Archive for February 27th, 2019

February 27, 2019

The Basel on transports in Switzerland!

So I have talk a lot of my road warrior campaigns in Europe and elsewhere, as I love the freedom of the road. Not withstanding folks think that all I do is put the pedal to the metal and drive around. Well nothing of the truth if you live in Europe lol! I have taken my faire share of trains, tramways, metros, buses, velib bikes, and especially the best walks on many cities of Europe.

One city that comes to mind for its extensive network of trains, and tramways where everything runs smooth is Basel in Switzerland. I have several posts on it in my blog, my trips there have been on the business side of things. However, I like to tell you a bit on the Basel transport choices.

My trips started always from the Gare de Lyon on the TGV Lyria to Basel. I arrived in Basel train station, which is a beautiful building in city center, and the hotel was just across it, nice lively place lots of people out which is always good.

A bit overall on Basel can be resume into this.  Basel, its the third most populous city in Switzerland ,after Zürich and Geneva, and the capital of the canton of Basel-Ville. The Basel agglomeration is bilingual ,German and French, and Tri-National since it includes the towns of Saint-Louist Huningue, in Alsace, and Weil am Rhein and Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg. The urban area of Basel is called Eurodistrict of Basel. Basel is 70 km north of Bern, 75 km north-west of Zurich, bordering St. Louis, 27 km south of Mulhouse, 60 km south of Colmar and 115 km south of Strasbourg. The famous university of Basel founded in 1460, the first Swiss university , frequented over the centuries by Erasmus of Rotterdam, Paracelse, Daniel Bernoulli, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jaspers, Nobel laureate Tadeusz Reichstein or the philosopher Jeanne Hersch.

What astound me the most was its intricate transportation network where it is all very punctual and clean. A bit expensive but so is everything with the Swiss… However, the roads are excellent. I have come here by train and used the public transportation but will mention about the road warrior options as would be nice to try it in the future.

It has 4 bridges crossing the Rhine and Birsig rivers. The best known is the Mittlere Brücke, Central. The two most traffic bridges are the Dreirosenbrücke, consisting of two superimposed roads, and the Schwarzwaldbrücke, consisting of a motorway part and a road part. On the Swiss side, you have the A3 highway towards Zurich and Coire, the A2 towards Lucerne, Chiasso and Milan. This highway has a motorway junction south of Basel on the cantonal Road 1 or main road 18 in the direction of Delémont. On the German side, you have the A5 in the direction of Freiburg im Breisgau and Frankfurt. This German highway has a motorway junction north of Basel on the A98 in the direction of Rheinfelden (Baden) in Germany and Rheinfelden (Aargau) in Switzerland and then joins the A3 mentioned above. The latter and short section therefore indirectly corresponds to a motorway bypass of the city of Basel via Germany. On the French side, you have the A35 (this one I rode on it indeed)  in the direction of Mulhouse, Colmar and Strasbourg.

Basel is served by the international Airport of Basel-Mulhouse-Fribourg, also known by its trade name, Euroairport . It has the peculiarity of being located in binational territory, both Swiss and French. Just for info

The city of Basel has five train stations, three of which are served by several international lines. The Basel CFF train station is connected to the SBB/CFF/FFS network and is served by the TGV and ICE . The  Swiss Basel SBB , and French Bâle SNCF stations are actually in the same complex, separated by Customs and Immigration facilities.   Basel SNCF railway station is served by the French TER trains. The German train station of Baden is part of the DB Network and is served by the DB Regio and the ICE. Basel Badischer Bahnhof is on the opposite side of the city.   In addition to these three major train stations, the city has two other stops served by various regional trains: Basel St-Jean in the direction of Saint-Louis and Mulhouse and Basel-Dreispitz in the direction of Delémont and Porrentruy. More here: SBB Basel train station

basel

basel

basel

The city of Basel has a dense network of urban and suburban tramways. The first, green-colored, are operated by the company BVB (Basler Verkehrsbetriebe: Public transport Basel); The latter, yellow to red strip, belong to the BLT (Baselland-Transport: transport of Basel-Country, the other half-canton, with that of Basel city).

Today, the 8 urban lines of the BVB and the four suburban routes of the BLT with the four lines of the BLT (lines 10, 11, E11 and 17) also traverse the city by way of the BVB and are therefore urban tramways. Line 10 of the BLT serves the French village of Leymen. The station itself is in French territory and when one leaves the station of Ettingen you can see a sign announcing that you leave Germany, so you go for a few minutes on French soil. The terminus, Rodersdorf, is again in Swiss territory. I was very impressed by the tramways all over the city huge quantity of them, and very clean easy to take. More on them in German (more info) here: BVB tramway schedule in German

basel

basel gare walking out to city oct13

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Basel on getting around and in

Tourist office of Basel on getting around and in

It is an interesting city and one that needs more visits to fully enjoy it. Hope you enjoy the post on transports in Basel, and can discuss your travels there with me. I now have friends working there and who knows a escape is in order ::)

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

 

 

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February 27, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXII

So back to the latest news from my belle France. All under a wonderful sunshine of 18C lovely in my Breton woods!!! By Paris, is the same!  Let me be a bit different this time as France is a whole country with all kinds of issues like many others but seldom spoken by visitors seeking the glamour of my adopted country.

Ok so can never always tell you the nicest things about Paris, France ,I am aware of it all been citizen/resident of many countries and many large cities. Paris has its down side too, just be aware when visiting.

The number of deaths on the roads of metropolitan France increased by 3.9% in January 2019. 238 people were killed, nine more than in January 2018, Wednesday announced Securité Routiére (official road safety organism). This increase in agglomeration(cities) and on highways, comes after the announcement of a historical decline in  2018, with 3 503 killed (Hexagone and overseas). The results that had led Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, ardent defender of the 80 km/h limitation that it is legitimate to discuss this measure, in the context of the great national debate. Of course, speed is not the main issue, bad road conditions, traffic circles, priority on the right, etc are the issues but they do not gather money like a speeding ticket lol!!!

Looking more closely at the surveys made available by Airparif (the body for Air quality control in île de France region), it was notice that the air has been described as Bad already four days since January 1, 2019 compared to three over the whole of last year ! Of the four days with a bad index in 2019, three have been found since February 12 , two at the top of the pollution peak of  February 21 and 22. The levels of particle concentrations have also justified the establishment of an alternating circulation in Paris from today February 27. Charles Karimi, a forecaster at Airparif, explained that without wind or rain, these discharges of particles, mainly due to road traffic and residential heating, etc., remain in the atmosphere and cannot escape because of the very cold air that creates a kind of bell cover over the Ile-de-France region. This is more like the factories around Paris, the overcrowding with no park and ride parking’s, public transport that is still not enough for the population , and the building heating yes in Paris, all these a lot more than simply road traffic which has been there since day 1.

107 homicides in Ile-de-France region in 2018, twenty less than the previous year! This is one of the positive developments in the numerical balance of delinquency delivered by the Ministry of the Interior in its data state 4001. The number of armed robberies decreases in the capital. A significant decrease of almost 9% over one year and even half -55% over 5 years which reflects a fairly general trend in Ile-de-France, except perhaps in Seine-Saint-Denis 93 where the number of robberies of this type has fallen only 2.62% since 2013. On the other hand, the number of sexual assaults is progressing throughout the Ile-de-France and the Oise. They increased by 25% compared to the previous year in Paris and in the Hauts-de-Seine, in the latter department, they even almost doubled + 90%! over five years, between 2013 and 2018. So even if Paris by major city standards is still a safe city, common sense should prevail at nights by all, but especially women.

In the ligher things of my belle France, there are as always some nice developments to tell you.

In the spring of 2020, this 14 000 m2 operation overlooks the Parc des Expositions (fairgrounds). It will feed the restaurants of the site and the inhabitants of the area. On the heights of a building under construction, to the southeast of the exhibition center of the Porte de Versailles (15éme), a landscape echoes the ephemeral largest farm of France. It is here, at the top of the future Pavilion 6, that the largest urban farm on the roof of the world will be created.  It will be complemented in the spring of 2020, with the delivery of the new hall and the two hotels under construction, a Mama Shelter and a Novotel of 440 rooms in total. More than a thousand fruits and vegetables of about thirty different species will be pampered each day, in season, by some twenty gardeners. The production will feed the restaurants of the exhibition center, starting with the le Perchoir, which already is present on several Parisian rooftops, which is set on the panoramic terrace of the new hall. More on the parc des exposition and the Salon de l ’Agriculture going on now: https://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-do-in-paris/info/guides/salon-international-agriculture-paris

And on the farm press release in French here: http://www.presseagence.fr/lettre-economique-politique-paca/2019/02/22/paris-la-plus-grande-ferme-urbaine-en-toiture-au-monde-bientot-a-paris/?print=print

Le musée de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux (Seine-et-Marne 77) or The Museum of the Great War of the country of Meaux. Welcomes comics authors (BD) interested in the 14-18 period. The opportunity to meet them and to visit this great museum for free!! Great event indeed and wonderful museum. More here: https://www.museedelagrandeguerre.eu/en/la-grande-guerre-en-bd.html

Ski, snowboard and curling trails give a winter sports air to the One Nation shopping center, in Clayes-sous-Bois (Yvelines 78). You can ski there every day until Sunday, March 10, 2019. And it’s free.The mall info here: https://www.onenation.fr/en/

Indeed, between February 27 and March 3, 1969 took place the legendary move of the halles of Paris to Rungis: 20 000 people, 1 000 wholesale companies, 10 000 m3 of equipment, 5 000 tons of goods left Paris for the south of the capital where a new blazing market , installed on 4.2 km, was waiting for them . This is the Rungis market today one of the biggest in the world, celebrating 50th anniversary!. https://www.rungisinternational.com/rungis-50e-anniversaire/

The two cabins of the Montmartre funicular are as new! After three long years of work, the famous 18C funicular railway was completely renovated. 25 years after its operation in its current form, the new funicular, frequented by more than 4000 people per hour, announces its great comeback! The modern cockpit will undoubtedly appeal to travelers: New benches, new floor, LED lighting, more dynamic information screen and a stroke of paint on the outside. The renovations taking place every ten years, the next is planned for 2027 and 2028. You have time! More in tourist office of Paris: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/103125/Funiculaire-de-Montmartre

The official tourist office of Montmartre! http://www.montmartre-guide.com/acces-a-la-butte-montmartre/

The Paris Music Festival is back! And with it, three days of celebration, music and love with a ton of concerts at a very sweet price, at all in the craziest places of the capital. A lovable program awaits you for this new edition, with a beautiful headliner, such as one named Bertrand Burgalat, talented musician and patron of the label Tricatel, who will perform at the Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts). You will also find Zombie Zombies on stage with a choir of teenagers, Bashar Mar-Khalifé in solo piano with Faraj Suleiman in the first part, a tribute to Rachid Taha. But also the wonderful Hugh Coltman, Apple, Sage, Ignatus, Louis Aguilar, Gael Faure, Barbara Carlotti, Silly Boy Blue or even Zaza Fournier. This year you have an appointment in places such as the American Cathedral, the College of the Bernardin, the archaeological crypt of the Ile de la Cité, the Hôtel de Lauzun, the Museum of Arts Deco or the Eugène Delacroix Museum. With a single rate of 10€ per concert, no more, no less. From March 14 to 16 2019. More here:  http://paris-music.com/

The brand new Institut Français de la Mode (French Institute of Fashion) or IFM Paris. This Parisian fashion school was created by the merger of the French Institute of Fashion and the School of the Trade Union Chamber of Haute Couture (ECSCP). The Bachelor’s registration is open for the beginning of the 2019. A Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, a three-year course, taught in French and English, at 13 000 euros per year for EU nationals, 19 000 euros for all others. It will teach the anatomy, drawing, cutting, patronage, creation of images, staging, but also the industrial and economic reality of fashion. The creation of a collection of 6 to 8 silhouettes accessorized is to be carried out in the last year. More here: https://www.ifmparis.fr/en/

Cannes and its Croisette is in fashion! again!   It is offering itself a big facelift. The old bathing establishments are going to be demolished to give way to harmonized dismantling structures. The mayor, David Lisnard, decided to launch an international competition in 2019 to entrust architects and landscapers with the requalification of public spaces. The main asset of the Croisette is their village sides, where you can do everything on foot, go from hotel to beach, shopping, join the Palais des Festivals. Nowhere else in France, even in Paris, we find on less than 3 km such a concentration of luxury shops with some sixty brands which, since 2016, can open on Sundays or in the evening with a golden square registered in the perimeter of the International tourist area. Since 2009, the Groupe Barriére has dedicated 120 million euros to its two flagships, the Majestic and the Gray of Albion hotels, including the construction of a new wing for the Majestic housing 42 suites and 2 penthouses. The Martinez completed in 2018 a construction site of 150 million euros. The Intercontinental Carlton, (owned by Qatari Katara Hospitality Fund now under my management accounting wise once!), has undertaken extension work (more than 13,000 m2) and modernization that should be completed in 2021 with an estimated investment of more than 250 million euros. Finally, the JW Marriott Hotel (own by groupe Jesta), by 2020, will offer 2,500 m2 of new commercial areas and a renewed hotel offer on 7,800 m2. Amount of expenditure, about 32 million euros. Indeed a total facelift of an already glorious boulevard de la Croisette of Cannes!! More on it here: https://www.cannes-destination.com/must-see/la-croisette-cannes

There you go, many things still to do and common sense will prevail, I never had any problems whatsoever here nor my family. Other than some speeding tickets lol!! but now down to 11 points out of maximum 12, okeerokee!

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

 

February 27, 2019

Place d’Armes , Luxembourg!

So bringing you back a bit east of France and a neighbor, this is lovely Luxembourg. One of the smallest countries in Europe and one of my favorite places to visit. If you read my blog, you will know why. We have been coming here for many years and even just to have lunch!

