Archive for November, 2016

November 10, 2016

Some news from France CXLVII

And here we are already with lower temps down to 2C this evening or about 35F, no snow here in lovely Brittany but the white one was fell in Paris and the île de France region. Of course not even in the Alps have too many 10-20 cm in most or about 4-8 inches!

However, back to the coast and lovely if cold weather in the Morbihan we will be up to 8C,

Some other things going on in France in no particular order are:

CDG express tax postponed to 2024. Closing the track Pompidou traject becomes double for businesses in the capital.

Monday, 7 November, in the morning, the inhabitants of ïle-de-France were surprised to discover the snow since dawn in the Paris area. These early flakes have to worry drivers. The “snow-ice Paris plan”, which aims to clear roads in the event of weather disturbance, starts officially on November 15. This may well do not facilitate traffic that already has a record of traffic jams on Monday: more than 540 kilometres of traffic jams blocked roads at 9h, 20 kilometers more than the last peak, identified a few days after the attacks on 13 November. Snow in island of France region includes Paris

Vendée globe this time was installed quai Branly (7éme), at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Admission is free and during the almost three months of racing, the general public will be able to familiarize themselves with the offshore racing. Is open every day between 10h and 18h. Free admission.

Advertising in a giant scale. Huge. Such is the dome of more than 80 meters high  covering the Church of St. Augustin  now visible to the boulevard Malesherbes. About three years ago that the Church is hemmed in ugly scaffolding. La Madeleine (for restoration, during one year, the cornice, estimated to be 3 M€) and Church of Saint-Eustache (the façade and  garden scheduled up to the end of 2018 at a cost of 2.4 M€) gave their blessing for those who will be installed in the next few days. More here:

The Carrousel du Louvre, with its elegant shopping gallery and its exhibitions and receptions shows just a revolution. This Tuesday night, it is a renovated commercial spaces that will be inaugurated.  At 99, rue de  Rivoli (1eme), first a new canopy which hosts thousands of visitors of this famous address. It replaces the old awning canvas a little dated. Viparis is a home of 1 300 m2 and a ceiling height of 4.8 meters. with its four other existing salons, these are 7125 m2 of rooms that open within the Louvre. What to deal with the fierce competition of events  spaces like the Palais Brongniart (2éme) or the all-new  Carré du  Temple (3éme). More here:

By 2021, the T10 tramway, declared of public utility by the prefect a few weeks ago, must link Antony to Clamart, Châtenay-Malabry and Le Plessis-Robinson. More in French here:

For the inauguration of the Museum Raymond Devos, established in the House he occupied in Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse,more here:

Art comes to the airport Charles de Gaulle: for three weeks, 470 advertising screens scattered throughout the terminals will expose 80 images from the photographer Dominique Issermann, in the form of films. Do not miss this rare exposition of the French artist. Until 23 November. More here:

All at the beach: The cité of architecture and heritage takes us on vacation through a vast panorama of the history of the seaside cities in France and Europe. Architecture, urban planning, artwork and everyday objects tell the gradual conquest of the seaside . Until February 13.  More here:

The ambition of this exhibition is to exceed the images of Epinal and to study the personality, representations, the tastes and lifestyle of one of the greatest princes of the Grand Siècle. Until 30 September: every day and holidays from 10h to 18h. From October 1 to November 1: all the days and holidays except Tuesday from 10h to 18h ; From 3 November to 31 December: every day and holidays except Tuesday from 10h to 17h. From January 1 to January 2, 2017: Monday Sunday holidays from 10h to 17h. Admission 10€  Castle of Chantilly in the museum. More here:

And let’s do some wines with a French twist:  In 1880, a Finnish Gustav Niebaum, age 38, then at the head of a prosperous shipping company that he founded in San Francisco, offers his young wife to make wine in Bordeaux. But Susan refuses to leave his native California. And Gustav fells for the West slopes of the Napa, Rutherford, a bit South of Santa Helena. There, in the Valley of the Wild West, he built the first true great vineyards of California. Pioneer and visionary, Niebaum “invent”, at the end of the 19C, the selective sorting of the grapes at harvest, the reception by gravitation of the harvest, regulates the temperature of the winery… When, a century later, Francis Ford Coppola acquires Inglenook to make his summer home, it takes  only a few years to grasp the immense potential of this vineyard of 100 hectares. In the mid-80s, he launched a top cuvee range, which he called Rubicon.  Above all, faithful to the spirit of the Inglenook of Niebaum Coppola attaches to do the most French of the wines of the Napa. Not only by its grape varieties – cabernet sauvignon-, but also by a vinification and a farm dedicated to the finesse. Built on elegant, bright fruit after a first nose slightly peppered, the 2011 is very atypical of his region and vintage. This is more an attempt, it is a success. Rubicon 2011, Napa Valley, 175 EUR Inglenook. You can find here in St Emilion,

At the Danton the contents of the dishes are at the height of the good chef that is Alexis Pouly, passed through the kitchen of the Grand Véfour and the George V in Paris. The number of places limited to 28. How much: 21 to 47 euros menu. Where is it: 8, Danton, 69003 Lyon Street. Tel +33 (0) 4 37 48 00 10.More here :

Away from the very popular place de la  contrecarpe, almost incongruous in this corner of French Paris,Lilane ,offers  no frills but the products worked and presence of the dishes attest the wonderful soft-boiled eggs meurette, small Bacon and chanterelles; the supreme of pigeon in almond crust or the net of hake (perfectly cooked), risotto with chorizo and old Parmesan. Or even figs toast, crumble almond and ice yoghurt. A framework and a value that remind of friendly province gourmet tables ,just great . How much: Starter-main course-dessert at 35 euros the night. Where is it: graceful Street, 75005 Paris. Tel. +33 (0) 1 45 87 90 68.  More here:

The Moulin de la Galette, on the butte Montmartre, this is a kind of Parisian monument in front of which we can be all day. The old mill, built in the 17C, which was still producing flour and wine in the 19C, lived a thousand lives. Former property of Debray (that of Régis) family, it transformed into a tavern, then in the restaurant. Its recent history, he owes to Cédric Barbier, a digital  ex-entrepreneur  who bought and smartly renovated. Above the bar, thanks to a transparent ceiling, you can see the mill mechanism. When the weather is nice, the terrace opens its arms. As prices are more than reasonable, 50€ à la Carte, 23€  for the formula breakfast. We would like to live across the street. The Moulin de la Galette, 83, rue Lepic, Paris 18éme. Tel.+33 (0) 1 46 06 84 77.More here

Charles Aznavour in concert on 21 December 2016 to December 28, 2016 at the Palais des sports – Paris. He who recently got finally and well deserve a star in Hollywood blvd CA USA. More here:

Lille , nearby home of family taken here and family recommended to go to this militant canteen-loft, of the capers of the bear garlic replace pepper, chicory steals the show at the cafe and it revels in blondes, redheads or Brunettes beers on some amazing pears samurais mackerel of Dunkirk or these Jerusalem artichokes, buckwheat seeds and malt syrup to fall. A wild, uncompromising, and wonderfully inventive kitchen that transcends the Flemish soil. Bloempot: 22rue des bouchers. Book 2 months in advance on the website. Open every day except Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evening, 12-14h, and 19-21h. Lunch 19,50€-25€ and tasting menu ‘the eyes closed”€34 – 40€-50€.

This baroque sanctuary of the waffle with vanilla of Madagascar since 2008 has a gourmet restaurant. Nomadic and elegant, the kitchen of Maxime Schelstraete, young chef spent his time in England and Australia, if offers the luxury of working lobster or truffles between two flavours besides and merges wild squid and smoked salt, langoustines and zaatar Lebanese, a tradition in Lille, Meert: 27 rue Esquermoise, Tel +33 (0) 3 20 57 93 93. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 12-14h and 19h30-22h, Sunday 11h – 14h. Menu of the market 29€-€35, Discovery Menu 45€-70€. More here:

“Fou de Pain or Crazy bread” (which the bakery is considered to be the best of Lille) has built an artificial river to purify and energize its water, is passionate about the long fermentation, use organic flours and of trouble imitating human gesture. Result: cracking  unctuous honey  loaves guarantees 100% natural and a masterpiece, fine tart clementines chiselled to the knife in Japanese gold.  Alex Croquet: 66 rue Esquermoise, open every day except Sunday 7h30 – 19h30.  More soon here: and more here from the tourist office;

November 4, 2016

Some news from Spain XXXII

Right, this is my Spanish side, so some news from Spain is a natural.  Not only still family in Madrid but always keeping  an eye on it thru TVE, and the weather there some fog with 56F or about 12C bit higher tomorrow and probability of rain 90%! Anywhere in the world you are if can see España Directo on TVE just do it, the best show on TV I have seen from a historical, gastronomy, and cultural travel point of view.

Now, good news:  RENFE will begin offering ‘wifi’, Internet in its bullet trains, AVE, from December 5 2016. The first line in this new service will be the Madrid to Seville segment. The railway operator intends to go extending its new service to the rest of the AVE lines over the next year to offer it in all of them before the end of 2017.

Do come to a seldom visited city but one I have been many times even in my youth with a great poet’s history is Soria; Come to know Soria as Antonio Machado discovered it in his book of poems “Campos de Castilla”. That is the aim of this Leonese Castilian city weekend getaway that, as did the great poet of the generation of 98, begins on a train. They are two days to enjoy the gastronomy, nature, and the most emblematic places and typical products of the area. Campos de Castilla (Saturdays 8h15), a convoy that runs through the beautiful landscape of the Castilian Plateau that separates the capital of Soria in three hours, leaving Madrid Chamartin railway station. It is half an hour’s journey, in Siguenza, when passengers are transferred to the time of Machado, in 1912, thanks to the presence of some very special passengers representing the life of the poet and his work in the same wagon train. The actors, dressed in time, bring to light the traditions, legends and the most peculiar anecdotes of the area, accompanied by the most famous verses of the author and other curious stories narrated by a reviewer of early 20C eccentric.   Antonio Machado scenarios are a baroque chapel of San Saturio, which rises over a former Visigoth hermit cave, with excellent views over the Douro River, and the monastery of San Juan de Duero, the wonder of the Romanesque known also as the reverence of San Juan Douro, of which its splendid cloister and the Church of the 13C, are conserved and are two inescapable stop of this route. Also visit the Inn and the casa de Leonor, wife and Muse of the poet, the Instituto Antonio Machado (Baroque building and emblematic academic reference which passed through illustrious characters as the same Machado, Gerardo Diego Cendoya, Nicolás Rabal and Diez, Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño…), the Casino of friendship (where today a house of poets is located), the Church of Santo Domingo (the monumental jewel of the city dating back to the 12C), the demure but spectacular Plaza Mayor, with its theatre audience, among other monuments. The next day (Sunday), the route leaves the city to get to know the landscapes the poet traveled with his wife and that was inspired by the legend of Alvargonzález. Among them, the spectacular Black Lagoon, magical place for many, who, according to legend, it has no background and communicates with the sea through caves and streams   Come back to the train and back to Madrid, making a stop at the archaeological remains of the city of Numancia, name after the defunct celtiberian population located on the Cerro de la Muela, symbol of resistance and struggle for freedom. There, a guide specialized in Archaeology shows how endured before the invasion of the Roman legions and what life was at this vantage point. The Campos de Castilla does this route on Saturdays (with return the Sunday) until the 12 of November (the price, from 110 Euros, includes ticket of train, accommodation in hotel, breakfast, transfers, visits guided and food soriana.) More information,

Many places to read and mingle in Madrid:

Casa Arabe or Arab House | Alcalá, 62 | Príncipe de Vergara Metro | Tel +34 91 563 30 66 .The Casa Árabe and resident library, Balqis, host a monthly club that read and comment on works of the great names in the Arab world, both classic of contemporary authors and new publications. Scholars and specialists that enrich the debate with their contributions attend each session.

The La Buena Vida Cafe bookstore | Vergara, 5 | Metro Opera | Tel +34 91 139 81 10. The good life is a renowned Madrid space that mixes coffee and books. Both pleasures almost always can be enjoyed here at the same time: there are meetings around the theater of the 20C to the cinema, poetry. The book club, with a maximum capacity of 14 persons, meets Tuesdays at 20h30 and Fridays at 18h30. It requires paid registration of 10 euros including drink and snacking. In addition, two euros are returned in the form of a voucher for the purchase of the corresponding book.

Atticus-Finch | Palma, 78 | Metro Court | Tel+34 91 532 44 01.  The charm of Malasaña – not to be missed is the showcase that boasts a collection of editions of to kill a Mockingbird-with a small and crowded backroom that circulate muses, pens and avid readers. Apart from writing, presentations and other activities workshops, hosts a book club the first Thursday of every month, at 19h30. The price is fixed, 30 euros, and includes book, talk and picnic. The confirmed schedule is as follows: November, the childhood of Jesus, of John Maxwell Coetzze (South Africa); December, Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie (India) and January 2017, game and distraction, of James Salter (USA).

49 km from Zaragoza is one of the more phantom towns of the country, literally and figuratively. On the one hand, the town of Belchite is a handful of lone, dilapidated and abandoned buildings that can only be accessed today through guided tours for tourists.  Mainly, the municipality is known for having been the scene of one of the fiercest contests of the Spanish Civil War, the battle of Belchite, which took place between August 24 and September 6, 1937 As the last battle of 1937, constructions, which so far had survived the attacks, suffered irreparable damage by bombing which caused the complete abandonment of the town, today known as Pueblo Viejo (Old Town). Rather than rebuild it, the Franco regime decided to create a new one a few meters away, new town of Belchite  or Pueblo Nuevo (currently, 1,647 inhabitants), and thus leave intact the ruins of the former as a symbol of the war. The Town Council organizes two types of guided visits: the daytime (6 euros), historical character, and the night (10 euros). Combination of both, 12 euros. More information, schedules and reservations,

The Night Train ,an American-style Tavern (Portal de La Villa, 24, Belchite.) Tel: +34 976 83 04 33) is a friendly local snacks and drinks with a variety of rations. The toasts that, stands out is the bread Payés quail marinated with vinegar glaze, the beaten ham, the steak Roquefort or, one of the most famous, breast of chicken, egg, lettuce and vinegar glaze raspberry (5 euros). The local also offers a wide variety of drinks, from herbal teas, chocolates and soft drinks to cocktails.

Seville European film festival. Until November 12th in Seville (several stages). More than 215 projections, 27 world premieres, evening concerts, 120 professional meetings… The SEFF returns to bet on Auteur cinema and independent in its 30th edition, in which it will pay tribute to French actor Vincent Lindon.

Eurocon 2016. Nov 4-6 in Barcelona (CCCB and other venues). Find European science fiction, or what is the same, more than 120 activities between live interviews, presentations, screenings and panel discussions. There is a shopping area for fans of the genre.

You know I am not far away from wineries and a visit to the wineries Pavoni will complete the necessary training to understand the world of wine in its entirety. It is about an hour from Haro by car, and the trip is worth it as you will be delighted trying three different wines. The premises were created in the 17C located in Lapuebla de Labarca.

If looking for something more modern than modernity and anyone approaching the best-known wine making, can make a getaway to the CVNE wineries – returning to Haro.

In Madrid, streets, squares, churches and playgrounds of gossips became the public ‘walls’ of a huge ‘social network’ that took the name of ‘gossip of the town’. On the streets of Lavapies or Latina, where this type of guided tours run. Some of them have managed to survive to the present day after being declared a national monument, as, for example, the Calle del Meson de Paredes or Calle Miguel Servet, offering their balconies open to anyone who wants to photograph them. The Corralón. Raised in Calle Cerrillo in the district of Embajadores, it has since 1860 as a witness of the history of Madrid. Now, converted into the Museum of popular arts and traditions of the UAM, the calle Cabeza, can be one of the most famous courtyards of Madrid, not so much by their excellent conservation and the mysteries that hide in their basements: copper walls are the cells of the former ecclesiastical prison of the Crown, just a few steps from

The steps of San Felipe – formerly located at the current junction of the Puerta del Sol and calle Mayor-, came news of the Spanish Empire. As relevant as the slabs of Palace gossip. Before the Real Alcázar that inhabited the Hapsburgs, on the site where today stands the Royal Palace, district of the Letras – it was the most peculiar of the three gossip which existed: of. Under the window of what was once home of Cervantes, in the Calle Leon, the great author could witness the criticisms to his last work with only leaning on the balconies. Some of these gossips about the troubled life of the protagonists of the golden age inspired comedies which then premiered in nearby playgrounds, such as Los Caños del Peral, (what today is Plaza Isabell II), who laid the foundations of the Royal theater and the Spanish theater, An authentic–and convincing–cooked in a classic bar since 1895: Malacatín (calle Ruda 5). As a curiosity, this is one of the few in the capital where you can enjoy an intense and aromatic coffee pot. Four generations of a family dedicated to feed not only the most demanding stomachs, but also much of the history of a city so alive as when made to vibrate the gossip and the courtyards of the town and Court.

 Spain Everything Under the Sun ::)



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November 3, 2016

Some news from France CXLVI

And on a cool humid, foggy night I write to you on the latest in France and especially Paris. Temps here are now 43F and about 46F in Paris. This is about 6C overall +-

Well care for a sandwich in Paris? why not , it is the most ask food items for Parisiens.  On a very popular street , you have Chez Aline, 85, rue de la Roquette (9eme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 43 71 90 75. Every weekday from 11h to 17h30. The favorite Jambon-beurre: 4,50€. no webpage but easy to get to on metro line 1 Bastille, metro line 5 Bastille,metro line 8 Bastille, metro line 5 Bréguet – Sabin, and metro line 9 Voltaire.

Another  nice one is Les Niçois, 7, rue Lacharrière (11eme). Tél. +33 (0) 9 84 16 55 03. Open every day except Sundays evenings; the favorite Pan bagnat: 4€.

Continue on the foodie trend to tell you about some great restaurants that are just outside city limits of Paris but worth the detour,and see the real France.

La Ribote17, rue Paul-Chatrousse, Neuilly-sur-Seine (92). Tél. +33 (0) 1 47 47 73 17. This is a neo bistrot in Scandinavian style by a chef from the training of Guy Martin ,namely Florian Gouilly and Nicolas Ballin. no webpage yet but are in facebook.

Another is La Poudriére at Issy-les-Moulineaux (92), 58 Rue du Verger,tel +33 (0) 1 46 45 87 29. another bistrot residing in the old stone quarry of the fortress of the city. Baby boomers look and good products from the country and friendly prices.

We continue with Macaille, 29 quai Galliani, Suresnes (92) tel +33 (0)1 41 44 77 80. Done by Norbert Tarayre one of the Top Chef is now installed here.

Polpo 47 quai Charles-Pasqua, Levallois-Perret (92) tel +33 (0) 1 41 34 32 86. on the banks of the Seine river, replacing the boat penuche Ô Restaurant this is brasserie style with a contemporary look, lighty signed Laura Gonzalez where the seafood is king/queen such as the oysters of Saint-Vaast or the mussels of  Bouchot  from the islands of îles Chausey ,and even a lobster.

And more favorite of my old haunts working in the area is Plantxa, 58 rue Gallieni, Boulogne-Billancourt (92) tel +33 (0) 1 46 20 50 93. Held by a young Colombian Juan Arbelaez and chef but having gone to open Nubé de l’hôtel Marignan (8eme) he left the bistrot in the hands of  Maximilen Kuzniar with a very creative cuisine deco in street art and background Latin music. Food changes very week but a fix is the ceviche.

And yes folks, Paris is losing tourists ,due to the last world events , do not understand why ,but that is the tricky world of travel. So now the city is trying to bring folks back and how.

One thing the city is doing is creating a huge space of welcome at the foot of the Tour Eiffel on a Villa Médicis of the gastronomy . This is due to the fact the city lost 11% visitors in 2016 so far and even if they think of finishing the year with 23-24 millions visitors , the big loss is remarkable. The idea is to keep the city as the first world destination it has been with a plan that has 59 points of improvement to accomplish this push by 2% each year to 2022.

This will be accomplish with the creation of 7 new tourist districts such as the canals of Paris, Theaters and Cabarets, Street Art, Chinatown, Paris and its faubourgs, etc etc. As well as the know how in artists and a green tourism emphasizing its wooded areas.

 As Candidate for the 2024 Olympic games the city is ready to host one big international sporting event per year.
On the gastronomy side, young chefs will create a pavillon de l’Elysée at the foot of the Champs-Elysées that will become a gastronomic villa with the young chef in residence as well as a gastronomic city that will open at Rungis.
 On the side of business, the city will create congress centers at Orly and Val-d’Europe (near Disneyland) as well as the modernization of existing structures.  The city will continue to improve on the comfort, cleanliness , and security of tourists, with information tools, translations into several languages, and promoting the participative tourism as well as availability of mobility impaired facilities.
The actions are just starting but already huge progress made and more, we welcome the world here:
And see Guerres Secrétes, at the  musée de l’Armée (Invalides) until January 29 2017.  See the great times of the espionage and counter espionage of older and current days . For now showing only in French, here:
hey something wonderful is coming up; The Bataclan is re opening November 12 with a concert with Sting!!! Ticket sales will begin Tuesday 8th and the concert will benefit two ONG Life for Paris and 13 Novembre: Fraternité Verité that helps teh victims.
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