Archive for May, 2012

May 30, 2012

Some news from France LXXIIII

Here I am again doing something on my blog, it has been a hot day around 24C or 75F and sunny in the afternoon and still now. The tourists are coming earlier this year many license plates and from abroad UK is leading the charge.

One event dear to me is at Cluny in Paris. There will be an exposition on the archeological puzzle that is shown in the grand door of the abbey of Cluny III ,destroyed by man in May 8 1810. The show is going on until July 2nd open every day except Tuesdays from  9h15 to 17h45; webpage http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/

A wonderful terrraces in Paris are now popping up again, how about two of my favorites at opposite sides of Paris. First, the Opera area is grand L’Opéra Restaurant, by the Opéra Garnier ,at  place Jacques-Rouché, Tel +33  01 42 68 86 80. Open every day and menus from  36 € (with  ½ bottle of mineral water). http://www.opera-restaurant.fr/fr

And the hippie La Rotonde6-8, place de la Bataille-de-Stalingrad, Tel +33  01 80 48 33 40. Open every day, cost is about on the carte of  30-40 €. Brunch on Sundays is 35 €.http://www.larotonde.com/

Have a blast at my old work place when it was the Intercontinental Paris,  The Westin Paris together with the spa Six Senses is freeing the terrace all summer on each Tuesday from 9h-10h, for a session of  yoga hatha . 3, rue de Castiglione, Ier. 75 € the session . Réservation: Tel +33 01 43 16 10 10 or email at  reservations-castiglione-spa@six-senses.com

The now famous Velib bicycles will have an event for its fifth year of operations, at the most beautiful avenue in the world, do 40 000 kms or the equivalent of a world tour. The event «Les 24 h du Vélib», the dates June 23-24. webpage http://blog.velib.paris.fr/

You can light up one thousand and one candles at Vaux le Vicomte castle at the sunset each Saturday until October 6 from 20h to midnite. Call in French  «Soirées aux chandelles» taking place at the garden design by  Le Nôtre, and inside the castle. http://www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/

Play  Sherlock Holmes taking place in 12 arrondissements or districts of Paris.  See July 7 between 10h and 13H, will be online at webpage from June 1, its a primer here, http://www.tresorsdeparis.fr/

The movie that took Cannes and nobody knows about it is hitting the Paris cinema now, 7 jours à l’Havane or Seven days in Havana Cuba.

Until we read again ,have a great rest of the week. I will be by Versailles again as my house there has a contract and hopefully it will close and done with almost 9 wonderful years there. Cheers

May 28, 2012

Some news from France LXXIII

Back in Brittany after a hectic last 10 days that included trips to Paris/Versailles and South Africa. Now things settled for a while until my next trip there next weekend ::) Paris/Versailles that is.

I wanted to dedicate this post on driving in France in general. I hear it all the time in travel forums, its difficult to drive in France ,and especially in large cities like Paris. Well it is not true at all. It depends how you learned to drive lol!!!

I will expand a bit about me, I learned to drive in the New Jersey ,New York City corridor, and you know what they said there, if you can make in NYC, you can make it anywhere ;YES! Driving in and out of Lincoln and Holland tunnels and crossing the George Washington Bridge prepares you for anything in car driving.

I first was able to drive in Europe in Madrid, big city boy, had no problems there, then came France, and Paris. Well I just came back from another trip to the area by car ,my Ford, the best. American name, German engineering ::) I come into Versailles and Paris in and out with it all the time. In Paris you need to know where the Seine river is ,and will give you directional support to find all things. There are signs in the city, more than any other, and if you know from a map where they are, and where in relation to the Seine, you will be fine. In Versailles all roads radiates from the chateau or palace, right in front is ave de paris, to your left looking out is ave St Cloud and to our right is ave Sceaux, the street of the train station rive gauche is Gen de Gaulle, and it becomes ave Gen Leclerc to your right next street you reach the Cathedral of Saint Louis, if you go from ave de Paris to your left you are in ave de l’Europe to the marche notre dame and continues on rue du mal Foch and the train station rive droite. Once on Foch turn left on rue de la Paroisse to get to collegiale Notre Dame. All was done in a square basis as per the king Louis XIV ::) And the ave de Paris becomes the N10 or D910 right into Saint Cloud and Paris as per the king.

Driving in France, again is easy, many signs are everywhere with the end closest big city listed in black with white background first then the green and then the blues. Green is for N roads=National, and blue is for expressways or A roads =autoroutes. You have many stretches of roads manned by private companies, like on the popular Paris to Normandy and Brittany area on the A13 you have the SAPN  and the traffic radio 107,7 FM even sometimes with reports in English! and the webpage also has information about rest stops areas such as AIRES in French, http://www.sanef.com/Preparez-votre-voyage/Autoroute-temps-reel/Trafic-en-temps-reel

You will find tourist information, itineraries,  and weather or meteo on the above site too pretty complete for on the road attack , but of course in French. You, also, can look into Bison Futé site in English for information on all roads, the info is complete, webpage http://www.bison-fute.equipement.gouv.fr/diri/Accueil.do?langue=en  And, if you need to know where to gas up and the prices the site Zagaz has it all, just click on the department on the map, or on the drop down window choose the town you want. Once you see the best price click on the towns name or service station for all pricing, and directions to the station. webpage http://www.zagaz.com/index.php

On the tolls, or péages, you need to choose, the Liber-T prepaid lanes, the Cartes or bank card lanes, or the especes or cash lanes. Approach slowly,and get it pay, then take off quickly, its normal in any country to step on the gas to get out of the block,so dont be surprise if that happenned here. The A13 is toll roads from Paris to Caen is 14,70€ one way the rest of the way to my place is on free N roads.

