Archive for March 20th, 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!!!

Tags: ,
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



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!!!

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: