Archive for June 5th, 2020

June 5, 2020

Some news from France, CCCVII

I like to dedicate this post of my series Some news from France on transports, public especially and the ongoing reduction of access to Paris especially. If you have read my blog, you know that I have taken all kinds of transportation modes in France from co voiturage or car sharing to velib bikes passing by the most common ones. I have said many times as my love of the road that I take it as a road warrior to move from one town to the next is the best anywhere.

The road with family has no equals and recommended to all as far as I am concern. This roads I have taken all over Europe even to London yes. However, you have to use common sense and we all know that once we arrive at our destination in a city the best way is to walk it. Never mind those mechanical distractions, walking is the best way to see a city ,anywhere. We have done even with elderly persons as grandparents and parents with much delight over the years. We intend to continue.

Polititians of every mood try to change your mind on transports and in Paris we have the mayor’s election June 28th if all continues well with the virus. The changing of traffic lanes without any valuable alternative is crazy, common sense should tell you that if you have four lanes and you close one, traffic will increase , it will not improved , more congestion and more pollution on idle engines stuck in traffic all over the cities. I happened to be in Paris before the confinement with a company car VW Tiguan automatic! Yet the traffic is horrendous due to lane closing, and even me with savvy tricks driving in Paris, needed to take evasive action to get on alternative streets in order to get out of the city!! The solution is park relay park from way back but the politians did not spend the money then and will not now too expensive as you can imagine Paris is.

Let me tell you some news on this mess cause by incompetent politians as there are plenty. By the way, I know personally the mayor of Paris Anne (Ana) Hidalgo, she is a native of San Fernando, Cadiz, Spain and speak fluent Spanish as a dual national citizen of France and Spain as I am.

Recently, in an interview with Liberation (French communist newspaper) this past Wednesday, June 3, Anne Hidalgo said she would like to perpetuate the pedestrian streets and the temporary cycle paths created to unclog transport if she is re-elected on June 28, the outgoing mayor intends to “maintain these tracks that we saw it emerge from the ground, “she told Liberation. “I would like, for example, to be able to reserve the axis of the City/Town Hall in Concorde for electric vehicles and shuttles, in particular for serving shops, as well as taxis”. Would the rue de Rivoli with cars soon be only a distant memory?  The use of bikes has its rules which are not regulated by sufficient police as they need to be careful  and stop at a red light; the pedestrian engaged on the road has priority; bike path does not mean velodrome, especially when a family group takes the bike path with young children …!

Saturated, poorly maintained, uncomfortable , the Ile-de-France transport network does not live up to its promises, according to a report by the Cour des comptes (Court of Auditors). If the SNCF and RATP are pinned, it is up to users to contribute more, say the Sages of rue Cambon. What is wrong with public transport? With 7.4 million Ile-de-France travelers, who use 1,700 km of lines every day, the Ile-de-France network turns out to be unsuitable and above all saturated, explains the Court of Auditors in their report. This is not new it has been like this for years, my family on wife’s side works for the SNCF and the City of Paris!

Further, a very dense and very busy but also quite dilapidated network, which we do not give the means to be maintained in state. As well as political choices coming from the city or the region which are completely incomprehensible; city of Paris gives to a private company with as a result garbage trucks which clutter the streets at rush hour.
The punctuality of trains has also declined in recent years. As proof, none of the RER lines meets its objectives set by the region. 15% of trains are late on RER A, and 13% on RER B, which has risen sharply in the past two years. The rails, the tracks and the trains date from the 1980s. The infrastructure is dropping the number of travelers, which has been constantly increasing, has pushed the system beyond its limits. Today, we have arrived at such a point that the slightest grain of sand comes to stop train by technical problems or mechanics. We do not see how we can get out of it by according to the union group Force Ouvrière (FO) delegate.

Take Paris, one of the most expensive cities in the world, where more than a million Ile-de-France residents cross the ring road (boulevard périphérique) daily to come and work in the city. Among these people, who do not necessarily have the means to afford housing in the capital (where real estate exceeds 10,000 euros per square meter), 25% use their car every day. As for the others, they use public transport, saturated and dilapidated. And if everyone were to favor the metro or buses as the avowed aim of taxation is to encourage a change in behavior, the crowds would be far too large for the system to hold. This would cause a counterproductive rebound effect for general mobility. As they try to imitate London with a congestion fee, but won’t work here in Paris. The solution is known to all, redirect public transport where is used the most and build car parks like in cities like Nantes or Rennes in my area or even Bruges in Belgium which I used.

Weak alternatives that do not remedy the situation according to many experts on TV ,radio, programs here, and , also clutters the streets like they do in Asian cities  are the personal cycling or vélo as an alternative for getting around locally. With an increasingly dense cycling network, the Paris gives you access to varied routes. Géovélo, GPS app for cyclists, can help you find your way.  The Vélib ’Métropole gives you access to more than 16,500 self-service, electric and mechanical bikes, distributed over nearly 1,400 stations in Paris and the metropolis. Another alternative, the trottinette/scooter or the gyroroue. Their circulation is possible on cycle paths and on roads. Driving on the sidewalks is strictly prohibited and punishable by a fine of 135 euros (who enforces this do not see it). It is advisable to wear a helmet, a reflective vest and gloves. Cityscoot, the rental service for electric trottinnette/scooters with free access to Paris offers everyone a completely new mode of fluid travel to move freely. Mobilib’ offers (carsharing without dedicated stations) You can use the offers labeled by the City of Paris. Three operators offer this service in the city. Each has its own commercial offers. Car2Go; Ada Paris (ex Moov’in Paris); and Free2Move. With Mobilib ’, you have reserved spaces to bring your vehicle back after use. Four operators offer the Mobilib ‘service in Paris. Each company offers specific commercial offers. Ada; Communauto; Getaround (ex-Drivy); and Ubeeqo. court-voiturage or short-haul car sharing is a form of carpooling reserved for short and frequent journeys, in particular between home and work. Here are some operators who offer this service.;;; and And of course, if you have time in front of you, you can choose walking. For this, equip yourself with a good pair of walking shoes and go for it, Paris is eternal walking it!!! our best shot!

And of course, even the taxis who are cars too, are having a hell of a time to move you about Paris! One tour with a G7 taxi tells you to look ahead, on the bus lane !, exclaims the taxi driver. Four bicycle taxis, four hybrid bikes, eight taxis, a RATP bus, a tourist coach. And scooters that slalom, a touk-touk that weaves on the right, while a motorcycle makes us a fishtail. In addition he grumbles, that one! No, but it’s amazing, he raises his fist, when he’s not allowed to roll there. ” By taxi, bus or car, traffic in Paris has become “hell”, complain many Parisians. With consequences in cascade on their private life. at G7. They developed a certain number of reflexes and found alternative routes, but that shifts the flow onto other paths… which also block them. ” Yes all are block in Paris!!

Some webpages to help you guide you in the public transports maze of Paris nowdays and is getting worse not better are

The Paris tourist office on how to get around hopefully: Paris tourist office on practical info on getting around

RATP Paris transports: RATP

Ïle de France region Transilien on transports: Transilien

A greater Grand Paris area on transports, best me think is VianavigoVianavigo

A blog by Paris on transports in the city in French, Transport Paris canalblog

The RATP Paris transport on traffic information, a must before you go especially nowdays in English: RATP traffic information

An organistation for the defense of the car driver with alternative solutions for traffic laws and transports in France, 40 millions d’automobilistes (about the number of driving licenses in France)in French: 40millions d’automobilistes France

Now I have taken many modes of transports in Paris for the coming year not counting the effect of the virus these are the works, renovation,closing and hazards of public transport in Paris for the rest of the year. Good luck!

RER B: June 14, 2020: Period: all day / Dates: Sunday May 31 and Sunday June 14 / Traffic is interrupted between Paris Nord and Aulnay-sous-Bois. A replacement bus service is set up. / Reason: maintenance work.  From May 25 to June 26, 2020: Period: from 23h / Dates: Monday May 25 to Friday June 26, 2020 (weeks and weekends) / Traffic is interrupted between Paris Nord and Charles de Gaulle Airport 2 (Terminal 2 ) and between Paris Nord and Mitry – Claye, in both directions. / Reason: maintenance and renovation work postponed due to the COVID19 health situation. From May 18 to June 30, 2020: Period: from 23h to late evening / Dates: Monday May 11 to Tuesday June 30, 2020 except Saturdays and Sundays. / Traffic is interrupted between Aulnay-sous-Bois and Charles de Gaulle Airport 2 (Terminal 2). A replacement bus service has been set up, serving intermediate stations. / Reason: maintenance work.

RER C:  Until July 14, 2020: Direction (s) concerned: Avenue Henri Martin – Gare d’Austerlitz – Javel / Period: all weekends and all public holidays. / Date: until Tuesday, July 14, 2020 inclusive / Every weekend and public holiday, no train runs between Invalides and Musée d’Orsay. Trains to Dourdan and Saint-Martin d’Etampes depart from Paris Austerlitz. / Reason: maintenance work.

Transilien line J : From May 30 to June 28, 2020: Period: every weekend / Dates: from Saturday May 30 to Monday June 1 inclusive, Saturday June 6 and Sunday June 7, Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14 and Saturday June 27 and Sunday June 28 / Traffic is interrupted between Paris Saint-Lazare and Mantes-la-Jolie via Poissy. A replacement bus service is set up between Les Mureaux and Mantes la Jolie, with service to intermediate stations. Regular bus lines are reinforced. / Reason: EOLE works.

Transilien line L : Until 2021: Dates: from Monday July 7, 2019 until 2021 / Closure of the Great West Belt (Noisy le Roi – St Germain GC). A replacement bus service is set up between Noisy le Roi and St-Germain GC, with service to intermediate stations. / Reason: Tram 13 works

Metro line 4:  From January 5 to December 17, 2020: Due to work, traffic is interrupted on the entire line from Sunday January 5 to Thursday December 17, 2020 inclusive, Monday to Thursday only, from 23h30 to end of service and on Sunday morning until 12 noon.

Metro line 3:  From April 15, 2019 to April 2021: Due to renovations, the connecting corridor is closed between Auber and Opéra from April 15, 2019.

Metro line 6:  From July 27 to August 19, 2020: From Monday July 27, 2020, every day, due to works, traffic will be interrupted between Trocadero and Charles de Gaulle-Etoile stations on Metro line 6 until Wednesday 19 August 2020. From June 29 to August 30, 2020: From Monday June 29, 2020, daily, due to work, the Sevres-Lecourbe station will be closed on Line 6 of the Metro until Sunday, August 30, 2020. From August 31 to October 18, 2020: From Monday August 31, 2020, every day, due to work, the stop will not be marked at 22h at the end of service at Sevres-Lecourbe station on Metro line 6 until Sunday October 18, 2020.

Metro line 7 : From April 15, 2019 to April 2021: Due to renovations, the connecting corridor is closed between Auber and Opéra from April 15, 2019.

Metro line 13: From June 1 to 4, 2020: From Monday, June 1, 2020, due to work, traffic will be disrupted from 23h30  at the end of service on Line 13 of the Metro until Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Metro line 14: From March 22 to July 5, 2020: Due to modernization works, the line will be closed on Sundays (and Saturday May 30) from March 22 to July 5, 2020 inclusive: Sunday May 10, total closure of the line until 17h . / Sunday May 17, total closure of the line until 17h / Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 May, total closure all day. / Sunday June 14, total closure of the line until 17h. / Sunday June 28, total closure of the line until  17h.

And of course, more of the same for the T1 tramway; T2 tramway , and T3b tramway.

Now you are prepared, do not say I didn’t told you so but be prepared, Paris has become a zoo to move about , and if going by the renown tourist sites like the Louvre along the quai des Tuileries forget it at night it is not moving cross the seine as soon as possible and get on the back to Châtelet: Thank you Mrs Hidalgo!!!

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

June 5, 2020

The ceilings of Versailles!!!

And as I read doors , halls, flowers , etc I have taken to something personal  where I am friends of the Castle/museum and while living there fully enjoyed it as my backyard, literally. I, of course, have several posts on Versailles and many many on the castle/museum, but there is always more. More is needed for the beauty of our world and my belle France. Even thru time and ups and downs its still there glowing better than ever, almost….

I have look at my photos and found have several on ceilings of the castle/museum so why not showcasing them in one single post. Here is my take on the ceilings of Versailles, the castle/museum that is. Hope you enjoy it as i do.

The Galerie des Glaces or gallery of mirrors. The ceiling is decorated with nearly 1,000 m2 of paintings from the workshop of Charles Le Brun illustrating the achievements of the first twenty years of Louis XIV’s personal reign. The large central painting represents the first episode: Louis XIV turns away from pleasures and games to begin to exercise his power personally.


The Chambre du Roi or bedroom of the king. The ceiling done by Nicolas Coustou producing the stucco allegory of La France watching over the King’s sleep over hanging the bed.


The Chambre de la Reine or bedroom of the queen. The ceiling show the compartmentalization of the ceiling dating back to Queen Marie-Thérèse, but the grisaille paintings by Boucher were done for Marie Leszczinska, as well as the woodwork. All these elements were preserved from the time of Marie-Antoinette, for whom only the furniture and the fireplace were delivered new.


The Chapelle Royale or Royal Chapel. The ceiling of the vault, which Hardouin-Mansart wanted without any double arch to make it a completely united surface, is dedicated to the Holy Trinity: in the center, God the Father in his glory by Antoine Coypel, in the apse La Résurrection by Charles de La Fosse and, above the royal gallery, The Descent of the Holy Spirit by Jean Jouvenet.


The Salon de Diane or Diana’s room or louis XIV. The central part of the ceiling executed by Gabriel Blanchard represents Diane presiding over navigation and hunting.


The Salon de la Paix or Peace room. The ceiling is composed of five paintings of France giving peace to Europe, in the center, Spain accepts peace; Christian Europe in peace; Germany accepts peace and Holland accepts peace.


The Salon de Mars or Mars’s room . In the center of the ceiling, Claude Audran painted Mars on a chariot drawn by wolves. The work is framed by two compositions; one, to the east, by Jouvenet: Victory supported by Hercules followed by Abundance and Bliss; the other, to the west, by Houasse: Terror, Fury and Horror seizing the powers of the earth.


The Salon du Grand Couvert or large covered living room . The ceiling is entirely decorated with paintings compartmentalized by elements of gilded stucco. Originally the guards’ room, the room was first equipped with a central ceiling dedicated to Mars and as it is the queen’s apartment, the paintings of the arches represent heroines of Antiquity who are illustrated by their courage. These are six compositions in shades of gold imitating bas-reliefs: two to the north and to the south, one to the east and to the west: arches south above the windows: Clélie fleeing with her Compagnes, by Paillet; Harpalice delivering his father, by Vignon. northern arch: Artemisia fighting the Greeks at the battle of Salamis, by Paillet; Zenobia fighting against the Emperor Aurelian, by Paillet. western arch above the chimney: Rodogune swears to avenge the death of her husband, by Vignon. arch is: Hypsicrates following her husband Mithridates at war, by Paillet.


The Salle du Trône ou Apollon or Apollo’s -Throne’s room .The Salon of Apollo is dedicated to the Greek god, god of the sun, with whom the Sun King identified. Commissioned by Louis XIV, the ceiling is a painting by Charles de La Fosse which represents Apollo on his chariot dragged by four couriers, accompanied by the figures of France, Magnanimity and Magnificence and the Procession of the seasons figured by Flore, Cérès, Bacchus and Saturn in the center. The arches represent Porus led to Alexander , Coriolan raising the siege of Rome at the request of his mother, Vespasian raising the Colosseum in Rome , and Augustus building the port of Misene.


Escalier au Grand Nobles or Stair to grand nobles. The ceiling were done in 1680, it was quickly the most visited in the castle. It is built almost entirely in marble except for its steps which are made of stone. It is decorated with a trompe-l’oeil on the wall.


I do this out of habit but rather give the tourist offices for ease in planning , always handy, hope it helps

The official Castle/museum of VersaillesChâteau de Versailles

And lets not forget the Tourist office of the city of Versailles on the castle/museum: tourist office city of Versailles on the Château de Versailles

And there  ,now another post and souvenir in my blog on my wonderful sublime beautiful palace of Versailles, and not forget there is more than the palace in the Domaine and plenty more in the city of Versailles!  Enjoy the ceilings of Versailles!

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

June 5, 2020

Wines news of France II !!

Ok so here I am in a nice sunny day in my Morbihan Breton and need to tell you the latest about wines of France. Enough of the story of me and wines, you can read in my wine posts in my blog over the years since 2010! However, Bordeaux is in the news and I love it!

The 2019 will have been a very good vintage for the exports of the Bordeaux Grands Crus and therefore the members of the UGCB (Union of the Bordeaux Grands Crus). Despite a difficult international situation such as Brexit in the United Kingdom, implementation of Trump taxes in the United States, demonstrations in Hong Kong. Nevertheless exports jumped 12%, to 1.154 billion euros, over twelve months at the end of June 2020. An increase of 27% over two years ,the figures that represent bottles sold at more than 22.50 euros, representative of the members of the Union. “Greater China”, bringing together mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao, retains its rank as the leading market, ahead of the United Kingdom, which is putting the United States on the back burner closing the podium.

This Greater China is the first market, with 360 million euros of exports in 2019 for 3.75 million bottles. Good point for 2020: affected first by the coronavirus pandemic, China should restart well before Europe and the United States, recognizes the president of the UGCB. Between the figures established in June 2019 for the previous twelve months and those given for the whole year, the United Kingdom took second place in the ranking of the main markets of the Union of Grands Crus of Bordeaux, thus dethroning the United States with 179 million euros in turnover for 1.6 million bottles exported, which makes the average bottle price very high, above 100 euros. Despite the 25% surcharge tax place mid-October 2019 by the Trump Administration on imports of French wines (grading more than 14 degrees of alcohol) which undoubtedly altered sales, the great wines of Bordeaux still achieved 177 million euros turnover for 2.5 million bottles. With an average price of the bottle around 70 euros, far from the prices noticed in the United Kingdom or in China Historically, the big cities of the East and West coasts are the first buyers of great wines of Bordeaux, in particular New York, which remains the stronghold, but Chicago and Texas also represent important spots.

During all weekends in June,2020 , the castles Lafon-Rochet (Saint-Estèphe), Siran (Margaux), Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac), Carbonnieux (Pessac-Léognan) and Ferrand (Saint-Emilion) open their doors to discover their domain, their cellars and vats as well as a preview, the tasting of their 2019 vintage. These free visits are made by appointment from 10h to 17h, with five slots per day, for groups composed of six to eight people maximum.

An 18C charterhouse built by the Lautrec family, cellar, 360-degree terrace, Château Siran, managed by a family owner since 1859, has both a flowered garden and a fallout shelter. Contact for visits email:

The Château Lafon-Rochet is a flamboyant yellow family estate surrounded by 41 hectares of vines, including those of great wine which are at least 35 years old and some vines date from 1938. Contacts for visits email: visits @ lafon-rochet. com

At Château Haut-Bages Libéral, founded in the 18C, the appellation includes 18 classified growths, including three of the first five classified great growths of 1855, and the property’s wine is certified organic from the 2019 vintage. Contacts for visits email

 A change of scenery with a history dating from the 13C, hundred-year-old trees, white and red winery, for Château Carbonnieux, which also has in its space, a collection of vintage cars. Contacts for visits email:

Finally, the Château de Ferrand, a 32 hectare Grand Cru Classé Saint-Emilion property in the center of a ten hectare park, overlooks the Dordogne valley. Contacts for visits email: wine

Something to spend wonderful times at Bordeaux with its wines and the culinary wonders of the Médoc and Bordeaux, France.  From Saint-Emilion to the Médoc, via the Bordeaux center, from June 2,2020 ; the visitor will once again have a wide choice of tables for elaborate food and wine pairings. Some of my favorites are below:

La Grande Maison by Bernard Magrez, 10, rue Labottière, 33000 Bordeaux. Phone 33 05 35 38 16 16. Menus: 60€, 85€ (lunch), 145€, and195€. Valet parking. Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

La Tupina, 6, rue Porte-de-la-Monnaie, 33000 Bordeaux. Phone.33 05 56 91 56 37. Menus: 18€ (lunch),64€, 74€. Carte around 80€. Valet parking.

Le Pavillon des Boulevards, 20, rue de la Croix-de-Seguey, 33000 Bordeaux. Phone. 33 05 56 81 51 02. Menus: 35€, 40€ (lunch), 95€, and 140€. Carte around 115 €.

Hostellerie de Plaisance, 5, place du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Émilion. Phone. 33 05 57 55 07 55. Menus: 74€ (Discovery, in 3 courses and 2 glasses of wine ,the Sommelier selection, at lunch on Tuesday),140€ Regional menu, 205€ My souvenirs menu . Carte: 150 to 200 € (without drink offered from Tuesday to Saturday, lunch only). Rooms: 395 to 750 €.

L’Envers du décor, 11, rue du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Émilion. Phone.33 05 57 74 48 31. Menus: 26.50€, 32€ (lunch). Carte: around 55 € 3 courses, without drink. Large choice of wines by the glass.

The Baravin de Chasse-Spleen, 32, chemin de la Razé, 33480 Moulis-en-Médoc. Open 7 days a week from May to October. Chasse-Spleen glass of wine from 7 to 14€.

The Château Giscours, 10, route de Giscours, 33460 Labarde. Tel. 33 05 57 97 09 09. Three guest rooms from 185€, breakfast included. Private table for small group.

And finally, some views from well known winegrowers on the outlook of their wine in the 2019 vintage year. It is a super year folks, grab those 2019!! Bordeaux should be in the top.

Nicolas de Bailliencourt co-owner of Château Gazin, in Pomerol: “2019 may be better than 2018 …” 2019 is quite close to 2018. It may even be better. At Château Gazin, it’s a compromise between the very beautiful 2016 and 2018.

Olivier Bernard owner of the Domaine de Chevalier, in Pessac-Léognan: 2019 vintage? For the first time in my life, I hoped for rain is a great vintage. In general, it left on time and arrived the same. Many have imagined that with the very sunny periods that we lived, this vintage would approach 2003 or 2009, warm, generous.

Jean-Charles Cazes co-owner and manager of Château Ormes de Pez: “I classify 2019 in the same category as the 2010, 2016, 2018”. 2019 is a luscious, charming, opulent, generous vintage. The wines are again solar, with lamb’s lettuce, good quality tannins. These are wines that go towards freshness thanks to their acidity.

Philippe Dambrine director of Château Cantemerle, president of the Médoc wine council: “In the style of the wines that I like” The three areas of the Haut-Médoc appellation, long and vast tongue of land sixty kilometers from the south (Blanquefort ) to the north (Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne), all produced a very beautiful 2019.

Jean-Pierre Foubet co-owner of Château Chasse-Spleen, in Moulis-en-Médoc: “The Cabernets have corrected the softness of the Merlot” ;2019 is a superb vintage. “All the wines of the appellation (600 hectares) that I have tasted are successful, with, of course, different expressions depending on the terroir “ In recent vintages, 2019 would be a little notch below 2018, but would be comparable to 2014, a vintage that remained in the shadows because of the beautiful 2015 and 2016.

Emmanuel Danjoy director of Château Clerc Milon, in Pauillac: “A remarkable refining of tannins” With three properties in Pauillac . the Premier Cru Classé Château Mouton Rothschild, and the great classified growths Château d’Armailhac and Château Clerc Milon, we already had a very positive vision of 2019 “This is a great vintage. The terms that stand out during the tastings: nose of fresh black fruit, floral, liquorice . Soft, creamy, unctuous, velvety, silky on the palate. It is rare for Cabernets to present such sweet suave tannins. The finish stretches out with chocolate notes enhanced by a minty freshness. The remarkable balance of the wine, its richness and its tannic quality destine it for a very bright future which is already confirmed by the evolution observed since the beginning of the aging: the wines are built, become more complex, demonstrate an ability to not not be dominated by wood.

François-Xavier Maroteaux co-owner and director of Château Branaire-Ducru: “Both accessible now and long-lasting” The nose of the 2019 is already expressive, full of fruit. Dense, the wine has a nice depth. Very aromatic, it has maturity, great freshness and good acidity. But above all, “I think the 2019 can be appreciated quite quickly, a bit like the 2015 and the 2018”. Branaire-Ducru 2019 is higher than 2015 the alcohol levels are lower than we imagined at the start.

Stephan von Neipperg owner of Château Canon La Gaffelière: “A great integration of tannins” 2019 is one of the great classic vintages of Bordeaux. The wines are incredible, with superb, dark colors, with bluish reflections for the Merlots on limestone soils. Admittedly, 2016 remains a benchmark vintage but the wines are harder, the tannins more solid and marked than in 2019.

Alexander Van Beekdirector of Château Giscours, in Margaux: “An almost perfect balance” In the appellation in general, 2019 is a very great vintage, with beautiful marginal nuances, perfectly balanced between energy, freshness and acidity. Very deep in its style, elegant and precise, 2019 is enormously complex because the body is sumptuously mature.

Jean-Jacques Dubourdieu owner of Château Doisy-Daëne in Barsac: “2019 is above 2018” “We have really produced a nice, homogeneous vintage”. In terms of purity, structure, balance and acidity despite the heat, 2019 in the dry and sweet whites is above 2018. “We find all the classic specificities of Sauternes and Baracs. We are proud of this vintage because we saved it from a complicated state of health by giving us a lot of trouble in the vineyard The sweet 2019 reminds me of 2013 because we had the richness, the acidity and therefore the balance. It differs from more opulent vintages like 2015, 2016, 2009, 2005. My favorite vintages in the field are, in order: 2011, 2013, 2019, 2014.”

So there you go folks another round of wonderful French wines for the world to enjoy, the very best, often trying to imitate but never surpass. The very essence the world copys in all its production runs from grape to bottle. Enjoy Bordeaux, one word is enough. En vinos veritas!

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



June 5, 2020


I give you or giving me another sentimental look at Meaux. In these days of need and hopes, I can only come back to my roots in France and a lovely lady I met in Meaux back in September 1990. We then went on long visiting my Florida USA and then visiting my belle France over the years until finally settled down in France as French in 2003. And on we went into the Morbihan Breton after a stop in Versailles enjoying fully this beautiful country, the no 1 most visited country in the world by UN WTO and for good reasons. The trail ended when she passed away April 30 2018 from the dreaful cancer but hopes continue with my boys in France, by now our adopted country and the only one we will live until the end.

Let me share bits and pieces of previous posts and some photos, on the town that made it all happened, Meaux, dept 77 of the Seine et Marne in the Ïle de France region in my Belle France!


The city can claim wholly this beautiful Gothic St Stephens Cathedral (St Etienne) , and its episcopal palace now Bossuet museum , the garden done by André Le Nôtre!!! the remains of the medieval ramparts, and its historical festival recreating the middle ages!  In 1681 Bossuet was appointed Bishop of Meaux and remained so until his death in 1704. In the meantime , been the confessor of king Louis XIV!; and known as the Eagle of Meaux. The Royal family (Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette) , during the dramatic return from the Varennes flight, spent a night in Meaux. In the 19C, the Marquis de Lafayette (he who helped US independence)  was a deputy for the district of Meaux, especially in 1827.  During WWI or the Great War (1914-1918), Meaux was the scene of the First Battle of the Marne, which shook the Seine-et-Marne region. Many memorials abound.



The town is divided into quartiers or neighborhood some newer away from the river and the old ones from times afar such as the city center or centre ville, and ,the Marché , just across from the bridge over the Marne river, the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas (where my dear late wife Martine was from), the Châage-Saint Faron or area of the hospital (where she was born), and the ave de la Republique/La Croix de Varenne, from where the escapee Louis XVI was brought back to Paris spending a night here. The Faubourg Saint-Nicolas extends to the east of the city, along the great eponymous artery, formerly known as the route d’Allemagne (road of Germany). It is circumscribed by the avenues of  Maréchal Foch, du Maréchal Joffre, de la République, du président Salvador Allende,and the streets of rue des Béguines and rue des Cordeliers , and of course rue Noëfort (where she lived before meeting me).



The Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Nicolas is none other than the Decumanus Maximus which crossed the ancient city from east to west. In the 5C, there was St. Céline, a friend of Saint Geneviève; On her tomb, placed extra muros in the ancient tradition, arose a church that had to endure until the French revolution. So along this wonderful street off my dear late wife Martine street, we found our bakery of old; and of course we purchase the baguettes, apple pie  ,chocolate flan, to take to the family as sharing is a French passion especially when food is concerned. The bakery is Le Fournil du Faubourg (under new owners) at 52 rue du faubourg st nicolas.

You have the marché or market in city center around the blvd Rose,and the Marne river or around the cinema Majestic every wednesday mornings, Saturday all day, and Sunday morning. Under the covered market in just over the river Marne you will find merchant selling the real brie cheese with unpasteurised milk.  For the brie cheese and many other do come to La Fromagerie de Meaux,4, rue du Général Leclerc, city center off rue st Remy. Another favorite boulangerie is the Boulangerie Prentignac, 31, rue du Faubourg St Nicolas.

There is the mustard of Meaux, well renown, the story goes well there is no telling when it was created !!! all we know is that in 1760 someone gave to a Mr. M.J.B Pommery , the secret recipe for the mustard, that has by priviledge be presented on the tables of the kings of France since 1632 , the house of  Pommery came to be located at 69 rue du Faubourg St Nicolas until 1927 refusing to give the secret away, at that time the last descendant of the house sold the business with recipe and all . Still commercialise all over by this webpage ,and you can buy it too in many stores in Meaux, the manufacture is an adjacent town where we have family too. More info in English here: Mustard of Meaux a story

And the real Brie de Meaux, the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings , Vienna congress 1815. Indeed, and there are lots of imitations and even those claiming to be using the same method but in far away lands ,even in France. Remember the real Brie de Meaux is made from milk cows in the Brie country around Meaux and prepare and done in traditional manners in and around Meaux, today only two do it here and one more in Jouarre. The rest is consolation anywhere ::)

When not in the market we come here to buy our Brie de Meaux and only in person. The one in Meaux has been doing for years from generation to generation and the one our family buys from. This is the Fromagerie de Meaux Saint Faron. Here it is produce as well as the smaller cousin of Melun. You can have tours and tastings as well.  There is no webpage but the tourist office has info in French here: Tourist office of Meaux and fromagerie St Faron

You can, also, buy here in town center at La Maison du Brie de Meaux is a boutique that is right in the Episcopal palace next to the Bossuet Museum that also acts as the tourist office. You can buy it direct too.  5 place Charles-de-Gaulle. More here : City of Meaux on La Maison du Brie

There is a Confrerie du Brie de Meaux or fraternity that guard over the authenticity of this cheese and keeps the real traditions, more info in French here: Confrerie du Brie de Meaux

I had the great pleasure to eat at the same pizzeria that I ate when came to live in France permanently in 2003, and still with same owners!! Somedays did not want to eat with the In-laws for no particular reason and stop in city center to eat and this was the place very friendly, great ambiance and right prices. When visited the town afterward with the family I brought them here too. This was at the Pizzeria Villa Roma at Avenue Salvador Allende webpage is here: Pizzeria Villa Roma at Meaux

For entertainement with the family head over to the Majestic theater or cinema, my first movie and have come back for more! Now part of the UGC cinema group;more here in French: UGC group on the Majestic cinema of Meaux

There you go folks, a town, a place on earth very sentimental and nice for me to remember always. Other than my sentimental rant, the city is a very important tourist destination for the French due to its Cathedral, Brie cheese ,and middle ages festival done live on public stages all over town. It is also, a great place to be while visiting Disneyland Paris bus take you there and at Meaux life is cheaper… Hope you enjoy the post.

I will always remember Meaux, and Seine et Marne of which I am for a long time friend of the castles of Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte, jewels of France and the world. Hoping you too get a chance to visit Meaux.

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

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