Archive for March, 2019

March 31, 2019

Île de Ré and Saint Martin de Ré!

So lets bring you back out to the coast and even beyond to an island off the mainland of France. Lovely place it reminds me of my favorite islands in a time far away now, but always nice to come back to the roots. island boy,beach bum you name it the thrills are huge! I have written on it in a general sense before in my blog.

However, as usual running with so much to see feel that I need to detail the most important monuments to see according to me lol! This is lovely ïle de Ré or Re island and the main capital city is Saint Martin de Ré. 

Brief introduction to the ïle de Ré:

The Île de Ré is the fourth largest island of metropolitan France, behind Corsica, the island of Oléron and Belle-Ile island (Morbihan 56!) It is located in the dept 17 of the Charente-Maritime in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. The historic center of the island is Saint-Martin-de-Ré, which forms with the neighboring town of La Flotte the urban unit of the Flotte. The island of Ré is separated from the mainland by the Pertuis Breton and is located north of the islands of Aix, Oléron, Madame and Nôle, and the forts Boyard, d’Enet and Louvois located in the Pertuis of Antioch to the South. Since 1988, it is connected to the mainland by the Pont de Île de Ré or island of Re bridge. Touristic wise, the island is nicknamed “Ré la Blanche” or Re the White one because of the characteristic hue of its traditional houses.

We move on to the inner city of Saint Martin de Ré ,visiting the Church of Saint Martin, with gothic ruins from Normans invasions  in the middle of the high city to be seen from the harbor. Today the oldest part dates from the 15C  on the walls on both sides of the high towers in ruins.  The belltower has a square tower and has three bells.

saint martin de re

saint martin de re

The parish Church of Saint-Martin in Saint-Martin-de-Ré still stands in Gothic ruins in the heart of the city. Raved repeatedly by the conflicts, it was eventually rebuilt more modestly in the 17-18C, reusing what remained of the Gothic edifice.

The origins of the city and the Church of Saint Martin are poorly known, although the fact that the two were destroyed by the Normans is quite probable. It is known however with certainty that in the 11C, the parish was given in the Puy-en-Velay chapter by the Count of Poitou. The canons will retain the parish until the 16C. However, there remains no vestige of the 11C Romanesque church. However this church was to be ruined less than a century later. The island of Ré, predominantly Protestant, was put to sack by the latter in 1586 during their disputes over the territory against the Catholics. The Church collapses in large part: only the base of the walls of the nave and the lateral chapels and the high walls of the transept, preserved because of their military importance, have been fortified.

saint martin de re

In the 17C the cult was able to resume in the devastated the Church  of Saint Martin after the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants. In 1629, the reconstruction work that was said to begin lasted for several years. But the Church was again ravaged in 1696 during the bombardment of the stronghold of Saint-Martin-de-Ré by a fleet consisting of English and Dutch ships. On the first day of the year 1774 the Bell Tower collapses, dragging with it a part of the vaults. It was then decided to rebuild the building by reversing the orientation of the choir: steeple to the East, chorus now to the West. At the French revolution, the cult is momentarily closed. The Bell Tower now serves as a panoramic terrace on the city and its surroundings.

saint martin de re

The oldest parts date from the 15C, these are the walls of the two cross-crosses of the transept, still in elevation, with a path of round and endowed with their portals to the mutilated statuary. There are also the chapels of the present Choir ,and those of the South side of the medieval church. One can also see a window of flamboyant style and today obstructed gutted on the North wall. The steeple formed by a square Tower is now visitable and contains three imposing bells: Marie Thérèse (the largest ring ); Charles Catherine , and Marie Pierre Michel Samuel Augustine , the smallest one.

saint martin de re

Chapel in memory of priests killed by the French revolution

The parish of Ile de Re on the Church in French

Tourist office of the Ile de Re on the Church

The Citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a military work built from 1690 to protect the island of Ré. It is one of the main historical monuments of the city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré. In 1873 it was transformed into a depot for the regrouping of prisoners destined to be sent to the Bagnes and was for 65 years (from 1873 to 1938), the only point of grouping of convicts to forced labour, before their departure, by boat (the Loire, or La Martinière), towards the prison of French Guyana or the prison of New Caledonia.

saint martin de re

A first Citadel was built in 1625 which was destroyed in 1628. It was rebuilt by Vauban and François Ferry from 1681 until the end of the 17C, following the siege of La Rochelle. It protects La Rochelle and Rochefort from the English invasions. In the 18C, access bridges were rebuilt. In the 20C, buildings were built for prisoners.

saint martin de re

The Citadel served many years as a gathering place for the convicts who were leaving for the Bagnes of New Caledonia and Guyana. It was then transformed into a penitentiary, a Central House still active. The visit of the ramparts west side of the city and on the entire waterfront is possible with the porte de La Flotte, currently Porte Thoiras . And the Porte de la Couarde, currently the Porte de  Campani.

saint martin de re

With 485 places, the penitentiary of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is the most important Central House in France, and the prison administration, the main employer of the island . In 1958, the Thoiras barracks of the Penitentiary Center was reserved for Algerian prisoners. It is a case, undoubtedly unique in France and Europe, of a prison located in the heart of a renowned tourist area, in the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, and of which a part of the infrastructures is classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO!

saint martin de re

Tourist office of Ile de Re on the citadel

Official site of Vauban fortifications on the Citadel of Saint Martin de Re

There you go something to get you over the island, car is king and the ride over the bridge is awesome. Once in the towns walking is best. Again for public transports see the tourist office here: Tourist office on public transports in the Ile de Re

Hope you have enjoy the post and thank you again for stopping by. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

Tags: ,
March 30, 2019

Vannes ,again, its a must to see!

So this is beginning to look a lot like Spring or even summer temps today at 18C or about 64F and sunny, very nice. It must have a walk a short trip somewhere from our town, so what would it be? well there are so many difficult to pick one, even thus we have some in my grinder for later longer trip, the decision was to go to our capital city of Vannes, in the Morbihan breton of our beautiful Brittany.

There was the usual errand as well as my boys wanted some japanese BD/mangas thing at Japanim the specialist store in old town Vannes. And of course ,on the way back the groceries at our usual E Leclerc but there were other goodies as well. As you can tell we are busy lol!

Back to Friday night I had a lunch with collegues at a restaurant never been even thus been to the one next door! The experience was very nice and should go back with the family. However, waiting for my collegues to arrive i had my first apéro or before meal drink or after work or happy hours whatever at a friendly bar near the city town hall of Vannes. This turn out to be rather nice as there were visiting Americans on job assignments here so you guess it the conversation turn into current events and sports for a while. The place is nice for this sort of thing a drink snacks and then continue the night; oh yes the place is Café Arthur at Place Maurice Marchais facing the city hall. It is only open since November 2018 but the new owner was very pleasant and I did had my German beer Warsteiner ,not bad.

vannes

From there I join my collègues at the Le Sous-Sol restaurant on the other side of the square next to the city hall. The restaurant is very innovative in food and name layout as le sous-sol means basement and it is there. We opted for the main table at street level. There were very nouvelle cuisine dishes with codfish, shrimps, and desserts I never had and probably won’t opt for them in the future but for the curious culinary mind it should work. The service was very friendly and even the waiter spoked English! More about it here:Restaurant Le Sous-Sol Vannes

Morbihan tourist office in French: Tourist office of Morbihann dept 56 on Le Sous-Sol

vannes

vannes

Now forward to today Saturday. The area is very nice and I usually parked by the Place de la Liberation where there is the bus terminal amongt the ones stopping there is our town bus line 5 coming and going to Vannes that my boys take often for their things.. My new Ford car is there, ready for 2019, as well as my boys behind.

vannes

We walk in the area and cannot passed by our wonderful capital city or town hall building with the impressive horse statue of duke of Brittany John IV (Jean) and the wonderful college Jules Simon (middle school) and its wonderful Chapel St Yves. Under renovation in 2021.

We then continue today down to the Le Port or harbor marina with its wonderful canal of sailing boats that goes all the way out into the Gulf of Morbihan and its 12 islands! and then out into the Atlantic ocean!

vannes

We went a bit into the market that still was going on usually until about 13h30 or 1:30 pm. and goes all the way around from place Lucien Laroche to place du poid public to place des lices along the old ramparts of Vannes! and see backside its magnificent Constable tower or Tour du Connetable.  And of course we ate, who wouldn’t in this magical place by the harbor marina Le Port is very nice and many places we had eaten here over the last 8 years. We came back to one not been in a while, the L’Atlantique plenty of good sea and land combination and mad crowd to get in, we were lucky without reservation because arrive at exactly 12h midday ;many others were turn away without reservations!

vannes

vannes

Here we had as entrée oysters of course!! a half dozen , and then the main dish was for me the hashis parmontier au canard or sort of a potato purée over a bed of duck meat, and for dessert the dome aux chocolat with crunchy bottom, ice cream and a cupola or dome of dark chocolate! all wash down with a nice red 2016 from our neighbors in the Loire, Domaine Octavie Les Vieux Moines all pinot noir! nice.

Finally, it was a big day in town for a very special person at the Cathedral of St Peter but that is another post. For now enjoy Vannes always exciting to see in my Morbihan breton.

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

March 29, 2019

Fontainebleau,King of Rome!

Once again for my memories , the first castle ever visited in France because it was near my dear late wife Martine native town. We have been here several times and are friends of the castle members. Well, a while back  ,I went back to Fontainebleau, to see the exposition of the Le Roi de Rome was going on.

Le Roi de Rome, un enfant, un prince it is call in French. It is about the son of Napoleon I, who was so in love with all things Roman, that he created and bestowed the title of king of Rome on his only male son.  The son was born on March 20, 1811 at the Palais des Tuileries in Paris (was set on fire by communards in 1871 and raze by the city of Paris in 1884, no longer there, but a group is trying to rebuilt it on private funds).

fontainebleau

He never set foot in Fontainebleau as his father and later uncle (Napoleon III) did, because of the turmoils of the time.  When Josephine could not provide Napoleon I a child because of old age he decided to divorce her ,and marry the sister of the tsar Alexandre I, marrying Marie-Louise of Austria at age 18 yrs old who was sacrificed  by her father the emperor François II. He married her by procuration in Vienna, brought her over to Compiegne on March 27 1810, and spent the night with her there before the religious ceremony that took place later at the Salon Carré in the Louvre, Paris.

fontainebleau

The title of king of Rome or roi du Rome was to tell the Pope Pie VII that the new king was above him, as Rome was one of the States of the French empire.  At the same time taken away the power of the emperor of the Germanic Holy Roman empire  by given the new born the title of king of the Romans.

The baptisme was done on June 9 1811 at Notre Dame  Cathedral of Paris. The June 16 1811 a bal is organised in the Palais des Tuileries and again another one at the chateau de Saint Cloud (today also lost in history, but still a nice garden) . Important work was done in the Palais des Tuileries to host the child, the Pavillon de Marsan was rename the appartement des Enfants de France. He,also, lived at chateau de Meudon in april of 1812, Compiégne in the summer of 1811, Rambouillet in 1812, where a mansion was built call the palais du roi de Rome still in existance. A castle was to be built in the Chaillot area of Paris right by the pont d’Iena but the wars and funds were never enough to do so.

Without his father, and after the revolt first in 1814 and then in 1815, the child Napoleon François Joseph Charles, Prince of Parma, and King of Rome refuses to leave the Palais des Tuileries. Napoleon I release his title in favor of his son as Napoleon II, but the enemy refuse the deal. The child is made to run, first Rambouillet, then Blois, and Orléans, finally he leaves France on May 2 1814 by Belfort at age 3, he never will return.  At Vienna with his grandfather he was given the title of Duke of Reichstadt, his link with France or French visitors is prohibited. However tuberculosis takes him in 1832 at age 21.

The photos in this exposition were prohibited even without flash, the material presented is so precious but very much worth your trip if ever again it is shown. Instead I will bring new photos of the Chateau de Fontainebleau.

fontainebleau

There some info on the Napoleon museum here: Official Chateau de Fontainebleau on the Napoleon Museum

Enjoy it for its history,its architecture,and its wonderful gardens. Fontainebleau is France, Europe and the World to be understood.

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

 

 

Tags: , ,
March 28, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXVI

And here I am back at you on my beloved Spain, oh yes and times are getting warmer !!! It sunny and 15C in my neck of the woods or about 58F but in Madrid it is also sunny and 65F or about 18C. Enjoy the latest and see you maybe this summer there!!!

The biography, the Nature, the topicality of the tradition, the biography as impulse of the writing, the music like shelter and as space of coexistence in the classrooms, in the parks, in the street. In life. That’s the date. That’s what MarPoética will deploy in Marbella. Because poetry is of all.  Every day in the afternoon y 18h30, the famous Park of the Constitution (Parque de la Constitución) will unfold the Cycle ‘ Words of the Sea ‘, in which they ask the voice and the word the youngest, recognized and award-winning poets. Another of the great scenarios of the meeting will be the Royal Hospital of Mercy (Hospital Real de la Misericordia) where from the 20h30 will develop the ambitious ‘ Poetic Dialogues ‘, which call the debate to authors of first line. More here:

https://marpoetica.es/programacion

The culture of cheese, so deeply rooted in the Spanish tradition, needed specialized establishments to nurture and nurture it. Fortunately, we have some temples with experience and expertise.One of the best in Madrid at Poncelet , Calle Argensola 27 More here:  www.poncelet.es

A free marathon with the best works of Garcia Lorca. On Wednesday March 27th is celebrated the World Theatre Day, a day that since 1961 remembers the importance that this art has to create a free and committed citizenship. The Royal Post Office (Real Casa de Correos),home of the Community of Madrid, hosts this Saturday a marathon of Lorquianas works to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the Andalusian poet to the Residence of Students. The Act will commence at 18h.

It has Been more than two decades since, in 1994, a score of sculptures by Fernando Botero took the Paseo de Recoletos of Madrid, and enjoyed such a welcome among the pedestrians during their stay that one of them was finally gifted to the city, achievement that they did not get New York or Paris, where it had traveled before this same exhibition. His Woman with a Mirror rests, since then, placidly and face down beside the Paseo de Recoletos, turning her back to the Calle Génova. Now, a large selection of canvases by the versatile Colombian artist, who in the decade of the 70’s came to consolidate as the most quoted living sculptor on the planet, he rushes his last days in Marlborough. Considered one of the great exponents of contemporary figurative painting, his balances of composition also speak of his understanding of the mechanisms of abstraction. The same is true of its color management, another of the features of its canvases, in which humor and critique always walk by hand. Gallery Marlborough (Calle Orfila, 5).Until Saturday, March 30th.

Some curiosities of my beloved Madrid:

If today’s Retiro park seems like a fascinating place, at the time it was a much more impressive place. The Royal Site of the Gran Retiro (Great Retreat) came to count, centuries ago, with 20 buildings, five squares, six ponds and eight hermitages.

Anyone who has gone through the Puerta del Sol knows that everyone, of any creed or condition, has a hole in it. Something that is also true in a physical way, because it has an area of about 11,000 square meters.

In the Plaza de Colon area are the Gardens of Discovery, a space full of symbology. For example, the three large blocks that we can observe next to the pond represent the three caravels of the famous Columbus expedition of 1492.

We go now with a disturbing fact, and that in Madrid there are more dead people  than alive. Only in the Almudena cemetery can we find the remains of some five million people!.

The disputes in the 17C in Madrid could be caused by the slightest reason. For example, not giving up the seat in the Church or passing in front of another by a door could be reason enough to end paddling in mourning (duels).

Located in the Alameda de Osuna, the park of Capricho is almost with total security the most beautiful in Madrid. One of the great surprises that it has prepared to the visitors is a bunker of the Civil War of 1500 square meters that can be visited by means of previous reservation, the so-called Jaca Position.

Did you know that Madrid has a castle? This is a fact that very few people know and with whom we encourage the reader to investigate a little more, visit included. We refer to the Castle of the Alameda, erected in the 15C, and located in the district of Barajas.

Robustness and agility, have strong and clear voice and not have been processed by racketeer or disturbing. These were some of the requirements required to be able to be a Sereno in Madrid in the mid-20C. Sereno, the men who guarde the streets of Madrid and many times thought to be a watchdog of the government system. However, very handy of opening the door of buildings late at night if forgotten the key or came too drunk!

If you walk through any neighborhood of the city you will not advance too many meters until you run into a gym. And it is that these places have experienced a real boom in the last decade. The first Gymnasium in Spain opened in Chueca in 1859.

The growth of Madrid led to the development of neighborhoods on land that used to be a very different function. For example, where today is Moratalaz, there was a meadow in which King Alfonso XIII liked to play polo. Ok

What would be Lent and Easter without French toast (Torrijas)? This sweet, of European origin but of long tradition in Spain, consists of a slice of bread of several days that, once soaked in syrup, milk or wine, is battered in egg and fried in a frying pan with oil. It is usually sweetened with molasses, sugar or honey and sometimes it is aromatized with cinnamon… It looks pretty much like French toast, but it’s not the same. The III Contest of French Toasts of the Community of Madrid,( III Concurso de Torrijas de la Comunidad de Madrid) which, on this occasion, has been organized by three associations (Craftsmen Artisans of Pastry-Confectioners of Madrid, Association of Cooks and confectioners of Madrid and Hotel Business Association of Madrid) and it has developed in three different categories: traditional, innovative and gluten-free elaborated by bakers as well as by cooks and food confectioners.

The Latasia Restaurant has not had a rival. Among the innovative proposals, the restaurant Koma, made with iced horchata or the Barra Dulce (sweet bar) with tea chai and chocolate. Café de la Opera (in the lower floor of the Hotel Opera, opposite the Teatro Real) to taste its classic French toast. In addition, the reinterpretations that can be tasted in Catalonia Atocha (a pair of brioches inspired by breakfast and in the afternoon snack that children usually take) and the one presented by the restaurant El Etxeko of the Hotel Bless (French-toasted ingot, caramelized and perfect flavor and texture, with almond cream and pistachio ice cream)

The best for me its still the Viena Repostería Capellanes (Vienna Pastry Shops Chaplains) at Calle Alcalá, 127 ,and other locations in Madrid, Also, the Patiseria La Oriental calle Ferraz, 47. From April 5 to 21 , you can taste the best French toasts in the pastries, restaurants and hotel that have participated in this contest. More on the contest here: http://www.asempas.com/asempas/iii-concurso-de-la-comunidad-de-madrid-las-mejores-torrijas-de-madrid-2019/

If you fancy the famous American dish (burgers) and don’t want to resort to the battle burgers, investing just a little more skyline diner is an option to contemplate. Always among the listings of the best burger, in their flirty and central local feel like staying and their burgers bet on quality ingredients. It can be created to taste, for those who start by removing the greener part or fleeing the sauces. Its Strenght is the artisan bread and the three types of meat to choose (D.O. Avila Veal, Black Angus and Pollo Campero (farm chicken). At Calle de Jesús, 14. Tel. +34  913 89 67 00. average Price 15-18 euros. More here: https://www.skylinediner.es/

During the 1930s and 40’s of the 20C, the border towns of Alcoutim (Portugal) and Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Huelva), separated by the river, were dark and abrupt places, where smuggling was rampant. The porters defied the law to pass merchandise from one side of the Guadiana to the other in wartime, both day and night. This cross-border activity marked the daily lives of the inhabitants of both populations and, at the same time, established a cultural and emotional link between their people. In memory of those times, and twinned by a tradition and a common feeling, Alcoutim and Sanlúcar jointly celebrate the third edition of the Festival of smuggling, (Festival del Contrabando,) an event in which, for three days from Friday 29 to Sunday 31 March, its inhabitants revive the past through a program full of activities, with ingredients as important as art, culture, gastronomy and natural heritage shared by both villas. The official start of the festival will be on Friday 29th by 15h30 with the opening of the Market of Trades and Fair, a traditional rural market that has become one of the attractions of the event. The most anticipated moment of the festival is the inauguration of the Floating Bridge on Friday 29th, at 16h, an ephemeral platform that connects both municipalities (the rest of the year, to access from one side to another must be done by boat), which has become a tourist attraction. Thousands of people will cross the bridge in the water, between the pier of Alcoutim and the one of Sanlúcar, the three days that is installed, which facilitate to the public the access to the different events of the festival on the shores. Places like the Castillo de San Marcos, in Sanlúcar de Guadiana, or the Castle of the Villa and the Hermitage of Our Lady of the Conception, in Alcoutim, accommodate some of the festive activities, but it is worthwhile to visit them with tranquility. The complete program is here in Portuguese: http://www.cm-alcoutim.pt/pt/destaques/4298/festival-do-contrabando-une-dois-paises-em-torno-de-uma-identidade.aspx

The Old Convent of Santa Fe receives 250 works of modern and contemporary authors little represented in Spain. One of the works of modern and contemporary art of the Roberto Polo collection that from this Wednesday 27th March, can be seen in the old convent of Santa Fe. The meeting, which has been possible after four years of work between the Government of Castilla-La Mancha, the Cuban-American collector Roberto Polo  and the journalist and art expert Rafael Sierra, assumes that for 15 years a renewable period by the one who signed the free transfer of 475 works of 171 artists will remain in the region. The agreement, signed last July, includes the opening of another headquarters in the old Court of the Inquisition of Cuenca, a 16C building that will house the rest of the cession and whose rehabilitation is not completed until 2023. From the beginnings of the abstraction with Kandinsky, the constructivism with The Lissitzky, the new realismes and the surrealism with Max Ernst. It is a bridge that allows us to recover the relationship between Spain and Flanders, which was lost in the 17C.

The Old Convent of Santa Fe ,closed since 1973, whose construction began in the 9C as the palace of Rahman III, then passed to the order of Calatrava and, in the 16C, Isabel the Catholic gave it to the Mother Superior of Santiago. After 15 years of restoration, the space has recovered the palatial Andalusian part and the caliphal Qubba, of which the poly lobular arches of the vault are still preserved, since that small chapel of Bethlehem, currently with mural paintings of the 16C has always been a place of prayer. Corpo also has a temporary exhibition hall, which shares with the Santa Cruz Museum and presents, for the first time in Spain, a large exhibition (60 canvases and 135 drawings) by Belgian artist Werner Mannaers. The visit to both spaces will be free until March 31st.

The bullfighter José Tomás Toreará this year at the Granada Corpus Fair on Saturday 22nd June. This will be the first paseíllo of the Spanish season of José Tomás, who wore lights in national arenas for the last time last year 29 June 2018 in Algeciras. More on Corpus Christi in  Granada here:  http://www.lovegranada.com/feasts/corpus-christi/

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

Tags: , ,
March 28, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVI

And here I am talking again about my belle France and some of the interesting things I like about it. The sun is out, 18C even and nice almost beach weather in my neck of the Breton woods.

As mentioned before in my blog ; the building between the 52 and 60 Avenue Champs-Elysées is like a book that combines the history of Paris and that of commerce. The Galeries Lafayette will open to the public on this coming Thursday, at noon, a new concept, hybrid of the department store and the concept store. Thirty years previously, Virgin Megastore invented both the concept of flagship of a sign and the theatricalisation of the sale-mini-concerts in support-in the majestic architecture from the 1930’s of the former offices of the first National City Bank of New York.

The Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées add to the art deco heritage; combining in 6,500 square meters, at the entrance an immersive tunnel worthy of the corridor of a spaceship of Kubrick, boxes of glasses hung on the second floor under the dome that was cleared of the false ceiling and a monumental staircase that connects the first and second floors. The furniture mixes kinds of ruffled carpets for shoes with rounded linear in gold or silver metal. The atmosphere is airy and sophisticated. The 650 selected labels-from mid-range to luxury share the same aisles and the same connected hangers with a digital display showing the available sizes. The visual identity incorporates the very typographical logo. All staff are employed by Galeries Lafayette. No demonstrators.  The man and the woman mix in the aisles. The dressing rooms like the toilets are unisex. The fluidity of the era of time… The basement offers 30 to 50 dining seats for 10 sweet or savoury brands such as  Chocolaterie Ducasse, Marcolini, Kaspia, A la mère de Famille, Maisie Café, comptoir Vérot.etc.More soon here:  http://www.galerieslafayette.com/i/nos-magasins/

Taillevent, belongs to the history of our gastronomy, and even a little more. All influential figures have marched since the post-war period. In the mansion of the Duke of Morny, former owner Jean-Claude Vrinat knew how to place capitalism gurus, Ministers, media bosses and showbiz stars. He had reached Nirvana, three Michelin stars, in 1973, kept until 2007. Chef David Bizet replaces Alain Solivérès, chef for almost 17 years of the restaurant Le Taillevent. 70 years after getting the first star, it’s a page that turns for this big house that welcomes its sixth chef at rue Lamennais, always looking to get back its 3 stars.More here:  https://letaillevent.com/en/

l’English-language Library in Angers.  Talking about Brexit that huge decision that will linger in time as a bad play, time will tell. The largest English-language library in Western France lists 1 876 members of 74 different nationalities. Liz, has been living in Angers since 1995, but she is still not French. This week, she had even planned to go to Ireland to apply for nationality, and thus double her chances of staying European. Ken, for the regulars has been living in Angers for over forty years. He met Marie-Madeleine. They loved each other and then married. He remained, became an English teacher at the European high school Sainte-Agnès. Ken is 65 years old today. He listens to the BBC morning and evening, comes to recharge in the English library. Despair. “How can women and politicians justify this position when they see the economic catastrophe that is on the horizon? At Swindon, they still believe that Honda’s departure has nothing to do with Brexit. There are 3 500 jobs which, in 2022, will disappear with the closure of the factory of the Japanese manufacturer. More here: https://www.lemonde.fr/m-le-mag/article/2019/03/26/a-l-approche-du-brexit-la-grande-angoisse-des-anglais-d-anjou_5441271_4500055.html

It’s spring, the beautiful days come back and many Parisians and regional folks are riding their bikes again.  And they need to know the laws too! Cyclists discover on this occasion certain special rules of the Highway Code. The wearing of headphones is one of the most expensive tickets to which cyclists are potentially subjected. This offence is punishable by a fine of 90 euros in case of payment within 15 days, increased to 135 euros beyond and up to 375 euros in case of payment after 45 days. And it’s not the only one. Riding by bike, Scooter or trottinette on a sidewalk is forbidden, except for children up to 8 years of age. Ride in a forbidden direction and go to the red light… unless explicitly authorized. Cyclists are obliged to respect the traffic lights. Except when triangular signs allow them to go straight or right. Please note that bicycles are not required to use a bicycle path unless this requirement is indicated by a blue-bottomed circular panel (they should be). yet doubling the cars by the right when cycling is an offense. Circulate under the influence of alcohol. Drink or drive, you have to choose, even on a bicycle. But unlike a legend, a cyclist cannot get points on his license. While in Germany, the limit of alcohol allowed by bicycle is twice as high as driving (should be the same, but this is Europe!). The city of Paris has intensified the video-verbalization to enforce them. More than 23 200 fines (PV) have been compiled since January 2018. The law by the Association Déplacer à Bicyclette : https://mdb-idf.org/code-de-la-route-a-velo-droits-et-devoirs/

The Domaine de La Grange-la Prévôté, in Savigny-Le-Temple, has been labelled “heritage of regional interest”, this past Tuesday, by the Permanent Commission of the Regional Council of île-de-France chaired by Valérie Pécresse. It joins the other twelve sites of Seine-et-Marne (dept 77) having already received the precious label of the region.  In Savigny-Le-Temple, the Domaine de La Grange-la-Prévôté derives its name from the existence of a Provost in the 14C but the Castle and its Commons date for the most part of the second empire.

