Archive for January, 2012

January 27, 2012

Some news from France LX

Well just time to post some of the latest happening in France and around…. maybe no pictures just text for a change.

To start with something not in France (its me…) Iberia Express will begin to offer low cost flights from Madrid Barajas airport on March 25 2012 to alicante,Palma,and Malaga. plans for more destinations to follow quickly; it is part of Iberia Airlines of Spain. wikipedia has more in Spanish as it is just new http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberia_Express ,google translator should do a pretty good job of translation to your language.

Coming around my current neck of the woods, Auray, we have wonderful gardens and garden centers around that I like to share a site and a couple of them with my readers; the site is in French ,very local find HortiAuray ,webpage http://www.hortiauray.com/  Inside there is a minefield for those in love with nature and decorations,loads of information on plants and flowers, how to ideas, and tools, recommendations to do a garden (again all can be translated with for example google translator) ;from this site it takes you direct to the gardens of Bretagne or Brittany where i am ,webpage http://www.apjb.org/fr/carte-des-parcs-et-jardins.html ; one very near me you can read there as No 10 is Parc de Keronic Château de Keronic 56330 – Pluvigner ( yes inside a castle!) another is no 17 and also a castle property at  Kerambar’h Château de Kerambar’h 56690 – Landaul. These are wonderful properties, worthy of a cinderella castle.

for garden centers local,not chains, but the real thing, try this one from the hortiauray site, La Pepiniére la Peignie , already visited, http://www.pepiniere-la-peignie.com/ , and they are Germans who settled in the area. Le jardins de Balgan,near Séné, and Vannes, is good but open in spring, summer times only http://www.lejardindebalgan.fr/actualites.html ;and le Clos d’Armoise, at Theix, just a bit south of Séné in the town of Theix, webpage http://www.leclosdarmoise.com/plantes-vivaces

For those seeking a more relax vacation, and more local/typical accommodations try this site A-Gîtes  for France in English and other languages ,http://www.a-gites.com/en/  ,to find those in my area you need to go to Brittany, Morbihan, or choose a particular city such as Auray.For example, this one looks nice,http://www.a-gites.com/en/advert-28074.html

The New Year Chinese is celebrated in Paris,the international city of France; the festivities will be tom Saturday,in the  Marais, from  14h30,and it will have a parade departing from  place de l’Hôtel de ville ( Paris 4éme),with the mayor of Paris,and the Ambassador of China in France . The parade will cross the 4éme and 3éme arrondissements by streets such as  rue du Temple, rue de Bretagne, rue de Turbigo, and rue Beaubourg .  There will be festivities by the métro Belleville from 11h30, by the same metro at 15h, shows of dance and martial arts will be presented. And a mayor parade in the 13éme arrondissement , starting at 13h passing by  44, avenue d’Ivry ,avenue de Choisy,  place d’Italie, avenue d’Italie, rue de Tolbiac,and the  boulevard Massén.

And when in Paris away from the popular places, try this Chinese and forget the others, La Nouvelle Fontaine d’Or ,39 Rue Jean de la Fontaine  75016 metro Jazmin line 9 tel +33  (0) 1 42 24 55 41. yes on the 16éme lol!

And to get away from it all, come back to the area of Gare de ‘Est, where I came into Paris with a young lady over 21 years ago, and found my French kiss irresistable, that we are still practicing, we came to eat here, and at least once a year we come back, Le Bistrot des Faubourgs   55, rue des Vinaigriers, 10ème   Métro Gare de l’Est but closer if you like at  Jacques Bonsergent and chateau d’eau  Tél +33 (0) 1 46 07 09 49 . Traditional French, the name change but the place still magical over the years, at least for us. You will make it your own too,I am sure.

Now an event we used to talk and still do from the time of grandparents , cycling, the sport of the everyday French, the guy with the baguette under its arms riding a bike on a cobblestone street in a stone medieval looking village, and then there are races too. The ones I keep an eye for it and sometimes follow in person are these with name and date of event, March 4-11 Paris-Nice , see it here,and if not update yet, it will soon, http://www.letour.fr/ , The tour de Normandie, March 19-25 http://www.tourdenormandiecycliste.fr/ , Paris-Roubaix on april 8, Tour de Bretagne yes!! April 25 to May 1st;Tour d’Italie or Giro di Italia, May 5-27, http://www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/Giroditalia/2012/it/ , In june 3-10 Criterium du Dauphiné, The grand daddy Tour de France, June 30 to July 22nd, then on August 18 to Sept 9 its the Vuelta a España or tour of Spain, October 7 is the Paris-Tour,  Enjoy them all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My boys are coming back tomorrow night from Franche-Comté where they spent a week skiing lol!! Cheers

January 22, 2012

A leisure walk in my city, Auray, nice, quaint, and beautifully small

Well here I was all alone, my boys both 18 are gone skiing in the Jura for a week with the school, once coming back vacation time for winter is here from Feb 17-27, and we all should be by our home in Versailles and seeing the rest of the family.

