Archive for ‘Paris’

February 21, 2018

My previous posts here on VERSAILLES!

As promise in my previous post, here are just a listing links of all my previous posts done on VERSAILLES!!

Well, it took some digging in my blog as to what I have written on my beloved dear Cherie Versailles. If you have read my posts, I used to live in this magnificent city from 2003 to 2011 (of course, like many had visited before since 1990!), my boys went to high school here, and I used to work during that time in Paris. So many memories of entering France and having the luck to live in one of the most historical perfectly royal towns of the world. Again, I repeat, Versailles is a lot more than a castle/palace/museum. Oh yes that is the Château de Versailles !

Now are my posts that this time will be on a separate post than my recounting of the beauty of my beloved city as there are too many, and do not want to make the previous post any longer than it is already lol!!. Lucky enough to still see it every year now even if sometimes is on business trips of only one day, just mentioned the name Versailles is a push of fresh air and all stress of life are gone.. Enjoy Versailles.

This is glorious royal and beautiful VERSAILLES! Enjoy it as I do always. Again see my previous post on things about Versailles, and enjoy your week. Cheers!

February 21, 2018


I will tell you again about Versailles. IF you have read my previous posts on it, or the region of île de France or department 78 Yvelines, you will notice I once lived there, 10 years of glorious times. Not everyday you can say live in a royal town, surrounded by history and beauty and do your jogging in the gardens of the palace of Versailles. But enough of me; let me tell you about VERSAILLES!!!

Before ,I start (and it will be long…) I will create a second post showing all the previous posts in my blog on the city, it is long too.

Versailles, capital of Yvelines département 78, Île-de-France région, 14 miles (22 km) southwest of Paris. The town developed around the 17C Palace of Versailles, built on ordered of king Louis XIV, the principal residence of the kings of France and the seat of the government for more than 100 years. The first scenes of the French Revolution were enacted at the palace, whose gardens, the masterpiece of André Le Nôtre, have become part of the national heritage of France and one of the most-visited historical sites in Europe.  At the height, about 20,000 persons attached to the court, some 1,000 courtiers with 4,000 attendants lived in the palace itself. About 14,000 soldiers and servants were quartered in annexes like communs building to the left of the palace and in the town, which was founded in 1671 and had 30,000 inhabitants when Louis XIV died in 1715.

The first mention of Versailles was written in a charter dated from 1038, in the Abbey of Saint-Père de Chartres  where it was cited the name of a lord named Hugues de Versailles ; he will be the first known lord of Versailles In 1623, king  Louis XIII  had built a hunting meeting house in the land of about 350 hectares purchased from different owners. By April 1632, king Louis XIII purchased the totality of the lordship of Versailles to his last owner Jean-François de Gondi, bishop of  Paris. The General Estates were held here on May 5 1789 at the Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs and by June 17 1789 upon the suggestion of abbot Sieyés took the current name of National Assembly or « Assemblée nationale ».  The king had closed the  Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs, and the  members of the third estate took to the salle de Jeu de Paume on June 20 1789  where the famous sermon was said ; not to leave until the constitution was agreed.  Immediately after the taking of the Bastille the first noblemen immigrated such as the Count of Artois, future Charles X and younger brother of king Louis XVI . The National Assembly abolished feudalism in August 4 1789. Finally, by October 5-6 1789 the crowds coming from Paris invade the palace and forced the royal family to come to Paris.  A while later, the constituted assembly followed the king and this was the end of its role of Capital of Versailles. It must be mentioned that today the French constitution calls that any changes, amendments or alteration to it needs to be decided and voted on by the entire French government at Versailles; last done in 2009 under President Sarkozy.

Some of the wonderful things done during the monarchy was the Grand and Petit Trianon as well as the Hameau of the queen Marie Antoinette. Outside the palace grounds you have the Grand Commons, where the servants and lower officers lived right off ave de l’indepedance Americaine left side facing the palace. This building was the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, built in 1684 in the form of a square ring in front of the midi wing of the palace and occupied until  1995 by the Military hospital Dominique-Larrey,it now houses the administrative services of the palace. Also, the Grande Ecurie housing the carriage museum and the Petite Ecurie both in front of the palace and separated by the Avenue de Paris, also built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart ; You have the stables of the Queen  or écuries de la reine, first of the King and later of the Queen built by  François d’Orbay in 1672, that houses today the appeals court  of Versailles at 5 rue Carnot. See more and  a photo of it here:

See the old police mansion of Versailles, these were the old stables of Madame du Barry up 19-21 avenue de Paris; and the current chamber of Commerce also the mansion of Madame du Barry nearby. On the other side you have the vegetable garden or potager du roi, next to the parc de Versailles  from which it communicated by the royal grille , the garden was of 9 hectares and was created in 1683 by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie.; houses today the school of gardeners that takes care of it today. It is in the process of a renovation project  with various institutions including a funding group from the USA More on the funding here:

More on the garden in French here:


One of my family’s favorite is the parc Balbi , English style gardens of 2,5 hectares, created at the end of the 18C  for  Anne de Caumont -La Force, Countess of Balbi and lover of the Count of Provence (future king Louis XVIII and next brother of Louis XVI) . More here:

You come to 73 ave de Paris and see the Domaine de Madame Élisabeth :a wonderful park of  7,2 hectares and one of my family’s favorites ; Madame Elizabeth was the sister of king Louis XVI beheaded for defending her brother in 1794. more here:


The palace you should know is also known as a Château/Museum of of the history ofFrance (château de Versailles) created and saved in 1837 by the king of the French  Louis-Philippe, dedicated to all the glories of France , where the room emblem is the gallery of battles or galerie des batailles. Official site here:

The Orangerie of course:

The boutique to order even from abroad is here:

You can see the palace in 3D here:

You, also have the Salle du jeu de paume,(Royal Tennis Court) now a museum of the French revolution since 1883; more here:

Other museums are Musée Lambinet, at 54  boulevard de la Reine (wonderful must see) the municipal museum of Versailles since 1932  in the mansion hôtel Lambinet  that showcase the collection retracing the history of Versailles and specially the work of local sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon ; More here:


Centre la marechalerie art contemporaire 5, avenue de Sceaux , wonderful modern art and close to palace and nice parking

You, also ,have the sublime Osmothèque, a private museum since 1990 in the building of the international superior institute of perfumes, cosmetics and aromatics foods or ISIPCA, where they have a collection of perfumes going back to Marie Antoinette ; but only visited by appointment at 36 rue du Parc de Clagny and more here:

King Louis XV continues to enhance and renovate the palace to the point of extravaganza; by 1837 Louis Philippe restored the palace and turned into a museum as it is today. The Prussians besiege Paris in 1870 and used Versailles as its headquarters, and in 1871 the Prussian emperor was crowned there. For eight years after the peace with Prussia/Germany, the palace was the seat of the French Parliament, and the constitution of the Third Republic was proclaimed there in 1875. The presidents of the Third and Fourth republics were elected in Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) between the Allies and Germany was signed in the palace, which was again restored and modernized under Pres. Charles de Gaulle.

The town of Versailles is now a local administrative center and residential suburb of Paris. The palace serves as a tourist attraction and as a residence for visiting heads of state. The district of  Satory ( right coming out of the palace), contains the newer cathedral of Saint-Louis,(1843)  more info here:


While the Notre Dame quarter, is the site of the oldest church of Notre-Dame (1686); where all births, baptisms and marriages of the princes of Versailles are recorded and still revered by all French noblemen. More here and you can see the emblem of French kings on the upper left:


Site on the Churches of Versailles (my most commented post ever!)

Versailles is an important garrison town, with a military hospital and a school of military engineering and artillery. However, the adjoining Satory plateau is the location of armament and high-tech (electronics) industries. A school of horticulture (1874) is attached to a fine garden .More in French here on the school:

Versailles lost its position as the administrative capital permanently in 1789 with the forced departure of Louis XVI for Paris.  The privileged among these were granted rooms within the chateau itself (which contained 220 apartments and 450 surprisingly small rooms); the less fortunate lived in the town of Versailles or were forced to travel back and forth to Paris each day. To secure the allegiance of his nobility and to prevent anyone else from gaining too much influence and power, Louis XIV distributed all royal patronage personally—no chief minister had control over the treasury, the distribution of estates, or the assignment of lucrative church posts or military commands. The intricate rules and rituals that governed the members of Louis XIV’s court facilitated the creation of the modern centralized state. The ordered society of Versailles became the European ideal of the well-run state. The hotel de ville or city hall.


The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular attractions in Europe, the Gardens of Versailles cover 800 hectares of land with sculptures, rare flowers and vivid greenery. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the Royal Opera of Versailles is located in the North wing of the Palace of Versailles;  some sights to see the Galerie des Glaces inside the Palace of Versailles, served daily as a meeting area and passageway connecting the apartments of the King and Queen. More than 350 mirrors are used in the decoration of this breathtaking hall, with 17 mirror-decorated arches reflecting 17 gilded and arcaded windows; The Royal Chapel, also inside the palace was constructed in 1689. It became the inspiration for many other European churches, thanks to its colorful marble flooring, large sculptures and illustrious paintings; ; Versailles also plays host to an array of bustling markets and street stalls. Beginning back in the 17C, Versailles’ ancient market stalls became a lively part of daily life until they were replaced in 1841 by the covered market, a business still in operation today. Top picks for markets in Versailles include the Market of Notre Dame (very near my old home!!!) , offering a range of fresh French food from brioche to frogs legs., and more galore, simply the best!!!


The towns surrounding Versailles are Vaucresson, Marnes-la-Coquette and Ville-d’Avray to the north east (towns of Hauts-de-Seine dept 92), Viroflay to the east, Vélizy-Villacoublay and Jouy-en-Josas to the southeast, Buc to the south, Guyancourt to the southwest, Saint-Cyr-l’École  to the west, Bailly and Rocquencourt to the northwest, and Le Chesnay to the north (my kids high school was here !!!) . The city is in a curve valley located at between 100 and 150 mètres  altitude, and high hills surrounding those at most 180 meters on the south plateau of  Satory, and to the east the forest of Meudon , and the plateau of  Vélizy, north the forest of the Fausses-Reposes. Then on the plateau of Versailles on the west you have the hill of Montbauron, at 157 meters high right in the center of the city !


the school route

Versailles is some 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Paris and easily accessible by car (parking available), taxi, bus, or train. The RER C line links several stations in central Paris with the Versailles Rive Gauche station—five minutes from the palace on foot. Trains also run from Paris Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers and from Paris Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive-Droite (closest to me),each a ten-minute walk from the palace. The RATP bus 171 runs from Pont de Sèvres metro station to Versailles  There are two other stations such as Montreuil and Porchefontaine a bit further away from the palace.


It  pays to arrive at off-peak hours—such as soon after the 9h (9a.m.) opening time or earlier. Some days are also busier than others, including Sundays and Tuesdays, when many Paris museums, including the Louvre (another former royal palace), are closed. Best Wednesdays but nowdays is so pack, hard to tell. Better to purchase in advance at any FNAC stores or the office across from the rive gauche RER C station before heading to the palace.

The roads here are excellent, and you passed right next to the palace on the N10 from Viroflay to Trappes , and in Versailles proper this road goes around the place d’Armes in front of the palace under the name of Avenue de Paris, and continues west towards the south of the parc of Versailles passing between the palace and the lake of the Swiss or the pièce d’eau des Suisses. The town is reach by wonderful roads such as the on the north the A13 (autoroute de Normandie) on the exits or sorties  5 and 6 takes to city center /Downtown Versailles. It can be continue on the A12 that goes around the town on the west side; to the south is the N12 where I come to visit now with exit or sorties 1 to 4 given access to the city. Starting at the bridge or pont Colbert, it goes along the district of  Satory, direction  Saint-Cyr-l’École towards  Brest via Dreux, Alençon, Rennes ,Vannes , and Saint-Brieuc ; to the east you have the western side of the A86 forming under a tunnel with tolls linking Versailles  (Pont Colbert) to  Rueil-Malmaison. You can come on the N186 by the boulevard de la Reine or blvd du Roi, as well as by the big avenues such as Avenue de Paris, Avenue de Saint-Cloud ,and avenue des États-Unis. Versailles  has about 65 km of bike trails and a green belt of about 20 km around it good for cycling as well as in the surrounding forest. The N10 is known here as the kings route as this is the traject king Louis XIV did to go from the palace of Versailles to the Fortress of the Louvre in Paris, today still can done starting at the palace up avenue de paris is the N10 by Boulogne-Billancourt it is the D910 same road along avenue de Versailles into Paris and the Louvre at rue de Rivoli. A nice site on the history of it in French:


Going home !

The bus line express 19 by Transdev Ecquevilly comes into the town by Avenue Saint Cloud before Avenue de l’Europe. This road you can take from ave Saint Cloud and stop at Parly II shopping center, next to it is the Arboreteum or natural tree park some dating back to the Kings, and walking about 300 meters down you can entered free on the Porte Saint Antoine and see right there the Hameau of Marie Antoinette then the Trianons, and garden to palace: it was our route to avoid the crowds and go joggying :J  More here:


As well as the night bus Noctilien 145 comes from Paris gare de l’est and al to the Chantiers and rive gauche train stations in Versailles after midnight. The pdf file of the traject here:

And all the other lines of the Noctilien night bus are here:

In the city there are 8 districts such as Notre-Dame (mine !!!) on the north axe of the palace and avenue de Paris with the emblematic Notre Dame Church ; the parish Church of the Palace ; the first district to be built under king Louis XIV ; location also for the théâtre Montansier opened in 1777, right by rue des reservoirs the old aqueduct folly of Louis XIV; more on this theater that Marie-Antoinette love so much is here in French:

The musée Lambinet, hôtel du bailliage or bailif today antique shops galore  and the best shopping streets of Versailles  such as the rue de la Paroisse,  rue Hoche (old rue Dauphine) and the  rue du Maréchal-Foch, in addition to market heaven place du Marché-Notre-Dame, surrounded by its four halles or covered markets.  To the north of the district you have the boulevard du Roi ,and the boulevard de la Reine, and the tranquil rue de l’Ermitage, along the sides of the palace.  You have the district of  Montbauron  from the place d’Armes to the hill or Mont Bauron  including the between the avenue de Paris and avenue de Saint-Cloud ; here you have the oldest flower market ,more on the markets here:

On the other side you have the district of Saint-Louis, symmetrically opposed to the  Notre-Dame by in line to the axe of the palace and avenue de Paris,on the south flank of avenue de Paris and where you find the Saint-Louis Cathedral that gives the name to the district, here you have the Salle du jeu de paume, potager du roi ,and the pièce d’eau des Suisses. It is on the old site of the village of Versailles, before the construction of the palace; move on to the district of Chantiers, around the train station of same name, and given this name due to been the work sites for the construction of the palace in the 17C. There is also, Montreuil, to the east with the shopping street of same name , domaine de Madame Elizabeth is here as the old house of the count of Provence (Louis XVIII)  and the house of the Italian musicians called in by Louis XIV and today the museum of compagnons, and Porchefontaine, to the south east a more residential village ambiance; then Clagny-Glatigny, to the north of the same makeup; Bernard de Jussieu, to the north east of town and north of Montreuil  basically a residential district as well; Satory, to the southwest and the district essentially with a military fields, and buildings for housing defense personnel except the rue Satory, a very lively resto shopping area off avenue de Sceaux to the right of the palace and a great parking at the end

The city of Versailles page is here:

The tourist office of Versailles is here:

To help the keeping of the palace and me too, you have it in France, the USA, and rest of Europe/International here:

The dept 78 Yvelines on tourism in Versailles here:

The historical baroque music center of Versailles, menus plaisir here: :

An anecdote, this is the freezing room of the King or freezer to keep meats with huge chunks of ice, now a very popular fitness center of the chain Forest Hill:

Go out in Versailles  even night time :

And of course we do have a little train too even in palace property: petit train chateau:

And you have it all. This is a town where according to the city of Versailles 98% of visitors only come for the palace, pity, they are missing a whole royal town of France, unique. See it for more than that. Versailles is France. Enjoy the trip, have a great week. Cheers!







February 19, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXV

Here we go again with news of my belle France. Now days around my neck of the woods have been cold ,grey and rainy , temps down to 1C and then quickly now is up to 12C , on a cloudy Sunday in the beautiful Morbihan.

I start you off with the glorious chocolates of the Maison Bonnat. The great Madagascar 75% cacao sweet fruity and balance, the suttle and delicate Ecuador with flower aromas and honey; or the delicious Hacienda El Rosario, from Venezuela; delicate, powerful and simple; all just for the chocolate experts and lovers. you can, also try the tablets milk chocolate 55%. See taste buy at the new Paris boutique of Maison Bonnat Chocolatier; 189, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8éme). Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10h30-19h30. You can have hot chocolates for two glasses from 6,50€ or four glasses from 11,40€. More here:

Bad news for those wishing to have Sundays open for shopping in Paris. The administrative tribunal of Paris has cancelled the attempts to open on Sundays in tourist zones like Olympiades. From their birth in 2015 the ZTI=zones touristiques international applying the law Macron could benefit from this Sunday opening in 12 areas of Paris as well as by Disneyland Seine et Marne and shopping Val d’Europe. This law allows shops to open evenings until midnight every Sunday of the year. Some of these areas are the Champs-Elysées, les Halles, Haussmann, Le Marais, Montmartre, and Olympiades. Only those that were not opening on Sundays but were thinking of doing so will have no right to open now. Those that were already doing it can continue to do so; exceptions and new areas the ones around Haussmann (for the great deparment stores etc) and Beaugrenelle (the new wonderful shopping center IN Paris).

The good news sort of, is that the Hôtel Lambert has been totally renovated on its façade , the rotunda and the gardens. This mansion is located at 2 rue Saint-Louis-en-l’île right in the corner of the Île Saint Louis, Paris. It was built in 1640 by architect Louis Le Vau with paintings by Charles Le Brun (the guys from Vaux le Vicomte, Versailles etc!!!)Now as many in Paris fallen to foreigners belongs to the Prince Hamad Al Thani,(also owner of football/soccer club PSG) brother of the emir of Qatar.

And as I wrote extensively on the flooding of Paris well now its time for the cleaning, and a few more days of dirty wharfs of Paris. At the foot of the Hôtel de Ville, the pedestrian quays are not yet open ; but the road or voie Mazas has already open in the 12éme. The important road voie Georges-Pompidou, from Garigliano to Grenelle (16éme) are already clean. There still work to do in the section from Grenelle to Bir-Hakeim to have it open for circulation. The quays or quai Valhubert in the 13éme has already been cleaned and open. The quai des Bateaux-Mouche boats is also accessable and the first boat has departed ok and full this past Friday morning. On the famous Quai des Grands-Augustins (6éme) the sun is out and a huge vaccum is at work with a pump to clean the roads; yesterday Saturday the boat or péniche ,Belgrand was to arrived in Paris for push the water from the Seine river and jet spray the pedestrian quays where the truck and wash machines cannot enters. Some of the work going on in Paris, and the job is still far away from finish; plan ahead if need to pass by this areas or Paris in general. The city can inform you. pictures with info on the work in French:

One of most emblematic and romantic buildings in Paris, its a tower! Speaking of the tour Jean Sans Peur or john without fears tower. It was in the middle ages the highest inhabited buildng in Paris. It has remined entirely intact, this building tower of the 15C houses today a museum of daily life in the medieval period located at 20 de la rue Etienne-Marcel (2éme)). It has a donjon tower of 27 meters high square on top ,the equivalent of 8 floors. Today it remains the last witness to medieval civil and fortified architecture in Paris. You can from the top of the tower see the beautiful city of Paris. The building was first built in 1420 by Jean Sans Peur, aka Jean Ier de Bourgogne (duke John I of Burgundy). The tower was put in the middle of a beautiful mansion of the dukes of Burgundy that was here since the 13C. The huge palace that had the space taken from Montorgueil to the rue Saint-Denis, falls in disrepair from end 13C where only the donjon tower remains Intact. Here while the king Charles VI, falls very sick and incapable of ruling that his cousin takes the power, son of prince Louis d’Orléans, that takes the continuation of the kingdom. Jean Sans Peur goes as far as ordered assassinated the uncle and rival in 1407, in order to take over the royal finances for enlarged his principality , the Burgundian State. However, the wind change on the diplomatic games and the master of the donjon was finally killed in September 10 1419.

You can visit the tower floor by floor, the biggest is the grande Salle , the bedroom of the squire that of Jean Sans Peur, and common rooms with furniture from his last 20 years there as identical as they were done by artisan artists of today. The museum has a trail of figures in costumes of the 15C as well redone by modern masters. You see a huge mantle cover richly decorated, military decorations pants, jackets, ladies robes, or hats. At the street level or rdc here and on the vaulted cellars you see an exposition of the wine and its role in the middle ages with illustrations, objects of the period, instruments for vineyard work. A real passionate exposition; worth seeing it. The tower museum again is at 20, rue Étienne-Marcel, Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 13h30 to 18h, admission is 6€,guided visits on Saturdays and Sundays at 15h. You can reach it by metro line 4 stop/arrêt Étienne Marcel; RER A,B,D arrêt/stop at les Halles or bus 29 arrêt/stop Turbigo/Étienne Marcel. More on the region ile de France tourist page here:

The hops are coming back to Paris, yes beer. Leave branches that go up to 10 meters high enrolling around a support such as a pole, cable wall, are back. They already are in the island of Cité in the rue Saint-Sauveur or rue Buffon 5éme; in the walls of schools such as the Château des Rentiers 13éme or sports center such as Déjerine in the 20éme or the Fillettes in the 18éme will be vegetative as well. A total of 86 000 liters of beers could be brewed due to this initiative this year. The city hall of Paris already contributes with about 1 600 liters of beer of Paris where the barley is cultivated in the land by the bois de Vincennes with the Association Brasseurs de France. You know that in the 19C ,Paris was the European capital of the beer?  Done here by the Alsacians, well back to the source. More on this site in French:

There is a project up for vote to allow the swimming in the lake of Daumesnil. The city of Paris under the project swim in Paris or « Nager à Paris » wanted by the mayor Hidalgo is coming along. After the bassin de la Villette (19éme), this project by the shades of the  Bois de Vincennes, on the lawn of Reuilly, and the Zoo will be presented as a family seasonal swimming offer with 8 490 m², of open air space, free and with lifeguards open from June 15 to September 15 and from 10h to 20h. It will allow a maximum capacity of swimmers of 2 023 per day with a total visitors of about 75K swimmers per season. There is a beach projected for the south bank of the island or île de Bercy given access to three pools with different depths fed by the water filter with biological filtration techniques and apart from the lake by a geomembrane and a inflatable structure. City estimated cost of all this for the happy taxpayers is 9,5M€ TTC. The file is under consultation in the mairie or mayors office of the 12éme arrondissement , 130, avenue Daumesnil.  The review commission will be available for public questioning on Feb 22 ,Marc 8, from 16h30 to 19h,then on Feb 28 9h to 12h, and Saturday March 3rd from 9h to 12h.  More here in city of Paris webpage:

Hey talking about food, what about France abundance of goodies such as the chicken of the Gâtinaise now trying to come back in vogue spearheaded by the harvesting house or Maison de l’élevage du Mée-sur-Seine (Seine-et-Marne)   and the natural park regional or Parc naturel régional du Gâtinais since 2003. The park here:   The chicken was here since early the 20C but had slowly disappear giving way to more productive hens. This year there are already about 550 chickens that provides  2 000 chicks per year . About 300- 400 of them arrive by Vincent Morisseau, at one day old.  This farmer established the farm of ferme de Filbois d’Aufferville (Seine-et-Marne), been one of three harvesters of the chicken of gâtinaises that has the territory of the natural regional park. The best way to cook this wonderful hen that I have tried many times is just roasted with a bit of garlic, butter, salt and pepper,and herbes of Provence ; it will please everybody.

The Château de Pierrefonds is ongoing renovations. The new campaign by the Centre des monuments nationaux is on to restore the four bridges of the castle. The work will begin today with the covering of the structures in scaffolds and will be done by the end of November 2018. These bridges dates from 1870 and were in bad conditions . The three bridges gave access to the main courtyard of the castle and a new visitor circuits will be done by March 12. The work will be done by firm from Brest (Finistère/Brittany) that will restored them in their shops same way they did for the statue of the archangel in the top of Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche). These structures are composed of metal and wood and were first done by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in person !!. The work will allow to increase the capacity of the bridges for the passage of vehicles especially those of emergency personnel.  The mechanism of the raising bridge will also be renovated so that it can be open in an exceptional manner. The sleeping bridge that gives access to the lices will be  restored on site, and a temporary passearelle will allow pedestrians and vehicles to enter the main court or Cour d’honneur, during all the period of the work. Unfortunately for reasons of security , the castle will be closed to the public from March 12-25 2018 and from October 1-19 2018 . The Centre des monuments nationaux is also counting on doing other works in the castle such as souvenir boutique to come back to its original location  and the floor of the Salle des Preuses , the biggest in the castle will be reinforce. More here:

The gare Versailles Rive Gauche will have a space Véligo. This will allow to rent bikes online ahead of your arrival in station, more here:

According to a survey by Les Echos, the finance journal , the best companies to work for in the eyes of the French are : Decathlon , Cultura , Picard , FNAC, Amazon, Sephora, Grand Frais, Yves Rocher, Leroy Merlin, and ikea

And come to see the orchids with the expo Orchidées Mania in the jardin des Plantes. On the famous greenhouses of the garden hosting the 7th edition of the thousand and one orchid or « Mille et une orchidées ».  This is done every February to the orchid lovers to discover the extraordinary collection in the museum of natural history or Muséum d’histoire naturelle.  Joined by specialize gardeners that will allow you to come away with a pot;all this until March 5 2018 more info here:

And he is back to the avenue des Champs-Elysées, talking of Pierre Hermé the great pastry/chocolat maker and now teaming with the great house of cosmetics of L’Occitane ; store and dessert bar with sales counter. A concept store to share friendship of the pastry king to  Olivier Baussan, founder of  L’Occitane (already in Paris with the maison Hermé). 21 years later Pierre Hermé is back on the Champs-Élysées, after clashing and leaving the maison Ladurée. The goodies are a bit pricey but you know where they are coming from ; 9,50 € cappucino, 20 €  ice cream cup etc etc. You can take it home too almost everything in the boutique. L’Occitane-Hermé, 86, av. des Champs-Elysées, 8éme. Tél. +33 (0) 1-70-38-77-38. Open every day from 7h30,except Saturdays and Sundays at 8h30, and closing late at 23h30, even 0H30 Fridays and Saturdays. More here:,74,1,91244,1184739.htm

Go to the sweetness of France with framboises sirup of the maison Lou Fenérêts coming from the Haute-Savoie. La Torchette a crusty biscuit of almonds and hazelnuts raisins ,algie and a bit of rum done in Melgven,the Finistère Breton by the  maison Georges Larnicol. How about  vinegar from  Rouillac, Charente, done with grapes of pineau blanc. Over  2 500 products like a tour of France ; this is at Le Printemps du goût recently open in two floors of groceries and cellars with fresh produce all made in France France. Done by such famous as  Akrame Benallal (star michelin chef), Gontran Cherrier (baker), Laurent Dubois (cheesemaker) ,and Christophe Michalak (pastry maker) all showcasing the best of France.  You are invited to go up to the 8th floor to taste their recipes on site with a grand view like a postcard over the tour Eiffel. All sold in the culinary space of 1 500 m2 in the great deparment store of the Grands Boulevards.  Yes you know Au Printemps.

Back to the foodie, once a month in winter the restaurant Auteuil Brasserie is transformed into a terrace on the roof in a chalet style ;Sunday last there was a return to ski or « Retour du Ski » night with DJ and cocktails shops . Good place for the nights of Paris and good favorite area of the city for me. More here:

Jacky Ribault awaited long for this and now its there, his second gastronomic restaurant named L’Ours (the bear). The chef has one star Michelin since 2014 and already head of the Parisian restaurant Qui Plume la Lune, located at Vincennes,in the middle of the island or îlot Fontenay, i twill have tables for about 20 folks. Once entering the resto you will the head of a Canadian bear on a space of 300 M2 all under a cover of Baltard metal and wood and silvery glass and walls.  The menus are at  45, 75 and 105 €, with a match food dish and wine averaging 50€ additionally. There is no carte so no need to look for one. Try it at L’Ours, 10, rue de l’Eglise. Tél. +34 (0) :

The first resto site is here :

A bit of tour of France coming up.

