Archive for December 1st, 2020

December 1, 2020

Versailles, Royal , my old town, and glad to be back!

And I am continuing  revising and updating some of my older posts. It has been a pleasure indeed and especially coming around to see my posts on my old home of Versailles. Sublime!!! Thank for reading me and following me over the years, really appreciated. Let me give you an update on Versailles!

I could not finish the year 2016 without visiting my former home, and loving city of Versailles. It is more than just a castle, it’s a Royal city of France, and perpetual seat of the French constitution if ever needs changes adjustments to it, a de facto capital city of France.

I lived my first 9+ years in France, and love it every minute of it. Still springs nostalgia out of it, left for job duties but the heart still here. Just arriving on the N12 by the D91 into avenue du Maréchal Joffre was an incredible feeling, passing by the less known park of parc Balbi, very historical indeed just after the potager du roi and the Cathedral of Saint Louis. I know, yes, most of you come here for the castle palace, a museum for the greatness of France since 1837. However, there is more than the castle and historic buildings to tell history of many countries including my former USA.

Coming deeper into the city with memories flashing back was very nice indeed and sharing it with the family was sublime beyond words. Cruising into avenue du Général Leclerc and into ave du Général de Gaulle into the visiting parking at Sceaux was great easy and now even better modernize with credit cards automatic paying machines, no longer searching for those coins lol!

We parked our car at Sceaux and set out on foot to see the city and our memorable places that are seen different than the visitor , of course. For us, passing by our Phebus network bus A stop at avenue de l’Europe and seeing the bus 19 of the Yvelines going to Parly II shopping center, shopping again at the Monoprix store and getting to the Préfecture or immigration building for my parents carte de séjour visiteur as American retirees brought many memories of doing the paperwork here, nice require nothing to it. Right here you see the rive gauche-château RER C train station that millions take to see the castle from Paris and is a handy train ride into many places inside Paris, and the bus terminal in front and of course that wonderful vibrant ambiance at Rue Satory off avenue de Sceaux with its many restos, bars etc.

Right around the corner of Avenue de l’Europe and Avenue de Saint Cloud you have the wonderful flower market of Versailles! The marché des fleurs is a historical spot and we came here many times with my dear late wife Martine who loved flowers and plants. Further away you come to my favorite of all  markets the Marché Notre Dame at the Place Notre Dame. Plenty of underground parking too, even if very tight for my car.

Bien sûr, of course, seeing the usual grandness of the place such as it’s magnificent castle that brings about memories of playing around the gardens even beyond the Grand Canal with my boys and having a lunch snack at Angelina in the Petit Trianon, after crossing the property by the Porte Saint Antoine memories that will never go away. The great stables with the  Petite ecurie of many arts renovations and work, and the Grande ecurie du roi with the great horse show of Bàrtabas and the carriage museum! The great silhouette of the castle with its Opéra and Chapel sprouting out , both went or going thru wonderful renovations, and the Grand Commun building on the left home of the servants of the castle since built in 1682-84.

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Could not afford not to see the Hôtel de Ville (old castle of the prince de Conti) where our civic duties were held for many years; a beautiful city/town hall indeed. And course, a sentimental walk to the Notre Dame district, could not manage to see our home so much many memories… right around the mythical wonderful Church of Notre Dame, the Royal one, as the baptisms and births of the prince of Versailles were done there, including that of  Philippe or Felipe , grandson of Louis XIV and himself king of Spain under Felipe V Bourbon dynasty that still rule in Spain today. He build the La Granja de San Ildelfonso a small replica of Versailles not far from Segovia (see post).

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The rue Hoche and the Place Hoche with a nice straight view to the castle or to the Church Notre Dame is marvelous as well as the great shopping street of rue de la Paroisse that passes by the Church.  Our home we just took a peek right around the Church into rue Sainte Geneviéve into the square behind the Church and into Rue Saint Lazare…!

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Of course, we ate, not willing to try the same like our all time favorite Le Boeuf à la Mode at the rue au pain in the place Notre Dames we try one we have in other areas of France and always past in front of it never tried it so we did this unique time, the Buffalo Grill steakhouse chain with the American Indian motifs. Here the service by Teddy was excellent never needed to ask for anything, and the food was good with my burger bacon some typical French beer ,the 1664, and coffee expresso as well as many others combination for the rest of the family all for 23€ per person, about right for Versailles! webpage: https://www.buffalo-grill.fr/restaurant/versailles

As we had plans to continue visiting Paris, we found a place to stay. We had rented from Appart-City aparthotels before and had an up and down experience, we tried them for the clincher and the verdict is never again. We complaint that the rooms had holes in the wall, the bathtub was detached from the wood, the chairs looks used and already the white of the foam seeing thru them, after all the reception was nice and we got the parking for free, and the TV , kitchen works. 89,90€ per night for 5 persons is not bad but we will prefer to pay higher next time for a better deal. The apart-city was in the Bois d’Arcy city limits very close to the limits of Versailles. For reference the appart city webpage: https://www.appartcity.com/fr/destinations/ile-de-france/bois-darcy/st-quentin-en-yvelines-bois-d-arcy.html

The tourist office of Versailleshttps://www.versailles-tourisme.com/

The city of Versailles and its heritage in English! https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/patrimoine-et-monuments/

And one of my favorites things to do in Versailles, the Bartabas horse show at the Grande Ecuriehttps://bartabas.fr/academie-equestre-de-versailles/presentation/?lang=en

The hotel rental was in no way diminish our beloved visit to Versailles as anyway was not in the city. It was a great experience to be back, always wonderful uplifting and with great memories of family times. Hope you have enjoy the post update.

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

December 1, 2020

Another visit to Paris, after all Paris it’s worth many visits!!!

So continuing on my updates revisions pictures etc of my older posts in my blog. It has been a wonderful ride and thanks for coming along with me in this journey. And what better city to choose than Paris! Let me tell you a bit about my eternal Paris!

Paris brings back many memorable moments of my family life. Of course, it’s everybody’s capital city, beloved city, love city, and in addition nostalgia sets in with me as I met my future wife there on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and at the Bistro Romain resto near the Arc de Triomphe lol! That was 30 years ago. Of course, we lasted for 28 as she passed away in 2018 from cancer, sadly for me, Martine will always be remembered lovingly. Paris is indeed eternal for me. The resto is no longer there sadly.

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Since that moment in September 1990 when we met we have come back many lost count , many times, and eventually I came to worked in the city for almost 10 years, leave again and visit again now several times a year as permitted. Paris, we will always have Paris,  always nice looking at you!!!

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This time came to see my beloved Versailles where I lived while working in Paris, and why not take advantage of the Christmas market (Marché de Noêl); see post.  This market started small and over the years have grown to one of the best; hopefully it will be back once this virus thing is over.

We rode in our road warrior ways into Paris, yes nothing to it even with the so call alternate driving dates and the ecolos trying to diminished Paris, and the terrorists doing their usual crap, well Paris is Paris ; it was saved from WWII destruction and nothing will stop it!!  We came in by our usual entry on the Porte Dauphiné and into Avenue Foch to the Arc de Triomphe and geo on Avenue de Wagram parking Etoile-Wagram; where we got in right from Wagram or you can come in on the side street rue de l’étoile. Great!!!

For info the parking Etoile-Wagram is here: https://www.interparking-france.com/paris/fr/park/parking-wagram-arc-de-triomphe/

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We ,then, set out to walk Paris. The best way to see the city, you walk and walk!! Coming right at the Arc de Triomphe, the emblematic arch on the grand Avenue des Champs-Elysées. This was again a walk thru as we have been to the sights ,and now walking like a local is the thing to do; always gratifying to come here!

We do like to report (as we are big eaters on anything lol!) there is a new burger joint at the Avenue, this is the American chain Five Guys at 49-51 Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Already good reviews and a huge line to get in outside and across the sidewalk!! No wonder it arrived in France and this is their second store, and now many more. Regardless of what you read the French love the burgers!! For us it was another confirmation. For reference webpage: https://restaurants.fiveguys.fr/ile-de-france/49-51-av-des-champs-elysees

We had good views on a sort of cloudy day to the Assamblée Nationale, Invalides, Ecole Militaire, Eiffel tower, and passing the glorious Grand and  Petit Palais was awesome.  I went to see my old job for several years there now the Westin I was in the transition from the Intercontinental hotel (the L’Inter as we called it) and had my lunch breaks out at the Café l’Imperiale on rue Rouget de Lisle where the employees entrance to the hotel is still today.

