Archive for September, 2018

September 22, 2018

Parc Asterix, le French!

Ah can’t believe it not written a post on this wonderful park. Parc Asterix is the quiensentional French attractions park.You hear folks coming here asking for the other American park , but if you come to France for all French  ,then you need to bring your children here, period.

I know I took mine earlier, tiny kids of about 8,10 years old and they love it so much still today young men they still remember fondly of their visits here with Mom and Dad. It is highly recommended for all visitors to see it and if planning on living for a period here or permanently then it is a must. You need to have children of course but adults will enjoy it too , me think.

At the more French parc Asterix , a tourist complex including a theme park and two hotels opened on 30 April 1989. The theme park is dedicated to the world of comics from Uderzo and Goscinny, and   It is located in Plailly, Oise, dept 60 about 30 km from Paris. It is not open all year, need to check their schedules, this year they will be open until November 4, 2018.

Let me tell you a bit about it .  First a bit of the history I like

From 1981, Albert Uderzo, after visiting Disneyland in California, imagines a project of an amusement park on the theme of Asterix. The summer of 1987 marks the beginning of the construction of the park ,the location is chosen among other things – because of its network of communications such as the nearby Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport at only 10 km away, a private interchange connects the park to the A1 highway and a shuttle service makes the junction with a metro line.

The 22-hectare amusement park is composed at the time (1989) of five thematic areas: Via Antiqua, the village of Asterix, the Rue de Paris, the Great Lake and the Roman city. In 1993, Great European Theme Parks was founded in response to the arrival of Euro Disneyland. Its members were Europa-Park, Alton Towers, Parc Asterix, Efteling and Liseberg. In 1994 and for the first time in its history, the theme park is profitable. In the same year, Parc Asterix SA was introduced to the Second market of the Paris Stock Exchange. In 1998,it bought the Grand aquarium Saint-Malo .In 1999, it merged with the Grévin-France Miniature Museum Group. The company then becomes Grévin & Compagnie SA. This year, 1999   the 3-Hiboux (owl) hotel with a capacity of 100 rooms is inaugurated in July. The Hotel des 3 Hiboux added in 2017 50 additional rooms to reach the number of 150. In addition, a convention and seminar center is in addition to the availability offered by the park. In june 2002 , the Compagnie des Alpes acquired Grévin & Cie via a takeover bid and created CDA Parks; the current owners.

Today, the park is officially composed of six universes:

Via antiqua , the street, also contains numerous shops and restaurants such as the large market of Lutèce, the Gaulish galleries, the Candy Palace, at Rahazade, Edifis, Gravédanlonix or The good Legionnaire again.

The Roman Empire: Romus and Rapidus: A rapid river aboard large buoys: The Spies of Caesar: Air circuit where passengers embark on board small vehicles moving slowly, formerly equipped with pedals to increase their speed;   the Carousel of Caesar: Carousel on the theme of the main characters of the comics.; The little train: train for children., The challenge of Caesar: Mad House on the theme of the recruitment of the Roman legion.; Gaulish-Romans: The match: Show in the Roman arena of 940 seats located at the exit of the Via Antiqua.

parc asterix

The Ancient Greece: the Trojan Horse: Flying carpet type attraction: The Flight of Icarus: Roller coaster on the theme of the flight and then the fall of the son of Daedalus. The river of Elis: Peaceful voyage aboard small buoys in the typical Greek gardens: the Hydra of Lerna: Attraction type Octopus, thunder of Zeus: Wooden roller coasters of a height of   33 meters and a speed of around 80 km/h; Discobélix: Disk’O Coaster type attraction on the theme of the Olympic Games;   Pegasus Express: Roller coaster launched with the specialty to go back halfway. ; The Theatre of Poseidon: Dolphinarium of 2 000 seats offering performances of large dolphins and sea lions.

parc asterix

The Vikings; The Galley: Attraction type rocking boat; The Aces Squadron: small aircraft rides. The Mini-Carousel: Carousel for toddlers; Les petits Drakkars: small boat rides; The small flying chairs: Carousel of flying chairs reserved for children; Justforkix: Long metal roller coasters holding the European record of inversions with 7 elements,for a time. Aérolaf: Aérobar. This bar that rises along a 35 meters tower is not considered an attraction. It is operated by a company outside the Parc Asterix .

parc asterix

A travers le temps (Through time): Transdemonium: Ghost Train on the theme of the year thousand; The horses of the Roy: Carousel similar to his counterpart of the Roman Empire, but oriented on a medieval theme; National 7: Circuit of crates through a small campaign evoking the Blue Road; Flying chairs: Carousel of flying chairs; The Oxygénarium: Descent of buoys in a large toboggan offers a machine to take a breath of air. Decontamination, expiration, arrival at peaks of the tops and it is the fall; Low hand on the Mona Lisa: Spectacle of stunts. A chase between thieves and gendarmes, with pyrotechnic effects temporal journey: itinerant spectacle animated by two guides describing the different eras present in the area the spectacle of the Rue de Paris: Spectacle of animatronics. The Musketeers: Show staging The Three Musketeers between the two covered passages of the area.

Bienvenue chez le Gaulois : (Welcome to the Gaul): Épidemaïs Cruises circuit of boats around the village where you can find characters from the main adventures of Asterix (Asterix at Rahàzade, Asterix in the Helvetii, etc.). The cauldrons: Cup-type carousel where visitors sit in cauldrons; Menhir Express: Attraction type flume. Path between the forest and the Egyptian area ending with a fall of 13 meters the Trace of the Hooray: roller coaster bobsleigh 900 meters downhill for a speed approaching 60 km/h. Grand Splat: Water circuit on the heights of the Asterix rock (emblem of the park, visible from the highway) ending with a fall (type Shoot the chute, the small storm: Music express the small buffer tanks: cars-bumper for children   The Forest of the Druids: children’s playground with slides, magic Grotto… Illusions and Mentalism Magic Show set in the theater of Getafix of 600 seats.

parc asterix

The forest of Dogmatix (Idéfix) with Énigmatix: Small waterfall, Challis: Barnyard, Lavomatix: Jump around; Hydrolix: Aérodynamix Junior logs: Magic bikes.

Egypt;. OzIris: Inverted roller coasters. Its course includes five inversions as well as a passage under a basin after a lift/elevator of 40 meters . SOS Edifis: Junior rollercoaster with a length of 200 meters.

And important ,how you get here! And like any other park, be early.  See the site for latest times and rates.

By car which how we go, you get on the A1 autoroute:highway/motorway, and between exits 7 and 8 ,there is a private ramp to come into the park at approx. 40 min/30 km from Paris. Parking now is at 12 euros the day.

By shuttle from Paris round trip departure at 9h from the Louvre, return by 18h30 or 19h30 on Sundays in June. By shuttle from the RER station “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle”, Check out every 30 minutes on the way back.

The official webpage in English here: Parc Asterix

There you go, you can read it is more European, French and an enjoyable part of living here with children. You enjoy too ok.

parc asterix

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

ps Will be away traveling and no post for a while, see you early October!!!

 

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

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.

Paris

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.

Paris

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.

Paris

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.

Ploeren

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.

Madrid

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.

Madrid

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.

Madrid

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.

Madrid

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.

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.: 05.65.38.13.72 . 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)5.17.223.223. 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

The CBA, Neptuno, and Recoletos of my Madrid!

So this is the arrival of Fall or what cooler weather approaching , I started this post at 7C and finished it at 19C lol! oh well it goes saying in my Morbihan ok. I like to continue the saga of my MADRID! It is said, that once biten by its virus you never want to leave, well i did but always come back to it. Madrid has a lot to offer and often overlooked! I like to change you a bit ….

Today, I will talk about three simple places that will make you fall in love with Madrid. These are the Paseo de Recoletos street, the Fuente de Neptune (fountain), and the Circulo de Bellas Artes (circle of fine arts) of Madrid.

Where can I start, you will notice , I am not a writer or poet or even into long verses for most of my posts even if sometimes an exception is made. I try to be short and to the point, these are all places that I have enjoyed since youthful days of early teen years and really find it hard to describe all my love for them. But , lets start shall we…

The Paseo de Recoletos is an avenue of 700 meters rising very slightly, from south to north, and from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. It is part of the boulevards of the central axis of the city, which extends north as Paseo de la Castellana , and south as a Paseo del Prado. its the place where the National Library  of Spain and the Archaeological museum of Spain were built ,and currently there.

Madrid

It had its origin in the ravine formed by the Arroyo de la Fuente Castellana, which furrowed it, and as a continuation of the primitive walk of the old Prado of San Jerónimo and its extension to the Puerta de Atocha (what is now the Paseo del Prado). The Paseo de Recoletos took its name from the convent of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects, whose ensemble was built in the area between 1592 and 1595, and in what was formerly the town of Valnegral, in lands of Eufrasia de Guzmán , Princess of Ascoli. The Alameda ended at the Puerta de Recoletos, a Baroque-style door built under the reign of king Fernando VI in 1756 and dismantled in 1863. It was alternately known as El Prado Nuevo and Recoletos or Prado de Recoletos.

Aristocrats who had a house in this promenade(Paseo), among them them the Duchy of Sesto; some neighbors who were born, lived or died in Recoletos, were the painter José Villegas Cordero, Ramón del Valle Inclán, Juan Valera or the Andromaca that José Vilches sculpted in 1853,in Rome, and previously held at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid. The gatherings of the café Teide, the literary home of César González Ruano and the Café Gijón, still open( and very nice place to chat) at the beginning of the 21C, remain in memory.  It should also be remembered the presence in the second half of the 21C of the Libreria-Galeria Buchholz , cradle of the almost fictitious school of Madrid, or of installations like the Museum of Wax of Madrid, inaugurated in 1972 at the No 41.(see post on it ).

Madrid

Some of the best known buildings here to marvel at their architecture and chic styles are:

Palace of Linares or Palace of the Marquis of Linares, next to Cibeles, built in 1873 today the headquarters of the Casa de America.   The Palace of Library and National Museums, finished in 1892, in which they are, in the facade that gives to Paseo de Recoletos, the National Library of Spain. In the opposite façade, in Calle Serrano, is the National Archaeological Museum of Spain. The Palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, built between 1846 and 1855 ; the Convent of San Pascual , originally from the 17C, but demolished and rebuilt in the 19C. The Palace of the Duke of Elduayen, built between 1890 and 1895. The Palace of the Duchess of Medina de las Torres, between 1881 and 1884. The Palacio de López Dóriga and Salaverria, built towards 1872. The Palace of the Marquis of Alcañices, also known as of the Duke of Sesto, of 1862 . the building Restaura , formerly of the Insurance L’Union, in the numbers 18-20. And the building of the insurance company La Aurora, at number 4.

Madrid

More here from the Madrid tourist office: Tourist office of Madrid on Paseo de Recoletos

The Fountain of Neptune is a neoclassical fountain that occupies the center of the roundabout to which it is popularly named, within the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo. This monumental fountain was proposed in 1777 and its construction, started in 1782, ending in 1786. In its origin, it was located in the descent of the Carrera de San Jerónimo, looking at the Fuente de Cibeles(fountain), but was moved to the center of the before mentioned square in 1898. It is the usual place of our arch rivals Atlético de Madrid football/soccer team celebrations when they win something which is not often ::)

Madrid

MAdrid

In the second half of the 18C king Carlos III undertook a series of reforms, among which was the modernization of the capital to bring it to the height of the famous big cities of the time such as Paris. In this modernization plan; the Neptune Fountain was included. It was made with white marble from Montesclaros (Toledo).

The fountain stands on a large circular pylon in whose center is the figure of Neptune, God of the sea, one of the twelve divinities of Olympus, is the son of Saturn and Rea, and brother of Jupiter. It is presented with a snake curled in the right hand and the trident in the left, erect on a cart formed by a shell pulled by two sea horses with fish tail. Around the car swim seals and dolphins that throw jets of water at a high altitude. The god of the waters could be a symbol of the Navy that king Carlos III reformed to make it more competitive and strengthen the nexus with the colonies.

Madrid tourist office on the Fountain of Neptuno: Tourist office of Madrid on the Fuente de Neptuno

The Círculo de Bellas Artes is located at the Calle de Alcalà 42 , at the corner with Calle del Marques de Casa Riera, in an Art deco building completed in 1926.  The CBA (circulo de bellas artes)   was founded in April 1880 by some artists who originally wanted to create a club where they could exhibit and sell their works. At that time, young students who would become important artists went there, like Pablo Picasso, while others, such as Ramón María del Valle-Inclán, attended its salons. In 1921,the CBA becomes a center for the protection of fine arts and public utility. The main social seat was finally installed here in 1926 in a building inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII.

Madrid

roofstop of CBA goddes Minerva credit CBA

The Spanish civil war led to the suspension of its activities, and the CBA became a place of detention of the CPIP (Provincial Public Investigation committee) what was called a checa after the conflict, it was also there that for a time the seat of the Service of the falange (Franco’s party). It was only in 1983, that CBA was refounded thanks to the Association of Plastic Artists. Since then, it has been open to the general public and with and follows international cultural trends.

The building, is located at the intersection of   Calle de Alcalá and Gran Vía, the rooftop terrace is open to the public, offering a panoramic view of Madrid. It is overlooked by the statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and art, the symbol of the institution.. Moreover, the CBA retains a considerable artistic heritage with more than 1 200 paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and ceramics, as well as furniture. The bibliographic and documentary funds, including the bequest of the gallerist Juana Mordó’, with more than 3 000 books and a collection of 150 autograph books. Finally, the institution retains a large fund of thematic art journals and historical documents.

Madrid

roofstop of CBA towards Gran Via credit CBA

Some webpages to help you enjoy a visit to the CBA Circulo de Bellas Artes or fine arts circle are

Official Circulo de Bellas Artes site

Tourist office of Madrid on the CBA

Minerva magazine of the Circulo de Bellas Artes

There you go a nice trip up and down one of the best arteries of my beloved Madrid. Hope you enjoy the walk.

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

 

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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

Madrid

Madrid

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! ).

Madrid

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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.

MAdrid

Madrid

Madrid

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.

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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

A train station, Atocha of Madrid!

I go to Madrid a lot, and lived there ,but public transport is not my forte. I rather take my car and then walk, last resort take the bus. Metro/subway is last before trains of course unless business trips required it. Me personally is not into train stations; yet for one reason or another over the years  I have tried my share.

However, Atocha in Madrid the idea behind this post ,never taken trains there, just visited even eaten inside by the garden but not taken trains; go figure it. I like to tell you a bit more about Atocha station in Madrid.

Atocha train station is one of the two terminus stations of the RENFE network in Madrid and the largest railway station in Spain. It is situated in the Atocha-Mediodía district, in the district of Arganzuela. It is at the same time a railway station of main lines ensuring the service of the south and west (Andalucia and Extremadura), East (Levant) and northeast (Aragon and Catalonia), especially the cities of Algeciras, Sevilla, Cordoba, Malaga, Zaragoza, Lleida, Barcelona and Valencia. It also serves as an international station (towards France), and as a suburban railway station (Cercanías trains), making the service of the southeast of the metropolitan area of Madrid.

Madrid

The building of the Atocha train station, built for the MZA Railway Company (Madrid – Zaragoza and Alicante), was inaugurated in 1851 under the name of Estacion del Mediodia (afternoon station). It was the first station in Madrid. A fire destroyed in large part of the structure, which was rebuilt in iron from 1888 to 1892. It is considered a masterpiece of 19C railway architecture. In 1992, it was added with a garden of 4 000 m² with 7 000 trees and plants, including large palm trees, in the old train hall. The station’s metal and glass structure covering the platforms made its easy to use it as a greenhouse with ponds. And the trees are about 260 different species from America, Asia, and Australia.

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Madrid

It is connected to the station of Chamartin by the tunnel of the Risa (laugh) which was recently doubled by a new tunnel of the Risa II to ungorge the first which arrived at saturation. It crosses the center of Madrid and it is gap for the circulation of the commuter train of the capital. At Atocha is the arrival point of the high-speed trains (AVE) coming from Sevilla-Santa Justa, Malaga, Lleida, Barcelona ,Valencia and Alicante as well as from Toledo. The railway services are operated by the National company, RENFE but the management of the station as the   ticket sales is ensured by ADIF.

Madrid

The Renfe (national rail company of Spain) site in English is here: RENFE trains of Spain

The regulating authority of ADIF is here in English on Atocha: ADIF on Atocha Madrid

There are at the Puerta de Atocha platforms 1 to 15, numbered from left to right as you look towards the trains.Immediately on the east side of the 15 high-speed terminus platforms which constitute Puerta de Atocha, there are 10 through platforms one level below ground referred to as Atocha-Cercanías. Atocha-Cercanías platforms are numbered 1 to 10 from left to right as you look south. If you arrive in the Puerta de Atocha terminus platforms as all AVE trains ( high speed trains) and most other mainline trains do, you need to go up the escalators onto the arrivals footbridge then through the long arrivals passageway to the arrivals exit.There are luggage lockers (Consigna) in the northeast corner of the old trains , past the Burger king restaurant. Thedags are X-rayed just inside the entrance before being deposited. The main Sala Club at Madrid Atocha is open 05h15-21h30; Mondays-Saturdays, 06h-21h30 Saturdays & Sundays, with complimentary tea, coffee, snacks & beer as well as free WiFi. It is located inside the main high-speed train departures area on the first floor.Trains to and from Lisbon and northern Spain usually use Madrid Chamartin station in the north of the city.  The trains south to Sevilla, Granada, Malaga leave from Madrid Atocha station.  Metro line 1 links Atocha to Chamartin stations, but it’s easier and faster to transfer between stations by frequent suburban(Cercanias) train as this is just a handful of stops, just look for the orange and white ‘C’ logo.

Madrid

The station is serve by metro line 8 as well as buses 351,352, and 353, taxis available in bunches outside the station . The airport bus 200 as well as the Express airport bus 203 stops here.

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Madrid

Facing the main entrance of the station, a memorial commemorates the terrorist attacks of 11 March 2004. In a cylindrical and translucent form, it includes the names of the victims and the reproductions of texts deposited on the spot by passersby.

The tourist office of Madrid has more in English on Atocha station here: Tourist office of Madrid on Atocha

Hope you visited it, its unique in Madrid. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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September 18, 2018

Off the beaten paths of Madrid, AZCA!

And back at you with Madrid, well this is September , my birthday month and I am feeling nostalgic ::) The weather helps as sunny warm humid , and leaves fallen off the trees with shades of colors , Autumn is coming up.

I like to tell you about a place very known to me ,but seldom visit because it is off the Centro tourist center of Madrid; but a great place to get to know the other Madrid in off the beaten path zone. Let me tell you a bit about AZCA!

In my later life I came here many times because it is where the 1) hotel closest to Santiago Bernabeu stadium I stayed, 2) a huge dept store El Corte Inglés is near, 3) The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium of Real Madrid, my team ok, 4) the nearest point from Nuevo Ministerios metro stop coming for a long or quick stop from the airport, and 5) because it is home of MODA shopping center.

Now a bit about AZCA.

AZCA ,Mixed Association of compensation of the zone A of the commercial zone of the Avenue of the Generalissimo (current Paseo de la Castellana), or in Spanish Asociación Mixta de Compensación de la Manzana A de la Zona Comercial de la Avenida del Generalísimo is a financial and business district of Madrid . It is a rectangular superblock of 19 hectares of area composed of office buildings between the streets of Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, Orense, General Perón and Paseo de la Castellana. Also, within the scope are the squares of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Carlos Trías Beltrán and Manuel Gómez Moreno.  It has several tall buildings or towers such as Torre Picasso, Building of BBVA ,and the Torre Europa.  In it, there is a huge department store of the chain El Corte Inglés (see my post on them).

Its original conception ,and its name was approved in 1946; was finally won by architects in 1954 that were inspired by the Rockefeller Center New York. Their total and final approval did not occur until 1964. At the end of 1968 the urbanization of the area began, as well as the beginning of the construction of the first building on land belonging to the El Corte Inglés dept store. The last plot of land to be built was also of the El Corte Inglés in 2000.

The shape square or manzana like apple in Spanish of AZCA has a practically rectangular shape, with dimensions of approximately 618 x 305 meters and an area of almost 19 hectares; inside this area under the ground is a ring of circulation that communicates and facilitates the traffic of the streets around it.

Some of the buildings of note are;

Torre Picasso, 5th highest building in Madrid and 10th highest building in Spain. Torre Europa is the 7th tallest building in Madrid and houses offices of different companies.  The Castellana 81, under the building runs the tunnel of the railway, therefore, the entire structure supports two large pilasters of concrete on horseback on both sides. Torre Titania , the first six plants house the El Corte Inglés dept store and the rest is the headquarters of Ernst & Young Spain. It occupies the site of the Windsor building, destroyed after a fire in 2005.  The Mahou Tower, 17th highest in Madrid is the headquarters of Mutua Madrileña insurance company.

MAdrid

In the early 2010-16 there were some concerned about security here especially at night but lately security has been reinforce and new renovations of buildings have taken place.  The issue of insecurity, during the first quarter of 2016, 55 security cameras managed by the Municipal police were installed. The store Zara opened in April 2017 its largest store in Spain occupying 5000 m² in Castellana 79. Since  October 2014 has been celebrating a street food festival, Madreat, in the gardens of AZCA until 2016;now looking to see how the trucks can come here after the renovations, but nice to know about Food Trucks in Madrid here: http://www.madreat.org/

Parking Hotel Holiday InnBernabéu  at 5 minutes on foot from the Stadium Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid) and  7 minutes on foot from  AZCA . It has direct access to the hotel (my usual hotel for games when not staying with family) access pedestrian and vehicule by  Avenida del General Perón, 34. The hotel webpage: http://www.hotelmadridhi.com/en/index.html

MAdrid

The nearest metro station is Nuevos Ministerios line 8 that also connects to the airport, and Santiago Bernabéu  Line 10 (by the stadium of Real Madrid), and bus numbers 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 147 and 150 will also take you here too.

Madrid

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

AZCA association for the enhancement of the place in Spanish

Tourist office of Madrid on AZCA complex

As it goes for shopping ,and we love it. We have come here ever since it was open in 1988.  The shopping mall Moda (en. fashion) is located in the area of modern Madrid, in the heart of AZCA, just between the emblematic buildings of Torre Picasso and Torre Europa very close to the Congress Palace and the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

MAdrid

This is very chic shopping with some big names in a grand modern building with many glass windows and a nice inner patio to unwind the walks in the city. The shopping is super; you can come into the mall by several street entrances such as Paseo de la Castellana,95, Calle Orense 22-24 in the Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn, and Calle del General Péron, 38-40. The Plaza Carlos Trias Bertràn is the easier entrance to the Holiday Inn hotel above.

You have classic eateries here, we love the Biaci,Mallorca Cafe , and Casa Carmen. As stores well the Chocolate Factory, Juancho Lujans, and Via Venetto. Vale chicos/as.

The official webpage is here: Moda Shopping Mall at AZCA

Hope you enjoy this unusual post ::)

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) 6.32.68.82.26. or on www.evasion-canine.fr

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) 6.13.63.44.83.  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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