Archive for March 31st, 2023

March 31, 2023

Wines news of France XLVI !!

Well, we are in Spring,bit rainy and windy now 12C or about 53F in my neck of the woods. Anyway, always good to bring the best of Wines news of France. By the way for the non Romans XLVI is no 46, First ,thanks to all my readers and/or followers since November 26 2010 of my blog! 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 you some news shall we. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The SoWine’s 2022 report deciphers the behavior of French people through a large study: 1032 people (wow they call that large study!) between the ages of 18 and 65 were questioned about their consumption of wines, beers and spirits (not me lol!) . The trend is confirmed: in 2010, according to the SoWine barometer, 35% of people questioned described themselves as enlightened amateurs. Since then, the level of knowledge has increased. They are now 48%, against 48% neophytes and 4% expert connoisseurs. Consuming less but better is the new credo: only 2% of French people spend less than 5 euros for a bottle of wine, compared to 12% in 2014, and 55% spend between 11 and 20 euros, compared to 29% in 2014. If the budget of French people has remained stable for several years, the frequency of wine purchases has stagnated, even decreased among regular buyers. 56% say they love and drink beer, 55% say they love wine, 37% champagne, 29% cocktails, 22% cider and 20% spirits. This is the first time that cider has surpassed the latter, which can be explained by a tendency to demonize strong alcohols, and a big campaign to scare you to drink less !! While in 2015, 73% of people questioned consumed wine as a family, in 2022, it is 58% of French people who prefer wine. A percentage up 3% compared to last year, while 32% consume the precious nectar with friends. And for 58%, the meal remains the privileged moment of the wine tasting, followed by the aperitif and the evening. Only 50% of French people continue to drink wine at home, compared to 43% in restaurants and 26% when travelling. (heck did not contact me we do it all the time!) The three colors of wine are widely consumed by the French, led by white, then rosé and finally, red wine.(red ,rose and white for us) The top three varietals are Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and then Sauvignon Blanc. Bordeaux appears first in the top of the favorite wine regions of the French, and forms with Burgundy and Champagne the historical wine triumvirate, followed by the Rhône and Provence. Beaujolais enters the top 5 favorite regions of connoisseurs / experts, overtaking Languedoc, which dropped out of the ranking. Seven out of ten French people drink foreign wines, especially Italian and Spanish. But among them, 30% are open to wines from around the world, with, at the top of the ranking, Chile, South Africa and Argentina, and explain their curiosity by the desire to try new things. Notice more choices in supermarkets, especially on my Spanish wines !! info webpage :

What wine to drink on a first date? Whether we realize it or not, a conversation about wine can change the course of a date perfectly. For what ? Because mastering the subject is a weapon of massive seduction. It is enough for the other to show a certain sensitivity in the matter to miraculously make people forget an overly prominent chin or an unfortunate lisp. Indeed works all the time lol !! While an ignorance or, worse, a pretense of “knowing about it” by extolling the beauty of the Pouilly-Fumé Burgundians ! missed, it is in the Loire Valley, Burgundy already has enough to do with its Pouilly -Fuissé which can unfortunately disqualify any sublime venus and promising apollo. Be sure to know or be embarrassed, The first shared bottle of wine can thus be just as founding as a first kiss. It loosens tongues, and sometimes reveals an unsuspected intelligence in the other. In the best-case scenario, it may even reveal an extraordinary alignment of the stars, realizing that we share the same love of pinot noir or more rarely, melon de bourgogne, which can eventually precipitate a marriage proposal. First of all, never order a strong red, for purely aesthetic reasons. Another danger are very young and tannic reds, which dry out the mouth and unnecessarily blur the speech. Another prohibition, a wine defined by the waiter as “original” it is always wise to start with a glass of bubbles. Champagne or sparkling wine, it doesn’t matter. Then, agree on the color, and opt for a wine that can have a meaning: a white from your region of origin, a red that reminds you of a summer in the Loire, etc. A rule of thumb, wine should not take up too much space in your body, but enough to allow you to start a conversation. One last tip: stop before you are enthusiastic enough to launch into an acrobatic rock demonstration between the tables. Lol !!! Patient my dear Watson !! fyi My first date with would be my wife was Champagne Mercier at the former Bistro Romain of the Ave des Champs-Elysées in Paris of course !

Now another bit of guidance by yours truly me think : This is a principle of good wine storage: they are stored horizontally. The reason is simple: to avoid wine oxidation. For this, it is important that the cork remains in contact with the wine. The liquid thus moistens the cork and prevents it from drying out, shrinking and then crumbling. The cork would then lose its seal and allow too much air to enter the bottle. This entry of air, called oxidation, results in premature aging and spoilage of the wine. It should be noted that the storage position of the bottle has no influence on the “corked” taste. And again, the reason is simple: if the cork has been attacked by the molecule responsible for cork taint, the wine will be spoiled, regardless of its storage position. Storing bottles in a lying position is valid for bottles closed with a cork stopper. Indeed, the other corks or screw caps do not need to be moistened by the wine to avoid drying out. In addition, alcohols and fortified wines such as port or banyuls preferred vertical storage: but opinions differ on the question. Just like with Champagnes and sparkling wines, some experts claim that the gases present in the bottle are enough to moisten the cork. But a large majority of professionals advise to keep them lying down, Yes indeed, not to considered myself a professional ,but I always put them down lying in my cellar.

Just blame the metric system. Indeed, the economic exchanges of the Bordeaux trade with England had a strong influence on the capacities in the world of wine. The English unit at the time was the imperial gallon which is exactly equivalent to 4.54609 Liters. To facilitate conversions during transactions in the Gironde estuary, the wine was stored in barrels of 225 liters or 50 gallons, strategic value, because in addition to being adapted to the size and the strength of the men, 4 barrels are worth 900 liters and therefore a barrel (another English unit of measurement). As we have just stated, the Bordeaux barrel is 225 liters, or 300 bottles of 75cl, and this again to facilitate the accounts. In addition to the festive and original side of the large bottles, allow better preservation of the wine. There are two main reasons for this: better oxygenation, lower susceptibility to microbial, bacterial and yeast deviation. The slower oxygenation of large volumes will allow a slower evolution, and it is well known that you have to know how to take your time to produce quality wines. Bottling tools are standardized for the production of classic bottles, so it is more expensive to produce large volumes. So don’t be surprised if your magnum costs you more than 2 bottles. Very large containers will cost even more, with the winemaker having to use a service provider or manual bottling. Indeed but for large gathering events the large bottles are just right !!

A real phenomenon in the United States, the piquette, resulting from the passage of grape marc over spring water, remains prohibited in France. No, it is not a first price wine chosen from the bottom of the shelves of the local supermarket. The piquette above all evokes the memory of the elders. For many years, during the harvest, the wine workers were quick to recover the marc, this solid substance, obtained after the press, made up of skins, stalks and crushed pips, and deposit them at the bottom of a tank. All that was left to do was to fill the latter with water and let everything ferment to make, thanks to the sugar and the fermented matter remaining on the marc, the famous piquette Its often acidic side, its democratization in the 19C and a few production drifts degrading its quality probably caused some to say, after a few sips, that “it stung” or piquette, hence the name, according to legend. Today, the demand for less alcoholic drinks, more digestible wines, as well as a desire to promote all the raw materials have given rise to the piquette;despite this, it is especially in the United States and Japan that the piquette is currently enjoying real success. Today, the French winegrowers producing piquette do not wish to be cited and for good reason, subterfuges make it possible to circumvent the law, such as adding an infusion of flowers. In this case, it is no longer officially piquette, but flavored wine and it remains perfectly legal. If the sale of piquette is indeed prohibited in France, this does not prevent certain winegrowers and certain cellars from selling it ,despite all the international enthusiasm and the desire of French winegrowers to produce piquette makes it possible to maintain the hope that one day, this drink, which ticks all the boxes of modern drinking well less alcohol, ecological approach and fresh and digestible aromatic profile will be a great success, in all legality. Has a good chance,will see,,,

My Reds , my wonderful reds, the best all my life even if tried them all, There are thousands of grape varieties planted across the planet, not all of them have the necessary skills to produce great red wines. Each of them is distinguished by the shape of its clusters, its berries and its leaves, but also their color. There are thus grape varieties with white skin and colorless pulp, others with red skin and colorless pulp, or still others with red skin and colored pulp. Today, we can count 6 of them which have succeeded in conquering many like me, These are : Cabernet Sauvignon of the glorious vineyards, the tannic structure, We find the first traces of this crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in the Bordeaux region in the 18C, particularly in the Médoc and the Graves. Between its thick-skinned grapes and its resistance to frost and rot, it’s simple to grow. It is therefore no coincidence that it has managed to be exported to Argentina, the United States, Australia or South Africa, etc, Merlot, the fleshy, Born from a crossbreeding between Cabernet Franc, and Magdeleine Noire des Charentes, Merlot has become one of the most popular grape varieties in France. He comes from Bordeaux, a prestigious wine-growing region which has given him the benefit of its fabulous influence. Its seductive character then took it to other countries, including Italy, Switzerland and the United States, etc, Syrah, concentration , Although it has long been neglected due to its low yield and its lack of resistance to certain diseases, Syrah has acquired a solid reputation throughout the world. Essential in the northern part of the Côtes du Rhône, and even the whole of the Rhône Valley, it has also established itself in Australia, where it responds to the name of Shiraz, in Italy, in South Africa, or in Argentina, etc, Gamay, spices, Departure for Beaujolais to discover a variety rich in spicy notes. Indeed, the region includes around 60% of the Gamay grown in the country. Pinot Noir, finesse, a red grape variety king of Burgundy, Pinot Noir also flourishes in Champagne, Alsace and the Loire Valley. Without forgetting much more distant vineyards such as New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, etc, Grenache, opulence, It left Spain to spread to the entire Mediterranean basin, the Rhône Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon in the lead. Grenache is now widely distributed from Catalonia to Australia, via Italy, Morocco, or California, etc.

Decidedly, transactions are going well these days in the Bordeaux vineyards. A few days after the extension of Château Vieux Maillet, which took over 3.7 hectares from La Fleur Gazin, another Pomerol property, Château La Pointe, is now venturing into the neighboring appellation, Saint- Emilion. Belonging to the French branch of the Generali insurance group since 2007, Château La Pointe (23 hectares) has acquired Château Croque-Michotte, a 13.5 hectare vineyard in Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, from the Carle family who previously owned it.

The Coteaux du Lyonnais, 207 hectares of vines 15 km away scattered between the north-west and south-west of Lyon. twenty independent winegrowers, mainly located in the south. In the north, around twenty cooperators who are members of the only winery practice polyculture, faithful to the tradition of Lyon farms. However, between five and ten of them have given up growing vines every year for the past ten years, An unknown area indeed but very much used by renown chef Paul Bocuse, They are really wines to be tasted and known more, Some names to look for are the ones from Lucie Riviere, Timothée Béchonnet, from Domaine Le Bouc et la Treille, in Poleymieux-au-Mont-d’Or, Géraldine Dubois , La Têtue which even took the idea further by setting up her cellar in the heart of Lyon… More info on official webpage :

After celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Classic de Tariquet last year, the Grassa family announces this year an evolution, almost a revolution for the emblematic cuvée of the estate. Originally, the Classic de Tariquet was a 100% ugni blanc to allow the Armagnac vineyard new outlets in the early 1980s. The Gers grape variety was then associated with the aromatic Colombard, completed since 2011, the last big change, with sauvignon and gros manseng. For the 2022 vintage, Gros Manseng will therefore steal the show from the historic Ugni Blanc. The new vintage is therefore composed of 32% Gros Manseng associated with 25% Ugni Blanc, 20% Colombard, 15% Sauvignon. , 5% chardonnay and another novelty, 3% chenin , The new Classic (6.90€ France) has a bouquet of white flowers (acacia, jasmine, honeysuckle, lime) on a mineral frame, an exotic note of fresh pineapple, a more complex vivacity and a salivating finish. Delicious try it in your neck of the woods, webpage :

The wonderful Château Marquis de Terme, 4th Grand Cru Classé belonging to the Sénéclauze family since 1935, formalizes the acquisition of Domaines Porcheron: this transaction includes Château Marojallia, a 6-hectare property in Margaux, but also Château Bouqueyran in Moulis-en- Médoc (17 hectares) and the hotel-restaurant Le Pavillon de Margaux !. The 6 hectares of Marojallia will enter the land of Marquis de Terme, whose area will now amount to 46 hectares, from the 2023 vintage. The “Marojallia” brand remains in the hands of the Porcheron family, which made this small estate one of the first “garage wines” of the Médoc at the end of the 1990s. The hotel-restaurant Le Pavillon de Margaux, whose ideal location on the D2 wine road of the Médoc sublime !, in the heart of the village of Margaux, constitutes an asset of choice in terms of wine tourism. Webpage :

The Aurore de Dauzac 2020 cuvée from Château Dauzac in AOC Margaux. Aurore is a straight and tense wine, but without austerity. Produced from vines located on a specific geological vein where the gravel is fine and sandy, the plot selection specific to Aurore de Dauzac favors the expression of Cabernet Sauvignon and offers us a crisp and intense fruity wine. The dress is dark and deep. The fresh nose is marked by ripe fruit with a hint of mint. A beautiful presence in the mouth with supple and harmonious tannins. Expresses itself at its best between 3 and 15 years, to age up to 15-20 years. Sublime try it already young, About 20-25 euros in France, Webpage :

