Archive for November, 2018

November 30, 2018

The jewels of Paris, Intercontinental Hotels!

I believe I have mentioned this briefly in my many posts on Paris since 2010 ::) However, I have not written a post on them alone. It could be a short post or long, the bottom line I have great memories of these hotels and would like to share it.

Intercontinental Hotel or l’Inter (now the Westin Paris) on rue Castiglione near the Tuileries garden,  and the Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental and its wonderful Café de la Paix by the Opéra Garnier. Now, there is another one call the Marceau. 

The newest one is at 64 Avenue Marceau, and the webpage is:

So why I have good memories of it and always will remember them? Well , I used to worked in them, and was in charge of all intercontinental hotels including Cannes, and the Holiday Inn hotels in France own outright by the group Intercontinental Hotels Group. Two wonderful years bouncing from one to the other in an top management position in the Accounting dept.

I went thru wonderful Christmas parties for the employees, to welcoming and meeting some of the famous and known such as U2, Condoleezza Rice , Sec of state USA; Stéphane Bern , French actor, presenter and many many more. Working with the upper class of the French nobility including Princess Napoléon, to the marquis and dukes of France; and the famous brands who held many events in the hotels from Louis Vuitton, to Chanel, to the fabulous Fashion Weeks of Paris.

Funny stories from how to keep famous groups in the hotel because the money was late in arriving, to doing special invoicing for Louis Vuitton and Sanofi pharma group; to helping with the princesses and prince of the Middle East; and of course helping my colleagues from serving as English/French  translator for the film crew from South Korea (needed to spent a night in the hotel ,junior suite looking at the Eiffel tower!); and helping out the expat community on providing free host in the great salon (historical monuments of France) for charitable events (raising funds for the hurricane Katrina of New Orleans LA USA fame).


The Intercontinental Paris-Le Grand webpage is here:

and it’s wonderful cafe Café de la Paix is here:

The ceilings of the Café de la Paix were done by Charles Garnier of the opera fame and many others, they are historical monument of France and the intricate work you see, has even more value than those in the hotels. You do not have to eat in to just past in and see the ceiling.


The Le Grand hotel at the corner of 2 rue Scribe,and 12 blvd des Capucines, has a wonderful bar with leather sofa seats and piano music to soothe your soul in Paris. It ,also, has a great I-Spa by Algotherm. La Verriére is a wonderful garden style bistro with a great glass cupola right in the middle of the hotel. It was built between 1861 and 1862 for the coming of the Universal Exposition of 1867. The palace hotel was opened in great pomp by the Emperatrice Eugénie as well as the Café de la Paix in May 1862 ( soon to have 155 yrs old). The salon a historical monument of France here is call Salon Opéra and on the side is facing the Opéra Garnier!


My offices were in the mezzanine section off the general public but we needed to walk into the public areas unassumed and enjoy the beauty ::)

The HQ handling all the hotels was at the Intercontinental Paris or affectionally called L’Inter. It was at the corner of the streets 3 rue de Castiglione and rue Rivoli. It opened in 1878 as the Hôtel Continental. It was built at the lot of the old Ministry of Finances burned in the uprisings of 1871 ; the Grand Dukes of Russia stayed here each time passing by Paris.  The hotel was renamed  the Inter-Continental Paris in the 1970’s then the The Westin Paris in 2005 ,and now call the The Westin Paris -Vendôme from  2010. The historical monument of France here is call Salon Napoléon.



It ,also has a Spa, Six Senses, and great bar ;these are Le First, and Le Terrace under the cupola in the garden center of the hotel; but my favorite and always around here was Le Tuileries Bar ,very cozy sofas and great drinks, taking you back to the 19C: more on it here:


The offices were again in the mezzanine area off the general public but we could walk all over, and I did as my job will take me to see the restaurants/bar personnel as well as the rooms. The walks between the l’Inter and Le Grand were sublime passing by the Place Vendôme into the Place de l’Opéra!!  Many of the colleagues working in non management positions are still there as well as some who have move up to management position now. A good bunch of people.

One other IHG property I was responsible for was in Cannes, the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in the Croisette! I visited there,and knew all the management staff;some came over to Paris later on. A rich history as well since 1913 as the Carlton Hotel catering to rich and noble Russians from the Grand Duke down. In 1922 the first league of United Nations was held here,and the film Festival of Cannes was done here in 1939.  The Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief was done here in 1954, and Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco had it as almost her personal residence. It became as we know it today in 1982 when the IHG took majority interest.

In all, in those early years of 2004-2006, I was, also, responsible for the Holiday Inn -pl de la République in Paris (now a Crown plaza hotel), and the Holiday Inn Disneyland ,who of course, I not only visited on business but also stayed with the family while going to Disneyland Paris(the hotel is now call the Vienna House Magic Circus Hotel).

Those days were good and the ambiance fantastic, I always stayed now in these hotels even in other visited abroad like the Intercontinental Castellana in Madrid, or the Athenatum in Athens Greece or the Intercontinental Dusseldorf in Germany. And many Holiday Inns all over.

As to why the journey was over, well as it happened in our world, I and all the management class was dismissed when our employment contract was held at the l’Inter and it was sold to a pension fund from Singapore ,who in turn gave the management to the Starwood chain, and they decided to change the name to the Westin along with dismissing the management personnel on a nice transaction deal in my belle France.  The package was nice, the leaving was hard ,even today I missed the ambiance, the friends, the place.

And now that you know from where I am coming from, well do stay there, eat there, drink there, is a Paris France institution and worth the detour for all.

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

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November 30, 2018

Some news from France CCXI

And back with the latest news from my belle France. Times are going fast and the season to be most merrier is coming upon us. There are plenty of good cheers around us and lots of hope for those on the recovery hill. Let me tell you some good news for a change!

Ten million!!! The Louvre is guaranteed to beat, by the end of December 2018, its annual record, for the time set at 9.7 million visitors in 2012, foreign tourists have returned. Massively, Americans (about 1 million) and Chinese (800 000) in the lead. From January 5th, 2019 ,the Louvre will launch a free Nocturne (night opening) on the first Saturday of each month, from 18h to 22h. These twelve Saturday evenings in 2019 will replace the current gratuity of six Sundays a year, whose studies show that they do not benefit the family public that the Louvre wants to attract. Another innovation of these Saturday Nocturnes: if the wings Sully and Denon will be in free access, it will be necessary to book online-free (registrations from December 10 2018) to visit the Richelieu Wing, which houses the antiquities of Mesopotamia, the Art objects or French paintings.  More here: Official Louvre Museum Paris

The traditional Christmas market of the magic of Auteuil (16éme arrondissement or district of Paris) comes from December 1st to 9th, 2018. Shopping, terroir, shows and exhibition for the whole family. This Christmas market offers you both traditional gastronomy (foie gras, wines, champagne, macaroons…), Christmas decoration (fir trees, Santas de Provence) and creations in a creative space (leather goods, jewelers, confectionery, soaps…) ! Ideal for those who are looking for their Christmas gifts. An oyster bar for the most greedy!  An exhibition of about thirty crèches carried out by the young apprentices of Auteuil.  Concerts, fanfares, children’s shows, pony rides, organized on weekends for the enjoyment of all.  Antique rides, flea market, but also a magic show on Wednesdays.  Gourmet Cottages held by young apprentices in catering, to warm us up with specialties of festivities. More here:

In my dear beloved Versailles, since this past Thursday night. For the first time, the Place d’Armes and the three avenues constituting the famous trident are illuminated. Avenue de Paris, Avenue de Sceaux, and Avenue de Saint Cloud.

This Saturday and Sunday December 1-2  2018, the Domaine of Madame Elisabeth (sister of Louis XVI), 73 Avenue de Paris in Versailles will welcome the Christmas counter with, on the program, a nice selection of animations.  Local creators and producers, original and refined gifts, tastings and onsite dining, children’s Animations: Christmas carols, Merry-go-round, magician, Photo Studio… Creative workshops for young and old, staging showing the rooms of the Domaine, and illuminations. Note that the Christmas counter will be open on Saturdays from 14h to 22h30 and Sunday from 10h to 18h. More here: City of Versailles on Christmas 2018

At Cergy (Val d’Oise dept 95). In the city center you will enjoy for Christmas the show Noël O’Merveilles from December 15-16 2018. One of the towns of my crossing in the Paris region very fond of it with nice memories.More here:

Sadly, in Maisons-Laffitte, France Galop announces the closing of the racecourse at the end of 2019. Which is distinguished by the longest straight line (2,000 meters) in Europe.  While it is now designed so that 1,500 horses can train at the same time, less than 500 are there today with a deficit of 119 million euros.  France Gallop, has other racecourses such at Longchamp, Auteil, Saint-Cloud, Chantilly ,and Deauville.

The Grandes Écuries du domaine de Chantilly are launching this weekend December 1-2 2018 their new equestrian creation for the winter « Le songe d’une nuit d’hiver ». midwinter nights dreams until January 6 2019. More here:

The current floating guinguette of the Invalides will be replaced by the end of the year by her sister, Rosa 2. The boat will continue its festive life in the west, at the Rosa Bonheur in Asnières-sur-Seine, the last smaller inaugurated this summer. We look forward to discovering the improved version of one of our favorite Parisian guinguettes! A building that is rounded, with a metal structure carrying a glass envelope to remind the canopy of the Grand Palais, and in grey tones to integrate with the mineral framework of the banks of the Seine. A superior bridge to enjoy the summer evenings in  the winds. Bright Spring! Rosa Bonheur sur Seine port des Invalides, Quai d’orsay 7éme arrondissement. More here :

Carsten Höller did it. Candidate to reinvent Paris II, the Ymagis group and the famous artist offer you a visual art center accessible by giant slides in the place of the old parking lot of the Grenier Saint-Lazare. Want to move quickly, surely and efficiently. Oh, it is not a leisure park but a work signed by the German artist Carsten Höller. Located in the place of the old parking lot of the Grenier-Saint-Lazare, this 72-seat underground parking lot has not welcomed any cars since 2014. The city of Paris has therefore decided to redevelop the 6 levels of 2 200 m2 (just that). The program therefore: two giant interlaced slides that plunge into the guts of Paris 18 meters deep! The venue houses 600 m2 of work and post-production spaces for feature films and series as well as 300 m2 of contemporary art exhibition spaces. And bonus: elevator/lifts and metal staircases are designed to rise to the surface. To be continue see photo rendition and credit.

New appointment, the Ciné Gaumont les Fauvettes offers you every first Sunday of the month a Ciné-Brunch. Starting Sunday, December 2nd. Brunch is a must for weekends, as is the movies. So to feast on all the plans, we found you a ciné-brunch at Gaumont les Fauvettes. The program: A surprise movie to discover in preview followed by a delicious brunch! The recipe in sum ups  a perfect Sunday. Ciné-Brunch Gaumont Les Fauvettes, 58, avenue des Gobelins  13éme arrondissement of Paris from 10h30  to 13h30 . More info here:

Boulogne-Billancourt, visual of the île de Seguin. In the center of the island, the Vivendi group will settle between the Seine Musicale  and the future cultural and artistic pole carried by the Emerige group. After several years of litigation, Mayor’s office and associations negotiated a protocol paving the way for future developments of the old Renault site .

There you go , now come on over, eternal Paris has patient it is waiting for you and yours. Bienvenue!

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

November 30, 2018

My best 1-2 punch of restaurants in Paris! Gare and Paix!!!

So will go into uncharted waters here as usually just post in a general sense about places to eat in France. However, these two restaurants have a lot of history, mines too! They are my sentimental all time favorites places to drink and eat while in Paris for many years ,and still do stop by when visiting.

My fav in Paris , La Gare, this superb restaurant of the 16éme district or arrondissement of Paris, which was once the train station of Passy- la Muette running on the  Auteuil line and the Petite Ceinture.  It has been totally transformed and it is my favorite spot in Paris for a drink or eating; already taken many visitor friends here including those from defunct travel forum like VT. A wonderdul oasis in Paris in the chic 16 district near the Monet Marmottan museum.just behind it passing the jardin du Ranelagh. Bear in mind it is again under renovation to open later in 2018 see the link below.



The beautiful staircases whose walls are gilded with gold leaf to access the spectacular room that hosts the restaurant. Giant columns, design glass chandeliers, light canopy, large brass mirrors and 18C wall decor of the Maison Zuber: The place is remarkable. The sensation of grandeur reminds us of the first function of this space an old train station of the Petite Ceinture.


In a timeless place, come and ask yourself to have a coffee in the summer garden or to dine in the huge restaurant under canopy, extended with a beautiful terrace of 500 m2 of surface and 185 seats. Hallucinating of space, height of ceiling, walls in red brick, this is what makes the interest of this place to the clientele very 16éme-West Parisian!


When you go down the stairs to get to the quays and now dining room!, the place reveals a huge restaurant of 1 000m2 , revisited in a colonial style with vintage furniture. One has the impression, going down the steps, to be aboard the Titanic and its huge restaurant less thinking of the sinking but rather the train. Chic and refined atmosphere, pretty mural paintings and period columns contribute to the displacement.


At the bottom of the room, we discover a beautiful terrace in the quiet, which will make your happiness on the days of good weather. Regarding the menu, the restaurant offers French cuisine to the most famous revisited. Located at 19 chaussée de la Muette metro line 9 La Muette out and turn left you see the restaurant ahead of you. Open every day and a delicious all you can eat Brunch on Sundays.

More on this wonderful icon of Paris is on the following webpages as usual to help you plan your trip here…

Official Restaurant La Gare

Tourist office of Paris on La Gare

Yelp for reviews as in my blog roll

Another of my fav places in Paris is the  Cafe de la Paix in the quartier or neighborhood of Chaussée-d’Antin in the 9éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Close to the Opéra Garnier, it is located on the corner of the 5 Place de l’Opéra and the 12 Boulevard des Capucines. . The Café de la Paix opened its doors in 1862. It was then the Cafe restaurant of the Grand Hotel de la Paix. In 1896, film projections are organized. In 2002, the Café de la Paix is renovated.



It was built in the purest Napoleon III style, on the ground floor of a luxurious Haussmann building, which now houses the InterContinental Paris le Grand Hotel (former Hotel de la Paix, then Grand Hotel). It is one of my previous job in Paris in management and always with fond memories of it, visit now for the old days sake and friends still there.


The imperialists (emperor) gathered at the Café de la Paix, on the Boulevard des Capucines, which then received the nickname of Boulevard de l’île d’Elba.

One could not choose a more beautiful location, as a meeting place, than the Café de la Paix, in one of the splendid buildings built during the reign of Napoleon III, this property is decorated with a great luxury. Painted ceilings, moldings, elegant columns, superb chandeliers, huge glazes concealing the walls, it is a wonderful palace where everyone can enter. Beside rises the immense mass of the opera; Opposite, on the other side of the boulevard, you will open the Avenue de l’Opéra, which stops at the place du Théâtre-Français, and the Rue de la Paix, built by the leader of the Imperial dynasty. At the end of this road, place Vendôme. Where we can see the column of Austerlitz.. Everything in this neighborhood recalls the memories of the two empires; Instinctively as much as in taste, Napoleon’s friends and supporters will walk there, reminding of the great past and future hopes.