In Bassevelle, the staking aircraft Lighthouse “Petit Bassevelle”, rue de l’église (at road D 55), was a luminous landmark with neon lights used to guide air navigation. It was installed in the place called Les jerseys in the early 20C and is part of a set of three aeronautical headlights close to each other located in Jouarre and at the Marchais-en-Brie (Aisne, dept 02).

At Combs-la-Ville , the Church of Saint Vincent, place du Père-André-Jarlan, is in the image of Sénart: a new building on ancient foundations. The Church mixes vestiges dating back several centuries, like the Bell Tower with a choir, a bedside and a nave demolished and rebuilt from 1900 to 1902.

At Coupvray , labeled “village of character”, several elements of the small heritage are honored: the fountain, the Royal Terminal and the wash-houses (lavoirs). One of the washing-houses, said of the Médisances, at the top of the village, was built during the French revolutionary period at the site of an old fountain, is fed by the sream of the Fréminette and enjoys a nice roof open to the center which allows to recover the rainwater.

At Crégy-lès-Meaux, the Maison des Carmes  , received the label as well. The former convent of the order of the Barefoot Carmelites, built from 1622 in a corniche overlooking Meaux in the North, was dispersed in the French revolution. The house belongs to a private owner. The lawn promenade of 180 meters long between its two towers restored by the municipality is a town area covered by the GR1(walkers way) and offering a breathtaking view of Meaux. The convent welcomed monks from the order of the Carmelites who walked barefoot, hence their name of barefoot Carmelites. They lived un-cloistered and actively participated in life outside their convent, preaching in parishes, forming students, etc.

At Guercheville, the Dovecote next to the City/Town Hall, rue Grande. It is easily recognizable by its shape and it’s bicolor, beige and brick façade. It is one of the remains of the Castle, bought by the town in 1984 with the farm and its portal. If the farm was demolished to build the City/Town Hall, the gate was preserved, the Dovecote became the City Council Hall and the barn was transformed into a holiday guest room.

At Maisoncelles-en-Brie, the Church of Saint-Sulpice has three elements classified and restored: the altar of the 17C and two altarpieces, which were even lent to the Musée du Louvre for the time of an exhibition!.

The Vexin (wonderful natural park we enjoyed while at Versailles) crosses over the Seine. For the first time since its creation in 1995, the Vexin Regional Natural Park (PNR) will count from the towns on the left bank of the river. As part of an extension of this park which now counts 78 towns on the Val-d’Oise(dept 95) and 20 in the Yvelines (dept 78). Nine towns from the Yvelines will be added, by 2021, to this list; these are Bennecourt, Mousseaux, Limetz-Villez, Rolleboise, Méricourt, Freneuse, Moisson, Hardricourt and Triel-sur-Seine.More here:   http://www.pnr-vexin-francais.fr/fr/le-parc/

With more than 45 000 visitors, the Cerny – La Ferté-Alais aerial meeting is one of the most popular events of the Essonne (dept 91). The 47th Edition of the “time of the propellers” will take place on June 8-9, 2019. On the program, aerial shows accompanied by pyrotechnic effects, baptisms of the air but also animations around the theme of aeronautics. It is calling for volunteers. Only criteria to apply: to be at least 16 years old (parental authorization necessary for minors), to be motorized or to be able to access the ground by their own means. A letter of motivation must be sent by May 15 May. The letter to be sent to Amis de Jean-Baptiste Salis, Aerodrome de Cerny/La Ferté-Alais, 91590 Cerny or by émail:  Bureau@ajbs.fr. More info here:http://www.ajbs.fr/presentation-du-meeting-2019/

The town,La Ferté-Alais : https://www.lafertealais.fr/tourisme/tourisme-fertois

Take a leap in the past to Saint-Cloud (Hauts de Seine dept 92). The Castle has disappeared, but the gardens remain a must-have. In addition, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, you will know all about its history through a guided tour. Duration: 45 minutes. Departure 15h in front of the historical Museum. Open every day from 7h30 to 21h. Free. More here:  . http://www.domaine-saint-cloud.fr/en/Prepare-for-your-visit

Admire the Eagles in Provins (Seine et Marne dept 77). The “Eagles of the ramparts” show, in the open air, resumes this coming Saturday with new atmospheres in staging and a new fairy character amidst the nocturnal birds. From the Hawk to the Eagle, through the hawks and owls, the Raptors shave the heads of the spectators, on the ramparts of the medieval city. From March 30 , at 14h30 and 17h on weekends, at 14h30 and 16h. on weekdays. Rates: 8 to 12.50 €.  Into line Tel. +33 (0) 1.60.58.80.32. More info here:  https://www.provins.net/sites-incontournables-de-provins-tourisme/tous-au-spectacle/les-aigles-des-remparts/

Nautical activities in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines ( Yvelines dept78). Since last summer, a small outdoor activity park has entertained children at the Trappes recreation base. A caterpillar on Rails, logs of water, boats that move by pedaling, rolls in large transparent balloons on the water, a trampoline of 15 carpets or a mini-karting of 60 meters in the open air offer a playful getaway. From 6 to 12 years. From 5 to 10 minutes the activity, from 1-2€  the ticket according to the quantity purchased. Parking of the Base: 5€ per car. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10h to 20h. Info line Tel.+33 (0) 6.08.04.24.69. Entrance by the roundabout Éric Tabarly,road  D 912, in Trappes. More info here:   http://saint-quentin-en-yvelines.iledeloisirs.fr/comment-venir-sur-lile-de-loisirs

Slide in a pedal boat in Pierrefonds (Oise dept 60). Another activity on water, pedalo, on the pond of Pierrefonds. You can get tired by pedaling with a breathtaking view of the Castle, amidst the ducks and herons, before having a drink on the terrace by the water. Open daily according to the weather. Rates: 3.70 to 4.80€. Pier, Deflubé Causeway. Info line tel. +33 (0) 9.52.80.12.26 . More info here : https://www.lembarcadere-pierrefonds.fr/

Sceaux Park organizes its Cherry Blossom Festival from April 21st to 22nd! As every year, the city of Sceaux welcomes the arrival of spring around many festivities. On the program, big festive picnic made by food trucks, at the rhythm of the taikos and the parades of Awa Odori… Ideal for tasting delicious sushi and drinking sake in peace, in an idyllic bucolic setting. More than just a party, it’s a real Japanese gathering that will be happening! This year, the festivities will also be punctuated by various workshops, dance, and many artistic and musical performances. The opportunity to discover Japanese artists who will accompany you to the sanshin (small guitar of southern Japan) and to the shinobue (traditional flute) all the weekend! More info to get there:   http://domaine-de-sceaux.hauts-de-seine.fr/english-section/practical-information/

In honor of its 130th anniversary, the Eiffel Tower organizes a festive weekend on March 30th and 31st with concerts, animations and an adventure game. The goal? Discover the famous Tower in all its facets and uncover the secret of the Eiffel on workshops. Alone, or as a team, you will need to find the name of a confidential file by deciphering a series of puzzles scattered on the 1st floor as well as in the gardens of the tower. And bonus this weekend: the whole course will be scripted with comedians in period costumes in immersive scenery. An experience not to be missed for lovers of history and secrets! More info here:   https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/news/130-years/come-and-discover-eiffel-tower-adventure-game-march-30-and-31

There you, there is always something going on in my belle France, the Héxagone with just a tip of the iceberg of opportunities to enjoy. Hope you can enjoy them too.

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

March 24, 2019

Distillerie du Gorvello at Sulniac!

So let me tell you for a change of a local producer, we buy from direct. Of course, they are very near us in the lovely Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany. This post I like to introduce to another gem of my belle France know as the culinary birthplace of the world and already recognized by Unesco, first!

We like some spirits with our meals like good Europeans and better Frenchmen, so this ,also includes Cider. I have been drinking cider since a child from the region of Asturias in my beloved Spain. As time went on and my travel horizons expanded I came to know Norman cider, and then once moved to my beautiful Brittany, also Breton cider. Which is better is up to you, me I like the Breton cider ::) Why the apples the varieties are awesome with tastes going to all the palates.

And to think we found it by just road warrior trips in  my area! We were on the road looking for goodies found a new one and we have been back! this is the nearby Distillerie du Gorvello just before reaching the castle of Plessis Josso (see post apart)  off the road to your left and then left again.  From the expressway N165 take exit 22 Le Gorvello/Surzur at traffic circle follow direction Le Gorvello and follow the arrows to the Distillery. A wonderful place making cider, apple juice, liquors from apples such as pommeau de Bretagne, Fine de Bretagne, vinager of cider, etc as well as cold cuts canned goods. It has won many medals in the region and a family business. It is better to call ahead for tours as they change all the time; we did not go on it as we already visited the making of cider here, but did tasted the apple juice Gullivec and Tradition and Gullivec ciders as well as pig canned good terrines, all purchased as well for home and the road trip!!!  Prices are great from 3 euros the bottles and up.

Sulniac

It is in the immediate vicinity of Vannes and the Gulf of Morbihan, at the village of Sulniac , the Gorvello distillery is a small family farm specializing in the cultivation of Apple Cider.  Drive up rue Thiers from Le Port marina and get on the expressway N165 direction Nantes  at exit sortie 22 take direction first La Trinité Surzur and quick right into the road D183 direction Sulniac, you past the signs for the Castle of Plessis Josso and on the next road with a small sign (need to be alert not to missed it) turn right and see signs for the distillery. Worth the detour

Sulniac

The production activity is right on site with a workshop located within one of their orchards, here  carefully and according to artisanal methods its develop quality products including aperitifs and distilled spirits with their own alembic and aged in oak barrels in the cellar.

Sulniac

The flagship products are  Fine Bretagne AOC , Pommeau de Bretagne AOC, Little Prince Guillevic ,Cider from Brittany IGP and AB, AB Apple juice, Cider vinegar et Other local products. We have tried most already. Delicious, old fashion way the one we like and glad to be in France and the prices are family soft.

Sulniac

Sulniac

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Distillerie du Gorvello in French

Regional Gulf of Morbihan tourism site on the Distillerie du Gorvello in French

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on the Distillerie du Gorvello in English

There you go a bit of tourism with good home made products of the champion France , will not go wrong here. Remember the name Distillerie du Gorvello at Sulniac dept 56.

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

March 24, 2019

Lisbon antigua and beautiful!

I took a trip to Lisbon right after the 10th Champions of Real Madrid of Spain, and its Portuguese stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, and Coentrao. It was a short trip but full of souvenirs and good company. This is a re post from May 2014.

Lisbon deserves more visits, and getting to know it, it is an exciting city full of life and happy friendly folks always willing to help ,directions, food choices, and just have a good time there

My trip took me first to Nantes airport, then Paris CDG and finally Lisbon on AF; same return flight taken. The airports of Nantes and Paris CDG are very familiar to me after so many trips thru them. Lisbon was easy two terminals, came in and on terminal 1. Coming in took a taxi as was very late, has to haggle with the taxi driver who wanted 20€, told him my maximum was 15€ and he finally accepted. Figure the ride was for about 10-12 euros, so ok for 15 late at night almost midnight. You have to be sure the meter is on or don’t get in the car, otherwise be prepare to haggle easy for me as I speak Portuguese. The airport of LIsbon site is  https://www.aeroportolisboa.pt/en

On the way back ,I took the metro at Picoas line amarela(yellow) to Saldanha, here took the line Vermelho (red) to the airport all in about 40 minutes. all for a machine ticket of 1,90€ (including charge of rechargeable card of 0,50c). A great bargain indeed.  The metro, also, has the azul or blue line and the verde or green line, and its easy in English here  http://www.metrolisboa.pt/eng/

lisbon

While in the city I stayed at the wonderful modern, clean and perfect location Hotel Exe Parque Lisboa , at Largo Andaluz 13, near metro stops Picoas , Marques de Pompal or Parque. webpage here   http://exelisboaparque.selectionofhotels.com/

Lisbon

The rooms were spacious, bath too, the views on the 2fl a bit obstructed by the nearby buildings but for the location, services can be beaten. right off the marque de Pompal monument and the superb avenida da Libertade. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. I will no doubt have no problems staying there again.

From the hotel I took my walks in the evenings all over the vast avenida da libertade from the monument at plaça marques de pompal all the way to plaça Dom Pedro IV, where I even past a branch of the famous Parisien resto Brasserie FLO. Beautiful fountains stores and the great plaça restauradores with beautiful buildings all around it.

Lisbon

Lisbon

 

Lisbon

Lisbon

Before long it was time to eat,and I was told about a restaurant there at plaça de restauradores call Pinoquio (like the famous character Pinocchio), this is seafood of Portugal at its best. The service was impeccable friendly,and the food sublime. it started to rain but no bother I was in heaven. I order my usual beers and then the dish was Feijoada de marisco. This is magnificent casserole of shrimp, lobsters,clams, and white beans stew, just fab and of course enough for one person ,really it could be ordered for two. Its a great dish I will try to imitate at home; here is the recipe in Portuguese: Petiscos Portuguese recipe for Feijoada de Mariscos

Lisbon

Like, I said, it was raining light, and I decided to face it and walk back seeing all the sights and smells of avenida da Libertade. During the daytime went to the Tivoli forum shopping a deluxe shopping center right on the avenida da libertade, and had lunch in the food court there, where a vast cafeteria serves different kinds of fast food, we try the beef people counter with a goat cheese hamburger with limonade. More info here: https://www.lisbonlux.com/lisbon-shops/tivoli-forum.html

Lisbon

And I came home not before setting my sights on returning either in October with me or in summer with the family; will see, it is tempting Lisbon is catchy, maybe I have the city at heart by now.

The tourist office of Lisbon  is at https://www.visitlisboa.com/?lang=en-GB

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

Tags: , ,
March 23, 2019

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIII

So here I am back to my popular series, this one on My travels in the Morbihan, now in its 73rd edition! Thank you dear readers, friends, and family for your support to my passtime.

We go out during the week for the routine and then on weekends we try to go out again and then some. It has been hard since losing my dear wife Martine but I am coming alone fine with closer trips and planning some long ones starting next  May. For now our local routine.

We had a good morning sleep today Saturday and after a nice home breakfast still mix American and French we went out to our lovely Morbihan breton dept 56.

We needed some linen so set out for our favorite popular Conforama and got my sons some sheets, well they pay by now so its easy lol! Conforama of Vannes that is. Already popularly feature in my previous posts.

We went on to visit our sub prefecture of Lorient which even if only about 30 km from me was a while not visited. It shows we cannot think we know towns because just a few months away and the city has change. Less parking available and now with a Saint Louis brocante flea market going on the city was packed. We did manage to fine underground parking at Place d’Armes for only 1,60€ for the day!

After that we came to that moment of eating and we came searching for what it was announce will be soon in Vannes, this is the other burger joint as France is inundated with them for good reason .Good inexpensive beef menu for families. I know many think this cannot be in France but it is just another country in the sea of fast food chains all over the world. As I travel for business to many remote parts of our world there is always that other name present lol!

We came and found Roadside Burgers at 28 rue Auguste Nayel very near the Place Aristide Briand, central for all that is good in Lorient. The side order of the so call crazy fries was good and portion was big, a mix of French fries with half cheddar cheese melted and other caramelized onions. I did get my love from Pepsi ,the Mountain Dew soda difficult to find in France (previously in Rennes or Paris) this is great but was typically French not cold enough but just fresh “frais” and we never get used to this.  I ordered the Strawberry milkshake and it was good but the size was a bit smallish. All this the bill came to 14.70€ per person. Again a bit more expensive than our favorite Burger King.

Lorient

Lorient

As they are other burger chains opening up around here I believe they will have a tough time to survive ,but then again fast food is so popular, the formal original dining will be left for the rich and famous!

As we had time, we wondered around the city center and re visit our favorite wine chain store Nicolas at 1 Rue de la Patrie in city center where we had purchase before and do so all over France with no problems ever.  Of course, as far as wine store experience is concerned.

Lorient

We went into the Centre Commercial Nayel as it brought memories but it is just a mall shopping center type, good parking underneath thus. Plenty of stores and restos inside too.

Lorient

We, also, visit our favorite techno entertainement store FNAC right at the square or place Aristide Briand and it was super big and full of specials,I even got me an external portable hard drive from Maxtor! I needed it too many photos lol!!!

Lorient

On the way out of Lorient, we needed groceries so rather than go back to Vannes, we did it on the run at Lanester, next to Lorient where there was a nice E Leclerc hypermarket we like the chain; so groceries were done here.

Lanester

Finally, it was time to get back home to be ready for the match, yes we are going to see live on French TV the qualifier for my Spain vs Norway, European Championship game! Of course, our France already won easily yesterday 1X4 vs Moldavia!

So, now we are home and ready for the game with good cold beers of Brittany, namely the Mutine lol! sort like mutiny!

Therefore ,need to go, enjoy your weekend wherever you are. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 22, 2019

The Axe Majeur, get out of Paris!!!

Ok so let me take you out of Paris but not that far just next door to dept 95 Val d’Oise going west of Paris. Well you know this is the dept where Roissy CDG airport is located, not in Paris ok. I have come by here on my routine road warrior trips with the family and found gems off the beaten path sites!

One of them was the Axe Majeur of Cergy, Val d’Oise dept 95 of the Île de France region. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok.  You dont even need a car to come here, and its wonderful to view, if you like architectural wonders and natural views this is it for you.

The Axe Majeur, its at 30 km from Paris on the A15 road out of porte de Clichy. You can get here from gare Saint lazare train station direction Cergy-Pontoise and stop at Cergy-St Christophe. Out of station turn left and follow the city center street all the way out you will come to the axe majeur with signs. The site for the region train service is the Transilien, https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/cergy-saint-christophe-8738249

This is the creation of artist sculptor Dani Karavan. You have several architectural points here,first is the Tour Belvédere, 36 meters high ( 118.8 ft) inside there is a stair to the top for magnificent views towards Paris main attractions. Then, you have the Place des Colonnes Hubert Renaud, its circular rounded plaza at 360° angle ,and you go here by passing apartment buildings done by architect Ricardo Bofil.  Follow this with Le Verger, parcs des Impressionists, the painters place, with gardens and fruit trees that in the summer are just delicious to even look. You reach the Esplanade de Paris, the place for gathering and people watching, the stones on the floor are from the Cours Napoléon in the Louvre! ,and the 12 columns are a link to the companies that sponsor this and the Arche du Carrousel by the Louvre. You come to the Terrace, you come to see the Valley of the Seine, and the natural beauty of the area from above with Paris and La Defense just ahead.  Next, the jardins des  Droits de l’Homme or the garden of Human Rights, it has trees including an olive tree from Italy representing peace.  Hey that’s the silhouette of my Dad below photo lol!

Cergy

Cergy

beyond is Paris!

Next ,the Amphithéatre or amphitheater for events that brings the locals and visitors together. Then comes the Scéne, link directly to the river Oise, allowed to hold water events in conjunction with the amphitheater.  Now you are in the Passarelle, (under construction) that will link the amphitheater with the ile Astronomique or astronomic isle and eventually reaching the base de loisirs Cergy-Pontoise (a popular playground park with swim,horse,team sport complexes).  Now you see the ile Astronomique, site of an old sand dunes for construction now itself under construction it will have scuptures from the world.  The Pyramide, done so that the wind and sun plays a part in its lights, you can only go by boat and navigate inside of it! And you have reach the extreme point in the Carrefour de Ham; about 1,5 km from the Ile Astronomique will allow you to see the work and the laser lights ending in a crossroad of routes coming into Cergy-Pointoise.

Cergy

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Axe Majeur information

Interactive visit to the Axe Majeur

And again in French, the city of Cergy official page showing the Axe Majeur,  http://www.cergy.fr/notre-ville/lieux-cles/culture-patrimoine/lieux-remarquables/

Something different to see in the Paris region, and nice, the Axe Majeur is unique. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

 

Tags: ,
March 21, 2019

Bourges ,the city of night lights!

And I am taking you to the old Berry country in the center of France, the old Centre ,now it is dept Cher no. 18 in the region of Centre-Val-de-Loire.  I have come here with the family and business and always love to come back.

That is how the tourist office describes the city, or La Ville des Nuits Lumiére (the city of night lights lit.). It is lighted at night in a quaint medieval ambiance which makes it unique. Love to walk its cobblestone streets and the hilly ones to climb stairs from one level to the next, it is awesome.

This is how I will tell you about Bourges.  You can easily drive here on the A10 from Paris and connect with the A71 at Orleans ,and the A85 put you in Tours fast too. The best parking in town is at quartier St Bonnet for free on the streets if come early in the morning or underground paying by the Halle au Blé. Driving is always reliable with via Michelin if not a GPS ,webpage www.viamichelin.co.uk  As far as public transport never taken here, the city is easy to get and very nice to walk, but there is a nice bus system Agglobus at 1 place de la Nation, webpage  http://www.agglobus.com/ . As far as train ,there is a station at place du Général Leclerc, the TER Centre will give more choices on local schedules at  TER train in region Centre Val de Loire  The service to Paris is limited and you leave from Paris Austerlitz station, or go to Gare de Vierzon and take another train to Bourges.

The city is very old from antiquity days, in the middle ages it was part of the kingdom of Aquitaine, until the 14C it becomes the capital of the dukedom of Berry. It goest thru the war of Religion ok, and arrives at the French revolution where deputies were elected to the assembly from Bourges on the side of the new republic. It is a major center of defense building and aviation related parts with huge numbers of military stationed in bases outside the city. WWI and WWII were of small consequences to the city.

Some of the must see sights in the city are the Cathedrale St Etienne, Palais Jacques Coeur, Hôtel Cujàs (musée du Berry, archeology, local artifacts), Hôtel Lallemand (musée renaissance arts decoratifs) , Musée des meilleurs ouvriers de France (best form a la French!) la Halle au Blé b1836, walk the many wooden houses or maison du bois from around 1488.

The best is the magnificent Cathedral of St Etienne or St Stephen, (see post apart) built from 1194 to 1506AD. One of the great Cathedrals of France. The lights of its stained glass windows, the great organ or Grand Orgue ( 1487-1506 and rebuilt several times afterward)  and the horloge astronomique or astronomic clock built in 1424AD. There is a group of organ lovers who look after the Grand Orgue today, and you can see and participate webpage http://www.grandorguebourges.org/ The Cathedral is wonderful and these folks explain it better, the official parrish site for the Cathedral, the French part is more exhaustive but it has some in English, http://www.diocese-bourges.org/cathedrale/index.htm

Bourges

The Palais Jacques Coeur,(see post apart) is the financier and enthusiast citizen of Bourges.  The was the money issuer tresorier of king Charles VII and a merchant of a great empire at the time.  Built between 14’3 to 1451 , it was considered  as the best example of a private urban building. It was confiscated by the king in 1451 after Jacques Coeur was arrested(he died in the ile de Chios in 1456 after taking part in a crusade vs the Turks)  and given back to the family in 1457AD, Colbert was its last private owner who sold it to the city in 1682. After it became the Hotel de Ville or mayors office then the seat of the tribunal or courthouse where many modifications were made between 1820 and 1830. In 1923 the State or France buys the building, where today is a national historical monument and open to the public. The beautiful facade given to the street level across from the today Hotel de Ville, an interior courtyard showing the principal logis and the central towers, the magnificent decorated interiors such as the salle des festins or grand reception room for feasts, petite cuisine or heating room and shower room, the Salle d’Apparat, where the audiences were held  of the royal court in 1822, where Raspail amongst others were judge after their insurrection in 1848, the Cabinet des échevins in the donjon tower, showing the first money coined by Jacques Coeur, the Chambre des Galées showing the sea trials and combats of Jacques Coeur, the Cabinet de Travail, or study room, the Chapelle loving restored in 1869 all interwined with beautiful galleries of paintings and objects d’arts. Very nice indeed. webpage in English here http://palais-jacques-coeur.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

bourges

The Halle au blé was built in 1836 over the convent of cordeliers  building that was converted to public use since 1791 ; it used to store the wheat and other cereal from the great Berry area, and today it is a major covered marché or market and great parking area! From the 19c it is the place to shop for local goodies in Bourges.

bourges

the Hôtel Cujas now houses the Musée du Berry, the building dates from 1515 and was the home of jurist Cujas since 1585. The museum is set up here since 1950 with a collection of the history of Bourges and its region from prehistoric times to the present.  Admission is Free. 4 rue des Arénes, the webpage is that of the city of Bourges that manages it, but you can contact the museum at musees@ville-bourges.fr or tel +33 02 48 70 41 92. It is wonderful from the historical perpective of the collection and the the architecture of the building.

Hôtel Lallemand, built around 1500AD ,its an example of the first Renaissance period in France/ The building has the feel of been in inclination as it is built over the gallo-roman ramparts! It is a beautiful building indeed. It houses today the Musée des arts decoratifs since 1951and managed by the city of Bourges.It has exquisite objects d’arts from the Renaissance period such as clocks, tapestries, paintings of France, Italy and Low Countries, as well as furniture, enamel and ivory items, just superb . Same email contact as the Hôtel Cujas above with tel +33 02 48 57 81 17.

The Musée des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, (tops a must see) at the old episcopal bishops palace and open since 1995, showcasing the best art form in France from cuisine to leather makers to wood makers craftmens that was established in France from 1924. If you want to know the French joie de vivre then come here, we all enjoy it much. At the Place Etienne Dolet just around the corner from the Cathedral. The webpage of the association is here in French ,http://www.meilleursouvriersdefrance.info/presentation.php and the webpage in English of the city of Bourges with all museums info http://www.ville-bourges.fr/english/culture-leisure/museums.php

bourges

 

It has a nice marais or swampy area just around the city limits, a gorgeous Jardin de l’Archeveque or bishops gardens, the fact that king Louis XI was born here in 1423. The wonderful street rue Bourbonnoux medieval and nice  as well as the promenade des Remparts, and see the maison des 3 flûtes ,15C  by rue Bourbonnoux and end of rue Moliére.

 

With the family we stay at a great logis de France property ,Le Christina, right next to the Halle au Ble and nearby free parking! Great comfort, good prices, and wonderful friendly service, at http://www.le-christina.com/

For eating we had our mouthful at Le Bourbonneux, 44 rue Bourbonneux, wonderful traditional French choices change with season but the menu at 19€ is excellent value, webpage http://www.bourbonnoux.com/ . We try the Le Louis XI, 11 rue Porte Jaune, for great beef on wood oven with all the sauces , wonderful meal evenings and good value. Yelp review site has more but very near the Cathedral, Yelp on the Le Louis XI at Bourges.  The winner was lunch at La Scala, 1 place Planchat, corner on a nice old section area, great pizzas, italian dishes, all music italian the waiters sang Italian listening to Eros Ramazzotti is tops, will need to go back one weekend. All richly decorated, great food, great service, great prices a must. webpage La Scala at Bourges 

Well here is the official Bourges tourist office,  Tourist office of Bourges in English  , and the tourist office for the region still name Berry !  Regional tourism Berry Provence in English on Bourges and the city of Bourges has excellent info on tourism in English too http://www.ville-bourges.fr/english/introduction/introduction.php

Enjoy Bourges, a very nice town and wonderful Cathedral. And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: