Archive for February 24th, 2022

February 24, 2022

Take a look of Caen!!

This is one of the cities of many visits in my period in Versailles, and have a post and pictures of it in my blog. However, following my custom to do black and white series,no pictures; on areas previously visit this is it. I like to tell you a bit more on it, just take a look of Caen!! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Caen the conqueror’s city,The city is a miracle , destroyed in WWII due to the bombing she keeps a memorable heritage from abbeys to medieval castle,and mansions of the 18C, You can always get a wonderful view from the Place Guillouard to the abbey or Abbaye aux Hommes and the belltower of the Church St Etienne, and mansions from the 18C that one houses the Hôtel de Ville or city hall.

I have written before the history of Caen and its heritage, so this will be on some of its other sights with a walk in my favorite areas.

From one part and the other of the rue de Geôle you see tha Maison des Quatrans 15C one of the rare wooden house facades in town, and the ramparts of the Castle built by William the Conqueror around 1060. At the feet of the castle the neighborhood of Saint Pierre with its impressive heritage for a city destroyed 80% by allied bombing in 1944.

You can do good to start your walk in front of the castle with its wonderful look with a medieval center one of the best in Europe ; climb the ramparts for a magnificent view of the castle of which the oldest part dates from the 12C. You move on to the Abbaye aux Hommes or the men’s abbey ; here you see it as well as the Church St Etienne a masterpiece of Roman art from the 11C, done in the gothic style of the 13C and its two towers, Inside there is a stair looking like in suspension and on the Choir you see the hero William.

The rue Saint Pierre is the most commercial filled with wooden houses from the 15C where one of them host a post office museum. The corner of the Church Notre Dame and rue Froide is the oldest and has its medieval look with its arcades in the first floor street level, Push the door at No 41 and see a beautiful Renaissance courtyards. Continue your walk to the Place Saint Sauveur of classical style, with mansions giving a bit of Parisien air, There is a Church St Sauveur hidden behind a porch , On this square a market is held since the Middle Ages each Friday.

The rue Ecuyére has two wonderful houses at No 42 and No 44. The rue aux Fromages was called Monte-à-Regret as of prisioners that climb it to a column near to escape, The Place Fontette is the limit of old Caen with a nice Justice palace or courthouse in classic style from the 18C on the spot of a tour Châtimoine where crazy and prisioners were kept in atrocious conditions.

Caen loves books, a tradition going back to the 15C with the creation of an university in 1432 one of the oldest in France. You have many printing presses that were set up by the Place Bouchard by the 17C such as the famous Jean Macé. Today , the city has about 20 libraries between the rue Saint Pierre and Place Saint Sauveur of all sorts. The favorite of the family is the librarie Memoranda also salon de thé at 9 rue des Croisiers, webpage : https://www.memoranda.fr/

By the neighborhood of Vaugueux of not so well fame, there is always good ambiance since the time of Guy de Maupassant who studied and came here often. The neighborhood sits between the ducal castle and the Collegiate Church Saint Sépulcre. It was, also ,hit hard by the bombings of WWII, However, today the rue Vaugueux brings out the Parisien ambiance of shops and restos, the place to have dinner in Caen, You should stop by the Church St Sepulcre (we did not) .Founded in the 12C to house the relics of the Cross and has some souvenirs of Saint Thomas Beckett.

From the above continue to the Abbaye aux Dames or ladies abbey built by queen Mathilde around 1060 while her husband built the Abbaye aux Hommes. The two were like a penitences as the two were cousins, initially opposed by Rome but ways found to accepted… In the Abbaye aux Dames the religious taught girls including the one Charlotte Corday,,,The abbey has in its Choir the burial of Mathilde a dalle in black marble (wife of William the Conqueror and, as such, Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England) . You can go down to the crypt Saint Nicolas sous Terre with its many columns and the only underground chapel in Caen. Here you find the relics of Saint Nicolas, Saint Gilles, and Saint Etienne.

Caen is a sea town, thanks to the canal that connects the port de Ouistreham in the estuary of the Orne to the pleasure marina in city center. The canal was done from 1857, largely affected by the ferry line Ouistreham to Portsmouth in England in 1986. Today, there is a nice pleasure marina by the basin St Pierre where you can still reach the sea passing by the basins of Calix, , Hérouville, Blainville, Ranville, and finally Ouistreham. Afar you can see the Castle of Bénouville (1780) , and the famous Pegasus bridge, or liberty bridge in honor of the 6 division of British paratroopers in WWII who had the alias of Pegasus.

