Archive for April 24th, 2020

April 24, 2020

A hotel in Chantilly!

As I do travel a lot not just for pleasure but on business too all over the world, there are some places that remains with you even if time has not allow to be back. This is the case of this resort hotel in the forest at Vineuil St. Firmin near Chantilly, in the Oise dept no 60 in the region of Hauts de France.

I do not have the pictures would like to have as this is from the memories in my vault of them. I believe I was there in September 2011 for a week on a convention. This included special treatment to visit the castle and the living horse museum nearby.  I had gone to there before paying with the family, this one was company paid! The Resort was my first time and love it.

At the time the name was the Dolce Chantilly, and since then it has been included in the Accor French hotel chain part of the group Mercure under the name Mercure Chantilly Resort & Convention Hotel. I like to tell you a bit about it as I found one photo of it!

The now call Mercure Chantilly Resort & Convention Hotel is located in lush greenery in the heart of the historic Chantilly, it is a large hotel and extensive green areas   that welcomes you just 40 minutes from Paris and 25 minutes from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. The hotel is located just a few kms from the city of Chantilly and its castle, the famous Château de Chantilly. You will also find the living horse museum not far from the hotel.chantilly

The Mercure Chantilly Resort & Convention Hotel is decorated in a contemporary style, the bright rooms of the hotel all open onto the surrounding forest or onto a private golf course. They are equipped with an LCD TV and Wi-Fi access. Guests can enjoy a updated restaurant bar and 2 swimming pools. With its gym and 18-hole golf course, the hotel is an ideal base for your trip in the area of Chantilly whether business or pleasure. It is an ideal place to relax in the countryside with an 18-hole golf course, hiking or cycling trails, heated indoor and outdoor pools, hammam, sauna, fitness center, and tennis .

The hotel webpage is here: Mercure Chantilly Resort & Convention Hotel

The famous restaurant bars Carmontelle, Veranda,and Donatello are no longer and this brings nostalgia to me , right there is re design and new Chef restaurant La Véranda – La Terrace and its panoramic rotunda overlooking the golf course or the relaxed chic atmosphere and its terrace adjoining the outdoor swimming pool.

The webpage for the restaurant has an unique site here: La Véranda-La Terrace resto at Mercure Chantilly

The exact location is at Route D’Apremont Vineuil St. Firmin, Chantilly. Easy by car from Paris on the A1 direction Senlis /Créil/ Crepy-en-Valois and take exit sortie 8 Senlis to leave the A1, get on the D1330 direction Aprémont same route becomes D606 direction Vineuil St Firmin and then follow the signs for the resort. As this can be heavy on traffic especially the A1 autoroute du nord, I take the N1 from the Porte de la Chapelle direction Pierreffite sur Seine and here get on the D316 directino Sarcelles  stay on same road direction Luzarches /Chaumontel/Lamorlaye and into Chantilly becoming the D1016 road, go around past the city hall of Chantilly on D924 road (there is an Auchan hypermarket in the corner turn right into the D924 stay on this road becoming the D606 before the castle and continue on it until reaching  the traffic circle of the carrefour d’Aumale Vineuil St Firmin  turn right on the first street which is route d’Apremont you will see the signs for the resort . It is pretty straight and much less traffic.  Hope it helps

And there you I just needed to have recorded in my blog and hope it will help you stay in this luscious wonderful property or even attend an event here to me it will be the Dolce Chantilly. Enjoy it

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

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April 24, 2020

Chapel St Saturnin, Fontainebleau!

Well what can I say if not said before! The Château de Fontainebleau is unique in France, Europe, the World! A masterpiece of architecture and history and we love it. Need to say proudly, the first castle ever visited in France, home of my dear wife’s region who proudly took me here first when we met. It has been a love affair ever since 1990.

I have written several posts on Fontainebleau but there is always more, I have to tell you about a missing piece in my story the Chapel of Saint Saturnin.

Of course, a bit on the Château de Fontainebleau , my Fontainebleau.

There is no other Royal Castle in France that can boast of having hosted 34 sovereigns from Louis VI the Fat to Napoleon III. It was Napoleon I who expressed it best, “This is the real home of Kings, the house of centuries”, he said in Saint Helena, remembering this place he had loved so much. The Palace thus has more than 1,500 rooms deployed in the heart of 14 hectares of park and gardens. Fontainebleau is therefore the only royal and imperial castle inhabited without interruption for seven centuries, and its throne room is the only one which is still visible in France. The castle of Fontainebleau is the only sovereign residence fully preserved. The castle still harbors collections of furniture, paintings and works of art of exceptional richness and magnitude. Covering an area of 14 hectares, the large Parterre done in 1660-1664 by André Le Nôtre is the largest in Europe. The Donjon is probably the oldest building in the castle ,before 1137. It was transformed several times, notably during the reign of François Ier. Therefore, its architecture represents several styles.

And the feature presentation of the Chapelle haute de Saint Saturnin!

This Chapel of Saint Saturnin, also saw in 1606 the baptism of Louis XIII in a basin, a masterpiece of Islamic art. The chapel is on two levels, on the second level is the organ gallery. Raphael’s painting “The Holy Family” today in the Louvre (as usual taken to Paris) previously decorated in the chapel. If the general chronology of the Chapel of Saint-Saturnin is still uncertain, we know that the high chapel sheltered the baptism of Elisabeth of France, daughter of Henri II, king of France, and Catherine de Médicis, was as a wife of king Felipe II of Spain, Queen Consort of Spain, Sicily and Naples, Duchess of Burgundy, Milan, Brabant, Luxembourg and Limburg, Countess of Flanders, Hainaut and Countess Palatine of Burgundy.


The High Chapel of Saint Saturnin is the oldest chapel in that of the Oval courtyard, placed under the name of Saint Saturnin. It is a double chapel, rebuilt on two superimposed levels from the reign of François Ier: on the ground floor, a lower chapel is dedicated to the servants and, upstairs, on one level with the apartments, a high chapel is reserved for the king and his family. The upper chapel, visible in the is a Renaissance oratory which housed, until the 17C, the famous  Holy Family of Raphael. Designed to be widely lit, it has a box vault and a lantern diffusing a directional light towards the center of the sanctuary. After receiving an admirable decoration designed by Philibert Delorme and a marble organ gallery, it was finally included in the wings of the Salle du Bal or Ballroom and the Tiber or Tibre. Its dimensions did not allow to welcome the crowds of the big festivals, a second chapel was necessary. Gradually unusual for the benefit of the Trinity Chapel, it experienced the astonishing destiny of becoming, in the 19C, the library of Napoleon I.


The official Château de Fontainebleau on the Royal Chapels and St Saturnin in French: Château de Fontainebleau on the Royal Chapels

And now there you go another wonderful spot on a hugely wonderful castle/palace of Fontainebleau of my belle well Seine et Marne dept 77 and France! Hope you enjoy it as we did/do! And got another photo from my vault found it!

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

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April 24, 2020

A re-visit to La Défense!

And why not talk about La Défense? For long periods this area was considered off tourists/visitors as indeed it is mostly a business pole ,one of the biggest in Europe. Over time, more was open for visitors alike and the Grande Arche had a lot to do with it. It is still a bit off the beaten path as most visitors stay in Paris proper even if included in the Paris tourist office offering, it is not in Paris. I wrote a more historical piece before and let me tell you more of what is here ,briefly.

It’s been a while not telling you on La DéfenseHauts-de-Seine dept 92 in the Île de France region. This was found out when working out of one of the towers there and realised there were more than high towers here but things to spent a nice afternoon with the family.

The thing that will bring you here is the Grande Arche de la Défense , sort of like a modern Arc de Triomphe. It is in line with it along ave de la Grande Armée and the Arc de Triomphe is very easily visible. A must to go to the top of the Grande Arche de la Défense, the views are wonderful over Paris. Visitors can now enjoy now the largest terrace in Paris on the rooftop of the Grande Arche. The Grande Arche has a 100-meter long footbridge stretching across it that provides beautiful views of all the major historical monuments of Paris, from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. The Grande Arche also provides an excellent view over France’s largest open-air museum in the parvis of La Défense below it.

La Defense Arche underneath c 2005

The official Grande Arche de la Défense in English here: Official Grande Arche de la Défense

La defense

You can enjoy great movies in the Dome cinema Ciné Cité  UGC , with very modern facilities and a favorite of my kids as it is easy reachable from where we used to live.  It is right in the Westfield Quatre-Temps shopping center  Here in French how to get to the cinema ,prices schedules etc. : UGC cinemas Dome La Défense

La defense

if you like big shopping center/malls then you will love the Quatre Temps shopping center here, its one of the best in the area, and it keeps growing!  You have 223 stores, 51 restaurants More on how to get there here in English: Westfield Les 4 Temps shopping center

And over to the CNIT building, across the parvis, where the convention and congress place with the Centre des Nouvelles Industries et Technologies or CNIT (center of new industries and technologies). And more stores and restaurants on ground floor More here in French: Paris La Defense on the CNIT

la defense

There are so many towers here from all sort of businesses some with restos on ground floor that is too long lol! Suffice to say I have been to several. You can see them here in English: Paris La Défense on the towers or tours

There is many artworks here too, inside the towers and outside the parvis/esplanade , one more reason to admire walking around and so many, they are listed here in English: Paris La Defense on the artworks all over

And several green spaces with benches for a relax time, long to write but you can see them here in English: Paris La Defense on the green spaces

And well I am into numbers but rather let you read as I am in telework lol! These are the numbers of La Défense in English: Paris La Defense on the detail numbers of it

And even the Paris tourist office has info on La Défense even if it is not in Paris but in Hauts de Seine dept 92 another province/state/dept but Paris likes to take it all lol: Tourist office of Paris on La Défense

And of course, not to be left out, the Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on La Défense in French: Tourist office of dept 92 Hauts de Seine on La Défense

And last but not least, how to get here? From Paris or surroundings is easy! I have even gone there by car and parking underground is great too. However for the visitor inclined here are choices. You can take the Transilien train line L or U (Versailles Chantiers)  from many stops begins at Gare St Lazare, until the Gare de la Défense Grande Arche. Also, the RER A until the gare La Défense Grande Arche from Châtelet-Les Halles this is about 20 minutes! And of course, metro line 1 or tramway line 2 take you to the La Défense Grande Arche as well and takes you up to the parvis esplanade! You can stop with metro line 1 at the stop Esplanade de La Défense as well. My recommendation is to take metro line 1. There is a great map from RATP ,you can print here even in English: RATP map of transports at La Défense

La Defense hall of transportation underneath Grande Arche c 2005

And there you go ,all set go; step out from Paris, the region of Ïle de France not the least the dept 92 Hauts de Seine has beauties beyond comprehension and this one is nice easy ride out and something trés français! Hope you enjoy La Défense.

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

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