Archive for ‘Versailles’

June 20, 2018

Some news from France CXCII

So here I am in my pretty Morbihan of Brittany, Summer officially starts June 21st here but it is already 28C or about 80F very hot sun ,no rain very hot clear sunny day. I just came back from my monthly escapade to Paris and have many things to tell you.

First, this is the time of terraces in Paris. That wonderful sublime institution of a Parisian summer out on the sidewalk and seeing the world go by. Well , I have some favorites to share with my readers

Baïeta. 5, rue de Pontoise (5éme).  Tél. +33 (0) 1 42 02 59 19. open every day except Sundays and Mondays . Menus: à 29 € (lunch.), 45 et 85 € (dinners). Carte: between 50-75€.

Les Fables de la Fontaine with new chef 131, rue Saint-Dominique, (7éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 18 37 55).

Uncino. 31, rue de la Bruyère (9éme). Tél. +33 (0) 9 73 28 31 56. open every day except Saturdays lunch and Sundays/Mondays dinners. Formule: à 25 € (lunch), menu  32 € (lunch.). Carte: about 40€

Hugo & Co. 48, rue Monge (5éme). Tél. +33 (0) 9 53 92 62 77. open every day except Saturdays and Sundays. Carte:between  30 and 45 €.

Sauvage. 55, rue du Cherche-Midi (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 45 48 86 79. open every day except Sundays and Mondays . Carte: about  35-50 €.

For the Sunday market with terraces head for the Les Enfants du Marché. 39, rue de Bretagne (3éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 40 24 01 43. open every day except Mondays and Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesday (dinners). Carte: between 35  and 55€.

B.B. 21, rue Blanche (9éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 42 40 12 12. open every day  Carte between 40 and 60 €.

On horse races Thursdays best to head for the Le Petit Pré. Hippodrome de Longchamp. Grille d’Honneur. 2, route des Tribunes (16éme). From Thursdays to Sundays  Carte between  25 and 40€.

IF simply want a glass of wine or beer heads for the le Bal de la Marine  in the Port de Suffren, below the Eiffel Tower on the Seine river (7éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 47 05 66 57.

And if looking for a great roofstop now with plants heads for the top of store Au Printemps at Perruche au Printemps. 2, rue du Havre (9éme). Every day open mid July  Carte: between 30 and 50 €.

In the hotels you have great ones too  ,these two old hangouts still looks good. Anne at the Hôtel Pavillon de la Reine. 28, place des Vosges (3éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 40 29 19 19. open every day Carte: about 80 €.

And the new table lineup at the old Hilton for a while now name Hôtel Le Collectionneur 57, rue de Courcelles, (8éme). Tél. +33 (0)1 58 36 67 97).

Enjoy your summers in Paris!!!

And now even better the music festival all over France, and Paris is big on it. We will have it even on the campus of my company! June 21st is it, Fête de la Musique!!!

A very nice one at the Church Saint-Eustache. From June 20 at 16h to June 21 at 21h . Church located at  2, impasse Saint-Eustache (1éme). Another wonderful in the middle of government, the House of Representatives or Assemblée Nationale , june 21 from 18h30 to 22h30 you will enter by 128, rue de l’Université (7éme). Great places for a great event in Paris.

Great spot in Versailles at Rue de Satory off Avenue de Sceaux. Also at the parvis de Potager du Roi and the parvis de la Cathédrale Saint Louis.

The full program in Paris ,but you can search elsewhere too official webpage :  Culture Ministry Fête de la Musique

And what about those open Summer films events glorious in Paris; these are my favorites

The 14th edition of  Films sous les étoiles  (movies under the stars) have programs for free at the parc de Saint-Cloud from June 22-24  2018. First showing at 22h. More here:  http://www.domaine-saint-cloud.fr/Actualites/Films-sous-les-etoiles5

And the big one from July 19 to August 18 2018. Showings begins at  22h30. At the Parc de la Villette. Prairie du Triangle – 211, av. Jean Jaurès (19éme). Free admission! You can hire a cover and drinks from 19h30 for  7€. Forfait 5  20€. The name is Festival de cinéma en plein air de la Villette 2018. more info here: https://lavillette.com/evenement/cinema-en-plein-air-2018/

And as the World Cup of football/Soccer is now, why not see in big all big around you.  3500 square meters of space on the 8th floor (9 US) in the parking of Paris Expo Porte de Versailles. There will be a specific space of 150 square meters dedicated to watching the games until July 15 in a giant screen all games shown by French TV station TF1. And the suspended garden or  Le Jardin Suspendu is only to open on Thursdays to Sundays but in France advance in the rounds it will exceptionally open for them. There will be space for Grill, and shop Fratelli, as well as bars on site.  Le Jardin Suspendu.  The entrance is facing the  40, rue d’Oradour sur Glane (15éme). Thursdays to Sundays from 16h to midnite , Fridays from 16h to 02h ,Saturdays from 11h to 02h and Sundays from 11h to midnite. Free admission. Directions here: Le Jardin Suspendu

And if not enough , another big is coming to Paris well bigger now. The biggest H&M Swedish chain in France will be open today at 11h   at the angle of rue La Fayette and boulevard Haussmann (9éme). Right by the big department stores area ! It is open Mondays to Saturdays from 9h30 to 20h and Sundays from 11h to 19h.

Usually do not put photos here ,but for lack of a better use, will do here. In my trip to Paris yesterday, I stop by the Seine at Levallois-Perret in Hauts de Seine dept 92 and along rue Anatole France by metro line 3 pont de levallois bécon ,and then had a car ride and went by Dupleix on the line 6 and had me my lunch at Au Dernier Metro on 70 Boulevard de Grenelle. Couple planchas of ewe milk cheese with ham, pate, terrines chorizos salad and bread down with a leffe beer blonde just what Paris is all about. Info on the resto recommended by a Parisian friend who lives just around the corner. Official webpage : http://au-dernier-metro.lafourchette.rest/

and my favorite for comments from folks like us Yelp here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/au-dernier-m%C3%A9tro-paris-2

Paris Paris Paris PAris Paris PAris PAris

Yesterday an incident never seen, even the public workers of several Paris institutions were closed due to a strike. Including the Château de Versailles, and as well as the musée d’Orsay, Arc de Triomphe, Panthéon, château de Vincennes, Basilique de Saint-Denis, and the Notre Dame towers were closed as of mid day 12H, they are planning on reimbursement to those already with tickets. Well I told you its a past time and we are used to it but unfortuantely for a visitor to have this happened. Sorry.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI or Great War, there will be a wonderful air show  with about 90 airplanes flighing non stop for five hours organized by the aéro-club de Meaux-Esbly, Seine-et-Marne 77.  1900 ‘s music live and five bands from the US army representing the USA will be there. The show will see flying machines from WWI and WWII as well as modern planes.  Two Mirages 2 000 coming from Nancy will do a tactical demonstration , while a third one will do an interception of a civil airplane. There will be an expo space of 1 000 m2  presenting dozens of old vehicules like a taxi of the Marne of WWI. You will discover kites Saconney that took observation photos  during the conflict.  The only paying event will be a simulator ride on a fighter jet Rafale, 5 €. Good for the whole family.

And for now it is all from my side of the corner or the ocean in the Morbihan 56.  Have a great week, and remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

June 11, 2018

The other Yvelines dept 78. Cities of many souvenirs!

On a mundane day in the west coast of France, we remember our wonderful times too in the west of Paris, Yvelines dept 78 ,region of ïle de France.  A magical moment to lived in the Royal city of Versailles and worked in the most beautiful city in the world , Paris. We went around a lot, and on many not your typical tourist towns but nevertheless it is our life and my blog is all about that. Footprints all over France ,and the world.

I like to share with my readers some of these towns, all memorable for our family. These are La Verriére, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, and Elancourt.

La Verrière  is in department 78 Yvelines in the region of Ïle de France only 40 km from Paris and 20 km from Versailles. It is believe La Verrière occupy the site of the village of Watreias in the forest of Yvelines that was given by king Pepin in 768 to the Abbey of Saint Denis.

There are many good roads here and taken many times when lived in Versailles, the N10 passes north of the town and the D58 takes you to Elancourt ( mini France  park) and the south to Mesnil-Saint-Denis to Dampierre-en-Yvelines. The D13 takes the western part of the town to the northwes at Montfort –l’Amaury ( Heredia’s house) and on the south to Mesnil-Saint-Denis and later Chevreuse.  There is a great train service here and my oldest son used it a lot. There is a nice train station connecting with the line N Rambouillet-Paris Montparnasse and Line U La Verriére – La Défense..