Imagine been in the Roman arena of Nîme end of April 2018 to host the 9e édition des Grands Jeux romains (the great roman games) ; that will be held for three days the legendary episodes of the times. You can see at simple eye view the amphitheater dating from the 1C of our times, one of the best preserve in the Roman world, spectacular!!!This is an oval of 133 meters long by 60 arcades on top of each other, a symmetrical building to perfection by Roman engineers. See the wonderful square house or Maison carrée, right in city center , the only antique temple in the world totally preserve with precise proportions and impressive columns. Continue your journey into the gardens or jardins de la Fontaine, built around the water source of the Nemausus. DO your rides in poneys and pedal cars on the ruins of the mysterious temple of Diana for the kids, then climb the tower or tour Magne,high on Mont Cavalier, the highest and most prestigious of the Augustinian tower walls. If you come early June 2018 you can see the new and very much awaited museum of romans traditions  or Musée de la romanité, that will show a futuristic building with all the collections of archeology of the city presented by Elizabeth de Portzamparc.  Museum here:

More  on Nîmes here:

And this always amazes me since coming here since 1990 near my wife’s native town and on her department 77 Seine-et-Marne. The Royal edifice that hosted more monarchs than any other, total of 34 ! from Louis VI le Gros to Napoléon III, spanning almost 8 centuries. Spend a day at the Château de Fontainebleau, less than 45 minutes from Paris is to push the genealogical tree of the French royals. In the cour d’honneur, take a  selfie  in front of the horseshoe stairs where on April 20 1814 Napoléon  said his farewell to his imperial guard.  In the interior of the castle ,see the gorgeous apartments, the two small boudoirs of Marie-Antoinette, very refined. However, do what others failed to do, go out into the park and its four gardens and od a tour in horse wagon or a barque boat in the lake of carpes or étang aux carpes. Spend a bit more time and attends a grand vals like the one coming up on February 24th , a carnival with swords duels , renaissance dances ,masks shops and princesss dresses . Adultes accepted lol!

More here:

Enjoy France 85 millions cannot be wrong, again No 1 in the world on visitors. Great start on my week! Cheers!




February 12, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXIIII

And the week 7 has started and so it’s time to tell you about things happening in my belle France. the weather has been ok early morning -3C coming home in the evening 3C no rain and cloudy as winter. life goes on, heading for another weekend, but first Valentin’s Day…. in France.

Soirée love February 14 from 19h to 23h at the Musée Rodin, with red carpet, and lights as well as rose petals jazz musicians will play different tunes in different rooms as well as will be shown a book showing the exchanges between Rodin and his muse Camille Claudel. The museum Rodin is at 77 rue de Varennes 7éme arrondissement.  Admission 20€ adults reservations a must at

Following the trails of La Forme de l’Eau or the water form trails of the new work of Guillermo del Toro in the Aquarium of Paris. Two glasses of Champagne will be offered one upon arrival and another in half time of your night walks in the basins . By 20h Claire the sirene will await you in the big pool where sharks and rays co exist ; later two guides will tak about the secret love amongst the fish and a love book will be given on the subject  Saint Valentin à l’Aquarium de Paris, located at 5 avenue Albert de Mun 16éme arrondissement from 19h to 22h admission 37,90€ per person. More in French here:

And something would have love to be in Paris is the PSG vs Real Madrid Champions league match of the Valentin’s day. The hotel Le Royal Monceau  will show the 8th final game on its projections rooms private and during the match the love birds of the sport will have pop corn of Pierre Hermé , and beers. The projection room is a giant screen tv in leather chairs like you were in a cinema. At half time, 2 hot dogs with truffe will help keep up the exctiing game. Le Royal Monceau, 37 avenue Hoche 8éme arrondissement, tel +33 (0) 1 42 99 98 50. starting at 20h Feb 14, admission 48€ per person. More here:

A choice of restaurants if not a football/soccer lover than head the Grand Cœur 41 rue du Temple 4éme arrondissement tel +33 (0) 1 58 28 18 90, open every day except Sundays evenings and Mondays. Menus from 23 to 30€ lunch For the St Valentin the chef starred Mauro Colagreco ( Le Mirazur , Menton) will have a special menu of   Burnt cauliflower, cauda bagna sauce, olive, candied lemon and anchovies; Cod, clams, coconut stew of paimpol and chorizo; Creamy white chocolate, yogurt and ice cream to the fruit of passion. More here:

If a theater play is for you then my choice would be the Merchant of Venice or Le Marchand de Venice at the Lucernaire 6éme arrondissement. And going on until April 1 2018. You can reserve places on 

And the theater site here:

Of course, anything in Paris is love eternal more than Valentin. George Gershwin said “ There are only two possible subjects for a song ; love and  Paris”

In other front the Ground control  has open its doors with passionate food stalls with six offering a coffee shop and a grocery store. The food you can eat on the stand on lunch or on the big wooden tables inside  This is all happening at the Halle Charolais with 4500 m2 of covered space and 1500 m2 exterior terraces . La Halle charolais, 81 rue de charolais 12éme arrondissement  open Wednesdays to Fridays from 12h to midnight, Saturdays 11h to midnight, and Sundays from 11h to 22h. More here:

The cabaret Crazy Horse opens up to the youngs, spectacles of Young & Crazy.The under 26 yrs old will be able to discover the temple of  sublime and assume and the girls every Wednesday evenings for 25€ only. Crazy Horse, 12 avenue George V 8éme arrondissement Reservations tel +33(1) 47 23 32 32 or email or

The Louvre is open up to find the nazi stolen work of arts during WWII from the Jewish community. The MNR or  “Musées Nationaux Récupération”  are works of arts recovered from the nazis stolen from the original owners, they were given for safekeeping to the national museums and provincial ones as well.  They were supposed to be given back to the rightful owners if found or identified  It is estimated that 100K works were stolen from the Jewish in France and transferred to nazi Germany; at the end of the war, the European and American museums were able to recover about 47K of them. The orphanage works in the Louvre museum numbered about 1752 with 807 paintings and some loan to other museums in France. Only 31 will be exposed in the Louvre to the public for the moment still hoping to find the rightful owner descendants. This already creating waves in internatinal medias.

This is the site where they managed these the MNR or the recuperation national museums site name after Rose-Valland who helped track this down at one time. here in French:

Between the plain of Buren with its columns in marbre and the palace garden of the Palais Royal, you will see wooden planches covering the floor , this is just to allow the workers to go underneath and fix the humidity below by the plains of Bury, between the columns and the galerie d’Orléans. The name Bury comes from the Belgian artist who did the nice fountains there in 1985. The French government or the taxpayers are helping to renovate it and will last until next Sept 18. More here:

A peniche boat done by Le Corbusier anchored in the port d’Austerlitz on the Seine river has sunk Saturday last. The boat Louise-Catherine, un boat in cement of 70 meters long and 8 meters wide was in plan renovation to be a cultural museum according to the owner. It was tried to bring it up water but in 15 minutes it sank. Le Parisien newspaper in French here:

And La Défense is coming to life again….at the foot of the hotel Melia with the towers First and Allianz One offering a splendid view over the bridge or pont de Neuilly and the Arc de Triomphe. However, the best is inside , name Oxygen, where the star chef Michel Rostang is opening a new restaurant. This is coming after last Sept17 the bar-exposition gallery and concert hall opened as L’Alternatif under the parvis (underground),  Another underground entity call Table Square is on schedule to open in front of the Agam fountain with two firms of fast food such as Bioburger, 100% bio , and the salad bar Prairie.  You will find a Pizzeria call Marco Polo, and finally a share work space call Icône , dedicated to the start-uppers and other nomad workers. More here in French:

Stay tune here on bioburger:

The Grand Paris Express, I have written on it several times in the blog and it is big news, more to come to change the landscape of the Paris region hopefully for the best for you and me ::) You can imagine crossing the region of Île-de-France in a metro going up to 120 KPH or about 75 MPH without passing by Paris ! and automatic !  Going from Boulogne to Champs-sur-Marne in 37 minutes vs one hour today or from Issy  to Cachan  in nine minutes instead of 46 today, or going from Villejuif to Champigny  in 18 minutes instead of 67 min today ! All will be possible starting in 2024 thanks to the project of the Grand Paris Express . It will be part of the landscape from 2030-2040.  Even the SeaBubbles flying water taxi will be tested this year over the Seine river . More on this here in English:

All because by 2030, Paris will have 12,8 millions inhabitants (not counting the visitors lol!!) Well more here in French,  and see the photo


credit: Le Parisien

More improvements galore Paris here we go. A fiber optic enters in the train stations of Paris. The council of Ile de France Mobilité has voted for it and should be official by Wednesday. It will installed fiber in the 387 stations where 112 do not have anything today.  This again in today’s Le Parisien newspaper.

A nice small museum in my Yvelines dept 78 west of Paris is the musée de la toile de Jouy  at  Jouy sous Josas.  Here cloths in cotton printed and teint from the  18C from a firm founded by  Oberkampf in 1760. Now nothing is left but in the courtyard of the city hall, a bell ringing and a museum installed in an old merchant house tell the story today.  Many financiers come to do this as it is the chic of the times to wear one but nobody in France mastered it. Here comes Oberkampf, coming from a tanners family in Germany . Jouy-en-Josas has it all, the Bièvre river runs below it to bath the teintures and rinse, vast fields to spread the cloths to whiting it under the sun and the water, the geographical situation at the door of Versailles and Paris a sure clientele. Oberkampf enlarge the business and when the company went bankrupt in 1843, more than 30 years after his death , almost 30K motifs have come out of the factory, and some continue to inspired the world of fashion. The  Musée de la Toile de Jouy, château de l’Eglantine, 54, rue Charles-de-Gaulle, Jouy-en-Josas (78). Open Tuesdays from 14h to 18H and from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11h to 18h ; guided visits each second Sunday of each month; closed from February 9 to March 8 2018. Admission  7 € adults. info at +33 (0) 1 39 56 48 64  or more here:

For info, this is a nice town and visited as friends at the fame Grand école HEC base here too.

And last but not least, do not forget the Chinese New Year on February 16, the year of the Dog !  The oldest parade in Paris! Done in the 13éme arrondissement or district.  This year will start from the avenue de Choisy and will finish at the avenue d’Ivry passing by the avenue de Choisy, avenue d’Italie, rue de Tolbiac, and blvd Massena.  The parade will be held on February 25 from 14h to 17h and the city hall of the district will hold spectacles, expositions, concerts and conferences from February 19 to March 3rd. More info at the city hall office in French , and you can print a program of activities too.

