Archive for September, 2020

September 30, 2020

Paris and a Hilton!

So still digging my old photos from my vault as I go along in my road warrior trips in my region. I stay in Paris, yes my eternal Paris. A city came to know first as the name my blog indicates 1972, felled in love in 1990 and never look back. Lucky enough to work in it and visit every month until the virus.

Let me tell you a nice story about a Hilton hotel of Paris.

After losing its last intramuros Parisian establishment ,today the Hotel du Collectionneur,(today close due to the virus) the famous Hilton group has only 3 establishments in the Paris region: in Orly, Roissy and in La Défense. In 2013, the chain bought the former Concorde Opéra, which after extensive renovations became the Hilton Paris Opéra in 2015.

It so happened have been to the old Hilton Champs Elysées which is now call the Hotel du Collectionneur that have not been… and was a guest at the old Concorde Opéra which is now the Hilton Paris Opéra which have not been. So therefore, been while the old names were there. I feel for my souvenirs in my blog, and the nice story for all, in addition to visit the newer hotels ,they deserve a post of their own. Therefore ,here it is.

The Hotel du Collectionneur (previus Hilton C-E)  is located at the bottom of the rue de Courcelles in the 8éme arrondissement of Paris. Close to Parc Monceau and avenue Hoche, 700 meters from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées. Going down rue de Courcelles, you cross Boulevard Haussmann, before crossing rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. 300 meters further on you are in front of the Champs Elysées roundabout at the opposite end of which leads to Avenue Montaigne. This 5 star hotel is in a beautiful location, far from the bustle of the Champs Elysées but close enough to be able to enjoy its riches.

The new hotel du collectionneur official webpage is here:

For info, below is my Dad walking ahead to the Hilton lol!!!

Paris Hilton Hotel C-E pipo get juan y reynol 28apr10

The former Concorde Opéra, renovated in early 2015, the Hilton Paris Opéra is a listed building with a hall with a ceiling height of 14 meters and adorned with mirrors, bronzes, crystal chandeliers and marble columns. This hotel enjoys a beautiful location in the heart of Paris, a stone’s throw from Gare Saint-Lazare, between the Opéra Garnier and the great department stores and not far from the Madeleine. The Hilton Paris Opéra hotel offers spacious, bright rooms and suites on 5 floors, with great refinement, decorated with light colors and paintings of Parisian scenes, providing a prestigious atmosphere. For eating and drinking it still has the Grand Salon for breakfasts, restaurant Terminus Café, and the Le Petit Bar, recently redecorated in a revisited art deco atmosphere.

Located in the 8éme arrondissement, the Concorde Opéra hotel was ideally located to enjoy the monuments of Paris. The Garnier opera house, the Madeleine Church, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the Royal Palais are just a few meters from them. Many nearby tourist attractions. You will find there not far from places of going outs and restaurants. Public transport is easy to access. Passage du Havre at about 137 meters, FNAC – Saint Lazare at 94 meters, Gare Saint Lazare at 90 meters, Opéra Garnier at 57 meters.

A bit of history I like on this one which not only visited for the wonderful architecture and history but held several business meetings there.

Initially the hotel was inaugurated in 1889 as the Grand Hôtel Terminus, to welcome British travelers arriving via Saint-Lazare train station to visit the Universal Exhibition, and belong to the Société du Louvre, then in 1972 it became the Concorde Saint-Lazare then the Concorde Opéra Paris. Purchased by the Hilton group at the end of 2013, it was renamed Hilton Paris Opéra in January 2015. This hotel, with its Haussmann-style exterior architecture, features an imposing entrance framed by pink granite columns. Dating from 1889, its Eiffel-style hall and Second Empire-style coffered ceiling are decorated with paintings and sculptures by artist Charles Joseph Lameire as well as mirrors, bronzes and crystal chandeliers. Thus, in the 1950s, it was named Snack Spot and was then one of the “trendy” establishments in Paris, frequented by many young people, notably from the nearby Lycée Chaptal high school. Among the clientele, future celebrities: Mario David, Martin Monestier and Alain Figaret. And especially two friends passionate about culture from the United States who came to drink milkshakes and who will become singers, Christian Blondieau and Jean-Philippe Smet, who have not yet taken their respective stage names: Long Chris and Johnny Hallyday !

Among the personalities who have resided at the Concorde Opéra Paris, was Georges Feydeau . In September 1909, after a violent argument with his wife, he left his marital home and, using the excuse of the embarrassment of moving, settled down for a few days in the hotel. He ended up staying there for more than ten years, at room 189. The walls of his room hosted works by artists who had become fashionable such as Van Gogh or Utrillo, and even Claude Monet had also made it his Parisian pied-à-terre when he lived in Giverny.

The official current Hilton Paris Hotel webpage is here:

Ok cannot find picture of the old Concorde Paris hotel so will give you the front of gare St Lazare to the right off the picture is the hotel…..believe me please.

paris rue du havre et st lazare feb14

Therefore, I feel my story have been told and recorded in my blog. Hope you enjoy it too, and do come to my eternal Paris. Many more stories to share in over 30 years of relationship with Paris!

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

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September 30, 2020

Paris and Au Printemps!!

Well here is one that escaped me , and one I walk by every day for almost 9 yrs! and shopped many times! Oh well wrote about the other one nearby but somehow left this one out of one post. I have mentioned in brief moments in other posts but not stand alone which it deserves.

I like to tell you a bit more on the grand magasin Au Printemps dept store of Paris and the world.

paris au printemps at haussmann mar13

Au Printemps Paris perpetuates, over the seasons, its vision of essential luxury at low prices. Au Printemps is a department store that mainly focuses on fashion, luxury and beauty brands. The flagship store is located on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9éme arrondissement of Paris. In 2013, Au Printemps was bought by Disa, an investment fund with Qatari capital ,already with 25 stores. The flagship store and the one I passed by many many times was Au Printemps Haussmann ; open Mondays to Saturdays  11h to 20h, Sunday 11h to 19h . Metro Havre-Caumartin lines 3 and 9 closes bus line is the 43 on rue du Havre and 32/66 on bd Haussmann.

A bit of history I like

Au Printemps was created on May 11, 1865, by Jules Jaluzot and Jean-Alfred Duclos in the Chaussée-d’Antin neighborhood of the 9éme district. This location also benefits from the proximity of the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. Thus Au Printemps moved to the corner of rue du Havre and boulevard Haussmann. The first years of Au Printemps saw the store shine throughout France and then abroad. The Universal Exhibitions of 1867 and 1878 contributed to this recognition. In 1883, Au Printemps was the first public place fully equipped with an electric lighting system. On the mezzanine, the customer can also admire the electrical factory behind a glass wall.


In 1904 announced the construction of a second store which is the current Printemps Haussmann store better known as Printemps de la Femme (woman store),on the even numbered side of Boulevard Haussmann. The first stone was laid in May 1907 and the new store was inaugurated in April 1910. It is dominated by a dome which illuminates a large hall 42 meters high, and also includes a central staircase with four Art Nouveau-inspired revolutions. The ceilings are by painter Marcel-Pierre Ruty. The store on rue du Havre is raised two floors and topped by a panoramic terrace in 1963. Testimony to the splendor of Au Printemps in the years 1910-1920, the dome on the 6th floor of Printemps de la Femme, built in 1910 by the master glassmaker Brière recalls the masterful decor of the Au Printemps of  yesteryear.

The official Au Printemps on the bd Haussmann store:


In 1912, Au Printemps opened a store for the first time in the provinces, in Deauville. At the beginning of the 1930s, Au Printemps had three stores. Since 1921, a warehouse has been transformed into a sales area which in 1930 becomes Brummell, the store of the elegant man. In 1969, Au Printemps de Parly II at Les Chesnay-Rocquencourt(Yvelines 78) opened its doors and marked the beginning of Printemps’ involvement in a new form of distribution as shopping centers. The Parly II store is the one I came most as next door to Versailles:

In 1931, a new concept arrived from the United States: the single price for everyday consumer products. Au Printemps then opened a new company, Prisunic,(eventually closed in 2013, but I got to buy here too), which was responsible for selling inexpensive everyday products.

In 1977,new activities were developed or strengthened such as food (Disco), clothing (Armand Thiery still my fav store today) and mail order (La Redoute). In the 1980s, Au Printemps department stores opened up to the world, inviting their customers to various thematic and cultural exhibitions. The store opens branches as far as Japan (later sold) ,Istanbul, Jeddah, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. François Pinault acquired the Au Printemps group in 1991, then merged his own group with Au Printemps, which then took the name of Pinault-Printemps, made up of brands such as Conforama (furniture/electronics), Prisunic (again closed in 2013), La Redoute, then in 1994, Fnac (now merge with another group Darty).Au Printemps therefore focused on five strong universes: Beauty, Lifestyle, Fashion, Accessories and Men. The Parisian store Brummell, specializing in men’s clothing, was renovated and became Le Printemps de l’Homme (Mens store) in September 1999. The 2000s saw an increase in activities, with the opening of the Au Printemps Design store at the Centre Georges-Pompidou. In May 2019, the Au Printemps group announces the opening of its first store abroad for 2021. It will be located in Doha, the capital of Qatar, the country of the group’s new owners since 2013.

This is the Groupe Printemps as of today with their brands:

And now I feel better credited in my blog. I always got an inspiration walking out of gare St Lazare and walking past it to cross Haussmann on my way to work! A sublime experience that will always remember, did for almost 9 years!! And of course, sneak in once in a while for some serious shopping, many times to take back to my boys a garment. However, with the family was more in the store at Parly II in Les Chesnay (now the town call ChesnayRocquencourt) as my boys went to school in the town which is across the street from Versailles where we lived.

Hope you enjoy the post as I did bringing back many nice family memories, always remembered. Enjoy while in Paris, the Au Printemps dept store.

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

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September 29, 2020

Paris and the Avenue!!!

This is another surprise, so much to see and tell you. I have passed by here several times as one of hq is on the Avenue de la Grande Armée near Porte Maillot in Paris. Yet do not recall writing about it in my blog… I finally found me a photo and remind me of this. Time to remedy and tell you all about this wonderful avenue of eternal Paris! Yes, worked on it, ate on it and walk, drove on it for several years. This is my take on the Avenue de la Grande Armée. Hope you enjoy the post as I did telling you.

Oh yes this is not THE avenue you thought but an equally impressive avenue that should be visited, walk on it. Hope you enjoy it

The Avenue de la Grande-Armée is the avenue that separates the 16éme and 17éme arrondissements or districts of Paris. It starts from place Charles-de-Gaulle or aka Place de l’Étoile, it arrives at Porte Maillot at the intersection of Avenue de Malakoff, boulevard Pereire and boulevard Gouvion-Saint-Cyr. Odd numbers are in the 16éme arrondissement , and even numbers are in the 17éme arrondissement. Its length is 775 meters and its width is 70 meters. It was so named by Napoleon III in honor of the Grande Armée, which carried out all the campaigns of the First Empire.

Paris ave de la grande armee towards the arc de triomphe jan13

Leaving Paris, on the right side and even numbers, the avenue runs alongside the Ferdinandville district and the 17éme; the left side and the odd numbers are part of the 16éme and the former town of Passy. Avenue de la Grande-Armée is an extension of the Champs-Élysées beyond the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile.  After Porte Maillot, the straight line continues through Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle (formerly Avenue de Neuilly) then, crossing the Seine river by Pont de Neuilly, the prospect of more than 15 km continues towards La Défense and the Grande Arche.

Twice a year first around May 10 and then around August 1st, the Sun sets in the axis of Avenue de la Grande-Armée. For a person located on the Champs-Élysées, the solar disk is thus visible for a few minutes under the arch of the Arc de Triomphe. On May 10, 1994, a partial solar eclipse accompanied the phenomenon. Note that in the opposite direction seen from Porte Maillot, the Sun rises twice a year in the Arc de Triomphe, around February 7 and November 4! Amazing Paris!!!  The Etoile tunnel directly links the avenue des Champs-Élysées and the avenue de la Grande-Armée, passing under the Arc de Triomphe. Halfway between the Etoile and Porte Maillot, at number 36, is Place Yvon-et-Claire-Morandat, named after two resistance fighters given to this crossroads in 1987. On this square is the entrance to Argentine  metro line 1 station on the limits of   neighborhood  or quartier Chaillot 16éme arrondissement ,and neighborhood Ternes of the 17éme arrondissement.

A bit of history I like

The old major road which led from Paris to the west was the avenue des Ternes then called Chaussée de Neuilly, which went to the ford of Neuilly. As early as the Middle Ages and undoubtedly since the Gallic period, this made it possible to go from Paris to Saint-Germain, to Cherbourg and to Le Havre as it was the “roll-roll” route that gave the neighborhood its name, du Roule. The Avenue de la Grande-Armée is fairly recent because it was only created during the reign of king Louis XV. The Avenue de la Grande Armée, known as the Route de Neuilly, was therefore opened under Louis XVI with its current width of 70 meters from the start, continuing the grandiose perspective of the Tuileries garden to the previously name pl de l’Etoile. In 1854, Haussmann restructured Place de l’Etoile (now known officially as Charles-de-Gaulle) with its twelve avenues that radiate from it, the main ones being the Champs-Élysées and the Grande-Armée. The avenue was called successively, the route de Neuilly in 1730, route de Saint-Germain in 1820, Avenue de la Porte-Maillot in 1848, Avenue de Neuilly in 1860, then finally the Avenue de la Grande-Armée in 1864. Before being attached to Paris in 1863, it formed part of the national road N13 from Paris to Cherbourg. Today, there remains a short section of Paris of 100 meters which bears the name of Avenue de Neuilly beyond the Porte Maillot, its extension into Neuilly being henceforth called Avenue Charles-de-Gaulle.

In the directory of the year 1900, there are 34 addresses under the heading “automobile” only on this Avenue de la Grande Armée and more than 50 if one counts those of the close by districts, that is to say more than half of all the corresponding sections. Famous names like Peugeot, Renault, Dunlop, de Dion Bouton, Panhard-Levassor, Decauville and others now gone like Darracq, Clément-Bayard, Le Zèbre, the Parisian Cart Company and, for spare parts, Mestre and Blatgé. The first motor shows were held nearby, in the Salle Wagram , from 1894 until the Universal Exhibition of 1900, after which they will be held at the Grand Palais. The neighborhood has honored and kept the memory of these pioneers like in the center of the place Saint-Ferdinand sits the statue of Serpolet and in the Square Parodi adjoining the Porte Maillot, there is a fountain commemorating the arrival of Paris-Bordeaux- Paris of 1895, to the glory of Émile Levassor.

Interesting buildings that I like to tell you about:

At No 4: site of the former Le Napoléon cinema opened in 1934, closed in 1988. It specialized in Walt Disney cartoons. No 6: Roland Garros had opened in this spot in 1909 its brand Roland Garros automobiles – sports cars. At No 12: the French photographer Valentin Vaucamps, born in Maubeuge (nord 59) established the Lumina company there, specializing in cameras and which exploited the trichrome process which produced color photos. No 23 ,the socialite painter and engraver Jules-Ferdinand Jacquemart lived at this address from 1873 until his death. He was the son of art historian Albert Jacquemart. No 24: home of the military painter Édouard Detaille , whose great historical machines were very fashionable. The sculptor-statuary Jean Antonin Carlès , Grand Prix of the Universal Exhibition of 1889, also lived in this building, before having his workshop at 98, rue des Batignolles. From 1900 to 1907, this address was that of the exhibition store of the Industrial Company of Automobile Telephone-Car System Ader, a firm founded by Clément Ader, a pioneer of aviation in France. At No 26 in the early 1960s, sports car fans found the Matra Sports store here.  At No 27 the “Au Petit Matelot” stores, which still exist at this location since 1906 at the corner of rue d’Argentine where a plaque recalls that these stores founded in 1790 on the Quai d’Anjou ,Ile Saint-Louis of where they were expropriated in 1932. Balzac refers to them in his Little Dictionary of Signs in 1826. At No 42: former La Boîte à films cinema, ex Studio Obligado. Created in 1938, demolished in 1987, (I saw it before been demolished unfortunately) it mainly programmed films in Spanish for the servants of the neighborhood. At No 56 there is the Reformed Church de l’Étoile. At No 74, the former Maillot Palace cinema opened in 1916, then Maillot-Palace-Cinema from 1922 to 1980 , and also called Cinérama. At No 80 it hosted the café-restaurant La Terrasse where, on July 12, 1943, an attack took place against some forty Nazis soldiers who were having their breakfast. Bernard Courtault is convicted and then shot following the attack. At No 82 the Neuilly – Porte Maillot train station, on the old Petite Ceinture line. At No 83 the former Royal Maillot or Grand-Royal cinema opened in 1910, closed in 1969. At the north end of the avenue by the porte Maillot, you see the Palais de Congrés or convention center (many times here), here was from 1909 the Luna-Park amusement park, which itself replaced the Printania music-garden, inaugurated in 1904.

A bit on the perspective of walking around Paris from the Paris tourist office here :

And on getting around Paris from the Paris tourist office here:

As well as looking for similar wordings in my blog on walking and public transports, driving in Paris etc. Again, a marvelous avenue and beautiful architecture as well as the history as above and more. Again, well worth your time to walk it.

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

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September 29, 2020

Paris and the Bateaux Parisiens!!!

Here is another goodie from the vault and even personal. When I first came to France in 1990 to see my girlfriend and later wife (same year lol!) , she took me on a romantic ride on the Seine river with the Bateaux Parisiens cruise. It became our home on the Seine, took it several times more into married life and with the boys and parents.


My dear late wife Martine and dear late Mom Gladys on the BP!

Even if now too many trips and memories to last a lifetime, each time I go to my world head office nearby I stop by and see it, photos do not matter anymore but just see it and relieves wonderful times. Maybe next time should take more photos….

As for now let me tell you about this wonderful Paris landmark, the Bateaux Parisiens.

The Bateaux Parisiens is a service mark of Bateau-mouche , these boats existed in the 19C to designate boats that had only a utilitarian purpose, and were only used to transport goods and possibly passengers from one place to another on various rivers and canals ,not to be confused with the other officially ride name the bateaux mouches. The Bateaux Parisiens are located at the Port de la Bourdonnais, by the foot of the tour Eiffel in the 7éme arrondissement or district of Paris. You can get here when in the area best by foot as we do after parking or by metro lines 6 and 9 Trocadero or 6 Bir-Hakeim as well as RER C Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel or bus lines 92 closes stop Bosquet-Rapp , or line 82 stop tour Eiffel (my stop is champ de mars-Suffren ::) or line 42 at my stop Champ de Mars-Suffren short walk or tour Eiffel.

paris ave de new york to bateaux parisiens nov17

In 1956, the Bateaux Parisiens company was created in Paris and in 1987, the Sodexo company bought the Bateaux Parisiens. The fleet was made up of 8 sightseeing boats and 5 dining boats. Each boat dedicated to the promenade bears the name of a celebrity. The boats dedicated to catering cruises have other names.

Boarding is at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on the Quai de la Bourdonnais. During the cruise, it is possible to see the following monuments: the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, Assamblée Nationale, Orsay Museum, Institut de France, Notre-Dame Cathedral , Hôtel de Ville, Conciergerie, Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, Arc de Triomphe, and the Palais de Chaillot. The catering cruise also allows you to see the   Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Statue of Liberty.

This is a wonderful family outing. Very welcoming and friendly team. The comments are done by audible telephones connected to each seat and are interesting and accessible from 8-10 years old. Songs and music about Paris, well chosen, decorate the cruise in a romantic and friendly atmosphere. The banks of the Seine are very beautiful, and admiring them from a boat is as original as it is pleasant. Even the Parisians are surprised to discover unknown facades of monuments they know well. To be redone in winter for another light and less leafy trees. The cruise lasts a good hour. There is a car park at the pier, count 5 euros for the duration of the cruise. If full, there is a bigger one at 25 Quai Branly-Tour Eiffel for 8.40 euros (museum) Remember to book and print your tickets in advance on the site, they serve as a skip-the-line for the entire first queue. Plan a little waiting before boarding anyway.

The official Bateaux Parisiens

The owners Sodexo has a page on them here:

The Paris tourist office on the Bateaux Parisiens in English:

You have a wonderful day in Paris taking a ride with the Bateaux Parisiens, there are others but this one is for the nostalgia,memories, good times ,family time always the BP!!! Hope you enjoy the post as I did writing it.

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

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September 29, 2020

Paris and Samaritaine!!!

Oh yes it was a love story, Paris and the Samaritaine dept store ,and we were there from 1990. My dear late wife Martine was very fond of it and we went as I needed to go lol! Well shopping was one of her force and the Samaritaine was magical.

Paris Samaritaine and us sep90

Again, I have written before, but found a new photo so will give new text as well to revive this great memory,and stay tune, it will be back!!! The Samaritaine forever!!

Paris samaritaine dept store old feb11

The grand magasin or great department store Samaritaine will see light again. This is a wonderful Paris landmark that will come back as a store we can all visit again. La Samaritaine was still a department store located between rue de Rivoli and the Seine river, at Pont Neuf in the 1éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Simply the best!

Paris samaritaine dept stor top to sacre coeur , eiffel and the seine oct05

A bit of history I like

La Samaritaine was the largest Parisian department store in terms of its size, with its four stores totaling a sales area of 48,000 m2. Its buildings in art nouveau and art deco style. La Samaritaine becomes the most important Parisian department store in terms of sales area just ahead of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Its advertising slogan, supported by a major advertising campaign in the 1960s has remained in the collective memory : “You can find everything at La Samaritaine”.

La Samaritaine was founded in 1870 by Ernest Cognacq. After having exercised various trades of salesman for a boss or for his own account, Cognacq had become calico in a tent or a red umbrella on the Pont Neuf when he got along with a small café which he frequented rue de La Monnaie to rent, from March 21, 1870, its little-used annex room and turn it into a small novelty store, La Samaritaine. Ernest Cognacq married in January 1872 Marie-Louise Jaÿ, former first saleswoman in the confectionery department of Bon Marché dept store, with whom he will then manage the store. You can see their museum at 8 rue Elzévir Paris 3.

La Samaritaine was the name of a water pump located on the Pont Neuf, the existence of which dates back to Henri IV, who asked the Flemish Jean Lintlaër for the plans. It was the first water lifting machine built in Paris. It was rebuilt by Robert de Cotte between 1712 and 1719, then renovated by Soufflot and Gabriel. This pomp was decorated with a representation of the episode evoking the meeting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (recounted in the Gospel according to John). The whole was surmounted by a clock fitted with a jacquemart, then, later, a carillon.

La Samaritaine opened in 1870 on the ground floor of a building located in the block which would become store 1. From the early 1880s, all of the buildings located between rue de la Monnaie and rue du Pont-Neuf and rue de Rivoli were bought, which in 1904 led to the creation of a large store 1, whose interior distribution had been completely revised without the appearance of the facades having been profoundly changed. At the same time as the development of store 1, apartment buildings were acquired in the block located on the other side of rue de la Monnaie, which will constitute store 2. A passage under the rue de la Monnaie was created to communicate the basements of stores 1 and 2.

The extension of the Samaritaine continues with the acquisition of the buildings located between the rue de Rivoli and the rue Boucher then their reconstruction in 1930 to constitute the store 3. The expansion de la Samaritaine continued in 1932 with the purchase of the Révillon Frères fur workshops occupying almost the entire block north of store 2, on the other side of rue Baillet. These buildings will constitute store 4, which will not however occupy the entire block, for lack of being able to acquire the buildings belonging to other owners. The transformation of the facades of store 4 overlooking rue de Rivoli in the Art Deco style was planned but did not see the light of day due to the economic crisis of the 1930s.

In 2001, the La Samaritaine is sold after which had become a loss-making, affair to the LVMH group. The department store finally closed its doors in 2005, (photo below just before closing from the rooftop!!) officially due to the building’s non compliance with modern safety standards, and redevelopment. The Samaritaine department store, which LVMH was to open in early April, 2021 after fifteen years of work and an investment of 750 million euros, is now only due to open in Summer of 2021, due to complications of the covid19 virus. The postponement of this inauguration represents a hard blow for the district. The merchants of the rue de Rivoli hoped that frequentation of the Samaritaine would revive activity at half mast since the launch of its titanic construction site and revalue its business assets. Below ,photo from the roofstop of the Samaritaine in the glory days!

The complex will be backed by a 72-room palace operated under the Hôtel Cheval Blanc brand, another subsidiary of the LVMH group, the Samaritaine must establish itself as the shopping destination for visitors to Paris. More than 600 brands will be distributed there, most of them from LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton and Celine. The basement is devoted to cosmetic brands, a guilty pleasure for tourists when shopping in the capital.

The official webpage is by the management group DFS part of LVMH here:

The LVHM webpage on the Samaritaine in English:

Update, the place is open but not the same, never the same, only same spot.

So,therefore, we need to wait a bit longer! Can’t wait really, will not be the first time that I go to Paris for a grand opening, and this one will be another one for sure. La Samaritaine brings lots of good memories, happier time, family time, and fun shopping. All will be relive again I hope. Hope you like the post as I do.

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

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September 28, 2020

Paris and Pl de la Concorde!!!

So this is a very popular spot in my eternal Paris. It seems the world convenes here after a long walk along the Ave de Champs Elysées or the Rue de Rivoli! I was lucky enough to even worked just around the corner from it and walk to work from the Gare Saint Lazare passing close and seeing it every day for almost 9 years!

Of course, I have told you about it before but this is new text , more history and new photos not in my blog yet. Hope you enjoy the Place de la Concorde of Paris!

Well this is the most famous square in Paris.  It started out named “Place Louis XV” in 1763. Later named “Place de la Révolution”  during the period of terror in the French revolution, and finally took the name of the  “Place de la Concorde” in  1795, to mark the reconciliation of a Nation. Again, it was re-named  “Place Louis XV” in 1814, and further  “Place Louis XVI” in 1826.  It was not until the reign of king of the French Louis-Philippe in 1830, that it takes the current name for good of the  “Place de la Concorde”. As Concord or harmony of a nation.

paris pl de la concorde obelisk and eiffel afar nov19

All roads lead you here, I used to work for many years not far close, and use the metro Concorde on bad weather when not walking by it to work. Sublime! Public transport passing by here or close are bus lines 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, and 28. Metro stations  Concorde- Line 1 | station Balard -Line 8 | station Porte de la Chapelle / Mairie d’Issy – Line 12. The Concord square or plaza de la Concordia or place de la Concorde is sublime , beautiful ,romantic ,what Paris is all about!!!


A bit more on the history I like and brief description.

The Place de la Concorde was created between 1755 and 1775, on the initiative of King Louis XV!. King of the French Louis Philippe, under the July Monarchy, asked in 1839 to rearrange it. The two fountains in the Place de la Concorde, inspired by those of Saint-Pierre in Rome, were installed between 1835 and 1840 at the request of King Louis Philippe. The maritime fountain on the side of the Seine and the Fluvial fountain on the rue Royale side. The Tuileries Garden extends from the Louvre Palace (east) to the Place de la Concorde (west), it is bordered to the north by the rue de Rivoli, the Place des Pyramides and to the south by the Seine river. The Arc du Carrousel, built in 1806 in the Carrousel garden, marks the entrance to the Tuileries garden. The Tuileries Palace which closed the Louvre on its west side was burnt down during the Commune(communists later use this word) of Paris in 1871 and its ruins were razed in 1881 by the city of Paris under the Third Republic. The rue Royale begins at Place de la Concorde and ends in front of the Madeleine Church. This road was originally called rue Royale des Tuileries. The current layout of the avenue des Champs Elysées was completed in 1724, and extended the perspective of the Tuileries garden. its name comes from the place of the underworld where virtuous souls stayed in Greek mythology. Between 1766 and 1775 is erected on the Place de la Concorde, two palaces with monumental facades separated by the rue Royale. In line with the Perrault colonnade in the Louvre. Hôtel de Crillon – Hôtel Pastoret – Hôtel de Coislin and Hôtel de la Marine. The Luxor Obelisk was erected in 1836 at the initiative of the King of the French Louis-Philippe in the center of the square. It is a pink granite obelisk, dating from the 12C BC, offered to King Charles X by Mehemet Ali, Viceroy and Pasha of Egypt. The monument, weighing 230 tons and measuring 23 meters in height , was originally located in the Temple of Thebes (Luxor). another obelisk which was the pendant of the entrance to the Tuileries Palace is still there, it is covered with hieroglyphics. The Pont de Concorde bridge, 153 meters long and 35 meters wide, was built between 1787 and 1791.


paris pl de la concorde fountain to crillon nov19


paris-pl-de-la-concorde-obelisk far feb14

Eight statues are placed on the corner sentry boxes: They represent eight French towns. Lyon and Marseille   by Jean-Pierre Cortot, Lille and Strasbourg by James Pradier, Lyon and Marseille by Pierre Petitot and Bordeaux and Nantes by Louis-Denis Caillouette. The seated figures represent: the Rhine, the Rhône rivers and the Harvests of Grapes and Wheat, as well as the Mediterranean, the Ocean and Fishing.

Paris pl de la concorde brest statue nov11

paris pl de la concorde crillon and marine nov19

Following the French revolution of 1789, it became the epicenter of the turmoil. The statue of Louis XV was brought down in 1792, and replaced by Liberty, a goddess draped in Roman style, wearing a Phrygian cap, who firmly holds her sceptre. King Louis XVI was guillotined on January 21, 1793 as were Queen Marie-Antoinette, the Girondins, Danton, Mme Roland, Robespierre and many others. During the reign of Terror, 1119 people died there. Under the Directory, Lucien Bonaparte removes the remains of the guillotine and the Statue of Liberty. Under the Restoration king Charles X plans to place a statue of his brother Louis XVI in its center but did not succeeded, the square was briefly named.

The Paris tourist office on the Place de la Concorde

The Ïle de France region tourist office on Paris monuments and museums:

So now feel better fully describe this gem of my eternal Paris, you can see the previous post on it dated Nov 9 2019. And hope you enjoy the tour of the wonderful Place de la Concorde in Paris, of course.

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

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September 28, 2020

Paris and an arch!!!

So here again at you with some new found photos from my vault and of course will try to provide more information on the text. I have done posts before on the Arc de Triomphe but as usual always leave things out. It’s a habit of rushing my amateur writings, and know can always come back for more.

The Arc de Triomphe is located on Place Charles de Gaulle which was previously called Place de l’Etoile from where 12 major avenues, among the most exclusive in Paris, depart. Clockwise, you will find the avenue Marceau, avenue d’Iéna, avenue Kléber, avenue Victor Hugo, avenue Foch (my favorite entry!) , avenue de la Grande Armée, avenue Carnot, avenue Mac-Mahon, avenue de Wagram, avenue Hoche, avenue de Friedland and finally avenue des Champs Élysées.


The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most emblematic monuments in Paris. Measuring 50 meters high, 22 meters wide and 45 meters long, the Arc de Triomphe is the symbol of the victories of the French army under Napoleon’s Empire. The attic or upper part of the Arc, crowned with 30 shields on which are engraved the names of great battles of the revolution and the empire. The battles you will find on the interior faces of the large arcades. The 558 French generals, some of whom died in action, their names are underlined.

paris arc de triomphe conrer of Iena et Marceau sep16

Some emblematic ones me think are the departure of the Volunteers in 1792, also called the Marseillaise, represents the French people in all their diversity from revolutionaries (Republicans), Royalists and Bonapartists going together to fight. An iconic work of the French Republic erected under king of the French, Louis Philippe, in 1833. At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, you can discover the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument erected in 1921 with a flame that never goes out, called the eternal flame. This symbol represents all the French who died during WWI or as we know it here, the Great War, who could never be identified.

It was Napoleon who decided to build it in 1806 at the end of the Battle of Austerlitz and the arch was completed during the reign of Louis-Philippe. Before the expansion of Paris in 1860, the land on which the monument was built was on the border of the city, and offered privileged access to the Emperor’s residence, the former Palais des Tuileries, via the Champs-Élysées.

The panoramic view from the roof of the Arc de Triomphe is equally impressive. From above, you can admire the dynamism that animates the city by observing the twelve main arteries meeting at this point. The ascent to the Arc de Triomphe will give you beautiful views of the Champs-Elysées and the La Défense district. The climb is worth it. To enter and access the upper floor of the arch, you will need to pay the entrance fee and climb the 286 steps that separate the terrace from the ground. There is also a small museum inside, relating the history and construction of this imposing monument.

The official Arc de Triomphe

The Paris tourist office on the Arc de Triomphe

You will be delighted with the history and the wonderful architecture but the views oh the views are gorgeous of my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy the updated post on the Arc de Triomphe.

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

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September 28, 2020

Paris, again Sacré Coeur!!!

Oh yes again Sacré Coeur Basilica of Montmartre!! Quickly, I have written before ,but I could dedicated several volumes in a book on it; a must to see in Paris and a lot more than its religious meaning, the force and strenght of the people of Paris, France are in it. A better place to understand my belle France.

What can I say about Sacre Coeur, it is a very popular Basilica Church of Paris. I have written before so will just give some new text and new photos even if older from my vault .

Again, one of the must see and must stop on your way to Paris. The historical center of a wonderful district ,a city in its right call Montmartre.   The hill of martyrs as in English, no heroes of any sort, but those earlier Christians who gave it all for the faith. Here Saint Denis was beheaded by pagans lords, but He continue to preach all the way to Saint Denis where now is his Basilica de Saint Denis; it all begun at Montmartre. It was completed in 1910 and was consecrated in 1919. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica is 100 meters long and 50 meters wide surmounted by a dome 83 meters high. The 84 meters high campanile houses a bell weighing 18.5 tons with its 850 kg clapper. The construction of this Roman-Byzantine style basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart was declared of public utility by the National Assembly of France in 1873. Its construction began in 1876 on the plans of architect Abadie largely inspired by the Church of St Front in Périgueux of which he was the restorer. The interior contains decorative treasures: marble sculptures, stained glass windows and mosaics. The hill of Montmartre is the highest point of Paris with its 130 meters in height. From the square of the basilica there is a beautiful panoramic view of Paris!!

paris sacre coeur up jul10

A bit of history that I like

In 1870, the people of Paris were under siege after the defeat of Napoleon III against the Prussians and allies at Sedan. The Parisians were starving and even go so far as to kill the animals of the zoo for food. It follows the capitulation of Napoleon III and the bloody episode of the great commune of Paris. Catholics regard these terrible events as a punishment from God. The faithful then meet and organize huge faith processions, promising to erect a monument to the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Guibert, sends a letter to the Minister of Cultes or worship asking him to support this project which would contribute to the divine protection of Paris. In order for the protection to be effective and visible to all, it was decided to build the monument on a hill. Monsignor Guibert would have had a divine vision when he visited the Butte Montmartre which gave him a sunny view of Paris. To decide on the choice of architect, a competition is organized under the chairmanship of Charles Garnier, the father architect of the Opéra. He chose Paul Abadie .The construction began in 1875.To carry out this expensive project, it was called for donations and it was the Parisians themselves who financed the Basilica by buying 1 to 3 stones, the prices of which varied between 120 and 500 francs. The Sacré-Coeur is a private monument, property of the Archdiocese of Paris, and not a building of the French State!!!

To access the Holy of Holies, you must first climb 237 steps but it is worth it: a breathtaking view of our Paris awaits you. Fortunately, since 1901 a cable car or funicular has provided easier access to the Holy Grail.  An anecdote: In April 1944 (WWII) 13 bombs exploded on the Sacré Coeur without causing any casualties, a miracle.

The huge gorgeous mosaic of the Choir represents “The Triumph of the Sacred Heart of Jesus”. With a total area of 475m2, it is one of the largest in the world. The Choir of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre and its Carrara marble altarpiece ,the Choir is closed by eleven Romanesque arcades, strangely extended upwards.

Paris sacre coeur dome altar aug11

Hugely wonderful awesome ,gorgeous again need to see it. I have several times and always looking forward for more. Let me give some webpages to help you plan your visit from afar

The official webpage of the Sacré Coeur Basilica in English:

The Montmartre tourist office in English:

The Paris tourist office in English:

And the Paris Catholic Diocese on the Sacré Coeur Basilica in French:

There you go folks, a work of art, a wonderful place to visit my beautiful capital of France, eternal Paris. It will be worth your time and effort, the Sacré Coeur Basilica was done by citizens for all of us. Hope you enjoy it

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

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September 27, 2020

Paris at the Place du Tertre!!

So here i am staying in Paris and continue finding new photos of older days in the beautiful city. I have many posts on Paris, many… but have ,also many photos some not shown yet. I used to worked in it and lived next door so Paris was like my backyard. Still was until the virus…. Looking forward to be back.

In the meantime, let me show some new text and photos of a very very popular place, the Place du Tertre square in Montmartre.

As any visitor/tourist would attest, coming here is like a pilgrimage while in Paris. I admit came here for the glamour in the travel books as my French family was not taken none of this. However, just for the bragging rights I came, back in 1991!

It immediately struck as an overpopulated square loaded with visitor/tourists walking around and so popular! Many cheap portraits made in China but signed by locals! indeed. It was a one time impression and I believe been back maybe once after that. Montmartre has better places to be, but if you are here for only a visit or is your first time then do come if simply for the bragging rights! I was here!

paris pl du tertre montmartre jan20

This artists square is divided into 149 locations of 1m² where everyone gives free rein to their talent. The place is once again at the heart of the history of Paris at the end of the 19C. At the end of the siege of Paris, part of the 171 guns were stored on the mound. On March 18, 1871, it was an attempt to withdraw these cannons that sparked a major riot, heralding the Paris Commune!

This square is served by the metro stations Abbesses (line 12) and Anvers (line 2), as well as by the Montmartrobus. I have come and parked at the parking Anvers 500 meters from Sacre-Coeur at 41 boulevard de Rochechouart.

A bit of history I like

We are in the Middle Ages. Let’s say without seeking too much precision, in the 12C. A few houses were built, especially a little lower, towards the current place Jean-Baptiste Clément which was then the center of the village, its main square (then called Place du Palais) . Later, probably in the 14C, the land (which is not yet a square) is bordered on the east side by a thick wall which forms part of the Abbey enclosure. In the center of the square which extends at its feet, the abbesses who possessed the right of justice had installed forks and gallows. The square did not have its current appearance and three houses were built in its center. They were destroyed in the middle of the 19C and it was not until 1921 that the city bought back the private part of the central square. The name Place du Tertre which obviously alludes to its location at the top of the hill only appears late, in the 19C. It almost disappeared when a decree of 1867, a year after the annexation of Montmartre to Paris, had provided for its abolition in order to widen the rue Norvins. Luckily, the project was abandoned!

A bit of nostalgia me think. At number 3 Place du Tertre which apparently opens onto Place Jean Marais (formerly Place de l’Eglise) to extend at a right angle and form the east side of Place du Tertre. It bears the same plaque in two very different places indicating that the first city/town hall of Montmartre was established there in 1790.

The No 17 Place du Tertre is of course a restaurant! It is Chez Eugène (my first meal there! 1991). If artists have performed there, we do not see what the official site is referring to when it tells us that it inspired the famous Jacques Brel chorus! There is indeed a restaurant at Eugène’s in the song “Madeleine” by Brel, but you have to take tram 33 to get there because it is in Brussels!

paris chez eugene fam 1995

At No 6 Place du Tertre ,you will find the famous Mère Catherine. Before the Revolution, there was the presbytery where the parish priest lived as the church St Pierre was divided into two parts , one “St Denis” reserved for nuns, the other “St Pierre” for the villagers.

With the Revolution and the confiscation of religious property, the house was sold and bought by Catherine Lamotte who turned it into a café-restaurant. One of the clients at the time was none other than Danton! After the death of Mother Catherine, there will be other owners including the second mayor of Montmartre Mr. Lemoine who installed a wooden billiard table, which was very successful, and earned him the nickname “Father of billiards”. For many years the place has lost its soul and has become a tourist trap!yes. The poor victims imagine when they enter that they will consume delicious traditional cuisine in an authentic place! The restaurant claims that the word “bistro” was born here!

The restaurant claims that the word “bistro” was born here when, after Napoleon’s defeat, the Cossacks who came to occupy Paris were served there drinks and to hasten the service shouted “bistro bistro” which phonetically and approximately means in Russian “quick quick”. The thing is disputed and questionable but it is part of the Montmartre legend made of gaffes and stories mixed with the truth!

The Paris tourist office on the Place du Tertre :

A wonderful local webpage Montmartre Guide on tourism and information on Montmartre, on the Place du Tertre:

And now you have a bit more on another monument of Paris. Yes even more touristic today but as said, one needs to see it at least once. And you are in Paris, well Montmartre as the locals would tell you ::) Enjoy the visit to the Place du Tertre

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

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September 27, 2020

Musée de l’Armée of Paris!!

Well here I am back at you with gorgeous beautiful awesome Paris. Of course in the Ïle de France region dept and city no 75 and in my belle France. And again, I must repeat, written on some of it before, but this is new text and photo even if older dated. I can sometime get carry away from the excitement of visitors/expats etc and just recount the main monuments or places to see in Paris. However, there are always little things that are overlook and I for one lover of architecture and history need to be back as it is huge with plenty to tell; take this post as an introduction to the Army Museum!

This is the case of a huge complex better known as the Invalides ,but I like even more the Army museum or Musée de l’Armée. And this one will like to tell you its history and what can be seein inside. Hope you enjoy it.

The Musée de l’Armée is located in the Hôtel National des Invalides in the 7éme arrondissement or district of Paris. The Musée de l’Armée is a history museum whose vocation is to present the history of conflicts through the prism of the military history of France. Access is now only via 129 rue de Grenelle as long as sanitary conditions require it. This museum is served by the Invalides metro lines 8 and 13, Varenne line 13 ,and La Tour-Maubourg line 8. Also RER C invalides, and Bus lines my favorites as there are others are lines  28, 82, 87, 92 and 93.

Paris mus armee entr mar13

The museum was created in 1905 by the merger of the Artillery Museum and the Army Historical Museum, both of which were already located in the Hôtel des Invalides. At the time, the collections were then installed and divided into two sections: The Arms and Armor Section, which included the Joffre Gallery (fortifications and trenches), the Kléber room (oriental collections), the Massena room (infantry), the Richelieu room (luxury weapons), the Douay room (colonial infantry and armaments foreigners), the Murat room (cavalry), the Margueritte room (African cavalry, artillery and harness), the Gribeauval room (artillery), the Pétain gallery (Souvenirs of the Great War, flags taken from the Germans) and the Foch gallery (memories of the allied armies). And the Historical Section, which included the Turenne room or “flag room” (there were over 700 flags or banners); the Bugeaud room (Detailed collection: paintings, military costumes, weapons), the Louis XIV room (costumes and souvenirs from the former monarchy), the Napoleon room, the La Fayette room, the Aumale room (colonial campaigns), the Mac Mahon room (wars from 1825 to 1870), Chanzy room (1870 to 1914), medals room, Charlemagne room (collection of Greek and Roman uniforms and of the Gauls), Assas room, La Tour d’Auvergne room.

paris mus armee canons et eiffel mar13

There has been a huge program of renovation that is known by the words ATHENA since 1994, the museum underwent various arrangements . Other museums too such as The historial Charles-de-Gaulle, the Museum of the Order of the Liberation has been completely rehabilitated a new permanent section within the museum, the Cabinets Unusual, devoted in a first part to military figurines and artillery models: one of the most important collections in the world and in another part to military musical instruments. The army museum occupies the east and west wings around the courtyard of the Invalides as well as a wing to the west of the Saint-Louis Church and the historial de Charles de Gaulle, an underground construction under the courtyard of values.

From the year 2000 an important renovation plan with the old weapons and armors department reopened in 2005, the Department of the two World Wars, between 2003 and 2006 and the modern department (from Louis XIV to Napoleon III) which opened its doors in 2010.   The Charles de Gaulle Historial, commissioned by the Charles de Gaulle Museum and Foundation, was inaugurated in February 2008. In 2015, the Museum of the Order of Liberation was totally rehabilitated and the museography completely redesigned. By 2015 opened a new permanent section within the museum, the unusual cabinets, consecrated in a first part to the military figurines including 5 000 small soldiers of cardbox, lead, tin and plastic models on a total of estimated 140 000: Artillery , which is one of the most important collections in the world, comprising 1 000 pieces from the 16C to the 19C and another part of the military musical instruments, selected from the 350 of the collection and the 30 deposited by the Museum of Music. In 2016, the Army museum launched a participatory financing operation with the aim of restoring ViZIER, the only naturalized horse of Napoleon I, who was exposed since 1904 in the modern department (from Louis XIV to Napoleon III). After a month of restoration,in 2015, the mounted horse has regained its original location in a new controlled atmosphere showcase to better preserve it.

The Musée de l’Armée or Army museum joined the Fondation Napoléon to renovate the tomb of Napoleon I in the Invalides, as well as those of his brothers buried near the Emperor, under the famous dome.  The famous sarcophagus of the Emperor, in red quartzite, is rather well preserved but this is not the case of the soils that support it. The stone, enamel and marble marquetry soils were damaged by time and the stone falls from the dome.

Currently the Army museum is set up as such: The museum extends on the east and west wings around the cour d’Honneur of the Invalides and on a wing to the west of the Church of St. Louis and the Historial de Gaulle, an underground construction under the cour de la Valeur (courtyard). What you can see today:

The ancient department, weapons and armors old 13C-17C, whose collection is the 3rd largest in the world, exhibited on 2 500 m2; the modern department, covering the period of Louis XIV to Napoleon III, period 1643 – 1870; the contemporary department, the two World Wars, period from 1871 to 1945; the Historial Charles-de-Gaulle, a multimedia space of 2 500 m2 which traces the life and work of Charles de Gaulle, mainly with audiovisual documents; the unusual cabinets, including a part on the old figurines and models of artillery pieces, and another part on the musical military instruments

Thematic departments:   The department of Paintings and Sculptures, Office of prints, drawings and photography. Research sites: The library, created in 1905 and restored in recent years; The photo library. The Dome Church of Saint Louis is under the responsibility of the museum, it houses the burial of Napoleon I, his two brothers, his son (the Aiglon), the Marshals Vauban and Turenne, and the most recent of the Marshals, Foch and Lyautey.

Two other museums are attached to the Army Museum: The Museum of miniature models, (musée des Plansreliefs) consisting of models of fortified cities that trace 200 years of history and military strategies. It depends on the Ministry of Culture; and the Museum of the Order of Liberation, (musée de l’ordre de la Libération )created in 1967 and then renovated between 2012 and 2016, it is devoted to the order founded by de Gaulle in 1940 and to the Companions of the liberation. The collections are divided into three parts: free France, inner resistance and deportation.

Further renovations are in orders such as by 2024, the reception areas and temporary exhibitions will be reconfigured with the creation of places dedicated to the history of the site, as well as the news of French military engagements; while a new reserve building will be built in the suburbs. The second part will start in 2025 and will concern the creation of two new courses devoted to the history of colonization and decolonization from the 16C to the 1960s, as well as to the military history of the post-1945 period and to the Cold War until the period following the fall of the Iron Curtain.

So keep an eye for them, they will make for a whole new experience of visiting Paris and the Army museum! Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

The Official Army museum in English

The Paris tourist office on the Army museum in English:

And now there you go folks, ready for it as I am. Looking forward to revisit this wonderful place ,where I spent many of my time in Paris in and out and about it. Hope you enjoy the post on the Army Museum alone!

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

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