A bit of history I like

The parish of La Verrière was created in 1739 with the fusion of three villages such as La Petite-Verrière, la Grande-Verrière and l’Agiot, it finally became a city in the French revolution but stayed small during the 20C even if the situation was good bordering the big road N10 that goes from Paris to Chartres.  In 1972 , there was a union of towns into a metropolitan area or agglomeration call the Nouvelle Ville de Saint Quentin en Yvelines, La Verrière was part of this area.

Thing to see from afar and the gardens is the Chateau de La Verriére . It was in 1507, the lands were purchased by Barthélemy Séguier, noble and judge that starts to built the castle , his descendant Jean Séguier, adviser to the king Louis XIV finished it in 1660. The gardens were done by André Le Nôtre gardener of the king. Over the years transformed into many things it is now the psychatric center Marcel Riviere. More in French here: http://www.museedelaville.sqy.fr/ville-dart-et-dhistoire/le-musee-vous-raconte-la-ville/parcs-et-jardins/la-verriere-le-parc-de-linstitut-marcel-riviere/

City hall and a bit of history in French: http://www.ville-laverriere.com/?Son-histoire

However, how I came to know this town is because my oldest son spent his schooling here initial path to become a commercial agent or salesmen at the specilised school CFA AFFIDA; in lieu of University studies. The school was very nice, good folks and easy to go on direct line train from Versailles or even a bus. 401/415 of the SQYbus network. So , I can say came into this area by car, train ,and bus!

The school https://www.affida.fr/nos-2-centres/cfa-affida-la-verriere-yvelines-78

La Verriere

In Saint Quentin en Yvelines we love to come shopping at the mall there ,for the cinema and celebrated many younger days birthdays with friends at the bowling alley. The cinema Cine Cité SQY is still there more here; https://www.espacestquentin.com/divertissement/ugc-cine-cite/horaires-des-films

Saint Quentin en Yvelines

The shopping center has many stores gone now and heard they may demolished it for housing ,unfortunately, the memories will stay on . The Bowling Star is also gone ,I heard and is not listed in their official site so another one for the memories; http://www.bowlingstar.fr/bowlingstar/nos-etablissements.html

In the nearby town of Montigny-les-Bretonneux there is an explanation on the bowling but no mention yet is gone. http://www.montigny78.fr/sports-et-loisirs/equipements/bowling-billards.htm

Montigny le Bretonneux

Saint Quentin en Yvelines

 

This later town of Montigny-le-Bretonneux ,we used to go to see the baseball games of the Montigny Cougars playing in the French second division or like Triple A level; since 2017 thereabouts ,they have move up to the First division top league in France, their stadium was on our way to the shopping center/cinema/bowling;  here is their official site http://www.montigny-baseball.com/

The city hall of Montigny with tourism info in French; Tourist things to see Montigny

And we went as far on the N10 to the town of Coigniéres to buy fresh groceries at discount in the Grand Marché ;lovely my dear late wife Martine will search for anything! At the Marché-o-Frais, rue de la Gare , and the Grand Frais, 3 rue des Fréres Lumiéres angle rue du Gibet

webpage here: Grand Frais supermarché

The city hall of Cogniéres on tourism here: Coigniéres and history

And last but not least in this memorable dept 78 Yvelines, when passing on the D58 we had visited at Elancourt, France Miniature park, model building of the main attractions in France, more here: http://www.franceminiature.fr/en/attractions-et-experiences

City hall of Elancourt in French on history and tourism; Elancourt heritage and history

In all many memorable moments with the boys and now missing their mother even more nostalgic indeed. We cannot forget these towns, it is part of us been French.

This is the agglomeration or metro area of Saint Quentin en Yvelines (SQY)with all these towns in English ,not check the whole webpage but believe many is in English too.  Agglo Saint Quentin en Yvelines

SQY metro map

Plenty things to do, which even living near could not see it all, so much to see here!!! museums: Museums in SQY

Hope you enjoy this other side of life in France, not visiting but living the real thing. Maybe just maybe you may feel to want to come to these areas just to take a look at how we live normal life away from the tourist throngs , just maybe ,you will be surprise. As I always said, Hemingway wrote about a movable feast of Paris because he only visited there, if he had gone out, he would had had the need to write a second book, France, is a movable feast! ::)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 25, 2018

Some news from France CXCI

Here I am on a weekend,and still sunny but rain is on the call, it had to be a weekend! We had summer like weather all week long and it feld nice. I am back to tell you the latest on my belle France.

Nice Vaux-le-Vicomte photo from the Le Parisien newspaper.

Vaux le Vicomte

From the newspaper Le Parisien Vaux-le-Vicomte

What better way than to prepare for summer with some statistics. Europ Assistance ask the survey firm of Institut Ipsos to ask the French what are they going to be their summer vacation,and this is what they found. 69% of the French will plan on going away on vacation this year 4 points higher than last year and the highest number since 2012! This puts France on first place in Europe, in front of folks from Austria, Switzerland, UK. It will have budget of 1993€ per family a very economical amount putting the French behind the Swiss, Austrians, Germans, and Belgians that takes on average 2K€.  The French, also,tell us will stay within France (of course ) with 57% of them a bit lower than last year 63%, most will stay by the coast/beach 61% and will be going in the family car (of course who says we take the train). The places outside France we will be going are Spain,16% (of course saw you on the road!) ; Italy 8%; and Portugal 7%.

Continuing with the beach concept, we have invented the Pavillon Bleu for tell us the most safe and full amenities beaches. Since its creation in 1985, 56 countries have follow us. France has 506 sites but the most is Greece with 534,and Spain on top at 691 sites. They are many but will list those for my beloved Brittany beaches (town and beach name) and ports here.  The beaches in Brittany are Morbihan (dept 56)  Carnac ,  Saint Colomban, Grande Plage;  Guidel ,La Falaise, Le Loc’h, Pen er Malo ; Plouhinec, Kervegant, Le Magouero. At Finistere(dept 29)  Clohars, Carnoët,  Bellangenet, Grands Sables, Kerrou, Fouesnant-les Glénan  , Kerler, Maner Coat Clevarec, Kerambigorn, Cap Coz (middle), Glenan ,Saint Nicolas , Le Conquet,  Pors Liogan,  Moelan sur Mer,          Kerfany, Trenez,  Névez,  Dourveil, Raguenes (middle), Rospico, Saint Nicolas, Plougasnou Tregastel (middle) Plouhinec; Gwendrez, Mesperleuc  ;Pouldreuzic ,Penhors , Roscoff ,   Saint Luc (Roch-kroum), Saint Pol de Léon , Plage Sainte Anne large ; at Côtes-d’Armor(dept 22)  Trevou-Tréguignec ,Plage de Trestel ; at Ille-et-Vilaine (dept 35)    Iffendic , Lac de Trémelin, Saint Briac sur Mer; La Salinette, Port Hue Saint Lunaire      Longchamp Est, La Grande Plage, La Fosse aux Vaults,  and La Fourberie.  The pleasure boat marinas in Brittany are Côtes-d’Armor (dept 22)  Port de Plaisance de Binic,  Port de Plaisance de Paimpol, Port de St Quay Portrieux , at Finistére ‘dept 29) Port de Plaisance de Camaret ,Port de Plaisance de Douarnenez, Port de Plaisance de Morgat , Port du Moulin Blanc. At  Morbihan (dept 56)  Port de Gâvres, Port de Guidel , Port de Lorient centre, Port de plaisance du Kernével , and Port-Louis. More on the site here: Pavillon Bleu org

Something new at Paris. Just yesterday the team was finishing putting the final touches of Felicita, this is huge,  4 500 m2 open to the public with a huge terrace and 1000 seats for breakfast, brunch, apéros, dinners, and dance until late at night. The Caffeteria section will be open 24/24 all at the heart of Station F, this is it here in English: Felicita at Station F

And again an update on the Hôtel de la Marine that will be open in first trimester of 2020. ON the place de la Concorde ,built in 1758 by  Ange-Jacques Gabriel, on the site of the old depot furniture of king Louis XV, host the high military command of France from 1789 to 2015 . there is the courtyard of the intendant covered with a glass canopy where visitors will be welcome, and on the floor of the cour d’honneur will have about 7000 light points to form a carpet of lights. This is one of many updates I have given on my news posts, and stay tune for more. Keep track if you will here in English: Hotel de la Marine Paris

Ok another survey , this one by Le Parisien newspaper, to see where is the best place to live with Children in the region of Ïle de France! Well ,you have one picture showing the no 1 cities per departément and one picture showing the highest top 20 rated cities. NO surprise for me because my kids went to high school there was Versailles!!! Photos

 

A wonderful town used to go often for work and now a few years out but still nice. The old Cannes , the view on the jardins du port Canto, tour du Suquet ,and on the route de l’Esterel is always very nice (and now the Cannes Film Festival). On the extreme section of the pointe Croisette, you will see a small cross (the name comes from this Croisette)  the former Casino Palm Beach with memories of great film such as Jean Gabin, and Alain Delon, filming here Mélodie en sous-sol in 1962 by director Henri Verneuil. The new private beach of la Croisette had already spoken located between the hotels  Majestic and Carlton (my job in charge of accounting here!). At the old place of the Plage royale becomes the La Môme Plage. to put your feet in the water facing the sea and get some delicious fish from menus of 45-75€ from sushis, ceviche, langouste, lobster etc and a nice pastéque salad ;more here:  La Mome Cannes

You have TGV Paris-Cannes direct  trains here and flighs by Air France , Easy Jet,and HOP to Nice airport at about 27 km. There is a direct bus or taxi. The tourist office of Cannes here: Cannes tourist office

a great show in Paris call the times of Flôlons a ballet of semi human and semi insects creatures on the spaces of the Opera Theater . More here: Garnier les Flôlons

a bit away from Paris…

To celebrate the 20 years of been name to Unesco World Heritage site, the city of Carcassonne, has invited Swiss artist Felice Varini to redesign the ramparts! The concentric circles in aluminum yellow lighting for five months the city ramparts like a fluorecent lifejacket.   This is free until September 2018 more at the city page in French here Carcassonne Felici Varini

Something trivial for the lovers of the automobile.  The magazine Le Bonbon of Paris for cultural and events info in French just did a study on the time it takes to travel Paris bike vs car, the results are amazing.  I just took two examples one coming out of the Machine du Moulin Rouge to reach the Place de la  République, and the other from La Villette to the Jardin du Luxembourg. The  VT bike or the car the times were very similar even if the car needed to respect the code of the highway and cannot go on one way streets. For instance from la Vilette to the jardin du Luxembourg by bike 36 minutes, the  car 40 min, moulin rouge to place de la republique bike 16minutes by  car 17 minutes , these between the times of 15h and 16h ,there you go. Not bad at all,and I know for a fact because I drive in Paris usually reaching one central location and then walk. And if you are a night owl then the car is tops; enjoy Paris.

In Paris on the parvis de la cour de Rome from June 8 to October 12 2018, you will have Bella Ciao a street food market à l’Italienne ; a real Italian village next to the metro stop that will vibrate with the food of Italy starting at 18H30, Then every Wednesday to taste the specialties of fish, Thursdays to move to the sound of a DJ disco Italian and Saturdays  to go to concerts and spectacles; most activities after the 8 june will be from  8h to 21h30. More info in French here: Bella Ciao le bonbon Paris

The museum or Musée Jacquemart-André is presenting a retrospective dedicated to Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926). She is considered during her life the greatest American artist and the only American painter to have exposed her work with the Impressionists in Paris. You will discover the artist by going thru over fifty major works, supporting documentation ,  oils, pastels and designs, engravings all showing the modernity and its history of this American in Paris starting July 23  2018. The museum is at  158 boulevard Haussmann , closest metro  Saint-Philippe du Roule on line 9. More here:  Mary Cassatt an American Impressionist in Paris

In 1908, Auguste Rodin, living in the Villa des Brillants iǹ Meudon for about 12 yrs had built a shop in the common area of the Château des Conti iǹ Issy-les-Moulineaux  to house of one of his molders and closest collaborator  Paul Cruet. He was working for Rodin and later by the Museum Musée Rodin from 1905 to 1940 as chief molder. Now you can see the exposition Auguste Rodin et son mouleur Paul Cruet in the museum or Musée de la Carte à Jouer. At the end of his life he had a collection that he bequested to the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux in 1966 and 1974. Now all is at the museum or Musée Français de la Carte à Jouer, card playing museum including photos , aquarelles, and seven sculptures including a bust of Camille Claudel and a head of one of the Bourgeois de Calais, Pierre de Wissant. All will be shown together with a selection of works of which he worked on ́. This is now until August  12 2018 . The museum is at  16 rue Auguste-Gervais 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux with closest Métro Mairie d’Issy line 12.  The museum has 9000 work including 6500 card games, 980 engravings, designs, and over a thousand other objects ,in the only museum of its type in France. More info here: Museum of playing cards

Les Amants de Nohant , the domain that hosted such names as Balzac, Flaubert, Delacroix, and Liszt while visiting the area , as well as the place of love for  George Sand and Frédéric Chopin.  Passionate relations, conflicting sometimes, told by the daughter of George Sand and put into music by a great singer. It was at Nohant that George Sand had spent a great part of her life and where she welcome many of her friends and lovers; including Frédéric Chopin that were visiting in June 1838. Les Amants de Nohant  or the lovers of Nohant relives this tumultuous life by the story telling by the daughter of  George Sand.  The play all shown at the nice Théâtre Ranelagh, 5 rue des Vignes, 16éme closest metro La Muette line 9. More in French here: Les Amants de Nohant

Even in life  Louis Pasteur became a myth, not only because he won over the rage, a deadly disease ,to whom we owe the pasteurization that bears his name  but also to the advances in the domain of chemistry and microbiology.  The exposition Pasteur, l’expérimentateur,  at the Palais de la découverte, comes to the men and his scientific work,and try to explain the context of his work, his discoveries, and their applications beyond his legend. The Palais de la découverte  that from its opening in 1937 has a room dedicated to work of Pasteur, done under the direction of his grandson Louis Pasteur Vallery-Radot.  In the 80th anniversary of the museum palace Louis Pasteur is again of the honor in a wonderful chronological walk as well as thematic.  Palais de la découverte – musée  at avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt,8éme until Sunday August 9 2018. More info in English here:  Palais de la Decouverte Pasteur

And last but not least from my beloved Versailles.

From 27 March to 30 October 2018, enjoy the Musical Fountains Shows and the Musical Gardens in the gardens and the groves open for the occasion. During summer, every Saturday night discover the Gardens of Versailles differently with the Fountains Night shows. On Saturdays and Sundays until October 28,  2018, on Tuesdays from 22 May to 26 June 2018 as well as on some additional dates ( Wednesday 15 August).  The entrance to the Gardens is included with the Passport (1 or 2 days) and free for children under 6. timetable of the musical fountains shows more here http://en.chateauversailles.fr/news/shows/fountains-shows-and-musical-gardens#the-musical-fountains-show

And more on the city of Versailles tourist office in English: http://en.versailles-tourisme.com/visit-and-explore-versailles-the-royal-town/going-out-in-versailles-the-festival-town/shows-at-the-palace-of-versailles

There you have it, my belle France is loaded for summer. Have a great weekend. And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

May 25, 2018

A Hôtel de Ville, Versailles city hall!

And we are reaching the weekend again, on a short week. Still sunny nice around here, and time for the beach is coming up. Let me tell you about something I used to go not for visiting but did, mostly as a matter of civic duty. The city hall of Versailles!

Ok so on another nostalgic day let me talk again about my dear beloved Versailles. With all the wonders of my belle France, Versailles as a town to live or work  in has been the best; not that the other have been bad is just a ranking by yours truly.

The season came and gone, and I still remember the errands on the city /town hall of Versailles or mairie or Hôtel de Ville as it is known in Versailles. This is a lot more than a government building ,it has a wonderful history,and it is very well kept inside and beautiful. Let me tell you a bit about it ok.

The stories will tell you the city hall or Hôtel de Ville of today came from an order to have one in 1897 and finally done on November 18, 1900. However, it goes back way back on its history.

Versailles

main entrance statue city hall

Versailles

memorial of fallen and city hall

Versailles

main entrance up stairs to municipal services

Versailles

entrance to city hall on the right municipal offices

Versailles

the patio with horseshoe stair

Versailles

upper hallway to municipal services

It’s in 1670, on the initiative of Bernardin Gigault de Bellefonds ,Marshal of France (1630-1694), Governor of the kennels and the Louveterie of the king, which rises in the present 4  Avenue de Paris, a beautiful mansion whose gardens extend to the park of the Castle!. But the construction work of the Royal Stables (present-day National School of Architecture of Versailles) depriving the marshal of his royal perspective, he sells his hotel to the Knights of Lorraine. King Louis XIV acquired it in 1680 for Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vermandois, his legitimate son, who died prematurely three years later.  When the count died , the chateau became the home of his sister Marie-Anne, the Princess de Conti, who used it for great parties that were the toast of Versailles and that is why it is known as the palace of Conti!. Louis de Bourbon and Marie-Anne were Louis XIV children by his mistress Louise de la Vallière.

The hotel was finally bought in 1723 by Louis XV to house Louis IV Henri de Bourbon-Condé, Duke of Bourbon, Grand master of his house. Important works of decoration, where painters and sculptors compete in creativity and virtuosity, are undertaken under the direction of Robert de Cotte, the first architect of the king and disciple of Mansart. Like the princess of Conti, the duke de Bourbon organizes in his midst lavish receptions. It even opens the gardens to the public to facilitate communication between the thriving  Saint-Louis and Notre-Dame neighbourhoods.

Unoccupied during the French revolution, the hotel tentatively welcomes in January 1790 , the city hall of Versailles, until then housed in the former royal furniture depot , current 11 rue des Reservoirs. From that time dates the extension of the rue Royale towards the Avenue de Paris. The building, which is entered by the Avenue de Berry (Current avenue du Général de Gaulle), is adorned with a belfry topped by a clock. In 1821 they were still there and the mansion became the official Hôtel de Ville.

In 1859, the city officially became the owner of the hotel. The city hall is made up of two distinct parts: the first, along the rue du Général de Gaulle, looking at the castle, is a small building preceded by a large staircase.  The second, which looks at the Avenue de Paris, is an imposing neo-Louis XIII building.

So we call it the palace of Conti, proud that our city hall was a royal palace and with lots of tradition. The Hôtel de Ville is at the intersection of Ave de Paris and Ave du Gen De Gaulle ,next to the rive gauche or left bank REC C train station and  less than 300 meters from the Château de Versailles. On the right side facing the Ave du Gen de Gaulle there is a huge memorial to the fallen wall. The front of the Hôtel de Ville is magnificent ,and once you are inside in the main lobby you will see statues of personages of Versailles leading to a nice stairs to the upper municipal services offices , where the gorgeous marriage hall or salon de fêtes is located. The top  is shown as a dome from the outside. On the back there is a courtyard nicely mowed ,where the stairs comes out in the form of a horse shoe, and afterward a park like with trees very nice indeed. On the left side ,there is the firemen HQ for Versailles. Between the rive gauche train station and the Hôtel de Ville on ave du Gen de Gaulle, there is now a KFC restaurant, before there was El Rancho tex mex that we went to.

The general area is on this web map around the city hall.

Versailles

area map of Versailles with pin for city hall

Some webpages to help you plan your visit to this remarkable building.

City of Versailles on its history in French : http://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/histoire-de-versailles/

 Tourist office of Versailles in English on the city hall: http://en.versailles-tourisme.com/cultural-heritage/city-hall-943148

So enjoy Versailles, like I said ,it’s a lot more than a castle. My kind of town.. Have a great weekend, and remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers!!!

 

May 21, 2018

The outer Paris for business and pleasure!

As you might know Paris is a small city, and only about 2,2M(2014 INSEE)  folks; the reason it looks so big is that normally they include all the metropolitan area that grows to more than 7M (2014 INSEE) folks. The metro area is small too only about 105 square km or about 41 square miles. However, outside the boulevard périphérique or beltway road of Paris there is another world and it is great too.

The grand Hauts-de-Seine dept 92 is full of beautiful town and chic neighborhoods. I have been lucky to have been able to see the outer Paris. Once worked in Suresnes a wonderful town, and have my World HQ company in La Défense on a new tower Carpe Diem where I make my regular runs all year around. So let me tell you a bit about these two 92émes cities! Suresnes and La Défense (not a city per se as it is an agglomeration of several cities).

Let me give you my previous posts on these two places for reference on what to see as tourist.

Suresnes memories of always

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/10882

La Défense business or pleasure

https://wordpress.com/post/paris1972-versailles2003.com/1336

Let me tell you that Suresnes is in the department Hauts de Seine 92 in the Ile de France region sitting on the left bank of the Seine river and part of the overall Metropole of Grand Paris and the territory west of La Défense. It is surrounded by Puteaux and Nanterre on the north, Saint Cloud on the south, Rueil Malmaison on the west and Paris on the east.

The transportation here is dense but fluid and never a traffic jam. The current bridge dates from 1950 and has 30 meters long; there are levies first ones appeared in 1864-1869, and others followed in 1880 and 1885 to improve river traffic between Paris and Rouen in Normandy. Next to the levies ,there was the basin of Saint Cloud-Suresnes on the limits of two bridges by same name and was used to test hydroplanes before today gives way to the practice of nautical sports such as motonautic, ski nautique and wakeboard.

Suresnes

levies and sliding bridge over the Seine river from Suresnes to bois de Boulogne

There is a good train station here on Gare de Suresnes-Mont Valérien on the line L of the Transilien coming out of Paris Saint Lazare train station ,very familiar to me. There is also a line 2 of the tramway that I ,also, got to test on the station Suresnes-Longchamp , and Belvédère both very crowded nowdays; there are ,also several bus lines passing by here such as the no 93, 141, 144, 157, 160, 175, 241, 244, 360, 544, and 563 of RATP and the night line N53 of Noctilien. Driving from Porte Maillot take the N185 road (allée de longchamp) thru the Bois de Boulogne and cross the Seine river at the D1/D785 pont de Suresnes into blvd Henri Sellier. When I came from Versailles by car, I took several options depending on the traffic news.

A bit of history on Suresnes.

The name of the town comes from the Latin Surisnce.  By 918AD Charles the  Simple gave the domain to count of Paris, Robert I and the abbot of Saint Germain des Prés. By 1593, king Henri IV of France had his conferences here in from of the Catholic from the Royal army and the League. In 1844, the ruins of the abbey of the congregation of priest of the calvary were been rebuilt to have the Fort of Mont Valerien (today still a military compound)  and making it as well a place of religious place. In 1914, the WWI starts and Suresnes becomes one of the places to produce ammonition and rockets. During WWII, the fort of Mont Valerien was occupied by the nazis and was the theater of many executions ,more than 1000. From 1941 to 1944, the Catholic priest Franz Stock accompany the prisioners to their last wish and on 1942 the writer and resistant fighter Jacques Decour (Daniel Decourdemanche) died for France on the firing wall executed by the nazis The Mémorial de la France Combattant du Mont Valerien is today  a place of pilgrimage; each year on June 18  the President of France comes here for the commemoration. In 1974 it was held here the 26th Congress of the Spanish workers socialists party (PSOE) then in exile from dictator General Franco in Spain.

Webpage on the memorial of Mont Valerien. Memorial of Mont Valerien

Suresnes

cross of Lorraine and Memorial to French resistance at Mont Valerien

Suresnes

memorial to French resistance Mont Valerien

Things to see in Suresnes:

The Notre Dame de la Paix Chuch, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Notre Dame  de la Salette Chapel, Saint Leufroy Chapel, Saint Louis Chapel, and Fort du Mont Valerien Chapel. Here at the Mont Valérien you see the fortress, mémorial of France Combattant, and the American cemetery of Suresnes; You ,also see the Terrace of Fécheray with a view of Paris and La Défense, best view of Paris from here in my opinion.  There is recenlty as 2013 a new Museum of Urban and social history of Suresnes in the old train station of Suresnes-Longchamp   Showing the evolution of the city from the 1920-1930.  IT has 7 sequences that the visitor cand discover on its past from religious to military, as wel as the agriculture history of the city with its many factories. On the first floor, you have the story on the person of Henri Sellier, mayor of Suresnes from 1919 to 1941 showing his devotion to the city and the urban projects such as the cité jardins etc. More here on the museum: Museum of Urban Social History

American Cemetery of Suresnes: American Cemetery of Suresnes

Suresnes

in front of American cemetery lookout to Paris

Not to mention,and along an anecdote to come here are the wines of Suresnes and its festival of the grape on each October as well as the Confrérie du vin or wine brotherhood. The vineyards here were cultivated on the lands of Couvaloux,  Bons Raisins, and Pas Saint Maurice. You can buy the wines at the tourist office always. Tourist office on the wine in French: The vineyards of Suresnes

Now I go not far to La Défense

La Défense  is a business district located in the metropole of the Grand Paris in the region of Île de France, the first in Europe by its inventory of offices buildings.  It is located in the north west  of Paris  in the department of Hauts de Seine no 92 and the territory of the cities of Puteaux, Courbevoie, Nantes and La Garenne-Colombes . It is on the historical axis that starts at the Louvre palace and continues avenue des Champs-Elysées  Arc de Triomphe and onwards to the Pont de Neuilly and the Grande Arche de la Défense.  The opening in 1981 of the shopping mall Les Quatre Temps made a strong impact on the area and we enjoyed always there; more here: Les 4 temps shopping Mall

La Défense

grande arche de la Défense

The neighborhoods of the La Défense has connection from the boulevard circulaire or beltway to the interior and exterior on a one way basis. It is large of 160 hectares and divided into four sectors such as Arche Nord, Arche Sud, Esplanade Nord , and Esplanade Sud.  The neighborhood is surrounded around a huge pedestrian square of 31 hectares, surrounded by works of arts. The circulation is around the autoroute A14 reaching La Défense by two exits one at Courbevoie and the other at La Garenne-Colombes (road D992) and another onwards to Puteaux and Nanterre (913). There is an underground city and on transports it has even a bus terminal reaching all parkings  with many transports choices including metro line 1 ,RER A Tramway 2 ,the express lane bus Express A14, many bus lines, night bus N24. Here I have come by train tramway and car. Trains from Rive Droite in Versailles or Saint Lazare in Paris, and tramway line 2 from Suresnes or by car along the Seine river D7 road.

A bit of history I like

The idea took thought in 1766 when Jean Rodolphe Perronet gives a road from his tower to mark the continuation of the Champs-Elysées with a prospective from the hill of Roule (future Place Charles de Gaulle /Arc de Triomphe) ,and the first houses of Neuilly  this road had the name of Chemin des Cours, and going to the hill of Chantecoq. At this location, it was designed a round square modeled after the Place de l’Etoile that was name Place de l’Etoile Chantecoq on whch an obelisk was placed of 40 meters  high. When the siege of Paris in 1870-71, the round square of Courbevoie was fortified and here was defended by the marching 19th regiment in 1870 after the Prussian show up in Malmaison. The round point became an obligatory passage of the French troops when preparing for the battle of Buzenval in 1870 and later in 1871. After the battle of Courbevoie in 1871, and during the uprisings of Paris, the troops from Versailles came to hold here than fired upon the pont de Neuilly held by the volunteers of the French National Guard.

The urban revival of the area was and is huge.  The first generation towers all identical with a base of 42 by 24 meters and a height of 100 meters was done in 1966 by the Tour Nobel ; early in the 1970’s the second generation towers came into being with towers of more than 100K square meters such as the Tour Fiat (today call Areva) at 184 meters high and 44 floors. IN 1970, the gare de la Défense was opened with the RER A. Later the third generation towers came to be on a more economical model.  Narrower and lower such as the Tour Pascal, tour Voltaire, and on the neighborhoo of MIchelet. On a contest started in 1982, the Grande Arche de la Défense see its day as well as hotels, CNIT renovated, and the extension of line  1 of the metro opened in 1992 making Paris closer.

Today, La Défense is the first Business district of Europe! New towers are going up such as the T1 at 185 meters and Tour Granite at 184 meters,and also the biggest Tour First at 231 meters is the highest skyrise in France. Many government services are moved here such as the environment ministry, and territorial ministry house in the Grande Arche, Tour Seguoia and Tour Pascal. At the side of the city of Courbevoie, you have  the tour D2 opened in 2015, Carpe Diem opened in 2103 and since early 2017 our world headquarters for my company.  Tour Majunga done in 2014

By this year, there will be two towers of more than 200 meters such as the tour First ,Sisters, and Air, 20 towers of more than 150 meters and 46 towers of more than 100 meters. Taken a look from the bridge or Pont de Neuilly you have the crossroads of the pont de Neuilly a busy road  to make for the exits from the autoroute A14 the boulevard Circulaire (beltway) and the quays on the Seine river  crossed by an open air ride on the metro line 1. The Basin Takis on the extreme east of the parvis with a great view of Neuilly-sur-Seine and Paris (historical axis and tour Eiffel). There is even a small vineyard there the Clos de Chantecoq on the border of the parvis. The Esplanade on the historical axis with trees and benches on a narrow passage way; then you come to the Place de la Défense on the circle and surrounded by the towers Ariane, Opus 12, Coeur Défense, etc) a very busy intersection by on foot folks and you find the information bureau and the museum of La Défense. The parvis itself is a huge space surrounded by the Grande Arche de la Défense , CNIT ,the shopping center Les 4 temps and underneath the exchange knot for public transports, huge underneath with tramway bus ,metro and RER ; and on top the place for the Christmas market ; all surrounded by nice streets such as the Place des Saisons, place Jean Millier (where the towers Total and Areva are), and the cours Valmy.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here,and ask me if doubts.

News on La Défense : https://www.ladefense.fr/en

Non official but better La Défense in French : http://defense-92.fr/

The Grande Arche de la Défense in English : https://www.lagrandearche.fr/en/

Hauts de Seine tourist office on La Défense : https://www.tourisme92.com/la-defense.html

This is the tourist office for the region of ïle de France covering both places as well

Ile de France tourist office

There you go an alternative to Paris proper is to go shopping at Les 4 Temps huge mall, then eat at one of the many restaurants in the parvis and esplanade and walk with an eye view from the Grande Arche de la Défense ito the Arc de Triomphe and all the way tot he Arc du Carrousel. You can then climb above the Grande Arche for spectacular views of Paris. A good day with the family indeed.

Hope it helps your planning; like I said, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all! Tomorrow back to work lol!!!

 

May 8, 2018

Now the noise is gone from the house and all we have is us…

As the time went by, I had many nice condolences from many folks , including my wife former bosses, some not heard in a while. They all had nice words for me and my wife; she was one good lady and a heck of a great mother and wife. The family is coming more than ever too even those that still had not visited us here. All are welcome.

We need this time to speak about Martine and remember all the good and love she gave us. It was time to go to the flower shop and get some white roses for her cremation. I ,also, took pictures of the front and back of the house and print them on photo paper really nice turn out. These will be put with her.

She went into the hospital and never left it unfortunately , she was saying ,worried that she will never see her house again. So sad it was that way. However, as one good friend from Florida told me, she will be in our house forever, indeed she will be. Thanks DS.

As the weekend approaches the family is coming ,arriving Saturday evening 5 May and Sunday 6 May and one last brother early morning Monday 7 May. The cremation will be by 10h30 on May 7yh  and the ashes will be collected by me by 16h30 (4:30 pm). Extremely punctual service all was like clockwork.

Then, the real trial begins. The house will be empty of her strength and organization and loving touch that took me out when raining with an umbrella going to work. The memories flashing cannot understand this cancer. Billions spent on it, all kinds of gurus mentioning all kinds of treatment even spiritual healers and the cancer still there. IT is like someone mentioned, a conspiracy nobody wants to have it resolve after all is all money. Do not know.

I will have to get my life in order and go along with the boys and my father still with me, at least I have them in the house. They will accompany me in this trial of survival and memories all good so much good. We travel the world together ,eat and sweat all over the big cities and the small villages, drove and walk even took the plane back to Florida and Italy; now is all alone, well my boys will be there.

We are a good team, embedded in the old motto, of one for all and all for one, we are very united and that is a big help. I need a big help. Will think later on how to post here in my blog something about life and travels of pedmar10; stay tune.

This is our house, the one she could not make it back. However, its all full of memories things she did in it, she did all the decoration and even work in the basement with the boys while I was out on business trips. All full of wonderful memories;our house.

Pluvigner

house backyard from window upper floor

Pluvigner

Our house front and deco by Martine

We follow the funeral car from the mortuary next to the hospital that took care of her , Chubert or CHBA Vannes, it was to be her last ride I thought . Once in the crematorium it was simple with the family and some ex and current colleagues who nice enough came to the ceremony where we listen a bit to the music of Phil Collins/Genesis my wife favorite singer/group. It was a nice farewell and very sad to see the coffin entered the fire room.

Plescop

the name label on the coffin

Plescop

the waiting room at the crematorium

Plescop

from the lobby of the crematorium out to the memorial garden

Vannes

the ride from the mortuary to the crematorium

It’s Sunday, we are waiting for the first family members to arrive by 13h30 today, will be the older brother. They are coming by car from the Nord dept 59 and Seine et Marne dept 77. They arrive ok and on Monday noonish , we went to have lunch after the cremation in one of our favorite pizza resto in town le Scampi, we were 16 hungry family members the mother on wheelchair, stepfather (her father died in auto accident when she was 10); sisters and brothers and a couple nieces. A nice family reunion even if in sad circumstances, it is these that brings the family closer together.

Pluvigner

the family at scampi

Pluvigner

another shot of family in Scampi

Pluvigner

more of the family at Scampi

Later on Sunday we were at home with the family and took out our German beers and snacks to gathered around and remember Martine, my dear Frenchie, mamie blue , the best wife/mother you can imagine.

Pluvigner

at home with the family

Pluvigner

the family and my father being hug

Pluvigner

more family at home

Pluvigner

one of my sons and Aunt, wife sister at home

It was a very emotional and hectic weekend and Monday all day. We finally went to get the ashes, they are for now in the sofa bed she last used at home. We will think later to take it to the sea at Honfleur Normandy to be share with the braves, and my mother.

Pluvigner

the ashes of Martine in sofa bed

Lastly, it was Monday evening and the older brother from the Nord was still here with his family so we decided to go out to get some drinks snacks and I took them to Saint Goustan and one of our favorite there L’Armoric where we had some Breton beers and sausages fries, croquet monsieur sandwiches. This is in the town of Auray.

Auray

me in brother in the armoric

Auray

the boys and cousin in l’Armoric

Auray

place st sauveur st goustan auray

stone bridge over the auray river at St Goustan and the castle ruins of 1532

Auray

the stone bridge on the auray river

Last minutes gifts and was not allowed to paid so the family began to leave, first the Seine et Marne and last the Nord; they have a long route but safely home. It is nice and sad, we should had had meeting like this more often with Martine alive. It stays the memory and the promise that we will meet more often in the future. For us, it is back to the fight for life alone, the house it seems empty Martine was all over, every fingerprint on it was hers, we are survival we will make it but the memories will be strong , already are.

For the record, today is May 8 back in 1945 WWII in Europe ended; peace and less death that is the goal of any kind. Life is too precious and when you lose one, it becomes more real more to fight for. Happy travels, good health and many cheers to all.

May 2, 2018

The ordeal of saying goodbye to a very loving person, my Martine

I have not yet the will to write anything, as I am in the process of the burial of my wife (see previous post). Today I finalise the contract with the funeral services and the arrangements for the cremation on Monday.

It hard to imagine me writing on travel without my second half around, with me on the road warrior trips we made all over western Europe over the last 27+ years. First coming to meet her and drive around even to Madrid; then the visits coming from Florida and then living in France first at Versailles and then here at Pluvigner and going all out.

I like for me for my blog for my friends and family to post some photos of the ordeal coming up, nice photos nothing sad. We are all very united and strong in the family. I have thought only about 10 will come as they are very far, yet now it’s about 20 plus many friends from previous and current jobs have promise to be there. Talking with nurses and merchants was inspiring the way they talk about my Frenchie , she was very talkative and friendly and made a good impression to all; usually she was the one who presented the folks to me!

She always thought about me and the boys, even on my last magazine purchase at discounts at work I gave it to her to ordered and she did her TV guide and the secrets of history magazine for me! I just got the second issue yesterday.

Our puppy Rex , which she also name after a popular TV series here in Europe, is now grown to over 15 kg and 5,5 months old, sadly she only saw him for 3 weeks. He will be with us for a long time adg. Rex by her is now fully part of the family.

The crematorium ceremony will be held on  May 7 2018 at 10h30 in Plescop near Vannes webpage: Crematorium de Plescop

The funeral house handling is Thétiot of Vannes, Very lady owner with her husband here: Assistance Funeraire Thétiot Vannes

The hospital where she was treated with caring folks is locally known as simply Chubert  Hospital. A bit of history I like on the hospital comes from the site translated : The hospital was an order by king Louis XIV to make it obligatory to have one in the principal cities of the kingdom. The Hôtel Dieu Saint-Nicolas, was founded in 1684 ,and located near the St Patern Church on the farmland of Cosquer. After a period of times,  it was decided to built a bigger hospital on the idea of pavilions of each discipline of sickness and the current hospital is built in the 1930’s on the current site. In 1946, the hospital takes the name of its former vice President, who died in deportation, Prosper CHUBERT. It become a hospital center with school of nurses by 1948.  There is a sister hospital in Auray that had 3 from the 12C to the 17C but only one survived the French revolution, that was the  « Hôtel-Dieu Notre Dame » or « Hôtel-Dieu de la Charité »; the current hospital built in 1970 on the old farmland of Le Pratel, of which it carries the name.  In 2000, the two joint forces to become the Centre Hospitalier Bretagne Atlantique or simply CHBA. More info here: CHBA or Chubert Vannes

I will get it right, hanging in there and now all the sad paperwork begins, picking the death certificate tomorrow. Thank you for putting up with these posts …

Photos with the lake around the hospital at end she look out the window every time.

Vannes

the spirits and positive attitude was on in room 175 Chubert

Vannes

Thétiot funeral services Vannes entrance

Vannes

the warrior in room 175 fighting hard in Chubert

Vannes

weaker but full of positive vibes in room 175

Vannes

my force at room 175 Chubert hospital

Vannes

last intravenous on her at Chubert hospital Vannes room 175

Vannes

visiting with the boys room 175 Chubert

Vannes

Chubert hospital main entrance

Vannes

funeral mortuary at Chubert Hospital

Plescop

crematorium

Vannes

Blvd de la paix to Chubert hospital lake du duc she look out windows

Vannes

levy ecluse on lake du duc out to Chubert hospital windows

For life and the pursuit of happiness forever together for the worse and for the best Amen. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all.

 

April 30, 2018

In memoriam my sweet Frenchie!

As my blog is part of my life history and all the wonderful travels done with my family and alone throughout the years, I have a very sad news to tell all ,and make part of my blog.

I have no words as this is just been communicated to me by the doctors . My wife of 27,5 wonderful super years have passed away at Chubert Hospital in Vannes. It is a very sad moment for me but writing here is a soothing relief of the great pain I am going thru. We had 3 wonderful young men who are very close to her and me and we are hanging in there and we will survive together. My father still alive at 82 is with us.

The French family has call they are coming  ,and received condolances even from some not heard lately but in these times is when the real friends show up and I am very glad have a bunch.

In just 27,5 years of marriage date was December 26 1990 and her coming birthday was to be September 26 where she would have been 60 yrs old; she died of the lousy sickness of our times pancreatic cancer with intestinal occlusion complications due to the cancer.

In memoriam born in Meaux, dept 77 Seine et Marne, September 26 1958. I had the extreme priviledge of meeting by August 1989 and marrying on December 26 1990 in Daytona Beach Florida USA/ 3 young boys twins of 24 each and older of 26 years old are with me and very supportive. She died  at 19h (7pm) on April 30 2018 in Chubert Hospital (Bretagne Atlantique) in Vannes.

Farewell my Martine ,we will not forget your staunch positive aptitude and so much caring for us . As we had said many times, we take our motto from Alexandre Dumas Three Muskeeteers , ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE. We are together thanks to your example and strenght. God bless you my mamie blue, and may the angels keep you great company as you look after us from your resting place.

We spoked and decided she will be cremated at Plescop, near Vannes and later on the ashes will be deposti in the Atlantic Ocean from Honfleur Normandy. Where my mother was done and where we are all coming.

Thank you all my readers to make it so comfortable to enjoy myself telling you all the good things about travel. I will be back , promise.

 

Pluvigner

My Frenchie mamie blue Martine

 

April 30, 2018

Travels in Rabelaisie; François Rabelais!

So on this long weekend, let me tell you about something personal. I love wines and drinking them, and also ,the French literature like one of my favorites François Rabelais. And now he is so close to me, past by it and stop of course several times, drinking on the road such evangelists tell you is not good, but with a prudent men it is always a tradition worth keeping. In Vino Veritas!!!

Chinon

chateau de Chinon from across the Vienne river

Chinon

view of city from castle of Chinon

A bit on Rabelais I like

It all began near Chinon in the Loire Touraine area in the middle of vineyards and where the waters of the Vienne river meet the Loire river.  It was here in the end of the 15C in a farmhouse called “La Devinière”,(now a museum to his memory) attached to the parish of Seuilly and close by the abbey of Sully that came to our world  a literary genious call François Rabelais.  He offered the world the picturesque and funny stories of Pantagruel that his father Gargantua brought from the women Badebec, daughter of the king of the Amaurotes in Utopia. His books gave a tremendous popular following which was not to please the theologians of the Sorbonne in Paris. François Rabelais was accused of heresy and his book prohibited.  We have to say that François Rabelais was a humanist and his stories accompany the movement of the thinkers born in Italy and that marked the Renaissance. A humanism that the Church denounce as pagan.

Who is this guy? François Rabelais (aka Alcofribas Nasier, an anagram of François Rabelais, or that of  Séraphin Calobarsy) was a French writer of the humanism of the Renaissance period , born in 1483 or 1494 according to the theories and died in Paris on April 9 1553. His infant years was spent in a bourgeois level benefitting of a medieval schooling such as the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, dialective etc) and Quadrivium (math, geometry, music and astronomy etc) . According to the accounts of history, Rabelais starts as a Franciscan in the convent of the Baumette before joining that of Puy Saint-Martin in Fontenay-le-Comte.  While writing articles not to much to the liking of the Church he gets a waver by Pope Clement VII to have permission to entered the Benedictine order of monks.  At the Abbey of Saint-Pierre-de-Maillezais, he meets the bishop  Geoffroy d’Estissac prelate name by king François I. The bishop d’Estissac takes Rabelais as his secretary and under his protection.  Rabelais takes a trip to Paris in 1528 or 1530 to study medicine as well as his first love relationship with a widower that makes him father of two children in 1540.

Chinon

Francois Rabelais from wikimedia commons

By September 1530 he entered the Medical faculty of Montpellier where he received a bachelor degree in six weeks in the spring of 1532. He then goes to Lyon a great cultural center where the library business is booming. By November 1st he is name doctor of the hospital of Hôtel Dieu de Notre Dame de la Pitié du Pont du Rhône where he works in intervals.

The book of Pantagruel come out in 1533 was an immediate success as well as an almanac Pantagrueline Prognostication that makes fun of the superstitions. The bishop of Paris ordered Rabelais in 1534 as his secretary and doctor while he was on a trip to Rome for serious business of convincing Pope Clement VII not excommunicate king Henri VIII.  The re edition of Pantagruel in 1534 is accompany by various orthographical ,syntax and typographical corrections and very innovating at the times , and shows the fight against the Sorbonne.

By January 1536, on a brief of Pope Paul III authorized Rabelais to reach the Benedictine monastery of his choice and the exercise of medicine so he joined the Abbey of Saint Maur de Saint Maur des Fossées. By 1540, Rabelais departs for Torino Italy while on the same year the Pope Paul III declares legitimes his sons François and Junie born out of wedlock.  By September 1545 , Rabelais is given a privilege for the printing of Tiers Livre (third book) edited in 1546 by Chrestien Wechel that he signed with his own name; the theologies of the Sorbonne condemned him for heresy. By March 1546, Rabelais escapes from France  until 1547 or early 1548 in Metz at the time an imperial free town. He entered at the service of the city as doctor and adviser living by Estienne Lorens in the district of the Old town, the building still has his name. The Quart Livre  (fourth book)  still has souvenirs of this stay in Metz by introducing the language of the town, his costumes, and city stories like the Graoully. By 1551, Cardinal du Bellay bequest on Rabelais the priesthood of Saint Martin de Meudon and of Saint Christophe du Jambet. Rabelais does not lived in Meudon but maybe in Paris or in the castle of Saint Maur.

In 1548, eleven chapters of the Quart Livre are published and by 1550 Rabelais is given by the King the right to print all his works without been copy or reproduce without his approval (sort of the first copyrights ruling ).  At the same time, the printing controls becomes stricter and the law of Chateaubriand gives the rise on one of its clauses that every book printed a copy needs to go to the library of prohibited books by the Sorbonne. And of course, the three novels of Rabelias are on the list.  This prohibition does not stop the circulation of works benefiting of a Royal privilege. The integral version of the Quart Livre out in 1552 has a dedication letter by Odet de Châtillon thanking for his support.

On January 7 1553 , Rabelais  stop his treatment, he died in Paris in a house on the street or rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul (reach on metro line 1 Saint Paul or Line 7 Pont Marie or even line 7 Sully-Morland), there is a commemoration plaque on the street.  His death gives way to several stories and rumors  such as saying like « Je n’ai rien, je dois beaucoup, je donne le reste aux pauvres » something like I have nothing I give a lot, and the rest I give to the poor’s or this other one  « Tirez le rideau, la farce est jouée » something like bring down the curtains the farce is played.  He is buried at the old cemetery of the Church of Saint Paul des Champs in Paris. The Church is now call St Paul St Louis ,however, some parts of the old Church still can be seen, like part of the bell tower you can still see in the house of no 32 rue Neuve Saint Pierre at the corner of rue Saint Paul. The cemetery was closed in 1791 with many bodies in the wells some executed during the French revolution. The body of Rabelais is there below the houses that were built later, and never care to find his and others remains.

You can come and see his museum (farmhouse birth)  in plain Touraine vineyards here: http://www.musee-rabelais.fr/

To recap his most famous works and I love them all!

Pantagruel published in 1532, the publishing under the name of Alcofribas Nasier and some estimates it was published in 1533-34 or even 1535.  The déuxiéme livre or Gargantua is a follow up on the first one. Published in 1546 under his real name with the benefits of king François I and Henri II for the 1552 edition of Tiers Livre. The first edition of Quart Livre came out in 1548 with eleven chapters and many typos, the book printed by Michel Fezandat tells of the trip of Pantagruel and his friends to questioned the sayings of the Dive Bouteille.  By 1562 after his death it came out in the L’Isle Sonnante a partial edition of Cinquiéme livre (fifth book) that had 16 chapters. There was another version of 47 chapters coming out two years later. There is a manusciprt well preserve in the National Library or Bibliothéque Nationale ; since the 17C the authencity of these documents has always been questioned.

The information on the books , publications and history of François Rabelais in French is at the National Library site here: http://classes.bnf.fr/dossitsm/b-rabela.htm

And, of course, been in wine country Touraine, Loire, Rabelais finally comes to mind the title of my post. The information in French is here:  Chinon has the travels of Rabelais: http://www.chinon.com/voyagez-en-rabelaisie/

First, the area I am talking about is one I passed several times and get my wines from, at least most of them. One of the oldest AOC in France that of Chinon from 1937 covering 26 towns, 2400 hectares of vineyards, 2300 of those planted with Cabernet Franc, 74 ha with Chenin Blanc, a total of 173 winemakers producing 13 million bottles of wine each year with about 1,3 million exported of which 50% to the United States (my figures from 2015).

Chinon

map appellation Chinon from the syndicat de vins de Chinon Touraine

The vineyards are about 8 towns of the Rabelais spirit on the left bank of the Vienne river including his birthplace area of Seuilly that are all in the Chinon AOC wine denomination area.  One of the most ardent defender of this Rabelaisiens and Chinon is the Domaine or Château Joguet (my favorite buy a must to buy) own by Anne-Charlotte Genet ,that has the bottles since 1957 decorated with the Rabelais. The humanism in a bottle with 550 hectares of vineyards. Here the Vienne river cuts the appellation in two while the Loire river helps with the climate escaping the clouds…

Here the black grapes do battle even if minorities providing 17% of the red wine in other areas, while at Chinon itself they do 85% of the production, later Rosé and only 3% of whites.  Fruity , gourmand wines simple and well digest and limited keeps. The underground cellars of the Chateau de Chinon are huge and at 12C constant they can be visited. The dominant grape here is the Cabernet Franc fleuron after WWI in the area producing from it wines of fine tannins, ripe as well.  The tradition continues thanks to the amazing fraternity of wine lovers of Rabelais or the Entonneurs Rabelaisiens webpage here: http://www.entonneurs-rabelaisiens.com/

Some biased choices, sorry, but they are good seek them out and tell me what you think.

Domaine Charles Joguet Clos de la Dioterie 2015 32€  here rated 18.5 /20!! absolute a must trust me.Only 2 hectares here but sublime bio cultivation; and les Charmes 2014 is awesome; anecdote Charles Joguet is a painter but seldom does interviews;in the property you can see his paintings which are well known .

Chinon

domaine Charles Joguet and its wines in Chinon

Another one Beatrice and Pascal Lambert ,La Croix Boissée 2014 , 20€ 18.5/20 bio in chalk lands black grape with minty and sweet spices it can be keep as the one above. For all budgets, Jourdan et Pichard , Les 3 Quartiers 2014,from parcels over 50 years old in bio too, mint coffee, muscadet nuts very nice at 15€ 16,5/20. Domaine Eric Hérault, La Poiteviniére 2016 10€ 16/20, high in the quaint town of Panzoult near the castle of Chinon, strawberries, black olives, and liquorice. All good!!

A webpage with properties information in the region, in English, have it on Chinon: http://uk.vignobles-chinonbourgueilazay.com/cellars-wines/chinon

Enjoy the Touraine, a lot more than castles I am telling you ::) Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all. Life goes on.

 

 

April 21, 2018

Some news from France CXC

And lets get back to France, it is hot, very hot, today we got to 29C or about 84F, and the locals went to the beach. Not me, need to work but will check it out a bit tomorrow. Full sunshine and no rain of course; lovely France. And gorgeous Morbihan in Brittany on the west coast beaches!

Let me tell you a bit on what is going on of interest to many, not to mention the strikes on SNCF continues and AF is calling for days too, the University students are holding out and been kick out by the police special riots from the Universities, and so on ,that is France ,champions strikers; one way to break from the cold into the hot  spring days!

I have mentioned before of things to do in Versailles, and told you it is more than a castle well here is one update of one place we like when lived there and visit when by the city. You have on the left the Centre Commercial Parly II shopping center par excellence and we like too, on the right you have the Château de Versailles and between these mega places you have a heaven of peace with the sweetness of big trees covering about 250 fields of football/soccer and still not as well visited. The Arboretum de Chévreloup sits between the cities of Rocquencourt (Van Gogh painted on the town) and Versailles in the Yvelines dept 78 and after some renovation is open again! Normally, they had opened about 50 hectares to the public but after this major work, you can walk on 200 hectares or 494 acres! On a land that was the hunting ground of king Louis XIV and part of the Domaine de Versailles until the French revolution. It has over 2500 species of trees in geographical lineup,one of the richest collections in Europe!  The blue cedar trees are one of the biggest in the world with 800 meters on a straight line bringing you back to what the botanists were thinking when they created in the 1920’s. See it! Arboretum de Chévreloup, 30 route de Versailles, (N186) open every day from  April 1 to November 15 (except labor day May 1st) from 10h to 18h admission is 7€ adults more info at  Arboretum de Chévreloup

Major work to renovated the Grand Palais, as it is in a critical state of repairs. The main building in the Universal Exposition of 1900 ,the works planned for it will be the first since opening in a historical work site with a budget of 466 million euros , it will start in December 2020 and finish by Spring 2023 and by the summer of 2024 will be an Olympic site. The public debate on the progress will be held and decision done by May 14 . You can follow the vote and construction updates here.  building debate on the Grand Palais

And the men of the Big wheel or Grande Roue  in the place de la Concorde by the Jardin des Tuileries is at it again with the city of Paris. This time going to the Council of State the highest body to rendered a decision. Marcel Campion wants the wheel to stay here , however if the decision is negative, he will take the wheel to Red Square in Moscow. The decision by the Council of State should be by May 19 next. Marcel Campion is offering two free days to the resident of Paris with proof of domicile, on May 17 and 18. All others still need to pay admission of 12€.  Description of the Big Wheel is here in city of Paris tourist office! Big Wheel Paris tourist office

And the very busy and popular RER C station of Saint Michel is due to open to the public again by April 30. It has been closed for repairs and now there is a tentative opening day according to  SNCF  Réseau .

And as the weather is nice ,and will be for the next few days ,here is my suggestion for a nice weekend brunch in Paris. Claus Saint-Germain. 2, rue Clément (6éme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 55 26 95 10. Brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 9h to 17H formule 4 brunchs from 31-34€. More here: Claus Saint Germain

And how about those wonderful Paris terraces, well they are all over and plenty of choices for all. My favorites the last couple years have been.

Marcello. 8, rue Mabillon (6éme). Tél. +33 01 43 26 52 26. open every day carte menu 30-60€ Marcello Paris

Le Drugstore. 133, avenue des Champs-Élysées (8éme). Tél. +33 01 44 43 77 64. Open every day carte menu 40-60€. Le Drugstore Paris

And with the look alone of the Basilica Sainte Clotilde you have the quaint Le Basilic. 2, rue Casimir-Perier (7éme). Tél. +33  01 44 18 94 64. Open every day carte menu 50-70€.  Le Basilic Paris

Maison Maison. Voie Georges-Pompidou, facing  16, quai du Louvre (1éme). Open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays for lunch. carte menu 15-30€

At La Démesure (9éme)  you have your views on the Seine river on the righ bank or rive droite on a boat barge of 120 persons capacity with tables on the quays. La Démesure sur Seine. 69, port de la Rapée (12éme). Open every day except Sundays and Mondays. Carte menu 20-40€.  La Démesures sur Seine Paris

And only steps from the wonderful nice pretty a must parc Monceau,you have a huge terrase for 70 persons capacity hiding behind the gate of the Camondo museum ,see the wonderful gardens . Le Camondo. 61 bis, rue de Monceau (8éme). Tél. +33  01 45 63 40 40. Open every day except Sundays. Carte menu 45-55€. Le Camondo Paris

And of course on these brunch and terrace combination, cannot go away without telling you again my all time favorite in my favorite spots in Paris, the 16éme and quartier Muette. What was an old train station for several years a wonderful place to eat, drink and enjoy the terraces in the back overlooking the Parc Ranelegh. Restaurant Le Gare, 19 chaussée de la Muette, metro La Muette line 9 leaves you facing the restaurant to your left out of station. Open every day menu carte from 24-39€ Enjoy it. Those from my previous life in the travel forums will remember taking you there each time in Paris. Webpage: Restaurant Le Gare

And Mexico is feeling strong in Paris! La Casa Corona , a house of artists and part of Corona France (the Mexican beer people) has open a new ephemeral bar in the 11éme on what was a huge loft with a glass ceiling now has several bars, lots of vegetation, water fresheners sprays, hammocks, swingers and small corners to speak softly between friends. The invited artists will be amongst you and could expose their works in the bar where a display has been installed;nothing told in advance you just show up and see who is showing or playing there. The La Casa Corona, 71 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11éme, Will have the space open from April 19 to May 13, Tuesdays to Thursdays from 17h to midnight and from Fridays to Sundays until 02h . You pay only 5€ for a corona beer and 10€ for cocktails. Really!!! See more in their Facebook page here: La Casa Corona Paris

Well Bio is on, and even I got some stuff bio here ::) Some of the best in my opinion and they are many and more and more coming.

Wild & The Moon has six addresses in Paris (last one at the fondation Lafayette Anticipations), the green cantina of  bio, local,  ethical, in season, vegan, rich in super foods, without lactose or additives or glutens.  Loaded with sweets as well and spices see it at  Wild & The Moon. 55, rue Charlot (3éme). Tél. +33 09 51 80 22 33. Open every day carte menu 15-30€. Wild & Le Moon Paris

A few steps from the Folies Bergére there is a counter, café-restaurant, and cantina.  The first is for take out food with retreats of purchase at the Le Campanier, the second is simple dishes with lots of vegetables and the cantina for fast lunch a la carte like soup of the day, veggie burger, and  cheesecake etc etc.  See at Supernature. 8 (counters), 12 (cantinas) , and 15 (restaurant), rue de Trévise (9éme). Tél. +33 01 42 46 58 04. Open every day except Saturdays and Sundays evening. Carte menu  16-30€. Brunch  on Sundays from 11h30 to 16h, 25€.  Supernature Paris

And for the fresh bio go and done since 1989,when a group got together here to offered all bio and one of the originals of Paris with a large choice of fruits, vegetables , and groceries and take out food.  Heavy on Sundays morning, the Marché bio Raspail. Boulevard Raspail, between rue du Cherche-Midi and rue de Rennes (6éme). Sundays from 9h to 15h. Marché Bio Raspail Paris

From bio to Cognac, well it is natural too ::)

The owner of cognac Remy Martin and liqueur Cointreau and rum Mount Gay just published the financials with cognac sales of 265M euros an increase of 2,6% if exchange rates taken into account ,otherwise it would be 12,8%. The sales of cognac Remy Martin are about 75% of that are 18;3% of the growth alone. The performance is very solid in the United States its first market as well as Russia, and the travelers sales on planes airports etc. The mark is positioning on the luxury segment and expect to have 60% of their sales on products costing more than 50 USDollars per bottle to the 2019-2020 period. The group overall sales are 1,13 billion euros and growth of 7,3% for 2017-2018. The story of Remy Martin here: cognac Rémy Martin

And I close out this edition of Some news from France with something from my earlier youthful days on light airplanes. ….

This weekend today at Cannes there will be the first Red Bull Air Race in France!!! with the participation of five French pilots. More here: Red Bull Air Race Cannes 2018

However, if you like to do this in while visiting France, let me give you some leads !!! The nice aerodrome of my nice Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole  and Dreux , have friendly voltage air rides for about 30-40 minutes and 240€ on a CAP 10 airplane, the most popular plane of  its class in the world. Also, in my old hangouts areas of the L’Isle-Adam, aerodrome Persan-Beaumont  are given rides of 30 minutes on an EXTRA 200 for about 526€, video souvenir included . For the same price in Coulommiers, dept 77 Seine-et-Marne, it is possible to fly for about 25 minutes on a wonderful Pitts Spécial, the mythical plane of voltage from the 1960’s and 265 Horse powers. And on the same club you can do a ride on a Robin R 2160 for 339€. Nearer me now in Ploemeur, near Lorient a ride sensation on a CAP 10 is doable for 120€.  At the Rennes airport they can give you a baptismal flight of about an hour over the Mont-Saint-Michel  for 749€.  You will do this and all along the coast in a Boeing Stearman of WWII vintage.   all of these  aerodromes can be found here. Just put the name of the town in France section. Aerodromes of France

Enjoy my belle France as I do. Have a great weekend you all. Happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all.

 

 

 

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