And we are calling for crossed border Labrador puppy and hopefully if the owner is right we will get it for at vaccinations costs only. We are crossing our fingers!!! Enjoy your week, Cheers!!



February 11, 2018

Simply E R A U ,Eagles Soar!

As my blog says travel and anecdotes well it’s time to come back to a bit of a story on my past. We write about beautiful interesting places we visit and or live/d and I recount my every day living on my series Some news from …. but I have souvenirs never to be forgotten either ,such as my university days. Do you have university days stories to tell? I have plenty but let’s keep it clean lol! I will tell you a bit more on my university ERAU, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA.

I was living in New Jersey where I grew up, and college time came in , my dream at those tender ages was to go into aviation and from a friend heard about ERAU= Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. One application form and I was accepted right away ,this was back in Augusut 1977 ::)

I have written a post early in 2011 on this episode here:

Now I want to tell you a bit more on the University per se. Briefly, here it is the story.

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university system offering associate, bachelor, master’s, and PhD degree programs in arts and sciences, aviation, business, engineering, computer programming, cyber security and security and intelligence. It is the largest, fully accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, and other 22 locations around the world mostly in US military bases.

On December 17, 1925 ,Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation. In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Opa-Locka airport near Miami, Florida. It is still there as a general aviation/business airport, webpage here:

John Paul Riddle I had the pleasure of meeting him. He had admission to both the US Naval Academy and West Point and finally chose the first one. He met later on one of his former flying student now with some wealth Talon Higbee Embry and with a contract from Waco Aircraft both founded the Embry-Riddle Company in 1925! The only had two Jenny airplanes and a dream.

They won several air mail routes and eventually Cincinnati got air mail service By now the service was flawless and by 1927 was the only of two companies that could fly passengers, the other was the Boeing Air Transport Company. On a led by Gen Doolittle the flying school got to be one of the first instrument flight instruction in the USA. The Aeronautic Board of the Dept of Commerce gave the school the endorsement as a safe flight company, only five in the USA in 1929. As the business grew financing was found by W Averell Harriman and Co and Lehman Brothers to create a financial aviation company, Aviation Corporation of Delaware in March 1929. They purchase several smaller companies and this company later became the famous AVCO. By 1930, a new holding company was founded called American Airways (today still goes on as American Airlines)

In Florida, he came to continue his dreams by purchasing other companies in the aviation industry. In 1939, he founded in association with John G Mckay the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation, leaving the name of the original founder on the name of the school. the school flew even seaplanes on the McArthur Causeway in Miami. The school provided help to Great Britain in WWII, they were exposed directly as Europe had surrender to Nazi Germany and needed pilots to defend the island. they were shipped to Jacksonville (now major naval base at Mayport here:

From there ,they were transported by bus to the now famous fields of Carlstrom, Clewiston (no 5 British flying training school) , Dorr field, and the seaplane base in Miami. ERAU trainers did all the work on them, and later trained American pilots too! they have lease the Old Fritz hotel in Miami as headquarters located at NW 27 avenue or SR9. They trained pilots up to August 6 1945. By the time of the peace treaty more than 26K men and women had graduated their wings by the school.

In 1944 however, they have created the first flight training school in Brazil under the Escola Tecnica de Aviaçao in Sao Paulo, training 3500 Brazilians on how to flight before turning it over to the government. The School was now called the Embry-Riddle International School of Aviation. It signed contracts for training for advance flight to the Free French Republic pilots. By October 1947, the school finally moved to Opa-Locka.

The school contracted with the US Air Force to trained pilots there with more than 1500 graduating. Later, it continue training USAF pilots in the ROTC program ( Reserve Officers’ Training Corps). The school grew internationally training pilots from many countries including Cuba, China, Turkey, Belgium, England, Canada, etc. etc. By 1958 the 1000 students came from 21 countries and 44 US States. By 1963, the facilities at Opa Locka were too small for this growth. While the operations in South Florida the school trained over 40K students!

The new president (with John Paul Riddle on the board) became Jack Reed Hunt, he was famous as been the one piloting the first non stop round trip flight across the Atlantic in a US Navy blimp ZPG-2 in March 1957. The route was Massachusetts to Portugal, Africa, Puerto Rico, Cuba, to Florida. He received his presidential medals.

President Hunt (my school president during my time) did immediately the decision to move to bigger place a location needed to be found, candidates were Sebring, Fort Pierce, Plant City, outside Miami in Dade County ,and Daytona Beach. The city of Daytona Beach got going and did all it could to win the prize, and I am so glad they did!! Operation Bootstrap started moving the school ,setting up new campus there and all help from shoestrings by donations and help from the business community there. All was moved by ourselves and on trucks. Ormond Beach (where I later lived) decided against the move so the decision was to set up by the Daytona Beach Regional Airport (now name international) ,and also next to the Daytona Beach Speedway (NASCAR auto racing) on 185 acres of land. The school arrived at Daytona Beach operational on May 19 1965. Only 239 students including the 168 relocated from Miami.

By 1968, we had Cessna 150s, Piper Cherokee, single engine Aero Commanders, twin engine Beech B-18 and some biplane stearmen; by 1968 the school was accredited to the SACS or Southern Association of Schools and Colleges! By 1968 the first dormitory was built to housed 386 students, this was known as Doolittle Dorm 1 (my first dorm)!! three stories high. By 1970, the school was known as the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute earning approval by the FAA =Federal Aviation Administration. The info on the Dorm 1 Doolittle now see it here:

Daytona Beach

By 1972, the school is known as we know it today , Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the one I came in on August 23 1977 to start classes! I visited many times President Hunt residence on the beach at Ormond by the Sea (now sold and gone a while back). This house we call it the Battleship as it look one from the distance, and we had the University Center where the cafeteria was at ,to eat and mingle you know. By my first year 1977, the school already counted with 2 725 students! me included lol!

Daytona Beach

By 1979, Times Magazine called us the “Harvard of the sky” And before that in 1978, we purchase Prescott college in Prescott Arizona to serve as our western campus. The International Campus was started ,now call the Extended Campus with over 100 locations many online. Now the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses have both about 5000 students. President Jack Hunt passed away of cancer in January 7 1984 RIP. He said, ” it may be easy to get in to Embry-Riddle, but it is not easy to get out” amen.

As the new team took over the school continues to grow and influence the world of aviation. In 1986 , the school was awarded the management training of the FAA and a specific center was opened in Palm Coast.

Ok not all is goody goody, the Administration announced in July 2014 that Embry-Riddle has been accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II membership. Embry-Riddle began intercollegiate athletics competition on its Daytona Beach Campus in 1988. Well not really, from the photos you will see that I participated in the NCAA Div 2 soccer program already in 1978-1980 playing against much bigger schools like FIU, Univ of Florida, Univ Central Florida, South Florida Tampa, etc with good results, winning records. However, the school decided to leave sports in 1981 and even with petitions by students the decision remained until starting again in 1988. The unfortunate thingy here is that those who participated before are not been recognized in school records!!! We had , also, baseball, tennis, and golf teams.  And of course, we had intramural sports and I did volleyball and softball, photo. The special site for athletics is here:

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach

The school has won several prizes in aviation flight competition; these are call NIFA/SAFECON , and remain the provider of about 50% of US Air Force pilots the best flyboys in the world! Following a short illness, on April 6 1989, John Paul Riddle passed away at his home in Coral Gables, near Miami he was 87 yrs. old. RIP sir. His last airplane ride took place on April 10th when following funeral services and a memorial service at the University, his ashes were sprinkled over Biscayne Bay and in the Oak Ridge cemetery at Arcadia, Florida.

Information gathered from memories, yearbook Phoenix from graduation 1982,(and my yearbook photo!)  and the book “The Sky is Home”, and the Alumni directory of 1998 all jealousy guarded by yours truly.


Daytona Beach Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

There is an ERAU alumni network, that has tattled with lack of support for a long time. I was on the first meeting to do an alumni network at Harley Hotel in Atlanta, GA back in 1984; then another try from Florida at the city hall of Hollywood Fl back in 1994, and finally as the Director of Alumni relations in France where we have over 60 French students graduated from my university now working French aviation/Aerospace industry, some of them quite well designing the wings for the A 380 to test pilot on maiden mission Toulouse-Hamburg, to working on the Arianne rocket etc. I helped organized the Paris Air Show of several years back believe it was 2013 with a dinner organized by me at the prestigious Aviation club de France ; but nothing of support so I decided to leave the organizing back in early 2017, and the position still vacant. More on the alumni ERAU here:

Another organization that does not exist no more and I was very active was the Management Club; I was the Treasurer 1981-82 and helped created the club as a non profit organization with the help of Accounting professor Mr Campbell and created the first scholarship fund to helped students pay for their book with the help of my Finance professor Mr De la Rosa back in 1980.  Both with the help of our councilor professor Mr Knabe.  These pictures are some of the souvenirs of this period;

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

I, even kept some photos from class trips this one visiting the Hartfield Atlanta International Airport on a thrill bus ride and fun antics in the Days Inn hotel we stayed, location forgotten but the actions did not ::) The planes are Lockheed 1011 from Delta!

Daytona Beach Daytona Beach

Some more facts: Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked by  U.S. News & World Report magazine in several categories for 2017:

Regional Universities South – Tie – 12th;  Best Colleges for Veterans – 8th; Best Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 84th;   Best Graduate Engineering Schools – Tie – 104th;   Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) – Tie – 16th;  Best Online Bachelor’s Programs – 1st;   Best Online MBA Programs – Tie – 100th;
Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) – Tie – 55th

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is also ranked by Forbes’ List of America’s Top Colleges for 2016:

Top Colleges: 480;  Private Colleges: 319;  Grateful Grads: 381;  Forbes Financial Grade: B
America’s Best Value Colleges: 280

See the link info by the US News magazine here:

And Forbes’s both campuses here:

The main webpage for ERAU here:

The ERAU bookstore online:

The ERAU lift magazine publication here:

Still call the Avion campus newspaper here:

And last but not least the story of the school via youtube video here:

Back in August, 2009, I visited Florida with the family and did pay a visit to ERAU as to show my boys the thrill of college non existent in France. We got a nice ride from the Alumni office to all of us, memories of young at heart.

Daytona Beach

Enjoy it the memories you have, they will follow you all over and the friendships made will stay with you forever. Happy Sunday, Cheers!



February 7, 2018

Snow ,the white one has arrive and…!


Meaux snow s m 77 credit LP


gare de meaux LP Hugues Tailliez


gare Saint-Lazare paris crash crowds credit LP C.H.


snow A1 autoroute near Senlis in the Oise Department Le Parisien AP Phiippe DUPEYRAT


credit Le Parisien Nicolas Maviel


credit Vigicrues


snow falling in France Le Parisien


castle of Chambord. credit Meteo France AP / GUILLAUME SOUVANT

Well and ….! the beat goes on in my belle France, snow is a tough subject to tackle. We had some snow lately as much as almost 6 inches or 15 cm.

Now let’s talk about an event that is made bigger than it should be. Snow in France in general and especially in the region of Paris , Île de France. I have been thru many snow storms in my life even monster ones in the NJ/NY area but here the snow and winter is milder yet the consequences are always histerical. This is what happened Tuesday to Wednesday night.

12 cm of snow felled in Paris proper and 11cm at Roissy CDG by Wednesday morning making the roads slippery as well as the railroad tracks. As of Wednesday morning at 7h30 ; the bus network has not started working because the snow on the ground, granted the numbers above in cm are about 4,7 inches : The tramways lines T1, T2, and T3a are stopped as well except between Charenton and Vincennes, the lines T7 and T8 are working ok. The lines T5 and T6 are stopped. The subway or métro is working normally even if there could be some difficulties like in line 8 and 13, and even if there are mostly underground ! The RER A, RER B and RER C, are having big problems and even stopped on some trajects in the central of the network; the RER D,circulation is stopped by the Stade de France to Paris. The traffic is normal on the RER D and RER E. The normal trains of the Transilien network are going out with big delays and sometimes 1 over 2. The lines H, K, N , and R are showing this impact. On the line L, traffic is stopped between Saint-Cloud and Versailles Rive Droite (lol ! my old line home) ,and on to Garches ,and Saint-Nom la Bretêche. On the line J, you have too one train over two between Paris and Ermont Eaubonne. The trains Paris to Les Mureaux have been cancelled. The trains Paris to Mantes-la-Jolie via Poissy are transfer to buses between Poissy and Mantes-la-Jolie. The trains Paris to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine are cancelled. There are no trains circulating on the line P between Paris and Coulommiers , and the traffic going East is very much slow down and delays between Paris, Meaux , and Château-Thierry. The train line U is cancelled as well.

Still as of this late morning there are 25 department between the Pays de la Loire and Lorraine in Orange alert (second highest level) ,these are the Aisne (02), Ardennes (08), Aube (10), Cher (18), Eure (27), Eure-et-Loir (28), Indre (36), Indre-et-Loire (37), Loir-et-Cher (41), Loiret (45), Maine-et-Loire (49), Marne (51), Mayenne (53), Oise (60), Orne (61), Sarthe (72), Paris , and the small beltway around it such as departments (Paris 75, Hauts de Seine-92, Seine Saint Denis-93 and Val de Marne-94), as well as further such as Seine-et-Marne (77), Yvelines (78), Yonne (89), Essonne (91) , and Val-d’Oise (95).

The TGV has reduce the speed considerably almost in half and the suburbians buses are in terminal ,nothing out. The region of Paris or Île de France has not seen this snow since December 2010 when almost 8000 automobilists were housed in the shopping center at Vélizy (Yvelines 78) to sleep the night. This caused 739 kms of traffic jams just after 19h30 (7:30pm) an absolut record not yet seen this time. I remember the Dec 2010 episode as my boys were in school at Versailles and the mayor’s office had ordered closed all roads into the citylol! My boys were in the bus stop by Europe near the castle; and I got on the car went around the roads around the castle not seen by police got in the city and got my boys out yeah!!!

An episode that is repeated and do not understand why nothing is ever done is the traffic jams and abandon vehicules in the N118 at the section of Vélizy-Villacoublay (Yvelines), direction Paris. There is no warning by the authorities, no salt trucks nothing and these people go by there and again got stuck on the snow waiting long hours to be clear ,and once again buses were sent to bring them to a nearby gymnasium . In the middle of the glacial cold some drivers decided to spent the night inside their cars with engines on to keep warm while the outside temperature was – 2 °C (about 28F). Even at 3h in the morning folks abandons their cars to get on foot the shopping center of the centre commercial Vélizy 2…2 km away!!! About 1,2 miles…

Yesterday Tuesday evening the gare Saint-Lazare around 19h30,hundreds were caught trapped in the tunnels of the metro line 13, which I have taken and it is an inferno, see photo.

The Eiffel tower is closed to visitors yesterday Tuesday as always in bad weather and strong winds they close it for prevention. The managing firm is asking visitors to check the webpage and social network to ascertain it will be open when they arrive on these days. My trip to Paris Thursday cancelled ! The SNCF has advised folks to delayed their trips if possible so I did, for me been here Paris can wait!!!

Already in the social networks here the folks are very upset about the lack of information on the travelers on the traffic conditions. The internet sites of the SNCF, Transilien, and RATP do not work! And the information flash on the train stations are not given in good time ; nothing new. Those visiting are lucky to come in good working orders of the public transport system but the poor folks that live here find them very bad but no other better solutions to go to work are available. I am lucky out of that mess in lovely Brittany!!!

The news flash in the Paris region where the traffic was stop all night to this morning already many folks taken refuge in the train stations of Montparnasse (my entry now to Paris) and Austerlitz, about 700 of them ; as well as about 230 at the airport at Orly According to the police report from Paris.

The situation can become critical as the night from Wednesday to Thursday the temperature will drop to less than 10 degrees Celsius or about 14F and icy condition on the roads and rails. The snow is probably to stay on the ground for several days with accumulations going in places as much as 15 cm or about 5,9 inches. And by Friday, we will have another snow storm coming from the northwest to areas of the north or now Hauts-de-France down to the Limousin ,and passing again by the Paris region of Ile-de-France.

Latest news coming on is that on the N118 by the crossroad of  Vélizy (Yvelines)  going to the south with more than 300 vehicules blocking the highway and 650 on the sides parked!! The snow felled 30 cm in the department Eure–et-Loire with very low temperatures, 8 cm at Tours (lol just left there ok), 12 cm in Paris, 11 cm in Blois, 13 at Roissy CDG and Orly airports, 14 cm in Orleans, and 15 cm in Chartres in early morning today.

Some photos from my family and wife’s native town of Meaux, 77 Seine-et-Marne above.

On a historical note the cold front of February 1956 happening from February 1st to the 27th the minimum temperatures were of -15 °C (about 5F) during 15 days in the NorthEast. When the average for the country in this month is lower than 9 °C (about 48F) monthly for the period 1981-2010,placing February 1956 as the most colder since the early 20C ; so where is the climate change lol !!!

Of course we were not spare at least in the morning hours, then it cleared up nicely sunny. This is front of our house in Pluvigner , Morbihan, Bretagne!



Stay tune for the white one, is news here, big time, well at least in Brittany we had some in the morning but by now all is sunshine lol!!! Be careful on the roads …… and happy travels. Cheers!

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 2, 2018

The region of Île de France!!

The region of Île-de-France, also known as the Parisian region and representing 19% of the French population. The region is bordered by the régions of Hauts-de-France, to the north, Grand Est,to the east, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, to the southeast, Centre-Val de Loire,to the southwest, and Normandie,to the west. It includes 8 departments such as Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, and the Yvelines (my old department home).

A bit of history I like and on the region where I first made my footprints in France and still very much attached to. The Royal domaine was created after the 10C by the Capetians kings, and even if it is in firm land the name of île de France or island of France was given as the land surrounded by rivers such as the Oise, Marne, and the Seine. Another story on it is that the name is an alteration of the Frankish word of Liddle Franke, meaning Little France in French. Under the monarchy it was a French province, with an administration directly under the King of France.

Just until the monarchy ended, this province was covering up to the north and northeast comprising the Soissonnais and Laonnois areas now in the Aisne dept 02; as well as the Beauvaisis and Valois now in the Oise (Picardie dept 60), but less extensive to the east excluding the Brie Champeonoise around Meaux that stays attached to Champagne. To the south the limits were the same as today including the Gâtinais, while to the west at the limit with Normandy stayed the same along the limit of the Epte river.

Following the revolution it was divided into five departments such as Seine, Seine-et-Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Oise, and Aisne. The government change this in 1956 and called the Région Parisienne and covering the departments of Seine, Seine-et-Marne, and Seine-et-Oise that were under the authority of the France under the regime of Vichy from 1941 , and the important department of Seine was given the No 75 and became Paris. Creating as well 3 other departments in and around Paris including 80 towns of the ex Seine and 43 towns of the ex Seine-et-Oise that all became part of the small crown aroundn Paris or the petite couronne. These were Paris city as 75, Hauts-de-Seine as 92, Seine-Saint-Denis as 93 and Val-de-Marne as 94. The biggest part’ of the ex Seine-et-Oise became no 78 Yvelines ! while Seine-et-Marne remained the same. So, you have Val-d’Oise as 95 , Essonne as 91, and the before mentioned Yvelines. This new administrative structure came to be the Île-de-France in 1976.

As far as transport well, this is the main of France or the French main or whatever you want, this is it. All comes and go from Paris. France is a National government.

In 1969, the first RER trains express regional were born with the line Nation to Boissy-Saint-Léger,completely electrified. In 1977, you could cross Paris with the RER A linking Auber with Châtelet – Les Halles. At the same time as the line serving the valley of Chevreuse to the southeast of Hauts-de-Seine was extended to the new hub at Les Halles and became the RER B. The RER C connecting the network in the suburbs from the gare des Invalides and gare d’Austerlitz from 1979, and later to the valley of Montmorency in 1988. Again the RER D line connecting the network out of the Gare de Lyon to les Halles , and the north of France in 1987; later the RER E done to relieve the congestion in the RER A but not totally done until at least 2020. In 1992, the tramways came back to Paris after leaving in 1937 with the line T1 northeast of the city covering La Défense. Then, the T2 to the east and the T4 on the north east. On the boulevards des Maréchaux and the boulevard périphérique you have the T3 and eventually the lines T3a and T3b.

In all we have 16 lines of metro handle by RATP ,metro opened in 1900. The RER trains with five lines, A and B handle by the RATP and SNCF and lines C,D,E handle by the SNCF. The tramway has 10 lines, so 8 handle by the RATP and line T4 by the SNCF and line T11 by Keolis, first line in operation by 1992.

The Transilien train network or TER of the SNCF that has other than the lines RER and T4 tramway ;9 other train lines of the suburbs such as reaching rive droite in Versailles from Gare Saint Lazare for example. The bus has about 1500 lines with about 350 handle by the RATP and 1180 by Optile. There are, also, bike for rental such as Vélib network and electric car for rental such as Autolib.

The highway network is very intensive and dense, you need to be used to big city driving to do it, me no problems, got my driving license in NJ/NY border and been driving here since 1990. The network covered over 800 km of expressways and a dozen radial networks with the principal ones been the Autoroute du Soleil A6 (Dijon, Lyon, Marseille), A1 Nord (Lille), A13 Normandie (Rouen, Caen, Le Havre), and the east A4 (Reims, Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg), A10 Aquitaine and A11 Océane (Nantes, Bordeaux, Rennes) as well as the beltway types such as the A 86, and the Francilienne A/N104.

You have basically three airports such as the aéroport de Paris-Orly built during WWII, the aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle built in 1974, and the aéroport de Beauvais-Tillé located about 70 kms from Paris porte Maillot serving low cost airlines. The city of Paris, also, has a heliport,located in the 15éme district or arrondissement south of the boulevard périphérique, at the limit of the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux, and therefore it’s name héliport de Paris – Issy-les-Moulineaux.

From the regional government page in French on transports :

the trains TER:


The airports are easy to get on google and see my other posts on Paris and île de France transportation options in my blog.

The history is link to beautiful wonderful buildings of different eras and styles to make this an unique piece of France. They are gothic architecture such as Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Basilique de Saint-Denis, abbaye de Royaumont, château de Vincennes, Church of Saint-Eustache, Conciergerie ,and the holy chapel or Sainte-Chapelle. Renaissance architecture we have the Château d’Écouen (Val d’Oise) done by Anne de Montmorency in the 16C. The city of Écouen has several of these from this time period and architecture. The Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile, and hôtel national des Invalides ,and the Château de Versailles, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte,Château de Fontainebleau, and the Château de Rambouillet . The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre with a romano byzantine style of architecture . The great mosque of Paris with a hispano Mùdejar Arabic style; the great Synagogue of la Victoire in the flowery roman style. You have modern and contemporary architecture as well with the Centre Georges-Pompidou, Grande Arche de la Défense, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and on the new cities in teh suburbs such as Marne-la-Vallée(Disneyland), Cergy-Pontoise ,Évry, Melun-Sénart, and Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. These are some of the better known, there is a lot more.

The region also, has 8 cities name as cities of Art and History such as Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt, Etampes, Rambouillet, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Pontoise, Meaux(wife native town !) , and Noisiel. It, also, has four historical touristic routes such as those in Normandie-Vexin, the route François 1er , and the Impressioinists pathways. The region, has four Unesco sites as well such as the banks of the Seine river, Chateau and parc of Fontainebleau, Château and park of Versailles, and Provins and its medieval fairs/festival.

The regional government page on tourism in French here :

The main natural parks in French in the region here:

The official tourist page of the region in English:

The Paris tourist webpage in English here:

And of course the tourism page in English of my beloved Versailles a lot more than a castle !

I have many many posts on this region, and the names can be easily be found in the “search” space in the right column of my blog front page; whether it’s a city or monument or transportation option. Just a couple on the cities I lived and worked for several years.

And why not a picture or two to showcase this region. Hard to do but we all have our favorites ::) The church of the Madeleine because so many times passed by it on way to work and ate in all the cafes/restos around it. And the wonderful Notre Dame marché/market with the name direction of hotel du cheval rouge ,the first hotel I stayed when visiting Versailles way back, and later came to lived not far from it. Enjoy it, I still do ::) Cheers!

Versailles Paris

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February 1, 2018

Some news from France CLXXXIII

Well in the run to post on the regions of France, lovely run indeed, we need to catch up to what is going on in my belle France.

Well the flood is still high around the rivers of France, especially in the north from east and west of Paris. The metro line 9 of Paris is cut off according to the RATP the organism that managed them and traffic is cancelled between Porte de Saint-Cloud and Pont de Sèvres.  The stations of Pont de Sèvres, Billancourt, and Marcel Sembat are closed to the public. The problem is infiltration due to the rise of the Seine river.  The reopening will be by tomorrow estimated and a bus service is in place instead. The town of Gournay in Seine-Saint-Denis is flooded and the Marne river should go over 5,55 meters at the limit of the wall. The level can go to 5,80 by Saturday next. The gymnasium du Clos de l’Arche in Noisy-le-Grand , (5 rue Jean Richepin) is available to host folks evacuated if needed.  The basin of the Seine river is still high and influence the levels of the Marne river and tributaries. The area is in orange alert (second highest) into the Val de Marne according to Méteo France. By Saturday, the Marne river can go 15-30 cm higher , and Seine having lost 29 cm in 25 hrs still needs to go down and rainy days do not help. It will be needed to wait until next week to see the descend more realistic.  To be continue….

the toll fees on highways ./autoroutes continue to go up of course. Increase of 1 – 2 %  starting from February 1st 2018, and  3- 4 % in the secondary network of roads. Due to high cost of salt on the road and the high price of the gel of 2015!! this is a rip off but the happy French taxpayer will do again and the visitors will help of course.  According to the authority on the regulation of rail activities and highways or ARAFER this increase is not justifiable . The pro consumer group 60 millions de consommateurs  have shown that on 29 autoroute axes 28 have increase their rates by more than 5 % between  2011 and 2017. Six  tranches have even increase it by more than 10 %.  The top comes to the section of  Bordeaux  to  Pau , more than 16%. IN 10 years the price of toll fees have increase by almost  20 %!!!. Yeah and the roads are the same but we pay more ,lousy service ,one more proof the government is not to save lives but to make money.

The museum or musée de Cluny  is closing within one month. By March 1st they will closed their doors for about four months for renovations. The small entrance lobby of 52 m2 will be replace by one of 250 m2!  and two elevators/lifts will be installed.  The city of Paris will take advantage of this to make the  rue Sommerard  pedestrian. The museum at  6, place Paul Painlevé (5éme). More here:

And one of my all time favorite as my boys grew up going here often is the Jardin d’Acclimatation now in renovation but still confirm to re open by May 1st. The Labor day holiday here. The owners are now the famous brand LVMH. This park of 18 hectares in the Bois de Boulogne (16éme) will have a new identity to it’s 40 activities and function ability to the machines providing admission fees of 4,90€ adults or the pass for all at 29€. The park is a historical leisure place for Parisians that is here since 1860. The new renovation will keep the place of promenade and rest for all as always. A garden renovated in the spirit of old Paris, a village of activities such as the Les Rockets, an attraction unique in Europe with 500 meters of rollercoaster, bobsleigh etc going down at 45 kph ( 28 mph) in 2 minutes 30 seconds in a forest of sequoia trees. There will be an interactive cinema, an decorated alley in the north part on the side of Neuilly-sur-Seine. A farm normand recreated and the heritage of Napoléon III rebuilt. The factory to make satin fabric that has been made into a café as well as station with a old clock, and several small houses to bring back the spirit of Napoléon III. They have planted 45 000 shrubs and 200 trees with a natural river flowing thru.  More here:

Grand Paris Express will go the distance for the supermetro around Paris. 200 km of metro and 68 new stations in 5 new lines 14,15,16,17,and 18  will be build by the govt by way of the company  Société du Grand Paris (SGPl) . The proposals will be received by the council of overlook of the project of the SGP during the month of March 2018.

And knowing this line, I know what they are going thru. The wonderful old outdated public transports in Paris. The train Line U trip of La Verrière (Yvelines my oldest boy school was here) and La Défense had a terrible last trimester of 2017. From initiative of the users association ” Plus de Trains”, meeting have been held with the SNCF.  they need to improve it, an important line of 50 000 passengers per day meanwhile the SNCF recognizes that they are two times more cancelled trains here that before and the line is worse than from last May 2017. Just saying, not the same visiting than living here; transports is not what they are made to show for at all. There is a blog in French telling us about all the problems of the transports in the Paris region here:

More transports evils, before you take the bus and transport passengers the drivers of the buses of the RATP needs to come on board and park their own cars. Well at Boulogne-Billancourt  or the Porte de Saint-Cloud, the parking for them is hard and has prompted given a strike notice by Friday. The strike is posted for the bus lines 169  and 171,in the dept  Hauts-de-Seine, but, also lines  22, 52 ,and 72, that transit in Paris. They claim they have only 25 parking spaces for 250 drivers !  and now they are prohibited from parking their personal cars in the bus terminal of  Pont-de-Sèvres, where the drivers of bus lines 169 and 171  start their work day.  Until now there was tolerance on their parking here bu the dept of Hauts-de-Seine,in charge of the places have installed anti parking blocks here! When are they are goint to learn they cannot stop the car, as they have no space no money and no means of creating spaces!!!

More on trains, the RER E in dept 93 Seine-Saint-Denis has since December 23rd last taken the form of strikes of 59 minutes every morning!.  It happened last at the station of Raincy, where the trains of  7h49 and 7h56 were cancelled without any notice to passengers. Therefore, starting February 1st the Unions will have strikes for 59 minutes between the hours of  6h30 to 7h29, from 17h30 to 18h29 , and between  0h30 to 1h29. They are asking for the erosion in their purchasing power and an increase in salaries. So now in addition to delays old Equipment cancellations, and now salaries, the workers in the area going to work will go thru hell once again. Hopefully the visitors will not notice any of this and will still claim Paris transports is very nice lol!!!

To continue on transports and outside Paris region of île de France we go to the Oise at Beauvais and their network of buses Corolis. For the fourth consecutive day they are on strike and will continue. This includes the free navette in city center and the service chronopro 2 will be cancelled again. This is in addition to the 26 departures cancelled of the Chrono 1 from/to  the districts of  Argentine,  Saint-Jean,and Hôtel de ville. Just for info ok nothing bad just routine transport woes. More here in French:

And to make it even more so bad, the Conseil d’orientation des infrastructures (COI),that is mandatated by the government to decide on priorities for transports for the next 5-10 years on big projects like the lines  TGV Bordeaux-Toulouse, Paris-Normandie or Provence-Côte d’Azur, new autoroutes etc are looking into a phaseout period on the construction of these. they will be done in stages over a longer period of time. Of course no money for this but they keep raising fees and higher fines and less parkings etc As we say la vie est belle indeed. The line  Toulouse-Bordeaux as an example the first stage schedule for  2018-2022, the finish is now estimated to be by 2037 or later!!! The same for the line  Provence-côte d’Azur,where the completion will be extended from 2023 to 2037. oh là là là; it’s all here in Les Echos in French:

Ok cool, on a more peaceful story about football/soccer; The village of Poncy bordering the autoroute A13 as well as roads D30 and D113 all around Poissy will be the new training camp of Paris football/soccer team PSG. There will be a new traffic circle by Aigremont in the D30, all my old hangouts. The team will have a huge complex here with 15 football fields, buildings for housing and stadium for 5000 persons to be done by 2020. Here is a picture on how it will look like from Le Parisien newspaper where the story came out. poissy

And one guy that has not received all the credit due him  as a painter is Jean Fautrier and he will be shown at the museum or musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris. An exposition with his 140 paintings and 25 Sculptures of  Jean Fautrier (1898-1964). All until May 20 2018. WE see in his paintings signs of Turner, as well as Rembrandt, or even Chardin. However , he flirt with abstraction and created the jargon of informal art with several work of the expressionist school. You need to see the work « Nature morte aux poires » from 1927. It has a font black and gray emerging three pears with a light spectacle that is taken from the game of lights of a Turner or a  Rembrandt.  His « Jolie fille » done in 1926-1927  is a mass of nuts in a sculptural body where he hardly shows the face, it is radical! As well as the work done in 1922, when he decided to take on the « Portrait de ma concierge ». He made exist an old lady with a minucioiuse representation in grey tones, black and violets. In his funeral André Malraux said that  Fautrier made him think of  Goya.  Anyway Jean Fautrier is a great one of the painting history, the master of modern tragidy . More here:

On November 27 2017, the auction house of  Artcurial proposed in auction a magnificent ensemble of work in sculptures by  Camille Claudel. They were rare and beautiful, a pedigree (coming from the family of the sculptor) the estimation were awesome and three world records were established.  A sweet revenge for that which for a long time was considered the student of her lover Auguste Rodin. All had the right of pre emptive that was exercise by the French government in auctions of arts in favor of six muséums, so on the 20 works 12 were send to French arts institutions. That is the story the museum or Musée d’Orsay  is showing until February 6. The others are the Musée Rodin, Paris, Musée Camille-Claudel, Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), the pool museum or Piscine-Musée d’art et d’industrie in Roubaix (Nord), Musée Sainte-Croix  of Poitiers , and the Maison Camille et Paul Claudel of Villeneuve-sur-Fère (Aisne), all already with important works of Camille Claudel .More here:

sit back and enjoy the arts in beautiful Paris and extraordinary Opéra in the season 2018-2019 at the Opéra de Paris. The year  2019  will be a double anniversary, the creation in 1669 by king Louis XIV of the royal academy of the opera or the Académie royale d’Opéra, that will take on the name of the royal academy of music or Académie royale de Musique; but, also as well the opening of the room Bastille, opened about 30 years ago by Président François Mitterrand for the bicentenary of the French revolution.  Some of the work shown are: Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer created in the Opéra in 1836 followed by the first curtain rising of the Opéra Bastille in 1989. Also, Les Troyens of Hector Berlioz under the direction of Philippe Jordan and to finish with the opera ballet of Rameau, Les Indes Galantes under the direction of Leonardo Garcia Alarcon in a scene of Clément Cogitore.  Not less than 32 programs with 15 new spectacles will be shown. some of the new will be Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Dmitri Chostakovitch in a scene of Krzysztof Warlikowski. Don Giovanni of Mozart directed by Philippe Jordan and scene of Ivo Van Hove or the La Traviata of Verdi with a new scene of Simon Stone.  On the Dance side, you have ballets likes the Cendrillon, La Dame aux Camélias and the Le Lac des Cygnes and also the premiere in the Opera Garnier on December 29 2019 a hip hop battle with Juste debout, the organizer in France of the biggest international competitions.  More here:

And last but not least, the nocturnal chases at the Louvre museum. Call is out for the lovers of the Da Vinci Code ! Each Wednesday and Saturday night the  musée du Louvre welcomes the great adventurers that we are for a mysterious treasure hunt. For nearly two hours in the heart of the museum collections your mission will be to be first in opening the crypts of the Joconde (Mona Lisa). Anima,the organizer of the events in Paris will have a quiz to help on the hunt; you will need a team to discover the three pyramides on three initiating trails before the others. This will be until February 28 2018 . Night events at 19h and matinees on Saturdays at 10h30 . Admission are  33,60€  for the adult tickets with Louvre admission included or  17,40€  just for the treasure hunt,  10,20€  for the children and the museum is free for those under 26 with proof of age.  Musée du Louvre entrance by the  Pyramide – Cour Napoléon – 1er more on the organiser Anima site here!

Ok so a change of pace from the regions report but figure Paris can’t wait lol!!!  Enjoy Paris , the most beautiful city in the world. Hey UN WTO figures are in for 2016 France got 82,6 millions visitors again tops in the world ::)  Cheers!

January 27, 2018

Bordeaux, wines? nahh beaches!!!

Lacanau Ocean Lacanau Ocean Lacanau Ocean Carcans plageOk I am on a roll, grey rainy, humid, cool 6C not fun to go out although we plan something later in the afternoon. Right now is memory lane and reminiscent of the wonderful place I posted on my blog going back to 2011!

Bordeaux has a mythical name to it, for most it means the best wine in the world and rightfully so, I agree. Extensive (all my life) work in the wine industry from bartender to management and diploma of France and Spain on wine connoisseurs level, even right now worked for a big multinational with wine distribution division.

However, what most visitors do not know, is that the Bordeaux, especially the best wine areas of the Médoc are also,home to some of the best beaches in France, and the summer hangout of my family especially when younger ages.

I will give you my previous post on the subject of Bordeaux here:

Of course, plenty of wine info there and some beach. These towns we have zigzag for many years with the kids and beach activities that are second to none in France. These are Lacanau-Océan,Carcans-Maubisson, Hourtin,especially, but also Le Verdun-sur-Mer, Soulac-sur-Mer ,and Montalivet.

The place for beaches in France with info on each is plagetv here:

The special Médoc tourism page in French has more on them:

The one we prefer of all is Lacanau-Océan and even thus is in French, you can give yourselves a good idea from the pictures to know this is really good beach town:

Here we have done house rental and camping park rental. The house is fine but for ambiance and group activities the camping are best. Our all time favorite camping is the 5 star Camping Yelloh! village Les Grands Pins just 300 meters from the beach at North side or plage nord. The house was Villa “Gré des flots” more expensive and like I said more isolated even if in city center. WE like more the camping.

The house Gré des flots is here:

The camping site is here;

This camping is tops you can walk to the city center and the beaches and plenty of family activities inside! As well as cheaper for a family than the house.

The beaches at Lacanau-Océan are 16 km long or about 10 miles and are three south, central, and north (sud, central, nord).

From the city center you go down steps into the sand for the plage Centrale or central beach, and very close to all shops restos bars etc. So,therefore ,the most crowded part. The others are reach on foot from city center too but on neighborhood more residentials. So you still close to all amenities but less crowded. The plage Super Sud or south has a huge parking for 2000 cars/autos with pines shades, need to cross a dune of sand on wooden trails with a spectacular view over the beach; been the more open nature beach. The plage nord or north beach is the one we access from the camping and is so wide and wild and much less crowded as the part of the camping made it private beach. This is super tranquility and good ambiance with the camping folks.
More on the city page here in French:

Enjoy the fact that on the ocean side you have wonderful beaches and on the river side you have the best wines in the world, the center is full of pine trees landscape and farms you have the real France at your fingertips or wheelstip. Plublic transport is available even bus from Bordeaux to Pauillac but here the car is king. For the daring ones, here are the buses :

By car from Bordeaux you have several alternatives depending on which beach you are going to . Driving by car go into the Bordeaux beltway A630 direction Le Lac take exit 8 on the road D215 direction Sainte Hélène, here take the road D6 Route de Lacanau direction lacanau and then past the lake lacanau-ocean, after the traffic circle of the Casino of Lacanau bear right into the next road Pénetrante later boulevard Franchet until the entrance to the Camping well posted.

Hope it helps enjoy some beach family time in the Médoc, and maybe a tour of the Chateaux of Bordeaux/Médoc! Cheers
ps some personal photos here for the memories and souvenirs.

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