Archive for March 16th, 2020

March 16, 2020

Memories of Krakow! Poland!!

And so remembering some of escapes in Europe and this time to the new visited country of Poland I came upon Krakow. I have heard the city before as the birthplace of Pope John Paul II one of the true Popes in our history me think. Of course, I have written before on the city but this time will concentrate on the hotel and restaurants.  Hope you enjoy it as I did.

Of course, as for the last several years took off from Nantes Atlantique airport to Paris CDG and then onwards to John Paul II International Airport Kraków–Balice (KRK) . The trip to the hotel was  11 km or about 7 miles.

There is a service to the hotel Sheraton Grand Hotel with the navette bus service with prior reservation, the run is done 24/24 7 days a week. There is a regular bus service and of course the taxis which is what I took!

The Sheraton Grand Hotel has a wonderful location walking to the Wawel castle and the clock tower Sigismond along the Wisla river. There is a beautiful atrium with enclosed glass that gives it a charm to this 5 star hotel.  Certainly one of the best accommodation options in Kraków, everyone from celebs and diplomats to weekenders and corporate travellers bustle through the glass-covered atrium of this sparkling five-star venture. Kraków’s Sheraton was the first to be designated as a Grand five star hotel in Poland!, thus pushing it into the most elite class of Sheraton hotels. All the top amenities you’d expect are here, plus several fine restaurants and bars, including the seasonal Rooftop Terrace & Lounge bar overlooking the river and castle. There is a wonderful indoor heated pool as well and a nice ground floor restaurant ,The Olive Restaurant.

Krakow

Official Sheraton Grand Hotel webpage in English: Sheraton Grand Hotel brand of Marriott

I did try the Sheraton Grand Hotel Taras terrace top floor city view place in season, and the Olive Restaurant that are good on a rainy day in the hotel as I was; the grilled Polish beef tenderloins are good deal and more great well this time try the Valpolicella Italian red wine.

krakow

The Taras top roof terrace webpage in English is here: Official Taras Lounge Bar

Krakow

I went outside the hotel on several occasions to see the sights and eat out and the experience was very nice.

One old reliable was found ! doing some walking!! For lunch I went for the classic international of Hard Rock Café in the Grand square corner with Market square (Mariacki) ,where the classic rock posters and paintings couple with a great burger and huge jar of beer was the setting for longer walks in the city lol! Hickory Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger, and the local Polish beer of  Zywiec. It was a lovely setting and great views too. More in English here: Hard Rock Cafe Krakow

krakow

krakow

To top it off, the night went to a delightful wonderful friendly place I will be back; this is the Pod Nosem restaurant.  This is at the ground floor of the Hotel  Kanonicza 22. It is an old vault cellar with a twisted stair to dine above,and then you can come down to the cellar below ,where there is a glass floor you can see it from your table. At the cellar there are goodies to drink of the best of Poland; again will be back . Here I had the  Lamb Chump with young cabbage and potato puree, the local dessert Pavlova with Strawberries and Tokaj Szamorodni, and coffee expresso., all wash down with Polish red wine cannot recall the name lol! ….

This is an elegant upscale dining experience on Krakow’s oldest street, ‘under the nose’ (as the name translates) of  Wawel castle. Tantalising smells from the open kitchen will hit yours upon entry. The interior has some fine and creative touches with regal tapestries, embroidered seating, gorgeous dishware and some clever lamp fixtures whose profile pay tribute to the name. More info in English here: Pod Nosem resto in Kanonicza 22 hotel Krakow

Krakow

Krakow

I had another round for another lunch and went to the Biala Roza Restaurant; this is a traditional Polish restaurant of great renown in the city and the food was fantastic. Smoked pork  fatback, Duck breast, and Strawberries macaroons with red wine from the Loire of France! sublime. Unfortunately in a hurry did not took pictures, good reason to come back…

The restaurant is located right in the heart of the Krakow Old Town, nestled alongside the Market Square, the Planty and Wawel Castle, your eyes and ears will be in for as divine an experience as your mouth and nose. Biala Roza bring a light touch to Polish cuisine, avoiding the heaviness of traditional Polish cooking, whilst still keeping  if not improving  its exquisite taste. Their wine list includes an extensive range of bio-dynamic, organic and natural wines. A remarkable selection of indigenous grape varieties demonstrates that pairings with local Polish cuisine can be an unmatched dining experience. Very nice recommended. More info in English here: Biala Roza Restaurant

A bit more info to help you plan your trip to wonderful Krakow

The city tourist office: Visit Krakow the tourist office

The Polish tourist office on Krakow: Stay in Poland tourist office on Krakow

And voilà a wonderful trip to the nice Krakow, been here twice and looking forward for more. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

March 16, 2020

Another look at Honfleur!!!

Ok so will be just a typical tourist guide on this one. As have written many posts on one of my favorites cities of France, Honfleur in Normandy. It is , also, very sentimental for me and my family but already told you that several times so wont repeat. We do have booked for May 2020 again so will preview what they have there from their tourist office.

honfleur

The privileged location of Honfleur offers an ideal place to stay in any season. The small maritime town invites you to discover its picturesque streets and old houses in the heart of a protected area of 37 hectares created in 1974.

The districts of Honfleur:

The Enclosure. The complex formed by the Vieux Bassin, the picturesque houses of the Quai Sainte-Catherine, the Lieutenancy and the Saint-Etienne Church is what first catches the visitor’s attention. It is in this district that the Greniers à Sel (17C), formerly warehouses for gabelle and fishing salt, are now located.

The Faubourg Sainte-Catherine. The Sainte-Catherine district is the former suburb of seafarers. Explore its alleys and notably visit the impressive Sainte-Catherine Church (15C and 16C). Witness to the work of the carpenters of the time, this building is unique: it is the largest church in France built of wood with a separate bell tower. This bell tower, built largely of wood, dates from the end of the 15C. Today it is an annex to the Eugène Boudin Museum, dedicated to religious art.

The Faubourg Saint-Léonard. The façade of the Saint-Léonard Church and the first span of its nave date from its reconstruction in the late 15C and early 16C. The beautiful flamboyant Gothic portal is topped by an elegant octagonal bell tower dating from 1760.

The Museums of Honfleur!

The Musée Eugéne Boudin. The museum, renovated in 2016, offers 1,200 m² of permanent exhibition divided into nine rooms, housed in a 19C chapel and two modern buildings, one of which is widely open to the landscape of the estuary and the Pont de Normandie. The museum exhibits and preserves more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, drawings or engravings, 700 photographs on glass plates from the years 1880-1920, more than 1,000 objects, headdresses, costumes, and furniture, a collection of more than 100 tourist posters on Normandy between 1880 and 1950 and a set of old toys from the 19-20C. From the Katia Granoff room on the third floor, you can admire the changing skies of the estuary and watch the wonderful clouds of Boudin pass by.

The Maisons Satie .The Satie Houses are home to an original journey paying tribute to the musician and composer Erik Satie, born in these houses in 1866. With a very innovative concept, the Satie Houses offer everyone the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the musician’s work and spirit. Equipped with electronically controlled headphones, the visitor is guided through a succession of musical scenes to the rhythm of Erik Satie’s work. The scenography, combining sound, light, image and objects in a setting as whimsical and humorous as Erik Satie could be and involves the visitor in a visit that is both fun and informative.

The Musée d’Ethnographie . The Museum of Ethnography housed in the city’s former prison and in houses dating from the 16C, this museum presents reconstructions of Norman interiors: nine rooms with objects, costumes and old furniture.

The Musée de la Marine. Bordering the Vieux Bassin, Saint-Etienne Church, the oldest church in Honfleur (14C), houses the Maritime Museum, a true tribute to the city’s prestigious maritime past. In particular, you will be able to discover a collection of models of boats, objects, plans, wooden marine souvenirs and engravings.

Thanks to the “Museum Pass”, visit the four museums of Honfleur at a preferential rate. Available from the Tourist Office and museums!

The Jardin Retrouvé. The Retrouved Garden. As you walk along the pier and Boulevard Charles V, you will discover the Jardin Retrouvé, a public garden created in 1996. An ideal setting for enjoying a pleasant moment of relaxation. In particular, your children can enjoy a playground.

The Jardin du Tripot. This garden is a real invitation to stroll, a haven of tranquility in the heart of the historic center. During the renovation, vestiges of the old tanneries were brought up to date.

The Jardin des Personnalités or garden of Personalities.   Along the Promenade de la Jeté, you can discover the Garden of Personalities and these garden boats, at the center of which are the busts of actors of the historical and cultural heritage of Honfleur such as Eugène Boudin, Alphonse Allais, Charles Baudelaire, Claude Monet, Erik Satie ,etc etc.

The Plage or Beach. The town of Honfleur is classified as a seaside resort and has been awarded the Pavillon Bleu or Blue Flag since 2010. The beach is equipped with bathing cabins and showers. A paddling pool and games have been installed for children. For your safety, this beach is monitored in July and August. Provision of wheelchairs adapted for people with reduced mobility, free parking and sanitary facilities in the immediate vicinity. Fast food in summer season.

The Plateau de Grâce offers a magnificent panorama over the Seine estuary. There is also one of the oldest sanctuaries in the region built between 1600 and 1615: the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce or Our Lady of Grace . Mont-Joli overlooks the city and offers a splendid view of the Seine valley and the Pont de Normandie.

Around Honfleur:

Towards Beuzeville. Discover a rural area, from Berville-sur-Mer with its famous Esplanade de la Liberté to Saint Sulpice de Grimbouville with its medieval house, passing through Beuzeville and the magnificent stained glass windows of its Saint-Hélier Church.

Towards Trouville. Along the sea by Vasouy with its church, some parts of which date from the 12C. Pennedepie and its church partly built in the 12C, its hikes in the Bois du Breuil and its cider producers. Cricquebœuf and its 12C Saint-Martin Church.

Towards the Pont de Normandie. La Rivière Saint-Sauveur, a town with a renowned fruit production vocation.

The countryside towards Deauville. Passing by   Équemauville, this pleasant village overlooking Honfleur. Barneville-la-Bertran and its 17-18C castle (closed to visitors) and its church.

The countryside south of Honfleur. Ablon with its 18C castle (closed to visitors) and its 15C Saint-Pierre Church. Gonneville-sur-Honfleur and its 13C church (closed to visitors). Fourneville and its 12-13C church. Theilen-Auge and its 14-15C church. Genneville and its 13C church. Quetteville and its church having preserved some vestiges of the 11C.

All around a super visit awaits those willing enough to leave Paris and explore the movable feast of France and one of its pillars Normandy and at Honfleur.

Some of my favorite activities in Honfleur we enjoyed as a family over the years are!

From April 24 to 26: 9th Wine Fair .Come and discover the wine regions of France, represented by the 50 or so independent winegrowers present. Around tastings, the public is invited to share a convivial moment of exchanges on the profession and the terroir of these passionate men – Friday from 16h to 21h. Saturday from 10h. to 20h, Sunday from 10h to 18h at Greniers à Sel de Honfleur , free entry.

From April 18 & 19: Salon Passionnément Jardin. Come and share a friendly moment at the Jardin Public de Honfleur. The event brings together more than 70 professionals passionate about the world of the garden, gathered to provide advice, demonstrations and know-how to visitors – From 10h to 19h, 4€ per person, free -18 years old.

On Friday, May 8: 75th Anniversary of the Allied Victory over the occupier. Religious Office and ceremony at the War Memorial at 11h – Reception at the City/Town Hall . Commemorative ceremony of 8 May 1945, at 11h. at the Halle au Blé in Beuzeville.

159éme Fête des Marins (tops) Seafarer’s Festival May 30 to June 1 Pentecost weekend. There is an event not to be missed in Honfleur every year at Pentecost! Moment of sharing, moment of meditation, come and attend the Blessing of the Sea, the pilgrimage to the Chapelle Notre Dame de Grâce, or even the mass outdoors! Ask the tourist office for the detailed program

Saturday June 6: 76th Anniversary of the Allied Landings in Normandy and Tribute to the Civil and Military Victims of the Indochina War. Ceremony at the War Memorial and the Allied Stele at 11h – Reception at the City/Town Hall of Honfleur.

Some pdf files from the tourist office of Honfleur to help you plan your trip here and it is a must! You can click the links or copy paste to your browser.

Map of Honfleur: https://www.ot-honfleur.fr/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/plan_2020_web-1.pdf

Tourist guide of Honfleur: https://www.ot-honfleur.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/guide_touristique_2019.pdf

Lodging guide of Honfleur: https://www.ot-honfleur.fr/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/guide_hebergement_2019_web.pdf

Restaurant guide of Honfleur: https://www.ot-honfleur.fr/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/guide_restauration_2020_web.pdf

And of course the tourist office of Honfleur: Tourist office of Honfleur in English

There you go, feel free to search Honfleur in my blog and see the many features of this lovely town which as said is very dear to us and we visit every year, again May’20 booked!

Hope you enjoy the post and information helpful for visiting it is a must. And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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March 16, 2020

Montansier and Versailles!

In my efforts to bring about the best of Versailles, a lot more than the palace, I am looking at my large vault of photos , even old paper photos to showcase its beauty. If new to my blog, I lived in Versailles for almost 10 years and visited afterward, it is a special spot on earth for me and my family.

As the saying goes, no time to see all the beauty of my belle France, even small Versailles as living and visiting are two different things.. I will tell you a bit on the Montansier theater which I never went in, but its part of the architecture and history of the city. Hit me if you want, it is even in my old district!

The Montansier theater is located in Versailles ,department 78 of Yvelines, in the Ïle de France region. It is an 18C Italian theater located in the heart of the Notre-Dame district!!   and a short walk from the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Opera. The hall was inaugurated on November 18, 1777, in the presence of king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette. This theater was born under the impetus of Marguerite Brunet, known as Mademoiselle Montansier, whose name it bored. She was ,also, founder of the Palais Royal and Variétés theatres in Paris.

Versailles

The Montansier Theater before being at 13, rue des Réservoirs had an ancestor at 31, rue Saint-Honoré in the Saint-Louis district. It was in 1756 that two partners, Fleury and Le Comte, had a larger room built at 3, rue Royale. It is this 587-seat theater that Mademoiselle Montansier directs in 1768. She then obtains the office and the title of director of performances by the Court, that is to say the exclusive privilege of performing in any royal residence. She obtained the right to acquire the land known as Chien verts or green dogs which then belonged to the Count of Provence, brother of King Louis XVI and future king Louis XVIII. Once the land was purchased, she obtained a royal act, signed by Louis XVI, granting her exclusive operating rights to the new theater which she was about to direct. The facade is the same as today, which is missing from a group representing Thalie, muse of Comedy and Melpomene, muse of Tragedy. Both were seated around the lyre of Apollo.

Madame de Pompadour, meanwhile, had built her own little corridor allowing her to reach her private mansion located to the right of the theater. After the birth of the Dauphin, Marie-Antoinette reduced her visits to the Montansier theater, to which she now prefers her little Trianon theater, a miniature replica of the Montansier.

The Italian theater designed was perfect for the presentations as by pure architecture they are defined by its horseshoe shape, this arrangement , like a Greek hemicycle brings in as many spectators as possible and everyone can see the stage regardless of their location. The room acoustics are excellent, all experts agree.

The first restoration dates from 1823. The other important date is that of 1834. the city of Versailles bought it. Then, in 1841, a zinc canopy was installed to protect the entrance to the theater and a large sidewalk was created to encourage traffic. The second restoration dates from 1851 the sculpted decoration, which remains today: the front stage lodges, the moldings, the caryatids and the medallions. The third restoration dates from 1936, when the theater took the name of Montansier Theater. The zinc marquise was removed, the facade restored and the theater inaugurated in 1937 in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. The last major restoration took place between 1992 and 1993 . This time we rediscover the remains of the old original decorations and which inspire current decorations: motifs of lyre, putti musicians, griffins and chimeras. In March 2009, the restoration of the stage and the reopening of the under stage and its machinery ;closed since the restoration of 1992, are carried out thanks to joint funding from the city of Versailles and donations from spectators. It is the occasion of a staging of the Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare by Jean-Daniel Laval interpreted by the Queen’s Company.

The Montansier theater welcomes spectators from all over Ile-de-France region thanks to a qualitative policy combining creation and dissemination. Fully involved in the cultural life of the city of Versailles with interventions in the European Heritage Days, the Night of Creation, as well as in 2014, a path was developed in the theatre with sculptures and works made of fabrics and sometimes covered with earth, the Montansier Theater also takes part in the Molière Month festival, which takes place every year in June.

Some nice films I like done here were

Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons, shot all the opera scenes in the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1988, before the restoration of the room. Also, The Young Girl and Death by Roman Polanski: the final scene of the film was filmed at the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1994, after the restoration of the room

As usual from me, here are some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and I need to get in….

Official Montansier theater

The association of contemporary theaters of which the Montansier theater belongs has a bit more in French here: Official Contemporary theater network on Montansier

And the Versailles tourist officeTourist office of Versailles on the Montansier theater

And there you go, another wonderful spot in my lovely Versailles for all to enjoy away from the palace ,not far, a grand location Montansier theater in the Notre Dame district! Hope you enjoy the post.

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

 

 

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