Archive for February, 2014

February 24, 2014

Again Paris, do I have to come up with a line for it!!!!

Again too the time to go with the family to Paris. As always tell all, do not worry about the weather just come and enjoy the most. When we left it was raining than by Rennes stop, and the rest of the weekend was perfect, just gorgeous cool day in Paris.

We rode free of tolls, the best way to go, right to small towns and nice scenary than the autoroutes pavements.  First taking the N24 towards Rennes, than hookup there on the rocade nord to the A84 free autoroute at exit No 16, porte de normandie. We got off at exit 29 of the A84 at Fougéres to hook up with the N12 all the way  passing just outside Fougéres, Beaucé, Mayenne, Alençon,Flers, Le Ribay,Fontenay, Saint-Cyr-en-Pail,Pré-en-Pail, Lalacelle,Verneuil-sur-Avre,Nonancourt, Bâlines, Dreux, to taking the A12 near Montigny-le-Bretonneux to link up with the A13 autoroute de normandie for free the last leg to Paris ,porte Dauphine , to ave Foch, the always thrilling and wonderful Arc de Triomphe, ave Friedland to the Gare Saint lazare parking on 29 rue de Londres.

There we unloaded what most readers will be shocked, but I have boys born in Florida USA, and as such their tastes are younger, Wilder, and traditionally hamburgers lol!!! Yep, we try the new Burger King at the train station Gare Saint Lazare. It was pack, never had to do a line for hamburgers, but I was drag into it. Luckily with good manners and security, we moved fast and in about 20 minutes were Inside the counter, and was able to find a table as well!!! The place was packed and the lines did not stop at all, this is big. Burger King is back in France after a 15 years absent. And of course, they are from Florida !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will be here thru a franchise of Autogrill ,

From there we again were dragged into the obvious Micromania store in the galerie commerciale Saint Lazare, and then went over across to the passage du havre for the FNAC store where I lost some euros again for been weak and soft lol!!! Here is micromania in the train station, ,and the shops of Havre for the FNAC,

Then , the time came over to me at last. I was able to walk them in the Parc Monceau, one of my favorite areas, used to run,and biked there with friends while working in Paris. I have taken my kids when Younger many times,and now when Young adults. So we just traded stories on the things they did and how they fell on bikes trying to learn, and of course the chasers they did on me and could not catch me, now they do lol! On the bikes we ran so who will get first to the first step in the rotunda baths !Here is the site from the city parks dept in French,  and in English from the tourist office of Paris,

I try to hit the Jardin du Luxembourg but it was late and of course closed. So I had already planned dinner around the area at Chez Clement, 9 Pl Saint André des Arts, just around the corner from the place Saint Michel. This is our favorite chain of restaurant if you can call it a chain, only a handful of them. We have tried over the years the one at Bd des Capucines(near Opéra)  near my old place of work, and done my kids birthday near our home at Bougival (Yvelines dept 78). This time we try another and we had a great time with the server,an older man very funny and very capable. WE had a big laugh when folks from elsewhere arrive asking for a quick table and quick serving, he told them we don’t serve fast here….musing came to us and say well there is a McDonald’s nearby lol!!! WE come to eat the French way, one serving at a time ,and slowly to enjoy the meal with the proper apéro and a nice ending coffee. We took the menu at 35 Euros, included all from Lillet glacé apéros, to the entrée, terrine de foie gras for me, the main dish was rôti de bouef avec purée de pomme de terre, and dessert, créme brulée, ending with a expresso coffee. We had Evian or Badoit water bottles for each,and a half bottle or 37,5 Cl of white rieslings alsace, Alfred Klipfel, and a full bottle 75CL red wine of Château Le Moulin la Tonnelle,  Blaye côte de Bordeaux. Sublime with nice ambiance, belle epoque deco,and well serve, all perfect. We do tell you its our favorite chain ::)

It was a quick trip so we had only one night, one of those hunger periods where we need to get out from Brittany together , and back to our hunting ground,therefore, for one night we chose the Campanile Saint Germain en Laye hotel, I used them sometimes on my business trips and had stayed here before. It was a quick in and out from the N13 and the A13 to Paris, and other than sleeping there was no other reason to be here. The place is clean, friendly nice service as usual, and the breakfast continental light but plenty we took the offered basket of cookies, madeleines, hot choco, coffees, teas, and out we went all for 49 Euros the room with double beds and 59 the one with 3 beds, all charges included. IF you need a one nighter these are it  as well as the main competitors Ibis, which ,I ,also, use together with the Mercure.  .I must add it is surrounded by great shopping centers from a hyper carrefour to FNAC stores, gas station Total access, and another shopping center of Art de Vivre down the line in Orgeval, so passing to Normandy on the A13 exit 7 this is a great stop/rest option.

The next morning we got up early than usual and headed by to Paris with my car and the gang,this time to hit up the Jardin du Luxembourg. It was a gorgeous day, and we came in grand on rue Auguste Comte on the side of rue de l’observatoire. There was not too many people at first and by noon the park was full. The little boat in the fountain with lots of families and kiddies around, the gorgeous Senate building of France,and the park ,the fountain of Médicis, and the Orangerie all gorgeous.

We continue to be by the Panthéon, Under renovation was still very nice. And the Church of St Etienne du Mont, service going on so we would not go Inside but still lovely area. In time to get back to our car parked for free at rue Guynemer,and out onto bd St MIchel over the pont saint MIchel and the pont au change into rue Rivoli and out to pl de la concorde into the ave des champs elysées ,the arc de triomphe and avenue Foch to the A13 to Normandie and the A12 to the N12 and back home. 5h30 by car and 475 kms; with lunch in route rest stop. And Paris was visited again, so nostalgic, we are already planning to go back in May. Cheers


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February 15, 2014

Some news from France CXXIIII

Here I am back, and lots to write , always invigorating passing by Paris, the eternal city of love oops its Valentine’s, did you did you!!! A late but meaningful happy Valentine’s day to all.

You need to try the chocolates of our local boy Henri Le Roux, created the wonderful caramel chocolates in 1977, and have a store in Paris at 9 rue des Martyrs, 9éme. It is now run with great Japanese flair by Makoto Ishii since 2006.

And ,continue with French flair with Guerlain parfums: hip store at 68 avenue des Champs-Elysées, 8éme.  It has been there since 1914!!! and of course the next door restaurant Le 68 is managed by chef Guy Martin of Vefour fame…

well we had our Daniel Hechter, L’Air du temps, Hugo Boss, Lacoste ,and YSL so we cover all the price ranges at home lol!!! Another great store is the Le 66, at 66 ave des champs elysées, for men and women having over 150 brands represented on 3 floors.

A great New York import we are always looking for, especially us romantic Americans ho ho ho! is La Buvette, the great west village emporium now finally in Paris too. breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 28 rue Henri-Monnier,9éme,

Talking about an out of the way museum in Paris, but in my favorite area of the city, musée Marmottan-Monet is celebrating plenty this year. Les impressionistes en privé, célébrâtes 80 years of the museum. From September 2014 to January 2015 the museum will be celebrating the 140 years of impressionistes paintings school. Get on at 6 rue Louis-Boilly,

Continuing with the smashing success of the presentation of HOW TO BECOME PARISIAN IN ONE HOUR by Olivier Giraud in the Théatre des Nouveautés, 24 bd Poissonniére. Fridays and Saturdays at 19H Sundays at 18h, and Mondays at 20h. metro Grands Boulevards, and his webpage,

Keep an eye for the French movie coming out this year of the La Belle et la Bête or the beauty and the beast 70 years after the great work by Jean Cocteau it is coming tothe big screen totally .

And on the mood of love, after all this is February, one at least me like to remember those wonderful films we fell in love with Paris,like the title of my blog paris1972 for that Le Dernier tango à Paris, Marlon Brandon, and Maria Schneider. However, don’t forget Charade with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn wow!  If you go to the musée Carnavalet to admire the Roméo et Juliette au tombeau des Capulet. Le Baiser by Rodin at the musée Rodin, and how about the musée de la vie romantique 16 rue Chaptal 9éme.

Visit the wall of love or the Mur des Je t’aime in the heart of Montmartre in the romantic gardens of the place Jehan-Rictus where the words of I love you are written in 280 languages!!! near metro Abbesses, up rue la vieuville. Also, have your lock at the passarelle des arts  or the fontaine Médicis in the cave of the jardin du Luxembourg.

How about a kiss in Paris, well many places he he he! but the classic ones you should try are at the very top of the hill of Montmartre on the street of vinyards near Sacre-Coeur, yes this is at the corner of rue Saint Vincent and rue de la Bonne. How about the île Saint-Louis or the île de la Cité; or get off the popular into the private of the île aux cygnes facing the statue de la liberté. Last for me should be the Butte-Chaumont park, in the temple call Sybille why not.

Yes, it is 850 years of Notre Dame, the grand dame by the Seine. 14 millions visitors last year and why not, get in line, wait, see it. its Worth it. The grand orgue or organ is the most important in France; five keyboards, 109 stops, and 8000 pipes it is also the largest. It has 10 bells . The construction lasted 107 years and a great French expression comes from this event. “Je ne t’attendrai pas 107 ans”  OR I won’t wait 107 years. or forever. Nice , tranquil beautiful Paris.

men, women looking for French outfits well go Parisian for a real fashion local look go to Zadig & Voltaire store, clothing, accessories ,and jewerly. Here is the addresses where to find them,

machines call PABLO are been installed in the airports for the tax rebate to non EU Citizen visiting France. as well as customs formalities, several languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arab, Chinese, Russian and Japanese. The machines are at CDG Terminals 1,3, 2A,2C,2D,2E,and 2F. at Orly they are at Sud and Ouest terminals.

Last news that croisieurope is coming up with a new cruise on the river Loire, staring in April 2014, there will be 6-10 days cruises from Nantes, Saint Nazaire or Angers on a 90×15 boat with 48 cabins name the MS Loire Princesse.  ;

Have a great weekend everybody. Cheers.


February 8, 2014

Some news from Bretagne XV

I am on the run as will be leaving for a week to Vietnam, no time for internet then. Today in Brittany was windy, cool, and rainy with hail ice cubes and heavy rains at times, but we were out like a true Breton ::)

Something to keep in mind is to go fishing on foot (pêche à pieds) at Carnac, a popular thing here of course weather permitting. You learn to fish for clams, crabs, etc. The next outings will be February 17, 10h30 and 12h, February 24 16h15, March 10 at 17h,; and so on  admission to the event is 7€ adults: you can buy the trip at the tourist office of Carnac Plage, webpage

The best preserve WWII submarine training center is at Lorient. At the Musée sous-marine du pays de Lorient. They do tours every Sundays from 14h to 18h, resa at +33 (0) 6 07 10 69 or webpage

If you are looking for some good chow, great drinks and live music in the area then head for the Pub d’Arradon, 2 rue Bouruet Aubertot, Arradon a full line up of performers already on for February and March, Bob and Mimosa on the 15 February and Groovy Jam on the 21 February are good, more info at the webpage

In my old town of Auray, the Méliscénes festival will be on for the 14th edition from March 13-22 2014. the tickets will be on sale from February 18. great entertainement in town at different locations. Great for the whole family. the whole program from the city of Auray in pdf file here

Another great place for a great meal and all surrounded by 16C construction period; great beef, and the choucroute de la mer (seafood ) and the andouillette artisanale are just wonderful. The place has been recently renovated right in city center Vannes. the Brasserie des Halles, 9-11, rue des Halles, with webpage

We did our groceries before coming home at E. Leclerc in Vannes, and found out our favorite shopping center resto les Vannetis has close out, Under renovation it will re open as a Flunch cafeteria later on. So we came to our other restaurant the Bistro Saint Edouard, where we have the plat dessert combi for 10,30€ with Pelforth beers and coffee for 13,88€ per person, tel +33 (0) 2 97 63 83 45. For direction here is the leclerc webpage

I am looking forward to coming back with more from Vietnam, and a trip to Paris later on. Have a great weekend and stay dry lol!!!

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February 7, 2014

Madrid is like home!

Well this one was a quick one two days meeting but always nice to take advantage to come to Madrid, my Madrid of childhood memories.

I was there from Tuesday to Thursday and staying at the now usual hotel Ayre Gran Colon was great by Dr Esquerdo.  the location can’t be beaten to be away from tourist central, you are near lines 6 and 9 of metro by Sainz de Baranda or Conde de Casal, and plenty of bus lines stop in the corner of calle pez volador and dr esquerdo. walking distance to the Retiro park.

Coming from the Airport, Barajas at Terminal 4 I try the new law on the flat rate for the taxis, 30 euros and you are at your hotel; very nice and easy, the meter already says 30,00 when you get on. This is the scoop, from official Spain airports site,

I had my rounds at the usual Cerveceria Cruz Blanca at calle Dr Esquerdo, very nice folks , prompt nice service and no tourists ::)

My luck have it was there during the Copa del Rey or King’s Cup game between my Real Madrid and the local rivals Atletico de Madrid, well it was a feast to Watch with good company, we won 3×0!!! almost qualifying us to the semifinals!!! Can’t beat watching a football/soccer game in Madrid and at a bar lol!!!  More of the football/soccer there at the tourist office and of course will only tell you about the Real Madrid FC

Until my next chance in my beloved City, in Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !!!! Cheers have a great weekend.


February 1, 2014

Some news from Bretagne XIIII

Here I am on a Saturday that began nice and now it is raining again in Brittany!!! My car is at the shop repairs for maintenance usual stuff,and will be in Madrid next tuesday to thursday. Temps here in lovely Morbihan is at 6C!!

Some of my favorite events planned or recommended for my region are coming up:

the 1988 Jazz Club at 27 pl du Colombier, Rennes has events Schedule such as KellyLee Evans stet, Benjamin Coum, and Bernard Allison.

La Caréne at 30 Rue Jean Marie le Bris, Brest has a whole Schedule which I will try for Nashville Pussy but won’t be here, and it is very good like hard blues music.

Espace Avel Vor, at Plougastel, by the post office follow panels,  will have the 21 February the performance of Tété, and Bobby & Sue event opener.French soul for Tété and 25€ admission.

L’Archipel, at Rue des Îles, 29170 Fouesnant, will have the great Fado music of Katia Guerreiro 20 February at 20h30; and before that the new Cuban star in France Yilian Cañizares on February 1 ochumare , she is a composer, violinist,and singer; 20h30 is today late but good mentioning that I missed it!

Closer to me at Orcade Spectacles Lorient,30 Boulevard Cosmao Dumanoir, we have the big ensemble March 30 , of the Feast of Saint Patrick, withe celtic dances, Scottish pipe band,and the Breton Bagad de Lann Bihoue group.

At my favorite site le Chorus de Vannes,Parc du Golfe, I am waiting for Franck Dubosc, a comedian actor of many popular summer movies here such as camping.6 February which again will be out and missed!yikes!

Later on February 22nd I will not missed it, is the salon de vins et de la gastronomie ,

After several years of renovation the nice Church of Notre Dame,Quimperlé will re open February 22nd.éouverture-de-l-église-notre-dame.html

The event to follow on several towns of the Morbihan is the Hivernales du Jazz, jazz all over in different sites, Nelson Veras, Lionel Suarez, Raices,Reggie Washington, Agathe jazz quartet a few of the performers. Going on now thru February 16.

Finally, at Baden, 2 Place Weilheim, you will find a unique museum, the Musée des Passions et des Ailes, or museum of passions and wings relates the story of local boy Joseph le Brix,in 1928,he does the first flight of the South Atlantic , died 3 years later trying to do the same Paris to Tokyo trip. In the same building you have the collection of Jean and Anne Farkas, with a beautiful collection of toys, porcelains,automates that attract visitors from the whole world. A room with boat models by Aimé Malry, and another on accordions by Francis le Pipec.  admission is 3,50€ adults and opens from  July 1 to August 31 every  day from 10h-12h and 15h-18h. Closed Sunday afternoons. June 15 to June 30 and September 1 to 7 is open every mornings from 10h-12h, Saturdays from 15h-18h.  Outside of these dates it is open the Saturdays from 15h -18h. webpage

Enjoy Bretagne!


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