Archive for December 7th, 2019

December 7, 2019

The Halles , covered market of St Denis!

Ok so now let’s take you out from Paris on the beltway around it, working class neighborhoods not seldom seen by visitors but with goodies to boot. Mind you not the kind of place you would come at night, but daytime it is an eye opener in French life.

Let me tell you a bit on the Halles or covered market of Saint Denis, dept 93 or Seine-Saint-Denis, in the ïle de France region, and just outside Paris.

st denis

This is a very colorful market with food from all over the world and people crowds buying all these goodies. It’s a place to really come into the working class daily French life and get to know the country a bit more. Again, for the intellectual curious is a must on daytime.

The Marché de centre ville or Downtown Market is open Tuesday from 8h to 12h30, Friday from 8h to 13h, Sunday from 8h to 13h30. On the place Jean Jaurès, you have items for the person (clothing etc) and the house. In the covered Halles and around it, you have about 70 food stalls from all over the world.

This is the largest market in Ile-de-France,region with a total of 450 merchants. On the weekend, up to 60,000 people can pass under the imposing halles of Eiffel style, built in the early 20C. The first traces of trade at this place dating back to the 7C, the Fair of Landy.

st denis

A bit of history I like

In 1229-1230, carpenters built a new hall; the old ones are covered and a wall is erected between the two halls. In 1231, the intension was to build the halles of Saint-Denis. In 1444, Charles VII reestablished the Fair of Landy inside the borough of Saint-Denis where are two large grains of covered halles. The monks had done a fair job of the said halles and make several lodges by the place de la Panthiére to lodge and receive the merchants and their merchandises. In 1556, Henry II authorizes the religious to build halles, lodges, benches and in 1567, the four gates of the corn market were mentioned, and in 1571 part of the Landy and Saint-Denis fairs took place in the adjoining markets of Beauvais (also known as wheat) and Rouen. along the rue du Pilori, they both open in the place Panetière and behind on the courtyard.The old halles are removed around 1854 and replaced by four metal halles on the market square, the current place Jean-Jaurès.

They are on the parvis in front of the famous Basilica, you go around the Hôtel de Ville or  city /town hall building and on the other side you will see the Halles. Great parking Basilica for me here! Right underground above is the Centre Commercial St Denis or shopping center, more modern. Info in French here: Shopping center Basilique in St Denis

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the covered market or Halles are

City of Saint Denis on the Halles

Tourist office dept 93 Seine Saint Denis on the Halles

And there you go a nice walk into working class France and a wonderful vibrant market where prices will be a  pleasant surprise to all. Enjoy the Halles of Saint Denis

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

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December 7, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCIII

Ok so once a year at least we need to tell you about the strikes or gréves in my belle France. The world gets nervous of seeing this traditional events as dangerous. And if you are not IN they can be dangerous. The various embassies such as the USA will send you emails warning you not to approach them and stay away from Paris especially. The world medias gets a field day of news…etc etc etc.

However, these are in the backbone grain of every French person as the culmination of a democratic right to express yourselves. Literally its democracy at its best , even if annoying to the locals and visitors who have a few days to enjoy themselves here and find them difficult to believe what they go thru.  Again, its just the French, Vive la différence!!!

For now and the next few days expect chaos on the transports but bear in mind, this is only in Paris and some major city in France, back in my country living of Brittany, we hardly notice lol!!! Life is as usual and we start buying our Christmas gifts!

For now these are some excerpts from the French media on the strikes

The movement against pension reform seems set to last, at least several days. As a result, unions are organizing to ensure the financial “survival” of the movement, while a second day of events is announced this coming Tuesday, five days after the first. The most classic solution: the strike banks. Some unions have historically set aside a portion of membership dues, and the common pot is then redistributed among strikers according to their needs. Therefore, most will be paid nothing is free oh là là là.

The SNCF has called yesterday Friday ,the Ile de France region to avoid commuter trains on Monday, the fifth day of the transport strike, the expected affluence can make the stations dangerous.

The strong mobilization this past Thursday led to a drop in activity of the order of “30% in stores,” according to the Trade Alliance and up to 50% in Paris, – 60% in the city centers of Strasbourg or Marseille, according to data provided by Procos (Federation for the Promotion of Specialized Trade). The continuation of the strike is also a concern for the hotel and restaurant industry, which saw, for the night of  last Thursday, bookings in Paris and Ile-de-France fall “from 30 to 40%, with twice as many cancellations” according to a spokesman for the National Group of Independents (GNI-Synhorcat)n the main union. Fashion stores have seen their turnover fall by around 4 to 5%.

Several highways are blocked this Saturday (today) by truckers protesting against the increase of 2 cents of taxes on diesel fuel provided for in the draft budget law for 2020. These events, which affect eleven regions, are organized at the call of the the European Road Hauliers Organization (OTRE), the third organization in the sector. The actions take the form of filter dams or snail operations.

The transport network in Ile-de-France will be disrupted on this coming Saturday and Sunday, and will remain so on Monday.  The RATP is planning extremely disrupted traffic for today Saturday, December 7: commuting is less numerous at weekends, the RATP will concentrate its efforts on the afternoon to ensure a minimum service, between 13h and 18h, for Metro and RER.  Metro lines 1 and 14 will normally run all day. Buses and trams will run all day with a reduced offer. As for Sunday, the traffic will be extremely small. Metro lines 1, 14 and Orlyval will run all day. SNCF announces a service that “will remain highly disturbed” and recommends to travelers who can cancel or postpone their travel. The RATP also provides “a very disturbed service for Monday, December 9.

The forecasts are valid for the day of Saturday. For Sunday, the information will be given Saturday at 17h.

Line 1 and 14: Normal traffic all day.

Line 4 and 7: 1 train every 5 minutes only between 13h and 18h, several stations closed.

Line 9: 1 train every 4 minutes between Nation and Mairie de Montreuil between  13h and 18h

Line 3: 1 train every 5 minutes between Pont de Levallois and Havre-Caumartin.

Line 8: 1 train every 5 minutes between Créteil Pointe du Lac and Reuilly-Diderot.

Closed Metro lines: 2, 3a, 5, 6, 7a, 10, 11, 12, 13.

On Saturday in the RATP zone, the RER trains will only run between 13h and 18h.  The train stations will be closed outside these hours. Sunday, traffic will be almost zero. Forecasts will be given Saturday at 17h.

RER A: 3 trains per hour between 012h and 18h on the Cergy branch. Interconnection is ensured in Nanterre Prefecture.

RER B: North: 1 train out of 3 during the day. More trains from 22h. The interconnection is suspended at Gare du Nord. The station Sevran-Livry is not served (works ongoing).

RER C: 2 trains per hour from 7h to 9h and 16h to 19h from Paris-Austerlitz to Brétigny. The other branches are not served.

RER D: North: 1 train per hour on the Paris-Villiers-le-Bel branch. South: 1 train per hour on the Paris Gare de Lyon – Juvisy branch morning and evening and 1 train per hour on the Paris Gare de Lyon-Melun branch from 6h30am to 21h. The interconnection is suspended between Gare du Nord and Gare de Lyon.

RER E: No train on the Haussmann Chelles branch and on the Paris East-Tournan branch, only the Paris-Gretz link is provided, without stopping until Rosny-Bois-Perrier.

Tramways: For Saturday:

T1: on average one tramway out of two

T2, T6, T8: on average 4 trams on 5 all day.

T3a, T5: on average 3 trams out of 4 all day.

T3b: on average 2 trams out of 3.

T7: on average 1 tramway out of 3.

T4 (SNCF): 12-minute frequency from 6h30 to 10h then from 16h to 20h.

T11 (SNCF): 1 tram every 15 minutes from 6h30am to 9h15.

For Sunday

T1, T7: on average one tramway out of two.

T2, T6, T8: on average 4 trams on 5 all day.

T5: an average of 3 trams out of 4 all day long.

T3a, T3b: on average 2 out of 3 trams.

T4 (SNCF): 12-minute frequency from 6h30 to 10h then from 16h to 20h.

T11 (SNCF): 1 tram every 15 minutes from 6h30 to 9h15.

On Saturday, four out of 10 buses will run on average across the RATP network; Sunday, about 50% of the traffic will be insured.

Transilien Saturday and Sunday

Line H: 1 train per hour morning and evening on the branches Paris-Ermont-Montigny (works thus bus until Pontoise) and Paris-Montsoult-Ermont. The link Creil-Persan-Valmondois-Pontoise is provided by bus.

Line J: 1 train per hour from 6h to 9h and from 12h to  20h30 on Paris Saint-Lazare-Argenteuil (omnibus). 1 train per hour Paris St. Lazare-Poissy-Mantes from 7h to 21h and Paris Saint-Lazare-Conflans (6h to 20h).

Line K: No traffic is guaranteed from Paris-Nord. Only Crépy-Mitry-Claye and Crépy-Roissy relations are insured by bus.

Line L: 1 train out of 3 on Paris Saint-Lazare branches – Versailles and Paris Saint-Lazare – Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche. The Paris Saint-Lazare-Cergy branch is not served.

Line N: 1 train out of 10 between Paris Montparnasse and Rambouillet from 5h35 to 11h and from 16h to 23h35.

Line P: 1 train per hour on the Paris-Chelles Meaux route from 8h to 18h30: the Paris-Chelles link is direct. All stops are then served to Meaux.

Line R: no traffic. 3 A / R TER on the axis Bois-le-Roi / Montereau

Line U: no traffic.

So therefore, a big mess indeed ,have fun stay tune to your schedule transports needs and have alternative plans available.  There is a French site to tell you all about it C’est la Gréve, its the strike, here: C’est la Gréve on the strikes in French

The main region Ïle de France, transports Transilien has a page in English but the French has more info. Here is the English page: Official Transilien transport in English on the strike

Official Paris transport RATP on the strike in English

SNCF info on the strike in English

Paris airports on the strike: Aeroports de Paris on the Strike in English

The French site Paris struggles has plenty on the strikes now and coming days. Paris Luttes or struggles in French on the strikes

Hope it helps for the local and visitors alike. Me just come over to friendly Brittany there is no strike I just did my shopping today in Vannes by car all is working normal , traffic is fluid, la vie est belle dans l’ouest!!! Salut!! Joyeûx Noël!!


Further update on this madness that keep us entertain over the weekend and now it seems longer. Again be prepare with alternative routes if coming to France this month.

While the executive plans on the content of the pension reform and the possible acts of appeasement that Prime Minister Édouard Philippe will announced next Wednesday afternoon, during a speech at the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), Emmanuel Macron will invite several of his ministers to the Élysée presidential palace this Sunday evening at 19h30, for a working meeting. In particular, according to our sources, the Prime Minister will be with Agnès Buzyn (Health), Jean-Paul Delevoye (Retirement), Gérald Darmanin (Budget) and Bruno Le Maire (Economy). They always do the same , react from the action of the people instead of doing what the people needs.

Strong of the success last Thursday of the mobilization against the reform of the pensions (806.000 demonstrators in all France, according to the Ministry of the Interior, and 1,5 million according to the Unions), the trade unions opposed to the reform call the French to be mobilized again on Tuesday December 10th. Objective: to try to bend the government and entail the outright withdrawal of the reform that Édouard Philippe plans to unveil next Wednesday.

Monday, December 9 ,the number of trains in ïle de France region will not accommodate the usual number of customers: max 4 trains / hour on some RER instead of 20 trains / h. The affluence in the stations will be very dangerous. SNCF asks those who can to cancel their trips.

International traffic will also be very disturbed: no Lyria, SVI and Ellipsos will circulate this weekend. One Eurostar out of two, two out of three Thalys and one Paris-Stuttgart are maintained. One TGV of 6 will circulate on average throughout France this weekend, according to a spokesman for the SNCF. The company Air France indicates accordingly that it will ensure the totality of its program of flights. However, disturbances and delays are nevertheless possible, warned the DGAC (general civil air transport directory).

The roads however, are doing better all clear tonite and should be ok until next Tuesday when the second round of demonstration happened. The site for the Paris region or Ïle de France Sytadin is here: Official Paris region traffic IDF

Ok just something positive of all this that will continue this week. In April 2020, will open on the emblematic site of the Samaritaine in Paris 1éme, a large store of 20,000 square meters and a new palace. And they are recruiting, from now on, to all positions. Yes this is the site of the old emblematic Samaritaine dept store that we love so much and visit many times.

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

December 7, 2019

Again St Eustache Church, Paris of course!

And here I am again getting down on old walking path and familiar monuments again. Paris is awesome and exhuberating to visit even from a local point of view and I have millions of visitors to agree. Paris is a moveable feast! Paris est un fête!!!

Well on a more serene visit I came back to the Church of St Eustache, such a nice building in a nice vibrant area amazing to be there. It has been there before long ago. I wrote a bit on its history before in my blog. This is a follow up with new photos!



Briefly as not to repeat myself , in the 13C there was a chapel dedicated to Saint Agnes. Became with the use, Saint-Eustache. Too small, it is replaced in the 16C by a vast building of one hundred meters long, flamboyant Gothic style. Architectural plans and principles follow those of Notre-Dame de Paris. The first stone was laid in 1532, but the church was not really finished until 1640. The Church of Saint Eustache contains a large number of 19C murals and some magnificent works of art such as paintings and sculptures, like the statue of the Virgin and Child of Pigalle, one of the most beautiful of Paris.

The visitor entering the Church of St Eustache is immediately seized by the height of the vaults at 33 meters, and the imposing vertical masses that permeate the entire church. The Flamboyant Gothic finds itself at the level of the vaults of warheads, embellished with liernes, tiercerons and ubiquitous pendulous keys. The Renaissance style is expressed in the juxtaposition of the ancient orders, the pillars which are flanked by pilasters, the semicircular arches and, of course, in the abundant decoration on the capitals see the seraphs, baskets of flowers, etc.



The Church of Saint-Eustache has a very large glass roof on three levels of elevation. The church is so high that the first level of the elevation is itself divided into two sub-levels, materialized by a double row of stained glass windows. Few stained glass windows are historiated or with floral motifs. Most are in white glass. If you add the large double door of the south cross, still open to illuminate the transept , Saint-Eustache is a very bright church. As the choir is in the east and there is no building in the south, the sun, in good weather, radiates all the nave of its rays during the whole day.


Colbert was the church warden of the Saint-Eustache Church. His mausoleum is considered a major work in the statuary of the 17C. The artist used bronze and white and black marble. Colbert, seized in the attitude of a praying man, is dressed in his cloak of commander of the order of the Holy Spirit. To the left of the sarcophagus, Fidelity, chiseled in ; on the right, Piety or Abundance .


The organs of Saint-Eustache Church are among the largest in France. Dated at Ducroquet in 1854, they were restored by the Dutch Van Den Heuvel in 1989. The wood carving of the buffet on a Victor Baltard carton is pure splendor. The beauty of the characters and the rose in the background create a scenic enchantment to be enjoyed with a pair of binoculars. And very popular musicals in Paris indeed.


Something i like to give you is some webpages to help you plan and handy. The official parish of St Eustache is here in French: Official Parish of St Eustache Church

The Paris tourist office on St Eustache Church in English: Tourist office of Paris on St Eustache Church

And as many buildings are undergoing renovations in France,and many in Paris this did not escape St Eustache Church; it was done in 2018. You can read in French at the city of Paris webpage here: City of Paris on renovations in St Eustache Church

There you go another jewel in my eternal Paris, the most beautiful city in the world! And in my belle France indeed, welcome to us. The St Eustache Church is one dandy you should not miss coming here, its one of my favorites over the years.

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

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