Archive for April 20th, 2021

April 20, 2021

A square for a king Edward VII in Paris!

And this was my initial hangout in Paris when working made me come by here several times and also, rode my car . The post is older but figure with the times need to updated/revised it, and this is as good a moment as any. Therefore, let me tell you about the Place Edouard VII of Paris or Edward VII king of UK in Paris!

Well just thought of the times I spent working in the city and the nice corners I went by on leisure time, even coming back with family. Paris is eternal we say, it is like a virus, once bitten ,it will never go away. Let me tell you a bit on the Place Edouard VII (Edward VII) of Paris.

The Place Édouard-VII is on the 9éme  arrondissement of Paris.  The square was created and takes its present name in 1912;  named after the son of Queen Victoria,  Edward VII, who was king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1901 to 1910.  The square is located near the Opéra Garnier with a nice entrance in all its splendor by the Bd des Capucines. The square is adorned with the equestrian Statue of Edward VII.  A bit further on the square from the square de l’Opéra Louis Jouvet  and the Pegasus statue (equestrian statue of the straddling poet  Pegasus carried out in 1897). You see near the Musée des Parfums Fragonard. Another melancholy entrance can be done  from Rue Auber to rue Boudreau left into the Square de l’Opéra Louis Jouvet and further the square Edouard VII.


On the Place Edouard VII you find the wonderful Theater Edouard VII of which have written before (see post). Froufrou , is the name of the new restaurant with cocktail bar signed by the  Moma Group. Located within the magnificent Edouard VII Theater. I have been to the basement  which from 23h30 you can enjoy  the Cancan Bar Froufrou  in a speakeasy old format. All this from  Wednesday to Sunday, after the shows or dinner, this cocktail bar goes into cabaret mode and offers burlesque shows to go back in time. Webpage:


A bit of history I like

King Edward VII , made himself the artisan of the Entente Cordiale, between France and England. Paris which he appreciated above all the spirit, gastronomy and women, paid homage to him in 1913. The young Paul Landowski wished to register here, far from the style of his Saint Geneviève or the Christ of Corcovado.  In the great tradition of the equestrian statue. The king, guiding his horse calmly, is represented in his role as chief of the armies. He carries, executed with realism, the uniform of Marshal who befits his rank: helmet with panache, coat, jacket probably red barred with a scarf and adorned with decorations, white panties and boots of rider. The choice of this classical iconography also echoes the portraits commissioned by the Sovereign in his own country. It is that it is indeed an official portrait, to express the nobility and the power, in the center of a place strictly authorised.

At the end of the 18C, there were built 18 private hotels in the rue Caumartin, a few steps from the Boulevard des Capucines, which was then a place of promenade established on ancient fortifications dating back to King Louis XIII. In the 19C, in the purest Haussmann tradition, this boulevard had seen the erection of monumental buildings of five floors. Finally, in 1913, Nénot, the architect of the new Sorbonne and the Palais de la League des Nations in Geneva, had pierced a street in a piecemeal gap in order to carry out an extensive urban and real estate program. A street that was to take the name of Edward VII, in homage to the King of the UK, who had worked so much in the Franco-British rapprochement.

From 1921, the premises were gradually occupied and privatized by the central services of the Société Générale bank, the rue Edouard VII became a private lane closed by barriers. Follows in the suburbs of the Société Générale bank offices in 1992, the neighborhood  is rehabilitated from 1995 to 1999.  Thus, in the rue Edouard VII which will regain its appearance and function of origin with promenade and shops , it removes the barriers that block the  access and the grids that disfigured the facades, while it restores the wooden storefronts of the shops of the beginning of the last century.

Closest parking Édouard VII , 23 rue de Caumartin, but I always used the Parking Opéra-Meyerbeer, 3 Rue de la Chaussée d’Antin. On public transports you can do the  RER A Auber, RER  E Haussmann-Saint Lazare, and the metro station Opéra lines  3, 7, 8 . A  bit further metro station  Madeleine lines 8 12 ,14. Bus lines 20, 21, 24, 27, 29, 42, 52, 68, 81, 84, 94, and 95 all take you close.  I have used 24 27 84 and 95 very nicely in that area. Of course as with the times need to verify these routes today

The webpage of the Paris Tourist office is on the theater but it gives you a feeling of the area the square is in:

A French weppage on the history of the 9éme arrondissement and the Place Edouard VII and the king:

Hope it helps your enjoyment of this bit of space of my gorgeous Paris. The area is quant, nice , super, worth the detour for a walk, and walk is best in Paris!

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

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April 20, 2021

The Markets of my capital city,Vannes!!!

And here I am again telling you about my wonderful beautiful capital city of Vannes in my Morbihan breton dept 56 of my lovely Bretagne and in my belle France! This is an underrated city that must be visit more and I know we have plenty to see here but you come and will be hook by it, I know because all friends that have come love it as I. I will update this wonderful older post on the markets of Vannes! 

Come to think of going shopping and to us , the word market comes to mind immediately. Sure modern life has its hypermarkets and such, but when it comes to food, edible kind the markets are still IT. In France, they have a centuries old tradition of excellence where you get the best culinary delights known to men in culinary champion France.  The markets in my adopted region of Brittany, and dept 56 of Morbihan are no different. In fact, they can play with any anytime and popular shows attest to their beauty and abundance as the last entry here will tell you. The markets of Vannes are tops.  Why markets in plural, well because at the same spot in the old town we have 3, yes 3! We have the flea market on the Place des Lices/Place du Poids Public predominantly and the fruit and veggie covered market or marché couvert Halles des Lices right there and just off of the nearby Place du Poids Public in the Place de la Poissonnerie you have the Halle aux Poissons or fish market. So let me tell you briefly on them as the eyes are the best here.

Place des Lices and its adjacent streets lined with half-timbered houses in the heart of the historic center and a few meters from the ramparts and their gardens. It was on this site in the 14C arranged to coincide with the jousts and tournaments organized by the Dukes of Brittany whose residence was nearby.

On  Wednesday and Saturday mornings. the flea market of Vannes, full of fancy jewellery, new clothes and fripes, underwear, shoes, flowers, plants, but also food with fruits and vegetables, spices, cakes, cheese dairy, pizzas, etc. It is one of the first markets in Brittany which is accessed by the place Lucien-Laroche, but also by Rue Saint-Vincent and rue Le Hellec, opposite the post office. It is spread over the Place des Lices and the Place du Poids Public, that offer you all the fresh products you want: fish, delicatessen, caterer, dairy slag, cellar. From  8h to 13h.



Further to the port the Halle aux Poissons or fish market will delight all the freaks of crustaceans, oysters, fish and even smoked salmon stand. This market is held all year round on the following days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 8h to 13h. Located in the place de la Poissonnerie. About twenty permanent traders in all. It is a wonderful building which we enjoy tremendously and shop profusionnally!  In 1821, a first fish market,  back of the buildings on Rue Saint-Vincent, was built on the place de la Poissonnerie, a place for fish markets since the end of the middle ages. The Gulf fishermen wishing for a larger and more hygienic building, a new Hall is made in 1880 of 35 meters in length and 13 meters in width, it is built in granite. Inside, 18 cast iron poles, some of which are adorned with scallops, support a metal frame.



The Halles des Lices or covered market are open every day from 8h30 to 13h30 except on Sundays and Mondays. During the summer season, they are open 7 days a week from 8h30  to 13h30 and on Friday afternoons from 16h to 19h30. Located on the place des Lices, allows you to fill your basket of good local products (vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats…), but also offers a few dishes to eat in for lunch in the middle of stalls on a tasting area. Thirty traders welcome you all year.



Finally , as in all excellence there has to be a competition to fine tune your qualities, and we take food seriously here. So the French TV chain TF1 guided by Jean-Pierre Pernaut started a contest voted on online for the most beautiful market of France back in 2018. The results were in and Vannes arrived in 10th position; not bad for a start as I think can go even higher. 10th most beautiful market in France is a complement indeed. The votes came in last June with over 3,8 million persons participating in the voting. The second season of the most beautiful market in France will return to TF1. Jean-Pierre Pernaut will  again present a special page dedicated to the winning market in his 13h TV news on June 10 2019 and Vannes arrives in 8th position; we did better deservently so..  And again in 2020 , we did not win as Roscoff won but we finish second in Bretagne. This year 2021, the 4th edition, the winner will be told by Marie-Sphie Lacarrau at 13h on April 23rd 2021 (Friday). webpage here:

The city of Vannes on its open air markets:

The city of Vannes on the covered market

Really enjoy it , always a treat and very friendly merchants that we have come to know on a first name basis with the best of France and the world! Do not miss the markets of Vannes.

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

April 20, 2021

The Conciergérie of Paris!!!

Let me update this wonderful introduction to a beautiful historically and architecturally stunning monument of my eternal Paris! This is the Conciergérie of Paris! I have written on it in my blog before but this needs revisition of a much older post. Hope you enjoy it as I.

I like quickly tell you about something huge that I have written in pieces bits by bits before. Sorry for the long post, but this is pretty much in condense form the history of France even of the French Republic.  I will be telling you about history that I like on the Conciergérie of Paris in the Palais de la Cité! The Palais de la Cité (City palace) was the residence and seat of the power of the kings of France from the 10C  to the 14C. It extended on the western part of the island of La Cité in the 1éme arrondissement of Paris.  Today, a large part of the site is occupied by the courthouse of Paris and most of the remains of this palace are constituted by the former prison of the Conciergérie which runs along the quai de l’Horloge.


A bit of its grand history I like

Mérovingians period:  Dagobert I, King of the Franks from 629 to 638, had a roving court, but it is known that he stayed in this palace. The importance of the place is confirmed by the fact that he had a monetary workshop established there. In 635, it was founded, under the protection of the King, in front of the palace (on the northern edge of the present police prefecture), a women’s abbey dedicated to Saint Martial of Limoges and then known as Saint-Eloi.

Carolingian period: The palais de la Cité was the home of the Counts of Paris. It was inhabited by King Hugues Capet, first King Capetian, who established the Curia Regis (the Royal Council) and various services of his administration.

Robert II the Pious, son of Hugues Capet, undertook at the end of his reign to rebuild in Paris a very remarkable palace. He profoundly transformed the ancient citadel of the lower Empire, remaining within the limits of the rampart, which formed a quadrilateral of about 100 to 135 meters aside. This was the first Logis du Roi (king’s residence): the building, located to the west of the palace, is visible on one of the miniatures of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (very rich hours of the Duke of Berry).

The documents relating to the reigns of Henry I and Philip I  provide only rare indications of the palace. However, the existence of a king’s room was well confirmed as early as the 11C. Louis VI the Fat  appears to have carried out major additions and resurfacings. Louis VI had the King’s residence altered between the two quadrangular towers which framed the square tower and the tower called later tour de la librarie (library tower).

In 1141, Louis VII the Young  established  in the palace and in an exclusive way, the changers on the Grand-Pont, therefore named Pont-aux-Changeurs. For a fee, they rented shops to carry out their business. On the eastern side, the main entrance to the palace was in the large courtyard where there was a staircase of honor. Thus, around 1165-1166, the king officially welcomed the monks of Vézelay on the palace rights. These rights were to give access to the floor of a gallery linking the king’s room to the St. Nicholas Chapel. Lous VII erected in his palace a Royal oratory, dedicated to the Virgin, located at the site of the present-day Chapel of the Girondins. In the Saint-Michel chapel, located to the southeast of the palace, the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, celebrated a Sunday of the second fortnight of August 1165, the baptism of the son of Louis VII, the future Philip II Auguste. However, this chapel remained outside the palace walls until the reign of Jean II the Good.

Philip Auguste II  enlarged the palace’s functions by awarding it in 1190, before his departure for the crusade, the preservation of the royal archives. To the west, the King’s garden occupied the tip of the island, beyond a courtyard bounded by the walls of the palace dating from antiquity. It was undoubtedly during the reign of Philip Auguste  that it was enclosed by a wall. It was during the reign of Philip Auguste  that the palace of the city lost its status as the main fortress of Paris when the king erected the château fort of the Louvre and gave the city of a new rampart.

From the reign of King Louis IX (Saint Louis) in the 1240’s  and for nearly a century of works, the palace underwent a remarkable expansion and structuring corresponding to the development of the radiance and centralization of the royal power. Saint Louis shared the space of the original quadrilateral: the western part reserved for the private apartments of the royal family, an eastern part open to the city, a southern part devolved to the canons of the Holy Chapel and to the Chaplains of the King. Saint Louis built the Sainte-Chapelle between 1242 and 1248. The work began with the demolition of the St. Nicholas Chapel , the Sainte-Chapelle is a magnified version of two-story chapel, as high as a Gothic  cathedral (36 meters long, 17 meters wide, 42.5 meters high without the arrow). Next to the Sainte-Chapelle, adjoining by a passage the first northern span of its apse, Saint Louis built the Revestiaire , which housed the Sacristy and the treasure of the charters. It is known that Saint Louis consumed his marriage in the green room, adjoining the oratory, located north of the King’s residence, even though he usually slept in the king’s room, the upper room adjoining the King’s Room, and took his meals in the lower level of the latter.

During the reign of Philip III the Bold, the palace grew to the west, to the north, to the south, beyond the walls of the 3C. Around the palace, the banks were extended. We know the destination of the buildings under the reign of the son of Saint Louis. In 1278, the King’s room ceased to be the place where the Curia Regis’s legal sessions were held to become the pleaders ‘ waiting room before they entered the room Aus Paiz outside the pleadings, the king took his meals there , while the common  was restored under the King’s Room. The king slept in the room of the so-called upper chamber.  The tower adjoining the King’s Room housed the wardrobe in which the chamberlains ate.  Between the galerie des Merciers and the northern flank of the Sainte-Chapelle, was the courthouse of the king who was next to the treasure of the charters. In the heart of the palace, the room of the audiences  or the cashier of the Hôtel du Roi.

King Philip IV The Beautiful  had the palace rebuilt. The work was completed in 1313. Philip IV Le Bel arranged the Grand Hall. The Grand Hall of the palais de la Cité was the room where the king held his  justices and in which were held the receptions. The meals were served on the Black marble table. This room is exceptional (the largest vestige of a Gothic Civil Hall of Europe): 64 meters long, 27.5 meters wide and 8.5 meters high, it was built between 1302 and 1313.

Jean II le Bon (Good)  made several arrangements in the Palais de la Cité. In December 1349, just before his advent, then Duke of Normandy, made work in the Chamber of the palace, perhaps on the second floor of the King’s residence. At the beginning of the 1350’s, the wing of the galerie des Merciers was also raised, building pebbles to the east of the palace. The Dauphin’s apartment was in the  Galethas room; the future Charles V lived here  between 1357 and 1358

The events following the capture of Jean II led his son Charles V to leave the palace as early as 1360. Jean II’s widow moved to the Hôtel Saint-Pol and Charles V at the Château du Louvre. Charles V made several works to maintain and beautify the palais de la Cité. Thus, during repairs undertaken in 1370, in the northeast tower of the first public clock in Paris was built and by 1371, he gave it a silver bell.  Under Charles VI the beloved, various works were undertaken and the palace abandoned by the King continued to serve as a setting for the royal feasts.

Renaissance period:  After King Charles VIII had affirmed his right to rule, during a courtship solemnly held in the Grand Hall  in July 1484; he ordered works at the Sainte-Chapelle.  Louis XII follow up king  Charles VIII ,also did some work here such as on the south side of the palace courthouse alone the Sainte-Chapelle.

The last Valois: François I, celebrated around the marble table of the Grand Hall his wedding with Eleanor of Habsburg  in 1530. The latter’s brother, Charles V, was lavishly received  in 1540. During the reign of Henry II (1547-1559), Parliament continued to play an increasing role in the conduct of domestic and external policy; Henri III (1574-1589) undertook, from 1578, the realization of the land of the future Pont Neuf (new bridge)  by bringing together the old islets by a considerable supply of embankments. He also backfill the south shore to establish a wharf. This was the end of the jardin du roi and the Hötel du Bailliage built to the south of this garden and occupied since the reign of Charles V by the Concierge of the palace  appointed from then bailiff.

The Bourbon period: With the reign of Henri IV began a period of intense urbanization in the vicinity of the medieval palace. The king conceded in 1607 to the first President of Parliament, Achille de Harlay the land at the tip of the island, to build houses there: This led to the creation between 1607 and 1620 of the place Dauphine. Louis XIII pursued his father’s work by creating the first true stone quays of the île de la Cité. During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), the palace underwent various works, including the reconstruction of the first Chamber of Petitions, the Parquet, and the registry. In 1737, during the reign of Louis XV (1715-1774), the palace had a third fire which destroyed the Chamber of accounts. Jacques V Gabriel built a classical ensemble instead. Begun in 1738, the work was completed two years later. A fourth fire took place at the beginning of the reign of Louis XVI (1774-1792), in 1776. The sovereign seized the opportunity and decided to clear the main entrance to the palace. It was able to give a monumental appearance in accordance with the architectural tastes of the time. The Sainte-Chapelle and the old Grand-Hall became the Salle de Pas Perdu (lost steps room). The new neoclassical facades of the galerie des Merciérer with its colossal Corinthian order, square dome and monumental staircase and the Dauphine gallery were then arranged. In 1778, the big tower was demolished. The demolition of the eastern enclosure began in 1781 and was followed in 1783 by the Charter treasure. In 1785, the construction of a new east-west wing, called Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle, bordering the latter on its northern flank. The Dauphine gallery was modified to border the whole of the Salle de Pas Perdu. Finally, the new courtyard of honor of the palace was closed in 1787 by a grid made of wrought iron and gilded.

In 1789, the Palais de la Cité housed the main institutions of the Kingdom of France, including the Chamber of Auditors, the Court of Currencies, the Court of Aid and especially the Parliament of Paris. It housed in 1791 the Court of Cassation, established in the Grand chamber, the Criminal Court of Paris was also installed there as well as the departments of Police, Forests, Finances and Contributions; in 1793, the Revolutionary Court settled on the first floor, in the former Grand Chamber of the Paris Parliament, renamed the Liberty Hall, and a second room, called Equality, was established in the former Salle Saint-Louis. The public Prosecutor of the Tribunal, Fouquier-Tinville, had set up its offices on the same floor, between the towers of Caesar and Money. From 1793 to 1794, more than 2700 people appeared before him, including Marie-Antoinette and Robespierre. Therefore, all the prisoners who were detained in the various prisons of Paris, as well as in some provincial prisons, who were to appear before the court, were gradually transferred to the Conciergérie. In 1794, witnesses and defenders are suppressed and every day several dozen people are guillotined. Arrested on 27 July 1794, Robespierre was sentenced to death the next day by the Revolutionary Court. In 1795 the Convention abolished the Revolutionary Court and the Court of Cassation returns to the Palais de la Cité. In the course of the consular and then imperial reforms, the judicial administration took possession of the palace, which then became the Palais de Justice in Paris.

Under the first Empire, the Sainte-Chapelle was transformed into a deposit of the national Archives and retained this assignment until 1837. Under the Restoration, at the request of king Louis XVIII, a atoning chapel was erected at the site of Queen Marie Antoinette’s dump well. The restoration of the vaults of the lower Grand-Hall started under the Empire was completed in 1819 and resulted in its release.  The northern façade of the palace between the clock tower and the Bonbec tower  was done in a medieval style.

Under the July Monarchy,(Louis Philippe I)  between 1833 and 1835 the Galerie Saint-Louis in Gothic where the implementations of the first theories on the restitution of medieval polychromies was held. Under the Second Empire,(Napoléon III), this project was largely carried out in parallel with the restoration works of the Sainte-Chapelle and the medieval buildings of the Conciergerie. The facade of the six civil chambers of the Court of first Instance, north-east of the palace, along the quay de l’Horloge was continued in the Gothic style as well as the façade to the east of the Salle des Pas Perdu. The palace was enlarged to the north-west and to the side of the quai  des Orfèvres. In particular, the construction of the buildings of the Cour de Cassation began in 1856. It was also during this period that the former king’s residence  was destroyed.

In the midst of the uprising of the Commune,(1871) the courthouse, barely completed, was the subject of arson in 1871 (as many in Paris in this period). The Salle des Pas Perdu and the Grand Hall  were completely destroyed in the fire. Under the Third Republic, (1870-1940) the work has in particular focused on a revision of the organization of the central and southwest parts of the palace. In 1874, the east side of place Dauphine was demolished to enhance the neo-Greek ordinance of the facade of Harlay done by 1914. In 1881, the Court of Cassation was terminated and the building the premises of the Court of Grande instance of Paris; the work started in 1907 was completed in 1914. It finally lost his prison function in 1934.

The Conciergerie are open to the public, and temporary exhibitions are held there. The four towers overlooking the Seine are remnants of the Middle Ages, the facades were built in the 19C. The daily life of the Conciergérie  prison is restored ː the Registrar’s Office, responsible for registering the detainees on the registers; The concierge’s office, now under the French revolution period and responsible for the prisoners; revolutionary jails , and the cell of Marie-Antoinette. The blade of the guillotine that served the execution of Lacenaire is exposed.

Things to see as much as I like them:

The Salle des Gens d’Armes (Hall of the Guards), formerly refectory of the palace. The Rue de Paris takes its name from Monsieur de Paris, nickname given to the executioner of the Revolutionary Court, who came to visit the prisoners through this corridor. The great courtyard; It was the old King’s Garden, which had been replaced by a large rectangular courtyard. The Central corridor: dark and narrow, distributed on his route many rooms: The window room, the office of the conciergerie, the registry, the back-graft, the parlour, a rest room for the tellers, the infirmary, the chapel, some cells For women… The Court of women, an old garden bordering the King’s residence, this courtyard was the place for women to walk. The clerk’s office: It was reconstituted in the Conciergérie museum. This room has become the bar of the courthouse. The toilet room: In this place, the condemned to death were stripped of their personal objects for the benefit of the State or the hangman, low paid and for whom, therefore, there were no small gains: jewellery, snuff, spectacles, watches.To the Cour du Mai, where the carts were waiting for them to lead them to their place of execution. The small royal chapel ,called Chapelle des Girondins, it occupies the location of the medieval oratory of the king. Marie-Antoinette’s first cell: Marie-Antoinette of Austria was installed in the former meeting room of the tellers overlooking the women’s court by a narrow window. Marie-Antoinette’s second cell: it is located next to the small royal chapel. For more privacy, the cell was cut in half by a partition of planks with a screen separating it from the two constables, which ensured its constant supervision. See the towers such as tour Bonbec, closest to the Seine river, and Tour d’Argent, Tour de César , and Tour de l’Horloge , the most famous located at the angle of the Quai de l’Horloge and Boulevard du Palais.

The interesting points about this clock are:  Henri II appears through his monogram, composed of the H of Henri with the C of Catherine de  Medici, his wife. The small subtlety of this monogram is that each bar of H joins perfectly to the C, so as to form a D… The D of Diane de Poitiers, the favourite of King Henry II!  The son of Henry II, King Henry III, left some traces too, a visible inscription in Latin in the cartridge located above the dial. You can read this: QVI DEDIT ANTE DVAS TRIPLICEM DABIT ILLE CORONAM or something like whoever gave you this double crown will one day award you the third.

So we can guess the divine right that gave him the crowns of Poland and France, and the third Crown refers here to the motto of the King, Manet ultima cælo  something meaning , the last is in Heaven, for the purpose of the king and all mortals and to find myself  fine in the Kingdom of Heaven. These two reliefs are allegories of law and justice. The law stands to the left of the dial, and carries a sceptre and a well-visible tablet, having this inscription in Latin: SACRA DEI CELEBRARE PIVS REGALE TIME IVS. Something like meaning, the allegory of Righteousness stands on the right side of the dial, with the balance in her left hand and the sword in her right hand, the two classic attributes of justice.  These two women have the golden body to gold, and their held is in a royal blue.

Finally, Henri IV appears by his monogram, the H of Henri interspersed at the M of Marguerite de Valois, not only on the periphery of the cartridge containing the emblems of the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Poland, but also in much larger on the boxes located under the small roof of the clock, thus accompanying the monogram of King Henry II, and this alternately, a box on two.  There is a third one, in a rectangular cartridge placed under the clock, bearing this text: MACHINA QVÆ BIS SEX TAM JVSTE DIVIDIT HORAS JVSTITIAM SERVARE MONET LEGES QVE TVERI. Meaning somehow, this machine that makes twelve hours so fair teaches to protect justice and to defend the laws. Lovely my France!!!

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here ,and is a must are:

The official National Monuments webpage on the Conciergérie

The Paris tourist office on the Conciergérie

There you have it, a whole history book on a few phrases, of course not complete but it gives you a taste to know, you must come to see it and understand my belle France. The Conciergérie is one of the must see monuments of Paris!!

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

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April 20, 2021

Some news from Spain CI

And that sunny time again which reminds me of my beloved Spain, everything under the Sun! I like to bring you with some tidbits of information to come and see when possible and wonderful information on the traditions of the kingdom of Spain. Hope you enjoy reading it as me telling you!

Ten Spanish towns aspire to become, on May 18, 2021 the Rural Capital 2021, within the initiative that for the fifth year organizes the website specialized in rural accommodation (my rental home place in Spain!).

Of those mentioned my favorites are:

Aia ( province of Gipuzkoa  Basque Country region) In this area the baroque Church of San Miguel Arcángel stands out, in Laurgain (3 km away); the Andra Maria de Aizpea hermitage, documented in 1530 and occupying a natural rock shelter, where, it is said, the Virgin appeared; or the San Pedro hermitage, with an altarpiece attributed to Andrés de Araoz. A walk through the historic center of Aia contemplates numerous samples of traditional architecture such as Casa Gilisagasti, Casa Garagorrienea, and Casa Ostatu-Berri, and, as if that were not enough, the wonderful beach of Zarauz is 20 minutes away by car.

Cuacos de Yuste (province of Cáceres , Extremadura region).  Beyond its main monument, the nearby Monastery of Yuste, where Emperor Carlos I of Spain lived his last days, the historical complex of Cuacos de Yuste , in the Extremadura region de La Vera, invites you to a quiet walk through its winding streets, in which you can admire the well-preserved popular architecture of its mountain houses, built with masonry, adobe and wooden frameworks, and have cantilevers and porticoed facades like those of its main square.

Olvera ( province of Cádiz , Andalusia region). Its whitewashed houses and steep streets that lead to two of the claims that the town boasts the most: the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación  18C and the castle built at the end of the 12C, was part of the defensive system of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. he Peñón de Zaframagón natural reserve, which is home to the largest nesting colony of griffon vultures in Western Andalusia and one of the largest in Spain.

Daroca (province of Zaragoza , Aragón region).  Induces a journey through time through the Lower Gate, escorted by high towers, but also through the old wall to the Mayor Castle, erected on top of what was an Arab fortress where remains have been found of Muslim plasterwork from the 11C, or visiting the Palacio de los Luna, a noble residence around the 15C that preserves its wooden roofs. The Casa del Diablo, dating from the 15C, also deserves a stop in Daroca, so named because in the mid-19C it welcomed an anticlerical revolutionary nicknamed “El Diablo Rojo.”(red devil)

Ortigueira (province of A Coruña , Galicia region). In walking its streets should lead to a visit to the Barrio do Ponto, in the old town; the conventual complex, which houses the City/Town Hall, the Benefit Theater and the parish church; the food market, from the early 20C, and a walk through its port. Ortigueira is famous among Celtic music lovers, since the Ortigueira Celtic World Festival has been held here since 1978. Since 2000 its name is the Ortigueira Festival, and every second weekend in July hundreds of fans of folk music camp on Morouzos beach to attend the event. One of the most attractive options is to discover the Loiba cliffs about 10 km away by car. There is a signposted route that allows you to cross it from Esteiro beach (Mañón) to the Ribeira do Carro beach (Ortigueira). A stretch of coastline that is, for many, the best bank in the world.

Sepúlveda (province of Segovia, Castilla y León region).  This town founded in the Iron Age of just over 1,000 inhabitants is part of the association The Most Beautiful Towns of Spain. Some of the unavoidable visits go through its Plaza Mayor, its nerve center and partially arcaded; the Church of El Salvador, one of the paradigms of Castilian Romanesque; the Lope Tablada de Diego Museum; the sanctuary of the Virgen de la Peña; or the Puerta del Azogue or Arco del Ecce Homo, one of the seven gates that the Sepúlveda wall had. In addition, it is the perfect base camp to enter the Hoces del Duratón natural park, where the main protagonist is the griffon vulture. To its imposing scenic beauty are added historical attractions, such as the Romanesque hermitage of San Frutos 12C and the cave of the Seven Altars, whose interior houses a Visigoth religious monument from the 7C.

Taramundi (Principality of Asturias).  A knife of more than seven meters and 1,500 kilos welcomes the Museum of Cutlery, in the village of Pardiñas, just 3 km from Taramundi. A quiet walk through the town leads to Os Castros, one of the most important forts in Asturias and a decisive enclave of the Bronze Age as a place of passage and trade. And in Mazonovo, very close to the town, one of the largest mill museums in Spain awaits: it has no more and no less than 19, as well as a rudimentary hydraulic power station. The Taramundi Loom Museum, the Os Esquíos Ethnographic Museum, or the Bres craft center also transport us to that world of trades and crafts so deeply rooted in this part of Asturian geography.

Yeste ( province of Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha region. The silhouette of its castle, from the 13C in Gothic-Renaissance style, dominates the panoramic view of Yeste. Located in the middle of the Segura mountains, within the urban complex of this Albacete town, the Renaissance City/Town Hall stands out. And outside the town, the fortified towers of Islamic origin and Christian use during the Reconquest are worth a visit. On the last weekend of October, the entire town throws itself into the celebration of its Fair of Popular Traditions, with samples of artisan trades, a traditional market and the celebration of a traditional slaughter.

The Thyssen Museum presents Georgia O’Keeffe’s first retrospective. From April 20 to August 8 2021, the museum will show a selection of 90 works, considered one of the greatest representatives of North American art  by this pioneer of abstraction, five of which were already in the Thyssen, which is the museum with the most works by the artist outside the United States. O’Keeffe was a traveler who used colors and shapes “to express what she could not with words.” Flowers, barns, religious crosses or landscapes are some of the themes that captured the author’s attention over six decades. The retrospective begins with watercolors and drawings in which she renounces color to capture personal experiences in an abstract way. Almost a hundred works that are burning different stages, such as ‘Gray, blue, black, pink, circle’, an abstract representation to represent the dances of the Native Americans or ‘New York Street with the moon’, a mixture of modern architecture related to the sky and nature. O’Keeffe did not leave the United States until she was over 60 years old, and her first trip outside of it was precisely to Spain in 1953! webpage:

It is 50 years since the birth of the association that rescued 18 unique temples from the 10C and 11C from ruin and which can be visited on a route distinguished with the Seal of Excellence in Tourism in Aragon. Fifty years ago, in 1971, the Amigos de Serrablo Cultural Association was born, based in the province of Huesca town of Sabiñánigo, in the Alto Gállego region, the gateway to the Pyrenees and the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The association, in addition to recovering popular architecture and intangible heritage (stories, legends, toponymy, gastronomy and customs) and contributing various publications, has created the Ángel Orensanz Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions of Serrablo. Located in Casa Batanero, the museum is an example of the popular architecture of the area and is considered one of the best in Spain of its kind.The Church of San Pedro de Lárrede is considered the prototype of the complex and is the first of the route . Located in the urban area of the town, it has a Latin cross plan, formed by a rectangular nave and two arms as a transept and a semicircular apse. The bell tower enhances the complex due to its slenderness and sobriety. In addition, on the way we find the churches of Arto, Basarán (which was taken to Formigal), Busa, Espierre, Gavín, San Bartolomé de Gavín, San Pelay, Isún, Ordovés, Lárrede, Lasieso, Oliván, Orós Bajo, Otal, Rasal , Satué and Susín.

The castle of Larrés, a district of Sabiñánigo, has housed the National Drawing Museum since 1986. It is named after Julio Gavín, draftsman and ethnographer, his mentor and founder of the Association. It is a square-angular building with two opposite towers, consolidated in its current format at the beginning of the 16C. In 17 rooms, 350 works of the more than 4,000 that currently make up its collections are exhibited. Rooms 1 and 2, located on the ground floor, are reserved for temporary exhibitions, such as one dedicated to graphic humor with originals by Mingote, Forges, Gallego and Rey, Ricardo and Nacho, López Maturana, Serafín, Peridis, Chumy Chúmez, Oli, El Roto or Cano, among others.  The rest of the ground floor is dedicated to Aragonese drawing from the end of the 19C to the present, and the rest of the building is devoted to contemporary Spanish drawing, both figurative and avant-garde, graphic humor and comic, in various techniques, from pencil to ink. , watercolors, washes, waxes, graphite powder to collage.

The Amigos de Serralbo webpage in Spanish:

A wonderful nostalgic area for me is the Albufera. There thousands of birds and fans of them meet at the Albufera lake, one of the most important wetlands in Europe and a pure Mediterranean landscape just a few minutes from Valencia. Among the star stops is the island of Palmar, which condenses the fishing essence of the landscape. It is there where you can enjoy a boat trip to watch the birds and the rice fields originals of the paella dish). Then you can continue to El Saler (visited as child home of late aunt Maria Elena) to admire its virgin dunes and marvel at the native flora, as well as the views of its beach and the Mediterranean Sea. You can book a guide tour to see this webpage:

One of the inescapable spring events for wine fans has been, for eleven years now, the release of the annual Tío Pepe En Rama sack on the market, the most special bet of that icon of Spain that is the Tío Pepe of the bodega González Byass. Without filtering, without clarifying and without stabilizing, directly from the boots where the soleras rest to the bottles that will reach consumers, Tío Pepe en Rama is Sherry wine in its purest form, as it was drunk in the past (tradition heaven!). That is, in each of them the Atlantic Ocean, the west and east winds, the flower veil (the natural yeasts that help to mature the Sherry wine) and the mineral soil of marine origin (albariza) must be present. in which the palomino grape that is capable of bringing together all these essences is grown. The result is a gold-colored wine in which a certain turbidity can be seen, produced by dead yeasts ‘in service’, and which on the nose is quite a festival: pungent, with an overflowing minerality, a lot of salinity, notes of chalk and talcum powder, nuts, chamomile and even a touch of citrus. The passage through the mouth is very long, full, very, very dry, almost astrigent, (we are talking about a wine with less than one gram of sugar per liter, one of the driest in the world), iodized and very fresh. The cost of Tío Pepe in Rama is 15 euros in Spain. Gonzalez Byass webpage:

The Comarca de la Sidra  (the region of cider) is preparing to receive a unique natural phenomenon: the flowering of apple trees, or as the “Floriar del Pumar” is known by those lands. From mid-April to early May, the green meadows and slopes of the Mountains in this southeastern area of the Principality of Asturias are dyed in white and pink and are impregnated with a sweet smell thanks to the flowers that grow from the thousands and thousands of apple trees that dot the place, offering a magical picture that has become a true tourist claim. It is a sign that spring has already arrived in the region, comprised of the towns of Bimenes, Cabranes, Colunga, Nava, Sariego and Villaviciosa, some 30 km east of Gijón. The route involves a little more than 70 km that travel through less frequented roads and secondary roads and passes through charming villages and towns, gentle hills, bucolic valleys and enclaves with incredible panoramic views over the Cantabrian Sea, Villaviciosa, the Manzanera (apple) Capital of Spain, and a one of the largest towns in the region. It is advisable to park your car to walk through the beautiful old town, full of sculptures, palaces, emblazoned houses and plenty of places to taste the local cuisine and, of course, cider. webpage:

Read these names: Familia Torres, Vega Sicilia and CVNE (tops)  are at the top of the ranking of the 50 most recognized brands of the prestigious British publication ‘Drinks International’, which includes five other national wineries. The Familia Torres has been elected once again the most admired wine brand in the world according to the ranking The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands 2021 that is produced annually by the prestigious British magazine Drinks International. Of the 11 editions of this ranking to date, it is the fifth time that the Penedès family winery, which has just celebrated its 150th anniversary, has obtained this first place. The renowned Vega Sicilia (Ribera del Duero) occupies the third place in the ranking,the winery founded in 1864 in Valbuena de Duero (Valladolid), currently owned by the Álvarez family, rises six places compared to last year’s list. The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), in eighth place in the ranking, is the third most admired Spanish brand in the world. The family winery, which was born in 1879 in the Rioja town of Haro, has risen 15 places this year to be in the top 10. If the complete list of 50 brands is taken into account, the countries that contribute the most wineries are France (with 11 mentions), Spain (with eight) and Italy (with six). The list of Spanish wineries is completed by the Riojan Campo Viejo (32), the Catalan from the D.O. Pla de Bages Bodegas Abadal (37), the centenary Ramón Bilbao (43), founded in Haro (La Rioja), which has been included in the ranking for three consecutive years, the Catalan Raventós Cordoníu (47), one of the oldest wineries in Spain, founded in 1551, famous for its cavas (sparkling wines), and La Rioja Alta, which debuts on the list. Yes Spain is moving up in wines folks take a look around you.

Las Ventas Monumental bullring prepares a festival for Dos de Mayo with Ponce, El Juli and Manzanares as performers (and how would I pay to be there!).The Las Ventas bullring will open its doors again on Dos de Mayo if the weather and, above all, the pandemic do not prevent it. The Center for Bullfighting Affairs of the Community of Madrid, in collaboration with Plaza 1, wants to open its doors closed from October 12, 2019 on May 2, a bullfighting date par excellence linked to the traditional Goyesca, according to the news advanced by Mundotoro. Yes Dos de Mayo is portrait by Goya on an event of Spain independence war so call from France’s Napoleonn dictatorship. And Mundotoro webpage with the president of the comunidad de Madrid fully supporting the opening viva Madrid!

A great meeting looks forward to every year starts a very special week today for all those who love literature. Although this year’s celebration, like that of the past, will have a certain bittersweet flavor, as there will not be the traditional delivery of the Cervantes award in the Auditorium of the University of Alcalá de Henares due, in part, to the pandemic and, also, to the delicate state of health of the winner, the poet Francisco Brines. In it, which will take place at the headquarters of Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, six writers and three publishers will leave their respective legacies in the Caja de las Letras. The guests are the authors Antonio Muñoz Molina, Manuel Rivas, Bernardo Atxaga, Carme Riera, Luis Alberto de Cuenca and Cristina Fernández Cubas, who summarize the cultural diversity and unity of our different languages, and, as representatives of the publishing houses, Pilar Reyes (director of the Literary Division of Penguin Random House), Valeria Ciompi (director of Alianza Editorial) and Manuel Borrás (director of Pre-Texts). It is the first time that the Instituto Cervantes has organized such a large collective transfer, which will bring to 79 the number of legacies held by the Caja de las Letras, (the vaults of letters)the old vault of its headquarters in Madrid. The next day, Wednesday 21st April , in the Soto del Real Prison an act for the inclusion and promotion of culture will be held. That same day the Espacio Cervantes will be inaugurated at the University of Alcalá. In addition, during that act the bulk of the acquisition of the library of the editor and poet Jesús Munárriz, founder of Visor, who has donated it to Cervantes, will be announced. It consists of more than 7,500 books, many of them first editions and most of them dedicated, that cover 20C poetry. On Thursday April 22nd, a poetic anthology by Francisco Brines will be presented at the University of Alcalá, and in the streets of that city the ‘Poetry in the Plaza’ will start, which seeks to involve all citizens. And, for the April 23rd, the big day, the Day of the Book, Sant Jordi, an institutional act is planned at the headquarters of the Cervantes Institute in Alcalá de Henares with the presence of the Kings, Don Felipe and Doña Letizia, and Minister Uribes. The act will contain dramatized readings of classic texts by members of the Young National Classical Theater Company; The actor José Sacristán will read Antonio Machado and Miguel Delibes and, as a culmination, the Cervantes 2021 prize winner, Francisco Brines, will recite some of his poems in a connection via video conference. At the end of this act, the exhibition of homage to Francisco Brines. The certainty of poetry. ‘ Without forgetting, of course, the continuous and virtual reading of Don Quijote at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. It will begin at 13h on April 23 and it will be precisely inaugurated by Francisco Brines.

And there you go folks, some news from Spain again ,thanks to all of you for following me on these long posts since my blog started back in 2010. It has been a thrill to do it and enjoy it very much , thanks again for keeping me company. Hoping always you enjoy the post

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

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April 20, 2021

Grande and Petite Ecuries of Versailles!!!

And of course, great pleasure to update/revise this older post for you and me! This is in my beloved former home of Versailles. Needless, to say more about this wonderful royal town of my belle France, just read the monuments that have proven essential in the history of France. Let me tell you a bit more on the Grande and Petite Ecuries of Versailles!!!

And yes indeed, its been a while not written anything on my wonderful Royal and Imperial city of Versailles.  The city of Versailles once did a survey on visitor and found out that to their surprise not me, 98% of visitors only see the Palace/Museum of Versailles. Pity when the Domaine of Versailles outside its walls of the palace, hameau, trianons, orangerie etc is much larger and with wonderful things to see. The fault is that on many sites they have Versailles as a thing to do in Paris lol! Well , first the only similarity is that it is in the same region of ïle de France. Then, it is not in the same department, county area as Paris has a proper one as 75 , and Versailles has a department 78 Yvelines all apart. Then, for history, Versailles is classic France while Paris is for the world.You get it right, cheers ::)

I like to tell you a bit more on two classic buildings that are outside the Domaine physical location but administrative part of it. The Royal Stables are the Great and Small Stable or in French, the Grande Ecuries and the Petite Ecuries.

The Grand Ecurie (stables) are right in the Place d’Armes, in front of the castle, between the avenues of Saint-Cloud and Paris. Constituting with the Petite Ecuries , the Royal stables that gave work to over 1000 persons under king Louis XIV. They were built under the direction of the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and completed in 1682. With a merry-go-round, it sheltered the king’s hunting and war horses.


Same as the Petite ecurie, which is separated by the Avenue de Paris, under the monarchy, it was under the command of the Great squire of France and housed the school of the pages of the King, reserved for the sons of the families of the military nobility until 1550 . It also welcomed in its walls, between 1680 and 1830, the cradle of French horse riding: the School of Versailles. Between 1793 and 1794, the emblem at the pediment was removed. From 1854, the stable was occupied by the Army.


In 1978, the collection at the Museum of the Carriages or wagons of Trianon, built in 1851, was moved to the Grande Ecuries. In 1985, the Museum was opened to the public. In 2007, the Museum closed its doors for the expansion work. In 2016, the museum is open again to the public. The official château de Versailles on the gallery museum webpage:

Inside the Petite Ecurie, you have the huge gallery or Vestibule des sculptures des Fontaines du Labyrinthe,  keeping the sculptures from the 17C, 39 fountains, with 333 animals designs from the bosquet du laberinthe dating 1660-1677/ You have the history of the stories of Charles Perrault and Jean de La Fontaine, dedicated to the Grand Dauphin, Mme de Montespan, and the Duke of Burgundy (grandson of Louis XIV). Charles Perrault brings them to Versailles, as de La Fontaine was not favored due to his support for Nicolas Fouquet.

In 2002, the Château de Versailles returned to these places their initial function by choosing Bartabas, squire and founder of the equestrian show Zingaro. In 2003, the National Equestrian Academy of the Domaine de Versailles was inaugurated. The academy webpage:


Establishments located at the Grande Ecurie are: Gallery museum of Carriages or wagons, Equestrian Show Academy of Bartabas, and the city Archives of Versailles.  The buildings are organized around five courses: The large courtyard bordered by a colonnade in the hemicycle and two symmetrical wings;the two middle courses framed at the rear; the two small lateral courses say les manages.


Behind the large gate, there was a rectangular carousel, which is now the theater of the National Equestrian Academy of the Domaine de Versailles. The Académie du spectacle équestre led by its director Bartabas. If you love horses with themes of history you will love it. It is located at the Grande Ecurie of the castle right across the street from pl d’Armes the building to your left. You will see lusitanians horses, high above riders, fencing on a horse, choreographies of many actions and jockey changes by the master Bartabas. There are seances in the mornings call Matinales des Ecuyers with baroque music , you can visit the stables or ecuries or a visit to just the building done by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the architect of the court in 1683, which was renovated for this spectacle in 2003. The stables keep about 40 horses today.


The galleries are simple to the Grande Ecurie while the Petite Ecurie has double galleries separated by the Colonnades. The ceilings of the galleries are vaulted. The visible walls of the castle are of stone, the other less visible are red brick with stone siding. The rectangular crusaders upstairs and skylights at the attic; The sculptures are presented at the pediment, eardrum and jambs of the Grand portal. The side entrances are on the Avenue de Saint-Cloud and the Avenue de Paris. In 2016, on the occasion of the opening of the gallery/museum of carriages, the sign Ecuries du Roi or King’s stables was installed on the wrough iron grille gate.

The Petite Ecurie on the Place d’Armes, in front of the castle, between the avenues of Paris and Sceaux. Constituting with the Grande Ecuries the royal stables and completed in 1681. It now houses the National School of Architecture of Versailles. Identical to the Grande Ecuries, which it is separated by the Avenue de Paris, under the former regime, it was under the orders of the first squire. The webpage :


The Petite Ecurie has the care of ordinary mounts, hitch horses and wagons as well as fancy vehicles, sleighs of gondolas. From 1683 to 1685, the blacksmith was built behind the small stable. This property complements the activities of two stables.. In 2004, the La Maréchalerie   (blacksmiting) became a center of contemporary art at the National Higher School of Architecture of Versailles. It organizes several exhibitions a year. In 1787, to make economies, the activities of the Petite Ecuries were abolished and attached to the Grande Ecuries. From 1935 to 1939, it was the barracks of the Air school, with the air Base 134 Versailles. Since 1969, it has been home to the National Higher School of Architecture of Versailles. Since 1999, it also houses the restoration workshops of the Center for Research and Restoration of the museums of France. The restoration webpage

Since 2012, the Petite Ecurie has presented to the public a gypsothèque containing a collection of about 5000 sculptures and casts according to the ancient times, especially Roman, since it was only in the 18C that archaeologists were interested in an advanced way to Greece. It is the casting collection of the Louvre Museum, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne Institute of Art and Archaeology; Under the direction of Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert had indeed imposed on the residents of the Académie de France in Rome to copy old pieces so that they would serve as inspiration to the sculptors of Versailles.  The gypsothéque on the château de Versailles webpage:

Since 2008, as part of the castle’s rescue campaign, several statues are housed in the sculpture gallery and replaced with copies. The statue of Latone of the basin of the Latone in 2015 or the-groups of sculptures in the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon in 2010. There is a vast campaign to adopt a statue or a bust in the Domaine de Versailles with donations, more info in French at the castle webpage:

Some webpages to help you further your discovered of the many things to do in Versailles are:

The official Château de Versailles on the Royal Stables

Another fascinating page on my beautiful and good city of Versailles , you ought to spent more time here. Even if crowds , of course, it is very popular place after all for the Palace/Museum, but do walk out and see much more in Royal and Imperial Versailles.

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

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