Archive for ‘Paris’

January 7, 2021

Wines news of France VIIII !!

And bringing back my series on my other hobby other than travel which actually are complimentary. The wines are in me since 8 yrs old !! and that is a long time folks , believe me. To be brief as plenty in my blog and especially for newcomers, welcome all; I am certified wine expert by France (Sopexa) and Spain (ICEX) and have visited many vineyards all over the world. Of course, after all this experience I too can to believe the best were, are and will be for the forseeable future from France ! Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

Starting with a bang! It is a Champagne that is drunk late at night in Saint-Tropez or Miami, it is a wine for gourmets that knows how to accompany the best meals, from appetizers to dessert, it is a juice created by a Benedictine monk who never tastes better than in the cloister of the Abbey of Hautvillers, where he was born!  The production of Dom Pérignon, both great wine and supermarket, obeys principles that the successive cellar masters of the abbey have refined and applied. One of the first pillars of the house is blending, that is to say the choice of grapes from different plots that will go into the composition of the wine.  Dom Pérignon is releasing the 2010 vintage this year, a very open wine, with notes of pineapple, intense jasmine, a glorious champagne and broad shoulder, almost massive, which stands out from its predecessors. A wine with horses under the hood, sharper than the 2006, which turned out to be fat and nicely viscous. Much less toasted than the 2004, voluminous, airy. 2010 does not have the depth either, the gravitas of 2003. Each vintage finds its audience, and reveals a little of the personality of the one who loves it. YES it is out go for it!!! See my posts on Champagne.

The Roederer wine library, set up in 1999, is for those who have not had the patience to keep their wine in the cellar to enjoy it at the best time. This year, gourmets will discover the 1999 vintage. The vinothéque is between 300 and 500 bottles of rosé and between 700 and 900 bottles of white put on the market each year.  Today, of their 242 ha, 120 ha are certified organic. 122 ha are HVE (high environmental value) certified, of which 10 ha are biodynamic. the first edition of Brut Nature Rosé is breathtaking. The tension of this “bone” wine is even more noticeable on the rosé than on the white. This 100% organic vintage, made from a biodynamic vineyard, with no added sulfur or sugar, co-signed by designer Philippe Starck, has been a great success, especially in Italy.  The Roederer Group is preparing the production of a still red wine and a still white wine. The white will be made from a Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger. The red will come from a Pinot Noir from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. These two wines, vintage 2018, will be released next February 2021.

It is now possible to produce vintage wines, that is to say that the use of reserve wines is no longer mandatory. This is a great opportunity for Champagne to express its uniqueness and to show once again that these are great wines and a great region. Here is a Champagne with pretty tension, straight in its boots but without stiffness. On the nose, this wine with fine bubbles is an orchard at the end of summer, it scents pear and mirabelle plum, while the palate, of the creamy type, gives way to red fruits. The glacier coast, exposed to the south, as its name does not indicate, and the parcel of Meurtet, exposed south-east. Two unique expressions of Aÿ pinot noir. Barely 6,000 bottles are sold each year. Served as an aperitif, it awakens the taste buds with immense sweetness. Gourmets will keep it at the table where it will happily accompany foie gras, scallops, langoustines, lobster and cheeses. Let us add that this Champagne lends itself to a long guard. Those less in a hurry can wait until 2040.

Already consultant in the wine and spirits sector in New York, Hongkong, and Zurich, and later in charge of exports for a great domaine in the Rhône, Jean-Baptiste Ancelot finished to accomplished his dream as a student. That is, the culmination of a census of each country wine producers in pretty bottles, a project that took him eleven years of worrk. From this adventure, he took out the work of the Wine Explorers. The opening of an e-shop is the next logical step. Already six countries are highlighted in its catalog. In Austria, in the region of Burgenland, they discover the cuvées of the domain Silvia Heinrich and the red grape variety Blaufränkish. Then passing through Bosnia-Herzegovina to taste the wines of the Brkic estate made from the zilavka (white) and blatina (red) grape varieties. Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic are part of the trip, like Malta, with the Meridiana estate. The proposal should quickly be enriched with Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Slovenian vintages ..They want to quadruple the supply on the French market from the first half of 2021. The book and concept here:  Wine ExplorersLe 1er tour du monde du vin, (the first world tour of wines) by Jean-Baptiste Ancelot, ed. Omniscience, 234 pgs, here at 35€.

King Louis XIV loved the delicate rosé wine produced in Les Riceys, a small village of 1,500 inhabitants located in the south of Champagne, in the Côte des Bars. The production of rosé is a heroic act, because the village also has the right to produce, from the same grapes, Coteaux-Champenois and especially Champagne. The appellation of origin Rosé-des-Riceys occurs in three communes, Riceys-Haut, Riceys-Haute-Rive and Riceys-Bas, on specific plots, from a short maceration of the skins of the pinot noir grapes with its juice. Maceration is stopped as soon as the famous “taste of Riceys” appears. The wine then passes from the vat into oak barrels where it matures for a year or more.  This rosé is rare. Of the 320 million bottles produced, still wines called Coteaux-Champenois represent less than a million and Rosé-des-Riceys a few tens of thousands. In other  words, nothing for a global market. But it is one of the best rosés in France and its very original taste, more Burgundy than Champagne, is sought after, especially since it can be kept without problem between three and ten years. This rosé is eaten locally on pig’s trotters in Sainte-Ménehould or on a soufflé pie with chaource cheese. Among the fifteen producers, it must be mention Alexandre Bonnet, always very consistent, Olivier Horiot, with a good density, Defrance, quite rustic, and Veuve Devaux, always very elegant. Four interpretations for a unique wine. Indeed to taste!!!

Today, some winegrowers proclaim it loud and clear: they are proud to belong to one of the 580 cellars or unions of French cellars (cooperatives). Out of 75,000 harvest declarations in 2019, 43,300 are cooperative members who own small structures of around seven hectares. The geographical development of my selection begins in Alsace where the Cave de Ribeauvillé, created in 1895, is considered to be the oldest of the cooperatives. The Champagne is the region which offers the most beautiful list of enterprising cellars, since the beginning of the century to moment when the Champagne economic network is united between the trade and the winegrowers following the revolts of 1911. In Burgundy, the producers of crémants are efficient, while in still wines, La Chablisienne has long proved its worth, followed by the cellars from the Mâconnais and the Côte Chalonnaise such as Lugny, Buxy and the Vignerons des Terres Secrètes. In the Jura, the village fruit farms have a voice, particularly that of Arbois. In the Rhône Valley, the Cave de Tain-Hermitage is playing in the big league, while some cellars in southern villages are on the rise, with cuvées based on often organic and / or “natural” fruit. The Midi offers a nice group of dynamic cellars. It is true that cooperation has its roots in Hérault, thanks to the alliance in 1901 of a small group of winegrowers from the village of Maraussan, Les Vignerons Libres, whose cellar inaugurated in 1905 during Jaurès’ speech founded the system. 31% of cooperation is concentrated in Languedoc and Roussillon. Finally, on the western front, two large groups dominate the southwest: the dynamic Cave de Plaimont and Vinovalie, the Bordeaux entity Tutiac, which has taken over the marketing of a large part of the region. The Loire, for its part, remains slightly behind …too small to join forces as cooperatives.

The AOP Listrac-Médoc is, with its cousin Moulis, the most “continental” of the town’s appellations of the Médoc. They doesn’t “look” at the estuary like the others. Thus, even if the climate is temperate oceanic, the temperature minima are lower here than in the other communal areas of the peninsula. The Listrac and Moulis area is one of the latest in the Bordeaux vineyards. Listrac is also distinguished by its terroir. The soils of the Médoc depend largely on the six ancient terraces of the Garonne. The wine-growing soils are generally more clayey than in the other Médoc town’s appellations. Hence a higher proportion of Merlot (63%). But there are significant variations between sites …! This was a find for us way back and enjoying ever since.

The French wine and spirits sector is sacrificed for a dispute over aeronautics,yes. The Federation of FEVS exporters denounced  last Thursday, December 31, 2020 after the announcement of extended customs duties by Washington (USA). Three weeks from the end of its mandate, the Trump administration announced on the night of Wednesday, December 30 to Thursday that it was preparing to impose additional customs duties on European products, in particular wines (excluding sparkling wines like champagne) and cognacs. Washington is authorized to do so by the World Trade Organization in the context of its dispute with the EU on aid to aeronautical giants. Since October 2019, the United States has imposed a 25% customs duty on still wines below 14 degrees, sold in containers of less than two liters!! According to information from the FEVS, this 25% tax will now extend to all still wines, including in bulk, as well as to wine-based spirits, such as cognac. The FEVS calls on the EU to take action to finally resolve this conflict between Airbus and Boeing and to compensate the French and European companies which are the collateral damage of this interminable conflict. Indeed trade wars are not good and do not resolve anything.

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) Wine Bar is located on the ground floor of the Hotel Gobineau, a magnificent 18C building reminiscent of the famous Flatiron in New York. The place which also  houses the headquarters of the CIVB is atypical with its neoclassical architecture and its stained glass windows dedicated to the wine world. Lovers of Bordeaux wines flock to it, the queue often overflows into the street! Here, they only serve bordeaux! The menu is regularly updated, and you can permanently taste around thirty wines carefully selected and served by the glass. The prices are between 2 and 8 €. The tasting can be accompanied by platters of cheese, cold cuts, or chocolates. Note on sunny days: the place has a pretty terrace, with a breathtaking view of the Grand Théâtre. Indeed we always stop by when in Bordeaux since 1991!!  Le Bar à Vin du CIVB, 3, cours du 30-juillet, 33000 Bordeaux. Tél. : 05 56 00 43 47. webpage : https://baravin.bordeaux.com/

And last, left for last as it is a sad news indeed, my Lavinia is gone.

It is with great sadness , really no words for it that I read in the LRVF magazine ,the Lavinia wine shops are closing this January 9 2021! This is certainly bad news, which shows the fragility of the wine professions in these times of the Covid19 virus , and which will make a big splash. The Lavinia store, the emblematic wine merchant on Boulevard de la Madeleine, will close its doors on Saturday January 9 in the evening.  One of the most beautiful wine windows in Paris draws the curtain, after twenty years of ambitious work to raise the reputation of the best French and foreign wines in the capital. It rose to nearly 40 million euros in sales in 2015, including 17 million for the Madeleine store alone, its flagship. Opening of a restaurant where you could drink any bottle of the store without corkage duty (yes wonderful after work), development of a very profitable spirits department, distribution of wines to restaurants via the Vins du Monde subsidiary, corporate gifts, gift boxes for individuals, online sales, home deliveries in the West of Paris, store openings in Madrid, (visit here too!!) Barcelona, franchises in Ukraine to Kiev and Odessa, subsidiaries in Hong Kong, establishment in La Défense, specialized distribution with the takeover of the Augé boulevard Haussmann cellar. …The brand innovated every year, with some success. And the high rent in the Madeleine district (more than 1.2 million euros per year! Yes Paris is expensive!) weighs too much when the demonstrations of yellow vests erupt in the beautiful districts then the Covid19 virus, which plummets the attendance of the store. The Covid19  virus , in fact, also cut the taps of foreign tourists visiting Paris and fond of iconic bottles, which represented nearly 5% of turnover. Barcelona have closed, Ukraine has not responded since the Orange Revolution and the situation is tense within the group. Last April, Lavinia sold its Vins du Monde subsidiary and its allocations to prestigious foreign domains such as Vega Sicilia, Harlan Estate or Pingus. After the closure of the Lavinia La Défense store, a business district that has been deserted since the rise of teleworking, here is the turn of Lavinia La Madeleine. Again, sad very sad if there was one I thought this one will survive but I guess was wrong, the virus did it but it has been a downward fall for a while. Oh well , need to find me another one now! Lavinia will be irreplaceable!

And there go folks , gladly reporting from the world of wine and my belle France. Hope you enjoy reading as Id writing it. En vino veritas!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!! And to add drink wine even if in moderation lol!!!

January 7, 2021

Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy!!

I need to revise and refresh the text on this older post in my blog. It is dear to me as been to Poissy several times and was sometimes my passing to work or kids school with trains. I happened to stumbled into the Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy because of the history and events there so walked I did to see it and did come back. I did a post on it long yes, maybe tiring to read by many but I believe history is the foundation of any travels, passing by with a picture is not enough to enjoy our world. So, therefore, here is my update on the Collegiale Church Notre Dame of Poissy!!

Of course, Poissy a royal town of France is in royal Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region.  Well ,I have written a lot on the city of Poissy in my blog which plenty to offer the visitor as well. First of all, very easy to get to from Paris on the RER A line and once there go out station turn right and walk up the street ,you will see the big Gothic Church in front of you! Never time it ,but should be less than 10 minutes walking.

The Collegiale Church of Notre-Dame is a parish Catholic Church located in Poissy. It was founded by King Robert the Pious around 1016, but from the 11C church, only the western steeple-porch survives. Indeed, the Collegiate Church was rebuilt from the beginning of the 12C, in particular between 1130 and 1160, in the late Romanesque style, and later in the primitive Gothic style, which manifests itself in the eastern parts. The future king Louis IX (Saint Louis) was baptized, a few days after his birth in Poissy, on April 25, 1214. This event is the celebrity of the Church, and the baptismal fonts of that time are still preserved there. Although it has undergone numerous transformations and restorations since its construction in the 12C, this Church is not only the richest monument of the city’s heritage, but also remains one of the few witnesses to the development of Romanesque art and its transition to Gothic art. The Church bears the name of Collegiale because it housed a college of canons until the French revolution. It was the object of several restoration campaigns in the 19C, notably by Viollet-le-Duc.

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A long history I like!

The Notre Dame Church may be a successor to a first Merovingian cult Site, of which they  have found numerous fragments of stone cutters, capitals and bases at 60 cm below the paving. However, the base seems rather Roman, but the base could actually go back to the 7C. Saint-Louis never forgot the Church where he had been baptized, and founded a Mass for the birthday of his parents in 1238, then a Chapel in 1250. The first priest was installed , it was Mathurin Giquerel, Doctor of Theology of the Sorbonne, a dignified and virtuous man of Breton origin. Under the whole of the old regime (royals) , Poissy was the seat of the archdeaconry of the Pincers’ of the Diocese of Chartres, and the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame its spiritual center. The Church was reportedly burned during the Hundred Years ‘ War, and was partly rebuilt and enlarged in the late 15C and 16C. During the second War of Religion, in 1567, the Church was ravaged by the Huguenots, and to escape, inhabitants were forced to take refuge in the attic for more than two weeks. On the eve of the French revolution, the chapter was abolished and the Church soon closed to worship, and the Church of the Saint-Louis Priory  became the only parish Church in the city, except during the prohibition of worship under the reign of terror in the French revolution. With the Concordat (ending the terrors of the French revolution) of 1801, Poissy was integrated into the new diocese of Versailles, corresponding to the old department of Seine-et-Oise (now mostly Yvelines).

A bit brief on the architecture of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame Church consists mainly of a central vessel of six long bar spans, accompanied by aisles and Chapels or other annexes; Of a five-pans apse; there is the  ambulatory; a square-planar axis Chapel dating from the 1860’s; and two Chapels flanking the first and last span of the ambulatory, each with a straight span and an apse in the hemicycle. The nave is preceded by one of the two steeples, the ground floor of which was initially an open porch on three sides. Two stair turrets flank the bell tower, one to the north and one to the south. The Chapel of the Baptismal font occupies the angle between the steeple and the north side, and like all the spans of this aisle, it is flanked by a Chapel on the north side. This row of seven Chapels does not form a second aisle, because all the bays are enclosed. The rest of the Church is hunched over with simple warheads. A second steeple rises above the last span of the nave.

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The western steeple, originally a steeple-porch, is one of the oldest steeples in the region among those of a certain size. The steeple is square and flanked by two orthogonal buttresses at each angle, which are strictly vertical and punctuated by the same drip present on the walls.The ground floor only has small rectangular openings, and the first floor is also very discreet, with a unique rectangular window off the west side. The second floor is located at the same level as the upper windows of the nave, and originally had two rectangular bays, regularly spread over the three free sides. To the north and south, they are partly clogged by the two stair turrets.

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At the top, God the Father (beheaded during the French revolution) emerges from a cloud holding a globe in one hand. Rays of light descend from all sides, and reach a vase with two handles, from which a long leafy stem that carries three fleurs de Lys springs. A dove in the middle of the rays illustrates the Holy Spirit, and the rays themselves are the grace of God that he sends from the top of heaven. The flower that is the recipient is an allegory of purity and virginity, and symbolizes the Virgin Mary. The ensemble is therefore a symbolic representation of the Annunciation.

The second Louis XII-style portal is wider and has two doors in a basket cove separated from a thomas whose jagged foliage and flamboyant-style monsters, overlapped already on the lower legs of the underside, at pilasters Italianate announcing the first Renaissance. Three niches with statues flank the doors, and still sheltered the Virgin and two angels in 1805. They were repainted same  year, but have disappeared since. The central steeple is, without a doubt, the most beautiful element of Poissy’s architecture.  Its north face was uplifted this time with respect for the authenticity of the monument, as between 1844 and 1850 during the restoration of the large arcades. Between two modillions, a palmettos décor in bas-relief appears. Two seats above open the bays of the belfry floor. They are in the full hanger and number of two on the faces facing the cardinal points.

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A longer description of the interior of the Collegiale Church of Notre Dame.

The nave is particularly heterogeneous. The first renovation uses the flamboyant Gothic style. The second renovation occurred around the middle of the 16C, and concerns the first three bays on the south side, as well as the vaults of the first three bays. But everything that seems to date from the beginning of the 12C and displays the Romanesque style, is in reality in very large part the result of the reconstruction. Apart from certain details, the nave of the Notre Dame Collegiate Church can be brought closer to the other large Romanesque Churches of the region built at the beginning of the vaulting of warheads styles.

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The row of Chapels represents the most homogeneous part of the Church, but apart from the supports of the large arcades, all dates from the end of the 15C and the beginning of the 16C. The chapels of the fourth and fifth spans are particularly distinguished by Baroque woodwork of great quality.  The last three spans of the south aisle are the last ones that still exhibit, at least in large part, their 12C provisions. The sacristy had been abandoned in the 18C and arranged in the Chapel facing south of the apse, but its location is the original.  The choir or chorus is oriented in the direction of the sun rising on August 15 (Assomption), is not in the axis of the nave. The choir is small and is reduced to the apse. In the absence of a transept whose crusader often houses the high altar, it must be assumed that the last two bays of the nave were originally attached to the liturgical choir, and separated from the rest of the nave by a grate. The apse communicates with the ambulatory by five large arcades.

