Archive for May 20th, 2021

May 20, 2021

Some news from Spain CIIII

And I am back to my dear Spain and things there are moving right along with most opening again and ready for the big tourist season. I am in line to go in August21. Let me tell you the latest tidbits of Spain everything under the sun!

First the sad news. Visits to Spanish museums have fallen by 81% between the months of March and November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. These data come as a result of a survey carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Sports that reveals a smaller drop ( 73%) in the months of June, July and August, coinciding with the summer period. Now its catch up time for many..

The Abbey of the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos see post) returns 477 books withdrawn during the Franco dictatorship to the National Library in Madrid. Its about time as they were catalog since 1961 and were to be given much earlier. Now maybe a chance for us to see at the National Library by plaza Colon (see post).

And as stated earlier series, the action continues. The new presentation of the permanent collection of the Reina Sofía National Museum, the great project of the center in the last 10 years, and the great legacy of its director, Manuel Borja-Villel (who will leave office in 2023), is already on the walls of the fourth floor of the Sabatini Building, its original headquarters. The first episode of the new Reina Sofía is called Nos Ven: From Modernity to Developmentalism, it occupies about 2,000 square meters and includes pieces of architecture, design and art. They see us: from modernity to developmentalism begins as a cosmopolitan story and, room by room, it focuses on Spain: on the Spanish artists who have appeared in the world since the 1960s, but also on the sociological changes that the world experienced. country during the dictatorship. Latin America and exile will be the next extensions to the permanent collection. The first case will be one of those “looks to the south” that have become common in cultural criticism in recent years and it will gravitate around the coups d’état in Brazil and Chile and the triumph of the Chicago Boys. The only thing that will remain unaltered will be the central place of Guernica in the museum. Picasso’s great work will thus be a kind of Aleph, a place where all stories fit. It will be the Reina Sofía of the new generation.

Discovery in the Prado Museum!! The sculpture “Enthroned Praying Virgin”, dated in the 15C, is actually a work of the 20C!, as has been verified after carrying out an exhaustive technical study. The sculpture, made in polychrome alabaster and partially gilded, it was acquired by the National Museum Board in 1971 and classified as a piece of medieval sculpture belonging to the 15C Spanish school. For this reason, the Museum’s materials laboratory carried out the study of some microsamples of the sculpture. After this analysis came the surprise for the experts who were able to corroborate their suspicions, an error 500 years apart!!. The result of this investigation was to be made public at the congress “Alabaster As Material For Medieval And Renaissance Sculpture“, convened by the Louvre Museum for June 24 and 25, which has been postponed until next year due to the pandemic.

The most important paintings in Spain that you cannot stop by without seeing them and have posts on the museums.

Las Meninas (Velázquez). It is the masterpiece of the painter belonging to the Spanish Golden Age, which ended in 1656. Large (over 3 meters high), it is one of the most visited paintings in the El Prado Museum (Madrid). The central theme is the portrait of the Infanta Margarita of Austria, placed in the foreground, surrounded by her servants, “las meninas”.

Guernica (Picasso). The Spanish master painted this oil on canvas over seven meters long in 1937 in Paris, during the Spanish Civil War. It is one of the author’s most recognized paintings and one of the most important works of art of the 20C. It alludes to the bombing of the Basque city of Guernica, which occurred on April 26, 1937. It is on permanent display at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

The executions of May 3 (Goya). Francisco de Goya painted this painting in 1814 and it is exhibited in the Museo Nacional del Prado (Madrid). Represents the May 2 uprising of the Spanish population against French rule, at the beginning of the War of Independence against dictator Napoléon’s France.

Walk on the seafront (Sorolla) It is one of the most famous paintings by the Valencian painter, completed in 1909. Post-impressionist in style, it depicts his wife and his eldest daughter on the beach in Valencia at sunset. It is kept in the Sorolla Museum (Madrid).

The musician’s table (Juan Gris). Considered one of the masters of Cubism, José Victoriano González-Pérez, better known as Juan Gris, completed this painting in 1926, a year before dying in France. It shows his enormous fondness for music. At the Reina Sofía (Madrid)

The burial of the Lord of Orgaz (El Greco). It is considered one of the best and most admired works by the late Renaissance Greek author. Painted in 1588 for the parish of Santo Tomé de Toledo (where it still remains), it represents the miracle in which, according to tradition, Saint Stephen and Saint Augustine came down from Heaven to personally bury Gonzalo Ruiz de Toledo, lord of the town of Orgaz, as a reward for an exemplary life of devotion to the saints, their humility and the works of charity carried out.

Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon (Dalí). This oil on canvas by the Catalan master of Surrealism, made in 1941, represents a soft, amorphous face, supported by crutches, which Dalí considered to be his self-portrait. It is in the Dalí Theater-Museum (Figueres, Girona)

El aquelarre or coven (Goya). This oil on canvas from a fresco was commissioned for the recreation palace of the Dukes of Osuna, on the estate they owned in the Alameda de Osuna (today the Capricho park see post). Painted in 1798, it represents a coven ritual presided over by the Great Goat, one of the forms taken by the devil. It was acquired in 1928 by José Lázaro Galdiano for his private collection. It can be seen at the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation museum(Madrid).

In another museum news… In February of 2020, just before the confinement by the pandemic, the restoration began ‘live’, in public view, of one of the masterpieces of the Thyssen Museum: ‘Young Knight in a Landscape’ (c.1505), painted by Vittore Carpaccio. It is believed to be a posthumous portrait of the Venetian captain Marco Gabriel. Nice to see..

Did you know, iIn Europe there are a total of 35 historical gardens that have been listed as World Heritage by Unesco. Germany and Italy, with six sites each lead the list by country, closely followed by Spain, which has five: the works of Antoni Gaudí (Park Güell); The Alhambra, Generalife and Albaicín de Granada (Generalife Gardens); the cathedral, fortress and Archive of the Indies of Seville (Reales Alcázares); the cultural landscape of Aranjuez (Gardens of the Royal Palace); and the Palmeral de Elche.

Yes going up as the new group Luxury Spain, has teamed up with 130 partners linked to high-end brands, be they hotels, restaurants, clothing firms, art galleries or food products. They are all aware of what moves the luxury market in Spain. Exact figure: 6,590 million euros in 2019, just the year before the pandemic. This figure positioned Spain in fifth place at the European level behind France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. But the idea is to climb steps. Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella were the key points for this type of consumer, according to data managed by the Spanish Luxury Association. Regarding the profile of the traveler in this segment, they still go to travel agencies to book their vacations, they look for a program designed to measure, they demand an interlocutor available 24 hours a day in case something unforeseen arises during the trip and they usually spend an average of between 6,000 and 11,792 euros per person on each getaway. And they usually does a minimum of three per year. So says the study. The luxury traveler in Spain, prepared by the National Observatory of Issuing Tourism (Observatur) with the collaboration of Iberia and Gran Meliá. Luxury Spain webpage:

An icon of Madrid! El Rastro To begin with, the sales area is delimited (the stalls can only be located in the squares of Cascorro, General Vara del Rey and Campillo del Nuevo Mundo or in the streets Ribera de Curtidores, Carlos Arniches and Mira el Río Baja) and , therefore, also the movement of pedestrians. There is no visit to the Rastro without a good snack or a couple of them before lunch. The Bar Cruz (also known as La Casa de las Navajas; Calle Maldonadas, 1). It opened its doors in 1970 and is named after the family’s grandmother, María Cruz Calvo. The Casa Amadeo (Plaza de Cascorro, 18), the most traditional snail bar in Madrid. They are served in a clay pot, in a stew with chorizo ​​and its spicy touch. Today this tavern is run by one of Amadeo’s grandsons, but the patriarch stops by from time to time to chat with the patrons. For lovers of natural wines, Cascorro Bistrot (Plaza de Cascorro, 21), a bar with French wines that mixes restaurant, tavern and winery. Already on the corner with Calle Toledo, it is worth stopping at Los Tiernos (Calle Toledo, 73), the conversion into a modern bar of the mythical Onis cafeteria. Its owners are the same who run the Pavón Bar (Embajadores, 9) and its name is a tribute to one of Madrid’s most beloved mayors, Enrique Tierno-Galván.

The most beautiful wine cellars in Spain, my favorites!

González ByassTio Pepe. (see post) In the heart of Jerez de la Frontera, the Tío Pepe wineries represent a journey back in time: from the origin of Jerez wine to the present day. It is a landmark of the 19C winemaking tradition, with Andalusian patios, beautiful trellised streets , and spectacular centenary wineries where generous and brandies age. You should not miss the Real Bodega de La Concha, whose architecture is attributed to the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the boots signed by celebrities of all kinds or the small staircase supported by catavinos arranged on the albero of the old La Constancia winery, ready for the little mice taste fragrant wine and celebrate life in their own way. Address: Calle Manuel María González, 12 (Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz).

