Archive for March 28th, 2019

March 28, 2019

The Chouans of Auray and Bretagne!

Let’s be a bit historical on our travels. I like to mentioned a bit about the Chouans, the folks of the country of Brittany in France. These folks were not in agreement to go the way of the French revolution,and were Royals and Catholics. They were led amongst others by General Cadoudal, a native son of Auray, where I used to lived when move into this region on a village next door.

The Chouannerie was in effect a civil war between Republicans (those for the French revolution) and Loyalists troops in the areas of the west of France such as Brittany, but also by others in  Maine, Anjou, and Normandy.  It was linked to the war of the Vendée ,and many times the two are known as the wars of the west. Wars rage from 1791 until 1800, from guerrilla warfare to frontal attacks all over the region. Uprisings took effect in 1815 and 1832 all subdued by the Republicans.

In Brittany by 1791, the Marquis de La Rouerie (already distinguished in the American Revolution as Colonel Armand) with the support of the count of Artois (the king Louis XVI  brother and later King Charles X)  created the clandestine Breton association or Association Bretonne that puts together a group having the Catholic dioceses as the principal objective the defense of the Monarchy, against Republicanism, the conservation of property ,and the establishement of laws and customs belonging to Brittany.  The war had in the Royal and Catholic army of Vannes led by General Cadoudal  that dominates in the Morbihan (today dept 56 of Brittany where I live), was formed of peasants for the most part,and after much battles and fronts led by many, the 25 February of 1795 Gen Georges Cadoudal goes to Paris and meets with Napoleon I  on March 4th (Palais de Tuileries), Cadoudal was offered many goodies but he refuse them all and decides to continue the fight first from exile in London. On May 10, Cadoudal is received by the Count of Artois at London ; that names him General in charge of the Catholic and Royal army of Brittany; ten days later he is met by William Pitt (prime minister) that offered to land 30000 men  at Calais and Brittany and 30000 more if he raises an army of 60K men .Cadoudal comes over by May 10th and lands in the Morbihan. The victory of Napoleon at Morango stops William Pitt to send the troops may even if peace is signed between England and France the war of the Chouans do not. In 1803 Cadoudal lands in Dieppe after gaining Paris to try to capture Napoleon he is betrayed and captured ,  and he finally is executed in 1804 at the place de Gréves (today pl Hotel de Ville) refusing all honors or pardons. Ironically the men to chase these chouans was Lazare Hoche, the general of the king and later Napoleon who is a native of Versailles, now buried there, and the famous Pl Hoche named after him in the city.

The family home in the village of  Kerleano next to Auray, is still hold by descendants of the General, and he is buried in a Chapel next to it, now entoured by a wonderful tree park,it is a place of pilgrimages by all Bretons. Yes heroes last for the people, Georges Cadoudal, was born in Kerleano commune de Brech January 1 1771 and died guillotined on June 25 1804 in Paris, a chouan General. Later he was posthumously name Marshal of France. If he had suceed in taken down Napoleon history would have been a lot different! To visit his tomb and park you need a car from the Auray train station that you arrive from Paris Montparnasse. The house is in private of the family and is not visited but you can see fairly well from outside. Today the Breton language is taught in schools as an elective and already taken by more than 700K students. The city webpage in French with more information on this monument is at  City of Auray on heritage see Le Reclus Kerleano

Auray

Auray

Auray

These area is close to my home, and I past by it everyday to work, I am sure more stories will surface.  You can make by car off N165 direction sortie 34 go by two round abouts circles and you will see the sign on your right, the site is well posted after that on each turn.

Enjoy this bit of history very hidden from the main stream of France but real and must be known if you are into history as I. Remember, Cadoudal of Auray at Kerleano! 

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

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!!!

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March 28, 2019

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie ,Auch!

And I take you deeper into south deep France of the region of Occitanie and the dept 32 of the Gers, the wonderful expression of French culinary arts in and around the city of Auch. It is more famous for a personage name D’Artagnan but it has a wonderful Cathedral that I like to tell you more of it now.

Sit back and enjoy as I do on the St Mary’s Cathedral or Cathédrale Sainte Marie of Auch!

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie or Saint Mary’s Cathedral is located in Auch. The Cathedral was always dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. A large three-aisle building, 102 meters long by 35 meters wide, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Auch. Begun in July 1489, on the ruins of the Romanesque cathedral of Saint-Austinde, it was consecrated in 1548, but two centuries were necessary to complete its construction.   It is of flamboyant Gothic style, strongly influenced by the Renaissance. It was completed at the end of the 17C by a façade and a Corinthian porch. It includes a set of 21 chapels. It is especially noteworthy by a series of eighteen canopies, works by Arnaud de Moles, and by the panelling of the choir, including the 113 stalls, of unknown authors, which continue following the biblical scenes begun on the canopies

auch

A bit of history I like

The first cathedral would have been built in the Gers plain. It was ruined by the Saracens (moors arabs) in the 9C. Ayrard was the first bishop of Auch who received the title of archbishop in a letter from Pope John VIII dated 879. The archbishops will tried to rebuild their cathedral, several times after. The construction of the present Cathedral of St Mary began by bishops and city people who had the taste, if not passion, of the construction of the churches. There were concessions of indulgences for those who would help in the reconstruction of the cathedral from 1469 to 1482. The first stone is laid in 1489!

A bit more on the construction and architecture

The Cathedral of Saint Mary began with the crypt with its five chapels. The construction continued through the ambulatory and its chapels. In 1507, the bedside and chorus of the cathedral until the transept-except the vaults above the sanctuary-were completed. The coat of arms of François de Savoie and Jean-François de la Trémoille can be seen at the base of the buttresses around the choir. It was Cardinal François de Clermont-Lodève who gave a new impetus to the construction of the Cathedral. His coat of arms appears on the fourteen buttresses on the south side. The stained glass windows, made between 1507 and 1513, adorn the eighteen low-lying window of the bedside. It was ,also commissioned the altar of Sainte-Catherine made in 1521, the tomb and the stalls. In 1544, the work reached the level of one of the sundial. The Cathedral was consecrated on 12 February 1548 while the construction of the nave, aisles and doors continued. In 1561, the second sundial is engraved on the south facade. The erection of the steeples had to began around 1559. It was in 1560 the door of the north aisle were finished, and by 1609, the main nave did not yet have a vault. Only the ambulatory and the chapels are vaulted. The western façade is not yet finished, as well as the sculptures of the lateral porches In 1629 ; the altar of the Blessed Sacrament is consecrated capped with a ciborium, a stone canopy carved up to date and then the essentials of the nave and its vaulting are made the stained glass windows of the nave are put in 1641.

Auch

The Cathédrale Sainte Marie choir is almost a church in a church with its vast dimensions,   meters by 12 meters. It is completely fenced by the monumental altarpiece and by the stalls on the other three sides. The choir received, a mosaic pavement and, in its outer perimeter, a rich light oak coating . The Cathédrale Sainte Marie is equipped with two organ of different periods: the Organ of the Tribune or great organ, finished in June 1694; and the Chorus organ of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll, of Romantic period, designed a ensemble acting as a rood at the rear of the stalls with a choir organ surmounted by a great Calvary in the late Gothic style.

Auch

It was possible to access the crypt from the St Mary’s Cathedral by two staircases, one of which is walled in the north. Since the crypt was only to redeem the difference in levels due to the slope, it is at the same level with the courtyard of the former archdiocese. It comprises five chapels placed under the chapels of the ambulatory. The steeple towers are the last floors of the towers. Their sculpted decor, finished in 1680 and are occupied by a ringing of nine bells. Eight are in the North tower. The tower of the clock carries the heaviest of them: the Bumblebee dedicated to the Virgin Mary, done in 1852 and weighing 6 750 kg (2.18 meters in diameter).

Auch

On 3 October 1793 the county council decided to destroy the coats of arms on the walls and vaults of the St Mary’s Cathedral (French revolution). The constitutional bishop is put in prison and the maintenance of the cathedral is no longer assured. In 1808, Napoleon I promised during a stint at Auch to allocate sums for the restoration of the cathedral. The exterior of the St Mary’s Cathedral was built following a plan in Latin cross with nave-nave and aisle-sides-with peripheral chapels and an unflowing transept. Access to the cathedral is through five portals: three to the West giving access to the nave and the aisles, and one to each end of the transept. Inside there are 21 Chapels!!

auch

Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip are

Tourist office of Auch on the Cathedral

Tourist office of Gers on the Cathedral

TOurist office of region of Occitanie on things to see

Lovely old backwaters area we love to go and plenty of activities with of course the wonders of my belle France such as the St Mary’s Cathedral of Auch. Enjoy it!

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

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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!!!

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