Archive for February, 2016

February 25, 2016

Some news from France ,XCXX

Ok so here is some odds and ends from la Belle France. Things to come and already here,etc etc etc.

The first tactile screen for finding your way in the transport system of Paris RATP have been installed on the line 1 station Gare-de-Lyon. To this coming summer there will be about another dozen done again to help the users and especially the tourists, done in 7 languages. You will be able to do a walking trip plan on the ZenWay system on the screen .In the next weeks the stations that will have this would be Montparnasse (XVe), Denfert-Rochereau (XIVe), Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile (VIIIe), Les Halles (Ier), Madeleine (VIIIe), Gallieni (Bagnolet) and Concorde (Ier).

February 25 at 18h will be shown online a virtual memorial to the fallen in WWI at Paris. Built on the banks of the river Seine commemorating the 91000 Parisien perished in this war . the memorial will open in November 11 2018. See the link for the news.…

Motel One, a German hotel chain makes its appeariance in France. Their first hotel will be at 295, avenue Daumesnil (12éme), on a lot near the boulevard périphérique and the palais de la porte Dorée. Ideal location to visit the bois de Vincennes and a few meters from the Zoo de Paris. It will have 255 rooms and will be ready in early 2018.

After the terrorists acts of January 2015, the Aquarium de Paris has lost 40% of visitors 70% if counting since November last, soi t is now in financial difficulties, several dismissals of employees is taking place. This aquarium opened in 1867 done for the Universal Exposition, was the first aquarium in the World! Jules Verne is inspired with to do his novel 20 000 leagues under the Sea. After some renovations it opened again in 2006 with 3500 sq meters of underground space, having the decoration according the work Jules Verne.Le Parisien

« Verdun-Champs-Elysées, un siècle pour la paix », IN the Avenue des Champs Elysées by the rond point des Champs Elysées a photo exhibit on the battle of Verdun in WWI commemorating 100 years. It will be there until March 31st , and its free.

The McDonald’s restaurant located at 140 Avenue des Champs Elysées re open its doors today after nine months of renovations.It does annual sales of 13,5 millions Euros. It is the biggest selling McDo restaurant in the world, and France counts with 3 out of the 4 top selling restaurants in the world ,the other been in Moscow .

Château de Versailles, At Grande Ecuries, see the musée des carrouses.This is now open and renovated beautiful, Closed since 2007 it will now reopen from May 10 2016!!

The new entry to the Château de Versailles will be by the Pavillon Dufour , the left wing welcome center of the palace/museum. It opens to the public this Tuesday February 22nd. It will have 2 700 m2 of space. An opening to the right will take you to the cour Royale,and on the basement that you arrive by a large stair you will see the new things such as the toilettes, luggage lockers, given and returning of audioguides, patio , and the nice vaulted boutique store of the national museums.
It is from this basement that an exterior stair will bring you to the cour des Princes,which will take you to the gardens. The basement will,also, be accessable by the interior of the palace by another stair coming from the Grands Appartements. The rest of the work will be done by end of March where the Cour d’Honneur will be entirely clean of the temporary entrance of now. In April the Restaurant of Alain Ducasse will open on the first floor and second floor with an auditorium and foyer as well.

The city of Versailles has just receive their 4th flower rating given by the jury of the national council of cities and town in flowers. At Versailles, 90 agents keep and clean the 86,5 hectares of green areas in 13 parks and gardens in the city. The line trees extend for more than 14 hectares. Le Parisien

the new water garden theater at the Chateau de Versailles call the bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau open to the public on May 12 2015.

The 300th anniversary of the death of king Louis XIV will have many events in Versailles. Three events especially will be « Charles de la Fosse, le triomphe de la couleur » until May 20. From June 18 to November 8 we will have « Grand Trianon de Louis XIV au général de Gaulle » ,and later « Le roi est mort » from October 27 to February 21 2016 in the rooms of Africa and Crimea. A tent will be set up in the Bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau to have a rebirth by May 11 with the gardener Louis Benech and the artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. The castle museum will benefit all by opening the rooms dedicated to the Sun King. These and many more showcase here

The renovation were done already on the rosary and west facade of the castle of Vincennes; the second part will begin in February 2016 to repair the rooftiles and super structures of the Sainte Chapelle and Sacristy as well as historic glass in the choir and before choir. The End is Schedule by November 2017

Starting this Sunday Dec 6 the SNCF extends the offer of low-cost TGV train travel to 8 destinations in France including two in the region of Ile-de-France:Massy and Roissy CDG 2: the others are in Tourcoing and the station at « Haute-Picardie », between Amiens and Saint-Quentin ; also in Angers, Le Mans, Nantes ,and Rennes. See the trains blue and candy rose that were serving the south of France like Marseille, Montpellier ,and Lyon as well as Marne-la-Vallée (disneyland).Ouibus the new bus service has tickets from 10 €,available now for the period from December 13 to July 2 2016on sales at cars/bus have a bar and limited to one luggage per person. You will need to be at the gate or wharf 30 minutes before departure. Le Parisien.

The TGV low cost call Ouigo started in April 2013 with a sky blue and pink color that was only serving the south of France especially Marseille and Lyon will be increase starting first trimester 2016 with links in the North on stations of Tourcoing and the TGV Haute-Picardie, near Amiens (Somme),as well as those on the west such as Nantes, Rennes, Le Mans, and Angers. In the region of Ile-de-France,in addition to Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland) it will be possible to get on a Ouigo at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle TGV ,and Massy-Palaiseau TGV.…

The council of Paris just announce the next free car day in Paris will be September 26 2016. This year it will be bigger encompassing many areas other than those from last year’s event. Hours between 11h to 18h. For memory the areas are the Champs-de-Mars, le Luxembourg, Montmartre, canal Saint-Martin, quartier Mouffetard, bois de Vincennes and de Boulogne.

The council of Paris has rendered a law to have the first Sunday of each month pedestrian only in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, starting next Sunday May 1st(Labor Day).

Aficionados of walking trails and bicycles will have to reserve April 10 2016 for sure. The Rando of 3 Châteaux will be back. It is done since 2008 but in the north now it will come to the south of the departément 77 Seine-et-Marne in the region of île de France.
This year’s edition will have six different itineraries to choose that will pass by the castles of Blandy-les-Tours, Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau !!!. They will have a trail of 42 kms, with 24 kms for experts runners/walkers and all public of 17kms and a family trail of 6 kms. Two trails on bicycles one of 28kms and another of 38kms.
This event is free. More in French at

Enjoy France and all things French ::)

February 6, 2016

Some news from France, XCXVIIII

Here I am again on a rainy Saturday in Brittany and heavy winds sometimes up in Finistére as much as 120 KPH (about 74 MPH). However, having past by magical Paris again, got some new things to do in the lovely city.

Festival We Love Green with music,art, food, and nature will be held June 4 and 5 2016 at the Bois de Vincennes, tickets at FNAC and official event site. Many new artists and singers will be there so a chance to connect with new vibes in a nice area.  For performers go to Line-Up and for tickets go to tickets in the link here:

A bit out from Paris but shuttle navette bus service, and becoming more popular is the One Nation Paris Outlet mall  near my old home in Les Clayes-sous-Bois dept 78.  There are sales until February 16 for additional 30-70% off outlet prices! All and I mean all the leading brands are there. Several places in Paris ,one the Opéra and from Versailles by 1 rue de Réservoirs on the right of palace; this is for the navette bus.

The great Circus d’Hiver Bouglione Paris is having a new show call RIRE or laugh. You get there by metro Filles du Calvaire/Oberkampf,/République, and bus lines 20,56,65,and95. More in English here,

See the opera spectacle ETOILES at the EléphantPaname, until May 29 2016. With the couple stars of the Opéra de Paris, Clairemarie Osta and Nicolas Le Riche. Admission is 7-9€, You get there on RER Auber, and metro closes is Opéra (150 m), then  Madeleine, Quatre-Septembre or Chaussée d’Antin : more in French here;

And you want more circus then until 17 April you can come to the La Villette with the Circus see all the action on the trapeze, high jumping, jongle, magic, and clowns with Zampanos, Circus of Vietnam, and others, see it even in English here ;

Let’s talk some real estate for the curious and want to know kinda of folks.  As I get asked these questions a lot, and Paris is always evolving ,changing, improving itself (yes it does).  Some numbers first courtesy of The average rent in France is 624€, and this will get you only a 15 m2 in Paris (for those in feet this is about 161 ft2), or 41 m2 in Marseille or even 75 m2 in Saint-Etienne. The average rent in Paris is 1014€ with charges included, and this falls to 884€ in the petite couronne or small crown around Paris, and 760€ in the Grand Banlieu or greater metro area that can go to Versailles. The average rental lodging in France is 47 m2 (about 452 ft2).

The up and coming arrondissement 12éme is coming along as the new student lodging quarters as the new university campus Sorbonne-Nouvelle-Paris 3 build at the corner of rue Picpus and avenue de Saint-Mandé will help push this district up. Still figure that this area gets about 6800 to 8500 euros per square meter!! Lower end by Dugommier and porte de Charenton,and higher end between Saint-Mandé and Faidherbe-Chaligny.  Next comes the 19 arrondissement with the new upper classes moving in ;prices already up 160% since the early 90’S. The area seen as best for investors is the 20 arrondissement, with an average price per square meter of 6300€ with variations from a high of 8000€ on the rue Achilles to about 6600€ bordering the pére lachaise. Good rental prices makes it Worth it to invest with about 600€ for a Studio apartment.

More to see, is the Musée des Arts Forains, 53 avenue des Terroirs de France (just back of Bercy Village) with attractions of woodend horses, zeppelins/montgolfières éléphants many attractions from the end of the 19C, and showing how these fairs were held in Europe from 1850 to 1950. More here

See the Cinémathéque Française de Paris at 51 rue de Bercy, showcasing the American film genre Scorsese New York, all until February 14. More here:

See Roland Shon until February 13th on La Ligne A at the Le Mouffetard théatre des arts de la marionnette, 73 rue Mouffetard. Who is Roland Shon, see it here:  ;and the theater show in French here :

And more festival at different spots in Paris happening on February 24 to the 29th, this is the Festival A Nous Paris Fireworks. Sites will be the Trianon, Trabendo, Badaboum,and Point Ephémère. Great party ambiance with new artists just see Inigo Montoya, and more on the Festival here:

A wonderful exhibition call Dans les Mailles du Filet at the Musée national de la Marine, Palais de Chaillot (Trocadéro). This is until June 26 2016. Adults admission is 10€. Here you will see the story of the great codfish fishing faring men who sails out for days to catch the best of the sea for us! The fishing of the codfish in the waters of New Foundland, Labrador , Iceland and Greenland.  More here in French:

A naughty side of Dita, the great performer. She will be at the Crazy Horse Paris until March 30th;on the Dita’s Crazy show;this is Dita Von Teese celebrating her 65 yrs !!! more here

At the Théatre Bobino,14-20, rue de la Gaîté,Gaîté (line 13) , Edgar Quinet (Line 6);  until May 24th see TUTU dance, showing off to the world with méli mélo , the Chicos Mambo come to Paris for a new artistic creation. The group « Chicos Mambo » was founded about  20 yrs ago precisely in 1994 in Barcelona after the meeting of its current director Philippe Lafeuille  with two dancers one Spanish/catalan and other Venezuelan. More for the show tickets etc here:  ;and the theater site is here;

And last out of Paris, see this and help if you can. Wings for Life, Worldrun 2016 at Rouen on May 8 2016; but at other 31 locations in the world including one oldie near me Sunrise Florida;go Sunshine State!. More here in English;

Happy travels, stay good and see the world on a positive light, life is beautiful. Have a great weekend.



February 1, 2016

Some news from Spain XV

Ok its been a while on Spain and Madrid, but thinking of coming back in May, here are the latest beats from Madrid, Spain; what else?

Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday; la movida was just the beginning ::)

Until Feb 26 2016 you can go see Paz Erràzuriz at the Sala Barbara de Braganza, mondays 14h to 20h , Tuesdays to Saturdays 10h to é0h Sundays and holidays 11h to 19h. at Barbara de Braganza ,13. Part of the Fundacion MAPFRE;

Kandisky, a retrospective on the 150 anniversary of his birth. Wassily Kandinsky the abtract art. See it Until February 28 at CentroCentro Cibeles, Palacio de Cibeles, Plaza de Cibeles, 1. mondays to sundays from 10h to 20h.  The collection comes from the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Titanic exhibition , see it until March 6 at the Fernan Gomez Centro Cultural de la Villa, Plaza de Colon , 4. price is 6-12€ mondays to sundays from 10h to 20h;

The Jules Verne exhibition until February 28 at the Espacio Fundacion Telefonica, Calle Fuencarral, 3. free admission.

See Ingrés at the Museum of Prado, until March 27, Paseo del Prado; admission 14€ mondays to Saturdays 10h to 20h, Sundays and holidays 10h to 19h.

See Cleopatra and amazing Egypt at the Centro de Exposicion Arte Canal, paseo de la Castellana, 214.Prices 3-7€, mondays to sundays from 10h to 21h; until May 8 2016.

New Babylone now at Museum Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia,  Until February 29th,nSanta Isabel 52; price 4€ mondays and wednesdays to Saturdays 10h to 21h. Sundays 10h to 14h15.

See Mujeres de Roma (women of Rome) until February 14 at the CaixaForum Madrid, Paseo del Prado 36; price 4€ times Mondays to Sundays from 10h to 20h;

Again , great Historia de las Comunicaciones; (history of the communications) at the Espacio Fundacion Telefonica, Calle Fuencarral 3, free admission, Tuesdays to Sundays from 10h to 10h.

Hurry up to see The illusion of the far west,(La Ilusion del Lejano Oeste)  at Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Paseo del Prado 8. price 9€ open mondays to Fridays and Sundays 10h to 19h and Saturdays from 10h to 21h.

You can see a great theater at Lluvia Constante ( constant rain) at Teatro de Bellas Artes, Calle Marqués de Casa Riera, 2. price 16-25€ wednesdays to Fridays 20h30, Saturdays shows at 19h and 21h30 ,and Sundays 19h.

You can see a wonderful comedy El Nombre,  about a group of friends who dine together to celebrate the arrival of the baby of one of the couples, very funny, widely acclaim. At my all time favorite theater Cofidis Alcazar, Calle Alcalà 20, price 16-20€ from Wednesdays to Fridays 20h30, Saturdays 19h and 21h15, and Sundays 19h,  and a link there to buy your tickets from home.

And another historical theater at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, Plaza de Tirso de Molina,1 you can see the story again of Carmen; price 35-49€ shows at 20h30. From March 23 to April 3; this time done the Ballet of Puerto Rico. official theater site here;

And on the historical Teatro Lope de Vega, Gran via 57, price 24€ sessions Tuesdays to Thursdays at 20h30; Fridays and Saturdays 18h and 22h, Sundays at 18h,The Lion’s King (El Rey Léon)  until May 29th. The theater site  and the show is here,

The great musical Priscilla, Reina del Desierto, greatest disco of all times with 500 costumes, 200 hilarious wigs, robotic bus! at the Nuevo Teatro Alcalà, Calle Jorge Juan 32, until FEb 28. price 18,43€ open sessions Tuesdays to Thursdays 20h30, Fridays Saturdays 18h and 22h ,Sundays 18h. The show and the theater site,

And do not forget ArcoMadrid,the great international fairs on contemporary arts in Madrid this time with 35 galleries presenting the 35 years of the Fairs. This as part of the 169 galleries taken part in this year’s event.  February 24-28 ; open to the public Fridays Saturdays and Sundays from 12h to 20h go there on buses 112 and 122, and interurban bus 828,and metro line 8, all at IFEMA.

From February 12 to June 12 2016 see at museo del Prado, the great show of George de la Tour, one of the most important French painter of the 20C.

From February 9th to May 22 you will see the Realists of Madrid;(Los Realistas de Madrid) beginning with Antonio Lopéz. Historical painters and sculptors who lived and worked in Madrid; at the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza;

From February 11 to March 13 , you can see in Madrid, the best magicians of the world in the International Magic Festival. price 12 to 44€ at times like 20h30, Thursdays to Sundays; ronda de Atocha 35, in the Teatro Circo Price;

You can run the Rock and Roll Marathon of Madrid, on April 24th. at several venues all over the city, as well as a mini marathon in a great sport festival.

And if in Madrid for several days don’t forget the Madrid Card, purchase main at Plaza Mayor, 27. with many freebies in town, for info:

And the Madrid City Tour, the famous hop on hop off on a double decker bus for a quick ride into the main sights and then choose.  Many places to buy and get on such as MCT information center by Museo del Prado, Julia Travel in the Plaza de España in buses, and at

Enjoy Madrid and Spain!



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