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The ambulatory represents, the most interesting part of the Church.It has no radiant Chapels, but primitively an alternation between square Chapels, including the first and last completed by an apse in the hemicycle, and walls facing the outside. The apsidal of the Chapel is in large part authentic. Quite spacious, it has a decoration consistent with that of the ambulatory. The south-facing chapel, dedicated to St. Louis, has never been altered, and its plan is quite regular. As for the axe Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin, it was once an admirable construction of the second half of the 13C or the beginning of the 14C, in a radiant style reminiscent of the Sainte-Chapelle (Paris). Destroyed everything in the 1860’s, the demolition of the Chapel is regrettable, especially since it was not detrimental to the homogeneity of the Church, and that its state would have allowed a restoration, still envisaged by the Viollet -le-Duc in 1844. The present Chapel is inspired by the apsidials, but larger, with five pans and three windows.

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In the nave, there are curiously more recent capitals under the fifth and sixth largest arcade in the north. It can be dated from the beginning of the 12C, while the construction of the nave progressed from west to east, and the last spans were only started around 1130. At the back of the façade, at the beginning of the big arcades of the South, appears the first marquee of a second type, evoking, as also the bedside in the big lines. In the apse, the only capitals that were not redone in the 19C are those to the east of the sixth pile of the north, as well as those of the four free columns of the apse roundabout. The sculpture of their large baskets is remarkable, and they are decorated with two registers of ribbed leaves, palmettos of a large drawing, long rods linked two by two in the center or under the angles of the stone cutter. The bay capitals of the central steeple are also remarkable.

The tribune Organ was commissioned in 1903. Its instrumental part was made by Charles Mutin, successor of Aristide Cavaillon-Coll. Its Gothic buffet was designed by the architect of historical monuments, Camille Formigé, who had been responsible for the last restoration campaign of the Church between 1884 and 1896. The columns of stone supporting the tribune were carved by Geoffroy.

Some of the nice things to notice at the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame at best me think other than the Baptismal font of Saint Louis are:

The stone Altar adorned with eight characters under arches lobed and hooks, dating from the first half of the 14C and apparently coming from the church Priorale Saint-Louis. The group carved in limestone representing the burial, also known as Holy Sepulchre, mentioned for the first time in 1522.  The group carved in polychrome walnut wood representing the education of the Virgin by Ste. Anne, dating from the near end 15C to 16C. The stone statue of St. John the Baptist, dating from the 14C, the stone statue of Ste. Barbara, dating from the first half of the 16C; the tower on the left is its attribute, the palm in her left hand is the symbol of the Martyrs. The stone statue of Isabelle of France, daughter of St. Louis, dating from around 1300, comes from the rood of the Church of the Priory Saint-Louis de Poissy. The stone statue of St. Peter , probably dating from the 17C. The stone statue of Saint Louis teenager, dating from 1932. It bears the coat of arms of the city of Poissy.  The painted wooden statue of the Virgin, probably dating from the first quarter of the 16C, was distorted by a smooth polychrome that makes it seem like a statue of the 19C, but the stylistic closeness with the statue of Ste. Barbara indicates the actual age of the statue, which remains to be confirmed during a restoration. The stone statue of the Ecce Homo or Christ with links, dating from the 17C. The statue of the Virgin and the Seated Child called Notre-Dame de Poissy, inspired by the seal of the Collegiate chapter, work of Manuela, her real name Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Duchess of Uzès, dating from 1892. The stone statuette of a praying, perhaps a donor, with a inscription of dedication in Latin, dating from 1553. Most of the burial slabs were sealed in the Western Wall. Most of the paintings are hung in the Chapels, and poorly visible in these dark spaces.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

The city of Poissy on the Notre Dame Church in French: https://www.ville-poissy.fr/index.php/vivre-a-poissy/cadre-de-vie/patrimoine-et-sites/la-collegiale-notre-dame.html

The Poissy tourist office on the Notre Dame Church in French: https://www.poissy-tourisme.fr/annuaire/fiche/collegiale-notre-dame

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist board on the Notre Dame Church of Poissy in French: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/visite-decouverte-yvelines/collegiale-notre-dame-poissy

This is a nice Notre Dame Collegiale Church and the area around it is very nice and more things to see in Poissy. So close to Paris surprise not many visitors when is a major site in French history, I hope I have encourage to see it when possible.

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

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January 5, 2021

Gare Saint Lazare, Paris!

Now excuse me but I have to update and revise this one. For several years it was my job entry point to Paris from my beloved rive droite train station in Versailles. The neighborhood became mine for ins and outs, lunch, sightseeing, and shopping. I have seen the transformation from an old train station to a modern one with a great shopping gallery. Let me tell you more of the Gare Saint Lazare of Paris!

It was a very nice and cool at 20C or about 71F day when writing this post initially and having with me a nice Porto red . Life goes on , always with memories never forgotten, but I need to move on for the rest.  I like to tell you today about the Gare Saint Lazare train station so dear to me. Not your fan of public transport if you followed me but sometimes for one reason or another they are needed.  Great memories even if some late arrivals due to technical problems on the tracks lol!  Upon arriving at Saint Lazare I walked 18 minutes to the office same time as taking the public transport but you see Paris, glorious grand department stores, Madeleine, rue Saint Honoré, passing by rue de Rivoli , like I said once in Paris, walk. If this is not possible, than use the Bus, see Paris above ground, much better ::)

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Anyway this is my rendition on history of this wonderful old train station. 

The Gare Saint-Lazare,  is one of the seven main stations of the SNCF network in Paris. Located in the 8éme arrondissement or neighborhood/quartier of Europe, it is one of the former heads of line of the West network. First station built in Île-de-France region from 1837 and affected mainly since by the commuter traffic, it is the second station of Paris and France by its traffic and the second in Europe, last I look up. The station is 32 meters above sea level, in a very dense urban environment. It serve most of Normandy and the western suburbs of Paris, thanks to a wide range of lines extending from Pontoise and Ermont to the north , in Versailles to the south, assuring it a particularly high passenger traffic. The first breakpoint encountered when leaving the Gare Saint Lazare is the Pont-Cardinet station, in  the Paris-Saint-Lazare line at Le Havre served by the trains of the L line of the Transilien. As well as been one of my favorite parking spots on street in Paris! As well as the covered market of Batignolles (see post) 

The history of Gare Saint-Lazare began during the reign of King of the French, Louis-Philippe I in 1837 with the opening of the Paris track to Saint-Germain at that time, a temporary wooden station, the Pier of the West, was built on the Place de l’Europe, in the out of the Batignolles Tunnel, located at the former Tivoli Gardens Park. The line serves then for travelers the current stations of Pont-Cardinet, Clichy-Levallois, Asnières, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre-Ville and Le Vésinet-Le Pecq. In 1841, a second temporary station, in masonry covered with a yellow coating, is built on rue de Stockholm, right in front of the Place de l’Europe . The intention of developers Pereire brothers, promoters of this railroad, is to extend the line to the center of Paris until the rue Tronchet!  that leads to the Church of the Madeleine (and my walking beat to work for several years). However,  opposition of the city and the owners concerned, the project of the station of La Madeleine is abandoned in 1841. The third station is built  at the corner of  rue d’Amsterdam and Rue Saint-Lazare, which the station takes its name. The work spans a long period of 1842 to 1853.

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In 1867, becoming the most important in Paris, Gare Saint-Lazare receives such extensions that one can speak of a fourth station, inaugurated moreover on 2 June, 1867 on the occasion of the Universal exhibition held in Paris, by the Emperor Napoleon III, accompanied by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Emperor Alexander II of Russia. In the same year, the Europe tunnel was abolished and replaced by a double metal bridge , reconstructed in concrete in 1931. From 1885 to 1889, a major expansion saw the construction of the current façade with two lateral wings at the tracks forming a “U”, and gave the Saint-Lazare station its present physiognomy. In 1885, a decree declares the extension of rue Saint-Lazare to 30 meters on the even numbers side between  rue d’Amsterdam and rue de Londres of public utility. The houses are destroyed and the Hotel Terminus is erected in their place. There are also the two squares that frame it, right in front of the main façade of the station to which it is connected by a walkway covered (now abandoned).  In 1919, the courier’s hall is extended by a second hall going to Boulevard des Batignolles (current parking lot of the Pont de l’Europe).

Although the station is mainly dedicated to commuter traffic, its international vocation has been marked by the existence of transatlantic trains to Le Havre-Maritime and Cherbourg-Maritime, in correspondence with the ships for New York. If the New-York-Express of the transatlantic General company circulated until the withdrawal of France in 1974, the Transatlantique-Express of the Cunard Line (for passengers of Queen Elizabeth 2, later Queen Mary 2), continues to circulate, even if the station Maritime (now called the Cite de la Mer) is no longer directly served. As for the Paris-Saint-Lazare-Dieppe-Maritime boat trains, in liaison with the ships to England, they circulated until 1994, replaced by the Eurostar service. Passengers to Ireland by boat continue to take the Paris-Le Havre trains.

A shopping arcade is created in 1974 in the basement of the Galerie des Pas Perdu , the general Tele display is installed, and escalators are set up towards the road to facilitate the correspondence with the Metro, in particular with the line 13 extended in 1976 to the south of Paris . In 1972, the line of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, integrated in the RER A line is transferred to the RATP and leads to the new underground station of  rue Auber  in the neighborhood  of  Chaussée d’Antin, located about 500 meters. Still with the Connection of the Cergy line, opened in March 1979, the RER A on  May 1988, followed by the Poissy line in 1989. The Gare Saint-Lazare has 27 lanes and is in correspondence with several urban transport lines (Metro, bus and RER).

The 27 tracks of the station are assigned in the following way:

1-4 (group II): Versailles-Rive-Droite and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche;

5 to 8 (group III): Nanterre-University, Maisons-Laffitte and Cergy-le-Haut;

9 to 12 (groups IV and VI): Ermont-Eaubonne, Cormeilles-en-Parisis;

13 to 17 (group V): Mantes (by Poissy), Evreux, Vernon;

18 to 27: Departures and arrivals outlines, tracks 26 and 27 also used for the trains of group VI towards Mantes (by Conflans-St. Honorine), Pontoise and Gisors.  

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From 2003 to 2007, the station’s work concentrated on the space of the Transverse wharf, a waiting area which gives access to the 27 tracks of the station. The work of the sector passage and cours d’Amsterdam, initiated in 2006 and completed in 2008, consisted of a widening of the existing passage towards the cours d’Amsterdam, leading to the rue d’Amsterdam, with the creation of a real secondary entrance on this axis. From 2009 to 2012, the most important phase of the work is underway; it has as its object the modernization of the heart of the station with the transformation of the old Galerie des pas Perdu (Hall of lost steps) in a shopping center Saint Lazare on three levels along the 194 meters long hall (213 meters in front), the creation of an underground parking lot and the creation of simpler connections with the metro. End of 2009, the bunker of WWII, implanted in the first basement facing the tracks 4 and 5 at the back of the old shopping arcade was destroyed, because its presence was incompatible with the facilities retained. The new Saint-Lazare train station was inaugurated on March 21, 2012. The Galerie des pas Perdu  has now become a skylight thanks to the development of the canopy and the arrangement of the new eighty boutiques spread over three levels; It is equipped with 20 escalators, 300 information screens and a new acoustic comfort. Thus, the passenger traffic was fluidized and a waiting room was opened. The final component of the Saint-Lazare project is the renovation from May 2013 until the beginning of 2014 of the two courtyards Rome and Havre (cour de Rome and cour du Havre), and that of the inner street, between the main building and the Hilton Paris Opéra Hotel.

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Some of the goodies here in addtion to many other is the opening last September 2013 of the Restaurant Lazare by star Chef  Éric Fréchon  that you can access from the shopping center and the inner street (rue Intérieure). Super good!!! webpage: https://lazare-paris.fr/  

The new great shopping center  Saint Lazare in the train station, superb, we went from Morbihan there just to see the opening! The webpage: https://st-lazare-paris.klepierre.fr/

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Some of the artsy things that happened here were :

In 1877, Claude Monet left Argenteuil for Paris, and the painter asked for permission to work in the Gare Saint-Lazare, close to his home. He finds inspiration in the modernity and mobility of the subject, its changing brightness, and the vapor clouds. He produced a series of twelve paintings from various viewpoints, including views of the vast hall, where he focused more on light and color effects than on a detailed description of the railway universe.

Since 1985, two works of art “accumulations” of the French painter and sculptor Arman, five-meters highs, were placed in the two courtyards of the station: Consigne à vie ( a life-time deposit), representing a stack of suitcases, in the cour de Rome and the time for all, representing a stacking of pendulums(clocks), in the cour du Havre.

In the cinema, La Bête humaine (the Human Beast), a French film of 1938 adapted from the eponymous novel by Émile Zola and directed by Jean Renoir, takes place in part in the Gare de Paris-Saint-Lazare and its surroundings.

The station also appears in the songs: at Gare Saint-Lazare (lyrics by Pierre Delanoë, music by Renard Jean, new editions Meridian, released at Polydor in 1962), which is interpreted by Colette Deréal, it is practically entirely dedicated, to the station even it is only fleetingly quoted in the song. Vesoul, written, composed and performed by Jacques Brel in 1968. We can also cite Snack-bar Gare Saint-Lazare, which dates from 1956 (lyrics by Boris Vian and Geo Dorlis, music by Louiguy).

What are the transports here, plenty.

The Gare Saint-Lazare is served by the RER E line on the RER A in case of a breakdown of interconnection in Nanterre-prefecture, the trains destined for Cergy-le-Haut were terminus and origin Paris-Saint-Lazare, joining the normal route from Houilles-Carriéres-sur-Seine.

The Saint-Lazare metro station is on Lines 3, 12, 13 and 14. A corridor connects Saint-Augustin station from line 9 to Saint-Lazare station on line 14 and, as a result, to Gare Saint-Lazare. It is possible to reach the Opéra station from Saint-Augustin and Saint-Lazare by going to the RER E quays and then taking the corridors leading to the Metro lines 7 and 8 at the Opéra station and at the Auber station of the RER A.

The station is served by Bus lines 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 43, 53, 66, 80, 81, 94, 95 and 528 of the RATP bus network and, at night, by the lines N01, N02, 15, 16, 51, N52, N53, N150, N151, N152 , N153 and N154 of the Noctilien network.  Buses 95,81,and 27 are great sightseeing too and cheaper than the tourist buses….They are at terminus in the .cour de Rome, place Gabriel Péri and rue St-Lazare.

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The Paris tourist office on Saint Lazare: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73404/Gare-Saint-Lazare

The Transilien line on Saint Lazare: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/gare-de-paris-saint-lazare-8738400

the SNCF information on the Saint Lazare train station: https://www.garesetconnexions.sncf/fr/gare/frpsl/paris-saint-lazare

The TER Regional lines on Saint Lazare : https://www.ter.sncf.com/normandie/gares/87384008/Paris-Saint-Lazare/prochains-departs

There you go folks, a memorable Saint Lazare train station indeed, full of nice souvenirs and good cheers. Enjoy Paris but do check ahead for strikes, yikes!!

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

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January 4, 2021

Paris: Sainte Trinité Church!!

Bear with me as this is another memorable spot in my eternal Paris. I am updating the post from 2018 in my blog. I used to come to work to Paris by gare Saint Lazare and as time allow , walked around the area. Finally, heard about this church and walk to it, saw it briefly and then came back with the family. Memories of Paris at the Church de la Sainte Trinité.

In my continuing saga to present to you places of history, and architecture and religion very close to the membrane of Paris, I present to you the Holy Trinity Church or église de La Sainte Trinité very near the gare Saint Lazare train station along rue Saint Lazare  This is a very popular area with visitors and locals alike as the train station Gare Saint Lazare is very near and good transports on RER, Metro, and Bus abound. It is very central to see all of Paris.

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The église de la Sainte Trinité, was built between 1861 and 1867 in a Second Empire period. It is an imposing renaissance building to impress the crowds with 90 meters long and 34 meters wide and 30 meters high with an imposing 17 meters wide nave. It has a metal frame and the aisles were done as not to disturb the faithful during Mass. It has excellent illumination by having the stained glass windows in simple white glass. The side chapels have paintings from the 19C with a look of theatrical interiors.

So here is my story on the église de la Sainte Trinité de Paris.

The Holy Trinity Church is at the square or Place d’Estienne-d’Orves in the 9éme district or arrondissement and taken the space of the quartiers or neighborhoods of the Chaussée d’Antin and Saint Georges at the crossing of rue Blanche , rue de Clichy, rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, rue Saint Lazare, and rue de Châteaudun. It gives the name to the metro station of line 12 Trinité-d’Estienne d’Orves.

As like many other Churches of Paris the Church of the Holy Trinity was built during the Second Empire (Napoléon III) the architect was Théodore Ballu who also did the Basilica of Sainte Clotilde. The Church of the Holy Trinity was finished in 1867,in an imposing neo renaissance half Italian half French style that created an attraction in the neighborhood. The style was done as well mentioned by many as a basilical type as the Church of Saint François-Xavier (see post) with a metallic backbone as only one block of iron could allow such proportions ,and the sides were kept narrow as not to bothered the visitors during Mass.  The Church has a wonderful lighted clear view thanks to the stained glass windows in white with only the abside using colored windows with history. The lateral Chapels have a series of religious paintings from the 19C. The theatrical look at is vastness inside has given contemporaries now to call a masterful construction.

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The choir is raise to follow the declination of the land surrounded by two tribunes with columns ;this space was hoping the visit of the Emperor Napoléon III but he never came. The nerf is long of 17 meters decorated with sculptures , statues, and vases all below a vaulted ceiling of floral and arabesque paintings. The monumental painting on the arch that falls on the choir was consecrated to the Holy Trinity. Many specialists call it audacious because the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are holding hand. The Church remained loyal to the practices of the times such as the proclamation of the Church’s dogma, and apparitions of the Virgin to reinforce the beliefs.

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The bell tower of the Church of the Holy Trinity is at 65 meters high, the bells are in octagonal form finish by a dome in the French renaissance style. The façade in front of the Place Etienne d’Orves has a heterocyclic style typical of the Second Empire period as many train stations done at the time. The three statues in the front illustrate the Holy Trinity, and four statues in the extremes of the façade represent the four cardinal virtues; below is the Force with a sword on her right side.

During the French revolution the pulpit of the Church of the Holy Trinity served as a revolutionary tribunal of very dreadful decisions. In the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 the Church becomes a hospital. The nave is big and covered in wood, gave a good hospital during the siege of Paris. In the winter of 1870-71 the heating system of the Church was not enough so temporary heating chimneys were installed that stained the ceiling. The parishioners are squat on the floor attending the wounded with everybody in the vicinity helping out even a kitchen and laundry was set up in the Crypt.

In March 11 1869 the funeral of Hector Berlioz was held here. The parish Church was consecrated in 1913 and it was the first one in France to be given to the community of Emmanuel in 1986 to help out the clergy there and still does today. The webpage for the community of Emmanuel is here : http://emmanuel.info/

The organ was built in 1869 by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll a renown organ maker, very badly damaged during the events after 1870 it was completely rebuilt by Cavaillé-Coll and Alexander Guilmant.  This later composer created most of the works performed in the organ and the Church is a site to listen to very good concerts even today.

Some further webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Church of the Holy Trinity official webpage: https://latriniteparis.com/arts-culture/

the Paris tourist office on the Church of the Holy Trinityhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71806/Paroisse-de-la-Trinite

The Catholic churches of Paris webpage on the église de la Sainte Trinité:  https://www.paris.catholique.fr/-sainte-trinite-1272-.html

You will have a blast visiting and walking the area very lively and visited part of Paris with many things to see nearby such as the Opéra Garnier and the department stores on bd Haussmann. Of course, the Church of the Holy Trinity is superbe, my old neighborhood! Hope you have enjoy the post.

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

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January 4, 2021

The magnificent Arc de Triomphe!

And if I gave you the Champs-Elysées why not the Arc de Triomphe. Updating this post as well with new text. One of the symbols of Paris and a wonderful view from the top, however, my biggest thrill is to drive it around lol!! 12 avenues in a traffic circle and no accidents seen by yours truly over the years! A wonderful experience !!! I know I see your eyebrows already but is a piece of cake!! Hope you enjoy the post on the magnificent Arc de Triomphe!

Now let me bring you to the history of a wonderful symbol of France and especially Paris. I go by here often, walking underneath and especially with my car love it! I come from ave Foch into the circle and it is always a thrill; not for the small town drivers ok… I like to tell you a bit more about the Arc de Triomphe, the area is in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris in the quartier or neighborhood Champs-Elysées.

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The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is the official name but popularly known as simply the Arc de Triomphe. The construction of it was decided by emperor Napoléon Ier, and started early in 1806  finishing it in 1836 under Louis-Philippe, king of the French. It is raise in the center of the Place Charles-de-Gaulle square (formerly the Place de l’Étoile), at  2,2 km from the Place de la Concorde. Its height is at 49,54 meters, wide of  44,82 meters, and deep of  22,21 meters, under the arch the height is at 29,19 meter and its width at 14,62 meters.  The small arch has 18,68 meters high by 8,44 meters wide.  The monument weights in at 50 000 tons and 100 000 tons, if taking into account the foundations that are reinforced 8,37 meters deep.

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The former Place de l’Étoile created a huge traffic circle of 12 avenues in the 19C under the direction of the city planning of Baron Haussmann, these avenues came in as a star around the square especially Avenue Kléber, Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Avenue de Wagram , and the best known Avenue des Champs-Élysées. The station metro line 1 Charles de Gaulle – Étoile as well as RER A is there.

a bit of history I like

Emperor Napoléon Ier, after the battle of Austerlitz made a declaration to his soldiers that will only return to Paris under an triumphant arch ,and with an imperial decree ordered the building of the Arc de Triomphe to perpetuate the souvenirs of the French army victories.  The first stone was placed with an inscription on August 15 1806 and covered with a bronze plaque.

King Louis XVIII restarted construction in 1824 after a period of neglect on previous regimes. By 1830, Louis-Philippe king of the French (not King of France) took over the construction with now a spirit of reconciliation  putting together the armies that fought between 1792 and 1815.  It was then Louis-Philippe and Adolphe Thiers (president of the III republic) that decided the themes choices and the sculptors such as the Le départ des Volontaires, or commonly called the  La Marseillaise, of François Rude , and the Le Triomphe de Napoléon by  Jean-Pierre Cortot.  More spectacular is the frise on top of the summit divided into two parts ; on one,  Le départ des Armées (departure of the armies) and the  Le Retour des Armées (return of the armies) with a large central scene on the glory of the nation. The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile opened on July 29 1836 on the 6th anniversary of the event known as the  Trois Glorieuses. The revolution of July after that of 1789 bringing on a new king Louis-Philippe Ier,king of the French or the monarchy of July succeeding that of the Second Restauration. This revolution took place in three days so therefore known as the Trois Glorieuses or Three Glorious days. There was more than one revolution in republican France! and 5 Republics so far.

At the bottom level you find the tomb of the unknown soldier of WWI  with an eternal flame that houses the flag of the fatherland like at Rome the first since the one in Vestales in 391.  It commemorates the memory of the soliders dead in combat for never  off; it is replenish each evening at 18h30  by the Association of Veterans or victims of war. There is a renewal of an exposition from the 1930’s in a museographic style museum in a multimedia showing entitled Between wars and peace, with a history lesson of the monument and its evolution to present day.

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A bit more on the description/architecture I like

It has four high walls put in sockets filled with stones and 18 meters high on each side,these are: Le Départ des volontaires  of 1792 ( La Marseillaise). Representing the union of all French to defend the Nation and leaving in combat with a diversity of soldiers such as revolutionaries, Bonapartists, and Royals , young and older. Below ,there is Victory guiding them in its wings. The architecture is mix such as Antique, and Romanesque. The victory or Le Triomphe de 1810; the Resistance or La Résistance of 1814, by Antoine Étex, and the Peace or La Paix of 1815, by Antoine Étex as well.  There are six lower level sockets with more significances such as retracing the scenes of the Revolution and Empire. They are below the arch and on the sides. These are: Les funérailles du général Marceau  September 20 1796, by H. Lamaire (facing right south view), La bataille d’Aboukir July 25 juillet 1799, by Seurre aîné (facing left south view),La bataille de Jemappes November 6  1792, by Carlo Marochetti (facing east), Le passage du pont d’Arcole November 15 1796,by Jean-Jacques Feuchère (facing right north view), La prise d’Alexandrie July 3  1798, by John-Étienne Chaponnière (facing left north view), La bataille d’Austerlitz  December 2 1805, by Jean-François-Théodore Gechter (facing west view), and the Mariage de Napoléon and Marie-Louise (1810).

Some of the events happening here that I like are

The occasion of the marriage of archduchess  Marie-Louise and the entering to Paris by Emperor Napoléon Ier with a model to give it a more artistic smaller size  by which the emperatrice will past under it. During the transfer of ashes of Napoléon, December 15 1840 with the funeral procession under the Arc de Triomphe. The body of Victor Hugo in funeral watch over the night of May 22 1885, before burrial at the Panthéon. In August 7 1919 an airplane of Charles Godefroy, passed in between the arches with a Nieuport 17 biplane.

There are curiosities such as two time per year the Sun is hidden in the axe of the Champs-Elysées, a person on the Avenue des Champs Elysées the solar ring is also visible for a few minutes  under the Arc de Triomphe.  And on the opposite way from the Porte Maillot, the Sun is rising two times per year as well . The timings changes with the year but you can catch up in the tourist office for the dates;next usually around November.

So, therefore, this is a unique visit, you can walk underneath the Arc de Triomphe, and visit the museographic, and also go to the top level for wonderful views of Paris especially that towards the Place de la Concorde and beyond.  A special treat visiting Paris, for me the thrill of getting around that circle yeah!! in a car!!!

Some web pages to help you plan your visit to the Arc de Triomphe are here:

The official webpage of the Arc de Triomphe monument: http://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/#

The Paris tourist office on the Arc de Triomphe: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71396/Arc-de-Triomphe

Official site of the Eternal Flame under the Arc de Triomphe in French : https://www.laflammesouslarcdetriomphe.org/

Another merry go around tour of a vastly popular monument of the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. No more words are needed just come over.

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

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January 4, 2021

The most beautiful avenue in the world, Champs-Elysées!

Of course, I need to revise this one, it is a needed element in my blog in my eternal Paris. I did the post couple years back or more but now is the time to updated. Indeed, the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Avenue des Champs-Elysées! Of course, I have other posts and pictures of sights on it in my blog!

Ok so this one has been beaten around the corners a lot. Everyone comes here need to visit it and they do in hordes of visitors, not to mention the poor souls who need to work here. So rather than tell you about how wonderful the stores are, the restos around it and the monuments , I will just concentrate on the history I like mostly, which is one reason to love Paris. History is in every stone, brick, glass, around you. And my dear late wife Martine first went out here when girlfriend!!!She worked in the 10éme.

The most beautiful avenue in the world is a lot. OF course, its the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.  It was once call that and more ,however, many businessess come and gone and the highest price street in the world as well has taken some of the glitter from it. Too touristic ,but hey that is why Paris is so popular; the most visited city in the world again! by the official UN WTO (United Nations, World Tourism Organisation) ,where all country tourist board reports to.

Let me give some basic transportation stuff.  I love the bus because you stay above ground to see all the beauty of Paris, and the 27 and 73 especially are a tourist paradise; the buses passing by the avenue are the   22, 28, 42, 72 and 73.  Then, you have the metro  with stations  Concorde, Champs élysée – Clémenceau, Franklin Roosevelt, George V,  and Charles de Gaulle – étoile on lines  1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 13. Right there is an RER A transilien station too, that can even connects to Disneyland Paris!

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (locals call it simply Champs-Élysées, and even shorter for Champs) is almost 2 km long linking the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles-de-Gaulle in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris. It is very visible and spectacular in the view of the Jardin des Tuileries. It takes this name from the place of hell where the souls rest in the Greek mythology, so they tell me….

A bit of history I like

The origins of the Champs-Élysées are simply a swampy area and not inhabited in ancient times; then came Marie de Médicis and decided to fix this even away from the former Palais des Tuileries, along the Seine river, with an area bordering on trees. This road was call the cours de la Reine (or road of the queen) taken inspiration from the promenade des Cascine in Florence opening in 1616.  Later king Louis XIV, around 1670, ordered André Le Nôtre, the gardener of the Château de Versailles and  the jardin des Tuileries, to continue the arrangement of lands there tracing an axis from the main central body of the Palais des Tuileries,from the current Place de la Concorde all to the current rond-point des Champs-Élysées-Marcel-Dassault, in the direction of the mountain or montagne du Roule that was at the current Place de l’Étoile (Charles de Gaulle).  It was called the Grand Cours or big road  to distinguished it from the cours de  la Reine, or even the big alley of the Roule or  grande allée du Roule , or the avenue de la Grille Royale  (1678), or avenue du Palais des Tuileries  (1680), and the Champs-Élysées, name that show up for the first time in 1694 but that it was given official name by 1709  as told in the Royal accounts.

By the 18C the new avenue went out further than that of the ramparts of king Louis XIII and reached the level of the current rue Marbeuf. The big sewer that followed this trace into a small stream going down to Ménilmontant and into the Seine river by the current Pont de l’Alma.  This continue until what was called the étoile de Chaillot or the star of Chaillot finished in 1724.  By 1774, it was time to enlarged the avenue to the west until the Seine river by the level of the Pont de Neuilly, on the current avenue de la Grande-Armée in Paris ,and avenue Charles-de-Gaulle in Neuilly-sur-Seine. To improve the security on the Champs-Élysées, a post of Swiss guards was set up in the barrier of Chaillot in  1777.

There are four fountains almost identical at the entrance  such as the fontaine des Quatre Saisons, aka fontaine du Cirque, done in 1839. Decorated with a group of four children, symbolizing the seasons.  The  fontaine de Dianefontaine de Vénus aka fontaine des Ambassadeurs, both done in 1840, and the  fontaine de la Grille du coq, without sculptures done also in 1840.  Marly’s two horses, a pair of wild horses on wheels, are held  by naked men. Ordered from 1739 by  king Louis XIV done  from 1743 to 1745 located at Place de la Concorde, at the entrance of the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Two other groups of horses held by men and gods are at the entrance of the Tuileries, ordered by king Louis XIV for the entrance to the watering-water of Marly, represent the fame and mercury straddling a winged horse, Pegasus. The original marble models have been replaced by cement statues in the Louvre museum.

It was here on the  Champs-Élysées that the carriage was sent to bring the Royal family to Paris on October 5 1789. It was here also, that the Royal family was brought into Paris on June 25 1791 after trying to escape by Varennes.  During the reign of terror ,the Place de la Concorde was the scene of executions by the unfamous guillotine.

There are other more gentle fame to the Champs-Elysées , when dotted with elegant cafés such as the old Café des Ambassadeurs,of which plans drawing was done by none other than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, rebuilt in  1841,  this cafe developped to welcome from 1897  spectacles reviews until finally demolished in 1929 to be replaced by the Theater or  Théâtre des Ambassadeurs , and the restaurant of same name;; today the Espace Cardin (theatre de la ville de Paris) ,(see post).

There were others like the  traiteur Dupe, opened in  1800 atracting all the celebraties of the day starting by Paul de Barras,located in a pretty white house with green awnings that todayis the famous itself Ledoyen.  The  Champs-Élysées becomes an elegant street , passage point to take some air in the country towards Longchamp (bois de Boulogne). Emperatrice Marie Louise d’Austria, makes her entry by here in 1810 and also her exit in 1814.  The parade on allied troops have the visits thereafter of the Tzar of Russia Alexandre Ier, king of Prussia, Frédérick-Guillaume III ,and the Prince of  Schwarzenberg  near the Palais de l’Élysée.  It was king Louis XVIII that renovated this area and opened the Avenue Gabriel; where the USA embassy is today.

In 1848 a great banquet is held at the Champs-Élysées, that would the start of the 1848 revolution. During the Universal Exposition of 1855, the Champs-Élysées became a model and during the Second Empire a period of great events and splendor.  The avenue bordered with luxury mansions, becomes the high of the Parisian elegance. To prepare for the Universal Exposition of 1900, the Palais de l’Industrie, destroyed in 1896 to leave the space to built the Petit and Grand Palais. This allows the linkage of the Hôtel des Invalides to Palais de l’Élysée by the pont Alexandre-III. On August 26 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Gen Charles de Gaulle comes here followed by the tanks and armored vehicules of the 2nd Armored Division of Leclerc.

paris

This is the beauty and brief history of this wonderful magnificent avenue to the world. I like to get some readings and tell you some of the most elegant and historical buildings found here. My list of favorites

At No. 25, Hotel de la Païva. This particular hotel, was built between 1856 and 1866 for Esther Lachmann, marquise de Païva, called La Païva , famous courtesan of the Second Empire. The hotel, famous for its interior decoration, is one of the best preserved examples of private architecture of the Second Empire. After the death of the Païva, the hotel was sold to a banker in Berlin and then, in 1895, to the restaurateur Pierre Cubat. Since 1904, it houses a private circle, the Travellers.  No. 30: Home of the Earl of Monte Cristo in the novel by Alexandre Dumas. No. 37 (corner of  rue Marbeuf): Residence of Beatrice Charlotte Antoinette Denis de Kérédern de Trobriand . She was the daughter of the Count Régis de Trobriand , a naturalized French aristocrat and general of the Union armies during the American Civil War, and Mary Jones, wealthy heiress, daughter of Mary Mason Jones, Grand-aunt of Edith Wharton. While her husband lived in New York, the Countess of Trobriand resided most of the time in Paris.  The Countess lived separate from her husband after an episode of theft and corruption. This episode inspired Maurice Leblanc to do a chapter on the novel  entitled “The Blue Diamond” of  Arsène Lupin against Sherlock Holmes (1908).

At Nos. 52-60: Originally built (1933) in the place of the Hotel de Massa for the American bank Citybank of New York, this building subsequently hosts a Virgin Megastore store (from 1988 to 2013), as well as a Monoprix. It is renovated from 2016 after the closure of the Virgin Megastore in order to host in March 2019 a store of Galleries Lafayette. Great spot was able to see it before the virus, webpage: https://www.galerieslafayettechampselysees.com/

At No. 70: Vuitton Building (now the Marriott Hotel). Facade of late Art nouveau style built in 1914. At no 76-78; Arcades of the Lido. The building raised at this address has on the ground floor a shopping arcade which gives on one side on the Champs-Elysées and on the other on the rue Ponthieu. The arcades of the Champs-Elysées,of  luxury shops, were built in 1925.  The arcades were inaugurated in  1926. Some marble columns, coming from the old Hotel Dufayel, are used in the realization. The basement of the passage housed the Lido until 1976. Inaugurated in 1928, it was originally a beauty salon with a worldly swimming pool. Transformed into a cabaret in 1946, they were the origin of the current name of the passage, the “arcades of the Lido”.  At No. 79: The Queen night Club, between 1992 and 2015. No. 92: During the Nazis occupation, the seat of the magazine Der Deutsche Wegleiter für Paris, intended for occupation troops. The building houses on the ground floor the famous brasserie Fouquet and, on the upper floors, the hotel Fouquet Barrière, inaugurated in 2006.

At No. 103: Élysée-Palace. Hotel de Voyageurs built in 1898 for the company of sleeping wagons. This was the first of the great Hotels of travelers built on the Champs-Elysées. It was soon followed by the Hotel Astoria (1904) and the Hotel Claridge (1912). Th original decor was destroyed by the Crédit commercial de France, which acquired the building in 1919 to install its headquarters. At No. 114: Alberto Santos-Dumont , an aviation pioneer, inhabited this building in front of which he landed in 1903 his airship.

At No 116 bis-118 was the seat of Radio-Paris under the Nazi occupation, in the building of the post office. In 1977 , it became the Cabaret Lido (that was before at No 78).  At No 119 : Hôtel Carlton, built in  1907. In 1988 it was the HQ of Air France. At No 120 , James Gordon Bennett jr, owner of the New York Herald  lived here.  At No 122 , the Count Henry de La Vaulx  a pioneer of Aviation lived here from 1898 to 1909. At No 124 (corner of  2, rue Balzac) mansion built before 1858 for Santiago Drake del Castillo, one of the rare examples of Second Empire mansions bordering the avenue. At No 133, the  drugstore Publicis , was the first drugstore to open in Europe on October 16 1958 in a building from early 20C.  It was destroyed by fire in 1972 and rebuilt in glass and steel. At No 136 (and 1, rue Balzac) mansion from 1910, today is the car dealer Peugeot ;keeping the deco in the rooms of the first floor (2nd US). At No 144  entrance to the Tunnel or tunnel de l’Étoile, connects the avenue de la Grande-Armée passing underneath the Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile. At No 152 (corner with rue Arsène-Houssaye), here is the site where the Hôtel Musard, Mme de Loynes had her literary meeting early in the 20C  with the critic Jules Lemaitre. And onwards on the avenue….!

I hope I gave you a good glimpse of this Avenue des Champs-Elysées , the very essence of Paris and recently a push to bring it back to its glory days from the noise and elements at night. Hope you enjoy the post and of course a must to walk it in Paris!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Paris tourist office on the Champs-Elysées: https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73130/Avenue-des-Champs-Elysees

The Paris tourist office on what is around the Champs-Elysées:  https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/walks-in-paris/paris-and-its-neighbourhoods/paris-eiffel-tower/On-and-around-the-Champs-Elys%C3%A9es

The Committee on the Champs-Elysées to showcase and support businesses of all sorts in French: https://www.comite-champs-elysees.com/

A private webpage on Information on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées on businesses and events even if the info can be outdated: http://www.xn--avenue-des-champs-lyses-sccd.com/

There you have it a bit more on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées! A must at least once to get the frenzy feel of Paris.

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

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January 1, 2021

Paris churches with a twist!!

This was a unique post I did couple years back and would like to update with fresh text as I think they are wonderful monuments off the beaten path in Paris. Most come to see the renown and popular in tourist books but these have a wonderful history of their own. Let me show you the Paris churches with a twist!!

Let me bring you up to speed or kneeling position with the Paris churches with a twist. These are churches seldom if ever visited by tourists or even casual resident /expats. However, as a resident/citizen I did many times while working in Paris and living in Versailles.

We do come to Paris or any other city in Europe especially, and one of the thing to do is to see these wonderful monuments to the architecture genious of the past. Even if we are not religious ,these stands as a place worth the detour.

Paris has a small Anglo Catholic Church, that of Saint Joseph at 50 avenue Hoche near the Arc de Triomphe. The church was built by the Passionate Fathers in 1868 and the new Church was renovated in 1987. Hardly recognisable as a church but rather a modern building.  Parish for the English-speaking Catholic Community of Paris.  You get there on the metro CDG Etoile lines  1, 2, 6 & RER A. Webpage: http://www.stjoeparis.com/StJoeParis/ 

The Paris tourist office on St Joseph Churchhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/72405/Saint-Joseph-s-Church

The American Church was the first American Church to established themselves outside the USA!  It was created in 1814 ; located at 65, Quai d’Orsay, in the 7éme arrondissement, not far from the Seine river. The current Church was built in 1931.

By 1814, many Protestants Americans in Paris were welcome in homes around Paris than on a temple de l’Oratoire du Louvre from  1816 under the protection of  Talleyrand.  The first American Chapel was built in 1857 at 21, rue de Berri.  It was in 1858 that emperor Napoléon III  officially recognized the American Church of Paris. In  1925, the Church acquired land on the quai d’Orsay  and ordered architect Carrol Greenough  the construction of a big neo gothic Church.  The construction was finished on March 6 1931 even if the first stone was done on March 1st 1926. The American Church is frequented by the Protestants of Paris coming from 40 different countries and 35 Christian groups at last count.

The stained glass on the north and those on the nerf are all the same dimensions. Some themes on the glass gives honor to the American fallen in WWI. The Organ buffet has gothic sculptures  and the organ has four keyboards and  3 375 ring cables manufacture in Hambourg,Germany ; and open up with a series of concerts in 1988. The Chapel has a portrait as Christ looking at Jerusalem by a  Canadien Frank M. Armington that was behind the altar but now moved to give space to the organ . The nearest metro station is Invalides  lines 8 and 13 and the gare des Invalides RER C is close by.

The official American Church webpage: https://www.acparis.org/

The Paris tourist office on the American Churchhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71140/The-American-Church-in-Paris

I must say here that the two above I have been maybe once or twice since been in France. The next one, the  American Cathedral of Paris, I have been several times and even had meetings of the Franco-American community here. Many nice memories of events within over the early years in France indeed.

paris-american-cathedral-george-v-sep12

The American Cathedral  of the Holy Trinity or Cathédrale de la Sainte-Trinité  is an American Church dating from the end of the 19C of the Anglican cult and serving as the Cathedral of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe of the Episcopal Church of the United States.  It is located wonderfully at  23, avenue George-V near the Champs-Élysées and Pont de l’Alma in the 8éme arrondissement.  The origins dates back to the 1830s when American Episcopalians began to meet together for services in the garden pavilion of the Hôtel Matignon, now the official residence of the French prime minister, then the home of American expatriate Colonel Herman Thorn.  In 1859, the formal establishment of a parish took place and in 1864 the first church building was consecrated on Rue Bayard . The Consecration of the church took place on Thanksgiving Day on November 25, 1886, which coincided with the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Holy Trinity became a cathedral in 1922, continuing as a parish church and also serving as the official seat of the bishop in charge of Episcopal churches in Europe.

At its current location it was built from 1881 on a Neo Gothic style under the plans of English architect George Edmund Street, and opened in 1886.  The stained glass which numbered 42 came from glassmaker  James Bell, that did them from 1883 to 1893 on the theme of Te Deum. It was later completed by the addition of a arrow tower designed between 1904-1906 by Arthur Edmond Street, son of the original architect that had passed away. Later in  1911 was added a presbytery , and finally in  1923  a memorial to the fallen American soldiers of WWI.  You have many concerts held here that are nice indeed; and well located to do all the good things you all enjoy of Paris. The Cathedral was renovated especially the tower and the stained glass by a donation from the US base World Monument Fund.

paris pont de l'alma to ave George V sep16

The official webpage of the American Cathedral of Parishttps://amcathparis.com/

The Paris tourist office on the American Cathedralhttps://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71165/The-American-Cathedral-in-Paris

The World Monument Fund on the work of the American Cathedralhttps://www.wmf.org/project/american-cathedral-paris

There you go something different from your regular visits to our beautiful Paris, eternal and well beyond words . I hope you have enjoyed the tour and do see these off the beaten path wonderful places of my Paris.

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

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January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo , Feliz Ano Novo 2021!!!

Many good well wishes for 2021.  It cannot be worse than 2020 so may all your hopes and dreams come true in good health. We stay home as in the last wishing you all a very very Happy New Year and best wishes to all.

plu champagne Pommery brut reims jan21

With the current virus situation is not really worth going out as most is closed or confine to a few people with reservations so we again stay home. Nevertheless, the last few years, we had decided to stay home and watch TV with my boys and Dad. We are very far family, the closest is about 8 hrs drive away.

Another year goes by, and I continue working from home with full pay until March 2021 when I can ask for my retirement early with agreement with my firm. The sensations are weird, glad to finally make it and spent more time at home ,but also sad that my travels will be cut in half as no more business trips to far away lands. I will continue doing some consulting work with a couple of outfits from Paris but these will be mostly in France. Maybe lucky some outings in Europe.

My father has become sick too and need to take care of him, gladly my boys help a lot. He is 85 years old and lost some motoring skills already with diabetes is more complicated. Luckily we have nurses coming home every day and the basic needs are walking distance from the house including pharmacy ,doctors, shopping etc.

It is sadly, the end of the road and other than some updates/revisions I am already doing the posts in my blog will be less eventually by next March. I will try to remain active in WordPress thus and just sign up for another year.

Of course, on a more personal level on trips, we will be passing by my belle France more into other regions and for sure Spain. The family is kept abreast by social media and whatsapps modes, is the modern way of family gathering!

Therefore, wishing you the best and do keep in touch. I thank you very much for reading my blog, Paris1972-Versailles2003  has been uplifting and deeply appreciate all comments over the years since 26 November 2010! There has been some old virtual friends gone and some new ones I see, all welcome and glad you made my day in time. I won’t be leaving just giving way upfront notice the posts will be less from March 2021.

Some statistics , WordPress give us and I look at it every year at least. Again thank you all possible thanks to you all.

In 2020, I had records all over!!! first  50 911 views,  26 826 visits, 20 948 likes! and 843 comments. I had written 1 085 posts! Also, the most! And have so far 1 102 followers which has gone beyond my wildest expectations! Thank you again

My Top 10 articles view for 2020 were:(and many were surprises)

The Somport Tunnel

Look back at the Palais des Tuileries

Lagos, Nigeria

Some streets of Versailles

The wines of Brittany/Bretagne

Lacanau-Océan, Médoc

The Bahamas

The Ladies of Versailles Adelaide and Victoire

Francis I gallery of Fontainebleau

Top 10 countries followers were:

USA

UK

France

India

Belgium

Canada

Spain

Germany

Finland,

Australia

My top search engines were: WordPress reader, Google search, Bing, Yahoo search, WordPress Android ,Baidu, duckduckgo, and Facebook.

There you go for you, fully transparent as always. Hope you have enjoy the travel posts done with care and love to share with all and maybe helpful in your trips. Thank you my followers and follows to share with me your adventures , it has been a pleasure.

Take care, best of luck, best wishes, stay safe ! AND REMEMBER, HAPPY TRAVELS, GOOD HEALTH, AND MANY CHEERS TO ALL!!!!

December 31, 2020

Some news from France, CCCXXII

And here is my tidbits news of my belle France, and last of the year 2020. It has not been a good year but we go in the life cycle with ups and downs with nothing left but to continue in life, the best we can. With this I will say to all my readers, Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Féliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo!

The curfew due to the virus remains in effect this Thursday from 20h to 6h. To prevent crowds, around forty metro stations will be closed and several lines interrupted in the evening.

Last Tuesday, December 29, at the end of a Defense Council, the government rejected the idea of confinement, but establish a curfew from 18h  from January 2 , 2021 in the territories where the Covid-19 circulates the most.  The cities of Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin) and Reims (Marne) would be particularly affected by the measure. The curfew would begin there at 18h

The 20 departments that will be affected from January 2nd 2021 will be, region and then department with number:

Grand Est :
08 Ardennes
10 Aube
51 Marne
52 Haute-Marne
54 Meurthe-et-Moselle
55 Meuse
57 Moselle
68 Haut-Rhin
88 Vosges 

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté :
25 Doubs
39 Jura
58 Nièvre
70 Haute-Saône
71 Saône-et-Loire
89 Yonne
90 Territoire de Belfort 

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes :
03 Allier
07 Ardèche 

Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur :
05 Hautes-Alpes
06 Alpes-Maritimes.

Luckily we have been spare of the more strict rules. Bretagne.

Snow forecast for Paris by the end of the year. Also planned for Bretagne with some frost and snow in the upper region !! temps of –4C (about 25F) expected in the morning and 1 (about 34F) in the afternoon!! Yikes!! and the electricity cost will go up 2% or about 30 euros in average per home!! And due to the virus as well we are staying home; plenty of TV programs lol!!

The demographic decline, which began a few years ago, is being confirmed. According to the latest figures from INSEE, Paris now has 2,175,601 inhabitants, or 54,000 fewer then five years ago. I have mentioned in my previous posts the problems of Paris due to a lack of quality of life for laws that prevent free movement.  The 9éme arrondissement or district  is one of the three Parisian arrondissements to see its population increase slightly over five years. The department 93 of Seine-Saint-Denis, the engine of demographic growth in the region of Île-de-France, now has more inhabitants than dept 92 Hauts-de-Seine, in the Yvelines dept 78 , the population continues to grow, at a regular pace, according to the latest figures from INSEE.

A sad news in Poissy, the Monoprix in the city center will lower the curtain. Present since 1962, the brand will definitively close its doors on December 31.

Ikea ends 70 years of its iconic catalog. The Swedish furniture brand first published its showcase on paper in 1951. This catalog, translated into 32 languages, has established itself as an icon of modern design. Its online version is also being discontinued. Another goner!

The Île de la Cité flower market has lost a little of its splendor over time. An architectural competition has been launched by the City of Paris to give a second life to this Parisian institution. The flower market on Île de la Cité will be completely restored between 2023 and 2025. It’s about time and this time a good initiative.

For New Year’s Eve, the city of Paris presents Thursday evening “Welcome to the other side”, a concert that the musician will give in a Notre-Dame Cathedral reconstituted in virtual reality. A show broadcast live on social networks in particular. to follow Thursday live on BFMTV, France Inter, YouTube and Facebook from  23h25  to 24h15 ( 11:25pm to 12:15 am). Yes will be awesome, seen the clips on tv, a must to watch on any medium!

The lightning rod specialist Franklin, based in Ozoir-la-Ferrière (Seine et Marne 77), equipped the replica of the La Fayette frigate in Rochefort (Charente-Maritime dept 17). Used to prestigious shipyards, this is the first time that Franklin France has worked on a historic ship. very special lightning protection was installed on the Hermione, a replica of the ship that La Fayette borrowed in 1780 to reach America;later helped in the American independence thanks to king Louis XVI.

And a question and answer on one of my hobbies. Why doesn’t my wine smell the same as my neighbor’s even though it comes from the same bottle? The answers lie in culture, emotional state, genetics, label, color of the glass ,etc… There are at least three good reasons for this. The emotional state is very important. Culture and experience are another important factor. They shape your olfactory library. A Japanese, a Mexican and a French will not have the same reading of strawberries, pineapples or Durian fruit. Finally, your perception depends on your genetic makeup. It is estimated that between two people, a third of their 400 scent receptors will function with different sensitivities. There you go not easy to describe a wine or even to feel its own taste once frontiers have crossed. Maybe one exception is French wine who has crossed the globe and still No 1…

Which are the 4 French cities most exploited in cinema? Without much surprise, Paris arrives at the top of the top. And if you want to take a tour of the places with cult names, you can count on the Pont des Arts where Big declared his love for Carrie in Sex and the City or even Montmartre, which is now difficult to separate from the Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. Or fabulous destiny of Amélie Poulain.

While one of La Casa de Papel’s new robbers has been dubbed “Marseille”, the link between Marseille and fiction is very relevant. Thus, the popular city of the South, a land of success like Taxi, comes very naturally in second position. Of course, the Vieux Port or old port remains a flagship spot in the city, where the filming of the rom-com classic Love Actually had occasionally put down its suitcases.

The Côte d’Azur entered the rankings through Nice. In addition to attracting American productions such as Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, the sun-drenched city has also been the setting for the not to be missed comedy Brice de Nice. Among the emblematic places, one must of course stop on the beaches of the coast. A setting in which Marion Cotillard blends in in De Rouille et d´Os or rust and bone.

And Cannes, the cradle of the biggest film festival does not detonate in this top linked to the 7th art. The charm of the Cote d´Azur is definitely pleasing and presents itself as the perfect set for popular romances like L’Arnacœur. The other genres are not left out, since we can cite shoots such as that of the comedy The City of Fear or the action with The Transporter.

On a sad news, Pierre Cardin died Tuesday, December 29 at the American hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine. The designer, renovator of post-war French haute couture, made a series of futuristic inventions, launched the first line of men’s clothing, and put his name on numerous products. He died Tuesday, December 29 at the age of 98.

He will build an empire: 500 factories in 110 countries, 800 licenses and some 200,000 employees around the world. An empire, on which the sun never sets and of which he had remained the owner while most of the luxury brands were bought by financial groups. My first contact with French fashion many moons ago and still followed, even been on his events in Paris and participated for many years on his boat Maxim’s for gastronomy and wine tastings by the Tour Eiffel Seine river! RIP

And there you go for this last Some news from France post of 2020. Oh yes there are always those that do it early like New Zealand and those that do it later like the USA! We will be saying bonne année in France in all of January lol!! Enjoy your day and be safe

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

December 30, 2020

Always wonderful Paris, as eternal as ever!!!

Ok so this one is a black and white memory in my blog that I like to update on links especially. It has been a great ride updating these old posts lots of memories good cheers and strength to go on! Of course, no need to introduce you Paris ,it has a special place in my blog. Enjoy it as it is eternal as ever!

And as usual it was another time to Paris for me. I lost count, nowdays every month; worked in the city for 9 years; and cannot ever get enough of it. Just the very mention of the word PARIS , bring out the best in me. I am not going into a long speech, the city has enough written and spoken on it by millions; and even with its up and downs still is a movable feast ::) Paris forever, eternal, it never ceased to amazed me. I am just lucky enough to have worked in it and now able to visit every month at least once!!!

I made a quick usual business visit this time one day roundtrip TGV train from Vannes to Montparnasse!!  You know the usual sites, and what most do not know  ,is that the famous TGV is always late on the Atlantique run!!! 25 minutes going and 45 minutes coming back!! yikes!!! On the way back it was very funny after all, my wagon should be 8 but it had 18 on it, and everybody was hesitant of getting on….we all looked around like if you dare…go. Now these are all savvy TGV travelers mostly French if not all on business hours.

I needed to get up early to get the TGV at Vannes by 5h55 (5:55am) and once in Montparnasse, took the metro line 6 to Bir Hakeim to meet with my boss and colleague.  Do not like metro/subways/tube, mine is above ground always. However, for the meeting very early on, and meeting at a cafe by the exit the metro was it. Line 6 is a line that goes above ground after all so not so bad indeed.  I arrived late thanks to the TGV but enough for the meeting.

We met at the Comptoir Principal , we were there only for a cup of coffee once early in the morning and another on the way out in the late afternoon as my boss chose it. However, the service was fast courteous and from what visitors are saying it seems a good place to be. I did stop by myself later on for an apéro! This is just around the Tour Eiffel where our office meetings is. Webpage: https://www.comptoirprincipal.com/

As I was there later on, was able to take my leasure walks alone the Seine river by the Tour Eiffel. OMG, oh my God, things has change so much, me not in the tower since 2005 lol!! but they have put security barriers to get in and out so sad. They won’t get me in soon there!

The Seine river is always magical, and was able to see my favorite boat ride ever, the Bateaux Parisiens right there.  Many memorable rides and my first boat ride ever back in 1990 with what would be later my dear wife.  Metro line 6 is interesting as said because it is above ground and you get to see the magic of Paris above ground. Overlooking over the Seine is a must in Paris for all.

Impressive as it was, there was time for lunch and again my meeting lunch was at the nice Villa Verdi Italian restaurant. Very friendly , got even to practice on my Italian a bit ::) There , I had escalope de dinde in pâte bolognaise or something like breaded cheese turkey with pasta and meat. there was a chocolate pudding in amaretto dessert and coffee expresso, the drink was a nice Italian red Santa Cristina Chianti Superiori 2015; very nice indeed. Again very good reviews by all. Again by the Tour Eiffel area! webpage: https://www.villaverdi.fr/en/

On the way back , after the beforementioned round of coffee at the Comptoir Principal; went around to say hello some old American friend from Paris before getting back into Ave de Suffren to get bus 82 to Montparnasse. Now this is the best deal many do not use, for the price of a metro ticket you can see the beauty of Paris passing by the very nice Avenue Suffren, into the Ecole Militaire, then passing by the Church Saint Louis (Invalides) before rejoining the blvd Montparnasse into the train station bus terminal.  The trip took and always does the same time as the metro line 6 and if off rush hours it goes quicker !!! Tested time and time again by yours truly. The RATP map of bus 82 here:  https://www.ratp.fr/plans-lignes/busratp/82

At the end the Tour Montparnasse always omnipresent and beautiful, and I worked here near it for a while. The entrance to the glass modern looking Gare Montparnasse train station is nice. Inside, my stop for a refreshement is the Brasserie Océane on the grandes lignes TGV platform and live music entertainment most often too. They are remodeling the brasserie and only the terrace is open but still the best place to be at Montparnasse. Many memorable moments here even arranging meeting with collegues!! I have learned sadly that the restaurant is gone! Like I said, many nice memories here even having a cold one waiting for my train! It will be here for the memories of always.

I got to my free parking at Vannes train station and my car as always was there for the final trip home where the family was waiting for me. The trip was over andn tomorrow my  twins boys are 24 years young!!  Then, a trip to near Mont Saint Michel tomorrow will see the time and what can I come up with.

Hope you enjoy the story, and post, and looking forward to be back to Paris! And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

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