Archive for August 27th, 2022

August 27, 2022

Versailles : Hôtel de Ville , part II !!!

Seldom folks go to see government buildings ,however, in France that should be an exception. Some of these city/town halls are a work of art and full of history. The one in my dear Versailles is one of the best and worth the detour to see it. I have written before on it, but found new pictures not yet on my blog and feel they should be.  Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the Hôtel de Ville of Versailles or city/town hall !!!

Versailles hotel de ville front mars07

The seasons came and gone, and I still remember the errands on the city /town hall of Versailles or mairie or Hôtel de Ville as it is known in Versailles. This is a lot more than a government building ,it has a wonderful history, and it is very well kept inside and beautiful. I must add that even when not doing official business, I would go inside just to marvel of its beautiful architecture. It is central straight ahead is the Palace of Versailles !

Built under king Louis XIV, the core of the current city/town hall was the much-loved home of his natural daughter, the Princess of Conti. It later passed under king Louis XV to Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé, Duke of Bourbon, Grand Master of his House.


It was in 1670 that the current building at 4 avenue de Paris was built, a very beautiful residence whose gardens extend to the park of the castle. Opposite it, on the other side of the avenue, the Hôtel du Grand Veneur, which no longer exists, gives it the replica with equal magnificence. Like the Princess of Conti, the Duc de Bourbon organizes in its bosom of sumptuous receptions. He even opened the gardens to the public to facilitate communication between the booming Saint-Louis and Notre-Dame districts.

Versailles hotel de ville back nov12

Unoccupied during the French revolution, in January 1790 the hotel temporarily housed the town of Versailles, which until then had been housed in the former royal furniture store, currently no, 11 rue des Reservoirs. In 1821, the extension of rue Royale towards avenue de Paris also dates from this period. The building, whose entrance is via avenue de Berry (now avenue du Général de Gaulle), is adorned with a steeple surmounted by a clock. In 1859, the city officially became the owner of the hotel. Woodwork from this period is preserved in the modern part of the building. The one, which faces the avenue de Paris, is an imposing neo-Louis XIII building dating from 1897-1900, The city/town hall was inaugurated on November 18, 1900. It is surmounted by a campanile dominating the city and now opens onto the avenue de Paris around a main courtyard surrounded by gates. In 1945, the building lost its campanile, considered too high, while the gates of the main courtyard disappeared.

Versailles hotel de ville 2fl to patio deco mar13

The city of Versailles on its history

The Versailles Tourist office on the Hôtel de Ville:

There you go folks, a wonderful building of the history of Versailles, and France. Like ,I said, worth the detour indeed and just steps from the magnificent Palace of Versailles, and just around the corner from the train station RER C Rive Gauche-ChâteauMy kind of town, memories forever, Versailles !! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

August 27, 2022

The Church Saint Eustache of Paris !!!

This is one of the historical and better known churches of Paris, and I have plenty on them in my blog. Actually coming here was to go the Les Halles and saw the building in the first visit way back in 1990. My curiosity took me in and then every time in the area will go in and see. I have another post on the Church Saint Eustache of Paris and this one will be more on the history of it, Thanks for reading me since Nov 2010!, and hope you enjoy this post as I.


I will be telling you about the Church of Saint-Eustache, as briefly as possible, as it is a huge landmark in my eternal Paris.  The church is located in the 1éme arrondissement or district in the heart of the neighborhood or quartier of Halles. The Meridian, meanwhile, lies above and to the left of the south gate and measures 3 meters high. Its lines, carved in stone, show every quarter of an hour between 11h and 13h or 11am to 1pm.   In the summer season, the Church of Saint-Eustache is one of the most visited in Paris. Its location next to the Forum des Halles,(see posts) is not for nothing. If the exterior aspect is more classical , the interior architecture-at first glance is rather confusing.


A bit of history tell us that in the 13C there was a chapel dedicated to St. Agnes. became with use, Saint-Eustache. Too small, it is replaced in the 16C by a large, 100 meters long, flamboyant Gothic-style church. The plans and the architectural principles follow those of Notre-Dame de Paris. The first stone was laid in 1532, but the church was actually completed only in 1640. Its construction was slowed down by the lack of funding, the nature of the land and the wars of Religion. Next to the Gothic, the interior offers many aspects of the Italian Renaissance.  At the French revolution, Saint-Eustache was ransacked, transformed into a temple of agriculture, then returned to worship in 1803; victim of a fire in 1844, the church was restored by Victor Baltard. Its famous Tribune organ, dates from 1854.  Saint-Eustache contains a large number of 19C murals and some magnificent works of art (paintings and sculptures), such as the statue of the Virgin of the Child of Pigalle, one of the most beautiful in Paris.  A historical fact, at its creation, the Chapel of the Virgin had a rich ornamentation in marble, in woodwork, in paintings. All this was ransacked or stolen from the French revolution. The chapel was restored in 1800 and, little by little, reembellished. In its center there is a magnificent sculpture of the Madonna and Child  by  Jean-Baptiste Pigalle . The painter Thomas Couture enriched it with three great frescoes on the theme of the Virgin: “The triumphant Virgin adored by the Angels”; “The Virgin star of the sailors” and “the Virgin comforter of the afflicted”. The style is remarkable as there are no figurism or symbolism and the Angels almost like human beings well in flesh. The gallery of stained glass  gives a close-up picture of the altarpiece and its unusual series of vases.  The organs of Saint-Eustache Church are among the largest in France. Due to the croquet done in 1854, they were restored in 1989. The wood carving of the buffet (on a cardboard by Victor Baltard) is a pure splendor. The beauty of the characters and the rose in the background create a scenic magic that must be enjoyed with a pair of binoculars. Truly wonderful.

Colbert was the churchwarden of the Church of Saint-Eustache. This mausoleum is considered to be a major work in 17C statuary. The artist used bronze and white and black marble. Colbert, seized in the attitude of a praying, is clad in his mantle of Commander of the Order of the Holy Spirit. To the left of the sarcophagus, fidelity, chiseled by Coysevox , and to the right, piety or abundance due to Jean-Baptiste Tuby. Yet some famous have a lot to do with the church. Some of them are king Louis XIV  received his  communion. Mozart, also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, (future Madame de Pompadour)  and Moliére, who was also married here in the 17C. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne, and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there. A truly historical church of Paris, one of the must to visit.

A bit on the architectural look from my amateur eye. The visitor entering the Church of Saint Eustache is immediately seized by the height of the vaults at 33 meters and the imposing vertical masses that permeate the entire building. The flamboyant gothic is found in the vaults of warheads, embellished with liernes, and ubiquitous pendant keys. The style Renaissances’exprime in the juxtaposition of the ancient orders, the pillars that are flanked by pilasters, the arches in full hanger and, of course, in the abundant decoration on the Capitals. The Church of Saint-Eustache has a vast canopy on three levels of elevation ; it is so high that the first level of elevation is itself divided into two sublevels, materialized by a double row of stained glass windows.  Most of them are white glass. If one adds the large double door of the south brace, always open to illuminate the transept (in fact the passage is closed by a glass wall), Saint-Eustache is a very luminous church. As the choir is in the east and there is no building in the south, the sun, in good weather, radiates the entire nave of its rays throughout the day.


The Parish of Church Saint Eustache on its history

The official Church Saint Eutache on its history

The Paris tourist office on the Church Saint Eustache:

There you go folks, another dandy in my belle France and beautiful Paris. I feel glad was able to update this one for you and me, and see my other post on the church in my blog. Hope you enjoy the visit to the Church Saint Eustache of Paris as it is a ride into history, and architecture.

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

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August 27, 2022

The districts and neighborhoods of Madrid !!!

I like to update and bring back to life this older post because they not only remind me of my good time in the city of Madrid but I think can be of curiosity and help on those traveling there now. You want to know where you are ok here is my run down on the districts and neighborhoods of Madrid !!! Of course, this will be on my black and white series, no pictures. Hope you enjoy it as I.

My dear Madrid has 21 districts that in turn are grouped into 129 barrios or neighborhoods.   These are with the name of district follow by the neighborhoods of each in no particular order.

Arganzuela Imperial, Acacias, Chopera, Legazpi, Delicias, Palos de la Frontera, Atocha.  Barajas Alameda de Osuna, Aeropuerto, Casco Histórico de Barajas, Timón, Corralejos.  Carabanchel Comillas, Opañel, San Isidro, Vista Alegre, Puerta Bonita, Buenavista, Abrantes. Centro Embajadores,  Cortes,  Justicia,  Universidad,  Sol. Chamartín El Viso, Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, Hispanoamérica, Nueva España, Pza. Castilla. Chamberí Arapiles, Trafalgar, Almagro, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas. Ciudad Lineal Ventas, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, La Concepción, San Pascual, San Juan Bautista, Colina, Atalaya, Costillares. Fuencarral – El pardo El Pardo, Fuentelarreina, Peñagrande, Barrio del Pilar, La Paz, Valverde, Mirasierra, El Goloso.  Hortaleza Palomas, Valdefuentes, Canillas, Pinar del Rey, Apóstol Santiago, Piover.  Latina Los Cármenes, Puerta del Ángel, Lucero, Aluche, Las Águilas, Campamento, Cuatro Vientos.  Moncloa – Aravaca Casa de Campo, Argüelles, Ciudad Universitaria, Valdezarza, Valdemarín, El Plantío, Aravaca.  Moratalaz Pavones, Horcajo, Marroquina, Media Legua, Fontarrón, Vinateros.  Puente de Vallecas Entrevías, San Diego, Palomeras Bajas, Palomeras Sureste, Portazgo, Numancia.  Retiro Pacífico , Adelfas, Estrella, Ibiza, Jerónimos, Niño Jesús.  Salamanca Recoletos, Goya, Fuente del Berro, Guindalera, Lista, Castellana.  San Blas Simancas, Hellín, Amposta, Arcos, Rosas, Rejas, Canillejas, Salvador.  Tetuán Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Valdeacederas, Berruguete.  Usera Orcasitas, Orcasur, San Fermín, Almendrales, Moscardó, Zofio, Pradolongo.  Vicálvaro Casco Histórico de Vicálvaro, Ambroz. Villa de Vallecas Casco Histórico de Vallecas, Santa Eugenia. Villaverde San Andrés, San Cristóbal, Butarque, Los Rosales, Los Ángeles (Villaverde).

Some of the more prominent ones from the tourist/visitor point of view are:

The Malasaña district is recognized as a hotspot for underground culture in Spain You go around Plaza de San Ildefonso and Plaza del Dos de Mayo. Also, do not miss the Mercado de San Ildefonso located on calle san Ildefonso, Not far from calle San Ildefonso is calle Fuencarral where you will find many shops and beautiful realistic frescoes on the walls of the buildings. It is notably served by lines 5, 7 and 10 of the metro. You can also get there by bus, using line 77.

The Chueca district, located in the heart of the city, is famous for its bars, clubs, nightlife and for its link with the LGBT community. Nice to see the Grand Museum of Romanticism, formerly Palace of the Marquis of Matallana. Just a few steps from this museum is the Longoria Palace, one of the few modernist buildings in Madrid. Its building clad in glass and iron now houses the headquarters of the General Society of Actors. Do your walks around Plaza de Vázquez de Milla or Plaza del Rey. And see the Madrid History Museum! This occupies the building of the Royal General Hospice for the Poor in Calle Fuencarral. Also, the Casa de las Siete Chimeneas, current headquarters of the Ministry of Culture, is another site not to be missed during your visit to the Chueca district. The metro line 5 and get off at the Chueca stop.

The historic center or Centro of Madrid is one of the best areas of Madrid to stay in during your visit in Madrid, You will find in the historic center of Madrid the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, the Madrid Opera House, the Plaza Mayor , Puerta del Sol and Plaza de España , The metro station Callao, Sol or Opéra will be ideal to find you in the historic center of Madrid gathering the oldest monuments of the city.

The Latina district is quite simply one of the best district in Madrid and also the most atypical neighborhood in Madrid. It is full of monuments to admire without moderation. Puerta de Toledo is one of the city’s oldest access points. Other monuments in the district include the Basilica of San Francesco the Great or the Church of San Pedro el Real. It is also very pleasant to rest for a few moments on the terrace on the heights of the Jardin de las Vistillas. You can admire the magnificent view of Moro Park and the Almuneda Cathedral. On Sundays, people from Madrid go to the Rastro by Plaza Cascorro, the main place of the market, to finish by strolling to the Puerta de Toledo. You can see vintage furniture shops in Calle San Cayetano , You will have the Mercado de la Cabada and many restaurants and tapas bars very close to you. You see the very nice Puente de Segovia or Segovia bridge over the Manzanares river

The Lavapies district is Madrid’s multicultural neighborhood that brings together a large number of communities. It is a popular district, it changes year after year and becomes a trendy and pleasant district to live in. Very well known in the world of graffiti, it is in this district that you will have the best works of street art in the city. The Tabacalera, a former tobacco factory converted into a cultural center. take metro line 3 and exit at Lavapies station. Visit the Lavapies district after visit to the Reina Sofia, the district is located south of the museum a few steps away.

The Salamanca district is Madrid’s most expensive district with a very high concentration of luxury stores. Take line 4 and exit at Serrano or Velasquez station, The Salamanca district is not very touristy but you will find some luxury hotels to spend your stay in Madrid. The chic and trendy along the Paseo de la Castellana and Calle Serrano streets. It is very nice and we have stayed in hotels and eaten in restaurants here better deal than Paris for example.

The Retiro district is largely made up of the Retiro Park. The area behind Retiro Park is a residential area not far from Paseo del Prado, you can walk there from the Prado Museum or the Thyssen & Bornemisza Museum. If you want to go there by metro you will have to take line 2 and exit at Retiro station. Not lived in but close and is my favorite district other than the one I lived !

Located in the city center of Madrid very close to the Plaza de Espana, the Chamberi district is one of the new trendy areas of the city. Not very touristy, it is a district where the people of Madrid like to meet. Chamberí is a very traditional residential neighborhood, where the aristocracy of Madrid lived during the 19C and part of the 20C houses several places of interest such as the Sorolla Museum, the lively Plaza de Trafalgar, a perfect place to go to terraces and tapas. The neighborhood also has a great cultural atmosphere with the Teatros del Canal, the Teatro Quevedo and the Teatro Galileo.

The Moncloa – Aravaca district has the Cuidad Universitaria, or University City. The wonderful Paseo Rosales, the avenue bordering the Parque del Oeste. From here you can take the Teleférico or cable car that takes you on a superbe ride to the Casa de Campo, a vast green lung with fauna and flora of even rare species. In the Parque del Oeste is the temple of Debod, a nubian temple of the 2C donated by Egypt to Spain. And the Puerta de Hierro ,Casa de Campo and its attraction parks ,Palacio de la Moncloa (President of Spain home)

Charmartín, we especially know its train station which allows you to stay connected with all of Spain. It is also a very demanded area and sought after for its tranquility. It is home to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium of the best in history Real Madrid CF !

And some others for the story and memories!

The district of Hortaleza includes large apartment buildings, suburban shopping centers, golf courses and wooded areas on the outskirts of the city. The Valdebebas forest park is crisscrossed with cycle paths and has several lagoons. The Alfredo-Di-Stéfano stadium hosts matches for Castilla, the reserve team of Real Madrid football club. Nearby is the IFEMA exhibition center, where important trade fairs, food festivals and exhibitions are held. The district is also dotted with laid-back tapas bars. There is a nice mirador de sanchinaro or lookout tower just outside the M30 ring road.

Fuencarral-El Pardo; biggest district in part for the Monte del Pardo and Salto de Viñuelas forest parks. This is where the king has his residency.

Moratalaz, outskirts of the beltways road M30 and M40, out away from attractions.

Puente de Vallecas, popular local district home of Rayo Vallecano, 2 division and sometimes  1 div football/soccer club. I used to come a lot by here in my youth. The end of year San Silvestre marathon race is run thru here!

San Blas, residential more and more from an industrial past, coming of a la mode. In the neighborhood of Canillejas  (My maternal aunt used to lived here when it was an electric tram that took us here before the metro lol) you can get the bus to airport 101/200 and other nearby cities like Torrejon de Ardoz and Alcala de Henares all linked with line 5 of metro my old line lol!

Tetuan, the Cuatro Caminos round point and the ave Asturias are very lively here, a must to find in Madrid. See older homes of Madrid by Calle Bravo Murillo street.

Usera, very residential and industrial north of Manzanares river, lately not for the tourist/visitor.

Vicalvaro, this is an university district and has the fabolous Faunia park of nature, good for the kids.

Villa de Vallecas, very laid back parroquial and country area in southern part of Madrid, nice to see the real city , not for tourists/visitors

Villaverde, in the south of city was industrial now becoming more residential, not for the tourist/visitor. The newer autoroute A42 now passes nearby.

And last but not least, my home in Madrid with my dear late mom Gladys. It is a pilgrimage for me to stop by each time near it even on business trips. Encompassing several suburbs, the slender district of Ciudad Lineal sits on the edge of the sprawling Cuña Verde Forest Park, home to a mountain bike trail and an amphitheater hosting outdoor concerts. Nearby, La Almudena Cemetery features numerous graves where Spanish poets, rock stars and national leaders are buried. The Museo Africano exhibits musical instruments and tribal masks. The area is dotted with mainstream shopping malls, family restaurants and relaxed tapas bars. This was my district where I lived in Madrid and at the neighborhood of Quintana ! On the Calle de Alcalà !!! This was carved out in 1892, and the most prominent feature is the Church Nuestra  Señora de la Concepción  ( Our Lady of the Conception). 

The Madrid tourist office on popular neighborhood or barrios :

The City of Madrid on its districts with interactive map :

There you go folks, now you got Madrid covered and hope you can enjoy it more. If visiting the City of Madrid, and need more info let me know, “From Madrid to Heaven, and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day” 

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

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