Archive for December 3rd, 2020

December 3, 2020

Expats in Paris !!!

I had arrived fresh from Versailles and working in Paris to the Morbihan Breton dept 56 so decided to tell where the expats mingle most in Paris. Upon arriving in Paris in 2003, I was not really aware what the term expats meant and seek them out to I guess keep up with the nostalgia of lands now gone. These expats are it; their world turns around this nostalgia and comparing the two worlds. Not really good if you are planning to settle in a new country, culture etc.

I guess not an expert on this sociological phenomenon, and coming from already a French family in Florida USA, making trips to France every year since 1990 not the typical expat per se. After all, I was French before living permanently in France! My dear late wife Martine family is big with two brothers and three sisters most in the Seine et Marne dept 77 and one in the Nord 59, and cousins spread out in the sud ouest around Gaillac ,Tarn dept 81. Therefore, my experiences are different. However, I did came into France with my parents who were not French just retirees Americans! They needed the titre de séjour visiteur to stay here and they got it easily as we did while still in Florida at the wonderful friendly French consulate in Miami. We were already part of the French American community there with the Miami Accueil group that was hosted by the consulate.

These notes just to make sure you can tell the different between an expat and a resident/citizen of a country. Nevertheless, in the past several years I have been asked for pubs, bars the regular hangout of  expats etc. Well, the expats are well and kicking all over Paris, never a dull moment, after all Paris is the melting pot of France and France is the melting pot of Europe! Back then ,it was estimated that one out of four Parisiens were foreigners or French not from Paris!!

Oh one group I joined and left when came to the Morbihan was Expats Paris! The anecdote here is that it was an American attorney in Paris (now last I know in S Arabia!) who created this group. I was one of the first four who joined the chats and drinks at the Au Trappiste 4 rue Saint Denis every Thursday at 19h30 or 7:30 pm! It has now over 9K members!!! Their webpage is here: https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/ExpatsParis/

I will give you a sample of my favorites that I used to go the most; hopefully it will keep you company if feeling home sick while in Paris Lol! One sad moment while doing this is to find out how many are no longer, it goes with the times and there should be new generations of places to meet with expats. After all ,Paris is eternal.

Players Bar, 161 Rue Montmartre, 75002 ,big screens live sporting events actually about 30 screens all the time ESPN Classic channel too. Near same area on metro grands boulevard line 8 or 9. Here just for the memories as it has closed.

Cottage Elysée, 14 rue Lincoln, 75008 , metro George V line 1. All sports live the Irish pub with live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Another nice one that is gone! Here for the memories.

Millers, 3 Rue des Haudriettes, 75003 .metro Rambuteau line 11. no web, but does show sports live telecasts with drink specials. Another one that bites the dust, closed.

The Thistle Pub, follow the Scots, 112 rue St Denis, 75002,Metro Etienne Marcel line 4 and Chatelet line 4. Another oldie closed, here just for the memories.

The Fifth Bar, 62 rue Mouffetard, 75005. Metro place monge line 5. popular bar, American but also rugby, live DJ Fridays, Saturdays nights. Happy hour 12-22h. Another goner, here just for the memories.

La Pinte, 13 Carrefour de l’Odéon,75006. Metro Odeon line 10. all sports shown, happy hour 17-20h, live concerts in the cellar on thursdays, great ambiance, great place to be. great guinness/beamish red,and Calsberg. And yet another glory days goner, here just for the memories. 

Carr’s, Irish pub ,of long standing and many nights lol! 1 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001. Metro Tuileries line 1. Great cellar where expats groups gathered on many occasions, and great Irish music .Sadly closed after Irish owner we had huge parties here! Here just for the memories.

Okeerokee, I gave you the closed one first, lol! Don’t panic there are still plenty open thank you! 

O’Sullivans Pubs several all over like by Clichy and rue des Lombards, however my favorite is the one at the Grands Boulevards, 1 blvd Montmartre, metro grands boulevards lines 8 and 9. sports tv all over, even some music, best second floor up to your left in front of bar counter. webpage  https://www.osullivans-pubs.com/pub-irlandais/grands-boulevards/

The Lions, 120 Rue Montmartre, 75002;. Metro Bourse line 3 or Grands boulevards line 8 and 9. The English Pub,  showing football/soccer with pints of 5€. This one has change location now at 153 rue de Chevaleret 13éme webpage: http://www.thelionsparis.fr/

McBrides Irish Pub, 54 rue St Denis, 75001 . metro Chatelet line 4. All sports bar, downstairs Johnnies nightclub every Friday at 23h. live bands Fridays, Saturdays,and Sundays.webpage  https://www.corcoransirishpubs.com/mcbrides/menu/

Corcoran’s Irish pubs several in Paris, but my favorite is at Bastille; live music Fridays ,Saturdays, Sundays, Karaoke on Thursdays,and Students night on Thursdays too. Great ambiance for the younger crowds. 53 Faubourg St Antoine, 75011. Metro Bastille lines 1,5 and 8. Now same group as above. webpage  https://www.corcoransirishpubs.com/bastille/

The Pure Malt, the Scottish in Paris, 4 rue Caron,75003 .Metro  ST Paul ,line 1. Fridays and Saturdays cocktails nights.  Also American football, Rugby,and Football/soccer.  webpage  http://www.thepuremalt.fr/

The Auld Alliance, 80 Rue François-Miron, 75004..Metro St Paul ,line 1. NFL Sundays are shown as well as football:Soccer and rugby. Scotland in Paris.Thursday cocktail night ,and over 100 whiskies available. webpage  https://theauldalliance.com/

Café Oz, the Australians arrive!  Several location ,best is at Chatelet, 18 rue Saint Denis, Metro Chatelet line 4. Sports bar par excellence, live rugby, football/soccer, and NFL on tap, great Aussie beers. Webpage https://cafe-oz.com/chatelet.html

Hall’s Beer Tavern, 68 rue Saint Denis, 75002.Metro Chatelet line 4. All major sporting events covered, great ambiance, big screens TV, live music blues and rock, heated smokers terrace,happy hours from 17-19h, and pints from 4,50€. The works , i promise. Webpage: https://www.hallsbeertavern.fr/

Belushi’s Bar,  a chain with many in various cities in Europe. In Paris at 159 rue de Crimée, 75019.Inside St Christopher’s hostel. Metro Crimée line 7 or Laumiére line 5. Five big screen TVs for all the action and great burgers, an American diner in Paris. webpage  https://www.belushis.com/bars/paris/canal

The Galway, 13 Quai des Grand Augustins, 75006. Metro Chatelet Line 4 or  St Michel Notre Dame RER C .  Live music on Thursdays Fridays,Saturdays,and Sundays, the Irish once again in Paris !!) Webpage  https://www.facebook.com/GALWAYIRISHPUBPARIS/

Eden Park Pub , 10 Rue Princesse, 75006. Metro  Mabillon line 10, St Sulpice line 4, St Germain des Pres line 4. All sporting events in big screens. Happy hour from 18-20h. Great rugby place but also football/Soccer. webpage  http://www.edenparkpub.com/

The Moose, the Canadians arrive! 16 rue des Quatre Vents, 75006. Metro Odéon line 10. happy hour,buy a pitcher specials,all sports, good ambiance, webpage  http://www.mooseparis.com/fr/

Little  Temple Bar, 12 rue Princesse, 75006. Metro Mabillon, Odeon, St Germain des Pres lines 4 or 10. Happy hour every day, classic place , names drop by often, live music, you will be delighted as I, webpage  https://www.littletemplebar.fr/

WOS Bar, 184 rue St Jacques, 75005. Metro best RER B luxembourg. Happy hour 16-21h! monday and tuesday is student nights so younger crowds. Lively place indeed. webpage  http://wosbar.com/#contact

The Bombardier, 2 place du Panthéon, 75005. Metro Maubert-Mutualité line 10 or RER B Luxembourg. Monday students night, Real Ale, English pub. webpage http://www.bombardierpub.fr/

La Pomme d’Eve, a South African pub in Paris, 1 rue Laplace, 75005. Metro Maubert-Mutualité line 10. all major sporting events shown on big screens. webpage  http://lapommedeve.com/

The Harp, 118 Blvd Clichy,75018.Metro Blanche  line 2 or place de Clichy line 13. Great american hot dogs and bloody marys on Sunday, Mojitos on Mondays. home of the Paris Celtic supporters group . Webpage  https://www.facebook.com/TheHarpParis/

The Highlander Scottish Pub, 8 rue de Nevers, 75006 .Metro Pont Neuf line 7 or Odéon line 10. happy hour weekdays from 17-20h. Caledonian pints for 5€, webpage  http://pubhighlander.com/

The Great Canadian Pub, 25 Quai des Grands Augustin, 75006. Metro St Michel line 4. Great ambiance very popular with expats get togethers in Paris. webpage  https://www.facebook.com/tgcparis/

The Long Hop, Rue Fréderic Sauton, Place Maubert-Mutualité;75005.  metro Maubert-Mutualité line 10.  A great gathering of expats, great ambiance, lately a hot spot in Paris, webpage  https://www.the-long-hop.com/

Frog and Princess Pub ,9 Rue Princesse  75006. Metro Mabillon line 10.  Part of a chain of seven Frog pubs, Frog and Princess is a no-frills sports bar that brews its own beer and is frequented by a primarily English-speaking crowd drawn in by the home brews, numerous TVs, and loudly cheering sports fans who gather to watch their favorite teams. Webpage: https://www.frogpubs.com/fr/pub-the-frog-princess-paris-2.php

And of course if you need to catch some munchies these will do early or late,all great expats venues.

Breakfast in America, original location the best at 17 rue des Ecoles, 75005. Metro Cardinal Lemoine line 10 and Jussieu lines 7 and 10. you got the name right, webpage  https://breakfast-in-america.com/locations-and-hours/

Happy Days Diner, 25 rue Francisque Gay, 75006. Metro St Michel line 4. American burgers in a diner look 1950’s. two locations but the one above is lively for me. Unfortunately the location above has closed here for the memories, but there are others and should be good not on them yet. Webpage    https://www.happydaysdiner.com/nos-restaurants

Ellis Island Cafe, 5 rue Parronet, 75007 Metro Sévres Babylone lines 10 and 12. Great tex mex burgers, an American oasis in Paris, Sunday brunch 21€ . Well another one closed, here just for the memories

Scoop Cafe, 154 rue Saint Honoré ,75001.  Metro Palais Royal,Louvre Rivoli, lines 1. An American awarded as best ice cream parlor by Le Figaro!, with great soups as well. Sadly it has closed the location, so here for the memories. However, It is now at 117 rue des Dames 17éme.not try yet. webpage  http://www.scoopcafe.fr/#infos

Last but not least ,allomatch a webpage that will enhance your present in Paris, the all sports bars find it all at webpage: https://www.allomatch.com/bars

This is Paris too a melting pot of nations, and folks looking for the la vie en rose à la Française! And there is a long waiting line…..Paris is eternal, the most beautiful city in the world. I am sure there are others, I put up the ones I could remember visited in my times there in the glazing of an expat to a citizen per se. Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading.

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

December 3, 2020

How about Bologna!!!

Yeah what about Bologna, Italy! Well I mentioned briefly in my posts before but feel needs a post of its own. Going over updating and revising old posts, has given me the opportunity to see missing links such as this one. Hope you enjoy it as I do

Well , really for me the last few years Bologna has been the airport, this is how I arrived to go down to Carpi/Modena area. Some nice folks there did took me on a car ride in town briefly. One of the cities on my list to be back with the family to see in depth.

Anyway , for me, I like to tell you a bit more on Bologna.

The city of Bologna is a capital of the metropolitan area of the same name, in turn the capital of Emilia-Romagna region. The city, whose first settlements date back to at least the first millennium BC, was an important urban center first under the Etruscans and Celts, then under the Romans and , in the Middle Ages, as a free town. Northern capital of the Papal State from the 16C, it had a very important role during the Risorgimento and, during WWII, was an important center of the Resistance. On the morning of April 21, 1945, in a Bologna now abandoned by the Nazis, the soldiers of the Polish II Corps of the British 8th Army, the advanced units of the 91st and 34th US divisions, avant-garde of the combat groups, entered the city to the joy of the population. Also, the   Italians “Friuli” and “Legnano”, and partisans of the “Maiella Brigade”.

The main highway/motorway junction in Italy, the A1 “Autostrada del Sole” (sunshine highway) Milan-Florence-Rome-Naples converge at the Bologna junction, and is the one I took. There is ,also, the Adriatic axis A14 Bologna-Ancona-Taranto; and the A13 Bologna-Padua. The highway/motorway junction that surrounds the city to the west, north and east is flanked for about 22 km by the ring road or beltway.

bologna driving airport A1 oct15

Bologna airport from carpi jan12

Just for information, as never use it,but  Bologna is a railway junction of national importance, through which it is estimated that over 85% of national traffic transits between North and South, excluding traffic via La Spezia (for Milan and France) and those via Ravenna – Ferrara and via Ferrara – Suzzara – Parma. The main train station is Bologna Centrale, it is among the largest Italian stations for passenger traffic, and for the number of daily trains in transit.

The transport hub TPER for the region of Emilia Romagna is here: https://www.tper.it/

The city of Bologna on public transports in Italian : http://www.comune.bologna.it/trasporti

The main transportation hub I used several times was the Guglielmo Marconi international airport of Bologna. It has last read a network of over 90 destinations and served by more than 50 airlines, it is the eighth Italian airport by number of passengers.The importance of the airport is mainly due to its position in the production center of Italy. In addition to its function at the service of the entire production area of Emiliana and Marchigiana, the increase in routes by low cost airlines and the construction of the High Speed line to Florence have led to an increase in tourism.

Passengers with boarding pass in first and business class, high status frequent flyer cards or accredited lounge scheme have access to our lounge. I did!! Nice VIP lounge! It has parking areas P1 P2 P3 P4 but I was just pick up and deposit with a driver each time so no experience here. My driver was Auto Blu Noleggi, tel +39 339 3846496 . email: autoblunoleggi@tiscali.it with great service by my driver Giacomo Franchetto, you wont go wrong using him all over Italy, he is GPS ready. More info here: https://www.autoblubologna.com/ncc-carpi/

bologne G Marconi airport front side oct15

The trips were always long in Europe because of needed connections by Roissy CDG and Schiphol Amsterdam to Nantes Atlantique. The airport is about 6 km from city center Bologna. I never tried it but there was an aerobus from the airport to the terminal train station Centrale, this is now handle by Marconi Express. The webpage in English: https://www.marconiexpress.it/en/

The Bologna airport is easy to navigate , the webpage is here in English: http://www.bologna-airport.it/uk/?LN=UK

bologna arriving airport rain oct15

Things to see which I only passed by in a car so need to be back for sure. My favorite looking externally were :

In Piazza Maggiore there is the gothic and imposing Basilica of San Petronio built at the behest of the town between 1390 and 1659. The Church of San Francesco 13C although it underwent significant interventions in the 19C and after WWII, the first example of French Gothic in Italy.  The St Peter’s Cathedral located in via Indipendenza, was built in the 17C on the ruins of the ancient early Christian building. Other important city churches are San Giacomo Maggiore (1263), in Gothic style and with an elegant Renaissance portico; the Basilica of Santa Maria dei Servi built between the 14C and 16C, with a Majesty by Cimabue and a suggestive four-sided portico; Santa Maria della Vita; the church of the first hospital in Bologna, founded in 1260, inside which there are the precious terracotta of the Weeping Marie, known as Lamentation over the Dead Christ and made by Niccolò dell’Arca between 1463 and 1490.

Historic palaces and villas overlooking Piazza Maggiore are the Palazzo Comunale (or d’Accursio) (13-15C) and the Palazzo del Podestà , extensively remodeled in 1485, next to the 13C Palazzo Re Enzo , whose current appearance is due to neo-Gothic restoration by Alfonso Rubbiani of 1905.

Bologna has over forty museums in which, alongside the permanent collections, temporary exhibitions are organized. The ones I saw passing were the National Art Gallery of Bologna, and the MAMbo (Museum of Modern Art of Bologna). The theater has been a very popular form of entertainment in Bologna since the 16C. The first public theater was the Teatro della Sala, active starting from 1547 in the Palazzo del Podestà.

The tourist office of Bolognahttps://www.bolognawelcome.com/it

The tourist board of Emilia Romagna on Bolognahttps://emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/towns/bologna

There you go folks, another spot in the world, even if passing by. I have many experiences like this one, and eventually did came back with the family to see it show it, I hope Bologna will be one of these. Again, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading me.

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

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December 3, 2020

The Temple of Debod, Madrid!!!

Again, need to revise update this post from march 2017. This is a memorable spot for me as a kid living in Madrid, and for history of not only the temple but the Spanish Civil War. Hope you enjoy the updated post on the temple of Debod!

I thought of something unique and semi hidden in Madrid, but a must to visit. This is the temple of Debod in the parque del Oeste and more precisely in the parque de la montaña (where an old Civil War hq was ). Today visitors and younger generation flock to the temple to see the history of the Egyptian monument without realising the sacrifice that was done here. I know

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The temple of Debod dates from the year 200 AD and known also as the temple of Amon a gift from Egypt to Spain for helping in the flooding of the Nile in the 1950’s.

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The pieces of this temple were brought to Spain by boat over a long period finally reaching Spain by Valencia harbor; coming on the ship “Benisa”, a total of 90 trucks moved the 1356 blocks of stone to the current site but some stone from Villamayor in Salamanca was needed to filled in the missing parts lost on the retrieval of the stones in Egypt. It finally was assembled in its current location in July 18, 1972, while I was still living in Madrid!!

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You must see inside the Capilla de Adijalamani or of the Reliefs. It has scenes that represent the king adoring the gods and offering sacrifices.  The motifs are related to the cult of the gods in the area and link to the sacred monarchy. In it’s chapel you have the god Amon de Debod that received the cult with other divinities such as Isis, Hathor, Osiris, Horus, Apset, Mut, Satis, Anukis, and Horajty. Imhotep occupies a priviledge site in the access to the chapel.  You then, come to the room of  Mammisi.  The word Coptic signify “place of birth” and makes the point of the room where the goddess of the temple gave birth and celebrating the mystery of the divine birth.

From the exterior the best moment to see it is as the sun goes down in the evening, eerie nice silhouettes indeed. The interior is superb and a must see in Madrid like I said.

temple-of-debod-in-madrid

There are other rooms below, these are:

The Vestibule ,decorated with Augusto and Tiberian today mostly erase due to the last earthquake of the 19C and stealing.

The antechamber de Naos, small room that allows you to wandered in the 3 chapels ,here the only light entered the temple that reach the main Chapel as above and the Naos

The room of Naoi, or central chapel has the only naos preserved. it is in ptolemic style and dedicated to gods Isis and Amon de Debod.  The south hallway on which in it’s wall you see a solar clock.

The Osiris chapel, relics of Osiris, in the terrace . It is a roofed chapel in the terrace of the sanctuary as in Egyptian temples. It was done to stop the rain water to entered the god Osiris that was not beneficial.

The Terrace, this is the place where important ceremonies were held, especially the ritual of the new year. The karma of the god Ra combine with the divine statues of the temple that were taken to the terrace by priests the night before the Egyptian new year.

The headroom Chapels, on each side of the Chapel of Naos you have two Chapels attributed to Osiris and Mahesa.

The Uabet, the purification site of the priests of the temple. Opens its doors to the Vestibule.  this area was damaged when the archeologist that worked here in the 20C saw it.

You see several graffiti’s in the temple. Thanks to these graffiti’s we know the temple was visited by Barbarians, nomads or semi nomads that later could have been converted into a Christian Church or refuges of hermits. In the Muslim period it was ,also, occupied and was visited from the West. Amongst the graffiti’s in the Debod , it is found caravans and herds of camels, gazelles, a boat with oars, Coptic crosses, accounting symbols, Greek inscriptions, also Coptic, Arabic (religious characters),and several signatures from travelers!

In the terraces of the Temple of Debod you find several blocks these are:

The blocks of Apedemak, this is a monument that has three horizontal lines with ancient lettering  texts divided by a ankh (symbol of eternal life) entitled Adijalamani. In one of the lines you have the epitaph well like of Apedemak referring to the king been Apedemak the principal god of the temple.

You see the stalls in stone of a Lion and a Greek urinerium; it is very damaged but on the laterals you have an urinerium with the feet back of the lion. Difficult to understand today.

The Crypts, one of the few ptolemic temples that had crypts open in the Chapels. The main one is the treasure crypt that opens to the chapel of Mahesa , where the statues of the gods were kept. The other was probably a laboratory where the perfumes of the divinities were kept; this one, opens to the inferior chapel of Osiris.

The Madrid tourist office tells you more on how to get there, free admission ,but limited numbers at one time allowed in, something like 60 at one time.  Also, depending on the weather as the temperature below can get really hot and the AC don’t always work. There has been episodes of high humidity as well that have created problems to keep it open. So my recommendation is to contact the tourist office and ask if open when you are there.

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The specialised site of the Temple of Debod in English: http://templodedebod.memoriademadrid.es/eng/index.html

The tourist office of Madrid on the Temple of Debod: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/templo-de-debod

So enjoy this beauty now, it is old and you never know, but it is wonderful. I remember in my youth going around the park as kids playing and then going inside all sweaty so nothing feld on the heat hehehe! Then, have come back each time with my girlfriend , then wife, then the boys and again this summer always a nice stop in Madrid. Something awesome historical and beautiful in a very nice park as well, right there not far is the cable car to Casa de Campo or teleférico! see post

Enjoy Madrid a city made for life and families, wonderful memories of always. Hope you enjoy the historical temple of Debod Egypt in Spain.

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

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