Some news from France, CCCXXI

Oh well busy updating old posts really overlook this series of mine. I really enjoy getting the information and hope you do too. And thank you for reading me over these years; it has been fun , me think. Now let me tell you have mild weather now about 11C or 50F so degrees and raining on and off in my lovely Morbihan. Pretty much the same in Paris.  Let me tell you my latest of some news from France!

Well the so call covid19 or SARS or wuhan (now the WHO is sending a team to Wuhan China, finally!) is still around us but we have much flexibility in moving around and many places are open. There are still dining room restaurants/bars who are closed,but you can pre order or click and collect from them. We have tried some in town and is ok, of course nothing beat the presence in them but… Macron rule! Oh yes now he is with the virus too and quarantine for 7 days. Oh well guess did not follow the rules… in fact they show in local tv news a dinner given with his team where everyone was sitting close and no mask! Scoundrel!  The beat goes on I am still on teletravail or work from home and dearly hoping for next March to see if can ask for retirement. Finally!!!

Some of my favorites public transports  news/rants.

A new Metro exit at the foot of the Grand Palais. At the crossroads of metro lines 1 and 13, the Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau station ideally serves museums, theaters, avenues and surrounding gardens. For the comfort of its 15,000 daily travelers, the station has been redeveloped with the creation of an additional access on Avenue du Général Eisenhower, in the immediate vicinity of the Grand Palais, which facilitates service from the district to Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, the Palais de la Découverte, the Théâtre du Rond-Point… to Avenue Montaigne.

Last Monday December 14, from 16h, the extension of line 14 was put into service, thus connecting Olympiades to the new terminus of Mairie de Saint-Ouen. The Pont Cardinet, Saint-Ouen and Mairie de Saint-Ouen stations have opened their doors to you in mid-December. And you will be able to discover the Porte de Clichy station in January 2021.

The wagon washing machine for trains on line 2 will be located in a tunnel on a secondary track connecting the terminus of line 2 between Nation and the train maintenance workshops, located rue de Lagny in the 20éme arrondissement of Paris.

The State (France) will challenge the decision of the Montreuil court suspending work on the direct link between Gare de l’Est and Roissy. The so called CDG Express, a 24 km non-stop connection to the airport, covered in 20 minutes. For their part, elected officials from the Ile-de-France region have launched a petition against the CDG Express, demanding its definitive abandonment. OF course nothing for convenience, this line is needed yesterday!

The RER “NG” project (new generation trains) could well change the lives of RER D and RER E travelers, who were seriously starting to overload the lines. These new trains will be able to accommodate up to 1,860 persons, with 600 seats spread over two floors. These new RER trains, without separation between the cars to optimise space, will provide exceptional comfort, air conditioning and USB ports will be made available to you. Several spaces have been created depending on the type of trip: spaces with and without seats for short trips, as well as more comfortable spaces including only seats for longer trips. As for the ends of the train, they will be reserved for strollers, people in wheelchairs, as well as travelers with suitcases. The RER NG will also equip the new western section of the RER E, which must be delivered at the end of 2022 to Nanterre, (92) then at the end of 2024 to Mantes-la-Jolie (78).

The Thoiry Park, in the Yvelines dept78 , will have its festival of lights,as one of the few places to have reopened its doors since last Wednesday December 16. This of great help as the park already is 30% less revenue due to the virus.

In Avignon, the Rocher des Doms dominates the Rhône: on the river side, it sees the bridge as famous as it has collapsed, then Villeneuve-lès-Avignon on the other bank and Mont Ventoux in the distance; on the city side, the Palace of the Popes, below, almost leans on it. Converted into a public garden in 1830, it is climbed by the Sainte-Anne staircase or from the banks of the Rhône. A haven of peace above the city, it invites you to stroll between the busts of forgotten local glories and the terraces offering multiple points of view.   Children love the ducks and peacocks in the basin (which make them feel good) and the analemmatic sundial that invites them to climb onto the studs to tell the time. In bright sunshine, it is the shadow cast from their body that serves as a sort of needle!

Very appropiate for the time of the year lets talk about Aÿ. The town is known to Champagne lovers above all, to the point that the name of the vineyard has been officially attached to it since 2016. For if the Marne river flows below the houses, some of which are half-timbered, the inhabitants are surrounded by hillsides of vines laid on chalk, all classified as Grands Crus. Also, prestigious brands own or buy grapes there, especially Bollinger, but also Veuve Clicquot, Deutz, Moët & Chandon, Henri Giraud, Gosset or Ayala.

Aÿ is located between the two large wine towns, 4 km from Epernay and 28 km from Reims. Suffice to say that it is in the center of Champagne. It was before the 18C, when the village was famous for its still red wine, beyond the borders; the English would stop there to buy it. Aÿ was the capital of the Pinot Noir grape variety to the point that the towns that surround it owe its name like Avenay means “before Aÿ”, and Epernay “after Aÿ”. From this ancestral period, it has kept a true winegrowing culture: it is one of the rare Champagne communes whose houses are open to visitors.

In the 18C, the bubble changed the fate of Aÿ. The village is still sitting on a wine treasure with its Pinot Noir, but which has changed in taste and color in the bottle. Of the 323 vintages of the Champagne region, only 17 are classified as 100% grands crus, including Aÿ. Its vines, which extend over 429 hectares, are sought after to participate in the blends of the finest vintages from the great houses. Because nature has spoiled this very active limestone hillside, with an ideal exposure.

So much so that the hectare is now trading at around 1.5 million euros. In other words, it is a rich village. When you walk in Aÿ-Champagne, the streets reflect prosperity and serenity. The income of the population is a little higher than the French average but it is less than in Epernay. Less also than in Mesnil-sur-Oger , about 15 km away, another flagship city of Champagne, this time for its chardonnay

Something we do at home often, and gladly give you the French version of the Spanish omelette or tortilla.

Ingredients for a tortilla for 4 to 6 people: 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of melting potatoes (Bintje type better), 4 large fresh eggs, olive oil of the sweeter variety, 1 large soft white sweet onion, 1.5 tbsp of powdered sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Preparation: Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices (about 5 mm thick). They can be split apart rather than cut. Pour the olive oil in a pan (sauté pan with curved edge) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes. When they are soft (candied and not fried), drain them on absorbent paper or in a colander. Salt. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the lukewarm potatoes and mix them all. Leave this preparation to stand for about ten minutes.

Cooking: Meanwhile, mince the onion and fry in the remaining oil. Add the sugar and stir so that the onions are caramelised. Drain the onions and add them to the eggs and potatoes. Heat the pan over low heat, add a little olive oil if necessary and pour in the preparation. Let it set a little and stir the pan so that the tortilla does not stick.

When the underside is golden (do not put on a too high heat), turn the omelette over (either by sliding it onto a large plate, or using a double pan). Pre-remove the olive oil in a container to avoid burning yourself when turning the tortilla, and return the same oil to the pan to resume cooking on the second side. Brown, making sure that the tortilla keeps its soft interior. Finish by sliding it into a serving dish. Season with fine salt immediately after cooking. Serve the tortilla hot, warm or cold. Recipe of Celia Tunc ; general secretary of the Collège Culinaire de France or culinary school of France.

Now this final point is for the Francophiles to know and decipher ok Eternal Paris !! You know you just arrived in Paris when …

You do your shopping in Châtelet. You will have a drink at Café de Flore. You’re going to eat at the Indiana Café. When evening comes, you go out on the Grands Boulevards at O’Sullivans or Truskel. You feel like you’re living in a movie. You go to the shooting locations of Amélie Poulain and Emily in Paris. You make stories when you eat at Bouillon Chartier. You say hello when you walk into a store. You are shocked at how fast people walk in the street or in the subway. You are surprised out loud at the price of a pint at 7€. You walk so slowly that it really takes 12 minutes to walk 12 minutes according to Google. You know that people who have just arrived in Paris too … and you have trouble making Parisian friends. You live in an 11 m2 with the toilet on the landing and the shower in the kitchen. Le Marais is the ultimate cool spot. You sit on the terrace at all rotten and super expensive breweries but you think it’s cool . You wait until the man is green to cross the street. Which district is the Sacré Cœur in? You pronounce Saint-Cloud “Saint Cloude”. You say sorry to people who push you around. You take real taxis and not VTCs You have a picnic at Champ-de-Mars or at the Tuileries. You do your shopping in rue de Rivoli or at Galeries Lafayette. You take the metro to make mini-distances because you don’t know the city well enough. You moved to line 13 without realizing all that this involved .You have not yet discovered the use of Franglais!

Sound familiar of course lots of clichés indeed but some sound alright. Hope you enjoy the post and stay tune.

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

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