Archive for December 30th, 2020

December 30, 2020

Yes , this is the real Brie de Meaux! the cheese that is !!!!!

Moving right along updating these old posts of mine, i come to what my readers should know is a very sentimental town and all of it for me. This is Meaux in dept 77 Seine et Marne of the Ïle de France region of my belle France. I like to tell you a bit on the wonderful Brie de Meaux cheese!!!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And at last, this is the real Brie de Meaux, the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings , Vienna Congress 1815. Indeed, and there are lots of imitations and even those claiming to be using the same method but in far away lands ,even in France.

However, the real unique Brie de Meaux comes from the brie region of the department 77 Seine-et-Marne, and the town of Meaux (from which my wife comes from) is the epicenter of it. Sadly, today , many farmers are gone, industrialization has and does kill traditions. It remains only folks like us, me to preserve them and sponsored them so they keep delighting us with the real thing.

After much fighting , there is a group Brie de Meaux et de Melun, that protects the cheeses creating an AOP or Appellation d’Origine Protégée. Webpage: https://www.briedemeauxetdemelun.fr/

For the Brie de Meaux ,there is the Confrérie des Compagnons du Brie de Meaux  or grouping of lovers of the cheese that is to protect and defend the tradition; the official site is here in English: https://www.confreriedubriedemeaux.fr/en/

La Maison du Brie de Meaux is a boutique that is right in the Episcopal palace next to the Museum Bossuet that also acts as the tourist office. You can buy it direct too.  5 place Charles-de-Gaulle, Meaux. City of Meaux  Webpage: https://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme/balade-a-meaux/la-maison-du-brie-de-meaux.html

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The brie de Meaux is done on a covering crusted in hormones of the cow’s milk ,soft and fondant, it has a flowery smell and it is delicious alone or with bread or an apple or even with honey. It takes about 25 liters of milk for 3,5 kg of cheese in a round form. It was first given credit to be created in the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre about 17 km from Meaux on the N3 road.

Today due to shrinkage of the old traditions, the cheese makers are for 70% of the production located in the areas of Cousances-lés-Triconville, Raival, and Biencourt-sur-Orge within the allow territory of the AOP.  Covering several departments such as Seine-et-Marne (77), Loiret(45), Meuse(55) , Aube(10), Marne(51)  , Haute-Marne(52), and Yonne(89). And I have seen even in Savoie!(73).

However, the best is still around the town of Meaux and Jouarre. Here at the latest is the oldest family run cheesemaker or fromagerie place that of fromagerie Ganot since 1895. webpage: https://www.fromagerie-ganot.fr/

The one in Meaux has been doing for years from generation to generation and the one our family buys from. This is the Fromagerie de Meaux Saint Faron. Here it is produce as well as the smaller cousin of Melun. You can have tours and tastings as well.  The guided tours can be done in English or French. Groups are done with reservations,and individual visits can be done Wednesdays,Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9h -12h30 and 14h30 -17h. The place is outside the city in an industrial park just before reaching the museum of WWI and the American Monument on the N405 road. From the train station in Meaux coming from Paris gare de l’Est you can take bus P to it or take the navette bus from the train station to the museum WWI and walk down to the cheese maker. By car of course , we come always as it is on the way to my In-Laws house!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

They have no webpage but are feature in the tourist office of the country of Meaux here: https://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/1685-fromagerie-de-meaux-saint-faron

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Awarded in 2017, with the prestigious Prize of Excellence at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris, this cheese factory preserves the ancestral techniques of making brie. Contacts  Tel +33 (0) 1 64 36 69 44 or email accueil@fromagerie-saintfaron.fr

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, you can ,also taste the new beer of Meaux, we tried already the Christmas beer and is pretty good with a cinnamon taste to it very sweet.  You can buy it at the cheesemaker St Faron boutique or the maison de Brie tourist office . This is the Brasserie de Meaux webpage in their Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/brasseriedemeaux

And , do not forget the mustard or moutard de Meaux Pommery world famous use by all the grand chefs of France and the world. It was known since antiquity, only offered to the religious orders at the time around 1632; it was in 1760 that the secrets was passed on to a Mr Pommery. It was served on the Royal tables and located at behind the Cathedral later moved to rue faubourg St Nicolas until 1927, however in 1925 the last of the Pommery sold the secret, name, business and all; even if the new owners since has used the same recipe.  We use it at home and buy at Meaux the original, the mustard a l’ancienne or old ways that is use in cooking and also to eat along great steaks !! You can buy at the maison du brie or the fromagerie St faron or at the city center cheese store in 4 rue du Général Leclerc ,the Fromagerie de Meaux. The official maker distributor is the Assaisonnements Briards webpage: https://www.moutarde-de-meaux.com/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For additional info, the abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre is wonderful and should go there for the visit. I have written before in my blog.

Hope you enjoy it and the city of Meaux.  Things already written in my blog includes the vieux Châpitre linking to the Cathedral, the museum of Bossuet , gardens of Bossuet, where I walked first in the city, the ramparts , the pizzeria Roma my hangout when entering France in 2003 permanently, and of course, visiting the In-Laws now only the step-father there as mom passed away too last year in the village of Chambry.

In all, always memorable moments that stayed with you no matter what, time does not diminished the sadness of not having my dear late wife Martine who introduce me to her Brie de Meaux, I keep buying it. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit this city and do try the Brie of Meaux cheese and al. Thanks for reading me over these years.  See my other post on Meaux, several here.  Enjoy Meaux , the Meldois of the east of Parisi !! and of course the Brie!!

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

December 30, 2020

And I present you, Meaux!!!

Always fun and memorable and sentimental to write about Meaux, in dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, in the Ïle de France region of my belle France. You might know, have several posts on this town and its region, as it is the native town of my dear late wife Martine!

This is sort of an introduction I did on November 2017, and would like to update the text and links, with a memorable picture. Hope you enjoy it as I do, and thanks for reading my blog , always appreciated.

And I do present you with Meaux, a historical town east of Paris , near Disneyland Paris and the Champagne region, but most importantly the fields of war of the Great War or WWI and its  wonderful Gothic Cathedral , one of the best in France.

A while back I didn’t even know there was a Meaux, a few years back. That is until I happened to meet a young lady in Paris ! She was a native of Meaux but worked in Paris as a secretary to a real estate company.  The rest is history, wife,and 3 boys, and made many trips to Meaux, over the years.  It would be hard to tell you everything about the town, that I have come to know every bit nook and cranny of it, where my boys roll in baby carriages since age 5 weeks !! for one and 6 mos for the other 2,twins !!! Even along cobblestone streets around the Cathedral!

There is still family in small villages all around it ,and had come back for many visits. Meaux was my first introduction to France; (other than brief one day visit in Paris1972) when every one arriving at CDG or Orly airports rush to see Paris ,etc and I was humbly taken a bus , yes a bus to reach Meaux and hook up with my girlfriend!! ,this was in 1990. Later,  wife of 28 hugely wonderful years.

The bus still does its runs no. 20 Transdev IDF webpage: https://www.transdev-idf.com/ligne-20%20express/meaux-tremblay-en-france/054-SME20

Once the habit came back, and drove and took the trains. To come here from Paris, you can take the train at Gare de l’Est to the station in Meaux, or you can drive on the A4 connecting with the A140 straigth into town or do the scenic ride on the N3 from Porte de Pantin in Paris all the way to Champagne country passing thru city center Meaux. Bear in mind nowdays, the N3 is hugely congested. On the way back from Meaux to Paris we parked by a free parking in the Church of (église) Pantin to hook up with the metro Pantin line 5. Lately, the space has brought a paying parking they call it Yespark – Parking Pantin – Eglise Pommiers. However, not a secure place anymore sadly…

For those seeking alternatives from Paris and wishing to visit Disneyland Paris, Meaux is an excellent cheaper base. It is worth spending a night here or more as it is very close to Disneyland Paris. As we came with my parents and too large of a family already there (until sisters married away nearby) we use hotels such as the Campanile hotel ,very good friendly folks used for family gathering over the years, nice simple hotel chain here. webpage: https://meaux.campanile.com/en-us/

In city center, the historic Le Richemond is grand and very nice by the Marne river at good prices. Now part of the good inter-hotel chain:webpage: https://le-richemont-hotel-meaux.booked.net/en/

The town is divided into quartiers or neighborhood some newer away from the Marne river and the old ones from times afar such as the city center or centre ville, and ,the Marché , just across from the bridge over the river, the Faubourg Saint-Nicolas (where my wife lived), the Châage-Saint Faron or area of the hospital (where she was born), and the ave de la Republique/La Croix de Varenne, from where the escapee Louis XVI was brought back to Paris spending a night here!!!

There is a new WWI museum nearby ,actually next to the Monument Americain in honor of US soldiers who participated in the Battle of the Marne here. Well you can read a lot on above on my previous posts.

Here I like to tell you a bit on the St Stephens Cathedral (St Etienne) of Meaux. A wonderful  Gothic Cathedral where only one bishop is buried ,he is the Eagle of Meaux, confessor of king Louis XIV and bishop of Meaux, Bossuet. The Eagle of Meaux as he was called. Two huges statues honor the centenary and bicentenary of his death inside the Cathedral. The old Chapter still is authentic and where the priest elders gave justice; you go in now on guided visit only. The Palace was the home of the bishop and it became a museum in 1908.

The city can claim wholly this beautiful Gothic Cathedral and its episcopal palace now museum , the garden done by André Le Nôtre!!! the remains of the medieval ramparts, and its historical festival recreating the middle ages! A must. Meaux is the biggest town in Seine-et-Marne, and the Cathedral took 350 years to built it, when normally a Cathedral took 100 years. This gives it a unique architecture and one of the rarest in France with remnants of the Gothic in the middle part of the Cathedral, like the Choir, then the Rosary and Organ tribune in a flamboyant style post 15C. Between the two a part of the nave stayed with its primitive style of the 13C; the stained glass are smaller.

The country of Meaux tourist office on the Cathédrale Saint Etiennehttps://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/3416-cathedrale-basilique-saint-etienne

You reach the lower rooms ,the Chapel , and the bedroom of the Bishop as well as a reception room. The wooden floor is from the 19C, the windows gives you a view over the garden or Jardin Bossuet bordered with chestnut trees (where gave my first kiss!!). The geometrical shape reminds us of a miter for the Bishops. It was designed by Le Nôtre. This green space link the episcopal palace museum to the walls of the old fortifications and the town.  At the times it was only a garden as well as a part of the town with canons houses; they purchased the land and later the bishop purchased the ramparts to enclosed all and creating the suspended garden in 1642! It was a great idea because today , are the only ramparts still on in Meaux. The whole is to be visit for free as well as the Cathedral, garden and courtyard (very nice).  For individual guided visits they are done from April to November twice per month. They are free access on the weekends from April to October.

The jardin Bossuet from the country of Meaux tourist officehttps://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/2056-jardin-bossuet

The Jardin Bossuet from the city of Meauxhttps://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme/balade-a-meaux/le-jardin-bossuet.html

Meaux

View from garden to museum front to Cathedral on back .Meaux!

The museum or Musée Bossuet as I said opened in 1908  in the episcopal palace; today we can see an  aquarelle by Delacroix , and a portrait by  Courbet, given by the son of Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Henri Moissan, before going to WWI in 1914.  The museum , also , gives credit to its biggest donor the neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, that gave it about 50 portraits and about 20 engravings.  You will see a huge herborist collection of 18 volumes given to the museum by him in the 19C.  In the Chapel , the town has put enclosed glass furniture with archeological items like a collar on shells from the Black Sea dating from  4 000 years BC.  A room is dedicated to portraits representing Bossuet.  The museum is concentrated with paintings from the 17C to the 19C, and has on display between 1000 and 1500 works. Hours are from 10h to 12h and 14h to 17h , closed Sunday mornings, Mondays, and Tuesdays all day.

The official page for the Musée Bossuethttps://www.musee-bossuet.fr/

There you go folks, Meaux ,a nice town really! off the beaten path it is but what a punch it carries in the history of France! And now all around the most visited places in France, good for the whole family. You should give yourselves a shot of encountering it. You will be surprise, and I hope you enjoy the post.

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

Tags: ,
December 30, 2020

Always wonderful Paris, as eternal as ever!!!

Ok so this one is a black and white memory in my blog that I like to update on links especially. It has been a great ride updating these old posts lots of memories good cheers and strength to go on! Of course, no need to introduce you Paris ,it has a special place in my blog. Enjoy it as it is eternal as ever!

And as usual it was another time to Paris for me. I lost count, nowdays every month; worked in the city for 9 years; and cannot ever get enough of it. Just the very mention of the word PARIS , bring out the best in me. I am not going into a long speech, the city has enough written and spoken on it by millions; and even with its up and downs still is a movable feast ::) Paris forever, eternal, it never ceased to amazed me. I am just lucky enough to have worked in it and now able to visit every month at least once!!!

I made a quick usual business visit this time one day roundtrip TGV train from Vannes to Montparnasse!!  You know the usual sites, and what most do not know  ,is that the famous TGV is always late on the Atlantique run!!! 25 minutes going and 45 minutes coming back!! yikes!!! On the way back it was very funny after all, my wagon should be 8 but it had 18 on it, and everybody was hesitant of getting on….we all looked around like if you dare…go. Now these are all savvy TGV travelers mostly French if not all on business hours.

I needed to get up early to get the TGV at Vannes by 5h55 (5:55am) and once in Montparnasse, took the metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim to meet with my boss and colleague.  Do not like metro/subways/tube, mine is above ground always. However, for the meeting very early on, and meeting at a cafe by the exit the metro was it. Line 6 is a line that goes above ground after all so not so bad indeed.  I arrived late thanks to the TGV but enough for the meeting.

We met at the Comptoir Principal , we were there only for a cup of coffee once early in the morning and another on the way out in the late afternoon as my boss chose it. However, the service was fast courteous and from what visitors are saying it seems a good place to be. I did stop by myself later on for an apéro! This is just around the Tour Eiffel where our office meetings is. Webpage: https://www.comptoirprincipal.com/

As I was there later on, was able to take my leasure walks alone the Seine river by the Tour Eiffel. OMG, oh my God, things has change so much, me not in the tower since 2005 lol!! but they have put security barriers to get in and out so sad. They won’t get me in soon there!

The Seine river is always magical, and was able to see my favorite boat ride ever, the Bateaux Parisiens right there.  Many memorable rides and my first boat ride ever back in 1990 with what would be later my dear wife.  Metro line 6 is interesting as said because it is above ground and you get to see the magic of Paris above ground. Overlooking over the Seine is a must in Paris for all.

Impressive as it was, there was time for lunch and again my meeting lunch was at the nice Villa Verdi Italian restaurant. Very friendly , got even to practice on my Italian a bit ::) There , I had escalope de dinde in pâte bolognaise or something like breaded cheese turkey with pasta and meat. there was a chocolate pudding in amaretto dessert and coffee expresso, the drink was a nice Italian red Santa Cristina Chianti Superiori 2015; very nice indeed. Again very good reviews by all. Again by the Tour Eiffel area! webpage: https://www.villaverdi.fr/en/

On the way back , after the beforementioned round of coffee at the Comptoir Principal; went around to say hello some old American friend from Paris before getting back into Ave de Suffren to get bus 82 to Montparnasse. Now this is the best deal many do not use, for the price of a metro ticket you can see the beauty of Paris passing by the very nice Avenue Suffren, into the Ecole Militaire, then passing by the Church Saint Louis (Invalides) before rejoining the blvd Montparnasse into the train station bus terminal.  The trip took and always does the same time as the metro line 6 and if off rush hours it goes quicker !!! Tested time and time again by yours truly. The RATP map of bus 82 here:  https://www.ratp.fr/plans-lignes/busratp/82

At the end the Tour Montparnasse always omnipresent and beautiful, and I worked here near it for a while. The entrance to the glass modern looking Gare Montparnasse train station is nice. Inside, my stop for a refreshement is the Brasserie Océane on the grandes lignes TGV platform and live music entertainment most often too. They are remodeling the brasserie and only the terrace is open but still the best place to be at Montparnasse. Many memorable moments here even arranging meeting with collegues!! I have learned sadly that the restaurant is gone! Like I said, many nice memories here even having a cold one waiting for my train! It will be here for the memories of always.

I got to my free parking at Vannes train station and my car as always was there for the final trip home where the family was waiting for me. The trip was over andn tomorrow my  twins boys are 24 years young!!  Then, a trip to near Mont Saint Michel tomorrow will see the time and what can I come up with.

Hope you enjoy the story, and post, and looking forward to be back to Paris! And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: