Archive for March 4th, 2019

March 4, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXIII

Ok so on a windy gutsy and stormy day in Brittany, last night along the coast winds of 120 KPH were felled and even inland me got some heavy gusts but no dammages. Temps are mild around 50F or 10C and at Paris cloudy and 51F as well. It’s time to tell you about my belle France.

And tell you I will, the whole thing, from the ugly things happening to the beautiful things of my eternal Paris especially there and in some major cities like Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Lille etc. France is on the move and watch out!

Born in 1977 , Olivier Giraud does not have his own way of observing Parisians. On stage for ten years, the comedian from Bordeaux pins with delight the mania, the snobbery of the inhabitants of the capital in his show “How to become a Parisian in one hour”. The success is such that it has just published “Guide (very) practical of the perfect Parisian” (French Arrogance Prod, 128 pages, 10€). Presented as a training to become a true Parisian hated all over the world, envied by the provincial (countryside folks) to crunch the Parisian, as arrogant, selfish, cold, stressed, who always makes the face gesture, who does not like tourists..etc.

Clichés? “Not at all, it’s reality!” exclaims the humorist, touched by these spectators who come numerous at the end of the show to tell him how much they recognize themselves in this portrait with vitriol. The Parisians all have their noses on their laptop, on Facebook or Instagram, amuses Olivier Giraud who most often goes on foot to the theater. Both author, director, performer, producer of his own show and now editor, the boss of French Arrogance Productions also scratches the bobos.

Son of a site conductor and hairdresser, Olivier Giraud, who performed at Olympia on May 20, 2016, is not a child of the politics. A Provincial graduate of the Ferrandi Cooking School (6éme Paris), he worked for five years as a butler at a gourmet restaurant in Florida, USA!. Before burning the planks in Paris, faithful to the promise he made to his mother at the age of eight: “When I grow up, I’ll be a comedian and I’ll do a show at the Olympia.” How to become a Parisian in one hour, always programmed in the Théâtre des Nouveautés (24, Boulevard Poissonnière, 11éme) from Wednesday to Saturday at 19h (7p.m.) A show in English super-accessible, stresses the comedian, half of the audience is made up of foreigners. Ten years ago, all the directors of the halls to whom I presented the project refused me… This is  Olivier Giraud!  And I have the pleasure of knowing him in person for many years now. Recommended for all visitors and locals alike to see his show. Parisians can be tough but only because 32M of you come to visit and run all over their neighborhoods over time they have become more used to you. I know I speak with them everyday lol! More on the article appearing in the Le Parisien newspaper in French:

Things of my France ,hard to explain to an outsider who does not know the Bastille, Napoléon, and De Gaulle lol!! We are on the move and it seems not to die down any time soon.

For the 16th act of their mobilization, the yellow vests or gilets jaunes do not release the pressure. This past Saturday, in Paris, several rallies were announced. On the outskirts of the Elysée (8éme), the prefect of police took a decree to ban any protest. From 6h in the morning, a large perimeter between avenue de Marigny, Place Beauvau and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré will be completely closed. Moreover, a perimeter of prohibition of additional traffic is likely to be set up south of the Seine, towards the Boulevard des Invalides, the rue de Grenelle, the rue du Bas and Rue de Babylon, the communiqué explains. The official demonstrations, the first will leave at 12h30 from Place de L’Etoile (8éme) to reach the Place Denfert-Rochereau (14éme) by the Pont de Grenelle and Rue de la Convention (15éme).

The second demonstration event announced will start at 12h30 from the same Place de l’etoile at Place Clément-Ader (16éme). Three other rallies are planned, according to the police prefecture: Avenue of the Champs-Elysées between 10h and 17h, Place du Maréchal-June (17éme) between 10h and 19h, and Place de la République (10éme) between 14h and 22h. A man was wounded in the face this past Saturday in Paris during the demonstration of the yellow vests that brought together several thousand people. According to concordant sources, the injury was probably caused by a defensive ball launcher (LBD) shot, which has been controversial for the number of serious injuries it caused since the start of the yellow vest movement. To be continue it won’t stop until all the town hall meetings are held and the results of it! Vive la différence!!! 

On a regular nice view of we have to offer you in Paris we have the Wallace fountains!

Thank you Sir Richard Wallace! It is thanks to this British philanthropist who lived for a long time in Bagatelle (16éme), that Paris now has so many fountains. An exhibition at the Pavillon de l’eau (water Pavilion) (16éme) traces this story and the stakes of tomorrow. The origin of the exhibition is the bicentennial of the birth of Sir Richard Wallace who, in 1871, during the commune of Paris, decided to equip the Parisians with water fountains. From 1850, the Baron Haussmann, at the same time as he redesigned Paris, set up a water network. In particular, he decided to go and capture distant sources because the Seine river and the Ourcq Canal did not meet the standards of health. His project was completed as of 1870.

The water of the Seine, retreated ,for half, it’s underground spring water. Four fountains also draw in the nappe of the Albienne such as Paul Verlaine 13éme; to the square of the Madone, 18éme; in the garden of Martin Luther King , 17éme, and at the Square Lamartine 16éme.  The Wallace water fountain is part of the heritage with its 600 kg of cast iron, casting in three pieces (plinth, central part and hat). The Wallace fountain is always the same original mold that is used to create the new models. The first fountain, at boulevard de la Villette, no longer exists. And since then, we have multiplied the models such as Arceau, Totem, and Millénaire, including fountains of sparkling water. We have fifteen sparkling fountains in Paris, and four new ones will be installed this summer 2019. The water of Paris is one of the most controlled products. And now with 1 200 fountains of drinking water all over the city , make your choice !

The Wallace, the Parisian. The Wallace Fountains bear the name of their donor, Sir Richard Wallace; Four copies in blue, red, pink and yellow were installed in the 13éme arrondissement. The L’Arceau (hoop) , the stylish. Its “O” shape and its sleek design are immediately recognizable there are almost 350 in Paris, counting the markets ‘ fountains. The Totem, sober and elegant.  Made in stainless steel, it was conceived in the Eau de Paris (water dept of Paris), and posed since the spring of 2012, on the forecourt of the City/town Hall, 4éme, but also on the banks offered to pedestrians. More than a dozen are permanently implanted; others can be punctually installed depending on the events. The Millennium, the contemporary with silhouettes back to back evoking contemporary Venus. Nicknamed the porteuses d’eau (water carriers).  There are 4: on the forecourt of Notre-Dame , 4éme, place Saint-Michel ,5éme, on the Quai François-Mauriac and at the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand ,13éme. The  Poing d’eau (water fist), the African style. These fountains, in 5 models, adorn the route of the tramway T3, between the Porte d’Ivry and the Porte de la Chapelle since October 2012. The presentation exhibition info at L’eau dans la Ville de 19c au 21C.Exposition, in the Pavillon de l’eau, until August 31st. 77, avenue de Versailles, 16éme. Free admission. Every day from 14h to 18h. More info in French at the Water Dept of Paris :

The tourist office of Paris on the Pavillion de l’eau in English:

Always in transportation and how to ease the burden of the usagers of it especially those who need to take it every day to work , lots of work ,huge constructions and always delays.  The Société du Grand Paris, confirms that the realization of the station under the shopping center of the Quatre-Temps in La Défense could take… 200 months! The realisation is very complicated and could delay the metro line 15 to the West. This is what it will look like on the official site in French:

On a lighter note, something I am always nostalgic about and do keep about 80 of them as souvenirs, music cassettes. Well someone, here in my beloved Brittany is trying to revive them!

Jean-Luc Renou, the owner of Mulann Industries, an SME of 39 employees whose head office is located in Lannion (Côtes-d’Armor 22) ,Brittany, and the production unit in Avranches (Manche 50), Normandy. Specializes in the manufacture of magnetic tracks, or cassettes. They put on the market end of 2018, a blank cassette of two times sixty minutes, sold 3.49 euros on the Internet. The objective: to revive from its ashes this medium of another time, on the model of the resurrection of the vinyl. Mulann Industries currently sells a few thousand units per month of its cassette “Fox C 60” master recording, conceived from a chemical formula identical to that of the golden Age of the medium. Eventually, the company hopes to sell 100 000 copies, and hopes, for this, on the penchant of the young audiophiles for the sounds of the previous century. It remains to be seen whether the Hi-Fi industry will follow the movement. Because without a player, like a Walkman, cassette and other ghetto blasters, a point of the future for the resurrected relic looks difficult. More here:

And I publicly admit not a fan of them ,yes have tried of course, just that . However, very popular indeed and part of the French culinary delights. Try for good at this place.  Les escargots persillés or the snails veined, it is one of the things that brings us together. they feasted all their childhood, one in Alsace,the other in Brittany. The loca one grew up near Rennes, in Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine 35). With his brothers,they spent every summer at their grandmother’s, in the village of Sens-de-Bretagne, not far from there. As soon as it rained, his grandmother rejoiced: “hey, we’re going to have snails!” It had a large garden, the beds were lined with hedges that attracted them as soon as there was a little moisture. And, as it rains often in Brittany, they ate a lot of snails.This is the story of later  Didier Ludot, 20 – 24, Galerie de Montpensier, Garden of the Palais-Royal, Paris 1éme. More here:

And we say Paris, we ,also, mean ,fashion week and haute couture! Going on at a site near me ::)

After seasons devoted to sportswear, the Parisian fashion week has made the party to return to a more couture allure. More sophisticated than ever, this fashion week confirms its character in collections that are not afraid to display their creativity.

In the Parade Hall, at UNESCO, mini-showcases on the white walls present a selection of miniature portraits from the 17-18C, that appear to look at the models. These are like live portraits in Loewe. With its mixtures of tweeds, nails, black vinyl, chain embroidery or rhinestones, its loose and supple tailored cuts borrowed from the 1980’s.  Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain collection celebrates the rebellious divas who are not afraid to step out of line. The old mansion of Bourrienne (hôtel particulier Bourrienne) , a curiosity of the time directory, is the ideal setting for the collection of Olivier Theyskens. Tailors with knee-length skirts, keeled jackets, perfect tall trousers, smooth satins and fragile lace make up the wardrobe of a mysterious, seductive and poisonous woman.

And it is there, at the bottom, that we must see the major shift of fashion: it is aimed today at sophisticated, more mature women. The time of millennials fever and the frantic quest of the young hyper connected client seems past. This is the final view from the Fashion Week Paris :

At Mulberry Street, Paris.  It is conviviality above all, around a good charcoal veggie pizza and a revisited cocktail. Drink well or eat well, no need to choose! Mulberry Street is defined neither as a restaurant, nor as a bar but rather as a restaurant where you drink drinks, otherwise a bar where you can end up on a meal. The place is open 7 days a week and offers a menu that changes over the seasons whose star is undoubtedly pizza, but not any, the pizza with vegetable charcoal. His dough is black, more digestible, and lighter. Beer fans will not be left out, all beer or bottled beers are artisanal. The place also offers a pizza XXL that takes the whole size of the oven (and table) for the group of buddies who want to redo the world without taking the worries. Time flies at Mulberry Street, and it’s normal, it feels good in this friendly atmosphere. Mulberry Street, 20, rue de la Hutchette ,5éme.Not far from Pl St Michel. More on Yelp reviews :

Official Mulberry St site in French :

And last but not least, the city of Paris puts out a guide for free museum admission all year round, some EU under 26 yrs and others, all are listed here in English, do take advantage if visiting, planning is a virtue ::)

Tourist office of Paris on free Museum admissions

And there you, more on Paris, and France, the more the merrier is always something going on my belle France. 

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





March 4, 2019

Windjammers Barefoot Cruises, Fantome!

So today will take you on memory lane that unfortunately did not turn out well for many. I have in my earlier life enjoy cruisings especially the singles kind… This was wonderful cruises to the Caribbean and it was awesome. Even now the memories are vivid and nice even in the sadness of it all.

I came many many years back into the Windjammers Barefoot Cruises and was booked a cruise to the Caribbean British Virgin Islands I believe was like in 1987-1988 but can’t recall exactly. I went on to two more cruises into the Roatan , Honduras and Costa Rica areas but the Virgin Islands was tops.

As I came upon articles to write and saw the book, I decided to rend hommage to the folks who took these cruises and especially those that perished at sea on the SV Fantome! Here is a bit of their story.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises was a leisure cruise line based in Miami Beach, Florida.  Founded in 1947 by Michael Burke, the company scheduled one and two week cruises in the Caribbean and Central America, using a fleet of sailing ships. The ships were former yachts and commercial vessels that were refurbished as cruise vessels, accommodating 60–100 paying passengers and 20–40 officers and crewmembers. The ships were refitted to resemble 19C sailing vessels called windjammers. Caribbean itineraries included the British Virgin Islands, French West Indies, Grenadines, the ABC islands, and the Bahamas. Recent and former Central American itineraries included Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and Belize.

In September 2007, Windjammer’s entire fleet was suspended from operating any further cruises. All remaining parts of the company that were still operating were shut down in April 2008. Later that year, the company’s assets were auctioned off. The four ships they operated are all laid up and were left in a neglected state of condition. It was a sad ending to a tragic event.

Fantome was a 679-ton staysail schooner. Completed in 1927 for the Duke of Westminster,  it was purchased by Windjammer in 1969, and became flagship of the fleet. During her twenty-nine years of service in this regard, Fantome offered cruises in the Caribbean and the Bay of Honduras. She was lost in October 1998, during Hurricane Mitch.

Originally ordered for the Italian navy but before completion was purchased by the Duke of Westminster, who finished her as a yacht  in 1927.  The Duke of Westminster used the Fantome only a few years before it changed hands twice in short order. Ultimately, it was acquired by Irishman A. E. Guinness, heir to the brewing fortune that bore his family’s name.  Guinness had taken her into the Pacific in the late 1930s and when war broke out in Europe in 1939, the Fantome was in Alaskan waters. Reluctant to cruise further or return to Ireland, he elected to lay her up in Seattle for the duration of hostilities. At the end of the war she was stranded in Portage Bay for 14 years, barred by  King County from sailing pending the payment of back taxes. In 1969, Windjammer owner and founder Michael Burke flew to Greece to purchase the schooner directly from Aristotle Onassis. He bought it, sight unseen, in exchange for a freighter. Windjammer then set about refurbishing Fantome, which became the flagship of their fleet of six vessels.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

On 24 October 1998, Fantome departed the harbor of Omoa in Honduras for a planned 6 day cruise. Hurricane Mitch, then over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away in the Caribbean Sea, was expected to pose a risk to Jamaica and possibly the Yucatán Peninsula. By dawn on the following day, however, Mitch seemed to change course. Fantome immediately changed course for Belize City, where it disembarked all of  its passengers and non-essential crew members. The schooner then departed Belize City, first heading north towards the Gulf of Mexico, in order to outrun the storm

The plan was to make for the lee side of the island of Roatan (Honduras). In case Mitch made landfall in the Yucatán or Belize, by being on the southern side of the island, it would provide her with enough protection to keep it from getting damaged by large swells and high winds. However, Mitch, now a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 180 mph (285 km/h), took a jog towards the south, directly towards Roatan.

Fantome made one desperate attempt to flee to safety, now heading east towards the Caribbean. Mitch’s forward motion picked up, though, and Fantome was unable to outrun the storm.  It has been recorded that around 16h30 (4:30 pm) on 27 October 1998, with Mitch having weakened but still at Category 5 intensity, Fantome reported that it was fighting 100-mile-per-hour (160 km/h) winds in 40-foot (12 meters) seas. They were just 40 miles (64 km) south of Mitch’s eyewall. Radio contact was lost with Fantome shortly after that.

On 2 November, 1998 a helicopter dispatched by the British destroyer HMS Sheffield discovered life rafts and vests, labeled “S/V Fantome,” off the eastern coast of Guanaja, Honduras. It was all that was found of the Fantome.  Sadly, all 31 crew members aboard perished, and a memorial service was held for them on December 12, 1998. RIP many of them I have come to know and were good hard working humble folks from many Caribbean islands trying to make a living. They were happy and proud to serve on such a wonderful ship ,the Fantome will be remembered forever so will they. Thanks for the memories.

The story was recorded in the book The Ship and The Storm by Jim Carrier (ISBN 0-07-135526-X). Of course, I have the book.

Daytona Beach

Caribbean Compass story on the Fantome tragic end

This one is for me , for the memories and for those who sailed with me ,before and after on the wonderful Fantome; memories to last a lifetime. If anyone is reading from this experience feel free to leave your comments. Much appreciated. Thank you.

This is one of several youtube videos on it, I like this one

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


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