Archive for May 23rd, 2018

May 23, 2018

How about Eragny! yes in Val d’Oise!

Ok so here I am on another sunny nice day and temps up to 24C or about 74F in my neck of the wood, looking at a nice tree park and decided to start this post on an unique aspect of my belle France.

As visitors, we tend to come to the famous places and many like it. France gets about 85M visitors and places like Paris about 32M visitors per year lately. However, as one who lives here,and travel everywhere not just to the famous and sparkling clean taxpayer supported sites (and some nice visitors) I like to take you places, not before written on the blog ,but I should have.

Let me tell you a bit about Eragny sur Oise. Our family love to come here when we lived in Versailles.

Eragny  is in the department 95 Val-d’Oise  in the region of Île-de-France. Locals sometimes call it Éragny-sur-Oise to differentiate from other similar name town of Eragny in France. The city is located in the left bank of the Oise river at about 30 km (about 19 mi) from Paris, and it is a member of the metropolitan area of the new city of Cergy-Pontoise,

This is one of the towns we went for the Art de Vivre shopping center, just because it had the Pizza Hut and Toys ‘R US stores nearest our home in  Versailles, and was easy on our runs to Normandy to pass by here on the A15. It is still there and even translated in English:

Eragny sur Oise

Toys R Us

Eragny sur Oise

Pizza Hut

Eragny sur Oise

toys R Us

It was , also convenient stop coming from CDG airport on the La Francilienne road N104 on our way home under the A15 by the N186 to Versailles. A bit further direction Paris,(or from Paris direction Rouen)  you can come as we did to a nice outlet stores mall  at Franconville off the A15 exit/sortie 4 ; the Quai des Marques for especially my brand names business suits and coats. It’s takes a bit time by public transport from Paris but with a car is always easier.  You can  take at Gare Saint Lazare the train  direction Gare d’Ermont Eaubonne and descend at the station of Sannois  from there take bus 261 to Franconville and walk 20 minutes to the shopping. Webpage:

A bit of history I like

Early in the 12C the lands and villages around here had the name of Erigny, belonging to the abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs . It was exposed on a cliff dominating the Oise river. Eragny was just a small village until the 20C.  It was in 1564 that a Jean d’Alesso, coming from Italy with Saint Francis of Paul purchase the lordship of Eragny.  His coat of arms are now the town. François d’Alesso, marquis of Eragny was governor general of the Antilles in Martinique by 1691 and their descendants were spread all over the area and preserve it until the French revolution when they were confiscated as immigrants expropiation lands. In the 20C, an important writer set up home here, this was  Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, author of  Paul et Virginie. He was a disciple of Rousseau, and took possession of a house here in 1804 that was the old presbytery, after his death in 1814 the town really came down to the sleepy town it is today.

Things to see in Eragny sur Oise

The Presbytère at  31 rue Bernardin-de-Saint-Pierre ,  it was built under the order of priest Sigogne in the middle of the 18C . Under the French revolution his successor died in the guillotine and the building change hands several times thereafter until given in 1804 to  Bernardin de Saint-Pierre  in exchange for a debt of the family. The writer known for his work call Paul et Virginie lived there the last ten years of his life until finally purchase by the city in 1834. The house of the fisherman or Maison des Pêcheurs at  24 rue de la Fontaine, this was built behind a guinguette bordering the Oise river for the Sunday fisherman  coming from Paris as the train station was close by . The ground floor has original pieces and can be reach ,those in the first floor (2nd US) are reach thru an exterior balcony. The front gates of the old Castle at  6 rue de Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône ,has two square  pylon that still is there of the castle of Alesso from the mid 16C . The castle came down even before the French revolution. The Saint Pie X Church built in the 1950’s to replace an older Church destroyed during WWII. The army stables, at the Clos du Manége, the army trained here in a horse complex of seven identical stables built early 20C.  It stop working in 1918  when the army set up headquarters in the city of Pontoise . One of these stables is used today for equestrian circle club.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here ,why not ,it is so close to lovely Paris!

Eragny sur Oise :

Tourism of Eragny sur Oise :

Dept 95 Val d’Oise tourist office :

Ïle de France region tourist office:

There you go ,enjoy it the find. Hope it helps expand your vision of my belle France. Remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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May 23, 2018

And I bring you Pau, the Béarn never look so good!

I am bringing you back to a wonderful city of the old region of Béarn in the south of France,and a superb city. This is cruising time this short week of four days at work.  The sun is still with us and should be for the rest of the week.

I am talking about Pau, a city of passing many times and layovers of a day, on my way to my beloved Spain, then it hit us ,we needed to visit for real and we did.  Pau  is in the department 64 Pyrénées Atlantiques in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.

The city is located in the heart of an old independent state call Béarn of which it was the capital in 1464. Bordered by the gave de Pau river (long of 183 km) and about hundred km from the Atlantic ocean and about 50 km from Spain. This gave it a great position to offer a remarkable panorama on the Pyrénées chain of mountains as well as the hills of Jurançon with a fantastic view from the boulevard des Pyrénées.  .  Pau is only 110 km from Bayonne and the Atlantic ocean, especially the beach or Plage de Capbreton is only 122 km ; to the north there is at 216 km, Bordeaux and on the east Occitanie with only 40 km away from Tarbes ,46 km from Lourdes, and 196 km from Toulouse. Spain is only 50 km accessable via Gan by Oloron-Sainte-Marie and the peak of Somport (1631 meters and now the tunnel of Somport, or via Gan ,then Laruns to the peak of Pourtalet at 1794 meters; both of my favorite routes into my beloved Spain. Pau is found at the intersection of autoroutes A64 aka Pyrénéenne linking with Tarbes and Toulouse, and later on the west to Bayonne, and the Basque coast; and the autoroute A65 or autoroute de Gascogne connecting to Bordeaux via the A62 and the D817,  D937 and the D943 and the D945, and the N134 linking to the peak of Somport and Spain.

The funiculaire or cable car opened in 1908 to link the lower city train station and the boulevard des Pyrénées or the upper city; nice quaint ride indeed. There is TGV train service from Paris Montparnasse to Tarbes and intercités trains from Hendaye to Toulouse-Matabiau as well as TER trains from Bordeaux-Saint Jean station to Tarbes. The closest airport is that of Pau-Pyrénées located at 12 km from the town of Uzein and links with Paris CDG and Orly airports , Lyon, Marseille, Bastia, Ajaccio, Naples, and Bari in summers on my last reading.

A bit of history I like

The city is connected to the castle once it became the seat of the kingdom of Navarra in the 16C. Pau becomes the political and intellectual center under the reign of king Henri and Marguerite of Navarra. The story of Pau is deeply marked by the birth of Henri de Bourbon in 1553 in the castle; eventually he rises to the crown of France in 1589 under king Henri IV. Since then, the history of the city is connected to him. At the end of the Béarnaise independence  in 1620, Pau loses its influence but stayed at the head of the province autonomous until the French revolution. During the 18C another great local is born, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, marshal of the empire under Napoléon Ier and later chosen to become king of Sweden and Norway from 1818 to 1844 on his death , he started a dynasty that still reign over Sweden today.

By October 1620 the Catholic cult is reestablished here in the Béarn by a procession followed by king Louis XIII ,on the same day he published an edit to bring about the union of the Béarn and Navarra into the crown of France.  The king promise and guarantee the Béarnais to preserve their customs and privileges with autonomy.  King Louis XIII change the sovereign council of Bearn into the parliament of Navarra bringing in the court of Saint Palais; the city of Pau goes from royal town to parliamentarian town.  When the WWI began many pilots were trained here from a dozen countries including the French Georges Guynemer, René Fonck, Charles Nungesser, Roland Garros (of tennis fame) , Jules Védrine and even the American Norman Prince living in Pau at the time and founder of the Escadrille La Fayette (volunteers American who fought even before the USA entered the war). During WWII, Nazi occupation brought the Gestapo to the villa Saint Albert (today  destroyed) from 1942 and using the outpost or caserne Bernadotte as a prison until August 1944.

With the coming of the Belle Époque period a new influx comes to Pau, rich tourists especially British but also Russians, Spanish, and Americans coming to spent the winter and benefit from the special climate ordered by Scottish doctor Alexander Taylor. Pau is change into building several villas and palaces to host the new arrivals with all modernity such as baths, casino, and cable car or funicular. At the same period Pau becomes one of the world capital of aeronautics with the Wright brothers, and the first school of pilots organized in the world.

Things to see in nice Pau

The great parc Beaumont with a lake, river, and cascade with several branches of flowers and rosary on 12 hectares having 110 different species of trees with some remarkable such as the bold cypress, of Louisiana , the Persimmon of Virginia, and the Giant Sequoia . You have the parc Lawrence with centenary trees and an English villa from the 19C.  The domain of the castle of Pau has a renaissance garden with medicinal plants heir to the parks of the 16C under Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d’Albret  gardens seen as the most beautiful of Europe by contemporary visitors. You have main Churches such as Saint Martin Church started in 1863 and finished in 1871; and Saint James Church finished in 1868. Also, the fine arts museum opened in 1864.

The wonderful Château de Pau over the gave de pau river, the native house of Gen Bernadotte and from 1951 the museum of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ,general under Napoléon I and later king of Sweden under Charles XIV and king of Norway under Charles III.  The Hôtel Gassion and Hôtel de France on boulevard des Pyrénées. The palace or Palais Beaumont also known as winter palace built in 1900 to amuse the locals and visitors on the game  , spectacles , festivals and meetings in a casino and congress center, theater and etc . The current Hôtel de Ville or city hall from 1878, by the Place Royale that was before a theater from 1862.


castle of Pau entrance


gardens of Castle of Pau


funicular or cable car of pau


house museum of Bernadotte

Like I said this is a nice city good to walk around the Place Royale and up and down upper and lower city on the cable car, the views on boulevard des pyrénées and of course the Castle, always the castle.


place Royale

There you have it wonderful deep into the Béarn, Deep France , my love is on these lands so much the real France still, please keep it like forever. Enjoy it, and remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all !!!

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