Archive for July 7th, 2019

July 7, 2019

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid of course!

OMG, I just realised have not written a post on my fav market since it reopen in 2009 while the area was left in decay for decades. It was great to be back in the area and me love to go there but wait!!! this is a market but not really folks go there to shop, nooo we go there to eat/drink, be seen and just been in love with Madrid...

I like to stop this omission with a single post on the Mercado de San Miguel in my beloved Madrid. So for anglophone, this could be translated at St Michael’s market. At the Mercado de San Miguel you can do some tapas, full eat or take home your purchases! All in one lovely spot even if rather touristic with prices to match the environment. So let me tell you about the most famous market of Madrid, especially from the tourist point of view but , also from the locals !


When it opens we came here and my local family (cousins etc) do come for take home once in a while but we are less and less by it. Nevertheless, it is a must to visit if you are in your first or second visit to the city of Madrid as it is one of its most emblematic show of local cuisine and ambiance. Over the years, me and my family have patronized the following establishments there: El 19 de San Miguel , La Casa del Bacalao, El Señor Martin, and the Horno de San Onofre. All very good on site and take home!


Over the aisles, we marvel at the Spanish specialties (hams, olives, fruits and vegetables, etc). The stands offer for some a counter to taste on the spot. Perfect to take the time to discover Madrid gastronomy in an elegant and lively place. High place of life and going out  of the Spanish capital, the Mercado de San Miguel (St Michael market)  is an essential monument for the visitors but also for the locals who meet with friends around a glass and tapas. A few blocks from the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace, the Mercado de San Miguel  is located with its glass, iron and ceramic structure dating from the last century. It’s some 1200 square meters are home to producers and sellers of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and local specialties; Bars and other restaurateurs.


This high place of gastronomy offers colorful stalls but also corners with tables and chairs to allow the most gourmets to taste on the spot. Tapas, Iberian ham, paella and other rice dishes, seafood, cheeses and fresh fruit but also local wines and beers find their place on the 33 stalls all more appetizing than the others. Shows are organized regularly to give more life to the Mercado de San Miguel, this place which brings together the cultural, gastronomic and historical aspects of the city. Today the market has made its place among the monuments of Madrid to see is a must. From gourmet hams and cheeses to fresh fruit and vegetables, the San Miguel Market really does have something for everyone. You can spend hours walking around and exploring different stalls that offer delicacies from around Spain. While you might not have the time to tour through all of Spain’s unique regions, you can sample the Galician specialty pimientos de padrón, pintxosfrom the Basque country or Asturian sidra all in one trip to the Mercado de San Miguel.


A bit on the construction from my amateur architecture eye….

The building is rectangular with its major sides oriented on the east-west axis. The building has two floors, each with an area of almost 2000 square meters. When it was a market, the stalls inside were organized along nine streets of the upper area. Today the stalls have been converted into bars and in storage areas with high tables. To ensure the hygiene of the premises was built with floorboard. The iron and glass design makes the light inside natural.



And why not a bit of history I like ::)

In the Middle Ages already the place was known as an open air market. Many small shops dedicated to crafts are also located in the periphery of the square. A few centuries later, it is the Church of San Miguel de los Octoes (where was baptized Lope de Vega!) that stands at this location. But following a fire which ravaged it in 1790 and the inability to renovate it despite the attempts, Joseph Bonaparte, (brother of Napoleon ) the invading king of the time, ordered its demolition in 1809. It is then decided to keep this space open in a spirit of development and aeration of the public space. Later It was decided to restore its primary function to the market.  Therefore, from 1809 , the locals take advantage of the new market  which then specializes in the products of the sea. The covered market is finally built between 1913 and 1916.

The commercial activity of the market declines little by little since its facilities cannot be competitive in the face of modern supermarkets and shopping malls. After renovations to restore its original appearance, the market reopens its doors in  2009 with traditional products, quality and seasonal products. A company is created to market and support this new idea, the El Gastrónomo de San Miguel, which becomes the majority shareholder of the market with the aim to revive its traditional activity.

The market is open every day from 10h to midnight and until 02h  from Thursday to Saturday. The Opera metro station is the closest to the Mercado de San Miguel market. It is served by metro Ópera lines 2 and 5 (mine!!!) and  Sol lines 1, 2 and 3.  Local city suburbian trains or Cercanías on lines  C3 and C4. Bus lines 3 and night N16. By car closest is at Plaza Mayor. OF course, the best is to walk here from wherever you are I am sure you will be walking distance we will be at 1km from it soon again and will walk over !!!

More information can be obtained on the official page here: Official Mercado de San Miguel

And the tourist office of Madrid: Tourist office of Madrid on the Mercado de San Miguel

Now I feel ok, needed to do this  as it is an icon now in the city all bodies go there and at night even better I say. Enjoy the Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel.

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

Tags: , ,
July 7, 2019

Cesson-Sevigné ! of course…..

Ok sorry for my uncreative titles huh! well this is something that I need to tell you as it is one of our past times here in my belle France and lovely Brittany.  We go around a lot here by car and walks in town and never cease to amaze me the diversity on how one can spent a day.

I used to come to the town of Cesson-Sevigné searching for fresh local produce anywhere away from supermarket industrial kind which yes matilda exist in France too. My dear late wife Martine found it and we came to try it. It was very good but too far to do groceries about 1h30 from home. We stop coming for a while and today decided to give it a run in combination with some walks in beautiful Rennes. It was scorching hot at 34C or about 94F! but we did as much as possible on the walks. Needless to tell you , Rennes city center was packed.

We went in Rennes by the Place du Champs to réveille at the wonderful statue of Jean Leperdit and the wooden houses all around it. Continue to the Marché des Lices vibrant pack as always, and took another turn at the Basilica Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle. All again while supporting the heat and sunrays. There was in addition to the market traffic , heavy construction renovation all over including our favorite rue de Saint Malo, completely broken up for renovation. Why a bit on Rennes because Cesson-Sévigne is next to it…

Let me tell you a bit on Cesson-Sevigné quand même lol! Cesson-Sévigné  is located in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine 35, in the Brittany region. Contiguous to Rennes, criss cross by the Vilaine river, the city remained mostly rural. The town is located on the eastern edge of the city of Rennes and is surrounded by the eastern ring road. Because of this urban continuity with Rennes, Cesson-Sévigné became the sixth city of dept 35 Ille-et-Vilaine, behind Rennes, Saint-Malo, Fougères, Vitré and Bruz.

Cesson-Sévigné is mainly served by buses from the public transport service network of the Rennes metropolitan area (STAR) of Rennes Metropole, therefore, very well serve. There is a train station here on the TGV line Paris-Montparnasse to Brest (mine too ::)). It is served by regional express trains of the TER Bretagne network, running between Rennes and Vitré. We of course, come by car. We do our small walks in Rennes even if today was very high 34C , and then come here for the shopping at Grand Frais once in a while as it is 1h30 from home. We go along the Rennes rocade sud on the N136 to exit/sortie 1 Porte de la Rigoudiere, the store is on next traffic circle next to a Brico Depot store and the Ford Cesson Sevigne dealer.

A bit on the Grand Frais or big fresh story : Grand Frais  is the supermarket brand, founded on May 1, 1992 by Denis Dumont and specializing in fresh produce and groceries around the world. In a covered hall, the Grand Frais stores present five offerings in one place: fruits and vegetables, grocery stores around the world, butchers, fishmongers and creamery/cheeses. Butchery and creamery are usually run by local professionals. A partnership has developed with the Despi group for the butchery and with the Marie Blachère group for the bakery. In 2010, Grand Frais opened 94 stores, each with an average area of 1,000 square sq metres in 40 departments of France. In April 2013, Grand Frais, which has 131 stores, set up shop abroad in Messancy, Belgium. As of May 2019, the group has 222 stores throughout Metropolitan France.


Official webpage of Grand Frais Cesson Sevigné

Cesson sevigne

One of the main reason to come here other than the fresh produce is the butcher shop , unique. This is a bit of their story.

Born into a farming family, Louis Despinasse founded his butchery in 1933, Rue Charles de Gaulle in Saint Etienne (dept 42). In 1985, the owner of Fruteco submitted the idea of bringing all the fresh produce under one roof. He then proposed a partnership to Jean-Michel Despinasse (son of founder). They will then be the forerunners of the concept of the Halles or market such as Grand Frais (big fresh). It was in 2003 that the Despi Butchery was created. The Grand Frais ones then begin to bloom a little everywhere. In 2007, 34 are built in 1 year! In less than 10 years, more than 100 stores have opened. The 100th Grand Frais opened its doors in Firminy in the Loire (42) at the source of the group! Today the Despi Group is 300 stores: 30 butcher shops of semi-proximity name boucherie Despi; 110 Grand Frais (of which the butcheries are inside) ; 160 ED and DIA inexpensive grocery chains; and a 20,000 m2 production platform.

Official Despi butchery on Grand Frais store at Cesson Sevigné

Cesson sevigne

There you go a dandy best of France produce with a bit of old world touch, the country of Cesson-Sevigne and the hustle of the city of Rennes, one two cheers! Hope you enjoy the post and think of a trip for shopping when staying in a place you need groceries etc.

PS on way home heavy traffic as behold the quarter final women world cup game between Germany and Sweden was played at Rennes stadium!!

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

July 7, 2019

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIIII

So on a hot 29C sunny Saturday in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my pretty region of Brittany I come back to you on my errands. This is a family affairs daily real life here that seldom see recounted. Perhaps, we want to show France in a different light. I like to tell it in black and white….

Therefore, let me tell you how we did our Saturday here. We got up later than usual and had our breakfast by 10h at home. We ,then, set up our planning on the to do list. And we set out to do the list! There was nothing plan to go anywhere as we have the Women’s World Cup third place match between England and Sweden,(won by Sweden 1×2), and the start of the Tour de France today from Brussels

We went as far south west to the town of Séné to get our dog food and supplies at the Maxi Zoo store as always since we have our boy Rex. He is a lovable mix breed of Border Collier and Labrador but turn out more Border Collier after all. He is a good boy and we love him a lot. He will be 20 months old next week!! Of course, we got him new foodies and a nice big toy he loves to chew and throw around the yard.



Rex checking out the neighbor lol!!

Coming back towards us, we stop at our nice capital city of Vannes, where nearby I work. Here we did our boys duties but before we needed to eat and we were near the Steak & Shake restaurant (update closed) that serves American style food so obviously we ate lunch there and love those milkshakes strawberries, banana, red fruits etc. This is very convenience as all our need stores are all within even walking distance. Therefore, we parked in the Carrefour shopping center to walk to all.


After our lunch at S & S, I came to accompany one son to the FNAC store while the other two went to Micromania . Dvd and books galore they came back with as much as 6 books!  These are repeated stores for my boys especially.

We, then, move up to my favorite store Nicolas wine and spirits merchants. While there right in the middle of market day we took advantage of this and got our usual chores done in fruits and veggies, and cheeses. The marché de Vannes is one of the best rated in the country by magazines and TV shows here top 10 and I know why, simply awesome. There is the open market, the covered market or halles and the fish market going full steam at the same time! All this up by Place du Poids Public and Place des Lices. We had our car park for free in the ramparts as we were during lunch time 12-14h parking  on streets is free.



Moving up to our town, we stop by our old reliable Castorama for our gardens needs such as grass bags. OF course, this is right on another intersection of many stores and we finished by doing the rest of the groceries in the E Leclerc hypermarket right across.

Once loaded even inside our car! we headed home as we have seen the cheapest gas/petrol was in our town!!! So we fueled up at the Super U supermarket in town before reaching our house.

Now the real rest starts and we will see what we do tomorrow as it is the finals of the women’s football/soccer  World Cup from Lyon between the USA and Netherlands. And od course the Tour de France continues, the Gold Cup final is going on and the America Cup as well seems like a loaded Sunday! Enjoy your weekend


across from our free parking the ramparts of Vannes, the tour Poudriére and afar the Cathedral St Pierre !

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

%d bloggers like this: