Archive for September 25th, 2020

September 25, 2020

El Rancho ,and my family!

So here is one from deep within the vaults of photos, and a nice story for us,which I hope you like it too. Having an international touch, we taste many foods from many countries and one of our favorites is the Tex Mex type. In France, they are still learning this cuisine but more and more coming around.

We first met it here at El Rancho restaurant chain in Versailles, and then there is history. I like to tell you about El Rancho and my family!

As said, we were surprise to find El Rancho right next to the rive gauche château of Versailles train station REC C. So of course, we went in and was a fund family affair, and memories of our previous lives in America.  We left Versailles for the Morbihan Breton and just a year later came back looking forward to eat here again, when we saw the restaurant all board up and closed! We thought that was the end of El Rancho, but no they are survivals. At the Versailles location there is now a KFC franchise restaurant which we have not tried.

versailles El Rancho old with martine noel xavier aug11

However , before that we visited two other restaurants of the chain one closed and one still open!

Located in the large Velizy 2 shopping center in Vélizy-Villacoublay ,was a perfect match for shopping and continuing the tex mex tradition of ours. the  El Rancho tex mex restaurant here we, also,  had some fun family times there and remember it well, just for the memories that will never go away, this post is dedicated to all families. The shopping center thus is still there and now has the new owner of most of the El Rancho under their new banner Old Wild West restaurant : https://fr.westfield.com/velizy2/restaurant/Old%20Wild%20West/65353

Velizy II El Rancho 26sep2009

And there was another one we went at Flins sur Seine, where on an open shopping center the El Rancho tex mex restaurant stand alone. This was the last one open,and bizarre it is still open at the ZAC Les Mériels road D14  right off the A13 autoroute de Normandie!!!

Overall, our experiences were the same in all three. First of all, the welcome, the smiling and really friendly service. Inside, there is a tex mex -Mexican atmosphere, it’s clean, colorful, not too noisy despite the many families present, and the 15 ° air conditioning will delight American tourists and some locals too ::). The menu offers tex mex -Mexican-inspired cuisine based on fatty plates or junk food, fried foods, guacamole and melted cheese, if you are on a diet, go away!. Well, anyway, the food arrives with impressive speed. El Rancho remains good value for money, surroundings, ambiance and hospitality. In short, a good plan that will also make children happy. The small lounge area on entering is nice for a drink at any time of the day. The Flins sur Seine restaurant is here: http://www.elrancho.fr/nos-restaurants/mexicain-flins/

Flins ins El Rancho resto pipo RF MF NF jul12

El Rancho is the first chain of Tex-Mex restaurants in France to offer Mexican specialties opening their first restaurant in 1992, in Melun (Seine et Marne dept 77), and has since rose to 28 restaurants in different regions. For its part, the El Rancho SA group, which still owns the El Rancho brand, which still covers two franchised restaurants and one of its own, has begun an overhaul of the concept.

The other properties most were taken over by the multi-brand Italian group Cigierre (Compagnia Generale Ristorazione S.p.A.) founded in 1995, and confirms its ambitions on the French market. With 307 establishments on the counter in Italy ,last I could count, under 5 brands :Old Wild West; typed steak house, burger and Tex-Mex, Wiener Haus ;German brasserie, Shi’s; for sushi, Pizzikotto ;for the pizzeria and American Graffiti ;for the Diner’s. Which already have experience with Wiener Haus in Rome Italy and very good too ::) Their webpage is here for info. https://www.cigierre.com/en/22812/Company

Therefore, this post is on El Rancho tex mex restaurants is for the memories of always, fun , happy family times in our belle France. The properties of course are in my old home of Yvelines dept 78, Ïle de France region. Now feel better to have the story in my blog. Hope you too have enjoy it and do try it!

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

September 25, 2020

Pluvigner, my St Guigner Church!!!

There, again, this is a must for us in town, we have been inside several times and past by it zillions times yet only briefly mentioned in previous posts in my blog. Therefore, after some exchanges with a fellow blogger , its time for me to tell you more about the St Guigner Church and Saint Guigner in Pluvigner.

First, my town of Pluvigner (French) is Breton language by the name of Pleuwigner.  The name comes from the Breton PLOE meaning Parish and GUIGNER , the Saint; therefore, the Parish of St Guigner or PLEUWIGNER or PLUVIGNER! Get it ! We do more than French here!!! A bit more,the parish of Pluvigner is known as of 1259 under the name of PLE GUINNER , in 1325 under PLEU VIGNER,  in 1387 as PLOEVIGNEr ; in 1405 as PLOUIGNER ; in 1428 as PLUVIGNER;  in 1453 as PLEVIGNER ; in 1516 as PLOEGNER ;in 1636 as PLEVIGNER!!!

The story of Pluvigner begins in the 5C with the installation at a place called “Le Moustoir” of Guigner, son of an Irish king named Clyton. Saint Patrick converts him to Christianity despite opposition from his parents. Driven by his father, Guigner he left for Armorica (now Brittany) where King Audren offered him a site to establish his hermitage. On the death of his father, King of Ireland, he went to his native country. Guigner, still nicknamed Prince Fingar, had his head cut off in the year 455 by a man named Hengist, king of the Angles on orders of Prince Théodoric.

Pluvigner had its patron saint as Saint Guigner, under whose name was placed its parish church. Hibernois of origin and son of a small king still peasant, this saint had embraced the Christian religion. To escape the persecution of his own father, he came with several new converts to spend a few years in  the Armorican Cornwall (Cornouaille). Back in his homeland, he renounced the throne left vacant by the death of his father he went to Great Britain, to work there for the conversion of the Saxons who had invaded this country: Barely landed, circa 455 , he was put to death, with all his companions as above. Fleeing the Saxons, a band of Christians who lived in the neighborhood where these martyrs had plucked their palms; and taking with it the body of Saint Guigner, crossed the sea, and came to settle, in the territory of the ancient Vénètes (Celtic tribe who gave the name to our capital city Vannes) in an almost deserted canton, and was distinguished from other similar bands, by taking the name of Plou de Guigner or parish of Guigner, from which came naturally, later, that of Pluvigner, given to the parish formed, by these emigrants.

The highlight of the town of Pluvigner, is the Church of Saint Guigner in city center, our main Church. There was a chapel next door called the Notre Dame des Oties b 1426, touches the parish church and communicates with her through the sacristy. It has the form of a Latin cross; The transepts are shallow and seem older than the rest of the monument. The choir is square; On each side, two arched arcades, now clogged, imply the primitive existence of two collateral. The square of the transept is separated from the nave by three arches, one large and two small, in warhead, worn on polygonal pillars. The windows are ogival, and the fire and tri lobed mullions. It is now ruins of arches left of the main Church of Saint Guigner. The Saint-Guigner parish church is a central element in the rich religious and cultural landscape of the town. The organ of the Church of Saint Guigner is a masterful work of 9 meters high and 15 meters wide made up of no less than 3,000 pipes!

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The parish church is dedicated to St Guigner whose relics are carried in procession. The Saint is accompanied by an angel wearing an ermine coat of arms. The lintel of the south door shows a group of Crucifixions, made up of Christ surrounded by the Virgin and Saint John. The St Guigner Church contains the relics of Saint Guigner and houses a statue of Saint Guigner. The painting entitled “Assumption”, dates from 1770. The painting “Donation of the Rosary”; dates from the very beginning of the 20C.

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Vast church dating from 1545, retouched in 1781 on the bell tower, and restored in 1883. On the north side remains a Gothic door with the usual accolade, and on the south side a lintel with door frame. The windows are pointed, but their mullions have disappeared. A modern porch, a rectangular opening whose lintel is relieved by corbelets, shelters the south door. The carved lintel represents Christ on the Cross between Saint John and the Virgin. At both ends there is an interlacing around a circle. On each side of the column it has capitals. The Church of Saint Guigner houses the statues of Saint-Guigner, Saint-Michel, Saint-Vincent Ferrier and Notre-Dame de Bon Secours.

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The tower and the bell tower which were built in 1781, were restored in the 19C. The frame and the sacristy cracked by lightning in 1841 were also restored at this time. In 1842, the construction of the transept arms gave the church its Latin cross shape.This church had stained glass windows from the 16C and it was done the same in the 19C. Some current elements come from the old window of the bedside: the oculus of the braces and the last windows of the nave shine with a vegetal carpet in shimmering colors borrowed from the main window of the church. The stained-glass windows of the 20C tell episodes from the lives of the holy figures honored by the parish with the apse bay presents a Crucifixion; in the choir, and reads the vocation of Saint Guenaël, and the preaching of Saint Goal; in the transept, the subject is the piety and charity of the penitent Kériolet; the nave presents the landing of Saint Guigner and his establishment at Moustoir.

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More in French or Breton in our city page of Pluvigner here : http://www.pluvigner.fr/eglise-paroissiale-saint-guigner/

And our city/town hall (Ti Kêr in breton) of Pluvigner in Breton language: http://www.pluvigner.fr/degemer-mat-e-pleuwigner/

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office only has it in French on Pluvignerhttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/pluvigner

So, there you go my main church in town. It has been renovated several times over the years and the townfolks have given money to do so, the last was the Organ for 320K euros with private funds! Just enjoy it as we have come to do in our newer little corner of our world. This is the Saint Guigner Church in Pluvigner, in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne, and my belle France!

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

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September 25, 2020

Auray and its transports!!

Well just by the town again and while looking of all the commotion by the train station decided to see if have anything on it in my blog. To my surprise, have pieces of it in several posts but never one on the train station alone!! And I took it several times !!! So therefore, here is finally my take on the gare or train station and other public transports in my nearby Auray.

As said, was back in my backyard as I live just 11 kms from this wonderful town. I love the area of Saint Goustan,(see posts) very historical and quaint river front area. However, I do not find info on transports in Auray, and this has been an oversight. OF course, this is in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne and in my belle France.

Needless, to say we come here by car most of the time, but the boys have come by bus and we have taken the train TER as well. Me have, also, taken the TGV into Paris Montparnasse from it.

The best parking is by place Keriolet, very close to city center and Athena by the municipal pool. However, the train station parking is good too and free, see below for things to come here.

For info, let me put this here; as there is a port at Saint Goustan or baisse ville or lower town of Auray. It has a port for pleasure boats, the Capitanerie is at 4 pl de Rolland , more in French here : https://www.passeportescales.com/fr/port-saint-goustan

There is a local mini bus service call the AurayBus, this have not taken only my boys have and it seems to be pretty good to move about. The agglo area Auray Quiberon has more on it here: http://www.auray-quiberon.fr/utile-au-quotidien/mes-deplacements/auray-bus-176.html

The bus company Keolis has the rights on the AurayBus and they have more here: https://keolis-atlantique.com/11-Horaires-et-itineraires-des-lignes-Auray-bus.html

The BreizhGo  (this is good too for all modes in all Brittany!) webpage in French for public transports on bus lines here: https://www.breizhgo.bzh/itineraires-et-horaires/horaires-arret

The city of Auray has a good train station with direct service to Paris Montparnasse on TGV in 3h30 but see below, and bus connection to nearby towns, an Avis rental car counter ,and 3 taxi companies. I have used several times this train station and parking as it is the closest to my house when need to go out on business trips.  From the train station to Saint Goustan is about 20 mins walking leasurely.

auray

It also has bus service  BreizhGo with lines 1,5,6,and 18 (my boys used the 5)  that allows you to connect with nearby cities such as Vannes.  it has service where I have it, e-billet for electronic ticket and also home delivery that we use too. The line to Paris actually goes from Quimper and Brest and it can go to Lille or Roissy CDG or Disneyland (taken them too ok). Then, you have the local TER lines for nearby local train service, which I have ,also taken to Rennes, Nantes and Le Mans. The gare or train station is about 1,500 meters from the city center of Auray, and was inaugurated and put into service on September 21, 1862. The train station has a passenger building open every day, with counters, open Monday to Saturday (closed Sundays & public holidays). It is equipped with automatic machines for the purchase of transport tickets. It is an “Accès Plus” station with facilities, equipment and services for people with reduced mobility. A buffet is installed at the station. A parking for bicycles and a car parking are set up around it.

