Archive for ‘Versailles’

December 4, 2017

Some news from France CLXXVII

And back to tell you all about my belle France. Times has change cold is here regularly now ,even some snow, but now back to 10C or about 50F and cloudy, the Autumn leaves looks beautiful on the shades. I am cruising for the Holiday season, and expect to go over the family in Seine-et-Marne dept 77 as well.

Now for the news here it is:

Météo France, of course the weather is in the news! Now it is estimated to be back next weekend as well; it will start next Friday to Sunday period. Therefore, if driving in France like me be careful of the icy roads. Méteo France here:  http://www.meteofrance.com/accueil

And you may have heard, read, watch the troubles again with the SNCF signalization and automation system at the train station or gare Montparnasse. A new system to allow control more platforms and more trains arriving. There were delays as much as four hours and the SNCF do reimburse you for lateness, see photo. The trains to Tarbes, Poitiers, Brest and Bordeaux were all late at least an hour! The issue was the same for the local express train TER and the Intercités ; to Le Mans, Granville to  Montparnasse. The situation is said to be under control but this is the second time in a short period that it has happened. So keep an eye on your travels by Montparnasse if need to / I know I go by there now but lucky no more for the rest of the year ! More here http://www.leparisien.fr/info-paris-ile-de-france-oise/gare-montparnasse-trafic-tres-perturbe-apres-une-panne-de-signalisation-03-12-2017-7430418.php
SNCF reimbursement

Gregory Porter, the jazz great is given a free concert in the auditorium of the Paris newspaper Le Parisien today at 10 rue Grenelle at 14h30. His last CD album entitled « Nat King Cole and me », honoring the legend Nat King Cole that he uses as a idol model. He has done work with the English pop group Metronomy, and concerts in festivals like the « Rock en Seine » in Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine), and recently at the Chorus in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine).  More here:  http://www.bluenote.com/spotlight/gregory-porter-nat-king-cole-me

How about getting into the Seine river at 8C or about 44F in the water and 0C or 32F out! Well I won’t do it but these folks did it last Sunday morning on a paddle ski in the event  Stand Up Paddle. There were 700 participants from the BNF (bibliothéque national de France) all the way to the Tour Eiffel  on the occasion of the 8th edition of the  Nautic Sup Paris Crossing, the biggest course in the world of this specialty. The Nautic event will continue to December 10 2017. More here: https://www.salonnautiqueparis.com/fr/visiter/les-animations/nautic-sup-paris-crossing

The beautiful square  place Clémenceau (8éme),with a wonderful statue of the Général de Gaulle on the side of the Petit Palais is back.  Newly clean sits there for all to see, the only statue of him officially authorized by the family. See it and read on it here: http://www.paristoric.com/index.php/paris-d-hier/statues/autres-statues/3161-la-statue-du-general-de-gaulle

The honey is in at several locations in Paris. Even my group company has ruche in our roofstop and make some for the employees. Now the winner of the contest of honey of the Grand Paris in the 27th Salon de Terroirs ,are from the town of Rueil-Malmaison, (Hauts de Seine 92) ,event held at the racecourse of Saint-Cloud. The harvest is done for  6 years already on a dozen ruches installed around the cemetery of Rueil, and produce about 150 kg per year!. The bees work at their own pace between the flowers of the cemetery , and the forest of Saint-Cloud. More here: http://www.salon-terroir-rueil.com/page/animations

A wonderful digital project is taken place to preserve the information on the fallen in World War I, known here affectionally as the poilu or hairy. It is call « Adoptez un poilu », or adopt a hairy; going on since December 2016 on the archives of the department 78 of Yvelines.  Done on the celebration honoring the Great War or WWI soldiers as they will give new meaning to them. Each participant will have a trace, a history of their efforts and all done by volunteers. Once this work done, it will be kept in perpetual memory for all those who fought from the old department name of Yvelines such as Seine-et-Oise (Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-d’Oise). They have already done 82 000 files and need 235 000 and hope to have it all done by November 2018 just in time for the big commemoration of  the 100 year anniversary. The site is in French with a very nice video here: https://www.yvelines-infos.fr/commemoration-de-grande-guerre-adoptez-poilu/

The Kiev in Paris the biggest artistic expression from Kiev are in Paris until next Sunday for the second edition of the festival « Un week-end à l’est ». It is time for the Ukraine to be the guest of honor in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with projections, expositions, lectures, debates, concerts and workshops in the 12 sites of the neighborhood. More in French here: http://www.weekendalest.com/

And let’s talk about Champagne because their biggest time of the year is near; Christmas and New Year period.

One of the grand old brands is the one most favorite of the French, that is ,Ruinart , and this end 2017 is coming out with two special cuvees from their cellars in Reims. They are the Dom Ruinart blanc de blancs 2006 ,and the Dom Ruinart rosé 2004.  Both are aged from than 10 years. You can find them here: https://www.ruinart.com/fr-e/les-vins/dom-ruinart-2006

Veuve Clicquot , the house of the pantone label (Pantone 137C) the most recognizable brand of Champagne. you can tell the bottle right away no matter where. Another of my favorites and you can know more about it here https://www.veuveclicquot.com/fr-fr/nos-champagnes/champagne-brut-carte-jaune

And my favorite and share with family many times is Moët & Chandon , the leader of the brands of Champagne. No 1 in volume and now a new bottle the Moët Ice Impérial. One of my first visited housed of Champagne in the avenue de Champagne in Epernay. More here: https://fr.moet.com/Champagnes-Moet/Moet-Ice-Imperial

OF course, will tell you my first and most memorable Champagne, the one I drank with my girlfriend (now wife) in Paris was Mercier, now part of the same group as Moët & Chandon, the LVMH group. Also, still at Avenue de Champagne in Epernay; more here: http://www.champagnemercier.fr/en/champagne-mercier-brut

And now an anecdote for the road warriors in us::)It used to take 13 minutes to drive the expressway from west to east of Paris that was 60 KPH when it opened in 1967; it was not called yet the voie Georges Pompidou but it was very good to avoid 23 bridges and many red lights doing it going under 7 underground ways. Today, the same road going at 70 KPH will take you 57 minutes from the start of the wharfs or quai de Bercy from the Porte de Saint-Cloud! Of course, assuming there is no traffic jams or special events going on lol!!!

And be merrier in the season with the opportunity to come to those ice skating rings going on at this time in Paris and elsewhere. The ones I have seen and my boys like the most previous years are:

Trocadéro On Ice ; the most romantic at the end of the day and before going for dinner come here for a spin facing the iron lady (Tour Eiffel) an ice skating ring of  300 m2, very nice. Going on from December 21st to January 8th on every day from 11h to 21h. Go in by the  Jardins du Trocadéro – 16éme. Together with a nice Christmas market; more in French here:  https://www.evous.fr/Trocadero-on-Ice-Le-village-de,1142457.html

The rooftop or  toit de la Grande Arche  going on from December 15 to January 14 ,you can come in costume too ,and a panoramic view of 360° of Paris. Skating between the towers of the Grande Arche. More in French here: http://www.ladefense.fr/en/agenda/une-patinoire-sur-le-toit-de-la-grande-arche

The ice skating in the forum des Halles is another popular one. It has the biggest Christmas market at Châtelet, around the fountain or fontaine des Innocents. Grab some hot wine and on the floor, ice skating that is. It will be from December 15 to January 14 with times differences on December 15 from 14h to 19h ; December 16-17 from 11h to 19h and December 18-22 from 14h to 19h and December 23 to January 14 from 11h to 19h; entrance by 101, rue Porte Berger – 1éme.  More here: http://forumdeshalles.com/access

The patinoire du Champ-de-Mars or ice skating under the Tour Eiffel with a nice smallish this year village de Noël or Christmas market with cabins, chalets and of course the ice skating on the  Champ-de-Mars. It will be from December 21th to January 8 2018. Entrance at Champ-de-Mars / 2, allée Adrienne Lecouvreur – 7éme: more here: https://quefaire.paris.fr/40055/le-village-de-noel-du-champs-de-mars

And those looking for the Christmas market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées look no more there won’t any due to dispute between the organizer’s and the city of Paris. Always looking to get more money from all. However, there are many all over the city, these are. In French: https://quefaire.paris.fr/38452/les-marches-de-noel-parisiens

What the city of Paris is doing is encouraging more natural stuff like beers !!! The city has a project on the harvesting of hops. The city has given about 10 sites to encourage this culture of harvesting. The idea is to plant in Spring and have the first harvest in September 2018; this to do a good Parisian beer. Others have taken the same idea further like the roof or  toits de l’Opéra Bastille that will host a hops maker and a microbrewery to produce about 8000 liters of beer. We can already talk about the Chai de Bercy,  another project to help create microbreweries in Paris , more of this brewery is at Brasserie éphémére du Chai de Bercy, 41 rue Paul-Belmondo, 12éme : and more info on this city of Paris initiative here:  https://www.paris.fr/actualites/appel-a-projet-pour-la-culture-du-houblon-a-paris-5317

Now let’s talk about an area of Paris with few tourists, because it is chic , residential and nice. My favorite area of Paris indeed; just for the ambiance, the cachet, and the good stuff found there many firsts for me and still go there. A bit of well more of the chic 16 arrondissement de Paris.

In about 20 years all the tendance chic of Paris was done on the east side. About 10 years it went to the North, and today it comes back to the west of  Paris. The sixteen or 16 district or arrondissement of Paris is up and well the chic area of Paris not now but made famous now again.  Call it the Snob, new rich or worse the new intellectual and artistic elites had left for the 10éme or 11éme and more daring to the 19éme and 20éme.  However, the embassies, museums, monuments, restaurants and cafés with terraces, the merchants and the street life, the parks, and gardens all dominated by the tour Eiffel; you are looking for a chic way of life, high class, excellent schools and peaceful living away from the noise of the city because the 16éme is a little Paris all by itself and it is big abuot 8 square kilometers  divided in two, south and north with each their own postal code. And divided encore into four neighborhood as Etoile-Trocadéro, Passy, Auteuil and Dauphine.(Paris has 20 districts or arrondissement and 80 neighborhoods or quartiers or 4 by district).

You can do a walk or tour on the Palais de Tokyo,in the marines museum or musée de la Marine ,and end with a dinner on the restaurant du Café de L’homme with its panoramic view of the Tour Eiffel.  The Wednesdays and Saturdays come to the avenue du Président Wilson,to do the market days with colorful stands to mingle with locals and tourists alike. All visitors dreaming of living in one of the apartments overlooking the Seine river and its quais as well as the tour Eiffel.  The Troca as we call it or Trocadéro is full of life with skaters of all ages on the esplanade, terraces cafés with full of students, Parisians and tourists.  There is always a line at Carette for its macaroons famous since 1927, the most sold in the world today!  The young likes to mingle around rue de Passy, for shopping where all the majors brands are.

If New-York has it’s Central Park (been there), Paris ,and more specifically the 16éme has the Bois de Boulogne ,and like the 846 hectares of the woods are not enough the gardeners has planted trees on the big arteries of the district such as the avenue Henri Martin, avenue George Mandel, avenue Foch (the biggest avenue in the city!), boulevard Flandrin,  boulevard Suchet, square Lamartine (with the famous water fountain drinkable! The parc Bagatelle and its flowers, the jardin du Ranelagh (lovely with a statue to La Fontaine) full of families and the prestigious theater or Théâtre de Guignol and its old swings , the greenhouse or  serres d’Auteuil,and its botanical garden or jardin botanique, and the wonderful Jardin d’Acclimatation for the pleasure of kids of all generations of Parisians (mine love it several times in it) , and now the biggest building there the Fondation Louis Vuitton.  The 16éme is the perfect harmony of city and nature.

For the lovers of sports, nothing to stop you from a Sunday morning baskets or jogging around the inferior lake in the Bois de Boulogne or  Lac intérieur du Bois. You can drink wonderful water at the Chalet des Iles (you can access by barge or small boats).  The nice municipal pool Molitor now better and modern has reopen its doors and pool.  The lovers of tennis are in high ground at the Roland Garros or give a shot at the stadium or Stade Jean Bouin.  There are cabins in the Parc des Princes as well.  There are many private roads and mansion houses hiding gorgeous gardens; the mansions or villa Montmorency, villa Saïd , and villa Dupont will make you dream to buy one. The busy shopping streets always vibrant and good neighborhood ambiance such as at rue d’Auteuil, rue de la Pompe ,and  rue de l’Annonciation. Chic my favorite, the 16 is it for Paris,eternal, for lovers of life and beauty. Enjoy it; Cheers.

Have a great start of the week, we are already in December and the season to be merrier is here. Happy Holidays to all.

November 28, 2017

Some news from France CLXXVI

Here it is another post and this one on the first I would say cold day in Brittany, 1C and already prognosticating snow in the adjacent department 35 Ile et Vilaine!!! It will be a cold next few days but nothing compare to my life’s experiences ::)

Back on telling you all about my belle France. Lots of things happening in the Hexagone ::)

The  métro Châtelet, line 4 will be closed until March 7 2018 due to installations of facades, the train will continue onwards without stopping here in Châtelet.  The access to the line 4 here will be done above ground in the stations  Cité about 600 meters and Les Halles  at about 450 meters . To helps the riders towards the line 4 the metro and RER lines of the hub Châtelet-Les Halles the RATP Paris transport authority advice you to take the station at Les Halles.

The know it all book about Paris is out. The « le Hillairet » is already in bookstores; published for the first time in 1956 the work  «Connaissance du vieux Paris » by Jacques Hillairet  has just been re edited by publisher Payot.  It is organise in two parts Rive droite/Rive gauche,and it shows neighborhood by neighborhood or quartiers, streets, and building numbers, a radiography historical and architecturally of Paris . It will be a huge information tool to really know  Paris by the visitors and locals alike. I have an older copy in the family and it is a bible of Paris info. The current book sells for 29€ and has 816 pages.

For instance it tells you about the street or rue des Francs-Bourgeois (4éme), a very popular artery in the Marais linking the rue Rambuteau to the place des Vosges.  In the Middle Ages this street between the rue Vieille du Temple and rue  Payenne,  was called the rue des Poulies ; meaning the pulleys used by the weavers fabric makers that lived here in the 16C and house in the poor homes of frank folks exempted from taxes and impositions. It, also, became a site of prostitution and homeless ,even if the house was eventually closed the name persists until 1868.

At no 25 rue des francs bourgeois  is the seat of the historical library of the city of Paris  or  bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris since 1969,at the hotel de Lamoignon,  also called the Hôtel d’Angoulême, purchased in 1584 by Diane de France, Duchesse of Angouleme.  She died here at age 81 in 1619. In 1658, Guillaume de Lamoignon, first President of the Parliament of Paris lived here; and from 1867 to 1874, the writer Alphonse Daudet ,also lived.  In 1928, the city of Paris buys the property.  It has a wonderful architectural touch in its square arch that extends from the roof at the angle of the rue des Francs-Bourgeois  and the rue Pavée, that was used to keep vigil on the street.  The type of preservation we owed to André Malraux,creator of the law of August 4 1962 that protects and preserves the old values of France.

For those looking for bargains and big names in Paris head for Violette Sauvage . She finds good deals on her clothing market where you can buy previously wearer clothing for all tastes and pocketbooks.  Names such as Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot or Comptoir des cotonniers,  H & M , Primark ,Zara, Mango, usually 2 to 3 times cheaper than on stores. Also, the Louis Vuitton, Zadig et Voltaire etc. IN two days about 3000 persons come in to try and buy here and even pay with bank cards (no checks). The  next event is Saturday and Sunday December 2-3 from 11h to 19h at the Palais de la Femme, (home of the  Salvation Army), 94, rue de Charonne, 11éme. Admission is 2€. More info here:  http://www.violettesauvage.fr/

The salvation army for directions is here: https://www.armeedusalut.fr/etablissements/pdf

The famous French pastry or choux pastry  is in mode in Paris nowdays; and the two best in my opinion are

Here at Odette ,you have boutiques in neat corners at the street level in the building of the 16C in the heart of the Montorgueil neighborhood. Here the choux of Frédéric Berthy  have an air of madeleines of Proust, souvenirs of childhood from his grandmother Odette. See it at  Odette  7, rue Galande (5éme) every day from 10h30 to 19h30 at  18, rue Montorgueil (Iéme) from Mondays to Fridays and midday to 19h30 ,the weekends hours are from 10h to 19h30. More info here: http://www.odette-paris.com/#le-salon

And at Popelini, while making in error the recipe that the Italian pastrymaker did in the renaissance of 1540 the hot choux becomes the favorite dessert of his bossCatherine de Médicis.  The house proposed about 15 flavors and 6 house choux unique each day from the classic chocolate and vanilla to the less known such as pop-corn or strawberry Tagada.  The season flavors are on order like the current noisette,(hazelnut). Boutiques located at  29, rue Debelleyme, (3éme), 44, rue des Martyrs (9éme), 35, rue de Turenne (3éme) ,and  71, rue de Seine (6éme) More info here: https://popelini.com/

Teh prize French Heritage Society-Dallas et Northern California Chapters 2017  has been attributed to the Château de Versigny  for their project of restoration in the courtyard or  cour d’honneur , and the park or parc.  This prize prime the actions taken in the last 20 years for the maintenance and safekeeping of the Château de Versigny. The French Heritage Society (FHS) is an American association non profit that helps restore the French heritage in France and the USA as well as the cultural exchange between the two countries.  As such , the  FHS  and its American chapters help the work of restorations by way of several French associations.  This particular work is also funded by the  DRAC, of the departemental council of the region of Oise.  More here : http://www.versigny.com/

And the FHS, https://frenchheritagesociety.org/

And something familiar from near family grounds, Cambrai is celebrating a famous WWI battle crucial to the allies. The 100th anniversary of the battle of Cambrai that took place between November 20 and December 7 1917. When for the first time tanks were used in war with about 500 of them by the allies. After initially piercing the enemy lines due to the element of surprise the counter offensive was terrible by the Germans. The losses were about 45000 for the British soldiers holding the positions and 55000 by the Germans. More on this commemoration here: http://www.amazing-cambrai.com/cambrai17

You should ask to take a peek of vineyards in Paris! At the school or Institut Cloriviére, 119 blvd Diderot 12éme; it has a 200 m2 vineyards of 100 pieds and 17 grapes varieties right in the building of the Fondation Eugene Napoléon a building from the 19C  since 2007 and on which the first planting took place in December 2013! More at the school here: http://www.cloriviere.paris/isc/

The foundation that helps preserves the memory of the Imperatrice Eugénie of France is here: http://fondation-eugenenapoleon.org/

Marie Curie, une femme au Panthéon  this is the showing on the scienfic work of Marie Curie as well as her private life of the first women who won the Nobel prize. In the occasion of her 150th anniversary the museum or  Musée Curie  and the National center of monuments of France is holding this exposition in her honor in the Panthéon, you should not miss this one going on until March 4 2018 at the Pantheon,  Place du Panthéon – (5éme). More on the museum in French here: http://musee.curie.fr/visiter/evenements/marie-curie-150e-anniversaire

And you know the Panthéon: http://www.paris-pantheon.fr/en/Prepare-for-your-visit/Practical-information#access

And you have the exposition ,Gaughin, l’alchimiste  in the Grand Palais.  Come to see the secrets of a painter of the 19C in the process of creation retracing the career of the artist until the island or îles Marquises.  Until January 22  2018 3, the Grand Palais is at  avenue du Général-Eisenhower -(8éme). More here: http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/gauguin-alchemist

You have the Incas of Peru at the museum  Quai Branly , one of the first societies dating from at least 1500 years AD, in this exposition at the Quai Branly you will retrace their history, and the traces of the oldest cultures in the north of Peru.  The exposition studies the origins and organisation of the old societies in searching in the two celestial gods , the kings the elite and the urban lords, the warriors and the priests who held the most power ? How it manifest itself? All showing until April 1, 2018 at the museum located at  37 quai Branly -(7éme).  More here: http://www.quaibranly.fr/en/exhibitions-and-events/at-the-museum/exhibitions/event-details/e/le-perou-avant-les-incas-37626/

And the season to be merrier is near; and on a shop the stylist Marcia de Carvalho teaches the basis of sewing.  You will be able to create guirlandes from used materials thanks to the orphelin socks idea. You can choose your pattern, cuts, and bordering you decide all. The shop is call an  Atelier couture de Noël  or a Christmas sewing shop , open November 29 from 14h30 to 16h30 and December 7th from 18h to 20h; Wednesday December 13 from 14h30 to 16h30 at  Chez Marcia de Carvalho 2, rue des Gardes – (18éme) One parent and one child for 34€ and one parent and two children fro 50€. More information here: https://www.marciadecarvalho.fr/contact/

Go to the Ferme de Paris for a bio shop very local and gourmand. You can taste  dry vegetables and fruits of winter  and edible decoration creations.  This is a free atelier shop but you need reservations. the Déco comestible de Noël will be on Wednesday December 6 from 14h to 16h30 at the Ferme de Paris 1, route du Pesage – (12éme)  ;more info here: http://www.vincennes-tourisme.fr/Decouvrir/Bois-de-Vincennes-et-ses-alentours/La-Ferme-de-Paris

Why not create your own chocolates, the Thursday December 14 all your chocolates fairies can come thru and share with those you like. The Atelier chocolat de Noël will be on from 19h to 21h at Fika, l’atelier pâtisserie de Julia 55 bis, grande rue Charles de Gaulle – 92600 Asnières-sur-Seine ; metro 1 to reach gare st lazare and then train direction Asniére sur Seine, participation of 65€/person. More here:  http://www.fika-paris.com/event/atelier-chocolats-de-noel/

Do you know the art of packaging Japanese? For gift giving, for the holidays, you can come here to discover it with the paper tissue Furoshiki. By this technique ancestral you will have the best looking gift wrapping under the Christmas tree.  The Atelier Furoshiki will be on Saturday December 16 at 16h in the library or Bibliothèque Rainer Maria Rilke at 88 ter, boulevard de Port-Royal -(5éme) Free with reservation at tel +33 (0) 1 56 81 10 70 or email  bibliotheque.rainer-maria.rilke@paris.fr

More info on the library here: http://equipement.paris.fr/bibliotheque-rainer-maria-rilke-1672

and how about these places to see Paris from above!!!

At the 6th floor (7 us) you have the Le  Perchoir dominating Ménilmontant, with cocktail bars , yoya courses, done on the roof terrace  summer or winter with views of the basilica of  Sacré-Cœur. Le Perchoir 14, rue Crespin-du-Gast – (11éme)  Métro Ménilmontant. more here: https://leperchoir.tv/en/

The smaller sibling is at the 7 floor (8 us) on the rooftops of the store BHV Marais. Offering wonderful views of the tour Eiffel, Seine river , the city hall or hôtel de Ville ,and others.  In winter you have a Danish mood until 01h30 (1:30 am) . Le Perchoir du Marais 33, rue de la Verrerie – (4éme) Métro Hôtel de Ville. More here: http://www.bhv.fr/en/store-news/le-perchoir-marais/

An old favorite,in the Centre  Pompidou with a panoramic view of Paris. Two levels on escalators and two expo rooms. Talking about the Le Georges at the Palais Beaubourg, Place Georges Pompidou -(4éme) Métro Rambuteau. more here: http://restaurantgeorgesparis.com/fr/

if we can dream with a glass of Champagne on the 8th floor (9th us) of the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, you will be delighted seeing the rooftops of Paris. This winter the Cube Bar becomes the  Ice Cube Bar ! at  40, boulevard Haussmann – (9éme) Métro Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette. More here: https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/cube-bar-le-bar-de-la-terrasse/

One of the old favorites now change do not know if better or worse not been to the new one. This is the Ex-Nüba, now Communion  on top of the Cité de la Mode, between suspended markets, concerts, and DJ sets no reason to stop once winter arrives.  Communion 36, quai d’Austerlitz – (13éme) Métro Gare d’Austerlitz. More here: http://communion.paris/

And now back to nostalgia. Who does not love the passages de Paris? However, do you know the many small ones dotting the city? Aside from the most and better known, here are some of my favorite mignons, cute passages of Paris. Using a site I use that is very good on all about Paris tidbits Parisrues.

We can call it the world of passages but this charming passage of many colors decorated with several flags of countries of our world a gift of the flag of bees or Abeille drapeaux, that are done in one shop at no 6. This is the  Passage Geoffroy-Didelot  at Rue des Dames -(17éme). More here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues17/paris-17-passage-geffroy-didelot.html

This is one of my fav areas of Paris. It is partially covered but it works too. A historical spot that houses woodworkers shops in the what is today a beehive of furniture makers. This is the  Passage du Chantier at 66, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine – (12éme). More here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues12/paris-12-passage-du-chantier.html

Here you have the house of poetry or Maison de la Poésie. The others are cute and nice full of history and Paris cachet , this is the Passage Molière – (2éme), 157 rue Saint-Martin. More here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues03/paris-03-passage-moliere.html

The small but equally cute is the Passsage de l’Ancre , 223, rue Saint-Martin, (4 éme) behind a blue door . More here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues03/paris-03-passage-de-l-ancre.html

And you have two back to back here; running parallel to the street or rue de Charonne the passage Alexandrine (11éme)  is bordered not by cactus but pots of flowers all along the passageway.  Other like hortensias in bamboo and even laurier are flank one to the other.  A short few steps from here you can see the pretty  passage Lepeu, also very romantic,  with flowers and greens decorations. More here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues11/paris-11-passage-alexandrine.html

And here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues11/paris-11-passage-gustave-lepeu.html

Last one ,but not the least, we come near the Bastille and the  passage Lhomme hardly seen if you have not read it here first . The street is paved and retro into the 1900 Paris giving you the impression of walking in a small village of Brittany. It is at 26, rue de Charonne – (11éme). Find it here: http://www.parisrues.com/rues11/paris-11-passage-lhomme.html

And then something to come and believe useful for those thinking/dreaming of coming over to France. A new low cost airline and now expanding, LEVEL. Next July 2018 it will start flights from Paris Orly airport to Montreal, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Liberty airport Newark New Jersey!! my old airport out of college worked there for a while lol!!  Yes I am older than you think ::)   The tickets are on sale already for 129€ to Newark and 99€ to the other spots. the airline is Level and will do the flights using Airbus A330-200 with 293 seats in tourist class, and 21 in Tourist class premium. The latter ones will include luggage, food, and seat reservation, as well as access to internet on the plane for 8,99€. It is expected that OpenSkies will stop flying next summer and the staff join Level. The low cost airline webpage is here: https://www.flylevel.com/en

November 23, 2017

When home was the Yvelines 78!

