Archive for November, 2017

November 29, 2017

Some news from Spain LVIII

Never a better excused to tell you about my other love, my beloved Spain. The weather is going down even minus Celsius degrees here and over there the water still is scarce and the weather is better at 9C now and looking sunny with high of 9C and lows of -3C the rest of the week ,partly cloudy to sunny days.

Now the latest finds and good stuff from Spain, everything under the Sun ::)

At the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao. There is an exposition on the work of David Hockney, the artist that revolutionize the world of arts on the 60’s and recognize as one of the most influential painters of the 20C. His work at the  Academy of Arts of London, is brough over with 82 paintings on the this exposition call ’82 retratos y un bodegón’ or 82 portraits and a tavern. It will be open until February 25 2018. See more here: David Hockney

The auction house of Christie’s sold this past week for 450,3M USD a portrait done by Leonardo da Vinci five centuries ago!!!, The  ‘Salvator Mundi’, the only work of the Italian artist now in private hands.  The portrait used to be part of the collection of king Charles I of England (1600-1649), and later came to several hands  before the final sale a world record for a work of art of any kind ever. “Salvator Mundi” is considered the artistic re discovery most important of this century.  It was in 2011 that after a process of restoration and analysis the experts determine that it was the work of Da Vinci. More here: The last Da Vinci

The enigmatic vision of reality of Giorgio de Chirico arrives this week at the Caixaforum Madrid, where you can see until February 18 2018. De Chirico has passed in history as an inventor of the metaphysics painting that shows dreams, memory and time in suspense and he is considered the precursor of Surrealism but also a return to Classicism and was even criticized. The work can be seen on 142 works the majority oleos but also drawing, lithographs sculptures of his trajectory from 1913 to 1976.  In the 40’s the artist born in Greece of Italian parents dedicated his efforts in bringing back the values of the paintings tradition in the renaissance and baroque styles as well. More in Spanish here: Giorgio at Caixaforum Madrid 

Considered one the groups most famous of clasical ballet oldest and prestigious Bolshoi , from their visits to London from the 50’s onward. Now La Fábrica  is publishing in The Bolshoi  one of the works most famous of Sasha Gusov  translated into 110 pictures of white and black with memorable moments on the trips of the company to London. More here: La Fàbrica, the Bolshoi

Now the front causing many traffic problems and several friends having to be rescue in Madrid due to the taxis strikes.  Several thousands taxi drivers are protesting in Madrid coming from all over Spain due to the ubersation that according to them is doing public transport a run for their money.  The general strike of the UBER types or VTC of the companies Uber and Cabify and the disloyal competition that they are causing according to the taxi drivers protesting. Traffic was cut from the Paseo del Prado direction Cibeles with police protection along the way. The strike started at 6h or 6am and has cause enormous traffic jams in Madrid  and the gated roads such as the A-6 with 14 kms of traffic jams ;other roads affected were the A-1n A-3,  A-42.  By 12h they were already inside Madrid at different points claxoning all over without accepting passengers. The strike will go on until Thursday by 12h. The main association of taxi drivers such as the Fedetaxi, Antaxi, Elite, and TNT , Caracol etc. There is another march by 11h around the Atocha train station to the door of the Congress. So bear the traffic if in Madrid now or planning to be there by tomorrow morning.

I like to tell you about the heritage cities of Unesco that I like the most in Spain.

ALCALÁ DE HENARES  ; the first city made to have an university and a model for others in Europe and America. Here Miguel de Cervantes, was born in 1547  and in 2018 it will celebrate the 20th anniversary of world heritage site as well as the market or Mercado Cervantino.  ÁVILA ; the wall ramparts are unique in Europe, try to get lost on its streets to live the experience of a medieval town in the 21C. In 2018 , it is celebrating the Theresian jubilee and medieval feasts.  BAEZA  in the center of the province of Jaén, near the park or Parque Natural de las Sierras de Cazorla, Segura and las Villas, with its wonderful University in the 16C . Also, in 2018 it is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the declaration of world heritage site as well as the festival of antique music or Festival de Música Antigua de Úbeda y Baeza.  CÁCERES , the third monumental complex in Europe with towers, palaces , squares and churches of  Cáceres. In 2018 will host the Festival WOMAD ,and the San Jorge feasts. CÓRDOBA Córdoba  Two thousand years of history mixing Arabs, Romans, Jewish ,and Christian life; its Mezquita-catedral  or Mosque Cathedral an universal symbol of this magical and unique city.  In 2018 come for the flower patios festival or Festival de Los Patios as well as the white night of flamenco. CUENCA  a view of nature with its fortress and walls .Lookouts and the canyons beauty as well as hanging houses or Casas Colgadas ; its museums with the contemporary spirit. In 2018 see the religious holy music week or Semana de la Música Religiosa , and the summer festival of Cuenca.  MÉRIDA , founded on the first years of the empire of Octavio Augusto with the imprint of its bridges, aqueducts, walls, theaters and temples showing what it was in antiquity , an empire.  Also, in 2018, it is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World heritage site as well as the classical theater or Festival de Teatro Clásico. SALAMANCA , epicenter of the old Europe way of thinking on which University was raised in the 15C and 16C with a splendor like nowhere else. A city of two Cathedrals , a  Plaza Mayor  as the center of the world and glorious past of palaces and churches to show. In 2018 it is celebrating its naming as world heritage site already 30 years ago.  Also, celebrating the 800 years of its University.  SAN CRISTÓBAL DE LA LAGUNA , Tenerife, built on ramparts of previous to the those founded in the New World;  colorful houses with palaces with tropical vegetation.  In 2018 see the celebrations of Saints such as San Benito Abad ,and the white night.  SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTEL A jewel at the end of Europe and destiny of all routes of pilgrimage  of Christianity since the 10C. Santiago de Compostela is an open city, cosmopolitan, and university town on which center lies the square or Praza do Obradoiro, an extraordinary stone monument. During 2018 see its Apostle feast and the event  Santiago é Tapas. SEGOVIA , here you taste time and the history of Spain walking around its aqueduct Alcazar, Cathedral, and palaces in a wonderful natural surroundings.  The children will enjoy in 2018 the event Titirimundi , and the adults the music festival in the garden of the king or Festival Músicas en el Jardín del Rey. TARRAGONA , the streets and buildings around the squares keep the splendor of the antique roman Tarraco, from which the city center was built.  In 2018, the city will celebrate the Mediterranean Games as well as live history of Tarragona or  Tarragona Historia Viva.  TOLEDO , what can I say about its historic legacy with the mixing of cultures Arab, Jewish, and Christian that have left along the centuries a wonderful monumental complex such as making the city of El Greco ,an icon of Imperial Spain.

Indeed wonderful Spain. Go see them now.

And we have a wonderful chocolate tradition, having introduce it to Europe from the Americas; some of the best chocolates stores in Spain are in my opinion as well as many here:

Leónidas , a Belgian chain and one of my favorites anywhere. It sells over 100 different types of cacao and in Spain has stores at Calle Casanova, 100 (Barcelona); Calle Padilla, 61 (Madrid); Calle Uría, 8 (Gijón); Calle Easo, 4 (San Sebastián); Calle Felipe Gorriti, 33 (Pamplona).  Chocolat Factory , a varied choice trying to create original creations; with stores in many cities but the two I know are in Madrid at calle Zurbarán, 17 , and Avenida del General Perón, 40.  Cacao Sampaka ; trying to make cacao a social habit and it has innovating chocolates with 3 stores in Spain at Calle Orellana, 4 (Madrid); Calle Consell de Cent, 292 (Barcelona); Calle Conde de Salvatierra, 19 (Valencia).  Pomme Sucre  ; chocolates and breads with vintage furniture and iron columns; it has plenty of choices on chocolates at its stores ,especially fruits and chocolate pastes; they are at Calle Barquillo, 49 (Madrid,  and  Calle Libertad, 26 (Gijón).  Moulin Chocolat , this is a small store specializing in macaroons and French pastries as well as chocolates, truffles and tarts using the French chocolates of Valrhona, prefered by the great chocolatiers of the world.  The store at my beloved old street in Calle Alcalá, 77 (Madrid). Oriol Balaguer , makes tarts and chocolates homemade, the store looks like a jewerly store and it has catering service .  It offers boxes of chocolates refilled with figurines of all types and nougats as well. They are at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 44 (Madrid); Plaza de San Gregori Taumaturg, 2 (Barcelona). Chocolalabelga , another Belgian with excellent choices, tablets and truffles with many flavors to choose from and you can see making them at the store. They are at Calle Bonetillo, 1 (Madrid).  An all time favorite of the family are the Chocolatería Valor , a brand now all over Spain very famous for its churros chocolates . My favorite stores are at calle del Postigo de San Martín, 7 (Madrid).  And, Pasteleria Torreblanca Cero ; an assortment of chocolates, truffles, and artisanal candies compare many times with the best Belgian chocolates .  You can buy over the internet and the store I know is at Calle Alt de Guisop, 1, (Petrer, Alicante). Enjoy the chocolates!!

Again , enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun and more ::) Enjoy your week easy on the weekend is almost here. Cheers!


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November 28, 2017

Some news from France CLXXVI

Here it is another post and this one on the first I would say cold day in Brittany, 1C and already prognosticating snow in the adjacent department 35 Ile et Vilaine!!! It will be a cold next few days but nothing compare to my life’s experiences ::)

Back on telling you all about my belle France. Lots of things happening in the Hexagone ::)

The  métro Châtelet, line 4 will be closed until March 7 2018 due to installations of facades, the train will continue onwards without stopping here in Châtelet.  The access to the line 4 here will be done above ground in the stations  Cité about 600 meters and Les Halles  at about 450 meters . To helps the riders towards the line 4 the metro and RER lines of the hub Châtelet-Les Halles the RATP Paris transport authority advice you to take the station at Les Halles.

The know it all book about Paris is out. The « le Hillairet » is already in bookstores; published for the first time in 1956 the work  «Connaissance du vieux Paris » by Jacques Hillairet  has just been re edited by publisher Payot.  It is organise in two parts Rive droite/Rive gauche,and it shows neighborhood by neighborhood or quartiers, streets, and building numbers, a radiography historical and architecturally of Paris . It will be a huge information tool to really know  Paris by the visitors and locals alike. I have an older copy in the family and it is a bible of Paris info. The current book sells for 29€ and has 816 pages.