There is a quant line from Auray to Gare de Quiberon all the way of the peninsula that only runs in Summers, if you take a train ride in this region, this one I would recommend next Summer, the Tire-Bouchon line or corkscrew line! More info in French: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/loisirs/lignes-touristiques/tire-bouchon

The SNCF train station TGV info for Aurayhttps://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frxuy/auray/transports-horaires

The TER Bretagne info on the local train service for Auray is here: https://www.ter.sncf.com/bretagne/gares/87476200/Auray/pratique

A bit of history I like

Auray train station or gare d’Auray is located in the district of la Gare of the city of Auray. It was commissioned in 1862 by the Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans. It now as all belongs to the National Company of French Railways (SNCF), served by TGV mainly in connection with Paris and Quimper, regional TER Bretagne trains and in season by the Tire-bouchon summer train to Quiberon.

Following the “Bretagne à Grande Vitesse” project,(High Speed Brittany) Auray train station will only be 2h40 from Paris in a few months and should receive nearly 1.4M passengers per year by 2030. Increase the reception capacity, create a forecourt, a footbridge, parking lots, create a new passenger building, but also increase the capacity of the bus station.

auray

The project consists of a new glazed passenger building, with modern and functional architecture that will blend harmoniously into the landscape. It will take the place of the “Train-Auto-Couchettes” (TAC) building (auto train now closed). The current building will be preserved because of its historical and heritage value (great!!). Two large ventilated squares will be created to the north of the railway line and to the south, opening onto Place Raoul Dautry and the La Gare district.  This transparent building will consist of a ground floor and a mezzanine. On the ground floor, a crossing hall will give access to the platforms from the forecourt. It will provide very good visibility of the arrivals and departures of the various modes of transport. Its structure will also offer a good reading of all the services. The covered exterior staircase leading to the walkway will serve the middle level of the building.

This footbridge, located 7 meters above the ground, will ultimately offer a viewpoint over the Chartreuse ( see post) area and will link, like a symbol, the towns of Auray and Brec’h. It thus creates new access to the station from the north of the territory, shortens distances and facilitates transfers between the various transport systems. This footbridge will be 100 meters long and its construction principle is based on metal beams (which will also serve as a guardrail) and a wooden interior cladding.  The parking offer is being studied for better organization, with the objective of alleviating the current lack of parking spaces, (its getting crowded since I started parking here in 2011!) freeing the streets from suction cups, offering spaces according to the duration of parking, and arranging reserved spaces for people with reduced mobility, TER subscribers, taxis, minute stops, bicycles, etc. Thus, the project envisages in the south and north the development of drop-offs, parking for two-wheelers, short and long-term parking.

The project includes the construction of an interurban bus station with 8 platforms for BreizhGo (ex TIM) and TER coaches in the south, close to the passenger building and connections to the AurayBus network. The northern access will also be equipped with spaces dedicated to public transport. A car-pooling area is planned, as well as sites with recharging stations for electric vehicles in the north and in the south.

The agglo area of Auray Quiberon more on the Auray train station project in French, looking good! here: http://www.gare-auray-quiberon.fr/le-projet-d-amenagement/le-projet-875.html

Some additional webpages me think helps post here for future planning to this marvelous area ,this from the Auray Quiberon agglo area tourist office contact: http://www.auray-quiberon.fr/envie-de-bouger/les-offices-de-tourisme-261.html

The Bay of Quiberon tourist office on Aurayhttps://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/auray

And now feel better, you have what it takes to come to Auray and enjoy the Morbihan coastal areas into the Gulf of Morbihan Unesco World Heritage Site! Oh yes Auray is easy on the road even from Paris along the A13 Autoroute de Normandie with tolls or the N12 from the connection with the A12 direction Dreux no tolls! into by Fougéres the A84 direction Rennes and then the N166 direction Vannes, and finally the N165 direction Lorient getting off at exit/sortie 31. Hope it helps and do enjoy Auray!!!

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

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