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a time when I came to France permanently back in 2003 (as you can see from the name of my blog,guest the first time ever in France) , the Yvelines dept 78 was my home, and Versailles suburbs my town. It’s been already 14 years and still around now in the Morbihan 56 Breton; but always remember my early days here. We always have a soft spot for the first …..

Anyway, this is my night to be soft ,nostalgic , remembering the good old days :::you know. Some of those pictures some never shown in my blog are coming up

In French, this is the department tourist site: http://tourisme.yvelines.fr/

And to get ideas on how to go out and see do things , in French: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/

Of course, we all can go to the main site the Chateau de Versailles but there is ,also, a tourist office in Versailles and they do have it in English: http://en.versailles-tourisme.com/

But of course, the Yvelines is a lot more than Versailles; it has Rambouillet, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Poissy, Mantes-la-Jolie, all royal towns of France!

Then ,you have some lesser known but beautiful places  like Houdan, Monfort l’Amaury, Cernay-la-Ville, Chatou, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine,and Jouy-en-Josas to name a few.

The natural parks of Chevreuse, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Marly-le-Roi are just wonderful and full of history.

In all I spent my work life in Paris, and Suresnes as well as Cergy Saint Christophe all in different departments or 75,92,and 95 respectively or in words, Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, and Val d’Oise.

And now some of the more personal photos of my time in the Yvelines, 78, Ïle de France region. It might help if put up the last post about my old hangout home here: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2011/08/15/the-yvelines-my-old-home-place-dept-and-house/

Enjoy your end of week, my is cruising , with some wine tastings coming up in the new region. Cheers

Les Mureaux

 

 

November 20, 2017

Some news from France CLXXV

Here I go again with news of my belle France. It has been mild lately going down to 9C;  however,the afternoon has gone up to 12C, figure about 50F to 55F and cloudy with some sun out no rain.

Some of the latest from France are:

The Church of La Trinité (9éme) even with a fountain closed to avoid falling stones is open to all and celebrating 150 years as most of the buildings around it. Tomorrow the world is invited to participate on the meals service to the homeless in the Crypt. There will be a guided visit at 18H ; like every evening until Sunday it will be illuminated by 2000 candles and lanterns; then at 20h45 the parrish evening in the Church. At 11H Sunday the Mass for its 150 years will be held in the world day on poverty and at 16h30 a concert in the choir. For more than 25 years the crypt of the Church holds a dinner to the homeless with donations from many every Monday, Tuesday , Thursday and Friday; from mid October to mid June. Each week almost 800 meals are served with donation of as much as 6000 kgs of fruits and vegetables from local merchant of Rungis (the food market of Paris) .  By word of mouth  from 9h many are in the kitchen preparing to serve the meal by 12h45 . You can see this entering by the rue de La Trinité, from 12h45 to 13h30.  More here: La Trinité

Ready for the season to be merrier, the committee of Faubourg Saint-Honoré unveils tomorrow Thursday November 16 the lighting of Christmas on the street during this year program the  Winter Time 2017.  This year the festivities are link to the charitable organisation Laurette Fugain that fights leucemia. For this occasion the street will be pedestrian only from 18h30 to 19h30 between the streets of rue Boissy D’Anglas (8éme) and the rue Royale (1éme). At 18h45, the gospel choir of Paris will open the evening with traditional Christmas songs; by 19h a child will bring a lantern to singer Nolwenn Leroy (Brittany) so she can light up the fire that will lit up all the lanterns in the street ,and will be on until early January 2018. There will be a tombola open to all until January 27th,  The participants can already purchase their ticket on the site Winter Time 2017 or from the association Laurette Fugain. More here: Winter Time 2017

do you this now famous football/soccer club of Paris,PSG how it began? Well it was back in 1969 with the creation of the Paris Football club  and the wish of the French football league to have a team in Paris. However, no team wanted to fusion or be promoted for the idea. At the same time another club was moving up from Division 2 winning it in 1969-1970; this was the Stade Saint-Germanois, (St Germain en laye) founded in 1904. The stadium to play was just finished in 1972.  The all new Paris-Saint-Germain Football club had two years to reach the Division One ,and they needed only one season to do so. A few months later that the city of Paris did not want to sponsor a team in the suburbs while the Paris FC  stayed temporarely in Division one.  The Paris-Saint-Germain, that preserved the name but falls two levels down to allow the opportunity for the two clubs to merged. In 1973,the fashion creator Daniel Hechter becomes the owner by taken the second team,and the history of the PSG is on. More on them here: PSG

Want to see something different in Paris? come to the romantic squares where you can see the evolution of wild ducks, and hear the noice of the swings and admire the flowers that change each season; this is the Square des Batignolles and facing it is the new parc Martin Luther King with wonderful trees and a skatepark that children loves. This is at 144 bis, et 147, rue Cardinet (17éme). Behind the train station Gare Saint Lazare. It is closed until Nov 24th for cleaning.More of it here; Batignolles et MLK

And if you are in Paris and want to know more of Brittany before getting to me, this is their official information bureau. Maison de la Bretagne 8, rue de l’Arrivée – 75015 PARIS – Métro : Montparnasse  Tel +33 (0)1 53 63 11 50; just next to the Gare Montparnasse. More here: Maison de la Bretagne

On December 4 2017 the five aquarelles by Jacques Gotko will be up for sale at the Hôtel des ventes de Drouot in Paris. They were painted in the concentration camp of Royallieu in Compiegne between 1941 and 1942 showing life of the prisioners there on a daily basis. The Mémorial de l’Internement et de la Déportation would like to acquired them and has started a call for donations on the site http://www.Ulule.fr. They need 10K€ to get these paintings and are hoping for folks to help out. Now you can at Ulule.

With a beautiful sun covering their new site in a mansion at the corner of rue Saint-Honoré you can read « Louis Vuitton »  now celebrating the opening  since October of their new store in the Place Vendome. The store is a complete gamme of all their products ; see it here : http://fr.louisvuitton.com/fra-fr/notre-histoire/store-vendome#/page/city

At the forthcoming Salon du Cheval de Paris (horse show) between November 25 and December 3rd at the parc  des expositions de Paris Nord-Villepinte.  For the first time the  Garde républicaine parades their 250 horses and 110 jockeys with 40 carriages . Starting from the bois de Boulogne, the knights and their horses follow a path of 20 kms into Paris passing by the Opéra Garnier, Louvre, Champ-de-Mars , and Trocadéro.  More in French here: https://www.salon-cheval.com/

And we reach a world record according to the house of auctions Osenat. The laurel leave in gold coming from the crown of the coronation of emperor Napoléon Ier, were purchased for 625 000 euros, last Sunday at the Château de  Fontainebleau. This leave done by jeweler Martin Guillaume Biennais, was estimated at between 100k and 150K euros, was purchased by an international collector as told by the maison Osenat. More here and with video: http://www.osenat.fr/html/detailActualite.jsp?idActu=58886

Also, the red box a makeup box of the Impératrice Joséphine, estimated at between 40 to 50K euros was sold for 156 250 euros. A coffret for men entered by the National Museums and specifically the Louvre was sold for 58 750 euros. By the Maison Osenat as well.

The museum of romantic lives or the Musée de la vie Romantique 16 rue Chaptal in the 9éme arrondissement has closed its doors for renovations that will help the persons with mobility impaired to access the museum, an elevator will be installed in the shop on two levels located at the right of the entrance. The museum should open again in June 2018. Read it all here: http://museevieromantique.paris.fr/en

The historically famous Grand Rex  cinema with its 2 700 seats , starred skies, huge screen in a vault of more than 30 meters high with a visitation of about 1 million persons per year still shows magical moments. Since its opening in December 8 1932 and celebrating its 85 years. Really history tell us that it was until 1947 when Jean Hellmann took over that this cinema gained its fame. Her son Philippe, took over at the age of 22!!! He who later created the cinema network of UGC in France where the family is still majority shareholders . A Paris Landmark not to be missed especially if you like films.  Le Grand Rex, 1, boulevard Poissonnière (ééme). Metro Bonne Nouvelle. Adults admission 15 €  and children 12 €. See it here: http://www.legrandrex.com/home.php

And now the Disney-Pixar is shown exclusively in conjunction with the water fairy or Féerie des Eaux.  A great end of year Christmas spectacle that is sure to be a good one coupled with the film « Coco » of Disney-Pixar  studios (« Toy Story », « Vice-Versa »…)  the story of a young Mexican boy who is found stuck in the kingdom of the Dead. Shown at the above Le Grand Rex 

You can admire the numeric production of “Baiser” of Klimt shown on a wall 10 meters high with an outstanding musical sound that will be possible to see from next April 13 2018 on the opening of the « L’Atelier des Lumières », managed by Culturespaces, See it all here first in French: http://www.atelier-lumieres.com/

It is still going on with preparation works at  38, rue Saint-Maur (11éme), steps from the metro Voltaire. This was an old foundry from the 19C that conserved many of its original elements. For the price of a cinema ticket you will be able to see monumental presentation on the walls as it is currently shown on a similar site in  Baux-de-Provence (Bouches-de-Rhône).  The projections will be on all the walls and floor covering about  3 300 m2, and the public will be submerge into the moving images and the sound with the biggest video projection in the world!!!  The public will be parade it on the huge hall of  1 500 m2 where it will be projected in alternance programs of 35 minutes so the first one shown will be as explained above.  A studio of 160 m2, equipped with a bar thrown into the night will welcome artists of the numeric art or emerging talent .  « L’Atelier des Lumières » will open 365 days per year 7/7 from 10h to 18h during the week and 19H on weekends with a night session to 22h on Friday evenings. See the webpage above.

The nice historically famous Tour Jean Sans Peur in Paris organises until December 31 its 15th exposition entitled « Moyen Âge et publicité » or middle ages and publicity.  This tower of 27 meters high near the Halles is less frequented than others in Paris but all worth a detour.  It houses a ludic museum on daily life in the years 1400-1500.  The only civil medieval tower in Paris built between 1409  and 1411 by Jean Sans Peur, Duke of Burgundy. You can see with the family all the costumes of this period and the stories around them. The tour Jean Sans Peur, 20, rue Etienne-Marcel  (2éme). Open Wednesdays to Sundays from  13h30 and 18h. Free admission until 6 yrs old, 3,50€ for the 6-18 yrs old and 6€  for adults. More info here in a wordpress French blog: https://tourjeansanspeursite.wordpress.com/

Had to tell you about this exposition superb ,”Degas Danse Dessin”, November 28 to February 25 2018 at the museum or musée d’Orsay. More info in English here: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/events/exhibitions/in-the-musee-dorsay/exhibitions-in-the-musee-dorsay/article/degas-danse-dessin-46519.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=254&cHash=5607894a8e

At the Mémorial Charles de Gaulle at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises (Haute-Marne) there is going on an exposition «À table avec le général de Gaulle»  on the memories of dining with the General De Gaulle welcoming his guests. The period covers from 1959 when he became President to 1969 upon his retirement from politics . It shows the famous dinner given on June 1st 1961 to US President John F. Kennedy  and wife, Jackie. After this visit the US president encouraged the donations to support the Château de Versailles!!! The complete title of the exposition is  «À table avec le général de Gaulle, 10 ans de menus présidentiels (1959-1969)»  It will be on until December 30 2017. You can have dinner there for 25€ only on lunch time and except Mondays and Tuesdays; at  54, rue du Général-de-Gaulle, 52330 Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. Tél. +33 (0)3 25 01 51 69.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his call for action on June 18 1940, the Champagne house of Drappier created in 1990 a special cuvee Charles-de-Gaulle with the same blending as he liked such as  80 %  pinot noir and 20 % chardonnay. Only the dosage is less today by about 7 grams making a a more dry Champagne but delicious as apéritif or to accompany meals . The production is still confidential but it is believe between 3000 to 4000 bottles per year.Champagne Drappier Charles-de-Gaulle. About 35 €. More here: http://www.champagne-drappier.com/en/charles-de-gaulle

And there is already coming up the season to be merrier and the ski slopes are waking up too. In the Savoy the season has started at Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes), Chamrousse (Isère), already welcoming skiers.  At 2300 meters high ,the station is the highest in all the Alpine arch with 3/4 of the stations ready for skiing on hundreds of km of trails mostly between  2300 and 2700 meters.  On the seven mechanical chairs going as high as 3000 meters and more only  Funitel Grand-Fond will work.  However, the cable car of  Cime Caron, terminus at 3200 meters and a panorama à 360 °, will starts in a few days. The prices are just, until November 24th the day will be at 33,60€ and the forfeit of 4 hours at 30,10€. The weekend the tariff will be special 2 days at 64€. The local tourist reservation desk will have a lodging and ski for 2 days 2 nights from 112€ per person; good for the weekend and the following. At Montgenévre (Hautes-Alpes) they have 8 trails ready with 700 meters of skiing on foot for 20€ per day.  At Chamrousse (Isére) there is a Nordic trail of 5 km for 1,50€ per day and ready to go! In the Alps at Tignes (Savoie) as always first in welcoming skiers on the glacier of Grande-Motte and this year it will be bigger on the trail Double M . So far only one cable car is going up from Tignes-Val-Claret with no connections.  At 32 €  for adults and 26 €  for children the forfaits (glacier and double M) are on a limited space available and a bit more expensive than the 100 km of trails available at  Val-Thorens,in the same valley. Finally, in the Alpes-Maritimes,just by Nice ,the Isola 2000 is already open with half the domaine skiable for 20€ per day.  One site I always used for my boys doing the runs is this one Skiinfo in French,but can change to English, just in French it gives you more info.  https://www.skiinfo.fr/france/stations-de-ski.html

And talking about Christmas , well I have been to many over the years and lately the local ones, but these are the best markets in France in my opinion.

Marché de Noël de Colmar, Marché de Noël de Strasbourg, Marché de Noël de Montbéliard, Marché de Noël d’Obernai, Marché de Noël de Mulhouse, Marché de Noël de Reims, Marché de Noël d’Amiens, Marché de Noël de Lille, Marché de Noël de Metz, and Marché de Noël d’Arras. Merry Christmas to all who believe.

Until next time on the airwaves of Paris1972-Versailles2003 ::) Cheers!!!!!

November 9, 2017

Back in the Yvelines 78 in a Royal town, there was pedmar10

This is the story of pedmar10 in the Royal magical town of Versailles and thereabouts, where I lived 10 years. Photos taken from other posts and pages in my blog. It is time to reminiscent and remember the good old days of France. This is my story mostly in photos of yesterday.

Brief, I married my Frenchie in December 26 1990, in Daytona Beach Florida USA,  became French citizen in December 17 2000 at the Consulat de France of Miami. We all came to France permanently me for the job in August and the rest of the family in December 2003 and lived in Versailles until 2011. We then moved to Brittany due to my job in June 2011 first near Auray and now in Pluvigner in the dept 56 Morbihan.

The pictures are a bit of my French history, a small grain of sand in the illustrious history of France.

Versailles from 1682 to 1789 held the power in France and all evolves around the city. It is only about 17 kms from Paris.  Capital city of the Yvelines dept 78 since 1968. The history tells us treaties were signed here such as the treaty of Paris 1783 to end the American war of Independence and the Treaty of Versailles to end the First World War. It is ,also, written in the French constitution that each time there is a change to it, amendment, etc the entire French government has to move here to do the changes becoming Versailles de facto capital of France; this last happened in 2009 under President Sarkozy term.

My boys went to school in nearby Verneuil sur Seine and Le Chesnay both memorable places. And we move on to Brittany. I worked in Paris and Suresnes. My wife worked at CDG Airport .

Here in Brittany we lived in  the Morbihan dept 56 in the town of Auray another historical town . The town is mentioned for the first time in 1069. In 1341 ,Charles de Blois legitime to the crown of Brittany takes possession just to his death in 1364 in the Battle of Auray that ends the war of succession of Brittany. In 1632, commander Isaac de Razilly accompanied several others to Port Royal in Acadia (Canada) under orders of Cardinal Richelieu. Benjamin Franklin lands here in the harbor of Saint Goustan in 1776 early in the war of independence of the USA to ask for military support from France and king Louis XVI, and he got it! Gen Cadoudal , chief of the rebellion against the French Republic was born in Auray and also buried near his family ancestral home here. In 1795, the expedition of Quiberon by immigrant Breton from England failed (lack of support from England) , and were taken prisoners here where they were summarily condemned to death by a military court, 795 were executed in the field today call Champ des Martyrs or Field of Martyrs on the Loch river near Brec’h. In 1829,the rests were exhumed and transferred to the Chartreuse of Auray in a chapel where they rest today. In WWII, the train station of Auray was the place to carried the cement block to built the blockhouses in the Atlantic wall by the Nazis.

My boys went to school in Sarzeau and Auray to finish. Another spot in our world  map.  I worked in Vannes and my wife retired. And we moved on.

After purchasing our house in Pluvigner. There was an important train station here; Opened in December 1864 on the line from Auray to Napoleonville (today is Pontivy) that passes by here with three trains per day; the line stopped in 1951 and the station finally closed in 1981.  On January 23 1943, an American B17 bomber was damaged and landed here in the forest of Kéronic . Seven aviators were killed and three survived; there are two stones commemorating this in 1994 in the presence of  survivor Charles Roth, and the regular member of the crew that was absent on this mission  Mel Schulstad. It is still here.

Of course I worked in Vannes, the capital of the department on the outside in an old manoir /castle of 1504 on which ruins our office is build and a 44 hectares park/garden.

This is me and have other posts on me here if you look the names of the towns ::)  Cheers

 

 

 

 

November 8, 2017

Some news from France CLXXIIII

+.+And back to France we go folks, this is Fall but it looks already like Winter.  Temps are as low as 5C and now 7C or about 43F; cloudy, gray and raining; and Paris is at 47F with lows of 40F. Well , I guess I always wanted to be a meteorologist even if it is not a perfect science ::)

This just in ,the Grande Epicerie de Paris has a new outlet in Paris, 80 rue de Passy 16éme , wonderful items in my favorite arrondissement of Paris… http://www.lagrandeepicerie.com/en.html

Problems in Paris, the Christmas market by the Champs-Elysées are cancelled pending the courts to determine if it goes on. The principal organizer of these markets is now fighting the decision of the Council of Paris in court to have reverse the decision. He has done or try to do some blocks of traffic which only enrage the people doing nothing to his cause with heavy traffics all over the Paris region. The contract with the city of Paris was signed in 2015 and by now the market attracts about 15 million visitors, with 240 merchants and providing about 2000 jobs according to the organizer but there is something fishy going on here.  He had about 70 trucks requisition by the police on the porte de la Muette and the esplanade du Château de Vincennes. The city counters that they want a more valuable choice with more upscale products and locally produce. Again, something fishy going on here….

Also, the festival by the Grand Palais has been cancelled, weird, the rides installed under the big glass dome of the Grand Palais will not be there this year. The closing of the Châtelet, the musical comedy Singin’in the Rain will be on stage from November 28 to January 11 2018. The rides are out… fish fish… The other grand rendezvous at the Bastille is cancelled without explanation too!!! Also, reduce by half the participants in the Foire du Trône on the lawn of the Reuilly!  The organizer of all these festivals is in court and the blockage of trucks has been stop. Like I said, the organizer is waiting for the Tribunal Administratif de Paris by way of his attorney to get the market re open by the court. The decision is to be done by November 14 2017. From articles in Le Parisien journal

However, there is something on Christmas days that will not change is the decoration of the Great department stores of Paris .

The windows of the Au Printemps Haussmann  are still blank but from Tuesday November 7 today, at 17h they will have a start done by Nicole Kidman, the cinema star. Eleven portraits on the eleven windows of au Printemps have been thought of and designed with a participation of  150 persons, painters, seamstress, electricians etc like a theater play they will do about 13 km of nylon cords in the windows with  70 little bears and others to accompany Jules with its aviator hat and aviator dress as well as  Violette adventurer with the sheets and rose  scarfs.  On the portrait of Bavaria the little rabbit that is trying to put all the suitcases in the VW beetle, and the head on the vault, the thighs on air, and the skirts offered to spectators should be one of the stars of the season.  The van new one of  Citroën, will be cut in half showing the length ,and the transatlantic trip or the over flight of Paris in zeppelin will be a great spectacle. It will be shown every day from 19H or 7PM until mid night and until mid January 2018. More here: http://departmentstoreparis.printemps.com/en

In the windows of the  Galeries Lafayette, it will start on Wednesday at 18h or 6pm with an fairs universe  of the Paris of early 20C.  You see Pierre ,the pigeon heroe and his sweet lady Coco that will  fly over a spectacular decoration of 12 animated windows.  All at the tune of an barbarian organ with wild rhythm.  Beyond the windows inside the store, a virtual reality that will make you travel along the rollercoasters in Paris to arrive at the grand dome of the store.  A free experience shown between December 9 to 31st 2017 in six sofas that moves for 2h30 minutes of crazy moves. Finally, each weekend the animations awaits you with magic and goddess of great adventures. More here: https://haussmann.galerieslafayette.com/votre-interieur-aux-couleurs-de-noel/

A bit of arts in my beloved Versailles.

At the turn of the 20C, he show the Orient to the world, painter and photographer, Georges Gasté (1869-1910) is given an exposition entitled  « Un Orient sans images » The Orient in images at the museum or musée Lambinet in Versailles.  He was a great traveler of Algéria, Égypt , and India, that he shows with photos and portraits.  Now from Mondays to Sundays and from 14h to 18h except Fridays and Holidays and until Sunday February 18 2018 at the museum located at  54, boulevard de la Reine, just around the market of Notre Dame.Admission adults 6€ and more info from the city page here :https://www.versailles.fr/culture/etablissements/musee-lambinet/expositions/un-orient-sans-mirages-georges-gaste/

And from the tourist office on the museum itself: http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/patrimoine-culturel/musee-lambinet-943172

The label of Ramsar that honors around the world the best natural sites like the golfe du Morbihan near me has just given the marais de Sacy the same prestigious title.  The marshes runs over 1 073 hectares, with a expansive plains one of the biggest of France. They keep some of the species in danger in our world such as the spider Dolomedes plantarius, that is able to dive into the water to avoids its preditors as well as the rats like amphibious vole. Today, there is a trail at the south entrance to Saint-Martin-Longueau, that allows you to walk for about 1 km bordering the marshes. There is an observation tower high of 10 meters with a view of the wet lands . For more information you can contact the marais de Sacy at tel +33 (0) 3.44.28.15.11. Further info here: http://www.syndicatmixtedesmarais.sitew.fr/#Home.A

And more info on Ramsar organization here: http://www.ramsar.org/

On March 23-24 2018, at Senlis you have the wonderful garden festival or the  17 Salon du Jardin we all enjoy here all over, Senlis is a nice historical medieval city center town. More on this event here: http://salon-du-jardin-a-senlis.fr/

Jog this down in your calendar for a grand special event in the Oise region of France. October 5-7 2018 there will be at historical Senlis the next International Festival of  Saint-Fiacre.  There will be groups visiting from Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Germany,and Luxembourg. The crucial moment of the 3 days event is the Saturday October 6, the Mass of Saint-Fiacre in the Cathedral.  All the Chapels will be decorated by the different visiting délégations and in town there will be religious cérémonies as well as civil with presentation by different European groups, such as solemn Mass, benediction of the flowery chariots on the parvis of the Cathedral, worshipping the patron saint of the gardeners.  In the afternoon there will be a vegetables parade with panels, statues, and banners, flower chariots, and musical groups. For now they are looking for volunteers to help on the event, info here: Mme Nicole Picart tel +33 (0) 3.44.53.74.50. or email picart.nicole@gmail.com

Something unique in Paris is the old museum of public works or ancienne Musée des Travaux Publics at the Palais d’Iéna. 9 Place d’Iéna. open every day from 12h to 19h. It is no longer a museum but it houses an economic council, however for the architecture is worth a detour. See it all here: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/148921/Conseil-economique-social-et-environnemental-Palais-d-Iena

The army museum or musée de l’Armée  has an event on the experience of a soldier in the front entitled « dans la peau d’un soldat » or The Life of a  Soldier with visuals of 337 objects, some unique of the period of antiquity to our days.  An exposition showing to what point the military have been on the origin of many current tendances from style to designs : the expo will be until January 28 2018. More info here: http://musee-armee.fr/expoDansLaPeauDunSoldat/index-en.html

After 2,5 years of renovations the castle or Château de Rambouillet  has reopen its doors. This is the summer residence of the President of France which has seen passed by famous such as king François Ier to Nelson Mandela. A new exposition entitled the Princes of Rambouillet , family portrait or « Les princes de Rambouillet. Portraits de famille », dedicated to the illustrious previous owners as well as entertainment will be on until January 22 2018.  More here:  http://www.chateau-rambouillet.fr/en/

The forest is the invited guest to the Château de Maisons at Maisons Laffitte.You will emerge in a mysterious ambiance of a walk across storytelling and legends ; the walks are organize in 7 portraits that inspire each a imaginary representation of the forest. After the forest oexposition, you can visit the forest or forêt de Saint-Germain  with ONF on  there was once a forest or  « Il était une forêt… »,all until March 5 2018. More info here:  http://www.chateau-maisons.fr/en/

The third biannual of Flamenco art entitled the « Tablao » is on from November 10th a the  Théâtre national de la Danse for almost 3 weeks of dances.  It will let you see some espectacle of high quality like the dancer José Galvan, on for 3 exceptional dates. More here:  http://theatre-chaillot.fr/en/dance/tablao

During the work at Chatelet, the representations continues in the dome of the Grand Palais. It will show the musical comedy of  Singin’ in the Rain,  from November 28 to January 11 2018.  They have done a cinema studio in the palace and will have before and during the show ; food trucks, studio photo, makeup artist, claquettes courses ,video installations and  karaoke. More here: http://chatelet-theatre.com/

I have told you previously in my blog about the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, well is now open this museum of sand . It is like an mirror, at the junction of the Arabian Gulf (Persian on the other side coast of Iran), tip of sea and military zone crossing the Emirates mixing urban and architecture as we reach the island of Saadiyat, « the island of happiness », we see like the arm of the sea, the rivers, and the canals; a vast complex very modern. More here: https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/

Also, on previous posts I mentioned about the rescue of the Potager du Roi of Versailles. The vegetable garden created in 1678 by  Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie as per request of king Louis XIV. Now officially the Potager du Roi  has been retained by the World Monuments Fund (WMF). It is on the list of world sites the American   charitable organization is ready to invest and preserve as per the last Fifty years the WMF, base in New York, has help support about  800 sites in 135 countries. Amongst the generous contribution to the Fund we can count on the Prince Aga Khan, the family of perfumer Lauder, the decorator Juan Pablo Molyneux or the American company American Express. This is good news indeed!!! More here: http://www.potager-du-roi.fr/site/pot_visites/

And the WMF here: https://www.wmf.org/project/potager-du-roi

And back to Paris for the opening of a historical swimming pool open to all. Art Nouveau and a cinema decoration this is the basin where Amélie Poulain did her swims in the famous film of same name of  2001; and now the swims in this 18éme arrondissement will be able to do again. After two years of renovations the pool or piscine des Amiraux  re opened its doors to the public today. The pool is open 7/7 and will have  43 hours for swimmers per week for the general public, 30 hours for the schoolchildren, and 26 hours for the sports club.  The pool is located at 6, rue Hermann-Lachapelle (18éme),nearest metro is Simplon, line 4. Bus 56 also stops here. More info here: http://equipement.paris.fr/piscine-des-amiraux-2944

To commemorate the 100 years of the Grand Guerre or WWI the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris will light up the façade and even the interior with an illumination spectacle in 17 portraits for 23 minutes duration in four nights starting tonight  and until Saturday night on 19h30 and 21h each night. The event is free but get there early as there will be many for sure. It will have 8 huge projectors, with about 60 source of lights put on the wall of the Cathedral in addition to 80 projectors from inside the Cathedral with 400 candles. TO show the entry of Americans in WWI and it is the Americans by the Knights of Columbus organization founded in 1882 that are financing the event. More info here: http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/en/

Enjoy Paris, all of France is a movable feast. Enjoy your week and happy travels to all.Cheers!

