Archive for June 30th, 2018

June 30, 2018

Again we have the Tour de France !

The greatest bicycle race in the world is back. There may be others older, but this is the grand daddy of them all. My family on my dear late wife side are fanatics and I even purchase a bike myself couple years back. Not the biggest user of it, but we enjoy a leisure ride in the park once in a while. However, the Tour de France is it, we watch it wholly and it is superb. Even if not into bike the views of the race on TV are super. If you have the chance like us to go and watch it live, then you can tell the love for the sport here.

In my neck of the woods now, the Bretons are avid bikers and there are so many clubs and competitions all year around. The Tour is very much followed by all here and on my job too is big.

I have written previous posts on it, and will let you do the reading here


This year’s event will be no different. The Tour de France starts July 7 for its 105th edition. The first stage will begin in familiar local territory in the island of Nourmoutier (île de Noirmoutier), Department 85 of Vendée, region of  Pays de la Loire and the final in Paris after 21 stages.

I will tell you the stages and their trajectory with a map to follow

1: Noirmoutier-en-L’Île / Fontenay-le-Comte (flat run of 201 km)


2:  Mouilleron-Saint-Germain / La Roche-sur-Yon ( flat run of 182,5 km)


3: Cholet-Cholet ( against the clock of 35,5 km)


4: La Baule-Sarzeau (flat run 195 km)


5: Lorient-Quimper (average mountain run of 204 km)


6: Brest-Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan (average mountain run of 181 km)


7: Fougères-Chartres ( flat run of 231 km)


8: Dreux-Amiens Metrópole (flat run of 181 km)


9: Arras Citadelle-Roubaix (stony road of 156,5 km)


10: Annecy-Le Grand-Bornand (high mountain run of 158,5 km)


11: Albertville-La Rosière (high mountain run of 108,5 km)


12: Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs / Alpe d’Huez (high mountain of 175,5 km)


13: Bourg d’Oisans-Valence (flat run of 169,5 km)


14: Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux / Mende (average mountain run of 188 km)


15: Millau / Carcassonne (average mountain run of 181,5 km)


16: Carcassonne / Bagnères-de-Luchon (mountain of 218 km)


17: Bagnères-de-Luchon / Saint-Lary-Soulan (mountain of 65 km)


18: Trie-sur-Baïse / Pau (flat run of 171 km)


19: Lourdes / Laruns (mountain run of 200,5 km)


20: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle / Espelette (against the clock of 31 km)


21: Houilles / Paris Champs-Élysées (flat run to end of 116 km)


The end will be in Paris as always when in about 52 km of run the race will enter the city and inside Paris there will be 8 rounds in a circuit of 13 km . For this year’s race so far 22 teams are confirmed.

Looking at the schedule above , 4-7 stages will be in my Brittany and runs 4-5 will be in my dear department 56 of Morbihan so will see them lol!!!  and sentimental previous experiences will be at 18 by Pau, and 21 Houilles (Yvelines dept 78) and Paris. All the big names will be there again so another very nice Tour coming up.

You can follow it in the official site in English (you can change to German and Spanish and of course French as well) :

Enjoy the race ,remember July 7 next Saturday be there or be square!

And remember, always my thanks, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!


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June 30, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXIII

So on a very hot Saturday with temps up to 32C or about 90F and intense sun, and many things to do and tell you in my lovely Morbihan department 56 of Brittany.

We had as usual our breakfast, took our dog Rex out and feed him as well. Then, he was put in the Veranda with door half open and plenty of water in his water bowl.

We set out to do our usual errands in our family life now with the boys and me as my father stays home as usual watching TV and most of the time Spanish TV in cable like TVE.

I had to take the boys to Micromania for some orders pending as usual from them, they just don’t stop, the most popular customers in the store, everybody knows them and even the store manager had come to our house for lunch! This store is in the shopping center Carrefour in Vannes.

We went to try a store we have been before but closer to home just to re check prices on animal food, dogs of course as we  have one now 7 months old Borador (mix border collier mom and Labrador dad). This is Animalis in Ploeren just outside Vannes; and it was confirmed the prices are higher so we move on.

We went by our favorite animal store Maxi Zoo at the near town of Séné next to Vannes going along the inner city streets easily as our expressway N165 is beginning to be full of traffic with visitors especially from the British isles. Estimates this year put Brittany in the top 3 of favorite French destinations for vacation by the French, of course we know ::) Here we did purchase our usual dog food 15 kg bag and again nice and cheaper. So we continue here.


As we got there in the shopping plaza les quais de Séné, we saw that a popular shoe store chain here Chaussea had summer sales of up to 70% on most of their stock. So we went in to take a look,and as usual things remaining from her mother’s time , we got out with one pair of sandals for my oldest, and two pairs (one sporty and one dressy) for me; both pairs for 52€! (who says France is expensive!). There are some nice names here including one of our favorite resto chain Au Bureau an English style bar restaurant ,and Chausséa, MaxiZoo, Sport 2000, Gifi , and CrocBook.


We had to eat and believe or not again, my boys insisted on going to Burger King! Well ,can’t really blame them , born in Florida they grew up with BK, and here is a connection to the old country. So we went for lunch at the BK in Ploeren, just outside Vannes. We tried the new whopper chorizo menu lol!! and blueberry muffins dessert ! A nice boys lunch , always missing our dear late wife Martine and heck of a mother. She will always be on our side on the tables.

After this lunch, we went for our groceries as we needed to be ready for the big football/soccer game coming up.  Our groceries are done in a couple hypermarkets here and this time it was E Leclerc in Ploeren, Vannes. We loaded up for the game here too with the boys leading the way.

WE rush home by side roads to reach home just five minutes before game match. The match well the Russia World Cup 2018 8th finals between France and Argentina. We won 4×3 (that is France) with the young Mbappe netting two goals.  It is big here, there are celebrations all over as if we won the World Cup and now a new best is born in Mbappe; all part of the hyper media of our days.  There still a lot to run in this World Cup. Tonight is the game from which our next rival will come, Uruguay vs Portugal. Photo below is from my TFI TV channel !!!!

Now cruising at home waiting for the next game and all loaded up. The temps are still higher with Paris getting around 36C (97F) and by us around 33C!! (91F) Another heat wave for the next couple of days.

In we are staying in the shade lol! Hope you enjoy our every day life in the belle France. The real living in France.

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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June 30, 2018

Paris and the Jardin d’Acclimatation!

Time to write about gardens but not just any garden , France has thousands, and Paris hundreds, some are historical wonders, and others follies to sink in, this one is for the dreamer the kid in all of us. I have taken my boys here when younger days of  visiting France, and then as teens while living here; it is wonderful and now better than ever.

I usually tell you the history I like and then some; this time will start in reverse ok.

The Jardin d’Acclimatation has reopen on June 1st better than ever! The ambiance is SteamPunk on the old Paris style. The luxury group  LVMH has invested 60M€ to create a park to rival the major better known in the ile de France region where Paris is located. They are hoping for 3 milllions visitors by  2025, and they started out with a bang surpassing the estimates for the first week attendance.

They have put together 40 attractions of which 17  are new and 4 roller coasters, as well as 500 animals from exotic birds, goats, rabbits, lambs etc, 16 restaurants,and  18 hectares of natural forest setting. There are petting zoo for teens, ,a nature reserve park with animals and a sport trail all to make it a must stop in Paris.

These 18 hectares or acres of natural reserve are blend in with the attractions to give it a green effect . In the small farm you can see animals ready for your children to meet up close. You can imagine a marriage between a Harry Potter universe and that of the Lords of the Rings or even Jules Verne or Victor Cabret. All in an architecture of the 19C with bronces, copper and lead metallic à la tour Eiffel are in place.

The emblematic Dragon of the park has been renovated with a new look and the roller coasters are in a vapor train style.  Some of the new rides are bobsleigh of 12 meters high in an airplane turbine type setting, as well as flying boats.  There is an admission forfait to see all for 29€.  Otherwise, you can go in to the park without the rides for 3,5 to 5€ and even can buy the ticket on cellular/mobile telephones apps.


Opening hours from June 1 to November 30 2018 location is Jardin d’Acclimatation ,Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi Paris 16 , between the porte de Neuilly and the  porte des Sablons in the bois de Boulogne, along the boulevard Maurice-Barrès (Neuilly-sur-Seine).  The park garden is accessable on the Metro line 1 out at les Sablons that is about 400 meters from the main gate via the rue d’Orléans. Or as we always do, go to line out at Porte Maillot and take the petit train (little train) that will take you to the main entrance of the garden park.  This petit train is a railroad line in narrow gauge of 50 cm and opened in 1878, to connect the Porte Maillot to the Jardin d’Acclimatation, on a distance of 800 meters. It is the first line in France on narrow gauge carrying passengers! The garden park is also reach by bus on lines  43, 73, 82, 93, PC1 ,and 174. There is underground parking at Porte Maillot. More info on the petit train here/ Petit Train


Jardin d’Acclimatation official webpage:

So now will give a bit of history I like

The transformation of the Bois de Boulogne in 1852 calls for the creation of a garden park at the entrance to the Forest,and for this reason an association was created in 1854. The association had as an objective to the contribution and introduction of the acclimations of animal species for agriculture ends, commercial or entertainment. By 1858, the association obtained from the city of Paris a concession space of about 15 hectares bordering the Bois de Boulogne to create a garden park of useful animals in the country. At the same time, in 1859, Emperor Napoléon III gives the concession of another 4 hectares; the garden park is opened by emperor Napoléon III in 1860.

The garden park is closed to the public during the war of 1870, prohibited the entrance of the public and used to raise animals to feed the population in case of an attack.  During this time some animals are evacuated to other zoo parks outside of France but as the transports are paralysed and Paris is attack on all fronts.  The winter is hard and the rationing is not enough; some of the last animals are killed for feeding the population such as the elephants Castor and Pollux.  At the end of the siege there is only one animal left.

Here it was created Human expositions as wild humans for quite some time. In 1877, some Nubians are shown ,and so on for the next quarter century about 22 huamn expositions are done . The majority of these were of African origins but alos Indians,  Laplanders, and Cossacks. The human expo are done at the same time as the animals on many cases from the same region.  These wild exhibitionis of the 19C creates huge arguments of the days as the humans were enclosed in cages as well as animals next to them.  The garden park becomes in this period a high place of Anthropology in Paris. For the next quarter century that follows the pace of these exhibitions slows down as they were about 15 between 1903 to 1931 the date of the last one. Later ones took a more colonial feel with the tribes shown between each others from all the France colonial such as Sénégal, South Africa,  New Caledonia, etc.

By  1929, the land of the garden park owned by the city of Paris is transfered to the city of Neuilly-sur-Seine, and then  to the 16e arrondissement of Paris.  In the 1960’s , the garden is renovated and a national museum of arts and popular traditions set up here in 1969 in a new building.  There is a small petting zoo farm opening in 1971,a theater in 1973,  a lawn(grass) museum in 1975. The tent of Silvia Monfort  is set up two years later in 1978. The garden park goes oriental with a tea house, a black lacque bridge, and later a Korean garden.  The before mentioned museum is closed out in 2005, and the last scientific works of the grass museum are gone too.

In 2006, the group LVMH gets the authorisation to build the Fondation Louis-Vuitton, designed by Architect Frank Gehry, on the site of the old bowling of the garden park that was demolished in 2014. The concession of the garden park to LVMH is renovated for 25 years ending in 2041. As this is done, the group LVMH promise to invest and renovate the garden park  as mention in the first part of this post.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in addition to those already given above are:

Tourist office of Paris in English:

The webpage of the management company the luxury group LVMH  on the jardin:

There you go folks, a wonderful garden park of many family memories and open to all. You need to visit it is great and now better than ever. If you have children or young teens this is a must indeed in your travels to Paris. Hope you have enjoy the post.

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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June 30, 2018

The spot of L’Epine in the Marne 51!

As we drive all over our beloved France and into Europe, we come across some interesting towns, we stop see, sometimes eat and then move on. The trip in the Marne department 51 are always welcome, this is the heart of Champagne. My wife’s side and her came here early to work in the vineyards and earned their first money.

We drove going elsewhere actually coming from Châlons-en-Champagne on the N44 to catch up with the faster autoroute A4 and moving on to Verdun and back.  It was a pleasant stop and a nice historical and religious center of France. I am talking about L’Epine but more importantly about the Basilica there.

The town of L’Epine or Thorn is a town in department 51 Marne in the region of Grand Est. The town belongs to the metro or agglo area of Châlons-en-Champagne The next biggest town is   Châlons-en-Champagne and is located 8 km west. The train station closest is located in Châlons-en-Champagne at 9km. There is no webpage for the city hall or mairie but it is at 33 avenue du Luxembourg 51460 L’Epine.

The main thing or only thing to come here is to see the wonderful Basilica of Notre-Dame de l’Epine, whose construction began in 1405 and finished by 1527 , and where we can see a Santiago de Compostela statue in wood from the 16C. Inside there is,also, a robe in stone with 3 arcades from the 15C where the Virgin is held.


The statue of the Virgin holding the Child Jesus was discovered in the Middle Ages according to legend in a bush of thorns on fire and from this comes the name of the town and devotion to the Virgin. The Church received Basilica status in 1914. The Basilica has dimensions like a Cathedral and done in the Gothic style. The façade inspired by that of Toul Cathedral has three portals on two arrows, the one on the right has 55 meters high and on the left demolished in 1798 to put a telegraph was rebuilt in 1868. There are gargantuas figures outside like at Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

Many travellers were amazed by the beauty of this Basilica such as Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Paul Claudel and Paul Fort. The two important dates here are the pilgrimage of the Diocese in May and the Assomption Day as it is the Patron Saint day.

Is really worth the detour for the magnificent of the Basilica, between Reims and Verdun on the A4 and off the N44 towards Châlons-en-Champagne, you will be gladly surprise.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The area tourist office of dept Marne 51:

Chalons-en-Champagne tourist office on the Basilica:

The metro or agglo area of Châlons shows more in French of this magnificent Unesco World Heritage site Basilica. Agglo Chalons-en-Champagne

Hope it helps. Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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