Archive for December, 2017

December 31, 2017

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo 2018!!!

A very special brief post on wishing you all a very very Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018. May all your hopes and dreams come true in good health. We stay home as in the last few years, with the kids grown and far from family we do not want to go out into the crowds of end of year.

We decided to cook a nice roast duck  breast in Madeira sauce all home made by the expert French cook in the family, my wife. Then, we added dauphiné potatoes, and dish of cheeses like goat, brie, awe milk ,and comtal , and ice cream log or buché glacé of various flavors. All wash down with Champagne Tsarine Brut for the apéro, and Chateau Patache d’Aux  Médoc 2012, and Chateau Saint Martin red Listrac-Médoc 2012 , both wines from the Bordeaux region.

We started with various amuse buche biscuits, coated peanuts in fruit flavors, potato chips chorizo and cheese, olives in garlic without seeds, and the Wolfberger Gewurztraminer Alsacien white 2016.  A grand total of 6 persons, including my immediate family and my father. We had some wonderful jelly of passion fruit from Guadaloupe as well as the chocolate ice cream log.

All the while we switch TV from the celebration in the Champs-Elysées news flash, as well as the TVE celebration in the Puerta del Sol at Madrid . It was wonderful, I had a cam camera of it and was great indeed! Just for a bit of ambiance as best we can. We constantly stay in touch with family and close friends by Facebook and Skype and this year Whatsapp.

The town was quiet and with police training on avoiding firecrackers in my area. The temps is a bit rough as we are having the storm Carmen passing by temps are at 9C or about 48F but high winds heavey rains at times ,and expecting the high tide to go by coefficient of 100 that can create flooding in coastal towns.

Another year goes by, and I to begin work tomorrow January 2nd after two weeks vacation; it’s going to be tough. Then, by mid month will fly out to Asia for a week as last year! The year will be critical as we will know our retirement options by end year and then can really prepare for it. So far, we think we will remain here in lovely Morbihan Breton.  Too far to figure where we will be going on trips, but me on China and maybe Tenerife, Spain looms possibles. Anyway , we are not long range planners but last minute ::)

Again happy travels and best wishes for all followers and readers of my blog in 2018. Cheers!!!

December 30, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LVII

Well plenty of time and short trips so we continue in the local experience saga in the Morbihan Breton. Today again was a cloudy gray cool rainy day with ups of 13C or about 55F. We cruise near us all day.

We started out in the morning going to our local pharmacy (pharmacie de la Place)  for the new medicines for the lady, this is a nice place and friendly folks. They are at place du marché in our town; see photo. More here: http://pharmacie.pharmavie.fr/378529-pharmacie-de-la-place-pluvigner

WE could not get everything and some were left to pick up later, so we continue onwards.

We needed to get more bio medicine in Santé Nature store in rue d’Auray, Baud, part of the La Vie Claire bio chaine. Very friendly fokos and always a chat .Their store is here: http://www.lavieclaire.com/magasin-bio/baud.html

Baud, is another small picturesque town here with a museum of post cards ! More on the town here: https://www.mairie-baud.fr/culture-et-patrimoine/histoire-et-patrimoine/

We drove to the country roads of the D779 and D16 near me, and continue on to Auray.

This is the town we lived before when we moved to the Morbihan, Brittany and lived on the outskirts of it.  Their tourist office is here: http://www.auray-tourism.com/

Leaving Pluvigner we left the market day on Saturdays behind and went on to do our last grocery shopping of the year at the E Leclerc of Auray in the parc of ZA Kerbois just across from the parc ZA Océane and very near the expressway N165 as well as the gateway to the beaches of Carnac and Quiberon etc.  The hypermarket Leclerc is here : http://www.e-leclerc.com/auray

We did quite a bit of shopping as we dig for apéro or amusebouche for the New Year at home. We will be following the TV on the activities in Paris avenue des Champs-Elysées! Starting at 23h30 tomorrow. The store was lively with plenty of folks all doing the same.

We past by the town of Pluneret just off the N165 expressway before arriving in Auray on the D768.  Part of the agglo of Auray and same tourist office ,their city page is here: https://www.pluneret.fr/situation-geographique-plans#

WE did our round up n the area and came back home early to rest and prepare for the big weekend, sad part I go back to work on Jan 2nd yikes!

We passed by another small town we go by a lot this is Camors on the D779 road.  Very old Bretons buildings to see, and also accessable from the D768 road. More in the city page here: http://www.camors56.fr/cadre-de-vie/histoire-et-patrimoine?showall=&start=1

Coming home we tried the wonderful real on the spot Brie de Meaux  ,St Faron, we got after visiting the town birthplace of my wife , the cheese was superb as usual and we purchased a whole round wheel of it or 3,5 kg or 7.7 pounds. We included with our exotique Antilles grocery store Hibiscus in Vannes and delicious mangos and rose guava ; then moros  (moors) dark rice and sweet plantains like been in the Caribbean again !: accompany by a white loire wine of Domaine du Grand Air Gros Plant 2016.

http://www.hibiscus-vannes.fr/

http://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/1685-fromagerie-de-meaux-saint-faron

http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/

We are now cozy , ate good, and relaxing for the night TV and thinking what to do tomorrow before the hordes takes over the roads for the New Year parties. It’s been a long time since participated in these night long parties, they were full of great memories and fun, now is another responsibility that I take seriously.  Nowdays , the activities and fun are all concentrated in Paris , for the most part. Here is a site in English with plenty to do; hope it helps find yours if in town. http://www.newyearseve.paris/

We will wait what 2018 has for us, wishing all the best to readers and friends of my blog, you have made it easier to cruise along the year 2017 and looking forward to be here in 2018 with the daily life of ordinary working folks in France. Cheers!

 

 

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December 30, 2017

Some news from France CLXXVIII

Let me tell you some last minutes news on my belle France closing out 2017. The weather is wet and cool all over and snow already in the Alps, some heavy traffic situations there, and strong winds in the Mediterranean part. Here chez moi, all is very quiet just the usual rainy day.

The event at Versailles is Kapla, where visitors could admire the work of the model construction of most of the grand monuments of Europe, like the tour Eiffel, Sagrada Familia, Tower of Pisa, Big Ben etc. At the Espace Richaud until Jan 14 2018. From 12h to 19h admission 5€ adults free for under 26! More here: http://en.versailles-tourisme.com/this-month-in-versailles/exhibition-kapla-at-the-richaud-space-1327482

At the parvis de la Grande Halle de la Villette you will see a great rides event, this is the 2nd edition of the fun fair or Jours de Fête giving your family over 30 rides including a nice ice skating rink, carrousel etc.Location; Place de la Fontaine aux Lions, parvis de la Grande Halle de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaurés, 19éme; until January 8 2018 Sundays to Thursdays 12h to 20h Fridays and Saturdays 12h to 23h, free admission but rides are 10€ pour two. More here: https://lavillette.com/en/evenement/jours-de-fete-2017/

And ,for the fourth time, Paris is giving you a light spectacle for awaiting the New Year. Lights projected on the Arc de Triomphe with a musical film of 20 minutes dedicated to Parisian life as well as firecrackers on the minute 4,3,2,1, and Happy New Year 2018. Get by the Place de l’Etoile (16éme) on December 31 from 32h, free.

The Brasserie Barbés temple of the north of Paris will transform for the 2nd time in a New Year’s celebration into a club of three levels all party until the wee hours of the morning. All furniture will be out and the 750 m2 will have three ambiances themes each on each level orchestrated by Teki Latex DJ and founder of electro label Sound Pellegrino. You will have electro, hip hop, house, and disco. Also , a vast patio open sky and a confidential dancing. All at Club Barbés, 2 blvd Barbés (18éme) December 31 from 22h to 05h, admission 35€. More info here: http://www.brasseriebarbes.com/

Some places to celebrate the New Year in style if in Paris at this time.
Party until dawn and free Champagne until 01H with pastries free until 05H at the Aquarium du Trocadéro, le Club 5, avenue Albert de Mun (16éme). From 21h to 05h admission 49-59€. More info: http://www.soiree31decembre.fr/soirees/aquariums-new-year-tour-eiffel,24.html

The historical Opéra Garnier; you will be able to walk into the dance floor, heated terrace, salon lounge inside, and the square outside as well as the vaulted mezzanine with a panoramic view of the party. All nicely decorated in 800 m2 space of dancing, with DJ El Paco with the best clubbing music of the last 30 years. You know it ,this is at 8, rue Scribe (9éme). From 22h to 06H, admission 55-65€. More info :http://www.soiree31decembre.fr/soirees/reveillon-prestige-opera-garnier-2018,68.html

With DJ Sebastien Kroos keeping you busy all evening together with a light show in one of the best neighborhoods in Paris at the YOYO at the height of fashion, with at the end a breakfast will be serve included in the admission price. YOYO is in the Palais de Tokyo 13, avenue du Président Wilson (16éme). From 22h to 06H ,admission 55-65€. More info :http://www.soiree31decembre.fr/soirees/reveillon-100-dancefloor-au-palais-de-tokyo-yoyo,25.html

And if looking for a New Year’s meal, my favorites would have to be these:

Les Grands Verres, (inside Palais de Tokyo) 13 avenue du Président Wilson (16éme) menu New Year at 120-150-170€ more here: http://www.palaisdetokyo.com/fr/page/les-grands-verres-restaurant

Le Drugstore, 133 avenue des Champs-Elysées, (8éme) menu New Year at 190€ more info here: https://www.publicisdrugstore.com/en/le-drugstore

At my beloved Versailles, go to the Grande Ecuries for the horse spectacle A VOIE DE L’ECUYER, admission 16-25€ to note the stables are not heated. This is on December 31 15h: more info here in French: http://bartabas.fr/academie-equestre-de-versailles/spectacle/

And closer to me now the best I hear are at

Dinner New Year at Sarzeau space Culturel l’Hermine, Rue du Père Coudrin . Admission 95€ from 20h to 03h reservation at +33 (0) 6 88 74 74 21 or (0) 6 07 06 74 23. More info; http://www.animation-sarzeau.fr/index.php?op=newtopic&topic=10

And why not a boat in the Gulf of Morbihan to await the New Year 2018 with the Navix company for 159€ per person. Boarding at the Gare Maritime of Vannes at 21h30 and you return by 02h30 (2:30am).More info here in pdf format and in French: http://www.navix.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/affiche-reveillon-2017.pdf

As in other news….
The Paris transports will be ready, hopefully::) Six lines of the metro (1,2,4,6,9, and 14) will be open past their usual schedule between 02h15 and 5h30. However, not all stations as an example line 4 the direct between Montparnasse and Saint-Michel and on the 9 no stops either between Nation and Oberkampf . The same will be on the RER trains and Transilien. However, on the RER A and B will work all night both ways. ON the other lines RER C and D ,lines H J L N P and T4 tramway will only work in the direction Paris tothe suburbs. On the Noctilien night buses the circulation in Paris will be restraint with some modifications especially on lines finishing at Châtelet. Also, lines N21, N122, and N145 leaving gare Montparnasse and the N22, N144 leaving gare de Lyon, and the N23 leaving gare de l’Est and the N24 leaving Saint Lazare. To link up with these stations you can use the beltway or rocade lines N01 and N02 (circular lines).
More info here in French: https://www.iledefrance-mobilites.fr/actualites/profitez-pleinement-de-soiree-nouvel-an-ile-de-france-mobilites/

Bear in mind the service will be free. Some of the further actions to secure safety will be filtering points to access the rond-point de l’Etoile as well as the avenue des Champs-Elysées. There will be about 31 checkpoints with police presence to search you upon entering these points.

One final point, the free WiFi in the public transport is again delayed. You will need to be patient until the first trimester of 2018 to see the 3G/4G service show up in the biggest 60 stations, with another 60 will be fitted in another six months. The end to cover the whole network will be done by before 2019. This is the service to regulates it call Arcep (Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes) or something like the regulation authority for electronic and post communications.

And we will have a homemade meal all from the farms surrounding us and good wines as well as Champagne Tsarine of Reims. All cozy the 6 of us, as usual far away from family and roots, the life of globetrotters. Enjoy it wherever you are or will be awakening to 2018. Stay safe and Happy New Year 2018!!!

December 29, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LVI

Here I am back again, taking advantage of my vacation time, and tell you about things French out of the tourist trail. The day has been miserable cloudy and rainy humid, cold at 6C or about 45F all day long. I came home from my errands and still the same… Well at least not back to work until Jan 2nd ,and that will be a bomb ::)

The duty of the day was not pleasant as needed to take my wife to the hospital in Vannes for her treatment. I drop her off in the morning by 8h30 or 8:30 am  in external consultations and then pick her up by 15h or 3 pm. The hospital here is very good, and clean, well practically new.  They made a huge addition to the existing hospital and practically all services have been move, some more left to go. The Hospital is name Prosper Chubert part of the Bretagne Atlantique group. More on it here: http://www.ch-bretagne-atlantique.fr/etablissements/hopital-chubert-a-vannes-416.html

The hospital is conveniently located oh oh oh to our main bus terminal and the train station of Vannes (connections to many including Montparnasse Paris);  very lively area and with many hotels and restaurants propping up.  This is the site of the bus terminal in French telling you the bus lines present here intercities and of course the local ones too, which my sons use a lot. Lines 1,2,3,4,6, and 8. https://www.busbud.com/fr/gare-routiere-de-vannes/s/10968

Local area Kiceo bus network is here: https://www.kiceo.fr/

The train station from where I go out a lot especially to Nantes and Paris is here: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frvne/vannes

We passed by Auray, our previous town, and we passed the train station there too, which the bus terminal next to it as well. I take this one to Montparnasse Paris sometimes as it passes by Vannes as well. The gare d’Auray is here: https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frxuy/auray

Here you see the wonderful Auray river just before it hits the Gulf of Morbihan (Unesco World Heritage Site) and continues into the Atlantic Ocean. More in French about the river Auray here: http://www.auray.org/villes/riviere-auray.php

All along the road D768. As we continue on this road we go by the town of Brech, small but historical town with nice Chapel, Church, and the Chartreuse where they guard the remains of the 795 Breton killed by the French revolution while trying to gain independence and waiting for the help from England in 1795.  More in French here: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/la-chartreuse/brech/tabid/8277/offreid/23a4acde-c549-4a97-8d00-26dd33b3ddc4/detail.aspx

Finally, we entered our town the scenic way up D768 into the rue Hein Guir (the street of our family doctor) ,that you can see the bell tower of the Saint Guigner Church ,main in town.  And for info on Pluvigner tourism if not ask me you can contact the tourist office there: http://www.pluvigner.fr/contacts/office-de-tourisme/

Settled down at home and waiting still for the old year dinner on December 31st and then the New Year’s family gathering in our house and plenty of Skype and FB connections with the world.

Enjoy yours and happy days ahead; Cheers!

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December 29, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LV

So we are moving right along to end all of 2017 , another wonderful year of life’s ups and down, but la vie est belle bien sùr. Today was a cloudy day again, some rain and temps in the minus 1C or 30F in the morning to 10C or 50F in the late afternoon. Full of running around in my department 56.

As continuing my saga of writing about daily life here in my belle France and especially on gorgeous Morbihan of Brittany, the only department in France that is not a French name ::) Proud Bretons… Morbihan means petite mer in French or small sea as Mor=sea and bihan=small in Breton language… Degemer Mat ::)

I had my usual round by car in the morning we went to a animal refuge or SPA de Lorient, as we are looking into adopting a dog….Yes!!! I always had a dog since childhood, but moving around for many reasons and having kids took a time out from them. Lately , my sons and I finally convince my wife so we are looking around. Reading the internet, talking with dog grooming places and veterinary center in my town, visiting the area refuge has been a task in the last few days; today it was the SPA de Lorient.

The animal refuge of Lorient is actually in the town of Larmor Plage or beach and it is a former bunker area of WWII part of the Atlantic Wall !!! The place is very clean , nice dogs, and good hosts. We thought of getting a puppy, but with so many needs around in our world, why not bring joy to a poor dog. We have looked into a golden retriever 1,5 yrs old but not adoptable yet; then a Labrador/pit bull cross but a bit too much for our tastes. We saw one this morning a griffon small dog black and 9 yrs old very adorable but old. We would like to get it and offer him the last few years of good living and loving care. Any suggestions? the site for the lorient animal refuge is here in French of course: http://www.spa-lorient.com/index.php

We headed back to Vannes for our lunch ,and settle for our old reliable pizza chain Tablapizza in the Atlantique shopping area where everybody knows us already lol!! It does makes feel good when you patronized and all know you and come to talk to you; feels good. The place was full as it is a working day for many except lucky me. We had a bottle of Juliénas 2016 Les Capitans Beaujolais red with l’Espagnole pizza with chorizos of course, then a café mini gourmand with expresso coffee and pineapples small cuts and fondant chocolat. All with our special discount card was 18€ per person. More here: http://pizzeria.tablapizza.fr/73203413606738/restaurant-vannes

Finally, we finished a nice deal. I had a Ford Kuga 2014 very nice car if a bit big and high for me. Always a Ford men ,never had any other since college/univ days…long ago. My local Ford Mustiére salesperson call me up and told me there were deals for end of year going on. So we went to talk to him without conditions. As we went on, we realize the deal was very good and fit quite nicely into our plan for working life last years. We end up getting a Ford Focus brand new with 6 km on it!!! Actually done in Germany on Nov 16, shipped to the dealer here on Nov 29th and purchase by me on Dec 28th ::)

It is a shorter payment terms and about same monthly payments so by the time I am ready to present retirement ,either it will be paid off or will get a new one…::) The folks here were excellent ,talking about the so call popularly famous French administration ,but in our case ,very easy (of course we are French citizens) . The BNP Paribas bank was great and getting the funds out for the down payment in just a click of a computer key, the dealer (Mustiére) was confirming at the same time, and my auto insurance broker MMA was there with the insurance certificate on time! All I did was take the car out and roll on into 2018 with it!!!

Now tomorrow will be hospital check up day for my wife so we can finally relax into 2018 with the family at home. Maybe another outing before the year is out lol!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 to all and best wishes for all your desires for the coming year. Cheers!

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December 23, 2017

The road warrior roundtrip to the Brie country!

If you read my posts carefully, you need to know that I love the road even if in my belle France public transport is pretty good, nothing beats the road and the car, for me.

We do all trips by car even to adjoining countries over the years, and every year as far as Castilla La Mancha region in Spain or afar into the Saar of Germany. This time we were visiting the inlaws in Seine-et-Marne near Disneyland and the Brie cheese country so we took off by car again. This is the story of the road trip.

Bison Futé is a government site very useful for traffic information, here it is in French: http://www.bison-fute.gouv.fr/maintenant.html

My favorite site for traffic conditions is v-traffic, and you can tell in the Ïle de France region is pretty dense always, see here in French: http://www.v-traffic.com/#traffic

For weather we check Méteo France here: http://www.meteofrance.com/accueil

The info on the autoroutes or expressways especially we look here for the rest stops or aires and time our km/miles with stop on the best ones as far as facilities is concern. Here it is the site in English: http://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en

We have GPS in our car but nevertheless we look at viamichelin to compare and many times I have found the paper directions better especially over long roads, the GPS is very good in cities and around them. via Michelin is here: https://www.viamichelin.com/

And with all that preparation we go and never a problems on the road even avoiding heavy traffic once again ::)

We went out on the toll road route as we wanted to arrive quicker to my mother in law house in the countryside of the Marne in dept 77. They are very well place around the WWI museum and the American Monument in memory of the Americans of WWI ,the brie cheese original region and the closest big city to Disneyland Paris (yes not in Paris but in dept 77 Marne-la-Vallée).

We went up on the D768 to hook up with the N24 direction Rennes.  We went around the beltway or Rocade sud (south) direction Le Mans on the N136, the name of the rocade. We hook up with the N157 direction Le Mans linking up continuously on the A81 (L’Armoricaine highway) .  Where you take your toll ticket only. North of Le Mans we hook up with the A11 passing the wonderful old world region of the Perche. The A11 is call the Océane highway. We passed wonderful Chartres ; eventually hooking up with Saint Arnoult des Yvelines in our old dept 78 and paying the toll of 28,80€ while hooking up with the A10 also call the Aquitaine highway.

Passing Janvy, we hook up with the N104 also known as the La Francilienne, a big beltway around Paris far from it that was done to help decongestion a bit of the Capital. Nothing to it is still heavily traffic as well lol!!! This road hooks up with the A6 also known as the Autoroute du Soleil or the sunshine highway direction Fontainebleau but just for a bit as we hook up again with the N104 as one continuous road. Following signs for Paris, Metz ,Nancy etc. You end up on the A4 autoroute or autoroute de l’Est or East highway; continuing direction Metz.  You past exit or sortie 14, this is for Disneyland and continue to a toll road for 2,20€ to get into the A140 autoroute that links up with Meaux. arriving by 16h to our mother in law house which is in the village of Chambry on the N405 road ,also known as the route du Varreddes.

The way back (stay in another post), we decided to not pay tolls as we usually do even if it takes longer; it is also, more scenic drive.

We left the town early by 10h50 or 10:50am and continue on the N405 then we took in city center Meaux the N3 our old road we took when visiting my girlfriend and going to Paris together !!! It has been a long time….We drove into the A104 La Francilienne on the northern beltway around Paris. we hook up with the N2 directioin Soissons for a while to connect again with the N104 la Francilienne around the CDG airport. This roads hooks up with the A3 direction Bobigny Centre and then quickly into the A86 passing north by Saint Denis and Asniérés sur Seine.  We took the D7 along the Seine with Paris on the other side or our left hand side.  This is my old road taken to work duties many times.

We continue on the D7 along the Seine passing nice Boulogne-Billancourt and the Alfred  Kahn gardens. Eventually passing on the other side of the Bois de Boulogne and the racecourse or hippodrome de Longchamps. Passing by Saint Cloud and my old wine club shopping!!! until hook up with the A13 autoroute direction Rouen or also known as the AutoRoute de Normandie.  we passed by our beloved Versailles, and sadly no time to stop by this time.  We hook up here on the A12 autoroute direction Dreux. Following it up on the N12 direction Dreux.  This is a long east west national road that links up with Normandie and even Bretagne. We passed by Houdan, Dreux, Nonancourt, Verneuil sur Avre, the old region of La Perche again, and onwards to around Alençon, right thru Mayenne, around Fougéres, and hook up with the A84 autoroute or the Route des Estuaires. You go straight into the rocade of Rennes or N136 direction Lorient. At the porte de Lorient or gate to Lorient hook up with the N24 direction Lorient.  We continue until the exit sortie D768 Baud that brings us down home. Arriving by 21h or 9pm.

And another wonderful trip with little traffic jams except a bit around the A86 in Paris area. Now starts preparation for the Christmas eve meal ,and we have it all ready at home, sweet home. Next post the food of the trip and the Cathedral.

Be merry and have a wonderful Holiday Season wherever you are in our still wonderful world. Cheers!

December 20, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LIIII

And continue with my local saga in the  Morbihan dept 56 of the region of Brittany. Well if you are new to my blog, Morbihan is the only department in France that is not in French but in the local language of Breton; Mor=sea, bihan=small or small sea in French it would have been petite mer. The region of Brittany in Breton is Breizh and in French it is Bretagne.

Today was a cold autumn day cloudy and down to 2C or 34F about this morning going up now to 8C or about 47F and still cloudy. This is getting near to Christmas in the season to be merrier. We are going tomorrow to see the in laws and uncles in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 east of Paris near Disneyland (Which marketing call it Disneyland Paris but is no where near Paris ::))

We did our errands of our daily life here as usual, me been on vacation time. We went today Wednesday to the market in Vannes where we usually go on Saturdays while working. It was no difference, full of folks buying the wonderful farm stuff of France or what folks should come here for. We got early and by 10h we were at the market, and headed to find a purse for the lady of the house; which got a cow leather purse for 24€ exactly the same as the one she had so much the better.

Then we went around to a new place call D’Ici De Là  le comptoir des 5 sens ( a French paraphrasing meaning from here and from there the counter of the five senses) great traiteur or caterer place with wonderful selection we got our goodies for the apéro or aperitifs of miniature wonders. The store originated in Dinan and now just at Vannes. More in French here: http://www.coeurdevannes.com/adh154-alimentaire-vannes/d-ici-de-la-le-comptoir-des-5-sens/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Then, one of my sons ran down to Pierre Morel to get some gorgeous macaroons mix bag ;got 16 for 18 euros! more on the pastry shop in rue Saint Vincent. It is no longer there but at La Gacilly, webpage : http://www.maison-pierre-morel.com/magasins

We then, got our fruits several of them even a guava from Peru wonderful!!! This is from our usual wonderful merchants of Morocco, Algeria, and Albania in the market at Vannes! Aksil Azeddine that originates the business from Saint Sebastién sur Loire/Nantes. Then, we go next door on the same street to Fromagers Bruno Menager, a wonderful selection of cheeses from all over France. He passed away but his wife Isabelle.

As we walked the old town of Vannes I passed by again of some of the businesses we patronized. These are in addition to those above; Boulangerie Patisserie Cartron; patisserie Olivier le Brun, the kitchen supplies store Culinarion, Créperie de la tour trompette, Lecoq & Folks resto, Le Petit Belon resto, the wonderful fish market halle aux Poissons; boulangerie Saveurs du port ; and the brasserie resto le Gambetta.

Also, got a glimpse on the renovation of the conservatory of music in le Port harbor area. The conservatoire de musique as well as théatre et arts plastiques . Founded the building the Carmelites in the 17C; after the revolution it was unuseud and then change into a museum, then school of music , a middle school and finally since 1981 the conservatory. More of it in French here:  https://www.mairie-vannes.fr/conservatoire/

The always glorious entrance to the old town from the canal in le port harbor area is the gate or Porte Saint Vincent, the Saint coming from Valencia Spain who evangelize the area and it is buried in a chapel in the Cathedral St Peter’s of Vannes.

Coming out we stop at the E Leclerc hypermarket shopping center to do an automated car wash the load for 10€ hands off, nice. Done.

We went one more trip late to see an animal store that is in a town adjacent to Vannes, this is Séné right at the start of the marshes of the gulf of Morbihan. Here in the Quais de Séné we found several of our favorite stores such as GiFi and the animal store Maxi Zoo. ALso, we found to our surprise the restaurant brasserie Au Bureau which we had eaten in Brest which closed and now open in the area just less than 3 months! Of course we had lunch there.

The Quais de Séné is a recent shopping center just from last April 2017; and we as mentioned before are looking to adopt a dog so we are checking out all the outlets to get an idea on the prices and maintenance needed. We were lucky to find a dog owner who was very animal loving and talkative, we must have talked for over 30 minutes with him and his dog of 10 yrs. ,also taken from a refuge center when it was 1 yr old. Interesting and encouraging conversation. The store Maxi Zoo is loaded with animal accessories, no animals; and good prices, mostly of German origins (the store started in Germany many years ago and now with about 80 stores in France).  And now a branch in Vannes too!! The Maxi Zoo store webpage is here in French: http://www.maxizoo.fr/magasin/sene.html

We end up going to another store we had briefly been in Lanester ,however, the store in Séné had a greater selection and sale going on !!! 50% off on the second pair of shoes purchase! So we did got one for my lady and one for me, and our sons paid lol!!! The store is Chaussea and the webpage is here:  https://www.chaussea.com/fr/shops/chaussea-vannes-sene/

And finally will tell you about the lunch that was before the animal store and shoes store above. We had eaten at Au Bureau ,an English style pub restaurant a while back visiting Brest. A couple years or so ago we were back in Brest and the resto had closed a similar restaurant was in its place, with the same old staff who gladly cooked for us similar menu. We were sad it was gone because we had good memories of the original Au Bureau at the Rue de Siam in Brest. It was a pleasant surprise to find it here now!!!! and just opened about 3 months ago! So we went for it in full force!

The decoration is the same English pub style but very refine upscale place. A great counter bar, TV screens all around it, and cushiony leather seats wooden tables in a black mode all over with some red. The service was very friendly and courteous ,and fast! We were near the counter bar and the toilet.. with a screen LED TV right in front of us;nice. We started with the Cheesy Platter, a combination of goodies around the theme cheese from patties to sticks and croquette style rolls as well as cheddar cheesy French fries! Along with pints of Leffe  and Stella beers. I had the Leffe Royale Cascade IPA just great!!! we went on to order camembert hot platter, fish and chips, to burgers of different kinds, I had the Black Pepper burger with bacon and cheese!! delicious on a single patty ,(you can have double lol!) big. Finally we end up with the Café Gourmand, coffee expresso and miniature sweets as well as the Irish coffee gourmand combo on the same line. Just for 31,25€ per person. Good price/quality ambiance ratio and we will be back!!! The official webpage is here : https://aubureau-vannes.fr/le-pub/

We are home cozy warm , and getting now prepare for our trip tomorrow early, it is about 6hrs of driving to the in laws, and the brothers and sisters will be there so a nice before Christmas family reunion. In the area of the Marne, where WWI was really fought and monuments and memories are still remember and honored. Stay tune.

Enjoy the photos, and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it or Happy Holidays to those that celebrate others. Be good, enjoy travels, and best wishes to all. Cheers!!!

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December 19, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LIII

And continuing the saga of never been a couch potato, I am on the road again!!! Today was cold early on by 8h to Zero Celsius or 32F but then it went up pretty fast to 10C or about 50F in the afternoon and sunny bright day!

As said , we got up early and were on the move on our daily routine here; I enjoy telling you about the normal everyday life in France away from the major tourist sites; there is so much to see in France. I said a Mr Ernest Hemingway wrote a book that was published posthumously entitled A Mouvable Feast or Paris ça fête in French. However, he was concentrating on Paris, and as usual those that do fell short of what France has to offer, or a second volume is needed, France is a mouvable feast ::)

I get my house wines from the local producers in the Loire valley area and just south of me in the Muscadet grape region of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 (old Brittany…) now in the region of Pays de la Loire.

As an added incentive one of the producers have their parent living closer to me and they use them as a stock depot for their wines. So therefore, we purchase two cases of white muscadet, gros plant and rosé cabernet franc as well as a red cabernet franc and pick it up at their parents place in a village just outside Guérande. The sad part is we have friends in Guérande but they were still working lol!!! and missed them.

The property is the Domaine du Grand Air at Bournigal next to Clisson. The property webpage is here: http://www.domainedugrandair.fr/le-domaine.php

And the page on the wines of the Loire official is here: https://www.vinsvaldeloire.fr/en/domaine/domaine-du-grand-air-0

After a nice cruising visit on the N165 to exit 17 direction La Roche Bernard (passing the great bridge over the Vilaine river) , Herbignac and then the D774 direction Guérande we arrived at the village and were greeted by the mother, very nice welcome, offer to taste there and all. We left rather quickly as we had a long day to do and come home to eat and drink all these goodies.

Passing we got a glimpse of the windmill of the devil or Moulin du Crémeur or Diable just coming out of Guérande coming back home, it is still in good condition and is from the 15C.  And passing on the road to some beach areas like Piriac sur Mer, very nice places for summer.  A site for the windmill in French here: https://www.moulins-a-vent.net/Moulins/guerande_cremeur.htm

On the way back ,we stop at the store Animalis, animals supplies and puppies sale store chain we had known before. As I mentioned we are on hold to adopt a two years old dog, Golden Retriever from the local refuge or SPA de Vannes. If all goes well with them and the dog we should get it by early next year. We really gear up for that and can’t wait to have a dog again…. I grew up with Dalmatians as my maternal grandfather was a hunter, and had a good family opinion of it. Later in life before marriage had a small cross dog sort of a mix poodle type ,and had her for 11 years until need to let her go as was becoming very dangerous biting and my boys were already born. We kept long raising the boys and for me thinking of having a dog again, men ,best friend. We finally convince my wife and the boys are all with me to do it now. So can’t wait to give a better life to a wonderful animal. Any tips from you will help.

We took our time in the store to ask,see puppies Labrador, and just look around for the budget… The store is in a shopping area we go a lot.  The store is here: https://magasin.animalis.com/251669-animalis-vannes

Well with the boys ,they never stop been US born, they had us for Burger King in Vannes….for lunch. Ok so I had my whopper with bacon yeah!!! wife was ok, we enjoyed it. It’s nice to know we can eat on our old Florida even in Brittany lol!!! A land of gastronomy par excellence ::) No pictures just standard building, the resto is next to the N165 in Plescop town limits ,and the site is here: https://restaurants.burgerking.fr/vannes-ploeren

Finally, and to prepare ourselves for family visit for the season to be merriest, we stop by our favorite local gifts and goodies store La Trinitaine. WE go to the factory outlet production center in Saint Philibert just south of us on the road D28 passing Crac’h and before Saint Philibert town limits.

While at the store we loaded up on mugs and canisters full of biscuits and Magdalenes  from chocolate to plain butter to strawberry; for us and for giving to relatives. While there we had some pastries on the next door bakery. Ready to have our feast tonite.

The store is not far from us so we came home and now me doing the update and then the feast and TV relax,I am on vacation. This time just visiting family in Seine-et-Marne , and doing some Christmas market in Brittany.

Enjoy your week wherever you are, happy travels, and best wishes in the season to be merrier! Cheers!

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December 17, 2017

The drink of Brittany, the ciders!!

Well, we do drink beers and have some good ones (see previous posts), and wine but not really; the original to go alone with the galettes and crêpes is the cider of Brittany. We love it and buy by the case ::)

Let me tell you a bit about them, as they can differed a bit from areas within Brittany, and we drink mostly those in the Morbihan dept 56. You can find out about the Breton ciders here: http://www.lescidresbretons.com/maison-cidricole-de-bretagne_actualite.htm

An organization especialising about those in Finistére dept 29 is here: http://www.cidref.fr/les-cidreries

And to locate a good cider distillery you can look here: http://www.lescidresbretons.com/cartographie/cartographieV2.swf

Now some background onto them:

The designation Appellation Cidre de Bretagne or Cidre Breton is a protected geographical area such as a Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP) since 2000.  According to the Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle Cidricole, the Breton ciders are characterized by a variant color from straw yellow to tainted or woody brown  according to the varietal composition and the terroir (site of cultivation of apples). Now site in renovation but you can reach when done thru here: http://www.cliaa.com/pagec.php?interpro=62

The variety Guillevic label rouge given since 2000 is done using apples of the Guillevic variety only, pure juice ,not gasified not adulterer and non pasteurized.  It is produce in my area of the Morbihan and it is with a soft acidic flavor and aromas of fresh fruit, flowers, and exotic fruits like pineapples. The body is pale yellow, with green reflects, crystalline with fine persistent bubbles.

The Breton Cider is serve in cups of terracotta shiny smooth call Bolées small bowls with handle or without and the form in cylindrical style. You have Cidre doux or sweet with less than 3 degrees alcohol, Cidre Demi-Sec or half dry with alcohol between 3-4 degrees and the Cidre Brut with alcohol of 4 degrees or more usually 5,5 degrees.

The production of fermented apples is known in Brittany since the 8C. In the 12C several varieties of apples from Spain (I started drinking the ciders of Asturias Spain !) were grafted with local varieties to improved their concentration of tannins and the conservation of ciders.  Until the end of the 19C the harvest of apples and the cider production was very loose and the price varies in the same proportions according to the harvest of apples, the offer and the quality. Brittany produces 40% of all cider consumed in France with the biggest producers located in a radius of 60 km around the city of Rennes, representing 84% of the volume in Brittany. Also, in addition, you have about 70 artisans local producers in farms that gives a different twist to this wonderful drink.

As to the production and apples we have plenty to tell, to condense here it is.

The first ciders arrive in the market early October coming from the region of Dol (Dol de Bretagne) ; the farmers from the marshes kept this tradition to collect the apples early. It is a cider doux, acidic, very nice to the taste on drinking but needs early drinking. The varieties of apples are the rouget de Dol and rouget blanc, bit apples. It was sold like table apples in England and Germany.

In Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35, was for long the biggest producer of cider apples in France; and the areas of the basins of Rennes and Vitré  still are the region with the biggest production.  The ciders here are generally light, acidic low in alcohol and nice bouquet.  The varieties are the bedan rouge aigre, marguerite and gilet rouge.  Before ,this region exported part of its apples to Germany for apple juice.

Along the valley of the Rance , and around Dinan the cru call  “de Pleudîhen” is more acidic and stronger than that of Rennes.  The varieties are  the Jeanne renard, chevalier jaune, and marie menard.  The land is more granitic, and the arable land less deeper and less rich than on the basin of Rennes given apples less stronger, fruits richer in sugar,and a density on the must higher.  The Valley of the  Rance has always been a rich region of cider apples and exported the ciders to other areas of Brittany such as Léon  and Trégor, where varieties stronger and good conservation are harvest such as the richarde, vallon, and toupie etc.

The more we go west, the more the crus are acidic and less apples to mix with. The region of Vannes is an exception.  Here is the base for the guillevic variety that only use alone a doux, acidic well perfume and average alcoholic. In the south of the Finistére dept 29, in the apple orchards of Quimperlé they mix the acidic varieties in  Clohars-Carnouët, Moëlan-sur-Mer, Pays Bigouden ,and  Fouesnant . The crus are known for their strong color and acidic taken from their varietals such as Chuero briz, c’huero ru and kermerrien. In the north of the Finistére , you have it is not much cultivated and import their apples from the east of the Côtes-d’Armor (dept 22) such as  Dinan, Plancoët, and Matignon. The basin of Fougères produces a lot of apples but do not give a cru well done.

Now we try many in the various restaurants we go to or crêperies but the ones we do buy for home and like the best are the

Distellerie de Gorvello in Sulniac, the Tradition brut, more here: http://www.distilleriedugorvello.fr/

The musée du cidre in Le Hézo but nice cider on the spot produce, more here: http://museeducidre.com/

The Cidrerie du Golfe , at Arradon, more here: http://la-cidrerie.fr/crbst_7.html

Cidrerie Nicol at Surzur, more here: https://www.cidres-nicol.bzh/

Cidrerie des Terroirs at Colpo: more here: https://www.cidreriedesterroirs.fr/

Enjoy the ciders is as local as you can get , get them while they last, traditions are important. Drink in moderation of course, but drink lol!!! Cheers and Happy week, me on vacation lol!!!!!!

 

 

 

December 16, 2017

My travels in the Morbihan, LII

So this is another Saturday, but not exactly. You see, today marks the beginning of my Christmas period vacation , and will be off until returning Jan 2 2018!!! Wonderful in my belle France and gorgeous Morbihan Breton.

It is a cold day at 1C or about 33F but hardly notice because was sunny and no rain no wind. We set out to do some errands as usual in our daily life here. However, not finish with everything there is a bit more tomorrow and then start in earnest on Monday.

This morning we got up later than usual in our routine here in the gorgeous Morbihan. We went straight to the Hibiscus Antillean store in Vannes to take in some Caribbean products of older days and cook up some real chow for the season , always in remembrance of our roots. The store is small held by folks from the French Antilles but plenty stock up. We loaded on plantain ripe and green, as well as manioc or yucca, name (sort of potato family but bigger), sweet rose potatoes, spices like anise and laurel, guava ice cream; etc. The place for info is here: http://www.hibiscus-vannes.fr/ 

We past again for apero at La Cervoiserie (see previous post on beers) in Vannes.  Spot here: http://www.lacervoiserie.com/les-maitres-cervoisiers/vannes/

We had our lunch at a family favorite Le Scoop near all in Vannes. This is a pizzeria brasserie resto with always friendly fast courteous and good prices. We had the pizza of the month, la Perigoudine with foie gras and breast of duck! , other had a tartiflette with potatoes, bacon, and reblochon, as well as rumsteak with fries and green beans, all wash down with the Duchesse Anne de Noël or Christmas beer of the Duchess Anne pints of beer; Schweppes  water; and café expresso gourmand with little sweets as desserts all for 21,30€  per person ::) More info here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-scoop-vannes

On the way back, we stop at Conforama for some pillows and cases with a coupon we had but as always something extra was purchase, a center table to swap with our sons and older one….. We lost!!! This is another of our favorite stores in our every day living in France. More here: https://www.conforama.fr/magasins-conforama/vannes?lat=47.662559&long=-2.802877&name=VANNES

And of course, the news of the year!! We have been thinking of getting a dog,yes. I grew up with dogs, my maternal grandfather was a hunter and I grew up with two Dalmatians around them. Then, I had a mix small dog half fox terrier and Coton if I can remember correctly as it was my younger days. My boys have looking to have one, and I was ok for it, my wife was against it. However, we soft her up with information, and assign duties, and took her today to the SPA de Vannes. This is the place where they keep dogs who have been stranded, abandon, abuse, etc.

We look into some breeders as well in our area, and informed ourselves of all the procedures, costs, and maintenance. At the end, we fell for the poor dogs in the SPA, they really do not deserve any bad treatment, they are men’s best friend and wonderful companions. When we went this afternoon to the SPA the folks were very nice and friendly and the dogs seems to be well kept and clean. We got to see them all, and fell for a two years old Golden Retriever who was badly treated by the owners with very little food. It is now in the process of vaccination and conditioning, and we are in line to get it once the legal process is done by the SPA. We will soon expands our family with a nice doggy; stay tune.

Our choice still is not official for adoption so not on the page, but these are the adorable dogs waiting for an angel here; http://spa-vannes.com/chiens-a-adopter/

We will try to make a home for one of them. Enjoy the season to be merrier, Merry Christmas, God Bless you all. Cheers!!

 

 

 

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