Archive for September 24th, 2020

September 24, 2020

Wines news of France VII !!

And as the big moment comes, let me tell you about some wine news of France again. The big moment is ongoing in several places, and even with the virus we go for it. This is the popular wine fairs or foire aux vins!!! Get ready,go!!

I have gotten in the bandwagon early and now follow religiously. Of course, if you read my blog I am a wine aficionado and diplomé of France and Spain. Let me tell you about this year event briefly ok.

Some of the nice merchants who does this better, me think ; my favorites.

Welcome to your Nicolas wine merchant in Vannes! At 7 place du Poids Public (my direct). The Nicolas cellar network was created in 1822 and today has 558 stores in eight countries. Nicolas promises this year a wine fair catalog 2020 renewed at 70%, with 61 references in promotion: 39 red wines, 18 white wines and 4 rosé wines. The brand is clearly focusing on accessible wines by offering half of its 2020 wine fair (foire aux vins) catalog for less than 10 euros after reduction. Nicolas relies on sound values by offering wines of prestigious appellations, particularly in Burgundy (Pernand Vergelesses 1er cru, Chablis …) and Bordeaux (Saint-Julien, Margaux …). Note the presence of the Château Rauzan Gassies and the Domaine Faiveley. There is more plurality in the less expensive wines, with wines from Alsace, the South-West and the Loire in particular.Last until October 13 2020. More info here:

Well hypermarket side, my fav since moving to Brittany in 2011 has been E Leclerc. The E Leclerc, hyper/super markets were the inventor of wine fairs (foire aux vins), and now they give priority to cuvées between 5-7€ , which are easy to drink. They have backlit the aisles with colors: orange-pink for the rosé, green for the whites and garnet for the reds. They have installed wine tasting macaroons in around 100 stores so far to guide consumers in their choices. All year round and during the autumn fair of course since wine is the star of the store at this time. The national selection comprises 200 wines and the regional one, 450. They highlight wines of immediate pleasure, with drinkability, very little woody, not too sunny, easy to drink, good value for money. This does not prevent   them from presenting many new products for lovers of discovery. Starts September 29 to October 10, 2020. More info on their webpage here:

And as I really started all this since living in Versailles and working in Paris got me to some fancy places between all ,these stand out. Lavinia, my store by Place de la Madeleine.

The wine merchant Lavinia offers for the 2020 wine fairs (foire aux vins) a selection of 150 cuvées from 10 French wine regions. Be careful, however, only 70 wines are available in all Lavinia points of sale. Lavinia relies heavily on organic, biodynamic and / or “natural” wines, which make up 55% of the catalog! The prices are correct, since more than half of their catalog contains cuvées for less than 20 euros. Most cuvées are offered between -10% and -20% of their initial price, but the prices are broken on some references. Until September 29 2020. More info here:

And another in my fav area for walks in Paris, the 16éme arrondissement and  La Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché, that of Passy and the website, has selected 210 references, each more tempting than the last for La Rentrée des vins. It emphasizes affordability and the taste of everyday wines. For twenty-one years, they have been organizing tastings to promote areas in which they believe. Their aim is to get the customer to understand the choices. The event ends October 15 2020 . More info on their webpage here:

Some advice that many give including my own assessment in order to avoid traps during Wine Fairs (Foire aux Vins).

The first is temptation. Let yourself be influenced. The brand that offers its favorite has often its interests to sell the stocks of such property. I doubt counselors volunteer. On the other hand, credibility is more justified when it comes to wine guides, that I read and follow too ,such as Hachette, Bettane and Desseauve, or reviews such as the Revue du Vin de France to name a few.

The temptation to trust the prices ! Medals rarely provide a guarantee. The wines presented are far from being the most remarkable of the appellations, and often come from large productions. That of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is in my view the only credible one. Why? Because only tasting professionals are authorized to participate, the wines that come out often offer real interest in terms of character, and definition.

Be careful of too low prices. These wines are, as it were, from unknown appellations. These are the low prices, less than 5 euros. Distrust, these are rarely good deals. Often wines from merchants, or branded wines, they have stocks to sell.  But; also at too high prices.   Very great wines, such as Petrus, Yquem, la Turque, Margaux, Latour, Ausone, Rayas, and so many others certainly do not need to be found on the shelves of wine fairs. to propose them in order to enhance their offer. For fun, and for glory. Because, do not dream, you will certainly not do good business with these wines. Simply, they are selling for a high price, across the world.

To make sure you don’t miss them, don’t hesitate to go to the opening evenings of the wine fairs. And further, aim for the mid-range: this is where the possible “deals” exist. In Bordeaux, the Crus Bourgeois, as well as certain other less famous classified Grands Crus remain “almost” sure values, although often devoid of character. Or, too consensual, at a price level that remains quite high. Focus primarily on very young vintages. You will have more guarantees on the quality of conservation, than old vintages, for which we do not know how or for how long they were stored. Unless , you like to collect them which never did I like to drink them!!

And some ideas on recent vintages as a general guide always.

The 2011 vintage was complicated to manage for the winegrowers. A summer spring, a very average summer, difficult conditions that despite everything allowed, paradoxically to the ‘cold’ soils, to have good maturities, with the winegrowers who will have done the sorting work throughout the summer. The hot soils have had more difficulty; nevertheless here again, the serious, diligent winegrowers have managed to bring in fine juices. An atypical vintage, but charming…

The 2012 vintage will certainly offer a little more structure compared to 2011, but there again, a certain heterogeneity. In places, the Merlot has reached good maturity. The most careful winegrowers will stand out, sorting work was necessary. Not a vintage for great aging, but it will bring the advantage of being able to prove to be quite easy and readable in the years to come.

The 2013 vintage remains complicated, with maturities often difficult to achieve, making them approachable wines after a few years of aging, the frameworks are not always generous.

The 2014 vintage offers a certain heterogeneity, but some wines turn out to be pretty, denser than the previous vintage, we will have to look for the few nuggets.

The 2015 vintage is more generous, complete, and above all more homogeneous. This is undoubtedly possible a vintage to cellar, even if in some appellations the temptation will be great to drink them young, on their fruit. Very nice vintage ,the one that will undoubtedly be favored, as far as possible.

The 2016, very good promises to keep, but it is a little too early to say … but something tells me that it will be a vintage in line with the remarkable 2010!

The 2017 is a successful vintage overall, sometimes extremely brilliant among some of the most serious winegrowers. A beautiful triptych 2015 – 2016 and 2017, definitely!

The 2018 is very good vintage. Indeed, this year benefited from a wet spring and a very beautiful summer . The harvest were therefore, both quantitative and qualitative.

And the, 2019  an excellent vintage. This is the result of favorable weather conditions, a dry summer, rather cool nights and some rains in early September. Generally speaking, it left on time and arrived the same. Many have imagined that with the very sunny periods that we have experienced, this vintage would be closer to 2003 or 2009, warm, generous.

There you go folks, you are well arm with the basic but good advice from yours truly. This is fun, tasting is allow and do try them all! spitting for tasting not drinking, to hold the day!! Its fun, already did mine on another store, Carrefour. Will go to E Leclerc and Nicolas next!! En Vino Veritas!

Drink in moderation, but drink, its good for you I say it here ::) And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 24, 2020

Loudéac and memories !!!

Ok so do not know how to call this post, so excuse my creativity ! As told you been to Loudéac several times even with the family but mostly on business. The memories are pleasant and good times by all.

I like to do a recap of what is Loudéac and my lodging/eating experience here for my souvenirs, memories of always. Hope you enjoy the post!

Briefly, Loudéac is a town in central Brittany inland away from the coast and part of the department 22 of Côtes d’Armor . It is about an hour’s drive from my house.

I came here first on a business roundtable with folks from the area and we used the hotel restaurant Les Voyageurs as the meeting spot. Funny things, the crew of invitées were divided in two cars, one with only women and the other with only men. Well, the mens’s car had GPS and the women did not. So guess what, we got to the place first ,and needed to go back and guide them in. All was fun…. Thereafter, the trips were direct and easy as this time.

The Hotel Restaurant Les Voyageurs is at 10 Rue de Cadélac,in city center Loudéac. If you come to pass through Central Bretagne, stop at Loudéac. There you will find the Les Voyageurs hotel restaurant, where you are welcomed in a most elegant room. Sitting on comfortable seats, in front of impeccably set tables, the menu reveals traditional cuisine that happily mixes products from the land and the sea. Nice underground parking too! And great ambiance indeed. The hotel restaurant is part of the fine chain Britt Hotels which I have used others elsewhere in Bretagne and always great stays; recommended.

The official Les Voyageurs Hotel Restaurant in English:

loudeac hotel les voyageurs arriving sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs front sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs parking underground sep20

loudeac hotel les voyageurs lobby sep20

Then, let me give some anecdotes, stories, things in history that have impacted this town over the centuries.

Loudéac’s first horse races take place at the Calouët racecourse in 1880. The first Loudeacian (local) horse festival is celebrated in 1936. The first Maison Médicale de France (or medical cabinet) was created in Loudéac in 1954. A piece of Catholic patronage, called “The Passion”, is written 1913 and is performed for the first time in 1914 at Loudéac. This is a theatrical show in the pure style of popular theater of the Middle Ages, the ‘Passion of Loudéac’ represents the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, from the entry into Jerusalem until the resurrection. Performed by a troop of 250 volunteers (actors, stagehands, dressers, make-up artists, reception ,etc), the Passion is performed every year as Easter approaches. See it hopefully in 2021. More info in French here: http://:

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the territory which would become Loudéac and its surroundings was used as a hunting ground in the forest of Brocéliande. It was not until the mid-11C that the founding of Loudéac as a town was fully recognized. This city, which was long in the hands of the Dukes of Rohan, was renowned for its fairs and markets.

Loudéac was the cradle of an important industry, imported by artisans from Flanders in 1567: the art of weavers with the advent of linen. Soon Breton canvases could compete with those of the best craftsmen in Flanders and set off to conquer the markets of Europe. The “canvases of Brittany” were exported to India, Portugal and above all to Spain.

In 1591, the leaguers of Jean d´Avaugour tried to take the Château de Loudéac, but failed. This battle is called the Battle of the Three Crosses and sees the victory of Jean V de Coëtquen, a supporter of the King of France. A 20C monument still commemorates this battle at the crossroads of Anatole Le Bratz and Docteur Robin streets.

At the start of the French revolution, Loudéac had 5,000 communicants and ten priests for the parish. At the beginning of the anticlerical persecution, many priests went into exile to escape death. The inhabitants of Loudéac hid others. On August 25, 1802, the Duke of Rohan was forced to cede the Château de Loudéac to Louis Henri Janzé. Some time later, on the night of September 19 to 20, 1802, the Château de Loudéac was destroyed by fire.

Almost 600,000 Bretons were incorporated for WWI, mainly in the army but also in the navy. Of these soldiers, approximately 140,000 lost their lives during this conflict. This rate of approximately 22% is higher than the French average ,between 16 and 17%.

On July 4, 1944, a few weeks before liberation, Loudéac witnessed a tragedy that still marks people’s minds today. In memory of the seven resistance fighters killed that day, a granite ordeal has been created since August 1945 at a place called “La Porcherie”, the scene of the crime. The Nazis forces left around 12h30, leaving behind the bodies of the seven resistance fighters.

With 62% of its territory occupied by agriculture, Brittany is now the leading French agricultural region and continues to develop the agri-food sector. Loudéac, due to its advantageous geographical location at the crossroads of several highways, has taken advantage of this expansion and today has the first industrial area of Côtes d’Armor in terms of surface area. This also earned it the reputation of the capital of Central Brittany. This is the front and back of their mairie or city/town hall

loudeac mairie front sep20

loudeac mairie back sep20

The city of Loudéac on its history and heritage:

So, there you now know another small town of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. Loudéac is very active, and with a very nice city center, full of traditions of old still kept alive, and good foodies! we love! Again, hope you have enjoy the post and thanks for reading me over this last 10 years.

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

September 24, 2020

Loudéac and its church!!!

And yes staying in this city north of me about an hour from home; already visited, done post by in October 21 2018 on the nice Saint Nicolas Church, which this is an update on text and new photos.

Loudéac is located in the Côtes-d’Armor department, 22 in the region of Bretagne. Loudéac has a name in Gallo, the local language: Loudia. It is located 20 km from Pontivy, 37 km from Saint-Brieuc, 58 km from Vannes, 80 km from Rennes and 383 km from Paris. The road axis is very good with the east west N164 road and the south north D700  Saint-Brieuc-Vannes; my way. There is no train station but SNCF buses take care of you to Saint-Brieuc, Rennes, Pontivy, Lorient and Vannes.

loudeac ch st nicolas arriving sep20

The Saint Nicolas Church its main body were built between 1758 and 1762 with stones from the ruins of the castle of La Chèze (see post). The bell tower having already been built between 1733 and 1746. The Saint-Nicolas Church was completed in 1765, and blessed on September 24, 1758. The bell tower dates from 1743-1746 and the nave dates from 1758-1762. The choir dates from the 18-19C. The organs date from 1854. Its high canopy altar in carved wood and Carrara marble was done 1771. The hosannière cross, in wrought iron dates from the beginning of the 19C. The statues of Saint Maurice and Saint Nicolas, in marble, date from 1775. In the south altarpiece, the statue of the Virgin and Child, in polychrome wood, dates from the 14C.

loudeac ch st nicolas front funeral sep20

loudeac ch st nicolas chevet sep20

The interior of the Saint Nicolas Church is marked with rich ornamentation which can be attributed to the Renaissance style. However, this style does not continue on the exterior, which is remarkably understated. Also noteworthy is the church tower with three stories high, it is crowned with a dome, not a steeple.

loudeac ch st nicolas nave funeral sep20

Funeral service was going on so did not took inside photos…..RIP

loudeac ch st nicolas side left belltower sep20

There are also many artistic works inside the Saint Nicolas Church, such as marble statues or a remarkable choir with canopy. The construction of this carved wood and marble choir took 15 years of work and lasted from 1763 to 1778. The statues represent different saints, including Saint Maurice and Saint Yves. There is also the list of 245 young local Loudeacians killed during WWI or Great War, placed on the left wall.

loudeac ch st nicolas side right celtic dance sep20

You can see above photo, there was a Celtic dancers practicing on the square next to the church!

loudeac ch st nicolas side left entry sep20

Also outside the Saint Nicolas Church is the Hosanna Cross, so called because the Hosanna psalms were sung there at Easter time. This wrought iron cross dates from 1817. Visible both from the outside and from the inside of the church, the stained glass windows are part of the charm of the church. They were made in the 19C and represent gifts made by locals in recognition of the favors received by the various saints.

loudeac ch st nicolas clock tower and Christ cross sep20

A bit on the Saint name for the church. Saint Nicolas was born in Patara, a region of Lycia in south-western Asia Minor in the 3C. On a voyage to Egypt and Palestine, he saves his ship’s crew from drowning by calming the raging seas in a storm. On his return from this trip, he became bishop of Myra. According to witnesses of the time, Saint Nicolas resuscitated three children. Lost in the night, the children find refuge with a butcher. This one kills them and puts them in the salting tub. Seven years later, Saint Nicholas also found refuge with this man and gave life to the three children. Thanks to this miracle, he becomes the protector of the children. Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 and was buried in Myre. Today, the feast of Saint Nicolas (St Nikolas) is celebrated on the day of his death, especially in eastern France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. During this feast, Saint Nicolas visits the children and rewards their good behavior by offering them sweets and oranges.

The city of Loudéac on the Saint Nicolas Church

The tourist office of Central Brittany on the Church Saint Nicolas

And there you go folks a memorable church more on my next post, as said been here way back! Loudéac is one of those off the beaten path towns that are worth the detour even if only or best reach it by car. The Saint Nicolas Church is nice too, but could not get inside this time because a funeral service was going on. Hope you enjoy the post.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: