Archive for July 16th, 2019

July 16, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXXVIIII

Well back on the news from France series. It has become cloudy in my belle France and fresh temp of 25C or 77F. In the many news here are my favorites pick from French media sources. Enjoy them!

A new 3-euro lotto game with 12 tickets each bearing the image of a monument in danger will be on sale from 2 September, 2019  in addition to the 15-euro sesame launched last year.  The Heritage mission to save monuments in danger is getting richer. For its cuvée 2019, the French lottery authority  (FDJ=Française des Jeux) offers, as in 2018, a sesame of 15 euros. But this year, they decided to launch a 3-euro series of twelve scratch games each to the glory of a building in urgent need of restoration. These printed versions with 20 million copies will honor the belfry of Béthune (Pas-de-Calais), the Sainte-Marie abbey of Longues-sur-Mer (Calvados), the fort of Brescou (Hérault), the Fesch library in Ajaccio (Corse-du-Sud), the mills of La Fontaine in Thoré-la-Rochette (Loir-et-Cher) or the Maulnes castle in Cruzy-le-Châtel (Yonne). The monuments on display are part of the 121 sites at risk selected this year, as part of the mission orchestrated by the host Stéphane Bern and who will benefit from the credits collected through, in particular, the sale of scratch tickets. For each set of 3 euros bought, 50 cents (the share that usually comes to the State) are donated to the Heritage Foundation. Great idea for all to help even visitors!!! The Mission Bern:

And while we try to save many,others depart. An institution since my knowledge of France is on the way out. The Tati stores, only one will remain. Founded in 1948 by Jules Ouaki, the Tati brand continues its descent into the void. Thirteen stores will close and the other hundred points of sale of the clothing store will go under the GIFI brand. From 2020, there will be only one Tati in France, that of Barbès in Paris. More on Tati here:

For the 7th edition of La Nuit aux Invalides (the night at the invalides) , the monument comes alive, until August 30, 2019, for the sound and light show “Lutèce, 3,000 years of stories” La Nuit aux Invalides: Lutèce, 3,000 years of  stories, Esplanade des Invalides, 129, rue de Grenelle (7éme). From Wednesday to Saturday until August 30th. From 22h30 in July, 22h in August. From 15 to 25 €, free for children under 7 years old. More info here:

The Compagnie des prêtres de Saint-Sulpice, located just opposite the Swiss Hospital, close to the John Paul II Park, the building faces the Saint-Sulpice seminary, still in activity, this is in Issy-les-Moulineaux Hauts-de-Seine dept 92. From the 1960s, the building served as a retirement home for elderly religious. The home of solitude, this is what was called until today this manor, property of the Company of the Priests of Saint-Sulpice since 1655. There are now six priest-trainers present permanently, and are currently welcoming 45 priests in formation for six years.  The crisis of vocations makes the home obsolete. Faced with very high maintenance and work costs, which the congregation cannot afford, the priests begin to discuss a development project with the city. It was finally chosen a five-star hotel of 83 rooms in total that will settle here, whose realization will be driven by the agency Wilmotte & Associates Architects. It should see the light of day in 2021. The gourmet restaurant has already been entrusted to Chef Christian, looks good! More info here:

The island of Issy-les-Moulineaux has two identities to discover during bucolic walks. on this two-kilometer long stretch of land between Issy-les-Moulineaux and Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine 92 ), near Seguin Island, you are surrounded by nature in the middle of the Seine river. Two bridges and a footbridge provide access to Île Saint-Germain, which the Billancourt bridge separates into two parts: departmental park and residential area. The island owes its name to the monastery of Saint-Germain-des-Prés who owns these lands from the Middle Ages. At the time, there is no bridge, no dwelling, it is a place of grazing. The French revolution comes and the nationalization of the island. In 1808, Napoleon annexed it to the town of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

In 1853, the Montluçon (Allier) glassworks company bought the central part of the island and built two neoclassical buildings, still in place, one of which houses the restaurant “L’île” and the bridge that still exists today. The company also erects four large halls of which only one survived and hosts a pony club. Expanded since then, the departmental park now covers 22 ha. You can a nice statue there call the tower with figures of Jean Dubuffet, currently hidden under the scaffolding for its renovation. On the urban side, the island has 3,273 inhabitants; Jean Nouvel has erected offices , a building nicknamed the ship  in 1992. Others, like the designer Philippe Starck or the studio Dubosc & Landowski, have signed innovative creations. The departmental park of Île Saint-Germain is open from 7h to 21h  in July, from 7h to 20h30  in August. Several visits are scheduled with Jacky Libaud, on registration at  Denis Joye, Volunteer of the League for the Protection of Birds, hosts an outing a month, July 20,  and August 31, for free, with reservation at Mob tel +33 (0)

More on the park from the tourist office of Hauts-de-Seine 92:

One hundred years after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the Musée de la Grande Guerre Meaux (museum of WWI in Meaux , Seine-et-Marne 77)  reminds the public of the tortuous paths of peace, which was above all that of the victors. The exhibition “Behind the Scenes of Peace” presents several exceptional objects and documents, such as the journal kept by Marshal Foch’s interpreter during pre-Armistice discussions .More info here:

Some of the concrete structures that have flourished in Nice are real jewels .Built in 1928 on the Promenade des Anglais, the Palais de la Mediterranee was once considered the most beautiful casino in the world , there were many shows, exhibitions, balls and banquets for the rich wintering. The carved façade, inspired by Greek temples, is the only vestige of the palace of pleasures of yesteryear. The opening of a complex bringing together casino, theater and hotel five stars. The Hyatt Regency offers the opportunity to pass on the other side of this mythical frontispiece to dream to the century engulfed in one of the rooms overlooking the Mediterranean. Or at the bar, on the terrace, which offers a breathtaking sea view and a unique setting. More info here:

Just a step away from the inevitable marché de la Liberation (market), the building, inaugurated in 1933, owes its impressive ovoid and futuristic volumes to the technique of the reinforced concrete veil, which made its debut. If it was originally intended to cover the copper, the church remained for somtime in raw concrete for lack of budget, until it is simply pianted in white , which earned  it the nickname: “la Meringue “. Church of Sainte-Jeanne-d’Arc ,located at  86 Avenue Saint-Lambert, Nice. More info on Nice tourist office here:

Names like Joris-Karl Huysmans, André Breton, Georges Bataille, Pablo Picasso, Jacques Prévert, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Le Café de Flore  has long been the rendezvous of a certain intellectual elite. By virtue of what, one hundred and thirty-two years after its opening, it is always good to show oneself there. The Café de Flore is also the ideal place to observe fashion people who like to frequent this literary café. This is perfect for cultivating their image of  Parisians-chic-intellect who ate eggs in  the shell in Flore. This will make very beautiful photos in a foreign magazine under the heading “The addresses of …”. Well, the Germanopratin crowd bath, it’s drunk and to quote Jean-Paul Sartre: “Hell, it’s the others”. More info here:

The Hôtel d’Angleterre is older than the United States. And that’s true. In the 18C, this rue Jacob  building, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, housed the Embassy of England. Benjamin Franklin wrote the Treaty of Paris, recognizing the United Federal Republic of America in 1783. In the early 20C, the place changes its nature to become a hotel. Ernest Hemingway stayed there for a month in 1921, during his first stay in Paris, which he inspired for a Movable Feast. His room, No. 14, now bears his name. The hotel has fifteen others, spacious for the neighborhood  and all different, although the decoration of each cultivates the 18C  seal with exposed beams, solid wood cabinets and curtains with pompoms. In summer, the flowery patio is a real pleasure.  Hôtel d’Angleterre at  Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 44, rue Jacob, 6éme. More info here :

Entitled “The Source“, a collective exhibition highlights until November 3 2019 at the Carmignac Foundation on  the île de Porquerolle (island ) in the Var dept 83. Sixty paintings, sculptures and installations from the Edouard Carmignac collection as well as many loans. The exhibition explores the vital, refreshing and at the same time ambiguous momentum of the image of the source through two major axes: the female body (including Egon Schiele, Thomas Ruff, and Sarah Lucas) and abstract expressionism (represented by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Theaster Gates).More info here:

On this past July 11, the City of Paris has nominated, as winners, the British architects of Roger Stirk Harbor + Partners to renovate the Montparnasse district by 2030. The start of work is scheduled for 2022. The rue de Départs (my old office street!!!) and Rue d’Arrivée where the car is king, know that they will be pedestrian in a few years . Montparnasse, it is 9 hectares to rethink totally, so that the pedestrian can really circulate. To be able to breathe, 2,000 trees will be planted on an area of 10,000m2. A nice project estimated at 800 million euros of investment!!!. Which I think the city has a lot other more important priorities like housing and public transports to invest in!!! More info here:

The Architect’s page on the Montparnasse news:

The heat wave, this damn heat wave is here! and we are just beginning Summer!  This is a past event ended 14 July but is worth mentioning here for the nice bars along the way as told below. Never to tell you that it’s impossible, so get ready to go to 8 bis rue de la Butte aux Cailles for a unique event and see a street whose buildings have been repainted in green with a coating a little particular, which brings a feeling of cool! By this heat, it is an unexpected oasis in the middle of the city. The advantage of rue Butte aux Cailles are a space of tranquility, spared of tourists! Exit the classic places such as rue Crémieux or the Eiffel Tower, this is the opportunity to have a street just for Parisians who want to enjoy a drink, in a place with great unstoppable potential! Enjoy for the first time the greenest and freshest street in France, La Rue Verte (Green Street) at 8 bis rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 13éme, and the three bars to serve ice cubes! Le Mêlecasse: 12 rue de la Butte aux Cailles, The Tandem: 10 rue de la Butte aux Cailles and the GQ: 8 bis of the Butte aux Cailles. Go for it !!!

Hope you enjoy the news and can make some interesting stops for you while in France! The choices are endless, bear in mind these are mind suggestions only. Enjoy them!

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



July 16, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral , Jul19 update!

On a nice sunny day in my neck of the woods, and in eternal Paris let me bring you some update on the re construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. A lot have been said, but the fact remains that now the mechanism is just been put in place and the real work is just ahead.

My devotion to the Cathedral and the symbol of France remains untouched and looking forward for an identical reconstruction. However, as today in our world there are those who do not think of traditions and history and just in case keep your souvenirs of the Cathedral you came to know , visit, see , and enjoy. Just in case….

On April 15, 2019, a day to always remember in a sad mode, a fire broke out in Notre-Dame Cathedral, ravaging the roof, the frame, part of the vault and the spire of the Cathedral. A few days after the tragedy, the government had announced a proposal for an exceptional law “for the restoration and preservation of the Notre-Dame Cathedral”. The bill, which will  be adopted in final reading by the National Assembly today July 16, frames the work and donations made by the French. The text was finally adopted today with 32 votes in favor, 7 against and 8 abstentions!  Just three months ago, on April 15, the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris  was ravaged by a fire, which reduced to ashes a part of the roof, the whole of the frame, part of the vault and the arrow. At that time President Emmanuel Macron said “We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautiful and I want it to be completed in five years, “. The opposition have criticized the five-year deadline set by President Macron for work deemed “unreasonable” .But the main bone of contention has, once again, focused on exemptions from the rules of urban planning and protection of the environment, provided for in the text, to speed up the work.

The bill includes the opening of a national subscription to collect donations from individuals, businesses or communities that have flocked since the fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral. It will be used to finance the conservation and restoration of the Cathedral as well as its furniture. Donations may also be used to finance the training of professionals with the specific skills that will be required for the work. The bill also introduces a tax reduction of 75% (against 66% as normal) for donations not exceeding 1.000 euros ! and made between April 16th and December 31st 2019. Since April 15, nearly 850 million euros of donations have been pledged by wealthy individuals and businesses; the final donations and disbursement pending progress of the work once starts.

Donations to the State Treasury, the National Monuments Center and the three authorized foundations (Fondation de France, Fondation du Patrimoine and Fondation Notre Dame) will be donated to the State or the public institution in charge of conservation and of the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral. The text also provides for the creation by order of a public institution, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, responsible for managing the funds raised and the control procedures for this management.

What is there now:

Two temporary “umbrellas” (large tarpaulins) were placed above the nave and the choir, the gables north and south and west were consolidated, notably by depositing all the statues that could make them tilt. Nets were stretched over the nave and choir, whose high stained glass windows were removed. The debris of the north and south transepts have been cleared and those of the nave are being processed, thanks to the daily action of a robot. The water was also evaporated, including in the crypt. Another major project in the coming weeks: the scaffolding, originally installed for the restoration of the spire,  which collapsed during the fire  must be dismantled. But the most important phase will be the installation of hangers under the flying buttresses and the establishment of a floor to have access to the famous vault. This step will consolidate it and be reassuring about its condition. Then, several months will be necessary to evacuate the rubble which is under the vaults. The reconstruction site itself should only begin in early 2020, with tenders launched in January.

What has been heard to be done:

Young architects and designers were launching on social networks their ideas for renovating the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. “We are not going to reconstruct today by mimicry the image of the past. The Dijon cabinet of Paul Godart and Pierre Roussel defend a project of a glazed roof, where the tourists could walk! (what!!). The NAB studio suggests a botanical greenhouse in place of the roof. Lol!  Norman Foster, a renowned British architect, advocates the use of glass?. Jean-Michel Wilmotte, father of the rebirth of Lutetia, in Paris, calls for the use of titanium (wow!). Jacques Ferrier, creator of the pavilion of France in Shanghai, in 2010, takes again the idea of ​​Dominique Perrault (the National Library of France), who imagined, in 2015, the renovation of the Cathedral forecourt with a giant “glass mirror”!  to enhance its value and facilitate access. However, it is an icon of nine centuries that we inherited and that we must repair as identical since we have not been able to preserve,said Denis Valode and Jean Pistre, two great Parisian architects. Jean Nouvel, who designed the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is in turn holding this historic line: “the arrow of Viollet-le-Duc is one of the intangible things of the Cathedral”Amén!

Sources : information taken from 20Minutes, Le Parisien, and L’Express media.

Official historical construction period of the Notre Dame Cathedral

There you go, it is now officially open for work, and the clock is ticking! Best wishes to all involved and may the common sense prevails.

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




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