Archive for December 5th, 2020

December 5, 2020

Paris Centre!! Center of Paris!!

Oh well they did it after all. For years folks have been telling me where is the center of Paris! From the visitor point of view, you know which is it, all around the Notre Dame, Louvre etc. However, Paris has more under the sleave and politically correct they finally have done it. There is officially a Paris Centre!

And do you know Paris now has a center? Well people always asked for the center of Paris and frankly with the limits of its districts or arrondissement it was difficult. Each district was independent with its own main streets or downtown/center. However, that is beginning to change thanks to the political manouvers which is heavy in Paris.

Last July 2020, the 1st sector of Paris called Paris Centre was created comprises the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements or districts of Paris. All under one Mayor, the first one Ariel Weil, a Socialist of course.

The reform, which applies from the day after the second round of the 2020 municipal elections, does not eliminate the first four districts but groups them together in a single administrative and electoral sector. This sector has a council and a district mayor common to the four districts. The number of councilors in Paris is unchanged. Very politically convenient indeed, why create one whole group keeping everybody on the payroll!!!

The territory of the City of Paris must therefore be divided into 17 sectors (the four old districts makes one sector) , superimposing on the 20 current arrondissements or districts. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements are grouped into a single sector called Paris Centre, created during the municipal elections of March 15 and June 28, 2020 and the election of its new Mayor on Saturday July 11 2020.

The postal codes remain the same with the grouping of the 4 central districts. It is not useful to mention Paris Centre on postal items. Of course, you still need to use in your post the 75001 ,002, 003 and 004. The changes like I said are just political.

Since Monday, July 13, 2020, users of the four former arrondissements are welcomed in their Paris Centre city/town hall, located at 2, rue Eugène-Spuller. You can get here by metro,on line 3 Temple or lines 3;5;8;9; and 11 République. Also, by bus line 75 stop Square du Temple, line 20 stop Arts et Métiers and line 91 stop Jean-Pierre-Timbaud. By bicycle you have parking right in front of building or Vélib station at mairie du 3émearrondissement.

The new Paris Centre city/town hall on the culture page:

The question of central Paris is a long topic of conversation but the official point of view is as follows:

Two different points can be considered as the geographical center of Paris , and only one of them is in the new Paris Centre district! Of course, nothing on geography is political!! According to the National Geographic Institute, responsible for producing and disseminating reference geographic information in France, the surface center of gravity, a barbaric name for the center of the surface of Paris is located at the tip of the île de la Cité island at Place Dauphine 75001. But if you are interested in the limits of Paris , in other words if you take into account its perimeter and no longer its area ,the center of Paris is much further to the east. Indeed, it is then near the Place de la Bastille, at 9 rue Lacués, in the 12éme. The reason ? The presence, to the West and to the East, of the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, which prevents Paris from being the beautiful oval shape that we all imagine at first!

This is a brief copy of my previous posts on the arrondissement or districts of Paris on the four now making up Paris Centre!

Briefly, by 1860, Paris was divided into 20 arrondissements or districts of which each was further divided by fours into a total of 80 quartiers or neighborhoods. Example, on the 1 district (1éme arrondissement) the four quartiers or neighborhoods of which all will have the zip/postal code 75001 will be Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois quartier no 1,  Halles quartier no 2, Palais-Royal quartier no 3, and Place-Vendôme as quartier no 4. And so on and on until 75020.

By the way , Parisians of birth or long standing will give you the district as the place of orientation and administrative affairs but when living or errands or know it all, is the neighborhood!

Paris 1 :  This is the forum les Halles,Arc du Carrousel,church of Saint Eustache,Jeu de Paume,Louvre,Orangerie, Conciergerie, Sainte Chapelle, Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Place Vendôme.

Paris 2 : This is Bibliothéque Nationale, Bourse,tour Jean Sans Peur.

Paris 3 :This is the Archives Nationales, Arts et Métiers,Carnavalet museum,Picasso museum,amongst others.

Paris 4: This is the Arsenal,Centre Pompidou, Crypte de Notre Dame,church saint louis saint paul,hotel de ville,memorial de la shoah, Cathedral of Notre Dame, and tour Saint Jacques.

There still discussing of what to do with the old building of the city halls , some places will remain and other will need to be change or house more administrative duties, a good political move to fatten the pockets. The mairies or city hall govt building in each arrondissement are done in touch with the local architecture of each. The Paris 1 has it after the Church Saint Germain l’Auxerrois next to the end of the Louvre. Paris 2, is done in 1847 after opening the rue de la Banque, inside a mariage hall done in 1879 decorated with the 3rd Republic emblems. Paris 3 was the first done with an initial space virgin, looking more like a renaissance castle with Doric columns and clock evoking Chambord. Paris 4 done with column first realized for the Chateau des Tuileries (today gone extension of the Louvre).

The Paris tourist office on the welcome center for info and ticketing etc in Paris:

And to plan your walks in Paris by district or neighborhood what is better than the tourist office in English, the best official source:

They still have not figure it out the tourist points for Paris Centre of course!!! Hope you enjoy a different Paris by the time we can get back. Hope you enjoy the post and thanks for reading me over the years.

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

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December 5, 2020

Quimper, at Christmas!!!

And why not upgrading this wonderful old post early on in my blog from one of my favorite cities in all Bretagne, Quimper. We have come here often and love it. Hope you enjoy the revised version as pictures are in the individual sight posts.

Well searching for those Christmas markets or marché de Noêl in my region, we came back to visit Quimper.  It is a vibrant city, always lively, folks out even on cold days like today, and great hub of transport from bus to train to easy car parking by the quais at the Odet. 6 hours parking for 3 euros not bad.

The tourist office , it is easily visible from the parking on the other side of the Odet river across from city center. Place de la libération along allée de lokmaria.

However, this time, we came here for the Christmas market and were disappointed that it was only a carrousel, one stand selling chichis or churros  ,and croustillons lovely delicious rounds of flour  dip batter hot and just for the day , we tried them and very good. Then ,the there was a nice size ice skating ring where the youngsters were having fun all day long…… And that’s it.

However, what we saw as always is a vibrant busy shopping city full of folks from all over the region and some from UK, we notice. The Streets were full of shoppers, and the restos bars full as well. And this is nice.

We revisited the Cathedrale Saint Corentin, which is along worth coming here, huge, lovely, architecture wonders, we went Inside of course, and around the back as I go thru the chapel just behind it, there were getting ready for the festivities tomorrow of Saint Corentin; the chapel is not a major work as needed rénovations but a lof of the faithful was there anyway. The place was been clean, flowers put in vases, and lots of volunteers. I spoked with an elderly lady very nice and very enthusiastic of her festivities tomorrow. The faith is big here.

We took lots of walks which what we like to do and know the city better, into the Halles St François the covered market, the chocolates of Georges larnicol , Quimper is grand, lovely confections of a Christmas Santa all in chocolates for 32€ we grabbed it!

We stop by our favorite local souvenir shop, L’Art de Cornouaille;right at place St Corentin; wonderful kitchen towels for our home. and we grabbed it!

We went for a dozen macarons of the best in the area, Les Macarons de Philomène, consider the first macaroniers of France !!! at nice quaint old rue Kéréon,

There was a small outdoor market going on by Place Terre au Duc, just to the right of pl Corentin, but nothing took our fancy there, and we did check the nice store Eurodif, department store local store (now name change to Bouchara). At rue du roi Gradlon off pl corentin, nice if you like to take a look.

We went to our favorite fashion spot Armand Thiery, in town there is a women and men section apart . The men store is out of city center by the D34 road, so  we decided to skip to our local one in Vannes to do the shopping there,and shopping we did huge, for Christmas and for everybody…::)

However, before leaving in between we had our lunch; as we had try several restos already we decided to go for a new one,and boy/girl  did we hit a jackpot. This is absolutely why we are in France, traditional service, decoration and friendly. It is tucked in an old street 4 rue du Guéodet, in between the Cathedral and the hotel de ville; Les Cariatides is just wonderful. The old house has a bar on street level,and the dining on the first level, quant with chimneys and old Breton trinkets all over. The kitchen is near tables and we had a great server who was not needed to ask anything, all was there. The food was serve in intervals as we like it nothing rush; we had our apéritifs with Chivas Regal whisky, Martini reds, Porto red, and Kir Breton, then went to the meal, from steaks nicely done with home made fries! to our delicious well done house burger maison and home made fries. Salads of hot goat cheese, chévre chaud was good too. All wash down with our favorite restaurant bottle of Rioja Spain bodegas Navajas of Navarrete,  simply great at 15€ the bottle. red wine of course. All that tops by desserts of créme brulée, and panacottas, end with expresso coffee all for  22€ per person a real bargain really worth the price many times over. We have returned! I have to give you the webpage:

The city of Quimper on places to see in French:

The Quimper tourist office in English:

Cheers and Merry Christmas to all, wishing that the New Year will fulfils all your life’s baskets. Joyeux Noël à tous mes lecteurs et que la nouvelle année remplit complètement le panier de votre vie. Feliz Navidad a todos mis lectores y que el Nuevo Año le llene de dicha para todos. Feliz Natal a todos os meus leitores e que o ano novo preencha completamente o cesto com a sua vida! And enjoy Quimper!!!

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

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December 5, 2020

Christmas in Paris!!!

Well I like to update revise this old post from 2014; do not know why but Paris is in the air…Do not know how 2020 will be as with the virus travel is minimal and many still closed or impaired. Hoping for the spirit of Christmas to prevail. For now, here is my update on our visit to  Christmas in Paris 2014!

Needless to tell  you this is my favorite time of the year. Regardless of your religious inclination, the lights, actions, events, festive mood all around is magical. It seems the folks awaits this time to bring out their best. We enjoy every single season ,and for 9 years we were at Versailles with Paris as our background. Now for the last 9 years we have been in the Morbihan, in Bretagne and as normal the country is more subdue. However, see my take on the visit to Christmas in Paris.

For now, let me give some of my favorite places for goodies in Paris and some new ones,there is always time for new places to enjoy the Bounty of France. The chocolates of the rive gauche or left bank will leave speechless if you try one of our favorites ;Jean-Charles Rochoux, he does marvels with creating chocolate expressions of Christmas or Noêl, this year is the bears in tune. You can get to him at 16 rue d’Assas,6éme.webpage:

For artisanal confitures, those wonders of Jelly and jams, you must search, find, meet Catherine Manoël ,making wonderful confections in the Gard and then the Aube region and now the store in Paris has closed but you can order online ,you know is good when you have Paul Bocuse as Customer !!! (and you know who is Paul Bocuse, one of the greatest chefs in the world); See it at Comptoirs des Confitures webpage

The Chocolaterie d’Aligre at 13, rue d’Aligre, 12éme, used to carry the above products but not anymore anyway leave it here as it is great place to shop in the season to be merrier. webpage

And of the new ice cream places found in Paris, coming from South Corsica, is that of Pierre Geronimi, and his L’Arbre de Café at 10, rue du Nil, 2éme. Tél.: 01 84 17 24 17; the flavors are out of this world and many innovative ones like the chatâigne ice cream ! webpage :

The all time favorite is the La Grande Epicérie, 38 rue de Sévres,7éme. In 2014,  Coming from Australia and New   Zealand, resembles a kind of pickle which would be filled with small translucent beads to taste like candy close enough to the grapefruit William Ledeuil associate it with ginger in a carpaccio of Saint Jacques, Olivier Roellinger scattered its oysters and Jean-Louis Nomicos proposes all new French pay per view in the form of sea bream and carrots marinated, lemon basil citrus and caviar. Just wonderful goodies found of an all time favorite, webpage:

And ,of course you need to eat at Poilâne Paris, in 2014 nice biscuit figurines of deers are the return. Get it at 8, rue du Cherche-Midi, 6éme. webpage

If you mingle your cooking with Italian specialties, from the Maison Fracassa. webpage:

You will find the above goodies of Alessandra Pierini  at RAP4 , rue Fléchier, 9éme. Not far to your left out of gare st lazare and then left at Fléchier. webpage:

For oysters we got some challengers where we live now, but back in Paris we had try the delicious oysters of the island of Mersea (Essex) Oysters Saint Honoré, result of  an Oyster tradition over three centuries, are high for three years in deep waters, and then refined in the estuary, which gives them a subtle salt content. Generous, fleshy, firm and crisp: so authentic.  The place is a laberinth of goodies of all sorts and was near to my business routes. You need to take a short metro ride from Opéra Garnier line 3 to stop Anatole France and then walk about 4 minutes our time to Terra Gourma at  79 rue Voltaire ,Levallois-Perret Hauts de Seine dept 92. webpage:

For spices and oils one of the tops there is the Maison Thiercelin (since 1809) ,where even the vinagers are great from herbes from the mediterranean and Northern Africa. See them at 3, rue Charles-François-Dupuis, 3éme. webpage:

