Archive for August 9th, 2019

August 9, 2019

A bit of Neuilly-sur-Seine!

So here I am  and coming back to tell you about my regular routines. I have mentioned in previous posts, that I am lucky enough to have worked in Paris for almost 10 years and now the priviledge to visit it almost every month on business runs and one or two a year on family pleasure runs.

Of course, I go over into our former home and the wonderful city of Versailles, but also, do get some runs into less frequented towns around Paris. This is the case of a nice chic Neuilly-sur-Seine in dept 92 of Hauts de Seine, region of ïle de France! 

neuilly sur seine

This is one of my typical runs to Paris almost every month now. However, not on the tour de France weekend darn! This was last month !

I went back to my beloved Paris again, and this time to my ultra chic quartier des sablons in Neuilly-sur-Seine, dept 92.  This was an area that I used to passed by for work and pleasure, so know it well; this time had a play  at the marvelous théatre des sablons, More info here:

neuilly sur seine

neuilly sur seine

Well, I went by TGV train from Auray to Montparnasse, and then took metro line 13 to my hotel,  at Grand Hotel du Calvados, next to the train station at 20 Rue d’Amsterdam, 9éme; info here: Grand Hotel de Calvados Paris, right by the Gare Saint Lazare, typical hotel here is smallish rooms and baths, basic breakfast place, nice friendly staff, good for a night or two and or single or couples. It is centrally located with unlimited transportation options. In a hurry no pictures kept lol!!!

However, before reaching the hotel ,I stop for dinner at Restaurant Le Maresquier same owners) at 12 pl Saint Augustin; wonderful modern ambiance and inventive fusion food, with a côte de cochon that was to kill for it and great southwestern Madiran red Tourus, nice souffle grand marnier to boot all for 54 euros, tops, chic, class, well done.   More info here: https:


It was an easy to roam area, nice updated, Gare Saint Lazare is wonderful with a big modern shopping center inside. The area seems lively, good ambiance, more crowded!!


Next day  ,off I went to the theater of Sablons or Théatre des Sablons, I took bus 43 right at the Pasquier-Anjou stop across from the Chapelle Expiatoire monument to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette many missed. The bus dropped me off at Chartres just next to the theater. The line is here from RATP , Line 43 info here:

Then, in the evening, I took bus 82 right at Chartres stop too, and it goes all the way to Gare de Montparnasse in rue des departs, wonderful right to some of the best spots in Paris such Tour Eiffel! The line from RATP  ,line 82 info here:

Had my late night snack at Ekki Porte Océane (the old brasserie porte Océane closed missed it) at Montparnasse, and took my TGV back to Auray. The parking here is free, so very nice indeed. It is ,also,, the closest to my house now about 20 minute car ride. Reaching home by almost midnight and ready to work  next day lol!! on a very light day.

So will start backward on this post lol! No I am ok just different today. Let me tell you a bit on the town of Neuilly-sur-Seine !

The town of Neuilly sur Seine  is bounded on the east and south by Paris (from east to south: Porte de Villiers, Porte des Ternes, Porte Maillot, Bois de Boulogne), to the west by the Seine river ( La Defense, on the towns  of Courbevoie and Puteaux) and north by the town of Levallois-Perret by  rue de Villiers.  It includes a large part of the island of La Jatte (with the exception of its northern point attached to Levallois-Perret), and the northeastern end of the island of Puteaux, whose part in NSS  is also known under the name of Ïle du Pont ( bridge Island).  The national road N13 in Neuilly SS takes the name Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle, formerly Avenue de Neuilly. It is an extension, to  La Defense and the west of the Paris area, of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and the Avenue de la Grande-Armée in Paris.

More on the interesting island or ïle de la Jatte here: Tourist office of Paris on the island of Jatte

A bit of history I like

The crossing point or ford will later turn into a port and this port is a gap of Clichy, built on the wharf of the abbey of Saint Denis. The name will then turn into the port of Luny, port of Nully (1346) then Neuilly. Until 1700, the strategic importance of the bridge established on this place on the Seine river  is such that it was  call the Pont-Neuilly.  A wooden bridge is built following the fall of the ferry carriage of Henry IV and Marie de Medici in June 1606. In 1772, under Louis XV, a stone bridge 219 meters long was built, the bridge is this time in the historical axis and no longer in the extension of the current rue du Pont. In 1942, a metal bridge replaces it as the current  Pont de Neuilly bridge. In 1992, the bridge was widened to allow the surface crossing of the extension of line 1 of the metro to La Défense.

