Archive for July, 2019

July 28, 2019

Tour de France 2019 Final!!!

So quick post so happy to see another wonderful Tour de France, even if this year could not go on the spot, is an event the family looks forward every year and the TV coverage is super , say better even than on site for the views if the ambiance is less of course. Consolation.

I wrote earlier on the start of this wonderful historical traditional race back on July 5th here

Tour de France 2019 !!!

And now after 21 stages the race is over at the ave des Champs-Elysées in Paris. The last race was great because it passed by areas we love and been to them and even lived; starting from lovely Rambouillet in the Yvelines dept 78.

The youngest winner in history , Egan Bernal of Colombia. Impressive and many friends very happy about him. I know his native town as visited and the area too. He is from Zipaquira in the vally of Boyacà where they have a wonderful Cathedral in a salt mine with the 14 steps of Christ awesome. This is not far from Bogotà.

He , Bernal not only won the yellow jersey but also the best young rider at 22 years old he has a huge future in cycling ahead. He is the firs Colombian to win the tour de France as well!!

The final race in Paris was won by Caled Ewan, of Australia , his third stage in the race, rather a good future there too.  Peter Sagan, on points, Roman Bardet on climber, Movistar as team , and Julien Alaphilippe as combative spirit also won recognition.

The top general overall winners were

1º Egan Bernal (Ineos)  Colombia

2º Geraint Thomas (Ineos)  1’111 Great Britain

3º Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo Visma) – 1’31” Netherlands

4º Emanuel Buchmann (Bora) – 1’56” Germany

5º Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck) – 3’45” France

6º Mikel Landa (Movistar) – 4’23” Spain

7° Rigoberto Uran, (EF Education First) Colombia

8° Nairo Quintana, (Movistar Team) Colombia

9º Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)  Spain

10° Warren Barguil, (team Arkea-Samsic) France

The official webpage for the tour de France: Tour de France 2019

Another great race with all kinds of weather situation and injuries and broken hearts and very happy winners as always. Until next time in France, the tour de France!

Ah took some pictures from the TV here that do not want to go to waste so will post some in a kaléidoscope to follow, hope you enjoy them.


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

July 26, 2019

Some news from France, CCXLI

And back to my regular series, thank you for reading, and hope you are enjoying our summer even thus for some could be winter… After the news of the heatwave in France, I am happy to report that in my beautiful Brittany we have been spare. Right is cool light rain at 20C or about 70F while in our eternal Paris is heavier rains at 71C. Time is 11h30.

End of red alert vigilance for the heatwave (canicule)! The arrival of a stormy disturbance to the west will make the mercury plummet after the record heat wave episode. However, not everyone will be in the same boat. The heat will resist the east. Météo France has placed 30 departments in alert orange heat wave with temperatures between 35 ° C and 38 ° C with peaks at 40 ° C in the plain of Alsace. Among them, the Allier, the Loire, the Nièvre, the Puy-de-Dôme, the Saone-et-Loire and the Haute-Loire are also vigilant orange storms, as the Cantal. According to Météo France, it will be necessary to wait for Saturday for the end of this hot episode on all France. Paris broke yesterday Thursday its all-time record of more than 70 years (40.4 ° C in 1947), with 42.6 ° C. The record heat of the day was observed in Saint-Maur, Ile-de-France, where the mercury rose to 43.6 ° C!!!

The capital seemed particularly empty yesterday, when it beat its absolute record of heat with 42.6 ° C in the late afternoon. Since the beginning of the measurements in 1873, the capital had surpassed the bar of 40 ° C only once, on July 28, 1947, with 40.4 ° C. At 10h, Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart), 35 ° C; 12h, Place de la Nation, 37 ° C; 14h, Place de la Bastille, 41 ° C; 15h, Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), 42.4 ° C; and 16h, Trocadero, 42.4 ° C. After staying more than 70 years with a threshold of 40.6 degrees maximum, the City of Light has passed the 42 degrees at 15h. The mercury even climbed up to 42.6 degrees at 16h32, propelling Paris to the third position of the hottest European capitals. according to the data compiled by the European Climate Assessment & Dataset (ECAD) harmonized until 2018. Thus, the French has just exceeded the Portuguese capital Lisbon, the Albanian Tirana and Romanian Bucharest, having all three recorded peaks at 42 degrees in distinct periods. The City of Light is also placed in front of the Spanish Madrid or the Italian Rome. There is little risk, however, that it breaks the Nicosia record in Cyprus of 46.7 degrees. And still less that of Athens, Greece, at 48 degrees !!!.

Another dandy that I am following is the Tour de France .

The 19th stage of the Tour de France will be judged today in Tignes, after a visit to the summit of the Iseran pass. this Friday, with a short leg (126.5 km), but that promises a lot of sparks. The route will rise from the start of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and the riders will begin with three climbs, including that of the Madeleine. A pre-amble before tackling the Iseran Pass, the highest point of the Tour with its 2770 meters of altitude. A monster of almost 13 kilometers and a rare pass in the Tour. The riders will hit 30 km of descent to the foot of Tignes for a dry climb of only 7 km. It is especially difficult to climb, and if Alaphilippe arrives with the best, he will be able to keep his yellow jersey. For Pinot, it will be too late. If he wants to shake the overall classification, Thibaut must attack from the Iseran pass and make a big number. After that, he will still have the finish at the top of Val-Thorens (Saturday) to conclude. The French are not there since 1985 (Bernard Hinault, a breton! )  possible winners! this time around is Julian Alaphilippe or Thibaut Pinot! only 1,50s behind. Fingers crossed! More info here: Tour de France standing after 18 rounds

Update disaster in the 19th stage, huge avalanche the race stop and winners declared. Alaphilippe lost the yellow jersey and Pinot went out injured again!! Now maybe France will be left out again of winning its Tour de France!

Two new terminals of virtual reality open to the public today on the terrace of the Arc de Triomphe (8éme). The kiosks are available in 6 languages, and accept only contactless card payment. The Arc de Triomphe receives 1.7 million visitors each year, 70 to 80% of which are foreign tourists. Discover also a short film in 360 ° format on the return of the ashes of Napoleon in 1840, realized from a heavy  research work of the archives. More info here: Arc de Triomphe digital

Summer at La Défense: on the forecourt (parvis) The beach with transats, billiards, petanque, conferences, concerts … All summer long, the Parvis offers a relaxation area day and night in the heart of the business center of La Défense .(Hauts de Seine dept 92) Easy on line 1 of  Metro or bus 73! More info here: La Defense le Parvis

And the easy busfacile of No 73 , great ride above ground Paris!!! Busfacile route of bus 73

The first sound radar of Ile-de-France region  installed at Saint-Forget (Yvelines dept 78). Right in the Parc Naturel Régional de la Haute Vallée de Chevreuse natural park. The machine is installed at the foot of the route des 17-tournants, (D91)a favorite playground for bikers, where a lot of noise is observed every weekend.  More money for the govt that is all.

And how about Rillettes or Pâte? Well is some differences for you to know.

For the rillettes, it will be best  seated. In the shade on a blanket, at the foot of a country maple. At the folding  table of a bungalow on the Atlantic coast. If the rillettes are accompanied by a beautiful slice of country bread and, according to connoisseurs, small pink radishes, they are also indissociably from a certain idea of ​​generosity. They are consumed among friends , and on toast, where they will be deposited in contiguous mounds. We do not spread the rillettes. Anyway, it’s at will, and when you want. And if not, rather Le Mans or Tours? Both ! Touraine, where, according to Rabelais, the specialty was born in the 15C, gained its protected geographical indication (PGI) in 2013.

The pâte is eaten standing. In sandwich. zinc-lined at the nearest bar-tabac. Then slice chopped to better garnish the bread. And with that ? A simple wine. Rosé will do. Go and find out why, it is easy to imagine that the pâte, if not the best friend of the barnyard, is that of the man, which he accompanies perfectly contemporary solitude

It would be wrong to reduce the face-to-face rillettes-pâté to a sociological differentiation (the tribe vs the individual), to a semantic distinction (gluttony vs appetite), to an ergonomic quarrel (sit vs stand), even a multi-departmental litigation (Sarthe / Indre-et-Loire-Orne / Calvados). These local products tell the same story: that of know-how. And the best of my belle France, enjoy them!

Another favorite of mine and very popular here too! The pizza!!!

The pizza has a long history: the word appears, as early as 997, in an archive document in medieval Latin from the cathedral of Gaeta, not far from Naples, Italy. Since then, it has conquered the world. In Pizza.  A book Pizza. Cultures et mondialisation (CNRS Editions, 2016)  or cultures and globalization CNRS Editions, 2016, the anthropologist Sylvie Sanchez traces the amazing story of this global success. In the 19C, pizza is a salty baking dough that the Italian people consume in the street. “The pizza is in oil, the pizza is in the bacon, the pizza is lard, the pizza is cheese, the pizza is tomato, the pizza is small fish,” writes Alexandre Dumas in 1844.

In the  19-20C, hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants came to France or the United States introduce pizza to their adopted country. A first laboratory  held by the De Lorenzo brothers opened in 1885 in “Little Italy”, the Italian district of New York. During the decades that followed, the first pizzerias appeared in Marseille, the Mecca of Neapolitan immigration, then in other French cities. The pizza then knows, in the 20C, and especially after WWII, an almost universal diffusion. Indeed it is all over and I am glad!

Tourists at the cemetery? (me never undertand to come to see a cemetery! ) However, nothing fatal in this, it is simply the daily show offered to residents of Père-Lachaise, one of the most famous necropolis in the world, located in a rural and particularly green area of ​​the 20éme arrondissement. Its 43 hectares are explored every day by tourists to various centers of interest. Here, it is a paradise for architecture students,  some “inhabitants” have taken the concept of “last home” very seriously and have been built mini-palaces, neoclassical, Gothic or Haussmann, which ensure daily visits. Pére-Lachaise is also the rallying point of fans of all kinds. Bibliophiles can come to greet Alfred de Musset or Honoré de Balzac. Music fans have more choices than Fnac: from Frederic Chopin to Jim Morrison, all genres are represented. By dint of going down every day at the metro station Charles-Michels, in Paris, we ended up associating this name with a mall and a stubborn perfume of urine.:::More info here: Official cemetery Pére Lachaise

A twenty minute walk … Opened a year and a half ago in the 11éme arrondissement of Paris, Hotel La Nouvelle République has made multiculturalism a philosophy. From the entrance, a fragrance with orange blossom, specially composed, tickles the nostrils. The decoration of the 30 rooms (including 2 with terrace) mixes the Scandinavian style and the warmth of the Moroccan furniture. The hotel’s logo – a hand, found on the front door – refers to the hand of Fatma, a symbol of protection in North Africa. The staff is international and multilingual (some speaking up to 7 languages!). Tea, coffee and small treats are self-service all day for guests. The property also hosts jazz concerts. Hotel La Nouvelle Republique, 9, rue Moret, Paris 11th . More info here:

Sad news:  The Paris Commercial Court pronounced  yesterday, July 25, the immediate liquidation of the fashion brand Sonia Rykiel, placed in receivership since April 18. The Boulevard Saint-Germain building in Paris in the 6éme arrondissement, where the brand has its historic headquarters will be no longer. Sonia Rykiel’s house is put into liquidation.  The Paris Commercial Court ruled on the fate of the fashion brand founded in 1968. The company had been owned since 2012 by the group First Heritage Brands of Hong Kong. As evidence by their webpage momentarily indisponible; Sonia Rykiel

What to do in cities and go to a beach;my favorites!

Île de loisirs de Cergy-Pontoise, 1, rue des Étangs , 95001, Neuville-sur-Oise,  dept Val d’Oise 95 From 6h to 20h / Free. Not even 30 km from Paris, six huge ponds and 5000 m2 of fine sand, almost straight from the Caribbean. There is also infrastructure for the kids, and lots of activities for the whole family. And to make the thing even cooler, we will even have the opportunity to fish if we wish. Great! More info here in French: Ile de Loisirs Cergy Pontoise 95

Bassin de La Villette , Quai de Loire – 19éme Paris. Until September 1st.  Free. How not to evoke the famous basin of La Villette? In the context of Paris Beaches, the large basin of the Villette quay side of the Loire is laid out in several areas open to swimming and fathoms. Closest to the tourist  center of Paris. More info here: Bassin de la Villette Paris 75019

Île de loisirs du Val de Seine Chemin du Rouillard – 78480, Verneuil-sur-Seine (Yvelines 78)  Until September 2 from 10h to 19h From 3.80 €. Huge beach on the horizon!  260 hectares of woods, with huge ponds and lakes in the beach. And for the sportsmen, there is enough to feast with water skiing or pedalo. We just have to close our eyes and it’s like being in the South …And closest to us back then my boys love it!! More info hereIle de Loisirs du Val de Seine 78

Meaux Plage Quai Jacques Prévert From 11h to 19h / Free The perfect place to swim with your family! Meaux Plage is located within the Patis Nature Park, and offers activities of all kinds. But above all, you can swim tranquillou, or tan on the sand. And for the kids, a paddling pool is available! The sentimental favorite as it is my dear late wife Martine native town! More info here: City of Meaux on the beach 77

It was 1919 when Citroën made a shy first appearance in the car market at the fifteenth auto show. And yet, a few years later, Citroën is at the origin of the biggest big bangs of the French car. In 1934, the Traction Avant (forward traction) immediately demotes everything that rolls. It’s even the gangster’s favorite vehicle for its exceptional handling: powerful, it tames the centrifugal force (and the police). As early as 1948, the two horses enjoyed great popularity. Produced more than five million copies, it is one of the ten best-selling French cars in history. Today, the company belongs to the PSA Group and has found stability. Always with this idea of ​​the French class, Citroën gives birth to its luxury brand in 2009.  See it at the Monnaie de Paris Exhibition “The world inspired by Citroën”. Monnaie de Paris. 11, quai de Conti ( 6éme). Until August 18, 2019. Tuesday to Sunday from 11h to 19h, Wednesday until 21h. Free entry .More info here :

And there you go another news from France for you, and I thank you over the years since that november of 2010 that started my blog and today almost 700 followers! Beyond my expectations. Enjoy reading about my belle France. De fond de mon coeur merci beaucoup!

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


July 25, 2019

Restaurant: Mont Saint Michel!

So here I go with my restaurant rounds of my belle France. This time take you to a difficult place as it is nowdays very touristic, no 1 visited site in Normandy!! So pricey me think. However, I am doing my nostalgic runs as where we had fun with my family so this one fits in well.

We have come to the mount a couple of times, and my boys have come even on school trips and we have tasted the famous! However, the La Vielle Auberge was unique. We were not looking for anything nor had reservations, just walking up and down the mount until hunger sets in and we look for a place to eat.

Behold we passed by the La Veille Auberge and saw a quant decoration old world tables set up as a restaurant and we decided to came in, little did we know the auberge is also a fine hotel (not always are both). Oh yes yes of course, this is inside the Mont Saint Michel! So therefore, let me tell you a bit more on it ok

mont saint michel

The La Vielle Auberge or Old Inn, at  GrandRue-Intra Muros, Mont-Saint-Michel. This is a very nice hotel but we came for the restaurant! Again, they are best known for the hotel. Our memories are that we did not know when we were there,it was a hotel!  and we came across them because of the nice rustic views  in the restaurant. The atmosphere was very nice old, good service, food ok as it is a major tourist site, no 1 in Normandy!

Mont saint michel

Mont Saint Michel

If you are planning to spend a magical stay, near the famous Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, tradition perpetuated the welcome of pilgrims, terrace overlooking the ramparts and overlooking the bay of Mont Saint-Michel , in a house listed as a historical monument, with 11 rooms with unique decoration. And, also, close for you to see other towns if with a car as the hotel is about  24 km from Avranches, 49 km from Cancale, and  Dol-de-Bretagne is 30 km away.

Mont saint michel

The thing that made us come in is the charming  brasserie with a terrace where you can enjoy simple and good dishes with idyllic views of the spire overlooking the Abbey as well as the bay of Mont Saint Michel from the terrace. Enjoy regional dishes with seafood, buckwheat pancakes and omelets.We had a wonderful service  nice and prompt , the prices we control with a main dish, bottle of rose wine, extra dishes of fries, and coffee expresso, I had the menu at 18€ with salad entrée, steak =entrecote, fries and a tarte normande or apple pie that was the best of it all. All came out to 23.40€ per person.  The anecdote here is that my dear late wife Martine completely change the menu on the omelets with more onions and less peppers and they oblige! All served very quickly during a beautiful evening on the terrace. In short, we must be not able to find much worse on the Mount !!!

Mont saint michel

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

Official La Vielle Auberge on the restaurant

Tourist office of Mont Saint Michel on restaurants see La Vielle Auberge

There you go another dandy right up on the Mont Saint Michel with the best views of the bay lovely terrace ,and decent food at still affordable prices, enjoy the La Vielle Auberge!

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



July 23, 2019

Passage du Nord, Brussels!

I told you that we have come to Belgium and especially Brussels lots of time over the years and it is one of our favorite cities here. One can only think of beers, mussels/fries, and the many monuments of great historical and architectural value. However, we ;also,  come here for the chocolates.

Looking for them we end up finding beauties that we have remember for years and many times go back to them. One particular place is the Passage du Nord or the North passage, a shopping center of old world charm and the recipient of a Neuhaus chocolate store!


Let me tell you a bit on it ok.

The Passage du Nord was built in 1881-1882 following the vaulting of the Senne river and the creation of the Boulevards du Centre. The Passage du Nord (North Passage) is a shopping mall that connects Bd Adolphe Max to Rue Neuve. It was born at the beginning of Bd Adolphe Max between the Place de Brouckère and the Maison des Chats (House of Cats).

In 1865, King Leopold II vowed that Brussels would succeed in getting rid of this cloaca called the Senne before the end of his reign. In October 1865, the municipal council of the city of Brussels adopted a project to remove the secondary arms of the river, to rectify the winding course of its main arm and to vault it between the train station du Midi and the north of the city. This is how the boulevards of the center ,originally named Boulevard du Hainaut, Central, Nord and La Senne and later renamed Boulevard Lemonnier, Anspach, Max and Jacqmain.

It was in this context that in 1881-1882 a shopping mall called Passage du Nord was designed to connect the Bd du Nord(later Bd Adolphe Max) and Rue Neuve. The Passage du Nord continues the tradition of covered shopping streets established in Brussels in the 19C.

Official webpage of the Passage du Nord shopping center

As said , we mainly came looking for it as we saw in a brochure the chocolatier Neuhaus , who is one of the best in the world and in Belgium for more than 160 years. We were not disappointed lol! We love chocolates to die for them! And we agree the best are the Belgians.

The Neuhaus chocolate store here is at: Official Neuhaus chocolates at passage du nord

Even thus,can only find it in French will give you the site of the Heritage Brussels on the information of the Passage du Nord, a memorable building that I was lucky enouth to find it and come back with the family as well. Hope you enjoy it as we did/do.

Heritage Brussels on the Passage du Nord

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


July 23, 2019

Restaurant: Villaines la Gonais, A11!

So here I am telling you now to eat at a expressway restaurant lol! Well in my belle France we have everything and some amazing places ! In my road warrior trips I have come to know many but this one somehow comes up memorable. Let me tell you a bit on it ok.

We like to drive and it shows , all over, the best way to reach two points in my opinion. And we do it the old fashion way avoiding tolls (or taxes!) but sometimes we can’t avoid the pesky charges for reason of rapidity or simple less tiring and or both. So we have taken the A11 highway/motorway/expressway to reach Paris and beyond from my Brittany.  While doing this we could not wait to reach destination and eat so we stop at a rest stop or Aire!  And yes, we have found a gem as well!

A bit on the town by the rest area I am mentioning here.

Villaines-la-Gonais  is located in the department of Sarthe no 72 in the Pays de la Loire region The rural town forms between the Huisne and the Queune Creek a triangle of 1,000 ha once crossed by a Roman road, then a Royal road, then the N 23 and today the A11 highway/ motorway  bordering the town. Villaines la Gonais has less than 600 inhabitants. The two significant monuments here are   St. Hilary’s Church which houses a 15C baptismal fonts and the Château de Beauchamps. (private) Le Brame du Cerf walks with the deers of 4 km is a local event.


City of Villaines la Gonais in its history in FRench

Tourist office of the dept 72 Sarthe on useful info

The rest area or Aire of Villaines-la-Gonais on the A11 direction Le Mans- Paris. In a single building, very bright, hosts the Italian restaurant Stratto, the shop, the relaxation areas and children’s games, the toilets… etc It is equipped with a playground, gas/fuel, showers, baby space, parking PL, inflating station, buffet, shop/boutique and also an ENI Café.

Villaines la Gonais

It was a dire stop as my gang was claiming my head if I did not stop, been a long distance driver but anyway they always won ! ! ! I stopped and was surprise and we had a great family meal rest time, good for the souvenirs of always.

Villaines la Gonais

I know especially Stratto Restaurant in Paris at 49 bd Saint Michel but was surprise to find a franchise version on the highway A11. There are many choices, everything is appetizing if you like Italian specialties. The welcome was nice. I was served quickly. In Stratto, it’s an Italian concept with paninis, pizza and pasta. People will also be able to come and eat a steak if they wish.

Official Stratto Restaurant of Villaines La Gonais

Villaines la Gonais

And a bit more on the A11 expressway with tolls but you know the N12 goes along for free too ::)

The A11 highway/motorway or expressway as you wish is from Paris to Nantes via Le Mans and Angers, the road takes you from the most beautiful forests of the Sarthe (dept 72) to the unforgettable beaches of the Loire Atlantique (dept 44).Also known as the Océane or ocean road, the A11 offers a connection with many highways at Le Mans, a real tourist hub. The A11, which belongs to the European routes E50, E60 and E501, directly serves the cities of Chartres, Le Mans, Angers and Nantes, and, via A81, Laval, Rennes, and all other Breton cities. It is 343 km long between greenery and must-see cultural sites to discover. Enjoy it.

And now you have a nice ride on the roads of France, and the A11 even with tolls is very good indeed. And if passing by it by all means stop on this rest stop at Villaines la Gonais on your way to Paris ok.

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

July 22, 2019

Fresh produce at Cogniéres 78!!!

So in my search for good food and good drinks at affordable prices in my belle France, let me tell you about our find while living in the Yvelines 78 of the Ïle de France region,in the city of Versailles, capital of the Yvelines. Even if things seems to change there a bit.

In my belle France, we are always looking for new things to try, foodies and drinkers with moderation we go anywhere. And lucky to have a bunch here of world class status. We are as a country really deep into several layers sometimes call AOC etc and the same goes for every vegetable , fruit or processed food or drink, they are always levels like a caste system.

There are huge hypermarket, only good for the necessaries of comfort such as laundry goods, and down to little tiny neighborhood supermarkets. There are places of private initiatives selling direct from the farm, (we love it) and there are markets in every town bringing the best from the area but sometimes from afar and abroad. While living in Versailles, we search for these phenomenons and found one in Cogniéres not far from us. Let me tell you a bit about it for my memories and hopefully you can use them too if staying long here or living!

Let me tell you a bit about the town of  Cogniéres.

Coignières is located in the department of Yvelines 78 in the region Ile-de-France, 29 km from Paris , about 18 km from Versailles. It is adjacent to Maurepas in the north, Mesnil-Saint-Denis and Lévis-Saint-Nom in the east, Essarts-le-Roi in the south and Saint-Rémy-l’Honoré in the west. It is traverse by the national road N10 which can be reach from Versailles and goes to Rambouillet, The town of Coignières has a train station on the line of Paris-Montparnasse – Brest, whose route is parallel to the N 10, and which is served by the trains of line N of the Transilien train Paris-Rambouillet. Coignières is one of the 12 towns of the new agglo metro area of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines..

Agglo metro area of Saint Quentin en Yvelines on Cogniéres

A bit of history I like the town existed already in the 8C since it is in 768 that it is quoted, under the name of Cotonarias, as being given by the king Pépin the Short to the abbey of Saint-Denis. Since the 11C, Coignières has played an important role as a coach stage on the road linking Paris to Chartres. You can still see a former coaching inn. The relay station for horses was built in 1706, where is today the No. 99 of the road N10 Chartres to Paris.

The town of Cogniéres on transports

The story of Marché du Frais that we patronised in Cogniéres is this one.

The group, on a human scale, is above all a family business. Taking over from their parents established on the markets, the Quattrucci brothers opened the first store in 1986 in Villemomble “Hyperprimeur”, then in Argenteuil in 1989 “La ferme de Spahi”.    Since, successively several large stores, then this year under the brand Marché Frais Géant have seen their appearances.  In 2019 the brand Marché Frais Géant becomes a partner of the Casino group, the 12 stores becomes 9 -Great Market Supermarkets Giant and 3 -Supermarkets Fresh Market Leader Price. Do not know where this will lead but we are already sad to see the change and we have good souvenirs of the store in Cogniéres as found by my dear late wife Martine.


Giant Fresh Market for Hypermarkets, Leader Price Fresh Market for Supermarkets. After a first test started a year ago, Casino convinced the Quattrucci family to put the 13 stores to its network. The brand is mainly located in Île-de-France and has already generated no less than 300 million euros in sales in 2018 across all thirteen stores. These stores have an area of 4000 to 6000 m² and have a huge fruit and vegetable department. The products are presented flat, with a universe dedicated to large parcels and a fresh-packed assortment rather short, centered on large rotations. For the sake of optimization, some of the reserves are directly stored in the sales area, on racks, above the shelves.

Marché au Frais store in Cogniéres 78

We came across same parking lot to continue shopping in the marché Futé for fresh produce and papery very nice and inexpensive all in stop shopping; great memories with the family indeed; love it.

coignieres marche fute feb10

Indeed it was a different scheme back then in 2008-11 and we used it to get inexpensive vegetables and fruits there at huge discounts. There are beginning to show up in my area see my other post on Cesson-Sevigné 35 . We look forward to have the choices and prices available in France. Hope you can try them too while in your long term stays here. The store in Cogniéres is very nice indeed and a good area where we got butcher products and wines as well.

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

July 22, 2019

Lindt Chocolates; Oloron Sainte Marie!

Ok so in my gustative rounds of my belle France and the road warrior trails going between France and Spain and vice versa I have encounter several nice moments. Places of good food, drink and good cheers that have become memorable with the family in tow. We have passed by Oloron Sainte Marie many times most of them were just passing thru, with time we became curious of the town and went in. I have several posts on it in my blog.

Today, I like to tell of something most love, and we are dear fans, chocolates! We are lucky to have the best in Europe and France is not behind. However, the Lindt’s are our favorite bars anywhere. We came upon a brochure telling us there is a Lindt chocolates outlet store here and manufacturing plant!!! So obviously we came for it!!!

But first a bit for reference about the town.

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is situated in the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques no 64, in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Located in contact with the Aquitaine basin and the Pyrenees, 50 km from Spain by the national road N134, 100 km from the Atlantic Ocean by the departmental roads D936 and D28 linking Oloron to Peyrehorade, and the confluence of two gaves (rivers), the Aspe and Ossau , which meet to form the Gave d’Oloron. It is the capital of the Pays d’Oloron, the city lies at the birth of  four valleys such as  the valleys of Aspe, of Ossau and the Barétous as well as the Soule

And a bit on the Lindt story here:

Lindt & Sprüngli AG is a chocolate manufacturer headquartered in Kilchberg, canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Today, the group has its own production sites in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, the United States and Austria. The company Sprüngli was founded in 1845 in Zurich by the confectioner David Sprüngli-Schwarz. In 1899, the company acquired the chocolate factory of the famous Rudolf Lindt in Bern. The brand, which then becomes Lindt and Sprüngli, has been gaining momentum ever since.

And now about those chocolates!!!

Boutique Outlet Lindt ,2 Avenue Mal de Lattre de Tassigny, Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

In the Chocolate Bar at the LINDT Factory Outlet, enjoy a chocolate experience with hot or seasoned beverages, milkshakes and LINDT chocolate ice creams to enjoy on-site or take-out. Great place to taste and mingle with locals and visitors alike.  LINDT Chocolate Bars are the perfect destination to discover and explore the ultimate pleasure of LINDT chocolate.

oloron sainte marie

A stone’s throw from the chocolate factory in Oloron Sainte-Marie, the factory store offers a wide choice of irresistible chocolates, created with passion by the Master Chocolatiers. Come and discover offers of “factory destocking”, exclusives available only in this stores, many promotional offers but also a wide range of chocolates by weight to compose yourself your assortment and gift boxes to offer or share. A visit to a LINDT shop is always an unforgettable experience, and do not forget the Museum!!!

oloron sainte marie

In the Lindt and Sprüngli factory store, a discovery area explains in particular in some panels the steps of the manufacture of your favorite chocolates. You will also find the brand’s specialties, such as the famous Créations, Connaisseurs or Champs Elysées, at factory prices, and unpublished products. Indeed, the shop offers assortments reserved for export. For chocolate lovers or gourmands, this address is Ali Baba’s cave!  You will discover its many facets including the astonishing new products.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Lindt factory outlet Oloron Sainte Marie

Tourist office Pyrénées Atlantique 64 on Lindt chocolates at Oloron Sainte Marie

There you go a must to stop by while in the area! We love it!!! On the spot chocolate delights, and very nice ambiance not to mention the prices. Enjoy the Lindt chocolates at Oloron Sainte Marie!

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



July 22, 2019

Some news from France, CCXL!

So here I am back with my regular post of Some news from France! and we have sunny nice temps so far at 23C or 75F in my neck of the woods, and similiar in Paris. However, wait , here is more!

Heatwave Act II! (Canicule!) It will be necessary to cope with temperatures reaching 38 to 40 ‘C over a large part of France  between next Tuesday and Thursday, alert Météo France which has already placed for this Monday (today) 21 departments of the southwest quarter, as well as the Rhône, Isère, Drôme and Ardèche , on orange alertness. There are now 73 departments affected by water restrictions, 26 of which are placed in a “crisis” situation. So now visitors save water! Again we are in a peninsula off the Atlantic ocean so always more mild even predicting 35C /95F for tomorrow lol!

The 2nd edition of the Paris Paradis festival. Paris Paradis from September 27-29 at the Auteuil Racecourse, Jockey Disque, a party venue set in a country setting that is both country and surprising at the Auteuil racecourse in the 16éme arrondissemnet of Paris. The festival slogan, which aims to put more green in the grey: “the city is beautiful”. To be convinced, there will be plenty of opportunities between conferences, fun workshops, unusual walks, street shows and other original animations. An enhanced  line-up of free high-flying concerts on Friday and Saturday nights. And comedy shows bringing together the cream of the new tricolor stage all day Sunday.  More info here:

Tengah, the Malay tapir of the Jardin des Plantes got a quiet pace. A walker’s step, the tip of his mini-trumpet gently stirring and the ears straight. So chic, so align  in her perfectly symmetrical two-tone body, which gives a little Chanel style to her good belly of tapirs, a species close to both horses and rhinos. Tengah is a tapir from Malaysia, an animal of which only about 2,000 specimens remain in the wild and 200 in zoos around the world.  Sponsor an animal from the Menagerie, which is home to more than 1,200 animals from 180 species, some of which are threatened with extinction. The Museum invites the public to contribute to the improvement of the well-being of its residents by sponsoring animals!  A magical place you can walk  in the 11 gardens that together form the Jardin des Plantes of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN): alpine garden, rose garden, garden of irises and perennials, peonies, rocks, ecological garden, school of botany… free, daily from 7h30. to 20h Dive as well  into the exhibition event of the Great Gallery of Evolution, “Oceans, an unusual dive” every day from 10h. to 18h.,Access 36 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, in the wonderful 5éme arrondissement of Paris. More info here: Official Jardin des Plantes Paris

Save and preserve always a good deed in my belle France. The story is gradually revealed at the Château de Montagu  in the town of  Marcoussis in dept 91 Essonne  Built at the beginning of the 15C at the initiative of Jean de Montagu, the superintendent of finance of King Charles VI of France, this castle, razed almost entirely after the French revolution, was probably not erected here by chance. In any case, this is what is currently being demonstrated by less expert hands from Poland, the Czech Republic and France. They met until the end of last week for an international volunteer project organized by the Rempart Union and as part of the European Erasmus program. Their objective: to reveal the remains of one of the towers of the building on which Montagu Castle was built.   Patrick Bourgueil, president of the Marcoussis Historical Association (AHM). The latter has been mobilizing for three decades around the defense and enhancement of this historical heritage. Bravo, chapeau!!! The association Remparts Union  here:

The Historical Association Marcoussis here:

And more actions to preserve the past and learn for the future.

At the Bergerie Nationale of Rambouillet ( Sheep farm), located near the castle. There one of fourteen French, Afghan and Pakistani teenagers who have decided to devote part of their summer to restoring the building. At the entrance to the barn, there are many stones missing in the frame of the wall window.  This is an effort of the Rempart Association.. More info here:

The Bergerie Nationale info here:

Also, at Pontpoint (Oise dept 60 region Hauts de France) at the Royal Abbey of Moncel , the youth yard always attracts young people from all over the world put themselves in the skins of builders during a stay and help renovated it!. More info here:

And the foodie always comes back to Paris!

The creators of la Bellevilloise ,20éme, open on this past July 18, Poinçon , a space of sharing and creation explosive in an ex train station of the Petite Ceinture. Rehabilitated on an area of 400 m2 interior and 250 m2 of terrace, the old station is transformed into a particularly warm contemporary space. It must be said that the place benefits from large windows with a height of 6 meters bathing the main room of light. This is also the central meeting point: At the top, towards the mezzanine which rotates an eclectic selection of pieces on speakers with a 1970’s design. Funk, soul or jazz: the music is managed by DJ’s guests of Poinçon. Open to travellers in the 19C, the Montrouge-Petite Ceinture station was part of the first rail network in Paris before being permanently closed in 1934, competing with the metro. Poinçon  made in a ticket to show it has been used. Located at 124 Avenue du General Leclerc, 19éme. Opened  last July 18, 2019. Open daily from 9h , except Monday and   Tél.+33 (0) 1 56 08 16 69. More info here:

The City of Paris awarded its first “Grand Prix de la Pâtisserie de Paris”  to Quentin Lechat, pastry chef at the hotel Novotel des Halles ,1éme, for his cake in the shape of a pavement, soberly named “Noisette 3”. Its hazelnut pavement should be offered very soon on the menu of the “T’Time” restaurant of the Novotel Paris Les Halles, for a price of around 6.50 euros. Case to follow closely! . More info here in French:

The three-star chef Frédéric Anton at Pré Catelan will offer Jules Verne a high-flying, consensual but tasty cuisine.  The Jules Verne, a gourmet restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, reopens its doors this past Saturday evening, July 20, after several months of  renovations. In favor of a contemporary luminosity, a considerable project on a budget kept secret but which I imagine astronomical. It’s quite successful, in a taste of the period that spreads through luxury establishments all ending up looking a little alike. But, of course, the setting for which we climb to more than 120 meters above sea level is Paris, Paris!. More info here:

It is not a question of guinguette, but of… Crêperie!. Rosa Bonheur, known for inflaming Parisian evenings since the opening in 2008 of her first Camarguaise-inspired bar in Buttes-Chaumont, continues her conquest of the capital. After the guinguettes on the banks of the Seine, left bank (port of the Invalides) and to the west (Asnières), a fourth address has just been created in the Jardin des Tuileries!: Rosa Bonheur le Crêperie!. No barges, tapas or wood-fired pizzas this time, but galettes and crêpes!. But also sandwiches, salads, artisan ice creams and sweet crêpes to enjoy indoors or on the terrace, or to take away for the most in a hurry. Also worth noting: an opening from 8h30  every day all year round, a lounge area, a children’s area with games, practical services (wifi, charging station) and announced events. Rosa Bonheur  Le Crêperie shop. Jardin des Tuileries 1éme. Access through the grid in Place de la Concorde.  Open every day  all year round. In summer (until August 31), open from 8h30 to 23h. More info here:

And turning a bit into the arts in Paris!

Daniel Hourdé  exhibits at the Salpêtrière in Paris Until September 1st, the artist presents several sculptures in the heart of the Saint-Louis chapel of the Paris hospital 13éme. Architectural classicism and contemporary art meet there for a timeless break, at the gates of paradise. “Si près du Paradis », sculptures monumentales et installations  Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière. (so close to Paradise, monumental sculptures and installations) . St. Louis Chapel of the Salpêtrière. 47 bd de l’Hôpital  13éme. Until September 1, 2019. Open daily from 9h30  to 18h. Free admission. More info here: .

Until August 11, 2019 you can go and get excited at the new Summer Camp located on the Prairie du Triangle (triangle Prairie) on the Folie N7 (madness). Open to all, this small island full of good humor can accommodate the small and the largest. What’s on the agenda? Workshops, animations, and above all a true festive spirit. For example, on August 11, Fans de Comics will host an exchange. For athletes, go on August 3rd for a yoga class given by the Paris Yoga group . More info here:

And one of my favorites subjects, the castles of France. Here are two gems to visit!

Located near Amiens, Château de  Rambures has been owned by the same family since the 11C!. To visit Rambures is to travel back in time: from the Middle Ages with the guard room at the beginning of the 20C and the large living room through the Renaissance and the room of Henry IV where the sovereign stayed three times, not to mention the round road and the rich library of 2,500  ancient works. With its rose garden, arboretum, simple garden and woods, the park labelled “Remarkable Garden” of France, offers beautiful walks. Château de Rambures. 8  Rue du Château, Rambures (Somme dept 80, region of Hauts de France).  Tél.: 03 22 25 07 88. More info here :

Between Orleans and Chambord, the Château de Meung-sur-Loire sits in the heart of a 7-hectare park whose lime walkways and undergrowth offer a charming bucolic décor. Former residence of the bishops of Orleans, it was delivered by Joan of Arc from the hands of the English in 1429, before becoming a prison. Today, the passion and dynamism of the owner make this castle a lively and culturally exciting place. Demonstrations of fencing with musketeers, and of course do not miss the arrival of Joan of Arc, the icon of Orléans!  Château de Meung-sur-Loire. 16, Place du Martroi, Meung-sur-Loire ( Loiret dept 45 ) region of Centre-Val de Loire. Tél. +33 (0) 2 38 44 36 47.More info here :

And there you go another dandy in my belle France! Enjoy it , times are good really !! And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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July 21, 2019

Fine Arts Museum, Le Faouët!

And moving right alone on my last forays into lovely Morbihan in beautiful Brittany let me show you a gem off the beaten path to many. I have come here and visited the market, this weekend I visit a bit more …. easy does live not far about an hour drive from it.  There is so much to see in my belle France! 

As not really done a post on the town, let me tell you a bit on it on the museum part as it is relevant historical wise me think. I will tell you about other places in future posts in my blog. For now let me show you the town and museum of Fine Arts of Le Faouët ! oh yes French speakers will know by the Musée des Beaux-Arts!

Le Faouët is part of the Cornouaille Morbihannaise. Its territory is bounded on the west by the course of the brook Mill du Duc bordering Le Saint, on the south-west by that of the river Inam bordering Guiscriff and Lanvénége; and to the east by that of the river Ellé bordering the towns of Priziac and Meslan. The confluence of Ellé and Inam rivers is the southern end of the town. The city is located on a hill that rises to 152 meters above sea level. The departmental road D769, a fast track connecting Lorient to Roscoff, bypasses the east by a large curve-beltway. I went inland thru the D102 past Languidic and Plouay into the D769 to Le Faouët.

A bit of history I like!

Le Faouët was the seat of a lordship, the town probably having its existence to a castle destroyed during the War of Succession of Britain in the 14C. The lordship was erected in barony in 1495 by the Duchess Anne of Brittany. This town is cited for having participated in the revolt of the Bonnets rouges (red hats) or Revolt of the stamped paper (money)   which occurred in 1675 .This small town becomes famous by the activities of Marion du Faouët, leader of a gang of thieves. Le Faouët became chief town of a district from 1790 to 1795; there is thus created a district court. The city quickly acquired revolutionary ideas while the surrounding countryside became hostile. The city is attacked three times by the Chouans (rebels vs the French revolution) during this troubled period.

From 1860 to 1920, Le Faouët became one of the main artistic centers of inland Brittany, attracting many French and foreign painters and photographers. Their arrival was facilitated by the arrival of the railway at Quimperlé in 1865, a town 26 km away, then at Faouet even in 1906. The artists are housed mainly in the two hotels, the Lion d’Or and La Croix d ‘ Or, overlooking the Place des Halles, which equips artists’ studios and black rooms for photographers. Their favorite subjects are the scenes of markets and daily life, giving the image of an immutable Brittany rooted in the past, as well as the monuments, mainly the 16C market halls and the chapels of Faouët and the region, as well as as the surrounding landscapes.

Among these painters, were the English Guy Wilthew, who lives at the Hôtel de la Croix d’Or, marries one of the daughters of the painter Louis-Marie Le Leuxhe and regularly stays at Faouet until his death. Also, Alphonse Le Leuxhe, began a career as an artist-painter, prematurely interrupted by his death during WWI. Many others who frequented Le Faouët were the Welsh gentleman Sydney Curnow Vosper the Belgian Oscar Chauvaux, naturalized French, also stayed several times at Faouët at the beginning of the 20C before becoming in 1934 curator of the Locronan Museum. Three painters set up a permanent workshop here: the Frenchmen Germain David-Nillet, who came to Faouët for the first time in 1902, and Arthur Midy, as well as the Swiss Marius Borgeaud, who spent only a few years in Faouët between 1920 and 1922 , staying mainly in Rochefort-en-Terre. Many other painters came more briefly like Fernand Legout-Gerard, Emile Compard, Auguste Leroux, Henri Barnoin, Charles River, Emile Schmidt-Vehrlin Robert Yan, Étienne Buffet, Jean-Bertrand Pégot-Ogier, Henry Déziré, Alfred Swieykowski, etc. or Jeanne-Marie Barbey, also a photographer. Elisabeth Sonrel also stays, realizing several works at Le Faouët, painting including Woman and children on the place des Halles du Faouët circa 1910, now in the Musée du Faouët.

Tourist office of the Morbihan dept 56 on Le Faouet

The museum of Faouët,or Musée de Faouët is a museum of paintings inaugurated in 1987 in a former convent of the Ursulines of the 17C, at No. 1 rue de Quimper. The museum presents a collection of drawings, paintings, engravings and sculptures, testifying to the daily life in Le Faouët from 1845 to 1945. From the middle of the 19C, the rich heritage and traditions of Le Faouët attracted many French artists and foreigners to inland Brittany.

le faouet

The first core of the municipal collection was formed on the eve of WWI at the initiative of Victor Robic, mayor of the time. An artist at his leisure, he maintains friendly relations with the artists frequenting the locality and at the same time encourages them to donate one or more of their works to the town of Le Faouët. A first museum was inaugurated in 1914, in the City/Town Hall. In 1987, the town acquires the former Ursuline Convent, which was then put on sale. This allows the development of a municipal collection threatened by oblivion. This also favors the organization of exhibitions devoted to artists who often frequented the small city, or to broader themes, generally related to the history of arts in Brittany.

le faouet

The museum presents the works of artists such as François Hippolyte Lalaisse Emmanuel Lansyer, Jules Trayer, Henri Guinier, Elizabeth Sonrel, Guy Wilthew, Germain David-Nillet, Arthur Midy, Henry of Estienne, Adolphe Beaufrere, Ernest Guerin, Emile Compard, Mathurin Méheut, Henri Alphonse Barnoin, Charles Riviere, Marius Borgeaud, Auguste Leroux, Fernand Daucho, Chauvaux Oscar, Lucien-Victor Delpy, Lucien Demouge, etc.

Official Museum of Faouet

le faouet

The current exhibition is entitled , “ Des Peintres entre Terre et Mer du Faouêt à Concarneau” or painters between land and sea at Concarneau all shown until October 6 2019. More info at the Museums of Brittany webpage here:Official museums of Brittany on Museum of Faouet

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Le Faouet on the museum

Local tourist office of Pays du roi Morvan on the museum

Tourist office of Brittany on the museum

le faouet

There you go another dandy a wonderful place of great artisitc value in Brittany and France, one of the off the beaten path sites you must come. In my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne/Breizh/ Brittany. Come to see Le Faouet and its fine arts museum!

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



July 20, 2019

Les Halles of Ancenis!

Once again another gem while on my road warrior in my belle France. We do not stop , so much to see, and we are just beginning ::) even with trips in earnest to France since 1990, and living here for 16 years we are short on the wonders of my adopted country.

Let me show you a dandy we saw while driving towards the valley of the kings but in Pays de la Loire territory. This is Ancenis, and its wonderfull belltower covered market or Les Halles d’Ancenis.

As not really written much on the town even if passed by it several times…. let me give you some introduction.

The town of Ancenis is in the department of Loire-Atlantique, no 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. Since January 1, 2019, it is the new town of Ancenis-Saint-Géréon with the old neighboring town of Saint-Géréon. Ancenis was built in 984 on an island whose contours can still be seen thanks to boulevards Joseph-Vincent and Léon-Séché. The wharves demonstrate the importance of past traffic on the Loire river  and the importance of the port of Ancenis. The city is part of the Markets of Brittany (marches de Bretagne). Ancenis is part of the historic Brittany region in the traditional country of the Pays Nantais!  The city is 35 km from Nantes, 50 km from Angers, 50 km from Cholet, and 50 km from Châteaubriant.  Ancenis is connected to the national network by its highway/motorway interchange and its toll on the A 11 linking Nantes to Paris!

A bit of history I like

The old town of Ancenis was founded in 984 by Guérech, son of Alain Barbetorte, Duke of Brittany, or by his wife Aremberge. An earlier Gallo-Roman occupation exists on the current territory of Saint-Géréon, on a higher point of the slopes of the Loire, the Meslières Stones. The foundation of Ancenis is intended to defend the new Breton border created by the victory of Alain Barbetorte on the Normans, including the pretensions of the dukes of Anjou who, as early as 987, besieged the city. In 1468, the Treaty of Ancenis was signed, committing duke François II of Brittany to break his alliances with Charles the Bold and King Edward IV of England.

Tourist office of the Pays Ancenis on Ancenis in English here:

The nice monument here that caught our attention passing by it was the covered market or halles. Therefore , let me tell you a bit more on it.

The market or halles are the heart of the city center, around which all the shops of the city are installed. They are built on the site of the old market which dated from the 15C, razed in 1859. It is in 1862 that they are inaugurated. They include the covered market, surmounted by a belfry, the whole is of Napoleonic architecture. The halles as they exist today were part of the vast operation Coeur d’Ancenis 2017 (heart center of Ancenis), whose objective was to render the heart of the city more attractive. Thanks to this program that included the creation of a forecourt, the renovation of the facade, the renovation of the roof , the installation of new joinery and the redevelopment of interior spaces, the halles have found all their superb aspect and now offer a new commercial space of 600 m2. This does not prevent market gardeners, poultry farmers, fishmongers, and cheese makers from setting up their market around the halles every Thursday morning !


A bit of history on the covered market or Halles d’Ancenis.

The Ancenis-Saint-Géréon market is already 413 years old. Recognized in the regional commercial landscape, this event has gone through times and historical events. The Duchess of Mercœur, who today has an alley to her name in the Rohan district, is at the origin. The Duchesse de Mercœur was born Marie de Luxembourg, she married Philippe de Lorraine, Duke of Mercœur and Baron d’Ancenis. The latter was appointed governor of Brittany in 1582 by King Henry III and later became leader of the Catholic league which challenged the arrival of Henry IV, of Protestant origin, while wars of religion were raging. In March 1606, she obtained from King Henry IV the patent letters establishing in Ancenis a fair each  year and a market each week, thus giving them a legal existence. The wooden halls (instead of the current halls) have been home to the market since at least the 15C. On September 6, 1623, the Duchesse de Mercœur died at the Chateau d’Anet  (Eure-et-Loir,dept 28). She was buried in the Convent of the Capuchins, at 222 Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris, which she had built.

The city of Ancenis-Saint-Géréon on the covered market of which some of the description above was translated by yours truly! City of Ancenis on the covered market or Halles

There you go my dear readers, another gem as said of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the ride and do ride into the wonders of my France. Ancenis-Saint Géréon in the Loire Atlantique! 

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



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