I start on the A13, then go on the A84 by Caen to get to Rennes, here you can go on the N175, then at Rennes get on the N24 to Vannes you will need to get on the N166, and once there I need to get on the N165 to Auray (D768)  or the beaches of Carnac and Quiberon etc. All is one road just change number. The distance is about 550 kms, I do it in 5hrs stopping for gas and quick bite or as long as 10 hrs if stop for sightseeing like in Avranches or Rennes,and having a nice lunch or dinner (this is when traveling with the family only). These are real km and time actual driving, the popular route planner like viamichelin is a good estimate but they seen to give you the times at 2AM lol!!!  webpage http://www.viamichelin.fr/

I dare enough this time to take some photos while driving wont do it again, but needed to keep a momento of my driving in the area, usually I dont take these pictures. Dont recommend you do it either lol! I give you a couple more sites I look too, is tha main autoroutes de France site, this will cover all the autoroutes or expressways in France, and the site for the weather here meteo France. http://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en  in English version

http://france.meteofrance.com/ in French

Enjoy the photos and give a try at driving in France. Any question let the road warrior know.Cheers

 

 

May 26, 2012

Amazing South Africa, Sandton and East London

Ok so just back from another exotic trip, this time it was South Africa. Have not been back since 1998, so this opportunity was great for the update. The East London area is working class but also, has some nice neighborhood,then the Sandton area as Fourways are just superb it seems very nice architecture and lively.

The country has gone thru a metamorphosis and its looking very bright with growth potential even if as every where else there are economic problems. I was there on business so not much touristic side trips. The car was the main mode as I was driven around, so it look easy, and as I am a road warrior this was heavens.

I did spent a wonderful week, and many new friends who treated me as if known for years. I was able to go into the country to meet customers right in their homes out in the country, very good roads, and gorgeous scenery. My photos were taken with my blackberry so not uptimum but ease of use when on business.

I arrive and was pick up by the transport folks of the hotel where I was staying, the Sitatunga Transfers folks were always very dependable, and the lodging was done at their property near Sandton at Sitatunga Guest Lodge, webpage http://www.sitatungatransfers.co.za/index.php?nav=accommodation You will be in an oasis and well treated. When I needed to move to East London,  I stayed at Thrity Six on Bonza ,another nice   boutique lodge ,gorgeously done, and great friendly service; webpage http://www.36onbonza.co.za/AboutUs.aspx

When we did go out we had fun at Fornos Bakery in Fourways near Sandton, great burgers, sausages, and drinks while looking out in the terrace over a shopping mall and passerbyers, webpage http://www.fournos.co.za/  We had dinner on request at Thirty Six on Bonza as per above, and also a great seafood and cheap 10 euros for prawns plate at Vasilis Mediterranean,Sandton, here is the description in a South AFrican dining guide, http://www.eatout.co.za/Restaurants/6208/Johannesburg/Seafood-Sushi-Mediterranean-Portuguese/Vasilis

I ,also was able to try the Gautrain underground station in Sandton, and direct to OR Tambo international airport, very easy magnetic card depends on your usage you buy from machine using bank cards or cash, very easy indeed,and modern, clean, fast and on time. webpage http://www.gautrain.co.za/  The airport at Johannesbourg  OR Tambo is very nice with all conveniences and had easy in and out there all the time. http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=228  ,the nice terrace bar here is Mandys  The airport at East London is smaller but then easy to manouver and I was told the most expensive place to visit by plane as not too many connections available, http://www.acsa.co.za/home.asp?pid=232 it has an interesting zuly type shape roof,and great bar at Mile High Bar.

I was even close to a beach at East London, very nice beaches in the area, and sure a promise to come back and visited them by the locals.  It sure was a surprise to visit, last time anywhere in Africa was in 2009,and this time it was a very good impression. I shall be back.

May 20, 2012

Some news from France LXXIII

Here I am in a rainy humid cloudy grey day in Auray, just ready all pack for another business trip to another country in Africa for a week. So wont want to leave without news from France for a while will do some of my favorites sites in my near area of France over the last few years. There are all wonderful to visit in your next time over.

Now that we talk so much about EU, Europe and the union, why not remember who Jean Monnet was::: the founding father of the European Union lived not far from my current house in Versailles, at Maison Jean Monnet, 7 chemin de vieux pressoir, 78490, Bazoches-sur-Guyonne, open every day and mix hours but open on weekends as well.  It is at this house that the Declaration of May 9, 1950 was first read creating the EU. webpage www.ajmonnet.eu

Coming closer to home the Bartabas horse presentation in the Grandes Ecuries across from the Chateau de Versailles is inmense, my favorite horse show in France since 2003.  Equestrians shows, working dressages are a must to see plus a tour of stables, see it at webpage www.acadequestre.fr  tickets can be purchase at all FNAC stores too.

The Musée Promenade at Marly-le-Roi, Louveciennes, by the La Grille Royale, Parc de Marly, webpage www.musee-promenade.fr  From 1679 the folly of Louis XIV where only the inner clic could come, where magnificent statues and bust adorn the wonderful park now many in various museum in France including the Louvre. You know the Café Marly at the Louvre ,now you know where it comes from that name. You can come by train from Paris at Gare St Lazare direction Saint-Nom-La-Bretéche and stop at Louveciennes, then walk 20 minutes to park.

Visit the wonderful impressionists movement at La Grenouillére, 6bis Grande Rue, 78290,Croissy-sur-Seine in my dept 78 , webpage www.grenouillere-museum.com Here at the banks of the river Seine, Monet, Renoir, et others did meet here since 1869 and now many considered this date as the birth of the Impressionist movement in painting.  From 1855 to 1928 all the great names of literature and painting got together here. You get here by RER A from Paris direction St GErmain-en-Laye to the stop gare Chatou-Croissy, you go out left cross over the Pont de Chatou and you are on the island, now call Ile d’Impressionnistes.

The Belvédére at Montfort l’Amaury , where you will find the museum to Maurice Ravel, and house. Maison-Musée Maurice Ravel, 5 rue Maurice Ravel, 78490, Montfort l’Amaury. webpage www.ville-montfort-l-amaury.fr the city webpage. You have guided visits on weekends with reservation at the tourist office from tuesdays to sundays at 01 34 86 87 96, email tourisme-ville-montfort-l’amaury@wanadoo.fr   He purchase the house in 1921, died in Paris in 1937 , buried at the cementary of Lavallois-Perret (92).  A master  musicien, of such hits as Sarabande, Ronsard à son âme, and the world famous Bolero.

The Chateau de Monte Cristo, 78560, Le Port-Marly, another wonderful town in the Yvelines dept 78. webpage www.chateau-monte-cristo.com  Themes events happenned every day, theater shows , sculptures, book fairs, and the Mascarade spectacle in June 8-10, 2012 on fridays and saturdays at 21h30 and Sundays at 16h, reservation required.admission 10/12€  see the events under Louis XIII with period costumes, and the participation of the old fencing club of Marly the Le Cercle d’Escrime Ancienne de Marly-Le-Roi.  It is best to have a car here or take a bus from St Germain en Laye direction Clinique de l’Europe. reservation tel +33 01 39 16 49 49.

Come annually to the FEstival de Bougival, May 24 to june 10 2012. webpage www.lesamisdebizet.com  a wonderful rendition from the Friends of George Bizet, wonderful shows of music plays, such as Quatuor Ebéne, Alexandre da Costa, Wonny Song, Shani Diluka ,the flamenco company La Lupi playing Carmen, and many others. admission is based on how many concerts you want to listen, from 20€ to 72€ for all.  You can inquire for information at email festival-de-Bougival@orange.fr

At nearby to me Jouy-en-Josas you have the walks on history of known personages of our past. YOu have two circuits one of centre for about 2 kms  30 minsand the other of Metz 2kms 45 mins. The personages all have visited or live in the town over the years such as Patrick Modiano, Edgar P Jacobs, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, Léon Blum, Juliette Drouet and Victor Hugo, Louis Blériot, Jeanne Blum, Jean-Clément Daninos,Albert Calmette etc. By train you come here from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz on RER C direction Versailles Chantiers and 8 mins walking to town centre.  For more info email officedetourisme@jouy-en-josas.fr and city webpage www.jouy-en-josas.fr

You can take a nice cruise on the Seine from Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near me at the tourist webpage www.conflans-tourisme.com . You get here on train from Gare St Lazare direction Mantes la Jolie stop at Conflans.Or RER A direction Cergy stop at Conflans-Fin d’Oise.  You can have several options such as lunch on the boat in summer. Get out into the Oise to Picardie at Saint Leu d’Esserant, Auvers-sur-Oise, and to Vernon, and also into Paris on the Canal St Martin and bassin de la Villette. There is fireworks in the cruise to Maisons-Laffitte. You can see the wonderful museum of boat making there at the embarking area from June 17 to Sept 16 2012. and comments along the SEine on its history to the region, boat making that is. trip for 13€ very educational.

Take a look here ,many tips on seeing the beautiful Essonne department 91 just south of Paris and my dept Yvelines.  webpage www.tourisme-valleedechevreuse91.com  RER B trains from Paris bring you to the area. more info at email contact@tourisme-valleedechevreuse91.com  Here you can see the literary house of Victor Hugo at Biévres. The temple de la Gloire at Orsay, parc botanique de Launay  at Orsay, Domaine Saint Jean de Beauregard at same town. Maison atelier (shop) of Foujita at Villiers-le-Bâcle, Abbaye des Vaux-de-Cernay at town, Chateau de Breteuil and Chateau Madeleine at Chevreuse, Chateau de Dampierre at Dampierre-en-Yvelines, abbaye Notre Dame de la Roche at Lévis-Saint Nom, Abbaye de Port Royal-des-Champs and musée des Granges de Port Royal at Magny-les-Hameaux, Fondation de Coubertin at Saint-Rémy-lés-Chevreuse just to name a few. The vallée de Chevreuse is wonderful green lungs around south of Paris and Yvelines, and as well a pleasant trip by car by me and the family over many years, hoping you can find all the webpages above but if need help let me know.  The Autoroute A10 and the N118 bypass the valley as well as the train RER B all the way thru Paris from Roissy CDG!

Have a great week and read you next weekend ;cheers the photo is from the Essonne ;;)

Houdan

May 19, 2012

Versailles is GRAND !!! Beautiful Versailles !!!

Well here I am at my home in Versailles, loving it a nice sunny breezy day, with some clouds late in the afternoon but no rain. The place was pack, someone will say , where is the crisis? but then again ,this is Versailles. Never a crisis for visitors.

One of the top spots in France to visit,and my first of course. I am in transition to Brittany once my house is sold but the last 9 years here have been sublime. I will never forget Versailles ,and I shall return for visits.

Now today I just wandered around town, this time the kids were at Parly II shopping center in nearby Le Chesnay(wonderful to rival any with some stores of fame from Paris) , and I and mouff were walking around a bit. Even going to dare those tourists all over the castle.  THe Parly II webpagehttp://www.parly-2.com/W/do/centre/accueil

We notice the steel arch over the statue of Louis XIV is finally off, we did ask for it, cant mixed the beautiful old with the ugly new. The place was popping, many folks busloads all over, the gardens ready for the Eaux Musicales were packed. The street loaded with visitors from all over even if the Euro still not as good with the USDollar, plenty of Americans around.

I took a peek at the Arboretum, a wonderful tree park done in 1927 from the old domaine of Versailles, after the French revolution much was in dismay so the property was divided in parcels from the original 807 hectares to the now 37! So the Castle property is only a small portion of what you can see in Versailles!!!  the webpage http://www.mnhn.fr/chevreloup/

We dare go in the property to take some updated pictures for the blog, we like to point out , the many boutiques and resto to eat and shop inside, such as the Librarie des Princes, by the Cour d’honneur for books and music, souvenirs boutique ; for an idea of whats inside, here in French from the union of national museums webpage , http://www.rmn.fr/francais/jeune-public-6/actualites/la-librairie-des-princesBoutique de l’Ancienne Comédie, for souvenirs and nice local castle oriented gifts,some of the items you can find here n French, http://www.boutique-chateauversailles.fr/fr/ ; and the fine resto Grand Café d’Orléans, for fine dining while overlooking the castle.  A grand cafe indeed, webpage ,  http://www.legrandcafedorleans.com/restaurant-versailles . All around the Cour d’Honneur.

I took a glimpse of the bus No 171, another alternative coming to Versailles and inexpensive. You take it in Paris at Pont de Sévres reaching there on Paris metro line 9 ,and drop you off right on ave de Paris in front of the castle!!!  For a reminder on how to get here from my previous posts,  in addition to the bus. RER C from Paris  (Station Austerlitz, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Tour Eiffel, .etc..) and Versailles rive gauche. There are regular trains from Paris  gare Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers, and Paris  Gare Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite. Taxis from Paris say about  45- 60 Euros ,taken about 50 minutes average. And of course shuttle companies like yellow van. official Paris and region transport site, RATP, http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_21879/tourists/

Not to forget if time is short a nice ride thru the Versailles old streets on the petit train or little train, I saw it this time by the ave de l’Independance Americaine, just to the left of castle facing it, nice area to walk in Versailles.  In FRench on the schedule page, http://www.train-versailles.com/index.html

A shot of the grandeur of the Grande and Petite Ecuries, the wonderful rue Satory off ave de Sceaux, and of course a nice Breton lunch at Le Blé Noir, 9 rue de Satory, from a true citizen of Quiberon,Morbihan , my new home, lots of local discussion indeed took place; and we both agree we have the best of the world, Versailles and the Morbihan ::)  Great galette de chévre or goat cheese,lardons and tomatoes, 50Cl  pitcher of cider,and expresso coffee for 24,50 for two. No webpage but here is my French resto site I have in my links below, http://www.cityvox.fr/restaurants_versailles/le-ble-noir_200139751/Profil-Lieu ; the local telephone number is +33 (0) 1 39 53 39 09 .

Last but no least, the monument to the fallen at Pl de la Loi, not far from me, at the intersection of Versailles and Le Chesnay. Lovely photo of rememberance. Enjoy my eternal Versailles, I shall be back. Cheers

May 15, 2012

Some news from France LXXII

Here we are mid week, I am getting ready to do another trip by car to Versailles, and Paris. For now, here are the latest tips I have been able to find to my favorite choices, of course.

There is a new way to come into Paris from the airports of Paris, it is citygold ,the motocycle ride, yes a moto now can take you in . I think a very good innovative idea, and hoping it catches on, the webpage is in French http://citygold.fr/ all is done by experience moto drivers,and you can book your trip online at the site given. Go for it!

