Archive for December, 2014

December 30, 2014

La Rochelle continues, night and muséums.

Ok so after a long day of walks and visits to some historical monuments and eating some good chow, finall gotten to our appart hotel, got a good night sleep,and ready for the second day of activities;;;;;!

La Rochelle was wonderful on our first full day there, and the second day was no exception if better.

We had plans to visit the aquarium as my boys love them, so we hit that first right off opening time at 10h (10am).

This was at 15€ per person a bit too much, the place is nice , spacious, and good education but the price tag is a bit high and no discount for families. We walk into the main section where an elevator takes you down to the Atlantic cell, then more Mediterranean, Oceanique, to the amphitheater , and up again by walkways (there are elevators too) ; you see the corals, the indo pacific ocean, the lagoon, the Caribbean the sharks, go around the cornish  and the tropical jungle, then out back out to the boutique and restaurant on the top floor with great views of the old harbor or vieux port. The site tells you 2 hours are ok but we took 2h30 to see it all. Nice but again the price is a bit high me think.

We went back to our appart hotel Odalys area and just around the corner there are two museum , the automates and the reduits, these are great value both muséums for 11€! and you see in the Automates figurines of old publicity periods in working order and they move, they sing etc. You are thrown back to another era with walks by Montmartre. We go out and into the reduits museum this one is of scale models of boats, like the Titanic, the trains, the planes, the cars and motocycles, very nice indeed as it relates more to our adult life.  The official site in French here,

The tourist office has more in English here ;

We had our tour of the town again, and again, we walk all over, wonderful town full of old wooden houses, and old historial buildings even now used as concert hall like the Oratory or Oratoire where Richelieu gave the first Catholic Mass after taking the town back from the Protestants.

We did enjoy the rock scene at the Christmas market by the cours des dames near the vieux port.

Another nice museum is the naval museum or musée Maritime ,this is a wonderful home grown museum that shows the sea life in this area typical of the region and France. The sea is everywhere,and this is a seafarer town par excellence!

Since its inception in 1988, the Maritime Museum of la Rochelle or Musée Maritime gathered a fleet of eight ships: the meteorological frigate France I, the trawler back Angoumois, tug Saint-Gilles, the classic trawler Manuel Joël, Joshua, Bernard Moitessier, the SNSM Commander Leverger canoe ketch, the dredge TD6 and Duperré, major canoe star. La Rochelle Naval Museum has developed on its quays a reception policy of classic yachts whose owners are committed to sail and race. The project of restoration of the Slipway will complement this dynamic and will give La Rochelle of a tool suitable for the restoration, maintenance of the boats. Just great history for the whole family.,Accueil,131
In all it was a pleasant visit to La Rochelle ,and now that we know it better, another spot in our favorites map, and one to consider coming back. After all, I come here on seminars and the anecdote that my oldest son studied here and remembered it fondly , makes it for a sure repeat in the future. You too will be enchanted by this seafarer town of La Rochelle.
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December 30, 2014

Happy New Year 2015 to all of my followers and readers , thank you.

and of course to add as the old song said, “I wish you a Merry Christmas, I wish you a  Merry Christmas ,AND a Happy New Year”

Some photos of our Christmas market in La Rochelle with a festive mood we are all loaded for waiting the New Year here.


Christmas chalets by cours des dames vieux port


Grosse Horloge and festive Christmas markets


live music at Christmas market by cours des dames vieux port

Wishing all a very healthy , prosperous and beautiful travels expériences in 2015. Cheers!!!

December 29, 2014

The seafarer town of La Rochelle

Wonderful energetic vibrant lively town, I have passed by it and been in it briefly several times and as usual the family comes after. My oldest son studied here in the restaurant/hôtels business and he love it too. I am in Brittany so comparing sea front towns is a giver now, I like to think by me the towns are a bit laidback , peaceful, and there is more life active action. Anyway, we finally arrive and now a potential for retirement is added to my list.Not that I am ready for that ::) but we can always planned lol!!!

Above is the tourist office for some reason in German, maybe too many beers but you can change it into Spanish, French, And English. We arrive by car of course, driving past Nantes on the A83 with tolls of 7,20€ going down and then driving by the D937/949/746/165 back for free via La Roche sur Yon, Nantes and home ground. Plenty of parking by the Place de Verdun and the Vieux Port parking areas, and a nice park and relay by Jean Moulin at city entrance.

Once in town, we walk, and walk is a Walker paradise of quaint old Streets and historical buildings, we took the tour de la chaine, tour de St Nicolas, and the scaffold tour de la lanterne (Under renovation) ,the great Grosse Horloge at the vieux port,and the halles or market, some eats at La Panitiére, La mie Caline, and more walks later we ate at Quai 22 restaurant, This was like a metal boat with several floors and the funny find your service room or toilette hahaha I got me into the women side, oh well, those darn beers again; nothing major, the ladies behave lol!  the fish and chips was excellent too the best I had in France.  And of course, some ice creams at D’Jolly, oh yes in zero temps C° !!! and chocolates at l’Atelier du chocolat, video games at Micromania/Dock, the walk Inside the covered market or Halles, the lunch at the Vendéen boulangerie chain Roger Sicard, the boys tea at Infini Thé,  the ramparts and the beach or plage de la concurrence. Oh well what a day; all wonderful. We really rock, and of course the Cathedral St Pierre, and the Church of Saint Sauveur were nice, and a stop by the train station or Gare de La Rochelle, why not! We do the train here too, you know, its not like all my friends think I drive all over, well most places, i do take the trains sometimes, not too many times , prefer the car/auto…

And oh yes, somehow late night, late do not know the hour but the folks were waiting to close and go home and then we needed the key code, what??? OMG, we got there in time after walking ourselves to death , are we ready for the New Year 2015,yes,maybe, I think so, but who cares we rock into it anyway. Oh yes we did get to our hotel, the wonderfully renovated sparkling new clean nice all aboard Odalys Appart’Hotel Archipel at 27 rue de la Huguenotte in the Ville en Bois district.

And we had a great night sleep. To be continue….


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December 18, 2014

Some news from France, XCVI

This is time for the parties at year’s end and the preparation. For now, we will be away from Paris for ours, but as Paris is central, here are some of the tops to go to if you are around ::)

The Famous New Years Party at the RedLight 19h to 07h, 50€ per person and 10 drinks included as well as breakfast! you can reserve here ,and the place is near my old office in rue de départs, Montparnasse.

Concorde boat party , at the boat or bateau Atlantique, 20h to 06h  59€ per person with 3-10 drinks included and Champagne. You reach it at facing  23 quai Anatole France  Metro Assemblée Nationale (12) or Musée d’Orsay (RER C); resa at /

American Borderline , from 20h, 49€ with 10 drinks, at Châlet de la Porte Jaune, Avenue de Nogent ;  Métro: Ligne 1 (Station Château de Vincennes then  bus 114/ 210  stop/arrêt Porte Jaune) or  RER (A2 direction Boissy-Saint-Léger, Station Fontenay sous-bois) ;you can park by car free along the site; resa at  ; site at

Régine’s New Year, 22h to 06h ;50€ per person open bar champagne,  and two drinks: over 25 yrs and well dressed, you are at Regine’s. Chez Regine, 49 rue de Ponthieu Metro Franklin Roosevelt (L1, L9); resa at , and webpage here  from one i write in French :

Manoir de Bagatelle, 20h to 06h, 39€ , drinks ,buffet included, Le Manoir des Jardins de Bagatelle,  42, Route de Sèvres, Neuilly;  Métro : Pont de neuilly or les sablons;  Parking free along the Manoir, resa at

Roofstop at L’Electric, 21h to 06h, 55€ and 3 drinks, 1 Place de la Porte de Versailles, Metro Porte de Versailles (Line 12 – T2 or T3a tramways)  Parc des Expositions – Porte de Versailles Hall 7 – Niveau(level) 4; well dressed. resa at , and webpage

Bateau Maxim sur Seine at the foot of Eiffel tower, (our favorite boat) 20h to 06H, 55€ per person all included! Port de Suffren, down the river Seine,  Métro : Bir Hakeim, line 6,and great  300 Places parking next to it, we do here for wine and produce tastings too!!  The owner is Pierre Cardin. resa at

Aquarium’s New Year, 22h to sunup, 49€ champagne, drinks and breakfast included. This is at 5,avenue Albert De Mun metro Trocadéro line 6 or Iena line 9; resa ; webpage on the aquarium of Trocadéro.,24.html

Generation 80-90 at Globo; 22h to 06h, 45€ and 3 drinks, resa at located at Le Globo,  8 Boulevard de Strasbourg,  Metro Strasbourg Saint-Denis (L4, 8, 9),site

Of course , these are not all, just my favorites over the years . The prices above are minimum you can always get a better package when reserving.

One near where I used to lived in Versailles is the La Ferme du Manet at 45, Avenue Du Manet, Montigny Le Bretonneux, 78180, resa at ,and you must be younger than 41::) ,and contact for reservation the email. the place is now used for banquet but its historical, webpage

And we will have a nice dinner at a grand place near La Rochelle at the 123 Restaurant here,  and this menu

la vie est belle en France je dit ::)

Cheers and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015!!!!!



December 9, 2014

Some news from France, XCV

As we are in the subject of Christmas, what are the latest best pastries, cakes, sweets we will be serving in our homes here or in restaurants. I know it will be a Bûche de Noêl for sure.

Some of the ones to try are:

Lenôtre, with the Maison Pierre Frey; a bûche with sugar Windows and walls of white chocolate. The chair and sofa are in chocolate and the carpets and curtains in almond paste. 130 euros for 8-10 persons get it from December 13 to 24 ,2014.

À la mère de famille , ice bûche done with caramel and chocolate on a bed of crusty nuts and streusel with a croking black chocolate and the boots and bonnet are in almond paste , 47 euros.

Burgundy Paris , the pastry maker  Stéphane Tranchet  created this Wonder with a star of Christmas, bavaroise in pears with dusty flour and added an almond biscuit with eyes of a pine tree; 90€ for  6 persons. This one you need to ordered it.

Café Pouchkine , the chef  Damien Piscioneri,that created the  bûche « Place Blanche ».  This one is covered with a mousse de chocolat  with a fondant heart of caramel, cookie of cacao with a point of salt. 96€ for  8 persons.

Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme ,here Fabien Berteau, Chef Pâtissier du Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, created a dessert in Art Nouveau poetic style. This  bûche is a mix of flavor textures with a cookie of sweet almond, covered with a fine white chocolate garnache and  absinthe, with a cream of vanilla from Tahiti. Bûche de Noël 6 parts, 110 euros.  You need to ordered it at +33 (0) 1 58 71 10 60.

Shangri-La Hotel Paris, the  Chef Pâtissier du Shangri-La Hotel Paris, François Perret, has created the  traditional bûche in a sleight of papa Noël . Cissel in the black chocolate, the deers go around a forest of pines decorated with a silver leave. La Bûche Enchantée du Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, 5 persons for  108 euros.  You can try it as well at restaurant La Bauhinia  up to the 25 December .

Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, here the chef Jean-Yves Bournot du Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal has created a  bûche de Noël  inspired by a giant glove, 2,60 m high byr 3 m wide,done with a sugary recipe compose of garnache au chocolat  on a mona lisa cookie. Give for  4-6 persons for 60 euros.

Le Mandarin Oriental à Paris, chef pâtissier Pierre Mathieu  inspired by the white peaks created this  bûche with the association  for each an  Everest. The base is almond streudel, posing on top of it creamy mousse au caramel. Limited supplies from Dec 15 to 25 2014 at the Comptoir des Pâtisseries  and with reservation 48h in advance. Price of 118 euros  for 6 persons.

Ladurée, sign off by the  Ladurée house this bûche is done witha sirop of rum and vanilla, enclosed in a heart of creamy green lemon and  puff pastry, as well as battered cream of vanilla. price  97 euros for  6 -8 persons. Available from December 16 2014.!collections/collections19

Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, the collection for  2014 at the Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris proposes a new salty  bûche de Noël, « RUBY ».  Created by  Laurent André, Chef Exécutif  of the hotel. It has  foie gras in a pan with vinager and raspberries. 110 euros for  6 persons. Available to take home with 72h advance notice at the restaurant  La Cuisine.

The Westin Paris, my sentimental favorite and chef Ken Thomas, created a graphic bûche with the flavors of exotic fruits such as ice fruit from passion fruit and orange enrolled in a milky chocolate. All put in black chocolate crumbled base with zests of orange and salt flower, covered with a golden leave.  6 -8 persons for  65 euros. Direct sale to take home by order at 01 44 77 10 20 until December 20. We did and here they deliver ::)

Trianon Palace, right up my old alley near the Château de Versailles,and the cake inspired on the gardens of the castle with a triangular pine and arabesques in black chocolate. On top some scoops of chocolat, covered with jams and a green camaïeu symbolising the wooded bird cage showing the elegance of a French garden. There is also the gourmande ball in candy attach to the pine tree to offer. Price bûche 70 euros for 8 persons. Available from December 15. The ball of  Noël, price 12 euros.

Peninsula Paris, here the Chef Pâtissier du Peninsula, Julien Alvarez, takes its inspiration on the architecture and elements of the building to createbûche de Noël limited edition call  « Christmas Leaves ».  Price 120 euros,for 8 persons.  ON sale by advance order in  48 hrs from December 22ne to December 28th 2014.

Arnaud Larher , this  bûche represent the sleight of papa  Nöel,created by  Arnaud Larher. It is composed of a cookie streudel of almonds, a crusty praliné with  nuts with black chocolate cream  70 % cacao ,and a cream chantilly of gianduja hazelnut. On sale on the boutiques of Arnaud Larher,and by internet from today Price 78 euros.


La Maison du chocolat, the marvelous bûche here is a fine chocolate with nuts,  mousse au chocolat pure of  Venezuela, a chocolate génoise with cacao syrup and praliné fondant of nuts and eclats of chocolate. Price 95 euros,for 6- 8 persons. Available from Dec 21 to é’ 2014.

Enjoy the desserts  , the Bûche de Noël is the best family tradition of France.

December 7, 2014

Christmas at Rochefort en Terre

Well,  it’s that time of the year again, my best really. Love to be around, walk ,drive visit those wonderful Christmas markets in beautiful France. We are doing it a bit different this year.

Usually we go out far away just before the Christmas season, this year, we decided to stay local before and try the ones around us, and then after Christmas spent our end of year in between at La Rochelle.

Yesterday ,after some shopping in Vannes, we headed to the fairy tale city of Rochefort-en-Terre in our Morbihan dept 56.  The tourist office is here with a nice video of this magical period.

The town is magical at any period with lots of medieval merlin the magician ambiance. However, at Christmas time is it a  must folks from all over even foreigners come here , the place is pack and live. We came this time a bit later to take advantage of the night lights, and park at the entrance to the town in the free bus company parking lot of Maury  on the street that walking five minutes will take you right to the center of town!

However, if no car, you can take the bus No 9  from Vannes here, Line TIM  Vannes/Questembert/Rochefort-en-Terre, schedules here

Also, you can come by train to Questembert ,and then taxi to Rochefort en Terre or bus no 9 as above.

The rest is easy walking up and down, and side ways on hilly Streets all fully lit ,and decorated with creches, and Christmas trees out on the Streets, and markets, and vin chaud (hot wine) and Suchard chocolat chaud (hot chocolate Suchard), and the traditional Breton kouignamann  sweets.

The town is full of families and plenty of strollers, pack the main street in a festive festival atmosphere, good for the soul and family life. It is a must, you must be here ,in my opinion, the best in Brittany.  And of course, one of the most beautiful villages of France yeararound,

Enjoy the magic and spread it anywhere you are. Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers; may the spirit of Christmas stayed with you.

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