Archive for October, 2015

October 28, 2015

Some news from France, XCXIIII

Mid week blues and autumn is here with its cloudy darker days and rainy driving on the country roads of Brittany is exhuberant  like you are alone in the planet, eerie good feeling of independance. Oh well back to the real world; news and tidbits from my France

There is a movie documentary on Alain Cavalier, who knows Bartabas long ago, asked the famous Squire if he could shoot the training for his next show, in the company of his favourite horse, Le Caravage. Every day, filmmaker, equipped with a small camera, went to the fort of Aubervilliers, seat of the equestrian theatre Zingaro, with Bartabas, to record their sessions. The work of the riders to the routines with the rider through the care of the animal, Alain Cavalier misses nothing laborious daily which unites Bartabas to his horse.

And the best beer places were recently rank by Le Figaro , I will just post my favorite from the 10 or so they mentioned;  The Frog & Rosbif. 116, rue Saint-Denis (IIe). Tél.: 01 42 36 34 73. Tlj. A la Carte: 15-20 €. Beers (25 cl): 4,50 €.

The department stores of Paris are innovating, such as Printemps , now a new set of tablesetting at its brasserie restaurant on top; Terres de Café showcasing a new tasting sensation of coffees in the 3rd floor.(US 4th).  Fauchon is in the basement or street level serving a mister chou in chocolate. Marks & Spencer with a black boutique showcasing British products. The unmistakable illumination of the facade, as of 5 November, on the theme of the fairy spring . This creature, wearing a flowery and yellow bibi incandescent, illustrated in the 1920s a collector in the shop calendar. It purchased here in the windows as on the main wall, large luminescent (9 meters long).

The Galeries Lafayette, creating a 400 M2 space on beauty products, welcoming Victoria Beckham as well as a day of chocolate on November 20th with Alan Ducasse,  Pierre Hervé amongst others. New gallery on the first floor (2nd US) showcasing the American Alex Prager until January 23,2016 , 6th floor (7th US) will become a huge gift wrapping and souvenirs floor as well as Christmas décorations. Animations around the year-end holidays contest dressing table (Dec. 16), giant cooking classes with the chefsworkshop (26 Nov, 3, 10 and 17 Dec.) and  truffle market  (from 17 to 31 Dec.). Lafayette Gourmet.  The saga of Star Wars and a giant Disney store  and the store front with a cosmic showcases, an intergalactic giant FIR, an expo of helmets reviewed and corrected by street artists, a capsule collection of clothes inspired by the Jedi and the Force.

BHV Marais is not left behind, the blue Court persists and signs welcoming this winter kiosks gastro such as BGR (Burger Gourmand and Race), and, soon, a hut for tea time. The only, the unique English brand floral so take his quarters on the ground floor (since 18 Nov). Even the pastry of dreams set in the breathtaking Rotunda of the 3rd floor back his watch of hour-long, using every weekend brunch look Union Jack. You will not have the view on the River Thames, but the left bank perspective. And the inauguration of a winter roost. The Norwegian kitchen replaces the bruschetta, parasols, pleas and the windscreen heating fungi garlands of guinguette. Playlist, it is responsible for warming the atmosphere.

Le Bon Marché, after the fountain of youth‘s space  and the espace Souliers  and a comprehensive reorganization of La Grande Epicerie, the store continues its transformations by bringing natural light by the stained glass windows and other glass windowpanes, and inserting “l’art de vivre” to all floors, with a florist in the beam mode, beauty products or perfumes to the youth space creators.  Throughout the store, pieces of furniture and other objects join the collection of works of art that punctuate the spaces. Pierre Paulin was honored with an exhibition space home (1st. until 30 November). Reissues of the famous designer chairs are on sale in exclusive fabrics. Conversations at the bookstore, under the canopy, between writers and Laure Adler will resume next January.

And the venerable Samaritaine, awaiting the total transformation of the Department store of the rue de Rivoli, slowed down several years, is finally underway! A colossal construction, of three years minimum, which notably gives birth to shops, offices, a luxury hotel, babycare center and more. More info here

And to close , coming by my area, do see , taste and buy the Strawberries of Plougastel, simply the best. There is even a museum for them here. Started in 1992 as the museum of local heritage and later in 1997 to the museum of the heritage and the strawberry. Today, it has nine rooms of exposition in two floors showing the history of the Strawberry since the 18C to our days as well as the heritage of the peninsula of  Plougastel .

Have a great rest of the week. Cheers



October 24, 2015

The land of Sherry or Xéres or Jerez;vinos olé!!!

Here I am back after a most wonderful week in the corners of Spain down in the province of Cadiz, autonomous region of Andalucia, Kingdom of Spain. This is for real Chiclana de la Frontera ,and Jerez de la Frontera. Gorgeous.

The tourist office sites are here:

The sherry wines are made mostly from Palomino grapes in this part of the world for centuries, whites wines of Manzanilla and Fino ,and darker oxidize wines such as Oloroso and Amontillado, and dessert wines done from Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez. The word of Sherry is an English version of Xeres or Jerez. The area covers from Sanlùcar de Barrameda to Puerto de Santa Maria passing by Jerez de la Frontera.

The history here goes back to the Phoenicians to the year 1100 BC! but the distillation was born with the Moors in 711AD ,and from 1264 Under Spanish Kings the wines took on Europe and the rest of the world. The different styles as told above are

Fino (‘fine’ in Spanish) is the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of Sherry. The wine is aged in barrels under a cap of  yeast flour to prevent contact with the air. Manzanilla is an especially light variety of Fino Sherry made around the port of Sanlùcar de Barrameda. Manzanilla Pasada is a Manzanilla that has undergone extended aging or has been partially oxidised, giving a richer, nuttier flavour. Amontillado is a variety of Sherry that is first aged under flor but which is then exposed to oxygen, producing a sherry that is darker than a Fino but lighter than an Oloroso. Naturally dry, they are sometimes sold lightly to medium sweetened but these can no longer be labelled as Amontillado. Oloroso (‘scented’ in Spanish) is a variety of sherry aged oxidative for a longer time than a Fino or Amontillado, producing a darker and richer wine. With alcohol levels  between 18 and 20%, Olorosos are the most alcoholic sherries. Like Amontillado, naturally dry, they are often also sold in sweetened versions called Cream sherry. As with Amontillado “Sweet Oloroso”, “Rich Oloroso” and “Oloroso Dulce” are prohibited terms. Palo Cortado is a variety of Sherry that is initially aged like an Amontillado, typically for three or four years, but which subsequently develops a character closer to a Oloroso. This either happens by accident when the flor dies, or commonly the flor is killed by fortification or filtration. Jerez Dulce (Sweet Sherries) are made either by fermenting dried Pedro Ximénez (PX) or Moscatel grapes, which produces an intensely sweet dark brown or black wine, or by blending sweeter wines or grape must with a drier variety.  Cream is a type of sweet sherry first made in the 1860s by blending different sherries, usually including Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.

For a further breakdown and official information on Sherry see the official site for the wine here ;

Here I visited the famous farm-house of Domecq at Finca Los Alburejos with Alvaro Domecq himself riding the horses;  ; and later went to Gonzalez Byass bodega for more wines and Tio Pepe!!!

In both properties above had a sumptuous dinner in the bodega or picador arena in the wonderful Andalusian nights to remember forever.

And to do the reverse this time, I stayed at the wonderful Barcelo Sancti Petri Spa Resort at Chiclana de la Frontera. A wonderful pool and waterfall with jacuzzi and japanese style garden lake, disco Siddhartha with an Indian decoration and the Dublin Bay bar Irish Pub. Great amphitheater outdoors, and the buffet resto Almadraba,restaurante Atunante and Spa of course. Just a place not to leave but then again, you do not want to miss the wines!!  You can see it no need to tell you lol!

And of course, I took off from Nantes to Jerez de la Frontera airport on a charter jet and then cercanias 1 train to Cadiz train station and bus to 020 to Chiclana ,taxi to the resort above. On the way back we took a taxi to airport at 98€ for four persons. Easy ride and great fun, now enjoy the photos. Until next month’s trips.  ;

Jerez Jerez Jerez

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October 15, 2015

Carpi, one more time in Italy!

ok so after a long two years I was back by Carpi, in Modena region of Italy. This was a shorter trip just a couple days or what I call my touch and go trips lol!

As usually not, had to go to catch my TGV at Nantes train station so needed to drive from home almost 2 hrs. The TGV was nice and quick to Roissy CDG airport, from where took my AF flight to Bologna Marconi airport. There taxi shuttle to Carpi.

The train station in Nantes is right in city center not far from the castle of the dukes of Brittany (old region now in pays de la loire region);

You know from my rambling always go by CDG a nice airport that many do not undertand but I find it easy.

And arrival in Bologna airport is by now easy too, not a big airport but nicely done.

And my ride into town is by Mr G Auto Blu Noleggi, Via Ballona, 9/A – 46023 – Gonzaga – MN tel +39 339 3846496. Used him several times always nice and ponctuel at the right price cash better.

Upon arrival, went to hotel Carpi, my home away from home in the area, good for the fashion industry of which the area is well known.

Went out to a real restaurant as the hotel only offers breakfast and night snack bar, and just couple hundred meters there are a bunch of eating places. I remember the Roadhouse Grill steakhouse and went there, very nice decorated and well received. Even try my Italian lol! service was good the burger and miller genuine draft beer was good and needed. Nice place;

After a rest went out to do my duties and for lunch went to a very nice sportclub restaurant that was a delightful place of good cheers , great buffet food and main dish of tagliatini di porcini something like that !! and it was great with a good Le Focaie local red wine. The place is the Ristorante Sporting Club di Michele at

Came back at night for dinner but my local friends decided to try a beer place brewing their own and as the card machine was broken I end up paying with cash, always good to have cash euros you know! a great romano picante pizza and house beers plus coffee did the trick and the girls were the best looking  I have seen while in the area; I think they must have been models as it is a fashion area. The place was the Giustospirito of Carpi,

I really had no time to go into city center as the next day had to get back to the airport early; same reverse routine, taxi shuttle to G Marconi airport at Bologna, AF flight to CDG Paris, down to the SNCV TGV train service to Nantes , pickup my car and go home; a real European tour ::)

And now until next time as will be out for a week in another place another country dear to me; see you soon and happy travels.

Bologna  Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi Carpi

October 7, 2015

Some news from France , XCXIII

Now back in my area after a cloudy cool humid day at 14C or about 58F in lovely Brittany. Its time to tell you my ramblings about Paris and France.

The school is in and especially the Universities are in full swing so the Quartier Latin is humming. How to get connected on your WiFi’s ?  You can do it at AntiCafé Beaubourg 79 rue Quincampoix 3éme with tariffs of 4€ per hour  or Hubsy 41 rue Réaumur 3éme same prices.

More choices here , La Chambre aux Oiseaux 48 rue Bichat 10éme  and the Coffee Spoune 36 rue Saint-Sébastien ,11éme no webpage as well as Coworkshop 29 rue des Vinaigriers 10éme similar tariffs and on all discounts from 10-15% for students id.

Who said Paris is expensive, you have to follow the students !!! these have dishes for 10€,  this can happened at the Bouillon Belge 6 rue Planchat, 20éme  Tél.: 01 43 70 41 03), the Tribal Café 3 cour des Petites-Ecuries,10éme Tél.: 01 47 70 57 08) ,Cordonnerie 28 rue Greneta 2éme Tél: 01 40 28 95 35), pizzas slices at Al Taglio several addresses but one nice one at 20 rue du Dragon 4éme  Tél.: 09 66 89 14 72), the Pizza dei Cioppi  44 rue Trousseau 11éme  Tél.: 09 84 48 14 58),  the Chipotle 20 blvd Montmartre 2éme , Miznon 22 rue des Ecouffes, 4éme  Tél.: 01 44 78 01 89), Grillé 15 rue Saint-Augustin 2éme  Tél.: 01 42 96 10 64), Zarma 64 rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle 9éme. Easy to find their webpages me think. Some have just a Facebook page , but that is something else I do not post.

For a nice inexpensive happy hour go for ! La Tireuse 18 rue Laplace 5éme, or Charlie et sa biére à 2 balles 29 rue de Cotte, 12éme.   Go over to the area of  rue Jean-Pierre-Timbaud,by Oberkampf and get in on L’UFO, La Marquise, L’Orange Mécanique or the Le Onze Bar.  A bit later you can stop by the L’International 5-7 rue Moret and arrive to the morning hours in Le Nouveau Casino 109 rue Oberkampf.

And from there to dance the night away into the weee hours, need stamina it can be loong ::)

Le Virgo with électro scene every Fridays and with DJ at 34 rue du Départ , 14éme ,just around the corner from my old job site ! That is Montparnasse.

La Concrete each Sunday open 7h to 2h morning next at 69 Port de la Rapéen 12éme.

 Le Tunnel , on old stone quarries of chalk and scene of the Tunnel, new galleries are exploded with a second scene, at 5 chemin des Montquartiers, in nearby town of Issy-les-Moulineaux dept 92. get there on the metro line 12  Mairie d’Issy or RER C Gare d’Issy.

Le Faust, huge dancefloor and a LED ceiling! you can see great things here, at Pont Alexandre III, 7éme wonderful terrace Under the bridge,

L’Underclub a new one by the  Châtelet, club techno-house  that can pack 300 persons at 57 rue Quincampoix 4éme.

And one of my favorites of younger days is still there  on the roofstops of the fashion city or  Cité de la mode,the Wanderlust ,32 quai d’Austerlitz ,13éme, now still bringing the best of Paris youth that my boys enjoyed too from Wednesday to Saturdays evenings. Giant terrrace with drinks , night projections and music with DJ with house and techno until the wee hours.

Can’t leave without reminiscent of my Paris days at the Fête des Vendanges in Montmartre now going on from today October 7 thru the 11th. The great show is the Grand Défile  Saturday October 10th from 15h to 17h45 departing from the mayor’s office of the 18éme arrondissement to the place Saint-Pierre.

A bit of nostalgia and good old times still around the corner for those passing by Paris.

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