King François I, on his return from prison in  Spain in 1529, built the castle of Boulogne, on the edge of the forest of Rouvray ( Bois de Boulogne is the part that remains today) which, under Louis XIII, took the name of Château de Madrid . It is demolished in 1793, during the French revolution. It was located approximately around 31 Boulevard Commandant-Charcot. No vestige remains. Only a few traffic routes keep the name, such as the driveway, the villa or the avenue de Madrid.  In 1777, Claude Baudard de Vaudésir of Saint Gemmes General Treasurer of the Navy of Louis XV, who will be dismissed for embezzlement, had built and develop a domain planted with trees and shrubs  sought after,  la Folie Saint-James (madness Saint-James) . In  July 6, 1815 Wellington comes to Neuilly where he establishes his headquarters at the  Folie Saint-James and leaves on the 8th, to come to Paris

It is in 1786 in Neuilly, under Louis XVI, that the apothecary Antoine Parmentier will try the first cultures of the potato in the plain of Sablons.  At the French revolution, Port Neuilly  becomes a town ,  February 7, 1790, The castle of Neuilly built from 1751 and modified by Joachim Murat who bought it in 1802, is the favorite residence of King Louis-Philippe and his family from 1830 to 1848. The castle of Neuilly was burned during the Revolution of 1848 (February revolution and the 3rd since the monarchy was put down in 1789) . Only one wing remains, located at 52 boulevard d’Argenson, occupied today by the Congregation of the Sisters St. Thomas of Villeneuve.

In 1859, the district of Ternes is detached from the town to be included in the new Paris of Haussmann. Before that date, Neuilly, with its hamlet of Ternes), extended to the Place de l’Etoile, bounded on the east by the current Avenue Kléber and Avenue Wagram . In 1866, the vicinity of the Porte de Champerret gate will also be detached to form part of the new town of Levallois-Perret.  An extension of the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of Neuilly between the Allies and Bulgaria is signed, November 27, 1919, in the hall of the city/town hall. In 1929, the town of Neuilly-sur-Seine gives the city of Paris its share of the Bois de Boulogne and a hexametric band along the 17éme arrondissement.

Other than the above theater, some things to see I like are

The parish Church Saint-Jacques, located at 167 boulevard Bineau, was built in 1936. The parish Church Saint-Pierre, located at 90 Avenue du Roule (Avenue Achille-Peretti), was built between 1883 and 1914. It includes a Grand-Orgue  Mutin-Cavaillé-Coll from 1898.  The castle of Neuilly, currently a convent of the sisters of Saint-Thomas-de-Villeneuve, located at  52 boulevard d’Argenson. Of the castle destroyed in 1848, remains today only the north wing, known as the pavillon of Madame-Adélaïde ( younger sister of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans,king of the French) . This wing was acquired in 1907 by the sisters of Saint Thomas de Villeneuve, and  a chapel and a building attached to the municipal hospital relying on the ruins of the castle.  Park of the Folie Saint-James,  this park, located at  34 avenue de Madrid,  and the Park of the Convent Saint-Thomas de Villeneuve, this  park, located at 52 boulevard d’Argenson.

Some webpages to help you come visit this chic town just across the Seine river from Paris are

City of Neuilly sur Seine on its heritage in French

Tourist office of Hauts de Seine dept 92 on walks in Neuilly sur Seine

There you go an oasis of tranquility and class just bordering Paris, the off the beaten path, Neuilly sur Seine. Worth the detour by the theater and church of St Pierre and wonderful stores or go into the bois de Boulogne by the boulevard des Sablons into the Jardin d’Acclimatation! 

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


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August 9, 2019

The manufacture des Tabacs at Morlaix!

So let me take back to my region of Brittany and something off the beaten path but worth stopping by especially as it is going thru a transformation that will be super for all to see. I have done briefs on it in my posts on Morlaix but feel now deserves a post of its own. I will be telling you about the Manufacture des Tabacs or the Tabacco Factory of Morlaix.

The Manufacture des Tabacs or Morlaix Tobacco Factory is a group of buildings located on the quai de Léon in Morlaix. This is in the Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany. I will skip the town as already mentioned in previous posts in my blog.

The manufacture des Tabacs was built in four stages: the main buildings, subdivided into three groups (manufacture, stores, logis) were built between 1736 and 1740 according to the plans of Jean-François Blondel, member of the Royal Academy of Architecture. During the inter-war period, four new buildings were added, crowned by a concrete frame imitating green wood.  The Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (CCI) of Morlaix acquires the monument in April 2001.


In December 2007, the entire west wing of the architectural ensemble found new assignments: artists’ studios, businesses, offices , etc.  At the end of 2008, a first installment of repairs to the fireworks and burned roofs is completed. In 2009, the development of courts and public passages are made, allowing it to open a little more this property complex to the rest of the city.  On May 24, 2013, the Espace des Sciences and Morlaix Communauté sign an agreement to open a branch of the Espace des Sciences in the tobacco factory of Morlaix in 2015.


A bit of old history I like

The Manufacture des Tabacs de Morlaix must be one of the oldest in France. It already existed in 1689, because there are records of the hospice, that the children of this establishment worked and made ankles for the manufacture. In 1667, the Monarchy having reserved the monopoly of the manufacture of tobacco, leased it to Sr. Jean Breton. In 1718 this monopoly returned to the general farm; it was then that it was established a factory in Morlaix.  From 1723 to 1747, the East India Company owned the tobaccos, the company was obliged to build a new building, which rose on the Quai de Leon instead called the Clos-Marant. The new Royal factory was completed in 1736-40.

The Manufacture des Tabacs produces snuff, chew and smoke until the dawn of the 21C. The advent of the steam induces the construction of new premises between 1868 and 1871. Four other buildings surmounted by a concrete frame, called “the Cathedral”, are erected between the two wars.  At the height of its activity, around 1880, the Manu employs more than 1,800 people. First manual (hence the name of Manufacture), the production is mechanized from the late 19C. Machines are improving and the number of jobs is decreasing. In 1995, the establishment has only 185 employees. Production begins to be delocalized. It is then that a large fire seriously damages part of the site. The announced closure of the Manu is experienced here as a historical, social and economic wrench.

Until the decree of the National Assembly, dated March 20, 1791, under the French revolution, which abolished the monopoly, recognized to all French the right to cultivate, manufacture and sell tobacco. The tobacco factory was closed and a large number of workers were out of work.  The buildings, which were almost entirely rebuilt in 1868-1871, are immense, the courtyards spacious, the workshops vast and well ventilated, but the whole is without architectural character.

There is a future for all wonderful beautiful things in my belle France!

The Manufacture des Tabacs that for 250 years was a main motor of fabrication of cigars etc, today it is save by administrative offices and it is open to the public to showcase it.  A reconversion project was born: the Manu, hitherto closed to the public, will become a new city district combining economic, administrative, cultural and educational activities, around a few dwellings. The CCI takes charge of the project management of all the works. Of the 31,000m² of the site, 10,000m² of buildings without heritage interest are demolished between 2003 and 2005.  In order to make this project feasible, work is needed to rehabilitate 3600 m2 of this historic monument. This site also includes the restoration of 14 preserved machines and 12 mills to grate as well as the creation of an attractive scenography, Including the installation of “Espace des Sciences”, a unique science center in France that will open in 2020. This real palace of discovery will have the mission of promoting the heritage and history of the Manufacture and promoting scientific and industrial culture through exhibitions, workshops, events and conferences for all. Great indeed, we will return.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Morlaix on the tobacco factory in French

Tourist office of dept 29 Finistere on Morlaix in English

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix in English

There you go, i hope you have the chance to stop by this wonderful town of Morlaix, we like it and have memorable moments here with the family. As said, we will return to see the Manufacture des Tabacs or Tobacco factory fully restore in 2020. See you!

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

August 9, 2019

The megaliths of Locmariaquer!

So let me bring you closer to me just south of me in fact on the coast. This is Locmariaquer in my Morbihan region of Brittany. I come here often and other than the beautiful beach and bars (see my other posts) I need to touch more in detail the megaliths of Locmariaquer.

These are stones really that it seems nobody has determine where they come from or how they were done or what purposes! There are a lot of hypothèses but not a real conclusion accepted by all responsible organisms. I will just tell you a bit on them borrowed from their official sites.

The town of Locmariaquer is located at the western mouth of the Gulf of Morbihan and has many beaches overlooking the Bay of Quiberon, western part of Mor Braz which opens access to the Atlantic Ocean. Love to come here for a drink or lunch across from the bridge into the sea!

Another wonderful site to come and see is the megaliths of Locmariaquer or the ancient stones monument of this region. The town is another major site for them. Locmariaquer is home to a remarkable concentration of megaliths. The grouping is about 10 kms from Carnac and considered one of the most complete site.


Some of these are the large, shattered menhir of Er Grah, the world’s largest menhir, nearly 20 meters, and weighting  280 tons!!!, the biggest stone in Europe!!!, and done 2000 years before those of Carnac , currently broken into four pieces. The impressive dimensions of this menhir still divide specialists as to the techniques used for its transport and implementation, but the work done by the Neolithic remains remarkable.



Cairn of the Merchant’s Table:  Dated 3,700 BC north-south orientation. This dolmen, about 12 meters long, has a room whose height is unusual in this type of monument: almost 2.50 meters! In fact, the explanation lies in the chronology of the construction of this burial. The magnificent carved sandstone slab, forming the back of the room, was originally erected in the open air. It depicts an idol in a crest, surrounded by a radiant hair, and covered with butts. The back of this stele also bears engravings. The ceiling slab of the room is also decorated with engravings: an axe, a butt, and the lower part of a bovid. This last engraving being incomplete, it is understood that the slab was originally intended to be larger, and that it was broken. Indeed, the second part of this block was found on the dolmen of the island of Gavrinis, and the third is probably the cover slab of the mound of Er Grah.

Mounds of Er Grah:  About 4,000 BC The tomb, without access from the outside, was in a first phase surrounded by a cairn of stones, then it was enlarged by the construction of two extensions of stone and earth, bringing its total length to nearly 140m! Probably the burial of an important figure, who justified such a deployment of works, the vault, looted several times, unfortunately delivered only a pendeloque in green variscite.  offering a unique witness to the exceptional funeral rites practice in Brittany at the time of the Neolithic era. The flat stones, a long-bent dolmen of nearly 25 meters.

Dolmen of Kercadoret :  Located on the left of the route d’ Auray road D781 when you go to Locmariaquer, this little dolmen has kept only the 6 support slabs of the room as well as a block of cover.  It is known from this tomb that it was reused in the Bronze Age, as evidenced by the discovery of a copper javelin tip and very beautiful flint arrowheads.

Dolmen of Kerveresse : All that remains of this monument is the bedroom and a hallway primer, 13 pillars support 2 slabs of roof. Inside, on some of the pillars, are engraved with butts, and you can also see cupules on the ceiling.

The Mane-Lud tumulus :  Dolmen dated to the Middle Neolithic, reused in the early Bronze Age around 2,220 BC. This dolmen, accessible by the departmental road D781 and located on the edge of the Nélud subdivision. We go down a modern staircase. It is oriented north-south, the corridor, begun by modern constructions, was about 6 meters long, and the room was about 3.60 meters long. 29 blocks serve as a support for 5 slabs of cover, and the floor is made up of two huge slabs.  Eight of the supports are engraved, and bear frequent symbols on the megaliths of the region: corniforms, butts, axe blades and axes shriveled, serpent form, cupules, crests, and symbols sometimes interpreted as rowing boats. The floor of the chamber is made up of a carved slab, the very particular shape of which evokes an idol in crest. It is most likely a stele, (erected stone) originally erected in the open air, and used for reuse for the paving of this dolmen, as well as for the large roof slab.  To the east of this dolmen, the east-west oriented mound is in fact a mound, probably dated to the Bronze Age (dimensions 80 x 50 meters and 5.50 meters high), and which contained a funerary vault as well as five standing stones surmounted by horse skulls in the eastern part. Objects presented at the Vannes and Carnac Museums.


Tumulus of Mané et Hroêk; this tumulus, 100 meters long and 60 meters wide, 10 meters high, was excavated in 1863. This princely tomb concealed in its center a four-meter long burial chamber in which the researchers found exceptional furnishings, comprising of 106 polished axes in jade, as well as beads and pendulous in variscite, hidden for the most part under the paving of the vault. At the entrance to the room were three fragments of a carved slab. The decoration represents in the center a crest, figuration of the mother goddess, containing a horned sign and two small sticks; above and below, a series of driven axes and finally, at the bottom, a more combusting axe, with a ring at the bottom of the handle.

Room and tumulus of the Mané-Rutual :  Accessible via the ruelle de Bronzo.  Around 3,800 BC The hallway and the bedroom are about 15 meters long, the room is double: on two occasions, an advance of blocks on each side forms a narrowing, which compartmentalizes the room into two parts (we can speak of antechamber and chamber). 39 supports form the walls; the whole is covered by 6 slabs. The roof slab of the room is 11.30 meters long and 4 meters wide, and is largely overflowing on the back of the monument. It is decorated with a magnificent crest, and was also originally a large stele intended to be erected, and which was later reused in roof slab.  On the ceiling of the antechamber, there is an axe-Prue, a motif found on one of the supports of this part of the monument. On the next block are two butts. Objects found in excavation presented at the Vannes museum.

Men Er Letionec: Pointe de Kerpenhir, on the edge of the Gulf, this 3.4 meters high menhir would be the only remnant of an ancient cromlech.


Mein Er Mere: Visible at low tide north of the village pier, this 8 meters block is a menhir, but it is not clear what it does at this location: was it erected there, it would testify in this case of the rise of the waters since the Neolithic  or was it being transported?

Some webpages to help you further enjoy these wonderful sites are

Official National Monument info on the megaliths of Locmariaquer

The city of Locmariaquer on the megaliths in French

There you go and if you want to mix history architecture and old stones with beautiful beaches and great fish/seafood then you must come to Locmariaquer! Only 28 km from me or about 17 miles!!

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

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