Archive for December 31st, 2021

December 31, 2021

The Rampe des Grottes in St Germain en Laye!!!

Now I like to bring you in to a new post text and older picture something  I have left behind but needs to be in my blog. Once upon a time, I lived not far from Saint Germain en Laye and visit the city often, especially for its castle and market. One particular spot very historical was the rampes des grottes or caves ramp wall; and that is the reason of this post. Hope you enjoy it as I.

For the geographical, historically incline in me, Saint Germain en Laye is in dept 78 of my beloved Yvelines, in the Île de France region of my belle France. The city if about 17 km from Paris and 13 km from the dept capital city of Versailles. OF course, well connected to both by public transports.

I like to tell you about something I used to do with my boys climbing up and down on the steps of history of France. As it is along with the Henri IV (now restaurant see post) ,and Sully pavilions (latter located in the town of Le Pecq), the Rampe des Grottes ,and the Lions’ wall constitute the only surviving witnesses of the Château-Neuf (birthplace of Louis XIV) ,and of the magnificent composition of successive terraced gardens organized on the slope between the château and the Seine river. Picture below from the ramp in St Germain en Laye to the city of Le Pecq below and afar Paris!

SGL rampe des grottes or caves facing the city of Le Pecq nov13

Under the  terraces, there were seven caves, fitted out in a grandiose manner, in which hydraulic entertainments delighted the King and visitors. But these caves are above all, for Henri IV, a real entertainment. He notably took the ladies of the court there. The Château-Neuf was for the young Louis XIII his most usual place to walk, but the caves inspired him with particular terror and he asked that the keys be handed over to him for fear of being locked up ! This set created at the end of the 16C under Henri IV. is abandoned by Louis XIV in favor of Versailles and the crumbling began.  

 After a second restoration campaign undertaken in 2012, the Doric gallery, fitted with a wrought iron balustrade, was completely restored in 2014, as part of a third work campaign. Some of the more interesting me think are :

The Grotte du Dragon or Dragon Cave animated by a furious dragon who flapped its wings vomiting torrents of water, The Dragon Cave (located in the center of the Doric gallery) is a large gallery of 49 meters long and nearly 10 meters from above.

The Grotte de Neptune had the forehead of God was crowned with reeds; from his beard and hair flowed the waves which mingled with the waters over which he appeared in triumph, while newts and nereids, swimming around him, announced to the humid empire, to the sound of their conches, his dominator and his master. Four winds blew, as treacherous jets of water sprayed on the spectators.

The Grotte des Orgues cave was inhabited by a young and beautiful nymph, whose fingers, set in motion by the force of the waters, produced from an organ sometimes sweet and melancholy chords, sometimes hunting and war tunes. Opposite her, a serpent, seemingly annoyed by the melody of its instrument, was making powerless efforts to reach her with the waves that its gaping mouth threw. Between the nymph and the snake, a black marble table rose from which emitted various jets of water which, when they joined together, represented cups, vases, images. To the sounds of the organ and the sound of the waters, The songs of a large number of nightingales mingled, interrupted by the sinister cry of this ominous bird that an unhappy husband never hears without shivering in the various niches, craftsmen suspended their work as soon as the organ is heard. Near the window, Mercury, one foot in the air, sounded the trumpet as a cuckoo sang its melancholy tune.

The Rampe des Grottes cave ramp wall, located under the Henri IV Pavilion (restaurant now) has collapsed. The staircase giving access to the Castle terrace is therefore closed until further notice. Access is still possible, however, by the opposite ramp located opposite Avenue du Pavillon Sully. This should be temporary , check before coming but worth the detour indeed,.

The St Germain boucles de Seine tourist office on the Caves ramps

There you go folks, a dandy of history and architecture in royal Saint Germain en Laye! This take a bit of walking and descend steps but worth it me think. Hope you enjoy the Rampe des Grottes!

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

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December 31, 2021

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

This is probably will be my shortest post but with the most intense desire in me. I like to thanks all my readers, followers, posters, well wishers during 2021 for their kind following of my blog.

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!! Some traditions I Like

Happy New Year 2022

In Italy, Lentils in a New Year’s dish serve the same function as the black-eyed peas in Hoppin’ John, with their round shape representing coins. And in the Philippines, it’s customary to eat 12 round fruits, one for every month, to ensure a year of abundance. The fruits usually take center stage at the table for the media noche or middle night or the midnight meal.

And in the Philippines, revelers don’t just try to eat circles — partygoers wear them, too. Polka dots are all the rage on December 31, increasing the chances for a fortunate new year.

New York City’s Times Square to watch the ball drop since 1907. And while the first one was just iron and wood, today you can watch a 12-foot, 11,875-pound geodesic sphere covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs make its descent, even from the warmth and comfort of your own home. Me saw it from 1974 to 1985!

Plymouth, Wisconsin hosts a Big Cheese Drop; Kennett Square, PA uses a giant mushroom, and New Orleans drops a fleur de lis (à la française).Brazil makes it easier too choose your New Year’s Eve outfit ,everyone wears white for good luck and peace. Also in Brazil, if you head to the beach, you can increase your luck by heading to the water and jumping over seven waves. You get one wish for each wave.

You might think that making resolutions for the new years is a relatively recent trend, historically speaking, but the tradition is very old, probably more than 4,000 years old, in fact. Historians believe Babylonians, one of the first cultures to actually celebrate the changing of the year made promises to pay debts or return borrowed objects. It’s a common superstition that opening the doors and windows will let the old year out, and the new year in unimpeded.

In Denmark, broken dishes are a good thing , people go around breaking dishware on the doorsteps of their friends and family.

Yes, exactly 12,one at each stroke of midnight. That’s what they do in Spain , pop one grape for every month of the New Year. If you fail to conscientiously finish your grapes by the time the clock stops chiming, you’ll face misfortune in the new year.

On New Year’s Eve, families in Greece hang bundles of onions above their doors as a means of inviting that prosperity into the home. It’s also said that, on New Year’s Day, parents wake up their children in the morning by gently bonking their kids on the head with the onions that were outside.

In Germany and Austria, there are a few different lucky symbols that you’d gift to friends and family to bring them good fortune. These include pigs, mushrooms, clovers and chimney sweeps.

Walloon and Flemish farmers in Belgium make sure everyone can get in on the festivities,  even the livestock. They rise early on January 1 to wish a “Happy New Year” to all the cows, horses, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. That way, they’ll have a good farming year.

Ireland’s most interesting tradition doesn’t involve eating. Instead, the Irish bang on the walls of their homes with Christmas bread. It’s said to chase any bad spirits out of the house to start the new year off with a clean slate.

In Colombia, people take empty suitcases and run around the block as fast as they can. It’s supposed to guarantee a year filled with travel.

In Japan, it’s traditional to eat “toshikoshi soba” a dish with long, buckwheat noodles that’s served hot or cold. The noodles symbolize longevity, and the hearty buckwheat plant represents resilience. In Japan, for ōmisoka, buddhist temple bells ring out 108 times as in the lead up to the new year. Each chime is supposed to root out a worldly passion, such as anger, suspicion or lust. The last toll comes at midnight.

In Turkey, pomegranates are symbols of abundance. Eating them is great, sure, but if you really want a good 2022, you’ll smash the fruit on your doorstep.

Singapore decorates its Singapore River with the wishing spheres containing the hopes and dreams of new year revelers.

In Ecuador, the bad parts of the old year or año viejo are turned into effigies and burned. People make sawdust-filled dummies out politicians, pop-culture figures and other characters, and then burn them at midnight as a sort of cleansing ritual. For extra good-luck points, participants try to jump over the flames 12 times, once for every month.

In Scotland, the Isle of Man and some other parts of Northern England, the “first footer,” as it was called, was extremely important. Tradition in those parts of the world states to select a man who is tall and dark (as a protection against Vikings), who would come with simple gifts of coal, salt, shortbread and whisky, representing the basic needs of heat, food and drink. Choosing wisely meant good luck for the upcoming year.

In my belle France we usually ring in the New Year with a huge feast, commonly know as le réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. The meal is full of traditional, decadent eats, including foie gras, oysters, lobster and escargot. And, Champagne is the drink of choice.

This is for the memories the New Year’s celebration from the Château de Chantilly awesome!!! Also, to thank you again for your loyal following as 2021 gave my blog 48 629 views ,23 487 visitors, 26 980 likes, 839 comments, and did 1 215 posts! Thank you all!!!!

Chantilly castle entr new year 2022 dec21

Some of the traditions not all. Hoping they are alright, you let me know ok. I just know for sure France , Spain, and the New York USA. Again

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo 2022!!!

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

December 31, 2021

Hôtel de Ville of Fontainebleau!

So love this town, read my post and you know it was the first castle/town visited in France back in 1990, and it has been a love affair ever since Friends of the Castle since 2012. I like to update this older post on an unusual building that have great architecture and history; the City/Town Hall or Hôtel de Ville de Fontainebleau!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.


As like to tell, Fontainebleau is in dept 77 Seine et Marne of the region of Île de France. The city of Fontainebleau is located 57 km (about 35 miles) from Paris. The streets of Fontainebleau are wide with the main artery, called Rue Grande, stretching for 2,600 meters long. The transversal artery, which passes in front of the Church Saint Louis (see post) and the City/Town hall, extends on 1 200 meters. A few squares in the city of note are the place Solférino, the Place Denecourt, where the gate of the Jardin de Diane opens, the Place d’Armes or place François-Ier, the Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville, the Place de l’Étape-aux-Vins and the Place de la République.  

I have always come here by car, with great road connections ; easiest from Paris along the A6B from Porte d’Italie to connect the road D637 connects to the road D607 and entering the city by the Avenue de Verdun, /Rue de la Paroisse to corner slight right onto Rue Grande and the City hall or Hôtel de Ville.  From my dear late wife Martine native town of  Meaux ; we took the A140 to A4 to N36 at Melun take the D606 which is the bd du Maréchal Foch and it becomes the Rue Grande main street to Hôtel de Ville/castle.

I have overlook in the past , and is an interesting building from both architecture and history. The Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office of the city of Fontainebleau has a longer history than official sites tells you. All has to do with the French revolution. In actuality, all started way back when conversations were held as far as 1584! It is necessary to arrive at the letters of Louis XIV to find a duke of Maine, his son legitimated, Louis Auguste de Bourbon, born of Madame de Montespan, then aged 6 years. Shortly after, in 1678, that the king acquires the Hôtel de l’Epargne and as of 1679 appears the name of the Hôtel de Maine. The Hôtel de l’Epargne was located at rue Basse with a right of passage on the Rue Grande. The Hôtel de Maine since its creation is a property of the duke of Maine. On his death, his son Count d’Eu, the Duke of Penthievre inherits it and sells it to King Louis XVI , and the king installed the stables of the Vénerie. 

The city council of 1784 established the headquarters of its administration in a local loaned by Louis XVI to the provost, at Place d’Armes, opposite the portal Henry IV, then the main entrance to the Château de Fontainebleau. This project included the construction, on the site of the provost, of an important city hall  which would have been endowed by the king without untied the purse. The work was begun  but suspended in 1788 due to insufficient resources, the French revolution stopped it all.  The Committee obtained permission from the Grand Master of Water and Forests, to meet at its hotel, rue Basse at the Maison d’Andigné, currently the École libre des frères. At the provisional City/Town Hall was annexed a small adjoining house at rue Basse, to serve as a jail pending the construction of the City/Town Hall in the Place d’Armes

The new city of Fontainebleau, constituted under the events of 1789, held its meetings at the Hôtel des Eaux et Forets from 1790. The inauguration took place on April 3, 1790; when the city threw its sights on the Hôtel du Maine, at that time occupied by the vénerie. This building had for it the advantage of being located on the main market square in the center of the city, and on the most advantageous location This is the current City/Town Hall whose reconstruction almost total occurred in 1864.  The new City/Town Hall was rebuilt in 1864 under Napoleon III, as a replica of that of Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts de Seine dept 92). The coat of arms of the city was conceded by Napoleon III in 1864. It is located at 40 rue Grande. In 1865, the mayor completely rebuilt the city/town hall in a renaissance style. In 1889, the city acquired the part that had been conceded during the French revolution. The last transformation of the City/Town Hall dates back to 1963. The mayor of the time destroyed the barn adjoining the City/Town Hall and instead built a modern building while using the same materials used for the rest of the City/town Hall. And voilà, this is what you see today in Fontainebleau!   

The city of Fontainebleau on tourist attractions

The Fontainebleau tourist office on its heritage

There you go folks, another nice building in my belle France and nostalgic Seine et Marne dept 77 and historical architecturally stunning Fontainebleau! Hope you enjoy the tour of the Hôtel de Ville!!

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

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