Archive for December 17th, 2022

December 17, 2022

Christmas window shopping in Paris !!!

This is a magical moment and we enjoy over the years even is sad years to stop by Paris and see some window shopping unfortunately this year cannot make as told you have my father in hospital bed at home. Therefore, will tell you about the noise and the presentations and hope you can make it and take pictures for all of us. This is Christmas window shopping in Paris !!!

On boulevard Haussmann, the windows will delight young and old alike during the end-of-year celebrations. True to tradition, the facades of Parisian department stores like Printemps Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette, BHV Marais, La Samaritaine, and Bon Marché Rive Gauche are decked out in since November with their finest festive decorations. The Christmas Windows of the Grands Magasins de Paris, this is an unmissable Christmas stroll that will delight young and old alike. Every year since 1909, the department stores of Paris have called on the greatest decorators to draw crowds around their bustling shop windows. These shows with constantly renewed decors give off a magical je-ne-sais-quoi and are one of the free walks you absolutely have to do during Christmas in Paris. The showcases are also the scene of surprising sketches where animated automatons and magical decorations rub shoulders in an interactive world… a real spectacle! Enchanting universes imagined and created by craftsmen and decorators with invaluable know-how, which fascinate young and old alike over the years.

The main decorations over the years on the department stores of Paris ! As I am not in Paris this year, will do this post on my black and white series, no pictures, Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is teaming up with illustrator Florent Chavezt and novelist Claire Castillon to honor the plant totem of Christmas: the Christmas tree. With Planète Sapin, the windows of the Layaette galleries tell in images a story imagined around Nordmann, a fir tree character from the planet Elato. We find his illustrated and colorful adventures on the facade of the store with his friends Annie, the little girl with curly red hair and the sloth with the funny mustaches. Also inside the store find the traditional and impressive giant Christmas tree under the new Art dome. Note that, every 30 minutes, the lights go out to give way to a sound and light animation during which the tree comes to life as if by magic. And also inside the store, an immersive experience around storytelling and motion-reactive video projections are to be discovered! The store at 40 boulevard Haussmann, 9éme get there on metro Havre-Caumartin, webpage :

This year, the Christmas windows of Printemps Haussmann pay homage to the world of the circus and its scenography: puppets and figurines with the heads of animals alongside a ballet of trapeze artists, clowns, a giraffe and of course Santa Claus. All in a colorful universe of yellow, green and red with glowing stars, balloons, presents, flowers and butterflies complete this enchanted decor. Of course, the magic of Christmas continues inside the store with the decor installed under the majestic Wybo dome, which puts on its winter clothes in a magical setting. The store at 64 boulevard Haussmann, 9éme get there on metro Havre-Caumartin, webpage :

The La Samaritaine makes the stars jump with a Christmas window display entitled “Paris leads the dance”. Reopened in 2021, the iconic department store in the center of Paris dots its facade with luminous stars and installs a decoration of varied choreographies. Disco, rock, breakdance or voguing, each window has its own style! La Samaritaine has decided to bet on the world of dance with showcases retracing its modern and contemporary history. Thus, characters sway their hips in the various sparkling windows to the sound of rock, hip hop and disco classics… In addition, four windows have been designed in partnership with the Centre National de la Danse: these tell, using archive videos, the history of dance since the 1930s. In a preview, the dancers of the Théâtre du Chatelet present excerpts from the musical 42nd Street. To be seen on weekends, on the floors of the store. The magic and surprises continue in the store with, in particular, a giant advent calendar, a concert, Santa’s Groove to dance in the aisles of the store and dance lessons provided by Studio Dancefloor Paris! Until January 10, 2023, The store located at 9 Rue de la Monnaie,1éme; and get there on Metro Pont Neuf or Louvre Rivoli, webpage :

For this end of the year, the BHV Marais is putting Provence in the spotlight in its Christmas windows. For this “Christmas in Provence” edition, the BHV Marais takes us to experience the flavors and scents of Provence. Decorations, candles, fir trees, ceramic tableware and interior scents adorn the windows of the department store. Gourmands will find sweets in a chalet decorated in Christmas colours! The store at 52 rue de Rivoli, 4éme and you get there on metro Hôtel de Ville, webpage :

The Bon Marché Rive Gauche adorns itself with its most beautiful decorations and invites young and old to discover how Christmas balls are created with its animated windows. Transformed into a workshop for busy mini-elves, these come in colorful and magical paintings to illustrate the birth of a glass Christmas ball. Elves blow on the glass to form a Christmas ball, turn a gear, or mix gold, pink or purple pigments. The facetious elves write messages to brighten it up with funny words. The result is a fun Christmas ball signed by illustrator duo Toqué Frères. The store at 24 rue de Sèvres,7éme and you get there on Metro Sèvres – Babylone, webpage :

There you go folks, the spirit of Christmas is all around us. I sincerely hope your is wonderful surrounded by family and have a real significant Christmas together. I loan for one as my family is spread all over even in France the closest are 7-8 hours by car away. We have the spirits up regardless of the medical situation of my father, hope is a never ending star we follow to the end. Merry Christmas to all!! Hope you have the chance to experience Christmas window shopping in Paris, it is sublime, unforgettable period.

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

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December 17, 2022

The N1 and Irùn, or France and Spain !!

Well I am happy to tell you found more older pictures of my road warrior trips between France and Spain. Of course, I am lucky to have found them ,and gladly include them in my blog for me and you. My road warrior mode make me go back and forth between my dear countries of France and Spain many many times, over the years. And one of the memorable routes was along the Atlantic ocean into Irun in Spain on the road N1. This is a bit on that story for old times’ sake. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Irun is in the province of Guipuzcoa in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, Facing the French city of Hendaye from which it is separated by the Bidassoa river, which it is connected by four bridges, two rail and two road ; the oldest of which is the Saint-Jacques international bridge and near Fontarrabie,. It shares with them the bay of Txingudi, it occupies a strategic position on the border between Spain and France, and commands the main passage of the western Pyrénées.

For many of us, Irun is just a place of passage on the road to San Sebastian and Hondarribia, a few minutes by car from the French coast. A paradise of cheap gasoline and cheap cigarettes, its reputation as a border town sticks to its skin. When we cross the Bidasoa bridge and leave France, we could had stop instead did the same some cheap buys and gasoline filled up car tank to continue our journey either to San Sebastian or Madrid, It is in my plans to stop by longer, eventually,

Irun N1 road over to Spain aug08

Irun over to Spain aug08

That is what we did several times going on the Carretera Nacional N-1 making the run Irun to Madrid . The N 1 is a radial road that connects Madrid with Lasarte-Oria, crossing Aranda de Duero, Burgos, Miranda de Ebro, Vitoria and Alsasua. Currently the N-I is split into the Madrid-Rubena (Burgos) and Miranda de Ebro/Armiñón sections (limit Burgos with Álava)-Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa); as a consequence of this, it has been renamed A-1 (Autovía del Norte) except in Guipúzcoa, where it is still called N-1. Previously it continued through San Sebastián and ended in Behobia (Irún) on the edge of the French border From kilometer 454, the infrastructure continues to be the same, but with the designations GI-11 (previously N-Ia) and GI-20 (both still as motorways near San Sebastian) and GI-636 (one-lane road or 2/3 lanes between Pasajes, Rentería, Irún and the French border). Pasajes-Irún: renamed to GI-636 in 2010, this last section of the N-1 is the free alternative to the toll highway.

Irun N1 over to San Sebastian road aug08

Irun over to Spain road N1 aug08

Historically, it can be considered that the precedent of this road was the Camino Real de Coches or royal road of carriages which, entering Gipuzkoa through the Arlabán pass, followed Salinas de Léniz (Leintz-Gatzaga), Eskoriatza, Aretxabaleta, Mondragón, Bergara, Antzuola , Villafranca (Urretxu), Zumárraga, Ormaiztegi, Igartza (close to Beasain), Tolosa, Andoain, Hernani, Astigarraga, Oiartzun, Ventas de Irún and Irún.

A bit of history I like now that I am on Irùn.

In the 12C, the territories that until then had been part of the Kingdom of Navarra were incorporated into Castilla. The first written reference relating to Irun appears in 1203. In 1512, King Fernando el Catolico or Catholic began the Castle of Gaztelu Zahar, which was destroyed in 1539 by Charles V, in case of reconquest by the Navarrese, who already had French support to recover the kingdom on previous occasions meant that no more forts could be built here, The first battle of San Martial, June 30, 1522, the battalion of the people of Irùn defeated the troops of the King of Navarre, who had the support of the King of France, In 1659 was signed in the Island of Pheasants (Béhobie ) the Peace of the Pyrenees between France and Spain (recall king Louix XIV and Infanta Maria Teresa),Today, still the frontier of the two countries, On August 31, 1813, the Second Battle of San Martial ended the War of Independence (peninsula war). With their victory in this battle, the Spanish troops and the Anglo-Portuguese of the Duke of Wellington defeated the Napoleonic troops in a bloody battle. Finally, the last act of war in the history of Irùn took place during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, on September 2 of that year. During this conflict a large part of the city was destroyed, set on fire by the retreating Republican army,

Today ,Irùn is part of the Bidasoa-Txingudi consorcio, a structure under Spanish law (consorcio) bringing together the towns of Irun and Hondarribia in Guipuscoa (Spain) and the French town of Hendaye (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). Its creation dates back to 1998 and its headquarters are in Irun. In 2001 ,Irun joined the Basque Eurocity Bayonne – San Sebastian. The Basque Eurocity Bayonne – San Sebastián is a Franco-Spanish territory. It extends along 50 km of coast of the Bay of Biscay, on both sides of the Bidassoa, a small river which forms the border between France (Pyrénées-Atlantiques department) and Spain (Guipuscoa province). ). The whole territory is part of Euskal Herria, the Basque Country. It covers an area of ​​899 km2.

Some of the things to see here which I just passed by in my road warrior best mode between France and Spain are the 16C Church of Santa María del Juncal, which has a Baroque facade and a Romanesque image of the saint in question. The baroque City/town hall is also among its monumental buildings as well as the column of San Juan Harri which commemorates the independence of the city. The Palacio Arbelaiz palace which served as a pension for many Spanish and French monarchs. It was rebuilt after being destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. Hermitage of San Martial: hermitage built to commemorate the battle of San Martial in 1522. It was rebuilt in 1804 and is located in the San Martial mountain on the outskirts of the town. From a watchtower near the chapel, beautiful view of the city, the Jaizkibel, Hondarribia, Cape Higuer, the Bay of Biscay, the bay of Txingudi, Hendaye and Béhobie. Hermitage of Saint Elena dates from the 14C, although inside were found archaeological remains of a 1C Roman temple and an older native necropolis. You can also visit the Hermitage Museum of Ama Xantalen ,an archaeological museum.

The town of Irun on its heritage

The local Bidasoa tourist office on Irun

The Hendaye tourist office on Irun

There you go folks, a dandy memorable ways of my dear France and Spain. The N1 is very nice ride even if today some sections are cut into the expressway, worth the detour and trip on it, with the Pyrénées lurking on you! Again, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for the road warrior in me.

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

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December 17, 2022

The Cathédrale Saint André of Bordeaux !!!

This is one of my fav areas of France and for good reason other than wines; there are wonderful beaches too and many family vacations here over the years. I have written with some pics and lots of history so will give you a few more here with some new text and pictures from in my vault !! The Cathédrale St André is located at the place Pey-Beland, and is the most majestic of the churches in Bordeaux, built in the 12-13C, and the next door bell tower of  Tour Pey-Berland with 229 steps to reach the top,and a beautiful view of Bordeaux ! Let me tell you a bit more about the Cathédrale Saint André of Bordeaux, Hope you enjoy it as I, and thanks for reading me since Nov, 2010 !!

The Primate Cathedral of Saint-André , built in the 12-13C is the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Bordeaux. It was consecrated on May 1, 1096 by Pope Urban II, on tour to preach the First Crusade. It was rebuilt in the Gothic style from the 12C to the 16C. Both Gothic for the choir and the transept, and both Romanesque for the lower parts of the nave. This cathedral has a nave built in the 12C and modified in the 14-15C. The choir is in the radiant Gothic style. Superb sculptures adorn the royal gate, the north gate and the south portal. the height of its spires is of 90 meters.

Bordeaux cat front aug06

In this St Andrews’ Cathedral were celebrated some royal marriages, in 1137, the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine, then aged fifteen, with the future Louis VII, king of the Franks and in November 1615 the marriage of Anne of Austria, Infante of Spain and Louis XIII, king of France and Navarre. In 1305: Bertrand de Got ,Archbishop of Bordeaux solemnly reads the decree of his election as Pope and takes the name of Clement V. In 1367: Born in Bordeaux, Richard, son of the Black Prince and future king of England under the name of Richard II, was baptized here. In 1650: Cardinal Mazarin accompanied his godson Louis XIV and the Queen Mother Anne of Austria to this cathedral. In 1808: on a visit to Bordeaux, Napoleon I noted the damage suffered by the cathedral during the French revolution. He orders its restoration. On June 12, 1992: Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, are welcomed by Bishop Eyt, Archbishop of Bordeaux, and Jacques Chaban-Delmas, mayor of the city.

The nave, in the Angevin style, dates from the Romanesque period in the 11C and 12C and was modified in the 13C and 15C. From the Romanesque period, only the outer wall of the nave remains. Later, the vault threatened to collapse, so it was given imposing buttresses, still visible today. The ambulatory, undertaken around 1280, was connected to the nave around 1330. The choir and the radiating chapels were made in the 14C, the structural work was then entirely done. The bell tower, towers and spiers of the south transept were completed in the 15C.  The facades have 3 portals, each one richer than the other. First of all, the Royal portal of the 13C is the most famous and the most refined. You can discover splendid sculptures inspired by the statuary of Ile de France. But it is above all the 10 Apostles that adorn the embrasures, and the tympanum representing the Last Judgment that have made this one famous. To the north, a wooden gate from the 14C is beautifully decorated with sculptures representing the Ascension. Finally, the South portal displays a pediment decorated with 3 rosettes. Whatever access you choose to enter the cathedral, you will discover marvels of religious ornaments. Inside the cathedral, there is a wide nave in 2 parts. Indeed, the upper part of the end of the Gothic rests on bases of the 12C,. The pulpit 18C, meanwhile, is distinguished by its structure in mahogany and marble of different colors. Do not miss the Axial Chapel and its stalls from the 17C. The chevet is the Pey Berland Tower 15C built by order of the Archbishop of the same name. The originality of this tower is that it was built independently of the building, so the vibrations of the huge bells of the tower, do not shake the construction of the cathedral, there is a great bell of 11 tons installed in 1863. The same year, was crowned with a gigantic statue of Our Lady of Aquitaine.

Bordeaux cat PF aug06

The Pey Berland tower, named after Archbishop Pey Berland, is the separate bell tower of Cathédrale Saint-André located next to it. Its construction spread from 1440 to 1500 on the initiative of the Archbishop of the same name. Crowned by a bell tower, it has always remained isolated from the rest of the Cathedral. From the top of its 66 meters and its two terraces, the tower offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Bordeaux. The first, which rises to 40 meters, allows you to admire the main monuments and districts of Bordeaux. In addition, you can see the two smaller bells of the belfry. The second terrace, accessible after climbing the 233 steps that separate it from the mainland and 10 meters higher, overlooks the whole city and surrounds the spire of the bell tower for a 360° view, In total there are 3 monumental bells named Marie , Clémence and Marguerite and Ferdinand the great bell which sometimes still ring in the heart of Place Pey Berland. At the top of this tower, the imposing statue of Notre-Dame d’Aquitaine watches over the inhabitants. It has been 66 meters high since 1863, Facing north, its direction is not the result of chance since this is where the village of Saint-Raphaël is located, where Pey Berland was born.

Bordeaux tour peyland aug06

Once in Bordeaux , easy to get to it either walking or by Trams A and B arrêt/stop at Hôtel de Ville station, not far from the cathedral. Bus lines 4, 5, 6, 15, 16 and 56 serve the surrounding area. I have come by car and on foot here. By car there is underground by the Tour Pey Berland with bank card or cash payment only.

The official Cathedral Saint André :

The official Bordeaux tourist office on the Cathedral:

The official Tour Berland:

The official Bordeaux Tourist office on the tour Pey Berland :

There you go folks,another wonderful monument of the city of Bordeaux that is a must to visit. The Cathedral of Saint André and the tour Pey Berland are wonderful indeed full of history and awesome architecture. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

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