Archive for September, 2019

September 30, 2019

Royal Opera of Versailles!!

So here I am back in France, and need to tell you about the  wonderful country of mine and my beloved Versailles a city I lived and won’t stop mentioning it lol!  However, with all the numerours posts I have in my blog on this immense royal city and de facto capital of France I have missed some important elements. Indeed , the beautiful Royal Opera of the Domaine de Versailles! I like to tell you now a bit on it ok

The Opéra Royal or Royal Opera of the Palace/museum of Versailles is an opera house built under king Louis XV located at the end of the north wing of the Palace. This is by rue des reservoirs on the outside and avenue du N or Bassin de la pyramide on the inside. And of course in Versailles, capital of dept 78 Yvelines in the region of Ïle de France!

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Under king Louis XIV, the little theater of the court des Princes was inconvenient and no longer suited to new fashions. To distract the king, Madame de Pompadour mounted a small troupe of comedians chosen from among her friends; the Marquise herself held her place. The little troop had two successive theaters at its disposal, temporary and dismountable theaters installed first in the Petite Galerie (little gallery) and then in the l’escalier des Ambassadeurs (stairwell of the Ambassadors). These small halls had very few spectators and were not considered court theaters.

In building the northern wing, king Louis XIV had thought of building an opera, the bad finances of the end of his reign prevented him from doing so. King Louis XV took over the project on the occasion of the marriage of his grandson (future king Louis XVI) with the Archduchess Marie Antoinette. The construction was begun in 1768 under the order of the king by the anticipation of the marriages of his grandchildren, the construction lasted two years and the Royal Opera was inaugurated on May 16, 1770 at the marriage of Louis XVI of France and Marie-Antoinette of Austria.

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The Royal Opera, which Louis-Philippe was painted in red and which, in 1871, had been transformed into a meeting room for the National Assembly and then occupied by the Senate after 1875, was scrupulously restored from 1952 to 1956 and returned to was once again one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, uniting the graces of the Rococo style with the triumphant neoclassicism. It was meant to give an idea of the progress made in the arts under the reign of king Louis XV

This work of Ange-Jacques Gabriel first architect of the king, had made this Royal Opera one of the classic architectural style, with some Baroque reminiscences. Two stone galleries lead to the opera: it was through the gallery on the first floor that the king went there, either by directly gaining his own private box, or by going down the staircase, now destroyed, which led to the Guards Hall, and from there to the foyer and the amphitheater. The floor plan, new for the time, has the shape of a truncated oval, and the traditional boxes are replaced by simple balconies, set back on top of each other, with separations at the support. The proportions are perfect, and one can only admire the elegant colonnade of the third boxes; as for the mirrors that lurk the bottom in which the half-chandeliers are reflected, thus giving the illusion of full luster, they accentuate the lightness of this architecture they seem to launch you to infinity.

The decoration is particularly refined as was usually the case in the court theaters, the Royal Opera could be transformed in twenty-four hours into a large room for the ballroom. A system of winches raised the floor of the parterre to bring it to the level of the amphitheater and the stage, on which was built a second room surrounded by walkable colonnades and adorned with a ceiling. The scene stage of the Royal Opera has exceptional dimensions of 12.70 meters of opening, 29 meters of depth, 31 meters of width and 18 meters of height; make one of the largest of France, thus allowed the representation of operas with great show, requiring a large number of figurations and changes of scenery.

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Behind the pit is the amphitheater, in the front row of which are the armchairs of the royal family and the stools of the princes and princesses of blood and duchesses. On the floor of the second lodges, there are three small private lodges that allowed the King to attend the show in a semi-incognito: closed gilt bronze grilles and decorated with exquisite arabesques, they communicate through a small oval living room with the gallery leading to the Grand Apartments. The hall once held more than a thousand seats, and today it has a little over seven hundred; the orchestra pit can accommodate eighty musicians. The foyer, which gives access to the amphitheater, is decorated with statues Apollo, Venus, Abundance and Peace, Youth and Health, Poems lyric, pastoral, epic and dramatic scenes

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The stage cage and the technical installations of the Royal Opera have been restored back on September 2009 after two years of work. Concerts and shows have since been regularly scheduled by Château de Versailles Spectacles, the private subsidiary of the Palace/Museum of Versailles, which operates the Royal Opera as well as the Royal Chapel and the Big water musicals   day and night times. Hope you can see this beauty and historical jewel of France.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Chateau de Versailles on the Royal Opera

Official Chateau de Versailles Spectacles on the Royal Opera

And there you go, I did justice to this jewel of the most beautiful palace in the world, a must to see while in France. I just had luck to lived nearby and use it even as my jogging and walking trails on weekends, every by the region I stop by memories forever. Hope you enjoy the Royal Opera and everything in it and around it, all worth your time and money. Pictures are from May 2019.

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

ps. disclaimer, the first photo is mine showing the location of the Opera Royal, the others are from and by the Royal Opera not mine as photos are not allowed. Cheers

 

 

September 30, 2019

Cine Aragon, Madrid!

Ok so I am back from a wonderful trip to my beloved Madrid. And started reminicents of my old times there and the things I saw change. Well it has not impacted me much as lucky enough to visit the city several times after i left it from four beautiful years living there. However, even without pictures today one spot impacted me to see it empty and like to tell you about it. To know, the Cine Aragon is closed since 2005. Promise last post on Madrid ::)

When my stay in Madrid, my mother would scrap some money ,pesetas, to take me to the movies. We did not have much money then in the old regime, and were very happy to go to the movies once a month. As we live off metro Quintana line 5 exit on Calle de Alcalà 331, the closest to us even on foot was the Cine Aragon at Calle de Alcalà 334!

This was a very modern cinema for the times , and we were very happy to be there. I went in several times and was able to bring in my girlfriend then dear late wife Martine. They close early so no time to bring my sons once in France. The memories will lingered forever as one of the warmest nicest places that attach me forever to my beloved Madrid, Cine Aragon it was!

A bit of history I like

On February 8, 1954, another cinema with the name of Cine Aragon opened in the Ctra. De Aragon 124 ; it will become Calle de Alcalà 334 in honor of its location, with the program in continuous session “Al diablo la celebridad” (to hell the celebrity), and   Mundos Opuestos (opposite worlds). It was inserted in a residential building and had a wide facade where they placed their billboards. The entrance was preceded by steps that gave way to a high hall with two stairs, one at each end, under one of which were the lockers. Four entrances gave way to the cinema room, with a slope towards the screen and a high plaster ceiling. It was decorated in reddish tones and had a capacity of 1500 seats distributed between the patio and the amphitheater. In the upper part a large lounge and the bar, next to which the toilets were installed, in front of these, two corridors led us to the amphitheater that developed vertiginously until reaching the projection windows.

In 1997, during the screening of the movie “Rescate” (Rescue) a fire filled the cinema room with smoke and caused it to be evicted. The material damages were substantial. The place remained closed until August 1998, when it reopened completely renovated with a single room with capacity for 550 spectators, with several seats convertible into a single special for couples. In August of 2005 after the screening of “Ninnete” the Cine Aragon closed forever. Then came the decomposition and this time the El Corte Inglés, at the head with Sfera store left us orphaned of the cinema. Today there are Poly toys store last check.

This is a sad trend in Madrid and Spain in general. The last 50 years shows the gradual decline of cinemas. In this period it has fallen from the peak of 161 cinemas in 1969 to the current 31, in Madrid , the lowest figure, reached in 2015 and currently maintained. After the Cine Ideal, the oldest still open are the Doré (1923), Callao (1926), Palacio de la Prensa (1929), Capitol (1931) and Projecciones (1931) (I have posted on the cinemas highlighter in my blog) . Today, 31 are still cinemas, 30 are dedicated to catering, 24 are currently unused stores, 17 are supermarkets, 17 are other stores (11 of them clothing), 16 are theaters and another 16 are gyms. And we call that advancement in the future world, so sad!

No webpage and no photos, just a souvenir of mine that I wanted to establish forever in my blog , I hope. Cine Aragon was a happy humble small moment for me but a huge impact in my life and on Madrid itself forever. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! Hope you enjoy the old story!

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

 

 

 

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September 30, 2019

Restaurant: El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And sadly, this will be my last post of the new series from my August 2019 visit to my beloved Madrid. I am back but already planning to be back at the latest next year lol! thank you for following me along this most personal series.  From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

The first time I ran into the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos was back in 1972! I was a poor young teen then but was taken by an older gentlemen of a group of friends who was trying to impress us with his knowledge and purchasing power. He did!

I was fascinated by it and promise one day to come back here. Well it took me a while until 1990 on a visit that came here for tapas and a glass of wine. Afterward and on my married life came here several times usually for a quick drink and tapas. Until this year , when came with my young men sons on a nostalgic trip this time without our dear mom and wife Martine. We were strolling the town and were coming back from the Jardines de Sabatini and the Campo del Moro and it was time to eat.

I made it a point to hold on the hunger until we reach the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, which is very close to the Almudena Cathedral and a few steps from the Royal Palace on Calle de Bailén. It is one of those bars full of grandparents and people from the neighborhood, and it has been there since 1909. Red facade , colored tiles, high ceilings, carved columns, centuries-old lamps and a mirror rescued from an old tavern on Calle de Trafalgar, today it is still the decoration of this typical Madrid tavern.

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The EL Anciano Rey de los Vinos is a classic tapas bar in Madrid. As you enter, there are large plates full of skewers in addition to a list of wines, tapas and portions. Vermouth is made with white wine macerated with herbs and spices that give it its characteristic caramel color. The tradition of the vermouth of grifo takes centuries in the culture of Madrid and lately it has become fashionable again. Served with its olive and a slice of orange, it is refreshing and the perfect drink for the appetizer. And in the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos they put it with a tapa!

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There is the option of sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables and ordering portions such as chicken strips in cabrales, broken egg skillet, ham croquettes or sirloin with goat cheese. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos has all the classic tapas and some others that you will like. The most typical of this tasca is sweet wine, more specifically bottled wine and labeled with the name El Anciano (the elder). They usually serve it with a round cookie made with egg yolk!

In 2009, on the occasion of the centenary, el regalito del torito (the gift of the bull) was created, a traditional dish but with a renewed recipe, and is today the star dish of the house. This is oxtail wrapped in phyllo dough with sauce and piquillo pepper.

As for the decoration, they have not changed much in the more than one hundred years they have been. The walls are painted yellow and have white and green tiles. Behind the bar is a mirror surrounded by blackboards with prices and variety of wines. The tables are white marble and iron and the bar has high wooden stools. There is nothing too sophisticated, but it does have very nice lamps and some images of old Madrid.  It is an authentic experience that has not changed, although the vermouth has become fashionable or people have learned of its status as a Madrid classic. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is everything you can ask for from your tapas experience. There is even a terrace for good weather, although it is often full and I personally prefer the bar noise. There is something special about the noise of people chatting with friends with enthusiasm!

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The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is always located at Calle de Bailén, 19, hours from Wednesdays to Mondays from 9h to 00h; the closest metro is Opera line 2.

The building dates from 1886, the year in which the Casa Pedro Martínez house is installed, where coffee was sold, pumkin and tea .. There was, at that time, a botillería ( bakery) whose name was the same as that of its owner, Casa Pedro Martínez, who was famous for its pout coffee, brandy and his tea. That Don Pedro gave his business to Luis Montón who would be in charge of it until 1942. The new owner was called Abilio Manzanar Ortega, it was he who hired a young man of fifteen to work in the tavern. This young man, Constancio Cortés, would be its next owner. Currently, it is the daughter of him, María Belén Cortés who is in charge of the business.

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Being in such an emblematic neighborhood, there are many public figures and personalities who parade through this tavern. It is said that king Alfonso XIII escaped through the tunnels of the palace to come here. When Franco died, the tavern was closed for three days, even at night for all the hustle and bustle that was experienced. They were equally entertained during the days before and after the royal marriage, that of the then Princes of Asturias but before and after a lot of movement was noticed, such as the coronation day of Felipe VI.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

Official El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

Tourist office of Madrid on the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

And my Yelp review fav site on them here: Yelp reviews of the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos forever! A Madrid institution to be visited and savored and enjoy the views of Royal status. Hope you like this entry and thank you again for reading my series on my beloved Madrid

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

 

September 29, 2019

Restaurant: La Fiebre, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And while in my beloved Madrid and a game of Real Madrid was on, needed a quick place to see with good ambiance. Nothing better than to ask the locals at the bar as well as the BB apartment we were staying. 100 Montaditos and LAPEPA. !And the verdict was go to La Fiebre! Ok so not been there before but did not want to take a long trek to my usual places near the stadium so we went for it La Fiebre it was! And what a great time we had!!!

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The moment we walk in immediately the conversation started , well sort of. I just say I wanted to see the game of Real Madrid vs Valladolid that was on that night! Right away the staff came over us and a nice looking lady and very kind took me and my sons to the back , the VIP room lol!! TV on all walls nice low level seats small tables slighlty lit we were in heavens!!! Soon ,thereafter a couple of groups of 4 came in as well and before you knew it the uuhh and ahhh were going all over the place lol!! And the pints too mind you lol! And the game was badly played and we tied 1X1!

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La Fiebre (the fever) is at Calle del Principe just before Plaza de Santa Ana which  is a great tourist attraction for those who come to eat at this bar after a long walk. The La Fiebre is a great get together and excellent football/soccer/sports screen TV all over to watch the games. In addition, their generous empanadas, their tasty nachos and their perfectly elaborated tapas are among those dishes that should not be missed at La Fiebre. Do not miss the opportunity to try their good cold beer which we did with Paulaner, Guinness beers. This place has extraordinary frapes too among its drinks, and a nice selection of non alcoholic drinks as well. . The warm atmosphere of this place allows you to relax after a hard day at work or just a long walk in the city!

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We were charmed by the exterior decor, and the interior was even better! Very cozy bar with sofas or chairs to sip a cocktail, eat small dishes or desserts. Cool and relaxed atmosphere. Super nice place, nice atmosphere and nice waiters. A pleasant time spent in this small bar very cozy and warm. Note, the 2 tables of the entrance on the sides very nice to feel the atmosphere of the street and very romantic me think!

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It has no webpage, Calle del Principe 16-18 is it and the Yelp reviews will help the others as I am convince already La Fiebre is a great place. Yelp reviews on La Fiebre

Been on a nice architecturally and historical area of my beloved Madrid and an interesting street, let me dwell a bit on the history I like here please

Its fine layout unites two of the most beautiful squares in Madrid, the Plaza de Canalejas with that of Plaza de Santa Ana, two exquisite enclosures that endure the passing of the years with ease. Calle del Principe is destined to unite forever a path full of history, a delicious walk that encloses, in one of its corners, a legend of love and spirits.

