Archive for August 17th, 2022

August 17, 2022

La Vuelta a España 2022 !! They are back !!

The exciting and gorgeous La Vuelta Spain is back and pretty as always to watch, Due to the fact in my wife’s family they were/are avid followers , and of course, I joined in with the family. As said before we usually used to go by Pau to catch the French Tour de France, and by Castilla La Mancha andCuenca for the Vuelta a España. We needed to watch on TV the last but now in full swing looking forward to 2023 for us, In the meantime, enjoy the beauty of it on TV, hope you can, its a blast.

The 77th edition of the tour of Spain or La Vuelta a España is back , and will be held from Friday, August 19 to Sunday, September 11. The start will be in the Netherlands (Utrecht) and the end will be in Madrid, which once again hosts the farewell to the race (in the previous edition it was in Santiago de Compostela) to complete a total of 3,280.5 km or about 2034 miles. In total, there will be six flat stages (two with a high finish), four medium-mountain stages, seven mountain stages, one team time trial, one individual and three rest days, instead of the usual two. This third rest day is for the transfer from The Netherlands) to Spain.

The stages will be as follows, and I have highlighted in black the ones that are best to me from a local and tourist point of view,

Stage 1, Friday 19 August: Utrecht-Utrecht, 23.3 km (counterclockwise by teams)
Stage 2, Saturday 20 August: Hertogenbosch-Utrecht, 175.1 km (flat)
Stage 3, Sunday, August 21: Breda-Breda, 193, 2 km (flat)
Monday 22 August (rest and transfer to Spain)
Stage 4, Tuesday, August 23: Vitoria-Laguardia, 153.5 km (half mountain)
Stage 5, Wednesday, August 24: Irún-Bilbao, 187 km (half mountain)
Stage 6, Thursday 25 August: Bilbao-Ascent to Jano Peak, San Miguel de Aguayo, 180 km (mountain)
Stage 7, Friday, August 26: Camargo-Cistierna, 190.1 km (half mountain)
Stage 8, Saturday, August 27: Pola de Laviana-Collado Fancuaya. Yernes y Tameza, 154.5 km (mountain)
Stage 9, Sunday, August 28: Villaviciosa-Les Praeres (Nava), 175.5 km (mountain)
Stage 10, Tuesday 30 August: Elche-Alicante 31.1 km (Individual Counterclockwise)
Stage 11, Wednesday, August 31: ElPozo Alimentacion-Cabo de Gata, 193 km (flat)
Stage 12, Thursday, September 1: Salobreña-Peña Blancas. Estepona, 195.5 km (flat with high end)
Stage 13, Friday, September 2: Ronda-Montilla, 171 km (flat)
Stage 14, Saturday, September 3: Montoro-Sierra de la Pandera, 160.3 km (mountain)
Stage 15, Sunday, September 4: Martos-Sierra Nevada, 148, 1 km (mountain)
Stage 16, Tuesday, September 6: Sanlúcar de Barrameda-Tomares, 188.9 km (flat)
Stage 17, Wednesday 7th September: Aracena-Tentudía Monastery, 160 km (flat with finish on high)
Stage 18, Thursday, September 8: Trujillo-Alto del Piornal, 191.7 km (Mountain)
Stage 19, Friday, September 9: Talavera de la Reina-Talavera de la Reina, 132.7 km (half mountain)
Stage 20, Saturday, September 10: Moralzarzal-Puerto de Navacerrada, 175.5 km (mountain)
Stage 21, Sunday, September 11: Las Rozas-Madrid, 100.5 km (flat)

The city of Madrid has been name as World Capital of Sport 2022 ! The final podium of The Vuelta in the iconic Plaza de Cibeles of Madrid !

The official La Vuelta a España:

The Cycling news journal on the La Vuelta:

There you go folks, another dandy sporting event in my dear Spain, One that I have followed for many years now and always enjoy seeing on site or TV, This one is back and just around the corner, be ready the La Vuelta is back. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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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 !!!

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