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!


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.


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.


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


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 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.


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.


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!!!


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 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!


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.


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!




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:

And there is more history on this private initiative to showcase its history:

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!!!



September 26, 2019

Restaurant: TGI Fridays, 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 this goes way back in my Florida USA days, and when came to visit my Madrid did not see any of them talking back to the 1970’s. Over the years gotten use to them in America and was a great place to hang out. Eventually, caught up with them when visiting my other love Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in 2004 and see it right next door! I stop by once in a while and this time with the boys made a stop in another location.

My latest coming into this chain was with my sons at Calle Vírgen de los Peligros , 1 corner with Calle de Alcalá 21 . Near metro Sevilla and close by to Puerta del Sol


TGIFriday’s began as an American chain of restaurants founded in 1965 and currently has more than 900 establishments in 60 countries. The first establishment was opened on March 15, 1965 by Alan Stillman, an entrepreneur from the East Side of Manhattan ,New York who had designed a hospitality business where single people in the area, and especially women, could socialize in an informal environment. He bought and reformed a First Avenue pub, and changed its name to «TGI Fridays » or Thanks God is Fridays!

In 1975, when the brand already had 12 stores in nine states, the Carlson Companies group took over T.G.I. Friday’s. In 2014, Carlson Companies sold the multinational to the investment fund Sentinel Capital and now TGIFridays is part of Grupo VIPS.

T.G.I. Friday’s is characterized by its restaurant, especially oriented to American cuisine, as well as its bar with a selection of cocktails and alcoholic beverages. The group does not specialize in a specific product, with a menu that includes starters, hamburgers, ribs, chicken wings, red meat and tex-mex dishes. The company is especially known for its cocktails, whose offer varies by country


It was in 1992 when TGI Friday’s landed in Spain specifically in Madrid with the inauguration of the first restaurant in the La Esquina del Bernabéu shopping center, right next to Santiago Bernabeu stadium of my Real Madrid. It was here that I tried it first in Madrid. The area is now under renovation and believe the resto will be moved. Today it has 15 restaurants in Spain.


Official TGI Fridays at Calle Virgen de los Peligros

Tourist office of Madrid on TGI Fridays

There you go a bit of Americana in Madrid! And yes we need to stop by once in a while too, sorry lol! Enjoy Madrid, a world city and TGIFridays as well !!!

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


September 26, 2019

Restaurant: Ham Museum! in 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! ::)

No no, you won’t come here to see beautiful displays of hams, but you will come to taste them , a lot!! This is a restaurant call the Ham Museum or Museo del Jamon. It goes from the fact the hams are hanging along the walls for display sort of…

If you are passing by Madrid you certainly cannot miss a visit to its most famous and the tastiest of all museums in Madrid; the Museo del Jamon or the Ham Museum, which is actually a typical Spanish tapa bar full with Spanish hams and therefore called the museo del jamón. A Madrid institution since 1978 that has since continue with a great success due to its great selection, quality and prices. Today the third generation of the business continue the proud example of its grandparents founders;. From Madrid to heaven passing by the Museo del Jamón.


The best thing to do while visiting the Museo del Jamon is to stand at the bar and order your food and drinks directly from the waiters. The bar can get packed at times so you might have to squeeze in to place your order and make sure you will get noticed as normally the general rule is who first shouts the loudest gets drinks first too. It is still a great bargain though because most of the dishes are fairly cheaply priced and with each drink that you order you will always get a free tapa as well.


I always make a stop in one of them while in Madrid and this time with the boys was a lot of fun introducing to the bar counter on foot ordering lol! They love it!!! And will be back. There are 5 different Museos del Jamon in Madrid, the three most centrically situated are on the Gran via no. 72, Carrera de San Jerónimo 6 (the one we visit this time) and Plaza Mayor no.18. All worth your trip there , enjoy it and this is Madrid!!!

Official Museo del Jamon at Carrera San Jeronimo

There you go a dandy and very easy to get into it for the first timer or so to Madrid eating/drinking out its a ritual and a must:love it!!! Enjoy the Museo del Jamon in my beloved Madrid!