And to close this culinary ride on a more American mode and Floridian to boot, why not Burger King! They are coming back in force, we were at the first one in train station or Gare St Lazare, and now more at la Villette, Alésia,  and the newest one from November 26th at  124, rue La Boétie,8éme. There are in already in other cities in France , at Créteil, Calais, Marseille, Bonneuil-sur-Marne, Reims,  and Beaune . The first in Bretagne were at Brest, and we were there too lol! . Franchise in France part of the groupe Bertrand.   The groupe Bertrand they are in good company having some of my favorites updated names such as L’Alsace, Au Pied de Cochon, le Bar André à La Rochelle, Bofinger, la Brasserie Lipp, La Coupole, Grand Café Capucines, La Lorraine, Le Procope, Terminus Nord, Vaudeville . Auteuil Brasserie, L’Île, Copenhague, Flora Danica, Polpo, Quai Ouest, Les Deux Stations, Le Sud Luxe,  Angelina. Au Bureau, Hippopotamus, Café Leffe, Bert’s, Volfoni ; Burger King, and Quick.  Monuments places restos such as  Château de Versailles, Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Giverny, Cité des Sciences, Printemps Haussmann, and the Musée des Armées. Also,  Hotels such as Le Saint James Paris  and Le Relais Christine.  You are in good company!!   webpage:

Enjoy the seasons to be merry, and an early Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, and Joyeux Noêl to all.

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

December 5, 2020

Brest at Christmas time, marché de Noêl!

And as we are in this wonderful period of Christmas, I like to bring out a trip we took back in late November 2013 to the nice mariners city of Brest in the Finistére dept 29 of my lovely Bretagne! I will keep the same pictures as they are unique to this post.

It was a weekend and the opening of the marché de Noêl at Brest and we were there right from the start at 11h. It is a city I have written several posts. It is about 2 hrs from where I live now by car; and no tolls in Bretagne! So we combine the trip to the city to do some shopping at the Christmas market, window shopping in city center,and lunch in one of our favorite hangouts here in Brittany.

We got up early and went by car following a new road from our new home, very country indeed and fast… Like I said, we arrive by 11h and decided to take a quick look at the place de la liberté where the marché de Noêl was held. The place was still trying to be open by the merchants so just did a walk around inspecting the différents chalets.

brest noel dec13

From there we went on a walk around town, into the train station, the pont de la recouvrance , the tour Tanguy, and the shopping street of Rue du Siam.

Afterward ,we had our lunch at Au Bureau, right in 10 rue du siam. This is a pub with road signs of California USA,and a modern classic menu. I  had a toast on hot goat cheese, or toast au chévre chaud as entrée, then a huge hamburger curry, then a moelleux au chocolat, or chocolate cake with the center is melting hot ;at the end, two glasses of Leffe royale belgian beers, and all for 14,70€!!! This Au Bureau is closed and in its place there is Rest Au Pub, which have tried too in subsquent visits but not as good. Luckily we have an Au Bureau near us now!

We got back to the marché de Noêl ,where we did some shopping in sausages, pan d’épices and one with chocolate; different cakes with Christmas motifs, vin chaud or hot wine drink, and a leather belt for me!

brest carrousel dec13

It will last until 24 December 2013. Saturday 21 december there will be a teen party at the conference room of the Hôtel de Ville! music by Charles Dickens on Sundays December 8,22, Mondays 23 and Tuesday 24. Presentation of sister cities like Denver CO USA; different kiosks with music of several genres in city center ,concert on  24 Dec by Jean-Luc Roudaut; Choruses at salon Richelieu Hôtel de Ville on each Saturdays and Sundays;revue from the 50’s,marionnettes for kids, and many more.

brest noel pl de la liberte to city hall dec13

brest pl de la liberte marche du notel dec13


The city of Brest on the Christmas market today:

We then took a peek at the musée de la marine at the Château de Brest. We were there but very quickly and did not see the collection last time so this time we made up and saw the whole thing. Very nice welcome,and interesting story of marine;naval history of Brest and Bretagne and France. Its a museum on a laberinth of castle fortress rooms, towers, and dungeons, really neat to visit.

The Brest metro area tourist board

After that we came home,and ready for another week of getting kids to their jobs in new location and me business trip to Madrid. Already thinking what to do next,and where lol!!! so difficult to choose in la belle France !!! Enjoy the spirit of Christmas and do check out these lovely towns like Brest.

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

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