Archive for January 7th, 2019

January 7, 2019

Notre Dame Basilica, Alençon!

And I am staying in Alençon a often by passed town on my road warrior trips along the N12 but worth a vist on its own, and I finally did. This is Alençon, in the Orne department 61 of the Normandy region.

I like to tell you a bit about a monumental basilica that is a must to visit of all the wonderful things to visit in my belle France. I will tell you a bit on the Notre Dame Basilica of Alençon. No need to dwell on it if the significance of the place is enough for me. One of the shrines of my France.


The Basilica of Notre-Dame of Alençon is a Gothic architecture Church located in the Place de la Magdelaine in city center of Alençon in the pedestrian area. Its construction was begun by Charles III, Duke of Alençon at the time of the Hundred Years War in 1356 to end in the 19C ,it is a basilica since August 10, 2009. Many memorable moments for the Catholic faith were held here and is a must for all to learn about good and be good and do good.




For all this is worth the detour. Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of Saint Teresa of Lisieux, married on 13 July 1858 at the Basilica of Notre-Dame.   Saint Teresa of Lisieux received the sacrament of Baptism here on 6 January 4, 1873 (pity her life only lasted 24 yrs) , two days after her birth. The dress of this ceremony is displayed in the Church. One can also see a contemporary stained glass representing the ceremony. The funeral of Zélie Martin ,her mother was celebrated in 1877. After the beatification of the Martin couple on 19 October 2008 in Lisieux, more and more pilgrims come to this Church. Thus, the Church of Notre-Dame of Alençon was officially erected in a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI on August 10, 2009. As for Louis and Zélie Martin, they were canonized on 18 October 2015 by Pope Francis.




Another local Blessed martyr was Marcel Denis, often went here with his family. He celebrated a last mass in Alençon in March 1946 before leaving France for Laos in the Chapel of the Baptistery to mark his devotion to St. Teresa of the Child-Jesus, patron of the missions.

A bit on the Basilica and the other history I like

This gothic building has a 15C nave with five bays of flamboyant Gothic style, from the early 16C. Following a fire, the choir and bell tower were rebuilt in the mid-18C. The lantern is from about 1736). And it has a triple portal. The Church has one of the most beautiful flamboyant Gothic portals in Normandy: A real stone lace, populated by statues illustrating the theme of transfiguration, rarely depicted. This façade contrasts with the very massive choir and steeple, rebuilt in the 18C after the monument was struck by lightning. The collection of stained glass, the elegance of the 15C nave and the fully restored organ are worth a visit indeed.



Well there you have it, one country and one soul, a very nice story. We need more of it today. I encourage you to visit even if not religious as the architecture and the surrounding neighborhood are superb with lots of quant shops and eating places.

Some webpage to help you in your visit plans and to know more are

Tourist office of Alencon on Notre Dame

tourist office on Normandy region on Notre Dame

The Parish office on Notre Dame

The tourist office of Orne dept 61 on Notre Dame

Official Saint Teresa of Lisieux on Notre Dame Basilica

The beautiful organ of Notre Dame Basilica on youtube video





And I hope you do come, a memorable beautiful Church on a very nice pleasant town. And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!


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January 7, 2019

Some news from France CCXV

Ok hey been a while not on my routine news of my belle France! Well with the holidays and vacation and just getting back to work today…. Oh yes need to tell you more of my France, with all the extra exciting news happening always in the Hexagone... I leave those to others more sadder folks. Let me concentrate on the beauty of it and the positives of it all.

Update on gare du nord Paris!  The administrative steps taken, the the work will be able to start at the end of 2019-after obtaining the building permit. The lifting of the first European railway station-222 million passengers per year-must be completed before the 2024, and looks spectacular. Some 600 million euros of work are programmed to accompany the increase of the passenger flow-800,000 in 2024 against 700,000 today-with the creation of a starting terminal, modernize, secure, open the building and adapt it to the new Mobility.  Three times larger, the new station with a 300-meters platform will include 100,000 square meters dedicated to railway activity, traffic, shops,restaurants, and leisure. The project also has a collaborative workspace. The station will remains open, the work will have to take place at night. Noise and anti-dust devices had to be imagined. It may be necessaire to relocate some of the nearby residents. It sure will be awesome!

France has become the sexiest destination in the world. The proof, while the cruise collections are usually shown in exotic and exceptional destinations, Louis Vuitton and Gucci decide to “cruiser” in the south of France. It will be at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence for Louis Vuitton with parade between the sculptures of Miró, Calder or Giacometti.More here:

The abundant music of John Williams will be performed live by the Orchestre National of Ile-de-France, to the rhythm of the images of the saga to the planetary success.. Originally, George Lucas, designer of the “Star Wars” and director of the first film (1977), wanted, on the model of “2001: The Odyssey of Space”, to use classical music (“The Bolero” of Ravel, in particular). But Steven Spielberg advised John Williams, who had composed the very effective music of the “Jaws of the sea.” The sequel is known. The adventure lasts for more than thirty years..More info here:.

There are places that make their space, immediately. The Brach,opened only two months ago, and here the all-Paris has taken it in a bang  with its superb terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower. The Brach is the last creation of the Evok group, which already has two chalets in Courchevel, a restaurant in the Palais Royal and another 5 stars in the Opéra, the Nolinski, this former sorting center of the post office in the 1970’s, between the Rue de la Pompe and rue Jean-Richepin.  Everything has been deconstructed and rebuilt to create this hotel of glass, with its restaurant of 150 covered with DJ in the evening, starting at 19h30. Mediterranean menu. The decoration is thought from A to Z by Philippe Starck, the inevitable. This summer the big terrace should make a bang, with its young and trendy clientele. The open kitchen lets the chef see the floor. A pastry, at the entrance, presents succulent cakes. In the floors, 52 rooms, including seven suites with their incredible terraces, will certainly be rented for endless celebrations, with plunge in the Jacuzzi and immense loungers with welcoming cushions. The interior decorations are loaded with desire. Warm. With dressing and ample marble bathroom. The gym is open to people who are not members of the hotel as well. The address: Le Brach, 1-7 Rue Jean Richepin (16éme). Tél. +33 (0) More info here: Le Brach Hotel Paris

The Disney’s Hotel New York before it closes its doors for renovation work, which will last until the summer of 2020. Inaugurated at the same time as the Disneyland Paris Park in 1992, this hotel is the first of six that the amusement park has to be closed for renovation. More than just a facelift, it is a real makeover that will know the four star hotel, which will be redecorated in the colors of the Marvel universe. Disney’s 2009 comic book franchise is one of three universes in the planned expansion of the Walt Disney Studios between 2019 and 2025, with the Snow Queen and Star Wars. The hotel’s future logo, which will be renamed “Disney’s Hotel New York-the Art of Marvel”, surrounded by extras embodying several superheroes of the franchise universe. The spirit of New York will be preserved but all the spaces will be redecorated, with unique works such as posters, statues or derived objects. The hall will be embellished with comic drawings in black and white retro lit and superheroes engravings, on stainless steel plates that adorn the columns. Three Ironman armours will welcome visitors to the New York City Bar and a panoramic view from the top of a Big Apple skyscraper. At each of the eight floors of the art galleries work in the hallways recall a different Marvel hero like Captain America, Spiderman or Ironman. All according to Disneyland. More here:

 Saint-Serge Church, in the 19éme arrondissement, near the park of Buttes-Chaumont. The wrought iron grate contrasts with the illuminated signs of the rue de Crimée . After a winding dirt road that rises to the hill, a wooden pavilion appears, hidden in the middle of the greenery: it is the Orthodox Church of Saint Serge. Everything is gilding, profusion of ornaments and colors… Blue walls, green columns, a red carpet that stretches to the iconostasis. From the ceiling frescoes to the carved benches, the meticulousness of the motifs is striking.   Back in 1857. A German, a certain von Bodelschwing, seduced by the magic of the place, decides to build a Lutheran temple. The style is clean and simple, unique to Protestant buildings. In 1924, the Orthodox Committee bought the land and ordered sketches from Dimitri Stelletsky, a prominent theater decorator. The artist after finishing his work left a plaque with the inscription “I started painting the church on November 6, 1925. I finished on December 1, 1927. Dimitri Stelletsky. » Princess Elena Sergueievna Lvova. her father is no other than the brother of Prince Lvov, President of the Provisional Government after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. She was one of those Russian aristocrats forced to leave their homeland after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. It is only after her arrival in France that she dedicates herself to the art that will occupy her whole life: the iconography. By the end of the 1920’s, she had become one of the best of her time. From Finland to Tunisia, through the Notre-Dame-du-Signe Church of bd Exelmans 16éme arrondissement, its icons are everywhere.   In 1924, when many Russians joined France after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Metropolitan,Euloge,  the figure of local orthodoxy, was looking for a church for the formation of his priests.  Thanks to donations raised by his community, he manages to acquire the land of the hill at an auction… on July 24, 1924. The feast day of Saint Serge de Radonége. From then on, the Parisian building was dedicated to this inescapable personality of Russian religious history.  Church of Saint Serge, 93 rue de Crimea . Visits outside the offices by appointment at mob +33 (0) or by email at Entry is Free. Tourist office of Paristourist office of Paris on St Serge Church

Chambourcy (78)  – La Defense (92) in half an hour chrono, it is now possible. Precisely from 7h30. This  Monday morning as I write, when the first shuttle of the new express bus line set up by Ile-de-France Mobilité, (old STIF) will leave the stop Renaissance, direction the most business district of Europe, via the autoroute  A 14. Two departures in the morning, at 55 minutes apart, and two returns, at 18h and 19h, are programmed daily. An excellent solution to prevent motorists from going into the city centers  of Saint-Germain or Poissy to take the RER A. In time was coming would have been great! Fopublic transports in the region of Ïle de France: ViaNavigo ile de France transports

The Parc Saint-Paul still innovates with a new attraction: Dino Disk’O. proof of the park’s good health. At Parc Saint-Paul, all the attractions are accessible to children over 1.20 meters (3ft 11 in). And it works.  the park is off the road D931 in Saint-Paul, dept Oise 60 Hauts de France, and only 8km west of  Beauvais. More here: Official Parc Saint Paul

The largest private European collection of objects in the saga imagined by George Lucas is entering the Espace Expo Lafayette Drouot. A new exhibition site extending over 1000 m2 and which will host almost 600 exclusive objects, owned by Daniel Prada, an intergalactic fan of Star Wars. The Expo takes us into the universe of this iconic work through a series of mythical pieces and a unique scenography . Star Wars : The Fans counter-attack.  Espace Expo Lafayette Drouot  44, rue du Faubourg-Montmartre 9éme arrondissement until February 28 2019. More info here :

Les Beaux-Arts de Paris (Paris fine arts) pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci and his contemporaries, exposing for the first time thirty drawings of masters of the Italian Renaissance, including four drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and those of other great painters. A prestigious and exclusive collection!  Léonard de Vinci et la Renaissance Italienne, Beaux-Arts de Paris, 14, rue Bonaparte ,6éme arrondissement ; from January 25 to April 19 2019. More info here :

A landmark of many poets, musicians and painters, the Butte becomes, starting from 1870, a magnificent playground for all these artists. The Museum of Montmartre plunges us back into this artistically fast period, through a playful and poetic route where we can stroll through the village, from workshop to workshop. A nice way to rediscover the neighborhood! Artists in Montmartre, mythical places and workshops     Musée de Montmartre  12, rue Cortot ,18éme arrondissement , Until February 10 2019.More info here:

In three key periods, this expo focuses on the representation of black figures in the visual arts, the abolition of slavery in France (1794) to the present day. It is also interested in the dialogue between the artist and the model, through the major works of Théodore Géricault, Charles Cordier, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and the photographers Nadar and Carjat. The black model, from Géricault to Matisse   at the   Musée d’Orsay  1, rue de la Légion-d’Honneur ,7éme arrondissement ; will be from March 26 to July 21 2019, SEE IT ; more info here :

The Paris Council approved the launch of the operation “Eiffel Tower Site”. The programe: a space of 54 ha (about 133 acres) around the monument with the aim of rebalancing the public use for the benefit of pedestrians and improving the accessibility to the monument. And a bonus: You can find information points for tourism, cultural animations, toilets or even shops! Stay tune. More in French here: Paris Council news

Everything is part of the project Reinvent the Seine. By this way, in the summer of 2017, Fluctuart entered and won the project. We are talking about an urban center whose access will be totally free. However, it must be stated that it is not about any center… We still talk about a building nestled on the Seine at the edge of the Invalides bridge overlooking the Grand Palais. We’ll be dealing with a mastodon of 1000 m2 on three floors. So the place is full of surprises. In addition to a permanent collection, we will have access to temporary exhibitions. Fluctuart will also house a bookstore and a large terrace where it is possible to consume cocktails and brunch in particular. Waiting for this building full of promises planned for the spring 2019. Stay Tune!!! More here in English! Reinventer la Seine Paris

And I leave you with something to try at home, we will , I promise!

Catalan-Breton Paella: The recipe of Catherine Roig: chicken thighs, rabbit legs, smoked breast, Catalan rice and Breton scampi. This multi-influences paella is a family heirloom for the journalist Catherine Roig, born to a Spanish father and a Breton mother.

Preparation time: 1 h 15;  Cooking time: 1 h 50;  Difficulty: Medium ; Ingredients for 6 persons

20 cloves of garlic (+ 2 for parsley); 2 onions; 2 red peppers; 2 green peppers;  2 chicken thighs, cut in four;  3 rabbit thighs, cut in four;  100 g smoked breast cut into large bacon;  3 Chipolatas sausages cut into 2 cm pieces;  500 g of mussels; 6 Live lobsters;  400 g of calamari in pieces or rings; 500 g of Spanish round (or long) rice;  800 g peeled tomatoes (Datterini are ideal);  1 large pinch of saffron pistils;  6 strands of parsley; 4 to 6 soup spoons. of olive oil;  Salt, sweet pepper

Step 1: The confit of onions and the compote of peppers. Chop garlic and onions, make them come back in a paella dish with olive oil. They should not burn but cook for 15 to 20 minutes. clean, seed out and cut the diced peppers, add to the dish, salt, pepper, cook for 15 minutes stirring. All this has to be soft…

Step 2: Meat and calamari. Add the bacon, turn 5 minutes, then add the chicken and rabbit, mix 5 minutes, add the Chipolatas and calamari, mix 10 minutes and simmer for 20 minutes stirring regularly.

Step 3: Tomatoes, mussels and scampi.  Pour the tomatoes with their juice into the dish, cook for 20 minutes, stirring. Boil 1.5 L  (about half a gallon US) of water, infuse the saffron, reserve. Sprinkle the rice over the entire surface of the dish, mix well, and watered half of the saffron. Pour the remainder gradually until the rice is cooked. Don’t stir the paella again. Then, 5 minutes after the rice, add the mussels and the lobsters. The rice should be very slightly crunchy, and it must remain juicy. It can take 20 to 30 minutes. Chop together the remaining garlic and parsley, and sprinkle the paella. Voilà ! buen provecho ou bon appétit! kalon digor!!!

There you go ,enjoy it fully, its all worth it. And remember, happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!






January 7, 2019

Château of the Dukes of Alençon!

In my trip to this nice town of Alençon, in the Orne dept 61 of Normandy, i saw some nice places and one of the less mentioned attracted me as well. I am a lover of history and the castles are a big part of it especially in Europe. So no surprise went by this one even if just a shell of what it was.

I like to bring back to your attention the nice remainding Castle of the Dukes of Alençon. Right off my parking at Place Foch, (hotel de ville, palais de justice all here) coming on the N12 and D112 by Rue de Bretagne, naturally!


It is very quant to seek a parking (free nice better!) and come right away into the towers of this old castle, I found it very nice welcome to Alençon. The history of the castle is sad as was early destroyed, most of it. However, there are works to use it as a rather better park and events place, already under renovations.

From the old castle of the Dukes of Alençon , there is only the entrance pavilion: the remainder having been destroyed in the course of the centuries, in particular by the will of Henry IV, who saw the important fortresses with a bad eye. The castle of the Dukes of Alençon currently designates the entrance pavilion of the old castle of Alençon, which was destroyed during the first century of Alençon Castle, built by the first two lords of the city, Yves de Bellême and his son Guillaume I , has completely disappeared. There is nothing left of the Giroye Tower, the ditches formed by the Briante, or even a little of the gigantic park that stretched to the forest of Écouves, today reduced to the parc des Promenades of 4 hectares (almost 10 acres).



Located in place Foch, sheltered a prison for two centuries. It is currently the subject of major restoration work which will allow, in the second half of 2019, to develop an urban park in the old promenade courses.

A bit of history I like

In 1113, when Henry I Beauclerc, King of England, Duke of Normandy and third son of William the Conqueror, took Alençon, a dungeon was erected. It was then integrated into a second castle, built by Peter II, Count of Alençon from 1361 to 1404.

In 1592, the château of Alençon was demolished on the will of Henry IV who saw with a bad eye the erection of important fortresses, symbols of the individual power of the Lords and the heterogeneity of the kingdom, especially since France had just been torn apart by the wars of Religion. Only the dungeon and the entrance pavilion remained. In 1782, the dungeon was in turn destroyed. There remained then the castle of the Dukes of Alençon as the entrance pavilion ,still existing to date.



In 1804, the implantation of the Alençon prison house in the building caused important work related to this new assignment modifying the building and its surroundings In 2010, the prison house was transferred to the Croisettes site at Coulaines.



It is a nice silhouette in the city and I hope it will be preserved as much as possible , especially its wonderful towers. You need to visit as soon as possible to see it as is.

Some webpages to show you more and info on seeing it are

City of Alencon on the Castle and heritage in French

TOurist office on parc des promenades old part of castle

Tourist office of Normandy on places to see in Alencon

Another nice spot in Alençon that I like from my latest trip into getting to know more of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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


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