Archive for October 18th, 2019

October 18, 2019

Shopping in Paris !!!

So I think this is a good moment to update my oldest shopping posts on Paris. The season to be merrier is coming upon us and with that a shopping spree of enormous proportions the world over. And of course, Paris is tops for it. Therefore, here is my update on shoppingn in Paris! I have updated this older post up to 2022.

I will dare go into a very subjective territory but as many do come here for the shopping and gift given too, I will put my favorites over the years in some areas, and others not so favorite but of popular demand. This is not an exhaustive all- inclusive list, it is only my best shot of shopping places in Paris proper from a guy point of view ok. Hope you too can make it your own or bring on some more ideas in the comments area. Of course if need direction or help locating one of the list or other let me know.

There is many things to shop in Paris, from real luxury to common items, and all are magnificents. People sometimes think that items will be cheaper here, and asked me, but in reality most of the well known items are the same price when you compare shipping cost. Still, buying IN Paris is a heck of a lot better than elsewhere….

First a general overview will tell you the main shopping areas in Paris are in the 8éme arrondissement or district, they have the zip or postal code 75008. The haute couture or ready to wear goes from the city “golden triangle” from avenues Montaigne and George V to the rue Royale, rue du Faubourg St Honoré and rue St Honoré.  Luxury jewelers are in the 1eme or  2éme arrondissement or 75001 and 75002 zip codes all around the place Vendôme ,and rue de la Paix. You have in the Marais area around 4éme or 75004 many interesting boutiques. You have my favorite area the chic 16éme or 75016 with clothing, perfumers, and home decor stores lining up rue de Passy and avenue Victor Hugo. Plenty of ritzy stores in bd St Germain des Prés and surrounding streets. As well as the Department stores known to all.

The tops streets here off ave Champs-Elysées are ave George V,  Rue François Ier, Rue Marbeuf,rue Pierre Charron,Ave Montagne, all in the stretch from the Arc de Triomphe to the ave FD Roosevelt. Also,  Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré,and Rue Saint Honoré, but ,also, Rue Royale,Rue Cambon,Rue Boissy d’Anglas,, rue des Pyramides, and Rue de Castiglione. Again, favorite shopping streets such as around Pl de la Madeleine,from blvd Haussmann up rue Tronchet ,and past the square to rue Royale,and blvd de la Madeleine.

The well known dept stores are the Galeries LafayetteAu PrintempsBHV, and  Bon Marché. Then you have some shopping centers or malls that are my favorite come and get all, stay warm or cool,and mingle with more local people, these are CC Bercy 2, by Porte de Bercy ; CC Italie 2 ,by Place d’Italie.  The center of the Forum Les Halles is great for shopping ,eating and entertainment as well.

The stores for high tech/ books/ music , I love of course  FNAC, love the Champs-Elysées, Forum, or passage du Havre by gare St Lazare.  For telephony/mobile ,the best is mine own provider  Orange , for visitor the one I found most friendly is at 125 Avenue des Champs Elysées on left hand side going up to the Arc de Triomphe. For more local books, cd, maps, dvd etc the Gibert Joseph stores are a must, see the one coming out of metro St Michel to your right, 26 Bd Saint-Michel  webpage :

For men’s business and nice combinations, mines are  Boggi Milano ,at 38 Bd des Italiens. Webpage here:

JMWeston for shoes at 1-3 Boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001 not far from the Madeleine Church. Webpage: . The H&M stores but mostly the one at 1-3 rue Lafayette webpage: . The C&A stores but especially the one at Maine rue de l’Arrivée 3 near Montparnasse tower. webpage:

Beauty salons my dear late wife Martine like and went to  Jean-Louis David several in Paris, our favorite is at 5 Rue du Havre by the gare St Lazare.Webpage:

When I need to get me a book in English I go to WH Smith at 248 rue Rivoli, 75001, English bookstore,and the service is great they can hold the book for you after finding it, they just did it again for me ::) Metro Concorde!  English is well spoken ! webpage:

I don’t have small children anymore but did a lot of loads here Bonpoint,  you can get at dept stores too but do go to the main store 6 rue de Tournon, 75006.Metro Mabillon. Webpage:

My oldest son is into restaurant and cuisine ,commerce, so he dwells into some good schooling here, if you are in Paris and need some cooking classes than head out to the Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse, for the best . At 64 rue de Ranelagh 75016 metro Ranelagh line 9. very nice area too. Webpage:

If want to get an international wine go to Lavinia, 22 Av. Victor Hugo. Huge place with lots of choices, prices a bit high but hard to get foreign wines available as well as restaurant. Webpage :   If you want French wines then head for the Nicolas stores all over Paris; mine favorite is at 3 ave Mozart, 75016; neighborhood Muette, metro Muette line 9.Webpage:

My grand chocoholic place of great standing is the house of Debauve & Gallais, 30 Rue des St Péres, 75007: metro St Germain des Prés. Webpage:

My favorite store even today in my new neck of the woods is Armand Thiery , my shopping in Paris was at 15/17 Rue Auber, 75009. Nor far from gare St Lazare or the Opéra Garnier. Webpage:

Another all time favorite even from the USA now locally is L’Occitane, some of our Christmas gifts came from there this year, in Paris our fav store is at 86 Avenuve des Champs Elysees. Webpage:

Perfums at Fragonard at 196 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 webpage:

Great grocery shopping is Monoprix, my fav store is at 24 rue des Belles Feuilles,75016. various stores all over Paris, A more accessable and more food oriented store is Franprix, good store at 38 avenue Mozart,75016. again many stores throughtout Paris.  Webpage:

For home projects and the ever ending repairs around the house, etc, other than the basement of the grand magasin BHV, you can try Leroy Merlin at 52 rue Rambuteau,75004 Metro Chatelet. near centre Pompidou or Beaubourg . Its a national chain that I use near my home too. Webpage:  Another local store of good quality is Bricolex, 178 ave de Versailles ,75016. Other locations as well. Webpage:

Again on my roots I always need to look for Spanish and American products and over the years these have been the best price/quality and selection. Cap Hispania, a Spanish grocery store in Paris. This is clean cut and run by Spaniards as well. It is at 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans, 75017. Metro  Wagram .webpage at

American stores left, many many years here is The Real McCoy at 194 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 no webpage; nearest metro La Tour-Maubourg line 8. Facebook page:

Then there are many market or marchés in Paris, over the years we have settle to go to the Bastille market by bd Richard Lenoir, not only goodies but also the best arts around on Saturdays. You get there on bd Richard Lenoir on metro Breguet-Sabin and Richard Lenoir. One of the largest in Paris every Thursdays from 7h to 14h30 and Sundays from 7h to 15h,best. Paris tourist office webpage:

The other is a favorite of my wife , the marché des fleurs Cité now rename Elizabeth II at place Louis Lépine, near the Conciergerie. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 8h to 19h Metro Cité. Facebook page:

You have nice stores in the blvd des Capucines, with Lacoste, another of my sons favorite at Cour d’Amsterdam inside the gare Saint Lazare ,webpage:

Moving over to Pl Vendome to Opera along rue de la paix, lots of watch stores there but the Comptoir des Cottonniers ,at 31 Rur Tronchet  webpage :

Other areas dear to me, as to cover all of Paris lol!!! blvd Saint Germain,Rue Saint Sulpice,Rue du Four, Rue de Sévres, and rue de Grenelle.  Near  blvd Saint Germain  at 48 rue des écoles you have my outdoor favorite Au Vieux Campeur, bags winter and summer sports equipement camping etc, webpage

You have one of my favorites at 27 Rue Marbeuf  Façonnable, webpage:

In closing, these are sites that provide excellent info on stores, they are helpful in finding top quality items with current information. There are in French but so its the country, you get the real thing.  Just click on th search symbol and put in the French word for what you are searching if doubt any translation service can help you such as bing or google etc or ask me. Webpage:

There you go folks, a dandy short and sassy shopping spree in Paris just for the merry season of many. The above are just the stores that I have been in, there are others, plenty others all over Paris, because Paris is a shopper’s paradise of the best in Paradise! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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October 18, 2019

100 years of the Metro of Madrid!

Something nice to talk about an achievement of tremendous proportions in a country battle by internal wars and the Metro of Madrid as one of its main places of attention. A metro started by a king and now running under a king! My Madrid, my beloved city of many nostalgic moments and happy encounters; the metro was all I had living just out from one of its entrances on Calle de Alcalà 331 metro line 5 Quintana.

There are of course better places to see the sights as walking but at the end we must travel faster and resting, a milestone in Madrid, 100 years of the metro , great history indeed. I would like to translate an article in the ABC newspaper of Madrid and hope you like it.

One hundred curiosities you should know in the centenary of the Madrid Metro. Ok not all but most, for the rest see the caption from the newspaper ABC at the end in Spanish; The source for this special post.

King Alfonso XIII inaugurated the Madrid Metro on October 17, 1919, the route of the current line 1 between Sol and Cuatro Caminos.

The Metro promoters set out to build it only with Spanish money.  King Alfonso XIII contributed a million pesetas from his personal account and, little by little, the ten million of the initial investment was gathered to create the «Alfonso XIII Metropolitan Company».

Before there were only 12 cities in the world ahead of Madrid: London (1863), New York (1868), Chicago (1892), Budapest (1896), Glasgow (1896), Boston (1897), Paris (1900 ), Berlin (1902), Athens (1904), Philadelphia (1907), Hamburg (1912) and Buenos Aires (1913).

The network currently has an extension of 294 km or about 182 miles. It is the seventh longest in the world in number of kilometers, behind Shanghai, Beijing, London, New York, Guangzhou, Seoul and Moscow.

In number of stations, with 301, Madrid is the fifth in the world, second only to New York (472), Shanghai (329), Seoul (308) and Paris (303). Metro de Madrid is the third network in Europe in number of kilometers, just behind London and Moscow.

The Madrid metro was born 100% electric, unlike those that existed then. The construction of the first metro line began on July 17, 1917. The opening to the public took place on October 31, 1919. The name of Metro is the abbreviation of the Metropolitan Railway of Madrid.

The people from Madrid, who until then went from Sol to Cuatro Caminos by tram, investing more than half an hour, checked how the same route was done in ten minutes.

The Alfonso XIII Metropolitan Company implemented the round trip ticket at the price of 20 cents of peseta, cheaper than the tram. The tram stopped circulating in Madrid in 1972 (while I was living in Madrid and took it to see my Aunt in Canillejas!).

The metro circulates on the left because in the year that the first Metro line was inaugurated, all vehicles circulated in that direction in Madrid. The current direction of movement was activated in 1924, when the Madrid metro was already built and it was an excessive expense to modify the progress of the trains. Light Rail lines do circulate on the right.

The Line 1 was originally called  Norte-Sur or North-South line. A few weeks after the start of the Spanish Civil War, on August 9, 1936, the first section of line 3 between Sol and  Embajadores was inaugurated.

During the Spanish Civil War the metro remained open and served regularly as a refuge during the bombings. Some stations were used by the Republican army as ammunition factories.  At the beginning of the war, the circulation of the north section of Isabel II (now Opera-Principe Pío line) was closed because the North Station area (now cercanias train station and shopping center Principe Pio) was practically occupied, so there were almost no passengers there. During the siege of General Franco’s troops, metro wagons transported both coffins and corpses to the cemeteries to the east.  The small Goya-Diego de León line was closed and used as an arsenal. In the tunnel between Lista and Diego de León, about 300 workers filled with shells. On January 10, 1938 one of the artifacts exploded and killed 18 men and 45 women.

Some stations changed their name under Franco’s regime. Thus, the current Principe de  Vergara was called General Mola ; and Gran Vía, was called José Antonio [Primo de Rivera]. They did not recover their name until 1983.

Given the increase in passengers in the early sixties, the length of the trains was increased, but at the Chamberí station it was impossible to expand its size due to its curved situation and its proximity to the Bilbao and Iglesia stops, so in 22 May 1966 the Metropolitan Company decided its closure. The ghost station of Chamberí can be visited.  You can also visit the Pacifico station motor ship, the most powerful in Spain in the 20s, but obsolete in the 50s and finally closed in the 70s. Between 1932 and 1958, line 2 branched from Goya to Diego de León. With the construction of line 4 the turn was closed, although the tunnel remains until today.

The single Metro ticket is unified, in 1956, at a single fare of 60 cents for any route. Multiple applied rates were eliminated depending on the destination station. The elevator of the José Antonio station, today Gran Vía, in 1959, had a fare of 10 cents. The subway ride cost 60 cents.

The first station with escalators was Portazgo, on line 1, in 1962. Today there are 1,700 throughout the network.

Before dogs could not access if they did not travel in a receptacle. Since 2016 they are authorized, although with limits. They can’t travel during peak hours, they must go in the last car, with muzzle and only one dog per traveler. The rest of the pets must travel in receptacles.

You can also carry the bicycle, but with limits. They can only go in the head or tail wagon, and cannot travel at peak times, except in 92 stations of peripheral sections, located mainly in the surroundings of the Casa de Campo and other parks.

On June 2, 1971, in the early afternoon, a heavy storm unloaded on some sectors of the capital. The force of water and hail acquired special virulence on the axis of the Paseo de la Castellana. In less than half an hour they dropped around eight liters per square meter, although the biggest problems came from hail. The exit of the Atocha Metro was covered by hail. I remember I was there and was awful to witness, my mother would not let me go out other than the our street Calle de Alcalà!

In 1970, Metro installed self-selling wallet machines. They gave no change.Right!  In 1974, with the commissioning of line 7, the implementation, first of all in this line, of the access turnstiles to the stations began. As of 1975 they are generalized in the rest of the network. In 2012 the magnetic ticket is replaced by contactless technology.

With the extension of line 6, the Cuatro Caminos station becomes the deepest, still until today, 45 meters from street level. In 1986, the City Council and the Community of Madrid assumed ownership of Metro. In 1987 the transport credit appears. A year later, the Young and Senior Citizens tickets appear .

From 1990, line 1 is prolonged and the circular of line 6 with the Laguna-Ciudad Universitaria section is closed.

In the Alto del Arenal station, on line 1, in Puente de Vallecas, is the central post, the neurological center of the Metro network.

Arroyo del Fresno, built in 1999 in the north of Line 7, between the Lacoma and Pitis stations, has never been opened due to lack of urban development at the time of its construction. With the neighborhood already consolidated, its inauguration is planned this spring 2020.

The highlight of the second expansion plan was the inauguration in 2003 of Metrosur, connecting Madrid with the cities of the south of the Community.

The old layout of the end of line 3, 550 meters, remains hidden behind a wall after the extension and reform of the line in 2007.  The last station to enter service has been Paco de Lucía, in the north of line 9, in 2015.

Travelers are entitled to a refund of the amount of the ticket when there is a suspension of the service, or when the train interval exceeds 15 minutes on journeys where the schedule provides for intervals of less than seven and a half minutes.

Travelers leaving trains have a preference for passing over those who wish to enter, according to Metro regulations. «Let out before entering».

The above again translated on some lines by yours truly from an article in the ABC Newspaper of Madrid; the full article in Spanish is here: ABC newspaper in Spanish on the curiosities of the 100 years of the Metro of Madrid

And there you go some info on the wonderful clean fast efficient Metro of Madrid; hope you enjoy the anecdotes of it above. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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