The first thing that I like to clarify is to which prince is dedicated this discreet street although you will not have it so easy. With the Calle del Principe there are several theories as its name. One is that it is due to Felipe II, or that it was named to commemorate the birth of Felipe IV, however, other writers say that the route was dedicated to Muley Xeque, Prince of Fez and Morocco, known as the Black Prince.

To give no doubts , we are going to resort to our most universal writer, Miguel de Cervantes, who when writing the Viaje del Parnaso or Journey of the Parnassus, at that time he lived rented house in Calle de Huertas and tells us that he lives next to the Palace of the Black Prince. Therefore, it seems that the last hypothesis, thanks to the writer’s note, is the one that charges the most truth!!

In it the Corral de la Pacheca and the Corral del Príncipe were located, the latter in the place where the Teatro Español (Spanish Theater) is currently located! Nice history of my beloved Madrid!

So, therefore, do visit La Fiebre and Calle del Principe in lovely Madrid! And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

September 29, 2019

Restaurant: Alboraya and Los Alpes, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

Now I will tell you about two historical and emblematic places of my beloved Madrid. They are in tourist prone center, but a short ride away by metro will take you to these two landmarks of Madrid. Let me tell you a bit about them in my blog, hope you enjoy it as we do

The Heladeria Los Alpes (ice cream parlor the Alps) was founded in 1950. The founders were a marriage of Italian and Spanish and today, their grandchildren continue to run the business and follow the original Italian recipe of their grandfather improved by the second generation of the family.

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They make more than 80 different flavors and select the raw material from those places where it is best: lemons, from Murcia. the hazelnut, from Reus, the pistachio, from Sicily. Everything is fresh and without preservatives . Excellence and personal self-demand have made Los Alpes one of the best traditional ice cream parlors in the entire Comunidad de Madrid. Wide variety of ice cream and also horchatas, slushies, milkshakes, waffles, tiramisu etc

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Their address at Calle Arcipreste de Hita,6 almost behind the Calle de la Princesa before reaching Faro de Moncloa. metro Moncloa (the closest) and Arguelles takes you here. We were up in the area and I wanted to take my sons here so we walk from Plaza de España up Calle de la Princesa to just before you see the Faro de Moncloa turn right into Calle de Fernando el Catolico and then left into Calle Arciprete de Hita to the store on your right hand side. If you take the metro line 3 to Moncloa come out and go away from Faro de Moncloa on your left hand side is the Calle Fernando el Catolico take left and then left into Arciprete de Hita. Enjoy it as we did!!!

Official Heladeria Los Alpes

Tourist office of Madrid on Heladeria Los Alpes

And for reviews on it have it in English for Yelp: Yelp reviews on Heladeria Los Alpes

Now this is a very old drink even from Egyptian times ,in Spain, the origin of Horchata, comes from the city of Alboraya, in the Comunidad de Valencia. It is a typical sweet drink that is usually accompanied by fartons that regulars like to eat by soaking them before in the horchata. It is the tigernut or chufa as we call it in Spain, very popular and we love it each time there. Very refreshing in Summers.

The best is Horchatería Alboraya. Two addresses in Madrid: Calle de Alcalá, 125 (where we tasted right off metro Principe de Vergara metro lines 2 and 9) and Avenida Felipe II, 26 (where we saw it too). The tradition of this place begins with the grandparents, who cultivated their first tigernut in Alboraya in 1960. Then, the next generation founded the first Alboraya tiger nut milk factory in Madrid. Their motto is to develop the best tiger nut milk from the fields of their grandparents and to offer the best artisan ice cream in the city. With great ice creams like the traditional meringue milk flavor, or smoothies like the fantastic mango flavor. Today, the third generation aspires the same work by working only with quality products filled with flavors.

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This is great just where I grew up not far really, not far from Retiro Park on the famous Calle de Alcalà (mine!) and a family tradition at its best. It is just on the other side away from Puerta de Alcalà and not too many visitors go this way but they should, the real Madrid awaits you. And institutions like this one, the very best of Spain in Madrid.

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Official Horchateria Alboraya

Tourist office of Madrid on Horchateria Alboraya at Alcalà

And for reviews on it have it in English here: Yelp reviews on Horchateria Alboraya

And there you go an awesome one two punch in two opposite poles of the wonderful city of Madrid. The Los Alpes and Alboraya are perfect examples why life in Madrid is a dream and visiting an event each time. Hope you enjoy the post and do come for a taste of the real Madrid. You know what I said, From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!YES!

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

 

 

 

September 29, 2019

Restaurant: La Rollerie, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

Well, here is another first. While walking in my beloved Madrid and looking for changes to the landscape and places! we ,notice this place passing by going towards the Puerta del Sol from our apartment BB in Plaza de las Cortes.  We first notice and then on another day came back to try it. It was a pleasant surprise even if the prices are for the tourist incline in my opinion, the quality and the service is tops. The La Rollerie chain is something I would try again! And their latest address at Carrera San Jéronimo is super!

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The La Rollerie of the Barrio de las Letras holds a surprise, a greenhouse in which you can breathe peace and in which you can choose your favorite corner under its vines, in the greenhouse, in front of the fountain or on its rocker. Our place the property at Carrera de San Jeronimo, 26, their newest property!

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There are already four La Rolleries in Madrid all with the same menu, same offer that goes from morning to night, own workshop, and a great novelty: a space so green and relaxing that you will not believe you are in the middle of Madrid hectic noisy days.

Our visit took place in what was the classic store of the Spanish Musical Union, it is a large place on the corner with stained glass windows, lamps and ceiling lamps of 1925 that remain exactly the same now that the instruments have left room for the pastries, the workshop and the kitchen of this new restaurant and cafe.

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Same menu and offer as in the rest, and that goes from morning to night, including breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, but served in a space very different from the others. On the first floor (street level) of the premises, the flagship trees of La Rollerie and a large central bar to eat attract attention. And, above all, the tubas of an old organ behind the counter that belonged to the old music store.

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The second floor, converted into a Provencal garden and courtyard, into a botanical garden, with a roof of vines and transformed corners flower kiosks. The tables are all different and, one of them, has even a swing. It is a chic oasis where you can isolate yourself from the noise of Madrid. Four types of brunch every day of the week taken on a swing surrounded by flowers! Sublime, a must to visit.

official La Rollerie on Carrera de San Jeronimo

My favorite Yelp reviews on La Rollerie of Carrera de San Jeronimo

And there you go another dandy place to spend a wonderful time in Centro Madrid. However the decoration and vegetation will transport you to the countryside, good food ,good service indeed we will be back price included! La Rollerie is worth it

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

 

 

 

September 28, 2019

Restaurant: Las Bravas , Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

Ok this one was a first. I have been several times by this neighborhood but never got into this restaurant. It must be the multitude of choices that is hard to visit them all lol! However, it was a pleasant surprise and we enjoy coming here at Las Bravas! Even thus i know why not been before, in the competition for the patatas bravas I have my old neighborhood one as the best!

Las Bravas is a bar with a solera of more than 80 years whose specialty is white potatoes, made with a slightly spicy artisan sauce as patatas bravas, very popular in the city. The prices are popular, just over 4 euros one of bravas in bar in 2019. Something can vary if they are served on the terrace of the Pasaje de Matheu.

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Las Bravas have three location, the oldest at calle de Álvarez Gato, 3 , the Pasaje de Matheu, 5 (where we went this time) , and Calle de  Espoz y Mina, 13. This is a small family business turned into a mini-chain of taverns in the heart of the city. It’s specialty is the ration of potatoes with a genuine and original brave sauce that does not bite too much, patented in 1960 . It is mandatory to order bread and share the dish! . Although it has three stores, the most famous is that of Álvarez Gato for the concave and convex mirrors cited by Valle-Inclán in the play Luces de Bohemia or Bohemiann lights.

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The first to open in 1933 was that of the Calle de Álvarez Gato, known for the concave and convex mirrors that inspired Valle-Inclán in his eerie work  Luces de Bohemia or Bohemian Lights. Today those mirrors still exist next to the shop windows.  And in 1963 the second store on Calle de Espoz y Mina was opened, about forty meters from the previous one. Both very close to the Plaza de Santa Ana.  Eleven years later, the third was opened in the Pasaje de Matheu, the closest to the Puerta del Sol. It has an outdoor terrace where it is a pleasure to take some bravas with a caña (glass of cold beer)! And we were here!!!

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The premises of Las Bravas are at the core of populous streets and full of bars that are located between the Puerta del Sol and the neighborhood of Barrio de las Letras. I say by the thousands lol!

We have not tried of course but now ;it is also possible to take packaged food to eat in the street, at home or in the hotel. It is a slightly cheaper way of eating the same. The sauce is packaged separately to pour over the potatoes or whatever has been ordered. This allows to heat the product and the sauce to taste.

Everything influences at the time of its elaboration: the cut of the potato, the temperature of the oil or the point of the sauce, which regardless of its flavor, color and texture, is made with flour, onion and paprika or with a stir-fry Tomato and paprika as a base. Even so, there are many places that also bet on their mixed version, with mayonnaise or accompanying aioli. Both options are always a safe bet. Buen provecho!!!

The official webpage: Official Las Bravas

You will have a great time here, very local lots of conversation, friendly service and good prices to enjoy the best of the Spanish cuisine; Las Bravas is it as in Madrid!

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

 

 

September 28, 2019

Restaurant: Real Café Bernabeu, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

Well if you have been following my blog, you know I am a lifelong Madridista fan of the Real Madrid CF, the greatest of all time!!!! and of course have written several posts on it in my blog. On every visit to Madrid we cannot missed been at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and have at least a glass here at the wonderful Real Café Bernabeu. So will be brief on this post::)

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Let me start briefly by showing a couple of my previous posts on the Real Madrid CF and the Real Café Bernabeu and me in Madrid!

My previous post Madrid and the Bernabeu

My previous post Real Madrid CF always on the move

The Real Café Bernabeu restaurant is located on the premises of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium itself and has 1,200 square meters of living space with stunning views from inside to the stadium!

My story this time is we arrive without reservations and my sons were worry not to be allowed in, and the front desk guy asked us if had reservations! I just simply show my Madridista credentials and he yelled back he is one of us!! immediately a table was setup see picture and we had prime view of the stadium again: it goes without saying Real Madrid all the way!!

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In it you will find a bar area, located on the ground floor, with capacity to accommodate 150 people. In it you can have a drink or a soda while listening to good music and enjoy a modern and exclusive atmosphere. And on the first floor (2nd fl US), it has an impressive glass of 80 meters that allows you to see the stands and the pitch, where diners can enjoy this privileged view, while having a cocktail, a snack or enjoying a delicious meal. The Real Café Bernabeu offers a carefully renovated traditional cuisine accompanied by an extensive wine list.   In summer the terrace of Real Café Bernabéu opens from 10h and is one of the best options for a drink in Madrid. There is a valet service.

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Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must lol!

Official unique Real Café Bernabeu site

Official Real Madrid CF site on the Real Cafe Bernabeu

Official tourist office of Madrid on the Real Cafe Bernabeu

And there you go a dandy full throttle place to be chic and sporty sitting with the best is always royal like Real, at the Real Café Bernabeu in the cathedral of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium! Enjoy it

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

 

 

September 27, 2019

Shopping: La Vaguada, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

Ok so I took my boys again as did with their dear late mom /wife Martine on several occasions. She loved to shop and we needed to visit stores , shopping centers in our trips to balance the load of the vacation. I took them here and it was a hit , came back afterward.  The fact that AlCampo (Auchan in France) and great restaurants to sit in cool environment and see the locals in their daily routine was strong enough for a visit.

A bit on this history to add to my previous post in my blog here : My previous blog post on La Vaguada mall

The Centro Comercial La Vaguada is a shopping mall located in the Barrio del Pilar with the metro of same name line 9 in the district of Fuencarral-El Pardo . It was the first shopping center that opened in Madrid!

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It is a rectangular building with 5 floors. Two of them, below ground level, configure the parking lot for 3600 vehicles, while the other three the actual commercial area, in which the vegetation stands out through the use of hanging planters. It has a traditional market, in addition to various anchor stores, such as department stores and hypermarkets. In addition, it has a pharmacy, tobacconist, post office. On the terrace floor there are cinemas and most of the catering offer.

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There were hundreds of people camped in tents outside the building, with banners, doing the impossible to stop it. The construction was not popular as usual by the same crowd that claims ecologists today. Today, 35 years later, La Vaguada is a resounding and unprecedented success in the city. What was the first major shopping center in Madrid perhaps Spain remains the leader in influx!! Yes indeed!! And I came here many times over the years visiting the city!

It was the Frenchman Jean Louis Solal, the father of shopping centers in Europe, who had the occurrence of choosing Madrid to expand, since there was no commercial area of that size in Spain. He chose some land northwest of Madrid, almost outside, owned by José Banús, known for the port of Marbella that bears his name and also for having built the Valle de los Caidos . Banús had built the neighborhood during the 1960s in a flood style, with large towers a short distance from each other, and had become one of the most densely populated areas in Europe.

The French immediately thought of Canarian César Manrique, an artist well known for his work in Lanzarote and that in 1981 was at the height of his career: He was the ideal person, because Manrique was related to environmentalism and nature His work mixes architecture and vegetation, which is basically what the promoters and the city/town hall wanted, and the French considered that their media pull would help change public opinion. It did!!!

Everything happened so that the El Corte Inglés take over the large premises, was key to the future of the center. It was tried but nothing, they didn’t want it. The Galerias Preciados stayed with it, but as soon as closed down the chain , the EL Corte Inglés took them over and went in !. Yes, Alcampo (Auchan in France), C&A and Mc Donald’s, the deans of the place, were there from the beginning. Of course, having Alcampo, El Corte Inglés, the local sporting goods store Decimas, Yves Rocher, Sephora, Lego, Disney Store, Cortefiel, Orange stores as well as 100 Montaditos, TGIFridays, VIPS, Casa Carmen, Cañas y Tapas restaurants is a bonus!

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The Centro Comercial La Vaguada opened its doors on October 24, 1983. After all, the La Vaguada is one of those works, such as the Torre de España, which are not jewels of architecture but are enlarged over time. It may not happen to the history of architecture, but it is undoubtedly a milestone in the sociological history of Madrid. The sidewalk of the Calle de Monforte de Lemos, the street where the commercial center is located, is the busiest in the neighborhood. It is the town square!! Indeed!

Official La Vaguada mall

Tourist office of Madrid on La Vaguada mall

A lovely neighborhood place to soak the local culture and ambiance away from the tourist center; enjoy La Vaguada!

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

 

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September 27, 2019

Some news from France, CCXLVII

So excuse me for coming back so soon but things happened in my belle France that made it necessary for me to come back with Some news from France. I usually or hardly ever dealt with politicians but there is always an exception and this time there is. On a semi sunny day in my neck of the woods and temps of 16C or about 61F ,Paris a bit more 64F but same cloudiness!

Let me tell you some news but most of all a tribute to Jacques Chirac of France, his France and my France.

Jacques Chirac, is dead. He was elected Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995 , he served the longest period as Mayor of Paris;but, also,  Minister, Head of Government or President of the French Republic (France). A remarkable men indeed.

The quai Branly museum free for ten days! To honor this great men Jacques Chirac. The Eiffel Tower will be off tonight September 26 from 21h(9pm). Others such as singer Julio Iglesias (Spain)  “good memories with my dear President Jacques Chirac, he has always been generous with me. Mr President, you have always been a great champion for Europe “.  On RTL, Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe pays tribute once again to the man whose mentor Alain Juppé was one of the most faithful. “In Jacques Chirac, there are everything, absolutely remarkable sides, nice, truculent, warm, visionary and more complicated sides, darker. Because Jacques Chirac was a Frenchman, a Frenchman in the full sense of the word”. The Palais de l’Elysée  presidential palace explains that the family of Jacques Chirac wishes “a popular walk” to the Invalides, this coming Sunday September 29 , according to Europe 1. The Palais de l’Elysée confirms the organization of a popular tribute. It will take place at the Invalides around 14h (2pm), Sunday, September 29th. Jacques Chirac will be buried in the Montparnasse cemetery with his daughter Laurence, announces his family. The ceremony is open to all on the popular tribute on Sunday  linked to the strong relationship that Jacques Chirac had with the French people. Everyone who loved him will be able to come. The burial should take place next  Monday  September 30th in a strictly private affair, indicates the son-in-law of the former head of state, Frédéric Salat-Baroux, husband of Claude Chirac. Bernadette Chirac very weakened. The couple’s acquaintances say they are worried about the health of Jacques Chirac’s wife, who is 86 years old and deeply hurt by the disappearance of her husband.

Even from shops he frequented, people remember him.  The waitress Nicole at the Rhumerie for twenty-eight years, overflowing with emotion. It must be said that the former President of the Republic had his habits in this institution of the 6éme arrondissement created in 1932. “He came three times a month on average, says Nicole. We saw him a lot when he was mayor of Paris and after his seven years, but not during. He did not have time … He was coming with his wife when he was a student. ” !

Some of the nice acts he did !

He was the Prime Minister who launches the Carte Orange card. The Orange card, the ancestor of the Navigo pass, which went on sale on July 1, 1975, and became an immediate success. In the presidential campaign in 1981, Jacques Chirac fought against the radar, and the “fury” with which “we track down the motorist instead of chasing the gangsters”!!!. As Mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995, Jacques Chirac defender of motorists will try to tackle the traffic jams in the capital. In 1985, he launched a campaign with the slogan “Paris wants to ride, we will all help it”. He opened the inauguration of the first Parisian automatic metro, line 14, on October 15, 1998.

In 1987, he engaged France in the adventure Disneyland Paris. In April, he signed the agreement with the CEO of the Walt Disney Company for the creation of the amusement park, the tourist complex and the development of sector IV of Marne-la-Vallée!!! Seine-et-Marne dept 77!

My previous Senator of the dept 78  Yvelines ,when lived in Versailles, Sophie Primas announced the death of Jacques Chirac in the Senate. The woman asked for a moment of meditation by announcing the death of the former president during a working session.

Jacques Chirac holds the record for the longest term as mayor of Paris. Bearer of projects that punctuate our Parisian life today, Jacques Chirac was very active indeed ,some more of his credit as Mayor of Paris.

He began by stopping net the project of urban highway which would have connected the A10 to the district of Montparnasse since 1977, first year of its mandate. This aborted project still left traces: an enlargement of the Rue Vercingetorix , quickly transformed into a green field.

In 1982, he launched the famous “Motocrotte” to overcome the problem of dog poo on the sidewalks of Paris. It is the symbol of the Chirac era, when cleanliness equipment regularly plowed the streets of the capital. Long live Chirac, long live the motocrottes!

Jacques Chirac was very sensitive to the condition of seniors. Since arriving at the City/Town hall, a box of chocolates is distributed every year at Christmas to the poorest pensioners. A nice attention for people he did not want to see forgotten.

Mayor Jacques Chirac has long supported the construction of the Palais Omnisport Paris Bercy, now called AccorHotels Arena. This big hall of spectacles and sports events is inaugurated in 1984 in the presence of the mayor himself!

He also supported the project to create an emergency device, known today as Samu . It was created thanks to the support of Jacques Chirac, asked by Xavier Emmanuelli on November 22, 1993. Samu Social continues to help many people.

And now something I am involved in first as donor and then as Treasurer  and he help enormously; Thank you Mayor of Paris eternelle! Read on (I do have a post on it)

The Palais des Tuileries or Tuileries Palace  now destroyed, whose construction began in 1564 under the leadership of Catherine de Medici, at the site previously occupied by one of three tile factories established in 1372 next door from the Quinze-Vingts Hospital, not far from the old Louvre, and where André Le Nôtre was born in the now garden he later created!. Expanded over time and unified with the Louvre Palace in 1860, it had a huge facade of 266 meters long, and about 328 meters if we count the pavilions of Flore and Marsan that remain, and includes the museum of decorated arts now, and it was the focal point of the great historical axis of Paris with the perspective in row of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Place de la Concorde and the Jardin des Tuileries conceived from this palace. It was the royal residence in Paris of many sovereigns including Henry IV, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI ,but also Louis XVIII, Charles X then Louis Philippe, and imperial such as Napoleon I and Napoleon III. Meanwhile it has also been the seat of the First Republic and the Consulate. Its role of official seat of the French power was interrupted by its destruction by voluntary fire of the communards on May 23, 1871. The ruins of the Tuileries Palace were finally demolished in 1883, the presidents of the Third Republic then being installed in the Palais de l’Elysee.

Many times tried to reconstruct it such as in 1882, Jules Ferry, Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, supported the reconstruction of the palace and entrusted Charles Garnier  (opera de paris etc) with the mission to reflect on this project. In 1958, when he was back in power and wanted to leave the Elysee Palace, General de Gaulle also planned to rebuild it and make it the residence of the President of the Republic.

However since 2002, a national committee for the reconstruction of the Tuileries or Comité National pour la Reconstruction des Tuileries campaigned for the identical reconstruction of the Tuileries Palace, with funds raised from private companies, and individual donors. The cost was estimated at 350 million euros according to the Committee. The Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac; who  had signed an agreement for the private reconstruction with a land lease period of  99 years still in effect!And I am glad to be directly involved!!!

We had created a webpage Tuileries.Org for it here: https://www.tuileries.org/

And there is more history on this private initiative to showcase its history: https://www.chateaudestuileries.fr/

Some bits of news to add that I like

The 99th edition of the biggest flea market in France. Visit the l’île des impressionnistes (Impressionist Island ) at Chatou in the Yvelines dept 78 right off Paris going on until Sunday, October 6, 2019. Nearly 400 merchants are installed on the island. More info here: Official Foire de Chatou

Alain Ducasse will open a school in the Hauts-de-Seine .The campus will offer in September 2020 several programs, from two months to three years, sponsored by prestigious chefs. It is not only the cuisine that we want to teach, it is also a knowledge to be, the respect and the traceability of the products. Go Chef! This is the one he has now stay tune for opening date in the other here: Official cooking school Alain Ducasse

The mythical Orient-Express passes in Créil in the Oise dept 60 region of Hauts de France north of Paris. Until November 2019, two mornings a week, the famous luxury train passes through the department. These cars, almost 100 years old, all have a singular history. The Gare de Créil here: TER SNCF Gare de Créil

Yes yes, buildings look normal, but you never see anyone coming in or out. In all, there are 12 in Paris! The mysteries of my eternal Paris!!! There you go door or facades lovers have a whack at them lol!!!

In the heart of Paris there are fake facades that hide RATP recovery stations or traction substations. They allow the supply of electrical energy to a section of a metro line or RER. In Paris, they can be found at 54 rue des Petites-Ecuries in the 10éme arrondissement, and at 141 boulevard Diderot in the 12éme arrondissement. In addition, EDF (electricity company) transformers are hiding behind other dummy buildings, at 53 rue des Archives in the 3éme arrondissement, at 27 rue Bergère in the 9éme arrondissement, and 14 rue Duvergier in the 19éme arrondissement. These buildings are actually facades that house electrical installations. Interestingly enough, the RATP owns five dummy buildings in Paris. The reason ? They hide large ventilation shafts. First, the 29 rue Quincampoix in the 4éme arrondissement, which is a trompe l’oeil not very discreet. It masks a ventilation chimney of the underground tunnel under Les Halles. In the same way, 44 rue d’Aboukir in the 2éme and 174 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis in the 10éme both house ventilation shafts. At 3 rue de l’Aqueduc in the 10éme, there is a dummy building that houses a ventilation  grilles of the RATP. But a small peculiarity, only the 1st floor is a trompe l’oeil, since the rest of the building is inhabited. And then,  the most impressive. The 145 rue Lafayette in the 10éme arrondissement hides a ventilation shaft of the RER B. It is actually a real facade, kept as it is to hide this aeration since the early 1980s. Two other addresses are dummy buildings, as the 78 rue de La Condamine in the 17éme arrondissement which houses a data processing center, and the 1bis rue Chapon in the 3éme, which is an artistic installation of fake facade pressed against a wall.

And there you go another passing of my belle France, hope you enjoy the post . Done mostly in rememberance of Jacques Chirac.

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

 

 

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