Archive for April 23rd, 2020

April 23, 2020

Getting to Tours!

And let me stay in the neighborhood and tell you more about this wonderful city that already have several posts in my blog. However, they were about monuments and I feel need to tell you how to get here and move about in this gorgeous city, known for the purest of French language.

Of course, let me tell you about getting to Tours! Tours is on the banks of the Loire and the Cher rivers, in the department of Indre-et-Loire no. 37 region of Centre-Val de Loire. It is surrounded by 3/4 by the A10 road or Autoroute d’Aquitaine and its ring road, the city of Tours is also located in the center of a 5-branch highway star: the A10 north to Orléans and Paris (240 km) , the A10 south to Poitiers and Bordeaux (347 km), the A28 to Le Mans and Rouen, the A85 west to Angers ,the A85 is to Vierzon, and initiating the junction with the Rhône valley. Many cross connections of national network complete this traffice knot such as the RN 76, RN 138, etc., making it possible in particular to link the city to the neighboring regional capitals such at Limoges on the RN 147.

Tours is cut in half by the mighty Loire river that make it one of the grand cities of France, the center of the valley of the kings, all is around the Loire. Most and most important monuments are on the right bank of the Loire, this is the old Tours, Cathedral, and Basilica. For a grand entrance by car you come off the A10 on exit Sortie 22 and take Avenue Stendhal into a sharp right turn on pont du lac bridge crossing the nice Cher river into the grand avenue de Grammont go past Place Jean Jaurés into rue Nationale and it takes you into the oldest ch St Julien (b 943) if you want the thrill of crossing the Loire river continue into Pont Wilson. Otherwise just before the bridge turn left into Avenue des Tanneurs into old Tours and another world, magical beautiful and architecturally stunning.


On street parking is regulated in Tours as in France from 9h to 12h and from 14h to 18h30. The prices are different depending on the sector and the parking time, they can be identified by three colors (red, orange, blue) directly on the screen of the parking meters. If do not know well the city or no time better to go to a paid parking and our favorites over the years are the Vinci Gare or train station, des Halles or covered market, and along the main streets Nationale, and Gambetta. Never encountered problems parking above or below ground and even free parking here.


The city of Tours has an excellent service of  bus and tramway of the metro area with Fil Bleu and the Rémi regional network. The  Bus station on the side of the train station is at Place du Général Leclerc. The city counts  28 regular bus lines and 1 tramway line with 159 buses, 21 tram lines, 1200 Vélociti (bikes), 4 electric buses and a carriage horse wagon! . If coming with minimum expenses you can use the Parking + Bus system (never used) this gives you unlimited access to the entire bus + tram network during 1 day connections included for 1 to 4 persons in the same car.  The bus service covers 25 towns  which includes Ballan-Miré, Berthenay, Chambray-lès-Tours, Chanceaux-sur-Choisille, Druye, Fondettes, Joué-lès-Tours, Luynes, La Membrolle-sur-Choisille, Mettray, Notre-Dame-d’Oé , Parçay-Meslay, La Riche, Rochecorbon, Saint-Avertin, Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, Saint-Etienne-de-Chigny, Saint-Genouph, Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (TGV station), Savonnières, Tours, Vernou-sur- Brenne, Villandry, La Ville-aux-Dames, and Vouvray.

This is the Fil Bleu network in English or lets call it city network : Fil Bleu bus network of Tours

The regional or metro bus network is Rémi in French: Rémi regional bus network

The city of Tours on public transports in French: City of Tours on public transports

There is an airport of Tours but never taken it, just for info. It is about 10 minutes from city center of Tours and the TGV train station of Saint Pierre des Corps. The webpage is here: Tours airport

You can get there from Tours on tramway line A: Running from Vinci station to Vaucanson terminus: regular frequency every day. The Bus line 02 of the Fil Bleu network: direction Les Douets Vaucanson stop as well. Bear in mind in Summer schedules change. The schedule of bus 2 is here: Fil Bleu bus line 2 to airport

The bike service in Tours is second to none and it is the 2nd city in France to benefit from this new mobility service offered by Indigo, world leader in parking and majority shareholder of Vélib. Thanks to a dedicated application, the user can reserve and unlock one of the bikes scattered throughout the city in a few seconds, using a flash code. There are 7 bicycle parks in town. More info in English here : Indigo bike network

OF course, Tours has two train stations one in city center and the TGV at nearby Saint Pierre des Corps.

The gare de Tours or train station has a passenger building, with ticket office, open every day and equipped with automatic ticket vending machines. It is equipped with 6 platforms serving 12 lanes. The platform serving tracks D and E, and the platform serving tracks F and G are more than 443 meters, allowing to receive two trains of TGV Atlantique The passenger building gathers four materials: stone for the facade and its statues, iron, cast iron and glass with two large canopies on the facade to offer lightness and transparency. Four statues dominate the building. Two allegories of Bordeaux and Toulouse, and two allegories of Limoges and Nantes. Painted earthenware panels, made between 1896 and 1898 on the tunnesl .

The official Gare train station of center town Tours is here: Train station of Tours



The Saint-Pierre-des-Corps TGV train station is a line from Paris-Austerlitz to Bordeaux-Saint-Jean and from Vierzon to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, located on the territory of the town of Saint-Pierre-des-Corps , less than 3 km from the city cener train station of Tours. This train station served by TGV and Ouigo, Intercités, Interloire, and TER Center-Val de Loire trains. The importance of this station is due to the fact that the station of Tours is a station in dead end, which imposes a cusp for all the trains which continue their route beyond Tours. The Saint-Pierre-des-Corps station allows trains to avoid this maneuver which generates an increase in journey times. The St Pierre des Corps train station has a passenger building, with ticket offices, open every day. It is equipped with automatic machines for the purchase of tickets. The underground access to the platforms and especially the station parking lot are decorated with frescoes. Those of the car park evoke on twelve levels the history of the castles of the region and the famous people who are linked to them.

The official Gare TGV station at St Pierre des Corps is here: Train station St Pierre des Corps

Now I like to offer you some webpages of general interest on Tours and tourist information, hoping it will help you plan your trip here, which is a must.

The city of Tours tourist office in English: City of Tours tourist office

The Touraine val de Loire tourist office on Tours in English: Tourist office Touraine Loire valley on Tours

The Metropolitan area of Tours including the 22 towns for a stepping out into the real FranceMetropolitan Tours region on the towns

And the libraries of Tours, a huge recevoir of information on the architecture and history of these wonderful towns of my belle France, and Tours is right up there; in French: The libraries of Tours

And if you like the town , like me, and want to keep up to date on what is going on there from the real people than look at their main newspaper the New Republic or the La Nouvelle République; have in the entertaintment section in French of course.  newspaper of Tours La Nouvelle République

We had visited it from our new home in the Morbihan breton as well one of the last trip took with my dear late wife Martine, all memories now. We took the N165 voie express towards Nantes, there we hook up with the A 11 towards Le Mans, however past Angers by its airport we took the D766 road direction Jarzé/ Château la Valliére where we took the D959 road towards Tours , crossing the Loire at exit sortie 10 Porte de Tours riding beautifully along the Loire river on our left on Avenue Proudhon right into old Tours in Avenue des Tanneurs! Awesome!

Enjoy Tours, the gateway to the valley of the kings and the marvels of my belle France (thank you Martine). And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 23, 2020

A look at Thoiry!

So here I am telling you a bit on a village, small town in my old region in my belle France. You might recall the name, Thoiry. There is a wonderful animal park in the castle grounds there which I have written before in my blog.

This is the old entry on it. A look back at the Chateau de Thoiry

Been a small picturesque village and to give it credit, I will tell you a bit on Thoiry the village here.

Thoiry is located in the department of Yvelines 78 , in the Île-de-France region. The village of Thoiry is located about 30 km from Versailles (capital of Yvelines) in the Mantois plateau 50 km from Paris.


You get here by car as this is backcountry Yvelines dept 78 my old department. The main road is D 11 (Route de Versailles) which crosses the village and leads to Villiers-Saint-Frédéric and N 12 road to Septeuil. D 45 road crosses the village, leading to Richebourg and to Maule then Orgeval where you can link up with the A13 autoroute de Normandie. More or less parallel to the D 11, the D 119 road makes it possible to join Beynes towards Hargeville. These roads are marvellous country roads a sublime experience for many years. There is no train station here, the closest are Beynes at 7 km and Montfort-l’Amaury – Méré at 8 km.

Under the monarchy, the lordship of Thoiry first belonged to the family of Thoiry from the 13C. It was Raoul Moreau who had a new Thoiry castle built in the middle of the 16C. The chapel is said to be the work of Philibert Delorme. At the beginning of the 17C the castle was owned by Guillaume Marescot, a powerful councilor of state. In 1968, Count Antoine de La Panouse created the animal park in the castle grounds.

 We came here for a quick lunch and drinks as we were leaving the town after a brief visit to the castle animal park (see link here).  This is for the tourists on the run as we were lol! We had a quick meal in the Auberge du Vieux Pressoir, 21 rue de la Porte Saint Martin,   nothing fancy simple pizzas and beers express coffee and off we went . The best was the garden where it is good to taste pizzas, its small vine which makes us travel at the time of the musette balls. Prices to match the view, high. I told you so. No webpage.


Before you leave Thoiry do pay a visit to the nice church.

The Church Saint Martin was erected under the name of Saint Martin, probably around 1100, by the Monks of the Abbey of Clairefontaine, neighbor of Rambouillet. These monks may have belonged to one of the religious orders to which the Lords of Montfort had granted clearing areas in the forest of Yvelines, around the year 1000, areas in which, after deforestation, the monks created villages by gathering scattered populations.



The current bell tower, nave and choir seem to have been built at different times. The lower part of the bell tower seems to be the oldest. The pillars which support the construction on the side of the nave seem to be Gothic. The upper part was rebuilt in 1639 ; the nave must date from the end of the 16C; the choir was rebuilt in 1672.  In 1793, the Church Saint Martin was completely emptied during its transformation into a Temple of Reason in the French revolution. Everything disappeared, brought to the District, sold or burned. Only the beautiful polychrome Virgin 14C was saved, which was hidden by the inhabitants of Thoiry and returned to the Church after the revolution. Inside ,only the tombstone of the Count of Baussan which is now in the enclosure of the Castle has been saved. There is no record of what was inside just some brief mentioned of chapels and statues all gone during the French revolutin ravages.  From the Empire period, important works were done by the village   and by the Count of Machault, then Mayor of Thoiry, for the restoration of the Church Saint Martin, and its embellishment. The church was restored in 1980.

The village of Thoiry and its history, heritage in French: City of Thoiry on heritage

There you go another quaint off the beaten path trip in my old backyard. Oh yes the animal park is very famous but people tend to overlook the pretty village and it is a pity. Thoiry is nice and walking its main streets is a delight. Hope you enjoy the post, and thanks for reading.

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

April 23, 2020

Ferme du Lapin Compote, Commeny!

Well this is a sad post, I do not recall writing about a closed business or monument but need to do this for family souvenirs and keep it in my blog. As I write about places to see, also about the food and drinks of my belle France.

Let me revive wonderful family times at the Ferme du Lapin Compote in Commeny, Val d’Oise dept 95 of the ïle de France region in my belle France.


Way back from my vault of memories while living in Versailles we of course were on the road warrior mode always. We love the bounties of our belle France and I love rabbits, sorry to eat them in all kinds of forms. One of them was the terrine style. Talking with collegues at work one of them mentioned this farm and well the rest was history.

We came every month to buy the fresh meat chickens and rabbits as well as the terrines, mustard from the Vexin park and other goodies. The town was Commeny , in the parc national regional du Vexin. We came to the Ferme du Lapin Compote right in the center of the village. There was even a ride from the farm in horse wagon in town back to get your purchases and off we went very happy.


It was with great sadness that after leaving for the Morbihan in Bretagne I learned the farm , store had closed! I found out because coming on a trip in the area was thinking of stopping by to provision but got the sad news.

The Ferme du Lapin Compote was a family business, with elevage , raising the rabbits on site with its own laboratory for proper hygiene and a store for selling out to the public. The boutique of the same name sold not only what was made on site but produce from the Vexin national regional park. The owner and creator of the farm was Rémi Longé, and we met him each time there, a nice farmer. The boutique store also closed so he could not sell his products anymore! This was back in 2012 so we had left the area in 2011 but came back in 2012 , the business closed shortly thereafter!


The Ferme du Lapin Compote was there since 1997, reviving the recipe of the lapin compote, a rabbit, onion, white wine and pork belly dish. Little by little, he had developed a whole range of gastronomic products which delighted gourmets like me! His rabbit, but also poultry recipes were the first products stamped with the Vexin Regional Natural Park brand, a promotion label that is respected today.


They had really push the Vexin park to all in the area one major point to come here. The last owners of the Lapin Compote store, Raphaël Palomas and his wife, were shut down only three months after taking over the business ! It turn out in losses from the 2nd month and when asked for help including the Vexin park all doors were closed The boutique was already closed when they came in left abruptly by the previous owners, and they tried to save it but no chance. It is since closed. Too bad!!


One of those nice businesses you patronized for years and feel sad that it closed. We will have the memories of family visits great produce with terrines 90% rabbit meat and just wonderful farm products even honey! I know that I am alone now but one lady will be sad to hear this too as we really enjoyed here; too bad did not mentioned earlier in my posts it really needed credit.

Anyway, it is in my blog. Hope you enjoy the story and do search for the best. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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