Archive for August 5th, 2019

August 5, 2019

Paris!! ok so see my Paris!

So on a nice rainy cloudy day in Summer with the heatwave or canicule past us  let me bring you back to my eternal Paris; where it was more sunny than in my neck of the woods for a change! . Enough to write a book on my blog but I like to take you to some emblematic places , and some off the beaten path of my Paris.  All written before in my blog. A bit long but I love the history of what I see. Bear with me please!

Let me tell you about the Faculté des Droit or Faculty of Law of Paris. Before the creation of civil law chairs in the 19C, the Faculty of Law of Paris was called “Faculty of Decree”  in former French “Faculté Décret”. The decree was the part of the law which did not belong to the ecclesiastical courts, that is to say, the civil law and the criminal law of the king. Specializing in this interesting area of ​​Parliament, the University gained a reputation for authority on these issues throughout the West.


In 1771 it received a brand new building on the Pantheon, the one she still occupies today (see photo). It was closed, like the other French faculties, by the French revolution, on September 15, 1793. The “School of Law of Paris” was created in 1802, and became by the decree of March 17, 1808 organizing the Imperial University of Paris. The “New Faculty of Law of Paris”. In 1896, it was grouped with the other four faculties in Paris to form the new University of Paris.

Official Pantheon Sorbonne University of Paris on the law faculty

The train station of Saint-Lazare,  or Gare St Lazare is one of the six main stations terminus of the network of the SNCF in Paris. Located in the quartier of Europe neighborhoodt of the 8éme district or arrondissement, it is one of the former heads of the West-State network. First station built in Île-de-France region  since 1837 and mainly used since for suburban traffic, it is the second station of Paris and France by its traffic and the second of Europe.


The work of the Passage and Cour of Amsterdam sector,a side seldom seen or photograph by visitors was  completed in 2008, just while I was still using it to come in from River Droite in Versailles! , consisted in widening the existing passage to the Impasse d’Amsterdam  leading to the street of rue d’Amsterdam (see photo) , with the creation of a real secondary entrance on this axis. They have metamorphosed this space to make it more modern in its architecture, more accessible to travelers and more secure. A new mainline sales area with sixteen counters has been set up opposite the platform  27, replacing those removed in the sale des pas perdus as part of the third phase of the renovations.

Official Transilien regional transports on the St Lazare train station

One of the dandies of awesome Paris ok.  Located in the 6éme arrondissement of Paris between the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain des Prés and Montparnasse, the Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the favorite green spaces for Parisians and tourists. It covers twenty-three hectares, twenty-one of which are open to the public. The fun part which my boys did enjoyed when came to live here was the rental of remotely operated boats that they maneuver on the basin!! (see photo) The majestic piece of water, octagonal in shape, was installed under the First Empire by Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin , Architect of king Louis XVI, ordering public holidays under the Consulate and designer-among other wonders of the Arc de Triomphe at Place de l’Etoile!

It hosts in its center a fountain composed of three cherubim’s, half-naked, semi-draped, emerging from a small landscape of stylized support  to the basin. From the basin shoots a central stream of medium size and the water is poured out by two flanges, spewed by chimerical heads its origin;  the hamlet of Chantilly.  All around, on shimmering water, the famous little sailboats, dreams of childhood and others !!!.. In winter, the cherubs are dressed in ice and the birds are skating on it! The Great Basin is also an exhibition place for majestic Phoenix canariensis or Canary Island Date Palms giving an open-air sculpture gallery.  These date palms have long belonged to the botanical heritage of Luxembourg. During the winter, they are kept in the Orangery, building decorated with busts of great artists of the 19C. The sculptures that adorn the surroundings of the Great Basin are not the best known of “Luco” as the gardens are known to Parisians.  You see  Calliope, muse of epic poetry and eloquence;  its presence  is mentioned in the Jardin du Luxembourg in 1902. Also, a Venus au Dauphin  whose author is not identified. Some steps away  lead you  to a Flora holding a crown , the author of the work is not identified. Along the water, you will see Marius standing on the ruins of Carthage. A little further, it is the Vulcan god who presents the weapons from his forge! Gorgeous indeed!

One other monument that I like amonts the many found in the Jardin du Luxembourg is the one dedicated to Eugéne Delacroix, the painter (see photo). A complex monument comprising a fountain, a bust and decorative characters. This monument was inaugurated on October 5, 1890.  Eugène Delacroix is a French painter born in 1798 in Charenton-Saint-Maurice and died in 1863 in Paris. Le Temps raises Glory to the left, so that she lays a crown and a palm in front of the bust, on the right, Apollo, genius of the Arts, applauds this late recognition. The total height of the monument is 4.50 meters. Dalou used a photograph of the painter by Nadar to carved his features. On the pedestal you can read  ” A /Eugéne Delacroix / 1798 – 1863 / Ses Admirateurs”  or To / Eugéne Delacroix / 1798 – 1863 / His Admirers.

Tourist office of Paris on the Jardin du Luxembourg

One beautiful area of my eternal Paris and a great historical monument often bypass is the Lycée or High school Henri-IV  , located at 23, rue Clovis in the 5éme arrondissement of Paris, in the Latin Quarter . The story goes that after the victory of Vouillé on the Visigoths which opens the rich Aquitaine, the king of the Franks Clovis founded around 506 the Royal Monastery of the Holy Apostles, dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul. Clovis was buried there in 511. The following year, the Basilica, continued by Queen Clotilde, acquired an additional prestige by receiving the relics of St. Genevieve. The rue Clovis and rue Clotilde  are now flanked by the Lycée Henri-IV, and rue Clotaire is adjacent to their son, King Clotaire I. The abbey protects the border door of the enclosure of Philippe Auguste wall  at 50 rue Descartes. Part of the wall is visible on the path leading from the school to  5-7 rue Clovis (see photo below)  and at end of 48-50, impasse Jacques-Henri-Lartigue. The square of the neighboring Place de la Contrescarpe takes its name from this military function.

On June 24, 1667, the copper coffin of Descartes is deposited there under a marble monument. rue Descartes now borders the Lycée Henri-IV. King Louis XV vowed in 1744 to build a new monumental church at the abbey. The abbot of Sainte-Geneviève blessed the land in 1758, the king laid the first stone in great ceremony on September 6, 1764. This new church designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot will become at the French revolution, the Pantheon of Paris. The canons are hunted during the revolution: their abbey is declared national property in 1790.

The Central School of the Pantheon is replaced by the Lycée Napoléon, the first high school of the Republic. The abbey church was razed between 1801 and 1807 to pierce rue Clovis. During the Restoration, the school is renamed Royal College Henri IV. It is a high school of the elite, frequented by the sons of king Louis-Philippe and the high aristocracy. The high school regained its Napoleon name under the Second Empire, and in 1870, with the proclamation of the Third Republic still changes its name, for the Lycée Corneille. But in 1873, the government of President Patrice de Mac Mahon, royalist legitimist, and the assembly of the Moral Order renamed the high school the name  the only Republican Bourbon appreciated, “the good King Henry” Lycée Henri-IV as it is today

Today, do not confuse the college and high school Henri IV, they have different procecures that goes beyond this post. For me, the most significant and beautiful to see is the tower. The Tour Clovis tower is the remnant of the old bell tower of a church disappeared between the high school and Church Saint-Étienne-du-Mont (nearby and very nice see my post on it) In 1803, the breakthrough of rue Clovis and the construction of the facade of the school cleared the religious complex. Since then it sounds a distinct chime every quarter of an hour, and announces the hours. The base of the tower, with arched windows dates from Philippe Auguste. This same king makes the monastery of St. Genevieve the guardian of the south gate of Paris, in the current rue Descartes. Pieces of Philippe Auguste’s enclosure wall can be seen on rue Clovis (going down the metro Cardinal-Lemoine) (see photo) and rue Jacques-Henri Lartigue (from the Bibliothèque des littératures policières or Library of Police Literatures). The name of the Place de la Contrescarpe, meeting place at noon of  high school students, shows the ditches of the wall. The warheads of the first and second floor date from the 14C. The coronation of the Flamboyant Gothic tower, rebuilt after 1483.


Official Lycée Henri IV on its history in French

And further on this wonderful street and part of my eternal Paris in the Quartier Latin  is the rue Clovis  a street in the 5éme arrondissement  or district of Paris located mostly in the Sorbonne quartier or neighborhood. This road that connects the Place du Pantheon and the rue du Cardinal-Lemoine is located in the Saint-Victor and Sorbonne neighborhoods or quartiers  of the 5éme arrondissement or district of Paris. The breakthrough of the road in the 19C requires the demolition of the Church Abbey Sainte-Geneviève, of which only the bell tower known as the Tour Clovis or Clovis tower  remains in the premises of the Lycée Henri -IV, located at No. 23 rue Clovis  Near the 5-7 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, remains a remnant of the wall of Philippe Auguste which was restored in 2010.

You can take a very nice walk as such: Facing the Pantheon, turn left on the left of the Pantheon, stay on the right sidewalk along the Pantheon, which is on your right. At the end of the square cross rue Clotilde and continue straight, you are in rue Clovis  on the right sidewalk and you pass in front of Lycée Henry IV which is on your right.  Continue to the next intersection and turn right on rue Descartes, go straight on. At the next crossroads, cross and continue straight ahead, you are in the rue Mouffetard, continue until the place de la Contrescarpe! Awesome Paris , unique the only one!!!

Tourist office of Paris on the Quartier Latin

There you go , I hope you enjoy the walks and history bits of my Paris! The world comes over and nobody does it better!!! Paris , what other title do you need! Enjoy it

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

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August 5, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral , Update Aug19!

So on a sunny day in Paris at around 27C or 81F cloudy, and same here now but at 69F or 19C I bring you another update on the saga of our Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

For reference my previous posts on the situation are here

History and what was saved at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris update Jul19

As work was approved to start the cleaning up and further reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral, traces of lead (plomb) was found in it and its surrounding area alarming several levels of authorities here. This should not be a surprise as many of the old buildings monuments of Paris have lead in its frame especially if dating from ancient times.

Lead contamination at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.  The cry is to put Notre Dame completely under the hood that is completely covered !  The lead contamination is there, and must act to drastically reduce in the coming months pollution rates to protect all those concerned, workers on the site but also local residents, traders, second-hand booksellers as well as cleaning agents in the city.  In the 51 samples taken between April 26 and July 15 at the corner of rue d’Arcole and rue Notre-Dame, there are 31 exceedances which are pollution peaks 12 times higher than the reference value , denounces  Annie Thébaud-Mony, researcher at the association Henri Pézerat, showing a card of samples taken by the Regional Health Agency, the City and the prefecture. Pollution values ​​on the ground are extremely high on Île de la Cité and on the forecourt, but also in the 5éme and 6éme arrondissements. These measurements are up to 4,850 micrograms per m2 at the edge of the Luxembourg Garden. The Saint-Michel fountain would also be polluted.

We must put Notre Dame totally under the cover including bell and its spires. It is absolutely essential that this site be done in the same way as the usual sites of lead or asbestos pollution, with the confinement, put the workers in heavy and unconfortable outfits, but also create decontamination airlock, showers, do not bring in and out the pollution, continues Annie Thébaud-Mony, hailing in passing the decision of the prefect of the region to close the site until the week of August 15.  In addition, the group requests that the Paris Public Assistance decide on the creation of a follow-up center that would allow the exposed persons to be registered and, if they are worried, to converse with a doctor.   The school group located rue Saint-Benoît  6éme) was closed because of a lead rate too important. But while the association Robin des Bois has filed a complaint against X to define “the responsibilities of each on the missing and little information out!

The site will be completely closed including the streets that frame it. These are  John Paul II Square, the Rue de la Cité, and the Maurice Carême promenade. If the new surveys that are due on tomorrow Tuesday reveal that other adjacent streets are polluted, I will also ask them to close.  The goal is for the site to be cleaned up in the month: it’s the city’s request to the State. They must go fast. There are disturbing records. For the schools of the Fifth and Sixth arrondissements, which are 300 meters away from places with a lead level greater than 5000 micrograms per m2

Verneuil and Saint-André-des-Arts schools. The yard of one of these schools is contaminated. Like the terrace and the garden of the other. But it turned out that the terrace above was made of lead. Because Paris has many lead constructions, you  will find abnormal rates not necessarily due to the fire of Notre Dame. Schools 500 meters around Notre Dame have all been cleaned.

Around 400 tons of lead are then consumed and pollute the Notre Dame Cathedral and its surroundings. Toxic metal has poured on stones and soil. The interior and the surroundings of the Cathedral are contaminated with too high levels of lead, which by inhalation or ingestion, can cause digestive disorders, disruption of kidney function, damage to the nervous system or abnormal reproduction. Lead dust is particularly harmful for children who may be suffering from lead poisoning. A high health risk especially as according to the samples taken by the mayor of Paris on May 13 – one month after the fire – nine out of ten institutions have had lead concentration rates requiring rapid decontamination intervention.

The information in French from the city of Paris on the issue of lead is all here: City of Paris on lead contamination of Notre Dame Cathedral

The lead mainly is around the frame area of the Notre Dame Cathedral as evidence by this photo taken from Wikipedia. As well as the official Notre Dame Cathedral site on its frame or charpente here: Official Notre Dame Cathedral on the charpente or frame


Photo credit:Wikipedia Frame or charpente of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

As it seems, the time to get all going for the reconstruction will now take more time as there are many social organisations now included in the decisions and will be hard to get a concensus. At the end a government intervention will be needed, me think.

Update as told you the council was meeting yesterday Tuesday. The findings so far,

The number of children detected to control the lead in their blood after the pollution caused by the Notre-Dame fire has doubled in July and now stands at more than 160, according to a report released Tuesday by the Regional Health Agency Ile-de-France. Of these, six are in the “alertness threshold” (25 to 50 micrograms of lead per liter of blood) and one is above the threshold for mandatory reporting of lead poisoning (50), although this cannot be reliably attributed to the pollution caused by the fire.  The mobilization of the associations, but also that of the unions, demands the putting under construction the frame of the cathedral, which the mayor of Paris and the prefecture of police consider unrealistic. The suspension of the work carried out on the cathedral, it came after the publication of a report of the labor inspectorate with alarming conclusions. This interruption will not go beyond the next weekend (by Aug 15) , said the prefecture, the time to strengthen the rules of health care that apply to people working on the site.

Until next time from Notre Dame Cathedral and various media sources in France I leave you for now.

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

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August 5, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXXIII

And I am back at you with my latest tidbits of my beloved Spain. I am counting the days to my visit this year there and just can’t wait! For now the weather there is sunny and 91F ! or 33C while in my current neck of the woods is rainy cloudy cool and 67F! or 19C! I take Madrid weather anytime!!! Oh well just need to wait….

Some of the latest that have been determine worth to post by yours truly is to follow; enjoy it

«Fra Angelico and the beginnings of the Renaissance in Florence»  Prado Museum.; Paseo del Prado, s / n.  Until September 15 2019

Of course, Fra Angelico (1390-1455) was not from Florence, but from Fiésole, an old city of Etruscan origin located eight kilometers away, which began to become a residential neighborhood. There he worked first as a miniaturist and then making altar blades until 1436, date in which the Dominicans, order in which he entered eighteen years earlier, moved to the convent of San Marcos in Florence, recently renovated thanks to the donations of Cosme de Medici. In the convent in Florence Fra Angelico contributed to make his spiritually more suitable by painting the chapter room, the cloister gallery, the altarpiece of the church and the monks’ cells. The set of frescoes that he left there, his Sistine chapel, prove not only that he was a great artist, but a man of faith fully committed to the mystery of Christ. More info here:

Rosalia, the Spanish muse of the Pirelli calendar. The singer appears in the prestigious almanac . Rosalia is back in the spotlight for her presence in the prestigious Pirelli 2020 calendar, where she shares the spotlight with other great female celebrities today. Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson, Indya Moore, Chris Lee, Claire Foy, Yara Shahidi, Mia Goth and Stella Roversi are some of their companions in the calendar pages, made by Paolo Roversi under the legend of “Looking for Juliet”. Always a classy calendar indeed. More info here:

Only a few days ago, the Kings of Spain and the Netherlands, Felipe and Willhem Alexander, were invested by queen Elizabeth II as Knights of the Order of the Garter in Windsor Castle. Today the relations between both countries are excellent. Gone are the revolts led by another Wilhem of Orange  against another Felipe II, which gave rise to the Eighty Years War (1568-1648) and the independence of the Netherlands. This will end up with a show of painters from both countries in a presentation in the Prado Museum going on until September 29 2019. More info here:

The wines of Navarra blends keeps growing with Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and  Merlot that along the last 25 years have define the región before the coming back of the Garnacha grape. Some of my favorites for this blend of reds are:

Bodegas Ochoa  Ochoa Finca Montijo (2007);  Bodegas Azul y Garanza Desierto de Azul y Garanza (2016)            ; Grupo Chivite : Chivite Colección 125 (2012); Bodega de Sarría, Señorío de Sarría Reserva Especial (2013);Bodega Inurrieta  Laderas de Inurrieta (2015): Grupo Chivite Legardeta Syrah (2015); Pago de Larrainzar  Pago de Larrainzar Reserva Especial (2011);           Bodega Castillo de Monjardín  Castillo de Monjardín Deyo (2015); Bodegas Ochoa  Ochoa Finca Montijo (2014). Enjoy the Navarrese wines up and coming in my beloved Spain.

And the story of the chufa (tigernut) and the wonderful drink of Horchata.One memorable spot for me from visting my late Aunt at El Saler near Valencia in younger days . We drink it but wait to be in Spain to do so and from Valencia even better. I will look forward to my visit end of this month to Madrid to visit Horchateria Arboraya, Calle de Alcalà, 125. From Valencians! More info here:

And now a bit of history and how it is made the traditional way, look for it in Madrid from Valencians or Valencia area, simply the best.

The land is sown with chufa. This is in the Spring, when a process begins that will culminate in the elaboration of the sweetest ,and healthiest! drink we can imagine. In places like the village of Almássera, in the Horta Nord. Horta= the garden ,nord=north is already a multicolored landscape of cabbage, onions, lettuce, artichokes,  delimited by a network of ditches and roads. In June, after a few months of irrigation, the fields begin to be covered with a green tapestry. Somewhere between Alboraia, Meliana and Almássera, a thick smoke rises. And like here, many other fields are set on fire in a controlled way to burn the dried bush of the tigernut for later collection.

The orchard of Valencia is a strip of between 10-15 km that surrounds (less by the sea) the city. An area of ​​approximately 10,500 hectares irrigated by ditches, nine in total, from the Turia river and built during the Muslim period (between the 8-13C). In December, after the burning of the fields, it is proceed by the collect of this small tuber that is underground and that is one of the treasures, hidden underground, of the land. After a washing process in one of the three washrooms of l’Horta , the tuber will pass to the dryers. In the dryers, spread on the ground in airy spaces with large windows, the chufas will be removed periodically so that the tuber is losing all moisture. With the arrival of spring, horchaterías (horchata makers and call also the restaurant where it is serve) are preparing to receive the chufa. In the image, the triad process with state-of-the-art optical technology, at a rate of one thousand kilos of chufa per hour and finished off the old one, by hand and under the precise look of the careful hands. Already in the horchatería, the elaboration of the drink will take place with  a crushing process and the subsequent rehydration of the chufa based on a maceration of water, two sieves and sugar, a lot of sugar. All mixed and cooled quickly to temperatures around 0ºC. The road between Valencia and Alboraya, epicenter of the horchata, is the so call Avenida de la Horchata. Nothing better than tasting the drink accompanied by good fartons where the earth smells like chufa. Indeed try it! Horchata!

Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun; and do come to Madrid, from Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday!

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




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