Archive for ‘France’

August 9, 2022

The Nantes airport !!!

I have used it so many times over the years ! It’s about time I update this older post of many memories. Ever since moved to the Morbihan in 2011, this has been my airport, Nantes where all flights were taken business or family trips, my getaway to the world ! Always looking forward to use it again, eventually, I hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Aéroport Nantes-Atlantique , (IATA code: NTE), is an international airport located on the territory of the towns of Bouguenais and Saint-Aignan-Grandlieu near Nantes, but as geography have it, takes the name of the bigger town.  This is in dept 44 Loire Atlantique and region of Pays de la Loire. It is the second most important airport in the West of France, after that of Bordeaux, and the 9th of France in number of passengers as of 2018. Of course, the pandemic had its struggles and me going by there too.


A bit of history I like

In 1928, an aviation camp was created for essentially military use, on a 50-hectare site on the banks of the road N23 from Nantes to Paimbœuf  (now RD 723), near Château de Bougon. Built in 1932, it welcomed in 1934-1935 a factory Breguet establishments, with a connection to the airfield. In 1939, the grass track was replaced by a 900 m × 40 m concrete track. During the occupation, the Nazis made it a real camp with barracks, blockhouses, and concrete casemates, etc. From there the Luftwaffe bombers headed for England. At the end of the war, the French Air Force regains possession of the land, which the Nazis had  destroyed the infrastructure at the time of their retirement.

The Terminals of Nantes airport which I have used them all by now !!!, The airport has a terminal consisting of three main parts called Hall 1, 2, 3 ,and later 4 was added with a lighter architecture, initially dedicated to the regional subsidiary of Air France. There is Hall 1, reserved for arrivals and you will also find a number of shops and restaurants there, as well as the information point and the “lost property” counter, open from 6h to 22h. Hall 2 mainly used for registration check ins. Hall 3 allows access to check-in gates 21 to 67 and is also used to gain access to Hall 4. It is mainly used by low-cost airlines. Hall 4 was initially planned to accommodate only Air France flights, then opened up to regional flights and the low-cost airlines. It allows access to gates 71 to 77 and is also used for arrivals.

There are 2 Relay stores (in the public area of Hall 2 and in the boarding area of Hall 3), where you can buy magazines, press, snacks and other travel accessories. Also, a new space Monop’Daily fast food. Aelia DutyFree, the duty-free store at Nantes airport, located in the boarding area of Hall 3 (be careful, to benefit from a tax-free price, you will have to comply with certain conditions regarding your country of destination ).

Restaurants have change a bit now available in the terminals are: La Brioche Dorée (Hall 3 & 4 in the boarding area) where you can find pastries and hot and cold sandwiches.  La Buvette du Voyage , on the first floor of Hall 1, resto or wrap you have it.  La Terrasse, in Hall 3, a café also offering fast food. Starbucks ground level .  La Grande Tablée first floor (2nd US) Prêt A Manger street level registration area.

Foreign exchange outlet CIC at Hall 2, and  outside Hall 3, open 7/24. You can temporarily leave your valuables at the Reception – Information counter in Hall 1.  The conditions and prices are as of today for items that can be kept in an envelope measuring no more than 28 cm x 36 cm.

For the lost and found:  Items found in, or in the immediate vicinity of, the terminal are handed in at the Reception-Information counter in Hall 1.  VAT refund (sales tax): For more information on the VAT refunds procedure in France and the instructions for use of the Pablo terminal, go to:

Hotels nearby are Hotel Oceania ****, Hotel Escale Oceania ***, and Hotel B&B ** ; I have used them all! Rental cars counters of Avis , Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise, and Sixt, (I have used Hertz and Europcar) .Regular bus network TAN between 6 h and 21 are lines 48 and 98, However, the best is the Express Aeroport Bus, taken many times just superbe ! By taxi (allow about 30 to 35 euros each way to get to the center), Best outfits Taxis-Nantes, Hep-Taxis, easily online.



The most practical here is the Express Aeroport bus connecting the airport with the train station Sud or South terminal at Nantes, of many glorious easy transfers from Vannes/Auray. The ride is very nice, every 25 minutes or so and leaves you at both in just across the entrances. I have used it extensively these last several years. The cost today is 9€ one way. You go outside cross the arrival road across Hall 2, clearly mark. Official TAN (bus/tramway network of Nantes) schedule and prices for the bus is here in French:




Coming by car as I have done most of the time, there is a pre booking parking space at reduce prices,webpage :

The automobile parkings are the P Minute (only for quick drop offs), P1 covered (direct access to airport most often use), P2 priximity, P3 Proximity, P4 Proximity P5 Proximity, P6 Proximity ,P7 Eco, P8 Eco, P9 Eco, P10 Eco, Rental A and Rental B for rental cars parkings.   My trips by car were easy, taking the N165 expressway all the way to the rocade ouest or west of Nantes follow direction Nantes-Atlantique on the N444 road continue on the N844 same direction over the Pont de Cheviré then exit/sortie 51 still direction airport until the terminal which road is the D85. The main thing follow the signs for Nantes-Atlantique, easy,1h30 from my house !


The official Nantes airport :

The official city of Nantes transports network TAN

The official Nantes tourist office:

There you go folks, another nice memory easy way in and out of my belle France. I like the fact that the airport of Nantes-Atlantique is still small enough to walk thru it and big enough to allow easy flights in and out in addition to great train, plane, connections. Hope you enjoy the post and do not hesitate on taking it, its great! I look forward to do so again,eventually, And for the latest travel contraints check your airline, travel agency or government sites.

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

August 9, 2022

Some news from France , CCCLXVI

It’s time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12 years now!! And for those non Roman CCCLXVI is 366 , another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We are in Summer ,and temps already back to canicule level so drink,,,anything, and we continue eating out in our veranda porch , grand! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Now for the lovers of doors, which i see plenty bloggers are, the one unique and the best for me is at 29 avenue Rapp 7éme arrondissement of Paris. This is an Art Nouveau building and door and done by Jules Lavirotte the best example of the belle epoque. The entry door with a heading of a women head sculpture around Adam and Eve chase from paradise is awesome to look at. I used to have a picture of it but can’t find it, if you like doors go by there is a must really.

The recruitment campaign completed last March 2022 has enabled eighteen new sellers to set up shop on the banks of the Seine, alongside the famous green boxes filled with books Paris has seen 18 street booksellers set up shop on the banks of the Seine, On the Quai de l’Hôtel-de-Ville in Paris (4éme), exits from the Pont-Marie metro. These are the new famous Bouquinistes de Paris !!!

Competition for the most beautiful terrace in Paris: merchants invited to sublimate “the French art of living”. Selection criteria: aesthetics, vegetation, quality of materials and respect for environmental issues. The vote is on in the city of Paris !

The A1 closed for nearly three days to lay the footbridge connecting the Stade de France to the Olympic Aquatic Center, A spectacular operation will be carried out in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis 93), between this Monday evening from 22h and Thursday at 04h in order to remove the bridge linking these two major Olympic Games 2024 sites. It will lead to the closure of part of the highway/ motorway for 54 hours.

How customs fight against fraud and trafficking on the A1 highway/motorway, On the busiest motorway in Europe, the forty customs officers of the internal surveillance brigade (BSI) of Nogent-sur-Oise are increasing the seizures of illicit products. Report on the outskirts of Chamant, the largest toll gate in the Hauts-de-France region. The agent asks a few questions: “Where are you from? », « What were you doing there? “, ” Where are you going ? “, ” Why ? “. “The idea is to understand the logic of their journey.” And perhaps also to detect an ounce of feverishness? It’s mostly a matter of experience, Big brother is watching you on the roads of France, And of course, this goes up wonder why huh !

The Domaine Chabrand-Thibault estate, a veritable green lung that was once private ,the local govt now will install a promenade there. Beyond a breathtaking view of the Seine valley and the Paris region, the Chabrand-Thibault estate, in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, definitely conceals many treasures. this vast green lung of nine hectares, owned by the region since 2014 and included in the regional space of the buttes du Parisis, to open it to the public in March 2023. There will be a paved promenade in balcony and a staircase of 180 steps, which will cross this island historically attached to the private estate of La Châtaigneraie. Located in the historic city center, and along the strategic road, the park is crossed by a forest and a meadow. It owes its name to Jean-Victor Thibault, a notary who married Anne Émilie Gabrielle Chabrand, daughter of an important landowner, and who donated a lot of land to the city. Visitors will therefore soon be able to walk around the site to discover its alleys populated by bicentenary oaks and chestnut trees, but also its remains of a romantic park , and in particular white arches whose origin remains unexplained as well as its many species of birds such as the Woodpecker, the Jay of the oaks or the Blackcap. The domain having been closed for fifty years ! , it is rather the non-humans who have taken up residence there.Until now,,,info webpage in French :

The national forest of Compiègne (Oise 60 ) attracts around 1.5 million visitors a year. Among the most frequented sites are the belvedere of Beaux-Monts and the ponds of Saint-Pierre in Vieux-Moulin. A little corner of paradise among swans, dragonflies and moorhens. is adorned with a pedestrian path, an educational trail and many other surprises Parking area, pedestrian path, cycle path, educational trail…Nice lung to wandered around me think, webpage :

In the Palace of Versailles there are very elaborate, the souvenir shops of the residence of the Sun King offer thousands of handpicked references. Each product has been validated to ensure that it complies with the image of the castle. A business that targets both new visitors and regulars. The Palace of Versailles, its Hall of Mirrors, its Trianon, its gardens… and its shops. Each more neat than the other. In the middle of summer, that of the Dufour Pavilion, located at the end of the visit, is teeming with tourists. Each year, they are 7 million to hurry to the Sun King. And so many potential customers. I have a post about the castle shops! Webpage :

The RATP strikes very hard and invites you to explore, thanks to its interactive map, all the underground street art works it has listed. To carry out this project, the Parisian transport group has joined forces with Notorious Brand, an artists’ collective and Quai 36, an art production house. RATP pdf map :

It is possible to enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree view of all of Paris from the colonnade of the Pantheon! Until now reserved for guided tours, you can now take advantage of this entry visit for only 11.50 euros. The Panthéon, Place du Panthéon 5éme Paris, webpage:

The Paris Zoological Park, located in the Bois de Vincennes, in the 12éme arrondissement, offers a new experience to come and discover: Sundays at the zoo “Between friends”. Every last Sunday of the month, you can recharge your batteries with your friends: note August 28, September 25 and October 23. Paris Zoological Park Avenue Daumesnil 12éme, webpage:

At the beginning of July, the Abbey of Maubuisson inaugurated “AVA” a Virtual Assistant of Archeology which allows to discover the history of the place in an original and alternative way. Let yourself be transported by this sound journey and come and live an unforgettable interactive experience! Maubuisson Abbey Abbey Park, Avenue Richard de Tour – 95310 Saint-Ouen l’Aumône, Every day From 8h to 20h, Until October 10, From 8h to 18h30, From October 11 to March 31 webpage :

The Basilica Sacre Coeur or Sacred Heart, have you visited it from the inside? At almost 130 meters above sea level, enjoy a view of all of Paris. Located at the Butte Montmartre, it is open to the public every day. With the strong summer heat, take the time to cool off inside the place and admire the many stained glass windows and the impressive mosaic of Christ in Glory! Basilica of the Sacred Heart, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre 18éme, webpage:

Located in the heart of the Bois de Vincennes, La Ferme de Paris is managed according to organic farming practices, with respect for the environment and animal welfare! On its 5 hectares available, meet very cute animals and enjoy the vegetable gardens, orchards, fields and forests! La Ferme De Paris, 1 Route du Pesage 12éme, Vincennes tourist office on the farm :

Since its reopening on June 3, come and have a good time at Jardin21 and enjoy its beautiful space of 1850 square meters. The cultural third place located on the edge of the Canal de l’Ourcq concocts beautiful afternoons but also beautiful summer evenings! Jardin21 ,12A rue Ella Fitzgerald 19éme ,webpage:

La Brasserie Fondamentale invites you to quench your thirst around a good beer with friends at more than 200 meters in height. Perched at the top of the Montparnasse Tower, we promise you a breathtaking view and a nice rooftop on the left bank! Tour Montparnasse, La Brasserie Fondamentale, Open 7 days a week, From 9h30 to 23h30, webpage:

The ephemeral terrace of the Trianon Palace in Versailles is hosting a new concept of “country barbecue” this summer. A unique grilled menu cooked in front of customers by chef Frédéric Larquemin. Every Thursday and Friday evening, as well as Saturday noon, the braziers are set up on the lawn to cook a selection of grilled meats in front of customers In this friendly atmosphere animated by a DJ, the codes of the palace are respected, The “Trianon Champêtre” formula is offered at 55 euros per person. It should last until the end of September, weather permitting, Bon appétit !webpage:

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior of this blog. Hope you enjoy the post and do prepare for an eventful Summer! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

August 5, 2022

The Deutsches Eck of Koblenz !!

In my wandering road warrior trips in Europe, I have come to Germany. Yes by plane and car indeed. One of our favorites cities there was/is Koblenz.  By the way in French , we have translated as Coblence... I like to update this older post and tell you a bit more on the Deutsches Eck  or German Corner , emblematic of the city and a must to visit while there or near Koblenz. Let me tell you a bit on it ok. Hope you enjoy it as I.

Koblenz  is a town in the state of Rhineland Palatine , the name come from the confluence of two rivers the Rhine and the Moselle in the German corner or Deutsches Eck, the closest big city are Bonn at 60 km and Mayence at 90 km.  My visit here has been by car from Trier so the road 602 ,then A1, B48 and finally the 9 roads or about 3 hrs. time. All toll free as we like them.  There is a train station of course,and close airports at Frankfort and Koln; as well as easy navigation by river. However, to us ,car is king and queen between cities.

We reached the Deutsches Eck  or German Corner! at the huge statue of emperor William I of Germany and overlooking the  Moselle and Rhine rivers with the great cable car to the fortress above and the quant restaurants along the riverbank.(see post)

Deutsches Eck  or German Corner is the name of a headland in Koblenz, where the Moselle river joins the Rhine river. Named after a local commander of the Teutonic Order, it became known for a monumental equestrian statue of William I, first German Emperor, erected in 1897 in appreciation of his merits in the unification of Germany. It was erected and solemnly inaugurated in the presence of the emperor on 31 August 1897.


After the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic in 1949, the country was divided between a capitalist part and a communist part . In order to express the deep desire for a united Germany, President Theodor Heuss gave the German corner a monument dedicated to German unity. As a result, the coat of arms of all the German Länder (states), including those of the former German territories such as Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania, were installed there. In replacement of the destroyed equestrian statue, a German flag floated on the place. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, three pieces of concrete wall were installed next to the monument. On October 3, 1990, the emblems of the new federal states were added. The reinstallation of the equestrian statue of emperor William I, was done on September 25, 1993. Today, a large national flag and the flags of the 16 Länder  (states) are like a reminder of German unity. The three parts of the Berlin Wall are now dedicated to victims of the separation.


The Koblenz tourist office on the German Corner

The Mosel region tourist office on the German Corner

The Regional cultural history site on the German Corner

There you go folks ,this is a dandy one to visit in Koblenz, I hope you enjoy the German Corner or Deutsches Eck of Koblenz.

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

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August 5, 2022

My walks of my Versailles !!!

Ok so lots of walks all over my belle France, we really enjoy it. Not to be mistaken, I love to arrive into town with my car , but once in town,my feet are better than Supermen !! I like these series as it brings lots of family memories to me and share with your some interesting parts of a city me think. This time will take you to my dear Versailles, and my walks in my Versailles !!! Hope you enjoy it as I.

The former Hôtel de la Marine et des Affaires étrangéres, 5 rue de l’Independance Americaine is known for the grand galerie aux sept salles showing the beauty of France in Europe, having as themes the different cities of glorious dates of France. In the center it was a table en marbre that serves for ambassadors meetings and signature of treaties, At this table were signed the May 15 1768 the treaty that brough Corsica to France, and September 3 1783 in which England recognised the independance of the USA, The table is gone as are the archieves of foreign affairs that were replace by old books, The books were taken from noble men and royals by revolutionary confiscations in 1793 from the libraries of aristocrats and nobles that left Versailles,after the French revolution. It is now the Municipal Library of Versailles and course can be visited.

There is an intriguing passage opening onto the salon de l’oeil de bœuf or living room of the bull’s eye ,interior cabinet of the queen and there is a spiral staircase, or the staircase of the dupes. It was a secret passage used by Marie Antoinette to reach Axel Fersen lodging above her lodging. A service staircase like dozens of others in the Palace of Versailles  that the staff of the royal family used every day. But this passage is the oldest of all. This staircase would go back for some to the second castle of Louis XIII built between 1631 and 1634 for others, to the first campaign of work of Louis XIV between 1661 and 1668. The name of escalier des Dupes which is sometimes given is usurped because it is not contemporary with the famous day of the Dupes of November 10 1631 which saw Louis XIII reiterate against the advice of his mother Marie de Medici his confidence in Cardinal Richelieu in his Palace of Versailles. See it ask for it!

The bedroom of Louis XV in the interior apartment of the king, Arriving in Versailles in 1722 at the age of 12, Louis XV first occupied the large central room of his great grandfather, with 90 square meters and its 10 meters high ceiling , the bedroom was all the more difficult to heat in winter as it was exposed to the east, The King Beloved abandoned it at the age of 22 for a more comfortable room facing south, At the end of his reign these comings and goings were no longer an illusion so that it was in his private bedroom that the king died on May 10, 1774. The room that Louis XVI will occupy following his grandfather will remain one of these spaces of the castle which few mortals had the right to tread. Sublime !

The library and bathroom of Madame du Barry; small apartment of the king (2nd floor), Before becoming the title favorite of Louis XV in April 1769, Jeanne Bécu was a saleswoman in a fashion boutique on rue Saint Honoré in Paris. Marry to a certain Count of Barry for making her entry into court, she only reaped contempt and hostility. Aware of the scandal caused by the presence of this young woman of 25 years without nobility, Louis XV sought to protect her by installing her discreetly in his small apartment, It was the winter that Madame du Barry‘s apartment was used the most because in the spring the king and his close friends migrated to the countryside at the Petit Trianon. Louis XV was there with his favorite.

Let’s start with a bit on what is Versailles, a more historical perspective I like and do enjoy walking and riding these spots ! It is with the help of plates from Trudaine’s Atlas illustrating the roads and landscapes of France in the 17C that we learn about the former royal hunting estate of Versailles, built on an area of ​​approximately 10,000 hectares, i.e. an area equivalent to the city of Paris today !! In the beginning, the Val de Galie located between the old feudal divisions of Mantois, Pincerais, Laye, Parisis, Josas and Hureoix, occupied about two leagues of 25 degrees of length, in the direction of the south-east to the north-west, from Viroflay to Villepreux, and a league and a half approximately, in its greatest breadth from north to south, from Rocquencourt to Satory. In the titles of the 16C this valley is called Gally (some locals claims origin of the name of Versailles). To the north was the keep of the castellans of Rocquencourt, flanked by turrets and surrounded by walls, on a wooded hillside overlooking the plain dotted with woods and marshes, and the chapel of St Nicolas at a short distance and under the protection of the keep.This of course is a huge territory today but have done it by car and some posts in my blog !

The park of Versailles extends the gardens thanks to two large bodies of water: the Grand Canal and the pièce d’eau des Suisses, It covers approximately 800 hectares, criss-crossed by straight paths delimiting wooded areas and agricultural fields. This is all a road warrior lands and lots of walks, sublime , a must get away from the palace!

The Grand Canal of Versailles is a basin, part of the park of the Palace of Versailles, built from 1667 at the instigation of Le Nôtre. Before this date, the gate that closed the park was located behind the Bassin des Cygnes. The works completed in 1680, the Grand Canal will serve as the starting point for the fireworks given during the sumptuous royal celebrations that Louis XIV organized at Versailles. The latter would sail there with a substantial fleet: a three-master (“Le Grand Vaisseau”), a galley (“La Dunkerquoise”), rowboats, galiotes, brigantines, gondolas (offered by the Doge of Venice) and , from 1675, two yachts from England. The sailors who served on this flotilla were commanded by Captain Consolin and were housed from 1674 in buildings constructed especially for them near the Trianon, called the “Little Venice”. Every year on September 5, the anniversary of the birth of Louis XIV (in 1638); the Sun sets in line with the Grand Canal. In winter, when the frost prohibited all navigation, the Grand Canal was transformed into an ice rink welcoming skaters and sleds, when allowed,

On the Allée de la Reine, in the direction of the Trianon, the walker can let the rhythm of this quadruple alignment regulate his walk according to the alternation of shadow and light created by the trunks of the beech trees. The Place d’Armes du Grand Trianon presents itself to him like a large clearing before he plunges back into the darkness of the Allée des Mouchards. Reserving the Trianon gardens for a future getaway, it crosses the Fer à Cheval space open to the arm of the Grand Canal, then sinks into the forest path of Ru de Gally. The Allée de Saint-Cyr lends itself perfectly to the exercise. From the small hill where it takes off, at the corner of Allée des Rendez-vous, it offers a real panorama of the Estate. The high oak groves then the large agricultural plots rise in tiers, the damp projection of the Ru de Gally can be seen further on, and finally the order of the rows of lime trees which announce the Étoile royale, seen more than a kilometer from our starting point. Sublime !!

The Allée royale de Villepreux, created in 1680 by André Le Nôtre, gardener to Louis XIV and Grand Director of Versailles, is at the center of the plain of Versailles ,Extension of the Grand Canal, this axis is part of the “Grand Perspective” imagined by André Le Nôtre on either side of the Château. It starts at the Bassin d’Apollon by the Tapis Vert, an esplanade that descends towards the Grand Canal. Beyond, the path starts from the roundabout called L’Étoile Royale and crosses the towns of Versailles, Saint-Cyr-l’École, Fontenay-le-Fleury, Rennemoulin and Villepreux. The Allée Royale was the main of the five alleys starting in a bundle from the Etoile Royale, forming a majestic landscape ensemble that was compared to “the King’s hand landing on his territory”. Originally, it was a grassy avenue 97 meters wide. Unobstructed in its center, it is framed on either side by two main alleys of 5 meters, bordered by a double alignment of country elms, This is an awesome walk , highly recommended just get out of the palace ! By the Allée Royale you will have the new stop of the new tramway line 13, more info here :

The official Château de Versailles on the park :

The Versailles tourist office on the park

There you go folks a wonderful historical architecturally stunning old royal city of my belle France. This is my walks of my Versailles, and you are encourage to do so too. Hope it helps the will to do it. And remember, happy travels, good health, andn many cheers to all !!!

August 4, 2022

Antiques neighborhood of Versailles !

So why not tell you another little spot in my dear Versailles where I will not be tired of telling you lived for almost 10 sublimes years. And many visits thereafter…from my beautiful Morbihan in my lovely BretagneThere is so much to see in Versailles and again will not be tired of telling you the city is more than the palace/museum as almost everyone that comes here do not go elsewhere in the city, a pity.  Let me tell you about the Antiques quarter of Versailles in my nostalgic Notre Dame district of Versailles.

The whole area is broken down into sections and all are worth the detour good for about half a day. These areas are the Bailliage, Village, Carré, and Passage.


The Bailliage this superb 18C building built in 1724 by Tavenot, a student of Mansart, first court and first prison of Versailles today houses antique shops and galleries that present furniture, modern paintings and objets d’art in a charming setting.

Let yourself be dragged to the Village, former outbuildings of the Picardie hotel where the little houses arranged in a horseshoe around the well, welcome the walkers. A picturesque staircase will guide you to other exhibitors and will allow you if you wish to join the rue de la Pourvoierie and the Notre Dame market.

The Passage is implanted in the old walk of the prisoners of the prison of the Geole. Samson who executed Louis XVI held the office of executioner until 1788. Madame Du Barry, the famous favorite of Louis XV was locked during the French revolution. Today, jewels, ceramics, elegant furniture, objects of shop windows are the admiration of all walkers.

The Carré des Antiquaires, originally stables of the bailiwick , turned into sheds during the 19C to house the wines and spirits destined for the Notre Dame market where the given name of Cour de l’Etape aux Vins, or courtyard of the wines stages. Today transformed into galleries of antique shops or craftsmen’s workshops they reveal the richness of the creation, and the art of living of past centuries.

You can come into this wonderful area of my Versailles by the Passage de la Geôle or the rue du Bailliage or the 14 bis, rue Baillet-Reviron or the 13, rue de la Pourvoierie. The hours are different for each, you need to check before going, but do go ! Remember, the  Passage, Village,and the Carré.


The official Antiques of Versailles :

The Versailles tourist office on the antiquarians of Versailles

There you go folks, another wonderful artful historical and architecturally stunning visit to the other Versailles. The antiquaires of Versailles is wonderful worth a detour. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

August 4, 2022

The Chapel and the Espace Richaud of Versailles !

And here I am again, to update this off the beaten path older post about my dear Versailles. If you have been reading my posts , you know I lived here for almost 10 years and still my sentimental favorite. Versailles is sublime, royal, majestic and chic with nice town feel. A while back I wrote of the transformation of an icon in the city, and now very modern spaces.   I am trying in my posts to show you the other Versailles as well. Let me tell you a bit on the Chapel and the Espace Richaud of Versailles! 

Again, pictures are not allowed inside ,but is worth the detour to the Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception. In your walks of the city and you must get out of the palace, at the end of rue royale, take a look at the Lycée Notre Dame de Grandchamp that houses a private school and next to it at 16 Rue Monseigneur Gibier, you have the Bishop’s office of the diocese of Versailles. And next to it at no 8 the  Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception.


A bit of history of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception,  and its meaning. It all started when the Order of St. Francis of Assisi, who in 1224 joined the Order of the Poor Ladies, of which its first abbess was the sister Claire. Hence the name adopted later: the Poor Clares., the nuns who joined them were called “Colettines”. The Poor Clares of Versailles belonged to this branch of the Franciscan Order. Some of their most important dates are : The apparitions of Our Lady of Bernadette, Lourdes 1858; Installation of Poor Clares Colettines at Versailles in 1860 ; Chapel consecrated in 1867 to the Immaculate Conception; Departure regretted of the Poor Clares in June 1999; and October 12, 2008, resumption of worship during the month of the Rosary of the year of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Lourdes: “I am the Immaculate Conception”.

The official Congregation of the Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception of Versailles

I like to take remembrance to the Hôpital Richaud, a venerable institution in Versailles who have seen its better days.  I have been in it and still have some pictures as to when it began to be change unfortunately. The Units have been transferred next door to a modern facility ,and the old hospital is been transformed into a luxury condo, apartment complex, the only building left will be the Chapel. The Chapel was, in the Convent of the Augustinians of Versailles or Couvent de la Reine, dedicated to the education of young ladies founded by Queen Marie Leszczynka,wife of Louis XV. It was done in 1772. It is very near my former home and easy to get there from Paris as my old route was from the Gare Rive Droite  Versailles on the Line Paris St Lazare, La Défense. If you are in city center Versailles by the rive gauche château station nearest the palace you can walk east or take the bus phebus 3 (my boys old school route), arrêt/stop  Gare Rive Droite. The walk will allow to past by the wonderful historical and elegant architecture of Versailles!


L’hôpital Richaud, also known as the  Hôpital Royal de Versailles is completely restored and transformed since 2015 in housing, shops and liberal professions offices. The hospital is located in the Notre-Dame district in the center of Versailles near the Rive-Droite train station (my old neighborhood) . It is located also in this district and near the Notre-Dame Church, Lambinet Museum, Hoche High School and Saint-Jean-Hulst Private School. Two underground car parks have been dug on either side of the building, one under the bd de la Reine named Reine-Richaud and managed by Urbis Park, at the entrance rue du Maréchal Foch, and the another under the Place du Marché Notre-Dame, managed by Indigo.  This hospital Richaud has a long history since at its origin was the house of charity created by king Louis XIII in 1636 The construction work of the Royal Hospital of Versailles spread over a long period of nearly 80 years,and was not finishing until 1859. The site was assigned a hospital function: first modest ‘charity house’ held by the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul, the institution has seen its patient attendance grow over the years   until the 1960s.


After the transfer of activities to the Hôpital Mignot hospital site in 1981, the site goes through many years of neglect. This hospital is next to my boys high school in Le Chesnay now new town of Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt, just a street over from the city of Versailles!  In November 2009, the real estate organisation ,OGIC acquired almost the entire Royal Hospital of Versailles from the French State via the town to turn it into housing, with 20% of social housing, shops and gardens . The opening to the public of the whole of the Carré des Siècles,(square of centuries) new name given to the real estate site was made in April 2015. It is a block of housing (317 dwellings including 66 upscale apartments and 91 social housing or students), shops (five in number) and offices ( nearly 3000 m2), with a cultural space that can accommodate exhibitions or concerts, a daycare of 66 cradles and 10.000 m2 of public gardens. The renovated chapel, now Space Richaud, now hosts exhibitions as well as plays.

The city of Versailles on the Space Richaud

The official General Hospital Richaud on its history :

There you go folks, you can go in and visit the espace Richaud or old royal Chapel and see still the beauty of it. Just another gem in my beloved Versailles, do see it, and behold. Versailles is a lot more than a palace! I say !!

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

August 4, 2022

A walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris !!!

The nice walks of my eternal Paris , always sublime. I have written of course a lot on Paris, my working city , and visited zillions of times since 1972 ! As the name of my blog implies ! However, now is Summer and walks are superbe and I will tell you my favorites that I have done with the family , This a walk in my former working neighborhood of Paris did it for two glorious years! My next to last work spot in the city of lights. Hope you enjoy them as I.

I will start at the wonderful Opéra Garnier done by the great Charles Garnier for emperor Napoléon III and opened by President of France 3rd Republic Mac Mahon in July 5, 1875, to think I worked across from it for two years ! An imposing building 172 meters long 101 meters wide on 11K square meters of land,You have on the Red salon welcoming 2300 persons and cannot miss the libray museum in the pavillon de l’Empereur.

I walked in front of the great department stores and cannot miss at no 40 blvd Haussmann, the Galeries Lafayette grew from a modest boutique in 1895 to the grand of today by the corners of Rue Lafayette and rue Chausée d’Antin done in 1906 and today 120k square meters of land ! Further at No 64 blvd Haussmann you see Printemps founded in 1865, the current building done from 1889 and later enlarge in 1907.

Continue to the Square d’Estienne d’Orves and the magnificent Church de la Sante Trinité built between 1861 and 1867 (was a side trip for eating spots and visit) .It has a belltower bells high of 65 meters with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide, Not to mss the Théatre Mogador at no 25 Rue de Mogador built in 1919, Continue to the Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the Lycée Concorcet (of many passing in front of it). Here from 1781 to 1783 Brongniart built the convent , and chapel that by 1862 the chapel becomes the Parish Church Saint Louis d’Antin and the convent is tranformed into the high school or lycée Condorcet where Goncourt, Marcel Proust, Paul Verlaine, Stéphane Mallarmé and Eugéne Sue amongst other ,studied !

This is the historic anecdote that at 14 blvd des Capucines in the Indian salon of the Grand Café the Lumiéres brothers show their first cinema slides, This is the area where the grand boulevards were created from 1670 decision to change the enclosure of Charles V into a public promenade of 4,5 km from the Madeleine to the Bastille ! And the bd Capucines, Italiens, Montmartre, Poissonniere and Bonne Noiuvelle knew their day in the light.

We continue to my first working train station in Paris, the Gare Saint Lazare many many times by here from Rive Droite in my Versailles ! This is the first train station of Paris from 1837 ! Even thus the first real station was done in 1851, The current station was built from 1885 to 1887 and renovated several times with two statues of the Hour for all and the Consingment for life in the cours de Rome street, Not far from here you find the ultimate honor of seeing the Chapelle Expiatoire by the will of king Louis XVIII done between 1815 and 1826, On the same spot where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dump by the revolutionaries,on what was the old cementery Madeleine,that open in 1720 where 3000 victims of the French revolution were interred, such as the Swiss Guards , Louis-Philippe d’Orléans (father of later king Louis Philippe I and known after the revolution as Philippe Egalité), Danton, Lavoisier, Camille and Lucile Desmoulins etc The Chapel is on the Square Louis XVI, one of only five name after the defunct king. When time allowed I came by here for a bit of reflection before going for my trains.

You continue on the Théâtre Athénée built in 1906 , a bit further you reach the Théâtre Edouard VII that has taken since 1984 the name of Sasha Guitry, You have by here the Olympia music hall, and finally cross over to the Madeleine that on my walks to work had to go around it zillion times ! The first stone was posed in 1764 but in 1806 Napoléon decided to raise a temple to honor his soldiers ,he never saw it build as later by 1842 it was given to the clergy of Paris and opened as the Church de la Madeleine with its 52 corinthians columns high of 20 meters, The church has 108 meters long, 43 meters wide and 30 meters high, It dominates the place de la Madeleine the starting point of the grand boulevards as above.

A bit further you reach the Church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, 263 Rue St Honoré built between 1670 and 1676, It has a cupola of 26 meters and was the parish church until 1840, It later was given to the Polish community of Paris since 1850, Here the funerals of Lafayette in 1834 and Stendhal of 1842 were held, I walked by it every day to work !

And you reach the wonderful sublime Place Vendôme, my criss cross walking it for work are memorable ! It is 213 meters long, 124 meters wide on 20k square meters of land, Created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and done between 1686 and 1720, The obelisk done on request of Napoléon I to pay homage to the Grand Army after their triumph at Austerlitz, Austria and was done in 1806,from melted iron of canons weapons taken from the enemy in this battle finished in 1810, In 1871 during the uprising of Paris during the Franco-Prussian war the obelisk was destroyed but in 1872 the national assembly decided to rebuild it, You have in this square the wonderful Ritz Hotel done in 1898.

You can come into the Rue de la Paix, the most expensive in Paris, and awesome to have walked it for two years daily ! It was clear in 1806 to link Vendôme to the Opéra ! Before called rue Napoléon !

There you go folks, a wonderful walk in sublime eternal Paris, My memorable walks in Paris, with the best of France indeed, I do walk in Paris sometimes 3 km around, once find my parking spot , sublime. Hope you enjoy the walk and do it, it is recommended by yours truly.

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

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August 4, 2022

Collegiate Church Notre Dame of Montreuil-Bellay !

It is closely related to the castle (see post),but the church now stand alone and independant of it. Therefore, having visited it , I will update this older post with new text and links for you and me.  This is Montreuil Bellay in the dept 49 of Maine et Loire and region of Pays de la Loire. It is next to the famous and beautiful castle we have the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, this started as a chapel of the castle but from its size you can tell the importance of it to the daily life in the area. The visit was very nice indeed. 


A bit on the town of Montreuil-Bellay as I like. Montreuil-Bellay is located on the Thouet river,  bordering the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the departments of Vienne (town of Pouançay) and Deux-Sèvres (town of Saint-Martin-de-Sanzay). Bathed by the Thouet river , Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne).

The Chapel of Notre Dame will become after the French revolution apart from the castle, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame (collegiate because it teaches canons:chanoines), it was built 1472-1474 and raised as Collegiate in 1475 and a parish Church in 1810. Inside the Church there is the angevine architecture of vaults.  The Chapel of Notre Dame was hand over to the State after the French revolution and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church.



A bit of official story goes like this: The former chapel of the castle built in the 15C became collegiate served by the canons under the name of Notre-Dame.  It was given to the town and turned into a parish church at the beginning of the 19C following the decommissioning of the old Saint-Pierre church located in the Nobis priory which was falling into ruin.  A bridge over the moat was built in 1863 to give direct access to the church without passing through the castle courtyard. Now there is a stone wall between the castle and the church for privacy. 


Built between 1472 and 1484 it was commissioned by Guillaume d’Harcourt, lord of Montreuil-Bellay, buried here with his family. It is one of the most prestigious religious buildings of the 15C in Anjou, specific to the Angevin Gothic style. The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame  consists of a large nave 44 meters long and 12 meters wide whose vault at 18 meters height is faithful to the Plantagenet style then in use in Anjou. There is a small oratory where the lord and his family attended, in all discretion, offices. A liter (black band) runs through the walls of the church, at a height that reflected the importance of the lords of the time. At the French revolution, the paintings of the old churches of the city were grouped in the nave. They reflect the provincial nature of art in Anjou under the Ancien Régime (monarchy). In 1810, the collegiate church became parish church and main place of worship of the city.


The city of Montreuil Bellay on its history/heritage

The official Parish Church of Notre Dame du Bellay

There you go folks a wonderful 1-2 combination to do with the castle and more history, architecture and just beauty of my belle France. Hope you enjoy it as we did and do come by to the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame in Montreuil-Bellay.

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

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August 3, 2022

The Château de Montreuil-Bellay !!

On the road warrior team we set out again for the region of Pays de la Loire and the dept 49 of Maine-et-Loire to visit Montreuil-Bellay!  Just to show you, we have castles to create a new country lol! Old France never died it just faded away a bit but still plenty of stones around!!! We really enjoy the visit here and need to update this older post with new text and links on the Château de Montreuil-Bellay !! Hope you enjoy it as we did.


Montreuil-Bellay is located in the heart of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park, less than 25 km from Saumur (Maine-et-Loire), Thouars (Deux-Sèvres) and Loudun (Vienne). The rule in the castle was no pictures just certain areas only, so be it, its still worth the detour me think. The displacement of the administrative center in Saumur, during the French revolution, completed to reduce the commercial, economic and administrative importance of the city of Montreuil-Bellay, simple chief town of canton since 1790.


The Château de Montreuil-Bellay is a vast medieval castle, several times remodeled and standing in the heart of the old close town of Montreuil-Bellay. It is the Duke of Anjou Foulque Nerra who built the first citadel on a Roman oppidum in about 1026. He entrusted custody to his vassal Giraud Berlay, now Giraud Bellay, and the city takes the name of Montreuil-Bellay. The attachment of the Berlay family to the crown of France leads King Philippe Auguste in 1208 and King Louis VIII in 1224 to hold their court at the Château de Montreuil-Bellay. The Donjon from the 15C is no longer visible as the new castle was built in its place. It was 30 meters high , it was demolished in 1865.


The castle of Montreuil-Bellay goes to the family of the House of Melun and the House of Tancarville during the Hundred Years War. Subsequently, it is enlarged with the addition of several towers and an enclosure, 650 meters of defense and 13 defense towers, protect the castle, with an entrance to the fortified building, flanked by round towers and massive barbican and drawbridge. During the 15C, the Renaissance period allows the castle to be modernized and airy, new buildings, new rooms, new kitchen (the term barbe au cul was when animals were roasted entirely in the huge kitchen and the term barbecue comes from it ! ), dining room, large living room, small living room, bedroom, monumental staircase and construction of a chapel of Notre Dame. This later will be hand over to the State and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame is now open to all as a parish church (see post). Then the castle belongs to the House of Harcourt. During the French revolution, the Lord of Montreuil-Bellay, Jean-Bretagne de La Trémoille, remains faithful to King Louis XVI. His castle is requisitioned and transformed into a prison for royalist women. After the revolutionary period, the castle becomes by marriage the property of the Grandmaison family, some of whose members were mayors of the city or senator.  The Grandmaison’s are still living in the castle. The castle of Montreuil-Bellay is remodeled in the 11C, 13C, 14C and 17C.



The official Château de Montreuil-Bellay

The Saumur tourist office on Montreuil-Bellay

The city of Montreuil-Bellay on its history/heritage

There you go folks, is a beautiful castle and great wine tasting and purchase at the end to finish a wonderful day. Do come to the Château de Montreuil-Bellay you will be glad you did.

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

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August 3, 2022

The Saint Nicolas tower of La Rochelle !!

We enjoyed La Rochelle a lot and have come back several times with many posts in my blog, We first came as my oldest son study hotellerie/restaurant courses there. I will update this post with text and links for you and me ; hope you enjoy it as I The towers of La Rochelle, in Charente-Maritime dept  17 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine!

In town, we walk, and walk is a walker’s paradise of quaint old streets and historical buildings, we took the tour de la Chaine,(see post) tour de St Nicolas, and the  tour de la Lantern.(see posts).  The development of this new city of the 11C is assured from the 14C by the protection offered by the towers, including the towers of St. Nicholas and the Chaine that regulate the entry of many merchant ships in its port.


All three designed to serve as a residence, two towers out of three (ie the tower of Saint Nicolas and the tower of the Chaine) were also places of detention between the 16C and 18C for the Huguenots and foreign sailors. They then become military prisons in the 19C. The Lantern Tower was used to disarm the boats upstream of the port and was a lighthouse. The boutiques of the Chaîne and Saint-Nicolas towers offer throughout the year a wide range of books, products for young and old. The shops are free access and are open 7 days a week during the opening hours of the towers.


Tour St Nicolas is the most impressive one in my opinion.  Because of the marshy terrain, the tower rests on a raft. The latter consists of six-meter-long oak piles with metal shoes embedded in the mud and wedged with stones, the whole being covered with a grid of horizontal beams and acting as foundations. However, the weight of the tower and the loose nature of the ground led to a destabilization of the foundations during its construction, and an important rise of the building, more than twenty centimeters, towards the East. This inclination will be maintained during the restoration of the tower, so that the soil today still has an inclination of about 2%, although it has been raised 50 cm from the original soil.  The circular tower is 37 meters high and 18 to 23 meters in diameter. Originally, the tower was isolated from the rest of the city by marshy areas, but following the construction of the Gabut Bastion, it was joined to the urban fabric of La Rochelle, which extended to its base.The access ramp, which today provides direct access to the reception room on the first floor (2nd US) , did not originally exist, and was only built in 1695. Traffic at the interior of the building is done by two independent staircases but connecting all the levels.


Salle du veilleur  (warden’s room), This small room on the ceiling adorned with arches of ogives with carved pedestals was used to monitor the entrance to the port. The ship owner’s room, The Salle de l’Armateur  (ship-owner’s room) is a large octagonal room with a cross vault of ogives with carved pedestals. It was used as a point of attachment to the chain which was used to close the port entrance, and which was operated from the Tour de la Chaine, on the other side.  The salle d’accueil (reception room), located on the first floor (2nd US), is accessible from the access ramp and overlooks the room of the low lookout. It is also connected to the chapel, on the second floor by a staircase. This room served as a reception room. Located on the first floor of the tower, the salle de la vigie basse (room of the low vigil)  is accessible from the reception room and gives access to a staircase to the salle du troubadour, (troubadour room), on the second floor. It used to have an outdoor wooden platform to monitor vessel traffic. The openings allowing the guards to access the rooms were later turned into firing holes. The hall houses an important 17C vault owned by one of the captains of the tower. The troubadour room, on the second floor, is connected by a staircase to the room of the low lookout, the lower one. It provides access to the latrines and to the salle du capitaine (captain’s room) through a defense corridor. The Captain’s Room is located on the second floor and is connected by a defense corridor to the troubadour room. It provides access to the  salle des coussièges (cushion room). It is also connected by a staircase to the walkway on the third floor. It used to be the residence of the captain and his family. The salle des coussièges (hall of cushions)  is an open recess on the captain’s room that also gives access to the captain’s study. The captain’s study is accessible from the cushion room. The tower has a chapel, located on the second floor, vertical to the entrance of the tower, probably playing a role of symbolic protection. It is directly connected to the reception room, on the first floor by a staircase, and to the walkway, by another staircase. The walkway is located on the third floor, and gives access to the guard corridor and the petite salle des gardes. (small guard room). It is connected to the second floor by a staircase to the captain’s room at one end, and at the other end by a staircase to the chapel. The small guard room served as a shelter and resting place between two rounds. The fourth floor Salle de veille du capitaine (Captain’s watch room), and the fifth floor, the  Terrace.

A bit of history I like

The tower of Saint-Nicolas  14C  is one of the three towers of the seafront of La Rochelle, and one of the emblematic of the Old Port , of which it constitutes the majestic door of entry. For five centuries it provided for the defense of the pass and served as a point of attachment to the chain, stretched from the other side, which was used to prohibit access to the port. The construction of the Saint-Nicolas tower  begins, according to the sources, around 1345 or between 1374 and 1394.  From 1652 to 1659, the tower houses the Hamburg’s naval carpenters companions, who came to La Rochelle to set up a shipyard. From 1569, and more widely during the 16C and 17C, the tower was used episodically weapons depot, powder keg and prison during the wars of religion: Huguenots were locked there between 1682 and 1686, at the the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. During the French revolution, the tower was used until 1793 to imprison Chouans (local rebels against the French revolution).

The official National Monuments of France on the towers of La Rochelle

The La Rochelle tourist office on the towers

There you go folks, this is an amazing Nicolas tower and well worth the visit to La Rochelle, a beautiful city indeed.

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

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