Some other things to see in Caen me think are :

The post office or Poste museum at 52 rue Saint Pierre. The Fine Arts museum of Beaux-Arts in the Castle. The Maison de Malherbe, 1 rue Vauquelin where poet François de Malherbe was born in 1555. The Hippodrome or racecourse 3 boulevard Yves Guillou since 1837, great garden with rosary and lake. And the one we have visited the most several years back from Versailles, the Mémorial de Caen. Opened in 1988 presenting the world wars with its consequences with a beautiful trail of visits. A real place of contemporary history ,located at Esplanade Eisenhower, webpage : https://normandy.memorial-caen.com/

The city of Caen on its heritage : https://caen.fr/patrimoine

The Caen and sea tourist office on Caen :https://www.caenlamer-tourisme.com/discover-caen-la-mer/caen-a-city-with-a-thousand-faces/

There you go folks, another dandy in nice Normandie of my belle France. This is memorable Caen, one of the cities must see ,and hope this post will get you there when possible.

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

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February 24, 2022

The Chartrons district of Bordeaux !

Of course, this is my favorite district of Bordeaux and for only the history of wines started here, we love it. I like to tell you a bit more on the wonderful city and for sure the Chartrons district of Bordeaux! Sit back and enjoy it as I.

The district of Chartrons is name as such because the convent of Chartreux founded in 1381 while the 100 years war by the Chartreux of Perigord coming to take refuge in the marshes of this area , the place was connected to the city by the current cours Xavier Arnozan.  The Chartrons district was once the hotspot for foreign wine merchants. A little away from the center of the time, English, Dutch, Irish etc. settled in this area to develop their activities. To dive back into this period, head to Rue Boirie at the Wine and Trading Museum.(see post).

bordeaux bas st michel and pont st pierre afar aug08

High mast sailing ships founded on wine and slavery, the port de la lune (moon) is today a huge and beautiful promenade.  Three km long, the development of the Chartrons and Bacalan quays started in the 1990s is one of the most spectacular in the city and undoubtedly the most appreciated by Bordeaux residents.  A curve in the shape of a crescent, hence its name port de la lune. On your way you will greet the Bourse maritime and the Lainé warehouses where exotic foodstuffs were once stored, now a museum of contemporary art, then the Cité du Vin, an organic market on Thursday mornings , sheds transformed into chic boutiques and sunny terraces. You can admire the Dutch twins, Flemish-type residences, the only witnesses of an older past at nos 28 and 29. You can continue to the bassin à flot and the Pleasure marina. The rue Notre Dame for antique dealers and its provincial charm. At the Place du Marché des Chartrons for its trendy bistros that invite you to take a break.  Discover the Cours Xavier Arnozan and dream in front of the marvelous 18C mansions in the image the Fenwick mansion built in 1795 for the United States consul, so the entrance is decorated with ship’s prows. 

I recommend you take a walk either as above or following beginning of rue Notre-Dame. First stop, the Chartrons temple. Closed to the public for more than 30 years, it recently opened its doors to reveal a superb exhibition on the environment. Notre Dame Village; you are now in the heart of Les Chartrons. See the halles des Chartrons at the village. A beautiful square that is mostly overrun with chairs and people enjoying the sunny days. Many restaurateurs are set up around the square. Look up and admire the tallest church in Bordeaux, the Church Saint-Louis-des-Chartrons. Cross the Cours de la Martinique to explore another side of the Chartrons. Near the Gymnase des Chartrons, there are fewer shops but street art lovers will be amazed! The quays of Chartrons, take the opportunity to pass rue Barreyre and admire the typical super porch. See the  splendid Chaban-Delmas bridge, and discover the Cité du Vin. It’s an amazing place but it’s better to have some time to fully enjoy the visit. The Chartons market which is held on the quays. Local producers, cheese makers, florists… you can find very good products there. Awesome district,the Chartrons!

Of course you cannot missed the Jardin Public or public garden! You can walk along the very chic Cours Xavier Arnozan  to the old paves of the Chartrons one of the green spaces of the city of Bordeaux. The garden was created in 1756 on the French style and later arranged in the 19C more on the English style. On one side of its entrance you have the wonderful Champ de Mars the terrace with a basin of the old shipbuilders . By here in a mansion from the 18C, there is the Natural History Museum!  Enjoy the walk.

The Bordeaux Tourist office on Chartronshttps://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/district/chartrons.html

The city of Bordeaux and its wineshttps://www.bordeaux.fr/p63304/vin-et-vignoble

The Gironde dept 33 tourist office on Bordeauxhttps://www.gironde-tourisme.fr/decouvrir-la-gironde/nos-destinations/bordeaux/

There you go folks, a dandy district area of pretty tasty Bordeaux. The Chartrons is a must while in town, we love it; hope it helps you enjoy it too. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 24, 2022

The gastronomy of the Ïle de France region !!

Here I am on the mood, looking of my library of travel books, and realise not done anything on the gastronomy per se. Bits and pieces in several posts but not one on it, and of course, the previous home region of the Île de France has plenty. I like to indulge myself in this bit of foodie post for the record in my blog, and hope you enjoy it as well as I. Therefore, here is my take on the gastronomy of the Ïle de France region !!

There are less today than before but the region has some renown ones such as the baguette de Paris and Ham of Paris .You have the candies of rose petals of Provins, and the Brie de Meaux or Melun cheese the Marengo veal of Argenteuil or Saint Cloud or the steaks of Bercy. Let me tell you some of my favorites

First, lets start with the Croissant, the symbol of the French breakfast, Its origins goes back to Vienna Austria on the siege by the Turks in 1683. Introduced a hundred years later in France by Marie Antoinette. Initially done with bread dough , it was early in the 20C thanks to the Parisians pastry makers who worked with raised dough leavened and puff pastry all butter. A must!

There is more such as the asparagus of Argenteuil, the petits pois of Clamart, and the fragrant morels of Verriéres le Buisson, peaches of Montreuil, and cherries of Montmorency. The green beans of Arpajon, and watercress of the Essonne.

Yesteryear, the majority of pastries/bakery shops were concentrated on rue des Oubloyers, in the Ïle de la Cité. Here they served flat waffles as well as niules, scalded, sorry waffles, and flavored beugnetes today gone. A bit of history I like is in order here, for a clarification.

Several historic professions in Paris are designated: the oubloyers: they made forgetfulness, small pastries, pastry chefs: they made meat pies, cheese pies, fish pies. Oubloyers are the oldest. There are statutes dating from 1240, later revised in 1397 and 1406. They produced oublies, small pastries that Parisians appreciated, but also hosts and bread to sing, marketed during festivals but also in periods of forgiveness in front of the door of the churches. Pastry chefs appeared in Paris in 1440 and generally managed to live in harmony with bakers (some of whom also acquired mastery in pastry), especially since the latter had previously produced meat pies. With the statutes of 1566, pastry chefs and oubloyers came together , In 1596, gingerbread manufacturers appeared. In fact, they are former oubloyers who did not find themselves in the profession of pastry chefs.

A standard is the Brioche de Paris. The brioche has a head that is push up by the yeast and not because of the sourdough bread. The now famous Paris-Brest done with a filled crown dough with praline cream filling. It has its origins by a pastry maker of Maisons Laffitte (78Yvelines) in 1909. However, name after the fame race in 1891 when the renown bicycle race was born going from Paris to Brest in Bretagne.

Another classic we like is the one call the Parisien, a meringue cake golden in oven, a lemon biscuit covered of frangipani and candied fruits. And the more recent discovery of the Pavé de Marly, a meringue sponge cake with candied fruit,

Take a shot at the Saint Honoré done in honor of the patron Saint of the bakers and pastry makers. It is done garni simply in creme chantilly or creme de Chiboust where the creator was installed in the rue Saint Honoré of Paris.

Do try the Talmouses de Saint Denis a salty cake offered to the bishop of Paris in the Middle Ages. It is still with us with several variations. The name comes from the one given to bakers at the time not boulangers but talemeliers. Generally these small tricornes of puff pastry contain a soufflé device with matured or fresh cheese.

The famous Champignons de Paris or mushrooms cultivated originally in humid cellars from the Middle Ages of white or briste aka layers, Its cultivatin was increased from the 17C by the agronomist La Quintinie , but it was under Napoléon I that it was baptised of Paris. It was grown in the quarries of the 15éme arrondissement. The mushroom of Paris is eaten young and can be eaten raw ; it is small and its use in decoration of the dishes and garnishement of sauces, too big it is stuffed.

The vineyards were once famous since the Middle Ages, and now at least the tradition is kept all over cultivated on the banks of the Seine river or in the heart of a city, You have the vineyard in the Clos de Morillons in the 15éme and the more famous Clos de Montmartre in the 18éme arrondissement, The wine from Montmartre is put in auction to raise money for the needed,. Most is in white grapes around Suresnes, Rueil Malmaison in the Hauts de Seine dept 92,Also, in Sucy en Brie or Joinville le Pont in the Val de Marne dept 94. Not to missed the festival at Nogent sur Marne.

And here is something we did recently, the entrecôte Bercy ! Recipe for 6 persons, we look up the cooking book lol ! 3 entrecôte steaks of 400 grams , salt and pepper ; For the sauce Bercy : 500 grams of beef marrow, cut in two spoons the cut shallot 4 dl of white wine, 200 grams of butter, one spoon of chopped parsley ,the juice of half a lemon salt and pepper, Preparation for the sauce Bercy, poach the marrow in salted water without letting it boil, Put it aside, Then reduce the white wine with the shallots until dry take out from the fire and put in the blended butter until a cream, the juice of the lemon, the marrow and the parsley, then add salt and pepper to taste.

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The Paris tourist office on gastronomy : https://press.parisinfo.com/press-files2/paris-lifestyle/Paris-Gastronomy

There you go folks, feel better now, a wonderful and of course brief introduction to the gastronomic wonders of the Île de France region of my belle France. To add, on the Unesco, representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! Great hope you enjoy it as we !!!

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

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