Some news from France, CCCXIII

Well I am on a roll, and need to tell you more of the news of France, thanks for reading it over the years. It seems a long time since I started this series on December 9 2010! This is the 313th edition , and I get a kick out of making it than even the travel posts. There is so much to see and do in my belle France.

This is an interesting survey due to the current world situation. The French 28% on leave 22% indecided and 50% on vacation. A bit less than last year they said. 86% will have vacations in France ,with the most by the littoral/coast 43% ,countryside 27% mountain 22%, undecided 8% , in town 6% , and itinerant 4%. There are 72% that will avoid places known to have convid19 therefore, the most chosesn regions will be Nouvelle Aquitaine / Occitanie, then  PACA / Auvegne Rhône Alps, and closing the podium my Bretagne. The preferred places to stay will be 40% with relatives or second home, 39% in hotels or camping, 20% rentals by individual owners, and 1% undecided. The means of transport will be most by car or 3 out of 4 , of course! , 10% by train, 5% by plane, and 4% carpooling. The average budget will be about 1500€ per couple and two children.
59% think of doing more outdoor activity than usual with natural spaces, parks and gardens and heritage sites as the podium. Source: survey of ADN tourisme June 2020, and survey of Opinion Way /Norauto.

News news! the city of Paris is trying to make a deal with Airbnb on the illegal rental companies. The city/town hall wants those interested to put their apartment back on the traditional rental market, at a low rent. The City of Paris asks illegal lessors to offer a classic lease of at least 3 years, with a rent 20% below the market price. And they think owners can afford this?

And on the continue greenhouse Paris mode. At the City/Town Hall, trees will be planted on both sides of the parvis or forecourt. The prospect and the maintenance of a space on the square for ceremonies or events will be respected . Behind the Opéra,  rue Gluck and parvis between the Opéra and Place Diaghilev , greening will be done in such a way as to respect the historic view of the monument. Trees will be planted without obcuring the views.  And concerning the place Henry Frenay, on the north parvis of the Gare de Lyon, a small urban forest will ensure the refreshment of the City. Last but not least, the banks of the Seine river will be adorned with grass on one of the two lanes, thus establishing an arrangement for relaxation and picnics. The other lane must remain paved for emergency vehicle traffic. I guess we will need to take a boat lol!

And the activities around the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris continues. There are huge potraits captured in a blue and white sky, these workers who clean the north tower of Notre-Dame are rope access technicians, specialized in work at height and difficult accesses. And the subjects of one of the impressive photos of the new exhibition dedicated to Notre Dame Cathedral. Since this past Wednesday, 32 photographs have been displayed on the fences surrounding the largest Parisian construction site. Entitled “The Builders of Today”, this free access installation pays tribute to the trades who work to secure Notre-Dame before its restoration can really begin. Like rope access technicians, carpenters, scaffolders, crane operators, glass masters, stone masons and masons are the heroes of this new series of photos which extends in the rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame the one installed since December over the first months of ” renaissance ”of the cathedral. « Les bâtisseurs d’aujourd’hui : les corps de métiers au cœur du chantier de sécurisation de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris » or The builders of today: the trades at the heart of the construction site of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, exhibition rue du Cloître-Notre-Dame 4éme. Free access.

In the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday until August 29, Les Invalides invites you to experience a breathtaking historical epic. The opportunity to discover the history of Paris, of the monument, and to come out with stars in your eyes. On the program: 3000 years of history , covered in 50 minutes. From Lutèce to de Gaulle via Clovis, Louis XIV or even Napoleon: the great periods of French history are told in front of an audience of captivated spectators, eyes wide with wonder. In the main courtyard of the Hôtel des Invalides, 129, rue de Grenelle 7éme. Tuesday to Saturday, from 22h30 in July and  22h in August. Price: between 5 and 24 euros. More information in French on  La Nuit aux Invalides

The Le Lavoir Moderne Parisien (LMP) or Modern Parisian Lavoir, a small theater built in 1850 in the popular district of Goutte d’Or 18éme, exactly at 35 rue Léon dreamed of joining the municipal fold: it is now done! This old washhouse described in Zola’s notebooks, which has become a theater for young creation. More info on the LMP here: Lavoir Moderne Parisien

In the heart of summer, the Parc de Saint-Cloud park, renowned for its fountain, its gardens and its magnificent view of Paris, is the ideal place for a family stroll, running or a bicycle excursion. In the huge gardens, you will notice the cut yews or the mosaics of flowers. This is an often overlook spot just near Paris that must be visited more. Domaine de Saint Cloud ;1 avenue de la grille d’honneur, St-Cloud.(Hauts de Seine dept 92).

And yes folks craft beer making in Versailles: it works! Check it out at the La Brasserie du Roi.(or the Kings brewery)  They bottled their first output two weeks earlier! More in French here: La Brasserie du Roi Versailles

Free river shuttles to cross the Seine river operate during the summer at Aubergenville, Juziers and Moisson.  A nice way to see the Seine river outside Paris on my beloved Yvelines dept 78. More info in French here: SMSO bacs or boats across the Seine

And more from my beloved Yvelines dept 78, a mini-cruise in Mantes-la-Jolie to travel back in time. Mantes la Jolie is a town located halfway between Paris and the province (countryside as all outside of Paris is known here ::)). An hour and a half ride on a small boat allows you to discover the third city of Yvelines in a different way, going from the Middle Ages to the modern era. More info in French on Croisières en Seine here: Croisieres en Seine on Mantes la Jolie

A few kilometers south of Bordeaux, between Latresne and Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, an old railway line has been changed into a cycle path, named Roger-Lapébie in homage to the Girondin cyclist. This 47 kilometers greenway is a bit narrow ,about 2 meters , but has an excellent surface which makes the crossing perfectly painless. Things to see along the way are the Abbey of La Sauve-Majeure and the Church of Saint-Pierre, listed as World Heritage by Unesco! You go thru beautiful countryside of undergrowth, wine-growing hillsides, small tunnels, stations converted into bars, restaurants or rest areas ,etc.  In the town of Créon, a bicycle relay point offers very useful services (inflation station, library with maps and travel guides). You can even start from there by renting the vehicle of your choice, from VTC to tandem via electric-assisted bicycle. The Créon bike station in French here: Station Vélo Créon

The Gironde dept 33 tourist office in French on the bike ride Roger LapébieGironde tourist office on bike path Rogher Lapébie

Wrought iron gate, desk, painted wooden chairs and parasols… wonderful indeed! The mismatched furniture in a flea market is scattered on the grass, and the customer is invited to choose his own table, in the shade of the acacias during the day, or under lanterns in the evening. Opened six years ago, the La Guinguette du Phare in Lestiac-sur-Garonne, in the  Gironde dept  33, near Cadillac, has perfectly achieved its objective; to become a popular gathering space facing the river, by promoting discussion and meeting. People come mainly to eat in the chic canteen-style cuisine, at affordable prices, favors seasonal products from local agriculture. But a program (exhibitions, debates, shows, balls dances under a marquee, etc.) also makes the place vibrate artistically, which is a hit all summer long. We recommend that you book a few days in advance by phone. Webpage in French here: La Guinguette du Phare

Been a car aficionado ,needed to put this wonderful anecdote of a historical car that grandparents on wife’s side told me several times! The English voted for the Mini Moke, the Americans the Dune Buggy, the French voted with both hands for the Mehari. In the colorful radius of beach cars, this curious automobile open to all winds, which continues to resonate with its rattling noise around the pontoons of seaside resorts and village markets, has marked its territory. In driving this spartan Citroën, to be driven in sandals and Bermuda shorts, which we saw multiplied in the 1960s and 1970s, we are not leaving , luckily! on vacation,  we live them inside. The Citroën Méhari is not the founding crucible of the beach car. Before it, there was the little-known Baby Brousse, created in 1963 in Abidjan by French manufacturers on the basis of a 2 CV. An astonishing and ingenious creation that looked much more like a dromedary than the Mehari, whose name nevertheless designates this animal among the Tuareg. In 1964, the Austin Mini was the inspiration for the Mini Moke, a small all-rounder that emerged from an off-road vehicle project abandoned by the British military. These pioneers will pave the way for the Méhari that Citroën unveils in May 1968, the day before the general strike. In other words, in total indifference. Yeah nice little car indeed! I have seen them!!! Have you?

In the largest appellation of red wines in the Loire Valley, around fifteen estates cultivate grapes on these small hills, whose sandy soil and vegetation evoke the Mediterranean. Renowned for its medieval fortress, the city of Chinon has nevertheless given its name to the largest appellation of red wines in the Loire Valley. That is 2,300 hectares of Cabernet Franc for the red and barely 100 hectares of Chenin for the white. All around, in twenty-six towns, on both sides of the Vienne, the river which flows further into the Loire. It is also hiding in Chinon itself, on its outskirts. These mounds, which grew in Indre-et-Loire, come from the last geological folds of the powerful mountains of Auvergne. They peak at about thirty meters on average but escape freezing. They are suitable for the inhabitants of elegant houses and for the vineyard. The Puy Besnard, at 88 meters, is the highest. And on tope of wonderful natural scenes you have one of the best red wines of the entire Loire and even France, me think. The winemakers of Chinon in English: Wines of Chinon in the Loire Valley

In Reims, the second life of the Caserne Chanzy barracks. I have not stayed here yet but glad this wonderful building is save and kept for the traditions. Located at the foot of the famous Champagne region cathedral, it has been transformed into a hotel which does not forget to pay tribute to the firemen soldiers who once occupied it. The Chanzy barracks was the first fire station in the city of kings. Built in 1926 in an Art Deco style, it alone symbolizes the energy expended by the town at the time to put the city back on its feet after its almost total destruction during the Great War or WWI. The brigades of firefighters followed there until 1993, when a new barracks was built near the highways for practical reasons. Some 5,500 m2 are thus found abandoned on the forecourt of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims, where most of the kings of France were crowned. A local family decides to buy the building and imagine turning it into a hotel. The US group Marriot wins tender, and work began in 2017 and ended in the summer of 2019. The renovation of the old barracks caused a stir, the inhabitants rushed there to see what it was  as all the people of Reims know at least one firefighter who lived within these walls! The result is applauded for its respect for the heritage and the spirit of the barracks, on the facade we find the “Sapeurs-Pompiers” bas-relief, the load-bearing walls and the overall structure are preserved and two additional floors created in order to show the height. From the fourth floor, where the most luxurious rooms are, from 300 to 500 euros per night , the view of the cathedral and the city is breathtaking. The Domaine de Pommery estate also, which stretches out into the distance, the Saint-Rémi Basilica (where Clovis was baptized, in 498) and the courthouse below. But the interior of the hotel is no less striking: every element has been designed in homage to the past of the place. The Marriot La Caserne Chanzy Hotel in English here: Marriot La Caserne Chanzy Hotel Reims

The Ïle de Chatou is a little corner of paradise, located in the west of Paris. It derives its fame from its nickname: “the island of the Impressionists“, a wonderful haven of peace and nature surrounded by the banks of the Seine river. It turns out to be an ideal stopover after a cruise on the Seine. 900 meters long, it runs alongside both the right bank and the left bank. But its fame is due, in large part, to Madame Fournaise’s restaurant. This renowned restaurant welcomed boaters and Impressionists in the 19C, just that! Renoir painted Le Déjeuner des Rameurs or Les Canotiers à Chatou in this restaurant and Maupassant wrote there some short stories about Boating. The atmosphere is therefore there. It is also an ideal site to relax, breathe the air of nature and enrich its culture. To make the most of it, let yourself be tempted by a cruise, public or private, to discover the banks of the Seine, places of residence for many artists. During your cruise, you will continue to discover other emblematic places of Impressionism. The Bains Froids de la Grenouillère, a large ball café floating on the Seine and moored on the Ïle de Croissy, initiated the famous Bains Populaires. You will also discover the banks of the Seine at Bougival, Croissy and many others. Great area with several posts in my blog. The cruise info on the ïle de France tourist office in French is here: Visit Paris region on Chatou

And last but not least a wonderful creation to spent your time in my eternal Paris and with a good chow! Located in the rue de l’Ourcq 19éme at the La Ferme du Rail (the rail farm) . La Ferme du Rail is a social and architectural project carried out in February 2019. Inside, an accommodation and social reintegration center, a student social residence, a production greenhouse and a restaurant. Outside, here and there, a permaculture vegetable garden in the ground, the roof vegetable garden, green areas in the ground, green walls, a henhouse, etc. In short, everything you can imagine on a farm. All this to tell you that from this parcel of land bordering the Petite Ceinture. Then, at the end of this past June, Le Passage à Niveau, its brand new restaurant , be aware,  if you want to go for dinner, remember to book to be sure to have a place.  Le Passage à Niveau (level crossing) La Ferme du Rail. 2, bis du de l’Ourq 19éme Paris of course!

The La Ferme du Rail project webpage in French here: La Ferme du Rail project

The Le Passage à Niveau restaurant Facebook page in French here: Facebook page of Le Passage à Niveau restaurant

And with this I say farewell on the 313th Some News from France! I thank you very much for reading and liking theses posts.

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

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