Archive for February 1st, 2018

February 1, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXIII

Well in the run to post on the regions of France, lovely run indeed, we need to catch up to what is going on in my belle France.

Well the flood is still high around the rivers of France, especially in the north from east and west of Paris. The metro line 9 of Paris is cut off according to the RATP the organism that managed them and traffic is cancelled between Porte de Saint-Cloud and Pont de Sèvres.  The stations of Pont de Sèvres, Billancourt, and Marcel Sembat are closed to the public. The problem is infiltration due to the rise of the Seine river.  The reopening will be by tomorrow estimated and a bus service is in place instead. The town of Gournay in Seine-Saint-Denis is flooded and the Marne river should go over 5,55 meters at the limit of the wall. The level can go to 5,80 by Saturday next. The gymnasium du Clos de l’Arche in Noisy-le-Grand , (5 rue Jean Richepin) is available to host folks evacuated if needed.  The basin of the Seine river is still high and influence the levels of the Marne river and tributaries. The area is in orange alert (second highest) into the Val de Marne according to Méteo France. By Saturday, the Marne river can go 15-30 cm higher , and Seine having lost 29 cm in 25 hrs still needs to go down and rainy days do not help. It will be needed to wait until next week to see the descend more realistic.  To be continue….

the toll fees on highways ./autoroutes continue to go up of course. Increase of 1 – 2 %  starting from February 1st 2018, and  3- 4 % in the secondary network of roads. Due to high cost of salt on the road and the high price of the gel of 2015!! this is a rip off but the happy French taxpayer will do again and the visitors will help of course.  According to the authority on the regulation of rail activities and highways or ARAFER this increase is not justifiable . The pro consumer group 60 millions de consommateurs  have shown that on 29 autoroute axes 28 have increase their rates by more than 5 % between  2011 and 2017. Six  tranches have even increase it by more than 10 %.  The top comes to the section of  Bordeaux  to  Pau , more than 16%. IN 10 years the price of toll fees have increase by almost  20 %!!!. Yeah and the roads are the same but we pay more ,lousy service ,one more proof the government is not to save lives but to make money.

The museum or musée de Cluny  is closing within one month. By March 1st they will closed their doors for about four months for renovations. The small entrance lobby of 52 m2 will be replace by one of 250 m2!  and two elevators/lifts will be installed.  The city of Paris will take advantage of this to make the  rue Sommerard  pedestrian. The museum at  6, place Paul Painlevé (5éme). More here:

And one of my all time favorite as my boys grew up going here often is the Jardin d’Acclimatation now in renovation but still confirm to re open by May 1st. The Labor day holiday here. The owners are now the famous brand LVMH. This park of 18 hectares in the Bois de Boulogne (16éme) will have a new identity to it’s 40 activities and function ability to the machines providing admission fees of 4,90€ adults or the pass for all at 29€. The park is a historical leisure place for Parisians that is here since 1860. The new renovation will keep the place of promenade and rest for all as always. A garden renovated in the spirit of old Paris, a village of activities such as the Les Rockets, an attraction unique in Europe with 500 meters of rollercoaster, bobsleigh etc going down at 45 kph ( 28 mph) in 2 minutes 30 seconds in a forest of sequoia trees. There will be an interactive cinema, an decorated alley in the north part on the side of Neuilly-sur-Seine. A farm normand recreated and the heritage of Napoléon III rebuilt. The factory to make satin fabric that has been made into a café as well as station with a old clock, and several small houses to bring back the spirit of Napoléon III. They have planted 45 000 shrubs and 200 trees with a natural river flowing thru.  More here:

Grand Paris Express will go the distance for the supermetro around Paris. 200 km of metro and 68 new stations in 5 new lines 14,15,16,17,and 18  will be build by the govt by way of the company  Société du Grand Paris (SGPl) . The proposals will be received by the council of overlook of the project of the SGP during the month of March 2018.

And knowing this line, I know what they are going thru. The wonderful old outdated public transports in Paris. The train Line U trip of La Verrière (Yvelines my oldest boy school was here) and La Défense had a terrible last trimester of 2017. From initiative of the users association ” Plus de Trains”, meeting have been held with the SNCF.  they need to improve it, an important line of 50 000 passengers per day meanwhile the SNCF recognizes that they are two times more cancelled trains here that before and the line is worse than from last May 2017. Just saying, not the same visiting than living here; transports is not what they are made to show for at all. There is a blog in French telling us about all the problems of the transports in the Paris region here:

More transports evils, before you take the bus and transport passengers the drivers of the buses of the RATP needs to come on board and park their own cars. Well at Boulogne-Billancourt  or the Porte de Saint-Cloud, the parking for them is hard and has prompted given a strike notice by Friday. The strike is posted for the bus lines 169  and 171,in the dept  Hauts-de-Seine, but, also lines  22, 52 ,and 72, that transit in Paris. They claim they have only 25 parking spaces for 250 drivers !  and now they are prohibited from parking their personal cars in the bus terminal of  Pont-de-Sèvres, where the drivers of bus lines 169 and 171  start their work day.  Until now there was tolerance on their parking here bu the dept of Hauts-de-Seine,in charge of the places have installed anti parking blocks here! When are they are goint to learn they cannot stop the car, as they have no space no money and no means of creating spaces!!!

More on trains, the RER E in dept 93 Seine-Saint-Denis has since December 23rd last taken the form of strikes of 59 minutes every morning!.  It happened last at the station of Raincy, where the trains of  7h49 and 7h56 were cancelled without any notice to passengers. Therefore, starting February 1st the Unions will have strikes for 59 minutes between the hours of  6h30 to 7h29, from 17h30 to 18h29 , and between  0h30 to 1h29. They are asking for the erosion in their purchasing power and an increase in salaries. So now in addition to delays old Equipment cancellations, and now salaries, the workers in the area going to work will go thru hell once again. Hopefully the visitors will not notice any of this and will still claim Paris transports is very nice lol!!!

To continue on transports and outside Paris region of île de France we go to the Oise at Beauvais and their network of buses Corolis. For the fourth consecutive day they are on strike and will continue. This includes the free navette in city center and the service chronopro 2 will be cancelled again. This is in addition to the 26 departures cancelled of the Chrono 1 from/to  the districts of  Argentine,  Saint-Jean,and Hôtel de ville. Just for info ok nothing bad just routine transport woes. More here in French:

And to make it even more so bad, the Conseil d’orientation des infrastructures (COI),that is mandatated by the government to decide on priorities for transports for the next 5-10 years on big projects like the lines  TGV Bordeaux-Toulouse, Paris-Normandie or Provence-Côte d’Azur, new autoroutes etc are looking into a phaseout period on the construction of these. they will be done in stages over a longer period of time. Of course no money for this but they keep raising fees and higher fines and less parkings etc As we say la vie est belle indeed. The line  Toulouse-Bordeaux as an example the first stage schedule for  2018-2022, the finish is now estimated to be by 2037 or later!!! The same for the line  Provence-côte d’Azur,where the completion will be extended from 2023 to 2037. oh là là là; it’s all here in Les Echos in French:

Ok cool, on a more peaceful story about football/soccer; The village of Poncy bordering the autoroute A13 as well as roads D30 and D113 all around Poissy will be the new training camp of Paris football/soccer team PSG. There will be a new traffic circle by Aigremont in the D30, all my old hangouts. The team will have a huge complex here with 15 football fields, buildings for housing and stadium for 5000 persons to be done by 2020.

And one guy that has not received all the credit due him  as a painter is Jean Fautrier and he will be shown at the museum or musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. An exposition with his 140 paintings and 25 Sculptures of  Jean Fautrier (1898-1964). All until May 20 2018. WE see in his paintings signs of Turner, as well as Rembrandt, or even Chardin. However , he flirt with abstraction and created the jargon of informal art with several work of the expressionist school. You need to see the work « Nature morte aux poires » from 1927. It has a font black and gray emerging three pears with a light spectacle that is taken from the game of lights of a Turner or a  Rembrandt.  His « Jolie fille » done in 1926-1927  is a mass of nuts in a sculptural body where he hardly shows the face, it is radical! As well as the work done in 1922, when he decided to take on the « Portrait de ma concierge ». He made exist an old lady with a minucioiuse representation in grey tones, black and violets. In his funeral André Malraux said that  Fautrier made him think of  Goya.  Anyway Jean Fautrier is a great one of the painting history, the master of modern tragidy . More here:

On November 27 2017, the auction house of  Artcurial proposed in auction a magnificent ensemble of work in sculptures by  Camille Claudel. They were rare and beautiful, a pedigree (coming from the family of the sculptor) the estimation were awesome and three world records were established.  A sweet revenge for that which for a long time was considered the student of her lover Auguste Rodin. All had the right of pre emptive that was exercise by the French government in auctions of arts in favor of six muséums, so on the 20 works 12 were send to French arts institutions. That is the story the museum or Musée d’Orsay  is showing until February 6. The others are the Musée Rodin, Paris, Musée Camille-Claudel, Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), the pool museum or Piscine-Musée d’art et d’industrie in Roubaix (Nord), Musée Sainte-Croix  of Poitiers , and the Maison Camille et Paul Claudel of Villeneuve-sur-Fère (Aisne), all already with important works of Camille Claudel .More here:

sit back and enjoy the arts in beautiful Paris and extraordinary Opéra in the season 2018-2019 at the Opéra de Paris. The year  2019  will be a double anniversary, the creation in 1669 by king Louis XIV of the royal academy of the opera or the Académie royale d’Opéra, that will take on the name of the royal academy of music or Académie royale de Musique; but, also as well the opening of the room Bastille, opened about 30 years ago by Président François Mitterrand for the bicentenary of the French revolution.  Some of the work shown are: Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer created in the Opéra in 1836 followed by the first curtain rising of the Opéra Bastille in 1989. Also, Les Troyens of Hector Berlioz under the direction of Philippe Jordan and to finish with the opera ballet of Rameau, Les Indes Galantes under the direction of Leonardo Garcia Alarcon in a scene of Clément Cogitore.  Not less than 32 programs with 15 new spectacles will be shown. some of the new will be Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Dmitri Chostakovitch in a scene of Krzysztof Warlikowski. Don Giovanni of Mozart directed by Philippe Jordan and scene of Ivo Van Hove or the La Traviata of Verdi with a new scene of Simon Stone.  On the Dance side, you have ballets likes the Cendrillon, La Dame aux Camélias and the Le Lac des Cygnes and also the premiere in the Opera Garnier on December 29 2019 a hip hop battle with Juste debout, the organizer in France of the biggest international competitions.  More here:

And last but not least, the nocturnal chases at the Louvre museum. Call is out for the lovers of the Da Vinci Code ! Each Wednesday and Saturday night the  musée du Louvre welcomes the great adventurers that we are for a mysterious treasure hunt. For nearly two hours in the heart of the museum collections your mission will be to be first in opening the crypts of the Joconde (Mona Lisa). Anima,the organizer of the events in Paris will have a quiz to help on the hunt; you will need a team to discover the three pyramides on three initiating trails before the others. This will be until February 28 2018 . Night events at 19h and matinees on Saturdays at 10h30 . Admission are  33,60€  for the adult tickets with Louvre admission included or  17,40€  just for the treasure hunt,  10,20€  for the children and the museum is free for those under 26 with proof of age.  Musée du Louvre entrance by the  Pyramide – Cour Napoléon – 1er more on the organiser Anima site here!

Ok so a change of pace from the regions report but figure Paris can’t wait lol!!!  Enjoy Paris , the most beautiful city in the world. Hey UN WTO figures are in for 2016 France got 82,6 millions visitors again tops in the world ::)  Cheers!

February 1, 2018

The Pays de la Loire region

The region of the Pays de la Loire includes the departments of Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe, and Vendée with Nantes as its Capital and biggest city. It is one I come often, too much in fact ….as my gateway to the world is now the Nantes Atlantique airport. And of course, the Loire river passes by here too ,but not to be confused with the other region Centre-Val-de-Loire:J

I have to say here, as different to the other regions , the Pays de la Loire does not correspond in their creation (1955) to any other entity that was there before or historically there before. The five department that are included here were done strictly on arbitrary decisions on a political vein. The Pays de la Loire regroups pieces of the old provinces of Anjou, Bretagne, Maine, Perche, and Poitou.

The appearance here of the dept 44 Loire-Atlantique in this region while for centuries was part of Brittany is still a subject of heated arguments with many locals from the Nantes and south region considering themselves still Bretons (and they are !). From the High Middle Ages the region of Nantes belongs to Brittany, king Nominoé the Breton who integrated the region of the county of Nantes to the kingdom of Brittany thanks to his victory in 843AD. In 851AD the treaty of Angers validates the integration to the Breton domaine. In 1532, the duchy of Brittany is reunited in marriage to the kingdom of France ,however, the region is marked at the French revolution and the wars of the Vendée as well as the Chouannerie Breton the biggest uprisings to the central power in the history of France. Atrociously terminated in massacres all over the region that still has its scars, remaining stubbornly independent.

Some of the languages spoken here other than French are Angevin to the east of the dept 44 Loire-Atlantique and in the department of Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, and Sarthe. Gallo in the Loire Atlantique, Poitevin in the Vendée, and of course Breton on the coasts of the Loire Atlantique.

Transport on the road is still limited on the N165, A844, N249, roads and comes around as Nantes as the central directional point. The site for transport information for the region is Destineo here:

Also ,the TER Pays de la Loire which I take often is here:

The transport is still in regrouping mode and still some of the old names are still in effect ,you can find them here by departments

And on Nantes that I come often business or leisure, the transport site in the area is TAN even with some info in English here:

The airport Nantes Atlantique a wonderful experience for the last 7 yrs! is here:

As far as sights enormous!! Part of the region is Unesco under the name Val de Loire. The area extend on the department of Maine-et-Loire,from Montsoreau to Chalonnes-sur-Loire. Sharing part of it with the region of Centre-Val de Loire. The Pays de la Loire region ,also has castles such as Château de Montsoreau, Montreuil-Bellay,Saumur, Brissac, Le Lude, Baugé, Serrant, Angers and Plessis-Bourré. Some of the towns are, also recognised in France as cities of Art and History such as Angers, Fontenay-le-Comte, Laval, Le Mans, Guérande, Nantes , and Saumur. Many of these already mentioned on posts in my blog.

More tourist information can be found in French here:

External site with more tourist information in English here:

And of course, one picture to showcase the region, such as the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in  Nantes, yes in Pays de la Loire; I told you so.

Enjoy your week; Cheers!!

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February 1, 2018

The Centre-Val de Loire!

Now, we are coming to my areas that made me come to France. This is what France is all about, and gorgeous several times over. The region of Centre-Val de Loire is here for you.

The Centre-Val de Loire is a region since 2015 as before it was called simply the Centre. It includes three historic provinces such as Berry, Orléanais, and Touraine with at the extreme south the Bourbonnais. It is partially covered by the natural region of the valley of the Loire. Not to be confused with Pays de la Loire region, next…The old provinces had their old department that continues such as Orléanais with Loiret, Eure et Loir and Loir et Cher, then Berry with Cher and Indre, and finally Touraine with Indre et Loire. It is here that the famous Castles of the Loire came to be known by all such as from Gien to Chinon, passing by Chambord, Blois, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau , La Ferté-Saint Aubin etc

It includes six departments such as Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loir-et-Cher and Loiret. Even if Tours is the bigger city (my next trip !) the regional capital is Orléans. Other major tourist cities of the region are Bourges, Blois, Châteauroux, and Chartres. The Loire river crosses this region from east to west and is the famous name by which we all tend to know the region.

You have several autoroutes or expressways in the region linking all of France such as the Paris to Lyon on the A6, to Bordeaux on the A10, to Clermont-Ferrand on the A71, to Rennes and Nantes on the A11, Nevers on the A77, Toulouse on the A20. And also autoroutes on the width of the region such as those on the Orléans-Sens corridor with the A19, Vierzon-Tours-Angers on the A85 , and Tours-Le Mans-Rouen on the A28. The train is very much used here such as the TER Centre Val de Loire here:

Also, a one center for transport needs including buses Remi here

Some of the Unesco sites here too numerous really, my favorites are:
Notre Dame Cathedral of Chartres, St Etienne (St Stephen) Cathedral of Bourges, Cathedrals of Tours and Orléans ,Jacques Coeur palace at Bourges, the medieval look 9C at Germigny-des-Prés , the basilica abbey of Fleury in Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire 11C, Basilica de Cléry-Saint-André 15C near Orléans. And of course the castles too numerous to mention in the valley of the Loire but my favorites are Chambord, Blois, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Cheverny, Villandry, Valençay, Loches, Amboise, Chinon, Ussé, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Blet, Ainay-le-Viel, Bouges, Châteaudun, Langeais, Le Rivau, Chamerolles, Sully-sur-Loire, Gien, Beauregard, Villesavin, Talcy, and Gizeux. Which even I can’t remember them all and thanks to Wikipedia lol!

And the regional page on tourism in French here:

And still old names ,but official tourist site on the region here:

The picture that shows well this region is here too, Chambord.

Enjoy the Valley of the Loire, where the castles=chateaux of renown are located. Cheers!

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