Archive for March 17th, 2018

March 17, 2018

Bourges, Cathedral and Jacques!

On a cloudy cool, and news of snow coming to Brittany but hopefully not mention the Morbihan and already almost 4 inches in Paris; I like to tell you about a nice town of memorable family visit.

We came to Bourges a while back , little known really when you are in the Valley of the Kings or now call Centre-Val de Loire. However, very nicely accessible and worth a detour me think.

First, let me give you my blog post on it a while back with photos here: Blog post on Bourges

Bourges is in the Department of the Cher 18 in the region of Centre Val de Loire ; been the historical capital of the Berry, a province in the monarchy corresponding about with today’s departments of Indre and Cher.  About 240 km south of Paris and located at the intersection of several rivers such as the Yévre, Voiselle, and affluents Auron, Moulon, and Langis.

The city center or downtown is divided in two sections surrounded by boulevards that allows you to go around it as in a beltway. This city center has the main shopping street , rue Moyenne and principal buildings including the Cathedral and the bus terminal to the train station  as well as several nice gardens such as the jardin de l’archevêché  (bishop) and jardin des Pré-Fichaux. The central crown around the town has several other buildings around the city center including the marshes or Marais de Bourges.

Some links to help your trip planning here:  SNCF Place du Général Leclerc:

TER train site :

The way I come is by car here taking from Paris the A71 (Orléans – Clermont-Ferrand) that puts Bourges in one hour to Orleans, 2h30 from Paris, 4h from Lyon. You can ,also take the A85 at Vierzon and go to Tours in about 1h30.

City of Bourges tourism page :

Tourist office of Bourges:

And the friends of the Cathedral site in French, with much info and way to help the maintenance of this magnificent Cathedral.

In this post , I like to tell you a bit about the history I like.

Before the Romans, this area was inhabited by Gallic people known as the Bituriges Cubes  , that I am told it means “kings of the world” . The uprising of the Bituriges against the Romans and their massacre by the Romans in 53 BC is a major item on the uprising strength of the Gallic people and their main leader Vercingétorix  against Jules Caesar. During the Gallic wars Caesar had several sieges against Bourges for long months. As in the rest of Gallia, Vercingétorix has implemented a tactic of burning and destroying everything before helping to supply the Romans.  The Gallic leader had defended Bourges with natural defenses such as hills around a river, and marshes as well as  a strong wall in the south.  From this wall, we come to the term later of calling the city, the red town (same as was name Le Mans). Caesar took the city anyway and massacre most of the inhabitants.

Bourges becomes the seat of the Bishops from where the dioceses of Albi, Cahors, Clermont-Ferrand , Mende, Puy-en-Vélay, Rodez, Saint Flour, and Tulle were attached. It was one of the first diocese founded by Saint Ursin in one of the first evangelical campaigns of the Gaulle around the 4C. The town ,then belonging to the kingdom of Aquitaine was taken by Charles Martel in 731AD ,then by Eudes of Aquitaine, Pépin le Bref took it in 762AD; destroying the walls ramparts and integrating it to the Royal domain under the care of the Counts; he builts a palace from the 767AD. Early on the 12C, Bourges becomes the seat of the Viscount until the last one Eudes d’Arpin in 1101AD sells the county to the king of France ,Louis VI to finance a crusade; the city enters the domain Royal, property of the Crown. In the 14C, the city of Bourges becomes the capital of the duchy of Berry that is given to Jean de Berry as a priviledge.  He is the third child of king of France Jean le Bon and brother of king Charles V. The dauphin , future king Charles VII of France finds refuge in Bourges and used the administration of the city put in place by his grand uncle ,the duke of Berry to be able to take control of his kingdom.

A major figure here and in France. Jacques Coeur son of curtain merchant and a famous citizen of the city of Bourges, worked with his father as supplier to the ducal court and has a fast rise to fame; also marries the daughter of the provost of Bourges, Macée de Léodepart. Later, participates in the making of currency money and becomes the financier of the king or supplier of the Royal court as well as developing an international commercial network enabling him to set up money counters and a navy. However, this fortune becomes too big and bring jealousy of the King which leads to the lost of it. He is condemn by Royal justice and becomes a fugitive, later bankrupt finding refuge with the Pope Nicolas V. All his properties were confiscated and sold for the profit of the king and he dies in exile in 1456. The most remarkable trace left in the city is that of the wonderful palais Jacques Coeur.  A must to visit.


entrance to Palais Jacques Coeur

Bourges has a long history of military stronghold. By 1860, it was chosen to be the center of army provisions under the Second Empire (Napoléon III) . From 1928  it has a strong presence of aeronautical industry here as well as a center of manufacture of land weapons.

Things to see here are plenty and very nice. The city is a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire in France (city of art and history of France). Of course , you must see the St Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint Etienne, recognize by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. The before mentioned Palais Jacques Coeur built by end 15C.  The marshes or marais de l’Yévre et de la Voiselle, family and culture gardens wonderful. The ruins of the Gallo Roman ramparts. The monumental fountain and Gallo Roman porch under the palace of the Duke of Berry as well as the rest of it today it is the Préfecture or regional government building. Walk around the Place Gordaine and the wooden houses from the 14C, the Grange des Dîmes from the 12C at rue Moliére near the Cathedral (storage of agro products until the French revolution). The Episcopal Palace or palais Archiepiscopal from the 17C, old city hall and a French style garden done by Le Nôtre , this is the jardin de l’Archevêché. The Canal de Berry on the river Auron.  Notre Dame Church mostly destroyed by fire in 1487, Church Saint-Pierre le Marché later dedicated to Notre Dame was rebuilt with several modifications and now you see different styles of architecture. And not that I go there, but many do, so there is the Cemetery des Capucins ,near the Cathedral done in 1792 to replace all the others done by other Churches.


back of Cathedral St Etienne from the bishop’s garden

The many nice museums here:  Musée du Berry ( archeology, arts and popular traditions) in the Hôtel de Cujas mansion.  Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Gabriel Foucher, Musée Maurice Estève (dedicated to modernist painter Maurice Estève) in the Hôtel des Echevins mansion. Hôtel Lallemant mansion  (Renaissance style) with a museum on decorative arts; Musée des Meilleurs ouvriers de France (best craftmans of France). The muse de la Résistance et de la Déportation du Cher (museum of the resistance and deportation of the Cher).

The old Berry area is rich in gastronomy as where else in France! However, something unique to Bourges is the Forestine, this crisp and mellow candy contains a delicious praline of chocolate-flavoured almonds and hazelnuts under a layer of crunchy sugar, and the best is at the  Maison de la Forestine  at the Place Cujas. webpage here: Maison de la Forestine

There you go, you have Bourges as brief and clear as I can make it. Enjoy the Cher, the Berry and yes Bourges. Have a great Sunday or Saturday depending where you are. Happy travels, good health  to all. Cheers!!





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March 17, 2018

The dream world of Disneyland Paris!

So on a rainy cloudy, cool Saturday and just a short trip out with Rex, I have stay home and work on my blog. I still need to go out again with son and his moto accessories needs, he pays !

However, why not come back to my old post on Disneyland Paris. My sons went there and we stayed at the old H0liday Inn Disneyland, then the Vienna Magic hotel and now the Vienna Dream Hotel. And I had several meetings held there when working with the hotel chain IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group).

I have been to the Walt Disney park in Orlando FLorida so many times lost counts , with me on concerts, with my boys, and then taken friends/family there. We never visited Disneyland Paris from the USA as not needed we thought. However, once in France , the itch became too great not to try and see it. Well ,there is no contest in my opinion to the one in Orlando ,but at least folks in Europe have a more affordable Mickey place to see and enyoy.

Let me tell you a bit about the parks and the history in France.

Disneyland Paris, previously called Euro Disney Resort and before that Disneyland Resort Paris is a tourist entertainment park of 22,3 km located in the town of Chessy in the department 77 of Seine et Marne. It includes two parks,; the Disneyland and the Walt Disney studios as well as 27 hotels and a golf course and covers into the shopping and aquarium area of Val d’Europe. All link from Paris by the train line RER A as well as by car on the expressway or autoroute A4 direction Metz, as well as a TGV train line.

This huge complex in addition to the above mention items mainly the two entertainment parks , hotels and golf of 27 holes ; it also, has Disney Village with stores, restaurants and shows. 7 hotels on Disney property such as Disneyland hotel, New York, Sequoia Lodge, Newport Bay Club, Cheyenne, Santa Fe, Ranch Davy Crockett; and 10 partner hotels such as Villages Nature Paris, Elysée Val d’Europe, Algonquin Explorer , Kyriad, Adagio city Aparthotel, Marriott Village ile de France, Vienna international Dream Castle, Radisson Blu, and B&B hotel disneyland.

Disneyland Park

indoor heated pool HOliday Inn disneyland today Vienna Dream

The 3 train stations, RER A, regular trains line Serris-Montévrain Val d’Europe, and the TGV Marne la Vallée-Chessy. Two shopping centers or malls such as Val d’Europe (includes Sea Life aquarium) and the La Vallée Village outlet shopping.. In all, a business park Goodman, and several residential communities. Coming by car as we have , you take off the Paris boulevard périphérique the A4 direction Metz and get out at sortie or exit 14 follow road D344P all well posted; around the parks there is the big boulevard du Grand Fossé easy link to hotels and Val d’Europe shopping.. Bear in mind, there is a cost last was 20€/day for parking in the park. The RER A from Paris proper you can take it at Nation, Gare de Lyon, Châtelet-Les-Halles, Auber (Great department stores and gare St Lazare) and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile (Arc de Triomphe). You have local bus service such as from the bus terminal at Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy from the stations of Serris-Montévrain-Val d’Europe, Meaux, Château Thierry, Lagny, Thorigny, Crécy-la-Chapelle, Coulommiers, Provins and Esbly The network Pepy’s on lines 6, 23, 24, 34, 43, 50 and 54 is the most extensive from Marne la Vallée-Chessy to Bussy-Saint-Georges, Lagny-sur-Marne, Chessy, Serris and the Val d’Europe urban and shopping center. SEME or Seine-et-Marne Express on bus lines 17 and 50 ; Tramy network on line 38, marne –et Morin on lines 12, 19, 57, 59, 59E, and 62 , Procars network on line 13 ,and Noctilien N130 and N141. The airport CDG is easy to come here by navettes Magical Shuttle and on the TGV train from CDG to Marne la Vallée Chessy.

Marne la Vallee Chessy

Marne la Vallee Chessy TGV train station

The official webpage info on Disneyland Paris is here:  Disneyland Paris

By 2002, the park is enlarge with the opening of Walt Disney Studios located on the south side of Disneyland and along the line of the RER A. Opening with 10 attractions with the cinema and cartoons as principal attractions. Recently reported in the news and my blog, there was the announcement of a new investment by Disneyland of about 2 Billion Euros so doubling the park Walt Disney Studios into 3 zones between 2021 and 2025 on the themes of Frozen, Star Wars, and Marvel. The Parc Walt Disney Studios is by Val d’Europe in Marne la Vallée . Once entering to the left you have the huge store boutique and on the right the information desk, and visitor services. At the center, there is a fountain with a statue of Mickey. Studio 1 is a building facing the entrance to the park serving as the shopping street but is covered showing a Hollywood as it was in the golden age of the 1930’s. On it you see the boutiques of the Hollywood legends in three consecutive spaces; the second space show the luxury boutique of Rodeo Drive , and the last space show the Crossroads of the World change into a service station selling DVD’s. The Toy Story Playland at the Place de Rémy is a section of Toon Studio representing the Paris of the film Ratatouille. In the section Production Courtyard you have on the left of the exit of Studio 1, and includes the attractions located on the main square decorated with a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse . The highlight is the Tower of Terror showing the mysteries of Hollywood Tower Hotel where the riders in an elevator/lift disappeared in a night of lightning scary. Hollywood boulevard installations include a replica of the Hollywood Boulevard of Los Angeles on the right and the Backlog on the back left of the park showing the scenaries of what it looks like the studios today.

The official Walt Disney Studios webpage is here:  Walt Disney Studios

I like to give some webpages that will help plan your trip here:

For those seeking to work here :  employment at Disneyland

To find Disney stores in France :  Disney store locator

Navette Express bus to from Disneyland :  navette bus Express

Magical Shuttle transport :  Magical Shuttle from airports

RER A train schedule just type Paris where you are and Disneyland:  RER A train schedule

Val d’Europe shopping, our favorite here:  Val d’Europe shopping Center

Disney village shopping in the park  : Disney Village shoppint/restos

Disney Village Natures :  Disney Village Natures

Other places to see around Disneyland Paris (obviously I like the City of Meaux and the Museum of the Great War or WWI :  Other things to see around Disneyland

Well coming on business meetings and part of the group of hotels on Disneyland property had many perks at greatly reduce or nothing at all; but that is another story. I like to tell you when I took my family there.

We drove over of course, as we have family not far and combine the trip with a visit north of Meaux. Even thought the official site tells you to get off on exit 14 of the A4 , we got in by exit 12.1 going into the D345 road and into the D344 and boulevard du Grand Fossé and our hotel(see above). The parking was reduce pricing for me at 5€ (it is 20€), the hotel was half price and the food well eventually did not pay anything. But that was the business discount. My boys were small in the early teens so the trip was memorable for them; now it is not so much an interest as they are in their 20’s.

Disneyland Paris

game room Holiday INn Disneyland today Vienna Dream

We remember the hotel was all deco in a clown theme or dream world with a large wonderful restaurant, and an even better indoor heated pool! The current hotel webpage is here:  Vienna Magic Dream Hotel

The boys really like the indoor pool and the ice creams on the restaurant; we just relax…as one can with 3 young boys. And we hit the attractions of Disneyland starting by Disney Village and eating at the old favorite from Florida, the Rainforest Cafe! The food and the attractions ::) were memorable the same; site here in English:

Disneyland Paris

Rainforest Cafe Disneyland village

And ok, we finally went into the park lol!!We got into the park early by opening time, a must , much more today. The favorite still is Space Mountain ride, the Star Wars galaxy ride, the IMAX movie cinema, for French eating the Auberge de Cendrillon at Fantasyland. The pirates of the Caribbean, and Adventureland. The park really needs two days to see it all at leisure; and now another day for Walt Disney Studios and the movies stars.

Like I said, for teens this is a must to visit in France now, and the most visited park in Europe! I believe they will do as in Orlando; an old marshy swamp area totally change by men into a sparkling metropolis with all kinds of entertainment. By the time they finish all the investment money here it will be the same. Already they are American style home communities shopping centers and a housing and business boom in all the towns around it.

The new town of Marne-La Vallée was created in the 1960’s. It includes for about 20 km wide the towns from Bry-sur-Marne to Bailly-Romainvilliers, and divided into four districts or sectors. These are sector I or Porte de Paris with the towns of Noisy-le-Grand, as well as Bry-sur-Marne ,and Villiers-sur-Marne. Sector II or gate of Val Maubuée including the towns of Champs-sur-Marne, Croissy-Beaubourg, Émerainville, Lognes, Noisiel, and Torcy. Sector III or gate of Val de Bussy including the towns of Bussy-Saint-Georges, Bussy-Saint-Martin, Chanteloup-en-Brie, Collégien, Conches-sur-Gondoire, Ferrières-en-Brie, Gouvernes, Guermantes, Jossigny, Lagny-sur-Marne, Montévrain, and Saint-Thibault-des-Vignes . Finally , sector IV with the towns of Bailly-Romainvilliers, Chessy, Coupvray, Magny-le-Hongre, Serris ,and Villeneuve-le-Comte. This new town is cross by the RER A on the line along the expressway A4 including nine stations such as Bry-sur-Marne,Noisy-le-Grand – Mont d’Est,Noisy-Champs,Noisiel,Lognes,Torcy,Bussy-Saint-Georges,Serris-Montévrain – Val d’Europe, and Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy.

Other things to see around Disneyland that are worth seeing in my opinion are the historical town of Meaux only 20 minutes from the park in the region of Brie (cheese) and mustard Pommery. Visit the gothic Cathedral (one of the last ones done in France), its episcopal palace and garden done by Le Nôtre and the museum Bossuet, the Eagle of Meaux and confessor of king Louis XIV. Follow the road of the Impressionists painters in Moret-sur-Loing with the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Sisley that walked on this town. See Barbizon, the town of painters and amateurs of Art on a pretty town following the footsteps of Corot, Millet, and Rousseau. The painters leaders of the 19C that did their most important work here; see the School of Barbizon,the museum of painters or the workshops of Rousseau and Millet.

Hope you enjoy the ride into magical Disneyland Paris. It is worth a detour with family, and shopping is great too. Have a great weekend to all. Cheers!!

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