Archive for ‘Versailles’

March 25, 2020

Versailles, exteriors!

Well as said, cannot be too far from my dear old home Versailles. There is so much to write on the city and its monuments (more than the castle) that a blog on it would be more appropiate. However, using my library and been friends of the palace for many years let me tell you a bit more on the exteriors! Yes we do so much on the interior that we forget the wonderful exterior of the Palace:museum of Versailles!

I am back on my nostalgic mood so of course, Versailles is sublime, can’t go a day without thinking of it, visited many many times over the years and again; however, living there for 10 years was tops. A royal chic town with friendly folks and history all around you, France, Europe, the World. Unique

I have done posts on Versailles of different kinds over the years but now will do one on simply the exteriors of the palace/museum of Versailles. The architecture is phenomenal and the look from any angle in the city is awesome.


I will be a bit more technical on this post, of course, taken from the pros publication of the Friends of the Palace of Versailles experience.

The succession of the Place d’Armes and the three courtyards of the Palace : Avant-cour (forecourt), Cour Royale( Royal Court) and cour de Marbre (Marble court) are the result of several construction campaigns. As early as 1662, king Louis XIV ordered, among the first transformations of his father’s (Louis XIII) little castle, the widening of the lower courtyard and the development of its surroundings. Its first architect Louis Le Vau rebuilds the two wings of the Commons on both sides of this low courtyard which today corresponds to the Royal Court. He also rebuilt the guard pavilions that frame the gate. But ten years later, this entry is completely modified: the wings of the Commons now des Offices are ennobled at their ends by the construction of colonnades or porticos on which is aligned a new grid creating the Royal Court.


This forecourt presents its current appearance. It is now preceded by the Place d’Armes, on which the two French Guards and Swiss Guards have opened under the new ramps of the Avant-Cour. A new gate now called the grille d’honneur ( honor gate), flanked by two sentry boxes for the guards, comes to close it..The Secretaries of State pavilions are connected by main buildings, all of which constitute the ailes des Ministres or Ministers’ wings. Finally, two gatehouses, like those in the honor gate, are created for the Gardes de la porte (Door Guards on duty) at the gate of the Royal Court.


In 1772-1774, the construction of the pavillon Gabriel which removed one of the two porticoes from the old ailes des Offices wings; in 1794, the destruction of the gate of the Royal Court and its sentry boxes; finally, in 1814-1820, the removal of the second portico and the construction of the pavillon Dufour. From the outset, France’s victories over the enemy powers is illustrated by the two groups in the first grid; it brings peace and abundance, themes figured by the groups that framed the second entrance. Some of these with year are 1662. Decoration of the pillars of the gate and the guard pavilions closing the new lower courtyard. 1671. First decoration of the Secretaries of State pavilions. 1672-1673. Sculpture of the twelve figures of the porticoes of the ailes Des Offices wings. 1680-1682. Sculpture of the entrance to the guardhouses under the ramps. Realization and installation of the four groups above the gatehouses of the Avant-cour and the Royal Court; decor of the fountains on the ramps; decoration of the dormer windows of the Ailes des Ministres and enrichment of the decoration of the Secretaries of State pavilions. Between 1771 and 1826; decorations of the Gabriel and Dufour pavilions.


Some of the details which will be too long for a post actually can create a blog just on them are:

Above the sentry boxes framing the grille d’honneur you see the allegories of Victory honor grid in the guise of a winged woman brandishing a laurel wreath and slaying a male figure, accompanied by various attributes, weapons trophies and emblems. On pedestals at the top of the ramps of the Allegories of Peace and Abundance forecourt, each depicted as a woman with various attributes, accompanied by winged children and defeating a figure of an old woman, a symbol discord for one and starvation for the other. The bronze relief console with scrolls and grooves decorated with a newt mask from above and freezing on the plinth. The Crown surmounted by a fleur-de-lys and supported by griffins’ legs. Globe with the figure of the King surmounted by the mask of Apollo irradiated and accosted by two horns of plenty.


From the small castle built for king Louis XIII in 1624 to 1630 remain the wonderful Cour de Marbre and its architecture of brick, stone and slate. Preserved, or more exactly reconstructed identically over time, the three facades that frame the Cour de Marbre were very early decorated between 1663 and 1665, in the two angles they form, with small cabinets on horn and the floor and fountains on the lower level; in 1671-1672 aviaries were placed in front of corner cabinets and a third fountain adorned the center of the courtyard. All this disappeared in 1678-1680 in favor of a more monumental party aiming to further ennoble the facades: the main facade, at the end of the courtyard, was enriched by a higher body than the rest of the buildings, while the attic is adorned with railings that run along the two courtyards.


The buildings that line the Royal Court today have undergone more transformations than those of the Cour de Marbre: in 1662, Louis Le Vau built the two wings of the Commons (stables and kitchens) in the style of the old castle. Ten years later ,1670-1672, they became the Ailes des Offices; they are then connected to the palace by the construction of two bodies of buildings which extend them with a step; at their ends, they are decorated with porticos aligned with the grid which delimits the new Royal Court. In 1680, when the offices are installed in the Grand Commun, the architecture of the two wings divided into apartments,are again modified in order to be more in harmony with that of the buildings of the cour de Marbre: the attic is raised and bordered by a balustrade, the end pavilions are topped with a lantern.

But this unity was broken when Gabriel reconstructed between 1771 and 1774 the north wing which was called the aile du Gouvernement wing (it housed the accommodation of the governor of Versailles) in the neoclassical style. As this Gabriel wing was called the new wing, the symmetrical wing takes the name of old wing. It was in turn altered when Dufour rebuilt the main pavilion Dufour using the architecture of Gabriel. Finally, among the works carried out under the direction of F. Nepveu for the creation of the Louis-Philippe museum, (the king of the French who save Versailles) see the construction of a lantern in the southwest corner of the Royal Court, which will disappear in 1897.

It’s awesome , so much architecture details and history , always amazes me anyway.  A bit of a tourist office of Versailles on the building of this marvel in English here: Tourist office of Versailles on construction history

The Palace:museum is huge( and the Domaine is out of this world)  and very much a must to see in Versailles . However, remember Versailles is the royal historical town of France, there is a lot more than the palace/museum… Enjoy the post as I do!!!

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

March 20, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXIII

And lets get back to some news from France. The world is on the move and we cannot stay away from it, even travel lovers who are most direct concern. We have covid19 or whatever you call it, and it is bad, hurting people all over. No need to give ranking who is more or less , and who is close or not, WE are all concern sooner or later. So lets get inside our homes, minimize outings , wash your hands often, do tele work like me and keep busy. I did my pressure cleaning outside my house and the garden bricks for example.

And lets help whenever we can volunteering in my town has started for the elderly and needy with a support team we are participating as on call basis. We can do it together, I know in France and Europe we had gone thru worse times and we overcame, we will this time too. Vive la France!!! Long live  a united Europe!! and as I am a believer, may God Bless you all!

Now the news from various sources in my belle France!

The French Senate gives green light to bill on state of health emergency. The Senate with a right-wing majority adopted on the night of Thursday to this Friday at first reading the bill allowing the establishment of a state of health emergency.  The text, voted by 252 votes in favor, 2 against and 90 abstentions, also authorizes the government to take measures to support businesses by ordinance and records the postponement of the second round of municipal elections “at the latest in June”.

In California USA finally placed in containment. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, decides to place the entire state and its 40 million inhabitants in containment to strengthen the fight against the pandemic. The directive is one of the most stringent measures announced in the United States since the start of the health crisis.  Los Angeles residents placed in confinement. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, ordered Thursday confinement of all the inhabitants of this metropolis of 4 million inhabitants, asking them to refrain from any unnecessary movement to stem the coronavirus pandemic. Good for California!!

The cases are increasing in the NBA. Two Los Angeles Lakers players infected with the new coronavirus on Thursday, three of the Philadelphia Sixers, one of the Boston Celtics and a member of the Denver Nuggets: cases are multiplying in the NBA, stopped for more than a week due to the pandemic. NBA in case you are visiting earth, is the National Basketball Association in the USA.

Visas suspended in the United States. The United States has suspended the issuance of all regular visas to all countries of the world, the US State Department announced. “As far as possible, embassies and consulates will continue to issue emergency visas,” they  said.

No containment for the whole of the United States. Donald Trump says he does not envisage confinement for the whole of the United States. Playing with fire as deaths mount.  Closure of the United States / Mexico border. US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo announces the closure of the US border with Mexico for “non-essential travel”. ah yes…

Reinforced measures in New York State. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has decreed a halt to all non-essential activities and a ban on all gatherings. NY NY!

Why mobile links sometimes leave something to be desired. From a technical point of view, telephone operators have “two points of vigilance”, the interconnection of networks and the traffic on submarine cables to the United States. Operators are strengthening interconnection capacities, which allow a subscriber of one network to reach the subscriber of another network. This explains the difficulties that some have encountered in recent days. This was running in some newspapers in the USA.

NASA suspends its lunar work. The American space agency announces to put a stop to the works of construction and test of the rocket and the ship of its manned mission Artemis on the Moon. This is due to the increasing number of people affected in its teams.

Half of Air Canada’s technically unemployed workforce. Air Canada will lay off more than 5,100 flight attendants, half of its workforce, according to a union source. The measure will affect approximately 3,600 flight attendants of the first Canadian airline and 1,549 members of its low-cost subsidiary Air Canada rouge, at least until April 30, specifies the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in a communication news.

 The prohibition of any movement and gathering on the roads on the banks of the Seine, the lawns of the Esplanade des invalides and the Champ-de-Mars, from Friday and for the weekend. This is in Paris.

The Paris Stock Exchange opens on a 5.48% jump to 4,066.79 points. The Paris Bourse attacks the session of conquering mood (+ 5.48%) this Friday morning, partly reassured by the massive monetary measures adopted by several governments and central banks, in particular the European Central Bank, to face the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Same trend in Frankfurt, London and Hong Kong. And it keeps going up in Paris but you know this is an up and down game!

SNCF traffic increasingly reduced. Only 15% of mainline trains this Friday, 25% TER and almost more connections abroad, indicates the SNCF. Traffic is 35% on the Transilien network of the Paris suburbs, according to the company. Abroad, the service was suspended to Germany, Italy and Spain. There are still 20% of Eurostar trains to London, 20% of Thalys trains to the Benelux, and, to Switzerland, a Paris-Geneva return trip and a Paris-Basel return trip. The offer is likely to be further reduced in the coming days.

Free transport for carers in the Grand Est. Caregivers will be able to borrow free from Saturday TER and intercity buses in the Grand Est region, announced the community, which wishes to facilitate their travel while Alsace pays a heavy price in the coronavirus epidemic

Orange awaits masks with great impatience. Orange, which had supplied stocks of masks to comply with the requisitions for healthcare staff is waiting with “great impatience” to receive new masks for these teams responsible for maintaining the networks, this Friday explains its CEO Stéphane Richard.

Call for volunteers in Ile-de-France hospitals. The regional health agency in Ile-de-France is launching an appeal to active or retired health workers to help healthcare establishments. This is going on all over France now!

Humane Society worries about many abandonments when shelters are already overcrowded. , OMG don’t be a monster, these loving animals need our help too, and they will be right with you, they do not get the virus so keep them in with you please. I have a loving dog Rex and he is part of my family no way he will be treated lesser.

The soldiers prepare the field hospital in Mulhouse. Preparations for the deployment of the military field hospital in Mulhouse are well under way. This morning, soldiers in lattice are on site to prepare the installation of 30 beds. The future hospital will be set up a few meters from the heliport, right next to the Emile-Muller hospital. Yes the Armed Forces are people too, great! The hospital has begun to be deploy and some patients are been transported to Toulon where there are more hospital military installations.

There are still 130,000 French people are stranded abroad. France must organize the return of some 130,000 nationals stranded abroad by the Covid-19 pandemic, said this Friday the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. They will need to find transport back to France, not an easy thing to do. French abroad have been exceptionally authorized to enter the Air France crisis center.

Already 18,000 reports since the start of confinement. According to a police source cited by BFMTV, since the start of the confinement on Tuesday noon, the police have carried out 225,000 checks for 18 reports. This is the control for people not to go out, some idiots do not understand still they need to stay home and go out as needed with a attestation de déplacement dérogatoire which can be obtain blue for individuals and red for professionals/entrprises from the Ministry of Interior webpage: Min Interior of France

The agents of the City of Paris will be able to issue fines. The law on the state of health emergency (under examination) should give the agents of the security service of the City the same powers as those of a “real” municipal police. Now now this is a bit hysterical.

President Macron of the French Republic: “The State is holding up”. Emmanuel Macron says a few words in front of the cameras before the defense council. “We have taken exceptional measures to absorb this first wave,” said the President of the Republic. The crisis is mobilizing all aspects of the life of the Nation ”. “The State is keen, we will be there in the long term,” he says, thanking his ministers for being there “morning, noon and night and overnight.”

Pension reform abandoned? During his speech last Thursday, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron announced a break from all the reforms undertaken. Interruption or total stop, the question arises at the top? I believe it will be an interruption while the virus crisis is on.

Social benefits paid automatically. Social benefits requiring regular declarations of resources to qualify for them, such as the RSA, the disabled adult allowance (AAH) or housing benefits, will be paid automatically to beneficiaries “incapacitated”, the government announced. This is in France, no need for forms if you were on these programs benefits will continue; Vive la France!

And are we will be getting mail? Six unions of La Poste claim in a letter to the Minister of Economy and CEO Philippe Wahl a “discussion about the missions that the La Poste group should carry out as a priority” during the coronavirus crisis, according to a press release.  The unions (CGT, CFDT, SUD, CFE-CGC, CFTC and Unsa) are alerting to the health and social situation within the La Poste group, where “security conditions are far from being maximum”, and note that ” the essential missions that La Poste and its subsidiaries must fulfill are very broad in concept ”.

The meetings of the Defense counsel starts. A Defense Council starts at the Ministry of the Interior, chaired by Emmanuel Macron, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and the main ministers concerned. This is sort of a control center to monitored the needs and actions needed as we advance.

In Nice, the mayor Christian Estrosi announces the closure of the Promenade des Anglais and all the city’s markets. Good measure too many people there anyway! And it gets tougher. A curfew at 20h (8 p.m.) in Nice. Christian Estrosi, the mayor (LR) of Nice, issued an order to impose a curfew in his city from this Friday evening.

No national curfew in France. “It is not a question of establishing a national curfew on the whole territory but of supporting local initiatives, such as that of the mayor of Nice” who has implemented a curfew in his city at 20 hours every evening, starting today, specifies Christophe Castaner, Interior Minister.

In Cannes, the Palais des Festivals opened to accommodate the homeless. This announcement is made on France Info the mayor of the city, David Lisnard. This decision is made “both to protect them, but also to protect any population from the spread of the virus,” he said. Good deal Cannoises!

An emergency fund for companies in Lyon. The metropolitan area of ​​Lyon has created an emergency fund of 100 million euros for companies affected by the containment measures, allowing in particular the payment of aid of 1,000 euros per month for certain self-employed. This is just a regional effort, nationwide it is 1500 euros per month.

After Mulhouse, the army in Ajaccio to evacuate patients. For the second time in a few days, the French army will be involved in the fight against the new coronavirus: after the evacuation by military aircraft of patients from Mulhouse, the navy will transfer this weekend patients from Corsica to the Riviera. The amphibious helicopter carrier (PHA) Tonnerre of the French Navy will go to Ajaccio this weekend for “the medical evacuation of patients with Covid-19” to establishments in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, announces the prefecture of Corsica.

Creation of a buffer zone at the Saint-Etienne teaching hospital. The CHU of Saint-Etienne is preparing for a ramp-up of its capacity to receive patients with symptoms of coronavirus and has set up a “sorting center” near the emergency department.  This advanced medical center, in the form of a long canvas tunnel 18 meters long by 6 wide built from scratch within the grounds of the Hôpital Nord site in Saint-Priest-en-Jarez (Loire), has been fully disinfected. “It will be active in the coming days, depending on changing needs,” says the direction of the CHU.

The beaches of the Somme dept 80 Hauts de France are prohibited. The Somme prefecture has announced that it will prohibit access to the department’s beaches until March 31.

Several protective measures for public transport adopted in France. Public transport companies must disinfect their vehicles at least once a day, the climb from the front of buses is prohibited in principle and travelers must stand a meter from each other, according to a decree published in the Official Journal on Friday . Reinforced controls will be implemented this Friday and this weekend in Parisian stations. The Paris prefecture of police reminds in a press release that departures on holidays and weekends are not part of the cases covered by the certificate of derogatory travel.

New Caledonia closes its airport. All international flights to and from New Caledonia are suspended from midnight on Friday, the local government announced. Initially, the traffic was to stop gradually by Tuesday but the executive decided Friday late in the day to shorten the delay.

Back in America,we have the first three coronavirus deaths in Peru. The government reports a considerable increase in the number of cases for a total of 234 infected people across the country.

Rio de Janeiro ,Brazil closes its beaches and restaurants. The state of Rio de Janeiro announces that it will close its beaches, bars and restaurants for Saturday, for at least two weeks, in the face of the coronavirus epidemic. The decree published by Governor Wilson Witzel also provides for suspension of land, sea and air links with any other Brazilian state with at least one confirmed case of coronavirus, but the measure must be validated by the federal authorities.

Brazil prohibits entry to Europeans and Asians. These restrictions, valid for one month, apply to passengers on flights from the European Economic Area (European Union, United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and of Malaysia, who do not have residence in Brazil or a professional or family justification to return to the country, specifies a ministerial decree.

Argentina decrees the containment of the population. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez decrees “preventive and compulsory” containment of the population from this Friday until March 31 to fight against the coronavirus.  Argentina has 128 cases of coronavirus and three deaths.

In Europe,  Youtube suspends HD. With European networks suffering from slowdowns, YouTube is stopping playback of HD videos to relieve European networks. In the wake of Netflix, the platform reduces its impact on the Internet by passing its content to Standard version. No problems still see them  fine.

No lifting of confinement before April 13 in Austria. Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz announces that the week-long containment measures in the country, where travel is drastically limited, will be extended until April 13.

Cases are exploding in Belgium. The number of deaths jumped from 21 to 37, announce the Belgian authorities. The country records Friday 2,257 confirmed cases, against 1,795 identified the day before.

Oh my poor and resistant Spain passes the 1,000 dead mark. Spain is approaching 20,000 cases, announced this Friday the director of the health alert center Fernando Simon. The country has “1,002 deaths” and “nationally we have 19,980 cases, with an increase of 2,833 cases compared to yesterday (Thursday), an increase of 16.5%,” said Fernando Simon. The death toll has increased tenfold in seven days. It is second only to Italy in confronting this awful virus.

Arrival in the Czech Republic of a plane from China with a million masks. This plane landed this Friday in Prague. “The plane contains 1.1 million FFP2 masks that will be immediately distributed to hospitals and other places,” said Interior Minister Jan Hamacek at a televised press conference at Prague Airport . Prague acquired the equipment for around $ 3 million, he added. To be fully reported, China has done the same for Italy, Spain and France so far as well.

New restrictive measures expected in Italy. The Italian government is considering new restrictive measures which could be adopted quickly. “In the next 24 to 48 hours, new restrictions are possible,” announced Minister for Regional Affairs Francesco Boccia, citing, among other things, the possibility of suspending outdoor activities. The governors of the northern regions, the richest in Italy and the most affected by the epidemic with around 3,000 dead, are calling for even more closures and the deployment of the army to enforce these measures.

The most affected nation today, Italy .It is still the Milan region, Lombardy, where hospitals are overwhelmed, which pays the heaviest price, with 381 additional deaths (2,549 in total). In the country, nearly 6,000 additional cases have been detected, again a figure never reached before. Forza Italia!!!

Bavaria , Germany, is the first regional state to order containment. “We are going to reduce the whole of public life to almost nothing,” announces the head of the Bavarian government, Markus Söder, the measure having to enter into force at 11 pm (midnight) and initially to last two weeks.

Reinforced measures in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom orders the closure of pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theaters. It’s about time ….!

EasyJet will maintain the majority of its fleet on the ground. The British airline EasyJet has announced that most of its fleet will remain on the ground from 24 March. The carrier will only maintain a few connections to certain destinations, mainly from the United Kingdom or to the country.

Reinforced measures in Switzerland. Switzerland has tightened its measures, banning gatherings of more than 5 people, but has ruled out any confinement – a measure adopted by other European countries – believing that it was “spectacle politics”. The government has also released an additional 32 billion Swiss francs (30.4 billion euros) to support the economy. An envelope of 10 billion Swiss francs had already been announced a week ago. Hard to tell the Swiss lol!

Back on the source:  Second day with zero new local cases in China. For the second consecutive day, China reports no new local coronavirus contamination this Friday, even though the number of imported cases, 39, reached a record.

And be careful Africa.  Gabon announces its first death. A first patient died in Gabon of the new coronavirus, the second in sub-Saharan Africa after Burkina Faso, said this Friday the spokesman of the cell for monitoring the epidemic in this country which has counted so far only three cases . The 50-year-old patient “died at 8:05 am as a result of complications from his diabetes and an acute respiratory distress syndrome,” said spokesman Dr. Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong.

More than 200 cases already in South Africa, authorities worry. A total of 202 people are infected in the country by Covid-19, against 150 the day before, said the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize to the press in Bloomfontein (center). The authorities estimate that the disease could infect up to 60% of the country’s population of 56 million.

General confinement in Tunisia. Tunisian President Kais Saied has announced a general containment of the country, without specifying its date of entry into force or its duration, after having recorded an increase in the number of patients with coronavirus.

Jordan will impose a curfew from Saturday morning until further notice, the government spokesman said. The latter explained that this decision had been taken after “citizens’ failure to comply with the directives” asking them to leave their homes only in the event of an extreme emergency.

More than 10,000 deaths worldwide. At least 10,316 deaths worldwide are now totaled, according to a report established by AFP on Friday. More than 5000 of these deaths are in Europe. Since the count made the previous day at 19h (7:00 p.m.), there have been 490 new deaths. If you like to keep count, there is Worldometer/coronavirus site that maintains tallies worldwide here: Worldometers information on Coronavirus

The Euro carried over to 2021 will be called … again Euro-2020. The Euro football initially planned for next summer but postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic will officially keep its name of Euro-2020, announced UEFA.

Of course, these news will change and expand in the coming days, weeks, and I promise not to give count of the virus, enough to have it recorded. Let’s keep the spirits up . Best wishes for everybody!!

And remember, happy travels, YES, good health, we will pray together, and best wishes to all!! indeed as always by yours truly.



March 16, 2020

Montansier and Versailles!

In my efforts to bring about the best of Versailles, a lot more than the palace, I am looking at my large vault of photos , even old paper photos to showcase its beauty. If new to my blog, I lived in Versailles for almost 10 years and visited afterward, it is a special spot on earth for me and my family.

As the saying goes, no time to see all the beauty of my belle France, even small Versailles as living and visiting are two different things.. I will tell you a bit on the Montansier theater which I never went in, but its part of the architecture and history of the city. Hit me if you want, it is even in my old district!

The Montansier theater is located in Versailles ,department 78 of Yvelines, in the Ïle de France region. It is an 18C Italian theater located in the heart of the Notre-Dame district!!   and a short walk from the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Opera. The hall was inaugurated on November 18, 1777, in the presence of king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette. This theater was born under the impetus of Marguerite Brunet, known as Mademoiselle Montansier, whose name it bored. She was ,also, founder of the Palais Royal and Variétés theatres in Paris.


The Montansier Theater before being at 13, rue des Réservoirs had an ancestor at 31, rue Saint-Honoré in the Saint-Louis district. It was in 1756 that two partners, Fleury and Le Comte, had a larger room built at 3, rue Royale. It is this 587-seat theater that Mademoiselle Montansier directs in 1768. She then obtains the office and the title of director of performances by the Court, that is to say the exclusive privilege of performing in any royal residence. She obtained the right to acquire the land known as Chien verts or green dogs which then belonged to the Count of Provence, brother of King Louis XVI and future king Louis XVIII. Once the land was purchased, she obtained a royal act, signed by Louis XVI, granting her exclusive operating rights to the new theater which she was about to direct. The facade is the same as today, which is missing from a group representing Thalie, muse of Comedy and Melpomene, muse of Tragedy. Both were seated around the lyre of Apollo.

Madame de Pompadour, meanwhile, had built her own little corridor allowing her to reach her private mansion located to the right of the theater. After the birth of the Dauphin, Marie-Antoinette reduced her visits to the Montansier theater, to which she now prefers her little Trianon theater, a miniature replica of the Montansier.

The Italian theater designed was perfect for the presentations as by pure architecture they are defined by its horseshoe shape, this arrangement , like a Greek hemicycle brings in as many spectators as possible and everyone can see the stage regardless of their location. The room acoustics are excellent, all experts agree.

The first restoration dates from 1823. The other important date is that of 1834. the city of Versailles bought it. Then, in 1841, a zinc canopy was installed to protect the entrance to the theater and a large sidewalk was created to encourage traffic. The second restoration dates from 1851 the sculpted decoration, which remains today: the front stage lodges, the moldings, the caryatids and the medallions. The third restoration dates from 1936, when the theater took the name of Montansier Theater. The zinc marquise was removed, the facade restored and the theater inaugurated in 1937 in the presence of the President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun. The last major restoration took place between 1992 and 1993 . This time we rediscover the remains of the old original decorations and which inspire current decorations: motifs of lyre, putti musicians, griffins and chimeras. In March 2009, the restoration of the stage and the reopening of the under stage and its machinery ;closed since the restoration of 1992, are carried out thanks to joint funding from the city of Versailles and donations from spectators. It is the occasion of a staging of the Merchant of Venice from Shakespeare by Jean-Daniel Laval interpreted by the Queen’s Company.

The Montansier theater welcomes spectators from all over Ile-de-France region thanks to a qualitative policy combining creation and dissemination. Fully involved in the cultural life of the city of Versailles with interventions in the European Heritage Days, the Night of Creation, as well as in 2014, a path was developed in the theatre with sculptures and works made of fabrics and sometimes covered with earth, the Montansier Theater also takes part in the Molière Month festival, which takes place every year in June.

Some nice films I like done here were

Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons, shot all the opera scenes in the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1988, before the restoration of the room. Also, The Young Girl and Death by Roman Polanski: the final scene of the film was filmed at the Montansier theater. The film dates from 1994, after the restoration of the room

As usual from me, here are some webpages to help you plan your trip here, and I need to get in….

Official Montansier theater

The association of contemporary theaters of which the Montansier theater belongs has a bit more in French here: Official Contemporary theater network on Montansier

And the Versailles tourist officeTourist office of Versailles on the Montansier theater

And there you go, another wonderful spot in my lovely Versailles for all to enjoy away from the palace ,not far, a grand location Montansier theater in the Notre Dame district! Hope you enjoy the post.

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



March 15, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXII

Well its been a while and lots of news in France and all over! I like to keep it up to date so here are the latest rumblings from my belle France. Oh yes we are cloudy at 51F or 10C in my neck of the woods and 62F or 17C in Paris.

Covid 19 and the public transports: The TGV and Intercités trains traffic will drop by half, airport terminals will be closed. But public transport will be preserved. Tomorrow Monday the traffic of all trains will drop by 30%. From Tuesday, the SNCF will go to 50% for long distance trains, that is to say the Inoui, Ouigo and Intercités. And two TER out of three will be in circulation. Faced with the influx of holidaymakers forced to return as quickly as possible from the Alps or the Pyrenees following the announcement of the closure of all ski resorts, the SNCF has also planned to charter additional trains. Freight trains are maintained to ensure supplies, in particular food businesses which remain open. Monday in the Paris metro,will be normal in the RER and quasi-normal in buses and trams, it was said on Saturday from the RATP, which specifies that these forecasts could change after the new restrictions announced on Saturday evening by the Prime Minister.

If you wish to exchange or have your tickets refunded, the SNCF offers free exchange and reimbursement fees for your journeys with TGV INOUI, OUIGO, Intercités and TER in correspondence until 30 April inclusive. Your request for a free exchange or refund can be made up to the departure of your TGV INOUI and Intercités train, up to an hour and a half before the departure of your OUIGO. On the Internet, at an agency or at a station.

Air France: for any reservation made before March 31, you have until May 31 to postpone your departure date without charge (subject to availability at the same rate). The new trip must start before May 31. One downside: you have to take a ticket at the same price. If there are no more, you will have to pay the difference. If you wish to cancel the trip: if you have purchased, before March 31, a refundable ticket for a flight scheduled until May 31, you can cancel and request a refund. If you have purchased, before March 31, a refundable ticket with charges for a flight scheduled until May 31, the reimbursement charges are waived. In the case of a non-refundable ticket, purchased under the same conditions before March 31, you will be able to benefit from a credit valid for one year on Air France, KLM and partner airlines. If you have booked a trip, but have fallen ill and wish to cancel this trip. Is there a possibility of reimbursement? Visa Premier, Platinum and Infinite bank card insurance cover travel cancellations related to illnesses, noted by a doctor, which prevent travel and require appropriate care. You contracted the coronavirus while traveling abroad. Are you guaranteed? The medical assistance guarantees for cards including Visa Premier, Platinum and Infinite may, within the limits and according to the conditions provided for in the information notices, cover medical expenses incurred abroad.

Aéroports de Paris has decided to close part of the terminals and halls at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle and Orly airports from Wednesday March 18 to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

The French are voting this Sunday (today) for the first round of municipal elections. An election marked by the coronavirus crisis which risks encouraging abstention. There are 902,465 candidates, including 10 ministers, and 20,765 lists. The polling stations opened at 8h and there was a 18.43% participation at mid day countrywide. In Paris, the participation rate at noon was 12.61% against 13.73% in 2014. With 15.07% of participation in the Yvelines (dep 78) at noon for this municipal election, the health crisis effect seems to have had little effect on the desire of voters to go to the polls. This rate is indeed 1.5% lower than that of 2014 at the same time which was 16.57%. Of course voting was not cancelled by the Polititians! And I am not voting tant pis.

The closure took place 48 hours earlier than planned. The Disneyland Paris parks finally closed their doors on last Friday evening so as not to reopen them this Saturday morning, whereas they were initially supposed to remain open until Sunday evening. The closure until March 31 was decided by the park management, after the government ‘s decision to ban gatherings of more than 100 people. Disney Village hotels and shops remain open. The courtyard of the Château de Fontainebleau resonates strangely this Saturday morning. The rare tourists arrive drop by drop to visit this former home of the kings of France which will close on Monday due to the Coronavirus. Only the castle gardens, adjoining the main streets of the imperial city, will remain open.   Impossible to pay in coins and bills at the Eiffel Tower, at ticket offices as in its shops and restaurants: since Monday March 9, only payments by bank card are accepted. A similar decision was made last week at the Louvre. Also, same for the Château de Versailles and al.

By focusing on Google searches for Coronavirus, SEMrush concludes that the countries that seem the most worried are none other than the Americans with more than 160.8 million searches identified since January. In Europe the Germans are rather active on the subject with no less than 39,504,000 searches in two and a half months. While it could be understood that the countries which know the most cases are the most stressed, the study proves that this is not always the case … Less than 500 cases detected in the United Kingdom, but more than 26,400,000 “Coronavirus” searches done on Google!!. The top searches are the United States: 160,800,000, Germany: 39,504,000; Brazil: 32,304,000; Canada: 26,400,000, France: 26,400,000; India: 26,400,000; Italy: 26,400,000; United Kingdom: 26,400,000; Australia: 17,664,000; Mexico: 17,664,000 , and Spain: 14 480 00.

Enough of this , remember that the influenza flu has killed a lot more people and we hardly notice any news on it. See the Center for Desease Control in the USA here:

This is a site that counts the fatalities worldwide very well detail for all countries. Worldometers on Coronavirus

Update.France is going partial confinement as of tomorrow noon Tuesday March 17 2020. Only essentials grocery food shopping, medical visits/pharmacy, and essential workers can go out. There are fines of 68 euros that can go to 135 euros for all those not in compliance. We are ok, lucky to have the system that pays my salary at home and my family. We are bunker down loaded even gas up. So this is war, and we will win it.

Despite the disruption caused by the threat from Covid-19, the fashion parades will have kept their promises. Especially the one that Paris does every season to bring together the best of creation and demonstrate the power of the big names in French luxury. Starting with a remarkable collection of Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello, the second evening. In a carpeted beige decor reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment, rue de Babylone. In bold colors, there was also talk about Hermès. In an equestrian register, the bright reds, royal blue, solar yellow and optical white came to punctuate beige and brown leathers and punctuate a luminous collection. On the side of falsely classic beauty, the public also feasted on Loewe and Valentino, where these projections of big bourgeois fashion crazy women reached new heights. For the Spanish brand owned by LVMH, Jonathan Anderson touches perfection with the choice of colors and luxurious materials, which he uses for lines, overlays, volumes not devoid of theatricality. Barely more sober, Pierpaolo Piccioli still succeeds, at Valentino, in impressing with his black dresses and coats, his large skirts and all his leathers of fatal beauty, enhanced with flawless accessories, from earrings to boots with large soles and divine pumps. Fashion power Paris!

Now in other subjects of travel related news in my belle France

The Poult farm, located on the D 30 road on the heights of the town of Poissy. The Desjouis family, owner of this farm, plans to set up a pole dedicated to horses and tourism there. Stables, a quarry, a hotel residence and a restaurant are among the main amenities. Of course, this is around the new training ground of the Paris St Germain football/soccer team that is been constructed, good idea to attract the visitors; more info here:

You read here before but finally the battle is over. The intricacies of French wine business. Thus, the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) proposed to remove 64 towns from the Burgundy appellation. In three sectors in particular, the best known of which is Chablis. Barely ten days after the newspapers took possession of this attack on common sense, it was over. Last February 6, Christian Paly, the president of the wine branch of the INAO, announced to 450 winegrowers and elected Burgundians, mounted to demonstrate outside the headquarters, that no town in Burgundy would lose its name. Voilà, Chablis is it, cheers:J

And you know, the French drink fewer Bordeaux wines (and fewer wines overall). And the youngest often opt instead for a pint of beer (indeed seem more sociable for the aperitif here). This is all the more bitter, since despite its export successes, Bordeaux still sells for 56% in the French borders. The year 2019 has not escaped this decline. According to figures published last Tuesday March 10 by the CIVB, 130 million bottles have passed in France, down 10%. In terms of value, the drop is comparable (-9%), for a total turnover of 766 million euros. Even if, in 2019, the turnover achieved by Bordeaux wines for export remained almost stable, at 2 billion euros. One reason, the United States offered good prospects for growth. But they were stopped dead by the 25% Trump tax, which has hit all French wines since mid-October 2019. At the end of 2019, exports across the Atlantic fell by 18% in volume and 36% in value. In total, over the year as a whole, sales increased by 5% to 294 million euros. On the other hand, Bordeaux wines want to change their communication to change their image. The aim is to attract consumers who want to drink less and who are sensitive to the arguments of craft brewers

In an early morning, 200 bakers came to drop off their little nuggets. A first selection is then made; to compete, the baguette must be between 55 and 70 cm long and weigh between 250 and 300 grams. 157 baguettes were then selected in order to be tasted by the jurors. Rated on 4 criteria – appearance, crumb, smell, taste; two tours were necessary for the 13 members of the jury to set their sights on the perfect baguette. The title winner, in addition to winning a check for 4,000€ , could become for one year the official supplier of baguettes for the Élysée Palace if he so wishes. The winner was Taieb SAHAL Aux Saveurs by Pierre Demours 13, rue Pierre Demours – 17éme arrondissement . In 2nd position: Baptiste LEAUTE from L’essentiel Mouffetard in the 5éme, then Liman TIGANI from the Boulangerie Martyrs in the 9éme, Laurent DEMONCY from Au 140 in the 20éme, Anthony TEIXEIRA from Aux délices du Palais in the 14éme, Khemoussi MANSOUR from Aux Délices de Glacière in 13éme, Ahmed OUNISSI from Boulangerie Lorette in 13éme, Thierry GUYOT from Boulangerie Guyot in 5éme, Giovanni BIANCO from Giovanni boulangerie contemporaine in 16éme and finally in 10th place, Jérôme LEPARQ from Maison Leparq in the 15éme. Now , get your good baguettes in Paris!

And finally, another example of the Franco-American cooperation. Created in Brooklyn , NYC in 1961 by Reuben Matteus and his wife, the Häagen-Dazs appellation and its Swedish consonance were invented by the couple to evoke freshness and travel. In 1992, Häagen-Dazs therefore settled down in Paris to open its very first European store. The brand will also build its global production site in the region of Hauts-de-France, in the town of Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines. No wonder when we know that the region offers cows a particularly rich grass allowing them to produce a cream of a very high quality. Today, the famous ice cream is supplied with milk and cream from 450 farms located around the Tilloy-Les-Mofflaine factory to satisfy food lovers around the world. Not only are all the ingredients of natural origin, but the recipes do not require artificial coloring and flavor! Vanilla, for example, comes from Madagascar and all of the cocoa from West Africa. Reassuring. Indeed, our house favorite ice cream!

And there you go another day in my belle France and we move on, heck we overcame WWI and WWII this one should be easier. Vive la France! And the EU!

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



March 15, 2020

Lacanau Océan!!

And yes just a simple beach town for many but many nice memories for me here at Lacanau Océan, in the Médoc of Bordeaux, dept 33 of Gironde in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of my belle France.

Of course, as always, have written pieces before on it but mostly concentrate on the wonderful beaches here and world surfing area. And of course, on the other side by the Garonne/Dordogne rivers you have the area of the best wines in the world!

Let me tell you here about a little camping call Les Grands Pins. We wanted an area of beaches but I insisted on near wines…So we settle for the compromise of renting a mobile home vacation at a camping very near the beach in Lacanau-Océan ,about 300 meters, but a nice ride amongt pine trees into the wine world along the D6 into Margaux!

lacanau ocean

Camping is very popular in France and even with visitors from other European countries. So it wasn’t that hard to ask collegues in my Paris office for suggestions and Lacanau Océan at Les Grands Pins came up. It was the best decision we could had made and did came back in subsequents years here until 2015, when already the boys big and living in the Morbihan of  Brittany. 

Lacanau Ocean

The metro area if we can call it that of Lacanau is composed of several zones: Lacanau-Ville, consisting of the town. Lacanau-Océan, (the one we always stayed here) area on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. A seaside resort, it appeared at the beginning of the 20C. Sketched during the period between the two wars, it developed in the years 1960-1970, as part of the development of the Aquitaine coast. Lacanau-Océan is separated from Lacanau-Ville by the road D6 and 13 km and the lake of Lacanau-Lac, composed of several hamlets such as Talaris, Le Moutchic, le Tedey, Longarisse, La Grande Escoure, and Carreye.

Lacanau Ocean

This camping is tops you can walk to the Lacanau-Océan city center and the beaches and plenty of family activities inside! The beaches at Lacanau-Océan are 16 km long or about 10 miles and are three south, central, and north (sud, central, nord). The one and only for rentals was the Camping Yelloh! village Les Grands Pins 5 star rating ,and great for the whole family only 300 meters from the beach!!!  The nice mobile homes, with all amenities, great pricing, with grocery store ,bike rental, pool, exercise room, dancing at nights,and free parking so close to all in the region even trips to Bordeaux. The beach is glorious here, as good as any anywhere, and been to some tops as well as lived near them or on them!

The camping webpage is here: Official camping Les Grands Pins

Here we have done house rental as well. The house is fine but for ambiance and group activities the camping is best.  The house was Villa Gré des flots more expensive and like I said more isolated even if in city center.  Again, we like more the camping. Info here for reference: Rentals Lacanau on the Villa Gré des flots

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is recommended are

City of Lacanau in English: City of Lacanau access map

Unofficial webpage on activities in Lacanau-Océan: Lacanau Ocean on activities

There you go one of my fav areas in the huge beautiful France; hope you get the bugs to see something different and beautiful, the beaches of Lacanau, the lake, the casino, and the wines , la vie est belle!!! or is it la vie en rose ? Salut!!

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

March 12, 2020

A not typical govt building in Versailles!

So coming right along to my beloved beautiful Versailles capital of the Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region.  The city as often I mentioned is a lot more than a castle/palance/museum! There is so much history here, lots of things to see. Today will tell you for the first time about an interesting building.

Let me tell you a bit on the Préfecture des Yvelines in Versailles. This is the regional government building and it has many functions one of them is issuing the carte de séjour resident first to my parents on the adminstrative side. I will tell you about the historical part that is only open on heritage days or journées du patrimoine.


admin side

A bit of history I like

From 1800, the first Prefect of Seine-et-Oise (now Yvelines dept 78) occupied in Versailles the old building of the furniture repository of the Crown, built between 1780 and 1796, and located at 11 rue des reservoirs (nearer the palace/museum). During the summer of 1859, the general council of Seine-et-Oise adopted the principle that a new prefecture would be built, the buildings having become too small for the administrative needs of the time.

The general council of Seine-et-Oise buys, on March 26, 1861, the old Chenil du Roi,(the Royal hunting dogs)  built in 1685 behind the Grandes écuries (big stables) After a two round competition between 1862 and 1863, for a new bigger quarters , and a public exhibition , the same as for the Paris Opera Garnier. The proposal was selected, among 38 other candidates, and in September 1863, the work began. The installation will take place at the end of 1866, and the inauguration on June 19, 1867 at the current site today by the Avenue de Paris, and ave de l’Europe.

From September 20, 1870, the Prince Royal of Prussia, Frédéric-Guillaume, then from October 5, the King of Prussia, Guillaume Ier, occupied the Prefecture until March 6, 1871. The offices on the ground floor of the Prefecture were chosen to serve as a post for the battalion guarding the Prince. Thus, at the top of the Prefecture, the Prussian flag flew in place of the tricolor flag. During this period, the Potager du roi supplied the King of Prussia with fruit and vegetables. With the town of Versailles, Adolphe Thiers, (third Republic) Head of the executive power, also wears his choice of residence on this building. He settled on March 18, 1871 and occupied the entire left wing of the building with his wife and sister-in-law Félicie Dosne. His successors, Marshal Patrice de Mac-Mahon( Count of Mac Mahon and Duke of Magenta), then Jules Grévy,(both Third Republic) did the same. In this way, the current prefecture of Yvelines was the seat of the French state for eight years (from March 18, 1871 to January 30, 1879). In 1880, the building again became Prefecture of Yvelines dept 78.

A bit on the construction

After the main gate visible from the avenue de Paris, and at the end of the main courtyard, you reach the main body of the préfecture. Two wings in reverse square which determine the main courtyard. Beyond the main building, we can see the design of an English garden. The building also fits into the grand French style breathed since the early 1850s by architects of public administration, like the National Library and the Sorbonne. To bring these volumes to life,it will surrounded it with renowned artists. As for, paintings, furniture. art bronzers suppliers of furniture for the Crown, ministries and the Seine prefecture. The latter will equip almost all reception rooms with chandeliers, most of which are still in place.

The main body of the préfecture, both on the ground floor and upstairs, is reserved for representation functions. The facade is designed accordingly, with a balcony carried by consoles and adorned with neo-18C ironwork, two busts of Ceres and Mercury, allegories of agriculture and commerce and a sculpted tympanum representing, on both sides of an escutcheon carrying the imperial “N”, the figures of the Seine and the Oise joining their waters cross the hall, then the waiting room, one can discover the facade on the garden side . The sculpted iconography of the central body adapts to the landscaped environment of this facade with the busts of Vertumne and Pomone and the representation in the triangular eardrum of the triumph of Flora and Céres.


back side

The inside description only seen in heritage days or journées du patrimoine, and no photos allowed..

The Prefect’s hearing office. A recent painting, dated 1991, represents the basin of Neptune in the park of the Palace of Versailles, while the four allegories of Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Agriculture decorate the tops of the door. The beautiful double-sided desk, Louis XV period, was used by Mac-Mahon, during his stay in Versailles. On the mantelpiece, the pendulum symbolizing “Study and Philosophy”, from the Louis XVI period.

Waiting room or Erignac room. Located in the center of the building, its decor illustrates two of the decorative art trends of the time, neo-classicism and a return to the past. The ceiling, divided into three panels decorated with stylized plant ornaments and acanthus scrolls, interprets the arts of Louis XIV’s past. Since 1998, this salon has been renamed “Salon Erignac” in tribute to the Prefect Claude Erignac, assassinated in the exercise of his functions, on February 6, 1998.

The Small lounge, currently secretarial room. This room served as a billiard room as evidenced by the chandelier with two suspensions. On the ceiling, in a sky framed by a stone balustrade, four loves support garlands which meet at the ring of the chandelier. The over-doors represent the four seasons on canvas.

Salon Thiers, currently meeting room. This living room retains its original decor: background with leafy sky, cornices painted with still lifes. The first two show flowers, game and fruit in veneer associated with fabrics. Ribaillier-Mazaroz furniture was designed for this room. The two-part glazed sideboard with sculpted still lifes at the bottom, with motifs of fruit and game, mixes Renaissance and Louis XIII styles.

The Escalier d’honneur or staircase of honor. The upper floor is accessible by a large staircase made up of a first central straight flight and a second double flight. Its walls are clad in colored stucco-marble. Upstairs, there is a decoration with iconic pilasters and two imposing canvases, “La Seine à Suresnes” (1867), by Émile Lambinet,(see post on musée Lambinet de Versailles); and a “Vue de Capri” by Félix Lanoüe. The wrought iron railing is inspired by the Louis XIV style. Note the figure of the old Seine-et-Oise formed by two intertwined Ss and an O.

The General Council room, currently deliberation room of the departmental council. The general council room has a ceiling in the sky surrounded by a flowery balustrade, a cornice enlivened by musical loves, fire pots and birds, in relief. The monumental fireplace was originally decorated with a bust of Napoleon I replaced by a bust of Marianne and a pendulum of Chaumont-Marquis, still in place. Opposite, a painting by Guillaume Dubufe , “Allegory of the Seine and the Oise”, replaces the portrait of Napoleon III.

The Grand salon called Salon des Aigles (Eagles’ room). The Salon des Aigles occupies the entire first floor of the front part of the central pavilion and is opened by six windows. Pilasters and columns with Corinthian capitals, in stucco-marble whose original color is no longer visible, enliven the whole. A chimney in purple breach evokes the living room of Hercules of the Palace of Versailles. On the ceiling, the Four Hours of the Day by Ernest Augustin Gendron are symbolized by four young life-size women flying in the sky. The Morning pours the contents of an urn, the South spreads flowers, the Evening holds an hourglass, the Night is stretched out on a cloud.  The highly decorated cornice is highlighted at the angles of four golden eagles with outstretched wings posed on a geometric decoration. In the center of the arches, the four Seasons are represented. They are personified by life-size women seated and wearing their attributes, from right to left: Winter, with green drapery, Spring, with pink drapery, Summer, with blue drapery and Autumn, with the red drapery. The Louis XV style furniture is due to Ribaillier-Mazaroz. As for the large cartel pendulum with two female heads and the gilt chased bronze cartridge dial, it was delivered in 1867 by the Maison Chaumont-Marquis.

The Empress Salon. It takes its name from the portrait of Empress Eugenie,(wife of Napoleon III), which was there. On the ceiling is painted a sky framed by a balustrade, on which are sitting eight loves playing with birds. The cornice is marked on the corners with the crowned imperial emblem “N”. Two allegories, “Poetry and Music”, are represented in the overcoats. The fireplace trim a large white marble scroll pendulum console with chiselled gold ornaments and two white marble egg vases with bouquets of lilies with ten candles. On the ground, the “Le Jour” carpet comes from the national furniture collection and was produced by the Manufacture national de la Savonnerie in 2001.

The Large dining room. It is covered with stucco-marble paneling imitating certain decorations of the Palace of Versailles. The cornice, adorned with three cardboard-stone friezes, highlights the ceiling painted by Dominique-Henri Guifard (1838-1913), representing a sky background framed by a gallery with balusters, in the middle of which branches of foliage and flowers run. On the fireplace, a pendulum from the First Empire period on its base Orpheus in Hell: recognizable by his lyre, he arrives in front of Hades seated on a throne, at the back, stands veiled Eurydice led by a little love who wears a quiver.

A bit more in French at the webpage of the dept 78 Yvelines here: Yvelines dept 78 prefecture on the building

And there you go folks another dandy historical , architecturally stunning monument in my beloved Versailles. Hope you enjoy this bit of off the beaten path site in a very popular city for good reasons.

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

February 29, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCXI

And here I am back at you, its beena  while on my regular post of Some news from France! Well it has been rewarding to say the least. However, with all the hoopla of the latest pandémonium in our world let me tell you some news from France!

The postponement of the Paris half-marathon to an undetermined date provokes contrasting reactions from the 44,000 runners entered, all disappointed.
Victim of the coronavirus epidemic and the precautionary principle, the Paris half-marathon will not take place this Sunday morning. 44,000 runners were registered and the organizers expected at least 37,000 people on the starting line. Pity , all these cancellations, this one is just one but they have been many others.

Now for some serious news on the funny virus Coronavirus now lately been call COVID-19, we do not want to insult the beer lol!

In my belle France, it seems the epidemy is centered on the Oise dept 60 north of Paris in Hauts de France region old Picardie claiming 750 calls per day to Samu (the emergency healh folks). In the past 48 hours, the number of calls to 15 (the local French emergency health telephone number which in EU is 112) has increased by 66%. In the face of the epidemic, hospitals are organizing. Yes my Vannes hospital has been added to the ones in Brest and Rennes in Brittany to handle any eventualities.   For the World Health Organization (WHO), the threat linked to the new coronavirus is “very high”. In France, the alert level was raised to 2 (out of 3). Since the start of the epidemic in January, 100 cases  (out of 65 million persons!) have been confirmed in the country.     According to a new report by the French Director General of Health, 86 patients have been hospitalized since the start of the crisis following a coronavirus infection, of which nine in serious condition, 12 have recovered, and two have died (one French and one visiting Chinese). In Spain it has been documented up to today 58 cases,  including the two cases given release from hospitals,one patient from Germany in La Gomera and one from France in Mallorca. The cases so far are in  Madrid: 10 – Andalucía: 10 – Canarias: 7 – Cataluña: 6 – País Vasco: 3 – Castilla y León: 2 – Baleares: 2 – Navarra: 1 – Asturias: 1 – Cantabria: 1.  At least 34 people in the United States are infected with the coronavirus spreading from China, federal health officials said on Friday. A 50-year-old patient died in Washington State USA  after contracting the coronavirus. It was the first death linked to the epidemic in the United States (out of like 330 millioin persons). This new virus represents a tremendous public health threat, by a Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at a news briefing. Eleven of the infections were diagnosed in travelers who fell ill after returning on their own from overseas, and two of their close contacts became infected. The other 21 patients are people who were returned to the United States by the State Department. Source NYT.

Just briefly, we are in a cold virus period and these have killed more people than any other virus including the coronavirus so far. Stay tune it will get better in the news.

In another important news, ……The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (from Cadiz she was Ana) , had to face several “tiles” that fell during the mandate. Among them: the end of the Autolib ‘contract and the failures of the Vélib’ transition in Paris. After the end of Autolib ‘and the difficult transition of the Vélib’ service, Parisians have massively shifted to new toys to claim eco conciousness … free floating scooters that swarm the streets!!!!

In the middle of summer 2018, the 4,000 gray Autolib ‘cars that appeared under former mayor Delanoë disappeared from the Parisian landscape, disconnected due to a heavy deficit. The same year, the deployment of the new metropolitan Vélib by the company Smovengo, winner of the market at the expense of JC Decaux, derailed, accumulating delays and technical problems. In the meantime, Parisians have massively turned to new toys: free floating bikes and scooters that swarm and pile up on the sidewalks. In the past  spring, the Hôtel de Ville (city hall) nevertheless punched the table to restore order on the public highway. Last week, the executive announced that it had arranged 4,600 parking spaces (out of the 15,000 planned) for scooters in the city. And promised to launch before Christmas a tender to ultimately retain only three operators of self-service electric scooters next year. On this subject too, Parisians diverge; these machines were not regulated: nothing was adapted for their circulation, the cart was put before the horse.

Since the City of Paris disconnected the Bolloré group and its famous Bluecar, three operators have shared the market. “3000 self-service electric cars are available,” said the deputy layor. Parisians now have the choice between the Zoé from Renault, the Smart from Car2go and the vehicles from Free2Move (PSA) which they can leave on the spot, once their journey is over, or bring back to the departure station. Part of the Autolib ‘charging stations are used by private electric vehicles, for 120 euros per year. As for the anarchic development of free floating scooters, the City of Paris put an end to it with a charter of good conduct in May 2019, the ban on parking on sidewalks since last July, and the creation of dedicated locations. Still to select 3 operators among the eight who are currently sharing Poor Parisiens, their money is going down the hole and we still claim eco conscience ! Source; Le Parisien journal

Now for something ligher and worth it.

Discovering objects made in deportation, the clandestine printing of leaflets or the letters of deportees was already extremely moving in the former museum of the National Resistance of Champigny. But by discovering the new site, located on the Quai Victor-Hugo on the banks of the Marne river, visitors should feel even more the shift in the lives of the French from May 1940. The museum will be open on average from Thursday to Sunday. The historic site of the museum, the Jean-Louis-Crémieux-Brilhac area, avenue Marx-Dormoy, remains a place of conservation. National Resistance Museum, 40, quai Victor-Hugo in Champigny-sur-Marne More info here in FRench: Museum of national resistance WWII

And on the popular football/soccer, well big moves for PSG, Paris Saint Germain.

The countdown begins for PSG which officially launches today Saturday morning the construction of its future campus in Poissy whose delivery is scheduled for 2022. Excavators, bulldozers and trucks will come into action on the 74 hectares acquired by the club in 2016 on the edge of the A 13 autoroute de Normandie. The goal is to develop around fifteen football fields, a stadium with 5,000 seats, but also accommodation buildings for professional players and those of the training center, who will then leave the Camp des Loges, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The campus will not only welcome footballers. The handball and judo sections will also be set up in Poissy. The site is divided into three zones with land reserved for professionals and others for young people from the training center. These different spaces will be separated by accommodation buildings to accommodate players. These sets will also include treatment rooms but also classes since the campus will house a Blue and Red school for young people in the neighborhoods and aimed at fighting against school failure. As for the 5000-seat stadium, located near the A 13 highway/motorway exit ramp, it will be used for meetings of European competitions for the PSG women’s team and matches for the reserve team. An agreement was also reached with the city which could use the equipment if the local club, which is currently playing in National 2 were to move up into the upper division. The total investment for the club amounts to almost 300 million euros.

And two heavyweights of the wine world speaks out against the forseen fear of drinking wine (alcohol).

Aubert de Villaine (Romanée-Conti) and Alexandre de Lur Saluces (Château de Fargues), two winemakers who have bottles, denounce campaigns that aim to reduce wine to alcohol. According to them, it is much more than that. Bien sûr monsieurs! merci
They are two figures of the French vineyard, one in Burgundy, the other in the Bordeaux region. Aubert de Villaine, 81, directs the cult area of ​​Romanée-Conti, in the Côte de Nuits (Côte-d’Or), and was a key player in the classification of Burgundy climates in 2015, on the list Unesco World Heritage Site. Alexandre de Lur Saluces, 85, has spent more than 30 years at the helm of Château d’Yquem, the king of sauternes, and now owns Château de Fargues, in the same appellation. Both claim that the image of wine in France is today quite damaged. And they worry about it. Me too and its spread out worldly but I see here much more.  Aubert de Villaine says: Our wine culture is considered everywhere as a model, no other country has our prestige. The Italian, Spanish, American or Australian vineyards are defended without fault by their leaders, but in France, not. Indeed they got it well I got it, these are icons of my wine life, and speaking out well. Drink wine is a honest tradition and good for you in moderation.

No less than 413 Parisian restaurants are participating in the new edition of a somewhat special food festival. Food by the thousands, at reasonable prices ,-50% off some menu cartes, your wallet will say thank you. From February 21 to April 5, 2020 you will be able to have fun without tearing your arm away. Festival LaFourchette   .The Fork in English or Tenedor in Spanish or Garfo in Portuguese, of course in French is Fourchette. More info on their site which is one of my blog roll webpages bottom of my front page in my blog.La Fourchette in French

And lets finish up with some fashion news of course, I am in France!

Manfred Thierry Mugler, Better known as Thierry Mugler, the multi-faceted creator is exhibited by the Galerie Polka gallery, in partnership with Bercy Village. Thus, in free access, 34 photos are exposed in the passages until June 7 2020. “What guides me is the quest for the perfect place, and the perfect place is not necessarily easy to access or free for a shoot. My photography is an adventure, it is often done in extreme conditions. We sometimes found ourselves in forbidden places, at the top of a temple or a building, “said Mugler to Sidonie Gaychet, deputy director of the Polka gallery. Guaranteed without special effects, the pictures by Thierry Mugler show surprising imagination, above the cities, in the desert, in the shade of icebergs, on dinosaurs, under the hooves of horses in the Grand Palais, on the Art Deco peaks Chrysler Building in New York, Russia, Paris, China, Japan or Mali. We enter a dreamlike universe, between science fiction, transhumanism and robotics, staging superheroines and superheroes in landscapes chosen for their unique beauty. Like his sculptural fashion, he succeeds in once again asserting his unique aesthetic full of poetry by magnifying “the most beautiful animal on earth, the human being”. Manfred Thierry Mugler In the covered passages of Bercy Village. More info here: Bercy Village on Mugler

Christian Louboutin: The exhibition [niste]!! As of February 26, the Porte Dorée museum is offering the largest exhibition ever devoted to the red soles creator’s work and imagination. We cross 11 chapters dedicated to his sources of inspiration as well as a selection of works from his personal collection and loans from public collections. Several surprises await the visitor: did you know that Louboutin collaborated with the Maison du Vitrail  (house of glass) in Paris to create stained glass windows and that he is the proud owner of a 300 m2 Buddhist temple, star of the Universal Exhibition in 2000 in Hanover!  Christian Louboutin: L’Exhibition [niste] From February 26 to July 26, 2020 at the Palais de la Porte Dorée 293, avenue Daumesnil – 12éme arrondissement of Paris. More info here: Palais porte doree on Louboutin

Harper’s Bazaar. First fashion magazine! The Museum of Decorative Arts (on the Louvre) invites us to delve into the epic of the famous American fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. We will discover a large photographic retrospective embellished with a selection of pieces from the museum’s fashion collections. We are aware of the enormous influence of this iconic magazine founded in 1867, which has helped to spark a new mode of fashion consumption. Sixty sewing and ready-to-wear creations are offered, mainly from the museum’s collections, punctuated with loans of prestigious iconic pieces and are presented in correspondence with their publication in this magazine. The artists and photographers Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Richard Avedon, Andy Warhol, and even Peter Lindbergh contributed to the magazine’s unmatched aesthetics while the journalists Carmel Snow, Alexey Brodovitch and Diana Vreeland finished writing it in the legend. Harper’s Bazaar Museum of Decorative Arts 107, rue de Rivoli- 1éme arrondissement of Paris going on from February 28 to July 14 2020. More info here: Musee des arts decoratifs on Harper’s

Like many successful meetings, this one took place in a nightclub: when they met at New Jimmy’s (ex-Régine, on boulevard de Montparnasse) in 1967, it was love at first sight between Yves Saint Laurent and Betty Catroux. “She is Saint Laurent as she breathes. Its appearance, its mystery, its sulphurous side, an elusive, desirable danger, everything that makes the aura of this house, we understand the magnitude when we meet Betty. The pieces presented in the museum’s exhibition come from the important donation that Betty Catroux chose to make to the Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. Betty Catroux, Yves Saint Laurent, Feminine Singular from March 3 to October 11, 2020 at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum Paris 5, avenue Marceau – 16éme arrondissement of Paris. More info here: Museum YSL on Betty Catroux

An exhibition bringing together two of the colossi of fashion, we dreamed of it, the Azzedine Alaïa association did it. When Cristóbal Balenciaga decided to close his fashion house in 1968, the assistant director of the Balenciaga house, Mademoiselle Renée, contacted the young Alaïa to offer him to send him the stocks of fabrics and dresses stored in the workshop. Alaïa keeps them and begins to build an archive which he will enrich all his life. The exhibition brings together the models of the two creators in a duel of breathtaking cuts and volumes. Alaïa and Balenciaga, sculptors of the form
until June 28, 2020 Association Azzedine Alaïa 18, rue de la Verrerie – 4éme arrondissement of Paris . More info here:  Assoc azzedine Alaia

Renowned American artist and photographer, Cindy Sherman is her own model and her productions question the image and role assigned to the American woman of the 60s. She refers to and diverts advertising, cinematographic or even erotic imagery with fantasy and daring. A resolutely feminist exhibition. From April 1 to August 31 2020. Cindy Sherman Retrospective, Louis Vuitton Foundation 8, avenue du Mahatma-Gandhi – 16éme arrondissement of Paris/ More info here: Fondation Louis Vuitton on Cindy Sherman

And there you go some news from France of all kinds like the country of many cheeses and wines lol! Hope you enjoy it.

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



February 29, 2020

More curiosities of my Versailles!!!

helloo, more of me and petit creativity genious hard to choose titles and oh well, I stick with the stories and fables of travel, the very best. I had to climb some stairs today and thought of ideas for the blog so here are some stairs and a bit of trivia information on the Palace/museum of Versailles, sometimes known as the Château de Versailles , but this only covers one building, and the whole is known as the Domaine de Versailles.

Let me start with some figures on it just to give an idea of what it is and even better was.

I do not think had mentioned earlier in my blog but what folks see today is a miniature of what it was the Domaine de Versailles, the whole property that includes the Palance, Trianons, Hameau, gardens , Orangerie etc. Today this is about 642 ha,(about 1586 acres) enclosed by walls, under king Louis XIV its area was around 5000 ha!(about 12355 acres).

It, also has 16 doors or gates to give access to the area. These are grille d’honneur, the grille Dufour , the two grilles of the Hundred Marches stair, the grille du Mail, the grille des Matelots, porte de la Ménagerie, porte de la ferme de la Ménagerie, grille de l’Agronomique, porte de la ferme Bailly, porte de Bailly, porte du Muséum, porte Saint-Antoine, grille du boulevard de la Reine, grille du Dragon , and the grille de la Chapelle. In the Royal period it had even more such as the Porte de Saint Cyr where I came now to find some veggies and fruit on the Ferme de Gally.


St Cyr l'école

not in use today Porte St Cyr from the Ferme de Gally farm of the kings since 1741.

The Grand Canal is occupy by 24 ha measuring 1650 meters by 62 meters and 1070 meters by 80 meters for the transverse arm, average depth is 2 meters. On the other side of the road or ave de l’Orangerie after given way to the Route de Saint Cyr or road D10, you can see the pièce d’eau des Suisses or Swiss pond this has a total area of 16 ha with dimensions of 682 meters by 234 meters, depth 2.5 meters.



The Domaine de Versailles has 47 pools, including 26 in the palace grounds and 21 in the Trianon area. 5.56 ha is the floor area of the Palace of Versailles, as for its roofs, all buildings combined, this represents 11 ha. 415 meters, represents the length of the facade on the gardens 670 meters developed, if one counts the returns of the central body. 20 meters is the average height of the Palace of Versailles, compared to 44 meters for the Chapelle Royale and 35 meters for the Opera Royale.

You have 67 stairs in the Palace, 16 of them also serve the roof. About 100 clocks are wound every Monday by the Palace clockmaker, which obviously does not give the number of clocks present at the castle. The Domaine de Versailles has 352 chimneys today while in 1789 there were 1252! About 700 is the number of rooms in the palace and finally it has 2153 windows.

And some interesting stairs is one that goes into the Salon des Nobles or Nobility room. Lots of historical figures walked by here folks. The living room of the Nobles is the antichambre under Queen Marie-Thérèse, it is in this room that Queen Marie Leszczinska granted her solemn audiences, seated under a canopy. She also held her circle there, as this talk time with the ladies of the court was called. Queen Marie-Antoinette had the decoration entirely redone, retaining only the ceiling paintings, and for her, the walls were stretched out in apple-green damask bordered with a large gold braid.


Versailles stair to salon des nobles jun15

Other more easily seen from the outside is the Hundred Steps stair seen from the beforementioned roads.

The two Stairs of the Cent Marshes or hundred steps of the Palace of Versailles frame the central gallery of the Orangerie. Two smaller side galleries are located under these stairs. The one hundred steps stair is in fact 103   and 105 steps whose proportions (13 cm x 39.5 cm or about 5,1 by 16.6 inches)) accommodate the steps wonderfully, to the point that it is as easy to climb as to descend. Two return galleries end under the monumental staircases of the Cent-Marches which act as buttresses to the whole. The walls, 4 to 5 meters thick (about 13 to 16.5 feet), the double glazing of the bays and the exposure to the South allow to maintain the winter a temperature which does not drop below 5 ° C or about 41F.


There you go folks, you need time even to see this Domaine, I know many travel books tells you it can be done in one day even two days, but if you want to soak fully the history and architecture of this Domaine de Versailles you need a week! Well i used to lived there and it took me several visits to see it all.

Hope you enjoy the post on my favorite city of France, Versailles. And the most beautiful palace in the world, the Palace/museum of Versailles.

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

February 29, 2020

A revisit to the Potager du Roi, Versailles!

And cannot be too far from my beloved Versailles.  I  have written so much on it, sorry if sometimes I repeat myself. Of course, written on the wonderful Potager du Roi but have some new pictures to tell you a recap and encourage you to visit it.

The Potager du roi.  At the request of king Louis XIV, gardener Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie made this vegetable/fruit garden between 1678-1683.  It provided the king with its own supplies of veggies well done for his taste. The design is of three central trails of about 3 hectares ( 7,4 acres) divided into 16 squares all around a fountain. At the center of each square, surrounded by fruit trees, you have rounds of vegetables flourishing. You will have a wonderful view of this from the terraces. You will discover about 12 enclosed gardens with its collection of fruit trees where still the art of growing them continues. You can,also, with time take a course in gardening at this wonderful place.


The Potager du Roi is located at 10 rue du Maréchal Joffre, just in front of the Cathedrale Saint Louis. You can come from Paris on the RER C to rive gauche, take a left to rue du Gal Leclerc and  take left on Maréchal Joffre, about 10 mins walking. It is open from April 1 to October 31 every day except Mondays from 10h to 18h, and from November 1 to March 31 the tuesdays and thursdays from 10h to 13h. However these are the general times, it can change each year


The King’s Vegetable garden, or potager du roi ,which has an orchard of some 5 000 fruit trees (more than 400 different varieties), produces good year bad year about 50 tons of fruit and 20 tons of vegetables, part of which is sold in the store boutique (open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays morning).


It is a nice place and recently given the attention it deserve for renovation and keep it for generations more.  I will give some webpages to help you plan your trip here

Official Potager du Roi how to get there in French: Potager du Roi how to get there

The official webpage of the management of the Potager du Roi is done by the l’École nationale supérieure de paysage or the National School of Landscape, more info in French here: National School of Landscape Versailles on the Potager du Roi

Official Gardens of France on the Potager du Roi in French with a nice layout map of the garden: Jardins de France on the Potager du Roi

Tourist office of Versailles on the Potager du Roi in English: Tourist office of Versailles on the Potager du Roi

And the Americans to the rescue of the Potager du Roi , the WMF (World Monuments Fund)  is helping restore this wonderful place in the history of Versailles, France and apparently the world; more info in English here: Official WMF org on restoration of the Potager du Roi

And if you want to help why not join the Friends of the garden or Association des Amis du Potager du Roi in French here: Assoc Friends of the Potager du Roi

There you go another dandy in Versailles, and like i always repeat, the Royal city is more than a Palace/Museum even if this is huge indeed. Hope you enjoy your visit here a lot more than a one day trip to the palace and enjoy fully my Versailles. Enjoy the shopping in the Potager du Roi too!!! superbe!

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

February 28, 2020

Saint Peter at Montfort L’Amaury

So sticking around this quant and nice town in my beloved Yvelines department 78 of the Ïle de France region of my belle France.  I will tell you a bit more on the nice things to see in Montfort L’Amaury

This time will need to tell you a bit more on the St Peter’s Church or église St Pierre located at Place de la Liberation. 

Montfort L'Amaury

A bit on the town history  I like.

Count Amaury I who inherits the titles of his father. Under his authority will be built the castle, the ramparts, the churches of Saint Pierre and Saint Laurent . The Montfort family perpetuate themselves with Yolande who, by her marriage to the Duke of Brittany Arthur II links the county to the Duchy of Brittany. From this union was born Anne of Brittany, Queen of France twice and Duchess of Brittany who embellished the City of Montfort L’Amaury with its constructions. Today, Montfort l’Amaury has become a place of residence for artists who come to relax and find their inspiration.

Montfort L'Amaury

The wonderful impressive by its size and the size of the town is St Peter’s Church from the 15C and 16C ordered rebuilt by Anne de Bretagne in 1491, at the place of the old medieval church of the 11C ordered built by Count Amaury Ier de Montfort. If you are into these sort of things ,there is a cemetary from the 15C and 16C surrounded by galleries looking like a cloister serving as charniers for the inhumanisation of corps taken from the old cemetary by the Church; nice looking cloister entrance.

Montfort L'Amaury

The St Peter’s Church is made of cut stone. It consists of three naves and eleven spans. Its facade is surmounted by a tall, stocky bell tower. This same facade has a semicircular arch entrance with a semicircular bay on each side highlighting the side aisles of the nave. The church is dotted with typically Gothic bays alternating with buttresses. You will note the presence of gargoyles in the upper part of the church holding as well as buttressing arches to the east supporting the structure. Side openings provide access to the interior of the church. The église St Pierre ends on a semicircular apse also reinforced by flying arches and pierced with Gothic bays. The interior of the church is vaulted in quadripartite warheads with magnificent hanging keys.

Montfort L'Amaury

The Romanesque St Peter’s Church, surrounded by its cemetery, was becoming too small and perhaps dilapidated. It is undoubtedly Queen Anne of Brittany who commissioned the construction of a new place of worship. The bedside and ambulatory have started, but work must be stopped before resuming around 1532; the vault of the nave then stops at the old Romanesque bell tower, still in place. The last works, covering and gargoyles, date from 1595. In 1613, the church receives a facade inspired by a drawing by Philibert Delorme. It was not until 1848 that the nave, beyond the bell tower, was raised to the height of the first part. The northern part of the Romanesque bell tower, with its two twin bays, is probably from the 11C. The construction of the bell tower-porch was completed in 1851.

Finally, the 16C stained glass windows are perhaps the most precious jewel in the building. Brilliant in color, these thirty-seven canopies are a precious summary of the art of the time. Lead salts, enamel and Venetian glass are at the service of a refined design and a very complete iconography synthesizing the great scenes of the Old Testament, of the life of the Virgin, that of Christ and the Saints.

It is a small detour not far from Versailles or Paris but worth the off the beaten path visit to Montfort L’Amaury and the Church of St Pierre! Hope you enjoy the post

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Montfort L’Amaury on Ch St Pierre in French

Official Church St Peter in French

Tourist office of the Yvelines dept 78 on Ch St Pierre in French

There you go another dandy in my beloved Yvelines 78, the royal grounds of France. And behold not know it at the time of the visit but now live in Brittany and all makes sense of the Montfort’s! Superbe!! Hope you enjoy the Church of St Peter in Montfort L’Amaury!

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




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