Archive for March 15th, 2018

March 15, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXVII

So on a rainy Thursday off day, cloudy windy (65 KPH), and miserable temps in 10C or 50F sitting at home. Well, let me tell you what is going on in my belle France.

Ok, so lots of construction going on in Paris due to a big program of modernization which they are behind and the Citizens are asking for faster and better service.

This coming Summer you will see plenty of work (especially if take regularly) on the RER A, which will be closed from Saturday July 28 to Sunday August 26 2018 between La Défense and Nation. The stations of La Défense and Nation will be temporary terminus even if they will remain open and connections will be assured. However, the quays will be closed at Charles de Gaulle, Étoile, Auber, Châtelet – Les Halles, and the gare de Lyon. On the train line L of the Transilien network,and the service on the metro lines 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 13 et 14 ;Tramway lines T2 and T3a; bus lines 73, 114, 118 and 275. Mondays to Fridays a navette bus will be in service between Charles de Gaulle
Étoile, and La Défense.

Same for the RER A and train line L , from July 14 to September 2nd included; closing of the RER A ,and the line L between Cergy – Saint-Christophe , and between Cergy – Le Haut(temporary terminus Cergy – Saint-Christophe). On the RER C line from July 15 to August 25th included, the RER C between Paris Austerlitz and Javel / Avenue Henri Martin. This Summer this line will be closed. Be careful, the station gare de Pont de l’Alma will remain closed until January 2nd 2019. The line 10 metro will be reinforced as well as bus line 63 ; there will be a navette bus between Invalides and Javel.

Again the RER A will be closed from July 26 to August 26 included from Maisons-Laffite and Poissy. More for the French speaker here:

No time for me but the Livre Paris 2018 is on from March 16 to 19 on its 38th edition on the expo park of the Porte de Versailles. More here in English:

If not there see the libraries of Paris with contact, do not forget to put the 0033 and do not mark the 0 from abroad or look them up in google.
Les Libres Champs Léa. 18, rue Le Verrier (VIe). Tél.: 01 43 29 27 11. L’Écume des Pages. 174, bd Saint-Germain (VIe). Tél.: 01 45 48 54 48.Galignani. 224, rue de Rivoli (Ier). Tél.: 01 42 60 76 07.Gibert Joseph. 26, bd Saint-Michel (VIe). Tél.: 01 44 41 88 88.Librairie des Abbesses. 30, rue Yvonne-Le-Tac (XVIIIe). Tél.: 01 46 06 84 30.Librairie de Paris. 7, place de Clichy (XVIIe). Tél.: 01 45 22 47 81.Delamain. 55, rue Saint-Honoré (Ier). Tél.: 01 42 61 48 78. Librairie du Globe. 67, bd Beaumarchais (IIIe). Tél.: 01 42 77 36 36 Librairie Jousseaume. 45-46-47, galerie Vivienne (IIe). Tél.: 01 42 96 06 24. Boulinier. 20, bd Saint-Michel (VIe). Tél.: 01 43 26 90 57.

And if at the same time you want to read up and have a coffee in a historic Paris landmark, then head for these:
Le Procope. 13, rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie (VIe). Tél: 01 40 46 79 00.Le Café de la Paix. 5, place de l’Opéra (IXe). Tél.: 01 40 07 36 36. Le Café de Flore. 172, boulevard Saint-Germain (VIe). Tél.: 01 45 48 55 26. La Closerie des Lilas. 171, boulevard du Montparnasse (VIe). Tél.: 01 40 51 34 50. Les Deux Magots. 6, place Saint-Germain des Prés (Vie). Tél.: 01 45 48 55 25

Then, two classic for the Paris lovers. Even Emmanuel Macron celebrated his first tour win in the French elections here, today the President. The La Rotonde,is open since 1911,at Montparnasse becoming known as the four muskeeteers at the crossing of Vavin with La Coupole, Le Dôme, and Le Select. Mythical address of the left bank it is the place of frequency of many artists and intellectuals such as Picasso, Chagall, Apollinaire, Soutine, Modigliani, Cocteau, Diaghilev, and Foujita. See it at La Rotonde. 105, boulevard du Montparnasse (6éme). Tél.: 01 43 26 48 26.

Another jewel same place since 1899 in the Champs-Élysées,this Brasserie chic went over to the group Barrière (casinos) in 1998. It was closed in February 2017 for renovations and its hotel as well opening again last early July. The frequency here since early the 20C is the all Paris like Ettore Bugatti, Colette, Pierre Brasseur,Aga Khan, and Raymond Poincare. From the 1930’s was the meeting place of the cinema people from Raimu to Depardieu, passing by Gabin, Ventura, Delon ,and Signoret. Since 1977,it hosts the dinner of the ceremonies of the César (the French Oscar). Le Fouquet’s. 99, avenue des Champs-Élysées (8éme) Tél.: 01 40 69 60 50.

The mansion Hôtel de Sens,or the library Forney hosts until May 26 a free exposition on the poster artist Charles Loupot (died 1962). It will have hundreds of work from posters, models, photos, and publicist articles that trace his long career. The expo is call the Loupot, peintre en affiches à la bibliothèque Forney. Location :Hôtel de Sens. 1, rue du Figuier (4éme).Tél.: 01 42 78 14 60. Expo held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 13h to 19h30, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10h to 19h30. Closed Mondays, free admission even for the expo.

And because they want to make business center and the sales are not order decision taken to closed the Centre Commercial Bercy 2 (shopping center mall).It is by the Boulevard périphérique and the autoroute A4 handy on way and coming to visit family for me! The mall aka as « la Baleine » or the Whale was opened in 1990 , and has now 70 stores.

Last January 19 at the aquarium of Sea Life in shopping center Val d’Europe,near Disneyland, a baby royal penguin was born in captivity. The penguin is with chocolate plumes and weights a bit more than 7 kg (about 15 lbs). He is not yet on the basin but stay with his parents to do this and swim will need about a year. More here:

And now hold on, the SNCF trains of France in simple terms has voted by their unions a strike two over 5 days per week starting by April 3rd and for a period of 3 months; due to better working condition and the management push for quick modernisation of the structures. So , now with some towns holding back on automobile traffic ,and the trains of France on strike with structures on average 32 years old ,sure the tourist will think we are just fine….. More news here:

And to add to the train,our beloved subsidized Air France also has announce strikes. Air France’s pilots are asking for 6% rise in their salaries, a request the airline has refused to meet. Even though the Air France-KLM Group clinched a 42% increase in its operating profit to €1.49 billion in 2017, it is only offering a 1% increase to the unions, to be paid in two installments. The unions said it was a “small change.” More here:

The Festival of Mojito will start in June 2018 with tastings for free!!! The establishment participating will be decorated for the event and will have entertainment like concerts, gifts giving , and salsa courses; all before the World Cup of Football/soccer June 2018 in Russia. More in French here:

At the Musée du Luxembourg  come see the Tintoret, or the little tainter was name  Jacopo Comin, and now will be showing his early years  with the expo tintoret birth of a genius until July 18 2018. One of the most emblematic painters of the Renaissance.  More here in English:

And last but not least;see a museum for free in Paris, no not just the Sundays first of every month but everyday. Here they are: Petit Palais, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Maison Victor Hugo, Musée de la Vie Romantique , Musée Cernuschi, Musée Curie, Maison Balzac Mémorial de la Shoah, Musée Valentin Haü, and Musée Jean Moulin. And of course, plenty free for those under 26 yrs old link below

Now get ready for the TGIF ok you are new to this Thanks God Is Friday. Have a great weekend, happy travels and good health to all. Cheers!!

March 15, 2018

The Historical and Magical spots in Versailles!

Hello everybody, I am back in the blog machine. Thinking of my beloved wonderful Royal Versailles again. Well, it was one of the best moment of our family life and the entry into France for us Franco-Americans with Spanish heritage gang.

There are three spots in Versailles that the public do not go enough. The city of Versailles once contacted a survey company and believed they found that 98% of the visitors to Versailles only come to the Palace/museum; and the rest of Versailles? There is plenty to see in the city on its own, nothing to do with things to see from Paris.

An entry point on my humble blog post with some photos on these here:

One of them is the Arboretum. An arboretum is a botanical garden with many trees of different species put together like a collection in themes. They are older arboretum in Europe because the history has a twist. …the victors side. The first one in France is credited to Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (b 1700, d 1782 Paris) a doctor, botanist and agronomist in the 17C.

However, I like to tell you about my Arboretum ; the one Arboretum de Chèvreloup, located in the town of Rocquencourt, in the Yvelines dept 78 and just next to the back of the Domain of the Castle of Versailles. This is now part of the National Museum of Natural History and has an area of 200 hectares with over 2700 species of trees, greenhouses, and vegetable trees.

The park is divided into four thematic zones; the geographical zone with 120 hectares align by geographical area such as Americas, Asia, Europe etc. , the zone systematic in 50 hectares according to their botanical classification, the oldest trees open to the public; the zone horticulture in the center of the park with about 25 hectares of different varieties issue from an artificial selection, and the garden area of about 2 hectares where the trees are raised and exchange with other arboretums and botanical gardens.

The bit of history I like, and the most convincing to me for visited across from the shopping center Parly II and back adjoin to the Chateau de Versailles, is that this park was acquired in 1699 by king Louis XIV that encloses with a wall and served as a hunting ground.  This garden was destroyed upon the death of king Louis XV. At the French revolution like everything else, the goods were confiscated, and the farm on the opposite end of Gally-Chèvreloup  (it is still there since 1741 ferme de Gally by St Cyr l’école!) was sold to private persons. emperor Napoléon 1er buys the lands in 1806. By the 19C and early 20C, the bad maintenance and small spaces of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris made come up with an idea to use the collection of trees ,and in 1922 ; the conservator of the  Domaine de Versailles ,and architect at the National Museum of Natural History named Chaussemiche  established a project called  “Le Jardin de Jussieu, annex du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle” or the Jussieu garden annex to the National Museum of Natural History. The current park was created in 1927, while it was attach to the national museum of natural history.

It’s official site can only found it in French here:

On the site of the National Museum of Natural History , there is a story and video on it in English too:

Another site that should be visited more is the Parc Balbi. The parc Balbi is an English style located next to the Potager du Roi with free access on the street or rue rue du Maréchal Joffre. It is a park of many species of tress and flowers, foxes, butterflies, bees, birds and reptiles like green lizards.

The story really starts in 1785, when the Count of Provence (brother of  king Louis XVI and future king as Louis XVIII) buys the land to create a park for a country retreat and welcome his inner circle as well as mistress  Anne de Caumont La Force, Countess of Balbi (from which the park garden takes its name)  By 1786, the garden is done with a keen interest of the Count of Provence. In 1791, the Count and Countess of Provence need to go into exile and abandoned the garden (due to the French revolution). By 1792, the rare trees were taken to enriched the collection of the Jardin des Plantes in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris as usually Paris takes. By 1872, the Great Seminary buys the garden and does works of renovation and conditioning. Again, by 1907 the school of Jules Ferry is established in the park with a door connection between the park and the Potager du roi done in 1914. The park is handle now by the same management as the Potager du roi, the National Superior School of Horticulture (created in 1873). More on this wonderful park away a bit from the castle that my family really enjoyed is at the tourist office of Versailles in English.

And as already mentioned, why not tell you about the Potager du roi.  The potager du roi  is a vegetable garden created in 1683 in the Chateau de Versailles property at the time for king Louis XIV and done by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie at the time director of the Royal gardens ; later an urban garden with an area of 9 hectares.

The land here was of good quality , coming from the hills around Satory and after several work on masonry terraces and high walls done by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart.  The potager or vegetable garden is on the side of the water pond named the la pièce d’eau des Suisses or the pond of the Swiss; for the Royal guards), and not far from the Orangerie. The king entered by a grill monumental gate  that gave over the Piéce d’eau des Suisses  (where you can still see the only statue erected to king Louis XVI still standing!) . This gate is one of the most beautiful in Versailles and rare that it is an original!

It is divided into a central area dedicated to the vegetables or the great square or  grand carré with 3 hectares of area , and an area surrounded by high walls and about a dozn rooms or garden housing vegetables and fruits in turn surrounded by trees of apple, pear especially. It counts with  fruit trees of about 4500 trees with more than 400 different varieties, producing in a bad year about 50 tons of fruits and 20 tons of vegetables; part of it sold in the welcome boutique, especially on Wednesdays morning.

The place is in disrepair with about 40% of the trees ,sick and dying.  The latest report mentioned taht of the  4500 trees of  468  different varieties about 40% are sick, dead or dying… Here comes the Americans to the rescue again.  The school of horticulture that managed the garden has ok and received approval from the World Monument Fund (WMF) an charitable organization based in New York  that can provide technical and financial assistance to heritage sites like this one. They are here:

More info on the official Potager du roi site in French here:

The tourist office of the city of Versailles in English here:

Hope you have enjoy the ride into the unusual, historical,and magical spots of my beloved Versailles. We have a lot more to show you in VERSAILLES. Enjoy your week, happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!!!

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