Archive for March 6th, 2022

March 6, 2022

Some news from France, CCCLIX

And I go again with my beloved series of some news from France! Lots of going on as we are in the middle of the winter with cold temps but no snow, heavens on earth! We have been doing road warrior runs to the Centre Val de Loire, and Pays de la Loire regions!! And of course my Bretagne!!! For now, here are the my latest tidbits of my belle France.

As usual Place de la République is the center of demonstration and on this genocidial war in Ukraine ,it was expected for people to show up here and this time welcome, It was yellow and blue this past Saturday afternoon in Paris to support the Ukrainians on the 10th day of the offensive launched by Russia. Several thousand people ,about 16,000, according to the police headquarters , gathered. Ukrainian refugees are welcomed in a unique reception center managed by France Terre d’Asile, located at 39 rue des Cheminots (18éme), in the heart of the new Chapelle International district. fitted out on a former SNCF site, a stone’s throw from the Porte de la Chapelle. A shuttle reception and transport system is in place at the Gare de l’Est where the majority of refugees arrive by train from Frankfurt.

Their boxes full of second-hand books and old engravings have adorned the banks of the Seine for centuries, like in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral, quai de Montebello (1éme), these booksellers who sell second-hand books, some new ones, old magazines, prints and engravings at unbeatable prices, under the sky of Paris.Their thousand boxes straddling the parapets of the quays have almost all remained closed due to covid, rain, and lack of customers, The Bouquinistes are an institution in Paris and I hope they will continue delighting us with these nice souvenirs of which we keep in our house several prints.

Have you heard, the Three Musketeers, Notre-Dame is burning, Lupin, etc. Paris more than ever capital of cinema , The record for the number of shooting days was broken in 2021 in Paris. Proof that the city still attracts directors. Often to the delight of Parisians. Yes we love the movies !!!

A showcase of the 1907 colonial exhibition, is the Tropical Agronomy Garden, and now dying ! Unequaled, this green space strewn with pavilions and monuments typical of the French colonial empire was originally used as a test garden for exotic cultures. You enter the Bois de Vincennes (12éme), when one crosses the Chinese gate, one discovers winding paths punctuated by a monument to the glory of colonial expansion, another paying homage to the black soldiers who died for the France , Defenders of Parisian Heritage and its environment openly doubt this, and denounce the state of abandonment of the Tropical Agricultural Garden of Paris, Its audacious construction site has revolutionized the construction techniques of buildings, More info webpage :

Five months after the abandonment of the giant project to expand the Gare du Nord, the SNCF has just presented a new redevelopment program… to be carried out before 2024. A minimum “plan B” which will begin before the end of the year 2022. According to SNCF projections, passenger numbers at the Gare du Nord should reach 900,000 passengers per day by 2030. SNCF Gares & Connexions presented its new site redevelopment program on last Thursday, designed in a hurry since last September, Well hope it works this time or it will be hard to go by there eventually.

The commissioning of the extension of the RER E to the west, the new section between Saint-Lazare and Nanterre has just been completed. All that remains is to dismantle the tunnel boring machine to demolish the last centimeters of wall separating the old and the new tunnel. “Virginia”, the baptismal name of the line’s tunnel boring machine, has just finished digging six of the eight km that separate the current terminus of Haussmann – Saint-Lazare from that of Nanterre. Here we go we are further away from Paris to bring people in, but is it enough ? Do not think so me think.

Visited by Voltaire, Diderot and Proust, will Saint-Sulpice-de-Favières become “the favorite village of the French”? Renowned for its cathedral-like church, the small town of Essonne dept 91, with 300 inhabitants, represents the Île-de-France region in this national television competition hosted by Stéphane Bern. The votes are open until March 22 to decide between the 14 French villages in competition. The 11th edition of the France 3 program “The favorite village of the French”, presented by Stéphane Bern. Maybe you can vote here but my preference is Bretagne of course !

After the fire of April 15, 2019, around twenty works were evacuated from the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, and then stored in a shed in Bondoufle (Essonne 91) to be entrusted to restorers. The paintings, which were not damaged by the flames, had suffered the onslaught of time. Thanks to donations, they are regaining their shine !! Yes all is coming along just fine, the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris will shine again !

How about buying a castle ? Well a 17C castle, near Paris, in the heart of an exceptional park: the Domaine de Courson is for sale, In the heart of an exceptional, romantic and botanical park , about 45 hectares. The Fustiers and de Nervaux de Loÿs, owners of the premises, have decided to part with this exceptional property, kept by the family for more than 200 years. According to the information, the sale price, which does not appear in the ad, would be 12.5 million euros. The Château, a gift from Louis XIV to Guillaume de Lamoignon, Designed by a pupil of Le Notre in the 18C, the green spaces were transformed in the 19C into an English-style park by the landscapers Louis-Martin Berthault and the Bühler brothers. In particular, they have a pond of more than one hectare, lined with decorative motifs. Webpage :

How can you stroll through the heart of the 460 hectares of the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud without missing out on its must-sees? With his smartphone and the CityGem application, (CityGem – GPS & Audioguide) ; the audioguide that accompanies your urban strolls ” In the footsteps of Napoleon”. A route of approximately 4 km, embellished with a dozen illustrated and commented points of interest, the presentation of which is triggered automatically when the walker is nearby. Webpage :

Marvel, Star Wars, Frozen… Disneyland Paris is 30 years old and still has plans. The first European amusement park emerged thirty years ago. Since then, it has not stopped changing and has continued to grow. Disneyland Paris is adorning itself with its clothes of light to blow out its thirty candles. Europe’s leading amusement park is kicking off the festivities this weekend 6 March, leading up to the anniversary date, April 12 2022. webpage :

This Sunday (today) , more than 300 people were posted along the 160 km of the first stage of the 80th edition of Paris-Nice cycling race in Yvelines (78) and Val-d’Oise (95). A vast system necessary to ensure the safety of the cyclists from all over the world and the thousands of spectators expected around the route. The Paris-Nice cycling event starts this Sunday(today) at 13h10 from Boulevard Salengro in Mantes-la-Ville in almost optimal conditions , The 200 or so runners, including the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, Olympic time trial champion and second in the 2020 Tour de France, should tumble down the same axis to battle for victory between 16h15 and 16h45. Shortly before 14h, the athletes will climb the Côte de Vétheuil, on the border of Yvelines and Val-d’ Oise. Classified in 3rd category, it is known to cyclists in the region with a gradient of 5.2% over 1.8 km. Half an hour later, we will find them on the magnificent Route des Crêtes, above La Roche-Guyon (Val-d’Oise) for, there too, a 3rd category climb. They will return to the Yvelines via the pretty village of Bennecourt, around 14h30. Note the crossing of Notre-Dame de la Mer and La Villeneuve-en-Chevrie, shortly before 15h, If you want to attend a last climb, you can post around 16h10 at the exit of Mantes-la-Ville, towards Breuil-Bois-Robert for a 3rd category climb. The runners will return there around 16h30 before the scheduled arrival at 16h43 on Boulevard Salengro. The second stage will start tomorrow Monday from the village of Auffargis, in the Chevreuse valley, at 12h25 to reach the finish in Orléans (Loiret 45) in the middle of the afternoon. The first stage was won by Frenchman Christophe Laporte riding for the Dutch base team of Jumbo-Visma, Race webpage :

The Abbey Church of Saint-Martin-aux-Bois has not finished revealing its secrets, After two years of long and meticulous work to renovate the stained glass windows, this little-known heritage jewel of the Oise (60) has reopened its doors. But this church built in the 13C, recognized as a masterpiece of Gothic art, still retains certain mysteries. It is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Oise, perhaps also the least known. But the Abbey Church of Saint-Martin-aux-Bois has to be earned, located in the heart of the Picardy Plateau. You will have to cross the territory and drive a little to discover it, at the end of a small road surrounded by fields. The building emerges in the middle of nowhere, nestled at the entrance of the village of the same name.Worth the detour, webpage :

And welcome to the new Paris, Thefts, assaults, incivilities… The metro is certainly one of the places in Paris where you feel most vulnerable. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, the city’s network tops the ranking of the most dangerous public transport in France. In 2020, no less than 54,856 people were victims of violence or theft on public transport in Paris, which corresponds to 25 victims per 1,000 inhabitants. A staggering number. Seine-Saint-Denis (dept 93) comes in second place in the ranking with 2,218 people attacked, or 19 victims per 1,000 inhabitants. I told you so,,,,

The Towns and Villages Association unveiled this Sunday the list of the best towns in France where life is good. Among the top 100, there are 30 cities in the Ile-de-France, including the first, Levallois-Perret. Then there are Courbevoie, Boulogne-Billancourt, Nogent-sur-Marne and Versailles. As for Paris, it only comes in 66th place in the ranking.webpage :

The Joulie group (owner of Bouillon Chartier) has understood that we can never get enough of their comforting bistros. a new restaurant will open in the east of Paris. We already know their addresses by heart in Grand Boulevards and Montparnasse, but this little news will delight more than one. If the exact address is not yet known, we can’t wait to find their new iconic Art Deco room in eastern Paris. Bouillon Chartier, 7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre 9th and 59, boulevard de Montparnasse 6th

There you go folks, another dandy informational post on some news from France. Hope you enjoy my 359th post on a series that is just great me think, and I thank you for your support. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 6, 2022

The Porte de la Grosse Horloge of La Rochelle!!!

And to my surprise many written on La Rochelle but the beautiful big clock or grosse horloge was hidden in the posts. Really, this needs more like a post of its own for the sake of credit when credit is due. The Porte de la Grosse Horloge kept the entry to the city from the old town still in medieval conditions.  A wonderful thing to see in La Rochelle, and I will tell you a bit more of it now. Hope you enjoy it as I.


The Gross Horloge or Big Clock of La Rochelle is an old city gate dating from the primitive enclosure known as Guillaume X, which became useless with the expansion of the city, it hosts a bell and a clock in 1478 and became the belfry of the city replacing the Porte de Mallevault.  The gate is at the beginning of the Quai Duperré and serves as a passage between the port and the old town.


The Grosse-Horloge was originally a gate of the fortified city of La Rochelle, opened in the primitive enclosure. The gate was built at the beginning of the 12C during the construction of the first medieval enclosure. In the 13C its name was Porte du Parrot or Perrot, because it gave access to the suburb of that name. The gate was pierced with two bays ; the larger, for trolleys, the smaller, for pedestrians. In 1478, it was surmounted by an octagonal bell tower, topped with a campanile housing the clock bell.


In 1672, the two bays were united in a single arcade, in order to facilitate circulation. In 1746, the upper part of the building was demolished to make way for the current construction in the form of a Louis XV cartel flanked by scientific and military attributes. Today, it remains one of the main crossing points between the quays and the old town, but also housed for a few years an archaeological museum concerning the La Rochelle Templars.  The belfry is pierced by a semi-circular arch on each side. Twin pilasters of the Ionic order are placed on the facades facing the port and the city, while columns surmounted by Ionic capitals decorate the short sides. An entablature with an overflowing cornice crowns this lower part. Above, an attic receives a dome topped with a lantern pierced by four arcades decorated with coupled pilasters. Each of the two old turrets flanking the medieval tower on the port side is crowned with trophies representing astronomical and maritime allegories.

Coming from the port, crossing the Porte de la Grosse Horloge , you then come out on the Place des Petits-Francs, on which you can discover a statue of Eugène Fromentin, painter and writer from La Rochelle influenced by Prosper Marilhat.


The La Rochelle tourist office on the Big Clock

The city of La Rochelle with an interactive map for locations :

There you go folks, another dandy monument of my belle France. They are there alright, plenty, ,just hope last enough to see them all, I am working harder…..!  The Porte de la Grosse Horloge of La Rochelle is awesome. Again, hope you enjoy it as much as I

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

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March 6, 2022

Curiosities of La Rochelle

And to my surprise many written on La Rochelle but the beautiful carrousels. Really, this needs more like a post of its own for the sake of credit when credit is due. The Carrousels of Place du Verdun and Quai Valin of La Rochelle; wonderful for all to enjoy them.  A wonderful thing to see in La Rochelle, and I will tell you a bit more of it now. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The ancestral merry-go-round in La Rochelle, The carrousel is one of the oldest in France. A sedentary carrousel, located on Place de Verdun, only adds charm to the town square. Alone or accompanied by other structures, during various events its reputation is well established. It is part of all celebrations and is highlighted during the Christmas market. Children and adults will be delighted to take a ride in this two-story carrousel, which is still very well preserved.


.It must be said that there are hardly any intact rides left from the end of the 19C and that among them, those of Auguste Bayol, a genius Angevin artist, are only two. One is in Vienna at the Prater, the other in La Rochelle. There are no fairground horses more beautiful than his. They are both realistic and magical, they escape from childhood tales and look at us with gentle and wild eyes… Created in 1883, it is today the oldest and complete carousel in France. Among Bayol’s favorite animals are the cat, the rooster, the swan, the pig and the donkey…Sublime!

Go to the square Valin, by Quai Valin on the old port, to admire of another carrousel . In the center, a 52-key cardboard organ transformed at the beginning of the 20C. Until the years 1935-1940, the carousel turned with a horse. The lighting was originally with kerosene lamps.  It has been installed at this location since 1975.

The statue of Admiral Duperré stands at the foot of the Porte de la Grosse Horloge (see post), at the beginning of the Quai Duperré. Admiral Duperré or Victor Guy Duperré. He commanded the French fleet when Algiers was captured in 1830. Sailor of the French Empire and Minister of the Navy, born in La Rochelle on February 20, 1775.Quai Duperré offers a pleasant walk on the site of the old port, punctuated by shops, cafes and restaurants.


The La Rochelle tourist office on the square Valin and Carroussel in the Vieux Port :

There you go folks, another dandy things to see in wonderful La Rochelle. The vieux port or old harbor is sublime and the carrousels are just magical for the whole family and even some older folks….we love them. Enjoy it without moderation!!

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

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