Archive for November 15th, 2020

November 15, 2020

Le Mont Saint Michel…. !

Ok so needed to update this one with pictures. I will update the text and links. The anecdote of this is that my sons saw it first as they went on school trips!!! I have heard about it but never got the effort to visit, and after they came back from it  ,I got the itch. Back in 2015, the family made it together for the first time to the Mont Saint Michel. There has been several trips afterward and always looking forward to come back.

No other words are needed when we speak of this marvel of our world, the Mont Saint Michel in Normandie, but Bretagne has a said…. And ,yes is overloaded, small space too many people and away from it all the prices are higher but the sights, the feeling, the architecture,the history of it all, makes you forget the rest. Enjoy it!

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We of course came by car from the Morbihan in my lovely Bretagne. Each way a different route for the heck of it and seeing more on the road, as we are road warriors ::) Going we took the D768 to the N24 direction Rennes, all the way to the périphérique/beltway coming around the nord  as if going to Paris but once on the A84 get off on the exit 33 for the Durcey Mont Saint Michel exit on the D175 or N175.  Coming back we took off by Pontorson on the D43 and went to the D766 , N176, N164, and by Josselin back on the N24 home. We came into the parking area P10 , which was ok but been in the countryside or provence the prices were a bit high me think, 12,50€ for 6 hours (and they have gone up!)  The compensation is that you have a long bus navette that makes the run to the foot of the front entrance to the mount for free. they go instantly almost like every 4 -5 minutes intervals. There is another service that you pay almost like a bus type but drawn by horses, the Maringote. We took the bus navette faster and easier and free. You can ,also, walk about 40-50 mins.

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Info on the parking, bus, and horse carriage is on this webpage just go to accessing the site in English:https://www.bienvenueaumontsaintmichel.com/en/preparing-your-visit/prices 

Once inside there is a laberinth of narrow street, steep stairs, and hilly terrain which you must be in shape to do. It is semi circular and if you go to the ramparts you have great views over the sea. By the way, the area had the big waves or grand marée recently but today it was all sandy and plenty of walkers even a tour group in the sand on foot coming over. The walking on the sand to the mount is handle by expert guides as they can be very dangerous. Waves come back at 15 meters within minutes to surround the mound like an island! It is a sight to see too

We have purchase trinkets and gifts,  especially in the La Porte du Roy, La Siréne,(créperie and boutique),le Grand Bazaar(no longer there), and the boutiques of the Mére Poulard. This time we just went for the walk and to spend more time in the abbey and church.

We stopped for lunch of the many choices all touristy priced and not the greatest culinary exhibition of France we chose the La Vieille Auberge a hotel restaurant on the Grande Rue. This is a very nicely decorated resto with terrace and first floor overlooking the bay of Mont Saint Michel. The service was nice and prompt , the prices we control with a main dish, bottle of rose wine, extra dishes of fries, and coffee expresso, I had the menu at 18€ with salad entrée, steak =entrecote, fries and a tarte normande or apple pie that was the best of it all. All came out to 23.40€ per person. webpage: https://www.lavieilleauberge-montsaintmichel.com/en/

As we got out, we notice the parrish Church of Saint Peter. saw first time. Small but as usual very nice church. Masses are celebrated Sundays to Fridays at 11H Saturdays 18h and in July and August an additional mass at 17H on Sundays. The church has construction from the 11C but was renovated in the 15C and 16C. It has a roof covered with tiles and a small bell on the nave. In the interior the retable columns are from 1660, Virgin of the Child, and education of the Virgin (Sainte Anne teaching Mary) dating from the 15-16C and a copy statue of Saint Michael in silver. There is a nice view from here down to the Grande Rue and the entrance to the Mont Saint Michel bay.

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We then were ready to climb the Abbey Church . It is huge , inmense ,with a great feeling of peace. All stone, not much decoration but the simplicity of the place in such a marvel of Human monument over imposed any doubts on its beauty, a must to see here by all on Earth.  There are several masses done here all week and on special religious dates. It has about 20 rooms open for visitors to see with one of the most remarkable examples of religious and military architecture of medieval times.  See the wonderful cloisterthe refectory, the monk’s promenade, the gardens of la Merveille,and western terrace overlooking the bay. A wonderful big wheel or grande roué; the guest’s hall or salledes hôteschapel Sainte Madeleine (with its black Madonna), the Crypt of Saint Martin,chapel of Sainte Etienne (St Stephen), the north south stair or escalier nord-sud, Gentlemen room or salledes chevaliers.

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The city of Mont Saint Michel: https://www.bienvenueaumontsaintmichel.com/en

The tourist office of Mont Saint Michel: https://www.ot-montsaintmichel.com/je-decouvre/visiter-le-mont-saint-michel/je-visite-le-mont-saint-michel/

The Normandy tourist office on the Mont Saint Michel tides: https://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/the-tides-of-the-mont-saint-michel/

The Abbey of Mont Saint Michel from the national monuments of France: http://www.abbaye-mont-saint-michel.fr/en/

All magical ,and to think this wonder is only about 1h50 from my house by car !!!Hope you get the brief tour and do visit , its still well worth it. Mont Saint Michel the name says it all. Enjoy it when you can.

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

November 15, 2020

The best of the beach: Carnac and Quiberon!

And again continuing my cleaning house and updating revising very old posts in my blog, I take you to very close and familiar grounds. This is beach heavens just south of me. This is Carnac and Quiberon!

The day was windy ,cloudy, and a bit of rain with cool temps but anyway there is always a good time to go out in my Morbihan. As we said, when there is a will , there is a way. So we headed for our favorite beach towns with a visiting friend. it is a wonderful beach about 30 minutes from my house and an Unesco World Heritage Site on the megalith stones!!!

We took a ride by La Trinité sur Mer, Plouharnel, and then headed for Carnac arriving in city center doing some walks checking the high prices on the shops and then headed for a the Grande Plage or big beach here. Of course ,nobody on the water , too cold and windy , just the thrill of been on a nice flat sandy beach.

Carnac is sublime, a beautiful big beach=grande plage and plenty of bars/restos and shops all close in in a couple blocks, its like having a big street party with a beach lol!  

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We come here often on weekends when at home. Go early and you have all the parkings you need, go by noon and scramble to find one. So we leave home about 9h (9am) and always parking right by the entrance of the grande plage. 

We went by our favorite places such as Memestra ( now closed) new owners and name in there)  brasserie facing the grande plage and the Fisher’s Club right on the sand, both wonderful to spend a day there. We had some drinks here while looking at the grande plage and the boys went into the water yikes! a bit cold for me even if the temp outside was 24C the water was like 16C! 

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Then, we moved on to Quiberon, our favorite spot on a peninsula. We did came back thru the Côte Sauvage or wild coast, both previously written on it. We came straight to our favorite water hole here L’Esplanade Café on the place Hoche facing the Grande Plage or big beach here. You have plenty to choose from all around as well as a wonderful promenade boulevard facing the beach and plenty of goodies. You, also, have a Fisher’s Club here.

The city of Carnac on the Grande Plage: https://www.carnactourism.co.uk/node/454

My fav plages tv on the Grande Plage of Carnac: https://en.plages.tv/detail/grande-plage-carnac-56340

We did our normal walks in town and by residential areas with the great beach mansions, did a bit of the tourist office visit (always recommended visiting or living here), did some shopping visiting our favorites la Trinitaine store next to the tourist office.

At the L’Esplanade Café you can drink the famous Belzubeth 8,5% beers as well as the St Omer premium drafts. All very friendly and nice ambiance always. The Esplanade Hoche here is surrounded by shops, restos, bars galore on a central compact location in the beach. You can, also, spent a day here or combine the day with the above Carnac.

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The tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon on Quiberon: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/quiberon

We did some walks,rode around a bit, went by favorite areas like the mesme tra resto facing the grande plage of Carnac. Went along the beaches of St Colomban, and Legénere, and the inner streets of the beach town.  Nice walk and an excuse to be away from home.

Then ,we headed back to the city center or bourg or town of Carnac is really about 2 kms away, and there we had the big Church of  Saint Cornély. 

We ate at Carnac bourg or city center at Restaurant Le Cozy (now closed) and its just that very cozy at the end of a courtyard with open air, very well serve, nice st jacques dish with terrine de colin a fish and local bonnets rouges beers, coffee, just wonderful  restaurant at 2 rue Saint Cornély. Here just for the memories.

Along the route des kerlescan or D196, the  route of the dolmens, menhirs, megaliths and alignements in French. These are stones from thousands of years that were move here in line on differents fields of which the main ones are along this road, Menec, Kermario and Kerlescan. It is thousands of stones all line up with meaning still to be found really. It is UNESCO heritage site indeed worth it.

At first , I saw them and wonder why would anybody would come here to see old stones, but then once here, realize it has a greater meaning to the local Bretons. Our homes like mine is full of them and gardens decorated with stones and house front with stones, it has a deep heritage meaning here. There is a house museum by the Menec site call the  Maison des Mégalithes. And visited the museum or musée de Préhistoire ,very educational about the area stones or megaliths.

You have the stones or menhirs, and the funeral enclosing from Dolmens,couloir ,and cistes. At Kermario you have 1 100 meters long of stone alignments with over  980 stones.  Kerlescan is the smallest but the best preserve; with 350 meters long of alignments and 140 meters wide, the great stone known as the giant of manio or  “le géant du Manio” it is about 300 meters west of the center of the ensemble.  The Champ de Menec the most westerly and in front of the maison des mégalithes is 1050 stones along  950 meters long. Here you find the tallest with more than 3 meters high call the giant du menec or  “géant du Menec”.

The tourist office of Carnac on the alignments, stones: https://www.ot-carnac.fr/decouvrir/menhirs-et-patrimoine/alignements-de-carnac

The National Monuments of France on the alignment of Carnac: http://www.menhirs-carnac.fr/en/

Ministry of Culture of France arts panorama site on the alignment: https://www.panoramadelart.com/alignements-de-carnac

The culture section of the Morbihan dept 56 on the alignment of Carnac: http://www.megalithes-morbihan.com/sites/carnac-alignments.html

Always a fascinating subject to many indeed. It is a wonderful one two punch to have while in the Morbihan, Carnac and Quiberon are our backyard and we go often even just for a ride. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit these wild wonderul part of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. Browse the many posts on them in my blog and I thank you for reading.

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

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November 15, 2020

Brest for the seaman in all of us!!!

Again, my saga of updating old posts in my blog sometimes going back to 2011, I bring you to Brest and updating revising post from 2014. This post will have some photos of that time. Hope you enjoy this update of Brest and of course, take a look at my newer posts on this wonderful city by the sea in my lovely Bretagne.

We have been here before ,and kept good memories, even visited in Christmas time. We came back to Brest in the Finistére breton today, just back from it.  We were celebrating my oldest birthday!  We rode the 166 km from our home and made in about 2 hrs, by car on the N165 all the way and went into the city to park underground at the Place de la Liberté, right in the thick of things (that is my father walking ahead as usual he is the expert lol!) . Once before we had parked off street by the Place Wilson, automatic parking meter with credit/debit  card allowed. We came back down towards the gardens overlooking the harbor of Brest.

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We decided to spent more time here so we stayed for one night at the inexpensive ibis hotel outside the city  by Plougastel -Daoulas as we had a car, it was easy in and out, in fact, we love the car ::)  The rate  was  great at 35€ per night, and as we were only there for shower and sleep kept the price right for five  persons.  https://all.accor.com/hotel/5042/index.en.shtml#origin=ibis

We have been to the monuments and you can see those posts, this trip we highlighted the other things to do!

There is a nice shopping center up rue de Siam  and onwards to rue Jean Jaurés along the tramway tracks with bilevels of loaded nice stores and the Anchor across the street link by an overpass hall is the Au Printemps dept store of Paris fame. However, we came here for the FNAC stores for the boys ….and to our pleasant surprise the new Burger King had openned just next to it !!! Niveau 2 (level 2), 65 Rue Jean Jaurès. Webpage: https://www.burgerking.fr/restaurant/brest-jean-jaures

The centre commercial Cour de Jaurés: https://www.coeurdejaures.com/

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We did shop at our favorite Armand Thiery store for men, and grab some more gifts, and then my dear late wife Martine got a nice Hexagona bag at the Pavillon de la Maroquinerie at 44 rue de Siam ;  very nice brands and good prices here, ours was 50% off ::) The boys went on to Dock Games on rue de Siam. And Lacoste store as well , all on the same street and close by, a shopper’s paradise. The centre commercial Coat Ar Gueven was another stop for the shopping family away from home! http://www.coatargueven.com/Presentation.html

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And oh well, we needed to eat, oh yes, that is what we came here to do , my oldest 23 birthday and he been such a humble guy pick the old Au Bureau ,when there first we ate at Au Bureau, 10 rue de Siam as well . Last time had a Juicy burgers, the fish and chip and the camembert roti with desserts from coupe giante of 6 scoops of ice cream to banana split, with plenty of leffe blonde beers was for 24 euros per person.  And as so often happened when visiting and not coming back soon even if we live close ….. the restaurant had change ownership, now call the Rest Au Pub; however, pretty much same menu ambiance, and friendly service.  This time under the new name , we got the 9 scoops of ice cream dish back upon request!!! and of course he had his Triple burger with a nice bottle of Saumur Champigny,  red  2013 Les Longes (in memory of the great school of cavarly Cadre Noir of Saumur). webpage: https://www.facebook.com/RestAuPub/?rf=831895263565461

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The monument Américain cours Dajot or American Monument built on land given in perpetuity  and free by France to the USA. It overlooks the harbor or port de commerce and the rade or harbor with a rose tower of 50 meters high with three levels in commemoration of the American help in WWI that had more than 800 000 men landed here from November 12 1917 to November 28 1918. Destroyed by the Nazis in WWII it was rebuilt to the identical details in 1958 on land given to the USA by France. Right on the garden and to the right of the monument you see a wall stone plaque with the figurehead of comte de Rochambeau and comte de Grasse, the general (and Count) and admiral (and Count) respectively who participated in the battle of Yorktown ,that finally gave advantage and independence to the USA from UK with the help of France.

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The views to the harbor and port are wonderful sublime from the monument Americain indeed; a nice way to begin your visit to the city. One monument in particular I like and a donor is the SNSM ,and at Brest it has its training headquarter. SNSM=Sociétè Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (the National Society for Sea Rescue) . More on this wonderful society here at Brest: https://cfi-brest.snsm.org/

We passed by the Castle this time, a wonderful structure and even better Marine Museum that we have spoked about in posts after. More on it here:  http://www.musee-marine.fr/brest

Walking just along the castle you will come to see the pont de Recouvrance ,and right next to it the Tanguy tower ,and its old Brest museum on the history of the city, and the arbre émpathique or empathetic tree right next to the bridge. The bridge or  pont de Recouvrance gives you a very nice view on the old city; looking towards the harbor you see the castle citadel, where the local marine government office and the marine museum as above; on the right bank you see the district of Recouvrance with the famous Tanguy tower and the arsenal that goes to both banks of the river until the bridge or pont de l’Harteloire; this area is mostly a military off limits zone but you can see from above the bridge on its many gunboats, helicopters, and canons.

Walking along past the bridge ,and after seeing the arsenal on the right bank or rive droite you will see the cable car! The téléphérique de Brest or the line C of the local transport network call bibus links the two banks of the river Penfeld that separates the districts of Siam and Capucins. It is the first of its kind in France and started in 2016. Each of its cabins can transport up to 60 persons at the same time. A unique experience for next time as we were short on time on our typical one day flash.  The line C is here:https://www.bibus.fr/fr/se-deplacer/nos-modes-transport/telepherique-ligne-c

Can’t missed even for sentimental reasons, the Church or église Saint Louis de Brest. It is now build in modern style as was reconstructed after WWII (1953-1958) on the ruins of the old Church Saint Louis built between 1686 and 1785, and consecrated to King Louis IX or Saint Louis.  Then, right next to it you find the wonderful Halles Saint Louis or covered market St Louis. A must on any visit to the city for the local ambiance, the goodies from the French countryside, and the history.

We came back to city center and the shopping paradise of the rue de Siam always vibrant with great ambiance, a shopper’s delight. You have the big square Liberty where Christmas market is held, and the city hall or Hôtel de Ville next to it the nice Ciné Liberté; (now part of Pathé Gaumont chain of cinemas) the boys had tried one movie here and it was nice if you have time or an overnight stay. All transports from taxis, buses, and trams passes by here: https://www.cinemaspathegaumont.com/cinemas/cinema-multiplexe-liberte

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For a relaxing moment and dwell into the local scene need to stop by the librarie Dialogue by the street , Square Mgr Roull and into the rue Louis Pasteur and the shopping artery rue de Siam. A local independent library started here in 1976 and now elsewhere even Paris. Wonderful choices and loving local care for the avid readers; more here: https://www.librairiedialogues.fr/

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Still walking…., we stop by the train station or Gare de Brest as an anecdote for the travelers reading the blog, we are the road warrior family but do take public transport as in France! It’s a nice complex with plenty of restaurants and parking; and a modern station,now with staring in July 2nd, faster service to Paris saving 1h25 in time! More here: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frbes/brest

Right next to it is the Gare Routiére or bus terminal. Here is more at the transports site for dept 29 Finistére (in Breton Penn-ar-Bed). And of course, got our baguette at La Fournée à Brest .Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/lafourneeabrest/

And we needed to eat a heartier meal so looking at the  A l’Aise Breizh Café at the port moulin blanc by the port de plaisance or pleasure boats marina just right as you get out of oceanopolis. Great as always here, great burgers, desserts like banana splits, bottle of rose de provence Real, and coffees for 25 euros per person. We have visited the one in Vannes too. More here: http://www.alaisebreizhcafe.com/v2/index.php/plans-d-acces

Coming back home passing  Plougastel-Daoulas on the country roads without number you reach wonderful inner beautiful areas in real country! Leading direction La Croix Neuve  you go direction Kerougar and then see signs for the harbor of Keralliou with beautiful views of the passage to Brest at sea and the bridges of Albert Louppé and l’Iroise (N165 road).. There are plenty of Oyster harvesters here for that wonderful direct purchase  from the Cooperative of Les Hûitres de Keraliou/Les Viviers. You come back on same road but at the small hilly traffic circle you turn right direction Kernisi. Here there is a Natural Reserve park of Kernisi and a great lookout point into the bay of Brest and the boats!!! Gorgeous views walking along a path facing the harbor of Brest across water, wooded area and hilly, stony; good shoes and good health a must. The wonders of my Bretagne!

And we continue on towards home with another wonderful outing in our lovely Bretagne, and this time the big city by the sea of Brest. Hope you enjoy the ride, the update and do come in for a visit all worth it.

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

November 15, 2020

Port Louis, Citadel and more!!!

And continuing my saga of revising old posts and updating text and pictures , I take you to the citadel city of Port Louis. A very nice quant place, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading my revisions.

Well this one is not far from where we live and we have visited several time. We saw news of the high tides coming around in the area along the western coast of France, and the urge to go out, we pick this nearby town again this morning. This is Port Louis, and it is only 25 kms from my house in the Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne.

Of course, we come by car, but do not take the autoroutes or N when possible to see more and pay less tolls even if in Bretagne there are none! We use the D33 direction Nostang, Riantec, and Port Louis entering by the D781 and coming out from it .

Really ,the main urge to come here is the Citadelle and its museum of the Indies. It is an impressive fortress and must visit if in the area. However, we have seen it so we move on. The museum  of the Marine  is a wonderful recollection of the seafaring French/Breton and its seafaring skills. More here: http://www.musee-marine.fr/musee-national-de-la-marine-port-louis

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The other museum inside the Citadelle ,that covers more of the compagnie des  indies  and its travels to far régions such as Africa, Asia, and the Americas. More here: https://musee.lorient.bzh/museum-english-version/

The  Citadelle de Port-Louis was built in the 16C by the Spanish and modified in the 17C by the French. The two museums above are inside of it now.

There is a nice Church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption, done between 1660-1670, and renovated in 1835, located at the Place Notre-Dame. The Church was burned by the wild crowds in 1910 and rebuilt later.  From the old church we see the facade from the renaissance pseudo classic , it has a square belltower pierce by bays decorated with pilastres. The bell dates from  1853.

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The port Locmalo is very picturesque and part of the old trade on sardines fishing here. You see the fishing harbor and the Chapelle Saint Pierre done in 1553 , rebuilt in 1859 ,and very much appreciated by the fisherman.  Move on to see the Grand Poudriére built 1750-1752 or big powder house, to keep that old ammunition all along the ramparts leading to the citadelle. See the harbor or Port de la Pointe, a tuna fishing harbor since 1902. The harbor with its pleasure boats and the ria boat service to Lorient from the embarkadére is very nice. The harbor info on the capitainerie is here : https://www.ports-paysdelorient.fr/fr/ports/le-port-de-port-louis

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You have a nice Grande Plage or big beach here good in summer with plenty of changing rooms and restauration on the beach next to the citadelle. along the garden of the Mail you will see a somber reminder of the atrocities of WWII with a monument to the 69 résistants killed by the Nazis here.

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The city of Port Louis on its heritage: http://www.ville-portlouis.fr/64-decouverte/488-cite-d-art-et-de-patrimoine.html

The tourist office of Lorient and South Bretagne on Port Louishttps://www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr/fr/immanquables/port-louis/

The tourist office of Bretagne on Port Louis: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/port-louis/

We decided to leave and move on to do some shopping on the way home in Lanester, where there is a big shopping center CC Deux Rivières and plenty of stores all around it,on a huge shopping area. This has change ownership and has a new name as G La Galerie Géant ;webpage: https://www.la-galerie.com/geant-lanester

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Here we shop in a huge Hyper Géant Casino supermarket for some sundries and had our lunch in the nice quaint unique restaurant outside next to the parking.  The supermarket is the main anchor store of the shopping center and also has its own webpage: https://magasins.geantcasino.fr/magasin/lanester/CG305

This is right off the N165 free road here and a nice stop for everything. The resto is à la bonne heure ,and its part of the Casino chain.  All in bare pine wood outside and nicely done Inside with shade colors , great host, friendly folks who said good afternoon, and great concept. We took the 8,99€ menu that was an entrée and desserts all you can eat !!! plus a bottle of red Bordeaux wine and coffee, the boys had a more hearty meal with steaks, all for 13,40€ per person. My information is that the chain was sold or most of it and cannot confirm there is open, I know the one in Vannes is closed, so to verify.Anyway here for the memories of us.

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And there you go a brief tour of a nice citadelle town, more info and photos in subsequent posts on Port Louis. See posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy the introduction.

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

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