One of our must stop is the Place d’Armes in city center of the upper town of Luxembourg city. We always come by car so parking is no problem at all by the Place du Théatre and then we just walk all over, grand!  Parking du Théatre : https://web.vdl.lu/circulation/parking/detail/1

But let’s get into the details of this wonderful small square. The Place d’Armes , local Luxembourgish language they say Plëss or Plëss Arem is a wonderful square in one of our favorites cities of Europe in Luxembourg. It is located in the center of the old Town in the district of the Ville-Haute (upper town) and is an attractive point for the local people and visitors. Located generally in the center of a fortification, a place of arms is the gathering place of a small troop and a central space hosting the important ceremonies of the military life.

Luxembourg

A bit of history I like

After a huge fire in 1554 destroyed a large part of the Ville Haute (upper town), plans were made to lay out a square in the center of the fortified town. The Place d’Armes created under the Spanish occupation (the first of 1506-1684, followed by a second period of 1697-1713), the Place d’Armes corresponds to the square center of a district arranged according to a grid plan. Knowing that the capital has undergone phases of extension and creation of various districts in connection with the different periods of occupation (France, Prussia, Austria, Spain), this place constitutes the heart of the old town in terms of localization.  In 1671, the Spanish built a slightly smaller square at the same location. It became known as the Place d’Armes as it was used as a parade ground for the garrison. Under French king Louis XIV, it was paved with flagstones and bordered with lime trees.

On this square, on 10 September 1944 the people of Luxembourg warmly welcomed its liberators, the valiant soldiers of the US 5th Armored Division and their Royal Highnesses Prince Felix of Luxembourg and Prince John hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

A bit more on the description of this wonderful small square we have come to love over the years.

The Place d’Armes square is surrounded by numerous cafés and restaurants, all with pavement terraces in the summer months. Some of the interesting buildings in the square are the Cercle municipal of the city of Luxembourg, in which the first sessions of the Special Council of Ministers of the ECSC (community European Coal and steel), the precursors of the EU. The façade of this building is adorned with a scene showing the Countess Ermesinde, to return in 1244 the letter of franchise to the citizens of the city of Luxembourg ,the main building was completed in 1906 but work on the interior was finished only in 1909. At the western end of the Place d’Armes on Place Jan Pallach , there is a monument dedicated to poets Dicks and Michel Lentz (who wrote the words of the national anthem) .  The Bandstand music kiosk is very nice and quant lovely indeed, and when my boys were younger they really enjoyed the rides!. The square is surrounded by terraces of the different restaurants, shops and hotels. There is very nice quant architecture in the building’s facades in the Place d’Armes. From the first days of spring, the many terraces on the square invite the passersby, to rest, to listen during the summer weekends the concerts of the marching bands from the four corners of the country and make it a place of relaxation very appreciated, both by the Tourists than the Luxembourgish. All around is a pedestrian area of Groussgaas , where there are many shops.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

In the Place d’Armes, there is our wonderful Hôtel Français, a generous 3-star, offers on 5 floors 22 comfortable rooms, all renovated, which open to wide spaces of recreation embellished with original works of art. I take time to give you info on the hotel we always stayed in city center at 14 Place d’Armes with a wonderful family room up to 5!  More info here: https://www.hotelfrancais.lu/en/pages/home.html

Luxembourg

As this is our central each time in the country, we know it by heart, there are so much choices but us been different hehh! we go for the memories of old of which my boys grew up in FL USA so we love to come here for the pepperoni lover’s pizza at Pizza Hut in the Place d’Armes! And its a ritual for my family lol! and now after my late dear wife Martine passing is a place with loads of memories.  13 Place d’Armes Pizza Hut : https://restaurants.pizzahut.lu/restaurant/luxembourg

 Luxembourg

 Luxembourg

Another favorite hard to see but a memorable spot of many happy hours back in the old country before France was Chi Chi’s tex mex restaurant and darn, they have one in the Place d’Armes!!  15 Place d’Armes, Chi Chi’s , tex-mex in town ! https://chi-chis.lu/fr/restaurants/place-d-armes

Another of our regular stops here over the years is Banana’s oh yes you can go bananas here with a great DJ and good chow over the lovely square, grand we think! It is on Monterey Ave. just a run off street from the Place d’Armes!  9, Avenue Monterey run off street from Place d’Armes ,Banana’s traditional resto and DJ music! http://www.bananasbar.lu/home/home/bananas-bar-restaurant-luxembourg-place-armes/en/

Luxembourg

You can spent a whole day walking around this area with the beautiful quant buildings, and wonderful shops as well as the above establishements of our souvenirs of  Luxembourg. And to boot, the Duchess Maria Theresa is Cuban born lol!!  Always looking forward in going back for more…

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Luxembourg on Place d’Armes

Tourist office of Luxembourg on shopping with a good map in pdf!

Tourist office of Luxembourg on Restaurants

There you go a small magical place awaits you and it is a lot more the the city of Luxembourg, check out my previous posts on it and the country in my blog!

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

 

 

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