Archive for January 24th, 2021

January 24, 2021

Always an excuse to visit Paris!

What a fitting title I used for this post, always an excuse to visit Paris! Indeed, never tired of it and looking forward to be back soon. This post again was from 2016 and need update really with new links and text. Hope you enjoy Paris and the post!

Paris is worth the hassle of round trip train ride anytime. Used to worked here for those new to my blog and always find the excuse to be back.  I need to tell you about this trip to Paris. Maybe folks coming here had it worse but this is my first time ever had a traffic jam on the TGV trains lol! Yes it can happened on trains too!

I was to take an easy as usual trip from Vannes to Paris-Montparnasse on the TGV. Just as  we were arriving Rennes , the loudspeaker of the train informed us that there was an accident on the tunnel by Massy and the train will have to be re directed towards Chartres !, arriving at Montparnasse 1h30 later than expected. This was catastrophic as we had to be there by 12h15 and the rerouting will make us reach there by 13h or 1pm!! Oh well trains can have lousy timing too.

We knew that there are trains from Le Mans to Massy, so we took the chance on this TGV without any extra charge. The ride was good and we still hope to beat the clock as previously announced.  We arrived at Massy ,mind you I have been by here before, but not in these circumstances. Here at Massy, we went over from the TGV terminal to the RER B terminal and took that at our cost to Luxembourg garden stop in Paris. We were ahead a bit and continue on.

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Here at Luxembourg, we took bus 82 to Champs de Mars-Suffren stop which was near our restaurant meeting with friends. Once we got there, we have save about 25 minutes from the SNCF suggestion! Ok not much but on public transport here that is a world of savings. And the bus came out on top again!!

We were for lunch at the wonderful Le CasseNoix restaurant at 56 rue de la Fédération. Where we had a nice entrée on tuna and main dish for me of Merlu fish in sauce. So this was the highlight of the trip as had eaten here before and always a gem, recommended for real Parisien experience. webpage: https://www.le-cassenoix.fr/

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Then, the return trip was just the same. I left the restaurant on bus 82 a nice way to see Paris above ground . Do not understand why folks visiting here take the metro/subway/tube underground do not see nothing and I believe you come to Paris to see the most beautiful city in the world above ground!

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The ride on the bus 82 as always was wonderful seeing above ground the wonderful architecture of Paris buildings, and passing by the Church St François-Xavier. Saw passing the wonderful statue of  Marshal Lyautey in the place Cochin facing the Ecole Militaire, the view walking by theLuxembourg garden; passing by old favorites like theLa Terrace resto at place de l’école militaire; the beautiful slender view of the tour Montparnasse. And not to least the great Gare Montparnasse  and the havoc crowds of a unique day to be remembered.

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We took the bus 82 from the Champs de Mars-Suffren stop to the Pl 18 Juin 1940 in Montparnasse right into the TGV train station for my return to Vannes. Wow! it was a mess!  As I have posted before, today was to be the first day of installing bornes or automatic opening walls in the platform of the train at Montparnasse, and apparently someone push the red button and the electricity on the train went bust! ho ho ho no electricity no trains!

So all trains were delay as much as 1h30 as well lol!!!  We got reunited at the station in Montparnasse and tried to take the earlier train but it was packed ,even taking folks out overloaded practically trying to squeeze two trains into one! We just took a deep breath and waited for our schedule train that arrived 45 minutes late….  We finally took our train at almost 18h or 6pm! and took a ride on this TGV as we made exceptional stops along the way picking up and discharging folks in more towns that I could count!!! We finally arrived at Vannes at 21h30 or 9:30pm, and not to forget my wonderful train station at Vannes.

Luckily, my car was there in free parking and was able to hit the road home for another 35 minutes ride. The ending could have been worse as I hit the hind legs of a huge deer crossing the road by 22h!!! Luckily the deer was ok and so was my car !!! Memories of always what a trip!!

Like I said, a horrendous ride ,the worse I ever had here in 13 years living in France as of 2016. After all ,enjoy Paris is a movable feast, always something happening ,and always beautiful no matter what happened!  Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

January 24, 2021

Ending 2016 at Josselin and Loudéac!!

And here back in my neck of the woods, updating this wonderful end of year 2016 on lovely Loudéac in Côtes d’Armor breton no 22 , and gorgeous Josselin in my Morbihan breton no 56 of my beautiful Bretagne. Let me tell you about it and hope you enjoy as I do.

Well, here I am in my tours of the towns nearby at end 2016. Today was another gray, cold, foggy day with temps in the 5C or 41F thereabouts. We have been to Josselin before that we enjoyed very much; we had time so we ,also,visited Loudéac! So we decided to give it another shot in end of the year road warrior trips in the region. The tales of two departéments in my beautiful Bretagne!

Josselin  has a thousand years of history and home of the noble family of the Rohan.  It is just about 45 km from my house and easy to get there on the road D768.  We headed for Josselin, and found easy parking at the Place d’Alzey right by the Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office and behind the great Basilica. We were surprise of the lack of ambiance and very few visitors, and no Christmas events. For a city that claims 1000 years of history, not having a Marché de Noêl is sad ,even if they are not really popular in the west of France.

We did visited the usual wonderful buildings of the city such as the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier, and the Castle of the Rohan, as well as the Chapelle de la Congrégation as it is more popular known today.  The Basilica is a must , a place of pilgrimage since 808 with the pardon day of September 8th a major religious event. see posts!

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As you walked the wooden house laden streets of rue des Vierges, rue des Trente, Place Alain de Rohan, and Place Notre Dame you see beautiful architecture. The Rohan castle is a major one in the history of Brittany, The castle history begins in 1008. see post. There is ,also, a Dolls museum inside created by the family Rohan themselves.

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The view of the castle from the river Oust  part of the Canal Nantes to Brest is sublime romantic and just plain beautiful.

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We did had time of course to eat and shop here always lovely. We re visit the Le Guethenoc restaurant ,11 Place Notre Dame, just facing the side of the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier. It is our central place for eating here, and we had  pizza guethenoc, omelette jambon fromage, tagliatelles bolognaise, hamburger Rital ,omelette italienne, drinks for leffe beers of Christmas and expresso coffees all for less than 16€ per person, nice period decoration in a wooden house, very good nice service, and good local food. Webpage: http://www.restaurant-guethenoc.fr/

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We, also, did some shopping as usual across from the restaurant and in front of the Basilica at the Le Feu d’Or souvenir store. Loaded with Breton motifs in celtic décor and this time my sons went for the rings with Celtic dragons motifs. 20€ silver. You will find almost…everything here to take home too! Early Jan 2020 the business was sold and do not know the intention of the new owners.

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As we finished too early to get back home, I decided to show my family one of my business haunts in Brittany, and we headed for Loudéac, along the D778, this is Gallo language territory not Breton.

The main rue de Tréze is a nice artery with plenty of shops and restos, as well as a rather nice Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall with a bell on top. This is Loudéac, my business trips took me here and stayed at the very nice Hôtel des Voyageurs ,part of the local Brit chain of very good local classic hotels. This one is recommended and the restaurant is nice too as well as underground parking! It gives you a good central location to see inland Brittany very nicely.

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The tourist office of Broéliande on Josselinhttps://www.broceliande-vacances.com/decouvrir/incontournables/canal-nantes-brest/petites-cites-caractere-canal/josselin/

The city of Josselin on its heritage/things to see: http://www.josselin.com/decouvrir/josselin-et-son-patrimoine/

The city of Loudéac on its heritage/history: https://www.ville-loudeac.fr/listes/histoire-et-patrimoine/

The tourist office of Central Bretagne on tourist office info for Loudéachttp://www.centrebretagne.com/office-de-tourisme/cote-pratique/horaires-douverture-adresses-de-loffice-de-tourisme.html

And we came home zipping along the D700 then the D768 ,and now homey and comfy with goodies to eat and drink and thinking where to go next lol! Enjoy it as we do always in my Bretagne!

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

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January 24, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXXIII

So not to forget my wonderful series of some news from France, I am back at it. Sadly, a lot less to report due to the scares of the virus. It seems many governments including France treat this like the medal tables in the Olympic games when in reality other deseases has caused a lot more deaths like Cancer (157K last year in France from the league against cancer France!). The vaccine is out but the reliable figures come only from the pharmaceutical firms and China still silence with starting the virus and only about 5K deaths….OMS has a team there now but do not think will come to any conclusion from their tour of China!

Anyway, here we have cool damed weather of 7C and some light rain now. There was slight snow in Paris this weekend but only the icing on the roads. Life goes on and me on target for retirement by March 2021!!! Let me tell you a bit of the latest I have been able to gathered.

On this coming Wednesday, the new figures on the health situation and the results of the general curfew at 18h, this will allow us to know if for the moment this is enough to keep the epidemic under control, An explanation due next from the Presidential Palace of Elysee. To fight against the spread of the English and South African variants, the High Council for Public Health has just set the rule of social distancing at two meters and no longer one!!!. We see that even masked people catch the virus. What is more problematic would therefore be the artisanal mask. A decree will also be issued on this past Friday that the homemade masks will no longer be used. Therefore, the ups and down keeps going on and businesses are closing down!

How do I pay the salaries?; that is the question,the Château de Chantilly is asking after made public is plagued by the virus crisis. Neither public nor private, orphan of its main patron, the Château de Chantilly, which employs 130 people, finds itself in great financial difficulty because of the virus crisis. It launched an appeal for donations. In 2020, the Domaine de Chantilly estate was only able to open five months and welcome 220,000 visitors compared to 450,000 usually! Yes even these magnificent monuments are hurt from poor government decisions!!!

The Seine has been in flood status for several days. The fault of the incessant rains which from Thursday to Friday copiously watered the basin of the Marne and the Île-de-France and raised the level of the river. This Saturday, at the Pont d’Austerlitz (13éme) and Les Invalides (7éme) or under Notre Dame (5éme), and the tidal wave, at the bottom of the Quai de la Tournelle (5éme), between the Île Saint- Louis and the Île de la Cité. It seems to have a hell of a current. The level reached 3.05 meters while lastThursday evening, at 19h, it was 2.36 meters. At Vigicrues (govt site on floods) , they want to be reassured. According to Vigicrues, the level of the Seine could this Sunday (today) reach between 3.34 and 3.47 meters. And continue to climb to reach up to 4.50 meters on next Tuesday! webpage: https://www.vigicrues.gouv.fr/niv2-bassin.php?CdEntVigiCru=7

The Tango nightclub (3éme), an institution in the LGBT community, will close. Quite a symbol in a district once synonymous with freedom and emancipation, which has become ultra-touristic and commercial.

Bus lanes are multiplying on the region of Île-de-France highways. A new reserved bus lane opened last week on the N118 road. It stretches for 1.2 km between Meudon and Vélizy. After a difficult start, these traffic lines on the main roads have proved their worth and the projects are moving up to implementation. Oh yes moving people around with less roads and more traffic jams!

The Château de Fontainebleau in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 offers daily guided tours of its gardens, the opportunity to stroll through this 130 hectare estate. The domain offers several ambiances with its three landscaped gardens over 45 hectares and an 80 hectare park.

A star among the clouds. The list of Michelin-starred restaurants in the Yvelines dept 78. They have kept their stars this year such as La Table des Blot , Auberge du Château, in Dampierre-en-Yvelines. Le Village, in Marly-Le-Roi. Le Panoramique – Domaine de la Corniche, in Rolleboise. Numéro 3, at Tremblay-sur-Mauldre. Gordon Ramsay at the Trianon, in Versailles. La Table du 11, in Versailles. Starred until now, the Camélia, in Bougival, is no longer part of this list. Its leader, Thierry Conte, died suddenly last summer.

Hard blow for the capital, not really. Our beloved City of Light (Paris) has been relegated from 1st to 7th place among the most attractive cities in the world for large fortunes. In question ? The transport strikes in 2019, the yellow vests crisis and more recently the Covid-19 crisis   which has forced businesses and hotels to close due to the government. Let’s not forget to point out that the ranking focuses exclusively on luxury real estate and transactions worth several million euros. We are of course talking about ultra-rich families with assets of more than 25 million euros which are driving up real estate prices and giving rise to record transactions. Better to stabilize prices in the city!

Following the worldwide success of the Tutankhamun exhibition, The Pharaoh’s Treasure, ancient Egypt is making a comeback at La Villette with a traveling exhibition called Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs. To January 2025, the exhibition Ramses and the Gold of the Pharaohs will tour the world before stopping off in the 19éme arrondissement of Paris. This time the theme of gold, a true symbol of immortality, will be on the program. Ramses and the gold of the pharaohs ,  La Villette ; 211, avenue Jean Jaurès, 19éme of Paris.

The Orangerie museum will welcome the superb Magritte in full sun. The “Renoir period” 1940-1947”, to be discovered until June 21, 2021. The exhibition begins with a recontextualisation, with paintings from the end of the 1930s, when Magritte spoke mainly about the imminent arrival of the war. All this allows you to rediscover the masterpieces of the master of surrealism. To discover urgently!!!. Magritte in full splendor. The “Renoir period” 1940-19473. At the Orangerie Museum until June 21, 2021. Hopefully, they will be able to show it unless the govt mingles again.

There you for now, short and sassy as the saying goes. Hoping for better times for all, for now do your part stay safe, keep the distance, use clinically proven masks, and wash your hands often. The rest leave it to the pharmas!! A bientôt de ma belle France!

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

January 24, 2021

An American diner in Vannes !!!

Let me update revise whatever this wonderful find in my capital city of Vannes, the Morbihan dept 56 of Bretagne in my belle France. It was an old créperie restaurant which we never went and then one day walking by it surprise, an American diner style restaurant in Vannes!! wow, we went for it of course. Let me tell you a bit more and hope you enjoy it as we do.

Around Vannes is where I work for the last 9 years, only about 30 minutes by car from our home. So we are always looking for something new there. It is like our second home town! And worth the visit me think wonderfully kept medieval old town and the Le Port harbor area, gorgeous.

We came from home as usual by car into city center and parked by the Place de la République , underground parking (also above ground) below is better more protection for your car and inexpensive, 5 hours 4 euros.

We were now ready to tackle Vannes, and of course on Saturday morning, it has one of the best market days (marché)  in the whole region, my opinion. This is around the Place du Poids Public and the Place des Lices in the old town of Vannes. A wonderful place to be every Saturday morning.  There is ,also, our friendly Nicolas wine store where we load up on these goodies of France and the world.  The Halle aux Poissons fish market, our bakery and seafood canning Belle Iloise store;the works!

And then we had a late lunch, place open 12-14h and 19h-22h in the old town of Vannes , now by there and spoked with the owners; recommend them to get Mountain Dew sodas like in Rennes lol!

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The place is Virgin Breizh Diner, an American Diner in Vannes.  The place is nicely decorated in American paraphernalia ,even a photo of Steve McQueen! the welcome is very friendly ,and we love the car seat in the front street level room; it has an upper level and toilets. We sat in the street level or first floor with bench seat against the wall and chairs on other side of the table. We load up on Miller genuine beer at 4,40€, a bit over but it is imported from all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin lol! our biggest bill lol!!! We had appetizers such as onion rings and beignets in cheese and mild hot peppers all very good each platter for 3,90€ . We continue on the main meal which were hamburgers and hotdogs !! yeah ok ok we are just reviving some of our old home food ::) We had two Manhattan hotdogs with a big dog and lots of bacon on a bun bread, then 2 mystic burgers and 1 Texan huge hamburgers with sauce and cheese very good. We finish with milkshakes of different flavors mine was strawberries and mandarins.  All this for 22,29€ per person; considering some were imported and the rest like the beef locally grown and process in house, this is a good deal! Webpage: https://virginbreizhdiner.fr/

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Very satisfied we came back home as usual doing last minutes stops.  And of course, the always needed  ,omnipresent in every French household, ;;;; you guess it the baguette. At our delicious Breizh(or Breton) style breads in Pluvigner. Boulangerie Delumeau  (now new owners same line Boulangerie Y E) on the road D768 entering into city center/downtown.

The city of Vannes on things to see/do: https://www.mairie-vannes.fr/vannesdecouverte/histoire-et-patrimoine/plein-feu-sur-les-monuments/

For info the tourist office of  the Gulf of Morbihan on Vannes:  https://www.golfedumorbihan.bzh/explorer-vannes/decouvrir-vannes/golfe-morbihan/vannes/

The Morbihan tourist board on Vanneshttp://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/home/discover/morbihan/the-main-destinations/vannes

And then home, cozy and waiting for my Nescafé coffee, watching TV and of course the internet, this is a typical family day in the Morbihan, Bretagne, France. Do not think we do things different here, it is the same anywhere , and I have lived/worked in five countries including France. Hope you enjoy the tour as we do

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

January 24, 2021

A nice trip to outer Brittany, Nantes!

And here I go again telling you about a nice place which is not part of Bretagne today but it was and now flying the Breton flag on the city hall  pole again! Hope you enjoy the revise version of a nice trip to outer Brittany/Bretagne, Nantes!

Let me update this post from November 2016 which is always relevant and nice from my many family visits to Nantes and numerous more business trips. Many of the sights below have individual posts with pictures.

Revolutionary ramblings for many years (1941) outside of Brittany but historically always in the heart of the Breton, the area of Nantes is a great visit always.  Nantes is in Brittany,Yes!!!! The controversy lingered on for years ever since an adminitrative order in 1941 put them apart, but hey that was the treacherous government of petain, and it should be change. Nantes in Breton is Nanoed. 

I was here again for a short visit last Wednesday and as always went by a new area of the Place du Général Mellinet. Nantes is a modern wide and vibrant medium size city in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 just south of mine and the city is about 1h30 from my house by car.

A bit of history I like from the tourist office and city of Nantes on the Place du Général Mellinet.

The construction of the mansions  extended from 1828 to 1874. The realized program represented a unique example in Nantes from the architecture of the restoration .  It is bordered by eight mansions each with a park at  the rear of the building.  These buildings have all identical  style façade restoration in perfect symmetry relative to the other, whose plans, drawn up in 1827, between these hotels, lead eight arteries forming four axes (two main axes formed by two secondary axes made of streets and boulevards), which are in the direction of clockwise from North : boulevard Paul Langevin, the rue Belleville, boulevard Launay, the rue Rollin, and boulevard Saint-Aignan, the rue Mellier, Allard boulevard and the rue Richer.

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In the Middle, is a square plan surrounded by four groups of five, circular with a diameter of about 70 meters, and  lime trees in the center of which stands a statue of general Mellinet cast-iron , about 6 meters in height. which was built four years after the completion of the square in 1878 at the site of the former castle  . On the base of the monument there is a simple inscription engraved “Général Mellinet  1798-1894”

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I have always indicated the car travel is my favorite but once you are in this modern city the buses and great tramways are a must to try, and we did! 

The tramway line 1 François Mitterrand to Beaujoire/Ranzay is great and clean efficient and see all above ground. Also, the C1 circular bus route and the regular bus 23 all passes to the main points in the city and the pl Mellinet. Bear in mind, the train station is very good here and direct access to Paris Montparnasse as well as CDG airport. The regional express trains (TER) take you to many towns including my Vannes and Auray near me. There is a nice airport at  Bouguenais just outside with express airport bus service to the train station every day for 9€ one way. This is the Aéroport Nantes Atlantique, lately my going out airport!

The air/train connections are well known all over the web ,just telling you about the local public transport network here which is TAN, webpage: https://www.tan.fr/fr/itineraires

The area around the square of Mellinet (before called  Place Launay) has many wonderful old mansions all historical monuments classify here and the architecture and the grandeur is well visible.  In all , it was a quick visit but always nice to be back whether with the family or alone like Wednesday, Nantes is a nice town and plenty of historical monuments to see.

We walk over to the Naval museum , Maille Bréze with a real battleship cruiser to boot and the Gare Maritime with great cruises on the river Loire such as with the Chantenay boat Finally ,move into the city with the across the quai church of Notre Dame de Bon Port or as locals call it the Church of Saint Louis, passing by the museum of Dobrée ,we continue our walks thru the rue voltaire and see the Musée d’histoire naturelle and on our way to place Gasclin and the théatre Gasclin, with great operas and musical presentation ,as one of the best in France. Near it, the lovely Cours Cambronne gardens. Follow that up with the Church of  Saint Nicolas , a wonderful spiral church. Continue onto the place Royale, and its wonderful fountain of Nantes.

We then arrive at the big ones, the Cathedral St Pierre et St Paul, the church of the bishop and built between 1434 and 1891!!! right at place Saint Pierre, with wonderful nave and tombs of the last dukes of Brittany François II and his wife Marguerite de Foix as well as revered general Lamoriciére . This is wonderful and just next to it is the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, yes that’s right the castle of the Dukes of Brittany ,of course. Here Brittany by marriage of Anne de Bretagne was ceded by treaty to France in 1532! A wonderful airy castle with lots to see today an exhibition on the wars of I and II. Great walk along the ramparts and wonderful views of the city.

We came to our old favorite now closed ,Chez Clement restaurant now change to L’Entrecôte same spot on place Fleurot de l’Angle. and the wonderful local  landmark La Cigale restaurant.  And another favorite chain now closed the Maître Kanter where we had nice lunches with beers, and went over to the Amorino italian ice cream place to have the desserts here, sublime and grand, simple the best combination.

The tourist office of Nantes: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en

The Nantes metro area on Nantes: https://metropole.nantes.fr/territoire-institutions/nantes-metropole/communes/nantes

Enjoy the city if in the area, and we could meet there too. Nantes is nice and many things to see, nice night ambiance, and the Loire river! What more can you ask! Hope you enjoy the tour!

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

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