Archive for April 19th, 2022

April 19, 2022

The Mesón 5 Bellotas of San Lorenzo de El Escorial!!

Well what do you do in a very popular tourist attraction in my dear Spain? Well after seeing the wonderful Royal Monastery, and in plain sunshine , the best is a young red wine or cold beer on a table overlooking a square in wonderful San Lorenzo de El Escorial in the Comunidad de Madrid.

We have come here since 1990 with my dear late wife Martine. IN fact, while there with her VW Golf car, we had a flat tire and needed to call for a local garage to come and take the car to fix the tire very nicely and quick. We love to come here ever since!

As to eating well true to making a one day trip from Madrid ,we chose for lunch the memorable Meson 5 Bellotas, Calle de La Reina Victoria 10,facing Plaza de la Cruz. We come for lunch , and tapas galore we have bits and pieces of different ones including the famous grilled toast with all kinds of goodies on top your selection as well as theirs. The views over the square is nice and lots of people seeing going on! This is the Plaza de la Cruz. 


We are lucky to have known  Mesón 5 Bellotas,  because each time we are very nicely welcome and always a good quality/price ratio.  The management/owner is very nice too. You can always taste delicious tapas that are the specialty here as well as known for its cold beer!  You do well to stop by and try the Méson 5 Bellotas , not far from the monastery main entrance.


They have no webpage but reviews can be found in Restaurant Guru on the Meson 5 Bellotas:

There you go folks, the Meson 5 Bellotas is another memorable family place forever, we had good times and funny times coming here and we love it. See my other posts on San Lorenzo de El Escorial in my blog. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

April 19, 2022

The Floodings in the Paris region, île de France !!

This is an update on text and links of older posts from 2016 and 2018, which I have combine in one. It could be useful information and historical data for visitors and especially residents of France. Yes , we have many problems of floodings!! as infrastructure is older and the climate changes are more often nowdays. I have been lucky not gone thru any but seems towns and even my own city center flooded.  Let me tell you or update you on the flooding situations in May 2016 and January 2018 in the Ïle de France region of which Paris is a big part.

The real high was to be this afternoon in Paris but will not be until at least tomorrow before it starts to go down. This seems to be a recurrent phenomenon but the authorities seems to just take pictures and nothing concrete has yet to be propose on doing; while families lose everything in one river rising waters…2016.Situation has not change at all in 2022.

In the Seine river the water level reach 6 meters (about 19.8 feet) , and the calculations now is that it may go to 6,30-6.50  meters (highest was in 1910 at 8,62 meters) but higher than the last flooding in 1982 of 6,18meters. This was 2016. The lack of electricity last count are 9400 in Seine-et-Marne (77), 6500 in the Essonne (91), 800 in Val de-Marne (94), and 140 in the Yvelines (78) . 

The Louvre museum will stay closed until next Tuesday as well as the Orsay museum . The RATP has closed two stations already the Cluny-La Sorbonne, on line 10 and the Saint-Michel, on the  RER B ,and line 4.  If the water levels continue and reach 6,60 meters which could be but not expected, the following lines will be closed too: Dugommier, Bercy, Quai de la Gare, Chevaleret,  Nationale line  6, Michel Ange-Auteuil, Eglise d’Auteuil, Javel, Charles Michels ,and  Avenue Emile Zola on line 10, Mairie de Clichy, Gabriel Péri-Asnières Genevilliers, Asnières Genevilliers-Les Agnettes, Asnières Les Courtilles and the stations to the north on line 13,the line 14 completely, and  Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, Auber, Châtelet-les-Halles and Gare de Lyon  on the line RER A.

seine-paris-lp-matthieu-de-martignac 2016

The Grand Palais was closed from 14h30 today, and more closing are expected Saturday on the Bois de Boulogne, l’Ile de la Jatte, l’Ile Saint-Germain, and Rueil-Malmaison where the highs are expected Saturday morning.  The zouave  has water to the knees now but it is not in the same spot as in 1910 where it was up to the neck, if it was left at the same spot todays flooding would have reach the same level! The Palais de la Découverte was closed this afternoon May 2016.

paris orsay eiffel from Seine feb16

The line RER C was closed last night ,and the train line R is closed from Moret-sur-Loing and Montargis; also, ,the line RER D due to a landslide in St Fargeau has closed the section in the axis Corbeil-Melun until this weekend.  On the trains line N, due to a landslide in Meudon, the line is closed between Paris-Montparnasse and Versailles-Chantiers, expected to re open on Monday June 6 .The RER C between  gare d’Austerlitz, Javel,and the station Henri-Martin is closed. The airport line RER B is to avoid, this weekend as will have  1 train over 4  working between the  Gare-du-Nord to Paris and the airport  Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle, and normal from  Gare-du-Nord to the South of the region ïle-de-France.

The experts keeps repeating to us here that on each rise on the water levels of the Seine river is remarkable and remind us of the 1910 flooding!!! when Paris suffered greatly. Now these days of 2018; the Seine is at 5,48 meters yesterday morning (Thursday) but far from the glorious record of 8.62 meters of 1910! The estimates this time gave us the rising waters to be up to 6,20 meters and even estimated not more than 6 meters according to the Vigicrues experts…Jan 2018. 

The basin coming into the Seine have four reserve lakes to help regulate the flow of water into the river. One is located along the Seine near Troyes (Aube), the others along the tributaries of the Seine such as in Aube, Marne, and Yonne departments. In period of rising waters, these reserves are filled limiting the rise in water in the Paris region. The current rise in water won’t reach it’s peak until Saturday (tomorrow) but the reserves are already filled up to 86% and that of the Aube at 98%. So much for reserves!

Some of the explanation lies in that this year my belle France had the 2nd biggest two month rain period since figures were kept in 1900!!!  According to  Météo France (official weather channel ) the accumulated pluviometric readings show that after December 1st and in some régions, it has reach double its normal or like in Paris 183 mm of water or about 7,2 inches.   We have slowed down the metro line 7 for meteorological reasons wow dandy words here! and extreme vigilance over the banks of the rivers in the departments Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne. The big museum such as Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre have taken precautionary measures like moving up some pieces or closing the  inferior level of the Islamic arts section at least until Sunday. This is,also true for the musée de l’Orangerie. In the meantime in Paris the Seine river has stabalise at 5,85 meters with new rains coming up that will slow down the descend over several days!

Moving on away from Paris the experts of Vigicrues have declare a new level of rising waters in the Marne river  from 3,83 to 4,10 meters by tomorrow morning.  On the flooding of 2001 it only reach 3,95 meters! In the north of the department on the Marne river have risen as water flow coming from the Champagne area continues…In my dear Meaux, the river Marne reached today at 8h 4.29 meters!! with a slow but rising prediction. This is already the highest level reach in 2001.  And the experts of Vigicrues  are saying the water level can go up to  4,3-4,5 meters Friday evening, and for the coming days the tendance is to go higher!!!. Again ,this was in 2018.

And in my dear previous dept of the Yvelines no 78 on the wonderful isle of or île de Villennes-sur-Seine, (near Poissy) yesterday the water levels already reached the levels of June 2016 according to Vigicrues. So ,it seems these people only collect data but no prevention so far lol!!  In the Seine river in the Yvelines the Île de Vaux was cutoff from the world. The island or ïlot Blanc near the île des Migneaux near Poissy the stretch in the Seine between Chatou and Conflans was overflowing and fisherman along Conflans Sainte Honorine take cover for their boats.  By today they have taken 23,44 meters of water at Conflans higher than the last one in 2016 that was 23,16 meters . In normal times it is about 20,35 meters. At Les Mureaux also a growers of vegetables had lost 10 000 plants or 70% of its production ! 

villennes-sur-seine-78-lp-aurelie-foulon 2016

The official Vigicrues organism that tell us when water is going up unusually up (click left column Seine à Paris):

The newspaper Le Monde with floodings of 2016:

The newspaper Le Monde with floodings of 2018

ps. Pictures credit journalists from Le Parisien newspaper.

There you go folks, a nicely soothing reminders of been careful when planning your trip in addition to any other events in our dear world going on. Flooding is to be on the alert all over France, and especially on tourist areas like Paris.…Hope you enjoy the post and find it informative as I.

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


April 19, 2022

Some news from France, CCCLXIII

And its time again to tell you about my wonderful series ,thanks to you all, some news from France! Lots of things going on and better weather makes all better. We are sticking around for now and planning for our usual long vacation in aug/sep22 ,we are back again on planning after several years of low key with our loves gone unfortunately. Anyway, life goes on even is sadder, we will survive! read on!

Based in Bonneuil-en-Valois, in the Oise dept 60 of the Hauts de France region and the Croix-Huyart quarry was selected to supply hard limestone for the renovation of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris ! (see posts on reconstruction). The extraction of the blocks has just begun. The Croix-Huyart quarry must provide nearly 640 cubic meters of this hard limestone rock, Great all the best from my belle France to build the most beautiful of cathedrals me think, This is the parent company :

France is the country that welcomes the most visitors in the world. In 2019, before the health crisis, 90 million international tourists came to discover it, according to very official figures from the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery. It must be said that with its 34,970 towns, its 17,046 hotels and its 898,481 campsites and its inventories by INSEE, France has arguments to spare. We are moving on as figures after virus are beginning to go up and normal times are back, This figures are supported by the UN WTO as well.

In order to find out which town picks travellers’ curiosity the most, the holiday rental search engine conducted a survey on the Internet, cross-referencing the names of the 30 villages most typed in Google with the queries “What to do », « What to see » and « What to visit ». Results of the races, it is a village in the Occitanie region that beats all records. Located in the Lot, more precisely in the Dordogne Valley, this village built on the side of a cliff is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to a famous statue of the Black Madonna, it has been a major place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. Alternative stage of the Way of Compostela, it is established not far from the fascinating chasm of Padirac and the charming medieval city of Figeac , This explains, Rocamadour, the most popular French village on the Internet perched at an altitude of more than 200 meters never ceases to seduce , again and again, The destination is far ahead of Gordes , Giverny , and Veules-les-Roses, The rest are Les Baux-de-Provence, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Collonges-la-Rouge, Conques, Moustiers- Sainte-Marie and Roussillon,

On April 7, the Travel d’Or 2022 ceremony was held. An unmissable evening for travel professionals, the Travel d’Or rewarded the favorite brands of French Internet users. Air France wins the 2022 Travel d’Or for the best airline. Air France was facing other competitors (Quatar Airways, EasyJet and Emirates) including a French company also, FrenchBee, specializing in low-cost which provides long-haul flights from France. In addition to being the best airline according to the French, Air France tops the European ranking according to the World Airline Awards. It is also part of the top 10 of the best airlines in the world, of which the number 1 is Qatar Airways. Oh yes my AF golden boy all the way !!! AF webpage:

We have the next second round and final round of Presidential elections in France on April 24 Sunday, me vote ! A survey produced by Ipsos-Sopra Steria, shows the outgoing President credited with 56% of the vote and his opponent with 44%. Emmanuel Macron appears in any case to be the favorite, according to our daily Ipsos Sopra Steria poll for Le Parisien, Radio France and France Télévisions dated this past Monday April 18 2022, even if things can still change. Of course, the contender is not any better so the French will take the least bad of the two ; oh the other is Marine Le Pen, Abstention will be big too,

After Printemps last November, it is the turn of Fnac, which should leave the shopping center Italy 2 by “mid-August” says a few experts, Fnac was in the Italy 2 shopping center, place d’Italie (13éme), for 21 years, will, against all odds, lower the curtain, This is sad, but the French still do not get used to malls,,,,,webpage :

The Marmottan-Monet museum tells the story of our emotions, We have not always shown our tears, our joy, our laughter or our despair on the paintings. The Marmottan-Monet Museum, in Paris, explores this fascinating “Theater of emotions”. An exciting journey from original coldness to psychoanalysis and the fantasies of Dalí, and the massacres of the 20C. It opens with a 1525 painting of “Saint Magdalene in Tears,” but no tears can be seen on her face. She is holding a handkerchief over her left eye. “The Theater of Emotions”, at the Marmottan-Monet museum, in Paris (16éme), until August 21,2022 from 10h to 18h. from Tuesday to Sunday, 21h. Webpage :

“Pioneers”, Roaring Twenties, Women’s Years at the Musée du Luxembourg, highlights 45 artists who revolutionized the 1920s. As if 1920 had been so close to the feminism of 2020…These “Pioneers” who bring a different perspective to the nude, fashion or the representation of motherhood, come out of oblivion for many. As long as they don’t go back there again. “Pioneers, Artists in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties“, at the Luxembourg Museum, Paris (5éme), until July 10, 2022 , from 10h30 to 19h every day, until 22h on Mondays, webpage :

Maillol, the Apostle of Happiness, at the Musée d’Orsay, captures the great sculptor in the plurality and profusion of his approaches, from painting to ceramics and embroidery. The first major retrospective since the centenary of his birth in 1961. You know the sensual sculptures of Aristide Maillol, scattered in the gardens between the Louvre and the Tuileries. The one who passes for the great French sculptor with, or after, Rodin knew and loved to do so many other things: paintings, embroidery, tapestries, ceramics, fountains, vases, and the monumental sculptures that made his glory like “Mediterranean”. , a name symbol for him of perfect femininity. We love this Maillol who seeks happiness in all its forms, starting with his paintings of well-dressed, wise and mysterious young women. He also sculpted in wood, as a disciple of Gauguin, and his wife Clotilde, an exclusive model at the start, did not see her rivals favorably. They lived their whole life together, and his Aristide left behind a work that we are happy to rediscover in its profusion, for the first time since the centenary of his birth in 1961. “Aristide Maillol, the quest for harmony”, at the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris (7éme), until August 21,2022 from 9h30 to 18h, 21h45 on Thursdays, closed on Mondays, webpage :

In the forest of Rambouillet, the vast restoration of the priory of Moulineaux will begin this summer, The renovation of this unique vestige of the 12C, a treasure trapped by vegetation in Poigny-la-Forêt (Yvelines 78), will finally begin, The Foundation of Heritage of France on the project :

Les Mureaux (Yvelines 78) Maybe a nautical museum, restaurant… the new life of the lock dam subject to consultation, Property of the State and managed by Voies navigables de France, the site, disused since the 1960s, should be resuscitated. On the artificial island (7 hectares), the few houses, including that of the lockmaster at the western end, are surrounded by vegetation and secured by chain-link fences. The Mureaux site is a rarity in Île-de-France. On the Seine, five other lock dams had been built at the same time: Méricourt, Port-Villez, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne (Eure), Aufreville and Saint-Aubin (Seine-Maritime). City of Les Mureaux webpage :

Since April 9, 2022, the park dedicated to the universe of Asterix and Obelix has reopened one of its mythical attractions to the public. New course, faster, brand new seats… the experience is worth the detour! the new version of the Tonnerre de Zeus, one of the flagship attractions of Parc Astérix, in Plailly (Oise 60), is finally ready. Faster, new corners, brand new seats for more comfort, a tunnel in the dark with special effects, a progressive braking system… the last two seats of the train, often coveted to answer the legend of being those which bring the most sensations , have been modified. Now they have their backs to the other seats.This is an awesome park took my boys here several times when younger ; worth the detour, webpage :

A contemporary art exhibition in the maze of the Bordeaux submarine base, It is under the title of a ballad by Bertrand Belin, Hypernuit, that the Bordeaux submarine base opens its new exhibition. Covering 3,000 of the 43,000 square meters that make up this immense space, which has remained frozen since WWII, the event brings together the collections of two emblematic Bordeaux museums, the Museum of Contemporary Art (CAPC) and the Regional Fund for Contemporary Art. (FRAC) New Aquitaine. Webpage :

The appointment is given. From May 12 to 15, 2022, the Taste of Paris festival will take over the ephemeral Grand Palais to offer you the signature dishes of the greatest Parisian chefs, but also (and above all) the products of producers and artisans from all over Europe! A real boon for all cooking enthusiasts. And like last year, among the stands, we find our little darling: that of the campaign Europe defends its terroirs, dedicated to AOP / IGP products from the South-West. Webpage :

Anyone who has ever picnicked in the area of ​​Les Invalides ! has already come across them. The happy bunch of bunnies from the Invalides (the 2nd largest family of rabbits in Paris after that of the Bois de Boulogne), will be able to continue frolicking in the area. The prefecture has been fighting for years to have them banned by categorizing them as “harmful”, and therefore to have the right to kill them, and the City of Paris has just sided with the animal protection associations. It is finally done, since on April 12, the prefecture decided to repeal its decree. Finally allowing rabbits to roam free! Great news love to see them by the canons lol !! City of Paris going outs on the rabbits:

The Netflix event series resumes filming! In June, Emily in Paris begins filming its third season. Open your eyes wide in the streets of Paris, you may see Lily Collins in her incredible outfits. If last year, nearly 1000 Parisian extras were recruited for season 2, it is quite possible that this will be the case again for this new part. Netflix webpage :

A little over 800 abbeys are now listed in France. This non-exhaustive tour of France of monastic architectural marvels is an invitation to discover a world “outside the world”, all the more shrouded in secrets as it is largely unknown to us. My favorites are

In Royaumont, the convent buildings and what remains of the abbey church give a small idea of ​​the abbey founded by the future Saint Louis in 1228.

Fontevraud , the order created here by Robert d’Arbrissel was one of the most powerful in France in the 17C. And the most original surely, since, if it brought together men and women, the rule wanted it to be directed by an abbess, Fontevraud became a royal necropolis: Richard the Lionheart rests there!

Mont-Saint-Michel must be seen from the immensities of its bay. The wonder of the west begs to be first contemplated from afar, set on the horizon on the sandbanks or on the short grass of the salt marshes. But it is under the vaults of the abbey as in the cloister overlooking the bay, that Mont-Saint-Michel remains for all the wonder of wonders.

Cluny (Citeaux and Clairvaux) ,At the end of the 11C, less than two hundred years after its foundation, Cluny Abbey commanded 450 monasteries and 1,500 priories, totaling 10,000 Benedictine monks spread throughout the West. The only remains left standing are a few that allow you to visualize, on the ground, what was the largest church in Christendom. A few figures illustrate its gigantism. 187 meters long for a width of 65 meters and a height under vaults reaching 33 meters, it was known to accommodate up to 30,000 faithful.

Legend has it that Moissac Abbey was created by Clovis in 506, after his victory over the Goths. But history affirms that it is about Dagobert and his sons, between 630 and 655, One can stay hours admiring the tympanum of the great portal of the abbey of Saint-Pierre, captivated by the power of this evocation of the Apocalypse according to Saint John the Evangelist.

If there is one abbey where the presence of the Cistercian spirit is strongly felt, it is that of Sénanque, near Gordes, and for two reasons. The first is that a community of monks live and work there hard. The second is that this monastery with its particularly remarkable medieval architecture is open to visitors. As we discover it today, the old part of Sénanque is indeed identical to what it was in the 12C. It is between the end of June and mid-July that you have to come to Sénanque, when the lavandin is in bloom.

Symbols of civil authority, these watchtowers dominate the landscape of the cities of the Nord (North). Sometimes attached to town halls, their medieval, Gothic or Renaissance architecture houses chimes whose melodies punctuate urban time. Among the twenty-three belfries of the North classified as World Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, here are the five to see absolutely me think,

Béthune, It is the flagship monument of the city. Built in the 14-15C, it stands alone 33 meters high in the middle of Grand’Place, after having escaped two tragedies. In 1664, a fire destroyed the cloth hall which was at its base. In 1918, it was damaged by bombs. Restored identically in 1921, renovated again in 2021, it shines in the evening. At the top, accessible by a staircase of 133 steps, the carillon of 35 bells is one of the most beautiful in the North of France,

Douai, this monument completed at the beginning of the 15C rises to 54 meters. It is crowned with turrets, pinnacles and skylights, surmounted by the great lion of Flanders. From bottom to top, we discover the guard room and its huge fireplace, the bell ringer room and the bell room, where the 62 bells of the most important carillon in France are gathered ;196 steps higher, the view opens on the city.

Arras, if it is not the highest in the North, the belfry of the capital of Artois (elected favorite monument of the French in 2015) reconstructed identically after the Great War or WWI, rises to 75 meters . It overlooks the Place des Héros (market on Wednesdays and Saturdays) and the Renaissance wing of the town hall. The originality is due to its Gothic architecture and the splendid panorama open on the Flemish Baroque buildings of the city, from the observation platform. The belfry also houses a carillon of 37 bells, which comes to life every quarter of an hour.

Calais , adjoining the town hall, it rises majestically in its red brick adornment, offering an unparalleled view of the city and the port. In its Flemish Renaissance style, with pinnacles and terminal spire, it houses an electronic carillon at the top which plays Gentille Annette, by Boieldieu, every hour. Its visit is inseparable from that of the town hall, one of the most aesthetic in France. Inside, the wedding hall will recall a historical event: it was here that Yvonne Vendroux and Charles de Gaulle were married in 1921.

Armentières , Massive and square in its dark brickwork, the belfry fits into the building of the town hall, which it dominates by 67 meters, with its bell tower covered with slates. After climbing 96 steps, it offers a 360° view of the city’s districts, churches and parks, but also, on a clear day, of the towers of Lille, the Loos slag heap, the valley of the Lys, the Monts de Flandre and even the Belgian countryside.

There you go folks, another round of great news from my belle France, me think… Hope you enjoy the post and do visit these wonderful places. Hope to see you around here some day ,would be fun lol!!

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

%d bloggers like this: