Archive for March, 2018

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.

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 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 Finistére here: http://www.finisterebrittany.com/tourist-offices

The department government Finistére 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!!!

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 in my black and white series no pictures as they are in their individual posts in my blog.

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).

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.

Yes 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/

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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March 20, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXVIII

So the week moves on and so do I. Nice day today on the first day of Spring!!! the sun came out and temps in the 10C or 50F no rain, just a bit sprinkle on way home but stop. My puppy Rex is moving alone nicely and the family is happy.

But heck, let me tell you a bit more of what is going on in my belle France!

McDonald’s, Burger King, or even the new small chain Five Guys.  Does that tells you something? Well the hamburger is on  85 %  of restaurant menus in France! And for the first time in 2017, the sales are passing those of the traditional French sandwhich the jambon-beurre, or ham/butter according to the cabinet Gira Conseil.  According to the survey over 1,46 billion burgers were sold with an increase of 9% . If you go by city, the cabinet Gira Conseil uses the indicator of the French sandwich jambon-beurre  to determine the purchasing power of the French. The average price in 2017  was 2,94 euros .  Paris, of course, is the most expensive city with for the ham and butter sandwich you pay  4 euros  on average an increase of +14,94 %, followed by Lyon  and Bordeaux  even at 3,34 euros (no surprise here either).  The least expensive was at Tulle for 2,48 euros. This is the cabinet:  http://www.giraconseil.com/content/6-connaitre-son-marche

SNCF train monopoly ,the branch Gares & Connexions, has announced the names of three architect firms to hold the improvements on the Gare du Nord . These finalists are the  Altarea-Cogedim with the group BTP Besix Belgium, Architecte Dietmar Feichtinger, Apsys with the sem Paris-Seine, Vinci, la Caisse des depots,and  Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and the Immochan with Eiffage and Valode et Pistre. The final choice will be decided in July 2018.

In other the three main unions of the RATP ( CGT,Unsa and SUD) are calling for a strike on Thursday March 22nd to support the announced strike by the SNCF. The strike will start on Wednesday March 21st at 21h and will lasts until Friday March 23 at 8h.  Stay on alert as the unions CGT-Cheminots, Unsa, SUD-Rail ,and CFDT are planning other strikes by periods of two days starting April 3rd and lasting three months. This according to them is to opposed the will of the government to continue by ordinances the reform of the train network system in France. Which is needed for sure.

And to continue to the problems of transportation, the place de la Bastille is getting ready to say goodbye to the traffic circle this summer.  As well as the works to make one way by more than half the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine , this according to the city of Paris and the mayor’s office of the 11éme arrondissement.  From September next, the automobilists will not be able to take this road making about 1,1 km between the rue Faidherbe , and the place de la Bastille.

Bit of anecdote, the Tour Eiffel was closed for the most part Sunday due to the snow! and cold!!, it finally reopened by 16h30 after a security control. This is for about 3-4 inches of snow that fell in the City of Lights!

Another new find, and anecdote me think. If you go down cement steps on a tight spot you will come back to 80 years of history. You will need a flashlight or torch but once lighted you will be brought back in history with chills in your spine (so say the announcement). They have discovered a bunker to protect the bus drivers  from air attacks ,done in late 1930’s. A discovery made by the RATP at the Centre Bus RATP de Saint-Maur with all the furniture preserved, benches to sit, instruction panels etc. Now they will try to make it known to all as a new attraction of Paris.  The bunker goes in two directions until the Marne river on one side and the Abbey on the other. This is the Centre bus de St – Maur  4, bd Maurice Berteaux  94 100 St – Maur Tel +33  01 40 02 44 14.  Where garage the lines 101, 106, 107, 108/110, 111, 112, 201, 306, 317, and Noctambus H .  There is no webpage yet , you need to ask the RATP agent at Saint Maur to let you in, but I imagine they will need to work on it to have it open to the public, stay tune.

On the occasion of the Royal Regattas organized in the famous Grand Canal of the Chateau de Versailles ,the biannual event reunited 1 200 rowers and 40 clubs; webpage of the  centre nautique de Versailles https://www.cnversailles.org/regates-de-versailles-2018-clap-de-fin-et-resultats-definitifs/

Until March 25 the all first barber shop truck will land in Paris direct from the USA . It will go to mythic spots in Paris to shave you nicely , places such as  Abbesses, Pigalle, le Marais, Belleville, Etienne Marcel, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  Free admission walk ins allowed . This is done by the firm  Redken Brews  and the team of salon barbers  “Bonhomme”, inspired by the Brooklyn style. You can ask questions here email: barbersandbrews@gmail.com

Redken Truck : Wednesday March 21 11h-20h;  Pigalle : 1, rue Fromentin – 9e, Thursday March 22nd 11h-20h ;  Le Marais : 14, rue de Bretagne – 3e, Friday March 23  11h-20h;  Belleville : 102, boulevard de Belleville – 20e, Saturday March 24 11h-20h ;  Etienne Marcel : 52-54, rue Etienne-Marcel – 2e, Sunday March 25th 11h-16h;  Saint-Germain-des-Prés : place Saint-Germain-des-Prés 6.  The official site in French is here : http://redken.fr/trouvez-votre-salon-redken/

The magnificent residence of Napoléon Ier and his wife Joséphine.  Where they divorced she lived here until her death in 1814. Before, she renovated the gardens and brought exotic animals and will tell you the history as to how the Consulat, from 1801 -1802, took the great decision of its time like the French Code civil, Légion d’Honneur, etc.  Today the property domain has two castles , Bois-Préau  and Malmaison  as a museum of the  châteaux de Malmaison and Bois-Préau  where you can visit the apartments of the Emperor and his family ,admire his works of arts and even the oval room where the Emperatrice died on May 29 1814.  Château Malmaison, Avenue du Château de Malmaison, 92500 Rueil-Malmaison, go from Paris on the RER A : Rueil-Malmaison http://en.musees-nationaux-malmaison.fr/chateau-malmaison/

At the Les Fils à Maman, we say have lunch without a fix price.  This restaurant has no price you eat and you pay what you eat known as participating lunches you fix your price on what you eat . Every Friday noon you can do this with a menu of the day dessert for the price of your choice . The menu is unique ,as long as there is food, when no more the service stops! Here you eat without waste that is the idea of Les Fils à Maman, 6, rue Aristide-Bruant – 18e https://www.lesfilsamaman.com/paris-abbesses/carte/

Ok so you want to see Paris from afar and wonderful view before your eyes, a few places can do this but I give you three here.

You climb the 250 steps to see what of the best views of Paris in a real green balcony but very urban. This is the  Butte d’Orgemont  or Orgemont hill where you see a windmill and a nice lawn at  176, avenue de Stalingrad – Argenteuil , Gare d’Argenteuil – Line J http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/l-aev/toute-l-actualite/342-la-butte-d-orgemont-la-nature-a-deux-pas-de-chez-vous

then you have the Butte des Châtaigniers  at 125 meters high but you need to climb 360 steps to view the panorama of the Tour Eiffel, Montmartre, La Défense  and others at  15, boulevard Youri-Gagarine – Argenteuil Gare de Sannois – Line J http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/les-missions/ouvrir-les-espaces-naturels-au-public/les-grands-projets/projet-la-butte-des-chataigniers-une-ancienne-carriere-devient-un-panorama-remarquable

A stylish panorama on a hill of 170 meters, and if not up to climbing you can visit the Military fort of Cormeilles  below it, very nicely preserve and open each first Sunday of the month . Forêt régionale des Buttes du Parisis – 95240 Cormeilles-en-Parisis; Gare de la Frette Montigny – Line J  http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/les-missions/amenager-le-territoire/les-perimetres-regionaux-d-intervention-fonciere/prif-buttes-du-parisis

You come to see a huge pool of 8 meters long by 4 meters deep a special ballon in an ocean of bubbles or try the aquagym courses in version bubble, with licorne bouys .  AFterward, you will be pampered with ice cream for free!! you will be at the transats from  16h-18h). see it , Bubble Party until March 25th on the place des Étoiles,  Val d’Europe with free animations every day from 11h to 20h. The pool is open for sessions of 10 persons, easy for all, even less than 3 yrs old with supervision qualified ; https://val-d-europe.klepierre.fr/Bubble-Party

On the Artsy side we have good ones coming up in Paris.

Foujita, les années folles . Going back to the women, the cats, natural death, the children, and the auto portraits marking the career of  Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Japanese artist and French citizen. See it at the  musée Maillol with an exposition dedicated to him until July 15 2018 with hundreds of works tracing his crazy years in  Montparnasse  between  1913 to 1931. musée Maillol,  61, rue de Grenelle  http://www.museemaillol.com/en/home

Margiela, les années Hermès ; the years of Hermés, Margiela, see the exposition tracing the work in the house of Hermès  showing at the museum or musée des Arts Décoratifs. From 1997 to 2003,the Belgian designer did several collections ready to wear under an innovating and luxe times.  This is a collaboration of the MoMu (Musée de la Mode d’Anvers)and  Martin Margiela, in the exposition there are 120 silhouettes interacting with you in view. Musée des Arts Décoratifs , 107, rue de Rivoli running from March 22nd to September 2 2018:  http://madparis.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/

To find it in same building as the Louvre, old pavillion Marsan wing of the old façade de palais des Tuileries (now gone) http://madparis.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/pratique/acces

Guernica, on the 80th anniversary of the creation of the work by Picasso. the Musée Picasso gives an exposition on Guernica, principal work of Picasso ,and counting as among the best known work in the world. It is preserved since  1981 in Madrid , where it is shown on a permanent basis. The exposition also offersa history lecture and clarification on the political involvement of Picasso. Musée Picasso,  5, rue de Thorigny  3éme; from March 27 to July 29 2018 http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/

Delacroix  in cooperation with the Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York, the museum of the Louvre  presents an exposition retracing the career of Eugène Delacroix.  There will be over 180 works of the master with the majority of paintings from the best showing of the 1820’s until his last creations little known of the public. Musée du Louvre , Rue de Rivoli showing from March 28 to July 23 2018 https://www.louvre.fr/en/homepage

Chagall, Lissitzky, Malévitch. L’avant-garde russe à Vitebsk (1918-1922)  or the forefront Russian of artists mentioned to know them , backgrounds and classics of our days. At total of 250 works will be shown put together by the Centre Pompidou  that shows light into the post revolutionary years far from the Russian metropolis, art history written by Vitebsk, city of Bielorussia. Centre Pompidou , place Georges Pompidou ,4éme , from March 28 to July 16 2018. https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en

Néanderthal , for a long time we thought it was a primitive creature, it is today known and accepted as Human. See the evolution in the  Musée de l’Homme, 17, place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre 16éme; from March 28 to January 7 2019  http://www.museedelhomme.fr/en

The museum Louis Vuitton in  Asnières-sur-Seine open its doors exceptionally to the public every weekend until April 15 2018.  A simple request is all it takes to come in and see behind the scenes the creation of the French heritage house without spending a cent. Come and see at the  La Galerie Louis Vuitton 18, rue Louis Vuitton – Asnières-sur-Seine reservations here : https://ticketing-la-galerie.louisvuitton.com/tour/la-galerie-louis-vuitton/?lang=en-GB

And of course food is everywhere here!!! Last but not least; I bring you the Rungis international market. Once passing the admission of 3,60€ if comes with a pro or 15€ full admission individual all it cost to see the biggest agriculture market in the world! A city within a city all dedicated to food. Behind the scene the ambiance change, there are no rules here, the truck traffic is chaotic and deliveries go and come. The visit by the public is possible (was there once with my job pros) all here : https://www.rungisinternational.com/en/visitors/

and how to get there: https://www.rungisinternational.com/en/map-and-opening-hours/

Hope you find something you like and will consider coming, Paris is a state of mind; once bitten the virus never goes away!! As Paris itself, it is eternal.

Enjoy your week, happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!

 

 

March 19, 2018

The towns of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region!

I am on the historical cultural trend I like and taking you on a tour of the places dear to me. This time , I would like to introduce you to the smaller towns (if I can call them that) in the new region of the Nouvelle Aquitaine (New Aquitaine).

It has been many trips, and riding the country roads of this vast region of France. We enjoy it very much , and one of my list of places for retirement….!

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region includes the previous regions of  Aquitaine, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes. In turn, it is composed of 12 departments which are: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne ,and Haute-Vienne.  It is indeed the largest region of France all inclusive.

The region is cover by several roads all very nice to drive on , the most famous one is the A10 passing by the cities of Poitiers, Saintes, and Bordeaux (which is why it is famous), linking with the rocade or beltway of Bordeaux ,which is name the A630. From Toulouse, ,the A62 allows you to join  Agen, Marmande, Langon ,and again Bordeaux. From  Irun in Spain, the A63 takes you to  Bayonne, Dax , and again Bordeaux.  The A64 link Bayonne to Pau, and continues to Tarbes, and Toulouse. On the north, you have the A20 (old N20), connecting Paris to Toulouse, by passing by Limoges, La Souterraine ,and Brive-la-Gaillarde. The A89,  connects  Bordeaux with Lyon, passing by  Libourne, Périgueux, and Brive-la-Gaillarde. Just to give you the quickest ,best known autoroutes.

The kingdom of Aquitaine, starting in 781AD was a lot bigger than it is now as it included the territories from the Loire to the Pyrénées, and the Atlantic ocean to Auvergne.  Starting in the 11C, the duchy of  Aquitaine  included the regions of  Poitou, Angoumois,  Saintonge, Limousin,  Périgord, Bordelais, and the Gascogne. So it was always big, more so before than now, even thus now is still the biggest region of France!

Some of the tourist offices to help you in your planning covering this vast region are:

Region Nouvelle Aquitaine government on tourism : https://www.nouvelle-aquitaine.fr/resultats-recherche?search&facet%5B%5D=tags%3A76

Tourism region Nouvelle Aquitaine : http://www.visit-nouvelle-aquitaine.com/

Tourisme Aquitaine old region : http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr/?lang=en

Tourisme Limousin old region : http://www.tourismelimousin.com/en

Tourisme Poitou-Charentes old region: http://www.poitoucharentes.visite.org/EN/

In my previous blog posts below , you will find comments, photos and links on the following towns:  Gan, Hendaye, Sauveterre-de-Béarn, Navarrenx, Eaux-Bonnes, Agen,  St Jean Pied de Port, Monein, Oloron-Sainte-Marie ; Saint Palais, Bielle, Il de Ré, Lescar,Mauléon Licharre, Montaner, Morlaas, Saint Jean de Luz , Théze, and Urdos.

Hope it helps you plan your trip to these wonderful region full of nice small towns and many more to visit, the beat goes on. Enjoy your week, easy does it, happy travels, great health, and put the pedal to the metal and rock! Cheers!

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