Archive for July 22nd, 2019

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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