Archive for ‘Europe’

June 3, 2020

A step back in time, my Havana!

So looking at my vault of photos or rather CD-Roms I came up some older photos of a time gone by of memories not to be forgotten and family roots. I have written several posts on this native experience of mine very translucent as the times goes by and memory starts to flicker. Let me tell you a bit about my dear Havana or La Habana or San Cristobal de La Habana.

It was the ultimate Caribbean destination, the “Paris of the Americas” (Hemingway ), the “key to the gulf (of mexico) the bulkward of the West Indies (Caribbean_ King Philip II of Spain), to the whole of Cuba. It brings back memories of childhood, and still vibrates the world from no matter what place on the fence you might be. It is a beautiful city, if only can be kept in one piece. It was once the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything; streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there. I need to say this.

We spent many times by the Malecon and going in by the Paseo del Prado going into the Capitol (see post)/ last trip we were on a Ford 1954 lol!! things indeed change.

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All the Malecon area now is half and half some renovated with the help of Unesco and other crumbling. We just saw the inner soul of the buildings like the fabled Riviera hotel, and tried to remember what they were before…

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Then, we went under the bay of Havana on the old Tunnel that we enjoyed so much riding it.

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And we passed by the University of Havana, where my Mom did studies before transfering to the Catholic Univ ,sister univ of Villanova in Philadelphia , PA USA at the time.

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We passed by another favorite of my family that took me there still very early in my life. This is the Cinema Trianon!  It is at Avenida Linea beween A Street & B Street. It was built in 1920 ,and completely re-modeled in 1955 and became the release theatre for 20th Century Fox films. My picture is from when it was renovated back in 1998.

Havana

And we move on to the Morro Castle (Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro) where the remodeled all castle had a nice restaurant call the 12 Apostoles or apostles. My dear late wife Martine enjoy the trip down to my roots.

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And this is end of the trip for me with the pictures I found, bear in mind these are paper photos that I took a picture from. The pictures all date from 1998 when we went from France.  

One more post down memory lane, many moments spent with the family now almost all gone from there. I was the first one! 49 years ago…..Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Havana is a city to fall in love for no matter what period of time in history you may choose to visit.  Enjoy the ride into nostalgia land.

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

June 2, 2020

Bayside Marketplace!!!

So coming back at you in memory lane of yesteryear and never forgotten, why should I , spent many years there and my boys were born in Florida! This one is from the sleeves as many years visited but last in 2009. It was one of our hangouts on weekends and holidays. Let me tell you a bit more on the Bayside marketplace mall in Miami, Florida, USA! Pictures are from old paper photos.

The Bayside Marketplace at 401 Biscayne Boulevard; Miami downtown is a wonderful tropical escape with boating cruises on Miami harbor and passing by the home of the famous. Souvenirs stores and great Latin American Café for great Cuban sandwiches while overlooking the Bay. This is the LA cafe info: Bayside Marketplace on the Latin American Cafe

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Bayside Marketplace is a two-story open air shopping center The banks of Biscayne Bay wrap around the property with the City of Miami marina at its side. Different from typical shopping malls, Bayside offers an entertainment experience with live music daily, restaurants, bars, open-container policy, family events, and the picturesque settings that come with a waterfront property. The shopping center was frequently featured on the crime drama TV series, Miami Vice! yes remember them?.

The marina that runs alongside Bayside gives this Miami place a special cachet. You will particularly enjoy strolling there at the end of the evening. The mall is located on Biscayne Boulevard, (US 1) one of Miami’s largest avenues, at the edge of the marina preceding the harbor.

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Bayside Marketplace is a shopping center where you can do your shopping in a very Latin atmosphere. An American mall, but also a Cuban one, in all its splendor and grandeur. It’s the perfect place to relax while being in the heart of Miami! Salsa musicians and dancers provide the relaxed atmosphere of the place. On the shopping side, more than 150 shops will allow you to find everything you need. Before or after your shopping, you can also stop and sit down at midday or in the evening. The Bayside Marketplace has the very big advantage of offering restaurants right by the water! Most of the time in Cuban atmospheres moreover. Finally, Bayside Marketplace is also the starting point for many cruises if you want to visit the bay in complete relaxation. Many companies await you for tours to discover the most beautiful villas of stars.

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The Miami tramway, otherwise known as MetroMover, is the most convenient way to get to Bayside. Get off at the College / Bayside station then walk 3 minutes on 4th Street and you’re there! The Government Center metro/subway/tube station or known as Monorail is the closest to Bayside. Once down, allow 10 to 15 minutes of walking via 2nd or 3rd Street towards the sea. The bus lines that take you there are: 3 (this one also goes to Aventura Mall), 93 (only runs during the week), 95 (only runs during the week during peak hours), and no. 103, and no. 119. There is great parking we always use at the Bayside car park undeground.

The Bayside Marketplace is right across from downtown or city center Miami with a plethora of shopping and restaurant/bars choices from all corners of the Earth. We love to walk it as an extention always pleasant at daytime. This is the official page and you can see three areas Central Business, Brickell and Arts & Entertainment districts. More here: Downtown Miami shops restos listing

Additional webpages to help you enjoy the visit to this area and especially Bayside Marketplace are

The official Bayside Marketplace webpage: Bayside Marketplace

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on Bayside: Tourist office Miami and the Beaches on Bayside

Time change and do not know now, but for us back then it was a must stop on our go around road warrior trips in the area of Miami which is a lot more than just a city with about 8 different towns with Miami on their name. This one Bayside Marketplace is in Miami proper. Hope you enjoy the tour and do visit one day, worth the detour.

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

June 1, 2020

Lake Victoria and the Nile!

So now lets take a complete different course. Lucky me to have been to many places of our world, last count 81 countries, and hopefully still more to come. I have written briefly on my trip to Uganda on things like lodging, restos, seeing and such but the biggest thing there was left untouched. It is time for me to change that by telling you a bit on the Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile river in Uganda.

I came to Uganda. A wonderful place of many friendly people all eager to improve themselves. I landed at Entebbe airport , the unfamous name now much more peaceful in Uganda. The official page from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority is here:CAA on Entebbe airport

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I will tell my story and then a bit of history I like on both Lake Victoria and the Nile river from web sources. Just for the memories and friendship of Uganda. The Nile river which starts here around Lake Victoria. While in Jinja, I did my baptism on the Nile river , a bit late but I was here!!! Well having a jet ski waverunner and driver helps a lot but the views were spectacular and of course on the way back to harbor I fell in the water trying to go from the jet ski to a fishing boat; no big deal it was shallow and had floating jacket on, quickly out, just my clothes were soaked. An experience to remember for life. Wonderful place thought.  The Nile crocodile has almost disappeared from this region of Africa. In Lake Victoria, spawning takes place in late December and in January, in the dry season when the water goes down. The eggs are laid in the sand where they incubate for three months. As my story above goes I was glad in a way ::)

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Needless to tell you the jet ski ride was impressive going just to the border of Ripon Falls unbelievable!! A souvenir never to be forgotten, do not know when back, but this visit will stay longer than me! Let me tell you about the history from web sources to complete this post about Lake Victoria and the Nile river. Briefly….

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Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and (depending on sources) the fourth or second in the world in area with 68,100 km2. it is bordered by Kenya to the northeast, Uganda to the north and northwest and Tanzania to the south, southwest and southeast. Occupying a depression framed by the two branches of the Great Rift Valley, it is the source of the White Nile, the longest tributary of the Nile. Rather shallow (40 m on average, 83 m maximum) and located at 1,133 m above sea level, the lake occupies a depression formed by tectonic movements and framed by the two branches of the Great Rift Valley formed there four million years ago. Roughly rectangular with 320 km in length (from north to south) and 275 km in width (from east to west), the lake has very indented banks forming numerous peninsulas, bays, capes and more than 3,000 isles. Ferries connect the main ports of Lake Victoria, Kisumu, Mwanza, Bukoba, Entebbe, Port Bell and Jinja (Uganda).

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The first source of scriptural information known to us on Lake Victoria comes from Arab merchants crossing the East African plateau from the coast in search of gold, ivory and slaves. Al Idrissi was, around 1160, the first to have drawn up a map clearly representing the lake and representing it as the source of the Nile. Europeans discovered the lake in 1858 when British explorer John Hanning Speke with Richard Francis Burton reached the south shore of Lake Nyanza. He renamed it after Queen Victoria who reigned at that time in the United Kingdom and in her colonies.  The lake was the scene of naval clashes during WWI between the British and the Germans. Faced with the disproportion of forces, the Germans had to withdraw from this area. A great write up must read by all me think is by Jules Verne, Five weeks in a balloon (Chapter XVIII is entirely devoted to Lake Victoria). It was the first title in the Voyages extraordinaires collection in 1863.

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Nice map on Lake Victoria ,me think ,and talk about the ecosystem including fishes here: African Cichilid on Lake Victoria with map

The tourist office of Uganda on Lake Victoria: Visit Uganda tourist office on Lake Victoria

The Nile river with a length of about 6,700 km, it is with the Amazon River, the longest river in the world. It comes from the meeting of the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile rises at Lake Victoria (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania); the Blue Nile comes from Lake Tana (Ethiopia). Its two branches uniting in Khartoum, the capital of present-day Sudan, the Nile flows into the Mediterranean, forming a delta in the north of Egypt. With its two branches, the Nile crosses Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. It also runs along Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (with lakes Victoria and Albert respectively), and its watershed also concerns Eritrea thanks to its tributary of the Tekezé.   The Nile watershed covers 3,254,555 km2, roughly 10% of the area of Africa.

The source of the Nile is considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake is fed by rivers of considerable size. The longest river which flows into Lake Victoria, and which is therefore the most distant source, emerges from the Nyungwe forest in Rwanda, via the Rukarara, which flows into the Mwogo, then Nyabarongo and finally Kagera, before joining Lake Victoria in Tanzania near the city of Bukoba. The Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls, near Jinja, Uganda (where I drove a jet ski!). The Nile was at the heart of the civilization of ancient Egypt. The majority of the population and all the cities of Egypt occupied the banks of the Nile north of Aswan; and has been the backbone of Egyptian culture since the Stone Age. The Nile had a spiritual dimension; meaning so much in the lives of the Egyptians, that they created a god consecrated to the well-being brought about by the annual flooding of the Nile. The name of this god was Hâpy and both he and the Pharaoh were supposed to control the flood of the Nile.

Although James Bruce claimed to have been the first European to have seen the source, modern authors consider that the first is rather the Jesuit father Pedro Páez. Europeans had settled in Ethiopia since the end of the 15C, and it is possible that they explored the river as close as possible to its source, but they could not envisage its course beyond Ethiopia. It was ultimately the British explorer Henry Morton Stanley who confirmed the truth of the discovery of Speke, by sailing around Lake Victoria and realizing the existence of the Ripon Falls on the north shore of the lake. It is during this trip that it is said that Stanley would have greeted the British explorer with the famous words “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” By discovering the sick and discouraged Scotsman in his camp at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

The White Nile expedition, led by the South African Hendri Coetzee, was the first to sail the entire length of the Nile. He left the source of the Nile in Uganda on January 17, 2004 and arrived at the Mediterranean Sea in Rosette, four months and two weeks later. National Geographic presented a film on the expedition at the end of 2005: The Longest River.

A fascinating river alright and glad could see its eyes or mouth of the Nile river from Lake Victoria Uganda side. A must to see for all.

A bit more on the Nile river and Uganda part in specific from geosciences here :Geo Sciences on the Nile River

Hope you enjoy the post and my most adventurous trip at the time, all worth it me think. Remember, natures of the best Lake Victoria and the Nile river!

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

June 1, 2020

The Virgin Islands, US and UK!

Well going back deep into my vault, times require me to put in my blog my life’s history and so I am doing just that. Many posts many spots on our wonderful Earth over the years and still keep going strong like duracell commercial lol! Well here I am going down to my roots, the Caribbean , that wonderful sea. After all nothing comes close for a water, beach activity. And I have been to plenty everywhere.

I have mentioned in a previous post about my sailing adventures in the Caribbean area last done in my blog was March 2019. However, the islands are more than sailings so here is a bit more on the US and British Virgin Islands, the one for the thousand virgins!

Saint-Thomas is an island which constitutes with those of Saint John and Sainte-Croix the Virgin Islands of the United States, it is also one of the three districts of this territory. The island has an area of 81 km2. The main city is Charlotte-Amélie, capital of the archipelago. Saint-Thomas was once one of the haunts of privateers, pirates and buccaneers and it is a customs and tax free zone which makes it one of the tax havens of the United States

The Dutch West India Company established a post on St. Thomas in 1657. The Danes conquered the island in 1666, and in 1672 established their control over the whole island through the Danish West India Company and Guinea. In 1685, the Brandenburg African company took control of the slave trade to St. Thomas, and rented the island to the Danes, and for some time the island became the largest slave market in the world. The island was finally bought in 1917 by the Americans from Denmark. A great deal again.

The capital city is Charlotte Amalie founded in 1666 as Taphus (meaning “beer house”]). In 1691, the town was renamed to Charlotte Amalie after Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel queen consort to King Christian V of Denmark-Norway.  When American tourists were barred from Cuba in 1960, some began visiting Charlotte Amalie instead. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, it’s been a haven for mainland United States citizens seeking luxury vacations or a second home in the Caribbean.

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I happened to spent time here on my crossing between the US and UK Virgin Islands and connecting flights to the USA. Still many memories and recall the name very well of the Galleon House Hotel very high overlooking the harbor and Main Street. It has a sweet water pool with a terrace! . You are within 5 minutes on foot of the market. The hotel house was built in 1852. It has AC rooms with all the trimming and a wonderful breakfast on the veranda . The sights of the Fort Christian is only about 500 meters and the airport  Cyril E. King is only about 10 minutes by car. Love the experience still. More info here. Galleon House Hotel

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Another nice sides to see here are the Blackbeard castle, the wonderful beach area of Magens Bay, and the Coral World Ocean Park.

The tourist office to the US Virgin Islands :Visit US Virgin Islands at St Thomas

Saint Thomas things to do and seeVisit US Virgin Island St Thomas things to do

Now always my final destination were the British Virgin Islands and their wonderful beaches and sailing ambiance.

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The British Virgin Islands are an archipelago of the Caribbean and an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. The British Virgin Islands are a tax haven. The Virgin Islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus during his second trip in 1493, who would have named the islands in honor of Saint Ursula, known in the legend of the eleven thousand virgins. Abandoned by the Spaniards who preferred the wealthier regions, the archipelago became the ideal haunt of the pirates English, French and Dutch buccaneers who plied the Caribbean Sea to carry out their raids against the Spanish Armada. Colonized in 1648 by the Dutch and annexed by the English in 1672,

The British Virgin Islands are a group of around fifty islands that are part of the West Indies, of which only 16 are inhabited. The main island, Tortola, is separated from Saint John, in the Virgin Islands of the United States, by only 2.3 km. The main inhabited islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Peter Island and Salt Island . Road Town, the territorial capital is located on Tortola. Glad to write I have been to all the previously name islands.!

Tortola  largest and most populated of the four main Islands, is a lush mountainous Island which was formed by volcanic activity. Crowning Tortola is the tallest peak, Sage Mountain National Park, at 1716 feet (great views over the bay it can be climbed!), which exhibits the characteristics of a tropical rain forest. Beef Island, an island in the British Virgin Island, is located to the east of Tortola, and the two islands are connected by the Queen Elizabeth Bridge. Beef Island is the site of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport the main commercial airport that serves Tortola and the rest of the British Virgin Islands. Adjacent to it is sailboat-filled Trellis Bay, a unique cultural village with craft shops and restaurants, awesome indeed at least from I remember.

Tortola

Tortola

Virgin Gorda is the third largest island of the four main islands The capital of Virgin Gorda is Spanish Town.  The Baths  (heavens for me) is located on the southern end of Virgin Gorda. This tourist attraction shows evidence of the island’s volcanic origins as huge granite boulders lie in piles on the beach, forming scenic grottoes that are open to the sea (and you can swim inside of them and between them!)  The Baths, a geological wonder comprised of awe-inspiring granite boulders, which form sheltered sea pools on the beach’s edge. The protected area also includes Devil’s Bay, which can be reached from The Baths by a series of ladders scaling the boulders ,yes indeed a wonderful thing to do!. Just north of The Baths, Spring Bay is reached by a separate road and includes a lovely white sand beach but smallish.

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Named Anegada or the “Drowned Land” by the Spanish, Anegada is the only coral island in the Virgin Islands’ volcanic chain. Anegada is known for miles of white sand beaches and the 29 km (18 miles) long Horseshoe Reef, the largest barrier coral reef in the Caribbean, and the fourth largest on earth.  Indeed this is awesome and a must visit.

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Jost Van Dyke is the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands. Jost Van Dyke, named after a famous Dutch pirate, has been a sailor’s mecca for years. Like many of the neighbouring islands, it is volcanic in origin and mountainous. Captain ‘Joost van Dyk’ was a 17C Dutch pirate who used its harbours as a safe hideout and to attack ships passing North of the island on way to Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Cuba. Great Harbour, the main port of entry, is always bobbing with sailboats and sailors coming ashore to the charming West Indian village that lines the beach with gift shops and restaurants. Since the late 1960s, Foxy’s Bar in Great Harbor has been a popular stop for Caribbean boaters. Indeed Foxy’s is the talk of the islands and a must for a cold beer and great storytelling for all.

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And one not mention in tourist brochures because it is private but you can go as part of a group cruising trip as I was, singles and it was party time galore! Peter Island is a 720 hectare (1,779 acre)  private island located in the British Virgin Islands. It is about 5 miles (8 km) south-west  from Road Town, Tortola.  The island was named after Pieter Adriensen nicknamed The Commander who was the brother of  Abraham Adriensen  Patron of Tortola under the Dutch West India Company in the early 17C. Pieter Adriensen and Joos van Dyk built a fort and slave pens at Great Harbour on Peter Island to facilitate privateering and the nascent trade in slaves from Angola. Right now there is a coconut trees shaded semicircular beach which is heavens on earth.  A world  famoust resort is right on it, more here fyi ; Peter Island Resort

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Hope you enjoy the tour with me in my memory lane of younger wild days, and still fond of  a lot. Never the youth out of me; hope you too can enjoy this heavens on earth, the US and UK Virgin Islands. All pictures copies of paper photos.

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

May 31, 2020

The villas of Dinard!

And why not come back to my beloved Bretagne, and take you to a place written before but figure on the emblematic villas of Dinard need to tell you more. Hope you enjoy this architectural delight tour!

Dinard is gorgeous and the best for us were the beaches ! Dinard means elevated hill and in Breton it is Dinarzh.  It is a famous seaside resort, particularly with the British and the Americans, for its Belle Époque villas and the British Film Festival which has been held there every year since the 1990s. It is considered with its classified villas, its casino and its cultural events as one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in France.

The seaside resort of Dinard is located on the Emerald Coast, in dept 35 Ille et Vilaine, near the border with Côtes-d’Armor dept 22 and the town of Saint-Malo separated by the Rance. It is the Rance tidal power plant, located in the town of La Richardais,  a technological feat of the 1960s and a tourist hotspot, which connects Dinard and Saint-Malo.   Dinard brings together the aristocracy, political figures and intellectuals from all over the continent who no longer stay solely in their private villas and frequent the most luxurious hotels: Albert I, Raymond Poincaré, Agatha Christie, Victor Hugo, Édouard VII, George V , Winston Churchill, Judith Gautier, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lawrence of Arabia (in his childhood), Edmond Rostand, and Paul Valéry all spent holidays in Dinard. Pablo Picasso painted his series of paintings Les Baigneuses à Dinard, or the swimmers in Dinard , inspired by the less and less hidden nudity of bathers.

Dinard is the first seaside resort in France to safeguard its architectural heritage from the end of the 19C by classifying 407 villas and buildings. The Dinard villas have made the resort’s reputation and constitute a considerable architectural heritage. If most of them are concentrated in the luxury housing district of the Malouine. Most of the villas and missing buildings that were destroyed in the 1970s and 1980s. At that time, Dinard fell into oblivion and poorly survived the flight of the wealthy tourists of yesteryear..The houses if we can them that , more like mansions or small castles of the belle époque period are superb; can’t wait to get my hand on one of them ::).

And this is the topic of this post. On the villas or mansions of Dinard, splendid architectural history with many great names over the  years and a superb ride by car or bike along the ocean’s edge. Recommended.  Could not take pictures of all of them but did some just for a sampler it is all superbe!!!

You have wonderful villa reine Hortense, (queen of Holland) who vacationed here built by the Russian lover prince Nicolas Vlassov who was passionate of the life of the mother of Napoléon III.  The mansion continue too numerous all wonderful such as the villa Cézembre with a stair bringing you down to the beach and the villa Greystones of art deco style. Here more villas such as Saint Germain built in 1870, the pont d’emeraude with great views of the ocean and the villa La Garde tudor style construction , up on blvd Féart and see the villa Montplaisir very so British style.

The famous villa at the Pointe de la Malouine, belonging to the businessman François Pinault, The villa Greystones was built from 1938 on a front plot sea from the tip of Malouine. It is of granite and concrete vessel overhanging the sea, the house, covered with a roof terrace and extended by a cantilevered rotunda, seems cut to face the elements, like the military works built in front of it, while drawing from the formal repertoire of 18C follies, an intimate and comfortable haven on a human scale. It is accompanied by a Mediterranean-style garden, made up of a succession of terraces connected by stairs and winding alleys, and decorated with sculptures by Alfred Janniot.

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Villa Ker Alice, known as Villa Ker Kenta, 1 rue Roger Vercel. Resort house built around 1914 on the beach of Saint-Enogat. Large house, with one square floor and two attic floors. The floors are separated by a horizontal cement strip. Complex type plan with recessed façades. Overhanging roof with underarms and half rump forming gable on the facade. The entrance to the courtyard is sheltered by a wooden awning. A bow window upstairs once enlarged a room with a sea view. Imposing cement terrace with balustrade railings.

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Villa Les Embruns 5 rue Roger Vercel .Beautiful and large family Villa of 200 m2.  This old 19C forge with the purest Anglo-Norman spirit , and a  large garden of 450 m2, the beach is only 10 mins walk. It was lived by writer Roger Vercel Prix Goncourt 1934. His memories of war inspired him to write some of his first books such as Notre Père Trajan, Capitaine Conan, and Léna, but it was the maritime world that was at the heart of his work. In 1934, Roger Vercel meets Louis Malbert, captain of the tug Iroise, who inspires him to write the novel Remorques; also the title of the film taken from this novel by Jean Grémillon in 1941 in which the role of Captain Malbert is held by Jean Gabin. Au Large de l’Eden won him the Prix du Comité Fémina France-Amérique in 1932. He won the Goncourt Prize in 1934 for Capitaine Conan, a partially autobiographical novel.

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The Villa st Germain at the Plage de l’Ecluse; originally called villa Mortemart built by François de Rochechouart, viscount of Mortemart, between 1868 and 1874. It is from the Pointe du Malouine, in a dominant position, that you will discover the breathtaking views that Villa St Germain offers. The park of more than one hectare is fully enclosed and has two outbuildings. A pretty chapel on the water will invite you to calm and contemplation. Located in the city center, everything is done on foot, a private staircase will give you access to the lock beach directly.

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The Villa known as Port-Riou, also known as Château de Port-Riou, 24 boulevard de la Mer . Residence built on the cliff on the edge of Port-Riou beach between 1879 and 1882. Implantation on the seafront on a large plot delimited by a buttress terrace. Logis with stepped gables. West facade with half-staircase staircase covered with a polygonal roof. Facade is wooden gallery. A water tower, located east of the plot on a promontory, was powered by a wind energy pump located to the west opposite the house. Outdoor stairs to the beach.

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The  Chalet des Bruyères, avenue Cézembre, Pointe de la Malouine I took the picture but not much on it, only that it is in many sites as a rental property .Most of the above are also available for rental if you can pay the price.

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Some webpages as usual by me to help you plan your trip here and it is recommended are

The city of Dinard on its heritage and history: City of Dinard on its heritage and history

The Dinard tourist office there is at blvd Férat in city center: Tourist office of Dinard

Dinard Ille et Vilaine dept 35  tourist office: Dept 35 ille et vilaine tourist office on Dinard

Region of Brittany tourist office on DinardRegion of Brittany tourist office on Dinard

And there you go folks, you are all set for a wonderful visit to the Villas of Dinard, and its beaches and all of it. A great spot up the road from me and loving it in Bretagne. Enjoy the tour…

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

May 31, 2020

Quiberon and the Côte Sauvage!!!

And this is my backyard for the last several years of our living in the Morbihan 56 of Bretagne. Sure, there has been many other trips and posts, but this is our home away from home. This is the presqu’ïle de Quiberon or peninsula and all the way to the town of Quiberon. Of course, I have written several posts on it but let me tell you a bit more as we can again travel.

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The Côte Sauvage or wild coast extends on the western part of the peninsula from the village of Portivy, in Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, to Port Maria, in Quiberon. All wonderful. I will be brief as plenty told in previous posts and just wanted to give you new photos after the confinement from the wuhan virus.

The Côte Sauvage, facing west, extends over 8 km from Château Turpault to Pointe du Percho. Owned by the Conservatoire du littoral, the Côte Sauvage is constantly harassed by the sea and the winds. Even in calm weather, the waves crash noisily on the steep cliffs, causing spurts of foam. Erosion has shaped countless coves, reefs, caves and arches which are only revealed at low tide. The cliffs are covered with a cushion of short grass where small pink flowers bloom: the carnation and the maritime armory.

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To discover the Côte Sauvage from the Chateau Turpault, take the coastal road dotted with numerous parking areas and follow the coastal path. You will discover the old Vivier, the Trou du souffleur, the Port Kerné fountain, the Pointe de Kervihan where the fortifications of a Neolithic camp, Port Bara and its cave visible at low tide, Port Blanc beach and its arch , the Pointe du Percho dominated by the remains of a customs post, and finally the Pointe de Beg en Aud and its Venetian camp.

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The côte sauvage on Quiberon; from the tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon in English: Tourist office Bay of Quiberon on the wild coast

The côte sauvage on Saint Pierre de Quiberon in English: Tourist office of Bay of Quiberon on the wild coast by St Pierre de Quiberon

Ok folks this is the ride optimum wonderful wild and beautiful with the blue vast Atlantic ocean on your right hand side going to the tip of Quiberon Grande Plage from the mainland coming from home (if coming from Vannes take the N165 direction Brest and get off at exit/sortie 33 for Quiberon) on the road D768 direction Quiberon. Passing Plouharnel you entered into the isthmus passing on your right the musem of the war of the west (chouans) and the railroad track of the tire-bouchon train (from Auray open in summer with risk of been stop altogether). You continue on the D768 and passing several earlier beaches such as Mané and Mentor; you passed the Fort de Penthiévre (see posts) on your right hand side and the ocean beaches. Awesome. You take right by Portivy and follow signs for the Côte Sauvage. Here you can see the Port de Portivy but very narrow streets if not used to driving skip and continue direction Côte Sauvage now on the road D186 A. By Porz Stang the coastal ride really begins. You passed by the memorial to lifesavers at sea and the sights of the cliffs begins. Several parking or stops are available along the road to view the magnificent views of the cliffs. You can even have a wonderful seafood meal at the Les Viviers restaurant our favoirte we stopped there often for oysters and muscadet white wine. And you continue along the wild coast or Côte Sauvage, the splendid wonderful ride along the edge of the Atlantic ocean. You see the approach to the Castle of Turpault a private property and the entry into Quiberon, and then the quai de Houat with pleasure boats and the SNSM lifesavers house that protect you from casualties at sea and the fisherman cooperative ,than the Port Maria beach and the gare maritime or cruisers passenger terminal. Here you stopped or go around Port Maria as the road to the Grande Plage or big beach is off from vehicular traffic. You have reach the fabled big beach , Grande Plage, wonderful and sublime our ending point always.

quiberon

quiberon

quiberon

quiberon

Sometimes we go on to Pointe de Conquel and its beach or continue to the beach of Porigo before reaching the wonderful harbor or port Haliguen and its wonderful pleasure marina and its lighthouse. This is the presqu’ïle de Quiberon at its best; a wonderful ride and of course plenty of walks in heavens. Hope you enjoy the ride and do visit it is recommended by yours truly.

quiberon

The tourist office of Bay de Quiberon on QuiberonTourist office of Bay of Quiberon on Quiberon

The tourist office of Brittany on QuiberonTourist office of Brittany on Quiberon

The conservatory of the littoral that is the management of the wild coast or Côte Sauvage in French: Conservatory of the LIttoral on the Cote Sauvage

Of course, we saw the beach and there was already many there, and we took advantage of our must on the beach, the ice creams at the Quai des Glaces right on the Grande Plage. We took our norma walk for the first time in 2 months on the Esplanade de Hoche. This feels good at last at Quiberon

We even took a ride into Port Haliguen even with a lot of road construction we manage to reach it for a closer look. This is all very nice and we are glad to be back,; looking forward to more time here in the future. Maybe a meeting point for the readers of my blog ::) The presqu’ïle de Quiberon or peninsula is unique and we encourage you to see it and enjoy it as we do; remember Quiberon.

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

May 31, 2020

Saint Pierre de Quiberon!!

Now let’s swing you back to my department 56 Morbihan in my beautiful Bretagne. This town I passed several times and is part of the wonderful Presqu’ïle de Quiberon peninsula, heavens on the beach/coast side and only 40 minutes from my house. Obviously I have written plenty in my blog on it but it really needs more, so much beauty to see around here , all natural and the car is king. Let me tell you a bit on Saint Pierre de Quiberon.

Saint-Pierre-Quiberon is located on the south coast of the Morbihan department 56 and the Brittany region. Saint-Pierre-Quiberon constitutes the northern part of the Quiberon peninsula, the town of Quiberon occupying the southern part. Saint-Pierre-Quiberon became a full-fledged town in 1856, under the name of Saint-Pierre, and took its current name in 1962  The town has 13 beaches! accessible to swimmers, ten beaches on the bay side .Of course our favorites are in Penthièvre   bay side and Penthièvre ocean side, On the west coast of the peninsula, the Côte Sauvage, renowned and beautiful driving or biking along clifs and the wide blue ocean in front of you on 6.7 km of road and the property of the coastal conservatory. Most of the famous sites on the Côte Sauvage, such as the Port-Blanc arch, are located in the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon.

Saint pierre de quiberon

However, Penthièvre is the northernmost village of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon. It is bounded to the north by the Quiberon national forest located in the town limits of Plouharnel, to the east by Quiberon bay, to the west by the ocean, and to the south by the village of Kerhostin. It is in Penthièvre that the isthmus is located which forms the entrance to the Quiberon peninsula. I have written on these places in my blog this is additional material and photos.

The Fort of Penthièvre is a fortified structure placed at the entrance to the Quiberon peninsula commands access to the level of the isthmus at its narrowest point. Following the siege of Lorient and the looting of the Quiberon peninsula in 1746, the construction of a new defensive structure was decided in 1747 as part of a more general framework for strengthening the defenses of the southern Brittany coast. This effort was undertaken by the governor of Brittany at the time, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre, who will give it his name . The fort is built on an escarpment calle La Palice at narrowest spot on the peninsula.

saint pierre de quiberon

In 1795, the Royalists landed on the peninsula coming from England (the immigrant Bretons) and besieged the fort on June 27, renamed Fort Sans-Culotte, which eventually fell after four days, its defenders being short of food. Eventually 400 out of the 700 that the fort counted , then agreed to enlist in the Catholic and Royal army. Signaling the end of the expedition, it will be stopped by General Hoche’s troops (the pacifiers of the uprisings against the French revolution). In 1800, at the instigation of the First Consul Napoleon, and Armand de Marescot, the fort was reinforced and modernized while France had just defeated the Second Coalition. During WWII, the Nazis forces integrated this fort into their Atlantic Wall. It also served as a prison and place of execution at the end of the war: 59 resistance fighters died there between April and July 1944, including 50 on July 13, 1944. A monument was erected on the site behind the fort in their memory. The 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment of Vannes has used it as a training base since 1969.

Saint Pierre Quiberon

The fort is off limits the monument can be visited. Here is the Min of Defense of France on the fort in French: Ministry of Defense of France on Fort Penthievre

Memorial webpage on the resistance executed there and behind there is the cave where they were killed with a stone memorial , more in French here: Memorial on the executed of 1940 1944 at Ponthiévre

The tourist office of Bay of Quiberon on the Fort Penthiévre  in French (more info): Tourist office Bay of Quiberon on the Fort

Another great moment to be here and we love it are the beaches. This is a laidback beach town as you can recall any and I grew up on one and lived next to them for many years of my life, I still enjoy going to them if for different reasons.

Penthièvre Beach in Saint-Pierre-de-Quiberon is the first beach on the Quiberon peninsula. It extends on the continent at the level of the town of Plouharnel, making it the largest beach on the peninsula with several km of white sand. It is bordered by dunes call the falaise or cliff. You can practice sand yachting, kitesurfing and surfing. Please note, you are on the west coast, the ocean can be rough with the east side on the bay more protected. To get to this beach, take the D768 road (straight down from me)  towards Quiberon. At the entrance to the peninsula, at the La Penthièvre sign, there is a car park on the left near the level crossing. The beach is on the right ,you have to cross the road. Note that dogs on a leash have been tolerated on this beach are allowed ,the only one on the Quiberon peninsula.

saint pierre de quiberon

saint pierre de quiberon

saint pierre de quiberon

The plages tv webpage that has been my favorite for many years on beach information in France in English: Beaches of Penthievre

Tourist office of Brittany on the beach at Penthiévre in English: Tourist office of Brittany on Penthiévre beach

And there you go we live in heavens in land and so close to the marvelous Breton coast filled with hundreds if not thousands of beaches and all fun related to the sea. And do you know the Bretons are the best marines! Hope you enjoy the Saint Pierre de Quiberon area.

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

May 30, 2020

Monument to Pershing and Lafayette!

So getting my delights in my old home now, and telling a bit more expanded views on some of its wonderful monuments off the beaten path indeed. I have written briefly on it but feels they deserve more, so here is my take on the Monument Pershing Lafayette of Versailles!

The Pershing – Lafayette monument is a memorial located on the heights of Versailles , department 78 Yvelines in the ïle de France region. My old home for almost 10 years. The monument was erected on the one hand in tribute to the American army which fought during the Great War or WWI and to the army of the war of American independence, on the other hand. The monument was inaugurated on October 6, 1937 in the presence of General Pershing, but the monument erected remained unfinished. The very degraded plaster statue of General Pershing was deposited in 1941.

Versailles

The Pershing-Lafayette-Versailles association undertook, with the help of generous donors (moi aussi) , to install the final statues of the two generals whose plaster model was deposited in 1941. On September 8, 2017, the statues of Generals Pershing and La Fayette are inaugurated. The memorial has two concrete pedestals that face each other on Avenue des Etats-Unis. They are in fact pedestals which support the equestrian statues of General Pershing and Lafayette. Built hastily, these were made of reinforced concrete sails, only one of the 4 stairs is made of stone. The two reinforced concrete bases intended to receive the equestrian statues are about 9 meters high raised on 2 benches pierced on either side of two staircases distant from the road by a grassy ground. Each base was surmounted by an equestrian statue about 5 meters high in patinated bronze plaster for the inauguration of October 6, 1937.

versailles

Coming from Versailles, the monument on the right is dedicated to La Fayette and recalls the battles in which he participated in the USA War of Independence, the monument on the left is dedicated to General Pershing and recalls the battles to which this general took part with the American Expeditionary Force (as the US Army coming to France was named. A unique symbol of Franco-American friendship. The equestrian statues of Generals Pershing and La Fayette were inaugurated on the Butte de Picardie, avenue des Etats-Unis or road D185 in Versailles direction Ville d’Avray (see post).

For those on public transport from the Versailles Château rive gauche RER C station take bus line 10 direction Vaucresson and stop at Versailles Pershing. Also from Versailles Chantiers train station take bus line 13 direction Versailles Pershing final stop. When in the area use this vianavigo itinerary planner its official :  Phebus bus network Versailles and vianavigo journey planner

A bit more info can be read in French from the The US WWI Centennial Commission :Pershing Lafayette Versailles commission

And the L’Association des riverains Etats-Unis Pershing (association of neighborhood Avenue des Etats Unis Pershing): Neighborhood association avenue Etats Unis on of Pershing

There you go a nice place to be and pay our respect while indulging in a big of Franco-American history, cooperation, and friendship that goes back to the founding of the USA.  Hope you enjoy the story and can visit these wonderful equestrian monuments to La Fayette and Pershing in my beloved dear Versailles.

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

May 30, 2020

St Cyr l’école!!!

And coming back to my old stumping road warrior area ,and catching up on my many photos to bring you new areas and ideas to visit my belle France, here is a new one. Well , I have written on the farm very famous there but now let me tell you a bit about the town itself, this is Saint Cyr l’école!!

Saint-Cyr-l’École is located in the department 78 of Yvelines, in the Île-de-France region. The town of Saint-Cyr-l’École is just birds view only 21.5 km from Paris Notre Dame Cathedral. It is bordered by the towns   of Versailles to the east, Guyancourt to the south, Montigny-le-Bretonneux to the south-southwest, Bois -d’Arcy to the southwest, Fontenay-le-Fleury to the west and Bailly to the north. Areas truly visited as lived nearby…and plenty of activities with the boys on them.

Plentiful road access that is tops. The main road is the D10 connecting Versailles (by the Orangerie side) to Rambouillet and regional road D11 connecting Saint-Cyr-l’École to Plaisir (and great shopping area). In the immediate vicinity is the Bois-d’Arcy interchange between the A12 highway, on a north-south axis which connects the triangle from Rocquencourt to Trappes on the N 10,and north with the A13 autoroute de Normandie, the N 12, connects Dreux at the A86 highway.

The  Saint-Cyr train station,of the Transilien network is on the N line connecting Paris to Rambouillet / Plaisir – Grignon / Mantes-la-Jolie, the station is not served by trains from Dreux. The station or Gare de Saint Cyr is located on the line connecting Paris-Montparnasse to Chartres and is at the point of the junction giving access to the Granville line via Plaisir – Grignon and Dreux. Direct commuter train services are provided to Paris-Montparnasse via Versailles-Chantiers. RER C connecting Saint Martin d’Étampes to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, serving Paris-Austerlitz via Invalides. And the train U line connecting La Défense to La Verrière.

Keolis Yvelines is serving the lines, 52, 53 and 54 of the Phebus bus network  in Versailles . You can find all these buses  and trains at the somewhat new ïle de France Mobilités (old STIF) site here: All transports ile de France region Mobilités

A historic city at the gates of Versailles, Saint-Cyr-l’École shines in the Yvelines department 78. The Maison de Saint-Louis founded by Madame de Maintenon, then transformed by Napoleon into a Military School has notably ensured its reputation.
The history of the city begins at the end of the 11C, when the monks of the Sainte-Geneviève Abbey in Paris decided to set up, on the edge of the ru de Gally, a chapel and a priory with its farm, to evangelize and clear the valley.

In 1686 the royal house of Saint-Louis was founded, an education house for 250 young girls, by Madame de Maintenon and whose construction was entrusted to Jules Hardouin-Mansart. In 1808, in the same buildings, the Special Military School was established. This school, founded in 1802 in Fontainebleau by Napoleon I and then transferred to Saint-Cyr, remained there until 1940, when it was withdrawn to Aix-en-Provence.  The buildings of Saint-Cyr are then seriously affected by the Allied bombings of 1944 and the school is recreated in 1945, but in Coëtquidan ( my Morbihan 56 see post) under the name of Special military school of Saint-Cyr.

The city of St Cyr l’école on its history and heritage in French: City of St Cyr on history and heritage

The city was 92% damaged by the bombings of WWII.  In 1995, Saint-Cyr officially received the 1939-1945 War Cross with palm, which had been awarded to it forty-five years earlier for acts of resistance and for its exemplary attitude under the bombing but which the town of the day had refused.

Saint-Cyr-l’École aerodrome (nice) occupies an area of ​​75 hectares, or 15% of Saint-Cyrien territory. On the eastern side, it adjoins the park of the Palace of Versailles! and stretches north to the rue de Gally. He is a historic player in the plain of Versailles. It was indeed in 1907 that the Count de La Vaulx had a hangar built at the gates of the town to house an aeronate, more simply called an airship. The same year, Santos-Dumont managed to link Saint-Cyr-l’École to Buc at a speed of 90 kph on board his Demoiselle monoplane. It is on this aircraft that Roland Garros will learned to fly. Three years later, this is where the tests of the La Liberté airship were carried out. Today, the aerodrome is home to nine air clubs gathered within GUAS, the Saint-Cyr-l’École aerodrome users’ group, and is attended by a thousand enthusiasts; including me on old light planes air shows!

The aerodrome today is managed by Aéroports de Paris, the site in English here: Paris airports on aerodrome St Cyr

And just a friendly reminder,(see prev post) for what we came here the most and love it and still waiting to go back, the Ferme de Gally!

My family’s favorite place in St Cyr l’école, the Ferme de Gally. Yes a farm, but not an ordinary farm. It was acquired in 1684 by Louis XIV to supply the court of milk products. It is at the end of the Grand Canal, yes the one you think ends by the boat lakes, but its actually goes way back, keep walking …. all along the allée de la Ceinture. The farm is still today in activity, handle by the same family since 1741!!! It is one of the oldest building in the area ,originally founded in the 11C by the priests of the abbey of Sainte-Geneviéve-du-mont at Paris to plow and put into use the lands around the plains of Versailles.  It was call after the val de galie, a stream,that since then was change to Gally. We can continue today follow the stream, from the allée du Plat Fond just to the small village of Rennemoulin off the D307 and very picturesque horse country today.  At the beginning by 1038, this stream gave the name to Versailles because the lord of these lands was named Hugo de Versaillis. Yes indeed part of my history too you know….

St Cyr

St Cyr

Official webpage in French for the Ferme de Gally, see the picture this gate (see prev post for a closer look than the one above) goes or used to go into the domaine de Versailles to provide the kings with food! Les Fermes de Gally

Hope you enjoy the ride into my nostalgic Yvelines the cradle of the kingdom of France and lovely towns all over with great architecture and history, St Cyr l’école is one of them.

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

May 29, 2020

Au Lapin Agile, Paris of course!

And I pull an old photo  out of the vault and as not mentioned before in my blog, feels its time to show a post on it for my memories at least, and maybe will becomes yours too. This is an institution in Paris and a must to visit at least once. I will be telling you about the cabaret show of the Au Lapin Agile.

At Montmartre, the life goes on away from Paris. By 1860 the districts are done and artists come out to the hill. Coubert comes with his manners to the Cabaret de la Belle Poule, and later others joined him at the Brasserie des Martyrs, Cezanne or Degas. In pigalle, the Café de la Nouvelle Athénes you can cross with Renoir or Pisarro. The bohemians go to the Bateau Lavoir. It is the time of the birth of cabarets such as the Chat Noir, Lapin Agile where Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde are frequent visitors. It is in these cafes that the new literary art is born and continues because Paris is eternal. Au Lapin Agile is located on the Butte Montmartre, at 22 rue des Saules, in the 18éme arrondissement, near the Lamarck – Caulaincourt metro station ; and linking the quartiers Clignancourt and Grandes-Carriéres. And hardy one still open, one of my old favorites too.

The Au Lapin Agile was established in the second half of the 19C, bought by Aristide Bruant in 1913, it was one of the privileged meeting places for bohemian artists at the beginning of the 20C, from Max Jacob to Pablo Picasso via Roland Dorgelès, Francis Carco , Blaise Cendrars or Pierre Mac Orlan; thereafter, in the years 1940-50, it was attended in particular by Jean-Roger Caussimon and François Billetdoux.

Paris

A bit of detail history from various sources including my books.

The mount of Montmartre or Butte-Montmartre, resembles until 1914 a village, famous for its clean air, its mills and its low-cost housing, which attract artists, many who come to settle there , and whose number from 1890 becomes considerable. It is in the upper part of Montmartre that the building of what will house the Lapin Agile was built in 1795, which became, around 1860, a ro-ro hostel called Au Rendez-vous des voleurs (meeting of thieves). From 1869, it took the name of Cabaret des Assassins, because engravings representing famous assassins are hung on the wall, from Ravaillac to Troppmann. Between 1879 and 1880, the owner of the time entrusted to the cartoonist André Gill, familiar with the place, the making of a sign.and Gill paints a rabbit dressed in a green frock coat and a red scarf escaping from the pot intended for him; the cabaret then becomes known as Au Lapin à Gill, soon transformed into an Au Lapin Agile.

The cabaret was bought in 1886 by the former cancan dancer Adèle Decerf aka “mother Adèle”; this one, after having got rid of the most doubtful part of its customers, turns it into a café-restaurant-concert called À mon campagne,(to the countryside) which frequenters of the Chat Noir frequent during the day such as Charles Cros, Alphonse Allais, Jehan Rictus, etc. Singer Aristide Bruant is also used to it, and he brings Toulouse-Lautrec and Courteline there as well. At the beginning of the 20C, “Mother Adèle” sold the cabaret to Berthe Sébource, who settled there with her daughter, Marguerite Luc , aka “Margot”, and future wife of Pierre Mac Orlan. They were joined in 1903 by Frédéric Gérard, aka “Father Frédé”, thanks to whom the Lapin Agile becomes an essential place of Montmartre artistic bohemia . The Au Lapin Agile, under the impetus of “Frédé”, quickly becomes for the bohemian Montmartre a true cultural institution.

This carefree period ended on August 1, 1914, with the proclamation of the general mobilization against Germany as the Great War or WWI began. The clientele became scarce at the Lapin Agile, most of the regulars having left for the front, many of whom were not to return. The Lapin Agile will no longer regain its status as a meeting place for avant-garde writers and artists as the center of gravity of creation has moved to Montparnasse, just as it will move to Saint-Germain-des-Prés after the end of WWII.

In 1922, Aristide Bruant sold the cabaret to “Paulo”, the son of Frédéric Gérard to whom he taught singing. The Au Lapin Agile is also proud to have as clients Pierre Brasseur, Georges Simenon, as well as American celebrities passing through Paris, such as Rudolph Valentino, Vivien Leigh, or Charlie Chaplin. The Au Lapin Agile somehow continued its activities during the Nazis occupation of WWII, and again became a meeting place and a springboard for artists after 1945. It was there that in 1950 guitarist Alexandre Lagoya got to know Léo Ferré, and that in 1955 Claude Nougaro made his first appearances on stage, first as a poet, then as a singer. In 1972, Paulo Gérard cedes the management of the cabaret to his stepson Yves Mathieu who is still the owner; and evenings are still organized there, during which singers and humorists perform. An institution and a must to see in Paris.

The official webpage for the Au Lapin AgileAu Lapin Agile in Paris

The Paris tourist office on the Au Lapin Agile in English: Paris tourist office on Au Lapin Agile

And there you, I needed to tell you about it even if briefly, another wonderful monument to see in Paris. Oh yes it is a monument, it is Paris, you want to see all about Paris than come here at least once. Hope you enjoy my take on the Au Lapin Agile in my eternal Paris

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

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