Archive for November 10th, 2021

November 10, 2021

The arts in Ville d’Avray!!

Let me bring you back to my old hangout corners in the Paris area and update for you and e the arts in Ville d’Avray. I had found some pictures of the  nice town and would  love to tell you the artsy story of it.  This is Ville d’Avray  in Hauts de Seine dept 92 in the region of ïle de France; and I was here way back by chance.  As often the case with so much to see sometimes is the visitor who push you to go beyond the resident/citizen role and finding new places. My alma mater alumni director from FL USA was coming to meet me and she stayed in the hotel in the town so i needed to go meet her, lunch and take her out into Paris and the Paris Air Show! And this is how I step in into historically known Ville d’Avray , even if it was just a step away from my Versailles!!!

Ville-d’Avray has as neighboring towns the Sèvres, Marnes-la-Coquette, Saint-Cloud, Chaville, Viroflay, and Versailles.  The village or town is now part of the   Grand Paris Seine Ouest born on January 1, 2010, from the merger of the two agglomeration communities, Arc-de-Seine and Val de Seine, grouping the towns of Boulogne-Billancourt, Chaville, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Meudon, Sèvres , Vanves and Ville-d’Avray. Go figure all this mixing of towns supposely for economies of scale but, they arctually bring more charges,,,,believe me !  You get there easy by car from Versailles and Paris. I have come here the two main routes are the D 407 which links Garches to Sèvres by crossing the town via the rue de Marnes and rue de Sèvres and the D 985 road (my route) which connects Versailles to Suresnes by crossing the town via the forest of Fausses-Reposes. Parking in town is reduce and street parking hard to find, but the best known ones are the Parking La Fontaine du Roy located under the college of same name but accessible by the rue de Saint-Cloud. Open every day, Sunday and public holidays, 24 hours a day, Doors closed at night from 20h30 to 8h. Also nice parking at Place Charles de Gaulle. The town is about 10 minutes from Pont de Sèvres or Pont de Saint-Cloud by car. Picture below my on street parking to hotel.


By public transports is more complicated. Normally, these are , by train, the stop is at gare de Sèvres / Ville-d’Avray, the line linking here is from Paris gare Saint-Lazare /La Défense/Versailles rive-droite (line L) ,and La Défense/La Verrière. (line U) departing from Gare de Sèvres Rive-Gauche , and (line N) from Paris- Montparnasse / Versailles – Chantiers. I have done it by car always here, so no experience with public transports that you can read online.

Some nice things to see here ,me think, are :

In the town of Ville d’Avray is the Fontaine du Roy, the waters of which were reputed to be the best around Paris, and which king Louis XVI reserved for his particular use. In 1815, General Piré in concert with General Exelmans fought the Prussians there. Nice parks to stroll and very nice in quiet peaceful Ville d’Avray are Parc de Lesser ,entrance by rue de Sèvres and avenue Gambetta open 7h – 20h ; and Parc du Château :7h15 – 20h.

Les Etangs de Corot (tops worth the detour) : The old pond was created at the end of the Middle Ages by the lords to serve as a fishing reserve. It belonged for a long time to the Célestins de Paris, lords of Ville-d’Avray, who sold the fish to Parisian merchants. . In 1680, Louis XIV’s brother Philippe Duke of Orléans decided to build a new pond to meet the water supply needs of the Château de Saint-Cloud (now gardens, castle gone) and its park. It is to him that we owe the creation of the Etang Neuf or new pond , and its dike around 1690, and of the underground aqueduct which connects it to the park of Saint-Cloud passing through the Etang de la Ronce and the Fontaine du Roy. The ponds are fed by channels collecting rainwater from the nearby forest and by an aqueduct draining groundwater. This aqueduct is extended by the great channel of Ville-d’Avray which winds through the open air through the properties, upstream from the Vieil étang or old pond. This privileged site was long frequented by Jean-Baptiste Camille  Corot  who had his country house nearby and left many paintings, visible in museums around the world. This is why we often speak of “Corot ponds”. The old pond has an area of more than one hectare and a depth of 3 meters. It is the wildest and the most attractive. The new pond, more than 3 centuries old, has an area of 3 hectares and a depth of 5 meters. This place for walking is easily accessible to pedestrians since the creation of the mall passage in 1986 which connects the ponds to the center of the city and crosses the former property of Jean Baptiste Camille Corot. The property hotel Les Etang de Corot,there now which made me come to know this  town webpage:


ville-d-avray-corot-2007The Forêt de Fausses-Reposes or false forest remains of the ancient Rouvray massif, this forest belonged to the Célestins order from the end of the Middle Ages. This wood evokes royal hunts and hikes. King Henri IV’s hunting ground, it became lordship property, integrated into the royal domain in the 18C and today retains the structure of its facilities, with its straight roads and its star crossroads. It is planted mainly with chestnut trees. It covers 624 hectares, and includes 8.5 km of forest roads, 8 km of footpaths, 2 sports trails, as well as a playground. A wonderland for the nature lover in all of us. The Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on the forest :

The National office of Forests of France on the Fausses Reposes forest

The Church of Ville-d’Avray is the primitive church of the village, which undoubtedly dates from the 12C, stood at the top of the hill of the Monastery, at the top of the village, on the hillside, along what is today rue Grange-Fontenelle. It was an imposing church if one refers to the painting of Pau de Saint-Martin by the end of the 18C,now property of the Musée de Ville-d’Avray, and which constitutes one of the rare documents known to this church. , already dedicated to Saint Nicholas.. Very dilapidated in 1788, it was demolished in 1791 after the construction by Baron Thierry of the present church. The first stone was laid on July 11, 1789 in the presence of Marc-Antoine Thierry who financed the work thanks to the funds granted by the King. The Saint-Nicolas Church became the Saint Nicolas Saint-Marc Church, patronym of the Baron. in a neoclassical style, it is one of the few churches built in France during the French revolution. The interior was decorated in the 19C by artists staying in Ville-d’Avray such as frescoes by Corot, statues by Pradier etc.  The Catholic Parish of Ville d’Avray

The château de Ville d’Avray. Built in 1776 by Baron Marc-Antoine Thierry, Louis XVI’s first valet. In 1854, Paul Cocteau, ascendant of Jean Cocteau, became the owner. During WWI, the castle will be converted into a military hospital and occupied by Nazis troops during  WWiI. The Hauts de Seine dept 92 tourist office on the castle:

An anecdote on the town of Ville d’Avray:  In Vercoquin et le Plankton, the residence of the hero created by Boris Vian, in which the absurd and crazy parties from the young author’s revolt take place, is in “Ville-d’Avrile”, an obvious nod to Ville -d’Avray, in which the author has resided for many years. The participants in these “Viannesque” orgies also arrive by train from Versailles. The hero of a new eponym of Boris VianLe Loup-garou, lives on rue de Versailles, just before the côte de Picardie hill. And the movie of Les Dimanches de Ville-d’Avray, a film directed by Serge Bourguignon (1962), Oscar 1963 for best foreign film!

The town of Ville d’Avray and its heritage

The town of Ville d’Avray on the ponds of  Corot, splendid site:

There you go folks, another dandy in my belle France and very near Paris on a off the beaten path per se, hope you enjoy it as I have souvenirs of the Ville d’Avray.

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

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November 10, 2021

Carriages museum of Vaux-le-Vicomte!

You probably have heard of this castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte! It is one of the most popular castle destinations in my the Seine et Marne dept 77 of my belle France. As you ,also, probably know by now the story behind its construction and demise of its original owner. I have written before on the castle ,but there is always more in my belle France.

I like to tell you about a wonderful hugely beautiful historical carriage museum inside the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Oh yes , as I am a purist this is not Paris ok! The Château de Vaux le Vicomte is not name for the city, the village we better describe it is call Maincy postal code 77950 with a population of about 1700 inhabitants. This is in Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region. You know the personage in history as Nicolas Fouquet, and I have told you he purchase the land of Vaux in 1641 from the inheritance of his decease wife. In 1657, he hired the Architect Louis Le Vau to build a castle , the Painter Le Brun to do its decorations, and the Gardener Le Nôtre to create the gardens. However, the rest is in another post.

I like to tell you here the story in the the large stables of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, and discover an exhibition of magnificent vintage carriages and more. Take a step back in time! Carriages, harnesses, harnessed horses, coachmen, valets and passengers revive, the time of the visit, the art of master body builders. The carriages of the 17C, 18C and 19C are presented in decorations on the themes of the city, the countryside and hunting. In the second part of the museum, the estate offers an exhibition of two trades: the saddler and the blacksmith. Finally, the Crew Museum ends with an exhibition of equipment for horses. Harnesses, bridles, bits and other maintenance equipment that will delight equestrian enthusiasts like us.   These centuries-old carriages, horses and coachmen bear witness to history. The museum is an integral part of the castle and the gardens, so they are included in the general admission price.


A bit of a description with some of my favorites as I am friend of the castle for years are :

The carriage museum created inside the stables and outbuildings of the property. Presented next to the reconstruction of a forge, it rubs shoulders with other service carriages, fire engine, game car. One of the common activities of the nobility was hunting. To bring the prey back, game carriages were used. The wicker carriage is equipped with numerous hooks allowing to suspend the killed game.

The litter carriage presents us with one of the rare examples remaining in France. This mule chair was used for city trips and was led by footmen. This carriage, which is said to have been built in France, is lined with crimson damask and decorated with gilding and landscape paintings.

In the 17C, a fast carriage appeared; the post chair. The creation is credited in 1664 or 1679, the first post chairs were invented by a certain de la Gruyère. The exclusive privilege is granted to the Marquis de Créan. It was suspended from Dalesme springs and leather loungers, its body, supported by two large wheels, can only be accessed by a door on the front. The postilion was mounted on the left on this team of two or three horses.

The Briska was a type of carriage of Russian origin. The flat-bottomed box can be transformed into a berth. The hood, while bending down, protects travelers to a certain extent from rain and wind. This travel carriage, harnessed to 2.4, or 6 horses, was driven by a coachman or a postilion.

The sleeper carriage is not a type of carriage proper but the adaptation of sedans or coupes for long trips. The front and rear panels, fitted with leather bellows, allowed a perfect seal. Depending on the size of the carriage, comfort could be limited, sleeping more like a lounge chair than a real bed. These carriages were often used by the military. Everyone, for example, has heard of Napoleon’s sleeper. It was the carriage of choice for generals and marshals. It was fitted at the rear with a saber box, belonged to General Le Grand de Mercey. It was built in 1805 in Beirut.


La Coureuse carriage was a splendid 8-spring carriage built by A.Getting in Paris in 1840 and belonged to Lord Lonsdale. The large coupe or gala coupe; this carriage is a variation of the sedan, of which or would have removed the front. It belonged to the Noailles family and would have been used by Charles X to flee Paris during the 1830 revolution. The frame of the coachman’s seat is hidden by a richly decorated sheet cover.

The Horse-drawn carriage ; this name is often used in the wrong way as a generic term for horse-drawn carriages. It actually designates a horse-drawn vehicle that corresponds to a specific type of carriage of rare elegance. Luxury discovery carriage with two bottoms, each containing a seat for two people. It is accessed by two small open doors in the center of the side panels. Only the rear seat is sheltered by a hood. The one here belonged to Count Mollé, Prime Minister of Louis Philippe, king of the French.


There are information to get here on public transports , but I always come here by car from  Versailles or Pluvigner, However, most will be coming from Paris . One route that is the easiest is to take the A4 from Paris direction Troyes, Nancy, Melun then the N104 direction Melun, Montereau-Fault-Yonne, then A5b exit or sortie 14 Voisenon on the D82 or route de Voisenon, roundpoint traffic circle take the D636 road and rapidly on the D215 road directoin Maincy to castle on right hand side. Trains leave from Paris Gare de L’Est , and need a shuttle bus.

The official Château Vaux-le-Vicomte on the Carriage Museum

And this is the village of Maincy on its heritage, the castle of Vaux le Vicomte

The local Melun Val de Seine tourist office on the castle

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle

The ïle de France region tourist board on the castle

There you go folks, another wonder in wonderful Seine et Marne dept 77 of my belle France. This is a must when visiting France me think, hugely architecturally and historically stunning, Château de Vaux le Vicomte.

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

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November 10, 2021

Our memories, Atlantic Hotel of Pau!!!

Let me tell you about another personal story that we have enjoyed and relished over the years on our road warrior trips between France and Spain. This is an updated older post about a hotel in Pau, Pyrénées Atlantiques dept 64 of the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine.

While making the runs and been a long distance driver (even done it without stops just to gas up), we tried the peaks of Somport (see post)  for many years and welcome the building of the tunnels. En route, we decided to stop by for a rest day in Pau, and passed by the Atlantic Hotel. It has been our stop ever since several times ! Memories forever with my dear late wife Martine.

Early on in 1990 we did a stop by here by chance just coming in to town on our way to Madrid with what was then my girlfriend, Martine.  Every time we passed by here we did reverence to the hotel even in years we did not stayed we passed by anyway!  Eventually boys were born and we have 3, coming by car again we stopped here in a family room! And we told stories of their parents,,,. Eventually, we came back and even passed by again with the boys in our trips in the area and on the runs to Spain. Pau is unique and very memorable spot for us, even meeting the Tour de France bicycle race here!

Pau hotel atllantic casino grocerie MF PF aug05

I like to tell you a bit about a hotel which of course, I highly recommend especially with family on a good reasonably price hotel. The Atlantic Hotel  , 222 Avenue Jean Mermoz, Pau, off the autoroute  A64 sortie or exit 10 and go to city center toward the N134 direction Zaragoza or Saragosse Spain over the Pyrénées! You got it on your left hand side.

This hotel has recently changed ownership in the Citotel chain (very good chain of affortable hotels in France). Very welcome smiling and good advice. Impeccable room, good bedding, a room of independent shower of the WC and effective Wifi. No noise. Elevator. Breakfast rich and well stocked. Free parking, which is a plus in Pau. Restaurants nearby. Very good prices for this two stars we recommend. Excellent value!  The economical Atlantic Hotel provides 24 rooms with bathroom, cleaning services, newspaper service and tour assistance for the comfort of guests. Guests will enjoy a convenient location close to Bernadotte Museum (native general line of kings of Sweden now) . The accommodation is 30 minutes walk (2 km from city center/ downtown) to the center of PauThe family room ,the one we always rented ,consists of 2 interconnecting rooms and has a satellite TV, a shower and a bathtub. The room features a flat-screen cable TV, a wardrobe, a desk and heating. The en suite bathroom comes with free toileries ! Very nice for a family on the run!.Again recommended!


pau atlantic hotel XF nov12

Some webpages to help you plan your trip ,and enjoy the Atlantic Hotel of Pau are:

The official Atlantic Hotel of Pau

The Citotel hotel chain on the Atlantic hotel

The Pau Pyrénées Atlantiques dept 64 tourist office on the hotel

The city of Pau on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy in beautiful Pau, just for the memories in my blog; always remembered. Hoping your stay will become your memories as well. Enjoy the Atlantic Hotel as we did.

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

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