Archive for July, 2016

July 31, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton VIIII

Well in my continuing saga to present my home town and following up on several posts lately this one;

I will like to show you a bit more if i may please.

Yesterday we heard of a new concept in grocery store or supermarket that we knew about from our previous home in Versailles’s area. The place is call Grand Frais and it’s a bit far to go often but we decided to give a try Saturday. The store in the town of Cesson-Sevigné just outside Rennes on the Le Mans side about an 1h30 from us by car along the N24 and the N137 and finally go around the messy Rennes traffic at this time of the year on the D34 to Cesson-Sevigné and the store.

The store is not a huge one nor it has all items but what it has is super produce, meats,cheeses and world food very fresh and good prices! The store link is here:

We load up on the best items at best prices and had a wonderful shopping experience with the family, some of which exotic finds are been prepare today like Yucca (French)  or Yuca (Spanish) with mojo a Cuban traditional dish. That is like this:

Of course,been on the American swing we did our sin of the week and ate at the McDonald’s in the town of Bruz off the road  N137 to connect with the N136 beltway of Rennes and onwards to the N24 and home… Our American boys love it and don’t panic France has the most McDonalds of any country more than 3200 of them.  Here we won a Florida blue mug and a CocaCola plastic cooler bag that are very nice and the boys were happy ,well we call them boys but they are in their 20’s ::) The restaurant is this one :

As today Sunday is full of sunshine, and we are preparing for our summer trip , we decided to stay home do some home cooking and gather planning and strengh for our trip. The first thing ,the Car Wash! At home, with our karcher power machine and all the right liquids and creams and sponges and most of all everybody participating we did a good job on my car and my father’s car too.

I took some additional pictures of our house on open areas to show to all my readers and friends here in WordPress and beyond.  Today at 14h or 2pm is still sunny very clear nice,and temps at 21C (about 70F).  Tomorrow we expects more of the same, time to focus on our trip as we are going by car to Spain.

Yes, going back home to my Madrid ,however will be base on a rural house 1400 meters high in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains near Cuenca Unesco site and about half distance between Madrid and Valencia. Going by car stopping resting in Bordeaux both ways for a night. Done it so many times not leaving nothing undone we always planned everything. We will have no internet and not planning on posting until end of August upon our return. However, sure to take hundreds of pictures for later posts.

We will leave in weekday very early to have time to see Bordeaux and do our groceries shopping there so when arriving to the house on Saturday evening we will have to eat for the weekend without needing to go hungry or worrying about finding food. Of course, where the supermarkets are including our old favorite Auchan whereby there are call AlCampo (the literally translation of Auchan).

I will be around to Watch the SuperCup of Europe between Real Madrid and Sevilla from Norway on local bars with a lot more ambiance than here. …. And,also, the 37th Torneo Bernabeu in Madrid on August 16 vs Stade de Reims of France commemorating the first European Cup in 1956 of Real Madrid beating the same Stade de Reims. The Spanish Liga now call Santander for the sponsoring bank will begin August 21st vs Real Sociedad for our club. It will end on May 21 2017; Schedule official here in Spanish: pdf file:

And for now a rest, maybe one more post before leaving Wednesday ::) Enjoy your vacations and happy summer! Cheers

Cesson Sevigné Cesson Sevigné

July 29, 2016

Some news from Spain XXIIII

Ok so today was my last day at work and vacation begins !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and after doing some errands I should be ready to roll out to Spain by next Thursday. IN the meantime, here are some news of my beloved Spain.

Hotel Fuerte Conil Costa Azul in Cadiz offers surfing clases from 35€ per person at Playa de la Fontanilla; more info on it here,

The aquatic park at Siam Park of Tenerife is great for the families with 11 tobogans and Dragon, Vulcano or Kinnaree, and for the parents the  Siam Beach  or the Mai Thai River.

Great vacation spot for kids near where I am going this time is the beach resort of Hervidero de Cofrentes in the confluence of the rivers Júcar and Cabriel, where you can look up to the volcano of Cofrentes.

At Madrid there is a snow zone even in summer. the second biggest covered slope in the world ,Madrid SnowZone has 18000 M2 and constants -2C; the main slope is 250 meters long ;all in the Centro Comercial Madrid Xanadú (Autovía A-5, Km. 22. Arroyomolinos, Madrid), open Sundays to Thursdays from 10h to 22h Fridays, Saturdays and eve of holidays from 10h to 00h.

Solmarket Foodstrucks Festival ,  near where I am going too, and on until August 15 at the  El Puig, Valencia (Passeig Maritim). 30 meters from the beach all the best food trucks from the area will be here. More info in Facebook.

The 64th edition of the San Sébastian Festival is on by September 16-24,2016. More here:

Sad note Francisco Cano Lorenza “Canito has passed away in Valencia at the age of 103  yrs old from a cerebral infactus. Here goes away one of the greatest if not the greatest photographers of the bullfight and the bull of Spain. His coffin will laid at the bullfight arena of Valencia all day.  Cano  born in Alicante in 1912 was a boxer, cyclist, swimmer,and novillero of Young bulls until becoming a photographer  In his lenses he saw Ava Gardner, Orson Welles, Grace Kelly, Raniero de Mónaco, Sofía Loren, Bing Crosby, Ortega y Gasset,Duchesse of  Alba, Concha Piquer, Lola Flores, Charlton Heston or Ernest Hemingway ;also, the bullfighters such as Domingo Ortega, Pepe Luis Vázquez or Luis Miguel Dominguín, and his most famous photo that one taken in August  28  1947 in  Linares (Jaén),that a Miura bull named islero  fatally horned the great  Manuel Rodríguez,( Manolete).  RIP

As I am planning my trip with all variables these are some webpages that I followed over the years and now share here!

For finding gas stations, route planning, weather,and road conditions see Diesel Gasolina, in Spanish,

The traffic, weather and route planning of Repsol gas stations here:

another to find gas stations in Spain, Gasofa, here:

To find traffic conditions in Spain, from the government agency DGT(direccion general de trafico)  here:

And more gas stations from the ministry of industry energy and tourism here:

Parkvia ,parking in selected cities here:

Europe Wise parking webpage for Spain  Parkopedia , here:

traffic monitoring from the RACE or Real Automobile Club of Spain here :

to know the weather  AEMET all over Spain ,see the official link here :

These are my favorites there are many others ,but after trying many over the last 40 years, these I have found to be most reliable.

From France the day we are leaving will be Orange which medium heavy traffic as Red and Black are worse. We usually leave very early in mid week to avoid the heavy weekend traffic ,and on our trips to Spain we stop for a night rest this time by Bordeaux.

I, also, check viamichelin and mappy as well as carrying a paper map from Michelin, IGN , Mappy, and Repsol,  with me. The modern GPS helps but mostly around metropolitan areas not so much out in the countryside.,0,-2.75581,47.65787/Z11/

Be aware the police is out in force on these holidays, and Spain had a record year of fines in 2015.  The record speed was on a Porsche 911 at 297 kph or about 184 mph on the toll road outside Madrid the R-4 connecting with the M-50.

Be careful , take rests and follow the law, not hard to do especially in our times ::) Cheers





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July 27, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton VIII

Well we have been here already five years and even thus we missed Versailles (and who wouldn’t) the area has been fantastic and it has taken its roots on all of us already. Of course, this is my town now Pluvigner, in the departément 56 =Morbihan of the region of Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh.

One thing thus , even with some pictures on the town itself ,done very little of our house, and will like to post some photos not so personal here.

In fact, we are only about 30 kms from the coast, that is about 18 miles, and at the crossroads of national and departementals roads with a bus line (wow!) and the train station in Auray at about 15 minutes from us linking us to the world and Paris in 3h20. The closest airport is in Lorient but very few flights there so we go to Nantes at about 1h30 from us by car. The city is part of the district of Lorient and member of the metropolitan area of Pays d’Auray.

Our city mayor’s office is here :

And it has tourist info in French. The metro area webpage is here :

And even thus we have a tourist office in town , it is govern by the one in Auray, here in English :

The name of the town comes from the roots of Plou =parrish and Guigner or Saint Guigner ;one of the Kings of Ireland converted to Catholicism by Saint Patrick; left him and came over to this area to create a monastery. He died killed by a Breton prince  Théodoric.  The main Church that bears his name was built in 1781 and later renovated last in 1932; Inside you will see the relics of Saint  Guiguer and a statue of him.

We live more or less…about 500 meters from the city center or downtown that is about five blocks. So still very close in a nice home of 255 M2 (about 2745 SF) and a land space of 1000 M2 (about 10 760 SF). 4 brms, 2 baths, office space, game room, attic complete, covered garage for 3 cars; and an enclosed veranda as well as an open air terrace. Also, full basement. All the land is fence in and wonderful Neighbors especially the ones on our left and back.

There is a school like a middle school and a huge sports complex Goh Lanno near us. It has two handball courts, basketball court,  two Tennis courts  and roller blade circuit. Five football :soccer fields and a rugby field as well as an track and field stadium;wonderful and a huge place for flea markets and events in town;

As we are near downtown or city center or centre ville, all amenities are nearby too. Even a Super U supêrmarket in about one kilometer, less than a mile.

A historic feat was in January 23  1943,an American B-17 bomber plane already damaged by fire fell in town nearby Kéronic forest . Seven aviators were killed and 3 survived. Two stone monument were done in November 5 1994 in the presence of one of the survivors  Charles Roth.

In all is a very nice country town of about 7500 folks and once you go into  a business, they remember you. The laborers artisans already know us (from the work on the house) and we just call once and they come, even one tomorrow coming to help my kids finished putting up a roof cover to the entrance of our garage.  Just the kind of world I always look forward to.

If you ever in this area, let us know , we will love to entertain you with the Pluvignoise hospitality. Cheers

 pluvigner  pluvigner  pluvigner  pluvigner

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July 24, 2016

Some news from France, CXXXVIIII

Here I am deciding whether to go to a huge flea market going on in my town with over 800 stands! The day is sunny at 28C and a nice breeze looking over my terrace. First, will have to do lunch soon ::)

Now to tell you some of my favorites events have gone or planned to go here is the latest line up. Enjoy it, it’s La Belle France.

I think I mentioned this before but a popular train line used to take a lot;  RER line A will have to take tyour patience. The most heavily travel train line in Europe is cut off a month for work between  La Defence and Nation, from July 23 to August 21, included 2016.  The RATP has again programmed complete cuts of one month in the summer 2017 (between Charles de Gaulle and Nation) and summer 2018 (between La Defence and Nation). They will be then by night (between 22h30 and 05h) during the summers of 2019, 2020 and 2021.  Line 1 of the metro (which complements the RER A) will benefit from a higher frequency at peak with a train every 95 seconds. Reinforcements are also planned on lines 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13 and 14 of the metro, trams T2 and T3 and 63, 73, 275 and 43 buses. Shuttles will operate morning and evening on weekdays between Charles de Gaulle and La Defence. On the Transilien network, the L line will be exceptionally extended to Poissy and line J will also be enhanced destined to Poissy. Follow the work if thinking of traveling by it here :

Some misc news: Villette cinema en Plein Air trying to stay open due to security measures lately; FNAC Beaugrenelle shopping center giving layoffs 68 for lack of sales, and they FNAC in turn buying Darty another chain of stores. Pool Joséphine Baker is closed until further notice. Tour de France ends today with C Froome to win it for the third time and the French Baudet in 2nd place over 4 minutes behind. Not too much excitement this year probably for all the terrorist news going on.

The opening to the public of the garden of the Hôpital Saint-Louis (10éme) at 1 rue Claude-Vellefaux. All weekend between April 1 and October 31. The first visitors can now tread, every Saturday and Sunday from 11: 00 p.m. The 9 400 m2 of the square of greenery in the heart of historic hospital buildings, created in the 17C by the architect of the place des Vosges! Lovely indeed, see it:

Airport at Orly is going thru some resurfacing of runway 4. Everything about 2,400 meters  long .  A large-scale project began Monday last to resurface the runway 4 from the Orly airport, one of the two main runs with an average of 300 flights per day. A  first phase of six weeks until August 28 on 2 400 meters and a second  next year on the 1 250 meters remaining. In French with official pub.

Time for food is Paris is tops; some of my latest were  Merguez & Pastrami, 57 rue Rodier (9éme) tel +33 (0) 1 77 13 56 57. pastrami sandwich NYC style by Pigalle!

A nice bar that gives one euro for each cockail purchase to caring organisations, Le Juste Pigalle, 1 rue Frochot (9éme). They are in Facebook.

Same owner as the patisserie at 9 rue Ravignan(18éme) opens a biscuit company La Compagnie Générale de Biscuiterie, 1 rue Constance (18éme).

Halle St Pierre, 2 Rue Ronsard, ‘L’Esprit Singulier “ OR Singular spirit’, some 600 works from the collection of the Abbey of Auberive. Among the 70 artists, major figures: Witkin, Boix-Vives, Fred Deux, and Combat. A nice place renovated when i worked in Paris and visited, and glad it continues so well.

Wonderful period library in Montmartre,  the L’Attrape-Coeurs. 4, pl. Constantin-Pecqueur (18éme). Tél +33 (0) 1 42 52 05 61. One of the classic there and visited by locals and yours truly often while working in the city.

See the musée de montmartre at 2 rue Cortot (18éme). museum of artist painters like Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Kupka, Steinlen, Valadon, Utrillo and others. This is a must a highlight of the visit to the hill of Montmartre.

If you want to know more this wonderful district of Paris a bit away from the center ,read this link by local friends. Really a romantic wonderful part of Paris.

And the official tourist info office for Montmartre in English here:

From June 17, the Streat Market will rattle and buzzle until July 29 , on Fridays from 18h to 23h at  the parvis of the Place Clignancourt (18éme) with a dozen food trucks and outdoor countertops. Place Django Reinhart (18éme). Free admission. menus from 10€. Someof the participating trucks will be le Camion que fumes (burgers), spices & Love (Indian chapati), Lo Zio (Italian piadina), Urben Grill ( Near East), Cheesers (grilled American cheese), Pick & Taste (Asian marinated skewers) or The BBQ Brother (burgers on the barbecue).

From April 09 to October 10, 2016 the Musée de l’homme offers exposure the Korea and its origins. More here:

From July 4-September 25, 2016, the city of Arles welcomes contemporary photography in the Festival Les Rencontres D’Arles.

From July 1 to August 28, 2016, the city of Nantes offers the festival journey in Nantes or les Voyages in the île de Nantes showcasing the latest innovations and less known works ;more here :

From July 05 to September 18, 2016, the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand offers exposure Globes in 3D. These objects made between the 16C to 19C are scanned the project “DNP Museum Lab”.  More here to see the best collection of globes of the world from ancient times;

Every Saturday, the château de Vaux-le-Vicomte once again dives into the good old days, with its magnificent evenings by candlelight. Until October 1 2016. More here on this wonderful must see castle.

Until October 30th 2016 the Great Musical Waters of the Chateau de Versailles, the tops, of course you have to see it, my old home, homesick maybe….

Royal Serenade at the Chateau de Versailles Rediscover the splendor of Versailles enhanced by the Royal Serenade, fountains and fireworks at nightfall. Until September 17 2016. Of course, do I am repeating myself, see the Royal class at Versailles, what France is all about :

Until November 1st 2016 take the direct train from Paris  Gare du Nord to Auvers sur Oise  and follow in the footsteps of Impressionist painters such as Van Gogh 35 minutes from Paris; great ride really and more visitors if they do it year around.

La Grenouillére at the time of the Impressionists . Discover this charming museum which reopens after having moved. Until December 23rd 2017, Musée de la Grenouillére, Espace Chanorier ,Croissy sur Seine; great area home of the British School.

The place conjures up La Grenouillère, a now disappeared floating boat connected to Camembert Island. Very popular with Parisians in the 19C for its relaxed, festive and country atmosphere, the place was a tavern on the water, with coffee, games, cold baths… Artists such as Monet and Renoir could be seen there painting and relaxing. Paintings, prints and objects bring to life this era, La Grenouillère and its surroundings. The memories of this place, which burned down in 1889 and was reopened until 1928, will surely delight you. Extend your visit with a walk around Camembert Island, which was restored in 1999. More here :

From December 1st, 2016, to April 23, 2017, the Musée d’Arts Décoratifs of Paris (pavillions Marsans of the Louvre) will have the exhibition: when the garment made a scandal or Quand le vêtement fait scandale. More here :

The Feast of the Lodges, in the forest of Saint Germain en Laye until August 14 2016; From the famous ghost train to the timeless roller coaster, to line fishing and even rifle shooting, dodgem cars… visitors young and old come to enjoy the 200 attractions installed in the Saint-Germain-en-Laye forest. a great event we enjoyed as a family when lived nearby in Versailles.

FunFair at the Jardin des Tuileries, now for more than 20 yrs here and just across one of my old working areas, and my kids always love it This is an inmense fairground until August 21 2016 . Wooden horses dating back to 1900, enjoy a 360° view in the new big wheel (70 meters high) or have a scare in the ghost trains. The smartest can test their skills in the coconut shy or on the rifle shooting range, while the bravest can have a go on the trampolines and other slides. For the hungrier guests: toffee apples, churros and candyfloss are also available. More in tourist office of Paris:

The Great Fire of Saint Cloud simply the greatest firework display in Europe held in the park of Saint Cloud or Domaine St Cloud.  September 10 2016; more here :

The Montmartre Grape Harvesting Festival, going on from October 5 –9 2016 by the vignes du Clos Montmartre On the agenda of this 83rd edition: fashion show, concerts, shows, film projections, exhibitions, workshops, guided tours, excursions, wine-tasting, taste trails with passionate artisans and producers, not forgetting the firework fired at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur; just great a missed event will again try to visit from Brittany this time. More here :

Well now it’s time for my lunch at hom; been call to the table lol!!! Enjoy your Sunday, and my France.

July 22, 2016

Some news from Spain XXIII

Well it has been hot here in the late 20’s C cloudy ,and looking at my Spain there is in the middle upper 30’s C sunny. Thinking ahead to next month, Esperame España!

Some of the latest on Spain, my favorites things to write about.  You have heard of all those travel booking places we all like, well in Spain, the ones used the most are, Atrápalo, eDreams, Trivago, and Kayak. I have always use  well most of the time El Corte Inglés travel section, Viajes El Corte Inglés as well.

I will be in many places next month but one of them will be Valencia, my aunt used to lived there before passing away many years ago, and not been ever since. It is time to go on site and taste the best Paella in the world, from the source. Some of the family and friends favorites are

La Pepica,  avenida de Neptuno, 6    Tel +34 96 371 03 66.

El Racó de la Paella  calle Mossen Raussel, 17  Tel +34 96 348 82 52.

Ricard Camarena Restaurant calle Dr. Sumsi, 4 Tel +34  96 335 54 18.

Looking for some family oriented resorts in Spain, these are the latest on an article in guia del ocio , the Entertainment publication in Spain for several cities.

Hotel del Juguete, Ibi, Alicante;

and across the hotel you can go to the Museo del Juguete or toys museum:

Hotel PortAventura. Salou, Tarragona;

Barceló Punta Umbría. Punta Umbría, Huelva:

Magic Aqua Rock Gardens. Benidorm, Alicante:

Hotel Holiday Palace. Benalmádena, Málaga:

Skytrax World Airline 2016 just published their best Airlines of the year ranking and they were: 1.- Emirates 2.- Qatar Airways 3.- Singapore Airlines 4.- Cathay Pacific 5.- ANA All Nippon Airways 6.- Etihad Airways 7.- Turkish Airlines 8.- EVA Air 9.- Qantas Airways 10.- Lufthansa . Iberia of Spain came in at no 52 moving four slots from 2015 but still unfortunately way behind. I am still waiting for credit on my miles on a Partner airline Latam for almost 3 months now lol!

If you want to match your Horoscope to the place you should be in vacation well here they are from Guia del Ocio as well. Horoscope of the travelers. Aries: Formentera (Spain), Tauro: Favignana (Italy), Géminis: Malta, Cáncer: Isquia (Italy),Leo: Corsica (France), Virgo: Skye (Scotland), Libra: Hvar (Croatia),Scorpio: Senja (Norway), Sagitarius: Cefalonia (Greece), Capricorn: Creta (Greece), Aquarius: Madeira (Portugal), Pisces: Fehmarn (Germany).

And here is one for the modern inclination in all of us, the best nudist beaches in Spain as per Guia del Ocio are:

Cala de Ambolo, Jàvea:

Moraig ,El Poblenou de Benitatxell :

Cala dels Pinets, Benissa

Cala de la Barra Grande, Altea

Ràco Conill ,Villajoyosa :

Llomes de Reixes, El Campello :

Saladar , Alicante :

Carabassi, Elche :

Playa del Pinet, Elx-Santa-Pola :

Els Tossals , Guardamar del Segura:

You want to be in a nice pool with great views of Madrid then head for these hôtels and escape the heat of August: Hotel Emperador (my favorite), Hotel Santo Domingo, Gymage Lounge Resort, O2 Centro Wellness Manuel Becerra, Room Mate Oscar, Holiday Inn Bernabéu (for the games I stayed here always) ,Hotel NH Colón, hotel Índigo, Hotel Urban, Hotel The Principal, and Hotel EXE Moncloa.

And the prettiest interior towns of Spain as per the Guia del Ocio de Madrid are: Vejer de la Frontera (Cádiz) Santa Eulalia de Oscos (Asturias) Pedraza (Segovia) Hervás (Cáceres) Potes (Cantabria) Valverde de los Arroyos (Guadalajara) Ronda (Málaga) O’Cebreiro (Lugo) Montefrío (Granada) Albarracín (Teruel) Candelario (Salamanca) Santillana del Mar (Cantabria) Laguardia (Álava) Priego de Córdoba (Córdoba), and  Alquézar (Huesca) . Highlights the ones I have been to.

For the centenary celebration you can see the exposition until September 11 2016 in the Museo del Prado. For more of the painter you can come to the Monasterio  de El Escorial to see more of  El Bosco ( until November 1st 2016) with the royal collection of Spain.

More on this year celebration of the IV centenary of Cervantes’s death.

You can see it in August at  the Espacio de Arte Contemporario de Almagro, Ciudad Leal en Miguel en Cervantes until September 15,2016 .

In the Church of San Agustin, Almagro, Ciudad Real, “Escenificando a Cervantes” extended until September 15.

In the Museum of Bellas Artes of Granada you have the expo Zuloaga and Falla , history of a friendship until September 18 see the wonderful  ‘El retablo de maese Pedro’.

And at the Royal Palace or Palacio Real the work of  “from  Caravaggio to Bernini” until October 16 including paintings and sculptures of the royal collection done by artists from the Italian  Seicento.

At the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, see the expo ” Caravaggio and the painters of the north” until September 18. An opportunity to see the barocco artist and Caillebotte, the painter gardener until October 30th to see the them of gardens from the impressionist artist.

And to follow up with the Phillips collection on Impressionists and modernistes until October 23 showing work of Manet, Courbet, Sisley, Van Gogh, Degas, Picasso, Modigliani, Kandinski, Pollock ,and Rothko. At the CaixaForum:

Festivals for summer are:

Dreambeach Villaricos 2016 in Almeria August 11-13 2016;

Benidorm Low Festival 2016 until July 31;

Músicos en la Naturaleza 2016 Avila until July 30;

Medusa Sunbeach Festival 2016,Cullera August 12-14 2016;

Festival de Teatro Clàsico de Mérida, classical theater in the Roman theater of Mérida. Various presentation of the classics, happening this  coming weekend, more in Spanish:

The summer wonders of the Cine Garden Conde Duque until September 18 in Centro Comercial Conde Duque, Madrid. A giant screen of 300 m2 with space for 800 spectators with drinks, foodtrucks to the rimes of a DJ at the end of the movie.

Enjoy Spain, everything Under the sun ::)

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July 20, 2016

Some news from France CXXXVIII

On the last couple of day we have gone back to the canicule with temps in my area in the upper 30’sC not good when you have to work but great for the many visitors that are jamming our area. That is the Morbihan of course.

Something to think about when deciding to buy real estate in France. If you have 1000 euros to pay for an apartment in Paris it will be enough to find something like a 25 M2 space or about 269 Sq feet!!! For the same amount you can buy a 53 m2 in Lyon, 59 m2 in Bordeaux,  73 m2 in Lille, 74 m2 in Rennes, 79 m2 in Marseille.  At the other end of the scale the cities where you can buy the biggest size apartment are Saint- Etienne buys you one of 155 m2 , le Mans 133 m2 and Nîmes 117 m2. Source Les Echos journal.

Go up the tower or  tour Saint-Jacques in Paris now open.This is the departing point in the city for the pilgrims to St James in Spain (Santiago de Compostela). You can go up the 300 steps . The tower is from the 16C and recently has receive complete renovation. At the top you can see a beautiful panorama of Paris. Visits each Fridays,Saturdays and Sundays from 10h to 18h.  Duration of about 55 minutes, and reservation is compulsory. More here:

Paris Plage or beach is coming up!!! 3500 tons of sand arrives this morning by the Seine river. The voie Georges Pompidou and along the bridges of Change and Notre Dame.  The festivities this year are extended for 15 days! until September 4th.  However, the city has ordered 1500 tons less than last year…

Until August 27, we will have the renewal of 1 km of track in the heart of the line REC C. Therefore, the service will be interrupted during this period between the gare d’Austerlitz and those of Avenue Henri-Martin (Northern Branch) and Javel (West Branch). The RATP will reinforce the line 10 Metro and bus 63, bordering part of the RER C. A shuttle train will also be put in place between the stations of Javel and Invalids.  More here in French;

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret  ,his works has been made part of UNESCO World Heritage sites since this past Sunday. He is better known as  Le Corbusier. The famous Swiss architect (d. August 1965) is finally recognized. In Paris, you can find him at the Cité du Refuge (13th) but also the maison La Roche (19th), the Switzerland Pavilion of the Cité universitaire (14th),the House of Ozenfant (14th), or even that of Dr. Pathak (13th) but also his apartment workshop ( 16th). The villa Savoye, Poissy, also of note in the Yvelines dept 78.

The place de la contrescarpe in the neighborhood of Mouffetard (5th) will also make its small revolution. The median surrounded by chains and studs will disappear in favor of sawn tiles between which will grow the herbetandis that the feet of trees are flowering. While today the circulation is normally limited to 30 km/h, hopes to transform the place in ‘meeting zone’, where pedestrians would be priority and the speed limited to 20 km/h. This, it is still being discussed with the résidents.

Travel alone the Grande Ceinture, between Noisy-le-Sec and Épinay: trains of the future tramway T11 Express (former north tangential road) began to roll last week. The 11 km of new tracks, built parallel to the freight line of the Grande Ceinture line, will serve 7 stations, Epinay at le Bourget from Villetaneuse, Pierrefitte and Stains, Dugny – La Courneuve, in 14 minutes. A year of tests is planned, before the commissioning of the tram-train in July 2017. Extensions East to Noisy-le-Sec and West to Sartrouville (Yvelines) are planned in the years to come, but yet unfunded. More in French here:

Meaux, place Henri IV. The townspeople are trying to reuse an old prison(b1854-1857)  here abandone in 2005 into a cultural place to subsidied works of artistic workshops, exhibitions, courses.,etc. Good idea in my Wife’s native town and close to Disneyland Paris for cheaper alternatives for lodgings and restos. More in French here:

The French vineyard produces 3 240 different wines grouped under 383 designations over 80 departments. Bordeaux offers about 40 (bordeaux, bordeaux supérieur ,moulis, pauillac, Saint-Julien.etc..), Bourgogne 83, Aloxe-Corton, Chablis,Chassagne-Montrachet, etc, Languedoc-Roussillon,28 , Loire 52, Provence 13, Rhône 28, etc. The system of designations, based on a decree-law of 1935 is managed by the INAO, the body responsible for their definition, their protection and control the INAO delivers two to three new AOC wine per year in France.

Nestled in the extreme south of the Vaucluse, less than an hour of Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, Luberon has everything nature ask in the hands of an attentive gardener. Everyone knows the Luberon more or less.. Without necessarily  gone there. Some for Albert Camus or Camille Corot, others for Pierre Cardin, others still for its incredible perch villages of Ménerbes, Bonnieux, Lacoste, and Oppède. But we rarely know its wines. In the Luberon, Marrenon is the brand banner it provides 80% of the production, next to the family estates of the Citadelle, Castle the Canorgue, and a few others. Here the light is hot with sunny days and a little chilly nights. Its there that gushes the originality of the Luberon appellation. Temperature range between day and night gives it different characteristics from the other wines of the Rhone Valley. A slow ripening of the grapes, at the foot of the Luberon mountain, gives freshness and fruit aromas. The Luberon Wine offers a rich range of quality wines under name Luberon or Ventoux, much of it organic(Bio). A rich Brazilian, Petula Garcia, had launched the movement in the 1960s, inviting people from around the world to come discover this part of Provence, where she had inherited a house; the artists are likely to have fallen under the spell of the Luberon ,John Malkovich in Bonnieux, Patrick Bruel at Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, Ridley Scott in Oppède, Michel Leeb, Pierre Arditi… They appreciated the  local wines. The filmmaker Yves Rousset-Rouard, producer of Emmanuelle et les Bronzées movie, was Mayor of Ménerbes for 19 years. With money earned in the cinema, created a winery on 39 acres, Citadelle, considered as a reference. His son Alexis, who joined him in 1995, has taken over now.

In Provence,(PACA) rosé wine is currently over 88.5% of total production, 154 million bottles. Sacha Lichine, owner of the castle of Esclans,  has not hesitated to offer its customers the most expensive rosé of the world, the cuvée Gamon (approximately 90€ a bottle). Developed with the same principles that the red or white wines, it comes from a patchy selection of old vines and it is high in wood, like any other wine of keeps. This very high range wine finds its place naturally on the markets for export, especially in Russia where it was served recently in jeroboam (3 liters) in the vintage 2013 and 2014 on a dinner of exception tables at the Grand Hotel Europe (owned by the chain of luxury Belmond) of Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

On the Loire Valley, the white chenin grape-based wines, also remain an attractive alternative. Especially in the appellations of Vouvray and Montlouis. In Bordeaux it export (28 million bottles worth 115 million euros), in effect, big hopes on this color. Land of red wine par excellence, the first wine region in France seems to rediscover this beverage a bit later. Yet, even in the 1970s, the production of white wines was far superior to that of the red. Happy hour or after work are real trends. Bright and fruity, often made from sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle, Bordeaux white (including those of the Entre-Deux-Mers and the Côtes de Bordeaux presents aromas of lemon and acacia honey identical to those found in white white champagnes.

The French consume an average of 20 bottles of Rosé wine a year. France produces 30% of the world production of Rosé in the 2015 vintage; Provence has produced 74 million bottles. The production is 88.5% consisting of rosé wine, 154 million bottles. In 2015, 79% of the volumes wines of Provence were sold in France, with 40% in the region of production. The export represents 21% of the total production wines from Provence. 66% of French restaurants offer a wine from Provence in their menu cartes. 30 million bottles of roses of Provence have been marketed directly at the cellar. Wine tourism activity represents a significant part of the income of the winemaker. With 11 million bottles destined for the United States, the country of Uncle Sam remains the most important market for the roses of Provence.  Source Les Echos

For a good meal at sweet prices. The restaurant the CasseNoix is a must even if a bit crowded, shining as a pearl in the 15th district of Paris. The chef, Pierre-Olivier Lenormand, indeed offers – for 34 euros – a spectacular entrance-main course-dessert formula, hallmark of good the bistronomy geniuses. And I had it recently as my office is nearby when in the city. (see previous posts on it) The CasseNoix, 56, rue de la Fédération, 75015. Tel.+33 ( 0)1 45 66 09 01. 34 euros, without drinks.

Giuseppe Messina open in 2009 a Sicilian trattoria at the end of the Ranelagh Street, surrounded by the buildings of architects and private mansions.(My favorite area too see my other posts on La Gare ). And has christened it Non Solo Cucina, =”not only in the kitchen”. It is stunning, vibrant as Etna and Stromboli gathered, and the pasta triumph. Delicious busiata trapanese to the swordfish tartare ; let yourself be tempted also to the front and the apres-pates: Spritz, first, one of the best in Paris, fish, squid and other cuttlefish fried, caponata, homey sincere desserts, including the mother of the Chief secret cake. Non Solo Cucina, 135, avenue du Ranelagh, 75016. Tel.+33 (0) 1 45 27 99 93. Open lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Expect 60 to 80 euros per Person and enjoy !!!.

And do not forget the Festival Rock en Seine at the Domaine de Saint Cloud. August 26-28 , since 2003 one of the best in Europe. 5 stages in the heart of the French garden just like a country setting with music of Rock, Pop,Electro, etc. For the 2016 edition artists like  FOALS, Iggy Pop, Massive Attack, Cassius, Eagles of Death Metal, Casseurs Flowters ,and many more …métro Boulogne Pont de Saint-Cloud | Pont de Sèvres line 10. More here in English:

Enjoy your week, mine is cruising alone today at 28C rain, sunshine. Cheers


July 18, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton VII

Well time to talk to you again about my small town in the Morbihan breton. This past weekend it was awesome.

Not only did we celebrated my father’s 81, ahead of time as it falls in the week, but there was an American event in town lol!

For the birthday, took Dad out to eat his favorite pork concoction in Créperie Le Vorlen resto that each 3rd Sunday of the Month does the Rost en Forn Breton pig dish with baked potatoes (see photo), green rice salad, a 1/4 wine jar and ice cream or mousse de chocolate dessert, we added expresso coffee and the apéros of various mixes from kir breton to porto rouge all for 21.70€ per person.

Then, we headed into the place St Michel in city center for the US Loch Festival showcasing American old cars, motos, and military vehicules with plenty of American flags, food,and rock concert all day long. They were given rides on the trucks, motos and cars as well which was a treat.

The area tourist office of Auray has more in French;

Even showcase in our area newspapers !

This is an event held every year but in my recollection the first time themed after the USA.  Done for a good cause to help sick children. It was fun for the whole family and the time to show off my native Floridians ::)

A quiet Sunday at home and sunny hot 26C well today it reach 34C and tomorrow it says 36C wow!! heat coming for a couple of days, this is about 97F!

Again, enjoy your week, mine is just over the big work duties and cruising to my August long family vacation. Cheers

 Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner



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July 17, 2016

Plougastel-Daoulas, remember the name!

Well here ,I am ,again, this town has magic. I have been in it several times including to celebrate my sons birthdays but now in rapid fire postings on it,  realise  the birthday of my twin boys lol!

Plougastel-Daoulas is full of tradition, and the only town in Brittany where stepping into a bistro you can hear Breton language been spoken!  The tourist office is here: The location of the restaurant is 1 Place du Calvaire  29470 Plougastel-Daoulas, this is at city center next to the church of Saint Pierre, cant missed it.

And the tourist office of Bretagne is here in English:

The city of Plougastel here:

And the department Finistére 29 on Plougastel strawberry museum:

You come in on the N165 expressway and take exit 33A to centre or city center/downtown. there is parking in there easy to find always around the Church/Calvary unless service is going on.

We stayed for a night cheaply and convenient off the N165 at the ibis budget hotel (old etap) off the Ti ar Menez artisanal zone and just outside Plougastel-Daoulas.

In town by the restaurant below you have a nice convenient small supermarket by the church, Cocci Market ,very popular here that we take advantage in small towns to buy groceries. For convenience;

However, just off the expressway N165 you have a bigger E Leclerc hypermarket we ,also, went in the evening .

The first that you see is the Church of Saint Peter (église Saint Pierre) rising above the place de l’église, monumental front and great belltower. The Church was built in 1870 amazingly new for French timelines and was destroyed during the bombings of 1944. It was rebuilt as it is today in 1950.  The current Church was rebuilt in crossshaped, style  with a recessed Spire, a nave of five bays with aisles, a crossroads with lantern and wings at the centre of which is the choir, then another nave of three bays with aisles terminated by a right chevet. The Church of the 19Ct has retained a beautiful retable of the Rosary (dated 1654-1656) and topped by an altar the tomb of 16C (sse photo of Fallen Christ). The modern altar, made with marble of Mayenne dedicated in 1957.  There is a path of modern cross and the baptismal fonts from the 12C. The Church houses a statue of St. Peter and a Pietà. Nice.

Right behind it or to the side as you wish ;lies the Calvary or Closed Parish. This is a tremendous beautiful gorgeous magnificent calvary that is a must see even passing just for it is good. My best in the region simple yet detailing of such love and history of Christ. It was first built in 1602-1604 and restored in 1860. It was originally done to bear thanks for the eradication of the black death épidémies of the region; the original date is Under the statue of Christ.It has 171 statuettes giving life to the calvary. the frieze is decorated with a multitude of bas-reliefs depicting the life of Jesus Christ. There is the Nativity, the flight to Egypt, the Last Supper, and the washing of the feet. The great drama of the passion then unfolds in an army of actors among different groups of statuettes. One is the one depicting the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ in Jérusalem. It is old done in kersanton granite stone dominated by three large crosses in the center.  Destroyed during the period of the terror (French revolution), it was restored again after the liberation after been damaged during the siege of Brest(WWII).

There is a story here that  I like to tell here, John Davis SKILTON, was an American Lieutenant that help rebuilt the calvary after WWII. He was part of the office of civil affairs of the US Army that was based at nearby Plabennec,and the war brought him to Plougastel in end August 1944 . He was an Arts adviser back in the USA, and sensitive of the damage caused by the war of this magnificent monument he helps in its restoration.  His first act was to collect all the pieces of Arts of this work, and guard them here. He went on to served at  Vittel,then Germany, where he helps return to France 18  wagons full of art work stolen during the war . Promise to come back and help rebuilt the Calvary,which he did. Go Yanks!

Right in the place de l’église and to the side of the Church you see the fountain of the imagery or Fontaine de l’Imageur. This fountain is indeed rich in symbols, evocative of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela(St James/St Jacques).  But beyond the symbols, carved in granite and bronze for any other reasons, the story of this fountain tells Saint James in several ways rendering honor to those artists, painters and sculptors who builds these calvaries, retables etc.

And of course, as in all these trips , we need to eat. We came back to our favorite where we have held our twin boys birthdays and the folks are really friendly; even setting up a table for us in the middle of the square or place de l’église overlooking the wonderful Church Saint Peter/église St Pierre. Le Bistrot de Plougastel resto we had our mussels and fries and fish and chips with tall glasses of Royal Beer (pints) for 18€ per person.

And we had come back as said and celebrated my twin boys birthday here.  This is the place where the chef prepare for us their favorite dish, Poulet Yassa, its chicken in a macerated sauce with spices,lemon,and small hot peppers from Senegal, Africa, that the Breton chef brings in himself. The food is fantastic for my sons all love it. We the adults had fish and chips and salmon, with scoops of ice cream strawberry, vanilla, and caramel salé with whipped cream, coffees and teas. Of course , we began with an aperitifs of Kir of cassis, cerise that is blackcurrants and cherries flavors with white wine, I had my usual porto rouge or red porto. We dined with a bottle of cider from the local Manoir du Kinkiz, superb natural local product. All for 21 euros per person.

And as all I am told the Le Bistrot de Plougastel has closed down early this year and is now there the La P’tite Ardoise. I guess good things don’t last as they should. Here just for the memories.

For desserts we just walk around the Church to the Boulangerie/Pâtesserie/Salon de Thé Mulliner on 5 Rue de l’Église. Here we had several sweets and sodas, such as belle hélene, trois chocolates, etc all for 2€ each and serve on the table! Recognise as the best in Plougastel-Daoulas. 

Enjoy your Sunday , I am heading out again ::) Cheers!!!

Plougastel-Daoulas Plougastel-Daoulas Plougastel-Daoulas Plougastel-Daoulas Plougastel-Daoulas

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July 17, 2016

Plougastel-Daoulas Museum of the Strawberry and Heritage

This is a small museum fully loaded that on our trips here missed each time due to timing. The Saturday hours starts at 14h to 18H. It is the Musée de la Fraise & du Patrimoine; right in city center. 5€ adult admission is fair.

The webpage is here:

You can see it from the Church of St Pierre (more later post), the back of it, nicely decorated in mosaics; and if you go around to your right past the tourist office ,there is the main entrance to the museum ; a very nice modern buiding on two floors.

The first floor tells you the history of the strawberry and the commerce with Europe ,especially England. From types of strawberries to harvesting, collecting, and packagings; as well as shipping it. It tells you the strawberries here are the local variety and the white strawberry brought all the way from Chile in South America. And yes the strawberries here are the best, we buy them in all kinds of versions yoghurts are great!

The second floor or 1er étage here, tells you about the traditions , customs of the local Breton families and paintings/objects of arts depicting the life and time of the area and the strawberry harvesters. You can taste them in the boutique below where you will find very nice objects dedicated to the strawberry. We got our jams and tea flavor strawberry .

The welcome is very friendly and informative and the family trip is wonderful;especially as it involves food lol!  Enjoy it on your way in the area or if visiting bigger towns like Brest across the passage and the Iroise bridge. Have a great Sunday!

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July 15, 2016

Views ,sights and architecture of Vannes

As you know reading my blog, Vannes is the capital city of my departément 56 Morbihan, in the region of Brittany,France.  This is ,also, the city I work on the outskirts and very much a part of me for the last five years or so.

The tourist office is here : ; and the department tourist office here :

And the region of Brittany tourist office here  :

I have walk it’s wonderful medieval Streets many times and of course the modern part of the city, always amazed of living so close (35 kms/22 miles) and able to visit this marvel left untouch from the ravages of wars past. The inner Vannes goes back originals all to the 14C.

From the times of the original celtic tribes of the Vénétes who fought the légions of Julius Ceasar of Rome, until finally Fallen and name the Roman city of Darioritum. It was the main city of the vénètes to the end of the 1C AD ; under the rule of Augustus.  The city host the bishops and the Catholic religius orders in the year 465AD in the Council of Vannes. This Council name Patern the patron saint of the city ; and one of the founding Saints of Brittany and first bishop of Vannes (see the Church of Saint Pattern in other posts). The city is conquered in 578AD by king Waroch II that organises the Bro Waroch, a political enclave where Vannes was the capital city. The Counts and Bishops of Vannes are key figures in the balance between Brittany and France. Vannes became after the War of Succession for Brittany the principal site of the ducal power and theater of the union of Brittany with the kingdom of France in 1532.  After WWI the city is touch by lots of changes and people moving and later after WWII it is mark by the economic growth and people moving back in.

The city is part of a metropolitan area covering the towns of  Arradon , Baden, Le Bono, Elven,Le Hézo, île-aux-Moines, île d’Arz, Larmor-Baden, Meucon, Monterblanc , Noyalo, Plescop, Ploeren, Plougumelen, Saint-Avé , Saint- Nolff,Séné, Sulniac, Surzur, Theix, Trédion, Treffléan, La Trinité-Surzur and Vannes.  It is the Capital of the dept 56 Morbihan and host all administrative structures. The public transports with a main train station and bus terminals with the network RICEO covering the metropolitan area.

After Rennes and Brest it is the main pole of University students in Brittany. The University of Bretagne Sud and the Catholic University of Bretagen Sud.  At the Stade de la Rabine there is an important Club de Rugby in National division of France (2nd).

In addition to the medieval street (see photos) and the great architecture (see photos) you have many places of interests from the great festivals (see other posts) to monuments and muséums to visit such as the Ramparts of the old city fort castle, the maisons-en-bois or wooden houses numbering still about 120 of them! LA Cohue (museum of fine arts/beaux-arts);  Château Gaillard (arqueology /history museum), Château de l’Hermine, hôtel de ville (city hall),and the gardens of the regional government building or préfecture du Morbihan (gardens done Under order of Napoleon III); Hotel de Limur and gardens in city center rue Thiers; the beforemention Church of Saint Patern in the district of Saint Patern (oldest in the city), and the Cathedral Saint Pierre (see other post); the Chapelle St Yves (now attach to the middle school Jules Simon, see photos here).

The flag of the city is a  white Stoat or weasel  in  red background wearing a banner of  stoats. The red background represent the kingdom of the Bro Waroch and the Hermine is the symbol of Brittany.

Of course  ,walking around all day we needed to eat and we stop at one of the quaint places to eat in Vannes old city, the resto Chez la Mére 6 Sous, 11 Rue Thomas de Closmadeuc; great goat cheese salad, mussels and fries, chorizo spanish pizzas , a bottle of brut cider from the Val du Rance all for 15€ per person. We went next door  at L’Aromate for smoothies and milkshakes of different flavors for 3,50€ per person. Their webpage info here:

See in photos the great building of Burton the men’s dept store in city center by Rue Billaut, the porte or gate Saint Vincent, the covered market at pl des lices, the harbor area le Port around pl Gambetta, the place du poids public ,place Henri IV, the ramparts and wall towers such as the wonderful Connetable or Constable tower. The famous Vannes et ces femmes or Vannes and its woman, in place Valencia. The laundry of old by the ramparts, the place de la liberation the bus terminal my kids used to go to school and now great parking area.

On the way out we stop by Olivier Le Brun our favorite pâtissiere at 9, rue Saint Vincent to get our country breads and chorizo and lardon bacon breads ! delicious for 1,70€ each. Just to bring home the bacon call! webpage here:

Enjoy Vannes , it is Worth a detour ,and now many visitors in the area. Temps at 20C and no rain, sun is out. I am off for the four day weekend lol!!! Enjoy yours ::)

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

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