Archive for September, 2016

September 28, 2016

Some news from France ,CXLII

This is mid week and already at the blog, lol! this is a virus of enormous proportion , when I started in 2010 I never thought it would be this fun, and it has been. Now here it’s cloudy with 20C or about 62F bit humid cool it feels but no rains, oh here is Vannes, Morbihan, Brittany, France.

I like to dwell on some things happening in France in general and Paris in particular.

at the Centre Pompidou, you have the exhibit “René Magritte, la Trahison des images” until Jan 23rd 2017.  More here in English :

The pedestrian only Paris this year (past sept 26th but will be practice every year)  has been enlarge from 11h to 18h and 45% more space intra-muros that is inside Paris proper. Many activities and shops will be showcase along the routes. More here :

Soul Train of old !!! remember the show, now the Mona Bismarck American Center comes back to the source with a program November 12 on films and presentations such as  Shabba Doo, and  Jean-Paul Goude. More here:

You can see « Faust »  in the Théâtre du Châtelet, open door with performers with rock of Robert Wilson going on until tomorrow (sorry for late reporting); more here:

Anybody tried the wine apps out there? well not a techie myself but plenty to choose from and more coming up. Wine Ring is one but do not score high with the experts. Delectable and Banquet, works in tandem and they score very high.  A tad below is Vivino, and bit further down Wine Searcher . Not good at all were Snooth, Drync, Corkz, Hello Vino, and Cellar Tracker. The newest one is Omnipair that according to the experts looks promising. I will be far from all of them, but hey you can read it here too ::) More at Bloomberg here:


king Charles X rests since 1836 in the convent of  Kostanjevica, present day Slovenia. The last king of the Second Restauration ruling from 1824 to 1830 before taking exile.  There is a group trying to bring the rests back to his native France and to the Basilica of Saint Denis, Charles X, the last of the Bourbon kings ,but also his son  Louis de France and niece Marie-Thérèse (oldest daughter of king  Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette) to be alongside at Saint Denis royal necropolis.  Webpage in French here:

The others that were brought back from  outside of France are those of emperor  Napoléon Ier, died in island of Saint-Hélène (south Atlantic) in  1821,to joined the  Invalides during an official ceremony in 1 840. Those of king  Louis-Philippe Ier, called the king of the French or « roi des Français » in 1 830 (under a constitutional monarchy), died in 1850 at Claremont (UK), and transferred to the chapel of Saint-Louis of Dreux in 1876.

You heard here on the CDG Express or the Charles-de-Gaulle Express. This is a straight line from Roissy CDG airport to the Gare de l’Est in Paris for 2023. It will have a price of about 24€ and get you in within 20 minutes. Now, the closest one is the RER B in about 50 minutes and 10€ but going thru some of the worse areas of outer Paris. The new CDG Express will use about 24 kms of the 32K route using as well the line K (Paris-Crépy-en-Valois line) and even the RER B in case of accidents. There is talk of a new tax to help pay for this of 1€ on the airplane tickets with work Schedule to start in 2018. The runway 2 of CDG is already doing preparatory work on it including an underground tunnel to host the CDG Express train. More in French at the  Le Parisien here :

The survivor from the Colonial Exposition of 1878, the old aquarium of Trocadéro needed to closed in 1985. It opened again built underground in 2006.  This year it has 17000 fishes and 4 million liters of water to celebrate its 10th anniversary .Aquarium au jardin du Trocadéro,Admission is 19,90 € adults . Open every day from 10h to 19h. On Saturday October 1st each senior paying will give the chance to enter for free two persons between 1-59 yrs of age. More here

The concession for the Jardin d’Acclimatation has been extended for an additional 25 yrs to a group which includes 80% LVMH and 20% by Compagnie des Alpes (also handles Astérix). The gardens were opened by Napoléon III in 1860 and has 60 hectares along the Bois de Boulogne. 18 new attractions will be created including 9 free and 26 existing attractions will be renovated. The goal is to reach 2,5 million visitors per year. One of my family favorite parks in Paris for years…

The opera of the  Fantôme de l’Opéra  will now be shown in by before November at the Théâtre Mogador… This after a fire on last Sunday morning at the theater touching the main salon as well as the decorations.  More here :

There will be a new exchange on the autoroute linking the A86 to the N118 at Vélizy. In this axe that will be in service by 2019 closing passing the shopping center centre commercial Vélizy 2  ,and will connected to the street rue du Général Valérie-André. Badly needed as when we lived nearby it was always traffic jams there so imagine now it’s worse. More here in French :

How to get around Paris within 3 hrs away , well come to my department 56 Morbihan, Le Figaro says so! And more on Chartres, Reims, Orleans, Dijon ,Saint-Malo, La Grande-Motte, Cheverny,  Biarritz, Le Havre, Sophia-Antipolis(Biot), Dinard, Montgaudry, Marseille, Lyon, Pyla-sur-Mer, Strasbourg,Roquebrune-Cap-Martin,Pommard, La Rochelle, and Les Sables d’Olonne. Of course, all these in several weeks lol! Come to think as people ask what to see around Paris, well the whole of France ::)

And coming up is the Nuit Blanche or white night in France. From October 1 to the 2nd overnight that is 19h to 7h. The transformation is the theme this year and the place tops will be the berges de Seine or along the river Seine. The love theme of course will be here as there will be a walk starting from rue Lobau, just behind the Hôtel de Ville all the way to the island or ile Saint-Germain, at Issy-les-Moulineaux. Many institutions participate on this year themes such as the Musée du Quai Branly, Pavillon de l’Arsenal,  Petit Palais,  Théâtre du Châtelet, Monnaie de Paris, or the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts.


and tourist office:

Enjoy it all;until next time Cheers!!! And tomorrow another day off lol!!!

September 25, 2016

Paris ,Galerie Vivienne and Republique; contrasts!

Here I continue on my Paris haunts. For those new to my blog, I used to worked in Paris for 10 years while living next door in Versailles, the best 1-2 punch you can have. I have since, moved to Brittany in the Morbihan Breton for the last 5 years where I currently live and work.

Going to Paris is an every month event even if sometimes the possible business trips do not allow for much picture taking, this time was an exception as I had a whole day and half for me so indulge once again in the city beautiful, Paris.

The Galerie Vivienne is one of the historical cross over existing in Paris where under roof you have stores, restos etc that will take you from one street to the other on a covered passageway or gallery.  This Galerie Vivienne is 176 meters long by 3 meters wide; about 581 feet by 10 feet. The facades of the gallery are found on streets such as 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 5-7 rue de la Banque and 6 rue Vivienne; closest metro is Bourse on line 3 from where I was staying by pl de la République is a walking trip. The galerie were built in 1823.

It has been remodeled and it looks just gorgeous, the new site tells you all about here:

The wonderful  Librarie Jousseaume (bookstore of old and new) and the Bistrot Vivienne are two of my frequent stops there and revisited! More on them here:

Librarie Jousseaume:

Bistrot Vivienne:

More on the gallery from the Paris tourist office in English here :

Moving along rue Réaumur turn right and head for the Place de la République. Well written on it before, a must in Paris and the center of Parisien intricacies from all walks of life. I stayed on Hôtel Meslay République here on 3 Rue Meslay that I forgot to take pictures but stayed before so have it on other posts on the blog ::) Here is the webpage :

Smallist hotel but the rooms in the 3rd floor are big and quiet. Breakfast serve on the vault basement in stones very quaint and of course steps from the Place de la République and the metro. I had my first night dinner at an old favorite simple place good for all visitors , that is Pizza Pino.  There I had my Palerme chorizo pizza with a nice quart (1/4 bottle) of rosé luberon region wine and the café plaisir , sort of coffee and sweets in one plate. all for 26 euros. The pizzerias are very popular and found in several locations in Paris. More here:

The rest was spent walking around, what better way to visit Paris than to walk and soak in the beauty ,the architecture, the ambiance that is all Paris. You know it, walk and walk. Paris is eternal this way. Enjoy the pictures and Paris!

 Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris

Tags: ,
September 24, 2016

Paris Arc de Triomphe ,Champs-Elysées,and Alma !

I had a much useful time in Paris on my last visit this past week, actually I think I walked a lot lol!

I came in as usual thru my Gare Montparnasse (see previous entry), and quickly moved to the Place de l’Alma and its bridge and then the avenue des Champs-Elysées and of course the Arc de Triomphe areas. This is a bit of that walking trip of glorious Paris,the one you never get tired of visiting even if lucky enough to live in France…

First, who does not come to Paris and not visit the avenue des Champs-Elysées ….even with all it’s tourist hordes all over ,it is still a wonder to see and feel and locals like it too.  However, I won’t tell nothing new, rather you taste it try it and see it, there is something for everybody here,and the new excellent official site has plenty in English to show you to the things you like to do. Here it is:

And for a magical video music from the great French singer Joe Dassin, here is youtube videos:

Moving on away from it you can cut across avenue Marceau or ave George V to reach the wonderful Pont de l’Alma and its square of Place de l’Alma (see the flame of liberty from the top part of the statue of liberty) . A magical place and bridge love by all locals and visitors alike.  The bridge is recent, built in 1969 to 1973 and 143 meters long by 42 meters wide with an old soldier Zouave to keep an eye on the rises of the river Seine flood prevention. This bridge replaces one done in 1854 and it now links the  Place de l’Alma on the right bank to the Quai Branly on the left bank. More on the Paris tourist office here:

You will see a couple photos from the controversial Russain Orthodox Church been build on the quai Branly with Russian money and some says Putin’s money. The avenue Marceau is a wonderful street leading from the Place de l’Alma to the Arc de Triomphe passing by the Embassy of Spain, the Institut Cervantes (under renovations), and the Yves-Saint-Laurent foundation Pierre Bergé amongst the notable buildings here.

I stop here to have my lunch at the simple but chic  Berts right next Alma-Marceau metro line 9 exit off the Avenue du Wilson. More on the resto chain here:

Right by here, you see the entrance to the Sewers tour of Paris, well not my cup of tea to visit sewers but it is popular, the Egouts de Paris ;more info here:

From the square Alma, further down on Avenue de New York, you can visit my old haunts visited many times the American Center of the Mona Bismarck Foundation. An American  contemporary arts center and exhibition place.  And see right across it the Bridge or Passarelle Debilly created for the Universal Exposition of 1900. And of course, the big Tour Eiffel across it.  More on them here:

The Mona Bismarck was for many years the home of many American organisations in Paris some of which I belong, and now it is totally dedicated to showcasing the American arts to the French public and of course all visitors to Paris.  Now call the American Center for Art & Culture:

All in all, you never see Paris, but rather Paris see you, there is much more to Paris than a blog or a post. Paris is a movable feast you never stop loving it once bitten. Cheers!

 Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris  Paris

Tags: ,
September 15, 2016

There are wine notes, tastings and then there is Parker

Well it hit me saw an article on the last tastings rounds of a genius and prompted me to write this post. I love wines, I have been drinking it tasting it since birth, from my grandmother first at age 8 and then onwards to all the levels.

I tried them all, from obscure wine labels and lesser known countries such as Viñales from Cuba to the great ones of France and the Rothschilds. I used to work in a liquor store in Florida, and was in charge of the wine department ordering and replacing bottles, and attending the old fashioned income tax burning parties AND wine tastings.

From attending many wine tastings at different locations and have the privilege of meeting the best growers in the world from several countries most from France.  The pleasure of choosing France the mother of all wine tastings experts, knowledge, foundations. Where else would you see a French grape, or a French winemaker giving their expertise, or French investors on vineyards, or using French oak barrels for ageing, to using the same methods as in France, and then creating a wonderful bottle, à la French even if sometimes ego claims it to be better than the original French wine.

Now it hit me, Robert  Parker is retiring from wine tasting notes; oh mine. I was an original follower who signed up to his newsletters and purchase his books the moment it hit the bookstore; this was the genius of wine and especially French. What would Bordeaux becomes without him?

Robert Parker was a lawyer by profession born in  Monkton, Maryland, USA ;today he is 70 years old!!  He started writing his columns in the fame US magazine The Wine Advocate. He sold his empire to Singaporian investors many years ago.

Between April and June the most glorious of Bordeaux wines are presented to the tasters as each year , this time in 2016 Robert Parker is not there to taste the 2015 crop.  Bordeaux is orphan for the first time in many years; no more the 100 points scores.  I remember when the Château Pavie was given 100 and was helped to raised to premier Grand Cru Classé A of Saint Emilion, at the same level as Ausone, Cheval-Blanc or Angélus!!!

The great French consultant and winemaker of many Michel Rolland said of Parker « Si vous n’aimiez pas les vins qu’aimait Parker, vous n’aimiez pas grand-chose de bon ! » OR If you do not like the wines that Parker liked, you did not love nothing good! He had the world at his feet when announce a wine; such as Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte when in 2011 re evaluating the 2009’s he took the note from 98 to 100 , in one night he push the the sales of this wine by 3X the world over!

He has left some followers such as Neal Martin in The Wine Advocate magazine; and then James Suckling with a great following and after his depart from The Wine Advocate another takes his place such as James Molesworth .

With the retirement of  Robert Parker ,others takes or tried to take his place such as Antonio Galloni (USA) and even the French team of Michel Bettane et Thierry Desseauve . Others such as Tim Atkin, Jancis Robinson in the UK, Jacques Perrin in Switzerland, Jacques Dupont in France or even Decanter magazine, the most international of magazines from UK. But any arrives of combing world opinion on wines as did Robert Parker.

Now , it is not the explosion as before of reading a 100 by Parker as before .Even is some merits such in the 2015 vintage such as Pontet-Canet , Pauillac, Brane-Cantenac, Margaux, Haut-Bailly ,Pessac-Léognan, Pétrus,  Pomerol, Cheval-Blanc and Canon ,Saint-Émilion..etc.

Now, new horizons are happening in the expressway of Napa and Sonoma,  a boulevard of Bordeaux Crus opens up not only of the most prestigious labels but also of those of the Fronsadais or  côtes de Castillon , are founding their place in the Sun.

Saddened ,however, that Bordeaux has lost with the retirement of the guru, “the greatest Ambassador she‘s ever had”, an important trader of the place is difficult to turn the page. Bordeaux must forget Parker because it must. And regret because it‘s worth…Robert Parker.

The lessons are always remember , the memories of his newsletter full of love and energy will not be forgotten,this is my humble homage to a great wine guru of our time. Follow the wine, it is good for you and the soul. It is our blood.

Cheers and in Vino Veritas.

inspirational  source in French:

September 12, 2016

And on my day off, it’s Birthday time!

Well we usually do not like birthdays too much, even if many are excited about it. It just means you are getting older and closer to your human time on Earth. Nevertheless , we seems to continue celebrating our Birthday.

My birthday hands says I am very honest with a natural presence and talk direct . I ma very kind and in tune with nature; I am very handyman and like to help people.  Great to get alone and down to earth partner. Always there when they need me. Well ,not bad, it looks good , I take it ::)

Wikipedia has it that there is a difference between birthday and birthdate: The former, other than February 29, occurs each year (e.g. June 12), while the latter is the exact date a person was born (e.g., June 12, 1993). I always said birthday lol!!

And I have a very important biblical name to celebrate the Saint’s day.  There is no mention of Birthdays in the Bible but only of a Pharaoh of Egypt..!  We came to know about birthdays from Ptolemy V onwards.

The New Testament gives one example of Birthday mentioned, that of apostate king Herod, one of the worst butchers who ever lived!!! scary indeed. The fact is, the Bible is totally SILENT on the date of the birth of every single servant of God, including Abraham, Noah, Moses, Samuel, David, the apostles, and most important of all, Jesus Christ Himself!!!

The World Book — Childcraft International says regarding “Holidays and Birthdays,” “For thousands of years people all over the world have thought of a birthday as a very special day. Long ago, people believed that on a birthday a person could be helped by good spirits, or hurt by evil spirits. So, when a person had a birthday, friends and relatives gathered to protect him or her. And that’s how birthday parties began.” The idea of putting candles on birthday cakes goes back to ancient Greece. The Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Among them was one called Artemis. Of course, this is all religiously inclined discussion….

The truth is we go back and forth celebrating birthdays as a happy moment we all wait to party.  Some of the famous names who has their birthday today are:

King Francis I of France ,Henry Hudson (English navigator for the Hudson River betweend NY and NJ USA); and many more here;

We set out to have lunch in our humble simple country French restaurant Les Trois Soleils, in Plescop just outside Vannes. This is a workers lunch place and real local foods and customs. We love it for the friendly country service, the good food and the good family ambiance. There is a menu formule set of second dish and dessert or first dish and second dish for 11,50€ including drink of beer, wine, sodas or water. Or the full whammy of entrée (first dish), plat (second dish), dessert ,and drink (beer, wine, sodas, water) all for 13,30€ which we split as each tastes in the family. I had the full swing !!!

it is, also, the center of sports news in the area and you can know all the scores of football/soccer, rugby in all divisions from national and local teams on a board by the bar area.  There is no webpage of course, and the best outside source can find is this one from the sports association organization ANCV here :

On our way out , we stop by the nearby L’Etoile des Pains bakery to gathered our baguettes and a local bread call the baguette d’etoiles. Of course very local .

As we had gathered our wines at the Nicolas Vannes store (see previous post on the foires aux vins), we went for our boys to buy me a couple pairs of shoes in our favorite store for it, Besson Chaussures in Vannes.  Many local brands from leading shoe leather countries such as France, Italy, Portugal ,and Spain.

And going away I took a picture of our home  ,with lots of labor of love and euros it is coming alone nicely;next remodeled all the bathrooms (2) this week, plumber on call and time confirm lol!

Happy B-day to those celebrating today ,and have you all a great week ahead. Nice times here now 24C or about 77F and sunny; in Paris the news says cloudy and 89F or about 32C! Cheers


Tags: ,
September 11, 2016

Foire aux vins or wine fairs are on in France!!!

This is the moment we wait to buy wines in quantity and good prices; these are the Foire aux Vins going on all over France now. It will be going on from end August to mid October 2016 depending on the store and the region. A wonderful time of the year indeed ::)

There are over 30 fairs of wine in France just between September and October 2016 in France, offering real bargains as we can vouch for it.  More here on fairs of any kind  I have it for wines in France in English:

All the leading hypermarkets here like E Leclerc, Giant Casino, Carrefour, Intermarché, Monoprix and Auchan have fairs on similar dates. The Sommeliers expert advice is to look for years 2005,2010,and 2015 as best years. Be careful of low prices from industrial wine growers, search well for prices, and the medal wine bottles as commercially manipulated. IN brief, you need to know who you buy from, both in store and from producers. I always have counted on producers if they are good their years will be good ,sure buy. Be aware that even if this is a national event, each regions has its choices so need to move about to find the best as a whole. One great wine in Provence may not be available in Bretagne and vice versa.

Some good events coming up that I have participated in the past are the Fête des Vendage de Montmartre Paris ,October 5-9,2016. This is going on since 1934!!! the best in Paris, More official page here:

The other is the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants , in porte de Versailles, Paris November 24-28 2016, a fantastic place from all over France. More info here:

Salon des Vins d’Abbayes , is another jewel that this year has passed by but mark in your calendars for next year at Saint-Germain-des-Prés; Palais Abbatial 3 bis rue de l’Abbaye Paris 6éme. The wine began with the abbeys so come here to taste the ones still made today in them. You see others in France coming up here their official site that ,also, tells you about these wonderful abbeys such as see the site here:

The wines events are here :

Salon de la revue du vin de France is a magazine I have in my blogroll below posts and one that I have followed for many many years;the magazine and since their first event in Paris. They hold and event at the wonderful Palais de Brongniart or bourse every May with over 200 vignerons from all over France in a wonderful chic place.  Next one is the 11th edition on May 19-20 2017; more info here:

At the Carrousel du Louvre, November 25-26 2016 they will hold the Le Grand Tasting Under a great tasting team of France ,Bettane+Desseauve (they publish a wine guide )  ;over 300 producers and a cooking MasterChef class as well. More info here:

One newspaper I follow and best for comparisons is the Le Figaro . It provides available wines by region and store as well as prices so you are well arm when stepping into the stores. Is a must to read before going out shopping. It’s in French of course; The site not only gives you supermarkets but also specialize wine stores with a nice tri to look up prices and wine labels  régions etc; more here:

One smaller wine tasting I went for several years before moving to Bretagne is held by the Port de Suffren in Paris, at the Le Maxim’s boat own by Pierre Cardin; Saveurs et Vins , the next one will be November 18-20 2016, and we have made many friends we now follow all over France from the Loire to the Dordogne. More here in French:

And one that the organiser told me could not be held in July 2016 and waiting further for the 2017 but it has been fabulous in the Touraine-Amboise region of the loire, Centre region this is just north of Amboise.  Promenade Gourmande. A walk in the vineyards with local music, food and local wine tasting while while walking amongst the grapes. Of course, there are kiosks at 1 km intervals for you to eat and taste and keep walking, all fun to raise funds for the Lion International assoc of the Loire. More here:

See a youtube video here of the 2015 event;

Other favorite stores of mine are Lavinia Paris (origin of Spain), Rue de la Madeleine by the Church same name.

Nicolas  (our top favorite) all over France and the main one in Paris same area of the Madeleine;

Millesima Bordeaux,:

Denis Perret, Beaune:

We just came from visiting Nicolas Vannes where we load u a couple cases of wine to stock up ‘beefup’ our cellar at home. Very good wines at discounted prices, the way to go and Monday is my Birthday ::) so off from work and took Tuesday off too. La belle France is generous and we love it.

Enjoy the wines in moderation and keep up a tradition of centuries ,wine is good for you. France came down a bit on wine production last year at 42+ millions hl short of the 47 it did year before that. The quality so far is not good due to weather so  keep an eye out on the producers they wont get you wrong. The 2015 is very good thought.

In Vino Veritas ,enjoy your Sunday. Weather is cloudy cooler by 66F or 13C but no rain in our Bretagne. Need to put some photos so here are some personal ones on the roads of wines of France. Cheers.


September 10, 2016

Vannes, the tunnel and the Gulf of Morbihan

As you know if reading my posts, I work in Vannes just outside in a castle from 1504 ::) So the city is like a second home to me.. It is the capital of the Morbihan departément 56 in Brittany and one city left intact from the ravages of wars. The tourist office again is here:

The city is rich in history and architecture as well as a great maritime tradition. The canal into the pleasure marina in Le  Port can hold 3000 boats and falls into the Gulf of Morbihan and the Gare Maritime passenger boat terminal to the islands. The Gulf is an Unesco World Heritage site.

May 22-28 2017 is the Semaine du Golfe here or the Gulf’s week, full of sea sailing activities , more here:

Water activities and info on the cruises to the island  ,you find them here:

This is local site in French but complete on the islands in the Gulf of Morbihan:

This is an interactive map from the regional Council on the Gulf of Morbihan play with the dots and see island détails;you need flash.

There are many wonderful art expo center, one that always catches my eye passing by often is the Hotel de Limur on 31, Rue Thiers just near Le Port and not far from the Hotel de Ville/city hall.  It has three floors and a French garden in the back; inside it has a grand white marble stairs style Louis XIII built by 1685 , and it was here that the Breton émigrés or immigrant from England who came back to fight for monarchy and sentence to death all remaining 795 of them were judge revolutionary style (the remains are in the Chartreuse d’Auray) .  The Limur family takes over in 1820 and held on to the building until 1947; when it becomes prôperty of the city and the fine arts museum is housed here from 1955 to 1968 ,and even today is in charge of its upkeep. Many temporary exhibitions are held here; like the one going on now until September 25th, “Chateaux et Manoirs de Vannes” 14h to 18h free admission. In French from the city of Vannes page, history on the Limur:

The real thrill today was finally see the tunnel Under the Gulf of Morbihan that connects both end of the bay from Vannes to Séné is now open. Before it was a bridge (pont de Kerino) that had to be raise and lower for boats now no more and the traffic is much smoother.

This page from the city tells you on public transports in the Vannes metro area in English:

This one tells you down the line a bit more on the Kérino bridge in English:

And even thus the tourist and city officials are a bit slow on the update on the bridge in the above links, the TV France 3 of the region has the  news and a small video on it, that I rode and told you here!!! In French of course, but the video is worldly lol!

The old bridge will be dismantled phase out and all will be on the new tunnel allowing 20000 vehicules to past by it nicely with cycling and pedestrians passageways as well! Of course, the view on the bay will be lost oh well we cannot have it all. For the road warrior in me ,the tunnel is great and tested wonderfully.

So I am happy to have try the tunnel and been one of the first one, and ahead of the local authorities on their webpages yahuuoo ::) Now enjoy it when in the area and if by let me know , the Morbihan is tops and the only department in France without a French name , you know it, Breton all the way, Mor=sea bihan=small or petite mer or small sea or Morbihan.

Oh yes forgot , did when to the market in Vannes by place du poids public and visit my Nicolas wine store, it’s the Foire aux vins or wine fair going on and we load up, walking the cartons back to the car parked for 40cents in Place de la Libération ::)

Have a great weekend.

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

Tags: ,
September 9, 2016

Real Madrid FC is on the move, as always!!!

Talking about nostalgia, this was my teen years living in Madrid and playing for the Real Madrid FC both in the alavin division and on the sponsored Baseball team at the Elipa.

When lived here, I started out playing baseball for the Real Madrid at the Parque Municipal de la Elipa complex, remember taking the P13 bus (today is the 113) from Alcalà street to the Elipa. Today baseball is still played there and the seat of the Madrid baseball/softball federation. The stadium is here:

Then, I moved over to the football/soccer section at the old Casa de Campo fields, back in 1972-74. Real Madrid official pg is here:

I have continued to played football all over where I have been until recently in an indoor corporate league in France.  Being very attach to the Real Madrid I have been a life long fan Madridista of the team and follow it religiously anywhere.

In the meantime, I am honorary member of five peñas or supporting group of the Real Madrid from Xove Galicia to Malaga Spain;visit often.

The trips to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Valdebebas Real Madrid city  for the junior teams are annually and sometimes more; some times getting together with similar friends there in groups or individually. Nowdays, the facilities have nothing in common to those of earlier years, more here:

More on the Bernabeu stadium here:

So far this year 2016-2017 season, the team is tied in first place on points with a string record of 14 straight victories or ties Under coach Zinedine Zidane (France). Going this Saturday September 10th vs Osasuna for a record 15 only done before in the 1960-61 season Under coach Miguel Muñoz.

The farm team Real Madrid Castilla plays in the Liga Segunda B Grupo II , next game vs Gernika September 10th. They are now in 6th place.

Been a true Real Madrid fan, I,also, followed and have attended their Basketball games; more here season starts next September 30th vs Unicaja of Malaga

Needless to say,in both football and basketball we are the winningest club both in the Spanish League (Santander)  and European titles( Champions).

My hangout when by the Bernabeu is the Real Cafe Bernabeu restaurant where you can see the field of play sitting in a nice table. More here:

It has become a way of life even if not so prolific writer on sports in my blog, there are some, just search ::) Hala Madrid!!!  And our anthem

Real Madrid

September 8, 2016

Some news from France , CXLI

We are getting there to another fine weekend of wonderful weather in the Morbihan Breton right around 20C or about 68F and nicely sunny. So now let’s see what is going on in my belle France.

And now we are having jungles in Paris, the city has agree to set up refugees camps by the Blvd Néry up to the Porte de la Chapelle starting early October. And only for men, go figure, as per Le Parisien newspaper. More in French here:

The Château de Fontainebleau is looking for donations to save about 46 works of arts . You can see the collection at the Galerie d’Art Aveline in front of the Palais de l’Elysée in Paris, they will be shown there until October 9th. These pièces were done at the Manufacture de Sévres. More here in French ;

A big bar Ephémere is being setup at the blvd Richard Lenoir; on the corner of blvd Voltaire and Richard Lenoir what would later be a garden will be open until November .Open Mondays to Sundays from midday to 21h ,free admission More here:

The Paris Aquarium by the Trocadéro will host red fishes like those you keep in your house or back patio pond. More in the French page of the Aquarium here:

The famous elite corp of chevaliers of the Cadre Noir de Saumur could move into the Château de Versailles;anyway that is what the court  of Accounts or revenue court said. The Institut français du cheval et de l’équitation, of which the Cadre Noir are attached is not making money so to bring in more revenue ,but the Château is not so much convince as they already have Bartàbas in the Grande Ecurie. Time will tell  all. It would be great and something added value to the city and if you need to know who are the Cadre Noir de Saumur, here is their official page in English:

Something on French liquors here folks some of the best in the world too. Have you try the Pineau de Charentes a liquor muted with the Cognac; where it is aged as much as 12 months. Here the drink is drank as an apéritif or apéro just before the meals. You can taste this and others at one of the best in Paris, A La Française, here:

These liquors are even more known outside of France from London to New York, but gradually the French are taken then as happy hour, after work or apéros. Another great place to taste these and has no webpage is La Coq ,12 rue du Château d’Eau, 10éme Métro :  Jacques Bonsergent / Château d’Eau / République. Some others well known here are the Chartreuse, Suze, Picon, Dubonnet, Calvados, Armagnac, Saint-Raphaël, Noilly Prat, Bénédictine, Byrrh, and Absinthe.In the different régions of France you find,also, the Whisky, Vodka (Grey Goose, Pyla, Lactalium…); fruit liquors such as the Joseph Cartron, and Vedrenne or plant base as the Verveine du Velay from  Puy-en-Velay, in the heart of Auverge ,Haute-Loire since 1859. The rum from the islands such as Saint James or Rhum Trois Rivières; not to forget the Cognac such as the Louis XIII, and to know more about them nothing best then the BNIC, more here in English;

Couple other good bars to try these liquors and more are the  Andy Wahloo bar, more here :  ; and the Le Syndicat, here:

And the MisterGoodBeer folks tells you where to get the cheapest beer in Paris!!! by metro stop !!! these are Parmentier, Cadet and Couronnes. The cheapest metro line is line 4 at 3,90€ and the most expensive is line 9 and 14 at 4,80€.  The most expensive at above 6€ are metro stop at Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette, Franklin Roosevelt, Sèvres-Babylone or  Ecole Militaire.  You can get some reasonable price beers by Miromesnil (4€), Rue du Bac (4€) or Louvre-Rivoli (4€).

For bowling go to Strike Beach at Bercy from September 5th to 30th Inside the hotel Pullman Paris Centre Bercy . It will be held from Monday to Friday from 11h to 22h, Sundays 11h to 16h ,the admission price is 5€ for a game of bowling or the Package Pastis & bowling 8€ . Pastis drink in various levels, the full address is at  1, rue de libourne 75012 Paris (Line 14 stop Cour Saint-Émilion). More from Le Figaro here:

And down at Toulon, where the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup sailing event will have a stop at plage Mourillon , where you get front seat to see the five challengers including the French  Groupama captain by Franck Cammas, against the defending champion the American  Defender by Oracle.  This is this weekend Sept 9,10, 11h to 14h Friday and 14h30  to 16h Saturday and Sunday.More here:

How about having the best Chaussons aux Pommes in Paris. One of our favorite desserts here. The winner in Le Figaro contest was Ladurée, 16 Rue Royale, Laurent Duchéne, 2 rue de Wurtz, and Des Gâteaux et du Pains, 80 rue du Bac as the top 3.

Ladurée Paris

Laurent Duchéne

Des Gateaux et du Pains

Some places to visit and enjoy in Paris as we call the re entry or rentrée from normal vacation time in France are these

Gaumont Alésia, 73 avenue Général Leclerc more for the cinema here:

Librairie le Divan, after many years by Saint-Germain-des-Prés now in the 15éme arrondissement; 203 rue de la Convention, more here:

And this will be in Facebook by September 20th but the bar Le Bluebird. 12, rue Saint Bernard (11éme). It will have nights of Gin cocktails from 11 to 13€ in a Californian ambiance.

The  Parc de la Folie Saint-James 16 avenue de Madrid, Neuilly sur Seine has reopen after years of work 2 hectares and about 6000 plants nicely done ,it recall the 18C origins of anglo chinese gardens here.  The story in French from the city page here:

Away in the gardens of the Château de Chantilly (Domaine) you have this wonderful corner, L’Auberge du Jeu de Paume , 4 rue du Connétable, from the school of Guy Savoy, chic French, more here:

To honor the Montmartre of yesteryear, Le Bistrot de la Galette, 102 ter rue Lépic , from galettes to full meals classy French, more here :

The famous Café de Flore reunited the artists of each generation such as Guillaume Apollanaire, Jean-Paul Sartre, Robert Doisneau, Françoise Sagan, and Serge Gainsbourg. The Galerie Anne & Just Jaeckin shows an exposition to honor these periods in a mythical place. From September 22nd to December 2 2016; 19 rue Guénégaud, 6éme, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 13h to 19h. More here:

At the Plaza Athénée,27 Avenue Montaigne(the Illusionist Stefan Leyshon  opens a series of mysterious dinners ( Secret dinings) on 16 dates to relive a sensorial experience with magic in 3D, mentalism and new technologies as well as a dinner; 295€ per person ;more here:

“Carl Andre, Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010” , expo from October 18 to February 12 2017 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (16éme). One of the great minimalistic exponent of the art will put on display about 40 sculptures, poems, photos, works on paper and unclassable objects. More here:

Manolo Valdez of Spain will come to the Place Vendôme until October 5th with the Marlborough Gallery with 6 monumental works inspired from the 20C from Matisse to Picasso. More here in English:

And the lingerie queen Chantal Thomas will invade the Crazy Horse ,12 Avenue George V with four portraits of belles showing the new collection from October 5th:more in French here:

The department store the Bon Marché is showcasing Paris of course until October 15.  You will see it on the Windows of the store all decorated with themes of Paris, nice. More here:

And the Musée d’Orsay is not left behind, the expo “Spectaculaire Second Empire” from September 27 to January 15 2017. More here in English:

And the Musée du Quai de Branly-Jasques Chirac, will have from October 4th the exposition; “The Color Line”.  It retraces 150 years of Afro American art history showing more than 200 works of artists like David Hammons, Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Douglas, Elizabeth Catlett, and Ellen Gallagher. More here in English:

There you go something to make come back , Paris and France is waiting. Enjoy your end of week, mine is good going back to my Paris end of September !!!! Cheers



September 7, 2016

Some news from Spain, XXX

And why not Spain, already breaking records on weather as much as 44C in Granada and 41C in Madrid to visitors arrivals all over the country this year. Some interesting info here me think.

Spain has over 275000 bars restaurant-hotels and people asked the question why go to a bar? There is a study done by the beer brand Mahou San Miguel that shows some interesting facts.

People go to them for meeting with friends (88,9%), parties (88,4%) or lower the daily stress (86,6%) are the principal reasons. The ages old question that we go to connect with the opposite sex is not confirm as only 15,3% said they do , the highest response was in La Rioja region with 19,9% .

The motives for going are in no specific order: get together with friends, lower the daily stress, party for special occasions, meet colleagues from work, watch a football/soccer game, so do not have to cook, to do network or close business, to study or work with colleagues, to find the opposite one or connect to WiFi

The best out of it according to this study about 85% says the most important segment for the economy and to bring in tourists to Spain by (83,9%) especially in the region of Navarra (90%).

The survey tell us that they come to bars for its quality of food (70,3%) the good time and terraces (67,5%) are the ones most preferred by the tourists way ahead of variety of offers (58,8%),Fairs and routes of tapas as well as regional celebrations (58,1%), the quality price ratio (57,8%), the good service (57,7%) and where they serve free tapas (with a drink) (53,1%).

And what about the old question of tips ? You give it for good service (61,8%) or always no matter what (20,4%) or never no matter what (17,8 (%). There you go.

And how to drink that beer ! or Caña the best is to be really cold for about (47,8%), of Spaniards but higher in some regions such as Murcia, Canarias, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha ,and Extremadura. Of course, the women wants it colder than the men 52% vs 43,8% . However, for 25,6% of those in the survey the key is that the beer is well serve and 70% of them agreed in their regions is done well with Andalucia (82,5%), Madrid (80,4%), and Extremadura (77,3%) as the most satisfied.

And how to tell which beer goes with what meal . by general in Spain 62,6%. Can tell the variety and match with the food. However, about 36,2% has basic idea on how to do this. Here the best match is done by Asturias (46.3%), Andalucia (42%) and the less adapts are Extremadura (24.4%) and Balearic islands (23.9%).


And on something different you know the Vuelta de España cycling race is going on now. It went to places that I past by before by car :J You have Colombians leading the race with an English (born in South Africa) and the Spaniards Alberto Contador , Samuel Sanchez, and David De La Cruz in the top 10. The 18 stage will be in Valencia country tomorrow. Then down to Alicante and up to Madrid on the 21th stage to finish on the paseo del Prado. More here:

The movie Julieta by Pedro Almodovar will represent Spain in the coming Oscars of February 26 2017. A story of women, see trailers and more here :

Secrets of my Madrid, do you know that on Calle de Amaniel, 29. was the original Mahou beer company of Madrid brewery built in 1892-94.  The brewery was transferred to Paseo Imperial and , then further to the Ramirez de Prado on El Aguila beer  brewery ,and finally the building was in decay until rescue by the Comunidad de Madrid that renovated and now houses the Regional Archives. More on it here :;isdiah

Selena Gomez will be in concert at the Palacios de los Deportes in Madrid on November 14 it has been announced as well as others coming up like Laura Pausini on October 7th. More here: and more on Selena here :

And always even if in Spanish the best guide for Entertainment in Madrid for yeeears, is La Guia del Ocio. Here it is folks:

And do not missed the quaint Mercado de San Ildefonso in Calle Fuencarral , 57 ,barrio de Malasañas. 700 M2 and 18 stores to serve the typical Madrid ambiance, great. More of it here:

And , do not forget to scroll down on my blog to the blogroll to see some of my favorite links on travel , sports, food ,and much more.  Showcasing the webpage of my good friend from Tenerife, who is an avid Walker and trekker of hte island mountains, canyons and forests.

Enjoy Spain, everything Under the sun; and of course Madrid is a must. Cheers





Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: