Archive for September 3rd, 2021

September 3, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLII

Well is that time again, need to tell you about some news from France. As you might know, September is the rentrée or re-entry month where we all come back from our long vacations and things begin to groove again, like school is back and in other times conferences, conventions were galore. OF course, this year will be less but nevertheless, its still rentrée in France. Now for the news…

In the interests of ecology, metro tickets will gradually disappear. And we are starting next October 2021 with the end of the book of 10 tickets, sold until then for 16.90€ (compared to € 1.90 per single ticket). They will give way to dematerialized transport tickets which will be loaded onto an electronic card. For now, it will still be possible to purchase single cardboard tickets. This card, therefore, called Pass Navigo Easy, can be bought for 2€ at the terminals and can be recharged at will. Unlike the Navigo Pass that we know, it is non-nominative and can be lent to other travelers. The purchase price of the card will be quickly refunded, since the notebook will cost 2€ less on it than with cardboard tickets. RATP webpage:

The Fun fair of Neuneu (old name but folks still call it,now is Bois de Boulogne) is back at the Bois de Boulogne until October 17. More than a hundred stands are set up between the Rond-Point de la Porte de la Muette and the lake in a wooded setting with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The opportunity to find the ghost train, the bumper cars or the “little Fousset”, troubadour who scrolls on the stage of his trailer a swarm of endearing and funny characters. And discover new attractions such as the Booster Maxx or the Surf Party, reserved for thrill seekers, or the India caterpillar. webpage:

No more long lines of customers going up the Boulevard Rochechouart (18éme), their arms laden with pink gingham plastic bags. Although taken over in 2017 by the GPG group (Gifi), old venerable store Tati, already challenged by the arrival of new inexpensive ready-to-wear giants, has not withstood the Covid crisis. In July 2020, the announcement was made of the permanent closure of the historic store, despite an investment plan of 150 million euros. Now, future historic Tati building in Barbès 18éme, will be renovated with shops, a restaurant, a hotel, and housing. One to look at once done. See the store online for now:

The opening, in the heart of the Marais, of a free dog park has turned into a standoff between residents and animal owners to the detriment of the latter. Dog lovers accuse the City of neglecting the canine cause. Oh Paris is not going where it should lately. Don’t dispair , there are several parks for dogs allowed in Paris; see them here:

Canceled last year due to the health crisis, the Les Coleurs du Val d’Oise fireworks festival returns this Saturday at the Enghien-Soisy racecourse, for its thirteenth edition. For nearly two hours, spectators will be able to immerse themselves in the world of Chihiro travel, a classic of Hayao Miyazaki, Arthur and the Invisibles, Mulan or even the Snow Queen. webpage:

This is the 35th store opened in France and the only one to date in Ile-de-France in Provins, Seine et Marne dept 77. By renting a stand for one to several weeks, salespeople benefit from the duration to sell clothes, objects and furniture, in addition to certain free services. Location, Au Vide Grenier, 3 avenue de la Voulzie facing Feu Vert auto store. webpage:

Carrefour launches into the battle for discount in Île-de France with its Supeco brand, already established in the North and East of France. It is Carrefour’s anti-Lidl weapon . The first Supeco in the region opens this Wednesday in Buchelay, in the Yvelines 78. webpage:

The Museum of the Great War opened its doors on November 11, 2011. This weekend will be held the traditional historical reconstruction open to all and free, More than 300 enthusiasts of everything related to the First World War will reconstitute, this weekend in the immediate vicinity of the museum of the Great War in Meaux, scenes from the First Battle of the Marne, which took place from September 5 to 9, 1914 a few kilometers away. On the program, vehicles of 14-18, soldiers in uniform from several countries and air battles with vintage planes, because the place of memory opened on November 11, 2011 – 11/11/11! – and announces what visitors will find there over the next twelve months. The first, which will be inaugurated on November 11, will look back on ten years of donations. The collection of Jean-Pierre Verney (the one behind the creation of the museum) numbered 50,000 objects. Today we are at 70,000 objects. The second exhibition, which will open in March 2022, will focus on trench systems. This will explain that they have existed since the dawn of time. But the trenches of the Great War resulted in the evolution of weaponry and had an impact on men. Museum of the Great War, rue Lazare-Ponticelli in Meaux. Information on +33 (0) , I say a must to see; webpage:

The castle of the pediatric center of Loges-en-Josas ,Yvelines 78, selected for the Loto du patrimoine,(heritage lotto to finance their renovations) by Stéphane Bern, the pediatric center of Côtes .The site accommodates, in the 19C building, children who have undergone major surgical operations. A nice wonderful work and pretty building that now will be save for generations to come and Children to benefit from. It’s worth seeing it for its architecture. webpage:

Through rare period drawings, the new exhibition at the Musée Condé (Chantilly castle) allows us to decipher the arrival of the Italian Renaissance movement via the construction of the Château de Fontainebleau and its influence on French art. As part of this new exhibition, the Musée Condé has unearthed some fifty pieces from the Fontainebleau school in its graphic arts cabinet. They are visible until November 7 2021. We must first go back to 1528 when King François I left the banks of the Loire to launch a major project to embellish his Château de Fontainebleau. He brings in the greatest artists from the peninsula to transform the place. These painters and sculptors popularize a formula called to great success, what will be called much later “the school of Fontainebleau”. These masterpieces were brought together by Henri d´Orléans, Duke of Aumale, former owner and legatee of the Cantilian collections, who had a strong interest in the French Renaissance. Son of King Louis-Philippe, he stayed regularly in his youth in Fontainebleau and was inspired by it for the reconstruction of Chantilly. Near his home, the Duke also regularly had the opportunity to admire one of the rare period frescoes preserved in France, at the Abbey of Chaalis. Le trait de la seduction, Drawings from the Fontainebleau School, until November 7 at the Graphic Arts Cabinet of the Château de Chantilly. Exhibition included in the 1-day ticket (Castle, park, Grandes Écuries, temporary exhibitions) Full price: 17€ webpage:

Immersed in the “ghost” Saint-Martin metro station, closed to travelers since 1939, forbidden to the public at the start of WWII, this station, located between Strasbourg-Saint-Denis and République and where lines 8 and 9 intersect, offers a maze of mysterious and fascinating corridors, On the forecourt of the Renaissance Theater, a stone’s throw from the Porte Saint-Martin (see post), a discreet staircase leads to one of the metro’s most secret places. The “ghost station” Saint-Martin, offers a fascinating dive into history. In 1999,the transport network RATP renovates the station as a solidarity space of insertion managed by the Salvation Army charitable organisation to help the poor entered society. Pass by it take a look worth for the history. This is Paris!

On September 18 and 19,2021 the European Heritage Days will allow you to discover unusual places: embassies, factories, stations, palaces … these visits are often taken by storm, but reservations are possible to avoid the queues , Each place defines hours and conditions, as it is Covid-19 reservation policy … the novelty this year for the Heritage Days will also be the requirement or not of the health pass to access the places according to the reception conditions (open air or not , visitor level greater than 50 people, etc …), Information webpage:

From the post-war period to the Pantheon, Joséphine Baker born in Missouri USA in 1906, her real name Freda Josephine McDonald, naturalized French in 1937; this artist and figure of the Resistance will be the first black woman to enter the Parisian necropolis, On November 30,2021 Joséphine Baker (see post) will become the first black woman to enter the Pantheon.(see post) A decision taken at the end of August by Emmanuel Macron to honor the memory of the Franco-American singer, icon of the Roaring Twenties. Suffice to say that the artist, nicknamed “the black Venus”, experienced her greatest hours of glory long before the creation of the newspaper Le Monde (text taken from it) , in 1944. It was not until 1949. webpage:

Taste of Paris! Located in the heart of the ephemeral Grand Palais, this festival will take you to discover local products, their artisans and their know-how. The appointment is given. From September 16 to 19, 2021, Taste of Paris takes over the ephemeral Grand Palais to offer you signature dishes from forty great Parisian chefs, but also ,and above all, products from producers and artisans from all over France. A real godsend for all those passionate about cooking and good wines! Webpage:

The Harry Potter pop-up store is taking up residence,in the Marais Paris by next December 2021 (site says july 31 but you know covid). The Wizard’s Shop, entirely dedicated to this universe. You can find a large selection of board games, toys and other goodies on the theme of the wizarding school, scarves and accessories to wear the colors of your house, stationery or even the mythical wands from Ollivander, and even some of the most popular candies among wizards like chocolate frogs or Bertie Hook’s surprise dragees! All within an absolutely magical setting. Beautiful collector’s items will also be present, as well as exclusives such as mystery boxes by houses. The decoration of the shop will be directly inspired by the great room and the common room of Gryffindor, to transport you even more to Hogwarts. The Wizard’s Shop, 130 Rue de Turenne 3éme; opening hours so far will be Tuesday to Sunday from 11h to 19h. However, I see we have a closer store in Nantes! webpage:

At the start of 2022, Serge Gainsbourg’s famous house will be transformed into a museum to the delight of nostalgics and other curious people. Located at 5 bis, rue de Verneuil, 7éme, The Gainsbourg house or at least its facade is well known to residents, but few people have had the chance to enter it. For the 30 years of the artist’s death, Jane Birkin has nevertheless confirmed that this mansion will be transformed into a museum, The museum will be accompanied by a bookstore-boutique, a piano-bar at night and a café baptized “Gainsbarre”. The opening of the ticket office is already scheduled for this fall 2021. webpage:

There you go folks, a load of goodies in my belle France. WE all got the health pass already so now figuring where we go lol!!! So many choices yikes! Hope you are all doing well and ready to travel again. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 3, 2021

The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela of Madrid!

And now taken you closer to the Manzanares river and mostly off the beaten path of my beloved Madrid. It is far from the center and best on foot as we did. Lovely area with many cultural and sporting activities for the whole family. Something different in Madrid. In fact ,came searching for Madrid Rio (see post) and end up finding this gem. There is another crystal palace in Madrid, guest where? However, this one is unique and glad found it!! You never know about Madrid!  Let me tell you a bit about the Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela !

The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela or Crystal Palace is located on the premises of what was once part of the Municipal Slaughterhouse of Arganzuela and has an area of ​​7,100 m². It was popularly known as the Nave de Patatas or potato warehouse, and its large rectangular structure of steel profiles are preserved, which is used as a botanical museum with plants from various parts of the world. It is located on Paseo de la Chopera, next to the Manzanares River, the municipal slaughterhouse was built between 1908 and 1924 as Slaughterhouse and Municipal Cattle Market.


This museum greenhouse part has four closed areas creating four microclimates. Two of them house the most characteristic plants of the tropical climate, other those of the subtropical climate and the remaining one houses cacti and all the species related to the desert climate. All this exotic landscape is also surrounded by small fountains. Closed as a slaughterhouse in the early 80s, it currently houses various cultural units of the City of Madrid, as well as the headquarters of the Municipal Board of the District of Arganzuela.

In 1992 the conversion of the Nave de Patatas or potato warehouse was carried out. The Palacio de Cristal de Arganzuela opens on December 21, 1992. The palace is free to visit and its exterior is surrounded by gardens and swings.

The Crystal Palace Greenhouse, houses 9 000 species of plants that are presented in four perfectly differentiated biotopes, each with a different microclimate, housing four different kinds of plants: Tropical flora, Subtropical flora, Crass and cacti plants and Plants of cruise and water. But not only can you enjoy its many plants but the Greenhouse also houses fountains and waterfalls populated with fish and birds.


Next to the greenhouse until 2008 there was a Dalieda (outdoor garden dedicated only to dahlias, and the collection had more than three hundred varieties with about 3,000 copies), this space since 2012 and after the works of reconditioning of the environment with the Manzanares riverbank park (Madrid Rio), it has been reconditioned as an asphalted area for roller skating. Specimens of dahlias that were cultivated were distributed between the Real Jardines Botanico or Royal Botanical  Garden and the Dalieda of San Francisco. A peculiar park is known as “Las vistillas”, as is in the highest area of ​​Madrid of the Austria’s area, near Church San Francisco el Grande (see post) and the views are privileged to the city. Address: Gran Vía de San Francisco, 29).


The Madrid tourist office on the Arganzuela palace greenhouse:

Again my long link sorry of the City of Madrid on the Palacio de Arganzuela

There you go folks, another off the beaten path of my dear Madrid. Hope you enjoy this Palacio de Cristal of Arganzuela in my beloved Madrid; nice different and in up and coming popular area of Madrid.

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

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September 3, 2021

Jardines Sabatini and a Moro of Madrid!!

Going back to my beloved Madrid again. Many places of youth still revisited every year. Now let me tell you about a wonderful garden not far from the Palacio Real or Royal Palace.  The Jardines Sabatini are a great place to be not only for the location but also, the silhouette of the slopes in it giving you a wonderful view of the Royal Palace and Madrid afar. And then near is the Campo del Moro or moors’ field! a delicate park to enjoy by the families of always!

The Sabatini Gardens in the classicist style were created in 1933 in the spot that occupied the stables built by Sabatini for the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) , hence the name. Located in front of the Royal Palace’s northern façade, the gardens were completed in 1978. It was king Juan Carlos I who opened the park to the public. Located officially at Calle Bailén, 2 , and the best way other than walking to it is by metro Opera lines 2,5 and Radial and Sol lines 1 ,2 and 3.


Today, a large, round fountain with tritons is at the intersection of the two major axes that are surrounded on all sides by quadrants and conifers, with trees arranged along the perimeter. The quiet secluded atmosphere of the Jardines Sabatini is in part due to the lowered elevation of the gardens, the gardens are approximately 10 meters (about 33 feet) lower than the main Plaza de Oriente. The gardens are connected to Plaza Oriente by a grand stone staircase, an appropriate entrance to the royal gardens .The Jardines Sabatini are named after the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini who during the 18C designed much of the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), this included royal stables which were demolished to create the gardens named after him.


Another gem nearby and less visited is the Campo del Moro. The least known and least visited, perhaps because its entrance is on the farthest part from the Royal Palace, a bit far from the tourist itinerary. The adjacent gardens of the Campo del Moro lies behind the palace. You will find beautiful shady paths, fountains and peacocks strolling. It is both romantic style with some English garden features. As for its name, the Campo del Moro (the Moor’s field), it comes from the fact that it was the place where the Moorish army camped before their unsuccessful attempt, at the beginning of the 12C to take over the Alcazar (castle). King Felipe IV was the first to develop this space but the Campo del Moro began to take its form as it is known today that in the 1890’s under regent queen Doña María Cristina of Habsburg.


Both are doable at the same time, and what a thrill you will have amongst so much natural beauty mingle in with beautiful statues and busts. Great for the whole family and I eventually took my boys here since very young to now. Hope you enjoy this bit of introduction as I.

The Madrid tourist office on the Sabatini gardens:

The Madrid tourist office on the Campo del Moro:

There you go folks, a wonderful gardens that are good for the whole family like mine. I have several entries on them in blog but always link with something else or in my Some News from Spain entries. I believe the Jardines Sabatini and Campo del Moro deserve a post of their own even if to expansive this introduction can get you to come and me again. It is worth the detour in my Madrid. Hope you enjoy the post as I. You will be please to visit them

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

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September 3, 2021

Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid!!!

And I am back at you with my Madrid, and updating this post which surprise many folks coming to one of the world’s best museum missed it! One monument that needs to be seen there is the Royal Parish Church of Saint Jerome or the Parroquia Iglésia de San Jeronimo el Real right next to the Prado museum! notice it! Well I have and been in it but seldom took as many pictures than on this trip,(picture below is from the Prado!)  memories forever in my beloved Madrid.


The old monastery of San Jerónimo el Real, popularly known as “Los Jerónimos”, was one of the most important monasteries in Madrid, originally governed by the Order of San Jerónimo. Next to it there was the so-called Royal Quarter, then expanded as Palace of Buen Retiro in the time of Felipe IV. The church currently remains, converted into a parish Church of San Jeronimo (St. Jerome), and a Renaissance cloister. Church and convent were closely linked to the life of the Court and the Spanish monarchy. The temple was a frequent scene of funerals, oaths of heirs, weddings and royal proclamations, the last of these being that of King Juan Carlos I.


This is the only gothic building in Madrid!. It is a late Gothic with Renaissance influences and reminiscences of Madrid architecture, which can be seen in its facade in which stone and brick are mixed. Inside you will see its Elizabethan Gothic choir, which you will recognize because it is supported by a carpanel arch. The Jerónimos have undergone several modifications since their original construction in 1502, the church we see today is mostly from the 19C, when the facade and the twin towers that frame the main chapel were rebuilt. However, the Gothic style has been preserved and can be seen in the towers, in the buttresses and in the buttresses finished off pinnacles, among others. On each side we find five chapels, which were the object of the restoration that took place in the 19C. And its great staircase is even more recent, as it was built at the beginning of the 20C. The interior shows us something dark, especially in the area of ​​the main altar. Its greatest artistic attraction is in the decoration of the aforementioned central nave.


It is found right next to the Prado museum the best way to walk to it is from the Paseo del Prado up to Calle Moreto 4. Metro lines Atocha, Antón Martín, line 1 and Banco de España line 2. See it!


A bit of history I like

Although king Enrique IV of Castilla had previously ordered to build another monastery of Jeronimos on the banks of the Manzanares River in 1463, and shortly thereafter, in 1470 he had given the congregation of privileges to collect taxes, it is something later, at the end of the 15C, when the Catholic Monarchs ordered the construction in Madrid of a monastery of Jeronimos monks that would serve as a room for the Royal Family during their stays in the town. This Monasterio de San Jeronimo El Real (Royal monastery of St Jerome) was made in late Gothic style with Renaissance influences.  In 1510 Fernando I, the Catholic  has meetings of the Cortes in the temple and in 1528,the courts of Castile convened in Madrid in the monastery of San Jeronimo by Carlos I, Felipe de Habsburg Prince of Asturias was declared there, and was sworn as heir and successor of the kingdom of Castile, a tradition that will remain until that of Isabel II, in 1833.  The monastery and the annexed palace lived its time of greatest splendor during the reign of Felipe IV, which made the complex the center of courtly life. In the temple the oath took place as heir to the kingdom of Castile of the ill-fated Prince Baltasar Carlos of Austria.


During the Napoleonic invasion of 1808 (known here as the War of Independence of Spain or peninsular war elsewhere), the monastery and the Palace of Buen Retiro were severely damaged by the invading army. As a result of this and in an effort to maintain what was left, Fernando VII turns the monastery into an artillery barracks. Years later, under queen Isabel II, the restoration of the church is ordered and the result of which are the towers of its heading, which flank the apse. The palatial complex of Buen Retiro was worse off: it suffered such damage that it was demolished, with the exception of the Casón del Buen Retiro and the Salon de Reinos (kingdom hall). (see posts).

In San Jerónimo the marriage bond was celebrated between King Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia de Battenberg on May 31, 1906. On November 27, 1975, Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Tarancón presided over the votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, at the beginning of the reign by king Juan Carlos I. In the early 20C, and as a result of the agreement to transfer the cloister of the monastery to the Prado Museum, the church was completely restored, both internally and externally.


When considering the necessary extension of the neighboring Prado Museum, the Ministry of Culture rejected several options and chose as the most feasible and least traumatic to extend the spaces of the gallery to the Jerónimos. The site of the cloister was recovered, which was connected to the main body of the museum underground. Once the work was finished, the cloister maintains its inner courtyard, with its original arches and columns, and recovers its outer volume in the form of a cube, to which it owes its popular name. Red brick was used for the facades, so that they blend better with the surrounding buildings. Inside, the most innovative element is a skylight that crosses the building, from the cloister to the underground floors dedicated to exhibitions. The bronze doors that connect the cloister building with the Calle Ruiz de Alarcón street have also received praise. In all a wonderful parish Church!

This is one that needs to be seen yet so close and intertwined with the Prado museum often overlook by visitors, it can be even call an off the beaten path site in my Madrid, but a must to see I repeat! San Jéronimo el Real be there!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid

The Madrid tourist office on the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid

The Comunidad de Madrid tourist office on the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid

Again, this is a dandy beautiful historical architecturally nice , a must to see in Madrid. Again, so close to the Prado yet so far for most; need to see my Madrid. I recommend seeing the Parish Church San Jéronimo el Real of Madrid!

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

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