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 22, 2016

Some news from Bretagne, XXI

Is that time again to write about my Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh. Some of the wonderful things coming up in our region are:

The L’Echo Nova in Saint Avé is showing Odezenne + Samba de la Muerte, April 9 2016, more here

Same place on February 24th, you come to see “Trajectoires Musicales en Amerique Latine”.FREE event on the music trajectory in Latin America.

At the Declic  30 Allée Alfred Kastler, Vannes; you have many events coming up and don’t miss the faboulous collection of Aliester de Napthaléne and its world discoveries like shoes of the famous with some magic it last about an hour; wednesday June 15 at 15h or Saturday June 18 at 10h30 and 14h30; more here

Then, you go for something Celtic Breton at the Festival Breton in wintery Lorient, lasting until March 9,2016. Expos, stages, concerts, theater, breton parties, conférences, game compétitions, and gastronomy breton all on tap. More here,

The housing and decoration fair is coming back at Vannes ,Salon Habitat on February 27-29 and at Lorient 5-7 March 2016.  Then Quimper and Brest too. All you need to know to build,renovate, or decorate your house in France or elsewhere ideas. More here,

In Vannes, you will see the 15th edition of the European Cinema with the spot on the Balkans countries. From March 2 to 8 2016. See more than 25 films at the Cinéville Garenne and Parc Lann, the ones we go wonderful cinémas.  5,50€ admission great price, and more here;

Lovely Fête de la Bretagne Gouel Breizh from May 14-22 2016 with more than 150 events all over the region, and the world of the Bretons; more here and on contact for those happening when you are here.

Up in Saint Mâlo, you can go to the La Nouvelle Vague ,Rue des Arcadiens and see wonderful shows especially one for me; Janis the film by Amy Berg on Sunday April 3rd and the L’Age d’or du rock Californien (golden age of California rock)!

At the performing hall of Cap Caval in Penmarc’h  up in Finistére ,come to see on February 23, Lisa Simone, Jazz and Soul , see it. More here;

From March 25-27 2016 come see the Panoramas festival at Pays de Morlaix with Nina Kraviz, What so Not, Stand High Patrol, and others.  more and programming here;  and more on the organisers here

Over in Fougéres dept 35 you have a great showing on April 1 20h30 22€ admission for La Grande Sophie in the Centre Culturel Communitaire  Juliette Drouet, and who is Sophie well have a listening and reading here; her site:  ;and of course the venue is here

And over to Rennes, you can get a bit more modern at the 1988 Live Club at Pyms,27 Place du colombier,metro Charles de Gaulle, parking underground. See Lil Louis, the founding father of House + Ringard + Yann Polewka. Saturday April 27 from 00h to 06H0 admission from 15-20-25€.  More here

Near me in Lanester, see the Festival Insolent 2016 going on Saturday April 16 at the Lorient parc des expos. Come to see the Panda Dub live band and many others. YOu can go on bus 31,34,and 40 but there is no night bus back so ready to spent the entire evening or come with a car.

Back up to Brest, you can enjoy at the La Caréne, the show by ARNO on March 12.  Peace from WWI, a great show, more here ,

And for the economic and political incline you can come to our French American institute or the Institut Franco-Américaine at 7 quai Chateaubriand in Rennes and see the presentation on “Economic Relations between France and the USA” March 22 at 18h30; more here:

Enjoy Brittany or la Bretagne or Breizh.


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February 20, 2016

The Churches of Paris…

Well I did on my Versailles so why not Paris (lived and worked); the Churches of Paris. Millions come to Paris for the main ones of course but there are a lot others. Let me give you my favorites.

We start with the big one, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris; the project began in 1163AD and went on with the building of the arches between 1296-1330, new decoration of the choir in 1699-1723, first restoration by 1844. with some figures, length of 127,5 meters, height on the towers of 69 meters, and a facade of 40 meters; it has one nerf with five double traverses and a tribune seating o 1500 persons; several splendid places are the portico of the Virgin (1210-20), portico of last judgement (1220-30), portico of Sainte Anne (1223-30), Gallery of Kings, a treasury, two imposing towers and can hold up to 9000 worshippers. It has a Library with 300 precious manuscripts. It has a nice bell Quasimodo named Emmanuel melted in two stages one in 1681 and then in 1686, its weight now is 13 tons. Made immortalise by Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris novel.  It recently celebrated 800 years of history in Paris.  More here

église Saint Louis at Invalides;or the Church of the soldiers’. one of the most popular ones in Paris. This is due, of course, to the presence nearby of the dome of the Invalides, created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, which hosts the tomb of Napoleon I. This is also due to the presence of the Museum of the army in the buildings that surround the splendid cour d’honneur.  The Saint-Louis des Invalides Church has the more traditional classicalstyle architecture, it draws outline for the Invalides and ensures the realization of buildings as well as the Church of Saint Louis. The notable feature of the Church of Saint-Louis’s own a series of flags, took to the enemy in the 19C-20C, hanging from the ledge, on both sides of the elevation. The Church and the dome, where lies the tomb of Emperor Napoleon, are in fact a single building: the St. Louis Church is the nave; the dome is the chorus. In the 17C, the high altar was common. To attend the office, Louis XIV returned by the dome, disabled soldiers returned by the nave. Today the separation is provided by a large canopy through which can be seen, among the reflections, Napoleon’s Tomb. I  would add that all of these imposing buildings created in the 17C, surrounded by green areas, is one of the most elegant districts of Paris.  More better in French here;

Basilique  Sacre Cœur of Montmartre.  The site of the 19C  basilica is traditionally associated with the beheading of the city’s patron, Saint Denis, in the 3C. According to legend, after he was martyred, Bishop Denis picked up his severed head and carried it several miles to the north, where the suburb of Saint Denis stands today. After France’s 1870 defeat by the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War and its aftermath, the Commune of 1871, the basilica was planned as a guilt offering and a vote of confidence to cure France’s misfortunes.  The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a cult that gained popularity after 1873, when the first pilgrimage was organized to Paray-le-Monial in Burgundy. It was there that revelations encouraging prayer to Christ’s sacred heart had been reported in the 17C. The foundation stone of the Basilique Sacré-Coeur was laid in 1875. It was consecrated in 1891, fully completed in 1914, and elevated to the status of a basilica in 1919, after the end of the WWI.  The triple-arched portico is surmounted by two bronze equestrian statues of France’s  national Saints, Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis IX, Even the great bell, the Savoyarde, has nationalist references: Savoy was annexed to France in 1860. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the world’s heaviest bells at 19 tons. A climb to the top of the dome provides an excellent view of Paris – at 271 feet above Montmartre it is the second-highest viewpoint after the Eiffel Tower – and the walk around the inside of the dome alone is worth the climb. The dome is supported by 80 columns, each topped with a different capital. The crypt contains statues of saints and a relic that some believe to be the very Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur) of Christ. More here ;

You have the American Cathedral in Paris at 23 avenue George V, this was the Cathedral of the HOly Trinity and now host the European Episcopal churches. It dates back to the 1830’s  when Americans were around Paris; yes a lot more before WWI and else. And the building has been recently renovated. A piece of American history in Paris; main site here

And we have the église de Saint Eustache, built between 1532 and 1640  so quite long 100 years.  Yet some famous have a lot to do with it; such as Louis XIV  received his  communion. Mozart, also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, (future Madame de Pompadour)  and Moliére, who was also married here in the 17C. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne, and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there. The Church is one of the most visited in Paris. If the exteriors is Classic the interior architecture is rather confusing. In the 13C, there stood a chapel to St Agnes and later to St Eustatius, too small if was replaced in the 16C by a wider one 100 meters long in the gothic flamboyant style, with the first stone done in 1532, but the Church finally completed in 1640. The interior end up been a lot of Italian Renaissance style. At the French revolution, the Church was sacked and transformed into a temple of Agriculture, then made again for worship in 1803. After a fire, the Church was restored in 1854. It has a large number of murals from the 19C and some great work of art (sculpture and paintings) as the statue of the Virgin and the Child de Pigalle ,one of the mot beautiful in Paris. More here

I found the église Saint François de Sales  very interesting, It has an old Church entrance by 6 Rue Brémontier and the new one by 15-17 Rue Ampére. The new Church was built between 1911 and 1913; More here ;

By Rue Saint Martin you find another interesting Church, that of Saint Nicolas des Champs, the building in Flamboyant Gothic style dates from the 12-15-17C.  The Organ is from 1777 modified in 1930. More here;

One close at heart as help out there once is the Chapelle Expiatoire where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dumped and later the brother Louis XVIII took them out built this chapel and transfered the remains to the Basilica of Saint Denis. You should see it, even Louis XX has visited …. well not yet the XX ::)

The église de la Sainte Trinité, is not far from the Galeries Lafayette store and was built between 1861 and 1867 in a Second Empire period.  IT was also from the period of the SEcond Empire. It is an imposing renaissance building to impress the crowds with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide and 30 meters high with an imposing 17 meters wide nave. It has a metal frame and the aisles were done as not to disturb the faithful during Mass. It has excellent illumination by having the stained glass Windows in simple white glass. The side chapels have paintings from the 19C with a look of theatrical interiors. More here;

The église Notre Dame des Champs is near the Montparnasse train station. It was said that formely here there was a temple to Mercury in the early days of Christianity ,the temple was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and took the name of Notre Dame des Vignes. King Robert the Pious (972-1031) decided to built a Church and manage by the Benedictine monks of the Alsatian abbey of Marmoutier. In 1604 the monks give the Church to the Carmélites of Spain and emphasis is placed on the incarnation and devotion of the Child Jesus. Many notables preach here such as Bossuet (the Eagle of Meaux and confessor of Louis XIV), Madmoiselle de la Valliére was removed, madame Acarie beautified in 1791. While the French revolution the Church was closeed, and destroyed. In 1858 the parrish is renew and a wooden Chapel was built and by 1867 the current Church is begun to be built.  The Church is decorated with paintings by Joseph Aubert, a series of 22 paintings of the nave and chancel chronicles the life of the Virgin. One tells of his travels through Palestine. More info here:

One of my favorites is one I walked by many times while working in Paris, église de Saint Augustin, just not far from the train station of Saint Augustin. Done during the Second Empire, and by Victor Baltard  who also did the Halles de Paris; 100 meters long, 80 meters high at the lantern and 25 meters dome diameter, the first time there was a Church of this size with metal frames steel covered with stones.  Golden cast iron pillars adorned with polychrome Angels throughtout the Church. The circular choir welcomes a big ciborium cast iron and open into three dominated chapels each with open forum. The Church of Saint Augustin is arranged in romano byzantine style, Romanesque nave with its round arches. Byzantine for the choir and cupola, and renaissance vaguely elsewhere. It has no stained glass Windows in white glass, the first level is the nave and the third level represent Saints and Martyrs. This explains why the nave is quite dark. More here ;

The église Sainte Etienne du Mont is near the panthéon in Paris.  The Church stands on the site of an abbey founded by Clovis, King of the Franks (466-511) and later dedicated to St. Geneviève, the patroness of Paris. St. Geneviève was so popular in the Middle Ages that the abbey had to be enlarged to accommodate all the pilgrims. Construction on the present abbey church began in 1492 and encountered numerous delays before it was finally finished in 1626. All that remains of the ancient abbey is the Tour de Clovis (Tower of Clovis), which is now part of the Lycée Henri IV.  The attractive church, named for St. Stephen but still devoted to St. Geneviève, is located right next to the Panthéon.  The interior of St-Etienne-du-Mont is Gothic, an unusual style for a mostly 16C church.  Along with the patroness of Paris, such illustrious men as Pascal and Racine were entombed here. St. Geneviève’s tomb was destroyed during the French revolution, but the stone on which her coffin rested was discovered later, and her relics were gathered for a place of honor at St-Etienne.  The church possesses a remarkable early-16C rood screen. Dramatically crossing the nave like a bridge with spiral staircases on either side, it’s unique in Paris and beloved by many .  Also notable is the wood pulpit, supported by Samson with a jawbone in hand and slain lion at his feet. The fourth chapel on the right from the entrance contains impressive 16C  stained glass. More here;

The église de Saint Sulpice is a major Paris Church in the Place Saint-Sulpice within the rue Bonaparte. The current Church took place from a small sanctuary dedicated to Saint Sulpice des Champs which dates back to the 12C, Rebuilt in the 14C and 16C finally considered small; new plans approved in 1645, and first stone laid by the queen Regent Anne of Austria in 1646.  It is the largest Church in Paris with 119 meters long and 57 meters wide.  The selected style is classicism with abundance of Corinthians elements, the carved décorations (capitals, cherubs, and vases of flames) made the body with stone giving a very neat architectural look.  As said, for all those visiting Paris coming here is a necessary step; its architecture is the epitome of classicism, the décorations, the murals and frescoes of the chapels deserve careful look. You see the giant clams and its Virgin and Children, reliefs and sumptous mausoleum offer the Church masterpieces of the art of Paris. More here:

By the Invalides and the wonderful Army museum , do not missed the église de Saint Louis des Invalides. The Church of the Soldiers is one of the most popular churches in Paris. This is mainly because of the Dome of the Invalides that guard the tomb of Napoléon I. As well as the museum of the Army. The style is traditional classical; with many flags taken from the enemy in the 19-20C hanging from the ledge on both sides of the elevation.  To attend services King Louis XIV returned by the Dome and the disabled soldiers returned by the nave.  IN between you see a canopy to allow a vision of Napoleon’s tomb. It is Worth mentioning that this area is one of the most elegant in Paris. More here;

Another wondeful Church and one I passed for many years on my way to work in Paris.  église de la madeleine. The Madeleine Church was designed in its present form as a temple to the glory of Napoleon’s army. After many attempts to build a Church ,in 1806 Napoleon made his decision,ordering to built a Temple to the Glory of the Great Army based on the design of an antique temple. With completion of the Arc de Triomphe in 1808, the original commemorative role for the temple was blunted. After the fall of Napoleon, with the Catholic reaction during the Restoration, King Louis XVIII determined that the structure would be used as a church.  In 1837 it was briefly suggested that the building might best be utilized as a train station, but the building was finally consecrated as a church in 1842. Today, the Madeleine is affiliated with a Benedictine abbey. Daily masses, concerts and the most fashionable weddings in Paris are celebrated here. A simpler crypt offers more intimate weekday masses.  The Madeleine is built in the Neo-Classical style and was inspired by the Maison Carrée de Nîmes the best-preserved of all Roman temples. Its 52 Corinthian columns, each 20 meters high, are carried around the entire exterior of the building. Thepediment  adorned with a sculptured relief of the Last Judgment by Lemaire; the church’s bronze doors bear reliefs representing the Ten Commandments. Inside, the church has a single nave with three domes, lavishly gilded in a decor inspired by Renaissance artists. At the rear of the church, above the high altar, stands a statue by Charles Marochetti depicting St Mary Magdalene being carried up to heaven by two angels.  The half-dome above the altar is covered with a fresco by Jules-Claude Ziegler, entitled The History of Christianity, showing the key figures in the Christian religion with – perhaps inevitably – Napoleon occupying centre stage.  The church has a celebrated pipe organ, built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), which is widely regarded as one of the best in Paris. The composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Gabriel Fauré were both organists at the Madeleine, and the funerals of Frédéric Chopin, Saint-Saëns, and Fauré were held there. Glorious more here;

And these are just combing the surface of the many churches of Paris. Just a taste of my favorites. Enjoy them anytime.

Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris Paris  

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February 16, 2016

Laval in dept 53 Mayenne region of Pays de la Loire ,great town!

 Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval  Laval

Following my footsteps a bit away from Bretagne or Brittany I came with the family to Laval. I have passed by here several times and use their train station but this time we saw more , spent more time.  Another wonderful town of the Mayenne, its capital.

The tourist office in English is here,

We came by car of course, its only just over 2 hrs from my house. Taken the N24 to past Rennes go on the rocade nord and direction Le Mans on the N157, that soon becomes the D57 direction Laval.

The city is the birthright of the House of Laval, one of the most influential and strongest of the families of the Maine and Brittany. It is the birthplace of Douanier Rousseau, and has a museum to the Naif Arts right in the old castle. Numerous Churches, Catedral and Basilica. It is a city of arts and history of France or Ville d’Art et d’Histoire.

It has  a Wallace fountain, music kiosk dating from 1879 and the columns of Morris; wonderful fountains such as in Place des Quatre-Docteurs-Bucquet and place Saint Tugal dating from the 18C.  The wonderful pont vieux and Pont Aristide Briand (built 1862-1864) with a levy guarded by the levy house. The wonderful jardin de la Perrine on top of a promontory, was an ancient private garden purchase by the city in 1885 surrounded by a manor house from the 18C It has a French, English and Rosary gardens as well as an orangerie from the 19C;animal park with goats, ducks, and rabbits. There you will find the tomb of Douanier Rosseau.  It has the last of the laundry boats in the world such as the Saint Julien and Saint Yves. The Saint Yves is still visible in the jardin de la Perrine, while the Saint Julien still in the waters of the Mayenne has become a small museum in 1985.

Our trip began at the parking of des remparts just behind the Hôtel de Ville on Rue Souchu Servinière, it was a Sunday so free parking. We then, started our walk in the city. where, here:

The architecture over the river Mayenne and on the banks of it are very nice, wonderful buildings and hôtel particulières that makes the walk a wonderful time to spent in the city.  We walk pass Place de la Tremoille  a vast square full of wooden houses and the site for three wonderful places to see. First the Musée du Vieux Château , this is the museum on naif art in Laval and a wonderful place to visit. We move on the Château Neuf or new castle where the architecture is magnificent and well preserve. On the other extreme of the Place Hardy de Lévaré and the place de la Trémoille back fronting the rue Renaise you see the Cathedral of the Trinity or Cathédrale de la Trinité, a nice Cathedral and the seat of the bishops since 1855, year the it became a Cathedral. Actually there was a Church here since 1070AD.

Moving right along on our sublime walks of the city we came into the Church or église Saint Venerand, a very nice Church by Rue du Pont de Mayenne, that we could not go in as Mass service was been conducted at 10h30 (10:30am). The Church was finished in 1499 and houses wonderful relics brought back from Rome in 1693.  There is a wonderful Kiosque de Musique by the square de Boston next to the river, and statues along the Streets.

There is a wonderful must see Jardin de la Perrine, with great views over the river Mayenne and the city. Wonderful cultural centers such as the musée Adrian Bruneau, and the Espace Alain Gerbault. and here lies the tomb of Douanier (Henri) Rousseau, the great painter ;more here in French in the city page:

Do not miss this park garden and see the La Roseraie,French gardens, L’Orangerie, the wonderful trees plants flowers, and animal park (ducks, rabbits, and Pigeons etc. This area of Perrine is first name in 1293 and it was created in 1920 as the garden. There is the old laundry boat Saint Yves in the garden, bateau-lavoir.

For late night cultural amusement, the city has a nice Theater, Rue de la Paix, more here:

In better weather, and normal river (Mayenne was a bit high due to heavy seas), you can take a look in a laundry boat sort of Bateau-Lavoirs such as the Saint Julien with a small museum since 1985;

We continue walking to the end on the quais along the Mayenne into the district of Avesniéres and Worth the walk to come to the Basilique Notre Dame d’Avesniéres; a wonderful basilica. It is there since the 11C and was raise to Basilica in 1898 by the Pope Leon XIII. Many pilgrimages here to vénérâte Notre-Dame d’Avesnières, as well as many statues and the 14 martyrs guillotine in 1794 during the French revolution and elevated to beautification in 1955. A must to see.

Well we really walk this time, and the family kept up with me, so kudos to them. Many nice side Streets quaint wooden houses, and towers of old castle, and of course we had lunch.

Nothing planned just figure it was nice name as Warner Pub lol! right next to the Cinéville cinema facing the river Mayenne. The Inside was very nice in rich English wood pub style with TV screens , the food delicious if the service was a bit too long. We had our apéros opening drinks from porto red, bloody mary, pina colada, martini gin white, and then the food with a bottle of Côte de Provence rosé; penne with four cheeses, gratin tartiflette, tagliatelle carbonara, pizza Warner, and burger maison (delicious); then desserts from glace créole (coco ice cream), glace pina colada (ice cream), foret noire (black forest cake), all this for 27.78€ per person.

Enjoy Laval, we did and will be back ::)

February 14, 2016

Mayenne in the dep 53 of the Mayenne in the region of Pays de la Loire!

Again the need to go out into the wonderful France, and especially near my area in Brittany. This time went a bit further into departément 53 , Mayenne is the city. I go by here a lot on my rounds but decided to come with the family on a wonderful 14th of February.Happy Valentine’s to all.

The tourist office for Mayenne is here : Tourist office of Mayenne on heritage things to see

The city was part of the  province of the Maine before the French revolution and later split into two départements of the Mayenne and Sarthe.  The city now has no train service but from Laval, and bus service between the two. We went there by car on the N24 past Rennes on the N157 that becomes D57 and goes direct into Mayenne. We park by the Remparts parking just behind the Hôtel de Ville.Sundays are free.

The main to see here is the river banks of the Mayenne river , now a bit overflowing, the Castle and the Basilica of Notre Dame des Miracles. Some other interesting buildings such as the Theater, and the Pont (J.D. )Mac Racken, a bridge named after the American soldier who save it from explosion by throwing himself of the detonation that allow allies troops mostly American to cross and chase the Nazis further. IN memoriam , the bridge is named after him. Also, the Hôtel Chappedelaine  and the Hôtel Montpinçon both at Place de Cheverus.

The Basilica is from the 12,16,and 19C with a nice interior statue of the Our Lady of Miracles Inside and very nice high vaulted ceilings and chapels. The stained glass were completely destroyed during bombings of WWII and now redone dates from 1952 to 1962. They depict the story of the mysteries of the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.

The castle museum now host a nice museum and the castle is from the 10C and onwards. We went around it as this month is closed.  They do temp expositions and events. IN addition, you can go and see the wonderful terrace and garden in the back thru a steep street on the side and up the stairs, nice view of the city and a quiet family place with children playground and a music kiosk house.

In all , a nice city to stop by on your rounds in Pays de la Loire region and visiting a smallish town for the real feel of France. I will continue to pass by it and perhaps visit again. Enjoy it!

 Mayenne  Mayenne  Mayenne  Mayenne

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 5, 2016

Well Paris ,you never get tired of seeing it!!!

Yeah hard to come up with a title heck, Paris is eternal, I am Lucky to have worked there for almost 10 years and now visit at least once a month. This past thursday was no difference a walk on it is sublime. What can I say millions have not said it already.

I started my day early from my closest train station in Auray, Morbihan, Brittany where the parking is free. Took a TER Bretagne train to Rennes, brand new wagons and nice ride. At Rennes the TGV to Paris Montparnasse was just waiting on the other side of the Platform, easy picking and there I was on top row 1 class! I arrive at Paris Montparnasse and already with metro tickets purchased hop on the line 13 to Saint Lazare ; my old train station and glad to see it again completely remodeled and great shopping. There is many metro lines there, RER, buses , taxis you name it and walking distance to the great department stores, and Madeleine!! Opéra!!! Got back in to take line 3 to Levallois-Perret my final destination.

Levallois-Perret is one of the adjacent cities to Paris petite couronne in zone 2 and departément 92 Hauts-de-Seine. However, so attach to Paris you wont even notice is not Paris.  I had my lunch here at a wonderful new find  Restaurant A Table , right off the rue Georges Pompidou and at 43 Rue Baudin. Here I had the menu for 21,95€ terrine de saumon or salmon with veau roti dish roasted veal rondelles, potatoes, and green salad; had a nice Fouilly Fume blanc for apero and an Irancy of Burgundy for the meal, expresso coffee finish the day in grand style. Service was wonderful and so was the company. webpage here:

I had  my walks as used to do lots of business around here and the place is as grand as before, chic and nice, just next to Paris of course!

On the way back, had a great time walking the Streets of Paris, anybody coming here takes to the metro right away , big mistake. This gorgeous city is made to be seen above ground, do it and enjoy it. Walking along Avenue de Villiers and into avenue Jouffroy d’Abbans and into Rue de Rocher and coming behind the Gare Saint Lazare train station and near the Church of Saint Augustin was a fresh of life into me again. These were my work area coming in and out and walking to the office all the way by rue de Castiglione ,yes!!! And not forget the wonderful Carrusel at Villiers!

Off metro Wagram, off Avenue de Villiers and at  6 Rue Brémontier, you see the wonderful Church of Saint François de Sales!  They are two link by a hallway, and the organ is from 1900, and the new Church built between 1911 and 1913 done with entrance at 15-17 Rue Ampére. The old Church on Rue Brémontier from where I entered was done in 1873. The Church has a neo roman style, and you will see the chapels of the Virgin and the Sacred Child as well as the Holy Cross, and  St Teresa. The official Church site in French is here ;  and the site for the Catholic Churches of Paris here ,

Of course, could not be here without stopping by my favorite Spanish grocery store Cap Hispania at 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, metro Wagram, line 3, and gather my manchego cheese, serrano ham, pork rinds, olive oïl , Duero red wine, and nougats of many varieties;;;;here since 1998!

I have been coming there since 2004! and always the best of Spain with friendly service and speaking Spanish !More than 180 products and knowledge on them to offer you.

It was a short time, but it seems long, always Paris ;you will never be tired of seeing it. Enjoy it.

Levallois Perret Levallois Perret Paris

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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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