November 2, 2017

Some news from France CLXXIII

Back to France my home; and it seems we are fully already into the Fall season and hour change back one! temps now at 14C and cloudy even foggy in my neck of the woods in Brittany.

Some of the wonderful things going on in my belle France are

How about those bikes, bicycles or vélos ;;;; there is a nice traject of about 27 kms from wonderful Amiens into Cerisy. You leave the lower district of Amiens just below the Cathedral near the picturesque district of Saint-Leu. You come passing the parc Saint Pierre and you see the wonderful hortillonnages, the marshes with small canals growing vegetables in parcels totaling 300 hectares (they were 1500 ha in the 15C). You stop by mid day in the Passage d’Aubigny and stop at Corbie where there is a wonderful Abbey of Saint Pierre (Benedictine monastery of the 7C) passing Fouilly towards the memorial of Villiers-Bretonneux where 10 000 Australians soldiers laid in rest giving their lives during WWI. You continue towards Cerisy in the road of towpath passing by Vaux-sur-Somme (where the Fokker of the Red Baron was taken down in 1918) then Sailly-le-Sec and Sailly-Laurette. More here in French: http://www.amiens-ouest-tourisme.fr/le-chemin-du-halage,fr,8,246.cfm

Another one is along the Mayenne river which is only 60 meters of leveling off its course. The start along the river you see three levies to follow the road to Château-Gontier.  The road of towpath of the Mayenne is not asphalted but it is doable to ride and very safe.  The way is nice with many cliffs, forests and prairies as well as many water lakes and castles like the one at Montgiroux, Montflours, La Roche ,and La Rongère etc. You come to the city of  Laval with its bridge or Pont-Vieux,the castle and the wharfs and the museum of naïve arts.  After a rest period, you continue south of Laval into Entrammes to visit the abbey of Notre Dame de Port du Salut, where the famous cheese was born; continue to reach  Château-Gontier. More in English here: https://cycling.lavelofrancette.com/troncons/vallee-de-la-mayenne-a-velo-de-domfront-a-angers
And my favorite of the 3 is going between Tours and Langeais about 30 kms. You have a road between Tours and Villandry that is not the Loire river but the Cher river! The two look alike around here. Once out of  Tours you reach the banks of the Cher; you can stop at the place call the Grand Moulin or better at Savonniéres a bit before Villandry. You see several typical boats of the region, the gabares.  A bit more about 3km and you reach Villandry on the left , an opportunity to visit a real renaissance castle and its beautiful garden à la française!  You continue onwards to Langeais with spectacular views as well such as the levy of the Loire river built by Colbert to avoid the flooding of the river. Very quickly you see the Castle or Chateau de Langeais, built under orders of King Louis XI just after the suspended bridge to protect this part of the Loire from incursions of the Dukes of Brittany. More info here in English: http://www.cycling-loire.com/sights-itinerary/chateaux-loire/chateau-langeais

A new French film to watch with history in the making. Jean-François Richet at the Château de Fontainebleau, where most of the scenes of the movie  « Vidocq, l’empereur de Paris », with actor Vincent Cassel in the main role. It will come out next year with other wonderful places shown in the film such as the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and the department of the Essonne no 91. More in French here: http://www.lefigaro.fr/cinema/2017/09/20/03002-20170920ARTFIG00004-apres-mesrine-vincent-cassel-devient-vidocq-pour-jean-francois-richet.php

And we have a new road to enlarged the A13 route de Normandie from Paris. It will be by the N113 and the SNCF railroad tracks , the viaduc de Guerville by the group Sanef. An additional lane to help the fluidity of the A13 especially on the Paris-Normandie way, so will have Four lanes from the three today. The other way Normandie-Paris will keep the three lanes but will have a rest stop for emergencies. The work is scheduled to be finish by February 2020. The lanes will improve the traffic in the Paris-Caen way as well as Caen-Paris. Here in French has a video to see the model of the viaduct; https://www.guerville.sanef.com/actualites/visionnez-la-maquette-3d-du-viaduc-de-guerville-a13

At the Domaine de Chamarande there is an appeal to raise funds to renovate the game of the goose nature done in 1742 here. This is one of the Jeu de l’Oie or game of goose that were built during the reign of king Louis XV, the others at  Chantilly (1739 – renovated in 2015) , and Choisy-le-Roi (1750 –now gone) More in French here: http://chamarande.essonne.fr/essonne-mecenat-sauvons-le-jeu-de-loie-du-domaine/

See the festival of  Senliszt from November 3-5 in Senlis, with performers such as Simon Ghraichy,rock star piano player . More here in English: http://en.senlis-tourisme.fr/content/view/full/38526

Calling all lovers of Versailles, there is risks at the Potager du Roi. The one done by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie (1626-1688) who created the gardens on orders of king Louis XIV to provide the castle with fruits and vegetables in 9,5 hectares. The annual production today only goes to 4-6 tons of apples and pears when before they were 40 tons. The problem is that on the 4500 trees of 468 varieties about 40% are sick or dying. The further complications is that there are walls in which the trees grow are been deplacer more than 1000 meters when not fallen down. One of the walls have to be rebuilt completely. The cost is about 4 million euros too much for the responsible organism of the garden, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paysage (ENSP) under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture who managed the gardens since 1995. The friends of the garden or the Les Amis du Potager du Roi created in 2016 have jointly with the ENSP a dossier on the World Monuments Fund (WMF) a powerful American ONG base in New York to help technical and financial to the project as they have done to over 20 in the world that are chosen every two years.  Here is the WMF site with the Potager du Roi in 8th position on the list of projects for 2018: https://www.wmf.org/press-release/world-monuments-fund-announces-2018-world-monuments-watch

And the potager du roi in French site: http://www.potager-du-roi.fr/site/potager/index.htm

A venerable site in Paris and one who I had the pleasure to visit while working in Paris a couple times is the Institut Suédoise. After seven month of renovations it is now back open again, and better. Behind the blue carriage door you come into a courtyard with the rich culture of the North on display. This is the old Hôtel de Marle dating from the 16C, the pave courtyard distributes the old building around it. The major transformation are the Café on the right of the entrance with 35 seated and a nice wooden furniture where the wonderful brioches à la cannelle 3,50€ are delicious as well as the vegetable soups etc. All is fresh and done on site. The Terrace has an additional 40 seats where you can have the great Swedish coffee. From midday to 20h (to 18h on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays).

The new season opens with the «Swedish Design Moves Paris» them the design, architecture of the world and fashions.  You can see on the renovated rooms/salons the exposition “Next Level Craft“(until January 7  2018).  You see objects clothing, sculptures were done with natural materials by several creators from Sweden, there are videos, meetings, language courses, shops, readings, children readings ,nice garden where you can learn how to prepare Christmas Swedish way (from December 17 2017).  The Institut Suédois is at  11, rue Payenne (3eme). Tél. +33 (0) 1 44 78 80 20. Hours are Tuesdays to Thursdays from 14h to 20h . Fridays to Sundays from 12h to 18h. More here in English: https://paris.si.se/en/about-us/who-we-are/

The stunning career of Paul Gauguin are the honor in the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais until January 22 2018 ; a wonderful recollection of the great Gauguin. More here: http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/gauguin-alchemist

While over west at La Roche Guyon a comedy salon worthy of a fairytail story is done on the rock with a medieval tower  done in 1768 by Marie-Louise de …the site in French is now under maintenance but is good, just be back in a few days. http://www.chateaudelarocheguyon.fr/

See there the exposition of Hubert Robert et la Fabrique des Jardins until November 26 2017. More in French here from the dept 95 Val d’ Oise tourist office.http://www.valdoise-tourisme.com/diffusio/fr/agenda/agenda/la-roche-guyon/exposition-hubert-robert-et-la-fabrique-des-jardins_TFO294835489381.php#.Wft7F1vWzIV

A wonderful place and now you can stay there!  Once the front grille door is open and you see the white stone roadway with old nuts trees under the shade you see slowly the Royal Abbey of Royaumont. Only 30 kms from Paris and a few minutes from Chantilly, this is paradise of blessed places where the lovers of nature, architecture ,heritage and history collides in harmony. It is a solemn place still feels today when we visited not too many people there a while back; the abbey was built in 1228 by king Louis IX (Saint Louis) under the Cistercian order of great renown in the 13C. Today, you see the ghosts of the monks that were once numerous there ,and you have the relics of the films and series filmed there. Near the necropolis of of the family of Saint Louis, in the cloister garden, the imagination takes a new dimension seeing sort of the phantoms of queen Blanche of Castille, the encyclopedic Vincent de Beauvais,or the novice of the Holy Family of Bordeaux. The welcome is done on Friday evenings or Sunday noon, at the reception there are 53 keys given access to same number of rooms ( from 18 to 20 m2 in size)  with views of the garden of the cloister or the canal.  At the third level (4th) you have an elevator/lift  with contemporary designs taken you to 8 studios with a modern decoration dominating the white and tents of the forest garden.  There is the comfort of the bedding, carpet, spacious bathroom, access to WiFi (no TV thus!) to forget the conditions of the old resident monks. The bell rings at every quarter hour except at night. Contact tel +33 (0) 1.30.35.59.00 ), rent from 289€ per night for two persons, apéritif, dînner, breakfast, access to the site and weekend activities included. guided tours on request. Dinner Fridays and Saturday evenings 49€ Lunch Sundays 34,50€. More update info here: https://www.royaumont.com/en/the-abbey

Something for everyone, how about the seldom seeing cemetery of Saint-Vincent at 6, rue Lucien Gaulard, 18eme Montmartre, get out at metro Lamarck and turn 180-degrees and walk up the stairs above the metro entrance. Cross rue Caulaincourt and you’ll see tiny rue Lucien Gaulard on your left and the entrance to the cemetery a few meters beyond..It has some notables resting there such as singer/poet Emile Goudeau who died in 1906. The painter Maurice Utrillo with a rose marbre tomb and the flowery tomb of the writer  Marcel Aymé , and passing by the filmmaker Marcel Carné. More in French from the city of Paris here: http://equipement.paris.fr/cimetiere-de-saint-vincent-4484

The mayor of Paris 14eme arrondissement has exposed a model of what the future tour Montparnasse will look like ,on display until November 20 2017. The mayor’s office or mairie is located at 2, place Ferdinand-Brunot. Open Mondays to Fridays from 8h30 to 17h (19h30 on Thursdays) , and Saturdays from 9h to 12h30. This renovation will end the sad façade of the 1970’s into 210 meters of glass and vegetation. A winter garden, a greenhouse of 18 meters high at the summit and a bioclimatic façade with a system of rain water recuperation. More on the renovation here:  http://www.tour-montparnasse.fr/en/renovation/

and the mayor’s office of the 14 district of Paris on it in French here: http://www.mairie14.paris.fr/mes-demarches/culture-et-patrimoine/vie-culturelle/la-galerie-du-montparnasse-91D

Did you know about the water to Versailles, the palace museum? well there has been written quite a bit on my blog, previous post however there is more in towns where we spent quite a bit of time and my boys went to play and mingle. At the Ile de Loisirs de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, there is a lake bordering with black pine from Austria created to feed the water fountains , canal, and water spouts of the Chateau de Versailles!!!  To do this it was needed to bring the water from a hill 142 meters higher than the Seine river to run several kilometers down stream. The first idea was the before mentioned Machine de Marly,(aqueduct Louveciennes) that pump the water of the Seine.  This is the same time that Monsieur Riquet finished the  canal du midi,and think that the Loire is higher than Versailles proposing to bring the water from the Briare river in the Loiret region (like Orleans). Great work was begun to carved 200 kms of canals and when only was left then 7 kms of the aqueduct to built when the abbot Picard , member of the Sciences academy invents the automatic level or dumpy  allowing with precision to measure from  1cm per km while the previous one did it at 10m per km. The new calculation showed the system could not work or very badly and the work was abandoned. The abbot Picard continues to search in the area and discovered that that plateau of  Trappes,where the marshes were  since the middle ages carving wells to do agriculture lands and of course a lake that is today the l’Ile-de-Loisirs. The same was done at Bois-d’Arcy and Bois-Robert; where all are link by water by way of underground aqueducts and sending water from the highest point to the lowers direction Versailles.  The lake takes a new use such as a Royal fishing lake supervised by a fishing guard that also looks after the level of water. IN 1685, the force is finally strong enough , and 3 centuries later the black pines of Austria planted under Louis XIV to mark the limits of the property ,the dam, lake, fishing guards house (now fisherman house) are still there intact!. You can see this history at the museum in Montigny-le-Bretonneux. More here: http://www.montigny78.fr/culture/lieux-culturels/musee-de-la-ville.htm

The Basilica of  Longpont houses since 1926 many relics that just now came into a  museum renovated for the occasion of All Saints Day in France (Nov 1st) These relics are from over 600 Saints and they have on many of them the certificate that attests to their coming from. Some of the precious relics here are those of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Also of Mother Theresa, the founders of Opus Dei the philosopher Edith Stein born in a Jewish family converted to Catholicism and died at Auschwitz (Poland). Also, the veil of the Virgin Mary with this relic it was possible to create the museum as according to legend at the beginning of our era  when the Druids of the region were converted Saint Denis had given a piece of the veil for giving them recompense their decision. The relic is located in a wing that was finished in  1878, and later raised to Basilica by Pope Pius X in 1913. By  1984, about 1400 relics were inventoried all behind solid locks. It is also amazing to find a tunic of Argenteuil that is said to come from  Christ, given later to Charlemagne that then made a donation to the monastery of Argenteuil where his daughter  Theodrade was a Abbess. More in French  here: https://www.basilique-de-longpont.fr/

And last but not least, the Salon Paris Games Week on its 8th edition until November 5 2017, Paris Expo Hall 1,2.2, and 3, Porte de Versailles (15eme) From 8h30 to 18h30, Sundays closes at 18h. There are 182 exhibitors on 80K M2 of space. YOu can try 157 video games with 37 new ones from end 2017 and 28 titles coming in 2018 such as  Destiny 2Assassin’s Creed Origins ,D etroit Become Human , Dragon Ball FighterZ  etc etc.  In the stands Made in France, you can discovered games such as People’s Chess, the first game on Chess where you can play with personalities such as Donald Trump or Kim Jong-Un lol!.  The Hall 3  (240000 m²) will be entirely consacrated to e-sport with démonstrations and compétitions with the best pro players. The famous game  FIFA,but also  Clash Royale, Quake ,and Counter Strike will have competitors facing each other and the finals on Saturday and Sunday. More here https://www.parisgamesweek.com/en/

There you go , lots of things to do in my belle France covering many tastes, and inclinations. Enjoy your week, Friday is tomorrow TGIF ::) cheers

 

October 31, 2017

The Chateau de Versailles, interiors

Hi ,I am back on Versailles. What a better subject to tell you about France. My beloved city of Versailles, well it’s a lot more than a castle but 98% folks come here for it. This time will tell you about the interiors lol!! It is indeed huge and beautiful so bear with me ; it’s going to be long!!! and more pictures on the interiors of the Chateau de Versailles.

As a result of his official apartment, king Louis XIV had made for his personal use ,a suite of rooms looking over the cour de Marbre and the cour Royale. He exhibited his collections of work of arts and his paintings.  These spaces are not available for free visit, but almost every day at 10h a guided tour allows you to discover them (inquire in castle for the exact dates and times as they may change). King  Louis XV had done a new bedroom in 1738, smaller and exposed to the south, so easier to heat. He died there on May 10, 1774 at 13h. Executed on the eve of the revolution, the  Cabinet de Garde-robe or wardrobe is one of the few large-scale developments undertaken by Louis XVI in the private apartment.

The cabinet de la Pendule (pendulum) of Louis XV  as he was very interested in science and especially in astronomy. One can see on the floor the route of the meridian of Versailles, materialized by a brass wand. The extraordinary pendulum, which gave its name to the play, was presented to the Academy of Sciences, then to the king at Choisy Castle, before being installed here in 1754. The clock shows the time, the day of the week, the month, the year and the quarter of the moon. In the Crystal globe, you can see the planets operating their revolution around the sun.

The Cabinet des Chiens or dog’s is the name of this room and the scenery of its cornice remind that king Louis XV made his favourite dogs sleep there. The woodwork comes from the old billiard room of king Louis XIV, transformed by Louis XV into a bedroom.  The salle à manger  des retours de chasses or dining room returning from hunting  replaced in 1750 a small apartment of  baths. Once or twice a week, Louis XV gave supper to the Lords and the ladies who had accompanied him to the hunt, and it was a very sought-after favor to be admitted to these suppers.  The cabinet intérieur du roi or the King’s interior cabinet this “corner cabinet”, as it was commonly called, enjoys a double exhibition on the cour de Marbre  and cour Royale.  King Louis XV was glad to be there and it was from this balcony that he attended, tears in his eyes, the departure of the funeral convoy carrying Madame de Pompadour, a winter evening of 1764. The cabinet des dépeches or Cabinet of despatches occupies the location of the Oval lounge that king Louis XIV had made in 1692. It is adorned with Corinthian pilasters and four niches with bronze bands, including the famous Les Chenes de l’Algarde ( in Louvre now), this lounge gave access to the right to the  Petite Galerie or small gallery and left  the Cabinet de Coquilles or  shells  cabinet. Here king  Louis XIV kept his manuscripts and his most precious books, as well as some twenty paintings including the rustic Concert of Titian (in  Louvre). In 1754, the shells cabinet disappeared to make way for the king’s recess and the Oval lounge was replaced by a back cabinet and a chair cabinet.

La chambre de la Vaisselle d’or or the room of the golden dishes ,it is the former interior cabinet of Madame Adelaide, the apartment which she occupied on the first floor of the castle between 1752 and 1769, had been laid out on the site of the Petite Galerie and the Escalier des Ambassadeurs . Madame Adelaide had at the time of this service two of the greatest playwrights of the 18C;  Goldoni, who taught her Italian, and Beaumarchais who was her harp teacher. Later, king Louis XV, who took his coffee here, exhibited his golden dishes. Louis XVI placed the extraordinary cabinet in ebony and mahogany, covered with porcelain plates decorated with bird feathers and butterfly wings. On the chimney, is arranged a beautiful bust of king Louis XV child . The two porcelain plates of Sèvres, representing the toilet of the Sultan and the Sultan giving orders to the odalisques  were ordered by Louis XVI for his interior cabinets.

The chambre de la cassette  or cassette room were the baths of King’s;  one of the last works commissioned by king Louis XV. The style of the woodwork, which reproduces engravings evoking the aquatic pleasures in medallions lined with reeds and narcissus, with effects of dull gold, gold burnished (shiny) and green gold, attests to a new taste.  The Bibliothéque or Library of Louis XVI, was designed by the architect Gabriel shortly before the death of Louis XV in 1774, was both the first order of the young Louis XVI and the last intervention of the architect at Versailles. Already benefiting from several libraries in the upper floors, the king hastened however the work of this vast room which has the advantage of being on the ground floor with his apartment.  The Salle à manger des porcelains or the porcelain dining room  was created under king Louis XV in 1769 for its hunting return suppers. It occupies the location of two rooms of the former apartment of Madame Adelaide, one of which, overlooking the courtyard, was its large cabinet where, in all likelihood, the young Mozart appeared before the royal family in early 1764. The play was mainly used by Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The salon des jeux or  Games’s room of king Louis XVI originally, there was the Cabinet des Curiosités or curiosities of king Louis XIV . After several intermediate states, it was used by king Louis XVI as a games room. After the meal in the dining room, the diners went there for coffee and to play. The king would gladly sit at a table in backgammon, while his brothers played one in the billiards in the next room, the other in the whist.

Behind the Grand Appartement  or large apartment, the Queen had small rooms reserved for her private use and serving her maids. Marie Leszczynska withdrew to read, paint, meditate or receive her most intimate visits. Marie‑Antoinette extended the estate by arranging new rooms on the upper floor (like a billiard parlor) and went so far as to build up a real small summer apartment on the ground floor, overlooking the cour de Marbre, featuring bedroom, Library and bathroom.  The Cabinet Doré or  gilded cabinet created for Marie Leszczynska in 1735, this room has been modified several times by Marie-Antoinette. Its current aspect dates from the last Transformation (1784).

The Cabinet de la Méridienne or meridian  has a peculiar form of this boudoir, with its cut panels, allowed the Queen’s service to move from the Grand chamber  to the other cabinets without disturbing the sovereign who, at mid-day, came to rest, hence her name  Méridienne. It was in 1781, after Marie Antoinette had finally given birth to an heir, that the room received its definitive woodwork, whose motifs, were also prolonged in bronze to be applied on the Window-doors. The allegorical vocabulary used ,celebrates the young prince (the Dauphin), the royal couple (the eagle of Jupiter symbolizing the king and the Peacock of Juno, the Queen) and conjugal love (garlands of roses, bow and arrows). The Bibliothèque or library of Marie-Antoinette was transferred to Paris after the revolution and is now largely preserved at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. This room was arranged for the Queen between 1779 and 1781 in high glazed cabinets all around; Inside these, an ingenious rack system allows easy adjustment of the height of the shelves. The Queen also owned a library in Trianon, whose books are now predominantly preserved at the Bibliothèque municipale de Versailles.

The cabinet du Billard or billiards cabinet on the second floor. One of them, whose silk were returned and the sofas delivered , served as a billiards room. The other rooms, with a very sober decor, are now home to a part of the museum’s collections relating to Marie-Antoinette. The salon d’Hercule had a decoration that  began in 1712. It is located at the site of the old chapel, destroyed in 1710 and represents the Apotheosis of Hercules. On the wall of the bottom is exposed a huge canvas of Veronese offered by the Republic of Venice to King Louis XIV in 1664, the Repas chez Simon. The layout of the room was completed in 1736, but the inauguration took place only in 1739, by a “bal Paré” given on the occasion of the marriage of the eldest daughter of king Louis XV with the Infant of Spain. The Salon of Hercules served as a setting for exceptional “big cutlery” (in 1769 for the marriage of the Duke of Chartres, or in 1782 for the birth of the Dauphin).

The Opéra Royale or Royal Opera of the Château de Versailles is an opera house built under king Louis XV at the end of the north wing of the castle; the construction was begun in 1768 under the order of the king by anticipation of the marriages of his children, the construction lasted two years and the opera was inaugurated on May 16 1770 during the marriage of king Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette of Austria. The Chapelle Royale or royal Chapel was completed at the end of the reign of king Louis XIV, in 1710. It is the fifth – and last – chapels that have succeeded each other in the castle since Louis XIII. The first architect died in 1708 without seeing the end of the work that was completed by his brother-in-law. The ceiling of the vault, is consecrated to the Holy Trinity: in the center, God the Father in His glory, in the apse the Resurrection and, above the Royal Tribune, the Descent of the Holy. The king only descended for the great religious feasts in which he had, for the ceremonies of the Order of the Holy Spirit, for the baptisms and for the marriages of the children of France who were celebrated there from 1710 to 1789.

The Galerie des Glaces or Ice gallery replaces a large open terrace on the garden. The work begins in 1678 to finish in 1684.  After the victory over the three arrayed powers, represented at Salon de la Guerre , the gallery exalts the political, economic and artistic successes of France throughout its 73 meters. Political successes are shown such as the glorious history of king Louis XIV during the first 18 years of his personal government, from 1661 to the peace of Nijmegen. By their dimensions and by their number , the 357 mirrors that adorn the 17 arcades facing the windows attest that the new French mirrors manufacturing factory is able to delight in Venice the monopoly of mirrors, then objects of great luxury. Artistic success: The marble pilasters of Rance adorn themselves with gilded bronze capitals of a new model called “The French Order”. It presents National emblems: A flower of lys surmounted by the royal sun between two Gallic Roosters. The Gallery of mirrors was used daily as a place of passage, waiting and meetings, frequented by the courtiers and the visitors ‘ audience. It served only exceptionally as a framework for ceremonies, when the sovereigns wanted to give the greatest sparkle to entertainment offered on the occasion of princely weddings or diplomatic receptions. The throne was then installed on a stage at the end of the gallery, on the side of the Salon de la Paix or Peace room whose arcade was closed. The staging of power has seldom reached such a degree of ostentatiousness. Thus the Doge of Genoa in 1685, the Ambassadors of Siam 1686, Persia (1715) and the Ottoman Empire (1742), had to cross the entire gallery, under the eyes of the court massaged on each side on bleachers to reach the king. It was also here that the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the First World War, was signed on 28 June 1919. Since then, the Presidents of the Republic continue to receive the official hosts of France.

The Salon de la Guerre is built from 1678. The decoration, completed in 1686, exalts the military victories that culminated in the peace of Nijmegen. The walls are clad with marble panels adorned with six trophies and arms falls in gilded bronze. The wall on the side of the salon of Apollo is occupied by a bas-relief oval stucco representing king Louis XIV on horseback treading at his feet his enemies. This masterpiece is surmounted by two famous gilded and supported by two chained captives. Below, in the bas-relief obscuring the opening of a false chimney, Clio, Muse of the history, set for posterity the achievements of the king. The dome ceiling represents in the center of France armed, sitting on a cloud and surrounded by victories. A portrait of king Louis XIV adorns his shield. In the covings are represented his three defeated enemies: Germany on his knees, with an eagle; Threatening Spain, with a roaring lion and Holland overthrown on another lion. The fourth arch represents Belloe, the goddess of War, in fury between rebellion and discord.

The Salon de la Paix or Peace room presents the same decor of marble panels and trophies of gilded and chiselled bronze arms as the Salon de la Guerre that is symmetrical. However, the brown adorned  cupola and the covings of the blessings of the peace given by France to Europe. At the end of the reign of king Louis XIV, this living room was separated from the gallery by a movable bulkhead and considered to be part of the Queen’s apartment, from which it was the last room after the chamber. It was there that under Louis XV, Marie Leszczynska gave every Sunday concerts of profane or religious music which played an important role in the musical life of Versailles, and that, in the following reign, Marie-Antoinette held her game. When necessary, the partition separating the room from the gallery was dismantled and the living room was again part of the large apartment.

In the19C, Versailles knew a new destiny and became a museum of the history of France, dedicated “to all the glories of France”, according to the will of Louis-Philippe, who became king of the French in 1830. The collections, mainly composed of paintings and sculptures, are enriched until the beginning of the 20C.

The The Salles des Croisades or halls of the Crusades created, in 1837, of these five rooms installed in the north wing fully fits into the vogue of the Middle Ages that developed under the reign of Louis-Philippe. In the largest of the halls, Louis-Philippe placed the Cedar Gate from the hospital of the order of Saint-Jean-de-Jerusalem of Rhodes and offered to him by Sultan Mahmoud II. The salles d’Afrique, de Crimée et d’Italie or halls of Africa, Crimea and Italy designate a set of seven rooms on the first floor of the north wing. The first three, to which a monumental staircase allows access, were consecrated, by the will of Louis-Philippe, to the illustration of the conquest of Algeria between 1830 and 1847. The hall called Constantine shows the siege and the taking of the city in October 1837. On both sides of this room, two other pieces are dedicated to the capture of the Smala of Abdelkader  in 1843  shown a canvas of 20 meters long and 5 meters high, the other to the French successes in Morocco , preceding to the Tangier Treaty of 1844. Napoleon III took over the extension of this ensemble to celebrate his own military triumphs in the Crimea (taken from Sevastopol, 1855) and in Italy (Victory of Solferino, 1859). Finally, the Third Republic concludes this monumental collection by the evocation of the War of 1870  with the  Charge of Reichshoffen, 1887. These halls now serve as a place for the presentation of temporary exhibitions and are rarely visible in their entirety. The salles de l’Empire or halls of the Empire in the ground floor of the Midi Wing, under the Gallery of battles, is occupied by a set of thirteen halls that date from the first developments undertaken by Louis-Philippe in Versailles to illustrate the military campaigns of the Directoire , the consulate and the Empire. The  attiques du nord et du midi or attics of north and south offer today long threads where is exposed most of the collections of paintings of the museum, according to a chronological  order which leads from the French Revolution to the celebration of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 at the end of the north wing.

The appartement des Mesdames or Ladies’s apartments occupy the north of the central body. They were transformed into museum halls by Louis-Philippe and later restored in their state of princely apartments.  Mesdames de France or the Ladies of France, as the daughters of king Louis XV were called, settled there from 1752. But only two of them, Adelaide and Victoire, lived them until the revolution. The first antichamber of Madame Victoire is the former cabinet of the Baths of Louis XIV. Interior Cabinet of the Comte de Toulouse from 1692 to 1724, from the Countess of Toulouse from 1724 to 1750 and finally from Madame Adelaide from 1752 to 1753. Room of Madame Sophie from 1755 to 1767, she then becomes the first chamber of this princess, then in 1769 that of Madame Victoire.  The second room of Madame Victoire is the old chamber of the baths, whose floor and walls were clad in marble.  At the bottom, in an alcove framed with marble columns, was placed a bed of rest. Which was then the Chamber of the Count of Toulouse, then of the Countess of Toulouse, then of Madame Adelaide and finally of Madame Victoire when she shared this Apartment with her sisters Sophie and Louise. In 1767, the alcove was abolished and the room became the second antichamber of Madame Victoire’s new apartment.

The Grand Cabinet of Madame Victoire;  originally, the room was the octagonal cabinet of the apartment of the Baths of Louis XIV, one of the most original creations of the Sun King. The room of Madame Victoire this was the ionic antichamber of the apartment of the baths, so named because of the twelve marble columns that decorated it. Second Chamber of the Count of Toulouse, then of the Countess of Toulouse, then of Madame Adelaide and finally of the young ladies, she became in 1767 the room of Madame Sophie and in 1769 that of Madame Victoire. Madame Victoire’s interior cabinet it was the Doric vestibule of the apartment of the baths, separated in three bays by two rows of marble columns of Rance, which still remain behind the woodwork. This vestibule was compartmentalized from 1724 to form two antechambers for the comte and the Countess of Toulouse; This princess’s room was in turn divided in 1767 to form this small living room and the next library. The Library of Madame Victoire  house a few books related to the arms of ladies, from their library of Versailles or that of Bellevue Castle, a box containing a collection of maps of geography that belonged to Madame Elisabeth, niece of the ladies, elements of a porcelain coffee service of Sèvres with Chinese decor, delivered in 1775 for Madame Adelaide, and a table-bell in Ruddy to the figure and the arms of Madame Victoire.

The interior cabinet of Madame Adelaide this was the bedroom of the legitimized son of Louis XIV and of Madame de Montespan, the Count of Toulouse, from 1724 to 1737, then the Duke of Penthièvre, son of the latter, from 1737 to 1744, and the Duchess of Penthièvre from 1744 to 1750. She then became the Chamber of the Marquise de Pompadour, who died there on 15 April 1764. It was planned to become the Chamber of Marie-Josephus of Saxony after her widowhood in 1765, but the Dauphine died in 1767, without having been able to settle there; However, after her death, she was exposed here on a parade bed. Madame Victoire’s room from 1767 to 1769, and finally from Madame Adelaide from 1769 to 1789.  The Grand Cabinet de Madame Adelaide was Madame de Pompadour who gave this room its present form, and the chimney of Sérancolin was laid for her. The organ installed in the niche is deemed to have been made for a member of the Royal family but its identification remains uncertain. He was placed in this room to evoke the great attraction of the children of Louis XV for the music: ladies and their brother the Dauphin played in fact more than several instruments.

The salle des Hoquetons or  called “hoquetons”, because of their tunic, the guards of the Provost of the hotel, who were charged with the internal police of the castle. This room, where they were usually held, received in 1672 a sham decor depicting trophies of arms and statues in feigned niches.

The Galerie des Batailles or gallery of Battles is the most important element of the historical galleries created in the Château de Versailles by Louis-Philippe. It occupies almost the entire level of the south wing of the castle and is devoted to the illustration, in about thirty paintings, of nearly fifteen centuries of French military success, from Clovis to Napoleon. The gallery of battles is the most extensive part of the castle (120 meters long, 13 meters wide). It occupies almost all of the first floor of the Midi wing. Conceived and made from 1833, it is inaugurated solemnly in 1837 and then marks the highlight of the visit of the Museum of the history of France. Yes indeed, here lies Yorktown !!!

The apartment of the Marquise de Pompadour is located in the attic of the central body, above the salons of Mars, Mercury and Apollo. It was first inhabited, in 1743-1744, by the Duchess of Châteauroux and her sister the Duchess of Lauraguais. After the death of Madame de Châteauroux, king Louis XV gave it to Madame de Pompadour, who occupied it from September 1745 to May 1751. The king could go there discreetly, by way of his inner cabinets.  The apartment of the Countess of Barry’s last favorite of king Louis XV,  settled in this very large apartment in 1769. The king had, a few years before, excluded these rooms from his personal use to house his daughter-in-law, Marie-Josephus of Saxony, widow since 1765. The latter disappeared two years later and the vacant accommodation was awarded to Mme du Barry. The apartment, which takes up both the cour de Marbre and the cour des Cerfs or deer’s yard, is sumptuous.

king Louis XIV revamped his interior apartment several times. The major transformation took place in 1701, when the sovereign’s Chamber is installed at its current location in the center of the façade to the cour de Marbre. Beyond these halls, whose access is strictly hierarchical and regulated by the rank and etiquette ; all the following parts constitute the private domain of the sovereign to which, in principle, no one can have access if he is not invited. The Salle des Guards or guard’s  room  marks, as in all the royal residences, the entrance of the apartment. His décor is voluntarily sober. It constantly welcomes the bodyguards who take turns every twenty-four hours to ensure the protection of the sovereign. The antichambre du grand-couvert or antichamber of the grand-covered was the room where king Louis XIV was accustomed to supper in public from 1690, after the death of the Queen and that of the Dauphine. It is adorned with a series of eleven battles, and a twelfth painting depicting the Battle of Arbèles. The Salon de l’Oeil-de-Boeuf or  the ox-eye second room of the royal apartment.  The Salon de l’oeil-de-Boeuf is a strategic point of the royal apartment: to the north, it leads to the king’s chamber; In the West, high mirrors doors open directly to the Gallery of Mirrors and allow courtiers to enter or leave the king; On the south wall, to the right of the window, a door leads directly to the Queen, while a staircase, opening on the east wall, leads to the Dauphin’s apartment, located on the ground floor.

The Chambre du Roi or King’s room . Louis XIV transferred his room to the vast living room of nearly 90 sq meters in 1701 , located in the center of the east façade of the castle.  The most important and symbolic piece of the royal apartment, the room serves at several moments of the day: the King holds the ceremonies of “Sunrise” and “bedtime”, dines at his “little cover” and can receive some courtiers or ambassadors. It was in this Chamber that Louis XIV died, on 1 September 1715, after 72 yrs of rule.  The sumptuous decor of gold and silver brocade on the crimson background of the room is embellished with paintings, chosen by Louis XIV himself: four paintings depicting the evangelists and the denarii of Caesar, ; Agar and the angel ; Above-the-door, Saint John the Baptist  Mary Magdalene . On the chimneys, are placed a bust of Louis XIV  a pendulum-barometer as well as four candelabras that belonged to the count of Provence, brother of Louis XVI.

The Cabinet du Conseil or Cabinet of the Council adjoining the King’s Chamber, opened on the Gallery of Mirrors ,took its present form in 1755, under king Louis XV. It is  decorated with decorative motifs illustrating the subjects addressed by the King in his council: war, Justice … The decoration also includes a rock-style pendulum (1754), a bust of Alexander the Great in Porphyry and two vases of Mars and Minerva, in porcelain of Sèvres and bronze,  (1787). The piece also served as a framework for official presentations, a step necessary to be admitted to the court. Mme Du Barry, among many others, made her reverence in 1769. Overlooking the parterre du midi , the Queen’s large apartment is symmetrical to the king’s large apartment . But, unlike the ruler who, from the reign of Louis XIV, left his large apartment, the Queen continued to occupy hers, which explains why the decor was altered several times during the 18C.  The Queen’s Chamber it was there again that the deliveries were held in public: Nineteen “children of France” were born there. The decor retains the memory of the three queens who occupied the room: the compartmentalization of the ceiling goes back to the Queen Marie-Thérèse, but the paintings in grey were made for Marie Leszczinska. All these elements were preserved from the time of Marie Antoinette. During the invasion of the castle by the rioters (French revolution)  in 1789, Marie-Antoinette managed to escape them through the small left door of the alcove opening onto a corridor giving access to the Queen’s inner cabinets, a dozen small rooms reserved for her Privacy and Service.

The salon de Nobles or nobles’ room is the antechamber under Queen Marie-Thérèse, it was in this room that Mary Leszczinska granted her solemn hearings, seated under a dais. She also held her circle, as we called this time of conversation settled with the ladies of the court. Marie Antoinette had the decoration remade entirely, preserving only the paintings of the ceiling, and for her, the walls of Damascus green apple bordered with a large gold braid. The antechamber du grand couvert or  antichamber of the grand cover  was where the public meals were held, the sumptuous ritual of which attracted many people. Only members of the royal family could sit at the table and, in front of them, seated, the duchesses, princesses or holders of high rank having the privilege of the stool, then, standing, the other ladies and persons who, by their rank or with The bailiffs ‘ authorization had come in. The Salle des Gardes or guard’s room was outside of the Queen’s Staircase, also known as “marble Staircase”, was penetrated into the Queen’s large apartment by this guards’ room, where, day and night, twelve bodyguards performed their service with the sovereign. In Versailles, only the king, Queen and Dolphin could have a personal guard consisting of soldiers belonging to these elite units, the four companies of the King’s bodyguards. The next large hall, now known as the Salle  du Sacre or sacred room was also affected. It  used to serve as a bodyguard. The salle des Gardes de la Reine or the Queen’s guards room is the only room where the décor of the 17C has been preserved.

Well I told it was going to be long, I believe my longest post yet. However, all worth it, hope it helps understand my beloved Versailles, the castle is just a part. Enjoy your week, Cheers.

 

 

 

October 29, 2017

The Chateau de Versailles, exteriors

I am back on the nostalgic Sunday. My Versailles is sublime, can’t go a day without thinking of it, visited many many times over the years and again next month; 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.

We know from history, that the first mentioned of Versailles goes back to 1038AD as was mentioned belong to the Abbey of Saint Pére of Chartres. From 1607 , king Louis XIII age 6 does his first hunting in the area.  In 1623 king Louis XIII has a serious sickness and need spiritual seclusion when he decides to built a modest manor hunting house of brick and stone on top of a summit in the plains of Versailles  on the road going from Versailles to Trianon , a site called Val-de-Galie

In April 8 1632 king Louis XIII buys the whole property of the Domaine of Versailles from Jean-François de Gondi, the Bishop of Paris. He ordered construction of a nice royal mansion on site and works continue until he passes away. His son , the next King Louis XIV  that was only 4 years old, too young to govern he is chaperone by the regency of Anne of Austria and the construction stop for 18 years!  We know that the future king Louis XIV did his first visit to Versailles in October 1641 with his brother (future Louis XV) to evade an epidemic of chickenpox that was affecting his castle home at Saint-Germain-en-Laye (favorite because he was born here). We know too, that he came back again in 1651 and thereafter more often ,continuing to improved the hunting mansion from 1660-1664. The improvements continue on the period of  1664-1668 where the need to improved the housing is essential for the parties done by the Court especially the famous parties of pleasure of the enchanted island!!!  There is another period from 1669-1672 where the wars are going and the treaties are signed here like the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ending the war of devolution. At this time the palace begins to take the shape as we know it today.

In the period 1678-1684 the  treaty of Nimégue puts an end to the war of Holland and starts the next construction wave on the castle. Now we do the  galerie des glaces (gallery of mirrors) and its twin rooms the salon de la Guerre and the salon de la Paix and the wings of the noble and princes as well as middle wing and huge work on the gardens  as well the decorations in the Grands appartements.  A bit after the defeat in the war of the league of Augsbourg (1688-1697) and under the influence of Madame de Maintenon, king Louis XIV begins the 4th construction wave to the castle from 1699-1710. The Royal Chapel , appartement du roi or kings apartments and the salon du l’oeil-de-boeuf and the bedroom of the king. After these construction the work is stopped as well as the king Louis XIV died.  The brother king Louis XV born in Versailles, in 1710 too young to rule yet alone. His tutor Philippe d’Orléans or regent leave Versailles to be house in the Palais Royal and the court of Tuileries in Paris; it was even suggested to demolished the castle at this time by the duke of Noailles.  He goes on to do three projects here the finished of the Grand Appartement, the renovations of the salon d’Hercule, basin de Neptune, and the extra building the Royal Opéra.

Under King Louis XVI, the improvement continue to create the most luxurious palace in the world, even with a budget.  The Petit Trianon is done for the Queen Marie-Antoinette,by 1777 a wonderful library inspired by Louis XVI; 1783 the cabinet doré is done,  as Louis XVI wanted an exposition room with in 1788 exposition of his personal purchases the cabinet des papillons (butterflies).  After the French revolution the palace suffers greatly and many items are destroyed or sold. The Imperial period of France under Napoléon Ier brings back some of its glory 1799-1814 period in which even Pope Pie VII came to crown the emperor Napoléon Ier and blessed the crowd from a window in the gallery of mirrors . In 1805, the emperor visits the chateau and decides to stop the renovation in it by choosing the Grand Trianon for residence.

The restoration of the crown from 1814-1830 under the youngest of the Louis still alive, King Louis XVIII continues cautiously the restoration known the history of his family and this work is continue by the youngest brother and final bourbon king of France Charles X. From 1830-1870 king of the French Louis Philippe tried to save the castle by doing it as a palace/museum with the motto « À toutes les gloires de la France », to all the glories of France. During the period 1870 under emperor Napoleon III, he only comes to the palace in commemorating the victories of Crimea and Italy but nevertheless is attach to keep the palace in the best condition possible. In 1855 he dines with the Queen Victoria of England in the gallery of mirrors.  The imperatrice Eugénie who follows the cult of Marie Antoinette (as a saint in progress)  provides an additional push to save it and under her influence at the Universal Exposition of 1867 most of the furniture is restituted to the palace of Versailles.

The castle today is an expression of the very best of France. The cours or courts in the front numbered 3 . If you see them from the Place d’Armes facing the city on the threesome avenue de Saint Cloud, avenue de Paris, and avenue de Sceaux.  At the place d’Armes you see an equestrian statue of king Louis XIV.  From this square you pass by the Grille d’Honneur to reach the biggest court that of the cour d’Honneur then comes the Grille Royale that closes the access to the cour Royale. At the end of this court you see five marbres where you find the cour de Marbre all done in black and white marbre.

You follow the building by the central body of the palace, including the Grands Appartements of the castle ,of the king, gallery of mirrors, and grand appartement of the queen, the apartment of the king, small apartment of the king, and the small apartment of the queen.  Follow the apartments of the ladies, lower gallery, apartment of the heir or dauphin and dauphine, apartment of the captain of the guards, the small apartments, interior cabinets of the queen and the apartments of madame du Barry, marquise de Pompadour, and the Count of Maurepas.

Then, the aile du midi or middle wing  including the gallery of battles, congress room, gallery of high south stones, and lower south stones. This then follow the aile du nord or north wing, including Royal Chapel of the chateau, south side, the Royal opera of the chateau north side, the rooms of the 17C, rooms of the 19C, and the crusades rooms, the gallery of high north stones and lower stones north.

You have the gardens (see other post) and the park as well. Then, other buildings such as the Petite Ecuries and Grande Ecuries across the street, the Grand Commun (domestic help housing in the time of the kings and recently renovated) for short, the real name is the « Grand Carré des Offices – commun du Roi, de la Reine, de Monseigneur, de Madame la Dauphine » built 1682-1684  ,to the right of the castle looking out ,and the Ailes des Ministres or Ministers wing.

You,also, have the Grand Trianon, built in 1689 in marble. Petit Trianon, built from 1749 under the influence of the marquise de Pompadour step back from the Grand Trianon. In 1774, Louis XVI offered it to Marie-Antoinette that changes the lieu and had built other construction such as the sculptures of the Temple de l’Amour, Pavillon du rocher or Belvédère, and the royal Théâtre, all done between 1777-1779, as well as the gate or porte Saint-Antoine, built in 1786 near the Hameau.  The Pavillon français is built in 1749-1750.

The Ménagerie was built between 1662-1664.  This was done in the route leading from Versailles to Saint-Cyr, at the extremity south of the Grand Canal. There is a monumental gate going to the ferme de Gally where my boys enjoyed coming to see some of the descendant animals of the Royal period.

The castle is huge and very much a must to see in Versailles or when in the area. However, remember Versailles is the royal historical town of France, there is a lot more than the castle… Enjoy the post and the photos, have a great Sunday ,Salut!!!

October 29, 2017

The gardens of the Chateau de Versailles

It has been a while for my beloved city, where I spent my first 10 years in France. Versailles is unique, not only because of the castle palace museum but the Royal city itself is magical, a charm of old with trés chic ambiance, something clean away from Paris. Do not confuse Versailles with Paris is a world apart. Versailles is department 78 Yvelines , western administrative part of the region of île de France.

I give you the city of Versailles historical context in English info page:  history of Versailles

And the tourist office of Versailles tourist office Versailles

And the part on gardens page of the Chateau/Museum de Versailles: gardens Chateau de Versailles

All essential readings to know this magical royal town of France. Be at the  best for the visit.

We used to go with the boys by the porte Saint Antoine off ave de Versailles and go in by the Hameau of Marie Antoinette for free, wondered in the park and gardens and jog, ride a bike or just plain walk amongst kings/queens. Awesome.  You too can do it. Just take bus 19 at ave Saint Cloud and blvd de l’Europe direction les Mureaux and stop at Arboretum(old park of Versailles kings planted the trees used to be part of the domaine of Versailles/Parly II (great shopping center too); walk down about 300 meters and get on the gate of Saint Anthony or Porte Saint Antoine! More here: Bus 19 to porte Saint Antoine Versailles

Of course, you can come to the front door, lots more crowds to the gardens and if no event like the water musicals is on ,you can come in for free too on certain days like Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can also cut across the rue des Reservoirs on the right side of the castle with a bit less crowds. And always if plan to go inside the castle buy your tickets in advance and be there early at opening.

There are imaculate parterres, great basins, an orangery, a vast collection of outdoor sculpture and some of the grandest fountains which have ever been made. The park and garden were designed by Andre Le Nôtre between 1661 and 1700. There are about 386 works of art that makes the gardens like an outdoor museum , includes 221 statues that are with magnificient features: huge parterres, an orangery, famous fountains (which operate….), rich bosquets (ornamental groves), a 1.8 km cruciform canal. The Grand Trianon, another formal garden, was built on the site of a former village. The Petit Trianon was given to Marie-Antoinette in 1774. She favoured the irregular style, with hills, rocks and streams. The Hameau was designed in 1785, as a stage village, for Marie-Antoinette to play with her friends in the idle years before the French Revolution. One particular one often bypass but a must to see is the cave or grotte de Thétys finished in 1670; the cave were done to make believe of the illusion of Apollon as the Greeks had it was the place of where god rests after taking his chariot to enlighten the sky; this cave was isolated from the castle . At the interior, there are motifs of shells to re create a marine cave with statues representing the Sun god believed by Nereides in the central group and horses guards of Tethys the other two auxiliary groups. From a point of view of the hydraulics of the gardens this cave plays a major role; the ceilings had a reserve that kept the water pumped from the lake of Clagny to feed by gravity the fountains in the gardens!

Other attempts with great architecture efforts were tried to feed the gardens of Versailles. In 1682, the machine de Marly (towns of Marly-le-Roi and Louveciennes) and the aqueduct of Louveciennes the latest technology of the 17C were done to link the waters of the Seine river to the Castle and Marly. They were done to replace the windmills cave system that a weak pressure water to feed Versailles; only feeding up to Marly. The need to find a solution continues.  The construction of the Canal de l’Eure was started to direct the waters of the Eure river to the Seine and to Versailles! with a system of aqueducts. There was wars that stop for good this work. Versailles stayed been fed by a system of gravity done with aqueducts like the one at Buc, built between 1684-1686. They had the advantage of never needing upskeep; a total of 30 km of canalisations with lead and melted steel was done in the gardens and 40 kms of underground aqueduct existed at the time to feed the bassins and water spouts of the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles.  Practically, about a third of the cost to built the Chateau was used to feed it with water!!!

During the old regime, the property was much bigger indeed, things the revolution do not want to tell much; do you know? The Domaine de Versailles was done in two sections, one was called the Grand Parc ; this is the region of bushes that encircle today the castle and the town of Versailles (partly walled) , and the Petit Parc, the part surrounded by a wall that were developed into gardens à la Française near the castle.  Today, this division still exists but call differently of course… There is the Grand Parc now call the Parc de Versailles including the green spaces that belongs to the Domaine de Versailles (bushes, fields, garden of the castle of Trianon , and Versailles castle. The Petit Parc, today includes under the Jardin de Versailles all located east of the castle and west of the basin du char d’Apollo, to the north the basin de Neptune,and to the south the Orangerie, and includes the gardens à l Française near the castle.

One of the highlights for me besides the famous statues and fountains in the garden park is the Grand Canal and the rental boats! fun for the whole family that we enjoyed tremendously. It has a length of 1 500 meters and a width of 62 meters built between 1668 and 1671 given a long view of the axis east to west until the Petit Parc.  Here, king Louis XIV ordered the construction of the Petite Venise located at the crossing of the transversal part of the Grand Canal housing the yachts and caravelles boats received from the Netherlands and housing as well the gondolas received as gifts from the Doge of Venice . The  Grand Canal  is located at a low point in the gardens and received the water trickling in from the fountains ; this water was pumped into a network of windmills pumps that were place on top the cave of Thétys to feed the fountains in a closed circuit.

I have to tell that the garden were saved from the French revolution in 1792, when by orders of the national convention many trees were taken down and some parts of the Grand Parc were sold. seeing  a menace to the survival of the gardens , Louis-Claude Marie Richard director of the botanical gardens and grandson of Claude Richard had pleas to the revolutionary government to save the gardens, and eventually he succeeded opening them to the general public. The hospital of Versailles bears his name . The Napoleonic eras ignored for the most part the castle and gardens. The Restauration of the Bourbons in 1814 made the first renovations to the gardens after the revolution; by 1817 king Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI) ordered two bosquets ,those of bosquet de l’Île du Roi , and the bosquet du  Miroir d’Eau , both changed into English style gardens to form the garden of the king or le Jardin du Roi.  Finally, the whole complex were saved by king of the French Louis-Philippe(not king of France (difference)) by 1837 under the museum of the history of France ; of which the property is today, a lot more than a castle.

As you read above there is a huge number of statues, and fountains, forest like design spots to really enjoy the property for a whole day alone. Versailles proper as the Domaine of Versailles needs more than a day to visit ,really! Impossible to tell you all here.

Another part of the castle property I love is the Orangerie; located in the parterre du Midi right along the road N10 that goes into Versailles and then into Paris as the old carriage way of the kings entering Paris is the D910 into avenue de Versailles along the Seine…!! The Orangerie is done with a central gallery of 155 meters long surrounded by two lateral galleries located on top of the stairs or escaliers des Cent Marches (Stair of 100 steps) that front the before mentioned road. It has a high of 13 meters and contains more than 1000 trees, oranges, lemons, grenades of which some are centenaries, also, roses all with great big windows. The trees produces fruits and they are shown outside from mid May to mid October each year, weather permitting.

Well , hope this helps, I know is a general view but with so many rather give you the hint ,the will to visit it, you will be glad as millions have! Cheers and enjoy your Sunday!

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