Archive for July, 2017

July 31, 2017

Some news from Spain XLVIII

ok so back into Spain, this is the countdown 10 more days and I am in my Spain. Now here in beautiful Morbihan, there is sun and hot weather finally feels hotter but only 21C or about 69F. Down in Madrid it is gorgeous sunny and 89F!!!

Ok so now let me tell you a bit of the latest from the South….that is Spain here.

There is a lot history between the two countries not always nice, but this one it is. Between Irùn Spain and Hendaye France there is a river Bidasoa and in the middle there is an island Isla de los Faisanes in Spanish or L’île des Faisans in French (eng. Pheasants).  It only has 5000 square meters or 53 800 square feet of which 6 months each belongs to Spain and France! It is guarded each time by the commandant marine of San Sebastian (Donostia) and Bayonne.  The island is 215 meters long by 38 meters wide in an oval form filled with black poplar trees , low grass and stone megalith that reminds us of a moment in history when on November 7 1659 the Treaty of the Pyrénées was signed here putting an end to the 30 years war.  In one of the clauses of this treaty, the infant Maria Teresa of Austria daughter of king Felipe IV of Spain was to married king Louis XIV of France!

In the years to come many marriages and prisioners of both countries were exchange here mutually; some of which were there in 1659 were D’Artagnan captain of the musketeers, and the painter Diego Velazquez . The deal was that was a cessation to France that before they belong to Spain. However, 200 years later the Treaty of Bayonne of 1856 did finally divided the island by the two countries, when the erosion in the river caused the island to shrink to about 80 meters long and 5 meters wide. The two countries combined for the necessary work to make it splendid again to the size we see today. The gardening and cleaning of it is share as well between the city mayor’s office of Irùn and Hendaye. The only things does not exist in the island is pheasants as Victor Hugo wrote in 1843! More info in English here: http://www.bidasoaturismo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147&Itemid=290&lang=en&ch=1

Continuing with the French Spanish connection, actress Jeanne Moreau is dead at 89 yrs old. Consider the grand dame of French cinema.  She was borne January 23rd 1928 of French father and English mother .She played under the best of France/Europe such as François Truffaut, Louis Malle or André Téchiné.  Orson Welles called her the best actress in the world!  and the first women part of the academy of fine arts in the history of France, pole bearer of the New wave and muse of directors such as  Elia Kazan and Luis Buñuel,of which she worked in  ‘Diario de una camarera’. In  2001 she was the first women member of the Academy of fine arts of Paris and the only actress presiding the Cannes film festival in two occasions. She played in movies such as  ‘Jules et Jim’ (1962) ,’La mariée était en noir’ (‘La novia vestía de negro’) (1967), of Truffaut, ‘La notte’ (‘La noche’) (1962), of Antonioni,or “Moderato Cantabile” (1960), of Peter Brook, that gave her the best female performer of Cannes. A great one passed away RIP.

The fields of lavander are gorgeous by Brihuega and Villaciosa de Tajuña . In summer , in the La Alcarria they are 10% of world production or about 1000 hectares, and the fields of these towns are full of them in July especially. 2000 kg of the plant each harvest ,and broken down into 250 hectáres for perfums, cosmetic, medicine, and restoration as well as about 750 hectares for decoration and perfums.  And you see the Festival of lavender of Brihuega again in July 2018: http://festivaldelalavanda.com/

More of the lavender in Spanish with guided tours here: http://www.disfrutadelaalcarria.com/ruta-de-la-lavanda/

And this is summer festival abounds in my Madrid, and I look forward to them.

We have three main feasts or festivals such as those of  San Cayetano, San Lorenzo , and the Virgen de la Paloma, all of them in the districts of  Lavapiés and La Latina.  The first one are those of San Cayetano,next August 3rd,  but these can begin from today July 31st.

My favorite and the one I always went with my mother first, and now with my family is the Virgen de la Paloma in the Plaza de la Paja to Plaza de las Vistillas. There are from August 11 -15 in honor of the Virgin of the Pigeon or Virgen de la Paloma. Activities for the whole family.

This year the Asociacion de Empresarios de la Hosteleria de la Paloma (assoc of merchants of the hostelry of the Paloma) will begin even from August 4 to August 15 in the Ruta de la Tapa Slowfood (tapa route of slow food). Participating restos will be  ‘La burbuja que ríe’, ‘Casa Mateos’, ‘Los Ángeles’, ‘NdelT’, ‘Viuda de Vacas’, ‘Concepto Bistró’, ‘Bar Coto’, ‘Casa Antonio’, ‘Bar La Sixta’, ‘Bar Marathon’, ‘Mesón La Paloma’, ‘Mutxomas que pintxos’, ‘Tapioca Chill’, ‘Bar Txirimiri’, ‘Zaida 26’, ‘La petit Boheme’, ‘La Cervecería Lorena’ and ‘El Bombín de Sabina’. Everyday from 18h to 00H (midnight), you can take photographs with a local costume Chulapo/a if do not have the costume on. It will be done in the bar El Atril (gay bar) , calle de la Paloma,9. Also, the August 11-12 until OOH midnight there will be the the cry of the Virgin , sang by Pepa de Chamberî. Monday August 14 in Las Vistillas the show of La Verbena de la Paloma organized by the castizo association De Madrid al Cielo (the best show). Everyday there will be different musicals such as Catenca de Macao at 23h August 12th, Plaza de la Paja, and Mikel Erentxu at 22h45 August 15 in the Plaza de las Vistillas.  August 15 the festival will end with the traditional lowering of the portrait of the Virgin of La Paloma that will be at 14h15 by the firemen of the city hall of Madrid.  In the morning a floral offering of the Virgin from 10h in the front of the  school of La Salle-La Paloma, and after a solemn Mass at 13h in the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Paloma. In the afternoon at 20h a procession. More of it in Spanish from Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/fiestas-agosto-Madrid

El Capricho, is one of the prettiest park in Madrid but also one of the least known! It is done in the style romantic with a beautiful botanical , sculpture and artistic details . This green lung of Madrid hides one of the secrets of Madrid a bunker from the Spanish Civil War  unique in Europe in perfect state of preservation. It’s origins go back to the 18C when the aristocrat Doña María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel, duchess of Osuna, decided to create a place for leisure and relaxation with nature. The park El Capricho is located in the Alameda de Osuna, just outside city limits, by Barajas. The bunker has  2 000 square meters built 15 meters below ground during the Spanish Civil War as well as the palace, dance room, and the ermite or chapel. The duchess of  Osuna is credited with many feasts, events and talks that shows the literary wisdom of the times as well as the promotion of the arts with many donations and shows presenting even the one and only Francisco de Goya–. In 1834, at the death of the Duchess of Osuna the park began to decline each passing year worse until in 1974 the city purchase the land and started renovating it. The work finished in 1999 and since then it is open to the public.  More here : https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-capricho

The wonderful Caixa Forum is exhibiting a great show coming from the British Museum that shows the beauty of the Helenic arts that the Beligian artists  Jan Fabre will be showing in the  Teatros del Canal.  Monte Olimpo, an spectacle of 24 hours where he will make the public relives what the Greek of yesteryear fell . The exposition entitled  Agón! La competición en la Antigua Grecia. The show opens with a beautiful statue of the goddess  Victoria Niké, and close out with fries fragment of the mausoleum or  Mausoleo de Halicarnaso,the giant tomb built by king  Mausolo de Caria in the year 350 BC. This monument was considered one of the 7 wonders of the old  world  and the first time the British Museum loans it out.  You see in this area room showing of sculptures from the funerary group such as a head of a lion, and two warriors, one Persian and the other Greek. Between the two rooms you will see many amphorae’s, vases, cones, and tablets that shows the daily life of the Greeks.  You will see the splendid corps of the statues with more than 2 meters high of a warrior and a discus thrower , this one a Roman version of 120-140 AC of a work credited to Naucides, known artists of bronze statues of the Olympic winners.  Lastly, do not forget the rooms dedicated to the wars loaded with military bronze with a Roman bust copy of Euripides, the drama writer from Athens that today we continue to show works such as Medea or the Las Troyanas,(Trojans). Show that even today we are not that different from those competitive and party Greeks of the past. Expo open until October 15 and admission is  4€. More here:  https://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/agon-competition-in-ancient-greece-caixaforum-Madrid

And to finish the post , some news on getting continents together. The company Hélity Copter Airlines will begin regular lines by helicopter. What was now a long tiring trip from Spain to Ceuta and other destinations in Africa ,now will be done in 10 minutes (trip Ceuta to Algeciras) to 25 minutes (trip from Malaga airport) . The flights will be done in a AW-139 chopper with 15 passenger and two crewmembers. The prices will be from 35€ to 150€ and the company ,also,offers sightseeing trips and private charters for business and individuals. More in Spanish  here:  https://helity.es/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 29, 2017

Presqu’île de Rhuys and the star Port du Crouesty!

Oh well another rainy day in the Morbihan, but no need to stay home with the place pack with tourists and the beaches restos loaded and of course traffic is well heavy black rating. We cut across the coastal roads and avoid the traffic so again we went out to one of our favorite places.

We like the peninsula because they have a laidback beach/ocean ambiance, nice natural settings, historical sometimes, and nice seafood restos/bars to just relax and see the world. This is the case for the Presqu’île de Rhuys and it’s star spot the Port du Crouesty.

I have written before and you can find those posts in search space. The tourist office for the area is http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/une-destination-5-communes

We went out on our fast motorway/expressway the N165 direction Nantes and got off the exit for Sarzeau following the signs always for it until past it you see Port du Crouesty. First thing you see is the nice Casino JOA of Arzon, the town of which the port is part of.  Great for sporting events on TV, nice drinks and relax ambiance without careful not to spend your mortgage…more info here: http://www.joa-casino.com/Casinos-Loisirs/CASINO-JOA-D-ARZON

Arzon is a small nice town with a quaint city center/downtown and Church that you can see the belltower from the harbor marina of Crouesty. ON the tourism webpage bit more on Arzon here: http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/la-presquile-de-rhuys/arzon

We passed this time by Sarzeau, a medium size town for our area with a quaint city center:downtown and some interesting market we stop by on our merry go around ways in our area. You are well worth the stop at Le Comptoir Breton for all kinds of locally made goodies from food items to souvenirs. Open every day you can stop by the store or order online. More on it here: http://www.lecomptoirbreton.fr/PBCPPlayer.asp?ID=1701037

And the tourist office take on the town here: http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/la-presquile-de-rhuys/sarzeau

The next town you should visit is Saint Gildas de Rhuys , this is a bit bigger town , and you have nice quaint local markets to buy goodies such as the Spar Supermarket.  Spar is a general grocery market very much in coastal areas which we have tried in several spots all over France; their local webpage is here:  http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/la-presquile-de-rhuys/arzon

We went around St Gildas one of the oldest town in the area, and it has full of nice beaches and a great abbey. More on it on the tourist office here: http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/la-presquile-de-rhuys/sarzeau

The best beach at St Gildas for the wild look at it and nice dunes is  plage du Goh Vélin beach , this a vast beachfront wild with nice rocks and the impressive Pointe du Grand Mont rocky overlook nice above it.  For the beach here is more in English: http://www.rhuys.com/st-gildas-de-rhuys/plage-du-goh-velin/tabid/4488/offreid/f458f379-0ecc-492c-8f55-5f14119573d8

For the rocky mount Grand Mont is a medium effort walkers route all bordering the beaches and also a bit inland into the marshes; more here in English. I put this for info; as we are not really into walking around ::) http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/a-faire/randonnee-pedestre/rando-du-grand-mont

See the photo map for the location of the Grand Mont ,and the beach of Gov Vélin.

Saint Gildas du Rhuys

Another better beach we like around this area is the Kerver beach or plage du Kerver.  This beach goes into the city limits of Arzon and Port du Crousty as well. It is very expansive white sand beach with plenty of water sports available and snacks beach hut across it. Simply a great family beach and safe waters too; highly recommended. More in English here: http://www.rhuys.com/st-gildas-de-rhuys/plage-du-kerver/tabid/4488/offreid/d1f6c448-d1e6-4f4e-8109-b35bc3b7b534

Another nice family beach we like for the amenities, friendly services and great white sandy beach is Fogeo beach or Plage du Fogeo; more here: http://www.rhuys.com/arzon/plage-du-fogeo/tabid/4488/offreid/fa64ae37-07b1-439b-8022-74bd6ef78b5c

There are beautiful views from the beach of Goh Vélin  into the outlaying’s islands of Houat and Hoedic and the Quiberon peninsula to the right. You can see the photo map with location of these islands.

Saint Gildas de Rhuys

We finally arrive at our final destination in Port du Crouesty harbor marina, gorgeous area we have been here several times since arriving in the region and my boys enjoyed the tandem bicycle rides on the beaches!  More on the tourist office here: http://www.rhuys.com/accueil/decouvrir/la-presquile-de-rhuys/port-du-crouesty

This is a huge marina with several sections, a wonderful lighthouse, great harbormaster and resto Le Cargo, carrousel rides for the kiddies, bike rentals (Abbis), boating rides, cruises, you name it On the water. It is surrounded by a long line of restaurants and shops all wonderful ::) we love to shop here and especially eat!!!

There is a nice Notre Dame du Croisty Chapel at the tip (it was here in 565AD they found the intact body of Saint Gildas) , and from the marina promenade you can walk to the wonderful Miramar La Cigale thalassa spa.

We have eaten on several restaurants here ,all good. The last one this lunch was at the Crous’ty Pains bakery,at the place d’Artimon, one of the newest addition to the harbor marina area. The experience was great, big tuna sandwich, nice gourmet caramel filled and glaze cake, big bottle(50 cl) of orangina and a large coffee for 9,40€, good deal, excellent service, good well done for others had all kinds of sandwiches and cakes and it was all good. no webpage yet but not far from main square at wharf marker M on the marina.

You will see the nice Maison du Port or harbor house done for all kinds of events and activities with a nice seafaring architecture, and the Capitainerie or harbormaster building with the Le Cargo resto next to it and on top. More on the harbormaster here: https://www.passeportescales.com/fr/port-du-crouesty/318-port-du-crouesty

You will see plenty of seafaring facades of homes and apartment building that gives it a nice quaint old look and pleasant for walks at any time.  Again the rain was on and off but another nice outing in the Morbihan Breton, here water is not for discussion; we go out. Another wonderful spot in my Breton lands and you area all welcome to try it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend wherever you are, and happy travels. Cheers!

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July 28, 2017

Some news from France CLXV

Never a day goes by without not been able to talk about France and Paris especially; it is eternal awaiting. Today was nice not too windy and temp in the 23C during the day now in the evening is 22C or about 72F lol!!! And the weekend is here!!!!

Some of the nice things about Paris ,France.

One of the classics the club Nüba now has been transformed into the  Communion. See the new look here and on Facebook: http://communion.paris/

The rooftop  of the Cité de la Mode et du Design  always offers you splendid views on the city.  The décor of the terrace on the roofstop changes every week with a new ambiance zen and impressive Tel +33 (0) 1 76 77 25 30 get there on Gare de Lyon or Gare d’Austerlitz. More info here: http://www.citemodedesign.fr/en/private-rental/rooftop

Do you know Auteuil, ,,Paris? Well this is one area I know well as used to come by here with my car , yessss car into Paris center for many years… However, I did some serious walking as well ,and will tell you a bit of a walking tour you can take.

First ,you start at the Porte de Saint-Cloud (metro line 9) and go direction rue Michel-Ange. You will see along the way many buildings from the 1930’s. You turn right on the rue Parent-de-Rosan and you will see the old Auteuil, magical area with an eerie cementary wall done in 1800. Behind this wall , you can take a look into the subdivision of Villa Claude Lorrain and take a walk along the street rue Parent-de-Rosan to discover other charming subdivisions such as  Emile Meyer, Dietz-Monnin, and Cheyson.  You, then climb onto rue Boileau, a magical street of old Paris. Passing the boulevard Exelmans, (great one and not much walk by visitors) you will see further evidence of beautiful Paris with buildings such as the hôtel Danois, today the Embassy of Algeria.  Take a look at the Art Nouveau style of the Hôtel Roszé further up the street.  You will come to the neighborhood or hameau Boileau , and it’s famous Normand house, maybe you too will be lucky to find the folks there to give the digicode to go inside. Continue on towards the nice imposing Church Notre Dame of Auteuil that I passed so many times by car and on foot couple times into the rue Molitor and avenue Chardon-Lagache,where you will see the Metro entrance with a retro look . The Church here is a building in roman-byzantine style built in 1892.  Once inside , the sun light will shine at the end of the day and makes the interior very celestial romantic nice indeed.  While in the area do not forget to see the pool or Piscine Molitor, the hidden garden of the station, and try some wonderful chocolates at chocolaterie servant, while at the brasserie auteuil get a nice drink while playing in the central pool table and up its rooftop. Perfect Paris.

Some links on the above, the Church: http://www.notredamedauteuil.fr/index.php?page=mv1_par

The pool Molitor in English here: http://www.mltr.fr/en/

And the Chocolaterie Servant in English here: http://www.chocolaterie-servant.com/en/

The Auteuil Brasserie in English here: http://www.auteuil-brasserie.com/en/

The garden of Auteuil in French here: http://equipement.paris.fr/jardin-des-serres-d-auteuil-1780

And the mayor’s office of the 16 arrondissement/district of Paris of which Auteuil is now part since 1860. http://www.mairie16.paris.fr/ma-mairie/venir-en-mairie/ma-mairie-72

And to continue on the lungs of Paris and the green peaceful spaces, here are more of my favorites over the years; working there and visiting too while living just nearby.

On the side of the cemetery or cimetière du Père-Lachaise  there is a hidden garden all natural (not so hidden now ::)) simply call the Jardin Naturel, at 120, rue de la Réunion (20eme).  open every day until 20h30. From the city of Paris in French metro line 2 takes you here and more photos: http://equipement.paris.fr/jardin-naturel-pierre-emmanuel-2703

You have another cute one small on the French style kind of hidden in the very public Marais. It is at the end of a small street with it’s back on the hôtel d’Ecquevilly (17C) old name, very romantic ambiance. Square Saint-Gilles Grand Veneur-Pauline-Roland  9, rue du Grand-Veneur (3eme). Open every day untl 20h30.More here from the tourist office of Paris in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71090/Square-Saint-Gilles-Grand-Veneur-Pauline-Roland

And on one of the unique museums of Paris , the old Musée Guimet you have a tranquil place with basins, small bridges of stone and bamboo transporting you to the Rising Sun ambiance of Japan. You see the galleries of Budhist pantheons nearby to discover the art and culture of Japan as well, with tea ceremonies in all. Musée national des Arts Asiatiques Guimet, 6 place d’Iena, (16eme). More in French here: http://www.guimet.fr/fr/visite/acces

You, then come to a more secluded garden in the square Roger-Stéphane just steps from the store Bon Marché . Several romantic corners and a basin with a small cascade.  Location at rue Récamier (7eme). Open every day until 20h30. More info in French from the city of Paris: http://equipement.paris.fr/square-roger-stephane-2459

 And of course, until the garden on the rooftop of the store BHV Marais with a vertical vegetable garden  open until October every Wednesdays from 17h to 19h. BHV Marais Roof Garden, 52 , rue de Rivoli (4eme).  More info in English here:http://www.bhv.fr/en/city-farming-en/a-garden-perched-up-on-our-rooftop/

A little jump back into another nice arrondissement district area of Paris I like for a walk or driving by. This is the new Clichy-Batignolles.

The origin of the name Batignolles has been difficult to determine for sure. It is thought of it comes from «bastidiole» meaning little country home, that later came to «Bastignolles» , and finally Batignolles. The land area covered from the forest of Rouvray to just outside Paris and a place for hunting until the French revolution. The village was attached to Clichy located just outside Paris city limits.  It gained importance because the people avoided paying a tax the Parisiens came here to drink on guinguettes or music hall houses. In early the 18C the secondary homes multiply for city folks to gain some country air! In 1830 Batignolles and Monceau were raised to a town and in 1860 detached from Clichy and attached to Paris. The arrival of the railroad change the district with the construction of the train station or gare Saint-Lazare (1842) and later the goods station of Batignolles (1844).

This is the area that grew in artistic fervor with the arrival to lived here of Edouard Manet helping as well the impressionists movement. His shop and house were here. Starting from 1870, they gathered at the Café Guerbois, 9 avenue de Clichy with his friends. Frédéric Bazille, also had his shop here and were visited by the Renoir, Cézanne, Sisley, Monet,and many others such as Emile Zola. At 11 avenue de Clichy in the house Hennequin, founded in 1830, you can find material on the artists of today. On the literature side, this district had visitors and renters such as Alfred de Vigny rented in 1838 at 1 rue Nollet, Paul Verlaine lived on the streets of rue Nollet, rue de l’Ecluse and rue Lemercie and buried at the cemetery of Batignolles.  Stéphane Malarmé lived at 89 rue de Rome where he received his friends Paul Verlaine, Oscar Wilde, André Gide, Paul Valéry, Paul Claudel, for his famous literary meetings the “Tuesdays at the Rue de Rome”.  Many performers are link to this district too, such as Barbara born at 6 rue Brochant, Jacques Brel lived at the  Cité Lemercier and creates his famous song  Ne me quitte pas here! Nowdays the extension of the metro line 14 and the new stations of bus stop,and RER will inevitably change the district in the future in full expansion . Let’s hope that the new does not change the old of it’s soul!! See it walk it while you can.  I stayed in hotels here and park for free while visiting the rest of the district and Paris !More in French with an interactive map on the right side here: http://www.clichy-batignolles.fr/

A pause on the historical wonderful eternal Paris. Let’s drive, train, bus over to Le Havre. This city is celebrating its 500 years! Call a summer in Havre or ” Un été au Havre”. Many events on the city previously wrote in my blog . Rebuilt after WWII from ashes (90% destroyed) it is now a city worth visiting into the real France ::) Many activities are programmed, you can see them all here in English: http://www.uneteauhavre2017.fr/en

This interactive map show you the many faces of Le Havre in French: http://www.uneteauhavre2017.fr/fr/parcours

The calendar of events per month and activity are here in English: http://www.uneteauhavre2017.fr/en/calendar

And my personal visit to Le Havre entry in my blog with photos here:

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/05/24/le-havre-a-lot-more-than-ferriesstill-normandy/

To finish this post, something I like all my life, inspired even to know about Paris , Madrid, Key West, and Havana, the great Ernest Hemingway. Some of his spots in Paris are here to follow as July 21st was his birthday.

Ernest Hemingway dream of participating in WWI but could not come due to his myopia condition; therefore he enlisted as a volunteer in the Red Cross and did participate this way in the Italian front. He was wounded in his thighs by an Austrian rocket during his service and was came home a heroe in 1919. In 1921 after marrying Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, he decided to come  to France to continue his writing skills honing as a correspondance for the Toronto Star in Europe. This was a great timing as in the 1920’s Paris was the Eldorado of Americans.

In Paris, Hemingway discovered the new lectures and work on his style on the side of such influential personnages as Sylvia Beach, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein that take him under their wing. He lived for a while in a hotel of the 6eme arrondissement/district; the Hôtel d’Angleterre, 44 rue Jacob (6eme). Full of history and still standing there, webpage here: http://www.hotel-dangleterre.com/en/

The Hemingway , also, lived on a small T2 one bedroom apartment in the 74, rue Cardinal Lemoine(5eme) (now building with 21 apartments on 5 floors)  from 1922-1923. At street level or first floor of the building there was a music hall and it was nearby the Place de la Contrescarpe.  It is on this apartment that Hemingway wrote amongst others the novels  “My Old man”  and the famous “Paris est un fête” ( a movable feast) the later posthume that tells his crazy years in Paris.

 Created by Sylvia Beach an American  librarian and editor in 1919, the library boutique came rapidly a point of research and encounters by the English and American writers that lived in Paris. here Hemingway borrows and buys many books,and discovered Tolstoi, Dostoievski, Eliot, Joyce, but also, Flaubert, Stendhal, and Henry James. At the times the library company  Shakespeare & Company was located at 12 rue de l’Odéon, but today it is located at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, (5eme). webpage : https://shakespeareandcompany.com/

Also, Adrienne Monnier the companion of Sylvia Beach opened in 1915, a library at 7 rue de l’Odéon (6eme) , the house of friends of books sort of my amateur translation of  «La maison des amis des livres».  The libray also lent books and regularly organizes séances of public lecture.  Today, it does not exits anymore (today building of 12 apartments in 5 floors) but you can stop by to imagine the story and the cultural dynamist of the times.

You,can also, stop by Chez Lipp for a potato salad and a beer or at Pré-aux-Clercs where the menu was 12 FF and a bottle of wine 60 cents!!! WAS, not anymore !!! Brasserie LIpp, 151 boulevard Saint-Germain (6eme), Le Pré-aux-Clercs, 30 rue Bonaparte (6eme).

http://www.brasserielipp.fr/en/

http://www.restaurant-preauxclercs.com/en/

The encounter of Hemingway with Gertrude Stein,  an American poet, writer, dramatist, and feminist made great teaching on the automatic writings as Hemingway normally did not remember than what he wish to remember , however thanks to her and those of Ezra Pound , he ends by discovering his own style. Gertrude Stein is today known to have participated in the development and diffusion of the literature and modern art. It was her who shape the young artists as a lost generation for the mores of the wars. Her apartment in Paris was at 27 rue de Fleurus (6eme) ;now a building with 26 apartments in 6 floors.

Paris is eternal, see it at least once in your lifetime, and then…..dream on, you will be back, and like me for good ::) in France.

Enjoy your weekend, we do not know where we are going, lol! last minutes travelers ::) Cheers

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July 26, 2017

Some news from Spain XLVII

Talking about my trip to Spain next month, well it’s the best time and hard to wait! temps here are cloudy,rainy, and cool 19C about 64F….

So now it’s time to speak about Spain .

The museum of El Prado is getting ready for it’s 200 years anniversary (1819-2019). There are many offers on the table to coincide with November 19 2018 that will have the pinotheque opens with programs like “De gira por España” or the  “El Prado Itinerante“. The museum will lent important works by a period of one month to several renown institutions; one for each autonomous region of Spain ,including Ceuta and Melilla, except  Madrid, in the program  “De gira por España”. The “El Prado Itinerante”, will have the exposition of  “Las Meninas”, that will be installed in a vehicle to do a tour of Spain as an homage to the Museum of the People and the republican pedagogics with the opening shortly of the Jonic Gallery or  Galería Jónica with classic sculptures.  In addition, nine new rooms of the Flemish and Dutch sculpture of the 17C in the second floor north of the museum ,therefore making the entire building of  Villanueva dedicated to expositions.  All is preview for the opening of the bicentenary on November 19 2018.  “Circa 1819” will the start of the event with 75 paintings done before or after the foundation of the Museum of El Prado with painters such as  Goya, Géricault, Turner, Friederich ,and Delacroix, that will be on from November 2018 to March 2019. Also, in 2019  there will be other expositions such as on  Velázquez, Rembrandt , and the Golden centuries of Spanish and Dutch paintings  in collaboration with the museum  or Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam; also, Goya Dibujos, Fra Angelico and the origins of the Florentine renaissance , Sofonisba Anguisola-Lavinia Fontana, two models of women artists and El triunfo de la muerte de Pieter Brueghel el Viejo. Exciting, you read it here first ::)

Much more sooner, this summer art in Spain.

The Festival Internacional de Teatro Clàsico de Mérida. 6 new shows with 7 montages and a historical moment for the 63rd edition of this festival that will look at the origins of our society; from the Democracy, Politics etc. Going on until August 27th. More here: http://www.festivaldemerida.es/

The Festival Internacional de Teatro Clàsico de Almagro, under the theme “Respira Festival” in its 40th edition. About 50 companies from 13 countries and 102 representations of which 25 will be first time showing.  The premier of  ‘La dama duende’, of Calderón de la Barca with the  Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico to open the festival. In it you will see shows on Shaskespeare, Quevedo, Cervantes, Lope de Vega or Molière etc. You will see Cervantes in  ‘Las verdaderas aventuras de Don Quijote de la Mancha’ and ‘El rufián dichoso’,from the Fundación Siglo de Oro. Also, for the first time, the complete  ‘El divino Narciso’,  of  Juana Inés de la Cruz; and the musical comedy  ‘La Calderona, The Remix’ on hip hop beat with DJ included!;  ‘Eco y Narciso’, one of the work less seen of Calderon.  To finish the “ Sueños” and “La Ternura” by the Teatro de la Ciudad ; ‘Cyrano de Bergerac‘; ‘La vida es sueño‘ from the Teatro del Temple or the classic  El Brujo. And more, to celebrate the anniversary of scene classics or ‘Clásicos en escena’ in the Plaza Mayor to more than 40 artists that had played in this golden age classics. All until July 30th,wonderful to see!!!  more here: http://festivaldealmagro.com/es/home/index.php

The Festival de Teatro Clàsico de Olite. In its 18th edition with new director. Starts at the Palacio Real or Royal Palace with “Cuando el amor habla, el corazón canta’, (when love talks, the heart sings), a spectacle with wordings from Tirso de Molina, Calderon de la Barca or Francisco Quevedo  ; a fusion of poetry ,and baroque music; until August 5th: more here in Spanish : http://www.olite.com.es/NOTICIAS/2016/TCLASICO/teatro_00.php

And my favorite; “Me vuelves Lorca” (give me back Lorca), in its 3rd edition in the Granadine Alpujarras inspired all by Federico García Lorca, and host by the village of  Laroles. You have music by Jorge Pardo and Juan Perro  with scenic propositions of the women of  El Vacie, and their ‘Fuenteovejuna‘  and with an impressive monologue of “El minuto del payaso’ by Luis Bermejo.  To complete the programming the dance of Belen Maya and Israel Galván  with the improvision of the Jamming Compañía with  ‘Jamming On Tour’. From July 28 to August 12; more info here: http://web2.mevuelveslorca.com/

New tools on the digital world; You know today there are 167 000 km of roads in Spain of which only a bit more than 10% or about 17000 km are motorways/expressways multi lanes. However, this 10% is 94,3% of all the traffic (source Ministerio de Fomento 2015).  Now you have many routes you can track down and do such as the town of Basi in Sant Martin del Castañar (Salamanca); Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Avila) or the Cathedral without name in Villacastin (Segovia).  You can participate in this new tool in instagram at  #LaGuiaInolvidable publish your new found places with a photo and location or send it to laguiainolvidable@renault-info.es . You can request the guide free on the webpage  http://www.laguiainolvidable.es

The river Arlanzón had made possible the city of Burgos, like many other cities that has a river going thru its center. And the artery that connects all the monuments of the city. From one end to the other, we have the Cartuja de Miraflores (monastery and hunting ground of king Enrique III);on the other side the monastery or Monasterio de las Huelgas, 12C. In between you have the park or parque de la Isla, the Paseo de los Cubos ,and Paseo del Espolón, the gothic Cathedral, and the post office building or  Correos y Telégrafos, the museum or Museo de la Evolución Humana, the statue in bronze of El Cid,and the convent of San José. And of course, the Castle or Castillo, that keeps an eye on the city from the hill or cerro de San Miguel.  Over the river you have the bridge or puente de Malatos, and puente de Santa María (best way to enter the city is under the gate of the same name) , and the Puente de San Pablo. One of the loveliest city of Spain, historical strong Burgos.  The tourist office here: http://www.turismoburgos.org/en

And as we reach the summer especially in Spain, what about those pools!!! or piscinas,  they are great for locals and visitors are welcome to stop by, it will be a great experience. Some of the best ones for me are:

The pool of Gymage located at calle de la Lune, 2  is open from 11h to 18h. You can have a drink later on , it has a white décor and plants all over . Admission is 12€ from Mondays to Fridays, Saturday and Sundays is 19€. More info here: http://www.gymage.es/

Then, you have something more youthful at the UCM pool, all kinds of interaction here with many young people from the University. Folks are towel to towel cramp here but a lot of fun If young at heart. It is located at avenida Obispo Trejo, s/n ;Tel +34 91 3941174.  Until September 6th open from 11h to 20H, daily admission is 4€ or 10 visits for 25€, 15 visits for 40€ ; weekends holidays it is 6€. More from Madrid tourist office here: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/sports/piscina-de-la-universidad-complutense-de-Madrid

You, also, can visit the municipal pools managed by the Comunidad de Madrid. These are the Canal de Isabel II (Avenida de Filipinas, 54), San Vicente de Paúl (Calle Pelícano, 4) , and Parque Deportivo de Puerta de Hierro (Carretera de La Coruña, km 7), open from 11h to 20h open until September 10th and admission of 5,50€. You can purchase 10 visits for 50€ with discount for kids, mobility impaired,  and families . Opening from 11h to 21h such as the  Estación de Hortaleza, 11-13. Tel. +34 913 821 965. admission 4,50€  from Mondays to Fridays no holidays

Best of the them my opinion here: http://www.madrid.es/portales/munimadrid/es/Inicio/Cultura-ocio-y-deporte/Deportes/Direcciones-y-telefonos/Instalacion-Deportiva-Canal-de-Isabel-II?vgnextfmt=default&vgnextoid=a8b5 b0c40971c010VgnVCM1000000b205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=9b08151c238fe410VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD

In a hotel, a nice one is hotel Emperador, in the Gran Via, you can purchase an entry even if not staying in the hotel, if space permitting. Open from Mondays to Thursdays for 48€ , Fridays and weekends/Holidays for 63€. Menu and admission to pool from 14h30 Mondays to Thursdays for 68€ five passes  from Monday to Thursdays cost 215€ ; the terrace is open from 10h to 21h:more info here: http://blog.emperadorhotel.com/2016/05/03/roof-garden-2016-terraza-y-piscina-en-el-hotel-emperador/

Another nice municipal pool and one went for my boys is at Vicente del Bosque pool, in the district of Barrio del Pilar not far from Vaguada shopping center. Calle Monforte de Lemos, 13 tel +34  913 147 943. Admission is 4,50€  from Mondays to Fridays not Holidays.  More info here :https://www.esmadrid.com/deporte/centro-deportivo-municipal-vicente-del-bosque

And a nice gymnasium pool is at Virgin Active Capitan Haya, natural lighting and nice pool with controlled temperature. You can take Aquagym classes or aquchasatic training custom made for you.  It is located in the district of Tetuán,  Calle del Poeta Joan Maragall, 1 (Antigua Capitán Haya). Tel. +34  917 70 58 91. Hours Mondays to Fridays from 6h30 to 23h , Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays from 9h to 23h. The only catch you also need to be a member, but you get one day free to try it . More info here: https://www.virginactive.es/gimnasios/gimnasio-capitan-haya-madrid/instalaciones

Lastly , something useful for the seafood lover in me or you, and oysters. We have good ones in Spain too ! the oysters traditionally are consumed in the month with R or from September to April. However, modern days innovation make them available year around due to harvest oysters even if quality is inferior. I do not buy harvest oysters , period.

To open them you need some practice and precaution as well as using a proper knife , an oyster knife, wide and short with hand protection.  You need to introduce it between the shells , closer to the bottom end to cut the muscle.  You can buy them already open or do it yourself; we go to the coast here and get them closed but sometimes we had them open it if in a hurry. You need to feel the weight of them in your hand and they must be humid to the touch. They need to be really closed and when you knock them against each other  the sound should be dry and deaf ,no noise.

If you take time between the purchase and the consumption better to place them with the bottom side up and on the bottom section of our fridge covered with a wet towel and not to heavy so they won’t open up; the ideal temperature should be about 8C  or about 46F. When you open them you should smell them and throw out those smelling bad odor.

You can eat them as is with maybe a drop or two of lemon juice. Place them on a dish full of ice and on top the oyster facing up to do about a dozen at a time. There are many other ways to eat them , I just gave you the traditional way and the way we eat them. They are great as an entrée with Muscadet or Sancerre, Chablis types wines. Enjoy them !!!

Until next time in the Spainish waves. Enjoy your week, cheers.

 

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July 25, 2017

Some news from France CLXIIII

And now back to normal time ,killing time for my big summer French vacation in Spain ::) I will tell you surprising weather has come back without rain, some sunshine and temps in the 23C or about 73F in my neck of the woods….

Some of the things happening in my belle France.

Going over the dire state of the French rail system , losing money on the TGV and still trying to avoid roads into Paris lol! Read this in the Le Parisien newspaper; my translation.

The SNCF  will publish next Friday the accounts for the last  quarter showing a return of passengers to the TGV , even if this influx will not make it come out of the red.  According to the newspaper, after several years of stagnation or lowering traffic, the domestic traffic has increase of 8,4% in the first quarter comparing same period in 2016.  This is due to the implementation of the rates for the under 26 years old call  TGVMax with an unlimited destinations as well as  picking off rush hours pricing.  In the sector South-East  (from Paris towards the Alpes and the Mediterranean), the rate of occupancy has reached 88 % !  The TGV  fully loaded several days in advance are numerous. However, the profitability has eroded year after year  with the high frequency of  high tariffs for the railings asked of the network  SNCF Réseau (ex-RFF), who handles all the infrastructure on rails to have the trains run.  Face with this increasing debt (reaching 44B €!), up due to also lower subventions by the government; the  SNCF Réseau has try to increase its earnings with the only lines that can do this, the TGV.  However, the TGV alone is 2B € in the red . More than two thirds of lines are in deficit and the marginal space operated by the TGV has been cut in half, reaching just 630M € in 2016.  They will need twice that for them to finance their operations and buy new rail lines  to modernize the system.  For economies, the company has cancelled year after year trains on the lines in deficit but this rate kills the growth. The goal for 2018 is to find how to bring the margins back in the TGV at around 20%, to bring an additional 700M € additional per year. Started in 2013 the line Paris to Barcelona  could go through a reduction in service and lower the frequencies that is share with Spain’s RENFE that takes about 6 trains per day in vacation times and 3 the rest of the times. The line Paris-Geneva, share with the Swiss Railroad under the label Lyria , is in the same situation.

There will be a great looking back on Steve McQueen in the gallery or galerie Joseph, 116  rue de Turenne. Bringing many facets of the actor, great fan of speed and car collector. Expo until August 30th. More here:  http://galeriejoseph.com/turenne-espace-atypique-le-marais/

A new hotel , talking about the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers, only 600 meters from the Centre Pompidou, with 66 rooms, a trattoria, a cicchetteria (Venetian tapas) , bar with cocktails, the L’Herbarium.  All done with cement, granite, terrazzo and hard wood. More here:  https://www.hotelnational.paris/en/

With more than 200 works of art from Van Gogh projected in the walls of 12 meters high in the Grande Halle de la Villette to invite you into the passages, village scenes , wheat fields, and sunflowers of the painter.  This exposition is to discover the work of his last three years of his life. Wonderful.  Until September 10th, more here: http://www.imagine-vangogh.com/

From where came the Dragons? A vast subject to discover in 4 000 m2  of exposition space. The  DragonLand  takes you in to discover this phenomenon and from theory to practice with explanations. You will discover 30 dragons in animation.  In the Paris Expo, porte de Versailles, until September 3rd. More in English here: http://www.dragonland-expo.fr/page/exhibition-english-version/

And many times, people ask me where to see Paris from above? Well many places really, these are some of my favorites. Enjoy Paris, always eternal.

You see her white silhouette high in the hill of Montmartre  in the 18  arrondissement/District of Paris. The view from the Sacré-Cœur over the roofstops of Paris is Worth the climb.  Some, like me think is one of the best if not the best.  From the steps of the Basilica built in the end of the 19C, Paris looks infinite. See more here: http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/francais/histoire-et-visite/article/visite-virtuelle-panoramique-de-la

WE go by the rue Georges-Lardennois or the stair on the avenue Simon-Bolivar, this is the Butte Bergeyre , 19 arrondissement/district that ends with  about hundred meters high.   At the summit in a range of trees you see the arrows of  Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. At this height you should know it’s name came from a stadium named after Robert Bergeyre,  a rugby Player killed at the age of 20 early in World War I.  The hill opened in August 1918, today the sport complex is gone but it held the France Cup of football/soccer in 1920. More here in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/119306/Butte-Bergeyre

You go to the park or parc de Belleville and you can see the Beaubourg, (centre Pompidou) where you see the tubes/pipes of it, and behind the golden dome of Invalides. From here you can continue seeing the stars of Paris , such as the Library or Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand, and the tour Eiffel ,and all the way to Mont Valérien ( the highest point and a great view of Paris, my favorite) . You can see the Church of  Notre-Dame-de-Paris,and it’s square towers as well as the tour Montparnasse; with a keener eye you can see on clear days the Sorbonne , and the palais de Chaillot! More here  : https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71357/Parc-de-Belleville

The magical rooftop of the Institut du Monde Arabe is freely accessable  and guarantee quiet place at 77 meters high. You can see the Cathedral de Notre-Dame-de-Paris and the island or île Saint-Louis. At the Zyriab you can taste the mint and oriental sweets. This is at 39, Boulevard Saint Germain , 5th arrondissement/district ; Tuesdays to Fridays from 10h to 18h and weekends and holidays until 19H. More here: https://www.imarabe.org/en

You can go to the Parc de la Villette, and do a stop at the Philharmonie de Paris where the roofstop is freely accessable. Take the monumental stairs with metallic covers and on the third floor the elevators/lifts will carry you to the third floor or parvis/ belvédère. You have reach the artificial hill of architect Jean Nouvel. The view is almost 360° on Paris.  You see a range of trees with modern buildings but farther you see the tour Eiffel and tour Montparnasse on one side.  On the other side you see outer Paris such as Pantin, Aubervilliers, and Les Lilas. The location is Le Belvédère de la Philharmonie de Paris, 221 avenue Jean Jaures, 19 arrondissement/district. You can climb from Wednesdays to Sundays  from mid day to 20H. More info here: http://philharmoniedeparis.fr/en/rooftop-viewpoint-at-the-philharmonie

One of the newer shopping centers or malls in Paris that I visit just after initial opening is now booming! the centre commercial Beaugrenelle , 15 arrondissement/district. The hot weather and rainy days has put the numbers of visitors up here.  From this past June the increase in frequency has been from 15 -20 %, with sales growing at 15- 25 %.  The best sales are the ice creams !!! juice bars, and ready to wear/prêt-à-porter. The mall has 50 000 m2  of space for stores; just great while in Paris.  And you have sales until August 8th. More here : http://www.beaugrenelle-paris.com/en

 Last but not least for this post is about a town close to where I used to lived. Saint Germain en Laye. The city has received the prize on the 23rd edition of the contest « Les Rubans du patrimoine »  for the restauration of the ramps of the caves or Grottes , that were one of the last vestiges of the Château-Neuf (where louis XIV was born and today the castle is gone); the castle there call the vieux is now housing the archeological museum. The city  finally restored the walls of Lions or mur des Lions in 2016. More on the gone castle in French here: http://musee-archeologienationale.fr/chateau-et-jardins/les-espaces-remarquables/le-chateau-neuf

On the ramp in English here: http://www.saintgermainenlaye-tourisme.fr/en/places-must-see/grottoes-banister-633100

Enjoy France, it is the eternal from which Paris is just the beginning of heaven ::) Cheers

 

July 24, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XVIIII

Well, do not know you, but me, once have a photo need to do something about it or forgot it all. As tomorrow is back to work after a long five day weekend, need to catch up. Awaiting of course, our summer vacation in August.

We had a visitor from the Americas with us for these last few days and it was nice to talk to someone we had met and renew the friendship again. Today was the last day as she was leaving in the afternoon to Montparnasse Paris and onwards in her trip.

Therefore, we settled for a quick trip around my town, small quiet and cloudy but no rain!! We went walking as all is within walking distance. My boys joined us for the walk, so good company.

We did a town reconnaissance walk going by our family haircutter Annie, then the convenience supermarket store Proxi.  We stop by le Stadium bar to go across street to a field where there is a stone memorial to a B17 American bombardier that crash landed here, all dead except the radiomen. The family member came back and a ceremony was held in 1994 for the stone memorial; nice town.

We went by the mediathéque or library in town, and past into the residential area to visit the fountain of St Guigner (c. 1526)and laundry of Tanin.

The highlight of the trip was to visit the Church of Saint Guigner  (16C) in city center, our main Church. The legend has been told before in other posts where he was the son of an Irish king  named Clyton who was made Christian by St Patrick,and  came here to evangelize the area in around 406AD. More in French or Breton in our city page here: http://www.pluvigner.fr/eglise-paroissiale-saint-guigner/

Tourist office info here in French: http://www.pluvigner.fr/contacts/office-de-tourisme/

And the local area tourist office in French here: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/home/nos-villes-et-villages/pluvigner.aspx

After this nice walk in town, we came back home for lunch. And we took our friend to the train station in Auray for her TGV to Montparnasse Paris. It was nice to be with friendly company for a few days, and we wish her good continuation of her trip in France, Germany and the USA.

We came back home to have our apero snacks with porto red and now relaxing getting mentally prepare to go back to work tomorrow. You all have an excellent week. Until next time in my blog; Cheers.

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July 24, 2017

Landerneau in the Finistére Breton!

So driving around with a visiting friend we decided to take her to Landerneau a very old town in the Finistére Breton dept 29. Always raining so typical but we told her rain is part of Brittany and it does not stop us from going out and visiting. The temps was mild cool ,cloudy raining all day all over the route on the N165 and D770 as well as on site. I had briefly written on the town back in August 2012!

It goes to show once again the diversity of places here , so many things to see , we take time to come back to old ones ::) The tourist office of Landerneau is at http://www.pays-landerneau-daoulas.fr/patrimoine/

Some info in English from the Finistére tourist office here: http://www.finisterebrittany.com/landerneau

So, the drive was easy but rainy along the N165 to the D770 and Landerneau. We arrived by the Pont de Rohan (b. 1510) parking along the quai de Léon. Alongside the River Elorn .Metered parking but as Sunday it is free. We then set out on foot.

We went to see the Church Saint Thomas and the next door Ossuary of Saint Cadou.

The Church of Saint Thomas was in honor of Thomas Becket , bishop of Canterbury, died as martyr in 1170. The lords of Léon founders of the abbey of Daoulas and owners of Landerneau had a Church built in honor of St Thomas that became the priory of St Thomas since the middle of the 13C. The original Church was rebuilt in the end of the 16C and the tower founded the day of the Trinity in 1607. The Church was again renovated in 1849. The 3 level bell tower was also renovated in 1849. The front façade with the porch is decorated with statues in stone of St Francis de Assisi, St Eloi, and a Virgin in calvary on top of the entrance. Inside you see a nice altar of 1711,and a statue in wood of the Virgin lying down from the 15C. Not much more but a bit more here: http://www.patrimoine-religieux.fr/eglises_edifices/29-Finistere/29103-Landerneau/124737-EgliseSaint-Thomas-de-Cantorbery

The ossuaire de Saint Cadou, just facing the above Church is the old ossuary of Saint Thomas dedicated to Saint Cadou with a date of 1635.  This is a rectangular building with four windows and two chapters in the door. the funerary chapel was taken in 1794 by the French revolution to be a factory of laces and leather shoes for the soldiers. Later, it served for housing of the sacristan priest and later as of today a museum of stone statues from the area. Fairly new the newspaper Ouest France has news in French here: http://www.ouest-france.fr/bretagne/landerneau-29800/landerneau-l-ossuaire-saint-cadou-ouvert-au-public-5101434

Right around this area you will see the fountain in the Place des 4 Pompes  that used to gather the water of the prairies of Saint Thomas ,after the realignment of the street it was redone in a modern style in 1774. It has four spouts to spring water from and it is probably why it is call 4 pompes.  You than come to the Galerie de Rohan. Contemporary arts at its best in 180 square meters of space. More from the city in French here: http://www.ville-landerneau.fr/Culture-Sport/La-Galerie-de-Rohan

We had a break and went for lunch, so been raining and not much to walk about on a Sunday, we entered the Ar Vamm Fave créperie right on the rue du Pont next to the river Elorn. This was a pleasant surprise as the food was delicious and the ambiance very Breton with nice decorations to boot. The group had several things from complete galette ,to Andouille the Breton sausage type of many unnamed things inside, the ti bragou with sausages of Moléne, together with crêpes flambée, and coffees, all wash down with cider Kerne demi sec; coming to 12.90€ per person. Very good. webpage here: http://www.landerneau-boutiques.com/les-boutiques.html?pid=58&sid=116:creperie-ar-vamm-fave

Once fed, we continue a bit more into the Church Saint Houardon starting from the 16C at rue Alain Daniel not far from the river Elorn. After the French revolution, the Church was in bad state and very small for the new parrishgoers. The Church was rebuilt in 1858-1860 in neo gothic style. The bell tower is of 63 meters dating from 1589 and done in 1860. The sculpture porch is from 1604 high of 22 meters and an older one on top dating from the 16C. The roof was renovated in 1957; it has many gargouilles mostly dating from 1860 representing animals. Not much on it, just a bit more from Yelp in French here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/eglise-saint-houardon-landerneau

More on the city heritage in French here: http://www.ville-landerneau.fr/Culture-Sport/Archives-et-patrimoine/Tout-sur-le-patrimoine/Histoire-de-Landerneau/Des-origines-a-la-Revolution

After a bit of stretch walking , we took the car back home same direction before stopping in previous post of Plougastel-Daoulas. We reach home in time for dinner and some TV ::) And Sunday was gone! Enjoy yours , Cheers

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July 23, 2017

Plougastel Daoulas memories again in the Finistére breton

Well running around with a friend , took her to see this town and when realize again in my surprise, the last time wrote on it was in July 2012!! Even when my sons celebrated birthdays here!!!

The town is Plougastel-Daoulas , the center of Strawberry in Brittany! You can see a museum on it. The beautiful Calvary and the nice Church of Saint Pierre (St Peter).

I am not going to go long on this one as have several posts on the town. You can search for it in my blog.

Needless , to say, the Calvary is one of the better ones in Brittany.  It was built between 1602 and 1604 as an offering for saving the town from the plague of 1598.

The story of the restoration is a nice one me think.  On August 23, 1944 American bombs as they move their army from Brest partially destroyed the calvary with several statues completely destroyed. Here comes an American officer , John D. Skilton,  who was a conservator of a museum in Washington while a civilian and was present in Plougastel-Daoulas  at the moment of the bombardment. He heroically saved several of the statues and stone and created back in the USA, the Plougastel Calvary Restoration Fund Inc , with the goal of raising funds to restore the Calvary. This was done !

You can see the position of the Saints and Angels as well as Christ on the three pictures describing the Calvary joined here.

See ,also, the monument to the fallen on the Church and Calvary property dedicated to the fallen in previous wars of France.

The Church Saint Pierre;(St Peter) , the Church was built in 1870 but damaged with the bombings of August 1944. It was restored by 1950. The Church has a nice rosary dating from 1654-1656 and an altar on top of a entombment of Christ from the 16C.

Info on tourism in French here: http://www.mairie-plougastel.fr/tourisme/decouvrir/patrimoine/architecture/

Tourism on the region of Brittany and this town in English: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/brest-terres-oceanes/unmissable-sites/presqu-ile-de-plougastel-and-daoulas-abbey

Enjoy the ride into the Finistére, always fascinating at the end of the  World ::) Cheers

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July 23, 2017

Historical Auray, a lot more than a harbor Saint Goustan

I just checked my blog, the last time wrote on Auray was in December 2015!!! Unbelievable if you notice that I live just 11 km from the town and my train station is there lol! It goes to show you the choices we have in our beautiful Brittany and especially the Morbihan Breton!

Auray is Saint Goustan and a lot more up hill in the haute ville.  The tourist office is here: http://www.auray-tourism.com/

And the region of Brittany in English is here: http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/unmissable-sites/saint-goustan

We love to go by the place Notre Dame because that is where the town’s main Church Saint Gildas is located.  Even thus, they claim it is the place Gabriel Deshayes. An imposing building as all these old Churches.

The Church of Saint Gildas is given this name due to a priory of the 12C that depended from the Benedictine Abbey of the peninsula or presqu’île de Rhuys. Worked began in 1623 and were not finished until 1663.  The bell tower is square of three levels and was finished in 1701. It has two porches of Baroque and Renaissance style and in the interior there is a statue of Christ from the 16C. The nice marble altar in the Levallois style dates from the 17C. The organ is a Waltrin dating from 1761.

All around this area you will find plenty of shops and restos to please everyone. There is also the city hall or Hôtel de Ville nearby. Then ,you go to the Baisse Ville or lower town. This is Saint Goustan.

At Saint Goustan, a very steeply area by the river Loc’h (confluent of the Auray), you can get on the little train or petit train in the Place Saint Sauveur. Here along the Quai Franklin you can see the sleeping house when Benjamin Franklin entered France in 1776 to seek support of France against England possible re invasion and he got it from King Louis XVI in Versailles.

On this harbor today, you can set sail by cruise up the river Auray or into the islands in the Gulf of Morbihan with the Navix boat company. http://www.navix.fr/ports-de-depart/

You will see the still in renovation Chapelle de Notre Dame de Lourdes dates from 1878.  You get to see the Church Saint Sauveur, very nice condition and overlooking the high hill of Saint Goustan. The Church is on rue Saint-Sauveur, dates from 1469.  You can still see the lower gate entrance from this time, as the rest was lost on fire in 1886 then rebuilt. Plenty of wooden sculptures such as the pulpit or throne of Saint Goustan, and the choir enclosure done in 1929.

I believe I have mentioned this before but here it goes again; who was Saint Goustan? The district bears his name now, the patron Saint of the fisherman and marines. He was born in 974 in Cornouailles and raised by pirates at 18 yrs old, wounded he was left abandon in the island or île d’Houat  (in the Gulf of Morbihan) where he lived by providence that provided him with fish (so he is represented by a fish) and the care of Saint Félix, that will convert him to Christianism.  He became a monk in 1025 and founded a priory on the island or ’île de Hoëdic (Gulf of Morbihan). He now rests with his brother monks in the abbey of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys (Presqu’île de Rhuys).

More in French from the city of Auray here: http://www.auray.fr/auray/architecture/saint-goustan/

A whole new (or old) world at your fingertips with wonderful restaurants/bars, one of our favorite areas in the Region of Brittany! I guess we come so often we do not write all the time ::)

Not only Benjamin Franklin has a plaque, and wharf name after him but also a bar, resto, and the auberge with a plaque. We remember Benji a lot!!! However, here ,also set sail for Acadia (Canada) “Razilly’s expedition of three ships, holding 300 men, perhaps a dozen or so women, and supplies aplenty, all financed by his own trading company, departed Auray in early July 1632 and arrived at La Hève three months later.  He left most of the men and supplies at La Hève(Nova Scotia), until then just another fishing station on the Atlantic shore of Acadia but now his new headquarters, and hurried to Port-Royal( today Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia )to take possession of the old post from the surviving Scots, who he returned to Britain via France.  After 18 years of neglect and English interference, French suzerainty in greater Acadia finally was restored. “As per Wikipedia.

Ok so welcome to Auray, you will find it plenty of history, quaint, magical and seafaring strong. Enjoy your Sunday,cheers.

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July 22, 2017

Vannes , the market , the Cathedral and more!!!

Once again by Vannes, my backyard town and work city. I was walking around with a visitor from US staying with us and of course we needed to visit some repeat locations but always wonderful to be in Vannes ::)

We walked by the ramparts and visit the tour connetable or constable tower as well as the laundry or lavoirs passing by the Porte or gate of Saint Vincent.  We went up to see the place Valencia and the house where Saint Vincent lived as well as the Two women faces of Vannes or Vannes et ces femmes in what is now the villa Valencia restaurant. All while passing the Cohue fine arts museum and chateau Gaillard archeological museum. Passing by Place Henri IV was great again with all its wooden houses always a pleasure to see. They go back to the 14C thru the 17C. Of course, we did see the Chateau de l’Hermine off the garden of the Garenne and back now doing expositions.  The imposing sparkling clean building housing the Burton store is very nice to see the contrast with the older architecture surrounding it.

Of course ,not to missed the Le Port or harbor area and all the shops and restos;bars around there and up rue Saint Vincent into rue du lait and the place du poids public and place des Lices.

The imposing great Cathedral St Peter or Cathédrale Saint Pierre safekeeping the tomb of Saint Vincent (Vicente Ferrer of Valencia , Spain), who evangelized this area in the early 1400’s. The official site is here in French: http://cathedrale-vannes.cef.fr/index.php/patrimoine/la-cathedrale

From the city page in French you have more info than in English of course: http://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/histoire-et-patrimoine/qr-patrimoine/cathedrale-saint-pierre-en-detail/

In the Cathedral , you has to see the chapel of baptisms, holy sacrament, the tomb of Saint Vincent, mea beata Virgin Mary chapel, the wonderful organ that host many concerts next July 26th.  The many beautiful chapels along its length inside including that of Sainte Anne, patron Saint of the Brittany and who is celebrating the major pardon procession July 25-26 in Sainte Anne d’Auray (see previous post in my blog).

Another reason to come to Vannes is it’s wonderful market on Saturday morning especially. You have the outdoor flea market going on all the way into place des lices and then the food market all around place du poids public and into rue le Hellec. Not the least the Halles aux Poissons of fish market and the many shops bordering this huge space of merry go around goodies, the best reason to live here!!!

Did I tell you I love Vannes? YES; and many posts to prove it, just do search and see them all. Plenty of information to make this your one stop Brittany visit. Kenavo!!

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