Archive for September, 2018

September 20, 2018

The wines of Île de France region,Paris!

So I am back of a luscious subject for me wines.  Not to repeat myself if you have been reading my posts in my blog you know the time and diplomas I have on the subject over the years and still going strong. adg.

However, who in the right mind will talk about the wines of the Paris region! ïle de France! Well, me ::) ; I will try to give you a brief introduction as there is tastings coming up and I do had drank the ones from Suresnes ,not bad at all.

The vineyards in the region of Île de France:

From the arrival of the Romans to the great decline of the Paris region (Francilienne) vine at the end of the 19C, it was even, at the end of the 18C, the largest French vineyard!  Imagine: In 1789, 45 000 ha grown. At the end of the Middle Ages, we talked about the “wine belt” of the capital!  King Charles VII even paid the balance of his army thanks to the vines of what is now the petite couronne (small crown zone closest to Paris). In fact, we find it very early at the table of kings. In the 12C, for example, we served wine from Argenteuil (Val-d’oise) and Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine) to the sovereign. It is necessary to realise that the Ile-de-France, it is fifteen centuries of history of remarkable wines.

It was at the end of the 18C. The decline begins in the 19C. What happened?

It is the combination of several factors. Historically, the region produced a lot of white wines and red light (Reds whose color draws towards rosé). In the 19C, for commercial reasons, we started planting grapes producing a lot but of poor quality. To sum up, we have replaced honest quality white wine with the big red stain. At the same time, the development of transport, by the river and then by the train, brought to the Parisian region wines that were better and not more expensive. Vine diseases and urban growth have done the rest. In 1920, there were practically no winegrowers in Ile-de-France. Source the book: (Histoire du grand vignoble d’Ile-de-France, de la Gaule à nos jours) History of the Great vineyard of Ile-de-France, from Gaul to the present day. (Printing press of Valmy). For those who can read French, the book can be purchase here: Vineyards of France books

The brotherhoods (confreries) will clash in Bagneux on October 20, 2018 at the 14th symposium of the vineyards of Ile-de-France, in Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine 92). In competition, the vintages 2016 and 2017. More here:  Brotherhoods of winegrowers in Ile de France

Let me tell you about some that will be there and the event.

The contest of the wines of Ile-de-France and the Oise organized by Le Parisien newspaper has delivered its verdict.  The blind tasting started with the coffee early  and ended with that of the aperitif. Between the two marched fourteen nectars of Ile-de-France and the Oise sifted through a jury. The methodology of the operation organized in the La Canteen du Troquet, the bistronomique table of Christian Etchebest in Dupleix ,15éme arrondissement of Paris. More here: La Canteen du Troquet at Dupleix

In order to determine which were the two best wines of Ile-de-France, it was done in collaboration with the magazine La Revue du Vin de France. (see below blogroll for link). The start was with the whites, the majority in the selection. By 12h40, it’s a start for the Reds as there are fewer of them.

The white wine of Suresnes and the red wine of the Coteaux de Saint-Prix were the two wines to have been selected by the jury as winners.

But Saint-Prix (Val-d’Oise 95) does not have to blush: The coup de coeur of the jurors addressed to this Cuvée 2016 100% Pinot noir is well at the level of its white counterpart. It has a pink tile dress , grilled notes, a side cooked fruit, a light red that one can appreciate fresh, almost like a rosé. More here: Saint Prix history of vineyards

The winery of Suresnes (Hauts de Seine 92) produces 4000 bottles per year. From the rows of vineyards, and the view over Paris. A cuvée 2016 from Suresnes, a white compose of 85% Chardonnay and 15% sauvignon. You really feel the fruit, it has a slightly granular side that gives it a taste of coming back according to the jurors. And the wine I am most familiar with as tasted over several years and worked in the town. More info here:  Association du Clos du Pas Saint-Maurice 4, rue du Pas Saint-Maurice Tél.. : 01 42 04 96 75 / 01 40 99 13 17/mob  06 72 00 11 16. Webpage :  Wines of Suresnes

Rueil 2017 (sauvignon). Aromatic but monolithic nose, with a very high sulfur dose, we have a little grapefruit,. It’s okay. It deserves the average. The identity of the grape is not found.  More here: Rueil wines of Buzenval

Bagneux 2017 (sauvignon, sémillon). Honey spiced aromas. The nose lacks sharpness, final note dries and lasts. Very marked by sulfur, very lime in the mouth, More here: Bagneux wines

Sucy en Brie 2017 (sauvignon, sémilllon). Colour straw pulling on gold, in the nose, we find notes white fruits characteristic of the sémillon, a little brioche, confituré. Apple’s note in the oven that translates a touch of oxidation, but greedy. Pronounced acidity that has difficulty integrating. More here: Brotherhood of Sucy wines

Combs-la-Ville 2017 (sauvignon, chardonnay, sémillon). The nose is charming with exotic notes, baked apple and cereals,. But pity, the mouth stops net this momentum, with an imbalance on the acidity. The finale is drying out. No gluttony. More here: Combs la Ville wines

Nogent sur Marne 2017 (chardonnay, riesling).  Here, a color that’s already golden. A little early for a 2017. Oxidation to the nose, too bad because it has more flesh in its mouth. The mouth is thin, based on a biting acidity. Not sharp nose. More here: Brotherhoods of Nogent wines

Clairoix 2017 (chardonnay).  A strong smell of dregs comes out in the nose, with an alcoholic character, sulphited and not ripe. You can smell a lot of apple in your nose! More here: Wines of Clairoix

Yerres 2017 (chardonnay). Visually, a sustained yellow. The first nose looks more mature than the average. This material is found in a sour mouth but of good consistency. level odors, it reminds of wax and cooked fruit’, a  souring acidity. More here: wines of Yerres

Rosny 2016 (sauvignon). No glaring defect but lack of maturity, with less sulfur, that would be good. The hard-boiled egg dominates the nose. Tight mouth. But it’s a place where there’s a way to do something. More here: Brotherhood of the Feronne Haute

Issy 2016 (chardonnay, pinot beurot).  The wine is struggling to open but there is more volume than most of the previous wines. It’s right… but soft. It must be left with air but it will not blush at the table with a beautiful fish. More here: Brotherhood of Issy

Sannois 2017 (pinot gris vendanges tardives). A wine focused on the fruit, pleasant, with a slight sucrose that is well integrated. Sulphites at full nose, the fruit is not very precise, between pear and white fruit.But that’s okay. More here: city of Sannois and its wines

Paris 2017 (gamay, pinot noir, others). “Expressive, crunchy, not a great subject but the wine is honest, the Ruby’s very pretty shiny violin of its body. Notes of red fruit, a pleasant nose, a flattering wine but with a marked acidity. More on the vineyards of Paris from the tourist office here: Tourist office of Paris on vineyards

Le Pecq Saint-Germain 2016 (pinot noir). The wine seems already evolved in the nose. In the mouth, the alcohol carries with a drying impression. Interesting”, but pity that the final note is bitter. More here: The vineyards of St Germain and Le Pecq 78

Hope you have enjoy this brief introduction and remember ,France has plenty to share so therefore, try them all!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 20, 2018

The Statue of Liberty in France!

On a mundane Thursday, I started writing this post on a famous statue that believe it or not many come searching for it in Paris especially. However, is in a few other places in France. I welcome all comments to tell me if there are any others.

Oh yes, of course, it is the Statue of Liberty by Bertholdi. The nicest one in my opinion is in Paris.

The Statue of Liberty is just to the south, smack in the middle of the Seine river, the quarter-scale replica sits on the southern end of Île aux Cygnes,(swan island) an artificial island built in the Seine in 1827 to separate river traffic from the busy port of Grenelle. Over time, a tree-lined walkway was built that runs the full 850-meter length of the island, and three bridges were built across the island to connect the 15th and 16th arrondissements. Île aux Cygnes is the third-largest island in Paris.

The statue itself was given to the city of Paris in 1889 by the American community in Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. This Pont de Grenelle Statue of Liberty was installed some three years after the New York Statue of Liberty, and in fact was originally one of the working models made whilst preparing to construct the “real thing.” The statue can be accessed via either the Pont de Grenelle or the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, both of which cross the Île aux Cygnes. While this is not the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris, both the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts et Métiers house their own; this is the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris that was featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

A bit more on the Île aux Cygnes is a small artificial island on the Seine river, in the 15éme arrondissement . It was created in 1827 to protect the bridge named the Pont de Grenelle. The uninhabited island is 850 meters (2,789 ft) long and 11 meters (36 ft) at its widest point, making it the third-largest island in Paris. A tree-lined walkway, named L’Allée des Cygnes (Path of Swans), runs the length of the island. The island is crossed by three bridges: the Pont de Grenelle, the Pont Rouelle and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. The Statue of Liberty  here is  22 meters tall and facing west in the direction of its larger sibling in New York City. Inaugurated by President Marie-François Sadi Carnot on 4 July 1889, nearly three years after its US counterpart, it was donated to the city by the American expatriate community in Paris to mark the Centennial  of the French revolution. Get closer walking to it or by metro Javel line 10 and Bir Hakeim line 6.


Much smaller  at 2, 85 meters, the bronze reduction installed in the Palais du Luxembourg, then in its garden in 1906, was moved into the nave of the Musée d’Orsay in 2012. A copy was placed in its place shortly thereafter.  The museum of Orsay is at   1, rue de la Légion d’honneur 7éme arrondissement with  Métro: Solferino line 12 or RER C station Musée d’Orsay, You go in by the rue Guynemer Métro : Saint-Placide line 4.


Fully realized in plaster, the construction model that rests in the Museum of Arts and Crafts (musée d’Arts et Métiers)  makes no less than 14 tons. It is she that Auguste Bartholdi will use to achieve, by enlarging it, the New York Statue of Liberty. The museum also hosts a reproduction, also in plaster, scale 1/16, of 1876. This model was also used to make the bronze statue that stands, since 2010, outside the museum.  292, rue Saint-Martin  3éme arrondissement , métro : Arts et Métiers  lines 3 and 11.

The replica of the flame of the statue, the flame of freedom, offered by the United States in Paris, is located in Alma since 1989. It became known worldwide by becoming the place of recollection in memory of Princess Diana, who died in August 1997, in the Tunnel of the Alma which passes under the monument. Pont de Alma  8éme arrondissement. Metro: Alma-Marceau line 9.


There is a very small reproduction of the Statue of liberty in the beard of Caesar’s Centaur, place Michel-Debré, in the 6éme arrondissement. A miniature is part of the elements composing the Centaur. It’s a small size. It’s up to you to find it.

Near me, I see it every day is another replica. In Ploeren, a statue of Liberty greets motorists along the Nantes-Brest Expressway (voie express N165). Installed in the business park of Coëtdigo, it still measures 7, 20 meters high.


Others I come across are:

In Blérancourt, at the National Museum of Franco-American cooperation has a small scale version in terracotta. In  Nice, on the Quai des Etats Unis (United States wharf), a small copy  of  1.35 meters  weighing 80 kg has been installed since February 1, 2014.  In Bordeaux, place Picard, in memory of the victims of 11 September 2001, re-edition in the form of a resin casting made by the workshops of the Reunion of National Museums of France, the original statue having been melted in 1941 by the Nazis in the framework of the recovery of non-ferrous metals.

There you go some nice statue reminds me always how lucky I have been after all. Enjoy it.

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





September 20, 2018

Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid!

I am finishing up the week ,and why not give you a jewel of my Madrid. This is a must to visit and yet many sidestepped it because of the other buildings nearby of perhaps more notoriaty or press. However, you should come to the Teatro Real or Royal Theater of Madrid if only to see it.

I admit unless with good company I find it hard to visit the theaters but do delve into them once in a while and this one is a souvenir of younger curious days that glad has been maintained finally in good shape. Let me give some ramblings on it, sorry for the monotomy.

The Teatro Real is the Teatro de la Opera in Madrid. It is located in the Plaza de Oriente, opposite the Royal Palace. Its construction began in 1818, and was inaugurated in 1850. It remained uninterrupted as an opera house until 1925, when it had to close because of structural problems in the building. It did not open its doors again until 1966, as symphonic concert hall. Between 1988 and 1997, it underwent a major remodeling that turned it into an operatic coliseum again.


A bit of history I like

King Fernando VII promoted the construction in Madrid of an opera house included in the project of remodeling of the Plaza of Oriente, for this he ordered the demolition of the old theater of the Caños del Peral. With irregular hexagonal shape, whose main façade would look to the Plaza de Oriente and the other, of smaller packaging, would fall on the current Plaza of Isabel II the construction of the new Teatro de Oriente began in April 1818, but the scarcity of funds of the royal house stop the work until 1830.


After the ascent to the throne of Queen Isabel II, numerous political and bureaucratic events paralyzed the execution of the project, until on May 7, 1850, by means of a royal order, the works of the theater were promoted, demanding its completion in a period of six months, as it was done. The theater was inaugurated on November 19, 1850, coinciding with the onomastics of the sovereign. The work chosen for the premiere was the opera La Favorita by Gaetano Donizetti and performed by renowned artists. In these first seasons, the operas of Donizetti and Bellini dominated, with the presence of Rossini and Verdi, who soon became the favourite composer of the Madrid public. In the early years attended the theater some of the greatest lyrical figures of the moment.

In the years of splendor of the Teatro Real were started in the last quarter of the 19C. The most prestigious voices of the European panorama were presented in the theatre. In 1876 it was represented for the first time in the Teatro Real one opera of Wagner, Rienzi, still far from the great success that their compositions would have in this theater fifteen years later. At this stage, great Spanish composers were able to see their works shown here.

In the first quarter of the 20C highlighted the presence in the Teatro Real of great Spanish singers. The international prestige of the theatre took off. The repertoire was dominated by Puccini’s operas (Tosca, La Bohème) and Wagner (Lohengrin or the Valkyrie). The Berlin Philharmonic gave concerts at the theater, directed by Arthur Nikisch, in 1901 and Richard Strauss, in 1908. Thereafter, the theater suffered little by little a huge decline, because despite the representation of great operas and the direction of skillful directors, the economic-political crises and various factors (fire of the theater in 1867) caused its ruined.

Despite the closing of the theater in 1925, the government always floated the possibility of remodeling and reopening, creating numerous projects. An ambitious project of remodeling and modernization that included the increase in height and depth of the scenic box and the rebuilding of its entire structure, using reinforced concrete. In addition, it was decided to lift one more floor around the entire perimeter of the building, which gave the theater its present-day solid-block appearance. However, economic and planning difficulties were delaying the completion of the project. The consolidation and reconstruction part was implemented, but the interior remodeling was not started. The works were stopped in 1936, with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, during which the building was damaged, mainly after the explosion of a magazine that had been installed inside. In 1940, they try to finish the project, which fails to advance significantly, before, at the end of the 1950’s, the works were definitively stopped.

At the beginning of the 1960’s a project finally ended as a great concert hall, to serve as headquarters to the National Orchestra, and of lodging to all the symphonic activity of the capital the reopening occurred in 1966. From that date until 1988 (with the opening of the National Auditorium) was the only concert hall in Madrid, where they developed their seasons both the National Orchestra and the newly created RTVE Symphony Orchestra. In addition, during this period, the main symphonic orchestras of the world performed on their stage. In 1969 it hosted the 14th Eurovision Festival, the only time this event was held in Spain. After ceasing its symphonic activity in the summer of 1988, in January of 1991 began the works of remodeling for the conversion of the theater in an opera house; the building was finished at the end of the year 1995;   then began the process of technical organization , administrative, artistic and functional, which resulted in the inauguration in 1997 with a theateer at full capacity. The Teatro Real or Royal Theater was back.

Design and architecture now

The Royal Theater or Teatro Real maintained the original, Italian-style structure, and regained original décor from the time of the 1880’s . Despite the small size of the patio of seats, the total capacity reaches the 1746 seats maximum, thanks to the 15 rows that houses the area called Paradise. Above the fourth floor, which takes advantage of the increase in the height of the roof achieved in the works of the 1920’s, outside the room, the foyer of entry was decorated with an elliptical colonnade lined with tropical wood. The second floor, accessible to all the audience, allows to circulate around the perimeter of the building, communicating the lobby with the restaurant, located in the Old Royal Ballroom, on the back facade. A superior lobby, which opens with large windows to the top of the facade above the Plaza de Oriente, completes the public areas of the theater.


In 2007, the Sala Gayarre was inaugurated, with 190 seats, which is used for various complementary activities, such as concerts and chamber opera representations, recitals, pedagogical activities, conferences, colloquiums, courses and projections.   The scenic space available for the scenery exceeds 600 square meters at zero level, and reaches 1,430 if you add the mounting areas to 16 meters below the stage and the patio seats. The floor of the stage is composed of 9 platforms that allow to move the scenery between both levels. The wide scenic mouth has 18 meters wide and 14 high, and the scenic Tower places the grill that hangs all the platform (motorized, and electronically controlled) to 37 meters high on the floor of the stage. The entrance of material located in the hallway of the Plaza de Isabel II communicates directly with the stage box and allows to deposit the load directly from the trailers of the trucks on the same floor of the stage. Practically all the spaces involved in the work of making an operatic spectacle are housed in the theater’s own building, from the administrative offices to the material warehouses or the machinery workshops.

mad pl de oriente and teatro real may16

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and a trip you should are:

Official Teatro Real webpage

tourist office of Madrid on the Teatro Real

And a wonderful page in 360° that you need to just click on “saltar” or skip and then “entrar” or enter to see the magic of the theater before you!  From RTVE or Radio ,Television of Spain. RTVE on the Teatro Real

Hope you enjoyed the post on the artsy part of Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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September 19, 2018

Some news from France CXCXII

Well so much news to tell on my belle France, and little time. I am leaving to the Americas Friday,and then back and then out to Spain again lol! This is getting good, I am back traveling, life even if sad must go on!

Let me tell you a bit on the glamour, chic, caché side of my belle France, after all that is one reason folks makes it the No 1 most visited country in the world, UN WTO sources.

The Château Ancy-le-Franc , gem of the Renaissance, located between Tonnerre and Montbard, in the heart of Burgundy, built between 1542 and 1550 ,was in dismal condition, it was raining inside and the decorations painted by hand, originals dating for some of the first school of Fontainebleau, were very degraded. The acquisition, in 1999 of the Castle and its 50 hectares of park by a private company   might have save it.

Starting with the Cour d’honneur, a perfect quadrilateral, which later served as a model for the square courtyard of the Louvre, with its Roman arches, fluted double pilasters and aureoles niches of scallops, one of the symbols of the Renaissance. Then comes the tour of the murals like that of the gallery of Pharsalus, a cameoed ochre of breathtaking beauty that represents the famous battle between the troops of Caesar and those of Pompey in 48 BC. The sumptuous room of Diane, so named in honor of Diane de Poitiers, favorite of King Henry II and sister-in-law of Antoine III of Clermont-Tallard, who built the castle.

In 2012, it all began restoring the gardens, the sumptuous flowerbed composed of four paintings of flowers installed since last year in front of the wing is at the bottom of the perspective, a circular basin of 17 meters in diameter, inspired by the original plane, perfect all with its jet vertically aligned to the symmetry axis of the castle.

Next to these regular gardens like the west parterre, recreated a year earlier by following the same approach to restore the banks of the water room that stretches facing the south wing of the castle, with its madness, small octagonal building built on an islet. Planting twelve bald cypress trees, from six weeping willows and marsh flower mats, to the range of colors chosen to create a perspective, will restore luster to the romantic part of the park, arranged in the 18C by one of the descendants of Louvois , Minister of War of Louis XIV, who had acquired the estate in 1684. You need to see it indeed in a lovely area of France… ,more info here: official Chateau Ancy le Franc

The Dordogne valley, the Château de Montal in the Lot, is known for having hosted in WWII, the painting of Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa, threatened in Paris by the Nazi advance. What is less known is Auguste Rodin’s share of the restoration of this Renaissance masterpiece, which he visited several times. Everything starts in 1908 built by Jeanne de Balsac around 1519, Montal celebrates the humanist virtues of its time by a subtle iconography. Maurice Fenaille gathers sculptures and friezes scattered around and in 1913, he donated his castle to the State, subject to a usufruct for him and his children.

As part of the exhibition entitled “Rodin, Fenaille, Matruchot, Portrait of a Renaissance” (from November 12 2018 to June 16, 2019) The Rodin Museum, which is rare, has agreed to lend eight works by Rodin including a bust of Madame Fenaille. An ensemble to which is added a portrait of the sculptor by Camille Claudel. Château de Montal. Saint – Jean – Lespinasse . Tel.: . More at: official Chateau de Montal

More on the tourist office of the Lot dept 46 region of Occitanie: Tourist office of the Lot dept 46 on Montal

At Cognac, the rebirth of the Monnet cellars illustrates this contemporary reflection. At 50 Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, adjacent to the Martell Foundation, the monumental gate of low walls has not changed. But it now opens to a 5-star hotel, where a famous cognac distillery was built in 1838. It has known several owners. But history has retained only one name: Jean-Gabriel Monnet, the father of the fierce craftsman of European union. Born in Cognac, Jean Monnet began his career in the family business and made a fortune in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon by selling the burnt wine to American smugglers during Prohibition (1920’s). The Monnet kept it until 1962. Then the distillery was sold to the German firm Scharlachberg, before entering the bosom of Hennessy, who in turn ceded it to the municipality of Cognac. It was in 2004 and no more than a drop of hot water came out.   In July 2016, an investor spent 60 million euros to invent a luxury hotel such that it does not exist in Cognac. The Hotel Chais Monnet which is due to officially open on October 1st, honors this heritage.

A primer from Le Figaro: To the left of the double-revolution staircase that enfolds the cylindrical elevator at the entrance, Angélique Café sets the tone for a place that is dreaming in the hexagonal embassy of know-how and living. On the counter of this tea room in the name of an emblematic plant of the Poitevin swamps, candy jars contain the regressive pleasure of the tastes of our childhood. In the 92 rooms and suites, the decor is of a homogeneous elegance, while sober with a furniture of light wood placed on a parquet and amber fabrics, tobacco, brown, blond, evoking the nuances of cognac.

The minibar is made up of French specialties with retro packaging, such as the French popcorn of the Maison Gramm’s and the crunch with the Fleur de sel and cognac XO. The most interesting are the 52 rooms housed in the cellars. All open on a patio or on a balcony, you can feel the soul of the place. And the most beautiful ones are upstairs: the original beams give them a crazy charm. The CEP is its name, it also houses a spa, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool where you can walk everywhere, a conference room and a cinema. A Jazz Bar so British,the 1838, occupies the old cooperage. But the heart of the hotel beats in the old cathedral of the distillery, the great cellar of the lightning of a huge barrel of wine with the dizzying nine meters under ceiling. The brewery is nestled under a part of the roofs. But where the space has not been truncated, the gourmet restaurant reveals itself as a treasure. The 34 seatings   will open on October 15th. The Hotel Chais Monnet, 5-star luxury discreet, is already a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Hotel Chais Monnet, 50, Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, Cognac (Charente dept 16). From 250 euros a night with breakfast. Breakfast at the brasserie from 22€, Gastronomic meals from 59€, tel +33 (0) More here: official Chais Monnet Hotel

This is the hotel event of this year, entry in the 8éme arrondissement. We had always known since 1886, the Maison Fauchon, at 16 Place de la Madeleine (and so many times walked by it and shop on way to my work!!!). Here is now, on the other side of the Church de la Madeleine, a hotel Fauchon. Except here, at number 11 in the famous place de la Madeleine, we enter through the little door. The big entry, the one that opens on the reception, is located at 4, Boulevard Malesherbes.

Finely facade and wrought iron balconies, this is one of those splendid Haussmann buildings, typical of the beautiful Parisian districts. The hotel does not occupy one but two six-story buildings, gathered for the occasion, and reconfigured inside eleven levels. The historical architecture houses a resolutely contemporary universe, all of white, black, pink and gilded: the colors reap inside, in the 54 rooms and suites, the walls are systematically white and black floors from the parquet burnt in point of Hungary. While the Pink or Fushia, Candy or Powder and the gilded matt are laid in touches, used for cushions, armchairs, sofas, headboards, sconces, carpet designs… Guests can also choose between two atmospheres: “Powder” and “Rock”, this one more black and white with a bathroom in grey marble and the first more pink including small round armchairs like macaroons with a bathroom in beige marble.

It is the Gourmet Bar, a very nice piece of furniture of a sweet pink not too farting, designed by Sacha Lakic and specially edited by Roche-Bobois for Fauchon. Let’s also point out that half of the rooms have a balcony or a bow window. They all overlook the Place de la Madeleine or the Boulevard Malesherbes.   The upper floors often offer the view of one or more monuments of the capital. But the bathrooms, including those of the suites, are relatively small for a hotel of 5-star rating. Six categories are proposed, from the “classic” Room of 23 m² (from 400 to 1 250 € per night) to the suite “Prestige” of 60 m² (1 250 to 3 000 €). As for the common areas, they consist of a reception, an adjoining library reserved for the hosts, a small spa Carita two cabins of care and Hamman open to the external clientele. and two restaurants: the Jardin des Thés (Garden of teas), under the interior canopy and, superbly, the Grand Café with its pink counter, its bay windows and its terrace, at the corner of the Plaza de la Madeleine and the boulevard Malesherbes. It is open from 7h to 23h. Our favorite goes to the Grand Café, very Parisian, very open and much less intimidating than a palace table. More here:official hotel Fauchon

It’s a new form of conviviality. Chalk slates, high stools, zinc plates and relaxed atmosphere… For a glass and much more affinities. Glorious Paris !

Where we mingle at the bar in marble and mosaic, in a relative comfort with no tables or chairs, but which undoubtedly participates in the energy of the place. And its New!!!  Déviant. 39, rue des Petites-Écuries (10éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 48 24 66 79. Every evenings except Sundays and Mondays . Menu Carte: 20-40 €. A webpage to be built up; Deviant Paris

From the three Avant-Comptoirs of Yves Camdeborde, chef from the Béarn region and small prince of Germain des Prés area , here is my favorite! and a great area to be in too. More smiley than that of the marché Saint-Germain, cuter than that of the de la Mer, located next door, the first front-counter of the name is not explained: it lives! In this kind of greedy den, and that’s why I love it, you have to play elbows, often, raise the tone, sometimes, beg the bread to his neighbor, to steer the tourists astray… In short, quietly blend into the ambiance. L’Avant-Comptoir. 3, carrefour de l’Odéon (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 27 07 50. Open every day menu carte 20€-40€. More info: L’Avant Comptoir Odéon

Romain Tischenko was the first winner of “Top Chef”, one of the most singular candidates of the culinary crochet. Water sank under the bridges and Roman now sees double on the side of place Sainte-Marthe. Besides his Néobistrot Galopin, he animates this little piece of cellar to eat all that is more family and festive. La Cave à Michel. 36, rue Sainte-Marthe (10éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 42 45 94 47. Open every day except Monday and Tuesday ;menu carte : 20-30€. More info :La Cave Saint Michel

Hurried to acquire this room right next to his Admiral’s Pub, when the latter was started three years ago. Seven seats at the counter, four on the side and a dozen still, a little glued-tight, along the walls. A microlocation but a real identity. La Cave du Paul-Bert. 16, rue Paul-Bert (11éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 58 53 50 92.From Thursdays evenings to Mondays evenings, menu carte 25-35€. More here: La Cave du Paul Bert

For the Parisians, the trattorias of Big Mamma are already part of the classics. East mamma, Ober Mamma, BigLove Caffè, Mamma primi, Pink mamma, Pizzeria Popolare, La Felicità… the restos XXL (3500 m2 and 1000 m2 of terrace for the Felicità, Paris 13éme), with always successful scenery and Italian cuisine that speaks with hands, generous, wheedling, benevolent like..a mamma. A success story continues to be more beautiful with a first opening in the province, in Lille, at the end of September. The future osteria tradizionale will be called La Bellezza and nest at 126 rue Esquermoise , the most popular street in the capital of Flanders. 150 seats, two floors, an opening 7 days a week and dishes and recipes that should be well done. La Bellezza. 126, rue Esquermoise, 59000 Lille. Opening September 29, 2018. More soon in their official webpage ,you heard it first here : Big Mamma La Bellezza at Lille

A neighbour like any other, Philippe Starck lives in Paris 16éme arrondissement , and for a long time exalts the codes of his style with elegance. With a restaurant, a sports club and a pastry shop, the Brach should attract both Parisians and travelers alike. The Evok group (already owner of the Nolinski at the opera and soon of the Sinner in the Marais) had the ambition to transform them into a 5-star (59 rooms and suites, from 500 to 3000€) chic and fashionable, with its vegetable garden on the roof, in a rather indolent neighborhood of the 16éme. You do not enter a hotel but in a place of life. A lounge but no lobby for check-in ,relegated to the first floor (2nd US) . Then a restaurant with large widths, with a long counter distributing a pastry, a bar, the kitchens and a wine cellar. All open on the 130 covered seats room. The club, open to all and accommodating 1000 members (2220€ annual subscription), is equipped with a 22 meters long swimming pool and a heated water pool for yoga classes or aquatic Watsu. It takes at least that to melt the sugars of gluttony! Hotel Brach. 1-7, rue Jean-Richepin (16éme). Tel.+33 (0) 1 44 30 10 00. Opening on September 25, 2018. More info on group webpage here:Evok hotels group Hotel Brach

The soon to be expanded official webpage of Hotel Brach here: official Hotel Brach Paris

There you go something to think about more about Paris , it is really eternal you know! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 19, 2018

Salamanca, the district of Madrid!

So let’s get geographical shall we? Well , is rare that I write about a district or neighborhoods , but I do sometimes if I think they represent the feeling of a city/town. The district of Salamanca in Madrid is one of them, sublime. The good of it is that it is still going strong after so many years.

You get all the feeling of it when you know that the Retiro park faces it and it goes all along the grand promenade of Paseo de la Castellana; chic modern , architecturally stunning Madrid. I like to talk a bit about it here; it could be another off the beaten path trips for many.

Let me give you some random information in brief and on many subjects.  The district of Salamanca, owes its name to its builder, the Malaga born José de Salamanca y Mayol, Marquis of Salamanca, who promoted and erected it in part in the 19C. It has become one of the most important shopping areas in the city and one of the highest living quarters in Europe with the largest shopping area in Madrid, around the streets of Serrano, Claudio Coello and Ortega y Gasset.

 Salamanca is one of the 21 districts of the city of Madrid. It is administratively divided into several neighborhoods or Barrios, these are:

Recoletos , located between the streets of Menéndez Pelayo, Príncipe de Vergara, Ramón de la Cruz, Paseo de la Castellana, Paseo de Recoletos, Alcalá and O’Donnell . Goya  , located between the streets of  O’Donnell, Doctor Esquerdo, Ramón de la Cruz, Príncipe de Vergara and Menéndez Pelayo. Fuente del Berro (Watercress), located between the streets of Doctor Esquerdo, O’Donnell, Avda de la Paz and Alcalá. La Guindalera  located between the streets of Francisco Silvela, Alcalá, Avda de la Paz and Avda. de América. In the Guindalera is included the sub-district popularly known as Parque de las Avenidas , which constitutes the last enlargement of the Guindalera. Lista  located between the streets of Maria de Molina, Francisco Silvela, Ramón de la Cruz and Príncipe de Vergara. Castellana  located between the streets of Paseo de la Castellana, Ramón de la Cruz, Príncipe de Vergara and María de Molina. More here from the city of Madrid on Salamanca:   City of Madrid on Salamanca district

Salamanca district from the tourist office of Madrid in English: Tourist office of Madrid on Salamanca

Within Madrid, its geographical location is defined by the neighboring streets such as from the West, Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos. By the south, Calle de Alcalá, and Calle de O’Donnell.  By the east, Beltway road M-30.  By the north, Calle María de Molina and Avenida de América. The main avenues that structure the district are from west to east: Serrano, Velázquez, Principe de Vergara, Conde de Peñalver and Francisco Silvela. From north to South: María de Molina, Diego de León, Ortega y Gasset , Goya, and O’Donnell. The Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca is a backbone element of the district map and  Calle de Alcalá also represents the ensemble (my old domicile street in Madrid! ).

Some noted sites in the area are the Retiro park(Parque del Buen Retiro) borders the area. There is also the National Archaeological Museum of Madrid, the National Library of Spain, several churches ,and the minaret of the Casa Árabe in Madrid, of neo-Mudejar architecture, brings a touch of exoticism.

A bit of history I like on Salamanca district.

In the Plaza de la Independencia, (independence square or Puerta de Alcala) in front of the Retiro was the bullring of Madrid for 125 years, between 1749 and 1874, year when it was demolished, giving the alternative of bullfighting Madrid to the new bullring of the Fuente del Berro, on the road to Aragon , which in turn was demolished in 1934, and in whose lot rose the primitive sports palace(Palacio de Deportes) building that in 2001 was destroyed by a fire and then rebuilt. The last bullring, the current  Ventas, was also built in this district, next to the Puente de Ventas (bridge). In the South zone of the district of Salamanca there was a railway station Nino Jesus (baby Jesus) where it had its terminus the line of the old railway of Arganda, part of whose plot has been used for the extension of the line 9 of the Metro of Madrid.

Some information on the various public transports around and plenty are

Well, of course, I parked by here now when visiting Madrid at parking Recoletos at Paseo de Recoletos, just off the Cibeles fountain Plaza de Cibeles and straight up is Paseo del Prado. If you want to know more, here is the parking very good:Parking Recoletos

Recoletos Station, located under Paseo de Recoletos, on the western boundary of the district. It is possible to take trains from the Cercanias (suburban) lines C-1, C-2, C-7, C-8 and C-10. The district has the following Metro services: line 2 The stations that provide service are Retiro, Principe de Vergara, Goya, Manuel Becerra and sales.  Line 4 stops at Colón, Serrano, Velázquez, Goya, Lista, Diego de León and Avenida de América.  Line 5 with the stations of Rubén Darío, Núñez de Balboa, Diego de León and Ventas. My line when I lived in Madrid.  Line 6 with the stations Avenida de América, Diego de León, Manuel Becerra and O’Donnell.  Line 7 providing service to Avenida de América and Gregorio Marañón stations. It also provides service to the district of La Guindalera with the Cartagena and Parque de las Avenidas stations.  Line 9 stopping at Avenida de América, Núñez de Balboa and Príncipe de Vergara.  Line 10 does not circulate properly in the district, but it stops at the Gregorio Marañón station, in the northwest corner of it.  The EMT bus network of Madrid, has a total of 64 bus Lines. From a tourist point of view the best are lines 5 15, 20, 27, 28, 52, 61, 115 ,200, N27 night line to Airport and Express airport line 203 from Airport to Atocha passing by Cibeles.

If press, the tourist bus is an alternative and madrid City Tour has a good ride in the Salamanca district, more here: Madrid City bus Tour on Salamanca

The best here is the shopping or the window shopping lol! Nahh we buy in the shopping center on sales days ,good deals. The Milla de Oro (Golden Mile) is located at the intersection of Serrano and Ortega y Gasset streets, owes its nickname to the fact that it brings together on a square mile or km…, the shops of the biggest names of fashion and jeweler, such as Carrera y Carrera , Wempe, Suárez, Brooking, Cartier or the exclusive Bvlgari. More on the shopping from the tourist office of Madrid here: Tourist office of Madrid on shopping in Salamanca

Some nice shopping centers we have enjoyed over the years and they are still there! El Jardin de Serrano (garden of Serrano); more here: El Jardin de Serrano

Another one has been the ABC of Serrano, more here: ABC de Serrano shopping in Salamanca

And my favorite department store, two locations; El Corte Inglés dept store on Goya Street: El Corte Inglés at Goya street

El Corte Inglés at Serrano street

And a surprise nice covered market in chic Salamanca is the Mercado de la Paz at  Calle de Ayala, 28, closest metro Serrano. Very nice indeed in Spanish of course but under puestos por actividad or stands per activity you see all the merchants categories.  More here: Mercado de la Paz

The tourist office of Madrid on Mercado de la Paz here: Tourist office of Madrid on Mercado de la Paz

There you have it a wonderful district area of modern chic Madrid away from the main tourist lines and indeed an off the beaten path area to explore. Hope you enjoy it as we do.

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

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September 18, 2018

Some news from France CXCXI

Ok so this is any regular Tuesday on a sunny day warm and nice in my beautiful Morbihan 56 . I like to tell you about about some ideas for visiting my belle France and others. Also, I gather some strenght and will be back traveling starting this Friday ,first on business to the Americas; coming back and going out again to Barcelona, Spain. So stay tune.

For now  here are the latest from France.

First some glamour as in Paris, and Chanel.  At the Porte Aubervilliers (19éme). The roundabout overlooking the ring road, pose this past Monday night the first stone of the “Fashion Factory” of the prestigious house of Chanel. The building, which will come out  by the spring of 2020, between Paris and its neighbor of Seine-Saint-Denis dept 93 Aubervilliers is dedicated to the craft companies that work for the house Chanel. The 25 000 m2 of the future factory of the Porte Aubervilliers. In the long run, more than 600 artisans should work there. The news here: Chanel in Aubervilliers

And Chanel here: Official history of Chanel

Do you like the outdoors, not much into them but now out west more and more getting the knack of it. Here are some suggestions for your next visit.

Sled dog rides in Fontainebleau (77) petting huskies and being dragged by a pack of 12 wolf dogs we learn that huskies like to live in packs and need to spend time out, that feeding them costs 800€ per month. From 10 years olds; in the forest of Trois Pignons (three gables), in the forest area of Fontainebleau-la-Forêt (77). Every day at 8h30, 10h and noon, duration 1h30. Rate 40€  from 10 years,30€  for the youngest. Accessible to Disabled people. Reservations at tel +33 (0) or on

In Rambouillet until the beginning of October, you can hear the deer in the forests of Ile-de-France and Oise from 12 years old. At the Espace Rambouillet, route du coin du bois to Sonchamp (78). Until October 3rd. 36€ in the morning (6h30) or 41€ in the evening (18h30), including meals. Tel +33 (0) 1 34 83 05 00.  Reservations and information here: noises in the forest of Rambouillet

More at the Espace Rambouillet, after having climbed all to glimpse deer, wild boar and roe deer, after having taken for Tarzan on the Green Odyssey, we walk a little to the forest of Eagles. There, three times a day, is played a funny ballet orchestrated by a team of falconers who offer flying demonstrations in the sky particularly impressive. 30-minute show at 11H30., 15h30. and 17h30 p.m. on weekends, 11h., 14h. and 16h30 weekdays. Price: show included in the entrance to the Espace Rambouillet (from 8 to 15€). More here: At Rambouillet the Eagles will land

These sweetest animals , the Lamas really win you to be known and let themselves be tamed in the blink of an eye, even by the youngest children! No way to mount them, but simply to guide them with a lanyard. The complicity is in a matter of minutes. The 4 km walk back into the woods is very nice. Every day except Sundays. 2-hour course, package: 40€  for four persons.  By appointment at tel +33 (0)  located at 1, source d’Eclimont Fontenette, Abbéville-la-Rivière (91). More here: The Lamas at Abbeville-la-Riviére

An attendance survey of the Parc Royal de Marly (78) is currently online on the site of the city.  At the end of the 17C, king Louis XIV had made the Domaine de Marly a pleasure residence dedicated to the holidays. At the time it welcomed a castle for the king ,destroyed in the 19C, and twelve pavilions reserved for his guests. Today remain as vestiges the water trough and the basins. More here City of Marly on the promenade

The Villa Viardot in Bougival (78) received Saturday morning a donation from the French lottery games (FDJ). The mansion occupied in the 19C by the most famous singer of her time, Pauline Viardot. The walls, the roof, everything that has sheltered the love story of Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev and Pauline Viardot, is indeed in a pitiful state. In the salons of the mansion, Daudt, Flaubert, Goncourt, Sand, Zola, Berlioz, Wagner or Saint-Saëns came to speak music, literature and even politics. The greatest European artists of the 19C have passed here. It is on its way to be renovated but more money is needed. More here: Tourist office of Bougival

Centre Européen de Musique de Bougival (CEM) or European Music Center of Bougival (CEM) a music pole of excellence with European influence on the lands of Georges Bizet, it will become a place entirely dedicated to the composer and Carmen , the most played opera in the world he had composed in this villa on the banks of the Seine river in 1874. The neighboring dacha of Ivan Turgenev, which hosts the museum of the Russian writer, is also associated with the project.   More here: Presentation of the idea in French CEM

The National Forest of Montmorency is a vast  Chesnut trees forest located only 20 km north of Paris. This forest  is a real asset for the territory: the largest forest of the Val-d’oise, It welcomes nearly 5 million visitors per year. Former Royal hunting forest, it stretches over a hilly area dotted with historical sights, ponds, lookouts, remarkable trees. To these natural and cultural riches are added to the north the magnificent landscapes of the valley of Chauvry. The forest of Montmorency is proposed in the classification in “Forest of protection “. It is in the Val-d’oise department 95, and includes the towns of Bouffémont, Domont, Piscop, Montmorency, Saint-Brice-sous-Foret, Montlignon, Saint-Leu-la-Foret, Saint-Prix, Béthemont-la-Foret, Chauvry, Taverny, and Aldilly. The altitude is between 94 and 195 meters with a surface of 1,970 hectares. Main species of trees here are  chestnut, 70%; oaks, 11%; precious hardwoods, 6%; beech, 2%; birch and other deciduous trees, 5%; resinous, 1%.More on the town of Saint Leu-la-Fôret webpage : Tourist office of Saint Leu o Montmorency

On July 16, 1804, Louis Bonaparte, brother of the future Napoleon I and future King of Holland, buys, together with his wife Hortense de Beauharnais, the two castles built at the beginning of the 17C and, after having demolished the upper castle, brings together the two parks in a vast and pleasant property of nearly 80 hectares. Very attached to Saint-Leu, Louis formed the wish to be buried in its Church. died in Italy on 25 July 1846, his body was brought back and buried solemnly in Saint-Leu on 27 September 1847 alongside his first two sons and his father Charles Bonaparte.

The city of Saint-Leu 95 (an Imperial City) is served by the line H, line connecting Paris-Gare du Nord to Valmondois. The RER line C is also accessible from the Franconville-Le Plessis-Bouchard and Montigny-Beauchamp train station. More on the city here: Tourism of Saint Leu on Napoléon

The houses of the artists in Paris or not far from Paris. All these writers, painters, sculptors, singers or even French architects who disappeared years ago, are still immortal today. We continue to discover their works, to admire their talent, to learn about their lives. And we can also visit the mansions of these famous artists, from the inside for some, from the outside for others, and even explore those transformed into a museum. Some of my favorites over the years have been:

Maison de Victor  Hugo : One of the most famous artist’s houses to visit in the center of Paris, on the second floor of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée on the sublime Place des Vosges. Victor Hugo will stay there 16 years from 1832 to 1848. This house is now a monographic museum where you can admire its period furniture or its bed and discover new exhibitions regularly. 6, Place des Vosges. official maison Victor Hugo Paris

Maison de Balzac :Direction Passy, this time it is in the heart of the 16éme that the author of the human comedy lived almost 7 years. The Balzac Pavilion houses a museum dedicated to its life and a library of more than 23 000 monographs and periodicals, numerous documentary files and archival holdings. Some works from Balzac’s personal collection are also exhibited in the work cabinet. Located at 7, rue Raynouard. Now in renovation check site: official Maison de Balzac Paris

The Maison Le Corbusier (Roche):  We remain in the 16éme, where is the apartment-Atelier Le Corbusier on the 7th and 8th floors of the Molitor building, built by himself and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. Le Corbusier will have lived there from 1934 to 1965. After a two-year restoration, the studio apartment, manifesting its architectural thought, has reopened its doors to the public since the end of August. Located at 10, Doctor-Blanche Square. Tourist office of Paris on Corbusier

The Maison d’Edith Piaf:  In the 16éme, Boulevard Lannes, not far from the Bois de Boulogne, the Môme(kid)last  lived  from 1953 to 1963  in an apartment at street level  with her companion Jacques Pills. This apartment has witnessed the parade of the greatest Parisian composers of the time. This is where Edith Piaf composed  non je ne regrette rien (no I don’t regret anything). Located at  67 bis, Boulevard Lannes Not a museum now private but here is a nice video on FT in French: Video on last home of Edith Piaf in Paris

Other on museum of Edith Piaf: Tourist office of Paris on Piaf

At Giverny, we can visit the charming colorful Maison de Claude Monet  where he painted his famous series Les Nymphéas. The flower gardens of this house make it more charming. Reading room, workshop lounge, kitchen, private apartments, the whole house is visited. 84, rue Claude Monet , 27620, Giverny. Official Maison Claude Monet

The Maison de Van Gogh:  Direction Auvers-sur-Oise, at the Auberge Ravoux, where the painter Vincent Van Gogh stayed a few months from May to July of 1890 in a modest room of 7 m2. It is in this room No. 5 that the painter will have ended his days. The suicide room  has remained intact since July 29, 1890, and has never been rented again, by superstition. Located at  52-56, rue du Général de Gaulle – 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise. Official maison de Van Gogh

The Maison de Gainsbourg :  The House of Gainsbourg still is not visited, but it is however a cult place of pilgrimage for the biggest fans of the singer of Bonnie and Clyde. It is rue Verneuil, in the 6éme, that one can admire these graffiti, drawings and other proofs of love made by many lovers of the French song that dress the facade of the house. Located at 5 bis, rue Verneuil  . the daughter Charlotte try to create a museum but still not. More on this article in French from Le Figaro: Le figaro on house of Gainsbourg

The Maison de Dalida  at Rue d’Orchampt (18éme) on the heights of Montmartre is a special 1900-style hotel that the singer Dalida bought in the 1960’s. She lived 25 years in this oasis of calm in the middle of the city. The view of all Paris is sublime and the wings of the Moulin Rouge are visible. The place Dalida is also not far from this house. Located at  11 bis, rue Orchampt . official maison de Dalida

The Maison de Brassens:  The Villa Santos-Dumont, hidden in a charming rural impasse covered with greenery of the 15éme, was the home of Georges Brassens from 1968 until his death in 1981. He wrote some of his most famous songs, such as the le Gorille (Gorilla), Le fossoyeur (Gravedigger)  and Margot. Located at  42, Villa Santos-Dumont. Gavroche private webpage on Brassens Paris

Musée Rodin: Now the flagship museum housing the most beautiful works of Auguste Rodin, it is in this sumptuous 18C mansion in the 7éme that lived the sculptor and his famous mistress Camille Claudel. The gardens of the house also host other major works. Located at 79, rue de Varenne. official Musée Rodin Paris

Musée Eugène Delacroix: The painter will have lived the last years of his life, between 1857 and 1863, in these apartments close to the Church of Saint-Sulpice. He is also responsible for painting one of the chapels of the Church. The apartment, the Delacroix workshop and the lush garden are to be visited in the 6éme arrondissement located at 6, rue de Furstenberg. official musée Delacroix Paris

Musée Gustave Moreau  : This is a building of the 9éme arrondissement transformed into a museum by the painter Gustave Moreau. It was in his lifetime, in 1903, that this mansion in the bourgeois interior and the Louis XVI decoration exhibited his works. The museum retains a total of about 14 000 works. Located at 14, rue de La Rochefoucauld. official Musée Gustave Moreau Paris

Musée Ary Scheffer : This French painter of Dutch origin considered one of the most representative artists of Romanticism lived in the heart of the Nouvelle Athénes, below the Butte Montmartre. On the edge of the garden courtyard, he had two workshops built, one to work, the other to perceive. Today we find the most refined collections at the Museum of Romantic life.  His museum is at 16  rue Chaptal. official musée de la vie romantique Ary Scheffer

Musée Bourdelle  The studio apartment of Antoine Bourdelle, French sculptor, was transformed into a museum. It is in the district of Montparnasse that we find the numerous works in bronze, marble and plaster of the painter, but also a part of his personal collections. He lived almost 45 years in this house. The painter will draw several projects of buildings, until imagining a museography, but the museum won’t be realized in his lifetime.  Located at  18, rue Antoine-Bourdelle (15éme). official musee Bourdelle Paris

And there you have another wonderful trip on my belle France and the most beautiful city in the world ,Paris. Hope you enjoy the ride, and I thank you for your loyal following.

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


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September 15, 2018

The Grund, Luxembourg city!

Let me bring you back east to a wonderful little country we have always like. It is like going to a cinderalla story and find Snow White ::) Well sort of ok you get the picture ok!

We have been to the city and the country many times and never tired of it, in fact I am thinking now….. Since moving to the Morbihan of Brittany I have been a bit away from the east of France as before from Versailles we went even just for lunch to Luxembourg city lol!

Well let me tell you about a magical place right out of cinderalla or snow white or whatever you think is nice, and a must to visit there. The Grund , yes is a canyon like district right in the city and now a very sought after place to live with plenty of ambiance.

Grund is one of the 24 districts of Luxembourg City. It is in this district, located at the foot of the upper city-or Ville-Haute and southeast of it, that the Pétrussese falls into the Alzette river , a tributary of the Sûre river.

Nestled in the fortified   Ville-Baisse or lower town of Luxembourg, just a few steps from the center, the Grund district, known for its cultural and architectural heritage, is undoubtedly one of the prettiest and most authentic areas of the city. You will have to go down the small cobblestone streets and along the points of water to walk into the Grund. But it’s worth it! It is a good stroll, summer and winter, to enjoy the beautiful landscapes surrounded by trees, stone buildings and old bridges. There, you just have to lift your head to enjoy a sumptuous view of the green heights of the city center or discover a detail about the historic buildings.

The cobbledstones streets dating back to the 10C (like the Bisserwee), 14C walls and buildings of the 14C punctuate this very charming district. The abbey of Neumünster restored, now a cultural center of encounters, after serving as a prison from the 19C to 1984. the National Museum of Natural History; and the St. John’s Church are some of the things to see here.



You will also find charming places in the “British” style where you can go out for a drink in the evenings when the area comes alive. We prefer to walk there, via the elevator/lift of the Saint Esprit or Holy Spirit, or by car, to enjoy the calm and tranquility that characterise the neighborhood. The Grund is also a beautiful starting point to start a walk on the Vauban circuit, or to take a bike ride to Hespérange. Conducive to strolls, the district of Grund is known for its calm and its atmosphere of a preserved small village.



Little public transport outside of buses 20 and 23 that go to the Grund. It is better to take the elevator/lift of the Holy Spirit or to walk up the paved Bisserwee street to reach the Upper city. The district of Grund is located in 20 minutes thereabout on foot from the central train station of Luxembourg city. Ladies, prefer comfortable shoes with high heels (to walk in cobbled stones streets). Count at least half a day to take full advantage of this historic area.



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Luxembourg city

City of Luxembourg on the Grund

The Unesco recognition of the Grund

Also,included in this district and below town is the  Pétrusse Valley, located under the Adolphe Bridge ,it separates the upper town from the Bourbon Plateau. Accessible by the stairs or via the elevator/lift of the Holy Spirit, this valley has been arranged for the enjoyment of its inhabitants.



On the Grund side, enjoy the mini-golf and miniature train for the little ones, as well as the skate Park; On the Hollerich side, a public basketball court is at your disposal. The Pétrusse Valley also serves as a setting for the famous duck Race which takes place every year in the city, with thousands of ducks coming down the Pétrusse river!

The Pétrusse Express is the tourist train that takes you on a run to visit the city of Luxembourg, especially the lower town. The departure is about every 30 minutes and located at the Montée de Clausen near the bunkers of the Bock. More info here: info and purchase online tourist train of Pétrusse

In all , it is a very charming city with friendly people and beautiful architecture as well as dandy history including a Duchess from Havana ::)

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




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September 14, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVII

On a sunny bright day in the Morbihan breton, its time for me to bring you up to date on my beloved Spain. Some of the latest and a bit of history I like.  We have 82F and sunny at Madrid right now.

One of my favorite , I read since birth, has a happening, here is the story.

A statue in the district of the Letras(  letters), in the beautiful  Plaza Santa Ana in front of the Teatro Espanol ,(Spanish theater) which in its time was the place that would occupy the old Corral of the prince. In the spring of May 1681, with the definitive absence of the lustrous presence of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, one of the greatest writer/poets of Spain leaves in inheritance a monumental literary work matter of study in thousands of universities all over the globe

He witnessed three reigns, neither one more nor one less (that of Felipe III, that of Felipe IV and that of Carlos II). He suffered from the Europe of the Thirty Years War, the slow decline of a tiring monarchy of resources invested in poor investments, and probably one of the most complicated moments in the history of our country. It synthesizes in short, that contradictory 17C, in which we still remained installed in the belief that we were the masters ,that it was so, but already with gray and with many fronts that we approached to the shipwreck announced of the unforgettable nation. Calderón of the Barca, soldier, priest, poet, playwright, etc. was the critical consciousness of a time that evoked the knell of bells with worn clapper.

Encyclopedic illustrated, he reincarnated several times in his beloved Cervantes. A friend and contemporary of Velázquez clung to the Baroque as a lover or ballast marked by blood and fire for the creed he practiced, a religion closed to new and unventilated that would condition his enormous creativity out of respect for suffocating principles. In this orbit of literary, artistic and scientific creation, he coexisted in space time with the conspicuous Góngora, with the ubiquitous and scathing Quevedo, the enormous philosophers Hobbes, Descartes, Baruch ,Espinoza, Locke and other enlightened ones touched by the genius and a talent beyond doubt.

Calderon born in the labyrinthine city of the cats, Madrid, in a winter apotheosis by the recurrent snows and the heavy cold , dawns one day January 17 of the year 1600. It coexists with the distance of rigor, with Felipe III and its hustler Duke of Lerma. His mother left him in this  strange place in 1610 and a deeply authoritarian father sends him to the Imperial College of the Jesuits, regardless of a direct education and a responsibility that he did not want to assume in the raising of his three children. The universities of Alcalá de Hénares and Salamanca, gave him an order and a sense that protects him in his doubts and reorients him to the first celebrity that sprouts in it in a natural way. The theater lives in it and his rhetorical persuasion is of an undeniable and overwhelming power, innate and unquestionable. Soldier in his youth (he was part of the campaign against the rebellion of Catalonia in 1640), and cleric in old age, in his younger years appears wrapped in several brawls, he was an excellent swordsman, and probably following a challenge to hardly punish an accusation of homicide and the breaking of a convent of nuns, one does not know with which intentions. His enormous fondness for the profane history perhaps the true one, and the canonical one probably that of the half-truths, its rapprochement with the natural and political right were the tools with which he would face his vast literary creation coupled with the fascination generated by the comedy of Lope de Vega, his great artistic reference, which at that time swept the corrals of the capital. Calderon is basically a comedy writer.

For 1623 he already has a good shot at his back and Felipe IV appoints him as the official playwright of the court. But the splendor reaches him when he leaves the militia and becomes part of the group of protected under the patronage of the Duke of Alba. It is the moment where his tremendous creativity with volcanic power emerges to devote himself to literary creation. The top work of his dramaturgy is undoubtedly La vida es sueño ( life is a dream), an incredible clash of trains between the freedom of the individual and the borders of the reason of State. In 1636 it receives the accolade of Felipe IV with the concession of the habit of Knight of the Order of Santiago it is not known whether to placate the ire of the cold winter in Madrid or to protect itself from the thick prevailing theological substance. This rise in internal reformism and the empowerment of Spanish projection with more emphasis on international policy.  It becomes Calderón de la Barca in the decade of 1630-1640 in a classic of his time installed in the international  Top Ten of literature. It is the decade of the great Biblical dramas and of honor with Los cabellos de Absalón, and El médico de su honra, etc. It is, also the time of the debate between the individual and the absolute power of the State and perhaps, in my view, when personal virtue reaches perfection in the  celebrated El alcalde de Zalamea (the mayor of Zalamea). The famous philosophical comedy depicted in the life Is dream  is probably the most universal work of this eclectic man of the world. It has been staged in more than a hundred countries, and in England it is a work of worship. And that, not to mention the historical comedy of the  mayor of Zalamea  that only in Spain between private schools and institutes, theaters of first row and micro theaters, in the year 2016 was interpreted more than a thousand times.

A bit on Calderon de la Barca in English here: Pedro Calderon de la Barca

More in Spanish: Calderon de la Barca literature

The Teatro Real  (Royal Theater) inaugurates its 22nd season in September with Faust, by Charles Gounod, in a new co-production with the National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam. A new reading of the inexhaustible myth of Faust, original work of the romantic German Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , which began its historical journey with a cold reception of the French public in the Parisian Théâtre Lyrique in 1859 and which has been imposed little by little in the universal operatic repertoire. This new season, marked the bicentennial of the Teatro Real. Already in 1865, in this same theater, Faust (Fausto)  seduced the Madrid public, being one of the most represented operas until its closing in 1925, which would continue until the reopening in February of 2003. Therefore, one of the main subjects outstanding in the celebration of the two hundred years of the institution is to recover the artistic repertoire lost in this long parenthesis during the 20C. Gounod’s Faust moves away from the French Grand Opéra, with the beauty of the melodies, the formidable choral parts or the sarcasm in the dialogues, but with a very German style. It is very clear that the primary source of inspiration is in the original work of Goethe which precisely reached its true popularity in Germany. More info here: Faust at the Royal Theater

El Centro Cultural Conde Duque  ( Conde Duque Cultural Center)  bets on the new course to rediscover its physical space and rescue the memory of Madrid. These are the two lines that define the more than 100 artistic proposals that will take place this Fall in the municipal center, in the middle of this green space, located in the theater of the cultural center, during this week will take place concerts, sessions of Micro Open, Yoga and performance classes, among other activities. Conde Duque presents of all the People in all the World, a sample located in the vaults. The project, which starts this Wednesday and can be visited until September 29th, is an installation that uses grains of rice to present different statistics, many of them in the city of Madrid, in which a grain is equivalent to a person. 17C barracks that today houses the cultural center, is the objective of the La Ronda, a night walk with lanterns in which, together with two security guards, participants will travel the bowels  of the Conde Duque (count duke). Libraries, archives, theaters, offices… will be some of the corners that will be shown in the activity, which will be on Wednesday nights Thursday and Friday, between September 19 and 28. The entrance is 5 euros. More here: Centro Cultural Conde Duque Madrid

Malasaña, where in the years 80’s emerged, of the hand of rock bands, the first generation of what is known as R’n’B underground. The Malasaña sound cycle will rescue some of these formations, as well as emerging artists, which will offer up to ten concerts between September 22 and October 18 for a price of between 8 and 15 euros.   Different venues, see about the district here: Malasana Madrid

Traveling on the Al Andalus train is traveling in the times,  passenger moves instantly to the years of the Belle Époque. Yes, with all the comforts of the 21C. The car suites and saloon cars that today compose this palace on wheels belong to the same series as those that were built in France for the displacements that the members of the British monarchy carried out between Calais and the French Riviera. RENFE’s tourist train has different routes around the Spanish geography. The classic rides seven days in Andalusia discovering all its diversity and essence. Another option is to cover the route between Sevilla and Madrid by Extremadura, following the historical route of La Plata. More info here: RENFE AL Andalus

The culminating moment of that infatuation with it was undoubtedly the transfer in 1990 to Madrid of the Goizeko Kabi that Jesus Santos born in land of Campos, but raised in Bilbao as many other Castilian immigrants of the mid-20C had become the most prestigious restaurant of the capital of Biscay since its opening in 1982. He was the first Michelin-starred chef to move with tools and baggage from the Basque country to Madrid, and the expectation was remarkable. In the district of Tetuán, where it soon opened also another more informal food house, Gaztelupe, before focusing its efforts on the most ambitious Goizeko in the Wellington Hotel in 2000. And in 2012 the rupture was consummated: Luis Martín, chef of Gaztelupe, stayed with this restaurant and Goizeko Kabi, and Santos continued  and continues today, with the recognition of always in the Goizeko Wellington. In the current Goizeko Kabi-local correct, just decoration and rather outdated, with a profusion of electric plugs quite surprising; The tasty baby squid with three onion textures. The Canutillos of Bilbao stuffed with cream and custard return to the tradition and culminate well a meal completed by some interesting wine as the elegant pink blue oranges that Chuchi Soto elaborates in the Sierra de Gredos. Located at Comandante Zorita, 37. More info here: Kabi Goizeko Restaurant Madrid

There you yo for now another edition of your Some News from Spain episode in my blog. Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun!

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

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September 12, 2018

Some news from France CXCX

And it is time to bring you once again up to date on the happening in my belle France! There is always something going on in touristic France, you are all welcome ! And of course, some places are full of you, crowded, but heck do you know we just got 88m visitors when we are a country of 67m? Enjoy my beloved France!

As every year, since 84 decades ago, an unchanging ritual is brewing on the roof of Paris: The Vineyard Cup of the Clos Montmartre, which will take place on September 19 next. This will be the prelude to the famous Harvest Festival (fêtes des vendanges), which has become, with some 500 000 visitors each year, the third Parisian event after Nuit Blanche and Paris-beaches. As in 1934, where the feast had been sponsored by Mistinguett and Fernandel, the 85th edition will have its two guardian angels: Madame Monsieur, the pop duo formed by Emilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas, who reached the final of the Eurovision 2018 music festival with their title Mercy.

This beautiful vineyard that descends on 1 550 m2 , the slope of the Rue des Saules, in front of the cabaret of the Lapin Agile, was born in 1933 on an idea of the draughtsman Francisque Poulbot and Pierre Labric, mayor of the free town of Montmartre! The Grape Cup of the Clos Montmartre on September 19, rue des Saules; Harvest Festival, placed this year under the sign of peace, from 10 to 14 October throughout the 18éme arrondissement.  Program available here:

To buy the wines of the Clos look here:

Climespace, dealer of the city of Paris, responsible for developing, since 1991, ice water in department stores, shopping malls, museums, large hotels or office buildings. Since this summer, it is a major project that is launched around the Place de l’Etoile. On 1.1 km, the operation began at Avenue d’Iéna , currently continuing around the square, before continuing on the avenue of the Grande Armée. More in French here: Climespace and cooling of Paris

The Champs-Elysées will illuminate from November 22nd 2018 to January 8 2019, as every year. It’s a tradition that launches the holiday season in Paris. The luminous curtain of white shades darting to the top of the trees has received, in the last four years, a good welcome. This year the city probably would do the same but with different colors according to city officials. They will unveil the full plan on the forthcoming press conference in October. The opportunity to announce the personality that will launch the magic of Lights will be known!  Stay tune…Christmas in Paris ,sublime!!!

After twenty years of abandonment and silence, the curtain will rise again and the music resonate at La Scala Paris this Tuesday night. At 13, boulevard de Strasbourg (10éme), the mythical Café-concert of the late 19C. Fully covered with a blue night color imagined for La Scala, the room, equipped with two balconies, is fully modular thanks to the bleachers accommodating up to 750 people. And no spectator is more than 20 meters  from the stage, also inexhaustible on the 220 variable acoustic panels or the 172 loudspeakers that will offer a Cathedral acoustic sound, the  La Scala Paris already offers a programming provided of 450 pieces, concerts , dance or circus performances for his first year. Shows often available in short format at 18h45, after office hours, then at 21h . It will also be a place of ambiance  open every day from noon to 1h (1am). An 80 seats restaurant overlooking the boulevard de Strasbourg will be available.  La Scala Paris, 13, boulevard de Strasbourg (10éme). Tel.+33 (0) webpage :

The first Dreyfus museum in France is expected to be open in Médan, (Yvelines 78) in the autumn 2019. The space of 300 m2, located in a wing of the Maison Zola, will be composed of a large hall recounting the story of Alfred Dreyfus, a second with videos and archival documents As well as a third space made up of screens allowing the school to work with the existing databases on the subject.. Creating a Dreyfus museum next to the house Émile Zola takes all its meaning especially because of his involvement in the affair with the publication of his letter j’accuse!, defending Dreyfus. A captain in the French army accused of espionage for the Germans while he was Jewish! More here in French:

It’s gone for fourteen months of work within the Maison André-Derain. It is a matter of renovating the house of the painter, currently in a state of decay. André Derain’s house is designed to host the school of dance and music, as well as conference, reception and exhibition rooms. André Derain, born in Chatou in 1880, is considered one of the pioneers of the fauvism, like Matisse, Braque, or Vlaminck. He had acquired the Roseraie (Rose garden), this house of 550 m2, in 1936 at Chambourcy, Yvelines 78. More here:

The workshop of Louis Vuitton’s prototypes and workshops of Asnières; The tailor-tailored workshop of Berluti; The Professional Academy of Make Up for Ever or the Maison 68 Champs-Elysées de Guerlin; Dior lounges; The Francis Kurkdjian House; The Grande Epicerie ( grocery store); the Bon Marché dept store; Givenchy… Want to push the doors of the biggest houses and places of the LVMH group? This is what the special days offer with 77 places in the world, including 20 in Paris.

For the 4th edition of this event, LVMH sees big: 76 places of exception, of which 40 unreleased and 56 houses open their doors in 14 countries with for the first time Germany, the United States, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Each venue will offer free or group visits, small committee workshops, to reveal the secrets of making exceptional pieces developed and sold by the LVMH group.

Registrations for ticket cuts lines giving access to the special days on 12/13/14 October 2018, will be accessible on Saturday 22 and Tuesday 25 September from 10h. To have access to these tickets, it will be necessary to create a profile on this same site from September 13th. Any person who has not been able to obtain a cut line ticket can of course on presenting the day of the event on all sites that will welcome spontaneous walk in visitors . More here:

Something to eat, Paris has the best in the world.

Antipasti, Cicchetti and other delicacies from Italy, complemented by a beautiful wine list. Small plus: Good liquors nicknamed “ladies-jeannes” served on a trolley at the end of the meal to make you happy. Damigiana is at 58, rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau 1éme arrondissement. So new no webpage yet, open in early August 2018! But friends collegues from Paris told me it is very good…Ciao Italia!

Thanks to Ducasse sur Seine, we embark on a new, silent and clean experience on a 100% electric boat. Cruises in the image of the kitchen, which will be contemporary around beautiful seasonal products. Ducasse on the Seine, Port Debilly, 16éme arrondissement. More here: Ducasse sur Seine

L’Office or the Office is a veritable den of Epicureans that is brand new while keeping its trademark: a bistronomique kitchen made from ultra-fresh, ultra-healthy products and at affordable prices. For proof: It is the family garden located hundreds of km which regularly provides the restaurant in fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. It is at 3 Rue Richer 9éme arrondissement , Tel +33 (0)1 47 70 67 31. Open Monday to Friday from 12h to 14h and then from 19h to 22h15. Reservations recommended. more here: l’Office Paris

Bar, cocktails, restaurant… Perruche flies and nests on the roof (9thfloor) of Au Printemps Haussmann dept store. 500 m2 of powerful wines, quality products and sharing kitchens. Here are the main lines of this new spot greedy and perched. Perruche at 2, rue du Havre, 9éme arrondissement. More here: Perruche Paris

In a big event coming up we get into it too!

From Thursday October 4 to Saturday October 14, 2018, Munich famous beer festival, Oktoberfest, is to be held in Paris for the fourth time in a row at the Paris Event Center. 20 Avenue de la Porte de la Villette,  La Villette.  Many traditional beers tasting including the famous Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier exclusively brewed for Oktoberfest, as well as the Paulaner Müncher Hell or thePaulaner Hefe-Weissbier.  Admission from 34,90€. More info here: Oktoberfest Paris

And why not go down south to my sentimental area on wife father’s side. Toulouse ,the pink city.

The Musée Saint-Raymond is the Museum of the Antiquity of the city. On several floors you can discover the works of the Mediterranean civilisations dating from antiquity but also part of the archaeological site of the city in the basement and numerous Roman statues on the upper floors. The temporary exhibits are pretty cool and easy to access for non-savvy, even kids friendly! Musée Saint – Raymond 1 ter, place Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, Tel +33 (0) 5 61 22 31 44. Open 7/7 from 10h to 18h 4€ children free .More at museum webpage:

Musée des Augustins or Augustinian Museum is the Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse located in the Augustinian convent of the 14C. On the ground floor you can admire Gothic sculptures or the Pardo room. At the back of the cloister, you can access the church where temporary exhibits are installed. And upstairs, you can look at the sculptures and works of the European Schools of painting from the 17C to the 19C . Musée des Augustins at 21, rue de Metz. Tel +33 (0) 5 61 22 21 82. Open everyday from 10h to 18H but closed on Tuesday and Wednesday night. 5€ admission. More at museum webpage:

There you go, did I told you we have it all, yes. Come to my belle France and you wish to return again and again, its catchy I warn you now. Enjoy it

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

September 6, 2018

Some news from Spain LXVI

So can’t get away too far from my beloved Spain, here I am back at you. And it was my first day back at work after Summer vacations lol! Life goes on indeed…

The Summer is back to normal in most European countries after a nice Summer break in which we partake in long vacation periods; like mine was three weeks. I like to bring you up to date with some news and some more ideas to visit Spain, everything under the sun.

Before delving into that “paradise closed to many, gardens open to few”, as defined by the ancient Nasrid capital, Granada. You have to explore the surrounding region of La Vega, where are the true origins of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, in his year, now that is fulfilled 120 years of his birth and 100 of the publication of his first work, “impressions and landscapes”. In my favorite Spanish poet, love it.

The sierra Parapanda mountain range as a backdrop. There, the museum Casa Natal Federico García Lorca remains a strange bubble in a town that has undergone profound transformations since the late 19C. The house, which preserves much of its original decoration, belonged to the palace, the family of Matilde, the first woman of her father, whose destiny and tragedy would serve as an inspiration for his barren theater play. He only lived in it three years before his parents moved to another building in the same town. In 1907, they moved to Asqueroza, now call Valderrubio.  In this other town of La Vega, near the sugar mills that would make his family rich, they would try several houses before taking root in number 2 of Calle de la Iglesia (church street), now converted into the House Museum of the Poet. In which would return again and again until 1925,  a stone’s throw is the house of Frasquita (Bernarda) Alba that will soon be a museum.

Although you cannot take a step through Granada without finding his footprint, there are a score of key places that every lover of the poet and the work of the author should know. To the new Federico García Lorca Center. It is located near the cathedral where Mariana Pineda is buried.  Federico was a perfect guide to his city and, as he did with so many friends, would lead us to the Puerta de las Granadas up the Cuesta de Gomerez from Plaza Nueva. There he  would show that “Alhambra, Jasmine of sorrow where the moon rests”. The Puerta del Vino (wine’s gate)  inspired Debussy and a lot of singing jondo, like the one that could be heard in the Plaza de los Aljibes (cisterns square) during the first festival dedicated to the most emotional side of flamenco; he helped organize it in 1922.

Before entering the Alhambra, we would discover other treasures such as the Carmen of the Martyrs, curdled with reminiscences of his very admired San Juan de la Cruz. The Church of Santa Maria, where he once came out as penitent, or the tavern of the Polina, today turned into the museum of the singer Antonio Barrios. There used to be the poet with many artists of Granada. Looking out from the windows, we would be surprised to see the Albaicín Hill transformed into that “wonderful Atlantis”.   The Rinconcillo del Alameda, in the Plaza Campillo, which is now part of the Chikito restaurant, or the sidewalk of the Darro, from where we would climb the Albaicín, entering in some of its most secret cármenes (flower streets). The next stop would be in the Sacromonte to listen to the genuine flamenco. And then you have to go to the hermitage of San Miguel, one of its favorite places and where Granada is contemplated in its splendor.  The end is the Huerta de  San Vicente (orchard of St Vincent), his last refuge, the site that possibly best represents it and has been preserved as he left it before going to the House of the Rosales, today converted into the Hotel Reina Cristina. There, a few days later, they would stop him in that fateful month of August of 1936 and then assassinate him, like so many others, in the vicinity of Viznar and Alfacar, about 10 km from Granada. More info here: Tourist office of Granada, Route of Federico Garcia Lorca

And Tourist office of Province of Granada on Route of Federico Garcia Lorca

The lauréates towns of my beloved Spain on the Unesco list of world heritage sites are Avila, Cáceres, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, Segovia, Toledo, Córdoba, Cuenca, Alcalá de Henares, Ibiza, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Mérida, Tarragona, Baeza , and Úbeda. Out of the 16, I have visited 13 all except  Baeza, Ubeda, and Ibiza.

Race is the name of an auto drive cinema in Madrid, must see it. This is the largest auto cinema in Europe and the last inaugurated in Spain on February 24th, 2017. Its surface extends to 25,000 square meters and has 350 parking spaces. This open air cinema is located in the district of Chamartín-Fuencarral (Calle Isla de Java, 2) and proposes a mixed billboard that alternates author films with premieres. In summer it also offers 160 hammocks for those who prefer to leave the car at home. Popcorn, hot dogs, burgers… The restaurant has a menu with different options. All you have to do is book what you want and wait for it to be taken directly to the car. Of course, you need a car, but clostes cercanias is Fuente de la Mora C1, C7,and C10 and metro station Begona Line 10 than change to metro ligero or light train line 1. More information:   RACE Auto cinema of Madrid

Best Patatas (potatoes)  Bravas of Madrid; this is my old neighborhood in the old real Madrid of my teens years, and they are still kicking strong since 1963; this is Docamar, Calle Alcalá, 337 in the Quintana neighborhood of Ciudad Lineal district. Metro Quintana line 5.  The task is occupied by a single cook and by his hands where on a single day more than 2,000 kg ( 4408 lbs) of peeled potatoes are cut into quarters. The sauce, secret of course, has a taste of paprika and is quite hot  (also take out home in liter bottles). Many locals attest to the truth, they are the best in the city… Ration price: 4.20 euros. More info here: Docamar

The first edition of Duero International wine Fest, the wine-growing congress whose axis is the Duero river and its course ,influence by the different denominations of Castilla y León, which also add the appellation of Origin Bierzo, influenced by the Miño river basins. And the Sil, and the Portuguese appellations of Douro and Porto, whose vineyards and wineries are located in the basin of the last stretch of this wine-growing river, one of the most important in the world.  It will be held at the Evolution Forum in Burgos from Sept 7-8 ( a bit late I know but keep the dates for next year)  with a program of lectures and masterly tastings that are already depleting their time before the beginning of the meeting.  The meet will be attended by  Fernando Mora (MW) on the topic , the great wine-growing rivers of the world, exploring its geographical diversity and the peculiarity of its vineyards; Or the one that the winemaker Álvaro Palacios imparts with the critic of Elmundovino  Juancho Asenjo about the wine classifications of Villa, classified vineyard (Vina clasificada) or great wines of classified vine (Grandes vinos de vina clasificados). The critic for Spain of the influential publication the Wine Advocate, Luis Gutiérrez, will tour the Douro’s runway in its Portuguese part during a masterful wine tasting of Douro and Porto.  The program of this first edition is the work of an advisory committee chaired by Pablo Álvarez, CEO of Vega Sicilia, and coordinated by the journalist and director of Lavinia Spain, Juan Manuel Bellver. Among the members are also winemakers of prestige as José Manuel Pérez Ovejas, technical director of Viña Pedrosa, and characters with extensive experience in the world of wine as Berciano, founder of Alma Unique wines, journalist Pilar Molestina, Co-author of the Wine Yearbook of  El País newspaper or the winemaker and President of the regulating Council of Ribera del Duero, Enrique Pascual. More info here: Duero International Wine Fest

In addition, Burgos will reinforce its character as wine capital with two other initiatives between  September 6 and 9, namely , the International Wine Competition Zarcillo Awards, endorsed by the International organization of the Wine  (OIV) and with the participation of tasters from all over the world; And the above Duero Festival of Wine, which will open historic palaces and unique buildings that open their doors to the wineries and allow them to present their elaborations to the general public.

More on Zarcillo Awards: Premios Zarcillo 2018

Last leave you with a nice city that I like a lot for been there in the last few years and many friends both business and football/soccer that have kept up with each other for almost 20 years now. La Coruña: The star of the promenade is the imposing tower of Hercules (Avda. de Navarra, S/n). Built in the 1C, it is the only Roman lighthouse still in operation in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009. You can visit its interior and climb to the top of its 51 meters high, the views are worth it for only 3€. The elegant Marina area, which proudly exhibits its marina and its houses with white galleries. By one of its arcades access to the Plaza Maria Pita, where stands the impressive town hall, a modernist building built in 1918. From here, you ascend a staircase to the Old City, the oldest part of La Coruña, which can boast Romanesque churches such as the enchanting collegiate Church of Santa María del Campo or the Church of Santiago, which dates from the 12C and where you must admire the beautiful capitals of their columns. In this area, there are the houses-museums of two exemplary Galician, María Pita (Rúa de Herrerias , 28) and the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán (Rúa Tabernas, 11). Another fundamental stop; the Plaza Azcárraga square with its leafy trees. Getting lost in this maze of alleys and squares is a pleasant way to end the visit to this melancholy city open to the Atlantic. More on tourism there : Tourist office of La Coruna

And they you have it ,all ready for the Fall season! and visiting my beloved Spain is always a possibility. Enjoy it fully.

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

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