Archive for March 15th, 2020

March 15, 2020

Hunting at Fontainebleau!

So let me bring you back to one of my fav castles, and the first ever visited in France many years ago. As family is nearby, i have gone several times and friend of the castle! This time will tell you about a special event as have many posts on the property and city already in my blog.

Of course, I will be talking about the Fontainebleau castle and the special event held for the hunters in honor of Saint Hubert, the patron saint of the hunters. This is a special event in an unfortunately complicated subject so not much publicity until its time. The time is Toussaints or All Saint’s Day in November or thereabout.

Every year in November you can participate in the blessing of the hunt or the Feast of Saint Hubert, patron saint of the hunters. It is wonderful indeed, and we have participated of course. You start with a Mass by 9h30 or so, at the cour Ovale ,and then by 11h or so the Vin d’Honneur or drink by the Porte Dorée, and then by 12h or so the depart for the hunting in the forest  near the Obelis k towards the lookout of Maintenon .

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau

As said, Saint Hubert, patron Saint of hunters, reminds visitors each year that Fontainebleau was a hunting residence. The Galerie des Cerfs, the Chasse apartment and the Cour Ovale courtyard are open exceptionally for the occasion. Each year is a bit different but mostly is first in the morning a city tour of a team with horns. Later you enjoy a guided tour of the Galerie des Cerfs for free meet at the Cour Ovale; visit to the Chasses apartment again free from the Cour Ovale. A solemn beautiful Mass and blessing of nature is held at the Cour Ovale or Cour Mathurins with the presence of horses and dogs in the gardens. A presentation of falconry, concert of horns, pony ride and harnesses of horn blowers. The return of horses and dogs from hunting spreading all over the gardens and castle courtyards, and a cold cure at the Cour Ovale to end the festivities.

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau

Just to remind you or tell you, that Fontainebleau is the cradle of horse racing in France and has carried a long continuos tradition despite the hardships of wars.  If you have time, I recommend to partake on another day a day at the races at the Hippodrome de Solle racecourse. The Hippodrome de la Solle is one of the oldest racecourses in France and hosts horserace meetings. Under the rein of king Louis XVI, the dukes of Artois and Chartres organised the first horse race at Fontainebleau in November 1776 in the presence of the king, who had come to hunt.

More info on the racecourse of Solle in French here: Official hippodrome de Solle at Fontainebleau

More information on the equestrian events and sights here are in the tourist office of Fontainebleau here: Tourist office of Fontainebleau on equestrian

For general information on visits to Fontainebleau stay alert and updated on the tourist office in English here: Tourist office of Fontainebleau

And of course, the official Fontainebleau castle in English: Official Fontainebleau castle

Fontainebleau

And there you , if you are into nature, horses, racing, history and great ambiance schedule a visit at this time, it is worth it me think. Enjoy the wonders of Fontainebleau, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, Ïle de France region!

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

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March 15, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXII

Well its been a while and lots of news in France and all over! I like to keep it up to date so here are the latest rumblings from my belle France. Oh yes we are cloudy at 51F or 10C in my neck of the woods and 62F or 17C in Paris.

Covid 19 and the public transports: The TGV and Intercités trains traffic will drop by half, airport terminals will be closed. But public transport will be preserved. Tomorrow Monday the traffic of all trains will drop by 30%. From Tuesday, the SNCF will go to 50% for long distance trains, that is to say the Inoui, Ouigo and Intercités. And two TER out of three will be in circulation. Faced with the influx of holidaymakers forced to return as quickly as possible from the Alps or the Pyrenees following the announcement of the closure of all ski resorts, the SNCF has also planned to charter additional trains. Freight trains are maintained to ensure supplies, in particular food businesses which remain open. Monday in the Paris metro,will be normal in the RER and quasi-normal in buses and trams, it was said on Saturday from the RATP, which specifies that these forecasts could change after the new restrictions announced on Saturday evening by the Prime Minister.

If you wish to exchange or have your tickets refunded, the SNCF offers free exchange and reimbursement fees for your journeys with TGV INOUI, OUIGO, Intercités and TER in correspondence until 30 April inclusive. Your request for a free exchange or refund can be made up to the departure of your TGV INOUI and Intercités train, up to an hour and a half before the departure of your OUIGO. On the Internet, at an agency or at a station.

Air France: for any reservation made before March 31, you have until May 31 to postpone your departure date without charge (subject to availability at the same rate). The new trip must start before May 31. One downside: you have to take a ticket at the same price. If there are no more, you will have to pay the difference. If you wish to cancel the trip: if you have purchased, before March 31, a refundable ticket for a flight scheduled until May 31, you can cancel and request a refund. If you have purchased, before March 31, a refundable ticket with charges for a flight scheduled until May 31, the reimbursement charges are waived. In the case of a non-refundable ticket, purchased under the same conditions before March 31, you will be able to benefit from a credit valid for one year on Air France, KLM and partner airlines. Airfrance.fr/ If you have booked a trip, but have fallen ill and wish to cancel this trip. Is there a possibility of reimbursement? Visa Premier, Platinum and Infinite bank card insurance cover travel cancellations related to illnesses, noted by a doctor, which prevent travel and require appropriate care. You contracted the coronavirus while traveling abroad. Are you guaranteed? The medical assistance guarantees for cards including Visa Premier, Platinum and Infinite may, within the limits and according to the conditions provided for in the information notices, cover medical expenses incurred abroad.

Aéroports de Paris has decided to close part of the terminals and halls at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports from Wednesday March 18 to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

The French are voting this Sunday (today) for the first round of municipal elections. An election marked by the coronavirus crisis which risks encouraging abstention. There are 902,465 candidates, including 10 ministers, and 20,765 lists. The polling stations opened at 8h and there was a 18.43% participation at mid day countrywide. In Paris, the participation rate at noon was 12.61% against 13.73% in 2014. With 15.07% of participation in the Yvelines (dep 78) at noon for this municipal election, the health crisis effect seems to have had little effect on the desire of voters to go to the polls. This rate is indeed 1.5% lower than that of 2014 at the same time which was 16.57%. Of course voting was not cancelled by the Polititians! And I am not voting tant pis.

The closure took place 48 hours earlier than planned. The Disneyland Paris parks finally closed their doors on last Friday evening so as not to reopen them this Saturday morning, whereas they were initially supposed to remain open until Sunday evening. The closure until March 31 was decided by the park management, after the government ‘s decision to ban gatherings of more than 100 people. Disney Village hotels and shops remain open. The courtyard of the Château de Fontainebleau resonates strangely this Saturday morning. The rare tourists arrive drop by drop to visit this former home of the kings of France which will close on Monday due to the Coronavirus. Only the castle gardens, adjoining the main streets of the imperial city, will remain open.   Impossible to pay in coins and bills at the Eiffel Tower, at ticket offices as in its shops and restaurants: since Monday March 9, only payments by bank card are accepted. A similar decision was made last week at the Louvre. Also, same for the Château de Versailles and al.

By focusing on Google searches for Coronavirus, SEMrush concludes that the countries that seem the most worried are none other than the Americans with more than 160.8 million searches identified since January. In Europe the Germans are rather active on the subject with no less than 39,504,000 searches in two and a half months. While it could be understood that the countries which know the most cases are the most stressed, the study proves that this is not always the case … Less than 500 cases detected in the United Kingdom, but more than 26,400,000 “Coronavirus” searches done on Google!!. The top searches are the United States: 160,800,000, Germany: 39,504,000; Brazil: 32,304,000; Canada: 26,400,000, France: 26,400,000; India: 26,400,000; Italy: 26,400,000; United Kingdom: 26,400,000; Australia: 17,664,000; Mexico: 17,664,000 , and Spain: 14 480 00.

Enough of this , remember that the influenza flu has killed a lot more people and we hardly notice any news on it. See the Center for Desease Control in the USA here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

This is a site that counts the fatalities worldwide very well detail for all countries. Worldometers on Coronavirus

Update.France is going partial confinement as of tomorrow noon Tuesday March 17 2020. Only essentials grocery food shopping, medical visits/pharmacy, and essential workers can go out. There are fines of 68 euros that can go to 135 euros for all those not in compliance. We are ok, lucky to have the system that pays my salary at home and my family. We are bunker down loaded even gas up. So this is war, and we will win it.

Despite the disruption caused by the threat from Covid-19, the fashion parades will have kept their promises. Especially the one that Paris does every season to bring together the best of creation and demonstrate the power of the big names in French luxury. Starting with a remarkable collection of Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, the second evening. In a carpeted beige decor reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment, rue de Babylone. In bold colors, there was also talk about Hermès. In an equestrian register, the bright reds, royal blue, solar yellow and optical white came to punctuate beige and brown leathers and punctuate a luminous collection. On the side of falsely classic beauty, the public also feasted on Loewe and Valentino, where these projections of big bourgeois fashion crazy women reached new heights. For the Spanish brand owned by LVMH, Jonathan Anderson touches perfection with the choice of colors and luxurious materials, which he uses for lines, overlays, volumes not devoid of theatricality. Barely more sober, Pierpaolo Piccioli still succeeds, at Valentino, in impressing with his black dresses and coats, his large skirts and all his leathers of fatal beauty, enhanced with flawless accessories, from earrings to boots with large soles and divine pumps. Fashion power Paris!

Now in other subjects of travel related news in my belle France

The Poult farm, located on the D 30 road on the heights of the town of Poissy. The Desjouis family, owner of this farm, plans to set up a pole dedicated to horses and tourism there. Stables, a quarry, a hotel residence and a restaurant are among the main amenities. Of course, this is around the new training ground of the Paris St Germain football/soccer team that is been constructed, good idea to attract the visitors; more info here: https://www.fermedupoult.fr/

You read here before but finally the battle is over. The intricacies of French wine business. Thus, the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) proposed to remove 64 towns from the Burgundy appellation. In three sectors in particular, the best known of which is Chablis. Barely ten days after the newspapers took possession of this attack on common sense, it was over. Last February 6, Christian Paly, the president of the wine branch of the INAO, announced to 450 winegrowers and elected Burgundians, mounted to demonstrate outside the headquarters, that no town in Burgundy would lose its name. Voilà, Chablis is it, cheers:J

And you know, the French drink fewer Bordeaux wines (and fewer wines overall). And the youngest often opt instead for a pint of beer (indeed seem more sociable for the aperitif here). This is all the more bitter, since despite its export successes, Bordeaux still sells for 56% in the French borders. The year 2019 has not escaped this decline. According to figures published last Tuesday March 10 by the CIVB, 130 million bottles have passed in France, down 10%. In terms of value, the drop is comparable (-9%), for a total turnover of 766 million euros. Even if, in 2019, the turnover achieved by Bordeaux wines for export remained almost stable, at 2 billion euros. One reason, the United States offered good prospects for growth. But they were stopped dead by the 25% Trump tax, which has hit all French wines since mid-October 2019. At the end of 2019, exports across the Atlantic fell by 18% in volume and 36% in value. In total, over the year as a whole, sales increased by 5% to 294 million euros. On the other hand, Bordeaux wines want to change their communication to change their image. The aim is to attract consumers who want to drink less and who are sensitive to the arguments of craft brewers

In an early morning, 200 bakers came to drop off their little nuggets. A first selection is then made; to compete, the baguette must be between 55 and 70 cm long and weigh between 250 and 300 grams. 157 baguettes were then selected in order to be tasted by the jurors. Rated on 4 criteria – appearance, crumb, smell, taste; two tours were necessary for the 13 members of the jury to set their sights on the perfect baguette. The title winner, in addition to winning a check for 4,000€ , could become for one year the official supplier of baguettes for the Élysée Palace if he so wishes. The winner was Taieb SAHAL Aux Saveurs by Pierre Demours 13, rue Pierre Demours – 17éme arrondissement . In 2nd position: Baptiste LEAUTE from L’essentiel Mouffetard in the 5éme, then Liman TIGANI from the Boulangerie Martyrs in the 9éme, Laurent DEMONCY from Au 140 in the 20éme, Anthony TEIXEIRA from Aux délices du Palais in the 14éme, Khemoussi MANSOUR from Aux Délices de Glacière in 13éme, Ahmed OUNISSI from Boulangerie Lorette in 13éme, Thierry GUYOT from Boulangerie Guyot in 5éme, Giovanni BIANCO from Giovanni boulangerie contemporaine in 16éme and finally in 10th place, Jérôme LEPARQ from Maison Leparq in the 15éme. Now , get your good baguettes in Paris!

And finally, another example of the Franco-American cooperation. Created in Brooklyn , NYC in 1961 by Reuben Matteus and his wife, the Häagen-Dazs appellation and its Swedish consonance were invented by the couple to evoke freshness and travel. In 1992, Häagen-Dazs therefore settled down in Paris to open its very first European store. The brand will also build its global production site in the region of Hauts-de-France, in the town of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines. No wonder when we know that the region offers cows a particularly rich grass allowing them to produce a cream of a very high quality. Today, the famous ice cream is supplied with milk and cream from 450 farms located around the Tilloy-Les-Mofflaine factory to satisfy food lovers around the world. Not only are all the ingredients of natural origin, but the recipes do not require artificial coloring and flavor! Vanilla, for example, comes from Madagascar and all of the cocoa from West Africa. Reassuring. Indeed, our house favorite ice cream!

And there you go another day in my belle France and we move on, heck we overcame WWI and WWII this one should be easier. Vive la France! And the EU!

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

 

 

March 15, 2020

Lacanau Océan!!

And yes just a simple beach town for many but many nice memories for me here at Lacanau Océan, in the Médoc of Bordeaux, dept 33 of Gironde in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of my belle France.

Of course, as always, have written pieces before on it but mostly concentrate on the wonderful beaches here and world surfing area. And of course, on the other side by the Garonne/Dordogne rivers you have the area of the best wines in the world!

Let me tell you here about a little camping call Les Grands Pins. We wanted an area of beaches but I insisted on near wines…So we settle for the compromise of renting a mobile home vacation at a camping very near the beach in Lacanau-Océan ,about 300 meters, but a nice ride amongt pine trees into the wine world along the D6 into Margaux!

lacanau ocean

Camping is very popular in France and even with visitors from other European countries. So it wasn’t that hard to ask collegues in my Paris office for suggestions and Lacanau Océan at Les Grands Pins came up. It was the best decision we could had made and did came back in subsequents years here until 2015, when already the boys big and living in the Morbihan of  Brittany. 

Lacanau Ocean

The metro area if we can call it that of Lacanau is composed of several zones: Lacanau-Ville, consisting of the town. Lacanau-Océan, (the one we always stayed here) area on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A seaside resort, it appeared at the beginning of the 20C. Sketched during the period between the two wars, it developed in the years 1960-1970, as part of the development of the Aquitaine coast. Lacanau-Océan is separated from Lacanau-Ville by the road D6 and 13 km and the lake of Lacanau-Lac, composed of several hamlets such as Talaris, Le Moutchic, le Tedey, Longarisse, La Grande Escoure, and Carreye.

Lacanau Ocean

This camping is tops you can walk to the Lacanau-Océan city center and the beaches and plenty of family activities inside! The beaches at Lacanau-Océan are 16 km long or about 10 miles and are three south, central, and north (sud, central, nord). The one and only for rentals was the Camping Yelloh! village Les Grands Pins 5 star rating ,and great for the whole family only 300 meters from the beach!!!  The nice mobile homes, with all amenities, great pricing, with grocery store ,bike rental, pool, exercise room, dancing at nights,and free parking so close to all in the region even trips to Bordeaux. The beach is glorious here, as good as any anywhere, and been to some tops as well as lived near them or on them!

The camping webpage is here: Official camping Les Grands Pins

Here we have done house rental as well. The house is fine but for ambiance and group activities the camping is best.  The house was Villa Gré des flots more expensive and like I said more isolated even if in city center.  Again, we like more the camping. Info here for reference: Rentals Lacanau on the Villa Gré des flots

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is recommended are

City of Lacanau in English: City of Lacanau access map

Unofficial webpage on activities in Lacanau-Océan: Lacanau Ocean on activities

There you go one of my fav areas in the huge beautiful France; hope you get the bugs to see something different and beautiful, the beaches of Lacanau, the lake, the casino, and the wines , la vie est belle!!! or is it la vie en rose ? Salut!!

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

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