For instance it tells you about the street or rue des Francs-Bourgeois (4éme), a very popular artery in the Marais linking the rue Rambuteau to the place des Vosges.  In the Middle Ages this street between the rue Vieille du Temple and rue  Payenne,  was called the rue des Poulies ; meaning the pulleys used by the weavers fabric makers that lived here in the 16C and house in the poor homes of frank folks exempted from taxes and impositions. It, also, became a site of prostitution and homeless ,even if the house was eventually closed the name persists until 1868.

At no 25 rue des francs bourgeois  is the seat of the historical library of the city of Paris  or  bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris since 1969,at the hotel de Lamoignon,  also called the Hôtel d’Angoulême, purchased in 1584 by Diane de France, Duchesse of Angouleme.  She died here at age 81 in 1619. In 1658, Guillaume de Lamoignon, first President of the Parliament of Paris lived here; and from 1867 to 1874, the writer Alphonse Daudet ,also lived.  In 1928, the city of Paris buys the property.  It has a wonderful architectural touch in its square arch that extends from the roof at the angle of the rue des Francs-Bourgeois  and the rue Pavée, that was used to keep vigil on the street.  The type of preservation we owed to André Malraux,creator of the law of August 4 1962 that protects and preserves the old values of France.

For those looking for bargains and big names in Paris head for Violette Sauvage . She finds good deals on her clothing market where you can buy previously wearer clothing for all tastes and pocketbooks.  Names such as Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot or Comptoir des cotonniers,  H & M , Primark ,Zara, Mango, usually 2 to 3 times cheaper than on stores. Also, the Louis Vuitton, Zadig et Voltaire etc. IN two days about 3000 persons come in to try and buy here and even pay with bank cards (no checks). The  next event is Saturday and Sunday December 2-3 from 11h to 19h at the Palais de la Femme, (home of the  Salvation Army), 94, rue de Charonne, 11éme. Admission is 2€. More info here:

The salvation army for directions is here:

The famous French pastry or choux pastry  is in mode in Paris nowdays; and the two best in my opinion are

Here at Odette ,you have boutiques in neat corners at the street level in the building of the 16C in the heart of the Montorgueil neighborhood. Here the choux of Frédéric Berthy  have an air of madeleines of Proust, souvenirs of childhood from his grandmother Odette. See it at  Odette  7, rue Galande (5éme) every day from 10h30 to 19h30 at  18, rue Montorgueil (Iéme) from Mondays to Fridays and midday to 19h30 ,the weekends hours are from 10h to 19h30. More info here:

And at Popelini, while making in error the recipe that the Italian pastrymaker did in the renaissance of 1540 the hot choux becomes the favorite dessert of his bossCatherine de Médicis.  The house proposed about 15 flavors and 6 house choux unique each day from the classic chocolate and vanilla to the less known such as pop-corn or strawberry Tagada.  The season flavors are on order like the current noisette,(hazelnut). Boutiques located at  29, rue Debelleyme, (3éme), 44, rue des Martyrs (9éme), 35, rue de Turenne (3éme) ,and  71, rue de Seine (6éme) More info here:

Teh prize French Heritage Society-Dallas et Northern California Chapters 2017  has been attributed to the Château de Versigny  for their project of restoration in the courtyard or  cour d’honneur , and the park or parc.  This prize prime the actions taken in the last 20 years for the maintenance and safekeeping of the Château de Versigny. The French Heritage Society (FHS) is an American association non profit that helps restore the French heritage in France and the USA as well as the cultural exchange between the two countries.  As such , the  FHS  and its American chapters help the work of restorations by way of several French associations.  This particular work is also funded by the  DRAC, of the departemental council of the region of Oise.  More here :

And the FHS,

And something familiar from near family grounds, Cambrai is celebrating a famous WWI battle crucial to the allies. The 100th anniversary of the battle of Cambrai that took place between November 20 and December 7 1917. When for the first time tanks were used in war with about 500 of them by the allies. After initially piercing the enemy lines due to the element of surprise the counter offensive was terrible by the Germans. The losses were about 45000 for the British soldiers holding the positions and 55000 by the Germans. More on this commemoration here:

You should ask to take a peek of vineyards in Paris! At the school or Institut Cloriviére, 119 blvd Diderot 12éme; it has a 200 m2 vineyards of 100 pieds and 17 grapes varieties right in the building of the Fondation Eugene Napoléon a building from the 19C  since 2007 and on which the first planting took place in December 2013! More at the school here:

The foundation that helps preserves the memory of the Imperatrice Eugénie of France is here:

Marie Curie, une femme au Panthéon  this is the showing on the scienfic work of Marie Curie as well as her private life of the first women who won the Nobel prize. In the occasion of her 150th anniversary the museum or  Musée Curie  and the National center of monuments of France is holding this exposition in her honor in the Panthéon, you should not miss this one going on until March 4 2018 at the Pantheon,  Place du Panthéon – (5éme). More on the museum in French here:

And you know the Panthéon:

And you have the exposition ,Gaughin, l’alchimiste  in the Grand Palais.  Come to see the secrets of a painter of the 19C in the process of creation retracing the career of the artist until the island or îles Marquises.  Until January 22  2018 3, the Grand Palais is at  avenue du Général-Eisenhower -(8éme). More here:

You have the Incas of Peru at the museum  Quai Branly , one of the first societies dating from at least 1500 years AD, in this exposition at the Quai Branly you will retrace their history, and the traces of the oldest cultures in the north of Peru.  The exposition studies the origins and organisation of the old societies in searching in the two celestial gods , the kings the elite and the urban lords, the warriors and the priests who held the most power ? How it manifest itself? All showing until April 1, 2018 at the museum located at  37 quai Branly -(7éme).  More here:

And the season to be merrier is near; and on a shop the stylist Marcia de Carvalho teaches the basis of sewing.  You will be able to create guirlandes from used materials thanks to the orphelin socks idea. You can choose your pattern, cuts, and bordering you decide all. The shop is call an  Atelier couture de Noël  or a Christmas sewing shop , open November 29 from 14h30 to 16h30 and December 7th from 18h to 20h; Wednesday December 13 from 14h30 to 16h30 at  Chez Marcia de Carvalho 2, rue des Gardes – (18éme) One parent and one child for 34€ and one parent and two children fro 50€. More information here:

Go to the Ferme de Paris for a bio shop very local and gourmand. You can taste  dry vegetables and fruits of winter  and edible decoration creations.  This is a free atelier shop but you need reservations. the Déco comestible de Noël will be on Wednesday December 6 from 14h to 16h30 at the Ferme de Paris 1, route du Pesage – (12éme)  ;more info here:

Why not create your own chocolates, the Thursday December 14 all your chocolates fairies can come thru and share with those you like. The Atelier chocolat de Noël will be on from 19h to 21h at Fika, l’atelier pâtisserie de Julia 55 bis, grande rue Charles de Gaulle – 92600 Asnières-sur-Seine ; metro 1 to reach gare st lazare and then train direction Asniére sur Seine, participation of 65€/person. More here:

Do you know the art of packaging Japanese? For gift giving, for the holidays, you can come here to discover it with the paper tissue Furoshiki. By this technique ancestral you will have the best looking gift wrapping under the Christmas tree.  The Atelier Furoshiki will be on Saturday December 16 at 16h in the library or Bibliothèque Rainer Maria Rilke at 88 ter, boulevard de Port-Royal -(5éme) Free with reservation at tel +33 (0) 1 56 81 10 70 or email

More info on the library here:

and how about these places to see Paris from above!!!

At the 6th floor (7 us) you have the Le  Perchoir dominating Ménilmontant, with cocktail bars , yoya courses, done on the roof terrace  summer or winter with views of the basilica of  Sacré-Cœur. Le Perchoir 14, rue Crespin-du-Gast – (11éme)  Métro Ménilmontant. more here:

The smaller sibling is at the 7 floor (8 us) on the rooftops of the store BHV Marais. Offering wonderful views of the tour Eiffel, Seine river , the city hall or hôtel de Ville ,and others.  In winter you have a Danish mood until 01h30 (1:30 am) . Le Perchoir du Marais 33, rue de la Verrerie – (4éme) Métro Hôtel de Ville. More here:

An old favorite,in the Centre  Pompidou with a panoramic view of Paris. Two levels on escalators and two expo rooms. Talking about the Le Georges at the Palais Beaubourg, Place Georges Pompidou -(4éme) Métro Rambuteau. more here:

if we can dream with a glass of Champagne on the 8th floor (9th us) of the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, you will be delighted seeing the rooftops of Paris. This winter the Cube Bar becomes the  Ice Cube Bar ! at  40, boulevard Haussmann – (9éme) Métro Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette. More here:

One of the old favorites now change do not know if better or worse not been to the new one. This is the Ex-Nüba, now Communion  on top of the Cité de la Mode, between suspended markets, concerts, and DJ sets no reason to stop once winter arrives.  Communion 36, quai d’Austerlitz – (13éme) Métro Gare d’Austerlitz. More here:

And now back to nostalgia. Who does not love the passages de Paris? However, do you know the many small ones dotting the city? Aside from the most and better known, here are some of my favorite mignons, cute passages of Paris. Using a site I use that is very good on all about Paris tidbits Parisrues.

We can call it the world of passages but this charming passage of many colors decorated with several flags of countries of our world a gift of the flag of bees or Abeille drapeaux, that are done in one shop at no 6. This is the  Passage Geoffroy-Didelot  at Rue des Dames -(17éme). More here:

This is one of my fav areas of Paris. It is partially covered but it works too. A historical spot that houses woodworkers shops in the what is today a beehive of furniture makers. This is the  Passage du Chantier at 66, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine – (12éme). More here:

Here you have the house of poetry or Maison de la Poésie. The others are cute and nice full of history and Paris cachet , this is the Passage Molière – (2éme), 157 rue Saint-Martin. More here:

The small but equally cute is the Passsage de l’Ancre , 223, rue Saint-Martin, (4 éme) behind a blue door . More here:

And you have two back to back here; running parallel to the street or rue de Charonne the passage Alexandrine (11éme)  is bordered not by cactus but pots of flowers all along the passageway.  Other like hortensias in bamboo and even laurier are flank one to the other.  A short few steps from here you can see the pretty  passage Lepeu, also very romantic,  with flowers and greens decorations. More here:

And here:

Last one ,but not the least, we come near the Bastille and the  passage Lhomme hardly seen if you have not read it here first . The street is paved and retro into the 1900 Paris giving you the impression of walking in a small village of Brittany. It is at 26, rue de Charonne – (11éme). Find it here:

And then something to come and believe useful for those thinking/dreaming of coming over to France. A new low cost airline and now expanding, LEVEL. Next July 2018 it will start flights from Paris Orly airport to Montreal, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Liberty airport Newark New Jersey!! my old airport out of college worked there for a while lol!!  Yes I am older than you think ::)   The tickets are on sale already for 129€ to Newark and 99€ to the other spots. the airline is Level and will do the flights using Airbus A330-200 with 293 seats in tourist class, and 21 in Tourist class premium. The latter ones will include luggage, food, and seat reservation, as well as access to internet on the plane for 8,99€. It is expected that OpenSkies will stop flying next summer and the staff join Level. The low cost airline webpage is here:

November 23, 2017

Some news from Spain LVII

And I am back rather quickly as too much info on my posts do not like.  Spain is everything under the Sun, and I need to tell you more of my beloved Spain. Here are some places you should stop by on your lifetime visiting or living in Spain.

We have to visit Oviedo in the Principality of Asturias, name after the heir to the throne of Spain, the Princess of Asturias currently is Leonor de Borbon y Ortiz oldest daughter of King Felipe VI. On the trip to this wonderful region it is best to leave two days; one day for the west part of the capital city of Oviedo and another for the east side. Most of the trip will be in the Camino de Santiago also call Camino del Norte. Road to St James or the North walkpath.

The road to the west takes you to visit the Church of  San Juan de Priorio, about 10 kms away by taking the road N-634 until the path that takes you to the thermal city of Las Caldas.  This is a Church from the 12C to 13C and additions later from the 18C to 20C. You can continue for 6 km to see the Church of San Esteban de Sograndio, also from the 12C. Following our road, this is all by car of course…. you leave the Valley of the Trubia river that in roman times was the old road between Asturias and Léon to extract minerals; you will reach the Teverga at about 32 kms on the road AS 228; here you will see the Church Collegiale of San Pedro, from the 11C with deco of pre roman style; go on for 5 kms towards the town of Villanueva de Teverga,where it is worth the detour to the Church of  Santa María from the 11C and 12C; come back to Villanueva de Teverga towards Arrojo, at about 23 kms on the road AS-229 and see the rural style Church of San Pedro  from the 12C.  Continue for about 40 kms and reach the town of Cornellana, here you should visit the Benedictine monastery of San Salvador, with a roman Church from the 13C and a monastic complex in baroque from the 17C to 18C.

In the second day, you can do the town of Villaviciosa with its Churches of San Esteban de Aramil and  Santa María de Narzana both of rural style and modest proportions. Continue onwards passing the Alto de la Campa, taken the road leaving the Valley of Valdediós. At the end of the road you will reach the monastery of Santa María de Valdediós, a nice monastery complex in the Cistercian tradition from the 13C and next a Church of San Salvador de Valdediós, pre roman style. Back to the road to Villaviciosa, another road takes you to the Church of San Andrés de Valdebárcena, 12C a rural temple; and finally at the doorsteps of Villaviciosa you need to see the Church of San Juan de Amandi ,13C of the Asturian roman style. You come back to Oviedo our starting and ending point for a total of about 45 km trip.

In Oviedo itself you come to the old Ovetum that since its foundation in the 8C by the Asturian monarchy reaching to be the Capital of the kingdom. The old town is left with a medieval look with an easy modern tracing of the streets.  The old town is pedestrian and easy to walk from the University to the Cathedral and from the Palace of  or palacio del Marqués de San Félix to the  Camposagrado (holy field). The tower of the Cathedral of Oviedo is the start of any walks in Oviedo , done in flamboyant gothic style with a tower, rosary, and arch gate entrance guarding the biggest Asturian symbols.  The Chapel of San Miguel, or Cámara Santa,keeps the holy coffer or Arca Santa, the cross of the angels or Cruz de los Ángeles, and the victory cross or Cruz de la Victoria, also visited by the pilgrims that continue on to Santiago de Compostela.  These symbols are shown in the shield of the city of Oviedo as well as the Principality of Asturias.  Around the Cathedral you see the most important heritage of the city such as the Church of San Tirso, the fine arts museum or  Museo de Bellas Artes or the archeological museum or  Museo Arqueológico. The square or plaza de la Catedral  takes us to the square or Plaza de Alfonso II el Casto, where you can see the palaces of  Valdecarzana and de la Rúa. At Cimadevilla, the oldest part of the old town you find the peculiar square of plaza de Trascorrales, where the old stock house or lonja is located as well as the nice square or Plaza de la Constitución.  The latter has colorful houses that continue into the squares of plaza de Daoíz y Velarde.

At the University of Oviedo the last building before reaching the river  with a plateresque facade of the 16C giving to a cloister hosting cultural events all year. The closeby facades of the palaces of  Toreno and Camposagrado are worth a visit.  From here starts the Oviedo of the end of the 19C around the square or plaza de la Escandalera and the park or parque Campo de San Francisco.  Here are the Palacio Regional,home of the council of the Principality, the bank or Caja de Asturias, and the old bank or Banco Herrero.  All of the latter are in a French style.  Here near, we find the theater or Teatro Campoamor, where each year the prizes of the prince of Asturias are given (Príncipe de Asturias). Also, the modern arts center is located here or Centro de Arte Moderno. You have to continue on the street or Calle Uria to come to the more commercial Oviedo following one of the ending streets such as Gil de Jaz, you reach the provincial hospice or Hospicio Provicial from the 18C today is the luxury hotel or Hotel Reconquista. Nice Oviedo!!!

Some of my favorite Cathedrals in Spain, and there are many nice ones, are these.

The one in Oviedo of course, call the Sancta Ovetensis for the amount and quality of its relics. The Santa Iglesia Basílica Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador de Oviedo is of a Gothic style; from the the road to St James/Santiago in the times of king Alfonso II el Casto, the Cathedral started to be built in the 12C and lasted until the 16C even if later in the 17C  some Chapels were added to the lateral nerfs. More info :

In the year 916 king Ordoño II gave its royal palace to built a Church thanking God to allowed him to beat the Arabs/moors in the battle of San Esteban de Gormaz ; and here his remains lies.  The stained glass are from the 13C to 20C and add up to about 1705 meters of superficie; the Cathedral of Leon is the best and purest example of gothic in Spain. More info here:

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the last trip of the pilgrims that covers their pathways or caminos.  The construction in the roman style started in 1075 and has a latin cross and three nerfs with amplications later on in gothic, baroque, plateresque and neo classic styles.  Its porch or Pórtico de la Gloria built in 1188 shows 200 figures of the Apocalypse. More info here:

The only Cathedral declared world heritage by UNESCO was built between 1221 and 1765 with a predominant gothic style added to others. The gate or Puerta del Perdón is located in the façade of the Catedral de Burgos, where you can see a rosary on both sides two towers of 84 meters high, crown by arrows from the 15C. More info.

The Cathedral of Sevilla was built over that which in the 12C was the great Mosque or Gran Mezquita, of which still is preserve the prayer tower or alminar, known as the Giralda , the patio de Abluciones and the gate or Puerta del Perdón.  It was converted Christian in 1248 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III.  In the Cathedral there are five nerfs, with elements of the moorish or mudéjar, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and neo classical. More info here:

Converted to the Christian cult in 1236 after the conquest of the city by king Fernando III, the Cathedral of Córdoba is built over the old mosque ; the most important Islamic monument in town.  The Cathedral shows the complete evolution of the Omeya style in Spain including other styles such as gothic, renaissance, and baroque. It was in the 16C that in the middle of the mosque a great renaissance Christian nerf was built. More info here:

Built over a mosque, that at the same time was raised a Church in the times of Recaredo, the Primate Cathedral of Toledo or Catedral Primada de Toledo began to be built in 1226. The floorplan has five nerfs on which ceiling hold 88 columns and 72 coffins as well as stained glass polychrome from the 14C 15C and 16C. In a gothic style with French influence, its choir is considered the biggest in Christianity. More here up once maintenance is done to the site:

Attach to the old, the new Cathedral or Catedral Nueva de Salamanca started building it in 1513 and open in 1733.  The construction began in the tardo gothic style but has elements of newer periods.  The Cathedral is rectangular with 3 nerfs and oven style Chapels cover with coffins etc. More here:

OF gothic architecture style and related to the Anglo Normand arts as well as Franco Normand of the 12C, the Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María y San Julián de Cuenca began to be built from 1196 and finished in 1257.  The Cathedral has three nerfs, five sloping absides ,transept and triumphorium with windows decorated with statues of angels. More here:

Known as the dame of the Cathedrals or La Dama de las Catedrales for its dimensions and elegance, the Cathedral or Santa Iglesia Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción y de San Frutos de Segovia was built between the 16C and 18C in gothic style with renaissance influences.  It was built after the old Cathedral or Catedral de Santa María de Segovia was replaced during the war of communities or Guerra de las Comunidades in 1521,works began in 1525.  It has three nerfs with windows and gothic coffins of 30 meters high as well as a tower that reaches 90 meters. More info here:

IT is considered the first marian temple in Christiniaty, the Cathedral or Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza with a baroque style of three nerfs ,covers with coffins and canon, cupolas and pillars.  At the same spot there was already existance of another Church in a moorish style dedicated to St Mary , therefore its origins goes back to the 9C.  The Basilica has four towers built between 1715 and 1961. More here:

Hope you enjoy the ride brief but essential to indulge in the history and beauty of Spain, now it’s your turn to seek them out. It will be worth your time. Happy travels to all, Cheers

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November 22, 2017

Some news from Spain LVI

Once again back with the news of my beloved Spain. It has been nice in Madrid, 62F now lows of 40F no rain in sight and the same for the rest of the week. And now some news about my beloved Spain!

The black truffe or trufa negra in the province of Soria is the best. Now December 4-5 will host the I Concurso Internacional Cocinando con Trufa,or the first international contest on cooking with truffles an initiation of the council of Castilla y León . It will bring together the best chefs experts on the delicacy; there will be 15 teams of which there will be a consecrated chef and a cooking school student. Some of the chefs will be Rishi Naleendra of Sri Lanka, one star Michelin; Diego Galicia of Mexico considered one of the best chefs of the year by Food & Wine magazine; Kimberly Lallouz,of Montreal, Canada, and the Spanish Aitor Martínez Ros and Iván Sivera Saura. To win the prize they will need to make a creation in 90 minutes;only the 5 best will compete the next day in the final with a cook-off of 120 minutes and a hot and cold entry. The jury will be an important one as well led by Rafael Ansón, president of the Real Academia de la Gastronomía, or Royal Academy of Gastronomy where members have several stars Michelin like Mitsuharu Tsumura, chef of Maido, considered the best in Latin America or Sanjeev Kapoor, the star of Indian cuisine.  Others will be the Spaniards Oriol Castro and  Alberto Chicote . All representation from 24 countries and 5 continents.  In the province of Soria you find the biggest farming of truffles in the world!!! More here:

Some more delicacies from Spain is the pigeon, with a greasy skin, and thin meat and easy digestion. Some of the best places to eat it in Madrid ,my opinion, are at :

Piñera, calle Rosario Pino,12, full ration 26€ half 14€ ;

La Paloma, calle Jorge Juan 39 from the hunting grounds and done with thick salt for 33€;

Desencaja, Paseo de la Habana 84, roasted in charcoal with mushrooms and endives for 26€;

Arzàbal Avenida de Menéndez Pelayo 13 and branch at calle Santa Isabel 56 roasted on vegetables sauces for 21€;

Tablao Corral de la Moreria, calle Moreria 17, a great show of flamenco still and with risotto rice for 29,80€;

For a wonderful funny show if you speak Spanish see the Los Morancos doing their satirical laughs at everything Spanish and current news to sports to politics.  Antonimos; a funny intelligent show to see until December 27 in the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, Plaza de Tirso de Molina, 1.

Quick, if you are single and looking, coming to Spain stop by these places some new some old never change really; action by here:  Playa d’en Bossa (Ibiza) Calle Alfileritos (Toledo) Casco viejo de Bilbao Centro histórico de Málaga Barrio Monte Alto (A Coruña)  El Tubo (Zaragoza)  Calles María Cubí y Santaló (zona alta de Barcelona) Barrio de Ruzafa (Valencia) Malasaña (Madrid) Casco antiguo de Badajoz.

Have you heard of María Calderón (1611-1646)? well it was a popular artist of the times and a lover of king  Felipe IV, of which was the mother of their son Juan José Austria (amongst many by the king). She was known as the «La Calderona» because she was the adopted daughter of writer Calderón de la Barca. To this women, the writer  Jaroslav Vrchlický (1853-1912),known as the Czech Víctor Hugo, dedicated the drama «María Calderón». It was done not like a drama but a musical and funny that will be play at the Teatro Alfil theater . She had many lovers such as duke of Medina de las Torres as well as the king making jealous the queen  Isabel de Borbón; she was taken her son away and forced to entered a monastery ,this and other details are shown in the play produced by David Ottone. More in Spanish here:

You have CARMEN by Benjamin Lacombe until March 4 2018 , a novel written by  Prosper Merimee to do an artistics interpretation of history. Benjamin Lacombe has already done books on Madame Butterfly, María Antonieta , and Frida. The show is broken down into three parts that correspond to the first 3 chapters of the work by Mérimée.  There are 23 illustrations exposed running in chronological order the narrative. Museo ABC ,calle Amaniel 29-31.Tel. +34 91 758 83 79; reach it on Metro  San Bernardo ( 2 and 4) Noviciado (líne 2) Ventura Rodríguez (líne 3) Plaza de España (línes 3 and 10). More here:

 You have now the Circo del Sol until January 8 2018 in the Carpa Blanca del Circo del Sol, Avenida de Portugal s/n. Fridays and Saturdays 18h30 and 22h, Sundays 17H and 20h30 ,Mondays Wednesdays and Thursdays at 20h30.  Prices from 28€. you can buy tickets at  El Corte Inglés (, 902 40 02 22 ,and at stores), (, 902 488 488 -teatro-, 902 22 14 24 -offices of bank  Bankia, Caja Navarra, Ibercaja, Grupo Rural ), , and at their webpage

Alcalà de Henares is ready for Christmas with a giant Papa Noel of 10 meters and more than 25K m2 at the Recinto Ferial de Alcalà ; activities like a roller coaster for all ages, ice rink biggest in Spain, and a space of rides of more than 5K m2 . All until January 7 2018; at Ronda del Henares, 19 and Plaza de Cervantes. More info here:

And you have the tapas route second edition or the II Ruta de Tapas a Fuego Lento by Crock-Pot & Oster, this time in the area of  Retiro-Boulevards of Ibiza. There are 16 bars and restaurants to offer tapas at a price using only pressure cookers of  Crock-Pot  slow cooking, a trend in Spain today. You can try a small casserole of callos madrileños  at the Marísquería Sanchís or calamars in its ink at Tagomago,  to an international mole poblano Mexican at Madridaje and a wonderful zamburiñas in pepper sauce at Atlántico-Casa de Petiscos.  The prices are from  2,80  to 5 euros. Good for November 23 and December 10th. Some others are  Casa Martín  with meatballs , Casa de Fieras and its tuna, bacon iberico confit at Castelados, Strogonoff at Triana, bull tails at Kulto or small pork rolls at Don Eusebio; and more. On the road at slow fire or  “A Fuego Lento”. All details info here Fuego lento Retiro

Enjoy Spain , everything under the Sun. Cheers

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November 20, 2017

Some news from France CLXXV

Here I go again with news of my belle France. It has been mild lately going down to 9C;  however,the afternoon has gone up to 12C, figure about 50F to 55F and cloudy with some sun out no rain.

Some of the latest from France are:

The Church of La Trinité (9éme) even with a fountain closed to avoid falling stones is open to all and celebrating 150 years as most of the buildings around it. Tomorrow the world is invited to participate on the meals service to the homeless in the Crypt. There will be a guided visit at 18H ; like every evening until Sunday it will be illuminated by 2000 candles and lanterns; then at 20h45 the parrish evening in the Church. At 11H Sunday the Mass for its 150 years will be held in the world day on poverty and at 16h30 a concert in the choir. For more than 25 years the crypt of the Church holds a dinner to the homeless with donations from many every Monday, Tuesday , Thursday and Friday; from mid October to mid June. Each week almost 800 meals are served with donation of as much as 6000 kgs of fruits and vegetables from local merchant of Rungis (the food market of Paris) .  By word of mouth  from 9h many are in the kitchen preparing to serve the meal by 12h45 . You can see this entering by the rue de La Trinité, from 12h45 to 13h30.  More here: La Trinité

Ready for the season to be merrier, the committee of Faubourg Saint-Honoré unveils tomorrow Thursday November 16 the lighting of Christmas on the street during this year program the  Winter Time 2017.  This year the festivities are link to the charitable organisation Laurette Fugain that fights leucemia. For this occasion the street will be pedestrian only from 18h30 to 19h30 between the streets of rue Boissy D’Anglas (8éme) and the rue Royale (1éme). At 18h45, the gospel choir of Paris will open the evening with traditional Christmas songs; by 19h a child will bring a lantern to singer Nolwenn Leroy (Brittany) so she can light up the fire that will lit up all the lanterns in the street ,and will be on until early January 2018. There will be a tombola open to all until January 27th,  The participants can already purchase their ticket on the site Winter Time 2017 or from the association Laurette Fugain. More here: Winter Time 2017

do you this now famous football/soccer club of Paris,PSG how it began? Well it was back in 1969 with the creation of the Paris Football club  and the wish of the French football league to have a team in Paris. However, no team wanted to fusion or be promoted for the idea. At the same time another club was moving up from Division 2 winning it in 1969-1970; this was the Stade Saint-Germanois, (St Germain en laye) founded in 1904. The stadium to play was just finished in 1972.  The all new Paris-Saint-Germain Football club had two years to reach the Division One ,and they needed only one season to do so. A few months later that the city of Paris did not want to sponsor a team in the suburbs while the Paris FC  stayed temporarely in Division one.  The Paris-Saint-Germain, that preserved the name but falls two levels down to allow the opportunity for the two clubs to merged. In 1973,the fashion creator Daniel Hechter becomes the owner by taken the second team,and the history of the PSG is on. More on them here: PSG

Want to see something different in Paris? come to the romantic squares where you can see the evolution of wild ducks, and hear the noice of the swings and admire the flowers that change each season; this is the Square des Batignolles and facing it is the new parc Martin Luther King with wonderful trees and a skatepark that children loves. This is at 144 bis, et 147, rue Cardinet (17éme). Behind the train station Gare Saint Lazare. It is closed until Nov 24th for cleaning.More of it here; Batignolles et MLK

And if you are in Paris and want to know more of Brittany before getting to me, this is their official information bureau. Maison de la Bretagne 8, rue de l’Arrivée – 75015 PARIS – Métro : Montparnasse  Tel +33 (0)1 53 63 11 50; just next to the Gare Montparnasse. More here: Maison de la Bretagne

On December 4 2017 the five aquarelles by Jacques Gotko will be up for sale at the Hôtel des ventes de Drouot in Paris. They were painted in the concentration camp of Royallieu in Compiegne between 1941 and 1942 showing life of the prisioners there on a daily basis. The Mémorial de l’Internement et de la Déportation would like to acquired them and has started a call for donations on the site They need 10K€ to get these paintings and are hoping for folks to help out. Now you can at Ulule.

With a beautiful sun covering their new site in a mansion at the corner of rue Saint-Honoré you can read « Louis Vuitton »  now celebrating the opening  since October of their new store in the Place Vendome. The store is a complete gamme of all their products ; see it here :

At the forthcoming Salon du Cheval de Paris (horse show) between November 25 and December 3rd at the parc  des expositions de Paris Nord-Villepinte.  For the first time the  Garde républicaine parades their 250 horses and 110 jockeys with 40 carriages . Starting from the bois de Boulogne, the knights and their horses follow a path of 20 kms into Paris passing by the Opéra Garnier, Louvre, Champ-de-Mars , and Trocadéro.  More in French here:

And we reach a world record according to the house of auctions Osenat. The laurel leave in gold coming from the crown of the coronation of emperor Napoléon Ier, were purchased for 625 000 euros, last Sunday at the Château de  Fontainebleau. This leave done by jeweler Martin Guillaume Biennais, was estimated at between 100k and 150K euros, was purchased by an international collector as told by the maison Osenat. More here and with video:

Also, the red box a makeup box of the Impératrice Joséphine, estimated at between 40 to 50K euros was sold for 156 250 euros. A coffret for men entered by the National Museums and specifically the Louvre was sold for 58 750 euros. By the Maison Osenat as well.

The museum of romantic lives or the Musée de la vie Romantique 16 rue Chaptal in the 9éme arrondissement has closed its doors for renovations that will help the persons with mobility impaired to access the museum, an elevator will be installed in the shop on two levels located at the right of the entrance. The museum should open again in June 2018. Read it all here:

The historically famous Grand Rex  cinema with its 2 700 seats , starred skies, huge screen in a vault of more than 30 meters high with a visitation of about 1 million persons per year still shows magical moments. Since its opening in December 8 1932 and celebrating its 85 years. Really history tell us that it was until 1947 when Jean Hellmann took over that this cinema gained its fame. Her son Philippe, took over at the age of 22!!! He who later created the cinema network of UGC in France where the family is still majority shareholders . A Paris Landmark not to be missed especially if you like films.  Le Grand Rex, 1, boulevard Poissonnière (ééme). Metro Bonne Nouvelle. Adults admission 15 €  and children 12 €. See it here:

And now the Disney-Pixar is shown exclusively in conjunction with the water fairy or Féerie des Eaux.  A great end of year Christmas spectacle that is sure to be a good one coupled with the film « Coco » of Disney-Pixar  studios (« Toy Story », « Vice-Versa »…)  the story of a young Mexican boy who is found stuck in the kingdom of the Dead. Shown at the above Le Grand Rex 

You can admire the numeric production of “Baiser” of Klimt shown on a wall 10 meters high with an outstanding musical sound that will be possible to see from next April 13 2018 on the opening of the « L’Atelier des Lumières », managed by Culturespaces, See it all here first in French:

It is still going on with preparation works at  38, rue Saint-Maur (11éme), steps from the metro Voltaire. This was an old foundry from the 19C that conserved many of its original elements. For the price of a cinema ticket you will be able to see monumental presentation on the walls as it is currently shown on a similar site in  Baux-de-Provence (Bouches-de-Rhône).  The projections will be on all the walls and floor covering about  3 300 m2, and the public will be submerge into the moving images and the sound with the biggest video projection in the world!!!  The public will be parade it on the huge hall of  1 500 m2 where it will be projected in alternance programs of 35 minutes so the first one shown will be as explained above.  A studio of 160 m2, equipped with a bar thrown into the night will welcome artists of the numeric art or emerging talent .  « L’Atelier des Lumières » will open 365 days per year 7/7 from 10h to 18h during the week and 19H on weekends with a night session to 22h on Friday evenings. See the webpage above.

The nice historically famous Tour Jean Sans Peur in Paris organises until December 31 its 15th exposition entitled « Moyen Âge et publicité » or middle ages and publicity.  This tower of 27 meters high near the Halles is less frequented than others in Paris but all worth a detour.  It houses a ludic museum on daily life in the years 1400-1500.  The only civil medieval tower in Paris built between 1409  and 1411 by Jean Sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy. You can see with the family all the costumes of this period and the stories around them. The tour Jean Sans Peur, 20, rue Etienne-Marcel  (2éme). Open Wednesdays to Sundays from  13h30 and 18h. Free admission until 6 yrs old, 3,50€ for the 6-18 yrs old and 6€  for adults. More info here in a wordpress French blog:

Had to tell you about this exposition superb ,”Degas Danse Dessin”, November 28 to February 25 2018 at the museum or musée d’Orsay. More info in English here:

At the Mémorial Charles de Gaulle at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises (Haute-Marne) there is going on an exposition «À table avec le général de Gaulle»  on the memories of dining with the General De Gaulle welcoming his guests. The period covers from 1959 when he became President to 1969 upon his retirement from politics . It shows the famous dinner given on June 1st 1961 to US President John F. Kennedy  and wife, Jackie. After this visit the US president encouraged the donations to support the Château de Versailles!!! The complete title of the exposition is  «À table avec le général de Gaulle, 10 ans de menus présidentiels (1959-1969)»  It will be on until December 30 2017. You can have dinner there for 25€ only on lunch time and except Mondays and Tuesdays; at  54, rue du Général-de-Gaulle, 52330 Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. Tél. +33 (0)3 25 01 51 69.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his call for action on June 18 1940, the Champagne house of Drappier created in 1990 a special cuvee Charles-de-Gaulle with the same blending as he liked such as  80 %  pinot noir and 20 % chardonnay. Only the dosage is less today by about 7 grams making a a more dry Champagne but delicious as apéritif or to accompany meals . The production is still confidential but it is believe between 3000 to 4000 bottles per year.Champagne Drappier Charles-de-Gaulle. About 35 €. More here:

And there is already coming up the season to be merrier and the ski slopes are waking up too. In the Savoy the season has started at Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes), Chamrousse (Isère), already welcoming skiers.  At 2300 meters high ,the station is the highest in all the Alpine arch with 3/4 of the stations ready for skiing on hundreds of km of trails mostly between  2300 and 2700 meters.  On the seven mechanical chairs going as high as 3000 meters and more only  Funitel Grand-Fond will work.  However, the cable car of  Cime Caron, terminus at 3200 meters and a panorama à 360 °, will starts in a few days. The prices are just, until November 24th the day will be at 33,60€ and the forfeit of 4 hours at 30,10€. The weekend the tariff will be special 2 days at 64€. The local tourist reservation desk will have a lodging and ski for 2 days 2 nights from 112€ per person; good for the weekend and the following. At Montgenévre (Hautes-Alpes) they have 8 trails ready with 700 meters of skiing on foot for 20€ per day.  At Chamrousse (Isére) there is a Nordic trail of 5 km for 1,50€ per day and ready to go! In the Alps at Tignes (Savoie) as always first in welcoming skiers on the glacier of Grande-Motte and this year it will be bigger on the trail Double M . So far only one cable car is going up from Tignes-Val-Claret with no connections.  At 32 €  for adults and 26 €  for children the forfaits (glacier and double M) are on a limited space available and a bit more expensive than the 100 km of trails available at  Val-Thorens,in the same valley. Finally, in the Alpes-Maritimes,just by Nice ,the Isola 2000 is already open with half the domaine skiable for 20€ per day.  One site I always used for my boys doing the runs is this one Skiinfo in French,but can change to English, just in French it gives you more info.

And talking about Christmas , well I have been to many over the years and lately the local ones, but these are the best markets in France in my opinion.

Marché de Noël de Colmar, Marché de Noël de Strasbourg, Marché de Noël de Montbéliard, Marché de Noël d’Obernai, Marché de Noël de Mulhouse, Marché de Noël de Reims, Marché de Noël d’Amiens, Marché de Noël de Lille, Marché de Noël de Metz, and Marché de Noël d’Arras. Merry Christmas to all who believe.

Until next time on the airwaves of Paris1972-Versailles2003 ::) Cheers!!!!!

November 8, 2017

Some news from France CLXXIIII

+.+And back to France we go folks, this is Fall but it looks already like Winter.  Temps are as low as 5C and now 7C or about 43F; cloudy, gray and raining; and Paris is at 47F with lows of 40F. Well , I guess I always wanted to be a meteorologist even if it is not a perfect science ::)

This just in ,the Grande Epicerie de Paris has a new outlet in Paris, 80 rue de Passy 16éme , wonderful items in my favorite arrondissement of Paris…

Problems in Paris, the Christmas market by the Champs-Elysées are cancelled pending the courts to determine if it goes on. The principal organizer of these markets is now fighting the decision of the Council of Paris in court to have reverse the decision. He has done or try to do some blocks of traffic which only enrage the people doing nothing to his cause with heavy traffics all over the Paris region. The contract with the city of Paris was signed in 2015 and by now the market attracts about 15 million visitors, with 240 merchants and providing about 2000 jobs according to the organizer but there is something fishy going on here.  He had about 70 trucks requisition by the police on the porte de la Muette and the esplanade du Château de Vincennes. The city counters that they want a more valuable choice with more upscale products and locally produce. Again, something fishy going on here….

Also, the festival by the Grand Palais has been cancelled, weird, the rides installed under the big glass dome of the Grand Palais will not be there this year. The closing of the Châtelet, the musical comedy Singin’in the Rain will be on stage from November 28 to January 11 2018. The rides are out… fish fish… The other grand rendezvous at the Bastille is cancelled without explanation too!!! Also, reduce by half the participants in the Foire du Trône on the lawn of the Reuilly!  The organizer of all these festivals is in court and the blockage of trucks has been stop. Like I said, the organizer is waiting for the Tribunal Administratif de Paris by way of his attorney to get the market re open by the court. The decision is to be done by November 14 2017. From articles in Le Parisien journal

However, there is something on Christmas days that will not change is the decoration of the Great department stores of Paris .

The windows of the Au Printemps Haussmann  are still blank but from Tuesday November 7 today, at 17h they will have a start done by Nicole Kidman, the cinema star. Eleven portraits on the eleven windows of au Printemps have been thought of and designed with a participation of  150 persons, painters, seamstress, electricians etc like a theater play they will do about 13 km of nylon cords in the windows with  70 little bears and others to accompany Jules with its aviator hat and aviator dress as well as  Violette adventurer with the sheets and rose  scarfs.  On the portrait of Bavaria the little rabbit that is trying to put all the suitcases in the VW beetle, and the head on the vault, the thighs on air, and the skirts offered to spectators should be one of the stars of the season.  The van new one of  Citroën, will be cut in half showing the length ,and the transatlantic trip or the over flight of Paris in zeppelin will be a great spectacle. It will be shown every day from 19H or 7PM until mid night and until mid January 2018. More here:

In the windows of the  Galeries Lafayette, it will start on Wednesday at 18h or 6pm with an fairs universe  of the Paris of early 20C.  You see Pierre ,the pigeon heroe and his sweet lady Coco that will  fly over a spectacular decoration of 12 animated windows.  All at the tune of an barbarian organ with wild rhythm.  Beyond the windows inside the store, a virtual reality that will make you travel along the rollercoasters in Paris to arrive at the grand dome of the store.  A free experience shown between December 9 to 31st 2017 in six sofas that moves for 2h30 minutes of crazy moves. Finally, each weekend the animations awaits you with magic and goddess of great adventures. More here:

A bit of arts in my beloved Versailles.

At the turn of the 20C, he show the Orient to the world, painter and photographer, Georges Gasté (1869-1910) is given an exposition entitled  « Un Orient sans images » The Orient in images at the museum or musée Lambinet in Versailles.  He was a great traveler of Algéria, Égypt , and India, that he shows with photos and portraits.  Now from Mondays to Sundays and from 14h to 18h except Fridays and Holidays and until Sunday February 18 2018 at the museum located at  54, boulevard de la Reine, just around the market of Notre Dame.Admission adults 6€ and more info from the city page here :

And from the tourist office on the museum itself:

The label of Ramsar that honors around the world the best natural sites like the golfe du Morbihan near me has just given the marais de Sacy the same prestigious title.  The marshes runs over 1 073 hectares, with a expansive plains one of the biggest of France. They keep some of the species in danger in our world such as the spider Dolomedes plantarius, that is able to dive into the water to avoids its preditors as well as the rats like amphibious vole. Today, there is a trail at the south entrance to Saint-Martin-Longueau, that allows you to walk for about 1 km bordering the marshes. There is an observation tower high of 10 meters with a view of the wet lands . For more information you can contact the marais de Sacy at tel +33 (0) Further info here:

And more info on Ramsar organization here:

On March 23-24 2018, at Senlis you have the wonderful garden festival or the  17 Salon du Jardin we all enjoy here all over, Senlis is a nice historical medieval city center town. More on this event here:

Jog this down in your calendar for a grand special event in the Oise region of France. October 5-7 2018 there will be at historical Senlis the next International Festival of  Saint-Fiacre.  There will be groups visiting from Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany,and Luxembourg. The crucial moment of the 3 days event is the Saturday October 6, the Mass of Saint-Fiacre in the Cathedral.  All the Chapels will be decorated by the different visiting délégations and in town there will be religious cérémonies as well as civil with presentation by different European groups, such as solemn Mass, benediction of the flowery chariots on the parvis of the Cathedral, worshipping the patron saint of the gardeners.  In the afternoon there will be a vegetables parade with panels, statues, and banners, flower chariots, and musical groups. For now they are looking for volunteers to help on the event, info here: Mme Nicole Picart tel +33 (0) or email

Something unique in Paris is the old museum of public works or ancienne Musée des Travaux Publics at the Palais d’Iéna. 9 Place d’Iéna. open every day from 12h to 19h. It is no longer a museum but it houses an economic council, however for the architecture is worth a detour. See it all here:

The army museum or musée de l’Armée  has an event on the experience of a soldier in the front entitled « dans la peau d’un soldat » or The Life of a  Soldier with visuals of 337 objects, some unique of the period of antiquity to our days.  An exposition showing to what point the military have been on the origin of many current tendances from style to designs : the expo will be until January 28 2018. More info here:

After 2,5 years of renovations the castle or Château de Rambouillet  has reopen its doors. This is the summer residence of the President of France which has seen passed by famous such as king François Ier to Nelson Mandela. A new exposition entitled the Princes of Rambouillet , family portrait or « Les princes de Rambouillet. Portraits de famille », dedicated to the illustrious previous owners as well as entertainment will be on until January 22 2018.  More here:

The forest is the invited guest to the Château de Maisons at Maisons Laffitte.You will emerge in a mysterious ambiance of a walk across storytelling and legends ; the walks are organize in 7 portraits that inspire each a imaginary representation of the forest. After the forest oexposition, you can visit the forest or forêt de Saint-Germain  with ONF on  there was once a forest or  « Il était une forêt… »,all until March 5 2018. More info here:

The third biannual of Flamenco art entitled the « Tablao » is on from November 10th a the  Théâtre national de la Danse for almost 3 weeks of dances.  It will let you see some espectacle of high quality like the dancer José Galvan, on for 3 exceptional dates. More here:

During the work at Chatelet, the representations continues in the dome of the Grand Palais. It will show the musical comedy of  Singin’ in the Rain,  from November 28 to January 11 2018.  They have done a cinema studio in the palace and will have before and during the show ; food trucks, studio photo, makeup artist, claquettes courses ,video installations and  karaoke. More here:

I have told you previously in my blog about the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, well is now open this museum of sand . It is like an mirror, at the junction of the Arabian Gulf (Persian on the other side coast of Iran), tip of sea and military zone crossing the Emirates mixing urban and architecture as we reach the island of Saadiyat, « the island of happiness », we see like the arm of the sea, the rivers, and the canals; a vast complex very modern. More here:

Also, on previous posts I mentioned about the rescue of the Potager du Roi of Versailles. The vegetable garden created in 1678 by  Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie as per request of king Louis XIV. Now officially the Potager du Roi  has been retained by the World Monuments Fund (WMF). It is on the list of world sites the American   charitable organization is ready to invest and preserve as per the last Fifty years the WMF, base in New York, has help support about  800 sites in 135 countries. Amongst the generous contribution to the Fund we can count on the Prince Aga Khan, the family of perfumer Lauder, the decorator Juan Pablo Molyneux or the American company American Express. This is good news indeed!!! More here:

And the WMF here:

And back to Paris for the opening of a historical swimming pool open to all. Art Nouveau and a cinema decoration this is the basin where Amélie Poulain did her swims in the famous film of same name of  2001; and now the swims in this 18éme arrondissement will be able to do again. After two years of renovations the pool or piscine des Amiraux  re opened its doors to the public today. The pool is open 7/7 and will have  43 hours for swimmers per week for the general public, 30 hours for the schoolchildren, and 26 hours for the sports club.  The pool is located at 6, rue Hermann-Lachapelle (18éme),nearest metro is Simplon, line 4. Bus 56 also stops here. More info here:

To commemorate the 100 years of the Grand Guerre or WWI the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris will light up the façade and even the interior with an illumination spectacle in 17 portraits for 23 minutes duration in four nights starting tonight  and until Saturday night on 19h30 and 21h each night. The event is free but get there early as there will be many for sure. It will have 8 huge projectors, with about 60 source of lights put on the wall of the Cathedral in addition to 80 projectors from inside the Cathedral with 400 candles. TO show the entry of Americans in WWI and it is the Americans by the Knights of Columbus organization founded in 1882 that are financing the event. More info here:

Enjoy Paris, all of France is a movable feast. Enjoy your week and happy travels to all.Cheers!

November 6, 2017

Some news from Spain LV

And another week starts and the season of the best season is near. Well talking about my beloved Spain again, temps is about 52F or 11C and nice in Madrid tonite.The rest of the week is shown to be sunny highs of 63F and lows of 35F.

The latest from Spain are

Some great Spanish movies in the Film Festival of Sevilla; ‘Niñato’, of Adrián Orr, ‘Algo muy gordo’, of Carlo Padial, and ‘Tierra firme’, of Carlos Marqués-Marcet; they draw always from a different spot on Earth and the retina look the possibility of the new.. More here:

You have a tour of secluded nice Cabrera the Mediterranean of Ulises and only one hour from Marbella.  From this lookout you see in your imagination the scenery of the Odyssea in the archipelago of  Cabrera.  An unique natural space that preserve almost intact the Mediterranean essence.  It is only 10 nautical miles south of Mallorca and are a group of 19 islets; with the two biggest are Cabrera and Conejera. All the great civilization passed by here from the primitive Talayotic peoples to the Phoenicians , Carthaginians , Romans, Byzantines, and Arabs.  For centuries the Barbarian pirates ransacked , burned and, stole from this natural harbor in the big islet of Cabrera and started attacks on the embarkations that sailed on these waters.  The rocky Castle on the high hill that welcome the new arrivals to Cabrera; passing centuries and finished the war of Independence it was also the place of prison for almost 9000 Frenchmen.  Now you can enjoy snorkeling, and scuba diving in spectacular waters, and see a blue cave, go up to the castle, or go to the beach at s’Espalmador, visit the museum of ethnography of Celler or the archeological site of Pla de ses Figueres; go up to the hill of Miranda, where you can see the magnificent panorama in the Sierra de Ses Figueres; Bellamirada; or the longest possible on the islet that takes you from one extreme to the other in the lighthouse of  n’Ensiola. You can come to this Idyllic place on tourist boats of Colonia Sant Jordi (Tel +34  971 64 90 34), Palma (Tel +34  971 717 190), and  Porto Petro (Tel +34 971 657 012. More in Spanish here:

Who still looking for vinyl records? Well you can find them in Madrid, the favorites according to my family ther

Radio City at calle Conde Duque, 14; tel +34 915 477 767 . You can find vinyls here as well as CD on wooden stands alternationg between jewels of the folk,rock, soul and pop of yesterday and today from the 1960’s to today. The majority of prices are between 15-25 euros .

Another is  Molar Discos y Libros, calle Ruda 19, tel +34 911 725 740. Upper level you find the literary finds and specials next to the records section always in vinyls a complete selection. Domestic and imported like the joint venture of Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnette ,26€. The street level is used for presentations, expos, concerts of small formats.

And the very best  La Metralleta , Calle Postigo de San Martin, 1, tel +34 915 318 264 . The megaclasic of Madrid record shops. The store is divided in various spaces where you can find LP’s, CD’s, cassettes, and other formats of the lost generation; you come here to get your fingers dirty searching the stands. You can find the collection of Serrat for 3€ or a copy of Pink Moon, of Nick Drake for 150€; but the most expensive record is that of Tangerine Dream for 1500€.

Something typical from a very nice historical town , Burgos.  This is the spoonful’s of Las cucharas de Burgos; it will start Thursday November 9th with a dinner entitled El cocido de las estrellas, where you will be serve some of the rounds from various creations and interpretations of the culinary delight of the city from renown chefs such as Mª José San Román (Monastrell), Macarena de Castro (El Jardín), Yolanda León (Cocinandos), Bea Sotelo (A Estación), and  Pedro Morán (Casa Gerardo), Fernando Canales (Etxanobe), as well as Miguel Cobo (Cobo Vintage). Other activities will be music concert as well as a championship of spoonful’s from the 21C delights from the students of the school or Escuela de Hostelería de La Flora; as well as the prizes from the Académicos del  Cocido from the restaurants Lhardy of Madrid , and Los Claveles de Ibeas of Juarros, and guests like  Viri Fernández (El Llar de Viri) representing the stews of Asturias and Cristino Álvarez (Caius Apicius) for the spreading of these dishes and articles in the Hispanic world. More information here:

A new done place changeover complete. In the famous Cava Alta street of the centro and next to the Cava Baja the oldest spots in Madrid you come to  Matritum . After 20 years it has been transformed with a complete new decoration and menu, even a map of the Côte de Beaune, Burgundy. Plenty of wines here from all over. They offer menu of the day, of the market day, or outside the carte; however, one dish never fails is the costilla de vaca gallega rubia deshuesada y estofada  ( ribs of Galician beef stuffed and without bones ….) They have ice creams from Alicante and desserts such as brownie of Chocolate, and orange. The sommelier is a passionate about wines by the cup or the bottle,and rare great wines such as from Primitivo Collantes, white wines from  Mario Rovira, red wines from Olivier Rivière and international wines like for company a riesling from the  Rheingau, a  pinot noir from Rheinhessen, or the Clos Pepín. There you have it is Matritum, Cava Alta, 17 Tel +34  913 658 237. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays at noon ; more info here

Concerts that I like coming up at the Wizink Center of Madrid are

Vanesa Martin :

Raphael ,for the Young at heart :

La Térmica at Avenida de los Guindos, 48. Malaga city; will have until January 7 2018 the gallery head by Topacio Fresh with a very fresh presentation of the last years; a showing of bad taste with pop represented by filmmaker  John Waters, known for films such as Pink Flamingos, the king of trash gave the ok to this presentation showing the effigy of Divine of Ana Obregón going out of shell of Botticelli. It has some invited artists such as Octavio Terol and Valeria Vegas ; to match the myths of the  La Movida like those of Las Costus or Fabio McNamara. More information here:

Ok on good weather someone would like to do this; but me never, just recommended by my crazy cousin of Aluche ,Madrid.  Go see the historical towns of the region of Extremadura. Especially in the valley or El Valle del Jerte  known for the well place showing the discoloration of a million and a half cherry trees flowering at the same time on the arrival of Spring. The valley towns in the two ranges of mountains of the range of  Gredos,is covered with a mantle of white flowers thanks to the flower that comes out from this fruit tree.  The biggest however, is the festival of El Cerezo en Flor, the cherry tree in flower organized by the 11 towns of the municipality. Upon the arrival of Autumn this trees give a new spectacle when the leaves are turn into reddish, occre and maroons colors bringing about a new festival ,that of the La Otoñada del Valle del Jerte, (the autumn of the valley of Jerte) that is now coming to its 15th edition. The 11 towns of the municipality  also provides an ample opportunity for enjoying traditions be it cultural, sports, expositions,  contests, festivals and tastings fairs of local products ,theater, etc etc. All this until December 10 2017. Coming up there is an imperial market or Mercado Imperial Carolus Imperator, held in the town of  Tornavacas, November 11-12 ; recreating the arrival of emperor Carlos V and his court to the valley. The festival dates back to the 16C with street animation as well as theater plays , concerts of old times music, tasting of local dishes, talks, and guided visits on the town and the great roasted chestnuts. You have also, the Toñá Piornalega from November 17-19 in the town of Piornal, takes typical local traditions around the local dessert; and the Dulce Otoñada from December 1-3 in the town of Navaconcejo, with pastry ateliers, cooking   shows and desserts markets.  However, the best known are the gastronomic pastoral days or the Jornadas Gastronómicas Pastoriles, available in different restaurants of the municipality in its 12th edition and the festival of the tapas or the IV Feria de la Tapa.  On the first, there are 12 of the best restaurants of the valley offering weekends until December 10 the possibility of tasting exclusive menus, from products of the autumn season at a fix price from 18-38 Euros; the listing of the participating restaurants are in In the other one, Tapas festival on November 25-26 you can taste  several creations of the season on the restaurants of the valley.  There is ,also, the plate shooting championship or  Campeonato de Tiro al Plato in the town of Rebollar on November 24,  the festival of contemporary arts or the  IV Festival de Arte Contemporáneo in the town of Jerte from November 24-26 ; the theater festival or Festival de Teatro in the town of Barrado,on December 1-2; and the traditional musical encounter or the  III Encuentro de Música Tradicional in the town of Cabrero,on December 8th. All the programming can be found here:

Something to wet your senses from the bounty of Spain’s wines.

A wine to try which I know the property and have tried them all ; El Rincón from the  Bodega Marqués de Griñón  Vinos de Madrid, 2013,  Tinto con  Syrah (95%), Alicante Bouschet (5%) ready to drink now or to 2022 price is about 16€ ;notes of light violets deep black fruits, opulent, rich, with more ending on black fruits, silky ,a bit freshness. More here:

La Maliciosa from Bodega Vinos Jeromín Vinos de Madrid 2013,  Tinto 100%  Garnacha , ready to drink now and to 2022 price about 20€ Notes: blackcurrants, prunes,peaches dominance; intense with heavy materials and fine tannins , very delicious in the mouth, evolving and long; a garnacha from a hotter zone but light. More here:

A curiosity point: the clock tower of La Berenguela  high of 75 meters ,call like this because in the middle ages there was a bishop name like this that built the tower to defend the Cathedral of  Santiago de Compostela.  You can see it from several points in the city as it has the same height as the towers of the Obradoiro.  You will see that the clock built in  1831 the needle is like a tower of a castle and then it more decorated as you move up with a baroque style added.  The clock has one needle because the hours is mark by the bells. The biggest is in the tower it is also call Berenguela and weights 6.433 kgs. According to legend, that if on one midnight it does not ring 12 times and do 13 the devil will have a magic hour to stay loose in the city and raise havocs.

The Royal collections museum or the Museo de Colecciones Reales de Madrid has an opening date for January 2020, in the Palacio Real, you will see wonderful things as 64% of the  700 works that will house are today outside the public eye and only 35% are shown elsewhere.  The different palaces, historical buildings that are part of the National Heritage are works that are not shown to the general public and that for the first time will be shown here.  This is the case of the tapestries collection from the 16C in the glorious period of emperor Carlos V and king Felipe II. More news in Spanish here:

Back to Malaga to show you that on a wall of the 13C in the gate or Puerta Buenaventura,houses over 120K volumes of books in a building now 120 yrs old remodeled in 2004 and known as the library or libreria  Proteo/Prometeo in four levels. Proteo has a space of 150 sq meters, the top part is a large shelves of books in archives from  A-Z. There is even a lithography of  Antonio Tapiès from 1978 , and a work by Enrique Brinkmann  of 1992. Single out here because it has been awarded the  XIX edition of the Premio Librería Cultural 2017, ( prize of the cultural library of 2017) just in time to celebrate the Day of the library in all of Spain on November 10th. More on it here:

And last but not least, the wonderful beautiful National library of Spain or the Biblioteca Nacional de España has open now with free admission, an exposition dedicated to maps and what they have fascinated the world since its history. The expo is call  «Cartografías de lo desconocido» or cartography of the unknown; and its drawn from the inventory in the national library since  its foundation in 1711. You will see high middle ages maps, nautical atlas, renaissance atlas, unique pieces such as «Geografía», from Ptolomeo, 2C, or finds such as “Carta sincronológica de la historia universal» A sincronisation map of the history of the world. In this impressive map of 7 meters you can see the history of humanity from Adam and Eve to our modern times.  All this shown until January 28 2018 . The objective of this exposition is to define exactly ,what is map! More here:

As said ,enjoy Spain, everything under the Sun and I must add the Moon ! Cheers!!!

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November 2, 2017

Some news from France CLXXIII

Back to France my home; and it seems we are fully already into the Fall season and hour change back one! temps now at 14C and cloudy even foggy in my neck of the woods in Brittany.

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

How about those bikes, bicycles or vélos ;;;; there is a nice traject of about 27 kms from wonderful Amiens into Cerisy. You leave the lower district of Amiens just below the Cathedral near the picturesque district of Saint-Leu. You come passing the parc Saint Pierre and you see the wonderful hortillonnages, the marshes with small canals growing vegetables in parcels totaling 300 hectares (they were 1500 ha in the 15C). You stop by mid day in the Passage d’Aubigny and stop at Corbie where there is a wonderful Abbey of Saint Pierre (Benedictine monastery of the 7C) passing Fouilly towards the memorial of Villiers-Bretonneux where 10 000 Australians soldiers laid in rest giving their lives during WWI. You continue towards Cerisy in the road of towpath passing by Vaux-sur-Somme (where the Fokker of the Red Baron was taken down in 1918) then Sailly-le-Sec and Sailly-Laurette. More here in French:,fr,8,246.cfm

Another one is along the Mayenne river which is only 60 meters of leveling off its course. The start along the river you see three levies to follow the road to Château-Gontier.  The road of towpath of the Mayenne is not asphalted but it is doable to ride and very safe.  The way is nice with many cliffs, forests and prairies as well as many water lakes and castles like the one at Montgiroux, Montflours, La Roche ,and La Rongère etc. You come to the city of  Laval with its bridge or Pont-Vieux,the castle and the wharfs and the museum of naïve arts.  After a rest period, you continue south of Laval into Entrammes to visit the abbey of Notre Dame de Port du Salut, where the famous cheese was born; continue to reach  Château-Gontier. More in English here:
And my favorite of the 3 is going between Tours and Langeais about 30 kms. You have a road between Tours and Villandry that is not the Loire river but the Cher river! The two look alike around here. Once out of  Tours you reach the banks of the Cher; you can stop at the place call the Grand Moulin or better at Savonniéres a bit before Villandry. You see several typical boats of the region, the gabares.  A bit more about 3km and you reach Villandry on the left , an opportunity to visit a real renaissance castle and its beautiful garden à la française!  You continue onwards to Langeais with spectacular views as well such as the levy of the Loire river built by Colbert to avoid the flooding of the river. Very quickly you see the Castle or Chateau de Langeais, built under orders of King Louis XI just after the suspended bridge to protect this part of the Loire from incursions of the Dukes of Brittany. More info here in English:

A new French film to watch with history in the making. Jean-François Richet at the Château de Fontainebleau, where most of the scenes of the movie  « Vidocq, l’empereur de Paris », with actor Vincent Cassel in the main role. It will come out next year with other wonderful places shown in the film such as the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and the department of the Essonne no 91. More in French here:

And we have a new road to enlarged the A13 route de Normandie from Paris. It will be by the N113 and the SNCF railroad tracks , the viaduc de Guerville by the group Sanef. An additional lane to help the fluidity of the A13 especially on the Paris-Normandie way, so will have Four lanes from the three today. The other way Normandie-Paris will keep the three lanes but will have a rest stop for emergencies. The work is scheduled to be finish by February 2020. The lanes will improve the traffic in the Paris-Caen way as well as Caen-Paris. Here in French has a video to see the model of the viaduct;

At the Domaine de Chamarande there is an appeal to raise funds to renovate the game of the goose nature done in 1742 here. This is one of the Jeu de l’Oie or game of goose that were built during the reign of king Louis XV, the others at  Chantilly (1739 – renovated in 2015) , and Choisy-le-Roi (1750 –now gone) More in French here:

See the festival of  Senliszt from November 3-5 in Senlis, with performers such as Simon Ghraichy,rock star piano player . More here in English:

Calling all lovers of Versailles, there is risks at the Potager du Roi. The one done by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie (1626-1688) who created the gardens on orders of king Louis XIV to provide the castle with fruits and vegetables in 9,5 hectares. The annual production today only goes to 4-6 tons of apples and pears when before they were 40 tons. The problem is that on the 4500 trees of 468 varieties about 40% are sick or dying. The further complications is that there are walls in which the trees grow are been deplacer more than 1000 meters when not fallen down. One of the walls have to be rebuilt completely. The cost is about 4 million euros too much for the responsible organism of the garden, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage (ENSP) under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture who managed the gardens since 1995. The friends of the garden or the Les Amis du Potager du Roi created in 2016 have jointly with the ENSP a dossier on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) a powerful American ONG base in New York to help technical and financial to the project as they have done to over 20 in the world that are chosen every two years.  Here is the WMF site with the Potager du Roi in 8th position on the list of projects for 2018:

And the potager du roi in French site:

A venerable site in Paris and one who I had the pleasure to visit while working in Paris a couple times is the Institut Suédoise. After seven month of renovations it is now back open again, and better. Behind the blue carriage door you come into a courtyard with the rich culture of the North on display. This is the old Hôtel de Marle dating from the 16C, the pave courtyard distributes the old building around it. The major transformation are the Café on the right of the entrance with 35 seated and a nice wooden furniture where the wonderful brioches à la cannelle 3,50€ are delicious as well as the vegetable soups etc. All is fresh and done on site. The Terrace has an additional 40 seats where you can have the great Swedish coffee. From midday to 20h (to 18h on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays).

The new season opens with the «Swedish Design Moves Paris» them the design, architecture of the world and fashions.  You can see on the renovated rooms/salons the exposition “Next Level Craft“(until January 7  2018).  You see objects clothing, sculptures were done with natural materials by several creators from Sweden, there are videos, meetings, language courses, shops, readings, children readings ,nice garden where you can learn how to prepare Christmas Swedish way (from December 17 2017).  The Institut Suédois is at  11, rue Payenne (3eme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 78 80 20. Hours are Tuesdays to Thursdays from 14h to 20h . Fridays to Sundays from 12h to 18h. More here in English:

The stunning career of Paul Gauguin are the honor in the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais until January 22 2018 ; a wonderful recollection of the great Gauguin. More here:

While over west at La Roche Guyon a comedy salon worthy of a fairytail story is done on the rock with a medieval tower  done in 1768 by Marie-Louise de …the site in French is now under maintenance but is good, just be back in a few days.

See there the exposition of Hubert Robert et la Fabrique des Jardins until November 26 2017. More in French here from the dept 95 Val d’ Oise tourist office.

A wonderful place and now you can stay there!  Once the front grille door is open and you see the white stone roadway with old nuts trees under the shade you see slowly the Royal Abbey of Royaumont. Only 30 kms from Paris and a few minutes from Chantilly, this is paradise of blessed places where the lovers of nature, architecture ,heritage and history collides in harmony. It is a solemn place still feels today when we visited not too many people there a while back; the abbey was built in 1228 by king Louis IX (Saint Louis) under the Cistercian order of great renown in the 13C. Today, you see the ghosts of the monks that were once numerous there ,and you have the relics of the films and series filmed there. Near the necropolis of of the family of Saint Louis, in the cloister garden, the imagination takes a new dimension seeing sort of the phantoms of queen Blanche of Castille, the encyclopedic Vincent de Beauvais,or the novice of the Holy Family of Bordeaux. The welcome is done on Friday evenings or Sunday noon, at the reception there are 53 keys given access to same number of rooms ( from 18 to 20 m2 in size)  with views of the garden of the cloister or the canal.  At the third level (4th) you have an elevator/lift  with contemporary designs taken you to 8 studios with a modern decoration dominating the white and tents of the forest garden.  There is the comfort of the bedding, carpet, spacious bathroom, access to WiFi (no TV thus!) to forget the conditions of the old resident monks. The bell rings at every quarter hour except at night. Contact tel +33 (0) ), rent from 289€ per night for two persons, apéritif, dînner, breakfast, access to the site and weekend activities included. guided tours on request. Dinner Fridays and Saturday evenings 49€ Lunch Sundays 34,50€. More update info here:

Something for everyone, how about the seldom seeing cemetery of Saint-Vincent at 6, rue Lucien Gaulard, 18eme Montmartre, get out at metro Lamarck and turn 180-degrees and walk up the stairs above the metro entrance. Cross rue Caulaincourt and you’ll see tiny rue Lucien Gaulard on your left and the entrance to the cemetery a few meters beyond..It has some notables resting there such as singer/poet Emile Goudeau who died in 1906. The painter Maurice Utrillo with a rose marbre tomb and the flowery tomb of the writer  Marcel Aymé , and passing by the filmmaker Marcel Carné. More in French from the city of Paris here:

The mayor of Paris 14eme arrondissement has exposed a model of what the future tour Montparnasse will look like ,on display until November 20 2017. The mayor’s office or mairie is located at 2, place Ferdinand-Brunot. Open Mondays to Fridays from 8h30 to 17h (19h30 on Thursdays) , and Saturdays from 9h to 12h30. This renovation will end the sad façade of the 1970’s into 210 meters of glass and vegetation. A winter garden, a greenhouse of 18 meters high at the summit and a bioclimatic façade with a system of rain water recuperation. More on the renovation here:

and the mayor’s office of the 14 district of Paris on it in French here:

Did you know about the water to Versailles, the palace museum? well there has been written quite a bit on my blog, previous post however there is more in towns where we spent quite a bit of time and my boys went to play and mingle. At the Ile de Loisirs de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, there is a lake bordering with black pine from Austria created to feed the water fountains , canal, and water spouts of the Chateau de Versailles!!!  To do this it was needed to bring the water from a hill 142 meters higher than the Seine river to run several kilometers down stream. The first idea was the before mentioned Machine de Marly,(aqueduct Louveciennes) that pump the water of the Seine.  This is the same time that Monsieur Riquet finished the  canal du midi,and think that the Loire is higher than Versailles proposing to bring the water from the Briare river in the Loiret region (like Orleans). Great work was begun to carved 200 kms of canals and when only was left then 7 kms of the aqueduct to built when the abbot Picard , member of the Sciences academy invents the automatic level or dumpy  allowing with precision to measure from  1cm per km while the previous one did it at 10m per km. The new calculation showed the system could not work or very badly and the work was abandoned. The abbot Picard continues to search in the area and discovered that that plateau of  Trappes,where the marshes were  since the middle ages carving wells to do agriculture lands and of course a lake that is today the l’Ile-de-Loisirs. The same was done at Bois-d’Arcy and Bois-Robert; where all are link by water by way of underground aqueducts and sending water from the highest point to the lowers direction Versailles.  The lake takes a new use such as a Royal fishing lake supervised by a fishing guard that also looks after the level of water. IN 1685, the force is finally strong enough , and 3 centuries later the black pines of Austria planted under Louis XIV to mark the limits of the property ,the dam, lake, fishing guards house (now fisherman house) are still there intact!. You can see this history at the museum in Montigny-le-Bretonneux. More here:

The Basilica of  Longpont houses since 1926 many relics that just now came into a  museum renovated for the occasion of All Saints Day in France (Nov 1st) These relics are from over 600 Saints and they have on many of them the certificate that attests to their coming from. Some of the precious relics here are those of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Also of Mother Theresa, the founders of Opus Dei the philosopher Edith Stein born in a Jewish family converted to Catholicism and died at Auschwitz (Poland). Also, the veil of the Virgin Mary with this relic it was possible to create the museum as according to legend at the beginning of our era  when the Druids of the region were converted Saint Denis had given a piece of the veil for giving them recompense their decision. The relic is located in a wing that was finished in  1878, and later raised to Basilica by Pope Pius X in 1913. By  1984, about 1400 relics were inventoried all behind solid locks. It is also amazing to find a tunic of Argenteuil that is said to come from  Christ, given later to Charlemagne that then made a donation to the monastery of Argenteuil where his daughter  Theodrade was a Abbess. More in French  here:

And last but not least, the Salon Paris Games Week on its 8th edition until November 5 2017, Paris Expo Hall 1,2.2, and 3, Porte de Versailles (15eme) From 8h30 to 18h30, Sundays closes at 18h. There are 182 exhibitors on 80K M2 of space. YOu can try 157 video games with 37 new ones from end 2017 and 28 titles coming in 2018 such as  Destiny 2Assassin’s Creed Origins ,D etroit Become Human , Dragon Ball FighterZ  etc etc.  In the stands Made in France, you can discovered games such as People’s Chess, the first game on Chess where you can play with personalities such as Donald Trump or Kim Jong-Un lol!.  The Hall 3  (240000 m²) will be entirely consacrated to e-sport with démonstrations and compétitions with the best pro players. The famous game  FIFA,but also  Clash Royale, Quake ,and Counter Strike will have competitors facing each other and the finals on Saturday and Sunday. More here

There you go , lots of things to do in my belle France covering many tastes, and inclinations. Enjoy your week, Friday is tomorrow TGIF ::) cheers


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