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The famous Lido cabaret is right on the Avenue. However a whole lineup of dinner spectacle and champagne are in order for the New Year . Usually, will see this different year 2020. The wonderful stores on the avenue of historical significance after all the tourists walked by, are the Arcades des Champs-Elysées there since 1927; deco is Paris turn of the century inside, worth a detour from walking the avenue.  You continue onwards to the Concorde and pass the Galeries des Champs. Moving right alone you reach on the same side of the street towards Concorde, the Galerie du Claridge; well for us was a fixture as there is the FNAC store and our boys went crazy for games, dvd,cd accessories when in town lol! In all , a shopper’s paradise!

There is even a committee of merchants and citizens that looks after the avenue and has a ton of information even if in French on shopping and restaurants where we look: https://www.comite-champs-elysees.com/maps/?filter=shopping

But we continue, into the great Jardin des Tuileries, this my boys played when young and me work just across it so it was my time off relaxation place and what a place with our great gardener André le Nôtre! The short story goes that Catherine de Médicis who was the queen regent at the time passed by and saw a dirty terrain with a tile factory (most now still covered the Louvre fortress museum); and she saw a very small plot of land well lawn and trim trees. Curious she asked who did it and they went to get the young men, admitting that it was him who did it she asked if he can do the whole terrain like that, and he said yes. Well ,the young boy was born there in a shackle, his name André Le Nôtre who later became the grand gardener of France from here to Versailles and onwards. Always nice stories!!

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From the garden and my job there was an easy 5 minutes walk to the place Vendôme another jewel of Paris and a pleasure to walk it again.  However, right in the garden are two of the best museums of Paris. The  Museum of Jeu de  Paume, great contemporary modern museum , and the Museum of the Orangerie, right alone the Seine river; here you see the great work of Claude Monet ,Nymphéas!!

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Do take a look at the obelisk of Luxor in the place de la Concorde a gift from Egypt, and the wonderful fountains of the rivers and the seas or fontaines des fleuves et des mers. I could not help it but passed by Pizza Pino resto on the avenue, a regular meeting place for business lunch in town, and the best look from the Pont de la Concorde to the Pont Alexander III and the gorgeous Seine river. Paris is eternal!

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And something for the curious we have the Palais de l’Elysée ,the home for the President of the French Republic (France) right off the Avenue. Of course, we could not leave Paris without eating and sampling the Parisian way of life in a cozy place just by our parking and perfect for our way out of the city. I have passed by it and been on business lunch before but this time told the family on our way home we will eat here before leaving the city and so we did. A pleasant dining experience as any in Paris!

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We step into the La Flamme 6 avenue de Wagram. It has a colorful ambiance in purple and red, with terrace and French traditional dishes. The baroque period frames are bordering the TV screen showing for this afternoon the NBA basketball game. The service was very good and the place very cozy indeed even for a family to be quiet having an excellent French dish of Fricassée des poisons or fishes 3 kinds tuna, snapper, and turbot. all wash down with a pelforth brune beer and to finish expresso coffee. The rest of the gang had different dishes all good and the price is just right ! no webpage of course, this you need to come and see it, taste it right down from the Arc de Triomphe on Avenue de Wagram right hand side. Bon appetite ! Webpage: https://laflammeparis.fr/

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The Paris tourist office in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/

And yes this is Paris alright, sublime, unique , eternal, we will always have Paris! Can’t wait to be back as soon as travel and places are allowed open. 2021 will be a bang year as will be my retirement year!! Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading me!!

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

December 1, 2020

Paris: Church of St Peter of Chaillot!!

Now already a good thing, as looking back on old post to bring them to life, update, revise etc; I found monuments that were hardly mentioned or none of all as the case of the Church of St Peter of Chaillot or église Saint Pierre de Chaillot. It’s time I tell you about this wonderful church of Paris! The pictures are from 2016/2017 thereabout.

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Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot Church  is located at 31 Marceau Avenue in the 16éme district or arrondissement of Paris, near the corner between Avenue Marceau and Rue de Chaillot, also offering an entrance at 26 Rue de Chaillot. The parish of Saint-Pierre de Chaillot dates back to the 11C. The present Church is built in the 1930’s, two times, and completed in 1938 the old Church opened on the Rue de Chaillot, only a Chapel with a brick façade opened on Avenue Marceau. There is nothing left of this old church except a statue of the Virgin of Chaillot.  Initially, the new Church was to be isolated, but the surrounding buildings were never demolished. After , rebuilding the wonderful organ there is now a Festival every two years here ;the Festival Chaillot-Grandes Orgues. The Church is done in a Greek cross style with a belltower of 62 meters. Here the funerals of Marcel Proust were carried out in 1922, with only the statue of the Virgin remaining from this period; the current building is call the ” Cathédrale” or Cathedral.

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The church was inaugurated on 18 May 1938. The Nunciature de Paris is located on Avenue du Président-Wilson, at the bottom of Avenue Marceau. The Church of Saint Peter of Chaillot is thus the parish of the Apostolic nuncio. Thus between 1945 and 1953, Monseigneur Roncalli, future John XXIII, frequented the Church.

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Formerly, in the 11C, there was a first Church dedicated to Saint Peter. Another sanctuary succeeded him in the 17C. The latter was the property of the city of Paris since the laws of 1905. The city retained the property of the new Church-although built on private donations only-because the land belonged to it.  The Church was built from 1933 to 1938 in a Romano-Byzantine style, it is reinforced frame concrete, the coating is stone. Its slightly dark interior is adorned with large frescoes painted on concrete by Nicolas Untersteller  while the Mauméjean brothers made the stained-glass windows which illuminate the church. The sculptures are the work of Henri Bouchard.

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The Church of Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot is one of the major concrete churches of Paris, and  a tourist area where it is located assures visitors and faithful. Well not really, visitors not many, locals a few more. It needs to be discovered by the visitors. The area is superb.

It has a triangular eardrum sculpted by Henri Bouchard on the façade. The sculptures of the left illustrate the evangelical life of the Apostle Peter from the time of Jesus. The straight sculptures tell us his apostolic life, his vocation and his martyrdom.  The frescoes by Nicolas Untersteller . The artist painted four large frescoes on the arches and pillars. He first engraved the outline of the drawing on the walls, then he posed the painting without completely eliminating the concrete. The result is very well aligned with the architecture.

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The work of Untersteller in summary of the  Creed representing the spiritual life of the Church associated with its symbols, such as Faith (through the sacraments, liturgical feasts); Holy (Beatitudes, theological virtues, cardinals, lives of the Saints),  Catholic (thus universal through the great Evangelizers), and  Apostolic (it is based on the apostles, the Evangelists, the councils).

The Church is built on a Greek cross style with five cupolas of octagonal shape. The bell tower is 62 meters high and it is to the left of the main façade on Avenue Marceau. It is a low Church, invisible from the outside, built as a crypt under the main Church. The large eardrum a triangular composition on the life of Saint Peter carved by Henri Bouchard above the three portals of the main façade.

Important people had their funerals here such as Philippe Lichtenstein ,French Colonel, 1892; Guy de Maupassant, French writer, 1893, and Marcel Proust  French writer, 1922.  From the old Church of Saint-Pierre-De-Chaillot, where Marcel Proust’s funeral took place on November 21, 1922, only a statue of the Virgin remains. The current church, sometimes dubbed the “Cathedral”, was inaugurated by Cardinal Verdier, on May 18, 1938.  Built to accommodate 1400 people, Saint-Pierre-De-Chaillot has the peculiarity of being the parish of the Apostolic nuncio, the Pope’s ambassador to France. The place was, during its construction, a true passage of artists.

The Church Saint Pierre de Chaillot webpage: https://eglise-chaillot.com/

The tourist office of Paris on the St Pierre de Chaillot Church: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71145/Eglise-Saint-Pierre-de-Chaillot

And so it awaits you the new artists of our time and all those travelers seeking history, architecture and harmonious living in our eternal Paris. Lovely church indeed.  It is an impressive big church with great architecture and engrave decorations on the walls, wonderful chapels and a nice modern prayer section; another view of Paris.

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

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