Archive for January 2nd, 2020

January 2, 2020

My recap of year 2019!

So again on the trail of past year’s time on my blog and as a thank you for all my readers and followers I am doing this short post.

2019 was very special ;my first full year alone with my boys having lost my dear late wife Martine in 2018. Time they tell me soothes the pain, actually is the other way around but we go on with responsabilities and challenges into 2020 probably my last full year as a full time working person.

The blog started in November 26 2010 with the encouragement of many friends from well known travel forums has been a godsend to me for the entertainment and the rich exchanges with folks of many lands over the years. I thank you all. You can see a synopsis of my post in my pages here:

Really, when I started no where could I believe I would reach 775 blog followers and so many nice comments. And I thank you all. So far 2588 posts articles in my blog and more than 40K photos!! Do not know how far can I go as already using 74% of my memory capacity in wordpress blog. …and it becomes expensive afterward.

My blog’s name for those new is a combination of my life’s travels. Paris1972 because when living in Madrid visit Paris for the first time during the coming out of the movie Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brandon and Maria Schneider.It has stuck with me as a classic film. Versailles2003 because that is when I came to live as a French citizen permanently in France at Versailles…and working in Paris. So a fitting name me think

We live now in the region of Bretagne, department 56 Morbihan, town of Pluvigner for the last 6 years already more than my average per domicile in my life!! Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh has been good to us overall and we have a decision to make whether continue here or move on in retirement. I am here since June 2011 and at the house since August 2013.

I will continue to write and already booked trip to Toulouse next week to reminicent of one of the favorite cities of my dear wife and a possible retirement spot for me later on. We are thinking Dublin afterward and come back to Honfleur so far.

There are bits and pieces of my life throughout the blog all the way since birth, it is a living exposure to me now and a heritage souvenir for my sons and family and close friends.

Some numbers wordpress blog give us tells me that in 2019 I had 35 556 views, 17742 visitors, 11959 likes and 1184 comments. My most view posts were Some news from France XCXXXV  192 Notre Dame Cathedral update Aug19 185, and Somport tunnel port and peaks 139, and My best restaurants in Versailles 122. My most visitors by country were USA 10 928 (figure they would follow me), France 4562 (surprise indeed as wrote the blog in English), UK 3751, India 1345, Spain 1258 , Germany 1153.

Again to all, thank you very much to keep me company. I will continue with wonderful spots of my life and count on you to follow me thru.

Happy New Year 2020 and may your best wishes come thru for you and yours. Yours truly, pedmar10

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




January 2, 2020

The tradition of the king’s cake in France!

So now we are in 2020 and the new year starts with all those usual new year’s resolution. And we get on with an old tradition of the King’s cake or Galette des Rois which we have taken as a French family very fond of.

We have multiple passports and lived in several countries so we carry on the tradition of many as well which we find family uplifting. One going on now in my beloved Spain with preparations is the wonderful story of the 3 Wise Kings who on Epiphany day usually falling on January 6 , we give gifts to our children as the kings gave to the enfant Jesus in Bethlehem. However, we give now one gift hehehe and on December 25th. The January 6 tradition is kept ceremoniously .

Let me tell you here about the Galette des Rois (king’s cake) we are just having again this afternoon!  The Galette des rois is a galette traditionally made and consumed in most of France, on the occasion of the Epiphany, Christian feast which celebrates the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus, celebrated on January 6 of each year .

This cake is also sometimes called Parisienne in the regions of the south of France where one consumes not the Galette but the cake of the kings. In most of France, the galette des rois is originally a pancake made from puff pastry, simply browned in the oven and eaten with jams; it can also be stuffed with various preparations: frangipane, fruit, creams, chocolate, frangipane mixed with applesauce, for example. In the extreme south of France, the use for the Epiphany is to prepare the cake of kings, a large sweet bread, in the shape of a crown, with a more or less airy dough and scented with flower water. orange. The person who discovers the bean has the right to wear a fancy crown and then chooses his queen or king.

A bit of history I like

The Galette des rois has its origins in Saturnalia (Roman festivals located between the end of December and the beginning of January), during which the Romans designated a slave as “king for a day” . During the banquet (at the beginning or at the end of the Saturnalia, according to the different eras of ancient Rome) within each great family, the Romans used the bean of a cake as if to draw lots for the “Saturnalicius princeps” (Prince of Saturnalia or of disorder) . The “king of a day” had the power to grant all his wishes during the day (like giving orders to his master) before being put to death, or more likely to return to his servile life. This made it possible to tighten domestic affections.

The sharing of the cake is also associated with the celebration of the Magi during the Epiphany, for Christians. Many French kings followed the tradition more or less and Louis XIV always retained the use of the cake of kings, even at a time when his court was subject to a rigorous label.

When the French revolution came, the very name “cake of kings” was a danger. a decree of the Commune having changed, in the session of December 31, 1791, the day of the kings in “day of the sans-culottes” (,sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the Aristocrats as in opposite meaning) the cake had no longer its raison d’être. This disappearance was, however, only momentary because the sans-culottes having renamed the Epiphany to “feast of the Good Neighbor and the Galette of equality”.

A survey was carried out in France in 2014 (unfortunately cannot find the sources) 97% of French people taste this holiday cake, but 85% according to another source. They eat for: 70% a puff pastry and frangipane cake, mainly in the 3/4 north of France (us too); 11% a more or less dense dough cake flavored with orange blossom water, mainly in the far south; 9% consume more than five (we do about 3) ; and 68% cheat to give the bean to the youngest.(fierce competition at home no giveaways! )

At the seat of the French Republic (Palais de l’Elysée), a giant cake is delivered each year to the President of the French Republic (aka France) since 1975. But according to the same principle as the galette de l’égalité or equality cake of the revolutionary period, the cake offered each year to the president does not have beans, in memory of the heritage of the French revolution and respect for the principles of the French Republic.

And how about what to drink with it? Well we do with the below and also comparable bottles over the years. Hope it help you choose yours if in France these days.

Whether you prefer the delicious frangipane version or the candied fruit brioche, or even the apple or raspberry ones, you can’t savor it without choosing the right wine to accompany it … So here are two nice choices amongst the many!

Its gourmet translation nevertheless followed the border which separates the country of origin: “Galette des rois or king’s pancake in the north,” ” cake of kings in the south”. The first, now made of golden puff pastry in the oven and generally filled with frangipane cream, is best enjoyed above the Loire, while the second, a simple circular brioche with candied fruit, is shared in sunny regions.   As for the broad bean, a long religious porcelain figurine, today it covers all themes and covers all materials, arousing the passion of collectors , fabophiles (bean figurines followers)   some of whom have long abandoned short pants.

In either case, the wine will obviously be white, and sweet enough to match the sweetness of the dessert. With the pancake, the “fat” of the preparation will play a determining role, to which the sparkle of a Champagne will usefully oppose; for its part, the frangipane cream calls for a young, lively, fresh wine. I would therefore without hesitation choose a demi-sec (semi dry) Champagne, preferably the one produced by Taittinger which seems to me to be perfectly balanced. Made from exactly the same blend as the famous Brut Réserve from the same house (40% chardonnay, 60% pinot, noir and meunier), it is more generously dosed with sugar (35 g / l), which will create a harmonious whole with the dish. With candied fruit brioche, it is precisely sugar that dominates, both in the preparation itself and in the ingredients that accompany it (candied fruit). This time, I can see a mutated Muscat, whose fermentation was brutally stopped by the addition of pure alcohol. Rich in residual unprocessed sugars , it will accompany the dessert without countering it. This time I will choose a great Beaumes-de-Venise classic: the Domaine des Bernardins. Its richness in sugar and its fruity will allow it to hold head gently, while its intensity and its length in mouth will accompany those of the cake. A classic with us!

Official sources for the drinks here:

Offiical Taittinger demi sec Champagne

Official Domaine des Bernadins on Muscat des Beaumes de Venicede Venice

And there you now you are set to enjoy of one France nicest tradition, the Galette des Rois. And this is the time to do it if you are in France. Hope you enjoy it and follow it as we do.

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


January 2, 2020

The Port of Le Havre!

So been around fishing harbors since birth it always catch my attention when i see one. Nowdays of course, you have huge ports maritime harbors , ferry cruises and big cruiseliners on them all mix in. This is the case of nice Le Havre , and even thus not taken a cruiser have been on fishing boats and ferries to like them a bit…So will tell you a bit more on the ones at Le Havre.

It is a pleasure to walk along the quays and see the different boats from pleasure to fishing to ferries to cruisers and my future goal is to take one here to England.  Hope you enjoy the post on the ports of Le Havre.

le havre

The port of Le Havre is a large seaport for trade and passengers (connection to England). It is also a marina and fishing port on the English Channel.  Located in Le Havre, in Seine-Maritime, dept 76 of Normandy, and extending over several municipalities east of the Seine estuary, it was created in 1517 on the orders of François I and at the request of a Norman elite mainly from Rouen and Caen. The construction of this port is at the origin of the foundation of the city of Le Havre.  Placed to the north of the mouth of the Seine, at the western end of the maritime facade of Northern Europe called the Northern Range , and effectively connected to a dense hinterland to Rouen and onto Paris, it is one of the leading European ports.

Official ports Haropaports: Official Haropaports on Le Havre

The main structures are by the Pointe de la Floride, where the Le Havre cruise pole is installed in Hangar 1, is located to the west between the Channel Basin and the Théophile Ducrocq Basin. It has become the preferred location for cruise lines with large cruise liners such as the Jewel of the Seas, the Millennum, the Star Princess, and the Queen Mary 2.

le havre

le havre

Tourist office of Le Havre on cruisers: Tourist office of Le Havre on Cruisers

The Bassin du Commerce, also known as the floating dock, dates from 1792. It is located inside the rebuilt city center of Le Havre. It is bordered to the north by the George V quay (Liberty quay at the time of its excavation) and to the south by the Guillaume Le Testu and Lamblardie quays.

le havre

The Vauban basin is located near the entrance to the city center, surrounded by the train station, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Vauban docks shopping center. It was built in 1840-1843 and at that time accommodated boats carrying coal. Since 2012, part of the basin has been converted into a marina call Port Vauban. A floating pedestrian bridge makes it possible to cross it and join the Vauban docks at the station. The basin is 800 meters long and 90 meters wide.

Created in 1934, the marina of Le Havre, located west of the Port of Le Havre, is the first marina in the mainland with a capacity of 1300 berths. The bassin de la citadelle shelters a small fishing port. Part of the fishery product is also sold directly to consumers.


le havre

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Le Havre on the maritime things to do

Tourist office of Le Havre on nautical things to do

It is really a city to discover even thus most think of old French and unfortunately Le Havre suffered greatly in the world wars to the point of been rebuilt 90% of it!!! Nevertheless, it has many world heritage site including the city center by the harbor.

The pleasure of cruising is there handle by two companies Brittany Ferries and Direct Ferries. Their webpages on Le Have to follow

Official Brittany Ferries on Le Havre crossing to England

Official Direct Ferries on Le Havre crossing to England

There you go another dandy by the coast this time in lovely Normandy the land of many memories and courage. Hope you enjoy the post and do make a try to visit Le Havre.

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

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