Archive for June 30th, 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


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!


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!



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


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:

For the Express line 14 to La Défense is here:

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:

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


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.


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!


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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