Archive for December, 2018

December 30, 2018

The roads of my belle France,visiting family!

So we are arriving at the end of 2018 , I am glad is over, not a good year for me, as you know, still vivid memories of my dear late wife Martine. I drove this week to her mom house, the grandmother of my boys and the rest of aunts and cousins in Seine et Marne. It was a memorable trip of many nice good souvenirs that will be with me forever.

As I will have this trip and one post on my beloved Versailles,  I have decided to brake it down in sections. This one of course is my driving  love the roads and my car is my second home. So therefore, here are some pictures of my round trip this week, a personal one!

On the way there I took the old fashion road , the one from Paris took first to meet my wife; now coming from Brittany it was the N165 to the N166 to past Rennes and then the A84 to the exit at Fougéres to get on the N12 all the way to Versailles by the N186 , did a brief tour of my beloved city in my old neighborhood , had a walk with my dog Rex, and then kept going on the D985 by Villa d’Avray all the way thru my old job hunt at Suresnes crossing the Pont de Suresnes into the allée de longchamp in the Bois de Bolougne, to the boulevard Périphérique into the Porte Maillot and follow the BP all the way to the Porte de Pantin to take the old reliable and slow N3 .

The N3 or nationale 3 is going thru every town next to Paris and every red light you can imagine but it is the old road I took to meet my later wife in 1990! We used to come by the Porte de Pantin, parked by the Church St Germain in Pantin, free parking and take there the metro into Paris at the Eglise de Pantin line 5! taking us to Gare de l’Est station and sometimes taking the train back to Meaux in Seine et Marne her native town.  This was the old days, now I would not recommend novice or tourists to take this road or traject.

Pantin

This N3 takes you right into Meaux and and then the town sightseeing to rearch my inlaws in the tiny village of Chambry right by the Battle of the Marne WWI area and the wonderful Museum of the Great War next to the territory of the USA in the Monument Américain.  I reach the town by the country side on a great field of wheat !!!

chambry

The trip with the stops for my father who is on diabetes medication at 83 and my dog Rex pit stops plus our eating and sightseeing a trip that normaly took 6 hrs this time we did 10 hrs of car driving all by yours truly and I love it!!! Glad always to see the family ,more of those stories later , stay tune.

The way back was easier the modern way. I left the village on the A140 to connect with the A4 past Disneyland Paris (which is in Seine et Marne dept  77 ::)). I went straight into the BP=boulevard périphérique of Paris , easy (dont read all those scary cats transport books) , I continue into the A86 towards Versailles and this will bring you right into the N12 back to Fougéres, and then the A84 to Rennes and then N166 to Vannes and the N165 to our home easy 6h30 hrs even stopping for lunch and walks of Rex!

So, therefore some road pictures into my memory bank here at wordpress which is running up!!! Again ,thanks for reading , and more for liking it and Happy New Year 2019 and best wishes or as we say here Bonne Année et meilleurs voeux!!!

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

December 28, 2018

Galerie des Glaces, Versailles, of course!

Ok so let’s continue on my presentation of my beloved dearest Versailles. If new to my blog, I used to lived there almost 10 years ,work took me out west of France but still many memories there and glad to be able to visit often.

I have written on it in several posts in parts, but I think it deserves a post of its own. What do you think? Anyway, let me tell you a bit more on the Galeries des Glaces or Gallery of Mirrors of the Palace/museum of Versailles.

The Gallery of Mirrors or Grand Galerie is a large baroque-style gallery located in the Palace of Versailles, which is one of the emblematic pieces. Conceived and built from 1678 to 1684 by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, it was then intended to illustrate the power of the absolute monarch Louis XIV and to dazzle its visitors, by its ornamentation, by its rich iconography and by its original dimensions of   73 meters long, 10.50 meters wide, and covered with 357 mirrors, or 21 mirrors at each of its 17 arches facing 17 windows. Located on the first floor of the central body of the castle, it faces, in the west, the gardens of Versailles, of which it gives a great perspective.

Versailles

Versailles

Several galleries were able to serve as models: that of the Château de Clagny of  Madame de Montespan (favorite of Louis XIV) in Clagny-Glatigny (today one of the eight districts of the City of Versailles) works begin the year even at the site of a terrace ( whose remains can still be seen in the attic above the vaults) overlooking the west facade of the castle of Louis XIII which connected the two wings housing the large apartments to that built to the north and south of it in order to wrap it around it As a result of the construction of this gallery, no façade of the old castle will give to the park or the garden.

versailles

The painter and decorator Charles Le Brun began the decoration in 1680. The gallery was inaugurated in 1684. The Gallery of Mirrors is located in the alignment of the green carpet, between the halls of War and Peace, the latter giving respectively access to the Grand apartments of the king and Queen. The mirrors were made at the glass manufacturer La Glacerie south of Cherbourg. The 17 arched windows give rise to as many arcades adorned with mirrors held by chopsticks and chiseled bronze cabochons. The arcades are surmounted alternately by a head of Apollo and the remains of the lion of Nemea. The ceiling is decorated with nearly 1 000 m2 of paintings from the atelier of Charles Le Brun illustrating the achievements of the reign of Louis XIV, staging the king himself in 30 large compositions. The furniture and numerous statues that originally decorated it were dispersed at the French revolution.

versailles

The capitals of the marble pilasters of Rance on white marble background are adorned with a fleur de Lys and Gallic roosters. The Golden Bronze trophies, which adorn the piers in Campan’s green marble, were chiselled. The eight busts of Roman emperors, in marble and porphyry, accompanied eight statues, including seven ancients, representing Bacchus, Venus (Venus of Arles and Troas), Urany, Hermes, Nemesis and Diane of Versailles. The latter, moved to the Louvre in 1798, was replaced by a Diane sculpted for the gardens of the Château de Marly until the restoration of the Gallery of Mirrors of 2004-2007 where she is in turn replaced by a casting of the Diane de Versailles in restored marble.

