Archive for November 25th, 2019

November 25, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCI

Well been in and around Paris is never a dull moment so plenty of chances to go out a bit and come back for the work rest. And when out there is always some interesting things to do and see in my eternal Paris.

I could not let it go as we are talking about a famous painter from the family father’s side of the family , the Albi and even more Tarn connection is strong, and Toulouse-Lautrec is big at home. One major event not to miss and even worth coming for it.

At Rue Tourlaque, the studio of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was  a nest bobos. Alone on this hilltop so planed, so hackneyed, still resists the too discreet museu of Rue  Cortot. This former workshop which saw working Renoir, then Valadon, Émile Bernard or the wild animals Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy, presents until January 19 2020, the Weisman-Michel collection. This pair of Americans specialized in the art of this period of miseries and exultations, limited by the ravages of 1870 and those of 1914-1918.  See more of Toulouse-Lautrec, Grand Palais, 3, avenue General-Eisenhower 8éme. Tel +33 (0) 1 44 13 17 17. Hours: Mondays ,Thursdays, and Sundays from 10h to 20h. Wednesdays ,Fridays, and Saturdays from 22h  until Jan 27th 2020. See the trails of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Paris while at the same time been honored in the Grand Palais with 200 works among his immense production. The Albigensian (Tarn , Albi), handicapped from an early age, found refuge in drawing. When he moved to Paris, he moved to Montmartre. From rue Fontaine, rue Caulaincourt, Avenue Frochot, his place of residence never goes far away from the Butte. The curious, observant and nonconformist artist immortalizes his figures of the night by taking as a backdrop mythical places like the Black Cat, the Moulin de la Galette, the Élysée Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge or the Mirliton ,etc.

Grand Palais: Official Grand Palais and Toulouse-Lautrec

And why not capped off this post with the wonderful Christmas market of Strasbourg! Here is a primer to get you ready see at least once should be a lifetime goal!

And already gave you a head start on the Christmas markets around Paris but about the big one, the most famous in France at Strasbourg. It will be too late to booked hotels but better be prepare a year in advance.

The Christkindelsmärik atPlace Broglie to the alternative Christmas tree of the OFF market, all about the 2019 edition, which is held from November 22 to December 30 2019. The inauguration of the illuminations 2019, at 17h45 in front of the Lumières gate. Born almost 450 years ago, the “Christkindelsmärik” (market of the baby Jesus in Alsatian) Place Kléber and its Big tree remain the epicenter of the celebrations. The Christkindelsmärik, the Christmas market at Place Broglie – remains a must. Until 1992, it was the only market in the city. Just a few hundred meters away, the cathedral marketplace also retains a special charm, nestled at the foot of the majestic Cathedral, whose spectacular spire can be seen at the corner of an alley.

The Marché des délices de Noël d’Alsace ( market of Christmas delights of Alsace) invite on its side to the gastronomic voyage (place of the place du Marché-aux-Poissons and terrace of the Rohan Palace, Place du Château. The Carré d’Or Christmas Market, the former district of the Orfèvres (Place du Temple Neuf) also deserves a detour for its small shopping streets, beautifully decorated and illuminated. It is necessary to take the time to admire notably crystal chandeliers of the Baccarat house, rue des Hallebardes.

On the edge of the picturesque district of La Petite France, the OFF market and its alternative Christmas tree (Place Grimmeissen) invite you to enjoy Christmas differently, from the point of view of the social and solidarity economy. Not to be missed either, the market of the indestructible small producers of Alsace (Place des Meuniers), which wants to establish the image of authenticity of the market.

The living nativity scene in the courtyard of the Palais des Rohan. Weekends only, every 20 minutes from 15h to 18h, Place du Château (free show). The Alsatian Museum invites you to discover local Christmas traditions.  You can admire a reliquary nursery in the tradition of “boxes-paradise”. Made in the 18C in the convents, these exceptional objects represented the nativity surrounded by flowers and animals.  Located at 23-25 quai Saint-Nicolas. Open from 10h To 18H. Closed on Tuesdays ; webpage here :

 The illuminations of the Promenade aux étoiles, quai des Bateliers. A constellation of more than 600 stars highlights the historical heritage of the banks of the Ill river. Lighting also enhances the buildings : the bridges, the Saint-Guillaume and Saint-Nicolas Churches, as well as the buildings with remarkable architecture such as the historical museum and the Rohan Palace.

The four Advent concerts on Sundays 1, 8, 15 and 22 December at 20h. For the first concert to be held at St. Paul’s Church, the Master of the National Rhine Opera and more than 200 amateur singers will perform a Christmas classic, Handel’s Messiah. OZ, the Christmas crafts, highlights the know-how of craftsmen, on the first floor of the Aubette room, Place Kléber.

The star soup created by four starred chefs, made and served place Kléber, in the Village of Sharing. For this 7th edition, chefs Yannick Germain (Auberge au Boeuf, Sessenheim), Francis Scordel (The Carambola, Schiltigheim), Sébastien Buecher (Auberge Frankenbourg, La Vancelle) and Pascal Bastian (Le Cheval Blanc, Lembach) will bring their generous contributions. The benefits of this operation help to sustain professional integration activities (€ 3 per cup, € 10 per 1L bottle).

The twenty-two giant trees with golden and white lights that illuminate the Rue de la Mésange.  Village of the guest country, Lebanon, place Gutenberg. Chalets will introduce visitors to the magic of Lebanese Christmas through artisanal creations and local products.

Preserving the authenticity of the Christmas market remains one of the mantras of the city of Strasbourg. The latter had banned in 2010 the sale of churros in the cottages. Preferring the scent of cinnamon or mulled wine. According to the regulations issued by the city, exhibitors must market decorations, gifts related to Christmas, spices, teas and herbal teas, drinks and sweet specialties or local salty products. The “bredele” remains one of the flags of the regional tradition. This biscuit is tasted everywhere on the market. But especially on the terrace of the Palais des Rohan where you can accompany it with a tasty warm white wine proposed by the association Tribute of the gourmets of the wine of Alsace.

Chew in a “manele”, a brioche in the shape of a little guy, is also part of the typical local customs. Originally made of gingerbread, this specialty symbolized Saint Nicolas, a figure who inspired the character of Santa Claus. On the “Christkindelsmärik”, the Oster family has been enjoying its gingerbread since 1933. A specialty erected to the gastronomic rank by Mireille Oster which is particularly appreciated on the market place Benjamin Zix, renamed the Comptoir des Rois mages. On the same square, the cottage dedicated to Christmas balls Meisenthal reflects a century-old know-how. Each year designers revisit this decoration blown by master glassmakers in the Vosges du Nord.

In order to counteract the consumerism sometimes criticized for the Christmas markets, the city initiated in 2015 the OFF market. The latter brings together, Grimmeissen place, about thirty producers of social and solidarity economy in a warm atmosphere, enamelled many animations.

The skating rink on place Kléber should be one of the most popular activities of families. Strasbourg Eurométropole The 2019 edition aims to put childhood back at the heart of the festivities. At the foot of the big fir tree on Place Kléber, decorated this year with old-fashioned toys, families will enjoy a large ice rink 12.5 meters wide by 50 meters long. Price: 5 € per person for an unlimited duration. From 14h to 20h from Monday to Thursday; from 14h to 21h on Friday; from 11h to 22h on Saturdays; and from 11h  to 20h on Sundays.

Away from the hustle and bustle, the world of “Récré de Noël” organized around the Place du Marché Gayot offers many activities to the youngest. At the Atelier des lutins, children will improvise themselves as decorators for a participative Christmas tree on Wednesdays and weekends. They will make the decorations of ten mini-fir trees that will make up the big majestic tree. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays after school, this same workshop will invite you to discover toys, traditional board games, etc. Children can even make their own game. Note that a space has been specially designed for 0-3 years old !

Not to be missed either, the performances of La Boîte à spectacles, from 12 months (marquee place du Château, near the Cathedral). These free shows will immerse the youngest in fairy tales and wonderful stories. One of them was created from scratch by twenty children. Entrance tickets are to be collected at the Gayot Market place. Performance on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 16h45 and 18h on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 14h30, 16h and 17h30.

Finally, with older children, do not hesitate to climb at nightfall the 330 steps giving access to the platform of Strasbourg Cathedral, reopened after work (last climb at 17h15). The panorama of the illuminations of the city promises to be exceptional. The platform is open every day from 10h to 18h (8 € normal rate, 5 € reduced rate), except December 25th and January 1st. Overall Christmas market hours are : From November 22 from 14h to 20h. From November 23 to December 30 from noon to 21h, December 24 from 11h to 18h, closed on December 25. Until December 24th, extended opening on Fridays until 21h, and Saturdays until 22h. All a wonderful experience to try it at least once in your lifetime.

Official Strasbourg Christmas market webpage: Christmas Market at Strasbourg

Tourist office of Strasbourg on the Christmas market

There you , there is never a dull moment in my belle France. Besides one major survey organisation Quality of Nationality Index (QNI) just again name France the best Nationality in the world !!just bragging of course ::) webpage lol! Nationality Index and France

Enjoy my belle France ,and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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November 25, 2019

BHV, that other Parisian store!

In my rounds in Paris I came upon this building once again. I have written very briefly on it in previous post and deserves better indeed. Maybe because it is next to the city hall I have been here briefly over the years in Paris. However, back in my old home of Versailles we did went several times to its branch there at Parly II shopping center (see this post).

I like to write a bit more on the wonderful BHV or Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville or city hall market bazaar…. It is more than that, very sophisticated as the other better known stores which have their posts in my blog as well.


It is indeed on a wonderful street rue de Rivoli right over the esplanade or parvis of the Paris‘ city hall; and with its great dome commands attention indeed. A Paris landmark to be visited.

The Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville, operated by BHV Exploitation under the name BHV Marais since 2013, is a general department store belonging to the Galeries Lafayette group. It is located in Paris, rue de Rivoli, in the 4éme arrondissement or district, in front of the Hôtel de Ville or City/Town Hall, but also occupies several other neighboring buildings. This establishment was at the origin of a chain of stores centered on the DIY do not count any more than a shop outside Paris at Le Chesnay Parly2 Yvelines dept 78), yes my shopping center of old! Abroad the group is based in Beirut, Beijing, Berlin, Dubai and Jakarta under various names.


A bit of history I like

The shopkeeper Xavier Ruel, arrived from Lyon, and began by selling some hosiery articles by hawkers, in large umbrellas. He notice that, even by turning the sellers, the best sales are always made at the corner of the Rue de Rivoli and rue des Deux-Portes-Saint-Jean (nowadays Rue des Archives). He decided, in 1856, to establish his store there.

Xavier Ruel died in 1900, and his grandson Henri Viguier, took over the BHV. He completes the work of his grandfather. It is notably he who directs the vast works carried out in 1912 , giving the building its famous rotunda and most of its modern structure. The store covers 1,300 meters of galleries built on 11 floors, it becomes one of the Parisian department stores of fashion. Henri Viguier is the man of all the great achievements of the store such as the BHV became a limited company in 1931 to its entry in the stock market in 1960. The BHV adopts all the innovations of the trade with in 1954,inaugurates a first elevator/lift and then, in 1971 , a public car parking with direct access to the store.

In 2007, the BHV Homme (Men’s) opens at rue du Temple. The main store focuses on women’s fashion, DIY, decoration and furniture. The basement is totally renovated and modernized. In 2013, the property is renovated again. It’s name is changed, becoming  BHV Marais. The DIY (do it yourselves) shelving is kept in the basement. Above, two floors, instead of one, are allocated to women’s fashion. A new shoes area is created on the first floor. The sections furniture are removed to make more room for leisure and clothing. In 2016, after an agreement reached between the unions, the BHV became the first Parisian department store to open on Sunday

The BHV Marais is organized in different sections such as :

in the basement: DIY; on the ground floor: jewelery, perfume, women’s fashion; on the first floor: women’s fashion and shoes; second floor: luggage, stationery, culture and creative hobbies; on the third floor: the culinary arts and 2 restaurants (Marlette and the Artisans de la Truffe); fourth floor: decoration and lighting; on the fifth floor: toys, children’s fashion, lingerie and restaurants; on the sixth and top floor: the bathroom, bedding and linens; a five-storey neighbor’s shop (rue de la Verrerie); a pet shop; a cycle shop; a floor carpet and parquet shop; and Eataly an Italian restaurants and groceries at rue du Temple.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official BHV Marais store

Official group Galeries Lafayette on the BHV store

Tourist office of Paris on the BHV store in English

And there you go another Paris landmark to be visited and for your shopping pleasure of my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy BHV Marais as the others and do some serious shopping in Paris::)

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


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November 25, 2019

Theater of the Odéon, Paris of course!

Ok so on my ongoing opportunity very close to Paris and able to visit easier than from out west, let me continue my saga of the eternal city with a very nice monument. I have written briefly before and passed by it many times, a great monument of my belle France often overlook but it should not.

Let me tell you briefly about the Odéon theater of Paris! or now of Europe! For reference my bit of piece of it before was from July 4,2018 in my blog.


The neighborhood of the Odéon is the 22nd administrately neighborhood of Paris located in the 6éme arrondissement or district of Paris north of the Jardin du Luxembourg.

The neighborhood of the Odéon is so named because of its proximity to the Théatre de l’Odéon, itself making reference to the ancient meaning of the word: a place for songs and, more generally, a Greco-Roman theater. The statue standing in the middle of Place Henri-Mondor is that of Danton, which is not far from the former home of the politician and the place of his arrest.


The Théatre National de l’Odéon or National Theater of the Odeon, called since March 1990 Odeon-Theater of Europe, is located at Place de l’Odeon , 6éme arrondissement, inaugurated in 1782 to host the troupe Théatre-Français or French Theater. The Odeon is since September 1971 one of the six national theaters of France.  Architecturally, it is an Italian-style theater with a cubic-shaped stage and semicircular hall and the exterior is neoclassical.


A bit of history I like

In 1767, the Marquis de Marigny, then director of the King’s Buildings, asked Marie-Joseph Peyre and Charles de Wailly to work on a project for a new theater for the Théâtre-Français.  On March 26, 1770, a decision of the Council of the King orders the execution of the construction site on the ground of the garden of the hotel of the prince of Condé, which this one wishes to be undone in order to settle in the Bourbon palace.   The location of the theater is slightly modified compared to the original project, so as to bring it closer to the palace of Luxembourg, home of Sire, brother of the King, so that it is a new amenity for their home work begins in May 1779. The troupe of the Comédie-Française settles in its new walls on February 16, 1782 and the hall is inaugurated by Queen Marie-Antoinette on April 9.  On April 27, 1784, The Marriage of Figaro de Beaumarchais was created by Dazincourt, still in front of Queen Marie Antoinette and the court. The comedian Talma debuted on November 21, 1787.

By a decree of July 1789, the National Assembly renamed the room Théatre de la Nation or Theater of the Nation. In 1791, the ban by Louis XVI of the play of Marie-Joseph Chénier Charles IX, causes a conflict between actors loyal to the king and those favorable to the French Republic, which will lead to the departure of these last April 1791, led by Talma, for the new room of the Theater of the Republic at the Palais Royal. It is these actors loyal to the French Republic who will form the current Comédie-Française. Georges Danton would have said: “If Figaro killed the nobility, Charles IX will kill the royalty.”

Arrested during the Terror, in the French revolution ,the actors who remained at the Théâtre de la Nation reopened the theater on June 27, 1794 under the name of  Théatre de l’Egalité or theater of equality, for performances given  by and for the people, in a hall transformed by the destruction of lodges in egalitarian amphitheater stretched with blue-white-red draperies. It becomes in July 13, 1796, the Odéon , in reference to the odéon of ancient Greece.

There is a second theater. The theater of the Odeon, ceded by Napoleon to the Senate and restored identically by the architect Chalgrin, reopened in June 1808 under the name of “Theater of Her Majesty the Empress and Queen”. However, the room is again destroyed by a fire on March 20, 1818. A 3rd theater is done with the new hall inaugurated in September 1819 and placed by king Louis XVIII under the tutelage of the Comédie-Française, as a Second French Theater. During the days of the “Three Glorious Days”, in July 1830, the theater is at the center of the insurrection of the revolutionary youth.

Sarah Bernhardt made her debut at the Odeon in the role of Aricie du Phèdre Racine given for the feast of the Emperor August 15, 1866. But it is in 1869, in a small act of François Coppée, Le Passant that she enters, under the costume of the “Florentine singer,” in her glorious career. In May 1968, the Odeon is open to students during the uprising demonstrations. The Odeon became a National Theater in September 1971. It is only on June 1, 1990 that the Odeon will truly regain its independence vis-à-vis the Comédie-Française, by decree. It then takes the name of Odeon-Théatre de l’Europe. Since 2003, the Odeon has a second modular room from 350 to 450 seats, installed in former warehouses sets of the Opera Garnier, boulevard Berthier ,17éme arrondissement of Paris.

There you go a nice monument architecturally stunning and lots of history inside. The shows are nice if with time. Some webpages to help you plan your visit here as usual by me are

Official Theater of the Odeon Europe

Tourist office of Paris on the district of the Odeon in English

Tourist office of Paris on the Odeon theater in English

And there you go another dandy in eternal Paris, the Odéon theater and its neighborhood is a must to visit, see walk in Paris. Enjoy it

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

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