Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

October 5, 2018

My new hotel / restaurant finds of Mexico!

And on a rainy cloudy day in Mexico city I started this post from my hotel room in Insurgentes Sur. I want to tell you at my latest adventures on the lands of CDMX but rather than mix with views of other places will indulge on a more mundane tour of hotels and restaurants in CDMX or Mexico City. And see my other posts on my latest trip to Mexico city and Merida.

I have to say I came here from Nantes airport, than Paris CDG than Mexico Benito Juarez airport and then a private ride to my hotel  ,the City Express Insurgentes Sur next to the wonderful Teatro Insurgentes. I am back from a glorious (again) 11 days in Mexico! Coming from 30C at Merida to 13C here was a big change indeed. If interested in the theater that had no time to see on this trip, info in Spanish is here,now playing hello Dolly! Program at Teatro Insurgentes

mexico

mexico

I will try to break down the trip into parts, starting with putting together the Hotels and Restaurant I patronised on the trip ,except the part in Merida where no hotel, I stayed with family living there for several years.

Like I said, the trip after cancelling my flight thru Amsterdam, I was put in a flight on Aeromexico from Paris to Mexico City. This was done same day and just an hour different. I arrived same day in Mexico. Initially went straight to my first hotel the City Express Plus at Insurgentes Sur and Mercaderes streets.  In addition to been across the street from the wonderful Teatro Insurgentes, this one has restaurants next to it and a nearby great supermarket LaComer (Comercial Mexicana) with great stuff to buy of great quality price ratio. More here: City Express Plus Hotel Insurgentes

As I was visiting business clients and needed out, when back in the city at the before mentioned hotel was booked so got me into the nearby City Express Patio Universidad at Av. Popocatépetl 546, and it was another property that I rented on previous trip too. This one is closed basically across the street from Shopping center Plaza Universidad and has plenty of stores and restaurant right on the same building as the hotel as well. More here: City Express Plus Hotel Av. Popocatépetl

mexico

Finally, the initial hotel was available and as closer to the things I needed to do, change back to City Express Plus at Insurgentes Sur lol!!! The above hotels are nice, centrally located to nice areas and shopping eating etc, the only drawback, the storage closet space is very small and for visiting on leisure might be a disadvantage. This was just about the hotels tasted this time here; the rest is on Restaurants.

Well , there is so much choice difficult to tell just a few but here they are, the restaurants!

I had a wonderful breakfast leaving Merida with my cousin, and it was just like the old days in America. IHOP is tops and you should try them anywhere! I had the sausage omelette, toasted bread, pancakes nature with strawberry sauce just wonderful. More here: IHOP Altabrisas Merida

 

We had wonderful drinks with nice modelo negra beer at Distrito Gourmet Bar upper level of La Isla shopping in Merida. Cold ones and relaxed ambiance while watching American football, and baseball at the same time on separate screens TV’s. Here is more on it! Distrito Gourmet at La Isla Shopping

Merida

While at it, we started actually at street level of La Isla shopping center and try some pints at McCarthy’s Irish Pub with some fries on cheddar cheese delicious, only we needed to go as the electricity went out lol! More here: McCarthy’s Irish Pub at La Isla shopping ctr

merida

merida

While indulging on the nice beers of the District Gourmet above, we ordered paella from the Tasca Brava just across and it was rather nice dish with good portions and wonderful views and company of my cousins. So new not yet in the directory but is there alright. More here: Tasca Brava not on directory of La Isla

merida

Back in Mexico city , I like the simple pleasant friendly nice typical local food of the VIPS cafeteria chain, the one at Insurgentes Sur 1581 and Mercaderes st is very nice indeed. I ate there several times lunch and dinner. More here: VIPS insurgente sur

And the site above can take you to the VIPS Polanco as well across from Plaza Polanco, where more local goodies were taken in, including the traditional chili en nogada shown. Enjoy it.

Moving right alone… a nice oldie but good that I just had no time but took a picture anyway to remind of last time believe did not take ,this is the Wing Stop Sports in Insurgentes Sur 2375. More here: Wing Stop Sports at Insurgentes Sur

mexico

i had to try one of all time favorite and my hangout when visiting the USA, this one is in Mexico City at the airport terminal 1 lol! great nachos and bohemia oscura (dark) beer as well as mashed potatoes chili’s . Oh yes the chain is Chili’s of course. More here: Chili’s Mexico

And we arrive at some dandy find, The Gran Leon de Oro restaurant on calle Mercaderes off Insurgentes Sur is wonderful, very business like and refine, service superb and the food delicious, great tacos con lechon (roast pig) and Victoria beer. More at El Gran Leon de Oro on Yelp

And I had to have some old world taste while in Mexico, yes the choices are unlimited as I told you earlier. I had a couple one lunch and one dinner at the Le Pain Quotidien Belgian chain at Insurgentes Sur.  The Roast Beef platter and a Bohemia oscura beer did the trick as well as tartines later on;; more here:  Le Pain Quotidien at Insurgentes Sur

Next I went back to the Americas with the popular Italian food chain restaurants of the Olive Garden in the CC Patio Universidad. Nice pepperoni pizza my all time favorite were indulge here with a nice XX Dos Equis beer/ More here: Olive Garden at Patio Universidad

I did tried one cafeteria chain dear to me as they were once customers of my company on electronics ,the days I used to come to Mexico almost every month for years. This time went for lunch at the Centro Insurgentes Sanborn’s cafeteria.  Nice local dish and beer that I do not even recall now lol!!! bear with me pleasee! At Avenida de los Insurgentes Sur 1605 .More on the Sanborns here: Sanborns in centro insurgentes

And I end this post with one of my all time favorites in the USA, Spain and Mexico, a chain but so many good memories with friends and family, this is TGIF or Thanks God is Friday restaurant chain. At the Patio Universidad shopping center there is a nice one with full of screen tv’s showing sporting events. A nice glazed burger and a 2X1 Corona beer special did the trick this time! More here: TGIF at Patio Universidad

 

I hope you enjoy my latest culinary hunts in Mexico lindo y querido, and do try the different cuisines here National and International, lot of fun,and if with company much better. Until next time.

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

 

September 20, 2018

The wines of Île de France region,Paris!

So I am back of a luscious subject for me wines.  Not to repeat myself if you have been reading my posts in my blog you know the time and diplomas I have on the subject over the years and still going strong. adg.

However, who in the right mind will talk about the wines of the Paris region! ïle de France! Well, me ::) ; I will try to give you a brief introduction as there is tastings coming up and I do had drank the ones from Suresnes ,not bad at all.

The vineyards in the region of Île de France:

From the arrival of the Romans to the great decline of the Paris region (Francilienne) vine at the end of the 19C, it was even, at the end of the 18C, the largest French vineyard!  Imagine: In 1789, 45 000 ha grown. At the end of the Middle Ages, we talked about the “wine belt” of the capital!  King Charles VII even paid the balance of his army thanks to the vines of what is now the petite couronne (small crown zone closest to Paris). In fact, we find it very early at the table of kings. In the 12C, for example, we served wine from Argenteuil (Val-d’oise) and Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine) to the sovereign. It is necessary to realise that the Ile-de-France, it is fifteen centuries of history of remarkable wines.

It was at the end of the 18C. The decline begins in the 19C. What happened?

It is the combination of several factors. Historically, the region produced a lot of white wines and red light (Reds whose color draws towards rosé). In the 19C, for commercial reasons, we started planting grapes producing a lot but of poor quality. To sum up, we have replaced honest quality white wine with the big red stain. At the same time, the development of transport, by the river and then by the train, brought to the Parisian region wines that were better and not more expensive. Vine diseases and urban growth have done the rest. In 1920, there were practically no winegrowers in Ile-de-France. Source the book: (Histoire du grand vignoble d’Ile-de-France, de la Gaule à nos jours) History of the Great vineyard of Ile-de-France, from Gaul to the present day. (Printing press of Valmy). For those who can read French, the book can be purchase here: Vineyards of France books

The brotherhoods (confreries) will clash in Bagneux on October 20, 2018 at the 14th symposium of the vineyards of Ile-de-France, in Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine 92). In competition, the vintages 2016 and 2017. More here:  Brotherhoods of winegrowers in Ile de France

Let me tell you about some that will be there and the event.

The contest of the wines of Ile-de-France and the Oise organized by Le Parisien newspaper has delivered its verdict.  The blind tasting started with the coffee early  and ended with that of the aperitif. Between the two marched fourteen nectars of Ile-de-France and the Oise sifted through a jury. The methodology of the operation organized in the La Canteen du Troquet, the bistronomique table of Christian Etchebest in Dupleix ,15éme arrondissement of Paris. More here: La Canteen du Troquet at Dupleix

In order to determine which were the two best wines of Ile-de-France, it was done in collaboration with the magazine La Revue du Vin de France. (see below blogroll for link). The start was with the whites, the majority in the selection. By 12h40, it’s a start for the Reds as there are fewer of them.

The white wine of Suresnes and the red wine of the Coteaux de Saint-Prix were the two wines to have been selected by the jury as winners.

But Saint-Prix (Val-d’Oise 95) does not have to blush: The coup de coeur of the jurors addressed to this Cuvée 2016 100% Pinot noir is well at the level of its white counterpart. It has a pink tile dress , grilled notes, a side cooked fruit, a light red that one can appreciate fresh, almost like a rosé. More here: Saint Prix history of vineyards

The winery of Suresnes (Hauts de Seine 92) produces 4000 bottles per year. From the rows of vineyards, and the view over Paris. A cuvée 2016 from Suresnes, a white compose of 85% Chardonnay and 15% sauvignon. You really feel the fruit, it has a slightly granular side that gives it a taste of coming back according to the jurors. And the wine I am most familiar with as tasted over several years and worked in the town. More info here:  Association du Clos du Pas Saint-Maurice 4, rue du Pas Saint-Maurice Tél.. : 01 42 04 96 75 / 01 40 99 13 17/mob  06 72 00 11 16. Webpage :  Wines of Suresnes

Suresnes

Rueil 2017 (sauvignon). Aromatic but monolithic nose, with a very high sulfur dose, we have a little grapefruit,. It’s okay. It deserves the average. The identity of the grape is not found.  More here: Rueil wines of Buzenval

Bagneux 2017 (sauvignon, sémillon). Honey spiced aromas. The nose lacks sharpness, final note dries and lasts. Very marked by sulfur, very lime in the mouth, More here: Bagneux wines

Sucy en Brie 2017 (sauvignon, sémilllon). Colour straw pulling on gold, in the nose, we find notes white fruits characteristic of the sémillon, a little brioche, confituré. Apple’s note in the oven that translates a touch of oxidation, but greedy. Pronounced acidity that has difficulty integrating. More here: Brotherhood of Sucy wines

Combs-la-Ville 2017 (sauvignon, chardonnay, sémillon). The nose is charming with exotic notes, baked apple and cereals,. But pity, the mouth stops net this momentum, with an imbalance on the acidity. The finale is drying out. No gluttony. More here: Combs la Ville wines

Nogent sur Marne 2017 (chardonnay, riesling).  Here, a color that’s already golden. A little early for a 2017. Oxidation to the nose, too bad because it has more flesh in its mouth. The mouth is thin, based on a biting acidity. Not sharp nose. More here: Brotherhoods of Nogent wines

Clairoix 2017 (chardonnay).  A strong smell of dregs comes out in the nose, with an alcoholic character, sulphited and not ripe. You can smell a lot of apple in your nose! More here: Wines of Clairoix

Yerres 2017 (chardonnay). Visually, a sustained yellow. The first nose looks more mature than the average. This material is found in a sour mouth but of good consistency. level odors, it reminds of wax and cooked fruit’, a  souring acidity. More here: wines of Yerres

Rosny 2016 (sauvignon). No glaring defect but lack of maturity, with less sulfur, that would be good. The hard-boiled egg dominates the nose. Tight mouth. But it’s a place where there’s a way to do something. More here: Brotherhood of the Feronne Haute

Issy 2016 (chardonnay, pinot beurot).  The wine is struggling to open but there is more volume than most of the previous wines. It’s right… but soft. It must be left with air but it will not blush at the table with a beautiful fish. More here: Brotherhood of Issy

Sannois 2017 (pinot gris vendanges tardives). A wine focused on the fruit, pleasant, with a slight sucrose that is well integrated. Sulphites at full nose, the fruit is not very precise, between pear and white fruit.But that’s okay. More here: city of Sannois and its wines

Paris 2017 (gamay, pinot noir, others). “Expressive, crunchy, not a great subject but the wine is honest, the Ruby’s very pretty shiny violin of its body. Notes of red fruit, a pleasant nose, a flattering wine but with a marked acidity. More on the vineyards of Paris from the tourist office here: Tourist office of Paris on vineyards

Le Pecq Saint-Germain 2016 (pinot noir). The wine seems already evolved in the nose. In the mouth, the alcohol carries with a drying impression. Interesting”, but pity that the final note is bitter. More here: The vineyards of St Germain and Le Pecq 78

Hope you have enjoy this brief introduction and remember ,France has plenty to share so therefore, try them all!! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

September 19, 2018

Some news from France CXCXII

Well so much news to tell on my belle France, and little time. I am leaving to the Americas Friday,and then back and then out to Spain again lol! This is getting good, I am back traveling, life even if sad must go on!

Let me tell you a bit on the glamour, chic, caché side of my belle France, after all that is one reason folks makes it the No 1 most visited country in the world, UN WTO sources.

The Château Ancy-le-Franc , gem of the Renaissance, located between Tonnerre and Montbard, in the heart of Burgundy, built between 1542 and 1550 ,was in dismal condition, it was raining inside and the decorations painted by hand, originals dating for some of the first school of Fontainebleau, were very degraded. The acquisition, in 1999 of the Castle and its 50 hectares of park by a private company   might have save it.

Starting with the Cour d’honneur, a perfect quadrilateral, which later served as a model for the square courtyard of the Louvre, with its Roman arches, fluted double pilasters and aureoles niches of scallops, one of the symbols of the Renaissance. Then comes the tour of the murals like that of the gallery of Pharsalus, a cameoed ochre of breathtaking beauty that represents the famous battle between the troops of Caesar and those of Pompey in 48 BC. The sumptuous room of Diane, so named in honor of Diane de Poitiers, favorite of King Henry II and sister-in-law of Antoine III of Clermont-Tallard, who built the castle.

In 2012, it all began restoring the gardens, the sumptuous flowerbed composed of four paintings of flowers installed since last year in front of the wing is at the bottom of the perspective, a circular basin of 17 meters in diameter, inspired by the original plane, perfect all with its jet vertically aligned to the symmetry axis of the castle.

Next to these regular gardens like the west parterre, recreated a year earlier by following the same approach to restore the banks of the water room that stretches facing the south wing of the castle, with its madness, small octagonal building built on an islet. Planting twelve bald cypress trees, from six weeping willows and marsh flower mats, to the range of colors chosen to create a perspective, will restore luster to the romantic part of the park, arranged in the 18C by one of the descendants of Louvois , Minister of War of Louis XIV, who had acquired the estate in 1684. You need to see it indeed in a lovely area of France… ,more info here: official Chateau Ancy le Franc

The Dordogne valley, the Château de Montal in the Lot, is known for having hosted in WWII, the painting of Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa, threatened in Paris by the Nazi advance. What is less known is Auguste Rodin’s share of the restoration of this Renaissance masterpiece, which he visited several times. Everything starts in 1908 built by Jeanne de Balsac around 1519, Montal celebrates the humanist virtues of its time by a subtle iconography. Maurice Fenaille gathers sculptures and friezes scattered around and in 1913, he donated his castle to the State, subject to a usufruct for him and his children.

As part of the exhibition entitled “Rodin, Fenaille, Matruchot, Portrait of a Renaissance” (from November 12 2018 to June 16, 2019) The Rodin Museum, which is rare, has agreed to lend eight works by Rodin including a bust of Madame Fenaille. An ensemble to which is added a portrait of the sculptor by Camille Claudel. Château de Montal. Saint – Jean – Lespinasse . Tel.: 05.65.38.13.72 . More at: official Chateau de Montal

More on the tourist office of the Lot dept 46 region of Occitanie: Tourist office of the Lot dept 46 on Montal

At Cognac, the rebirth of the Monnet cellars illustrates this contemporary reflection. At 50 Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, adjacent to the Martell Foundation, the monumental gate of low walls has not changed. But it now opens to a 5-star hotel, where a famous cognac distillery was built in 1838. It has known several owners. But history has retained only one name: Jean-Gabriel Monnet, the father of the fierce craftsman of European union. Born in Cognac, Jean Monnet began his career in the family business and made a fortune in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon by selling the burnt wine to American smugglers during Prohibition (1920’s). The Monnet kept it until 1962. Then the distillery was sold to the German firm Scharlachberg, before entering the bosom of Hennessy, who in turn ceded it to the municipality of Cognac. It was in 2004 and no more than a drop of hot water came out.   In July 2016, an investor spent 60 million euros to invent a luxury hotel such that it does not exist in Cognac. The Hotel Chais Monnet which is due to officially open on October 1st, honors this heritage.

A primer from Le Figaro: To the left of the double-revolution staircase that enfolds the cylindrical elevator at the entrance, Angélique Café sets the tone for a place that is dreaming in the hexagonal embassy of know-how and living. On the counter of this tea room in the name of an emblematic plant of the Poitevin swamps, candy jars contain the regressive pleasure of the tastes of our childhood. In the 92 rooms and suites, the decor is of a homogeneous elegance, while sober with a furniture of light wood placed on a parquet and amber fabrics, tobacco, brown, blond, evoking the nuances of cognac.

The minibar is made up of French specialties with retro packaging, such as the French popcorn of the Maison Gramm’s and the crunch with the Fleur de sel and cognac XO. The most interesting are the 52 rooms housed in the cellars. All open on a patio or on a balcony, you can feel the soul of the place. And the most beautiful ones are upstairs: the original beams give them a crazy charm. The CEP is its name, it also houses a spa, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool where you can walk everywhere, a conference room and a cinema. A Jazz Bar so British,the 1838, occupies the old cooperage. But the heart of the hotel beats in the old cathedral of the distillery, the great cellar of the lightning of a huge barrel of wine with the dizzying nine meters under ceiling. The brewery is nestled under a part of the roofs. But where the space has not been truncated, the gourmet restaurant reveals itself as a treasure. The 34 seatings   will open on October 15th. The Hotel Chais Monnet, 5-star luxury discreet, is already a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Hotel Chais Monnet, 50, Avenue Paul-Firino-Martell, Cognac (Charente dept 16). From 250 euros a night with breakfast. Breakfast at the brasserie from 22€, Gastronomic meals from 59€, tel +33 (0)5.17.223.223. More here: official Chais Monnet Hotel

This is the hotel event of this year, entry in the 8éme arrondissement. We had always known since 1886, the Maison Fauchon, at 16 Place de la Madeleine (and so many times walked by it and shop on way to my work!!!). Here is now, on the other side of the Church de la Madeleine, a hotel Fauchon. Except here, at number 11 in the famous place de la Madeleine, we enter through the little door. The big entry, the one that opens on the reception, is located at 4, Boulevard Malesherbes.

Finely facade and wrought iron balconies, this is one of those splendid Haussmann buildings, typical of the beautiful Parisian districts. The hotel does not occupy one but two six-story buildings, gathered for the occasion, and reconfigured inside eleven levels. The historical architecture houses a resolutely contemporary universe, all of white, black, pink and gilded: the colors reap inside, in the 54 rooms and suites, the walls are systematically white and black floors from the parquet burnt in point of Hungary. While the Pink or Fushia, Candy or Powder and the gilded matt are laid in touches, used for cushions, armchairs, sofas, headboards, sconces, carpet designs… Guests can also choose between two atmospheres: “Powder” and “Rock”, this one more black and white with a bathroom in grey marble and the first more pink including small round armchairs like macaroons with a bathroom in beige marble.

It is the Gourmet Bar, a very nice piece of furniture of a sweet pink not too farting, designed by Sacha Lakic and specially edited by Roche-Bobois for Fauchon. Let’s also point out that half of the rooms have a balcony or a bow window. They all overlook the Place de la Madeleine or the Boulevard Malesherbes.   The upper floors often offer the view of one or more monuments of the capital. But the bathrooms, including those of the suites, are relatively small for a hotel of 5-star rating. Six categories are proposed, from the “classic” Room of 23 m² (from 400 to 1 250 € per night) to the suite “Prestige” of 60 m² (1 250 to 3 000 €). As for the common areas, they consist of a reception, an adjoining library reserved for the hosts, a small spa Carita two cabins of care and Hamman open to the external clientele. and two restaurants: the Jardin des Thés (Garden of teas), under the interior canopy and, superbly, the Grand Café with its pink counter, its bay windows and its terrace, at the corner of the Plaza de la Madeleine and the boulevard Malesherbes. It is open from 7h to 23h. Our favorite goes to the Grand Café, very Parisian, very open and much less intimidating than a palace table. More here:official hotel Fauchon

It’s a new form of conviviality. Chalk slates, high stools, zinc plates and relaxed atmosphere… For a glass and much more affinities. Glorious Paris !

Where we mingle at the bar in marble and mosaic, in a relative comfort with no tables or chairs, but which undoubtedly participates in the energy of the place. And its New!!!  Déviant. 39, rue des Petites-Écuries (10éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 48 24 66 79. Every evenings except Sundays and Mondays . Menu Carte: 20-40 €. A webpage to be built up; Deviant Paris

From the three Avant-Comptoirs of Yves Camdeborde, chef from the Béarn region and small prince of Germain des Prés area , here is my favorite! and a great area to be in too. More smiley than that of the marché Saint-Germain, cuter than that of the de la Mer, located next door, the first front-counter of the name is not explained: it lives! In this kind of greedy den, and that’s why I love it, you have to play elbows, often, raise the tone, sometimes, beg the bread to his neighbor, to steer the tourists astray… In short, quietly blend into the ambiance. L’Avant-Comptoir. 3, carrefour de l’Odéon (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 27 07 50. Open every day menu carte 20€-40€. More info: L’Avant Comptoir Odéon

Romain Tischenko was the first winner of “Top Chef”, one of the most singular candidates of the culinary crochet. Water sank under the bridges and Roman now sees double on the side of place Sainte-Marthe. Besides his Néobistrot Galopin, he animates this little piece of cellar to eat all that is more family and festive. La Cave à Michel. 36, rue Sainte-Marthe (10éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 42 45 94 47. Open every day except Monday and Tuesday ;menu carte : 20-30€. More info :La Cave Saint Michel

Hurried to acquire this room right next to his Admiral’s Pub, when the latter was started three years ago. Seven seats at the counter, four on the side and a dozen still, a little glued-tight, along the walls. A microlocation but a real identity. La Cave du Paul-Bert. 16, rue Paul-Bert (11éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 58 53 50 92.From Thursdays evenings to Mondays evenings, menu carte 25-35€. More here: La Cave du Paul Bert

For the Parisians, the trattorias of Big Mamma are already part of the classics. East mamma, Ober Mamma, BigLove Caffè, Mamma primi, Pink mamma, Pizzeria Popolare, La Felicità… the restos XXL (3500 m2 and 1000 m2 of terrace for the Felicità, Paris 13éme), with always successful scenery and Italian cuisine that speaks with hands, generous, wheedling, benevolent like..a mamma. A success story continues to be more beautiful with a first opening in the province, in Lille, at the end of September. The future osteria tradizionale will be called La Bellezza and nest at 126 rue Esquermoise , the most popular street in the capital of Flanders. 150 seats, two floors, an opening 7 days a week and dishes and recipes that should be well done. La Bellezza. 126, rue Esquermoise, 59000 Lille. Opening September 29, 2018. More soon in their official webpage ,you heard it first here : Big Mamma La Bellezza at Lille

A neighbour like any other, Philippe Starck lives in Paris 16éme arrondissement , and for a long time exalts the codes of his style with elegance. With a restaurant, a sports club and a pastry shop, the Brach should attract both Parisians and travelers alike. The Evok group (already owner of the Nolinski at the opera and soon of the Sinner in the Marais) had the ambition to transform them into a 5-star (59 rooms and suites, from 500 to 3000€) chic and fashionable, with its vegetable garden on the roof, in a rather indolent neighborhood of the 16éme. You do not enter a hotel but in a place of life. A lounge but no lobby for check-in ,relegated to the first floor (2nd US) . Then a restaurant with large widths, with a long counter distributing a pastry, a bar, the kitchens and a wine cellar. All open on the 130 covered seats room. The club, open to all and accommodating 1000 members (2220€ annual subscription), is equipped with a 22 meters long swimming pool and a heated water pool for yoga classes or aquatic Watsu. It takes at least that to melt the sugars of gluttony! Hotel Brach. 1-7, rue Jean-Richepin (16éme). Tel.+33 (0) 1 44 30 10 00. Opening on September 25, 2018. More info on group webpage here:Evok hotels group Hotel Brach

The soon to be expanded official webpage of Hotel Brach here: official Hotel Brach Paris

There you go something to think about more about Paris , it is really eternal you know! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

September 16, 2018

The wines of Muscadet and more!

So, how are you? this is a nice cool sunny Sunday. We had done some cleaning lots of it. All well done. Now we had a good meal with Belgian and American beers and we are wondering, where we were yesterday another world, in wine country of the Loire!

The wines of muscadet are less known me think  unfortunately they deserve more credit. I will do my five cents here. It covers a large area and amazingly, not only are the muscadet grapes allowed but others too.

This area is less than 2 hours drive from my house so I have been a lot ,just hard to pick areas to show you in my belle France we are loaded ::) Here is a bit on the  Muscadet and my latest road warrior trip.

The Muscadet is a dry white wine of AOC (appellation d’Origine Controllée) mainly in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44, south of Nantes, and partially overflowing on the Maine-et-Loire dept 49 and the Vendée dept 85 ,all in Pays de la Loire region. This wine from the Loire Valley vineyards comes from a unique grape variety, the melon of Burgundy (Melon de Bourgogne) . This appellation has been classified AOC since 1936.  The Muscadet vineyards has several appellations: the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, the Muscadet -côtes-de-Grandlieu, the Muscadet-coteaux-de-la-Loire and the Muscadet without any particular denomination.

A bit of history I like

In the 17C, under pressure from Dutch brokers, looking for small wines for the still wine market .The vineyard will experience a great development: until the French Revolution . Brittany/Bretagne was one of the reputed foreign provinces (with the Guyenne , Saintonge, Languedoc, Provence, Dauphiné, Lyon, Flanders and Artois) so that the trade (taxes on goods) is lifted at its borders, in particular at the Ingrand barrier on the Loire river. Thus, the wines of the wealthy country are mainly converted into spirits, which are exported from the port of Nantes to the countries of northern Europe. Until the French revolution, the majority of the grape varieties of the wealthy country is therefore the Gros Plant, a grape well adapted to this production .

In 1635, the word ,Muscadet is attested in another document from the village of Gorges for the first time. It is claimed that this grape, now known as the Melon of Burgundy because of its origin, would have better resisted the terrible winter of 1709 than the other grape varieties including the Gros Plant and that, as a result, it would then become widespread in the countryside of Nantes

The late 19C saw the affluent vineyard (Muscadet and Gros-Plant) touched by the phylloxera like most of the French vineyards. This aphid accidentally imported from America in 1864 bites the roots of the vine and causes the death of the plant. At this time that the melon of Burgundy (Muscadet) will impose itself as a majority grape in the vineyards of Nantes.  This vineyard in AOC comprises 13 000 hectares, exclusively used in white wine. It is located mainly in the southern part of the Loire-Atlantique, and in some communes of Vendée and Maine-et-Loire. The Muscadet-Sèvre-and-Maine appellation is the most notable and most productive of the Muscadet vineyards, generating just over two-thirds of the total production of Muscadet. It takes its name from the two rivers, the Sèvre Nantes and Maine which water this territory forming essentially the Nantes vineyard.

It is comprise as such with only my favorite towns (highlighted the tops) vineyards (there are a lot more): The Muscadet-Sévre-et-Maine denomination that is.

In the  Loire-Atlantique department 44  are:  Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine, Basse-Goulaine, the Chapelle-Basse-Mer, La Chapelle-Heulin, Chateau-Thébaud, Clisson, Gorges, the L’Haie-Fouassière, Haute-Goulaine, the Landreau, the Loroux-Bottereau, Maisdon-sur-Sèvre, Monnières, Mouzillon, the Pallet, the Regrippière, Saint-Friacre-sur-Maine, Saint-Julien-de-Concelles, Saint-Lumine-de-Clisson, Vallet, and Vertou. As well as two towns in Maine-et-Loire department 49: Saint-Crespin-sur-Monk and Tillières. It is, also, available as the dénomination Clisson  in the towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 in : Aigrefeuille-sur-Maine, Château-Thébaud, Clisson, Gorges, Maisdon- sur-Sèvre, Saint-Lumine-de-Clisson,and one town in Maine-et-Loire dept 49: Saint-Crespin-sur-Moine. Also, as dénomination Gorges  in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 at   Clisson, Gorges, Monnières, Mouzillon ; and dénomination Le Pallet in two towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 such as La Chapelle-Heulin, and Le Pallet.

The Muscadet-côtes-de-Grandlieu: this vineyard derives its originality from the microclimate of Lake Grandlieu. It is in 17 towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 such as   Bouguenais, La Chevrolière,Legé, La Limouzinière, Pont-Saint-Martin, Port-Saint-Pere, Saint-Aignan-de-Grand-place, Saint-Colomban, Saint-Léger-les-Vignes, Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, and Touvois. As well as two towns in the Vendée dept 85 such as Rocheservière ,and Saint-Philbert-de-Bouaine.

The Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire is in 16 –towns of the Loire-Atlantique dept 44 again my favorites are only in Ancenis, Anetz, lingné, Mauves-sur-Loire, Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire, Thouaré-sur-Loire and Varades; as well as 8 towns in Maine-et-Loire dept 49 such as my favorites only Bouzillé, Champtoceaux, La Chapelle-Saint-Florent, Liré, Saint-Florent-le-Veil and La Varenne.

The Muscadet without denomination or simply Muscadet on the bottle is in 74 towns of the Loire Atlantique dept 44 ,however, my favorites here are only in Ancenis, Basse-Goulaine, Carquefou, La Chapelle-Heulin, Château-Thebaud, Clisson, Haute-Goulaine, Ligné, Le Loroux-Bottereau, Mauves-sur-Loire, Le Pallet, Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine, Saint-Aignan-Grandlieu, Saint –Colomban, Saint-Hillaire-de-Clisson, Saint-Léger-les-Vignes, and Saint-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu. And these towns from Maine-et-Loire dept 49 such as Champtoceaux, La Chapelle-Saint-Florent, Liré, Saint-Florent-le-Veil, and La Varenne. Also, from the Vendée dept 85 we have Saint-Hillaire-de-Loulay.

Some of the other grapes you may find wines here are the Folle Blanche, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Negrette. As well as some more genuinely locals such as the Berligou, Egiodola, etc.

Some webpages to help you visit these wonderful denominations and towns are

Assoc Vignobles Nantais wines

Wines of the Loire pdf map see Nantes

I have been coming and going to the Vignobles Marchais lately, this is at La Blandiniére hamlet in the town of Thouare-sur-Loire, and it has been a pleasant find. We first met at the village vignerons of Guérande a couple months back and since been to their property twice.

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

This time was to celebrate the harvest for 2018 in which with the heritage days going on in France this weekend, they did a vineyards festival or fête des Vendanges in their property , very nice. We were only a small group of 13 which was ideal. We arrive punctual at 11h while they were getting ready to host a wedding at 15h lol!

Our event started shortly after the owner Philippe Marchais arrived. He is trying to export more and I am helping out with some information on the USA market. First, was a brieg explanation on the terroir, Philippe is a firm believer in this , and so am I. All sort of information on the land and stones on the soil was given in a brief format. The stones here have lots of schist. We went on to the vineyards!

Well it was a harvest time the next day so we were the first one to pick up grapes of the Melon of Burgundy(melon de Bourgogne) great to be able to use our cutter and get the nice chunks of grapes off into a bucket first and then a huge wooden cart!!! Very nice and on a friendly fun group of people. Once we finish , we came in to the chai or cellars to taste the grapes and determine their acidity, taste, and aromas as well as the maturity of them. We try three different plot of land from same grape and all taste and smell different, that is the terroir…

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

After, of course, we taste the real wines from the previous year 2017, and were nicely impressed with the Grand Clos du moulin de Pé muscadet of course. And the refreshing Domaine de Bois Biot white. This was accompagny by salmon and sardines cold meat or paté, terrines, and pork paté from Brittany! Very liberal serving and nice conversation around my favorite subject lifewise!

thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

We were ready for the lunch, a bit late as we were surprise by  a visit by radio chain France Bleu and the owner Philippe was interviewed right in front of us. I was one of the ones chosen to be spoken to and hopefully will be on the air soon!!!  radio chain here: France Bleu Océan

thouare sur loire

All during the interview , we were at the table and then we all join the visitor for a chat on wines and good food of the Loire, and the Nantes vineyards! The food oh my God, well we got a huge chunk of baby milk pork and a large slab of dauphiné potatoes all going down with a nice surprise wine Egiodola red wine a grape originally from the Basque country but now planted here and producing a fruity pleasant red wine with lots of blackberry !! delicious we purchase a carton of  6 bottles! afterward.

Thouare sur loire

thouare sur loire

The ending was an apple tart homemade with grape fermented juice done on premises! Which we got 4 bottles for free!!! We indeed continue chatting with the owner and his wife Violette that joined us at the table sitting next to me so lots of conversation.  At the end we did something nice.

They have a very nice building; the basement is the production site for bottling about 200K bottles of their own production. The street level is the cellar, tastings and boutique, and the first floor (2nd US) is a reception area (where the wedding was held) also good for business meetings and other events, all hook up with video equipment and large screens. The have about 9 persons working mostly family members. What they do is they have other families cousins etc who are also winemakers in other regions of France. They bring their wines to the cellar boutique and sells them ,so therefore we purchase a Morgon from the Beaujolais, and two Margaux from Bordeaux region from 2011 at good prices,not a good vintage year but the producers are guaranteed good and that is the main point here.

Thouare sur loire

Thouare sur loire

In all, it was a wonderful experience. Next month they are hooking up on a project with a local brewery to do a beer with wine grapes that we will be tasting in October !!! Stay tune.

The property webpage in English is here: Vignobles Marchais

Enjoy it nothing better than a good wine and if French much better, simply the best! Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

Ps wait!!! as we are multi talented, on our way back in full control, we found a memorable hypermarket from our times in the Versailles, The Auchan hypermarket of Saint Sebastian sur Loire was on our way on the N844 so we stopped and did our groceries!!! Cheers ::) Oh webpage of store is here: Auchan at St Sebastian sur Loire

St Sebastian sur Loire

st sebastian sur loire

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2018

The wines of the Béarn: Jurançon!

 

So let me bring you back to my other hobby, wines! Not wanting to repeat myself, will just go into an area dear to me of many trips and holidays,and always enjoying their wines since at least 1990. I have written before on the popular wine cooperative of Gan  and here it is :

Caves de Gan, Jurançon

I passed by here many times on my way to Spain, always using it as a rest stop either at Pau or around Gan. As time went on, we spent more time here and finally several days. And of course, not only did we drank the wines from the area but visited a very nice enclave at the Caves de Jurançon at Gan.

gan

We had always friendly welcome and sharing here and I am on their mailing list so if not stopping by ,get my wines by domestic transport to my house.  Let’s get a bit more on the aroma ::)

A cooperative in the heart of the vineyards: the cellar of  Jurançon at Gan plays a major role in the Jurançon and Béarn AOC, bringing together nearly 300 winegrowers. Located a few steps from Pau, this cooperative is committed and respectful of its terroirs. Founded in 1949, it has become a landmark in the Béarn. The wine of the Jurançon: a good wine is made with good grapes, sun, rain and foehn. Its most famous grape varieties are the small and the big Manseng (petit et gros manseng). On the vineyard of the piedmont Pyrenean, the vines are planted in the direction of the slope and are oriented to the South in order to be sheltered from the West wind. Harvest by hand, sort with love, vinify patiently… so many steps necessary to the quality of the wines of the Jurançon.

Gan

Gan

Gan

Some webpages to help you enjoy this wine

Official webpage of cave de jurançon

Webpage on Jurançon wines in English: http://www.vins-jurancon.fr/an_enchanting_setting.php?id_ligne=23&niv=1

YouTube video presentation on the cellars or cave de Jurançon here

 

But wait, this is more than wines, there is a town name  Gan! lovely place quant cosy, we love it

Gan is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department 64 in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (even thus fiercily keeping the old habits of the Béarn) . 9 km south of Pau. The municipality is crossed by the national road 134(N134), as well as by the departmental roads D 134, 217 and 230. Gan train station is located on the Pau-Canfranc line. It is served by the TER Nouvelle-Aquitaine between Pau and Oloron-Sainte-Marie (changing here for Canfranc in Spain). Gan is a bastide founded in 1335 by Gaston II de Foix-Béarn. He gave it this name, the namesake of Ghent (Gan) in Belgium, in memory of the campaign of Flanders to which he participated.

Some things to see other than wineries are

The prison gate (porte de la prison) dates from 1335; the Roman Baths from 1748 (with iron and sulphur waters); The House of Bazirus (Rue Ossau); The House of Ergashali (on the road to Lasseube); The houses of Arrac (1548), of Aldoins (1593) and the Château Marca prior to 1600 birthplace of Pierre de Marca. Church of Saint. Barthélémy was rebuilt near the ancient church of St. Jean, which was restored in several phases between 1811 and 1930. The Church of St. Peter (Saint Pierre) dates from 1838. The Saint-Pierre Church is well before 1838, since traces are found in the parish archives in 1759 (baptisms, marriages, burials).

gan

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Bastides or fortified towns of the Pyrénées Atlantiques 64 on Gan : https://bastides64.org/bastides/gan/

Tourist office of Pau on Gan: https://www.pau-pyrenees.com/gan/cave-des-producteurs-de-jurancon/tabid/315/offreid/0a3cc7e0-f457-4e1f-a157-512050c2ab74

Region tourist office of old Béarn on Gan and its other wines. http://www.bearn-basquecountry.com/bearn-pyrenees/gourmet/wines-vineyards/

City of Gan on many walkers heavens and jurançon wines: http://www.villedegan.fr/spip.php?article80#.W401a84zbIU

A lovely area indeed, and need to be visited more by all. The choices for nature lovers is immense and the gastronomic/wines alternatives unlimited. Enjoy it.

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

September 2, 2018

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXVIII

So this is Sunday and coming slowly into the night, we had our rest day as usual when not traveling outside of the area.  A very French tradition Sunday is family day. Another continuing effort to show the real French side of living in France. The post series  was started when we moved in to our newest home back five years ago. It is now in its 28 edition ::)

As our family is so spread out in four different countries, and two continents, and in France far away east and north of Paris we are the lone westerners lol! As my time for travel or desire has diminish a bit;;;just a bit; we are staying closer to home too.

One of the things we have started to ease our week and take advantage of the Summer/Spring months is the barbecue. We are thinking in Fall/Winter to do so in the garage ,which is big.

We wanted a manuable barbecue for quick meals the old fashion way, and easily transportable. WE decided for a Weber and purchase it at our friendly home builders store Castorama in Vannes.

pluvigner

We used once to try it and it took some time to get it lit but we manage ok. This time ,it was easier and quicker. We enjoy it in our open terrace in front of our house. We have a large veranda but covered, so the enjoyment of barbecue when weather permitting we od outdoors.

My sons took to the task and we all chip in as well as our dog Rex. He is always hungry anyway, our Borador (border collier/labrador), and already almost 10 months old.

pluvigner

We got ourselves some nice German beers at our friendly V&B of Auray to go along with the food. The tex-mex skewes were from E Leclerc already prepare and we add it some herbs and pepper sausages with hamburger buns.

pluvigner

pluvigner

pluvigner

For desserts, we had ice cream and peach halves in light syrup. We topped it off with Nescafe Dolce Vita coffees with mine been the usual milk coffee cup. Some of my boys had tea.

And the day went really fast and we all had fun at home. Me watching the horse racing from Paris Longchamp (Bois de Boulogne) and they watching well, MasterChef  season 9 reruns from the USA led by Gordon Ramsay.

pluvigner

TV screen at home from Equidia

Now I am as usual in my blog and they are with their video games. Sunday is almost done, and the week too . As said, my vacation is coming to an end as going back to work next Thursday. Yikes!!! is never enough ,not really ,anywhere. Oh well.

The temps has been mild around 21C or 74F and sunny no other to report; we are in Bretagne/Brittany, and the only thing is the occassional rain , otherwise is heavens.

Anyway, take this opportunity to thank all my readers and followers to help me in my pass time in my blog. Wishing you all a happy week, full of health and best wishes. And of course, remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

ps. Je fais mon blog en anglais comme avec quatre langues, c’est celui que je pense gérer mieux. Si je devais faire un post dans les quatre langues sera trop long! Mes langues, français, anglais, espagnol et portugais. Merci.

August 29, 2018

The wines Nantaise or Muscadet or Poiron Dabin!

Ok let’s talk wine again! If you have been reading my blog you know my love for wines went back to my first sip from my maternal grandmother at age 8! It’s a tradition in our house ever since and into marriage and family life it continues. Today with so much to do and see in my belle France sometimes we skip trips to the wineries ;however, in my vacation time we took it to see one not far from Nantes in the Loire Atlantique dept 44 region of Pays de la Loire.

the vineyards here are the home of the Melon de Bourgogne or simply melon and gives a minerally flavored white wine known as the Muscadet or higher up we have the Muscadet Sévre et Maine sur lie. However, there are other wines  as the AOP region (Appellation d’Origine Protegée by EU standards that in France is same as AOC appellation d’origine controllée) can be broken down into parcels outside the appellation where the growers can choose other grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir , etc. These of course are not AOP wines but just as good indeed if looking at the right producer=winemaker.

Nantes

Let me tell you briefly about this region and wine appellation first, before we go into the property visited.

The region is located in the departments of the Loire-Atlantique (44), the Vendée (85) and the Maine-et-Loire (49). A single IGP (Iindication Géographique Protégée more at EU level) wine appellation, the Val de Loire.   The vines are planted on shale, granitic and silty soils. The main grape varieties that make up the vineyard are for red wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir and Négrette. For white wine, Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin and Sauvignon.  The list of wine region within this AOC are Coteaux Ancenis, fiefs Vendéens, large Plant of the country Nantes, Muscadet, Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, nutmegt cotes de Grandlieu, Muscadet Sévre and Maine.

More reading to do and learning as we all do is to read these webpages that enhance anybody vision and appreciation for these wines.

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

Tourist office of the region Pays de la Loire : https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/Loire-Valley-wine-routes

Info webpage of the winegrowers of the Nantes region: http://www.lesvignesdenantes.com/association-les-vignes-de-nantes/

The Loire Atlantique dept 44 has more info in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/theme/vignoble/

Hope you get to know these wonderful wines of the Nantaise, old Brittany you know ::)

The property we visited was that of Poiron Dabin in near town of Chateau Thebaud village of Chantegrolle. Why this property? Well we like to go to places already spoken with the owner either by telephone , email, or in fairs , city tastings promotions etc. Once I realized the property has potential to like it , the personality, the winemakers, and the wines, then we proceed to a formal visit to the property itself. We came to know Poiron Dabin by attending the wine event Village Vignerons in Guérande a while back (see that post); and by speaking with Cynthia and JP we realized these were real wine aficionados who love to tell their trade and wines to all; the wines that follow 3 of them were very good and a great price/quality ratio.

Chateaud thebaud

Once past that stage, we proceed in making reservation for a visit to the property. This we did last Monday August 27th. We arrived by 10h30 as agreed and all was ready with a nice welcome tasting of four bottles from sparklers to pinot noir wines. We proceeded to given a booklet map and go walking in the vineyards!!! This was fun we did about 3 kms or 1.8 miles of vineyards of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Tannat, Melon de Bourgogne, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc fields and fields about 70 hectares or 173 acres!

Chateaud Thebaud

The best was that on several posts along the route you needed to find the bottle! lol! This was great you find the bottle , you drink it, (we carry cups, corkscrew, etc all provided for). The walk seems like heavens as we seriously search for more posts with wine bottles !!! It was a huge field with a horse farm in the middle of it all, but we were able to find 6 out of 8 bottles; not bad for amateur walkers in the sun at 25C or 77F.

Oh yes the walk is divided into two parts one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with a break for lunch .Oooh did I said Lunch ! wow this was superbe, on our way back we call to let the organizer of the walk know we are close by and she had already all prepared. A huge picnic basket full of cheeses, small tomatoes, cold cuts including pate de champagne delicious ,and baguette breads as well as fruit yogurt like strawberry, framboise etc and of course accompany by the house wines from Pinot Noir, to Muscadet ,Chardonnay and a sparkler brut rose as well ,ending with Maxwell House coffee, bread and butter or tea!!  This trip is explained further in only French here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/fr/oenotourisme/activites-sur-place/

chateau thebaud

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

You are ready all of this plus the tasting, and the supplies of the walk for 30€ per person , we thought this was a still and will surely be back in Fall. English and Spanish is spoken too ! The property webpage is here: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/en/home/

They can ,also, propose a tour in a local river flat bottom boat and wine tastings. This is La Divette option, you can inquire in the property contact email here:  contact@poiron-dabin.com

The property of Poiron Dabin produces about 600K bottles per year and were ready to start harvest for 2018 in a couple weeks! They do Melon de BourgogneChardonnayPinot GrisPinot Noir, Fié GrisCôt Malbec, and Berligou, a historical red variety from Britanny ( great red a gift of the duke of Burgundy to his cousin the duke of Brittany in 1460!), petit Manseng and rich Gewurztraminer.

chateau thebaud chateau thebaud

As what we did after tastings all these wonderful wines well we purchase of course. About two cases of wines lol! We do drink in moderation ::)

Our lot included Berligou, sparkler on the traditional method (ie champagne) 2016, Berligou marché de Bretagne 2016 red, Perle de Seduction mousseux demi sec sparkler and The Pinot Gris Rosé Val de Loire et voilà we are taking care of rather nicely.

In all, it was a wonderful day in the vineyards as usual in my belle France or rather beautiful Loire Valley, in the coastal Pays de la Loire (not to be confused with the castle known Centre-Val de Loire region more inland). Enjoy the post and En Vino Veritas

Remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 27, 2018

How about Bitburg, Germany!

On a nice cool cloudy day in my beautiful Morbihan and away from the beaches, let me tell you about our escapades to the neighboring country of Germany. Specifically, Bitburg.Just a note ,plenty of Germans in our area now ::)

I admit was not really into going to Germany, for some reasons had enough in my neck of the wood. My sons interest in heavy metal music and German groups finally convince me to go. Of course, been there on business trips several times, but never on a personal trip until then. The boys love it of course, and we came to like it too, learning very well the full scope of opportunities for travel in compact Europe. And as the Euro is plenty around so much easier.

And we went to Bitburg from our base just south of Trier. Here is our blog post on Bitburg: Bitburg and the Bitburger beer

Bitburg is the capital of the district Bitburg-Prüm in Rhineland-Palatinate State, 30 km (about 18 mi) north of Trier in the southern part of the Eifel.  The traditional talk is a local variation of Luxembourgish language.

A bit of history I like

Bitburg was founded about 2000 years ago as a crossing point on the road between Lyon and Cologne by Metz and Trier. Its first name was Vicus Beda

In the middle of the 10C, the town was acquired by the County of Luxembourg (later Duchy), then in 1443 by the Duchy of Burgundy. Since 1506 the city has successively belonged to the Spanish Netherlands, then to the Austrian Netherlands from 1714. The city fell into the hands of the French in 1794 (during the French revolution) and became in 1798 the seat of a the department of the Forests (fôrets). According to the agreements of the Congress of Vienna, the city was entrusted in 1815 to the Kingdom of Prussia, where it was successively city-arrondissement of the Grand Duchy of Bas-Rhin, then of the province of Rhineland-Prussian

Towards the end of WWII, Bitburg was devastated at 85% of its surface by bombardment and declared “Dead City” by the Americans. Although located in the French zone of occupation, the forces that stationed in the city after the war were made up of Luxembourg troops, replaced in 1955 by French forces stationed in Germany. In 1965, an American-controlled NATO support base was added. At the end of the 1980’s, the French withdrew their last men and NATO took over the former French barracks. After the Gulf War successively settled the 525e tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) “Bulldogs”, the 53rd TFS “Tigers” (after moved to Spangdahlem), the 22nd TFS “Stingers” and finally in 1994 Bitburg Airport was occupied by the 36th TFW.  The US present ended in 1994. Currently, only a few parts of the Bitburg barracks are still governed by NATO. Needs to see which ones….not sure.

Transports in and around Bitburg

The B51 is an important link between the north and the south. Like the Roman road between Trier and Cologne, it joins the region of Trier and Luxembourg with the north. And this was the road we took always there. In recent years, the A60 Liège-Wittlich has been passing close to the city; but as a beltway preferred the B51.

The rest not try at all just for information; there is a train station of Bitburg-Erdorf frequented by the Eifelbahn of the line Gerolstein-Trier and the Eifel-Mosel-Express (RE 12) of the line Cologne – Euskirchen – Gerolstein – Trier. The DB Regio Südwest Eifel-Mosel-Express also passes through Bitburg-Erdorf.

Things to see

In the buildings of the old School of Agriculture of 1882 today is the Museum of the region Bitburg-Prüm. The latter proposes, through many objects, a good retrospective on the 2 000 years of history of Bitburg and the Eifel. There is a nice Church of Our Lady in city center with quaint restos and architecture around it, Nice bells outside the Church.

Birburg

Bitburg

Bitburg

And the main reason we came is for the brewery lol! Bitburg bier, one of the best. A German blonde beer of low fermentation (pils) brewed at Bitburg since 1817. Their famous slogan is “Bitte ein bit “. Not fluent in German took it from the web as meaning   Please, a Bit,” or “A Bit, please” . Johann Peter Wallenborn founded the brewery in Bitburg in 1817 at the age of 33.  The beer was featured in the 2011 film, X-Men : First Class. The only lags is the tour is only given in German on most days, English is by appointment. So we took it in German anyway, the main thing was the beer lol! It is a must to visit in town indeed.

Bitburg

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Bitburg : https://www.eifel-direkt.de/en

City of Bitburg and history: https://www.bitburg.de/cgi-bin/cms?_SID=fake&_sprache=en&_bereich=artikel&_aktion=detail&idrubrik=1002&idartikel=100052

Luxembourg, Trier tourist info page in English: https://www.lux-trier.info/en/explore/city-diversity/bitburg-2

Brewery Bitburg: https://www.bitburger-international.com/bitburger/

There you go another dot on the world map for us and hopefully for you too. Enjoy it!!

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

 

 

August 26, 2018

Memories of Honfleur for a lifetime!

So again looking for post titles is not easy for the creative deficient in me so just wanted to tell you about some wonderful memories in beautiful Honfleur. You have by now, read my blog and you know what Honfleur means to all of us in our house.  There are many posts on Honfleur in my blog. Oh yes this is Calvados dept 14 of Normandy.

I wanted to just do a pictorial of memories of our shopping and eating here and give you an overall view of what is available from my point of view (cannot include all too many), just the best ones.

The Café de Paris by the old basin just in front of the Lieutenant house is great. We had tried it for breakfast , believe or not, it was good and have comeback. Webpage: Cafe de Paris

Honfleur

There were once even rides in the Carrousel yes my boys came here early and then some. Wonderful Carrousel and so happy still there for future generations of wonder kids. This is by the city hall.

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

We ,also try a new store still with no webpage in Honfleur but elsewhere in Normandy, this is J’Irai revoir ma Normandie , or I will come back to see my Normandy, is a store on the road D580, full of goodies from Normandy from cider to biscuits, and jellies etc. Loaded and good prices just entering Honfleur .

Honfleur

Honfleur

Another wonderful place already in old town is La Curé Gourmande, 31 rue du Dauphin no webpage but candies galore a heaven for the young at heart!

Honfleur

Then, one to load up on good Normand cider is La Maison du Cidre Rosé, webpage on tourist office of Honfleur: La Maison du Cidre Rose

Honfleur

We passed by a wonderful restaurant we have been before, Le Crystal Restaurant in 3 Rue Haute, very nice quaint and romantic in first floor (US 2nd fl).  Again no webpage just on a typical old street by the lieutenant house to your right or right at Café de Paris. And one for the personal memories.

Honfleur

Honfleur

We decided to do a sample test of those we have not been or do not remember been there after so many years and not always with photo camera.

We went for breakfast in the 32 quai Sainte Catherine and found L’Albatros, very nice talking owner and about football lol! Do not need to tell you the conversation was long and fun. The breakfast superb bagel bacon and eggs with delicious café with milk and orange juice, breads all for about 12€ per person; worth it better than any hotel. No webpage but my review site in my blogroll Yelp has some info: Yelp on L’Albatros

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Wondering around and lunch time we stop at La Maison Bleue at 17 quai Saint Etienne. Here we had four big leffe Belgian beers , desserts from banana split to pear belle helene to peach melba , and croquet monsieur and madame sandwiches, all for 35€ per person  ,very expensive especially the beers at 10€ ,but worth the ambiance and location.  Again no webpage but my friendly Yelp page on my blogroll has some info. Yelp on La Maison Bleue

Honfleur

For dinner, I saw a quaint little restaurant on the main road, and knowing old town is over price as so much overrun by tourists we decided to have it outside on the next over town we were staying in hotel for the same reasons. This is in nearby D580 road La Riviére Saint Sauveur at 17 Rue des Quatre Francs, La Fregate restaurant. This was a find very nice friendly service, gourmet style food with great presentation, and the prices the best 20.50€ per person with emince de volaille, filet bar fish, crème brulée, crumble pomme rubarbe, fruit rouge tarts, a bottle of rosé wine from the côte de provence etc very nice and a repeat is in order.  A bit of tourist info on the town page in French here: City La Riviére Saint Sauveur on La Fregate

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

And I guess doing it backwards but that is me lol! Upon arriving, we had dinner, and again we headed for city center old town, one of my sons saw this western style restaurant with American flags so you guess it we had to stop and check it out . It was a find, we love it,and lucky to find out there is one near us so so great! This is Oncle Scott’s The Country Restaurant at the Cours Jean de Vienne, Honfleur. We paid 28.37€ per person but worth it, nice ambiance, great service ,richly decorated with Harley Davidson, and American flags as well the great horses outside! Here we went beserk with the Brooklyn lager beers and Sol to boot, plenty and entrées of onion rings, and tortilla guacamole, then dishes like pulled pork, fish and chips, Baltimore crabcakes, and desserts of banana mellow , coupe coco island, coupe Americaine, and Piña Louisiana! just great a repeat is in order and near us as well. Webpage here: Oncle Scott’s see Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Of course, we have stayed here several times overnight, coming from Versailles. I just did not kept the hotels but I am sure it was the Campanile, Ibis hotels here. This time we try a different one in La Riviére Saint Sauveur , the B&B Hotel . One nighter they are all good. This had two rooms ,one with twins beds and another a double bed , bathroom, TV, all you need. It was just outside Honfleur ,walking would have been like 30 minutes but we took the car into the city. Parking there is 4€ for the day! The hotel breakfast was 6,15€ all you can eat and it was great even with bacon and eggs! hotel room for four was 110€ TTC (all taxes included) per night. More info here: B&B hotel at La Riviére Saint Sauveur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

Honfleur

We went on foot on the streets of Honfleur to remember many times our walks here amongt the quaint architecture of the city and so much romantic. It is now overloaded with tourists from all over, but still worth the visit for the ambiance, architecture, sea life, and our memories. Some street shots to follow as there will be more. Enjoy them as we do.

Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur Honfleur

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

 

 

August 22, 2018

Vignobles Marchais!

Well why be so creative with a name when the name says it all. Wines of the Marchais family of Thouaré sur Loire. We look them up in a previous wine fair in Guérande (see that post) and decided their ideas were worth a follow up on site. Great experience, recommended to all wine lovers. Part of our little vacations trying to continue life aftet the loss of my dear wife Martine.

Thouare

Thouare

Thouare

Thouare

Thouare

First, Thouaré sur Loire is in the department 44 Loire Atlantique south of me in the region of Pays de la Loire. Historically part of Brittany … and only 10 km from Nantes. And about 2 hrs by car from my house. What is to see here well there is a nice Church of Saint Vincent, and the castles of  Picauderie built in 1773, that of Thouaré from the 10C but profoundly restored in the 19C and finally the closest we saw was the Hilliére overlooking the Loire river in the Neo Classical style. Built in the 14C with a beautiful Chapel of the Virgin that was taken from the Chapel of Auray.

thouare

thouare

thouare

Thouare

However, what we came to see here was wines of the Loire, muscadet  Sévre et Marne sur lie, the very best of its field,and the only vineyards in the limits of the town. This is a family effort started in 1947 by the father and today continue with the son Philippe and older brother and the help of all the family and some local and far winegrowers who have invested in a beautiful cellars and property.  We were helped directly by Cynthia a very nice helpful lady. The propery vignobles Marchais.

thouare

Thouare

thouare

The idea here is to come in and stay one night in a huge wine barrel made lodging with bedding, another barrel acts as a bathroom and showers and more bathrooms are allowed inside the cellar house. We spent the night and it was a fantastic experience ,and recommended by all. We arrived the night before, and got a lesson in winemaking of the local grapes such as the melon de bourgogne (for the muscadet) but also pinot gris and the fact that they can do other grapes not from the AOC/AOP such as Chardonnay. The presentation included discussion on the stone ground composition on the three areas they own vineyards and how it is grown. They have about 30 hectares in total and exports about 200K bottles including the partners growers some family members from other parts of France.

Thouare

thouare

We are welcome with tasting of 3-4 bottles in the cellar house ,and from there shown our bedroom a wine barrel made into a bedroom.  We did good and ample space. The next day we had a wonderful breakfast served on a picnic area of the cellars with plenty of pain au chocolat, croissants, orange juice, coffee, jellies, baguette ,butter, and water. We then did our purchases in the store ,not obligatory but we love these wines. Especially the sparklers rosé and white perles lutines and the parasol rose from old grapes before phylloxera call the 54 dating from the 1800’s.  The welcome was perfect and again this is what France is all about come direct to the grower and feel the bounties of the land and the history of the regions. They do events, and even picnics, tents, a warm up cooking area for onsite meals for groups , etc and business conference rooms on site. The food chosen is paired with the wines recommended or your own. The webpage in English  is here:  Vignobles Marchais

thouare

thouare

thouare

They have a Bar à Vin open Tuesdays to Fridays from 17h to 20h and Saturdays 16h to 19h. This works as a bar where you can come in and try the different wines offered by the glass. The region and best bottles in my opinion are Thouaré sur Loire on the Muscadet Côteaux de la Loire with vignobles de Thouaré , and coteaux d’Ancenis Malvoisie. The area of Loroux-Bottereau on the Muscadets-Sèvre-et-Maine with the Perle Lutines noir and blanc ,Rosé parasol parapluie , and the star the Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé. Also, the Mauves-sur-Loire area with the Domaine du Blois Blot ,and Champtoceaux.

 

To have dinner, we ask for recommendation but unfortanely the resto was closed for personal reasons, and searching for others were closed as we left the tastings late ::) So i pull my old reliable, a Novotel four star hotel in nearby town of Carquefou. And we call from the car, made the reservation on the run and voilà they were open ,of course. A delicious file mignon steak with mashed potatoes for me with abricot in peanut butter and vanilla ice cream dessert and a bottle of Alsace Pinot Noir red from the Klipfer family for a change of pace, all for 25€ per person. More on the hotel restaurant Novotel here: Novotel Carquefou

Carquefou

carquefou

Carquefou

carquefou

They have many other offers even a day in the vineyards and wine tastings. Very much into the wine and big investment to satisfy all comers; all are welcome, and again, I really do not write much about properties we go but on some we make an exception for the value/quality ratio and the warm welcome. Enjoy it.

The tourist page in English of the Vineyards of Nantes or Nantaise region is here: Tourist office Vignoble de Nantes

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

 

%d bloggers like this: