Archive for December, 2017

December 25, 2017

Christmas at Pluvigner 2017!

And another Christmas, always on the run away from “homes” and family again. We are just a small family! The nucleus of five and then my father sitting in a living room/dining room in a small town of 7K folks in the Morbihan Breton of Brittany call Pluvigner.

We had our Christmas Eve meal, Nochebuena, or Reveillon de Noël last night, and just got up at 10h on Christmas Day , December 25th 2017. Clouds are gray a bit dark, temp of 12C or about 53F ; it calls for rain tonight and tomorrow with temps from 5C/10C or 40-50F. In capital city Paris, the weather is the same cloudy and cooler at 42F with intermittent days of rain and some sun out.

We had our usual breakfast and waiting for my father to gather around the Christmas tree and unveil the gifts. And almost mid day the weather is the same lol!

There are many TV programs with the after Christmas sales ,and we just got online a set of Gotham 10 pcs pots and pans for the lady of the house as tomorrow we celebrate 27 years of marriage!!! Happy anniversary Madame.

Now , I am getting ready to gather the small family around the Christmas tree for the gifts and calling my father away from his TVE Spanish tv.

As we are again a small group the gift giving is done quick lol!!! We go for the tree in earnest and leave nothing untouched. In addition to the gifts from each other, there were gifts from family of the Nord (59) , and cash always welcome from my father to my sons (their grandfather).

I got a nice magnum bottle of Bouchard Pére chardonnay from Burgundy and my wife a Champagne Tsarine from Reims. We gave a coffee mug to my father that reads Papi d’or or papa of gold (he is) shown. And see him eating at the head of the table lol!!!

I got shoes, sweaters casual and sweater and shirt business. My wife got pant, sweater, bootie shoes, and dvd movies. My boys got an assortment of gifts from electronics video games to pajamas, and sexy underwear! etc.

Now we go back to the Skype and Facebook to hook up with family members as they wake up lol!!! in different time zones. And the phone calls ringing all over.

Christmas is special as always. I have the double whammy of wedding anniversary tomorrow 26 ,for no. 27 !!! And ,then , after all this ups I fall into a sad day on the 27th as it is the 10th anniversary of the passing of my loving Mother, always in my thoughts (she was and continue to be golden).

Enjoy your day of Christmas wherever you are and when celebrated. Until next time in my blog. Cheers!!!

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December 24, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXIII

And here we are on Christmas Eve 2017 amazing how times flies while having fun doing the blog lol! Today is cloudy cool at about 10C or 50F ,some light rain at times not now. We just wake up late and went to get our goodies at the bakery ready for tonite Good Night Meal or Nochebuena or Reveillon de Noël.

The first thing we did is secure the pig leg we purchase at the Super U of our town, all clean and ready to cook at home for about 10 kg or 22 pounds. The Super U has nice butcher shop and friendly folks: they even provided free strings to wrap the pig leg stuffing inside. The supermarket Super U is here:

Then, we went for the bakery to get our goodies, this is the boulangerie Delumeau wonderful creations and we purchase a bunch of miniatures and bûche de Noël or Christmas log cake. We had ordered before and today was just to pick up the prepaid order. The bakery is here in our town city hall :

While driving for that above in town I again made my rounds and took some pictures of our town. The place St Michel which is usually where the market is held and the Place du Marché that even with that name does not hold a market but is our pharmacy and restaurant corner!  the main road of the town is Avenue general Charles de Gaulle, and we take the rue de la Gare, the creperie du Château at Rimaison, and the Church Saint Guigner ,main Church. The route de Bieuzy or D16 that I take to work at Vannes; the other grocery store in town the Lidl; the bus station and the road D102 entering town.

I, also, took a picture of our house and the Christmas tree in living room. Just to give a little warmth to the post ::) And yes Merry Christmas to all and best wishes from our family to yours!!!

The preparations are ongoing, we stopped for a bit of lunch and the cooking continues for the big meal tonight.  For lunch we had Spanish rice yellow rice with peppers, sweet peas etc and an avocado tomato salad with tuna fish, and  a nice white wine from Domaine de l’Epinay white pinot gris wine of the Loire.

And now, we sit back and relax, cooking slowly that pig leg and watching TV from all corners , USA, Spain, and France ::) All with a Christmas motif.

You enjoy it with good company and good cheers, the season to be merrier. Merry Christmas to all, and best wishes from the pedmar10 family.


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December 24, 2017

Meaux and the Cathedral of Saint Stephen or Cathédrale St Etienne!

I think is fitting that on this day Sunday December 24th 2017, I write once again about the Cathedral of Saint Stephen, or St Etienne in Meaux. I have written before in my blog on it bits of it, and now is time to write a bit more on this wonderful historical Cathedral on a special day awaiting our savior. Merry Christmas to all and best wishes from Paris1972-Versailles2003 to you and yours.

The Cathedral was built over a long period from 1170 to 1560; and is one of the best example of Gothic art in France. At the beginning it was built similar to the Cathedral of Evreux in Normandy; than came the war with the English and work stopped as the city was occupied from 1422 to 1439.  The north tower (60 meters high) was built but not the south tower between 1505 and 1540.   The Cathedral is 279 feet or 85 meters long by 98 feet or 30 meters wide and 187 feet or 48 meters high small compare to other Gothic Cathedrals. You see wonderful sculpture timpani on the western side (north) dedicated to St John the Baptist to the Virgin Mary on the south and the Last Judgment in the center. The transept facades are dedicated to the life of St Stephen. In the interior the decorations are very high and well noted the tomb of Bishop Bossuet, from 1682-1704. He was the personal confessor of king Louis XIV and was known as the Eagle of Meaux for his help of the city. In 1562 great destruction was done by the Huguenots. From 1834 to 1914 a big restoration project was undertaking as the stone of Varreddes were found to be weak in holding the weight.

In the choir you see the height of the decoration very well some 31 meters high; you see the remarkable stained glass of the Crucifixion (14C), the grand Rosary window (15C), a wonderful organ (17C). In the south Chapel you see the funerary stone of Jean Rose and his wife, also the tomb in stone of Jacques Bénigne Bossuet on the south side of the choir, the Eagle of Meaux.  There is a cabinet room of work of Bishop Bossuet built in 1670, it goes along fig trees promenade along the old ramparts.  There is even a Rose name after him or simply the Rose Bossuet and planted in the garden since 2004.

Tonite there will be a grand Mass at 22h30 or 10:30 pm in the Cathedral. The night of Christmas. Monday Christmas Day there will be another one at 10h30 or 10:30am.

A brief description and practical info is found in English here:

Some of the famous who have relation to this Cathedral are:

Saint Denis (3C) : First bishop of Paris who came to evangelisize in the meldois city in the Roman period risking his life. He was beheaded in 260AD in the mount of mars that became Montmartre Sainte Geneviève (423-502 or 512AD, according to different sources) : Patron Saint of Paris. Ordered built a Church on the tomb of Saint Denis. Owner of lands in the Brie region, came several times to Meaux. Saint Faron (†669) : Bishop of  Meaux  in the 7C.  His relics at at nearby La Ferté-sous-Jouarre (77). Saint Fiacre (7C) : Monk and warrior of Irish descend and the patron saint of gardeners.  He was welcome by Saint Faron  that offered him land in the Brie region on the site of Breuil (Broilum), near Meaux, to built a monastery. Philippe de VITRY (1291-1361) : poet and musician, theologician of the Ars Nova ;bishop of Meaux  from 1351  until his death.  The before mentioned ; Jacques-Bénigne BOSSUET (1627-1704) : men of the Church, predicator, and writer; bishop of  Meaux  from 1682-1704.  He participated in the writing of the  Déclaration des Quatre Articles (1682) about the liberties of the Church and author of  Sermons sur la mort (1662), Oraisons funèbres (1669, 1670, 1683, 1685 and 1687, the most famous of speeches about death), Histoire des variations des Églises protestantes (1688), and Discours sur l’histoire universelle (1681) , Politique tirée de l’Écriture sainte (posthumously in 1709). Sébastien de BROSSARD (1655-1730) : theologician composer and librarian ; author of the first dictionary of music in the French language (Dictionnaire de musique, 1703) ; chapel master in the Cathedral under the bishory of  BOSSUET ,and Cardinal de BISSY (1657-1737), bishop of Meaux  from 1705 to his death.

The Cathedral Saint-Étienne has a wonderful organ and concerts are regularly held here. The original organ dates from the 17C and the buffet is from 1627 and was one of the most important of its time.  At the end of the 18C renovations are done by the most important names in organ construction. In 1985, the instrument is again renovated in deep traction and puts it at 33 keys on 2 keyboards. It continues renovation to the 67 keys and 5 keyboards on a metal belt. A fantastic acoustic Cathedral and great organ indeed.  Other than the FNAC stores or the hypermarkets like Carrefour, E Leclerc or Auchan my best site to check on concerts is ticketmaster here:

The religious site of the diocese is here in French:

Info in French on the Cathedral from the city of Meaux:

My previous post in my blog relating to the Cathedral is here:

Enjoy this wonderful architectural building of France, the Cathedral of St Etienne or St Stephen is wonderful and the area around it is great; sure will do a nice 1-2 combination visiting Disneyland Paris even by bus Transdev bus 19 from the train station. More here:,%20Serris&fll=48.957133_2.873811&tll=48.85925_2.79488&customerId=4908&metroId=662&lang=fr

Also bus 69 takes you to shopping center mall Val d’Europe and there is a shuttle to the Disneyland; more here:

More on the bus network in the area:

The RER A takes you to Marne la Vallée and bus 19 to Meaux or vice versa.  The time on bus is less than an hour and on the express 19 can be as little as 27 minutes according to the bus sites. Just extra for info on those on public transports, of course with a car is a breeze about 25 minutes. Enjoy the Cathedral is worth it.

Cheers and Merry Christmas now we prepare for the good night meal on the 24th and the gifts on the 25th. Best wishes!!!

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December 23, 2017

Yes , this is the real Brie de Meaux! the cheese that is !!!!!

And at last, this is the real Brie de Meaux, the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings , Vienna congress 1815. Indeed, and there are lots of imitations and even those claiming to be using the same method but in far away lands ,even in France.

However, the real unique Brie de Meaux comes from the brie region of the department 77 Seine-et-Marne, and the town of Meaux (from which my wife comes from) is the epicenter of it. Sadly, today , many farmers are gone, industrialization has and does kill traditions. It remains only folks like us, me to preserve them and sponsored them so they keep delighting us with the real thing.

After much fighting , there is a group  Brie de Meaux et de Melun, that protects the cheeses creating an AOP or appellation d’Origine Protégée. More here in French:

For the Brie de Meaux ,there is the Confrérie des Compagnons du Brie de Meaux  or grouping of lovers of the cheese that is to protect and defend the tradition; the official site is here in English:

La Maison du Brie de Meaux is a boutique that is right in the Episcopal palace next to the Museum Bossuet that also acts as the tourist office. You can buy it direct too.  5 place Charles-de-Gaulle, tel +33 (0) 1 64 33 02 26. More here:

The brie de Meaux is done on a covering crusted in hormones of the cow’s milk ,soft and fondant, it has a flowery smell and it is delicious alone or with bread or an apple or even with honey. It takes about 25 liters of milk for 3,5 kg of cheese in a round form. It was first given credit to be created in the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre about 17 kms from Meaux.

Today due to shrinkage of the old traditions, the cheese makers are for 70% of the production located in the areas of Cousances-lés-Triconville, Raival, and Biencourt-sur-Orge within the allow territory of the AOP.  Covering several departments such as Seine-et-Marne (77), Loiret(45), Meuse(55) , Aube(10), Marne(51)  , Haute-Marne(52), and Yonne(89).

However, the best is still around the town of Meaux and Jouarre. Here at the latest is the oldest family run cheesemaker or fromagerie place that of fromagerie Ganot since 1895. More on it here in French:

The one in Meaux has been doing for years from generation to generation and the one our family buys from. This is the Fromagerie de Meaux Saint Faron. Here it is produce as well as the smaller cousin of Melun. You can have tours and tastings as well.  There is no webpage but the tourist office has info in French here:

The guided tours can be done in English or French. 4€ adults; groups are done with reservations,and individual visits can be done Wednesdays,Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9h -12h30 and 14h30 -17h. The place is outside the city in an industrial park just before reaching the museum of WWI and the American Monument on the N405 road. From the train station in Meaux coming from Paris gare de l’Est you can take bus P to it or take the navette bus from the train station to the museum WWI and walk down to the cheese maker. By car of course , we came and it is free. Tel +33 (0) 1 64 36 69 44 or email

Of course, you can ,also taste the new beer of Meaux, we tried already the Christmas beer and is pretty good with a cinnamon taste to it very sweet. Info is here but you can buy at the cheesemaker st Faron boutique or the maison de Brie tourist office .This is the Brasserie de Meaux, more info in French  here:

And , do not forget the mustard or moutard de Meaux Pommery world famous use by all the grand chefs of France and the world. It was known since antiquity, only offered to the religious orders at the time around 1632; it was in 1760 that the secrets was passed on to a Mr Pommery. It was served on the Royal tables and located at behind the Cathedral later moved to rue faubourg St Nicolas until 1927, however in 1925 the last of the Pommery sold the secret, name, business and all; even if the new owners since has used the same recipe.  We use it at home and buy at Meaux the original, the mustard a l’ancienne or old ways that is use in cooking and also to eat along great steaks !! You can buy at the maison du brie or the fromagerie st faron or at the city center cheese store in 4 rue du Général Leclerc ,the Fromagerie de Meaux. More officially on the mustard here:

Again for info the abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre is wonderful and should go there for the visit. I have written before in my blog, here is the post:

Hope you enjoy it and with some pictures as well as on the city of Meaux.  Including the vieux Châpitre linking to the Cathedral, the museum of Bossuet(since 1927 in the old episcopal palace b. 12C) , the ramparts , and a bit of my in laws house including my old bedroom in village outside, the pizzeria Roma my hangout when entering France in 2003 permanently, and the gardens of Bossuet (created in the 17C)  where I walked first in the city, memories. See my other post on Meaux, several here.  I will leave for later the Cathedral an absolute must visit. Enjoy Meaux , the meldois of the east of Parisi ::) and of course the Brie!!

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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:

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:

For weather we check Méteo France here:

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:

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:

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 ( a French paraphrasing meaning from here and from there) 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:

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 here:

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 Nantes. Then, we go next door on the same street to Fromagers Bruno Menager, a wonderful selection of cheeses from all over France. Loaded.

As we walked the old town of Vannes I took pictures 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, the 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:

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 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).  The Maxi Zoo store webpage is here in French:

We end up going to another store we had briefly been in Lanester ,however, the store here 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:

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 :

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 voilà pedmar10 on vacation!!! 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 Movable 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 movable 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:

And the page on the wines of the Loire official is here:

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:

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:

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:

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:

An organization especialising about those in Finistére dept 29 is here:

And to locate a good cider distillery you can look here:

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:

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:

The musée du cidre in Le Hézo but nice cider on the spot produce, more here:

The Cidrerie du Golfe , at Arradon, more here:

Cidrerie Nicol at Surzur, more here:

Cidrerie des Terroirs at Colpo: more here:

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 17, 2017

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXII

And on a bright sunny cold Sunday , family time on the woods of the Morbihan, we set out for our town Christmas market or marché de Noël.  This is a small town so small market ok; Pluvigner.

We set out walking from the parking behind our post office building into the main street and the place St Michel and place du Marché. Several chalets selling all kinds of Christmas and local product goodies. We load it up on chi chis (churros), honey, and jams of different fruits, the always wanted baguette breads, and gingerbread cookies.

I took advantage to take some pictures of places we patronize in town. These are the Optic 2000 eye care store, the La Croix Blanche hotel:restaurant , au gout du jour workers cafeteria restaurant with a always unbelievable menu of 10€ including 1/4 bottle of wine, main dish ,and dessert. The Sulky PMU café for a drink or betting on horses, the maison de la presse for a magazine, newspaper or play lottery; the Le Stadium bar for a game and a cold beer; the Paton kebad for a quick lunch with my gang, the café central for another great menu of 11€ coffee or beer, the Le Scampi award winning pizzeria; the shoes store Laétitia Chaussures, the Deco mania store for gifts and trinkets, and the bakery or boulangerie Tual in city center.

Of course, some pictures of the Christmas market especially the old cars, and some classic such as my old dear Mustang, and the American jeep, and the cars from the 50’s. Many more in the pictures.  Of course, Pluvigner has a lot more. I like to tell you the story of the city and some sights in a general condense way just to give you a taste of what this small old town has to offered. Enjoy it.

The town is part of the agglomeration of Lorient and a member of the community of the Pays d’Auray. And principal town in the area with many villages around it for a total of just a bit more than 7K inhabitants. It is about 25 km from the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Morbihan ,and near the bigger cities of Vannes (34 km), Pontivy (37,5 km), Lorient (37,5 km) and Auray (15 km).  Walking and bike rides are very popular here and great forests around us such as those of domanial de Camors and Floranges. Pluvigner has a total of 8 283 hectares (20467 acres or  32175 square feet) of territory with several villages around it and part of it such as Bieuzy-Lanvaux and Malachappe, and many more smaller.

The mayor’s or city hall building is at Place St Michel, Tel : +33 (0), Fax :+33 (0) Open Mondays to Fridays from 8h45-12h and 13h45-17h30, Saturdays morning from 8h45-12h. More info here:

A bit of history from our city hall pages that I will translate here:

The first traces of humans here goes back several thousand years before Christ, and some instruments such as axes in polish stones  have been found back in 1982 in the village of  Talhouët. The Gaul’s and predecessors were established here too building closures of two buildings, one circular and the other paramedic, tombs and fragments of pottery. The Romans were, also ,here and some traces left at Kerguy. In the 5C AD the Bretons came over the Manche to the today Brittany or Bretagne; accompanied by numerous monks and at this time Brittany is Christianize.  The parish of Pluvigner was founded in the 5C by Saint Guigner and his disciples coming from Ireland to evangelize the Armorica ,todays Brittany.  Saint Guigner born in Ireland known there under the name of Fingar, son of a king, Saint Patrick that evangelize Ireland converts him Christian. The father upset that his son abandon paganism chase him out to the point of having to leave Ireland. Here in Armorica he takes the name of  Guigner. According to the legend he landed at Pluvigner and found the monastery of Moustoir around 445AD. Around the year 450AD his father died, and Guigner goes there to renounce his heritage and the crown of his father; in Great Britain, he tries to evangelize the Jutes, Anglos, and Saxons that occupied a great territory and were pagans. He built up an expedition of missionaries to land at Cornouaille around 455AD with 770 men. The Jutes and Anglos led by a chief named Hengist, massacre Saint Guigner and his troops. He martyred here and the town bears his name in Breton language, Plu is parish and vigner is a contraction of guigner so therefore Pluvigner.

There is a lot of old evidence all over here of ancient times many from the times above such as Coët Magoër, Kerchero, Kerbernard , and  Goh Castel. The town name in 1259 was PleGuinner,then in 1325-1337 the writing change to PleuVingner; at this time the town was part of the feudal jurisdiction of the Baronnie of Lanvaux after been given by the Duke of Brittany; that at the time was part of the Abbey of Lanvaux (there is a marker here in the village of Bieuzy Lanvaux)  then the collegiale Church of Saint Michel. The Roman style has been left very little here as the gothic is more representative.

In the 18C, the town was touch an epidemic of maybe Variole records are not sure. At this time the community of the Sisters of  Wisdom come here in 1774  to take care of the sick people. They spread their gospel as well for two centuries, the hospital where they cure the sick was communicated tot he Chapel or Chapelle Saint-Adrien, that houses today the municipal library and multimedia center. At the end of this century marked by the French revolution , it was held the first municipal council in Pluvigner that replaces the parish in many domains; until 1792 the civil registry was done by the priests but by this year the rector of Pluvigner passes the authority to the first Mayor of the town. This is ,also, the period of the Chouans (the farmers who fought the French revolution for King and God here) and were present in Pluvigner. Many were made prisioner and put into the prison of the old convent of Ursulines in Vannes. The natives of Pluvigner participated in all the wars but it is interesting to note that is one of the few towns in France that has a memorial to those fallen in the war of 1870, that ended all imperial or royal pretentions and started the French Republic in earnest.

Some of the landmarks here and the main Church of Saint Guigner  or in Breton Iliz Sant Gwignier that I have written in my blog before, and next the now extinct but with ruins is the Notre-Dame des Orties , still visible are the cross transepts dating from the first quart of the 15C, a triple arcade and other three simple that gives to the choir and wings in arc.  Other sites are the Church of Saint Bieuzy, Chapelle de la Sainte Trinité, Chapelle Notre Dame de la Miséricorde, Chapelle Saint Adrien, Chapelle Saint Colomban, Chapelle Sainte Brigitte, Chapelle Saint Fiacre , Chapelle Saint Goal, Chapelle Saint Guénaël, Chapelle Saint Mériadec, and Chapelle Saint Guy.

To these, you need to add all the Crosses and Calvaries found in our territory such as Calvaire de old cemetery of Bieuzy Lanvaux, Cross of the short cross, Cross of the route to Bieuzy Lanvaux, Cross on the rue Job Le Bayon, Cross of Navéos, Cross of cemetery of Pluvigner, Cross of Pondic, Cross of Véniel, Cross of Vorlen, Cross Jégado, Cross of Lesmadien , Cross of Coët Magoër, Cross of Kerneur, Cross of Loguiviec, Calvary of the Church of Saint Guigner, Cross of the Chapel of the Miséricorde, Cross of the Chapel of Saint Fiacre, Cross of the Chapel of Saint Guénël, Cross of the Chapelle of Saint Guy, and Cross of the Chapel of the Sainte Trinité.

You continue looking and finding, fountains and well of years ago such as Fontaine Lavoir de Saint-Trémeur,  (pray here to relieve the stomach aches ), The  fountain and lavoir (laundry) were connected to the Chapel today gone. The Fontaine Lavoir du Lenno, Lavoir du Guern, Lavoir de Ker-Ivo aka Pen Prat, Fontaine Saint-Guigner and lavoir du Tanin, Fontaine de Miséricorde, Fontaine de Trélécan, Fontaine and lavoir de saint Bieuzy, Fontaine de saint Goal, Fontaine de saint Mériadec, and Fontaine de sainte Brigitte , as well as the wells of  the  place du Marché, wells or  puits du Tanin , Puits place Ler Paris, and Puits place Ler Vraz.

And I continue or rather Pluvigner continues with some beautiful buildings and castles around the villages such as The Manoir de Kerdesaroué from 1598 where the founding family stayed until the end of the 17C. The fiefdom of Kergo known here since 1426 and passing to several until given as donation in 1642 to the Carmelites priests of Sainte-Anne-d-Auray. The Manoir de Kergroéz known since 1448 where a cross is erected honoring the first owner coming from a military family of Jégado.  Several families continues the line with families still around since 1618!  The Manoir de Kerjean, belonging to the same family frm 1450 to 1790, the Blévin.  The family now traces the inter marriages and link to the current families of  Coëtmen, Marbœuf ,and La Bourdonnay.

The Manoir de Bodeveno there from 1340 to 1536, and passing by several families. Early in the 15C the lands of Kerlois were held by the lords of Lesvellec and Kérisper . It transmit to other families such as the Cadoret and their heirs sell the property in 1607 to the Le Gouvello lord of Kériolet known by their son the abbot Pierre de Kériolet (1602-1660) while living in the manoir he went to Mass in the chapel of the Miséricorde. After his death the private chapel of Kerlois was built. Passing again thru several owners. Inside the Chapel along a pass of the Cross with trees you come upon it and inside you see a portrait statue of Saint Vincent Ferrier on the left and on the right of Saint James the Mayor (Santiago de Compostella) both in wood.

The castle of kéronic was between 1426 and 1448 held by Henri de Launay. This family lived here for over 150 years been owners of several lordships in the area such as Bézidel at Brech, Pont-Sal  at Plougoumelen, Kergelin  at Languidic and Talvern. It made alliances and marriages with the leading families in Brittany such as the  Rosmadec,  La Forest, Baud, Tumelin , and the  Arradon. A new alliance took place in 1550 dividing in two branches the family. More transferring of ownership due to marriages follow. The last family of  Charpentier held the heritage until the French revolution (been nationalize in State property). Next to the castle there is the private Chapel of Saint-Joseph built in 1640.

There is one more Church of importance ,that of Church of Notre Dame de Fatima aux Granges. It was in 1889 that the sisters of an orphanage built for the children of the marines/fisherman lost at sea and the place was called Notre-Dame des Pins. In 1895 a Chapel was added in honor of a daughter of a rich senator, name Marcelle and the Chapel becomes dedicated to Sainte Marcelle. From 1957 yo 1962 the orphanage closes after been acquired by the parishers cooperators of the Christ the King coming from Paris.  The building eventually passes to the vocation of Notre Dame de Fatima. The building is in a neo roman style with a Latin cross. The stained glass in the choir shows on the left the initials of the Virgin Mary and on the right of  Saint Joseph , in the center those of Sainte Marcelle. Many beautiful statues are found inside such as those of Saint Joseph, with a portrait showing the appearing of Fatima.  Others are  of the Sacred Heart, Saint Theresa of the Enfant Jesus, Joanne of Arc, Saint Germaine de Pibrac and of  Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort.

And two more such as Porh Coët Magoër from the name Coz Magoër meaning old ruins or old walls ; the current name means a forest of ruins. Coming from an old family forgotten in the mid 16C by marriage of the last female to another family name that died in  1579. And many other heirs the last one died in 1772. The Manoir du Guern, it served as a rectory for two centuries. Divided into two parts now many in ruins but the interior is nice with statues of Saint Yves and Saint Vicente Ferrier.

As you can read, there is plenty of history to see in my areas, and honest, not seen them all , many already but I will see them all, promise ::) Enjoy the season to be merrier and why not remembering the old is that makes us stronger today, and ready to continue into the future. The blood is thicker than water ::)  Cheers and happy Sunday!!!

 Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner  Pluvigner

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: 

We past again for apero at La Cervoiserie (see previous post on beers) in Vannes.  Spot here:

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:

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:

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;

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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