Archive for November 5th, 2022

November 5, 2022

Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes !,part II

Again, looking at my vault of pictures and my posts, realise have several not included in the first post on the Château des Ducs de Bretagne! Pity, they should be in my blog. Therefore, this is a new text using older pictures new to my blog. Let me tell you a bit more about the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes !


Nantes is a unique place that is a must if only one this is it .It has been always my question coming to visit the city to asked why the dukes of Brittany/Bretagne have a castle in Nantes which is Loire Atlantique dept 44 of the Pays de la Loire region? I will answer this below in my amateur historical opinion.

nantes castle dukes side allé du port maillard my13

Wait a minute! I have been telling you Nantes is not in Brittany but in Pays de la Loire region? yes officially indeed. This is an issue locally and many Bretons still considered it part of their region not just the castle but most of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 if not all. Historically, it was until the French revolution, what else!  There are historical quarrels that it was Marshal Pétain in 1941 who signed the order for the split and other that it was President René Coty in 1961 on a wish from the central government, but anyway nowadays they have been able to put the Breton flag on the pole in the city hall of Nantes and there are petitions for the annexation back into Brittany. This is the issue of long running , to be continue.


The Château des Ducs de Bretagne is an architectural ensemble, consisting of a 15C rampart and various buildings built from the 14C to the 18C after being ducal residence under Duke Francis II and Duchess Anne, the castle became a Royal fortress, seat of the governor of Nantes and Royal prison, then barracks from the 18C. It was owned by the city of Nantes from 1915, the castle has been used for tourist and museum use since 1924 . As a result of the transformation of the urban community into Metropolis, the castle becomes a metropolitan property in 2015. The official  Métropole Nantes


Briefly as an introduction to the older pictures new in my blog,

The main entrance to the Château des Ducs de Bretagne is on Place Marc-Elder, there are two gates protected by tilting drawbridges ,The castle is also made up of two towers, the tour du Pied-de-Biche and the tour de la Boulangerie. They date from the origin of the castle, in 1466. It is also possible to discover the tower of the Jacobins, the latter has the particularity of having nine firing chambers fitted out in the thickness of the wall and equipped in addition with gunboats. The tour du Vieux Donjon tower is the only still visible vestige of the first castle called “the New Tower”. Other more recent towers are also still visible, such as the tour du Port, tour de la Rivière , and tour du Fer à Cheval. Outside, the bell tower and the Loire curtain wall are also visible. The first is made up of two twin towers following its restoration. The second is pierced with an entrance originally closed by a portcullis, in order to discreetly leave the castle or for visitors to enter the castle by the waterway. First of all, there is the Couronne d’Or ro golden crown, which connects the Grand Logis to the Grand Gouvernement. This tower is 40 meters high. It is also possible to discover the Grand Logis which was the place of residence for the Duke of Brittany and his court. This monument is in the Flamboyant Gothic style. Also not to be missed, the Grand Gouvernement, built at the time of Louis XIV, whose coat of arms was restored in 1999. Not to be missed either, the petit gouvernement in Renaissance style, which served as the home of King François 1st during his stays in Nantes. Today, in addition to discovering the rich interior and exterior heritage ; it is also possible to visit the Nantes History Museum to learn more about the city’s past, present and prospects for the future.

nantes castle dukes ramparts fosses my13

The official Château des Ducs de Bretagne and Museum :

The Nantes tourist office on the castle/museum

The Pays de la Loire region tourist board on the castle/museum

There you go folks , you have a beautiful castle, museum and loads of history of the region ,all in wonderful Nantes. The Château des Ducs de Bretagne literally in Bretagne !!!. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit as it is a must me think.

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

November 5, 2022

Wines news of France XXXV !!

Well, we are moving right along in Fall season , and November 2022 ,is coming along fine, the temps are warmer so say the so call experts. Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wine news of France. First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers! Oh yeah, the wines of France are just super simply awesome and a great tradition. Often imitated, some time equaled ,but never surpass! Let me give some news shall we; hope you enjoy it as I.

World wine production, hit by climate change, is expected in 2022 to be below the average of the last twenty years, according to initial estimates from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) published this past Monday Nov 1 2022, based on information collected from 29 countries representing 91% of world production. Italy and France , the world’s number one and number two wine producers respectively are expected to produce more wine than the average for the past five years (2017-2021). Spain, which completes this top three, on the other hand, shows a 12% drop in production compared to the 2017-2021 average due to “drought and limited access to water in certain regions”. The country most affected by the heat is Greece, with production which has plunged by 29% compared to the 2017-2021 average. Outside Europe, production in the United States , the world’s fourth largest producer fell by 6% compared to the 2017-2021 average, in particular due to an early frost followed by drought, In the southern hemisphere, after a 2021 harvest record, production fell back to the 2017-2021 average. New Zealand is an exception with historically high production against a backdrop of excellent climatic conditions and strong international demand. The international organization also announced last week the return to its ranks of Ukraine, which had ceased to contribute to its funding. The country produced 660,000 hectoliters of wine in 2021.

After a year 2021 weighed down by a disastrous harvest in France, the European harvest should be slightly larger in 2022 by +2%, with 154 million hectoliters of wine in the eight main producing countries, announced last Tuesday Nov 2 2022 during a conference the european agricultural confederation Copa-Cogeca ,According to its forecasts, Italy would retain first place in the European top three, a trio which produces nearly half of the bottles sold in the world. Spain, whose vineyards have been thirsty and crushed by the heat, should however give up its place of number 2 to France. Unbeatable, Italy should maintain stable production, slightly above 50 million hectoliters despite volume declines in Lombardy and Sicily. The harvest should be very heterogeneous in France, with exceptional harvests in certain wine-growing areas such as Champagne or Burgundy, and others such as the Sud-Ouest which suffered from frost, hail and then the heat wave. French production should soar by 20.2% and reach 44.6 million hectoliters.

From one end of the long Loire Valley to the other, winegrowers are happy with the quality of the 2022 vintage. Only the quantity is not uniformly there, The Chinon 2022 is a very, very great vintage with exceptional flavors, well above the great year 1989! A little further north, the finding is similar to Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil in quality but regrets a small lack of quantity, due to water stress which has sometimes blocked the vines. The harvest took place from September 15 to October 6, a little earlier than expected due to the lack of water which pushed back the ripening. In Bourgueil, volumes will be reduced in certain sectors which suffered from hail. As for the Touraine appellations, the volume is medium to medium plus, with irregularities, due to a heavy hail that crossed the Cher and attacked the Pouillé vineyard in Oisly, After two small harvests, the Vouvray winegrowers are happy to regain volume, All types of wines will be made this year, sparkling, dry, semi-dry and sweet, thanks to the different characteristics of the terroirs of the property,

A primer, Even before reading the cellar book, a few clues can alert you to its probable indigence. To avoid indigestion, here are 5 warning signs that suggest that the wine list may be disappointing, The vintage is missing here, the name of the domain there, the precise appellation, the color is only mentioned half the time. In short, a wine list “with holes” but you have passed the age to play hangman , Appellations, domain names, regions sometimes, obviously the sommelier or the wine attendant has not passed the certificate of studies ! Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire Valley, Languedoc… Red, white, rosé . And that’s it. A miserable choice, generally engraved in marble between two laminated sheets, which does not bode well , The same name often comes up, declined in all colors and all designations? Surely a big trader – which in itself is no indication of poor quality – but indicates the restaurant’s laziness and lack of imagination. The logo of a region, a major player in wine, a trading house. Here is a wine list swallowed up by a single marketer ! Be aware !

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou unveils its alabaster box, intended to adorn the emblematic 1982 vintage. Bruno Borie goes even further by offering an exceptional setting for a wine that is just as special, the Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 1982 in double magnum. It is on the mineral side that the contemporary art lover turned to ask Atelier Alain Ellouz to imagine an alabaster box. Cozyly nestled in the alabaster box, lulled by a soft integrated light, the Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Julien acquires an additional dimension. Because 1982 is one of the mythical vintages in Bordeaux and this wine testifies to it with its deep and complex bouquet, as comfortable as a leather armchair after a walk in the forest. The silkiness of stone responds to that of wine, the texture of cashmere is not far away. This box is an exceptional piece, for lovers of art, whether sculptural or vinous. Or both.

In Margaux, Château Lascombes changes hands. The mutual MACSF, which guarantees the health of the French health care system with more than a million members, has been the owner since 2011 of Château Lascombes, second classified growth of Margaux .The announcement of the sale to American businessman Gaylon Lawrence, owner of Lawrence Wine Estates, run by Carlton McCoy, marks a new stage in the life of this castle which has already changed hands three times in two decades. However, the new owner is not just a simple investor since he already owns several wine estates in California with the successive acquisition of Heitz Cellar and then several major Napa Valley appellations (including Ink Grade, Burgess Cellars, Stony Hill). MACSF remains a shareholder and reinvests in the capital, in order to allow this grand cru to continue to develop and reach new markets. This major acquisition, the fifth in Margaux in three years, reinforces the appeal of the appellation with investors with the acquisition of Château Cantenac-Brown by the Le Lous family, La Tour de Mons by the Perrodo family, Château du Tertre by CNP Assurances and, more recently, the acquisition by the Roulleau family of Château Dauzac.

The land pressure was too strong: located in the heart of the most famous village on the Côte d’Azur since its foundation in 1908, the cooperative cellar of Saint-Tropez ended up leaving the walls of the small port in 2019. Here it is installed on the road that leads to the mythical beach of Pampelonne. This was an opportunity for winegrowers to rebuild their image and launch a new brand, Torpez. Don’t see a typo here: the name is taken from San Torpé di Pisa, martyrdom of Pisa, whose decapitated body washed up on the city’s shore 2,000 years ago in a boat accompanied by a dog and a rooster. A singular destiny which gave its name to the village of Saint-Tropez. The winery now has 130 “winemakers” of 30 different nationalities who bring their grapes. A nice melting pot, where descendants of sailors turned farmers rub shoulders with the owners of luxurious villas. In the Domaine des Parcs de Saint-Tropez, the hill where the villas of billionaires are located, we frequently see four, five or six rows of vines bordering a farmhouse, a villa, a bastide. The smallest of these “gardens” measures only 25 acres. Their combined grapes are used to produce a top-of-the-range cuvée, Ultimum, available in red, rosé and white.

Resurrection in Chinon, Domaine Charles Joguet in Sazilly , created in 1957. The Domaine Charles Joguet remains intimately linked to its founder, whose wines still resonate in the hearts and palates of Cabernet Franc lovers. His Clos de la Dioterie 1989 is in the pantheon of reds from the Loire Valley. The wines regain accuracy and finesse. This precision in the work is the whole style of the 2020s (Petites Roches, La Cure, Les Charmes and Varennes du Grand Clos) and the 2019s (Clos du Chêne Vert and Clos de la Dioterie). Thirty years after the legendary 1989, Clos de la Dioterie 2019, the archetype of the deep and refined Grand Chinon, regains its place at the top of the Loire Cabernet Francs An estate in great shape !

The Edmond de Rothschild Heritage group recently fed the columns of the press for the acquisition of Akarua in New Zealand. But another event is preparing in Médoc with the 50th anniversary of Château Clarke under the era of this family. For the occasion, a new cellar and a cuvée…This Cru of Listrac with a large proportion of Merlot is a historic decision that dates back to the mid-1980s (50% versus 42% before that) and which has gradually intensified each year to reaching around the 2000s 70% Merlot for 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2024, China will also have its Cité du Vin or Wine City in the province of Fangshan. This project is part of a strong partnership with the Bordeaux Cité du Vin. As in Bordeaux, the objective is to make the cultural dimension of wine accessible to as many people as possible. However, there are a few differences, starting with the clientele. The knowledge of Chinese visitors is not the same as those who visit us in Bordeaux. Asian attitudes and tastes also had to be taken into account. The visit will take place over five main themes: the making of wine, its history, its place in the world, its essences and finally the art of living that results from it. An exciting and unprecedented parallel is notably drawn between the history of wine in the West and in China. Bordeaux will have a place in keeping with its importance in the world of wine. We can therefore imagine a strong visibility of the Girondin vineyard within the framework of this new structure. The building will be finished at the end of this year 2022 ,and the final opening is scheduled for May 2024.

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

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

November 5, 2022

My memorable restaurants of my eternal Paris !!!

This is not an easy task, and have written briefly on my favorite restaurants of Paris in my blog. However, felled needed to be back to tell you more about the my memorable restaurants of my eternal Paris !!! These were all with nice anecdotes. Hope you enjoy it as I.

We had to go out with a bunch of collegues from work,and I suggested this time this restaurant which I have been before, this is a gem, been over and over . The Au Petit Riche, 23 rue Le Peletier,9éme walking from the grand dept stores on Haussmann to rue Le Peletier left , and it was a great choice. We were on the second floor or 1er étage in France, nice view over the window on the street below, and away from the more noisy street level area. Needless to say the service was awesome and the food oh well out of this world. In 1854, a restaurant opened its doors along rue Le Peletier (9éme) to accommodate coachmen, machinists and employees of the Opera who did not want to mingle with the bourgeoisie of the Grands Boulevards. A century and a half later, Au Petit Riche is still there ! Indeed for the enjoyment of all, .Au Petit Riche restaurant, one of the last establishments in Paris with as much authenticity. It is one of those places that has always been fashionable , and whose walls have great stories to tell. In every sense of the word, since the stairs are filled with autographed photos of great people who enjoyed themselves at the table of this institution, between great actors and former presidents of the French Republic. The Onion soup au gratin, and the terrine of foie gras or duck breast and its tangy spiced juice,are my favorite and tried several times here, At the Au Petit Riche, exceptional French cuisine is honored, with a menu that changes with each season. Finally, what makes Au Petit Riche special is its decor with tables in wood, brass and tablecloths in white fabric, banquettes in red velvet and mirrors on the walls, waltz of waiters in aprons and bow ties, no doubt, we are in a Parisian restaurant that looks like a brasserie. Which almost makes you think of a vintage train, with adjoining boxes that end in a huge room 6 meters under the ceiling. Upstairs, private rooms to feel alone in the world with friends, colleagues or family, with several all-inclusive menus, to relax and enjoy. Sublime, webpage :

paris au petit riche resto apr12

My favorite hangout in the area Le Café de l’Esplanade ,52 rue Fabert, 7éme,  just off the side seeing all the canons of the army museum! great service and glorious food. Another dandy by the Invalides!  The Café de l’Esplanade is also a business meeting place, for those who deal quickly and elegantly ,,,. By scanning the large seasonal menu, you will find your choice in this well-crafted compilation of fashionable ideas with well-integrated Asianism like my favorite dish crevettes rôties coco citronnelle or roasted shrimp coconut lemongrass, The Bar du Café de l’Esplanade is also an establishment often frequented by high personalities looking for a simple, calm and friendly place to relax with friends. The Bar du Café de l’Esplanade is characterized by its interior reflecting a calm and relaxing atmosphere. It thus features the famous “made in Costes” decoration implemented by Jacques Garcia, The interior enjoys a clever mix of burgundy and orange tones. The whole establishes a Napoleonic framework. Webpage:

paris cafe de l'esplanade invalides sep09

I had a group of fellow travel forum travelers from Australia coming to Paris ,and I set up the meeting at the Café du Commerce, 51 rue du Commerce 15éme. We had a blast, and the  service, the food and the wine was very good. Not to mention the company was party like and very nice talks.  This former bouillon opened in 1920, does not lack charm with its retro Belle Epoque style setting full of green plants, its dining rooms on the ground floor and on the mezzanine on three levels, around a large patio interior topped with an opening glass roof. The dining room located after the entrance displays a nice retro 1920s decor , which I love, It is in any case a good address, both for the honesty of its cuisine, the quality of the products, and for its reasonable prices. We love the beef selection even if we settle for a nice fish and chips, with a fish, probably cod, coated with a frying not too greasy, accompanied by good fresh fries and some a tartar sauce.  The quite exceptional setting is one of the strong points of the place thanks to a spectacular and remarkable height under the glass roof which illuminates this splendid establishment, with tables in the loggia, the luxuriant vegetation, the bistro furniture, the benches, the tiling of random floor, and woodwork. Without forgetting a look at the top of the pediment where a portrait medallion of the industrialist Marcel Dassault refers to his editorial in the weekly magazine Jour de France, aptly titled Le Café du Commerce.Webpage:

paris cafe du commerce may11

I had to welcome a friend on his family visit to Paris and chose to have lunch and drinks at La Terrasse du 7éme resto at 2 Place de l’École Militaire 7éme, diagonally across the école Militaire, all there in the square is good and sublime! It welcomes without fuss for serious dinner parties with fresh products. My favorite dish here is the homemade ravioli with prawns and Thai jus ,but any time you can seriously settle for a club sandwich or a hearty croque monsieur, served with fresh fries and mesclun salad . Wonderful ! The pleasant staff show a high level of hospitality at this place. At each of your visits, you will be entitled to a relaxed service, and pay an adequate price to eat at this restaurant The decor is modenr and the spectacular atmosphere let guests relax. Indeed. Webpage:

paris la terrace resto pl de l ecole militaire bus 82 feb17

Le 7éme Vin restaurant,68 ave Bosquet, brings nice memories.  This place rocks ,never a let down all handle by able friendly courteous service. I again, was asked by a famous travel forum to host a get together and I chose this place which had been couple times and knew the owner Olivier.  The anecdote here is the group of about 10 individuals talks, ate, and especially drank until pass the hours of the restaurant which was 23h or 11 pm ; we stayed until 01h00 or 1 am ! Again, wonderful are near the école Militaire. All visitors adore superb French cuisine at this restaurant. Try a tasty beef bourguignon which is my favorite here. The friendly staff will welcome you to this place all year round. Worthy service is always a pleasure. I, also,  recommend this place because it offers a low price. At this restaurant, customers can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere and huge decor. Webpage:

paris le 7éme vin resto ave bosquet mar14

Joe Allen, 30 rue Pierre Lescot,1éme. Open  Sundays to Wednesdays from midday to 00h30 ,and Thursdays to Saturdays from midday to 01h. Tel +33 01 42 36 70 13. Metro Chatelet lines 11,4. The New York address in Paris and a great place to meet with me and other Americans here. In the Halles district,the oldest American brasserie in Paris, opened its doors on January 20, 1972.  The view of Rue Saint Denis from the window of this restaurant will leave you with unforgettable memories. I, also,  recommend this place because it offers an adequate price. In this place, customers can enjoy an exotic atmosphere and a spectacular modern decor with brick walls and New York posters. The waiters are welcoming and professional to make you immediately at ease. Webpage:

paris joe allen side front sep15

The Bodega Cambronne, 37 rue Cambronne , 15éme t. I did my walks after a long meeting and just about time to eat found this place; of course Spanish name and never heard of it, I went in. It has been a complete surprise and good food thereafter. Come and revive the Spanish music to your ears with concerts organized at the Bodega Cambronne every weekend. You can,  also eat Spanish very well here;  we love the tapas and the sangria not to leave out the good Spanish wines. The Spanish cuisine under the direction of a talented chef is magnificent here. Friendly staff will welcome you to this bar all year round. Good service is always a pleasure. There’s a serene vibe and huge decor at La Bodega. The quality of the cuisine served in this establishment makes it a must if you want to find one of the best restaurants in Paris. The Bodega Cambronne is above all a reference in terms of tapas. You will therefore not be surprised to see it appear among the best tapas bars in Paris. Indeed a nice find Webpage:

paris la bodega cambronne at rue cambronne mar13

Another walk in Paris ,been on an assignment in Roissy CDG, went into Paris for the eternal Parisian nights and hungry went for one of my favorite areas , the Place Saint André very near the Place Saint Michel which we have come to eat in the past on the now closed Chez Clément. I found me the Le Clou de Paris, 1 Rue Danton. Fantastic service and the food was delicious lentils and sausages with bacon, ,crême brulée, all with a quart of Bordeaux house red and expresso coffee,sublime and nice to have found it ! Choose a table inside or outside (better). The good rating of this place would not be possible without an efficient staff with prompt service always a pleasure. Delicious dishes at a reasonable price are offered here. At this place, guests can enjoy a comfortable atmosphere.Indeed and great views over the square. No Webpage, only the RestaurantGuru reviews which deserves more than what is given! 

paris le clou de paris resto side nov19

The Villa Verdi Italian restaurant at 42bis, avenue de Suffren, 15éme. Very friendly , got even to practice on my Italian a bit lol!  Very nice indeed, and  good reviews by all;this was recommended by a Parisian friend, and good deal. After a walk around Parc du Champ de Mars, many visitors stop by this restaurant. The convenient location of this spot makes it easy to reach by any transport. Great pluses of this restaurant are its professional service and the well-trained staff. You will appreciate attractive prices. At Villa Verdi, guests can enjoy the lovely atmosphere and modern decor. An excellent choice for Italian cuisine in a chic avenue close to the Champs de Mars and the Eiffel Tower. Webpage:

paris villa verdi resto arriving nov17

The Indiana Café was a meeting of expats many years back, and was as good as today. Many visits later on with friends and family always great crowds, wonderful service and a great pastrami burger with a good Affligem beers, and double noisette coffee lol !. A great place and chain and glad they are still going strong.  Most visitors have drawn attention to the fact that you can have perfectly cooked burgers here. and good quality burgers are on the menu. As well as good cocktails. All to be enjoyed indoors or on the terrace all year round. The Indiana Café is a chain with several locations in prime areas such as Montparnasse, République, Maine, and Bercy. Memorable times in Maine and République ! It has heated terraces which makes an attraction in summer and winter alike. Ideal from breakfast to a good evening with friends, this Indiana Café chain offers food all day long, and on Sundays have brunches but never tried on Sundays. Webpage:

paris indiana cafe Republique front sep15

There is Pizza Pino, it was the meeting place for lunch of the American community in Paris for several years which I participated. The pizzerias are very popular and found in several locations in Paris. My favs are the 57 bd de Montparnasse and the 4 Place de la République. The Champs-Elysées location has closed unfortunately. Pizza Pino, a brand that has existed since 1968. The brand attaches great importance to the freshness of its products as well as their taste. You agree that it is always pleasant to devour generously garnished pizzas! The pizza dough is not frozen. Every morning it’s the same ritual for the pizza maker: he shapes it, prepares it, makes it. This is also the obligation of freshness. Parisians will rediscover or discover the pleasure of eating a pizza on fresh dough and cooked in a wood-fired oven.Sublime! Webpage:

paris pizza pino pl Republique front sep15

And last but not least , the Comptoir Principal ,29 Bd de Grenelle, 15éme. I was there only for a cup of coffee once early in the morning and another on the way out in the late afternoon. However, the service was fast courteous and from what visitors are saying it seems a good place to be. I did stop by myself later on for an apéro! This is just around the Tour Eiffel where my last office in Paris was. Before ,the pandemic event, November 2019 I came back for lunch and was sublime indeed. I have written down! Entrée: Roscoff onion broth, emmental crumble . main dish :Grilled octopus, olive oil & peppers, warm potatoes. dessert: Brioche french toast, caramelized apple, whipped cream all down with a bottle of Bordeaux red house wine! Whether on the large heated terrace or inside on the guest table, in cozy armchairs, you feel good at the Comptoir Principal. You will have good memories of this place because it is known for having good service, and a friendly team, always ready to help you.  A huge decor and a pleasant atmosphere allow customers to relax. Also the possibility of discovering cocktails created by Barmaid Jennifer Le Nechet, voted best bartender in the world in 2017. Webpage:

paris le comptoir principal resto rue saens et bd grenelle nov17

There you go folks, eternal Paris has an ever lasting good repertoire of restaurants and for all tastes! I just like to have again, not just my favorites, but those that gave me a nice anecdote of good memories. Hope you enjoy the list, and do try them !

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

%d bloggers like this: