Archive for August, 2022

August 17, 2022

My eternal Paris walks, the Marais !!!

Let me take you back to my eternal wonderful walks of my Paris. The City was practically home for many years and I uses the time wisely, not to mention visiting it from close range over many years as well. One of the best options to see a city I repeat myself but it is walking, You can get there by several means but once in the city do walk and Paris is awesome to do so. Let me give you one of my favorite walking area of the Marais of Paris !

Former marshy area dedicated to crops and livestock, the Marais is inscribed between the Bastille République and Hôtel de Ville. It was a very much thought out place since the times of Charles V in the Hôtel Saint Pol, and later Charles VI resided at the Hôtel des Tournelles where Henri II was wounded while in a tournament gave his last breath in july 1559. The Golden age of the Marais starts with Henri IV decided a royal square or Place Royale, the future Place des Vosges. The French revolution give a fatal blow to the development of the neighborhood and it was finally save from the Second Empire (Napoléon III) on the work of Baron Haussmann, the Marais becomes industrial. Thanks to the work of the ministry of culture this neighborhood was save under the direction of André Malraux from 1962.

I start our walks by the wonderfully beautiful Hôtel Carnavalet Renaissance 16C, renovated in 1660, and known as the home of Marie de Rabutin Chantal, Marquise of Sévigné that lived it from 1677 to 1696,It was eventually acquis by the city of Paris in 1866 and by 1880 transformed into a museum on the history of the city from its origins to today. It has been expanded by the acquisition of the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau built around 1689 by/for Louis Michel Le Peletier Saint Fargeau who voted the execution of Louis XVI and was assassinated by a body guard of the king on the eve of the king’s execution January 20 1793.

You follow up on the square Léopold Achile where you can see a peach flower tree planted early in the 20C. Followed by the square George Cain that covers the old gardens of the Hôtel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau and where you see the orangery and you can see a fig tree of 6 meters! Follow this up you see the Hôtel de Donon built in 1575 and since 1988 houses the museum Cognacq-Jay that was originally in the bd des Capucines and given to the city of Paris in 1928 by Ernest Cognacq who was the founder of the Samaritaine dept store. The museum is dedicated to the 18C with decorative arts and furniture from the period. At 1 rue de la Perle you see a mansion built in 1686 for M Cognacq.

You continue on towards the old musée de la Serrure-Bricard, that showed rare pieces of roman keys, and locks as well as gothic and renaissance, It was built between 1656 and 1660 (unfortunately museum closed). Follows up with the Hôtel Salé built by a rich men in the salt business and house since 1985 the Musée Picasso. You then reach the old Archives Nationale that takes the square around the rue des Archives, rue des Quatre-Fils, rue de Vielle du Temple, and rue des François-Bourgeois. The Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg house the archives since 1927, The archives nationales has since been moved (see post), However, by no 58 rue des Archives you see a fortified portal with two shave towers as the only remains of the Hôtel de Clisson (b, 1371-1375) and the last witness to administrative architecture of the 14C in Paris. The Hôtel de Soubise house the archives since 1808 ( archives has been moved see post) as per the wishes of Napoléon Ier. The mansion has an impressive facade of 56 columns given to a cour d’honneur with 62 meters long and 40 meters wide. This mansion also housed the old musée de l’Histoire de France since 1867(museum now closed).

The street of the rue des Blanc-Manteaux finished in 1690 has a classic facade coming from the city church (Barnabites) built in 1707 demolished by Haussmann in 1863. You reach the square Charles Langlois dominated by a beautiful purple maple and a gnarled paulownia . In the corner with rue Vieille du Temple and rue Francs Bourgeois you see the pretty Hôtel Hérouet built in 1500 but very much damaged by the bombings of 1944 and completely rebuilt since only original is the small tower, Here you into the rue des Rosiers and you are in another world, the heart of the Jewish quarter, the old rounded road of the wall of Philippe Auguste already hosted a Jewish community in the 13C, You see many beautiful buildings of the 18C, picturesques boutiques,and restaurants.

The street rue François-Miron has two medieval houses on wood all restored at nos 11 and 13,, By no 68 you see the Hôtel de Beauvais built between 1655 and 1660 for Catherine de Beauvais a protegé of Anne of Austria, This hotel received a young Mozart in 1763 for several months,the young genius at 7 years old show up in Versailles where he will produced the first four sonates. Along the road, we reach the Hôtel de Sens built between 1475 and 1507 for the bishops of Sens of which the bishophic of Paris belongs until 1622. The mansion was greatly restored in the 20C but rest one of the best witnessed of medieval architecture in Paris. The old home of the queen Margot became in ruins when the city of Paris purchase it and after restoration open in 1961 as the Library Forney that was created in 1886 and dedicated to arts decoratives and techniques.

We reach the marvelous Village Saint Paul an urban isle save from demolition and now fully restored. There is a huge fleas here four times a year. Follow on rue des Jardins de Saint Paul you can admire the chevet back of the Church Saint Paul-Saint Louis and some remains of the wall of Philippe Auguste as two towers from the 12C. The Hôtel de Sully considered one of the prettiest of the Marais built in Renaissance style from 1624 that was greatly embellished by Minister Sully of Henri IV. The orangery has an outlet to the Place des Vosges the old Place Royale of Henri IV that takes its current name by Napoléon Ier deciding in 1800 to name it in the name of the department that first pay their taxes. The square is surrounded by 36 pavilions on arcades or 9 on each side in brick and stone such as the Pavillon surélevé du Roi at no 1 and facing it that of the Reine at no 28 , In the center the square Louis XIII has 1,3 hectares and was created by Louis XIV with plants and trees in 1783 before change to public garden in the end of the 19C. There is an equestrian statue of Louis XIII at center done in 1829 to replace a bronze statue put in 1639 by Richelieu and put down at the French revolution. The place des Vosges had many known residents such as the birthplace of Madame de Sévigné in 1626, and lived by Bossuet, Rachel, Alphonse Daudet, and Théophile Gautier, This without mentioning the most famous me think Victor Hugo that lived here from 1832 to 1848 at No 6 second floor (3rd US) of the Hôtel Rohan-Guéménée acquired by the city of Paris in 1873 and transformed into a museum in 1902 for the centenary of his birth.

