Archive for April, 2017

April 29, 2017

Some news from France CLIII

And I am back from a wonderful one week trip to Spain, but back in town is cold and cloudy and lots of rain announce for tomorrow. We are on a three day holiday due to May 1st been Labor Day here. Temps went up only to 17C or about 63F but right now it is 52F or 11C.

Let me tell you of an event mentioned before but it’s worth it if around Versailles, my dear old town. This is the Jumping international du Château de Versailles May 5-7. This is considered a 5 stars event ,the highest in its category. More here:

The roots on horse riding go deep here since 1670, and the king Louis XIV had built the Grande and Petite Ecuries. It is here that Bàrtabas , the founder of the Académie équestre nationale du domaine de Versailles in 2003 . More here:

This event will have over 200 horses with the best 30 jockeys of the world including four French Olympic champions. A course with 1600 spectators will be done in the stables=ecuries, and the visitors will have access to the gallery of Coaches or La Galerie des Carrosses in the Grande Ecurie as well, superb; restored in 2016. You see carriages of Napoléon Ier, the funeral carriage of Louis XVIII, fantasy trainers, etc. More here:

If need to missed this one( a pity), then , Do not forget in July ,the Longines Global Champions Tour de Chantilly, from July 13-16. More info here:

The vineyards and our wine is on the lookout, as these last few nights they have been hit by some frost and cold winds that were not expected. The most hit were Bordeaux, Bourgogne, and Champagne, but, also all in general.

At Chablis ,water had to be pumped in to protect from deed freezing ,even with its risks. From eolians tactics to helicopters to heating elements in the fields all has been tried. At Chateau Corbin in Saint Emilion from 13 hectares 10 are totally destroyed!!! Even if the appellation Pomerol is the most affected. The effects are closer to those that happened in 1991. The temperatures going down to -4C  or 23F has affected Gaillac and Fronton where 80% of vineyards were frozen.  There are 20  000 hectares in the Languedoc that were destroyed. This the experts will tell you that in 2018 many will have nothing to offer us to drink!!!

In Champagne ,will have to dig to its reserves. Temperatures going down to 19F or 7C and about 20-25% of vineyards destroyed. In Cognac, 25K over 75K hectares were touch by this freezing 75% or more. Article read in the Le Figaro newspaper of April 29-30 2017.

A bit of history I like, that will enhance your visiting pleasures. Why not know the history is to engage in culture and understanding of the country, France. The traces of the last Bourbons kings is the latest article in Le Figaro magazine.

The article takes notice of the visit of Prince Louis Alphonse de Bourbon (legitimate king of France Louis XX) , last descendant of king Felipe V of Spain in turn grandson of king Louis XIV of France)  to Gorica, Slovania. The visit was to pay respect to the last king of France Charles X, who died in exile here, and whether to bring his body back to the Basilica of Saint Denis, north of Paris.

The current President of France, François Hollande had ordered repair the arrow tower of the basilica of Saint Denis in the north tower in a symbolic act. The question of bringing back the last kings of France is now a possibility.

king Charles X (brother of Louis XVI) ,also known as the Count of Artois,was overthrown in the 3 glorious days or trois glorieuses in 1830(also,known as the July revolution) , and died of colera on November 6 1836 in Gorizia ,the frontier of Frioul-Venetia Julienne and Slovenia. He lies in the Franciscan convent of Castagnavizza ,today call Kostanjevica in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. There, also , lies his son, Duke of Angoulême (short while king Louis XIX) his wife and cousin Mary Theresa of France, also ,called madame royale, the unfortunate daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette freed from the prison of Temple,and the grandchildren of Charles X, also, Henri V, count of Chambord, the last French Bourbon of the branch, and his wife Mary Theresa of Modena, and her sister, Louise of France; duchess of Parma.

The convent has gone thru some tough days that threaten to destroyed the coffins in it. The first was in 1914 facing the Austro-Hungarian empire and Italy ,when the convent was bombed and the coffins were saved due to Zita of  Austria, granddaughter of Louise of Parma, who transferred them to the convent of Capuchins in Vienna until 1932.  At the end of WWII,the monastery of Castagnavizza that is on a hill dominating Gorizia passed to the jurisdiction of Yugoslavia until the independence of Slovenia in 1991; where it change name to Kostanjevica,and kept by the Franciscans Monks in Nova Gorica.

Charles X is the only French king now lying in foreign soil, and there is an association trying to change that. The Association pour le Retour a Saint-Denis de Charles X: more here in French :

Victor Hugo,had already asked for the return of the king where he wrote in French: “Moi, je n’affligerai pas plus, o Charles X, Ton cercueil maintenant que ton exil jadis! Repose, fils de France,en ta tombe exile! Dormez,sire! Il convient que cette ombre voile, que ce vieux Pasteur mort sans people et sans troupeaux, Roi Presque séculaire ait au moins le repos.”

Meaning, as close as can make it in English: I will distressed no more, O Charles X your coffin now in your radiant exile, rest son of France in your grave in exile! Sleep Sir, It is convenient that this covered shade,that this old  pastor dead without people or followers; king almost secular has at least a resting place.

The association just wants to reunite the brothers , Louis XVI,Louis XVIII,and Charles X in the Basilique de Saint Denis. For this,they have the backing and support of all the relatives of Charles X living today. That is the Princes Bourbon-Parma born from his granddaughter Louise of Bourbon, and the two daughters of the Duke of Berry (second son of Charles X assassinated in 1820) had with Amy Brown: Charlotte, princess of Faucigny-Lucinge ,and Louise, Baronnesa of Charette de la Contrie. At least 50 descendant has given the ok for the transfer. The only block is that on the Will and Last Testament of the Count of Chambord (Henri V) he asked not to be buried in France as well as his wife Mary Theresa of Modena. He refuse the tricolor flag of the French republic for keeping the white flag symbol of the monarchy in 1871.

The current pretender Louis Alphonse (Alfonso born in Madrid, and legitimate Louis XX king of France), does not want to separate the grandchildren from his grandfather.  The transfer can only be done with the blessing of the French Republic and with all the honors of a sovereign monarch according to Louis Alphonse.

He professed the European unity in this speech that I have translated to English. ” Your city can be proud of being that in Europe, has without a doubt been the most marked by the presence of the princes and princesses of my family, but to the physical presence need to add memory and remembrance that remain still so  powerful. Every year, many pilgrims come from France to visit the  places of exile; I like to see it as a beautiful symbol of our Europe, seeking always to better understand its roots and who find them, just by sharing common memories across borders”

You too can come here, (it is my goal in life) to see the Cathedral where the funerals of the last French Bourbon were held and the palace Coronini Cronberg where Charles X found refuge and finally died. The prince Louis Alphonse tells the mayor of Gorizia, your town welcomed my family seeking exile in desperation ; today you town stays loyal to the Bourbons, and you host me as you did them, if your town stays loyal to the Bourbons ,we will stay loyal to Gorizia , and my sons will come here too. He lays a crown of flowers to the tomb with 3 white lys flowers symbol of the monarchy all shown on local Slovene and Italian TV( not in France).

The palace is here:

The convent where Charles X and family are buried:

The Cathedral were the funerals were held:

Prince Louis Alphonse, duke of Anjou and Bourgogne, and confirm by the House of France as the heir legimitate as king Louis XX was accompanied on this trip by Stéphane Bern a well know TV commentator, historian and actor. He wrote the piece for Le Figaro magazine.

