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: http://www.ic-marceau.com/en/home/

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).

expats-paris-intercontinental-hotel-katrina-fund-raiser-2005

The Intercontinental Paris-Le Grand webpage is here:  https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/paris/parhb/hoteldetail#scmisc=nav_hoteldetail_ic

and it’s wonderful cafe Café de la Paix is here: http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/en/

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!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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: http://www.tuileriesbar.com/en/

paris-westin-inter-bar-tuileries-mar13

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!!!

Tags: , ,
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:  https://www.sortiraparis.com/actualites/noel-et-fetes/articles/34937-les-feeries-d-auteuil-2018

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:  http://www.cergy.fr/se-divertir/temps-forts/il-etait-une-fois-noel/noel-omerveilles-1479/

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. http://www.france-galop.com/fr/hippodromemaisonslaffitte

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: http://www.domainedechantilly.com/en/event/a-midwinter-nights-dream/

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 :   http://rosabonheur.fr/

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: https://www.facebook.com/GaumontLesFauvettes/

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 . http://www.ileseguin-rivesdeseine.fr/en

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 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!

paris

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.

Paris

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 property at 52-60 avenue des Champs-Élysées, which housed a Monoprix and until 2013 a Virgin Megastore, was bought in 2012 by Qatar from Groupama . On March 28, 2019, the new store was inaugurated. The department store lists 650 brands available for sale in a space of 6,500 m2.

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.

paris

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

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 Pasolini.at 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 http://www.madrid.es (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!!!

 

 

 

Tags: , ,
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.

Paris

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.

paris

paris

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 °.

paris

paris

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!!!

Tags: , ,
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.

auray

auray

auray

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.

auray

auray

auray

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 launched.no 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

cebu-summit-gallery-hotel-bedroom-nov18

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

manila

manila

Manila

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

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

cauayan

cauayan

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!!!

Tags: , ,
November 16, 2018

Some streets of Versailles!!!

So in my ongoing efforts to bring you to Versailles as a destination and to help the recent survey of the city of Versailles that claims that 98% of visitors to the city only come to see the castle,pity; let me tell you a bit more about some streets in my beloved Versailles!

The city is a treasure vault of historical, architectural wonders and the best way is to walk it; the city is not big, easily walkable. It might be a bit long but I think is worth telling you about my old home town. So, here are some of the ones I like the most, just the most as all are worth the detour. VERSAILLES!!!

Rue Colbert. Named after Jean-Baptiste Colbert who was one of the principal ministers of king Louis XIV . He developed the French colonial factories and companies. At  N 1: Hotel de Grammont until 1809.  N  5, Hotel de Villacerf, property at the end of the 19C of Prince Roland Bonaparte.  N 7 former Hotel of Choiseul, then of Villeroy, which housed in 1870-71 the Prussian minister of War and his services.  N 13: Current EDF, (electricity company in France) location of the former hotel of Aumont under the old regime and home of Charles-Frédéric Nepveu, architect of the château under Louis-Philippe, at the end of his life. One of the streets very close to the Castle across from the Royal Chapel.

Versailles

Rue Georges Clemenceau ;  Old rue Saint-Pierre et du  Vermandois in 1684 until the kennel. There was a fountain there.  The name of the French politician , nicknamed “The Tiger” and the “Father of the Victory”, who was president of the Council from 1906 to 1909 and from 1917 to 1920.  The street extends through the place André-Mignot, former Place de la Vénérie-Royale , then the Tribunaux. N  2: Hotel disappeared from the Louveterie (under the reign of Louis XIV).  No. 5 and No. 7: Current Monoprix convenient dept store. At the entrance to the wonderful  passage Saint-Pierre at N 19: Former property of the Lambinet family, (Jean-François was mayor of Versailles in 1848) who gave his name to the museum of the same name and city of Versailles museum located on Avenue de la Reine. This disect the Avenue de Paris and the Avenue de Saint Cloud, and great for shopping at Monoprix! and the Post Office but as you can see nice buildings even here too.

versailles

And closer to home base, this is the Rue Carnot , the former Rue de la Pompe  (pump) name due to the water tower, built in 1665 to No. 7 house which fed at the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV the reservoir of the Cave of Tethys from the pond of Clagny. The pumping was done with a horse wagon ride.  It was later named after the President of the French Republic Sadi Carnot. He was assassinated by the Italian anarchist Santa Geronimo Caserio. At  N  1: Carnot Elementary School. Former Hotel de Noailles, owned by the family of the Marquis de La Fayette’s wife who stayed there. Acquired by the city in 1867. N  2 a false Cellar door with a bird (a magpie).  N  2a  Neoclassical facade. Former property of Antoine Gibus, a hat maker ,from 1862 to 1870 (his name designates a top hat), then more recently René Aubert President of the Académie de Versailles.  No. 5: Stables of King Louis XIV in 1672, then of the Queen and the Dauphine; Prison in the French revolution, then barracks of the Queen’s Quarter and today Court of Appeal of Justice. N  6: Former hotel of the Duc de Bouillon,  N 10: Entrance of the stables of Monsieur, Duke of Orléans (brother of King Louis XIV).  N° 11: Facade of the Pavilion of the Springs (House of the caretakers) built in 1683 with drinking water reservoir for the city. The water was derived from the sources of the towns of Rocquencourt and Chesnay. N  12: Old hotel of Duras and Montmorency, then Bath spa Hotel.  N 40: Former Hôtel de la Roche or Royal Pavilion (family whose members were caretakers of the menagerie).  N 44: Former Café Amaury at the corner of the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, in 1789 place of meeting of the Breton Club (the third State) from where the Club des Jacobins of Paris came out. Find me one, from rue Carnot entering the passage antiques of the rue des Deux Portes!

Back closer to the castle and one of my favorite street that loved to walked many times is the Rue des Reservoirs . Created in 1672, the old street of the trough located at the entrance of the Rue de la Paroisse. The name of the reservoirs of the castle built in 1685 and now extinct due to the construction of the north wing of the castle. They were located above Madame de Pompadour’s hotel.  At  N  2-4: Hotel of the government (of the Governor of Versailles), former Hotel of Louvois built in 1672, renovated in 1778. Attributed to the Ministry of War in 1834. In 2015, rehabilitation of public offices in private housing.  N 6: Hôtel Ecquevilly  named after the captains of the Hunters of Saint-Germain.  N  7 Hotel of Reservoirs built  at the beginning of the 20C. It replaced the private mansion of Madame de Pompadour and the one in the king’s storage room. The aerial pump of water from the reservoirs was located before 1750 here. It was the Government Hotel from 1765 to 1789 before knowing several owners and being bought by the State in 1934 and assigned to the castle. N  8 former Hotel de Sérent rebuilt.  N 9-11 Hotel du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (or wardrobe of the Crown) built in 1784 . It housed the prefecture of Seine-et-Oise from 1800 to 1867. Rehabilitation in 2015 in apartments of standing with underground parking. N  13 Théâtre Montansier, current Theater Municipal de Versailles, built in 1776 by Mademoiselle de Montansier, founder and director of numerous Parisian theatres (including those of the Palais-Royal and the Variétés).  This courtyard and City Theater was created by Marguerite Brunet, known as “De Montansier” who was the director of performances in the aftermath of the court. It was inaugurated in the presence of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in 1777. It is distinguished by its entirely round room and its blue and gold decor.  N  16: Hotel of the family of the Trémoïlle (duke of Thouars) put on sale after the French revolution now not well kept. N 19: (at the intersection with the Rue de la Paroisse), building where Ferdinand de Lesseps was born in 1852.  N 21 house where Blaise de Jouvencel lived  former mayor of Versailles.  N  22 Hôtel de Condé where lived and died Jean de La Bruyère  and was born General Gaspard Gourgaud, a memorialist of Napoleon. Now Seventh-day Adventist Church.  N  27: (at the intersection with the Boulevard de la Reine), a building where the painter Henri-Eugène le Sidaner lived .  N 36: Former Hotel Vatel, one of the best restaurants of Versailles in 1900, disappeared in the 1980’s.

