Archive for June 22nd, 2021

June 22, 2021

In memory lane, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte!!!

Ah this is awesome, the beauty of my belle France in all its splendeurs! A must to visit and many have. Another wonderful castle in the dept 77 Seine et Marne east of Paris; another wonderful memory of my dear late wife Martine, and I traveling in her native department the beauty is amazing here and so close to Paris. We came here the second year after marriage in 1992 and have been coming here regularly in our visits and then while living in France. This is a wonderful story and a beautiful castle still in private hands! As I have plenty of posts on it will do this one as an introduction in my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Oh yes, I am talking about the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte.  I know many guides has it as a things to do from Paris because it is close, but it is way out from Paris nothing compares to the castle in Paris. You should see it on its own, stand alone property and plenty to see in the area. It is ,also not far from Disneyland and Fontainebleau in the same department of Seine et Marne no. 77. Region of Ïle de France.

Not to be confused as I know it well, been in my wife’s region and visited several times, one of our favorite castles, and friends of it too. This is the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, located in Maincy yes  a very small village in the Seine et Marne about 50 km or 30 miles from Paris near the town of Melun. The Castle was built in the 17C between 1658 and 1661 by ordered of the finance minister of king Louis XIV ,Nicolas Fouquet.  This finance minister had called upon the best builders of the times such as architect Louis Le Vau, first architect of the King 1656, the painter Charles Le Brun founder of the painting academy in 1648, the gardener André Le Nôtre, general building controller of the king 1657, and the master builder Michel Villedo. Their talent was already used by the king to built the Chateau de Vincennes between 1651 and 1653 and later used to build the Chateau de Versailles as the Vaux le Vicomte served as a model.

A bit of history I like:

On February 1, 1641, thanks to the dowry of his wife Louise Fourché, Nicolas Fouquet buys the lordship lands of Vaux to an adviser in the Parliament of Paris, François Nicolas Lotin de Charny, he chooses the castle due to the strategic position halfway between the Château de Vincennes and the Château de Fontainebleau, two royal residences, and because it gives it the title of viscount of Vaux. When Fouquet acquired it, this area was divided into two parts: a modest 14C Chastel and a farmhouse. The Chastel is surrounded by walls and ditches filled with whitewater. It is connected to the path between Vaux-le-Pénil and Sivry-Courtry by a drawbridge. The farm called Ferme de la Ronce is located behind the Logis, on the current town of Moisenay, to which it is connected by another drawbridge. It consists of two parts: in the northern part there is a press, a stable and a barn; The southern part includes the housing, a barn and a shepherd’s house.  The farm and the castle were not located at the site of the present castle. The territory where the present castle will be built is crossed by two rivers that intersect at right angles. One of them is the Anqueuil sung by La Fontaine and whose bed is located at the location of the Grand Canal. The terrain was little wooded, unlike today.

On 10 July 1660, the King and his wife Queen Maria Theresa of Austria stopped there. The Mr. Fouquet liked to received the greatest thinkers of his time such as Madeleine de Scudéry, Paul Pelisson or Jean de La Fontaine.  On July 12, 1661, Fouquet gave a feast in honor of the Queen Mother of England Henriette of France and, on August 17, another in honor of Louis XIV. This festival organized by François Vatel (the great chef of Chantilly) was of great splendour: performances using the most advanced techniques of the moment, representations of plays (including the Unfortunates (Les Fâcheux of Molière) and fireworks, were in particular the programme of entertainement.  On September 5, 1661, the king arrested the minister Fouquet at the end of a council held in Nantes. On the site of Vaux-le-Vicomte, all works were interrupted.  Before the claims of the minister’s creditors and while his wife, then exiled to Limoges ; the auction of his property was ordered; The sale of the furniture of Vaux and the residence of Saint-Mandé took place from 1665 to September 1666, after king Louis XIV had taken for himself many precious objects, tapestries, brocade fabrics, marble tables, vases of ruddy, etc. Paving tiles in white and black marble were transported to the Louvre, oranges in crates and thousands of shrubs to Versailles and the Tuileries.

Vaux le Vicomte, not confiscated, was abandoned by the creditors to Madame Fouquet in 1673 with the lordships of Melun and Belle-ile against the payment under ten years of 1 250 000 pounds of privileged debts. Exiled to Moulins, he was forbidden to return to Vaux, where his eldest son, Louis-Nicolas, officer, titled Count of Vaux, was able to settle down.  The latter received on July 15, 1676 the Marquise de Sévigné, who lived there with all the silent fountains and without a drop of water, because they were confiscated.  In 1684, four years after her husband’s death, Madame Fouquet gave the lordships of Vaux and Melun to her son, who from 1683, short of money, had sold to the King white marble slabs attributed to Poussin (at Versailles), then in 1699 antique and modern statues ,70 wholesale chestnut trees for Trianon and quantity of large carps for the basins of Marly.  In 1687, at 32 years old, he had married the 14-year-old daughter of the famous Madame Guyon, doctrinaire of Quietism, who came to live with the couple in Vaux two and a half years. In 1705, the second and last Fouquet holder of Vaux died without heirs in Paris. Peace returned, the castle received and gave feasts to Queen Marie Leszczyńska, in October 1728, then king Louis XV in July 1731, from Fontainebleau, came to visit the gardens and their fountains. Voltaire, very diligent with the young and seductive Duchess Jeanne Angélique Roque de Varengeville, 30 years her husband’s younger ,staged tragedies and comedies where she was performing with her guests in a theatre then set up. The famous Adrienne Lecouvreur stayed there in November 1724. There were, as in the Duchess of Maine with seals, sleepless nights to observe, the terrace or the beds, the constellations and the shooting stars!

The estate was not declared national property in the French revolution, but in accordance with the laws of the Convention, the village of Maincy and the Management board of the District of Melun ordered the intendant to hammered out  the arms of the pediment and its lions, as they were animals contrary to the laws, to burn of several painted portraits of the kings of France and tapestries bearing royal emblems, and breaking up busts of Roman emperors. In November 1793, before the notification to remove all the furniture from the front of the castle under eight days so that nothing opposes its demolition, the Citizen Praslin had the idea of donating to the Republic paintings and decorations of the castle, which made suspends the demolition, and the two Commissioners appointed to recognize and remove what would be deemed worthy of retention, felt that he deserved to be kept in recognition of those which it was saved. Lucky castle!!!

Fast forward to June 15, 1875, Alfred Sommier, a sugar refiner and art lover, after having visited it with his friend Bibliophile Gustave Guyot de Villeneuve, royalist prefect of Seine-et-Marne since 1873, impressed by the good state of conservation of Interior decorations of two centuries old, decided to preserve this global work of art, whose apparent bad general condition could cause fear of demolition. The only buyer auctioned by candle on the 6th of July, he then became owner in three lots: the castle and its park, its important villages and dependencies, and three farms, an area of nearly 1 000 hectares. General restoration of buildings was ordered from 1875 to 1893 as well as the gardens, and from July 1877 the Sommier family will stayed there every year from June to December.  On 30 June 1918, Georges Clemenceau, President of the Council and Minister of War, stopped on the way to the grand headquarters of the armies at the castle of Bombon, with the chief of his military office general Mordacq to see the Auxiliary Military Hospital No 23 created at the beginning of the war in the common by Germaine Sommier, born Casimir-Perier, with an exemplary X-ray installation, and where 1 115 wounded were treated. He had lunch at the castle and is photographed with the hospital team and general Mordacq on the porch overlooking the gardens.

The estate then belonged to Count Patrice de Vogüé, who received it from his father Jean de Vogüé, nephew of Edme’s spring (died 1945 without heirs), during his marriage in 1967. It is Patrice de Vogüé who opens the entire estate, park and chateau, to public visits: inauguration is made on 22 March 1968.

A bit official description (long but worth it) of the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte: (castle of the Viscount of Vaux).

The castle comprises a hundred rooms for a surface of 2 500 m2, spread over three levels under a roof of 3 500 meters. The Castle preserved from the traditional French feudal plan the rectangular platform surrounded by large moats of water, of which it occupies the south side. Two doors connected the dwelling to the rest of the garden. There are four pavilions, two rectangular-shaped, garden-side, and two other square-sided courtyards, which, seen laterally, still seem twins, a tradition of French architecture. In Vaux, the architect demonstrates innovation by arranging the interior space with a double row of parallel rooms with aligned doors or double body. This type of organization of a building has already been used by Louis Le Vau at the hotel Tambonneau in 1640 and by François Mansart at the Hotel de Jars in 1648, but is here applied for the first time to a castle.

Another originality is the living room called in Rotunda (from the Italian Rotonda ,a unique piece). The ensemble, formed by the vestibule and this large space, forms like a central span. This provision, also called Lantern, allows the visitor to have a traversing view in the axis Cour d’honneur-perron-vestibule-driveway in perspective of the gardens located on the other side, around which gravitate two autonomous parts endowed each of a staircase. In the ground floor, on the garden side, there are two apartments; one, destined to the king, is located to the left while the other, to the right, is that of Nicolas Fouquet.  The rooms on the ground floor on the courtyard are, in 1661, bedrooms supplementing the two apartments on the garden side; There is a room serving as a dining room, a piece that appeared in France in the mid 17C. The basement is partly buried, allowing the establishment of a mound plan. A longitudinal corridor crosses the basement, occupied by galleys, offices and officers ‘ chambers. The kitchen is the opposite of the dining room, but communicates with the buffet on the ground floor thanks to the longitudinal corridor. Two lateral corridors were added in 1659 on orders from Vatel, then maître de hôtel by Nicolas Fouquet.  On the first floor there is also a longitudinal corridor. At the place that corresponds to the vestibule was at the time of Nicolas Fouquet a chapel, side courtyard.  To the left are, on the courtyard side, the apartment of Fouquet, and the garden side, that of his wife, composed on a thickness of 12 meters of an antechamber, of a bedroom (main room of an apartment where the pets have free access, this is the place of the sociability where one sleeps, one receives and one takes meals there) and a work office bureau. Presently Madame Fouquet’s room is divided into two rooms, a Louis XV cabinet and a Louis XV room. The central lounge, called the “Hall of the Guards” from the 17-19C, is a unique piece in the history of French architecture: its originality comes from its oval shape, unusual at the time for a reception room.  The dome is supported by a series of 16 great terms sculpted by François Girardin, 12 bear the signs of the zodiac and 4, the symbols of the Four seasons. The floor consists of white stone and slate with a sundial in the center. The piece is decorated with 4 busts from the time of Fouquet representing Roman characters: Octavia, sister of Augustus, Britannicus, Octavia, wife of Nero, and Hadrian. The 12 other Roman busts carved in Florence in the 17C from the Villa Pompeian (destroyed) of Prince Napoleon, Avenue Montaigne in Paris.

The exhibition of Hercules, the antechamber of the apartment of Fouquet, is adorned with a painted ceiling of a scene representing a Hercules greeted by Olympus. The medallions and panels adorning the vaulted represent the 12 works of Hercules by Le Brun.  The Chambre des Muses or Chambre de Fouquet is decorated with a ceiling and a vaulted of Le Brun. This set represents the triumph of fidelity, a reference to the fidelity of Nicolas Fouquet to the king during the sling.  8 muses are divided into the four corners of the vaulted. Figures between the Muses represent the poetic genres. In the middle of the sides are the figures of the nobility and peace, as well as a victory of the Muses over the satyrs. The vaulted evokes the patronage of Nicolas Fouquet. The walls are covered by a support paneling and by 5 tapestries that make up the drapery of Diane’s story. The room also includes an alcove with a Le Brun ceiling representing the night. There is a chimney called “La Romaine” which, unlike the French chimneys, does not spring from the wall.

The small cabinet of the games, which was that of Nicolas Fouquet, features a ceiling of Le Brun representing sleep. The vaulted and the paneling are decorated with a set of various animals. The King’s Antechamber (current library) is unfinished; It is marked by the alternation of paintings and bas-reliefs: The central oval of the ceiling includes an 18C painting, because the project of Brown, unknown, has not been realized. In the center of the covings are 4 paintings: Diane stripping after the hunt, love and lightning, Achilles imploring Venus to return to him the shield that love stole from her, love and a Vine. The Mahogany library body dates back to the 18C. The angles of the covings include the figure of Fouquet.  The King’s Chamber (the tradition of arranging such a room when the royal Court was itinerant) is also unfinished: even if it is the most lavishly decorated room in the castle (Stuccoes raised with gold leaves including cast lions representing the Royal power, trophies), Louis XIV never slept there. On the ceiling is a painting of truth backed by time, and in glasses are represented gods symbolizing the genie of Fouquet: Bacchus for Abundance, Mars for value, Mercury for Vigilance and Jupiter for power. Leda, Diane, fighter riders, and Fates are present in octagonal medallions. The alcove of the room is not finished, as the ceiling is not painted, as is the Cabinet of the King: framed by convenient, a large Regency-style bed features an embroidered tapestry depicting the history of psyche. The dining room has a coffered ceiling, characteristic of French architecture. Each box receives a table; Four, enrolled in rectangular compartments and represent Apollo (fire), Diane (air), Flora or Ceres (the Earth) and Tritons and Naiads (water). In the octagonal compartments of the ceiling is each of the seasons. In the center of the ceiling is peace bringing back the abundance of Charles le Brun, referring to the peace of the Pyrenees (1659).

The 8 circular or octagonal medallions above the doors tell the story of Io. The arcade overlooking the buffet includes trophies of war and peace. The balcony does not date from Fouquet.  The square room would have belonged to Fouquet’s apartment. In 1661, 6 tapestries from Le Brun were hanged under a painting showing the siege of Fribourg commanded by Marshal de Villars.  The 1st floor (2fl US)  The room of the apartment of Fouquet is the only room on the first floor to have preserved its original decor. The ceilings of the room and the balcony are decorated with a dome-shaped sham. Mrs. Fouquet’s apartment was entirely composed of mirrors and included an antichamber, a bedroom and a cabinet. The room and the Antichamber were completely renovated in the 18C. The cabinet contains on the ceiling an oval with a painting representing the sky; Mrs. Fouquet’s coat of arms appears in the angles.

The gardens are gorgeous, with a maximum length of the gardens (from the Gate of honour to the Hercules room) of 1 500 meters and an average width of 200 to 250 meters, the park makes a total surface of 500 hectares and is enclosed by a wall of 13 km of ramparts. The arrival to the castle is done by a bilateral alignment of 257 plantain trees. The two lines of trees are very close to the pavement since they are only six meters away. With the size of the barrels of the trees, this causes an impressive tunnel effect; This 1 400 meters long alignment is a beauty to walk under it. The garden consists of three parts: The first includes a court and a front yard; the second part of the castle and stops at the small canals; and the third part consists of what is located beyond the small canals.

You have several webpages to help you plan your trip here ,which is a must me think are:

The official Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte: https://vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/

If you are really interested, see the Friends of the castle or Les Amis de Vaux-le-Vicomte : https://www.amis-vaux-le-vicomte.org/

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle: https://tourisme.seine-et-marne-attractivite.fr/676128-chateau-de-vaux-le-vicomte

The Ïle de France region on the castle: https://www.visitparisregion.com/en/chateau-de-vaux-le-vicomte

Just a gorgeous castle at Maincy, Vaux-le-Vicomte;  indeed and very much worth a detour if around the area whether in Paris or not.  Hope you enjoy it and appreciate the history and architecture of it. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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June 22, 2021

The shopping in Paris on discount!!!

A while back long do not recall the date exactly someone in my blog asked me to write something about where to get discounted brand clothing etc in Paris. Well , I am not an expert but I set out to search for these places and started noticing them as I passed by them in Paris. Finally , I wrote the post and it was well received. Now I am updating the stores and links and hope the new generation of readers will enjoy it too.

As said, shopping is one of the pleasures of France. It’s haute couture and fashion mode are tops and there is a plethora of designers creators that are not really still known outside of France but still coming along.  By popular demand online and on private emails, I will redo my listing updated of course of the best places to shop at discount in Paris with some notable exception elsewhere. Of course, you can read my previous posts on shopping for first line stores.

I did a similar presentation on a previous online travel site no longer in existence. We do shop for the middle names of Pierre Cardin, Daniel Hechter, Olly Gan, Jules, and some upper names like Lacoste, Hugo Boss, and Georgio Armani. However, our main line comes from Armand Thiery and we are very satisfy by the quality price ratio and the service in all their stores.

Here I will give some food for thought on your shopping days in Paris and elsewhere in France. These are all second hand discounted clothing stores in Paris. Of course, I have not been to all of them even most of them, but these are the stores that come up in any conversation with friends and or colleagues , when it comes to discounted and or second hand dégriffés stores in Paris. The stores are listed by arrondissement or district.

Paris 1er district we have

Stock Antoine et Lili, 17 Rue du Jour, these are past fashion period garments out of season that up to 50% off, we have been here. you come close on metro Pyramides lines 7 and 14. Several other stores in Paris webpage : https://fr.antoineetlili.com/

 One mentioned is Stock Ekyog, 1 Rue Montmartre, discounted to 50% open Mondays 14h-19h , Tuesdays/Wednesdays 10h30 to 14H and 15h to 19h30, Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays 10h30 to 19h30 you reach on metro line 4 Les Halles  webpage: https://www.ekyog.com/

 Going over to Paris 2éme we have

 La Marelle, 21 Galerie Vivienne , depot sale of luxury brands, ready to wear and accessories open Mondays to Fridays from 10h30 to 18h30, Saturdays 12h30 to 18H30, nearest metro line 3 Bourse; webpage :  La Marelle

 Stock Kookai, 82 Rue Réaumur, we have been here, articles from Kookai and previous years collection with discounts from 30-70% Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10h30 to 19h30, nearest metro linees 3 and 4 Réaumur-Sébastopol. Webpage: https://www.kookai.fr/collections/ventes-privees

In the Marais 3éme and 4émé we have

Stock Jonak, 44 blvd de Sébastopol discounts of 30-40% on previous years collections open Monday 12h-14h and 14h30 to 19h Tuesday to Fridays 10h45 to 14H and 14h30 to 19h and Saturdays 10h45 to 19h. Closest Metro line 4 Etienne Marcel Webpage : https://www.jonak.fr/

L’Habilleur, 44 Rue du Poitou, creators collection at discount prices according to season, open Mondays to Saturdays from 12h to 19h30 nearest metro line 8 filles du calvaire. Webpage; http://www.habilleur.fr/

Stock Zadig & Voltaire 22 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, been here good one, previous years collection at discounts from 30-60% open Mondays to Fridays 11h to 19h and Saturdays 11h to 19h30 Sundays 14h to 19h30 nearest metro lines 1 and 11 Hôtel de Ville. Webpage: https://zadig-et-voltaire.com/eu/fr

Stock Azzedine Alaia 18 Rue de la Verrerie previous collections at discounts from 30-90% according to collection chosen, open Mondays to Saturdays 10h to 19h nearest metro lines 1 and 11 Hôtel de Ville. webpage: https://www.visitparisregion.com/fr/stock-azzedine-alaia

Stock Sandro, 26 Rue de Sévigne , this one I have been and has collection from previous years and end of series sales , open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h30 -19h , and Sundays 13h -19h30; nearest metro line 1 Saint Paul Webpage: https://fr.sandro-paris.com/fr/boutiques

Another one been to is La Piscine , 13 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, several brands high styles upper prices clothings and accessories by the best fashion houses at unbeatable prices ,several branches in Paris. Open Mondays 13h to 19h30 ,and Tuesdays to Sundays 11h to 19h30,, nearest metro line 1 Saint Paul, webpage https://www.lapiscine-paris.fr/content/17-la-piscine-francs-bourgeois

André,168 Rue du Temple. Reduction of stock on previous collections of the brand André, open Mondays to Saturdays 9h to 19h nearest metro is République. Webpage: https://www.andre.fr/andre-paris-turbigo.html

Paris 10éme we have

Stock Claudie Pierlot, 6 Rue de Marseille discounts ready to wear, shoes etc been here good stuff. open Mondays 11h to 14h and 15h to 20h ,Tuesdays to Saturdays 11H to 20h and Sundays 13h30 to 19h30 nearest metro line 5  Jacques Bonsergent , webpage: https://fr.claudiepierlot.com/fr/boutiques

Bel Air Outlet, 22 Rue Beaurepaire , several locations in Paris and France, discounts open Mondays to Saturdays 10h30 to 10h30 nearest metro line 5 Jacques Bonsergent. Webpage: https://www.belair-paris.fr/storelocator

Karl Marc John Outlet, 65 Quai de Valmy, women and children, open Mondays to Saturdays 10h30 to 19h30 and Sundays 13h to 19h30. Several stores in Paris and France. webpage: https://karlmarcjohn.com/

Paris 11éme we have

Stock Sagone,(shoes) 44 Avenue de la République for shoes of all styles men and women, open Mondays to Saturdays 10h to 19h. They have several branches. The main one as stated closest metro Parmentier line 3.webpage: http://www.sagone-chaussures.com/site/article/affichageArticleType.asp?idsegmentationprincipale=0000002&idsegmentation=0000006

Jyvé Stock, 35 bvld de Reuilly, discounts and second hand from several brands and men and women, open weekdays and Saturdays 10h45 to 19h30 ,nearest metro line 6 Dugommier and Daumesnil lines 6 and 8 webpage https://www.jyvestock.fr/

In the Paris 14éme we have in just one street !!!

Stock Sonia Rykiel ,110-112 Rue d’Alésia, all about Sonia at 50% discounts from older collections, open Tuesdays 11h to 18h45 Wednesdays to Fridays 10h45 to 18h45 and Saturdays 10h4( to 19h, nearest metro line 4 Alésia; webpage Paris tourist office : https://en.parisinfo.com/shopping-paris/73729/Stock-Sonia-Rykiel

Stock Chevignon, 122 Rue d’Alésia, basic leather and old jeans collections with discounts of 30-50% off, open Mondays to Saturdays 11h to 19h nearest metro line 4 Alésia. Tel +33 (0) 1 45 43 40 25 no Webpage for the outlet the main brand webpage here: http://www.chevignon.com/

Stock Zapa, 139 Rue d’Alésia, discount models from previous years at great prices, open Mondays to Saturdays 10h to 19h30, nearest metro line 13 Pernety. Webpage https://www.zapa.fr/fr_fr/magasin-d-usine-alesia-3671.html

Stock Daniel Hechter, 92 Rue d’Alésia, mens and women of the fashion designer, been here and to the original store in Opéra as well as Tronchet, my business vest.. fyi, at the stock or outlet you have up to 50% discount from older models. Nearest metro line 13 Pernety. Webpage official brand, https://www.daniel-hechter.de/company/en

In Paris 18éme you have

Stock A P C, 20 Rue André del Sarte, discount of up to 70% on some articles and previous years collections, open Mondays to Saturdays 12h to 19h Sundays 13h to 19h, nearest metro line Château rouge. The surplus store is not mentioned in their webpage now so check if still there needed; it is in google. I will post their official Webpage: https://www.apc.fr/surplu-s.html

