Archive for February 16th, 2021

February 16, 2021

A personal touch ,Au Trappiste, Paris!!

And here I am updating revising this old post on one of my earliest hangouts in Paris. Its a long story for the Au Trappiste resto but I discovered with a group of expats doing get together here and the another group of Franco-Americans in Paris. Later, I came with the family and even brought visiting friends here! Its an eternal stop whenever possible in my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy the post as I

On a cold wintery day in my neck of the Breton woods I came back to Paris again as I am lucky to do. If new to the blog, well worked for almost 10 years in Paris (75) while living in Versailles (78)…I now, live in the Morbihan (56) in Brittany for the last 9 years.

The story goes that I used to hang out a lot in the city and written several posts on shopping, eating, and drinking there. However, I sometimes become inspired or nostalgic about some spots, very personal. I have been here to eat, drink, meet collegues and friends and participate in group organisations in Paris for many years at least since 2004. So let me tell you a bit more on the Au Trappiste. Too many to choose from in Paris but we all have our favorite even if just visiting.


First ,a bit on the history I like on this corner of Paris.

The rue Saint-Denis, located in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements  is one of the oldest streets of Paris. Its axis is drawn from the 1C by the Romans, and it was the triumphant way of the Royals entrance in the city. It is 1334 meters long, and was named because it is the road that leads directly from the Pont au Change bridge to the city of Saint-Denis, where is located the Basilica St Denis, necropolis of the kings of France. This old road of Saint-Denis, was really named in honor of Saint Denis , who came from Italy around 250 or 270 with six companions to evangelize France. He was said to have been the first bishop of Paris (Lutèce), the Apostle of Gauls.

The street is line up parallel to the boulevard de Sébastopol and the rue Saint-Martin, and is part of the 1éme arrondissement or district in the quartier or neighborhood of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, for the part between the Avenue Victoria and the Rue de Rivoli, neighborhood of Les Halles for the part between the rue de Rivoli and the rue Étienne-Marcel and from the 2éme arrondissement, rue Étienne-Marcel in the Bonne-Nouvelle neighborhood of bd Saint-Denis. During the French revolution, it was called Rue de Franciade.

The brewery bar restaurant is closer to Place du Châtelet to the Seine river.  Au Trappiste, 4 rue Saint Denis, open from 11h to 02h Monday thru Sunday and from 11h to 04h on Fridays and Saturdays. Here you are in Belgium with the monks; lots of good beer, simple good portions of food, moules or mussels and fries,and grill sausages. The first or ground floor is more noisy ,the second or upper floor more calm and better views!of Chatelet. There is a nice cosy terrace nowdays just perfect for people watching and watched Paris! It is just by the metro exit and rue de Rivoli. Best way is the metro ,the RER is too crowded to get here. OF course, I came by car and lovely parking at Châtelet too. One of my showcase hangouts in Paris. You , also, can get here on RER B and RER D Châtelet-Les Halles, as well as Metro lines 1 ,4, 7, 11, and 14 and your nice above ground bus line 21,70,72,4,74,75,and 85 stop Châtelet.

Dedicated mainly to Belgian beers, the Au Trappiste, of course offers many beverages from all over the world. No less than 120 bottled beers (including the majority of Trappist beers that are brewed in the world) and twenty drafts beers. Rare beers are found here too. On the plate side, they work on classic but well made dishes such as choucroutte (saukraut), french fries, steaks, burgers, croque monsieurs (ham and cheese sandwiches), mussels,sausages, etc.


The brewery bar resto Au Trappiste is on the south end of the street (near the river Seine) and is one of the most attractive beer bars in the city. There is breezy outdoor seating during the warm months of the year and beautiful light wooden decor inside with matching beams, walls, and tables. It has a nice clean modern yet traditional decor and has to be one of the best French styled bars for beer in Paris. The place is alive all day, until late at night, and a room in the upper floor allows to organize private events. Which I have been too ::)


One of my favorite webpages found bottom of my main page in my blog roll give you plenty of more on the Au Trappiste.

Yelp on Au Trappiste:

Their Facebook page:

Hope it helps your tracking here, lovely place, great service and great views from upper tfloor. Not to mention simple classic dishes with great selection of beers. Love it, at Au Trappiste, and many memories here.

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

February 16, 2021

Château of the Dukes of Alençon!

And this one was unexpected came here for other monuments as the castle is in ruins and folks trying to save it as much as possible. However, it can be seen still an impressive fortress castle of Alençon! This is a nice town with lots of history on it and several posts in my blog. This one is an update from 2018; hope you enjoy as I.

In my trip to this nice town of Alençon, in the Orne dept 61 of Normandy. I am a lover of history and the castles are a big part of it especially in Europe. So no surprise went by this one even if just a shell of what it was. I like to bring back to your attention the nice remainding Castle of the Dukes of Alençon. Right off my parking at Place Foch, (hotel de ville, palais de justice all here) coming on the N12 and D112 by Rue de Bretagne, naturally!  It is very quant to seek a parking (free nice better!) and come right away into the towers of this old castle, I found it very nice welcome to Alençon. The history of the castle is sad as was early destroyed, most of it. However, there are works to use it as a rather better park and events place, already under renovations.


From the old castle of the Dukes of Alençon , there is only the entrance pavilion: the remainder having been destroyed in the course of the centuries, in particular by the will of Henry IV, who saw the important fortresses with a bad eye. The castle of the Dukes of Alençon currently designates the entrance pavilion of the old castle of Alençon, which was destroyed during the first century of Alençon Castle, built by the first two lords of the city, Yves de Bellême and his son Guillaume I , has completely disappeared. There is nothing left of the Giroye Tower, the ditches formed by the Briante, or even a little of the gigantic park that stretched to the forest of Écouves, today reduced to the parc des Promenades of 4 hectares (almost 10 acres).  Located in place Foch, sheltered a prison for two centuries.  


A bit of history I like

In 1113, when Henry I Beauclerc, King of England, Duke of Normandy and third son of William the Conqueror, took Alençon, a dungeon was erected. It was then integrated into a second castle, built by Peter II, Count of Alençon from 1361 to 1404. In 1592, the château of Alençon was demolished on the will of Henry IV who saw with a bad eye the erection of important fortresses, symbols of the individual power of the Lords and the heterogeneity of the kingdom, especially since France had just been torn apart by the wars of Religion. Only the dungeon and the entrance pavilion remained. In 1782, the dungeon was in turn destroyed. There remained then the castle of the Dukes of Alençon as the entrance pavilion ,still existing to date. In 1804, the implantation of the Alençon prison house in the building caused important work related to this new assignment modifying the building and its surroundings In 2010, the prison house was transferred to the Croisettes site at Coulaines.




It is a nice silhouette in the city of Alençon, and I hope it will be preserved as much as possible , especially its wonderful towers. You need to visit as soon as possible to see it as is.

Some webpages to show you more and info on seeing it are:

The city of Alençon and its heritage includes the castle in French:

Blog historical Normandy on the castle of Alençon:

The Normandy tourist board on Alençon heritage:

Another nice spot in Alençon that I like from my latest trip into getting to know more of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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February 16, 2021

A special Relais d’Alsace in Alençon!

And indeed this one was special with lots of family memories. We were in Alençon with all its wonderful monuments and hungry we head for this picturesque very familiar in a way restaurant Relais d’Alsace. Let me update the story for all, and thanks for reading me over the years!

We have enjoyed the chain of restaurants since 1990 in France. A special post on one of them that lately ate there, but all brings lots of memories to my family. For info, Alençon is in the Orne dept 61 of the Normandy region.  While looking up where to eat before reaching there, I notice a name Taverne Kalsbrau and quickly took a look and to my surprise was part of the Les Relais d’Alsace chain. These ones started out as the Taverne of Maître Kanter that only are left that we had visited the one in Bourges  but gone too for now a total of 3 when once they were 35 , then part of  Groupe Flo and thereafter apart. The three remaining for info are here:

The Les Relais d’Alsace are independant chain but similar in menu and laid out even if not officiall told as such. The name is funny as the HQ is base in Rennes, Ille et Vilaine dept 35 of Bretagne… Even in the story they tell you started out in 1918 in Alsace…The property in Alençon is here:


Of course, many were change over time to Les Relais d’Alsace using the same methods, menus and deco in the restaurants. Some kept the old name of Maitre Kanter but independently run. These latest ones I have been to the one in Chasseneuil ,Angers, Le Mans, Metz, Mayenne, Laval, Pau, Tours, and Vitré!!! and now I add Alençon to my list. Always great and friendly service.


Les Relais d’Alsace are Restaurants specialize on seafood and deli meats. Brewery with a very good value for money. The prices for an adult menu are from 12.50€ to 23€. You can, also, order from the menu carte libre. Hours are open every day from 12h-15h and 19h- 22h. The one in Alençon is located at 36 rue Maréchal Lattre de Tassigny.


The one in Alençon was immediately a pleasant welcome and funny guy Fréderic , we had a nice table not far from the bar area. The building has a feisty modern design and inside is all in rich wood and soft cloths with of course an Alsacian look. We opted for different things,, but mine was choucroute de grillardin (Grillardin Sauerkraut) all with potatoes , garlic sausage, and a big Andouille sausage (more typical of Brittany my area) and I was a hit with the staff lol!! and course plenty of sauerkraut!! Delicious. All was taken down with a nice Rosé wine from Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil Loire area of course! We opted for dessert without coffee so we had different ones again. I opted for the ice cream chocolate and coconut and meringue with flakes of chocolates very nice and rich.  All for about 29€ per person, nice if a bit high for lunch it was well worth it. We will continue to patronized these restaurants!


If I try to translate their webpage site it says; “The Relais d’Alsace Tavern Karlsbau of Alençon located near the city/town hall and the Halle au Blé, and only 100 km from the Normandy coast, welcomes you 7 days a week, with its specialties elaborated according to traditional recipes: sauerkrauts, trays of Seafood, fish, salads…etc.   In love with the simple and generous cuisine, this is the perfect place for you.  Alençon is a historic town with many 15C buildings. An essential visit to the Lace Museum and the haras or horse Stud. Come and enjoy the friendliness of our tavern after a small visit to this city.”

And these are franchises so their franchisor tells us translated into English as ” The brand Les Relais d’Alsace officially appears in 2008 and has had a great expansion since that date. Each Relais d’Alsace has been carefully designed to respect the tradition of the Alsatian taverns. The Relais d’Alsace welcomes in a pleasant and convivial setting the lovers of good tables.  Combining tradition and modernity, the Relais d’Alsace allows you to savour some of the great classics of French gastronomy: sauerkraut, flammeküches, dishes made with fish and meat, etc… the whole sprinkled with succulent beers to choose from a  variety of beers from the Alsatian tradition. Since their creation, the Relais d’Alsace have experienced an undeniable and increasing popularity throughout France with a clientele concerned with the quality of the dishes served and scrupulously respecting the Alsatian tradition. ”

You read their story and read mine above. What is in the name well cannot tell you officially again, but is something to do with the fact that the Le Relais d’Alsace was a Belgian crime novel by Georges Simenon, published in 1931 by Fayard.  Written aboard the Ostrogoth, moored at the Quai d’Anjou near the Pont Marie in Paris of July 1931.

So it was another nice ride and great foodie trip , well the food was worth alone to be there. I could had stay longer but we had a short time and needed to see more of the city of Alençon. These places are worth it, of course you need to like the Alsacien taste buds!!! We love it.

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

February 16, 2021

Alençon and its Parc des Promenades!

And this one was unexpected came here for other monuments as the castle is in ruins and folks trying to save it as much as possible. However, just around it there is a pretty park that once was bigger and now smaller . This is a nice town with lots of history on it and several posts in my blog. This one is an update from 2018;that I am splitting to tell you exclusively of the park. Hope you enjoy as I. OF course, Alençon, is in the Orne dept 61 of the region of Normandie.

Let me tell you a bit on the Parc des Promenades of Alençon!

Behind the Château des Ducs were the “Petit Parc” of 8 hectares and the “Grand Parc” of 30 hectares that stretched to the forest of Ecouves and today reduced to the Parc des Promenades of 4 hectares (about 10 acres). In the 15-16C, the Dukes of Alençon liked to maintain tame deer and hinds there. In 1676, the Duchess of Guise arrived in Alençon. She had the park razed to the ground, which would become wasteland and then agricultural land.


In August 1773 king Louis XV conceded the land of the large park to the city of Alençon. This will sell plots to develop a residential area and will keep land on which it will have a public park built. The plans for the garden were drawn up by Jean Delarue, an architect who created many monuments in Alençon including the City/Town Hall.

The promenades or walks have the characteristics of a French garden: rows of lime trees, trimmed hornbeam hedges, straight paths and flower beds. They offer large shaded lawns. The Roseraie or rose garden has a part that resembles the English style with its winding paths, very varied plants and a more classic part with beds of many varieties of roses surrounded by boxwood borders.


The municipal council of Alençon approved the construction of a kiosque de musique or bandstand at the Parc des Promenades on the occasion of a major musical competition which took place in the city in 1888. Completed in September 1888, the park’s bandstand covers an area of 67 square meters. It is built on an octagonal stone base. Its metal structure is topped with a slate roof.

The parc can be access via Rue Balzac,rue Candie and Rue Albert 1er as well as from the parking on Place Foch.

A bit more on the city of Alençon parks and garden webpage:

Hope you enjoy this nice natural walk in a pretty garden, we make time to see them as in this one, history is hidden on all of them in my belle France. Enjoy Alençon a nice town in Normandie!

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

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