Archive for May 13th, 2020

May 13, 2020

Aventura, Florida!

Well this one is for the memories, long gone probably never encountered again, but always in our hearts. Our world in the USA combine living 31 years with 13 in NJ and 18 in FL our last home. I have written several posts on this period of my life in my blog.

I am coming back because looking in my old vault found these pictures of a nice place we went with the family a lot. Weekends off beach time was made for the shopping malls and Aventura Mall is tops. Let me tell you a bit about it ok.

Aventura is conveniently located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, just east of I-95 in Florida USA. The northern boundary of the City is the Miami-Dade/Broward County line, the western boundary is the Florida East Coast Railway (FEC), the eastern boundary is the intracoastal waterway and the southern boundary is NE 176th Street. To visit the city, take I-95 to Ives Dairy Road and head East on Ives Dairy to Biscayne Boulevard. As one of my favorites we came from west Broward county on Pembroke road SR 824 into the US 1 Biscayne Blvd south toward Miami but at NE 199 street turn left to NE 29th court turn right to Abigail Rd left and then you see the signs for Aventura Mall as one direction. I never really needed to go into the town center.

Aventura takes its name from the Spanish word for “adventure”, and was named “Aventura” after the developers of the original group of condominiums in the area, remarked “What an adventure this is going to be”. Being initially referred to as Turnberry, Aventura began to be developed during the early 1970s and became an incorporated city in 1995. Aventura is also home to the Aventura Mall.

And this is the reason we came here , so a bit more on Aventura Mall

The most famous shopping attraction is Aventura Mall, a 2,400,000 sq ft (222,967 m2) indoor shopping center . The Aventura Mall is located at 19501 Biscayne Boulevard (US 1), Aventura, FL 33180. in the northern suburbs of Miami. It was opened in 1983 and is the sixth largest shopping center in the United States and the second in Florida. The mall has 4 floors; and its owned by Simon Property Group.


The Aventura Mall as said was opened in 1983 and became the largest shopping center in Florida. The first four department stores were JC Penney, Macy’s (actually Burdines our favorite FL store,   absorbed by Macy’s), Sears, and Lord & Taylor. The major construction phase of the center was completed in 1998 and new department stores such as Bloomingdales , as well as several cinemas (AMC Theaters), restaurants and a Rainforest Cafe. The Lord & Taylor store closed for financial reasons and Burdines was renamed Macy’s in March 2005 (after we left FL and USA). In 2008, a new Nordstrom store opened, and the Aventura Mall l became the largest shopping center in Florida and the fifth largest in the United States.


Anchored by Macy’s, JCPenney, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, the center is highlighted by a mix of over 300 stores including Apple, Adidas, Anthropologie, Burberry, Cartier, Disney, Givenchy, Gucci, H&M, Louis Vuitton, MCM, Microsoft, Sephora, Topshop Topman and Zara. Aventura Mall also features more than 50 eateries and restaurants, including Treats Food Hall, and the experiential Arts Aventura Mall program showcasing 20 museum-quality pieces in a range of mediums. In 2015, Sears Holdings spun of 235 of its properties, including the Sears at Aventura Mall, into Seritage Growth Properties; the store closed in 2017 and plan on opening the Esplanade at Aventura.


In November 2017, Aventura Mall opened a three-level, 241,000-square-foot (22,400 m2) expansion wing that features two-story Zara and Topshop Topman stores, new restaurants, such as Serafina, Pubbelly Sushi, and Le Pain Quotidien, Treats Food Hall, including Shake Shack and Chipotle, and interactive art pieces, including the 93-foot-tall Aventura Slide Tower by Carsten Holler and Gorillas in the Mist by The Haas Brothers. I see the Cheesecake Factory still there and it was our favorite restaurant here. It was a family pastime to visit ,shop,eat and just plain weekend fun.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and for shopping is a must are

Official Aventura Mall: Aventura Mall

The city of Aventura on key facts on the town.  City of Aventura

The tourist office of Miami and the beaches on Aventura : Tourist office Miami and the beaches on Aventura

The tourist office of Florida on AventuraTourist office of Florida on Aventura

And there you I figure need to have this in my blog, always a nice souvenirs of my time in Florida where my 3 boys were born. Hope you enjoy the shopping and Aventura Mall.

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

May 13, 2020

The Maison du Parc ,Théméricourt!

So in my road warrior travels in my belle France, we have been to some real off the beaten path sites and we love it. There is so much to see we are afraid not seen it all after our time is up. In the meantime, we are having a ball in my belle France. Another gem out of the vault and pictures to show is the park house or Maison du Parc in the village of Théméricourt. Let me tell you a bit more on it.

I have written on the national regional park of the French Vexin in general before but this is unique spot deserves a post on its own. The Maison du Parc is the head office of the Vexin French Regional Natural Park or Le parc naturel régional du Vexin français covering 98 towns in the departments of Val d’Oise (95) and Yvelines (78).

The Maison du Parc is installed in the castle of Théméricourt, fortified house and residential residence of the 15C, typical of French Vexin. In the heart of a 6-hectare park with a pond fed by Aubette de Meulan, The castle outbuildings house the French Vexin museum which offers visitors a journey through history and nature.


The Château de Théméricourt, probably built by Philippe de Théméricourt in the second half of the 15C, has retained its initial plan with two main buildings arranged at right angles and flanked by four turrets topped with pepper shaker roofs. The north and west facades of the castle have retained their original severity. They contrast widely with those open to the park, which, apart from the central turret, remain marked by classicism. The castle grounds have evolved a lot since the 18C. The French garden was succeeded, it seems in the middle of the 19C, by a park with a pond fed by the Aubette de Meulan.  In 1984, when Jean-Claude Duvalier, ex-dictator of Haiti bought the castle, he modified all of the volumes by knocking down all the partitions. It was therefore in an empty hull state that the castle was purchased in 1992 by the Val d’Oise departmental council to install the Maison du Parc Naturel Régional du Vexin Français.


Visitors looking for information on tourism and leisure are welcomed at the Musée du Vexin Français. All the documentation on the surroundings is available there as well as many regional works offered in the museum shop. Installed in the outbuildings of the castle, it presents over 400 m² the geographic, historical and heritage components of the territory through a fun and educational approach. The museum devotes different spaces to natural environments, flora and fauna, geology and landscapes of French Vexin, which it highlights by showing the film “Si le Vexin m’’é conté”. This living territory is also told through its men and traditions, like the Vasseur-Loiseaux collection, which reveals remarkable objects of folk art. The museum also has a shop with a wide choice of books, local products or pieces of local crafts. Contact for hours email :


The park information on the Maison du Parc in French is here: French Vexin regional national park on the maison du parc

General information: Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 9h to 12h30 and 14h to 18h. Saturday from 14h to 18h. Sunday from 10h to 19h. from May to September, from 14h to 18h. from October to April. Closed every Monday and all of December.

This is from the park in French pdf file you can print and has maps to guide you: French Vexin regional national park maps pdf

There are various tips on coming by bus or train but never done it and do not see arriving at Théméricourt. For info only these are the bus lines they claim:  line 95-04 : Pontoise > Bray-et-Lû,  line 95-07 : Cergy > Parmain, line 95-08 : Cergy > Chars ; and  line 95-11 : Mantes-la-Jolie > Aincourt > Vétheuil. And this is the dept 95 Val d’Oise bus schedules in French with all the above, nice memories for me as my dear late wife Martine used to take the 95-20 to CDG for work. Val d Oise dept bus lines schedules

Choices by train, but for tourist nice route me think the best would be the Vallée de l’Oise  Line SNCF Paris Nord > Pontoise > Persan-Beaumont (Transilien line H). Stops/ Arrêts at Chaponval, Auvers-sur-Oise, Valmondois, L’Isle-Adam-Parmain, Champagne-sur-Oise. The transilien line H webpage in French here: transilien line H schedule and map

Now I came always by car;;; the park give you these choices: From Paris taking the A15 direction Rouen which becomes same road the  D14,leave exit/ sortie 16. From Rouen on the D14, exit/sortie 16. From  Mantes-la-Jolie, direction Magny-en-Vexin by the D983 road then follow signs for  “Maison du Parc”. Now from me::: take the A15 direction Rouen which becomes D14 same road: get off at exit/sortie 16 direction D51 road Seraincourt but very quickly turn right on panel maison du parc to Théméricourt castle. If you put maison du parc or théméricourt on today’s GPS you should have no problems. always time for a break in beautiful country.

And do enjoy the museum here and the wonderful looking castle for a day in the country always memorable and we love it wherever we are, the real France away from the glimmer marketing tourist gurus! Enjoy my belle France and Théméricourt , Maison du Parc and museum.

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

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