The Bordeaux tourist office once again the summer is coming, has wine tastings, this time is the côte de Bordeaux at Blaye. Affordable wines at a great location, and with a great city of Bordeaux as background. More info here http://www.bordeaux-tourisme.com/pl/visites_et_degustations.pl?lg=uk&id=933&c2=50

To continue with Bordeaux, we have the wide open season of wine tastings, the opening is on pdf file in French ,but plenty of info there to print, if need help , let me know if you think something is to your liking, the 52 pages is loaded with information on how to enjoy the wines of Bordeaux and more, http://www.bordeaux-tourisme.com/images/pdf/PorteDuVignoble2012light.pdf

Sneaking it here, a bit away from France,and al. I will need to tell you how happy I am to see my life’s team Real Madrid of Madrid,Spain, winning the 32nd championship of their history, the most of any Spanish teams. Under coach Mourinho, and with a great team of players from many countries they were able to disbank the other team that for me is unmentioned.  First I give you the English versiont of the official site herehttp://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/en/Home.htm , and then the Spanish version with a nice video on winning  here,  http://www.realmadrid.com/cs/Satellite/es/Actualidad_Primer_Equipo/1330103448547/noticia/Noticia/El_Bernabeu_vibro_con_la_fiesta_de_los_campeones_de_Liga.htm

My all time best hostal, done it for years,and now share here on Segovia, Spain, Venta Magullo on the road to Soria just outside Segovia;, http://www.ventamagullosegovia.com/en/presentacion, and combine with the best Galician seafood resto in Madrid, my home, Ribeira do Miño at http://www.marisqueriaribeiradomino.com/es/estaticas/index.asp?wm=752&id=255 , and yes that pile of seafood is real !!!! If want to stay closer at Madrid, then head for Hostal La Plata at gran via, http://www.hostal-laplata.com/

It is now at Paris, the 17th Fête du Pain, Parvis de Notre Dame, until May 21  free admission, webpage http://www.lafetedupain.com/index.htm  of course this is the festival of bread, baguettes lol!!!

How about the jules et jim  hotel ,11, rue des gravilliers – 75003  for cult  movies par excellence in Paris webpage  http://www.hoteljulesetjim.com/

How about my sky team lounges at CDG and Orly, well relaxed you are in Paris, webpage http://www.skyteam.com/en/your-trip/Journey-Information/Lounge-Finder/Skyteam-lounges-in-Paris-Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle-Airport/

http://www.skyteam.com/en/your-trip/Journey-Information/Lounge-Finder/Skyteam-lounges-in-Paris-Orly-International-Airport/

and of course my Flying Blue frequent flyer program, the best, http://www.flyingbluenews.com/ , and if you need trains, see the train stations in one site in French, http://www.trains-horaires.com/horaires

This is all for now, until next time, will be traveling by car tomorrow to Versailles, and then come back,and take the plane at Nantes for South Africa on business trio of one week; see you soon, and remember France is on holiday Thursday and most  take the bridge, pont on Friday ::) Cheers

Madrid

May 12, 2012

Wonderful quaint old nice Rochefort-en-Terre

This is inland Morbihan, my department in France now. Today was wonderfully sunny all over, and the folks were out in mass,along the beaches, so  I headed inland for quiet, nice, and quaint Rochefort-en-Terre!

I went in posing as a tourist into the tourist office, ask all kinds of typical questions, and the lady there was very nice, friendly helpful, she came and directed me to different pamphlets or brochures, very nice indeed,feel welcome there. It was my first visit to the office, second to this wonderful town. All of it is on hills, and cobblestones, and quaint all medieval looking buildings all around you.

The tourist office webpage is here http://www.rochefortenterre-tourisme.com/  there still so much to see here, two days is not enough. I overheard French locals staying here for four days. The tourist office tells you of this town and others nearby, some already visited and told in different posts. Some new just went by and mark for future trips such as the Castle of Château du Plessis-Josso.

One place here that I was, and lucky because now is close for the rest of the year on renovation is the Château et Musée de Rochefort-en-Terre , it was a fortress in the 12C, now still has from that period the ramparts and the chatelet, the rest kept on under the French revolution , the American Painter  Alfred Klots revitalise the castle n successive stages, a new castle was created and now it it the property of the regional gov council of  Morbihan; keep an eye when open again in 2013 it is worth a visit.

Rochefort-en-Terre is name in Brittany one of the town of character and history , as in French « Petite Cité de Caractère », she is ,also , a village fleuri four flowers rating!  or a flower town of France, and Les Plus Beaux Villages de FRance or the The most beautiful towns of France designation. All worth it.

The city has many artisans or artists of local traditions, all over the town, the list of the most important are in the tourist office webpage in French ,http://www.rochefortenterre-tourisme.com/content/artisans-de-rochefort

Not needed to stay for me as the city is only 45 minutes from my home, but the best hotel is right in the center of town as Le Pelican, Logis de FRance 2 stars, and only 7 rooms, plus a restaurant on street level not try yet.  However, seems very clean and pisturesque plus very central to all, webpage http://www.hotel-pelican-rochefort.com/

The other historical place to see here is the church of Notre Dame de la Tronchaye, the fortified tower on the transept dates from the Roman chapel of 1125AD, and the facade north dates from 1533AD in gothic flamboyant style ,inside it is richly panneled with very old ceilings still bearing the dukes of Brittany seals . The church was originally built to house a wooden statue of the virgen withe enfant Jesus from the 12C, a nice place to visit.

