Archive for July 25th, 2017

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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  :

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:

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:

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 :

 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:

On the ramp in English here:

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


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