Archive for ‘Food and Wine’

February 18, 2018

Salon des Vins et de la Gastronomie , Vannes 2018

Here we have another year and another wonderful food and wine fair at Vannes. This is touted here as the Salon Vins et Gastronomie, and this year proves to be an even bigger success, this is the 26th edition.

Vannes Vannes

For this edition it was once again the opportunity to meet some of the providers we shop while in our adventurous ways thru the French countryside and some new ones met here. You have the real France here nothing industrial, supermarket type but the real deal straight from the farms and the artisans who produces the marvelous things we all came to know France for and still is. You have them here from different regions all defending their land and product. The Salon is open February 17-18-19 from 10h to 19h except Monday to 18h. Admission is 5€ or 4€ if purchase on the internet; once you receive and invitation from a producer is free as it is for us. All is held at the exposition center Chorus in the parc du golfe of Vannes; webpage for the event here:

We were there Saturday morning at about 11h15, and right away got into a sweets /sugar pastries shop by renown pâtissier or pastry maker Alain Chartier who has store in city center Vannes as wall as pastrychef school and teams up worldwide with many organisations as well as French chocolate maker Valrhona (as in valley of the Rhône). Their webpage is here:
That of Alain Chartier is here:


There are others sommeliers, local chefs , pastry makers, and cuisine bloggers who will come here too and show their skills and new specialties as well as pots and pans makers! All is to be tasted and tried. Other than Alain Chartier, the group Caravin of wine stores also will present their wine tasting techniques. All of this is included in the admission price.

France Ouest newspaper of western France ,publish several different forms of cooking, drinking experimenting with the Breton cuisine in mind, and this is the magazine Bretons en Cuisine, that is also given away during the presentations to the lucky winners by answering questions from the chefs. And you can follow the magazine newspaper in Facebook here:

We got in right away with free producer’s passes, and got our tasting glasses which you can rent for one euro return the glasses gets your money back, however, we always keep them as souvenirs, they are real wine tasting glasses. We , also, take a hand trolley  you give an id they keep it you return the lift you get your id back, simple. And you are ON!

The salon is set up in aisles mixing food stands, sweets, and wine tastings presenters, on the right side wall you have the food court where you can eat and or bring what you buy to eat on tables. At the end back , you have the presentations , and the pans and pots stand.  All will make you buy the whole darn expo center !!!

Vannes Vannes Vannes

We went to our regular of many years and even have visited in their locale, this is the Maison Gastellou originally from Saint Jean Pied de Port in French Basque country. Wonderful Bayonne hams, sausages, and ready made sandwiches of Bayonne ham and ewe milk cheese. Also , the famous basque cake and jellies. WE got them all, spending here alone 235€. For more on this wonderful generational family farm/store here:

Vannes Vannes Vannes

We came back to see Christel and now his wife Claudine of  the Domaine Cousseau Boireau wonderful rose and red wines of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil in the Loire valley : This are very good wines at affordable prices (who said French wine is expensive?) the wines here are from 5-8 euros per bottle all made from Cabernet Franc for the red and rosés.  Here is some info on these farm workers and the photo is that of Christel ;

Vannes Vannes

We stop by an old reliable Domaine de Lamothe, Gaillac red , whites, roses, moelleux etc . The story here is that on my wife’s father side they are cathars from this region, Lavaur, Toulouse, Gralheut, Montans, Gaillac, and the family used to sent us this wine to us back while living in the Florida. We came to live permanently in France in 2003, and got this wine in the property with the owners directly that knew the family; now here at Vannes their daughter is send to showcase the wines of the property. Of course, we got a caseload of dry whites and old vines red.  They are direct no webpage this is the essence of France and Gaillac wines from Independent growers:


We try a new find, closer to us get to know the neighborhood.  A while back we stopped by Saumur and tasted their wines on site (always better than away on a bottle ::)) They turn out to be pretty good and good prices. Here at the salon we stopped by Domaine Sanzay, and were pleasantly surprise by their Domaine 2016 and Vielles Vignes reds of the appellation Saumur-Champigny. Thy were there with the owners Didier and Céline, and the property can be visited and tastings done on site as well. The webpage here in English:

We try some saucissons of the Saveurs Catalanes on their stand for the good price and had them before here in Brittany ,in fact they have a depot by Rennes even if the family of he recipe is from Girona Cataluña Spain.  More on them here in French:

We, also got some nice sticks of chocolates from the Le Comptoir du chocolat who are nearby at Quimper and were in the salon as well; great varieties on the tablets just delicious; more here in French :

We got our dry fruits at the by now usual place who also have a store in Rocheport-en-Terre in the Morbihan 56 (our dept). L’Art Gourmand, and of course here we got a bushful and tastings galore ::) We had them there and we got to meet them up close and personal here at the salon. Here they are on the town tourist office long….


We got out and went to do some household items at the Carrefour hypermarket in Vannes and then to Morbihan Motos as one of my sons got a scooter Mash City and needed a anti theft lock for the insurance.  Our Saturday was booked and very efficiently done. Now relax , tomorrow is Sunday and plenty of goodies to eat and drink! The temps are ok only 11C and even sunny no rain, just perfect for a weekend, oh enjoy yours ,happy travels and well bon appétit,,,,,,,cheers!






February 13, 2018

Beaune is special for more than wines!

Why not tell you about one of my favorite cities even if rather small it hold it’s charm of Burgundian style ! There are many to see in my belle France, but Beaune is very nice.

Let me start you off with my post on my blog a few years back with info and photos on it.

Beaune is a Burgundian city located in the department of Côte’d’Or in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte. It can be considered as the capital of the burgundy wines. It is ,also, a flower city with four flowers designation and winner of the Gold Medal at the National grand prize in the European floral entente of 2006. The city is recognized as one of Art and History designation in France.

A bit of history as I like it. Beaune was the residence of the dukes of Burgundy until the 14C.
Duke Eudes III of Burgundy allows Beaune to exist as a city since 1203. The famous Hospices de Beaune, tells us that in 1422 Nicolas Rolin was named counselor by Duke Philippe the Good of Burgundy. He marries in 1421 Guigone de Salins that was part of the nobility of the Comte and founded the Hospices of Beaune in 1452 a new religious order was founded the sisters hospitaliers of Beaune .He ,also, ordered the polyptique painting of the Last Judgment by flemish painter Rogier van der Weyden for the Hospice.

The city went thru the revolts of Beaune in favor of Marie of Burgundy vs the King of France Louis XI, the war of religions ; the city was occupied in 1814 by the Austrians fighting Napoleon Ier. The department of the Côte-d’Or was created in 1790 during the French revolution as no 21. The Viti school of agro and vines was created here in 1884. During WWI Beaune is host to the American Expeditionary Force AEF and its 2 millions men in France. In 1918 , the American military hospital was built at the doors of the city with 20K beds one of the most important in Europe The military hospital is transform into an American University , the University of Beaune opened in 1919 with 15K military students and 600 teachers. French troops of the 2nd regiment entered the city and liberated it finally on September 8 1944.

Some of the sites that I like, well most of them are:

The auction sale of the Hospices of Beaune are done every year on the third Sunday of November and the first sale goes back to 1859. In 1934 the Confrérie des chevaliers du Tastevin creates the Trois Glorieuses, a cultural event that is now part of the auction of the Hospices of Beaune Between 1720 and 1750 the negotiators houses begins to see the day in Beaune with the first one been the Maison Champy followed by the Domaine Chanson Père & Fils. The tours and ramparts were done in 1477 and still there!


Other things to see are the musée du vin de Bourgogne (house in the old palace of the Dukes 15-16C) , Musée des Beaux Arts (founded in 1850 with collection from the 12-20C), Musée Marey, Musée Dali, the Maison des Templiers end of rue Jacques de Molay, the lavoir on the Bouzaise river ,the halles de Beaune facing the hotel-dieu where the market is held on Saturdays and the the auction of the Hospices of Beaune are held.

Church of Saint-Baudèle is in old town near the source of the Belenin river that gives the name to the city. The first Church here is from the end of the 5C on the ruins of a temple to Apollo. It houses the relics of Saint Baudèle or aka Saint Boil that was a contemporary of Saint Martin, and was a soldier that was martyred in Nîmes around 395AD. Church of Saint-Flocel is outside the old town against the ramparts. The Church was dedicated in 965AD and received the relics of Saint Flocel ,and Saint Herné in the presence of Duke Otton. Church of Notre Dame , texts tell us that the first Church was established in the old town from 976AD, the western portal of byzantine style of the current Church dates from the 12C. This last Church is the best in my opinion created by the daughters of Cluny around 1120 inspired by Saint Lazare in Autun. The exterior  has three nerfs from the 14C that hides the façade some destroyed during the French revolution but some still there from the 15C . The interior  is nice and ample ,in the choir you see the Black Virgin from the 12C, the second chapel paintings from the 15C representing the resurrection of Lazarus, a pieta from the 16C and on the third chapel  two altars from the 15C , on the south side you see the Chapelle Renaissance. The tapestries are gorgeous behind the main altar  on the life of the Virgin marking the passage from the middle ages to the renaissance.  Five panels trace the history of the Virgin in 19 paintings ordered in 1474 and offered to the Church in 1500.  The cloister dating from the 13C and the capitulary room have been renovated.  just a nice Church.

You have plenty of information on these webpages:

The city page in French on tourism here:

The tourist office in English here:

The site in French of the metro area of Beaune with 53 towns including Beaune of course;

The dept tourist office in French :

Transports on getting there and around are plenty for a city this size is tops.

It is a crossroad of many highways such as the A6 only 312 km from Paris and 157km from Lyon giving birth to the highway A31 direction Dijon at 47 kms, Nancy at 258 kms, and Metz at 308 km, as well as the highway A36 direction to Besançon at 108 km and Mulhouse at 232 km.

Two TGV lines runs by it such as the line Paris Gare de Lyon Dijon, and Châlon-sur-Saône and the line Dijon Lyon Marseille and Nice.

Regional service is done on the TER Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes with webpages here:

Wines are at the center of the city it’s heartbeat goes with the harvest and the auction sale of the Hospices of Beaune, and the wonderful Trois Glorieuses. Only the charity piece is done with a candle is given the name of the auction of candles or enchéres à la chandelle.
The Hospices of Beaune  as said were started in 1443 in the Hôtel Dieu we see today. The building has it’s now famous roof  and a wonderful interior courtyard. Inside you find the Grand Salle  or room of the poors with 50 meters long by 14 meters wide  and 16 meters high upon entering you see the 28 beds . You go see the Chapelle  flamboyant style and renovated in the 19C as well as the stained glass. There is a plaque here remembering Guigone de Salins founder and how she took care of the hospital.   You come into the Salle Sainte Anne or Sainte Anne’s  room that was reserved at the time to the noble sick persons. Continue into the Salle Saint Hugues ,it has been renovated with it’s décor of the 17C, the paintings are of nine miracles of Christ, Saint Hugues, a bishop and a Carthusian monk.  Go on to the Salle Saint Nicolas the old nursery of the sick in danger of dying , renovated thanks to a donation by king Louis XIV; it houses today an expo on the history of the Hospices. You can see the Cuisine/Kitchen with an automates figure from 1698. The pharmacie is very curious freak with many pots from the 18C. You now come to the Salle du  Polyptyque built to house the painting of the Last judgment of Rogier Van der Weyden; done between 1445 and 1448. Here in the center you see the Christ  presiding the last judgment  with a throne of heavens showing paradise  on top of Saint Michael  looking on ; around it the Virgin and John the Baptist imploring the forgiveness of Christ; behind them the apostles  and some important personages  imploring for the poor the damn and the saivours . The lateral figures are of Nicolas Rolin  and his wife with grilles showing Saint Sebastian and Saint Anthony, and the scene of the annunciation. Here you finally reach the Salle Saint Louis, built in 1661 housing the tapestries of Tournai showing the Child,  from early 16C and some from Brussels end of 16C showing the history of Jacob, there is a vault and fountain on this room too.

Beaune Beaune

There are other nice things to see like the Hôtel de la Rochepot, on the place Monge dating from 1522 with a gothic façade and a gallery in three levels facing a belltower and the statue of Monge, the oldest of four children of Gaspart Monge creator of the geometry, founder of the school polytechnique and participate in the expedition to Egypt as well as been Prime Minister. You go on to the Place de la Halle in old city center with plenty of quaint stores and architecture delights. The ramparts going for 2 km with some private niches with some towers and bastions.

In wines one of the best AOC Beaune of the villages of the Côte-de-Beaune obtained in 1936. Between Savigny-lés-Beaune on the north and Pommard in the south with 42 premiers crus or 70% of the total vineyard producing each year about 15 500 hectoliters of wines on its 420 hectares. If you traveled along the Route 74 you will see heavens before you and of course a car is best. Really ,the area is split into the Côte de Nuits going from Nuits-Saint-Georges to Chenové and including Corgoloin; and the Côte de  Beaune starting from Corgoloin and towards Beaune.  The Côte de Nuits is known as the kidney of Burgundy due to its many taverns around with the center in the Place de la République. My favorite here is Joseph Faiveley. Then, you have the Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits with white wines and aligoté white very good. Road goes down to Aloxe-Corton  with Domaine Daniel Rion & Fils; and more affordable the Caves de la Reine Pédauque ; the Corton-Charlemagne region has my favorite chateau Corton-Grancey where Louis Latour ages its wines.  Moving on to Pernand-Vergelesse and the Domaine Bonneau du Martray and Domaine Rapet Pére & Fils; getting to Savigny-Lés-Beaune and the castle  and Maison Doudet-Naudin. At Chorey-Lés-Beaune, just north of Beaune  you see another castle  and the wines of Jacques Germain.

Apart, we reach Beaune. I have stayed in hotels for business trips, however, with the family we have stayed at  Hostellerie de Bretonniére, 43 Faubourg Bretonniére in the city center/downtown to ask for a room at the rear. More here:

Actually, most of the times we rented a house around the region and as far south as Buxy. This is from Gîtes de France; info here:

The producers here are many , hard to chose really. However, over the years of indulging in the wines of the region we like best these: Bouchard Pére et Filsdomaine Albert Morot, Chanson pére & FilsPatriarche Pére & Fils , Maison Louis Latour , Maison Louis Jadot ,and Maison Joseph Drouhin. Across from Patriarche and the Hôtel Dieu you have a wonderful place to taste them all and buy all kinds of local souvenirs, this is the Athenaeum de la Vigne et du Vin, more info here:

Beaune Beaune

Another wonderful place that I can recommend is the wine store of Denis Perret, right in city center surrounded by many houses where you can taste wine too. More here:

If you can stop over Saturday, you will enjoy a wonderful market by the Hôtel Dieu , info in French best here:

History of wine in Burgundy here:,2515,9382.html?

And the others wine makers of Beaune here :,2507,9363.html?

Beaune Mersault Beaune Beaune Buxy

Do not missed the Moutarderie Fallot, mustard traditionally done following the Dijon tradition. More here:

Nearby at the Chateau de Savigny-Lés-Beaune you have a wonderful wine tasting and purchase in addition to a wonderful museum of Abarth automobile, tractors and about 80 airplanes of different types . On the second floor, you see modele cars, airplanes motos, and having over 250 motocycles from many countries. Wonderful, more here:

Savigny les Beaune

To eat again , we have been to Le Bistro Bourguignon 8 rue Monge and the La Ciboulette 69 rue Lorraine, and I have been to others on business trips.  However, we come with family mine and my wife’s family so we rent houses, and do our own cooking and picnic for the trips around Beaune , using the wonderful markets here.   You can get some idea on the restaurants above in Yelp that I recommend on my blogroll bottom of my front page in my blog. These are

There you go ,hope it helps plan your trip to the beautiful Beaune, Burgundy and the Wines routes, all wonderful in my belle France. Cheers!!!

ps. Seems to found some photos from photos to add to the collection of Beaune in my blog. Enjoy it.

February 11, 2018

My new home of Pluvigner in the Morbihan Breton XXIIII

So here we are after getting out some souvenirs of old in my last post, I come back with something more French or rather international as in us. This is Sunday , and usually or most of it is a family gathering here , so we stay at home. Outside is cold , about 5C or 42F ,grey, humid ,and a bit of rain, nothing to it right lol! We are also on alert for mor snow tomorrow Monday. Paris is at 40F cloudy too but more snow announce and temps will go down to 30F tonite.

My , should say by far one of the most important decisions to come here was the food and wines, better than the tour Eiffel… However, as we are an international family mixing three languages at home and coming from roots deep in the Cathar region of France, the Meldois region of France, and Tenerife, Spain in addition to Havana , Cuba,  as well as 31 years of US living, we can get away with many mixing of foods and drinks as well.  As I come to repeat, when the USA is often call the melting pot of the world, France is call the melting pot of Europe. One out of four Frenchmen are immigrants or sons of immigrants like Edith Piaf and Yves Montand, Sylvie Vartan, Charles Aznavour, even Johnny Holliday , the step father who raised him was a Holliday, American. The world is bigger!

We started with some serious Apéritif oh yes this is French. The Apéro is a ritual even at work the only time you get to mingle with your collegues outside of work is doing the apéro route. And we had today a typical day at home, our apéro.

I open with a Kings porto red fine tawny house porto of Nicolas, the wine merchant we get our wines when not in the wine areas. This is sweeter wine rich, and great going with paté and spreads. My sons had a mix of whiskey Jack Daniels and coca cola or Cuba Libre , and Tequila Silver Jose Cuervo with orange juice or a Tequila Sunrise. My wife had her Guignolet Kirsch cherry liquor.

Of course with the drinks we had baguette and brioche breads with a delicious Hénaff terrine de canard au miel or duck cold meat with honey. Also, a Bernard Marot, Gourgettes grillés chévre et miel or zucchini grill with goat meat and honey.

Then, we had a simple country meal from Spain/Cuba that is red beans potage (thick soup) with meats and potatoes over white rice. This accompany by a light red from the Loire, Domaine du Grand Air cabernet franc 2016.

To finish, we again had a light pain perdu or torrijas that is an old dessert we all share, old bread fry pan and then spread with guava jelly from Guadeloupe ,French territory in the Caribbean and honey. Delicious.

We will give a break and then had our Nespresso coffee in different themes mine café au lait, coffee and milk; good too. And much later at night some chocolates will end the day.

It is then , that we think about the work week leading to Valentin day! and right in the morning one of my son is delivered his scooter just purchase; then we go out at night to try a new American place in Vannes that started in Paris and now has reach us here more of that in later post.

Some webpages for references:

Enjoy your Sunday , mine is heading to prime time TV lol!! Cheers!

February 8, 2018

Wines and the Loire = Pleasure!!!

If you have read my posts, you know I am a wine enthusiast of many many years and have diplomas from both France and Spain on wine knowledge courses. I do not write enough on wines as it is a heavy duty task and with many subjective tones; I like to stick to the easy subjects.

Valley of the Loire

Valley of the Loire wines

And here is something at you ! If you drank a new wine each night, it would take 8 years to drink your way through France. Lol!!

Well let’s give an overview of the wines of the Loire valley , of course you know it would be impossible to cover all in one post even if just one region of France. See phrase above!

The Loire Valley  has about 65 383 hectares of vineyards or about 161 561 acres. It is home to more than 4000 wineries producing an array of wine styles and colors from racy whites to refreshing rosés and fruit over force reds while sumptuous sweet and sparkling wines  It is here in the garden of France that you can reveling beautiful summer days, stunning Castles, and several of France’s most underrated wines. Today it has 69 AOP designations which make up about 75% of the wine production. The Loire river valley  runs from Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to Nantes is more than 1000 km long (about 609 miles), and together with its tributaries represent the longest wine region of France.

Some of it’s famous grape varieties are the Sauvignon  Blanc  a lean herbal style with flavors of thyme, lime peel, honeydew melon, and grass. Wines are labeled  Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine, Reuilly, Quincy and Cheverny (for classic 100% Sauvignon Blanc). There is the Chenin Blanc in the middle Loire Valley that range in style from dry to sweet and still sparkling. Flavors are from notes of flowers and apricots from Vouvray and Montlouis-sur-Loire to rich applesauce flavor from aged Savennières. Go into my favorites the Muscadet whites, the perfect match for fish and shellfish; wines are bone try with subtle notes of sea shell, lime, green apple and pear skin.  The Muscadet Sévre et Maine is the most and best appellation of the area. You do get red from the Cabernet Franc, a very herbaceous and rustic style but simple light nice with spicy notes of bell pepper, tart red cherry and stony mineral; look for labels from Chinon and Bourgueil.  Other used grapes are the Melon de Bourgogne (here call Muscadet), Folle Blanche found in Gros Plant de Pays Nantais AOP; the Pinot Gris.

The sub regions are: Anjou, Centre, Muscadet, Orléanais, Saumurois and Touraine. It, also , has many regional denominated areas or appellations such as :Crémant-de-Loire, Rosé-de-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Indre-et-Loire, Vin de Pays d’Urfé, Vin de Pays de Creuse , Vin de Pays de Haute-Vienne, Vin de Pays de l’Allier, Vin de Pays de l’Indre , Vin de Pays de la Sarthe, Vin de Pays de la Vienne, Vin de Pays de Loire-Atlantique , Vin de Pays de Vendée, Vin de Pays des Coteaux Charitois, Vin de Pays des Coteaux de Tannay , Vin de Pays des Coteaux du Cher et de l’Arnon, Vin de Pays des Deux-Sèvres , Vin de Pays du Bourbonnais, Vin de Pays du Cher, Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France , Vin de Pays du Loir et Cher, Vin de Pays du Loiret, Vin de Pays du Maine et Loire , Vin de Pays du Puy de Dôme, and Vin de Pays du Val de Loire. Now you might know why is difficult to write in details in one blog ! The above are very simple inexpensive wines that can be good depending on the producer.

We will cover in general the main regions such as the:

AOC Anjou, located around the city of Angers in the department of Maine-et-Loire, to the west of the Touraine region. The vineyards extends to both sides of the Loire river to the mouth of the Vienne river in Ancenis . The area extends for about 9000 hectares or 2471 acres; and compose of 27 appellations producing light rosés, dry whites, and light or medium reds wines. The grapes use here are for the rosé and red the cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon , and the grolleau, for the whites are the chenin, sauvignon, and chardonnay. They do a number of sub regions as well these are the Anjou, Anjou Mousseux, Anjou Pétillant, Anjou-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Anjou-Gamay, Anjou-Villages, Anjou-Villages Brissac, Bonnezeaux, Cabernet-d’Anjou, Chaume 1er cru des Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-d’Ancenis, Coteaux-de-l’Aubance, Coteaux-du-Layon, Coteaux-du-Loir, Jasnières, Quarts-de-Chaume, Rosé d’Anjou, Rosé d’Anjou pétillant, Savennières, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines, and Vin-du-Thouarsais.

If you are looking for my recommendation generally speaking ,I will have them in black throughout the post. These are my choices in the general area, the main thing here is to find the good producers in all.

The next sub region of the Loire are the Centre-Loire located south east of the Paris Basin. The area is difficult to determine here as it is cutoff into smaller parcels and isolated. The area is ideal for the sauvignon that gives the white wines and the pinot noir for the reds less known. The appellation for this sub region are : Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, Châteaumeillant, Côte-Roannaise, Coteaux-du-Giennois, Côtes-d’Auvergne, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Boudes, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Chanturgue, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Châteaugay, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Corent, Côtes-d’Auvergne-Madargues, Côtes-du-Forez, Menetou-Salon, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-sur-Loire, Quincy, Reuilly, Saint-Pourçain, and Sancerre.

We move in closer to me, and my best. This is the sub region of the AOC Muscadet, occupying an area south of Nantes from the lake of Grand-Lieu to Ancenis, with a point to the south in Vendée ( near town of Saint-Etienne-du-Bois). It covers an area of 11 900 hectares or about 29406 acres), and extended to different terroirs along the banks of the Loire. The grape for this region is the melon de Bourgogne, a very low production grape that gives a white wine to drink young and very good with the fish/seafood platters. Some of them are done with the conservation of the fine Lies which are my favorites, and provides more complex aromas and vivacity of freshness to give more grease and roundness to the wine.

The number of sub regions of Muscadet are : Fiefs-Vendéens-Brem, Fiefs-Vendéens-Mareuils, Fiefs-Vendéens-Pissotte, Fiefs-Vendéens-Vix, Gros-plant du Pays nantais, Muscadet, Muscadet-Coteaux-de-la-Loire, Muscadet-Côtes-de-Grandlieu, and Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine.

We come now to the sub region of Touraine . The area here is about 13 000 hectares or about 32134 acres) producing more than 700 000 hectoliters per year (about 18,5 m gallons US) in the cellars dug in the cliffs of the region. The principal grape here for the red and the rosés is the gamay, with the addition of the cabernet franc and pinot noir. The whites are done from chenin, and cabernet-sauvignon. The dry whites are generally light and fresh, the reds light fruity and the rosés medium. There is a production of sparklers call mousseux done in red, white ,and rosé as well.

The sub regions here are : Bourgueil, Cheverny, Chinon, Coteaux-du-Vendômois, Cour-Cheverny, Haut-Poitou, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Montlouis-sur-Loire Mousseux, Montlouis-sur-Loire Pétillant, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Touraine, Touraine_ Chenonceaux, Touraine Mousseux, Touraine Pétillant, Touraine-Amboise (love it), Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau, Touraine-Mesland, Touraine-Noble-Joué, Valençay, Vouvray, Vouvray Mousseux, and Vouvray Pétillant.

The next sub region is that of the Saumurois (Saumur) on the left bank of the Loire river south east of Angers. The area has about 1 500 hectares in hilly terrain just east of the hills of Anjou and of Layon. The production is about 85 000 hectoliters (about 2,2 million gallons US) per year with exceptional red wines and whites of interest; both very good. The principal grapes are the chenin for the whites and the cabernet franc and cabernet-sauvignon for the reds. Very good inexpensive sparklers are done here for the whites.

The sub regions here are: Cabernet-de-Saumur,Coteaux-de-Saumur,Saumur,Saumur Mousseux,Saumur Pétillant,Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame, and Saumur-Champigny.

Finally but not saying least are the AOC Orléans located around Orléans, of course. The area has 150 hectares located on both side of the Loire river, more uniform on the left bank and the total production is about 5 200 hectoliters per year. The Orléans-Cléry AOC is of reds from the cabernet franc only . The area has 25 hectares and the vineyards are located between the Loire river and the forest of the Sologne.

There you have it in a nutshell. The wonderful Loire Valley of France. It is a lot more than castles and kingdoms; the wines flows beautifully as the Loire river. Enjoy it as I do, it is our house wine of many labels.

I will put up a couple pictures of these properties the ones I buy direct, and will post a few of the pictures here.

Clisson Limeray Limeray

In a couple of weeks ,I will be going to the gastronomy and wine fair in Vannes that I do every year and will have more surprises. Enjoy your week, we are almost there for the weekend. Cheers!

ps. As a footnote two publication I get all I need to know about wines in France. One is at the bottom of my blogroll here La Revue du Vin de France magazine, webpage here:,vins-rouge-blanc-rose-vignoble-vallee-de-la-loire-muscadet-saumur-sancerre,10355,4025942.asp

And the other one is the newspaper Le Figaro Vin or wine section, loaded in Franch of course.Webpage here:

February 6, 2018

The art of cuisine Française, and Michelin

For those in the culinary sense, and one of the big reason for me been in France ,not necessarily on super expensive meals but the food preparation the basis is the most important thing and of course a good chef. WE have been to some (in black) over the years but most important we see their recipes and immitate at home : Once in while I indulge telling you about it on my tag Food and Wine in my blog ::)

This year’s edition of the Michelin guide for France has a total of 621 restaurants !!! 5 more than last year with more and more foreign chefs especially the Japanese.
guide michelin 2018 by credit Michelin

The one star winners and losers are:
In the region of Ile-de-France ,and first Paris with their district or arrondissements are : Mavrommatis (5e), Emporio Armani Caffè (6e), Quinsou (6e), Loiseau Rive Gauche (7e), Pertinence (7e), Copenhague (8e), L’Ecrin (8e), Le Chateaubriand (11e), Table – Bruno Verjus (12e), Montée (14e), Alan Geaam (16e), Comice (16e), Etude (16e), L’Arcane (18e), Ken Kawasaki (18e) ; then outside of Paris with their department number are : Jean Chauvel (Boulogne-Billancourt, 92), Le Quincangrogne (Dampmart, 77),and Le Domaine de la Corniche (Rolleboise, 78). Those losing the star are : L’escargot 1903 (Puteaux, 92), Les Fables de La Fontaine (7e), le Relais d’Auteuil (16e) and Sola (5e).

In the region of the Northwest ,the winners are : L’Essentiel (Deauville), l’Auberge de Bagatelle (Le Mans), Ima (Rennes), L’Hysope (La Rochelle), Intuition (Saint-Lô), and Le Pousse-Pied (Tranche-sur-Mer). One who takes it back this year is Christophe Le Fur, at the Auberge Grand’Maison, in Mûr-de-Bretagne (22). However, those losing the star are : Le domaine la Bretesche , Missillac (44) , château de Noirieux, Briollay (49).

In the region of the NorthEast we have one stars such as: Jérôme Feck (Châlons-en- Champagne), Château de Courban (Courban), La Merise (Laubach), Le Marcq (Marcq-en-Baroeul), L’O des Vignes (Fuissé) , and Transparence ‘La Table de Patrick Fréchin’ (Nancy. The losers are : Château de Germigney, Port-Lesney (Jura), La Maison des Cariatides, Dijon. Also, Laurent Peugeot , Charlemagne, Pernand-Vergelesses, Pascal Boulanger , La Laiterie, Lambersart (69) , and Thomas Debouzy, La Briqueterie , Vinay (51). And the biggest loser after 30+ years with one star now losing it was Christian Germain, Château de Montreuil (62).

In the region of the Southwest, the winners of one star are : Garopapilles ,and Le Quatrième Mur (Bordeaux), Le Barbacane (Carcassonne), Le Grand Cap (Leucate), Chapelle St-Martin (Limoges), Auberge de la Tour (Marcolès), Château de Cordeillan-Bages (Pauillac), L’Almandin (St-Cyprien), SEPT (Toulouse), La Promenade (Verfeil), and Le Jasmin (Villeneuve-sur-Lot). The losers are Octopus (Béziers), l’Auberge Labarthe (Bosdarros), le Domaine d’Auriac (Carcassonne) ,and L’Oison (Chancelade).

In the region of the Southeast the winners are : Louison (Aix-en-Pce), Table de Manville (Baux-de-Pce), L’Emulsion (Bourgoin-Jallieu), Les Fresques (Evian), L’Atelier Yssoirien (Issoire), U Santa Marina (Porto-Vecchio, Corse), La Table de la Ferme (Sartène, Corse), and Lou Cigalon-Maison Martin (Valbonne). The losers here are : Bacon (Juan Les Pins), and Chez Charles (Lumio, Corse). In Lyon, l’Alexandrin as well as La Ciboulette (Annecy).

For those with two stars ,numbering 85 we have five reaching it this year and moving up ; these are : Masafumi Hamano, « Le 14 février », Saint-Amour-Bellevue (71); Takao Takano, « Takao Takano » Lyon (69); Jean Sulpice, « L’Auberge du Père Bise » Talloires (74) ; Bruno Cirino, « L’Hostellerie Jérôme » La Turbie (06); Gaël et Mickaël Tourteau, « Flaveur » Nice (06). The two star losers down to one start are: L’Amphitryon , Lorient 56. le Trianon of Gordon Ramsay in Versailles 78! Bateau Ivre, in the hotel Ombremont , Bourget-du-Lac (Savoie).

Two new three stars restaurant on this year’s edition of Michelin are : Marc Veyrat, La Maison des Bois, Manigod, Haute-Savoie, and of Christophe Bacquié, l’hôtel du Castellet (Var).

The group of three stars numbered 28 ,even after the request of not participating of Le Suquet in La Laguiole,upon request of chef Sébastien Bras. The winners for this distinction are : Jean-François Piège (Le Grand Restaurant, Paris 8e), Jean-Georges Klein (La Villa René Lalique à Wingen-sur-Moder, Bas-Rhin), Olivier Bellin (l’Auberge des Glazicks à Plomodiern, Finistère), Christopher Coutanceau (La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime) , and Alexandre Couillon (La Marine, Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, Vendée).

The guide will be available for purchase from February 9 , and this year’s edition count as patron the chef Anne-Sophie Pic, only women with a three star restaurant in France.

Keep an out in your neck of the woods for it. It’s still the bible ,even if some have begun to question the selections and other guides are more and more around. Bon Appétit, Salut A+ au revoir and Kenavo ::)


guide michelin 2018 by credit Michelin

February 5, 2018

Saumur, the castle, the horse ,and the wine!

And we came to Saumur, we have passed by it but always overlook in the multitude of choices of my belle France. This time we had an idea of going to Tours but we made the effort to stop in Saumur this time. Saumur is in the Maine-et-Loire department 49 of the région Pays de la Loire. It is right by the rivers, on the left bank the majestic Loire and on the right bank its tributary the Thouet river.

Here we have a wonderful castle of Saumur, the very famous, prestigious school of cavalry the Cadre Noir, and the Church of St Pierre. The chapelle St Jean, the Grand Théatre, a wonderful hotel de ville, the halles St Pierre covered market, the pont Cessart ,and the tour Granitiére as some of the things to see here.

We arrive by car (see previous post) ,and quickly moved into the Castle or Chateau de Saumur, and the parking nearby for free. The castle was under renovation and season closed but no matter, it was impacting and so close to us , we will be back for the interiors. It is a fairy tail castle right on a hill overlooking the city with great gastronomic restaurant next to it. We got back in our car and went to city center/downtown city finding a perfect parking right in front of the Hôtel de Ville or city hall, facing the Loire river and the back of the Grand Théatre! Just a superb entry into Saumur.

A bit of history of the castle  of  Saumur, gone thru many situations and saved on each, until the one we see today. The castle was in the possession of the Counts of Anjou, then the Plantagenêts and change into a royal fortress early in the 13C in the times of king Louis IX (Saint Louis). During the second half of the 14C the duke Louis Ier d’Anjou (brother of king Charles V) change it into a castle-palace of great beauty. The miniature of it is represented in the famous play of the three rich hours of the duke of Berry or « Très riches heures du duc de Berry » that will give it a precise image. King René , last of the dukes of Anjou lived here periodically, after his death in 1480 the castle comes back to the royal domaine. It opens again on March 31, 2018

The official castle webpage is here:

Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur

We come to the wonderful Church of St Pierre in the nice old square of St Peter or place St Pierre. The city page has a nice introduction such as having a wonderful Classic façade of the 17C but behind it is roman art and gothic architecture aka « Plantagenêt ». Showcasing this style and period of the 12-13C and furniture/stones/paintings of the 15C. There are organ concerts here regularly. More on the city page in French:

Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur

Next we move to the Cadre Noir and the school of cavalry here. Saumur goes back to 1763,while it was decided to bring a regiment of carabineers of the Count of Provence here. Later in 1814, there is a training school of horsemen here that is followed in 1825 by the royal school of Cavalry . This military presence is the origin of this wonderful heritage now in town. It is now barracks of the 18C as well as riding school and stables built around the place du Chardonnet in the 18-19C. This includes today one of the most beautiful examples of European architecture of military horsemen. More here in French from the friends of the cadre noir here:

Saumur Saumur Saumur

And the cadre noir presentation here:

And the museum of cavalry here:

In the barracks Kellermann you have a great show here:

Photo from the Jadis webpage on map area of the Cadre Noir here:


We had our lunch while marveling at the grand theater or theater at Place Bilange. Just opened in 2014 with 430 seats. The place is very romantic me think and plenty of wonderful shows. This is the presentation of the Grand Théatre in French:

Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur

The current covered market Halles Saint Pierre is from the 1980’s however, there has been one here for 800 years! It is right in the place St Pierre and overlooking the Church of Saint Pierre. There is ,also, a market here on Sundays morning.

Saumur Saumur

the Chapelle Saint Jean , this was a commandery done to help visitors and passerbys as a hospital in the 12C, all that is left is the nice Chapel built in the 13C.


The Hôtel de ville or city hall; it was here since 1508; with buildings from the 16-19-20C and the main house is from the 16C. The new façade facing the Loire river is from around 1860 with a neo gothic architecture and taste of the 19C.

Saumur Saumur

You have a nice tower or tour Granitiére from the 15C, at rue des paiens, and wonderful streets such as rue beaurepaire, rue puits neufs, rue Franklin Roosevelt, rue du fort, and place Bilange. We went by the tourist office and the maison des vins de la loire on quai Carnot facing the Loire river and all the wines from the region as well as products. You can have Loire river cruises right off Place Bilange as well as the bridge or pont Cessart. There was ,also, a market day on Saturday at Pl Bilange. The reformist temple on rue des paiens, and the place Saint Pierre.

Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur


Did I tell you we had lunch ,yes. Right on place Bilange next to the Grand Théatre we went to the Café Brasserie La Bourse, Tel +33 (0) 2 41 51 02 05. this is a classic French brasserie very nicely done in red fabric walls and wood. Very near the Loire river and the Pont Cessart done in 1770. Here we had our menu du jour, entrée et plat, with aperitifs such as porto red, whiskies and jack Daniels and cola; we had fish of the day haddock on pesto sauce, steaks, chicken on champignons, etc, desserts such as abricot tarte and mousse de chocolat and île flotante etc all wash down with two 50Cl garage of red and white table wines from Saumur and coffee expresso all for 24.36€ per person. They have a facebook page here:

Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur Saumur

And finally, a great place to find info on Saumur but in French, too long to write on the blog but if you can read you will have all the info you need, this is Jadis. Webpage by just clicking on the labels of monuments it will take you to the information; here:

The tourist office of the area is here:

Enjoy Saumur a wonderful town, we like very much, and we will be back soon.  Many photos try some here. Have a great week ,wherever you are. Cheers!!!

January 28, 2018

Chateau d’Amboise, and Touraine!

Amboise Amboise AmboiseAnd here I am again, pulling some wonderful castles from my vault in my blog circa 2011 and 2015. I need to say, the Loire has many castles but for ambiance décor, and just wines, this is my favorite, period. I have come so often that can write a book about it, but third entry is enough for most lol!

The Chateau d’Amboise and Amboise,has been showcase twice in my old blog, these are the post for your enjoyment and my souvenir.

Again ,for clarity the tourist page for the castle is here:

The city of Amboise with their sights in French is here:

Again by car you take the A10 direction Bordeaux from Paris and go out in exit 18 Amboise. By train you can come from Paris Montparnasse or Austerlitz train station to Amboise. Amboise is in dept 37 Indre et Loire in the region of Centre Val de Loire.

You have many things to see here like the castle, and the wonderful clock tower or tour de l’Horloge started in 1495 and finished in 1500. the Château du Clos Lucé of the great Leonard da Vinci, the Maison des Pages of king Charles VII, the eccentric Pagode de Chanteloup ;the nice Church of Saint-Florentin, built upon request of king Louis XI , and the Church Saint Denis, and if time go to see the Chateau Gaillard recently reopen to the public under conditions as it is still a private property; however, it is royal castle once belonging to kings Charles VIII and Louis XII, and one of the first castles of the Renaissance in France as well be the place where the first orangers and peaches trees were planted in France!! (info from the region tourist office.) These would be my favorites to visit.

Another of my highlights here is the market or marché right off the walls of the castle going down to the crossing the clock tower and near the Loire river. It is on Fridays and on Sundays it is huge! with wine tastings as well!!

And then of course, you have the wines! very good quality /price ratio here;our house wine are from here and as I am certified wine expert on French wines by Sopexa (food and wine from France govt org) and worked in the wine business in two countries USA and France,can tell you these are good quality/price values.

The Touraine-Amboise appellation has red (cabernet(franc and sauvignon), cot,and gamay), white(from grapes chenin here call pineau de la loire) ,rose(done from the red wine grapes) and cremant(same as white wines) varieties. 800 km of wine trails, more here:

And the Touraine-Amboise area here:

seek out these properties and you won’t be wrong. Domaine de la Tonnellerie at nearby Limeray across the Loire river. Also, Domaine Mesliand , and my best find,Domaine Dutertre; direct with them and know the entire family here and follow them elsewhere in France on the fairs, many times medal winners independent growers, and Lyon International supporters. See their cuvee François I, and my wife’s favorite the sweet cuvee Gabriel. All of their wines are good and excellent quality/price ratio. Who says French wines has to be expensive to be good…!! oh they have a museum of old wine objects and bottles right underneath the house the cave extends under it ,quite big area. See them here:

Enjoy the Amboise, it is sublime royal and very French. Cheers!

January 22, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXII

Here I am again, so much to tell and weather is not good ,rains ,river rising, and cold down to 4C or about 40F dark grey winter day and night. However, this is la Belle France and nothing comes close lol!

I was passing by Paris and as always pick up some goodies to tell on the latest from the capital of the world , Paris.

Air France just started creating boutique stores in many cities. You get to see the design and advice on your travels plans, product purchases and virtual reality experience to see the inside of their planes. Nantes was first city to do so, and I was by there on my way out, it’s the airport I use from my area of Brittany. This year Bordeaux, Nice and Toulouse will follow suit. Later, they will be others. More here:

HOP Air France sudsidiary is back at Orly Ouest airport. At hall 2 will be able to respond to your concerns, purchase of tickets last minute, modifications of your trips, options etc. There is a digital space with tablettes with special services for those on the frequent miles program SkyPriority like me ::) More here:

Flying blue is re invented. again. From April 1 2018 you will earned miles on Air France, Hop, KLM, Joon, and Transavia airlines. In addition to several services provided by them such as extra lugage paid etc, extra point for preserving your flying status and again it will be improve from June 2018 , again. More here:

And Transavia will be flying in winter to Spain! Especially Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona, all departing from Orly Sud, 3 flights per day to Madrid, 2 to Sevilla, and Barcelona. More here:

the national museum of the Château de Malmaison has an exceptional collection of souvenirs of exile from Napoléon on the island of Sainte Héléne from 1815 to his death in 1821. This has not been shown to the public in more than 20 years! And they are open for viewing now! Such as the bed where his body was exposed when he died, and some portraits such as the one of its the end of Napoléon Ist à Sainte Hélene by Oscar Rex in 1799. The year 1799 the castle was acquired by Napoleon and first wife Josephine and became a museum in 1905 with one of the rare places in France to see furniture and coherent decor of the Napoleonic times. More here:

the heads in the stars, the cité de l’Espace of Toulouse opens its doors to the infinite and extraordinary with space vehicules on 2500 m2 of space including interactive expositions with 5 ha of gardens, and a IMAX cinema, planetarium and simulators; take a ride on Astronuates, much more great for the entire family and very educational located at avenue Jean-Gonord, tel +33 (0) 5 67 22 23 24. More info here:

The Champagne house of Piper-Heidsieck has been doing the bubbly since 1785. Now with Essentiel with little sugar non millesime assemble of several years and let it aged and now out as a Extra Brut. The house is the most awarded in Champagne with various awards from Decanter World Wine Awards, to International Wine Challenge given the winemaker Régis Camus 8 times since 2004 the best in its class. More of this wonderful bottle here:

Do you know there ia museum in the Paris CDG airport? Terminal 2E Hall M now the Paris collective The Parisianer were given carte blanche to present their vision of Paris in the year 2050! More on them here:

there is a new look at the T2F in CDG with two boarding lounges for Schengen passengers ; new floors designed seats power outlets and USB sockets, better AC , smoking areas, cateting outlets in a contemporary ambiance for the terminal that welcomes 15 millions passengers in 2017 alone. Next a total redesign of Hall L at terminal 2E!! More on T2F here:

A new beauty house la Créme de la Créme with a revolutionary line of products with more natural ingredients and pesonalised skin diagnosis, see it at 11 rue Madame,6éme tel +33 (0) 1 45 48 97 48. More here:

looking for some good interior decor look no more at La Maison du Bac at you know it 108 rue du Bac 7éme, great tea towels from Charvet Editions at 19€, see more at

if you are into Japanese cuisine head for Yoshinori 18 rue Grégoire de Tours 6éme the chef by the same name previos at Encore and L’Auberge du XV. more here:

And if looking for good pasta like me, head for the La Laiterie de Paris, a small boutique and Paris’s first workshop for making and ageing cheeses using milk from NOrmandy ,Brittany, and the Pyrénées. Camembert is good. See it at 74 rue des Poissonniers 18éme; more here:

sweets sweets of Paris, high flying bakery Farine&o the anniversary of opening in the 11éme now a second outlet at 10 rue des Martyrs 9éme where you can taste the wonderful creation such as a Toupie a brioche with curry lemon califlower filling to kill for. More here:

Now how about a hidden bar, darn I was looking for one… Shake N’Smash is the one at 87 rue de Turbigo 3éme on the basement of Phileas Fogg Club with a 19C ambiance and travel theme menu like cuzco with pisto, lime and tonka syrup! more here:

Bit of Italian and coffee! just opened, head for Cafe Foufou with the best coffees like Kivu ,Congo, expresso 2,50€ piccolo 3,50€; the place has pink marble tables and with some scrambled eggs with salmon, scones with organic jam or avocado toast, sublime at 10 rue Oberkampt 2eme: more here

Keep repeating it in my posts try the Publicis Drugstore at the 133 avenue des champs-élysées founded in 1958 now with a 1960’s look ;for the chic cocktails at 9€ more here:

How about a hotel, we all need to sleep and with Paris skies above us we/I should recommend the Hotel Eiffel Blomet at 78 rue Blomet 15éme. Of course near the Eiffel tower wiht roaring twenties ambience decor and belle epoque style. king size beds and a small swimming pool and flowered terraces. Get a night sleep with the best you deserve it. More here:

One of my sentimental favorites a repeat here and once worked ::) Intercontinental Hotel Le Grand by the place de l’Opéra and rue scribe , second empire decor from 1862 with a central patio enclosed canopy to dream on done in 1980’s over the old cour d’honneur and 800 m2 of garden to discover at any time and lingered for a lunch cocktail; behind it there is a charming bar du Grand Hotel with belle epoque allures as well. 2 rue Scribe 9éme; more here:

And how about grandeur and excellence chic at the Maison Louis Vuitton Vendôme their new insignia at the 2 place Vendôme 1éme. Louis Vuitton do I need to say more? I handle their training French culture classes at the above hotel. More here:

Some night action well head for Le Comptoir du Canal at 14 quai de la Loire 19éme. you can uncork lesser known liquids here like a Koforobé from the Ardeche  and the sparkler Obi wine keno bubble. the owners worked at the Avant Comptoir and now heading their own joint; glass of wine for 4.50-8€ open Mondays to Saturday until 02H (2AM). More here:

And something in Paris closer to Brittany, the Breizh Café (or Café Brittany) all done with parquet, brut stones, wood and leather in the champion of the galette Breton in the heart of the Latin Quarter. Crêpes from 10.50€ located at 1 rue de l’Odéon, 6éme.More here:

And now how about those teas at Naturathéra, 85 rue de la Verrerie 4éme; this is a herbal tea bar natural and organic on a basement the only one in Paris! it can cure many ailments as well, cup from 4.50€; more here:

And here is a nice park away from Paris in just over the river Neuilly sur Seine dept 92 (Hauts de Seine); Parc de la Folie Saint-James, 16 avenue de Madrid.  totally restored it has a playground, large rock, palladian bridge, ancient column and even a temple of love.  More in French from the city page here:

A temple of outsider arts in Paris, the Halles Saint Pierre in the 18éme arrondissement at 2 rue Ronsard. The show is Caro and Jeunet (who did the film Amélie) will be back . The place will be full of marionettes ,maquetes , moving creatures, storyboards, costume rendering and more. Showing the recently release Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children. running until July 31: more here:

Another show I came to know the comedian and the girlfriend while eating at La Gare 16éme; is Olivier Giraud and the ever running show How to become a Parisian in one hour? ! All in English at the theater des Nouveautés. You can buy the tickets online on the webpage too. More on the theater here:

A bible for arts lovers is the book , Degas Danse Dessin done with the collaboration of Edgar Degas and Paul Valéry on dancers and now exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, 1 rue de la legion d”honneur 7éme. More here:

And back to sweets the royal Stohrer, 51 rue Montorgueil  2éme.  Founded in Paris in 1730! by the pastry maker of king Louis XV. Love their religiouse for two 12€: more here:

And the wonderful presidential Chateau de Rambouillet after restoration is back; home of French kings and Presidents since the 19C. The grand dining room has been restored and set up as it was during the G6 meeting of 1975. Set up with Sévres porcelain, Christofle cutlery, and sterling silver centerpiece; admission from 7€. More here:

Go back to one of old hangouts and favorite the L’Alcazar 62 rue Mazarin 6éme. A tropical winter garden set up with balcony cocktail bar. For vegan on Sunday you have brunch for 41€ as well; but better come for the trendy and wonderful menu and drinks too. More here:

Something different a library in the Marais. Come to La Moutte Rieuse (cheerful seagull) at 17bis rue Pavée 4éme. this is bookstore and much more, with over 35000 books and a café restaurant (love it) , gallery, delicatessen, and special sections for vintage posters, coloring books,and diaries ;more here:

Another classic in my roundups around Paris is Café Pouchkine at 16 Place de la Madeleine 8éme. A marriage of France and Russia, a gourmet pastry chain now but the original here. the menu is designed by Alain Ducasse!! More here for their newest store by the Madeleine:

And how about those wines of the Pyrénées! well go for Vins de Pyrénées, 25 rue Beautrellis 4éme. serving bistronomic cuisine at all hours and now  a new menu with a great croque monsieur with truffle gouda cheese ,has also a great wine list of course. there is even a hidden cocktail bar and heated outdoor terrace. More here:

La Cité du Cinéma at 20 rue Ampére ,Saint Denis dept 93 or Seine-Saint-Denis. you can visit on guided tours on Wednesdays 13h30 for 14,90€. This is often call here the Hollywood of the Seine as were movie studios house in a dramatic glass and steel 1930’s power station. The place showcase all the magic of cinema on the Avenue des Studios where sets are constructed and film costumes are on display. More here:

And the famous post office of the louvre (1850) is going thru renovations. Magnificent arcades and Haussmannian facades sheltered by the rue du louvre. The renovations will be done by February 2019 and will house only a third of the building for the new post office and in addition; a police station,day care center,social housing, commerces, co working spaces, and shops in the inner courtyard.  Plans call for the top floor to house an 80 rooms luxury hotel from the Elegancia group and a panoramic restaurant. More here:

You should come see an aviation and space  museum and site of the Paris Air Show (next 2019), this is Le Bourget at the musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.  Opened in 1917 and was Paris main airport until 1961.  since 1975 it has hosted the museum. More on the museum here:

and the Paris Air Show here:

And the wonderful Salle Pleyel built in 1927, featuring the unique acoustics developed by Gustave Lyon that change the way Parisians experience music and dedicated to classical music with a décor of Art Déco style. A must for the architecture if the Classical music is not for you. More here:

If coming to see Notre Dame Cathedral, why not go just across into the Hôtel Dieu built in the Cité in 651AD, and Paris oldest hospital. You can come into the lobby and wonderful gardens. In 1877 Emperor Napoléon III was modernized as part of Baron Haussmann redesign of Paris. A heaven to mingle and tell history around you: more here:

At Raincy in dept 93 Seine Saint-Denis you come to see Notre Dame de la Consolation church built in 1922 by August Perret in reinforce concrete crown by a soaring roof resting on 28 slender pillars all surrounded in the stained glass by work from Maurice Denis and Marguerite Huré.  You can come on the RER C from Paris; more here in English:

And I will finished my ramblings with a gem. Nola Restaurant  gastronomic upstairs and POBoy Café downstairs. Done by cheesecake queen Rachel Moeller celebrating the cuisine of New Orleans LA USA. Chef Ryan Pearson a native of New Orleans makes heaven with the Cajun delicacies with creative touches. The menu 45-60€ located at 72 quai de Jemmapes 10éme. More on both here:

You all have a wonderful week, my is starting after the Philippines more later on that. Cheers!



January 21, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXI

Well I am back and so much to tell you on my latest and new info from my collection of Some news from France! The belle France is popping, airports, train stations full;and even if the weather has been raining and cold as down as 3C in Paris, the people are out and so was I.

Some of the nice places to go is Elmer, a cellar grocery store with a nice selection of wines such as montlouis-sur-loire of Jousset, Saumur from the Domaine Bobinet, beaujolais de France Gonzalvez, wines for house wine from the côtes catalanes and Riberach. They are at 19, rue Notre-Dame de Nazareth, 3eme. No telephone yet ; wines from 5 euros a glass and -20% on the bottles you take home. tapas foodies between 5 -18 euros. More here:

Another one is Chéri bibi , a wine bar, diner, grocery store all in black and yellow deco with marble and wood. Natural wines such as VDF blanc Ad Naturam from the Château Lassolle, arbois Tôt ou tard from Jean-Baptiste Menigoz. They are at 50, rue d’Espagne, 64200 Biarritz. Tél. +33 (0) 5 59 41 24 75. wines between 3 -7 euros a glass, right of cork of 10 euros , lunch menus at 12€ 16€ and 19€. diner dishes from 3-19€. More here:

Enyaa only steps from the Palais-Royal, on the foundations of the house of Molière deco with old stones and clear woods along with bottles of Champagne and Sake. The house has about 60 references such as Agrapart, De Sousa, Larmandier-Bernier, etc, and about 20 of saké such as from Kyoto, Nagano, Tochigi etc. Located at 37, rue de Montpensier, 1éme. Tél. +33 (0)1 40 26 78 25. Menus from 29-48 euros, lunches , and from 58-88 euros dinners. You can mix and match food and wines from +40 and +60 euros. Champagne between 9 -17 euros glass and Saké from 9 -11 euros glass. More here:

Séptieme la cave is here along the Bastille,in the annex of the restaurant Septime,that is the meeting point of the internationals of hipsters 7/7 taste wines in any language from whites reds and bubbly of France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Géorgia from 10 to 80 euros. Located at 3, rue Basfroi, 11éme. Tél. +33 (0) 1 43 67 14 87. wines between 5-12 euros a glass right of cork for 7 euros and dishes from 4-14 euros. More here:

More moving to the La dilettante with a revolving selection of wines from all of France and beyond with a cellar of more than 800 references such as a glass of morgon from the Domaine Joseph Chamonard or a barbera d’alba of Mascarello. Located at 11, rue du Faubourg-Bretonnière, 21200 Beaune. Tél. +33 (0)3 80 21 48 59. wines from 3,50 to 10 euros per glass; dishes between 9-18 euros. More here:

Steps from the wonderful Vieux-Port of Marseille you come to the Cave des Papilles. The sister location of the one in Paris has more than 400 references mostly bio from côtes-du-jura Champ d’Aubert 2015 of Valentin Morel ; and several jars of olives and lemon while having a VDF Nino 2014 of the domaine Es d’Aqui. Located at 84-86, rue de Grignan, 13001 Marseille. Tél. +33 (0)4 86 26 54 16. wines betweeen 5-10 euros in the restaurant. Lunch formules at 24€ and evenings at 35€. More here:

Hidden in a small area in the 4éme of Paris, precisely at 40 rue des Blancs-Manteaux,you have the boutique Terres de café. A usual place to taste coffees from specialists or the grands crus from the world over. The « Geisha Bar » is an initiation to the botanical varieties the most fragile of the world coming from the forests of Geisha in Ethiopia. A coffee of purity flowery aromas that is part of the best offered by the bar. Some of them are the Marcala Uluma from Honduras, with white flower and peach, and the Yeti Yanqii, with its fruity and spicy taste available all for sale and tastings in all five boutiques in Paris of the Terres de café. Geisha Bar in the Terres de café at 40 rue des Blancs Manteaux, 4éme. Open tuesdays to saturdays from 9h30 to 19h , Sundays from 13h to 18h. More at

A bit on the market side we have amongst the specialise markets those from the fleas at Puces de Clignancourt (Saint-Ouen) or those in parc Georges-Brassens 15éme, reserves for old books; not too many have a fix site. However, at the Place d’Aligre (12éme)there is one of the few that are open every day except Mondays by about 40 stands selling all kinds of trinkets. Here you have the locals coming to do their groceries in the covered market Beauvau that is just next to the fleas. The OHVL,a leading French org that organizes some of the meetings by the boulevard Blanqui (13éme) on some weekends. Some others are held by the avenue Ledru-Rollin (13éme) or antiques on the street. More here:

Something that is going on as I write (latest by BFMTV shows Le Pecq near St Germain en Laye, Yvelines 78) is the raising of the water levels in the Seine river. It reach 4,15 meters (about 14 feet) at Austerlitz according to DRIEE coming down to going up again to 3,50 meters or about 11.5 feet. The announce continuing rains will make matters worse with rising water levels. The estimates by Vigicrues tell us rising to 3,80 meters and even 3,92 meters by this weekend or even higher. At Chatou the impressionist island it was 3.29 meters .The mayor’s office of Paris has decided to closed the roads along the river and the tunnel of Tuileries. More in French here:

UPDATE: this is the latest as of today January 23rd on the rising waters of the Seine river and many others in France going on as I write:

Expecting highs Tuesday 23 January at between 4.8 – 5,2 meters and prevision for Wednesday January 24 morning to be between  5.4- 5.7 meters . There are so far 7 train station closed until at least January 26; Saint-Michel Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Champ-de-Mars, Avenue du Président Kennedy, Boulainvilliers, Pont de l’Alma (already closed for renovation). The vigicrues water organism and the city of Paris had decided to close the roads under the Pont National both ways to the A4 autoroute. The tunnel des Tuileries  and the underground  Henri-IV.  The roads along the river on the left bank or Rive gauche (pont de l’Alma  to pont Royal). The roads along the river on the right bank or Rive droite (Tuileries  to Mazas) are closed as well.  The tunnel des Tuileries and the road  voie Georges-Pompidou  between the  pont de Garigliano and the pont de Bir-Hakeim are closed. They have made the  avenue Kennedy into a two way road between the streets or rue du Ranelagh  and rue de Beethoven. The road of Valhubert 13eme district was closed since Monday.  There are several buildings where access is not allowed along the Seine river as well.

This past wednesday the airline Ryanair, announce the opening of four new destinations from the airport of Beauvais-Tillé. Travelers will be able to flight to Slovania with Bratislava two flights per week, to Malta 2 per week, to Prague in Czech Republic 3 flights per week and to Thessaloniki Greece 2 per week. More here:

Something wonderful in my old Yvelines 78 is coming. Saturday September 15 2018. You all welcome to bring your folding chairs around the lake of Corot in Ville d’Avray. From the scene of the « Au bord des bois… l’étang », or along the forest, the lake there will be solo singers, piano voices, musicians playing different pieces on a floating scene in the middle of the lake. The first edition of the Musicales de Corot. Jean-Baptiste Corot had done more than 250 paintings in the lake on this beautiful site right next to Versailles and Paris. They are hoping to make an annual event do come just the site is gorgeous More info email at or by cellular tel +33 (0) The place is here to keep an eye for the event in English:

The bicycle is coming stronger, who would figure many years ago on the start of the Vélib I took a ride around the Parc Monceau not believing it would work; well I was wrong it has. There are 107 new stations Vélib this week. Now the program is managed by Smovengo. There are other 200 stations waiting for connection with the goal of having them operational by end of January 2018. Later, to reach 1000 by March 31st with 1400 counting the nearby towns by next Spring. More here in French:

And we keep opening lines of transportation all over. There will be a new deviation on the line Ribécourt-Noyon to go around the west of Noyon. The deviation will be of 3,5 km long linking Mont-Renaud to the axis Noyon-Roye. Also, will need work on the Canal Seine nord that will border the west of the town (see photo map).
canal seine nord routing riverways

And Bordeaux is stepping out as the IN city. All along the Garonne river there is a renaissance of businesses and sites such as the new markets, contemporary arts museum the wine center and others. Until April 1 2018 come see the exposition « Schweizweit, il n’y a pas une architecture suisse », or there is no Swiss architecture . More info here!

Open last November in floating pools on the Garonne river been the vedette of the quai des Chartrons. The halles de Bacalan has 23 stands showcasing the gastronomy of the south west of France. Especially the delicious foies gras of landes of the Maison Paris. There is a restaurant to allow to cook and taste on site the product purchased. Open Tuesdays to Sundays at 10, esplanade de Pontac.Bordeaux; more here:

Bistrot du Fromager you come to smell taste and buy the goat and ewes milik cheeses! Nice finds from the area ,refine cold cuts and area wines ;try to get the terraces for the Garonne river glory. Have a petite tomme Aquitaine country cheese with the light haut médoc red of Château Lalande. The bistrot is also a cellar; open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 17h to 02h at 73, quai des Chartrons. Tél.+33 (0)5-56-98-17-08. More here:

A classic new hotel the hôtel Seeko’o with sculptural lines in the middle of old buildings by the historic quai de Bacalan . The hotel has been called the « l’iceberg » or the glaçon=ice by the locals. It has 44 rooms with spacious bedrooms in a loft style and a suite of 55 sq meters with a big view of the Garonne river and its barges. From 110€ doubles at 54, quai de Bacalan. More here:

Then, of course wine Bordeaux so a museum about wines! La Cité du Vin Better go to the 7th floor (8th US) to the restaurant Le 7 offering a magnificent view over the moon harbor or port de la Lune, call as such for the curve in the form of a croissant over the Graonne river of the bridge or pont Jacques-Chaban-Delmas. admission from 8€ Open very day at 134-150, quai de Bacalan. more info here:

The wonderful museum or Musée de Bayeux (Calvados dept 14), will go thru a renovation period estimates to be finishe by 2023,and will lend the famous tapistry of bayeux to probably the Britih Museum . The so called Telle du Conquest as it was called in the past recalling the invasion of England by William the Conqueror. So doing the lending what others such as French, Spanish, Germans and Scandinavians institutions had not done. More here:
The museum page is here :

And for last, back to Paris to understand French architecture. What was the date of the profession of Architecture in France? .The elegant hotel de Soubise that houses the national archives will try to respond to this question. Until March 12 2018 the exposition design to build or « Dessiner pour bâtir » rends honor to the transformation of the Great Century that gave the masters of these works to us. The French architects of the 17C needed to wait until the middle of the 20C to received credit that first came to them by the anglo Saxons countries. Then, architects such as Claude Perrault (1613-1688), Louis Le Vau (1612-1670), Augustin-Charles d’Aviler (1653-1701), Jacques Lemercier (1585-1654), François Blondel (1618-1686), Jules Hardouin-Mansart (1646-1708), and his uncle François Mansart benefitted from documented publications in the French language. More here:

And enjoy your Sunday wherever you are; I am back from the Philippines. Cheers!!!

January 3, 2018

The wines of Rioja and Castilla La Mancha

Well how about writing about two distinct wine regions of Spain. One, Rioja is already world famous for it’s red wines; however, they do whites and sparkling/cava wines there too. The other is little known but coming along quite nicely with good efforts.

I have written a long post on the wines of  Rioja here:

Now, will tell you about what the different government organisations in the area are doing to promote the wine tours to these bodegas/wineries.

The regional administrations such as  the areas of La Rioja, Álava, and Navarra as well as local city mayor’s office such as Logroño, Haro, Elciego, Aldeanueva de Ebro, and Laguardia  as well as public and private entities are pushing this wines initiatives now.  On the other hand the regulatory council of the denomination of Rioja or Consejo Regulador Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja  are into the strategic plan for the future or the Plan Estratégico de Rioja 2005-2020, are pushing these initiatives of enotourism so the visitor can enjoy fully the experience.  The official regulatory council here:

The recent interest by consumers to know the world of wines has push for new sites to spread the culture of wine and tourism. One example of this is the case of the Vivanco museum or  Museo Vivanco, an initiative of the family with 9000 m2 of property offering a tour on the culture of wines from antiquity to our days thru their expositions and activities. The thematic center of the  Vino Villa Lucia, opened in 2000 in Laguardia,is also offering a didactic tour with interactive action on the growing of grapes  with seminars and conferences such as the forum of tourism Enogastronomic in the route of the wines of Rioja Alavesa or the Foro de Turismo Enogastronómico de la Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alavesa. More info in Spanish here:

More on museo Vivanco here in English:

Vino Villa lucia here in Spanish:

Rioja offers the possibility of enjoying many events and activities relating to wines such as the tastings on the neighborhood of the Station or Cata del Barrio de la Estación, an initiative of the wineries association of Haro or Asociación de Bodegas del Barrio de la Estación de Haro. It hopes to consolidate this space with other enotourism destinations in the world to enjoy a weekend with wines from seven Spanish wineries.  The municipality of Aldeanueva de Ebro  with Entreviñas, a festival of different activities from professional days to visit to wineries, wine fair, tastings, contests and music.

The Cata Estacion in English here:

Entreviñas 2017 here:

take a look for events in 2018 on the above town of Aldeanueva del Ebro with music and wine here:

the program of the route of wines of Spain or Rutas del Vino de España was established to promote the wine tourism thru vineyards, wineries and places of interest related to them. In the denomination area of Rioja or D.O. Ca. Rioja to create two routes of wines: the Rioja alavesa or Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alavesa  and the Rioja Alta or Ruta del vino de Rioja Alta.  Currently there is work on creating the Rioja Baja or Ruta del Vino de Rioja Baja, already with more than 60 bodegas and the Villa Lucía. At Elciego, with the wine city of Marques de Riscal or  Ciudad del Vino de la bodega Marqués de Riscal, and in Labastida, the birthplace of Rioja are a must visits. The Ruta del Vino de Rioja Alta is found in the autonomous community of La Rioja where historically the culture of wines was developed in this region.  Amongt it’s more remarkable buildings are a rich historical and artistic heritage such as the  Monasterio de San Millán de la Cogolla, Monasterio de Santa María La Real de Nájera, the city of Haro, and the small medieval town of Briones etc.  There is ,also, a wonderful natural surrounding with the vineyards that connects the valley of Ebro or valle del Ebro with the sierra de la Demanda to the south and the Montes Obarenes to the west and going thru the valleys of the rivers Najerilla, Tirón, and Oja.

Many activities such as the battle of the wine or Batalla del Vino held from June 29 in Haro with rival disputes on the city of Miranda, Burgos. The participants dressed in white and on the footsteps of the ermitage or Ermita de San Felices, and twisted streets of Bilibio, they throw red wines at each others on the streets! More in Spanish here:

You can also join in to the festival or Fiesta de San Mateo y de la Vendimia Riojana, that is held in September 21st in Logroño.  Deep countryside roots on the days of thanksgivings, official act stepping on grapes and the must is used as offering to the Virgin of Valvanera, the Patron Saint of the Rioja, finished by carriages with a vineyard theme and plenty of tastings on the streets. More here:

Also, the Fiesta de la Vendimia de Rioja Alavesa a more recent creation held on the second Sunday of September each year around the towns showing the visitor the typical vineyards life of the region.  More info on the 2017 festivities but keep a lookout on the site for 2018 here:

The Wine Routes of Rioja webpage is here:

Some wineries worth going into them are:

Finca Valpiedra with 80 ha of vineyards on a beautiful edges of the Ebro river; bodega founded by the Martinez Bujanda family of deep roots in the area. It is between the towns of Cenicero and Fuenmayor. Right into the Sierra de Cantabria to the north norte and Sierra de la Demanda to the south with gorgeous views. More here:

Bodegas Riojanas founded in 1890 preserves the entry to the bodega a stone door that in 1799 allows entry into the private vineyards of the family. The installations has experiences on the senses to touch and smell the element done there like the material they produce the barrels of oak and the different soils it harvest. More here:

Bodegas Lecea  is a drain of stones that will leave you speechless with underground passages built in the 16C with original goat skins as when wines were preserve in them . The Lecea in San Asensio, has one of the bodegas that focus on the thematic experiences on the world of grapes. They have done it with rides on horse wagons , visit to vineyards, and the festival of the stepping on of the grapes call by ACEVIN, (Asociación Española de Rutas del Vino), the best enotourism experience of 2016. More here:

Màrques de Caceres with modernity and elegance bodega, one of my favorites. Very innovative machinery on the tour of the property on a model founded in 1970 by Enrique Forner. They combine the tastings sessions with Christmas market, yoya sessions, and flamenco shows. The visit is at Cenicero and offers a guided tour of the installations and tasting of four wines such as Antea Blanco Edición Limitada, Gran reserva, MC , and  Gadium). All from 15€ and about two hours. More here:

Bodegas Tritium was created in the 16C but recently restore. The thing to see here is the illuminated cellars on about 10 meters deep and 30 meters long, rather small yes. However, you find the mix of modernity and tradition very nice here. They make Crianza, bottling all their wines, pre and harvest of the Tritium farms. They offered three types of guided visits, the standard for 10€ and 60 minutes, the advance for 15€ and 90 minutes, and the Premium for 39€ and 120 minutes. More here:

Some facts on white wine in the Rioja. In March 1992, the cultivation of white grapes were discontinue in the Rioja; at this time there were 8 227 ha and 90% of it was the grape Viura or the local name for it, Macabeo, making it 18,67% of the total vineyard area of the denomination/DOC. Before that, many wineries had stopped producing white wine and the Marqués de Riscal had opted to do so from Rueda. By 2017 ,the planting has recovered just a part but already over 6 000 ha of white grapes or 9% of the total vineyard area. In the last five years the white grapes of Rioja has increase by volume 50% and pass the 14 millions liters to 21,5 million liters in the last available year as of October 2017. In the last 12 months ,the increase has been by 21% national and international markets according to Nielsen,therefore, from each four bottles of quality wine ,one is white wine or 27% of the commercialization of the region’s wines. Currently, the volume done by Rioja on white wine represent 7,5% from 5% coverage it had in 2010. Information translated from

However, wait a minute folks. I have done my family vacation on the last two years in Castilla La Mancha region, and as a wine aficionado with pro experience in this industry, I can tell you the wines here have improved tremendously and a lot cheaper still.

I have written a long post on my blog about the wines of Castilla La Mancha and photos here:

This I have purchased , drank locally and taken some bottles back with me and still very good deal. Finca Antigua Crianza from Bodega Finca Antigua (part of the Martinez Bujanda company), year 2012, tempranillo grapes 50% , Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Merlot 20%, and Syrah 10%. It can still hold until 2023, and the price is 7€!!! Very nice tannins peaches, fine leather, cloves, vanilla on American oak in the background reaching complexity very nice flavor fine and long, in one word: Excellent. More here:

You have several others from wineries/bodegas of Guadalajara, Toledo,and Cuenca provinces as well as Albacete and Ciudad Real. Here you see half the total wine production of Spain! There is a lot of cheap industrial wine done by huge cooperatives or private giants companies offering wine from 2,75€. However, when you go up to a Pago Calzadilla, Rio Negro or Finca Antigua you are in heaven, pocketwise too. The tourist page of the region focus on wine is here:

As for tastings, leave you with some of my favorites in addition to the above.

Calzadilla Allegro 2010 100% Syrah for 16€, more here:

Finca Rio Negro  2012 24€ more here:

Illanas Crianza red  16€ of Bodega Gasillana, more here:

Enjoy it , and feel free.. the wines of Spain. In vino veritas ; Cheers!!!

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