Archive for June, 2020

June 30, 2020

A routine day in Vannes!

And here we are back to almost regular times in my gorgeous Vannes, capital of my beautiful Morbihan in lovely Brittany and in my belle France! We are out and about again!!

The days have been very hot with temps up to 37C or about 98F then all of a sudden became cooler and cloudy ,even light rain with temps in 17C or about 63F! And I continue to work from home with full pay la vie est belle !!!

As searching what to do  and not too far as well as again redoing the vacation planning for Summer we of course stop by Vannes. It is a gorgeous city original architecture untouched by wars with a wonderful canal into the Gulf of Morbihan, one of the most beautiful harbors in the world (conde nast, great bays etc) which of course takes you into the Atlantic ocean, all full of islands paradise.

We went for our errands and not overlook to stop by for lunch at one of our favorites hangout the boys love it and plenty of youth, I look like the granddaddy of all. This is the Colombus Café at 11 rue du Mené in old town Vannes.

But first, let me tell you a bit about the architecture and history of rue du Mené.

Traced on the edge of the old, cleared ditches, the rue du Mené was regularized in the 18C. This old street runs along the northern part of the urban ramparts wall and gives access to the suburb of Bourg Maria or Mené, seat of the parish of the same name, founded in the 12C. Its name, which means hill in Breton, is linked to the topography of the place.  Until the construction of Boulevard de la Paix in the 1950s and 1960s, it remained the urban crossroads of the Nantes-Quimper road axis. In addition to the suburb it serves, its opening responds to the difficult traffic conditions encountered in the narrow and winding streets of the inner city. Aha even back then we had traffic lol!

Unlike its northern slope, which was urbanized at the end of the Middle Ages, the south side of rue du Mené, established at the foot of the ramparts, was built during the second part of the 19C on the former gardens of the Bishop’s Palace. The rue du Mené became a very commercial artery at that time, where prestigious brands opened large and beautiful boutiques: the Grand Bazaar in Morbihan and the André novelty stores whose facades, known by old postcards, are still in place at nos 20 and 21.  In 1967, the construction of Monoprix store on the site of the former parish church of Mené affirms the commercial tradition of this street. The place Marchais (former place du marché) and the rue Hoche (former rue Saint-Yves) on the upper part of the street was named rue Joseph Le Brix in 1931. As a result, the numbering of the houses on the street has changed, the numbers 1 and 2 then being assigned lower to the east of rue Billault. It now joins Place Maurice Marchais, and the seat of the city/town hall.

Today it starts at the place Joseph Le Brix and continue to the confluence of rue du Lieutenant Colonel Maury, rue Saint Nicolas, and rue Francis Decker. The street is full of shopes and at the corner of rue du Mené and rue de la Coutume you find Columbus Café!

The official Colombus Café webpage on the Vannes store : Colombus Cafe Vannes

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Vannes is a charming city and this cafe is a very pleasant point for a gourmet break in this pearl of Brittany. We find the products of good quality. Decent value for money. Super cordial waiters and waitresses. Always a pleasure to go there The muffins are delicious!! and our favorites bagels to die for it especially so far from where we tried them first in NJ/NY! Unfortunately my pastramis bagel was not available this time so I settled for a serrano ham, honey and goat cheese with muffin choco praliné, icea tea peach and expresso coffee all for less than 12 euros per person. Nice deal in a lovely part of Vannes!

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The restaurant has two entrances on the same side, one is the main one that goes directly to the counter for your orders with a friendly knowledable staff. You go in as we do here saying good day or bonjour. You then paid your order and take your trays to the tables. You tell the cash person thanks and have a good day, or merci, bonne journée. These are scatted in sets of two or four persons, with those in the back by the restroom more cosy and bar style small round tables and bucket seats, great for families or romantic getaway! You leave the trays on the table or the staff comes to pick them up for you. You leave saying good byes as the custom here au revoir or as we do preceeded by a have a good day or bonne journée. It doesnt take much French but it goes a long way in human relations especially in humanistic France!

vannes

vannes

And after we did our errands going by already mentioned regular stores like Japanim for japanese mangas, Electro Depot for electronic gadgets, and Les Halles to get some socks for the boys we departed to our country home of Pluvigner where we had finish painting and varnishing our windows and doors as well as set up our new patio table set with five chairs.

Hope you enjoy the lives and times of us in our daily routine life in my belle France. Unlike the glamour of international Paris, this is the real France!

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

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June 30, 2020

Orgeval!!

Ok so back to nostalgia lane for me. I was looking for something different to write in my blog other than the usual tourist famous destination. I was looking at some of pictures in my vault of almost 100K and came up with one little picture that means a lot to us so decided to write about it and keep it for memories’ sake in my blog.

Therefore, here is my take on Orgeval!!

Orgeval is located in the department 78 of the Yvelines in the Île-de-France region. It is very close to Poissy and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and not far from Paris only 31 km, Mantes-la-Jolie 23 km, Pontoise 22 km and the capital of the dept Versailles at 22 km. The town is bordered by Crespières and Feucherolles to the south, Villennes-sur-Seine and Médan to the north, Poissy to the east, Les Alluets-le-Roi and Morainvilliers to the west. 

Orgeval is traverse by the departmental road D113 (known as the Route de Quarante Sous ), formerly the N13 just below it, the Autoroute de Normandie A13. In the north of the town there is the interchange which links the A13 and the D113, and also gives access to the A14, a toll road which leads directly to La Défense. Of course, all these roads are very familiar to me.You can go from the D113 or Route de Quarante Sous on the D45 to city center along the rue de la Gare.

The town of Orgeval is served by 10 bus lines which connect Orgeval to the poles of Les Mureaux, Plaisir – Grignon and to the towns of Poissy, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, La Défense, Verneuil sur Seine and Versailles. The most common lines I recalled were the Line 14: Maule <> Orgeval <> Poissy Gare Sud (bus and train station to Paris) .Line 20: Poissy Gare Sud. The Express line 19: Les Mureaux bus/train station <> Orgeval Art de Vivre <> Versailles Europe (very close to the castle) .Line Express A14: Vernouillet-Verneuil train station <> Orgeval “Conforama / Art de Vivre” <> La Défense Terminal Jules Verne (believe me took this one on business trip from Verneuil sur Seine to La Défense!) . The nearest train station to Orgeval as it has none is in Villennes-sur-Seine, then Poissy and St Germain en Laye as far as distance. The Villennes sur Seine takes to Paris too.

The transdev bus network for Orgeval is here: https://www.transdev-idf.com/plan-et-horaires/orgeval

For the Express line 14 to La Défense is here: https://www.stile-express.com/ligne/verneuil-vernouillet-defense

For the Express line 19 to Versailles Europe , which also stops at shopping center Parly II and very walkable to the Hameau and Trianons of Versailles both ways , line here: https://www.transdev-idf.com/ligne-Express19/les-mureaux-versailles/011-02MOBI

A bit of history I like

The first mention in history of Orgeval was the foundation of the Notre-Dame d’Abbecourt abbey in 1180 by Gasce de Poissy, suzerain of Orgeval. This men’s abbey, which belonged to the diocese of Chartres, located near the Hôtel du Moulin d’Orgeval, was destroyed around the beginning of the 19C. Orgeval nowadays has a church of Romanesque architecture from the 11C with an spire and an octagonal tower. The nave is from the 16C. Joan of Arc went there to deliver Poissy and gold was searched there in the early 17C.

More on things to see here: Parc de la Brunetterie . The demolition of the castle of Brunetterie in 2017 and the restoration of the park on the domaine de Brunetterie. The Church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul. The Royal Abbey of Notre-Dame d’Abbecourt was closed during the French revolution of 1789 and then used as a stone quarry. Only the toponym remains, “Allée d’Abbecourt”. The current study, carried out thanks to donations from members, individuals, the participation of the town of Ogeval , Heritage associations, already allows them to have a good overview of what was the Abbey of Abbecourt. Also, the Chapel of Saint-Jean.

The city of Orgeval in French, on its heritage: City of Orgeval on its heritage

The city of Orgeval history webpage on its heritage in French: City of Orgeval history site

We love to come shopping and eating here just to get out of Versailles and see our new surroundings; as if Versailles was not enough, lol!.

The 40 Quarante Sous business zone in Orgeval is one of the largest in Ile de France with about 160 establishments spread out along the road. However, one of the reason we came here often was the Centre Commercial Art de Vivre, this indoor and two-stories shopping mall was an essential shopping stop for many inhabitants of the region. Several times redesigned, it had as much as 42 stores with a very diverse target: furniture, decorations, leisure, games, perfumery; and large brands known such as Darty, Animalis, Casa, Maisons du monde, Nature and discovery, Game, l’Univers du livre, and Bricorama. There were also several dining areas, including a Japanese restaurant. And even if the car park has nearly 1,000 parking spaces, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to park. Yes indeed!! Very popular!!! However, sad to read in the press, the place is in free fall. In fact, of the 25 brands that composed it when it was created in the 1970s, and after more as above, by last read in 2018, there are only six remaining. The Gilbert Joseph bookstore (who took over from the L’Universe du Livre) and the video game specialist Micromania (who took over from Game) have just lowered their curtain. Now it is the Guy Degrenne tableware store which had stopped its activity. A new complex composed of shops and housing could be created by 2025 at the Art de Vivre site. Still in discussion with the town folks. There is a Facebook page still with some reminicents of what it was , FB on the CC Art de Vivre here: Facebook page on the old Centre Comercial Art de Vivre Orgeval

However, the main reason we found out about Orgeval, was that my twin boys first job was at the restaurant and kitchen of the Ibis Budget Hotel right next to the shopping center Art de Vivre. And voilà , we saw the shopping so therefore, wife and the gang attack it!!! The experience for the boys was very nice with very friendly staff at the hotel , one for the memories even if by then photos were not important. And one reason we came to Orgeval to shop at the Centre Commercial Art de Vivre. And as memories goes never to be forgotten and one reason to put it in my blog. The Ibis hotel still there, ver good stop on your rounds Paris to Normandy. Webpage in English: Accor Ibis Budget Hotel Orgeval

Orgeval

And there you, I feel better now, to give credit to another nice spot in my world. Orgeval, as others all appreciative of knowing them and remember well. Hope you enjoy the post and do stop by on your rounds of Paris to/from Normandy on the Autoroute de Normandie A13!

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

June 30, 2020

Canal de l’Ourcq!!!

So moving right along in this hot days of June 2020, and realise have written on the wonderful waterways of and around Paris including some of the canals but not on the one closest to me as it passes by Meaux. Let me tell you a bit more on the Canal de l’Ourcq.

One of the most if not the most emblematic canals of Paris. At least is my favorite for more than just a cruise. I have driven thru around many of the towns that crosses and taken cruises on canauxrama which are wonderful. For reference cruise trip here: Canauxrama on Canal de l’Ourcq

There are many cruises to do here all wonderful into nature and the very essence of water in Paris. You will do well to take one, and I mean into the canals not just the mundane tour around the islands of the city center Paris.   Hope you enjoy it as we did and will relish as me on the history as I like it.

The canal de l’Ourcq before starting at Mareuil-sur-Ourcq to reach the Bassin de la Villette in Paris, the Ourcq river is canalized and navigable from the Port aux Perches in the town of Silly-la-Poterie. With the Canal Saint-Denis, Bassin de la Villette, and the Canal Saint-Martin, it constitutes the network of Parisian canals, 130 km long and which belongs to the city of Paris. Its construction began in 1802 and ended in 1825. It was the subject of several modifications, notably the addition of five locks, a factory supplying the canal with water at Trilbardou and the widening of the gauge on the first eleven kms. Originally, the main objective of the canal was to supply Paris with drinking water; today, its use is reserved for waterways.

paris

The Ourcq river takes its source in a wet meadow south of Courmont (Aisne dept 02) a few steps from the A4 highway in the Aisne department 02. From the small village of Silly-la-Poterie, at a place called Port-aux-Perches at the edge of the Retz forest, begins the channeled part of the river. This small river follows a wide valley and flows into the Marne, at Mary-sur-Marne, near Lizy-sur-Ourcq, after a course of approximately 87 km. The pipeline works diverted the river from Mareuil. Most of its water then goes to Paris via a canal on its own site, the Ourcq canal proper, with a length of 97 km. On entering Paris, the canal passes under the lifting bridge on rue de Crimée to widen in the large water station at La Villette. It then feeds the Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis canals.

A bit of history I like

When Paris was still Lutèce, the inhabitants of the Ile de la Cité used the water supplied by the Seine. In the 4C, work was started on the Arcueil aqueduct, attributed to the Emperor Julian. He brought spring water from the hillsides of Rungis, L’Haÿ, Cachan and Arcueil to the thermal baths of Cluny by the Roman road from Orleans (now rue Saint-Jacques). There was also a second aqueduct that ran along the Seine. The Merovingians, as much as the Carolingians, drew water from the Seine, the sources of Belleville and Pré-Saint-Gervais for four centuries. The abbeys of Saint-Laurent and Saint-Martin-des-Champs diverted the waters of the Prés Saint-Gervais from the heights of Romainville and Ménilmontant. The monks established fountains near their convent.  Philippe-Auguste, by establishing the Halles de Paris, brought the water from the Prés Saint-Gervais there to distribute it in two fountains, one of which was that of the Innocents. It was first placed at the corner of rue aux Fers and rue Saint-Denis and attached to the Church of the Saints-Innocents. It was rebuilt in the middle of the market in 1786 then placed in the middle of the Square des Innocents. At the beginning of the 17C, the La Samaritaine pump was built and work was ordered on the new Arcueil aqueduct. During this same period, in 1749, the Duke of Orleans entrusted the mission of modernizing the navigation works of the Ourcq. This is how the river was endowed with real airlock locks to replace the trenches and ponds with sailor doors that had equipped it from the start. These works ended around 1756 with the construction of a large lock in the park of the castle of Lizy-sur-Ourcq, on an artificial diversion of the Ourcq.

Jean-Antoine Chaptal, count of Chanteloup, speaking with Napoléon Bonaparte, he said to him: “I intend to make Paris the most beautiful capital in the world … I want to do something big and useful for Paris. What would be your ideas? “’ Give it water” Chaptal responded. Once the decree of 29 Floréal year X (French revolution diversions of the calendar) or May 19, 1802 was promulgated, studies for the layout of the canal began quickly: the first stone was laid on September 23. After impoundment of the Villette basin in 1808, by 1809 the waters of the Beuvronne flow to the Fontaine des Innocents in Paris, then in 1813, the first boat leaves from Claye-Souilly and arrives at La Villette.

A post-boat service was instituted in 1838. It made it possible to connect the Bassin de la Villette and Meaux (saw the canal de l’ourcq plenty here of course) in three hours, in conditions of comfort far superior to stagecoach or to the railway, which will be put into service in 1849. The latter, faster, will seal the fate of this river connection. The Meaux train station and the landing stage would have been neighbors, on both sides of the regional beltway road 603, if the river service had survived.  Commercial navigation stopped in 1962 on the navigable part of today, the canal de l’Ourcq remains a place of excursion very appreciated by cyclists, who appreciate the cycle path arranged from Bassin de la Villette to Claye-Souilly (and great shopping center here), then the towpath to La Rosée in Claye-Souilly and Meaux (my wife native town) , which represents around fifty kms of canal; recreational boating replaced the old traffic from 1983.

Along its wonderful route, the canal de l’Ourcq crosses many towns and communication routes. In Paris these are Rue de Crimée (wonderful sight) ,Rue de l’Ourcq , Boulevard Macdonald ,Pont du canal de l’Ourcq , and the boulevard périphérique BP of Paris. At our hide out in Pantin you see upon leaving a path bordered by a bike path on the north side and various activities on the south side. Then goes by Avenue du Général-Leclerc; rue Delizy, Rue Raymond-Queneau, in the Petit-Pantin neighborhood. Another memorable road warrior town and the canal de l’Ourcq is Bobigny; here the canal is first crossed by the railway bridge from the Paris-Est line to Strasbourg-Ville, then immediately by the grand ceinture of Paris. It is then crossed by the Pont de la Folie on which passes avenue Jean-Jaurès, and leads, south side, towards rue du Parc in Noisy-le-Sec. The other towns memorable to me (there are others) crossed by the Canal de l’Ourcq are:Tremblay-en-France (also part of CDG airport), Villeparisis; Claye-Souilly, Isles-lès-Villenoy, Villenoy (mom in law was born here), Meaux (wife was born here and Mom in law died), Trilport, Poincy, Varreddes, Lizy-sur-Ourcq, Mareuil-sur-Ourcq, and Silly-la-Poterie.

Of all, my most memorable reading on it as was getting to know the region was the book by Paul Féval (father), in the novel Les Habits noirs or the black habits, in the chapters “L’Aigle de Meaux no 2”   or the eagle of Meaux, bishop Bossuet   and the “Un brochet de quatorze livres” or a pike of fourteen pounds, the intrigue of which takes place on the banks and on the canal de l’Ourcq, including the narrative of the Aigle de Meaux No. 2, post boat (see above) , a passenger boat, fast, pulled by two galloping horses.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and its worth the detour are

Paris tourist office on the Canal de l’Ourcq in English: Paris tourist office on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Paris tourist office on things to do around or near the Canal de l’OurcqParis tourist office on things to see around or near Canal de l’Ourcq

Official association on behalf of the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Au fil de l’Ourcq

Sweet water cruises by Marin d’eau douce on the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Marin d’eau douce on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Cruising on Paris Canal, on the Canal de l’Ourcq in French: Paris Canal on the Canal de l’Ourcq

Now let me tell you if you have a car or a bike, the nicest way to see the Canal de l’Ourcq and be close to it is as follows:

You leave Paris by car by Porte de Pantin, and get on the national road N3, for the scenic drive even if more traffic than the autoroute A4, but for the thrill of roadster will give this route. Go direction Bobigny. Then, Noisy-le-Sec and then Bondy,Livry-Gargan, Villeparisis, Claye-Souilly (good rest stop and eating), You then immediately back on the N3 before Charmentray take right the D139 once in town turn left into the D54A follow it you have the Marne river on your right hand side. Get into city center Tribardou and get on the D27 road or Rue du Maréchal Gallieni continue to get back on the road N3 direction Meaux.  Once in Meaux, the road becomes the D603 but same road name rue de la Chaussée de Paris and into Avenue Gallieni with the train station of Meaux on your right hand side, and continue to past in front of it descending into quai de Victor Hugo with the Marne river on your right hand side, same road becomes quai Jacques Prévert, you see the Le Péniche boat, and right there you make a left turn into cours Raoult and into parking Henri IV, you are in city center Meaux. Happy motoring!

Meaux

Or you leave Paris by bike as told by friends, never done it and do not imagine me doing it but, go by the La Villette going behind the Zénith entertainment complex in La Villete you are on the road galerie de l’Ourcq. You continue on quai de l’Aisne (there is an inner road closer to the water call Chemin de Halage you can take this too) and turn left over the Ourcq into quai de l’Ourcq or continue the Chemin de Halage, and past Rue Délizy, you passed the Guinguette des Grandes Sérré and immediately turn left into Chemin Lateral de l’Ourcq, you will be riding with the Ourcq on your right.  You will go under the highways A85 and the then N186 and after you will see on our right hand side the Conforama Bondy you crossed the Ourcq again this time the water will be on our left. You will go under the Pont de la Forêt and continue the road is Chemin de Halage but hardly noticeable you go straight. You will go over the Passage Freinville over the Ourcq to be on the right hand side of the water again; reaching the town of Sévran turn left into the road D44 into centre ville  but make a quick right into rue d’Estienne d’Orves all the way into the parc forestier de la Poudriere forest go thru it , you will be again on the left side of the water. Go into Mitry-Mory on the D84 and cross the water again to be on the right side of the water. You cross the N3 national road on Place du canal road crossing the La Beuvronne creek at Claye-Souilly on the D422 road. It will zig zag you into and out the N3 road going under and above it. You will be then on the D404 road with La Beuvronne creek on your right hand side direction Précy-sur-Marne thru centre ville city center and will be on the D54a road which is also, Rue des Deux Jumeaux but before getting into city center Charmentray turn right over the water and will past the town on your left hand side and water on your left. You will be at Tribardou! and into the Marne river with the Château de Tribardou on your left. You continue the D27 into the towns of Vignely, Isles les Villenoy,  get on the Chemin du Bac towards the town of Esbly and get on Rue Victor Hugo,  then quick left into rue de Condé  cross the water and this is the nice wonderful Canal de Meaux à Chalifert go into Chemin de Saint Germain into the Le Grand Morin wonderul natural country green and hilly; the Canal de Morin will on your right hand side. At city center go back on the road D85P to the chemin de halage and the Marne river on your left hand side which is also the Canal de Meaux à Chalifert. After a couple of km your will turn right on Chemin des Rouazes, then left into rue de Condé leaving behind the town of Quincy-Voisins and direction and into city centre Mareuil-les-Meaux, this road has the number D5A1 continue here past the Mairie and continue until connect with the road D360 direction Meaux. You will cross the Marne river to get into city center Meaux. Hope you can do it, me can’t.

Nice waterways of my belle France and this one really close to the heart. Hope you enjoy the Canal de l’Ourcq and do try the bike or car route very scenic.

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

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June 29, 2020

Cruising in Vannes!!!

Ok ok so we are allow out now, and all are exciting right? Well, from what I see and told from afar , the situation is sketchy to say the least. Many of the businesses we patronise are hurting and almost empty. Again, last week in Vannes. 

We were trying to put our several heads together to do our errands now with 3 young men around. As we were in a heat wave with temps as high as 37C or 98F here! I had decided to paint and varnish our basement and doors/windows! Yes!

In the meantime, my oldest was working and only had the middle of the day free, and my other twin was getting his storage box on his Yamaha bike which he is totally out for it, so we needed to stop the work and go there as he was call the part had arrive. And off we went with precision timing so all meet at the bike place in Vannes. 

This is Morbihan Moto with plenty of parking to meet a bike and two cars! As the installation was to take over an hour, we decided to have lunch . This we did to one popular family place here which is very French, Flunch or as the founder thought of, Flunch=family lunch. They are cafeterias with an all you can eat option and a main plate with all the trimming of desserts, drinks, wines beers etc. We have been to the one in Vannes several times over the years living here.

By the way the Morbihan Moto webpage is here if you are looking for a bike , these folks are good and very friendly. All in one roof: Morbihan Moto

vannes

At the Flunch, we had our fish and chips, all you can eat salads, tiramisus, quart bottle of rose wine, and expresso coffee. Of course my boys had a lot more lol!! All 19 euros per person.Nice helping out the local economy!  As you can see from the pictures the economy is hurting for many but nobody talks about it than those suffering the most restaurants/bar/cafe owners! Their webpage is here for reference, great family place at the Centre Commercial Leclerc: Flunch at CC Leclerc Vannes

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vannes

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In between we got some electronic gadgets at another dandy store we like and been clients since opening a few years back. Electro Depot, they sell all you need for the modern world! And it is right next to a huge restaurant cluster we enjoy and the Cinema. More on Eletro Depot Vannes here: Electro Depot Vannes

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Of course, we love our Cinéville cinema right next to Eletro Depot and could not resist taken another picture lol! just locals enjoying themselves sorry.  Oh yes heck for reference the Cinéville webpage: Cineville cinema Vannes

vannes

And as said, all very much empty. We will see the pickup as by July 1 even the EU is open. In the meantime, we stay in our lovely Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton! and driving around and around! Enjoy your neck of the woods , is time we get to know our backyard. Hope you enjoy my rants of humble everyday life in my belle France. It’s a lot more than Dior lol!

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

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June 29, 2020

Cruising in Auray!!!

Ok so we are starting to flex our wings and travel again in my belle France. Actually, after 2,5 months of confinement, you come to realise you have plenty around you and need to enjoy it more. As the old saying says, See your country first and the world later. Well , not that I have not seen my Brittany, but now more so.

We have not set on our long vacations yet, and we are seeing if we can go Honfleur in Normandie for personal sad reason as my Mom and Wife ashes are at sea there. I need to get the dates right to go. Otherwise , nothing else is set.

However, we move about in our neck of the woods and find simple things matters. Paris is Paris and it seems all think is France lol! Well the central government have done a good job of moving everything there to the museums but most came from the regions. and we do have several good ones around.

Last, we needed to get a patio table and chairs for our veranda. We will moved the old table out in the backyard to use it as a barbecue serving table! Good deal, the boys help and its a great family event at home.

We look around for prices and models and the stock is dismal, most major stores are empty , we were asked to order the darn set of table and five chairs. No way, we kept looking and went to a store I remember going there with my dear wife Martine. La FoirFouille in Auray! just 14 km from our house!!! This is the store here: La Foir’Fouille Auray

pluvigner

And of course, a trip to our favorite beer place ,V&B concept right across the park in Auray too for a load of Belgian and German beers for home enjoyment. The store has been feature before in my posts, so here is the webpage: V&B Auray

We ,also, did some grocery shopping right around the same park at the supermarket Super U in Auray as well! We shop here once in a while when in a hurry or convenience sake as normally is crowded as folks from the beaches come up to load up for their apartment/hotels etc. We have one in our town but we always on the run lol!!! The store is here : Supermarket Super U Auray

But the event of the day was that while waiting for the stores to open at 14h we had our lunch with simple American style sandwiches of tuna, ham, and chicken and of course a round of good Grimbergen Belgian beers at…..well we never been but it was very nice, friendly folks and good deal Restaurant Le Grenier inside the Super U commercial center in Auray. An impromtus lunch but nice with the boys, we enjoy it and the server was a nice guy too. Just to show France can have good things even in the least expected place and no star Michelin but a star from us. We will be back! here is their nice Facebook page: Facebook page of Restaurant Le Grenier Auray

auray

auray

And we did came back with our glass covered aluminum table and five nice chairs to match. Now, ready for the set up and moving, and more painting and varnish to do around the house for the start of Summer! Vacation? we will see as August is just around the corner and THAT is a religion in my belle France!!

So, here it is just regular folks enjoying a new adopted country that we are blessed with and enjoy very much. The best experience so far, if only those wonderful missing woman were here oh la la la! Memories of many travels, never to be forgotten and a thank you for all that was given. We will continue in our neck of the wood after all even the folks of Unesco claim a heritage site just all over south of us on the coast and beaches of the Morbihan Breton!

Hope you enjoy this most personal post and to get an idea of when do other posts are done with experience, love, and caring for the world. No need for medals, diplomas or awards, we are humans. And do see my other many posts on Auray. See you around the Morbihan, Bretagne, and France!

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

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June 28, 2020

Versailles: Avenue de Saint Cloud!!!

And here I am again on my beloved Versailles. Oh yes wonderful to walk its architecturally and historical stunning streets. Versailles is the capital of the Yvelines dept 78 of the ïle de France region. However, for a capital city is very managable and even with a great bus network , walking would do the trick. Especially if you lived central in Notre Dame district like we did for almost 10 years, and one nice big avenue that separate us from the rest.

I like to tell you a bit more on the Avenue de Saint Cloud in Versailles, of course.

The Avenue de Saint Cloud (road D185) is in the Montreuil district bordering Notre-Dame district of Versailles. It was created in 1804. Former Avenue de Paris in 1665. Named after the town of Saint-Cloud (see post) whose avenue was the road to go to. At the time of Louis XIV the north of the avenue, in place of the Lycée Hoche, was occupied by a menagerie and stables, and behind these installations by the park of the former Château de Clagny (done for Madame de Montespan, mistress of king Louis XIV).  It has remarkable plane trees malls with bike paths on each side of the avenue.

Versailles

At 33 Avenue de Saint Cloud about corner with Avenue de l’Europe parking Indigo, convenient for those daring to enjoy the thrill of coming by car, is right next to the flower market or Marché aux fleurs (see post). The Flower market is between rue Clémenceau and Avenue de l’Europe, under the plane tree mall, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, from 8h to 19h30(see post). Easy spot in and out of Versailles and central for walking all over too.

Versailles

Some of the remarkable buildings to see in Versailles, and of course now many under different ownership but I put the old history here are:

At No. 3: Former Hôtel de Langlée; at No 5 and 7: Former Hôtel d’ Estrée; No 6 to 16: Houses demolished in 1848 to build the Borgnis-Desbordes barracks, destroyed in 1944 again and see follow up. No 9: First building used for the Israelite worship during the French revolution; at No 10 to 16: Current General Treasury (DDFIP) ; No 18 to 20: Entrance of the Avenue de l’Europe constructed in 1963. At the corner of the Avenue de Saint Cloud ,and rue Carnot: the Café Amaury was in 1789 the meeting place for the Jacobins club. Today the BNP Paribas Bank. No 22: Former Salon de Flore hall a dance hall. No 25: Purchased in 1897 by La Ville stores in Paris, then in 1924 Printemps de Paris, Le Printemps in 1960, and Eurodif since 1991, then Bouchara at the corner of Rue du Maréchal Foch. At No 31 it was the building of Protestant worship from 1828 to 1836. No 34: Former Hôtel de Richelieu built in 1738. At No 35, the picturesque Passage Saladin ,named after the family who owned neighboring properties in the 18C. No 36: Former Synagogue until 1886. At No 38 former Hôtel Saint Simon b. 1686 not much left than some pieces of the cellar.   No 52 and 52 bis: Former Hôtel Dutoit, named after the head of the King’s goblet and small voyages, completed in 1785. Beautiful facade and neoclassical interior courtyard with horizontal lines and interior staircase with canopy. Former Protestant school: the Bertrand Institution (precursor of the Lycée Jules-Ferry high school) operated there until 1923. No. 56: Old gardens, today the City’s technical services and administrative court.

Further at No 71: Land bought and built by the architect of King Louis XV, Richard Mique. No 73: Lycée Hoche. Created in 1803 as an imperial high school. The name was given in 1888 by a government decree. In the center of the current school is located the old convent where the canonesses of Saint Augustin (Carmelite convent) settled in 1772. It was built by Richard Mique for Queen Marie Lesczynska, daughter of the King of Poland and wife of Louis XV, between 1767 and 1772 ,next to the destroyed Château de Clagny . Its neoclassical chapel, completed in 1773, is comparable to the Pantheon in Paris (1757 see post) ) and the Saint-Symphorien Church in Versailles (1764 see post) There is a museum inside worth the detour . In 1792, despite the presence of 500 pupils (poor young girls), the nuns were expelled. Restored, the chapel was inaugurated in 2012.

More in French on the museum Hoche  here: https://www.amismuseehoche.fr/musee/acces/acces.php

Moving right along ,at No 83: Facade with porch, balcony and pediment. Built by Jean-Baptiste Brucker, butler of the Count de Noailles, in the 1770s. Madame Babois’ literary salon (Ducis, Talma, De Saint-Pierre) in the 1790s. No 85: House built around 1780. No 87: House built in 1787. No. 89: The pavillon de l’équipage du cerf   or aka green dog kennel. Acquired in 1868 by the farmer Louis-Emile Bertin.

The city of Versailles on its heritage in French: City of Versailles on its heritage

The Versailles tourist office on the Montreuil district in French for more info: Versailles tourist office on the Montreuil district

And there you go, another wonderful spot in my beloved Versailles, a lot more than a Palace/museum I said. Hope you enjoy the walk on Avenue de Saint Cloud, and recognise these buildings as you do, great fun indeed and very educational.

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

June 28, 2020

Versailles: Avenue de Sceaux!!

Let me tell you about a dandy in my beloved Versailles. This is one of those streets you find by chance even if lived in the city. While ,there we walk, but then we had visitors and took them on a car ride into the palace and others and needed parking. Therefore, there is an excellent parking at the end of Avenue de Sceaux and voilà. We walked further around it and got to know the street. After later visits, we parked here to do our walking and its great.

Let me tell you a bit about the Avenue de Sceaux in Versailles!

The Avenue de Sceaux is a very much used traffic street in Versailles, one of the three streets which radiate in a fan from the place d’Armes, in front of the Palace/museum of Versailles, with the Avenue de Paris (see post) and the Avenue de Saint-Cloud (see post). Avenue de Sceaux is the most southerly of the three. It goes south-east for about 700 meters and ends at the place des Francine. Part of the avenue is currently occupied by a paid above ground car park managed by the city of Versailles. There are also parking spaces on a niche or on the cob, paid for by parking meters, along the entire length of the track. Very nice place to park and start you walks around the city. Our favorite.

versailles avenue de sceaux 2007

Versailles

Initially it was planned that the Avenue de Sceaux would extends in a south-eastern direction, in order to be able to reach the Château de Fontainebleau passing through the town of Sceaux. But the project was aborted and ultimately the avenue will remain in its current state and will end in a dead end. The project will notably be thwarted by the installation of two immense reservoirs on the heights of the Bois Saint Martin forest by the engineer Gobert to receive the water from the Buc aqueduct. Located at the end of the avenue, they close it permanently.

The Avenue de Sceaux borders the following buildings, the  Petite Écurie, Court of Scents, the Square des Francine, also called Louis XIV abreuvoir or watering place, at no. 10: Hôtel de la Marine et des Galères; and Jardin des étangs Gobert or pond garden of Gobert.  You can, also, walk from the parking above on Avenue de Sceaux directly into the left hand side of the palace/museum or commonly call the Château de Versailles!

The Avenue de Sceaux in the district of Saint-Louis created in 1710. Former allée des Bois and avenue du Parc-aux-Cerfs. Named after the town of Sceaux south of Paris to which the avenue and then a road lead. Access to the Jardin des étangs Gobert, the Palace second hydraulic system which brought water from the Rambouillet ponds, from the Saclay plateau, via the Buc aqueduct, to the Gobert garden ponds (Thomas Gobert was  intendant of buildings for King Louis XIV).

One of the ponds is abandoned (filled with reeds and willows, it was regrooved in late 2014) and the other was fitted out by the city of Versailles in 2013 as a public park as part of the construction of the transport hub multimodal of the city. An alley built in 2013 joins the rue Edouard-Charton and the gare des Chantiers.  These areas will be linked to Avenue de Sceaux by a new route drawn between the two old reservoirs. In the northern part, the avenue was limited under the old Regime by the gardens of the Hôtel du Grand Maître (current city/town hall or hôtel de Conti), then by the Hôtel de Limoges, replaced in 1854 by the barracks of same name, then by the current buildings. A residential access to the Étangs Gobert gardens via Place des Francine. Do not miss the outdoor exhibition on the walls to the east of the garden, telling the story of hydraulics in Versailles.

Further on this Avenue de Sceaux you have at no 2ter  Former brasserie du Nord; no 4, 6 and 8: Former barracks, then Hôtel des Chevau-Légers and printing works; rented to Edouard Aubert at no 6, Bains Saint-Louis or baths until 1918, and cinema of the Alhambra in 1970. The Guards pavilion on the avenue has been restored. At no 6, rehabilitated, the former hôtel des Gabelles 17C, became at the beginning of 2016 the Hotel de Beauté. No  10: Barracks of the Coches, Major seminary from 1808 to 1833, then barracks of CRS (special riot police) .No 12: Part of the old Cheval Blanc inn courtyard at rue Royale. No 14 Former restaurant with the Coing d’or, then café de la Bourse (gone) opposite the café de la Réunion on the other side (gone in the 1990s).

At no 1 to 46: Former Hôtel des Gardes du roi in 1740. There remains a monumental door where the Decroy residence was installed (derived from the name of the Croÿ barracks). No 30: Former stables of the King’s Guards, which became a barracks in 1730, the Duke of Noailles being Governor of Versailles. The barracks, which accommodated the 32nd regiment of Dragons until 1919, became then the military circle of Croÿ. The other monumental entrance on rue Royale was built after 1778. Creation at this level of La Rotonde new annex of the Saint-Louis district house in 2015. Place des Francine at the top of the Avenue de Sceaux, an old drinking trough for horses, fitted out at the end of the 18C and refitted in 1812, with the current hemicycle wall, was replaced in 1954 by the Square des Francine (named after a family of fountains men in charge of water stewardship and royal fountains from 1623 to 1784 or from King Henri IV to Louis XV), which included a pool surrounded by four play areas. at the former Étangs Gobert reservoir converted into a public park and at the Chantiers train station. A small sports field has replaced the square and the hemicycle wall has been rehabilitated. A new playground for kiddies accompanied by ‘a 345 m2 plant labyrinth and an esplanade with water jets was inaugurated in June 2016. The fountain with two lion heads has been put back into service.

Sublime my Versailles, full of history on every turn. And of course , Architecture to dream on. Hope you enjoy the walk of this wonderful Avenue de Sceaux in my beloved Versailles.

Just for reference, the city of Versailles on its heritage: City of Versailles on heritage

And with more info, the Versailles tourist office on the district of Saint Louis in French: Versailles tourist office on Saint Louis district

Again be at Versailles, breath Versailles and enjoy Versailles. Hope it helps you enjoy the Avenue de Sceaux.

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

June 27, 2020

Saint Cloud!!!

Ok so this one is a big task but feels worth the mention in my blog and will expand on future posts. Its a place that I have been several times but not from a tourist/visitor point of view so no photos. However, many meetings there and one hobby of mine that took me there often.

I like to tell you a lot on Saint Cloud, dept 92 Hauts de Seine, in the Ïle de France region. Just next to Paris! Sorry for my very creative post name ::)

Saint-Cloud is a huppée and residential town, it is mainly known for the Saint-Cloud park it shelters. The town is 10 km from Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral point zero.  It extends over the slopes which dominate the left bank of the Seine river ,opposite the Bois de Boulogne. The city center is located 3 km from the Porte de Saint-Cloud and the Porte d’Auteuil ,this two I have driven often. The town is bordered to the north by Suresnes (see post, and where I have worked), to the west by Rueil-Malmaison (emperatrice ..), Garches and Marnes-la-Coquette (driven thru and the highest per capita income in France)  and to the south by Sèvres (the porcelain town) and Ville-d’Avray (see post). Its eastern limit is materialized by the Seine river which separates it from the towns of Boulogne-Billancourt and Paris (Bois de Boulogne) via the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge.

Saint-Cloud was built on a hill, therefore many stairs, and even escalators, run through the town, oh yes indeed many almost perpendicular! and tight narrow streets! . The town of Saint-Cloud is known to many motorists for being the starting point for the first French highway: the A13 (Autoroute de Normandie) . Until 1974, the A13 stopped at the Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge. Since then, it has been connected to the Paris BP or boulevard périphérique or ring road by the Saint-Cloud viaduct which overlooks the Seine and by a tunnel under  Boulogne-Billancourt. Saint-Cloud owes its name to Clodoald, grandson of Clovis; threatened by his uncles, Clodoald moves away from power disputes and settles in Novigentum, a hamlet of loggers and fishermen where he builds a moustier or monastery of which there is still a wall. The town takes the name of “Sanctus Clodoaldus”. From then on, the town will often be at the heart of History.  Saint-Cloud bears witness to a rich and prestigious past. And I know, needed to visit more for the sights.

Some of this history is long and precious, I will condense as much as possible here.

An abbey developed in this place in 765, it is in third position, just after the abbot of Saint-Denis and that of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  The Church of Saint-Cloud became collegiate with nine canons by the Bulle of Pope Alexander III in 1165. Saint-Cloud knew the Norman invasions of 845, 856, 861 and 885 which came to plunder Paris. During the Hundred Years War in 1358, the English took the village, burned it and massacred the inhabitants. Saint-Cloud was burnt down in 1411, during the fighting between Armagnacs and Bourguignons. In 1433, the inhabitants were crushed with requisitions. In 1556, Henri II built the stone bridge of Saint-Cloud, and Henri III authorized the inhabitants to surround themselves with walls and ditches. The lordship belonged to the bishop of Paris who lodge in the most beautiful house in Saint-Cloud, sold to Catherine de Médicis, who gave it to Jérôme de Gondi in 1577.

In 1589, Henri III, who had settled in the Château de Saint-Cloud built by Jérôme de Gondi to lead the siege of Paris, held by the Leaguers, was assassinated there by the monk Jacques Clément. Henri IV is recognized as king there. Near Paris and on the road to Versailles, the Château de Saint-Cloud was bought by Louis XIV and given to his brother Duke Philippe d’Orléans. He created its park from 1658. In 1674, Louis XIV erected a duchy peerage for the archbishops of Paris. Louis XVI acquired it in 1785 to offer it to his wife Marie-Antoinette. Then, both the castle and the park played an important role in the history of France throughout the 19C.

Napoleon Bonaparte carried out his coup d’etat on 18 Brumaire Year VIII or November 9, 1799, and made it his favorite residence, where the magnificences of the imperial court of Napoleon I spread . The civil marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise is celebrated there in 1810. In 1814, Saint Cloud was occupied by the Russian general count de Langeron, (born in Paris) who respected the castle and the inhabitants. In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic epic, the Prussian marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher moved to the castle. Drunk with revenge, he lacerates silks and draperies, devastates the bedroom and the library. In 1817, the palace became a royal residence, and the Montretout mountain was later converted into a garden reserved for the Duke of Bordeaux (Henri d´Artois or Comte de Chambord, refuse to be king under the tricolor flag and the monarchy ended with him, should have been Henri V). Louis XVIII began barracks and buildings completed there by Charles X, who, on July 30, 1830, left it forever. It is from there that he leaves for exile. Napoleon III was proclaimed Emperor there on December 1, 1852.

On July 15, 1870, the Franco-German War of 1870 was declared to Prussia in a council held at the Château de Saint Cloud. After the French defeat, on October 13, 1870, the castle, previously occupied by the Prussians during the siege of Paris, was set on fire, according to the Prussian version, by a shell fired by the French from the fortress of Mont-Valérien. The Prussians who had no interest in defending a French building, destroyed by the French themselves, did nothing to prevent the fire and let the castle burn. However, the French claimed to have found in the ruins several traces of fuel. Fortunately, the Empress Regent Eugenie had ordered the removal of the most precious works of art to the furniture repository. Be that as it may, the city emerged almost completely destroyed from the war, only 21 houses remained standing. It was then necessary to rebuild it. At the start of the 20C, the very recent Coteaux district passed into posterity thanks to the resounding exploits of the balloonists of the Aéro-Club de France (at Rue Galilée Paris) , including Alberto Santos-Dumont.

Here is a break and advance by the City of Saint Cloud on its heritage in French: City of Saint Cloud on its heritage

Some general public transport and parkings of Saint Cloud:

There are strict regulations on parking from a  rotating zone the parking is payable from Monday to Friday from 9h to 19h and Saturday from 9h to 13h . In the resident area: parking is payable Monday to Friday from 9h. to 19h.  It is free on weekends, holidays and the month of August. The Parking spaces available are Colline: 1, place Georges-Clemenceau; Liberation: 5, rue Dailly, Joffre: Place Joffre ;Orleans: Rue d’Orléans; Quai Carnot: under the A13 viaduct; Tramway Parc de Saint-Cloud : Near the T2 station,  Marché des Avelines: 38, Bd de la République, Desfossez: Rue du Docteur-Desfossez. Mine always is in black.

The city is served by the SNCF (from Gare Saint Lazare), nine bus lines, the tramway, a municipal minibus service. The Metro in Boulogne-Billancourt, and taxis complete the transport offer. The prominent bus lines me think are the Line 52 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Opéra Garnier. Line 72 Parc de Saint-Cloud / Paris Hôtel de Ville, and line 471 Versailles Rive Droite station / Coteaux station. Noctilien night buses ,also goes through Saint-Cloud with the N53 Saint-Lazare / Nanterre Université RER line (Saint-Cloud Val d’Or station served every hour from 0h30 to 5h30 ). Then you have the tramway line 2 or T2
Pont de Bezons / Porte de Versailles  Parc de Saint-Cloud station with bus lines tranferts  52, 72, as above. By the Pont de Sèvres station metro line 9  located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the Saint-Cloud park; by the Boulogne – Pont de Saint-Cloud station of  metro line 10 of the Paris metro, also located in Boulogne-Billancourt and close to the center of Saint-Cloud; and by the Val d’Or station and the Saint-Cloud station located on lines L and U of the Transilien trains from Saint Lazare.

Now some of the things to see in this wonderful town are

The constructions of the decorator architect Louis Süe, see the villa de Jeanne Paquin done in 1912 at 33 rue du Mont-Valérien and the villa de Jane Renouardt at 2 rue de Buzenval which he built from 1924 to 1925 in the company of painters André Mare and Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier and the Compagnie des Arts français. The Jardin Stern garden, avenue Pozzo-di-Borgo: created in 1927 by Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier, this terraced garden spanning the railway track. The Château de Pélican  is also a monument of the city.

It was in the national domaine de Saint-Cloud, also called Parc de Saint-Cloud, that the castle was located, the holiday residence of several French sovereigns. The French gardens, designed by Le Nôtre, have been preserved. More on this wonderful property more garden that most historians claimed on Louis XIV, he governed from Versailles, but his friends are entertained at Saint Cloud! See oficial webpage here in English. Domaine de Saint Cloud

And the Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on the castle in French: Hauts de Seine tourist office on the castle

Jardin des Tourneroches garden offers one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city , centered on the Eiffel Tower, embracing the Bois de Boulogne and Paris from the natural balcony of the hillsides. These lands have belonged since 1860 to the powerful family of Goyeneche, the Grande of Spain and the Dukes of Gamio. During these years the property was called Castel Gamio. The house, known as the Villa Tourneroches, was built in the 1930s. Doctor Débat bought the property located on either side of rue du Mont-Valérien; this area already carries a house, outbuildings and a garden fitted out at the beginning of the century; he razed the house and built his house, a caretaker’s house and a house near the station; it preserves the park, the outbuildings and the pre-existing dovecote.  This neo-medieval Church of Saint Clodoald dominates the center of the old town. It was rebuilt under the Second Empire by the architect Pierre-Félix Delarue, between April 1861 (laying of the first stone) and May 1863 (blessing), in place of the old collegiate church which housed the crypt containing the tomb apocryphal of Saint Clodoald. Inside the church, under the altar of the chapel dedicated to Saint Cloud, a shrine contains his relics. The Church Notre-Dame-des-Airs was built in 1919, owes its name to the memory of the frequentation of the it and area by aviation pioneers such as Santos-Dumont. Another spot dear to me because many times drove by it to avoid traffic on the A13 going to Paris!  This is the Hippodrome de Saint-Cloud racecourse . It was inaugurated on March 15, 1901, and is today a galloping racetrack, with a 2,300-meter grass track with rope on the left, which covers an area of ​​75 hectares. More on the racecourse from the Paris tourist office in English here: Paris tourist office on the Saint Cloud racecourse

The first Pont de Saint-Cloud bridge appeared in history in 841 during a conflict between Charles le Chauve and Lothaire I ,the sovereigns therefore crossed the Seine by boat, and the course was they will died. Well, François I having already died in Rambouillet, made his convoy paraded on the bridge and the embarrassing tradition was broken without risk, the king being already dead. The wooden bridge was then demolished and in 1556, his son Henri II built a magnificent bridge made up of eleven stone arches. Napoleon ordered its repair in 1808, it was 12.8 meters wide. It was then rebuilt in 1940 and widened to 30 meters, for a length of 186 meters. Copper-clad metal deck crosses the Seine in a single spray, simply placed on six rows of columns of reinforced concrete. In order to allow circulation along the quays, underground passages have been laid out on both banks. The Avre reservoirs are four reservoirs built between 1891 and 1938 to allow water to be stored before it is transported to Paris. This water is routed from the department of Eure-et-Loir thanks to a 102 km long aqueduct passing through the passarelle de l’Avre footbridge. At the Avenue de Longchamp, in Saint-Cloud, a bronze statue commissioned by the Air Club of France represents the character of Greek mythology Icarus, in honor of Santos Dumont. The monument is located in a square near the old Aeroestation of Saint-Cloud, where Santos-Dumont carried out its experiments on heavier than air, and the monument was inaugurated on October 19, 1913.

In October 2011, the town of Saint Cloud joined the “Imperial City” group, created jointly by the towns of Saint-Cloud, Rueil-Malmaison, Compiègne and Fontainebleau. The aim of this group is to enhance, from a tourist and cultural point of view, the Napoleonic heritage linked to the First and Second Empire. It must be said that in Saint-Cloud this heritage is very present with the Saint-Clodoald Church erected under the Second Empire, the house of the famous composer Charles Gounod dating from the 19C, and of course, the National Estate, witness to ‘a time when the Château de Saint-Cloud was one of the most prominent places in the country. There are other cities in Europe, the webpage is here for reference: Imperial cities on Saint Cloud

In 1929, Jean Cocteau entered the Saint-Cloud clinic for the second time trying to detoxify himself from opium. He took the opportunity to write Les Enfants terribles in 17 days. Also, some nice films I have enjoyed over time with some location here are from the 1955-56, Elena et les Hommes of Jean Renoir, at the Bois de Saint-Cloud; in 1966, Le Grand Restaurant of Jacques Besnard with Louis de Funès, with a scene in the park of Saint-Cloud.

Ok so all that , and what was that I came here often, almost every weekend while living in Versailles? Well, Le Savour Club went to the Les Chais du Savour St Cloud at 12 Bis Rue De Dailly was an extraordinary wine cellars where you buy the best of France and tasted before purchase. They held many wine tasting events and many pairings with delicious dinners and an experience crowd. We love it and could not resist driving here to be in it.  Several times we had our lunch just a bit below facing the Place Georges Clemenceau ,the Bistrot Le Saint Cloud at 2 Rue De Dailly , which I am afraid could not verifie if still open.I am sad to see ,it has now become more a beer place than wine, Craft Beers & Cie even if still keep the wine status in their store in Lille. See the new webpage here: The Savour Club Saint Cloud

saint cloud

Surely , memories forever, and as often the case nothing is eternal. The anecdote in all of this long post, is that for a great town, close to me never dwell into its things to see but went as an everyday resident/local for the wines and the occassional lunch and that it was. One more spot of my belle France that need to see more in depth time and health permitting. Hope you have enjoy the post, and maybe tell me about Saint Cloud yourselves.

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

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June 27, 2020

Getting around Rennes!!!

So why have I not posted on Rennes transports! Well ,it is only the capital of the region of Brittany/Bretagne and go often business and pleasure. I have not written a post on public transports or getting around or to Rennes in my blog, and its a shame. I will try to remedy that now even if it is a big task. Hoping not to leave anything out. And of course, that it will be useful to all. Therefore, here is my take on getting around Rennes!!!

First , let me give you a brief introduction on the city of Rennes as have already plenty on history and things to see elsewhere in my blog. Rennes is the capital of the Ille-et-Vilaine department 35 and of the Brittany region. The city is located in Upper Brittany at the confluence of the Ille and the Vilaine rivers, hence the dept name. It is about 308 km from Paris and is therefore offset from the Lille-Paris-Lyon-Marseille axis structuring the French territory. The city of Rennes covers 50 km2, including more than 8 km of green spaces and public gardens. To give further idea of its location ,it is ,also, 128 km from Angers, 210 of Brest, 154 km of Caen, 180 km of Quimper, and Le Havre is at 204 km, La Rochelle 220 km, Nantes 120 km, Saint Malo 63 km, Vitré 35 km, Redon 58k, Paimpont 37 km and from me it is at 129 km.

It is in Rennes that the Conference of the Cities of the Atlantic Arc was created in 2000.  The Conference of Cities of the Atlantic Arc is a network of local authorities which works with different institutions to highlight the role of the cities of the Atlantic Arc in Europe. Its hq is at Rennes, more here: Atlantic Cities as Rennes

The city is very easily accessible as it is located at the crossroads of a star network of expressways. If you’re driving, Rennes is three and a half hours away from Paris via the A11 and A81. As usual we took the D16 out to the D117 and on the N24 to Rennes coming into the city by the N24. Even on market day,  but were able to find street parking for the day for two euros at rue Legraveren off rue Saint Malo. Other times we parked by the train station Gare Sud  which is great several floors of parking, we stay for about 3 hours and only paid 3,80€  or the market Lices underground.  In terms of road transport, you have the  RN 157 to the east towards Vitré, Laval, Le Mans and Paris. The RN 137 south to Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux. The RN 24 to the west towards Vannes, Lorient and Quimper. The RN 12 north-west towards Saint-Brieuc and Brest. The RD 137 north towards Dinan, Dinard and Saint-Malo. The A84 north east towards Fougères, Caen, Rouen and Lille. The city is also served by three structuring roads being upgraded to 2 × 2 lanes such as the RD 163 in the south east towards Châteaubriant and Angers. The RD 177 south west towards Redon and Saint-Nazaire. The RD 175 north towards Saint-Aubin-d’Aubigné and Le Mont-Saint-Michel. All these roads connect to the Rennes Rocade or ring road which provides a complete motorway bypass of 31 km around the city.

Rennes

Paid C-Park car parks managed by Citédia: Arsenal, entrance by Boulevard de la Tour and Rue Pierre Abélard . Colombier entrance by Rue Plélo, Rue du Puits Mauger and Rue du Capitaine Maignan .Dinan Chezy,entrance by Rue du Louis d’Or. Charles de Gaulle-Gare entrance by  Rue d’Isly and Rue Yvonne Jean-Haffen. Gare Sud entrance by Rue Quineleu and Rue de l’Alma. Halles Centrale entrance by Place Honoré Commeurec. Hoche,entrance by Place Hoche. Kennedy-Villejean entrance by Rue du Bourbonnais.  Kléber,entrance by Rue Kléber. Les Lices (market) entrance by Place des Lices(market), and Vilaine entrance by Quai Duguay Trouin and Quai Lamennais. There is also, the parc relay which allow you to come by car on the outside and come to city center in public transports, these are Dinan Chezy, Les Lices, Hoche, Vilaine, Kleber, Charles de Gaulle-Gare, and Colombier.

More on these parkings here: C Park parkings Rennes

rennes

The LGV/TGV Brittany, takes you from the train station or Gare de Rennes to Paris Montparnasse in about 190 minutes (taken several times) ,and 45 minutes from Le Mans by TGV. Rennes is also accessible from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport , Massy TGV,  and Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland). It is also a multimodal transport node with the connection of the bus network and the metro. Rennes train station is also at the center of the peri-urban TER network of the Rennes urban area. There are also two other stations on the town’s territory: Rennes-Pontchaillou near the Pontchaillou hospital (memories there with my dear late wife Martine) and Rennes 2 university, on the Rennes – Saint-Malo line, and Rennes-La Poterie train station located southeast of the city on the Rennes – Châteaubriant line.

Gare de Rennes: SNCF gare de Rennes

TER gare de Rennes: TER SNCF trains of Rennes

rennes

rennes

Another airport that I have used is the Rennes airport located at Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande .Just an hour away from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport. Taking just 90 minutes, you can also enjoy direct flights to Rennes from a number of major European cities such as London, Southampton, Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester, Dublin, Cork, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rome, etc. The Rennes-Saint-Jacques airport is a mere 20 minutes (7 km ) away from the city center, take the bus C6 or a taxi. More info here: Rennes airport

rennes

For your trips throughout the metropolis, the STAR network offers a metro line, 150 bus lines, relay parks, several bicycle rental services, a car-sharing app and, to link it all, the STAR app. It has a metro line, 150 bus lines (70 regular lines and 80 school lines), which serve the 43 towns of the Rennes metropolis. More info here: Star Rennes transport network

Rennes

The KorriGo Services card allows you to load all STAR transport tickets (bus, metro, Star self-service bicycle) as well as TER Bretagne and BreizhGo tickets. How to get one here can be translated : Star network Korrigo transport card

The metro runs (except summer period): Monday to Wednesday from 5h15 to 0h45; Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 0h25; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5h15 am to 01h45 am; Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 01h25, Sundays and public holidays from 7h25 to 0h45 and Last departures of J.F. Kennedy and La Poterie: 0h25. The metro line connects the Pottery to J.F. Kennedy and serves 15 stations. Among them, 4 stations are in the immediate vicinity of Parcs Relais parkings.  The pdf file metro map here: Metro map

Public transports for the region of Brittany  can be found at Breizhgo here: Brittany public transports planner Breizhgo

Rennes tourist information centre ,main at 1 rue Saint-Malo, tel +33 (0) 891 67 35 35 Email : infos@tourisme-rennes.com

A new phenomenon taken place here and elsewhere in France, is the bike ride. So here is general information for it as I have not try it.

The bicycle express network consists mainly of cycle links located between Rennes and the towns of the first belt, and will serve 80% of the inhabitants of Rennes Métropole. The Maison du vélo  or Bike House will open at the multimodal exchange hub of Rennes during 2020. This place of nearly 180 m2 will offer the services already offered on rue du Puits-Mauger which are temporarily installed in the Colombier district, rue du Puits-Mauger, pending final opening in the future station, in 2020.  The Maison du vélo will be complemented by an itinerant Maison du vélo (an equipped bus), which will circulate throughout the metropolis, as well as by the opening of 3 service centers in the Poterie, Saint-Jacques-Gaîté and Cesson-ViaSilva. Pedestrians and cyclists will have priority in a sector contained between rue de l’Hotel Dieu to the north, boulevard de la Liberté to the south, boulevard de Chézy to the west and the Guillaudot / Gambetta axis to the east. the establishment of a meeting area in place of the current area 30. The principles of the meeting area are as follows: 20 km / h maximum with priority from the weakest to the strongest, possibility for pedestrians to move on the road, and for cyclists to circulate in both directions. The City of Rennes will experiment with its first bike ride between Place Pasteur and Place de Bretagne. The north quays such as Chateaubriand, Lamartine and Duguay Trouin  will be reserved for cyclists (two-way cycling) and for waterfront services. Concretely, the quai Lamartine will be closed to general traffic (immediate waterfront access, deliveries and emergency vehicles only), while waterfront services and parking will be maintained on the qaui Chateaubriand  (mandatory exit by rue Jean Jaurès, rue Edith Cavell, Place du Parlement and Rue Victor Hugo) and the Quai Dugay Trouin (access maintained by rue de la Monnaie, rue de Clisson, rue Dugesclin, rue de l’Horloge and rue de Rohan). More info here : Star network on bikes in Rennes

Also, bike parks to be found at the C Park parking site: C Park parkings see Vélos or Bikes

rennes

As noted in my last visit to the city before the virus, traffic has increase enormously with heavy lock down all over similar to the situation in Paris. Either cars will be out totally or chaos will reign as with the number of persons, one cannot eliminate roads without alternative solutions.

The city of Rennes on parkings roads transports etc in French: City of Rennes Metropole on transports

Rennes tourist office on things to see: Rennes tourist office on things to see

And there you go folks, hope it helps you getting around and to Rennes, the capital of Brittany, my region. As well , to see Rennes a wonderful city as evidence by my many posts on it. Hope you enjoy it

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

June 26, 2020

Gare de Nantes!!!

Well here I am again to tell you about a train station, ho ho ho. Yes folks again, I do take public transports in France as needed. You know my line…. is a custom to do so here ,and I am following right alone the practices. And this is from even before moving permanently to France and before been a French citizen….. train travel is a every day life chores here.

One of the train stations I have used the most in France is the one in Nantes. Simply because in my going out of my area, the Nantes Atlantique airport (see post) is a requirement and from close to my home either Auray or Vannes there is TER connection to the Gare de Nantes, and then an airport express bus to the airport. So when duty calls, and the car is not, then the train it is, and Nantes wins heads down.

Therefore , let me tell you a bit on the Gare de Nantes or Nantes train station. A bit of history I like is call for…

The Gare de Nantes train station ,formerly the Gare Nantes-Orléans train station is the main passenger train station in the Nantes area, located in the Loire-Atlantique department 44, in the Pays de la Loire region. The Gare de Nates replace in the   mid-tw20C the old station of Nantes-Orléans, run by the company of Paris-Orléans. The former central station of Nantes, the Orleans station is built on the site of the Prairie de Mauves which was call as such until 1887, at rue Stanislas-Baudry, that is to say slightly further west of the current station. It was inaugurated in November 1853, two years after the arrival of the first trains from the Orleans Railway Company.

The gare d’Orléans station is then a line terminus coming from Paris-Orléans station, today Austerlitz. It consists of a hall closed by a western frontispiece, surmounted by three sculptures representing the alliance of Nantes with the Loire and the Atlantic Ocean. To the north, the building adjoins another station, that of the Petit Anjou, a local line which served Cholet from the east, while following the tracks of the State network.  The Loire floods, which threaten the collapse of the platforms on which the tracks are located, could thus can cause a significant disruption of rail traffic to the port of Saint-Nazaire and the seaside resorts of the Côte d’Amour, for the authorities, the pretext for starting work to fill the northern arms of the river and its tributary, the Erdre. Severely damaged by the bombings of WWII, the building was gradually dismantled from 1949. The restructuring of the post-war SNCF network leads to the centralization of passenger traffic at Orléans station at the expense of the State station, which keeps only its freight activity.

It was not until 1965 that work was undertaken to build an entirely new station. The works were completed in 1968, and it was not until May 28, 1972 that the gare d’Orléans station took the name of gare de Nantes station. The gare sud or south station was inaugurated in 1989 for the arrival of the TGV. More modern than the gare nord or north station, it has a Richemont stone facade made up of a large glazed hall made of canopies made of cable beams. The roof of the building is made of a polyester fabric and coated with PVC. It has several ticket offices, a tobacconist, a tea room and a cafeteria. The hall also gives direct access to the Mercure hotel. It is connected to the main underground by a large gentle slope, and to the small underground located to the west by a staircase and an elevator. The two stations are thus directly connected by two passages. The whole station includes two passenger buildings to the north and south of the 15 tracks, an administrative building on the north side, as well as two overhead car parks near each of the two passenger buildings. The passenger building covered on the terrace, 160 meters long, has a basement, a ground floor and a first floor with a central hall of 644 m2 rising over the entire height of the building. The administrative building rises 30 meters high with a basement, a ground floor and 7 additional floors to the east of the passenger building and has the same decor and materials on the east and west facades as the latter. On the west side of the departure hall, a large sales area has been set up where you can inquire and buy or exchange tickets. On the east side is a tobacco / press and a bakery / pastry shop. A large underground passage leads to the gare nord in the departure hall by a gentle slope and to the arrival hall by stairs. A narrower underground passage west of it leads only to the departure hall by a staircase and an elevator. It has been closed since 2018 as part of the work planned for the new development which will see the light of day in 2020…. Access to tracks 1, 52, 53, 54 and 55, however, is directly from the departure hall which is open to the platform.

nantes

nantes

The gare de Nantes train station is connected to Paris Montparnasse in 2 hours + and to Lyon, Lille, Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier directly by TGV. In addition, an international Nantes – Brussels link is open, thanks to the extension of an already existing Nantes – Lille relationship. Intercity trains also serve the gare de Nantes station to Bordeaux and to Lyon. The station is also the point of convergence of the main TER Pays de la Loire lines and in particular the Interloire line, in collaboration with the Centre-Val de Loire region, to and from Orleans. Also, with the TER Bretagne coming from Auray or Vannes the ones I take. A very nice ride indeed and very much on time!

nantes

Nantes

Plenty of interconnection here and even great covered parkings that I have used even when just visiting the city on a personal family visit.

Nantes

There is the Tramway line 1 direction François Mitterand / Jamet Beaujoire / Ranzay Station located in front of the station, North side or gare nord.

nantes

The Gare Routiére or bus terminal is located on the esplanade Pierre-Semard which notably links the city center and the Commerce station. The bus Line 5 which has its terminus at Gare Sud serves the île de Nantes, via Malakoff, and only serves Commerce by night service. The station Duchesse Anne – Château , which connects tram line 1 with bus line 4 is about 400 meters from this tram station. The bus station gare sud has urban and interurbain buse lines, the local ones are the lines C2 Gare SNCF Sud-Le Cardo, line C3 Boulevard de Doulon- Boulevard Charles Gautier, and line C5 Gare SNCF Sud – Quai des Antilles.

The lines Chronobus C2, C3 and C5 as above do the first two connect the city center and the Commerce station: the C2 then joins the Cardo district in Orvault in the north, while the C3 connects the Dervallières district in the west to the Doulon district in the east, via the Malakoff district. There are ,also, 21 departmental and regional bus lines on the TAN network also serve the gare sud or south train station. More info on TAN in French here: https://www.tan.fr/fr/itineraires

The one I take always is the Airport Express Bus (see airport post). The most practical ,connecting the airport with the train station gare Sud or South station at Quai Malakoff, along the canal St Félix ,on the south side of the train station. The ride is very nice, every 20 minutes or so and leaves you at both in just across the entrances. I have used it extensively these last several years. The cost today (before the virus) was 9€ one way. You go outside cross the arrival road across Hall 2, clearly mark. Official TAN (bus/tramway network of Nantes) schedule and prices are here: TAN bus network of Nantes on the airport express bus

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The SNCF on the Gare de NantesGares et connexions SNCF on gare de Nantes

The Oui SNCF on the Gare de Nantes and local transports: Oui SNCF on gare de Nantes and transports

The TER trains of the Pays de la Loire region on Gare de Nantes: TER SNCF on gare de Nantes

The city metro area of Nantes on public transports and trains: Metropole Nantes on public transports

The Nantes tourist office on Gare de NantesNantes tourist office on Gare de Nantes

You are now well arm to whiz thru the Gare de Nantes in style and feel the breeze of the sea nearby, not to mention easy walk into city center, where I have even stayed in hotels on my travels in and out.

It’s a smallish train station and very easy to navigate with plenty of panels. Once into the tunnels to the platforms you need to compost your ticket in yellow machines at the entrance to the tunnel or underground passage. There is plenty to eat and drink on lighter side of things at entrance to this passages and on the ticket counters facing esplanade Pierre Semard. Not to mention just across the street are my favorite eating outs already mentioned in previous posts. Hope you enjoy the trip and the beaches in Summer and Nantes a wonderful historical city of my belle France.

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

 

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