Archive for December, 2018

December 20, 2018

Let’s remember Le Nôtre!

Now this is almost winter but gardens are always in my mind; lucky to live in such a country that worship them. And my favorite gardener of all times, André Le Nôtre.

On a cloudy rainy cool Tuesday afternoon awaiting the start of my Christmas/New Years vacation in my lovely Morbihan of Brittany, I can only think of my beloved Versailles,after  almost 10 years of residency, it is always in my mind. So, therefore, let me tell you a bit more about Versailles and one of its greatest exponents André Le Nôtre.

Most now know who is Le Nôtre, so I will cut short the introduction. He was born in Paris March 12, 1613 (birthplace site the Tuileries, the gardens!!!) ; and the site of his first work thanks to Catherine de Médicis.  There is so much missing on his life because most of the papers of his genie were lost over the periods!!!. His family: André Le Nôtre is a son probably also a  grandchild of the gardeners of the Tuileries. His father, Jean, had the title since 1625 of plants and garden designer, and share the responsibility with Claude 1er Mollet of the Tuileries gardens. His grandfather Pierre Le Nôtre, was in charge since 1572 of the upkeep of the terraces garden of the Tuileries.  André Le Nôtre marries in 1640, Françoise Langlois, daughter of an artillery commissary of France, they have 3 kids, all died of early age. Moreover, the tradition continues because two of his sisters became gardeners too. Françoise marries Simon Bouchard, manager of the orangeries of the  Tuileries, post that allows the bequest of their children in the same field. Elisabeth marries the gardener Pierre Desgots,that worked most notably at  Chantilly, and their grandson Claude Desgots will be the next closest collaborator of André Le Nôtre. He learned the trade of designing by working for 6 years with the shop of  Simon Vouet in the Louvre. It is here that he meets and befriends the painter Le Brun (later work with him at Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles, etc ). He, also, worked in the gardens of Luxembourg Paris, Palais-Royale Paris, Chantilly, Saint Germain en Laye, and Fontainebleau. His hands are at work too at  Trianon, Clagny, Maintenon, Saint-Cyr , Meudon, and maybe Marly. In the châteaux de Saint-Maur, Saint-Martin de Pontoise, Chaville, Louvois, Pontchartain ,and Conflans, as well as in the provinces such as  Gaillon, Guermantes, Castries, Les Rochers, and so on and on…Also, internationally, such as Greenwich for Charles II of England in 1662. He conceived a project for the Château de Racconigi in Italy in 1670 and remade the gardens of Venaria Reale in Italy in 1674-1698.  .He started his work at Versailles by order of the King in 1662 next to Le Vau and Le Brun. The making of Versailles begins, and so the ever bright start of Le Nôtre rises to touch the heavens and stay there forever in the minds of all of us that admire this place so much. During the year 1675: he received, on this occasion, the order of Saint-Michel followed, in 1681, of the Order of Saint-Lazare. The photo below is in Versailles!!!

versailles

He lived on a house not far from the Pavillon de Marsan (building where today is the musee des arts décoratifs in Paris rue de Rivoli), and it is in this nearby house where he died on September 15 1700. His funeral was celebrated in the Church St Germain de l’Auxerrois near the Hôtel de Ville of Paris and he is buried at the nearby Church Saint-Roch at 254 rue Saint Honoré.  The chapel that hosts its tomb is adorned with a painting entitled The Martyrdom of St. Andrew. His widow, Françoise Langlois, soon ordered a funeral monument to honour her husband’s memory. Realized before 1707, he took a seat in front of the high altar, under a large arcade. Detaching itself on a background of marble veined with colour, it consisted of an allegory in white marble holding the epitaph of the Gardener, in gold letters on a black marble, all surmounted by the coat of arms of the deceased, with the famous three snails and the necklace of the Order of Saint-Michel; Below, at the Spectator’s height, was placed on a console the bust of the deceased, the head slightly turned to the right. Desecrated during the revolution, there remains of this burial that the bust

Upon his death, the local newspaper Mercure Galant said of him in 1700, (Trans) ” The king came to lose a man unique, and in love with is service to him, and a strong admirer of his own art, that had given him honor. It is Mr le Notre, general controller of buildings for his majesty, its gardens, and manufacturers of France….Never a man has given more of all that he has been able to give and contribute to the beauty of gardening…” The government of France has in the ministry of culture a space for him all alone in French, that is the honor of a good son, http://www.lenotre.culture.gouv.fr/index.html

Versailles celebrated big time his 400 annivesary in 2013 and I wrote a similar post of which this one mostly borrowed . Some of the activities and renovations due to his celebration by the city were:

versailles

The beautification of the avenue de l’Europe, with a cyclable path along the sidewalks without interruption from the there to the ave Saint Cloud jonction to the avenue de Paris.  Th jardin des Senteurs at the cour des senteurs right by the Potager du Roi(itself now under renovation). The renovation of the garden in the Maison des Musiciens Italiens  (see previous post on it) as well as jointly with the SNCF to have bicycle paths from the train stations to visit the city on a vélo! it will criss cross the city and give you an opportunity to see more than the castle museum.

The great allée Le Notre, more often overlook by visitors, it is the extension of the castle  envision by Le Nôtre, along the axe allée des Mortemets that goes to the eau des Suisses at the today caserne Pion almost at the doors of the city of Saint-Cyr-l’école right by the ferme de Gally (see previous post), back of the Grand canal! A complete renovation in the gardens all dear to me such as Potager du Roi, parc Balbi, and domaine de Madame Elizabeth (see previous posts). The Allée Royale in the castle will be an excellent opportunity to see his work up close starting from the bassin d’Apollon descending to the Grand Canal, and beyond into the Etoile Royale going to the communities dear to me such as the Saint-Cyr-l’école,Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin, and Villepreux (road 307).

An “André Le Nôtre International Prize” was founded in 2013 on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the birth of André Le Nôtre. It was presented in the context of the meetings André Le Nôtre of Versailles. It is intended to reward landscape architects from all over the world, for the whole of a work (from conception to realization, through the quality of the mastery of work, knowledge and know-how).

Hope you can see some of his work in France, they are all gorgeous. One reason Versailles is so nice!!

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

December 19, 2018

Some news from France CCXIIII

So this is the season to be merrier even if I have to try harder.  I will be the first Christmas without my dear late wife Martine of 28 years, and the 26th Dec is our wedding anniversary too. Getting stronger and moving on, there is so much to tell about my belle France these days coming up to the end of 2018. I will be on vacation starting tomorrow, and as usual still do not know where I am going lol! Excuse me!!!!

Just in could not wait until another Some news from France. The 500 years of renaissance of Leonardo Da Vinci, shows ,food:wines, heritage , sciences and innovations done by the Centre Val de Loire region 500 events in all; loads of info here at vivadavinci. Vivadavinci, Leonardo Da Vinci 500 years!

And of course ,do not missed to visit Amboise and the Château du Clos de Lucé; more here: Château du Clos Lucé

It is probably the most famous Parisian metro/subway line, seen by tourists and locals, and for cause: it is a good part outside above ground. Line 6 between Charles de Gaulle-Etoile and Nation, 6th line of the RATP network by its attendance, is also the one that spends the most time outside. And it is for the renovation of its famous viaducts that the line will undergo heavy work, very annoying for the users, during the next two summers. Line 6 will indeed be completely closed to traffic, between the stations Montparnasse and Trocadéro, during the summers 2019 and 2020.

Especially since the summer, at the same time, the SNCF maintains its work on the central section of the RER C, which will cause six weeks of total cut-off. This summer, with the stations Bir-Hakeim and Champs of Mars-Eiffel Tower closed, the metro station closest to the most visited Parisian monuments will be Trocadéro, a 13 minute walk.

A large pedestrian esplanade of 155 meters long on 35 meters wide with breathtaking view of the Trocadéro on one side, the Eiffel Tower on the other and the Seine on both sides. This is what could be, on the horizon 2024, the Pont d’iéna Bridge  which now hosts three lanes of vehicular traffic in each direction. The hypothesis will only be confirmed in April when the selection board (composed of elected officials but also architects) holds the winning team and its project. But it is already strongly fought by the city/town hall of the 7éme arrondissement. Time will tell stay tune!

Something that is not surprising to me as on business trips need to take them and only on business trips ; the trains of France lol ! In a report published this week, the Arafer, the regulatory authority for railway and road activities, is alarmed at the high degradation of the train service in France, and in particular the TGV. The rail constable studied all high-speed relations in France and his verdict is unappealing: 24% of the TGV have a delay of at least 5 minutes. Thus on 114 million passengers TGV in 2017, 26 million were delayed by more than five minutes compared to the theoretical timetable, and nearly 4.3 million had a delay of more than 30 minutes. Oddly enough, only 1.6 million passengers operated the famous G 30 guarantee which reimburses 25% of the ticket price (probably because the refund is to your name and not the company so never used them lol!). But the SNCF has huge margins in front of it by dealing with the operating deficiencies that caused more than half of these delays. A tip: When your trip includes a correspondence between TGV and TER or vice and versa, the 15-minute rule between two trains will not necessarily protect you from a magnifying glass! Be careful: Plan more time.

Now will dwell into fashion, men’s that is , sorry ::)

Do men take out the great dress garments at the end of the year celebrations? I’m not sure! The storefronts of department stores, which are not the type to miss a commercial opportunity are always a good barometer of real consumption trends. This year, their storefronts dedicated to the masculine fashion put rather in front of outdoor sets of spirit high mountain, a style at the same time in vogue, perfect for possible winter holidays and, especially, for the weeks and months to come, now that the cold has arrived. In short, the evening clothes are not particularly highlighted. But that doesn’t mean that a little more dressed style is not fashionable.OK c’est la vie en ma belle France!

Lousy me with gardens but dwelling a bit into my dear late wife Martine domaine; For its 18th edition, the jury of the National Vegetable Gardens Competition has awarded 21 remarkable gardens in terms of diversity, good practice and aesthetics. Organised by the French National Horticulture Society (SNHF), the Figaro as partner, the Jardinot Association and the National Interprofessional Seed Group (Gnis). The ones from closer to me were the  garden of 600 m2 divided into two plots that is cultivated for 35 years with a perfect technical mastery in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (Val-de-Marne). Hayat Kontate in Arcueil (Val-de-Marne) in the category “Shared vegetable gardens set up and cultivated within a company or by an association”. Unique me think.

And from tomorrow ,Wednesday, December 19, a new playground in the Nelson Mandela garden. 300 m2 to play football, basketball and ping pong. To realize this giant mural on the ground, it was necessary to design tools but also paints capable of adapting to the soft coating usually tinted in the mass. The result: An abstract motif that reminds the artist of the cartography and satellite visions of the highways and paths that continue from the ground to the football cages, through the baskets of basketball. In order to completely insulate the space, the balloons were adorned with climbing plants and mobile urban trees which mingle with the plants. Entirely painted by the street artist Romain Froquet. By the les Halles, Paris of course!

Whether small or large, we meet at the parc des Rives de Seine on the banks of the Seine river  to practice free winter sports as can rarely be done in the capital. Speaking of course of cross-country skiing , curling or biathlon. See you on the slopes!  Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville 4émé from December 22nd to January 2nd 2019 and from 13h to midnight.

A year after opening an exceptional audience, the hotel Mezzara at 60, rue Jean-de-La-Fontaine, 16éme in the autumn of 2017, the Cercle Guimard again pays homage, with a beautiful book, to this unsung masterpiece of Art Nouveau built by Hector Guimard In 1910. Entitled “Hôtel Mezzara by Hector Guimard”, 28 pages, 20€ book. In the Bookshop Le Cabanon at 122, rue de Charenton 12éme, and the bookshop of the Cité de l’architecture (city of Architecture)  at the Palais de Chaillot 16éme. If the hotel Guimard located nearby, at 122 Mozart Avenue , was sold and divided into apartments, making the hotel Mezzara a Hector Guimard Museum and a center dedicated to Art Nouveau would make it possible to realise the architect’s wish. Stay tune….

Something local for me to keep track of.  One month after voting for the first time the merger with the city of Saint-Germain en Laye, the municipal council of Fourqueux was called this last Monday evening to deliberate again on the issue. It will answer on behalf of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and must be effective on 1 January. The first municipal Council of this new entity, which will first gather together the 70 councilors of the two cities, is convened on 7 January 2019. Fourqueux is a chic town next to SGL and they should match! Stay tune.

l’Atelier des Lumières 11éme arrondissement house in the former foundry of 1835 transformed into a digital art center of 3300 m2 will honor the Dutch painter. His works will be projected at 360 °, including floors, thanks to a special technology named Amies (Art & Music immersive Experience). Especially since in just ten years, Van Gogh has made more than 800 paintings and more than 1000 drawings: a gigantic production that allows us to create a solid digital exhibition. By his painting, Van Gogh has upset the history of art and digital can be a great way to account for his universe. “Van Gogh, The Starry Night” and “dreamed Japan, images of the floating World” at the Atelier des Lumiéres. 38, rue Saint-Maur 11éme arrondissement. From 22 February to 31 December 2019. Rates: 14.50€ (full), 11.50€ (reduced) and 9.50€ (children). Open Monday to Thursday, 10h-18h. Nightly on Fridays and Saturdays until  22h  and Sundays until 19H. On weekdays, closing of the ticket office on the spot at 16h, purchase online only. Week-end: Buy online only at  https://www.atelier-lumieres.com/fr/van-gogh-nuit-etoilee

On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovers the mythical tomb of the pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty (14C BC) in the Valley of the Kings. A tomb containing an extraordinary treasure, part of which will be revealed to us in this immersive exhibition. The Grande Halle offers us the unique opportunity to admire 150 objects of world heritage and to travel, for a moment, in the time of the pyramids. Tutankhamun, the treasure of the Pharaoh at the  Grande Halle de La Villette 221, Avenue Jean-Jaurès 19éme arrondissement from 23 March to 15 September 2019 . https://lavillette.com/programmation/toutankhamon_e185

Some cozy places to spent your Christmas in Paris are:

The Petit Boutique hotel in the quartier Saint-Honoré transformed its terrace by setting up a Slavic hut surrounded by fir trees. An intimate refuge, with its Scottish rugs, velvet cushions, colorful candles, fluffy benches and friendly tables, as well as a platinum to listen to its own vinyls. The Le Roch Hotel. 28, rue Saint-Roch 1éme.   https://www.leroch-hotel.com/restaurant-bar

The pop-up bar all of red lacquered, nestled in a suite with terrace and view on the Eiffel Tower, promises a trip in the Shanghai of the 1930’s. Shangri-La Hotel. 10, Av. of Jena  16éme.Every day from 18h. to midnight.   http://www.shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila/dining/bars-lounges/le-bar/

The palace, always offbeat, plays the cards of a frosted terrace. Under an inflated and transparent igloo, it is not feared to settle down to take a vintage Champagne cup well beaten by picking tapas with truffle or caviar admiring the icebergs of mirrors stranded in the water basin. At Royal Monceau Hotel , 37, Av. Hoche  8éme. Daily from 12h to 23h   https://www.leroyalmonceau.com/en/bars-leisure/our-terrace-garden/

A place to see Santa Claus or Papa Noêl and one of my favorite places in Paris. Descending directly from the sky, Santa decided to put his sled on the roof of the Montparnasse tower. Christmas at the Montparnasse Tower. 33 Avenue du Maine 15éme. Coming from Santa Claus on 19, 22, 23 and 24 December from 14h to 18h   https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/fr/nos-evenements/noel-sur-le-toit-de-paris/

For the first time, Galeries Lafayette organizes a walk in the air on a 9 meters long glass walkway suspended at 16 meters above the void. You will be able to see more closely the most famous Christmas tree in Paris, from the third(4th US)  floor of the store. And bonus: This memorable moment will be immortalized for free by a photographer! Les Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 12, rue de Mogador. https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/events/glasswalk

And in closing , a bit on wine etiquette much needed ,especially around these dates:

Young, intense and tannic wines need to breathe.  Even a white wine can win to be carafé. Instructions not to miss. The carafe has the power to speed up the time that passes over the wine. It allows it to complete its evolution, to help its growth. For it puts it in contact with the indispensable companion, who is also the worst enemy: OXYGEN. The more a wine is deprived of oxygen, the longer its life slows, the longer its ageing. Put it in contact with the air and the needles of time are wrapped. Decanting a  wine is therefore valuable for that does not have the means to allow time to time. The young, intense wines, cramped in a bottle, need to evolve, to relax, to breathe. This is the case with red wines from Bordeaux, South-West(sud-ouest), Rhône, Languedoc, Spain, South America and North America. In short, all the powerful and tannic wines that have not had time to skate will be happy to be decanted. The wine will gain in intensity and complexity, its structure is more molten in the mouth. It is quite easy to estimate the need: past the stage of the corkscrew, these wines do not smell much in the nose and, in the mouth, behave like a small compact ball that weighs on the tongue instead of investing the whole palate. In this case, one does not think: the contents of the bottle are poured into the carafe. It is no more complicated than that. You can then go up one level. If wine emanate from unpleasant odors of reduction, close to cabbage or onion, it is necessary to act vigorously and, why not?, with panache: Perform the maneuver in height, in the manner of the Mint tea servers, shake the carafe vigorously until that the wine begins to foam, signs that CO2 is emitted under the effect of oxygenation. One can even transfer from the carafe to the bottle several times in a row to further accelerate the aeration effect. The carafe is just an example of a container, but if the wine is particularly young and restive, you can use a bowl, a vase, any container. It is better still to finish by reintegrating the wine in its original bottle, otherwise you will have trouble to impress your guests by bringing a bucket on the table lol!

Enjoy the seasons wherever you are and very much so in France, where else!!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 18, 2018

The Castle/Museum at St Germain en Laye!

And now that I am in the neighborhood of St Germain en Laye, a wonderful town near my old home, why not tell you again about a wonderful castle of great historical significance and a beautiful museum today. It is a must see while here and very easy to get to from Paris.

The town of St Germain en Laye is located in department 78, call Yvelines , west of Paris. It was very near me and I did shopping and eating out there often with the family. It is ,also, the birthplace of king Louis XIV with a beautiful castle now a wonderful museum. To come best on the RER A from many points in Paris, or the train  station Grand  Ceinture ,just at entry to the city from the west, train from Paris gare St Lazare, the official site for the local trains is http://www.transilien.com/web/site/lang/en

The most obvious parkings  is by the RER station, two call RER and Chateau parking in two levels. The other is to go underneath the Vieux Marché or market area on ave de la République, or the parking Pologne at rue de Pologne or the Monoprix store parking. The city of SGL has a good explanation on parkings and public transport even in French can easily be understood, here http://www.saintgermainenlaye.fr/cadre-de-vie/venir-circuler-et-stationner-a-saint-germain/rer-bus-voiture-taxis-liaisons-avec-les-aeroports/

The town offers many sightseeing choices and it is very easy to get to from Paris.  The town grew because of the castle and the forest that surround it which are magnificent with a wonderful view of Paris in the distance and its monuments at the park done by Le Notre. The name is old possibly from 972 AD when king of the French Robert I had built a monastery in honor of St Germain ,probably St Germain des Prés. The name of the town can be translated as Saint Germain of the forest in new French.

St Germain en Laye

In 1777, King Louis XVI donated the New Castle, in bad condition, to his brother Charles, Count of Artois, the future Charles X. He had it demolished with the intention of rebuilding it.  Under the Empire, the Château-Vieux was repaired to form a cavalry school. It hosts the Special Military School of Cavalry, opened in 1809 and merged, in 1914, with the Special Military School of Saint-Cyr. From 1836 to 1855, the castle was transformed into a military penitentiary. It was extensively restored under Napoleon III . On March 8, 1862, an imperial decree acts the creation in the castle of a Museum of Celtic and Gallo-Roman Antiquities (later renamed Museum of National Antiquities, then recently , and still today the Museum of National Archaeology).

St Germain en laye

The castle revolves around an inner courtyard in the shape of a trapezoid, taking the primitive route of Charles V Castle. The wings that frame this courtyard traditionally bear the following names: King’s Wing (north wing), Queen’s Wing (east Wing), King’s Children’s wing (southeast wing), Chapel Wing (southwest Wing), and the Feast Hall Wing (West Wing).

St Germain en laye

The ballroom is located in the West Wing. Unfinished at the death of François I, it was inaugurated by his son Henri II at a grand banquet in 1549 to celebrate the baptism of his son. It is more than 500 m2 and has a monumental chimney with a stone motif, which features the salamander; the emblem of François I. Louis XIV transformed it into a comedy room, and the team of formidable instruments. More than one hundred and forty representations of all kinds were given in this room considered the largest of the whole kingdom. Lully and Molière knew their hours of glory here. In 1666, king Louis XIV performed himself in the Ballet des Muses. This room now houses the comparative archaeology room.

The castle museum are well kept with a beautiful chapel of  St. Louis, located in the Gothic castle, is a vestige of the ancient fortress. It was built by Saint Louis in 1238. Louis XIV, although born in the Château Neuf, was baptized there. An inner courtyard, floors of antiquities artifacts from the region very nicely display, and the adjoining park design by Le Notre overlooking Paris. Behind the castle in what is now the restaurant Pavillon Henri IV, a marker displays the fact that king Louis XIV was born there.

Of course, the castle now the museum of antiquities or musée national des antiquites it covers in three floors wonders of the old days found in the surrounding areas, and it is considered one of the best in its genre.  Behind you see an archdoor leading to the Pavillon Henri IV restaurant (great dining) an enblem showing this is where Louis XIV was born. The parc and gardens were done from  1668 to 1675 by the great gardener Le Nôtre, and it has an expansive view over Paris and the vineyards of Le Pecq that after doing so from antiquity are now back in form from 2000 onward producicng pinot noir base wines.  The museum page is here,  Museum of National Antiquities SGL

St Germain en laye

The tourist office of SGL for more info is here  http://www.ot-saintgermainenlaye.fr/

Some of the stories and personalities of the Castle and the city of Saint Germain en Laye were:

king François I married Claude de France in the Chapel of the old castle in 1514 , and became its favorite living property. Henri II is also born here, and he became king in 1547!  Charles IX established a glass making trade in 1561, and  Henri IV exempt the inhabitants of all taxes in 1599 priviledge that lasted until 1789! king Louis XIII spent his youth at the old castle, and it was while hunting from here that he discovered another place to later build his hunting lodge-Versailles. He later died here in 1643, while his son Louis XIV was born here in 1638. As king Louis XIV spent a great deal of his time here from 1661  to 1682 afterward the castle decline as the new other property was been built at Versailles. The king of England Edward II came here in exile from 1689 to his death in 1701 at the old castle, and is buried across the street at the church of St Germain (see that post).

A town that saw the birth of  (year following name) :Henri II, 1518; Marguerite de France, Queen Margot, 1553 ; Jeanne d’Albret, (mother of Henri IV and great figure of the Reformist era) ,1528;Charles IX , 1550 ; Louis de Buade count de Frontenac,( Governor of New France (Canada)),1622; King Louis XIV, 1638 ; Philippe de France, duke of Orléans,1640 ; Philippe de France, duke of Anjou, (oldest son of Louis XIV), 1660; Marie-Louise  of England , (daughter of king James II of England exile in the city and buried at the Church of St Germain across from castle), 1692;  Claude Debussy ,1862 ; Edouard Bourdet, 1887;  Jehan Alain, 1911 ;  Christian Fouchet, 1911,(ambassador and previous minister and follower from the first hour of Gen de Gaulle); José Artur, 1927; Michel Pericard (1929-1999), (previous mayor of Saint-Germain- en-Laye (1977-1999),deputy of the Yvelines  (1978-1999) , and Vice President of the National Assembly of France (1997-1999); Jean-Edern Hallier, 1936;  and Pierre Douglas, 1941…

A town that saw the passing of figures such as (year of death following name) : Louis XIII,1643 ; James II king of England, 1701; The knight  Ramsay  1743 ; François de Beauharnais, (father in law of Joséphine first wife of Napoléon), 1800 ; prince de Polignac, 1847 ; Adolphe Thiers, President of the IIIe Républic, 1877; the Poet Catulle Mendès, 1909 ; Henri Cochet, Tennis champion 6 times winner of the Davis Cup, 1987; Suzanne Chantal, roman writer, 1994.

And who have passed by in the city, some of the famous are : Molière, alias Jean-Baptiste Poquelin; Mozart for a day in 1778 ; Benjamin Franklin also in 1778; Alexandre Dumas father and son. The father wrote  “Les Trois mousquetaires” and “Le Comte de Monte Cristo” in the city while commander of the national guard in town as well as directs the theater.  The son wrote  “La Dame aux camélias” in the city. The musician Claude Debussy, and the painter Maurice Denis , that have a museum in the city as well. And of course, many many others too numerous to mention.

So therefore, is it worth a detour out of Paris glitz! come on over the Yvelines dept 78 of the region of Ïle de France; the first , history , architecture, marvels of my belle France. Enjoy SGL wholly!

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

December 17, 2018

Madame Elizabeth, Versailles of course!

And I am back in my routine preparting end of year and new year’s things with the boys. The sad part will be the first one without my dear late wife Martine; we will hang tough.

I will tell the story of Madame Elizabeth. One of my favorite personalities of the history of Versailles and France and have visited her places several times.  This is Madame Elizabeth, the sister of Louis XVI and also guillotine in 1794 simply for defending her brother!

I can’t help been a lover of travel fares to indulge on history. It is rather condense and long, but writing about a wonderful personage of my Versailles merits an effort. I will tell the story of Madame Elizabeth. One of my favorite personalities of the history of Versailles and France and have visited her places several times.

Versailles

Élisabeth Philippine Marie Hélène de France, dite Madame Élisabeth, was born May 3 1764 in Versailles and baptised at the Royal Chapel in the castle in the presence of her grandfather king Louis XV, and her grandmother the queen Marie Lesczynska  ; as well as the godparents the princess and her uncle Felipe I of Spain duke of Parma and her godmother the great aunt Elizabeth Farnese, princess of Parma that gives her the name and represented there as well by Marie-Adelaide de France daughter of Louis XV. She is registered in the Church collegiale of Notre Dame. She died under the abusive guillotine on May 10 1794 in the revolution square today Place de la Concorde. She was the 8th and last children of the dauphin Louis Ferdinand and Marie Josephe de Saxe, and sister of king Louis XVI.

Versailles

She was imprisoned in 1792 same time as the king and ask to present in front of the revolutionary tribunal under the terror and ordered to be executed ,simply for defending her brother. Recognised by her piety and acts of charity as well as her death associated as a martyr she was declared a Servant of God by the Catholic Church in 1953.

Early on she is left orphan after the death of her father from tuberculosis and the two years after the mother. Both of them only 36 years old leaving five children including the oldest at 13 the future king Louis XVI. Madame Elizabeth received an excellent education and is interested in the arts. Where she is introduce to the arts by her nanny The countess de Marsan along with her older sister Madame Clotilde (by 6 yrs). With great influence from her Aunts she follows a Catholic course of great piety and devotion while at the same time certain liberties.

On May 10 1774 the king Louis XV died and Louis-Auguste at the age of 19 yrs old becomes king Louis XVI. The education of Madame Elizabeth changed to a new nanny that of Baroness de Mackau that gains her confidence as well as her own daughter. Shortly, after the coronation, the older sister Madame Clotilde is married to the Prince of Piemont ,leaving for Turin, and the young Elizabeth finds herself alone in Versailles at the age of 11. At age 15, she obtained the ok to have her own house and proper revenues from the court.

In 1783, the king offered her the Domaine de Montreuil, purchased from the Rohan-Guéméné and located in the village of Montreuil not far from the Château de Versailles. Now it is a district of Versailles well praise and the home sits in a lovely park still named the Domaine de Montreuil. From 1784 to the revolution, major reconstruction and development work was undertaken. The buildings are rebuilt in the neo-classical taste and the gardens in the Anglo-Chinese taste then in vogue (dummy cave, streams, waterfall, etc.). Some of the cabinetry work in the house is now display in the  Louvre Museum and the Nissim-de-Camondo museum of Paris.

Versailles

Madame Elisabeth will be close to her sister-in-law Queen Marie Antoinette. Favorable to smallpox, which allows to guard against smallpox, a deadly and frequent contagious disease, which affects all the layers of the population, leaving the best of horrible scars on the face, she calls her doctor. The latter is surprised to find her surrounded by her ladies, but also by the peasants of her land, who can thus gracefully benefit from the progress of medicine. She, also deprived herself for four years of the gifts which the king gave him so that one of his ladies in her entouraged, Mademoiselle de Causans, could constitute the dowry necessary for her marriage with the Marquis of Raigecourt, a gentleman from Lorraine, of whom she was in love.

On May 3, 1789, Madame Elisabeth  reached the legal age majority. The next day she attends the Church of Saint Louis de Versailles at the opening of the general states.  On 4 June 1789, the dauphin (heir to the throne) died at the age of 7 years at the Château de Meudon.  Madame Elisabeth  approached the Queen, her sister-in-law, to support the king. On October 6, 1789 , the Royal family is forcibly brought back by the people to Paris.  While, she could easily withdrawed to the Bellevue Castle near Meudon, she chose to share the fate of her brother. The princess (Madame Elizabeth)  adopted an ultra position, without any concession to the supporters of a constitutional monarchy.  As early as 1790, she supported the principle of an alliance of emigrants with the foreign powers which it awaited salvation. Through the Count of Virieu, among others, she regularly corresponded with the count of Artois, his brother, who emigrated to Turin and then to Koblenz, whose ideas she shared.

Versailles

One of her letters to the Count of Artois  (Louis XVI brother; and later Louis XVIII) was discovered one day on an officer who carried it, and the missive was given for examination at the National Assembly. Princess Elisabeth said of the king that he was allowed to be led by his ministers sold to the Assembly, and that there was nothing to be hoped for without outside help. She recommended to the Count of Artois to act by himself, committing him to put the other sovereigns of Europe in their interests, for, she said, Louis XVI is so weak that he would sign his own condemnation if required of him.  She also objected to the civil constitution of the clergy and to any measure that diminished the royal prerogatives or those of the Church. The Aunts and nannies ladies went for the papal states in 1791 and offer the niece to accompany them; however, Madame Elizabeth once again choose to stay with the Royal couple. She followed her brother and sister-in-law on the foiled flight to Montmédy on June 20, 1791.

When the king was suspended by the legislature on August 10, 1792 and dethroned a month later, the assembly decreed that  Louis Capet (Louis XVI), his wife(Marie-Antoinette)  and children (Louis-Charles and Marie-Thérèse), as well as Elisabeth, would be detained until further notice at the Temple prison.  A letter from the Marquise de Bombelles  informed by her daughter, Madame Alissa de Chazt, who secretly communicates with the prisoners , gives this news to the Marquis de Raigecourt, husband of her best friend:

“I had as you the same information about our unfortunate princess, her thinness is, it is said, scary, but religion supports her, and she is the consoling angel of the Queen, of her children;” Let us hope that she and hers will not succumb to so many evils. How could one complain by having the imagination filled with the painful picture of the inhabitants of the temple »

The king was executed on 21 January 1793. Early July, in order to avoid any attempt to escape, the young Louis-Charles,then 8 yrs old (would have been Louis XVII but strangely disappeared without trace), was separated from his mother and aunt, then Marie-Antoinette, on the decree of Barère, Reporter of the Public Salvation Committee, was sent back to the Revolutionary Court and sent on August 1st to the Conciergerie.  In the winter of 1793, Madame Elisabeth, ignoring the execution of her sister-in-law, shared her cell with her 15-year-old niece on which she saw after the execution of her parents and the separation of her brother the little “Louis XVII”.  The “sister of the tyrant” gave the political police an opportunity to hold a trial after which Elizabeth was sentenced to death. To the public accuser who treats her as “the sister of a tyrant”, she would have replied: “If my brother had been what you say, you would not be where you are, nor me, where I am!”

On May 10 1794 , she was driven by cart in the place of the revolution(Place de la Concorde), the last of a batch of 25 persons. It is at this moment that she learns from her companions of misfortune the fate of Marie-Antoinette. Before she was executed, she unsuccessfully claimed the help of a priest that Fonseca-Tinville refused with derision.  After her  guillotine altar, she continues to comfort her companions and companions of misfortune. She saves the life of one of them, Madame de Sérilly, convincing her to reveal a possible early pregnancy.

Her truncated and stripped body was thrown into one of the common graves of the Errancis cemetery. After the revolution, the remains could not be identified despite the testimony of a gravedigger who located the common grave. The bones exhumed during the work of piercing avenues are placed in the catacombs of Paris with those of the other people.  A medallion represents her in the Basilica of  Saint-Denis.

In the continuing process of beatification, as Madame Elisabeth died in the smell of holiness. According to Madame de Genlis, a rose smell spread over the Place de la revolution (now Concorde) after her execution. Her cause in beatification was officially introduced on December 23rd 1953 by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Paris Maurice Feltin. She was thus declared Servant of God. As the procedure did not start, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois  proceeded to reopen her cause of beatification in 2016. It was then Abbé Xavier Snoëk, parish priest of Sainte-Élisabeth of Hungary Church in Versailles, who was appointed postulator of the cause. In May 2017, the Archdiocese of Paris recognized as the private association of the faithful the actors of its cause of beatification!!!

Versailles

The domaine de Montreuil is a park of 7,2 hectares of beautiful trees, and nice clean gardens, in which the house where she lived after a gift from her brother king Louis XVI in 1783. There was already a fortress here in the 1375 and was later acquired by the  Prince de Rohan-Guéméné (of Brittany!) and his wife Madame de Guéméné in 1772.

The house is a two level building in stone streaked with horizontal slitting and surmounted by broken attics. The ensemble included a chapel on a circular plane and zenithal lighting, as well as a Turkish boudoir. The fence wall, along the avenue of Paris, crowned by a balustrade, it served as a terrace from which one could admire the park and the garden ; the drawings are preserved in the National Library, the Musée Carnavalt and the Musée Latha,to keep the memory of this building domaine.

Madame Elisabeth establishes a small health center in Montreuil in a room in the house for the poor in the vicinity. These are cared for by the doctor and botanist Louis Guillaume Le McCann, who brought rare plants into the garden of the estate. The revolution ends these occupations.

Having escaped the fragmentation of properties during the French Revolution, the Clausse family became owners in the early 19C, Charles Louis Clausse, Mayor of Versailles died on September 10, 1831. Between the WW important restorations are done by the next owner Jean-Baptiste Chantrell. In 1955 his daughter Lydie sells the property to a real estate company. The maison de Madame Élisabeth belongs since 1984 to the General Council of the Yvelines dept 78. The Orangerie, acquired byt the deparment of Yvelines 78 since 1997 serves as a temporary exposition center.  There was a milking barn and cows now gone.  What remains of the original building are just 3 rooms: the apartment bedroom of Madame Élisabeth (never used as under aged she needed to sleep in the castle); the Turkish doudoir and the Harpsichord Room

The link here is of the current owners, the General Council of the Yvelines, the regional government entity. It has nevertheless a nice Video of it! In French:   Council of the Yvelines on Madame Elizabeth

The Catholic site on her beautification process and more history in French: http://www.paris.catholique.fr/madame-elisabeth-princesse-et.html

Versailles tourist office in English with nice photos: http://en.versailles-tourisme.com/cultural-heritage/le-domaine-de-madame-elisabeth-943152

And more in English at the Chateau de Versailles official page here: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/history/madame-Elisabeth

Truly remarkable and so sorry so many comes to Versailles and just don’t walk the 10 minutes to go her house at 73 Avenue de Paris (road D10) up straight from the castle/museum. Go for it, it’s a beautiful walk in Royal Versailles.

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

December 17, 2018

Some news from France CCXIII

Getting back at you after a few days in Asia (see that post earlier) and right from Paris CDG airport here is a catch up post on the latest from my belle France , especially Paris. Temps at landing here was 1C but of course no sweat this is Paris right!

Some of the latest tidbits while passing by my eternal Paris were

There is Monte Cristo hotel rightfully so, to honor Alexandre Dumas! all done with faîence mural textures, oriental arts, and details to tell you about his trips all in 50 rooms, a pool and sauna as well as the first rum bar of Paris! A cigar humidor and massages in room!  Give it a shot while in Paris of course! More here: Hôtel Monte Cristo

you a bar with vinyl records and not bottles , need to try the Fernando Sancho (mezcal,aquavit,, orange syrup and lime) with cassava chips. All at Bar Fréquence, 20 rue Keller, 11éme. More here: Bar Fréquence

Le Danton carrefour de l’Odéon, get a coffee here and see the world at 103 bd Saint-Germain, 6éme: more here: Yelp on Le Danton

And one of my old hangouts and friends for a drink at the bar, now totally renovated is the Le Bristol hotel  classic at 112 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Opened in 1925 and keeps on going great.  More at the Oetker collection members; Le Bristol at Oetkercollection

Continue on chic Paris, the Le Meurice hotel has opened a take out pastry corner!! Right at wonderful 6 rue de Castiglione, 1éme. Right across my old job, and done by pastry maker Cédric Grolet. More here: Dorchester collection Le Meurice pastries

Until January 27 2019 go to the Musée d’Orsay to see Les Renoir, genius by heritage! See the work of Auguste Renoir, the impressioinist painter: Jean Renoir and his films; see the exhibition entitled Renoir father and son. 1 rue de l Légion d’honneur, 7éme. More here: Musée d’Orsay on Renoir :father and son

How about that other department store of Paris, BHV Marais, 52 rue de Rivoli next to the Hôtel de Ville of Paris, and on a wonderful street. Over 2000 fashion and homemade brands, the wonderful Café Marlette, and the roofstop bar le Perchoir lovely. More in French at BHV Le Marais

A nice private theater at Théâtre de l’Atelier, 1 place Charles-Dullin 8éme.  very nice cozy, quant, and just another off the beaten path suggestions; more here: Theatre de l’Atélier Paris

For something nice above ground and enjoy immediately the beauty of Paris try the Le Bus Direct. A lot better and no Air France confusion.  6 stops inside Paris and can get you from CDG to Orly as well. More here: Tourist office of Paris on the Bus Direct

Official webpage of Le bus Direct is: Le Bus Direct

Remember you have ways to come into Paris from the airports. Le bus Direct, RER B, Roissybus all wonderful and use them; I take them to go into the city for news and done calling night service such as CDGVAL airport shuttle train to all terminals . You have access using RER express regional trains most.

Now in T2 E of CDG Paris airport you can try the Café Eiffel , relax just improve;more here: Pairs airports on Cafe Eiffel

Orly airport is linking its two terminal South and West by April 2019. more here on the shuttle service. Orly airport shuttle to CDG

And for now enough, enjoy Paris is eternal flame in our hearts. And remember cheers for travel, no excuses to sit and do nothing, and do talked to the kid enoug birds.

And this is it for today on my eternal city. Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!

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December 16, 2018

Buon Ma Thuot ,Dak Lak province ,Vietnam, of course!

So back with my latest trip abroad, this one a short week but pack plenty in it. This time out of HCMC went out to a new area in my 4th trip to Vietnam in the last 8 years. I went to visit Buon Ma Thout  in the Dak Lak province and the major area of coffee plantation in Vietnam.

buon ma thuot

A bit on the place first: or a bit of history I like!

Buôn Ma Thuột is the capital city of Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The city is famous as the regional “capital of coffee ,which they show as the world. Buôn Ma Thuột is served by the small but practical Buon Ma Thuot airport. If you care by car it is 350 km from Ho Chi Minh city. However, by airplane is about 40 minutes and by car can be 10 hrs! so I am told by locals. We left late pm and arrived by night direct into eating and hotel.

buon Ma Thuot

buon ma thuot

ho chi minh city

In 1904 Dak Lak Province was established by the French and Buôn Ma Thuột was selected as the provincial administrative center. Buôn Ma Thuột was originally settled by the E De, but due to the incoming Viet settlement after the Vietnam war and the active acculturation policy, less than 15% are still mountain people. The place is historically relevant because it was the site of the last major confrontation between the North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese armies back in March 1975.

There is a wonderful Lak Lake with much potential for walks, bikes, fishing, and water activities. On the shore of the lake there is June Village, where people live in thatched-roof houses on stilts.

Coffee is sold everywhere in town and you can buy whole coffee beans, ground coffee, even the ready-to-drink variety. The best place to buy coffee beans is at the intersection of Hoang Dieu and Phan Chu Trinh Streets. Trung Nguyen is considered as the ‘Coca-Cola’ of Vietnamese coffee and is sold in many places, but its main store is on Nguyen Tat Thanh Street. And the world museum is here and I drank traditional coffee and it is wonderful…

buon ma thuot

buon ma thuot

buon ma thuot

buon ma thuot

buon ma thuot

The Buon Ma Thuot , 7th annual Coffee Festival will be held on March 9 – 16, 2019. Vietnam is the second-largest coffee producer in the world, following Brazil. More here: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-coffee-producing-countries.html

OF course, we came here by Vietnam Airline, from HCMC taking only 40 minutes on time. I was picked up by driver upon arriving and went on a tour of the place. I had the opportunity to eat local dishes many done with ginseng as ingredient but as usual me forgot the name of the place just a photo to remember later maybe…

buon ma thuot

buon ma thuot

I did stayed at the nice 3 start Damsan Hotel. An old fashion house still in good condition and not far from the city center. We had an all you eat breakfast with traditional faire. This is in country Vietnam so you see it as it is no foreigners seen while there. The hotel has some info in English here: Damsan Hotel

buon ma thuot damsan hotel ent dec18

buon ma thuot damsan hotel lobby dec18

buon ma thuot damsan hotel pool deck dec18

Over to Dak Lak, on the lake there are breathtaking views and the lake is like a sea huge with depth in rainy season as of as much as 50 meters (165 feet). Temp was a nice 22C or about 72F. The best time to visit is now or November to February.

dak lak

dak lak

dak lak

dak lak

Just a layback ambiance in country with some nice folks made it all worthwhile and another spot of the world I can say was there. Those spots hard to remember them all, but I know it has been 81 countries so far !

A bit more to help you visit this area is here with Vietnam Online: Vietnam Online on Buon Ma Thout

Thank you for reading my blog and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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December 15, 2018

Another wonderful stay in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam of course!

So this is the take on my latest visit to Vietnam, an amazing recovery story of this war torn country ,wonderful sights and great friendly people. Always a pleasure to return and see old friends as well. The only sad part, it was another trip coming back empty without my dear late wife Martine...she would stayed very late waiting for me to return home.

I came back to Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon and still a district is call like it today). it was a short visit of five days as always here a business trip with some time to see other things in the city. It has been my 4th time to HCMC and Vietnam. Many souvenirs and good friends to last a lifetime; do not know when back but the memories will lingered as in all my travels.

As usual I landed in Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and was waited by a driver to take me to the office , work, and then to the hotel. The trip was flawless from home by car to Nantes Atlantique airport, then Paris CDG T2F transfer to T2E M direct to HCMC. Vietnam airline has won several awards recently and it shows, very good.

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

After the usual greetings with the now friends, I was taken to my hotel in district 1 , the main city center district. As usual , I came back to the Grand Saigon Hotel, very nice roofstop terrace bar ,swimming pool, and fitness center as well as walkable to many shops and restos in a nice area of which you can see the City Hall building nearby. The hotel webpage in English is here: Grand Saigon Hotel

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

As I came during the southeast Asia Suzuki Cup football.soccer competition and Vietnam was playing first the Philippines (was there last month) then advance to the final vs Malaysia, the away game ended 2X2 with many good plays by Vietnam, the crowds in the area were huge with many congregating near the hotel on an endless rows of motos and scooters and even cars flag waving.

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

While this was going on downstairs, I was upstairs at a nice bar with some friends from Hanoi staying there about. We saw the game and the celebration from the Gartenstadt Restaurant 34 Dong Khoi Street,  drinking my favorite Krombacher pilsner German beer I drink at home!!! We had not only the beers but an assortment of sausages and meat dishes as usual there too numerous to recall lol! The resto webpage is here in English: Gartenstadt Restaurant

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

Even after finishing late at the above resto I came back to the hotel passing some nice areas and still the celebration was continuing as Vietnam did a good job holding on to a tie. The resto is just around the corner from the hotel!

ho chi minh city

As I walked and drove in the city , I like to give some shots of this passing, including the still in renovation Cathedral and from my office there!

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

ho chi minh city

I left the city to visit another area and came back the last night to stayed at the Grand Saigon hotel. While here had my outing to Wayne’s Coffee shop near our office which is always a gathering point for us there. The Swedish chain is a bit behind posting on their site as this was open already right lol! More here: Waynes coffee in Ho Chi Minh City

ho chi minh city

Again before a private driver taken me back to the airport at HCMC, flight again on Air France direct to Paris CDG T2E K then transfer to T2F for the last flight home to Nantes Atlantique where my car was waiting. However, at Paris , there was a controller’s strike (did I said we are the champions!) and the flight was delayed from leaving at 21h30 we finally did it at 23h30! Finally ,by car ,reaching home by 02h (2am Sat).

ho chi minh city

In all, was a short pleasant visit full of memories that would not like to post or put photos here but it was memorable. Do not when will be the next time, but HCMC will be forever in my mind. Thank you all folks there.

Further anecdote, when arriving our plane was included the 7th million foreign visitor to the city this year!!! The webpage for the Tourist office of Vietnam is at Tourist office of Vietnam

Popular unofficial page on travel info in Vietnam and of course HCMC, Vietnam onlineVietnam Online on HCMC

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

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December 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXII

So back for a little nostalgic look at my beloved Spain. And in preparation for my next trip abroad to Asia this Sunday.  Cloudy and about 12C or 54F but no rain, and in my wonderful Madrid is sunny as sun and same temps at mid-day time.

Let me go into my Spain latest news that took my attention

The new local of the Mercado de la Reina (Queen’s Market Group such as Diurno , Mercado de la Reina, Museo Chicote, Terraza de la Reina) , and now the Taberna de la Reina, located at Gran Via, 10, is a different gastronomic space. Castizo, original and Spanish cuisine that recovers the spirit of the old taverns and traditional food houses. The large bar with table area and high chairs where tapas is the perfect place for snack time. The restaurant offers two independent rooms: a large lounge of chairs and colorful tables  ideal for an informal lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere where you enjoy and share classic recipes presented with pleasure , and the room that overlooks the Calle de la Reina, with windows of more than eight meters of height and a roof that is a nod to the Spanish Dehesa, with a family of pigs in real size grazing under a holm oak. Classic stews like the bull’s tail(delicious), the Madrid callos, the Iberian ham 100% Acorn of D. O Guijuelo, etc Grand. More here: https://tabernadelareina.com/en/

Group Mercado de la Reina here: https://grupomercadodelareina.com/sobre-nosotros/

Hoyo de Monterrey (something to enjoy in Spain from Cuba, I do not smoke but know how to make them from grandparents teaching) . It presents its first Reserva, in its iconic model: Epicure No. 2, one of the symbols of the brand and one of the most popular Habanos  (cigars) vitolas in the world. It is, without a doubt, one of the robust ones most appreciated by the cigar smoker. The selection of the 2012 harvest leaves for this epicure No. 2 Reserva has been subjected to a long and careful aging process for 3 years. The selected mix has been produced by expert blenders, and has been evaluated in joint tastings organized by the Institute of Tobacco made with more than 50 experts tasters: members of the National Tasting Commission from the most prestigious factories of Cuba, and experts of the Cuban industry and of Habanos S.A., in which evaluate all the organoleptic conditions of the blend  proposals to be selected. It consists of a unique world production of 5,000 numbered boxes, representing the brand’s absolute excellence. Each box contains 20 cigars. They come with a ring that accompanies the traditional ring of the brand with the name of the brand and vitolas. https://www.intertabak.com/fr/nos-produits/marques-de-habanos

A bit on the essence of wine and especially that of my beloved Spain. It’s been a long time since the wine stopped being just food. We seek  the experience , a wine that knows how to tell something and transmit its particular history. Everything goes to look for a tipicity, an expression of the origin of where it is born and done. You have to differentiate, because there are no bad wines. The future of wine is not to lose sight of the past, with everything we already know today. The highest degree of differentiation comes from grapes and soil. This is why autochthonous grape varieties are also being chased and rescued. The grape with which a wine is made will be more and more watched. The mark will be the name but the variety will be his surname. Or who knows if vice versa. A new classification of vineyards will also be entered as a result of the intention of rearranging the wine-growing territory of many appellations of origin. In fact, this zoning is already underway in Campo de Borja, in Priorat, La Rioja and Bierzo, to point out those that have more advanced their projects.

Wine tourism has a lot to say in the experience  of wine culture and it will not be rare to finally rescue the wine routes beyond the simple walk through neighboring wineries. The neighborhoods of Bodegas; the underground caves where the wine was made until recently, such as those of La Rioja, Campo de Borja, areas of  Galicia or Castilla y León; The changing landscape during the vine cycle and everything that accompanies the wine from the characters to the gastronomy, contributes to enrich a product with soul that will be exploited by tourism. And they will definitively break the traditional concepts of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and special attention shall be paid to subtitles relating to the elaboration and viticulture as “grain to grain”, “fermented in cask”, “Teardrop Wine”, “on Lees”, “by Bleeding “… The ratings will become more complex but more accurate. The result will be an even greater increase in brands that, contrary to what can be thought, benefit the  lifelong  by representing a safe value. A vibrant world full of novelties, with a dizzying figure close to the 20,000 references looking for a perhaps smaller audience, but definitely more select. Wine is presented as an increasingly richer, more varied, more complex and much more numerous world. Translation by me from El Confidencial newspaper. And Wine/Food from Spain official webpage here: Food and Wine from Spain

The prestigious Maison de Champagne Louis Roederer announces its alliance with Martín Berasategui, the most Michelin-starred chef in Spain, for which the 3-star Michelin restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte (Guipuzcoa) becomes the official ambassador of Louis Roederer in Spain. Louis Roederer, for many the most prestigious Champagne house that today remains independent. Louis Roederer made history also this 2018 being the first champagne of the world to receive 100 points of the prestigious publication Robert Parker. In addition, Louis Roederer Brut Premier was awarded in 2018 as the best champagne in the world by the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), the most prestigious competition in the sector, known as “the Oscars of champagne and sparkling wines”. The restaurant here: https://www.martinberasategui.com/en/inicio

The Champagne Louis Roederer here: http://www.louis-roederer.com/en/wine/brut-premier

About 400 years ago came to the world Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the most universal painters of history although his date of birth is not known exactly and only consists in the records that was baptized on January 1 1708 in Sevilla, with the experience of an early orphan and the plague at the gates of the great metropolis of the 17C, became expert in scenes customs as young beggars  or  children eating grapes and melon’.

But it is sure that he did not spend long periods of time away from his hometown. On one of these occasions he traveled to Madrid to meet his countryman Velázquez, already seated as a chamber painter at the service of king Felipe IV. His connection with royalty gave him a status of great Baroque genius. Four centuries later, the art historian Pablo Hereza deserts the idea through his documentary review ‘ Corpus Murillo ‘, which draws the figure of a teacher with enough creative freedom  to reach quotes above his counterparts in the Court. The launch of the book was part of the events with which the city council reinforce the genius of the artist. As a great climax, this past Thursday opened  to the public the first exhibition anthological in the Museum of Fine Arts, composed of almost 70 works of Murillo from the UK, France, Germany, Mexico or the United States that the public can enjoy until March 17, 2019. The exhibition is entitled  ‘ Murillo IV Centenario ‘, with the aim of making the figure of the great Baroque name in Sevilla better known. More here: Fine Arts museum of Sevilla

More in the city of Sevilla on Murillo 400 anniversary are:

This is the exhibition of  Aplicación Murillo: Materialismo, charitas, populismo or  Application Murillo: Materialism, Charites, populism, an exhibition with five spaces that demonstrate the validity of the work of the painter in the 21C. More than 600 works of artists make up a sample in which you can see works by Picasso, Man Ray, David Hockney, Jean Luc Godard, Víctor Erice and Patti Smith, among others. Given the breadth of the exhibition, this can be visited in five permanent spaces in Sevilla such as in the Santa Clara space, the exhibition hall Atín Aya, CICUS, the Hospital de la Caridad and the Hospital de los Venerable de Sevilla. In addition, there will also be specific points of the city dedicated to this exhibition such as the Patio, the Cultural Factory Center or the co-working room of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

The musical innovations that were being lived in the Europe of the 17C. The Turina space is the place chosen for the performances and where the orchestra Capella Cracoviensis will parade with the program ‘ Seven Deadly Sins ‘, the formation  Marco Beasly ‘ which brings to Seville its program ‘ Odi et amo ‘ as well as the grouping Alternative history. That the figure of Murillo again has the relevance of the one that was enjoyed in life, back in the 17C, when he became the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Baroque. More here: Espacio Turina Sevilla

A bit of philosophical thought here as I do try to bring me back to Earth. Franz Kafka: “No escribo como hablo, no hablo como pienso, no pienso como debería pensar…”or in English would be something like “I don’t write as I speak, I don’t speak as I think, I don’t think how I should think… ” Think about it in today’s world.

And now for the season to be merrier , Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends, family that looks at my blog.

From last Friday November 23rd Madrid Lights up for Christmas. The lighting, for which more than 7 million LED lamps have been used, has counted with the creativity of different Spanish architects and designers. Streets like those of Jorge Juan, Marcelo Usero, Pedro Laborde, Boltaña or Gran via (whose luminaries emulate a starry sky, with a cat trying to catch the Stars), premiere design. In addition to the traditional lights and chain, the firs and cherry blossoms will illuminate spaces in the center and in the districts such as the Glorieta Carlos V( roundabout), the Matadero ( slaughterhouse)  or the Plaza de Oriente.

From November 29 to January 6 2019, the bus transports of Madrid (EMT) and the City Council of Madrid make available to the citizens a special service of tourist buses discovered to enjoy the illumination and the Christmas decoration of the capital. The route of the already traditional Naviluz, which lasts 40 minutes approximately, has a unique stop of access and descent in the Plaza de Colón (in front of 30 Calle Serrano) and an optional stop only of descent in the Gran via, to the area of No 49. The traject is done by going to the following streets Calle Serrano, Puerta de Alcalá, Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Gran Vía, Callao, Jacometrezo, Santo Domingo, San Bernardo, Gran Vía, Calle de Alcalá, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, Calle Velázquez, Calle Ortega y Gasset y Calle Serrano.This runs are done between 18h to 23h (last trip at 22h) every day except Dec 24,31 and Jan 5. More on the bus ride here:. https://naviluz.emtmadrid.es/es/

And if planning for 2019 in my beloved Spain is not too late, here are some suggestion for something off the beaten path in Spain, everything under the Sun.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the most charming places on the peninsula. Thanks for that , it became the home of the Game of Throne. Its success is due to its composition: An island beaten by the Cantabrian, a narrow bridge and a beautiful hermitage. More info: https://www.euskoguide.com/places-basque-country/spain/san-juan-de-gaztelugatxe/

The gorge of the Gaitanes is a canyon dug by the river Guadalhorce in the municipality of Alora, famous for the path that runs past it from the heights. This road, in its beginnings, allowed the maintenance of the water channel. The path of the king, inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, is 400 meters high and requires prior reservation to be able to access it. More info: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/servtc5/ventana/mostrarFicha.do?idEspacio=7401&lg=EN

Brihuega has been known for a long time with the addition of Jardin de la Alcarria, thanks among other things to the lilac color of those fields in which lavender is cultivated. In the middle of July is celebrated in the city the Festival of the lavender. The rest of the year can also be visited for only 2 euros.More info in Spanish: http://turismobrihuega.com/index.php/nuestras-fiestas/floracion-de-la-lavanda

More than 300 meters of free fall where the water fades to collide with the rock of the mountain, that is what awaits you in the waterfall of the Nervión. The beauty of the place lies in the impetus of the flow, so it is recommended to visit after a period of heavy rain or thaw. Otherwise we will find a dry gorge, since most of the river Nervión passes through the interior of the mountain.More info: https://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/routes/nervion-river-falls/aa30-12375/en/

Considered the Versailles of the Middle Ages, Medina Azahara, this summer, also as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The place is the perfect complement for your visit to Cordóba. Tickets to the place are free for residents of the European Union and 1.50 euros for the rest of the visitors.More info: http://www.medinaazahara.org/en/

To enjoy some salt mines is the Cultural Park of the Mountain of Salt (parque cultural de la montana de sal), in the municipality of Cardona, Barcelona province. After closing the mining site in 1990, it ended up becoming the park that is now since  2003. In it you can see the history of the industrial exploitation of the valley and visit the interior of the galleries of the mountain of salt in a guided tour to 86 meters of depth. The price of the ticket is around 21 euros. More info: http://patrimoni.gencat.cat/en/collection/cultural-park-salt-mountain-cardona

Fervenza do Toxa is a spectacle of water, light and sound, formed by a waterfall of the river Toxa between the parishes of Pazos and Martixe, in Silleda (Pontevedra), considered the highest in Galicia in freefall. The route to this waterfall allows some detour as the one that leads to the Pazo de Oca. An idyllic place in summer (inviting to the bath) and in winter, when the waterfall flows full of water. More info: http://www.santiagoturismo.com/monumentos-naturales-mcs/fervenza-do-toxa

Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

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December 7, 2018

Avenue de Suffren ,Paris of course!

No,no ,no do not think I am beginning to recite all the streets of Paris; no way. It would be a monumental task, there are books about it and they do not tell you all either, trust me. However, I like to dare tell you about some streets, squares and whatnot that are special to me.

These are streets that I and my family spent many times and in some I still do. So they have become sort of like a second home to me each time I visit Paris; again will be next week and so on…

Let me tell you about Avenue de Suffren.  This one is right along the Eiffel tower, Champ de Mars and école militaire fame with wonderful architecture finds in it and some nice history to it. Let me start shall we…

The Avenue de Suffren is an avenue that delimits the 7éme and 15éme arrondissements of Paris. It goes this way, numbers 1-143bis are in the 7éme and numbers 145-to end and even are in the 15éme; get it…Because of the vicinity of the military school (école militaire), this avenue has since 1867 the name of the Bailiff and Vice-Admiral Pierre André de Suffren .

The Avenue de Suffren begins at the Quai Branly and continues to the boulevard Garibaldi at the level of the place de la République de Panama. It crosses the Avenue de La Motte-Picquet, avenue de Lowendal, Avenue de Ségur and Rue Perignon. Also, the Rue de Buenos-Aires, Avenue Octave-Gréard, rue Jean-Rey, rue du General-Lambert, Rue Desaix, Avenue Joseph-Bouvard, rue Jean-Pierre-Bloch, rue Champfleury, rue de Presles, avenue du General-Detrie, rue de la Fédération (near one of my current offices), rue Jean-Carriès, Rue Dupleix, the Avenue de Champaubert, the Rue du Laos, the rue de Abbé-Roger-Derry, the rue Mario-Nikis, the rue Chasseloup-Laubat, the rue Valentin-Haüy, the Rue Bellart, the rue Rosa-Bonheur, rue Barthélemy begin or end the Avenue de Suffren.

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A bit of history

The Avenue de Suffren was formed between the current Quai Branly and Avenue de Lowendal during the formation of the Champs-de-Mars around 1770. In 1867, the extension of the avenue until the meeting of rue Barthélémy and Boulevard de Grenelle (current boulevard Garibaldi) is declared to be of public utility. However, the avenue comes to end at the slaughterhouses of Grenelle. After the destruction of this property, it is extended beyond no 155 between rue Bellart and boulevard Garibaldi.

Some things you will surely would like to see in my opinion are at No 78, the Village Suisse!

Here from the end of WWI, the Village Suisse was already a distant memory. After dismantling the 103 meters Big wheel that adjoined it, some tailoring dealers set up their shops in their wagons. Until the mid-50’s of the last century, clothing and leather merchants predominated. Then, little by little, antique dealers supplanted them. The Village Suisse consists in our days in up to 100 shops of antiques, objects of art and decoration. It can be reached by 4 Avenue Paul Déroulède, the 78 Avenue de Suffren or the 54 Avenue de la Motte Picquet. You can reach here on the   Metro: La Motte-Piquet Grenelle, line 6, 8, and 10. The Village is open from Thursdays to Mondays inclusive from 10h30 to 19h. More info. Official Village Suisse

No 106 : Formerly, the address of a brothel. frequented under the occupation by the nazis military, the establishment was ravaged in 1942 by a bomb attack, committed under the direction of Pierre Georges (future “Colonel Fabien”), with Georges Tondelier,   Gaultier and another member of the Youth Battalions which is known only under the pseudonym of Paul. The location of this brothel is now occupied by a modern building.

No 125  Entrance to the Conference center of the UNESCO House, where the UNESCO General conferences are held.

One of the delights of this area near the école militaire on this side of it is to have a drink and see the world at the Brasserie Suffren at no 84: lovely place here is more on comments on it from my blog roll site Yelp. https://www.yelp.com/biz/suffren-paris

And parking above ground as I do each time there is at Parc Joffre-Suffren facing 2 place Joffre. More on it here: https://fr.parkindigo.com/parkings/2-place-joffre-paris-france

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The closest metro station is Ségur on the line 10 located right on the Avenue de Suffren corner with rue Pérignon.

Well here the webpages do not work. This is a wonderful area of Paris , great architecture work all around to walk it fully. I do, and do take bus 82 a lovely ride from Montparnasse here right in front of the  park and rue Desaix. Indeed eternal Paris!

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

 

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December 6, 2018

Some news from France CCXII

And I am coming back to my belle France rather quickly not just for new thoughts but also on the latest events going on here. We have strikes all over ,more will come, and some like the yellow vest/jackets will be seriously damaging, so if in main town read the news and stay inside as much as possible. The rest is up to you!!!

Disturbances are expected on the RER B this Friday Dec 7th . A social movement is planned on the line, after the aggression of a driver. On the Saint-Rémy/Robinson and Denfert-Rochereau axis, plan 2 out of 3 trains at peak times and 1 train on 2 in off-hours. On the center of Denfert Rochereau and Charles-de-Gaulle/Mitry Airport, plan 1 train on 2 all day long . https://www.rerb-leblog.fr/travaux/

While a call to the general mobilization is launched this Thursday in (Lycées) high schools, about 100 establishments are disturbed in Ile-de-France. In detail, the Académie de Versailles is the most affected by the high school movement with 55 disturbed establishments of which 11 are blocked. Urban violence in the vicinity of some high schools has been reported. In the Académie de Créteil, 22 high schools are disturbed, 3 of which are blocked. In Paris, the situation is calmer but 17 establishments are still disturbed, of which 2 are blocked (the lycées Charlemagne and Monod). In parallel, some forty young people tried to invest the Sorbonne early this morning but were prevented from doing so. As a result of this intrusion attempt, the Sorbonne’s historic building was closed  “As a security measure”, reports AFP. Other university sites are disturbed. After an intrusion of demonstrators on the site of Censier Paris-3, the management of the university decided to close preventively since Tuesday. The site of Tolbiac-Paris-1 is also disturbed.

More than 400 arrests, hundreds of fires, barricades, shops looted, degradation at the Arc de Triomphe, 133 wounded in Paris (263 in France) and nearly 10,000 grenades (tear, GLI-F4 and discircling types)  were fired by CRS police on  the mobilization of the  gilets jaunes or yellow vests or jackets on Saturday December 1st was marked by severe violence in some parts of the capital, in the margins of peaceful protest. The Elysée palace (site of President)  is worried according to information of a hard core of several thousand people  who would come to Paris to break and kill. Is the situation too alarmist or really is to be worried?  Which does not prevent them from worrying also about a dramatic turn of events on Saturday December 8th! Stay tune France is on fire, the Bastille was not enough!!!

In other more peaceful front, life goes on and preparation are in order to end 2018 with a bang,(do not which kind!).

Some 250 exceptional artisans of art, gathered in the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre to expose and sell their creations. This 10th biennial brings to light the richness and quality of the work of all these magical and expert hands. Some 20 training schools will be present, as well as art craftsmen from Japan, Quebec, Italy, Germany and Denmark. The Carousel of Crafts and Creation.  Until Sunday, December 9, 2018, every day from 10h to 20h.  Carrousel du Louvre, 99, rue de Rivoli , 1éme.  It’s free. More info here:   www.carrousel-metiers-art.com/

My favorite Flea markets to end the year:  13th Salon of  Record, this Sunday at  323, rue de Charenton, 12éme;  admission 2€ .  Antiques and Secondhand Boulevard Montparnasse, 14éme Saturday and Sunday, Metro Vavin, 80 stands.  Crumbs, small flea market and sale of the foyer of Grenelle,15éme  Saturday and Sunday from 15h to 17h at  17, rue de Avre, Metro La Motte Piquet.

To mention Vaux-le-Vicomte  has been adorned with a thousand lights, with 4 km of light garlands, thousands of decorative objects and rooms of the castle that smell the festive fragrances of cinnamon, chocolate, honey, orange… In the garden are also illuminated a long alley of fir trees, a squirrel of 5 meters (symbol of Nicolas Fouquet), a path of more than 60 toys-lanterns cloth. The carriage ride, with a coachman in costumes, finishes to sublime fairy. Its call the Le-Vicomte celebrates Christmas. Until January 6 from Wednesday to Sunday. Open on weekends from 11h 18h45. Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle, Maincy dept 77. Admission 19.50€ reduce for children, extra 3€ for the carriage ride. More info : http://vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/vaux-le-vicomte-celebrate-christmas/

The Bergerie National (sheep-herd)  of Rambouillet goes into Christmas mode from December 5 until January 6  2019. Cows, sheep, lambs, hens waiting for families. Don’t miss the illuminated Christmas crib in the barn. and a guest of renown  will be passing, too, every opening day. Santa Claus in person will come and meet the children who wish it in the nursery. To warm up, we head to the Merino Café where we enjoy a good organic hot chocolate and homemade pastries.  La bergerie fête Noël .  Bergerie National of Rambouillet (Yvelines 78) From 14h. to 17h. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Every day during the school holidays.  From 4-6€. Free for children under the age of three. More here : http://www.bergerie-nationale.educagri.fr/ferme/evenements-et-animations/grandes-manifestations/

Monumental projections of Enghien-les-Bains. On the theme of travel and onirism. The multimedia scenography’s will be projected every evening on three facades: the Church of St. Joseph, the city/town hall and the Casino.More here: https://www.enghienlesbains.fr/fr/agenda/les-projections-monumentales

One of my favorite dishes in France, the Onion Soup, and many places to have good these are my latest finds over the last few months.  Very good at this time of the year indeed! Enjoy it

That we eat well on the charming place of the Le Marché Sainte-Catherine! But for the onion soup, it is a particularly warm place that respects the traditions. It is enough to find a small table on the heated terrace to taste this tasty version of one of the most comforting dishes of French cuisine. Le Marché  2, Place-Sainte-Catherine 4éme  More info : http://www.restaurantlemarcheparis.com/

The Au Pied de Cochon is not only the cliché of the tourist restaurant, it is really a good table in the kitchen is generous and tasty. Moreover, their  Onion soup au gratin is a best seller: Golden in the oven and perfectly seasoned, it is to fall for it! Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Au Pied de Cochon 6, rue Coquillière , 1éme. More info : https://www.pieddecochon.com/

The rue Montorgeuil,. Summer as Winter is always lively and we love her neighborhood life. For the onion soup, our little heart is at n ° 78. Adorable boss, layer of cheese XXL, and impeccable service, we love to savor it while  watching people passed by . Au Rocher de Cancale  78, rue Montorgeuil, 2éme.  More info : http://www.aurocherdecancale.fr/

A few steps from the Place des Vosges, the reputation of this Aveyronnaise brewery  is no longer to be done: it is said that it is simply one of the best Onion soups of Paris, have no issue with this statement. Bistrot des Vosges , 31, boulevard Beaumarchais, 4éme. More info : http://www.bistrotdesvosges.com/

There you go , enjoy France nevertheless, there is always something exciting going on, not always pleasant for the visitor but even less for the resident. Cheers

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

 

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