Archive for July 17th, 2020

July 17, 2020

Getting around Brest!!

Ok my my , so several posts on Brest and not one on how to get there! Well have bits and pieces in the other posts ,but feel one post on transport is worth it for Brest, in the Finistére dept 29 of my beautiful Bretagne.

Here is my take on it with some information as you know me road warrior and here only by car. ok

As is the history of my Bretagne no road tolls here. There are two wonderful highways that I take every day literally. These are the RN 12 to Rennes, Paris and Northern Europe; and the RN 165 to my house, Nantes, Bordeaux and Southern Europe. The N165 or voie express as we call it by neck of the woods is awesome really nice even if in Summer we get those visitors that make it crowded, well there are side roads to avoid this.

From my town you can initially take the N165 direction Lorient/Brest. At Lorient take the exit 43 ring road D465 direction Larmor-Baden, and then take right on the D765 direction Quimperlé. Connect with the D783 direction Pont Aven/Concarneau than direction Quimper. Here take again the N165 direction Brest. Only taken in Summers to avoid the tourist hordes.

There are park and relay parks near tramway stations also facilitate access to the city center by public transport. Please note, on Saturday morning, parking is free on streets and in 2 enclosed car parks in the city center. The streets of downtown Brest have around 4,000 paying spaces as close as possible to shops, services and equipment to ensure good vehicle turnover, and more than 10,000 free spaces. This system is supplemented by 750 places in the blue zone (Commercial port, Recouvrance, Pilier Rouge, Place de Strasbourg, as well as in the town centers of the districts of Saint-Marc, Bellevue, Saint-Pierre and Cavale Blanche, Lambézellec, Europe -Pontanezen). The Liberté, (photo door on left and Dad) Coat ar Gueven, Jaurès and Les Capucins parking garages are open to the public during opening hours. Exit is possible 24 hours a day. Liberté is very central our favorite.

Brest

Then you have the train station or gare de Brest. It was put into service in 1865 . It is now at about 3h15 from Paris Montparnasse . The train station has a passenger building, with ticket offices and waiting room, open every day. It is equipped with automatic machines for the purchase of tickets. It is an “Accès Plus” station with amenities, equipment and services available to people with reduced mobility. In the station, there is also a press shop and a buffet. Brest is also, served by TER Bretagne trains which run on line 1 (Rennes – Saint-Brieuc – Brest), line 11 (Landerneau – Brest), line 21 (Saint-Brieuc – Morlaix – Brest) line 22 (Morlaix – Brest), and line 31 (Brest – Landerneau – Quimper).

The SNCF station of Brest here: Gares et connexions gare de Brest

The TER Bretagne of Brest here: TER Bretagne on Brest

Brest

Brest

There are plenty of bus lines in town and out but again never taken them here, this is for info only.

The Bus network in Brest is call Bibus and good for bus, tramway ,and cable car rides.There is line A of tramway, Line C of cable car, and bus lines 1-12 local in addition to other lines connecting neighboring towns. The Bibus network in French more info is here: Bibus transports Brest

Brest

Right next to train station is the bus station of Brest. The main retail boutique of Bibus is at 33 avenue Clemenceau, from Mondays to Saturdays from  9h30 to 18h30. public transport takes you here with stops/arrêts Liberté, Multiplexe, and Hôpital Morvan.

Brest

Inter-regional lines are operated by several companies which offer journeys from Brest to Rennes, Nantes and Paris in particular. More info: Omio network here: OMIO network from Brest

Managed by the region of Bretagne , the MobiBreizh network (mobility Breizh or Brittany good for all of Brittany) is made up of bus lines operating all year round .More info here: Bretagne transports Mobibreizh

The téléphérique de Brest or the line C of the local transport network call Bibus links the two banks of the river Penfeld that separates the districts of Siam and Capucins. It is the first of its kind in France and started in 2016. Each of its cabins can transport up to 60 persons at the same time. A wonderful ride indeed recommended just for fun!More info in Bibus in English here: Bibus transports Brest on the cable car

Brest

And why not there is an airport here again never taken just for info. Aéroport Brest Bretagne airport, the leading regional airport provides 11 daily connections to Paris and also serves the main French cities on a daily basis: Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Toulouse, Nice. With more than 28 international connections, Brest quickly connects all major European cities: London, Brussels, Barcelona, Rome, Venice ,etc. More on the Brest airport here: Brest Bretagne airport

Aeroport Brest Bretagne is located 9 km northeast of Brest. A shuttle links it several times a day to the Porte de Guipavas tramway station in about 20 minutes from the city center. More on the navette here: Bibus navette Brest to airport

For an overview of public transports in Brest here is the city page on transports in French: City of Brest on public transports

And there you go now I feel better on how to come to Brest! Worth the detour for a city that is a seafarer heaven and good ambiance even if relatively new due to destruction in previous wars. Hope you enjoy moving about in Brest.

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

July 17, 2020

Wines news of France V !!

So , let me bring you some news from the world of wines, one of my dearests hobbies. An ever ending story of good wines over the years and trying to bring it alive in my blog lately. Wine is part of my culture and we take as a family tradition with meals, it is not considered alcoholic beverages as some might tell you. I could not imagine eating without wine on the table! And good wine that is. Therefore, here is my latest wine news of France.

The right time and the right wine for these coming warmer days in my favorites spots on Earth. The Rosés are coming up, enjoy them!

This Great Rosé Year 2012 with aromas of redcurrant and black fruits, fresh and delicious, displays the right notes to seduce. It expresses, on its own, the artisanal know-how of the Maison Bollinger, with vinification in small old oak barrels, riddling and disgorging entirely carried out by hand. It is magical as a Bollinger! It is also a tribute to the terroir of this region which once owed its fame to the reds, where it is said that the Pinots Noir did not leave King Henry IV indifferent. Only this grape variety was planted on the unique 4 hectare plot that Jacques Bollinger created at the beginning of the 20C, the famous Côte aux Enfants (or children’s hillside). On this land, one of the Grand Cru sites, the vines have been cultivated organically since 2009. The Great Rosé Year is the fruit of these crossovers of life and the meeting between a vintage champagne of excellence and a red wine which is no less so, whose rarity shows the house’s expertise in Pinot noir. The promise of a great wine to keep is born.

A very slight bitterness at the end evoking saline notes, the Rosé wines from Ïle de Porquerolles have this characteristic. Because this “mineral final” offers a first-class commercial argument to promote the wine production of the largest and most continental of the three islands of Hyères ;this “salinity” is due in truth to the balance between sandy soils of the plains, shale on the foothills and, in a temperate climate, neither hot weather nor frost. In the former mas (farm house); Édouard Carmignac inaugurated in 2018 a contemporary art center that bears his name, the Carmignac Foundation.

Since 2014 the rehabilitation of the 35 hectares of vines in one piece that surround the building. A certified organic farm since 1997 and won step by step on the pine forest with the approval of the Port Cros-Porquerolles National Park. Created in 1963, the public establishment encouraged the establishment of vineyards on the island in the late 1980s to serve as a firewall. Divided between the plains of Notre Dame and that of Brégançonnet, the Domaine de l’Île (35 ha) in organic farming since 2015 and sold in October 2019 to the fashion house Chanel, was maintained in this spirit by the winegrower and sailor poet Sébastien Le Ber after having inherited it from his mother, herself having inherited it from her father, François-Joseph Fournier historical figure of the island .Three vineyards for a rock of 12.54 km² including 30 km of coastline. Three properties ,80 ha in all, where the rosés prance in the lead. Depending on the area, up to 70% of production. About 70,000 bottles per year for La Courtade with the ambition to double by 2021; 60,000 bottles for the first vintage signed Chanel at Domaine de l’Île on twenty hectares in 2019 . And among the Perzinsky, who produce 60,000 bottles of three colors annually, “meal rosés” dominate.

Facing the Pointe de Giens, ten minutes by boat from the port of the Tour Fondue, Porquerolles is a wild and splendid rock where each summer, hundreds of thousands of visitors disembark by day by sea shuttles that accompany them to the continent every evening. The island returned to its calm, its 200 inhabitants, its bowlers and their immutable rituals on the Place d’Armes. North side facing the continent, Porquerolles offers a series of Caribbean coves. Blond sand, turquoise waters, maritime pines. In the south, towards the open sea, a more austere face beaten by the east wind. Shale cliffs, steep paths, impressive drop offs. And everywhere, wild vegetation like on the first day, arbutus, myrtle, thyme, heather, cork oaks, fig trees etc.

The story goes that in 1912, François-Joseph Fournier was affected. An adventurer of Belgian origin who made his fortune in Mexico, he deposited 1,100,000 francs on the table to offer this comma of Mediterranean land as a wedding present to his young wife, Sylvia Johnston-Lavis. Overnight, the couple became owners of the island, which was partially devastated by a fire. Fournier’s ambition is twofold. Transform Porquerolles into a state-of-the-art agricultural operation (citrus crops, market gardening, livestock and vines) and develop an autonomous social utopia there. Descendants of Napoleonic sailors or old soldiers who have received authorization to settle on the island after the fall of the Emperor, benefit there from his arrival in terms of health (dispensary), education, purchasing (cooperative), housing, employment ,Paternalistic management shared with his wife. Strong personality, she gives him 7 children, including 6 girls, dreams Porquerolles in a refuge for fashionable personalities, develops hotels there, and does not hesitate to force the passage near the most beautiful establishments of the coast, such as Negresco in Nice, to distribute its wines there. So take a look at Porquerolles and its Rosé wines!!!

In recent years, the popularity of rosé has exploded with global consumption which rose from 18.3 million hectoliters in 2002 to 25.6 million in 2018, according to the World Rose Observatory. A record year to date with a production of 26.4 million hectoliters, or 10% of the wines produced in the world.

France leads world production with 7.5 million hectoliters in 2018, or 28% of world production of rosé. The United States has, in recent years, surpassed Spain and appears in second place on the podium with 5 million hectoliters produced in 2018. Spain claims 4.4 million hectoliters and mainly offers rosés entry-level, of which France is one of the main importers. Italy maintains its rank among the world’s leading producers of rosé, despite production halved over the past ten years. The “new” producing countries, mainly in the southern hemisphere, the volume produced has increased over the last ten years: multiplied by 2.5 in South Africa, by 4.7 in Chile and from 60 to 180% in Romania , Austria, Hungary, Moldova and Switzerland.

In 2019, France exported 38% of its production, which makes it the leading exporter of rosé wine in terms of value. It is also the leading importer of rosé in volume (2.8 million hectoliters) and the third in terms of value. This is explained by the fact that it mainly imports entry-level Spanish rosé wines. Today, four out of 10 bottles of rosé consumed worldwide are imported.

Rosés represent 90% of Provence wines, of course and known for that. They are distinguished by their quality much more than by their quantity. In 2018, Provence produced 4.2% of the world volume of rosé, but 12.6% of the value of world trade. But, in terms of volume produced, the first French region is Languedoc(Occitanie), with 320 million bottles, producing twice the size of Provence (PACA) and three times more than the Loire (Centre Val de Loire et Pays de la Loire). The regions have specialized, the Loire producing rather a light and sweet rosé, consumed by a young audience, while Provence specializes in gourmet wines and often intended for export.

In 2019, 46% of French rosé exports are destined for the USA, which is also the leading importer of French wines and spirits. Rosé accounts for only 5% of wine consumption in the United States, compared to 26% in France. American tariff laws on French products had a big impact on wine imports, a drop of 3% was recorded for rosés from Provence. France exports 14% of its rosé to the United Kingdom, which comes in second place for imports of French rosé. Brexit could nevertheless have an impact. Germany concentrates 5% of French rosé exports. This country is today the third importer as well as the third consuming country, with 6% of world consumption. China is today the third customer of French wines. Indeed, rosé in China, and in several other countries, is still associated with a rather young and feminine public and with an average quality compared to Champagne for example. In Australia, rosé consumption is very low in 2018, with only 0.5 liters consumed per capita . France being Australia’s second largest supplier of wine, one can only imagine a development in demand for French rosé wines. More info on the World Rose Observatory here: World Rose Wines Observatory

Some of my latest, this year Rosés and well recommended are:

Domaine de la Source from Bellet. Caressing, tasty, complex, juicy, with body, notes of liquorice, anise, iodized.

Domaines OTT from Château Romassan, Bandol. Fresh vivacity, gourmet aftertaste, spicy, salivating, infinitely long. Perfectly balanced.

Commanderie de Peyrassol from Clos Peyrassol, Côtes de Provence. Organic superb, complex, the wine stretches with brilliant sweetness until the finish, long, slightly saline.

Domaine Tariquet from Marselan. Crunchy, fond, easy to drink, happy to live to make us happy, an ode to gluttony.

Château Calissanne from Clos Victoire, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence. A bright, full-bodied, round wine with citrus and red fruit flavors, great final tension.

Minuty Prestige from Côtes de Provence. Beautiful sweetness for this pale, luminous, round rosé, marked by fruit, freshness. Long and saline finish.

And something to keep in mind for myself too in Bordeaux!

The President and CEO of Angélus, Premier grand cru Classé A of Saint-Émilion, inaugurates on July 10, place de la Bourse,Bordeaux , the Le Gabriel, revised and updated as she imagined to explore the association of food and wine that is so important to her. At the same time, bar, bistro, place of continuous catering, from brunch to dinner, and Le Gabriel caterer opens its doors for the summer, but it will be necessary to wait until September 2020 ,to discover the gourmet restaurant and its 35 covers. More info here: Le Gabriel at Bordeaux

Well here is all for now folks. Thanks for reading and sharing the world of wines with me. Any suggestion I can give you or comment are welcome. In Vino Veritas!

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

July 17, 2020

Brest and its markets!

And here we are to talk about one of my favorite subjects, the markets! Love these , go to any in any town on the road in my belle France. The very essence of what French culinary excellence is known and the better ones are away from the big metropolis. I have been with the family to the one in Brest, dept 29 Finistére, in my lovely Bretagne.

Let me tell you a bit more on the Markets of Brest.

You find the wonderful Halles Saint Louis or covered market St Louis. A must on any visit to the city for the local ambiance, the goodies from the French countryside, and the history. They are open Tuesdays to Fridays from 8h30-13h30 and 16h to 19h30, Saturdays from 8h-14h and 16h to 19h30, and Sundays from 8h to 13h; completely renovated in 2016.

Brest

The Saint-Louis market returned on June 7 2020. With a redesigned formula to integrate sanitary and distancing rules, while maintaining fluidity and conviviality. A hundred traders are present.  Local producers are located around the Halles Saint-Louis. Wearing a mask will be advised for customers, and compulsory for traders. But beware new law August 1 everyone will wear the mandatory mask. The story began in 1845, long before its reconstruction after WWII, it had a metallic architecture in the Napoleon III style.

brest halles ST Louis nov13

The details of the new organization is as follows:

Zone 1 / Rue de Lyon, a special feature in front of the Halles Saint-Louis in addition to the deployment on one side along the rue de Lyon, some market traders will face the halls: they will be positioned on the south road, that is to say back to the church parking lot.
Zone 2 / The producers’ square. This is one of the major changes in this new organization: this part of the market can no longer be held on Boussingault and Picot streets, which are now too cramped and crowded. It is therefore repositioned on the rectangle around the Halles Saint-Louis on rue des halles saint Louis and rue Pasteur to rue de Lyon.

Zone 3 / World kitchens or the food trucks. Usually in the car park in the square of the Tour d’Auvergne, the food trucks will be repositioned, always on one lane, in the car park, for some of them, and on rue Boussingault for others.

Facebook page on Halles Saint Louis with youtube video about it here :Facebook page of Halles Saint Louis

My best reason to come in here was and is the cheese store in the Halles Saint Louis market, or La Maison du Fromage here: La Maison du Fromage at Halles Saint Louis

Outside Saint-Louis or around the Halles Saint Louis open market on the sides of rue de Lyon and rue Pasteur) ,these are non food market sort of like a flea market. Open from  8h30 to 19h. On the side of rue de Siam ,rue de Lyon, rue Boussingault, Rue Colonel Picot you have a mix food and non food market open May 1st to September 30th from  8h to 13h , and from October 1st to April 30th from 8h30 to 13h.

More info from the city of Brest on its markets in French here: City of Brest on its markets

There you go folks a great family outing to indulge on the best of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the shopping! we do lol! The Halles Saint Louis is now even nicer even if restricted due to our times.

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

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