Versailles

And this one is hotter still , very close to my home. And a must to walk by as it is close to the Castle but also the Notre Dame market! As well as the historical significant Notre Dame Church (back was my home area!). The Rue de la Paroisse; this one is the one I cross most often at home. Filled with the sandy lands of the summit of the Butte de Montbauron under Louis XIV. At  N 1: Location of the trough removed with the drying of the pond of Clagny from 1770, then land acquired by Soufflot architect of the Pantheon and now the Notre Dame market. N  7a: House of the lawyer Albert Joly in 1869.  N  11: Hotel Pièche from the beginning of the 18C with facade ornaments of the late 19C. Jean-Joseph Pièche was a musician from the King’s chamber. See the dogs seated and the garlands of flowers carved between the windows. He would have seen Rameau and Boucher pass. It was restored between the two wars.  N  3-5-7-7bis-11-21,facades of houses established in the 18C.  N  15 House with the sign of the royal mark in the 18C.  N  32:19C cast-iron balcony guardrail. N  35: Notre-Dame Church created in 1686.  N  37-39-41 former House of the mission of Notre-Dame (1686); Order founded by Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.  N 43: Supposedly the house of Dionis surgeon of Louis XIV.  N 49: House of Félix de Tassy, surgeon of Louis XIV .N  53 Hotel de Bretagne, house of Guy Fagon, surgeon of Louis XIV (or the name of Saint-Côme patron of Surgeons, formerly attributed to this portion of street).  N 63: House at the Grande Fontaine, by the name of Fontaine, the public works contractor who resided there under Louis XIV.  N  79 building with the sign of the Rising Sun. Birth House of the poet Jean-François Ducis.  N  2 and 4 House of the caretakers built under Louis XVI.  At No. 4 lived Joseph-Adrien Le Roi, head of Clinic at the hospice and historian of the Streets of Versailles (1860).  N  6-6 bis 8-10  Hôtel de Saxena: stable of the Dauphine mother of Louis XVI, then Hotel de Berry belonging to the Comte de Provence. N  28: Restaurant of the Comte de Toulouse.  N  32 In 1811, owned by the wife of Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire , zoologist at the Natural History Museum.. No.14 or 15 Location of Madame de Maintenon  charitable home, rebuilt in 1772. N 108: Former property of Jean-Baptiste Farrugia, geographer of the Ministry of War who had the two balconies built in 1783, bearing his initials and the motto “Fidem Fortuna Coronat” or Fortune Rewards Fidelity   N  110, 19C cast iron balcony guardrail.  N  112, in 1734 Auberge Au roi Charlemagne  cabaret in Versailles.

Versailles

And one very popular , we all cross it  walk it and things to do , the grand the beautiful and read some tidbits of it that it will worth your time to pass by and see or go into.  Avenue de Paris, because it went from the castle to the Louvre entering Paris by the Avenue de Versailles approprialy ::)

Avenue de Paris created in 1682, the central axis of the Trident set up by Jules Hardouin-Mansart (Sceaux, Paris, Saint Cloud). One of the widest avenues of France (97 meters). The avenue was planted with a double mail of elms then replaced by sycamore trees due to elm disease.

Versailles

you see at No. 1: Grande Ecurie (stables)  of the king.  Now houses the city’s Archives  open (Consultation room) from Tuesday to Friday from 14h to 17h45 amongst many others see other post.  The reason why it is shown in the Avenue de Paris, as the Petite Ecurie done to the Place d’Armes. N 2 bis: Old Porch (Pullman Hotel) remains of the artillery barracks created by Napoleon III (see the N of Napoleon on the entrance door and the Napoleonic Eagle on the entrance to the  Avenue du General-de-Gaulle). The barracks was destroyed in 1988 to make way for the shopping district of the Les Ménages (where you can buy tickets for the Château).Also, around the  tourist office of Versailles , open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9h to 18h, on Sundays and Mondays from 11h to 17h.  N  3: central Post Office building .  N ° 4 Hôtel de Ville  (city/town hall)  of Versailles, ( a must to visit you can) former hotel of the Princess of Conti (Marie-Anne de Bourbon, daughter of Louis XIV and the Marquise de Lavaliere), and then of the Grand masters of the castle. The lower part overlooking the avenue of General de Gaulle dates from the reign of Louis XIV and was the first city/town hall. The more imposing part, Neo Louis XIII style and overlooking the Avenue de Paris, dated 1897-1900.  The gardens of the city/town hall perpetuate and renew the tradition of the mosaiculture.  N  6: Carved portal of the Hotel des gendarmerie de la garde de Louis XV, built in 1737 , barracks until 1908 and current departmental department of Tax Services restored in 2014. Concentrate in its upper part, mainly around the bull’s eye, the carved decor is made up of military trophy falls (with armour and helmets of wars), garlands of flowers, fins and shells, whose finesse and richness make it a masterpiece of  rocaille stone art. It bears the motto of the gendarmes of the guard of the King: “Quo Jubet iratus Jupiter” or where Jupiter furiously orders.  N 11-13 Prefecture of Versailles (dept government of Yvelines). Succeeding in 1792 at the Vénerie (the King’s hunting kennel) and at the narrow rue des Reservoirs, the former hotel of the department, then prefecture in 1800,  was inaugurated in 1867. The prefecture was occupied in 1870 by the King of Prussia and his staff, then by Adolphe Thiers, Mac-Mahon and Jules Grevy as hotel of the Presidency of the French Republic until 1879. The prefecture and the Yvelines General Council have been occupying the premises since 1880.  N  15: School of Music founded by Emile Cousin in 1878 (then transferred to Rue de Jouvencel).  N 19: Police hotel in place of the old monumental stables of the Countess du Barry mistress of Louis XV, built in 1772, then owned by the Comte de Provence brother of Louis XVI , and himself later Louis XVIII, who changed them with the architect J. Chalgrin . The buildings housed the lancers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard who were killed in Waterloo, then the Montbauron barracks. They are now home to the police station. N  21: The old hotel of the Countess du Barry, built in 1751, and today Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Val d’Oise (95) and Yvelines(78) since 1937.

Versailles

N ° 22 the hotel Menus Plaisirs. This hotel was raised by Louis XV and occupied by the administration of the Menus-Plaisirs between 1739 and 1745. It housed the workshops of sets and the material of the Games and shows related to the festivities of the King and the court. A provisional room hosted the assembly of Notables in 1787-88, and finally the deputies summoned to the States General on May 5, 1789 by the King. It was in this room that the abolition of privileges and the declaration of Human and Citizen Rights were voted on. It was bought and demolished in 1800. The hotel became a cavalry barracks, then the technical services of the city were lodged from 1942 to 1988. Since 1987, it houses the Center of Baroque Music of Versailles which produces concerts and shows in France and abroad and brings together a research center and a singing school.  Go up the stairs to the bottom of the courtyard to discover the location of the room of the General States. On the right pillar of the entrance Avenue de Paris the elevation of the place at 130 meters is carved into the stone.  No. 28: Prison for women. It was installed in 1789 at the site of a former boarding school built in 1750. Then the state bought it in 1857 and enlarged the place in 1860.  The prison for men is located in Bois D’Arcy since 1980.   N  31: Lycée Jean-de-la-Bruyère, (high school) named after the moralistic writer who died in Versailles in 1696. It was named in 1962.  In 1880, Miss Arnaud created a secular school for girls at this site (on land formerly belonging to the Countess du Barry), which became municipal and then owned by the state in 1906.  N 38-40: Chamber of Notaries. Hotel of the time of Louis XVI.  N 63 Pavillon de Provence, former residence of Monsieur, brother of the king and king Louis XVIII was born here. From 1922 to 1940, the abode housed the eastern Normal School of Daughters of the Universal Israelite Alliance. From 1946 to 1962, it was taken over by the children’s relief work and welcomed Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.  N 68: Convent of Solitude belonging to the Sisters of Notre-Dame du Cénacle. This building associated with an English park of the late 17C, reworked in the 19C, belonged to the Earl of Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Louis XVI from 1775 to 1787.  N  70: Lycée Marie Curie, (high school) named after the French physicist and chemist, of Polish origin, who received twice the Nobel Prize for her research on radiation and radium in 1903 and 1911. N  73 Domaine de Madame Elizabeth.(see post) Owned by the community of Célestins monks, having been redeemed and built by the Prince and Princess of Rohan-Guéméné, then by Louis XVI, it was given as a gift to his sister who was later guillotined in 1792. Manufacture of watchmaking at the French revolution.  The Yvelines General Council bought it in 1983 as well as the Orangerie in 1997.  In 2016, the park designed in the English way before the revolution, allows to appreciate a remarkable collection of native and exotic forest species such as American oak, purple beech, lime tree, sycamore trees etc, a garden of aromatic plants and demonstrations of permaculture and a pet park. N  89 Reliefs above the door of the Vauban School, made in 1957; They represent Le Nôtre and Vauban.  N 90 bis: Old ponds where the stream of Madame Elisabeth’s English park was poured. Then replaced by a rose garden in the Truffaut nurseries, then by the residence of the Roseraie.

Versailles

At N 93: Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac , one of the personalities of the Literary and Social Society of the late 19C, was a tenant from 1894. In particular, he received Marcel Proust and Sarah Bernhardt.  N  107: Maison Saint-Joseph.  N  109-109 bis: Congregation of the Servant Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  N  111 Parc Chauchard with the picturesque and vast music pavilion of Madame, Countess of Provence, sister-in-law of Louis XVI and wife of Louis XVIII, built around 1780. This pavilion is associated with a small enclosed rectangular garden at the end of which is the statue of Alfred Chauchard. Madame’s park was cut in two in the French revolution, one that later became the Lycée Sainte-Geneviève (1913 high school), the other for several successive owners, including the last Alfred Chauchard, founder of the department stores of the Louvre in Paris, which was the place for his most deserving workers who became owners in 1902.  At the entrance to the street you have two pavilions of the Grille d’Octroi or passage of taxes  of neoclassical architecture, set up in 1824 and  were closed in 1943. The right-hand building on the way to Paris was reserved for the caretakers and the left to collect the rights to the goods brought into the city. Around it you have the square or Place Louis XIV, and here finishes the Avenue de Paris on the edge of the town of Viroflay.

Versailles

So here is a little bit of my beloved Versailles, a town full of history of France and the world, that needs more personal and up close attention by you all. Like I said, Versailles is a lot more than the castle!!

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

November 15, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIII

Ok here I am and the wordpress folks change the page on me do not know why did not ask for this. Hopefully, it will work from now on (its really hard to handle this is not good) Ok it seems was able to switch back to old editor!!! . It is cool here but very nice 16C or about 60F no rain but was foggy in the morning. 

My twins boys are 25 Saturday but it is my travel day to Asia so we are taking advantage of my two days off today and tomorrow to do all before I leave for a week. We have our usual errands and trips and eat out we are very outdoors folks!

Lanester

First, we went this morning to neighboring historical Auray. In this town we have our bank and studio photography to renew do my father’s US passport by mail. The usual fees in Euros on a bank check needs to be ordered arriving by mail;vive la difference. We then mail all to the US embassy in Paris for the new one which will arrive by mail within or about two weeks.

While in the lovely Auray I took some photos new ones to show you the nice town Auray is. 

auray
auray

We then hop over to our capital city of Vannes and our fav store FNAC to get an agenda for my French buddy in Asia , spiral style weekly layout. We look around for some potential Christmas gifts that this year will be very sad as will be the first one without my dear late wife Martine. We usually do a live pine tree and look forward to continue the tradition.

vannes

It was time to do the celebration, and my boys decided to have it in one restaurant we first encounter in Honfleur while on the sad mission of depositing the ashes of my late wife to sea with the help of the lifesavers SNSM. We realised they had an outlet in nearby Lanester ,next to Lorient and we had already try it very nice. The boys decided their outing for their birthday will be there. So we did

The restaurant is French but with a Western American theme and plenty of US flags. The food well it is with some items like Baltimore crab cakes, and pancho villa’s nachos and fish and chip and budweiser beers but also, Sol; you get the picture, a whole mingling of kitchen traditions. oh the Restaurant is Oncle Scott’s (uncle scott) and it is nice , friendly service and good food if a bit over price for the genre.

lanester oncle scott front entrance pipo nov18

We came back as tomorrow is another hectic day and not know if will have time to write one more post before leaving. We have to do some groceries at E Leclerc, and stop for the video games birthday gifts at Micromania, and my oldest will have his driving school class for two hours study period.

I will then leave Saturday morning. If you are not aware this Saturday November 17 France will go on strike oh la la la excercesing our right to protest as loyal citizens of the French Republic. Many places will be block by motorists all over and of course the airport is one of then. Hopefully ,I will do my trick to avoid all this and get to the airport even if earlier than usual.  Best of luck if driving in France on that day. For more check the official strike webpage in French of course: https://www.blocage17novembre.com/

It is done that you can see the talk in each department in France and find out where the blocks will be. Vive la France!!!

So until we read again, be good and stay away from blockage areas in my belle France.

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

%d bloggers like this: