Archive for May 22nd, 2019

May 22, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXXI

And back at you with my regular some news from France posts; thank you for reading and hoping always you can use it and enjoy it. We have summer weather here in France with sunshine and 20C in my neck of the woods Vannes or about 70F; while in Paris we have the same sunshine and 69F. As many friends and family tells me now time to enjoy the beach, oh yeah I still work here lol!!!

And now let me give something to rant about at least me. The landscape changes of Paris will be detrimental to continue holding the No 1 most visited city in the world if the continuing changes do follow up. The latest is again on restrictions.

In 2024, Parisians will be able to cross the Seine river on foot!, from Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower. The surroundings of the monument will be transformed into a huge garden, according to the project “Grand site Eiffel Tower: discovering, approaching, visiting” launched by the city mayor’s office back in January 2018. And the questions are beginning to come in, where are going to drive a car? On both sides of the Pont d’Iéna, at best motorists hesitate to take the project seriously, at worst they are criticize it as “a new anti-car charge of the Mayor of Paris! On the other hand, on the sidewalks of the bridge, looks and cameras pointed at the Eiffel Tower, phones in selfie mode and bus tickets in hands, most passersby rejoice. Normal, it is the visitors of the Eiffel Tower, dumped by tourist buses or by the Parisian Metro!!. One local explained “In this neighborhood the sidewalks are wide enough for people to circulate quietly, there are already many pedestrian facilities, cyclists etc! I myself have been cycling for 10 years, and there are bike paths 3 times wider than car lanes. Traffic becomes very difficult especially for merchants, and for all those who need the car, they should not be forgotten!”.

This is the impressive project unveiled this past  Tuesday in the late afternoon by Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, who will literally disrupt the Trocadero landscape at the école Militaire passing through the Pont d’Iéna to be soon vegetated and very much pedestrian,  and of course the Champ-de-Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Kathryn Gustafson, is the architect whose project was selected this past Tuesday by the tender Commission, among the 4 finalists projects. This American landscaper,  who studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Paysage de Versailles ! will draw and rethink 50 ha in the heart of Paris. Place du Trocadéro, no more roundabout around the equestrian statue of Marshal Foch. The cars will circulate in double direction on the outer part. New bleachers in the central open ground on the Parvis will offer both 12 000 seats and a view of the tower. The Parvis des Droits de l’Homme ( human rights square)  remains unchanged, but below, again, the gardens of Chaillot will be transformed by bleachers that will stretch all along the basin and water games. A set of kiosks and harmonized booths will offer souvenirs, treats and information. The place de Varsovie ( Warsaw) will be totally reserved for pedestrians. The Pont d’Iéna will be, between 2021 and 2023, totally wooded and planted with lawns. Only public transport and emergency vehicles will pass through the existing lanes instead of the current sidewalks. Quai Branly, in the direction of Bir-Hakeim, the cars will be relegated to the tunnel. On the surface, a track at 20 km/h will allow the passage of cars in the opposite direction. Another one will be reserved for buses. Objective: to facilitate the crossing by pedestrians from the quay to the Eiffel Tower. The place Joffre will also have to be reviewed. To this is added a continuous walk to Bir-Hakeim, creations of luggage storage, requalification of the kiosks, highlighting of the site… All this is planned, in a first phase, for the 2024 Olympics. At the Pavillon de l’Arsenal, visitors will be able to discover them and project themselves in the 4 pedestrian projects that have been proposed. Two virtual reality helmets will be made available. Info: 21 Boulevard Morland 4éme. Free exhibition, from Tuesday to Sunday from 11h to 19h. Guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays at 17h. More info on Paris mayor’s office in French here :

Until 2 September 2019, the children’s Gallery of the Centre Pompidou proposes to learn about the practices of prehistory in contemporary fashion.  It welcome children with animators and guides. From 4 years old. Centre Pompidou 4éme, Children’s Gallery, open from 11h  to 19h daily except Tuesday. Accessible with the entrance ticket, in connection with the exhibition “Prehistory, a modern enigma”. Rates: 11-14€.  More info here :

It is a large-scale restoration that has just begun at the Church of St. Louis de lÏle 4éme). The work in this church is expected to be completed in spring 2022. Know that worship and concerts continue to be assured. The restoration of the Spire, a steeple in stone of 18C, is one of the main points of the construction site which includes the renovation of facades and stained glass windows.  More on the Church here:

Marnes-la-Coquette is decidedly a separate town. The least populated town of the Hauts-de-Seine (dept 92) attracted the greatest. In the early 1950’s, Jean Marais (famous French actor, director, writer, painter, sculptor, Potter and stunt man.) built a house on one level, where he lived from 1954 to 1971. Today, this house is for sale for 4.95 M €. At the time when Jean Marais bought the land, there was already a 19C hunting lodge Pavilion that has been renovated into a pool house. There is also a beautiful vegetable garden with cultivated greenhouses and vines of the 19C. The hero of the cloak and dagger films, Peau d’âne and Fantômas, also welcomed Jean Cocteau (Famous French poet, graphic designer, draughtsman, playwright and filmmaker). in his walls.   However, my passing to work by this town made me stop for the most important element here, the Memorial de l’Escadrille Lafayette (monument erected in memory of the volunteer American aviators engaged in WWI).More info on them here:

It is an exceptional heritage site but still little known. Built near Crépy-en-Valois in the 14C, the Donjon de Vez (Dungeon)  re-opens this past Monday with many novelties designed to seduce a wider audience. The Dungeon of Vez is the name usually given to the Castle of Vez, a 14C castle located in Vez in the Department of Oise (60). The Dungeon itself was built between 1390 and 1410 by Jean de Vez and probably his brother-in-law Robert of St. Clair, himself having remained  without descendants. It never belonged to Louis D’Orléans or a member of his family, but Jean de Vez was his Chamberlain and evidently appealed to an architect of the Royal or Ducal entourage. The pentagonal plan Dungeon has four livable floors, and its only defensive elements are its machicolations at the edge of the summit terrace. It is located on the edge of a large walled enclosure, partly contemporaneous, in the posterior part, and built on older foundations. In its center, there is a chapel of the same time as the castle and the ruin of the house from the years 1360/1390. In addition, exhibitions of modern and contemporary art are regularly organized such as sculptures, paintings and stained glass. More info here:

Musée des beaux-arts de Dijon or fine arts museum .Installed in this Palace of the Dukes and the States of Burgundy since 1799, the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts sweep a large period, from antiquity to the 19C. Renovated architecture, wider exhibition space (4 200 m2) and scenography more readable to rotate the approximately 130 000 works of the permanent collection. Not to mention the exhibition of the now local  Dijonais Yan Pei-Ming around the emotions. Located at 1, rue Rameau. More info here :

Moutarderie Fallot or Fallot mustard shop .It is one of the emblems of Burgundy, whose seed was historically cultivated in coal clearings. To become acquainted with the making of this condiment, the historical mustard Edmond Fallot proposes, in partnership with the tourist office, workshops of 1h15 to apprehend the manufacture and even realize its own mixture, to flavor according to its tastes. Tuesdays and Sundays, 11h  and 17h. 10€ admission, located at  16, rue de la Chouette .More info here :

The architect Philippe Maidenberg’s project for this hotel in the 2éme arrondissement of Paris, the 123 Sebastopol Hotel, as based on a film script: to succeed in associating in the same place, a Director, Claude Lelouch, a Screenwriter, Danièle Thompson, actors, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri, Elsa Zylberstein and a famous film music composer, Ennio Morricone… In the sixth fl (7 US), the universe is dedicated to Jean-Paul Belmondo, boxing atmosphere, gym, punching-ball; black and white rooms for Claude Lelouch on the fifth floor, blue for Danièle Thomson in the fourth, with a room inspired by La Boum. Improbable ties and moustache for the third floor, framed like paintings, evoking the main character incarnate by Jean-Pierre Bacri in the  Le Goût des autres (taste of others). The rooms on the floor imagined by Elsa Zylberstein evoke the world of dance under the eye of Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, whose portraits were chosen. When on the floor of Maestro Morricone, a decoration based on music, including a master score reproduced in giant format on the wall. Last cinematic touch: the entrance is done by pacing a red carpet. From 160€ for two, including breakfast . More info here:

Are you tired of having to go back to Uber(especial us locals)  because you missed the last subway and the night-time is coming in an hour? That should cheer you up: the Parisian Metro will be open all night from September 2019. For the time being, the test will take place one night a month, for 6 months. We already know the days concerned: Saturday 14 September, Saturday 12 October, Saturday 9 November, Tuesday 31 December, Saturday 11 January, Saturday 8 February and Saturday 7 March. The Metro will operate nonstop from Saturday to 5h30 until midnight Sunday night. But beware; experimentation does not concern all metro lines! Only lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 9 and 14 are affected. The T3 and T2 tram will also be part of the game. And be vigilant on your night trips by Metro, because not all stations will be serviced.  More info check RATP here :

From 22 May to 15 September, the Petit Palais celebrates Paris. More than 600 work, whether paintings, sculptures, costumes or even furniture, are gathered to honor the city of light during the romantic years. From the fall of Napoleon in 1815 to the revolution of 1848, these years represent a great period of founding the identity of Paris. The direction of the exhibition is made through various neighborhoods and iconic places of Paris, from Notre-Dame to the Latin Quarter and through the Palais-Royal. Very great artists are exhibited at the Petit Palais for this trip in romantic Paris. The works of Delacroix, Girodet, Chassériau, Préault or even Barye and many others are to be found at this exhibition, very Parisian and very complete. Paris Romantique, 1815-1848. Petit Palais ; Avenue Winston Churchill 8éme. More info here :

The French Opera was started at the beginning of the reign of king Louis XIV. Stemming from the Court Ballet in vogue under the last Valois and Italian Opera introduced in France by Cardinal Mazarin, it is in the ambiguous relationship between the affirmation of a national ambition and the aspiration to a transalpine model that is created the first Opera Academy in 1669. This exhibition celebrates the 350th anniversary of the first French lyric scene through a course that traces the activity of this institution, from the time of the Sun King to the French revolution.  The exhibition course revolves around 130 pieces, mostly from the collections of the BnF (national library of France) and the national archives. Manuscripts, drawings of costumes and projects of decorations are attached, among other things, to describe the process of impregnation of the Italian culture by the performing arts in France. The national and international influence of this great institution is also at the heart of the exhibition. Start: May 28, 2019 end: September 1, 2019. Bibliothèque-musée de l’Opéra , Palais Garnier, 8 rue Scribe. More info here :

There you go enjoy my belle France and sublime Paris. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!





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May 22, 2019

How about those European beers!

Ok lack of imagination for titles on my post well you know me by now… I like to tackle a special subject that can be travel related too. I if reading my blog very much into wines , collector, drinker, and amateur lover of the grapes and my god Bacchus ! Certified connasseur by France and Spain. However, I do indulge in other drinks such as beers.

For a friendly chat or apéro as we call it in France, sort of a happy hour US or after work UK, we tend to dwell into beers for the better and quicker conversation lol! Over the years I have appreciated them more and more and by now in my home we tend to divide the subject depending on the type of food we are going to serve. A barbecue of course it is always beers!  Therefore, let me write something on my favorite beers, as have done in the past with those of Brittany and others in my blog. Other than Breton, like the Duchesse Anne triple as the French do not know beers , sorry!!! we drink Belgians, Irish, or German beers at home and at bars. Of course, while in Spain , we do drink the beers there but only our favorite from Madrid Mahou. Lately, we have been trying Czech beers too lol!!!


Belgian beers are among the most varied and the most numerous beer collections in the world. They vary from the very popular “pils” to the exclusively Belgian appellations of lambic (spontaneous fermentation), old brunette, red beer or raw beer through the famous Trappists! and other Abbey or seasonal beers.  Since 2016, Belgian beer has been inscribed in the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO under the title: beer cultivation in Belgium.

The Guild of the Brewers of Bruges saw the day in 1308, that of Liège in 1357 and that of Brussels in 1365. In the 16C, the “Maison de l’Arbre d’Or” (house of the golden tree) on the Grand-Place in Brussels was bought by the Brewers from the upholsterers. Restored in 1638, the Brewers ‘ House was destroyed during the bombing of Brussels by Marshal Villeroy in 1695. Rebuilt between 1698 and 1707, it is embellished in 1749. After the abolition of the corporations, it was sold as a State property in 1793 under the French occupation. A bit of more recent history, in 1934: the monks of Westmalle brew the first triple, yes! In 1954, the House of Brewers on the Grand Place of Brussels becomes a corporatist house. In addition to the Brewers Guild and the Chevalerie du Fourquet, it houses a brewery museum in the basement (yes very nice). In  2007, was the creation of the Belgian family brewers label bringing together the family Breweries of more than 50 years of existence.  In 2008,  InBev merges with the American brewer Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch InBev is thus created and maintains its position as a world leader.

Authentic Trappist product at the moment, and six are located in Belgium: West-Vleteren, Westmalle (yes!) , Achel, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay (yes!). We know the doubles of the Trappist abbeys, but also the Sint Bernardus Pater, Maredsous (yes!)  and the Witkap Dubbel. The white beers, this type of beer, aged 400 years ago, had disappeared in the  1950’s, but was revived by Pierre Celis in his brewery in Hoegaarden.

Belgium beers webpage on tourism of beers


Guinness  is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120.  The acquisition in 1986 of Distillers company, a Scottish group, including the brands of Johnnie Walker, Ballantine’s or Chivas Regal whiskies. Guinness PLC disappeared in 1997, the date of the creation of the company Diageo PLC by merger-acquisition with Grand Metropolitan.

The Guinness is a stout, a black beer topped with white foam, known worldwide for its flavor and its special appearance. Guinness is strongly linked to the history of Ireland; it is one of the symbols at the international level. The brand uses a Celtic harp such as that of Brian Boru or Trinity College as part of its visual identity. This 14C harp model is one of the traditional symbols of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII in the 16C. Guinness used the harp as a symbol in 1862 and then as a logo deposited in 1876. However, it is reversed compared to that of the national coats of arms.

This beer is a stout, a type of beer of high fermentation from the beers porter that became famous in the 18C in London. It’s almost black brown color (but which is actually deep red; to be seen in the light) comes from the use for its design of highly roasted malts and roasted barley grains. The cream-colored foam layer that caps the beer is the result of a nitrogen addition during the draught . This latter characteristic poses the difficulty of obtaining an identical flavor and texture between the Guinness pressure and those sold in bottles and cans. In 2016, under the pressure of vegans, Guinness modifies its ancestral recipe; it renounces to use the traditional fish-native bladders to filter and lighten its beer and now uses a new filtration process. their beers are now Vegan

The Guinness draught is the flagship variety of the Guinness range; it is also the best-selling beer in Ireland. The extra stout is a separate range within the Guinness range of beers. Stronger, more “corsed”, with more pronounced bitterness, the extra stout is also exported abroad under the name foreign extra stout.

Official Guinness and its beers

Diageo corporate owner of Guinness


The German beer (we drink most) originates in the high Middle Ages. For centuries, beer has been part of German culture and gastronomy, and the country is studded of Bierpalast (“beer Palace”), Biergarten (“beer garden”), Bierstube (“Brasserie”), Bierkeller (“beer cellar”), Bierhaus (“house beer “) and Bierzelt (” beer tent “) found at the many beer festivals.  In Germany there are a large number of types of beers but the immense success of the pilsener  dominating 70% of the market eclipsing many regional varieties, apart from the export and the Weissbier which occupy about 10% of the internal market.

In 736 in Geisenfeld in Bavaria, there is a mention of a fermented beverage based on barley. In 766, mention was made of the oldest beer delivery from Geisingen to the Abbey of St. Gallen (Switzerland). In 974, the first brewing authorization was given by the Emperor Otto II of the Holy Roman Empire to the Church of Liège (Belgium).

The Thuringian have a document of 1434 (Wirtshausgesetz) written in Weißensee, which states the only ingredients allowed: water, barley, hops. Decrees in Regensburg in 1453 or Landshut in 1493 prohibit any aromatization except that of hops. In 1842 also arrives from Bohemia, the pilsener which was to be immediately successful.

During the recasting of the Biersteuergesetz in 1993, the rules of the former are maintained as a preliminary law of beer and the tax provisions transferred. Now the regulation on the eligible ingredients is no longer valid only for the production of beer in Germany for the German market. Imported beer is not subject to these regulations; and German Brewers can also escape if they produce for export, unless they receive exemptions for special beers. Now the beers still adhering to its principles are classified among the traditional Lebensmittel (“traditional foods”) and protected also by European decree. The Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law)  is in fact the longest existing law ensuring the food quality of a product for health.

The German beers are legally classified according to their densities: Einfachbiere (“simple beers”) , Schankbiere (“consumer beers” at pressure), Vollbiere (” “complete beers”) , representing more than 90% of the production, Starkbiere (‘ strong beers ‘) or Bockbiere .  To which are added two genres apart: Lückenbiere, all beers banned before 1993 under the classification of the time ; Biermischgetränke, variegated drinks or cocktails based on beer and fruit juice, aroma or energizing. The beers are also classified by type or style so very many!

Centrally and industrialized in the North, breweries are more artisanal and more localized in the South. Only Bavaria contains half of the 1 300 breweries in the country and 4 000 of the 5 000 beer brands produced. The largest concentration of breweries in the world is located next to Bamberg, in the upper Franconia region of Bavaria. The Weihenstephan Abbey founded in 725 holds the oldest brewery still in operation (since 1040).  In 2004 Oettinger dethrone Krombacher (my favorite!) from the top of the biggest breweries

Since 1810, the Oktoberfest has been the largest party in the world for two weeks in Munich. Beer consumption here reaches its peak; there are only doses of one liter. Almost as well known and famous in Germany, the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is also a huge festival. The Deutschen Bieres Tag (“German beer day”) is celebrated on April 23rd since 1994 in honor of the famous Reinheitsgebot law.

Popular beers of Germany webpage


Czech beer has a long and complex history. The first known brewery in the region dates back to 1118. The city of Brno had been recognized for brewing rights as early as the 12C, while the two cities traditionally associated with Czech beer namely Plzeň and České Budějovice, have had a brewery since the 13C. The history of modern beer in the Czech regions (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) dates back to the creation of the Pilsner Urquell in 1842 which revolutionized the brewing industry. Previously, Bohemia was famous for its wheat beers, known in Czech under the term “světlé pivo” (light beer), the equivalent of the German “weissbier” or the Belgian “witbier”. Most of the large and medium-sized cities owned at least one brewery. But the largest breweries were in České Budějovice , Plzeň , and Prague. Important breweries were also found in the towns of Rakovník, Žatec  and Třeboň.

The two most famous (and most exported) Czech beer brands are Pilsner Urquell, the first and archetype of Pilsner beers and Budweiser Budvar . Other major brands include Bernard, Gambrinus, Krušovice, Radegast, Starobrno, Staropramen, Velkopopovický Kozel and Svijany. Budweiser beer produced in the Czech Republic (founded in 1795 and having begun exporting to the United States in 1871); American Bud produced in the United States since 1876. A verdict of the European Court of Justice of July 2010 stipulates that Budweiser beer has the exclusive use of the Budweiser brand throughout the European Union. Its a case of the little country devasted by wars vs the big giant marketing and immigration power.

According to the Czech law, beers are divided into the following categories, regardless of their style and colour: Lehké, a light beer that stands at 8 ° Výčepní, a table beer that is between 8 ° and 10 °  Ležák, a classic Lager beer which is between 11 ° and 12.99 ° premium, for beers exceeding the threshold of 13 °. Originally, Pilsner just meant that the beer was breated in Plzeň. By extension, the term now refers to a pale and hoppy Lager beer. The Czech Beer Festival in Prague is the largest beer Festival in the Czech Republic and is held for 17 days each year in May!. It is possible to taste more than 70 different brands of Czech beers. The Pilsner festival is a two-day beer festival held each year in October by the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň.

Original Czech beers webpage


And there you, actually the main beer producing and historical countries in the world. We just take a few of their beers for personal and family enjoyment, drink in moderation ,it is all for fun as well as keeping the traditions! However, the beers of Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic are all very good indeed!!! Hope you can enjoy them too.


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





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