Archive for July, 2022

July 28, 2022

The Wax Museum of Rome !

So now I come to you to update this all inclusive post and splitting them on its own as the museums merit it, I have seen some but not all, too many lol! I will post the ones I know, small,off the beaten paths museums, starting with the Wax Museum of Rome ! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Wax Museum of Rome (Museo delle Cere) was founded in 1958 by Fernando Canini, inspired by similar museums in London and Paris. It is located in Located in the Palazzo Colonna at Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, 68/A, on the corner with Via Quattro Novembre. It is like the third wax museum of Europe and has enormous amount of figures so will just name the rooms here for you. Great area to wandered around and if time come in, nice museum.


Room 1: Hall of the Palazzo Colonna: Room 2: The history of the 20C: Room 3: The great 19C and the Italian poets: Room 4: Characters from the world of entertainment and sport: Room 5: Papal throne: Room 6: The Italian Renaissance and the great inventors: Room 7: Musicians and artists: Room 8: Prehistoric animals and Sleeping Beauty: Room 9: Lenin speaking to Russian peasants; Room 10: Characters of history.

The official Wax Museum of Rome

The Rome tourist office on the museum

There you go folks, a nice museum me think off the beaten path but all worth a visit while in Rome;you need time , there are so many nice museums there. I have collected them over time and some more than once. Enjoy the Museo delle Cere of Rome !

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

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July 28, 2022

Wines news of France XXVII !!

And the days of Summer continues yeah!! We had milder weather lately but it seems will get hotter into August. Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! We have done quite a bit of work around the house, and still some more until September , Oh yeah, the wines of France are just super simply awesome and a great tradition. Often imitated, some time equaled ,but never surpass! Let me give some news shall we; hope you enjoy it as I.

You may have read or heard in the news of the fires in the south of France and around wine country, However, while 20,800 hectares of forest burned in Gironde (33), and the concern was high for several wine companies and properties. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of the firefighters, there was no damage. The stocks of spirits and wines are safe and sound, being in Charentes, in the Gers and near Saint-Émilion. As for the vineyards very close to Sauternes and Barsac, they were fortunately not affected by the flames, and the wines will not be impacted by the smoke, sometimes intense, which invaded the region. Therefore, en vino veritas !!!

This Provence which is the playground of the American entrepreneur Tom Bove. A demiurge reconverted in the vineyard 100% made in Provence since 1992. Since the beginning of the 1990s and his crush on Miraval, a 600-hectare property that he adored, resuscitated then sold to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie , He specialized in the purchase of decrepit estates , often acquired a pittance at the bar of the court, before completely remodeling them and reselling them. . His latest “toy” since its takeover in 2016, an open-air site intended to become a “boutique-hotel” in the middle of an ocean of Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Sémillon grapes has been replanted step by step. Here, in Bellini (a tribute to the Sicilian composer Vincenzo Bellini as well as to the flagship cocktail of Harry’s Bar in Venice), Saint Thomas Aquinas would have stayed in 1252, during his journey between the University of Naples and Notre-Dame de Paris. Terroir of chalk and clay where the pebbles, size XXL, are broken one by one to rebuild the terraces, the vineyard of 35 hectares in Coteaux varois de Provence finds a new youth. The Château Bellini webpage:

It has been acclaimed throughout Europe for ten years. It seduced women, young people, he even conquered the beaches and luxury swimming pools of Florida. But where does the Rosé de Provence stand today? It is true that the consumption of rosé wine continues to progress. It has become the wine of summer pleasure, overflowing cheerfully into the other seasons, and this without any complex. The sumptuous finery of the 2020 vintage suggests, among some winegrowers, a desire to better assert the identity of their terroir. In Bandol, where it is still considered the second wine after red, rosé today represents 74% of volumes. The appellation has made it mandatory to blend a minimum of 20% Mouvèdre. But keep in mind that the best wines are made from more than half of Mourvèdre which, associated with the Bandol terroir, can claim to embody the Grand Cru rosé of Provence. On the territory of the Côtes de Provence, the Coteaux Varois and the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, we pass the bar of 90% of rosés. The wines are most of the time very pale in color, made mainly from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, often associated with a white grape variety (Rolle, Clairette, etc.). On the other territories of Provence, rosé is less well represented. On the Les Baux side, red remains dominant; in Cassis, the terroir sheltered by Cap Canaille is essentially white; in Palette, it is reduced to a trickle; in Bellet, the red wines come from a great grape, the braquet.It will continue to please as the price/quality ratio is good and the weather is warmer overall, We drink it at home second to Red, And this is what we drank the most Rosé Cavalier!

And the French are coming or continue! AXA Millésimes, the wine subsidiary of the French insurance giant, is continuing its conquest of the West of USA. After the purchase of Outpost and True Vineyard in Napa Valley, the group announces the acquisition of Platt Vineyard in Sonoma Coast, California. The group began investing in the world of wine in 1987 by purchasing the Domaine de l’Arlot, a 15-hectare Burgundy property located in the Côte de Nuits. Known today in France as the owner of Château Pichon Baron, a second classified growth in Pauillac, the empire of AXA Millésimes extends beyond our borders. Its portfolio also includes the Diznókő estate in Hungary, Quinta do Noval in Portugal, and two Napa Valley vineyards, in the Howell Mountain region, acquired in 2018: Outpost and True Vineyard. The latter mainly produce wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon. The group wanted to invest in a vineyard producing pinot noir and chardonnay. This is how the subsidiary set its sights on Platt Vineyard, which covers 111.3 hectares, including 20.1 hectares of vines. It is located at the western end of the Sonoma Coast wine region, near the town of Freestone, known for the quality of these two grape varieties.webpage:

It was in a context of effervescence that the Champagne industry met this month July 2022 to discuss the future of the appellation. The Champagne Committee has announced the implementation of the deferred release of reserve. This is a new system that complements that of the champagne reserve, made up of wines from previous years and intended to absorb demand in the event of a bad harvest. The champagne reserve already allowed the Champagne winegrower to turn around during a year of poor harvest. This wine storage system offers each winegrower the possibility of storing up to 8,000 kg of grapes per hectare in reserve wines, according to the specifications of the appellation. But with the deferred release from the reserve, the novelty lies in the fact that, when the quantities harvested as well as the wine reserve prove to be insufficient, the winegrower will be able to obtain a credit for the deferred release from the reserve, up to the amount of the shortage observed, compared to the annual marketable yield set by the profession. This decision is applicable from this year. This year, that yield was set at 12,000 kilos per hectare, making it the highest level in 15 years (i.e. since 2007). Indeed, shipments amount to 322 million bottles, an increase by 32% compared to 2020 In the first half of 2022, they reached around 130 million bottles, up 13.8% compared to 2021. The harvest, which promises to be early, should start around August 27, 2022. As a reminder, the entire AOC Champagne area is already planted and cannot produce more than 300 million bottles per year. Webpage:

And this is the new InterLoire ! 100% of estates and surfaces will be HVE (High Environmental Value) or organic farming certified by 2030. The goal is not that far off, since 65% already have an environmental label, whether organic, biodynamics, HVE, Terra Vitis or Agri Confiance , At the same time, they, also want to establish a map of 80% of the wine-growing areas of the InterLoire perimeter by 2030. They want 30% of the wines to be exported, both in value volume, by 2030, and are already at 20%. Let’s not forget that the Loire is the second largest producer of bubbles in France, behind Champagne. In the Loire, it is true that it is possible to have great emotions at reasonable prices, This according Lionel Gosseaume a Vigneron of Touraine, president of InterLoire since December 2020, webpage:

Little affected by frost and hail, Burgundy has good reason to hope for an early, qualitative and abundant 2022 vintage. Unless the heat and drought decide otherwise at the end of the season. The harvest is potentially good in terms of quality and quantity, and hope to approach the maximum authorized yields, The weather for the next few weeks will determine the harvest dates in Burgundy, as of now, August 27 for the earliest plots, and the rest rather around September 1st in the very famous Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, webpage:

The Château d’Estoublon, nestled at the foot of the Alpilles, not far from the superb perched village of Les Baux-de-Provence with 5 identity varieties of this unique territory: Salonenque, Bouteillan, Grossane, Béruguette and Picholine. A true heritage gem which has also allowed the property to join the very exclusive Comité Colbert last year alongside 92 prestigious houses such as Chanel, Krug champagne, Guy Savoy or even John Lobb, all attached to the defense of the best know-how. They are knonw for Olive Oil yes, but also 20 hectares of vineyard including 17 hectares in production with pretty red wines and mostly whites. You obviously cannot forget the magnificent castle whose origins date back to 1489 and which was, at its foundation, the residence of the counts of Provence. After major decoration work, the building is more resplendent than ever with 10 suites that can be privatized in their entirety. Also, the permaculture vegetable garden that provides all the restaurant’s vegetables, the 800 ewes and 650 lambs that graze between the rows of vines… It is therefore a real microcosm that Jean-Guillaume Prats, Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy (ex President of France) have acquired as well as the couple’s friend Stéphane Courbit. Carla Bruni invests herself in this new house in which she comes with her husband every 2 months with her family. A long learning process in which the former President is also interested. The new plantations which should gradually increase the vineyard from 20 to 25 hectares , long conducted in organic farming, the vines have been applying the principles of biodynamics for a few years. The crucial step will undoubtedly be the erection of a technically much more modern and successful cellar which should be completed for the 2023 harvest to the export markets a floral, delicate and fresh wine, Ok fame conquers the wine ,again, webpage:

The Vinothèque de Bordeaux wine fair takes place from August 25 to September 29, 2022 , The shop located in the city center of Bordeaux since 1973 , They have selected 300 wines (compared to 400 last year ), promising a “beautiful diversity” among appellations, bottle formats and vintages of Bordeaux wines. The focus this time is on the 2012 vintage, with around fifty cuvées. Guaranteed effect! The grands crus and “small” appellations of Bordeaux are well represented. webpage, prices in France :

As usual by me lately in this post, let me give you some suggestions for good wine at affordable prices which we have tasted, I believe can be found abroad too, but check.

Domaine Champ Chapron – Champtoceaux 2014, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine -Champtoceaux, Pollen, honeyed notes and the freshness of the flesh of a summer pear make up a very pleasant nose, underlined by more toasted aromas. The palate is round, almost enveloping, with notes of yellow flowers, lime, white peach pulp and the slight graininess of pear flesh. The mineral frame is there to underline the breadth of the material, with a beautiful saline finish.

Clos Roussely – Touraine Chenonceau 2020, Touraine Chenonceau ,
Citrus fruits dominate in a round and greedy nose, which is balanced between the acidity of the fruits and the sweetness of a touch of honey, before fresher, green notes which evoke mint. The palate is very fresh with lemony, grapefruit and bitter orange notes, before a tense, pleasantly bitter finish.

Domaine François and Julien Pinon, Demi-Sec Black Silex 2020, AOC Vouvray, White wine,
A chenin with a sunny richness, a charming sweetness, with a slight sweetness. A fine vegetal bitterness marks the finish. To open in ten years. This stone reinforces the acidity of the wine and thus makes it possible to bring a balance with the residual sugar (18 g). Vinification and aging in old barrels.

Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure, 2020 ,
A liberated fruit for a drinkable wine. The atmosphere is red fruit, the spices arrive, sweet, before the tannins close in on the sour cherry and give body to the whole.

Château Peyrel 2019,
Fine and light, built on ripe cassis and licorice, endowed with a crisp tannin; the flesh is supple and the wine delicately taut. This tasty red does the job

Château Lacaussade Saint-Martin, Clémence 2020,
Made from 90% Merlot on limestone, this cuvée is built on very expressive fruit. A real wine for friends !

There you go folks, another wine episode of my belle France! The wines of France that is, superbe, sublime, wonderful, gorgeous, enjoy without moderation but accompanying a meal, family table just perfect. See you in the vineyards of France.

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

July 28, 2022

Parque Eva Duarte de Peron of Madrid !

Something different and off the beaten path of my dear Madrid. You will need to come out a bit from the Centro or city center to a more Madrileno area, the real thing if looking for culture, and ambiance. I ,again, lived off the main street here Calle de Alcalà but not in the tourist central but away in the Madrilenos area after the M30! I am updating this older post for you and me; hope you enjoy it as I.

Walking Calle de Alcalà you can pass several monuments on your way including the big well known Retiro park, my childhood kicking ground or playground. Lately in life as I continue to visit the city, now every year at least, I have come to get to know more this Eva Duarte de Peron park which you should know was a famous actress and politician from Argentina.  The Parque Eva Duarte de Perón (Park), located next to Plaza Manuel Becerra (Square), occupies the old Nogueras estate, also called Quinta de los Leones or Quinta de Nogueras.(farm of lions or Nogueras). These gardens have large spaces with shaded plantain alignments and various sports facilities: paddle tennis courts, football, basketball, sporting elements for the elderly, children’s areas and a canine area. A mythical park for its dog meetings, during rush hour rides. They can be found in all breeds and sizes.  A very nice place to walk and talk. 


The Eva Duarte de Peron Park has two ornamental fountains of great singularity and a bust in honor to Eva Duarte de Perón, known as Evita, political leader and Argentine actress. The main Fountain or Fuente Principal. Although the Eva Duarte de Perón Park dates back to the middle of the last century, this fountain is much older, and once adorned the Paseo de las Delicias, from where it was moved in 1913 to the Plaza de Cascorro. The round fountain or Fuente Circular belongs to the original design of the park, which follows a classic scheme of boxes and axes bordered by hedges, with a cruciform trace dominated by a longitudinal axis with two fountains, and another transversal with the monument to Eva Perón.  The park, of 3 hectares of extension, has been remodeled in 2018. It has renewed the system of drainage and conditioning the roads and estates areas. New fences protect the landscaped areas and the meadows have been replaced by shrub areas. The canine area has been extended and the fencing renewed.


How to get there,as said walking is glorious in any city and Madrid is sublime. However, you can take the  Metro: Manuel Becerra lines 2 and 6; as well as bus lines 12, 43, 56, 143, and 156. The main pedestrian entrance is on Calle Doctor Gómez Ulla, 9, but it can be access by other streets such as Calle Francisco Silvela, Calle Florestan Aguilar,  and Plaza Manuel Becerra, which is from where I always go in right on Calle de Alcalà.


The city of Madrid on the Parque Eva Duarte de Peron (always long link sorry):

This is a  nice park to come into people Madrid,off the beaten path and enjoy some quiet time with the family or a nice rest after the long walks in the city or away from the heat. If you are curious about history, customs, language than the Eva Duarte de Peron Park is for you. It has been for me for many years. Hope you can enjoy it as I.

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

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July 27, 2022

The chair lift of Vianden !

I am reminicent about one of my favorite countries in Europe and the things we did there as a family. Going there was always a family affair, and we love it. The family discussions on where to go was lively!  I would go to Luxembourg city only, but the family asked to see something else and me ,always  guy had to bend, just a little lol! So off we went to see other spots in Luxembourg and we end up at Vianden! There is a beautiful castle here; but what we had a lot of fun and took several times during our stay there !!! was the chair lift or cable car of Vianden. A must for the whole family , if kids needs to be able to stand on their own for the steepness of it. Let me update this older post for you and me, and hope you enjoy it as I.


It works like a ski lift you stand on the mark spot the chair comes in and lift you and lower a bar. At the top there is a café . Perched on the hilltop amidst a sea of green, a visit to Vianden Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Luxembourg, and for good reason. And I have previous post on the castle. However, the best way to get to the castle other than a car is the cable car or chairlift! For the best views, make a beeline to it and be whisked above the pastel jumble of the old town and soft curves of the Our River.. From here it’s a short walk of about 10 minutes to the castle if you wish to look inside. For a different perspective, visit the viewpoint on Rue de Diekirch near the Hotel Belvedere. Make sure to take your camera in tow to capture magical views of the castle from above at altitudes from 230 to 440 meters!


The city of Vianden on the chair lift

The Vianden tourist office on the chair lift

There you go folks,  another side trip or different way to go up and see the wonderful castle here. I must add the car ride thru city center is awesome and going up the tight hilly roads interesting too/ However, for the whole family thrills the Vianden cable car /chairlift deal is very good too.  Again, hope you enjoy it as I

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

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July 27, 2022

The Masaryk train station of Prague !

I will dare go into unusual territory for me, and updated this older post. I have been to Prague several times over the last few years but always by airplane! So why write about a train station? Well, read on…I was staying near by and did my usual desperado walks in town. Just a simple mobile phone map and off I went into the city of Prague around my hotel. And voilà, I came into this train station which I found very nice architecturally so good for my tastes and I went in as a tourist! The experience was nice, and I like to share it on a single post for the train station.

Masarykovo Nadrazi Train Station on Hybernska street, Prague district 1 . It is  located near Namesti Republiky (great spot to be in Republic square) in the city center and very close to Hlavni Nadrazi (the international train station). I wandered about as was staying at the nearby Hilton Hotel  in V Celnici Street . This station services mostly suburban destinations, it is not so interesting for foreign travelers. Except me who was just walking around the neighborhood lol !



This train station as per local brochures and train webpage, can be reach by the numerous tramway service passing near it such as tram  24, 26; and Métro line A, and line B; the local trains stopping here that I read are the  S4, S5 S54, S7; and the bus lines  176, 207, and  AE (check this for latest info).


It was the first railway station in the city to serve steam trains, and the oldest railway station in Prague. The station came into service in 1845.  Nowadays the station only serves regional and suburban trains, because the larger Hlavní Nádraží does not have enough capacity.  The station is currently being reconstructed, and will become the terminus of the planned railway connection with Václav Havel Airport.  A new plan for the train station Masarykovo Nádraží includes a walkway above the station. The rooftop walkway will reconnect neighborhoods that have been divided for 170 years!. The renovation of Masarykovo Nádraží is related to the creation of a new railway connection with Kladno and Václav Havel Airport, as Masarykovo Nádraží will be the last stop for both routes.(it is supposed to start work in 2022 need to follow up).


Masarykovo Nadrazi (Masaryk Train Station), was named after the first President of Czechoslovakia Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. The. Masaryk Station is mainly the terminal station of numerous regional train lines.  Important streets near Masaryk Train Station include Havlickova, V Celnici, Hybernska, and Na Porici. All very central for visitors and I love it.

The city of Prague on train stations transports :

The Prague train network on the Masaryk Train Station :

There you go folks, another nice walking experience in a city and country I do not speak the local language at all but always helpful folks in English that will guide you around if the mobile phone does not do the job lol!! For me is the best way to see any city walks until your shoes falls off!!! There is always a friendly bar/resto to refresh ::) Enjoy the train station Masarykovo Nádraží as I did !

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

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July 27, 2022

The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City !

I have come to Asia quite recently in my life actually last trip was 2018, but before that were over 20 trips ! One of the most visited was Vietnam, and there Ho Chi Minh City. For an amateur lover of history and architecture this is a must for a different look even if history tells us that there are ramification of the world mobility all over for one reason or another vestiges of France are in VietnamLet me tell you about a place not been in it as no time to see all,  but did walk by and was inspired by something familiar! The Municipal Opera of Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam looks like the the Petit Palais of Paris!  Another wonderful experience of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city on the move, plenty of moves always busy and exciting day or night. Ho Chi Minh City , the former Saigon.

The theater of Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon Opera House was nice and another French inspired building.  Inspired by the architecture of Petit Palais de Paris, it was built in 1898-1900. During the Vietnam War, this theater was the seat of the parliament of the Republic of South Vietnam. Located on the main axis of the city center, the building is a cultural landmark of Lam Son Square and Dong Khoi Street or the former Catinat Street, between the famous Caravelle and Continental hotels. Exactly at No. 7, Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe, District 1.  With its white columns and elegant arcades, the Ho Chi Minh City City Theater makes one imagine for a moment that one is in a small romantic Paris, away from the busy downtown.


Saigon’s Opera House has its specific characteristics. Its architectural style is influenced by the flamboyant style of the Third French Republic. The facade is inspired by the Petit Palais built the same year in Paris. The interior is well equipped, with perfect acoustics and lighting. The building includes a parterre and two balconies, capable of offering up to 800 seats but the oval auditorium has 468 seats.  However, the facade decor has suffered some criticism. Following the Gothic style, the facade of the building was decorated with inscriptions and reliefs , which was worth describing as complicated. In 1943, some of this decoration was removed. In 1998, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Saigon, the city government reconstructed part of the decoration of the facade.


The Saigon Opera House is worth the detour for a high-end show that must satisfy contemporary and traditional art lovers; in addition to concerts and ballets, it offers a whole range of activities promoting the local culture by adopting innovative and original approaches.

The Vietnam tourist office on Ho Chi Minh City things to see, see video theater:

A good info Lune productions site on the theater:

There you go folks, another architecture and historical landmark in the former Saigon,now Ho Chi Minh City. For the opera/theater lovers is worth the detour. For me well just happy to see it and admire its French architecture in the Opera House of Ho Chi Minh City. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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July 26, 2022

The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun of Versailles !!!

Let me bring you back to my beloved and former home of Versailles. One can never be too far from it and that includes me. We simply love it, mind you not just the castle museum but the town in its whole! I like to update this older post for you and me ! Two buildings quite related to each other yet apart ; the Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun.  One is very popular as you need to go thru it to get into the Castle/Museum and now there even has a nice restaurant there. The second is much less known but equally important in the history of Versailles and France, at least…

The Dufour Pavilion is a 17C building constituting the main body of the Château de Versailles, present on the Court of Honor (cour d’honneur). Located between the Royal courtyard (cour Royale) and the courtyard of the Princes ( cour des Princes), overlooking the courtyard, the Dufour Pavilion is located to the left of the grid of honor (golden wrough iron grille gate) for a person arriving at the Castle. It is really an imposing building once you look at it from outside coming in.


A bit of history I like

Emperor Napoleon Ier planned to build a white stone façade on the town side. He ordered a study by Alexandre Dufour. The latter will be entrusted by king Louis XVIII with the task of constructing this pavilion following the projects sketched by the Emperor. The Pavilion was built between 1818-1820 in place of a wing dating from the extension of 1668. The architecture incorporates that of the Gabriel wing, built under king Louis XV by Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The Dufour Pavilion, however, will never be finished on its rear part, although this has been sketched; the 17C a wing is preserved as a result of its restoration in 1814 and is still present today.  The Dufour Pavilion houses up to 2010 offices, including those of the management, communication and museum graphic conservation. The services still present are moved to the Grand Commun (see below) . They lead to the creation of reception space on the ground floor and in the basement, the restaurant “Ore” of Alain Ducasse of 600 m2 on the first floor (2fl US) ; and a conference room of 220 places under the attic of the 17C wing. A really classic work, done so I could see before departing Versailles.

Versailles chateau pl d armes dic11

This is Monsieur Ducasse resto ORE

The Château de Versailles on the Dufour pavilion

The Grand Commun, or as its official name the Grand Quarré des Offices-Commun , is a building located at 1, rue de l’independence-American and corner of Rue des Recollets. I figure could put it here as it refers to the services once in the Dufour Pavilion as told above. This building took many years of renovations and now is splendid, do stop by.

A bit of history I like

Built between 1682 and 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart on the site of the Church of Saint-Julien, the building housed the kitchens and the tables of the officers who served the courtyard of the Château de Versailles, as well as rooms for the courtesans. The building is organized around an inner courtyard.  By conducting excavations in the courtyard of the Grand Commun in 2009, a team from the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) exhumed the remains of the Jeu de Paume game or palm/tennis game of king Louis XIII, built in 1630 as well as vestiges of the enclosure of its castle, and, under further again, a cemetery of the high middle ages, probably in connection with the church. The palm/tennis game or Jeu de Paume room comes in the form of a large rectangular building of 33 meters long by 14 meters wide with lateral walls of 1.30 meters thick. The presence of three galleries indicates that it is an indoor game. The floor is covered with stone-sized tiles and probably preceded by a terracotta tile floor. The house of the paumier (the one who maintains, manages and animates the playroom) was also found.


Manufacture of arms under the French revolution, the Grand Commun sheltered from 1843 a military hospital then became military hospital Dominique Larrey. Since 2015, various services of the Château de Versailles (DRH, conservation, staff changing rooms, research center of the Château de Versailles) are installed there as of today. Of course this is not visited now,and photos not allowed inside,  but I had the opportunity to see the jeu de paume section while excavations were going on as I am a Friends of the Château de Versailles since 2004 !


The Château de Versailles Research Center

The Château de Versailles on the Grand Commun

There you go folks, two wonderful buildings one in and one out of glorius royal Versailles, unique in my belle France. The Dufour Pavilion and the Grand Commun, history and architecture all for the better and the enjoyment of all. Hope you come to enjoy as much as we do, my beloved Versailles , a lot more than a castle.

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

July 26, 2022

The central Market of St Germain en Laye !!

Let me bring you back to my previous beloved Yvelines dept 78 in the ïle de France region. It is a magical region of many castles and monuments attesting to the monarchial powers of France and one major reason folks keep coming to visit us. I was lucky enough to lived by there and came to visit this town very often. I like to update this older post for you and me; hope you enjoy it as I.

I like to tell you a bit more on the market of Saint Germain en Laye. We always love to come here shopping and walking its marble streets and 700 shops! Not to mention , the nice monuments abound. So here is my brief take of something you can spend the whole morning on!  I have to say it is very easy to come here from Paris on the RER A and it leaves you just in front of the castle and around the street from the market.


The place du Marché-Neuf is a square in the city center of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Here was the location of a old market, a new market, replacing the then existing market, which will then be called, in time, the new market yet the locals still refer to it as the old market….. This square originally located between the rue de Buzot and the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye was the cemetery of the city, the center of Saint-Germain-en-Laye being then located around the Castle. Until 1763, the hospice, located in the present rue de Poissy, had received permission from King Louis XIV to operate an open-air market hall, located right next to the cemetery of the city. In 1771, a first building, the wheat and flour Hall, was built.

The new market square was created in 1776, on the site of this cemetery that had been transferred due to the extension of the city and for reasons of hygiene, to become the new market place, replacing the old market, the old market, then located at the crossroads corresponding to the intersection of the current Rue au pain, rue de Paris and Rue du Vieux-Marché. Indeed wonderful old streets full of charm, architecture ,and history, and did i said shopping!  At the beginning of the 19C, the houses surrounding the square were built in 1820, and the arcades complemented the ensemble.   In 1911, the building of the post office and telecommunications was built on the site of the wheat and flour market. In 2007, an underground parking lot is arranged manage by Q Park, and then in 2009 water jets fountain came to decorate the place.


The Central Market at place du Marché-Neuf open Tuesdays and Fridays from 8h30 to 13h and Sundays from 8h30 to 13h30. Even if we had a good one in Versailles, we came up the N186 often here to shop as well and take my dear late wife Martine to the local Damart store near the Monoprix. Nice memories forever..

The city of St Germain en Laye on markets

The Seine St Germain en Laye tourist office on markets

The St Germain en Laye merchants blog on markets

There you go folks ,now you are all set to come in for a great shopping morning , afternoon sightseeing in St Germain en Laye for a grand day in the market !!

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

July 26, 2022

Notre Dame Cathedral update JUL2022

And time to come back to this wonderful epic work going on in my eternal Paris. I have follow thru on the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral since its unfortunate fire in April 2019. There are several posts on the work going on in my blog; and feels it needs another update. Therefore, without further words here is the Notre Dame Cathedral update for July 2022.

A big interview in Le Figaro last Friday July 22 2022 by General Jean-Louis Georgelin in charge of the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral , I am quoting and translating the way, The reopening of Notre-Dame in 2024 is a tense, rigorous and complicated objective. We will fight to win this battle, and to be able to open for worship, in 2024. On this date, Notre-Dame will be completely cleaned, to the point that visitors will have a visual shock when entering , In a construction site, there are always hazards and difficulties. But, until then, we always found ways to adapt, to move forward and to listen to the indicators when they turned orange, It seems to me the Gen is flicking time for a positive recharge,,, Since April 15, 2019, more than 846 million euros have been collected by 340,000 patrons and donors from 150 countries ! Until August 2021, a first phase of work consisted of consolidating and securing the building (i.e. 150 million euros in expenditure).We will need 550 million euros to complete the interior cleaning of the cathedral, including the great organ, to restore the masonry and the vaults damaged by the fire, to reconstruct the framework, the roofing and the spire, or even to renewing technical equipment ,This figure takes account of forecast inflation. Like the other works, we are currently experiencing some pressure on prices. After these works, there should therefore remain 146 million euros which should be allocated to the restoration of the exterior.

The fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral, whose causes have still not been established with certainty had caused the collapse of its frame, its spire, its clock and part of its vault, ravaged by the flames, A big mystery the causes not declared officially yet, something is going on, time will tell,,,,

In other news specialists in heritage restoration and based in Mauges (Maine-et-Loire 49), Ateliers Perrault were selected for the reconstruction of the framework of the choir and the nave of Notre-Dame Cathedral of Paris. The historic Ateliers Perrault (262 years of existence), always settled in the Mauges, in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Plaine, between Cholet and Angers,

Further news from the city of Paris of course taken advantage of this unfortunate event to put some modernity and trees around which does not give any value to the cathedral, After a Belgian architectural firm winning the contest, they have together with the city, heritage council etc decided on a whole new look for the area.

The new forecourt is designed as a clearing, which highlights the eastern facade of Notre-Dame Cathedral in a green setting. The surrounding trees will provide seats in the shade, while a thin layer of water 5 millimeters high will trickle occasionally to refresh the square in times of great heat, creating ephemeral reflections. The space behind the cathedral, as large as the square in front, today divided by hedges and fences, will become a large continuous square between the chevet and the Seine around a generous lawn which opens onto the arches. flying buttresses and stained glass windows. The gardens to the south of the cathedral, as well as the existing trees, will be integrated into a large riverside park 400 meters long. A total of 131 new trees will be planted. The site of Notre-Dame (approximately 4 hectares) will gain in vegetation (+36% gain compared to the current surface), The old underground car park, located under the current forecourt, will be transformed into an interior promenade. This will house Notre-Dame reception areas over 3,000 m2 (luggage storage, toilets, rooms for groups, etc.) and will offer new experiences to visitors (which now need to use public transport already full) new access to the archaeological crypt and an opening onto the Seine. The new layout will also allow new views of the cathedral. Another novelty: rue du Cloître will be calmed and vegetated !

The Pelerin or Pilgrim on the advances of Notre Dame:

The official reconstruction of Notre Dame :

The newspaper Le Figaro on the Gen post: 

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the post as I. And we are all eagerly waiting for the moment even if events has been held and will be before full restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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July 25, 2022

The Cathedral Saint Samson, interiors !!!

Now, again, passed by this town several times and always on my way to other places never stop. This time in my road warrior trip on my way back from the Manche dept 50 (see posts) , I decided to come to Dol de Bretagne, and voilà saw the masterpiece hugely beautiful Cathedral Saint Samson. On this post will concentrate on the interiors with another post for the exteriors, excuse me if some text is repeated but like to give it continuity. Its a must to see me think. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson nave to altar jul22

The Saint-Samson Cathedral in Dol-de-Bretagne is Gothic in style. It is located in the department 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine, region of my lovely Bretagne. It has been the seat of the bishopric of Dol-de-Bretagne since the year 555, one of the nine ancient bishoprics of Brittany. In 848, Nominoë erected Dol into an archdiocese, a status that would last until 1199. During the French revolution, the cathedral successively became Temple of Reason, stable and warehouse. During the restoration of the religious function, Dol did not recover its title of bishopric. It was indeed abolished by the Concordat of 1801, and its territory divided between the dioceses of Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Quimper and Évreux. It should be noted that it was under Napoleon III that Brittany regained its status as an archdiocese, with Rennes as its seat. It was in 548 that Saint Samson of Dol, monk bishop of Cardiff, Wales, arrived in Dol and founded a monastery there. Shortly after, in 555, Judual, king of Brittany, transformed the monastery into a bishopric. After the coronation of Nominoë, sovereign of the Bretons, in 848, the city became the religious capital of Brittany. Soon a pre-Romanesque cathedral replaced the original church, but this was destroyed by the Vikings in 1014. A Romanesque cathedral was then built. In the middle of the 11C.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson pulpit front jul22

In 1203, the King of England, John the Landless, burnt down the Romanesque cathedral. Fearing for his soul, he will contribute to the financing of its reconstruction which starts in September of the same year , In 1231, the nave is completed ,and the transept and the choir with a flat apse are built. The relics of Saint Samson de Dol attract many pilgrims, which necessitates the construction of an ambulatory The new construction is done on the Romanesque foundations of the previous sanctuary, but in the so-called Anglo-Norman Gothic style and continues throughout the 13C. The last stage, the choir, with its ambulatory and its ten side chapels, was completed in 1279. The large southern porch, located at the end of the southern transept, was added in the 14-15C. At the same time, built on both sides of the latter, to the west, the chapter house, to the east the treasury. During the same campaign, the construction of the very large axial chapel of the bedside took place.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson relics of st samson jul22

In the north ambulatory, we find going up towards the apse: the Chapel of the Sacred Heart; the Chapel of Saint Gilles and Saint Roch; the Chapel of Saint Gilduin and Saint Méen; and the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin formed by the last two bays. It contains some remains of 14C stained glass. Next comes the apsidal Chapel, flanked to the south by the Sacristy: it is dedicated to Saint Samson of Dol and dates from the first half of the 14C. Many bishops are buried here. In the southern ambulatory, we find going down towards the nave: the Chapel of Saint-Joseph-et-Sainte-Thérèse. It currently contains a beautiful carved wooden confessional and some remains of 14C stained glass. Saint Michael’s Chapel. the Notre-Dame-de-la-Pitié Chapel. the Chapel of the Crucifix, with its old well that an underground gallery connects to the second well outside the cathedral. Both are powered by the same source. the Chapel of the Baptismal Font. Restored in 1967, it was once the Treasury and was split into two floors. Its access is through a vault where the remains are clearly visible. It contains a vase from the 15C or 16C.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel sacre heart jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Virgin adorable jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Virgin et angels jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Christ rising jul22

The Saint Samson of Dol Cathedral is one of the few religious buildings in Brittany that still has stained glass windows from the 13C. The main window of the choir, dating from the years 1280-1290, is the oldest monumental stained glass window in Brittany still preserved in situ. Restored from the beginning of the 16C, this work was again restored in 1870. The main window is made up of eight lancets grouped two by two under a trilobe and openwork spandrels, two arches pierced by a quadrilobe structuring the composition on either side of the central mullion. In the tympanum, a hexalobed rose, set with six trilobes and as many spandrels, rests on these arcades, determining two summit trilobes and a median spandrel, between the two quadrilobes .Starting from the left and from bottom to top, here are the scenes by lancet: Story of Saint Margaret of Antioch, Story of Abraham, Scene from the Childhood of Christ: The Passion Story of Saint Samson of Dol Enthronements of the first six Archbishops of Dol, surrounded by their suffragans (Bishops of Léon, Tréguier , Quimper, Vannes, Aleth and Saint-Brieuc). From bottom to top are depicted Saints Samson, Magloire, Budoc, Leucher, Thuriau and Genevé, each mitered, nimbed, wearing the pallium and bearing the archiepiscopal cross. Story of Saint Catherine of Alexandria The tympanum depicts the Last Judgment. The rose depicts Christ surrounded by a Virgin of intercession and five angels bearing the instruments of the Passion. The four-leaf on the right evokes the descent of Christ into hell while the one on the left presents crowned elect accompanied by the Virgin Mary. Below, the dead come out of their tombs, their gaze fixed on the Sovereign Judge.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson rosary window jul22

Most of the high windows of the choir and the transepts remain partially filled with simple grisailles executed around 1290 and completed in 1890-1891, Some windows of the chapels of the choir also preserve fragments of stained glass in their tympanums: Christ in glory accompanied by the tetramorph (14C ), in the Chapel of the Virgin, Christ in glory, tetramorph and musical angels (circa 1420), in the Chapel of Saint-Joseph, Last Judgment from the end of the 13C, in the Chapel of the Crucifix. In addition, the tympanum of the last window in the lower north of the nave depicts an angel bearing the arms of Brittany (mid-15C), On either side of the choir are distributed 77 stalls, in two rows, including returns. Carved in oak, this ensemble dates from the 14C and has the particularity of being both the oldest and the most important preserved in Brittany.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel st samson jul22

In 1410, donation of a high altar sheltered under a ciborium carried by metal columns surmounted by adoring angels or bearing the instruments of the Passion. A large shrine containing the relics of Saint Samson stood next to this altar, above which stood a crosier from which was suspended a ciborium serving as a Eucharistic reserve. In 1744, this altar from the Middle Ages was replaced by an up-to-date creation, the work of Laval marble workers. This new altar combined a Roman-style tabernacle and a wooden Episcopal crosier evoking the ancient Eucharistic suspension. Only the crozier remains today, reused above the episcopal stall. In 1877, the high altar located at the back of the choir, as well as the altar cross, the 6 candlesticks and the 2 light holders. A modern high altar accompanied by an ambo has been installed at the crossing of the transept since 1980 The parallelepipedic shape of the altar presents on its main faces the Last Supper (congregational side) and a lamentation over the body of the crucified (choir side) , on its secondary faces Saint Samson crossing the English Channel and Saint Magloire pacifying English soldiers, The tombs of bishops disappeared during the French revolution. Only remains, mutilated, the tomb of Thomas James, bishop of Dol from 1482 to 1504.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel tresor entr jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson chapel Christ et apostles jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samsontomb of Thomas James, bishop of Dol from 1482 to 1504 jul22

If we find mention of the presence of an organ already old in 1575 at the cathedral, the current instrument dates from the 17C, 19-20C, This organ case is one of only three remaining from the period of the Ancien Régime (monarchy) in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine (35) and the only one to have remained in its place of origin. This organ, one of the largest instruments in the department, is one of the finest examples of neo-classical aesthetics in Ille-et-Vilaine. The choir organ was acquired In 1872 by the parish a polyphone Debierre quickly replaced in 1895 by the current instrument, which is one of the first organs with electric action to come out of the Debierre workshops. This is housed in a neo-Gothic buffet placed in one of the large southern arcades of the choir.

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson organ back jul22

Dol de Bretagne Cathedral St Samson organ choir jul22

The official Cathédraloscope museum on the Cathedral Saint Samson of Dol:

The city of Dol de Bretagne and its heritage

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Dol de Bretagne

The official Mont Saint Michel tourist office on Dol de Bretagne

There you go folks, a wonderful masterpiece and finally visited just 2h15 from my house! The Cathedral of Saint Samson ,interiors are awesome and a must to be seen. I will be back, and hope you take the time to see it. Hope this post will bring you closer to it.

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

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