Versailles

During the reign of Louis XIV, the gallery is essentially a place of passage, the King preferring to receive the guests of prestige in the lounges of the Grand apartments. However, several hearings were granted, including the one at the Doge of Genoa in 1685, the ambassadors of Siam in 1686 and those of the Shah of Persia in 1715. Louis XV also received the Embassy of King Mahmud I of Turkey in 1742. Anecdotally, the gallery saw the arrest of the great chaplain of France the imprudent Cardinal of Rohan in 1785, before his incarceration in the Bastille (epilogue of the Affair of the Queen’s necklace).

The Gallery of Mirrors was also part of major festivities such as the marriage of the future dolphin Louis XVI with Marie-Antoinette of Austria in 1770, a ball given by Napoleon III in honor of Queen Victoria on August 25, 1855;   reception by General de Gaulle of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his wife, that given in the honor of the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1974 or the invitation of representatives of the “G7” by President François Mitterrand from 4-6 June 1982.

It is symbolically in the Gallery of Mirrors, in reference to the wars and annexations led by Louis XIV in Germany that illustrate the painted decorations (notably the passage of the Rhine, 1672), which proclaimed the creation of the German Empire after the defeat French in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The accession to the new imperial throne of his first emperor, William I, took place on January 18, 1871, before the assembly of the German princes and the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, a true political architect of the Empire.  In this spirit of revenge, it was in the Gallery of Mirrors that was signed between the Allies and representatives of the young German democracy, the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI, and redrawing the borders of Europe and the colonies,on June 28, 1919. It was the humiliation of the “diktat of Versailles”, which was one of Adolf Hitler’s political tools for his rise to power against the Democrats of the Weimar Republic, and the rearming of Nazi Germany to crush France in 1940.

The Gallery of Mirrors has undergone many restorations. It was abandoned shortly after the French Revolution, rapidly degrading. king Louis XVIII reconditioned it from 1814-1815. The mirrors are polished and retinnted in 1820. The paints are cleaned and restored between 1825 and 1832, then once again between 1949 and 1952. In 1980, the gallery was refurnished. A new program of restoration of the Gallery of Mirrors, begun in July 2004 finished 2012. 70% of the mirrors are from the period, 30% poorly restored in the 19C have been replaced by old mirrors.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Chateau de Versailles on the Gallery of Mirrors

Chateau de Versailles on collections museum

Chateau de Versailles on the characters of its history

Gallery description in French on frescoes

Enjoy the awesome beauty of the most beautiful castle/Museum in the world; royal Versailles indeed.

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

December 25, 2018

Gare Rive Gauche, left bank and Castle, Versailles of course!

So as I was telling you about the train station closest to my house in Versailles, why not tell you apart on the train station closest to the Château de Versailles! I have written posts in general on transportation in and around Versailles but these ones needs a separate entry me think. Hope you enjoy it.

I would like to tell you a bit more on the train station of Rive Gauche or left bank of Versailles. Therefore, here it is my take on it.

The Gare de Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche (formerly called Versailles-Rive-gauche-Château de Versailles until February 2012), but still commonly called simply Rive Gauche , is one of the terminus of the line RER C . The word “Château” comes from its proximity to the Château de Versailles; The terms “rive gauche” are explained by the fact that it is located on an established line, departing from Paris, on the left bank of the Seine. This station has three platforms (two central wharves and one outside wharf) for five dead-ends (plus a service lane).

Versailles

A bit of history I like

The opening of the station of Versailles-Rive-Gauche, in the district of Saint-Louis, takes place on September 10, 1840 at the inauguration of the line of Paris at Versailles by the left bank of the Seine. Its origin being the pier of the Maine (old station of the Gare de Montparnasse). It is the closest station to the Château de Versailles (about 500 meters to the entrance gate of the castle, by the Avenue de Sceaux, which folks usually go a longer way by the Avenue de Paris). In order to facilitate the access of the site to its many visitors, the old name of the station nevertheless included the mention Château de Versailles. Its new name now includes the historical mention Rive-gauche as well. As mentioned, the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station is the closest to the castle/museum . It is accessible from the center of Paris with stations such as Champs de Mars, Invalides, Musée d’Orsay,Notre Dame-Saint Michel , etc. This station gets very busy, so I suggest that you buy a return ticket so you won’t have to waste time queuing to buy your ticket back to Paris. This is call in French un billet Aller/Retour.

versailles

Versailles

This SNCF train station, has a passenger building with open counters every day. It is equipped with Transilien automatons machines and Grandes lignes (big lines and even to Europe). facilities, equipment and services are available for people with reduced mobility. A press magazine snacks Relay is present, as well as distributors of fresh and hot beverages and snacks, an automatic photograph booth, a photocopier and a telephone booth are also available.

Versailles

Versailles

The Rive Gauche station is served by the bus lines A, B AK, C, H, K, L, P, R, T Express, TRI (see links below), W, X, Z and 22 of the Phebus bus network of Versailles, by lines 261, 262, 263, 39.12 and 39.37 H of the company Chevreuse Valley (SAVAC) , by Lines 401, 439 and 440 of the Sqybus bus network, by lines 11 and 111 of the Hourtoule company, by the lines 40 and 44 of the STAVO company, by the Express Line 1 of the Transdev of Montesson , at night, by the lines Night 1 and night 3 of the Phebus bus network and by the N145 line of the Noctilien network. The station has a Véligo(bikes) space.