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


September 24, 2019

Journées du Patrimoine or Heritage Days in France!

This is a quick reminder that I missed it!! I have participated in several of the Heritage Days of France or Journées du Patrimoine as it allows you to go into places usually or never allowed by the general public, and even some with little time for those like me member friends of many of them. I came back from a nice vacation in Madrid and taking over the job backup and the house really so sad to tell you no time to see any this year. However , for the memory to allow planning for next year here is some of the highlights for me .Hope you enjoy it and plan ahead too ::)

Sometimes I post something that has passed already because of its impact for a future visit. This time will post a whole series of event that happened every year in my belle France. It is the big celebration of heritage, or Journées du Patrimoine that were held this past Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22,2019. Despite the disturbances of strikes and politics as usual. The Palais du Luxembourg (where the Senate of France is located at the Jardin du Luxembourg)  is the building that attracted the most visitors this year. Overall, in these two days, 12 million visits were recorded on 17,000 different places!

The “Golden Palm” of attendance goes to the Senate(Palais du Luxembourg), with 22,499 visitors. The Palais de l’Elysée palace (home of the President of France), for its part, welcomed 20,000 visitors. The President  had gone the day before with Brigitte Macron (his wife) and Stéphane Bern (great promoter of heritage in France) in the house workshop of Rosa Bonheur,  12 Rue Rosa Bonheur, 77810 Thomery in Seine et Marne (dept. 77) ,but the President did not appear on the steps and in the gardens, Saturday. No doubt he judged that the social situation did not allow this moment of conviviality. Indeed.

According to a partial assessment of the Ministry of Culture, the Journée du Patrimoine or Heritage Days was, as every year, pulled it out well. The abbey of Mont Saint Michel (12,600 visitors), the Sainte Chapelle  and the Conciergerie (23,000) Château de Vincennes (10,100), the Banque de France (15,500), the Château de Ducs de Bretagne in Nantes (6,500), the university library of Strasbourg (8,500) or the Grand Theater of Bordeaux (6,500) . The Ministry of Culture, building at rue de Valois ,Paris, seduced 4,000 persons by exposing several fragments of Notre Dame Cathedral, including the rooster, formerly located at the top of the missing arrow. During the fire, the rooster dropped and was found in the rubble two days later!!.

Many middle schools, high schools, and universities were opened  their doors to the general public. Walk in the corridors of the Sorbonne. Founded in 1257, the Sorbonne now houses a part of the activities of several universities, including Paris 1, Paris 3 and Paris 4. This year, a new space, the gallery of 7 portraits of famous women requested by the rectorate to the artist Christian Guémy, aka C215, famous stencil artist, is added to the tour. Also, given the theme of this year, the Sorbonne will open its spaces for the first time to the students of the Academy of Paris, who will deliver various artistic performances. 5-47 rue des Ecoles, 5éme. Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne

Located behind the Pantheon, the Lycée Henri IV occupies the former abbey of Sainte Geneviève, which overlooks the mountain of the same name. The establishment is considered one of the best high schools in France according to several rankings.  Located at 23 rue Clovis, 5éme. Metro: Cardinal Lemoine

Since 1809, the former Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis, which adjoins the famous Basilica, houses the House of Education of the Legion of Honor. Common point of the students: they are girls, granddaughters or great granddaughters of members of the Legion of Honor, the military medal or the National Order of Merit. Located at 1 rue de la République, 93000, Saint-Denis. Metro: Basilica de Saint-Denis

The National School of Fine Arts, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and member of the Paris University Sciences and Letters (PSL), is in the district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Its 650 students occupy two hectares of buildings built between the 17C and 20C. Located at 14 rue Bonaparte,6éme. Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Paris attracts students from all over the world. To verify this, go to the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (Ciup). The campus, similar to those of American universities, welcomes 12,000 students of 140 nationalities. Forty of them have their own pavilion. Built between 1925 and 1969, they reflect the different architectural trends of the 20C. Located at 17 boulevard Jourdan, 14éme. RER: Cité Universitaire

It is here that was created in 1929 the first national vocational school (ENP) of young girls. Its vocation?  To lead them towards emancipation by providing them with training in the field of domestic arts, sewing or secretarial work. The historic building built in the 19C belongs to the neoclassical style. Located at 108 rue Baffier, 18000 Bourges

The Hôtel Vendôme , which houses the Mines ParisTech engineering school, was built in 1707 by architect Le Blond for the Carthusians. It is one of the few engineering schools still located in Paris intramural. Visitors will have access to its gardens, home to one of the most beautiful mineralogy museums in the world, and a library, whose décor reflects the different architectural trends of the 19C. The École des Mines ParisTech is still one of the top three engineering schools in France. It is located at  60, boulevard Saint Michel 6éme Paris/Metro Notre Dame des Champs or RER B

The école militaire built under the rule of king Louis XV and located at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, brings together all organizations of higher military education in France. Among them: the School of War, the Institute of Advanced National Defense Studies (IHEDN) or the National Institute of Higher Studies of Security and Justice (INHESJ). Equestrian demonstrations, recitals, armored displays  were on the program. Located at 1 place Joffre, 7éme Paris. Metro: école militaire.

Max Linder Panorama;a cinema. Venetian stucco balconies and nearly 500 velvet armchairs overlook the immense hall of this exceptional cinema. Acquired in 1919 by the burlesque actor Max Linder before being recovered by the Pathé cinema in 1932, the institution is one of the last places to be moved by a panoramic screen of 107 m². Located at 24, bd Poissonnière 9éme.

The Grand Rex; a cinema. It is one of the largest halls in Europe, with 2,700 seats. Its Art Deco façade from 1932 that can be seen from afar on the Grands Boulevards. Inside, a starry vault and Baroque or Mediterranean decorations make it a place apart, a sort of palace of the cinema. Its museum, Les Étoiles du Rex, which revolves around the cinema and its history. Archive images, reconstructed sets, projection booth, transparent panoramic elevator behind the big screen, special effects … 1, bd Poissonnière 2éme. Paris.

The Cinémathèque Française. Located in the gardens of Bercy, it preserves the cinematographic heritage. The building was designed by the American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry, also a designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (Spain). Curves and counter-curves dress this mastodon of concrete. Do not miss it. Here, everything is related to the 7th art: objects, documents, films. Great names of cinema to (re) discover and architecture of the site to admire.  Located at  51, rue de Bercy 12éme.

And of course the Château de Versailles : visit the most beautiful spaces of the north wing of Versailles in music  ,the Palais de marbre, salles des Croisades, salles Louis XIV, Chapelle Royale . Free admission by the cour de l’Opéra Royal!!!

The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Mauncy, Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ;  opens the doors of its 7 artistic domains with the program, a treasure hunt and unpublished visits on the garden of Le Nôtre, guided tours behind the scenes of filming Marie-Antoinette to James Bond through the man in the mask of iron, concerts-readings with representations mixing the texts of Jean de La Fontaine with the baroque music and an immersive soundtrack plunging the visitor in the History of France with an adult course “The affair Fouquet” and a youth course “The fabulous history of Vaux”!

The Musée de la Grande Guerre at Meaux, Seine et Marne dept 77 .Offers tours of the museum’s reserves , flash tours of the permanent collections and the temporary exhibition “Behind the Scenes of Peace”!!!

There you these are just a sample of those dear to me that I would have love to visit some myself, but they are so many. Do plan ahead, and be here on those days usually are about the same end of September. Enjoy the post and keep it for the future!!

Official Ministry of Culture of France. Translation to English upper right hand FR turn to English :

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



September 23, 2019

Some news from France, CCXLVI

So cannot be too far from my belle France and so much to tell always something in the Hexagone! Today is Fall well already in it, and it shows. Cloudy , rainy a bit windy temps in 16C or about 60F, in Paris a bit warmer at 70F. Let me get in right into the matter at hands; some news from France!

It is all over the news here so a perennial travel site is now gone. I remember when used them in America many neons ago. Thomas Cook, the oldest tour operator in the world, created in 1841, had no choice but to enter “liquidation with immediate effect” in total, some 600,000 tourists would be concerned. In the immediate future, the authorities will have to organize massive repatriations of their nationals on holiday with Thomas Cook: 150 000 British, 10 000 French … the British Aviation Authority (CAA), stating that special telephone lines had  opened to help travelers (0300 303 2800 in Great Britain and Ireland, + 44 1753 330 330 from abroad). For the 9,842 French travelers currently on holiday, an emergency number has been set up on +33 (0)1 45 05 40 81. More info in France:

After the RATP, the SNCF, and the beat goes on, don’t you love it in France lol! Train traffic will be disrupted  tomorrow Tuesday 24 September across the country due to a day of strike. For Intercités, two out of five trains will run on day trips, and one train on four at night. There will also be three TER out of five. On the TGV side, traffic should be almost normal, with the exception of the Atlantic and North routes (four trains out of five). It will be perfectly normal for international journeys (Eurostar, Thalys, Lyria, France-Spain, France-Germany and France-Italy routes). In Ile-de-France, RER traffic will also be disrupted. Two out of five trains on the RER E and the northern part of the RER B (with an interconnection break at the Gare du Nord), two trains out of five also on the RER D, no traffic between Châtelet and the Gare de Lyon. There will be one train on two on the RER C but normal traffic on the RER A. For the Transilien, one train out of two will be in circulation on average, but the R line (to Montereau and Montargis) will be more affected by the strike, with only one in four trains in circulation. More here in French to follow the strike news:

If the day of last Friday, September 13 was called a black Friday for all Parisians embarrassed by the strike of the RATP, the month of December may be worse. Five unions are calling for an indefinite strike from 5 December 2019. It is the pension reforms that are pushing the RATP unions to reiterate the social movement. Unsa-RATP, CFE CCG RATP, South RATP, Solidaires RATP and FO RATP all will be on strike. Take alternative routes if visiting or working in Paris especially on these days, and welcome to France!  Same for the RATP on strikes:

Day without a car, or without the metro and without the sun sums up a sullen note. Not to mention if they get their way the day without a horse!  This past Sunday Sept 22nd, the fifth edition of this operation organized by the City of Paris between 11h and  18h has turned short in the center and west of Paris. Of course, it will backfire in time. The announce event which turn out very limited on the city page here:

And for better news: Next Saturday, October 5 will be held the 18th edition of the Nuit Blanche (or white night) organized by the City of Paris. Nuit Blanche in Paris will be a metropolitan event this time. Starting at 19h  time is already at the party, with the departure from the Place de la Concorde from twelve monumental works accompanied by musicians and DJs to the Place de la Bastille. Tin-Tin’s big-tattooed tank, the Zerep company, “muchos kilometros” and his crazy squad populated by camels and Cadillacs or Daniel Buren’s, composed of authentic mirrors of buildings . In the perspective of the  Olympic games of 2024, the portion of the periphery of the Porte des Lilas at the Porte de la Villette is transformed into a velodrome, accessible by bike and vélib ‘. Do not miss Copacabana Machine Sex in Aubervilliers, a mobile nightclub in which robots wank sensually on electro. The most athletic ones will join the Grande Traversée, two races crossing some forty institutions, from the Invalides to the Grand Palais, passing by Beaubourg, the Louvre, etc it will be a blast so if available be there or be square! More info here:

And at last, this is nice for Paris, I love them!  The old “1900” style kiosks will come alive again in the streets of Paris. Four Haussmann style kiosks dedicated to the sale of flowers. They will be located on  Square d’Estienne d’Orves 9éme, 21 Avenue General Sarrail 16éme, 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou 19éme,  and 6, Boulevard de Charonne  20éme.. Eventually, other old kiosks will reopen to offer further sales activities: 25 in total. Newsstands there are about  220 kiosks in Paris installed. At the end of December, 300 will be established.  And will have about thirty to install during the first quarter of 2020! A bit more from the city of Paris on the press kiosks here:

Something its becoming rampant and we are annoyed a bit. By the end of 2019, the management of the Louvre Museum will impose the reservation for the purchase of tickets. , the Louvre requires to book in advance its ticket! . It would now be impossible for Parisian to forage his heritage at the lunch break!  Or to improvise a trip, like one goes out  to the fields!  All this so that boisterous magmas, who follow a flag hour, could grin their uncultured by immortalizing themselves before the Mona Lisa! Especially since these herrings come only for that, not even knowing that the museum has something else!! More seriously, why not adopt the system of India, which have an entry for tourists and another for locals? Or circumscribe the Mona Lisa to a single room, charging double? The calves would only see fire and the Parisians would find the Louvre of Belphégor. Exactly too crowded and too many flashes indeed lol! Even online they recommend you to buy online! More here:

I will throw in a bit of fashion for the coming season , after all Paris is it. Born at the beginning of the 20C, the harem skirts, a fusion of skirts and panties – the long underpants worn by men under their clothes – allow women to circumvent the ban on trousers. Under the influence of the Ballets Russes and Orient, it is the fashion designer Paul Poiret who launched, in the 1910s, these loose and flowing baggy trousers that he called harem skirts. It will be necessary to wait until the end of the 1960’s so that the trousers are essential in the female locker room. And the culottes is one of the first forms, thanks in particular to Saint Laurent Rive gauche, who presents it in a tailor’s suit with men’s wool jackets or sheepskin coats. This winter, it seems to be part of the conquest of women. One example of many here:

In addition to their restaurants, chefs are increasingly likely to source products in their garden but also to engage in breeding or food business. An approach that allows them to rise in quality. The Bouchérie Grégoire is one of them. This new address by chef Antonin Bonnet opened this summer in the 6éme arrondissement of Paris, just two issues of Quinsou, his one-star restaurant. In this pocket shop, which is betting on the “beautiful, good and ethical”, veal, cow, lamb or pork meat are bought by whole carcasses, in short circuit and from small French producers, before being debited on place, to the rhythm of the seasons and arrivals. All wholesome food à la Française!. A bit more here in French:

How about an old dandy that still rocks ,dinner at Minim’s, the little Maxim’s.  A place completely out of time,so linked to Pierre Cardin. Once a month, on Friday, there is the cabaret of Blanca Li, a show that mixes flamenco and humor, in a joyful delirium! La Brasserie Minim at 7, rue Royale , 1éme.. Tel +33 (0) 1 42 65 91 77.More info here:

The Champagne Ruinart launches the countdown of events that will mark its 300 years. Every year, until September 1st, 2029, which will mark the 300th anniversary of the House, an artistic, technological or architectural project telling how the wines are made, will be revealed in Reims, in parallel with annual white cards given to creators. as different as Piet Hein Eek, Erwin Olaf, Liu Bolin or this year Vik Muniz.  The commissioned duo of artists Mouawad Laurier present a work combining innovation, creativity and sustainability. Presented in the chalk houses of the Ruinart, classified as World Heritage by Unesco. Performance open to the public,  visits in small groups of 12 people maximum. More in French here:

What are the main stages of the new classification of the Crus Bourgeois.  It was decided to make a major change to the grading system of the crus bourgeois. Things are changing in Bordeaux stay tune with France!

Very schematically, there are two parts. The first: the blind tasting. For a Bourgeois level application, the castles present five vintages to choose between 2008 and 2016; those who have had the recognition at least five times in the same period are not subject to tasting and those who can prove that they do not have five vintages available only present 2015 and 2016. The castles that compete for the mention additional “exceptionnel” or “supérieur ” must also present five other vintages selected between 2008 and 2016, also tasted blind (only vintages are indicated). From the second ranking in 2025, everyone will present the same vintages for tasting. The second part: it concerns only the candidates to a complementary mention and which constituted a specific file. The three criteria on which they are evaluated are the good cultural and environmental practices, the management of the exploitation, the development of the vintage. Mention will be awarded based on the overall level of performance of the vintage for each of the three criteria and whether the tasting result has reached the required level.

They are evaluated on the management of the vineyard and winemaking operations, on the plot traceability in winemaking, on the winemaking, rearing and packaging conditions in order to optimize the quality and typicity of the wine,  according to five themes. Finally, the development of the vintage is appreciated with regard to the general presentation of the exploitation, in particular the quality of the reception of the professional visitors or the tourists, the national and international valuation of the vintage, its individual and collective promotion , of its distribution methods (also according to five themes). In short, everything is sifted, vineyard, terroir, plantation density, castle, development of the vine at the end of the cellar, history, hospitality (wine tourism or not, each his philosophy), distribution, selling price. The file is sent by the Alliance to the Quali-Bordeaux verification body, which conducts tastings and inspection visits. The Alliance does not intervene in the ranking. Everyone needs to be sure that they are treated exactly the same from beginning to end. The ten themes are noted from A to D, and these notes are then converted into points. The Alliance will release the ranking in February 2020. More on the Crus Bourgeois here:

The site Wikipedia gives you a better look on the current classification of Crus Bourgeois me think; here is the link:

And last but not least, how about those wines!!

Mankind has learned to make wine well before inventing writing. The first traces of vines date back to 8000 BC, in Anatolia. As grapes are the most easily fermenting fruit, it is not absurd to think that our ancestors soon understood the value of storing them in pots. Moreover, in Iran and Georgia, wine deposits inside vases have been discovered, between 7,000 and 9,000 years old. In Armenia, excavations have even unveiled a space devoted to winemaking 6,100 years old. Besides, the writing is a young thing, she has only 5 300. Our time will be no exception. When there is nothing left, there remains the wine. Because, after all, it’s quite simple to create, and the vine has adapted to almost every climate: wine is produced in Canada, Ethiopia, Chile, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, in Morocco, Mexico, Cape Verde, Brazil. And even in Tahiti  where it is possible to do two harvests a year if you let the vine run. Of course , wine is in us part of our culture and we need to drink it, in moderation of course , with a meal is better or an apéro in a terrace in Paris or elsewhere! Enjoy it!!!

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




September 23, 2019

Restaurant: Cerveceria Cervantes, 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! ::)

This is a newish find. I have come to Madrid on business trip as well, and a couple years ago came in with a group staying at the Westin Palace hotel. After a long day of listening to speakers someone local recommended we walk to this brewery and it was great fun. After coming with my young men sons, decided to expose them to it as well and it was a hit especially with the pulpo a la Gallega or octopus Galicia style! and of course the Mahou 5 stars beer! It is recommended.


The Plaza de Jesus is the object of worship in this city due to the enormous quantity and quality of tapas bars and their cervecerias brasseries or breweries. In the middle of that reign, this excellent Cerveceria Cervantes stands out, not only for knowing how to properly throw the reeds but also for offering the best variants and, above all, for its top-notch seafood. Prawns, shrimps langostines , crayfish , etc: the family is whole and ready to choose. All very cool! A restaurant with a must visit.


They are at Calle Cervantes, 38 corner Plaza de Jesus 7 closest Metro is Anton Martin , but easy walk within the neighborhood or Barrio de las Letras! Enjoy it

Tourist office of Madrid on the Cerveceria Cervantes

No web but the Yelp site is one I am a contributor and on my blog roll below my main blog page, so here is an opinion site on the Cerveceria CervantesYelp reviews on Cerveceria Cervantes


There you go another dandy tapas and drinks place in lovely neighborhood of the muses or artists, Barrio de las Letras. Enjoy Cervantes, the watering hole that is !

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

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