Archive for July 1st, 2020

July 1, 2020

Saint Sébastien sur Loire and Auchan!

So, here I am writing about a hypermarket chain of France. This is the Auchan (in Spain they are known as AlCampo) , meaning to the fields. A supermarket chain from the Nord region, and now all over France. We love it in the Yvelines dept 78 our old home where we shopped exclusively there. However, moving to Bretagne there is none unless you go further after Rennes or this one I will tell you today. One of my stories on everyday life in my belle France, hope you enjoy the tour.

A while back I was visiting a friend co worker in Nantes, and needed to do our groceries on the way back. Cruising thru we saw the Auchan sign at Saint Sébastien sur Loire , a town just over the street from Nantes. We decided to stop by and had flash memories coming back from our experiences at Auchan. Which by the way financially are not doing so well nowdays.

st sebastien sur loire cc auchan arriving jun20

We remember the shopping experience here and once coming back to the area this time for wine purchases on site, on our way back we did our groceries here at Auchan too. Another memorable moment this time without my dear late wife Martine. Sad but with many souvenirs as well. One of those simple  places that stays with you no matter what. The Auchan hypermarket of Saint Sebastian sur Loire was on our way on the N844 so we stopped and did our groceries!!!

st sebastien sur loire cc auchan ent inside jun20

The Auchan Saint-Sébastien’s shopping mall is made up of almost 90 stores of all kinds. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it, for young and old, men or women, young and old. Admittedly, having everything in one place provides many benefits. You can prepare a trip with the different agencies present in the gallery, dress the whole family there thanks to the many specially dedicated signs, change your glasses, have a makeover, have your car repaired, eat there at the restaurant or simply come and stroll around and shop there when the weather looks grim.

st sebastien sur loire

How to get there by car: The shopping center is located in the immediate vicinity of exit/sortie 46 (Porte de Saint-Sébastien) of the Périphérique Sud of Nantes N844. There is ample free parking on site. For those for the move for public transports you can get here from Nantes on Bus line 27 of the Nantes bus network offers a journey of approximately 10 km which it covers in around twenty minutes, leaving from Pirmil (Nantes South) to reach Herdrie, a high school located in Basse-Goulaine, notably passing through Saint-Sébastien and by proposing 25 stopping points. Bus 27 runs every day of the week, including Sundays and holidays.

The official Auchan hypermarket in Saint Sébastien sur Loire is here: Auchan at St Sebastien sur Loire

The official Centre Commercial or shopping center of Auchan in Saint Sébastien sur Loire with a map of stores here: Centre Commercial Auchan at St Sebastien sur Loire

And there you go folks , a nice local ride and great shopping experience as always with us far away from home, we shop anywhere! Hope you enjoy this most personal post on hypermarket or Hypermarché Auchan at the Centre Commercial Auchan in Saint Sébastien sur Loire, dept 44 of the Loire Atlantique and in the Pays de la Loire region.

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

July 1, 2020

Maisons Laffitte!!

So I continue on my efforts to show you something different of my belle France other than that other country Paris. Oh yes city you know what I mean…. Come on over to the mouvable feast that is France provinces or regions and see the gorgeous architecture and history that it embodies.

I have mentioned before on the streets, church and castle of Maisons-Laffitte but it needs a bit more. I like to mention in my blog, the cultural center and water tower!

The town of Maisons Laffitte we used to come often while living in nearby Versailles. Oh yes it is in the Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region. Now it has been a bit long in between, last was 2017. It is a wonderful town ,first, because it has a wonderful castle, then the hippodrome, and finally the nice shops along main street avenue de Longueil ,especially the epicérie de Longueil. You best get here by car, from Paris take the A13 direction Rouen, enter at exit/sortie 7 direction Poissy go thru Poissy centre ville around roundabout facing Peugeot factory /office take second street alongside the offices on road D308 direction Maisons Laffitte, and will hit dead center of it. Or take the A15 out from Paris on porte st Ouen, direction Gennevilliers, stay on the same road as N315 (A15) direction Rouen to exit 7 Conflans Sainte Honorine take here the N184 direction Saint Germain en Laye to rue de poissy or the D308 see signs on your left for Maisons Laffitte. Of course on public transports too on the RER A trains from different locations in Paris.

How to get around and public transports with a map from the tourist office of Maisons Laffitte here: Maisons Laffitte tourist office on getting around

Well, while visiting the Church of St Nicolas (see post) notice a quant old water tower across the street. This is the Château d’Eau or water tower is located on 36bis rue de la Muette, it dates from the second half of the 19C. There still sits without the canopy and now living quarters below it. Also, the former machine des eaux or water machine and the aqueduct, are the vestiges of the old establishment of the water of Maisons-Laffitte, The water machine and the aqueduct date from the 17C. It is now State property,located by 15 rue de Paris. A nice architecture building to look while walking in glorious Maisons Laffitte. 

maisons laffitte

And if architecture is not for you, then Maisons Laffite has plenty of cultural activities and a wonderful cultural complex.  The Festival has been postponned this year due to the virus covid 19 but schedule for May 2021 , more info will be shown here: Festival de Maisons Laffitte

At 39, avenue Longueil, you have a wonderful cultural center, library, tourist office etc. The setting of course is wonderful. Hours, contact tel and email can be had here for future events: City of Maisons Laffitte on cultural events

And of course, the wonderful pretty Bibliothéque or municipal library of Maisons Laffitte has it all for your leisure time after sightseeing the town. Created in 1965, the Maisons-Laffitte municipal library is located close to shops and public transport. Covering an area of approximately 600m², it has an adult and youth space, each with armchairs and work spaces. You can find there: books, magazines, audio books, comics, attend conferences, meet authors, surf the internet, etc . Also, find out about all the cultureal activities of the city. It is centrally located at 39, avenue Longueil, right next to the tourist office and across the street from the Hôtel de Ville or city hall and diagonally across from the RER A train station. You entered the library by place du Maréchal Juin behind the building.

maisons laffitte

More on the municipal library in French here: Municipal library of Maisons Laffitte

And do walk and see the famous thinkers of our times that have come or stayed in Maisons Laffitte a wonderul town by the Seine river too.  Some of these were  Guy de Maupassant ;Henri Marie Baur ; Idel Ianchelevici ; Jean Cocteau ; Joseph Czapski ;Luigi Castiglioni ;Pierre Larquey ; and Roger Martin du Gard. But here is the Maisons Laffitte tourist office with more info on each of them in English: Maisons Laffitte on the land of artists

And there you go folks a very classy, quant town on the borders of the Seine river , close to Paris in another world of countryside and cachet! Hope you enjoy the post on other things of Maisons Laffitte.

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

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July 1, 2020

La Verriére and Vélizy-Villacoublay!!

So here I am caught up in nostalgia, not big tourist attractions but more of the every day life of a family in France . We tend to deal with glorious spots on travels and many times forget what we have at home. Well , my home back then was Versailles... not a shabby place ,but around it were many towns of little tourist attractions that were very memorable for our family. Therefore, I like to mention for the record in my blog the towns of La Verriére and Vélizy-Villacoublay.

La Verrière is located in the Yvelines department 78 in the Île-de-France region. The town is located 26 km from Paris. The neighboring towns are Élancourt to the northeast, Le Mesnil-Saint-Denis to the southeast, Coignières to the west and Maurepas to the northwest.

The town of La Verriére area is bordered to the north by national road N10 (which becomes the A10) and to the east by departmental road D58 which leads, to the north, to Élancourt and, to the south, to Mesnil-Saint-Denis and Dampierre-en-Yvelines. The departmental road D13 crosses the western part of the town leading, towards the north then the northwest, to Montfort-l’Amaury and, towards the south, also to Mesnil-Saint-Denis then to Chevreuse. La Verrière is part of the arrondissement or district of Rambouillet in the Yvelines. This district also includes Chevreuse, Maurepas, Montfort l’Amaury, Saint Arnoult en Yvelines and Rambouillet.

The bus network is by sqybus or Saint Quentin en Yvelines, never taken bus here. There is the webpage and shows a pdf file with the lines passing by La Verrière. SQYBUS here: https://www.sqybus.fr/plans-reseau

The town has its own train station called La Verrière. The station is served by line N Rambouillet – Paris Montparnasse and by line U La Verrière – La Défense. This line U is the one my oldest son took to go to college from Versailles Chantiers. The line is here from the transilien regional transports site: https://www.transilien.com/lignes/rer-trains/ligne-U

A bit of history I like

The land on which the town of La Verriére is located belonged to the lords of La Verrière, also owners of a castle which dates from 1507. The parish of La Verrière was created in 1739 by the merger of three hamlets, La Petite-Verrière, Grande- Verrière and l’Agiot, detached the same year from the parish of Mesnil-Saint-Denis at the request of the lord of the time, Jacques Cordier de Launay, advisor to the king and treasurer general of wars. Became a town during the French revolution, it remained during the 19C a small village, although its location on the main road from Paris to Chartres (the current RN10) encouraged migrants to settle there.

The one thing to see from a tourist point of view even if it is not visited at least you don’t want to go there…is the Château de la Verriére. Today owned by the Mutual General of National Education (MGEN), the castle of La Verrière and its magnificent park are also witnesses of history. From 26 hectares at the start, the estate expanded to reach 838 hectares in 1830. In 1920, Mr. Moulton, a wealthy American, bought the place. When he died in 1951, his heirs resold it to the MGEN, which restored the site of 174 hectares, and transformed it into a psychiatric center at the end of the 1950s. A garden with a superb alley, symmetries and elegance , the castle grounds constitute a precious historical heritage. It is said without a doubt   owed to André Le Nôtre, the gardener of Louis XIV, also behind the Tuileries, Luxembourg, Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles gardens.

The town of La Verriére on its heritage in French: city of la Verriere on its heritage

However, what I did came here was because my oldest son spent time for his Hotelerie/Restaurant degree at the CFA AFFIDA of La Verriére. And of course, time to have some lunches here spending it with him. The school is at 4 rue Louis Lormand ,from the back you can come straight from the train station just crossing the track on a pedestrian lane. The school gave him the Baccalauréat Professionnel Métiers du Commerce et de la Vente or sort of a pro commercial sales degree ,which wen well with his resto/hotel degree. Since 1997, the CFA AFFIDA L’Ecole Commerciale offers apprenticeship candidates (work-study contracts) and professional training contracts a quality training offer, from CAP to Bachelor (in partnership with CNAM) for the trades Commerce, Sales, Management and Management. Their webpage in French is here: CFA AFFIDA school of Commerce La Verriere

La Verriere

The town of Vélizy-Villacoublay  is located in the department of Yvelines 78 in the Île-de-France region, Since January 1, 2016, it is part of Versailles Grand Parc (VGP), a French intermunicipal structure located in the departments of Yvelines and Essonne (91), in the Île- de-France. The town is located 15 km from Paris and 3.5 km from Versailles. Vélizy-Villacoublay is about 15 minutes by car via the N 118. The town is served by the A86, the RN 118 and the RN 12 roads. From by 2021, the town should be served by a new A 86 interchange at Vélizy 2 shopping center.

The town of Vélizy-Villacoublay is served by: RER C trains at Chaville – Vélizy station, in the town of Viroflay; Tramway T6, with 7 stations in the town; the Phébus bus network organized by Île-de-France Mobilités and operated by the Keolis Vélizy group for the Vélizy-Villacoublay buslines.

A bit of history I like

Formerly Vélizy was only a simple hamlet in the village of Ursine, a village which was in the middle of the woods. Ursine, or Ursines, was erected as a parish in the 13C. The territory was made up of three distinct lordships, Vélizy, Villacoublay and Ursine, mentioned from the 11C, which, in the Middle Ages, were the properties of the Hôtel-Dieu de Notre Dame de Paris. It was then the Louvois family, already the owners of the lordships of Chaville and Meudon, who gradually acquired these territories. In 1674, when Louvois had bought the lordship of Chaville, he had the church, which was at Versailles, transported to Vélizy with the ok of the Pope. The Ursine traffic circle is the memory of the village at the origin of Vélizy-Villacoublay. These domains gradually entered the royal domain from the 17C and at the end of the 18C for that of Vélizy.

It was at Vélizy, on July 1, 1815, that General Exelmans, at the head of the dragons, knocked down two regiments of Prussian hussars which he drove to Rocquencourt, where they were completely destroyed by detachments of the French army. . Following these combats, the national guards of the country having taken up arms and shot at the Prussian horsemen, the next day the Prussian troops, in reprisals, almost completely burned the village and pillaged it, which gave it the nickname of Little Moscow. In 1937 , the aerodrome of Villacoublay has become so important at the international level that the town council of Vélizy decides, on May 29, 1937, that the name of Villacoublay should be joined to that of Vélizy and that the town takes the name of Vélizy-Villacoublay. On July 18, 1937, the “Fête de l’air” or air show took place, a large air meeting that foreshadowed the Paris Air Show after WWII. Today it hold an important French air force station with duties of protecting Paris and the Palais de l’Elysées home of the President of the French Republic. The town does not contain any building or object listed in the general inventory of the cultural heritage of France.

The city of Vélizy-Villacoublay on its heritage in French: City of Vélizy Villacoublay on its heritage

What we came here and know the town was for shopping from our beloved Versailles. The Velizy II or now Westfield Velizy 2 has 156 stores which are favorites were Auchan, Boulanger, C&A, Comtesse du Barry, FNAC, H&M ,Jeff de Bruges,Lacoste, Louis Pion, Micromania, Montre Service, Orange, Pharmacie du Centre, Printemps, UGC Cinemas, Yves Rocher, and restaurant Big Fernand, Brioche Dorée, Burger King, Old Wild West, and Paul. However, our favorite was El Rancho now gone. The shopping center is at 2 Avenue de l’Europe and you can get there as we did by car from the palace/museum on avenue de Paris go up towards rue des Etats Generaux direction gare de Chantiers becoming rue des Chantiers, same road name Rue du Pont Colbert and get on the road N12 direction Meudon to become the A86 exit/sortie 4.1 ZA Villacoublay to get on the road N118 direction Paris; take exit/sortie 3, just follow the signs to Centre Comercial Vélizy II.

And as usual, our main stop there was El Rancho tex mex restaurant who also had a branch in Versailles by the rive gauche château station,(in Versailles they went out  of business first and then Vélizy). We had some fun family times there and remember it well, just for the memories that will never go away, this post is dedicated to all families.

velizy villacoublay

The official Westfiel Vélizy II shopping center in French: Westfield Velizy 2 shopping center

Info on Vélizy for the CC Vélizy II in French: Velizy info on the Velizy 2 shopping center

Hope you enjoy this most personal post and family values which we need more than ever today. We are kept together by these memories first with my mother Gladys and then with my dear wife Martine. La Verriére and Vélizy-Villacoublay are two precious spot in our world.

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

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