The line RER C into Versailles many times is decorated with sumptous wagons and I caught one for the memories here

Versailles

If anything, there is a full SNCF/Transilien/RER sales office at the Chantiers train station (Montparnasse line) not that far from rive gauche station. Located at 4, rue de l’abbé Rousseau Open from Mon. – Fri.: 7h- 13h10 / 13h45 – 20h30.  The best most direct way to reach Chantiers from Rive Gauche is to leave the later turning left into rue du Général De Gaulle and then a left into Avenue de Sceaux by the parking right before the garden Etangs Goubert take a left into rue de Noailles continue until next street which is Rue des Etats-Généraux and take a right on it continue until the Place Raymond Poincaré take a right ,the station is right ahead takes only about 14 minutes walking on beautiful streets of Versailles.

Let me give you some webpages to help you plan your trip here some are well known others not

Official Transilen trains RER C for Versailles

Official Chateau de Versailles on Rive Gauche and others

Official city of Versailles on public transports getting in

If you come by car, and why not,, neoparking is the one I use all over here: Neoparking on rive gauche parking

City of Versailles phebus bus network passing by castle

Official Phebus bus network Versailles lines passing by Castle

The TRI bus works from April to October, here is 2018, the bus takes you from the 3 major train station to the castle and trianons only stops! Use it great service. Phebus network on TRI schedule for 2018

There you have it in a nutshell if still need more, ask me. We did took several times for the thrill of public transport with the boys as they came in front of it all the time from their school and they use the same buses as all. Versailles is Royal. Hope it helps

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

 

 

 

December 24, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVIII

And with the tradition of my now travels in the Morbihan I come back again soonest as this is the season to be  merrier and preparation are all over. Even with some road block from the yellow jackets we are still moving smoothly in our neck of the woods. Temperature is a warm 13C or about 55F cloudy but no rain! Just the nice day we need for our Christmas eve preparation.

We did slept a bit more than usual but got up rather quickly with me pulling the cord on the boys. I did took the dog out and allow him to do his things, then feed him, put some manure dirt around our Rose plants for added protection from winter days, cut some bad grass always creeping out, and did my breakfast , ready to take on the days chores.

We went to our favorite hangouts. First, was Bureau Vallée in Vannes for our 2019 calendars . We continue to E Leclerc hypermarket for last minutes Christmas shopping , and had our lunch at the unusually Brooklyn Café very French indeed but fish and chips was in order with our working out routine sprite and fanta sodas lol!! (We will get more of the other stuff later tonite) just a warm up. They are part of a group of restaurant in the Atlanville area north of the N165 road. More of Brooklyn Cafe here: Brooklyn Café at Atlanville

Vannes

We finally headed for the town of Le Hézo, in the Rhuys peninsula to load up on cider, apple juice, breton sweets and the local gifts for my in laws that will be visiting next week in Seine et Marne dept 77. More on the Musée/Maison du Cidre  (House/Museum  of ciders) place here: Museum of Cider at Le Hézo

le hezo

They live in a village off Meaux, the native town of my dear late wife Martine. There will be the opportunity to walk the streets of this town so much personal with my boys and remember many souvenirs on a sad note but one we must endure and go thru it. It will give me the opportunity to load up on traditional Brie de Meaux cheese , (the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings Vienna 1815) where they still do it the traditional way not the ones in supermarket or even in markets!. This is the Fromagerie Saint Faron cheese makers, webpage here:  official tourist office of Meaux country and Fromagerie St Faron

Finally on our way home, we stop at our favorite Boulangerie/Pâtisserie Delameau (now new owners Y et E) to pick our pre order of Christmas goodies including a pain au surprises a loaf made up of small sandwiches, sweets, Christmas log, etc etc etc. Always delicious and my late wife Martine most favorite place in town! And you can see why she was right is a favorite in town. It will be a trying Christmas but we are ready for it.

pluvigner

I take once again this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of joy and health with your love ones and friends. This is indeed still a very special day in our calendar.

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

December 24, 2018

The Orangery of Versailles, Orangerie!

So back to Versailles shall we! a wonderful town that needs to be seen more, my kind of town, actually did lived there for almost 10 glorious years! Very nice family memories. I like to tell you a bit more of Versailles.

The orangery is one that is very nice, part of the Castle of Versailles but actually a different history and even before there was a castle. Therefore, let me go on with the Orangerie!

The Orangerie of the Château de Versailles was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart between 1684 and 1686, it replaces the one built by the Vau in 1663 , therefore before the beginning of the works of the castle!.

The Orangerie, a wonderful building right in the gardens, really. and Plenty of plants ::) See the Statue of Louis XIV in emperor garments ,made of marble done to be put in the place des Victoires in Paris ,and done by the personal fortune of Jules-Hardouin-Mansart in 1686. The bronce did not resisted the time elements and was melted in 1792 by the revolutionaries to make canons. You can see at the Louvre the socket and decorations of these canons showing the conquered nations of Nimegue in 1678. When the new Orangerie was built in 1686 there was a perfect gallery of 156 meters long by 21 meters wide and the statue in marble found its place. Inside the Orangerie you will find, the most extraordinary collection of plants of all time, more than 2000 pots of lemon,grenades, laurel roses, oranges coming from Portugal,Spain,Italy, and the Vatican. During the winters these treasures were preserved thanks to the thick walls of 5 meters and the double window panning, even able to keep the Connétable de Pampelune planted in 1421!!! You ,also, can see the horse statue of Louis XIV done from 1665-1673! where you might remember it more for the replica in the pyramide of the Louvre  There is another copy at the piéce d”eau des Suisses since 1990; The original in the Orangerie is from 1685. You can see inside the baths or vasque octogonale done in 1674. done on a piece of marble de Rance, it is an octogonal of 3 meters wide and 1meter deep.  It is difficult to imagine taken a bath here as it would be impossible to heat in those years. The vase took several turns in different places until finally arriving at the Oragerie in 1934

Versailles

The first orangery was built by Charles VIII at Amboise Castle. artichokes, melons and bitter oranges are naturalized there. Henri IV built an orangery in the Louvre. By retaining water and nutrients, and using pruning techniques, French gardeners were able to make citrus trees bloom throughout the year, to the delight of Louis XIV. Citrus-based motifs will become a theme in sculpture, mosaic, embroidery, weaving, paintings, poems or songs throughout history. Orange flowers remain popular as floral ornaments in weddings.

Each year at the end of November, the Orangery floor is empty. Oranges, lemons, palm trees, oleander, pomegranates in crates are mounted in the “berlinguettes” to join their winter refuge. Access by very small doors, “flaps”. They were pierced so as not to open the big doors and prevent the cold from getting into the building. The orangery, oriented to the south, is buried underground so no air flow , and still has the double chassis of its period mirrors. Attributes that ensure a stable indoor temperature (between 5 and 8 °c) in winter. Indoors, all this lush, almost tropical vegetation, with these hundreds of delicate trees from Italy, Spain, Portugal, disturbs the smell. Strange and delicious Sensation that the cold on the face combined with these fragrances come from the warm, sunny countries. From October to May, oranges, lemons, pomegranates and palm trees winter in this cathedral of 13 meters high built partly underground. Inside, the scents are intense or delicate.

Versailles

This building of the Orangery is located under the Parterre du Midi ,  illuminated by impressive arched windows, consists of a central vaulted gallery, 150 meters long, flanked by two wings of  117 meters supporting the two staircases called the Hundred-Steps(cent marshes) . The walls, to keep the heat, are so thick, five meters, that they give the impression that we are cut off from the cold and the noises from the outside, disconnected from the universe Versailles. The ensemble, illuminated by large, curved windows, constricts the low floor or the flowerbed of the Orangery. A beautiful place that I like a lot ,and I walked around a lot of times.

Versailles

This orientation, a thickness of walls more than 5 meters and precautions taken in winter-for example, under the old regime, gardeners came back by large chatiers to avoid opening large windows doors whose joints were caulked with straw made that the Orangerie has never experienced a freezing ,the low floor is bounded on its fourth side, to the south, by a balustrade overlooking the road to Saint Cyr l’école (D10). My route a lot of time to see my boys girlfriends lol! This one separates it from the pièce d’eau des Suisses . In its center is a large circular basin, surrounded by six pieces of grass. Under Louis XIV, it was adorned with some sculptures today all at the Louvre Museum.

Versailles

Versailles

The great orangery, by its dimensions, was transformed into a prison for the Communards in 1871, and became the obligatory step between the Satory garrison, where the military judgments were held.

There is a wonderful statue there, commissioned by Colbert and made of Carrara marble by Bernini, this equestrian statue of Louis XIV almost did not reach us. When the King discovers it in 1685,  he did not appreciate it, judging it ill-made, to the point of demanding its destruction. But he reconsidered by making changes which transformed it by taking inspiration from Marcus Curtius, a Roman hero hurling himself into the flames to save the Republic.

You get more info in english from the Château de Versailles here: Official Chateau de Versailles on the Orangerie

A must to see while in Versailles, it will take you more than a day to see it all , I would give it 3 and that is just the Domaine of Versailles. Need more to see the rest of the city wonders. Enjoy it as much as I did/do; Versailles is going to the soul of France!

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

December 23, 2018

Saint Louis Cathedral, Versailles of course!

Ok so let’s get back to my beloved Versailles. This is a bit of anecdote for me, I saw later while living there, in another district here is like another town, and there is a revolutionary veil behind it . Maybe one reason not taken time to take pictures here, the one below is from my sons school resto: update did found more right in my blog!!! my son took them long ago so update them here!!!. I lived at Notre Dame district !!!I came eventually as my sons gathered around a resto near it while lunch or even after school and needed to get them there, but did finally saw the theme of this post. The Saint Louis Cathedral of Versailles.

Another of the most see while in Versailles and to get away from just the castle/museum; as said, Versailles has a lot more to offer. its like coming to Paris and not seeing Notre Dame Cathedral!

The Cathedral of Saint Louis in Versailles is a rock-style Church built by the architect Jacques Hardouin-Mansart de Sagonne. It was blessed on August 25, 1754, Saint Louis Day, and chosen as a Cathedral for the creation of the Bishopric of Versailles in 1802, (as the revolution Concordia did not want to name the Royal Notre Dame) but was consecrated only in 1843. The facade, adorned with Corinthian and Doric columns is flanked by two lateral towers for the bells, capped with bulbs characteristic of the rock-style, gilded. A dome topped by a baluster-shaped arrow, also gilded in the past, is arranged over the cross-aisle.

A bit of history I like

The Church of the village of Versailles, before the construction of the castle, was dedicated to Saint Julien de Brioude. This church was demolished in 1681. On its site was built the grand commun of the castle. The Church of St. Julien was rebuilt in the new city. It also had a fleeting existence. In 1684, Louis XIV laid the first stone of a new building: the parish of Notre-Dame (the Royal historical Church that should be the Cathedral) which gave its name to the district.

From 1725, at the corner of the rue de Satory and rue d’Anjou, near the king’s vegetable garden (potager du roi), a temporary chapel of about thirty meters, flanked by a collateral and surrounded by a cemetery, was built. It began to buried folks there in April 1727, and was baptized on May 1728. The foundations were started in June 1742. The first stone was solemnly laid by the Archbishop of Paris on June 12, 1743. Louis XV placed himself in a cavity dug for this purpose a gold medal and four silver medals, then proceeded to the sealing of the stone of Assisi. The Church of St. Louis was indeed completed only twelve years later. The inauguration passed without fanfare on August 24, 1754, without the presence of the Royal family because the Dauphine, Marie-Joséphe de Saxe, had given birth on the eve of a son (the future Louis XVI!!).

The St. Louis Church underwent few transformations until the French revolution and its history was devoid of major events, the Royal Parish remaining at the Church of Notre-Dame. However, when the general states of 1789 were opened, it was in Saint-Louis that the solemn procession (departing from Notre-Dame Church) surrendered and it was from the pulpit of the church that the Bishop of Nancy denounced the abuses of the court. Several meetings of the States General also were held in Saint-Louis during the month of June 1789. On the 22nd, the oath of the jeu de Paume was renewed.

In 1790, Versailles became the seat of a bishopric. The first constitutional bishop, chose Notre-Dame for Cathedral. Subsequently, the Church of St. Louis was closed and, most of the objects of worship having been confiscated, turned into a temple of abundance. It was given the attributes; on the façade a ploughman was even painted on the front facade of the Church. As soon as the Catholic cult was restored (after 1802), the constitutional (revolutionary) bishop who had succeeded preferred St. Louis to Notre-Dame (of course the Royal pantheon) and thus this Church finally became the Cathedral. On January 3, 1805, Pope Pius VII, who came to Paris for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon I, was welcomed into St. Louis Cathedral by the first Bishop of the Cathedral.

The architecture of it on the exterior. The Cathedral is done in a traditional Latin cross plan of Gothic style with a central nave, collateral flanked by chapels, protruding transept, choir surrounded by an ambulatory interrupted by the axial chapel dedicated to the Virgin. The arms of the transept are concave. The Cathedral is oriented north-south, in the meantime to that of Notre-Dame, since the Council of Trent no longer imposed the traditional east-west orientation. The master altar was once placed at the back of the choir, constituting the sanctuary. The current location is more in line with the Council of Vatican II, the priest officiating against the faithful and not his back turned. The façade is located on an eight-degree step and has two levels. Three doors pierce the lower level. Six Doric columns flank the main; The two side doors of two columns of the same order. The second level, which reigns only on the central part, repeats exactly the layout of the ground floor. It opens on a full-hanger bay in the upper part of which a clock was placed. Above, the façade is crowned with a triangular pediment enthroned with a golden cross. It is adorned with a winged royal crest whose lilies were hammered at the time of the French revolution.   The two lateral towers are punctuated with Doric pilasters forming protruding, surmounted by stone vases. They are capped with bulbs according to the Rococo tradition to cover the steeples.

Versailles

On the Interior we have in brief. It reflects this somewhat cold nobility, softened by the delicacy of style in honor under Louis XV. The nave, with five spans, is chanted with pilasters engaged in a rather thin relief, cushioned by Corinthian capitals. You will admire the beauty of the cartridges that mark the key of each of the big arcades. They are framed with garlands of roses. On the other side of the façade, the Stone Tribune is supported by a large bow that is leaning on both sides on a console. It gets up in brace to wear the organ buffet of Clicquot. Above the large arcades, the Cathedral is illuminated by spectacled bays whose vaults penetrate the nave, according to the usual process used at that time. 93 meters high, the nave is covered with a penetrating vault whose built-in doubles are paired with the claves of the cradles and reach nearly one meter thick. The vaults of the collateral fall on pillars to the Corinthian capitals.

The square of the transept is covered with a dome on carved pendants. It is itself surmounted by a second cap with a low dome, the sculptures of which were never finished, as the presence of the stones shows. The choir, circular, has three bays and an apse. The pillars, like the cornice, are identical to those of the nave. The ambulatory that surrounds the choir stops at the height of the axial chapel. The chapels that flank the collateral and the ambulatory are dedicated, on the left side, to Saint Julien, to the Departed, to Sainte Geneviève and to Saint Peter. Beyond the left arm of the transept is the Ecce Homo Chapel, those of Saint Francis, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Sacred Heart and Saint Joseph. On the right side, the Chapel of the baptismal fonts is first presented, followed by the presentation of the Most Holy Virgin and Saint Charles . Beyond the transept, the three chapels that surround the choir are dedicated to the Good Shepherd, Saint Louis, and Saint John the Baptist.  The chapel of Providence adjoins, on the left, the chapels of Ecce Homo and Saint Francis. We penetrate them from the inside.

Versailles

The great historical organ commissioned in 1759 on the order of Louis XV to Louis-Alexandre Clicquot was completed in 1761 by François-Henri Clicquot (his son). Blessed on the eve of Toussaint 1761, it will cross unscathed the revolutionary period, not undergoing, thanks to the intelligence of the lord of the Municipality of Versailles, that the removal of three large flowers of wooden lilies on the buffet of the positive . It then has 45 games on 4 keyboards and a high-cut crankset. On 4 May 1789 the organ participated in the mass of the States General convened by Louis XVI.

Versailles

This is one of the marvels of Versailles still pretty much remaining in the off the beaten path level. The city of Versailles did a study where 98% of visitors only come to the castle/museum! what a pity, there is so much more to show you; do some walking. Enjoy it

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official sit of the Cathedral Saint Louis in French

Tourist office of Versailles on the Cathedral of Saint Louis

Hope you enjoy it as much as we finally did. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 22, 2018

Place du Châtelet, and theaters!

So it seems taking the liking of these streets/squares places of my eternal Paris.  And Merry Christmas again to all my readers. So ,ok here is another gem for you to walk all over it and do enjoy some of the best theater outings in the city of lights. For repetition sake, the most beautiful city in the world!

I like to bring you over to the Place du Châtelet and the wonderful fountain , statues and theaters of Châtelet and Ville that is here. I had to say, keep saying go all over Paris and do have my favorite district in the 16éme but in one square this is it I am all over it, do see me around here for lunch , apéro or even dinner many times ::)

I let you do the sightseeing on this one as it is pack for the season. That is, the Theatre du Châtelet at the Place du Châtelet and inaugurated in 1862. More info here: http://chatelet-theatre.com/blog/

The Place du Châtelet is located at the intersection of Rue de Rivoli, from avenue Victoria Avenue and the quays of the Mégisserieet de Gesvres, on the east-west axis, and from the boulevard of Sébastopol and the Boulevard du Palais, by the Pont au Change, on the north-south axis. It was built at the site of the Grand Châtelet, a former fortress which served as a prison and a court under the former regime, and which was destroyed in 1802 during the reign of Napoleon Ier.

The Place du Châtelet is equipped with a metro station, accessible from the center and the sides of the square: The station Châtelet, which serves the metro lines 1 4 7 11 14 ; RER Chatelet – Les Halles A B D and Bus lines 21 38 47 58 67 69 70 72 74 75 76 81 85 and 96.

The center of the square is reserved for pedestrians. There stands the Fontaine du Palmier a column erected in 1808 to the glory of the Napoleonic victories. A pedestal with a fountain was added in 1858, raising the column. The fountain, adorned with sphinxes and statues. Along the quays, there are two theaters built at the request of Baron Haussmann: the Theatre du Châtelet (see above) and the Theatre de la ville; more info here: https://www.theatredelaville-paris.com/en

Paris

paris

The idea here is to sight see, window shopping, zip a coffee, have a glass of wine, do some shopping, and then go to a theater play, choose your site ,is all wonderful. Enjoy it in Paris, of course. So ok can’t resist. My hangouts are Le Zimmer right on the square or a bit further Au Trappiste (tops for aperos/happy hours/after work) at rue St Denis. Here are some reviews from Yelp my blogroll recommended place:

https://www.yelp.com/biz/le-zimmer-paris

https://www.yelp.com/biz/au-trappiste-paris?osq=au+trappiste

Paris

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

 

 

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December 22, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVII

SO here I am on a cold gray rainy Saturday in my lovely Morbihan. The season to be merrier is here and we are all over locally doing errands and sights to be repeated always. We are getting ready next week to be with family on wife’s side in Seine et Marne 77 east of Paris near Disneyland.. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2018!!!

For now we took off just to get out of the house and get some cold medicines for my sons, regular stuff for the times at our local pharmacy in Pluvigner. Then, We took off for the Quiberon peninsula south of us about 40 km from home.

We took the route of the Côte Sauvage or wild coast  a beautiful road along the ocean waves pouncing on the cliffs we ride on ,and onwards toward Quiberon. Once there the market was done but we were for our daily dose of beers at our favorite hangout and friendly owner.

quiberon

quiberon

We stop by at L’Esplanade Cafe at pl Hoche facing the grand plage or big beach of Quiberon, the cafe bar is sideway to the beach. We enjoy the company and had our usual Belzebuth 8,5% beers well me my sons on medication had their smoothies lol! a bit serious faces!!! Along some nice duck paté à l’orange and breads. We went for a second round and this time I try the La Goudale de Noêl 7,2% Christmas beer nice balance of spices and caramel. We left happy once again.

Quiberon

Quiberon

On the way back, we stopped at our favorite local store La Trinitaine in the town of Saint Philibert along the coast too but the store is inland. We loaded on fish soups , pates, etc for the entrée dish here and now we are all set for Christmas! This is a big store of their chain and factory outlet as well so more selection and better prices!

St Philibert

The route of the wild coast is always awesome and we love to drive, walk here and even stop at the restaurant there Le Vivier. This is prime area and very much sought after by tourists especially British and Germans.

The tourist office is here in English: Official Tourist office of Quiberon

And back jhome in time for my football/soccer match at the World Clubs Championship of UAE facing surprise Al-Ain local club vs my other love Real Madrid CF of Spain! Hala Madrid!!!!! Just to start! More info here: https://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are and Merry Christmas to all my readers indeed. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 22, 2018

Champagne, wines, and liquors of Christmas 2018!

As we are getting into the season to be merrier and we will just hit the last weekend before Christmas , its time for me to come to you with some juices or the best for the season.

In my family, we have a tradition that we will keep even if one strong pillar of it is missing physically of sharing drinks, old and creating new ones, all with food all at home and with moderation ,never a problem.  So, therefore, let me give some last minute ideas from France (the root of it all) , that I believe can be adjusted to wherever you are for the holidays. Beware some of these bottles may not be available where you are but from the readings they should be easily replace with something locally available! Another thing, all of the below suggestions have been tried by myself or a trusted family member of the same line of tastes as I.

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of Champagnes at good value for money  With a nice cheese platter: Its graceful bubble, its slightly stewed fruit aromas will flatter the hard pasta. You’ll enjoy its refreshing finale. Coeur des Bar, Blanc de noirs, Champagne Devaux, 32€

With pineapple chicken skewers: This organic champagne with fine bubbles has a mineral frame. Very pure, it can support the associations of sweet and savoury feasts and bring freshness to these duets daring. Cuvée Brut bio, Champagne Duval-Leroy, 28€

With a creamy poultry: Its green-tinted dress announces the plant partition. White, hawthorn-acacia flowers, allied with roasted notes, hug each other in the nose. Mineral and frankly lemon, this champagne is lively. Propose it with creamy dishes to give the reply to the smoothness. Fleur de Craie, Blanc de blancs Champagne Bolieu, 21€

For an iodized appetizer: Ideal to accompany a cocktail of iodized feasts based on smoked salmon, fish eggs and crustaceans, this lively champagne has flavors of yellow fruits such as peach and apricot. Champagne Pannier, Brut selection,25.90€

With Christmas dinner: This low-dose champagne is complex and greedy. You will find a slight toast, notes of white fruit and even a hint of honey. Champagne Mandois, Brut Origine, 30€

With a bar filet in salt crust: This winemaker’s champagne in the pale yellow robe has fine bubbles and a bouquet reminiscent of acacia and fresh butter. The whole is aerial and delicate. Perfect with fish. Champagne Sanger, Terroir Natal, Blanc de blancs, 24€

With foie gras toast: Its bouquet flowers citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, but also very lightly pear. Fresh and well-balanced, this champagne has tenderly brioche notes. Beaumont des Crayères, Grande Réserve Brut, 25,70 €

With a stuffed young rooster with morels: In the nose, this champagne has pretty gourmet notes of vanilla, honey and roasted summer fruits. Complex, it is supported by its minerality. The dishes of character, with the flavors of undergrowth, have its preferences. Champagne Yves Jacques, 23.50€

With a dessert : Its dress is pink with coppery reflections and a string of fine bubbles. Intense, its bouquet develops aromas of rose, fruits of the wood and even of blood orange. To enjoy in the company of a red fruit log or a macaroon. Cuvée La Douce Folie, rosé Brut, Champagne La Borderie, 35€

With spice-marinated prawns: The white flowers and the notes of cut grass that this champagne develops are well-married with spicy dishes. But we also appreciate its gourmet amplitude in the palate. Champagne Philippe Gonet, Réserve Brut, 24€

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of white wines at good value for money.  With a stuffed poultry: The chardonnay cultivated on a limestone terroir gives a cuvée in the nose of stone with shotgun. Very complex, this wine offers a hint of grilled and exotic notes. A dense white that generously rugs the palate. Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Lucien & Fanny Rocault, 10,90€

With a seafood platter: The Domaine Romy cultivates 25 hectares of vineyards in the extreme south of Burgundy. This floral cuvée comes from a plot of 4 hectares surrounded by a clos. Raised on fine lees for 6 months, this finely toasted cru will appreciate the flesh of crustaceans. Clos de la Chapelle 2016, Domaine Romy, AOP Bourgogne, 10€

With a fried foie gras: In homage to the goddess Sirona who watches over the river Ciron (responsible for creating the morning mists conducive to the appearance of Botrytis on the grapes), this cuvée 100% semillon is golden. We appreciate its balance between the white flowers, the quince and its vivacity. Sirona 2015, Les Vignerons de Tutiac, Sauternes, 15€

With a bar fish in salt crust: Mineral and focused on white flowers, this white wine offers a very representative extract of the typicités of its grape. With the fish but also with the goat cheese, it gives the replica. Domaine des Crêts, Climat “En Bout” 2015, Mâcon-Chardonnay, 14,70€

With a risotto with crustaceans: Products with the Aligoté grape variety, the wines of the appellation Bouzeron possess material. It is named after an assemblage of 3 plots; The nails, the tower, the Cordères. A hint of hazelnut, acacia blossoms, a note of stone and citrus flavours stand out at the palate. Les Trois 2013, Maison Chanzy, Bouzeron, 14,50€

With a stew of Lotte: Assemblage of Grenache Blanc, Rolle and Roussanne, this organic white is subtly woody. In the heart of the Alpilles, Mas de Gourgonnier is an environmentally friendly family winery. Reserve du Mas, Mas de Gourgonnier, AOP Les Baux-de-Provence, 12.60€

With a goat dung : This 100% Rolle high six months on fine lees in barrel has a pale dress. His light toast comes to underline the finesse of citrus fruits. A balanced wine to be tasted with simplicity. Vallon Sourn 2017, Les Vignerons de Correns, 11,50€  with roasted scallops: This sweet white fruit nose reveals a zest of citrus. It gives him freshness and pep. Perfect with scallops with aromatic herbs. Château de Rouquette 2013, Loupiac, 10.50€

With a sea bream with fennel : Her dress is shiny and her nose lemon. Oscillating between roundness and freshness this white of the Haut-Var is perfect in the company of the iodine dishes. Terres de Berne 2016, Côtes de Provence, 15€

With salmon : Very fine, this white wine has exotic notes of pineapple. Ample to the palate, it evokes the ripe fruits. He will know how to be subtle and discreet in the company of character dishes like smoked salmon. Vita Bella, Château La Mascaronne, Côtes de Provence 15€

Very well choose your digestif for your Christmas meals. This is the drink after the meal families here enjoy, less often in restaurant but in special family meals we still do. Spirits (eaux-de-vie) are liquors obtained by distilling wine, marc, cider or fruit. There are also numerous fruit spirits, alcohols derived from the fermentation of smashing fruit: cherries, mirabelles, plums or berries and obtained by distillation. What about fruit liqueurs? They come from a maceration or an infusion of fresh fruit .

So which ones to choose ? These are the spirits of wine or cider, type Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados which are the most sought-after consumers in the holiday season. While brandies or fruit. liqueurs would be more regional winks or would act as nice gifts This is according to the cellar master of the Galeries Lafayette Paris. It is better to have 2 to 3 references of digestifs to propose to your guests. The holidays, at home, are the opportunity to enjoy nice products as long as you do not take risks.

To second the good advise from Galeries Lafayette, here are some I have tried that are super! Maison Dudognon, Vieille réserve, Cognac. This small family house develops in all discretion a cognac of high quality, very balanced thanks to an exemplary outfit of the vines and a flawless ageing. Price France 48€. Château de Lacquy, Bas Armagnac 1995 ; the château de Lacquy is a traditional armagnac,who did not give in to the sirens of the white Ugni Blanc to favor the Baco, which gives it a lot of class. Price France 79€.

Let’s have a break from drinking and propose a nice gift idea for the Holiday and those in the mood. These folks I have followed for many years , lost count, always good notes and the book is a classic. One of my all time favorite wine experts Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson with their book World Atlas of Wine, publisher Flammarion,in France price 45€

And to finish this post ,a bit on those wonderful bubblies at little price that are coming strong all over and France will not be left behind. The Cremants and one of my favorite region Bordeaux. They can be an exceptional quality/value purchase for the Holidays!

With 80 million bottles sold in 2018, in constant increase of 5 to 7% in the last ten years, Crémant is present in eight appellations: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, and Savoie. Today, it manages in blind tastings to compete with Champagne and is particularly distinguished by its varietals and a different terroir. For Crémant, the minimum duration between circulation and marketing is 9 months, compared with 15 for Champagne and… one month for prosecco!; produced with faster and cheaper methods, this Italian wine extends in all markets: the harvest is mechanical and not manual as for Crémant, and the second alcoholic fermentation, which produces the effervescence, is made in vats and not in Bottle as required by the traditional method. For the last five years, the figures for Crémant de Bordeaux have exploded: 1,200 hectares, or 50% more in two years; 75,000 hectolitres foreseen this year, which is five times more than in the early 2010’s. In 2017, 20% of Bordeaux’s annual sales had taken place during the year-end celebrations. With an average price of between 6 and 10 euros, Crémant is mainly sold in large distribution and 20% exported, especially to northern Europe, but also to Japan and the United States, the world’s first sparkling wine market.  The Crémants has exploded with an increase in sales year to year of + 29% by volume and 35% in value between October 2017 and October 2018); to be served very cold between 6-7C (43-44F), they go well with aperitifs to desserts, especially with seafood, white meats or sushis.

Some of my bottles that had in the last couple of years are from names such as Bulles de Lalande-labatut, Domaine de Grava Jaillance, Chateau Turcaudn Charme d’Aliénor, Lateyron, Fleur de Rauzan, Domaine du Cheval Blanc , Jean-Louis Ballarin, Domaine de Laubertrie, and Grangeneuve. The ones to bring up as my best experiences were from Ballarin and Lateyron, their webpages are here:

Crémants of Lateyron

Crémants of Ballarin

For further dwelling into this fascinating world see below the two webpage, the first one is the Bordeaux wine council on crémants and the second one is the appellations of Bordeaux and specific the section on Crémants.

Bordeaux wine council on Crémants

Planet Bordeaux on territories and Crémants

Just go and ask your local wine merchant, cellar or distributor, to know the availability of these wonders of our world, and enjoy them fully with moderation of course! Merry Christmas to all !!!

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

PS And I could not leave without leaving some pictures of the bubblies been able to take photos and some like the Pommery and Pol Roger will be on for this Christmas 2018 in our house. You are welcome!!

December 21, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVI

Need to have a break from all those glorious towns and come back to my lovely Morbihan and our errands. The season to be merrier is near and we will try to do our best after our losses of dear wife and mother. The weather is definitevely more wintery cold and gray, and light rain falling on Friday but sometimes is worse somewhere else. We take the best of what we can get.

Let me bring up to date. The pastries snacks order for Christmas is done, and will cook something local with great Champagnes and wines to at least get a family unity here far from the rest of the family; the closest been 6 hrs away by car. We are planning to visit the grandmother in Seine-et-Marne (77) after Christmas, mainly because my oldest son is ongoing auto school for his license until Friday.

As my oldest school is in Auray and my Dad needed some adjustment to his hearing aid also in Auray, we took some time to walk around our previous home as nowdays not much there, spending more time in Vannes. Here are basically a pictorial.

We set out early to get bedding for our dog Rex already one year old and nice, we love him to death! He is a mix labrador, border collier, more on the collier side we think. Right now he is already sleeping in his new bedding in the living room!!!  We got that at Maxi Zoo in the town of Séné (next to Vannes). As we were there, had our lunch at a new place.

We passed by it and finally decided to stop in. Le Triangle brasserie restaurant in Séné. Nothing fancy just a regular French mom and pop resto.We had our usual pint of Leffe blonde beer with a bib of sirloin steak, fries,and salad, and expresso coffee for 20.50€ per person ok for lunch. It is diagonally opposite the Maxi Zoo store.  Here is a bit more on it: Le Triangle Séné

Sene

sene

sene

From there we went to Auray, drop off my oldest at his auto school (for driving license) and then walk around inner city Auray taking some photos which usually have no time to take on this historical wonderful small town by the Loch/Auray river that flows into the Gulf of Morbihan and then the Atlantic ocean! Enjoy the pictorial!

Auray

from upper town to lower town St Goustan port

auray

pl de la République behind hotel de ville Christmas tree and market

Auray

from old castle to st goustan quai Franklin and the auray river

auray

Christmas market area at pl de la République behind hotel de ville

auray

pl de la République from hotel de ville towards lower town and st goustan port

auray

from above castle ruins to st goustan and the L’Armoric bar resto ourhangout! at pl St Sauveur!

Enjoy it the season to be merrier, Merry Christmas to all my readers and best wishes from the heart!

I have to give it again, the Auray area tourist office : Tourist office of Auray

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

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