Archive for November, 2016

November 19, 2016

My Travels in the Morbihan XXVI

Well just glad can’t tell dates as thought was leaving today but actually is tomorrow  Sunday for Indonesia(two weeks)…lol!!!

Today got my rental car at the Auray (gare) train station ,an Avis agency and got me a FIAT 500 BL lol! When very young teen got my blazing hormones on the beach at Daytona Beach Florida driving a FIAT 131 that once in a while left me on the road for electrical cabling problems and needed to push hard to get the manual transmission going again.. Hope they make them better this time around ::)

We had our Beaujolais nouveau red wine celebration yesterday as for us it is already a tradition to have that young fruity mouthful and drank a few bottles of it with the family in addition to some goodies of cheeses and cold cuts. A family tradition, thank you , merci M. Georges Duboeuf ::) We try the Domaine du Pass Loup and it was wonderful clean fruity ,and great washdown drink. Done by the house of  Maison de Jean Loron (b. 1711)

And see in French the best of the Beaujolais nouveau from a local specialize magazine here(includes the two above bien sûr ):

And one I forgot, last Thursday went to have lunch at a resto outside of Vannes in the country , the town of Saint Nolff, very old church and nice traditional French restaurant. The L’Onde Verte , 12, rue des Lavandières, 56250 Saint Nolff tel +33 (0) 2 97 45 43 99. no webpage but they are in Facebook ::)

I had roasted tenderloin of Veal in a mushroom sauce with a crème brûlé dessert wash it down with Chinon red wine les Graviéres of Couly-Dutheil , more on the wine here:

The church has been mentioned by me before, it is the église  Saint-Mayeul , current Church dates from the 15C , Saint Mayeul was an abbot of Cluny.  The belltower dates from 1783, and pulpit and confessional  dates from the 19C; the windows stained glass is from 1882-1886, there is a statue of Saint Mayeul and a tomb of Jean de Gourvinec from 1423 and there was a private chapel to the family of Kerboulard. More from the city in French here:

I like to say for the memories I used to play indoor soccer or futsal in the gym of Saint Nolff in a corporate league ::) and was a starter , captain, and organizer of the league lol!!! Cheers

Now, eat, relax, pack and be ready for 13 hours Amsterdam Jakarta tomorrow lol! I will be back , stay tune, and enjoy your weekend wherever you are; happy travels!

Pluvigner Saint Nolff Saint Nolff

Tags: ,
November 18, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XIII

Today has been a day of rain storms by moments ,hard rain even grail and then calm; cloudy cool down to 6C and tomorrow more of the same with lows of 5C and highs of 10C.

We went out anyway to do our Christmas shopping which we have almost all done. Some items we will be over with my early December. We went to La Halles, Armand Thiery, FNAC, Micromania , and Carrefour to do our shopping today and yesterday as I had two off days.

Yesterday was my twin boys birthday already 23!!! wow time does flies when having fun ::) We went to eat at their chosen place Tablapizza in Vannes.

Tomorrow I pick up a rental car at the gare d’Auray train station as Sunday will need to go to Nantes Atlantique airport.

The reason been, will travel on business to Indonesia for two weeks! Nantes, Amsterdam, and Jakarta. Then coming back will be Jakarta, Amsterdam, Nantes airport , take express airport bus to Nantes train station and take the regional TER train Nantes to Auray.

Therefore, will be away from the blog for a while . In the end it’s an opportunity to see more of Indonesia a country have been already 7 times!

The weather in Nantes will be about the same but that in Jakarta will be a lot hotter and rainy temps will go to 34C to down to 27C!!!

I have written posts on Indonesia here before just do a search on my blog as well as about the city of Nantes. It will tied the longest period away from home and doing some in country work so will be very busy and taunting but will do, with more ideas on travel in our world as well as an opportunity to see old friends again.

In the meantime, be good , stay healthy, and happy travels to all. Cheers




Tags: ,
November 13, 2016

How about those blog statistics anyone !

Here I am on a Sunday evening , looking at an HBO series Expert Mahanttan with a cold day out and already dark like winter time or fall time rather. And thinking about those reports we get at the end of the year from WordPress; do you read them?

They come with all kinds of statistics about your blog and what you have done. I rather concentrate on my work to entertain myself and family first, and then any positive minded reader who comes along. It seems to me there is even some sort of competition on readership lol!

I have been in several travel forum over the years and left them all except one small not too busy one , rather keep posting my owns adventures and sharing it with the normal world.

I have decided to look at my numbers with the help of wandering a bit into WordPress. Here is what I have found.

I started on WordPress after advice from a friend in Madrid who told me it was easy to work for the non technical guy in me and it has been so. It was November 2010 so holy cow already 6 years !!!!!

After already not counting this one 891 posts in my blog, come to realize my best viewing day was December 10, 2012! with 972 views!

My best view pages or posts have been: My best restaurants in Versailles, Paris at night and Christmas 2010, London cosmopolitan, and San Cristobal de la Habana.

The most commented post has been Versailles and it’s historical Churches with 172!!!! wow and we do have a palace there lol!

I have 292 other blogs following mine an honor ,thank you all. Never in my wildest dreams would I thought to have these many reading my blog wow! There are about 10 steady commenters and one terrific one , and my wish is to have more comments, constructive comments that is.

The countries that have most folks viewing my blog are in order: France, USA, Germany, UK, Spain,Canada,Brazil, Belgium, Italy,and Australia! thanks

The year of great activity with most views was 2012 with 120 701, and the one with the most visitors was 2103 with 27 140. However, it seems that 2016 even if not over year will break all records (finally! thanks) So far I have 44 209 views, 16 646 visitors,569 likes and 105 comments. So it seems I will beat all time records in Likes and Comments for sure.

There are a total of 16 pages on front page, 12 categories of posts and 12 tags with 14 links in the blogroll bottom of page. There are over 10000 photos already here wow!!!

I am sure WordPress will have better numbers to tell beginning of 2017 for 2016. In the meantime, thanks for reading mine and sharing yours, and happy healthy travels to all. Enjoy your week, I will have a short one, back on vacation and then business travel to exotic country in Asia, and finally my Christmas break vacation. Cheers.



November 13, 2016

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XII

Today Saturday,  was a rainy cool day as well as cloudy, the winter days are coming fast………………. temps are 12C or about 57F. We set out for a brief ride into our city center/downtown and to seek a new merchant for us.

Even if already living for 3 years in Pluvigner, we have loads of merchants and sights to see. As said in previous posts so much to see elsewhere sometimes we find very little time to concentrate in our own town lol!

We arrive by car to the Place du Marché  a nice smallist picturesque square right at the junction of several streets and road 102. Here you come around on the D102 and past by the front of our main Church Saint Guigner.  There is a nice monument to the fallen behind it, and already very much describe in previous posts in my blog.

The idea of this simple morning walk in city center was to try finally (after passing by it several times) the La Fondue de Chocolat. 3 rue de l’église, diagonally in front of the Church of Saint Guigner. This is a great shop and one we certainly will be back. The webpage in French here :

The store is smallish, but packed with all kinds and shapes of chocolate items, wines, liquors, pates, miel ;coffees, cookies, jellies and snacks from many leading producers even as far as Provence. However, the main thing is the chocolate.

We purchase blocks of it dark and milk with different fruits mix in, as well as fruit bars, dry fruits, local roasted coffee, and mango papaya jelly. The ballotin or box of mix chocolates freshly made on site by a master chocolatier is a treat to have this special weekend. Well worth the detour if in the area.

We went on to do our errands of more building materials (Castorama Vannes) for doing the basement of our house into a second home, and the groceries at E Leclerc Auray. And now nicely had our lunch and winding down the day on leisure time waiting for the football game Spain vs Macedonia for the 2018 World Cup qualifying in Russia.

The nights are becoming colder but we are basking in nice comfort with our new stone heat modern heaters for warmer nights coming up. The lunch with our apéro porto Ramos Pinto Adriano Reserva and go along the peas and pork dish with a red wine Le Loup dans la Bergere  2015  of Jean Orliac Languedoc.

Enjoy your Saturday wherever you may be, Cheers.

 Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner


Tags: ,
November 12, 2016

The towns of the Presqu’île de Rhuys in the Morbihan Breton!

Friday 11 November was a day off here or Armistice day 1918 the end of WWI ,in some other countries such as the USA it is Veteran’s Day. A day to remember especially in Europe from those awful days past, never to be repeated.

So we took off to some areas we have been before but not in a while right in our wonderful backyard of the Morbihan.

 We took our car and rode on the N165 to the exit for Sarzeau and got on the D780 road. We were headed for the Presqu’île de Rhuys . We decided not to head first to the better known areas and took some country roads such as the D195 and D20 before getting back into the D780 main road.

Here we past first by the town of Noyalo; part of the new community of Theix-Noyalo since the beginning of the year. You have their new page here with a nice introductory video:

The thing that stands out here is the Church of Sainte Anne. Before past the pont de Noyalo bridge past the lake on the leisure park of Brural. You can see the lake of 58 ha and fishing is allow. But going back to the Church, built in the 18C replacing a older sanctuary dedicated to Sainte Brigitte. The Church you see now was built in various stages over a long period of time even to 1904. The stained glass windows go back to only 1951. More from the city page in French here:

We continue to the next village ,that of Surzur. The town has an oceanic feeling crisscross by several small creeks and rivers. It ,also, has several chapels and manors or big homes almost like castles all over the territory. The one we stopped by was the Chappelle de Sainte Hélène. It has a nice simple façade with nice main door dating from the 17C and on top a small bell tower in stone.  The windows are older and of gothic era. The interior is simple  with several nice statues such as the one on Sainte Hélène, The Virgin, Sainte Marguerite, Sainte Thérèse, Saint Mathurin.  We syphon the city center seeing in the distance the Church of Saint Symphorien (Roman style from the 11C)as there was work going on in city center. We continue to the Cidrerie Nicol with it’s wonderful cider products already tasted here but it was a holiday so was closed. I always think it is better to buy at the source so we will be back here.

More on the Chappelle and plenty more to come back lol!!

The cider producer Nicol is here :

We took a turn back into the main road to reach the main town of Sarzeau. Again a visit was pleasant and not crowded for a Holiday.  You come into literary history here as it is the native town of Alain René Lesage (1668 -1747), a writer that wrote of his times with inspiring work known by us such as the Le Diable boiteux, Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane, and theater plays such as Turcaret, and  La Tontine etc.  One of the greatest actors of the 18C he has a bust in front of the hotel de ville or city hall of Sarzeau. The always wonderful Sarzeau has many manoirs, castles ,Chappelle’s , fountains of historical value all around and worth a detour. The one we like is the Church of Saint Saturnin right in city center. The original was from 1670 now current one is from 1883, as well as the wonderful Chateau de Suscinio, more here in French :

We past by on the parking of the Port de Crouesty seeing the Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption in Arzon, (1815 but renovations up to 1920) but we went to the boat pleasure marina for a leisure walk and lunch.

The tourist office for this area or peninsula in the Morbihan is here:

And we arrive at Port de Crouesty. A harbor paradise we love. This is a huge pleasure boat bay all around are shops and restos, tourist office , spa like Miramar La Cigale hotel , the megaliths stones of Petit Mont  ,and great views any time. We have done  bike riding in tandem with Abbis Location, and eaten in several of its restaurants as well as shopping like today ::) I have taken some additional photos of these here.

Here is what I mean for the Petit Mont megalith stones:

Abbis location and the tandem bike we like !

The Miramar La Cigale for a wonderful relaxing time ::)

info on the pleasure boat harbor of port de Crouesty :

Been a Holiday some shops were on reduce hours but open. We did our shopping in our favorites La Trinitaine, and La Belle Iloise stores for goodies from the sea.

And of course, we ate at a new place, O’Brothers bistro (by L’Equinoxe) at 7 Quai des Cabestans . This has a nice terrace covered and facing the quays of the harbor; then a fix building with a hallway between it and the terrace. Inside is cozy and very friendly. We as most arrive after regular lunch hours but so what, we settled for nice pizzas and good cold beers. The giant screen TV allowed to watch the PSG vs Rennes (4×0) first League 1 football/soccer replay as well as the first half of the Brazil vs Argentina (3×0) World Cup 2018 qualifier’s. We had rounds of leffe beers and the owner server counted wrong and came in with a third round, so we say no problems leave it, and he said ok this one is on me !!! Can’t beat the good old Breton positive side of things.. in the Morbihan of course.

Enjoy the Prequ’île de Rhuys a wonderful peninsula of wonders to see and enjoy with the whole family or alone. Cheers

Arzon  Noyalo  Noyalo  Port du Crouesty   Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Port du Crouesty  Sarzeau  Sarzeau  Sarzeau  Sarzeau  Sarzeau  Sarzeau  Surzur  Surzur  Surzur

November 11, 2016

A trip to nice outer Brittany, Nantes

Revolutionary ramblings for many years (1941) outside of Brittany but historically always in the heart of the Breton, the area of Nantes is a great visit always.

I was there again for a short visit last Wednesday and as always went by a new area of the Place du Général Mellinet. The tourist office is here:

Nantes is a modern wide and vibrant medium size city in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 just south of mine and the city is about 1h30 from my house by car.

I have always indicated the car travel is my favorite but once you are in this modern city the buses and great tramways are a must to try.  You can find the different transport choices in the tourist page here:

The tramway line 1 François Mitterrand to Beaujoire/Ranzay is great and clean efficient and see all above ground. Also, the C1 circular bus route and the regular bus 23 all passes to the main points in the city and the pl Mellinet. The transport network there is TAN, webpage here:

Bear in mind, the train station is very good here and direct access to Paris Montparnasse as well as CDG airport. There is a nice airport at  Bouguenais just outside with express airport bus service to the train station every day for 8€ one way. This is the Aéroport Nantes Atlantique .

regional express trains (TER) site for the same station is here:

The area around the square of Mellinet (before called  Place Launay) has many wonderful old mansions all historical monuments classify here and the architecture and the grandeur is well visible.  In all , it was a quick visit but always nice to be back whether with the family or alone like Wednesday, Nantes is a nice town and plenty of historical monuments to see not the least the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany!!!

Bought the Bertrand Saint-Bern by the brothers Allard and Vauloup family , the new owners immediately razed the castle in 1826.

Some of the history from the tourist office and city of Nantes:

The construction of the mansions is extended from 1828 to 1874. The thus realized program represented a unique example in Nantes from the architecture of the restoration .  It is bordered by eight mansions each with a park at  the rear of the building.  These buildings have all identical  style façade restoration in perfect symmetry relative to the other, whose plans, drawn up in 1827,between these hotels, lead eight arteries forming four axes (two main axes formed by two secondary axes made of streets and boulevards), which are in the direction of clockwise from North : boulevard Paul Langevin, the rue Belleville, boulevard Launay, the rue Rollin, and boulevard Saint-Aignan, the rue Mellier, Allard boulevard and the rue Richer.

In the Middle, is a square plan surrounded by four groups of five, circular with a diameter of about 70 meters, and  lime trees in the center of which stands a statue of general Mellinet cast-iron , about 6 meters in height. which was built four years after the completion of the square in 1878 at the site of the former castle  . On the base of the monument there is a simple inscription engraved “Général Mellinet  1798-1894”

Enjoy the city if in the area, and we could meet there too. Cheers and enjoy your Veterans Day or Armistice Day or whatever you call you to honor our military heroes.

 Nantes  Nantes  Nantes  Nantes

Tags: ,
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 7, 2016

My Travels in the Morbihan XXV

Hello y’all, I just came on a bit of old information on Vannes and thought would be great to share it with all my readers here. As you know by reading my blog, Vannes is the capital of the department of the Morbihan dept 56 where I live and ,also,the city I work.

It is a very old city left untouched  by the ravishes of war that went on around here in years past so the architecture still is very middle ages look with wooden houses going back to the 14C.  And here are some tidbits of it here, and you can find photos in my other Vannes posts:

You come to the wonderful Place des Lices where the great Saturday morning market is held today. The square is on a sloping hill and irregular shape communicating to the north of it (far up the hill) to the Cathedral of St Pierre by the rue de la Monnaie and on the south (harbor area) by the rue Saint-Vincent and Porte Saint-Vincent. It links to the Place du Poids Public and the ramparts of the old now gone castle. The square measure about 200 meters long and 25 meters wide. You can see at an angle a building call the échauguette( towers at an angle)  on the left (looking from rue Saint-Vincent) ; however, the local people know it as the Hôtel de Francheville, and further new finds as it is now under renovation have found it was called before the Hôtel Mynier!16C with foundation even going further back,  and on the right you have the old Halles or today covered market. On the further right you see the Hôtel de Marboeuf named after one of the protectors of Napoléon I that someone mentioned could have been his father! as his mother Laétizia followed the Count of Brittany in 1769 and the emperor could have been born out of this adulterous relationship in Sainte-Séve near St-Pol-de-Léon (from his name napo-leon) and not at Ajaccio as originally thought by many.

One of the interesting streets here and we do shopping there is the rue Joseph-le-Brix that has at its back the rue Thiers on which lies the Hôtel de Ville (city hall).Facing this street lies the rue du Mené and avenue Victor Hugo that takes you directly to the train station or Gare de Vannes. Here it was an old church (Notre Dame du Mené) now you see the department store Monoprix there, where we shop! Looking towards the right from the store you see the Hôtel du Commerce and Hôtel de l’Epée that now houses a big garage for 20 cars.  There is a narrow street rue Traversiére that used to housed private baths!  Other religious buildings that have been destroyed and gone today in this area are the Chapelle Saint-Michel,Chapelle du Faitil, Chapelle Saint-Julien, Chapelle Sainte-Anne, and Chapelle de la Madeleine.  And on their place or near new ones were build such as Pie X, St Guen,St Vincent Ferrier, and Notre Dame de Lourdes.

Our favorite parking by car and entry by public bus to the city today is the Place de la Libération.  It was an old slaughterhouse here early in the century call Champ de foire. The current name was given in 1964 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the liberation. There is a famous restaurant but never tried yet A l’image Sainte-Anne opened in 1948 behind the square.  Here too was a police station still there today; and a place to guillotine that were still carried out until 1930.

There are the wonderful laundries or lavoirs built by 1817 to 1821. With the ramparts and the porte Prison (prison gate) it is a wonderful place to walk by today and see its picture perfect gardens. You had a lot of apple and other trees here who were sold to private hands and the city hall in the 1920’s and it this that allow the city to do the gardens.

By the rue Billault you can see the emblematic building Burton (of the men’s clothing chain); style Art Nouveau. The locals had know it as Au Progrés, le Saint-Remy, Le Biberon and Burton. The construction began in 1912 and finished in 1923. It marked the birth of department stores and new architecture.

By the wonderful harbor or le Port, the most visited area in Vannes and for good reason, simply awesome. You have the harbormaster, carrousel and tourist office there. Also, a cultural kiosk and a nice esplanade for family gathering. Since 1977, it is a harbor housing 230 boats with a floating basin. In the old days you can buy the sardines right off the boats here, and boats doing commerce as far as Wales until the train in 1862 kill this commerce.  The basin had a lot of stones and gravel and little water. Now it has 2,10 meters minimum depth.

And another of my favorite shopping areas is the before mentioned Place du Poids Public.  It was called before Place du Poids Ducal ,then, Place du Poids Royal, and place de la Revolution (French revolution time) ;It had lots of shops here and you pay the taxes to bring merchandise into the city here. The sea even reach here in times passed and you can see wooden houses from the 15C and 16C here.  The Saturday and Wednesday markets are held here, and they are superb!  The old Café des Arts was destroyed in 1923-24 to enlarge the square unto rue Noé to allow for the automobile. You have the Halles aux Poissons just behind it.

Just some of the magic of Vannes and to be continue………………………………………………………..Enjoy your week.

Tags: ,
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 ::)



Tags: , ,
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.
%d bloggers like this: