Archive for January, 2013

January 24, 2013

Some news from France LXXXXVI

Ok this is beginning to be cold now its about 1C then we expect -6C for tomorrow and -5C for Saturday, with Sunday at -1C the day I am leaving for Indonesia for a week and my blog will be silent. Anyway, didn’t want to go without my usual write up on things happenning in France and mostly my fav areas.

Talking wine in general the Univ of Michigan in Detroit USA wrote a survey on wine drinking there and found out what we already know, France is third. California is first, and Italy comes second. Knowing the US market of cheap wines,and the large immigrant population not French, but 3rd place we take and screams…victory. webpage of complete study here

Basically the study shows American wine sales are concentrated for over 50% on five  firms, these are according to Euromonitor for 2011 as  E.J Gallo Winery (22,8 % market share with brands such as Barefoot Cellars, Carlo Rossi, Twin Valley…),the Wine Group (15,9 % with brands such as Franzia, Almaden, Inglenook…), Constellation (12,8 % market shares with brands such as  Woodbridge, Robert Mondavi…), Tinchero Family Estates (4,8 % market share with  Sutter Home…), and  Treasury Wine Estates (4,5 % market share with Beringer, Penfolds…).

In my other love ,Cognac, we have an increase in sales in the USA. According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel de Cognac, , there were  168,1 millions bottles of  cognacs sold in 2011 with a sales volume of  2,39 billions euros.  The growth has been of 3,2% in volume and 16,7% in sales from the previous year of 2011.   The USA is tops in volume with  139 335 hectoliters sold up  +2,8 % , followed by  Singapore with 82 057 hl up, +8,6 %, and  China with 68 906 hl AP,up  +8,9 %). UK comes in next at 27 589 hl AP,down -2,5 %), and Germany 18 322 hl AP, down 14,9 %. France had down of -12,4 % ,so once again the best of France is sold abroad !!!

Alicia Keys will be in Paris at Bercy Village on June 24-256th so my girl on fire will see me there or I will explode in madness…I am in touch with her in FB lol!!! and on tour in Lyon and Marseille too. This Bercy Village appearance will be the 10th anniversary of Bercy Village too. Here is for the ticket and place layout info,–  and the bercy village site at

If you want to come close to Belgian fries in Paris then head for my favorite all time there, De Clercq, 184, rue Saint-Jacques,75014. Tél. +33 01 43 54 24 20. open every day as well as at  169, rue Montmartre,75002. Tél. +33  01 42 21 49 57.I hangout on the 14 near my old work office, and now when by Paris entered in MOntparnasse so there you will find me ::)  You have  formules from  7,20 to 9,90 € (7 menus burgers classiques or «maxi»), from  5,90 to  8,20 € (6 menus snacks).  a cornet or cone of fries in 3 sizes  2,50, 3,50 and 4,50 €. web

They are in Paris and near where i used to lived in Versailles, Carnar, for your best lean Argentine beef, the real beef from the Pampas plus empanadas or rolls of stuffed beef, my favorites, and all you need for a great barbecue ,you find it here This is a grocery store not a restaurant ok..

Chocolates of the amazonian equator in France, great chocolatiers the Chocolaterie Beussent Lachelle, we first came into them while attending the maxim’s sauveur et vins on the Seine at port de Suffren for many years, and eventually visit them at Beussent, great family story from France to California back to France.., see it here on addresses

I was offered this site (Pariswebtv) by a friend in Paris a while back,and it has been my window away from Paris, you can see reporting on Paris from fashions to gastronomy to monuments to quartiers, enjoy it as I do, sharing is wonderful.

And the same site gives you a flavor of the many districts of Paris here of course its in French, original and unique Paris from Paris1972.

Finally ,last night took a collegue visiting on work here from South Africa, seems to enjoy the galette and crêpes of Brittany with a breton beer from St Colomban; at my favorite place in Auray, posted before ,here it is again, Crêperie Saint Sauveur, Auray Tel  +33 02 97 56 35 53, where the lady of the place is 5 months pregnant expecting a boy!!! galettes a la madrilene, complet, with crêpes of apples and chocolate syrup call charlotte with expresso coffee.  no web very Breton ::)

Until next month stay warm ,cheers.

January 17, 2013

Some news from France LXXXXV

Well now the winter is not only here but the snow is coming;…already in some parts of France especially the east and southeast, here in the northwest it is announced freezing icy roads tomorrow by the Meteo service ok…

One of the news is that Germany is getting back the gold it kept in the Bank of France ,374 tons of it.  In the 1950 fear of an invasion from the Soviet Union ,they decided to spread their gold around with most of it in the USA and other portions in England and then France. Just in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Franco-German friendship agreement. The depart will be done over five years for security reasons lol!!!

The petite Ceinture or little beltway around Paris of railroad tracks is going to be for some future use now.  32 km running parallel to the  boulevards des Maréchaux, the problems of keeping it as green basin around Paris or making it use for transports more efficients; THe local citizen will have the opportunity to express their opinion to the mayor’s office of Paris until February 14 with a special webpage for it, here

And who wants to see the sewers of Paris, I admit ,saw it once, and thats it. However, it is very popular and folks still ask me about them and discussion on travel forums is lively.  The égouts de Paris, came in their actual self in the 19C alongside the great works going on by Baron Haussmann. This network of water evacuation is the work of Engineer  Belgrand.  They have a total of 2100 kms!!, and takes the treated waters of the sewers of Paris to the treatment plant of Achère in the Yvelines dept 78 and then to the river  Seine. You get there by Quai d’Orsay Kiosque face au 93 with metro Alma Marceau line 9, admission is 4,30€. info webpage

Another eerie site where I have been again once, is way underground in the catacombs of Paris or The Catacombes de Paris. Here, the bones of Parisiens taken from cementaries at the 18C found their place. It is made up of many galleries or ways, you can only visit some of them.The visit is done at daytime with a guide on the best maintained galleries. Part of the visit is done amongst human bones! Entrance is at 1 avenue du Colonel Henri-Rol-Tanguy , Paris 14.  You get here on the metro Denfert Rochereau lines 4 and 6 or RER Denfert Rochereau B; admission is 8€;  webpage However, keep an eye on the site, as they are now close and no dates as when they will be available.

Update on the Catacombes !!! It is having problems and close to the public again.  First it was the lights for the 2KM of galleries went out, last november, the ventilation system failed, and it was just put in there in 1995!. THe city has ordered tests of air quality for all visitors and employees. Last september it was some damage cranes holding the ceilings that made the place close too. Those problems still going on, and the question has been raised if the place need permanent closing!!! The good of this is that the musée Carnavalet of the city of Paris has been able to open more rooms because of the personnel available from the catacombes! profiter!

One historical moment and place to see is the Chapelle Expiatoire, this chapel built in the 19C in memory of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on the exact site whre their bodies were buried after been executed on the guillotine. It is neo classic architecture in the center of the plaza or square Louis XVI ,that is, 29 rue Pasquier, metro Havre – Caumartin lines 3/7/8/9/12/13/14. Admission is 5,50€  open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 13h-17h (closed Nov 1 and 11, Dec 25, Jan 1 and May 1, right now it is close so check here if available, +33 (0)

Some of my favorites passages in Paris that I will go by as in the city now are, Galerie Véro-Dodat,19 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, metro Louvre Palais Royal . Open in 1826, the gallerie is associated to  Véro and Dodat allowing to connect the  Palais Royal ,and the business quarter of the Halles.  It is classic decoration with marble and similar stores fronts, very original. And Galeries Vivienne et Colbert, by rue Vivienne . Open in 1823 and 1826 each, these commercial galleries are of original architecture of the Restoration period.  Its frequency was less and less starting from the period of the Second Empire and abandoned early on the 20C. They have been restored from the 1980’s with new stores and  salons de thé. metro Bourse. Passage Choiseul, 44 rue des Petits-Champs on metro Quatre-Septembre, line 3.  It is close to the  théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens, and open to the public in  1827.  The passage Choiseul is one of the longest in Paris, and very well lit. The stores have a floor and in between floor of shops. Passage Verdeau,6 rue de la Grange-Batelière ,metro  Richelieu – Drouot lines 8 and 9. One of thet last ones done, it was built in the same basis as the Passage  Jouffroy.  Passage Panorama and Jouffroy, at Boulevard Montmartre ,metro Richelieu – Drouot lines 8 and 9.  The passage des Panoramas  is one of the oldest covered passages in Paris. originally they were two rotondas where  James Thayer  show his  panoramas. AFter great success he decided to link by a passage in  1799 with one full of stores of luxe. Even with the disappereances of  panoramas in 1831, the passage did not lose popularity around the Grands Boulevards full of theaters of grand public. It is compose of one large gallery and five annexes.  The passage Jouffroy  is one of the newer covered passages of Paris, opening in  1847.  It is at the axe of the passage des Panoramas ,and its metal structure gave reasons as to its success even today. It houses shops and a gallery connecting to the museum of wax or  Musée Grévin.

Right at my Versailles ,there is the expo Versailles in the antiquity, or Versailles et l’Antique running to March 13 2013.  It has been said that Versailles is like a New Rome, the castle constantly gives reference to the antiquity and mythology, and the taste for the many monarchs that lived there show in the impressive collection inside.  All the powers and powerful of the 17C wanted it, however, more than any it was king Louis XVI who went out to acquire or copy all the glory of Rome.  Versailles is therefore, a real sanctuary of the antique arts.

Until we read again ,cheers and get ready for the weekend, life is beautiful. La vie est belle mes amis.

January 11, 2013

Some news from France LXXXXIIII

Here is coming another weekend ,actually just realise its the first weekend of 2013, and came home early from work. Some of the nicest activities coming up, many I have taken part in the past.
This is the museum of hunting and nature or musée de la chase et nature; hunting under the Croates,  until March 31  from tuesdays to Sundays from 11h to 18h  except Holidays ,night out on Wednesdays until  21h30, it is located at 62 Rue des Archives  near metro Rambuteau, webpage

There is a beautiful show on fashion at the museum of decorative arts or musée des Arts Décoratifs, ” Two centuries of European fashion 1700-1915″ or Deux Siécles de Mode Européenne 1700-1915. Located at 107 Rue de Rivoli  at the pavillon Marsans extention of the Louvre. webpage

The best new place tried lately is Le Repaire de Cartouche at  8, boulevard des Filles-du-Calvaire, angle to the rue du Pont-aux-Choux ; here all is orange and nice chic, you need to try these  terrine de lièvre au chocolat , you have about 50€ per person here but all is worth it. Here is the webpage on the site I write in French reviews, and my blogroll address,

Another marvel for a morsel and a glass of wine is Le Dauphin Wine Bar, 131 avenue Parmentier, by Canal St Martin, Bastille, Republique, you need to reserve your table, nearest metro line 11 Goncourt.  offers lunch Tuesdyas to Fridays and dinner Tuesdays to saturdays. webpage

For the near term the Musée Picasso 5, rue de Thorigny  Hôtel Salé closed since November  2011, has been renovated with all the space dedicated to collections and expositions, the main plaza inside or cour d’honneur, the garden, historical decorations, all will be ready by September or October 2013. Webpage

The Musée Galliera located in a mansion of the duchess de Galliera, and now the fashion museum of city of Paris or the Musée de la mode de la Ville de Paris 10 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie ,re open with an expo dedicated to  Azzedine Alaïa.Same time around Sept Or Oct. 2013. webpage

The wines of Alsace or the Route des vins d’Alsace is celebrating 60 years in 2013. It was officially started on May 30 1953 and its the oldest wine route in France. It is 170kms long starting from the town of Thann, then  Marlenheim, passing by  Colmar, Ribeauvillé, Bergheim, and Barr. In June 2nd there will be a course on foot thru the vinyards done by the tourist office and the wine council.  Here is the offical site of the route de vins

Go over closer to me at the Loire, the famous valley of the kings, but not just kings. Here the great Jean-Armand du Plessis known as Cardinal Richelieu has built a castle around 1630. RIchelieu had powers beyond cardinal, as he was the Prime Minister of king Louis XIII as well. THe castle was the biggest castle built in France before Versailles!!! It housed the important collection of works of arts of the Cardinal. It was abandoned in the French revolution, and demolished in 1835 except the dome, the orangerie, and the chais that you see as you walk around the place today. IN 1877  a rich man banker MIchel Heine buys the property,and starts a period of restoration from the 19C. It is about 50 minutes from Tours on the A10 autoroute sortie/exit Sainte-MAure. Open all year from 10h to 19h except Nov to mar 10h to 18h FREE Admission.  and his official site in French,

see the wonderful Demeure de Ronsard, Prieuré de Saint Cosmé . From its foundation in 1092 to the 18C there was a community of monks at the prieuré in route to St James de Compostelle. Many French kings came here from the 15C to the 16C especially for the coming of Pierre de Ronsard that became priest in 1565 here. The “Prince des poètes”  or the prince of poets received here the visit by  Catherine de Médicis and her son the King  Charles IX.  At this place Ronsard saw his last days and died December 27 1585. the  prieuré is dismantled from 1742. It stays as is until the bombing in WWII in  1944.  In 1951 after many long renovations it opened to the public again. Admission is 5€ ,and you get here by bus La Riche, close to Tours on bus  3A – Pléiade, webpage in English,

At the Chateau de Saché, you have Balzac. He was born at nearby Tours in  1799,he the author of the Human Comedy or ” La Comédie humaine” stay close to his region all his life. From  1825 to 1848, he visites regularly  Jean Margonne, friend of his parents in the  château de Saché. He stayed at the room in the second étage or floor (USA third floor).  Here he does  Le Père Goriot, Louis Lambert, César Birotteau , and Illusions perdues . The chateau de  Saché serves as inspiration for his work in the romance of ” Le Lys dans la vallée” . Admission is 5€ , and you get here by the A85 sortie Chinon, then the road D751 direction Saché, its about 15 mins from Azay-le-Rideau and 25 mins southwest of Tours. In summer bus I of Filverts takes you on the run Tours Saché , webpage

And who can forget Rabelais, the writer  François Rabelais was the son of Antoine Rabelais attorney at the royal seat of Chinon.  He was born at the end of the 15C (around 1483 or 1494, the date is uncertain) at La Devinière.  He passed the early years of his life here, located in  Seuilly in deep Chinon country.  He left this Touraine country around 1510 to learned and gained experiences at Angers and Poitou then he writes at the faculty of medicine at Montpellier learning the medical sciences. It is at  Lyon that he writes his first two romances called  Pantagruel (1532) and Gargantua (1534). He was censured and condemn by the theologist of the Sorbonne for heresy.  He made several trips to Italy and then re entered France and received the status of Doctor in 1537. The work  Tiers Livre, Quart Livre is published while still living and the  Cinquième Livre  comes out after his death in  1553 at Paris. Admission is 5€ and you get here on the A85, sortie/exit  n° 9 Chinon, direction Chinon by the  D751 ,only about five minutes from Chinon and 15 mins from  Fontevraud.  webpage

 Ok to end a bit of  Brittany, Bretagne, Breizh, where I live now. In the world famous big town of Auray ::) a bit of background on my new city in France.  Auray comes from « aula regia » (cours royale).  It is said in Breton An Alren ,and at  one time it had the most important megaliths or stone collection.  The high town or haute ville was the seat of the old castle (now in ruins) and the parrish of  Saint-Gildas de Rhuys (now church Saint Gildas),and was on the rive droite or right bank of the river  Loch (the river of Auray), while the ville basse or lower town had the parrish of Saint-Goustan, where a harbor was developed, both connected by a stone bridge of  Saint-Goustan, cited since 1295 (and still here!). It is in 1364 at Auray that the big battle for the succession between the families of Montfort and Blois takes place. Charles de Blois, duke of Brittany was killed and Bertrand Du Guesclin made prisioner. A convent was founded by Jean de Montfort on the site of the battle (still here !) In the 13C the city is in the midst of wars between France and England until the annexation of Brittany to France in 1532.
The monks Capucins then later the Cordelières come to established themselves at Auray between  1610 and 1632.  From the 13C to the 17C Auray has three hospitals including the hospital of Saint Julien and the Hôtel Dieu Notre Dame. The religious order of the Miséricorde come to the hospital Saint Julien by 1636. The Augustines comes to the hospital Notre Dame by 1674.

 Hope you enjoy and sorry for the script I change everything hitting some button and can’t bring it back, tech tech tech lol!!! where is my typewriter ::)



January 10, 2013

Some news from Spain X

Talking a bit about Spain,my other love and origins from Tenerife. I lived in Madrid so know the city well, and still visit often 3 or 4 times a year.

Madrid is my younger days, just that are never forgotten, full of chasing girls and playing football/soccer in the Real Madrid organisation. Well some still can’t stop lol!!!

One of the thing I enjoy while in the city is the polideportivo, the sports complex, a place to mingle share stories and meet well many people ::)

For a visitor to stop by these places will be a deep insight into the life of the city, something you won’t find in any travel guide.
some of those I hang out with were the Casa de campo district at PASEO PUERTA DEL ANGEL, 7 open Monday to Friday from 8h45-20h30. In summer it is open Mondays to Sundays from 11h to 20h30. It is closed Dec 24, 25 ,31 and january 1 ; May 1. You get there by Metro: El Lago, Puerta del Ángel and buses 31, 33, 36, 39, 65, 130. They have pools, weight rooms and good for all ages. You ,also, have a lake here for boating.

Other was at the Estanque del Buen Retiro, the famous park. at PASEO DEL ESTANQUE, 2 .You have boats, pedal boats, sailings, running trails, open at 10h and then it closes depending on the season from 17 to 20h. you arrive here on metro Retiro or Ibiza and buses 1, 2, 9, 15, 19, 20, 28, 51, 52, 74, 146, 152 and 202 as well as suburbian or cercanias train Recoletos.

PArque Municipal de la Elipa, at Moratalaz district was the closest to me,and my main area, played Baseball there for the Real Madrid organisation (yes at that time they sponsor Baseball at all levels on a league of 8 teams including the USA air force base at Torrejon de Ardoz). location at CALLE ALCALDE GARRIDO JUARISTI ;open every day from 8h30 to 20h30. You reach on metro Estrella or buses 71 and my old bus line 113 today (it was the P13 back then long time ago ::)) In addition to baseball ,you have softball, football/soccer, aeromodelism , table tenis and tenis, weight room and gym plus a nudist area lol!(now) Volleyball, handball,badminton, jai alai or basque pelota game; you name it ,it is still huge.

And the La chopera inside the Parque del Buen Retiro, by CALLE ALFONSO XII, 48 (you go there by the archway or PUERTA DE MURILLO) , open mondays to fridays from 8h30 to 20h45 and Saturdays and Sundays from 8h30 to 14h45 . You get here by Metro: Atocha or Retiro;buses 1, 2, 15, 19, 28, and 146 as well as train station Atocha. Other than jogging you can do here handball, football/soccer, indoor football soccer, football 7, weight room, tenis, and basketball as well as pedal boating in the lake.

In other, Sergio Ramos got a five game suspension for fowl language to the referee during Real Madrid win 4×0 over Celta de Vigo in the Spanish King’s Cup eighth finals. He will missed the two Cup games vs Valencia plus league matches vs Valencia, Osasuna,and Getafe. Hard blow adding to the injured Pepe and Marcelo in defense. The club is in third place in the Spanish first division LIga BBVA and also in the eighth finals of the Champions league of Europe next will be in February vs Manchester United.

in show business, Julio Iglesias and Miranda Rhysburger have decided to send their kids Miguel Alejandro (15), Rodrigo (13),the twins Victoria and Cristina (11), and Guillermo (5) to normal private school rather than teaching them with private tutors at home in Miami and PUnta Cana. Now they will go in Miami to the Miami Country Day School, one of the most prestigious school in the State of Florida.

Next if you like to listen to top 40 music from Spanish music leader Los 40 Principales and other music from the world as well, hookup here

And if you want to know more of my origins than see my grandparents region (on all four sides lol!) the Candelaria region of Tenerife, Canary Islands of Spain, and read the story of the Guanches;

You need Spanish or a translator service but if you want to know about Spanish wines, then read the best guide over many years there Guia Peñin, webpage here There is a blogroll in the bottom of my page with many links one is in Spanish too about Bodegas in Spain by region with all contact information, it is here for ease of reference, just hit the barrel and it takes you to the region of Spain. Other than ordering from El Corte Inglés department store in Spain, this site is my favorite for ordering and information on wines too ,also, in Spanish, and do not know if they ship outside of Spain,

For last, one of my all time restaurant from near home, Jota cinco, already a chain in its own right, the first one open in 1970, on my street Calle Alcala , they are at No 423 at the corner with Arturo Soria, metro Ciudad Lineal line 5 of course. webpage

Enjoy Spain, savored Madrid, as the saying goes From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day.Cheers

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January 1, 2013

2012 in review. Thank you to all my readers in sharing with me this wonderful adventure.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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