Archive for May 30th, 2019

May 30, 2019

Buckingham Palace, London!

Well here I am taking a large task, needless to say each time in London I missed the guided tour and we just walked around it and take a peek at the changing of the guards. However, we will keep at it, and one day ….. For the time been I like to put some historical facts here for a reminder and hopefully helps those coming to not missed it.

I am talking about the Buckingham Palace of London, UK. A wonderful palace in a very nice area too. Hope you enjoy it.

Buckingham Palace is located in London, the Palace is both the venue for events in relation to the Royal family, the home of many visiting heads of State, and an important tourist attraction. Built for John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham and Normandy (yep you know it), in 1703, it is the place of residence of the British monarchy. It was enlarged during the 19C for King George IV. In the middle ages, the site of Buckingham Palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury. It had several Royal occupants since Édward the Confessor and was the subject of numerous speculations about his owner: a flaw in the lease of Charles I of England allowed the land to return to the Royal lap in the 18C.

London

First known as Buckingham House, the building forming the heart of today’s Palace was previously a large mansion built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham John Sheffield and acquired by King George III in 1762 to make it his private residence. It was enlarged over the next 75 years. The Palace eventually became the official residence of the British monarchy during Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1837. The last major structural additions date from the late 19C and early 20C such as the imposing wing facing the Mall was added, and the former official entrance, Marble Arch, was moved near the Speakers ‘ corner to Hyde Park, where it still is today. The east side façade was redone in 1913 with Portland limestone blocks, in the background of the Victoria Memorial, creating the public façade of Buckingham, with the famous balcony in its center. The St. James Palace remained the Royal residence as well as the place of the official ceremonies. Even today, foreign ambassadors are welcomed to the Court of St. James, although State representatives and their staff are presented at Buckingham Palace when they are appointed.

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The main rooms are located on the noble floor, behind the façade overlooking the western gardens. In the center of these richly adorned rooms is the music room, whose large arch is the main element of the façade. Adjacent to the music room are the blue and white reception lounges. In the center of the suite, the 50 meters long picture gallery serves as a link between the different rooms. Other rooms leading to the gallery are the Throne room and the Green reception lounge. The Green reception lounge, which serves as a Grand antechamber to the Throne room and is part of the ceremonial journey to the hall from the Guard room, contains a white marble statue of Prince Albert, located at the top of the grand staircase.

Just below the official apartments is a series of slightly less solemn rooms, called semi-official apartments, accessible by the Marble hall. These parts are used for less formal occasions, lunches and private hearings. the Room of 1844 which was decorated that year for the official visit of the Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. Then ,in the center, the Hall of the Arch, that thousands of guests cross each year to go to the gardens during the garden parties. The Queen occupies a suite in the north wing for her private use. The Chinese Red and Blue breakfast room is made up of elements of the Brighton banquet and music halls, however the fireplace is Indian-style, although it also comes from Brighton. In the Yellow reception room you can see an 18C tapestry, which was used in 1817 for the Brighton Salon. The chimney in this room is a European transposition of what would be the Chinese equivalent, with mandarins nodding in the niches and scary dragons. In the center of this wing we recognize the famous balcony, and behind its windows is the Central room. It is a Chinese style salon arranged by Queen Mary at the end of the 1920’s, although the lacquered doors were brought from Brighton in 1873. The visiting heads of State occupy the Belgian suite when they are received at the Palace. It is located on the ground floor facing the north gardens.These rooms, whose hallways includes domes, were the first decorated for the uncle of Prince Albert; King Leopold I of the Belgians. King Edward VIII lived there during his short reign.

At the back of Buckingham Palace is the large garden, which is the largest private garden in London. The large artificial lake was completed in 1828 and its water comes from the nearby Serpentine Lake of Hyde Park. Like the Palace, the gardens of Buckingham Palace feature many works of art. The most notable is the vase of Waterloo, a large urn commissioned by Napoleon I to commemorate his upcoming victories, and which in 1815 was presented unfinished to the Prince Regent by Ferdinand III of Tuscany. No floor could withstand a sculpture measuring nearly 4.5 meters and weighing fifteen tons, the work was given to the National Gallery, which finally made this gift to the sovereign in 1906. King Edward VII solved the problem by placing the vase in the garden where it still remains today. In the gardens there is also a small Pavilion attributed to William Kent, built around 1740.

Adjacent to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews, are home to the Royal carriages, including the King’s carriage. This Rococo-style gilded carriage, created by Sir William Chambers in 1760, features panels painted by G. B. Cipriani. Having served for the first time at the official inauguration of the Parliament by king George III in 1762, it is used by the sovereign only in sacred or jubilee ceremonies. The horses solicited for the Royal processions in London are also housed in these stables.

How to get to Buckingham Palace: by Underground/Metro/Subway , the nearest stations are: Victoria District, Circle & Victoria line. Green Park Piccadilly, Victoria & Jubilee line. St James’s Park District & Circle line. By Train, the nearest, mainline, train station: London Victoria; am told about 15 minutes walk. By Bus, lines 11, 211, 239, C1 & C10 Stop on Buckingham Palace Rd. By Car, Not recommended as the palace is in the congestion charge zone, and parking is difficult to find and expensive. We come by car , and stay outside the congestion zone, and to the Palace we used the tube with our oyster cards ::)

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of London on the Palace

Official Royal Residence of Buckingham Palace

The place to get tickets for its guided tours

And this what we have not done buy in advance so when walking around London and decided to come in ,it was either closed for visits or the lines were huge! It will happened we are not far… Hope you have enjoy the history tour of Buckingham Palace , a brief one at that.

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

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May 30, 2019

The streets of Meaux!!!

Here I am in my sentimental mood again, on my belle France where else.  I have written on the city of Meaux, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, region of Ïle de France before on several posts. However, it is never enough on Meaux!

I was very much French influence since youth, and maybe it was the reason end up marrying a French women , native of Meaux which I visited several times while dating, got her to marry me in Florida USA and then convince me already French citizen to come to live in France. It was, and is the best decision of my life to have found her, and Meaux, and coming to France, all wonderful. If only I lost my dear late Martine to cancer last year. Meaux still is very sentimental.

There are other more beautiful towns in France I guess, and some with major works of arts, and monuments to boot, but little Meaux will remain the biggest of them all. Let me tell you a bit of some of the streets dear to me there. Bear with me ok

Meaux is a small beautiful town, sitting on the Marne river, wrote Michel de Montaigne in 1580 in his diary of travel. On one side the city and the suburbs, on the other the market, sheltered in a meander of the river. Since the Celtic era, it has been an important religious pole; its name remains associated with the tutelary figure of Bossuet, “the Eagle of Meaux “, and its status as an Episcopal seat has earned it its most remarkable monuments: the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, the Episcopal Palace (now Bossuet Museum) and the  ” Vieux Chapitre” (old chapter).

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A sentimental big street for me is the rue Noëfort, this is where I first met what was to be my wife, my dear late wife Martine at no 36. The main here is that at 3 rue Noéfort  there is the Gendarmerie Nationale. The national military police sort of a State trooper or National Guard. It is also, on the next section of historical Meaux. There are so many walks by here ,and pushing the baby stroller with 3 boys of close ages, and shopping the local nearby shops and eateries, so many memories….

meaux

The Faubourg Saint-Nicolas extends to the east of the city, along the great eponymous artery, formerly known as the route d’Allemagne (road of Germany). It is circumscribed by the avenues of  Maréchal Foch, du Maréchal Joffre, de la République, du président Salvador Allende,and the streets of rue des Béguines and rue des Cordeliers , and of course rue Noëfort. It was built at the foot of the promontory housing the Cathedral and the old town, along the rue du Faubourg Saint-Nicolas which brings together the most important buildings of the District such as the former General Hospital, the Church of St. Nicholas, the Protestant Temple. It was separated from the District of the Cathedral by the Brasset, a small arm of the Marne river, now underground.

meaux

In the 5C, it was buried Saint Céline, a friend of Saint Genevieve; on her tomb, placed Extra Muros in the ancient Celtic tradition, arose a church that was to endure until the French revolution, the Church of Saint Céline. The suburb also welcomed in the 13C another religious establishment, that of the Franciscans or Cordeliers; their arrival in Meaux is part of the development of the communities of beggars monks in all the cities of Europe. In the 17C, two new establishments settled in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas: the Priory of Noëfort (on rue Noëfort ) and the General Hospital, founded in 1667 to interne the poor and the vagabonds  in application of the great enclosures  decided by the Royal Ordinance of 1662. The old parish church is indeed moved to the site of the Convent of the Cordeliers, and the primitive Church disappears from the urban fabric from the 19C. Not far from its location is then built the Protestant Temple, 1847. As for the Priory of Noëfort, it is converted into a military building; today is the modern Gendarmerie Natinale (police HQ at 3 rue Noëfort), which no longer has any old vestige. The only pre-19C monuments still present in the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas are the present Parish Church St Nicolas (former convent of the Cordeliers) and the House of the Augustines (former General Hospital).

Another wonderful artery we walked and walked a lot over the years is the one call the boulevard des Anciens fossés (old wells), currently Boulevard Jean Rose, the boulevard that is running along the Gallo-Roman walls of Meaux (ramparts!) and great parking area now. The black plague spread over the territory and in Meaux  a third of the population died in 1348. This terrible epidemic upset Jean Rose a local rich merchant, who turned to help the poor and the sick and became the benefactor of the city of Meaux. His wealth, in fact, allowed him to create various pious foundations. In 1356 he built the l’hôpital de la Passion (passion hospital) to accommodate 25 blind and 12 poor, as well as a school for 10 children. It changed its name between the 15C and the 16C. It was gradually called the hospital Jean Rose. It was only in 1647 that the Bishop decided to close the hospital and set up a seminar there. The buildings that housed the Grand Seminary were completely rebuilt in the 18C. Only the Chapel of the Hospital Jean Rose survives today. There is always the crest of the benefactor made up of three roses. It is under the construction date of the building at the top of the door. Jean Rose is buried alongside his wife Jeanne Rose in a Chapel of St. Stephen’s Cathedral (St Etienne). It is a side chapel dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament that our benefactor built, at his expense in 1331 following the death of his wife. In 1848 the town of Meaux decided to honor the memory of Jean Rose by giving its name to an artery of the city: the present Boulevard Jean Rose. Well done!

meaux

Up against the ramparts at Boulevard Jean Rose there is a very active market right over the parking area on Tuesday mornings. More info here: Tourist office of the Meaux country on the market

Another venerable street is the  Cours Raoult, this is where the old Ford dealership was in town and where I purchase my first car in France !  Now there is Monop convenience store there as the dealer has move to outer limits of the city. This is a short street taking you to the Place Henri IV, and along the Rue du Général Leclerc on one way and across the Quai Jacques Prévert (road D603) to the banks of the Marne river. Indeed a very nice place to walk and shop; there is an even bigger market across the river. Here each Saturday, under the historic metal covered cheese market of Meaux built in the second half of the 19C you can have the real cheese Brie de Meaux amongt other things! Magical and nominated for one of the best markets in France!  This is an article on it in the Le Parisien Paris newspaper: Le Parisien newspaper on the market at Meaux

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Moving right along, you come to the  Rue du Général Leclerc which is pedestrian from the Cours Raoult or Pl Henri IV to the Cathedral at Parvis St Etienne. The Rue du Général Leclerc was call before the rue de la Savaterie, and was well known for commerce from the Middle Ages when it was cut into two section one the rue des Pâtissiers (pastry makers st) and the rue de l’Epicerie( groceries st).

meaux

The place Charles-de-Gaulle (square), is at the foot of the Cathedral of St Stephen (St Etienne) where it was also very animated in the Middle Ages when it was called the place des Quatre-Vents, before becoming the Parvis Saint-Etienne, and now the Gen de Gaulle. Very quant pedestrian area with many shops and restos/bars a must to walk it in town. The Cathedral a monument of Gothic France! The Rue St Etienne goes into Rue St Pierre all around the Cathedral. On one side there is Rue Bossuet that takes you to the ramparts and bd Jean Rose (see above). All worth the walks into medieval France and great for shops and restos/bars too.

meaux

The place Henri IV, is another memorable place as here we went to the movies for the first time in France at the Majestic cinema. It is now part of the cinema group UGC and has a great auto parking above and below ground. Also, at Christmas time there is a nice market here with ice skating ring. The square is name as such because it was to mark the coming of king Henri IV in 1599 when the city was in the middle of the 30 years war of Religions,and decided to rally in favor of the king. King Henri IV was a Protestant, and the city of Meaux , Catholic, and when the king converts to Catholicism, the locals (who are call by their celtic name, the Meldois) decided to signed the peace accords.

Couple of webpages to help you plan your visit to Meaux, well worth it and direct from Gare de l’Est in Paris. The streets of Meaux are eternal!

meaux

City of Meaux on things to see

Tourist office of the Meaux country on the Must see in town

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

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May 30, 2019

Mercado de Abastos ,Aranjuez!

And back into my beautiful historical sunny Spain, and another legendary city of it. This is Aranjuez, in the Comunidad de Madrid region, just outside the Capital city of Madrid. Wonderful beautiful indeed.

However, today will tell you a bit more on the supplies market that is the happenning in town again. The Mercado de Abastos or sort of supplies market is now better than ever right near the Palace. Again, plenty more written in my blog but this icon needs more me think.

The Mercado de Abastos market is located in Aranjuez.  The inauguration dates from the year 1894, and its most important restoration of 1985. In 1997 the consistory yields the exploitation of the market to a private company that finally mirrored and conditions the entire enclosure.  Before the 19C there was an open-air crate market, located in the same square.

Aranjuez

This work introduces the formal vocabulary of a new material such as iron, and interprets the use of brick and stone so characteristic of the architecture of Aranjuez, and following a Hispanic tradition.   But in equal measure it maintains the modular and volumetric continuity of the urban ensemble of the 18C, subjecting itself to its style. The makers of the market, arranged a perimeter to  define a space open to the interior.  The building was a  market of supplies at the end of the 19C (1891-1895) and recently restored, finishes to form the Plaza de la Constitucion, with a last element, the sculpture of king Alfonso XII that centers the square, public space fully 19C both in Its architect typology, as in its denomination and use.  The historic Mercado de Abastos market has inaugurated in 2016 an area dedicated to the restoration that is located in the central courtyard of the building.

aranjuez

In the 18C, a large urban space had been dedicated where transactions were practiced. In 1775, there appears a wide street, elongated, called Plaza de Abastos, which clearly divides into two the urban area of the Royal site. This route began in the Camino Real or Camino de Ocaña (Royal or Ocaña way) , the current Ruta de  Andalusia (road) and ended in what would be the Calle del  Foso or moat st. It had not yet been built in its center the line of houses that would divide in two this large area, forming the current streets of the Gobernador and Abastos.

aranjuez

A quant wonderful part of Aranjuez and we walked it all, easy to do come on, very close to the Royal Palace grounds and around here the best places to eat out. Plenty more in my blog.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Mercado de Abastos

City of Aranjuez on the Mercado

And again there you go another gem in my beautiful Spain, the Mercado de Abastos in Aranjuez is nice, especially after a visit to the Royal Palace in town! Enjoy it

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

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