Archive for November 2nd, 2017

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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