Archive for April 27th, 2021

April 27, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXXXI

I usually do this once a month or so, but things are changing and news sometimes gets clouded in various communiqués. One has to do with the virus of fame, and the other on travel plans for the future. The idea is to do as soon as possible, later will be more paperwork. Let me tell you the latest

The peak in France around the 6000 hospitalisation in intensive care in hospitals. Way back the Presi Macron wanted to reach 3000 but it seems this will not be achieve and the same goes for many who dare publish correct information. The improvement in the rate is only of 0,9% or hardly nothing. The contradiction on the vaccines are increasing even if in small percentage to the number of dosis; France had two deaths last month from Astra Zeneca vaccine. Last death was April 20 of a 75 years old from the Pfizer vaccine.

As of April 8, the French Medicines Agency had identified 25,641 cases of adverse side effects from the vaccine, a quarter of which were serious. By that time, 10.2 million French people had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Thus only 0.24% of people vaccinated experienced adverse effects and 0.06% experienced serious adverse effects. Looking at mortality, 405 people died after receiving an injection of Pfizer vaccine (out of 9.8 million doses injected on April 8) and seven after receiving Moderna vaccine (out of one million doses injected) . Concerning the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is criticized because of suspected cases of thrombosis, 65 people died after an injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including 8 because of thrombosis (out of 2.7 million doses injected). The Agence Française du Médicaments webpage:

Therefore, until this trend settles down and I see more results we are holding on ,and wait more results and information from the government. Unless , of course, we are force to take it in order to be able to travel…….!

From May 3, 2021 therefore, the rules will evolve “gradually” with initially a freedom of movement found between the departments without the limit of kilometers or the compelling reasons that go with it. So far the areas, departments that are on stricter rules are the Hauts-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d´Azur (PACA) ,and Île-de-France where the most tension at the moment, with rates above 100%. The occupancy rate is nearly 80% in three other regions: Center-Val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand-Est. The general government of France webpage with a map:

Therefore, Bretagne is the least impacted but paying the same as everybody. The idea expose by some government folks is to gradually release the areas departments that are less impacted and so on. Will see as President Macron next public announcement is due for Wednesday May 5 2021. UPDATE earlier , rather than a new post will include this update here

Today Thursday evening, Pres Emmanuel Macron must unveil to the regional daily press all the stages that the deconfinement of France will follow. Already rumored in the press, they have been confirmed with BFMTV.  The executive has, however, provided a brake mechanism, which will block these reopening if the health situation does not allow them.

Stage 1: May 3

The curfew will be maintained as it is, at  19h (7pm). Teleworking will continue to be recommended. Middle school classes will reopen with a half-gauge for the 4th and 3rd, and high schools will reopen with a half-gauge. Inter-regional travel restrictions and travel certificates will be ended!!!!

Stage 2: May 19

The curfew will be moved to 21h (9 p.m) . Shops will reopen, in accordance with gauges and health protocols adapted to each place and activity. Restaurant terraces will reopen, with tables for a maximum of six people. Museums, monuments, cinemas, theaters, performance halls with a seated audience will be reopened, with gauges yet to be defined. Reopening of outdoor and indoor sports facilities for spectators.

Stage 3: June 9

Curfew shifted to 23h (11 p.m)  Reopening of cafes and restaurants, with tables for a maximum of six people, in accordance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Reopening of sports halls and expansion of sports practice to outdoor contact sports and indoor contactless, in compliance with gauges and protocols adapted to each place and activity. Authorization of gatherings of less than 1000 people

Stage 4: June 30 This will be the end of the curfew.

The other item I like to touch base here is travel. We are all eagerly waiting to travel and long… However, paperwork is coming. First was the USA ESTA visa requirement or what they call it authorisation. All French as well as other European Union members needed to get one to travel there. Now the European Union worked on a scheme to return the favor. Slow down by the virus pandemia that was to start in 2021 now it has been push back to 2022, the ESTIAS visa authorisation. For guidance info, this is the ESTA rules from the US government:

The European Union ETIAS comes from “European Travel Information and Authorization System”. It is a fully electronic system that tracks visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area. In a way, it resembles the United States Electronic Travel Authorization System (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose.

Since citizens of countries that do not need a visa to spend up to 90 days in the EU, do not need to go through a long visa application process, the ETIAS system is ensure that these individuals do not pose a security threat. This travel authorization system will collect, track and update the necessary information about visitors to determine whether or not it is safe for them to enter Schengen member countries.

The main reason that led to the approval of the ETIAS authorization is safety. With the increased risk of travelers all over the world, the EU wants to ensure the safety of travel in its countries. The ETIAS system will significantly reduce security concerns through its information and data collection systems. What this means is that the ETIAS system will detect whether a person is a threat to the security of the Schengen countries. This will therefore lead to denying the person entry and preventing the threat from being present within the borders of the EU. It will just deal with the problem before it can even exist. However, in addition to making travel safer, the ETIAS authorization will also help EU countries and all travelers in the following ways: Reduced processing and application times; Improving border management in EU countries; Assistance in the detection and reduction of crime and terrorism; By preventing migrations contrary to the regulations, By strengthening the EU visa liberalization policy.

Overall, the ETIAS authorization will make travel within the EU less painful and safer.Some of the countries that will need an ESTIAS are  Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan,  Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States of America. There are many others see the list on the webpage included on this post.

The ETIAS system is expected to cost only 7€ for each request. This is only valid for adults over 18, as people under 18 will not have to pay a fee. You can pay the charges by debit or credit card. Immediately after payment is completed, the ETIAS authorization will begin to be processed. If approved, the ETIAS application can be valid for 3 years or until your passport expires. If it isn’t, however, you’ll get a deny message. In the rejection message, you will have a written reason why the ETIAS request was refused. You can appeal this decision or depending on the reason for the denial, you can adjust your request and try again.

To use the ETIAS authorization correctly, you must first go through the first country indicated in your application. For example, if you intended to go through Germany, Belgium and Austria, and you indicated in your request that the first country you will visit is Germany, you must go through Germany before visiting Belgium and Austria. After entering the first country, you can visit any other country in the Schengen zone for 90 days. If you have a Schengen visa, you will not need an ETIAS authorization. You can present your visa to the border authorities when entering the Schengen zone countries. When your visa expires, you can apply for ETIAS authorization if you are eligible.

The official ESTIAS webpage:

The European Commission (EU) on ESTIAS webpage:

The Council of Europe (EU) on ESTIAS webpage:

Therefore, be prepared and I would say get your travel plans done early. As I have been saying and reading many travel experts (if you recall reading my blog, used to work in management duties on IHG) , the avalanche is getting there and reservations without cancellation penalties will be the norm now. For example a popular French hotel chain Logis de France has 45% capacity book for summer by foreigners alone! Hope it helps.

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

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April 27, 2021

Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin of Guérande!!

And here on my update road map bringing back many memorable moments in our life’s travels. The beauty of reliving these trip is worth staying home. And home it is, thanks for reading me since 2010! Let me tell you a bit more on the wonderful Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin of Guérande!!

The wonderful fortified town of Guérande, in old Bretagne, now Loire-Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region.  The town and things to see has been written several times in my blog and it is worth visiting as a whole. However, I think will do justice to it by having a post just on the Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin , a wonderful place to visit while in town or nearby.  The Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin is located in the center of the medieval old city area surrounded by the castle ramparts.


A first building is located on the present site in the 6C, according to tradition, under the aegis of the King of Vannes, Waroc’h II. After the transfers of the relics of Saint-Aubin of Angers, a second larger building was built in the late 9C or 10C. The Norman incursions, with significant consequences in the region, gave the necessary the reconstruction of the Church and other buildings in late Romanesque style. This phase began after the middle of the 12C and ended with the construction of the main façade in the 13C. This is probably more of an extension with a construction of an enlarged nave, than a complete reconstruction of the Church. The 10C choir was probably preserved, at least in part. The north wall of the choir was probably rebuilt at the end of this construction cycle. Some of the visible elements from this period are the 8 columns with historiated capitals in the nave (7 of the Capitals are Romanesque 12C), the 8th was remade in the 19C following the collapse of the facade, as well as sculptures in replaced of the 13C in the current facade.  After the sack of  Guérande  by the troops of Louis de la Cerda in 1342 in the context of the War of the Succession of Brittany, the ruined Collegiate Church is rebuilt from 1380 in Gothic style with the south transept and the crypt in the 14C , the north transept is then resumed and the choir and bedside are rebuilt in the 15C. A new Gothic façade finishes the Church, the frame on the transepts are laid in 1541.


In the 16C  the laying of the stained glass windows of Saint-Aubin and Saint-Julien ,to the left and right of the Choir was done , then in the 17C , the laying of the great stained glass of the coronation of the Virgin, in the center of the bedside and finally, the furniture of the Church: stalls, altars, rood (removed in 1804, and put in the National Museum of the Middle Ages (Cluny in Paris),  and from its central gate is deposited in the Museum of the Porte Saint-Michel, and layout of the sacristy.


The Collegiate Church of Saint-Aubin has always been the second episcopal seat of the Diocese of Nantes. The interior surprises by the imposing grandeur of the uniqueness of its ship and the elevation of its transept. See the historiated marquees, the large canopy, the stained glass windows and the alternating game of columns. The Choir seems more elongated, higher and more enlightened than the nave, justifying the term architectural illusionist. The lower Chapel is home to the belying of Tristan de Carné and his wife, Jeanne de La Salle and a sarcophagus  of the Middle Ages. Its recently appointed forecourt offers the south side an original fountain in hollow rock and the north side in procession, behind Saint-Aubin, the characters of the life of the city. The building retains many characteristics of the Breton religious architecture of the late Middle Ages.


In 1789-1790, (French revolution) the Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin was dilapidated, the pipes of the organ are melted, the bells also. The Church will temporarily serve the worship of the Supreme Being. The Church was returned to Catholic worship in 1802.  By 1864 , the construction of the vaults in Tufa stone, above the heart and the transepts. The vaults of the nave and its collateral will be carried out between 1876 and 1885. In 1872, the construction of an arrow steeple  in neo-Gothic style at the top of the façade on the base of the Renaissance belfry.  On 28 November 1876, the clock tower on the façade collapsed in full mass and took with it a large part of the façade and the first crossing of the nave. The spire built 4 years ago was too heavy and the foundations of the building too old. The restoration of the Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin is completed in 1885, the façade is rebuilt by taking up the maximum of old blocks. The outer pulpit is of the 15C, an architectural rarity, although partially dismantled and done identical. In 1891, the laying of the relics of Saint Solomon III ,Duke of Brittany and founder of the Sacred College. Finally, in 1903 the construction of the central steeple, replacing a small bell tower in pepper-pots built in 1580.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The La Baule-Guerande tourist office on the Church:

The city of Guérande on the heritage and church:

There you go another jewel of my belle France of course. Where else we can keep so much treasury for the world to see even after devastating wars from 1789 onwards! France a movable feast! Come to see the Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin and enjoy the fortified town of Guérande!

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

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April 27, 2021

Galerie François I de Fontainebleau!!!

Now this one is a masterpiece in a hugely beautiful historical and architecturally stunning castle. I have been here many times and to cut it short, I am a member of Friends of the castle for many years now. I like to update this memorable post on the Francis I gallery in the Castle of Fontainebleau. My treat on the Galerie François I  Château de Fontainebleau!

So this is Fontainebleau, yes lovely town and wonderful immense castle on the entire history of France, well almost we are very old indeed. As said, my first castle ever on the region of my dear late wife Martine, so therefore, a personal favorite.  The Castle is huge and many things to see, I have already told you of my favorite on previous post, however, there are more. The Galerie François I or Francis I gallery is another not to be missed under any cirscumtances. I like to tell you a bit more on it.

The Francis I gallery  or Galerie François I is a large ceremonial gallery located on the first floor of the Royal Castle of Fontainebleau , dept 77 Seine-et-Marne ,in the ïle de France region. The intervention in the 1530’s of Italian artists Rosso Fiorentino and the Primaticcio, makes this gallery the most representative decorative ensemble of the first school of Fontainebleau, and reflects the infatuation of François I for Italian art.


Built between 1528 and 1530, it is approximately 64 meters long and 6 meters wide, and was formerly a covered bridge with openings on both sides. King Francis I made it built and decorates, in order to connect his apartments to the Trinity Chapel (see other post). He kept the keys and made it visited by his chosen guests. The gallery was entrusted to the Italians Rosso Fiorentino and the Primaticcio who decorated it in an original way with paintings, paneling, frescoes and stuccoes. The works were done from March 1535 to May 1537 for the stuccos, starting from 1536 for the frescoes, and were completed just before the visit of Charles Quint at Christmas 1539.  The carved walnut woodwork realized from 1535 with rare essences, but turned almost exclusively to walnut wood from 1539, when the floor of the gallery is executed and the paneling.


In 1689, a door was pierced in the west wall to gain access to the horseshoe vestibule. Then, some stuccos are remodeled . In 1701, king Louis XIV replaced some subjects too daring with new compositions (now extinct), including Zephyr and Flore, and in the central room Minerva and the Arts. It was in 1710 that they would have realized the door top of the vestibule, with scenes illustrating the victory of François I, and the story writing his actions on the wings of time. From 1730 to 1731, a restoration is conducted and again the end of the gallery is refresh in 1757 with the restoration of the frescoes.

King Louis XVI split the wing in 1786 by adding apartments, depriving it of the opening on Diane’s garden, but making false windows to keep a symmetrical appearance.  Napoleon I transformed the gallery into a gallery of illustrious by placing busts of generals and drawings of his military campaigns. In 1846, a new restoration, quite heavy, is undertaken. The creation of a cardboard frieze was done while the paintings were restored. The chimney is removed and the gallery receives a new parquet. The renovations continue by repainting entirely the frescoes with the encaustic, and adding new paintings, including a view of the Fontainebleau pond and an argument of Minerva and Neptune.  The gallery draws a set of spans, punctuated by symmetrical openings and large painted panels. The coffered ceiling plays a rather secondary role in the decorative ensemble and displays a rather classic style. The King’s monogramme is found everywhere.


A bit on the decorations, and what is to see fully here! A must!!!  The paintings, divided into two groups of six frescoes separated by a central span, represent stories of Greco-Roman mythology and allegories whose meaning eludes us today.

In the first northern span is painted the so-called Sacrifice fresco, in which a mired priest dressed in black stands near an inflamed altar, surrounded by old men, women holding children and vase holders. The represented priest could be Saint Francis of Paula, or King Francis I himself, the fresco evoking the king’s religious role and his priestly skills, which he exercises as his sovereign function. The stuccoes around the fresco represent the sacrifice of a ram and that of a bull, always in the religious theme expressed by the central fresco.

In the second northern span, is the famous fresco of the Royal elephant , also known as the elephant at the flank (symbol of strength, sagacity, and durability of royalty) depicted in a square, bearing the royal figure on the forehead ,a salamander  and the fleurs-de-lis on the flank, thus representing King Francis I himself. At his feet are three allegories of the air, the Earth and the water (the man with lightning represents Jupiter, the man at the Trident Neptune, and the one accompanied by Cerberus Pluto, in reference to the three spaces on which reigns Francis I), as well as a stork who symbolize the loyal love , the latter representing the mother of the king, Louise of Savoy. On the sides are painted two frescoes on the theme of mythological abductions: right Saturn disguised as a horse removing Philyre, and left Jupiter, changed to Taurus, removing Europe. The stuccoes slightly illustrate the story of Alexander the Great, including Alexander cutting the Gordian knot, under the fresco.

In the third northern span is painted the fresco of the Fire in which two young men carry their fathers on their shoulders. It could be an evocation of the twins of Catania, or the myth of Aeneas leaving Trojan in flames and carrying his father Anchises on the shoulders. The stuccoes represent on the left a bearded man dressed in brays and on the right a young man wearing a loin cloth, these two characters evoking loyal love, while the fresco could refer to the dedication of the two sons of Francis I, the latter indulging in the Spanish enemy in exchange for the then prisoner king in Madrid.

In the fifth northern span is visible the Vengeance of Nauplii (also known as the shipwreck, or Destruction of the Greek Fleet), in which Nauplii, in the foreground, kills the panicked Greek sailors. The frescoes of the frames illustrate Neptune and Ammon, while the frescoes of the empty niches are arranged on both sides. The central fresco could symbolize the misfortunes caused by treachery and vengeance, punished by divine wrath. This fresco would thus be a direct evocation of the treachery of the constable of Bourbon, the latter having rallied to the Spanish enemies.

In the sixth northern span is painted a fresco dedicated to the education of Achilles by the Centaur Chiron, in which we observe the young Greek hero performing a series of exercises (fencing, swimming, hunting etc.) with to the left of prisoners locked in a cage. This fresco would illustrate the education of Francis I and thus the ideal education of a Prince, while the prisoners illustrate the form of slavery  that would constitute the lack of education. The side frescoes represent giants attached to trees.

In the seventh northern span is visible the scene of Venus and Love at the edge of a basin , while Mars is gone to war. Three loves wear a shield, a helmet, and a spear. The stuccoes represent a young man on the left and a young woman on the right. Low reliefs depict a naval battle on the left and a cavalry battery on the right. This ensemble could evoke the military chief king, and his sadness at the idea of leaving his house of Fontainebleau (symbolized by Venus). Under the fresco is installed a tableau tin made in 1540, and representing a view of the Château de Fontainebleau with the gallery François-Ier and the Golden Gate.

The central span is painted by two oval scenes: in the north, the nymph of Fontainebleau,  made in 1860-1861, and in the south, Danae, with stuccoes representing female figures bearing fruit baskets. The side frescoes depict the chariots of Apollo and Diane.


In the first southern span is painted the fresco of ignorance hunted, with on the right the representation of Francis I as Roman Emperor, crowned with a laurel, holding a sword and a book. Ignorance, represented by blindfolded characters, is driven away. The stucco framing the fresco depicts two male and female satyrs and their children. This fresco could evoke the cultural policy of Francis I, as it helps to keep away the ignorance and thus places the king as a guarantor of knowledge. The two satyrs illustrate the result of ignorance, leading to vice.

In the second southern span a fresco illustrates Francis I as emperor, holding in his hand a grenade, while a child kneels to him with other similar fruits. The king is surrounded by military, bourgeois and peasants, dressed in Roman and Gallo-Roman costumes. This scene would evoke the king as a defender of the unity of the State. He holds a grenade, reputed to contain many glitches, that the king thus gathered. The diversity of the social classes represented in his entourage would be a reference to the universal character of his government, applying to all his subjects, while the ancient costumes would place Francis I as a new Caesar. The stuccos represent two entwined couples.

In the third southern span is painted the fresco of Cléobis and Biton, in which the two young men carry their mother and lead her to a temple. Stucco reliefs represent on the left Side in the middle of the plague, on the right the death of Cléobis and Biton, and at the center Pera nourishing Simon. All these scenes symbolised the love of Francis I and Marguerite of Angoulême for their mother Louise of Savoy.

In the fifth southern span is painted  the fresco of the death of Adonis. Adonis is figured in the foreground. Love escapes with his clothes. Venus is depicted on his chariot in the midst of a cloud. In the vicinity are the allegories of Fortune, Love (Eros) and adversity. The stuccoes represent on the left Cybele on its chariot with lions and a lioness, on the right an orgy scene, and in the center a chariot race. This central fresco symbolizing death and misfortune, as well as a violent passion, could refer to the death of the Dauphin François in 1536. The framing frescoes illustrate two entwined couples.


In the sixth southern span is painted  a scene drawn from a fable of Nicander of Colophon and illustrating the perpetual youth lost by men. You can see in the top left the god Mercury coming in front of men announces that Jupiter agrees to give them eternal youth. On the left are a group of young people, in the center the donkey bearing the youth is being watered while the snake removes the youth represented by the traits of a young girl. To the right finally are represented old men. To the framing of the fresco are shown on the left: young people entering a temple, and to the right: allegories including the backbiting, a woman with three heads surrounded by bees.

In the seventh southern span is a fresco illustrating the Battle of the Centaurs and the Lapiths. The stuccos represent young men blowing in trumpets. To the east, on the side of the bust of Francis I are painted violent scenes: Defeat of Pavia, captivity of the king in Madrid.

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

The city of Fontainebleau on the castle

The Fontainebleau tourist office on the castle:

The official Fontainebleau castle on the Francis I gallery

The Ministry of Culture of France on the Fontainebleau castle and Francis I gallery in French:

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle

There you go folks, a splendid gallery for all the glory of my belle France, well it was another castle dear to me too but this one can fit in too. A must when visiting France, go to Fontainebleau.

Again , hope you enjoy the tour; it is a must I repeat… And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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April 27, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXXX

And I am back at you with my series of some news from France. Again thanks for reading me over the years since 2010! It has been a wonderful ride alongside. We are now getting good signals to go out as the President will speak this week and all points out to May 8th, fingers crossed! Let me give some of my favorite current news in my belle France!!

The oldest bridge in Paris has just started the last phase of its restoration. Seven months of work will be necessary to renovate the Place du Pont-Neuf, on which stands the equestrian statue of Henri IV. Built between 1578 and 1607, the Pont-Neuf had already been the subject of restoration work. An eighteen-year project, completed in 2007, notably allowed the renovation of each of the twelve arches of this 238-meter-long bridge. This new restoration will also be accompanied by the installation of stained glass windows (as for the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché) in order to limit the installation of padlocks which distort and endanger the bridge (good deal!). Renovated at the factory, the guardrails will be slightly modified to accommodate the glass panels, while retaining their original appearance. The seven-month project will also be an opportunity to restore the retaining walls of the Place du Pont-Neuf as well as some masks ornament , cleaned and renovated.

Will the major redevelopment project of the Eiffel Tower sector win the approval of Parisians? In a few weeks, the OnE Site project will be submitted to residents not through a classic public inquiry, but through the unprecedented procedure of Electronic Public Participation (PPVE), which should allow Parisians to consult the overall project, and verify its compatibility with the town planning documents of the sector concerned by the ambitious transformation of the site, between the Trocadéro (16éme arrondissement) and the Champ-de-Mars (7éme arrondissement). The Friends of Champ-de-Mars, reinforced by the detailed remarks made by the Environmental Authority (AE), have therefore just sent them a letter and point to “inadequacies” in the OnE Site project, the work of which is supposed to start before end of 2021  Another wish of the mayor Mme Hidalgo that the locals are not in agreement….  

 Old quarries of Paris are far from being spared the risk of collapse. The undergrounds of the city may have been mapped for more than two centuries, Paris is not immune to sudden collapses, as last June in the 19éme arrondissement. Some 770 hectares of emptiness still remain under the streets of the cityl!

Walkers in the Champs-Elysées gardens in Paris may have noticed the renovation of a pretty old pergola, also called the vacherie Anglaise  or English cowhouse, as well as the bandstand. Near the Champs-Elysées roundabout, a pergola has been restored. Nice!

Parc Monceau, with its hundred-year-old trees, its romantic works , and a crazy charm. This mythical and very frequented park in the 8éme arrondissement of Paris, one of the most beautiful in the city with its remarkable trees and romantic sculptures, has long been the garden of a private residence. This antique-style colonnade, originally intended to adorn the tomb of Henri II which remained unfinished, has become the emblematic Naumachie, named after the ancient naval jousts, which adorns the basin of Parc Monceau. A must to see!

The Palais de la Découverte sparkles at the Citroën park. Colorful capitals pointed towards the sky, pine fences in the middle of a mineral decoration, for the moment nothing escapes from the small enclosure installed on the edge of the André-Citroën park (15éme arrondissement) and its “white garden”, (now Caroline Aigle garden), but the place promises to soon,. sparkles. This is the name of the ephemeral The The Palais de la Découverte or Discovery Palace, which will allow the historical museum on Avenue Franklin-D. Roosevelt (8éme), renovated with the Grand Palais, to continue to exist. Like the latter, relocated to the Champ-de-Mars (7éme) and almost completed, the scale-model Discovery Palace, since it is “only” 750 m2, is in the interior fittings of its structures. modular and all in wood, the 6 points of which give a playful side to this bituminous corner of the Balard neighborhood. In the meantime, the site is expected to open by June, at least before the summer. The interior fittings of Les Étincelles also have an air of déjà vu: a good part of the partitions, furniture and materials of the 82me palace could be reused to make something new with old. For example, oak parquet, the slats of which have been transformed into platforms, or partitions that have become straw mattresses, pieces of old platforms revalued in Mendeleev’s table of chemical elements! Under the marquees, visitors will in any case find the main of each universe of the Palais de la Découverte, from chemistry to geosciences, physics or mathematics, the animal world, geology on Mars etc. webpage:

To honor the Château de Chantilly (Oise dept 60), which is currently closed due to the epidemic, the auction house Christie’s has reconstituted in its lounges at 9, avenue Matignon (8éme), one of the most famous decors from the Chantilly estate: “La petite singerie” by Christophe Huet. Painted in the 1730s, these 6 paintings on wood represent life at Court, the originality being that the courtiers appear as monkeys!  This trompe-oeil decor is the backdrop for the exhibition of 400 pieces of furniture and decorative art from the 18C and 19C which will be auctioned off on Tuesday, April 27 from 10h30 . From the curvaceous and counter-curved console of the Marquise de Pompadour, estimated at 40,000 to 60,000 euros, to the mirror with gilt bronze frame and elephant ivory marquetry by Sarah Bernhardt 4,000-6,000 euros, There is something for every taste ! Of course, the Château de Chantilly does not offer anything for sale. The lots on offer come from castles, private mansions, collectors’ apartments located in France or in other European countries. Free access Friday, Saturday and Monday from 10h to 18h  and Tuesday from 10h to noon.

Vélib ’adopted a new price list this past Friday morning, which will come into force this coming summer 2021. The price increases will concern exclusively the rentals of electric models , victims of their success. The blue Electric Vélib are preferred to mechanical bikes by a majority of users. Therefore, pocket pays for the ecolos!

Now is the time to have sleepless nights and roll your eyes. Until April 30, series of meteor showers are expected and will be visible everywhere in France. This coming Monday will therefore be more of an opportunity to observe the pink super moon, while the other nights will be reserved for stargazing. The best time to go out? Very early in the morning, before the sun rises and when the moon is less bright … And if you find a quiet place away from any city light, it’s the best. Look east, and after about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adjust and you will start to see meteors, NASA says. Events not to be missed in the sky in 2021: The night of April 21/22: Lyrids – April 27: the Pink moon – May 26: Lunar eclipse – June 10: Solar eclipse – August 22: Blue moon!

We Demain made estimates with these experts on the places affected by global warming in France by 2050: where will the French live and invest? How will they adapt? For 2050, it is more or less clearer because we have figures, we know that we will have about one degree more in France. The factors of ” good living ” were calculated from several daily aspects of life , in the city as in the countryside, at work as at leisure, the general climate, the possibilities of agriculture, tourist areas, etc. Here are some results: The Yvelines would be, in 2050, a first choice destination for Ile-de-France residents to take a breath of fresh air, swim in a few corners of the loops of the Seine or take cool hikes in forests. We had already noticed this during these last heatwave periods: the Brittany region remains fairly untouched by heat waves. It is more particularly Finistère which would be more populated in 2050, bubbling with cultural life – the region would even become hyper touristy. The Normandy region would even develop ideal conditions to welcome its first Norman wine in thirty years. For the rest of the regions, it will be necessary to adapt to drier climates, to change the grape varieties to those that withstand hot summers and extreme heat. Provence OK, but in the off-season. The charm of the south of France may well wear off over time. The best times to live there would be Easter and All Saints’ Day, when temperatures will not exceed 35 ° C. The Mediterranean climate is said to have reached the region of central France, attracting many tourists to Mâcon, Dijon or Beaune. The lakes and waterfalls of the Jura will be ideal for cooling off. The Bay of Somme would replace the destination of the Arcachon basin, the air of which would have become too suffocating. Oh well, we are ok in Brittany as I have said!! More in French:

The Cassini Grand Paris application, 100% online and free, offers to explore the different maps of Paris that have made its history since 1731. It was launched by the Atelier Parisien d’Urbanisme (APUR): in total, you will find 19 maps.and you will be able to discover and understand thanks to the explanations accompanying each of them. Cassini Grand Paris is the name of the family of cartographers who produced the first topographic and geometric map of the kingdom of France in the 18C. Thanks to the map overlay function, you can easily compare the Paris of yesterday and today! Neat!! webpage:

The  pandemic is making waves in wine consumption. Repeated closures of bars and restaurants, muted events, limitation of tourism have shaken up habits. As a result, the volumes of wine drunk to the four corners of the planet fell by 3% in 2020, according to data published on Tuesday, April 20, by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). They reach the lowest level since 2002!, with an estimate of 234 million hectoliters.  In China, wine consumption plunged by 17% in 2020, which now ranks it sixth in the world among countries who adore the bottle. The Spaniards have also shown temperance with a decline of 6.8%. Conversely, the Italians increased the dose by 7.5%. So much so that Italy is now on the heels of France, ready to compete for the place of the second largest consumer country. Especially since, in France, as in the United States, a leading country, the number of sold glasses has remained stable. On the harvest side, the OIV estimates that the world’s vines produced 258 million hectoliters in 2020, a slight increase of 1%. The surprise came from the usual top three of Italy, France and Spain. Its bottling increased by 8%, to 165 million hectoliters, offering a rebound after a rather meager 2019 harvest. The wine triplet alone weighs 53% of global volumes!

And there you go folks, some news from France keeps kicking since 2010 thanks to you all! As said, I see the light at the end of the tunnel in order to travel again, so keep you engines running, this will take off like wildfire!oh by the way think of making reservations from now with the right to cancel as places will be tight ,the world will be out!

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

April 27, 2021

Church Saint Maclou of Rouen!!

Let me continue in wonderful Rouen and end this triology of nice church monuments there. The city is worth a detour for its history,architecture ,and beautiful monuments. We love it and look forward to stop by when possible again. Let me tell you about a nice area and its Church Saint Maclou of Rouen!!

Moving right along on this pretty tour of my belle France we arrive at a wonderful town always in my heart. On a still cold day but bit cloudy and no rain I will bring you back to Rouen, in Seine-Maritime dept 76 of Normandie!  And of course as the title says , I like to tell you a bit more on one of its gems, the Church of Saint Maclou.  The Church of Saint-Maclou  is in city center/ downtown Rouen, and is a marvel of Gothic architecture which we like a lot and always not only visit but walked by there each time in Rouen.

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A bit of history and construction I like

The Church of St Maclou is a jewel of flamboyant Gothic art built between 1437 and 1517. It has a west façade in which opens to a rose window.  In front of this façade is a five-bay porch arranged in an arc , surmounted by gables. . The three central bays are home to three gates, two of which are adorned with carved wooden doors, the work of the cabinetmakers of the Renaissance. The main portal is adorned with scenes of the Resurrection of the dead in his covings and a Last Judgement on his eardrum. The porch serves as a support, at the corner of rue Martainville and rue  Damietta, at a fountain (where we always walked by). The plan of the Church has a non-salient transept in relation to the lateral chapels. The church preserves the Norman tradition of the lantern tower it acts as a steeple. The 83 meters spire that raises up  dates back to the 19C; The ambulatory does not have an axis chapel and the choir has a four-part apse, the characteristic of which is to present a pillar in the axis of the church. The sacristy to the east of the church is a pastiche neo-renaissance, whose marble columns are authentic and come from Italy.

rouen-ch-st-maclou-tower feb09

The Interior of the sanctuary is designed to collect the maximum light and is therefore very clear. This is one of the reasons why we note the absence of capitals on the pillars of the nave and the Choir, we also notice the large size of bays that occupy all the space between the spans. The Choir, very renovated, did not recover its beautiful pre-war Baroque woodwork and only a chapel preserved it. The 18C beam of glory separating the choir from the nave has been preserved. One of the chapels south of the ambulatory was not rebuilt after WWII.  Few old stained glass windows have survived and those that can be observed are often mixed with modern elements. Note, however, the 15C Jesse Tree above the north gate, with a Jesse seated according to a habit born in Flanders, and above the south portal, a Crucifixion. On the reverse side of the western façade, there is a renaissance organ, whose qualities both plastic and sound are recognized.

In June 1944, the bombs dropped damaged the arches of the ambulatory and chorus. The steeple or tower-lantern threatens to collapse. Work continued and the Church Saint Maclou was partially restored to worship in 1965. The Choir was restored in  2000 and the Lantern Tower inaugurated again in  2007.

As a side mention, and just next to it, I like to tell you a bit extra for the Aître Saint Maclou.  The Aître Saint-Maclou is a former cemetery dating from the 16C, located 186 Rue Martainville. It is one of the few examples of such ossuary surviving in Europe, the Saint-Maclou cemetery dates back to the black Plague of 1348. As a result of a new plague epidemic in the 16C, it becomes necessary to increase its capacity. The parish then decided to develop galleries surmounted by attics, designed to contain the bones. The construction of the ossuary begins in 1526 by the west gallery the north and east galleries are built in the following years, they are completed in 1529 and 1533 respectively. It was finally the school of Fine Arts which settled there in 1940 after the fire of the Hall of the Cloths and welcomed 180 students at its premises, before moving out in the summer 2014. Today, the Aître Saint-Maclou host the Galerie des Arts du Feu which serve to discover the arts , the galerie d’art contemporain Telmah and a restaurant le Café Hamlet.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Rouen on the church:

The Rouen tourist office on the church:

The official Aître Saint Maclou

There you have it folks, all layout for you to have great fun visiting this jewel of the Seine Maritime and Normandie. And now you are set on this area of Rouen, the Church Saint Maclou and the Aître Saint Maclou offers plenty to keep you for half a day and on Rue Martainville there are plenty of quant old shops and restos to add to the fun.

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

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