Marqués de Riscal. (my first wine drank ever!! way back!) This oenological complex, known as the Marqués de Riscal Wine City, is made up of several facilities, including two wineries and a five-star hotel with a spa. Of the complex, the original cellar from the 19C is striking, where La Catedral is located, the bottleling cellar where the oldest labels are kept, many from the first vintage of the house, dated in 1862; the El Palomar building, the second winery, renovated a few years ago without losing its 19C air, and finally the hotel, the impressive construction designed by architect Frank O. Gehry, covered in titanium and decorated with the representative colors of Marqués de Riscal : pink, like wine; gold, like the mesh of the bottles, and silver, like its capsule. Calle Torrea, 1 (Elciego, Álava).

Pazo de Señorans. Mythical Rías Baixas winery that presented its first vintage in 1989. The pazo, now converted into a winery, is a magnificent representative of the 16C Galician manor houses, built in the countryside, with all the charm and manor of yesteryear. In addition to the pazo itself and the vineyard, this winery has its own distillery in which good pomace is made. Address: Plaza Vilanoviña, s / n (Meis, Pontevedra).

Abadía Retuerta. An ambitious oenological project that combines monastic vestiges, a luxury hotel and remarkable wines. It is located in the heart of the “golden mile” of the Ribera del Duero, on the banks of the river. The abbey building that gives its name to the winery is a superb 12C convent restored with the utmost respect to house a luxury hotel –Le Domaine-, with 30 rooms, two restaurants and a charming wine spa. On the farm, which covers more than 700 hectares, it is possible to enjoy country snacks, tasting courses, horseback riding or helicopter tours. Address: Ctra. N-122, km 332.5 (Sardón de Duero, Valladolid).

López de Heredia Viña Tondonia. One of the pioneering wineries in the historic Barrio de la Estación de Haro (in La Rioja). Run by the López de Heredia family, it is perhaps the only one among the historical ones of this denomination that has not been tempted by technical innovations or allowed a nod to innovations or trends: if stainless steel, everything is vinified in centuries-old oak vats and old barrels. In the labyrinth of its historic buildings, the modern facility built for its 125th anniversary stands out, designed by the Iranian architect Zaha Hadid, which functions as a visitor center and shop, with a certainly avant-garde stamp. As a detail, it should be noted that one of the singularities that distinguish Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia is its cooperage workshop, since it manufactures 100% of the barrels it uses (the centennial Riojan company continues to acquire the wood in origin, the Appalachian Mountains in USA) and carrying out all the processes in their own workshop in order to preserve this tradition. Address: Avda. De Vizcaya, 3 (Haro, La Rioja).

And there you go folks another dandy some news from Spain! As said things are looking up , cheers up we are coming wait for us!!! You know this was a tourism slogan from the 80’s there, Spain everything under the Sun and it is. Enjoy it

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

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May 20, 2021

Parly II Shopping Center, yes!!

And now back to memory lane in my former area of living; plenty mentioned in my blog. We were visiting for a change in Versailles and of course needed to stop by our fav shopping center Parly II. I like to update this memorable post for you and me. Hope you enjoy it as much as I.

Well, you probably come from a country of big malls or shopping centers and these are rare in France, a centre commercial is all you get with a handful of stores anchored by a big Carrefour, E Leclerc or else spread over open space. Well ,we were lucky to lived for 9 years in Versailles (see my many posts), and we always shopped at Parly II in nearby across the street Le Chesnay. Now town officially Le Chesnay-Roquencourt. My boys went to middle school or collége here in Le Chesnay a very nice town chic a bit upscale and the mall is just an extention of it.

The shopping official address is 2 Avenue Charles de Gaulle. The  hours are 10h to 21h  Mondays to Saturdays, Sundays Truffaut is open 10-19h , McDonalds 9h to 22h and Pizza del Arte 11h30 to 22h30. and the best way to get here from Versailles other than driving is to take phebus bus network bus 1 from city center of Versailles at the avenue de l’Europe bus terminal corner with Avenue de Saint Cloud ,very close to the castle. The shopping center is served by 2 bus stops (Les Comtesses, Parly 2), Phébus bus 1 network of Versailles as maybe more but this one we took. Also the bus 19 of Transdev ïle de France stops at the Arboretum (see post) just across from the shopping center, and we took it to go from ave de l’Europe corner with Ave Saint Cloud in Versailles to the shopping center and back! Also, a few hundred meters down you can walk into the domaine of Versailles (palace ) by the Porte Saint Antoine (see post) and the hameau of M-A and the Trianons, where we did our walks/jogs! Awesome area and many memories! The Phebus bus network:

If you decide to take the car from Paris , take the A13 direction Rouen and get on exit :Sortie 6. Get on the D186 at Roquecourt direction Versailles, get around the arboretum bypass and see panel for centre commercial Parly II.


The restos here are plenty from Brioche Dorée, Laura Todd, Ellis gourmet burger , pizza del Arte, Paul boulangerie, McDonalds, and many service stores like the beforemention Lenôtre, Nicolas, Lindt, Jeff de Bruges, tabac, repairs of jewelry,and clothings, banks, travel like nouvelles frontiers.

The big Paris stores are here , all you need under one roof with class. Great department stores like FNAC, BHV de Paris, Au Printemps, Decathlon, Truffaut, Darty, Apple store, games like Micromania, Monoprix, Orange, Optic 2000, and cooking school of Lenôtre. Other stores like Armand Thiery, Alain Figaret,  C&A, Darjeeling, Father & Son, H&M, Gant, Hugo Boss, Ikks, Jules, Lacoste, Levi’s, MacDouglas, Massimo Dutti, Nocibé, San Marino, Sephora, The body Shop, Tommy Hilfiger, Toys R Us, Truffaut, Decathlon, Yves Rocher, and Zara to name some of my favorites.


You have carte cadeau or gifts cards, and can take your own Parly II card for discounts in the mall; events invitations, children animations, and guignol shows. Valet parking available. Free WiFi, personal shopper, children spaces with care, as well as baby changers, nurse on duty at level or niveau 0 next to PC securité. Reception for hire of taxis, chairs, etc, phone recharge outlets, car wash by the porte de la concorde Mondays to Saturdays 10h to 18h, photo cabinet Harcourt at level or niveau 1 Porte Vendome and 4600 parking spaces for free. Parking levels -3,-2, -1, 1,0, The best at level or niveau 1 by Porte Saint Michel entered right into the food court of goodies !!


Fully AC or heated yeararound with outside Cinema UGC to reopen with 12 showrooms as the previous one was a bit used and we love it underground!  Really for once a real mall ambiance and trés chic, you will love it while in Versailles, as we did/do!  Of course, even better we came in the Christmas 2016 period with all the wonderful decorations.




The Parly II officially opened in November 4, 1969 with 150 shops, it was the second largest shopping center in France. Designed for the automobile, it has extensive parking on two and three levels!. The shopping center includes a covered three-level gallery, in which are located branches of Parisian department stores (Le Printemps, BHV), many shops and cinemas recently reopened ) and modernized. It was enlarged for the first time in 1987 and covered 107,000 m2. The second extension was inaugurated in November 2017 increasing the commercial surface by 10 000 m2. In 2017, it has 187 stores.

At the same time as the shopping center, was built the condominium of Chesnay-Trianon (Parly 2). The largest co-ownership in Europe, it includes 7,500 homes for more than 18,000 inhabitants (the Parlysiens). And just behind this was my kids’s middle school!!! More on the residences here:

The now Westfield Parly II mall webpage:

There you go folks, if you like shopping ! and big malls , then this one was made for you. Easy out of Paris connection and local buses to take you here: best by car! A must for shopping in the Versailles area me think.This is eternal Parly II!!! Thanks for the memories of always.

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

May 20, 2021

The rue Jouffroy d’Abbans of Paris!!!

Now in nostalgia lane, this is a new post with an old picture of a very walked street in Paris by yours truly. The rue Jouffroy d’Abbans has a couple mentioned in my blog but feel for the close personal touch of it to us needs a full post in my blog. Hope you enjoy the story and do get around it.

The street very dear to me as go there many times for our Spanish groceries in Paris is rue Jouffroy d’Abbans in the 17émé arrondissement of Paris. I have written a post on the Cap Hispania (see post) store at 23 rue Jouffroy d’Abbans.

paris rue Jouffroy d'Abbans to cap hispania jul16

This street starts at 1, boulevard Pereire and ends at 80, avenue de Wagram. The crossroads with boulevard Malesherbes and rue Ampère is called Place du Nicaragua. The crossroads with Avenue de Villiers and Rue Brémontier forms Place Monseigneur-Loutil. This street closest public transport is the metro line 3 Wagram. The name of the street honors the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy d’Abbans, French naval architect, engineer and industrialist, inventor of steamboats.

I always drive to it coming on Bd Malesherbes turning left on Jouffroy d’Abbans towards the store. I find parking always passing it on Rue Cardinet around the park Square de Batignolles, and sometimes on the street itself. I did took a walk passed this area into the train station Cardinet for the L trains and metro line 14 for info. Last train station before the Gare Saint Lazare train station. I have, also, written on the marché des Batignolles (see post) here and shop for cheeses and sausages a couple times, nice place parking underground.

Some of the remarkable spots on this street other than my fav Spanish grocery store! Are at No 62 the home where Phillippe Gille lived and died. His son, pianist Victor Gille, was also born there. Philippe Gille had two balconies installed, one of them was taken from the house of historical Marat, the other from that where Charlotte Corday stayed when she arrived in Paris. At No 66 lived in 1885 the painter Thérèse de Champ-Renaud.

There you go folks, another nice place to walk away from the tourist hordes in an off the beaten path spot in my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy discovering the rue Jouffroy d’Abbans of Paris!

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

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May 20, 2021

Fondation Louis-Vuitton of Paris!

This I heard about it but not inclined to go at first. Then, in my glorious rides and walks in the Bois de Boulogne going to take my kids to the Jardin d’Acclimatation saw it! The modern architecture took me off again, but eventually came to take a look. This is the story of that encounter.  I am more for the historical architecture of old, much impressive and prettier ,however, for the modern part they did a good job here. Even if there was some legal rambling on how it was sponsored and the tax breaks it got going in cost from 100M to over 600M according to several sources in France such as the magazine Marianne.

It is another wonderful building to see in a beautiful park, and some interesting showing for the contemporary arts lover in us. I finally will say it is worth a detour while in Paris, and like I said the surroundings are superbe!!  The short story of it is that In 2006, the group LVMH gets the authorisation to build the Fondation Louis-Vuitton, designed by Architect Frank Gehry, on the site of the old bowling of the Jardin d’Acclimatation that was eventually demolished in 2014. The concession of the Jardin d’Acclimatation to LVMH is renovated for 25 years ending in 2041.

The location of the Fondation Louis Vuitton is at  8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi , 16eme arrondissement of Paris. Best is by the petit train at Porte Maillot and then walk to it but a more direct if less scenic is to get off at metro line 1 stop Les Sablons. Access with the Foundation shuttle, rotations every 15 minutes (last saw was 2€ ride).


Its objective of the Fondation Louis Vuitton is to perpetuate the patronage actions undertaken since 1990 by the LVMH group (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). The building object of the foundation is a museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry. The inauguration of the building took place on October 20, 2014.

As said, the building, built in place of a former bowling alley, a ticket office and a restaurant (Le Gehry), has an area of 11,779 m2 and exceeds 40 meters high: The ground floor is 9 meters high, area technique 6 meters high, a first floor 9 meters high surmounted by the volumes of skylights of 9 meters, surrounded by glass roofs that allow it to reach this height and to double its volume. In addition, to gain even more volume, a aquatic basin fed by a gently sloping waterfall and surrounded by a 7-meter peripheral diaphragm wall in console.

Totally funded by LVMH, the museum is dedicated to contemporary art. It has 11 galleries on three levels intended to present different collections, exhibitions, artist interventions as well as an auditorium with modular configurations. The LVMH Foundation is not just a center for contemporary art. It is also a place for debates, conferences, seminars, master classes and a welcoming stage for live shows, cinema, video ;etc. The auditorium can accommodate from 300 seats to 1000 standing places thanks to the various configurations.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official webpage of the Fondation Louis Vuitton

The official webpage of LVMH on the foundation:

The Paris tourist office on the Fondation Louis Vuitton

So, therefore, there you go folks ,another dandy in my eternal Paris. In addition to being in my fav 16 district of Paris and surrounded by beautiful park and activities the whole family will enjoy. Hope it helps your decision to come here and see it for yourselves.

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

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