Archive for March, 2018

March 31, 2018

Re-visit my Montparnasse!

I am back at you with a wonderful historical part of Paris that is one of my favorites and one of my work hangouts while working right by rue de Départ!! Of course, I am talking about Montparnasse.

The train station complex : Gare Montparnasse

Transports in the neighborhood: Paris tourism on transports Montparnasse

Paris

gare Montparnasse

The name itself brings out the artsy, vibrant, gaiety of the Paris we came to love and enjoy , and still do. I was lucky to work by this area and enjoy all its splendor and many good restaurants and bars lol!

The name of Montparnasse is used since the 17C on the old place of the Parish of Vaugirard now part of the city of Paris by the current limits of the neighborhoods of Montparnasse  14éme  district and neighborhood  Notre-Dame-des-Champs 6éme district of Paris.  The name given made reference to the  mont Parnasse, a hill in the center of Greece that according to Greek mythology lived the muses, ; the students of the Latin quarter by  1725, call it a hill of garbage , on an artificial hill between the roads of boulevard du Montparnasse ,and  boulevard Raspail. The name took force after the creation of the street rue du Montparnasse in 1773 and after been that of cours du Midy opened in 1700. The name of  Mont Parnasse  was given to the whole neighborhood in the middle of the 19C. However, the name of  Montparnasse has a larger perimeter as many of its most emblematic places are in the neighborhoods of  Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Necker , and  Plaisance. It is surrounded  on the North by the blvd du Montparnasse and blvd de Port Royal, to the east by the rue de la Santé, to the south by the plains of the bvld Saint-Jacques (along the line 6 of Metro), place Denfert-Rochereau,  a section of the rue Froidevaux,  rue Boulard , and rue Daguerre,  to the southwest a section of the avenue du Maine , and on the northwest by the  rue du Départ.  A large part is occupy by the cemetery of Montparnasse.

Quartier or neighborhood  Montparnasse No 53  in the 14éme arrondissement or district,  created in 1860 and with emblematic streets such as rue du Montparnasse , boulevard du Montparnasse, and  place Pablo-Picasso (the hill of Montparnasse). There is a remnants of a barrier wall build in 1786 and now demolished on what is now the Metro Edgar Quinet;  and the barrier of hell or Barrière d’Enfer still existing on the wall of the  general farmers building.the cemetery of Montparnasse , where rest in peace  Charles Baudelaire, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, Guy de Maupassant, Serge Gainsbourg , and many more notables. The wonderful train station, my own now coming into Paris from Brittany ,the gare Montparnasse, as well as the convenient metro station Montparnasse – Bienvenüe. You go out and see the big one, the  tour Montparnasse  with 59 floors and 210 meters high; the vibrant  Casino Montparnasse at  35, rue de la Gaîté, where it was created the operetta  La Belle de Cadix  in 1945, and Bourvil came to be known.

cemetary of Montparnasse

Theater of Montparnasse

Tour Montparnasse

Paris

Tour Montparnasse

The Casino Montparnasse at  35, rue de la Gaîté, where it was created the operetta  La Belle de Cadix in  1945, and comedian Bourvil came to be known. The theater  Montparnasse nearby in  rue de la Gaîté built in  1886, and renovated in 1930. Finally the catacombs from the end of the 18C with 6 millions bones put into subterranean galleries  with an entrance at  1, avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy. The wonderful green garden of  jardin Atlantique on the upper levels of the gare Montparnasse since  1990. The sculpture of the lion of Belfort,on the  place Denfert-Rochereau. The Fondation Cartier for contemporary arts , the  Observatoire de Paris. The neighborhood is also crossed by the meridian of Paris ; and the health prison or Prison de la Santé.  Not to forget the museum of Montparnasse  at 21 avenue du Maine,and the Galerie Les Montparnos, at  5 rue Stanislas, that specialise on the school of Paris of the 1920’s and the discovery of artists painters forgotten  of the Montparnasse painting between the two world wars. Wonderful shopping even with Galeries Lafayette at rive gauche mall

Montparnasse rive gauche shopping mall

Books, plays, cinema all about Montparnasse made famous over the years with the restaurants La Coupole , and Le Dôme.  And many Americans seeking arts with their fortunes such as Gertrude Stein, Peggy Guggenheim, Edith Wharton ,and Harry Crosby  as well as critics like D.H Lawrence, Archibald MacLeish, James Joyce, Kay Boyle, Hart Crane, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Dorothy Parker, and many more.

Paris

bvld Montparnasse

Paris

place 8 juin 1945

A wonderful district and even gorgeous neighborhoods of plenty to do all day and night long. Hope you have enjoy it, and welcome. Have a great weekend of Easter, happy travels and good health to all. Cheers!!!

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March 29, 2018

The glorious shopping in/of Paris!!!

Well , I think we all like shopping. Yes , is no longer a women world, but men too like to shop; I do. The only thing is that I know what I like and go straight to it;some not so much ,like to wandered around stores for hours,not me. Paris is an experience, well is the popular city, most visited, etc. But really, shopping is heavens in France!!

I like to tell you some shopping areas of Paris. Ok here we go with some general areas where you will find the best of France, Paris ,the world and depending on your budget for all pockets.

The everybody first stop is  Le Marais neighborhood in the 3éme and 4éme arrondissement of Paris. Lively neighborhood known for its trendy boutiques, vintage shops, restaurants and vibrant gay community . You can hop over to the wonderful and  picturesque Place des Vosges, surrounded by an arcade lined with a great mix of elegant and artistic shops.  Very chic. Then go on to the popular Forum des Halles , with a covered shopping experience in the heart of Paris . Enjoy the quaint pretty Rue Montorgueil market street, where you’ll find everything you need for a wonderful meal.

Come on over to the very tops at the Place Vendôme all is upscale filled with shops by some of Paris’ top designers as well as boutiques by up and coming and cutting edge designers.  By the gardens of the Palais Royal  other than a nice walk you will enjoy the  surrounding arcades lined with restaurants, art galleries and boutiques.  One of my favorites Rue de Rivoli with its arcade running along the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre Museum. Walking down the shop-lined street, be prepared to find so many stores you won’t be able to visit them all in one day;  of course not. Very good Paris souvenirs here. Keep walking to the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville where you’ll find BHV ,one of Paris fable department store .

Paris

BHV

You will do wonders at the Triangle d’Or  where every woman and man dreams of shopping in Paris. This shopping mecca is formed by Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Rue Francois 1er in the 8éme arrondissement just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. This is the heart of Paris’ Haute Couture shops and the finest fashion houses in the world, including Dior, Chanel, Ferragamo, Dolce e Gabbana, Prada, Valentino, Bulgari, Gucci and many more.  The ever busy but sometimes crowded Avenue des Champs Elysées is another one especially for the chain stores like FNAC or the ever present Abercrombie  store. By the quaint nice and beautiful  Rue Saint Dominique and Rue de Grenelle, both lined with lovely shops, restaurants and cafés ;and do not forget the  Rue Cler market street  at the 7éme not far from the Tour Eiffel.

The Parisian feeling of the  Rue du Commerce  with over 100 shops along the way ; and do not missed the Monoprix at the corner of Rue du Commerce and Boulevard de Grenelle, for a truly Parisian experience. One of my hangouts from working days in Paris and visits now is the Place de la Madeleine walking around the Church is awesome with my favorites even the biggest wine store Nicolas and around the corner on rue de la Madeline Lavinia. Follow my footprints coming back from work along Rue Tronchet from the Church de la Madeleine and you’ll head directly toward  the huge department stores Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. The streets here are lined with shops all along Boulevard Haussmann leading toward the beautiful Opéra Garnier. Stop in the huge Monoprix store near Galeries Lafayette for a uniquely Parisian shopping experience.

Paris

Au Printemps

Paris

Galeries Lafayette

The heart of St-Germain des Prés and into the lively Latin Quarter, Boulevard Saint Germain is a street shoppers’s paradise. Starting at the Seine River ,this pretty street is lined with trees and beautiful Parisian buildings. It’s a great spot for home décor shops, fashion boutiques and gourmet food shops. As you reach the intersection with Rue du Bac and Boulevard Raspail, you’ll enter a fabulous shopping neighborhood. Follow Boulevard Raspail down to Rue de Rennes, and along the way you’ll find many interesting stores. Follow Rue d’Assas and the streets leading by the Luxembourg Gardens and deeper into the Latin Quarter for fun shopping finds. Rue St. Placide to the left as you face the left bank department store of Paris -Bon Marché. Follow Boulevard Saint Germain into the 6éme, and enjoy the famous literary cafés—Les Deux Magots, Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp—and high-end shopping around St-Germain des Prés.

There you have hope you do, the best shopping in the world. Enjoy your week, enjoy shopping in Paris. Happy travels, good health and Cheers to all!!!

March 28, 2018

La Villette, that other park of Paris

I used to come here more often and saw the transformation of this area from  a low unknown to a vibrant lively area and up and coming real estate values.  I am talking about the La Villette and its park complex in the 19éme arrondissement of Paris.

I came back to the 19éme this area was the passing of many by me as it was my getaway to see my girlfriend now wife outside Paris on the old N3 now D603 road direction Meaux. It covers the northeast quadrant of Paris bordering the boulevard periphérique, the first mention of La Villette goes back to 1198, and the area was like many annexed to Paris proper in 1860.  It is divided into four quartiers or neighborhood such as La Villette, Pont de Flanders, Amérique, and Combat. The Grande Halle de la Villette, metal structures built in 1865-1867, it was the site of one of the biggest slaugherhouses in Paris and today it serve for cultural events and concerts.

The parc de la Villette, is located as mentioned in the 19éme arrondissement and on the quartier Pont de Flandre  is one of the biggest park and the biggest green area of Paris. It was built on the slaughterhouse of the Villette that were demolished in 1867 under orders of emperor Napoléon III and the prefect Haussmann , and finally raze in 1974. It has 55 hectares of which 33 are green areas so making it the biggest in Paris, larger than the Jardin des Tuileries with 25,5 hectares, parc des Buttes Chaumont with 25 hectares and the Jardin du Luxembourg with 23 hectares. It has the Porte de la Villette on the north, the porte de Pantin on the south and the Canal de l’Ourcq crosses it in the middle. Two pedestrian passarelles connect the canal with the north and south section, and also there is a floating mobile bridge half way between the two passeralles that allow walkers and bikers and mobility impaired persons to cross it.

There is a passages garden inspired from the exposition planetary gardens in the grande halle on a site of an old lamb corral; this island of green has 3000 sq meters with an ecosystem of forest, and dry stones.  It is a space of culture and teaching around ecological themes.

The things you will see here are:

The Grande halle de la Villette, with a nave of 9000 sq meters, the space Charlie Parker  with 4 000 sq meters, four studies and 8 balconies on the room Boris Vian.

Grande Halle on Paris tourist office here: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71597/Grande-Halle-de-La-Villette

The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie opened in 1986. The Géode , a large dome shape building of 36 meters (119 ft)  in diameter housing a cinema IMAX cinema on a  geodesies dome opened  in 1985. The Cité de la Musique , concert hall opened in 1995 and music museum opened in 1996.  The conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris opened in 1990.  The little Villette the old pavilion Paul Delouvrier. The Zénith de Paris, opened in 1984 and stayed concert hall. The Philharmonic de Paris created in 2015. The space Chapiteaux with Chapithôtel opened in 2013 to house the artists. The submarine Argonaute. Cinaxe , this is a cinema made like a flight simulator ,very good! you play the movie with the same movements lol! The Trabendo opened in 1994 under Hot Brass spectacles hall . The wonderful Cabaret Sauvage concerts spectacles since 1997. The theater Paris Villette opened in 1986 in the old pavilion de la Bourse aux cuirs (leather stock exchange) . The Hall de la  Chanson in the pavilion of Charolais behind the Grande Halle. The Thêatre de la Villette, a theater and plenty around there too even on peniches boats.

Others are the WIP Villette opened in 1987 first as the Maison de la Villette. The  beltway spaces for residence of artists , an equestrian center, Pavillon Janvier, Cité Administrative, and the thematic gardens such as the  jardins passagers, jardin des bambous, jardin des frayeurs enfantines, jardin de la treille, jardin des équilibres, jardin des îles, jardin des miroirs, jardin des dunes et des vents, jardin des voltiges, jardin du dragon, jardin des ombres, and jardin des dessins. It has an equetrian center, sculptures, and music kiosques all around, great place to spend a day in a different Paris.

It has gorgeous walks along the Canal de la VilletteCanal Saint Denis,and Canal de l’Ourcq all meeting here going into a great esplanade to the Rotonda de la Villette ,the old tax authority now been converted into a Brasserie restaurant ,and very popular. The luminous cinema MK2  overlooking the canal is romantic ,beautiful cinema house.

All around these canals you have the bassin de la Villette, the biggest body of water in Paris with 700 meters long( 2310 ft) .  The aforementioned Rotonde de la Villette  is one of 54 buildings done in 1784 to received the taxes on products entering Paris; it faces the Bassin de la Villette.  For difference there is a nice church St Jacques et St Chritophe de la Villette at place Bitche a nice small park in front will do good for a rest and some snack/drink to recharge your walk, I know I did :::).

Here you can get to many peniche boat and cruise boat on the canals and bassin the most famous is the Canauxrama firm right on quai de la Loire. Also, the newer Paris Canal same side of the quais .

To have a zip drink spend a lovely time here other than inside the Parc de la Villette, you have a wonderful cafe LM at the MK2 cinema overlooking the bassin de la Villette, Belushi’s at rue Crimée is wonderful and youthful with good prices, and great views. For a heartier meal I suggest the Au Boeuf Couronné, for great beef and the signature of Gerard Joulie restaurants in Paris, located at 188 ave Jean Jaurés, metro porte de Pantin ,line 5 . There is a hostal St Christopher’s next to it with lively ambiance, great prices, and very easy located on metro Crimée line 7.

In all a labyrinth of good ambiance always guarantee.  The menu of activities schedule can be seen here: https://lavillette.com/en/

The Paris tourist office on it; https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71469/Parc-de-La-Villette-Plein-Air

The Zénith webpage : http://www.le-zenith.com/fr/infos-pratiques/placement.html

Cite de la musique/Philharmonic de Paris webpage: https://philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie webpage : http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/home/

Géode webpage: https://www.lageode.fr/?lang=en

And for reference, this is Paris 19éme arrondissement or district mayor’s office on the journal La Gazette in pdf files for local info and news: https://mairie19.paris.fr/pages/la-gazette-du-19e-12848#les-numeros-de-2019-et-2020

You will do good to visit this not often seen area of Paris, it is very nice. Hope you enjoy it and happy week, travel, and good health to all. Cheers!!

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March 26, 2018

The fable Institut de France!

We are into Spring for sure, nice and sunny no rain and just 6C or about 45F cool alors nous sommes au printemps!!! And , I like to tell you about an institution very much dear to us French ! Let’s talk about the Institut de France!!! in Paris.

The Institut de France  was created in October 25 1795 and house in an old building of the old school or Collège des Quatre-Nations located at  23 quai de Conti in the 6éme arrondissement just facing the Seine river. It includes the French Academy or Académie française (40 members),  the inscriptions and noble letters academy or Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres (55 members), Science Academy or Académie des Sciences (262 members),  the fine arts academy or Académie des beaux-arts (59 members), and the moral  and political sciences academy or Académie des sciences morales et politiques (50 members).

a bit of history on the building:

In 1661, in his final will and last wishes and thanks to his great fortune the Cardinal Mazarin asked king Louis XIV ,the creation of a college to received the nobles of the four nations united in royal obedience by the treaties of Westphalia in 1648 and Pyrénées in 1659 that were Artois, Alsace, Pignerol, and Roussillon (included Sardinia).  It was Colbert who hired architect Louis Le Vau (Vaux le Vicomte, Versailles et al) to design the college at the level of the square court of the Louvre on the other side of the Seine. The work took from 1662 to 1688.  By 1796, the building house one of the three central schools of Paris under the name of  the  École centrale des Quatre-Nations  or four nations central school. This school closed in 1802, and by 1805,upon the request of Napoléon Ier, the Institut de France came as tenant of the building.  In the 19C, on a second court a wing was added connecting the two pavilions already there; and was  inaugurated in 1846.   It houses two rooms for work used for ordinary sessions of the Academies. While work was going on to built an auditorium by the INRAP in 2015 it was discoverd a section of the Paris ramparts wall of king Philippe Auguste including a wall, a tower, and a well dating from the reign of king Charles V.

Let me give you a bit of history on the institution itself.

The first session held here was on April 4  1796, for the museum of the French revolution or musée de la Révolution française. There is in the library of the institut de France designed and engraved by  Augustin François Lemaître,  in a dictionary of the Académie française of 1835. The French Republic has suspended all Royal academies under the new constitution of the year III article 298 established in our calendar year 1795. The Moral and political academy having no loyalty towards the revolution was eliminated by the Consulat in January 1803. The classes remaining were of  Classe des sciences physiques et mathématiques (physical science and math classes) ; Classe de langue et littérature française ( the language and French literature class) ;Classe des langues anciennes et d’histoire (old languages and history class) ; and the Classe des beaux-arts(fine arts class). In 1816, king Louis XVIII ordered reorganised the Institut and the name Academy is again re established and used to name the different classes such as  the  Académie Française , Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres , Académie des sciences, and  Académie des beaux-arts ».  By ordinance (order) of 1832 the Académie des sciences morales et politiques are ,also, re established. king of the French  Louis-Philippe gives the Institut the current configuration.

I like to put the library of the Institut de France here: Institut de France library

The principal management groups of the Institut are the chancelier,elected for 3 years by a central  administrative commission and confirm by the President of the French Republic. The Central Administrative commission is composed of Six secretaries for life and two delegates elected by the academy. The General Assembly includes the members of each academy except the Sciences that have 50 members on it. The office or board is composed of the President, Chancellor, for life Secretaries  ,director of the  Académie française , and the President of the other academies.  The President is each year the president of one of the academies and especially heads the annual science event that by tradition is held on the Tuesday closest to the date of creation of the institut (October 25), and since 2005 ,the event of prize giving to the Foundations of the Institut that is held in June.  Also, the technical commissions, special commissions and jury’s.

Nevertheless, the most important fonctions of the Institut are those of the Chancellor and the Central Administrative Commission.  The first one is the authority on the personnel, orders and purchases ,and represent the Institut in legal contracts and in justice. The Central Administrative Commission fonctions are to bring together in voice call the budget and the modifications decisions as well as other financial dispositions and the use of the rooms, buildings , etc. The members of the Academies are elected for life without any text mentioning their laidoffs; however, the President of the  French Republic can exceptionally lay them off as such was the case of  Philippe Pétain by the Académie française in 1945, and in 1989 by the Académie des beaux-arts against Claude Autant-Lara.

The Institut de France is more than the Institut.  It organises donation, bequests and legs with the form of Foundations in charge of their net worth. The most famous in my opinion is that of the Fondation d’Aumale, created in 1886  and executed by Henri d’Orléans, as a full property in 1897.  This foundation is in charge of the Domaine de Chantilly ,that includes the Château de Chantilly, collections of the museum Condé, the forest of  Chantilly, as well as other real estate around Chantilly.

There are many other such as the above including:

1904, legs of  Jacques Siegfried that included the Château de Langeais under the Fondation Siegfried. 1905, legs of Félicie Dosne, that includes the Hôtel Thiers and its library under the Fondation Thiers. 1912, legs of Nélie Jacquemart, that includes the Hôtel Jacquemart in Paris, later museum Jacquemart-André ,and the abbey of  Chaalis, under the Fondation Jacquemart-André. 1919, legs Edmond de Rotschild, that includes the Maison de l’Institut de France (house of the institut de France ) in London that is under the Fondation Edmond de Rotschild. 1920, legs Joseph Astor, that includes the mansion castle of manoir de Kerazan. 1928, legs Théodore Reinach, that includes the Villa Kérylos, from 1967, and under the Fondation Théodore Reinach. 1997, legs André Bussinger,  that includes the Château de Braux-Sainte-Cohière, under the Fondation André Bussinger et Braux-sous-Valmy.

In addition, to the above we have properties directly given to the Academies such as the Château d’Abbadia by Antoine d’Abbadie d’Arrast in 1897 , as well as the  house of  Louis Pasteur in Arbois (1992) to the  Académie des Sciences; the museum  Marmottan by Paul Marmottan  in 1932,  the Villa Ephrussi by  Béatrice Ephrussi de Rotschild in 1934, and the house of Claude Monet in Giverny  from 1966 to the Académie des beaux-arts; and the Château de Castries  in 1985 and then sold to the city of Castres in 2013 with profits coming to the Académie Française.

The Academie channel connected to the institut de France has a live broadcasts on link:  Academy Channel online

The official site of the institut de France: Institut de France

The Paris tourist office in English on the Institut de France : Paris Tourist Office on Institut de France

Complete information booklet in Frence and pdf format here: info Brochure Institut de France (French)

In finishing, my own story of this is that back around 2007-2008 I was very much involved in Paris in different groups that supported culture, arts, and monuments. As we were trying and still are to rebuilt the Palais des Tuileries , I met many French nobles (from the Orléans, Napoléon III side including Princess Napoleon) and business persons, old politicians and architects/lawyers what have you and we had our meetings at the Salon Victor Hugo of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques of the Institut de France in Paris.  Of course these pictures are not for publication but I have included one from credited sources. This is the webpage for the palais des tuileries project: Palais des Tuileries

Now enjoy the visit and see the wonders of Paris, never ceased to amazed me of the things to see here; actually, I think they are endless. Have a great week you all; happy travels, good health and enjoy life to the fullest ,its short. Cheers!!!

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March 25, 2018

In the eye of Asia!

I have made some trips into Asia over the past few years. From the beginning my only experience there was a two days conference in Taipei Taiwan. All that change in 2011, when my job requires several trips there. I am still a rookie when it comes to Asia and always different to me.

I have visited China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and briefly Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and will put Dubai here as it was en route.  This post is to bring back memories as more trips are looming in the near future there, and even a new destination.

There is a lot to cover, so just will give a brief introduction.

In China, been to Guangzhou, Pekin, and Quingdao with brief stop in Hong Kong.

In the Philippines, been to Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Cauayan, Lemery, and General Santos City.

 In Singapore ,went briefly into town for a hotel night and passed several times by the airport Chiangi. Dubai just did a stopover on my way to Indonesia, Malaysia did the same stopover at the airport.

 In Indonesia ,been to Jakarta, Surabaya, Ngoro, Yogyakarta, Bogor, Sidoarjo, Setul Bakti, and Malang.

In Vietnam ,been to Ho Chi Minh city (old Saigon), Hanoi, Ca Mau, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Buon Ma Thuot, Bac lieu Tac, Bung Tao, My Tho, Chu Lai, Hoi An, and Quang Ngai city.

Very different experiences and customs, food, drinks habits etc. Even if met folks from there in Europe and the Americas, been in Asia gave me  a whole different view of life, and lucky to be where I am. Nevertheless, the experiences are life enriching and curiosity bring the best in men.

I now look forward to more visits there this year, and new destinations to enhance my view on Asia. It’s an up and coming destination for tourism that is still led by the big three France, Spain and USA.

I hope you enjoy the posts and comments on your experiences are welcome. Me, looking forward for more. Let me note the tourist offices here.

China: China

One good site on Qingdao: Qingdao China

Vietnam: Vietnam

Hanoi: Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh city: Ho Chi Minh city , Vietnam

Philippines: Philippines

Manila: Manila, Philippines

Cebu: Cebu ,Philippines

Indonesia: Indonesia

Jakarta: Jakarta Indonesia

Surabaya: Surabaya, Indonesia

Singapore: Singapore

Hong Hong: Hong Kong

Malaysia: Malaysia

Dubai: Dubai

Ok so hope you enjoy this brief interlude into Asia, and be ready for more exotic different views of our world. Enjoy your Sunday, we are still cool grey, no rain and 9C about 45F in my neck of the woods. Happy travels, good health, enjoy life to the fullest. Cheers!!

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March 24, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXII

On a sunny nice day no rain and temps up to 12C or about 54F we set out again to read our own story of living in beautiful Morbihan, Brittany from the beaten path point of view. This is our daily story and we like to share it with those passionate about the everyday living in the real France.

We are in the countryside west part of France and free from all  incidents natural or human made that is happening everywhere. Here the only down side is the rain and as the Breton said, It only rains on the dummies, the smart ones stay in the bar lol!!!

I start my trip last night on TGIF night while watching the friendly match between France and Colombia and keeping an eye on the internet for the Germany vs Spain football/soccer matches. Well France lost disappointing but not surprise; Spain tied in a lively offensive game very much showing the best for the next World Cup 2018 (June Russia).

For the right night of course, we go back to the roots so got ourselves a five pack of pizzas and wine/beers to suit. These are wines from the Loire and beers from Germany, nice 1-2 combination. We went to our local regional and French champion pizza maker at Le Scampi right in our town for a take out action.  The pizzas are just like mamma made and the rest is wild cheers and jeers… The resto webpage in our town is here: http://lescampi.ipizzaphone.fr/

 

Then, Saturday morning after a nice park walk of our puppy Borador REX , and a bit upset as he did his stuff on the newspaper and not on the walk; oh well he is only 4 mos old and nothing on the floor!!!

Then, we headed for our historical city of Auray, where we loaded up on our beers of Germany at the famous V&B store on the Océane park in Auray. Here the boys load up on different German beers and my favorite the Krombacher pilsner.

We did some errands in town as it is the closest office of the social security and revenue taxes to us, so we drop off some envelopes for coverage on my sons and did a bit of walking in town. You see the wonderful old world ambiance on the rue de Belzic, and the Place Notre Dame with the Church of Saint Gildas. This gave us hunger to stop by the Le Café qui Fume, a salon de thé and fine groceries store that recently open in what it was our frame and portrait store (folks retired). The store is loaded with goodies of a gourmet quality at reasonable prices (always better than Paris::)) .  The resto is in their Facebook page here : https://www.facebook.com/lecafequifume/

 

From Auray we rode on the freeway N165 to Séné to get some stuff for Rex our puppy, Frisbees, rewards food ,and a  chicken/turkey meal to try it. We look at prices to get a niche or a dog house which we have space in our Veranda! ON the list for next month. The store we are frequent shoppers is Maxi Zoo , an European chain of German origins with about 80 stores in France. The webpage is here: http://www.maxizoo.fr/magasin/sene.html

 

We continue our errands and things to do in our lovely Morbihan by coming back to Vannes. Here at the nearby town of Ploeren lies our Burger King ! oh yes real Florida stuff in Breton lands. Did you read my previous post on some news from France? the burger has passed the ham and butter baguette French sandwich in sales in France!!! And we know that lol!! So we had our lunch here with the double bacon special wow!  The webpage for BK France is here: https://restaurants.burgerking.fr/vannes-ploeren

 

The road from the BK is nice because you can see the freeway N165 ramps and far out the Leclerc hypermarket we do grocery shopping too with drive in services and all. The traffic is still wonderful here ::)

And finally, we arrive at E Leclerc hypermarket in Vannes to do our groceries; this is huge and great and many international foods from many countries so we are set! There is a nice underground parking we like and my boys are leading the way lol!!! The webpage is here: http://www.e-leclerc.com/vannes

And it was time to come back home. Get Rex out again and he did it good boy !!! try his new snacking and food and ate it all! gourmand Boradors!!! Now it’s our time to relax and do our family discussions gatherings and planning for future trips. It could be Tenerife, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Obernai so far ::)

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are, happy travels, good health and remember life is beautiful no matter what. Cheers!!!

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March 23, 2018

The dept 22 Côtes d’Armor, Breizh!

nd we arrive to Friday, TGIF, with the same weather of grey , cool sometimes rainy and temps in the 10C or 50F thereabouts. Hopefully, this Spring will be better than the start.

I will continue my tour of Brittany or Breizh or Bretagne with an introduction to the department 22 Côtes-d’Armor.

The department 22 or Côtes-d’Armor, previously called Côtes-du-Nord until 1990.  It means Côtes du pays de la mer or the slopes of the country by the sea.  It was created as the other depts of France on the French revolution in 1790.  The department 22 of Côtes d’Armor includes part of the old province  bishops of Cornouaille and Trégor, and almost all of the Saint Brieuc ,the extreme south given to the Morbihan, and the northwest of Saint Malo as well as a small part of Dol and smaller parts still of the northeast of Vannes. It extends on the counties of Penthiévre , Trégor, and most of Poudouvre and the northern parts of Poher, and Porhoêt. It ,also, take a large part of the old kingdom of Domnonée with the name disappearing in the 11C. It now has four counties those of Saint Brieuc, Dinan,Lannion, and Guingamp.

The department was very much touch by the uprising against the French revolution known locally as the Chouannerie in the war of the Vendée and Chouannerie of 1815 , but stop by the allied victory in the battle of Waterloo in June 18 1815; the department was to be occupied by the Prussians until November 1818 but the opposition of the Chouans very much organized as already fighting the return of Napoléon Ier stopped the complete occupation and only involved the area around Dinan

The Côtes d’Armor has 17 harbors for the commerce of fishing , and pleasure with four commercial harbors . The particular Saint-Quay-Portrieux river is the only one in deep water between Brest and Cherbourg. The Côte de Granit Rose has rocks of the color and big sizes such as at Ploumanac’h ; facing it you have the seven islands or Sept ïles making the biggest reserve of ornithologic in France. The Côte Grés has as well sites such as Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte. Also, the most fartherst point you have the archipielago of Bréhat facing Paimpol with a rare tropical plants reserve in open air. The bay of Saint Brieuc is the second biggest in France after that of Mont Saint Michel.

Tourism Côtes d’Armor or North Brittany in English : https://www.north-brittany-tourism.com/

Transport Côtes d’Armor intercities : http://www.tibus.fr/

This is the part that has beautiful sea views and wonderful sites , worth a detour indeed. My Côtes d’Armor dept 22 in Bretagne/ Brittany/ Breizh.

Enjoy the tour and see the previous blog posts on the department above. Happy Friday and great weekend to all. Happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!

March 22, 2018

My Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35, Breizh!

Ok so today Thursday is again cloudy with the sun trying harder temps this morning at 3C now back to 11C no rain, just tagging alone to end my week and can’t wait for the weekend.  Let me tell you something about the department 35 ,Ille et Vilaine in my Brittany.

This is a department that is also visited several times by me with family and again the choices are huge, so much to see in Brittany and as it is a peninsula with less public transports less seeing by visitors, a shame, really gorgeous here. Some pictures above, more on the blog links below.

The department is divided into counties such as the pays de St Malo, pays de Fougéres, pays de Brocéliande, pays de Rennes, pays de Vitré, pays de Vallons de  Vilaine, and pays de Redon.  It is known as the  upper Brittany area or Haute-Bretagne, and it has about 345 towns. The limits are on the dept 50 Manche,,and dept 53  Mayenne, and dept 49 Maine-et-Loire, dept 44 Loire-Atlantique, dept 56 Morbihan , and dept 22  Côtes-d’Armor, and it is watered by the Manche chanel as well its coasts is known as the côte d’Émeraude (emerald coast…) on the western part by the  pointe du Grouin located in Cancale  to Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, and the bay of Mont Saint Michel  on its eastern side by the pointe du Grouin  at Roz-sur-Couesnon.

The department was created by  the French revolution in 1790 as all others. The name as in many comes from the rivers passing by here such as the Ille and the Vilaine,that comes together at the west side of the city of  Rennes. The languages spoken here were the Gallo ,especially spoken in the western part of the department, but the Breton is also spoken. You can tell the difference in the territory starting in the 15C with the limits of the Breton-Roman having names ending in  -acum  while the Breton ends in -ac  and also  -ée or -é  fromt the Roman side.

For more info to help plan your trip, to follow are the tourist office of Dept 35:  https://www.brittany-tourism.com/discover-upper-brittany

And the good transports here on the dept 35 and the metropole of Rennes  : http://www.illenoo-services.fr/en  ;  Rennes Metropole better developed here in French: http://www.star.fr/

The region tourist office in English here: http://www.brittanytourism.com/get-to-know-brittany/its-heritage

Hope it helps your planning for this wonderful region of Brittany, dept 35 Ille et Vilaine, my belle France. Enjoy your day, happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!!

March 22, 2018

How about a bit on the Finistére, 29, Breizh!

So on a cool cloudy bit rainy day of Spring …. I thought about that neighboring department 29 of the Finistére in Brittany or Bretagne or locally Breizh.  There is so much to see here. I will try to let you know a few.

Well I began to see my previous blog posts on the dept and really frankly I got tired , so many links so rather than give a bit of history on my own, why not see the different posts and get to know the department of Finistére!!!

But wait ,Finistére you say in French (end of the land) but in Breton you say Penn-ar-BedThe department was created in 1790 as the other following the French revolution that change France. It is created by the union of the old Léon in the north, two thirds of the Cornouaille with Quimper as its capital in the south, and on the west Trégor and a portion of the Vannes area on the southeast. The tourist info pages are here: The department tourist office in English :  http://www.finisterebrittany.com/

I have it on the different tourist offices in the dept 29 here: http://www.finisterebrittany.com/tourist-offices

The department government page on tourism in French:  https://www.finistere.fr/Le-Finistere/Tourisme-et-decouvertes-les-incontournables

Hope doing some readings will help your trip planning to the Finistére, a wonderful place indeed. Happy travels, good health and remember life is beautiful. Cheers!

ok ok some emblematic photos, but above there are plenty lol!

Camaret sur Mer

Pointe de Pen Hir cliffs over the peninsula of Crozon

Concarneau

Ville Close fortified and clock tower at Concarneau

Douarnenez

Treboul bay out to sea Atlantic ocean Douarnenez

Calvary and Chapel enclosure of St Germain l’Auxerrois at Pleyben

March 21, 2018

The museums of Paris!

This is kind of the middle of the week, and the weekend is coming; weather has been ok in my neck of the woods, and just thought what about those Spring days visiting museums? so what about some of those in Paris! Well here we go.

Well ,here is the Paris tourist office take on them. Museums of Paris

There are so many, it will take you a while to really seen them all. I admit even working next to them, saw only the main ones as my preferred ones are on history , military stuff not just paintings.

Some of the miscellaneous few I like and can recommend are here;

Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Musée Jeu de Paume, Musee Arts et Métiers, Musée Rodin, Musee Cernuschi, Musée de la Legion d’Honneur ; Palais de Chaillot (a palace housing the Musée des Monuments Français since 1879 , Musée de l’Homme since 1937, Musée National de la Marine since 1943, and the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine since 2007, Palais de Tokyo ( housing the Centre d’Art contemporain  and on the east wing the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) ,Petit Palais (housing the Musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris).

PAris

palais de Chaillot museums

Paris

Palais de Tokyo museums

Paris

Petit Palais beaux arts museum

Paris

museum arts et métiers entrance

PAris

Museum Rodin

Paris

museum Cernuschi

PAris

museum jeu de paume

Paris

museum decorative arts in the wing Marsans

Paris

Museum of the legion of honor

Some of the museums are seldom seen such as Musée Cognacq-Jay, Musée d’Ennery hosted by the Musée Guimet, Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Delacroix, Musée Zadkine, Musée de Montmartre, Musée des Arts Forains, Musée Gustave Moreau, and Maison Balzac.

Paris

museum of the Louvre porte des lions entrance

Paris

museum of the Orangerie back from jardin des tuileriesParis

museum of jeu de Paume from jardin des tuileriesParis

museum of Orsay ticketingParis

passing Petit PalaisYes above I put that you need to chose the ones you want to see to determine the time and price, however, you either can come at opening or last hour or be there on Thursdays or Wednesday mornings to have average best times and less crowds. And of course, buy in advance as much as you can. Hope it helps

One very special to me and artsy, spent many visits here while living close by at Versailles and working in Paris.  Mona Bismarck American Center: https://www.monabismarck.org/

Paris

Entrance to Mona Bismarck American Center

There is a booklet magazine type call L’Officiel des Spectacles in French of course, but it least all if not most the museums you can think of in Paris (claims more than 100)  with webpage link to them. Here it is : https://www.offi.fr/expositions-musees/musees-paris.html

Those managed by the city of Paris are here in English: http://www.parismusees.paris.fr/en/city-paris-museums

There is a Paris museum pass if coming to see multiples of 3 or more believe is worth it. Here is the site in English version: http://en.parismuseumpass.com/

As well as to compare your needs to those of the passes such as the Paris Pass: https://www.parispass.com/

As to where to buy in advance other than at some of the museum themselves, like the Louvre has even a dedicated webpage such as  https://www.ticketlouvre.fr//louvre/b2c/index.cfm/louvre/b2c/index.cfm

Invalides, museum of the Army here: https://musee-armee.tickeasy.com/en-GB/home

You can,also,  buy at the chain FNAC stores; Cultura stores, many of the hypermarkets like Carrefour, Leclerc, Auchan, etc. , and ticketmaster. My favorite store for purchases was at Parly II FNAC in Le Chesnay as it was en route to my boys high school while in Versailles or the store in the Champs-Elysées or Gare Montparnasse, my latest. https://www.fnac.com/Paris-Gare-Montparnasse/Fnac-Paris-Gare-Montparnasse/cl227/w-4

Hope it helps your planning and enjoy as many as you can really. You are ,also, helping to preserve these wonderful buildings in which they house an inmense heritage of France and the world. Enjoy your Spring; happy travels, good health and always think life is beautiful. Cheers!

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