Archive for April 27th, 2022

April 27, 2022

My restos and shops of Honfleur!!!

And so here I am in Normandie and my belle France again to tell you about the magic of this land. I will update this memorable post on my shops and restos of Honfleur to share as well and darn it, never enough space to tell you about the wonderful places we shop and eat while in our road warrior trips. I will try to briefly tell you a bit about the places we like when we go to Honfleur for shopping and eating with the family.  

I will run down the list in no particular order , restos and then shops of Honfleur. Of course, many are in my trip posts in my blog as well. Pictures when taken. Hope you enjoy it as I.

La Maison Bleue.  Historical place and well manage, we go here for the drinks lately and the view of the old basin port.At the corner of the Vieux Port, 17 quai Saint-Etienne  it counts among the hangout of locals and regulars who know where they put their feet under the table! It is greeted without fuss at any time of the day, every day of the week, twelve months out of twelve.  The conviviality of the tables on the ground floor and upstairs, with breathtaking views of the old basin, makes this address a postcard. It tells a story with a great H: after the war, it was painted blue with the rest of the painting of the inhabitants of the harbor… This is where we came to eat the soup kitchen. Artists, including Michel Serrault, liked to spend a good time there. The old-fashioned kitchen remains traditional and family-friendly. webpage: https://lamaisonbleuehonfleur.wordpress.com/

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Au Relais Des Cyclistes.  We past by it and finally by a local recommendation we went in and it was a delight, sure to come back.  It is the nice table where to settle, a few steps from the tourist office at 10 Place de la Porte-de-Rouen. The one we imagine when the stomach cries hunger.  You will make, at the same time acquaintance with the very friendly and talkative staff, recommended by the all Honfleur.  The brasserie is traceable to its orange awning. Observe the painted traces of the original sign on the pediment of the house. At the Relais des Cyclistes is today still the place of daily meeting for a lunch between buddies or a good child business meal. The tradition is that in the 1940’s, the peasants who went down to the city to make their market entrusted their bikes to the local café. webpage: https://www.aurelaisdescyclistes.fr/

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Le Crystal at 3 Rue Haute, this is a refine Norman cuisine and do try the Lobster or the Choucroute de Mer especially in the upper floor (1fl FR). Always a treat and memorable moments with the family. Right at the start of a wonderful quant wooden houses street, lovely. webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Le-Crystal-Honfleur

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L’Albatros at 32 Quai Sainte-Catherine is a repeat great for breakfast by the Vieux Port, bagel with eggs and bacon, coffee, orange juice, and pancakes a bit high at 12€ but worth it for the treat and the great service and greater view in the early morning harbor. webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Albatros-Honfleur

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We headed for the Cafe de Paris on 2 quai des passengers , and had the first encounter with the fisherman and tells of their stories as far as New Zealand. Wonderful place for breakfast too. Just around the corner from the boat ramps on your way to the jardin public and the statues of personages of the city.  webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Le-Cafe-de-Paris-Honfleur

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Oncle Scott’s,  208 Cours Jean de Vienne. A wonderful US Western style restaurant featuring Budweiser beers and Mountain Dew sodas! the boys love it and so did we, chasing them in Brittany as well! webpage: https://restaurant-onclescotts-honfleur.fr/

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Au Bouillon Normand, at 7 Rue de la ville. The menu changes four times a year, depending on the season. In turn, you should go for the essential hot crispy Camembert. You can also share the dishes  very well if we want to honor this table worthily. What they do between meat and fish to taste everything. A very good idea that allows you to keep a place of choice for the desserts to come as the hot soufflé with Calvados! webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Au-Bouillon-Normand-Honfleur

The Le Vintage Café at 8 Quai des Passagers in Honfleur. This is one spot we always look for to have a drink beer, cocktails like sex on the beach, mojitos or wines ;Tapas are served with the drinks. They have live concerts every Fridays and Saturdays, which we enjoy the Joe Cocker replays by the local band! Their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vintagehonfleur/?ref=page_internal

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And just going over to the Church Sainte Catherine turn right on the little street ,rue Haute. Le Bréard7 Rue du Puits. One of the most original tables in the city. After passing through the kitchens of the la Tour d’Argent , Lucas Carton or the Grand Véfour,chef Fabrice Sébire chose Honfleur as his home port and a charming building on the rue du Puits as the basis of his culinary experiments. Very traditional French, gastronomic meals;delicious.webpage: https://www.restaurant-lebreard.com/

The Sa.Qua.Na , at 22 Place Hamelin a gourmet kitchen, the open kitchen lets glimpse the prom of cooks. As a whole, the frame of bricks, metal, wood has gained in brightness; The spirit of the house and its exquisite flavors, bold blend between Japan, Aveyron, Mauritius and Normandy. Two menus and two colours, “olive green” (8 courses) and “cherry red” (5 courses), are offered to the guests, invited to share the same meal. Sa-Qua-Na  is a Japanese name that means fish and evokes the three pillars of their daily requirements,  “flavor, quality, nature “. Nice. webpage: https://alexandre-bourdas.com/

Il Parasole, at 2 rue Haute near harbor, sandwich and ice cream parlors. At the Italian restaurant Il Parasole the quality of the dishes and the freshness of the products carry you in one bite! In the midst of the warm colors of the room or the fresh air on the terrace, it is in a family and friendly atmosphere that you share this trip, young and old, with your loved ones.So did we! webpage: https://www.ilparasole.com/

The jazz bar by the harbor ,La Taverne du Perroquet Vert52 Quai Sainte-Catherine. There is no time for chatter. Let alone the snacks that titillate the stomachs that we are in the morning or evening, noon or afternoon. This is one of the essential places of the Norman port! Warm atmosphere, cozy décor trendy? yes. But warm, without fuss and at a price, all, reasonable from the brewery to the cocktail bar. webpage: https://www.bar-perroquet-vert-honfleur.com/

Entering Honfleur on the D580, La Fregate at 24 Rue des Quatre Franc and corner of the Rond Point du Poudreux, in the town limits of La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur.  Traditional French cuisine. Nice escape from the tourist central. webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/LA-FREGATE-SAS-La-Riviere-Saint-Sauveur

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La Maison du Cidre Rosé , at 9 rue du Dauphin, sale of regional products Honfleur cider, rosé cider, Calvados, beers, wines, jams, salted caramel butter, chocolate, biscuits, terrines, etc etc. Wonderful we love it for the Cider Roses of course ! Sadly, here for the memories it has closed.

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J’irai revoir ma Normandie at  31 rue du Dauphin now see below, previously at Cours Jean de Vienne, D580 entering Honfleur.  Shop of regional and artisanal products composed  80% of Norman products with among them, ciders including rosé and white prestige cider, Norman aperitifs, pommeaux, creams of Calvados,.terrines and preserves, biscuits; confectionery and the essential caramels with salted butter from Isigny. webpage: https://jirairevoirmanormandie.com/fr/

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La Cidrerie, at 26 place Hamelin. The charming little entrance, decorated with barrels and embellished with Ivy, welcomes guests with conviviality.  Great simple meals around the Normand cider.webpage: https://www.creperie-lacidrerie-honfleur.com/la-carte/

We had a great lunch once by the 1, quai des passengers almost across from the jardin public, the Bistrot à Crêpes. Very nicely serve with great steaks, burgers,and salads, good coffees, great ice cream italian homemade, and the beer heineken. webpage: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Le-Bistrot-a-Crepes-Honfleur

L’Hippocampe is the fish market and also restaurant  by the vieux port, can’t missed is a big warehouse looking building just before crossing to the parking de la Môle. The address is Quai Tostain. Fresh fish and seafood right off the boat and cut to please, they can even do filets pre cooked for you on the spot. Take out only. webpage restaurantguru: https://fr.restaurantguru.com/Lhippocampe-Honfleur

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La Curé Gourmande31 rue du Dauphin , candies galore a heaven for the young at heart! Sadly it has closed , here for the memories of always.

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The La Cave Normande at 13 Rue de la ville.  It is, as the name implies, first a cellar, but also a museum. The small local shop is indeed home to the largest collection of Calvados vintage of France!. The lieutenance , the first beer brewed in Honfleur is also available. Not able to confirm if still open but a memorable place indeed.

Carrefour Market , 46 Rue de la République , conveniently open Sunday mornings as well; plenty of choices for the apartment lover in us! And you! webpage: https://www.carrefour.fr/magasin/market-honfleur

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The hypermarket E Leclerc at  Avenue Marcel Liabastre just entering town on the road D580 on your right hand side. Gas up , good prices but do not open on Sundays. We have come more lately on this one. Webpage: https://www.e.leclerc/mag/e-leclerc-honfleur

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Petit Casino 14 Quai Lepaulmier, wonderful open all day Sundays including evenings! Yes the all time favorite when the need arises and you are at your hotel or apartment and hunger cranks for a convenience trip. webpage: https://magasins.petitcasino.fr/fr/casino-shop-honfleur

There you go now you won’t go hungry or in need in Honfleur and sure to taste some delicious local Norman/French food, tops as in France! Enjoy my restos and shops of Honfleur!! 

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

April 27, 2022

How to get by at Versailles!

So on a cool rainy day in my neck of the woods, time to take a look at my blog and do updates of older posts. I like to update this one on how to get by at Versailles! How to see Versailles with quicker entry and less crowds? I mean less crowds because to the world most visited castle , easy visit are history indeed. Let me tell you a bit more on the subject.

I have read many blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc of people telling about how difficult is to get to Versailles past its lines and a even more crowded place. Well, I admit do not have the magic formula but after living for about 9 years in the city, been friends of the palace/museum since 2004 ,and visited upteen times even taken folks there as touring, believe I can have my five cents worth on the subject. Therefore, here is my take on the subject.

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First, you need to get here from whatever you are from, even folks living in Versailles! Many people go to the cram parking at Place d’Armes because it is in front of the castle and voilà they made it. However, for just a pleasant walk among historical buildings you can park at  Parking Sceaux ,avenue de Sceaux next to train station RER C Château-Rive-Gauche at end of parking ,you find the gardens jardin des Etangs Gobert. You come by car on the A13 direction Rouen and get off at exit/sortie 5 Versailles Centre, followed it all around until the train station.

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The Parking de l’avenue de Sceaux on the city of Versailles parkings : https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/se-deplacer/stationnement/tarif-de-stationnement/

Perhaps you like to come by bus, many folks like this way of public transport than again most take the more hazarduos way of the train or RER C. You can come from Paris by bus no 171 of the RATP system runs between Pont de Sèvres and the Château de Versailles.  Metro line 9 to Pont de Sèvres , this is the longest and most frequented metro line of Paris. Also Paris RATP bus lines 169, 179 ,279, 291, 389, 426 ,and 467  reach the Pont de Sévres stop. 

This is the bus line 171 on the official RATP networkhttps://www.ratp.fr/plans-lignes/busratp/171

Once in the city, there are ways to get around to the main sight of the Château de Versailles domain; and I say main sight because as in my previous posts, Versailles has a lot more things to see. 

The nice thing we even did to get from the center of Versailles to the shopping at Parly II mall or even to get inside the domain of Versailles by the Porte Saint Antoine was to take bus no 19 . The Allée Saint-Antoine begins to the south in front of the Grand Canal , and ends about 1 350 meters to the north on Boulevard Saint-Antoine, where is the Arc de Triomphe of the Porte Saint-Antoine. The bus is taken from Avenue Saint Cloud almost to the corner of Avenue de l’Europe and you need to get off at Parly II or Arboretum and walk back down about 300 meters to the entrance at the Porte de Saint Antoine. Right next is the Hameau de Marie Antoinette and follow by the Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon,the gardens and a whole world of Versailles!

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Type in itineraire les Mureaux to from Versailles to see the bus line 19 that can drop you off by the Porte Saint Antoine and into the Hameau/Trianons of Versailles: https://me-deplacer.iledefrance-mobilites.fr/itineraire

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If tired or for the thrill of something different, then inside Versailles, the best is the Phebus bus network It has buses from the train stations passing near the Palace of Versailles. From to train stations “Versailles Château Rive Gauche”, “Versailles Chantiers” and “Versailles Rive Droite” . Other than the bus itself you can buy of several tabacs in Versailles, the list is in the lien, The official Phebus network : https://www.phebus.tm.fr/ou-acheter-mon-titre

The Petit Train inside Domaine de Versailles property if you want a quick look and rest from walking this is the little train. From the North terrace of the chateau > Petit Trianon, Grand Trianon, Grand Canal (Little Venice) then back (possibility to get off at a stop and then go back to a train with the same ticket, except the last train of the day). Webpage : http://www.train-versailles.com/en/

To purchase tickets and try to avoid as much as possible the ticket purchase lines (security lines are unavoidable) you can do so at the counters with staff or automatic machines in the south wing of ministers (Aile des Ministres), the building on the left when you are in the courtyard of the castle.. There is only one entry for all individual visitors at entrance APavillon Dufour! Also, online of course, better! Palace/museum webpage: https://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices?visite-tid=1

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It is possible to avoid the first line by buying in advance its ticket. Purchase at the tourist Office, 2bis avenue de Paris by the Le Louis hotel ; sale of the ticket Château + 1.80€ of commission, (check if fees have change) avoids the lines/queue to the ticket lines of the castle. Or online even better! webpage: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/visit-estate-versailles.html

Another possible area my oldest son worked next to it is the Place des Manéges, located on the Avenue du Général de Gaulle between the City/Town Hall and the palace/museum.  The building of the Le Manéges (or merry go around)  was a former military building under Napoleon III. It was demolished in 1988 with the exception of its portal which remained on the Avenue du General-de-Gaulle. A commercial center with the Phebus bus ticket office, restos and shopping gallery as well as the La Maréchalerie Centre d’Art Contemporain under the Le Manéges are there now. There is a group reservation to avoid lines, right in the building which is across from the train RER C château-rive-gauche ; never use it but is GetYourGuide webpage : https://www.getyourguide.com/paris-l16/chateau-et-jardins-de-versailles-visite-guidee-coupe-file-t398194/

Of course, there are many online, and on site, purchase ticket possibilities that are well recommended such as the FNAC stores, ticketmaster , and many hypermarket such as Carrefour, Leclerc, Auchan, etc on their in store cultural ticket sales. I said, always good to buy ahead if sure of your dates/times.

There are different entries to the Domaine of Versailles (the local name given to the castle, trianons, hameau,gardens whole complex) . Access to the park is free for pedestrians and bicycles. Vehicles must pay an entry fee (last was 5€) except for persons with reduced mobility (PMR) on proof. My favorite entry on foot or by car was/is at the Porte Saint Antoine . Access to the gardens, reserved for pedestrians, is free except for the days of Grandes Eaux and Jardins Musicaux ( Water show and musical) from April to October. Some of the entries on foot are Grille de la Reine (Queen’s gate),by the boulevard de la Reine. The Grille des Matelots,by the road of Saint-Cyr L’école D10. By the before mentioned Porte Saint-Antoine,on the side of the town of Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt ( just to your right is the Hameau of Marie Antoinette and thereafter the Petit and Grand Trianon as well as the Castle from the back of the Grand Canal, also, my favorite hangout the Angelina café next to the Petit Trianon! By the Grille de Neptune, by rue de la Paroisse/rue du Maurepas crossing rue des Reservoirs  near the basin of Neptune from which if you take the allée de Trianon you can ,also, go to the Grand and Petit Trianon, and the Hameau of Marie Antoinette.

One last word, best days to come. Huh! well do not come in any French Holidays or around them if bridges or ponts are available ( New Year Jan 1st, Easter Monday April 22, Labor Day ,May 1st, Victory day (WWII) May 8, Thursday of Ascension May 30, Monday of Pentecost June 10, National Day July 14, Assomption Day August 15, All Saints Day November 1st, Armistice Day (end WWI) November 11, and Christmas December 25) , Wednesdays as it is school children off day and Mom will take them out, weekends as the world comes to Versailles. The rest is up for grabs!!

An an anecdote for outside viewing only. This building houses the CRCV or the research Centre of the Château de Versailles, created in 2004. It is interested in research and training on the places and expressions of power in the 17C and 18C. However, as said just for passing by as it is not open to the general public. Located at the Grand Commun building to the left looking at the palace/museum, and go to 1 rue de l’Indépendance américaine. The CRCV webpage: https://chateauversailles-recherche.fr/english

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There yo go folks, another trip into my wonderful beautiful Versailles and its palace/museum. And yes, sometimes crowded but worth it, that is why you all come and!I agree !! Hope you enjoy it as I,

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

April 27, 2022

The place de la Concorde,an obelisk and horses!!

Moving right along in the gorgeous Place de la Concorde, of which several posts have been written by yours truly on the overall square. However, felled that they are things in there needed to be told more openly in a post of their own. Therefore, here is my new rendition of the place de la Concorde, an obelisk and horses!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Luxor Obelisk is originally from the Temple of Amun at Luxor in Egypt, erected since 1836 in the center of Place de la Concorde in Paris.

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It was Mehemet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, as a sign of goodwill who, with the agreement of Baron Taylor and then Jean-François Champollion, offered king Charles X and France in early 1830 the two obelisks erected in front of the Temple of Luxor, but only the one on the right of the temple was taken down and transported to France. In exchange for the obelisks, Louis-Philippe I offered in 1845 a copper clock which today adorns the Cairo citadel, but which, for the record, never worked, at least according to the people of Cairo, having probably been damaged during the delivery. President François Mitterrand officially announced on September 26, 1981 that France was definitely renouncing to take possession of the second obelisk, which had remained there, thus returning its property to Egypt.

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A specially built ship, the Louxor, commanded by Raymond de Verninac Saint-Maur, left Toulon in April 1831 and sailed up the Nile in August. It is a flat-bottomed, single-purpose barge of unusual construction whose dimensions have been studied according to the bridges over the Seine. After getting as close as possible to the obelisk thanks to the digging of a channel by 300 fellahs, the boat embarked the monolith on December 19. Eight months passed before the Nile, in flood, allowed the ship to float on August 18. The barge left Thebes on August 25, 1832, arrived on October 2 at Rosetta, at the mouth of the Nile, where it was blocked by sandbanks. On January 1, 1833, the Louxor crossed the bar of the Nile thanks to the local winds which moved the sand and reached Alexandria the next day. The crew had to wait out the winter storms to leave port on April 1, 1833 with their precious cargo. The ship was towed by the steam corvette Sphinx on the Alexandria – Rouen route. Arrived in Toulon on the night of May 10 to 11, 1833, it reached Paris on December 23 after having circumnavigated Spain and ascended the Seine from Rouen, after a stopover in Cherbourg. It is then deposited lying on the quay at the start of the Cours-la-Reine in Paris.

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King Louis-Philippe I decides to erect it in the center of Place de la Concorde. It replaces a monument in honor of king Louis XVI, beheaded in the same place during the French revolution. The first stone of this monument, which included an equestrian statue of the king was laid by king Charles X on May 3, 1826. The royal statue that occupied the center of the square was destroyed in 1830. The choice of a monument totally foreign to national history was intended to prevent quarrels over memory and attempts to appropriate this high place of the French revolution by this or that faction. In other word, erase history as usual in France. The obelisk was erected with great pomp on October 25, 1836.

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The obelisk, dating from the 13C BC, measures 23 meters in height and weighs 222 tons, to which must be added the 240 tons of the pedestal. Its summit is 33.37 meters high. The medallion mentioning the rotation of the obelisk is located about ten meters north of the monument, on the noon hour line; it marks the position of the end of the obelisk’s shadow at noon on the day of the summer solstice (June 21), when the shadow is shortest in the year. The monument was restored in early 2022.

The Chevaux de Marly or the Horses of Marly are two sculpted groups representing prancing horses and their grooms. In Carrara marble, they were executed between 1743 and 1745.

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The tension of the figures, the dynamism of the movement and the epic breath which emerge from these groups testify to the Baroque current of French sculpture of the second third of the 18C. The Horses of Marly were commissioned in 1739 by king Louis XV from the sculptor Guillaume Coustou, to adorn the trough located at the entrance to the park of the Château de Marly,(Yvelines 78) in order to replace two sculpted groups. These, Mercury on Horseback on Pegasus and Fame on Horseback on Pegasus by Antoine Coysevox, had in fact been moved in 1719 to the Tuileries gardens. The models were chosen by the king in 1743, and were installed in Marly in 1745, after only two years of work. The French revolutionary government decided in 1794 to transport them to Paris and place them at the entrance to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. In 1984, in particular because the parade of tanks on July 14 National Day, weakened them, they were replaced by concrete copies made by the company Bouygues. The originals are kept at the Louvre Museum in an old courtyard of the Richelieu wing transformed into a patio, called the Cour Marly. Victor Hugo particularly admired “these neighing marbles rearing up on a cloud of gold”.

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The Paris tourist office on the Place de la Concorde:https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/90907/Place-de-la-Concorde

The city of Paris going outs guide on the Place de la Concorde: https://www.sortiraparis.com/arts-culture/histoire-patrimoine/articles/172709-histoire-de-la-place-de-la-concorde

There you go folks, a wonderful must see while in Paris. Get the inmense feeling of this eternal beautiful city with the sights of architecture and history all around you in the Place de la Concorde!!! Paris is indeed a mouvable feast!

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

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