Archive for October 27th, 2019

October 27, 2019

Théatre Graslin at Nantes!

Therefore in my continuing enjoyment of showcasing the best of architecture and history of my belle France, I bring you back to Nantes. The city is very well known to me as go there often and leave on my trips from its airport. Nantes is in old Bretagne now part of the region of Pays de la Loire in dept 44 Loire-Atlantique.

Let me tell you a bit more of its wonderful Theater Graslin at rue Moliére in Nantes.

The Graslin theater is the opera house of Nantes. Built at the end of the 18C. It is located on Place Graslin, between the streets of rue Molière, rue Scribe and rue  Corneille. The hall has a capacity of 784 seats. It is, with the Grand Théâtre d’Angers, one of the two places of residence of the Angers-Nantes Opéra joint syndicate.



It is an imposing building on a wonderful square, I go even inside the cafe for coffees and across La Cigale restaurant is top gastronomy of my belle France. Nice walks around here with beautiful architecture.


A bit of history I Like

In Nantes there was a tradition of theater and opera; the first works of this kind are presented in the city in 1687. The most famous room in the 18C was  the “Théâtre des Variétés”, located in rue Bignon-Lestard (today rue Rubens). But this room is considered too small, and the Academy of Music, founded in 1727, does not have a suitable place to give concerts. The demand is strong for the construction of a new auditorium. In 1755, plans to build this type of building  instead of a hall for wheat and fish located quai Brancas. Then it is conceivable to build a theater and a concert hall first south of the then proposed Place Royale, then on both sides of the rue Saint-Catherine (now rue du Couëdic) . But each time, the lack of available space prevents the realization of the project.

At the end of the 1770s, Jean-Joseph-Louis Graslin, general receiver of the king’s farms in Nantes for about ten years, decided to finance a large-scale private real estate operation, for a speculative purpose. He bought agricultural land, the “Bouvet ” and the “La Cagassais “, in order to build mansions and houses for the purpose of reselling them in a speculative manner. A theater, the hotel des Fermes, a museum, a  Hôtel, a new church Saint-Nicolas, and the Stock Exchange. However, the clergy opposed the construction of a theater near a place of worship. Only winners came of this effort was to get the construction, on the esplanade that will take the name of Place Graslin, the Hotel de France,  and the opening of a prestigious auditorium. The attraction of it was enough to move the center of gravity of the city towards the new district centered around a Grand Theater.

The model in vogue at the time when these plans were conceived is that of the Opéra of Lyon, built between 1753 and 1756. This model does not have a direct influence on the work of Nantes. It took over Graslin’s conception, in 1780, other new halls mark this period: the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, inaugurated that year; the Odeon Theater, under construction, inaugurated in 1782; the launch of the Palais-Royal Theater, inaugurated in 1784; and finally the Besançon Theater, begun in 1778 and inaugurated in 1784. In 1783, Jean-Joseph-Louis Graslin had excavations and grading done to allow the foundations to be installed, anticipating the agreement of the city office and that of the Royal Academy of Architecture, which were obtained in September 1784. The construction agreement is given in February 1785. The expected duration of work is then 18 months; they will last four years.

The building is ravaged by a fire on August 24, 1796 The fire takes place during a performance of Zémire and Azor, an opera by André Grétry.

In 1805, the School of Drawing, ancestor of the School of Fine Arts of Nantes, is housed there. In 1806, Napoleon I granted some French towns permission to maintain a permanent troop; Nantes is one of them. Following the Emperor’s visit of the city in 1808, the theater was rebuilt from 1811, and again inaugurated in 1813. The statues of the facade and the entrance hall between 1821 and 1829

On February 12, 1918, the Harlem Hellfighters orchestra of the 369th American Infantry Regiment under the direction of the arranger, composer and bandleader James Reese Europe, gives the first jazz concert on the European continent on steps then in the theater!!! The theater has a brief closure after the Nazis invasion  of 1940. But the occupation authority said it wants to see the institution run again, and Graslin is back in business from January 1941.

A bit on the construction details I like

Twelve steps lead to the vestibule, while eight Corinthian columns support the pediment. The eight antique-style statues overlooking each column, representing eight of the nine muses, date from the time of reconstruction. Stendhal, visibly unconquered by the harmony of the architectural ensemble, asks facetiously “which had the happiness to be forgotten”

The hall is decorated with two statues, representing Corneille and Molière, respectively to the left and to the right of the staircase of honor. On both sides of the hall, there are two low reliefs emblazoned with the coats of arms of Jean van Styrum, prefect of Loire-Inferieure, and Jean-Pierre Bachasson de Montalivet, Minister of the Interior. This heraldic decor, one of the only still in place dating from the First Empire, begins on the main facade with the imperial coat of arms of the City of Nantes and that of its mayor Jean-Baptiste Bertrand-Geslin. It’s an Italian-style theater inside a neoclassical building. The interior design is guided by considerations related to visibility and acoustics. Like most rooms of the time, that of Graslin is in the form of truncated oval.


The théatre Graslin, with great operas and musical presentation ,as one of the best in France. For the lineup read here at official webpage:

For how to get to the Graslin Theater and amenities read here:

And there you go folks arts culture and wonderful architecture in a great location. Hope you enjoy it as we do.  The Graslin Theater of Nantes!!!

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



October 27, 2019

The airport at Nice!

Ok so let’st get into transportation. I have my rounds of it believe it or not as been more known for the road warrior , I have management duties here that makes me take public transportation . One of these trips was to Nice and behold needed an airplane this time.

For info to others I will put some train information here as well briefly as the road of course!

There is the Nice Saint Augustin train station that from Nice airport Terminal 1 & 2 you can take the tramway no 2 at Jean Médecin exit at Grand Arénas with a Free connection between Airport and Grand Arénas.- Walk is about 600 meters or bit over half a km. Then, there is the Nice-Ville station in city center you go from to Terminal 1 & 2 on tramway no 2 Jean Médecin exit at Jean Médecin and walk about 800 meters or  connection Jean Médecin for about 200 meters on tramway no 1 Henri Sappia exit Gare Thiers and walk about 300 meters

The Gare Nice Saint Augustin official webpage is here: Gare St Augustin train station

The Gare Nice-Ville (the one I have used from Gare de Lyon Paris) official webpage is here: Gare Nice Ville train station

There are many choices for car and park to the airport however, I will only list for those arriving and leaving from the airport. The car parkings are name P2, P4 at Terminal 1, and P5, P6, P7, P9 and G2 at Terminal 2. All have on site machine for paying as well you can pay in advance online at Airport of Nice advance booking for car parking

Taxi stands are at Terminal 1 Gate A1, Terminal 2 Gate A3. However, never used it. I only rented car from the airport. The airport site mentioned that indicative rates from airport to city center is 32€.

Again there are several car rental companies at the airport, however, the ones that I have used are Hertz and Avis with Hertz a lot more, and always pleasant experience, There is a place from the airport to book your car rental also, here: Nice Airport car rental webpage

Up to 22H or 10PM the car rental counters are at Terminal 1: gates A1/A2, to the right of the information office and Terminal 2: between gates A2 and A3. Vehicle collection and return takes place in the dedicated zone at the Car Rental Center, behind car park P5 at Terminal 2. After 22h or 10PM which has happened to me you go and take the free shuttle to Terminal 2 from Gate A0 on the arrivals floor. Services run every 6½ minutes between 6h and 23h and every 10 minutes from 4h30 to 6h and from 23h until the last flight arrives. Alight at the Terminus: Terminal 2, Gate A3.  Pedestrian access: from any exit, use the sheltered walkway following signs for “Location de voitures /Car Rental Center”. Cross car park P5.



For shops/restos there are plenty but will mention the ones I have used in the past only.  Malongo coffees  at Terminal 1 – Floor 0 – Nearest gate: Esplanade. La Tarte Tropézienne, Terminal 1 -Floor 0- Nearest gate A0. Bellota Bellota Terminal 2 – Floor 2 – Nearest gate: A15. Eric Kayser Terminal 2 – Floor 2 – Nearest gate: B22. Saveurs de Provence, Terminal 2 – Floor 2 – Nearest gate: A15. Pierre Marcolini, Terminal 2, Floor 0, nearest gate A19.

I did not have use of the VIP lounges which are available because my flights were domestic and in and out sort of things. The overall Nice airport webpage is here in English: Official Airport of Nice

The Nice airport is served by bus lines 23, 52, 59, 70, 94 (stop: Aéroport Promenade),also,  the Direct Airport line (stops: Aéroport / Promenade, Terminals  T1 and  T2. The airport is served by many regular lines, including: three airport express shuttles to: Monaco / Menton ,bus 110 and Cannes 210 (took it once to get from Nice airport to Cannes city center).


By the highway/motorway A8,  exit: n ° 51 Nice Saint-Augustin. By the coastal roads M6007 and M6098 which connect the peripheral coastal cities in Nice and the plain road M6202 connecting the middle-country. My  favorite is the M6098 and from airport  take the avenue de la Californie into the Promenade des Anglais continue on Quai des Etats Unis continue on quai Raubac Capeu continue on Rue de Foresta quick turns into  hilly into Montée Montfort continue into Montée Eberle, sharp right turn into Allée de la Fontaine aux Oiseaux, and at the crossing with the jewish cemetery on your right get on Allée Professeur Benôit there is parking around there usually never missed it. Of course with a GPS and the address given above it should be a piece of cake right ::)

A bit on the history I like

The Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport (IATA code: NCE)  is located in Nice, in the Alpes-Maritimes dept 06 of the region of PACA and also known as the Côte d’Azur. It is the third largest airport in France, after the airports of Paris- Charles-de-Gaulle and Paris-Orly In terms of business aviation movements, it ranks second among European airports, after Paris-Le Bourget airport.



Recap some memorable dates I like.

1910: Nice airport originated in the organization in 1910 of a first airshow, which follows Louis Blériot’s first crossing of the Channel by just one year. Initially, these are the fields of a place called Californie and some hangars. 1929: official recognition of the site Nice, on the airfield of Californie, as an aerodrome by the Minister of the Air. 1945: Air France establishes itself on the Nice airport, and opens a line Paris-Marseille-Nice with a Junker 52 airplane, then a second line Nice-Corsica. 1955: change of name to Nice Côte d’Azur airport . 1959: Nice hosts on June 1, 1959 the inaugural flight of the Caravelle airplane, the first French jet plane, on the Nice-Rome line operated by Air France. 1986: the airport becomes permanently the first provincial airport. 1987: inauguration of a second terminal, the T2. 2019: Historic opening August 2 of a regular line between China and a provincial airport with 3 weekly flights between Beijing and Nice, operated by the Chinese company Air China. During the summer season, the milestone of 60 airlines operating on a regular and simultaneous basis was crossed for the first time. The platform has developed and launched an unprecedented self-connecting solution in France by offering a combination of more than 23,000 connections per week with airlines using the airport allowing travelers who wish to transit through Nice.


And there you go folks now you have another airport of my belle France briefly disclose for your traveling pleasure in France and elsewhere. Again, I have only used it at Nice for domestic flights.

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

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