One sees the Café de la Paix in the cartoon movie The Aristocats.

Again, some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Café de la Paix

Tourist office of Paris on Café de la Paix

Yelp on reviews as in my Blog Roll

And, there you go ,if you come to Paris and want to experience the real Parisian feel in historical surrounding with great company and food, then by all means these two should be in your list. And not to worry about Michelin, these can beat any there in my opinion, there are just too refined for the list…..!

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

November 29, 2018

Galeries Lafayette, Paris of course!

Now, let me tell you about a store , a story , history and chic beauty of what France is all about. You have come here I am sure one time or another, we all have. I came here way back in my first encounter with Paris in 1972,and been back ever since, even a cardholder.

I like to tell a bit on the Galeries Lafayette, that beacon of French fashion and department store à la Française.

Galeries Lafayette is a brand of department stores belonging to the Galeries Lafayette Group. The flagship store is at Bd Haussmann in Paris.

The description and style is a must to visit and enjoy it. It was my first dept store visit in Paris even back in 1972 and has been our favorite, I am a card carrying member and do shop even online! Paris chic at its best ,even if some tells you tourists are many but that is because they go to the main store in bd Haussmann, and you go elsewhere you will tell the French do shop there too ::)

The ramp style of the main staircase is directly inspired by that of the Opéra de Paris. Overlooking the store at 43 meters in height, the huge dome built in 1912 of the main hall becomes the emblem of Galeries Lafayette. Its neo-Byzantine-style stained glass windows allow the rays of the sun to pass through the Great Hall in a warm light. The first vocation of Galeries Lafayette has always been the alliance of fashion and novelty. To do this, it acquires production units in order to create its own brand of clothing. It later made sewing pieces at the forefront of fashion in order to sell them at prices much more affordable than its chic competitors. It democratized the access to fashion and made its stores the indispensable address not only of the bourgeoises of Paris, but also of the sewing workers. The aisles such as “men’s clothing”, “interior decoration”, “Toys” and “Table art” are added to the classic aisles dedicated to women’s clothing. And for maximum loyalty, annual appointments are established with customers, such as the famous “3d”, created in 1958 and allowing to acquire current and good quality items at unusually low prices for three days. The department store subsequently hosts prestigious events by presenting creators or major artists of our time. In order to strengthen its link with fashion but also with the creation of all kinds, the store opens the gallery of galleries, a space located on the first floor and free of access to all that highlights the intrinsic links that exist between the fashion , art and design. In 1951, Edith Piaf gave a concert in front of the galleries of Boulevard Haussmann where is inaugurated the highest escalator in Europe!


And the story I like is….

Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn joined in 1893 to take over a new store and open their first store in 1894 at 1, rue La Fayette in a room of 70 m2 which they call les Galeries. Both are Alsatian Jewish traders coming from the world of confection, while their competitors Boucicaut, creator of the Bon Marché, or Jaluzot, founder of Au Printemps, were previously sellers in stores. Their store (now the “Galeries Lafayette Haussmann”) initially 70 m² grew as it went along with the purchase of the entire building three years after its opening. The store is then renamed Galeries Lafayette. In 1905, the buildings of 38, 40 and 42 Boulevard Haussmann, as well as the 15 rue de la Chaussée D’Antin, are also acquired.

After the 1940 debacle, Galeries Lafayette underwent a “aryanisation” treatment: Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store’s administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families are dispossessed of their property. Protected by the Nazis, the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol led the whole group Les Galeries Lafayette. Heilbronn and Meyer then engage in the French resistance and they were arrested by the Gestapo, then deported to Buchenwald, Max Heilbronn returned to France in April 1945. After many clandestine activities, Raoul Meyer took an important part in the liberation of Paris in 1944. As a result, a special board of Directors of Galeries Lafayette meets on September 20, 1944, Aubert and Harlachol are returned and Galeries Lafayette handed over to Raoul Meyer, hoping for the return of Max Heilbronn. In the meantime, Théophile Bader had died in Paris in 1942, paralyzed and despoiled of his property. Today, the Galeries Lafayette are the last French department store led by the direct descendants of its founder!!!

A bit of the spread of the group: Since 2014, Galeries Lafayette have been developing an offer of destocking with Galeries Lafayette Outlet stores, which today number eight in France. There is a total of 54 stores in France. The next project is for the 52-60, avenue des Champs-Elysées, which houses a monoprix and until 2013 a Virgin Megastore, was bought in 2012 by Qatar and Groupama. It is renovated from 2016 in order to welcome in 2018 a store of Galeries Lafayette in place of the Virgin. Outside of France you have stores in Berlin, opened in 1996, the first abroad. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Open in 2009. Jakarta, Indonesia: Opened in June 2013. Beijing, People’s Republic of China: opened in 2013, Istanbul, Turkey and forthcoming openings in Doha, Qatar; Luxembourg, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China, Kuwait City, in Kuwait. and Milan, Italy.


And the future is bright!

The Galeries Lafayette are preparing to hire. And not just a little. The group of department stores launches a large recruitment campaign in this month of September 2018 to hire 700 people in permanent jobs, reveals Le Parisien.newspaper. The group will indeed in the next few months open two department stores in Paris. First a point of sale of 6500 m² under the Galeries Lafayette on the Champs Elysées (see above) in lieu of the former Virgin Megastore for which she seeks 400 people. Then a large Italian specialty store called Eataly. Located in the Marais district, this store for which Galeries lafayette are looking for 300 people is the first of its kind in France. It is an Italian brand that the French group will exploit in France. Eataly will offer a large restoration area that should serve 2500 covered per day. Both stores are to be opened between the first and second quarter 2019.


my boys on Virgin, the future Galeries Lafayette on C-E

Some webpages to help you visit and enjoy this icon of Paris are

Official Galeries Lafayette

Official Galeries Lafayette Group

Tourist office of Paris on Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

In all , a wonderful experience that I have not even gone into the top floor terrace and restaurant and the soon to come Christmas 2018 celebrations. Awesome a must to visit, Galeries Lafayette.


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



November 29, 2018

Trading in Paris! Bourse de Commerce.

So here I am humid rainy cold windy day and night as I write. Rather mild temps around 12C or 55F thus. We are clearly into Autumn and Mr Winter is calling. I am cruising end of the month routine.

I like to bring you to light another wonderful building in Paris seldom seen yet I know it well in business and very few pictures allow. Let me tell you about the Bourse de Commerce or Trade exchange house of Paris.

The Bourse de Commerce de Paris is a circular plan building topped by a dome located on Rue de Viarmes, in the neighborhood of the Halles of the 1éme arrondissement or district of Paris.


A bit of history I like

At the approximate location where the Bourse de Commerce or trading stock market is today was the hotel de Soissons, which belonged to Jean II of Nesles at the beginning of the 13C. Having no heirs, he gave in 1232 the property to Saint Louis, who offered it to his mother, Blanche of Castile, to make it her residence. Philippe le Bel, who inherited it, offered it in 1296 to his brother, Charles de Valois. The hotel then passed to the son of the latter, Philippe de Valois, who gave it to Jean of Luxembourg, son of the emperor Henry VII of the Holy Roman Empire and himself King of Bohemia.

His daughter, Bonne of Luxembourg, heiress of the hotel in 1327, married Prince Jean de Normandie, the future king of France under the name of Jean Le Bon. Their son, Charles, ceded it to Amédée VI of Savoy in 1354. He then took part in Louis, Duke of Anjou and son of King Jean. His widow, Marie de Blois, sold it in 1388 to Charles VI, who offered it to his brother Louis, duke of Touraine and Orléans.