So, therefore, I decide to take a walk in my city ,and take some pictures, the time was crisp cold,and sunny so photos were ok. The city of Auray actually has about 10K+ inhabitants, but it is well serve for its size. It has a local bus service call Auraybus, webpage here http://www.auray.fr/cadre-de-vie/auray-bus/  this is the city of auray govt site,in French, of course. It also tells of TIM or Transport Interurbain du Morbihan with lines 1,5,6,and 16 that allows you to connect with nearby cities such as Vannes. It ,also, has a train station nice and comfy with direct link with Paris Montparnasse with many services during the day in 3h30 , TGV Atlantique webpage http://www.tgv.com/fr/services/e-billet it has service where I have it, e-billet for electronic ticket and also home delivery that we use too. The line to Paris actually goes from Quimper and Brest and it can go to Lille or Roissy CDG or Disneyland. Then, you have the local TER lines for nearby local train service at http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/Bretagne/fr/Default.aspx

Then of course driving is my geek, the best is the parking by place Keriolet, very close to city center and Athena by the municipal pool. It has a port for pleasure boats, the Capitanerie is at 4 pl de Rolland at St Goustan, more in French here and contact at bottom of webpage http://www.auray.fr/cadre-de-vie/le-port/

The district of St Goustan, the low city historical part is getting a facelift that will last until 2014, the phases will be put in place so that the activity of tourism is not bother too much. The info in French from the city is here http://www.auray.fr/?id=1015#6230  The main of the renovation will be around la place Saint-Sauveur and quai Franklin. The public is invited to make donations to aide in this renovation with 66% tax deduction of amount given.http://www.auray.fr/accueil/quai-franklin/mecenat/ Anyway , we did went out for dinner a la breton, that is galettes and crepes at a real native place, Creperie St Sauveur, 6 rue St Saveur where we had 2 gargantua galette of ham and cheese,one madrilene with chorizos, one bottle of cider Coat albret, 3 banana splits, and 3 coffees for 54 Euros for 3 persons, real bargain. A quaint place very typically decorated and nice friendly service in a old street up the pl St Sauveur. webpage of tourism for the dept of morbihan ,show the creperie http://www.morbihan.com/creperie-saint-sauveur/auray/tabid/7419/offreid/2b3e3329-e5fb-42fb-8111-d31f6df92ec9/detail-restaurants.aspx

The city has several , a lot again for the size of the city of chapels,churches, monasteries, and towers of many centuries old ,including an old ruins of a castle once guarded the river entry from the Atlantic ocean to the Gulf of Morbihan to the river Loch. The city of Auray has a nice page in French with a great photo of the riviére de Loch, here http://www.auray.fr/auray/paysage/ Also, monument to the fallen of WWI, which I took a photo and it is in the city govt page too here http://www.auray.fr/auray/histoire/monument-aux-morts-virtuel/

To go to the Halles (see photo) or market is wonderful , all is fresh, brought in by fisherman, and delicious, the info again in French in the city govet,and with prices for those interested in having a stand, here http://www.auray.fr/auray/socio-economie/halles-et-marches/ Kerleano symbol of Breton resistance to the French revolution, and the train station, the main plaza pl de la Republique,and the district of St Goustan, all a must to see. The Chartreuse where the remains of those killed by the French revolution, are enterred, webpage at the tourist office site http://www.auray-tourisme.com/la-chartreuse/brech/tabid/8277/offreid/23a4acde-c549-4a97-8d00-26dd33b3ddc4/detail.aspx

Which by the way this is the tourist office of Auray that includes adjacent villages, http://www.auray-tourisme.com/#, and the main webpage of the city of Auray govt site http://www.auray.fr/auray/auray/

 

January 22, 2012

A movie and drink in Vannes ,anyone…..

Yesterday was a nice day, the last before my boys go out in ski vacation with the school here, so we decided to test the cinema again, this time a more serious movie, and go for some pints;;;;

Cinéville Vannes is great, huge spaces, great big screen, great sound, good friendly service, and the movie was good :;) Millenium, or the man who does not like woman, something like that. Daniel Craig was great, and damn the woman was fantastic, both on screen and very sexy off screen. A nice movie about a serial killer in Sweden who held an empire but use the power to rape his own family members;;;all living in an island, the main character a newspaperman who had come up with an earlier story that did not turn out too credible, was hire by the old man of the family to solve the riddle; the main character then hire as assistance the same woman who search out his false stories in his previous article.The two work out well, and I was hoping for them to stay together at the end, but I am a dreamer and today, the character stay with his old girlfriend bland bland….I take Lisbeth (Rooney Mara) anytime ::) Recommend to see it in any language. http://vannes.cineville.fr/programmes.php?salle=vannes-parc#0000131915

Just to be in the right mood we headed for lunch before the movie at the Irish pub nearby Le Skellig, it was slow as it was lunch, it gets going at nightime; but the service was good we had burgers,grimbergen beers red and blonde, plus coffees with small cakes and a share platter of goat cheese lardon bacons,and eggs, all for 76 euros for 3: it is right in the entertainment area of Atlanville, with other restos and stores all around it. Webpage http://www.atlanville.fr/skellig_presentation.shtml

We went around doing some last minute shopping for ski outfits like bags,gloves, etc, and then headed home. Before I finish the post, would like to add some spots in the Vannes area that are tops for night out, and really enrich the cultural events life in my area now ,some of them already visited. And then we had dinner, forgot the entry lol!! yes we went to La Boucherie is a chain of steakhouse (not bad for French steakhouse) and its right in the same area of skellig but outside the Atlanville area, walking distance of about 5 minutes: here we ate steaks of course with fries, red wine from Bordeaux, Chateau d’agassac 2008, creme brulée,dame blanche desserts, and coffees, all for 85€ for 3. location rue du  Gay Lussac , webpage at http://www.la-boucherie.fr/restaurants/67/FR/vannes-56

The cirque Eloize is coming to Vannes, Feb 8-9 at 20h30 and Feb 10 at 19h, at the theatre Anne de Bretagne,with 17 artists with many circus favorites plus the novelty of urban dances such as break dance and hip-hop!  Admissions will be from 21-27€  location Place de Bretagne,Vannes,  Tél : +33  (0) 2 97 01 62 00 webpage info at the city of Vannes site in French http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/culture/theatre_anne_de_bretagne/evenements/4118/index.html?&VIEW=DETAIL&AID=1181

The encounter of European Cinema or 11éme Rencontres du Cinéma Européen, from march 28 to april 3rd, admissions from 3-8€, held at the cinéville Garenne, and  Palais des Arts, Vannes; info in French for the palais des arts at city webpage http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/decouvrir_vannes/economie_entreprises/palais_des_arts_et_des_congres/4154/index.html , for the cinéville garenne,at http://vannes-garenne.cineville.fr/details.php?plan=01&idsalle=8186&salle=vannes

The salles or show places such as theaters,cinemas etc in the Vannes area are, the before mentioned Théatre Anne de Bretagne, Palais des Arts, Cinéville Garenne and Vannes,,and the others such as L’Echinova, 1 rue Léon Griffon 56890 St Avé or webpage http://www.lechonova.com/ for music concerts . La Lucarne, Rue d’ile Boêdic, 56610 Arradon, http://www.lalucarne-arradon.fr/?cat=5 for expositions, events concerts, Le Dôme, 1 rue des droits de L’Homme,56890 St Avé, a center for culture music and concerts, webpage at the city of st Avé in French http://www.saint-ave.fr/centre_culturel_le_dome.html , La Petite Scéne, 5 ferme de Maupéou, 56250 St Nolffs, right next to city mayor’s office in town, Auditorium des Carmes, place Théodore Decker,56000,Vannes at city page in French http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/culture/conservatoire_a_rayonnement_departemental/saison_des_carmes_2011/12/3570/index.html , Le Chorus,parc de golfe,5600 Vannes  webpage http://www.lechorus.com/ for events, exhibits, conferences at peninsula conleau.  Le Carré d’Arts, avenue des martyrs,56250 Elven, webpagehttp://www.csc-elven.fr/ , Salle Marcel Guého, 7 rue Jean Moulin,56450 Theix, webpage http://www.theix.org/scripts/site/04_page.php?cont_id=1&cont_appli_id=6&page_id=23Le Triskell, Parvis du Land Wursten, 56880 Ploeren at city mayor’s office webpage http://www.mairie-ploeren.com/Vie_pratique1/Espace_Culturel/default.aspx?Art=659&qry= , and Le Cairn, 56870 Larmor Baden, (wonderful beach), http://www.larmorbaden.com/index.php/SALLE-CULTURELLE-LE-CAIRN.html

Finally, if you want to keept track, of anything cultural, events,expos, concerts etc in the greater Vannes area, this is the official site in French but if have a question, I am here to help. http://www.enscene.net/accueil  ,and if you are interested to know news and events in general nature but also tourisme in the Vannes agglo area, this is the official site. http://www.agglo-vannes.fr/accueil/les_24_communes/les_communes_de_lagglo/arradon  with listing of towns that make up the region of Vannes.

The area where I work ::) Cheers

 

January 20, 2012

A quick leisure trip into Lyon, the city.

During my trip to italy I had time to come out a bit and explore the city thanks to the great public transport system;however, the city was all in fog with under 3°C!!! hardly the time to be out,and the photos were not good unfortunately.

It was an opportunity to come back to the city visited years before, it has change for the better. Some of my observation and that of my hosts.

One of the great one born 300 years ago in Geneva but made this city his for long periods, is Jean-Jacques Rousseau, He lived here or around here from 1722-1724, and again from 1768-1770. Many activities he and Chambery for the rest of the year, the info is in French here http://www.rhonealpes.fr/622-rousseau-2012.htm

The city is known for its gastronomic marvels second only to Paris, so the food is sublime here. There is an exposition that is worth seeing if time allowed at the musée Gadagne, call “Gourmandises! Histoire de la Gastronomie” works ,films,and videos showing the culinary art of Lyon. webpage http://www.gadagne.musees.lyon.fr/

Some work of art in gourmand madmen I AM , from this occassion is;

Docks New York, 18 rue des Dosks, in the 9éme arrondissement , welcome back to memories with bagels,burgers,club sandwiches,milkshakes, and home made French fries!yes webpage www.bieh.fr, and other occassions i have been to the brothers bouchons of Lyon, Au Trois Cochons is great,but take your pick tastes they are all good, recommended, http://www.chabertrestaurant.fr/

Then grab a honey nectar at Divins Nectars,54 rue Saint-Jean, 5é, my miel d’acacia is great here. How about a great bar of chocolate, at Barres d’Or Noir, at chocolatier Bouiller ,one main store at 15 rue de la Croix-Rousse, webpage http://www.chocolatier-bouillet.com/#, finish it off with some great oils, olive oils that is,at A l’Olivier, 33 Cours F Roosevelt, 6é with webpage at http://www.alolivierlyon.com/

Then there is a new Terminal 3 at Lyon St Exupéry airport, my first taste of it, and it was good. Lots of low cost airlines are now base here. It has two levels connected by a walkaway,retails stores, and a food court. The airport site is at http://www.lyon.aeroport.fr/

You have easy TGV connections here too, for the train lover in you. Now with connections to Marseille in the 30 cities cover by this hub, the above airport site has more information, but you can go also to Brussels, Torino, or Milan, Avignon,Nicez, Grenoble,, Chambery,Arles, Aix-en-Provence, to name a few. It is an international airport so connections to many cities in Europe,Africa,and rest of France.

Now that we are in the ski season (my boys leave sunday for the Alps, somewhere in there ::) There are many bus or navette service from the airport/gares to the ski resorts/ You have direct connection from airport to Trois Vallées,Pardiski,Espace Kelly, Alpe d’Huez, Deux Alpes and Val d’Isére. They do five round trips per day, on Fridays Saturdays,and Sundays. You can find schedules and pricing at Altibus the company that service it.  webpage http://www.altibus.com/index.aspx

To move from the airport to center of Lyon as I did this time, you take the public service rhoneexpress, very good indeed even on say foggy day ! In about 30 minutes you are there. It leaves from the TGV station in the airport, every 15 minutes frequency, from 6h to 21h and every 30 minutes from 5h-6h and 21h-00h,you can buy ticket on the bus or at the automatic machines in the stations as I did. webpage http://www.rhonexpress.fr/

For more info on tourism in this region, see http://en.rhonealpes-tourisme.com/ and for tourism in Lyon, http://www.lyon.fr/page/accueil.html

Until next time and hope for better pictures. Cheers.

January 18, 2012

Gastronomic Paris, world heritage of food and wine, yes….!

Recently the Le Figaro magazine section came out with a top 10 list of the restaurants people swear to come to Paris, and as always I can agree. The list is

Pierre Gagnaire, 6, rue Balzac, VIIIe. Tél.: 01 58 36 12 50.http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/

L’Astrance, 4, rue Beethoven, XVIe. Tél.: 01 40 50 84 40. http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/l-astrance_50668/profile-place

Alain Passard-L’Arpèrge, 84, rue de Varenne, VIIe. Tél.: 01 47 05 09 06. http://www.alain-passard.com/

La Tour d’Argent, 15, quai de la Tournelle, Ve. Tél.: 01 43 54 23 31. http://www.latourdargent.com/

Le Chateaubriand, 129, av. Parmentier,XIe. Tél.:01 43 57 45 95; http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/le-chateaubriand-avenue-parmentier_58448/profile-place

Le Baratin, 3, rue Jouye-Rouve, XXe. Tél.: 01 43 49 39 70. http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/le-baratin_2881/profile-place

Le Jules Verne, Tour Eiffel, IIe étage, Champ-de-Mars, VIIe. Tél.: 01 45 55 61 44.http://www.lejulesverne-paris.com/

L’Ami Louis, 32, rue du Vertbois, IIIe. Tél.: 01 48 87 77 48.http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/l-ami-louis_208/profile-place

Le Flore, 172, bd Saint-Germain, VIe. Tél.: 01 45 48 55 26. http://www.cafe-de-flore.com/

Le Petit Vendome, 8, rue des Capucines, IIe. Tél.: 01 42 61 05 88. http://www.lepetitvendome.fr/

The Cityvox site is for lovers of Paris,where I write reviews on Restaurants in French under another name, secret taster…its a link to it in my blog

We can then talk about the 7éme arrondissement de Paris, for all thats whre the tour Eiffel is…and more…Some of my favorites places/hangouts over the years there are Bistro de Paris 33, rue de Lille,http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/le-bistrot-de-paris_680/profile-place . Café de Mars 11, rue Augereau,http://www.cafedemars.com/ . Chez Françoise, esplanade des Invalides – Aérogare des Invalides,http://chezfrancoise.com/ ; Café de l’Esplanade,52, rue Fabert;http://www.cityvox.co.uk/restaurant_paris/cafe-de-l-esplanade_58035/profile-place  Thoumieux 79, rue Saint-Dominique. Tél.: 01 47 05 79 00 ,http://www.thoumieux.fr/ . La Fontaine de Mars, 129, rue Saint Dominique;http://www.fontainedemars.com/index.html

For seeing other than the Tour Eiffel,not on my top list, sorry…however, there is the whole Invalides complex especially the Musée de l’Armée at http://www.invalides.org/, see also in the complex the musée des plans-reliefs with a maquete or small scale repro of the city of Paris,and other fortified cities in France. The wonderful Musée d’Orsay, impressionists at its best, http://www.musee-orsay.fr/

How about a nice baguette, well its all over, but here in the neighborhood is nice ;Boulangerie Luisetti 178, rue de Grenelle VIIe. Tél. : 01 45 51 06 35.  And some nice pralines,and chocos delicious and stores in Paris elsewhere too,  à la Mère de Famille 47, rue Cler, VIIe. Tél. : 01 45 55 29 74;http://www.lameredefamille.com/#/home/

and for head home or go elsewhere ,why not line 8 at Station La TOUR MAUBOURG face au 60, boulevard de La Tour-Maubourg. wonderful ending for a day or two in Paris.

Activities in my favorites neck of the woods are Fontainebleau, the castle where we are celebrating the king of Siam the history and culture of Thailand have it here in French as still not translated to English, but it will run until Febr 27 2012, http://www.chateau-de-fontainebleau.com/Le-Siam-a-Fontainebleau,589

Plenty of activities at Versailles, where the faboluous Royal Fireworks are forthcoming in June and early July, see it in English http://www.chateauversaillesspectacles.fr/?&lang=eng

There you go for today, enjoy the Paris region still hard to dismiss it, I will be back end of January lol!! Cheers

 

January 15, 2012

Another leisure Saturday day in Vannes

Today we head in force as we had multiple things to do before Dad goes off to Italy on work mission tomorrow Sunday afternoon. Vannes is the capital of the Morbihan dept 56, and really the only city per se. It has everything you need.

Depending on your needs you can stay in city and go to country or stay in country and come over to city. Many tourists in the summer stay near the beaches or coast, then by 17-18h head back into a traffic trail into the city nighttime activities, which been the only city per se is where the party is ::)

It was our first day shopping as what it is here the Winter Sales (started jan 11), so the stores and traffic were a bit higher than normal, and we do shop even if men, ho ho ho…. We got of course, video games and drivers for the boys, and shirts, pullovers, socks for Dad, and jeans,shirts,and sweaters for the boys , at different stores in the area of Parc Kerlenn, FNAC and Armand Thierry, were our favorite hit shops of the day. If want to take a peek, here are the webpages , http://www.fnac.com/localiser-magasin-fnac/w-4  ,and http://www.armandthiery.fr/e_commerce/magasins.cfm

We did try the Cinéville at Vannes,the cinema for the first time. It is big modern nice, and the sound was great. We saw Mission Impossible, protocole Fantome, and it was tense, fast pace movie, the kind made for video games now; but an old copycat of the action movies of the Dad’s time ::)  The webpage for them is at http://vannes.cineville.fr/programmes.php?salle=vannes-parc

The tourist office for Vannes is at le Port area, just by the boats!! webpage http://www.tourisme-vannes.com/ ; then you have the department Morbihan tourist page at http://www.morbihan.com/ , and the region of Bretagne tourist page is at http://www.tourismebretagne.com/

The city is wonderful to walk in its center, and I have other posts about it here. However, outside the center , it is very modern, with all modern world commodities as you can see from the pictures, which by the way will post some food pictures,not overly enthusiastic about it but ,its a trend, and I need to keep up lol!!!

After the movie we went to eat, so by the area of Atlanville in Vannes there are about 6 restaurants,bars to choose from, some local some national brands, so we chose the Tavern de Maitre Kanter, its an Alsacien seafood/beef national chain, that we always like to be sure of good stuff,and nice prices. The service was fantastic, very nice, fast, courteous, and greeters all over. The ambiance was well seafood,and mariners designs, and many families there. I imagine as in others at night the bar section will grow ,and its well stock and good.  The webpage is at http://www.taverne-maitre-kanter.fr/vannes We had 3 Grimbergen 50cl beers, a choucroute kanter, moules creme,burger kanter, extra fries, banana splits, and coffees all for 81€ for 3. which is reasonable in France.

If you want more they are in Parc Lenn where there are a leclerc hypermarché,plus 3 other restos, and Decathlon store; the area where we were Atlanville is developed as a center of entertainment away from the center of the city, and it has a webpage here http://www.atlanville.fr/default.aspx

We finish our day with the bowling billards alley at the peninsula of Conleau, (also review in this blog before), there is a complex of butterfly museum, aquarium, passenger boat terminal to outlying island, an expo center, hotels like Mercure, and restos like Chez Paul. It also has discotheques and the bowling alley.  We arrive at Le Master bowling at parc du golfe, Very friendly place,and very beautiful girls lol!! (I will be back). The welcome was very friendly jokingly,and the price nicer than in the Paris region (of course). We play and I won the overall title beating my two 18 yrs boys, of course, they did beat me in one game, my excuse was I need more practice as they do play in school….excuses excuses but hey, life is tough ,you do what you must do ::) There is also pool table, games, sports cafe bar with large screen TV,and just a nice secure ambiance good to be back ,I am sure. The webpage is here http://vannes.lemasterbowling.fr/refonte/master.php

We then headed back home about 11 kms away or about 6 miles; Sunday will be a day to update my blog, pack,have lunch with the boys and head to Nantes airport to catch my AF flight to Lyon and then on to Bologna Italy. Until then stay tune and be safe. Cheers

January 14, 2012

A nice walk in Auray at night….

I just feld that I needed to go out with my boys on a night out; usually in my neck of the woods now things are pretty quiet, and they were….

We walk into city center Auray past the Hotel de Ville,and down the narrow streets alone…..not a soul ,down to the river Loc’h in the Saint Goustan district where there were four restos open while the quais are renovated,with huge stones carved out of the streets. At night it looks like a scary  sight but well we venture out.

I was told the whole region is very quiet at this winter time, and no tourists. Well, it is quiet and not too many tourists,with us there were 3 folks from England and us in the resto; usually a popping place in spring and summer at Le Bistro du Port, pl St Sauveur but this time eerie and nice at same time.

Its not often you or us to leave a deserted parking place in the center of a town, walk down narrow old, eerie streets down a river, and have a great meal practically alone ,and then walk back the same route to get to our car, all while seeming to have the whole town for us….lol!!! nice/

The tourism for Auray is great, this is where Benjamin Franklin came in 1776 and landed by mistake on his way to see king Louis XIV and ask for financial and more,,,support of France for a new nation just born, USA. The webpage is here  http://www.auray-tourisme.com/  ; take advantage to put the department or regional government tourist site iin Morbihan dept 56, at http://www.morbihan.com/  ; and why not that of the whole region of Bretagne or Brittany, here http://www.tourismebretagne.com/

We ate at Le Bistro du Port, pl St Sauveur port Saint Goustan, tel +33 (0) 2 97 29 15 38, no webpage but listed in the tourist office above here http://www.auray-tourisme.com/le-bistrot-du-port/auray/tabid/8269/offreid/79eed3f7-610b-4fc9-9e63-0c17879ea84b/detail.aspx

While there we had pizzas, crepes, and grim beers, such as pizzas 3 cheeses or fromages, pizza reine or queen,pizza catalane (with chorizos), crepes of banana and coconuts,a fish soup (delicious) coffees and 3 beers Grimbergen (Belgium)  50ml for 75 euros for 3. Great service very nice and prompt no need to call them… definitively been so close we will be back here.

Some photos of my Friday late night out with the boys,now over 18 so with Dad, really rocking around ::)

January 11, 2012

2011 in review, Thank you all my friends, best wishes for 2012!!!!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 57,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 21 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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January 11, 2012

Paris missed you already, and soon back !!!

Ok so wondering around beautiful Bretagne, I am beginning to feel city sick about Paris. The eternal Paris, away but never really gone, far away yet so close in the mind, and the way of life, I am a city boy and will be all my life.

Today its the start of sales in France, its the annual winter sales, and the stores are massed up with savvy,shopper, waiting for the doors to open to rush in and get the first try of everything.  A site in French but gives you all the sales dates in all the departments of France, webpage http://www.date-soldes.fr/date-soldes-hiver-france

The English group of restaurants Pret à Manger has open its first resto in La Defense, at the Centre Commerciale Les Quatre Temps, under the Dome at level or niveau 3. The food fresh is taken from the Paris huge food market at Rungis and its done by Franco-Anglo chefs.  Here is their webpage http://www.pret.com/fr/

The American trend of Brunch is becoming more trendy each week there is new places doing this style of restaurant service, so look for them as good value and great French food to boot.  Les Pipelettes,31 rue Brézin – 75014 , and a more italianesque Simone & Nicola 36, passage Charles-Dallery,75014.

For a chic hotel  Hotel Raphael , 17, avenue Kléber  (75016). Who has been here? well Serge Gainsbourg,Jean-Luc Godard ,ex Soviet President Gorbatchev, John Malkovich(producer of Le Figaro Figaroscope) , Bernard-Henry Levy and wife singer/comedian Arielle Dombasle. webpage http://www.raphael-hotel.com/

We all love the 2éme arrondissement, the smallest in Paris. All around the Grands Boulevards,and the passage des panoramas,passage du Grand-Cerf,passage Choiseul,and the Galerie Vivienne, do they ring a bell? oh yes, how about my wine tasting ground and historical place of the Bourse, or the Palais de Brongniart, yes the Le revue des vins de France annual wine tasting in May is done here,and for more see the webpage http://www.palaisbrongniart.com/  ,also a church done by king Louis XIII at  Notre-Dame-des-Victoires by Place des Petits-Pères.

Full of art too in the 2nd at Théatre Montorgueil, 3 rue du sent, The Grand Rex,1, bd. Poissonnière and its webpage http://www.legrandrex.com/ , and the rue Sainte-Anne (name after Anne of Austria),and now call by locals the Little Japan. Shops galore too, my favorite because my father likes the rices there, and ,also, many spices  is L’épicerie de Bruno, lots of rices in small metal cans from many parts of the world 30, rue Tiquetonne, webpage http://www.lepiceriedebruno.com/ And classics of the Paris French cuisine like the Le Grand Colbert, 2, rue Vivienne , webpage http://www.legrandcolbert.fr/ and Aux Lyonnais, 32, rue Saint-Marc , webpage of the great chef in a bistro setting is http://www.auxlyonnais.com/, and the more upper in my opinion but still good ,Drouant,  16, place Gaillon at webpage http://www.drouant.com/

Above is the artificial firecrackers royaux and also the season at the Opéra in the castle just wonderful events to time it with your visit, webpage same here http://www.chateauversaillesspectacles.fr/download/OR-Prog-saison-bd.pdf

And to know ahead of time for the musical,nights, and water fountains plays in 2012 stay with Chateau de Versailles spectacles webpage at http://www.chateauversaillesspectacles.fr/home.php
I will be back in the area end of January and again mid February 2012. Cheers

 

 

January 8, 2012

Concarneau, a idyllic city in the Finistere, lovely quaint town

Yesterday afternoon I continue my travels in Bretagne visiting this wonderful town by the coast, with marine ambiance and very picturesque,sure to be back here. Concarneau is even feature in Brittany tourist video presentation to showcase the beauty of the region, and they were right.

First the official tourist webpage for it is here, http://www.tourismeconcarneau.fr/  . it has direct train service with Paris Montparnasse ,and you can even make by boat at Roscoffs from the UK, with Brittany Ferries at http://www.brittany-ferries.com/ . Of course, I do the car, on the N165 expressway Nantes-Brest it is very close to me about 35 minutes ::) For local parking the best is at the place 8 mai 1945 right by the harbor facing the old walled town fortress,close to everything on foot thereafter. The parking here is payable from June 22 to September 15 and hours of  10h to 12h30 and 14h to 19h seven days a week. However if you park by the train station is free all year. Buses is done with Busco at webpage http://www.busco.fr/ and there is a mini bus in city center in summer months for 10€  all summer. The bus transport for the Finistere deparment is at http://www.viaoo29.fr/  . The trains gets here from Paris stop at Quimper or Rospoden, then taxi to Concarneau. There is also in summer a petit train touristiques ,info herehttp://www.celtictrain.com/index2.html

This is a coastal town full of marine ambiance and seafood galore;;; the marinarium is a place to study biological marine life  for 5€ adult and open from next month February to March every day 14h – 18 H, April to June every day from 10h-12h and 14h-18h, july and august from 10h-19h more at official webpage here   http://concarneau.mnhn.fr/   , there is a center for European marine training,not visited as it is a school but nice building and you can walk up to it, more info in French here  http://www.cefcm.fr/contact.php   , and a museum of fisherman in a boat!!! musée de la Péche.open every day from february to october 10h to 12h and 14h to 18h for 6,50€ adult. see all information at official webpage here http://www.musee-peche.fr/  There is a fairy tale castle in Keriolet, that of a Russian princes (Aunt of Tzar Nicolas II) and her French husband related her to the assassine of Rasputin, richly decorated and nicely preserved.  more info here http://www.chateaudekeriolet.com/

You have a beautiful Les Halles covered market with all kinds of goodies and seafood/fish galore, I am in heavens!!! They are open every day from 8h to 13h ,and some stalls are open in the afternoon from 16h30-19h. It is right here that I would recommend the hotel, did not stayed of course, too close to rent a hotel Ilive, but it is Britt hotel chain of Bretagne very original and local right in the middel fo things, Hotel des Halles, tariffs posted from 59-84€ double, the webpage is here http://concarneau.brithotel.fr/  Another I saw and like is the Hotel de l’Océan, with wonderful views of the harbor and fortress below and many nice amenities like wifi,jacuzzi, and gym as well as on the nice local beach plage des sables-blancs, webpage here http://www.hotel-ocean.com/ . if looking for bare hotel and good deal on a short trip the reliable Accor Etap hotel is always an alternative anywhere ,site http://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-5080-etap-hotel-concarneau/index.shtml

For restos the choice is nice, we saw a quite creperie that did not ate but it looks enticing for next visit call Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, right across from the parking at pl 8 mai 1945 facing the walled city forttress. location no webpage at 7 Place Duguesclin  ,tel +33 (0) 2 98 60 53 32. Another that caught the attention is the Le Comptoir ,facing the sea, lively for a relax drink and music webpage http://www.lecomptoirconcarneau.com/restaurant-groupe-concarneau.html  ;and finally, the one we chose as it was recommended by locals and its an institution here is the L’Amiral, this is in the old Grand Hotel of older days,and now its restaurant and brasserie/cafe. Facing the fortress walled city, and harbor, nice ambiance, friendly service and great food. The bar for the apero is great, plenty of seafood platters to munch on, and a local patronage. Then you move to the restaurant section, we took the menu Simeone as it was for lunch, 26€ person, this restaurant is recommended by the Michelin Guide,Guide Champérard, Tables et Auberges de France,restos Point Bretagne,and the Petit Futé. Therefore, approved it was great sublime service in a wonderful afternoon in Concarneau with the boys. webpage at http://www.restaurant-amiral.com/gb_index.asp

However, the main attraction here is the walled city or fortress, the locals call it Ville Close or enclose town. This place is with more than 1,5million visitors per year, one of the monument the most visited in Brittany according to the tourist office. Mention of Concarneau dates back to 1050AD, and the Ville Close is its foundations, inside you will find a wonderful amount of sights ,shops,and history all around you, some details here generalised; the walled city is 380 meters at its widest and 100 meters long on average. You must see the ramparts of granite built in 1541-1577 by Vauban; the beffroi or belltower done in 1906! , the house of the governor from the 18C, the old chapel of the hôpital de la Trinité from the 15C; the place Saint Guénolé with a beautiful fountain; the porte du Vin, called because the Bordeaux ships unloaded their wines here, the porte du Passage, a trench hole open in the walls from 1785;  The granite houses on the rue Vauban, done so the fisherman can dry their fish catch , the chapel of the rosary or chapelle du Rosaire or Portal  from the 15C . In the old regime or Ancien Régime  the chapel house the local municipal assemblies, later turn into storage and later fisherman cooperatives,now integrated into the museum of fishing or Musée de la Pêche, and finally but not least the old church of  Saint Guénolé built in 1928, partially destroyed in 1936 and now only the facade and the ground floor is still standing.

You must come here, and I will surely return for more, so much to see in Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh.  Cheers!!

 

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