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


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


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.


bvld Montparnasse


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 30, 2018

How about the école militaire and Invalides! Paris of course!!!

In my walks of Paris I come to see many nice buildings, some I passed by and at first do not even know what they are, so many gorgeous architecture. However ,there are two that have always caught my mind. One is even with museum in it and the other well is near where my current HQ office is so even visiting now takes extra time around there. Of course, I am talking about the école militaire and the invalides of Paris.

Today in my neck of the woods is a bit sunny not so cool and temps around 10C or 50F nice for Spring.  I like to tell you a bit about the history I like. First ,on the Invalides and then the école militaire.

The Hôtel des Invalides  was ordered by king Louis XIV in 1670 to house the wounded soldiers of his armies.  Today, it is still with the same functions but also the Cathedral of  Saint-Louis des Invalides, several museums , and a military necropolis especially the tomb of emperor Napoléon Ier.  This huge architectural complex is one of the most important Classical style design in France, been the work of architect  Jules Hardouin-Mansart (Versailles and al fame).  Interesting to note, it takes the concept from the Monastery of El Escorial outside Madrid Spain (you can see my post on this too) ordered built by king Felipe II of Spain , but also takes ideas from other hospitals in Paris such as the Salpêtrièr.


north entrance Invalides on esplanade des invalides credit paris1900

In 1659, after the treaty of the Pyrénées (marking the frontiers even today of France and Spain) ,king Louis XIV  took again the idea from Cardinal Richelieu that had done one in 1634 at the Château de Bicêtre  to take care of handicap soldiers under the commanderie Saint-Louis.  The project finally saw the light several years later by ordered of the king in 1670  to built a hospital/Hotel des Invalides to the ageing military, wounded or inapt for war soldiers . The establishement works as a hospital and hospice, military barrack, and convent is all exempted from taxes and administered by a governor.  The soldiers are cure with funds coming from the revenue of the parishes and abbeys starting in 1676; the building was not fully completed that until August 28 1706,when the keys of the hotel was given to the sun king Louis XIV.

In French formalities for entering as patient in the Invalides :

The Hôtel des Invalides also has museums such as the artillery museum or  musée d’artillerie est. 1872, army history museum or musée historique des armées ,est. 1896, and both united in 1905 as the army museum or musée de l’armée. The Church is link directly to the Royal Chapel better known as the Dôme des Invalides.  This Chapel with the Dome has a large lantern of 107 meters high that was used only by the Royal family. Finally, the dome is cover completely in gold in a gothic style.  It is a square pavilion facing the street at decorated angles of columns where there are statues and has an obelisk finished by a Cross on top.  The construction of the dome was finished in 1708.

Army museum Invalides

The dome was renovated in gold in 1807, 1830, 1839, 1937 , and lastly in 1989, needing 12 kg of gold or about 26 pounds. It has two cupolas in stone with two scenic drawings decorated with several Saints and a large one representing  Saint Louis  in its mantle of Royal ermine ( fleur de lys=Lilys) giving his sword to Jésus-Christ in person surrounded by musical angels.

Since 1861, under the dome and its cupolas rest in peace emperor  Napoléon Ier  inside six coffins follow by a sarcophagus of red quartz in a open sky crypt in the center of the building.  The choir of the Cathedral of  Saint-Louis  is the only one in France of all its Churches and Cathedrals that has a permanent French flag. In December 1940, the ashes of his son known as the king of Rome or Napoléon II or the Aiglon (English) were transfered from Vienna in a funerary urn by an adviser to Hitler and the govt of Vichy (collaborator) as Paris was in occupied zone.  Here lies as well the remains of brothers Joseph and Jérome Bonaparte as well as the queen of Westphalia and other members of the Bonaparte family. Other commanders of the First and Second World War are also here such as marshals of France Ferdinand Foch, Hubert Lyautey, Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, Alphonse Juin, , the generals Robert Nivelle, Charles Mangin, Pierre Auguste Roques, and Henri Giraud, and the admirals Boué de Lapeyrère ,and Gauchet.

In the neighborhood of Gros Caillou,and district 7éme you can reach it on Metro Invalides (lines 8 and 13) , Varenne (line 13)  ,and La Tour-Maubourg (line 8).

The École militaire is a huge assamblage of buildings housing several learning and training military tactics also in the 7éme arrondissement closing the perspective of the southeast towards the Champ-de-Mars.  It was built on orders of king  Louis XV by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel.  The idea came from the wars of successions in Austria by  1748 where it was evident that if France wanted to come out victoriuos it needed to train its Royal officers. The marshal de Saxe having fought in those wars proposes to the king Louis XV to create a royal military school.  The marshal received the support of the king mistresses Madame de Pompadour as well as financial guru Joseph Pâris Duverney (brother of Jean Pâris, marquis de Brunoy  and godfather of the madame), that was enough to convince the king to start with the introduction of 500 young noble soldiers born without wealth; for the king it was an opportunity to leave a grand work of his reign.


Artillery door ent ecole militaire

Cavalerie ent ecole militaire

However, the Royal Military college wanted by king  Louis XV  did not survided the death of the king and seven years later the college is closed and plans to transfered it to the Hôtel-Dieu hospital near Notre Dame. Finally, the move did not took place but the buildings were left in abandon and later looted during the French revolution. The building goes thru a bad period where it served as a deposit, then soldiers hq especially for the Imperial Guard  under the name of the caserne de École militaire, caserne Impériale, and caserne des Grenadiers.  After this , it cames back slowly and later enlarged to the building we know today. By 1878 it opened the superior war school or École supérieure de guerre. Later in 1911 it brings here the center for upper military studies or the centre des hautes études militaires. It has never stop doing this ever since to today. It housed the defense college unter NATO or Nato college from 1951 to 1966 (when De Gaulle had France leave NATO) and the college was transfered to Rome.

A site on the memorial aspect of it (in French). Memorial école militaire

The Chapel of the École militaire  was done inside the castle from designs of architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel in honor of  Saint Louis, Patron Saint of the Arms forces. It was probably looted during the French revolution and for a long time without use but serving as ammunition stock and clothing depot as well as the ballroom dance for the second anniversary of the coronation of emperor Napoléon Ier. Finally, the Chapel was given back to the religious activities in 1952. The rotonde Gabriel was the initial Chapel of the École militaire, thought to be the Chapel of the students,houses today one of the two cafeterias in the École militaire.  There is a beautiful library located in the Chateau part and also work of architect Jacques Ange Gabriel.

The hallways are a lineup of rooms that were the previous reception rooms and you can see in the lecture hall ,the wooden work sculpture on the ceilings and portraits, marbre chimney Louis XVI style, where one represent two cadets around the arms of the military Royal school.  You can see on one of the glass two impacts from bullets from the assault on Paris in August 25 1944.  The École militaire is located in one of the better perspectives views of the city of Paris on the axis  Trocadéro- Breteuil, that starts from the Palais de Chaillot, crossing the pont d’Iéna and the Champ-de-Mars to finish at the place de Breteuil.  All square on the Tour Eiffel , and the seat of UNESCO. The École militaire, master work of the Classical architecture from the 18C is at the heart of the city and its history like a symbol of the Nation in arms. OF course, I did not say that but its true, walk by zillions times already. The metro station here is the École Militaire (line 8). There are two  nice parking Indigo above ground paying just across dandy! More on the parking here from my favorite parking site Neoparking: Neoparking Indigo école militaire

Paris tourist office info.  Paris tourism école Militaire

Hope you have enjoy this brief tour of history and two great French institutions that goes beyond the museums but into the veins of the French. Hope you have a great weekend , happy Easter, ,happy travels, good health and plenty of 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 .



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.


Au Printemps


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 29, 2018

Markets and Gardens of Paris!

And who would not come to Paris and do not visit a market day or garden? These visits for me is what Paris is all about ,more so than entering a building. This is real Paris , the eternal city of bustling people and beauty all around you. This is my Paris.

I like to bring up to date my previous posts on market and gardens. Why together well it rimes with from the gardens to the market to the table. And a lot more than just eating ok.

I know you might know, there are several gardens in Paris and I am sure we all have our favorite. Well for me this is the Jardin des Tuileries. Not only is historical, beautiful and stunning with a superb location ,but I also worked for several years in front of it practically on rue Castiglione. What better way to have a relaxing moment from work than to walk the garden , and then bring the family on weekends as well.

I like to give you once again a bit of history I like.

The jardin des Tuileries extends from the Louvre to the east to the place de la Concorde to the west and bordering on the north the rue de Rivoli, Place des Pyramides and on the south the Seine river. Lovely spot indeed.

The Arc du Carrousel built in 1806 in the jardin du Carrousel marks the entrance to the jardin des Tuileries as the Palais des Tuileries that enclosed the Louvre on the west side was burned down by the uprising commune in 1871 (later demolished by the city of Paris in 1880). Way back in 1519 king François Ier chose these lands that was occupied from the 12C by rooftiles factories (like those now on the roof of the Louvre still!). In 1553 Catherine de Médicis decided to lived in the Louvre and had a castle built, buying the lands of the Tuileries to do a park/garden Italian style with fountains, caves, greenhouse and petting zoo.  By 1664, Colbert ordered André Le Nôtre (the one of Versailles, Marly, Saint Cloud, Saint Germain) under King Louis XIV to designed the gardens. Of course, Monsieur Le Nôtre was born in the  Tuileries and it was a work of him that attracted the attention of Catherine de Médicis to do the garden name after the rooftiles factories or Tuileries. You have in the gardens the museums of Jeu de Paume and Orangerie.  The metro Tuileries here on line 1 entrance along the garden on rue de Rivoli has two stairs with pockets in portrait style on the entrance and exit.  You have more in the blog post to follow.

Jardin des Tuileries

Also the city of Paris in French : City of Paris Jardin des Tuileries

And the tourist office: Paris Tourism Jardin des Tuileries

More on the gardens of Paris and market in my blog post : Markets and Gardens of Paris

Now, let me tell you about the markets of Paris; a must to visit, one several better. There are of all types and uses, and I like one that is not a popular tourist stop but it is a nice neighborhood of Passy in the 16 district of Paris.

First let me tell you about some others I like.

The market or Marché Saxe-Breteuil  with the best view of Paris. It is all along the Avenue de Saxe in the 7éme arrondissement and one of the particulars is that it has a wonderful view over to the Eiffel tower. The market is at Avenue de Saxe 7éme, Métro : Ségur,line 10. Open Thursdays and Saturdays from 7h to 14h30.

The market or Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest in Paris since 1615. Huge guinguette or party ambiance for this historical market lively, quality, authentic at 39 Rue de Bretagne, 3éme arrondissement  Métro Filles du calvaire, line 8. Open Tuesdays Wednesdays, Thursdays from  8h30 to 13h ,and 16h to 19h30; Fridays and Saturdays from 8h30 to 13h ,and  16h to 20h; Sundays from 8h30 to 14h

The market of Marché de Belleville, very cosmopolitan.  An not typical market located between the metro stations of  Ménilmontant and Belleville, offering food of first quality and fresh known for that. Another point is that you find many second hand products that went unsold of the huge Rungis central market at unbelievable prices. Located at  63 Boulevard de Belleville, 11éme , Métro line 2  Couronnes or Belleville also line 11.

The market or Marché d’Aligre, lively and friendly. One of the best in Paris but with a bit of disorder and for that Parisians love it. It is a symbol of the 12éme arrondissement located at 3 Place d’Aligre, 12éme  Métro line 8 Ledru-Rollin. Open every day except Mondays from 7h to 14h

This is the information from the city of Paris maintenance services on all the markets: City of Paris maintenance on markets

The city of Paris with some popular ones here: City of Paris markets

Now, let me tell you about the Marché couvert de Passy (covered market of Passy). I go by here often when coming to Paris and even take walks around and that is how one day I found it, and becomes the nostalgic market for me when sneaking into Paris nowdays.

It is a huge structure  dating from the 1950’s with big metallic poles holding it. The shopping space is small  with maybe 20-30 merchants inside. All very quaint lively and nicely decorated stalls such as the ones for Alain et Francine au Petit·Maraîcher (vegetables) , Les Galets d’Etretat (cookies) , Au Nicolas (goodies) etc.  We find everything here from butcher, charcutier , feather birds, rabbits, ready take out food, flower shop, pharmacy, with very high quality. At the end you find the fish market or Poissonnerie de Passy with a good reputation for good product, service and price even if a bit higher than elsewhere you get beautiful fishes and seafood here with tastings available!  There is a Portuguese corner and the produces from there like chouricos and cold cuts in a rustic quaint stall,and you could purchase the pottery from the country in blue and white. There is the cheese maker affinity  Androuet  and just wonderful selection even of English cheeses from the house of Paxton and Whitfield, supplier to the Queen of England in person !  And of course French cheeses from the country to watered your mouth ! I am already there lol!!  Located at  16,  Place de Passy  Tél. +33 (0) Metro line 9 La Muette just around my favorite Parisian resto La Gare!! even VTers  went there with me ::)  Open all year and from 8h to 19h. Closed Mondays, and closes between 13h-16h as well as Sundays afternoons.

More on the Paris tourist office in English: Marché Couvert de Passy

I hope you enjoy the ride on a wonderful part of visiting , living, rejoicing in Paris. Just the post makes me go and visit again!!! Happy travels, good health and many cheers to all. Salut!

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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:

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:

The Paris tourist office on it;

The Zénith webpage :

Cite de la musique/Philharmonic de Paris webpage:

Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie webpage :

Géode webpage:

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:

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 28, 2018

This is Paris, districts and gates!

Well I am on the roll on my belle France and cherie Paris! There is so much here you will not be surprise to find Paris No 1 in WTO-UN of cities visited again last year with almost 32M !!!

The choices are unlimited and I find myself hard to choose what to write. Well this time , I will update you on gates, and districts of Paris; a tall order indeed.

The gates or portes of Paris.

North east on the 18éme: Porte de la Chapelle also N1 and A1 autoroute/highway (to CDG) ; 19eme :Porte d’Aubervilliers, also N301 ; Porte de la Villette,also N2 ; Porte de Pantin, also N3(to my inlaws !) ; Porte Chaumont ,also D35bis (Seine-Saint-Denis), Porte Brunet, Porte du Pré-Saint-Gervais, Porte des Lilas

East on the 20éme ,Porte des Lilas, Porte de Ménilmontant, Porte de Bagnolet,also A3 ; Porte de Montreuil, also N302 ; 12eme we have the  Porte de Vincennes ,also N34 ; Porte Jaune (inside bois de Vincennes) ; Porte du Bel-Air (inside  bois de Vincennes) ; Porte de Saint-Mandé (inside bois de Vincennes) ; Porte de Saint-Mandé, Porte de Montempoivre, Porte Dorée ou porte de Picpus, Porte de Reuilly, Porte de Charenton ,also N6 ; Porte de Bercy ,also A4 (in laws and Disneyland).

South on the left bank or rive gauche ; we have on the 13éme ;Porte de la Gare, Porte de Vitry, Porte d’Ivry, Porte de Choisy, also N305 ; Porte d’Italie,also N7 ; Poterne des Peupliers,  Porte de Gentilly. In the 14eme we have the Porte de Gentilly, Porte d’Arcueil, Porte d’Orléans, also N20 links to A20 into Toulouse ; Porte de Montrouge, Porte de Châtillon, Porte Didot, Porte de Vanves (great market here) ; on the 15éme we have Porte Brancion, Porte de Plaisance, Porte de la Plaine, Porte de Versailles, Porte d’Issy, Porte de Sèvres, Porte du Bas-Meudon (quai d’Issy).

On the West we have in the 16eme the Porte du Point-du-Jour, Porte de Saint-Cloud ,also N10, Porte Molitor,  Porte de Boulogne (inside bois de Boulogne), Porte de l’Hippodrome (inside bois de Boulogne), Porte d’Auteuil,also A13 autoroute to Normandy ; Porte de Passy, Porte de la Muette (my best entry to Paris when living in Versailles) , Porte Dauphine, Porte de la Seine (inside bois de Boulogne),Porte de Bagatelle (inside bois de Boulogne), Porte de Madrid (inside bois de Boulogne),Porte Saint-James (inside bois de Boulogne),Porte de Neuilly (inside bois de Boulogne),Porte des Sablons (inside bois de Boulogne), Porte Maillot,also N13

On the North west we have in the 17éme the Porte des Ternes, Porte de Villiers, Porte de Champerret, Porte de Courcelles, Porte d’Asnières, Porte de Clichy, Porte Pouchet. In the 18eme we have the Porte de Saint-Ouen, Porte de Montmartre, Porte de Clignancourt, also N14, and Porte des Poissonniers .

And of course some like the Porte Saint Martin are inside the city itself.  The Porte Saint Martin (b 1674) in honor of king Louix XIV.   The Porte Saint Denis (b 1672)  to  king Louis XIV . The Porte de Pantin was my first entry by car into Paris coming from Meaux in Seine-et-Marne (native town of my wife). Built in early 19C and name as such since WWII.


This is huge on the districts because there are divided into neighborhoods. A proper update will be long but you should get the picture below.

You should know that Paris has 20 districts or arrondissements numbered 1-20 and written after the departement/city number 75. So a location saying 75008 is in the 8th district for example. What folks do not know or most, is that Parisians have a habit of pinpointing their neighborhood when talking and getting to know you. These were done by Baron Haussmann too and correspond to four per district so neighborhoods or Quartiers and districts or Arrondissements.  You can see for example, somebody telling you lives in the 8th district or 8é arrondissement ,but actually lives by the avenue des Champs-Elysées their neighborhood will be Champs Elysées no 29. Therefore 20 arrondissements and 80 quartiers! Got it! Great! They are all explained in the blog posting to follow.

Arrondissement or Districts

Quartiers or Neighborhoods


rue de Rivoli with side view of Jardin des Tuileries

There, you have them. It will help you guide yourselves in Paris and come to know more of the daily life we carry here. I think is important not to go away simply with the tourist look but the local one, to really soak in the experience. I do it everywhere I go too.

Happy week, travels, good health and many cheers. Salut!

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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.



Kuala Lumpur airport

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

Bit of  Hong Kong and Philippines  Bacolod Philippines.  Cebu Philippines.





 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.

Bit of Singapore and Vietnam.  In Indonesia ,been to Jakarta, Surabaya, Ngoro, Yogyakarta, Bogor, Sidoarjo, and Malang.

Exotic Indonesia and vibrant Indonesia.


shopping Century Surabaya

In Vietnam ,been to Ho Chi Minh city (old Saigon), Hanoi, Ca Mau, Da Nang, Nha Trang, My Tho, Chu Lai, Hoi An, and Quang Ngai city.

Ca mau and others Vietnam best of Da Nang ,Chu Lai ,Hoi An , back to Ho Chi Minh city.  Wonderful Nha Trang  , My Tho city paradise.


Ben Thanh market Ho Chi Minh city


beach at Nha Trang


beach at Da Nang

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:


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 :


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:


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:


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:

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 :

Transport Côtes d’Armor intercities :

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!

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