Archive for March, 2019

March 20, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXV

So hey news are happening things are schedule and France is moving on regardless of the noise making that is part of our entertainment and makes us unique ,different and well visited. The temps have been mild with temps going up to 57F or about 13C with cloudy and foggy but no rain here.

Let me give you something to plan on in my belle France.

By now ,we know that there are 20 districts in Paris or arrondissements ,and that they are articulated like a snail to form the Capital. The first division of Paris in districts dates from 1795, with a cutting in 12 parts (9 on the right bank, 3 on the left bank). The other 8 were annexed by the law of 16 June 1859, thus integrating the “suburbs” between the old wall of the farmers and the walls of Thiers in the capital.

Some communes such as Belleville, Grenelle, Vaugirard and La Villette are then totally absorbed, others are partially annexed (the District of Ternes of Neuilly, the District of Glaciére of Gentilly, the District of Picpus of Saint-Mandé), still others are shared between the capital and the city of origin (Auteuil, Bercy, La Chapelle). They now form the definitive contours of Paris. Last news that redraws the map, the Mairie de Paris (Mayor’s office of Paris) decided to merge the first 4 districts (1-4) of the capital after the municipal elections of 2020. After a citizens ‘ vote last October 16 , the name “Paris centre” was chosen.

Each district has its own identity and specificities. All have assets that we do not necessarily suspect. The 15éme is the largest, the oldest ,the 6éme, the 17éme the most eclectic with four very different neighborhoods, from the Ternes to the Epinettes passing through the Plaine-Monceau and the Batignolles. Some tidbits on them to follow:

The 2éme it’s the smallest in area at 99 hectares. The 19éme with a total area excluding greens of 97.57 hectares is the biggest ,(thanks to the parks of the Villette and the Buttes Chaumont), the 19éme arrives at the top green area. The 11éme with a density of 40,827 inhabitants per km², is the most populated. The 16éme with 5 metro lines crossing it (1, 2, 6, 9, 10), and 24 stations in this district holding the most stations in its territory. The 7éme at Rue des Saints-Pères, here an apartment of 1000 m² (16 rooms) sold 39 million euros last February 6 to an European industrialist as the most expensive in Paris. The 16éme with the most museums total of 18 including the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Cité de l’Architecture, Marmottan Museum, and the Guimet Museum. Around the Bastille there are 3 district converging the 4, 11 and 12 . The 4éme and 8éme has the most historic fountains with 10 each. And the 20éme has the most libraries with 7! This is Paris!!!

In the ongoing silent battle to get the trains out of the red , the SNCF’s tariff schedule will evolve progressively during the year 2019. If the frequencies cards remain unchanged, SNCF recycles the good old “2 in 1” formula for the other discount cards. Thus, the cards “child” and “family” will only be one, as well as the cards “senior” and “weekend”.

But the main change is about how tickets are booked. While it was enough until now to specify to have a subscription card to get the right fare, you will be asked, at the end of the year, to type in additionally the number of the card. Thus, you will no longer be able to buy a ticket for your children, relatives, friends or collaborators, without being in possession of their card number.

These measures will enable the company to improve what is called the unitary recipe (get more money) indeed, by controlling the filling of its trains more effectively, it will be able to offer more tickets at the very last minute price. Finally, SNCF wants to remove the paper tickets for the exclusive use of e-tickets. This is the end of the journey incognito since for an e-ticket, it is necessary to give an identity and a date of birth (as in airplane) that can be verified by the controller. Stay tune!!

Twenty international artists of all generations and of all practices (video, painting, graffiti, music, sculpture) to express themselves in the depths of the House of Champagne Pommery. From the outset, the descent of the grand staircase which gives access to the cellars and which would gladly call a red carpet is punctuated by the sound and light of Pablo Valbuena. Welcome to a new space-time. Here, the sculptures of Ida Ekblad emerge from the alcoves; There, a work by Holly Hendry, which recovers the ventilation ducts and industrial materials of the heaters. A monument 30 meters high. . This will be the 14th edition of the Expérience Pommery, Domaine Pommery,Reims until June 15 2019.

For fourteen years, at the initiative of Pierre Hermé, the biggest names of pastry are mobilising for a good cause. In 2019, there is a new format and a new cause: that of the children of Madagascar, alongside the Association Zazakely Sambatra, chaired by Stéphane de Bourgies.  Great cause great product, France at its best! Relais desserts members of about hundred shops in France-will offer limited edition boxes of 5 macaroons highlighting the Malagasy flavours: chocolate, vanilla, spices, exotic fruits…Of course, the best in Paris and the world are Pierre Hermé 72, rue Bonaparte (6éme). Jean – Paul Hévin, 231, rue Saint-Honoré (1éme).   Sadaharu Aoki . 35, rue de Vaugirard (6éme). Arnaud Larher. 53 Rue Caulaincourt (18éme), and Laurent Duchêne . 2, rue Wurtz (13éme).

Some of the goodies coming up that I like are

 Embark on the new 10-km hike from the Arboretum of Versailles-Chèvreloup and travel among the lush vegetation of three continents   from April 1st. Visit the King’s vegetable garden (potager du roi) during the 11th edition of the very nature Esprit Jardin Festival at Versailles, May 4-5.

Breakdancer in the parking lot of 2000 m2 of the Institute of the Arab World, 6éme transformed into a dance floor before demolition and invested by the sounds of Rap and R&B of classics only, April 6.

Share the deep admiration of Fellini for the genius of Picasso by reliving the imaginary dialogue of the filmmaker with the Spanish artist at the Cinémathèque 12éme from April 3rd to July 28 2019.

Take off by immersing yourself in the exhibition “Ocean, an unusual dive” and go to meet the singular fauna of the great depths at the National Museum of Natural History ,5éme from April 3 to January 5 2020.

Stroll among the 150 galleries of modern and contemporary art from the post-war to the present day at the 21st edition of Art Paris Art Fair in the Grand Palais,8éme, from April 4-7.

To understand the conflicts of the 20C through the work of Pablo Picasso, following the guided tour of the Expo “Picasso and war” in the army museum or Musée de L’Armée, 7éme, from April 5 to July 28.

Choose and run the 42.195 km of the Paris Marathon from the Champs-Élysées and cross the finish line Avenue Foch on April 14th.

Drinking beers in the Green: for its 3rd Edition, the Mondial de la biére (beer worlds competition and tasting) is being deported to the Parc Floral ;12éme from May 17-19.

Get behind the scenes of the Opéra Bastille or go to meet the artisans of crafts who work for the good performance of the shows in Garnier during the 13th edition of Tous à l’Opéra or all at the Opéra from May 3-5.

Meet great chefs and taste their dishes in small portions under the nave of the Grand Palais, during the 5th Edition of Taste of Paris , 8éme, from May 9 to 12.

The departmental Council and ASO have signed a convention to have the final stage of the tour de France starts from the  Yvelines dept 78 in the coming years. The TOUR went by here in 2012 from Rambouillet to Paris Champs Elysées 20th stage. 2013 from Versailles to Paris Champs Elysées on stage 21. In 2015 from Sévres to Paris Champs Elysées on stage 21, and in 2018 from Houilles on stage 21 to Paris Champs Elysées.   And back this year to Rambouillet on July 28!

The complete tour on Youtube video here:

So enjoy France its a movable feast (Hemingway did not travel enough from Paris ::) ) and remember, happy travels, good health, and  many cheers to all!!!


March 20, 2019

Jouarre, old ,abbey, and medieval S/M 77!

And here I go again updating these wonderful posts of old that I think merits more disclosure. This is one of my favorite little old towns in S/M=Seine et Marne dept 77 east of Paris in the île de France region. Not too far from my dear late wife Martine native city.

In her effort to show me around her neighborhoods…she took me here to the town of Jouarre and was very nice from my favorite historical architecturally nice monuments. Here it is for you, not too far from Disneyland Paris either so merits an afternoon visit.

Lets continue our journey of my belle France shall we!!! We come now along the A4 autoroute or the old N3 now D603 from Meaux coming into medieval Jouarre a town in Seine et Marne dept 77 east of Paris. This is as old as you can get while visiting the region or France for that matter. It is near our family town of Meaux. The viamichelin folks will put you here at

You have train transport here on rue de la Gare at La Ferte sous Joaurre the bit bigger town next to Jouarre, on the line Paris Gare de l’Est; the service is the Transilien of ile de France at  SNCF Transilien official train site of Ile de France . However, will need a taxi to see the old buildings, or bus 34, 35,40, and 41 in town of La Ferte sous Joaurre . Of course the car is always better in my opinion.

Just popping into the tourist office in town set you back to 1440AD as it is in the old Charreterie ( covered roof on four piliers open air as a gathering place or covered terrace)  of the Abbey Notre Dame de Jouarre.  You then can pass to see the Merovingians crypts, tour d’abbaye, and musée Briard.


The crypts Saint Paul and Sainte Ebrégesile are in perfect condition of preservation and dates from the Merovingian era in France dating back to 600AD!  They are visit with a guide from the tourist office ,visit last about 45 minutes .  The Musée Briard showcasing artifacts from the period including the tools ancient for the making of the cheese Brie of which this is the area !!!  last about 20 minutes. The religious order in the Abbey will let you tour a guided visit of the Tour Romane for a duration of 45 minutes.


You can,also, see the Church Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, built from 1440AD to the 16C; it is in central town. It has five bells  Jeanne, Anna, Albertine, Louise, and other brought from another church now gone the Sept-Sort. See the Croix Monolithe in place St Paul, when the local authorities decided to move the cross in 1864 they realised that this was a single element cross done in the 13C  while at the same excavations in the site reveal that on the same spot in 660AD there was a Basilica there; recent excavation has been able to find the foundation of this Basilica !!!.



For lodging well this is Brie country, my family neighborhood so no experience here renting although by recomm the Chateau des Bondons is excellent at nearby La Ferte sous Jouarre, the webpage is here . There are also many small gites and chambre d’hotes in this area which you can see in the tourist office.

For eating out is the same situation although we did come with the family to eat at the above Chateau des Bondons see webpage above.  There is a market day on Fridays in front of Hotel de Ville of Joaurre , Place August Trinchard with local produce as well.

The webpage for the City of Jouarre indicating the webpage for the tourist office is here in French

Enjoy the medieval ambiance of this small town, a nice off the beaten path trip away from Disneyland!  This is Jouarre next to La Ferte sous Jouarre!

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

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March 20, 2019

Evreux, the other Normandy!

Indeed this is the other Normandy, might say off the beaten path and worth the detour. It was a collegue native of Evreux who told me first about the city, and the traveler in me told us to come visit. Glad we did,another gem of a Cathedral and nice Evreux!

Let me update the post and tell you a bit more on nice Evreux, different Normandy!

A very lively city tuck away in the Normandy countryside by the Eure river in the department of the Eure no 27. Its easy to get here by road from the autoroute de normandie A13 exit 13 just before the toll bridge. You have great parking underground at hotel de Ville, and Victor Hugo off rue Franklin D Roosevelt.  Not far from here is the train station at 4 blvd Gambetta, direct trains to Paris Gare Saint Lazare.

It is an old city first bishop Taurin from 989 AD, and once under the kingdom of Navarra (Spain) until 1400 AD.

We enjoyed the canals as well as the wonderful Notre Dame Cathedral. Some of the highlights of the trip would be the Bell tower or Beffroi,  the bishop’s palace is today the museum of Evreux (open as such in 1960)  with many works since antiquity to the 18C, especially see the statue of Jupiter , as well as painting from Flemish and French masters, the site of the museums of Normandy gives you more info Upper Normandy museums on Evreux in French

City of Evreux on the Museum of Art and HIstory in French



The ramparts along the canals are very picturesque quaint areas of walk and great for a lunch and people watching; the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame is fantastic;first mentioned in 912 AD and consecrated in 1077 and renovated after many fires, the dimensions are 109 meters long, highs at the nave is 21,75 meters,the lenght of the nave is 25,40 meters, high of the choir is 24,10 meters and lenght of the choir is 31,60 meters. 13 chapels where the enclosure in wood dates from the 16C AD.  You must stop by the chapel the mother of God, a gift from king Louis XI  ,it keeps a Virgin with a Child from the 15C. At the entrance stands a Pieta, dated from the 17C in painted wood. It has a magnificent modern organ with many activities, see in English here Organs site on the Notre Dame Cathedral organ of Evreux






It has a wonderful theater de la ville de Evreux, and nice market or marché at Place Clemenceau good on wednesdays and sundays mornings. The tourist office of Evreux in French have it on the sights page, you just choose chateaux or others on the list.  Tourist office of Evreux on things to see in English


As far as places to eat there are plenty ,good, and excellent prices if compare to Paris. My favorites are the Le Benjamin  at 2 rue Franklin D Roosevelt just before getting into the pedestrian city center area,and parking by place victor hugo. You can have bowling here too; webpage: LE Parvis bowling and Benjamin resto Evreux


For sweets, macarons, chocolates, and delicacies made at home try the Chocolatier Normand Auzou at 34 rue Chartraine city center, also properties in Le Havre, Amiens, etc . The chocolates are mouthful and the macarons sublime! Webpage Chocolatier Auzou at Evreux


Shopping here other than wine is the ciders of the Auge, at A la Vallée d’Auge, 16 pl Clemenceau, Place du Marché :webpage:  A la Vallee d ‘Auge Evreux

La Cave du Beffroi, 6 rue de l’Horloge, great for wines, liquors, ciders,and accessories; open Monday thru Saturdays, great selection of local goodies to grab by the case! Webpage: La Cave du Beffroi Evreux

In all, the city center has pedestrians walkways and its loaded with stores all at better prices than Paris.  Hope it helps you see the other France just as beautiful in the other Normandy, and nice Evreux!

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

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March 19, 2019

Chantilly, more than a cream, a beautiful castle!

And I bring the crème de la crème ooops nah as the title says it is more than a cream Chantilly is a beautiful historical and architecturally stunning castle and proud member of the Friends of Chantilly Castle!

I like to tell you a bit more reloading an old post of this beautiful property. Of course, one of my favorites in France. Hope you enjoy Chantilly, the castle!

This is a cinderalla castle ,wonderfully done and maintain, full of history and hunting stories of France.  Chantilly is ,also, the name of the town, in the department of Oise, No 60 ,in the region of Hauts de France  ( previously Picardie and historically the region of the Valois) , north of Paris, and right in the middle of the forest of Chantilly.  World renown for its cream of Chantilly, but also, a beautiful castle with a museum of Condé, racetrack or hippodrome, and a museum of the living horse! It took a great beaten in WWI as the opposition hq was based until Marshal Joffre got rid of it in the great battle of the Marne. In WWII ,the hq of the opposition was installed at the grand ecurie, the town was liberated by the Americans in 1944.  Afterward it became a great residential area full of horse lovers, and most of the jobs are found south towards Paris region.

The main route to reach Chantilly is the A1 and A16 autoroutes easily accessable from Paris or London.  The train station Chantilly-Gouvieux is on the line Paris-Lille from Paris gare du Nord, and also on the RER D from Paris.  It is only about 30 kms from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.


A bit of history I like

The area is the domaine of the Montmorency family from the 15C to the 17C, then it passes to the Conde house, junior house of the Bourbon branch from the 17C to the 19C.  Only the petit chateau is original from the 16C, the Grand Chateau is a reconstruction from the 19C ( 1875-1881)  . It was the son of king Louis Philippe Ier,Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale that inherits the castle and adorned it with paintings and objects of arts.  He in turns donates all to the Institut de France and the collection is turn into the museum of Condé inside the Castle ( the best collection of old paintings in France behind the Louvre!) . The Grandes  Ecuries built in 1719-1740 AD  today house the musée vivant du cheval or the living museum of the horse ,and the gardens is done by none other than Le Notre. All these complexes are worth a visit, a must to see while in the Paris area.






A bit of a tour at the properties. In the Petit Chateau, you have the appartments des Princes or princes apartments, where the Grand Condé lived; the Duke of Aumale was reserved the apartment in the ground floor. You can see a beautiful collection of manuscripts in the Cabinet des Livres or library ,where you will find the original copy of the “Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry”. The galerie de Monsieur le Prince or the gallery of Mister Prince has works of arts showing battles under the command of the Grand Condé.


The Grand Chateau, once crossing the galerie des Cerfs or gallery of deers dedicated to hunters and hunting, you will the tapestries from the 17C, then the galerie de Peintures or paintings gallery, showing the tastes and likes of the Duke of Aumale with paintings of military battles, Richelieu,Mazarin and Gabrielle d’Estrée au bain. At the end of the gallery you reach a rotonda or main hall, you see the Vierge de Lorette by Raphael, turn to your right at the end you see the salle de la Smala and the rotonde de la Minerve where portraits of the family of Orléans are shown.  Come back a bit and see the Cabinet de Giotto dedicated to the primitive Italians, then in succession you see the Salle Isabelle, wonders from the 19C as Delacroix and Ingres, Salon d’Orléans, with porcelains of Chantilly taken from the factory founded by the duke of Bourbon in 1725. The visit continues with the salle Caroline,  work by Van Loo and Watteau etc,then Cabinet des Clouet a collection of works of arts in miniatures, opening into the Santuario where the works of Raphael Vierge de la maison d’Orléans, the Trois Glaces, Esther et Assuerus, portrait of the marriage coffre by Lippi, forty miniatures by Jean Fouquet as told in the book by Heures d’Etienne Chevalier, and you will finish this tour on the Cabinet des Gemmes that houses the beautiful jewerly and enamels as well as miniatures ,and the Tribune showing the 8 places favorites of the Duke of Aumale. All just gorgeous !





Then ,you move into the gardens, compose of three sections, the jardin a la française design by Le Notre, the jardin anglo-chinois around a hameau or house dating from 1773, and the jardin anglais from 1819. It takes about an hour to really see these. You can make longer by going to the Potager des Princes or prince veggies garden. Begin at the English garden or jardin anglais with its platanesques trees, take the allée Blanche and continue on the canal des Morfondus to reach thechapel of St Jean (built 1538); take a half turn and cross the canal des morfondus by a passarelle bridge to reach the hameau or country house created in 1774, along the banks you will see the Grand Canal to see the castle from the back great view indeed. When you return go by the allée des Philosophes; you can see kangaroos if you go outside their sleeping time very early.



The official webpage of the Chantilly castle properties ,you can see it in English at  with up to date information and pricing.

You can go see the Hippodrome or racecourse,not open to the public during racing unless you pay but off you can ask to see the racecourse and training stables at 5 ave magdalene , see the info in English


The living museum of the horse or Musée vivant du Cheval, near the castle you can see it, walking distance, you see about 30 different races of horses for real actual horses of course as well as poneys, in the Grandes Ecuries you have 240 horses, 500 dogs, and just wonderful, performances are done daily. see webpage Chantilly Living museum of the Horse


The tourist office for Chantilly webpage has lots of goodies, and if you have any questions just let me know ok.   Tourist office of Chantilly in English

Hope you have enjoy the ride or the visit to a wonderful castle museum of Chantilly, see it from Paris its easy. Enjoy it

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


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March 19, 2019

How to be a Parisien…..really!

Re blog and still holds true, how to be a Parisien!

This came out in my favorite newspaper and magazine Le Figaro, so I am translating here from the French. The 100 ways you can be or are sure to be a Parisien. That fits my bill alright ::)

1. Had dinner at Tokyo Eat (16éme) and not needing to open the door to the Palais de Tokyo

2. Taken a breakfast in the terrace of Café Marly (1 éme)

3. Be seated at a table in l’Abtrance (16 éme)

4.  Had organise a goodbye party to a colleague at the Train Bleu, gare de Lyon ( 12éme)

5.  Had dinner at Lipp (6 éme) at the first floor and street side with preference next to a famous head statue

6. Had eaten an onion soup at Halles (1 éme)

7. had bought a ice cream cone at Bertillon, the main house in the 4éme

8.  Had tasted a Paris-Brest by  Philippe Conticini in the Patisserie des Reves in rue du Bac (7éme)

9.  have the pleasure to fill your basket in the Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché (7éme)

10.  Have fallen for the caramel macaron with salted butter at Ladurée (8éme)

11.  had taken a mint tea at the Mosquée de Paris  (5 éme)

12.  had for lunch a tamoul at Pooja ( 10éme)

13.  Clean plate of a côte de bœuf for two at 6am in Chez Denise or La Tour de Montlhèly (I éme)

14.  Believe you were stuck in New York having a club sandwich at Harry’s Bar  (II éme)

15. Had ordered a cheese dish at Marie-Anne Cantin (VIIe)

16.  Ruined yourselves a Sunday morning at the bio market in boulevard Raspail (VIIe)

17.  had lunch un bento at Kunitoraya 2  (Ier)

18.  had drank and participated with the winegrowers while the feast of Fête des vendanges de Montmartre, early October

19.  had eaten un fallafel a Sunday at As du Fallafel , rue des Rosiers (IVe )

 20. had spent 80 euros for two of a roasted chicken with potatoes afire in Ami Louis (IIIe)

21.  had found the bag to go buy the flowers at Rungis  and eat oysters

22.  had purchase the favorite tea at  Mariage Frères

23. had a picnic on the pont des Arts

24.  had taken a bite of a libanese sandwich  at avenue George-V to think you are in Beirut

25. had a stop a pause at New Nioullaville (XIe) to enter into the Chinese new year

26. had taken a cafe at Flore

27.  be seated in front of a breakfast « plateau » at Coupole, sitting on the red benches but not in the terrace

28. to not swear if by the head of veal at Apicius  (VIIIe)

29. to be hug on the quai de la Tournelle

30. to have order a cocktail at the Bar Hemingway in the Ritz, at the eye color of the invited person, (do it before it closes for renovations)

31.  to have rented a room at the Hotel Chopin at  passage Jouffroy (IXe)

32.  to have mark your name and of your love one in the walls of the catacombes

33.  had played the card of double winner, champagne plus plaid on one the bridges of a Bateau-Mouche toenjoy the lights of the city of llights

34.  to have appointment at least once on the parvis de Notre-Dame, the fountain of Saint-Michel or the steps of the Opéra Garnier

35.  to have taken a glass facing the sun set at Bourbon, behind the Assemblée nationale

36.  to take a walk at cementary Père Lachaise  passing in front of the tombs of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde

37.  to have descended on the sewers of Paris to breath its odors !

38.  to have done a jogging in the jardin des Tuileries at sunrise

39.  to take a tour around the place des Vosges in trying to find the appartments of Jack Lang, Maître Binoche, and   DSK

40.  to have gone to Aubervilliers in the home camp of Bartabas

41.  to subscribe for a ride iin rollers blades in Paris

42.  to go walking in the city while celebrating a white night or Nuit blanche

43. to have purchase a subscription to a Vélib’

44.  to have taken the electric stairs at the Beaubourg

45.  to admire the windows of Christmas or  Noël in the big department stores

46.  to look for the Café des Deux Moulins, rue Lepic, thinking of Amélie Poulain

47.  to get lost in the basements of the  Châtelet-les Halles

48.  to walk along rue Saint-Honoré without spending nothing

49.  to be confused with  Shirley McLaine in  Irma la Douce (Billy Wilder) while walking  rue Casanova (Ier )

50.  to have missed a change in the change at Michel-Ange-Molitor and do a tour for nothing on the line 10 of the metro of paris

51.  to have assisted at march of the 14 Juillet  in the  Champs-Élysées

52.  to have put a small sailboat to ride in the lake of jardin du Luxembourg or des Tuileries

53.  to go see the old crocodiles at porte Dorée

54.  to finish reading a romance novel in a green chair (hard to find) at the jardin du Luxembourg

55.  to have purchase a ticket for a night of Pedro Almodovar or Lynch at the Cinema CHampollion (Ve) or for an episode of Star Wars at the Grand Rex  (IIe)

56. to have yell at and insulted the taxis that goes by all full

57.  to go dance at a  Bal des pompiers, an evening of the 14 Juillet

58.  to have waited for the tour Eiffel to flips it lights from the Théatre de Chaillot, at the entrance.

59.  to have taken an aperitif on the canal Saint-Martin, between two rounds of the game pétanque

60.  to have dance for a song of a DJ at Batofar

61.  to have dance on the salons of Maxim’s the friday evening for the parties of Belle Époque

62.  to have walk an evening of winter on the racecourse of trotters in Vincennes

63. to be seen been refuse entrance to chez Castel

64.  to have come in on foot a morning, because of no bus nor metro

65.  to have waited for the sunrise from the steps of Sacré-Cœur

66.  to go to the Collége de France and assist of its courses for free

67.  to be one evening on the presentation at the gallery Kamel Mennour (VIe) to see an artist such as Claude Levêque,or  Daniel Buren)

68.  to have seen an opera at the Bastille

69.  to have gone to the Louvre, simply to smile at the mona lisa and delayed your stay at the salle des Rubens

 70.  to have seen Podalydès play at the Comédie Française

71.  to have look and see at the aisles of La Hune (new address) or of the Écume des Pages (VIe)

72.  to have admired the work of  Nuit étoilée by Van Gogh at the museum of Orsay

73.  to have entered the Shop/atelier of Delacroix at  place de Furstenberg

74.  to have try to enter the Chateau des Brouillards in the butte Montmartre

75.  to have seen the work  Porte de l’enfer inside the park of the museum of Rodin

76.  to have understood what is Austerlitz at the Invalides

77.  to have entered the metro by the mouth of Guimard ,porte Dauphine or that of Othoniel at  place du Palais-Royal

78.  to have walk between the girafes and elephants in the Galerie de l’Evolution, jardin des Plantes

79.  to have seen a musical play at the Théatre du Chatelet

80.  have seen play the Philarmonica of Vienna or Berlin on the TCE

81.  Be entered in the drawers of the Bank of France while a heritage days event or Journées du patrimoine

82.  to have taken your companion to the oldest theater of Guignol of Paris , rond-point des Champs-Élysées

83.  to found yourselves seduce by shopping on Sunday in the rue des Francs-Bourgeois (IVe)

84. to have purchase old 45/78 vinyls music records at Crocodisc (Ve)

85.  to have pushed the doors at the Herboristerie du Palais-Royal (Ier) and ask plenty of questions

 86. to have obtain from your sample mold of a shirt at  Charvet (Ier), high temple of made to order

87.  to come out of Colette (Iéme) with many things of no use whatsoever

88.  to have desire to buy a pet dog right away at the animal stands along quai de la Mégisserie (Ier)

89.  tohave assisted to an Orthodox mass in rue Daru (VIIIe)

90.  to enrich yourself but not much in a sales room at Drouot

91.  to have taken time to take care of yourself in a spa on a palace hotel such as Plaza Athénée or Meurice hotels

92.  tohave spend 90 cents for an egg mayo at Voltaire  (VIIe)

93.  tohave try to walk the sidewalks of the palais de l’Élysée and be reprimend by the police force

94.  to have fallen for a ride with a nice taxi driver

95.  to have taken a glass at the first floor of Café Germain and see past the young bust of Sophie, the  sculpture of Xavier Veilhan

96.  to have attended a march of the ballet in the Opéra de Paris, and be ready for its reverence

97.  to have been mistaken for a statue in the columns of Buren

98.  to have done the experience of the high rise hair on the head of the electrostatique room of the Palais de la Découvertr

99.  had try the guitars n the stores of the rue de Douai (IXe)

100.  to have spent the month of August in Paris

Yes its sublime Paris isn’t it….Paris forever. The saying simply the best was created for it. Cheers ! Parisiens.

March 19, 2019

Teatro Nacional D. Maria II at Lisbon!

And talking about theaters well been to a few, not from a pro angle but mostly because of their history and architecture which I like. Visiting Lisbon, Portugal is always a pleasure and many times there and many friends.

I ,of course, have written several posts on Portugal in my blog; but decided to do justice to this cultural monument in the old town. I like to tell you a bit more about the Dom Maria II National Theater or Teatro Nacional D. Maria II of Lisbon.

The National Theatre Dona Maria II or Teatro Nacional D. Maria II is located on the Rossio neighborhood at Praça D. Pedro IV in the historic heart of the old town of Lisbon. The theatre is one of the most prestigious venues in the country.

It is built on the northern façade of the Rossio square at the site of the former Estaus Palace , built around 1450 to house the foreign dignitaries and the nobles visiting Lisbon. In the 16C, the Estaus Palace became the seat of the Portuguese Inquisition. The palace was spared by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake but is completely destroyed by a fire in 1836.

Thanks to the stubborn efforts of the Romantic poet and writer Almeida Garrett, it is decided to replace the old palace with a modern theatre dedicated to Queen Mary II of Portugal. The construction began in 1842 on plans of the Italian neoclassical to finish in 1846.

The Theater of D Maria II  is one of the best representatives of the influence of neo-Palladianism in Lisbon. The main element of the façade is a portico of six Ionic columns supporting a triangular pediment. The tympanum is decorated with bas-reliefs representing Apollo and the Muses. The pediment is surmounted by a statue of the Renaissance playwright Gil Vicente, considered the father of the Portuguese theater. Some of Gil Vicente’s plays were censored by the Inquisition at the end of the 16C.


The interior is decorated by the best Portuguese artists of the 19C, but the bulk of the original decoration was lost in a fire that occurred in 1964. The theater D. Maria II had to be completely renovated and only re-opened its doors in 1978. The building that you see today was reconstructed preserving the original neoclassical style from the 1840s.

There are guided tours that lead you from the performance rooms to the unseen areas in the theater backstage, including dressing rooms, technical areas, prop and costume-making rooms. The guided tours take approximately one hour, and are available in Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. Enjoy it!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

Official webpage Theater of D. Maria II in Portuguese

Tourist office of Lisbon on the Theater D Maria II in English

Tourist office of Portugal on theater D Maria II in English

There you go a cultural stop on your glorious walking of Lisbon as we did; and plenty to see and taste around it too. Enjoy the theater of D Maria II and Lisbon!

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

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March 18, 2019

Capuchins theater of Luxembourg city!

So lets move back to the east of France in Europe shall we! And I take you back to one of my favorite countries in Europe, that is Luxembourg. Needless ,to say I have come here several times over the last 28 years and always lovely with great memories with the family.

In our walking endlessly routine in town we have come across many interesting buildings and many off the beaten path sites. This one is overshadow by its grander theater but we like it for the cosyness of and the old town feel all around it. In addition, we have parked here underground garage many times to start our walks of the city.

So ,therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the Theater of Capuchins. Briefly ok

The Theater of Capuchins or Thêatre des Capucins is located at 9, Place du Théâtre, (theater square), just around the corner where we have parked many times and therefore took a peek at this quant theater. The Capuchins theater is managed by the city of Luxembourg City. It puts on performances in German, French and Luxembourgish.

The theater of Capuchins has an Italian room of 270 seats. The Capucins theater is one of the witnesses of the eventful history of the city of Luxembourg. Successively was a Convent of Capuchin monks, grain store, theater, place without assignment, it was renovated in 1985.


Making a big part of the dramatic creation, it offers viewers the opportunity to discover artists from all over Europe. The Capuchins theater presents an eclectic programming, representative of what is sung, plays and dances on national and international plateaus, with a constant demand of quality, without exclusive, and always motivated by the desire to meet the expectations of a cosmopolitan audience.So claims their official city site.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Luxembourg city on the theater

Advance ticket site for the theater and future events

Tourist office of Luxembourg on the theater

It is lovely to attend even briefly as we did and especially walk around this lovely part of the old town of Luxembourg city. Enjoy it and do stop by the Thêatre des Capucins!

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


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March 18, 2019

Two countries road trip, Bratislava, Brno, and Otrokovice!

Ok so let me bring my memories into my blog blossoms into the old eastern Europe. I have venture there with my eyes opened to see the differences in the changes of the guards. The young  may not remember, I do. I can tell the changes.  The trip was an eye opener of the positive changes encounter all over my road trip.

Oh I took a road trip thru the countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, (old Czechoslovakia). It was a cruising trip fast pace by car so not much to see just glimpses of the cities of Bratislava, Brno, and town of Otrokovice.  I like to share for me and you, some of the things I would like to have seen if time there and the pictures I was able to take on the road!

Bratislava is the capital of independent Slovakia since 1993, located in the southwest of the country, just on the border with Austria, only 60 km from Vienna , with Hungary about 10 km and nearby also from the border with the Czech Republic.

The Carpathians begin on the territory of the city Malé Karpaty, or small Carpathians. It is crossed by the Danube river . It includes universities, many museums, theatres and other cultural institutions including a famous philharmonica. The city was traditionally influenced by several nationalities such as Austrians, Hungarians, Slovaks etc. Throughout its history, the city has also been known as Pressburg.

The nice thing I heard about the city is its many theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls and cinemas. The best known are the Slovak National Theater. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. Slovak National Museum. Slovak National Gallery. The Museum of Natural History, with two million exhibits, is one of the richest in Europe. The Mirbach Palace, built in 1768 and renovated in 1975, houses Baroque works from the 17-18C in a fascinating Rococo décor. The watchmaking Museum allows, meanwhile, to discover a superb collection of portable sundials, clocks and ornate gussets, made by the masters of the city in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Grassalkovitch Palace b. 1760 and residence today of the President of the Slovak Republic; another site is the Gothic St. Martin Cathedral built between the 13C and 16C, where nearly nineteen Kings and Queens were crowned between 1563 and 1830. The major monument of the 20C is the Pont Neuf or new bridge over the Danube river with its panoramic restaurant in the form of a flying saucer. Bratislava also has two castles. The first simply called Bratislava castle overlooks the city and the Danube river. The second is completely ruined, it is the castle of Devin above the Morava River which forms the border between Austria and Slovakia. It was destroyed by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 and today still constitutes a strong Slovak national symbol.

Tourist office of Bratislava



Brno is a city in the Czech Republic and the capital of the South Moravia region. Brno was the capital of the historic region of Moravia. It is located at the confluence of the Svitava and Svratka rivers, 112 km north of Vienna, 123 km NNW of Bratislava, and 185 km SE of Prague.

Brno was founded in 1243 and remains a fortified town until the 19C. It became the capital of Moravia Margraviate from 1641. It is the political and cultural centre of the Southern Moravia region.

Some things I would love to see here are the City/Town hall , built in the 13C, is the oldest civil building in the city. In particular, it holds a high tower, topped by a Renaissance roof. Some parts of the city are underground labyrinths accessible by guided tour with master cellar corner , and ossuary under the Church of St. James (second largest in Europe), modern sewers, tunnels..etc.

St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral; The Cathedral, built on the site of a former fortress, dominates Petrov Hill. It is a late Gothic building of the 13C, built on an older crypt, and reengineered in the Baroque style in 1743-1746 after the Swedes burned it during the siege of 1645. The façade and towers were completed at the beginning of the 20C.

The fortress of Spielberg was a State prison famous for its dungeons having enclosed protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento. It was also nicknamed “the prison of Nations”. During WWII, the Gestapo invested the fortress, which became a center of torture. This place of sinister memory now houses an exhibition on the history of the city and the Municipal Museum. In the Chartreuse of Parma of Stendhal, the young Fabrice twice expresses his fear of being sent there. The namesti svobody (central republic square) is emblematic of the city.

Tourist office of Brno


Otrokovice is a city in the district and the Zlín region of the Czech Republic. Otrokovice is located at the confluence of Morava and Dřevnice rivers , 10 km west of Zlín, 68 km east of Brno and 243 km SE of Prague

The first written mention of the locality dates from 1141. In 1930, the shoe manufacturer Tomáš Baťa created the Baťov industrial zone, in which the subsidiaries of the Baťa company and the aircraft manufacturer Zlín settled. Otrokovice was named Baťov between 1938 and 1946 and Otrokovice-Kvítkovice between 1960 and 1964.

The Canal of Bata is the historical waterway on the Morava river. It is also possible to navigate there now. The canal is passable from Spytihněv to Strážnice. The castle Nový Světlov was built in Gothic style . Buchlovice castle from the end of 17C and the beginning of the 18C0 Brumov castle is from the year 1255 The castle opens from the beginnig of May, You can visit the Jewish cementary. Bucovice castle, this casle has 3 floors and arcades on 3 sides of the courtyard. The visitors of the castle can be surprised with the mannerism ornamentation of the room for Emperor and with the Bird Hall. The area is literally filled with many other castles I just mentioned the ones I would had love to visit.

City of Otrokovice on things to see


otrokovice passing town hall oct16

There you go ,another road warrior tour of yours truly ;of course I got first there by plane to Prague ::) and then the glorious car rides!! I would love to go back one day for an in depth look, done so at Prague (see previous posts on Prague in my blog). A bit of patient and will do it.


Hope you have enjoy it and take the chance tell me about it ok. Enjoy the ride

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

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March 18, 2019

Capitol, Havana, a symbol of a Nation

Let me bring along a emblematic building that represent a linkage of the past and present, a symbol of what and where you are in Cuba and especially Havana.  In my early youth ,I spent many afternoon going by and on school tours to see the meaning that it was to the Cubans. Inside is a plethora of historical facts to better understand the country.

I am talking about the Capitol building in old Havana. El Capitolio as it is known in Spanish, built in 1929  to house the two chambers of the Cuban congress. Its was inspired by the Roman capitol and that which is in Washington DC USA. The building has a front neo classic style with a dome of 92 meters tall ( 303 ft).  It is located between the streets or  calle Pardo, Dragones, Industria, and San Jose. Inside it marks the kilomerter zero of all distances in Cuba with a diamond on the floor. After the Cuban castro revolution it house the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the Academy of Sciences of Cuba.


It is in the space where the old city of Havana walls were crossing built in colonial period by the Spanish.  The walls here were destroyed in 1863. There was a statue to queen Isabel II, and it was the start of the now Parque Central de La Habana or Central Park.  Part of the public work efforts by then President Gerardo Machado (later dictator too), the team of architects Cuban and French participated in its design and decorations, with an American company for its construction. However, it was the French ,who put together the urban plan of the Capitol and surrounding areas as in Paris.


The details of the work made the building  207 meters long in its facade  which included a large monumental stair of about  36 meters wide ( 119 ft) , 28 meters long (92 ft) , and 55 steps with three rest squares . At the two sides of the end of the stair you have two sculptures made in bronze by an Italian  artist, call ” La Virtud Tutelar del Pueblo ” (the virtue of the people) , and ” El Trabajo” (the work) ,both of 6,50 meters high (21 ft).

To continue the description of this wonderful building, we come to the main central door with a lenght of 36 meters (119 ft)  and 16 meters high (53 ft)  all held by 12 ionic columns of granite.  It is here that the main doors of access to the building are place with 7,70 meters high (25 ft) and 2,35  meters wide (8 ft) as well as the sculpture in relief of marbre ,also done by Italian artists.  The dome with a high of 92 meters (304 ft)  was at the moment the fifth highest in the world with a diameter of 32 meters (106 ft).  It has 16 panels of which the most impressive are those covered with gold leaves of 22 karats .  The dome has a lantern with 10 ionic columns of which interior were 5 light reflectors until 1959 when taken down by the revolutionary government.  In this space you see the symbolism architectural of the sculpture of the ” La República” or the lady marianne under the dome done in bronze of  15 meters high  (50 ft) and 30 tons in weight that at the moment was the second biggest in the world under a roof.



You come to the great room call the “Salón de los Pasos Perdidos” ( the hall of the lost steps, the most monumental of the spaces with almost  50 meters long (165 ft) and 14,5 meters wide( 48 ft)  and almost 20 meters high (66 ft)  that serve the interconnection to the two bodies of government the  Cámara de Representantes (House of Representatives) and the  Senado (Senate). These two blocks are organised in a rectangular fashion around two gardens with dimentions of  45 by 15 meters each (149 x 50 ft). 58 types of marbre, wood of the most exquisite in the country, decoration and ambiance done by an  English firm.   The wrough iron in bronze by  an American company,  the lamps by the French, and Italians, Germans  for the work in marbre, onyx, etc .  The diamond that mark the distances in Cuba is of brilliance of 25 karats the last owner was the tzar of Russia Nicolas II, and arrive in Cuba by Turkish jewerler that purchase it in Paris. Now you see a replica, the original is the the vaults of the Bank of Cuba.  Looking at the volume of its construction it is estimated that the Capitolio of La Habana is the third in importance for its monolithic construction in the world ,and the only one with its characteristics built in the 20C.



It is inmense ,the pride of Havana, and one of the most visited buildings in the city as of today. It was always like that, a must to see while in Havana. Just now looking at the pictures I am in awe of  its beauty and I have seem some beauties now living in France. Hope you enjoy it.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

trip to Cuba private site good info and Capitolio

La Habana private site good info on city and Capitol

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

March 17, 2019

A tribute to friendships and good cheers!

And I need to re write this old post as it brings very nice souvenirs overall. I have been lucky to have visited 81 countries of our wonderful world (dont read the fake news) , and lived in 6 (Cuba, Spain, USA, France, Brazil, Nigeria, and Swizerland) and able to fluent speak 4 languages (English, French, Spanish,and Portuguese). I have dealt with the internet and travel forums and enjoyed finally even meeting some of the folks there and even had them visited my home and even stayed in my home! over the years. I am now alone as my dear late wife Martine, who accompany me on many of these trips and welcome these folks to our home is no longer due to the dreadful pancreatic cancer; this one is for her too.

I like to bring this post up again the best way I can, reblogging do not know how that works lol! Sorry not techie but humanoid lol! Here is part of my story.

Over the years I had the opportunity to meet wonderful folks from around the World that have come over to meet me in France or Spain or USA or me meeting them in their country. I like to pay tribute to their enduring friendship in this up dated post.

I have had the opportunity to be involved in several travel forums over the years that have been fulfilling to say the least. Encounter folks from many lands who right away established a good friendly rapport with, and it continues for some.

Some of the sites were Madridman, Cityvox(now yelp), Slow Travel, Tripadvisor, Virtual Tourist (now gone), Fodor’s, and Bottin Gourmand (as taster in France). I am no longer with any for reason of time and personal expressions that led me to start this blog, and away from forums. It is my intention to help readers enjoy the beauty of my surroundings and travels, and to help them enjoy their visits to these wonderful places more and better.

I have met them in New Jersey USA, Florida USA, Madrid, Spain, Paris, France, Versailles,France, Suresnes, France, St Germain en Laye, France , South Africa, etc. Some have come and some I have gone over, the general feeling is the same. Our love for travel and the human spirit remains strong attachment to our continuing relationship.

It is with great joy that I decide to interject my blog travel writing with this one, a special post in Paris1972-Versailles2003 blog. A bit of an explanation on the name: Paris 1972 was the first time I saw Paris visiting it from my home in Madrid! Versailles 2003 was my coming to live permanently as a French citizen in France from Florida USA! Two important dates in my life.

Those met in Madrid




Those met in Paris





Those met in Suresnes, Hauts de Seine dept 92


Those met at Versailles!



Those met in Carnac, Pluvigner , Morbihan(56)



Those met in Johannesburg, South Africa.

South Africa

Thank you very much, and may the relationships and friendships  grow stronger with time. And welcome all new readers and followers to my blog.  La vie est belle en France, life is beautiful in France.

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



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