Archive for February, 2015

February 28, 2015

My travels in the Morbihan XVIII

Today was a working day …. cool ,grey, and rainy with temps in the 10-12C or around 50F. We had to take a day off of our get aways as we are ,also ,doing work on our house. Once you buy one, the work never ends …::)

So, in our daily routine here in the little Brittany /// or Breizh or Bretagne we got all in the car and headed out. First we went to our capital city of Vannes or Gwened in breton language.

Here we got some decoration and velux Windows for the house at the friendly local Castorama store. We are cardholders so we get good rates on rental of trucks to move the stuff ourselves and its easy. In 1h30 we had returned the truck ,and with the gas credit we got we only pay 4,55€ !!!

The staff always very friendly and very fair in all the years we have used them in France, the Vannes store is tops.

We went over to our other main town Lorient, (actually has more inhabitants than Vannes but is the second city as govt is concern); here we went to the Place Alsace Lorraine for blue disk parking for free. We arrive by 14H so we headed to the restaurant for lunch following French protocol , after or near 15H restos chef goes home ::)

We try one that is always full and plenty of locals who seems to know each other well, right across the square of Alsace Lorraine, Brasserie Le Vauban, no webpage, contact tel +33 (0) 2 97 21 17 72. Easy to find as it is in the main square of the Church of Saint Louis, Galeries Lafayette store and many other shops as well as the bus depot with many lines stopping here.  We had our dish of the day blanquette de Veau, and others with Grimbergen beers and coffee expresso all for about 13€ per person.

Here we went around to the local Damart store, my spouse favorite and an old French traditional store going back to the grandmother… 7 rue Vauban, just from the above resto turn left and go straight to the store, webpage ,

And of course, more shopping there. We continue our daily life in wonderful Morbihan and went our previous town in our trails, Auray. Here we had to ordered eyeglasses at our favorite of many years Optic 2000 in France and it has continue here in Breton lands. This is at Rue Barre, right in old town close to the Hotel de Ville, and you can leave your car at the great Keriolet parking area just off the side of the street.

Once in town , we took advantage to load up on our breads and sweets and of course the baguette at another favorite in many parts La Mie Câline. 12 Place de la République just to the right of the Hotel de Ville looking at the front of it.

And it was time to come home to Watch the very important match of France vs Wales in the VI Nations rugby tournament. Allez les Bleus!!! and we are tied 3×3 early as I finish this post lol!!!


Enjoy the weekend !!!

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February 26, 2015

Some news from France, XCVIIII


Ok so we have time to talk about France and Paris in detail; this is winter still here but all we get is some rains today temp is 8C or about 45F. I had a busy day at work and now is time to tell you about my favorite spots in France.

Many times people ask me where to eat in Paris that can hold large number of people like 8-10 or more persons , well these are some of the favorites.

Le Mordant, 61, rue de Chabrol, 75010 with walls in brick and floor from the 19C with sardines and carpaccio of st jacques or scallops. Where I write in French, cityvox,

a bit more expats ambiance you have Au Passage, 1 bis, passage Saint-Sébastien, 75011 with a head of pig and choucroute.

and A Noste, 6 bis, rue du 4-Septembre, 75002 southwest cuisine with a food truck in street level and first floor a resto with grill beefs really nice.

For some brunch in Paris, you know, breakfast and lunch specials, these are the new trend in the city lol!

Les Parigots, 5, rue du Château d’eau  23€ brunch ;

Le Comptoir Général, 80, Quai De Jemmapes ,very cool place , brunch is 19€, and a museum on the art of ghetto, nice, see

Café Charlot, 38, rue de Bretagne , brunch 19€, the most refine,

You need to go beyond the tourist Paris of the Quartier Latin and the Marais, into the Faubourgs!!!  Go into the Faubourg Poissonnerie, with Michalak take away, 60, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière  with great patisserie;

by Faubourg Saint Denis you have the Le Syndicat 51, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis ,Young clientele with wooden tables and nice bucket seats and music hip hop.

And the omnipresent USA hot dogs place Hutch Hot Dogs House, 63, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis ;

Madame Gen. 1, rue Martel (10éme)  it is here that the artist community come to mingle. It is close to the New Morning where each night jazz, afrocuban music and blues bring long lines of aficionados.

And after 100 years of interdiction in Paris the distillery is open ; Distillerie de Paris, 54, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis ;

And by Faubourg-Saint Martin, we have the Allegra , 70, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin . Open continuously as a café pizzeria near the mayor’s house of the 10éme . ALl done with Italian flour bio, and creative coverings cook on site.

and why not go up to Montmartre , and visit La Boîte aux Lettres,108, rue Lepic . poule au pot, is great here, chicken casserole type.

and something to see in Paris , Musée  du Luxembourg “Les Tudors” reign from 1485 to 1603; March 18 to 19 july 2015.

Nàpoléon à Paris, from April 8 to August 30 2015; at the Musée Carnavalet,

Enjoy it , its a blast. cheers

February 21, 2015

A special post to visit Paris ,Versailles and Fontainebleau

Just a short special announcement, I do write quite a bit of travel tips and advice on a couple of other sites besides my blog, and doing something special in June 2015.

For those reading my blog and passing by Paris in June 24,25,26,2015 next I am hosting a tour of several places in Paris(where I worked), Versailles (Where I lived), and Fontainebleau (my first place visited in France and my wife’s region).

The visit will be as everyone pays its own and visit as much as they wish to visit on each day ,two days or all three days. I will have a place to meet on each day and we will go from there as a group. The basic visits are explained here;

June 24th 2015, Fontainebleau

We will meet at the castle main horseshoe entrance by 9AM as I will be driving  by car;  you can come a bit late if coming delays on public transport it will be fine. We will be able to see for the first time the apartment of the Pope.  The Musée Napoléon 1er , prince apartments, portraits of pageantry, sumptuous weapons, luxury works of art but also a reconstituted tent evoking the life of the Emperor in the countryside.  Also,  small apartments, the Chinese Museum, the jeu de paume, the Gallery of furniture… and is a very precious decorative arts museum. I will try to get you in to the Salle de la Belle Cheminée which off to the public but I have done conferences there. This is Belle-Cheminée du Primatice  building by the cour de la Fontaine. And of course, the 3 gardens styles .

June 25th 2015 ,Paris

We will meet by the statue of Gustave Eiffel on the Nord Pylon . Going to the underground of the Tour Eiffel, (price will be around 20 euros per person) and to get it I need 10 min.)FYI, and visit the Chapelle Expiatoire where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were first place and now a restful place and private of the Bourbon family. Go into some of the historical monuments in the Parisian deluxe Hotels done by Charles Garnier (opéra etc fame). We have the Chapelle Expiatoire open ok for Thursday June 25th so depending on when the tour Eiffel can fit us we will do this first or second.  We will do this as time permitting.

June 26th , Versailles

We will meet in front at the Place d’Armes outside castle. We will see the whole of the castle (private apartment of the kings),the Royal Chapel ,and Opéra theater, then out into the Trianons, and Hameau of M-A, with a passport pass 18€, this includes in addition, the Great water shows,musical gardens that will be playing in June and temporary exhibitions. I will walk you to my jogging trails and family picnics beyond the Grand Canal, into the farm at St Cyr that fed the palace in its heydays and still operated by descendants since 1741.  I have some surprises but will wait to have confirm by the castle and should be available before you get to it.

So if anyone is interested and will be available on those dates, let me know here. Check back here for any updates, and be there. And hopefull, we can finally meet in person ::) cheers

February 21, 2015

And here is Port Louis again on the radar scope ::)

Well this one is not far from where we live and the family visited back in October 2011 post is here. Then, with all the news about the high tides coming around in the area along the western coast of France, and the urge to go out, we pick this nearby town again this morning. This is Port Louis, and it is only 25 kms from my house. the tourist info first the city in French,

Then you have the area tourist office  by Lorient some in English,

and here is the region of Brittany tourist office in English,

Of course, we come by car, but do not take the autoroutes or N when possible to see more and pay less tolls. We use the D33 direction Nostang, Riantec, and Port Louis entering by the D781 and coming out from it .

Really ,the main urge to come here is the citadelle and its museum of the Indies. It is an impressive fortress and must visit if in the area. However, we have seen it so we move on. The museum  of the Marine  is a wonderful recollection of the seafaring French/Breton and its seafaring skills. The site is here

the other museum Inside that covers more of the compagnie des  indies épisodes to far régions such as Africa, Asia, and the Americas,

The  Citadelle de Port-Louis was built in the 16C by the Spanish and modified in the 17C by the French.

There is a nice Church  Notre Dame de l’Assomption, done between 1660-1670, and renovated in 1835, located at the Place Notre-Dame. The Church was burned by the wild crowds in 1910 and rebuilt later.  From the old church we see the facade from the renaissance pseudo classic , it has a square belltower pierce by bays decorated with pilastres. The bell dates from  1853.

The port locmalo is very picturesque and part of the old trade on sardines fishing here. You see the fishing harbor and the Chapelle Saint Pierre done in 1553 , rebuilt in 1859 ,and very much appreciated by the fisherman.  Move on to see the Grand Poudriére (built 1750-1752) or big powder house, to keep that old ammunition all along the ramparts leading to the citadelle. See the harbor or Port de la Pointe, a tuna fishing harbor since 1902.

Yhe port locmalo is very picturesque and part of the old trade on sardines fishing here. You see the fishing harbor and the Chapelle Saint Pierre done in 1553 , rebuilt in 1859 ,and very much appreciated by the fisherman.  Move on to see the Grand Poudriére (built 1750-1752) or big powder house, to keep that old ammunition all along the ramparts leading to the citadelle. See the harbor or Port de la Pointe, a tuna fishing harbor since 1902.

You have a nice Grande Plage or big beach here good in summer with plenty of changing rooms and restauration on the beach next to the citadelle. along the garden of the Mail you will see a somber reminder of the atrocities of WWII with a monument to the 69 résistants killed by the Nazis here. The harbor with its pleasure boats and the ria boat service to Lorient from the embarkadére is very nice. The transport site for buses and boat is here the CTRL ,

The harbor info on the capitainerie is here

We decided to leave and move on to do some shopping in Lanester, where there is a big shopping center CC Deux Rivières and plenty of stores all around it, huge.

Here we shop in a huge Hyper Géant Casino supermarket for some sundries and had our lunch in the nice quaint unique restaurant outside next to the parking.  The supermarket is the main Anchor of the shopping center and also has its own webpage here

This is right off the N165 free road here and a nice stop for everything. The resto is à la bonne heure ,and its part of the Casino chain.  All in bare pine wood outside and nicely done Inside with shade colors , great host, friendly folks who said good afternoon, and great concept. You have many menus for kids at 3,95€ and going all the way to 14,99€; we took the 8,99€ menu that was an entrée and desserts all you can eat !!! plus a bottle of red Bordeaux wine and coffee, the boys had a more hearty meal with steaks, all for 13,40€ per person. And the good thing is they have outlets in many other cities in France,

Afterward we headed home and rest as next week I will be busy with visitors , and travel préparations at work. Enjoy your weekend you all ,cheers.

Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis Port Louis  Lanester  Lanester  Lanester

February 17, 2015

Angers, the castle and the tapestry!!!

Well continuing with my thirst for getting to know all of France, ( long ::) ) I just visited Angers, a city where I have job duties nearby but never took the family;this time they went and like it.  The tourist office site is

We went by car of course, heading without paying tolls on the countryside for about 3 hrs driving from home to the parking in city center. We took the N165 to the beltway or péripherique around Nantes on the A844 and continue following all panels for Angers linking with the road D723 by Carquefou and onwards on the same road  again direction Angers  ,took briefly the D523 and then the D323 direction Angers/Paris until Angers centre ville and got up by the Parc République parking underneath the centre commercial Fleurs d’Eau on rue Plantagenêt. All daytime for 5,60€!

Once we arrive out of parking we headed straight for the Castle of Angers, a wonderful building and a must see, plenty on it, we like the fact there is a restaurant Inside! and the logis and chapel were recently renovated sparkling nice.

We continue to the magnificent Cathedral Saint Maurice a jewel of a Church and another must see there, do try to climb the montée Saint Maurice stairs lovely view up and down.

We wandered about the town , just clean lovely, lively and Young, full of life, very nice, the family like it.  Of course, they have the usual Galeries Lafayette, FNAC stores as well as France Loisirs at the Palace, and great tea/coffee place at La Feve d’Or, and the gourmand will love La Gourmandise even with Spanish nougats !!!  It has a wonderful train/bus terminal very modern and clean as

We love the tour Saint Aubin or tower in city center old town, and the Church Notre Dame des Victoires, and the shopping center Fleurs d’Eau at rue Plantagenêt where we parked our car at parc République.

Not to mention take a look at the Church St Laud near the train station and castle. And of course, the galerie David d’Angers , and the museum of Beaux-Arts or fine arts,

And see the grand théatre d Angers wonderful at place du ralliement. There we ate at superb Le Pub Ralliement with a meter of beer glass serving and wonderful pizzas, steak, and pasta. all with Cafe gourmand with sweets and coffee with a banana split for about 25,30 euros per person.

You have a lot to see not to mention by the airport you have a wonderful old planes museum. and the nearby castles like Serrant and the vinyards of Anjou. All a wonderful time in a nice town which we will be back. Enjoy it.

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February 8, 2015

Le Mans, Sarthe and 24 hrs racing

Ok so after passing by it and briefly stopping there on several times, decided it was time to bring the family over for more closer look to this old fortified city of Le Mans, in the Sarthe dept 72 in Pays de la Loire region.  The tourist office for it is at

I come by car, and it was about 3 hrs from me avoiding tolls which do not like if can avoided, why paid more taxes ::) We took off on the N24 towards Rennes and there connected with the N157 passing Vitré, then at Laval, gettting around the D900, briefly on the N162, and then theh D57 towards Le Mans that becomes the D357 and into the city by the place du pré and the free parking next to Church Notre Dame du Pré (11C)  now Under renovation and close. From here we walk all over the city.

We cross the river Sarthe and turn right into of going straight for city center, we walk along the river to see the Sol de la Place or arch of place St Hilaire, saw the Church Saint Benoit(12C) , and continue on to rue Gambetta towards place de la République. We saw the rénovations on the Chapelle de la Visitation (or Church from 1634)  and all the wonderful stores there from a Monoprix, to a Galeries Lafayette,and a shopping passage du Commerce and to the side the mall or shopping center of Centre Jacobins with a C&A and FNAC stores amongst many.

We continue visiting the Church Notre Dame de la Couture , ; near the prefecture govt building and walk all the way to the train station that I have used on several ocassions but never time to venture out of it.

We went to the Cinema Pathé ,   and the théatre des Quinconces, and it was time to eat, after passing several we finally decided to take on something new even for me, so we try Le Capitole, rue des jacobins,  It was ok just the service was a bit slow, we undertand as there was only one waiter for two floors. Otherwise all very good pizzas and ceasars salads, and tagliattoni pasta with cafe gourmand (with sweets) and a bottle of Chinon red  Domaine de la Perreire, excellent all for 21€ per person.

We passed by the Collégiale Saint Pierre la Cour, wonderful Church originally here since 865AD and renovated until 1834, now its a site of concerts and expositions, and events organise by the city, just to the left of the Cathedral.

We ,then, visited the jewel of the city the Cathedral Saint Julien, this is big and beautiful, so many wonderful chapels and the back of the altar is gorgeous, I am terrible of descriptions, rather give you the hint to visit ,its a must, fantastic Church, deserves more fame.

You have more of the above in the tourist office, but here either the left or right nave has gorgeous chapels as well. The stained glass is wonderful and look up the Christ in wood arms raise at the altar, the chapel of the Virgin and musiciens angels, are gorgeous. A must to see if only reason to visit Le Mans.

Not to mention the cité Plantagénet with its old wooden houses and quaint old Streets, and the ramparts well preserve.  After getting some goods supplies in breads and chocolates and terrine du mans, we headed for the Museum of 24 hours of Le Mans.

The Musée des 24 Heures-Circuit de la Sarthe is a bit outside the city center. It is located right next to the circuit of races for the famous car race the 24 hours of Le Mans. It has a wonderful boutique shop where we took some souvenirs with the boys. From the city center we went out into the D357 road and hook up with the D338 (Blvd Gen Patton) to rue de laigné turn right  the panels leading you to the museum. Of course from Paris you will take direction Angers get on the d323 road and follow signs to museum. this is a must and we will be back for more as the main race is in June 13-15, 2015.  The 24 heures du Mans race course webpage is here

The museum is set up along a path consisting of the heroes, great car racing folks, then the Legend on the history of the race, then the genious of the car developements, the side pit stops story , the history in technical terms and the actors or the cars themselves.  It is open April to mid  October from 10h to 19h and cost 8,50€ admission; from January to March opens 11h to 18h, as well as Oct to Dec. check for the holidays the museum is closed.

And we took the road from there to get back home in 3h15 hours. You can see a lot if well planned, and of course, we will be back, so much to see so little time. Having growing up in Daytona Beach and the 24 hrs of Daytona , this is a must to return just for the races, stay tune. Enjoy Le Mans.

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February 4, 2015

Some news from France XCVIII

Here we are the first day of snow in my area, wow; just enough to cover the ground with it and traffic was so easy nobody on the roads, even if Wednesdays mom stay home here , most of them, still the traffic was due to the snow announcement. Anyway by the time I got to work it was gone, and temps in 33F/1C sunny nice.

Time to tell you the latest news from the world of Paris ,France and others…. Have you heard of the Marais, well this is the place most people mention to me when coming to Paris, its tourist central for me but the attraction is big on visitors and the businesses there just can’t wait to see you.

The favorite sites on it are  in my opinion these

Then, you have the new cantines for eating and fun such as Boot Café. 19, rue du Pont-aux-Choux (3éme).Tél.: 06 26 41 10 66. Every day from  10h to 18h.  Anahi, 49, rue Volta (3éme). Tél.: 01 48 87 88 24.Every evening.   Gyoza Bar 38, rue Saintonge (3éme). Tél.: 01 42 71 15 34. every day except Sundays. The site is Under construction for the new location but have it all here  at lefooding, . The Broken Arm, 12, rue Perrée (3éme). Tél.: 01 44 61 53 60. every day except Sundays and Mondays from  9h to 18 h (café).  Mary Céleste 1, rue Commines (3éme). Every evening from 18h. Réservation only on the internet for the dinner.

And the places to see there are L’Institut Suédois has an  Exposition call “Plus que de la Pub”  from February 12 to May 2 2015. 11, rue Payenne (3éme).

and the places to shop, Galerie BSL, 23, rue Charlot,( 3éme), .This is the breeding ground of Young fashion designers including the best in the moment such as  Nacho Carbonell, Taher Chemirik , Charlotte Cornaton, Noé Duchaufour Lawrance, amongst others.  You, also, have new spaces or galleries there such as Galerie Mitterand enlarge with direct access to  79, rue du Temple showing «Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe, Minutes to Go», until March 21st,  and the Galerie Max Hetzler 57, rue du Temple showing «Günther Förg, Stations of the Cross», until March 7th.

The dept store BHV Marais open “Paperlab”,  a space dedicated to the international press at street level and plenty of magazines and books.

You have Hint Hunt, 58, rue Beaubourg (3éme) has installed a detective bureau of  James Murdoch and the  Zen Room – where you can closed in during one hour trying to solve the mysteries.

And the Maison Dior comes out with a new commercial here for the new perfum Miss Dior and chose Nathalie Portman to show case it.

Versailles just name it and brings back wonderful memories of my 10 years living there, a Royal Town of France.  The great restaurant Lenôtre is right there at the  Cour des Senteurs. A new concept of  restaurant-salon de thé -boutique.  Cour des Senteurs, 8 rue de la Chancellerie ; Tuesdays to Sundays  10h to 19h, is it this wonderful ,

And finally , as we leading up to Saint Valentin, why not at my old neighbor Saint Germain en Laye and the famous spot of restaurant Pavillon Henri IV right on the spot of the birth of Louis XIV. Menu 145€ per person.

Enjoy my France!

February 1, 2015

Quimperlé after the floods still looks wonderful!!!

I was here before the floods, even thus is only 50 minutes from me by car, decided to go back and check out the city of Quimperlé,in the Finistére 29 département of France.Region of Brittany. The tourist office for it in English is This is a town of floods at least since the 1600’s and until recently as early Feb 2014. One year later is as if nothing had happenned . The city center was flooded with 1,50 meters of water from the rivers Ellé,Isole, and Laita. You can come here by train( direct to Paris Montparnasse in TGV) , bus(Cocopaq) or car (N165), we do by car and even with it there are alternatives ways to do it. Today,we choose the back roads of the D102, D22,D724,D765 to get there in about one hour. We walk the city center after free parking by Place Charles de Gaulle,right next to the river Laita. All along to the city we past by wonderful towns such as Malachappe, a commune part of Pluvigner on the D102, then Languidic, Plouay, Arzano, and Quimperlé. Some of the most impressive buildings are the churches here, some I will put the photos too. We do walk Quimperlé around the river and into the old town, around our favorite Church Sainte Croix and over the small bridge pont fleuri where our favorite restaurant creperie du pont fleuri is located ,ready for us for lunch as it is open Sundays from 12-14H,–creperie-du-pont-fleuri We went nearby the Church and parking to the covered market halles right next to the Church Sainte Croix , where we had some intense coffee special blend, and we got our baguettes and pastries for this evening at the bakery open on Sundays until 19h30! Au Palet d’Or, 3 Rue Brémond d’Ars. After tries and démolitions from the first one in 1886, the Halles or covered market is redone in 2002 at Place Hevo near the above places. There still the impressive facade of the old convent now a cineam Le Bobine.  Had the picture but not the writing on it, the library of les mots des voyageurs on place Hevo is great for travel books all over and good service and selection, just behind the halles or covered market, site here

One of the advantages of living in history and monument rich Brittany, and just for info passed by two chapel churches and a private castle that will have to wait for next time in my region lol! So much to see and little time…. Until next time in Brittany, Morbihan and Finistére 1 2 punch. cheers  Quimperlé  Quimperlé  Quimperlé  Quimperlé  Quimperlé

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