Archive for ‘Bretagne’

April 21, 2018

Just information post!

Ok so just for a temporary hold on my posts in my blog. I will delete after my return.

I will be away to an East Central African country and back next Saturday April 28; exciting trip first time in that country. I will not able to write as internet is very limited and sporadic me think.

Therefore, until next time and hopefully better news keep cool, healthy and keep on traveling, life is beautiful even if for some too short.

On a sad note my wife is sick but will see how she does in my return for now appointment with the American hospital in Paris (Neuilly sur Seine). Hoping for the best; thanks ahead for your prayers and well wishes.

Salut, chau, hasta la vista baby; ciao, a bientôt, Saludos.

April 16, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXVIIII

And we have Mondays, well if we didn’t then we we will have Tuesdays so let life goes on as plan and do not think so much about it, it is what it is,another day on Earth. Enjoy it. We have sunshine today and temps up to 13C  or about 58F no rain and it seems Spring is starting to show up this week.

Let me bring you up today on some goodies in my belle France and especially on the most beautiful city in the world, Paris.

Let’s off with the bike network of Paris , Vélib has a new management firm starting this year and apparently is causing some misfortunes already. We do not want a traffic jam on bikes lol!!  Paris already has 661 stations out of a planned 1400 already but many of them find themselves empty, bikes that cannot be removed, and very bad customer service. The new management company Smovengo had promise to make an additional 200 operational by January… is under pressure. Well I imagine from whom!  More info and map here: Velib stations map in Paris

And bike or not, you will be able to to to a library in Paris on a Sunday. The first one was the library or médiathèque Edmond Rostand (17éme), and there are other  7 libraries that will open normally from 13h to 18h . The objective is to have an additional 10 open by 2020. The current list of open libraries on Sundays are  Médiathèque Marguerite Duras – 115, rue de Bagnolet (20éme) Bibliothèque du cinéma François Truffaut – Forum des Halles – 4, rue du cinéma (Iéme).this one from 12h to 19h. Médiathèque Marguerite Yourcenar – 41, rue Alleray (15éme) ;Médiathèque Françoise Sagan – 8, rue Léon Schwartzenberg (10éme ); Médiathèque de la canopée La Fontaine – 10, passage de la Canopée (Iéme). from 12h to 18h. Médiathèque Hélène Berr – 70, rue Picpus (12éme)  ;Médiathèque Edmond Rostand – 11, rue Nicolas Chuquet (17éme). Happy readings!

Did I said , Paris has it all; well here it is in next two paragraphs.

They open a naturist space in the bois de Vincennes (12éme) since last Saturday in more than  7 300 m2, between the allée Royale ,and the route Dauphine.  The area is not close, but just a panel indicating « entrée » or entrance and other panels in wood indicating «You are entering into a space for natural nudity is authorise».  The city of Paris is allowing a period of 6 months from April 14 to October 24 2018. There is even an event to visit the Palais de Tokyo on May 5 2018 totally nude and already for 160 spaces the city has received 30 000 requests!!! according to the nudist association of Paris or the Association des naturistes de Paris.

And if the above do not crack you up then hold on for this one.  Hundreds of prostitutes came out on the street protesting the fines incur by the clients!!! Coming together at the wonderful explicit place Pigalle , historical neighborhood of the prostitution in Paris on a call from their syndicate = union , the  Syndicat du travail sexuel (Strass).  The law came into effect April 13 2016 where a client asking for favors to a prostitute can be fined if caught 1500 euros ,and if repeat offender  3750 euros. So I guess not enough clients because of the law ::)

In a more mundane news you have the Carrefour starting something unique.  Walk in drive in for pedestrians to their stores one of them I know at Bio Fondary, 3, rue Fondary ,15éme and plan about 9 others all over Paris. No need for car drive in, now you can walk in yourselves….! This is already happening in other cities such as Lyon and Saint Etienne. At Lyon, you have them at avenue de Saxe and a Carrefour City Renan Jean-macé. Source Le Parisien newspaper

Infographie WEB carrefour

 

A historical hotel is back, built in 1925, the Hotel Madison is only steps from the statue Diderot by a corner in the boulevard Saint-Germain. An Art Déco architecture in one of the most bohemians neighborhoods of Paris. Jean Cocteau  like very much this place where he came often for a last glass while Albert Camus  lock himself always at room 65  to finalize the writing of his novel the Foreigner or L’étranger. This room is open up to the Church Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the side of nave, with light cloths small size with a bed of 160 cm rectangular pillow with golden cords and a light luminosity. The renovation done recently allows to create 14 communicating rooms and 12 triple rooms.  The hotel puts at the reach of their young clientele small boats like those seeing in the jardin du Luxembourg that you can use there too or a pedal automobile in house.Located at  143, bd Saint-Germain, tél. +33(0) 1.40.51.60.00 ;More info here: Hotel Madison Paris

Something new and nice from A Canadian in Paris. The roaste chicken with cauliflower is very good indeed, done by the Canadian chef Noam Gedalof (had experience with Thomas Keller in California, Pascal Barbot in Paris) and his wife Etheliya Hananova a sommelier and daughter of Russian restaurant immigrants to Canada.  Also, Joris Garcia, the sommelier from Canada as well. Etheliya was a lyrics singer before becoming a sommelier of wines! See them try them at  Comice, 31, avenue de Versailles, 16éme Tel +33 (0) 1.42.15.55.70. My kind of neighborhood! Open for lunch Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and dinners Tuesdays to Saturdays. Menu: 46€, and 80€ (Lunch), 120€ (dinner).  A la Carte about 84€ for three dishes. More here: Comice Paris

Another find is this new place in the new “Brooklyn area of Paris”, the Pantin. My first entry point to Paris back in 1990.  On an old flour factory from 1923, and a beautiful architectural surrounding purchased by a branch of BNP Paribas bank, today housing offices,but, however, you can eat here wonderfully good. A bistrot next to the Canal! Bistrot Des Grands Moulins 1 5, 3, rue du Général Compans – Pantin. Near REC C Gare de Pantin on the other side of the Canal de l’Ourcq.nice More here: Bistrot des Grands Moulins

Now something do not write enough, but you know if read my blog from where I grew up and diplomas on wine. A passion with a cellar to look over…

Each year more than 8 billion bottles of wine is produce in my belle France, with as many choices on the market!!! literally ! Therefore, how to choose to put in your cellar?  This is the 8B question, and very personal I must said from experiences ,even tutoring with the Rothschild!  The keeping of the wine must be done to improve its attributes, the texture, taste and aromas ; more than be keep the wine improves. You can keep to have souvenirs of a moment done in a span of life always trying to improve the quality of the wines are many reasons to have a cellar for keeps. Now, even here we differ, I know m any friends who had kept their wines for 30 years (even my father in law here lol!) ; however, this is too much to dwell on in my opinion. I usually buys my wines knowing that at maximum will be kept for five years in my cellars. Unless, it is a purchase for a special occassion. For instance, it is a French tradition to buy a wine from the year your child is born, and wait until 18 to open the bottle so we did with our sons with Mouton-Rothschild first wine.

After all, we notice that about only 1% of the wines are worth conserving , more reason to have a well chosen cellar or cave in your house (and be sure it is a cellar not a basement).  We all know that the tannins are known to preserve the alive wines such as the Reds like the high labels of Bordeaux because they have the tendancy to keep their tannins longer and more of it.  The same can be said of the wines with high sugar content such as the sweet white wines that helps in avoid the deterioration; therefore , the more the white wine is sweet the more it will aged; that is why the liquorous wines lilke the Sauternes are known to aged well. In a general sense, the red wines aged better than the whites, however some types of white wines like those with Chardonnay or Rieslings of high labels can last as long.

The millésime of the wine is the date in which the grapes are harvest and not the year of which the wine is sold.  It is important to look at the best millésimes years to put in your cellar, and even more so on the name of the producer not the label but who makes the wine. Generally, if the year of harvest is bad the wine will not aged as much, but this can extended if handle by a good producer. The hot days together with cool nights all contribute to developed the aromatic potential, the maturity, and the acidic vivacity of the grape aiding the wine aged better.

What wine to drink with strawberries. I say this because this is the season here and the fraises or strawberries look delicious as well as one of my favorite fruits. In a sorbet, salad, tartelette or even a salted recipe the red fruits are perfumy, and acidic sweet;the ideal to accompany this is a Muscat grape dry or sweet depending on the preparation of the fruit.  In a general sense, the white wines perfumy, light, pure, and young are the perfection for the aromatic intensity of the fruit.  If you do a tartelette of Strawberries then a sparkling white or sweet white will do; a strawberry salad with mint than a muscat rosé, and on a strawberry sorbet especially if a bit of sugar on top then the best is the Champagne rosé. Enjoy it all!!!

On another angle or different thing, we have the former Royal Manufacture of coins and medals open to the public and welcoming families. This is the manufacture royale des monnaies et médailles. You can discover the history of the treasury and the French institution the oldest founded in 864AD by king Charles the Bald.  This is the last factory of Paris and today houses the manufacture and a museum. You come to the entrance and go up a stair to the first floor (US 2fl) and see the exposition room, the shops of cutting, the Grand Monnayage or foundary where the workers did their job behind glass windows. A bit further, you stop at the manufacturing room before lots of machines that tell you the route of the fabrication of the coins and medals.  There are even tours for families to show the children. Manufacture Royale des Monnaies et Médailles de Paris, 11, quai de Conti (6éme). Tuesdays to Fridays 14h to 16h check schedule and hours please. More info here in English/French: Monnaie de Paris

Another nice conversion building in Paris. The BETC agency in charge to erase the frontiers between the artists and the amateurs has created a space where all can be borrowed such as works of art for a few weeks, and show them elsewhere  following the rules of the original artists.  To this it was chosen a nice piece of history of Paris, the Magasins Généraux, once the favorite of graffitti people until 2016 the BETC renovated the building; today it offered a lot of free events and organised by the CNEAI and MediaLab93.  You can visit here the Le Poste Général, that is accessable for all. See it enjoy it by the Pantin, the new Brooklyn of Paris ::) Le Centre National Edition Art et Image – Les Magasins Généraux 1, rue de l’Ancien Canal – Pantin. More in French here: Magasins Généraux Paris

Something beefy to close out this post, is the story of Hippopotamus chain of Restaurants. Early on in my French rounds, I ate a lot in them with the family but always the same sentiments these are not good steakhouses. Then, in 2017 ,they were purchase by the groupe Bertrand (owner of many resto chains and franchiser for Burger King France). The chain Hippopotamus has a new menu and decoration with cow leather seat buckets and all you can eat french fries as well as the sauces.  The interior is already more pleasant to be in with a good ambiance with a ranch hipster look. The food the burgers are ok, and the steaks are the biggest seen here. More on the restos here and you can find your closest by going to Nos Restaurants center upper page. Hippopotamus Restaurants

The groupe Bertrand is here on restauration you can see the chains of restos and on Hotellerie ,the chains of hotels. In French: Groupe Bertrand

 

April 8, 2018

Our home and work in the Morbihan!

On a leisurely lazy Sunday afternoon glue to the TV to watch my Madrid derby Real Madrid (my team for life) vs Atlético de Madrid the sidekids , (ended 1X1 ),I sat to think for my blog. Well, so much travels , vacations, and historical bits of me and my life. One thing was missing where did I work? It’s a sensitive issue as better not to give too many details in case my boss is reading lol!

When I first came to France in August 2003, (because my French wife asked me move to France lol!!) ,I needed to have a job before the move. So ,already a French citizen (since 2000) , and many trips to France/Europe; decided to go on the job hunt with the help of the internet and some colleagues from my profession in French high posts.

The search began by making my resumé as the French would like it , their curriculum vitae or CV. And of course , a letter of candidate or introduction. A photo is essential in French CV. And started posting in the normal well known sites of the times like Monster, Cadremploi, profession webpages, and the APEC a site link to the unemployment office for management positions. The search took 9 months and found my job.

Miramar

last home in USA, Silver Lakes, Sapphire Bay in Broward County, Florida

The CAC 40 big French company, had me go thru 3 telephone interviews before inviting me to the Val d’Oise dept 95 site for meeting the CFO and the director of Human Resources worldwide. It was a typical formal French interview , where after about 10 minutes they gave me an offer I could not resist. Now you need to know the standard of living and cost of living to make sure the package was at least same or better than what you had at home. It was much better ,thank youuu!!!

We prepare for the move ,and we had it as well easier than most as my French wife was already working in the freight forwarders industry with a French company part of the Groupe Bolloré entities by Miami international airport. The French manager in Florida, gave us an unbelievable price for a 22 foot container to move all our belongings over , it was 1853 USDollars door to door move!!!

Shortly ,after our arrival, I told her to contact another French contact who was a VP of the company in the USA, and he recommended a friend at Roissy CDG in the same field as hers. In about a month and a half ,she found her job with a major worldwide freight forwarder at the cargo section of Roissy CDG airport!!!

Roissy CDG

happy camper pickup by yours truly at Roissy CDG cargo

Our boys were in school at the nice Collége John Zay in Vernueil sur Seine in the Yvelines dept 78, near our apartment that I had rented in August 2003, shorly we purchase a house there in July 2004. And on we move to our wonderful French life, a decision that ranks as the best ever for us.

My boys went on to high school at Lycée Blanche de Castille in Le Chesnay near Versailles and we purchase at Versailles by the Notre Dame neighborhood! Life move righ along fine, la vie est belle !!! My wife continue to work in Roissy CDG with same outfit, and I moved on to better and more exciting places with a major luxury Hotel chain with properties in Paris and Cannes (I was working  very near the Jardin des Tuileries…shhh). And I, in charge of the accounting department reporting to a CFO group. Pictures of my Notre Dame area in Versailles and the hotel below.

Paris

Old Intercontinental Hotel rue Castiglione now Westin

Life move along quite nicely, and my friends and family back home were amazed of how happy we were. And of course, we kept it low key not to make them too jealous ::)  The moment we started telling them all our perks and benefits here and our five week vacation they just drop in amazement. We had visitors from our other life in Florida USA here and they were just stunned of the things we had here;even visiting and staying in our house.

Life went along fine, and the boys went on to preparatory private schools right in Le Chesnay and one in La Verriére just south of Versailles. They were experts in public transport , lol!! Better than me, they knew all the routes of trains, buses, tramways in the Paris western part, Yvelines, and Hauts de Seine as well as Paris of course. My wife continue with the same outfit of which she worked a total of 9 years before moving to Brittany. Pictures of last schools of my boys below

Me ,the globetrotter always looking for opportunities, as my old university professor in Florida always told me ,keep your antenna up, for opportunities, never stayed put. Therefore, after several colleagues advice , I would do better in consulting on my own, did just that with an outfit in rue de Départs Montparnasse and working all over  France on missions as well as Switzerland, Nigeria and Brazil!!! Life was great moving along and always improvement that standard of living.

Paris

Place 8 mai 1945 Montparnasse work on right building

My wife had a car accident in Florida that lost her left eye,and continue working under the American system and initially in France. However, she was told here you can get an incapacity recognition and still continue with your salary. So , short of it ,she got it under Category II and was discharge from the Roissy CDG outfit with full salary, 50% by the French social security or Cramif services and 50% from her disability insurance carrier at work, Mercer. So sitting at home making the same salary as working!! Vive la France!

Then, something happened that will make our lives better nicer and happier. I was told to contact someone who was looking for a top ,lets just say accounting professional for a multinational company in the international market. I, of course, with my antenna ,contacted the person and the job was indeed good looking but in Brittany , the Bretagne west of France. Well, I have been on a business trip to Rennes , a factory, and with the family visiting Nantes for the castle of the dukes of Brittany that was not actually now in Brittany ;; tell it to the French psych!

The job turn out great, I was in charge of 18 countries and 28 branches all over the world; travel was a big part of the package. All the trimming, better salary and perks and la vie en rose of France continues. Of course, I took it after a family discussion. I moved to an apartment near Auray in the Morbihan Breton dept 56 by June 2011. We had our twin boys followed for their schooling in Lycée Kerplouz between nice Auray and Le Bono, and later our house was sold in the Yvelines, and the rest move in to the apartment. A four bedroom 2 bath apartment about 30 minutes from my job by car.

Auray

lycée Kerplouz field trip to the Alps

Afte settling in with my father who after my Mom passed away in the Yvelines continue to stay with us. He is Retire with American pension so very much independent and still do all his things except the French paperwork as a carte de séjour visiteur ,that as he does not speak French (very hard to do at 83) needs to renew every year on a routine basis, we know all the staff and takes 15 minutes with an appointment here. My oldest boy came in on an alternate work study basis and doing all kinds of jobs as in the French system of stages and interim, CDD etc as well as my twin boys. All in different fields, one sales, other in wood craftmenship, and the last in gardening/paysagiste type ready for back to Versailles! My wife continues with her wonderful French pay system at home, and good deal as her health is a lot more sensitive than mine.

Pluvigner

my dad trying his French, ha nahh pickup pants with me

I continue in my multinational international French/Breton company here ,near Vannes ,already 7 years in it, time flies when having fun, the saying goes. It is true. I have an excellent group of people where I am the only non French born in our services and very human and nice bosses, CFO and Director as well as the President who always talks to me and emails me for direct advice sometimes. I participate or rather invited to all the Directors meetings and Finance get together which I choose to come or not if pertinent. I am on the list for trips to Asia, Americas, and Africa thru June 2018, end of our fiscal year. Actually,  it’s a castle property in ruins from 1504, all modernised, the only remaining parts are the the foundations and the outer west walls with a guard house and the old bakers oven outdoor.

In the meantime, from the apartment, we purchase a home in the nice country town of Pluvigner. 1000 square meters (about 11K sq feet) of land on a 255 square meters (about 2800 sq feet) of inhabitable home. 3 car garage, five bedroom or four as we used one for the game entertainment room, 2,5 baths, a open air terrace and an enclosed glass veranda. We had made the back on lawn or green grass and the front in Breton stone, pebbles with decorative real plants. OF course, now we have our puppy Rex almost 5 months a Borador!!! (cross pure border collier mom,and pure black Labrador dad). He is a charmer, and already well behaved in his manner: oh yes he is a boy!!! Poor wife ,she is spoiled as the only women in the family now.

Pluvigner is a small town of about 7K folks on a vast area of single homes stuck between Auray and Pontivy along the road D768 that connects to the beaches with the N165 and up to the N24 national roads to Rennes. About 1h30 to Nantes Atlantique airport and 15 minutes to the TGV line at Auray train station or sometimes for scheduling use the bigger station at Vannes which is about 35 minutes away. We have a regional TIM bus line 5 that can connect to Auray, Vannes, Baud, and onwards to Pontivy or Lorient. The town has about 8 bars and 5 bakeries, several restaurants and all the living services you need; the nurses come home to do all,and the doctor, pharmancy, etc are walking distances from home. In all ,we love it. Glad to be in the Morbiha, Brittany.

Now ,all is left is to get good health for some and continue for others and already thinking of retirement which will know officially my situation by September 2018. Shooting to do it by 2020 at the latest. Right now planning the retirement place, either we stay here, or go to Bordeaux area, or Toulouse area or south of Madrid, Spain in Castilla la Mancha. Only time and good continuous good  fortune will tell.

I have given a general view without been too positive,hope my friends do not get too jealous; it has been a wonderful experience, our best so far. Wherever the future brings, we can say we had our way and glad of all we have done as a family together, or as one famous Muskeeteers once said, One for all and all for one!!!

Enjoy some of the pictures of our new town and my current job in near Vannes.  Have a great week ,happy travels, good health and many many cheers to all. Kenavo!!

 

 

 

April 8, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXIII

So here we are after a swing at some interesting parts of my belle France, its time to come back to what is going on locally in my gorgeous Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh. Today , Saturday, it is partially cloudy no rain, and temps in 11C or about 54F.

We have quite a bit of errands all over the area. We did got the initial vaccines for our puppy Rex, a mix Border Collier/Labrador or Borador! who is just fantastic and make us enjoy the outdoors a lot more than we did before.  He is 5 months on April 11th and just a fine boy. Our veterinery is very nice and not far from home in our town. Clinique Vétérinaire du Chêne or  Clinique du Chêne

Pluvigner

The Clinique Veterinaire du Chêne

We were in town so finally we ate on a local restaurant we have not been in a while, Le Scampi Pizzeria in city center, very nice place indeed and always welcome, we got free coffee expresso !!! and of course my favorite Volcanique pizza with chorizos and merguez sausages real men’s food.  The owner has won many prizes in local and regional pizza competition which it saying a lot. web here: Le Scampi pizzeria

Pluvigner

Le Scampi pizzeria from our table to city

As often the case, we did our groceries at the town Super U supermarket just to make it a whole day local event. web here: Super U Pluvigner

I like to tell you what is coming up in my area for events activities and good eating out.

A wonderful danse beach festival is coming to the Presqu’île de Rhuys peninsula between May 9-13 in the towns of Arzon, Le Tour du Parc, Saint Gildas de Rhuys ,and Sarzeau. All styles of dances will be shown from the contemporary to tango, open skies dances hip hop and many more.There will be training classes and expositions. In all 15 spectacles, 6 training sessions, and 2 expositions. More here at the official site for the Festival Plages des Danse. More on the tourist page of the Gulf of Morbihan area in English: Festival Plages de Danse

Saint Gildas de Rhuys

Plage de Kerver at St Gildas de Rhuys

Another nice event coming up is the Vannes Photos Festival, running from April 13 to May 13 in Vannes , evoking the golden period of the cinema showing the connection between the photography and the movie films.  Portraits of stars and the Cannes film festival will be shown with all the great names of photography too numerous to mention. The festival is free!, and will be shown at the following places in Vannes. Hôtel de Limur 31 rue Thiers, Le Kiosque, right bank of the port pleasure marina in Le Port area, Bastion de Gréguennic, Place de la Poissonnerie by the market, Château de l’Hermine 6 rue de la Poterne by the Porte de la Poterne off the ramparts, and in the old city center on the walls of the ramparts or around a street! Official webpage in FRench: Vannes Photos Festival

Vannes

Hôtel de Limur

Vannes

Château de l’Hermine

The literary salon or Salon Littéraire Livr’à Vannes from June 8-10.  The books of general literature as well as Breton literature will be exposed with shops and activities for the children. At the city hall Place Maurice Marchais. The names of the participants are here: http://www.livreavannes.fr/programmation/

The link for the salon here: Livr’à Vannes

Vannes

Hôtel de Ville

On the culinary front, my treat; there has been some changes worth mentioning me think.

The Créperie St Vincent in old town rue Saint Vincent has new owner and a new menu. formule at 12,90€ with a galette and crêpe of the day and a bowl of cider of apple juice.  All from local Breton producers. Richly decorated in the old times and open from 11h30 to 21h30; tel +33 (0) 2 97 62 31 39 , email: creperiestvincent@gmail.com

The café brasserie le St Nicolas, 31 Rue Francis Decker by the ramparts  has new decoration art deco style with all homemade items including the now famous burgers and homemade breads, formule from 12,50€ from 12-14h mondays to fridays; open 7h30 to 2&h30 everyday except Sundays. Ambiance Paris bistrot. Tel +33 (0) 2 97 54 03 00. Le St Nicolas in Facebook

Town of Pluneret between Auray and Vannes, you have the wonderful Créperie la Ferme de Kergonan, a farm with all the traditions of yesteryear and best of Brittany, open all year. Great food out in the country, the real French cooking. Tel +33 (0) 2 97 29 18 80. More in facebook here: La Ferme de Kergonan in Facebook

At the Château de Suscinio, former residence of the Dukes of Brittany you have many activities for the coming months. From May 2018 , something new, the wonderful homes or le Logis merveilleux on the theme of the king Arthur legend! without any addition to the general admission price! More info in French : Domaine de Suscinio

Sarzeau

Château de Suscinio

The wonderful Domaine de Kerguéhennec at Bignan there will be up to May 27 fourt new contemporary exposition shown in the castle, common areas and the park gardens.  This is a gem and worth the detour , best off the road N24 coming from Rennes, exit Bignan .open from Wednesdays to Sundays 14h to 18h, but the park is open all year, tel +33 (0) 2 97 60 31 84. More info in French here: Domaine de Kerguéhennec

Bignan

Domaine castle of Kerguéhennec

And last but not least my old home of Auray proposes many guided tours for free on the wonderful monuments of our area (Détours d’Art) such as the Chapelle St Quirin, the Chartreuse of Brech, etc. More info here in French and if interested coming by let me know. Detours d’Art by Auray

Brech

Chartreuse de Brech

Now this morning ,enjoy your Sunday, it is wonderful. We are home and waiting for the derby match in Madrid…! Happy travels, good health, and plenty of good cheers to all!!!

April 7, 2018

And I bring you, Nantes!! Is it Breton? Yes!!!

This is a city I have come to know very well. Little did it occur to me that when I visited it  for the first time back in 2004 to see the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany was I going to be so close and visit so often after 2011. it is my gateway to the world now, and my shopping and eating and sightseeing city second only to Vannes. But hey this is Brittany just a twist in history took it away, of course, I am talking about Nantes ,now in Pays de la Loire region.

Nantes is in department 44 Loire Atlantique over the banks of the Loire river in the region of Pays de la Loire  From the Gallo Roman city of Namnétes site of a bishophic in the 5C, part of the Frankish kingdom facing the imposing Bretons, finally conquered by king Nominoé in 851 to be part of Brittany  For the next 3 centuries the role of Nantes grows in importance towards the international markets been a great part of it the slave trade that sees its peak in the 18C. During the French revolution, an important site in the war of the Vendée against the revolutionary power.

Nantes is at 342 km from Paris, 340 km from Bordeaux, and 100 kms from Rennes . It has several isles and canals such as île Beaulieu, île Sainte Anne, île Feydeau, and île Gloriette ; for a while it was name the Venice of the west ! Many of its streets are blockage of river flows done to redirect the Loire river such as the Bourse that now gives to the current cours Franklin Roosevelt street or the Hospital arm that now is part of the cours  John Kennedy and cours Commandant d’Etienne d’Orves, and the tributary of the Erdre river ,today it is over the cours de 50 Otages and the course is change by an underground canal that is navigable until the arm of the Hospital and call the Canal Saint Félix The Loire river crosses the city in two sections, one encircle the île de Nantes isle call the La Madeleine on the north and the  Pirmil on the south. The city is also, traverse by two importants rivers the Erdre and Sévre Nantaise and three small creeks ,the  Chézine, Cens, and Gesvres all in the north side.  The île de Nantes or Nantes island has an area of 337 hectares and is link to the mainland by 10 bridges on the north and south banks. It has ,also, a pedestrian passarelle in the north and two train lines.

Nantes has an extensive road network that in many times is congested with heavy traffic jams at rush hours ,so I do it all the time, but avoid these hours and is ok. It is on the junction of the autoroute des Estuaries or the A83 , and the Loire river force you to  pass by the boulevard périphérique via the bridge or Pont de Cheviré ; with its 43 km is the second longest in France after Bordeaux as in Bordeaux is always with heavy traffic. It has 23 exits or sorties call here Portes or gates and has two names, one on the north that is the A844 and for the rest is the N844 roads ,which is the one I normally take to come to the airport. On this blvd périphérique you have connection to other roads such as the  autoroute A11 on the exit 42 porte d’Anjou that goes on to Paris, the fast paying way. Others are the same A11 to Angers , the A83 towards Niort, Bordeaux, Poitiers,and Limoges, the N165 towards Quimper, Brest and my towns of Vannes and Pluvigner, the N137 to be call the A84 extension here to Rennes and Caen and also Paris. There is a good tramway network of 3 lines that with its 43,5 km is the most used in France ; there is  a boat service that transports in the river banks avec two lines call Navibus ,and the boats Loire and Passeur. The wonderful train station, that I used frequently or Gare de Nantes is service by TER intercités and TGV service to Montparnasse Paris on the TGV Atlantique as well as other cities. The station has two terminal access, the oldest is the nord or north , and the sud or south done for the TGV service also has the navette bus connection to the airport. The two terminals north and south are connected by an underground passage that you reach 15 train platforms. The city has an excellent bike network connected to the regional La Loire à Vélo part of the EuroVélo6 network also known as the Eurovélopiste des Fleuves or the bikeroute by the rivers linking Nantes to Bucharest and also Saint Nazaire to Contanta and one of the most famous European bike routes long of 3653 km crossing Europe from west to east and from the Atlantic ocean to the North sea passing by ten countries as well as the major rivers of Europe such as the Loire, Rhine, and Danube. You,also, have my favorite airport and in and out for the last several years at Nantes Atlantique airport just south of Nantes on the town limits of Bouguenais.

Nantes

Gare de Nantes Sud entrance south

A bit on the laid out of the city best parts to visits. The fortified medieval city was in essence the neighborhood of Bouffay of which still can be seen the gate or Porte Saint Pierre, and the castle of the Dukes of Brittany or Château des ducs de Bretagne, as well as some wooden houses dating from the 15C. The streets of rue de la Juiverie, rue Sainte Croix, rue de la Bâclerie are still some examples of this type of architecture as well as some in the rue de Verdun, rue Bossuet,and place du Change. At the Place Royale , Place Graslin, and cours Cambronne you have the neighborhood of the Theater and Bourse. The current city center goes around the roads of a central way on the western axis starting from the Cathedral to the rue de Verdun, rue de la Marne, rue d’Orléans, rue Crébillon and finishing at the place Gambetta. All in a neo classic style, especially by rue de Strasbourg, done in the Haussmanian way as in Paris. By the 20C the center was extended to the botanical garden or jardin des plantes and the fine arts museums on the east making this neighborhood very appreciated, and the adjoining neightborhood onwards with the Dobrée museum, and the Church Notre Dame de  Bon Port. You have the Nantes island or île de Nantes the great area of the machines or Les Machines de l’île (great area!) occupying the former naval yards and on the west point of the island the Hangar à bananes along the anneaux de Buren with plenty of restaurants, bars night clubs discos including La Fabrique a space dedicated to contemporary music.

A bit of history I like.  At the Gaul’s time this area was known as the Namnétes , defeated by Julius Ceasar in the year 56 BC. The Roman latinised the name to Condevincum and make the main town of the ; at the end of the Roman period, the city was called Portus Namnetum or the port of the namnétes. Once the Roman empire ended in 476AD the area passes under control of the kingdom of the Franks by king Clovis even after facing tough resistance from the Armoricans (Bretons) and some already living in the Roman controlled areas since 280AD.  In 850AD the region is run over by king Nominoé a Breton king , on the next year in the battle of jengland the Breton market of which Nantes was its capital passes to Brittany under the treaty of Angers. From 919AD, the city of Nantes is invaded and control by the Vikings. The next period, the Dukes of Brittany will fight against the counts of Nantes for the succession rights, and for a while the area passes under the Maison of Anjou. The second war of succession of Brittany puts in opposite sides the half brother of the decease duke John III, that is Jean de Montfort helped by the Breton State calls for in Nantes ,and those of Charles de Blois helped by the king of France Philippe VI and recognized duke of Brittany by the nobles of the kingdom; The Montfort won, and their dynasty in the 14C to 16C continues and made of Nantes the capital.

Nantes becomes the main treasure to play between the king of France and the Duke of Brittany, Duke François II. Nantes is conquered in 1488 and Brittany  is administered by the kings of France. The Breton next in line and daughter of François II, is Anne de Bretagne who marries the king of France by alliance Charles VIII in 1491 and later king Louis XII in 1498 becoming as well queen of France twice! Her oldest daughter Claude de France under stress many had said, donates the duchy to her husband king François I of France, even if the Breton States asking for the union also asked for the traditions and privileges to be maintained .  In 1532 the Duchy of Brittany is finally officially annexed to the crown of France by the act  in a perpetual and indisputable will proclaimed at Nantes August 13 1532.

During the wars of Religion ,Nantes sides with the League in the fight against the Protestants, and one of the big cities to recognized king Henri IV. By 1685, th edit of Fontainebleau signed by king Louis XIV and the edit of Nantes are suspended while the black code is ordained by the king. This law ,allows the port of Nantes to become an important place for the trade of sugar, tabacco, and slavery with the colonies, and make Nantes rich especially with the slave trade by Europe, Africa ,and the Americas. Even if Nantes was not the only one doing this, she was a pioneer.

During the French revolution, the city was held by Republican forces (revolutionaries) on the first line of the Vendéene revolt and its resistance was one of the keys of the Republican victory by given them a rear base and negating the Vendéene of a harbor to received help from England. From October 1793 to February 1794 the convention or revolutionary council established a terror politics in the area without mercy. Between 12K to 13K persons, men ,women and children were put in the prisons of Nantes of which between 8K to 11K died, either by the guillotine, firing squads, epidemics or drowning’s in the Loire. Since 1960, there is a renewal spirit to bring out the Breton traditions and by 1994 the Breton Cultural Agency  created by the mayor’s office to keep track, and by 2001, the municipal council recognized the historical and cultural attachment of Nantes to Brittany without going as far as changing the current administration laws. This disunion comes forward since 1941 by the regime of Vichy in their regional programs of 1955 and later in administrative regions separating each time the Loire Atlantique (dept 44) from the other Breton departments. Nantes  is now in the region of the Pays de la Loire even if the debate persists. How can laws by a traitor (Pétain of Vichy) are still held makes no sense to me anyway, my five cents worth.

During the WWII Nantes was occupied by the Nazis from 1940 and finally they leave the city in August 12 1944 before the arrival of an unit of the US 3rd Army under General Patton, that was led by General John Shirley Wood (the same who liberated Vannes).

Some of the things to see, in addition and including my previous blog post, posted here.

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/03/18/nantes-the-bretons-kingdom/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/05/09/nantes-is-in-brittany-yes/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/12/07/christmas-shopping-in-nantes/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/02/21/nantes-is-a-short-trip-for-shopping-and-sights/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/11/11/a-trip-to-nice-outer-brittany-nantes/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/12/18/nantes-christmas-time-2016/

 The castle of the dukes of Brittany, located on the right bank of the Loire river in city center of Nantes.  It was the principal residence of the Dukes of  Brittany from the 13C to the 15C. It is a fortress with seven towers links by smaller corridors , at the courtyard is surrounded by different buildings dating from the 15C 16C and 18C as well as the Ducal residence built in chalk . The Cathedral of Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, gothic style on the Place Saint Pierre. It was built under the request of Duke John V duke of Brittany and the bishop Jean de Malestroit in 1434 and it was eventually finished by 1891!!!. The Basilica of Saint Nicolas of neo gothic style and one of the first one in France dates from the 19C; it was raised to Basilica in 1882. The Church Notre Dame de Bon Port, built in 1852 has a dome that it was copied from that of the Invalides in Paris.

 

 

You will find many squares like the Place Graslin with its theater, the Place Royale with a fountain representing the Loire and its tributaries, the Place du Commerce , the most lively in town ,and the Place Maréchal Foch with its column on a pedestal a rare statue of king Louis XVI existing in France today.  All these square are connected by wide avenues such as the cours Cambronne from the Place Graslin, cours Saint Pierre and cours Saint André from the place Maréchal Foch with a nice perspectives.  These neighborhood grouped the former justice palace, located at place Aristide Briand, the regional government building or préfecture of the Loire-Atlantique (now the seat of the chamber of accounts of Brittany!) , the Palais de la Bourse, and the island or île Feydeau (by rue Kervégan, temple du Goût, and cour Ovale) all on a single grouping comparable with the île Saint Louis in Paris. By the quai de la Fosse you will find traces of the old harbor of Nantes.

For the chic shopper the Passage Pommeraye is heavens right in city center built between 1841-1843 on three levels with a central stairs and decorated with medallions and statues , just chic ; then you have the brewery or Brasserie La Cigale opened in 1895 and just doing well. The cookie /biscuit LU an institution here and now Le Lieu Unique now a cultural center on the national scene; you can see it from the top rampart of the castle of the Dukes of Brittany. The former Manufacture des Tabacs or cigars done in 1861  similar to one in Strasbourg with five buildings  and two interior courtyards that by the 1980’s was renovated and turned into municipal services offices and lodgings. The nice Jardin des Plantes that I past my leisure times each time traveling by the train station was created in 1807, and opened to the public in 1895 along the styles of the 19C with a mosaic or ceramic tradition and floral decorations with several cascades and water fountains; officially it is known as the botanical garden but still call by its old name. The park or parc de Procé was a domain surrounded by a mansion done in 1789 , the park has been provided with huge trees rhododendrons, magnolias, fuchsias, dahlias and bushes and has the oldest tulipan of Virginia in France.  The floral park or Parc Floral de la Beaujoire created upon the celebration of the Floralies in 1971 has one of the biggest monumental fountain of Europe! the northern part is dedicated to  the horticulture such as the rose axis with 35 sites and allowing the exposition of 25K rose trees of 1500 species!! . Some curiosity is the Miséricorde cemetery or cimetiére Miséricorde  called here the Pére Lachaise(Paris) of Nantes  as you have on a long tree-lined promenade of cypress and linden trees about 60 mausoleums of the neo gothic style  that house the dead of the grand families of Nantes with the oldest part has a cemetery for the Jews and Protestants until the 1870’s , with the Jewish square place on the part reserve for Protestants.

 

Nantes

Entrance passage Pommeraye

As far as museums ,this town can match any. First, the museum of history (Musée de l’Histoire) in the interior of the Castle of the Dukes of Brittany showing the story of Nantes over the centuries.  The museum of fine arts or beaux-arts of Nantes has paintings showing a complete panorama of the western painting styles from the 13C to our days. You have the very nice and rich Dobrée museum with works from the middle ages to the 20C showing a large selection of archeological objects going from the 1C just to the Carolingian period as well as housing the box of where it was place the heart of Anne de Bretagne (duchess of Brittany, and queen of France). The beautiful Graslin theater is an opera house done in 1788 on the place Graslin ,across the great restaurant La Cigale. The Jules Verne museum is dedicated to his work of the writer born in Nantes in 1828. The museum of natural history of Nantes has a collection of natural sciences from the zoology the fauna, mineralogy and a vivarium  showing reptiles and amphibians of all origins.  The Planetarium of Nantes has an 8 meter dome with projections showing the solar system and different constellations; it has , also a numerical planetarium. Also, the first memorial dedicated to slavery is here known as the Mémorial de l’Abolition de l’Esclavage d’Europe. Opened in 2012 along the quai de la Fosse between the pont Anne de Bretagne and the Passarelle Victor Schoelcher

 

 

 

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to this wonderful, airy ,and cosmopolitan city of the west of France, Nantes. It is worth a visit indeed.

city of Nantes on the history  in French : https://www.nantes.fr/home/a-nantes-et-pas-ailleurs/decouvrir-nantes/nantes-dhier-a-aujourdhui/histoire-de-nantes.html

Tourist office of Nantes: https://www.nantes-tourisme.com/en

Dept 44 Loire Atlantique tourism in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/selection/quoi-faire-a-nantes/

Region pays de la Loire tourism in English: https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/

Nantes Metropole on tourism of Nantes ! https://www.nantesmetropole.fr/decouverte/tourisme-et-art-de-vivre/une-metropole-a-vivre-22886.kjsp?RH=TOURISME_IDENTITE&RF=CULTURE

There you have it folks, you can go wrong by reading above before you visit. Hope it helps, have a great weekend, happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

March 24, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXII

On a sunny nice day no rain and temps up to 12C or about 54F we set out again to read our own story of living in beautiful Morbihan, Brittany from the beaten path point of view. This is our daily story and we like to share it with those passionate about the everyday living in the real France.

We are in the countryside west part of France and free from all  incidents natural or human made that is happening everywhere. Here the only down side is the rain and as the Breton said, It only rains on the dummies, the smart ones stay in the bar lol!!!

I start my trip last night on TGIF night while watching the friendly match between France and Colombia and keeping an eye on the internet for the Germany vs Spain football/soccer matches. Well France lost disappointing but not surprise; Spain tied in a lively offensive game very much showing the best for the next World Cup 2018 (June Russia).

For the right night of course, we go back to the roots so got ourselves a five pack of pizzas and wine/beers to suit. These are wines from the Loire and beers from Germany, nice 1-2 combination. We went to our local regional and French champion pizza maker at Le Scampi right in our town for a take out action.  The pizzas are just like mamma made and the rest is wild cheers and jeers… The resto webpage in our town is here: http://lescampi.ipizzaphone.fr/

Pluvigner Pluvigner Pluvigner

Then, Saturday morning after a nice park walk of our puppy Borador REX , and a bit upset as he did his stuff on the newspaper and not on the walk; oh well he is only 4 mos old and nothing on the floor!!!

Then, we headed for our historical city of Auray, where we loaded up on our beers of Germany at the famous V&B store on the Océane park in Auray. Here the boys load up on different German beers and my favorite the Krombacher pilsner.

Auray

We did some errands in town as it is the closest office of the social security and revenue taxes to us, so we drop off some envelopes for coverage on my sons and did a bit of walking in town. You see the wonderful old world ambiance on the rue de Belzic, and the Place Notre Dame with the Church of Saint Gildas. This gave us hunger to stop by the Le Café qui Fume, a salon de thé and fine groceries store that recently open in what it was our frame and portrait store (folks retired). The store is loaded with goodies of a gourmet quality at reasonable prices (always better than Paris::)) .  The resto is in their Facebook page here : https://www.facebook.com/lecafequifume/

Auray Auray Auray

From Auray we rode on the freeway N165 to Séné to get some stuff for Rex our puppy, Frisbees, rewards food ,and a  chicken/turkey meal to try it. We look at prices to get a niche or a dog house which we have space in our Veranda! ON the list for next month. The store we are frequent shoppers is Maxi Zoo , an European chain of German origins with about 80 stores in France. The webpage is here: http://www.maxizoo.fr/magasin/sene.html

Sene

We continue our errands and things to do in our lovely Morbihan by coming back to Vannes. Here at the nearby town of Ploeren lies our Burger King ! oh yes real Florida stuff in Breton lands. Did you read my previous post on some news from France? the burger has passed the ham and butter baguette French sandwich in sales in France!!! And we know that lol!! So we had our lunch here with the double bacon special wow!  The webpage for BK France is here: https://restaurants.burgerking.fr/vannes-ploeren

Vannes Vannes Vannes

The road from the BK is nice because you can see the freeway N165 ramps and far out the Leclerc hypermarket we do grocery shopping too with drive in services and all. The traffic is still wonderful here ::)

Vannes Vannes

And finally, we arrive at E Leclerc hypermarket in Vannes to do our groceries; this is huge and great and many international foods from many countries so we are set! There is a nice underground parking we like and my boys are leading the way lol!!! The webpage is here: http://www.e-leclerc.com/vannes

Vannes

And it was time to come back home. Get Rex out again and he did it good boy !!! try his new snacking and food and ate it all! gourmand Boradors!!! Now it’s our time to relax and do our family discussions gatherings and planning for future trips. It could be Tenerife, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Obernai so far ::)

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are, happy travels, good health and remember life is beautiful no matter what. Cheers!!!

 

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March 23, 2018

The dept 22 Côtes d’Armor, Breizh!

 

And we arrive to Friday, TGIF, with the same weather of grey , cool sometimes rainy and temps in the 10C or 50F thereabouts. Hopefully, this Spring will be better than the start.

I will continue my tour of Brittany or Breizh or Bretagne with an introduction to the department 22 Côtes-d’Armor.  I will give you here my blog posts on the dept in the past.

Lannion

Loudeac

more Loudeac

Perros Guirec

Ploumanac’h

Saint Brieuc

Dinan

The department 22 or Côtes-d’Armor, previously called Côtes-du-Nord until 1990.  It means Côtes du pays de la mer or the slopes of the country by the sea.  It was created as the other depts of France on the French revolution in 1790.  The department 22 of Côtes d’Armor includes part of the old province  bishops of Cornouaille and Trégor, and almost all of the Saint Brieuc ,the extreme south given to the Morbihan, and the northwest of Saint Malo as well as a small part of Dol and smaller parts still of the northeast of Vannes. It extends on the counties of Penthiévre , Trégor, and most of Poudouvre and the northern parts of Poher, and Porhoêt. It ,also, take a large part of the old kingdom of Domnonée with the name disappearing in the 11C. It now has four counties those of Saint Brieuc, Dinan,Lannion, and Guingamp.

The department was very much touch by the uprising against the French revolution known locally as the Chouannerie in the war of the Vendée and Chouannerie of 1815 , but stop by the allied victory in the battle of Waterloo in June 18 1815; the department was to be occupied by the Prussians until November 1818 but the opposition of the Chouans very much organized as already fighting the return of Napoléon Ier stopped the complete occupation and only involved the area around Dinan

The Côtes d’Armor has 17 harbors for the commerce of fishing , and pleasure with four commercial harbors . The particular Saint-Quay-Portrieux river is the only one in deep water between Brest and Cherbourg. The Côte de Granit Rose has rocks of the color and big sizes such as at Ploumanac’h ; facing it you have the seven islands or Sept ïles making the biggest reserve of ornithologic in France. The Côte Grés has as well sites such as Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte. Also, the most fartherst point you have the archipielago of Bréhat facing Paimpol with a rare tropical plants reserve in open air. The bay of Saint Brieuc is the second biggest in France after that of Mont Saint Michel.

 

Tourism Côtes d’Armor or North Brittany in English : https://www.north-brittany-tourism.com/

Transport Côtes d’Armor intercities : http://www.tibus.fr/

This is the part that has beautiful sea views and wonderful sites , worth a detour indeed. My Côtes d’Armor dept 22 in Bretagne/ Brittany/ Breizh.

Enjoy the tour and see the previous blog posts on the department above. Happy Friday and great weekend to all. Happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!

 

March 22, 2018

My Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35, Breizh!

Ok so today Thursday is again cloudy with the sun trying harder temps this morning at 3C now back to 11C no rain, just tagging alone to end my week and can’t wait for the weekend.  Let me tell you something about the department 35 ,Ille et Vilaine in my Brittany.

This is a department that is also visited several times by me with family and again the choices are huge, so much to see in Brittany and as it is a peninsula with less public transports less seeing by visitors, a shame, really gorgeous here. Some pictures above, more on the blog links below.

The department is divided into counties such as the pays de St Malo, pays de Fougéres, pays de Brocéliande, pays de Rennes, pays de Vitré, pays de Vallons de  Vilaine, and pays de Redon.  It is known as the  upper Brittany area or Haute-Bretagne, and it has about 345 towns. The limits are on the dept 50 Manche,,and dept 53  Mayenne, and dept 49 Maine-et-Loire, dept 44 Loire-Atlantique, dept 56 Morbihan , and dept 22  Côtes-d’Armor, and it is watered by the Manche chanel as well its coasts is known as the côte d’Émeraude (emerald coast…) on the western part by the  pointe du Grouin located in Cancale  to Saint-Briac-sur-Mer, and the bay of Mont Saint Michel  on its eastern side by the pointe du Grouin  at Roz-sur-Couesnon.

The department was created by  the French revolution in 1790 as all others. The name as in many comes from the rivers passing by here such as the Ille and the Vilaine,that comes together at the west side of the city of  Rennes. The languages spoken here were the Gallo ,especially spoken in the western part of the department, but the Breton is also spoken. You can tell the difference in the territory starting in the 15C with the limits of the Breton-Roman having names ending in  -acum  while the Breton ends in -ac  and also  -ée or -é  fromt the Roman side.

For more info to help plan your trip, to follow are the tourist office of Dept 35:  https://www.brittany-tourism.com/discover-upper-brittany

And the good transports here on the dept 35 and the metropole of Rennes  : http://www.illenoo-services.fr/en  ;  Rennes Metropole better developed here in French: http://www.star.fr/

The region tourist office in English here: http://www.brittanytourism.com/get-to-know-brittany/its-heritage

As to rather give you repeatitive information, I have done several blog posts on the department 35 of Ille-et-Vilaine, so ,therefore, here they are:

Rennes and Christmas: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/14555

Dinard: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/10461

Vitré: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/9912

Broceliande : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/8797

Rennes: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/8352

St Malo : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/5810

Fougéres: https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/9600

Rennes : https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/8619

Hope it helps your planning for this wonderful region of Brittany, dept 35 Ille et Vilaine, my belle France. Enjoy your day, happy travels, good health to all. Cheers.

March 22, 2018

How about a bit on the Finistére, 29, Breizh!

So on a cool cloudy bit rainy day of Spring …. I thought about that neighboring department 29 of the Finistére in Brittany or Bretagne or locally Breizh.  There is so much to see here. I will try to let you know a few.

Well I began to see my previous blog posts on the dept and really frankly I got tired , so many links so rather than give a bit of history on my own, why not see the different posts and get to know the department of Finistére!!!

But wait ,Finistére you say in French (end of the land) but in Breton you say Penn-ar-BedThe department was created in 1790 as the other following the French revolution that change France. It is created by the union of the old Léon in the north, two thirds of the Cornouaille with Quimper as its capital in the south, and on the west Trégor and a portion of the Vannes area on the southeast. The tourist info pages are here: The department tourist office in English :  http://www.finisterebrittany.com/

I have it on the different tourist offices in the dept 29 here: http://www.finisterebrittany.com/tourist-offices

The department government page on tourism in French: https://www.finistere.fr/Le-Finistere/Tourisme-et-decouvertes-les-incontournables

Oh yes I did say its a lot of info and many blog posts so here they are, not all, but a good portion and many choices to go to the end of the lands!

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/07/24/landerneau-in-the-finistere-breton/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/07/16/la-rocha-maurice-and-other-finistere/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/06/24/pointe-du-raz-in-pays-bigouden-finistere-breton/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/06/05/beautiful-finistere-29-and-gorgeous-quimper/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/05/06/brest-finistere-a-whole-lot-more-than-brittany/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/04/22/go-finistere-and-visit-commana-enclos-church/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/04/10/the-enclos-de-sizun-and-the-charm-of-hanvec-finistere/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/05/24/how-about-that-finistere-this-is-morlaix/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/12/02/my-travels-on-the-breton-morbihan-et-finistere/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/08/the-other-finistere-small-quaint-nice-towns/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/04/brestthe-city-harbor-of-the-finistere/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/01/08/concarneau-a-idyllic-city-in-the-finistere-lovely-quaint-town/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/01/07/finistere-or-end-of-the-land-or-why-not-nice-quimper/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/10/26/getting-around-in-brittany-or-bretagne-or-breizh/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/06/07/concarneau-has-its-charms-and-it-bring-us-back/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/06/06/the-cathedral-the-church-at-quimper/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2017/04/23/some-news-from-bretagne-xxiii/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/07/17/guivapas-and-the-cactus/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/07/17/plougastel-daoulas-remember-the-name/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2014/08/30/pont-aven-an-artist-hangout-and-a-second-look/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/10/pleyben-the-old-history-and-new-chocolates-are-a-heavenly-combination/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/08/how-about-daoulas-and-landerneau-lol/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/11/05/camaret-sur-mer-and-the-crozon-peninsula-wow/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/11/30/brest-at-christmas-time-marche-de-noel/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/03/09/brest-for-the-seaman-in-you-and-a-lot-more-for-us/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/07/17/brest-2016-the-sailing-capital-of-the-worldfor-a-few-days/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2016/12/23/christmas-in-quimperle-and-pont-aven/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/02/01/quimperle-after-the-floods-still-looks-wonderful/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/12/14/quimper-the-city-by-the-odet/

 https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2013/02/17/quimper-or-kemper-in-nice-finistere/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2012/10/13/quimperle-another-city-by-a-river-from-finistere/

https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2015/05/24/and-more-finistere-at-roscoff/

Hope doing some readings will help your trip planning to the Finistére, a wonderful place indeed. Happy travels, good health and remember life is beautiful. Cheers!

ok ok some emblematic photos, but above there are plenty lol!

Brest

Chateau museum of Brest

Brest

American Monument landing of WWI at Brest

Camaret sur Mer

Pointe de Pen Hir cliffs over the peninsula of Crozon

Concarneau

Ville Close fortified and clock tower at Concarneau

Douarnenez

Treboul bay out to sea Atlantic ocean Douarnenez

Calvary and Chapel enclosure of St Germain l’Auxerrois at Pleyben

Quimper

St Corentin Cathedral Quimper

 

 

 

March 20, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXVIII

So the week moves on and so do I. Nice day today on the first day of Spring!!! the sun came out and temps in the 10C or 50F no rain, just a bit sprinkle on way home but stop. My puppy Rex is moving alone nicely and the family is happy.

Saint Nolffs

view from my office nice and sunny

But heck, let me tell you a bit more of what is going on in my belle France!

McDonald’s, Burger King, or even the new small chain Five Guys.  Does that tells you something? Well the hamburger is on  85 %  of restaurant menus in France! And for the first time in 2017, the sales are passing those of the traditional French sandwhich the jambon-beurre, or ham/butter according to the cabinet Gira Conseil.  According to the survey over 1,46 billion burgers were sold with an increase of 9% . If you go by city, the cabinet Gira Conseil uses the indicator of the French sandwich jambon-beurre  to determine the purchasing power of the French. The average price in 2017  was 2,94 euros .  Paris, of course, is the most expensive city with for the ham and butter sandwich you pay  4 euros  on average an increase of +14,94 %, followed by Lyon  and Bordeaux  even at 3,34 euros (no surprise here either).  The least expensive was at Tulle for 2,48 euros. This is the cabinet:  http://www.giraconseil.com/content/6-connaitre-son-marche

SNCF train monopoly ,the branch Gares & Connexions, has announced the names of three architect firms to hold the improvements on the Gare du Nord . These finalists are the  Altarea-Cogedim with the group BTP Besix Belgium, Architecte Dietmar Feichtinger, Apsys with the sem Paris-Seine, Vinci, la Caisse des depots,and  Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and the Immochan with Eiffage and Valode et Pistre. The final choice will be decided in July 2018.

In other the three main unions of the RATP ( CGT,Unsa and SUD) are calling for a strike on Thursday March 22nd to support the announced strike by the SNCF. The strike will start on Wednesday March 21st at 21h and will lasts until Friday March 23 at 8h.  Stay on alert as the unions CGT-Cheminots, Unsa, SUD-Rail ,and CFDT are planning other strikes by periods of two days starting April 3rd and lasting three months. This according to them is to opposed the will of the government to continue by ordinances the reform of the train network system in France. Which is needed for sure.

And to continue to the problems of transportation, the place de la Bastille is getting ready to say goodbye to the traffic circle this summer.  As well as the works to make one way by more than half the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine , this according to the city of Paris and the mayor’s office of the 11éme arrondissement.  From September next, the automobilists will not be able to take this road making about 1,1 km between the rue Faidherbe , and the place de la Bastille.

Paris

Rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine

Bit of anecdote, the Tour Eiffel was closed for the most part Sunday due to the snow! and cold!!, it finally reopened by 16h30 after a security control. This is for about 3-4 inches of snow that fell in the City of Lights!

Another new find, and anecdote me think. If you go down cement steps on a tight spot you will come back to 80 years of history. You will need a flashlight or torch but once lighted you will be brought back in history with chills in your spine (so say the announcement). They have discovered a bunker to protect the bus drivers  from air attacks ,done in late 1930’s. A discovery made by the RATP at the Centre Bus RATP de Saint-Maur with all the furniture preserved, benches to sit, instruction panels etc. Now they will try to make it known to all as a new attraction of Paris.  The bunker goes in two directions until the Marne river on one side and the Abbey on the other. This is the Centre bus de St – Maur  4, bd Maurice Berteaux  94 100 St – Maur Tel +33  01 40 02 44 14.  Where garage the lines 101, 106, 107, 108/110, 111, 112, 201, 306, 317, and Noctambus H .  There is no webpage yet , you need to ask the RATP agent at Saint Maur to let you in, but I imagine they will need to work on it to have it open to the public, stay tune.

On the occasion of the Royal Regattas organized in the famous Grand Canal of the Chateau de Versailles ,the biannual event reunited 1 200 rowers and 40 clubs; webpage of the  centre nautique de Versailles https://www.cnversailles.org/regates-de-versailles-2018-clap-de-fin-et-resultats-definitifs/

Versailles

rowers in the Grand Canal photo Le Parisien B.D. credit

Until March 25 the all first barber shop truck will land in Paris direct from the USA . It will go to mythic spots in Paris to shave you nicely , places such as  Abbesses, Pigalle, le Marais, Belleville, Etienne Marcel, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  Free admission walk ins allowed . This is done by the firm  Redken Brews  and the team of salon barbers  “Bonhomme”, inspired by the Brooklyn style. You can ask questions here email: barbersandbrews@gmail.com

Redken Truck : Wednesday March 21 11h-20h;  Pigalle : 1, rue Fromentin – 9e, Thursday March 22nd 11h-20h ;  Le Marais : 14, rue de Bretagne – 3e, Friday March 23  11h-20h;  Belleville : 102, boulevard de Belleville – 20e, Saturday March 24 11h-20h ;  Etienne Marcel : 52-54, rue Etienne-Marcel – 2e, Sunday March 25th 11h-16h;  Saint-Germain-des-Prés : place Saint-Germain-des-Prés 6.  The official site in French is here : http://redken.fr/trouvez-votre-salon-redken/

The magnificent residence of Napoléon Ier and his wife Joséphine.  Where they divorced she lived here until her death in 1814. Before, she renovated the gardens and brought exotic animals and will tell you the history as to how the Consulat, from 1801 -1802, took the great decision of its time like the French Code civil, Légion d’Honneur, etc.  Today the property domain has two castles , Bois-Préau  and Malmaison  as a museum of the  châteaux de Malmaison and Bois-Préau  where you can visit the apartments of the Emperor and his family ,admire his works of arts and even the oval room where the Emperatrice died on May 29 1814.  Château Malmaison, Avenue du Château de Malmaison, 92500 Rueil-Malmaison, go from Paris on the RER A : Rueil-Malmaison http://en.musees-nationaux-malmaison.fr/chateau-malmaison/

At the Les Fils à Maman, we say have lunch without a fix price.  This restaurant has no price you eat and you pay what you eat known as participating lunches you fix your price on what you eat . Every Friday noon you can do this with a menu of the day dessert for the price of your choice . The menu is unique ,as long as there is food, when no more the service stops! Here you eat without waste that is the idea of Les Fils à Maman, 6, rue Aristide-Bruant – 18e https://www.lesfilsamaman.com/paris-abbesses/carte/

Ok so you want to see Paris from afar and wonderful view before your eyes, a few places can do this but I give you three here.

You climb the 250 steps to see what of the best views of Paris in a real green balcony but very urban. This is the  Butte d’Orgemont  or Orgemont hill where you see a windmill and a nice lawn at  176, avenue de Stalingrad – Argenteuil , Gare d’Argenteuil – Line J http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/l-aev/toute-l-actualite/342-la-butte-d-orgemont-la-nature-a-deux-pas-de-chez-vous

then you have the Butte des Châtaigniers  at 125 meters high but you need to climb 360 steps to view the panorama of the Tour Eiffel, Montmartre, La Défense  and others at  15, boulevard Youri-Gagarine – Argenteuil Gare de Sannois – Line J http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/les-missions/ouvrir-les-espaces-naturels-au-public/les-grands-projets/projet-la-butte-des-chataigniers-une-ancienne-carriere-devient-un-panorama-remarquable

A stylish panorama on a hill of 170 meters, and if not up to climbing you can visit the Military fort of Cormeilles  below it, very nicely preserve and open each first Sunday of the month . Forêt régionale des Buttes du Parisis – 95240 Cormeilles-en-Parisis; Gare de la Frette Montigny – Line J  http://www.aev-iledefrance.fr/les-missions/amenager-le-territoire/les-perimetres-regionaux-d-intervention-fonciere/prif-buttes-du-parisis

You come to see a huge pool of 8 meters long by 4 meters deep a special ballon in an ocean of bubbles or try the aquagym courses in version bubble, with licorne bouys .  AFterward, you will be pampered with ice cream for free!! you will be at the transats from  16h-18h). see it , Bubble Party until March 25th on the place des Étoiles,  Val d’Europe with free animations every day from 11h to 20h. The pool is open for sessions of 10 persons, easy for all, even less than 3 yrs old with supervision qualified ; https://val-d-europe.klepierre.fr/Bubble-Party

On the Artsy side we have good ones coming up in Paris.

Foujita, les années folles . Going back to the women, the cats, natural death, the children, and the auto portraits marking the career of  Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, Japanese artist and French citizen. See it at the  musée Maillol with an exposition dedicated to him until July 15 2018 with hundreds of works tracing his crazy years in  Montparnasse  between  1913 to 1931. musée Maillol,  61, rue de Grenelle  http://www.museemaillol.com/en/home

Margiela, les années Hermès ; the years of Hermés, Margiela, see the exposition tracing the work in the house of Hermès  showing at the museum or musée des Arts Décoratifs. From 1997 to 2003,the Belgian designer did several collections ready to wear under an innovating and luxe times.  This is a collaboration of the MoMu (Musée de la Mode d’Anvers)and  Martin Margiela, in the exposition there are 120 silhouettes interacting with you in view. Musée des Arts Décoratifs , 107, rue de Rivoli running from March 22nd to September 2 2018:  http://madparis.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/

To find it in same building as the Louvre, old pavillion Marsan wing of the old façade de palais des Tuileries (now gone) http://madparis.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/pratique/acces

Guernica, on the 80th anniversary of the creation of the work by Picasso. the Musée Picasso gives an exposition on Guernica, principal work of Picasso ,and counting as among the best known work in the world. It is preserved since  1981 in Madrid , where it is shown on a permanent basis. The exposition also offersa history lecture and clarification on the political involvement of Picasso. Musée Picasso,  5, rue de Thorigny  3éme; from March 27 to July 29 2018 http://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/

Delacroix  in cooperation with the Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York, the museum of the Louvre  presents an exposition retracing the career of Eugène Delacroix.  There will be over 180 works of the master with the majority of paintings from the best showing of the 1820’s until his last creations little known of the public. Musée du Louvre , Rue de Rivoli showing from March 28 to July 23 2018 https://www.louvre.fr/en/homepage

Chagall, Lissitzky, Malévitch. L’avant-garde russe à Vitebsk (1918-1922)  or the forefront Russian of artists mentioned to know them , backgrounds and classics of our days. At total of 250 works will be shown put together by the Centre Pompidou  that shows light into the post revolutionary years far from the Russian metropolis, art history written by Vitebsk, city of Bielorussia. Centre Pompidou , place Georges Pompidou ,4éme , from March 28 to July 16 2018. https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en

Néanderthal , for a long time we thought it was a primitive creature, it is today known and accepted as Human. See the evolution in the  Musée de l’Homme, 17, place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre 16éme; from March 28 to January 7 2019  http://www.museedelhomme.fr/en

The museum Louis Vuitton in  Asnières-sur-Seine open its doors exceptionally to the public every weekend until April 15 2018.  A simple request is all it takes to come in and see behind the scenes the creation of the French heritage house without spending a cent. Come and see at the  La Galerie Louis Vuitton 18, rue Louis Vuitton – Asnières-sur-Seine reservations here : https://ticketing-la-galerie.louisvuitton.com/tour/la-galerie-louis-vuitton/?lang=en-GB

And of course food is everywhere here!!! Last but not least; I bring you the Rungis international market. Once passing the admission of 3,60€ if comes with a pro or 15€ full admission individual all it cost to see the biggest agriculture market in the world! A city within a city all dedicated to food. Behind the scene the ambiance change, there are no rules here, the truck traffic is chaotic and deliveries go and come. The visit by the public is possible (was there once with my job pros) all here : https://www.rungisinternational.com/en/visitors/

and how to get there: https://www.rungisinternational.com/en/map-and-opening-hours/

Hope you find something you like and will consider coming, Paris is a state of mind; once bitten the virus never goes away!! As Paris itself, it is eternal. Enjoy your week, happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!

 

 

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