I have try several of their places all good in previous post, but today I try a new one. La Terrasse pizzeria creperie on the main street. 8 rue Saint Michel, tel +33 (0) 2 97 43 35 56, no webpage , a young family, very very friendly , serve on time,and plenty of free water. The chef invite us into the terrasse in the back overlooking a wonderful cliffy forest. Recommended. We had galettes ham and cheese ,2, half a cheese pizza big portion and leafy green salad, a bottle of cider brut from Nicol,local breton, and ice cream of different sorts, all for 43€ for 3 persons. nice

Some of my other favorites stores is the one we always buy our souvenirs, my family is into decorating with Merlin the magician , Arthur of the Round Table, and dragons all is from the leyend of this area. The must stop store is O lutin charmeur, on the main street 7 rue Saint -Michel. We buy at the epicerie or grocery store, Entre Ciel et Art, 5 Chemin du Tertre, actually you can see it from rue St Michel, and has its own webpage at  http://www.entre-ciel-et-art.com/ Le Savonnerie, 7 Place des Halles, for candles, gifts,and foremost soaps n any kind , right by the main street near the hotel de ville or mairie.  Other times we had eaten at Restaurant Les Ardosiéres, 4 pl St MIchel where the Swiss Painter Bergeaud did his work, lovely terrace on a plaza great views and food, Cafe Breton, 8 Rue Porche, great food in good ambiance, in very old house from the 16C, it is rated by Routard, Lonely Planet, and  Hachette.

As to how to get to Rochefort en Terre, I do the road warrior drives all over. From Vannes, take the N166 direction Rennes and get out at D775 Redon, then follow signs for Questembert, and then Rochefort en Terre on same road,easy lol!  You can come by department bus No 9 from Vannes direction Rochefort en Terre. Schedule hours here in pdf file http://www.morbihan.fr/UserFile/flash/CarteTIM/horaires/HLn9-H1-2011-2012.pdf  There is a train station in Questembert and you can take taxi or the bus No 9 as per above to Rochefort en Terre;http://www.ter-sncf.com/Region/bretagne/gare/questembert.aspx

Enjoy the photos is a wonderful place indeed and I for one recommended, which I dont do hardly ever ::) Cheers

.

May 12, 2012

Some news from France LXXI

Here we are in another weekend, I am in Auray but will be by Paris/Versailles the next two holiday weekends here May 18 and May 28. Some updates on whats going on there.

The biggest nicest event will be happening on june 15 from  19h, and until the next day at  9h . The park  Parc Rotschild, 3 rue des Victoires, Boulogne-Billancourt (92). Open for this picnic night exclusively, free admission all ages welcome. By 20h the 15th the festivities willbe officially open, then from  20h to 21h30 the Grand diner on the grass or picnic where each group will bring their own. From 21h to 01h30 will be spectacles of circus and many other things for kids and old alike. From 21h30 to midnight you will have activities in all four corners of the park, team sports (catch ball, football, petanque) the custome and dresses will be out, acoustic concerts, magician ,jugglers, mime, monoicystes, fire catchers, shops for kids , and walk with park rangers toshow you the different birds that comes here, and poney rides. From midnight, the kids will be taken to sleep and the fireworks and music will begin for adults;until 1h30 the party continue with moon watchers, Then from 5h we willhave bread as the bakeries will awaits ou with croissants and pains au chocolat. From 6h, the park will awake with courses on yoga, jogging and massages, and for the ladies makeup shops,and beauty fitness. From 7h the bakeries will be in full force, its time for the breakfast, and the drinks bar will be open as well as newspapers available. From 9h its the closing ceremonies, end of the 1st night edition,and wait for the next event on Friday June  14 , 2013. The webpage in French , http://parisalabelleetoile.com/index.html

A bit late but this weekend is the Super Market at the Marais, 17, rue Commines, 75003. May 12 nd 13 Saturday from  12h-21h, and Sunday from  11h- 18h30.Admission 1,99€, free for children. Clothing and deco items for the house, trés chic, see it fast ,webpage in French http://www.lesupermarket.com/

Lambert Wilson enters in the wax museum of Paris, musée Grévin, http://www.grevin.com/achetez-vos-billets a wonderful musuem to see in Paris at 10 blvd Montmartre, near metro grands boulevards.

Rock en Seine the rock concert grandiose at the Domaine National de St Cloud, very near Paris will have a great programming for 2012,this is the webpage for info in French, http://www.rockenseine.com/fr/  the line up so far is

Friday August 24th : Placebo, Sigur Ros, C2C, The Shill, Get Well Soon, Bromance: Brodinski, Gesafellstein et Club Cheval, Dionysos, Bloc Party, Frank Ocean, Grimes, Lissie, Beth Jeans Houghton, Crane Angels, Owlle et Versus.

Saturday August 25th : The Black Keys, Noel Gallagher & The High Flying Birds, Agoria, Eagels Of Death Metal, Deus, Mark Lanegan, Maximo Park, Speech Debelle, Childish Gambino, The Bewitched Hands, The Black Seeds, Caravan Palace, Ed Sheeran, The Bots, Granville et Hyphen Hyphen.

Sunday August 26th : Green Day, Grandaddy, Foster The People, The Dandy Warhols, Stuck In The Sounds, Friends, Passion Pit, Dope D.O.D, Little Dragon, Social Distortion, Beach House, Bombay Bicycle Club, Yeti Lane et The Lanskies

A recommended new restaurant in Paris for me, and English owned! lolAlbion, 80, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière, 75010.  Tél. +33 (0) 1 42 46 02 44.  open everyday except Sundays and Mondays. St jacques poelée and pata negra ham a la British. webpage newie http://www.restaurantalbion.com/

And one of all time favorites in Paris, A la mére de famille a chocolate house 250 yrs old, just came in with wonderful rochers or rock of ice creams that are to kill for, 3 flavors are now on tap, choco-guimauve with black chocolate and almonds, vanilla-caramel cover in milk chocolate and nuts, and the all apricot with a croquing black chocolate and bits of pistachio inside ; taste at http://www.lameredefamille.com/#/home/ My favorites stores are in the rue dela  pompe on the 16th but they have 9 location in Paris,see webpage and go to Nos Adresses at bottom  for locations.

And here comes another edition of the night of museums in the Paris region, Nuit des Musées 2012 ,from the official ministry of culture site the museums open in Paris, http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/ville/?q=UGFyaXM, , also in the rest of France or Europe, http://nuitdesmusees.culture.fr/

At the Paris Expo,  Toutankhamonwho reign ancient Egypt in the 18 dynastie will be on display until September 2012 every day except tuesdays and July and august from  11h-19h,Fridays unitl 22h, admission will be 12,90 to 15,90€. metro porte de Versailles, webpage of the expo group in English for the place and many others in Paris, at http://www.viparis.com/Viparis/salon-paris/site/Paris-Porte-Versailles/fr/8?id=8&lang=fr&changeLang=true&newLang=en

And finally ,just to share with my readers my favorite spot for theater goings in France, Paris area especially, is in French but you have all the information you need on each theater and programs, webpage http://www.au-theatre.com/index.php

Until end of month by Paris and Versailles. Have a great weekend.

Paris

May 8, 2012

Wondering ,walking on 8 mai at Auray.

Today was an off day as we celebrate the May 8 1945 end of World War II all over Europe. Many places close but the restaurants and bars are open even the ice cream parlor. Is a time for families to stay together and go out into their city, walking and eating out. We were no different.

Yesterday the twins got an off day but I need it to work, hopefully I was able to leave early before 5pm when normally is 6pm (18H). We went into Vannes to see if stores were open but as they also were getting ready for a holiday the videogames store was close earlier,and we decided to head back not before eating dinner at Villa Valencia. 3 Rue Bienheureux Pierre René Rogues  ,http://www.lavillavalencia.com/ where I had my filet mignon pork in a wok oriental style, and the kids had their pizzas , a bottle of Charles Pain, Chinon red wine , banana splits desserts and coffee for 3 all for 73 Euros.

Today we head out for Auray, wondering and walking all day around the historic St Goustan district just below city center, you can walk down from here, go around parc Kerleano by car or go outside on the high city and park at St Goustan on the other side of the river Loch.

We walk the cobblestone street with woodend houses, and old artist quarters at rue du petit port, and had our lunch at Creperie La Frégate, 11 Rue Petit Port  ,http://www.cityvox.fr/restaurants_auray-56/la-fregate_71061/Profil-Lieu very quaint area but rather isolated and small portions, but all good. Here is the typical galette with bacon, ham, eggs, cheese,and the banana splits or dame blanche,  a bottle of house cider brut,and coffee all for 45€ for 3.

We wandered into the castle ruins across the river Loch and pl St Sauveur, it is a steep climb but the views are always great, the trails of thick trees magnificent, and always on the footsteps of history, as it was a duchy and very old Breton history here.  The castle was sold in auction by king Henri II of France in 1560 after taken by French troops. The castle of Auray was the site of residence of the dukes of Brittany François Ier and his wife Isabeau d’Ecosse or Elizabeth of Scotland in October 30, 1442.  It was an strategic fortress, as in September 29 1364 duke of Brittany Jean IV put a siege on it to end the pretentions of the dukedom to his adversary Charles de Blois. the views are wonderful ,recommended.

I gave you some photos of driving going to St Goustan, and walking its marvelous streets, we did stop for an apero or before dinner drink at L’Armoric bar right on 3 Place St Sauveur  , the hangout place for the young and young at heart, with bar and restaurant attached, webpage http://www.larmoric.com/

As our wondering took us late, we decided to have a bit heartier meal so not to cook at home, and we stop again by one of our favorite, Bar Franklin, right at 21 Place St Sauveur  , the corner of pl St Sauveurs and the quai Franklin alongside the river Loch. Here we had galette of bacon and cheese,cheese and ham two, 50cl beer Leffe for 3, coffee, and banana splits for 43€ for 3. no webpage but here is the Telephone +33 (0) 2 97 56 65 56.

We went home and now relaxing on my blog sharing another escapade with friends and readers alike as well as family, that comes in once in a while to see how we are doing ::) Enjoy the photos. Cheers

May 6, 2012

Some news from France LXX

Well so much to do and see in France, this entry is on my new area of Brittany, or Bretagne or even Breizh in breton language. I know nicer weather is coming and the area gets fill up very quickly ::) Some of my favorites are :

To know about king Arthur and the round table plus Merlin de magician, well this is the area where those stories were born of, and there is an imagination center at Concoret (my dept of Morbihan)  in the Chateau de Comper on the forest of Brocéliande, more info at www.centre-arthurien-broceliande.com

The academie de musique et d’arts sacrés de St Anne d’Auray or the sacred music academy of St Anne d’Auray near me is holding an event on organs in churches, it also train folks on choral singing,and organises expositions on the matter of organs, see it at www.academie-musique-arts-sacres.fr

The Fêtes des enfants or children feast at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in the hamlet of Bigan is on June 10th ,free admission for all, all for family fun in beautiful forest and castle, more info on email kerguehennec@cg56.fr or webpage http://www.morbihan.com/domaine-de-kerguehennec-art-architecture-paysage/bignan/tabid/7430/offreid/5b1f52e4-71d4-4f0b-95ed-f73944e959d6/detail-visites.aspx

In nearby Baud up on road D768 from me, there will be the 15th Salon de la Carte Postale or post cards Sunday may 13 2012.This is at the salle du Scaouêt from 9h To 18h30 ,location Cartopole, rue d’Auray, contact: contact@cartolis.org  The dates and hours are  from June 15 to Sept 15, all tuesdays and sundays from 14h -18h -Wednesdays,thursdays, fridays,and saturdays from 10h-12h30 and 14h-18h  From Sept 16 to June 14, open on tuesdays and thursdays from  13h30-18h – wednesdays 9h30 -12h30 and 13h30-18h -Saturdays from 9h30 -16h, general admission is 2,50€ more in French at  http://www.cartolis.org/salon.php

At the Haras d’hennebont or national horse raising place, and principal one in Brittany you will have an exposition until Sept 30th of Simonne L’Hermitte ,painting of the life and history of horses with a visit to the Haras the site of horse in Brittany, beautiful indeed. Haras National, Rue Victor Hugo,Hennebont or webpage www.haras-hennebont.fr

You have n Lorient, the Volvo Ocean Race with the course from June 16 to July 1st 2012, aerial airplane presentation over water,attractions in many kiosks,concerts,  the arrival of the stage Lisbon-Lorient on June 30th , and see the 66 best seaman in action in the world. Even Yannick Noah will be here singing on friday June 23rd webpage at www.volvooceanracelorient.com   While in town do not missed the live music at Le Galion,2 rue Florian Laporte, port de pêche or webpage perso at http://www.myspace.com/legalion

You have the percussionists of the world event at Lorient, this is their 9th edition with some nice names and newcomers,this is June 6 and 7th see more at webpage www.percussionsdumonde.net  awesome event indeed.

You have at Carnac near me, the Gouel Karnag, 7000 years of history,with guides, demonstrations, concerts, projections, meet the authors, stories telling at the espace terraqué or musée de la prehistoire from the 17 to 28 of May, webpage www.terraque.fr

Coming even closer to me at Auray, you will have precisely at St Anne d’Auray the magnificent event on letters and verbs of the Breton treasures, or Le Verbe et La Lettre, at the gallery of the cloister of the Basilica of Sainte Anne d’Auray (patron saint of Brittany and selon history the mother of Mary, grandmother of Jesus). from May 17 to October 14 2012 and hours 14h to 18h30

At near Vannes in Arradon ,we will have from May 18-19 the Festival Algues au Rythme ,with live music on the port with Saturday 18 mussels and french fries on tap with a popular val breton, and on the 19 the rock comes in, more info at webpage http://www.alguesaurythme.com/ admission is free before 18h30 then 20€ adults down to 10€ children.

We have at chateau de Suscinio near Sarzeau, the wonderful Sundays at the castle or Dimanche au Chateau, 6 Sundays from June to September from 15h, great encounters with the best artists from the region of Brittany, adults fare 15€ , not to mention ,here live and visit Anne of Brittany ,Duchess and two times Queen of France, and there is an exposition of her times here from May 19 2012 to April 2013. webpage at http://www.suscinio.info/index.php

The wonderful Salon du Livre en Bretagne will be on June 22-24 2012 in the gardens of the ramparts of old castle ruins. City center by the port area. Free admission from 10h to 19h, dedications,conferences, discussions, to see the ocean in a different way, all about books, see more at webpage www.livresenbretagne.fr

The city of Vannes gives out lectures of modest fees from 3€ to 5€ for walkers to see the city on foot and enter into spaces usually not open to the general public, you can contact the tourist officeor city of Vannes  so when in town to see if there is any programme; webpage http://en.mairie-vannes.fr/discovering_vannes/1266/index.html  and http://en.tourisme-vannes.com/

To see the world champion Eric Tabarly and his sailing school at Lorient you visit the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly ,admission is 11,90€ adults,8.60€ children ,more at webpage www.citevoile-tabarly.com and for a little tropic in seafaring Brittany stop by in Lorient to Casa Varadero, resto and pizzeria at 19bd Franchet  d’Esperey open every day except Sunday noon and continues otherwise until 23h30 in weekends and 22h30 during the week. webpage www.casavaradero.com  if problems see the dept tourist office info at http://www.morbihan.com/pizzeria-la-casa-varadero/lorient/tabid/7419/offreid/2e3977d5-54d4-4a7e-a9e7-fcfda4c1648b/detail-restaurants.aspx

One of my friends n the area recommended me this camping 7 Saints , nicely located by Erdeven ,near the river going to ocean, nice modern facilities, just too close for me I think, we usually go to Bordeaux beaches along the Medoc but here is the webpage for someone from elsewhere looking for accommodation in the area, webpage http://www.sept-saints.com/#3

Cheers

Sainte Anne d'Auray

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