Archive for September 27th, 2019

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!!!



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