Archive for July 9th, 2019

July 9, 2019

The halles or market of Clisson!

So wandering my way to beautiful wine country of the Nantaise between the ocean and the Loire  we came to Clisson. Now I have written on wines of it and heritage of it in my blog before but this time let me concentrate a bit more on the Halles or covered market of Clisson.

The town of Clisson is in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region. However, it used to be part of the Duchy of Brittany.  The town is located between Nantes, Cholet ,and La Roche sur Yon in the limits of the dept of Maine et Loire and Vendée. Take it from Nantes on the D149 road into Route de Nantes and city center /Centre ville Clisson.

The Halles or covered market of Clisson shows on recent analyses that the halles date from the 14C and are among the oldest in France. The estimated period is of 1374-1376, that is to say at the time of Olivier V , Constable of France.


The halles are erected on the market square attested here since Guillaume de Clisson in the previous century or 13C. Clisson city of the markets of Brittany was also a city of important markets at the crossroads of three former provinces: Brittany, Anjou and Poitou. Before the French revolution, there was a house of Minage, located in the square of the same name, which collected taxes on cereals entering the market. The lower Les Halles housed, as was often the case, a court of law.


In 1793, following Torfou’s defeat, the Republicans (French revolutionaries) set Clisson on fire. The following year, the city was largely ravaged by the passage of the Infernal Columns, commissioned by Turreau to eradicate any Royalist resistance. It was probably spared because this building had a practical purpose, it served as a camp for Republican troops.

The halles are supported by a remarkable structure composed of different species of wood such as fir, chestnut, and oak, the architectural opulence testifies to the intensity of the trade practiced in Clisson and the richness of the city. The halles extend from rue St. Jacques to the southern end of Place Notre Dame. Nowadays, they are home to the big market on Tuesdays and Fridays all year round and make the heart of the city beat. The city page on the markets: City of Clisson on market days


Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Clisson on the halles

Tourist office of the Val de Loire on the halles of Clisson

And voilà , you have another wonderful excuse to come out west and see these gems. Like I said, a lot more than good muscadet wines are here in the Nantaise! Enjoy the Halles of Clisson.

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

July 9, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXXVIII

So back to the series shall we, after all there is always something to tell about my belle France! I just pick some, out of many choices and things to do here. Hope you are enjoying your days, here is sunny nice breeze and temps at 23C at 14h or around 75F. I read it will go up to 26C by 17h. In our beautiful Paris it is now sunny and 21C or 72F just about and only going up to 75F or 23C by 18h.

And here are my latests news in France! First, new municipal elections are coming up and the major is under heat for all the changes she has made so far and counting, stay tune!

Yes ,this is Paris too ! From the entrance to the large hangar of Vélib ‘ bikes in Villeneuve-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 ), the parking sets the tone: it is invaded on a good part of heap of bikes, some almost in the state of wrecks. Pierre Heyraud, director of operations for Smovengo, the company responsible for running the new Vélib ‘for 18 months. Thanks to a new organization and recruitments, Smovengo has indeed been able to increase its bicycle collection and repair capacity. A necessity while Smovengo reinjects more and more bikes (19 000 expected at the end of the month against 13 000 today), and sometimes they lose their track: 600 to 1,000 bikes are stolen or privatized every week! Smovengo recovers a good part not always intact, but, in net value, it is 100 to 300 bikes that disappear purely and simply every week. And  about 60% of the damage is due to vandalism. Go figure!  Article from Le Parisien newspaper translated by yours truly. And they are :

My Urban expérience, specialized in offbeat tours of Paris. Last May19, the company launched a family escape game in Montmartre. No timed escape from a room, but a master of the game who advises and remotely sends clues to the team if it struggles to move forward. Children, from the age of 6, hold their game book. Adults read the questions in their book. Each turn, they answer the riddles of the course. The game starts from the Abbesses metro and ends at … Hush. They  do not reveal where the end point. The family stops in front of the Bateau-Lavoir workshop, Dalida’s house, Marcel-Aymé square. Throughout the curiosities, they answer questions about what they see, send their answers to the guide, as well as photos. Their progress allows receiving on their tablet five clues at the place of arrival. By combining a piece of street sign, an artist’s poster, a bottle … they surround the end point. My urban experience, escape game The mysteries of Montmartre, family, from 6 years with the child booklet, otherwise from 10 years. Price: 80 € per team, from Abbesses metro station,18éme. More info here :

So, get started in the second edition of Mysteries to the Tuileries, a huge open sky adventure game. At stake ? Entrances to admire and (re) discover the Louvre Museum! From the 6th of July to the 25th of August, 2019,  the Louvre museum will organize a unique game to liven up your warm afternoons, in the heart of the biggest garden of the capital. André Le Nôtre, gardener of King Louis XIV from 1645 to 1700, left some plans drawn before his death.Plans that have remained unknown to the public and researchers until today. Stroll through the Tuileries Garden where clues and riddles are scattered. To help you, you will have at your disposal a map of the plans of the time, historical engravings and handwritten letters … not to mention your team of 2 to 4 people.More info here:

Open last March 22 2019 at the Grande Halle de la Villette, the exhibition Tutankhamun has passed the million visitors mark!. It has been extended by one week. The exhibition “Tutankhamun, the treasure of the Pharaoh” admire these 150 wonders from the royal tomb, sarcophagus, masks, statues, jewelry … including fifty exhibited for the first time outside Egypt, there are still places. But beware, there will be no further extension because the Pharaoh leaves for London in late September. His world tour will end in 2022. Tutankhamun, the treasure of the pharaoh “, until September 22, Grande Halle de la Villette ,19éme, from 9h to 20H every day, prices 18-24 euros. More info here:

Some briefs news here:

At Viry-Chatillon: Port-Aviation, the first aerodrome in history. Essonne dept 91  is a land of first timers. This site which welcomed at the beginning of the 20C all the pioneers of aviation. Thousands of spectators gathered there during aerial meetings.To be seen!

In Suresnes, the hospital Foch of French-American origins  has completely renovated its ophthalmologic  service, and has joined the prestigious Rothschild Foundation to offer care in sector 1 with shortened deadlines. One of my beats for a period going to work, know it well.

Going to CDG airport I read can be a hassle for many , not understood but well, there is always help coming along. There is the site to find your way around the airport. It provide information to the best travelers of Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. More in English here:  A version for Orly also exists but in French: .

Festival at Vitry : it is not only in Avignon that one dances, sings, laughs. From Thursday, July 11, 2019, Station Theater will host the 21st edition of “We will not go to Avignon”: four weeks of public shows to discover in Vitry-sur-Seine (Val de Marne dept 94). More info in French here:

The National Forest Office has just launched three years of excavations to discover the secrets of the hermitage of the Butte Saint-Louis, in the heart of the forest of Fontainebleau. A bit of the story translated by yours truly. On the 22nd of January, 1264, king Louis IX., hunting in the forest, found himself separated from his suite and lost his way; Having climbed a hillock near the present road of Melun, he was suddenly attacked by a band of brigands; he defended himself valiantly, while ringing in his hatchet, to call for help; his companions heard him, ran, and delivered him. More in French here:

All at the beach! Les Mureaux, like many towns in the department Yvelines  78, opens its urban summer beach . Les Mureaux, This past Sunday, July 7th. In front of the city/town hall, the beach everyone appreciates this corner of relaxation.More info here in French:

The State blocks the construction of the interchange of the A 13 autoroute de Normandie at Orgeval. While the department Yvelines 78 wants to carry out work to smooth traffic at the exit 7 of the A 13, which is saturated, the State is slow to issue its authorization. Pity, know the intersection well it was already clogged when living in the area! Then, they complaint about pollution!

Discover the most beautiful fireworks of July 14, 2019 in Paris and the Paris region. Whether you are classic at Trocadero, royal at Versailles or magical at Disney, discover the selection of exceptional fireworks fired for the National Day of France. (visitors still call it the Bastille day!).

You stay in Paris, to enjoy the concert of Radio France and the fireworks of the Eiffel Tower,by the Champ de Mars; it is essential to prepare well by finding the best spot to admire. In height, from the Seine river  or on the bridges, you need to be seen so that you can see it at best. Fireworks fired from the Eiffel Tower. Some nice cool places to see it are on the Vedette de Paris boats and the Bateaux-Mouches,  and Bateaux Parisiens as well. Go to the Quai de la Tournelle, at the foot of Notre Dame Cathedral, to board the Grand Bleu boat too.  The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacré Coeur) at the top of the hill of Montmartre, enjoy the funicular, stroll through the narrow and steep streets and enjoy a unique view of all Paris!   Some Bridges of Paris offers a superb view of the Eiffel Tower, whether you opt for the romanticism of the Pont des Arts, the Pont de la Concorde or the Pont Alexandre III bridge, it will be necessary to go there in advance to have an ideal place. Other high places to see the fireworks are the roof of the Grande Arche de la Défense, and the terrace of the Panoramic Observatory of the Montparnasse tower.

Some favorite spots in Ïle de France region are: The different cities of Seine et Marne (dept 77) will impress you in this National Day 2019 These are fireworks done at  Chelles, Champigny-sur-Seine, Dammarie-les-Lys, Disneyland, Meaux, Melun, Nemours, Pontault-Combault, Provins and Villeparisis . At Disneyland Paris ,after the attractions, you do not want to miss the pyrotechnic show around the castle Sleeping Beauty, at my nostalgic Meaux  awaits you on the Quai Jacques Prévert next to the Marne river for various activities on the occasion , followed by a big fire fireworks shot from the summer beach, Saturday, July 13..

While in beloved Yvelines (dept 78) ,a selection of fireworks will be taking place in Guyancourt, Mantes-la-Jolie, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, Les Mureaux, Plaisirs,  RambouilletPoissy, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Sartrouville, Triel-sur- Seine and Versailles!  This year, there will be no fireworks at the Palace of Versailles, but fire lovers will be able to fall back to the Orangery for an exceptional show or at the Fireman’s Ball!

In Hauts de Seine dept 92 you will see fireworks at Antony, Asnières-sur-Seine, Boulogne-Billancourt, Clamart, Colombes, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Levallois-Perret, Malakoff, Nanterre and Suresnes !

Enjoy them all !!! lol !!!

A confidential wasteland  or friche is ready for Montmartre. The place that is about to capsize your heart is called Etex Friche, it is 1000 m2 and it was announced that you will spend all your summer here!. You are welcome every day of the summer, with glass of wine for 2 €, a pint of beer for 3 €, benches, deckchairs and parasols … It’s time to enjoy it, because the wasteland will close its doors end of October 2019. Etex Friche at  21, rue Etex ,18éme off  Avenue de Saint Ouen, closest metro Guy Môquet line 13

And to finish with my favorites of my new adopted region of Brittany. Hey there are a lot of Bretons in Paris really! And these I have tried myself over the years even before coming to live in the Morbihan Breton! Enjoy them as we do! These are:

Chez Yannick, 33, rue de l’Annonciation 16éme the wheat is made in Brittany ! Crêperie Saint Eustache, 2, rue Sauval, 1éme. Ty Breizh (my Brittany in French) , 52, boulevard Vaugirard, 15éme. This house was founded in 1970, here the galettes or tarts are made with bleach black wheat as in Brittany. Brocéliande , 15, rue des Trois-Frères ,18éme, this is the crêperie of Bretons Hervé and Laetitia a real corner of Brittany in Paris. Crêperie Suzette , 24, rue des Franc-Bourgeois 4éme right in the Marais. Breizh Café (or Brittany cafe)  109, rue Vieille-du-Temple, 3éme with a great ambiance of ciders and galettes black wheat from the aperitif !, and La Petite Bretonne , 53, rue des Martyrs 9éme with  Marie and her two brothers  Yvan and Cédric,their specialty the fine crêpes and the  “kraz”, meaning crusty in Breton.

There you go folks, that it’s all for now! Enjoy my belle France,unique to the world and open to all.  And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


July 9, 2019

A tender story at Bielle (64)!

So now let me tell you more in depth of a little town in my road warrior trips thru the Pyrénées between my beloved France and Spain. It has many trips by it for many years lost count even in gears when there was no tunnels up the peaks and down and back. We had many good times with the boys and my dear late wife Martine.

I remember very well our tantrum to decide where we eat and what we eat, and finally we said lets do it on the run and off we went out. Stops were some not too many as I am a long distance driver but we have some and this one here is the one most memorable for me . This is the by chance and hungry stop we did at a little bakery in Bielle and had our breakfast! on the run with the mountains in front of us before the big push over to or back France and Spain. Let me tell you a bit more ok. Thanks

A bit of Bielle first shall we ::)

Bielle is located in the department of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques 64 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. Bielle is served by the 806 bus line of the intercity network of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques, which runs from Pau to Eaux-Bonnes. The town is crossed by the departmental road 934, the one we take always also known as the route du Portalet.

Bielle appeared in the parish registers for the first time in 1154 under the name Vila, then in 1289 under the name Villa In 1385 it was the name of Viele that appeared, then made up of 82 oestrus or living spaces, among which that of the hospital of the poor , there was also a Benedictine monastery.   Bielle was the capital of the Ossau Valley, . The swearing of the Vic en haut and the Vic en bas gathered in the church. The archives of the pastoral union were kept there. As the story Bielle, capital of the Ossau Valley, suggests, is built on the site of an ancient villa whose ruins were unearthed in 1842. The Priory of St. Mary founded by Galin, Viscount of Ossau, in the 11C was totally destroyed by the wars of religion. In 1790, during the French revolution, Bielle was the capital of a township identical to that of the canton of Laruns today, increased from Louvia-Juzon, and dependent on the Oloron district.

Things to see in Bielle are (we run not seen them ok)

Bielle Castle was built between 1766 and 1770 commissioned by the Marquis Jean-Joseph de Laborde. He was born near Jaca in Aragon (Spain) 1724 and died guillotined in Paris 1794,he was a French merchant and banker. The 15C Church of Saint-Vivien contains furniture and objects of interest. The 17C Chapel of Our Lady, at the place called Ayguelade, was rebuilt in the 19C.   The nature reserve for the nesting of wild vultures, created in 1974, is located on the territory of the towns of Aste-Béon, Bielle, Bilhères and Castet. The museum associated with it, called the “Vulture Cliff”, is located at the entrance to the village of Aste-Béon. More on this interesting place here:

And yes we go around them up and down climbing further on and just beautiful country indeed worth the drive!  The Lauriolle peak at 1,858 meters, the Turon de la Técouère at 1,067 meters, and the Montagnon Peak at 1,973 meters are imposing mountains in the valley of Ossau.

Of course, our souvenir and wonderful memories of passing by here. We have come by here on our last two family vacations to Spain and always stop for breakfast at the same bakery. As we got earlier and had our breakfast before attacking the Pyrénées always without paying any tolls from Pau . Before we got there we had our breakfast in our usual place now the boulangerie Laloubére facing the mountains where pastry, coffee and orange juice cost 2,30€! The price has not change in these two trips along the road D934 route du Portalet. The bakery is small but very friendly ladies with it been right on the road , a nice place to have your coffees, breads, sweets, and orange juice. They have a main bakery in town at city center Bielle. There is a picture of the city center Place de la Mairie, bakery Of course, they have a Facebook page:





Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip into mountain country ,just gorgeous are

The tourist info of Bielle on the Ossau valley

Tourist office dept 64 Pyrénées Atlantiques on activities at Bielle

Tourist info on the Valley of the Ossau with area map

City of Bielle with map of the city

There you go , all set for a wonderful ride into the off the beaten paths beauties of my two countries France and Spain, a wonderful 1-2 combination to never leave it. Enjoy Bielle and the bakery shop Laloubére! 


My dear late wife Martine RIP

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

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