Archive for January, 2019

January 29, 2019

Some news from France, CCXVIII

So let me put a pause on my posting on wonderful travel places to come to you on the latest in my belle France. It is light raining in my neck of the breton woods Morbihan but hardly any winds and definitively no snow. I believe the weather might get worse as the day go by with storm Gabriel around Europe. The Paris region will be hit worse because of the snow. Be careful if driving around here visiting from those other European countries!


February 1 2 3 2019. The 8th edition of Paris Face Cachée or Paris hidden face with the city of Paris and RATP transport network to go and discover the off the beaten paths of the Grand Paris area.  The metro station Porte de Lilas, not in use but only for films.! This was the metro abbesses in the film Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain.  The station was called Haxo done in 1921 but never used. In a building of 6 floors not far from the train station Gare du Nord where you do not see nothing from the exterior but in the interior is an air space for the RER trains extraction of air!  There is an anti-aircraft bunker under the Monnaie de Paris in the 6éme. On the other side of the BP =boulevard périphérique or beltway of Paris in Montreuil (Seine-et-Denis 93) there is a studio for doubling voices and to do it for real with recordings and all. Over 100 experiences will be serve this year with hoping of reaching 10000 curious visitors. The only holdup the places are hard to come by as the demand is big and only done on the online site. The official site in French: Paris Face Cachée 2019

The entire programming for reservation online here: Paris Face Cachée reservations online a must

The Weather Channel  has placed 33 departments on alert Orange(next to highest) such as the Ariège,  Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques for avalanche hazards; The Charente-Maritime,  Gironde and  Vendée  for violent winds; The Aisne,  Ardennes,  Aube,  Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Loiret, Marne, Haut-Marne,  Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Nord, Oise, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Paris,  Seine-Maritime,  Yvelines , Seine-et-Marne,  Somme, Yonne,  Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne and the Val-d’Oise for snow.  From the morning, this Atlantic disturbance will bring rain between Brittany (it did but not much chez moi)  and Aquitaine. The winds became violent on the southern coasts of Finistère and Morbihan (not inland just the coasts) with gusts between 90 and 110 km/h. This afternoon, the wind will strengthen near the ocean with gusts up to 130 km/h on the south coast of Finistère and up to 110 km/h on the coasts of Vendée and Charente. In the east, ice can affect the pavement in the morning between the east and the north of the Alps.  Tonight and in the night, the disturbance will collide with cold air. When contacted, the first flakes will appear in the northwest before winning the central regions to the north in the evening. These snowfalls, sometimes strong, will be directed in the night to the Grand-Est and the Rhône-Alpes region. At the same time, winds will increase on the Vendée and Charente coasts with gusts of up to 130 km/h (115 km/h in the land).  Normandy, Paris region, Hauts-de-France and Champagne and Ardennes for snow with an average of 3 to 8 cm, locally between 10 and 15 cm and to a lesser extent peripheral regions with 2 to 5 cm on average. In prevention, the road N 118, which connects Pont-de-Sevres (Hauts-de-Seine) to the Ulis (Essonne) via the Yvelines, will thus be closed to all traffic, in both directions, finally starting at 15h  on Tuesday. Have it on F degrees but can be change to C on top right.

Salvador Dali, who died just 30 years ago, said: “The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not crazy.” Yet his face and that of the misunderstood genius Vincent Van Gogh appear on the poster of the event “The madness of the artist.” And  “at the edge of the Abyss” at the Library des Batignolles 17éme, 30th January at 19H. The Georges Brassens Library 14éme, organizes a writing workshop “Madness in All States” (19 January and 2 February from 10h30 to 12h30 pm), inspired by excerpts from Antonin Artaud, Marguerite Duras and others. Then, an evening of reading the texts of the participants by two actresses will take place (February 2 from 19h to 21h). The  exhibition of the Museum of Art and History of the Hospital, ” The art of the fools at the Art psychopathological/the collection Sainte-Anne around 1960» at the library André Malraux  6éme. It will be followed by a guided tour of the latter (February 9th at 13h).

“Dice-integrated” (Feb. 14 from 19h  to 21h) is a dramatized reading of Albert London’s madmen, his investigation and immersion in insane asylums. It will be held at the Bibliothèque François Villon  10éme. One of the members, Alex Adarjan, will host a 14h30 workshop (February 21 from 17h  to 19h30) where participants take possession of a plateau of the Valeyre Library 11éme to feel what the incarnation of a crazy character is. How to interpret a disturbed personality with accuracy and fragility? At the Library Andrée Chedid  15éme, the troupe revived Camille Claudel, interned during the last thirty years of her life, through archives and letters (7 February from 19h to 20h). The Library of Police Literature  5éme will deal with the relationship between madness and crime. The first French serial killer, the Ripper Vacher will be at the heart of this subject that defies reason (February 2 from 16h to 17h. More in link below

The Festival Jazz a Saint Germain des Prés ,Paris unveils the first names of the programming of its 19th edition, including Richard Galliano on May 17 or the Biréli Lagrène Trio on May 23rd. To not miss these concerts events, the passes are already on sale for a very jazzy spring. More here:

I love these anywhere but these orangettes, are delicious at the Sous les Amandiers,  65, rue de Maubeuge  9éme. Tél.: 09 86 08 19 40.Metro line 7 Poissonniére. They have a facebook page no web.

The story Un Regard Moderne à rue Gît-le-Cœur is an Ali Baba cavern full of books everywhere by a great enthuastic owner . Philippe le Libraire. 32, rue des Vinaigriers 10éme. Tél.: 01 40 38 11 39.

Wonderful Cinema which we have enjoyed and the boys love it is the MK2 Quai de Seine. 14, quai de la Seine  19éme. More here :

It is an Australian who has settled in a large warehouse and who produces his own beer, with a restaurant menu inviting ; it is very nice in the summer. Paname Brewing Company. 41 bis, quai de la Loire 19éme. Tél.: 01 40 36 43 55

The Charles. If only the bar of the Burgundy Hotel in the Saint-Honoré neighborhood, (great area my walking rounds to go to work in Paris by there for 2,5 yrs!) freshly revamped, is much more chic than Bohemian. A monumental fresco on the ceiling of the bar around the collection of Baudelaire. On the bar side, Marco Del Re’s wall collages have been preserved, making a vibrant homage to Matisse. Where the cocktails are re invented for 17-18€ inspired by music, from Walt Disney’s film and history, naming his cocktails by key dates like 1492, 1515, 1789..And big names such as Oscar Wilde, who, like Rimbaud, Joyce, Hemingway, Poe and Baudelaire frequented this muse to the excesses. In homage to these illustrious characters, the  Barman has listed a selection of absinthes on his card, accompanied by a menu of light tapas from 9€. Le Charles (Hôtel Burgundy). 6-8, rue Duphot, 1éme. Tél.: 01 42 60 34 12. Hours every day from 18h to 0h30. More here :

News of the street ! While the Oscar de la Renta brand was about to settle in its new Parisian boutique, but it is a majestic 17C oil painting that was discovered behind a wall.. The old Reed Krakoff shop, located in the 8 rue Marignan, dates back to the 19C. The family that owned it demolished its walls to connect two floors, when a piece of wall broke loose, unveiling the work of art. The oil on the discovery canvas dates from 1674 and would be signed by the painter  Arnould de Vuez, close to the court of king Louis XIV. It shows to recount the adventures of the Marquis de Nointel, Ambassador of Louis XIV to the Ottoman court, when he arrives in Jerusalem with a procession and meets Oriental characters. !

Every Thursday from February 7, the restaurant everyone talks about organizes an open raclette (with or without pork) from 19h to 23h, with open white and red wine as well as open softdrinks. On the program, a raclette dinner will be from 19h to 21h, followed by a clubbing atmosphere with the best of general sounds to eliminate the raclette smoothly. The rooftop  of the Tout le Monde en Parle,  above the Galeries Lafayette and the C&A, at the foot of the Montparnasse tower, 4, rue du Départ – 15. Reservations :

After the Place de la Bastille, Pantheon , and  Nation, it is the turn of the Place Gambetta to be refurbished, within the framework of the program Reinvent our squares in Paris; which concerns 7 squares of the capital. It’s the beginning of seven months of work. The configuration of the Gambetta sector will not be transformed, and only one small section of the rue du Cambodge will become pedestrian, while on the square, the traffic will continue to be done in the roundabout around the main Fontaine Jean Dismier. The terminus of  bus lines 60, 69 and 102 will be transferred to the rue du Japon, behind the City/Town Hall.

With 2 217 new cars sold in 2018 in Paris intramuros (Paris city only 1-20 arrondissements or districts) where 14 383 vehicles were sold in total in the region, Peugeot, according to the figures of the AAA Data study that we publish this past  Monday, arrives at the top of the sales in the automobile market in the capital. In front of Renault which has sold 1 860 cars, Volkswagen 1 261, Toyota 1 099 and Citroën 960.

There you my latest tidbits from the most visited country in the World ,again. 90M in 2018 and we say merci beaucoup! And of course, Paris, 32M!! in 2018 and we say Paris ça fête or a movable feast! And 2019 is looking great! thank you all merci à tous et toutes!

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

January 29, 2019

Centro Comercial La Vaguada, Madrid!

Hello blogging world, here I am again trying to go into new terrain of story telling you about my travels. Well the city is not new and very well known having even lived there for 4 years and visited every year since 2003. However, touristic places abound I will deal with a new subject that can ,also help some visitors as well.

As we all need to shop someday and even browse the goodies of the country/city we visit and many times not having enough time to seek these needed things while indulging in our sightseeing, let me tell you about my favorite shopping center mall in Madrid proper.

I have come here practically since it opened, and then came back to bring my girlfriend from France,and later my wife Martine ,and later my boys now young men. These places are nostalgic and sentimental for us as my dear wife passed away in 2018 and she love to come here as all related to shopping. Oh no she was a good buyer indeed. Hoping to have learned some shopping habits from her.

However, enough, let me tell you about the Shopping center mall La Vaguada. It is located at Avenida Monforte de Lemos,30, metro Barrio del Pilar line 9 is the closest by far but you can do Herrera Oria line 9 as well. Shopping center with all you need in one stop shopping plus great movies! Bus lines passing by here or close by are the lines 42, 49, 67, 83, 124, 126, 127, 128, 132, 133, 134, 135, 137, 147, N18, and N19(the latest two are night lines).  The shopping center entrance is by the Avenida de Monforte de Lemos and Avenida de la Ilustración. The mall is as the metro station in the neighborhood of Barrio del Pilar , district of Fuencarral-El Pardo. The mall was the first shopping center that opened in Madrid!


A bit of history I like

In 1973, the construction company Banús sold the land where the commercial center would be built to the French company La Henin. Before its construction, the project had a wide rejection of the neighbors of the neighborhood of Barrio del Pilar. The offer of fifty-six jobs to unemployed of the neighborhood and the promise that part of the space was dedicated to the construction of the cultural center, the library, the municipal swimming pool, the health center and the park of the Vaguada resolved to a great extent the conflict. It has integrated natural environments inside the building such as resting areas with waterfalls and fountains and natural light entrance from the ceiling. It was inaugurated on October 24th, 1983.

Until 2005, an area called Plaza of the Artesanos or artisans square was maintained in which during 22 years craftsmen of various guilds offered their articles and worked under the gaze of the pedestrians. As the number of artisans descended the property of the mall decided to give another use to that space.   In 2008, the shopping center La Vaguada went through an important and controversial remodeling in which the new logo was fixed, the name was shortened (which previously was «Centro Comercial Madrid 2 La Vaguada») and the marquee of the main entrance was added, among other changes.

A bit on the construction if I try the inside layout as well ok

It is a rectangular building with 5 floors. Two of them, under ground , configure the parking (for 3600 vehicles), while the other three have the area commercial, in which highlights the vegetation through the use of hanging gardeners with a traditional market, in addition to various anchor stores, such as department stores and hypermarkets. In addition, it has pharmacy, tobacconist, post Office,and on the terrace are the cinemas and most of the catering/restaurant offer.


The La Vaguada mall appears repeatedly in the work of Fernando San Basilio, both in his novels my great novel about the Vaguada “Mi gran novella sobre La Vaguada” and “El joven vendedor y el estilo de vida fluido” , and the story of “El principio Dios creo La Vaguada” (at first God created the Vaguada).

Inside La Vaguada has more than 85,500 square meters, and you can find around 250 shops spread over three floors. The shopping center is divided into several areas: the commercial, the catering, the leisure, cinemas and the hypermarket. But what really differentiates this mall from others is the feeling of happiness that intoxicates you when you are in it. La Vaguada is one of the most visited shopping centers of Madrid is by the presence of the El Corte Inglés, the hypermarket Alcampo and the cinemas La Vaguada with nine rooms. But this is not the main reason. People view the center thanks to the services it offers, which are unique. For example, each Sunday offers concerts in its facilities. In addition the shopping center is thinking for everyone and after a hard day of shopping with their parents the little ones can enjoy in the playroom or Ludoteca or in the Sould Park enabled to delight the little ones.


Indeed a wholesome family affair and for the visiting families as well; recommended. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official La Vaguada shopping Mall on stores

Tourist office of Madrid on La Vaguada Mall

There you a little piece of Madrid off the beaten path, a bit away from the touristic centro/center but well worth the visit if shopping is in your mind and kids alone the ride;mine enjoy it still today. La Vaguada is one of those spots , one is never tired of visiting while in town.

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



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January 28, 2019

Centro Cubano , Madrid!

And to see if I finally end this nostalgic run on Madrid! So much weight, hard to do it but I must. This is a city that pulls you, attract you , trapped you, and won’t let go. Its a vibrant open funny, lively, friendly city for all. Oh well can’t say enough of it, you have read me you know it.

As my roots are all over with many years in different countries as citizen of  Spain, USA, France,and working time in Brazil and Nigeria, the one I was born long ago in another era was Cuba. When i came over to lived in Madrid in 1970, the place was humming with Cuban exiles from the communist dictatorship existing there, and still unfortunately.  We had our little huddle, talks, souvenirs, nostalgia in itself by coming to this place for lunch or dinner. The poorer Cubans were given free meals by the owners!

I like to tell you about an institution in Madrid as the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe, founded in 1967. It finanly closed its doors somewhere in 2012 due to the family line not willing to continue. I heard a nephew or in law did open another one not far from it at Calle Ortega y Gasset, 69 , call El Centro Cubano. I am talking about the Centro Cubano or Cuban center restaurant at Calle Claudio Coello, 41, Salamanca district,metro Serrano line 4. The new restaurant is by Metro Listo line 4 too. The newer restaurant I have not been yet so cannot tell nothing, and cannot tell if still open.


Centro Cubano ent to dining rooms credit Centro Cubano photo

The old Centro Cubano founded in 1967 was the oldest Cuban restaurant in Europe. Since then it has been a faithful ambassador of Cuban food and cocktails in Madrid. It had two rooms with capacity for more than 200 people, a private room for celebrations and events and an art gallery. In its specialties it had the Ropa Vieja (old clothes)  with rice and beans and the fried cow(vaca frita) with congrí (black beans colored rice) and tostones (green plantains). Among its entrees were well known its tostones stuffed, tamales(corn tamales)  and ladybugs of plantain. It had a wide variety of Cuban desserts like the guava shells,  and the sweets of coconut, milk and grapefruit. In its ample bar were prepared those that are considered by many the best mojitos, besides flavor daiquiris , Cuba libre, and other cocktails like the piña colada. At noon, from Monday to Friday there were, also a menu of the day Mediterranean style in addition to the Cuban food.


centro cubano dining room credit Centro Cubano photo

It was a dandy , my dear late mom Gladys, used to take me there for lunch. I used to come sometimes with local friends for lunch as well and introduce them to the food. Those were the days of my nostalgic Madrid early 70’s. Of course, things have change today. Many of the old places are no longer, and the city is with more people, but the aura of its air just been there is enormous and always ready looking forward to go. In a sense, Madrid is my Spain, even if by blood I am from Candelaria and Pajarà in Tenerife, Canary islands.

This post, of course, its just for the memories,the nostalgia of my Madrid to record in my blog. As said, the resto is no longer there, the family opened a new one, maybe time for me to try it and compare with my memoirs!!! Enjoy Madrid!

This is some historical information I found in Yelp my favorite guide posted in my blogroll bottom of my main blog page. YELP on the Old Restaurant Centro Cubano

And again from my favorite blogroll webpages the shown Cuban restaurants in Madrid (again not tried any)

Tourist office of Madrid on Cubans restos

El Tenedor, fork resto site on Cuban restos in Madrid

YELP site on Cuban restos in Madrid

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




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January 27, 2019

Plaza de España, Plaça de Espanya, Barcelona!

And I bring you out to the Mediterranean again, and lovely Barcelona. I have been here lately a couple times and several years back came in as well from Madrid. It is a complicated city now, but the beauty of it still shines on,and should be a must when visiting Spain.

One of the most known and emblematic places there is the Spain square or Plaza de España (Spa) and Plaça de Espanya (Cat).  I like to tell you a bit more on it than the general posts I have in my blog on Barcelona.


The Plaza de España in Barcelona is one of the most emblematic squares in the city. It was built during the International Exhibition of 1929. With 34 000 m² of space , it is the second largest square in Spain.


It is an important center of the traffic of the city, to converge in it the Gran Vía de las Cortes Catalanas,  the avenida del Paralelo, Calle Tarragona, Calle Creu Coberta and the Avenida de la Reina María Cristina , through which one accedes to the zone of Montjuïc , and where the Feria de Muestras  and the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña are located. Other important buildings of the square are the Las Arenas shopping center (former bullring, Neo-Mudejar style) and the Plaza Hotel, as well as the so-called Venetian towers, built for the exhibition of 1929. There are also the Municipal Institute of Education and a police station of the Mossos.

As far as transport is concerned, under the square are the station of Plaza de España of the metro lines 1 and 3 ,and another of the railways of the Generalitat of Catalonia. As well as the express bus from the airport stops here; and yes folks I have taken it too !



The plaza de España was projected as a communication route between Barcelona and the towns of lower Llobregat. After a first project to urbanize Plaza in 1915, the works were finally continued from 1926. They designed a monumental ensemble of circular form, around a hemicycle formed by a colonnade of Baroque style, influenced in the square of Saint Peter of the Vatican city by Bernini. In the access of the square that leads to the Avenue de la Reina Cristina two high towers were placed in the form of Campaniles, inspired by the campanile of San Marcos of Venice.

In the middle of the square where the end of the city was previously found on the old Madrid road is a monumental fountain with an ornate sculptural decoration. of classical inspiration, the iconographic sense of the work represents a poetic allegory to Spain: on a pond of triangular plant is located a aedicule with three niches with sculptural groups that symbolize the rivers that flow into the three seas that surround the Iberian Peninsula, the Ebro (Mediterranean), the Guadalquivir and the Tagus (Atlantic) and some figures of teenagers for the rivers of the Cantabrian Sea, in the vertices of the pond are located three groups representing the fruits and gifts of the waters: abundance, public health  and fishing and navigation, around the central body are located three columns with various figures and emblems that symbolize religion (a cross with Ramon Llull, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. Ignatius of Loyola), heroism (a sword with Don Pelayo, Jaime I of Aragon,  and the Arts (a book with Ausiàs March and Miguel de Cervantes); Finish the work a censer of fire with three victories, work in bronze. Beautiful all!!!



Some webpages to help you plan your trip here as usual from me are

city of Barcelona on the square of Spain

Tourist office of Barcelona on the Square of Spain

There you go folks ,another jewel in the crown of Spain ,yes! Plaza de España .One of th sights to be and walk all over, I have stayed lately next near it in nice hotels and it is always a pleasure to see it. You should too!

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

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January 27, 2019

Basilica minor San Francisco el Grande, Madrid!

And why not continue this wonderful ride in my beloved Spain and sublime Madrid! Well for the bragging rights, lived there and visit every year for many years, Madrid is it. ahh sorry grands I am a citizen too! And it has so much to offer seldom seen by visitors. Even if Spain is the second most visited country in the world (85 M 2018) according to WTO-UN and many others.

I have several ,many posts on Madrid in my blog. However, consider many to be in the general sense and on some spots deserve a post on their own. This is the case for the Basilica minor San Francisco El Grande. I like to give you a bit more on it now.

The Royal Basilica of San Francisco El Grande is in the district of Palacio, within the historic center of Madrid. It presides over the western face of Plaza San Francisco , set by the intersection of Calle Bailen  and the Carrera de San Francisco street. It is part of the Franciscan convent of Jesús y María, founded at the beginning of the 13C, on a now gone  hermitage dedicated to Saint Mary.  The current Basilica was built in neoclassical style in the second half of the 18C. The Basilica stands out for its dome, considered as the third largest diameter circular plant in Christendom. For its sumptuous interior decoration, made in eclectic style at the end of the 19C, and for its art gallery, representative of the Spanish painting from the 17C to 19C, with paintings by Zurbarán and Goya. Its management corresponds to the pious work of the Holy Places of Jerusalem, an autonomous body dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.


A bit of history I like

The place was previously occupied by a convent-Franciscan hermitage, which, according to the legend, was founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1217. When king Felipe II converted Madrid into the capital of the kingdom, in 1561, the convent was gaining in wealth and importance and came to receive custody of the holy places conquered by the Crusaders, through a protective Junta of the pious work of Jerusalem, and the curated General of the Indies. In 1760, the Franciscans demolished the primitive building to built, on its plot, a larger temple which the works had to be suspended in 1768, due to the technical complications , the cupola, finally was done in 1770. The Basilica  as a whole was finally completed in 1784. Eventually, it was converted into a hospital, according to decree of  1812. In the year 1836, the Franciscans were expelled and the Basilica was in the hands of the Spanish State, through the Royal Heritage Organism (Patrimonio Real). In 1838, it served as headquarters to an infantry barracks, while recovering the religious cult.  In 1869 the idea of the national pantheon was resumed. During the next five years, it housed the mortal remains of different personalities of Spanish history, including those of Calderón de la Barca, Alonso de Ercilla, Garcilaso de la Vega, Francisco de Quevedo, Ventura Rodríguez, Juan de Villanueva and Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba (The Great captain). They were deposited in a chapel and returned in 1874 to their respective places of origin.

The rehabilitation period  was used to decorate its interior, in a process that extended from 1880 to 1889 and in which different Spanish artists specialized in mural paintings and decorative arts participated. In 1926, King Alfonso XIII returned the temple to the Franciscans. On June 30, 1962 was declared a Minor Basilica by Pope John XXIII and on November 8, 1962 it was under the patronage of Our Lady of the Angels, after a new consecration. In November 2001, after decades of work, the church reopened to the public.


A bit on the construction and external look:

The Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is a central and circular plant, with vestibule and apse. The roof is solved by a large dome, guarded by six small domes, which surround the base of the building by the north and the south. The dome of San Francisco el Grande is 33 meters in diameter and 58 meters high (72 meters from the ground level). As far as the circular plant domes are concerned, it is the third largest diameter of Christendom. It is made of solid brick, made on a single sheet. At its start, the leaf has a thickness of three meters, which goes down to the coronation, where the thickness is lower than the meter. The dome is crowned by a circular lantern, with spire and wrought iron cross over the arrow.

The main façade is east-facing, and presents two bodies. At the bottom are three arches of half a point, fastened by Doric pilasters. The Ionic order dominates the second body, consisting of three roofed windows.  The façade is dominated by two towers, one at each end, slightly recessed. They are covered with wavy spires, topped with vanes. In its vanes, 19 bells are lodged, eight of them in the South Tower and the remaining eleven in the North Tower. The bell towers are framed with paired pilasters. The dome and its lantern protrude between the two towers, dominating the whole.

A bit more on the interior:

The most notable parts of the hall are the seven doors that allow entrance to the enclosure, which were carved in walnut wood in the 19C. The interior roundabout is paved with marbles, as well as its plinths, sumptuously decorated, its main artistic values are concentrated in the mural paintings of the cupola, the result of the renovation and refurbishment works, in the last third of the 19C. The main chapel is installed in the apse. Until the reform of the late 19C, it was presided by a canvas depicting the appearance of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary to St. Francis of Assisi.

The six secondary chapels are distributed symmetrically, three on the northern side of the roundabout and three in the Southern. They are separated from the large circular space by means of pillars, which are supported by different half-point arches, which allow access. The chorus is installed in the upper part of the lobby. It was ornamented with the Gothic ashlars of the Cartuja de Santa María de El Paular, carved in walnut wood. The Basilica of San Francisco El Grande house a museum formed by 51 paintings, among other artistic pieces. The most valuable pictorial works correspond to the Spanish and Italian Baroque. Other romos are the Ante-Sacristy and the Sacristy.

Around the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande are some interesting buildingns. One of the most important is the Capilla del Cristo de los Dolores or Chapel of the Christ of Sorrows for the venerable Third Order of San Francisco, located in an adjoining building, next to the northern facade of the Basilica. It was built between 1662 and 1668. In the year 2007, it was inaugurated the Dalieda of San Francisco, which extends to the south of the Basilica, where, in the Middle Ages, was located the cloister of the primitive convent on which the temple rises. To the west of the building, extends towards the Almudena Cathedral, the next door parque de La Cornisa, so called by its location to the edge of the hollow that forms the valley of the Manzanares river.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Madrid on the Basilica

Tourist office of Madrid on the Basilica

There you have it in a nutshell , one of the nicest off the beaten path sites in Madrid, even if in an area very much frequented near the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral. Enjoy the Basilica minor San Francisco el Grande.

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

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January 26, 2019

Classic wine of France and the world!

And I embarque again on the wonderful world of wines. I have written several posts on the subject, maybe not as much as I like;so no need to repeat on what has been my trail.

Needless, to say wine is part of my life since that frutiful day at age 8 my maternal grandmother gave me a sip of Spanish wines from then on, the fable story of them and me has continue. Prohibited to lunch or dine without wines in our home.

And what has become of me, well a fierce loyal customer of the Médoc of France. Been around, visit and tasted on site many of the world best known and some unknown wine areas, but after my mind takes me always to the Médoc. Oh yeah, many call it Bordeaux, but this is just a city, in which many varieties and areas can be call as such. My pinpoint concentration takes me to simply the Médoc.  Oh yes, need to tell you, the best in the world, the rest just tries to imitates. Now let me tell you about two properties that have been with me for many years, tasted, drank, purchase, and aged them some of my favorites of them all ,and I have already told you some others too in my blog.

Bruno-Eugène Borie evolves the Domaine Ducru-Beaucaillou at Saint Julien, Médoc. This is his story. ‘ It is a wine of gourmand, as can be the greatest crus of Bordeaux (Médoc), and gluttony is universal. Behind Ducru, the name of the owner in the 19C, and Beaucaillou, a reference to the thrusted rocks by the Gironde giving its specificity to the terroir, here is a beverage of character, full of aromas and flavors, which does not forget to remain light, aerial like a 1995(my first bottle of the property!) , excessively fresh, but very present, vibrant even, a rich, aromatic, fragrant cuvée that caused the American critics to succumb to it. Or the 2005, combining finesse and power, a lesson of balance derived from worthy grapes, it is said, of the most beautiful manuals of Ampélographie, these books dedicated to the study of the vine and often accompanied by superb illustrations. Or a 2009, a 2010, with your eyes closed. The 2011, with the garnet dress, with spicy and floral flavors, is not lacking in charm, and the 2012 is a sublime sweet. 2013, difficult year, shows solar and sympathetic, closer to an Italian sangiovese than a Bordeaux… The last harvest gave very nice cuvées. As such, 2018 is very promising.

The use of only new barrels while looking for the most neutral wood possible, which does not mark. Wood is not a stylistic factor in his domaines. They want a robust wine but not a carpenter. As a general rule, they do not want the new entrants to shape our cuvées. They seek precision, and want to find the purity of the original grape in the wine. For this, the selected grains do not support any disadvantaged. The matter must be impeccable. Hygiene helps to strive towards this, especially when one goes further and further in the extraction.

Mr Borie presides over the Executive Board of the company that manages the Pôle Saint-Julien of the family vineyards with Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Lalande-Borie, (this was my contact with the house, back in 1992! )also in Saint-Julien, and Château Ducluzeau, in Listrac.   Fifty pairs of hands follow each other on their bottles. Wine is an addition of manipulations, know-how, hours of sunshine. In the end, it is an accumulation of care and details that make a great cuvee. The place of the machines increased during the arrival of the harvest, in order to improve the sorting. So their yard lines are longer. Here, the most sophisticated technology to refine the work of the vine. They now have several weather stations. Tools allow them to know the thickness of the moisture layer on the sheets, and all this is viewable from a smartphone. They are also looking to use less significant products for the plant and the environment. This means that it is necessary to use treatments with a reduced lifespan-mainly sulphur and copper. A culture which is worth the property of an esteemed certification ISO 14001 high environmental value level 3!

Today they are too often in dogma. He would like to go towards more pragmatism and above all towards more benevolence. They must both have faith in man and believe in the genius of science. A form of positivism adapted to contemporary viticulture.

They have gone from about 16 000 cases of first cru wine per year (192 000 bottles) to 8 000 now. This corresponds to a general evolution of Bordeaux, to a process that they may have pushed a little further than others. He noted in passing that he is proud and fan of what he see today in their vineyard, where the owners are driven by the pleasure of doing well and protecting their environment, whatever some think.    Because Mr. Borie is one of those rare Médoc growers who live in their vineyards, summer and winter!. Inactivity does not seem to be problematic for the one who was a great international nomad. After having travelled a lot and enjoyed this, in the United States, he consider that we make good wine when you are in its vineyards, in the midst of its teams. Nobody harvest in an airport lounge. You have to agree to make yourself available to nature. Maybe at one time we thought the opposite.

Since 2005, the La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, a former second wine of the property, constitutes a full-fledged Cru, while the Le Petit Caillou, born in 2007, now takes the place of second wine. It is concocted from the lots that were not retained for the other two cuvees.

They offer each year a collection of 21 different formats of Ducru-Beaucaillou, customisable. Good to see that 90% of the first wine is destined for export, and Asia accounts for about half of these volumes, with Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau on top. The Chinese love to banquet, drink and eat, celebrate the good bottles. The Americans are different, very tasters but perhaps less enjoyers. And those who take the time to take a break in Saint-Julien taste the cuvées in the best conditions. This is Ducru-Beaucaillou, go upper right hand side stripes menu to see more here: Official Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

A century already that the Cordier family owns the Château Talbot. In the adjacent tasting room at the château, a long topped white table gathers a remarkable vintage of every decade for a hundred years: 1919, 1926, 1934, 1945, 1955, 1962, 1975, 1986, 1995, 2005 and the very young 2010. The silence welcomes the bottle of 1919. It is the minimum of respect that one owes to the elders. The wine should not be shaken by too many wrist turns; It must oxidize smoothly. The taster must understand their relationship to the air that wakes them smoothly.

The years 1926, 1934 and 1945 followed this first anniversary. Ah, 1945! As if the wine had kept in him the hot breath of the cannons, recalled by deep smoky notes, a minerality that draws on oil and which leaves room for a mouth still ample to the final peppery and ironstone. 1955 is very different, charming, the fruit is riper and dominates the spices by scents of strawberry filled with rose and sandalwood. The mouth is dense, sensual, held by an acid weft, spine of the wines of Château Talbot.

The vintage 1962 follows the 1975, very refined, with an Earth profile, pronounced aromas of pepper and a great dynamism. It is the one that performs best its final, of an astonishing length and elegance. The character of the 1986, (my first bottle of Château Talbot) ,the blood side of the 1996, the musculature of the 2005 and the finesse of the 2010, while juicy and spiced with a beautiful bite at the end of the mouth, are held.

If the production techniques used in the past century were very different from those which are today, the wines retain an air of family. The imprint of the terroir gives them a pronounced minerality, an invigorating acid weft, a flax grain and a peppery finale. Mr Désiré-Nicolas Cordier purchased the fourth Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Julien in 1918. In 1934, then mayor of the town, he organized the “Feast of longevity” in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. If the longevity celebrated is that of the inhabitants, the diners drank with the centenary vintage 1834. Désiré Cordier, the man and his wife Nancy Bignon-Cordier are today the attentive guardians of Château Talbot, whom they gradually transmit to their three children; Philippine, Marguerite and Gustave, the fifth generation. The succession is assured. This is the Château Talbot : Official Château Talbot

And if these two powerhorses of the wine world and my world are not enough, we have more by Paris, capital of the world.

From February 11th to 13th , 2019, discover the first edition of Wine Paris, the first major international meeting of wine professionals to be held in Paris: World Wine Capital! Wine Paris was born from the union of Vinisud, the world of Southern wines, and VinoVision Paris, the International Exhibition of Northern Wines. Wine Paris will host from this first edition with more than 2000 exhibitors representatives the completeness of French terroirs and a variety of international vineyards.

These vineyards reps are

France: Alsace, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Corsica, Jura, Languedoc, Provence, Roussillon, Savoie, South-West, Rhône Valley, and the Val de Loire.

Algeria: Oran.  Croatia: Slavonia, Continental Croatia, Istria, Dalmatia.

Spain: Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, Basque Country, La Rioja, and the Valencian Community.

Greece: Elide, Achaea, Korinthia.  Italy: Veneto, Piemonte, Friuli, Lombardia, Trentino Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Il Lazio, Abruzzo, Puglia, Sicilia, Sardegna, le Marche, Campania, Basilicata, Calabra, Molise, and Toscany.  Lebanon: Bekaa Valley.  Israel: Golan Heights.  Moldova: Codru. And  Portugal: Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Valpaços, Alentejo, Madeira, Minho, and Bucelas

All this as per above dates February 11-13 2019 ; at the  Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles, 1 place de la porte de Versailles, Paris 15éme : Hours Monday and Tuesday 9h30 to 18h30 and Wednesday 9h30 to 17H30. Admission is 20€ reserving online or 40€ on site. More here on Wine Paris: Wine Paris

Also, at Vinosud :

And VinoVision Paris:

The above material translated and taken from my favorite wine journal Le Figaro VinLe Figaro Vin journal in French

Hope to enjoy it as much as I/we do. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!





January 26, 2019

Memories forever, Las Majadas!

And on this sunny bright cool  8C day in my new Morbihan breton dept 56 of Brittany, in my belle France; I like to be nostalgic if I may please. Spain is in me no matter where I go, or live, and so lucky to found a French women who spoked Spanish and like the idea of vacationing there even already thinking of retirement. Well the luck of the devil it could not be done as she passed away last April 30th 2018 from pancreatic cancer. My hopes were dashed and a new life is slowly coming together. However, the memories ,the souvenirs, the joys of the past with my dear late wife Martine will always be there intact.

las majadas

I like to bring back our magnificent lately Summer vacations we had in Las Majadas, Serrania de Cuenca, Province of Cuenca in the Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of the Kingdom of Spain. I have several entries on the area around Cuenca.

We have come here in 2016 and 2017 , we love it!!!  My dear late wife Martine did not mind coming back again to same house, she love it too . We always  enjoyed our summers family vacation . We quickly always decide it must be Spain again !!! There are other places in Europe but when it comes to decision time, it seems we have a magnet on Spain, and a lot of blood roots!!!. Last year 2018, we did not go as was too sad for me and the boys to go back, maybe next time.

We always sit around the kitchen table and decide where to go in our long Summer vacations , but at the end we came back to the same place as always with little exceptions over the years. The house we always rented from Luis and Maria Isabel is wonderfully roomy cool and in the center of the town; the owners are wonderful human being very laid back country folks who enjoyed talking and sharing stories.

las majadas

The town is Las Majadas in the Serrania de Cuenca mountainsabout 1400 meters up and 36 kms from the Unesco World Heritage site of the city of Cuenca. The house is Casa Pitu at calle Anastacio Lasso near the clock tower which houses the pharmacy and library of the town.

las majadas

For a change , will post some webpages that will help you plan your trip here, and I highly recommended.

The city/town hall of Las Majadas has a site in Spanish here Ayuntamiento de Las Majadas

Casa Pitu again is here in Spanish Official Casa Pitu in Spanish

The autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha has more in Spanish here Castilla la Mancha on Las Majadas

The Guia Repsol (sort of the Michelin of Spain) has more in Spanish here Guia Repsol tourism on Las Majadas

Serrania de Cuenca site in Spanish where on the bottom you can print in pdf a brochure on the mountains is here: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Serrania de Cuenca

And the province of Cuenca tourist site in Spanish in here  tourist office province of Cuenca

The town is very friendly and easy to walk, with great pathways into the mountains for the courageous runner/walker/hiker is a paradise.  We were always tucked to the city and the great bars and restos in it. Sad to hear the bakery has close down and now bread is deliver after 10h at the local school.  We were at 1400 meters altitude (about 4593 feet) and the driving down and up is winding and zig zag’s roads with gorgeous mountains views with lookout stops along the way to enjoy the scenery more.

In all, it was a great place to be at. We are always remembering and réminiscences of times past where we had so much family joy here. It will be with me for the rest of my life. There are several posts on the Las Majadas/Cuenca area , but sorry if it is repeated, I will never be tired of writing about it in my blog. For now ,enjoy Las Majadas, Province of Cuenca, autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha in the  Serrania de Cuenca mountains of my beloved Spain.

las majadas

And this was our first impression from the first visit in 2016: Just to say it has been our best vacation ever ,not only because the location was great, the house fanstastic with all the trimming ,and the price right, but the host Luis and Maria Isabel were fantastic beyond the call of duty to make our stay a wonderful one full of great memories and even friendship. You will do well to rent from them in the future as we will definitively look forward to another opportunity. And we did!

And this is one way on how I wrote to get there from south of Pau by Gan,  along the N134, follow Laruns on the D934 into the mountains looking for the col du Portalet mountain pass wonderful views real driving pleasure and into Spain on the N260 to Huesca to take the N330 into the wonderful road A23 to Zaragoza here take the beltway of the city, the Z-40 direction Madrid but get off on exit 28A to Teruel/Cariñera and then exit 176 into the N211 direction Montalban/Caminreal/Alcaniz.  Near the town of Caminreal take left on the N234 ,and near Monreal del Campo continue on avenue de Madrid still on the N211 passing by nice Molina de Aragon  (gas/petrol  station here) to connect with the CM210 that becomes the CM 2106 into the Serrania de Cuenca mountains and our home at Las Majadas!

And this is how I wrote one way back to France: This time we headed first to Guadalajara , passing by one special town of Calatayud. This is the town I stopped with my then girlfriend for gas and something to eat at the next door restaurant/hotel that had a wedding going on ! appropiate it seems.  We sat in the middle of the restaurant with the wedding party on one side and always remembered by us. At the end of town  ,we link up with the A2 direction Zaragoza that we bypass on the beltway road Z40.  We took the A23 direction Huesca where we link up with the N330 direction Jaca passing by Sabiñanigo.  We continue on the N330 direction France and the Somport pass tunnel. This was memorable too as when I first started traveling by car between Spain and France there was no tunnel but had to go on first gear with a VW Golf  (owned by my girlfriend later wife Martine) up the Pyrénées mountains over the Col de Somport mountain. Here passing Castiello de Jaca, and then Vilanua ,a great memory as usually we had stayed at the Faus Hutte mountain hotel here,now it is call Lacasa. We remember arriving very late like 10PM or 22h and the hotel owners opens up the restaurant to give us something to eat and stayed for the night before continuing on to France !!! Memories never to forget.

So travel soothes everything and is doing me so, writing this blog helps a lot. Las Majadas will be forever in my mind. Thanks for the memories!!!!  I thank you for your support. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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January 24, 2019

Wonderful Orthez and St Pierre !

And continuing on the Pyrénées Atlantiques of my belle France , I take you to another off the beaten path for most visitors. This is the town of Orthez and to show the nice St Peter’s Church. I have written before in my blog on the town and briefly on the Church.

The Church of Saint-Pierre in Orthez, department 64 of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The Church is said to be built by the Viscount de Béarn. It is the testimony of the past greatness of Orthez. It dates from the 14-15C. Orthez was the capital of Béarn in the 12C following Morlaàs and before Pau. It was an important city at the crossroads of the route from Toulouse to Dax and on the Vicomtale road that led to the Pyrenees, a passage from the Gave de Pau.


In rarity, there is not much documentation on the Church. There is no document to establish the conditions for the Church of the choir and the nave. The establishment of Orthez as the seat of the Viscounts of Béarn had to lead to the work of the Church of St. Peter in the 13C. They started with the construction of the chorus of modest proportion. Some historians believe that the work had to stop there at the death of Gaston VII of Béarn, in 1290, and that they did not resume until the death of Gaston Fébus, in 1391, when the city would have received a part of the treasure lying in the tower of Moncade.




Some parts of the nave are ancient, probably, prior to the 14C. It appears that the supporting columns were placed in older masonry and their bases are not posterior to 1400 and can be traced back to the time of the construction of the balusters of the bedside. Comparison of the north and south walls show sensitive differences. Today’s blind openings of the north wall recall those made in the small chapel against the north arm of the transept and the first span of the nave. This north wall of the first span is oblique. This may suggest that it was necessary to connect the eastern parts of the Church to the already existing walls of the nave. The high parts of the north wall had to be redone when the current vaults were made. The key representing the old bridge with three spans seems to indicate that the vault was made before the 16C, when a fourth arch was added to the bridge.



Among the peculiarities of the Church of St Pierre are the absence of collateral and the highest vault of the Béarn with 18 meters at the dome. Inside ,it houses a sketch for the   panel of the Pantheon-the Martyrdom of Saint Denis which was offered by the Beaux-Arts Museum in 1924. Two wooden statues-one representing Ste. Anne, mother of Mary ,and grandmother of Jesus, and the other Saint James-also decorate the Church. In 1870, Aristide Cavaillon-Coll built an organ. The organ was restored in 1925 and in 1958. The original organ of Cavaillon-Coll was again restored in 1982.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Orthez on heritage

Tourist office of the heart of Bearn on heritage

This is an unique city with lot more to see off the beaten path and a great gateway to the Pyrénnées and Spain, we passed by it often over the years. Orthez is nice.

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

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January 23, 2019

Pauillac, the ultimate!

So now that I am in the neighborhood on my memories of my belle France let me take you to my citadel! Needless to say written several posts on the wines of the Médoc (not just Bordeaux but more specific area). If read my previous posts than you know i love wines, diploma in wine knowledge from France and Spain and worked in the business selling and in store sales, distribution etc. I do work now for a multinational which a branch deals with distribution and exportation of French wines.

Pauillac is it for me. If fact, still on the books for possible retirement near in the Médoc. Needless to say I have tasted wines from many regions of the world and visited them, and also of France. However, do not know how to explain it, Pauillac is it. Period. I like to tell you a bit more on the town and relation to the wine and things to see in general. Hopefully, you too will get on the red boat of Pauillac ::)

Pauillac is located in the Gironde dept 33 in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. The town is located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary (river) in the Médoc, 50 km north of Bordeaux. The traces of Pauillac go back to the prehistory, but it was in the 18C, with the expansion of the trade in vineyards and fishing, that the city took the look that we know today.

In 1777, the Marquis de La Fayette sailed out of Pauillac on the shores of the Gironde to join the Americas, to rescue the American people during the American War of Independence. A bronze stele representing his ship La Victoire (victory)   is also erected on the edge of the city harbor on the esplanade de La Fayette. On the stele can be read in translation: “From here on March 25, 1777, embarked Marie Joseph Paul Yves Gilbert Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, with the hope of joining the Americas”.


The vineyard of Pauillac Grand Cru of the vineyard of the Médoc stretches on nearly 1 100 hectares (my favorite wine in the whole world and the best of course!) .The town has no less than 37 wine domains including 18 Grands crus classés en 1855. My favorite bottles in black.These are: Premiers crus: Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild (my fav and direct).   Second crus: Château Pichon-Longueville, and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Fourth cru ; Château Duhart-Milon. Fifth crus: Château Pontet-Canet, Château Batailley, Château Haut-Batailley, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Château Grand-Puy Ducasse, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Lynch-Moussas, Château d’Armailhac, Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Château Pédesclaux, Château Clerc Milon, and Château Croizet-Bages.



The official vineyard territory goes on in the left bank of the Gironde river. It extends over the towns of Pauillac and encroaches on those of Cissac-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien-Beychevelle and Saint-Sauveur . The grape varieties recommended for the appellation are Cabernet Franc , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot , Carménère and Petit Verdot.

The Pauillac is a red wine of ageing values. It presents a dark purple color, almost black with purplish shades when it is young. After a few years, even decades for the best, their tint softens towards the ruby with amber shades. The nose of a Pauillac is a highly concentrated and complex wine. Scents of red fruits such as blackcurrant, blackberry, plum.etc. Spicy such as vanilla, pepper, menthol, liquorice etc. , and woody such as cedar, grilled, toasted.etc. dominate. At the taste, the wine proves very robust. The ubiquitousness of tannins requires perfect maturity. If this were not the case, the mouth would be dried up and the bitterness would cover the aromas. With age, the tannins soften while supporting the aromatic power of the wine for a long time. The wine is balanced,  powerful and robust, it is also fine and delicate at the aromatic level.

Things to see, in some other than the wine domains of course!

The parish Church of St. Martin at place Maréchal Foch, its western façade is surmounted by an immense pediment. The Château Mouton Rothschild and its museum that exhibits wine-related objects from all civilizations. Chateau Pichon Longueville Countess de Lalande; the Orangerie of the castle is home to a remarkable private collection of old glasses and glasses from Venice, Bohemia and French and English glasses from the 17C to 19C. This collection comprises more than 700 pieces assembled by May-Éliane de Lencquesaing. The cave of Artigues, built by Anne-Françoise Averous in 1897 as a miniature replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, and overlooked by the statue of the Virgin. To allow the pilgrims to drink the water of Lourdes, she exchanged, with the chaplain of Lourdes, a cask of her wine from Château de Haut-Bages against a keg filled with water of Lourdes. And do not forget if little on time to stop by the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac a gift store, wine boutique with all the properties of the region at same prices.



Let me give several webpages to help you plan your trip here which is a must. These are

Official tourist office Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac

Tourist office of Pauillac on heritage

Tourist office of Pauillac on its wines

Tourist office of dept 33 Gironde

Tourist office of Bordeaux on Pauillac wines

Tourist office of the Médoc on wines of Pauillac

An unofficial site, Caruso 33,  that I have enjoyed for many years full of good information on anything in the Médoc and of course Pauillac. In French of course. Unofficial site Caruso 33 on Pauillac

Hope you do indeed come to visit this area and Pauillac, even if not into wines, many sites of historical value, boat rides from the Gironde to the mainland even ferries, and of course the beaches! Enjoy it as we did,do and will again.

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




January 21, 2019

Some news from France CCXVII

And here I am direct at you again on the tidbits of my belle France, which thanks to you all have become as popular as I wanted to be over the years. This is in Roman numerals the but is the 218th post!! Thank you.

It is cold and sunny today -1C or about 31F today and even colder in Paris this morning. As I write , it is 3C  (about 38F) in my neck of the woods and the same in Paris, still morning. But hey nothing to stop me or you to enjoy the beautiful France; 90 millions this past year wow its awesome! and expecting 100M in 2019!!!!!

In 2018, the Louvre was the most popular museum in the world, with 10.2 million visitors, 25% more than in 2017. With a bonus for the Louvre, which combines the advantages: its collections cover several centuries of history within a majestic historical monument; It houses masterpieces including the most iconic, the Mona Lisa; It is located in Paris, the world’s number one destination. In fact, three quarters of its visitors are foreign. The permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou recorded an increase of 18% of their attendance; the Museum of the Quay Branly-Jacques Chirac saw its growth of 7%, Versailles of 6%, Orsay of 3%. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, designed by Jean Nouvel, received incredible media coverage for its opening in November 2017 and attracted for more than a million visitors, valuing the Louvre in the Middle East, Africans, and Asian region. The museum currently has 70 international collaborations: Exhibitions, research, excavations, various exchanges. The Centre Pompidou has installed antennas in Malaga, Brussels and is going to establish itself in Shanghai… The French regional metropolises, which have invested a great deal to equip themselves with attractive museums, are thus able to drain several hundred thousand visitors a year. On the other hand, the Paris Opera receives 97 million euros of state subsidies (from happy French taxpayers like me), compared to 28.5 million for the twenty operas in the regions combined, to which 18 million euros came from private patrons in addition. Compile from various newspapers.

In Marseille, the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), for which it is necessary to book and justify its identity as a conservation and resource Centre, a 800 m² “control apartment” presents a rotating sample of the funds Preserved by the museum, pieces from all eras, provenances and dimensions. The Marseille institution now retains the collections. Georges Henri Rivière , his founder, to whom the MuCEM is currently dedicating an exhibition, had imagined, from 1937, to show the gallery of studies to the general public.  The artists ,also take up the reserves is to expose anonymous artists whose creations are taken from the reserves of the museums where he intervenes, for example the Museum of Arts of Nantes, the MuCEM, and until February 3, at the Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes. In Paris, the Museum of the Quai de Branly-Jacques Chirac has long been the example of the reservations visible with its tower of instruments, 27 meters high and which exhibits 10 000 musical instruments. These reserves are not  visited but an application gives elements of information and the walls diffuse the sounds of the instruments that are kept there. The Louvre-Lens goes even further in this logic. The reservations, visible from the lobby, are visited by groups on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Visitors were able to benefit from a guide in the food shop to see the reserves. News from various newspapers in France.

Imagine a health course of 40 km that meanders between the marshes and the boulevard périphérique of Paris, along a vegetated weft dotted with sports challenges. This dream for aspiring marathoners and sportsmen of Sundays may become reality by 2024. At the request of the City/Town Hall of Paris, the Parisian planning workshop Apur has just made a long study on a project of “Urban Sports Walk” along the green belt. Specifically, the course, already equipped with seven sports challenges sites, would be equipped with ten new challenge sites for bodybuilding or cardio-training work. Many recreational facilities such as children’s games, petanque, table tennis, foosball, climbing walls, board games, etc are also provided on 17 points along the route as well as convivial spaces such as picnic tables, fountains, Superloos etc. According to Apur, 600 new alignment trees will have to be planted, sidewalks widened for 9 km, a band of 42 000 m2 cleared of bitumen from the trees, 6 km of vegetated walls and about 15 pedestrian crossings created in the most perilous zones. See attached map. More info here:

400 years is a celebration! To celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the departmental estate of Sceaux  (Hauts de Seine 92) where he lived, inaugurates an exhibition of family portraits of this minister of Louis XIV. Until April 21, 2019. Château de Sceaux stables.Every day except Monday from 13h. to 17h. until 28 February and from 14h  to 18h30  starting March 1st. Admission is 3-4€. More here:

This is the year of the 7th art in the Yvelines dept 78. In 2019, no less than 31 new cinemas should be opened. In total, the department will count 6 780 new armchairs. The most important will be located at the Vélizy 2 shopping center,(Vélizy-Villacoublay) (nice shopping and cinema we like) which is to open in February 2019 ,a complex of 3 800 armchairs in total in 18 rooms on two levels. More here:

At Plaisir, UGC also invests in pleasure, where the opening at the end of 2019 of a multiplex cinema Cité of 9 rooms and 1 280 armchairs to play the role of Open Sky locomotive, the shopping center whose work continues along the road D11. The developer also builds the Open Sky shopping mall, for fun. The signs Primark, Zara, H & M or Undiz will be the locomotives of the center, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. More here in French:

In Maurepas, the multiplex, the first stone of which was laid at the end of November, will have eight projection rooms and 1 700 seats on 5 000 m² and two levels in the area of the Leisure Village. A parking space of 500 is planned to accommodate the 400 000 annual visitors expected per year. To achieve this attendance, the complex will be equipped with the latest technologies with an ICE room (immersive Cinema Experience) and a MX4D room with seats that move according to the action of the film. The establishment is expected to be opened by October 2019. More info here in French:

And it’s not over: next year, 12 rooms should open at the Parly 2 shopping center, at Le Chesnay next to Versailles! This is great our favorite cinema is improving! More here in French:

And after all the above you might be hungry , really hungry, so heads for…aka for serious meat lovers only.

Is meat consumption down? For the-good-restaurateurs, this may be a godsend. As long as you don’t just push a trivial rib steak on the plate but offers an “experience”, a moment. Its Beefbar, just open last October in the former Marbeuf farmhouse in Paris, a few steps from the prestigious Avenue George V, is already filled. A few days ago, walking between carpet rolls and plasterboard, we were struggling to believe that the deadlines would be kept. He never doubted.  The place, magnified the Art nouveau room. Beefbar , created in Monaco in 2005 and present since then in Monaco, Mexico City, Cannes, Budapest , and Hong Kong, and now Paris. The meats served will be chosen and worked with the utmost care, including a limousine of Auvergne refined 60 days and of course Kobe beef. More info here:

There you go happy Monday lol! always a drag I know, but hey there is always going to be a first day of the week! Enjoy your week wherever you are!

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

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