Archive for February, 2017

February 27, 2017

Some news from Spain, XXXVII

Ok this is it, heavy rain, strong winds, the Breton coast is reaming with the weather yet temps remain moderate at around 10C or 50F. Getting ready for my trip to Spain and Portugal tomorrow so a good way to finish the week with some updates on things of my Spain.

Sara Baras (Cádiz, 1972) is presenting finally the show “Voces en Madrid”. Together with partner and artist José Serrano, musicians and dancers will be at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo to give honor to the masters of flamenco such as Paco de Lucía, Camarón de la Isla, Antonio Gades, Enrique Morente, Carmen Amaya, and Moraíto. They will be present with their words and artistic heritage. The Teatro Nuevo Apolo is at Plaza Tirso de Molina, 1. Show going on now. Until March 30th, more here: .

The III Salón de los Vinos Radicales a symbol of the effort and labor of small winegrowers that stay loyal to their original varieties with soil and climate will have 34 Bodegas participating of which 16 will be for the first time, Guardians of the small and essential nothing of the big groups or extensive vineyards or boutique wines these are the radical wines straight from the land to you.. It will be held on March 6 at the COAM, or Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid, Calle Hortaleza 63, More here:

A great movement in the 1950’s comes back to Madrid north, a open air cinema Autocine Madrid RACE with 300 places for parking and a screen of 250 meters! The place is located in the Chamartin area, C./Isla de Java,2 and has a capacity of 1500 persons. There will be different movies shown as well as shows, operas, new films as well as classics. The sound will be done through your FM radio and will have as well an authentic American diner with terrace and several food trucks. The Autocine will be open all day of the year and hours will vary according to the activity and the sunshine hours. To facilitate the entry of all autos those with campig cars, or large vehicles will need to park at the end and on lateral spaces ;inside you can only drive at 20 KPH,and the place will be open even if it rains .Admission will be children 4,50€ and Adults 8€ euros (weekends), and 7€ Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. More here:

And for the many Carnavals going in this time of the year in Spain ,here are some family favorites in Madrid:

Maty, Maestro Victoria, 2 metro Sol Tel. +34 91 531 32 91 ,Calle Hileras, 7 metro Ópera Tel +34 91 541 20 16 ,more here  It started in 1943 for flamenco articles, ballet and dance now it is one of the biggest stores in Madrid for all costumes for all events . It has more than 1.200 m2 in two floors.

Fiestas Paco, Calle Toledo, 52 metro La Latina Tel +34 91 354 06 70; more here:  The store was founded in the 1930’s as Caramelos Paco as a big Candy distributors. Due a great success they added costumes and the Fiestas Paco came to be . You can find here all inspired from the 1920’s for all adults and children.

Chindasvinto, Calle Clara del Rey, 59 metro Alfonso XIII Tel +34 91 416 78 86 ;more here:   A small toy store in the neighborhood of Prosperidad that since 1967 has remaind open. They have costumes for all year occassioins from the economical to the classics for young and old/ Also, wigs ! from famous artists.

Party Fiesta shopping center C.C. La Vaguada (Avda. Monforte de Lemos, 36), metro Herrera Oria Peñagrande Tel +34 91 730 97 75; more here :  This one has as well all costumes in every detail and they have 75 stores all over Madrid with all types of accessories.

Carnaval de Las Palmas, here they come until March 5, the best in several locations in the hot Islas Canarias; and just watching TVE tv of Spain and getting ready to see it at 22h30!! see the Gala de la Reina (Queen gala) , Carnaval al sol (Carnaval of the Sun), the Children contests on costumes and the two nights of Carnaval. More here:

You need a car but if you go to the limits of the provinces of Alava and Burgos you will find the Salto del Nervion, a waterfall, biggest in the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain) with 222 meters high. You can only see the fall in a few months out of the year mainly in January and May. This is the period of the ice melting or rains in the area the park Monumento Natural del Monte Santiago, located in the western part of the Sierra Salvada and the town of Las Merindades. The best site to see the falls is at the Mirador del Nervion or lookout spot, where the park folks make it easier to see it.

To reach it is easy and can be done by several routes. The one I know is from the town of Berberena,Burgos , but,also from Orduna, in the north. Once inside the park you choose the parking to leave your car and walk :J

There is plenty of signalisation and you can even walk with kids or bikes or baby strolls cars/More here:

Ok so my photos are not that good, me and my small Samsung digital. However, Antonello Dellanotte, has excellent photos of his adventures and has created a page for them call Retiro Experience. Why ,I am putting this here, because the Retiro is where I used to lived close in Madrid ,and it is sublime. Here, he compiles hours of investigation from archives and libraries as well as anécdotes on the park. Most of the data base comes from the city of Madrid ,and the library or Biblioteca Nacional; or Works like ‘Historia del Buen Retiro’, from Rosario Mariblanca, and the Casón del Buen Retiro (Prado). You can see his collection and buy them on site . more here:

Some numbers crunchers ,like in my job but this is better lol! The lidia bulls have increase in Extremadura to 32.101 in 2016, almost a thousand more tan last year and the biggest number in five years ,even with the crisis in the business; this is as per the last census done by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Pesca, Alimentacion y Medio Ambiente (Mapama) , Andalucía (250) and Castilla y León (178), Extremadura,108, are the region with most farms of brave races. From the 32 101 heads in Extremadura, 19.697 are females and 672 males data gathered by agency Efe. More on agriculture in Spanish from the Mapama site here:

The director of the Museo Nacional y Centro de investigacion Altamira, Pilar Fatàs has mentioned that it cannot guarantee the limited opening of the original cave of Altamira with admission of 250 persons per year for too long. Any decisión will come from the technical reports of the Plan de Conservación Preventiva. The Director has recognize that in France they offered more protection for these types of monuments having developed art centers and investigations of great proportions that allow people to see reproductions to protect the original. It has to put up with conditions to protect the extremely fragile condition of the Paleolithic art in the cave with multiple paintings such as the sala de los polychromes  and its bison (hall of bison polychromes) discovered in 1868. They have already modified the internal structure of the cave and built artificial walls to hold up the ceiling of the room as well as filling with cement the deeper opening on the walls; this change irreversible and radically the natural dynamic of the cave. The cave had 250 visitors and the museum 285.000 in 2016 or 8% more than last year. According to the director Fatás,the archeological museum is the most visited in Spain and Europe just behind the Museo Nacional de Arqueología. Also, in 2016, there conducted 7000 guided visits as well ,and welcome four expositions, organized more than 1.000 activities with a participation of 170.000 persons. More here:

And to finish with a historical footnote I like. The story of explorer Hernando de Soto. Or Spain in the USA. Hernando de Soto abandoned everything and gave his fortune obtained from the conquest of Peru on orders of Pizarro in exchange for a royal license to discovered and populate new territories. Following swamps, rivers, forests, with alligators snakes and deadly insects to what before was a rich young men , well married in Sevilla with an aristocratic young women, Isable de Bobadilla, and his future secured. The royal license came with a title of  Capitán General y Adelantado de La Florida or Captain General and noble of FLorida. In 1538, he set sail with about 1000 men to explore new lands and lands in Tampa, Florida. He quickly come into indians Warriors attacks ; during months he explore and has only one friendly encounter with the princess Cofitachequi (Sp) that offered him pearls from the river. The indian chief Tascalusa (Tuscaloosa) invite him for a few words with good deeds to his village of Mauvila, enclosed town and once the Spanish come inside they are attacked by the Indians. This is a feroce combat that last for 9 hours of which De Soto fights standing as already wounded in the backside that dont allow him to ge ton the horse; this was the biggest battle in the history of Spain in the new territories with several dead on both sides and only to be cure from the carcass of the dead.

Exhausted and hungry, demoralize they received news of ships arriving from Cuba to picked them up. Hernando de Soto is not a soldier but a noble of the Crown of Spain and refuse to believe in the black leyend , the real misión is not to find gold but to follow the will of, seeds, cattle, luggage etc. They have already travel and obey the  queen Isabel la Católica, to follow it and to convert the locals into the Catholic faith. They decided to continue to find other towns and territories. They arrive to the Mississippi river in 3 years of pilgrimage and they go down to Mexico coming back with familiesStates of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, Carolinas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Arkansas. Destiny did not allow that the future USA was an extension of Hispanic America. Only an insignificant mosquito stops him from following up the dream. He died on May 21, 1542, in Ferriday, Louisiana Remember him, from Extremadura, Spain, Hernando de Soto. Bit more here:

Enjoy your week and read you soon, cheers.

ps. Going to rainy parts of Northern Portugal and Galicia where the weather has not been good either.

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February 22, 2017

Some news from Spain XXXVI

That time again to tell you what is going on in lovely Spain. Around me the weather is damp humid light rain about 10C or 50F; down in the great Madrid there is now 63F , tomorrow more of the same about 65F expected to a low of 42F, cloudy sun in and out, no rain.

Something from Spain:

The Mudéjar style is evident in Teruel , a town we passed by many times and have visited couple times over the years, we will be by it again this coming summer. To see it you must come to the Catedral de Santa María de Mediavilla; the tower or Torre and Church or Iglesia de San Pedro or in the towers of the Churches of San Salvador, and San Martín.  The most famous monument of them all is the mausoleum done for the the lovers of Teruel.  There is a long legend that tells the story of the lovers of Teruel. It goes that Juan Martínez de Marcilla  and Isabel de Segura were in loved in 1217,however ,the family of the lady did not allow the relationship because the future husband (name as Diego in some texts) did not have enough money to provide a good life for the girl.  To gather fortune the young men left far from Teruel while the bride to be waited.  Destiny had that the father of the lady married her to a rich men in town. Juan returned to Teruel and found the lady with another men, and he ask her to kiss him before he died. Isabel for not failing fidelity to the new husband refused , as this Juan died on her footsteps. The other men and the lady took Juan to the house of the father so no one could tell she killed him, however ,the pain that Isabel had was so great that she decided to kiss Juan before they buried him.  Like this , the lady attended the Church of San Pedro where the body of Juan laid, and kiss him ,quickly she died next to him.  It was here in this Church that the bodies of both Juan and Isabel laid while discovered in 1555 until 2005. It is now about 12 years the bodies lied in the monument done in their love story.  The work that keeps the corps are in an impressive building mausoleum done in marble plaster showing the hands of the lovers without touching  a symbol of the impossible relationship that never took place. The representation of Juan is shown with the feet covered as per the legend they were already shrouded when he received the kiss from Isabel. More here:

Do not just end your visit here, continue into the plaza del Torico, name in honor of a small bull that crown the column in stone.  The legend of this bull is that it was the bull guided by a star led the troops that disobeyed king  Alfonso II  in the 12C until they were able to conquer the fortress of Teruel. More on the mudéjar style here:

If you like wines ,then Spain is for you. One of the best and my favorite is the Compañia Vinîcola del Norte de España or CVNE; located in Haro. Here it rises on a space created by the one Gustave Eiffel (yes of the Paris tower). The space is wide open without columns! where the barrels lied without obstacles. Once you visit at the end you can taste their wines. More here:

Talking about Spanish wines, here are some stats. Spain has the largest vineyards extension in the world with 1,012 million hectares (OIV 2016). With a population of 46,06 millions in 2016. In 2015 the wine consumption was 1000 million liters or 21,7 liters per person and 4,16% of World. (OIV 2016). It is the 8th world market for the consumption of wine in 2015 even if the younger generation tends to go for the beer and strong alcohols. The Reds are the predominant ones with 52% of wine consume in 2015 with fruity or woody tones the preferred of the Spaniards. The domestic production is 3,270 million liters in 2015 and the 3rd World producer, even if exportation numbers are weak. The exports represent 71,7 millions liters in 2015 with a value of 193,4 million Euros. It remains the first world exporter of wine in volume with 2,400 million liters in 2015 exported as well as the 3rd in value with revenues of 2,64 millions Euros. France remains the first provider of wine to Spain in value with 49,1% of the market and the 4th in volume with 3,29 million liters of French wine for a value of  13,58 million Euros or  8,4% (Comtrade, 2016).

The Romanov of Russia started governing about 404 years ago.  The absolute power of the dynasty (1613-1917)  coincided with the period of mayor expansion in Russia. Málaga  welcome 247 works of art from a hundred artists from the collection of the Russian museum of St Petersburg. The best works and will be showcase until January 2018 with full of images of tsars , farmers, bandits of the Volga as shown in the work of  Sarin na kicku! (‘battle cry’) of Sergey Ivanov. The work exhibit has jewels such as the portrait of tsar Nicolas II, the last tsar by Ilia Repin and other secret works such as those of  ‘head of the princess Tarakánova’,by Flavitski (1864), where the white light entered the eye of the princess. There are portraits of big sizes such as the ” Corpse’ by Ivan Miloslavsky of 2,25 cm high and 5,60 cm wide. The Russian museum also has the work of the funerary main cask in bronze of  Peter the Great from 1725. More here:

Also , in Malaga you will have at the same time the temporary exhibition of  ‘Kandinsky y Rusia’ ( until next July.  He believed in the internalization of the works that shows some like ‘Improvisation number 11’ (1910); ‘Black spot I’ (1912); ‘ portrait with white edge’ (1913); ‘Four with points’ (1919) and  ‘In White I’. More here:

Slippery, faker, seductor, bon vivant, bohemian, and scrounger these are some of the adjectives of the life of drama and comedy of  José Zorrilla(1817-1893), the last romantic that is celebrating 200 years of his birth in Valladolid, on February 21 1817. He was born in the old house of the Marquis de Revilla, located in the street calle Ceniza  and rented by his father that arrived in 1816 to Valladolid to filled the post of reporter of the Royal Counselee .  In this house converted into the museum in 2007 on a Romanticism and the poet, exposition hall, conference center, plays and permanent home of the book fairs or  Feria del Libro de Valladolid .  His work like “El puñal del godo” and “Traidor, inconfeso y mártir”), A buen juez, mejor testigo’, and  ‘Margarita la tornera’, the inmortal ‘Don Juan Tenorio’ (1844), from which could not get author’s royalties as he sold it to his editor, and  ‘Recuerdos del tiempo viejo’ (1880), a autobiography.  This romantic men had two marriages and two daughters that never made it out of early age; he wrote to the limit of poverty and live on a day to day basis even if he gave the most important work of the Spanish Theater (Don Juan Tenorio). He ,indeed was recognized in life and his funeral was a mass manifestation of his fame; all the contrary to what happened to  Cervantes, another tenant of Valladolid, that in his life was not given any honors and made no money. More here:

By the end of January in Budapest there is 10 degrees below zero, the snow covers the city and the river Danube is an ice bed. In the museum of fine arts or Beaux-arts in the city closed for renovation since February 2015, 90 of the best works of the artistic heritage of the country are been translated to Spain. The exhibition is name Masterwork from Budapest, and will be shown to the public from now to May 28 in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza of Madrid. Amongst the 90 art work you will see the schools Italian, Flemish, German, French, such as Rubens, Van Dyck, Gossaert, Giaquinto, Carracci, Tiepolo, Guardi, Canaletto, Ricci, Manet, Kokoschka, Cézanne, Monet, Gauguin, and Pissarro,  also, Hungarian artists. Some of the chosen ones to come to Madrid are a Velázquez -‘El almuerzo’-, a Zurbarán -‘La Inmaculada Concepción’, a Murillo -‘La Virgen con el Niño repartiendo pan a los sacerdotes’, an Alonso Cano ‘Noli me tangere’, a Mateo Cerezo -‘Ecce Homo’, and 3  Goyas: ‘Retrato de Manuela Camas y de las Heras’, ‘La aguadora’, and ‘El afilador’. The Hungarian jewels will be grouped into 7 sections  from the renaissance with a painting credited to  Leonardo, the baroque in Flanders and the Netherlands with the greats Rubens and van Dyck,  the baroque of Spain and Italy including Velázquez, the 18C with the 3 Goyas, and a monographic room with the changes in visage of women with work by  Manet or Kokoschka. The modern period to WWI close out this exhibition with works of Pissarro or Bortnyik. The collection of Spanish art of the fine arts museum of Budapest includes about 110 work of art being one of the best in the world. How it happened?  In 1818 the Hungarian duke Nicolás Esterházy, an avid collectionist, buys from the count Edmund Bourke in London 22 works of Spanish masters and upon his death 24 years later other 24 in addition to the widow of the Count. Upon the passing of duke Nicolás, his grandson  Miklós  transferred the collection that continues to grow from Vienna to Pest in 1865. Pressure by his debts he sold it to the Hungarian government in 1870 for a price less than its value present value would be around  165 millions Euros for a total of 637 works. A good business for Hungary that continue to expand its collection over the years of Spanish master paintings. More here:

Well Olive Oil is Spain, anything else is an imitation ! and they do bottled it with other countries lot as well in Europe ::) No one really knows how it became but the plant goes back to the Neolithic period (7000-3000 a.C.).  In Spain, there is nothing like the paysage of the olive tree, the Oliviers of Spain owe as much to the Romans as to the Arabs;if the arrival of Scipio and his legions to the Spanish lands gave the plant its biggest push for expansion, it was during the Arabs period the cultivation was really expanded and its explotation arrive for use in the kitchens. Some of the icons of the genre are: Dominus, Sierra Magina, Jaen; Marque de Valdueza, Mérida, Badajoz; Abbae de Queiles, Tudela, Navarra ; Cladium ,Cordoba ; Casas de Hualdo , Toledo; Aubocassa, Mallorca; Castillo Pereleda, Girona, Emporda; La Cuisine Organic Malaga ,Ronda; Marques de Grinon, Capilla del Fraile, Toledo ;Dominus acebuche,Jaen. The consortium of olive oil webpage is here:

And what about that ham huh!!! You just need to open the doors of Cinco Jotas, a building with 130 years of history; open for the first time to the public. You will see one of the icons of the Spanish cuisine, the race ham iberic or jamon de raza ibérica, raise in free forest land fed with acorns. Cinco Jotas is in Jabugo in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche (Unesco biosphere preserve). The rounds begins at the old dry patio of this emblematic building done in 1879 even if not a bodega until 1910. Here in an enclosed patio where in the bygone era the hams were hang for 6 months until the bring down of the hams, a feast was done for all the town of Jabugo to celebrate the effort and dedication of the ham tenders. A great gourmet event takes place in the main founder’s bodega for all visitors to marvel. Here thousands of hams awaits five years to reach the perfect point of cure in perfect ambiance conditions and controlled humidity to the millimeter. The visit ends with an interactive game that will put you to test your attention during the visit and a tasting from the hands of the master curator. You can, add a visit to the forest to understand the entire cycle , raising of the pigs 100% Iberian ,natural growth, and the mountain time for fattened them. The building is call the  Centro de Promoción e Innovación del Cerdo Ibérico (CIPI), an architecture marvel of stone and brick and nickname the Tiro al Pichón (clay pigeon shooting) for its feability of its construction and to show the route of jabugo with conferences and activities. Guided visits from 15€ for 75 minutes or 60€ bodega and forest trip.  Also, a good restaurant in the building. Reservations by tel +34 603 599 061 or more info here:

You can do good to go to the town of Linares de la Sierra,and eat at the restaurant restaurante Arrieros, with a  menu on Iberian pig of acorns and its derivatives, the mushroom of the  Sierra de Aracena , and the vegetables from its garden.  More info and reservation here :

Enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun ::)







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February 20, 2017

Some news from France CXLXIII

Ok so the saga continues early in the week, cool humid foggy in the 10’sC 50’s F and no sun yet but no rain either. Not bad after all, the week started ok doing my planning for business travels to come.

First, let me tell you about the wonderful world of Auguste RODIN. Shortly after his heart fell after the separation from Camille Claudel, Rodin go to lived in the Villa des Brillants in 1893 with the idea of leaving from it all. He died in the summit of his glory in 1917. His 100 years are celebrated with appearing in the coins of 2€ from the Monnaie de Paris soon in circulation, to the film interpreted by Vincent Lindon that will have his biopic expected out in May. His collection is now in the Hôtel Biron at Paris 7éme where most of his works is held or at Meudon (Hauts de Seine dept 92)his last home. In this modest house of red bricks sitting on a hill facing Mont Valérien where today it is very calm.

In the interior, modest furniture, the table on pylon, a small bed in upper level, all over antiques, his passion with over 6000 of them. There is his major work of “Amis de la dernière heure “.  His atelier shop , main room big and lighted with a renaissance bed in the middle. Rodin, full of work had built the pavillon de l’Alma, where he shows his work in the garden in 1900. The current museum conserve the spirit of his atelier shop, here several works in plasters.  Of which many had a splashing revue and even scandals such as the ” L’Âge d’airain”, in 1877. Rodin was accused of making the model from a men. Several years later he did the famous thinker or “Le Penseur” that was treated as a gorilla by his contemporaries; also the ” Balzac” ,and ” pingouin”.  Several years before his death he wrote : The real artist always express what he think at the risk of shoving all the  establish prejudice or ” Le véritable artiste exprime toujours ce qu’il pense au risque de bousculer tous les préjugés établis “.

Musée Rodin Meudon, 19, avenue Auguste-Rodin, à Meudon (92). Open Fridays to Sundays 13h to 18h. admission 5€ More at  and the 100 years anniversary info here:

In this exceptional scenario where there is an amphitheater like no other in Paris, this is Theâtre 13 at the  103A boulevard Blanqui . The theater has two displays that of « Jardin »  and « Seine ». The garden was closed for 2 years of renovations. It will open now to the public with two days of guided visits , spectacles and concerts all free. More here

The new movement now is to upgrade the WIFI in the Paris metro and trains to 4G . The line 1 of metro to the gare de Lyon. Also, the line 5 at Bastille, and the line 6 at  Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile. In all five stations of the line 1 and four of the RER A. The idea started in  2013 to do the coverage of 3G and 4G  in the 320 stations of the metro and RER A,B  to be done by 2016.  However, this was not achieved and extended goal to do by end of 2017. The work is difficult as underground created in the last century there are already  3 000 antennas to link 300 kms  of cables and fiber optics.  It will enough to send your telephone into WIFI mode ,connect to the network « RATP gratuit » , and accepted the user conditions.  The access is free and easy , connection is pretty good but limited to 20 minutes. In the metro , the stations are gare de Lyon (Quai métro L1 direction La Défense), gare du Nord (Zone d’échange line 4 – SNCF / Line 4 at the counter machines level), Charle-de-Gaulle Etoile (Salle d’échange sortie/exit Carnot), Saint-Lazare (Salle d’échanges), porte Maillot (at the level of counters), Chaussée d’Antin (at the level of counters) ,and  Gallieni (Zone accès Eurolines). In the RER at the la Défense (Salle d’échange, Quai RER A Direction Paris, Mezzanine (1), Mezzanine (2)), Auber (Salle d’échange), Cité U (at the counters level) ,also, at Marne-la-Vallée Chessy (at the counters level). More info here in French for more :

At the rénovation of the stairs to the Grande Arche de La Défense, the escalator is been renovated for quite a while now slow due to high winds. It should be done by April 1st 2017 in the presence of the President of the French Republic (France). It will ,then, be open to the public every day; the panoramic elevators/lifts will allow you to climb to the top of the Arch where it will be a restaurant, exposition space, auditorium, and exterior promenade to see Paris at 360°.  More in French here:

The Great Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), a legend amongst the greats of the painting, his imaginary milklady painted as a real queen with a sort of Virgin Mary immortalised in the daily work and exposed at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam.  Exceptionally, it will be exposed since February 22nd to May 22nd at the Louvre in the company of 11 other works by the artist master of Delft.  The French museum is  organising  an exposition of 70 paintings on what they call the people’s scene or the daily scènes of life. The 17C was the golden century of Dutch art and it is believe that 5 million paintings were done in 100 years. Vermeer did not invented the genre, but he created a style that surpasses all the others.  There are 36 works of Vermeer that are known, and a third of it will be reunited here . All next to the « La Laitière » , you will see the « La Dentellière » , a lady of high society in a work of art. Exposition : « Vermeer et les maîtres de la peinture de genre ». Paris, musée du Louvre, hall Napoléon. More here:

Do you know the kig ha farz ?  this is a tradition of the Finistère region of Brittany, it means literally « beef and stuffing or the equivalent of the pot-au-feu. It is made of vegetables  (cauliflower, carrots, onions, beans, and leek) , and meat of beef and pork ; the cooking is adaptable to the left overs, all cook in a bowl to boiled.  The stuffing it is prepare by putting a sort of pancake barter  with black wheat or  barley in a bag closed by a string that goes into the boil dish for about an hour.  Later, we cut it in slices to serve with the vegetables and meat . You should come here first but if not, in Paris go to Chez Michel near the gare du Nord at  10 rue de Belzunce, 10éme. Tél. +33(0) 1 44 53 06 20. Will cost about 35-50 euros for an entrée-plat or plat-dessert with a glass of wine.  More in my favorite resto link in France that is in the bottom of my page in blogroll, here :

What it is with the soaps vs shower gels? The square soaps are making a comeback! All led by the simple cosmetic firms and the boutiques . One exceptional is the savon de Marseille .  They have come up with processes that cook in cauldrons and cold pressing allow to produce soaps with less grease and richer in vegetable glycerin with characteristics of detergent wash soap, hydration,  and grease . These are like the brand Gaiia. Also, those of  Enfance Paris ,and the Brazilian brand Granado, now commercialize in France by the department store Le Bon Marché since 2012, with delicate perfums of chesnuts of Brazil, witch hazel,  iris, and orange flower and its packaging retro.  The luxury sector has embrace this resurgence in the soap, such as Hermés now has a line of them with iconic motifs of the house; Chanel has them too.
Find them here:

The Basilique de Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis dept 93) necropolis of the kings of France from Dagobert to Louis XVIII, prototype of the Cathedrals of Notre Dame de Paris will see its tower arrow of 85 meters again.  It was raised between 1190-1230 and in disrepair from 1846 due to violent storm that befell 12 bells in the region, and needed to take it down in 1847. The ok to built is ok with conditions on the financing, this will happened soon so stay tune. In the meantime ,there is the webpage :

Now what about that word “Château” that is define an AOP region in wine country of France. It should not be confuse with the word Château….. the viticole designation was created for good by article 7 of the decree law of May 4 2012. It simply states the word Château is designated to those wine regions of AOP designation that are issue from grapes harvest on plot of land that are use for wine production as well as making it.  This is well known in the area of Bordeaux from the 19C and extended to the SouthWest, Languedoc-Roussillon,Provence, and Rhône regions. In the south, there is ,also a château in Champagne, the Château de Boursault. In Burgundy  there are some but rare as the majority of plots here are too small and owners with different plots in different areas . The first time the term was seen was from a decree of August 19 1921  given life to an existing wine exploitation and to provide a cultural meaning as said in a bottle.  Therefore, when the bottle says “bottled in the Château”  is about a businessmen or négociant that purchased the wine already produce to have bottled himself under the commercial name of his choice, cannot use the word Château ; unless as often happenned in the Bordeaux region  that this négociant is also the owner of the vineyard.  SO he is under the term proprietor and not négociant .  Another distinction is not to have the name Château if the wine comes from a non AOC area such as a table wine level.

After all these, how can our American friends taken a tradition of a century and a half could take this name to use in their vineyards areas. when there is already a English term for it such as “Estate”, unless only for economic intentions ,they pull the cork too far ::) France , UNESCO World Heritage immaterial for gastronomy and wine.  Cheers

Have a great week everyone !


February 15, 2017

Some news from France CXLXII

Here we are again, this is mid week , long and gray and a bit rainy very light mist and temps in the 8C or about 46F. This was an unique day. Well I take the same route to work but they had the road barricaded due to construction of a new extension of the road D767 in Grand Champ and needed to take another road, first time on it!!! thru very small villages and twists and turns road ,narrow and wow it took the same time on the traject !!! Made it home ready for later the Real Madrid football/soccer game vs Napoli in the Champions league 8thfinals.

What have we come up with to tell you, plenty , all new exiting news of my belle France.

The city of Paris has a project to change the beautiful île de la Cité by 2040. Hopefully, this is not some eco terrorist idea to continue degrading Paris. They are thinking of making the parvis de Notre Dame with a transparent glass wall to show the underground of the vestiges of the archeological ruins, together with the police headquarters ,the Hôtel Dieu hospital and the Palais de Justice (where the Sainte Chapelle is). Sort of a glass enclosure and garden by the place du Marché aux fleurs (flower market).  It includes two passerelles linking the river banks to the foot of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and a square with direct access to the river Seine in the south of it, with a small boating harbor with péniches boats and barges.  The reason is to give the island a bit more life than now; actually only about 1000 persons live here permanently and the rest are the tourists, there is no schools, no voting booth few shops and the most imposing buildings from the exterior only occupied about a third of the space of the Louvre alone.  The entire space will be about 100 000 sq meters razing the old hospital and the police headquarters will be set up for housing. Shops can be installed in the street level of the building; parking by the Place Dauphine. All this came up in an article in Les Echos business journal. More from the tourist office;

Next to renovate and improve is Euro Disneyland, now call Disneyland Paris that opened in April 1992 at Marne-la-Vallée in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 east of Paris. Before it was only fields of beets. Now the  area has 60 hectares with 29 attractions, 7 hotels, and the Festival Disney (now call Disney Village). It is as a whole the first attractions park open in Europe. After some shaky start it started it upwards move with the opening in 1995 of Space Mountains, from earth to the moon! By 2002, a second park is opened , Walt Disney Studio dedicated to the cinema. Then, in 2008 the Tour de la Terreur or terror tower opened.  By 2012, it was already on its 20th anniversary, the first European tourist destination with about 16 million visitors. By 2014, a new attraction came on the Ratatouille the adventure of Remy. After ,again going thru some down trend in attendance , the park is expecting a rebound on its 25th anniversary in 2017 with a huge plan of renovation and innovations in the park ,that will not affect it’s operating hours. From an article in Les Echos. More from official site:

Another famous site that is also going thru some transformation is the Roland Garros tennis stadium ,hope of the French Open. After many years trying by the French federation, FFT, and two justice decisions in end 2016 and early 2017, the work can finally moves on with a still due date in 2020. The new design will have finally 5000 additional places in what was the Serres d’Auteuil a historical site , covering the court Philippe-Chartrier, the central court, will be raise 31 meters to partially cover the extension into the autoroute A13 for about 6400 square meters , replacing the training courts now located between the  courts of Suzanne Lenglen and Philippe Chatrier. In addition, the privatitation and annexation of a part of avenue de la Porte d’Auteuil of about 4500 square meters, giving way to a change in circulation of traffic.  This will give an additional 1200 spaces. All again promise by 2020 according to the association. In French you can upload the pps file looking up “MODERNISATION DE ROLAND-GARROS: Nouvelle victoire au tribunal pour la Fédération Française de Tennis” HERE:

Now for the lovers in all of us and in memory of Saint Valentine, perfums are in order ,first some numbers: In 2016, sales in Valentine were 4,5% of the total perfums market, Mother’s Day at 5% and Christmas with 25%! Sales are progressing at about 5% per year for the last five. At the end of August 2016, the Milleniums folks represent a sales volume of 390M € progressing at about 4% per year on the world market. Source : NPD, Marché du sélectif France,  and the Le Parisien journal.

Some of the newest hits on the perfume trail are : N° 5 L’eau, Chanel; feminine essence ,light and wear by Lily-Rose Depp.  La Femme Prada, L’Homme Prada . new love version in duo interchangeable, fluidity in a perfume. L’Homme idéal, Guerlain: the guys stuff, male senses with hot vanilla, viril leather and strong wood. Contre moi, Louis Vuitton. gourmand and addiction in all its dimensions; work vanilla like a second skin, regressive juice with pastry smells. Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming, Dior . a perfume to feel love, and here you will, the fragrance at the heart of the designer today re invented with flowers and fruits. Source, Le Parisien journal

 And now we have an Airbus A-380 straight from the airport Toulouse-Blagnac coded the 4L DD  landing at Le Bourget at 15h30 to join the collection at the museum or musée de l’Air et de l’Espace . The plane is one of four testing planes of Airbus and has  3 360 flying hours. More on the museum :

Something closer to my old home that now will have a second chance is the Haras National des Bréviaires. This horse center has been put under the comité régional d’équitation Ile-de-France, CREIF.  Here, they will create a house of horses with work that will last about 1,5 years. Some of the good things that will happened is the construction of a stable twice bigger than what they have now as well as 225 additional horse stables to host up to 300 horses. It will have a trotting trail and gallop in it’s 56 hectares as well as an obstacle course. A museum and Library will complete the center. More here :

About something to eat and surrounded by history, but not in Paris;just outside.  The Brasserie Biron, a site of rdv of Kurt Russell, Charles Aznavour ,and Pierce Brosnan; all have come to drink a glass here . The brasserie or brewery restaurant is located in the same neighborhood name in the town of  Saint-Ouen. The same of the famous flea market of Paris generally known as. Here you will be serve typical dishes like a tête de veau ravigole or boeuf bourguignon done from recipes of the same chef Jacques Dehays for the last 35 years. The restaurant only open with the market so only 3 days per week, weekends and Mondays. All over the walls you will see portraits of Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Jean Gabin as well as one from the flea market from their time. This is the real France of the times, the rest of the week the owners take care of their small hotel , Hotel Villa Biron ,just a couple steps from the restaurant. It has 10 rooms that have already host the actrice Mathilde Seigner while filming the series Sam.  The brasserie here :  and the hotel here:

One of my favorites shopping places and where used to rent cars is the shopping or centre commercial des 3 Fontaines at Cergy (Val d’Oise dept 95) off the A13 direction Rouen.  It is one of the top 20 biggest in  France with about 13 millions visitors per year. The new renovations will begin in September with paintings, flooring, lighting, etc all re done new.It will be done at night and will take about a year to do.They will do a covered parking with 3150 spaces either underground, super structured or on the roof of the shopping center. More here:

And ,still another improvement to a nice park I have taken my boys since early age even visiting before living permanently here; the Parc Astérix. The building of the Pégase Express, a rollercoaster of about 1 km long, in a mythical ride with strong sensations link to the mythology and the cartoon BD of Goscinny and Udezo. The train stop will be call Lutéce, Alexandrie, or Olympie. The speed will be up to 52 kph or about 30 mph and for 3 minutes you will go thru a tunnel to reach an antique temple where sleep the terrible Medusa. It will give you a scare and make the trains go in reverse while looking at a Pegasus 5 meters high, the winged horse. To house this train, a station will be built call Montparnassos from the train will depart. The building housing it will be 17 meters high and 24 meters wide.  You will need to be 1 meter (about 3,3 feet) tall to ride it. It should be ready by next June 2017. More here:

The official site is here:

Now just finish with some interludes and my Real Madrid won 3×1 over Napoli!!!!!!!!!!! So my week is done hehehe ,you have a good end of week ok cheers!!!

February 12, 2017

Some news from France CXLXI

And at last Sunday, again wintery cool at 2C or about 35F, cloudy and just before mid day. At Paris we have about 36F feeling like 30F light rain maximum of 49F chance of rain 70%. Tomorrow a bit better at 54F low of 38F and no rain announce.

Continuing with our VI Nations rugby championship after yesterday thriller between England and Wales won by England, this afternoon our time, is France vs Scotland. Allez les Bleus!!!

The Catacombes that depository of bones in Paris closed again and finally reopen this weekend with its long line of waiting at the Place Denfert-Rochereau (14eme), one of the museums of the city of Paris most visited with 500K last year to discovered its 2km of underground deathly galleries. Bear in mind the number of visitors underground is limited to 200 at any time,and the entrance can be interrupted at any time if heavy affluence. You better come prepare for cold with some warm clothing as the temperature is never higher than 14C or 57F. The entry is done by 1 avenue du Colonel Henri-Rol-Tanguy (place Denfert-Rochereau) from 10h to 20h30 except Mondays.More info here:

And according to the Le Parisien newspaper the Apple store was given the ok to be at 114 avenue des Champs-Elysées, on top of a store IKKS already in the building ,and near the Lido cabaret.

The first ice skating ring 210 meters high in the Tour Montparnasse! open since this past Friday. A synthetic floor without water or electricity! It is at the Observatoire Panoramique de la tour Montparnasse, 33 avenue du Maine (15eme), open until March 5th from Mondays to Fridays midday to 20h and the weekends 10h to 20h, cost is 9,50 to 15€ free for the younger than 7 yrs old. More here :

Somethings nice to do in Paris , go to the Parc Floral near the Chateau de Vincennes open from 9h30 to 17H.  Floral collections, tuboggans and slides for kids or a walking tour of the park with admission.  More here:

While above see the wolfs at the parc zoologique de Vincennes. At 15H there is the feeding of the four wolfs and take advantage of say hello to the monkeys and giraffes etc ; it’s a zoo. open from 10h to 17h admission online are cheaper from 13€ more here:

And do go to the Aquarium de la Porte Dorée, it has a beautiful building dating from the colonial exposition of 1931, with 5000 residents from 300 different species from all continents. There are shows for cocodriles and piranhas. Open from 10h to 19h admission from 3,50 to 5€ :metro Porte Dorée line 8; more here:

And on the cour d’Honneur of the Chateau de Fontainebleau the famous iron horse stairs or escalier en fer à cheval dating from Louis XIII is due for renovation taken one year and about 2M €; donations expected. More here:

Caumont Centre d’Art ,3 Rue Joseph Cabassol  in  Aix-en-Provence show the exposition  “Marilyn” telling the history of the relationship of Marilyn Monroe and the photographs and photographers in her history. The show will be on until May 1st . Admission 13€ . More here:

Until April 27th the exposition Ingrés et ses éléves-Dessins de la collection des Beaux-Arts. A multiplicity of graphic practices of the masters and their students;  more here

Down south nice town, often by pass, the Chalons-sur-Saône in Burgundy, has a wonderful museum ,musée Nicéphore Niepce, all about photography. 28 quai des Messageries, near the river Saône, open every day except Tuesdays and Holidays. Sept to June 9h30-11h45 / 14h-17h45, and July/August 10h to 18h continuous.  See from June 17 to September 17,2017 the exposition : Par-dessus tout :l’objet photographique. More here:

And as Saint Valentin approaches what better way to express it in PARIS!

At the Musée Rodin, you are in for a romantic evening with a background of Jazz and poems lectures, getting deeper into the artist love affair with Camille Claudel. An evening call Soirée Love au Musée Rodin, Tuesday February 14, 19h to 21h admission 20€ and 15€ for the 18-25 yrs old. More here:

Get on the game Hunt, starting from looking for a mysterious cabaret dancer or chasing a pickpocket in the metro, each couple has its enigma. For those going further, there is even and asking for marriage game quick you have only 60 minutes to do it! Escape Hunt, 5 rue d’Hanovre (2eme) February 14-15, 76€ for two persons. More here :

In Double Fond with its specialists on the closeup, magic, the evening starts with a dinner (champagne, cocktail hors-d’ouvres, win) by magician servers that will come to each table. Later ,the master Alexandra Duvivier takes the orders with an spectacle especially made for the evening with there is a mix of plays, magic and comedy. Each couple learn a trick of magic! I have done this one before and it is wonderful, recommended. Saint Valentin, au Double Fond, 1 place du Marché Sainte-Catherine, (4eme) Tuesday February 14 from 19h; 100€ per person. More here:

In a industrial deco the Point Ephémère ( 200 quai de Valmy) or FMR for the locals is very alive . Here the Parisiens find themselves in a terrace with its restaurant bar, then see an exposition or listen to a concert,and on the big plaza talk, argue and listen with a plastic goblet in front of the Canal Saint Martin, before going to dance all night at the electro beat. A wonderful place to be for the young and the young at heart.

Want a real Parisien night a la Prohibition times ,then come to the 12, rue Frochot and visit the Bonnie and Clyde. You go down into the cave underground at the rare bar allow to stay open until 6h in Paris. Open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 22h to 5h30, close Sundays , Mondays and Tuesdays.  off Place Pigalle and metro Pigalle. no webpage call ahead,cell/mob. +33 (0) 6 17 94 16 91

And when nearby my beloved Versailles do not forget to try O’Paris pub (15 Rue Colbert) very near the palace, and one of my favorite hangouts when lived in the city. Here you have in drafts such goodies as Guinness, Kilkenny, Stella Artois, Loburg, Hoegaarden, Leffe, Leffe Ruby, Magners, Becks, Beer of the month and other whiskies, like Jameson, William Lawson’s, Clan Campbell, Bushmills, Black Bush, Jack Daniel’s, Dewar’s, Aberlour, Four Roses, Southern Confort etc The Happy Hour is from 16h to 20h every day except weekends and holidays. In some evenings you have animated nights and on Mondays there are quizzes, blind test , games etc. Thursdays they have the after work. On large screen TV’s you have the major sporting events as well.  Regular hours are 16h to 02h and weekends from 14h. More here:

And why not suggest the best place to eat in my town of old; Le Boeuf à la Mode, right behind the marché de Notre Dame market (4 rue au pain).  It has a 1930’s deco in all floors, try the first floor or 2nd floor for those from abroad; fresh produce, from the region, and well made. Continuous service from 12h to 23h . Coming to eat there regularly since 2003!

Above same owners in Paris at La Bombe, 20 rue du 4 septembre, La Planque, 17 rue de Choiseul, Le Carré, pl St Augustin (ate here too very good); 12 Place Saint Augustin (near gare St Lazare) :see the virtual tour at the one in Versailles here, go up the stairs ::)

Again ,see the Galerie des Carosses in the Grand Ecurie across from the palace, great carriages drawn by the Kings of France. Open February 26 , March 19 , and April 16 and 30 2017. admission 10€ more here:

see the Opus at the Académie Equestre in the Grande Ecurie as well. horse show par excellent wonderful a must even if the price is 26,50€ it’s worth it. More here:

At the not far Chateau de MaisonsLaffitte, you can see in cinema splendeur the movies that have been filmed there . Until March 6 admission 8€. See the movies like Chéreau directing Adjani in the Queen Margot; the kitchen scene of Gérard Depardieu in Vatel, the monumental stairs of Uma Thurman playing Cécile de Volanges and given to the viscount of Valmont played by John Malkovich. The scenes of Surviving Picasso by James Ivory or the Love and Death of Woody Allen; the costumes series of D’Artagnan of Claude Barma or the last of the series Versailles etc etc.  From Paris you get here best by train, RER A from Saint Lazare. More here:

And if you do get here for the movies, do not forget to get your gourmet goodies at one of my favorite stores in the area, Epicerie de Longueil; main street and not far from the RER A train station, more here:

Enjoy your Sunday, I stay with my memories of travels and good living, always trying harder. Cheers

February 3, 2017

Some news from France CXLX

We are back to ok weather not cold at all but rainy and humid now  at 9C or 46F. And we are getting some bad action in Paris and we should know better by now that the free flow of people has to be regulated for the safety of many more.

At the Carrousel shopping center that communicates with the Louvre museum there was a terrorist today and wounded some soldiers before he was wounded seriously with gun shot in the abdomen. This ,part of operation Sentinel going on in the Vigipirate anti terrorist alert in France. Glad they were there or it would had been worse.  Providing assistance to the population we have avoided a major calamity, more in French here:

In the meantime, life goes on and so does the expositions at the Louvre. You will be able to see the expo Vermeer et les maîtres de la peinture de genre; looking back of what the Dutch painters did in France. All going from the Sphinx de Delft to now, many works of art will be shown including the La Laitérie and  portraits from painters from the Golden age on the Dutch will be display at the Sully wing to see the exposition of the Chefs-d’œuvre of the collection of Leiden, in the Dutch golden century. You will see as well the French painters Valentin de Boulogne in the Réinventer Caravage, all of the above will be on from February 22 to May 22 2017.

And the ever present photomaton photo machines around France, well in Paris they have installed some golden metal structures with curtain and the crowning ornament where you can take photos in black and white ,4 photos for 3€!  This is fotoautomat and these are at the 53bis rue des Francs Bourgeois (4eme), Palais de Tokyo (16eme), rue des Trois-Frères (18eme) and on the Centquatre (19éme). The webpage is at

Another outfit is doing the same but in numerique photos call Tabobine ; 4 photos for 2€. They have 28 cabins already in Paris. They are in chic branché sites; and the webpage is at

The overcrowding in Paris continue even more now with the automobile restrictions and the lack of planning and money. The metro line 14 between Saint Lazare and Mairie de Saint Ouen is late in it’s construction. IT was supposed to be in service by 2019 but now that is even doubtful.  This extension would have been for 5,4 kms and 4 additional stations. This in order to decongest the line 13 already saturated. The biggest problem have been water found in the Porte de Clichy even at 50 meters  when the platform was to be at 26 meters deep due to a leak in the Phreatic nape  and as the tunnel building machine  Magaly has stopped it cannot continue to drill towards Clichy-Saint-Ouen, as long as the waterproofing is not seal. The city hopefully keeps its hope to finish it by 2019 even with the drawbacks mentioned. The line 12 is to be extended from the Front Populaire to the mairie d’Aubervilliers and done by 2019 as well.  However, it has been extended finish to 2020 as well. This is all according to the transport site for the île de France region, Stif.

Due in time for the Valentine month of February we have the Maison de Victor Hugo, Place des Vosges putting on one of his famous poems in an exposition call La Pente de la rêverie until April 30th.  You will be able to see the works of Piranèse, John Martin, François de Nome and the poet himself.

Another famous house that of the Maison de Balzac is showing until April the paintings inspired from the writer in Une Passion dans le Désert. Telling the story of a soldier and a panther that also inspired other artists like Gilles Aillaud, Eduardo Arroyo and Antonio Recalcati.

A great exposition call  Sérénissime ! Venise en fête, de Tiepolo à Guardi at the museum Cognac-Jay until June 25th. Reviving the great parties and carnivals of the city of the Doges thru about 60 works of the great masters of the city of Venice.

You run to see the wonderful portraits of Walasse Ting, and American artist of Chinese origin. It will be shown in the Museum Cernuschi until February 26. The  Walasse Ting, Le voleur de fleurs; bring about 70 works of the painter including the monumental compositions of the women in vegetal corps, charge and color of erotism at its finest

It you are into orchids then run to the Jardin des Plantes and see thousands of them in Mille et une Orchidées.  Until May 14 2017; more here :

Come to the great event of Grand Musée du parfum that open last December in a mansion at 73 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré and previously mentioned in my blog.  An unique olfative experience; a perfume museum.  More here:

And for the music incline, com to see the Romantique Authentique in the auditorium of the museum of Orsay from February 21 to June 13 2017 . Four concerts to discover the romantic repertoire for instrument of the times.

Come back to the 19C at the museum Marmottan-Monet and meet the honorable impressionists representing one of the most importants in Camille Pissarro. The expo Le premier des impressionnistes ; from February 23 to July 2 2017 showing the work of the artist thru 75 of his works.

Get on February 26 at place Gambetta for the Carnaval de Paris. Promenade in costumes and its great parade of floats of high color and a warming entry to winter. More here:

And for the lovers of Opera there is plenty in Paris. The works of Mozart to the honor this month, first , La Flûte enchantée at the Opéra Bastille until February 23rd.

And at the Opéra Palais Garnier , see the Cosi fan tutte until February 19.

And just tomorrow we start with the VI Nations rugby tournament. Starts tomorrow and there is a France vs. England match 16h50 hot in England. It will be at the Stade de France near Paris for the match France vs Scotland on February 12. More info here :

A wonderful Church of Paris has been renovated beautifully done. The Church Notre Dame de Lorette from the 19C renovates its baptism chapel and its paintings !!!  The Church  Notre-Dame-de-Lorette was built between 1823 and 1836 You must not miss the Chapel of the Virgin, and it lateral chapels such as Chapel of Marriage, Chapel of Baptism, chapel of communion, chapel Sainte Thérése, Chapel Saint Etienne , and Chapel Saint Hippolyte.  All places keeping wonderful paintings , sculptures and bordering. It is at  8 Rue Choron (9eme) near metro Le Péletier line 7.  More in French here:

Paris is eternal, there is always something to do. And you know you will be safe ,the best protection in the world, Sentinel. Cheers


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