Archive for ‘Versailles’

October 12, 2018

Some news from France CXCXIIII

It’s about time catch up with my belle France! Times are in Autumn for sure, leaves are changing colors and falling as well as cool breezes and temps that go from cold to warm like 20C now. It’s a wonderful season and we are thinking Christmas already.

To catch up with the latest news here are some of interest to many ::)

Should the Grand Paris be confined to Paris and the small Parisian crown, should it be extended to the poles of activity such as Roissy and Orsay, should it extend over all the Parisian urban agglomeration thus overflowing to the former cities of Cergy , Evry or Marne-La-Vallée or should it grow to the limits of the Ile-de-France region?… Big questions arising and still not decided, most do not think will start before 2020 or nothing due to internal politics.  Grand Paris

Pink book, Fawn book in the Menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes (5éme), where this week, two young males snow panthers came out of their den for 17 years in the menagerie, and a nice double for the parents. Esha the mother, born at the zoo in Helsinki (Finland) in June 2012, arrived 5 years ago at the menagerie, and the father of the little ones, Makalu, born in the Basel Zoo (Switzerland) 3 years ago, lived in the jardin des Plantes for two years. It is advisable to choose instead the ends of morning and late afternoon. And to book his weekend of October 20 and 21: The Menagerie organizes a weekend event “meeting with the Snow Panthers”. Jardin des Plantes snow panthers  

The impunity of cyclists is over (its about time to enforce the law). This past Thursday, the police were specifically targeted during road control operations carried out in the Hauts-de-Seine in Saint-Cloud, Rueil-Malmaison, La Garenne-Colombes, Courbevoie, Nanterre and Neuilly. In the latter city, the police of the territorial traffic and Road Safety Company (CTCSR) of dept 92 were stationed in the Winston-Churchill square for a good part of the morning. With the aim of stopping those who, by bicycle, pass the red lights, calling from  the handlebars, listen to music on the headphones while pedaling or driving on the sidewalks; So many offences sanctioned by a fine of 90 euros. Those who do not have the required light equipment-front and rear lights and reflective plates were fine  45 euros.  Le Parisien fines on cyclists in dept 92

The town of Provins (dept 77 Seine-et-Marne)  continues the restoration of its ramparts; The goal: to safeguard the ramparts constituting the enclosure of the high city, the total length of which is 16 km. The city intends to make it accessible to the public the round road, secured by an interior guardrail. In addition to the ramparts, it will also be the restoration of the dome of the Church of Saint-Quiriace and the Church of St. Croix in the lower town.Provins on things to see

Provins on the ramparts

Passed but… Rambouillet has decided to pay homage to its Napoleonic past. The City, Castle and National Bergerie (Shepherd)  together organize a great weekend of historical revival, with 250 enthusiasts in costume of the period, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October 2018. The emperor loved to come and rejuvenate himself in this residence in the heart of the forest, far from the capital and its protocol. Castle, National Shepherd and Palace of the King of Rome, in Rambouillet (78). A small free train connects the sites. From 7.50-18€  . Chateau Rambouillet

Le festival international du cirque (circus international ) is showing 11 acts by international troops from October 13-14  2018. The jury is presided by Eugène Chaplin, son of Charlie Chaplin. Event at Les Mureaux (Yvelines dept 78).  Festival du Cirque Les Mureaux

Born from the merger of the tourist offices of Roissy-en-France, Ecouen and Luzarches, the entity “Roissy, clé de France” has just developed a new roadmap. Objective? Become an indispensable place for business tourism.  Roissy Cle de France

Musée en Herbe or  Budding museum. The museum hosts an unprecedented exhibition until January 20 2019 which honors the famous Monsieur Madame. It is in trying to explain to his son what a tickle was that Roger Hargreaves created the first character of the collection,  “Mr Tickle ” in 1971. Since then, the same son has taken over the torch and the collection counts 91 different characters. 23 contemporary artists had carte blanche to give their own interpretation of the Monsieur Madame. Exhibition Monsieur Madame at the Herb Museum 23, rue de Arbre-Sec  1éme, until  January 20, 2018; Open Monday to Sunday from 10h to 19h,  Nights on Thursdays until 21h; Rate 6€.   More info: Musée en Herbe museum

The rental cost per RER station is the study carried out by the company Cushman & Wakefield, which gives you all the rental values in euros, per m², over one year. The study shows that in the Parisian suburbs, on average, the rental value is 215 €/m²/year on the 249 stations of the RER network against 365 €/m²/year for the 302 stations of the Parisian metro. Therefore, it seems near an RER is cheaper to rent than near a metro station. The rents vary from €380/m²/year on average for zone 1 (city of Paris) to 130 €/m²/year for zone 5(farthest zone from Paris). On the same line, the disparities are very important: for example on the RER C line, there is the highest rental value at 580 €/m²/year, at the Musée-d’Orsay station and on the reverse one of the lowest with the Dourdan station at 90 €/m²/year. The line C covering Pontoise, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Dourdan and Saint-Martin-d’Étampes is according to the study, the most expensive line on average. On the other hand, line D is the cheapest on average with 200 €/m²/year. Line A, the busiest of Île-de-France and Europe, displays an average value of 210 €/m²/year.  See photo map

RER loger values WK

The Spanish soul in Paris some favorites :

The authentic ambiance of a Spanish bodega and tapas as we can only find in Spain, is what you will find at La Abuela,(grandmother) the Gourmet den of the 9éme.  La Abuela, 43, rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Open. Mon-Sat: 12h-15h then from 19h to 02h00 Tel. +33 (0) 6 59 12 20 40;  Find the Abuela on Facebook and Instagram.

If the proposed kitchen transports us to Spain, the road was inspired by traditional and family recipes. You will find great classics like the tortilla or the Patatas Bravas. Boca Dos, 41, rue des trois-Frères 18éme. Tel. +33 (0) 1 83 06 45 02;From  Tuesday-Saturday: 17h to 02h; Find Boca Dos on Facebook & Instagram.

A small, ultra-intimate tapas bar, this 11éme Spanish restaurant is renowned for its warm welcome and the personality of its patron. Here, Zero Head Start and family atmosphere, we can speak loudly and express clearly this joy of living, as in the streets of Madrid in fact.  Bodega Potxolo  7, rue de la Forge-Royale.   More info on Facebook.

It’s Spanish folklore in a subway hit. Direction the 12éme arrondissement to taste tapas, paella, Sangria, zarzuela, Arroz Negro (Iberian charcuterie).  Casa De Espana  72, avenue Ledru-Rollin   Casa de Espana

Add a layer, come and revive the Spanish music to your ears thanks to the concerts organized at the Bodega Cambronne every weekend. We also eat very well ; and indeed great ambiance my favorite of all listed here now. La Bodega Cambronne  37, rue Cambronne 15éme : La Bodega Cambronne

It is absolutely necessary that you taste the paella of El Sol, restaurant of the 8éme arrondissement as family as intimate. And if you’re lazy to chat or stay at the restaurant, they also make it to share and take away El Sol  22, rue de Ponthieu  :More here: El Sol

New menus, best quality-price ratios, room and service rethink… A time soap opera with the bistronomy, the histories regain colors . The Le Procope was putting the package to celebrate its renaissance. Certainly it never really passed the gun to the left, but it was just like. Founded in 1927 in the Montparnasse district, the Parisian brewery and its Art deco decor.  Le Procope

The transformation began softly about ten years ago, with the group Joulie, collector of  dormant beauties, which took over emblematic Parisian addresses such as the Bouillon Chartier, the European or the Wepler. But the real quake is the takeover by Olivier Bertrand of the groups Fréres Blanc (2016) and Flo (2017), who each owned about fifteen breweries very badly in shape. The patron of a restoration empire that can rely on the success of Burger King France has the intention and the means to restore them to the taste of the day.

The Bertrand group started with cosmetic measures, to find the chandelier of yesteryear: Opening of the terrace – previously glazed, it was as engaging as an old coral train. The creation of a well-visible scale bench in the room also highlights the fish turn of the new map where the good old sea sauerkraut has reappeared. Prices went down so that the average ticket goes from 60 to 50 euros. The brasseries (breweries) is not an has been. It’s more of a safe value.  More here: Groupe Bertrand

See at Compiègne an impressive bunker, an open-air museum along the front line, the famous clearing of the Armistice… On the eve of the centenary of 1918, visit memory around this town of the Oise (dept 60), in the heart of the Great War.(WWI).

Clearing of the Armistice of Rethondes, in the forest of Compiègne. This is where the festivities of the centenary of the end of the Great War will begin, with, in the culmination, a ceremony to be attended by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel on the afternoon of 10 November. Also Trump!

Starting by the Armistice Memorial is the best way to immerse yourself in this past has benefited from a renovation and a new scenography, as well as an extension of more than 500 m2 of the exhibition area. The famous wagon – at least one identical car, the original having been destroyed – in which the Armistice was signed, is still there. A chronological presentation that evokes in particular the highlights of the conflict. A visit in a dozen steps that makes the beautiful part of the 3D: the period with the pictures on glass plate According to the old process steréoscopique which gives a striking effect-a technique that consisted of taking a picture with a device to two objects thus recreates the conditions of the terrain – and that of today, generated by computer, in a new projection room. At the exit of the museum, take a walk in the clearing to discover moving monuments, including this sacred slab on which one can read, engraved in the same granite of Vire as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Arc de Triomphe: “Here on November 11th succumbed the criminal pride of the German Empire defeated by the free peoples it intended to enslave”

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and know more about this important lesson in history. World War I or as we call it in Europe ,the Great War.

Tourist office of Oise dept 60 on WWI

Tourist office of Compiégne on Centennial

City of Compiénge on tourism

official Armistice museum

Hope you enjoy the reading, a bit late as was traveling lol!! but remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! AND TGIF =thanks God is Friday the weekend is here!!!





October 5, 2018

Some news from France CXCXIII

And on a nice day out cool but sunny in the morning and hot and breezy in the afternoon, I like to get back into my belle France on the latest tidbits from yours truly.  I am looking forward to my next travel geek coming up Sunday more later.

As for now, let me give you some news and hope you can enjoy them while visiting the most beautiful country in the world ! Wait!!! do they say that about Paris? Lol!

The Oktoberfest in Paris from the  region of Bavaria in Germany, are reproduced identically. A large marquee with a wooden interior, a music group from Munich and a local cook with typical dishes such as the pork shank settle at 20, Avenue Porte-de-la-Villette (19éme) from this Thursday until October 14th. This party started in October 1810 at the wedding of Louis 1er of Bavaria, and the weddings to which the citizens of Munich were invited were held in a meadow at the edge of the City. Thus was born the “feast of october” which takes place under capitals in the same place still today in Germany. and special beers are made for the occasion. The one tasted in Paris for ten days will be that of the Maison Paulaner, who sells nearly half of the beers consumed in Bavaria during the celebration of the Oktoberfest. At the Paris Event Center, 20, Avenue Porte de la Villette (19éme). Admission : 21€ with Drinks. Until October 14th from 18h30 to 23h30. Except Friday and Saturday until 00h30. More info here:

Info on the site of the event here:

It is 120 years that it fascinates and amazes all generations. To the point that it welcomes every two years more than one million visitors to each edition, to the exhibition center of the Porte de Versailles. renamed Mondial Paris Motor Show, The world of the 2018 automobile sees Big. This year, it welcomes twice as many brands as usual, since they will be 500 to be invited. Held Friday and Saturday from 10h to 22h, Sunday from 10h to 20h and every day until October 14th. At the  Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles (15éme) and Place de la Concorde (8éme). Admission from 14-18€, free for under 11 years. Information at

For 10 years, the Nat Geo Wild France channel has amazed us with the splendors of Nature. In the third place of the thematic channels of discovery, it sensitizes the general public and especially the youngest, to the fragility of our Ecosystem. In our current world, 750 animal species have disappeared, 2 700 are in the process of extinction and 12 500 are under threat. Between a quarter and half of the species will be at risk by 2080, according to news from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Wednesday, October 10, Last of the three afternoons for children at the Puebla pavilion, Nat Geo Wild organizes in the context of its anniversary, fun workshops from 14h to 17h around the discovery of nature and its protection. Responsible cooking, gardening, recycling, makeup, origami, virtual reality… These smart workshops are open to the public on Reservation. At the Arc des Butte Chaumont, Avenue Darcel, 19éme Entrance by the Avenue Simon Bolivar, metro line 7bis Buttes Chaumont ,and line 11 Pyrenees. On the park here:

On Nat Geo Wild France here:

The program of renovation of the small zoo of the Jardin des Plantes (5éme), The menagerie , founded more than 200 years ago in the heart of Paris, must pass into gears. It is the welfare of the thousand animals of 170 species, who live in the historic paddocks and factories of the menagerie of one of the oldest zoos in the world. The work begun since 2014 will continue, especially in the factories of the Menagerie. However all is open for visits and the work might continue into 2019. More on the news here:

The city/town hall of Montfort  L’Amaury (Yvelines 78) confirmed this Thursday the burial of singer Charles Aznavour (A great loss for France and the world, my inspiration as a child to learned French) in the cemetery of the town. It will be held on Saturday at 13h. “in strict intimacy”. On Saturday morning, a religious ceremony must also be held at 10h. in the Armenian Cathedral of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, in the 8éme arrondissement of Paris. Access will be limited to family, relatives and officials. “my land is French. I had a small vault built in a cloister of the 12C in my town Montfort  L’Amaury in the Yvelines, he had told the public in 2009  to the Corsican newspaper Corse Matin. The singer who died on the night of Sunday to Monday October 1st will therefore rest well in the family vault, alongside his parents and his son. The singer lived four years in a large mansion in Galluis, before joining Switzerland in 1971.  The house is now for sale 8 rooms, 600 m2, 2 650 000 €. With its pond, dug pool and stone outbuildings, the property of current owner Francis Darrou marks all the criteria of the perfect place. In 1971, Charles Aznavour had taken less time to find taker, attracted by Switzerland and the softness of its fiscal climate.More on the city hall webpage in French:

Saturday Night is “Nuit Blanche”, something like sleepness night. The highlights of this 17th edition ;the opening for the first time until 04h (4am) of the zoo of the Porte Dorée , The course of a kilometer dotted with golden ribbons between the Invalides and the Champs-Elysées (with concerts and performances), or the eruption of a Amazing Red Geyser in the middle of the plant desert of the city of sciences, recalling the land force of Nature. Eyes will sting Sunday morning!! More info here: .

The old mansion of Elsa Schiaparelli, at 20 rue de Berri, was one of the most beautiful hotel innovations of the year. The Hotel de Berri adds to its luxurious range of services a table… Italian of course: Le Schiap, entrusted to the Tuscan chef Michele Dalla Valle. More info here:

The Feast of Vine and grape coincides with the first day of “Paris breathe” in the city center  (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th arrondissements closed to traffic from 10h to 18h). Expect good sneakers and time: everything that the capital counts in hillsides and Clos harvested is visited on Sunday. For the less intoxicated: the French federation of hiking in Paris organizes a vine-growing vineyard, from the best known to the most secret. More info by middle of the page at

After four years of work, the Hotel Lutetia (great to be open many stories and friends encounters here over the years) opened in 1910 by the owners of the Bon MArché begins a new cruise in life. In a Five-star setting, the restored Eiffel-tower, decorated with a work by Fabrice Hyber, hosts the Salon Saint-Germain where the Executive chef Benjamin Brial officiates. The Bar that Gainsbourg loved and sang Eddy Mitchell, now called Josephine, found the frescoes buried under coats of plaster. Chic, refined, it lost its intimate and hushed side: difficult to get along after 19h. But the real novelty, the Akasha wellness area, 700 m2, niche in the basement, lit by light rays: long pool, spa Carita, Fitness Room. An annual fee of  6 800€  allows non-residents to sweat and swim there. The impressive stone ship stowed between boulevard Raspail and Rue de Sèvres overcame the storms to trace its route again. Without departing from his legendary Art Nouveau style and Art deco. More here:

We Love Art l’a fait ! The Museum of the Centre Pompidou will be transformed into an ephemeral club on Thursday 18 October from 23h30. The perfect opportunity to get your hips up to the end of the night! On the occasion of the FIAC (international Fair of contemporary art), We Love Art will turn on Thursday 18 October the forum of the Centre Pompidou, usually reserved for the reception of visitors, on a festive night. The program: a performance by the artist Davide Baluda in the contemporary collections, from 22h30 to 23h30, followed by an after-party until 04h (4 a.m). The luminous installation of the Visual System team will pair perfectly with the sound of electronic performances of musicians, to make you vibrate all evening on this digital dancefloor… The Rendezvous is taken! Centre Pompidou Place Georges-pompidou 4éme arrondissement. More info here:

From November 7 to 11, the salon Fine Arts Paris is set up at the Carrousel du Louvre, to highlight what the Parisian and international galleries do best in painting, drawing, and Sculpture. Recognized art dealers and young emerging galleries will mingle to present their selections of works, modern or old. This exhibition will also be the occasion to discover new or rare works, such as the canvas of Louis de Boullogne, originally designed to decorate the mansion of the writer Charles Perrault, and disappeared during the destruction of the building in 1683; Or the first plaster masterpiece of the Bonaparte family portraitist, before he was known as such. A sculpture will be particularly honored, thanks to the presence of specialized galleries but also the setting up of a “week of sculpture” in more than twenty museums and Parisian institutions such as the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée Bourdelle, The Musée de la vie Romantique or the Musée Rodin. This exceptional week will allow the lucky ones to enter the private reserves of the largest museums, to attend unpublished private visits, or to participate in workshops to learn about the technique of sculpture and meet contemporary Artists. finally, the Salon Fine Arts Paris will be an opportunity to attend an exceptional exhibition about Henry de Triqueti, a 19C painter who became a famous sculptor.  A week to perfect  your artistic culture!  Salon Fine Arts Paris, carrousel du Louvre, 99, rue de Rivoli, (1éme) Admission is 15€ reduce to 7,50e for the under 26 yrs old. More info here:

There you go I am on the run, preparing for next trip and then cool off period before Halloween; then November back out to Asia and on and on, early 2019 back to the Americas and then Asia again. Who knows, my time is getting nearer to retire and can’t wait!

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

September 22, 2018

Parc Asterix, le French!

Ah can’t believe it not written a post on this wonderful park. Parc Asterix is the quiensentional French attractions park.You hear folks coming here asking for the other American park , but if you come to France for all French  ,then you need to bring your children here, period.

I know I took mine earlier, tiny kids of about 8,10 years old and they love it so much still today young men they still remember fondly of their visits here with Mom and Dad. It is highly recommended for all visitors to see it and if planning on living for a period here or permanently then it is a must. You need to have children of course but adults will enjoy it too , me think.

At the more French parc Asterix , a tourist complex including a theme park and two hotels opened on 30 April 1989. The theme park is dedicated to the world of comics from Uderzo and Goscinny, and   It is located in Plailly, Oise, dept 60 about 30 km from Paris. It is not open all year, need to check their schedules, this year they will be open until November 4, 2018.

Let me tell you a bit about it .  First a bit of the history I like

From 1981, Albert Uderzo, after visiting Disneyland in California, imagines a project of an amusement park on the theme of Asterix. The summer of 1987 marks the beginning of the construction of the park ,the location is chosen among other things – because of its network of communications such as the nearby Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport at only 10 km away, a private interchange connects the park to the A1 highway and a shuttle service makes the junction with a metro line.

The 22-hectare amusement park is composed at the time (1989) of five thematic areas: Via Antiqua, the village of Asterix, the Rue de Paris, the Great Lake and the Roman city. In 1993, Great European Theme Parks was founded in response to the arrival of Euro Disneyland. Its members were Europa-Park, Alton Towers, Parc Asterix, Efteling and Liseberg. In 1994 and for the first time in its history, the theme park is profitable. In the same year, Parc Asterix SA was introduced to the Second market of the Paris Stock Exchange. In 1998,it bought the Grand aquarium Saint-Malo .In 1999, it merged with the Grévin-France Miniature Museum Group. The company then becomes Grévin & Compagnie SA. This year, 1999   the 3-Hiboux (owl) hotel with a capacity of 100 rooms is inaugurated in July. The Hotel des 3 Hiboux added in 2017 50 additional rooms to reach the number of 150. In addition, a convention and seminar center is in addition to the availability offered by the park. In june 2002 , the Compagnie des Alpes acquired Grévin & Cie via a takeover bid and created CDA Parks; the current owners.

Today, the park is officially composed of six universes:

Via antiqua , the street, also contains numerous shops and restaurants such as the large market of Lutèce, the Gaulish galleries, the Candy Palace, at Rahazade, Edifis, Gravédanlonix or The good Legionnaire again.

The Roman Empire: Romus and Rapidus: A rapid river aboard large buoys: The Spies of Caesar: Air circuit where passengers embark on board small vehicles moving slowly, formerly equipped with pedals to increase their speed;   the Carousel of Caesar: Carousel on the theme of the main characters of the comics.; The little train: train for children., The challenge of Caesar: Mad House on the theme of the recruitment of the Roman legion.; Gaulish-Romans: The match: Show in the Roman arena of 940 seats located at the exit of the Via Antiqua.

parc asterix

The Ancient Greece: the Trojan Horse: Flying carpet type attraction: The Flight of Icarus: Roller coaster on the theme of the flight and then the fall of the son of Daedalus. The river of Elis: Peaceful voyage aboard small buoys in the typical Greek gardens: the Hydra of Lerna: Attraction type Octopus, thunder of Zeus: Wooden roller coasters of a height of   33 meters and a speed of around 80 km/h; Discobélix: Disk’O Coaster type attraction on the theme of the Olympic Games;   Pegasus Express: Roller coaster launched with the specialty to go back halfway. ; The Theatre of Poseidon: Dolphinarium of 2 000 seats offering performances of large dolphins and sea lions.

parc asterix

The Vikings; The Galley: Attraction type rocking boat; The Aces Squadron: small aircraft rides. The Mini-Carousel: Carousel for toddlers; Les petits Drakkars: small boat rides; The small flying chairs: Carousel of flying chairs reserved for children; Justforkix: Long metal roller coasters holding the European record of inversions with 7 elements,for a time. Aérolaf: Aérobar. This bar that rises along a 35 meters tower is not considered an attraction. It is operated by a company outside the Parc Asterix .

parc asterix

A travers le temps (Through time): Transdemonium: Ghost Train on the theme of the year thousand; The horses of the Roy: Carousel similar to his counterpart of the Roman Empire, but oriented on a medieval theme; National 7: Circuit of crates through a small campaign evoking the Blue Road; Flying chairs: Carousel of flying chairs; The Oxygénarium: Descent of buoys in a large toboggan offers a machine to take a breath of air. Decontamination, expiration, arrival at peaks of the tops and it is the fall; Low hand on the Mona Lisa: Spectacle of stunts. A chase between thieves and gendarmes, with pyrotechnic effects temporal journey: itinerant spectacle animated by two guides describing the different eras present in the area the spectacle of the Rue de Paris: Spectacle of animatronics. The Musketeers: Show staging The Three Musketeers between the two covered passages of the area.

Bienvenue chez le Gaulois : (Welcome to the Gaul): Épidemaïs Cruises circuit of boats around the village where you can find characters from the main adventures of Asterix (Asterix at Rahàzade, Asterix in the Helvetii, etc.). The cauldrons: Cup-type carousel where visitors sit in cauldrons; Menhir Express: Attraction type flume. Path between the forest and the Egyptian area ending with a fall of 13 meters the Trace of the Hooray: roller coaster bobsleigh 900 meters downhill for a speed approaching 60 km/h. Grand Splat: Water circuit on the heights of the Asterix rock (emblem of the park, visible from the highway) ending with a fall (type Shoot the chute, the small storm: Music express the small buffer tanks: cars-bumper for children   The Forest of the Druids: children’s playground with slides, magic Grotto… Illusions and Mentalism Magic Show set in the theater of Getafix of 600 seats.

parc asterix

The forest of Dogmatix (Idéfix) with Énigmatix: Small waterfall, Challis: Barnyard, Lavomatix: Jump around; Hydrolix: Aérodynamix Junior logs: Magic bikes.

Egypt;. OzIris: Inverted roller coasters. Its course includes five inversions as well as a passage under a basin after a lift/elevator of 40 meters . SOS Edifis: Junior rollercoaster with a length of 200 meters.

And important ,how you get here! And like any other park, be early.  See the site for latest times and rates.

By car which how we go, you get on the A1 autoroute:highway/motorway, and between exits 7 and 8 ,there is a private ramp to come into the park at approx. 40 min/30 km from Paris. Parking now is at 12 euros the day.

By shuttle from Paris round trip departure at 9h from the Louvre, return by 18h30 or 19h30 on Sundays in June. By shuttle from the RER station “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle”, Check out every 30 minutes on the way back.

The official webpage in English here: Parc Asterix

There you go, you can read it is more European, French and an enjoyable part of living here with children. You enjoy too ok.

parc asterix

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

ps Will be away traveling and no post for a while, see you early October!!!


September 20, 2018

The Statue of Liberty in France!

On a mundane Thursday, I started writing this post on a famous statue that believe it or not many come searching for it in Paris especially. However, is in a few other places in France. I welcome all comments to tell me if there are any others.

Oh yes, of course, it is the Statue of Liberty by Bertholdi. The nicest one in my opinion is in Paris.

The Statue of Liberty is just to the south, smack in the middle of the Seine river, the quarter-scale replica sits on the southern end of Île aux Cygnes,(swan island) an artificial island built in the Seine in 1827 to separate river traffic from the busy port of Grenelle. Over time, a tree-lined walkway was built that runs the full 850-meter length of the island, and three bridges were built across the island to connect the 15th and 16th arrondissements. Île aux Cygnes is the third-largest island in Paris.

The statue itself was given to the city of Paris in 1889 by the American community in Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. This Pont de Grenelle Statue of Liberty was installed some three years after the New York Statue of Liberty, and in fact was originally one of the working models made whilst preparing to construct the “real thing.” The statue can be accessed via either the Pont de Grenelle or the Pont de Bir-Hakeim, both of which cross the Île aux Cygnes. While this is not the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris, both the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée des Arts et Métiers house their own; this is the only Statue of Liberty replica in Paris that was featured in National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

A bit more on the Île aux Cygnes is a small artificial island on the Seine river, in the 15éme arrondissement . It was created in 1827 to protect the bridge named the Pont de Grenelle. The uninhabited island is 850 meters (2,789 ft) long and 11 meters (36 ft) at its widest point, making it the third-largest island in Paris. A tree-lined walkway, named L’Allée des Cygnes (Path of Swans), runs the length of the island. The island is crossed by three bridges: the Pont de Grenelle, the Pont Rouelle and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. The Statue of Liberty  here is  22 meters tall and facing west in the direction of its larger sibling in New York City. Inaugurated by President Marie-François Sadi Carnot on 4 July 1889, nearly three years after its US counterpart, it was donated to the city by the American expatriate community in Paris to mark the Centennial  of the French revolution. Get closer walking to it or by metro Javel line 10 and Bir Hakeim line 6.


Much smaller  at 2, 85 meters, the bronze reduction installed in the Palais du Luxembourg, then in its garden in 1906, was moved into the nave of the Musée d’Orsay in 2012. A copy was placed in its place shortly thereafter.  The museum of Orsay is at   1, rue de la Légion d’honneur 7éme arrondissement with  Métro: Solferino line 12 or RER C station Musée d’Orsay, You go in by the rue Guynemer Métro : Saint-Placide line 4.


Fully realized in plaster, the construction model that rests in the Museum of Arts and Crafts (musée d’Arts et Métiers)  makes no less than 14 tons. It is she that Auguste Bartholdi will use to achieve, by enlarging it, the New York Statue of Liberty. The museum also hosts a reproduction, also in plaster, scale 1/16, of 1876. This model was also used to make the bronze statue that stands, since 2010, outside the museum.  292, rue Saint-Martin  3éme arrondissement , métro : Arts et Métiers  lines 3 and 11.

The replica of the flame of the statue, the flame of freedom, offered by the United States in Paris, is located in Alma since 1989. It became known worldwide by becoming the place of recollection in memory of Princess Diana, who died in August 1997, in the Tunnel of the Alma which passes under the monument. Pont de Alma  8éme arrondissement. Metro: Alma-Marceau line 9.


There is a very small reproduction of the Statue of liberty in the beard of Caesar’s Centaur, place Michel-Debré, in the 6éme arrondissement. A miniature is part of the elements composing the Centaur. It’s a small size. It’s up to you to find it.

Near me, I see it every day is another replica. In Ploeren, a statue of Liberty greets motorists along the Nantes-Brest Expressway (voie express N165). Installed in the business park of Coëtdigo, it still measures 7, 20 meters high.


Others I come across are:

In Blérancourt, at the National Museum of Franco-American cooperation has a small scale version in terracotta. In  Nice, on the Quai des Etats Unis (United States wharf), a small copy  of  1.35 meters  weighing 80 kg has been installed since February 1, 2014.  In Bordeaux, place Picard, in memory of the victims of 11 September 2001, re-edition in the form of a resin casting made by the workshops of the Reunion of National Museums of France, the original statue having been melted in 1941 by the Nazis in the framework of the recovery of non-ferrous metals.

There you go some nice statue reminds me always how lucky I have been after all. Enjoy it.

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





September 12, 2018

Some news from France CXCX

And it is time to bring you once again up to date on the happening in my belle France! There is always something going on in touristic France, you are all welcome ! And of course, some places are full of you, crowded, but heck do you know we just got 88m visitors when we are a country of 67m? Enjoy my beloved France!

As every year, since 84 decades ago, an unchanging ritual is brewing on the roof of Paris: The Vineyard Cup of the Clos Montmartre, which will take place on September 19 next. This will be the prelude to the famous Harvest Festival (fêtes des vendanges), which has become, with some 500 000 visitors each year, the third Parisian event after Nuit Blanche and Paris-beaches. As in 1934, where the feast had been sponsored by Mistinguett and Fernandel, the 85th edition will have its two guardian angels: Madame Monsieur, the pop duo formed by Emilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas, who reached the final of the Eurovision 2018 music festival with their title Mercy.

This beautiful vineyard that descends on 1 550 m2 , the slope of the Rue des Saules, in front of the cabaret of the Lapin Agile, was born in 1933 on an idea of the draughtsman Francisque Poulbot and Pierre Labric, mayor of the free town of Montmartre! The Grape Cup of the Clos Montmartre on September 19, rue des Saules; Harvest Festival, placed this year under the sign of peace, from 10 to 14 October throughout the 18éme arrondissement.  Program available here:

To buy the wines of the Clos look here:

Climespace, dealer of the city of Paris, responsible for developing, since 1991, ice water in department stores, shopping malls, museums, large hotels or office buildings. Since this summer, it is a major project that is launched around the Place de l’Etoile. On 1.1 km, the operation began at Avenue d’Iéna , currently continuing around the square, before continuing on the avenue of the Grande Armée. More in French here: Climespace and cooling of Paris

The Champs-Elysées will illuminate from November 22nd 2018 to January 8 2019, as every year. It’s a tradition that launches the holiday season in Paris. The luminous curtain of white shades darting to the top of the trees has received, in the last four years, a good welcome. This year the city probably would do the same but with different colors according to city officials. They will unveil the full plan on the forthcoming press conference in October. The opportunity to announce the personality that will launch the magic of Lights will be known!  Stay tune…Christmas in Paris ,sublime!!!

After twenty years of abandonment and silence, the curtain will rise again and the music resonate at La Scala Paris this Tuesday night. At 13, boulevard de Strasbourg (10éme), the mythical Café-concert of the late 19C. Fully covered with a blue night color imagined for La Scala, the room, equipped with two balconies, is fully modular thanks to the bleachers accommodating up to 750 people. And no spectator is more than 20 meters  from the stage, also inexhaustible on the 220 variable acoustic panels or the 172 loudspeakers that will offer a Cathedral acoustic sound, the  La Scala Paris already offers a programming provided of 450 pieces, concerts , dance or circus performances for his first year. Shows often available in short format at 18h45, after office hours, then at 21h . It will also be a place of ambiance  open every day from noon to 1h (1am). An 80 seats restaurant overlooking the boulevard de Strasbourg will be available.  La Scala Paris, 13, boulevard de Strasbourg (10éme). Tel.+33 (0) webpage :

The first Dreyfus museum in France is expected to be open in Médan, (Yvelines 78) in the autumn 2019. The space of 300 m2, located in a wing of the Maison Zola, will be composed of a large hall recounting the story of Alfred Dreyfus, a second with videos and archival documents As well as a third space made up of screens allowing the school to work with the existing databases on the subject.. Creating a Dreyfus museum next to the house Émile Zola takes all its meaning especially because of his involvement in the affair with the publication of his letter j’accuse!, defending Dreyfus. A captain in the French army accused of espionage for the Germans while he was Jewish! More here in French:

It’s gone for fourteen months of work within the Maison André-Derain. It is a matter of renovating the house of the painter, currently in a state of decay. André Derain’s house is designed to host the school of dance and music, as well as conference, reception and exhibition rooms. André Derain, born in Chatou in 1880, is considered one of the pioneers of the fauvism, like Matisse, Braque, or Vlaminck. He had acquired the Roseraie (Rose garden), this house of 550 m2, in 1936 at Chambourcy, Yvelines 78. More here:

The workshop of Louis Vuitton’s prototypes and workshops of Asnières; The tailor-tailored workshop of Berluti; The Professional Academy of Make Up for Ever or the Maison 68 Champs-Elysées de Guerlin; Dior lounges; The Francis Kurkdjian House; The Grande Epicerie ( grocery store); the Bon Marché dept store; Givenchy… Want to push the doors of the biggest houses and places of the LVMH group? This is what the special days offer with 77 places in the world, including 20 in Paris.

For the 4th edition of this event, LVMH sees big: 76 places of exception, of which 40 unreleased and 56 houses open their doors in 14 countries with for the first time Germany, the United States, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Each venue will offer free or group visits, small committee workshops, to reveal the secrets of making exceptional pieces developed and sold by the LVMH group.

Registrations for ticket cuts lines giving access to the special days on 12/13/14 October 2018, will be accessible on Saturday 22 and Tuesday 25 September from 10h. To have access to these tickets, it will be necessary to create a profile on this same site from September 13th. Any person who has not been able to obtain a cut line ticket can of course on presenting the day of the event on all sites that will welcome spontaneous walk in visitors . More here:

Something to eat, Paris has the best in the world.

Antipasti, Cicchetti and other delicacies from Italy, complemented by a beautiful wine list. Small plus: Good liquors nicknamed “ladies-jeannes” served on a trolley at the end of the meal to make you happy. Damigiana is at 58, rue Jean-Jacques-Rousseau 1éme arrondissement. So new no webpage yet, open in early August 2018! But friends collegues from Paris told me it is very good…Ciao Italia!

Thanks to Ducasse sur Seine, we embark on a new, silent and clean experience on a 100% electric boat. Cruises in the image of the kitchen, which will be contemporary around beautiful seasonal products. Ducasse on the Seine, Port Debilly, 16éme arrondissement. More here: Ducasse sur Seine

L’Office or the Office is a veritable den of Epicureans that is brand new while keeping its trademark: a bistronomique kitchen made from ultra-fresh, ultra-healthy products and at affordable prices. For proof: It is the family garden located hundreds of km which regularly provides the restaurant in fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. It is at 3 Rue Richer 9éme arrondissement , Tel +33 (0)1 47 70 67 31. Open Monday to Friday from 12h to 14h and then from 19h to 22h15. Reservations recommended. more here: l’Office Paris

Bar, cocktails, restaurant… Perruche flies and nests on the roof (9thfloor) of Au Printemps Haussmann dept store. 500 m2 of powerful wines, quality products and sharing kitchens. Here are the main lines of this new spot greedy and perched. Perruche at 2, rue du Havre, 9éme arrondissement. More here: Perruche Paris

In a big event coming up we get into it too!

From Thursday October 4 to Saturday October 14, 2018, Munich famous beer festival, Oktoberfest, is to be held in Paris for the fourth time in a row at the Paris Event Center. 20 Avenue de la Porte de la Villette,  La Villette.  Many traditional beers tasting including the famous Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier exclusively brewed for Oktoberfest, as well as the Paulaner Müncher Hell or thePaulaner Hefe-Weissbier.  Admission from 34,90€. More info here: Oktoberfest Paris

And why not go down south to my sentimental area on wife father’s side. Toulouse ,the pink city.

The Musée Saint-Raymond is the Museum of the Antiquity of the city. On several floors you can discover the works of the Mediterranean civilisations dating from antiquity but also part of the archaeological site of the city in the basement and numerous Roman statues on the upper floors. The temporary exhibits are pretty cool and easy to access for non-savvy, even kids friendly! Musée Saint – Raymond 1 ter, place Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, Tel +33 (0) 5 61 22 31 44. Open 7/7 from 10h to 18h 4€ children free .More at museum webpage:

Musée des Augustins or Augustinian Museum is the Museum of Fine Arts of Toulouse located in the Augustinian convent of the 14C. On the ground floor you can admire Gothic sculptures or the Pardo room. At the back of the cloister, you can access the church where temporary exhibits are installed. And upstairs, you can look at the sculptures and works of the European Schools of painting from the 17C to the 19C . Musée des Augustins at 21, rue de Metz. Tel +33 (0) 5 61 22 21 82. Open everyday from 10h to 18H but closed on Tuesday and Wednesday night. 5€ admission. More at museum webpage:

There you go, did I told you we have it all, yes. Come to my belle France and you wish to return again and again, its catchy I warn you now. Enjoy it

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







September 5, 2018

Some news from France CXCVIIII

Well it has been a while not given you my latest on my belle France. Of course, was on vacations, long ones, and they finish today …tomorrow back to work yikes! It is hard after you taste the French long vacation of 3 weeks to return to work, but we need to keep traveling ::)

Here are some of the tidbits I gathered lately.  Stay seated.ok

The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in the Alpes-Maritime department  06 was the discovery of the Riviera by the Baronne Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild in 1905. It was built on the narrow side of the island or presqu’île de Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat in the Italian Renaissance style. In 7 years of work done by 5 different architects. The interior has rose marble of Verona and the Chinese salon in wood designs copying the imperial palace in Pekin; as well as guarding about 7000 works of arts. All surrounded by nine theme gardens making them look like a flower museum.  And my dear late wife Martine, when I met her in Paris worked for the designer company that renovated this villa in 1990-91.!! The office is now gone but it was Kapa Promotions! in the rue d’Hauteville 10éme of Paris.  And now you can visit the villa, well already since a few years. the webpage: Villa Ephrussi

You know there is a very nice and old lighthouse call Cordouan, the royal flashlight in the Gironde department 33. It is actually in the Atlantic Ocean at the entrance to the estatuary of the Gironde ,nd many times call the Versailles of the Seas. It was built in the 17C at 7 km from the coast. All began in 1584 to build one to bring security to the entrance to the harbor; the lighthouse is finally done in 1611.  Done in the Renaissance style with stone from Saintonge and doric columns with corinthians pillars enclosed the apartment of the King LMT written in honor of Louis XIV and Maria Teresa. There is a Chapel with clear stained glass, a room and a nice turning stairs of 311 steps. The lighthouse has been improved with new glasses that can see 40 km into the sea. You can reach the lighthouse of Cordouan by boat from the ports of Meschers-sur-Gironde, Royan, and Verdon-sur-Mer. More info here; Phare de Cordouan

If you come to the harbor at Rocheport, you can see the base of the Hermione boat. This is an identical reconstruction of the boat that took the Marquis de La Fayette to the USA to join and help along in the US War of Independance from Great Britain.  It took 5 years to built it starting from a model at 1/18 scale!  The real boat you will see is 44,2 meters long, 11,21 meters wide, 5,74 meters deep. Anecdote, in 1778 it took several workers only 11 months to built the original, while this one took 18 years! Once in the water it already has done 350 trips with the inaugural trip to the USA in 2015. See it at the Place Amiral-Dupont, Rocheport in department 17 Charente Maritime. More info: Official Hermione web page

Closer to Paris, we have a very nice garden often overlook by visitors ,the Jardins Albert Kahn in Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 just across from the Seine river. This banker tried to change the world by way of nature and especially all around Japan. He built a village japanese style with two houses ,the minka, a pagoda, a shinto temple, and two symbolic gates around marshes and a prairie reminding us of a golden forest and a Vosgienne forest to remind himself of his origins, born in Marmoutier Bas Rhin dept 67 near the forest of Abreschviller.  The garden is at 10 rue du Port, Boulogne-Billancourt, even if now closed for renovations see it for later , it is worth the detour. More info : Jardins Albert Kahn

I continue my tour of my belle France by going south to the Pyrénées-Atlantiques dept 64 and the Castle of Abbadia facing the ocean on the point of Sainte Anne near Hendaye. This neo gothic folly the work of Viollet-le-Duc built between 1864 and 1879 for the adventurer sage Antoine d’Abbadie. Celebrating the study , the observation, and the spirituality/ there is a building which seen from the exterior shows towers, and a fortress look like an Irish mansion or even Basque.. He was born in Dublin and here it shows all his exotic trips , as well as been buried in the Chapel crypt. The whole property was bequested to the Academy of Sciences. It can be visit of course on the Route de la Corniche, Hendaye, more info here: Château d’Abbadia

And I bring you up again, this time to my beloved Versailles oh Versailles, royal and beautiful, my Versailles of 10 years and good memories. I wrote an article on the Hameau de la Reine or Queen’s hamlet. It was in 1783, the queen Marie Antoinette ordered built this hamlet on the north side of the Trianon gardens. It went thru lots of viscitudes due to the French revolution until Napoleon Ier restored it to gifted to his wife Marie-Louise of Austria, the great grandaughter of Marie Antoinette!!!  Now officially you go by the Place d’Armes and get in to the domaine of Versailles popularly call the Chateau. But if you want to go the local way like I did to jog with my family there is for you to take bus 19 at ave Saint Cloud and ave de l’Europe corner direction Les Mureaux and get off at Parly II stop next to the Arboretum (old trees once belonging to the castle now museum forest thingy), you walk down ave de Versailles for about 300 meters and on your right there is the monumental Porte de Saint Antoine, gate you go in and just a few meters on your right is the hamlet of the Queen. voilà a nice way to go about local.

And from the classic to the hard work of the miners, you go further up to dept Nord 59 and see Lewarde at rue d’Erchin you will see the miners historical center or Centre Historique Minier where on the old well of Delloye between Valenciennes, Bruay ,and Douai you will see this earthly wonder. The carbon extraction of 3 centuries was done here and the building are all preserved, even the bells in metal, and the railroad equipment. This museum allows you to descend to the center of the earth sort of to the mine in an elevator/lift going 9 meters per second. Below you see rebuilt galleries tunnels to see up close what the miners went thru.  Interesting, yes. more info here: Lewarde Mining Museum

And now down south east to another memorable area of mine as it was my dear late wife Martine dept 77 Seine-et-Marne. And to add her dear late Grandma Fourré worked here and I got to meet her and travel with her, good wine drinker and love the speed driving !! I knew was in the right kind of family !!! I am telling you about the Menier chocolates of France at 7 boulevard Pierre-Carle, Noisiel, now own by Nestlé.  This is known here as the Cathedral of Chocolates on the banks of the Marne river, the Menier family built the empire. All back to 1825 not only for the chocolate per se but because it had theraupetic virtues.  By 1893, Menier is the biggest producer in the world! The windmill symbol of the brand was built in 1871.  The new building done in 1906 was built by Stephen Sauvestre a collaborator of Gustave Eiffel. There is also, the freezer built in 1884 and modeled after the Baltard covered markets or halles. All a jewel to visit , not to missed to see something uniquely French while in France. It is open to the public two saturdays per month inquire and more info here on the city of Noisiel page: Noisiel Menier hours and guides

Have you heard where the French President lives? and govern from there? Well the Palais de l’Elysées it is. It was begun in 1718 when the Count of Evreux, Henri Louis de la Tour d’Auvergne purchases some lots on the site called Les Gourdes in the middle of the road of chemin du Roule. A small palace of classic architecture comes up with a great dance hall event in 1720.Many folks came to lived here such as in 1753, the Marquise de Pompadour not wanted in the court came here and so on until the French revolution. Here the palace is change into apartments Elysée National. By 1815, Napoléon Ier had his goodbye and in 1848 the nephew Napoléon III came to be the first President of the Republic in the Elysée Napoléon, and came into the domaine of the State to never return. After the end of the empire in 1873 all French presidents come to lived here except during the nazi occupation and a bit later of Paris 1940-46 when the palace was empty. It re took the honors thereafter until today. The beautiful Salle des fêtes is typical of the beauty of French palaces, it is here that the State dinners are held as well as great receptions and the swearing of the French President. The closest you can come here unless walking to it is by the metro stations Concorde and Champs-Elysées and also near the REC C Invalides which from all you need to make a walk, the closest is Concorde really. It is open sometimes on heritage days, more info on the palace here: Palais de l’Elysée

visits info on the paris tourist office in english: Tourist office of Paris on the Palais de l’Elysées

Continue with France and government that is ,how about the Senate building? Well the Palais du Luxembourg is it. When Marie de Médicis became widow she decided in 1611 to have built a palace in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés to enforce her authority. Inspired on the Palazzo Pitti of Florence where she grew up.  This palace took her down to her financial losses. Afterward, many owners came and go such as Gaston d’Orléans upon the death of his mother, later widow Duchess of Montpensier and Guise in 1660; which bequest it to Louis XIV in 1694. When the French revolution it became a prison! and later hosted the revolutionary Directoire in 1795. As time passes, the palace is adapted to the times and in 1830 during the July Monarchy it is added a hemicircle to sit the modern legislature of 380 member of the house of equals or chambre des pairs de France in 1836. By 1879 , the palace is given to the Senate of the French Republic. The beautiful library in the gallery that gives to the 23 ha of gardens was decorated by Eugéne Delacroix on the only dome of 7 meters that he worked for 5 years. Again you can visit on heritage days,upon request of a Senator or to see a seance debate on the floor on certain days. . More info here The Senate of France

As we are in government lane, why not talk about the house of representative or the National Assembly of France or Assamblée Nationale  Ahh this one is unique , right across from the Place de la Concorde, and sits on the Palace of Bourbon, ooops sacre bleu the site of the Bourbon royals!   The Palais Bourbon is the name commonly given to the building that houses the National Assembly, located on the Quai d’orsay in the 7éme arrondissement of Paris, in the strand of the Pont de Concorde and Place de la Concorde.  The Palais Bourbon was built by Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes, the legitimized daughter of king Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, who had married Louis III of Bourbon-Condé, duke de Bourbonnais and 6th Prince of Condé.  The Palais Bourbon and the Hôtel de Lassay (current residence of the President of the National Assembly) were erected simultaneously, from 1722 to 1728, on land acquired by the Duchess of Bourbon in 1720 and which she ceded a part to her lover, the Marquis of Lassay.  Confiscated in 1791, the palace “before Bourbon” was nationalised. It houses in 1794 the future École Polytechnique before being assigned to the Council of Five Hundreds by decree in 1795. However, by the time they set up a room for them, the five hundred would not settle there until 1798. The Bourbon Palace will therefore be assigned to the second Chamber of Parliament under the various regimes: Council of the Five Hundred, legislative body, Chamber of Deputies, and National Assembly.  The Palais Bourbon welcomed, from 1798, all the lower chambers of the French parliaments, with the exception of a short period of 1871 to 1879 (period during which it sits in the hall of the wing of the Midi of the Castle of Versailles, following the insurrection of the commune of Paris) then after the Government and Parliament fled to Bordeaux and then to Vichy during WWII in 1940.  The Hall of Four-Columns ( Salle des Quatre-Colonnes) is with the Hall of the Lost,( Salle des Pas-Perdus) the place where journalists traditionally interview members. They cross it to go from meeting rooms to the Hemicycle by taking the liaison corridor which adjoins the Cour d’honneur and leads to the library. It owes its name to the four columns in it. It was not far from my work area in Paris, here is more of it on visiting on debates with advance reservation. Visit a seance at the Assamblée Nationale

And back into my old department of the Yvelines 78, we see another national jewel . The Chateau de Monte Cristo, the folly of Alexandre Dumas. On the hills of Montferrands near the old clinic my wife used to go for esthetics , Alexandre Dumas decided to built a castle. After the much succesful Trois Mousquetaires (three muskeeteers) and the Comte de Monte Cristo (count of monte cristo) in 1844 he got his wish. It is describe as a folly of the times of Louis XV but in the style of Louis XIII and with renaissance deco. Under the main door, you see the face of Dumas while the lines on the windows show you his literary pantheon. It is in beautiful Le Port Marly and more info here: Chateau de Monte Cristo

Les Cafés are big in Paris, a lieu of encounters stories and good cheers and they have gone and come over the years, and now coming up more than ever. I love the cafes, not a big meal just a snack, a good coffee and see the world go by in gorgeous Paris. The story goes back to Persia they tell me; where people met to drink the gahveh-khaneh (my persians friends who I have worked with  in Paris can correct me). The first in the West was at Belgrade in the 16C and then spread to Venice, Vienna, and then Paris.  The bistrot or bistro we know the legend that is was the Russian cossacks in Paris who yelled out bistro in 1814 for hurry up and the word stuck; however, it is a word coming from the dialect of the Poitevin (Poitiers) word bistraud that assigned the domestic help in cabarets or of the Nord of France, called Bistrouille a mixture of wine and coffee? you choice is as good as any.

It is often said, the Le Procope is the oldest café in the world, it was not popular then to drink coffee back in the 17C until the Italian Francesco Prosopio dei Coltelli arrive in Paris in 1670. In 1700, he came to open a cafe at rue Neuve des Fossés-Saint-Germain and he called it the Le Procope. The fame goes up with Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquiou and even Diderot come in. Benjamin Franklin comes in too to shuffle the first notes of the US Constitution. Later the revolutionaries Danton, Marat, Robespierre,Desmoulins (always liking the good life)  come in too. Later the romantics such as Alfred de Musset, George Sand, Théophile Gautier, and Marie Dorval write their legends here. Le Procope is still there with new names to come. More on it here: LE Procope

At Montmartre, the life goes on away from Paris. By 1860 the districts are done and artists come out to the hill. Coubert comes with his manners to the Cabaret de la Belle Poule, and later others joined him at the Brasserie des Martyrs, Cezanne or Degas. In pigalle, the Café de la Nouvelle Athénes you can cross with Renoir or Pisarro. The bohemians go to the Bateau Lavoir. It is the time of the birth of cabaret as the Chat Noir, Lapin Argile where Toulouse-Lautrec and Oscar Wilde are frequent visitors. It is in these cafés that the new literary art is born and continues because Paris is eternal.

Those that are gone: Chat Noirs

Brasserie des Martyrs et LA Belle Poule

Cafe de la Nouvelle Athénes

Bateau Lavoir

And hardy one still open, Lapin Argile and one of my favorites too. Lapin Argile

And how about that wonderful castle domaine of Chantilly in the Oise dept 60 now Hauts France region.  The story of Anne, constable of Montmorency, Louis de Bourbon, (Grand Condé) ,and Duke of Aumale.  Property of Senlis as a medieval fortress it passes by heritage in 1484 to Guillaume de Montmorency, father of Anne, the future constable.  A long documented history of France follows , the short in 1830 the Duke of Bourbon father of the duke of Enghien who was shot by orders of Napoléon died without direct heirs; therefore he bequested it to his great nephew Henri of Orléans, Duke of Aumale and son of Louis-Philippe (past king of the French); the castle is destroyed during the French revolution and the Duke d’Aumale has it rebuilt to house his collections. Upon his death in 1886, he bequested it to the Institut de France where it is kept today. The gardens of 115 ha are the favorite of great gardener André Le Nôtre, and the collections are without proper value or no value is enough. The library alone has 60K books, 8K maps, and 80K letters. It has the celebrated kitchens of Vatel, the inventor of the cream of Chantilly! He killed himself because the food was not prepared not serve on time!  The stables are magnificent given over 150 presentations per year on the Grandes Ecuries or Big stables, just gorgeous. Just need to see is a must, I have blog post on it . More info from official page here: Domaine de Chantilly

There some thoughts for Fall coming up, and Paris is gorgeous but so is France. In fact, Ernest Hemingway wrote a book that was published after his death and became a cult book for millions , Paris est un fête or the A Movable Feast, talking about Paris. However, I always said (and read his books) that he did not travel enough, if he did ,he would have written a second book, France is a movable feast! Did you know that the city of Versailles did a survey and 98% of visitors to the city only see the Palace Museum! Quelle pietié  mon Dieu! Hoping I can convince to see more of my belle France.

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






August 25, 2018

The time will be cherished forever, the pain will remain, and the memories will linger my dear Martine!

And here I am alone, not really, my sons are all around me and still my old Dad with me.  It is a cloudy day and some rain was felled. I have come back from a trip, a special trip to a special place in our family’s heart. This entry will try to make it brief and share a bit more personal with my readers, friends and family who reads.

I have just came back from Honfleur , dept of Calvados 14 in region of Normandy. Why Honfleur, well people asked me. When we came to France we lived in Versailles and on our many runs in France and neighboring countries we came for a visit to Honfleur. Mine all mine, everybody felled in love with the quaintness of the town, architecture ,and the fact that the sea plays a major part past and present here and we are islanders on all sides !

Over the years we came back visiting the town and participating in its many activities and felled more for it. When it was the unfortunate time to say farewell to my dear mother Gladys, she asked to be deposit her ashes here, why tombstones for a traveling islanders , the sea is life. I took my mother on the Notre Dame du Port boat from the SNSM société nationale de sauvetage en mer or the National Marine Rescue Society. This is a volunteer life savers at sea ,former marines ,fisherman , and sea lovers who come to help the distress at sea in France.

The people were very nice and humble to us. We continue to visit the town ,and I became a donor for the association,back in 2008. My father always told me if his time comes, he too will out here at sea. I told him , I will follow suit and made it known to my sons. As the unfortunate lousy cancer came and took my my dear wife Martine, I had asked her where, and she too told me to put her ashes at sea here. And so I did on Friday ,August 24 2018 at 10h between Honfleur and Le Havre out at sea with the braves of Normandy. I was told by the boat Captain and President of the SNSM Honfleur station the ashes were spread at coordinates 49°2’6′ 08 N and 000° 10′ 850 E.

A phase is turning and now the duty is done, the paperwork is mostly done minor details left but easy.   Life they tell me is to be continue and so I will, there is no sensible  alternative. However, the memories, the souvenirs, the happy face, the energy and love will remain forever. I am very lucky to have met her at that 36 rue de Noefort, Meaux , Seine-et-Marne dept 77 and before on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in beautiful romantic Paris.

Yes, they tell me too ,time will ease the pain. Heck, I am human, time will not heal any pain. The pain will be there, I will just have the will and need to continue with my  young men sons. We are very much together, always as a family remembering those words in the 3 Muskeeteers of Alexandre Dumas, One for all ,and All for one! We stand together.

I will put the previous post in hommage I did in my blog for my dear loving wife Martine, and some of the photos of this special sad trip here. The rest is up to you. And me.

The ordeal of a good bye

Hommage to my dear late wife Martine

In memoriam my sweet wife Martine

An hommage to Paris and Martine



out to sea between Honfleur and Le Havre


coming back to Honfleur and the garden promenade on right


ecluse levy to open boats out and in at sea


Notre Dame du Port waiting for our day at sea


Notre Dame du Port of the SNSM of Honfleur


Notre Dame du Port waiting for the volunteer crew


going in to the Notre Dame du Port at Honfleur


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

ps. if you think the SNSM job is a worthy one, and would like to help  with Euros here is their official webpage in French of course. No obligation at all just for information. SNSM org

August 18, 2018

The Hameau de Marie Antoinette,Versailles!

Well going again at my blog, surprise ,not written on one of my favorite subjects on it’s history! And this is my beloved Versailles, a city I lived for almost 10 years!! The place was closed by for  my leisure hangouts with the family on our weekend walks. Well ,its time I catch up on my old neighborhood!

Let me tell you a story on the history and the places there, as the touristic part I have in my previous blog posts here:Hameau of Marie Antoinette

Stories of Versailles: the Hameau

Let me get you right into the history I like, stay tune ,it is long,but beautiful!

The Hameau de la Reine ( hamlet of the Queen)  was born from the imagination of Marie-Antoinette. Bored by the Versailles court, she wanted to rebuild a farm by bringing animals and peasants not far from the Palace of Versailles, to teach nature to her children. But this secret garden will finally be destined for walks and sumptuous receptions, to which she invites her loved ones. Of the vine, a farmhouse and its farmyard, cottages, and a mill surround an artificial lake.  If the exterior looks rustic and simple, the interior is glitzy. To reproduce the atmosphere faithfully, some rooms have been refurnished. The royal Prestige is found in the decoration of the Maison de Marie-Antoinette, with its golden lanterns with fine gold which are now electrified.  The hamlet of the Queen is a dependency of the Petit Trianon located in the park of the Castle/Museum  of Versailles this hamlet of pleasure was commissioned during the winter of 1782 – 1783 by Queen Marie Antoinette  with the nostalgia for a more rustic life, in a decor of nature inspired by the writings of Rousseau, a small paradise where the theater and the feast would make her forget her  condition as Queen. This rural place, which was also a farm, marked the influence of the ideas of the physiocrats and philosophers of the Enlightenment of the aristocracy of the time.

The construction was entrusted to the architect Richard  Miqué on the inspiration of the hamlet of Chantilly and the drawings of the painter Hubert Robert. This fashion was a reflection of the Rousseau cult for simple rural life and the reminder of the ancestral virtues.  Launched during the summer of 1783 by the Queen, construction began with rustic houses. King Louis XVI had given, in order to establish the hamlet, a plot located to the northeast of the English garden, between the allée de  Saint-Antoine and the  Allée de Rendez-vous and the Bois des Onze Arpents forest. To the northeast of this small wood was the hamlet of Saint-Antoine-du-Buisson, whose church depended on the parish of Chesnay (nearby town). The main work was completed in 1786 .

Around an artificial pond for carp and pike fishing, Richard Miqué had erected twelve wood-framed cottages, of Norman or Flemish inspiration, in the northern part of the gardens, on the outskirts of the Petit Trianon and in the extension of the English garden.  A farm to produce milk and eggs for the Queen, a tower as a lighthouse, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill, a house for the guard were thus built, each building being embellished with a vegetable garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The most important of these houses is the Maison de la Reine (House of the Queen) in the center of the hamlet, which divides a river crossed by a small stone bridge. The beds were planted with Milan sprouts, cauliflowers, artichokes, black beans, peas, strawberry, raspberries, gooseberry, plums, pears, cherry , peaches, apricot and walnut trees. More than a thousand vegetables were planted in the garden. The lake was also populated by twenty-seven Pike and two thousand carps. The Queen had hoped that in the spring of 1787 all the houses would be filled with flowers. During the winter they were busily cultivated in greenhouses specially fitted for the occasion. And by the end of the summer, bunches of grapes were hanging from the pergolas.

It was found that the flow of the basins, and in particular the clover, was insufficient to feed the lake and the streams. It was then necessary to work to bring the water from the plain of Les Chesnay, going up to the stream of Chèvreloup. The work, begun in 1784, was extended until 1789, with some 20 workers working daily to dig wells and aqueducts.  During one of his visits to the hamlet, King Louis XVI decided to create a triumphal arch at the entrance to the estate, at the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents, at the north end of the Allée de Saint-Antoine; The construction of this new Porte Saint-Antoine (my entry point to the property) ended in June 1787 and was ornated with a lion’s body, emblem of the King. (My entry point to the Domaine for walks with family).  The place is completely enclosed by grates and ditches; It enters from the Trianon either by a covered and sinuous road, which allows  to discover with surprise the smallest houses, either by the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents  and a meadow with light slopes forming tiny waterfalls, which offers a plunging view on the Main house and the village of Saint-Antoine.


Despite its idyllic aspect, the hamlet is a veritable farm perfectly managed by a farmer designated by the Queen, with its vines fields, orchards and vegetable gardens that produce fruits and vegetables consumed by the Royal table. According to the Queen’s instructions, farm-reared animals came from Switzerland whose animal breeds are reputed to be the most authentic, which often gives  the name of the Swiss Hamlet. The Queen invited her guess upon her request only and many were jealous to be left out; some of the regulars were the Count of Vaudreuil, the Baron of Besenval, the Countess of Polignac with her daughter Aglaë de Guiche and her sister-in-law Diane, and the Count of Esterhazy . The Prince of Ligne does not missed an opportunity to visit the hamlet or, at the very least, to keep abreast of the news of the Place .  The Queen appreciates the company of her sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, and the Princess of Chimay. Madame Campan, first maid, and Countess of Ossun, Lady of D-Atous, accompany the Queen on all occasions ; the children also benefit from this relative simplicity: even Madame Royale, judged by her mother (Marie Antoinette)  too imbued of her rank, is sent to pick up with the other children of the hamlet the eggs of the hen house, in a nice basket . It is rare that King Louis XVI goes to the hamlet, the freedom of tone is therefore only easier: the meals are lighter and simpler than at Château, and you have fun during only a few steps away, in an empty castle of any courtyard animation, the nobility maintains hatred and jealousies.

The Queen’s house  (Maison de la Reine) is located in the center of the hamlet. Its picturesque appearance is reinforced by the originality of its structure: a double body of non-aligned buildings and simply connected by a walkway covered with a round tower, outside staircases supported by wooden poles and roofs of various inclinations. It is the only one, with the cleansing dairy, to be covered with tiles. Its decoration is simple but elegant, far from the flamboyant luxury of the castle. Composed of two floors, it comprises at the top level an antechamber in the form of a Chinese cabinet, the small living room, also called  Hall of the Nobles, and the large living room with a stretched panel of Swiss-style tapestries embroidered with wool and basketry. Of the six crossings of the room, the Queen can easily control the work of the fields and the activity of the hamlet. In the center of the room is a harpsichord on which Marie-Antoinette loves to play. The access to the floor is either by a large staircase inside, or by the round tower, stopping at half-height and followed by a footbridge and then a volley of ten steps reaching the outer gallery. On the ground floor, the building features a backgammon decorated with a chessboard and a simple white stone-paved dining room with the cut corners making way for small black squares. The chairs, in the backrest lyre in solid mahogany and garnished with green Morocco leather.


On the left, another building is connected to the Queen’s House by a gallery of olive-green wood embellished with trellis and hundreds of pots of flowers in earthenware of St. Clement, marked in blue by the Queen’s figure, in a medallion suspended from a ribbon surrounded by Roses, which reminds the Queen of her Habsburg-Lorraine ancestry. An  eighty-foot garden  along the gallery allows you to grow flowers and grow up to the roof of climbing plants. A spiral staircase accessing it by the left is originally wrapped around a poplar present before the building. Upstairs, above the large billiards room, flanked by two wardrobes, is a small apartment, which seems to have been inhabited by the architect of the hamlet Richard Miqué and which includes five rooms including a library. Despite the rustic appearance of the facades, the furnishings and interior design are luxurious.  The Queen’s House and billiards are reopened to the public in May 2018 after five years of restoration!!!

The boudoir was originally dubbed the Little House of the Queen. Its dimensions are modest, 4.60 m by 5.20 m; It’s moreover the smallest construction of the hamlet, of very simple construction in apparent millstone. Marie-Antoinette withdrew alone or with one or two of her relatives, in the square living room which composed most of the place, at the fireside of a white marble fireplace decorated with twigs of ivy. The walls alternate embedded mirrors and drapes of tapestry cloth, which participate in the intimacy of the place. The woodwork was originally of mahogany-colored Holland oak, but they were replaced in the Second Empire. The windows are in Bohemian glass. the roof is covered in reeds. This cottage upholstered with a virgin vine is preceded by a small geometric garden, rather made up of flowerbeds than of cultures and surrounded by thickets. The small stream that runs along the boudoir marks the separation of the cottages for the Queen’s use.

The tower of Marlborough, built with the appearance of a vaguely medieval lighthouse, is originally called Tour de la Fishery (Pêcherie). Of the three floors of the tower, only the hexagonal base is of verge stone, to ensure its strength.  The tower is used to store boat fishing tools  in its basement. A narrow hallway allows you to go from the dairy to this circular room. From the foot of the tower, you climb up and down a wooden oak boat painted in grey, for walks on the Great Lake or fishing for carp or pike. The upper part is painted wood of a decoration imitating the stone and serves to communicate by signals with the castle.  The name Marlborough is a reference to the lullaby Marlborough going to war, written in 1722 but brought to the use of the day in 1782 thanks to Beaumarchais and its resumption to the court by the nanny of the Dauphin, Geneviève Poitrine.  After the revolution, the tower was one of the most damaged buildings.

The wind mill (Moulin) is one of the most picturesque cottages, with a pictorial charm reminiscent of the role of the painter Hubert Robert in the creation of the hamlet. The four facades of the building each have a different appearance and décor, although in harmony. The wheel driven by the brook derived from the Great Lake is only a decoration element and no mechanism or millstone was installed in this factory.  The ground floor room seems to have served a time of exhibition gallery for the first models of the hamlet. At this lounge is attached a small closet, serving as wardrobe. A small hallway provides access to a side entrance door. The square room on the first floor, four meters apart, is a small dining room or room, which is not known if it ever served. It is accessed by an outside complex of  staircase of two flights of stairs. On the front, a half-timbered cabinet is constructed as an outgrowth over the brook and is connected to the first-floor room by a walkway allowing access below.  The interior of the building received a sober but neat decoration. A tile is laid in all the rooms and the two main rooms each have a chimney in marbre. A molded cornice and painted faux mahogany wood panels complete the décor. The mill has a fenced garden in the south of hedges  and a pergola. A wash house is also attached to it, at the edge of the brook.

The réchauffoir (warming room)  is indented, about a dozen meters from the back of the Queen’s house, masked by bushy shrubs. It includes the premises necessary for the service: a large kitchen, a bakery, a lumberjack and a pantry, but also lingerie and silverware. The interior is made up of  stones and is illuminated by three windows. The food can be warmed up from the great common. Originally intended to be only a warming room, it actually cooks dishes intended for dinners given by the Queen in her house or at the mill. A large furnace of twenty-two fires, painted in faux-brick decor, is surrounded by a bread oven and a roasting-pan. A closet is intended to keep the royal dishes, porcelain and silver. A two-meter-high oven keeps the dishes warm. A beech table is placed in the center of the room. Running water is provided in the yard by a tank above the preparation dairy. A small adjacent house is designed to accommodate the workers.

The tradition of planting a dairy (Laitérie) in a Royal property is old . Marie-Antoinette ends up following the trend of her time, but preferring elegance and simplicity, far from any extravagance.  Originally, there are two dairies in the Queen’s Hamlet: the Dairy of preparation, in which creams and cheeses are produced, is located north of the tower. The milk is creamed from the cow and the butter is beaten. A stone table is surrounded by consoles on which are stored tin utensils. Pasteurization is carried out in a small adjoining room. The water, which also feeds the close houses, is stored in a tank cleverly concealed in the attic This building is  from 1783, but with another destination: composed of two rooms and a cabinet, it is originally a bakery,which the furnace is leaning against the west facade. The whole is covered with reed and the interior is tiled from materials recovered from the fishery The Queen comes to taste dairy products in the second dairy, named Dairy of Cleanliness, on tables of veined white marble arranged around  the room and supported by fourteen sculpted consoles. They are served in milk terrines, jugs, cups or butter in porcelain, made in the Queen’s protected manufacture, rue Thiroux in Paris. The floors are also covered with blue and white marble. In order to maintain the freshness of the room, a trickle of water flows into a central channel and four niches have been arranged with vases adorned with carved dolphins. The walls are adorned with a trompe-l’oeil decor. The dairy of cleanliness is, with the House of the Queen, the only thatched cottage to be covered with tiles, because of the fragility of the vault with painted caissons one builds even a small hangar simply equipped with two benches of stone, at the end of a wall pierced by two arches.

The farm (Ferme) of Marie-Antoinette is created, slightly away from the hamlet, to be a real exploitation. The various buildings that comprise it are built from 1784 to 1789, with numerous modifications during the construction: barns, a sheep barn, a pigs, hutches and a hen house.  The farmer designated by the Queen to drive the farm but also the dairy. He arrived from Touraine with his family. Their residence, built in 1787 and composed of three bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room, is, like all the houses of the hamlet, decorated in the rustic taste. A dairy boy and a cattleman come to assist them in the farm. In 1787, the construction of a new barn in the farm enclosure allowed the first to be transformed into a ballroom. A bridge over the ditch allows access from the rendezvous aisle, thanks to a large awning door. The farm courtyard has a water trough and a well. In the direction of the hamlet rises another portal in masonry and stones , topped by two big balls.

Also close to the lake, the House of the dovecote (maison de colombier)  houses a dovecote, in its attic, and poultry house, on the back. The House of the Guard (Maison de la Garde),  is located on the edge of the estate. The house is in the center of a cultivated enclosure, made up of small plots. During the creation of the hamlet, a barn is built between the preparation dairy and the dovecote, and shows the Queen’s desire to be close to the peasant life.  On the other side of the barn is the two-window bedroom, which is accessed by a staircase of about fifteen steps overlooking a bin garnished with pots of flowers. Above it is a small attic used to preserve the seeds. The whole is covered with a very complex roof, straw, reed or even tiles, alternating the right and nested pans, which gives its charm to the building. The garden of the barn has the peculiarity of being completely enclosed of hedges and gates. It is accessed by three main entrances. A wide right path to the West is covered with a cradle of climbing plants and allows to go to the farm.

Reservoirs at the back of the belvedere flow from thin, cascaded streams in the middle of a low-slope meadow: the Cascatelles, designed by Richard Miqué, to fill the great lake. This one,dug in 1785, forms, in its outlines, small bays and peninsulas. Its largest dimension does not exceed 130 meters. A first river escapes to get lost in the outer ditches. It is equipped with a small stone bridge connecting the Queen’s house to the dovecote, decorated with a cornice in modillions. Another arm flows in front of the mill, in a narrow half-meter deep groove, after feeding the wash-house .

But it is the afternoon of October 5, 1789 , summoned by a messenger of the king while she is in her cellars, she casts a last glance towards her hamlet that she will not see again.   Abandoned after the French Revolution, the hamlet of the Queen was the subject of three major restoration campaigns: One led by Napoleon I from 1810 to 1812 represents the bulk of the present base. The second was achieved through the sponsorship of John Rockefeller Jr. In the  1930’s. Finally, the hamlet was renovated from the years 1990, under the impetus of Pierre-André Lablaude, chief architect of the historical monuments, and it was opened to the public in 2006 within a space named Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The House of the Queen as above just came to be opened fully renovated in May 2018.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this super wonderful place in my beloved Versailles are

Chateau de Versailles and the Hamlet

Tourist office of Versailles ,and the Hamlet

Now you are all set to visit one of the must to see in Versailles and in France and Europe. Wonderful, magical, and just gorgeous after all the nice restorations.

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




August 16, 2018

The Summer feasts of Wine in France!

This is a nice breezy not too hot not to cold day in my lovely Morbihan and we set out to do many things (more of that on later post). However, wine is in the air, Summer is the tradition of wine and the refreshing idea of drinking it with friends and family.

In my humble efforts to tell you all about wines in France from a seasoned taster, drinker, collector and diplomé person of France let me tell you the latest happening. Oh yes I will be in the trail by August 21th in the Loire.. Some of the tourist activities you can join are

Tasting under the Earth , some of the latest tasting going on in my belle France.
The Ardèche winegrowers make their wines grow old in spectacular galleries, and on the Cave of Saint-Marcel. A speleologist guide and a wine expert take you to taste them in the dark. Spéléoenology, 58 euros/pers. (2 h 30 to 3 h 30.)  more at

For tasting on the waves , see Denis Retiveau, winemaker and Marinier, embarks on his cabin flat bottom boat ;this flat-bottomed boat, topped by a hut, slips over the Loire (or Vienna) river while you enjoy a drink of wine from his Domaine des Champs Fleuris.
From 25 euros/pers. More info at

A canvas at the vineyard. In Puyloubier, Provence, in a Transat, enjoy a cinematic projection in the vineyards. A food truck treats you all night. 11 Euros/pers. Every Friday night, until September 7th. More info at these sites : and

Have a carriage Ride at the Château Fontainebleau du Var , they organize carriage rides on its field grown in organic farming and biodynamics. 11 Euros/pers. (30 minutes.). More info at

Have a “Escape game “ in the property. At the Castle of Rayne Vigneau, in the Sauternes, invites you to unravel the mysteries of its property. Its thrilling escape game ends with a tasting.  30 euros, from 4 pers. (1 H 30.) Book 72 hours in advance. More info here:

How about an animated course. The visit of the cellar Robert and Marcel, very close to Saumur, is worth visiting. Eight scenographies, around the wine, punctuate the course in the underground of the La Perrière. 5 Euros. The cellar with sensations. Until September, 11h to 15h and 16h to 17h. More info here:

The latest and 15th edition of Vines, Wines, Randos is upon us!

Event held from 01 to 02 September 2018 by the Interloire,association of vineyards and growers . Offering to you for the occasion 15 unpublished courses each composed of a exceptional stage. 3 hours of relaxation, conviviality and taste sensations on the occasion of VVR.. All guided by a winemaker, you leave for one of the 15 walks offered, punctuated by tastings, pairings and wines and discover the wine know-how. The kit of the perfect hiker in hand, you have all the ingredients to taste the savours of the terroir and discover the riches of the Loire heritage.

On your return, you are welcomed in the village VVR, in a festive atmosphere ensured by a group of music.. This VVR event is routes of 6-9 kms , with a family trail of 3 km, 2 days of hiking, -15 winemakers walks, including three new courses, 20 appellations tasted. 400 winegrowers. And 12 000 participants.

Practical information :Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September 2018
Timetable: Departures between 9h and 16h15; Price: 6€ and 1€ for under 18 years pre-registration on the site before August 30th, on site 10€. Address: 62 Rue Blaise Pascal, 37019 Tours. More in English here:

Some hints on where I am going next: Loire


And do enjoy it all or as many as you can !!! It wonderful in my belle France. And remember , happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 13, 2018

Gare Saint Lazare, Paris!

So here I am very nice and cool at 20C or about 71F , when writing this blog post so bear with me oops my porto red is glamorously cool… vacation time is near so what’s the heck!! Life goes on , always with memories never forgotten, but I need to move on for the rest.

I like to tell you today about a train station dear to me. Not your fan of public transport if you followed me but sometimes for one reason or another they are needed. I worked for many years in Paris and my entry point from Versailles rive droite was the Gare Saint Lazare in Paris. Great memories even if some late arrivals due to technical problems on the tracks lol! Anyway this is my rendition on history of this wonderful old train station. Saint Lazare.


I have written a blog post on it before, more on the touristic side, this one is now more historical. My previous post is here:

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.  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!


The Transilien line on Saint Lazare is here:

A bit of history I like.

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 municipality 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.

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).


Its attendance continues to increase, especially due to the new link Ermont-Saint-Lazare, to the point of claiming, according to the SNCF, the second place in Europe behind the station of Paris-Nord for its volume of trafic. 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.

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.   Info SNCF on the train station link below.

Regional lines on Saint Lazare are here on the TER train page:

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!!! More here:

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.


There is now a great shopping center  Saint Lazare in the train station, superb, we went from Morbihan there just to see the opening! The webpage for the shopping mall is here:


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.


Always the useful Paris tourist office on Saint Lazare: Tourist office of Paris on Saint Lazare

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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