3rd place for Le Boumangepicerie at the 3rd etage of the store Printemps, blvd Haussmann.

The Rotonde de Stalingrad is back , renovated and great looking. The Rotonde was done in 1788 and was the phare of the walls of the store FErmiers Genereaux . It was here that the offices of the rights of passage of merchandise entering Paris was found.  When these righes or taxes were eliminated in 1791, the building was abandoned, then serve as headquarters of the municipal garde from 1830 to 1865,then house of salt from  1865 to 1921. The Rotonde was saved from the demolition of Baron  Hausmann while extending the limits of Paris in 1860 (see my entries on villages and arrondissement of Paris),and was reborn after the fire of the communes in 1871. Finally escape the tracing of the metro line 2 from 1900 to 1903.  It house from 1960 the commission du Vieux Paris (commission of old Paris)  that stayed until 2004. In 2009, the project of renovation took place that ended just this week!!!!!

The Rotonde now has a circular brasserie with traditional French dishes, it has a big terrace with a great brunch on Sundays for 35€ as well as the Bar du Coin (Corner bar) with light food for the fast food aficionados. The Rotonde has 7 private rooms for pro seminars, meetings, etc and open to rent to individuals as well for yoga courses, shops of plastic arts or their anniversaries as well as expositions with the sponsoriship of the  Mairie de Paris (mayor ‘s office) . You can read my entry on the Paris 19 arrondissement where I told you of the construction of the brasserie inside the Rotonde.  La Rotonde,  6-8, place de la Bataille de Stalingrad (75019). Tél.+33  (0) 1 80 48 33 40. Carte : 20-40 euros. webpage at http://www.larotonde.com/

Just in and its raining cloudy day in Versailles, will need tog o out again to get my oldest son at work,then go to Paris tomorrow with the family.

Now the Arts go elsewhere in France ,not just Paris, go see the movable feast that is all of France!! First, the Louvre goes to Lens there by 2012!!! Just coming out of the Gare de Lens train station you see the happening, all over is getting ready for the grand opening seven years after its annoucement and I spread the word too in many travel forums . For its international part the Architects are from Japan; with glass and metal in squares with a gallery of time looking into a gallery of glass.

They expect to have 700 000 visitors the first year and so on; the list of objects to be presented there are already agreed on but kept secret until showtime ! We know here that one of its beauties will be the painting by the great Eugène Delacroix, will have its opening there at the gallery of glass or “galerie du temps”. Some others promise there will be a Botticelli, a Watteau, one Boilly, a Léonard de Vinci, a Poussin:and many others. All total will have about 900 works of arts, 250 in the gallery, 70 for the pavillon de verre (glass house), and  200 for the expositions, will be there for one to three years. The visit to the gallery will be free for the first year. An official webpage is here http://www.louvrelens.fr/

then, the other great one, Versailles is not to be left behind non plus ::) About 80 works of arts from the palace will be on display at Arras in the north of France, and only half an hour from the louvre at Lens .The agreement between the Musée des beaux-arts d’Arras (fine arts museum of Arras) and the Château de Versailles.  It will lends some of its beauties to Arras for the next 10 years . The collections that will be seen  with the expositions of long term showing (18-24 months) will be house in a wing at the abbey of Saint-Vaast. Museum information on the site of the mayor’s office of Arras webpage http://www.arras.fr/culture/musee-darras.html

 Take care and have a great weekend everyone. Cheers.

August 6, 2011

My escapades in Europe

I have the need to travel on business a lot in my life, spend many times away from family. My new challenge require much travel, beginning in Europe but eventually Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Visiting on business and pleasure are two different animals, usually business does not count in my counter for personal blog experiences, however, these were countries that I have visited in the past and after several years was back to them.

First was Prague, in the Czech Republic. Totally different now under a new country (now but really old), and different political system (much better). I was not in the tourist area but outskirts in industrial park near working class building, my hotel was in a nice area with huge homes and private tennis club. I need it to take a bus then a metro to reach the old center so instead walk around where I was, and very busy with the job. I stay at the Elizza hotel,and ate at privka Amerika restaurant both very friendly and good.

Then was off to Lisbon , Portugal, where my oldest boy godfather is from very familiar but short time there. I ate at Pedro’s place a typical portuguese family resto not on anybody’s travel book but delicious home made cooking, it is off praça Francisco da Carneiro. My stay was at the very nice hotel Altis Park, with all amenities, friendly and great restaurant.

Finally ,just got off been to Geel near Anvers Belgium, there stay at Hotel Verlooy in Geel, and ate at the market square Het Podium and the Irish pub there with a nice guinness. The area is industrial agricultural mixture, and it has a nice church in city center. The different is here went by train an odyssey, first TGV Vannes-Paris Montparnasse, change to metro line 4 but was block, police intervention so needed to take alternative line 6 to Denfert-Rochereau then switch again to RER B to reach Gare Paris Nord; running not to miss my thalys to Brussels Midi station. There had reserved an Avis rental car Citroen C3 to reach destination on the ring road of Brussels all with traffic jams to stand still!!! Went around on the E19 straight to Anvers, there took the ring road R2 to final destination. The return was not easier, rental car to BRussels Midi train station was fine, but the thalys was delayed 30 minutes !! by the time reach Paris Nord took line 4 alright this time to Paris MOntparnasse, arrive late the train TGV was ready to leave, spoked my way to train folks u ntils finally call me back and allow me into the train, reach Vannes, no taxis, tourist had taken them all, needed to wait 15 minutes to have one arrive and finally reach home! Never again , I am never a train person and this will prove me to the company not to use it again.

The trips to Prague and Lisbon were done by airplane and taxi, much better easy trips. To Prague I change from Nantes to Lyon and to Lisbon change at CDG Paris very easy. I drove my car from VAnnes to Nantes airpôrt and stay one night each time at the Escales Oceania hotel at the airport just off parking P1. All very easy.

Business wise the trips were very good tallking with company directors and finance mgrs. Personally it was fulfilling to re visit places not have to in many years;now got my update first hands. It will not be the last as many trips there in the future are programmed.

In all are wonderful places to visit and would love to hear your stories on them in comments. Some add photos to follow, cheers

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