Archive for April 5th, 2019

April 5, 2019

Honfleur, Fête des Marins!!!

I come here often and sometimes no photos nor stories just drive by ,its personal for me. My mother Rosa Gladys lies in the ocean buried at sea, and now my dear late wife Martine too. The special that attract them and us here was the  Fête des Marins ,and we have come several times I believe this was our first Navy/marines Festival or Fête des Marins, it was their 152nd edition back in May 2013. This is a re post for the memories.

For the newbies, the tourist office offers an inmense amount of information and the latest news on Honfleur (I am on email alerts). The second most visited place in Normandy after Mont Saint Michel. We admire the architecture, the history of seamen and discoveries such as Samuel Champlain who discoverd Quebec in Canada. The seafood and cider, and calvados all around you, the friendly folks always willing to chat with you and even offer you a treat in a store; this is my Honfleur. I am glad I can again share it with my readers and family. Their tourist office webpage :

From its wonderful breads and sweets at Aux Blé d’Or bakery at 41 rue du Dauphin, wonderful all made in house by the best in town; always a stop.


We arrive early so rather than the pale hotel breakfast we headed for the Cafe de Paris on 2 quai des passengers , and had the first encounter with the fisherman and tells of their stories as far as New Zealand. no web just the tel +33 02 31 89 33 44 just around the corner from the boat ramps on your way to the jardin public and the statues of personages of the city.


We wonder around visiting many places of old such as the Church St Leonard, and the lavoirs or laundry baths, or the great Church of Sainte Catherine with its Mass on the fisherman and their marine brothers. We walk and walk all over after having park our car in the nice parking de la mole for four euros per day!  We re visited the Lieutenant ,the old house by the bassin vieux port.


Entering Mass service for the Fête des Marins at Church Sainte Catherine


early before service on Church Sainte Catherine Fête des Marins Mass

We took a boat ride into the majestic pont de normandie , on the Jolie France ,great folks keeping you at bay of the time by sms telephone messaging, wonderful service. We took the ride into the water we enjoy so much as a family for many years and remember coming here with my dear Mom.


We had our lunch around the same area as breakfast by the quai des passengers almost across from the jardin public, the Bistrot à Crêpes; again no webpage just the tel +33 02 31 89 74 96. Very nicely serve with great steaks, burgers,and salads, good coffees, great ice cream italian homemade, and the beer heineken.


You come here for the museum of Eugéne Boudin and Erick Satie ,but ,also, the muséé de la marine to know the history of boating and fisherman here, very deep tradition. webpage for all here



You, also, come here for the galeries of art , so many and so nice all over town, however, we all have our favorites. Mine are still the galerie du Dauphin

You come to shop at the latest opening of the Maison du Cidre Rosé, very nice folks and plenty of choices from Normandy. They represent many brands the most important coming from the Biscuterie Jeannette of Cabourg, as well as a nice museum in back,cider making, interesting! more here:



However, the main interest to come here over the weekend of Pentecôte is the Fête des Marins! From the city of Honfleur site you see the next one the 158th edition here:

It all begins on Saturday 18 May, (next one is in June 8th 2019) with sailing and races on the vieux Bassin, expositions of model boats at the petit Grenier à Sel,photos on this year the 100th coronation ceremony at the Church Notre Dame de Grâce in the côte de grâce hill. Sunday 19 May you have the big Mass at the Church of Sainte Catherine at 10h and later the depart of the parade of Amis Honfleurais to the monument of the fallen at sea where a large ceremony is held. From 14h45 the big blues concert by JJ Blues by the carrousel/Lieutenant area in the vieux bassin. AT 17h the boarding of the Officials for the benediction at sea, and at 21h choral concert Scamlevilla at the Church of Saint Leonard .  Monday 20 May, you come to the assembly in front of the hôtel de ville.By 9h a parade on the streets of Honfleur by more than 100 musicians, boat models,, children, officials, city,regional representatives and the people. You see the laying of a wreath on the monument to the French memory or monument du souvenir français and on the monument to the fallen or monument aux Morts, the church officials will join us in front of the Church of Saint Catherine.  At 10h the banner of Pierre Berthelot is given to a chosen mariners/fisherman and sign the book of gold in the chapel of the church Notre Dame de Grâce. By 10h30 Mass in plein air with the benediction of the marines and boats and service for the dead. 12h30 we returned to the Hôtel de Ville with chanting of the La Marseillaise national anthem,and by 13h the diplomas given to the winning of the military preparation for the Normandie region.




And home as a happy camper,we will be in May this year for our personal trip. Enjoy Honfleur,and Normandy!

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

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April 5, 2019

And wines of my Spain, it is!!!

Ok as I was cerfified on both commercial offices of France and Spain, on wine knowledge and expertise, and citizen of both countries … I did a previous one on the latest news on France,and why not on Spain! An always exciting country for wine, for many years left in decay and from the last 20 or so slowly coming back out with its great potential. I love the Riberas, Rias, Riojas, Toro, Jumillas, sherries, and especially all of the Castillas with especial emphasis on Castilla La Mancha. Ok so that’s me bragging, now for the news!

Uclés (also famous for a great monastery see my previous post) is a small denomination of Castellano-Manchega origin that seeks to be noted in a sea of bulk and table wines of low profitability. Conditions are not lacking, from its more than 800 meters of height to the continental climate with strong thermal differential, passing through the soils that both give quantity and, suitably cultivated, quality. Finca La Estacada, of the family Cantarero Rodríguez, started in 2001. A large family rooted in the Cuenca área of which some created Bodegas Fontana, a landmark renovator in its time; Others follow the trail with Finca La Estacada, which has its greatest achievement in this selection of varietals. They are part of a successful combination of grapes that bring their seal to the aromatic range laden with ripe fruit, which is adorned with spices and roasted oak, perhaps too present. Powerful, juicy, fresh and long wine, not surprising but convincing. Finca La Estacada. Tarancón (Cuenca) DO: Uclés Red Reserva, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo,Merlot and Syrah. One of my best finds lately staying in this área of Castilla La Mancha. More Info click here:

Rigorous, restless, imaginative, convincing, Victoria Pariente and daughter Martina offer masterful elaborations with the Verdejo variety. And they do it in all forms: young crianzas, aged on lees, fermented in ovoid deposits of clay cement, fermented and bred in oak. And now they surprise with this farm wine that represents the culmination of a pioneer saga in the difficult task of dignifying the whites of Rueda when few believed it possible. For this they have chosen the grapes of a small vineyard in the plot Las Comas, where vegetative strains planted in 1910, have waited to have an exceptional vintage, and finally, fermented and bred with its lees in a barrel of 2,250 liters for 12 months. On a reverberating surface of gravel, ripe fleshy fruit covered by the fresh balsamic touch of the herbal fields, and enriched with subtle floral notes, in discreet wooden background suggesting toasted spices. Slender, soft, full, long. Jose Pariente La Seca (Valladolid) DO: White Rueda crianza, 13.5% Verdejo.More Info click here:

It began by opening the way of the Albariño, soon surpassed by the Verdejo, which now feels the breath of Godello. It is not surprising that the most dynamic wineries in Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Penedès have expanded their offer with wines from Rías Baixas, Rueda, Valdeorras and Bierzo. The last one to bet on Godello is Emilio Moro. They began buying vineyards and land in the highest area of Bierzo, then building the winery. They begin by enticing the terrain, with small productions, and two marks, The El Zarzal and the La Revelia. It is a white fermented in French oak barrels of 500 liters, aged on eight-month lees. Precise elaboration that achieves a cleanly varietal aroma, with the bone fruit wrapped in leaves and dry flower notes, and a citrus freshness in the shaded atmosphere of the smoked oak. Tasty, enveloping, leaves an elegant fruity memory. Emilio Moro. Pesquera de Duero (Valladolid) OD: Bierzo Blanco crianza, Godello 13.5%  More Info click here:

Point apart. As above El Zarzal, Bodegas Emilio Moro, Castilla y León (Bierzo), 2017, White Godello, 13.50 º . Aromatically fine, with laurel, dried flowers and a stony background. Very greedy, powerful and with good persistence and texture. Notes of green figs. It will improve in bottle even more. Lovely tasted good. More Info click here:

The Ribera del Duero denomination of origin, which houses vineyards located in Castilla y León, has become one of the most vibrant Spanish wine regions. Each of these bottles can be purchased on the Internet for less than 10 euros, but it depends on your geographical region.

Viña Sastre Roble 2017 14%. This emblematic winery of La Horra, founded by the Sastre family in 1992, is characterized by its traditional style, faithful to its terroir and vineyards. 45 hectares of property located at a certain altitude. Viña Sastre Roble is characterized by being 100% of the Tinta del Pais, the local name of the Tempranillo variety, and for its long ageing, of nine months in American and French oak casks, which gives the whole complexity. It is a wine of deep cherry color, of elegant nose of black wild forest with a touch roasted and of licorice; Deep and sensual in the mouth, of great fruitiness, fresh for its good acidity and balanced bitterness. More Info click here:

Melior de Matarromera Roble 2016  14%. Carlos Moro founded its Matarromera Winery in 1988, in the heart of La Ribera, in Valbuena de Duero. At present, there are 90 hectares of vineyards mainly of the Tempranillo variety, whose ripe bunches are harvested by hand to prevent their breakage and to express their best quality. The 2016 Melior Roble performs a six month ageing in oak casks, and its color is a deep dark cherry red color, fruit of its youth. On the nose displays seductive notes of red and black wild, blackberries and blueberries, and interacting touches with notes of quality. It is tasty, juicy and very fruity, with a medium, fresh-pitched body, very aromatic and fine; fluid, with volume and full of sensations, of elegant bitterness, very balanced, with a pleasant mineral finish. It is a very elegant, harmonious, round and balanced wine. More Info click here:

Celeste 2017 14%. Celeste is the definitive bet of the Torres family, of the well-known bodega of Penedés, on the Ribera del Duero. Its winery, baptized as Pagos del Cielo  with vineyards located at high altitude, is located in Campos de Peñafiel (Valladolid). Celeste 2017 is made of fine red and a three month ageing in French and American oak casks. It has a deep dark cherry color of youth, and displays a fine aroma of blackberries with a floral touch of violets, and a pleasant end of cocoa and bitter chocolate. Greedy, with an attractive rusticity, half-bodied, with fine bitterness, fruity finish and pleasurable persistence. These characteristics make it a very balanced wine, and with a delicious final minerality.  More Info click here:

La Planta 2017, 14.5%. The La Planta is the oak wine of the famous Bodega Arzuaga Navarro, well known for its spectacular winery in the Golden Mile, between Peñafiel and Valladolid. The Arzuaga Family founded it in the early nineties, surrounded by a spectacular spot with vibrant native fauna and flora. Its vineyards, of which 150 hectares are owned, are located in the prestigious Valladolid region where the Tempranillo grape variety continues to dominate. The 2017 La Planta is made from vineyards located at an altitude of 900 meters and the grapes are macerated in cold, which then ferment at a controlled temperature of 25 º C (77F). Finally, the wine performs a 6 month ageing in American oak casks. To the eye it possesses the typical color of its youth, an intense cherry color and bruised. In the nose it displays pleasing notes of black wilds of forest, blackberries, currants, blueberries, with a pleasant toasted oak bottom. Meaty, of ample craving, with notes of vanilla of cast wood , being tasty, of ample fruitiness and with body. In short, a satisfying wine, with the final memory of the sweetness of vanilla. More Info click here:

Valtravieso Finca Santa María 2017 ,14%. Very close to Peñafiel, in one of the most stony and high moors of the Ribera del Duero at 915 meters, stands the Bodega Valtravieso. Founded in 1985, it has some 60 hectares of vineyards, where it not only cultivates the emblematic fine tinta del pais variety, but a small extension of the grapes of French Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The peculiarity of its oak-type wine Valtravieso Finca Santa Maria is that the grapes come exclusively from this farm, where it intervenes in 95% of Tempranillo with a touch of 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the final blend of wine makes a six month ageing in oak barrels. Its cherry color, very concentrated, makes you think of a wine with a body. Its aroma is of fresh fruit, with strawberries of forest and currants, and a touch of black plum, as well as balsamic country herbs. The entrance of the mouth is different from the other Riberas, by the French varieties, very potent, tannic and virile, with body and a vivid bitterness in equilibrium with its vibrant acidity, which brings freshness, and very marked end of currants. It is a very tasty wine, corporeal, powerful and balanced, long remembered. More Info click here:

The climate, the grape variety and the elaboration process are essential for the wine, yes. But so is the land where the vine is cultivated. As a general rule, the most suitable terrain should have a proportion of limestone, clay and silicon components so that the wine has finesse, potency, intensity, character and freshness. Having this in mind these wines selection below will tantalize your taste bugs!

Navaherreros 2016 . San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid). DO: Vinos de Madrid. Red Crianza, Garnacha 14.5%. Into from old Garnachas bred in French oak. Intense aroma, with candied notes of red wild, flower and spices. Tasty, fruity finish. More Info click here:

Teneguía Caletas 2015 . Fuencaliente (La Palma). DO: La Palma. Canary Islands. White Crianza, 13%.With local grapes Vijariego, Malvasia, Albillo, Sabro, Gual and Listán. Go back to my roots!. Achieved a combination of white varieties of free standing for an aromatic landscape of elegant fruity complexity, with floral notes and pastries souvenirs on a smoked background. Soft and greedy. More Info click here:

From the Rioja wines to the Parmesan or Manchego cheese and the Spanish turrón from Jijona (nougat), the European products with denomination of origin must be protected before the Brexit or risk that third parties will appropriate their brand and reputation. This was raised in statements to EFE agency by Massimo Vittori, director of OriGIn, a non-profit organization that from 2003 represents more than 500 associations of producers of goods with Denomination of Origin(DO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), in they are of forty countries. However, note the pact has not been approved by the British Parliament. And, if by April 12 there is no agreement, the United kingdom could leave the block with nothing, which means that legal protection over the PGI’s would disappear in a coup. He said “All appellations of origin must register as soon as possible as a mark in the UK ” More info about OriGIn Click here:

Already past but interesting. In the Circle of Fine Arts (Circulo de Bellas Artes)  in Madrid the First International Congress on Traditional Wines of Andalusia (CIVTA), was held. The objectives of this Congress are basically three: to claim the common historical origin of the traditional wines made in Andalusia and transmitting it’s personality; to defend the singularity, exclusivity and quality; and define and discuss the current situation of wines, as an important factor in the economic and social development of the production area. The four regulatory councils that have promoted this Congress are Denomination of Protected Origin (DOP) Montilla-Moriles, DOP Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, DOP Malaga and DOP Condado de Huelva. They are highly recognized at the professional level, but very little understood by the final consumer.Indeed as to most wines of Andalucia.  And that is the great handicap that they have, because they are wines that have always been associated also to a moment of consumption that is not the table. However, this is changing now to joined them now to the gastronomy, to the great chefs, that in Andalusia are right now a reference, is the fundamental aspect that they want to emphasize . Thus, there has been an interesting pairing by four chefs with Michelin stars: Xanty Elías (from the restaurant  Acánthum, Huelva), Kisco García (from Choco,Cordoba), José Carlos García (from the Malaga restaurant of the same name) and Juanlu Fernandez (who after spending ten years with Ángel León decided just over a year to open Lú, Cocina y Alma (Lú, Kitchen and Soul) and in a few months got his star. The four have presented a gastronomic fusion, elaborating dishes that have paired with the wines of their provinces. They have probably the best driest wines in the world and also probably the best sweetest in the world. More Information click here:

There you go, come to the sunny Spain and indulge in its superb gastronomy and each time better and better wines. Spain everything under the sun! Drink in moderation but keep the traditions alive, wine is part of our every day lives, en vino veritas!!!

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






April 5, 2019

Suresnes and Bois de Boulogne!!!

I had my thrill of getting my father at CDG coming back from visit to his sister in Fla USA. Now i am narrowing it down the last détails for my trip on summer vacation…shhhh! And the house garden is coming along with some decorations ::) This is a re post from June 2014 you need to see more!

But my trip was of course my car, the best way to travel anywhere! We took off on the N12 ,A12, A13, D7 all the way to our hotel in Suresnes ,just for a one night rest before getting to CDG at T2E for the AF flight direct non stop.  And we chose the Campanile Pont de Suresnes as it was the city where I once worked!.


mount valerien train station direct from Paris Saint Lazare

The hotel was small rooms as usual, minimum bare amenities so only good for the one night, the breakfast at 9,50€ was too much for the continental breakfast buffet offered; the parking was one of the narrowest I have taken here and have a few::: the only good thing was the location right by the pont de Suresnes over the Bois de Boulogne and Porte Maillot Paris ;more here:


Always passed by it never entered and finally on the visit use it, not that great. We did went up to Mont Valérien with a view of Paris and the American Cementary at Suresnes, from the French side a mémorial to those executed there by the Nazis. More here:

And from the American side a cementary to the Fallen from WWI and WWII,  more here:


We walked around the town for me nice memories of a good company and friends that still in touch, one must move on for better without forgetting the old good moments, and Suresnes was a very good moment.  The wonderful hotel de ville architecturally stunning, the levies on the Seine, the pont de Suresnes, and our lunch once again at my old lunch place Lotus d’Or restaurant , here   same wonderful folks and great oriental food.



I went by old places of lunch like the Donatello Italian resto, at the place i write in French, as they have no webpage  use Yelp:

Stop by Le Rives,


The L’Entrepôt St Claude brasserie,


And they change Le Berry now there is a Gastronomie Plancha  webpage here:


And I stop by my favorite Irish pub in town LE PUB,


The Charlie Birdie on the quais looking at the Seine and Bois de Boulogne, has closed (as those in Paris), and my favorite bakery in town for those sweets and the fast formule Au Pain de Suresnes,


And the bar le Lafayette ,where many apéros were taken after work!,more here:


And of course great public transports to leave my car in the basement garage at work and just go over quick to Paris by metro, bus or tramway…. for more enjoyment!  And of course from Suresnes why not drive into the Bois de Boulogne and see the Grand Cascade, the Hippodrome Longchamps, the Moulin, the wonderful Fondation Louis Vuitton, the wonderful Auberge du bonheur, and the wonderful again jardin d’Acclimatation that my kids remember when younger taken the petit train still there!!! and the ladies still doing their hustle at 7PM (19H) lol!!!

This is it, another time in tinsel town ,city of lights and the memorable return to my place of Suresnes, oh yes the McDonalds at place Henri IV oohh you are going to kill me but just for the memories sakes of course big mac anyone ?

The City of Suresnes on heritage ,what to see is here: City of Suresnes on heritage

Hope you catch on this time, this is a very nice area of Suresnes,  in the off the beaten path for visitors. And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

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April 5, 2019

The Abbeys of Plouharnel

So, in my previous post I told you about wonderful beach and megaliths stones in close by Plouharnel. But this off the beaten path gem has a lot more and I like to tell you about it.

As you know Plouharnel is just south of my town say about 25 km or 15 miles. It is in the Morbihan dept 56 of Brittany. And it has two wonderful abbeys that looks like only one! Let me tell you a bit about these two that can be visited, the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan and the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Michel.

The Abbey of Sainte-Anne de Kergonan is a Benedictine Abbey and is part of the Solesmes congregation.The jewel of neo-roman art, the Abbey of Sainte-Anne de Kergonan is built in grey granite. The monks ‘ Church was built in 1968 , and comprises a set of non-figurative stained glass.

The Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan little story  started in 1897  when  10 monks who came from Solesmes, under the guidance of dom Paulin Joumier are welcomed at Kergonan . In 1901 the religious buildings are not allowed and the monks leave for Belgium, the property is turn into a school; in 1914 the community becomes autonomous; and the monks come back from exile in 1920.  In 1942, the monastery, close to the « Atlantic Wall » of WWII, and  is commandeered by the Nazis. The monks seek refuge in the Chartreuse of Auray. By 1943, the community settles at the castle of  Nétumières, near Vitré. By  1946, the monks come back from exile. In 1968 the construction of the abbey Church is began.

In Sainte-Anne de Kergonan, the day of the monks is punctuated by the Vigil, the first Office that gathers the community in the Church for a prayer of Psalms and readings. The laudes, the great Office of praise in the morning. After breakfast, grooming and cleaning, the monks continue in cell their Lectio Divina (reading things that speak of God). The Mass sung, introduced by the Psalms of third. The Office of Sexte precedes the 14h meal in the refectory. With a quiet lunch, the monks listen to a reading, then go directly to the Office of None, followed by recreation. The afternoon is devoted to manual work for outdoor maintenance, crafts…   The Vespers: great Office of the evening to say thank you and forgiveness to God for the past day. Then, several times a week, the community meets to hear a spiritual teaching of the Father Abbot. After dinner 19h30, the Office of Compline is the prayer that gathers the monks before dark. And the offices and the Mass are sung in Gregorian, according to the tradition of the Congregation of Solesmes.

The handicraft occupies an important place in the daily life of the Benedictine. The monastery shop offers artisanal products such as apples, compotes, ceramics and earthenware, Gregorian chant CDs made by the monks of Sainte-Anne, as well as products from other monasteries and local handicrafts.

Official site of the Abbey of Sainte Anne de Kergonan

Tourist office of Plouharnel on Ste Anne



Adjacent there is the Abbey benedictine of Saint Michel , at the end of WWI it was house by US troops. The Abbey of Saint-Michel de Kergonan is a Benedictine monastery, depending on the Solesmes congregation and located next to the above abbey. It was founded in 1898 by the Abbaye Sainte-Cécile de Solesmes and has several nuns.

This Abbey of Saint Michel de Kergonan , possesses not only a long history of the tradition of Gregorian chant but also that of its precious audience for this tradition. The Abbey still supports Gregorian chant, not only in favor of its offices but also by participating in publications. Thus, it helped write the Gregorian Hours released in 2008. Moreover, the   choir sister Marie-Emmanuel Pierre, published a book on Gregorian chant in 2005: Cantabo Domino. Five Abbesses have succeeded Saint-Michel de Kergonan.

Official site for the Abbey of Saint Michel de Kergonan

Tourist office of Plouharnel on St Michel


You need to come here by car from the express way N165 ,along the D768/781 direction Quiberon, once at Plouharnel bear left on the circle and slow down will read the panels. In summer you can take the train tire bouchon from Auray with a stop at Plouharnel.

Hope you enjoy the post it is very nice historical , greatly done archictecturally and very nicely done biscuits by the monks! This is the abbeys of Plouharnel!

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


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