The other sovereign of France not buried in France is that of emperor Napoléon III.  He is buried at the Abbey Chapel of Farnborough in England. He lied there with his wife emperatrice Eugénie (of the Montijo of Spain), and their son Louis who died in 1879 in a battle with the Zulus in South Africa (he would have been Napoléon IV).

At the Benedictine abbey of Saint Michael founded in 1881 by the emperatrice Eugénie that lived at Farnborough Hill.  There are the tombs of Napoléon III (1873), Eugénie (1920) and Louis (1879). In the 150th anniversary of the unification of the Savoie and county of Nice, many people ask for the repatriation of the bodies to France.

In 2008 during the bicentennial of the birth of the emperor many came here, including a representation of the French Republic by way of its ambassador in UK. Up to this date, the descendant family have always opposed to the repatriation to France.  At least ,at Farnborough the Benedictine monks pray for the emperor, who will do that in Paris? said the Princess Napoléon (I have met her at the Institut de France in Paris, salon Victor Hugo) . Difficult to bring them all as the imperial prince is buried with English military uniform! and the Invalides could not be.

Other place that I know is the Church of Saint Augustin, that has been sought after for many years as a necropolis of the empire.  Napoléon III already have sought of doing a mausoleum Bonaparte here.  The Church is well aligned in the perspective of the baron Haussmann between the Church of the Madeleine (dedicated to the grande armée), and the place Wagram. Nevertheless, the pilgrims here will be less than at Farnborough.

So there you have my historical post on France , again there is lot to see here, a lot more than on travel guides. Enjoy your weekend, Cheers!!





April 20, 2017

Some news from Spain XLII

Moving right along, and some sun but still cooler temps even this morning down to 3C and afternoon 14C or 37F to 58F.  However, in my beloved Spain the temps are high, evenings 63F or about 16C and mornings 71F during daytime or about 21C and sunny. La vida es chula ::)

And as I am getting ready to go back to Spain next week, and probably no internet…will be on the road in the countryside… Here are some interesting information me think to make your visit to Spain more enjoyable.

Just to make a nice walk , and yes we walk , you can get ready for that big Feast of San Isidro, the Patron Saint of Madrid with a visit to the Church, and museum/house of his beginnings.

San Isidro or Saint Isidore was a farmer, well maker, Mozarabic peasant and miraculous men. He was from Madrid and canonized in 1622. He was born in 1082AD before the territory came back to Christian hands with king Alfonso VI. San Isidro visited the current site of the Church with his wife, also, a Saint, Santa Maria de la Cabeza; here the roots of moors from the Madrid of the 11C blends in. Next door, is the home of his master, Juan de Vargas, where the Saint and his wife lived and died. It is now a house museum. The Saint is credited with many miracles most of them related to the water,and the city preserves most of the spots.One of the most representative is the Church or Iglesia de San Andrés; in its interiors you have a patio and renaissance well, from the same, he gave a miracle saving his own son according to legend. San Isidro saved his son from been drowned when he made the waters rise only to the mouth. His feast is coming in May ,all about it here:

And the Church here :

Moving right along,  you can stop at the square or plaza de la Paja , here there was the city market on the one called the  plaza del Arrabal; the name given before to the now Plaza Mayor. The Plaza de la Cruz Verde ends at the  Calle de la Villa, Calle del Rollo, and the mounted Calle de Segovia, where it was the scene of public executions of the Holy See. The name  ‘Santa Cruz verde’ or Holy Green Cross was the symbol of the Spanish Inquisition and from that came its name.

Continue meandering along these gorgeous streets full of history and architecture and you come to the street or Calle de San Justo, where the wonderful Basilica Pontifical of Saint Michael or Basilica Pontifica de San Miguel. This is one of the oldest parishes and the one with more history in Madrid. A wonderful example of the Italian Baroque of the 18C ordered built by the queen Isabel de Farnesio. The old temple here was that of San Justo built in 1738 and later damaged by fire on the Parish Church of San Miguel. Today ,most know it by the wonderful market or Mercado de San Miguel here. The Basilica at Calle de San Justo keeps very nice historical persons buried inside, such as the father of Francisco de Quevedo as well as maternal grandparents, and a brother. In the parish archives it is kept the death certificate of  Rodrigo de Cervantes,the father of  Miguel de Cervantes. More here:

You should not miss coming to the convent garden or El Jardín del Convento, a store selling all goodies done in the convents and monasteries from different parts of Spain. More here:

You continue on the Madrid of the Austrias to the Catedral Castrense .  The previous monastery of the Bernadine monks founded in 1615.  Built by  Juan Gómez de Mora, one of the architect of the Plaza Mayor.  The Church belongs to the Armed Forces of Spain since 1980. More here:

You come to one of favorite spots lately. And not many know the underneath the Cathedral of the Almudena you have resting about 1500 souls, all in a gorgeous crypt supported by 558 columns, keeping the soul of many nobles and important families of the time. All at the feet of the Patron of Madrid, the Virgin of the Almudena or La Virgen de la Almudena ( ramparts in Arabic) ,and enclosed in 712AD upon the fall of the city to the moors. It was taken back by the Christians in 1085AD when  San Isidro only was 3 yrs old. The wall or ramparts fell apart and the Virgin was discovered; after many centuries later, She was put in the now gone Church or Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Almudena, the oldest temple in Madrid until it was demolished by 1868. From these ruins, the current Catedral de Santa Maria de la Almudena was built and finally consecrated in 1992. The crypt, that however,was done in 1911. Meanwhile the Almudena was built and consecrated , the Real Colegiata de San Isidro served as the provisional Cathedral of Madrid. More here:

And as we are now getting hungry ,why not stop in one of the classic restaurant of old and new  Madrid. La Bola, serving always the dishes of Madrid such as ropa vieja (old clothes), pisto manchego (ratatouille of the Mancha) , special croquettes, and bunûelos de manzana con helado ( bakers paste with apple and ice cream) ,and of course the cocido madrileño ;more here:

Where are buried the kings of Spain? Well studies have shown that even if they more or less know where the Visigoth, moors, and others are, they have no proof they were put there. However, we do know where the Christian kings are, and they are here:

Royal Pantheon of the Cathedral of Oviedo or Pantéon Real de la Catedral de Oviedo, where most at least 8 and their families are buried in six baroque niches in the new chapel of Our Lady of the King or Capilla de  Nuestra Señora del Rey Casto  that was built early on the 18C.  The great exception was king Pelayo who was buried in the Holy Cave of Covadonga or the  Santa Cueva de Covadonga. More here:

Royal Pantheon of San Juan de la Peña or Pantéon Real de San Juan de la Peña.  They are in the old sacristy of the high Church or Iglesia Alta  in the old monastery , where there is a reformed pantheon ordered by king Carlos III in 1770, lies the remains of some of the Navarrene kings of  Aragon , the first Aragonese counts and the three kings  of the ramirense dynasty such as Ramiro I, Sancho Ramírez, and Pedro I, together with their wives.  Then, in the Iglesia San Pedro el Viejo de Huesca you have the continuation in kings  Alfonso I el Batallador ,and Ramiro II el Monte (in a Roman coffin from the 2C). More here:  ;and the second Church here:

Royal Pantheon of Royal Saint Mary of Nàjera or Pantéon Real de Santa Maria Real de Nàjera. In this Riojan monastery you have the burials of the kings of the kingdom of Nàjera-Pamplona; the predecessors of the Kingdom of Navarra that held power from 918AD to 1135AD. Some of these coffins are in Roman style. More here:

Royal Pantheon of San Isidore of Leon or Pantéon Real de San Isidoro de Léon. This is romance style that keeps the burials of the reign of king Fernando I in the 11C; the remains of the kings of Leon and their families from Alfonso IV  that reigned in the 10C to García, king of  Galicia who died in 1090AD. Nearby in the Cathedral of Léon you have the burial of king Ordoño II that lived until 924AD. More here:  ;and more on the Cathedral here:

The Cathedral of Toledo, also, has burials of six kings of Castille. Three in the old chapel or Capilla Vieja, including kings Alfonso VII El Emperador, and the first three Trastamaran kings in the chapel or Capilla de los Reyes Nuevos:such as kings  Enrique II, Juan I and Enrique III. More here:

The Cathedral of Sevilla, in the Royal Chapel or  Capilla Real  houses the burials of three kings , the most charismatic of Spanish history such as  Fernando III El Santo, his son, Alfonso X El Sabio , and Pedro I El Cruel, as well as consorts and some family members.  On the other Church or Iglesia de San Hipólito de Córdoba , it keeps the burials of the successors kings such as Fernando IV ,and Alfonso XI. More here:  ;and more on the Church here:

The Monastery of Poblet or Monasterio de Poblet. A Cistercian temple in the province of Tarragona, was the Royal Pantheon of the crown of Aragon until the 15C. There you will see the burials of their principal kings; only kings Pedro III, and Jaime II rests on the nearby monastery or Monasterio de Santes Creus. More here:  ; and more here on the Santes Creus:

The Monastery of the Huelgas or Monasterio de las Huelgas. Mostly gothic temple has well preserved burials of the kings  Enrique I ,and Alfonso VIII as well as other members of Castilian Royal family of the 12C, 13C,and 14C.  Nearby, you can visit the chartreuse or  Cartuja de Miraflores , where Queen Isabel Católica, (the Catholic or I) ordered built a wonderful burial pantheon for her parents and brother Alfonso. More here:  ; more on the chartreuse in Spanish here:

The Royal Chapel of Granada or Capilla Real de Granada. It was ordered built by the Catholic Kings (Fernando and Isabel ), and represented a trend in the architecture as well as funerary sculptures.  The burials of the Catholic kings were done by Domenico Fancelli,while those of daughter Juana together with that of Felipe El Hermoso were done by Bartolomé Ordoñez. They are all surrounded by exceptional works of arts of the times. More here:

The Royal Crypt of the El Escorial monastery or la Cripta Real del Monasterio de El Escorial, built in the 17C a,and housing all the kings and many of their family members from king Carlos I  to Juan III (did not reign).  The only exception on this period were kings Fernando VI,and Barbara de Braganza that are in the convent at Madrid or Convento de las Salesas Reales (Iglesia de Santa Barbara); and king José I (Joseph Napoleon) whose remains are in the Les Invalides of París , as well as king  Amadeo I  that is with his wife at the basilica or Basílica de Superga de Turín (Torino, Italy). More here:

More on the convent Salesas Reales here:

Invalides de Paris;

And the basilica of Superga, Turin,

A wonderful event not to missed if in Spain, the 80th anniversary of Guernica by Pablo Ruiz Picasso, and the 25th anniversary of its arrival at the Museum or Museo de la Reina Sofía . It will have a momentous exposition and the exhibition of an interesting documentation that tells us how the portrait was ordered by the II Republic, and the trips the portrait took to raise funds for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War.  It shows the history of this portrait by showing an emblematic interpration of it thru a series of about 180 works by the master Picasso , many on special loans, that will help trace the history and execution of this master piece as we know it today; it will be exposed until September 4, 2017. More here:

I told you, Spain, everything under the Sun, and a lot more. Enjoy the post,and have a great end of week, tomorrow is TGIF ::) Cheers



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April 18, 2017

Some news from France CLII

And once again that pep talk about France. The sun tried to come up today but was up and down with temps in the 15C or about 62F. We have a nice four day week and then its the weekend again ,and my trip to Spain !!!

For now let’s keep cool in la belle France shall we:

Flixbus , bus service intercity is offering the La Défense.  From May 18 it will serve the business district from the underground bus terminal of terminal Jules-Verne on the line N 709 that will be extended to Rouen.  This night line will have daily connections towards Lyon  with a departure at 23h15  from the La Défense.  There will be two stops in Lyon, one at  the  gare de Vaise at 5h15 and the second at the gare La Part-Dieu at 5h50.  On the trip back from there the bus will arrive at  La Défense at 6h45 and will leave from gare La Part-Dieu  at 23h59 , and the gare de Vaise at 00H35. Of course check the times as from now to then they may change. More here:

As already mentioned in my previous post, the Villages Nature, has started construction, due to finish by June 30 2017.  This is the entertainement activities park done by Pierre & Vacances(Center Parcs)  ,and Euro Disney  at Villeneuve-le-Comte, a few kilometers south of Disneyland Paris. The park should open to the public by mid August 2017.  It consists of a park divided into five themes, such as Aqualagon, Ferme BelleVie, Forêt des légendes, Jardins extraordinaires ,and the Promenade du lac. More in French here:

Another update coming from the Domaine de Méréville. About 50 guided visits are planned this year.  To start , they are limited to the picturesque garden ,one of the last examples in Europe of a Anglo-Chinese passages park as we would have seen them in the 18C.  There is a castle where lived the Marquis Jean-Joseph de Laborde,but still not ready to welcome visitors. However, the almost 400 hectares of park are done. You can ask update if passing by to visit it, worth the detour at  tourist office or office de tourisme d’Étampes, tel +33 (0) or email:  The next dates available for the guided tours are April 22, 23, 29 , 30, and May  6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28.  More here:

And more info in French on the Domaine from the dept tourist office of the Essonne ,dept 91.

For it’s 70th anniversary the Festival de Cannes,has played with the cards on the selection of films. It is expected that Michael Haneke will have his 3rd palme d’or, that will be historical. However ,even if the idea is to bring the lesser known artists to the Festival, you can’t escape to think folks like Sofia Coppola, Jacques Doillon, François Ozon or Michel Hazanavicius are not your type of unknown artists as such.  The rest that were kept for the competition are indeed less known and with great projects such as Naomi Kawase, Yorgos Lanthimos, Lynne Ramsay, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Hong Sangsoo, Todd Haynes, Noah Baumbach, and Fatih Akin.  More info here:
The house of Louis Vuitton continues it’s incursion into the world of Arts. Associating with the plastic artist Jeff Koons to reveal the collection where the master word is transmission.  The American artist will inspire here by the « Gazing Ball » a series of reproduce works of arts by the great masters,and to post on the great bags and small leather goods of the Louis Vuitton. The works that will appear are such as  « La Joconde »(mona lisa) of  Léonard de Vinci, the  « La chasse au tigre » by Rubens, the  « La Gimblette » by Fragonard,  the  « Champ de blé avec cyprès » by Van Gogh and as well the « Mars, Vénus et Cupidon »  of Titien.  The famous « Rabbit » of Jeff Koons  will ,also be there in accessories.  The artist even played with the famous monogram letter of Louis Vuitton by signing the works as « J.K. ».  All ready to become collectors items and shown from April 28. More here:
We have great cold cuts here , all over the country, and Paris is central;  you can have a wonderful saussages too like from black pigs of Bigorre done by  Pierre Matayron,;just the meat, pepper, and dry as wanted for 12€ Boucherie Terroirs d’Avenir : 6, rue du Nil, 2eme. Tél. +33 (0) 1 85 09 84 48.  More info here, the real thing of my belle France:

Another is known for his wonderful hams, with a great taste at 9,45€; this is at Lastre Sans Apostrophe : 188, rue de Grenelle, 7eme. Tél. +33 (0) 1 40 60 70 webpage but worth a detour You will find it near the école militaire.

And get on with steakhouses rare but some good ones here too. One of them is the Greffeuille ,120 rue Saint Denis, metro Etienne Marcel line 4 as closest. If you like the sausages such as the Andouillette ,lamb from the Aveyron, serving the great chefs of France with quality meats and good tasting on site in a butcher shop.  Here is their store in Paris,

Another one is Clover Grill,  6 rue Bailleul, nearest metro line 1   Louvre – Rivoli. The steak here is king with the famous Entrecôte beef black from the Baltic  , aged in oak with the aromas of whisky, or try the undercut of beef from Kansas,USA, tender to please the most of the  globetrotters or the amateurs of the ancient sauces. More here:

Finally , see the Café des Abattoirs,  10 rue Gomboust , metro pyramides lines 7 or 14 as closest. The last one of the Rostang family, setup in a crowded resto with tables very close to each others, again the entrecôte, come to be the king. The best beef coming from the Breton Côtes-d’Armor, dept 22 of Nantes or Armoriques races of 400 grams of beef at least. More info here:

The next exposition at the musée Ludique that is at 34 quai d’Austerlitz in the 13eme of Paris will be dedicated to the super heroes of DC Comics. The expo will be until September 10 2017 and it’s entitled L’art de DC -L’aube des super héros. You will find about 250 originals models created by Bob Kane, Frank Miller or Alex Ross. More than 300 works recherché for the cinema and costumes and accessories from films. You will see the original costume for Superman worned by Christopher Reeves and the series Wonder Woman done by Lynda Carter, Batman from 1989 of the Joker, and accessories from the batman vault. the visitors to the exposition will recreate the history of their super heros from the 1930’s to our days. More info here:

The high gastronomy is not just for the restaurants but, also ,in hotels of Paris and France. The hotels deluxe with their codes sought of by Auguste Escoffier, the genius that opened in the end of the 19C the Ritz on the place Vendome and Savoy of London.  Now we have Christian Le Squer to continue the legacy. At the  Au Cinq, the restaurant in the Four Seasons Hôtel George V, he show you the traditions of the trade. M.  Le Squer has reinvented the gratinée à l’oignon.  Instead of serving it liquefy in a deep plate he presented it solid on a pure white dish with small caramels onions around it. It is served with a Madeira 1986 Verdelho d’Oliveiras.  You can indulged at the Le Cinq. Four Seasons Hotel George V: 31, avenue George-V, 8eme. Tél. +33 (0) 1 49 52 70 10. Of course be prepare to pay dearly but the very top of French cuisine.  More here:

And on the continuing elimination of the auto from Paris, the mayor Hidalgo keeps bringing more bicycle lanes to Paris. This time is the section from Nation to République . This is the future lane that will be created along boulevard Voltaire. The work will be for 3 kms and will have the day before 2020. IN the plan there is work to do for 700 kms of bicycle lanes in all Paris. Several publication such as Le Parisien. and see the photo from Le Parisien newspaper showing losing as much as 90 hours in traffic jams in the Paris area;which couple with the pedestrian ideas cutting off traffic into Paris on the voie Georges Pompidou is just creating more traffic havocs.


You have the exposition of “De Zurbaran à Rothko – Collection Alicia Koplowitz – Grupo Omega Capital“; Until July 10 2017. the collection from the Spanish business women Alicia Koplowitz to be seen in the musée Jacquemart-André.  There is nice works of arts here such as the “the Virgins” of  Zurbarán , and from Luis de Morales,a portrait of the 16C of Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, but, also, of  Goya, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec. You can see as well masters such as De Kooning, Rothko, Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois, and Miquel Barceló.  A very nice presentation in a wonderful place. More here:

Great libraries in Paris, some of them down right historical. However, many not as well known and just as historical and nice. One of my favorites is the La librairie du cinéma du Panthéon ,15 rue Victor-Cousin, metro line 10 or RER A Luxembourg.  Taken the works from the library Ciné Reflet and under the patronage of the Thé des Ecrivans, you come to a cine club library open since 2013. You have all novels, travel , youth books here. An oasis of calm and knowledge in Paris.  More info in French here:

And last, pay tribute to a great one of Paris and the world, Colette. Actresse, dancer, mimic, romancier, newspaperwomen (in 1914-18 WWI) , creator of a cosmetic line, the leading figure of women avant garde with a strong connection to nature. The first women president of the Académie Goncourt.  Today, her maternal home reborn with her youthful days; open to the public since 2016 at the  rue Colette (before  rue de l’Hospice). It is done loyal to the writing of the actor with bourgeois decoration and the status of a rich family whose members were musicians or music lovers;  Colette played the piano, and mom went to the Opéra. The house or La Maison de Colette, 10, rue Colette, Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye ; guided visits of the house and gardens  from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10h-19h and Fridays to Sundays from 10h-17h ; from November 1st to March 30th. Reservation is recommended at tel +33 (0) 3 86 45 66 20. admission is 9€ adults open every day from 10h to 18h . IN the castle of the town ; small Library. you can go by car in about 1h30 from Paris . By train from gare de Bercy, to Joigny or Auxerre. More info on the house here:   and on the museum  Inside castle here:

Enjoy France, is as a whole a movable feast ::) Cheers!

April 15, 2017

Some news from France CLI

So we hit the low point as the weather has turn cloudy and cool breezy here just on the Easter weekend, which in France is given as Easter Monday off, therefore a backward 3 day weekend.

We had some errands to do in order to be free Sunday for the football/soccer matches and see what we do on Monday; always a last minute family type except the big vacations in the Summer and Christmas times. The summer vacation is taken already, will be again Spain, of course!

We are already thinking Christmas will be somewhere in France. Every year we change over most of the time ::)

Things happening in my belle France, are:

There is a new or fairly new thing to do in Paris, it is the Timescope (see photo from the Les Echos business journal ) and it lets you see in 3D Paris of yesteryear actually way back.. It is already 389 years since April of 1628 ,and if you go to the now pedestrian street of voie Georges Pompidou and get yourself behind the telescope or Timescope, you will be able to see Paris as it were on that date!!! The Timescope  telescope machine is by the bridge or pont d’Arcole. It is on that date that the city hall or Hôtel de Ville was built, and the place de Gréve takes form with its colorful houses , the trading harbor on the banks of the Seine river and its boats with the people living underneath the bridges. The first of these timescopes was installed at the boulevard Richard Lenoir in front of the place de la Bastille.  Here for 2€ with an online ordered ticket, you can see the Bastille in 1416, and on the eve of the French revolution in 1789. In the parc Rives de Seine, there is reconstruction work in detail of these events. There is even a film in 3D by just turning the eyeglasses on the machine around you in 360°. More info and ordering directions here, which you can turn to English at bottom right:

The parc Rives de Seine, in French here:

Things are coming along on the Publicis Drugstore; it has plan to be open by May 15 at 133 avenue des Champs-Elysées with a wonderful cafeteria style café of 2000 sq meters space open 7/7 and until 02H or 2am. Keep an eye for this opening here, a must when visiting the area;

A wonderful event in a historic romantic area of Paris. Everything moves around Pigalle, rue Lepic, Sacré Coeur, Moulin Rouge etc, this area inspired many movie producers:directors from the beginnings of the 7th art. The museum or Musée de Montmartre will have an exposition with the Décor de Cinéma ; showing of this period in black and white and color as well.  The collection of the Cinémathéque Française, Fondation Jerome Seydoux-Pathé, muse Gaumont, Archives Pathé-Gaumont, Societé Femis, société d’histoire et archeology de le vieux Montmartre and Moulin Rouge will be showing until January 14 2018! ;more here:

Do you know cher visitors that in the Périphérique de Paris or beltway there are 99 cameras capturing on 750 devices with as much as 80 frames at the same time to see what you all do on the 35 kms of the beltway: yes big brother is watching you . Of course, some locals do not even know of this, too bad, I do ,I am on the road and do keep tracks of these devices. Mind you these are not speed radars but rather surveillance cameras ::) You can read more in French here:

And now on one of my favorite subjects but lazy to write about it ,with so much to write on in the belle France of course. Let’s talk about wines!!!

Do you know we have a sleeping giant in China coming along. It is ,already, the second biggest country in vineyard area just behind Spain.  However, advancing rapidly, last year it grew its area by 17% according to from where I am getting these notes the Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV).

847 000 hectares of vineyards just 100K behind Spain! with France and Italy coming in as third and fourth respectively (the world has 7,5 million hectares of vines) . China is the fourth biggest importer of wine in the world with two times less volume than Germany, the No 1 and the same volume of 2B€; its purchases have increase 15% and 22% if we count bottles, a symbol of the quality of wines imported.  As of 2016, the biggest consumers of wine were the United States, 13%; France 11%, Italy 9%; Germany 8%, and China 7%.  As far as wine produce, the world total is at 267 million hectoliters in 2016 with Italy in first place, followed by France, and Spain.

These last 3 countries accounts between them anyway from 55-57% of the world commercialization whether we speak of volumes or values. France has 28,5% of the value exchange and in first place far ahead of Italy with 19,3%. France has increase its importations of 3,6% in volume and 9% in value due to several mediocre harvests and a deficit on low level wines that she had to import from Spain.

In other parts of our world, the United States had a strong increase in production while the rest of the American continent especially Argentina, Chile, and Brazil suffered from the climatic effect of El Niño. South Africa had a strong dry season that, also, penalized the production. However, Australia and New Zealand increase their production by 9,5% and 34% respectively. These last two has created a niche in European sales.

More of the story in French from the business journal Les Echos here:

And if passing by Bordeaux , do not missed the wonderful Italian connection of ” Il Meneghino“, a place in the Milanese scene now here since May 2016. located at 121 123 Cours Victor Hugo down on the rue Sainte Catherine of much pedestrian shopping and near the bridge or pont de pierre by the Garonne river. More info and menu here:

Ah and almost forgot, the La Cité du Vin at Bordeaux, it’s first exposition until June 21 2017; Bistrot! de Baudelaire à Picasso. It will show about a hundred works of the masters with paintings, photograph, designs, film ,and literature. It will shed light on the essential role of the cafés and bistros to the creation of society at the end of the 18C to our days. It will leave us sometimes our France to come into Europe and the United States mixing traditional mediums of photography and films celebrating the wonderful links of films and cafés to the world of arts. More info here:

Get wet in the basin de la Villette! The 3rd edition of the course  Open Swim Stars Paris will be held June 17 and 18 on the water basins of the Villette, and Pantin. You can sign up from today!There will be five courses between the two days going from 1 to 5 km. The compétition is open to all license or not swimmers as long as space available. 500 for the 5 kms and 1000 for the other swims. The swimmers who are not license will need to provide a medical certificate of at less than one month old; the water temperature will be between  18C and 22C (about 62 to 72 F). this course is inspire by the mythical La Traversée de Paris  that was organized between 1906 and 1940 on the Seine river. More info here in their facebook page:

And as we are in Easter, where to find your eggs in Paris or elsewhere as m favorites, when my boys entered France already French, they enjoyed these events; such as the wonderful Seine-et-Marne dept 77 castle of  Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte ; activities until April 17 from 10h to 17h More info here:

And from 10h , April 16, the Jardin d’Acclimatation , bois de Boulogne just off the Place Maillot you can still take the little train and admission combine. More here

And of course to buy that Easter chocolate, well so many places but if have to pick a couple it will be :

Hugo & Victor  40, boulevard Raspail (7eme), tél. +33 (0) 1 44 39 97 73 ; 7, rue Gomboust (1eme), tél. +33 (0) 1 42 96 10 20. Buy the figurines or Personnages T’choupi  from 5€. More here:

Christophe Michalak, 8, rue du Vieux-Colombier (6eme), tél. +33 (0) 1 45 49 44 90 ; 16, rue de la Verrerie (4eme), tél. +33 (0) 1 40 27 90 13 ; 60, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière (10eme),  tél. +33 (0) 1 42 46 10 45. try the boucliers garnis; like saucer shape (milk chocoalte, bronce color ; black chocolate, color red ;dulcey chocolate, color blue) price 25€. More here:

Happy Easter y’all !!!!! Cheers!


April 11, 2017

Some news from Spain XLI

This is the time to get back to Spain, so sunny and beautiful, I will be there end of the month and then again in August at least this year!!! Here in my current neck of the woods is sunny too but cool and temps in the 14C or about 60F a bit warmer during the afternoon.

So let me give some ideas to really enjoy Spain off the beaten path even, you will love it in Spain.

What are the loveliest towns,in my opinion, to see in Asturias! here are some:

You go to the Cudillero to breath the sea and the fish on each corner. Here you will see the tradition of Curadillo  , created by fisherman in years past. Dehydrated fish in the door of their homes. You have wonderful views from the lighthouse and the high point in the hills; ah and do not forget the palace or Palacio Selgas or the Indian houses. Some photos in French here:

and tourism contact for the palace  here:  and the tourist office:

Next, you come to Lastres, one of the most beautiful towns of Spain designation. Very nice streets known for the site of the story Doctor Mateo recorded here. More on the town:

Continue on towards Ribadesella , the world capital of umbrellas with a big event on it every August and see the pre historic cave or Cueva de Tito Bustillo. More here:

The most westerly frontier of the principality of Asturias is at Castropol. With its many castles and shield houses, with great views over the valley on the hill that ends at the river Eo creating the natural frontier between Asturias and Galicia. More here:

Next ,come over to Puerto de Vega, a very romantic town and an inspiration for many artists including the writer Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, passed his last days in the town; you must go around his visited bars and restaurants to find the best fish and seafood.  More here:

And we reach Luarca, known as the white villa at the green coast, famous for its indian houses like the Mesa de Mareantes, where decision to fish are were made. You come to know historic personages such as Severo Ochoa, Nobel prize in medicine. More here:

And why not Llanes with its great bean and clams, strong cheese (similar to Roquefort), and  red sea bream fish. Right on the mountains of the cordillera del Cuera and the Picos de España. Great beaches too and nice old town with palaces and monumental houses. Here there are great festivities for the La Magdalena, San Roque,and La Guia. More here:

We came to Tapia de Casariego, a treasure two Australian brothers discovered in 1960. The surf is big here, and on this Holy Week there is a big tournament ,and of course great fish dishes. More here:

And we end up at Tazones on the river ria de Villaviciosa with a whale tradition for being the first Spanish port where the emperor Charles V landed coming from Flanders. Many colorful houses and fresh fish dishes to go nuts !! more here:

And you come closer to the coast of Alicante and see the beautiful Guadalest and the Valley of Nisperos(loquat). It runs by the river Algar the main affluent of the Guadalest where you see the biggest production of loquat. This tree comes from the family of Rosaceans with green leaves or Eriobotrya Japonica revealing its oriental origins. There in the Orient it was used as an ornamental plant until the end of the 18C when Jesuits missionaries discovered the eating qualities of the plant of which fruit ripens quickest.  They took some to the Maurice island and then France just before the French revolution for later reach the shores of Levante by a Captain Roig, bringing it from Sagunto and reaching by the early 19C the province of Alicante near the Callosa d’En Sarria. Here it is produce about 75% of the Spanish production or nearly 30K tons. The best time is during Spring and the harvest can be extended to June. The writer Gabriel Miro wrote about it from the name of Sigûenza  in his work Años y Leguas published in 1928. There is a museum in Polop Casa Museo Gabriel Miro and free admission. Open April 17: More here:

And let’s get back to the cities and visit wonderful province of Burgos.  The town of Villadiego  has a great concentration of Churches , with its 1500 inhabitants and only 39 km from Burgos, prove the great past of this town founded by the Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, Sire of  Amaya,in the 9C.  There were five building done and now only stay standing the Church or iglesia of San Lorenzo, Iglesia of  Santa María , and the ermite of the  Santo Cristo. The great city can count on a very nice  monumental enclosure of buildings such as the  Plaza Mayor ;where today the most important events are held still.  Here you will find the city hall or  Ayuntamiento, which its main façade has four arches of stone to hold a support structure. The Torre del Reloj  ,and the statue of  Padre Flórez , a historian from the 18C.  Also, see the arch or Arco de la Cárcel (15C) very nice indeed. It was originally served as the entrance to the city ,and now the only remaining one, you can still see the dungeon (today the museum of pictorals or Museo Pictórico). Other interesting monuments are the palace or  Palacio de los Velasco (16C), that of the  Condestables de Castilla (16C), the bridge or  puente medieval over the river Brullés, and the monastery or Monasterio de San Miguel de los Ángeles.  Next to the beforementioned  Arco de la Cárcel,is where the Jewish quarters were, and the Church with interior from the 15C is where the old synagogue used to be. It has a superheroe in the captain or  Capitán Trueno,  a good interaction with the little ones;and at Villadiego lived Ángel Pardo (1924-1995),the historian storyteller that drawed this superheroe the most. More in Spanish on the author of Capitan Trueno here:

More on tourism interest as above here in Spanish:

You will come into the wonderful Hispanic Society of America, early this year they send to the Museum of el Prado one of its jewels, the portrait of the duchess or Duquesa de Alba dressed in black, painted by Goya in 1797. It has been recently renovated to its founding splendor and the star of the exhibition of treasures of the Hispanic Society of America. Visions of he Hispanic world ceded by the museum-library that created Archer Milton to show a chronological trip on thematic works of art that covers from antiquaty to the medieval Spain passing by the Golden century and the end of the old regime to the modern Spain of today. It includes over 200 works from multiples forms of arts; archeological pieces, ceramics, glass, sculpture, paintings, furniture, knittings, manuscripts, cartographies are all included in the exhibition, where you can see work never before shown to the public such as the map or Mapa de Tequaltiche.

Works of arts including the paintings of Velázquez -Portrait of a Girl , Camillo Astalli  and Gaspar de Guzmán, Conde-Duque de Olivares-, The Piety from El Greco; The prodigy child from  Murillo, or Santa Emerenciana, of Zurbarán. Further, the paintings from the modernism and post impressionism such as those of  Sorolla with José Echegaray, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Pío Baroja or Miguel de Unamuno.  Arriving at the golden century or Siglo de Oro  you will see portraits from those before mentioned as well as utencils of the times, letters, jewerly, and relics; maps also, showing work of America and its relation to Spain amongst important Mexican work in polychrome wood showing St James or Santiago in Santiago Matamoros  in a horse knocking down an infidel . We reach modern Spain with portraits from masters such as Santiago Rusiñol, Joaquín Sorolla, Ramón Casas, Zuloaga, Gutiérrez Solana, Miguel Viladrich or Nonell ,not well liked and showing here his work the portrait of La Roser. Showing until SEptember 10 2017 at the Museo del Prado. More on the Hispanic Society of America here:

And the same at the Museum of Prado site here:

The area between  Valladolid and Segovia is very rich in tradition and a heaven for things to see, some favorite ones over my lifetime and never tired of them.

You can come to the town of  Tierra de Pinares, rich in the cultivation fo cereals and wine. Also, the heritage of the town palace of  Cuéllar, for the dukes of  Alburquerque and its ramparts walls. You will find lots of mudejar style buildings here too from religious to nobles to civils such as the Church or iglesia de San Juan Bautista (roman façade from the 12C and the mudejar from the 13C),at the town of  Fresno el Viejo; see the churches of  San Pedro (13C) ,  Santiago apóstol (14C), at the town of Alcazarén; the facades of the city hall and the Church or  iglesia de San Juan (13C) , Church of Santa María (14C) at the town of Mojados. Moving on to the cradle of mudejar in the town of Olmedo with the remnants of the wall ramparts from the 11C and gate arches of Villa and San Miguel; the palaces or palacios of  Caballero del Olmedo and its churches as well as a thematic park dedicated to the architectonic style of Castilla y León , at street Arco de San Francisco, 1.  You will see scale model of the 21 structures of mudejar style in the community or region of Castilla y Léon such as the Castles  or Castillo de Coca (Coca) and Castillo de La Mota (Medina del Campo). More in Spanish here:

You want to go into wines, and the great whites of Rueda, here are some suggestions: You know since 1980 the DO of Rueda was created and in 2014 the route of wineries was created.  You have about 14 bodegas with great tradition and the opportunity to walk in the vineyards and the barrels cellars is unique. In Rueda itself, you will find the Finca Montepedroso (Camino de la Morejona, s/n), located on a hill of about 750 meters high; the visits are done with tastings ;more here:  Another one is the  Diez Siglos de Verdejo (Ctra. de Valladolid, km 24,5) since 2009 in the outskirts of the town of  Serrada  offering tastings as well ,more info here

Another good one is that of  Javier Sanz Viticultor (San Judas, 2)  a family winery at the town of La Seca (the municipality with the most vineyards of DO Rueda), care after four generations, more here:  At the sunny home from the 18C in this same town houses the winery Campo Eliseo (Nueva, 12), with great underground caves with oval barrels and tanks, more here   And again another one is that of one underground with more than 300 years of history in the town of  Fresno el Viejo (Camino del Atajo, s/n).  It houses a plastiline model collection showing the old processes of making wine ,and you can get a tour by contacting the tourist office at Tel +34 616 240 371.  In the same complex you will see an old pigeon tower house now an interpretation site and nature world classroom.

You can combine the above with tasting of the local cheeses, such as paying a visit to the cheese maker at  Quesería Campoveja (Ctra. Matapozuelos, 62), in the town of Serrada, where you can see the process of making cheese from raw sheep milk ;more info here:  You can taste sweets pastries at the Obrador Artesano La Giralda de Castilla (Ramón y Cajal, 21) in the town of Matapozuelos, with an ample choice of traditional sweets, also tastings etc Another local delicacy are the mantecados al Verdejo de Rueda (crumbly almond sweets); more info here:

We come back to Madrid and take a look at one of the most historical and tradition restaurants that I have tasted on a business trip; this of course is Lhardy with 178 years of history. You can start to see the tipbits of Madrid here other than its wonderful croquettes, and gourmet store.  The restaurant was founded by a Frenchmen Emilio Huguenin opening at the location in Carrera de San Jeronimo. Since then, its armory of glass and mahagony wood give a glimpse of what to expect here. This restaurant was the first in many things such as separate tables, home delivery, and the menu in French . It’s six rooms smell of wood with incredible clients such as the marques of Salamanca, Queen Isabel II, Primo de Rivera, and Niceto Alcalà Zamora; here was named the President of the II Republic. The kings Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII, bullfighters such as Manolete, the spy Mata Hari, and the literary legends such as Federico García Lorca, Benito Pérez Galdós, Ramón Gómez de la Serna, Ortega y Gasset, Jacinto Benavente ,and Azorín, amongst many more. Lhardy was born when in Madrid you had gas lighting and the Plaza Mayor you have corridas of bulls.

Plaza Mayor ; the 400 anniversary was in 2016 and do you know the floor you step into used to be a lake of Luján  that king  Felipe II ordered dried to give air to the town that later became the Capital of the kingdom of Spain. Four centuries later this dry land now the Plaza Mayor where king Felipe III in its equestrian statue in the middle of the square done in 1617 that finished the work that his father had dream. Its walls were reduced to ashes three times ,in 1631, 1672  and 1790 and it support frame with 114 arches had lived events of all types ,from the beatification of Saint Isidro in 1619 to the cruelty of the Spanish  Inquisition. The same Prado museum has an scene done by Francisco Rizi showing an act of Faith in 1680, where five autos were done of the holy siege given also 162 penitents from which more than 30 burned at the stake; the townpeople saw the execution of 359 prisioners by hanging or gallows the tally from the 17C to 1809. You can come to my favorite hangout here with the family on the anecdote of the intrepid bandit Luis Candelas on the Arco de Cuchilleros now a restaurant by the same name.  At the Puerta Cerrada, where Madrid claims its origins with a Cross and a mural where you can read  “Fui sobre agua edificada, mis muros de fuego son”, or I was built over water my walls of fire are. A legend showing the abundance of streams and water holes that the Arabs found in the city , and the marks on the walls with arrows built on flint. This is my Madrid!

And to close this post, why not remind you of Cervantes in another town.

Last year 2016 was the 400 anniversary of the death of Cervantes or Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra; it was April 22 1616, when the world said goodbye to the genie of the Spanish world after his most wonderful work for eternity  the ‘El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de La Mancha’, by some the most important work of language in the world and we go to Esquivias.

Casa Museo de Cervantes, this a a house of  artists from the 16C where Cervantes and his wife Catalina de Palacios lived during part of their married lives. The owner of the house was Alfonso Quijada. He tried to convince Cervantes to name the principal character in the story as Alfonso  Quijano ,and maybe why Quijote. You will be able to see a olive oil producing house with a windmill crushing the olives and all!  At the  Convento de los Capuchinos,a monastery where the humidity draws on the walls dating from the 18C you will see one of the most intriguing collection of mommies in Spain, and in its crypt  it keeps the incorrupt bodies in perfect state of preservation of five religious persons from between  1732 and 1735.

More on Cervantes here:

Convent of the Capucins here:

There you go enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun. Enjoy your week, Cheers.



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April 8, 2017

Some news from France, CL

So still things to tell you about Noirmoutier and even more in Brittany, but need to tell you and update on things happening in my belle France. Today we had the best day so far with temps that went up to 25C or 77F in my part of the world ,and I was by dept 29 Finistére in Brittany region.

OF course , the roads are beginning to be pack and accidents too, one big on the N165 towards Quimper, the car was just squeeze in like an accordion poor folks inside do not think they made it. Then ,driving another big truck just did a zig zag evasion maneuver to avoid two idiots standing in the middle of a expressway!!! I went right along nicely thank you.

What we have is first from the world of horses, wonderful shows we have.

First, my beloved Versailles, where in the stables built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart for the Royal Academy in 1830 Bàrtabas has done wonders; this is the Grand Ecuries.  From here it has spread tremendously to Chantilly and Saumur. Anécdote, the French proclaim the birth of their equestrian prowess on 1593 when the publication of “Cavalarice François” by Salomon de La Broue. The National school of horseriding has a library with 21600 documents of which 17400 are numerise or microfiche.

What’s the agenda!

At Saumur, “Le Printemps des écuyers” by the Cadre Noir de Saumur and their camargue horses April 21-23.  Also, on the Grand Manége, shows on May 26-28, July 28-29, and September 16-17. More here:

At Versailles, “La Voie de l’écuyer” Saturdays at 18H, Sundays at 15h, Wednesday April 12 and Monday April 17 at 15h; Also, the Matinales each Sunday at 10h and 12h; and the Jumping International from May 5-7 2017. More info here:

At Chantilly, “Métamorphoses” on Saturdays,Sundays, and Thursdays until early November 2017. More here:

Not to forget the wonderful  museum of the horse or Musée du Cheval open 10h to 18H. More info here:

At the castle of Monte Cristo, open in 1847 by 600 guests in what was the home of Dumas for four years, exposed here the cartoons or BD of Patrick de Jacquelot a collection to deliver a message tot he father of the 3 Musketeers and the Cound of Monte Cristo, continues without him…More on the cartoons here:

Exhibition until June 10th from Tuesdays to Fridays from 10h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h; price 5-7€, for info contact +33 (0) 1 39 16 49 49 and here:

We continue with the “Triumph of the waters:La Fête at Saint-Cloud”  from 1775-1780 by Jean Honoré Fragonard. In the basin fountain a large water jet of 30 meters ( about 100 feet) by simple gravity shoots water in abundance always the pride of the Monsieur , brother of the King to the grand displeasure of King Louis XIV as it was lacking at Versailles. The great show at the Orleans park overlooking the Seine river  to the great spring in the Grand Cascade built by Le Pautre in 1660. Domaine de Saint Cloud, 92210, open daily from sunrise to sunset. More here:

The spirit of the herbaria: the treasure of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1708). This is the botanist physician had bequesthed to King Louis XIV his Herbarium a wonderful book with hundreds of new plants gleaned during his travels even to the Levant. The former garden of the King to therapeutic vocation became in 1793, the National Museum of Natural History. The tree planted by Buffon in 1785 was the Lebanon Cedar brought from the East to England by Bernard de Jussieu in 1734, the Robinia planted by his son around 1630 and the Sephora from China by missionaries in the 19C. Further, the School of Botanical Garden  and the Alpine garden with 2000 species of altitude, the tropical greenhouse, the laberinth, the beautiful central axis and the combed lawns, the menagerie or petting zoo…All in the Jardin des Plantes more here:

The Herbarium is here in French:

See the wonderful  “Bed of Daisies” (1893) by Gustave Caillebotte. the painter creates his first paintings in the gardens of the Yerres, the property of his father a wealthy Parisian purchased in 1860. 11 hectares or about 27 acres on English garden full of winding alleys, vegetable garden, enclosed by walls, a Casino, resort to the house of Palladian colonnades, and the river Yerres flowing at the side.  Walk in time of Caillebotte in a garden of delightful pictorial evocation. You can get here by RER D from Gare de Lyon in Paris,direction Melun, stop at Yerres walk 10 minutes or take Bus F; more here:

The “Water Lilies” (1916-1919) by  Claude Monet. In 1893, he finished his flower garden and acquired the path of Roy that borders his property of the Clos Normand, where he installed a small pond while curves of bamboo, and iris spaned by a Japanese bridge shaded in wisteria. At the heart the foliage of the King, with floating red, pink, yellow, water lilies. You have a water landscape, game materials, color and glare light, the water at the Giverny garden is lived through the eyes of the artist as a series of fleeting impressions. More at Fondation Claude Monet,

The Castle and the Park of Méréville” (built c. 1790),done by  Hubert Robert Bellanger to the Marquis of Laborde a wealthy sponsor and big fan. The former feudal moat, the building overlooks a valley where the rivers winds down along amazing mills, Chinese bridge, and temple of piety, recall the son of the Marquis lost at sea with La Perouse. Created over the suspended tracks of Bellanger, bridges of stone and caves to sensational waters and on the hill a Trajan column watching over the park. Ultimate fantasy of a world dazzle by the death of the Marquis de Laborde guillotined in 1794; Méréville is an extraordinary dream. See the tourist office of Etampes for guided visits to the Méréville park.  More in French here:

So see, plenty to enjoy my belle France; indeed it’s a movable feast as a whole! Enjoy your weekend; Cheers!

April 3, 2017

Some news from France CXLIX

I am at it again folks, back from wonderful trip to the Vendée (more later on ) and tomorrow to Paris, what else is better in life ! Here the sun has come back and temps are very nice in the 18C or 64F during the day.

Some of the things going on in my belle France are:

According to an article in the newspaper Le Parisien the first automatic bars on the trains of Paris will see the light officially at gare Montparnasse in Paris (where I will be arriving tomorrow) and voilà it is said will be the first day of them tomorrow Tuesday April 4 2017. I will see ! As in the metro, the passengers will have to show proof on the digital machines before allow to pass, and they will open automatically if the ticket is good. After Montparnasse ,they will be up at 12 other stations such as Marseille, Rennes, Nantes, Aix-TGV, Lyon-Perrache, Lyon Part-Dieu, Gare de Lyon, Gard du Nord and Gare de l’Est in Paris ,and onwards as well as Bordeaux, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours) from now to 2018. This is an effort to stop fraud and have everyone do pay their ticket to the trains.

 And it’s official, the quais and voies or wharfs and roads along the Seine river in Paris will be pedestrian. Only allow will be cyclists, joggers, and walkers so the car is out. The opening will be today at 14h30 on the ramp of the square Garcia-Lorca facing the Hôtel de Ville. This in addition to the pedestrian areas of the rive Gauche and rive Droite that now extends over 7 kms  (bit over 4 miles) on to the bassin de l’Arsenal  to Bastille ,and until the Champs-de-Mars at the foot of the Tour Eiffel; this is a space of 10 hectares (almost 25 acres) taken away from the car. It will be dotted with restaurants and activities for all, see the photo.

One for the car the exchange of the autoroute A4  at Bailly-Romainvilliers  will be ready for the opening of the Villages Nature, expected for end of July.  First, the traffic will be open to the road taking résidents to Villages Nature at Disneyland Paris, as well as the road taking the automobilist coming from Paris towards Villages Nature.  There has been some delays due to conflict between the regional gov and the State etc because they have ask for a toll booth between the A4 and the N36 to get around the toll at Coutevroult , and the city center/downtown of Bailly-Romainvilliers.  For this reason, they are still working on the traffic circle that will take you from the Villages Nature, and the access road to the camping ranch of Davy-Crockett.

More happing for some local news but I think will impact the visitors as there is talk of a nice hotel been built there. The Ile de France region has finally agree to the re construction of the high school or lycée Jules-Ferry  of  Versailles on the plains of Satory (not my kids school but off the Sceaux street leaving from the palace.  This will allow a space of 20K M2 (about 215K sq ft)  an open area in the district of Saint-Louis.  The new school will be on the area of the old caserne Fesch or headquarters Fesch at the entry to the plain of Satory. This can be done by 2023. On the empty space left from the school at Saint-Louis, the space will be divided in two parts of the rue rue du Maréchal-Joffre,that will be put up for sales and could host an apartment complex of good standing and a luxury hotel.  More again from the Le Parisien newspaper here:

And now we are going to control the restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, and slaughterhouses and businesses in the meat supermarket, market and farm direct sales with notes! It will be posted on the government site Alim Confiance or food trust site here :

This type of initiative is already on in 8 European countries such as UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark , Finland, Lithuania, and Norway. Awaiting to do it are Germany and Sweden.  They have found improvement on the health issues and sanitary conditions; for example in ten years in Denmark the improvements have been around the 20% on hygiene.  Of course, this will weed out the unscrupulous business owners trying to squeeze an euro from the public and the tourist visitor. It will , also, add to the costs of things I am sure.

A bit from my recently visited area I like:

At Saint-Jean de Monts on April 14 you can see art from Johannes Vermeer, and the Dutch painting school. This will be on at the Médiathéque Espace Culturel at 19H for free. this is the town library folks info at email: or tel +33 (0) 2 51 58 91 12

You can have Paris style cabaret shows at the La Belle Entrée, Rue de la Paix, St André Goule d’Oie. It’s the biggest of its kind in all of Pays de la Loire region. They offered lunch and dinner spectacles, for more check their site here:

The famous Harlem Globetrotters basketball show will pass by this area on April 23rd, at the Salle Michel Vrignaud, Challans, more info here:

Kyle Eastwood, (yes you know it the son of Cliff) is a great jazz player and will be performing at the salle de L’Echiquier, at Pouzauges on april 8 at 20h30. He compose the music of many of his Dad’s films such as Mystic River, Gran Torino ,Invictus; and came out with his first solo record in ” From There to There” in 1998. He will be there with his vocal Joni Mitchel and his English quintet, and one Cuban drummer.  Nice to see indeed; more info here:

For a roller coaster event and BMX, disco roller, and crazy cart come to Notre Dame de Monts at the Esplanade and avenue de la mer from 11h to 20h on April 22-23. “Tous en Roller” awaits you there: more info here:

And of course , these are just my favorite, there is a whole lot more in my belle France!

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