Archive for March 22nd, 2019

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,

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!



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.


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,

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!!!


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March 22, 2019

La Défense, outside Paris!

And why not go back to my old neighborhood in île de France, the region of my Paris (work) and Versailles (living), and all that goes around that island of France! There is one spot a bit ackward for most. It is a mixture of business and pleasure and not too much visited, almost like an off the beaten path but so easy to get from Paris central.

I like to tell you a bit more on La Défense, Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 in the Île de France region.

It is a stone throw from Paris, and many times link with it even thus in another state/province/department. You can easily come here thus almost like an extention of Paris on the metro line 1, tramway T2,and the RER A trains. The bus No 73 is one of the most touristic buses in Paris and its only a regular ticket of 1,90 that will take you sightseeing the best of Paris along the pathway on the pont de Neuilly, Hotel de Ville de Paris, les Sablons, porte Maillot, CDG Etoile, George V, Champs-Elysées, Concorde, Assamblée Nationale, to end at the musée d’Orsay; nice ride!  I take my car up to La Defense boulevard Circulaire and then parking CNIT or Centre. From Versailles rive droite station you have direct access to La Defense also by train SNCF, as well as the Balabus from Gare de Lyon on Sundays and Holidays.

The thing that will bring you here is the Arch de la Defense (Grande Arche de la Défense) , sort of like a modern Arch de Triomphe. It is in line with it along ave de la Grande Armée and the Arc de Triomphe is very easily visible.

La Defense

It was my often work area, I was in and out even in a single day from Paris or Versailles. All the major corporations based in France or French are here (including my world HQ), in a massive business city with high towers and modernity. The CNIT congress palace is a huge meeting place for businesses, associations, seminars etc I had to partake many times. The name comes from an area made to thanks the soldiers who partook the war of 1870.

A must to go to the top of the Grande Arche de la Défense, more info here in French: The Grande Arche de la Defense promenade

However, a visit to the Arche de la Défense should be on everyone list, the views are wonderful over Paris best parts,and monuments.   There are great restaurants there too ,see them here in Grande Arche site in French, try the Le Bistrot à Vins, and Le Globe Trotter, especially more here: La Défense Arche restaurants in French

You can enjoy great movies in the Dome cinema Ciné Cité  UGC (a very good chain we use exclusively here)  , with very modern facilities and a favorite of my kids as it is easy reachable from where we live.  It is right in the Quatre-Temps shopping center more info here: UGC Cinema at La Defense

Another great way to spend your time here is shopping, if you like big shopping center/malls then you will love the Quatre Temps shopping center here, its one of the best in the area. You have 218 stores, 46 restaurants, and 28 cinema showing rooms! Times are 10h to 20h30 for stores Monday to Saturday and Sundays 10h to 20h!  and the Auchan to 22H. You have shopping galore with normal stores better prices than Paris, plus a grocery hypermarket in Auchan, 9h to 21h30 Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays opens at 8h30 and Sundays 8h30 to 12h30!  For detail info go to the official webpage Les 4 Temps shopping Center La Défense

And over to the CNIT building, across the parvis, where the convention and congress place with the Centre des Nouvelles Industries et Technologies (center of new industries and technologies). More here: La Defense on the CNIT

There is the same webpage as above Grande Arche on the history of it in French: Grande Arche on history of La Défense

Here you will find good maps in 3D pdf format of the La Defense area, the map of pedestrians or pietons, and the map of voitures or cars/autos with parkings,  La Defense on transports

Things to see and more at the Tourist office of dept 92: Tourist office of Dept 92 Hauts de Seine on La Defense

Have a great day at La Défense, something worth exploring on your next trip to “outside Paris”  and off the beaten paths of the Île de France region. Good for the whole family.

la Defense

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


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March 22, 2019

Orléans, a lot more than Jeanne!

So needless to say have other posts on Orléans in my blog and speaking of Jeanne oh yes Joan of Arc or Jeanne d’Arc (fr) it is a nice city to visit and even thus we use the car, it has direct train service from Paris for an easy day outing. It is worth it. Let me tell you a bit more on Orléans.

The very essence of mentioning Orléans brings back my history coming to France. It was on my trip to know my dear late wife now Martine, that I passed by here on our way to Spain, right down the center of town back in 1990, still going strong, and many visits afterward.

This is the epicenter of the history of modern France, when Jeanne d’Arc gave back the city to the French king Charles VII from the English invaders. This is the epic story of a young lady rise to military genius and more importantly to be later the Patron Saint of France, doctor of the Catholic Church.

orleans pl du martroi


It is a city in the department of the Loiret No 45 in the region Centre-Val-de-Loire.  It is easily reachable on the autoroute A10 direction Bordeaux from Paris. Near it passes the A71 towards the mediterranean becoming later the A75 . The A19 linked the city with the A10 and A6 north of the city. Route planning is ok with viamichelin at  or the use of GPS is the only way I have visited the city ,by car. However, it is well linked by train from Paris Austerlitz station , the SNCF train station is at avenue de Paris near shopping center place d’Arc;the bus station is also next to the train station. The TER centre train webpage is here  TER Centre Val de Loire , just to add this was the route to go to Paris at Gare d’Orsay, today its the museum. There is a local bus/tramway service Tao here  TAO network of Orléans



The city goes back several thousands years but the most important event was that took place with Jeanne d’Arc and its liberation. Liberated on May 8 1429. Later after much destruction in WWII it was liberated again by Gen Patton of the US Army in 1945. The history associated with it its huge not enough space for this blog.  The feast of Jeanne d’Arc is held every year on the 29 of April to May 8 celebrations, there is a video reproduction and more in French at this webpage, keep an eye for it. Tourist office of Orleans on the feast of Joan of Arc


One must come here to see the Cathédrale Sainte-Croix (see post apart) at 10 rue Gobelets,where Jeanne d’Arc came to celebrate Mass in 1429AD. There is a church here since 330AD destroyed ,fires, and always rebuilt from kings of France to 1829 when finally all restored. its great inside and statue of Jeanne d’Arc is superb.  The Hôtel Groslot,(see post apart) built between 1550-1555 by Jacques Groslot bailif of Orleans. kings Charles IX, Henri III,and Henri IV stayed here ! It now houses the mayors office of the city since 1790, it is splendidly richly decorated. The Maison de Jeanne d’Arc is where she lodge from april 24 to May 9 1429AD, rebuilt to identical after its destruction with the bombings of WWII.   The place du Martroi, symbolic heart of the city has a huge equestrian statue of Jeanne d’Arc where she is bigger than the horse, at WWII this sculpture was partially destroyed and it was rebuilt by sculptor Paul Belmondo ,father of the famous actor Jean-Paul Belmonde.  The Hôtel Hatte, 15C, where it now houses the Center Charles Péguy, a native writer/poet .  The Church of Notre Dame de Recouvrance built between 1513-1519 has a choir altar from Second Empire in renaissance style. For walks do it by rue de Bourgogne and rue de l’Empereur for wonderful medieval ambiance as well as Rue Royale. The Musée des Beaux-Arts, Place Ste Croix, is very nice with works from Velazquez, Van Dyck, Jan Brueghel, Tintoret,  and works of Rodin,Maillol, Picasso etc, really nice. admission is 3€ only for tuesdays to saturdays and sundays afternoons. Walk too the pont George V the oldest bridge in the city, built in 1751-1760 and runs for about 1,2 kms.



We stayed there at the Mercure hotel at 44-46 quai Barentin overlooking the river Loire and near pont George V.  Mercure hotel Centre at Orleans, usual great service by the chain,pool and good resto. walking distance to the best and easy in and out of the city by car. However,there is plenty of accommodation in the city to choose for all budgets.  The Mercure hotel resto Le Chaland was good too and cheaper at menus from 13,50€.

The tourist office for the city of Orléans is at Tourist office of Orléans on things to see    , and  and area metro of Orléans in French : Metro Orleans tourist office on Joan of Arc in French , and the regional Loire Valley here: Regional Loire Valley tourist office on Orleans


my family front of city hall Orléans

Enjoy the city of Orléans . We did too!!! See more pictures on sights posts in the blog.

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





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