Archive for December, 2015

December 30, 2015

Some news from France, XCXVII

So Happy New Year 2016 to all Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo!! And I will be getting ready for the next day to fly out to Asia (posts end of Jan’16).

The festivities will be tame down in Paris, very sober says the Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and no fireworks.  If around Paris to celebrated, two nice places to do it are the Bal Masqué Chez Papillon at  49, rue de Ponthieu (8éme). It will start December 31st at 22h and last until 06H before sale cost is a reasonable  50€ (admission, two drinks and , Open Bar Bulles  from 0h to 01h)  or pay 60€ at the door, space available.,41.html

Then, Le Perchoir Marais on the roofstop of the dept store BHV Marais. You will go in by  37, rue de la Verrerie (4éme). On December 31 from  20h15  to 05h.  admission for  100€. A must for the reservation at email or tel +33 (0) 6 12 05 92 76.

And on this site you can pick many other options to wait for the new year in Paris,

And afterward for that magical Galette du Roi tradition, I will pick one amongst many; Dalloyau teaming with Studio Harcourt creating a galette with a portrait of creative flavors, a sheet of wheat malt flour, cream of almonds and peanuts, pièces of pears cook in vainilla of Ceylan, and milk malt caramel on the exterior. The interior a féve or wishing figurine of  Harcourt awaits you. For each galette purchase you will receive a frame on the cabin of Studio Harcourt in the store of Dalloyau Faubourg (8éme). On sales from January 1st at 45€ ,boutique at 101, rue du Fbg Saint-Honoré (8éme) , and other point of sales for  Dalloyau. Yummy!!!

Public transports again will be free from December 31 at 17H to January 1st 12h midday Metro will be running until 02h15 and some lines will continue after that but not stopping in all stations: these are the lines open

Line 1 : Bastille, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Château de Vincennes, Châtelet, Concorde, Franklin D.Roosevelt, Gare de Lyon, George V, La Défense Grande-Arche, Nation, Pont de Neuilly, Porte Maillot.
Line 2 : Anvers, Barbès-Rochechouart, Belleville, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, La Chapelle, Nation, Père Lachaise, Pigalle, Place Clichy, Porte Dauphine.
 Line 4 : Barbès-Rochechouart, Châtelet, Denfert-Rochereau, Gare de l’Est, Gare du Nord, Les Halles, Mairie de Montrouge, Montparnasse, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte d’Orléans, Saint-Michel, Strasbourg-Saint-Denis.
Line 6 : Bercy, Bir-Hakeim, Boissière, Cambronne, Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Denfert-Rochereau, Kléber, La Motte Picquet-Grenelle, Montparnasse, Nation, Place d’Italie, Trocadéro
Line 9 : Alma-Marceau, Franklin D.Roosevelt, Grands-Boulevards, Havre-Caumartin, La Muette, Mairie de Montreuil, Nation, Oberkampf, Pont de Sèvres, Porte de Montreuil, Porte de Saint-Cloud, Saint-Augustin, Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, Trocadéro.
Line 14 : Bercy, Bibliothèque-François Mitterrand, Châtelet, Cour Saint-Emilion, Gare de Lyon, Madeleine, Olympiades, Pyramides, Saint-Lazare.
The RER train will be working on lines going into Paris to suburbs; the night bus  Noctilien beltway périphérique will not be working and other will be adapted to work as such  N21 and N122 at Gare Montparnasse, N22 at Place d’Italie, N23 at Gare de l’Est, N24 at Gare Saint-Lazare.  The terminus for those following to the  Gare de l’Est will be change as such  N144 to Gare de Lyon and N145 to Gare Montparnasse.
The New Year at my favorite Paris restaurant La Gare (for those new to my posts this is an old train station Muette converted into a wonderful restaurant in a chic area of real Paris)  for 105€ per person with DJ and dancing music until the wee hours of the day after. The menu will be as such: Glass of Champagne apéro with Tartare of sea bream, chiffon of Jerusalem artichoke , entrée ;Duck foie gras with truffles, frozen in the Jurançon, bread with figs, main dish to choose between  Ballotine of farm poultry ‘100day bluefooted’, cream truffle, winter vegetables or Navarin of lobster to the butternut squash and chestnuts, crustacean emulsion, dessert will be Fluffy biscuit Guanaja, creamy banana chocolate, coulis mango and passion, coffee, reservation at +33 (0) 1 42 15 15 31, webpage :
As for me this year will be sober too; staying home with home cooking and drinks , and resting for my long trip thereafter, first by train to Nantes, navette bus to airport, sleep overnight at airport and very early take AF to Paris CDG and then Asia for three weeks!!
HAPPY NEW YEARS 2016 everyone!
December 19, 2015

Some news from Bretagne XX

Here I am again, with the year best period coming up and us getting ready for our next travel outside Bretagne, let me fill you in on some interesting places, events going on here. This is the tourist site for Brittany, ; and the tourist site for my departément 56 Morbihan,

We have nice cities of character such as Rochefort-en-Terre, Josselin, and La Roche-Bernard worthy of a visit anytime. The Presqu’île de Quiberon with its Côte Sauvage is my favorite place in all, beaches, bars, stores and just plain beach bum lifestyle ::)

You can see a nice castle Suscinio by Sarzeau in the Presqu’île de Rhuys or the less known but impressive castle of Trécesson in Campaneac Inside the magical forest of Brocéalande of the king Arthur leyend.

Then, head for the islands of the wonderful world of the Gulf of Morbihan, at any time ,now in winter they are empty of tourists but locals are and really lovely, in summer they are pack with visitors. Île aux Moines and Île d’Arz are just great, many cruises companies take you there.  The biggest is Belle-Île and the idylic Hoëdic and Houat and farther away by Lorient ,you have Groix.

We have quaint muséums Worth seeing like the museum of passions and wings or Musée des passions et des ailes at Baden, open on Saturdays 15-18h; ; the Naîa museum at Rochefort en Terre in the castle park, with artistic imagination such as the leyend of a witch with movie, monumental,numeric, sculpture and paintings;

The Christmas season upon us as I have commented on other posts, have great rdv at Rochefort en Lumières until January 3rd 2016; and the same time at Vannes with the slide, white beard, and lights shows or Glise, barbe blanche et lumières. A more appropiate religious tone in Sainte Anne d’Auray site of the patron Saint of Brittany, with a Jesus Revival with a living nativity scene until January 3rd 2016.

Other areas with Chrismas markets are at Saint Esprit Auray (see post).

As winter is coming even if hardly noticeable with temps in 13C now, we have indoor heated pools with tuboggan etc such as Vanocéa in Vannes,Alé’O in Auray, and Neptilude in Quiberon.  Many activities such as kayak,canoe, catamaran and char à voile are available in winter at Kayak de mer de Saint Armel, 47° nautique in Séné, and the voile at  Zefattitud ,St Pierre Quiberon. Not to mention, the casinos, with a new one open in Vannes (parc du golfe) and others at Carnac, Arzon, Quiberon, and Larmor-Plage.

You have wonderful events such as the Festival Roué Waroch, BZH vibrations in Plescop, Feb 19-21 2016. , and the wonderful Corrida Saint Sylvestre December 27 2015 in Vannes on a course of 9,4 kms in the city Streets! Leaving 17h from the place Lucien-Laloche.

A bit on the big cities like Rennes with its night life around les Lices Sainte-Anne,and the rue St Michel/St Malo; and the old Streets around the Place des Lices and Place du Parlement. The nice  museum of fine arts or Beaux-Arts, the Frac Bretagne, museum of dance.  A bit on the cousin Nantes, with the new Hangar 21 area on the île de Nantes with cultural, restos, bars animated action,and the quaint passage Pommeray, and the Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Museum of Jules Verne and the machines de l’île.

Step aside , a wonderful recipe share with you as we are getting our menu down all home made by ourselves, the boys team ,and  I do the booze ::)  Tartare d’huîtres dans son bouillon d’échalotes. 12 oysters from bay of Quiberon or equiv; 100 grams thick cream, 4 shallots; persil, thym, and laurel spices to taste and olive oïl, wine vinager, 50 cl of dry white wine, one big potato and bread. the decoration garnish :Clean potato and cut in four pièces, set up on a dish with salt, Pepper, olive oïl and a little water, covered it with aluminum foil and cook at 180C for about 15 minutes.  The oysters you opened and clean but keep the water Inside, cut up the shallots with a thin drop of olive oïl ; in a big casserole pot make dissolve the shallots in a thin cover of olive oïl, add the white wine, quart of laurel leave, a bit of thym, have it reduce in heat about a third way before putting the 8 oysters and their water as well as thick cream, cook for five minutes; put all in the blender, keep on hot, cut up with a knife the rest of the oysters , mix with the rest of the shallots that are left, ground persil and a thin drop of olive oïl and a drop of wine vinegar. Dressed the last part with the big potato and two slices of toasted bread,serve the cream of oysters in a glass. And voilà we hope that this is right and we don’t s.u. as we are amateur chefs lol!!!

inspired on the above by the Chefs du Golfe (gulf) a group of chefs from leading restaurants in the area who team up for recipes and events in their restaurants, the site is here,

The best local product for drinks is the Andouille breton and the best is from Guéméné-de-Scorff. This sausage type is pork intestins rolled into one another and smoke in wood first oak and then beech during several weeks,and then cook in a broth flavored hay . It is needed several rolls of this manouever to make one sausage or andouille so therefore it is a bit pricier than most, but delicious!!!

The Halles des Lices covered market,Vannes  is on Tuesdays to Sundays from 8h to 14h  with late opening on these Holiday season.

If not Inside, go out in Vannes at the Café barge Piano barge on the bay by the cruise terminal. Classic and romantic on the water,  ; and the Jam Session at the Café Bœuf at 4 pl Bir Hakeim, just open last october in Vannes with a concept of theater, concerts while you eat. Open 12h -15h and 17h-23h and on event nights to 01H;no webpage yet but contact tel +33  (0) And of course, the home favorite Le Gambetta at Place Gambetta facing the pleasure marina with great place, food and service; sublime!!!

Enjoy the times of our lives:cheers and be merry, Merry Christmas !!!

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December 17, 2015

Some news from Spain XIIII

Well I have literally left Spain out for quite some time, this is one of my countries !!! Well here is something traditional for the Holidays coming up.

Where to spent your Christmas Eve in Madrid,(my city) ;for the moderate budget we have some of my favorites there Ayre Gran Hotel Colon  Pez Volador, 1 | Tfn.: 91 400 99 00 | Price: 93 euros (dining and confettis).Chlidren  Menú  (Under 12 ): 34 euros. This is where I have stayed lately in the city great hotel , friendly service and all central. Mercado de la Reina Gran Vía, 12 | Tfn.: 91 521 31 98 | Price: 90 euros (dining and cup of champa or wine). Real Café Bernabeu Avenida de Concha Espina, 1 (Puerta 30. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu) | Tfn.: 91 458 36 67 | Price: 149 euros (dining and confettis). Children Menú  (Under 12): 55 euros. Café de Colon (previus Café de los Artistas)  Goya, 2 | Tfn.: 91 431 86 15 | Price: 110 euros (dining and confettis). Puerta 57  Padre Damián, s/n (Estadio Santiago Bernabéu) | Tfn.: 91 457 33 61 | Price: 165 euros (dining), 210 euros (dining and confettis), 50 euros (confettis). Children Menú  (Under 12 ): 49,50 euros. Intercontinental hotel  Paseo de la Castellana, 49 | Tfn.: 91 700 73 71 | Price: 450 euros (dining and confettis), 125 euros (only confettis).Children  Menú  (Under 12): 125 euros.  .  Gran Melià Fénix Hermosilla, 2 | Tfn.: 91 431 67 00 | Price: 295 euros (dining).  Children Menú  (Under 10): 147,50 euros.  Palacio de Cibeles Plaza de Cibeles, 1 | Tfn.: 91 523 14 54 | Price: 231 euros (dining and confettis).

Then, you have the heritage cities to hold such a nice occassion, such as Alcalà de Henares and the year of Cervantes, ;  the markets of Avilà, the festival at Baeza , sweet Christmas at Càceres,  the patios of  Cordoba, draw one at Cuenca,  traditional at San Cristobal de la Laguna , go the past at Mérida,  see the history at Segovia,  route trends at Salamanca, gastronomic Santiago de Compostela,  the ninots of Tarragona, the traditional tiovivo at Toledo, and the guignols of Ubeda ;

And you can find more about them at the official heritage site of cities of the Spanish heritage, Ciudades de Patrimonio , here,

The best guide to choose your Spanish wine, is Guia Peñin , for years the best,

I just had my Beronia red Rioja Reserva 2010 tonite ::)  and as in my blogroll at the bottom of my main page, the wines of Spain  and more is found all here at Apolo y baco ,

One of the best Spanish language site on Spanish gastronomy is here, the one I follow, Diario de Gastronomia, sharing ::) and for Madrid my Madrid the best in Spanish is here, Los 5 mejores; ; and to rent the best of Spain in rural beautiful Spain, agroturismo casas rurales here  ;

Enjoy Spain in the magical time of Christmas to Epiphany !


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December 4, 2015

Some news from Bretagne, XVIIII

One day off before the start of another trip in Europe. So , this is it , more on my beautiful Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. Tourist office here

I was as usual by Vannes, and got me some goodies such as a new butcher shop by pl henri IV that is absolutely delicious having it already at lunch time.  Visiting some old building like the palace of Limur, the city hall or hotel de ville as well as administrative offices, the stores, and shops along rue Emile Bourgault and leading to t he place Henri IV  with a view of the wonderful Cathedral Saint Pierre, all wonderful clear day in beautiful old Vannes.

Then, we do have things to do in Brittany and especially my department 56 of Morbihan. tourist office, and the tourist office of the capital city of Vannes,

There is a great show at Le Dôme, Saint-Avé, a town I past everyday to work, Lo’Jo will be here Saturday March 5, 2016 20h45  or from January 14-17, 2016 Klaxon Cirque sous chapiteau the circus Under the dome tent,

You need to see the Cinéville cinémas at Garenne and Parc Lann (our favorite) multi cinema modern latest techno and great films for the entire family.  Places matinée from 5,50€  for films, shows for kids and opera plays on cinema vision screens most in the Brittany region.

At the cultural center La Lucarne at Arradon, you may wish to see Hugh Coltman January 29 2016 at 20h30 for remakes of songs by the great Nat King Cole. Klaxon as above at the Dôme will be here too.

The Festival of Youngs  music or Prom’nons nous will be back January 22 to February 9 2016 at many towns in the area from Arradon to Saint-Avé ; young musicians, players, shows , acts for the entire family more info here

Festival on the Streets free, the Lézard Ty Show, jam session 2016 from December 8 at 19h30 to December 19 at 20h different places in the area of Vannes, theater, music, with clic du clique, manu, kipik hip hop music all for donations to the feed the hungry organisation started by comedian coluche here resto du cœur. More info here

And yes the magic of Christmas is here too even if less known than on the East of France. At Vannes from december 18 to January 3rd 2016. Chalets and entertaintment all over the city with heritage tours . More info on the committee of festivals here, and the city of Vannes,

Also, at my other town Auray, Noêl à Auray, animations and chalets from December 11 to December 31 2015. Christmas markets on the 11-13 December and village of Noêl 18-20 December.

Great souvenir and nice place to visit is the Musée sous-marin du pays de Lorient or the submarines museum of Lorient, open from December 20 to Jan 3 2016 from 14h to 18h as well as on Sundays.  and see the Le Flore authentic submarine there,

The Château de Suscinio is magical and fortress style, open all year, with shops on explanation of what is the Middle Ages, life in a castle, and archeology explanations, December and january open from 14h to 17h. Great place indeed, see more here

Full program including Klaxon as above,and dance hip hop, theater of marionnettes, jazz etc all happening from now at L’Hermine espace culturel at Sarzeau, more here

And of course for the adults do not forget the Casinos we have good ones in near me such as one in Casino de Vannes! at Parc du Golfe , with machines, table games electronic roulette, and bar/brasserie resto.

And Casino de Crouesty with a great marina in Arzon, English electronic roulette, is new here with Christmas (30€) and New Year’s (109€) menus.

A great show Tal Coat from December 19 to May 20 2016 at the Hôtel de Limur in Vannes near the hotel de ville, graphic arts ,free admission on Rue Thiers, open Fridays, Saturdays,and Sundays from 13h30 to 18h. Great historical visual event in a historical mansion, built in 1685 and continue with the family Limur from  1820 to 1947; more info here, 19ticle/tal-coat-loeuvre-graphique/

For the health concious we have it too, the fair Respire la Vie (or breathes life) , salon bio, well being, and habitat, at the parc Expo from January 22-24 2016 from 10h to 19h; more info here

For detentre and having a great time , food and entertainement head for L’Atlantique at the port of Vannes, , with 140 wine references, menus from 12€, 19,50€ and 25,90€. meats and fish/seafood  dishes, terrace with view to the harbor (port). Webpage at my favorite resto place here, the Fork or la fourchette,

Now enjoy some pictures at random today in my capital and work city… Cheers and TGIF !

December 2, 2015

Some news from France, XCXVI

Another passing of wonderful Paris; nothing to report about security for me was same as ever. The people were all over, and in fact easier on the transports. I took metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim from Montparnasse plenty of folks but not full. Just happened that I was ticketed by the metro police for the first time ever, always a first time, got in on the side from Bd Grenelle and forgot to validate the ticket go figure , even the experts missed it; got a fine 33€ but I can claim it back as the door swing was not secured open on both sides when it should be open from the Inside only, go figure for security !!!

Anyway with friends went to check this out very nice, in Paris, La Régalade Saint Honoré, same as in Porte d’Orléans but in a more classic neighborhood. You have here from pork to fish to seafood, but the best is the farm pork or cochon fermier. They have a nice terrace and open every day from 12h-14h30 and 19h-22h30.  no webpage,  106, rue Saint Honoré,tel +33 (0) 1 42 21 92 40. Really good French real food.

I came by taking the TER train from Auray to Rennes and then the TGV from Rennes to Montparnasse, the return was straight to Auray by TGV. Really easy on all runs.

Something to come later on but keep the dates as they will go fast.  Adele is coming to perform Hello and other hits at the Accor Hôtels Arena 12éme, June 9-10 2016 , cost runs from 51€ to 128€. Sales go on from December 4th 2015 at 9h.

The gourmet festival is coming back to Paris for the second time at the Grand Palais, 18 chefs including Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy, and Le Quellec, Sombardier amongst others; February 11 -14 2016, admission from 14€ more info here

The Château de Versailles is showing in the Galerie des Glaces an extravaganza in period costumes danse baroque, private concerts, and other theatrical visits in the Royal Apartments.  May 30 2016 from 135€ ; more info here

Also, June 25 23h30 or 11:30PM the Grand Masked Ball of Kamel, Under the theme Beauty and the Beast,

and the Louis XIV the Fire or Sun King, July 7,8,14,and 15 at 22h or 10PM, more here

And one of my favorite castles and most visited , is Vaux-le-Vicomte, still in private hands of the Vogue, something wonderful every year and this one unique, normally they do a giant Christmas tree in the Grand Salon, but this year in honor of the 400 anniversary of Nicolas Fouquet, it will be occupied by a giant Wheel of 14 meters high (Grande Roue) and on the rest of the rooms over 8000 Christmas décorations. At the village of Maincy (77 Seine et Marne) from December 12, you can get reduce tickets here ; and the castle site is here

The trip from Auray to Paris was nice, hope you enjoy the post. Cheers!

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