On the proceedings of the confessor of King Charles VIII, Jean Tisseran, he created in 1498, in part of the hotel, a convent of the repented daughters while the rest of the buildings were shared between the constable and the Chancellor of the Duke of Orléans.

From 1572, Catherine de Medici suddenly abandoned the palace of the Tuileries, which she had built and acquired a hotel called Albret, consisting of various mansions that adjoined the convent. She settled there and began the development of what was to become the Hôtel de la Reine or Queen’s Hotel. The Queen Mother bought from 1572 the buildings surrounding the hotel of Albret to integrate them into her residence. The property thus obtained did not suffice to her needs, she obtained the convent of the repented daughters by exchanging it against that of Saint Magliore, property which she owned at Rue Saint-Denis. The space thus cleared became the vast garden which extended to the Rue de Grenelle (today rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau). The fluted astronomical column, also known as the Medici column, 31 meters high, is the only surviving vestige of this hotel. It was raised from 1574 in one of the angles of the courtyard which gave on the rue des Deux Ecus. In 1601, after long succession problems related to the debts accumulated by Catherine de Medici, the heirs of the Queen ceded the hotel to Catherine de Bourbon, sister of Henri IV. On the death of the latter, it was acquired by Charles de Bourbon, Count of Soissons, who gave it his name. The latter died in 1612 and his wife, Anne de Montafié, Countess of Soissons, continued to acquire many properties around the hotel until 1644 date of her death. The hotel de Soissons then showed its appearance and its final look. It then passed to her daughter, Marie de France, wife of Thomas of Savoy, Prince of Carignan. Their son Emmanuel-Philibert inherited it, then his successor Victor Amédée de Savoie, Prince de Carignan, in 1718.

This latter establishes in the hotel, in 1720, the Paris stock Exchange. Ruined by Law’s bankruptcy, he had to sell the property in 1740. The prevost of Paris bought the land and destroyed the buildings in 1748. The column, sold separately, was acquired by Louis Petit de Cachaumont who then donated it to the city of Paris.

France built in 1763 its wheat market, on the banks of the Seine: two concentric galleries, open on the outside by twenty-four arcades, and surmounted by a vast vaulted attic. The building becomes the Bourse de Commerde of Paris or trade exchange in 1885. Before this date it was held at the Palais Brongniart (see post on it) . The ensemble was inaugurated on September 24, 1889. The city of Paris transferred ownership of the building to the Chamber of Commerce, for a symbolic French Franc in 1949.

Almost all of the monument is now occupied by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris which manages it and proposes, in particular, services to the creation of enterprises, the center of formality of companies and numerous proposals to support small businesses. Exhibitions are held regularly in the space under the dome.

However, in 2016, the businessman François Pinault and the Mayor of Paris announced the departure of the Chamber of Commerce and the installation and presentation of a part of the art collections of Mr Pinault, managed hitherto by what was presented as a Foundation Pinault, in the circular building.   The foundation intends to propose   a multidisciplinary programming, with numerous experiences at the crossroads of the visual arts, music, theatre, literature and cinema. The official end of the work is scheduled for December 17, 2018 and the opening to the public start 2019. More info here: Foundation Pinault

Brief Description of the Bourse de Commerce:

The monumental entrance opens with a portico, located to the west of the building facing the Rue du Colonel-Driant, summoned by a pediment carried by four fluted Corinthian columns, which surmount three allegorical figures, representing the city of Paris flanked by Abundance and Trade.   The interior is decorated with painted panels representing characters symbolizing the four cardinal points, and monumental frescoes evoking the history of trade between five parts of the World ,America, Russia and the North, Asia, and Africa as well as Europe.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Paris on the Bourse de Commerce

City of Paris on the Bourse de Commerce

Another wonderful building in my eternal Paris. Indeed hope you enjoy it.

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


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November 28, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXI

And why not some latest news from my beloved Spain. On another cloudy cool day at 12C in my Breton woods and colder in Madrid at 8C this morning but sunny. Let’s get into the Spanish mood!

We talk about old in some countries, well Spain has some very old buildings and some very famous. Let me give the oldest from youngest to oldest below

The Alhambra of Granada (year 1238): Let’s start with the Alhambra, the military fortress built in Granada since the year 889, although until 1238 would not be remodeled to fix the royal residence. After the reconquest, the Catholic monarchs demolished part of the building to establish the palace of Charles V and the beauty salon of the Queen.

University of Salamanca (year 1218): Let us go to the University of Salamanca, inaugurated in 1218, becoming the oldest university in Spain and one of the longest-lived in Europe. During the Spanish Golden Age it became a national benchmark, being the most prestigious and famous in the country.

Cathedral of Leon (year 1205): The Cathedral of León is one of the great Gothic-style works of our country. The one we know today is raised on a primitive that was built on Roman baths.

Giralda of Sevilla (year 1195):  With 823 years, the Giralda in Seville has become one of the oldest buildings in Spain and for several years was one of the highest in Europe with its 95 meters high. The tower was built by the Muslims during their stay in the city and later, after the conquest of Seville, the highest part of the belfry was modeled making it grow more than 10 meters.

Alcazar de Segovia (year 1155): In 1155, the Alcazar of Segovia is the first time that it appears quoted with the denomination of Alcazar. Its functions were first fortress, then Royal State prison and later College of Artillery and historical military archives. As a curiosity, Walt Disney was inspired by this Alcazar to create the famous Snow White Castle.

Mosque of Cordoba (year 987): And you come to the mosque of Cordoba. Built in the year 987 and with 23,400 square meters inside, it was the second largest mosque in the world after Mecca, only being reached later by the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul. After the Christian reconquest of the city of Córdoba, it was consecrated as a Cathedral.

Santa Maria del Naranco, Asturias (year 848): Now we arrived at Santa María del Naranco, an old palace located four km from Oviedo, on Mount Naranco. It was not originally projected as a church, but was the Royal classroom of King Ramiro I. The building is divided into two floors and completely vaulted, being one of the most significant Romanesque constructions in Europe.

Tower of Hercules, Galicia (1C AD): The Tower of Hercules has become a symbol of La Coruña since its construction in the 1C. The tower has the privilege of being the only Roman lighthouse and the oldest in operation in the world. With 36 meters initially and with 57 today, it is one of the highest lighthouses in Spain.

Castro de Santa Tecla, Galicia (1C BC):  This village, located at 341 meters high in the vicinity of the Galician municipality of a Guarda, came to accomodate some 5,000 people during its epoch of greater splendor, back in the 1C AD year of which one of the Castros remains. In several of the stones of the mountain there are petroglyphs elaborated 2,000 years before the settlement was created.

Naveta des Tudons, Menorca (year 1000 BC): The Naveta des Tudons, located on the island of Menorca, is considered one of the oldest buildings in the world. Erected over the year 1000 BC and belonging to the talayotic culture, it was built as a funerary monument. In its construction no cement was used, only stones fitted together.

Let me tell you some delicious spots to eat rice in many forms in my beloved Spain. This is mine and/or my Spanish family’s favorites there

La Arrocieria de Picon ,Calle Las Sernas, 2. Picón, Ciudad Real. Castilla-La Mancha.  Opened at 2009 and the successor of the Picon Grill , the specialty of its dining rooms-250 squares-is the special mixed paella (17.80 euros), with chicken, prawn, Norway lobster, prawn, cuttlefish, squid, mussels, green bean, pepper and Garrofón More complete than the conventional mixed (14.80 euros). But there are more options, some interesting, like rice with black pudding from Burgos, apple and prawns. In addition, paella of the Labrador or cuttlefish, artichokes and garlic; Black Rice; Of the master with lobster or boletus, prawns and rib. Its menus (20 and 27 euros) incorporate a rice to choose from. When making the reservation, it is necessary to indicate which one will be taken..

El Arrosar Calle Salvador Cuyas, 10. Las Palmas, Gran Canarias. The menu of this Arrocería and seafood restaurant, opened in 1990, includes almost a score of options for all tastes (10 and 16 euros). It is noteworthy the rice of pork and vegetables lean and garlic tender and Choco. In addition, it dispatches several versions of paella (with combinations of rabbit, shellfish and vegetables), sweet rice (poultry and vegetables), broth (clams, prawns and fish of the day; also with lobster, Carabineros or cockle) and to carry although it is necessary to book with a couple of hours in advance.

Las Bairetas Prolongación calle Ramón y Cajar, s/n. Chiva, Valencia.  Owned by the Margós family , their rices are cooked in pine wood in a wide stay full of paella that the client can visit. Its menu adds a score of options (from 12.50 to 17.60 euros), with the Valencian paella as the star. But it is not the only one, also highlights the rice of duck and mushrooms; that of sausages and tender garlic; Boneless rabbit and mushrooms; that of Pollo Campero and red prawn; Crayfish, soft garlic and cuttlefish or cauliflower and dried cod. Another detail: The diner can choose any of the rices in a syrupy, broth or dry version.

La Bomba Bistrot Calle Pedro Muguruza, 5. Madrid.  Christophe Pais, gourmet of French origin who premiered as an innkeeper with the Bomba Rice Bar , plasma his good hand with rice in a section of the menu of his restaurant. They are made with the raw materials supplied by suppliers who select the country itself. Its menu usually contains four recipes (from 23 to 26 euros) and the most successful is the duck rice with leek and artichoke (in season, is added Níscalo). However, you should not forget curiosities like that to prepare the fumet of your vegetable rice are used 36 ingredients or that your rice of Carabineros is based on a recipe validated by the CIAL (Institute of Research in Food sciences, dependent on CSIC).

Paella by Rodrigo de la Calle Plaza de San Miguel, s/n. Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  The Arrocería of the chef of the  Greenhouse, open in summer, is a place of the renovated gastronomic market of San Miguel. Under non-stop schedule, a team of three or four people prepares live rice dishes in three fires made by Valencian artisans, as well as paellas. It uses rice Bombita by Torca, which they receive-freshly peeled-weekly: It is a small pump, able to absorb the broth of five times its weight. Its other secrets are a background made with kombu and chickpeas and Salmorreta (ñora with garlic and tomato), according to a recipe of its own. It usually has four dishes: Valencian paella; vegetables; Black rice (ration, 16 euros; tapas, 8 euros and tapas power, 15 euros) and the paella homage to Joël Robuchon, his best seller (ration, 20 euros; tapa, 10 euros and tapa power, 15 euros), which is almost an antichrist, as it adds chorizo!, following the elaboration of the French chef  died in August and worked with the Spaniard.

Samm , Calle Carlos Caamaño, 3. Madrid.  This family business specializes in cooking Levantina-which, in 1973, founded Vicente Asunción and María del Carmen (originally from Manises)-represents one of the great rice destinations of the capital. All are cooked prior to ordering, except the Senyoret, which is always available in this restaurant in the Madrid district of Chamartín and is made according to the recipe Alicante, with chunks of fish, cuttlefish and squid. It is served in a thin layer, in a paella with socarrat. Other rice dishes of the menu (from 22 to 25 euros per person) are black, with the same ingredients as that of the master but with fresh ink from the incorporated cuttlefish; Valencian Paella; vegetables; Baked rice in a clay casserole (only prepared for a minimum of four people) and meat and vegetable or fish broths.

Ventorrillo Murciano Calle de Tres Peces, 20. Madrid.  The Murcian Jose Maria Muñoz and the Cuban Ivette Martínez run this house in a small restaurant in the district of Lavapies (on whose facade, it looks like main name three fishes or tres peces ) ,where they dispatch Murcian cuisine with rice as protagonists of a not very extensive menu. Of course, despite the origin of its owner, the establishment does not serve rice in cauldron. Instead, you opt for the dry ones with good point (17.90 euros per person). Prepared and served in paella, their rices of vegetables are famous-with a choice of one hundred per cent vegetable (the Huertano), with rabbit, with ribs or with cod crumbs (the latter, known as widowed rice, its great specialty)-, apart from its combination of Carabineros with clams or prawns. Other dishes of his menu are the black rice, of Murcian sausage or Abanda.

A bit on the Arts:

It is said that Jaume Sabartés (Barcelona, 1881-Paris, 1968), poet and journalist, was someone submitted by Pablo Picasso, a kind of slave of the artist who assumed the role of Representative from 1935. Now, on the other hand, relationship that flourished among them is recognized as a history “of friendship and work”, embodied in the 700 letters that the painter sent to Sabartés between 1927 and 1967. Sabartés kept in his home a box containing the nearly 700 letters he had received from Picasso’s fist and handwriting. It was found after his death, in February 1968, with explicit instructions: the letters could not transcend until fifty years later. This year the anniversary is fulfilled and finally, Its legacy awakens to  the world. The exhibition ‘ Sabartés per Picasso per Sabartés ‘ sheds light on these unpublished jewels at the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.

Ok not really on Spain , but saw the article in El Mundo newspaper and is one of the great ones of cinema in my opinion; with one movie that stands out for me. RIP

Bernardo Bertolucci (Parma 1941-Rome 2018) marked a time when he knew how to build himself as one of the great spokesmen of a generation destined to change the world until it was trick, without hope. His life had marked direction,and he met Pier Paolo the end of the 1950’s, the poet of the ashes of Gramsci decided to go to the search for another language, passing to the film direction. As Accatone’s assistant, his first adventure behind the scenes, he chose the young Bernardo, who later stated that he felt during those months at the exact point of the refoundation of the seventh art.

He made his debut in 1962 with the Commare Secca , and later  Before the Revolution  (1964), where with the title summarizes its essence through the mythical phrase of Talleyrand “who has not lived the years before the revolution cannot comprehend the sweetness of living “.  He went on to of Sonadores or Dreamers ‘s (2003), minor film that would synthesize his last stage from ‘ Little Buddha ‘ (1993), when the ideas of his films showed a kind of nostalgia for an unrecoverable youth.  The Conformist  (1970). It has been two years of passing the French May68 and Bertolucci dares to narrate, from the sensational novel by Alberto Moravia, the existence of a normal man who wants to be confused between the mass, accept the precepts of society and renounce his individual freedom with such achievement. The Last Tango in Paris (1972) is now a bomb within another bomb with more lethal mechanisms than the crusher of Banksy. This happens because of polemics about butters, consents and answers of Trivial Pursuit that do not lead to generate any kind of consensus between fake news and sporadic ranting about. The truth is that The Last Tango in Paris, always with the last bull, gathers all the ingredients to be immortal from reason other than their intentions. On the other hand, if one observes its development, it is easy to define a masterpiece, and the ego of Bertolucci intended it. The scenario of the facts, the Bridge of Bir Hakeim, that iron bridge towards the orange portal of Jules Verne, passes from being a corner to be of all because the fiction has surpassed the reality, giving new meanings to it. And the reason took me to Paris back then for the first time in 1972! And part of the name of my blog!!!

Bertolucci made  Novecento (1976). Your six hours of footage are in another category. The beginning of that barbarism dazzles and narrows. The Last Emperor (1987) received many statuettes, but he has some of the genius that lowers his standards to fit the majority taste. Sick and in a wheelchair he still had stamina to give in 2012 You and I, adaptation of a novel by Niccolò Ammaniti. The cinema, and more in this drunken speed, is of the arts that can age worse. It will remain to have its ability to thread a recognizable seal by knowing how to pool the knowledge of its environment, to surpass it and to raise immortal subjects, valid then and now, from a background of humanism. While he was faithful to himself the epic was never on the heights.He will be remembered. RIP or QDEP.

And one more very important information. Madrid is going London, congestion fees or heavy fines a la Milan. Be aware of new automobile constraints entering Madrid starting from this Friday November 30th 2018. More info from my translation of El Confidencial newspaper.

The Madrid Central (centro=center) perimeter will group the four current residential priority areas (APR): Letras, Cortéss,Embajadores and Opera, and will add other areas of the center later on. There will be no streets of free movement and the perimeter is determined by the rounds and boulevards: The streets Alberto Aguilera, Glorieta de Bilbao, Plaza de Alonso Martínez, Plaza de Colón, Paseo de Recoletos, Paseo del Prado, ronda de Atocha, Ronda de Toledo, Ronda de Segovia, Calle Bailen , Plaza de España and Calle Princesa.  Access and free movement are restricted throughout the perimeter of Madrid Central with the exception of the following streets: Calle Santa Cruz de Mercenado (from Calle Serrano Jover to Calle Martires de Alcalá), Calle Martires de Alcalá (from Calle Santa Cruz de Marcenado to Calle Alberto Aguilera), Avenida Gran Vía de San Francisco, Bailen, Calle Algeciras, Cuesta Ramón, Calle Ventura Rodríguez (from Calle Princesa to Calle Duque de Liria), Calle Duque de Liria (from Calle Ventura Rodríguez  to Calle Princesa).  During the months of November and December an informative campaign is being developed. From January 2019 there will be  notices send to vehicles that are doing badly and from March 2019 will arrive the fines.

I have guests at home. Can you access and park? Right. Each registered  adult  of 16 years old will have 20 invitations of one day of duration per month to give access to vehicles of guests. The invitation given by the people registered is to reach Madrid Central, without limit of duration of the stay. Once they have access, for which they have permission, they will be able to park where they deem opportune. Any owner of a particular garage located in the area of Madrid Central will have permission to access a vehicle for parking in the same, regardless of the environmental label. The landlord owner of the garage must notify the City Council of the car registration plaque/number that makes use of that space.

Is it obligatory to carry the environmental label?  In fact, it will be obligatory to wear it at the end of April  24th, 2019 because the city Council gives a margin of six months for all cars to catch up. The important thing now will be the label that corresponds to your car. There are four types: B, C, ECO (hybrid) and zero (electrical). The B and C can access  Madrid Central without being registered if they leave their car in a parking garage/ lot. What you cannot do under any circumstances is to cross the perimeter of Madrid Central without entering a  parking garage/lot  nor can you park in the area being (blue or green).

Hotel users/guests, regardless of whether they are registered or not, can travel through Madrid Central and leave the car in the parking of the hotel. Foreign-registered vehicles , as they are not environmentally classified, must certify the potential contaminants of the vehicle. Depending on the category with which these vehicles are equal in Madrid, the corresponding access rules will be applied. If you already have an environmental label from another country, (yes I do for Paris lol!) you should ask the city council or the DGT (general directory of transports) which Spanish label your vehicle is equivalent to and you can know how you can move through the Madrid Central perimeter.

All (resident invitations, registration changes…) must be made via telematics in the profile of the user of Madrid Central that will be enabled in (city/town hall of Madrid). In the coming weeks, it is foreseeable that the consistory will provide more details and there could be some phone and some other way of communication. For the moment, it is best to stay with the  online way  that will be enabled on the Web. More here in Spanish: City of Madrid enviromental labels

There you go another bit of news from my Spain, everything under the Sun. Enjoy it

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




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November 28, 2018

My Montparnasse tower, Paris of course!

So once again on a nice cool humid Tuesday , and still some time off will remember another icon of my eternal Paris. I know it very well having my last work office nearby and now my entry point almost every month to Paris for the last several years. I will tell a bit more on the Tour Montparnasse.


The Tour Montparnasse tower, also known as the Maine-Montparnasse tower, is the highest skyscraper in Paris, located in the Necker neighborhood (quartier) of the 15éme district (arrondissement) of Paris. Its height, 209 meters was inaugurated in 1973. It is on the axis of the Boulevard de Vaugirard, at the limit with the 14éme arrondissement and specifically the quartier or neighborhood of Montparnasse from which it takes its name. The location is more exactly pinpoint as it is on the axis of Boulevard Edgar-Quinet and with the 6éme district on the axis of Rue de Rennes. It is part of the extension of the axis created by the Palais de Chaillot, the Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower, the Champ-de-Mars and the école militaire, in parallel with the historical axis. It has the Cedex 75 755 (post office box), and its official physical address is 33, avenue du Maine. However, it is also framed by the rue de Départ , rue de l’Arrivée , boulevard du Montparnasse and the place of 18-Juin-1940. It is separated from the Gare de Paris-Montparnasse by the place Raoul-Dautry. It is served by the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station with lines 4, 6, 12 and 13 and by numerous bus lines such as the 28, 58, 82, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96. It is my entry point into Paris almost every month for the last several years since living in Brittany.



A bit of history I like

In 1958, the first studies of the tower were well launched, but the project was strongly criticized because of the height of the building. However, the reconstruction of the Gare Montparnasse station a few hundred meters south of the old and the destruction of the station of Maine, which is included in the real estate project of the AOM (real estate managing company), joint agency that brings together the four architects ; the project was carried out in June 1966 to spring 1969. The decision to build a shopping center was finally made in 1969. The construction of the tower can now start. It is in April 1970 that the first stone is laid. The tower was inaugurated in 1973 on the site of the old Montparnasse railway station. The foundation of the tower consists of 56 pillars of reinforced concrete sinking to 70 meters underground. For urban planning purposes, the tower must be built just above a metro/subway line; and to avoid using the same support and weakening it, the structures of the metro/subway are protected by a reinforced concrete bodice. On the other hand, long horizontal beams are placed in order to allow to clear the necessary space in the basement to develop the tracks for trains.

In June 2016, an international architect competition “Montparnasse Tomorrow” is launched by the EITMM( city project architect consortium) in order to modernize and transform the tower by 2024. The project of 300 million euros, must be fully financed by the forty-one co-owners of the building; They must start in 2019 to finish in 2023. The project chosen aims to make the skyscraper bright and transparent in contrast to its present dark and austere façade, much decried, and to add several green spaces to rearrange its forecourt and to add a greenhouse of 18 meters high, Carrying the skyscraper at 229 meters in height. The tower should also consume ten times less energy. The building will thus be partially self-contained in energy, thanks in particular to a double skin façade, to the rainwater recovery system on the overflow and mirrors. The 40 000 m2 of the old dark mirrors will be re-used, such as signs for example, and partially recycled in furniture.

Description of the tower at best by the amateur yours truly

The tower has 7 200 windows for 40 000 m2 of facade. It weighs 130 000 tons, has 6 underground levels and 58 floors of 1 700 m2 on average each, all topped by a rooftop terrace. With 30 000 m2 of shops and 100 000 m2 of offices (representing 12 to 13 000 offices), the Montparnasse Tower is the first European real estate complex. In addition to its five cargo elevators/lifts, the building has 25 elevators/lifts, each serving only a group of floors. The fastest is the one that connects the ground floor to the 56th floor without a stop, at an altitude of 196 meters, in only 38 seconds, which reached a speed of 6 m/s, or 22 kph, but reduced to 5 m/s (1.5 floor/s) since 2009 , with a more gradual acceleration. The 56th floor, equipped with a panoramic bar and restaurant, as well as the 59th floor terrace, which can only be reached by stairs, are accessible to tourists, allowing to enjoy an interesting view of Paris at 360 °.



It also includes two smaller towers:

Building C: 12 floors. Often referred to as the acronym CIT (for the International Textile Center) because, being divided into small open areas on the traffic corridors, it had been thought to accommodate the show rooms and showcases of textile traders; But the latter gradually left the tower at the end of the 1970’s, and the exhibition surfaces were replaced in 1999 by more standard offices; and the Express tower or building D, along the rue de l’Arrivée. At the base of the ensemble is a shopping center ,Montparnasse Rive gauche with, among other brands, the department store Galeries Lafayette Montparnasse. The different elements of this set are interdependent, connected to each other in the basement.

The open space for the public, called the Panoramic Observatory of the Montparnasse Tower, belongs to the company Montparnasse 56 which manages the visits. The Observatory offers a panorama of all Paris. This unique viewpoint overlooking Paris is located at 200 meters above sea level and offers a view to 360 ° on the capital up to 40 km away day and night when the weather conditions are favorable. In particular it is possible to see the planes take off from Orly Airport at more than 13.5 km away.

The site offers two levels of visit:

The 56th floor, covered, with numerous facilities to better understand the city and its history: kiosks and interactive panoramas, exhibition of historical photos of Paris. This level also offers a bar and a souvenir shop.

The open-air terrace of 800 m2 (59th floor) has been designed to make the most of the breathtaking view of Paris via large glass windows. A champagne bar is open in the Summer.

In 1972, The last Tango in Paris (Le Dernier Tango à Paris ), film by Bernardo Bertolucci, with Marlon Brandon and Maria Schneider shows the tower under construction in the middle of old Paris. And the reason first ever visit Paris by yours truly and the part of the name of my blog today!!! Fyi.

I rather put all the information webpages here to help you plan your trip here, and it is a must to do in Paris

Official tour Montparnasse 56

Tourist office of Paris on the Tour Montparnasse

The visit and views from the Tour Montparnasse

The wonderful restaurant Ciel de Paris

This is indeed another icon of Paris, why we all come and some stay. Paris is a mouvable feast said one, and I say France is a mouvable feast!

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

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November 26, 2018

Lovely nearby Auray!

Ok so we are getting into cold nights and dark , so winter is coming and the season to be merrier too. I used to lived here when moved into the Morbihan breton dept 56 and later purchase my house elsewhere. However, the town has charm and we always come here and shop here too.

What is here, Auray, the historical town where Benjamin Franklin landed to ask help from king Louis XVI for the American independance war with England, and he got it. Marquis de Lafayette but also Marquis de la Roulie of Fougéres Brittany and General Rochembau and Admiral Grace and his 29 French Caribbean flotilla to block Yorktown. And so on….Gen Pershing later said, Lafayette , we are here in WWI. And so on…

Let me tell you a bit more as have several posts on Auray in my blog but its been a while not by this area. Took advantage as my oldest is passing his driving licence here and I came to pick him up tonite.

There is a nice small stadium here , the Loch. Stade du Loch, name after the river passing below in Saint Goustan.  It has Track and Field stadium in stabilized/ashen with 4 cloakrooms with showers and a 400-seating grandstand has a track of 400 meters. It includes 4 jump areas including 1 high jump, 1 long jump, 1 long jump and triple jump and 1 pole vault. Athletes will be able to find 3 pitches including 1 discus throw, 1 javelin throw and 1 hammer throw.   Football field in natural turf with lighting, 4 changing rooms with showers and a tribune of 400 seats.  Stabilized/ashen petanque/ball field with lighting. This sports equipment consists of 10 corridors (or runways, stations). And an asphalt basketball court.




Right in the middle you have the Loch tower or la tour du Loch, a remnant of history I like.

The Tour du Loch is a tower located in Place du Loch, behind the football field (Loch Stadium).  It was on this lookout that Duke Arthur 1er built his castle. In 1364, a battle for the succession to the Duchy of Brittany pitted Count Charles de Blois, loyal to the king of France, and Jean de Montfort, supported by the English. The winner, Jean de Montfort, took the title of Duke Jean IV. The castle was destroyed in 1558 by order of the grandson of Anne of Brittany, Henri II, and his stones were sent to Belle-Ile to allow the construction of the Vauban citadel.


This belvedere dominates the Loch river , where the port of Saint-Goustan was once very active. A walk through terraced gardens and large trees descends towards the quays without going through the Rue du Château. Or going from haute ville to basse ville in Auray.

At the end of the development of the port in the 17C, a pyramid tower was built for the monitoring of maritime traffic. But the development of the trees on the hillsides of the Loch obscuring the view, it became ineffective, therefore useless. In 1721, a new square tower at degrees, with a spiral staircase rising up to a cross, was built to replace the pyramid. From there one could then watch for the arrival of the ships. But here too the trees have grown. And if you go up the tower, it’s no longer for boats, but rather to watch matches from a privileged place.

Behind this tower, you can descend on the ruins of the old castle all the way down to the port of Saint Goustan, the beautiful harbor of Auray.


You can go to the Place de la République where the city/town hall is located and go down on Rue du Château to Saint Goustan harbor as well. This is  a very steep hilly street so be prepared. Or as I do by car come around the parking Keriolet into the harbor or along the road D765 by the back side.

I went a bit into the old town of Auray lovely old world street so romantic me think, I can be dwelling here forever and nice places to drink and eat here too, that is in other posts.




All a lovely small town nestled between the regional government powerhouses Lorient and Vannes as well as down from my town of Pluvigner.

Enjoy it as I do, Morbihan, Brittany, France the very best combination in the world. When can I see you around here? So far two of my internet travel sites friends have come fyi.

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

November 26, 2018

Some news from France CCX

So here we are and back to my blog after a while it begins to be missed, just a rest day from my last trip (vive la France!) and back to work this week to finish November. Until my next trip to Asia in December to close out 2018 and awaits my Christmas break!

Some of the latest on the season to be the best of all seasons; Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all. Joyeux Nôel et Bonne Année!

Christmas in Paris : City/ Town Hall of Paris parvis de l’hotel de Ville from December 14th to January 6th 2019.

Sport on the quays ,from December 22 to January 2, 2019   all along the 4éme quais with light images on the banks. From the banks of the Seine, between the Notre-Dame Cathedral 4éme to the Pont au Change, from 17h to midnight, pictures on Paris and Christmas. The opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the magic of Christmas on this natural screen of 140 meters long by 8 meters high.

A ball at Place de La Concorde from December 28th to the 30th and from 19h to midnight Sounds and lights on the Arc de Triomphe projected on the Arc de Triomphe at 23h30, a sound and light some 150 streets and 70 neighborhoods or quartiers of Paris will also be illuminated from the end of November to the beginning of January 2019..

The Jardin des Plantes reveals its facilities for the holiday season. And this time since November 16th, it treats us with species in the process of illumination, missing animals version XXL. Species in the process of enlightenment at the jardin des Plantes 2 place Valhubert 5éme until January 15 2019, adult ticket 15€. Every year, the jardin des Plantes this year has a mammoth, a saber-toothed tiger or even a Tasmanian wolf. As if to fire the alarm of a planet that is getting worse, here we enlighten the consciences, we remind that we must preserve the fauna and the flora, at least what is left of it. Spectacular lanterns represent extinct creatures more than 60 million years ago, but not only a 30-meter-long white shark, accompanied by other endangered species, is also installed in the garden. The course is done at night, to enjoy the light installations of course, and will delight the adults with live shows on the theme of nature, but also the children with workshops to build his own lantern. A nice trip plan!

Right now and until January 6 2019, run to the giant ice rink set in the heart of the Tuileries garden, a few steps from the Christmas market. A few slips followed by a pancake and a hot wine, it is atmosphere cocooning enchanting assured! 1200 m2 of surface for 100 meters long, there is enough to do for the young and the young at heart! Jardin des Tuileries ;   from 11h to midnight.

Find the above and more at the tourist office of Paris: Tourist office of Paris Christmas 2018

Away but in the region back to my dear late wife Martine home ground in Seine-et-Marne 77.

From November 24th, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte illuminates thousands of decorations for you to discover the magic of the Christmas of yesteryear, for its 13th edition. A true fairy tale come true with its splendid Christmas showcases of the Museum of Crews, its trains, sledges and wooden trucks sublimated by garlands and golden fir, its authentic small trains of the 1900’s   exposed on a course of 20 m2, its kiosk Gourmet with Christmas specialties in the courtyard of the museum, its toy palace and its puppet theatre, its snowy firs and teddy bears and even its sumptuous banquets, not to mention its large living room, centerpiece of the castle, and its hot air balloon decorative 10 meters high floating over a fairy forest. The Festival of Lights arrives in Paris for the first time, and here is a good introduction to the magic of Christmas. Beautiful Chinese lanterns and other illuminations of all kinds will warm your heart and put you in full view until 2019! Vaux-le-Vicomte fête Noël. Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte  . Until January 6 2019. tickets from 13-19€. More info here: Christmas 2018 at the Chateau Vaux le Vicomte

And in my old lovely gorgeous Versailles, Christmas is in the air at the Castle/museum. The hours days are all Saturdays from December 1-29, Fridays on December 21 and 28.The hours on all days above will be 18h, 18h20, 18h45, 19h10, and 19h35. More info here still in French: Christmas 2018 at the Chateau de Versailles

And all the plays at the Royal Chapel during December 2018,info here still in French: Royal Chapel plays at Versailles in Dec 2018

The city of Versailles will have shows in horse wagons with illuminations on December 26 17-18h, December 29 17-18h ,and January 5 2019 17-18h. Rides are at 23€. More info at the tourist office in English: Tourist office of Versailles on Christmas 2018

The wonderful Waldorf Trianon de Versailles hotel has many Christmas activities, more in French at their site here: Trianon Palace Christmas 2018

Saving heritage is all worth it, it is our DNA. Through the windows of the Château de Bagatelle 16C when they can open (which is no longer the case for those in the dining room) the park’s joggers are happy to take pictures of the music room, of the playroom or the small boudoirs of the 18C. But you mustn’t raise your head. above, on the cornice, protective nets were placed this summer to prevent the fall of plasters victims of severe infiltration of water. This madness was finished by  1777 by the count of Artois in 67 days. The construction of this small castle, which passed the French revolution, which was bought by the English and where Richard Wallace lived and where he died. Before being taken over by the city of Paris. A petition has been less than 737 signatures were collected, including of course Stéphane Bern, for the Heritage Foundation, Yves Cana, curator general of the Château de Versailles or Xavier Bray, director of the Wallace Collection in London. All worth it kudos to them. More info here: Tourist office of Paris on the Chateau de Bagatelle

It is here!, after several years of work, the new section of the T3 tramway from the Porte de la Chapelle to the porte d’Asnières enters into service this past Saturday 24 November 2018!  Official site here: Tramway of Paris official webpage in French

Well you can see that beneath our feet is the first Cathedral of Paris and its crypt, the ancient Church of St. Mary of the Champs destroyed during the French revolution. It resurfaces today because it may well become accessible to the public! The keeper of the building of 14 bis, rue Pierre Nicole in the 5éme arrondissement no longer authorizes the curious and/or historians to cross the doors that separate them from this jewel of yesteryear. 14 Rue Pierre Nicole soon open to the public one of the secret jewels of Paris until now. Stay tune ! For now a site on the history of Paris monuments in French: History of Paris on Church of Sainte Marie des Champs

All we can do with a 10€ bill in Paris! Yes it can be done folks stop reading those fancy books. 10 euros that is can get you !

A pack of cigarettes 8€. A bottle of wine (if drinking the sting well does not bother you, you can even find bottles for 3€. A pack of beers 6 or 7€. Nice clothes in thrift, you can find at all prices! Beauty products from small brands like a varnish to 2€, a lipstick for 5€ for your galleys of last minute. A disposable camera 6€. A pint of beer in a bar 7-10€, not to mention Happy hours in the moonlight with pints between 3.50-4.70€, at Clair du Lune or at the Cordonnerie bar with the pint at 2.80€.   A cocktail (you can find at 5€, after you do not guarantee anything about its quality at Syphax for example .Go to the cinema as if you are under 26 years old it is 4.90€ at the MK2, 6.50€ at the UGC. If you’re older, forget it!!!. Go to the Museum such as the Musée d’Orsay 9€ The first rate, the IMA 4€ for under 26 years and 8€ the full price, Museum of modern Art at reduced rate, the Jeu de Paume 7.50€ reduced rate and 10€ full price, the Grand Palais 9€ in reduced rate. Moreover, you should also know that all museums are free on the first Sundays of the month from November 1st to March 1st. Go to the Cinémathèque ,the entrance to the cinema, the museum or the lectures between 3-6.50€. A nice stroll in the sewers of Paris, this is atypical! Discover this gigantic underground network for 4.20€. Go one hour before a performing theater to catch the last places that are still sold at 10€. Get acquainted with the Quidditch au bois de Vincennes, 5€ for 3hrs with a maximum of 4 persons. Make a game of track in Paris to better know your city while having fun with your buddies, for 9.50€.Rent a boat in the Bois de Boulogne or the Bois de Vincennes for an unusual stroll at 10€. Eternal Paris indeed!!!

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

November 25, 2018

My latest hotels in the Philippines!

And here I go with my latest escapes to the East, that is Asia and of course lovely Philippines. Let me do this post just on the hotels I patronized while visiting there this past week.

So having told you about the airports now comes the lodging and hotels are plenty in previous trips, and posted in my blog. This time tried all new hotels so my vocabulary of Filipino hotels is expanding lol!

I arrived after a long flight as usual lately to Cebu city in the island of Cebu, Philippines. My hotel here was a dandy connected to a Robinson’s shopping mall. This was the Summit Galleria Cebu hotel. The official webpage is here: Summit Galleria Hotel Cebu


This was great as the rooms are spacious, and the indoor heated pool wonderful; the restaurant Providore. The Robinsons Galleria Cebu lifestyle complex, and Summit Galleria Cebu hotel offers a direct access to the Robinsons shopping mall occupying levels 4 to 14 of Robinsons Place Mall. A wonderful combination which I enjoyed very much! More on the mall here: Robinson Galleria Mall Cebu

While at Manila, I stayed at the Microtel by Wynham hotel another dandy property centrally located next to the biggest mall in the Philippines, Mall of Asia. The webpage is here: Microtel by Wynham Manila





Located in the Mall of Asia shopping complex in Manila. It features an outdoor swimming pool and restaurant. It is a 15-minute drive from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The mall provides a cinema as well as shops and restaurants.  Pasay district is a great choice for travellers interested in food, shopping for clothes and restaurants. And it was very convenient for a night out of live music nearby. Webpage for Mall of Asia here: SM Mall of Asia Manila


While at Cauayan in Isabela province I stayed at a more modest hotel the Tapi traveler’s hotel. Huge executive room and bath thus, and a simple cafeteria restaurant with outdoor swimming pool. The main page of the hotel is here: Japi Travelers’ Hotel Cauayan




Very nice friendly service here and a shuttle to the airport for free. The place is quiet fora relaxing stay over in your way to visit the caves which are very popular here even if I had no time to see them.

In all it was made easy because I was always with local people and moving by car so the experience will be different if independant travel was done. However, all recommended.

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

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