We go on the wonderful walks of my eternal Paris into the small charming Place du Marché Sainte Catherine a great place for a break, The before mentioned Church Saint Paul Saint Louis done by the Jesuites in the 17C. The first stone was place by Louis XIII in 1627 and by 1641 Richelieu does the first Mass. It has an important relics such as the hearts of Louis XIII and Louis XIV ! And very famous speakers such as Bossuet and Bourdaloue as well as assisted by Madame de Sévigné. The baroque facade on three levels that hides a dome of 55 meters.

There you go folks, hope you enjoy the walk as I. This is in my eternal Paris, a walker’s paradise and in the most beautiful city in the world ! A mouvable feast and more indeed. See you around the streets of Paris !

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

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August 17, 2022

My beginnings in France, Meaux forever !!!

I have said my blog is a tracing of my life’s history all is here since birth. My family enjoys it and my sons hopefully will carry it on for the family memories. I wrote a previous post on the family trace in France, racines Françaises!!! This time let me show in my personal blog some family pictures of old that my dear late wife Martine share with me.

In the continuing saga of family roots and places of yesteryear and today and tomorrow, etc. This is a personal post, as my blog is, just now sharing with the world this marvelous story of meeting a French girl in Paris, coming back to see her family and her again in 1990, she went to see my family in Ormond Beach Florida the same year and before getting there I asked to marry me and live there and she agreed ! A wonderful rollercoaster ride and 3 wonderful good boys later , she asked me to come to live in France and so I did in August 2003 ; they stay behind for the house closing sale and joined me in December 2003. However, not told you about her life before in France and the family , Therefore ,l tell you about the roots =racines of my family in France, and my mamie bleu…..

Below my Martine in her house garden home 36 rue Noefort. Meaux cabin in garden of gmere MF et PF sep90

Over the Marne river bridge my Martine, me and our boys early on visits!

Meaux marne river MF et boys c1994

Walking in Meaux with my Dad, Mom, my Martine and the boys



Above maternal grandmother Fourré, my Martine and our boys, left holding frame is my dear late mother Gladys

It all started in Meaux , in departément 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. Many posts on the town and surroundings, This will be basically a pictorial post, more of the pictures less of the text,  I will cherish it forever, and hope you enjoy it to read, Thanks for reading my blog since November 26 2010, a way to unleash my thoughts and memories.

Below old pictures 1) maternal grandparents and Martine, 2) maternal grandfather Georges and Martine 3 maternal grandparents and Martine in garden

Meaux Martine and GP may18

My Martine very early on

Meaux Martine as a child

My young Martine in her bedroom of her house 36 rue Noefort, Meaux

Meaux martine in her room house of rue noefort meaux may1990

My beautiful Martine in her Catholic Communion dress

Meaux MF communion

Her parents Pierre and Yvette marriage picture!

meaux Pierre et Yvette parents of MF

As most would do by train, you can take a train at Gare de l’Est or Paris-Est in Paris and direct is 25 minutes or with stops 40 minutes according to the tourist office, You can, also, take the RER A direction Disneyland and terminus gare de Marne-la-Vallée Chessy, there take bus no 19 of the line Marne et Morin to the train station in Meaux, Or do as I did my very first time to Meaux ! Back in September 1990 from the airport CDG stop Aéroport CDG 1 (RER B) take the bus of the line Seine et Marne Express line no 20 to the train station in Meaux for only 2 euros !! And of course, by the road warrior way you can take it from Paris on the A4 direction Metz, Nancy Disneyland , in about 50 km, leave the A4 direction A140 direction Meaux Centre. You will see an impressive view of the Cathedral and Episcopal city !! Meaux is also , a 3 bikes city where the bicycle is used all over, You can use free bikes at the train station or city hall.

The  Meaux tourist office on the city information office :

The city of Meaux on its walks and heritage

There you go folks, a very sentimental city of Meaux for me and the foundation of my Frenchness that will last a lifetime thanks to my Mamie Bleu Martine forever !! This is one of those posts in my blog… Memories they said is to live again …To note, this is a very good inexpensive way to see Disneyland Paris only about 28 minutes by bus and 18 minutes by car! 

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

August 17, 2022

Wine fairs, Champagne and the wines of my France !!!

This is by now something that I look forward to see, taste, buy, the Foire aux vins or wine fairs, I started going for private tastings and visiting the properties, as my travels slow down in retirement, I have enjoyed a lot more these fairs and salons or wine events that goes on all over France. A wonderful time to enjoy new wines !

There are over 30 wine fairs in France just on average every year! Starting with your friendly hyper/supermarket chain such as the leading names of E Leclerc, Giant Casino, Carrefour, Intermarché, Monoprix and Auchan. The Sommeliers expert advice is given on every wine shown/sold. Be careful of low prices from industrial wine growers, search well for prices, and the medal wine bottles as commercially manipulated. IN brief, you need to know who you buy from, both in store and from producers. I always have counted on producers if they are good their years will be good ,sure buy. Be aware that even if this is a national event, each regions has its choices so need to move about to find the best as a whole. One great wine in Provence may not be available in Bretagne and vice versa, and each hyper/supermarket have their favorites and may have less or more of different regions of the world.

The leaders are the hypermarkets Carrefour and E Leclerc (who created the trend of fairs 44 years ago and the one we like best). These fairs provide about 15%  of all wine sales for the year for most of the stores name. The French take 70% of intention of going to them and 80% is done in hypermarkets according to now repeated surveys of about the same distribution of percentages, Most folks in France like me in France, received catalogues of the sales ahead of time, where we see the choices we like and get in depth information on them before buying. The most shown in these fairs is the Bordeaux wines with a mix of regions that has nevertheless reduce their control from 41% to 36% in 10 years period.  The reduction help bring on wines from the Rhône , Provence, and the Languedoc-Roussillon. My favorite hypermarket E Leclerc has a nice cellar section where you can order online or take a closer look before getting to the store: Ma Cave webpage :

My favorite for information and event dates etc and have participated in their private tastings at the Palais Brongniart in Paris is the magazine La revue du vin de France  (my blogroll below posts) and one that I have followed for many many years, I ,even have a library of their magazines going back several years! Official LARVF:,4666078.asp

One newspaper I follow and best for comparisons is the Le Figaro . It provides available wines by region and store as well as prices so you are well arm when stepping into the stores. Is a must to read before going out shopping. It’s in French of course, The site not only gives you supermarkets but also specialize wine stores with a nice tri to look up prices and wine labels  régions etc; See it next events here :

One smaller wine tasting I went for several years before moving to Bretagne is held by the Port de Suffren in Paris, at the Le Maxim’s boat owned by Pierre Cardin; Saveurs et Vins , Even if discontinue, I keep in touch with the producers and either go in person or have them delivered here, I like to keep it here for the family memories as my dear late wife Martine loaded on goodies !!!  And one Domaine Dutertre that the met at the above event and follow them all the way to Limeray next to Amboise in the fabulous Touraine-Amboise region of the Loire wines.  It was called the  Promenade Gourmande. A walk in the vineyards with local music, food and local wine tasting while while walking amongst the grapes. It has been discontinue after so many years but also will keep here for the family memories.

My favorite places to buy wines when not on site are in Paris Lavinia and Nicolas, away from Paris ,Bordeaux Millesima, and other places Nicolas, never fails,

Lavinia Paris was change from the store in Rue de la Madeleine to a new store not yet visited in 22 Avenue Victor Hugo :

Good to know my old store Nicolas 31 Pl. de la Madeleine is still there, webpage:

And one of the oldies of mine still around strong is Millesima 87 Quai de Paludate, Bordeaux:

I have to say bragging excuse me that I am direct with Mouton Rothschild and their internal wine distribution line of the Baronnie, This relationship goes way back and had the honor of meeting Baroness Philippine,(since passed away RIP). The official MR :

And La Baronnie :

And check this out, Vinexpo Bordeaux has settled in as well in Paris ! 13-15 February 2023 Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles ! A place know well for attending several events there ! Looking forward to this one, might make me go to Paris,,,, webpage :

Enjoy the wines in moderation and keep up a tradition of centuries ,wine is good for you. France of course, does the best and from where all others are copy even using same French grapes, barrel fermentation, techniques and consultants etc. The quality is very good and the price/quality ratio tops. For the record, I am a graduate diploma holder of ICEX or the Commercial office of Spain, and Sopexa, Food and Wines from France, Both their government windows of their wine and gastronomy, And as written in my other wine related posts, the Americans love France, and they go all out for the wines. Now, they are putting their pocket where their tastes are investing again in French wine properties. The trend is ongoing as I write!   And remember, the areas have changed a while back but here as a reminder ; this in order to simplified a little the vast numbers of names in Europe and especially France. The old AOC (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée) are now the AOP (Appellations d’Origine Protégée).  The middle level of VDQS (Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérieure) disappears. Now the wines that were VDQS need to choose to be AOP or IGP. The old Vins de Pays becomes IGP (Indications Géographiques Protégées). And the Vins de Table becomes now the Vins de France.  A simpler system me think,

Another thing, you know the area which can be call Champagne ,also includes areas in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 !!  The areas really are the Montagne de Reims (dept Marne 51) with the dominant grape Pinot Noir. The valley of the Marne (dept Marne 51, Aisne 02, and Seine-et-Marne 77 !) with the dominant grape Meunier; the ladders or hills call côte des blancs (Marne 51) with the dominant grape Chardonnay; and the vineyards of the ladder or hills call côte des Bars (around Bar-sur-Aube and Bar-sur-Seine in the Aube dept 10).

All this thanks to a monk , Dom Perignon cellarmaster of the abbey benedictine of Hautvillers that handle different crus and the control of the must in the second fermentation. Of course, sparkling wine was done way before, but this event is the one that really took off the name and the pleasures of it for all of us. It is done basically with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes. Although some lesser known grapes are authorize but seldom use such as arbane, petit meslier, pinot gris or fromenteau and pinot blanc; also , the gamay  in the dept 10 Aube.  By towns you can tell the quality as some towns are Grand Crus, and many more Premier Crus and then there are the Autres Crus or others. There, is also some others like red white, and rosé wines in the coteaux champenois especially in the towns of Bouzy, Vertus and Damery. The Rosé des Riceys produce in the town of Riceys in the Aube dept 10. the sparkler crémant de champagne  with a smaller sparkler and less pressure in the fermentation. The grapes to make champagne is also, use to do an aperitif call Ratafia and hard liquior marc de champagne.

More on the bubbly you can read in the official Champagne:

Some distinction on how the wines should be drank in a progressive way  from the lighest to the heaviest or richer. We start with a Champagne or body white wine like a blanc de blancs or muscadet and finish with a red wine sharp like Bordeaux or sweet wine such as a Vin Doux Naturel (muscat, rasteau or banyul) . OF course, you can keep the same wine for the entire meal. And as far as temperature goes served the dry whites between 8-10°C (about 50F), the more body whites such as Chablis, Vouvray, Montlouis, or Montrachet between 10-12°C (about 54F), the body fruity red like a côtes du Rhône villages, Chinon, Bordeaux Supérieur between 15-17°C (about 6OF) and the more complex full tannic reds like a Bandol, Côte Rôtie, Haut-Médoc, or Margaux between 16-17°C (about 65F), after decanting. Of course, these are temps in France, you must adjust for your country.

There you go folks, another dandy post on the essence of life, and i left you with some ideas to think big about wines; hope you enjoy them as I. “Water makes you cry, wine sings.” French proverb, “Too much or too little wine forbids the truth.” By Blaise Pascal, “Ordinary wine, the drinking water of the French.” From George Bernard Shaw / Sainte Jeanne , “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” By François Rabelais , Wine is the healthiest and most hygienic beverage there is.” From Louis Pasteur, “Wine makes the eye clearer and the ear sharper! ” From Charles Baudelaire / Les Fleurs du mal , “Wine is the intellectual part of a meal. The meats and vegetables are just the material part of it.” By Alexandre Dumas. In Vino Veritas!

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

August 16, 2022

Paris and the Expats !

This is something wanted to write in my blog but was put off by other posts on the bar restaurant and expats in general in Paris. However, I like to dare do it now. This is my early story working in Paris and living in Versailles, la classe indeed. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Upon arriving in Versailles in August 2003, I was not really aware what the term expats meant and seek them out to I guess keep up with the nostalgia of lands now gone. These expats are it; their world turns around this nostalgia and comparing the two worlds. Not really good if you are planning to settle in a new country, culture etc. I guess not an expert on this sociological phenomenon, and coming from already a French family in Florida USA, making trips to France every year since 1990 not the typical expat per se. After all, I was French in 2000 before living permanently in France! Hard to believe the group started by an American attorney of which the first 4 members meeting in Au Trappiste have grown to over 9 thousands members today !! Of course, I am no longer a member for several years since moving to the Morbihan breton dept 56. Pic below from 2005……!

Expats paris au trappiste Pedro 14Dec2005

The official meetup Expats Paris :

The area of this particular memorable place was set in the rue Saint-Denis, located in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements  and one of the oldest streets of ParisThe brewery bar restaurant Au Trappiste at 4 rue Saint Denis is closer to Place du Châtelet to the Seine river side.  There you are in Belgium with the monks; lots of good beer, simple good portions of food, moules or mussels and fries,and grill sausages. The first or ground floor is more noisy ,the second or upper floor more calm and better views! of Châtelet. There is a nice cosy terrace nowdays just perfect for people watching and be watched in Paris! Dedicated mainly to Belgian beers, the Au Trappiste, of course offers many beverages from all over the world. No less than 120 bottled beers (including the majority of Trappist beers that are brewed in the world) and twenty drafts beers. Rare beers are found here too. On the plate side, they work on classic but well made dishes such as choucroutte (saukraut), french fries, steaks, burgers, croque monsieurs (ham and cheese sandwiches), mussels,sausages, etc.


The Facebook page of Au Trappiste

My fav Yelp reviews on Au Trappiste

The RestaurantGuru reviews page on Au Trappiste

Now what do you think of expats groups in Paris, France, anywhere? I gave you a hint above.

There you go folks, another memorable spot in my early Paris haunts, I was last by it on November 2019 (see post) and still the great food, great service and great views from upper floor ; not to mention a wonderful terrace right on the sidewalk, I love it, at Au Trappiste, and worth the detour while in Paris me think.

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

August 16, 2022

Boater’s paradise of La Trinité sur Mer !!!

I was back with my family today to a familiar place seeking something to do on Assomption Day in my belle France, The beaches were pack to say the least and trafic galore, we skip along to avoid as much as possible and enjoy our day in the boater’s paradise of La Trinité sur Mer !

La Trinite sur Mer wooden houses restos waterfront aug22

This is a wonderful heavens and boater’s paradise about 26 Km ( 16 miles) from my house. Weekends specially in good weather is glorious to have it as your backyard, even in winter . Not to mention the whole of the coastal department 56 of my beautiful  Morbihan in my lovely Bretagne. I have several posts on the town in my blog over the years, one of our fav areas ; however, this is new text and pictures.

La Trinité sur Mer has developed its port afloat, which is today one of the main marinas in Brittany, The port of La Trinité-sur-Mer can be admired from the top of the Pont de Kerisper which crosses the Crac’h river on more of 200 meters. A real open-air museum where sailboats, speedboats and yachts of all origins and of all sizes rub shoulders.

La Trinité-sur-Mer is the third port in Bretagne and the fifth on the Atlantic coast. Its privileged location at the bottom of an estuary allows it to accommodate moored multihulls during their preparation for races around the world. It is one of the most important regatta places in Europe. Indeed, the city is particularly renowned for its nautical competitions. Its small fishing and sailing port is a popular stopover for internationally renowned boaters and skippers who have made it their home port.  Its exceptional geographical location allows it to organize very beautiful regattas in the Bay of Quiberon as well as deep-sea races along the coasts of southern Brittany and around the Ponant Islands.

La Trinite sur Mer marina racing boats aug22

The city of La Trinité sur Mer on its ports and nautical activities

The official port of La Trinité sur Mer :

 On the subject of beaches, well here you have some of the best in all of Brittany,and one of my favorite is the beach of Plage du Men Dû.  A wonderful corner of my world , the Plage du Men-dû is a sandy beach and is shallow. It is the joy of bathers at high tide, and the joy of waders and fishermen on foot at low tide. In the center, overlooks the Ïle de Stuhan or island of. At low water, this islet is connected to the earth by a strip of sand, called a tombolo. Lots of fun indeed !!

My favorite beach site Plages TV on the beach of Men Du

In city center by Cours de Quai street or D186 you have the Halle aux Poissons,open every mornings,with the best fish/seafood offering around, Around it you have the flea and food market on summers only , Right there is the Cruise terminal to outlying islands by Navix.As well as the post of the SNSM volunteer lifesaving organisation in France.

The City of La Trinité sur Mer on markets

If you love the sea and I do, and boating and I do and all related to the sea including scuba diving, then you must come to La Trinité sur Mer. A must for the nautically incline as I.

Ah well been in town all day, needed to eat, and on Assomption Day, which was created in 1638, Louis XIII consecrated the Kingdom of France to the Virgin Mary, thus establishing the great processions of August 15 which still take place today. I chose a new place just out of whim which is my best shots. We had our late lunch at Le Britannia brasserie restaurant right on facing the marina. Even on this day, we had no reservations, just show up 5 persons one on wheelchair and in we went to the back. I must say the place quickly filled up and service was a bit slow but very friendly and nice. I had my Salmon with black rice and stew vegetables, my tiramisubreizh or a Breton caramelise version of the tiramisu, all wash down with two bottles of brut cider Sorre. The other had different dishes all for less than 22 euros nice quality/price ratio indeed, and we will be back.  

La Trinite sur Mer Le Britannia resto front aug22

The RestaurantGuru reviews on Le Britannia

They do have a Facebook page

There you go folks ,another dandy road warrior ride into my beautiful Morbihan and the boater’s paradise of La Trinité sur Mer, just south of me! Hope you enjoy the post and do visit, worth the detour indeed.

The local Bay of Quiberon Tourist Office on La Trinité sur Mer :

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

August 16, 2022

The Church Saint-Pierre-du-Gros-Caillou of Paris !

Walking Paris is always sublime , enormous feeling of architecture and history all around you, and beauty. This is another dear area of mine ,walked with the family several times, and voilà saw this church and why not, a wonderful souvenir of my walks with the family in my eternal Paris. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Church Saint-Pierre-du-Gros-Caillou (or St Peter of the big pebble) is located at 92, rue Saint-Dominique in the 7éme arrondissement. A way of many walks by yours truly coming from the port de Suffren (see post) where we always went for events and gastronomy on the Seine river , Maxim’s boat (see post). We then decided to take a walk and found ourselves passing this church.

A bit of history I like

The Church of Saint-Pierre du Gros-Caillou, is a parish church in the neighborhood or quartier Gros Caillou of the 7éme arrondissement of Paris. The story goes that when Gros-Caillou had become a fairly large neighborhood, they felt the need to build a branch there of the Church Saint-Sulpice (see post), which was the parish of this neighborhood at the times. They took care of this project in 1652, but countless obstacles successively came to stop the works. Finally, in 1733, the foundation stone of this church was laid. Which was blessed under the title of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, and named by the inhabitants , Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Délivrance; it is however designated in the registers of the archbishopric under the name of Saint-Pierre-du-Gros-Caillou, branch of Saint-Sulpice. It was not entirely finished when the French revolution broke out and was then demolished. In 1822, a new church was erected on the same site and under the same name, which is beautifully simple with the first stone of the present church, was laid during the reign of king Louis XVIII and completed in 1826 on a plan inspired by the Roman basilicas. This antique style has been in vogue for the last decades of the Ancien Régime The Church Saint-Pierre-du-Gros-Caillou was enlarged with a side wing in 1905, then the axial chapel known as the Virgin in 1971.


The interior style of the Church of Saint Pierre du Gros Caillou is quite simple. You will see , however, the presence of some interesting paintings such as the Christ holding a child on his knees, 1840. Saint Pierre released from prison, 1834. and the most prominent done by Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre, Saint François meditating in solitude, Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Finally, the Chapel of the Virgin has a rarity: a Stations of the Cross made up of a long series of tangled branches and twigs which stretches along the walls and dates from 1953.  There was an organ here circa 1850 nothing attest of one before and this one was sold in 1926. The organ was sadly in bad shape. A second organ was done circa 1925, but it too was demolished. The current organ was built in 1976, of neoclassical aesthetic.   There is a second organ in the chapel built in 1972. The bell-tower shelters a ringing of 4 bells done in 1993; they were baptized on May 16, 1993. The names given are Clémence – 800 kg; Constance- 445 kg , Patience- 340 kg, and Prudence- 275 kg. In the church is placed, on the ground, the old bell: Louise-Sophie 320 kg done in 1826 and baptized on April 17, 1827.

The city of Paris on the Church St Pierre du Gros Caillou

The official Parish of the Church St Pierre du Gros Caillou :

This is the wonderful way to walk Paris and see these off the beaten path monuments ,and they are many.  This is a nice area off the Avenue Bosquet (see post) ,the picturesque rue Cler, and walking straigh on Rue St Dominique you reach the marvelous lawns behind the Invalides,(see post), sublime walk. Hope you enjoy the Church Saint Pierre du Gros Caillou in my eternal Paris.

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

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August 15, 2022

The Café l’Imperial of Paris !!!

Another soft spot for me in my eternal Paris and really only have briefs in other posts. It deserves a post of its own for the memories of always. This Café l’Imperial is on rue de Rivoli facing the Jardin des Tuileries and it was lunch home for a couple of years while working in Paris. Lately, it has gone thru a slight management change and name to Imperial Rivoli but the same as before stays. For me it will always be the Café L’Imperial. Let me tell you a bit about it ok; hope you enjoy the post as I.


As said, happy to have worked in Paris for about 9 years. Over 2 years were at the fame Intercontinental Hotel (today Westin Vendôme), which we called the l’Inter as part of upper management, where  I was base in charge of all own properties of the Intercontinental Hotels Group in France. Own needs a definition, in the hotel business many properties carries the name of the hotel chain but are actually only managed or franchise facilities. When we say own means the group owns the real estate, the real owner of it all. The short story is that the hotel was sold to a retirement pension group from Singapore who in turns gave the management of it to the Starwood hotels group and we management left with a nice package, indeed. Later, it has been passed on as part of the Marriott International group.


Well, we had a nice restaurant cafeteria for employees in the basement of great food and unbelievable prices but it was very tight, and several times in the week the collegues will go out for lunch, just a cup of coffee or an apéritif drink before going to our homes. This was the fun part and you guess it, the place chosen was the Café l’Imperial which is just next to the hotel!

Paris cafe L'Imperiale side rue de rivoli et mont thabor apr09

A wonderful walk that in between had the sublime sensation of having lunch at my old work hangouts Café l’Imperial  on the corner with Rue Roget de Lisle! (our employees entrance to the L’Inter) . Metro Concorde lines 1,8,and 12. However, I did the walk from Gare Saint Lazare same time and wonderful Paris above ground !! This was and is my stop for a quick meal, coffee or a drink with a magnificent location across from the Jardin des Tuileries. A wonderful group of people with the frame old saying by Gustave Flaubert in 1913 ” Imperialists are wonderful people, very honest plausible and intelligents people” ! Well I am glad was part of it . 

paris cafe l'imperial side from rivoli nov19

Needless to say, I have stopped by and had my lunch and dinners there afterward on several occasion with the family and visiting friends for a taste of laid back Paris. The black and white decor with red sofas and French cuisine is tops. The homely atmosphere of this restaurant allows guests to relax after a hard working day.  A number of reviewers find the staff terrific. Service at  Café L’Impérial (oh a slight change of name to Imperial Rivoli ) is something one can name fine. Prices are found fair here. Many clients highlight that the beautiful decor inside is enjoyable. Bits from several review places. Mind you,this is not your fancy overprice Parisien place but a simple meal presentation, good food,and good prices always with a smile. You notice do not do posts on single restos but this one is worth the detour me think. My Dad in the picture !great !!!

Paris L'Imperiale cafe rue de rivoli 15apr09

The official Café L’Imperial

There you go folks, another soft spot in my eternal Paris, the Café l’Imperial or Imperial Rivoli is a worth a detour and on a grand spot for sights of the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. Again, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for making me remember all these wonderful places of always.

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

August 15, 2022

The Opéra Garnier of Paris, part II

I found some old pictures not included in my blog, and they should been one of my fav areas of my eternal Paris. Therefore will write a follow up post on the Opéra Garnier of Paris as i like to call it.I was by here for several years, and up and down and around it as worked across the street ! This is one of the most emblematic icons of Paris! It stuck on you, like anything in Paris does.


For the uninitiated or newby, the Opéra Garnier of Paris is located at Place de l’Opéra, at the north end of Avenue de l’Opéra (see posts) and at the crossroads of numerous streets. It is accessible by metro Opéra station, lines 3, 7 and 8, and  by RER line A, Auber station and by bus lines  22, 52, 53, 66, and Roissybus (aiport CDG). Parking  Q-Park Edouard VII  and Rue Bruno Coquatrix facing 23 Rue de Caumartin.

The Paris Opera has had several names including “Royal Academy of Music and Dance” at its birth, then “Imperial Academy” and its activities took place in at least fifteen different rooms , After the fire at the Palais Royal theater in 1763, the Opera stayed in a large number of halls in Paris, including the Salle Montansier, located at the current location of Square Louvois. The Opera took up residence in the Salle Favart, abandoned by the Opéra-Comique. It moved again pending the completion of the Palais Garnier in 1874, which was part of Haussmann’s urban plan. The history of its construction, which spanned fourteen years, from 1861 to 1875, is closely intertwined with that of the Second Empire and the beginnings of the Third Republic. The facade alone inaugurated in 1867 , for the Universal Exhibition of 1867. The rest of the construction was delayed due to the war of 1870. The inauguration of the opera was finally made in 1875, after the abdication of Napoleon III in 1870. Napoleon III, at the origin of its construction, will never see its completion , and the unfinished Fumoir gallery will never be finished, The Grand hotel (Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental-fyi my old job) , at the corner of Boulevard des Capucines, was built in 1867 for the Exposition Universal, at the same time as the facade of the Opera.


During the excavations, intended for the construction of the foundation blocks, the work must be abruptly interrupted because the level of the water table has been reached. Steam pumps operating day and night are installed to pour a large concrete casing, temporarily filled with water to allow the construction of the infrastructure above. It also allows the distribution of loads on poor quality ground and the stabilization of the building. Today it still serves as a water reserve used by the Paris firefighters.

The inauguration took place on January 5, 1875 in the presence of the President of the Republic Mac Mahon, the Lord Mayor of London, the Mayor of Amsterdam, the Royal Family of Spain and nearly two thousand guests from all over Europe. The program included works by Auber, Havely, Rossini (Guillaume Tell) Myerbeer and the ballet La Source by Léo Delibes , On February 7 , 1875, the famous masked and transvestite ball of the Opera was organized, created in 1715. Principal chic annual event of the Carnival of Paris, it took place in the hall of the Nouvel-Opéra. It gathered eight thousand participants and was perpetuated until 1903. Since, the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille form the Opéra de Paris which in 1994 becomes the Opéra national de Paris.

From my books let me expand on my previous post on its history, by given you a brief description of the exterior of the Opera Garnier of Paris.

The main facade to the south,gives to the Place de l’Opéra , and the point west facade you can see the rue Auber and rue Scribe., The entrance to this facade is indicated by a series of green marble columns, two of which are surmounted by a large bronze imperial eagle, a symbol miraculously preserved after the Second Empire. The Emperor’s Pavilion, which was never completed, provides direct access to a front stage box on the garden side. These rooms, which were not finished by Napoleon III, were then fitted out to house a library of 600,000 documents related to the theatre, autograph manuscript scores by Rameau, Gluck, Rossini, Wagner, Massenet, Charpentier, Hahn, Poulenc, etc. These rooms also house a museum of approximately 8,500 objects, 2,500 stage models, 3,000 various works including 500 paintings, 3,000 stage jewellery, etc. On this west facade was erected in 1903 a monument to the glory of Charles Garnier who died in 1898. The East facade is visible from rue Halévy and rue Gluck as well as from place Jacques Rouché. It is preceded by a series of green marble columns to enter the Subscribers’ Pavilion . In 2007, a restaurant project finally came to fruition in 2009 with the opening of the Opéra Restaurant, 2 Michelin stars, accessible to everyone without going through the ticket office. On the côté nord or north side, Charles Garnier has set up a courtyard to facilitate the entry of the various employees, to receive sets and accessories and to bring them directly to the goods lift leading to the level of the stage.

paris opera garnier left side nov19

Now again from my books, brief, let me bring you inside of the Opéra Garnier of Paris :

I will mention the Grand Vestibule Control ,Vestibule Subscribers’, the Rotunda Glacier, Rotunda Fore-Foyer or Mosaics Foyer, the Grand Foyer and its Lounges Moon and Sun Lounges, the Grand Staircase , Main Theater ; the Hall Parterre and Balconies. Continue with the two domes of the ceiling: The first dome of the ceiling of the great hall , and the new ceiling. The large chandelier ; the height of the chandelier of 8 meters is that of a small house ; it is in gilt bronze and crystal, and bears on five crowns 340 gas burners, which became electric bulbs from 1881. The design is by Charles Garnier himself, The Stage and backstage, where the orchestra pit precedes the proscenium. The opening of the stage is such that it once allowed the arrival of galloping horses within the width of its 16 meters. The 1,350 m2 stage set, built of oak planks, can accommodate up to four hundred and fifty artists, singers, dancers and extras. The Under floor and hangers ; from the deepest to the top of the opening of the stage, the set reaches a record height of 60 meters. There are several sets of bells used during performances. The great organ built by the famous organbuilder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll has been out of service for decades.  An organ at the Opera was used in some lyrical works, starting with the most famous between them, Faust, by Charles Gounod but also La Juive by Jacques-Fromental Halévy, Werther by Jules Massenet and many others. The Foyer de la Danse ; this foyer, used for rehearsals by the corps de ballet, has an inclined floor identical to that of the stage, but whose slope is reversed. Hidden you have the Administration offices. The domes are covered in copper, which when oxidized takes on a greenish color. The rest of the building is now covered with zinc, like the majority of roofs in Paris. The set and costume making workshops are are not in the Opera but on Boulevard Berthier, in the 17éme arrondissement of Paris.

paris opera garnier back side corner jun15

The Paris tourist office on the Opéra Garnier :

For programming ,hours, prices etc, see the official Opéra Garnier :

As in Paris, all is sublime, the Opéra Garnier is a masterpiece of France, and the world. To think I worked across it for two years in my eternal Paris !! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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August 15, 2022

The old Forum Les Halles of Paris !

Let me tell you a bit of old history on one of the new icons of Paris, I first passed by it in 1991 on my visits to France from the USA, Eventually I came with the family in 2004 to see the old Forum Les Halles of Paris, This is a bit of the history after this date ; as I found me an old picture ; hope you enjoy it as I.

By 2004 an architectural competition was launched by the city/town hall of Paris for a total renovation of the Halles quartier or neighborhood. The first works were to start in 2009, The project architectural firm was decided in July 2007 on the future “Carreau des Halles”, with the Canopée, a symbolic heightening of the current Forum des Halles. By April 2010, the work was finally started for the redevelopment of the Halles, and including the reorganization of surface public spaces, the construction of the Canopy, the new garden, the reorganization of underground roads and the redevelopment of the Châtelet-Les-Halles trains station with the Forum and their accesses. The wonderful Canopy was inaugurated in 2016. Going back, way back, this “belly of Paris”, referred to by Emile Zola in the days of the wholesale markets, has become one of the main centers of activity in the city, close to the geographical center of Paris, and at the crossroads of the main lines of the public transport network of the region.

paris les forum halles old entr c2010

In the older days, going back way back they have different markets here such as the Fish market ; installed since the Middle Ages in a triangle to the Saint-Eustache Church near the pillory, the market was rebuilt in the same location in 1822 and transferred in 1857 to Baltard pavilions 9 and 11 at the corner of rue Rambuteau and rue Pierre Lescot, The Cheese market , established to the south of the fish market is installed in a hall built at this location in 1823, also housing a butter and egg market, then transferred in 1857 to Baltard pavilion No. 12 at the corner of rue Berger and rue Pierre Lescot, close to its original location, The meat market was established on the site of the old wheat market when it was installed in 1770 in the building which will be that of the stock exchange (bourse), transferred to the Prouvaires market opened in 1818, then in the Baltard pavilion n° 3 rue Rambuteau south of the Saint-Eustache Church in 1860, The Halle au Blé et aux Flours  was located between rue de la Tonnellerie and rue de la Fromagerie on Place des Halles. This market having become too small, the City decided in 1762 to move the market to a building erected on the site of the Hotel de Soissons, purchased by the city a few years earlier, of which there remains the astronomical column of Catherine de Medici, This Wheat and Flour hall built from 1763 to 1767 was inaugurated in 1770 with its center in the open air, covered by a wooden dome in 1782. This was destroyed by fire in 1802 and replaced by a new structure in iron, first covered with sheets of lead, then with glass, which suffered another fire in 1854. Again renovated, the building became the headquarters of the Stock Exchange (bourse). The meat market is installed on the site of the old wheat market which in 1818 becomes that of the herb market. The Halle aux Herbes was installed in 1818, on the site of the former meat hall which was itself that of the former corn hall before its transfer in 1770 to the building constructed for this purpose which will be by the stock exchange. The herb hall was installed in 1858 in the Baltard no. 7 and no. 8 fruit and vegetable pavilions. The Textile Hall had been established since the 15C between rue de la Poterie and rue de la Petite-Friperie to the south of the carreau des halles square. It was rebuilt under the name Halle aux draps et toiles in 1786. The building was burned down in 1855. Of all the above only two pavilions were saved and reinstalled, one in Nogent-sur-Marne (94 Val de Marne ) and another transported to Yokohama in Japan.

The new Forum Les Halles (see posts) is France’s third busiest shopping center with 26 cinemas ,the busiest swimming pool; a garden of more than four hectares; a network of roads, mainly underground. three media libraries of the City of Paris, two musical ones (one reserved for conservatories, the other open to all audiences), one specialized in cinema, This Forum les Halles and neighborhood are served by the trains station Châtelet – Les Halles metro lines 1, 4 ,7, 11, and 14, as well as by RER A, B, and D lines, The city’s largest station with three RER, five metro, 15 bus and 13 Noctilien lines ! A laberynth to avoid as possible.

The Halles neighborhood or quartier is the 2nd and located in the 1éme arrondissement of Paris. It takes its name from the Halles de Paris, a wholesale market for fresh food products, which was once established in its center. These halls were demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Forum des Halles, with a mainly pedestrian environment, which houses the largest urban station in Europe, Gare de Châtelet – Les Halles.  The limits of the district were fixed in 1859 at the time of the extension of Paris. The boundaries are: Rue de Rivoli to the south; Rue de Marengo and Rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs to the west; rue Étienne-Marcel to the north; and Boulevard Sevastopol to the east. The area was originally made up of swamps crossed by the road from Paris to Saint-Denis. In Merovingian times, a cemetery, later called the Cemetery of the Innocents, was established along this road. A chapel, later transformed into a church by Louis VI le Gros around 1130, was founded there. In 1780, the cemetery of the Innocents was closed for hygienic reasons and the bones were exhumed and transported to the catacombs. The halles closed in 1969. The buildings were destroyed in the 1970s and the Forum des Halles opened in 1979. Much renovated later as above,

Main things to see here are the Saint-Eustache Church, Fountain of the Innocents, Bourse de commerce (Pinault museum) , and the Forum des Halles. All must sees in Paris, me think.

The official Westfield Forum des Halles :

The city of Paris on the old Halles

There you go folks, a dandy spot in gorgeous eternal Paris, one of the places to see while in the city me think. The neighborhood is totally different from my first time there,and better. The Forum des Halles of Paris an icon that lives on in the most beautiful city in the world…

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

August 14, 2022

The Gare Montparnasse of Paris !!!

Well, again looking at my vault of pictures realise that had some not yet posted in my blog! And this is still my entry point to Paris from my Morbihan breton by train! I have taken plenty of train rides here and even by car. Therefore, its about time I tell you specifically on the Gare Montparnasse of Paris !!! 

paris gare montparnasse angle mar13

I made so many trips by train, most on business trips but also personal I lost count. Even roundtrip same day !!! From my train stations first in Auray and later Vannes to Montparnasse!!  And several times of the usual train delays that is so famous by now on the TGV Atlantique runs with as much of 45 minutes yikes!!!  The Gare Montparnasse is the head of the line Paris-Versailles on the Versailles Chantier station,which long ago used to take it too from Versailles.  This station serves seven regions of western France: Bretagne, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire , Normandie, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Île-de-France and Centre-Val de Loire .

It has 5 wonderful parkings such as Catalogne, Pasteur, Montparnasse-Gaité, and my favorites Maine ,from the car park, by taking a staircase, you have direct access to the station platforms in front of the TGV,  and Océane, (30, Avenue du Maine).  Montparnasse train station is served by the Paris metro, and more specifically by the following lines: Line 4: Porte de Clignancourt → Mairie de Montrouge, Line 6: Charles de Gaulle Etoile → Nation, Line 12: Aubervilliers Front Populaire → Mairie d’Issy and Line 13: Saint Denis – University and Les Courtilles → Asnières Gennevillers – Chatillon-Montrouge. Bus lines taken from here were the line 28: Gare Saint Lazare → Porte d’Orléans Avenue du Maine  stop for bus lines 28, 58 and bus lines 91 and 94  Levallois – Louison Bobet → Gare Montparnasse with stop at Place Raoul Dautry for lines 91, 92, 94, 95 and 96.

paris gare montparnasse going to metro by park oceane jun18

The Gare Montparnasse is made up of 5 levels ranging from level -1 to level 3 corresponding to Hall Pasteur at Level -1 corresponds to the level allowing access to the Metro in order to go to Vaugirard. Level 0 located Place Raoul Dautry and allows you to use Porte Océane. Level 1 corresponds to the Mezzanine level , Level 2 corresponds to the level of the station platforms. It is therefore the largest level of Gare Montparnasse. Level 3 corresponds to Hall Pasteur.

paris gare montparnasse porte oceane hall nov17

The Grandes Lignes (long distance lines) ticket office, called on the station signs “Billets Grandes Lignes”, is located Level +2, Hall 1 – Maine opposite the station’s Agora restaurant, Need to travel from Gare Montparnasse to a regional destination? The Transilien allows you to travel within Ile-de-France, for this you must buy your train tickets at the Transilien counter which is located Level 0, next to the FNAC.

paris gare montparnasse arriving at gare mar13

You have other ticket offices such as the Espace Mouchotte ticketing area located: Level +2, Hall 1 – Maine.  The Espace Vaugirard ticket office located on level +2, Hall 3 – Vaugirard, 7 rue du Cotentin, at the end of platform 24, and Espace Pasteur main line ticket office located in Hall 2 – Pasteur, 5 rue du pont des 5 martyrs du lycée Buffon.  The reception points are used to welcome travelers looking for information on trains and Montparnasse station ; these are at Level +2, Hall 1 – Maine next to the Swatch store, Hall 2 – Pasteur, 5 rue du pont des 5 martyrs du lycée Buffon (above the platforms) Level +2, Hall 1 – Maine, opposite tracks 17/18 (main) , and Level +2, Hall 1 – Maine, facing platform 17/18.

paris gare montparnasse gare bd vaugirard mar13

The Montparnasse trains station offers you an automatic luggage locker service allowing you to leave your luggage with complete peace of mind in lockers of different sizes prices depending on the size of your luggage. It is located at Level +1 (mezzanine) next to the Beauty Bubble, Have you lost an object or luggage during your trip to Montparnasse trains station? Seek help at Level +1 (mezzanine) near the Beauty Bubble, The location of the 3 restrooms (toilets) points located on the Montparnasse train station are above the platforms, Hall 2 – Pasteur, 5 rue du pont des 5 martyrs du lycée Buffon, opposite the Europcar car rental company, Level +2, Hall 3 – Vaugirard, at the end of track 24 , and Level +1, next to Micromania.

paris gare montparnasse go to metro level jul16

The official SNCF webpage on the Gare Montparnasse:

The regional Transilien network on the gare Montparnasse:

The private practical better guide to the Gare Montparnasse :

The Paris tourist office on the Gare Montparnasse

There you go folks, now feel better to tell you more specifics of the wonderful Gare Montparnasse! A quartier, neighborhood that has undergoing great renovations, and the train station was not left out! Hall 3, also called Hall Vasarely because of the many frescoes painted by the painter Victor Vasarely, has been completely renovated and a glass roof has been installed to increase the luminosity of the room by favoring natural light from outside. The routes for getting from one place to another within the station have also been redesigned to make them easier to understand for passengers. Thus, the station now has 102 information screens for passengers and around 15 additional escalators to speed up travel time in the station and thus offer a better experience to passengers. Great !!!

Hope you enjoy the post as I, and looking forward to be back to my Montparnasse of Paris!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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