Moving on to Paris 20éme we have

Scalp Stock Weill , 12 blvd Charonne, , classic collection of Weill and Atika at great discounts open Monday 11h to 19h and Tuesday to Saturday 10h to 19h , nearest metro lline 1 , 2 , 6 , and 9 as RER A Nation,no webpage for outlet but shown in google . Store tel +33 (0) 1 43 73 10 85 main webpage on first line is herehttps://www.weill.com/en/

Then you have the Paris tourist office with a listing of many of them and more. https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/inexpensive-paris/savvy-shopping/big-label-clearance-stores

And if you have a car, east of Paris , by dept 10 Aube in the region of Grand Est you have the city of Troyes, and there around it ,you have several outlet stores of good value such as Marques Avenue, Marquescity and McArthur Glen all next to each other really.  I have visited them too and shop as well in around Troyes. The webpages are:

Marques Avenue: https://www.marquesavenue.com/troyes/centre/

Marquescity: http://www.marquescity.fr/marquecity-plan.php

McArthur Glen: https://www.mcarthurglen.com/outlets/fr/fr/designer-outlet-troyes/nous-rendre-visite/

Hope it helps your find, of course as you know, Paris has endless shopping opportunities and will be silly of me to tell you these are all or even the best. These are some and on some of them I have been the experience has been good. Hope it helps

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

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June 22, 2021

The Markets and a Garden of Paris!

And here I am cruising in my blog updating this wonderful memorable old posts, and again thanks for reading me since Nov 2010!! It has been a blast, and hope with the help of WordPress can continue the journey. This post will be on the black and white series, no pictures. Plenty of pics in the individual posts on those written on. The markets and a garden of Paris!!! Enjoy it as I.

And who would not come to Paris and do not visit a market day or garden? These visits for me is what Paris is all about ,more so than entering a building. This is real Paris , the eternal city of bustling people and beauty all around you. We will always have Paris. I like to bring up to date my previous posts on market and a garden. Why together well it rimes with from the gardens to the market to the table. And a lot more than just eating ok.

I know you might know, there are several gardens in Paris and I am sure we all have our favorite. Well for me this is the Jardin des Tuileries. (see posts) .Not only is historical, beautiful and stunning with a superb location ,but I also worked for several years in front of it practically on rue Castiglione. What better way to have a relaxing moment from work than to walked the garden , and then bring the family on weekends as well.

I like to give you once again a bit of history I like.

The jardin des Tuileries extends from the Louvre to the east to the place de la Concorde to the west and bordering on the north the rue de Rivoli, Place des Pyramides and on the south the Seine river. Lovely spot indeed.  The Arc du Carrousel built in 1806 in the jardin du Carrousel marks the entrance to the jardin des Tuileries as the Palais des Tuileries that enclosed the Louvre on the west side was burned down by the uprising commune in 1871 (later demolished by the city of Paris in 1881). Way back in 1519 king François Ier chose these lands that was occupied from the 12C by rooftiles factories (like those now on the roof of the Louvre still!). In 1553 Catherine de Médicis decided to lived in the Louvre and had a castle built, buying the lands of the Tuileries to do a park/garden Italian style with fountains, caves, greenhouse and petting zoo.  By 1664, Colbert ordered André Le Nôtre (the one of Versailles, Marly, Saint Cloud, Saint Germain) under King Louis XIV to designed the gardens. Of course, Monsieur Le Nôtre was born in the Tuileries ! and it was a work of him that attracted the attention of Catherine de Médicis to do the garden name after the rooftiles factories or Tuileries. You have in the gardens the museums of Jeu de Paume and Orangerie.  The metro Tuileries here on line 1 entrance along the garden on rue de Rivoli has two stairs with pockets in portrait style on the entrance and exit.

The city of Paris on the Jardin des Tuileries in French: https://www.paris.fr/equipements/jardin-des-tuileries-1795

The Paris tourist office on the jardin des Tuileries in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71304/Jardin-des-Tuileries

Now, let me tell you about the markets of Paris; a must to visit, one several better. There are of all types and uses, and I like one that is not a popular tourist stop but it is a nice neighborhood of Passy in the 16 district of Paris. But, first let me tell you about some others I like. Please check times as these can change under the new world rules….

The market or Marché Saxe-Breteuil  with the best view of Paris. It is all along the Avenue de Saxe in the 7éme arrondissement and one of the particulars is that it has a wonderful view over to the Eiffel tower. The market is at Avenue de Saxe 7éme, Métro : Ségur,line 10. Open Thursdays and Saturdays from 7h to 14h30.

The market or Marché des Enfants Rouges, the oldest in Paris since 1615. Huge guinguette or party ambiance for this historical market lively, quality, authentic at 39 Rue de Bretagne, 3éme arrondissement  Métro Filles du calvaire, line 8. Open Tuesdays Wednesdays, Thursdays from  8h30 to 13h ,and 16h to 19h30; Fridays and Saturdays from 8h30 to 13h ,and  16h to 20h; Sundays from 8h30 to 14h

The market of Marché de Belleville, very cosmopolitan.  An not typical market located between the metro stations of  Ménilmontant and Belleville, offering food of first quality and fresh known for that. Another point is that you find many second hand products that went unsold of the huge Rungis central market at unbelievable prices. Located at  63 Boulevard de Belleville, 11éme , Métro line 2  Couronnes or Belleville also line 11.

The market or Marché d’Aligre, lively and friendly. One of the best in Paris but with a bit of disorder and for that Parisians love it. It is a symbol of the 12éme arrondissement located at 3 Place d’Aligre, 12éme  Métro line 8 Ledru-Rollin. Open every day except Mondays from 7h to 14h

The city of Paris on its markets: https://www.paris.fr/pages/les-marches-parisiens-2428

Now, let me tell you about the Marché couvert de Passy (covered market of Passy). I go by here often when coming to Paris and even take walks around and that is how one day I found it, and becomes the nostalgic market for me when sneaking into Paris before the pandemic.

It is a huge structure  dating from the 1950’s with big metallic poles holding it. The shopping space is small  with maybe 20-30 merchants inside. All very quant lively and nicely decorated stalls such as the ones for Alain et Francine au Petit·Maraîcher (vegetables) , Les Galets d’Etretat (cookies) , Au panier.de Nicolas (goodies) etc.  We find everything here from butcher, charcutier , feather birds, rabbits, ready take out food, flower shop, pharmacy, with very high quality. At the end you find the fish market or Poissonnerie de Passy with a good reputation for good product, service and price even if a bit higher than elsewhere you get beautiful fishes and seafood here with tastings available!  There is a Portuguese corner and the produces from there like chouricos and cold cuts in a rustic quaint stall,and you could purchase the pottery from the country in blue and white. There is the cheese maker affinity  Androuet  and just wonderful selection even of English cheeses from the house of Paxton and Whitfield, supplier to the Queen of England in person !  And of course French cheeses from the country to watered your mouth ! I am already there lol!!  Located at  16,  Place de Passy  Tél. +33 (0) 1.48.85.93.30/ Metro line 9 La Muette just around my favorite Parisian resto La Gare!! even VTers  went there with me ::)  Open all year and from 8h to 19h. Closed Mondays, and closes between 13h-16h as well as Sundays afternoons. I just hope to find these people there when back in Paris after the pandemic.

The Paris tourist office on the Passy market in English: https://en.parisinfo.com/shopping-paris/73871/Marche-couvert-de-Passy

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the ride on a wonderful part of visiting , living, rejoicing in Paris. Just the post makes me go and visit again!!! Enjoy the markets and a garden of Paris!!! And remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!!

June 22, 2021

The Historical and Magical spots in my Versailles!!!

Ahh love these rounds updating older posts in my blog. So much memories flashing back again and never forgotten. Versailles is historical and magical and more.. I just will tell you in my black and white series, no pictures. So , sit back and enjoy it with me the historical and magical spots in my Versailles!!!

Thinking of my beloved wonderful Royal Versailles again. Well, it was one of the best moment of our family life and the entry into France for us Franco-Americans with Spanish heritage gang.  There are three spots in Versailles that the public do not go enough. The city of Versailles once contacted a survey company and found that 98% of the visitors to Versailles only come to the Palace/museum; and the rest of Versailles? There is plenty to see in the city on its own, nothing to do with things to see from Paris. This is a complementary entry on my Versailles!!! By the way, posts have beenn done individually on these wonderful spots.

One of them is the Arboretum. An arboretum is a botanical garden with many trees of different species put together like a collection in themes. They are older arboretum in Europe because the history has a twist. …the victors side. The first one in France is credited to Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau , a doctor, botanist and agronomist in the 17C.

However, I like to tell you about my Arboretum ; the one Arboretum de Chèvreloup, located in the town of now Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt, in the Yvelines dept 78 and just next to the back of the Domaine of Versailles. This is now part of the National Museum of Natural History and has an area of 200 hectares with over 2700 species of trees, greenhouses, and vegetable trees.  The park is divided into four thematic zones; the geographical zone with 120 hectares align by geographical area such as Americas, Asia, Europe etc. , the zone systematic in 50 hectares according to their botanical classification, the oldest trees open to the public; the zone horticulture in the center of the park with about 25 hectares of different varieties issue from an artificial selection, and the garden area of about 2 hectares where the trees are raised and exchange with other arboretums and botanical gardens.

The bit of history I like, and the most convincing to me for visited across from the shopping center Parly II (see post) and back adjoin to the Château de Versailles, is that this park was acquired in 1699 by king Louis XIV that encloses with a wall and served as a hunting ground.  This garden was destroyed upon the death of king Louis XV. At the French revolution like everything else, the goods were confiscated, and the farm on the opposite end of Gally-Chèvreloup  (it is still there since 1741 ferme de Gally by St Cyr l’école! see post!) was sold to private persons. emperor Napoléon 1er buys the lands in 1806. By the 19C and early 20C, the bad maintenance and small spaces of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris made come up with an idea to use the collection of trees ,and in 1922 ; the conservator of the Domaine de Versailles ,and architect at the National Museum of Natural History named Chaussemiche  established a project called  “Le Jardin de Jussieu, annex du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle” or the Jussieu garden annex to the National Museum of Natural History. The current park was created in 1927, while it was attach to the national museum of natural history.

It’s official webpage for the Arboretum de Chevreloup in French : https://www.arboretumdeversailleschevreloup.fr/fr

On the site of the National Museum of Natural History , there is a story and video on the Arboretum in English: https://www.mnhn.fr/en/visit/lieux/arboretum-versailles-chevreloup-arboretum-versailles-chevreloup

Another site that should be visited more is the Parc Balbi.(see post). The parc Balbi is an English style garden located next to the Potager du Roi (see post) with free access on the street or rue rue du Maréchal Joffre. It is a park of many species of tress and flowers, foxes, butterflies, bees, birds and reptiles like green lizards.

The story really starts in 1785, when the Count of Provence (brother of  king Louis XVI and future king as Louis XVIII) buys the land to create a park for a country retreat and welcome his inner circle as well as mistress  Anne de Caumont La Force, Countess of Balbi (from which the park garden takes its name)  By 1786, the garden is done with a keen interest of the Count of Provence. In 1791, the Count and Countess of Provence need to go into exile and abandoned the garden (due to the French revolution). By 1792, the rare trees were taken to enriched the collection of the Jardin des Plantes in the National Museum of Natural History in Paris as usually Paris takes all. By 1872, the Great Seminary buys the garden and does works of renovation and conditioning. Again, by 1907 the school of Jules Ferry is established in the park with a door connection between the park and the Potager du roi done in 1914. The park is handle now by the same management as the Potager du roi, the National Superior School of Horticulture (created in 1873).

More on this wonderful parc Balbi away a bit from the castle that my family really enjoyed is at the tourist office of Versailles:  https://www.versailles-tourisme.com/parc-balbi.html

And as already mentioned, why not tell you about the Potager du roi. (see post).  The potager du roi  is a vegetable garden created in 1683 in the Chateau de Versailles property at the time for king Louis XIV and done by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie at the time director of the Royal gardens ; later an urban garden with an area of 9 hectares.

The land here was of good quality , coming from the hills around Satory and after several work on masonry terraces and high walls done by architect Jules Hardouin Mansart.  The potager or vegetable garden is on the side of the water pond named the la pièce d’eau des Suisses or the pond of the Swiss; for the Royal guards), and not far from the Orangerie. The king entered by a grill monumental gate  that gave over the Piéce d’eau des Suisses  (where you can still see the only statue erected to king Louis XVI still standing!) (see post) . This gate is one of the most beautiful in Versailles and rare that it is an original!

It is divided into a central area dedicated to the vegetables or the great square or  grand carré with 3 hectares of area , and an area surrounded by high walls and about a dozn rooms or garden housing vegetables and fruits in turn surrounded by trees of apple, pear especially. It counts with  fruit trees of about 4500 trees with more than 400 different varieties, producing in a bad year about 50 tons of fruits and 20 tons of vegetables; part of it sold in the welcome boutique, especially on Wednesdays morning.

The place is in disrepair with about 40% of the trees ,sick and dying.  The latest report mentioned that of the  4500 trees of 468 different varieties about 40% are sick, dead or dying… Here comes the Americans to the rescue again.  The school of horticulture that managed the garden has ok and received approval from the World Monument Fund (WMF) an charitable organization based in New York  that can provide technical and financial assistance to heritage sites like this one. Their webpage: https://www.wmf.org/project/potager-du-roi

The official webpage of the Potager du Roi in French: http://www.potager-du-roi.fr/site/potager/index.htm

The Versailles tourist office on the Potager du Roi in English: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/visit-and-explore-versailles-the-royal-town/a-town-to-discover/the-king-s-vegetable-garden

Hope you have enjoy the ride into the unusual, historical,and magical spots of my beloved Versailles. We have a lot more to show you in VERSAILLES.  And remember, happy travels, good health, andn many cheers to all!!!

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