Archive for ‘Versailles’

November 14, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral , Update Nov19!

Well here is another take on the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral. I guess from reading and hearing , it will be longer than told. Too many politics in the middle as often the case.

I have done at least two previous update on the disaster and the efforts to rebuilt and feels its about time for an update. Therefore, here it goes folks, Notre Dame Cathedral, Update Nov19 and this time direct from Paris!!!

The sequence did not go unnoticed. Invited to the commission of cultural affairs of the National Assembly,(house of representatives of France) yesterday Wednesday, November 13, the special representative of President Emmanuel Macron, General Jean-Louis Georgelin for the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris had words unfriendly with regard to the Chief Architect of Historical Monuments.  When asked about the reconstruction (identical or not) of the arrow, Jean-Louis Georgelin asked Philippe Villeneuve Chief Architect of Historical Monuments (who was not present in the room) to shut up!  The General (former Chief of Staff of the French Army)  said. “I have already explained to him several times (…), that he closes his mouth and that we advance in wisdom so that we can serenely make the best choice for Notre-Dame, for Paris, for the World!

The arrow of the discord: drawn by Viollet-le-Duc, it disappeared in the fire of the Notre-Dame Cathedral of April 2019. But must we rebuild it identically? For Philippe Villeneuve, Chief Architect of Historical Monuments and responsible for the restoration of the cathedral, there is no doubt. On the other hand, for General Jean-Louis Gorgelin, who is leading the work, it is a bit premature. He told the members of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. Time is running out: the cathedral must be rebuilt for 2024 !

Nearly seven months after the disaster, the Total Foundation  (part of the big French oil company total) concretized on Thursday, November 7th its pledge of 100 million euros for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, by signing an agreement with the Heritage Foundation (FdP). Three foundations – FdP, Fondation Notre-Dame, Fondation de France – and the National Monuments Center (CMN) were responsible for raising funds as part of the national subscription launched for the reconstruction of this Gothic gem. Six months after the fire, some 922 million euros in donations and pledges have already been made to rebuild the cathedral, said last month the Minister of Culture Franck Riester.

Some new elements as to why the vast fire and the response is coming out !

Three different employers for three security guards !!! The organization of fire safety at Notre-Dame de Paris was divided between three actors. On the one hand, a private company, Elytis; one of its agents is responsible for monitoring the alarm management unit located at the security PC. In the event of an alarm, he alerts a second agent who is an employee of the diocese. But if the alarm is triggered in the towers of the forecourt, it is a third agent, an employee of the Ministry of Culture, who is then responsible for conducting a verification of doubt.  Not only these three people responsible for working together have three different employers but the contract signed from 2016 provides that there is more than one agent of the private company on site, against two before, as confirmed by this company. According to Elytis agents, well before the fire, the alarm management unit was often triggered for no reason !

It is in this context that a new agent of the company Elytis takes office just days before the fire broke out. When the alarm went off on Monday, April 15, 2019 at 18h16, he is stuck in the security PC. Unfamiliar with the scene, he reportedly said that the fire was in the attic of the sacristy. In fact, it started in the attics under the arrow: firefighters were called more than half an hour after the outbreak of the first alarm, while the fire had already spread widely !!!

The other problem, lead !

It was not until July 18th that the regional health agency (ARS) of Ile-de-France region finally made public the mapping of the presence of lead dust in the district of Notre-Dame. They discovered exceptionally high rates, especially on the forecourt: while the quantity does not generally exceed 5,000 micrograms (μg) of lead dust per square meter, the forecourt had between 540,000 and 1,300,000 μg / m² , according to the records.  The multiple cleanings have still not allowed to lower these rates to acceptable thresholds. That’s why the forecourt is always closed to the public.

Because of the lead, the Notre-Dame perimeter slump was noted. One of the balconies is breaking up, stones having split. To avoid collapse, the whole was strapped to hold until the consolidation works. Finally, traces of moisture persist in the left hole  by the arrow. With each new rain, the soil is tempered again, causing the joints and the structure to collapse, on the order of a few millimeters. It will be necessary to wait for the complete disassembly of the current scaffolding, welded under the effect of the heat, to be able to cover this hole by means of a huge tarpaulin called an umbrella. This operation requires first mounting another scaffold around the first. This is already up.

While the first project, much less important, was planned to last about 15 years, President Emmanuel Macron set a five-year course to restore the Notre Dame Cathedral. A delay that seems unrealistic to many experts. Just drying, securing and diagnosis should take almost two years. The building stakeholders are therefore skeptical about the feasibility of the operation. Nothing prevents the Ministry of Culture and the diocese from partially reopening the cathedral to the public, in order to officially hold this five-year period, without all being finished. In any case, this is the solution that seems to be emerging.

It seems to me the rebuilding will last more than 5 years, in the meantime temporary services will be held! I saw on French TV the chief architect take a tour of it and it is in rubbles all patch up and with columns holding arches with steel rods! It looks sad and when you start reading above you notice some negligence in its upkeep and fire security measures; its all a pity really. Hope for the best.

With the lead insecurity I know many visitors walking by it to take pictures but I would advice not to get near it, you can take pictures from across the Seine river. I will be again there this weekend but by Pl Saint Michel!

Stay tune, there is more always in my blog; thank you again for reading it. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


November 10, 2019

My early life in my blog!

So on the Armistice weekend (celebrated Monday November 11) in Europe (the end of the Great War or WWI)  and Veteran’s Day in the USA (for all combine) ,I come to end my nice weekend with the family in my Pluvigner, Morbihan , Bretagne and head back to the CDG Paris area to continue my job mission. These will be many weekends back and forth until May 2020 at the latest.

Just the re start of my finance consultant life into retirement and thereafter. Life on the road is nice but sometimes missed the boys back home even if we also celebrated early this weekend my twin boys 26 yrs old birthday. We went to eat out at favorite family restaurant Tablapizza , then shopping in the Armand Thiery store and others , doing the groceries at Carrefour with them and next day like today went to the cinema Cineville to see the Maléfique : Le Pouvoir du Mal or Maleficent: Mistress of Evil   movie and then more gifts to them and eat out at the old Burger King lol! they love it.

Now reminicent in a sentimental way of my life travels and efforts starting with my dear late mother Gladys and continue with my dear late wife Martine , still going strong out of faith with my 3 boys and Dad. I have to tell you a bit of my early post when I started this blog out of inspiration of many in the famous travel forums and friend in Madrid. Most if not all these early posts have no pictures as used elsewhere but they tell my early steps in life in a chronological manner. Hope you enjoy reading it as I did/do.

So these were my entry into my first blog posts ever!!! It all started back in November 2010!!! wow already 9 years time flies when having fun. Thank you all!!

Well I am finally into a blog after many years posting elsewhere. Hopefully this will allow me to share with my friends and family my travels and favorites pastimes over the years,and to hear back from folks similar stories. It will grow with us,looking forward to it. Posted: November 26 2010

Havana/La Habana it was once the Paris of the Americas, the Pearl of the Antilles, the most chic city of Latin America until the revolution destroyed everything;streets names were changed, city names were change, people left in hordes, and more poverty than ever sets in all under the glorious revolution still there.  Posted: November 28 2010

Madrid .I arrived from Havana, Cuba on December 30th 1971 in a lonely long flight of 16 hours aboard a Britannia four propellers aircraft with a fueling stop in Santa Maria, Azores islands of Portugal. After much political pressure and the help of the Spanish government as Spanish citizens to leave the island dictatorship. I end up in another one Lol! Posted: November 28 2010

Where it all began for me and my family finally arriving in freedom at Perth Amboy , New Jersey ,USA on may 10, 1974. From Madrid ,Spain. After successful avoiding two dictatorships of the left and right, freedom sets in. Posted: November 28 2010

Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach /North Miami/ Hialeah/ Miramar. My first contact with the State of Florida took place in 1973 when I went from New Jersey to visit my Aunt in Miami Lakes; it didnt seem that great, I guess I was already used to the cold weather from Spain and New Jersey. Then in August of 1977 I went to pursue my university studies there, and settled at Daytona Beach. It was instant love, the city was warm, sunny but also cool in winter, nice folks and the beach and the girls was awesome. Posted:  November 29 2010

Versailles. Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents. The decision was made to come to live in France permanently in August 2003. Posted: November 30 2010

Auray/Brech . Well here I am back and with new photos to share the wonderful world of  France. Today, I will talk a bit about my new area the Pays ‘Auray. Its a agglomaration of several towns into a metropolitan system of cities. The capital and main city is Auray or An Alre in Breton language.  I arrived here in May 30 2011. Posted: June 26 2011

Pluvigner. The town we are now is call Pluvigner, same department of Morbihan 56, in fact only about 11 kms from where we were, but a much bigger home. 255 sq meters of home and 1000 m2 of land!!! The house is great, we will do some adjustment to our convenience but no major works needed. I arrived here on July 2013. Posted: September 8 2013.

Now you know a bit more of me for those new to my blog in a nutshell!!! Again thank you very much for keeping with me these last few years (9) and hopefully many more to come on our roads of our world.

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




October 24, 2019

Some news from France, CCLXXXIX

Hi there well I am counting in Roman numerals this will be the 289 in Arabic numerals so thanks for the following. As always hope you enjoy the post on my Some news from France series. Today was rainy in my neck of the wood and calls for all day rain with temps now at 12C or about 53F while in our eternal Paris is cloudy at 61F.

Let’s get into the news and of course Halloween is coming around and we do have it too

Halloween à Paris :Bercy Village ,from 4 years old. Here, witches are more head-in-the-air than terrifying: they have lost their equipment to concoct magic potions. The children help them to find cauldron, utensils or pot of drool toad! Bercy Village 12éme. Oct. 30, 2019 from 14h to 17h Game booklet to pick up on the spot.

Parc zoologique de Paris , from age 5. Take a path full of pitfalls and attend the wizard meeting at the zoo. Visitors receive a 20% discount on the ticket if they are disguised. Zoological Park of Paris  12éme. October 31, 2019.

A curse Cruise from 6 years old.  This is the first escape game special Halloween on the Seine. 6 to 15 years old board a crazy boat besieged by witches and demonic creatures. Solve the riddles to free the ship from its terrible curse. Port of Bourdonnais ,7éme. From October 28 to November 2, 2019.

France Miniature from 6 years old.  Witches, gargoyles, giants, saber jugglers of the Fokus Company have invaded the monuments of the country. They delight the apprentice sorcerers with the mysteries of the buildings, not to mention the fire-eaters and the traditional distribution of candies. France Minitature. At Elancourt ,dept 78 Yvelines. October 21 to 23 and 27 to 31, 2019, from 13h30 to 17h30

Grévin comes to life!  from 10 years old.  Among the wax dolls of the museum sleep creatures of flesh came for Halloween. Shamans, witches, mummies, creatures … Grevin comes to life for a thrilling experience.  Musée Grévin 9éme. Until November 3, 2019.

A bit of a walking weekend in one close family surrounding, this is Lille, Nord dept 59 Hauts de France region.

Lille is the ideal destination to organize a weekend just an hour from Paris by TGV. To travel by metro (the second automatic in the world), tram and bus on the network Ilévia, opt for a pass 1 day (4.90 euros) or 2 days (8.80 euros). The self-service bike subscription (Vlille) costs 1.70 euro per 24 hours; the first 30 minutes are free, the next one to 1 euro. The city has two stations, 500 meters apart: Lille-Flandres and Lille-Europe, and a nice shopping center Eurolille there in Europe too. Beware, some Ouigo trainsn leave Tourcoing, thirty minutes by metro from Lille.

Until December 1st, 2019 the Eldorado festival will honor Mexico in the public space of the Lille-Flandres train station by  rue Faidherbe,  and through several exhibitions at locations such as Saint-Sauveur station, Palais des Beaux-Arts, etc.  This is the fifth thematic edition of Lille3000, a cultural event born in the wake of Lille 2004, European Capital of Culture. In 2020, Lille will be the first French city to receive the title of world capital of design, after Taipei and Mexico City. From December 6, 2019 to December 5, 2020, many exhibitions on design and its impact on our lifestyles are to be discovered in the main museums of the city. Picasso is in the spotlight at the Eugène Leroy Museum in Tourcoing until 13 January 2020 through the Picasso illustrator exhibition. At the Palais des Beaux-Arts, the exhibition The Dream of Being an Artist (until January 6, 2020), featuring works by Edouard Manet, Frida Kahlo and Jeff Koon, examines the birth of artist status.

You want to see and walk super, Lille is also for you. Here are some ideas. Lovers of vinyls and old and used books will be delighted to enter the Vieille Bourse or Old Stock Exchange, home of bookstores and record stores. After a tour of the Grand-Place, which gives a glimpse of the typical architecture of the Flemish renaissance, you take the rue de Bethune, the main shopping street of Lille. It leads to the Place de la République, surrounded on one side by the Préfecture du Nord and on the other by the Palais des Beaux-Arts. A visit to the basement of the museum will be made, where relief maps give a glimpse of several cities in the region centuries ago. Go out into  9 rue Princesse to find the birthplace of Charles de Gaulle where the future general was born on November 22, 1890.  And at the Hospice Comtesse museum. This old medieval hospital very well preserved illuminates the political, economic and social life of Lille through the ages since its founding in the 13C. Before returning to the Grand-Place, stop on the Parvis de la Treille where stands an unusual cathedral, the last of the second millennium in France. Begun in 1854, the construction of Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille was completed in 1999, hence the futuristic appearance of its marble facade. at 104 meters above sea level, at the top of the Beffroi or belfry. This building, built in 1932 at the same time as the new City/Town Hall, does not go unnoticed in the flat country horizon. In the distance, we can see the slums of the mining basin or the mountains of Flanders, including the highest of them, Mount Cassel at 176 meters. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, but even more so on Sunday mornings, Lille’s life revolves around the Wazemmes market, one of the largest in France. Take metro line 2 to Gare Jean-Lebas Roubaix station. From there, go down Avenue Jean-Lebas to La Piscine. These ancient art-deco baths are inseparable from Roubaix’s rich industrial past. The place opened in 1932 to ensure the hygiene of workers who did not have running water in the home. The centerpiece of the building is its Olympic pool, which reflects the stained glass windows that symbolize the rising sun and the setting sun. Not far from La Piscine, another architectural curiosity worth visiting: Villa Cavrois. From Eurotéléport, take the tram to the Villa Cavrois stop in Croix. This city was the privileged residence of industrialists of the North; it is still today one of the richest in France. After a five minute walk, we arrive at the work of Robert Mallet-Stevens, representative of modernist architecture. This contemporary yellow brick castle, built for the Cavrois family, After a good day of walking, nothing better than a gourmet break at the inevitable Pâtisserie Meert, located a few steps from the Grand-Place. On the spot or to take away, taste the vanilla waffles of Madagascar which make the reputation of this pastry, installed at 27 rue Esquermoise since 1761. A must while visiting Lille, we always do!

More info tourist office of Lille here :

Leonardo da Vinci , (Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci) a bastard legend. On the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to him in the Louvre from today Thursday for the 500 years of his death, portrait of the most famous artist in the world. The self-taught, who learned late Latin and poorly, between 12 years in the workshop of the great Florentine sculptor Andrea Del Verrochio. He has caught up well, artist, scientist, engineer, architect, courtier who organizes lavish parties in the Italian principalities -Florence, Milan, Venice, Rome- and ends his life at the court of François I in Amboise. More info here :

For its 30th anniversary, the Parc Astérix has set a new attendance record. Of course, it is our favorite park when small children. New things to see and do such as an exceptional opening during the Christmas holidays, a new hotel in 2020, a big eight in 2022. In rides like OzIris, Goudurix or Tonnerre de Zeus, that keeps the soul of children, or rather teenagers! A new hotel with 150 seats next year, Lutéce the old name of Paris, and the Seine will snake inside it  Proposing an opening for a “Noël Gaulois”, from December 21st to January 5th. Apart from the water rides, all the others, 38 attractions, will be open to the public. With a bonus, four new Christmas shows, a decoration entirely dedicated to the end of the year parties, a toboggan run, two ice rinks, one for the little ones and the other for the big ones, and even a small Christmas market . What to prepare for a new season, during which the leaders of the 2nd largest amusement park in France hope to beat a new record. More info here :

Do you like the Picasso of the blue period magnified at the end of last year at the Musée d’Orsay? You will love the retrospective in 70 paintings that the Grand Palais devotes to El Greco. The stormy skies of Christs in the Cross of Dhomínikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) are the most beautiful ever painted. These gray blues meet those, azure, Saint Martin and the poor and those deep, dresses of his virgins  It would be necessary to evoke all the other colors, those golden yellow and canary of the Dream of Felipe II or the Sharing of the tunic, these green or dark greens, these red sometimes ruby sometimes orange … But this pallet defies the understanding. Its wealth seems inexhaustible, especially since with it the painter produces a thousand dissonances. It finally subjugates for what it seems so far ahead of his time.  More info here :

Until March 31, 2020, you will be able to enjoy a terrace, very warm under the bubble of the 1st floor (2fl US) of the Eiffel Tower. An ephemeral terrace, protected by a glass dome, You can already come here for a drink, or enjoy a bistronomic cuisine on boards concocted with products from the Guild of Artisans Tower, all without having your coat on the back. With a breathtaking view of Paris, come and have lunch or tea with pastries and  sweets of Thierry Marx in this dream location is also a good opportunity to take a look at the exhibition on the 130th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower !   More info here :

New team of chefs and pastry chefs, new sweet and savory range, opening of a Dalloyau Café in December rue Poncelet  17éme, a corner of 35m2 at Galeries Lafayette 8éme, a kiosk at the end of November in the middle of the Gare d’ Austerlitz  5éme train station, new packaging of shops, packaging and even flagship cakes … 300 years of history will not crumble like that, on the memory of the closures of shops and a competition too harsh to face it. The Dalloyau house, a living heritage company and member of the Colbert Committee for the Promotion of French Luxury, is taking part in the reconquest of Parisians and visitors alike. Their shops in Bastille 11éme, rue de la Convention  15éme  and Edmond-Rostand  6éme, near the Luxembourg Gardens, will never reopen. Today 100% owned by an investment fund already customized  the emblematic dessert Opera, created almost 65 years ago . More info here :

The largest drugstore in France settles in at One Nation mall. With 2,100 m2 of surface and 41,000 discount references, it already attracts many customers, playing the role of locomotive expected by the shopping center at  Clayes-sous-Bois (Yvelines 78) . 30 to 40% less expensive on its site of Clayes-sous-Bois compared to those available on the shelves of a pharmacy of less importance.  The Groupe Lafayette Conseil a group that already has 200 pharmacies throughout France, including a dozen in Paris and plans to open about fifty a year. It started on Rue Lafayette in Toulouse, where was opened the first pharmacy of what would become a real franchise in 1995 . More info in French here :

It is in Bobigny, in the department  93 of Seine-Saint-Denis, that the first solar cycle track of Ile-de-France region  was born! Under the SNCF TGV East and RER E lines, along the Canal de l’Ourcq . It aims to light up, day and night, a previously very dark stretch. About ten meters and a surface of 54m2, there are conventional photovoltaic slabs and electricity can illuminate part of the track. The electricity produced is used to power spots placed under a nearby bridge. Night rider to the charge!

Andn last but not least something I had known but fake news is a fashionable thing nowdays unfortunately, very popular cries of nothing on the foundations. There is lead in Paris, be aware, and is not Notre Dame Cathedral. So says this report from a reputable association Robin of the woods, a strong defender of the environment since 1985.  The Robin des Bois Association has just unveiled a document from the Ministry of Culture dated 2017. The streets of Paris were already polluted with lead well before the fire of the Notre Dame Cathedral! Yes!  .More info in French here :

And there you go folks we have a bit of everything, always in the news and lots of things to see and do and argue about lol! Live it in my belle France. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 16, 2019

Tour de France 2020!

Ok so you are going to K me again this is an event way ahead but me think is good to plan ahead. When you have these big events I think it is always good to know the dates and the towns so you have plenty of time to plan your family’s trip. And I mean plan everything. This is the case with the Tour de France cycling race. The ultimate!!

I am not an expert nor I ride now but still love it and all my family do. For all even the views of the cyclists going thru the wonderful countryside of my belle France is enough to come and see it, either on TV or even better on site. Over the years we have followed it usually around Pau but sometimes near me now and even near Paris. Let me tell you a bit about the 2020 edition of the Tour de France.

A Tour de France entirely in France, with mountain from beginning to end and in which the only test against the clock will be in the penultimate stage, ending in the hard climb to La Planche des Belles Filles. This is the route of the 2020 edition of the Tour de France, which will be held from June 27 to July 19, 2020 dates advanced by the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Southern Grand Départ from Nice will have three exits with an initial stage for sprinters and on the second day there will be a mid-mountain exam with 4,000 meters of unevenness in order to fight the Leader from the beginning. In fact, on the fourth day the first final will appear on high, on the high in Orcieres-Merlette, 7.1 km at 6.7% level.

The sixth stage will be another arrival up in a port like Mont Aigoual, which will link up to 34 km of final ascent. It will be on the way to the Pyrenees, protagonists of the second weekend. Two days, Saturday July 4 and Sunday July 5 with the first with Balès (11.7 to 7.7%) and Peyresourde (9.7 to 7.8%); and the Sunday, with Hourcere and Marie-Blanque. After the rest day, the race will reach the Atlantic coast, between the islands of Oleron and Ré, with the wind as the main protagonist. Nor will forget the Tour de France to honor the recently deceased Jacques Chirac, with the longest and only stage that passes 200 km at 218 ending in Sarran, in a second week that will end with the final in Grand Colombier.

The final berth will be blatantly mountainous, with a day on July 14 with five ports and final in Villard-de-Lans, to give way to one of the great novelties the next day, the Col de Loze, an extension of the station Meribel, which leaves a rise of 21 km to 7.8%, the last four hard and exceeding 2,300 meters of altitude. Everything, after having made the Madeleine before (17.1 to 8.4%). Stage reigns before another mountain day (four ports on the way to La Roche-Sur-Foron) and the decisive 36 km chrono ending at La Planche des Belles Filles, the hand-to-hand duel where the organization expects the winner to be decided.

The stages of the Tour de France and brief commentaries from AS and L’Equipe sports journals.

1st stage (June 27th): Nice –Nice (medium country) 156 km.The first stage of this Tour de France will make a great loop in the Nice hinterland with, rare thing, three difficulties to borrow from the inaugural Saturday.

2nd stage (June 28th): Nice –Nice (high country) 187 km. From the second day, the long but steady col de Colmiane pass (16 km to 6.3%) placed in the first third of the stage, then in the wake of the Turini pass (15 km to 7.4%) both already punctuated Paris-Nice in 2018 and 2019 respectively – and the slightly more affordable Col d’Eze (7.8 km at 6.1%) will stand in front of the peloton, in a Tour de France which begins full slope (nearly 4000 m of elevation gain).

3rd stage (June 29th): Nice-Sisteron. 198 km. Without being a mountainous stage as the day before, the profile of this day will be slightly bumpy when the riders leave the Mediterranean shores for the Provençal hinterland, and will rise to above 1000 m before descending to Sisteron for an arrival which will be disputed between bruisers and/or sprinters.

4th stage (June 30th): Sisteron – Orcières-Merlette. 157 km. A 4th stage that already reaches the 2,000 m of altitude at its arrival: the first days of the 2020 edition will be steep, with the line drawn at the top of the climb of Orcières-Merlette, only 7 km but at 6.7% average. The foot also includes the steepest pass, with a second kilometer of ascension announced at 8.2% average. The riders will have already negotiated a first difficulty at nearly 1500 m before

 5th stage (July 1st): Gap-Privas. 183 km. Runners will leave the Hautes-Alpes gently sloping for the Ardèche buttresses through the Rhone Valley, often open to the winds of the South and, why not, to the curbs. Long-distance breakouts could be a breeding ground for victory if the sprint teams do not lock the race.

6th stage (July 2nd): Teil-Mont Aigoual. 191 km. Back on the slopes for the fourth time in six days with an arrival at Mount Aigoual that the Tour de France had not visited since its only passage in 1987. It’s not so much the last 14 kilometers that will make the difference, with their alternation between plateau and final elevation at a pleasant 4% average, as the formidable and irregular Lusette pass (11.7 km at 7, 3%) just before, including two kilometers passed in 11 % of slope. A total of 34 km climb that will reduce the organisms after not even a week’s drive.

7th stage (July 3rd): Millau-Lavaur. 168 km. A hilly stage but without real big difficulty. If weather conditions do not spread the peloton in small clusters, the riders could come out unscathed.

 8th stage (4th of july): Cazères-sur-Garonne – Loudenvielle. 140 km. A sequence of three well-known passes, an arrival in the valley in a rather narrow stage: the Pyrenees stand before the peloton at the end of the first week of racing. Col de Menté, Port of Balès and Col de Peyresourde punctuate this mountainous stage which finally switches to Loudenvielle. The succession of three climbs introduces the lightning but strong passage that makes the Tour de France in the Pyrenean massif.

9th stage (July 5th): Pau-Laruns. (we have been here before!!) 154 km. Second day Béarnaise before the day of rest, again a wild severity. The brutal succession of the Hourcere and Soudet passes, planted well in the middle of the stage with 11 km at 8.8% followed by 3.8 km at 8.5%, barely interspersed with a descent of 5 km before the pass of Marie Blanque and its 7.7 km at 8.6% is added to the table in the last third of the stage, conclude a first week of Tour de France particularly marked by the mountain, unpublished in the modern history of the test.

10th stage (July 7th): Île d’Oléron (The Château d’Oléron) – Île de Ré (Saint-Martin-de-Ré).170 km. The Tour de France will go from island to island (wonderful to see) after the day of rest, for one of the few steps possibly for sprinters.

 11th stage (July 8th): Châtelaillon-Plage – Poitiers. 167 km. New stage with very soft relief, which will still be able to smile to the teams of sprinters on the Poitevin line .

12th stage (9th of July): Chauvigny-Sarran. 218 km. The longest stage of this 2020 edition will lead the pack towards Sarran, through a bumpy course without being really nothing complicated.

13th stage (July 10th): Châtel-Guyon – Puy-Mary. 191 km. A profile that will leave no respite, typical of those stages of mid-mountain that have worn out the bodies of runners in 2019. All incessant climbs and descents, this stage crossing the Massif Central is announced as the one with the biggest difference in altitude of the 2020 edition – 4400 m for 191 km of course. Among other celebrations listed: the Col de Ceyssat pass, the Col de Guéry, the Montée de la Stéle, the Estiade coast, the Anglards-de-Salers coast before concluding by the Col de Néronne pass (3.8 km to 9.1%) which precedes by 5 km the final rise of Pas de Peyrol, a sacred delicacy of 5.4 km to 8.1% of average. And whose 2.5 ultimate kilometers stand at nearly 12% with a passage to 15%. Big program in perspective.

14th stage (July 11th): Clermont-Ferrand – Lyon. 197 km. A stage marked the passage of the Béal pass in the first part of the race. Not enough to decide the fate of the stage before a descent to Lyon and some bumps on the menu in the very last part of the race: the coast of the Duchère, the rise of the Observance and the Côte de la Croix-Rousse will spice up the finale.

15th stage (12th of July): Lyon-Grand Colombier. 175 km. From almost every angle: from Lyon, runners will approach the Grand Colombier by almost all its possible access and drive. First by coming flirting with him from the west, to the saddle of Fromentel (11 km to 8.1%, including slopes between 11.5 and 22% in the last three kilometers), before s’ turn to go down to the north and hang on the Col de la Biche (7 km to 8.9%). They will then have to turn east, join Culoz and tackle the Grand Colombier, which is so difficult (17.4 km at 7.1%), irregular, with a brittle rhythm, where in several places the slopes follow slopes of 12%!

16th stage (July 14th): The Tour-du-Pin – Villard-de-Lans. 164 km. If the Chartreuse massif and the Col de Porte pass, which appear quite early in the stage (km 47) do not already scatter part of the peloton, the Vercors, its climb of access (by Saint-Nizier-du -Moucherotte), its plateau and its final coast at Villard-de-Lans, could legitimately be the theater.

17th stage (July 15th): Grenoble-Col de la Loze. 168 km. The queen stage of this Tour de France will cross the Madeleine and will end at the top of the Col de la Loze Pass, an unprecedented climb to the spectacular finale, destined to become a classic of the Great Loop. A narrow road opened last May and closed to cars has made accessible to cyclists the summit of the Col de la Loze (2 304 m), which connects the valley of Meribel to that of Courchevel. The extraordinary strength of this climb does not lie in its length (21.5 km in total from the foot, Brides-les-Bains), nor in its average percentages (7.8%), but in the unique profile of last six terminals, on the new elevation road. This consists of a succession of impressive walls and floors, with many passages over 20%. Short laces, violent raids and incessant ruptures of slope, which offer cyclists a phenomenal field of expression.

18th stage (July 16th): Méribel – La-Roche-sur-Foron. 168 km. Since it was retracted due to weather conditions in the 2019 edition, here is the Cormet Roselend served on the menu of 2020, but this time in its direction Bourg-Saint-Maurice – Beaufort. Then come a solid sequence of the Col des Saisies, the Aravis, the rise of the plateau Glières (back to the program after an appearance in 2018)

19e étape (17 juillet) : Bourg-en-Bresse – Champagnole. 160 km. Part of the Ain to join the reliefs of the Jura, it will not present difficulties comparable to the previous days and could benefit the sprinters.

20th stage (July 18th): Lure – La Planche des belles filles (against the clock). 36 km. The only stage against the clock of this Tour de France 2020 will be played on 36 km with a final in hill. And what a rise: the now classic Planche des belles filles, on the program for the fifth time in nine editions. Nearly 6 km to 8.5% (in “normal” version for 2020 after the “Super Planche” of 2019) with ad hoc passages at 13 or even 20%. A chrono during the penultimate stage is not new in the recent history of the Tour de France all editions from 2002 to 2008, then those of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 or even 2017 were filled, with a single change of leader on the eve of the arrival in Paris, in 2011. But the uniqueness of the individual chrono this year makes it a unique event.

21st stage (July 19th): Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines dept 78! – Paris .122 km. As every year until 2024, the last stage of the Tour starts from the Yvelines to reach Paris. By an agreement between the Tour de France and the dept 78 Yvelines! My old home!

The official webpage of the Tour de France:

There ,now you are all set to come in, bienvenue  and enjoy the race ,the Tour de France 2020.

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


October 15, 2019

The Christmas markets of my France!

So this is the season to be merrier indeed. Always my best part even if already the second one without dear late wife Martine and the 13th without my dear mom Gladys. I will be with my 3 boys and Dad to weather the seasons and be merry.  And we need to plan ever so earlier these days lol!! So here it is be prepare be ready be merrier !!!Merry Christmas to all:::!!

As the title says, there are many wonderful Marché de Noël or Christmas markets in my belle France. I have written before on some,but this year will post those that I have great memories with the family and been to them on several occassions sometimes two in the same year! Hope you enjoy them as we did/do.

Some of my favorites Christmas market or Marché de Noël, well there are many favorites, let’s just say these are the ones been while living there or nearby.

The marché de Noël or Christmas market at place de la Poissonnerie in Vannes all part of a project of the school Ecole Sainte Jéhanne d’Arc near the Place du Poids Public   many vendors and creators, producers will be at the school yard on December 7th.

From December 20th to January 5th, 2020 at the place Maurice Marchais,Hôtel de Ville in Vannes. A huge Marché de Noël a highlight of the Christmas activities, appointment appreciated by families. An ice rink of 300 m² and a 50 m² ice garden will also offer to the little ones a safe gliding area, equipped with games and accessories. Do not forget your gloves! They are required for skating. A glove dispenser (€ 5 per pair) will be available at the entrance to the rink. On this same square, two gourmet chalets offer sweets: pancakes, chichis, waffles, chocolate, mulled wine, coffee, tea … Every day from 14h to 19h and Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10h to 12h. Opening Friday, December 20 from 18h to 22h. More info here in French: Tourist office South Brittany on Vannes Christmas market

Another nice one in my area will be from Friday December 13 to Wednesday December 19 at the Place Notre Dame in Auray, across from the Church of St Gildas. A wind of magic will blow on the city with the launch of the Illuminations that will unfold from December 6 in the streets of Auray. More info in French here: Tourist office bay of Quiberon on Auray Christmas market

One of the best in Brittany will be the Marché de Noël in Rochefort en Terre from December 13 to the 31th 20190 The whole city puts on its clothes of lights to the delight of young and old! Light garlands, stalactites, curtains of lights are installed in the streets and alleys and the park of the castle. Come stroll and admire these lights that will amaze young and old. Wooden chalets and shops of the city: Fairy atmosphere in the Small City of Character from 17h30! We have come every year since 2011! More info here:

Live Magic of Christmas at the Esplanade de Hoche, in Quiberon! The Village de Noël will be there from December 21 to January 4 2020. Come stroll, feast and meet the folks at the Christmas Village, open every day. You will discover gift proposals, an associative scene and booths with the theme of Noël Gourmand! Free skating on natural ice. Every day for free, borrow ice skates, take off on the track! The little ones will be able to take off themselves, wearing shiners, pushing toboggan sleds. A teams of volunteers are there to help you choose the skates. For your safety and comfort, do not forget your gloves and hat! Opening of the ice rink on December 21st. There will be horse wagon or Caleche from 23 to 31 December. Makeup artists from December 23rd to January 3rd 2020. More info here in French: City of Quiberon on Christmas market

At Versailles ,not a specific Christmas market but plenty of events especially for the season. See the lineup on the palace/museum site at their official webpage here:[]=136&id=field-theme-136

And, also, at the city of Versailles webpage on these days activities here:

For the memories a short film I saw in YouTube that is pretty good to show you the ambiance in a town like Versailles this was a few years back. Enjoy it here:

And on my dear Seine et Marne at Disneyland Paris we will be a big one as usual.  The Noël Enchanté Disney 2019 at Disneyland Paris the traditions continuesin the two parks Disney and the Disney Village.  There will be many thrills and entertainment at the Walt Disney Studios Park and Disney Village. All from November 9  to January 6  2020. More info in French here:  Disneyland Paris Christmas market and celebrations

From November 20 2019 until January 8,2020 hundreds of garlands will illuminate the Christmas 400 pine trees on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, of course. The installation of trees will last until mid-November and will illuminate the most beautiful avenue in the world with a flamboyant red.

One of the best if not the best in the Paris region happened in Hauts de Seine dept 92 at La Défense. A Christmas Village on the parvis de la Défense from November 21st to December 29th, 2019. The modern neighborhood at the forefront of La Défense is transforming its face as the sun goes down and the lights of the Christmas market come on. Under the Grande Arche of glass and steel, emblem of the city’s economic district, the atmosphere becomes magical thanks to the Christmas stalls. Decorations, gifts, ethnic objects, delicacies, sandwiches with melted cheese: these are the ingredients of this evocative Christmas market. More info here in French: City of La Défense on the Christmas market

For nostalgic sake, here are some small one passed by them and enjoyed many times.

Take it to the Gare St Lazare; Cour de Rome ; the Marché de Noël   November 16-21 2019. Creations made in France . Rendez vous in the street Cour de Rome to see some like Basus, La Fine Equipe, Dagobear, Ullys, TheTops, Furia, Laurie, and Collants Lauve. More info here on the Gare St Lazare and others from SNCF: SNCF Christmas markets and on gare St Lazare

Another small but nice is at the Marché de Noël des Fééries of Auteuil on the Rue Jean de la Fontaine 16éme arrondissement of Paris from December 1-6 2019. 11h to 19h. More here in French from the mayor’s office of the 16 of Paris: Mayor’s office of the 16 arrondissment of Paris on the Auteuil Christmas market

Then some bigger and popular market in Paris proper.

The Saint Germain des Prés 2019 Christmas Market from 1st to 31st December 2019 , and 10h to 19h. You will find many stalls merchants but also entertainment for young and old. It is also an opportunity to find gift ideas or culinary specialties. This is the ideal way to market and prepare your New Year’s Eve meal. Saint-Germain-des-Prés church in the 6éme arrondissement of Paris. More official here but not yet the 2019 just keep an eye on this webpage: Comite of St Germain on the Christmas Market

The Christmas Market of Notre Dame!! This year more than ever be there if possible. It will be from December 14 to December 23, 2019.   Nearly 40 artisans will welcome you for this Christmas Market located on the square René Viviani. You will find artisans, fashion designers and accessories sellers. More info in French here: Official Notre Dame Christmas market

The Christmas Market of Abbesses, Montmartre. From the end of December 2019 to the beginning of January 2020 and 10h to 17h. The Place des Abbesses 18éme arrondissement of Paris, organizes its traditional Christmas market. This is the place to go for the hunt for gifts and local products: all to experience the magic of Christmas family. No web yet available but stay tune for it as awaiting official dates.

And the Paris tourist office on many more here :

There you go be here or be square a magical moment to be in my belle France. Hope you do your planning well and have a wonderful time with family and dear friends wherever you are in the wonderful Earth. Merry Christmas to all!

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

October 15, 2019

Church of Notre Dame, Versailles!!!

I am surprise not to find a single post on this church in my blog! I could not find it and it was my church while living in Versailles! ouuffs so much to see and many thing even forgotten lol! Well this post is to remedy this forgetfulness of mine. This is it, if you are coming to see monuments away from the palace/museum , and you should, this is a must, the history of France, Europe, the world started here!!!

The Church of Notre-Dame  is officially at 2 rue Baillet Reviron for the parish office but the main facade entrance is on Rue de la Paroisse corner with Rue Sainte-Geneviéve in the Notre-Dame district (mine!) and its facade facing the rue Hoche, formerly rue Dauphine,  leading to Place Hoche and eventually the Place d’Armes and the palace/museum of Versailles!. It is notably the parish royal church of the Palace of Versailles since the monarchies. The closest train station is Gare Versailles Rive-Droite (mine!!!)  but on the RER C rive gauche you can easily walk to it. Of course, it is in the Yvelines dept 78 of the region of Ïle de France!


The carved decoration is limited to the façade with figures of Religion and Charity  with the spandrels of the Porte Royale (royal door). Statues of Religion and Martyrdom occupy the niches from 1812. Inside, the central nave extended by the choir ends in semicircle; it opens with large arches on the aisles and the ambulatory. The crossing of the transept is covered with a dome, surmounted by a lantern. A suite of thirteen chapels surrounds the church.


A bit of history I like

From 1682, the definitive installation of the king at Versailles, then that of the main administrative services of the monarchy, determines a strong increase of population: the small village becomes a real city, and in particular in the new district located north of the avenue of Paris, which becomes the Notre-Dame district (mine!!!) .The construction of a church, at once parish of the royal castle and the new city, is decided on the accounts of the King’s Buildings. For this project, king Louis XIV chose his first architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart. On March 10, 1684 was the laying of the first stone by king Louis XIV and by October 30, 1686 ,the consecration of the church to Our Lady of the Assumption.  At the same time the palace of Versailles was still been enlarged. The registers of the parish will include baptisms, marriages, and deaths of the royal family.



This is how all the baptismal, marriage and death certificates of the royal family of France in Versailles are recorded in this parish registers, including the baptisms of seven kings of France, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Louis XVII, Louis XVIII, Charles X, Louis XIX and Louis-Philippe I, as well as that of Philip V of Spain, the marriages of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Louis XVIII and Marie-Josephine de Savoie, and Charles X and Marie-Thérèse de Savoy, and the funerals of Louis XIV and Louis XV. A condensed version of all these names that mark the history of France, Europe , and the World from Versailles!



In 1786, a campaign of decorative works included: in the nave and the choir, fluting of the pilasters; in the choir, rosette sculpture with arches doubling from the vault, leaves, ovals and pearls with moldings of the large arches. Three years later, the inaugural procession of the Estates General leaves from the church on May 4, 1789. After the French revolution, the only original furniture remaining was  the buffet of large organs  the pulpit, the Assumption , painting of the high altar, adds to it the Preaching of St. Vincent de Paul, arrived in 1739; Christ on the Cross , marble statue, from 1690, arrived in 1791. In 1793, when the policy of official atheism began, it was transformed into a temple of reason and then a place of worship. At the end of the revolutionary period, it is its neighbor, the Church of Saint-Louis of Versailles, (St Louis district) which was chosen as cathedral of the new diocese of Versailles. Due to the fact, it would have been sensitive to name the Royal pantheon, the cathedral so a compromise was done with the French Republic! It is still the place of nobility and they do come often to the Church of Notre Dame!



Efforts was made to refurnish the Church of Notre Dame such as  in 1815, twelve precious marble medallions (apostles, evangelists, etc.) were sent by the best sculptors of the 16C, from the former Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture; in 1818, installation of the cenotaph of the Comte de Vergennes, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Louis XVI, signatory of the Treaty of Independence of the United States (1783), a marble of 1788. Over the years, arrival of paintings, among which: Assumption, 1767; Martyrdom around 1730; Lamentation of the Death of Christ, 1635; the Transfiguration and Christ in the Garden of Olives, circa 1610.  The construction at the bedside of the church of the important Chapel of the Sacred Heart, 1858-1872.  Baptismal marble basin closed by a lid surmounted by a statuette of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in bronze or copper from the 17C . The stained glass windows with strong coloration in all the bays of the chapels. Marble paving of the choir and marble plating at the base of the pillars. Installation of an accompanying organ at the location of the altarpiece at the end of the choir. According to the norms of the liturgical reform decided by the Council of Vatican II, reorganization of the choir and construction of a new high altar,1999.



Some webpages to help you plan your visit here and again is a must are

Official Church of Notre Dame in French

Tourist office of Versailles on Church of Notre Dame in French

City of Versailles on monuments and heritage see Notre Dame bottom

Again, this is a must when visiting Versailles as the history here very much relates to what you see at the Château de Versailles! After all, it was the church of the palace for many years! I was lucky to lived by here and see in all its splendor on Mass of notoriety attach to all its history. The decorations are very nice as well.  Hope you enjoy the tour!

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


October 14, 2019

The groves or bosquets of Versailles!

Ok so even thus written on the gardens of the palace/museum of Versailles, there are areas dear to me that have givne the full credit they deserve. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the groves or bosquets in the gardens of Versailles. Even thus, I will say again, there is a lot more to see in the city than the palace, just browse thru my blog search Versailles.

Two particular ones always gathered my attention and spent many times walking around them when lived there and when visiting Versailles. The groves of the baths of Apollo and the ballroom grove. These are my favorites of the many there.

The Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon or Grove of Baths of Apollo is a decoration in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. Located immediately west of the castle, it was made by Hubert Robert, in the romantic spirit under the reign of king Louis XVI, between 1776 and 1778. In 1778, the former “Bosquet du Marais” created by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1704 under the probable instigation of Madame de Montespan, becomes the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon.


In 1704, the three groups were installed in the bosquet de la Renommée , which occupied the northeast corner of the current grove and took the name of Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon.   To protect the works, frail iron canopies trimmed golden lead ornaments were completed in 1705.

In 1778, the statues were moved in the bosquet du Marais redesigned for the occasion and which then takes the name of the bosquet des bains d’Apollon. For the redevelopment of the grove, Hubert Robert designed an artificial cave in the middle of a green landscape dotted with waterfalls and small pools of water, in the Anglo-Chinese style then fashionable. An English garden whose center is occupied by a lake dominated by a huge dummy rock adorned with waterfalls and dug a cave in which is installed the group of Apollo, while the two groups of the Horses of the Sun are placed from either side.

Apollo is accompanied by five nymphs, in the grotto of the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon, a set of seven statues, the first masterpiece carved in marble and probably the most important for Versailles. The central figure of the composition was freely inspired by the Apollo Belvedere and also evoked that of the King, two side groups representing the Horses of the Sun which replaced those of December 1667.

A bit more info here: Official Chateau de Versailles on the Grove of the baths of Apollo

The Bosquet des Rocailles or Salle du Bal is another grove of the gardens of Versailles. The Rocailles grove is located in the southeastern part of the gardens. It is near the following places for direction: to the north, the rampe du Midi, which separates it from the parterre de Latone, to the east, the parterre du Midi, to the south, the bosquet de la Reine, scattered by the allée de Bacchus-and Allée de Saturne ,to the west the bosquet de la Girandole. The Bassin de Bacchus is located at the southwest corner, the fontaine du Midi at the northeast corner.


The grove has three entrances on the Allée de Bacchus-and-Allée de Saturne, at its southwest corner, in the middle. The last entrance is south of the northwest corner. The Salle de Bal is decorated by several vases and torches in golden lead. Arranged by André Le Nôtre between 1680 and 1683, the grove is the last compound before the installation of king Louis XIV at Versailles. It was inaugurated in 1685. The central zone originally had an oval dance floor, delimited by a small canal. This track is destroyed in the early 18C.

A bit more info here: Official Chateau de Versailles on the ballroom grove

And for all the others the direct link is here: Official Chateau de Versailles on the Groves or bosquets

The gardens are a must to visit and will take you a whole day to see it all. This is a huge property and unfortunately most foreign guides tells you to head for the inside and then the rest. To me it should be the other way around one day gardens one day inside and then maybe another half day for the Trianons/hameau. Then , you can leave saying you saw the Domaine de Versailles. Enjoy the groves or bosquets of my beloved Versailles.

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


October 14, 2019

Souvenirs of Versailles!

So let me give you now a special shopping experience in my beloved Versailles. You know the story of me and Versailles by reading my blog so will go to the post right away.

There is a wonderful souvenir shop right across from the RER C train station that is very popular with locals and especially visitors grabbing that last souvenirs before embarking on the RER C train back to Paris. I am putting this here to let you know and also for my memories.

This is the place of my oldest son first job in France!  The owner or manager at the time hails from Valencia, Spain! and we made a pleasant friendly relationship for a long time. My son really used his three languages here to talk with the world and we were by to take a peek at him working and buying some postcards and porcelain lamps. The place is the Presse Librairie des Manèges  Souvenir Shop at  2 avenue du General de Gaulle.  It has a wide range of souvenirs from Versailles and Paris, illustrated guides, postcards, t-shirts,  all Made in France products !


The official webpage: Official Souvenirs de Paris in Versailles

Tourist office of Versailles on the press librarie des menages


There are just around it many shops such as a McDonalds, KFC , Ibis hotel, Le karaoke bar ,Chez César pizzeria,Class’Croute sandwiches, Jeff de Bruges chocolates, NatureHouse, Sports House, the Phébus bus network office , Games Workshop, etc.

It is located just a stone’s throw from Versailles Château Rive-Gauche train station, opposite, this new renovated square or Place des Manèges . The building of the Manéges (or merry go around)  was a former military building under Napoleon III.  It now proposes a new landscaped area and a new perspective on the Porte de la Maréchalerie (contemporary art center located in the forge of the petite ecurie, go in the parvis and look back) . The square known as Place des Ménages, located in the  Avenue du General de Gaulle between the city/ town hall and the Château.  There is a renovation as well to the stairs leading to the Maréchalerie  and the high sidewalk.


Some history I like as always architecture and history is all around us in France and Versailles  as the cradle of the French Republic (France).

The Avenue du  Général de Gaulle provides access to the Rive Gauche Château  RER C station and the bus station, between the first city/ town hall and the district of the Manèges. It was the old rue de Berry since 1829, then of the rue de l’hötel de ville and rue Thiers until 1979. The name of the general Charles de Gaulle  credited with liberating occupied France and president of the French Republic (France) from 1959 to 1969.

Some interesting buildings here I like are at No 1 First Hôtel de Ville or city/town hall of Versailles. Former hotel of Marie-Anne de Bourbon, princess of Conti, daughter of king Louis XIV, then of the Grand Masters of the Royal House under king Louis XV and then the  mayor’s office of Versailles since 1791. At No  5: Gare Versailles-Château-Rive Gauche RER C . Inaugurated in 1840, the train station, restored in 2014, changed its name in February 2012 from been simply the rive gauche. It is the terminus of line C of the RER.  Opposite, in an old music pavilion, the regional bus station.  At No 6 a monumental porch vestige of the entrance of the former cavalry barracks and rides destroyed in 1988 to make way for the mall Les Ménages.

There you go another nice memory lane building in my always beloved Versailles. Hope you enjoy it and do come to shop , very friendly folks work there even today!

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

October 13, 2019

Looking through the windows to the gardens of Versailles!

Ok again my limited creativity I just came up with this title to tell you about something wonderful. On a sunny day in my neck of the woods perfect for a walk in the gardens and if in Versailles , sublime!

One of the wonders of this magnificent palace/museum done from 1837 to all the glories of France by king of the French Louis-Philippe are the gardens. I know the rush to see the wonderful inside, but the gardens are all on its own. Do not want to go into details on this post as have many on Versailles in my blog having lived there. The gardens are free entry even on musical water fountain days if you go way back after the Grand Canal from the entrance by the Porte Saint Antoine, and we jogged walked and just had our lunch at Angelina at the Petit Trianon for many years; we love and we still do !

I like to give two perpective on the gardens as view from inside the Palace/museum of Versailles, the Domaine de Versailles includes all the buildings while the Château de Versailles is call just the main castle.  It is a lot smaller today than what it was under the Louis’s if you can believe that due to the size it has even today.

The great gardener of France , André Le Nôtre organized the gardens of Versailles around two axes, north-south and east-west. The first part of the bassin de Neptune, goes up by the allée de l’eau and continues until the Orangerie and the piéce d’eau  des Suisses. The second, called Grande Perspective, crosses the gardens like an axis of symmetry, beyond the Bassin de Latone, it follows the allée royale to the Grand Canal.


And from the Salon de la Paix come the picture. This salon is ​​a lounge located south of the Galerie des Glaces.  Above the green Campan marble fireplace stands Louis XV offering his two daughters in testimony of peace to Europe painted in 1729. The young ruler, aged nineteen, holds out an olive branch and receives his two twin daughters, Louise-Elizabeth and Anne-Henriette, from the hands of Fecundity and Piety . In the end, the Discord vainly tries to reopen the doors of the temple of Janus. In the time of Marie Antoinette, the Salon de la Paix was an integral part of the king’s apartment. It was a bit like his games room. The Salon de la Paix was restored in 2017, thanks to the patronage of Renault (car maker).

The Allée Royale is the major east-west axis of the garden. It is drawn from the first garden of the time of Louis XIII. It is at the beginning of an alley about fifteen meters wide, showing a steep slope, ending in a basin dug in the early 1660s, the piéce d’ Eau des Cygnes, future bassin d’Apollon. Around 1665, the alley is widened (it is now about 45 meters wide) and its slope considerably softened. Under Louis XVI, an alignment of chestnut trees is added to its border with yew and hornbeam. On the side of the Parterre de Latone, the entrance to the alley is marked by two admirable groups of Louis XIV, Milon of Crotone  in 1682 and Perseus delivering Andromeda  in 1684. Today, these are casts, the originals being kept in the Louvre museum of Paris.

See the parterre d’eau from the Salon de la Paix


And from the Salon de  Mars is the picture. The salon part of the Great King’s apartment, this room decorated on the theme of Mars, god of Roman mythology, served as the guard room of the time of Louis XIV. The Salon de Mars served as a guardroom. It marked the true entrance of the Grand Apartment of the King, giving access to the salon de Mercure. During the evenings of apartment introduced by Louis XIV, the Salon de Mars was first devoted to a gameroom. There were several tables for card games and other games of chance. Around 1685, the king made pierce the two walls on both sides of the chimney to arrange two stands supported by columns and intended for the musicians. The salon is then dedicated to music and dance. Louis XV removed these stands in 1750. As the function of the salon requires, the iconography of the ceiling is dedicated to the god Mars and war work. A golden cornice is supported by helmets of all models such as Roman, Turkish, etc.

See the avenue du Sud  section from the Salon de Mars window.


There are many objects such as fountain, statues , busts in the gardens and a walk here is sublime, again. One of the highlights of coming to Versailles, enjoy the gardens!

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


October 9, 2019

The Massy-Palaiseau station at Massy!

Ok so lets get you to another sort of off the beaten path area of my eternal Paris. This is a place that has been just passed by and only use its transport hub , an important one especially if living in the west of France like me::)

There is a way to get direct from my Vannes train station on the TGV service to Roissy CDG airport or even Disneyland Paris. This is the connection station sometimes and sometimes it goes direct, talking about Massy-Palaiseau . Let me tell you a bit more on it and hope you can use it as well

A bit on the town itself.

Massy is located in the department 91 of Essonne in the region Ile-de-France.  It is at 15 km from Paris-Notre-Dame, point zero of the roads of France, 16 km from Evry, F km from Palaiseau, 34 km from Etampes, 28 km from La Ferte-Alais,30 km from Dourdan, 39 km from Milly-la-Forêt and only 13 km from Versailles. The town is bordered on the north by the course of Bièvre for about 1.52 km (old river now gone from Paris see Rue du Biévre)

The Massy-Palaiseau station, opened in 1883, is currently part of a multimodal hub connected to RER B and C and completed since 1991 by the Massy TGV station (I take)  served by the five French high-speed lines, Atlantique to Rennes , Nantes and Bordeaux, South-East to Lyon then Mediterranean to Marseille and Montpellier, North to Lille and Brussels and now Eastern Europe to Strasbourg. There is also bus stations of Massy-Atlantis and Massy-Vilmorin


The TGV, RER and bus stations are interconnected by a  241 meter footbridge to allows passengers to reach the RER, TGV and Vilmorin and Atlantis bus stations. In 2022 there should be added the Express line 12 of the Ile-de-France tramway via the Massy-Palaiseau station and the new Massy-Europe station. This line will use up to Épinay-sur-Orge the old Grande Ceinture line and then will run in tramway mode to Courcouronnes and Évry by following the A6 autoroute.


By road , you have the two ancient roads prior to the 18C, the national road 20 heir to the great royal road from Paris to Toulouse, currently the 920  road (this have taken from Paris to Toulouse! both when name 20 and now 920 )to the far east and the 188 road from the east to the southwest (old road of Chartres main axis of old Massy constituted of the avenue of President-Kennedy,  Rue Gabriel-Péri, rue du mai 8 1945 and the rue de  Paris).

Other than the intersection on TGV from Vannes to Roissy CDG which I have taken several times, there is little to see other than the main one me think of the Opera de Massy, Cultural Center Paul Bailliart, and the Conservatory of Music and Dance.  There is ,also, the Château de Vilgénis rebuilt in 1823,  from its origins of 1755, now owned by Air France!

Some transports info on Massy station to follow

City of Massy as how to come here

Area tourist office Paris Saclay on the TGV intermodes at Massy

And there you go ,the transport tribulations of my belle France. Yes, you notice too almost everything is routed by Paris yes indeed. It all has to do with a National government of a Republic that wanted to crown its jewel in one city, Paris.

The Massy-Palaiseau station is nice big areas, plenty of eating places and easy panels me think. The trip from the west is long ok for me but my father is difficult and he has taken it with me and the boys too. However, it is a great alternative to get to Roissy CDG for many including me and avoid the Paris center, and it is very easy about 32 minutes to Disneyland Paris.

Enjoy the rides at Massy-Palaiseau. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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