Archive for November, 2015

November 29, 2015

Brazil , the States of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais!!!

Wonderful big country with great ambiance and friends; always a pleasure to visit and Lucky to do it every year. This time went a bit to old grounds and had the opportunity to visit new ones. First I got there from Nantes, Paris CDG and Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport, then on  to Paulinia and Descalvados in the State of Sao Paulo to repeat. I then went on to Très Coracoes and Varghina in the State of Minas Gerais.

From Sao Paulo GRU took shuttle private taxi to Paulinia; there friends took me to Descalvados and from there shuttle taxi to Varghina; friends took me to Tres Coracoes and again shuttle taxi back from Varghina to GRU Sao Paulo airport.

the tourist office for the STate of Sao Paulo is here  ; State convention bureau here

and the State of Minas Gerais is here , and the govt page on tourism ,

I had dinner the first day in Paulinia at the Churrascaria  Estancia Grill, a big place with friendly service and the typical Brazilian grill house with all kinds of cuts of meats, salads buffets,and desserts with beers was a great place and good company.

We went by car to Descalvados in the country of the State of Sao Paulo, the main sight in city center is the Church of St Theresa is imposing in the town. The hotel Descalvado was just across the street , the only one, more like a truck stop hotel but decent, clean ,and friendly service.

We had breakfast all you can eat and room for about 27€! per night. I stayed two nights here enjoying the country life. For dinner I try the new Japanese restaurant here Nintai, newly open and friendly welcome with buffet all you can eat and beers. For dinner I try Cabana Churrasqueria, a big place lively with local people and local food steakhouse all you can eat with great desserts! and course beers Original Antarctica! the address with link to site is here ,

Next ,I was on my way to Varghina where our next hotel was to visit Tres Coracoes. The latter is best known as the birthplace of the great football/soccer player Péle! It has a statue in the entrance to the town.  It even has a museum (no time to visit it)  on the street house he was born here,

The roads were ok all over except of course coming into Sao Paulo, but even then traffic move fairly quickly; it only gets bad if there is an accident or in rush hours to/from  work. You can check on the traffic on the main highways or rodovias here,

Upon arriving at Varghina I went straight to the hotel,Grand Enio very modern, nice but had no gel/shampoo in bath! The resto for breakfast was very good indeed. The hotel was in front of the Universidty UNIFAS Santa Luiza. Here I stayed for two nights as well. The best was the breakfast and dinner time here. good dish of picanha beefs with onions in a mayo base sauce with good beers Itaipava premium.

I was able to go out for lunch to the Recanto Flora, and forgot my camera !!! lol! oh well the place is a typical Minas Gerais cuisine with shop and restaurant overlooking the greens of the fields behind it. Very friendly service was promise if call ahead will cook something typical just for me!  They  have other businesses like a cheese making company in the farm or fazenda casa flora more closer to Très Coraçoes.  The views on this resto search site is just like it for reference and to be back with photos !

Varghina has a good bus terminal with connection to all the big cities like Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro etc.

There is a big project to open a mall or shopping center just outiside Varghina call Via Café; this is huge and awaiting stores and completion, stay tune for it, Worth it, nice town.

Last full day in Varghina was nice, i was taken to eat at Venda do Chico, more on the side of Très Coraçoes ; a marvelous place in a farm with cafeteria, resto and grocery store where the coffee is done on an oven the old fashion way. The company was nice, the service great, and the food sublime with minas gerais original food in pork,beef, rice and beans, salads all in different dishes to serve oneself,and original antarctica beers! wonderful;need to repeat here. see the main picture on the site and you will know what I mean !!

At night to top it all off I was taken to Café Com Pinga;( an intriguing word for some Spanish speaking people ::)) but here is an rum alcohol base drink similar to Cachaça. It is another term for it a bit cheaper. And the place was great with pork ribs, fry fish, and great itaipava premium beers. The views over the city as the night fell was fantastic and live music playing oldies but goodies was a king size top off to a wonderful night send off from Brazil; I should be back here::) Same site here to show what it is as there is no webpage for it,

And I came back by car from the hotel in Varghina to Sao Paulo Guarulhos about 4 hrs drive on highway very nice ride, and took my flight back on TAM Brazilian Airlines, very slim service not much to eat or drink but can’t ask for more on economy ::) the connection with Air France was a bit tense for the events in Paris security is tight. Landing on CDG terminal 1 could not take the CDGVAL train to T2F so need to walk around it to T2E and then cross the parking underground to connect with T2F;if you are coming in next few days give yourselfs ample time. Otherwise, another wonderful trip to wonderful Brazil. Muito Obrigado!

Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Descalvados Varghina Varghina Varghina Varghina

November 22, 2015

Some news from France, XCXV

Just ready for another trip but before let me tell you about the newbies I found on my last one passing by Paris.

The famous restaurant Thoumieux at 79 rue Saint Dominique is changes colors to the restaurant , new chef of Pakistani origins Sylvestre Wahid  with subtle cuisine now with a brasserie on ground floor and a gastronomic resto on first floor (2nd US).

Try taste wines and even take it home at the Les Caves du Louvre, 52 rue de l’Arbre-Sec,1éme. sommelier led wine tasting with high tech sensory ambiance. visits and tastings from 11€ to 35€.  The building facade dates from the 17C raised by the sommelier of king Louis  XV, it houses wonderful vaulted cellars re arrange with taste for the wine aficionados.

You want to eat in style while visiting the museum Baccarat (crystals) then head for the Cristal Room Baccarat, 11 place des Etats Unis, 16éme. Decorated by Philippe Starck in the former home of Marie-Louise de Noailles who host the who is who of Paris now Under new chef Baptiste Trudel (disciple of Guy Martin) menus at 119€ (who said we cannot dream!);

Do not know if posted on earlier posts but if you want to rent a hotel for a few hours in Paris or elsewhere now you can on this site dayuse. WWW.DAYUSE.COM

If you want to catch a meal or drink in a restaurant late in Paris well do it at my favorite Chez Denise (Denise Benariac)  open until 5h (5AM) Near the halles no webpage but one of my favorite gourmand pages in Paris here ;

For chocolates to die for go to La Manufacture de Chocolat, 40 rue de la Roquette ,11éme; where Nicolas Berger transforms the cocoa beans into art. For the season try the Flocon de Noêl for 5€. The shop was founded by great chef Alain Ducasse.

Now for the season to come, Christmas and New year, Champagne is in order, have yours yet? mine is on the cellar. The Philippe Gonet cuvée Belemnita Grand Cru 2005 is on, buy in Paris at les Caves de Passy, 3 rue Duban, 16éme ;

Another great caviste or cellarmaster in Paris closer to the sights is Legrand filles et fils, 1 rue de la Banque 2éme;

The musée Rodin opens its doors after renovation with great new rooms and more to see! 3 yrs of rénovations to boot all restore and redesign! The museum is at the old Hotel Biron (where Rodin lived since 1908 until his death in 1917)  the tour has been redone to what in actuality is a new museum really! It has 18 rooms with a new space for graphics arts and photography. The paintings from Munch to Van Gogh are also on display now. 79 rue de Varenne, 7éme.

In the Philharmonie de Paris, 221, Avenue Jean-Jàures, (Cité) 19éme come to see the work of Marc Chagall (1887-1985 born in Bielorussia). The presentation is of le Triomphe de la Musique lasting until January 31 2016.

You can see at the Galerie des Gobelins, 42 avenue des Gobelins ,13éme a recreation of the military camp of Napoleon with tents and all, luggage items, folding furniture and others. Until December 13 2015. 6€ with free admission last Sunday of the month,

If you want to know Parisian French ::) parigos we call them, then buy the book , dictionnaire Je Parle le Parisien by Jean-Laurent Cassely et Camille Saféris, Parigramme, 144 pages 11,90€ It can be found in leading libraries in Paris such as FNAC.

Anécdote, you know there are 6100 Streets in Paris? yes. the shortest is rue des Degrés 2éme with just a stair of 6 meters linking it to rue de Cléry to the rue Beauregard. The longest is the rue Daumesnil 12éme that has 6 kms from the place de la Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes.

And Under construction the new palais de justice  estimated by June 2017 will be the second tallest building in Paris behind the tour Montparnasse. It will be near the boulevard périphérique and the porte de Clichy with 160 meters high in 38 floors. It will house all the courthouses social security,police,and civil courts. It will be connected to metro lines 13 and 14 and tramway T3. To see ::)

From the end of October past, the metro line 14 is bigger!! leading from the gare Saint Lazare to the Pont Cardinet (where i like to park my car ::)) , by 2019 it will reach the mairie de Saint Ouen (where the famous flea market is) and will have four new stations , it will be automated and will reach eventually Saint-Denis-Pleyel to the north, Orly airport to the South to become the most frequented line!

A special mention for Grenoble that will have at its Musée de Grenoble a presentation on Georgia O’Keefe photos until February 7 2016. open every day except Tuesdays from 10h to 18h30 at 5 place de Lavalette.

You can shop to die for not far from Roissy CDG Paris airport terminal 3 has a free navette bus to it!! even opens on Sundays. shopping,restaurants, cinema, great for the rush traveler who wants to see a bit more of France; This is Aéroville;

Back to Paris proper, want shopping for women clothing…head for Brand Bazaar, 33 rue de Sévres, 6éme; over 100 designers names all in one place, to shop for it…!

For children clothing and toys something different in Paris and elsewhere in France ,to me they are in Nantes too. Moulin Roty, in Paris at 22 blvd des Filles du Calvaire 11éme;

Paris is underground too you have heard of the Catacombes but do you know there is the regard de la lantern or Manhole of flashlight in Belleville 20éme? the underground of the Canal Saint Martin (can be seen on guided tour) in all 2350 kms!!(1460 miles)  of sewers, 211 kms (131 miles) of metro lines and 260 kms (161 miles) of hallways in the metro, ghost stations included. You can get guided tours of these by contacting the stone quarries of Capucins, SEADACC here, ; canal st martin contact the boat rides of Canauxrama, one of my favorites boat rides in all of France, ; and the aqueducts du nord de paris or ASNEP you can contact phone email and see photos of what they do here ;; for something different to see in Paris, you are not done yet ::)

And I will missed it this year as will be traveling abroad just this afternoon, but the Salons des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants or independent wine producers will be held again at the Porte de Versailles expo center from November 26 to the 30th. 10h to 20h except the 30th will be from 10h to 18h. The best small wine producers of France will be there,and if you love wine like me and are here go there!  And yes no matter the events in Paris all of these will be open YES!

Finally, cannot dismiss the events in Paris recently, my condolences to all the families and friends touch by this event where one Young American women was one of the victims in Bataclan, an entertainment place I love and participated in many events there lastly the Festival de Rio Brazilian extravaganza. Paris will be and is and will stay Paris, the most beautiful city in the world! RIP and life go on.



November 20, 2015

One, two , Mexico DF!!

Now I am rested to finish Mexico to tell you all about it, and then out again Sunday for another wonderful trip, happy travels indeed ::)

As usual left from Nantes airport to Paris CDG and then Mexico DF Benito Juarez airport; staying at the nice City Express Plus Patio Universidad in DF. Here are the contacts :

The hotel was central at the corner of Universidad and Av. Popocatépetl in the shopping center Patio Universidad, it open in 2015 very nice with stores like Best Buy, The Home Store,  Steve Madden, Sports World, and groceries Superama. Also many restaurants like Starbucks, El Bajío, California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang´s, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Carls Jr., and IHOP. open 9h to 22h;also a wonderful cinema Cinépolis. no webpage yet!

I did show up and went straight to El Bajio for my first dinner there, nice place if a bit hurry up to get rid of me lol! The lady kept giving me dishes to try and I keep saying no thank you have enough, endless, but the food and drinks were good, bohemia oscura beers !

I did a lot of walking around to see old names like Walmart, Sears, and the Mexican dept store Liverpool,(chic), and had my rides thru Insurgentes Sur and into the State of Mexico outside DF in Ecatepec de Morelos. Of course ,my hotel had great views of the city of Mexico too. Driving around in Ecatepec  I had lunch at Los Bisquets de Obregon local cuisine restaurant with a great cecina steak (salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke) with mashed potatoes, mexican rice, and mango/papaya juices here !

Next , after doing some walking around safe in DF! lol! I met some old friends at the Olive Garden in the Patio Universidad shopping;  here with ravioli stuff champignon and a great Trapiche malbec Argentinian wine, coffee nice, great memories ;

This allows me just before to go over the Plaza Universidad shopping center, ; which later on hook up with another friend and after already having eaten we went over for some snacks and drinks at the Sanborns Inside.

And following my culinary taste of Mexico DF on another night went for TGIFridays hahaha yes very original , I remember this resto from back in USA and love them. Found them here with a nice big burger and try Victoria and Pacifico beers !! This was ,also, in the Patio Universidad shopping!

Moving right alone as able to see the Métrobus system with elevated platforms running east-west and north-South in the city ,well the traffic is still BIG! Teatro Insurgentes was nice but no time to see a show; right in chic area by city center building in Insurgentes Sur.

And, I had time with another friend to see the Mexico vs El Salvador match concacaf WC qualifying won easily by Mexico 3X0 at Hooters another of my old favorites ::) Great Indio beer and nachos snacks with cheese and the action was good with friendly crowd.

I came back out from Mexico  DF , easy. and my trip continue on to Paris. Enjoy Mexico!!!

Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF ecatepec Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF Mexico DF

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