I felled in love with this white wine from Roussillon with pretty flavors of almond and menthol: the Vintage 2021 cuvée from Mas Amiel in AOC Maury, Le Maury Vintage blanc, does honor to Grenache Gris, with pretty flavors of almond and menthol and a controlled bitterness that stretches it. 100% Grenache Gris ,Vinification in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. Vinification that takes care to protect the wine from any oxidation. Alcoholic fermentation at 18°C, with alcohol mutage on juice halfway through fermentation. Manual harvesting, during the last two weeks of September. Double manual sorting of bunches on belt and vibrating table, direct pressing without destemming. Aging in vats on the lees for 10 months. The color with blond reflections precedes a nose of cistus, grapefruit and schist warmed by the summer sun. On the palate, the attack is fresh, swinging between minerality, pomelo and tangerine. A very great freshness on the finish characterizes this wine. A great apértif or even digéstif wine, About 21 euros in France,Webpage :

Sadly another bastion of Bordeaux wines has passed away, My tribute as came to know his properties and many family members over the years, Lucien Lurton, emblematic winemaker of the Médoc, died on Saturday March 25 at the age of 97. Son of François and Denise Lurton, Lucien follows the path of his father and his grandfather, Léonce Récapet, after having inherited in 1954 the Château Brane-Cantenac, a second classified growth in Margaux bought by the grandfather, He continues his rise by buying several properties in Bordeaux (Châteaux Durfort-Vivens (1961), Climens (1971), Villegeorge (1973), Tour de Bessan, Haut-Nouchet, Camarsac (1974), Bouscaut (1979), and in 1980 Château Desmirail), which he brought together one by one in order to breathe new life into the region. He works, alone, in the shadows, and revives the potential of Médoc, Graves and Entre-deux-Mers. At the same time, he chaired the Margaux appellation from 1954 to 2013, which he defended with the desire to produce the great wines for which the appellation, with its exceptional terroir, is intended. Born in Entre-deux-Mers in 1925, Lucien Lurton is preparing to take over from his father, François Lurton, and his grandfather, Léonce Récapet, a genius entrepreneur who made his fortune developing the family distillery. Lucien left to study agriculture at Purpan, near Toulouse, then embarked on a journey through North and South America that would inspire him all his life. On his return to Bordeaux, he married Marie-Jeanne Duvoisin . They will have eleven children !!! In 1992, he bequeathed his entire estate to his ten remaining children. A year later, the family gave birth to “Lucien Lurton et fils” which became one of the ten most important trading houses in Bordeaux. Now individually owned by the children, RIP

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

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

March 31, 2023

Some news from France ,CCCLXXXV

This is my latest from my belle France ; as we are into Spring, but with rainy days However, is that time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12+ years , And for those non Roman CCCLXXXV is 385 ! ,with another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We have done quite a bit of house work and waiting for less rain to continue, Spring is in the air ! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

There will be work to adapt metro line 11 continues. They require regular closures in 2023. Thus the line will be closed: evenings from 22h, from Tuesday to Thursday inclusive, until September 28, 2023; Sundays May 14 and 21, July 9 and 30, August 27, 2023. The closures will allow testing of the new MP14 trains on the existing line in view of the extension. We invite you to refer to the corresponding metro, bus, RER and tram lines
In order to renovate the spaces of
metro line 5 of the Gare d’Austerlitz train station, work is being carried out from November 2022 to December 2027. Objective: a better designed station to better navigate. 2023-2027: Continuation of the renovation of the viaduct, construction of the new discussion room on the Cour Museum side, start of mechanization work in the spaces December 2027: Opening of the new discussion room on the Seine side, final renovation work on the spaces from the Gare d’Austerlitz Metro line 5 station will have to close for 6 months from October 19, 2023 to April 18, 2024 inclusive, during which time trains on line 5 will not stop there. During this closure, travelers will be invited to go to the surrounding stations, favoring Saint-Marcel, which is more suitable and closer to the Austerlitz station, or to make their connection upstream. Due to the renewal of the sleepers on the metro line 13 viaduct, traffic will be interrupted between La Fourche and Gabriel Péri stations, from April 8 to 10, 2023 inclusive. A replacement bus will serve the stations affected by the closure. In addition to the replacement bus, you can take buses 54 and 28, or part of metro line 14, during the closure. All above reported by RATP on my email alerts,

The contours of the famous opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics, scheduled for July 26, 2024 on the Seine river, are gradually becoming clearer. Between 140 and 170 boats will be involved in this event where 10,000 athletes will be present on the river during the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, an unprecedented nautical parade on the Seine at the limit of Ivry, and get them from the Pont d’Austerlitz to the Trocadero, 6 km further west.

How Paris has become the world capital of self-service electric scooters cycle paths and municipal regulations have favored the development of these services, the future of which will be decided on Sunday April 2 during a citizen vote. The future of electric scooter rental companies in the capital is at stake this Sunday, April 2, the operators of “free floating” scooters are awaiting the result of the call for tenders launched by the town hall of Paris… in 2021. The three authorized winners to stay will finally be appointed in June 2023. Another invasion of Paris soon to look like just another capital City!! Sadly.

The zone à trafic limité or limited traffic zone (ZTL) in the center of Paris, which aims to prohibit traffic in the hypercentre to vehicles without reason to stop, will see the light of day in early 2024, just before the Olympic Games, confirmed the Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, The first four arrondissements, plus the parts of the fifth, sixth and seventh located between boulevard Saint-Germain and the Seine via the ban on so-called transit traffic, which represents 50% of current traffic, according to the City/town hall The police headquarters is located in the heart of the perimeter planned for the ZTL, on the Île de la Cité. For the former prefect, the town hall project risked causing “difficulties for the movement of emergency and police services on the outskirts of the area” as well as a “negative impact for the economic activity of the capital” Of course, but for the mayor of Paris this is not important but only her ecologist friends that put her in the seat, Paris be aware ! webpage :

The new river link between Bonneuil and Gennevilliers takes trucks off the roads by the hundreds.Great deal !! A regular shuttle service on the Seine, loaded with shipping containers from Le Havre, rotates between Gennevilliers and Bonneuil-sur-Marne twice a week. These journeys have until now been made by truck on the A86 or the ring road. Webpage :

Le Figaro newspaper has published its 2023 list of the least stressful cities in FranceAaaah, Paris. We cherish the city for its cultural and culinary richness, the beauty of its architecture, but also the calm of its lifestyle and the civility of its inhabitants… For several factors, living in Paris causes us stress, and this is not not the 2023 ranking of Le Figaro which will say the opposite: Paris shows up at no 24 out of the 25 cities which appear in the ranking, Le Figaro took into account several factors to establish its ranking, which are linked to the urban living environment: noise roads, transport failure rate, lack of vegetation, incivilities committed and population density. Unsurprisingly, with heavy noise pollution linked to traffic jams, metros and RER disrupted daily and high urban density, Paris did not shine. I am not surprise at all by these findings ! It was, however, the “micro-aggressions” of daily life in Paris that significantly lowered its score. Aix-en-Provence wins the prize for the least stressful city in France, ahead of 2 Angers and 3 Nantes 4 Le Mans 6 Nice 7 Toulon, 11 Marseille 21 Montpellier, 22 Lille, 23 Lyon and finally 24 Paris. Webpage :

A painting by Gustave Courbet which had been looted in 1941 by the Nazis in Paris. “The childish round” will be restituted to its former original owner’s descendants, This action comes after a complaint from the descendants of Robert Bing, owner of the painting. This work by Gustave Courbet, believed to have been painted around 1862, depicts children playing in a wood. The Spoliation Advisory Panel, a body created in 2000 by the British government, concluded on Tuesday “that the painting was seized by Nazi occupying forces because Robert Bing was Jewish”. According to the report published by the Panel, on May 5, 1941, two members of the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, a Nazi force in charge of the thefts of works of art, seized in the apartment of Robert Bing, in the 16éme arrondissement of Paris, the painting of Gustave Courbet, author of “The Origin of the World”. The work had, according to the report, been purchased by Robert Bing’s maternal grandmother. Robert Bing was a resistance fighter from 1941 to 1944. He was arrested but released in January 1944. He died in 1993, after receiving the Croix de Guerre and the French Resistance medal. The painting was placed in Paris, at the Jeu de Paume, “for the benefit of the main Nazi collector, Hermann Goering”, the founder of the Gestapo. Glad came back, hopefully to be shown in a museum for all to see, Webpage :

The music of Adèle, the daughter of Victor Hugo, played this Friday March 31st 2023 in world premiere, The scores of Adèle Hugo were discovered, by chance, in a trunk of the family of the writer. For the first time, they will be performed in Besançon, the literary giant’s birthplace. She suffered from a depression that could be cured today, Old family trunks sometimes reveal unsuspected treasures. And that of the Hugos came to confirm this well-known rule of antique dealers, since it housed nothing less than a series of compositions signed Adèle, the daughter of the giant of French literature, Victor Hugo. the discovery of filled notebooks, lots of loose sheets, drafts, things written when she was a child, accomplished melodies written in ink by a copyist. The documents were signed by Adèle Hugo. Webpage:

The Auberge Ravoux of Auvers-sur-Oise,in the Val-d’Oise dept 95, in which Vincent Van Gogh spent his last days could have become the smallest museum in the world, Everything was ready to accommodate a painting made in the town, 133 years earlier. But the event was canceled at the last moment. Still me do not know why, Webpage :

Organized nationally by the National Institute of Crafts, the 17th edition of the European Days of Crafts is coordinated in Île-de-France region by the regional Chamber of Trades and Crafts. Meet from March 27 to April 2, 2023 in the four corners of Île-de-France to discover the immense variety of crafts through the know-how and talent of those who bring them to life. 370 fine crafts professionals from the Ile-de-France region will open the doors of their workshops, 97 collective events will be organized, 17 fine crafts training establishments will participate, as well as museums and monuments Webpage :

At Hangar Y in Meudon,(Hauts de Seine 92) a new space that brings together exhibitions, outdoor works of art and workshops, in a place with a unique history. From March 22,2023 what was the first airship hangar in the world will become a new place of life and culture hosting exhibitions, an outdoor art trail, but also numerous workshops, heart of a space of more than 9 hectares. Built in 1879 from parts of the Machine Gallery at the World’s Fair, Hangar Y has long served as a place to test, store and manufacture airships. It subsequently hosted the first Air and Space Museum, but also many large-scale artistic projects. In 1963, the painter Marc Chagall moved there, for example, with his assistants to assemble his 220 m2 ceiling created for the Paris Opera. In 2003, the hangar was transformed into a military hospital by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet to shoot several scenes for his film Un long dimanche de fiançailles, or A Long Sunday Engagement with Audrey Tautou and Gaspard Ulliel. Hangar Y offers an exceptional view and light punctuated by works by some twenty international artists such as Christian Boltanski, Sarah Lucas, Shilpa Gupta, Ernesto Neto, Wang Keping, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Ugo Rondinone, Subodh Gupta or even Kiki Smith. , Installed on part of the vast domain of the royal castle of Meudon, the park includes a fragment of the historic garden designed by André Le Nôtre, official landscape designer of the Palace of Versailles under Louis XIV. In the middle, the Chalais basin offers us a peaceful setting, bordered by its historic reedbed and its pontoons that were once used by fishermen. An exceptional site which also hosts a children’s playground, picnic tables and benches, ideal for lunch in a friendly and bucolic atmosphere. Hangar Y 9, avenue de Trivaux , Meudon 92, Park open Monday to Friday from 10h to 20h and from 10h to 22h on Saturday and Sunday, Exhibitions open Saturday, Sunday and school holidays from 10h to 20h. Webpage :

The Villa Windsor, visited by Lady Diana a few hours before her tragic accident, is located a stone’s throw from the Bois de Boulogne, in the 16éme arrondissement of Paris, The Mansart foundation, was named responsible for its rehabilitation. Built around 1860, with 14 rooms and 11,000 m2 of land, it was initially called “Château Le Bois”. This building, inhabited by the Renault family for a time, was alienated by the French government during WWII, and will be occupied by General De Gaulle in person at the end of the 1940s. The City of Paris remains the owner, but rented it to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from 1952 to 1986. As a reminder, the Duke is none other than Prince Edward, King of the United Kingdom for almost a year only, in 1937, having abdicated to marry to the American Wallis Simpson. With a reign of 326 days, Edward VIII is one of the monarchs who had the shortest reign in the history of the British monarchy, He lived in the villa with Wallis, who became his wife, until their respective deaths, in 1972 and 1986. The foundation’s project has not yet been unveiled, but provides for the opening of a café-restaurant, a permanent course on the art of living and furniture of the 20C, and also exhibitions ephemeral on themes related to the history of the residence. This will normally be possible in the summer of 2024, Webpage:

A delicious drink and yes this is France in the Caribbean ! The story goes that in 1660: Nicolas Fouquet, Minister of King Louis XIV (Vaux le Vicomte fame), founded the Trois Rivières plantation , At the end of the 18C, a large landowner from the north of the island of Martinique, named Etienne Isaïe Marraud Des Grottes, acquired the property. He is the initiator of the production of rum. in the south of Martinique. It runs along high fields of sugar cane which will soon change, through the fermentation of the juice from the stems, into Trois Rivières rum. It is here, near Anse Trabaud, on a plot where the plantations are constantly whipped by the spray, that the brand has developed one of its most sought-after white rums: the Cuvée de l’Océan, sold in a singular bottle, in a monochrome blue , The rum co is now owned by Campari. Webpage:

We already knew the Châtelet boutique, Flying Tiger Copenhagen is now setting off for the east of Paris and settling down rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine to continue putting glitter in our lives at a lower price. The concept ? Shops where you can find thousands of products to feel better, that you need or that you didn’t know existed. Decoration, sweets, tableware, stationery or small everyday objects, it’s the perfect spot to find a gift. The slogan is clear: “A richer life does not cost a fortune” Flying Tiger Copenhagen, 35/37, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine 11éme Open Monday to Saturday from 10h to 20h Grand opening was last Wednesday March 29th at 11h, Webpage:

Well this is France, not just Paris the City of love but all of France mind you, Here are 20 naughty anecdotes revealed by Amorelie’s Sex report in 2023 to teach you more about sexual practices in France. And they are : 1.5% of people feel particularly turned on if someone strokes their… Feet. 2. 14% of people would like to have sex on the washing machine once in a while. 3. Only 4% of people talk about sex with their parents. 4. On average, men masturbate 9.7 times per month, compared to 3.6 for women…5. …and 39% of women never masturbate. 6. Besides, theoretically, there is a “masturbation gap day”, that is to say a day of the year when women stop masturbating compared to men: it is May 17th. The reason: women masturbate 62% less than men, or about 7.5 months abstinence! 7. Can you guess THE favorite position of the French? No ? It’s the doggy style, followed closely by that good old missionary and then the spoon. 8.4% of people have sex every day. 9. 1/5 of people want to try role-playing games. Same percentage for those who own bondage kits. 10. 32% of women prefer to be dominant rather than submissive during sex. 11. 22% of people prefer to have sex in the morning rather than at night.12. 26% of French people have as their ultimate secret desire the threesome where mixing is king. The majority of men (56% vs. 30% of women) imagine themselves with two women, while the majority of women (54% vs. 14% of men) prefer a threesome with two men. 13. While 33% of women use sex toys during masturbation, men are only 10%. Bonus: 27% of men think sex toys are more for women (and are wrong). 14. 37% of people watch porn at least once a month. 15. 31% of men have faked an orgasm, compared to 67% of women ! 16. 16% of people prefer to plan their sex. 17. 12% of women have an orgasm every time they have sex, compared to 28% of men. 18. 80% of men prefer romance to dirty talk. 19. 18% of people have a desire to play in public with sex toys. 20. Last but not least: 2% of people masturbate at work. Webpage:

At Les Marmotte ,you can eat one if not the best raclette, fondues and other Savoyard specialties at will. All with quality products, carefully selected. Located at 26, rue de la Grande-Truanderie 1éme arrondissement of Paris, Webpage :

One last recipe for the faithful out there ! Easy, this recipe can be made in 10 minutes watch in hand ! This easy and quick, very light sweet pancake batter,(crêpe) made with rum, 3 eggs 1/2 liter of milk, 250 grams of wheat flour, 1 pinch of salt, 2 sachets of vanilla sugar, 2 tbsp of rum, Preparation : Whisk the milk with the eggs. Incorporate the flour by pouring it in spreading. Add the vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt. Add a little rum if you wish. Beat the mixture with a mixer for 3 minutes. The dough will be all the lighter and without lumps. Bon appétit !

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior travel guy . Hope you enjoy this post and do take care ,enjoy we are now in Spring, great, even if a bit rainy, And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

March 31, 2023

My visit to Geel in Belgium !

As I brag so much about my road warrior past-time all over Europe, many times I have to encounter folks who think that I do not take public transport in France. Well ,if you live in Europe you know that cannot be true. I have done many many train rides (grand voyageur SNCF frequent traveler ) all over not to mention riding on tramways, buses, metros, and taxis to know and be able to speak about transportation. Of course,not to forget my educational background is aviation,,,(see post), Therefore, to the point, let me update with new text/links in getting to Geel near Antwerp (Anvers Fr), Belgium , which did a couple times taking trains and car to get to Geel, Therefore will tell you about my visit to Geel, Hope you enjoy it as I

The Midi or Central train station is one of 3 in Brussels.  I have walked by the others, but the one used has been always Midi. At Brussels-Midi, the main station of Brussels, Thalys high-speed trains take you comfortably and quickly back to Paris ensuring the connection from Gare du Nord. Brussels-Midi station, more commonly known as Gare du Midi, This station, which was a terminus when it was inaugurated in 1869, and the second station was inaugurated in 1949, and  covered with a yellow and smooth brick facing and is surmounted by a square clock tower became a station of passage from the junction Nord-Midi in 1952. The station has 22 lanes, including two dedicated exclusively to Eurostar trains. It is located at Avenue Fonsny 47B ,main entrance and back side is Place Victor Horta, 26 Saint-Gilles side and where I get my car rentals Avis !

The different was on the going the ride was an odyssey, first TGV Vannes-Paris Montparnasse, change to metro line 4 but was block, police intervention so needed to take alternative line 6 to Denfert-Rochereau then switch again to RER B to reach Gare du Nord; running not to miss my Thalys to Gare du Midi in Brussels. There had reserved an Avis rental car Citroen C3 to reach destination on the ring road of Brussels all with traffic jams to stand still !!! Went around on the E19 straight to Anvers, there took the ring road R2 to final destination. The return was not easier, Avis rental car to Brussels Midi train station was fine, but the thalys was delayed 30 minutes !! by the time reach Paris Nord took metro line 4 alright this time to Paris Montparnasse, arrive late the train TGV was ready to leave, spoked my way to train operators until finally called me back and allow me into the train, oofs !! and reach Vannes, no taxis, tourist had taken them all, needed to wait 15 minutes to have one arrive and finally reach home! Never again by public transport here !


A bit about Geel, a Flemish-speaking city of Belgium located in the Flemish Region in the Province of Antwerp. The central point is the pleasant market (markt)  square, facing the Saint-Amand  Church. With its attractive terraces and easy parking . The oldest part of the City /town hall dates from the 17C. Not far away, the Sint-Dipna Church marks the place where the saint was buried.The area around the Saint Amand Church is full of bars/restos and took up residence on one lol ! One big event taking place here is the Reggae Festival. The Reggae Festival, one of the larger reggae festivals in Europe, the next one is schedule for August 4-5 2023 keep track webpage :

I like the ambiance around the church and should have taken more time but the resto ambiance was very good, The Sint-Amandskerk or St Amand Church  is the oldest parish church in Geel. It is located near the Markt square in the center of the city.  It is a late Gothic church that was built from 1489-1532. The predecessor burned down in 1489. This was built in Brabant white sandstone. The rebuilding of the church took place in 1490 in brick. A few parts of the sandstone structure remained. The tower has a substructure from around 1400, partly also from 1489, and was raised to 59 meters in the mid-16C. In 1567 most of the works of art in the church were destroyed by the iconoclasm. Only images of Saints Dimpna and Gerebernus were spared, as well as two paintings, including an Adoration of the Three Kings.  The interior of the church, as it is revealed today, dates from the Baroque. It concerns the paneling of the side aisles and the confessionals. In addition, the choir stalls from the end of the 17C, a pulpit from around 1715 , the high altar from 1748. Furthermore, on the pillars the statues of the Apostles and the marble choir enclosure from 1693.  The stained glass windows can be seen in the south facade.


The market square,(Markt)  facing the St-Amands Church and bordered by attractive café terraces, is the focal point of the city  Stroll through the shopping streets Nieuwstraat, Pas and Stationsstraat and end your shopping with a relaxing terrace on the traffic-free market!  Several events and a nice Christmas market.  An overview of all stores and events can be found on this webpage:

I stayed both times there at the excellent hotel walking distance to the best in Geel just around from the main square ,200 meters, with excellent personal service was the Hotel Verlooy. Located at Pas 117,(street address) Geel  . The 12 rooms are luxuriously furnished with comfortable beds, unique light design and spacious bathrooms. Oak parquet floors and the use of natural materials create a comfortable space for body and soul.The rooms take their name from the world of pastry with a nod to the neighboring bakery-pastry Verlooy, renowned in the region. Your morning starts in the best possible way with a crisp breakfast in the veranda, overlooking the winter garden. Possibility to rent bicycles and e-bikes only with prior reservation. Parking, WiFi and minibar in the room are free. Webpage :


I went out to drink and eat at the Het Forum ,and the Celtic Legends Irish pub with a nice Guinness,only has a FB page, Het Forum webpage : .

A bit of history I like tell us that from the time of the French revolution in 1795, the Duchy of Brabant was dissolved and Geel made part of the French department of Deux-Neuves, the precursor of the present province of Antwerp. Geel actively participated in the Belgian Revolution of 1830, resulting in the award of an honorary flag from King Leopold II.  A major occurrence in the history of Geel is the battle of Geel in September 1944, one of the heaviest and bloodiest fights during the liberation of Belgium. Eventually the territory of Geel, and the smaller villages around it, were finally liberated on September 23 1944.

The official Thalys trains :

The Geel tourist office (Flemish) :

There you go folks, a train ride which as said can be taken all the way to Anvers but much better the ride from Midi into the side roads of Anvers to reach wonderful picturesque Geel. It would be on the list for a future visit and include the big City ,eventually, Again, hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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